Imagine reading a great travel article and thinking to yourself, “I wish I could use this article as a guide while I’m traveling…”
If you have access to the internet, you could always bookmark the article and go to the website again. But more often than not, you’d rather not use up data to access the internet. And you might not even have a cell phone plan for the country you are visiting. Besides, just reading through the article again will remind you of the places you wanted to visit — that well-reviewed restaurant or that popular beach — but you’d still have to stop and look up the directions to find it.
There’s a much better way! Use a GPS-guided travel article. This is a travel article that has GPS coordinates embedded in the article and a map of the route the author described in his/her article. Once this app is downloaded to your phone, you will not need any internet to use the article as a guide. It will show you right where you are on the map and guide you to each subsequent location!
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve partnered with GPSmyCity to convert my travel posts into apps. You can download these apps for free, or pay for an upgrade to guide you wherever you are in the world!
What Are GPSMyCity Article Apps?
GPSMyCity produces city walk apps for over 750 cities across the world. The walks may be general (like “San Francisco’s Highlights”), or thematic (such as the “Murray Hill Architecture Walk” in New York). They use GPS tracking on your iPhone to chart your progress around the route and to make sure you don’t get lost. Many of the city apps now have links to articles covering different aspects of the area, including places of interest, restaurants and shops.
Each article is an individual app which you can download for free. This allows you to access the article offline, meaning that you can read it on the airplane, or while following a walk, even if you don’t have internet access. There is also the option to upgrade for a small fee ($1.99). This assists with your travel planning by providing an offline map showing the points of interest. And it links the app to GPS, so that when you are actually in the city you can get a route to the places mentioned in the article.
As a bonus (and to introduce you to how great this concept is), GPSMyCity is offering free upgrades of my most popular travel articles in the GPSmyCity directory for 1 week starting Monday, January 30th until Sunday, February 5th. You can access GPS-guided travel articles two different ways:
- Click on a link below for the article you are interested in (if you haven’t already downloaded the free GPSmyCity app, you will see a prompt to do so). After downloading the app, you will be directed to the article, where you can choose UPGRADE to get the GPS-guided version.
- From the GPSmyCity app, you can browse by city to see which articles are available.
You can download any article for free or upgrade for offline GPS-guided use. Happy travels!
Dubai, the glittering gem of the Middle East, is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf and is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. In 2012, Dubai was proclaimed the 22nd most expensive city in the world and the most expensive city in the Middle East. Known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture and lively nightscene, the opulence and extravagance of the city is apparent everywhere you go and begins from the moment you step foot in the magnificent Dubai airport. Endless skyscraper and development projects are continually ongoing and constantly transforming the Dubai skyline. The city hosts the Dubai Shopping Festival every year as well as the annual Dubai International Film Festival and Dubai Food Festival.
Best time to visit…
The best time to visit Dubai is between November and March, although Dubai is ALWAYS scorching so it’s either hot or hotter! The weather is beautiful with blue skies in the winter but these are also the peak months which means greater crowds and higher prices.
Situated midway between the Far East and Europe and an equal distance from Londong and Beijing, Dubai is a trek. It’s well worth the trip but be prepare for a lengthy travel day! Less than an eight-hour flight away from most major destinations in Asia, Africa, Europe and Russia and with a superb network of roads and highways, Dubai is easily accessible by air, land and sea. Emirates Airlines has a great direct 16-hour flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Dubai International Airport. Be sure to take advantage of the extended Dubai layover deal that Emirates Airlines offers – a great (and FREE) way to see Dubai if you’re traveling to the Middle East. Upon arrival at Dubai International Airport, Downtown Dubai is merely a 20 minute taxi ride away!
