Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Girls Getaway to Santa Fe - Where We Shopped

There are tons of great shops along the Plaza. The first place we shopped was outside the Palace of the Governors, where Native Americans come to town to sell their authentic jewelry and crafts. We were overwhelmed with all of the gorgeous turquoise we saw there, and I would have purchased more if I could afford it. After much browsing and deliberation, I settled on a pair of turquoise earrings made by Sam Burnside. Other great shops we visited included: Packards (http://www.packards-santafe.com/), The Rainbow Man (www.RainbowMan.com) and Lewallen & Lewallen Jewelry (www.LewAllenJewelry.com).

With the revitalization of the city’s Railyards district, this is now a great place to find studios, galleries, museums and community organizations, as well as the Santa Fe Farmers' Market (http://www.santafefarmersmarket.com/) every Saturday. We found some great shops here, such as Daniella (http://www.shopdaniella.com/), REI (http://www.rei.com/), Mindy & Clyde Cupboard Company (www.MindyClyde.com) and Teca Tu, A Paws-Worthy Emporium (http://www.tecatu.com/).

As we said our goodbyes and reflected on our trip, I fully realized why Santa Fe refers to itself as “The City Different.” This destination was like no other place I’ve been before with its unique architecture, Spanish and Indian influence, strong art and culture, and laid back lifestyle. No wonder the average repeat visit is five times. Happy birthday Santa Fe! Here’s to another 400 fabulous years!
PHOTO: Window shopping along the Plaza.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Girls Getaway to Santa Fe - Where We Ate

Ready for some authentic Southwestern food?? Dinner the first night was at Restaurant Martin (http://www.restaurantmartinsantafe.com/), which serves progressive American cuisine and is the realization of a 20-year dream for Chef Martin Rios and his wife Jennifer. I started with the Roasted Butter Squash Soup, and took the server’s recommendation of the Seared Sea Bass with artichoke-olive oil puree. Delicious! Plus, Martin and Jennifer make you feel right at home in their cozy space.

Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen (http://www.marias-santafe.com/) boasts more than 160 of the city’s best margarita’s that range in price from $6 - $42. And the dinner menu contains more than 30 items, including fajitas, steaks, soups and salads, and New Mexican dinners, with an average price about $8.50. We started with a huge pile of guacamole that was some of the best we’ve ever had. Great food at a really great price!

There is one question you get at most authentic Southwest eateries: red or green? This question refers to your preference of chil, and The Shed (http://www.sfshed.com/) delivers for each color! All of their traditional entrees are served with Blue Corn Tortillas, and their chile is grown on farms in Hatch, NM exclusively for The Shed. They process chile daily in their own mill in order to capture the flavor and freshness of the chile. One taste of the Pollo Adobo and we were hooked.

PHOTOS: Theresa and Casey....dinner at Maria's New Mexican Kitchen.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Girls Getaway to Santa Fe - What We Did

My touring continued with a two-hour walking tour of Santa Fe. Many thanks to Joel Stein of Historic Walks of Santa Fe (http://www.historicwalksofsantafe.com/) for this educational tour of the city’s unique history. We learned interesting things about several of Santa Fe’s historical sites, such as the Palace of the Governors, the New Mexico History Museum, St Francis Cathedral, Loretto Chapel and its Miraculous Staircase, as well as the back rooms of The Rainbow Man.

For some relaxation, we drove about 20 minutes from downtown to Ten Thousand Waves (www.TenThousandWaves.com), a luxury mountain spa resort that feels like a Japanese onsen. Teresa and I had our privacy in the New Kojiro hot bath. Once we finally figured out how to get the jets turned on, we enjoyed the steam and 55 minutes of girl talk.

