The history of Vail: the no-named mountain

The 10th Mountain Division during WWII

WWII veterans Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton established Vail Ski Resort. They discovered a peak with a good location and snow that they called, “no-name mountain.” We know it today as Vail which opened in 1962 with one tottering gondola and five dollar lift tickets.

In 1957, Eaton led his friend Seibert up a deserted mountain of treeless bowls of powdery snow and skiing terrain so beautiful that Seibert said, “We’ve climbed all the way to heaven.”

Seibert, who trained for alpine combat was in the 10th Mountain Division and fought on skis. The 10th Mountain Division was charged with driving the Germans from the Alps. Seibert was hit by mortar fire in the Alpine Mountains of northern Italy, and his right kneecap was badly damaged. He was evacuated from the front lines and after three days, doctors said he would never again walk. Two years later, Seibert was a ski instructor in Aspen. Eaton was an Army engineer. After the war, Eaton worked on the ski patrol in many slopes, including Aspen, where he met Seibert and he mentioned his secret no-name mountain. Eaton told Seibert that, “It was the damnedest ski mountain he had ever seen and that the only reason someone hadn’t already developed it was because no one could see the top slopes or the miraculous Back Bowls from the valley below.”

Seibert handled business affairs and Eaton played an important role in designing Vail’s layouts. Eaton was in charge of mapping and cutting ski trails and building the original lifts. Seibert said, “I’m the founder of Vail, but Earl is the finder of the mountain.” 

Founders of Vail, Eaton in the middle and Seibert on the left.

Today, Vail is full of first, second and third generation residents. It’s the playground for ski enthusiasts from all over the world. Vail quickly grew to become one of the biggest and most popular snow sports destinations in the United States.  

Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the morning to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous…for they may act on their dream…and make it possible.” ~Pete Seibert

Thank you Seibert and Eaton for making the best and most varied ski resort. Vail is the ski trip of our dreams…it’s like nothing on Earth!

Related posts:

Vail: Rites of Spring

Vail: like nothing on Earth

Ski Colorful: packing list

Five of the sweetest paintings for Valentine’s Day

 

Love has been one of the most prominent themes depicted in art throughout history. Many artists have been inspired to create works that evoked powerful emotion to people around the world…thankfully for art lovers these artists channeled their emotions into timeless masterpieces.

Beautiful love paintings are much appreciated around the world. It is a favorite subject for several famous artists. Romantic paintings of lovers are a feast to the eyes and it’s beautiful to see how perspectives on love have evolved over the centuries. 

In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, cast your adoring eyes on five of the sweetest representations of romance.

The Lovers, 1855 by William Powell Frith 

The Kiss, 1907-1908 by Gustav Klimt 

Il Bacio, 1867 by Francesco Hayez

The Swing, 1767 by Jean-Honore Fragonard

Romeo and Juliet, 1884 by Frank Bernard’s Dicksee

Related posts: 

And then he kissed me

Beet Ravioli for Valentine’s Day

Love, Love Me Do

 Love, Love Me Do (deux)

TRÈS ASHLEY GIFT GUIDE 2016

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It’s not too late to find the perfect gift! Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. Here are some of the most exciting gift options around…each and every item is something mothers, fathers, husbands, kids, best friends, brothers and sisters would love to receive. I really hope you like it. Happy last-minute shopping! xx

GIFTS FOR THE KIDS 

Swimming lessons (priceless) Find a swimming class near you for your little ones. 

American Girl Baking Set $49.67 William Sonoma and American Girl came together to create a sweet gift to inspire future chefs with baking essentials. 

Cat Ear Headphones $99 LED accent lights on cat ear speakers will make them smile.

Lilly Post $26 picture or board books subscription books for the little ones. 

GIFTS FOR EVERYONE 

Chat books $19 The perfect gift for grandparents. 

Crafted Taste, Hello Fresh, Birchbox, Stitch Fix…monthly subscriptions make life a lot sweeter and easier. There’s nothing better or more simple than a subscription box to gift and it’s perfect for a last minute shopper. 

Gold Pineapple tumbler $35 The best way to welcome in the New Year.