Where to stay…
There are a multitude of options as it relates to lodging Dubai that stretch from Jumeriah Beach to Downtown Dubai and all around and in between. On artificial islands just offshore is Atlantis & The Palm, a resort with water and marine-animal parks. My favorite place to stay is the luxuriously modern Nassima Royal Hotel in the heart of Downtown Dubai with its stunning views over Dubai and more than reasonable prices. Located on Sheikh Zayed Road, the 51-story hotel offers a great pool outdoor rooftop pool, kids center and fabulous restaurants, bars and nightclub. Ask for a room with a view of Dubai’s iconic skyscraper, Burj Khalifa!
Nassima Royal (5-Star, Downtown Dubai)
Plot 49 Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Centre District
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 4 3080000
For the ultimate in luxury, the Armani Hotel Dubai, envisioned by fashion icon Girogio Armani, occupies 11 floors of Burj Khalifa and has a private entrance, direct access to the Dubai Mall and 7 restaurants to choose from!
Armani Hotel Dubai (5-Star, Downtown Dubai)
Lobby Level, Burj Khalifa
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 4 888 3888
If you’re looking to stay near the water and to pay a pretty penny, you’ll recognize the famous Burj Al Arab hotel with its striking sail-shaped building set on an island…arguably the most luxurious hotel in the world. The hotel offers suite-only accommodation, 9 world-class restaurants and bars, 5 swimming pools (3 outdoor and 2 indoor), a private beach, free breakfast buffet, complimentary access to Wild Wadi Waterpark and a private reception on every floor.
Burj Al Arab (7-Star, Jumeriah Beach)
3 شارع جميرة
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 4 301 7777
A weekend in….Dubai
Once you’ve settled into your hotel, head over to check out the Bur Khalifa…the tallest building in the world standing at 2,722 feet! Aside from being one of the most spectacular sights in the world, the Burj Khalifa also features two observation decks (one of which is the highest in the world), sky lobbies, swimming pools, the world’s highest nightclub and the world’s highest restaurant. The first 15 floors of the structure are the luxurious Armani hotel and further up the tower are apartments, corporate offices and observatories.
The Burj is a towering symbol of Dubai’s opulence with its Neo-futurist design and that’s evident in the hefty price tag to visit the building. You must have a ticket or a reservation to enter and visit the Burj. If you’d like to make a reservation at Al Mahara, the iconic seafood restaurant within the Burj with a floor-to-ceiling aquarium, be prepared to pay a pretty penny as the average price for two with a bottle of wine is approximately $600! Another alternative (still not cheap but slightly better) is to make a reservation for afternoon tea at At.mosphere on the 123rd floor and enjoy high tea with bird’s-eye views. There are two observation decks (lower outdoor observation deck At The Top on the 124th floor and indoor deck At The Top Sky on the 148th floor) and ticket prices will vary depending on which deck you choose and the time of day. The best time to visit the Burj Khalifa is just before sunset. If you arrive early enough, you can take pictures from the top during the daylight hours, through sunset and dusk then into the evening. Tickets for the sunset hours (5:30 pm to 6:30 pm) increase by AED 75 or around $20 so it’s recommended that you purchase a 5:00 pm ticket if you just plan on spending a couple hours at the top. Sunrise tickets are available from 5:30 am on Fridays and Saturdays only. Make sure to make arrangements in advance as tickets for the Burj purchased on the spot can cost 75% more!
After visiting the Burj, skip on next door to The Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world (by total area) with 1,200 shops and over 13 million square feet! It also has a 250-room luxury hotel, 22 cinema screens along with 120 restaurants and cafes. You cannot miss the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and its 300+ species of marine animals, including sharks and rays while you are at the mall. Wander through the aquarium’s 270-degree acrylic walk-through tunnel where you can see the underwater animals up close. The Underwater Zoo is located above the aquarium and features penguins, crocodiles, piranhas, giant spider crabs, water rats, sea horses, jellyfish and more! If you’re feeling active, take a spin at the olympic-size Dubai Ice Rink…the go-to place for ice skating in Dubai. The rink offers professional ice skating lessons as well as lessons for figure skating, ice hockey, Disco and Mega Skate sessions. Kids will also find hours of entertainment at SEGA Republic, a 76,000 square foot indoor theme park dedicated to SEGA’s Sonic the Hedgehog, and KidZania, an award-winning children’s ‘edutainment’ concept that features an 80,000 square foot mini-city that combines play with learning! To check out Ski Dubai, the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park), head over to the nearby Mall of the Emirates with its 630+ retail outlets and 500-seat capacity Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre and Magic planet (one of the largest indoor family entertainment centers in Dubai).