In order to better understand at art of Southwestern cooking, we attended a demonstration class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking (http://www.santafeschoolofcooking.com/) where we learned how to cook (and eat) Chipotle Spinach and Goats Cheese Quiche, Blue Corn Pecan Pancakes, Fresh Berry Compote, Huevos Rancheros and Chorizo Cottage Fried Potatoes. Chef Rocky Durham walked us through the process of assembling and cooking all of the dishes. He told us that the key to good cooking is to “Assess, Adjust, Proceed.” We also learned some new tricks, such as burning bay leaves before adding them to a dish and using beans to properly prep a quiche shell.

With the strong visual images Georgia O’Keeffe portrayed from this part of the country, we knew we had to stop at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (http://www.okeeffeemuseum.org/). The visit started with a great video highlighting her life and work, as well as her love of the Southwest landscape. We also got to see several of her greatest works. The museum has a really nice gift shop that is great for picking up gifts and souvenirs.

With a visit to the second oldest city in the U.S. (only behind St. Augustine, FL), you can’t pass up a visit to the New Mexico History Museum (www.NMHistoryMuseum.org), located on the Plaza. Encompassing part of the Palace of Governors building, which is the oldest publicly-used building in the city, the history museum takes visitors on a journey of six broad time periods in its permanent exhibit, Telling New Mexico: Stories from Then and Now. We especially enjoyed the current exhibit, Fashioning New Mexico, which takes visitors on a trip back in time via the fashions of various eras in New Mexico.

Next posts...where we ate and where we shopped.

PHOTO: Chefs Rocky and Noe at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Girls Getaway to Santa Fe - Arrival

Located just 60 miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico’s capital, Santa Fe, is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year and its place as the nation’s oldest capital. With its gorgeous scenery set against the Rocky Mountains, the city also boasts a vibrant art community with more than 240 galleries and a love of outdoor activities, including snow skiing, hiking and white water rafting. Santa Fe prides itself on being visually different, as well as the strong connection to its Spanish and Native American history.

As my plane came in for landing, I was surprised to see all of the snow on the ground. In fact, there was more snow here than in Denver just a few weeks ago! To add to my surprise, I walked off the plane and saw the Santa Fe Airport, which was in classic, adobe-style architecture. I just had to take a photo of one of the most unique airports I’ve ever seen.

My host Steve picked me up and took me on a brief tour of the city, which is also predominantly made up of adobe buildings. The Plaza is the hub of Santa Fe’s downtown, and the city is designed for pedestrians.

I checked in to the Inn on the Alameda (www.InnOnTheAlameda.com) and was immediately impressed with the lobby fireplace, as well as the fireplace (that I could turn on with a button) in my suite. The Inn is conveniently located about three blocks from the Plaza. They also served a terrific complimentary breakfast each morning (love the vegetable quiche), as well as a complimentary wine and cheese hour in the afternoon.

Stay tuned for more from Santa Fe...
PHOTO: Inn on the Alameda

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Travelocity Poll: Significant Increase in Intent to Travel this Year

A recent poll initiated by Travelocity has indicated that there has been a dramatic increase in travel intentions, indicating traveler confidence is on the rise.

The online travel company’s second Traveler Confidence Report finds that nearly half of respondents plan to increase their travel in 2010 as compared to 2009.

Travelocity stated that great deals, especially on hotels, have given travelers confidence to hit the road and take to the skies in 2010.

The report gauges travelers’ plans and attitudes now as compared to six months prior and one year prior. The following findings are based on the intentions of more than 2,000 North Americans surveyed by Travelocity.

Click here to read full story.

Source: Eye on Travel

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Daytime TV: Valentine's Day Travel Deals

Whether you are looking for a Valentine's Day trip or a romantic vacation after Feb. 14, watch The Getaway Girl's Daytime TV segment for some of the best (and most affordable) places to travel for romance.

Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzXGDcMdui8 to watch the video segment.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Girls Getaway to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Located just 60 miles from Albuquerque, Santa Fe is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year and its place as the nation’s oldest capital.