Hometown puzzle $49 The street address you grew up on made into a puzzle. 

GIFTS FOR MOM, SISTER, BEST FRIENDS… 

Sephora’s Geometricolor Palette $49.50 blockbuster palette containing 130 shades! Now every day can inspire a new makeup experience.

The Beach People Tulum Round Beach Towel $110. This big, beautiful towel is the perfect family sized beach blanket, made of weighted, super-soft, 100% cotton. It’s extra easy to tote to pool parties, parks, or camping trips.

Wantable gift subscription $20 Let your best friend pick what kind of box she wants…style, makeup, fitness, intimates or accessories. 

Tea of the month $100 Treat the tea lover in your life. 

GIFTS FOR DAD, BROTHER, BEST FRIEND… 

Carry on cocktail kit $24 A tiny versions of the tools you’ll need to mix them mid-flight—just ask for a glass, ice, and the actual booze.

Beer of the month $42.95 Make your man so happy!

Flasks for every man $24 A flask can be a lifesaver and is always a good conversation starter.

A year of shirts $1500 Give him one shirt a month.

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, Dressed in holiday style, In the air there is a feeling, of Christmas…

Need more gift-giving inspiration? Check out gift guides from 20152014201320122011 and 2010 if you need more inspiration. Wishing you a holly, jolly Christmas now get your last minute shopping finished! xx

 

Ten reasons to see LakeCities Nutcracker…again and again

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Ah, The Nutcracker…a family favorite holiday tradition and the reason so many of us fell in love with dance in the first place. It goes without saying that The Nutcracker is a delightful experience for a dance lover of any age. The first time you see it, you’re taken with all the children in many roles, the growing tree, the snow, the magically gliding angels and the grand pas de deux. There’s something so magical about this ballet and the many ornaments of enjoyment that leave you feeling like a little child in the Kingdom of Sweets.

I had the pleasure of sitting in the audience during a rehearsal before the Saturday night performance. Sarah Lane asked the conductor to pause when they first enter during their pas de deux’s opening section and to go slower during her solo…explaining that they’d like to “try something different to keep it fresh.” Lane is extremely focused…she brings more than just steps, she gives something very special to the stage, it’s magical. Ulbricht gave Lane a sugary fairy lightness by sustaining her up, up and then UP before down during their solos.

This was my little girl’s fourth Nutcracker with LakeCities Ballet Theatre. Something I noticed this year more than others was that there was so much kindness coming from the older dancers the way they cared for each other. Daniel Ulbricht escorted Sarah Lane onto the stage in Lewisville just coming in from New York and announced how happy they were to be here again and thanked everyone sincerely for having them. Ulbricht and Lane showed tremendous professionalism and I so admire how humble they both are…they were wonderful role models for all the children involved.

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Here are ten reasons why we think LakeCities Nutcracker is the best:

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1. Ballerina Doll: My son sat still in his seat to see what was in the magical box…a wind-up Ballerina Doll who danced sharp and snappy like a dismantled ballerina. The ballerina doll, Carly Greene, moved with staccato gestures and powerhouse movements that were playful and lively…especially when she would blow kisses.

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2. Herr Drosselmeier: Drosselmeier (Ken Wells) has once again shown up to the family Christmas party in Nuremberg, Germany with his puppetry and magic tricks. Drosselmeyer has a magical and whimsical character. He elevated the entire production to the level of the kind of dream that never fades.

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3. Clara: Clara (Kristina Lorelli) was the sweetest most lovely dancer (on stage and off). Sometimes older dancers might not thing to stop and say hello to the younger dancers, this Clara made time to spend with the little ones…she even gave each little Baker one of her pointe shoes. She now has a following of sweet dancers who look at her like she is the real Clara. She would convey a sense of innocence and naiveté as the audience watched a budding romance that ushered through the Kingdom of Sweets.

4. The Party Scene: The party scene is endlessly engaging. I always think the best pictures come from the party scene because it’s so visually pleasing. It’s easy to notice something new in the first act…little Fritz (Trevin Ralphs) is such a naughty little trouble maker and the poor nanny ends up upside down.