The Dubai Mall (Downtown Dubai)
Financial Centre Road
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+800 38224 6255
Mall of the Emirates (Downtown Dubai)
Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 4 409 9000
Upon leaving the Dubai Mall, you can’t miss The Dubai Fountain Show, the world’s largest choreographed fountain system set on the 30-acre manmade Burj Khalifa Lake at the center of the Downtown Dubai development. Illuminated by 6,600 lights and 25 colored projectors, it is 275 meters long and shoots water up to 500 feet into the air accompanied by a range of world music. It’s truly a magnificent sight to see! Performances take place at 1:00 pm and at 1:30 pm as well as every 30 minutes from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm on weekdays and until 11:00 pm on the weekends (Thursday, Friday and Saturday).
For the freshest fish and an experience in itself, try the seafood at Bu Qtar Fish Restaurant for dinner after a long day. Featured in CNN Travel and shortlisted by Foodie Hub as one of Dubai’s Essential Eats, this restaurant requires more than an hour longwait to even place an order! The menu consists of 5 menu items and is definitely a no frills joint with plastic stools and plastic tables out front of the restaurant. Crispy fried fish, spicy shrimp, Malabari fish curry …whatever you order will be marinated in a mildly-spicy seasoning before being friend and served rice or paratha and curry sauce!
Bu Qtair Fish Resaurant (Jumeirah Road)
4 D Street Al Sufouh
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 55 705 2130
Beach day! Set out to discover the glorious Jumeriah Beach with its stretches of soft white sand and crystal clear blue waters. Jumeriah Beach islocated and named after the Jumeriah district of Dubai, on the coast of the Persian Gulf. If you’re lucky enough to stay at one of Jumeriah’s hotels like the opulent seven-star Burj Al Arab, you’ll have private beaches with waters sports. Otherwise, you’ll be able to enjoy Jumeriah Beach Park, the public portion of the beach buzzing with action with people playing beach games, jet-skiing, picknicking, jogging, sunbathing and swimming in the warm Gulf waters.
After spending the day in the hot Dubai sun, get ready to explore the Dubai desert at sunset. After researching countless tour companies and itineraries we decided that the evening night safari with Desert Safari Dubai was the best bang for our buck and incorporated everything we wanted to do in the desert! They pick you up at your hotel around 4pm and take you on the 40 minute drive out to the desert. Upon arriving in the desert, the driver releases the air out of the tires of your vehicle and takes you on the thrilling experience of dune bashing up and down the miles of mountainous sand dunes. Your stomach will drop and you’re unsure whether you’re in a vehicle or a roller coaster…an experience of a lifetime!
After dune bashing, you’ll head to camp where you’ll be able to take a short ride on a camel (great photo opportunity) and ride quad bikes or sand boards for an additional charge. They also offer henna painting, shisha smoking, and traditional attire for you to wear for pictures. The highlight of the night is the belly dancing and fire dancing show performed while you enjoy a buffet dinner and BBQ underneath the stars! You’ll head back at your hotel once the evening concludes around 9:00 pm.
Desert Safari Dubai
Wake up and stroll around the Dubai Marina, the famous artificial canal city built along a two-mile stretch of Persian Gulf shoreline. When the entire development is complete, it will be the world’s largest man-made marina and will accommodate more than 120,000 people in residential towers and villas. The Dubai Marina walk is a 7 km long pedestrian walkway that runs around from the start of Dubai Marina until the end of Dubai Marina with cafes and restaurants along the waterfront. Phase I has already been completed and Phase II will consist of high rise buildings, which are mainly clustered into a block, known as “Tallest Block in the world”. The Dubai Marina Mall, the shopping mall located in the center of Dubai Marina, features 140 retail outlets spread over 390,000 square feet of gross leasable space consisting of shops, a supermarket, an entertainment area for children and a six-screen Reel Cinemas.
