Over a decade into single parenthood, I found my first extended opportunity to indulge in some much needed me time. It was just after I put my 10-year old on an airplane to visit family in Texas, for his two week kid-cation. The next day, I set out on a 10-day road trip to hit five spas in Northern New Mexico. Join me on a five-part road trip published on johnnyjet.com. At the end of each segment, you’ll find the link to keep on driving to the next installment. It all starts, right here.
Aspen, Colorado or Bust!
Taking a puppy on vacation for the first time takes courage. Seeing a place through your dog’s eyes is a delightful new experience. Sandi was on a first name basis by day two into our trip. People I didn’t recall seeing, already remembered Sandi’s name. “Hi Sandi!” Bellmen or shopkeepers would greet her. Traveling with a dog serves as a friendly bridge between you and a town full of strangers. Read all about Sandi’s first adventure in my latest published piece on johnnyjet.com here.
Breckenridge, CO Don’t put your skis or snowboard away just yet. Two feet of fresh powder just hit the Summit County. And Breckenridge Ski Resort is open at least through April 24th. Spring skiing doesn’t get more ideal than this. Breck is more than a massive ski resort, it’s a town. Like so many Colorado ski spots, its colorful history is rooted in mining from a century ago. Breck offers skiers 6 peaks (almost 3000 acres) in one resort. There’s more to do than take advantage of quintessential awesome Rocky Mountain snow on skis or a board. It’s so big it might seem daunting at first to know what’s not to miss. I recently visited with my 9-yr old son, Ames and compiled our top ten Family Best of Breck Tips.
1) Best Digs for Convenience You can’t beat Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center. Located at the base of Peak 9 Super Chair, away the more crowded Peak 8. With a multitude of room options, you’re likely to find a vacancy to fit any size group. Ski lockers are situated just steps from the lift.
Tip: Store your boots in your hotel room and walk down in shoes you can leave in your locker. The locker room is semi-heated but not warm enough to keep ski boots (especially brand new ones.) Let my bruised foot serve as reminder of what happens when you try and shove your foot into a cold, stiff ski boot. It took the aid of two men in what felt like the opposite of the Jaws of Life to get my ski boots on. Ouch! When you’re staying right on the slopes, it’s nice to stay put and cook in your room (ours had a full kitchen) or grab a pizza from the Skywalk Market and enjoy in the comfort of your lodge. Treat yourself to Beaver Run’s Spencer’s restaurant for breakfast. The Southwest Eggs Benedict with chipotle hollandaise sauce warmed the palate and the belly.
2) Best Room with a View Perched a mile up and on the other side of town is The Lodge at Breckenridge with stunning, panoramic views. A dedicated lodge van shuttles guests into town or to the slopes. The Lodge’s Traverse Restaurant serves up a complimentary hearty breakfast buffet. We opted to avoid the crowds in town and had dinner there too.
3) Best endorphin high The Gold Runner Alpine Coaster is a must do year-round in Breck. In Winter, dress in your ski garb with hat and gloves as you’ll be whizzing down 2,500 feet of coaster track through the forest at breakneck speed (or slower if you prefer, as you control your two-seater coaster car).
4) Best peak to avoid crowds They say a black diamond (advanced) run at Breck is a blue (intermediate) at other resorts. Knowing this, we looked at the trail map and ventured over to Peak 10. With only black runs, it intimidated the masses, leaving the groomed blacks practically all to ourselves. Still nursing injuries from an auto wreck, we found Peak 10s “expert runs” pretty confident-boosting.
5) Best family-friendly ski spot New for this year is a slower-paced Bonanza Family Zone where you won’t have to worry about your little one being mowed over by more aggressive-paced skiers/boarders.
6) Best place to be a kid There are plenty of kid-friendly tree skiing spots where adults must be accompanied by a child. Keep your eyes peeled for Bigfoot!