5. The Battle Scene: LakeCities battle scene is serious combat between the Nutcracker soldiers and eighteen not-so-blind mice. These little mice meant business…carrying off the wounded in stretchers. The mice are endearingly absurd and their King is so hilariously insolent of his enemy that he dies as if believing he were incapable of death as one mouse tosses a white lily onto his belly.

6. Sugar Plum Fairy & Cavalier: The Sugar Plum Fairy, Sarah Lane, is everyone’s favorite fairy. She’s regal, affectionate and delicate yet she has an assertive presence that commands the Kingdom of Sweets. Clara may be the heart of Nutcracker, but the Sugar Plum Fairy is its soul, with her sparkling, fairy-like dancing. The audience sits through nearly the whole show anticipating her entrance.

The Cavalier, Daniel Ulbricht, lights up the room with his charm…even when he’s not dancing. His technical brilliance and athleticism is mesmerizing. Together, Lane and Ulbricht, dance in culmination with such feeling…watching their small nuances and gentle touches leaves the audience in awe. Together they transport the audience to a sweet place that is loving, touching and engaging.

7. The cherubs & angels: Little cherubs and angels guide the way as they take Clara on a journey through the snow. It’s an “angel secret” how the angels appear to be floating across the stage…truly magical, truly angelic.

8. Lewisville Lake Symphony’s Orchestra: The ballet begins with a live orchestra. Tchaikovsky’s score is played by the Lewisville Lake Symphony’s orchestra lead by Adron Ming. Listening to Tchaikovsky live enhances the full experience…his score is the true candy in the Kingdom of Sweets. Every measure is filled with enchantment and nothing can prepare the ears for the grandeur that comes with the main melody…Ulbricht supported Lane as she arched back and her descent matched one of the most beautiful descending scales in Tchaikovsky’s score.

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9. The Snow scene: The snow scene is one of the most stunning moments, with lovely clusters of ballerina snowflakes fluttering about in a pool of wintery white. The off-stage vocalizations sung by a snow choir dressed in 19th-century Russian attire put the audience in a dream world. LakeCities Snow Queen, Michelle Lawyer, transported the audience to a snowy winter wonderland with her refreshing breathiness and sweetly flowing lines.

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10. The Kingdom of Sweets: In Act II, the angels lead Clara into the Kingdom of Sweets. The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier introduce Clara to dances from around the world…Spain, Arabia, China, Russia and France. The audience wanted to snap along with Carley Denton, Lauren Hunter, Kelsey Rhinehelder, Mikaela Seale as “Spanish Chocolate”, Andre Harrigton’s elevated in style as “Russian Baba,” but it was the underwater artfulness of Julia Tiller and Shannon Beacham in “Arabian Coffee” that still remains one of the favorite highlights of the Kingdom of Sweets. Former Cowboys player Isaiah Stanback also returned as a hilarious Mother Ginger. The entertainment finished with the dance of the flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy dancing with her Cavalier before Clara returned home.

There’s something special about the way artistic director, Kelly Lannin, tells the classic 19th-century story that makes sense for our community today. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Nutcracker. It will be another opportunity to notice new things and new dancers…and to ponder what’s real and what’s a dream in Clara’s fantasy world. Somewhere out there in the audience, someone’s falling in love with these dancers and what they get to do up on that stage. I never tire of watching and listening to LakeCities Nutcracker.

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Frohilich Weihachten from the Stahlbaums’ household in Nuremberg, Germany!

Photo credit: Nancy Loch Photography

Related posts:

LakeCities Ballet Theatre 2015 Nutcracker

LakeCities Ballet Theatre 2014 Nutcracker

LakeCities Ballet Theatre 2013 Nutcracker

Clara’s Tea: Nutcracker Dreams

Old-Fashioned Christmas Traditions

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The holidays make the world safe and cozy with food, family and faith. It’s that time of year when we can slow down and get away from the endless lists and distractions that school and work can bring. I think most people get nostalgic this time of year thinking about the way our grandparents celebrated the holidays.

There are certain old-fashioned traditions that will never get “old!”