With its gorgeous scenery set against the Rocky Mountains, the city also boasts a vibrant art community with more than 240 galleries and a love of outdoor activities, including snow skiing, hiking and white water rafting. Santa Fe prides itself on being visually different and it strong connection to its Spanish and Native American history.
Follow our travels and adventures as we visit “The City Different.” Twitter: @GetawayGirl; Facebook: Girls Getaway Guide.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Girls Getaway to Hawks Cay - Day 3

If Friday was the day for adventure, then Saturday was our day for relaxation. First on the agenda was a yoga/pilates class at the fitness center appropriately named Midsection Meltdown. Georgette was the star performer here while trying a new move on the fitness ball. After working out, we were ready to get worked on with massages at Calm Waters Spa. This 80-minute unique massage and energy experience is aimed to reduce stress, unblock natural energy and re-balance your mind. Afterwards, I felt like a wet noodle as Karen and I enjoyed some girl talk in the eucalyptus steam room.

We were ready for some down time as we sat poolside (the resort has two; one is adults-only) and some enjoyed the resort’s lagoon, which sits between the pool and the ocean. It even has a platform in the middle that you can swim to and enjoy the saltwater. After our sun time, we were ready for our sunset cruise as no trip to the Florida Keys is complete without some time on the water. Many thanks to Lauren for keeping our wine glasses full and to Elvis for providing a great game of “One Foot Boat Balance” for our entertainment.

We had one more incredible dinner together at Alma, the resort’s tropically-inspired Nuevo Latino cuisine. The meal was complete with La Crema Pinot Noir, tasty rib eye steaks and their signature appetizers, which were delicious. For dessert, we sat by the fire pit and enjoyed more wine and our stogies (just like the guys do).

Sunday morning we said goodbye to Hawk’s Cay and Duck Key. While only here for a few days, we all certainly caught a little “Keys Disease” as we reluctantly drove back home and to reality.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Girls Getaway to Hawks Cay - Day 2

We woke up to a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean and enjoyed breakfast poolside. Then it was off to tour Hawk’s Cay (www.HawksCay.com). The great thing about this resort is that everything is located on property. We saw the marina, which houses fishing boats for charter and water sports such as kayaks, jet skis, parasailing and more. Also at the marina is a small grocery store and Tom’s Harbor House restaurant. The resort also boasts a lovely spa and fitness area, as well as a great kids recreational area. Our last stop was the on-site villas with 2-3 bedrooms that are perfect for a family or large group of guests who don’t mind staying together (hello Girls Getaways).

After a quick bite for lunch at the poolside bar (I ate the Chicken Caesar Salad two days in a row…so good), we walked to the on-site Dolphin Connection for our Dolphin Discovery Program. Hawks Cay is one of the only resorts in the continental U.S. to have an on-site dolphin training facility that guests can participate in. After squeezing into our wetsuits (which was entertaining), we got an overview of what we were going to do that day (keep hands on vests). Our trainer, Jeff, introduced us to all of the dolphins (Hastings, Lucky, Bolla, Sebastian) and we danced, sang, hugged and kissed them for one amazing experience!

To continue with our adventurous day, we decided it was time to try some parasailing. After a brief overview from Freddie, Grace and I were harnessed into our gear and up, up and away we went. It was much more calm and peaceful in the air than either one of us expected, and Grace pointed out that, from the air, Duck Key really does look like a duck. After about a 15-minute ride, they reeled us in and back into the boat. Hmmm…I wonder if I am now ready for skydiving??? Anyone???

Dinner that evening was at Tom’s Harbor House where we ate some awesome fish dishes of snapper, grouper and mahi mahi. As we were about to leave, we saw David Hope playing the guitar inside the bar area. Ah ha! We found our karaoke (well, sort of). With Karen channeling Janis Joplin, Grace on the tambourine, Elvis on the harmonica and Georgette and I as back-up singers/dancers, we were a force to be reckoned with! Thanks to David’s gracious sharing of the stage, Elvis and the Bichons were born and will forever remain icons at Hawk’s Cay.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Girls Getaway to Hawks Cay - Day 1

With a chill in the air in Central Florida, I was more than happy to accept an invitation to Duck Key in the Florida Keys to find some warmer weather and some fun in the sun activities. Before I knew it, I was on a plane for Miami.

