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Under the Umbrian Sun: Roccafiore Country Chic Resort & Spa

October 25, 2014 by  

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Whilst in Umbria, Roccafiore is what the locals call da vedere….which means it’s a must see. An even greater compliment to Roccafiore is that you’ll find locals dining at the table next to you and ordering their wine from the cantina. What often starts as just lunch at Roccafiore turns into hours under the Umbrian sun dining al fresco with sweeping views of Todi, a hilltop medieval town, visiting Roccafiore’s lavender gardens, organic wine tasting in their cantina, sunbathing by their luxurious pool or indulging in a day pass at the Wellness Center. Or just give in and stay the night in one of Roccafiore’s 13 luxurious rooms. Then you can wake up and do it all over again. Even picnic in the surrounding Grechetto vineyards. My love affair with Roccafiore began with lunch last year. An exceptional white tablecloth fine dining affair at their Fiorfiore Restaurant, I was spoiled with unparalleled farm-to-table dishes on their seasonal menu like the Torretta: eggplant with bufala mozzarella, tomatoes and oregano, Chianino beef: with froth of parmesan cheese, salad and toasted almonds and homemade strangozzi pasta: with sausage, lemon and anchovies.  …

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Caroga Lake & The Adirondacks: How Nature Can Heal You

October 24, 2014 by  

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It’s no secret to anyone who has followed my posts for awhile, that I have a soft spot for the Adirondacks and that I spent my childhood hiking in her woods, climbing her peaks and swimming in her waters. For those who haven’t followed my travels and may not even know where the Adirondacks are, it refers to the Adirondack Mountains, a mountain range in upstate New York, roughly a 3-4 hour drive from New York City. The Adirondacks are not that close to get to for urban travelers nor for those who only have a short window to see a few major highlights when they come to the states. If you have a car, it’s a fairly easy shot up the New York Thruway but if not, you’re stuck on a not so stellar Trailways bus which I had the misfortune of taking this past summer. That said, if you give the Adirondacks your time, you’ll experience a serene spirit and sense of peace you’ve never known before. Does that serenity and peace come from the Mohawk Indians of yesteryear? The Hudson River with…

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The Powerful Spiritual Presence of Majestic Chartres

October 24, 2014 by  

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While I had been to Chartres France before and of course visited its majestic cathedral, I didn’t remember how much of a spiritual presence it had, inside and out. Spending time in the Chartres Cathedral was one of my favorite experiences on a recent fall “Spiritual France” tour, which included homes of famous saints, cathedrals, churches and cemeteries throughout Normandy and Brittany. With her 4,000 sculpted statues, 5,000 figures and artisan craftmanship steeped in 12th and 13th century design, the Cathedral pretty much has everyone at “hello.” It’s no surprise that its listed and registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The cathedral touts a number of impressive facts, but the one that is bound to impress any American is that the first cathedral was built as far back as the 4th century, with the oldest relics dating back to the 9th century with the crypt of Saint-Lubin. Several buildings were then rebuilt on the same site. After a fire in the 11th century, Bishop Fulbert had a new cathedral built. Today, all what remains of this cathedral is the crypt, the third largest in Europe after Saint Peter’s in Rome and Canterbury. In 1134, most of the…

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6 Top Spots For Cheese in New York City

October 24, 2014 by  

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Cheese is something of a thing in Manhattan. People have their own favorite places, we’re all about the artisanal cheeses, and you absolutely do not show up at someone’s place without bringing a block of your stinkiest findings along. Here are some of our favorites:   1. Murray’s Cheese: With monthly clubs to join, classes to take and an entire section on their website dedicated to simply teaching about cheese, Murray’s is about more than just tasting cheese — it’s about learning everything is there to know about this delicacy. 2. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: I love the fact that you can actually watch them making the cheese at Beecher’s. [And their downstairs cafe and wine area helps bring this place to the top of my cheese list, as well.] 3. Lucy’s Whey: Granted this is a neighborhood fave and maybe a bit out of the way for your average tourist, Lucy’s Whey (located at Lexington and 93rd in our hood, or 425 W. 15th St.), has a lot going for it. The staff is always super friendly at the store in our neighborhood, and have been very helpful when I’ve stopped…

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Reflecting on What Japan Might Be….

October 24, 2014 by  

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Despite my love of the road and exploring all things new and different, Japan has remained off my priority “hit” list for years even though I’ll admit that I have always been intrigued by its allure and mystery. You see, as far back as I can remember, I had pen pals….in the traditional sense, you know….in the pre-Internet days. I wrote hand written letters to what started out as a few people from far away places to dozens from around the world. My very first pen pal was from Sweden and the second was from Japan. We met them in a hotel restaurant in upstate New York and my grandfather being the man he was, had to proactively interject ourselves into their conversation while they were having a quiet dinner. It was in his nature to do something like this and I have to admit, we were secretly glad he did since our entire table was in awe over the beautifully elegant traditional clothing that adorned their bodies. It was rare to see a woman and her daughter from another country alone in the 1970s in the very provincial area where we grew up. And so,…

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Food Porn From the Latin Quarter of Paris

October 23, 2014 by  

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Below are some fun dishes that I had at three different Latin Quarter restaurants in Paris in the last few months. Enjoy! Also be sure to see our extensive write-up on other Paris restaurants we love. (top Paris restaurants).


Tarrytown House Estate Combines Recreational Variety With Historical Charm

October 23, 2014 by  

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For those who have never heard of Tarrytown, it’s an all American town in Westchester County New York, which is a stone’s throw from the legendary Sleepy Hollow and roughly 25 miles from New York City. I discovered the Tarrytown House Estate & Conference Center in July and had an opportunity to stay in one of their 212 luxurious guest rooms this fall. The hotel is a wonderful blend of historical charm with modern conveniences, making it a great stay for families as well as business people who are tired of the chain hotel but need reliable wifi and a gym. The property sits on 26-acres overlooking the Hudson River Valley and if the hotel itself isn’t enough to boast about, there are two impressive 19th-century mansions on site as well: King Mansion and Biddle Mansion as well: a carriage house and a cottage. For business execs and planners, there’s also a contemporary atrium-style building that houses conference facilities and guest rooms. It also seems like it would be an ideal place for a wedding party, especially in the early fall. Three different views below… The grounds are well manicured and…

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Ireland Overland, From Cork to Kerry

October 23, 2014 by  

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I kicked off my solo road trip through Ireland in County Cork.  It hasn’t taken me long to figure out that the island of Ireland is divided by counties – each person fiercely proud of their own and wary of other counties. I decided to drive the Wild Atlantic Way and cover as many counties as I could and I kicked off the trip in Cork where I saw an old friend who showed me around the city.  From there I picked up my little (and I mean little) red car and hit the road.  Sure – that sounds simple – but driving a manual transmission car on the left side of the road took some getting used to.  Honestly – I was a wreck of worry, anxiety, and terror. Until you have taken on this task yourself can you really know how much there is to think about at once when you switch sides of the road and drive in foreign countries.  Add to that the notorious winding, one lane roads throughout Ireland – and you have a recipe for disaster – at least that’s how my trip started out. And that’s precisely why I wanted to do this…

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