Get Lost with your family in Lost Pines (part deux)

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Everything’s bigger in Texas…especially your vacation! Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa has a way of making families feel at home. This year, we brought our puppy with us and he fit right in with the alpaca.

Traveling in your own state is less stressful…it’s more like living part of your life somewhere else. It feels really exciting, especially when we feel good about taking the whole family (dog included).

On our first full day at Lost Pines we couldn’t wait to get started exploring and getting outside. My husband and I knew that we wouldn’t be able to get the kids out of the Crooked River Water Park so we planned our big activities (ziplining and horseback riding) in the mornings.

There are so many kid-friendly activities for all ages. My daughter couldn’t wait to go to the hair-braiding station and my son wanted to get up close with the resident longhorn. Parents can enjoy time to rest and relax at Spa Django while the kids enjoy Camp Hyatt.

There are nine Texas-style restaurants on site to enjoy. Shellers Barrelhouse and Old Bucks were our favorites.  They both have the Austin-style musical feel (with live music most nights).  We couldn’t get enough of the BBQ chicken and pulled pork sandwiches but made sure to save room for s’mores.

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Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort offers their guests a Texas experience that makes you feel like you’re deep in the heart of the Lone Star State. There are plenty of ways to enjoy a Texas-style vacation with out leaving the property… Upon checking in we were given an activity calendar of all the things we could experience: tennis, full-service Spa Django, 18-hole Wolfdancer Golf Club, horseback riding, kayaking, trap shooting, s’mores by the campfire, nature hikes, zipline, rock climbing, biking, archery, wagon rides, face painting, balloon making…My children’s favorite was the Crooked River water park because “a river runs through it!” This water park has a sandy beach, waterfalls, a lazy river, and waterslides.

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Birthdays: Celebrating New Decades!

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Any birthday with a ZERO on the end is reason to celebrate! Almost all of our family has a summer birthday and most of us end with a zero this year…so that means we celebrated new decades together. My mother-in-law, my Dad, husband, daughter (and me too) happily share that zero.

Along with another birthday comes the inevitable question of how to celebrate… The good news about having a summer birthday is that it’s an excellent reason to skip town and celebrate!! The most important thing to remember about celebrating birthdays is that you want to make sure you have your family with you.

MY MOTHER-IN-LAW…

People and Events from 1936

My mother-in-law is quick-witted, business minded and has a love for horses and dogs. My children call her Nana. She is a super energetic Nana, quick-witted, and systematic by nature. Her recipe for a happy life might go like this…read a good book, ride a horse and cook with gas!

Song: Bing Crosby’s Pennies from Heaven

Movie: Anything Goes

Book: Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind is published

President: Roosevelt is re-elected for a second term

Fun fact: French chemist, Eugene Schueller (founder of L’Oreal), invents the first sunscreen this year.

Cost: gas was 10 cents a gallon, bread was 8 cents and stamps were 3 cents

Icon: Olivia de Havilland

Quote: Between two evils, I take the one I never tried before. ~Mae West in Klondike Annie

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MY DAD…

People and Events from 1946

My Dad said in his lifetime achievement award a few months ago, “Great effort reaps great rewards.” I’ve heard him say that all my life. Another favorite…”The Champion is the one that gets up the most times after he has been knocked down.” My Dad is many things: he’s a coach (on and off the court), a proud Tar Heel, a teacher, a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, most importantly…he’s a good man! My Dad is always optimistic, attracts plenty of attention wherever he goes, he’s wise, and is highly understanding.

Song: Dinah Shore’s Laughing on the Outside

Movie: The Best Years of our Lives

Book: All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

President: Harry S. Truman 

Fun fact: Bikinis and Tupperware go on sale this year.

Cost: gas was 21 cents a gallon, bread was 10 cents and stamps were 3 cents

Icon: Ava Gardner

Quote: The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe. ~Albert Einstein

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MY HUSBAND

People and Events from 1966

My husband who loves being together with his family, lives for Alabama football, makes a great cocktail and is a huge Beatles fan. He’s positive, diligent, charming and resourceful.