Upon arriving in Miami, Grace picked me up at the airport and we headed to Downtown Coral Gables for some shopping and lunch while we waited for more of the girls to arrive. Our first stop was Hip.e Boutique (www.hip-e-boutique.com), a cute and trendy boutique located along the city’s trendy Miracle Mile. We both tried on several dresses, and Grace purchased a new Diane Von Furstenberg bathing suit for our trip south. Next stop was Peterbrooke Chocolatier just a few blocks away. I told Grace I was familiar with Peterbrooke since there is one located on Park Avenue in Winter Park. “You must see this store and meet the owner, Sharon,” Grace said. And she was right. As soon as I walked in and shook hands with Sharon, I knew she was not only a gracious host, but a fun-loving girl just like us. We chatted about all things chocolate, sampled the delicious treats, and I hand-dipped my very own bottle of wine into creamy milk chocolate! It was so much fun (and I got to decorate it too). If you are ever near Coral Gables, be sure and stop by Peterbrooke to say hello to Sharon and sample her yummy store goods. Sharon was also nice enough to send us to the Keys with bags of her chocolate-covered popcorn, which we enjoyed fully!

We made one more shopping stop at Habit where you can find trendy pieces at very reasonable prices. The store owner posts all new deliveries on their Facebook page, and within a few hours, most of it is gone. After all of the clothes shopping, we couldn’t forget about the shoes! With several brands of unique designers, Dulce carries some of Miami’s sexiest stilettos suitable for anyone wanting their feet to be in fashion. Dulce also carries handbags, sunglasses, jewelry and other accessories.

We worked up an appetite and stopped at Charlotte Bistro (www.Charlotte-Bistro.com), the area’s newest French restaurant, for lunch. The owner, Venezuelan-born chef Elida Villarroel, has been trained by three-Michelin-star Chef Michel Bras. The food was delish and we were now fully prepared for our two-hour drive to Duck Key in the Florida Keys. The great thing about all of our Coral Gables visits is that each business is female owned and operated. So proud of these terrific entrepreneurs. I hope to support more businesses like these!!

After a few hours of singing in the car (where’s the karaoke bar?), we arrived at the 60-acre luxury resort, Hawk’s Cay (http://www.hawkscay.com/). One step into their exquisite lobby sets you in a relaxed mood as soon as you walk in. We checked in, relaxed in our rooms, and then met our lovely hosts in the Bar at Alma, which is located in the resort lobby, for appetizers and cocktails. My favorite drink of the trip was the Little Red Dress (be sure to try while you are there) and the Lobster Risotto seemed to be a group favorite for dinner.

PHOTO: Sharon & Casey decorate the chocolate-covered wine bottle at Peterbrooke Chocolatier.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Getaway Girl® Named Official Travel Correspondent for Daytime TV Show

Casey Wohl, The Getaway Girl®, has been named Daytime TV’s Travel Correspondent. The Daytime TV show, which is based in Tampa, airs in more than 100 markets across the U.S.

Wohl has been appearing on the show for more than one year, and covers travel topics such as Spooktacular Getaways, Winter Travel Deals, 2010 Travel Trends, Spring Break Travel Deals, Valentine’s Day Travel Ideas, Multi-Generational Getaways, Pet Getaways and more.

After a devastating divorce and getting fired from her job, Wohl started traveling with her girlfriends as a way to create new memories and experiences. She found a niche in the travel market as there were no city-specific travel guides for women. Wohl launched the first in her series, the Girls Getaway Guide to Orlando: Leave Your Baggage at Home®, in October 2008.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the official Daytime family,” Wohl said. “It is a fun and educational show that people love to watch.”

