Friday, May 31, 2013

Great Sleeps: Esencia, A Seaside Estate, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Esencia, A Seaside Estate  20 minutes south of Mayakoba & Playa del Carmen, and 25 minutes north of Tulum, (984) 873-48 30.  41 rooms.  2 pools; full-service spa with temazcal.  1 restaurant.  Located along a mile-long stretch of prime beach, this 50-acre private estate was once the exclusive beach-side retreat of an Italian duchess.  It is an indulgent and beautiful places, with a low jungle cover throughout.  Guests are greeted in a lobby fragrant with incense that is inside a rustic mud hut with a palapa roof, then delivered by a rickshaw bicycle cart to their room.  The fragrant spa is inside a palapa with high ceilings and rounded, natural-colored stucco walls. 
More things to do in the Riviera Maya.

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sights to See: Hendricks Park Rhododendron Garden, Eugene, Oregon

Hendricks Park Rhododendron Garden  Summit & Skyline Dr., (541) 682-5324.  Daily 6am-11pm.  Established in 1906, this is Eugene’s first and oldest city park.  The rhododendron bloom begins each year in February, reaching its peak in April and May.

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image copyright Earl Terwilliger  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Things to Do: Pacific Crest Trail, West Coast, U.S.A.

Pacific Crest Trail  This long-distance U.S. trail runs through California, Oregon, and Washington states, from the Mexican border in the south to the Canadian border in the north.  It is 2,663 miles long and passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks.  The midpoint is in Chester, where the Cascade and Sierra mountain ranges meet near Mt. Lassen.  My nephew, Doug Murray, started the trail at the Mexican border on April 7.  He has reached Kennedy Meadows and is on his way to Mt. Whitney.  If you’re interested in following along with him, visit his Pacman Hikes the 2013 Pacific Crest Trail blog.  Find more information about the Pacific Crest Trail here.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Good Eats: street chaat, Kolkata/Calcutta, India

Makes me want to hop a plane and take my first trip to India!




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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Great Sleeps: Viceroy Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico



Viceroy Riviera Maya  Playa Xcalacoco, Frac 7, 6 miles N of La Playa, +52 984 877 3000, US 888 230 7330.  52 villas.  Full-service spa; fitness room.  2 restaurants.  Tucked into the jungle, this luxury beachfront resort provides tranquil refuge.  Each villa features a palapa roof, an outdoor shower, and a private patio with plunge pool and hammock.  Those who are patient will see monkeys in the trees and mini-dinosaur lizards scurrying upright on two legs across pathways.  Cooking classes celebrating Maya cuisine and a temazcal steam cave are available.    


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video c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Good Eats: Augustiner Restaurant, Munich, Germany

Augustiner Restaurant  Neuhauser Strasse 27, 089/23 70 36 66.  This old-style art nouveau restaurant is the former home of the Augustinian monks.  It has a low-key beer hall with dark, almost-black paneling and coat hooks along the top, a separate white-tablecloth restaurant, and a small outdoor beer garden.  Regional cooking is the specialty, and the famous Edelstoff is on tap.  Sauerbraten is served with a billiard-ball size pretzel dumpling and fried red cabbage. 

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, May 17, 2013

Things to Do: Viktualienmarkt/Victuals Market, Munich, Germany

Viktualienmarkt/Victuals Market  In the rear of Heiliggeistkirche/Church of the Holy Ghost.  Called "the stomach of Munich," this permanent open-air market has dozens of stalls purveying cheese, wine, and sausages.  It is the perfect place to pick up picnic supplies or relax in the large, shady beer garden.  Non-food items and souvenirs are also found here. 

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sights to See: Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany



Neue Pinakothek  Barer Strasse 29, entrance on Theresienstrasse  Thur-Sun 10-6, W to 8, closed Tu.  Focused on European painting and sculpture from the 18th and 19th centuries, this museum has a pleasant cafe with an outdoor terrace adjacent to the refreshing sounds of large water feature.  