Song: The Rolling Stones’ Paint it Black 

Movie: Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 

Book: Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls  

President: Lyndon B. Johnson

Fun fact: Mini skirts and color TVs became popular

Cost: gas was 32 cents a gallon, bread was 20 cents and stamps were 5 cents

Icon: Audrey Hepburn

Quotes: Beam me up, Scotty ~William Shatner, as Cat. James Kirk, in Star Trek

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C’EST MOI

People and Events from 1976

I’ve always thought it was cool that I’m a Bicentennial baby! My parents took this picture when I was about three. My parents used to sing, Oh Sweet Pea to me and another one of my Dad’s nicknames for me is his “little quail bird.” I also nicknamed myself about this time, Sizzlean because I loved the name…I also love bacon!

Song: Starland Vocal Band’s Afternoon Delight

Movie: The Bad News Bears

Book: Peter Benchley’s The Deep 

President: Gerald Ford

Fun fact: Apple Computer was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

Cost: gas was 59 cents, bread was 30 cents and stamps were 13 cents

Icon: Charo

Quotes: You talkin’ to me? ~Robert De Niro, as Travis Bickle, in Taxi Driver

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MA FILLE

People and Events from 2006

My daughter loves to paint, dance and swim like a fish…I call her my “little mermaid.”

Song: KT Tunstall’s Black Horse and the Cherry Tree

Movie: Cars 

Book: Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love

President: George W. Bush

Fun fact: Pluto is downgraded from a Planet to a dwarf planet by The International Astronomical Union.

Cost: gas was $3.03, bread was 97 cents and stamps were 39 cents

Icon: Heidi Klum

Quote: I’d like to grow old with my face moving. ~Kate Winslet said about why she would not consider plastic surgery.

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Many happy returns to my fellow ZERO birthdays!

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mermaid hair

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Three things I’m always searching for…the best mascara, the best jeans and the best shampoo and conditioner. I may have found the answer to the shampoo and conditioner…Mermaid Hair! Nothing beats beach hair but if you don’t live by the ocean, this is a way to add texture and shine to create those natural beach waves.

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What girl wouldn’t want mermaid hair? Think about Ariel…she has the best hair of any of the Disney princesses.  Mermaid hair sounds so romantic…long silky braids, the smell of the sea and Botechelli waves.

You know those days when you want to channel your inner Daryl Hannah from Splash? This will do it…Mermaid Hair smells the Pina Colada and a day at the beach and it’s super gentle (all natural) so it won’t dry out or flatten hair.

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Mermaid’s collection of beauty products is inspired by the ultra-hydrating powers of sea kelp and essential oils. Each sweet-smelling, botanical formula is packed with vitamins and minerals that keep hair lustrous and skin rejuvenated.

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My most favorite store in the world is Pish Posh Patchouli’s at Rosemary Beach. Patchouli’s is an apothecary boutique where you can design your signature scent at the custom scent bar; then select soaps, lotions, perfumes AND Mermaid shampoo!! This is where I first spotted Mermaid Hair. My little mermaid wanted to try it and now we both use it.

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Mermaid Hair is a sweet mix of orange blossoms and coconut to leave your hair soft, shiny, and smelling incredible. Bonus…they also make a Mermaid Perfume.

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Wishing you mermaid kisses and starfish wishes!

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Peonies: the most romantic flower in the world