For more information about the show, visit www.DaytimeOnline.tv. For more information about Wohl’s new Travel Correspondent role, visit http://daytime.tbo.com/.

In addition to her role with Daytime, Wohl is the Travel Correspondent for the new, all-women radio network, Heartbeat Radio for Women. She has also been featured on radio and television programs CBS Radio, The Daily Buzz, Media Talk, Better TV, FirstWivesWorld, and numerous blogs. She has received print and online media coverage on nearly 80 national news sites and publications, such as Woman’s Day and Parenting. Wohl is a contributing writer for several online publications, was named a “Woman to Watch” by Orlando’s Orange Appeal magazine and was listed as one of “101 Women Bloggers to Watch in 2009” by WE Magazine.
For more information about Casey Wohl, The Getaway Girl®, or the Girls Getaway Guide series, visit www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net, www.Twitter.com/GetawayGirl or http://GirlsGetawayGuide.BlogSpot.com

Friday, February 5, 2010

2010 Travel Trends - Daytime TV

Where are the trendiest places to spend your vacation this year? Watch my Daytime TV interview for The Getaway Girl's best picks for 2010!

Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJPvfqcKadE for a list of places to go!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Girls Getaway to the Florida Keys

Follow my adventures to the Florida Keys with my weekend stay at Hawk’s Cay Resort (www.HawksCay.com).

Located on the secluded island of Duck Key, midway down the Florida Keys, Hawks Cay Resort is a 60-acre luxury Florida Keys resort that offers some of the world's best fishing, exciting water sports, a chance to interact with dolphins, a saltwater lagoon, gorgeous swimming pools, luxurious accommodations and exquisite restaurants, all in the casual, relaxed pace of the Keys.

Barefoot luxury has arrived in style! Follow my on Twitter @GetawayGirl or on Facebook (Girls Getaway Guide).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Celebrate National Wear Red Day

How will you “Go Red” this Friday? Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s initiative to raise awareness of heart disease in women and educate them about how to prevent this #1 killer.

Did you know that:
*Cardiovascular disease kills approximately 450,000 women each year, about one every minute.
*While 1 in 30 American women die of breast cancer, about 1 in 3 die from cardiovascular disease.
*More women die of cardiovascular disease than the next five causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.
*Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
*Only 1 in 5 women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
*Heart disease is largely preventable. In fact, 80 percent of cardiac events in women may be prevented if women make the right choices for their hearts, involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.

To show your support, please remember to wear red on Friday, Feb. 5 and share this information with friends and family. For more information about Go Red and how you can make heart-healthy choices, please visit GoRedForWomen.org.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Girls Getaway to Colorado - Last Day

Our Sunday brunch was well anticipated at the Cajun-style Lucile’s Creole Café (http://www.luciles.com/) located just a few steps away from our hotel. The small house was packed, and we patiently waited outside for a table. When they brought out the beignets, I felt like I was in NOLA all over again. When they brought out the enormous biscuits, I smothered them with sausage and gravy and probably gained 10 pounds! The food was great, and the atmosphere completely charming. After almost rolling out of Lucile’s we managed to fit in some time for the gym and spa, which was very much needed after last night’s dinner extravaganza.

Last stop: Denver. Soon it was time to pack up, say goodbye to Boulder and the Hotel Boulderado, and head to Denver for our last night in Colorado. We arrived at Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel & Spa (http://www.brownpalace.com/) located in the heart of downtown. This hotel is more than 117 years old and has hosted some of the nation’s most influential people, including all living past presidents, Bill Gates and The Beatles. Owned at one time by the Unsinkable Molly Brown (remember her from Titanic?), the hotel is absolutely exquisite. Anyone who visits Denver should at least stop at the Brown Palace for a visit and tour. Our last Girls Getaway to Colorado meal was at Rioja (www.RiojaDenver.com), located in Larimer Square. We settled in at the chef’s table where Mike’s knowledge and excitement for the food here was contagious! From the artichoke tortelonni to the warm brussel sprout salad to the coconut mango risotto “stack”, everything was absolutely amazing!!! Many thanks to co-owners Jennifer and Beth for the best last Colorado dinner we could ever imagine.

