Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Eat Pray Travel

As I sit here watching the snow fall outside my window, exhausted from having shoveled alone twice already (Jason always manages to be out-of-town when these storms happen!) and baking my delicious DiGiorno pizza, I have decided to forgo tonight's Idol episode for something that can take me away to a much warmer place.

Eat Pray Love, the film based on the best-selling novel, follows Liz Gilbert, a woman at a crossroads, on her quest for self-discovery.  Played by Julia Roberts, she journeys through Italy, India and Bali - all warm (both in climate and culture), all amazing (one I can attest to, the others I'll have to take her word for!).

While I simply adore my suburban, twenty-something, engaged-to-be-married life, a tiny little part of me wishes that I could follow in Liz/Julia's footsteps, leaving everything behind to travel the world in search of divine transcendence.  Oh well, for now the divine sofa will have to do.  Here's to Eating (pizza), Praying (the snow will stop) and Loving (to travel even if it's just within the borders of my own country!).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

California Dreamin'

With this week's ice storm, the impending snow showers of tomorrow and the postponement of my Miami trip to next month, I think The Mamas & the Papas got it right!  On such a winter's day, I'm recalling a trip down the Pacific Coast Highway that Jason and I took last January.  We started in Merced, CA and picked up Route 1 just outside of Monterey.  I'd always heard the drive was amazing, but it exceeded that by miles, literally!  The sights were beautiful and the climate was surreal.  The highlights for me were Big Sur, Nepenthe - a rustic restaurant with an incredible view, and the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery.  We got off around San Luis Obispo, finishing a good portion of the famous route in under a day, and ending with a terrific sunset as we headed to San Diego for a conference.  I can honestly say it was the greatest road trip of my life thus far, no soundtrack needed - just the background of the waves crashing and the pavement racing.  Here's a little slideshow of some of my favorite pictures on the drive.  Hope it helps to cure those wintery blues!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Falling for Florida

I was never a fan of our farthest southeast state...while it holds fantastic beaches and sunny weather, I just couldn't handle the humidity nor the tourist traps.  But these days, I can't seem to get enough of it!

Just after we rang in the New Year, I flew from Washington National (DCA) to Southwest Florida International (RSW) located in Fort Myers.  It is by far one of the easiest and most hassle-free airports around, so traveling to anywhere within a one-hour radius of its terminals is almost a joy!

My association held a meeting at the South-Beach-meets-Hilton-styled Naples Grande Beach Resort.  Boasting a very hip lobby and luxurious spa, the resort was a huge climate relief for our attendees who travel from states such as Wyoming, Utah, and Oregon.

Jason met me there and we then headed to the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort.  As previously mentioned, 2011 is going to be a good year.  So good, we've decided to be married in it!   And the location?  You guessed it - Marco Island.  During our wonderful mini-vacation/planning-session, we decided on an October wedding.  The resort is amazing - a perfect blend of service mixed with casual atmosphere.  I've been coming here on business since 2006 and can't wait for our family and friends to experience it.

And at the end of the month, I'm off again to Miami to explore half-a-dozen hotels in the area for an upcoming meeting.  So, it's official... FL, I'm totally smitten with you!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

MassaNew Years

This year, Jason and I decided that “New Year’s Eve” would not get the better of us. No more making last minute plans or standing in line at tired bar parties around the area.  So, we headed for snow, albeit fake snow, but none the less!

Just 2 hours Southwest of DC, Massanutten Resort has welcomed visitors to their four-season (that's year-round, not Four Seasons :)) property for more than 30 years.  For a two-night getaway, it really wasn't half bad.  We had a 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo with full kitchen and plenty of windows to let the outside air in.  All that was missing was a hot tub, preferably one with a time machine!

While I didn't quite make it on the bunny slopes or hit the halfpipe Shaun-White-style, I enjoyed our eve-countdown tubing on the mountain and a New Year's day coffee-scrub at the spa.  And Jason proved that he's still got "mad skills" at age 31 as he "ripped it" with his buddy, Matt.

All in all, it was a really great start to what we know is going to be an amazing 2011 (stay tuned for new posts).  And as one of our resolutions, we're committing to planning this little snow-trip as an annual tradition.  There's plenty of resorts that might be a cut above the Massa-version, and West VA or PA will definitely get us more of those miles we love... Wishing you all a New Year full of travel!