Wanderful Quote: Lose Sight of the Shore

Beyond, Travel News, Tips & More, Travel Quotes

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~ André Gide

I’ve always loved this travel quote by French author and Nobel Price in Literature winner André Gide. It’s such an eloquent way to say “take chances.”

Of course this quote can be applied to relationships, business ventures and many more elements of everyday life, but I think it’s especially poignant when applied to travel.

-> Photo snapped from my balcony at the gorgeous Hilton Aruba. <-

So often people visit “safe” destinations. Places they’ve visited before, or places a friend or family member has been. I’m a proponent of placing oneself just outside one’s comfort zone when planning a trip. Visit a destination that’s out of your ordinary. Book an activity you’ve never done before. Try a type of cuisine that you’d typically shy away from. You just may find something new you love!

Have you had a travel experience that was a bit out of your ordinary? I’d love to hear what it was!

Planning a trip to Aruba? VisitAruba.com has some great planning tips!

Oldie but Goodie: Touring Beijing’s Temple of Heaven

Beyond, Destinations

When Charles returned from a business trip to China back in 2008, I swooned over his photos. China had always been on my “bucket list.” {Isn’t it on everyone’s bucket list?!?} So when the opportunity arose for us to visit in 2010, I was ecstatic. It wasn’t a super long trip, just under a week, so we honed in on Beijing and Shanghai.

One must-do while in Beijing is Temple of Heaven. Originally built during the Ming Dynasty {1400s…} as a place used to worship the heaven and pray for rich harvests, Temple of Heaven was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. Temple of Heaven is much more than a temple, it’s a huge park with three main sections: the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and Circular Mound Altar.

If you ever make it to Temple of Heaven, I hope you enjoy wandering the grounds of the park and taking in the stunning architectural sights. Don’t forget to consider how long ago the Temple of Heaven was built – it’s not like they had access to the tools and technology that’s used in today’s modern architecture!

{Forgive the photo quality – they’re from 2010!}

Tip: the best time to visit is first thing in the morning – crowds in China are no joke and when combined with summer heat {we visited in August…} it can take away from the overall experience.

WANDERful Read: Adventure to Anywhere’s “Best Places in the World to Run”

Uncategorized, WANDERful Reads

Last week, I collaborated with Ashley of ‘Adventure to Anywhere‘ along with a number of other fab female travel bloggers, to share a tip about one of the best places in the world to run. {I chose the chocolate-brown shores of Guanacaste, Costa Rica!}

Are you a runner? If so, head over to Adventure to Anywhere & give Ashley’s article a read! {Clicking the image below will take you there, as well!} AND, follow her on FacebookInstagram & Twitter for more – warning: major wanderlust may follow…

St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails From Wanderlust-Inducing Caribbean Resorts!

Lifestyle, Sips & Bites

St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow and if you’ve had a snowy week – as I have – you’ll definitely enjoy making these dreamy cocktails from resorts in Florida & the Caribbean. Shake them up, take a few sips, and pretend you’re sitting on a beach surrounded by turquoise waters. It never hurts to wind down the work week with a little wanderlust!

Lucky Leprechaun – El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (Fajardo, Puerto Rico)

Perched on a 300-foot cliff overlooking the converging waters of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, El Conquistador Resort invites everyone to catch a little luck this St. Patrick’s Day with its sweet and tart Lucky Leprechaun cocktail.

Ingredients:

1 oz. Ketel One Vodka

1/2 oz. Melon liqueur

1 1//2 oz. Fresh sours

Domaine de Canton

1 Kiwi

1 Orange slice

1 Cherry

Mixing Directions: Muddle 1/3 kiwi with splash of Domaine de Canton. Add ice, vodka, melon liqueur and fresh sours into shaker and shake thoroughly. Pour into rocks glass and garnish with slice of orange and cherry.

Emerald Martini – Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (Fajardo, Puerto Rico)

Overlooking the green treetops of the El Yunque Rainforest, Las Casitas Village wishes all a vibrant and flavorful St. Patrick’s Day celebration with its Emerald Martini treat.