If you’re a shopper and in the market for amazing knock-offs, be sure to stop by The Karama Market…Dubai’s number one market for replicas. For the good stuff, you’ll be taken into a secret room or upstairs. Make sure you do your research what kind of items you want beforehand and be sure to bargain, bargain and BARGAIN!
The Karama Market (Downtown)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 50 000 0000
Before you leave Dubai, experience excellent and genuine Pakistani food in a local neighborhood restaurant. Although small, Ravi’s has garnered quite a gobal reputation and is well-known to be Craig David’s favorite restaurant in Dubai. The curry here is out of the world! The staff doesn’t speak much English, but they will tell you what menu items are good to order. Try the Chicken Jalfrezi, Lamb Green Masala and Paneer Butter, yum!
Ravi Restaurant (Al Satwa Rd)
Shop 245, Al Dhiyafa Rd, Satwa
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 4 331 5353
Panda’s Tips for Dubai:
- Dubai’s laws concerning sexuality morality restrict public and private acts and kissing in certain places is illegal and can result in deportation.
- Adult non-Muslims are allowed to consume alcohol in licensed venues but restaurants outside of hotels in Dubai are typically not permitted to sell alcohol so alcohol is hard to come by (your best bet is a hotel bar) and therefore pricey!
- Women typically wear the “Abaya”, a long black robe with a hijab (head-scarf which covers the neck and part of the head) and men can be seen wearing the “Kandurah” (long white robe) and headscarf but the dress code is not compulsory and many people wear western clothing wihout any problems as long as clothing is not indecent.
These are hands down my favorite donuts in the entire world. Unlike the sugar headaches I inevitably get from “regular” donuts, I can devour these suckers guiltlessly with the only consequence being a big ol’ protein boost. If you don’t already have a donut pan, it is definitely worth the investment for a future filled with these fluffy chocolate-y treats. The trick to making these donuts is to be patient to make sure they cool at each step before glazing and after glazing – pop them in the fridge to speed the process up! Enjoy these donuts for breakfast, with a cup of steaming coffee or for a mid-afternoon snack!
- 1 ¼ cup almond flour
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup, grade B
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ¾ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 2 eggs, separated
- ¾ cup dark chocolate
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 6-mold donut pan with coconut oil.
- Combine almond flour and baking soda in large bowl.
- Combine maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, coconut oil and egg yolks (set aside the egg whites) in a separate medium bowl.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and set aside.
- Whisk the egg whites together until firm peaks form then fold egg whites into the batter.
- Distribute the batter evenly between the 6 molds.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden then allow the donuts to cool.
- Microwave the dark chocolate and the coconut oil together in a glass bowl for 15 seconds at a time until melted, stirring in between.
- Use a knife to “frost” each donut then chill in the refrigerator until the glaze hardens.
Another one of my crock pot favorites! This meat comes out so tender that you won’t even need a knife to eat it…and it’s done by the time you get home for dinner with only minutes of prep. If you’re a veggie lover, throw in baby carrots, onions, celery and potatoes into the mix for a complete meal! If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can roast the meat in the oven at 325 degrees F for about 2 to 3 hours until the meat is tender. Chuck (the type of cut) is rather tough having come from the shoulder and neck area which means a long, slow cooking time is preferable to make it deliciously tender.
- 1 2 pound boneless chuck roast
- ½ tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- Make the rub for the roast by combining paprika, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
- Evenly pat the rub on all sides of the roast.
- Brown the roast on both sides in a skillet on medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Mix together beef broth, balsamic vinegar and minced garlic in a small bowl.
- Place roast in the crock pot and add broth mixture.
- Cover and cook for 8 hours on low (or 4 hours on high).
