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.
Before heading off to France in December, Mr. TWS and I considered the options for staying connected while we were away. More than needing phone coverage, we’d need plenty of internet access for browsing the web and posting to social media. We decided to try the XCOM Global Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot for the 10 days we’d be in Paris and Provence.