Ingredients:

1 oz. Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka

1/2 oz. Apple pucker

1/2 oz. St. Germain

2 oz. Fresh lemonade

3-5 Mint leaves

1 Scoop honeydew

1 Pineapple slice

1 Cherry

Mixing Directions: Muddle two mint leaves and honeydew. Add in St. Germain, vodka, apple pucker, lemonade, ice, and shake unitl icy cold and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with pineapple slice, cherry and floating mint leaf.

Lucky Peach Clover – The Condado Plaza Hilton (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

The Condado Plaza Hilton wishes everyone a lucky St. Patrick’s Day with its Lucky Peach Clover cocktail. Those with a sweet tooth will have found their pot of gold with this berry and fruity concoction.

Ingredients:

1/2 oz. Melon liqueur

1/4 oz. Bacardi Red Peach

1/4 oz. Bacardi Dragon Berry

1/4 oz. Bacardi 151

1 oz. Lime juice

3/4 oz. Simple syrup

1 Orange Slice

1 Cherry

Mixing Directions: Add all ingredients to shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Strain mixture into glass with ice and garnish with orange slice and cherry.

St. Patrick’s Island Shamrock – South Seas Island Resort (Captiva Island, Fla.)

South Seas Island Resort on Florida’s west coast invites everyone to shake up their St. Patrick’s Day with its St. Patrick’s Island Shamrock. The beverage brings an island twist to the Irish holiday, making for a tropical and satisfying festive treat.

Ingredients:

1/2 oz. Vodka

1/2 oz. Tequila

1 oz. Blue curaçao

1/2 oz. Coconut rum

3 oz. Pineapple juice

1 oz. Orange juice

1 Pineapple slice

Mixing Directions: Add all ingredients to shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Strain mixture into glass with ice and garnish with orange and pineapple slice.

Luxury Horseback Riding in Argentina? Sign Me Up!

Travel News, Travel News, Tips & More

Luxury-lovers seeking the ultimate horseback riding, fly fishing or polo adventure will enjoy Caballadas, an Argentine estancia located on more than 50,000 acres just outside Lanin National Park, the most secluded and scenic part of Argentina’s Patagonia Lake District. Operated by Agustina Marmol, the Argentine behind luxury ski and trekking company Dolomite Mountains, the property’s picturesque Valley Lodge is set atop a hill at the heart of the ranch and can accommodate up to twelve people in eight spacious bedrooms.

While unforgettable fly-fishing and polo-focused trips can be arranged, the main attraction at Caballadas is horseback riding. Intermediate and advanced riders may enjoy the luxury horseback riding escape of their dreams with multiple-day itineraries offering five-to-six hours of riding per day, accompanied by a personal chef who prepares picnic lunches with items such as steak and empanadas. Overnight horseback riding outings may also be arranged. 

Lodging includes a host, housekeeping and four daily meals meals served by a personal chef, boasting a variety of traditional local dishes including famous Argentine asados and heralded Argentine wines.

-> All photos courtesy of Caballadas <-

For more information about Caballadas, visit their website, here.

WANDERful Read: The Flyaway Life’s “Romantic Hotels”

WANDERful Reads

Last week, I collaborated with Kassie of ‘The Flyaway Life‘ along with a number of other fab female travel bloggers, to share a tip about one of my favorite, uber-romantic resorts. {I chose Fairmont Tremblant in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec!}

In the mood for a romantic escape? Head over to The Flyaway Life & give Kassie’s article a read!

11 Romantic Resorts to Visit With Your Special Someone

It’s National Margarita Day – Stir Up This Cocktail from The London Bar!

Lifestyle

Tequila lovers rejoice – it’s National Margarita Day! The chameleon of the cocktail kingdom, the margarita comes in every color, flavor, shape and size you can imagine. I’ve always found it fun to try cocktails like margaritas at different spots around the world, taking note of how others make them and, at times, trying to replicate their recipes at home.

Last year, The London Bar, set within luxury hotel The London NYC, debuted The London NYC Billionaire Margarita – a cocktail made with the most exclusive, premium ingredients, including Patrón en Lalique Serie 1 and Louis XIII. Boasting a price tag of $1,200, I’m fairly certain the Billionaire Margarita was one of the priciest on NYC menus, at least for a while.