Antigua, also knows as Waladli by the native population, is a breathtaking Caribbean island in the West Indies and the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. The island is relatively small with a circumference of roughly 54 miles which can easily be explored in a day. Beyond its breathtaking white sand beaches, Antigua’s English Harbour and its neighbouring village of Falmouth are internationally famous as a yachting and sailing destination center and hosts the annual world-class regatta during Antigua Sailing week at the end of April and beginning of May.
Best time to visit…
The best time to visit Antigua is May to November, the island’s off-season. You’ll find lower than usual rates and although there is a slight threat of hurricanes, the weather is more than likely always above 80 degrees. There is less chance of rain between December and April but rates are expensive and the crowds abundant. A little fleeting tropical rain never hurt anyone…especially your wallet!
You’ll want to fly into VC Bird International Airport (ANU), approximately 5 miles east of St. John’s. 1,325 miles southeast of Miami, many US airlines offer connections to VC Bird from the continental United States. Americans arriving in Antigua receive a six-month tourist stamp so visas are not required. However, immigration officials may verify a return ticket or ticket of onward travel along with sufficient funds for the entire period of stay.
Where to stay…
We stayed at the amazing all-inclusive Galley Bay resort overlooking the beautiful Galley Bay surrounded by tropical greenery. The Galley Bay resort is located directly on the beach with airy and colorful rooms that look out onto the crystal clear Caribbbean water. If you want a change of pace from the breathtaking beach (although not sure how you could), the resort also has a lagoon-style pool surrounded by palm trees and hammock, a chic spa, tennis court and an exercise room. With 4 restaurants and 4 bars, all with sea views, you definitely will not go hungry or thirsty here! We devoured the finger licking good glazed barbecue chicken and roasted corn on the cob for lunch at the Gauguin beach restaurant every day we stayed there – pure heaven!
Galley Bay Resort (4- star)
Five Islands Village, St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda
A weekend in…Antigua
For adventure seekers and nature lovers, Antigua won’t be complete without making a trip to Stingray City! Antigua’s Southern Rays are without doubt the brightest rays in the Caribbean, friendly and gentle. Touch and feed a Stingray while you swim and snorkel amongst them above magnificent coral reefs and colorful tropical fish. Stingray City is on Mercer’s Creek Bay in Seatons in eastern Antigua, off the road to Long Bay. Numerous tour packages are offered and a swim with the Stingrays will cost you around USD $50.
If you forget that SPF and get a little suburn that requires a break from the sun, head to the beautifully restored naval dockyard that was once the home of the British fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. Nelson’s Dockyard is a site to see and also part of Nelson’s Dockyard National Park which also contains Clarence House and Shirley Heights. A cultural heritage site and marina in Englkyardish Harbour, Nelson’s Dockyard is home to Antigua’s sailing and yachting events. In 1889, the Royal Navy abandoned the Dockyard and it fell into decay. The Society of the Friends of English Harbour began restoration in 1951 and a decade later, it was opened to the public. Among the original buildings are two hotels, a museum, craft and food shops, restaurants, and a large marina. Hiking trails radiate across the surrounding national park. Nelson’s Dockyard is open daily from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. The cost of admission is $8 USD and includes a guided tour as well as entry to all sites including Shirley Heights and Dow’s Hill. Tours do not run on Sundays.
Once you’re finished at the Dockyard head up to check out the incredible view from Shirley Heights (490 feet above the ground) that overlooks the English and Falmouth Harbours and boasts the best view in Antigua! The view is especially spectacular at sunset when the English Harbour is all lit up. Shirley Heights Lookout also hosts a Sunday Barbecue party that starts at 4:00 pm with reggae music and a mouth watering barbecue that goes until 10:00 pm. Get your groove on while overlooking beautiful Antigua and experiencing some of the island’s finest bands.