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1. Making Christmas cookies with grandma is something my children can’t wait to do…wearing a holiday apron, hands dusted in flour and sampling their hard work. We always make spiced cardamom cookies, sandtarts and fudge. Some of the recipes pay homage to our loved ones who are now gone. We think of them as we read their handwriting and taste their recipe.

2. My husband said on our weekend visit to Home Depot, “Why don’t we get a fake tree this year?” Sometimes he says things to get a rise out of us and this was one of those times! We looked at him like he was Scrooge until we saw that he was joking. Picking out a family Christmas tree is one of my favorite memory makers. The kids like to bury their faces in the tree and smell that piney smell. We went BIG this year…fifteen feet before a fresh cut big! It rivals the Griswold Family Christmas tree bringing smiles to all who see it. What’s more old-fashioned that a real tree?

3. December is the best time to check the mailbox! If we have a greeting card, we all gather around to open it together…it’s better than opening a present! It’s the one time of year that we send and receive happy wishes in the mail to family and friends near and far. Cards are an old-fashioned tradition that reconnects us…without social media.

4. It’s nice to give your child a special ornament every year. They become the treasures of the tree and hold such beautiful memories. Our children love to look at the ornaments that my husband and I had when we were their age. The older the ornament, the more nostalgic we feel.

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5. The Nutcracker is an old-fashioned holiday tradition that truly puts you in the spirit of Christmas. Most people come to watch a certain dancer but end up sighing with happiness and feeling like a kid again with those warm feelings we remember from our childhood.

There are certain traditions that we always do…my mom makes a crown roast for Christmas Eve dinner, going to Christmas mass, opening up new pajamas on Christmas Eve and reading under the Christmas tree. This year, we put the tree up early and my kids have been camping out in their sleeping bags under the tree…I think it’s a great idea (just not on Christmas Eve)!

Let’s go back to celebrating Christmas the way our grandparents did …simple celebrations and old-fashioned traditions that honor family and the real reasons for the season.

Related posts:

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Knitting cookies and baking sweaters

Tis the season for stuffing mailboxes

Le Ballet de Dracula: Scary good

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LakeCities Ballet Theatre’s original Le Ballet de Dracula has fans flock like people do for The Rocky Horror Picture Show during Halloween. It’s an occasion that calls for something borrowed and something black! The time period, costumes, romance and the good old-fashioned Halloween fright make this ballet a must see every October. This is not a candy-coated ballet where the SugarPlum Fairy reigns but an enticing, frightening, jump in your seat and gasp with delight ballet that’s an adventure that you don’t want to end.

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The ballet has exploded in popularity over ten years since Tom Rutherford, the company’s art director, wrote it and Kelly Lannin, the artistic director, choreographed it. Lannin draws us into the legend of Bram Stoker’s Dracula naturally and transforms beautiful ballerinas into gothic vampires. Lannin tells the story of Dracula just as Stoker’s novel did…taking us into thrilling peaks that build and keep the audience of the edge of their seats.
 
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My daughter looked up in awe at the dancer who portrayed Aurelia (the girl Dracula tries to lure from her fiancé) and whispered to her cousin, “Look! She’s under Dracula’s spell.” 
 
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Lannin requires her dancers to be actors just as much as ballerinas. They must be fully engaged in their roles. It’s obvious that Lannin’s dancers believe in their roles, they make Dracula real with the boldness and confidence of movements that explored the limits of graceful extensions that seemed to harmonize with the music.
 
The engagement of Aurelia (Carley Denton) and Marius (Steven Loch) is charming. This is the second year that Denton and Loch have performed these roles together…time is on their side. They look at each other with familiarity and love.
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The joyfulness of the Maypole dancing scene is my favorite, especially as the music and clapping build. It’s a nice contrast with the scary hissing Weolas.
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Nightmare becomes reality and Dracula descends in shimmering red to feed on Aurelia. Dracula (Shannon Beacham) has a dramatic presence that is intoxicating! Beacham has tenacity and fearlessness when he glides on stage with his cape flowing behind him.
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Steven Loch (from Pacific Northwest Ballet) has a rhythmic awareness and freshness that when he performs his grand jetés, it seems so naturally timed that you forget the music isn’t live.

