Picture a stay in an elegant 16th-century Tuscan villa in the luxurious style of Renaissance nobility, but with all of today’s modern conveniences. Imagine a setting overlooking vineyards with views of majestic mountains. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it? To that picture, add convenient access to the fascinating medieval city of Lucca and many top sites in the region and you have Villa Buonvisi…
Southwestern Montana evokes visions of bison, cowboys, and vast landscapes, and that has always held an exciting appeal for me on the occasions I’ve traversed the state on road trips. Although a big part of its makeup and well-known allure, that’s not all that Big Sky Country has to offer as Mr. TWS and I recently learned.
Did you know that there are nine miles of culture and history with sculptures, paintings, other art, and religious and historical relics in the Vatican Museums, including their most famous attraction — the Sistine Chapel? It’s impossible to take it all in during one visit.
Rome: The Eternal City — How do you begin to take in 2,500 years of civilization during a short visit?
With only three nights to spend on our first visit to Rome, we needed to figure out how to make the most of our time in order to see the major sites, and yet be able to wander and explore on our own.
When I think of Tuscany, I picture the wonderful food and wine of the region with a backdrop of a golden afternoon sun on beautiful vistas of vineyards, olive groves and green hills. Anticipating our trip there, I hoped to have an experience that this picture epitomized and from our first welcome to the day we said goodbye, my expectations were met.
By Mr. TWS — On our June visit to Montana, we experienced many highlights, some well-known, and others that were surprises. As I anticipated our short trip and the great itinerary with a variety of locations, interesting food and drink, and diverse activities, horseback riding seemed especially appropriate for enjoying the natural beauty of the area.
Tuscan hospitality, lifestyle, flavors, and scenery came together for us at the Tuscany villa La Fattoria near Lucca.
A week in northern Tuscany is not nearly enough time to gain anything but a preliminary knowledge of the region, even if just focusing on its northern part. However, it’s enough to feel the pull it has on the hearts of visitors and understand why residents are so proud of their home. It was also enough time for us to experience some wonderful activities that we can recommend for your future visits.
As picturesque vineyards, brilliant lavender fields, and lively festivals are attracting tourists to Provence for the spring and summer peak season, I’m reflecting on our wonderful visit there in December and particularly the Vaucluse area in the northwestern part of the region.
Sometimes the recipe for a special evening is created in a surprising and exceptional way. French flavors, California wine, charming hosts, new friends, and a remarkable venue provided the ingredients for our lovely evening in Santa Rosa, California hosted by Fallot Mustard and DeLoach Vineyards.
By Mr. TWS — Sweeney loves Paris. I do too, but I really love seeing Sweeney so happy there. Someday, we will need to figure a way to spend a month — or longer. These are some of her favorite things to do on our last trip.
The third day of our busy Provence trip brought us to Aix-en-Provence. As soon as we arrived on this weekday morning in December, we noticed the bustling, upbeat vibe of the city as people were shopping the markets, strolling the streets, and socializing in cafés.
“Marseille is a way of life”. It’s the playing of pétanque (similar to bocce), the imbibing of pastis (an anise liqueur developed in Marseille as a substitute for the banned absinthe in 1915), the savoring of Bouillabaisse (for which Marseille is famous), and a certain “joie de vivre”. It is also a way of life that embraces the diversity of this melting pot on the Mediterranean and its rich culture, history, and art — giving an ample number of reasons for its designation as a 2013 European Capital of Culture.
“Qu’a vist Paris, se noun a vist Cassis, pou dire: n’ai rèn vist,”
“He who has seen Paris and who has not seen Cassis can say … I have seen nothing.” Frédéric Mistral (1830 – 1914), beloved Provençal poet and Nobel Prize laureate
After just a few hours in this village on the Mediterranean coast, I began to understand.
El Dorado County is just a two hour drive from my house and yet I had no idea that it was a gold mine of a getaway.
By Mr. TWS — Sweeney and I love to go to Lake Tahoe, usually to ski or enjoy a summer break. Since it’s only a bit more than three hours’ drive from our home in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ve been there many times. This time, there were a few firsts that we enjoyed.
There’s no blooming lavender in sight. The Cavaillon melons won’t be ripe until summer, and the waters of the Mediterranean are a little chilly for swimming.
There are still many reasons to visit Provence in the off-season as we discovered on our trip in December.
It was the beginning of a three-day getaway weekend that first took us east over the Carson Range of the Sierra Nevada mountains and into Carson Valley, Nevada for a quick introduction to what the area has to offer.
Cone-topped circular stone buildings (trulli), ancient cities on hilltops, white sand beaches, brilliant blue sea water, and olive groves galore – those are just a few of the sights you’ll see traveling the Puglia region of Italy on a road trip.
Glamorous, smart, and sophisticated — that’s how I’ve thought of my Aunt Vi, my dad’s sister, ever since I was a young girl. Her time as an air hostess with TWA represented a lifestyle of travel that I yearned for even as a grade school student.
It’s not a secret that I fell in love with the Emilia-Romagna and Puglia regions of Italy last year. As in Puglia, in Emilia-Romagna we met many wonderful people who were friendly, helpful, and very understanding of our extremely limited Italian language skills. Now I want to highlight some of the things you can do when you visit Emilia-Romagna to make it special for you, too.
From the land and the sea, Nova Scotia is a treasure chest of epicurean bounty. For me, that bounty included several first-time experiences and a few surprises.
Lunenburg is one of the most photogenic small towns I’ve visited in North America.
Road trip, food, wine… count me in! I love being behind the wheel heading down highways, new or familiar, and experiencing local food and wine along the way. So I was excited about a culinary trip in the South Shore and Bay of Fundy/Annapolis Valley regions of Nova Scotia
It was a whirlwind of a day trip to Ferrara, Italy from our base in Verucchio. We started out early for our 2-hour drive to Ferrara, 90 miles to the north (about 30 miles from Bologna). We left the driving to our Italian blogger friend, Alessandra Catania…
Cabernet Sauvignon, the red wine for which Napa Valley is especially famous, is Mr. TWS’s favorite wine. Cabernets from this famous Northern California wine region have a distinct cachet and are spoken of with respect in many of the world’s wine regions where first-class Cabernets are produced.
After several visits to Kauai, Maui, Molokai and the Big Island of Hawaii, I finally had a chance to visit Oahu, the most populated of the Hawaiian islands and home to the state capital of Honolulu.
Almost any day in California’s Napa Valley is a good day, even in the winter when the vines that cover so much of the region are bare. The scenery is still beautiful and the fresh air is rejuvenating. And if you know where to look, there are special Napa tours and experiences …
Visiting Prague you easily see why it is often called, “The Golden City of 100 Spires” — it is lustrous by day and radiant at night with a myriad of spires prominent on the city’s many churches and towers.
Just nine months after our first visit to Budapest, I was compelled to go back, longing to revisit Budapest highlights we experienced before and to check out others that we had missed.
For the past few years, I’ve really looked forward to publishing my special TWS Mother’s Day edition. I’m always impressed with the variety of contributions and the perspectives that the writers chose. Each amusing, poignant, or insightful memory is special and touching in the sentiment it represents. I hope that you’ll love these stories and photos as much as I do.