Welcome to Barbados!

With the past few days of rain in New Jersey, I was really looking forward to my trip to Barbados.  The alarm went off at 3:20am, just two hours after going to bed, but it was all good.  Instead of driving up to the city like I always do, I decided to treat myself to a comfortable limo ride from Ross Limousine.  I was up for about a half an hour before stretching out on their very comfy leather seats and dosing back off to bed.  Jeffrey was right on time, actually a bit early, and was such a gentleman!  He really made my ride very comfortable and convinced me this is the way to go from now on!   

After an easy five hour flight on American Airlines, we were cruising over the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean.  86 degrees and sunny we were told by the captain…nice!  I was waiting at the baggage carousel and my suitcase was laying above all the others, so it was hard to reach.  I tried the first time and couldn’t grab it.  Second time it came around and I triumphantly held tight and pulled it over all the other suitcases.  I think the handle went into my hand and I just remember thinking, ouch, that hurt, but it’s 86 degrees…I’ll be ok!  And then I looked down and saw my left middle finger swelling up instantly and turning purple.   Ok, I guess I caused some damage.  But it can’t be broken…I have surf and polo lessons coming up over the next few days!  So for now, it’s ice, advil, and wrapping. 

After we checked into The Colony Club, we went to dinner at the Fish Pot at Little Good Harbour.  It was such a quaint restaurant right on the water.   As you’re eating dinner in the semi-enclosed area, the open spaces allow you to see and hear the waves of the ocean crashing.  I always love trying new foods, so tonight I tried the conch cakes, alligator skewers, and Barracuda!  The only encounter I’ve had with a barracuda is swimming really fast away from one while snorkeling, but I definitely enjoyed their taste!  

After dinner, it was back to the hotel, with the left hand in a bucket of ice in hopes of getting it healed for surfing this weekend.  I love the shower in my room….so spacious and also doubles as a heart shaped tub.   The room has a great terrace for relaxing and looking up at the stars.  Tomorrow should be a fun day filled with culture, beach, and more great food…stay tuned!


Wine and Wellness at Crystal Springs Resort

Today was a day of wellness and rejuvenation with a great mix of  wine, champagne, and food!

The morning started with a mother/daughter treatment at the brand new Reflections Spa, which just opened a few weeks ago.   It’s ceiling is comprised of 8000 quartz crystals, the walls are of a fire-inspired art glass and together they are  a spectacular vision.  ReflectionsSpaThe treatments themselves were also amazing.  I chose a facial and my mom, a massage.  We arrived at the spa a half an hour before our appointments, changed into our robes, and had the opportunity to enjoy the steam room, an antioxidant drink, or champagne and truffles in the lounge.   During my facial with Debbie, she looked over my skin, discussed my questions, and then chose the perfect blend of antioxidant products.   The combination of massage and steam was so relaxing and helped my face and body feel completely rejuvenated.  My mom chose the Chardonnay Vinotherapy Massage, which was just one of the many creative treatments offered.  Afterward, we met in a common area where we rubbed our feet in salt and then spun our chairs around and soaked them in warm water, while sipping more champagne and indulging in truffles!

Basketball CourtIn the afternoon, my brother and I took the free shuttle over to the family friendly Minerals Resort and Spa, also part of the Crystal Springs Resort, which caters to families, and has a large gym, tennis, basketball, and racquetball quarts, and seven indoor and outdoor heated pools.   Although I’m more of a pilates than a yoga girl, I decided to check out the yoga class, which catered to all levels.  BiosphereWe then came back to the Grand Cascades Lodge and met my parents at the Biosphere, and spent some time in the indoor and outdoor heated pool, jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna.   I almost had to remind myself that I was in NJ, as the biosphere gives off a Caribbean resort vibe, as everyone was having fun and sipping frozen drinks prepared poolside.

We quickly showered up and got changed for the “Grand Tasting,” part of the NJ Food and Wine Festival sponsored by Moët Hennessey USA.   The event consisted of exclusive wines and champagnes from around the world as well as many food stations including a raw bar filled with shrimp cocktail, oysters, clams, and crab legs.   Guests were entertained for the evening by a 17 piece orchestra who played everything from big band to classic standards to show tunes. MichelleMoet

As a first time visitor to Crystal Springs Resort, I have to say I am extremely impressed with the array of activities and ammenties this New Jersey Jewel has to offer.  This is the perfect place for a couples escape, a girlfriends getaway, ski trip, golf weekend or a family trip.   Plus if you’re thinking about where to have your wedding, there are beautiful rooms and outdoor landscapes for your special day.   With a getaway like this so close to home, I look forward to coming back over the summer to enjoy the outdoor activities, and every season thereafter!