It is always a pleasure to watch Denton perform. She attacks her toe hops with effortless elegance lingering just long enough to have you hold your breath as you admire her footwork.

The MCL Grande theatre is intimate enough for the audience to be more personally engaged in the fantasy. Seeing the mysterious fog, chains clanging on dungeon bars, many undead brides and Dracula rising from his coffin, it’s easy to forget you’re not in Romania but right outside of Dallas, Texas.
 
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The good news for those who missed this spooky ballet and for those who saw it and loved it…you can see these same talented young performers in more heavenly roles in The Nutcracker:
November 26th at 7:30 pm and 27th at 2 pm Marcus High School Sigler Auditorium, Flower Mound. Buy tickets here.
 
Le Ballet de Dracula photos, courtesy of Nancy Loch Photography.
 

Caneel Bay: Rockefeller’s Paradise

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My husband, Derek, and I traveled to St John Island to stay at Rockefeller’s paradise, Caneel Bay. St. John is small and remote…barely twenty square miles. We flew into St. Thomas and took a fairy to St. John. When Derek and I took the fairy from Charlotte Amelie to Caneel Bay, we soon realized that we were amongst returning visitors.

Caneel Bay is lush, manicured with efforts to preserve its natural beauty. It’s a luxury resort inside of a National Park. We took a million pictures but it’s difficult to capture a place that looks so much like a postcard.

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Caneel Bay is a jungle that has been tamed. In 1952, Laurance Spelman Rockefeller visited Caneel Bay on a sailing trip with his wife and he fell completely in love with the place. He bought Caneel Bay…which used to be a small West Indian Company hotel in the thirties. Rockefeller was intrigued that this unspoiled paradise was on the grounds of an old sugar plantation. Over the years, he bought 50,000 acres of unspoiled land to preserve it from development and donated most of it to the National Park Service as Virgin Islands National Park.

Caneel is a destination for anyone who appreciates unspoiled nature. Rockefeller opened Caneel Bay, the first of his RockResorts, in 1956. He wanted guests to snorkel, eat and sleep well, and be outside experiencing the benefits of being in a natural setting. Give guests a beautiful place in balance with nature.

The villas are strung out along a series of private beaches. The bright and airy rooms give visitors the sense of living outdoors. Caneel Bay is one of the world’s first eco resorts. The lighting is low, there are no radios or televisions so you can totally unplug.

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We stayed on Paradise Beach and found it to be secluded and an easy walk to everywhere we wanted to be. Rockefeller also had his permanent residence (Cottage Seven) on Paradise Beach…I think he appreciated the seclusion.

Caneel Bay is a snorkelers paradise…populated by sea turtles, stingrays, urchins, enormous snails and a rainbow of tropical plants and fish. My children kept asking us, “Did you see Dory?” Yes, Dory was everywhere!

There are seven beaches at Caneel Bay: Caneel, Little Caneel, Turtle Bay, Scott Beach, Hawksnest Bay, Paradise Beach, and Honeymoon Beach. Make sure you bring your GoPro! All are uncrowded and have white sand that feels like powdered sugar underneath your feet and perfect for building sandcastles.

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The island is full of donkeys and deer comfortably living in their natural habitat. Mongooses also explore the grounds…they were brought to St. John to combat the snakes.

 

In addition to the snorkeling, we took advantage of the tennis courts, sailboats, paddle boards and massage cabanas. Derek and I were on our way to the massage cabanas when it started to pour. We stood under giant trees for an umbrella until the sky fell. Showers never last very long and by the time our massage was over, we were walking back in the sunshine.

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Not much has changed sense Rockefeller ran Caneel Bay. This is a paradise protected…the Virgin Island that remains virgin!

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Caneel Bay is a tennis players dream! They have ten tennis courts and offer a drill clinic every single morning.

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The Sugar Mill was an eighteenth century old mill transformed into a small dining terrace. When Derek came here as a little boy, it was a burger place…now it’s ZoZo’s at the Sugar Mill, Northern Italian cuisine with a side of Caribbean sunset. It’s about fifty steps above beach level and ornamented with bougainvillea with a view that reaches the full expanse of the bays. The refreshing breeze further enhances the dining experience.