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Pink peonies are my absolute favorite flower. They look like little balls of strawberry ice cream with layers and layers of soft fragrant flavors. Peonies are not available all year round…which is probably what makes people love them all the more. The end of peonies season is sadly here…if only they could last the whole summer.
Artist, Carmelo Blandino’s paintings of peonies help to make the season last longer… His paintings have intensity, color, and movement that make the viewer want to rub their nose all around it hoping to catch a whiff of the floral fragrance.
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Peonies seem to be a nostalgic kind of flower. The best peony gardeners tend to be older growers…they might tell you that peony growing insures old age. These expert older gardeners might have their peonies in a bed with other old-fashioned flowers like gardenias, sweet peas, marigolds, hydrangeas…the kind of flowers that makes you nostalgic for your grandmother’s garden. I think most grandmothers stop and smell the roses…especially if they planted them.
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The fattest and most scrumptious of all flowers, a rare fusion of fluff and majesty, the peony is now coming into bloom. ~Henry Mitchell
Nancy Reagan was known to be a romantic. It seems suiting that her favorite flowers were white peonies.
Nancy Reagan was not alone in her choice of flower, peonies are favored by brides all over the world because of their beautiful ruffles and feminine colors…it is the most romantic flower. They make a stunning addition to any bouquet. They were in my bouquet and I can still picture and smell them…heavenly.
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If you’re planing to grow peonies, it’s helpful to know that like children, young peonies take time to develop. They usually need a few years to establish themselves, bloom, and grow. When planted in spring, peonies may not bloom for two years or more. The eyes of the root should be planted facing upward, no more than 2 inches below the surface of the soil. Peonies that do not sprout in the spring may have been planted too deeply or may have been damaged by frost if they were planted too late in the year.

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Carmelo Blandino wrote this poem about flowers he paints and inner beauty. I imagine peonies in particular when reading it…a heart as a peony. See what you think…

Courage

It takes courage to live a life.
Without courage the flower would not allow itself to stand up and bloom.
We need courage to be attentive to life and to live by its truths.
To remain resolute in keeping the four corners of your life straight regardless of what others say about you.

Without courage the petals wouldn’t open, and then it’s great inner beauty would never be seen or manifest in the physical.

The high vibration of flowers with their radiant color and life, are there to remind us of our true essence,
and of our true potential as humans on earth.
Do you have the courage to live a life of unfoldment and
allow your petals to be seen for their glory, and to be glorious in your courage?
Of course you do, of course you can. By listening to the
personal flower within you. Your heart.

Wishing you beautiful flowers until the next peony season and the “courage” to listen to the flower within you.

The Peach Kings take a “Detour” with Cyndi Lauper

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When my sister was about five, my brother and I would toss her down the laundry shoot. She was up for the adventure and thought it was wildly funny. That’s my sister Paige, always up for an adventure and looking for fun…she’s a “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” kind of sister.

When Paige and I played Barbies together, she liked to cut Barbies hair short…always experimenting with different hair styles. Paige and Cyndi shared a love for changing hair styles. I read that Cyndi Lauper did the same thing. “I was always cutting my Barbie and Pollyanna dolls’ hair. I lined them all up and put a cloth around their necks, like they were at the beauty parlor. Barbie was a real heartbreaker, but then all of a sudden, Barbie was freakin’ bald. That was a shocker.”

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This month, Paige, sang with the oh so unusual Cyndi Lauper on her “Detour” tour. When Paige walked out on stage in Raleigh, North Carolina wearing her “Kinky boots” she grabbed the mic that’s reserved for Boy George and yelled, “Are there any Goonies in the house?” The loudest scream came from me, “YESSSSS!” My family knew we were in for BIG fun!

The highlight of the evening was when Paige sang “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” with Cyndi!! Holy merde, my sister sang with Cyndi Lauper! My emotions were so high that I felt like I was going to explode with happiness! My sister-in-law hinted to me that she thought it might happen but I thought she’d lost her mind.

When Cyndi asked Paige and Steven to come back out on stage she said in her Brooklin accent, “Aww, look at them…so cute and purty.” Cyndi said, “Alright, Let’s do this. Steven, you start.” Steven started playing the guitar without the band, then just Cyndi and Paige were singing together. My brother’s favorite part was when Steven made an air pump to cheer on Paige when she started singing, “I come home in the morning light“…the same way you would if you just scored a soccer goal!

