Jan-Feb 2014: Clare James
Nov-Dec 2013: Fran Conley
Sept-Oct 2013: Rudi Rauschenbach
July-Aug 2013: Sarah Humphreys
May-June 2013: Danielle Ditzian
March-April 2013: Adrienne Rose Block
I have always been afraid of heights. Still, that being said, I have always wanted to go rock climbing. I don’t know why. Maybe it was watching Tom Cruise hang on the side of a cliff in Mission Impossible and I became inspired. Of course when the camera panned out and you saw him just holding on with his hands outstretched I decided, maybe that isn’t for me after all. But I can’t help but come back to the idea of it and after seeing my cousin’s multitude of pictures of her doing the same thing as Cruise, I decided, why not. I only live once.
Morgan Bay is part of the Wild Coast in South Africa and rock climbers from all over come here to climb the sea walls next to the ocean. There are all kind of trails, whether you’re a novice like me or a trained rocker climber. Some of the trails are bolted routes with trad lines, that you can top-rope. Most of the routes you’ll be climbing have definite crevices in the rock for easy climbing. While there are seven bolted routes, you can find hundreds of trails all over the cliff wall. The more famous trails are named like the “ticket to ride,” “the feeling is tight” and “the carnival is over.” Each area is named, so if you’re with friends but want to rock climb solo (there are trails just for this) you can meet up at a selected place.
Down below at the beach you can use the campsite and enjoy the lagoon. At the lagoon you can go swimming and boating in its waters or instead just sit back and watch the wildlife that lives here. There are horse trails for one day or over-night excursions that can last up to two weeks. The trails will take you through villages, the forest, past waterfalls and the beaches. Which if you’re like me, might decide rock climbing is like skiing; I’m better off drinking hot chocolate in the lodge or if I’m at Morgan Bay, give rock climbing a try, realize as I’m dangling off the edge, horse-back riding or lazily wading through the water at the lagoon might be the better option; while I take pictures of my friends reaching the top of the cliff.
I don’t know where you are, but where I live there’s snow everywhere. And more is to come by next week! I love the snow, I do. But after the third or fourth snowstorm, shoveling my car out of the driveway and having to drive to work an hour early just to make sure I get there on time; well, I’m in need of a little sun and a beach. I could say any beach will do but that’s not completely true. I have beaches near me. Cape Cod is a great place to vacation during the summer but now I want the weather to be as hot as it can get. Or enough to warm me up and not think about hot chocolate and snow boots.
There are many beautiful places all over the world and I could list a bunch of them but of all of destinations, there is something about Bora Bora that is so completely beautiful it makes me want to jump on the next plane and stay until spring. The waters are rich in color; the sky is clear with big fluffy clouds in the sky. The sand is warm on your toes. Straw umbrellas to keep the sun out of your eyes as you fall asleep listening to the waves crash to the shore. Depending where you stay, you can be on the ocean in a water bungalow or stay inland in a garden bungalow. Some of the water bungalows will have glass floors so you want to watch the ocean while you’re relaxing in your home away from home. You can opt for ocean views, mountain views or both. All of the resorts have at least one restaurant and a bar. Depending on where you stay, you will have the privilege of having your own private pool, swimming in the lagoon or visiting a spa. If you have children, there are resorts that have kid’s clubs to keep your little ones as happy as you are. And to make you happy there’s snorkeling, golfing, a little hiking to explore the surrounding areas and of course shopping. But who wants to go shopping when you can put a towel over your face, lay flat on the sand, umbrella by your side and no traces of snow to be seen. Yea, I’m already there. Someone please feed my kittens while I’m away for the next two months.
Looking for a little quiet time this February with your loved one, where it’s only you and your significant, full of privacy and romance with no cares in the world about errands, work and everything else that comes with everyday life. A place called Maldives in India will be your personal sanctuary for the few days you’re there.
Step into another world as you’re transported to an island. You’ll have your own private bungalow with open wall and straw like roof. The bungalow stands on stilts on top of the ocean where you can wake up and watch the sunrise or sip island cocktails as you watch the sunset. Dive into the ocean and explore one of the many corals reefs. Swim in the crystal blue waters and by mid-day find yourself a hammock in between two palm trees to lazily bring in the afternoon. In the evening enjoy a picnic on the beach.
Maldives has all the luxuries you could ask for. Whether you want to grab a kite for the day or go wind-surfing. Scuba dive with hammerheads, snorkel in shallower waters or dine on a candlelight dinner on the beach. For those ready to experience complete bliss, bask in a private spa treatment in your bungalow and then take a dip into your pool. At night do a little fishing or take a romantic boat ride as you gaze at the moonlight rays cascading on the waves.
The best time to visit is December through March but of course you can visit during any season. Ready for some R & R after a long holiday season, this will more than make up for all the baking, shopping and wrapping you did over the past few months. So much so, you’ll be ready for December all over again. Well, maybe not that soon, summer is almost here and with summer comes some fantastic places to visit.
Love is in the air. Some of us will sit by a fireplace with our favorite book, a box of chocolates in a heart shape box and enjoy the sound of solitude. Other will be planning one of the most romantic days of their life; to propose or let their significant other know they are special. I always find myself wanting to find a secluded romantic restaurant that I will remember for a lifetime. This year I came across a restaurant that exceeded my expectations in one of my favorite countries, Italy.
In the southern part of Italy a city called Polignano a Mare hosts an enchanting restaurant set into a cave. The Summer Cave at the hotel Grotta Palazzese is a restaurant that opens from May until October and has been called one of the most romantic restaurants in the world. Depending on your preference you can dine right next to the water’s edge and look out into the ocean from the opening of the cave or take a table that’s not quite so close to the ocean water. The tables at the edge have their own hanging lights with the bases made of out white stone while the inner tables have candles to set the mood; the floors are made of beautiful wood. Sit on white cushioned chairs next to the bar and enjoy a glass of wine. The food is wonderful Italian cuisine. Whether you want a romantic getaway with your loved one or are planning a family trip, this is a once in a lifetime restaurant that should not be missed if you happen to venture into southern Italy.
The sparkling lights, presents under the tree, the smell of cookies baking in the oven, it’s that time again: Christmas has arrived. I admit it; I’m one of those people who wait all year for black Friday and goes out into the night to find gifts or just to be among the hustle and bustle of the season. I decorate my house with multiple Christmas trees, hang stockings for my cats and pretend I’m Martha Stewart for December. Anything that is Christmas brings a smile to my face. When I heard about a Christmas Village in Finland I had know all the details.
The Christmas Village has anything and everything you could possibly hope for. It has Santa and his own office where you can visit him. Sit down with elves at the post office to write letters to your friends and family back home. You can send a letter to Santa or have him send a letter to that special someone. Take a tour into the Santa cavern where you’ll meet all kinds of fairytale creatures while they do their chores for the day.
While you’re here you can stay in one of the Christmas village cottages or cozy up in an igloo. If you enjoy being in the snow there is an Arctic ice bar and restaurant. There is also the rustic feel of the Christmas house to get you through those cold days. Shop in the gift stores for a unique gift made of reindeer or find the silversmith where they will be making jewelry.
Depending on when you go you can see the Northern lights light up the sky. Whether you see lights dancing with the stars or Christmas lights sparkling the trees against a blanket of snow, there will be no doubt you’re in Christmas town.