7) Best people watching The Vista Haus Restaurant on Peak 8 has ample outdoor seating right by an Epic Mix Photo station where you can sip hot cocoa and watch the parade of people pose for photos. All photos snapped by an Epic Mix photographer are linked to your ski pass (via RFID). Simply use the Epic Mix app to share on Facebook with friends.
8) Best Fest Breck is one big series of festivals with one going on almost every week of the year. As luck would have it, we happened to visit during the Ice sculpture fest. And if you catch the town in between formal fests, you can still revel in its year-round festive vibe.
9) Best local deal Colorado K-5th graders score big at Vail Resorts’ Epic School Kids Pass offering 4 days free at each of the Vail resorts in Colorado including Vail, Keystone, Breckenridge and Beaver Creek plus one never-ever full day group lesson (includes equipment and lunch.) My third grader who is an avid skier took advantage of a never-ever snowboarding lesson at Breck with some of his buddies.
10) Best time to visit Now. Lodging and lift tickets are at bargain prices. So load up the car or hop a flight. It’ll be the best thing you’ve done for yourself this Spring.
Steamboat Springs, CO After living in Colorado five years, we discovered what very well could be our new favorite ski town. A horseshoe’s throw from the Wyoming border, rich in Western history is Steamboat Springs. We spent ten action-packed days trying a little of what Spring ski season offers, which includes a lot more than just skiing. Read the full story that published today on johnnyjet.com.
The Madeline-like dorm room at Moving Mountains’ Trail’s Edge Lodge sets the stage for a slumber party. Few lodging spots we’ve stayed in our Mommy n’ me adventures have included such a treat as this room (one of just 7 in this epic-sized lodge). Perfect for large families or your family of friends. This slumber party room sleeps 5 and is equipped with its very own X-box. Kiddo comfort at its best. Read the full story here.
Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day weekend at Loveland Ski Area with their 25th annual Mass Mountain Matrimonial Wedding for anyone who wants to tie the knot or retie it with a renewal of their wedding vows. Read all about that and all we found to love at Loveland in my latest published story on Johnnyjet.com here.
Thanks to johnnyjet.com for picking my brain on his Travel Style section’s Interview with Travel Pros series. The first question people ask me when I tell them I’m a travel writer is, “What’s your favorite destination?” It’s a little like being asked, “Which child is your favorite?” Something that separates a traveler from a tourist are the stories we bring back and the interview touches on a few of those. Mastering how to pack, those must-have carry-on items and discovering those hidden off-the-beaten-path eating spots typically only locals manage to know about. Read about those plus hear my earliest and most embarrassing travel moments. Learn which country I encountered the friendliest people, meanest immigration officers, favorite World Heritage Site, fav hole in the wall and fancy restaurant as well as my favorite island, beach, American city, International city, travel book/show/movies/apps/blogs, websites, favorite airline, travel lounge, travel tips and more. Just click here.
Three feet of fresh new snow this past week made for terrific timing for my latest piece on johnnyjet.com. Check out Spring skiing at Arapahoe Basin. Johhnyjet.com is undergoing a new web design so excuse the dust (or my squishy face on my bio) for now while they clean things up.
I’m honored to get to be a contributor to one of the world’s leading advice and travel deal websites, johnnyjet.com. My story, 10 tips for maximizing a family ski trip at Keystone Resort, Colorado published yesterday. If you only follow one travel site (well, two if you count mine), Johnnyjet.com is well worth adding to your newsfeed. John is one of the handful of travel writers whose day job is travel writing and he’s traveled some 150,000 miles a year for over a decade.
His website offers a wealth of tips and is loaded with travel tools to help you become a travel expert yourself. He’s appeared on TV from The Today Show, CNN, MSNBC to The Travel Channel, BBC Travel and Ellen, heard on a variety of radio travel shows and featured in Travel & Leisure, Forbes, USA Today, Outside Magazine and countless others.
