Travelog

The most expensive vacation of my life. And worth every dollar.

We loaded up the SUV with the family one early Friday morning over Labor Day weekend and began our journey from Las Vegas for our first Southern Utah vacation.  As we wound our way up through SR 14, just outside of Cedar City, we came upon these towering bright red, pink, and orange rock formations of Cedar Breaks National Monument. The Indians called this millions of years old formation the "Circle of Painted Cliffs."  After taking in the beautiful rocks, we continued our journey up to the peak of the mountain pass. Once we reached the summit I checked my altitude smartphone app and it read 10,020 ft. We rolled down the windows to inhale the crystal clear air and the aroma of subtle pine – and you can definitely feel the thin air at that altitude. As we began our descent from the peak, we viewed the diversity of the Southern Utah landscapes as we passed by giant volcanic fields, birch and aspen trees, as well as alpine lakes and streams. We made a quick stop just before Duck Creek Village to watch a fly fisherman reel in a beautiful rainbow trout. As we made our way to our [...]

A Romantic Evening that ended in an Enjoyable Fight.

By Garin Hamburger | Travelog Very recently I was lucky enough to tie the knot with the most amazing woman!   I don’t want to bore you with all of the details, so I’ll just leave it at, ‘it was a fantastic wedding’.  And like many newlyweds, we knew that we wanted to go on a honeymoon right after. After some extensive research, we decided to honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  The once small fishing town that was transformed into a tourist spot after Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton filmed their movie, “The Night of the Iguana”.  We didn’t know that until we got there, however every cab driver in town made sure they told us about it. After a few nights exploring the city, the attractions, and the night life, we decided to have a romantic dinner on the beach.  A few of our friends back home told us about this restaurant, ‘La Palapa’ and once we asked the locals about it, we knew it was the place to go. We arrived just before sunset and the hostess showed us to our table in the sand.  We were showered with attention and one of the gentlemen that worked there even [...]

What’s on your Bucket List?

By Kathryn Lynden | Travelog I recently have discovered the beauty of weekend get-aways.  I pack up my bag on Friday night and leave town for just a few days.  I come back to work on Monday full of stories and refreshed from getting out of the normal weekend routine.  Okay, I will admit, I am a little tired…but it is worth it! By doing these weekend trips, I am finally crossing off some of the items on my bucket list. Take a look. Riding a mechanical bull I actually did it!  As the professional bull rider hoisted me up onto the bull he was rattling off a myriad of tips with the final one being “If you put your legs around it’s neck… you might stay on longer.”  So, I wrapped my legs around it’s neck, put one hand over my head… and….. well…. by 30 seconds in, I was hugging that bull with every single thing I possibly could and by 45 seconds my head whipped around so fast, my entire body flew off!  Once I realized I was still in one piece – I got up – brushed myself off and made a decision that that was [...]

The Summer Vacation You and Your Family Should Take!

By Laurie Flum | Steamboat Springs I thought Steamboat Springs CO was only a ski village so when work called for me to go in October I thought “what am I going to do in October in Steamboat”. You know the old saying “all work and no play…” So I started by listening to a few people that told me to land at DIA (Denver International Airport) and drive the three hours to Steamboat.  The best drive you will ever take is I70 West and onto US40 – both are gorgeous! This drive takes you through the most unbelievable scenery. Three things you must do: Take 170 during the day (it has been voted the most scenic route in the US multiple times!) Paper, Scissor, Rocks – the loser has to drive. (Views, as stated, are WOW. I had a hard time staying on the road while site seeing. My attention was certainly challenged by mountains majesty and winding, sloping roads.) Rent a car with SYNC and bring your music list (there are no music stations for 80% of the drive). Tip……bring “The Cello Song” by Steven Sharp Nelson and play it after you are 90 or so minutes out [...]

Mad, Mad, Madeline

By Bill Bisanz | Apostle Islands She’s beautiful, mysterious, and elusive. And she would drive most mad if you had to live with her year-round. Madeline Island, the largest and only permanently inhabited of the Apostle islands is a 13-mile island set off the Bayfield peninsula on Lake Superior. My first visit was nearly 10-years ago when I chartered a sailboat just two weeks after receiving my basic certification. It took me two days of what felt-like death defying maneuvers before I was brave enough to take on all three miles of the protected waters of the channel between Bayfield and Madeline. Our sojourn was just one night. We docked at a transient slip in the Madeline Island Yacht Club, walked into town, had dinner at what seemed like only restaurant serving dinner (which is no longer there) and retired to the boat for a night of floating slumber. Even after such a small taste, I had a sense that Madeline could be, if given an appropriate amount of time and attention, a truelove. Little did I know how right I was. This summer I spent two weeks on the island. Oddly, most of that time was without cell-phone coverage. [...]

Mountains and Moose and Bears, Oh My!