Escape this Weekend….to New Jersey!!!

As many of you know, I love to travel…anywhere and everywhere.  I have a huge list of places I’d like to visit and look forward to each time I can cross one off the list.  Well, I can never really cross it off the list because usually I want to go back and see more of what I didn’t see the first time!  However, I get really excited when I don’t actually have to get on an airplane, but can  just drive an hour or two to a really cool resort right here in New Jersey.   New Jersey has so many wonderful retreats from Bed and Breakfasts in Cape May to casinos in Atlantic City to luxury resorts near Mountain Creek.   My find for this week is the Crystal Springs Resort in Vernon, NJ.   This coming weekend from the 13th-15th,  they are presenting the NJ Food and Wine Festival in conjunction with Moet Hennessy USA. 


By no means am I a wine connoisseur, but the event looks like it will be a lot of fun and they are offering great packages to stay at Crystal Springs Resort for the weekend.  The resort consists of the Grand Cascades Lodge and the Mineral Resort and Spa.   The Grand Cascades Lodge is a 4 star property and perfect for a romantic getaway.  The Mineral Resort and Spa has a huge sports complex and caters to families. The Biosphere is an indoor pool complex with an underground aquarium, vortex pools and caves, and tropical foliage and the unique glass enclosure allows for year-round tanning.   In addition to the many amenitiesfor both children and adults, the new spa, Reflections, that just opened, and the incredible array of restaurants, they offer a free shuttle service that takes you to each of the hotels and Mountain Creek if you’d like to take advantage of the snow activities.

So if you’re looking for a last minute escape, thrown in with what should be an incredible food and wine festival, pack your bag and head to the Crystal Springs Resort in Vernon, NJ!


Cheers from Scotland!

I’m very excited to be here in Scotland for the big Homecoming festivities.   The celebration signifies Robert Burn’s 250th anniversary, as well as all of the Scotland contributions to the world, such as whisky, golf, music, culture, and heritage.  I arrived this morning at 7:30am (Scotland is five hours ahead so it was really 2:30 in the morning).  Slept for four hours, so I wouldn’t be a zombie from the time change and jet lag and then got on foot and started to explore the vibrant city of Glasgow.  The city is bustling with great shopping, restaurants, and bars, as well as great architecture and museums.

Tonight we ate at Gandolfi Cafe, a casual, yet delicious Scottish restaurant.  The owner attended the renowned Glasgow School of Art and actually hand carved all of the beautiful wooden tables.  I tried some foods I never thought I’d try, but like they say, when in Rome…or Scotland…I always like to try the local dishes.  As an appetizer, I had the mackerel pate with oat cakes and haggis for my main course.  They were both quite delicious, despite what is in haggis.   Basically, it’s the sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs mixed with oatmeal, onion, and spices.  Like I said, I can’t believe I ate it, but glad I did, as it’s a traditional Scottish dish.

After dinner, we enjoyed two bands at the Old Fruitmarket, which is a great venue for live music.  It’s all part of  Celtic Connections, Scotland’s premiere music festival, which features artists from around the globe as well as the best local Scottish talent.

Tomorrow we’re headed to Ayrshire to explore Burns National Heritage Park, Whiskey Wha Hae, and the Piping Parade to kick off the Whiskey Wha Hae event.  And, I hear I have to try black pudding.  I’m not going to even tell you what that’s made from.

A Break in Boca

I am so not a winter person.  I hate the cold…I’m always freezing.  I’m a big outdoors person, but more into kayaking and water skiing than downhill skiing.  This winter has been kicking my butt and my trip to Florida with the family couldn’t have come at a better time…well maybe a day earlier would’ve been perfect.  They decided on Boca this year, and while normally I’d be into something a little more exciting, my mom won’t go anywhere if she can’t bring her pug, so she found the Townplace Suites in Boca Raton, a comfortable pet friendly suite property.   Since I didn’t want to miss too many days at the station I met them down here today for the end of their trip.

I was really looking forward to spending some active time in the sun, jogging on the beach and going for a long swim, but as I mentioned I left for my trip one day too late, as I took not one, but two nasty spills on the ice last night.  Did I mention I HATE the winter?  I’ve never been so thankful for the warm weather as I was when I stepped off the plane today.  So while I can’t really move my neck at the moment,  I will be very happy plopping myself down on a lounge chair with my icepack and advil!