While walking back to the Brown Palace, we made one last shopping stop into Overland Sheepskin Co. (http://www.overland.com/) for some of the area’s best cold-weather jackets, hats, boots and gear. We tried on some great things (and Jeri napped on some faux animal hides), then we called it a night.

With goodbye so close, we were all chatting about our favorite moments from the trip and the fun times we will remember so fondly. We decided this is not goodbye, but “until next time” as we are already talking about a trip to Italy next year, or I-11 as we are calling it. Thanks for the terrific memories. I had a blast! See you girls again real soon….ciao!

PHOTO: At the Chef's Table at Rioja in Denver. Looks like the chefs were having as much fun as we were!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Girls Getaway to Colorado - Day 4

Our Saturday began with an early lunch at the St. Julien Hotel’s (http://www.stjulien.com/) Jill’s Restaurant. The Cuban Panini was perfect; one of the best I’ve ever had! After a quick tour of this gorgeous hotel, we strolled along Pearl Street for some more shopping.

That afternoon, we saddled up for a ride on Banjo Billy’s Bus Tour (www.BanjoBilly.com), which is decorated with old sofas, disco balls, saddles and a rubber chicken on the front to lead the way while we spent 90 minutes touring Boulder. We heard about the history of the city, as well as some of the spooky ghost stories the locals share.

The tour was followed by an afternoon tea of the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse (http://www.boulderteahouse.com/), which is a gift from Boulder’s sister city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan and is the only one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Handcrafted by more than 40 Tajik artisans, the building is a feast for the eyes with its vibrant colors, patterns and furnishings. The Teahouse, which officially opened in May 1998, features an eclectic, international menu and teas from all over the world. We all loved the Tung Ting Oolong and the delicious snacks that accompanied our unique experience.

After the Teahouse, we went back to the Boulderado for a quick nap and then we were ready to go again. Our next adventure included a dining tour of some of Boulder’s best restaurants. We started with cocktails and appetizers at Happy (www.HappyNoodleHouse.com), and true to its name, we were more than happy with our time here. Having cocktails here is like nowhere else I have experienced. Mark’s expertise combined with Ben’s flair for the tasty and unusual made our time here unforgettable. Their Bitter Bar menu offers some amazing concoctions for any cocktail connoisseur, with options based on vodka, absinthe, brandy, gin and more! I had the Happy Pair and Katie loved her Kiss the Sky (a tribute to Hendrix). In addition, we tried the absinthe, which was served by gradually dripping water over a sugar cube into the glass. In addition, the food was delicious. My favorite was the Pork Belly….so good! Many thanks to Chef Sam for the great food!

With our own bellies full, we happily moved on to our next stop, which was Centro (www.CentroLatinKitchen.com). From the moment we arrived, Erin made sure we were fully satiated with an incredible avocado salsa, campechana shrimp cocktail and anaheim chile relleno. My strawberry mojito was perfect and we wondered how we could even think about eating one more bite! Roz loved the shrimp so much she drank it straight from a glass. To finish the night, we moved a few doors down to Jax Fish House (http://www.jaxfishhouseboulder.com/) for dessert. I arrived to our table a little late only to find the girls, with crayons in hand, sketching and coloring on our table. Many thanks to Jeri for the great Getaway Girl portrait! Dessert consisted of key lime pie, tiramisu and a crème brulee assortment. They all hit the spot and satisfied our sweet tooth for the night.
PHOTO: Jeri, Katie & Donna enjoy tea at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.