After dinner, the stars twinkled like the Sugar Plum Fairy’s tutu. Derek and I walked out to our little beach to stargaze with our feet in the sand and rum in our hands.

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I think I sampled most of the cocktail menu during our stay at Caneel Bay and my favorite was the Rockefeller Painkiller. It’s really pretty simple to make. Caneel gives it’s vistors a bottle of Cruzan Rum so we could almost make this in our room.

Rockefeller Painkiller

  • 2 oz of Rum
  • 4 oz of pineapple juice
  • 1 oz of cream of coconut
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • Top with fresh grated nutmeg to taste

Pour ingredients into a shaker filled with ice, shake and pour into a tall glass. Top with grated nutmeg.

We left Caneel Bay recharged and changed for the better. That’s the magic of Caneel…this well-run resort has natural curative powers. We can’t wait to take the children!

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The Pearl at Rosemary Beach

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This was our family’s tenth year to return to Rosemary Beach and our first year to stay at the glamorous Pearl Hotel at Rosemary Beach. As soon as we arrived the concierge greeted us with a glass of champagne.

We were nervous that The Pearl might not be as kid friendly but this was far from true…The Pearl was full of children of all ages and with access to all of the pools in Rosemary Beach, kids activities and bikes that made The Pearl a win for kids.

The modern amenities and conveniences of The Pearl made us come to the conclusion that we may continue to come back there instead of renting a house.

A wonderful perk of The Pearl is that beach chairs, umbrellas, towels, and lemonade are included with your stay. This was much easier compared to the Rosemary Beach chairs that make you do all the leg work.

Our family loved eating overlooking the Gulf of Mexico at the Havana Beach Bar & Grill. My Mom and I enjoyed classic cocktails that reminded me of something Ernest Hemingway might have. The piano player took requests from my children…Little Mermaid for my daughter and Charlie Brown for my son. The black-and-white photography sets the tone to make you feel like Hemingway might be over at the bar drinking a Mojito.

Spa Pearl is a tranquil spa by the sea. The staff pampers visitors like a mermaid…with the healing powers of the sea.

The 55-room gorgeous Pearl hotel is known for its handsome clock tower that gives Rosemary charm and old-world elegance. Downstairs, the large glass restaurant doors let in a beachy breeze that tickles your toes while a live piano player sets the mood.

The Pearl is a place for all ages to find fabulous food, cocktails, activities, relaxation, and romance. Views are breathtaking from every corner…the beach, village view or the pool view. We wondered…why had we not stayed in the Pearl before?

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Rosemary’s Good Eats, Shopping and Treasures

La Crema Tapas & Chocolate: a cozy courtyard invites you to enjoy a bit of Spain. I love that they even a child’s tapas menu.

Sugar Shak has an old-fashioned ambiance where the customers are always happy to find the open sign. These two are sweet places for the young and the young at heart.

Havana Bar & Grill: Spanish, French and Portuguese influence inspired by Hemingway’s favorite bar in Havana.

The Hidden Lantern Bookstore: This is not your average book store! Loaded with personality and thoughtfulness, The Hidden Lantern provides books and events that inspire a love for the written word.

My most favorite store in the world is Pish Posh Patchouli’s where you can design your signature scent at the custom scent bar; then select soaps, lotions, perfumes galore.

Fitz and Emme: this children’s boutique feels like you could be shopping in a quaint European shop.

Gigi’s Fabulous Kids’ Fashions & Toys: Offers the CUTEST European-style clothing and accessories for children. Gigi’s celebrates your child’s individual style.

Trading Company: You can’t leave without stopping by here! Get souvenirs that you will actually use!

Tracery: You can find everything you are looking for but haven’t found yet in this interior design and furnishing shop.

Crow Gallery: One of my favorite little galleries. Go see a Marc Chagall while you’re in your bikini.

Spa Pearl : Feel like a real mermaid as you’re pampered by the sea.

Marla & Shane Make an appointment for organic beach family photography that tell a story.

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Related post:

Rosemary Beach celebrates twenty years

 

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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Related post:

Get lost with your family in Lost Pines

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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