While the actual town of St. John is probably not where you’ll want to spend most of your time, it’s worth seeing if you are renting a car and driving around the island. A few other notable stops you must make are to Valley Church Beach with it’s quiet white sand just south of Jolly Harbour, the Devil’s Bridge to see the dramatic natural limestone arch, and Half Moon Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in Antigua! The island is known for its collection of 365 sugar-white sand beaches so you will not run out of beautiful beaches to explore!
So it’s pretty easy to eat healthy for meals but what about snacking? How boring does a bowl of grapes get during your mid-afternoon slump when all you want is a salty, crispy XL bag of potato chips?! Forget the carbs, sodium and fat…I present to you…kale “chips”. Essentially you’re just eating veggies while curbing the craving for something crunchy and salty. Just don’t go too crazy on the salt! If you’re feeling really feisty, try adding some paprika, cayenne or lemon pepper. Whatever your seasoning of preference will do the trick. Low calorie, delicious and nutritious…a triple threat!
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with tinfoil.
- Tear the kale into bite size pieces, wash and thoroughly dry.
- Lay the kale on the baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, garlic salt and pepper.
- Bake until the edges brown (10 to 15 minutes).
Pesto, pesto, pesto…pesto everything! Nothing beats the taste of FRESH homemade pesto and I can’t believe how easy it is to make. It’s not a bad idea to make a big batch of it and keep it in the fridge or freezer to add a dollop of it to anything you’re cooking and instantly pesto-fy it! My absolute favorite – make your classic morning breakfast scramble then add a few teaspoons of fresh pesto and your boring breakfast is now a treat! This pesto shrimp dish is a surefire appetizer pleaser…non-paleo eaters can serve on crostinis (for paleo eaters a toothpick should suffice)!
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 3 tbp garlic, chopped (around 9 cloves)
- 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cup olive oil
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan (or Jane’s Healthy Kitchen’s Vegan Parmesan Cheese)
- 2 pounds of jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Place the pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and process for 10-15 second.
- Add the basil leaves, salt and black pepper and pulse.
- Slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl and process until smooth.
- Add the parmesan cheese and process for an additional minute.
- Set aside pesto sauce in the fridge or freezer for later use.
- To make the shrimp, toss 6 tablespoon of pesto sauce to coat the shrimp (or enough to fully cover to your liking).
- Let the shrimp it at room temperature and marinate for 30 minutes.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and sautee chopped garlic for 1 minute.
- Pour the shrimp in and cook, stirring frequently, until shrimp is bright pink and opaque (approximately 5 minutes).
- Mix in desired amount of pesto to coat shrimp to your liking and serve!
This post (like all the others lately) is a bit delayed but I wanted to have a memory of our fabulous trip to the Park City snow! Park City is a beautiful scenic mountain community filled with activities, award winning restaurants, a lively action-packed calendar – in addition to its two world-class resorts Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort. Considered part of the Wasatch Batch, Park City is a mere 32 miles southeast of downtown Salt Lake City and hosts the famous Sundance Film Festival every year where the streets are lined with celebrities and transformed with pop up shops and parties!
If you’re a skier, you’ll be in heaven at Deer Valley Resort that revolutionized the ski industry by being the first North American ski resort to provide the first-class service comparable to a five-star hotel with a variety of lodging, an award-winning ski school and 300 annual inches of powder snow along with state-of-the-art snow making. If you’re a snowboarder, Park City Mountain Resort will be more up your alley. The resort combined with neighboring Canyons Resort in July 2015, creating one powerhouse ski/snowboard resort encompassing 7,300 acres, 300+ trails, 38 lifts, seven terrain parks, 14 bowls, six natural half pipes, one super pipe and one mini pipe. Non-skiers and snowboarders can ride the Quicksilver Gondola for a killer view!