-> Photo via moi <-

While I will certainly not be using this type of Patrón at my home, the recipe can easily be altered to include your favorite tequila. And the Cara Cara Orange Bitters recipe is to-die-for – you may want to try it in other cocktails, as well!

Recipe: The London NYC Billionaire Margarita
Makes 1

Ingredients
1.5 oz. Patrón en Lalique Serie 1 Tequila
.5 oz. Louis XIII Cognac
.5 oz. Organic Blue Agave Nectar
Fresh Key Lime Juice
Fresh Meyer Lemon Juice
10 Dashes Cara Cara Orange Bitters (recipe below)

Method:
1. Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker, shake vigorously.
2. Strain into coupe glass rimmed with Maldon sea salt.
3. Enjoy!

Recipe: Cara Cara Orange Bitters

Ingredients
Skin of 10-15 Cara Cara Oranges
4 oz. juice from Cara Cara Oranges
Handful of Peppercorns
A Few Star Anise
Handful of Cardamom
3 Cinnamon Sticks
6 oz. Over Proof Rum (such as Bacardi 151)

Method:
1. Combine ingredients and let sit for five to seven days.
2. Strain and bottle.

3. ENJOY!

Visiting the Gateway Arch – An Architectural Masterpiece in St. Louis, Missouri!

50 States At 30, U.S.A.

Is business or pleasure travel taking you to St. Louis? Make sure you make time to visit the Gateway Arch!

Part of the National Park Service’s Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the Gateway Arch reflects St. Louis’ role in the *Westward Expansion* of the United States during the nineteenth century. The park is a memorial to Thomas Jefferson’s role in opening the West, to the pioneers who helped shape its history, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse.

*Do you remember {vaguely, if your middle school attention span was as short as mine…} learning about the Louisiana Purchase, Compromise of 1850, Manifest Destiny and the Trail of Tears? That was all part of the Westward Expansion.

With just 24 or so hours in St. Louis, I dropped my bags at my hotel – which I loved, the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch – and set out to explore the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

-> View from my hotel room. Yes, I know it’s not the most sightly view, but imagine it once the Expansion Project is complete – the grounds surrounding the Gateway Arch will be magnificent! <-

Since parts of the Gateway Arch grounds were closed due to the construction, I was to purchase my timed ticket for the top of the Arch at the Old Courthouse, which was serving as the Gateway Arch Visitor’s Center. It was easy to find, made even easier thanks to these handy directionals on the sidewalk.

The Old Courthouse holds incredible history of its own – it was the site of hundreds of suits for freedom, including the 1847 Dred Scott Decision, during which Scott, with his wife Harriet, sued for – and were granted – their freedom. After many appeals, the case was decided upon by the Supreme Court, with the Supreme Court stating that slaves were property, and as such, had no right to sue. (Cue the start of the Civil War…) During my next trip to St. Louis, I’ll definitely plan more time to explore the Old Courthouse!

The sheer magnitude of the Arch is something that’s only comprehensible in person. To imagine that its design was envisioned back in 1947 is incredible!

Quick fun fact: In 1947, the National Park Service held an architectural competition for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, which 37-year-old architect Eero Saarinen entered. Saarinen viewed the project as an opportunity to establish himself as an independent architect, and set out to design a monument not only to Thomas Jefferson and the nation, but also to the modern age. Fast forward years, and his stunning Gateway Arch vision had been brought to life PLUS he’d secured his recognition as an architecture “great” with other projects that included the iconic TWA Terminal in New York City.

Taking the tram to the top of the Arch was what I was most excited about, however the entire facility provided multiple interesting and informational sights. Learning about the builders who worked day in and day out was fascinating!

Now’s the time when I should mention that taking the tram to the top is NOT for the feint of heart… or the claustrophobic.

After waiting in line, I was ushered, along with a family of four, into a pod that looked like it was straight out of a Jetsons episode. I’m a petite person so I fared just fine, but it’s clear that these pods were not designed to fit five of today’s average Americans!

The family, from Ohio, were lovely. We enjoyed small talk during the few-minute ride to the top and once our pod’s doors opened, we emerged to this sight:

Just a few steps up and we were in the narrow top of the Arch!