I first met John when he was speaking on a panel of travel experts at the Los Angeles’ Times Travel Show around 2000. I approached him afterwards to ask how I could get into travel writing and he suggested Book Passage’s annual Travel and Photographer’s Conference in Corte Madera, CA. My first assignment there, “Scared Shitless on Safari” landed in Traveler’s Tales’ best-selling travel anthology, Sand in My Bra & Other Misadventures: Funny Women Write from the Road. It was always a pleasure to share a table with John at travel press luncheons when I lived in Los Angeles.
John’s number one travel tip (especially when flying) is to simply be nice to everyone. If you’ve met John, you’ll know without a doubt, that’s no act. You’ll find my story next to John’s piece on his recent trip to “Shingles Hell“, a passport stamp I’m unfortunate to also share. Thanks for the writing opportunity John and well wishes on a speedy recovery.
Thanks to the super talented designer/art director, Rose Gomez, globetrottermom.com now has business cards and a fun logo. It’s got globe-iness that says world traveler and for kid-like whimsy, it’s got a fun paper airplane zipping around. I’m feeling very official and ready to put this site on the map now.
Ummmmm. Wondering what to pack for that yoga/surfing retreat like Shiva Rea’s upcoming Riding the Vinyasa Wave- a Prejuvanative Retreat at Wanderlust Festival February 23-March 1st at Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii?
Here are a few ideas that are sure to make a splash.Let’s start with the bag. Gaiam’s Tree of Wisdom Cargo Bag is roomy enough to hold any yoga mat, has an adjustable strap and roomy pocket for your water bottle, keys, and essentials so you can get to class hands free. Priced at just $19.98, it’s sheer genius.
One mat company that’s on a roll with its non-toxic (free of chloride, PVC or latex) is PurEarth’s 2 Ultimate 3mm yoga mat ($44.99) At 60% lighter than PVC mats, it’s ideal for travel. The closed cell design makes it bacteria and moisture resistant. Its ultimate grip traction means even in the sweatiest of Bikram classes it won’t turn into a slip n’ slide.
Styles that let you get down with your downward dog
Be Present’s agility pants ($65) have darts at the knees and back slits that let you kick up into handstand without splitting a seam. Low-rider, drawstring waist and a wick-away cotton/Lycra/spandex blend keeps you as cool as you look.
Prana’s Dreaming Top ($69) sports a uniquely webbed back strap and shelf bra with removable cups.
And for those whose girls need a little more support than an elastic shelf, with a sports bra, top it off with Prana’s Ariel top ($60)
Feel a breeze? Zip up in this Bright Stripe Strength fleece hoodie by Athleta ($118) with two front kangaroo pockets perfect for things like your cold hands.
If fleece seems overkill, and all you need is a coverup that will breathe, Lulumon’s Rollin’ with my Omie’s Hoodie ($108) is made of softy french terry.
Polish the whole look off with one of Prana’s seashells bucket hat ($39) 50+ USP, foldable for travel, mesh headband wicks away moisture, foam brim floats in water. Wide brim keeps the harmful sunrays off and the good karma in.
Atheta.com is a great one-stop shopping site for yoga/surf wear. Their own house brand and select others feature designs that are as funky as they are functional.
For après surfing, sport this Wick-it Wader Cover Up ($69) with UPF 50+ fabric.
Athleta’s swimwear offers separate tops and bottoms for a better fit. This Tara halter tankini ($72) provides great support to ride thru the heaviest surf and your choice of swim bottoms-ebb, low, medium or full tide swimsuit bottoms or a variety of swim shorts and skirts.
Paired with a matching Colorblock stripe rashguard ($69) and you’ll be hanging ten in style.
Reef’s Sandy flip-flops ($28) were made for walkin’. That’s because they’ve got awesome arch support thanks to their durable high density outsole. Its brushed EVA footbed provides better traction.
Looking this cool, you’ll need shades like these Nalani’s by Maui Jim ($279). 100% UV protection and sand/scratch resistant. Salute the sun in these and the sun may just salute you back. With so many stylish choices let’s finish with an, “Ummmmmm” what to buy first?