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Paige and her fiance Steven, make up the band, The Peach Kings. They were the opening act for Cyndi Lauper. Paige and Steven have an electric energy…it’s easy to see how much they love each other by the way that they perform and get lost in their music together. They have this cool indie-alternative vibe that you might hear in a soundtrack to a film noir movie. You might not imagine The Peach Kings and Cyndi Lauper together, but that’s what made the show unique. Cyndi wanted an opening act with a love duo that was organic and vulnerable. They didn’t need bells and whistles to set the mood.

Sixty-three-year-old Cyndi reaches every generation. Her music is still just as relevant today as it was when she began more than thirty years ago. You can tell that she is nostalgic about old country music. Her country heroes are Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash…it really comes through on her new album.

Cyndi has been a dedicated advocate for the gay community with her work for the True Colors Foundation and Kinky Boots musical (a true story about the power of acceptance). She spoke about the controversial House Bill 2 before her performance and donated proceeds from the concert to Equality NC. Numerous bands and musicians have cancelled shows in North Carolina due to HB2 but Cyndi Lauper took the high road by shining a positive light on young children. Cyndi says, “You can’t make kids be what you want them to be. They are who they are. It’s our responsibilities as adults to nurture them as they are.”

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The 80’s music is nostalgic to me…I am truly a byproduct of growing up in Cyndi’s Goonie era. My parents are close to Cyndi’s age and they love to listen to her throw back music to the 60’s…especially when she puts her spin on Pasty Cline’s, Walkin’ After Midnight” and Wanda Jackson’s “Funnel of Love.”

Her new album, “Detour,” is built on country music. She sounds right at home singing country. Before her hits in the 80’s, Cyndi fronted the rockabilly band, Blue Angel. Country music is her first love. This was my third time seeing Cyndi play in concert. She’s one of the only artists who truly paints a picture for you before she begins. She talked about what it was like growing up in Brooklyn and how she’d watch Saturday morning cartoons that inspired her to make the “Detour” album. By the time she started singing “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” the audience made a connection with her and we were transported to her childhood.

Catch The Peach Kings on their Night Sweat Tour and see Cyndi Lauper as she continues her “Detour” around the world.

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Five things you might not know about the Goonies

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HEY YOU GUYS!!!!! Summer is the best time to watch the Goonies. I think most kids fantasize about finding a map that leads them to hidden pirate treasure. The Goonies is an action-comedy…like a “Raiders of the Lost Ark” for children. Our family watches the Goonies several times during the summer…just like my brother and sister and I did when we were growing up in the eighties. We are of the Goonie generation. We are Goonies! My children are Goonies now too and summer is “our time!“. Whenever they hear me play Cyndi Lauper and Good Enough comes on they shout, “GOONIES!”

Don’t you realize? The next time you see sky, it’ll be over another town. The next time you take a test, it’ll be in some other school. Our parents, they want the best of stuff for us. But right now, they got to do what’s right for them. Because it’s their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it’s our time. It’s our time down here. That’s all over the second we ride up Troy’s bucket. ~Mickey

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1. JUNE 7TH IS “GOONIES DAY.”

The mayor of Astoria, Oregon named June 7th “Goonies Day” in honor of the movie, and the town hosts an annual celebration. It’s a weekend of treasure hunting, group truffle shuffles and trivia scavenger hunts. If you’re planning a trip to Astoria, here’s a Goonies guide. Not only will you see where the Goonies was filmed but Astoria is also the oldest settlement west of the Rockies…rich with history and Victorian architecture.

2. THE FILM WAS MOSTLY SHOT ON LOCATION IN ASTORIA.

Other than the cave with One-Eyed Willy’s pirate ship that was shot in Burbank, California, The Goonies was shot almost entirely in sequence in Astoria, Oregon on a five-month shooting schedule.

3. DATA MENTIONS A SCENE THAT WAS CUT FROM THE MOVIE.

If you listen carefully, you’ll here Data mention that “the octopus was very scary” to the reporters at the end of the movie. There wasn’t an octopus scene in the movie…because it was cut.

