Food Tour New Mexico Visits Kakawa Chocolate House Santa Fe for Chocolate Elixirs
Gas Prices are Down and Spring Break Will Be Here Soon So Let’s Talk Travel
Yes I know we just got through the holidays and we are supposed to be thinking about work, but come on, who really wants to think about the office. I know I would much rather be planning my next trip. Right now I am thinking somewhere warm would be really nice since it is cold and getting colder here in San Antonio. And I know many of you are feeling the same way now that another arctic blast has hit the U. S. So let’s get right to it… thinking about where we want to get off to next.
Florida, the Sunshine state, is one of the first places that comes to my mind. Although it is a little chilly there right now, that never lasts long. So why don’t we head down to the Keys? And right now is a perfect time to be there (January 8-17) with the Uncorked Food & Wine Festival taking place in two upper Keys, Key Largo and Islamorada. I say lets go eat some seafood, drink a little wine and go to the adults’ Cabernet-Meets-Chocolate event at Chocolates on Key Largo.
Another sunny place that I love is Cancun & Riviera Maya in Mexico. And if you really love eating wonderful food you will have another reason to visit the area. March 12-15, 2015 some of the world’s top names in gastronomy and wine converge in Mexico for the fourth annual Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival. This area has some spectacular resorts, my favorite being the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach which sits on a beautiful stretch of beach. This resort also houses a AAA Five Diamond restaurant, Le Basilic which I must say is stellar.
Now if it is someplace with more action you are looking for I have to mention another favorite of mine, Las Vegas. There is always something to do here 24/7, gambling, shopping, fine dining and sight seeing in either the city itself or a little further out. Right now they have a new addition at the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. They have just launched their newest themed room, The Hangover Experience, complete with the notorious hotel room and a wedding chapel. This display is based on the motion picture of the same name starring Zach Galifianakis.
Santa Fe is another good option because there is just so much to see and do there. Did you know Santa Fe is the “oldest capitol city” in the US and the oldest city in New Mexico? That means there are many historical sites to visit, Indian Pueblo to see, and some beautiful Missions, Chapels & Cathedral to take in. Santa Fe also houses many museums to meander through and art galleries where you can purchase paintings, sculptures and anything in between by well-known artists.
Santa Fe also offers world class cuisine where you can experience many different types of gourmet food like Spanish tapas at La Boca and Italian countryside dishes at il Piatto. A great way to see what this city has to offer gastronomically is to sign up for one of the tours offered by Food Tour New Mexico. That way you get to sample several great restaurants, breweries or bars to see what’s out there.
A great place to stay while in town is the boutique Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe located just steps from the historic plaza. If you are planning a girlfriend get-away, this hotel offers a special package which includes a bottle of wine, a Local Treasures card, Nidah Spa credits and a discount of the Food Tour.
If you are looking for a little more adventure check out Taos just an hour and a half from Santa Fe and famous for their Ski Valley. Heads up: the drive to Taos will have you stopping for some photo ops along the way as you pass through some picturesque mountain scenery. If you like winter sports, Taos is a great choice. On the way to the slopes be sure to stop for a bite to eat at ACEQ in Arroyo Seco, a small town at the base of the Ski Valley. A visit to the majestic Rio Grande Gorge just outside of Taos is another must.
You will want to book a room at the Palacio de Marquesa, a quaint hotel not too far from the plaza. Each room here is designed to pay tribute to some of the amazing female artists who called this area home. This hotel is like a museum itself. Your room also includes a wonderful breakfast!
And I highly recommend having dinner at Mosaic Fine Dining at the La Fonda Hotel in the Taos Plaza. Tip: the Paella is well worth the wait!
If culture is your thing, Taos is home to many wonderful museums including the Harwood Museum of Art. The Harwood is exhibiting a collection of Lowbrow Art, a four-part exhibition focusing on the Post-Pop or Lowbrow art movement that grew out of West Coast surfer, street and car cultures. It is really quite amazing and shows, “You can find art in everything”. The Harwood is also having their third annual Art of Wine event January 30th. Besides great local wines and appetizers from local chefs, you can also take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Harwood’s collections storage and photo studio. I have done this tour and it is really quite fascinating.
Or for another museum experience you can head over to Houston where the Houston Museum District is presenting Museum Experience Zone 1, January 31st. This is the first quarterly block party featuring three museums; The Menil Collection, Rothko Chapel and Houston Center for Photography. The Museum Experience creates walkable “zones” to help visitors navigate through the area and experience the museums in that “zone” in a more personal way. On the last Saturday of January, April, July and September, each zone will showcase a handful of museums at a time, complete with special programming, pedicabs in select zones and food trucks. What a great way to see the museums in this beautiful city!
While you are in the Houston area you are only a stone’s throw from Louisiana where you can visit one of the 13 parishes which surround and include Baton Rouge (Southeast Louisiana Gumbo alliance). This area offers many activities for family fun including; visiting historical plantations, the state capital & Old Governor’s Mansion, Audubon Zoo, museums, State Capitol Raceway, one of the many casinos and maybe even some gator viewing. You might also get a chance to meet Bruce Mitchell of History Channel’s “Swamp People”. Of course eating is something you will also enjoy in Louisiana with their fresh seafood and southern cooking. And you will want to stay in one of the quaint B & B in the area like The Stockade.
Once the weather gets a little warmer, you might want to consider the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. This city is rich in history as well as art and culture. If you don’t mind the cold, the Waterfront Winterfest at Penn’s Landing is going on through March 1st. This attraction features ice skating, food and drink, shopping and family-fun on the waterfront. And of course while you are there you must eat a Philly Cheesesteak. You can find them all over the city and there is even a video on how to order one like a local.
Of course if you would rather have someone plan a trip for you, look no further than Cox & Kings, a leading luxury travel outfitter known for its authentic and immersive insider access. You can book a trip right in your own backyard or to exotic lands and know you will be in good hands. From immersing yourself in the most stunning and majestic natural wonders of American parks to riding the rails in India, you can be sure to have expertly-curated experiences to some of the most fascinating places.
And last but not least, you fans of the hit PBS series Downton Abbey might just want to head off to the UK since Season 5 airs this month. This way you actually get to see all the best Downton Abbey locations along with filming locations and inspiring places that go into creating this beautifully shot and reservedly enjoyable drama. For instance, you can go to Berkshire, England to see Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) and Basildon Park (Grantham House) and Argyll, Scotland to visit Inveraray Castle (Duneagle Castle). GoEuro.co.uk can make it all happen combining air, rail, bus and car rental options in one click.
All you need to ask yourself is, “Where do I want to go first”?