New Years Eve in New York City

Having grown up and lived in Manhattan for awhile, I never thought about staying at a hotel in New York City, but when the opportunity presented itself for New Years Eve, I figured why not?  I wouldn’t have to worry about hailing a cab when there are none available, and could just crawl into bed right after the party next door.  I stayed at the Kimberly Hotel, a beautiful luxury suite hotel on 50th street between Lexington and 3rd Avenue, had a great dinner at the hotel restaurant, Ferros, and partied into the night at Nikki Midtown, a hot trendy nightclub  which is also next door.  I had everything I needed for the perfect New Years Eve all in one place. The Kimberly Hotel is a great choice for a  getaway any time of year, and the suites make it an attractive option when looking for a spacious hotel room in New York City.  Come back  and read my travelogue about the hotel which will be posted soon. 

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Los Cabos and Nashville Audio

October and November were filled with great trips to Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Nashville, and Daytona Beach.  I have a bit a of catching up to do on my travelogues for Cancun, Cozumel and Daytona Beach, so in the meantime, I thought I’d post my segments from recent appearances on “The Travel Show with Erik Hastings.”  I always have a lot of fun with him, as he’s one of those hosts with a great sense of humor who always makes his guests feel welcome.  Below are the segments from Los Cabos and Nasville.  Enjoy!

Los Cabos                     Nashville

Erik has also just launched http://www.dinner-for-six-nyc.com/.  He’s teamed up with a professional NYC chef to teach you how to prepare and the cook for the perfect dinner party.  He’s taking reservations now for his December classes, so check it out!! 

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Pesos and La Playa

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, as I’ve been traveling a bunch, but I couldn’t ask for anything more!  I just got back from a wonderful trip in Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.  I had been to the Riviera Maya a few months ago, so this was great because I got to go do a few things I had missed the last time around, such as the Mexican Spectacular show at Xcaret, which was amazing.  In the eco archaeological park of Xcaret, we also swam through caves and saw beautiful fishes of many colors in the ocean.

The part of the trip in Cancun was really romantic, as we stayed at the Bel Air Collection, which did a great job in putting together a spa package incredible enough to relax even me, who sometimes has a tough time unwinding.  This was the first trip my boyfriend joined me on, and they really made it a special one.

We took a ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel, and had a great time.  Cozumel is so much more than a cruise port.  At Chankanaab Park, we swam with the dolphins and saw beautiful fish while Snuba diving.  It’s a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving…similar to diving, but without the tank on your back.  Cozumel has gorgeous beaches, especially at Punta Sur, which also is home to a lighthouse with a beautiful view.  Near our hotel, La Ceiba, we snorkeled and fed the sting rays, which was a lot of fun.   It was a definite challenge to get to the bottom of the ocean to feed the sting rays before the fish grabbed the fish food  out of our hands for themselves!

If your heading to Cancun, you must check out Isla Mujeres, which is a quick ferry ride from Cancun.  We took a moped around the island, which was a great way to see a lot in a short amount of time.   I could write so much more about our incredible trip, but I must finish packing, as I’m off to Daytona tomorrow.  Check back soon for the full travelogue on these and future destinations!

Two step over to my travelogue on Nashville!

I recently was in Nashville and had a blast!  From the Grand Ole Opry to the honky tonks downtown, Nashville is definitely a fun city!  Check out my Nashville travelogue to the right. 

Hi y’all from Nashville!

I am here in Music City…Nashville, TN, and having a blast!   I’m very excited to go to the Opry tomorrow night.  Craig Morgan is getting inducted, and there is going to be a great lineup of performers.  Today, I toured RCA Studio B, where Elvis recorded for so many years, and I got to bang out a few notes on the Steinway piano he played.  Our group also recorded one of his songs in studio.  It’s amazing how well we can sound with the right recording equipment!  I had the opportunity to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and had a delicious bbq dinner at the famous Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville last night.   Later tonight, we’re headed to the Bluebird Cafe, a real cool spot for local muscians and songwriters.  

The Opryland Resort is where we’re staying and it is huge!  With 2,881 rooms, it is the largest non gaming property in the country!  We took a boat down the 1/4 mile that runs through the hotel through the lush gardens.   Since eating is one of my favorite pastimes, I enjoyed the buffet breakfast at the Waters Edge…an omlet station, cereals, fruits, as well as the usual breakfast fare.  They even have a few fresh squeezed juices, like the detox drink for those who party it up a little too much the night before at their nightclub, Fuse, which has quickly become the hottest nightclub in Nashville.  I hope to check it out tonight and try their signature cotton candy drink.  Sugar and alcohol…should be interesting!   Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to spending time at the Ryman Auditorium and the honky tonks downtown.  No matter when you go into places like Tootsies, you will always hear a wanna be performer.  It’s pretty neat how many talented people are here in Nashville.   The city has a great energy…lots of entertainment minus the craziness of NYC or LA. 

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