Deer Valley Resort
2250 Deer Valley Drive South
Park City, UT 84060
Park City Mountain Resort
1310 Lowell Ave
Park City, UT 84060
The adventure lovers out there will love visiting the Utah Olympic Park to experience Utah’s Olympic legacy! Guided tours of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games venue are available daily and you can explore both the George Eccles 2002 Olympc Games Museum and Interactive Alf Engen Ski Museum. The Park is a year-round U.S. Olympic training site for athletes of all ages training for Nordic Ski Jumping, Freestyle Skiing, Bobsled, Skeleton and Luge. You can even take the ride on the Winter Comet Bobsled and experience what it is like to fly down the Olympic track in a bobsled!
Utah Olympic Park
3419 Olympic Parkway
Park City, UT 84098
We got lucky and had fresh snow on the ground and blue skies for our day on the mountain (especially appreciated after getting skunked the last few years at our local mountain). We had a great day journeying from Park City to Canyons and back and getting some quality time with everyone on the ski lifts. We didn’t stop all day and it’s safe to say I couldn’t move by the last run, a sign of a successful snowboarding day!
After a long day of snowboarding (or skiing), THE spot for apres ski is no doubt No Name Saloon and Grill, Park City’s oldest and most popular bar. The signature red-brick saloon with pub grub on Main Street features killer bison burgers and an extensive beer and whiskey menu. Come for a drink on your way off the mountain or dance the night away!
No Name Saloon and Grill
447 Main St
Park City, UT 84060
Beer lovers will also love Wasatch Brew Pub at the top of Main Street. A local favorite since 1989, Wasatch became Park City’s first brewery, since prohibition, in 1986. Wasatch was one of the first craft brewers in all of the U.S. and continues to brew award winning beers year after year. Their pulled pork sandwich is also crave worthy!
Wasatch Brew Pub
250 Main St
Park City, UT 84060
If you’re a whiskey fan, don’t miss High West Distillery and Saloon, Utah’s first distillery since the 1870’s and the only ski-in gastro-distillery in the world. Located at the bottom of Quittin’ Time ski run and next to the Town Lift, this intimate gathering spot serves small plates of nouveau Western fare and of course their own small-batch, mountain-crafted, award-winning whiskeys and vodkas!
High West Saloon
703 Park Ave
Park City, UT 84060
The shopping on historic Main Street in Park City is second to none. Whether you’re in the market for a new fur mankini or merely just window shopping, Main Street is home to every type of store you can imagine. From the latest fashion trends to unique art galleries from local artists, you can browse for hours with pit stops for a delicious cappuccino or cocktail in between! The Red Velvet Mocha at Atticus Coffee Books & Teahouse is to die for and they have thousands of used books to browse along with eclectic gifts and souvenirs. Too cute!
Atticus Coffee Books & Teahouse
738 Main St
Park City, UT 84060
This first post of the year comes to you complements of my brand new gold MacBook! Santa was nice to me, I sure am a lucky girl. This year I’m thankful for all of the exciting events coming up in my life, all my travels…and for the invention of the CROCK POT! Yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – thank god for the creation of this one stop shop for a gourmet dinner with absolutely no effort whatsoever (besides pushing the “on” button). Season the meat before you go to work in the morning and dinner is ready by the time you get home! Pork is always a great alternative to the typical chicken that I’m used to serving almost every night. Tender, juicy and flavorful, you can top this pork with my paleo barbecue sauce or enjoy it as is!
- 3-4 lb pork shoulder
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- ½ tsp liquid smoke
- Season both sides of the pork shoulder with salt and black pepper.
- In a small bowl, mix together paprika, chili powder, garlic powder and cumin.
- Massage the seasoning into both sides of the pork until fully coated.
- Place pork into crock pot and sprinkle a layer of garlic on top.
- Combine liquid smoke with chicken broth and pour over the pork.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours and serve!
Having grown up and lived in California my whole life, I’m not exactly sure how it’s possible that I’ve never been to Big Sur. To my parents’ credit, they did plan a family trip there…but alas, it was on their road trip for my college graduation and I was neck deep in finals. We decided that we had to take advantage of living near this breathtaking rugged stretch of California’s central coast – and conveniently combined it with a venue scouting trip!