4. CYNDI LAUPER’S “GOONIES R GOOD ENOUGH” IS A GOONIES ANTHEM. 

I remember watching Lauper’s seven-minute music video on MTV. It features appearances by executive producer Steven Spielberg, the Bangles and André the Giant and of course…The Goonies. Cyndi was upset about Steven Spielberg jamming “The Goonies” into her title. For a long time, she never played it in concert. It’s a great song (one of my favorites)…an anthem for a group of misfit heroes, The Goonies.

5. COREY HAIM AUDITIONED FOR THE ROLE OF MOUTH AND LOST IT TO COREY FELDMAN.

Corey Haim and Corey Feldman ended up becoming best friends after The Goonies. They were both cast in The Lost Boys (1987) then went on to make six more movies together. In License to Drive (1988), Feldman auditioned for the lead role, but lost it to Haim.

Enjoy The Goonies this summer and revel in the nostalgia of Mikey and the gang’s epic voyage, and you’ll soon find yourself “setting booty traps and doing the truffle shuffle.”

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Puppy Power

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Our new puppy, Archer, has soft puppy fur, floppy ears, and that curious look that is so darn cute! There’s also that special puppy smell…much like the distinctive scent of a newborn baby. He is full of love and energy…we like to call him, “Puppy Power!”

Meeting our puppy for the first time was quite an experience. As we drove down to Chappell Hill, Texas we were anxious to find out which puppy would be ours. We watched him play with his brothers and then he was the one that really picked us. He grabbed my daughter’s long braid and said, “Hey, I want to play with you!

It’s funny how a new dog makes you miss the old one. Archer takes great pleasure in ripping up a paper towel just like our other dogs. We lost our two basset hounds a couple of years ago. We are so happy to hear the pitter patter of puppy feet again and it’s nice to be reminded of our old dogs too.

Having a puppy is a lot like having a baby again. We are very careful to keep him on his schedule and are sure to have a wake-up call (even on the weekends) if we oversleep.

Sometimes I think Archer is a goat. He’s actually a Labrador retriever. But he sinks his chewy teeth into everything…boxes, barbie dolls, swimming goggles, candy wrappers, my son’s arm and of course shoes!

Our puppy training skills are rusty. Stay tuned to “Puppy Power” part two when Archer goes to school.

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Wanderlust: Find your true north in Dallas

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My friend Lisa had a brilliant idea…“Let’s go to Wanderlust!” Saturday mornings, we usually meet for ballet class. The connection between dance and yoga is especially strong with us. We took our ballet training to the lawn at Reunion to try out dance yoga to MC Yogi, yoga slackers, and to practice yoga and drink Kombucha tea outside in Dallas.

The yoga dance party reminded me of Edge Fest in the 90’s…waving our hands from side to side in Crescent Lunge like we were at a concert while emcee spun his 90’s mix saying, “Only love is real.” Lisa and I were laughing and snapping our fingers in sync.

The stunning Faith Hunter led a very happy yoga crowd (imagine the largest yoga class ever) through a high energy yoga flow.

The favorite event at Wanderlust had to be Slacklining. It was exhilarating, challenging and humbling. I think Lisa and I thought we might have an edge being ballet dancers but instead of going straight up to find your balance, it’s better to take yourself off your balance and then find it. It’s a great way to access those balancing muscles that we don’t use on a daily basis. Slacklining could become one of those addicting hobbies. I’d like to put a line in my backyard and just play outside…my kids would love it too.

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If you live in any of the areas Wanderlust 108, find a friend and sign up. I can’t wait to go again. There’s something so freeing about practicing yoga outside.  Find your true north at Wanderlust and unplug from the ordinary.

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Aerial Yoga with my girl

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Kids LOVE to hang upside-down on the monkey bars…aerial yoga for kids just makes sense.

My daughter and I have danced on stage together, practiced Pilates and paddleboard yoga together and now we share a love for aerial yoga.

When I told my daughter that my friend and favorite yoga instructor, Sloane, was having an aerial yoga for kids class at her new studio she jumped up and down screaming, “YES, this is going to be so much fun!”