-> Gotta love the gentleman on the right, who literally climbed into the window! <-

At 630 feet, visitors can see for miles. And baseball fans will probably enjoy the bird’s eye view of the Cardinal’s field!

It was neat to see Downtown St. Louis and the surrounding area, but to me the real “wow factor” was in thinking about what kind of structure we were in. I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building, the top of the World Trade Center, etc – both of which provide a more extensive view than the Gateway Arch – but to me, the most memorable aspect of going to the top of the Arch was thinking about what must have gone into constructing it; from the mathematical equation used to create the Arch’s curve to the precision the welders required while fusing together piece after piece of stainless steel.

It’s easy for older, American monuments to be overshadowed by the monstrosities being erected today in places like Dubai and Hong Kong {okay, so they’re stunning works of architectural art, but you know what I mean…} but it’s important to remember that we have incredible displays of innovation right here on our shores!

To plan your visit to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, visit this site.

To learn more about the Gateway Arch specifically, and for tickets to the top, visit this site.

Have you visited the Gateway Arch? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Caribbean Travel – From A to Z!

Travel News & Tips, Travel News, Tips & More

When thinking of “Caribbean travel,” many envision sun, sand, water sports and maybe an outdoorsy adventure such as hiking or biking. And of course, a brightly colored drink with an umbrella in it – can’t forget those!

-> I snapped this beauty in Aruba in 2016 – isn’t the light something?! <-

Thankfully, the folks the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Caribbean region’s tourism development agency, have come up with an A-to-Z list of Caribbean adventures, from adrenaline-pumping, once-in-a-lifetime activities to sampling unique culinary delicacies. {Props to whoever created this list – LOVE the creativity!} Take a look, and keep them in mind next time you’re planning your next Caribbean getaway!

Awaken your love of sea creatures by swimming with dolphins in Anguilla

Buckle up for go-kart racing in Barbados

Climb Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica

Dive among the famous shipwrecks in Grenada

Explore the historical forts of Curaçao

Fall in love with nature discovering rare birds in St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Gaze at the beauty of Angel Falls in the Venezuelan rainforest

Hike the Waitikubuli Trail in Dominica

Immerse yourself in the local French culture of St. Martin

Jump Up at Carnival in Trinidad & Tobago

-> Photo courtesy of Trinidad & Tobago Development Company <-

Kayak with eco-tours in the Turks and Caicos Islands

-> Photo courtesy of Turks & Caicos Islands Tourist Board <-

Learn to “cook like a local” in Haiti

Mountain bike around Martinique

Nourish your senses with the sights and sounds of nightlife in Sint Maarten

Open your mind to new experiences in Cuba

Parasail by day; party by night in the British Virgin Islands

Quench your thirst for discovery with cave tubing in Belize

Reach new heights while sky diving in St. Kitts & Nevis

Surf’s up! “Hang 10” along Rincón Beach on the northwest coast of Puerto Rico

Take to the skies with an aerial tour of Guyana

-> Photo courtesy of Fotonatura <-

Unleash the explorer in you with a visit to a drive-in volcano in Saint Lucia

Visit Stingray City in the Cayman Islands

-> Photo courtesy of Cayman Islands Department of Tourism <-

Water sports, water sports, water sports throughout the Islands of The Bahamas

Xmarks the spot! Learn stories of hidden pirate treasures in Antigua & Barbuda

YOLO! Climb The Quill in St. Eustatius or visit the Montserrat Observatory to erupt your fascination with volcanoes

Zipline through tropical rainforests in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Curaçao is a Caribbean destination that’s on my list, where would you go if you had the chance?

WANDERful read: The World Wanderer’s “Best Destinations for First-Time Female Solo Travelers”

Travel News, Tips & More

Last week, I collaborated with Erin of The World Wanderer, along with a number of other fab female travel bloggers, to share a tip about a great destination for first-time female solo travelers. {I chose Yellowstone National Park!}

Have you ever traveled solo? Whether you have or have not, head over to The World Wanderer to give Erin’s article a read to gain inspiration for your next trip! {Clicking the image below will take you there, as well!} AND, follow her on FacebookInstagram & Twitter for more – warning: major wanderlust may follow…