We left San Diego at the crack of dawn and drove straight into the world-renowned Carmel, a town that has charmed artists and celebrities alike with its picturesque white-sand beach and European-style village packed with restaurants, shops and art galleries. We made it there before the sun came up and stopped first at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands which was absolutely beautiful but a little too small for our needs. I got my first glimpse of the beauty we were about encounter with turquoise capped waves slamming into the cliffs below us. We then started the dramatic journey down Highway 1 along the jagged cliffs pummeled by surf line to Big Sur, providing the most stunning views of any coastline I have ever seen.
The Big Sur Bakery was recommended to us as a “must” but I found it to be overpriced and a bit overrated…the avocado toast was over $20 (which they were out of) and apparently wheat toast is only delivered on certain days! Not that day…I settled for a mediocre $7 muffin. We made our way to the Ventana Inn, across the street from the famous Post Ranch Inn which was also beautiful but too small for our tastes. For a refreshing drink with an insane view, stop at the reknown Nepenthe restaurant…pricey but the atmosphere can’t be beat!
48510 Hwy 1, Big Sur, California 93920
The most iconic photo of Big Sur is that of the 80-foot McWay Waterfall as it cascades onto the sandy shore in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. One of the shortest hiking trails in Big Sur, Mcway Falls should be seen by anyone traveling along Highway 1…trust me, it’s easy. We did it in flip flops! The trail is a mere .64 miles on a flat and wide path that provides both southern and northern Coastal views. After parking, walk directly west back towards Highway 1 and look fo the sign to the Overlook/Waterfall Trail/Pelton Wheel straight ahead. You’ll head down short wooden steps, proceed along a wide path and then through a round tunnel under the highway. Once you emerge facting th ocean, turn right and walk along the path for several yards until you see the falls. Breathtaking!
We continued south to visit one of the most beautiful venues I’ve seen – Point 16. Point 16 is absolutely magical with 180 degree views of the coastline and the “loo with a view” that can’t be beat. If the logistics were not an issue (distance from LA, 1 hour bus ride from closest hotels, etc.), this would be our dream venue!
There are several different Big Sur lodging options from camping at Fernwood to the magnificently opulent Post Ranch Inn if you end up spending more time there. Many choose the “glamping” option to take advantage of the natural beauty of the area without having to rough it TOO much. We decided to continue our trek down the coast but for the adventurous, you have plenty of options to choose from whether it be tent camping to lounging in a luxurious room with a butler!
Fernwood Resort (range of options from camping to motel)
47200 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920
Big Sur Lodge (3.5 stars)
47225 CA-1, Bi Sur, CA 93920
Ventana Inn & Spa (4 stars)
48123 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920
Post Ranch Inn (5 stars)
47900 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920
We continued our drive down the beautiful California coast past the stunning rock formations and sunning elephant seals at Piedras Blancas down to Cambria, a lovely seaside town in San Luis Obispo County. We checked in to our adorable room at the Firestone Inn and went down to catch the gorgeous sunset at Cambria’s famous Moonstone Beach. We worked up an appetite collecting the semi-precious jasper stones of all colors scattered all over the beach (hence the name “Moonstone”) and headed into town to check out Robin’s Restaurant, an eclectic East village restaurant serving made-from-scratch international cuisine that came highly recommended to us. The setting at Robin’s is romantic and unique and the fusion of Asian, Mexican and Indian – absolutely mouthwatering. We started out with crispy calamari with a spicy aioli and tried the enchiladas and chicken curry…we were not disappointed!
4095 Burton Drive, Cambria CA 93428
Firestone Inn at Moonstone Beach (3-star)
6700 Moonstone Beach Dr, Cambria CA 93428
If you have the time, arrange for a tour of Hearst Castle, William Randolph Hearst’s famous estate, only 6 miles from Cambria! We didn’t have time since we had to continue down the coast on a serious scouting mission but I hear this sprawling state historical monument is definitely worth the visit!
750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon CA 93452