Remember that feeling you had when you were a kid swinging on the playground at recess? Aerial yoga provides that same sense of lightness with the support of the fabric…think anti-gravity AND anti-aging!  When the fabric is wrapped around the hips to support the body, tipping upside down feels incredibly natural…spreading the arms out like an eagle, reaching the legs out to the sides of the wall and letting go of any pressure in the lower back is an amazing sensation!

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Imagine Cirque du Soleil–style yoga. Sloane has the class start out with the hammock at your hip crease and fold forward into down dog. I could feel a release in the front of my hip joints and found a natural alignment adjustment as I folded deeper in the hammock…gravity does the work and it feels soooo good.

Yoga is wonderful for every (adult and child) body. Aerial yoga is a way to explore new and traditional yoga with your body weight partially or fully supported. This allows you to expand flexibility, increase range of motion, build strength, lengthen and decompress the spine as you relax the nervous system. Letting gravity take over while being held in a hammock can deepen yoga poses and allow you to safely invert. It’s a fun way to find some zen and feel young again while flying.

My daughter said that aerial yoga was fun but also hard. I like that she was laughing when she was being challenged. This tells me that she’s working on coordination and strength while building her confidence and mental concentration.

Try it and you will find a sense of peace, playfulness, creativity and empowerment to thrive on and off the mat. Aerial yoga is a way to dream and imagine you are an aerial acrobat feeling free and enjoying life even more.

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Vail: Rites of Spring

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Sunshine, google tans, spring back to winter snow, cold après-ski cocktails on or off the mountain…the only thing not to love about spring skiing is the inevitable end of the season.

The clock bells chimed four times, that meant the lifts were closing. My husband said, “Hurry, we can still get on for one more run.” We weren’t out of steam just yet! The four of us hopped on the Eagle Bahn Gondola to end the day on a high note. If the lifts are running, so were we! It felt like we were the only ones on the mountain. It had just snowed like crazy and it was perfect skiing…powder on top of powder! We wanted to hold on to the day and the season just a little longer. It’s amazing how so much fun can take your mind off your sore feet and bruised shins.

Vail, how I love thee! Let me count the ways…

  1. Thousands of groomed terrain means there’s something for everyone whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or expert skier. Vail has the best and largest ski schools on Earth to help you get your kids to be future expert skiers. It’s nice to see your kids make friends with kids from around the world. Vail is the giant of ski resorts because it offers 195 named trails and it’s world-famous for its “Back Bowls” that span around 3,000 acres.
  2. Ice skating is a fun activity for the whole family. My daughter even skated with her American Girl Doll, Maryellen. Vail has both indoor and outdoor rinks. The Arrabelle in Lionshead steals our hearts with the beautiful scenery, outdoor fireplaces and twinkle lights.
  3. Vail is a foodie’s haven. These are our favorites: Up the Creek (a treasure by Gore Creek serving seasonal fresh farm to plate meals and signature cocktails), Campo De Fiori (authentic Italian cuisine with fresh and local ingredients), Mountain Standard (enjoy a rustic and relaxed atmosphere where the primal cooking method is over a wood fire), Swiss Chalet (traditional European cuisine in a casual mountain atmosphere).
  4. Vail is known for its relaxing spas. I think it’s nice to start out the vacation with a visit to the spa. After a plane ride and unpacking a massage makes you think, Yeessss! The vacation has just begun! The Spa at the Arrabelle (voted #19 of the top 270 spas in the world) was the perfect way to relax into the vacation.
  5. There’s more to Vail than winter…try hiking and mountain biking during the non-skiing months. Use the staff like you would for ski school and hire a tour guide to take you around so you don’t need the trail map. You can rent a bike and ride downhill. The bonus is that there’s a gondola bike haul.

Vail is known around the world as one of the most popular destinations for skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, fine dining, hot air balloons, spas and more. The relaxing vibe and town of world-class athletes makes Vail the perfect place to vacation. It’s the favorite place for serious athletes, foodies, and spa junkies. Experienced skiers and outdoor enthusiasts will agree that Vail is the best and most varied resort. No matter the season, it’s like nothing on Earth!

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