By Jeanne Larson | Jackson Hole, WY It was a long October weekend, and we had decided to head to Jackson Hole. My family and I love to ski, so although it wasn’t the season, we viewed this as a good scouting expedition. The car trip from Minnesota across South Dakota was pretty uneventful, until we crossed the Missouri River. The terrain suddenly became more sculpted and hinted of mountains. The four of us arrived in Jackson at night, picked up a few goodies for the next day, and made our way through intermittent fog several miles along the Snake River to Teton Village, the slope-side hamlet of Jackson Hole Mountain. The carved wooden bear at the front door welcomed us and confirmed we had made it to Bear Paw Lodge. When morning came, I was anxious to see the surroundings. I looked out of the floor to ceiling great room windows to a gorgeous view of Sleeping Indian Mountain, when some movement in the foreground caught my eye. A lone moose was munching tall grass about 100 feet away on a neighboring rise. Teton Village was an easy walk from Bear Paw, and the weather was crisp and clear, [...]

Paris by Sail

By John Pollack | Paris John Pollack is an accomplished author and journalist who won the 1995 O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships and was a Presidential Speechwriter for Bill Clinton. Earlier, he worked as a foreign correspondent in Spain, as a field assistant in Antarctica, and as a strolling violinist on Mackinac Island. You can learn more about his adventures in his books The Pun Also Rises and Cork Boat. For those hoping to see Paris by boat, there is no shortage of willing vessels. Most common are the Seine’s long, glass-enclosed tour boats that – glittering with the flash of a thousand cameras – slip through nighttime waters past the ancient towers of Notre Dame. For those with a few more sous in their pockets, luxurious private yachts await at the Arsenal Port La Bastille marina, on the Right Bank, not far from the site of the fearsome prison whose storming came to symbolize the French Revolution. And if a more bohemian experience is what you seek, some of the old houseboats that tie up along the Left Bank will even rent you a bunk for a night, though these colorful barges rarely, if ever, leave their stone quais. [...]

A Zest for Global Living Experiences

By Jeanne Larson | Madrid, Mexico I was lucky to spend three weeks traveling throughout central Mexico with my family as a child. That trip was the beginning of a strong attraction to other cultures and a zest for global living experiences that have transcended my life. I headed to Europe after business school, determined to begin an international career in Spain where I had a rudimentary knowledge of the language and had studied at different points. After a sales career in Madrid, opportunities led me to Buenos Aires, and later Mexico City. When it was logically time to settle down, my husband, who I met in Mexico and who relishes other cultures as much as I do, and I uprooted again to live in Europe for a few years. Our two children were born there, one in Barcelona, the other in Fontainebleau outside of Paris. Now back in Minnesota, and living with my family on the farm where I grew up, I look forward to every opportunity to work with owners who wish to share their special home and its local culture with guests.

Yoga On the Road: Barcelona, Paris & NYC

By Bill Bisanz | Paris, New York On a recent trip to three of my all-time favorite places I practiced yoga…everywhere. Normally my trips, whether for work or pleasure (this was both), are a departure from my normal routine. For sure travel is meant to be a break from the ordinary but why miss out on the extraordinary parts of the ordinary just because we’re on the road. With this in mind I set out to maintain some of the same practices that help me feel happy and balanced when I’m at home in St. Paul, e.g., yoga, exercise, meditation and food. Yoga was the easiest of these to integrate into the jam-packed days of big-city travel and exploration. Waking up at 6 or 7 and going to bed at mid-night or later and in between meandering around these magnificent urban cathedrals, yoga is a great way to stay balanced while integrating so many new experiences. In Barcelona, I practiced yoga in two studios – Yoga Studio Barcelona (www.yogastudio.es) and Happy Yoga (www.happyyoga.com) both located adjacent to the Placa Universitat about a five minute walk from Placa Catalunya. I would very much recommend both of these studios. For those of [...]

Where the Real Magic Is

By Alex Bisanz | Steamboat Springs For a lot of people, Steamboat Springs means skiing, hot chocolate, and winter fun. And in their defense, the skiing truly is fantastic – and kids ski for free! But for the select few that have had the privilege to experience the hot springs, that’s where the real magic is. The hot springs were actually what gave Steamboat Springs its name – before construction quieted the springs, they made noises like a steamboat coming down the river. We really wanted to take advantage of the Hot Springs during our stay in Steamboat, and had two very different options to take try while we were there. The larger of the two springs is the Old Town Hot Springs in the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Center. Located in the heart of downtown, the facility is open to the public and features eight hot springs pools. This is a great kid-friendly option, with water slides, climbing features, and more of a “water-park” feel. There is also a locker room, snack bar and fitness center, which makes it easy to change and store all of your stuff. My personal favorite, however, was the Strawberry Park Springs. About [...]