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, May 10, 2013

Great Sleeps: Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong + Things to Do: Art Basel, Hong Kong

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong  Famous for its pool, restaurants, Roman baths, luxurious lobby, and shopping arcade, this is the luxe chain’s flagship hotel.  The spacious rooms and suites offer magnificent views of Victoria Harbor and the city skyline, and a Shanghainese-inspired holistic oriental spa and state-of-the-art fitness facilities and a pool are available.  Restaurants and bars are popular with locals, two have Michelin stars (Pierre and Mandarin Grill + Bar)--this is the only hotel in the world with that honor--and all are distinct in character.  Dim sum and high tea are a must.  Indeed, it has been called the “best hotel in the world.”

This month (May 23-26), it is the “Official Hotel” for Art Basel’s inaugural show in Hong Kong.  The hotel is offering guests many special art treats, including an art-inspired menu in the Michelin-starred Mandarin Grill + Bar to art-inspired chocolates and cocktails.

Though I have never had the pleasure of staying at this highly-rated hotel, I plan to stop in for a tour, perhaps even a stay, next time I am in town.  You might want to add it to your bucket list as well.

Hong Kong at dusk. 

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image courtesy of hotel

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Good Eats: Hofbräuhaus, Munich, Germany

Hofbräuhaus  Platzl 9, +49 (0)89 290136-10.  Daily 9am-11:30pm; $.  Constructed in 1897, this massive building is Munich's major tourist attraction and the world's most famous beer hall.  It seats 4,000 people.  Now owned by the city of Munich, it is operated by Wolfgang and Michael Sperger, who follow in their parents’ footsteps.  If you miss Oktoberfest, you can get a taste of the tent experience here.  The heart of the place—the ground-floor historic beer hall/Schwemme--seats 1,000-plus at shared long wood tables and features an oompah band.  More rooms upstairs include a gigantic banquet room/Festival Hall on the top floor with a spectacularly ornate ceiling and a nightly Bavarian Evening buffet and folklore show (reservations are essential), and the Trinkstube/Bräustube restaurant holding 350 more.  In summer, a beer garden situated in a colonnaded courtyard patio with a Bavarian-lion fountain and shaded by ancient chestnut trees is also an option.  Servers wear Bavarian clothing, and specialties include huge pretzels, crisp-skinned roast pork, house-made weisswurst sausage, grilled chicken, and apple strudel.  The weisswurst/white veal sausages served in a tureen along and a large pretzel with some sweet mustard that we ordered went perfectly with our huge mass/liter mug (this is the minimum serving here) of Helles/lager.

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, May 6, 2013

Great Sleeps: Posada Barrancas El Mirador, Copper Canyon, Mexico

Posada Barrancas El Mirador  65 rooms.  Perched at the canyon's edge, near its highest point, this atmospheric hotel overlooks spectacular Copper Canyon.  It is surrounded by pine trees and appears to be carved into the rock itself.  An outstanding lodging, its guest rooms have a ceiling with vegas topped by herringbone knotty pine planks, adobe-style walls, and a corner fireplace.  Everyone gets a private canyon-view terrace and hot water.  Bird watchers are in paradise--red-headed woodpeckers and a variety of humming birds are regular visitors.  Tarahumara women weave their pre-hispanic-style baskets in front of this hotel and will make them to order.
    A tiny Tarahumra village is just below the hotel and reachable by following a trail for 10 minutes.  It provides an opportunity to observe the Indian’s lifestyle and also to purchase some souvenirs. 

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sights to See: Divisadero Lookout Point; & Great Sleeps: Hotel Divisadero Barrancas, Copper Canyon, Mexico

Hotel Divisadero Barrancas  Situated on edge of the canyon, within walking distance of the  train station, this very special hotel has a great lobby for lounging and enjoying cocktails while taking in the spectacular view. 

Divisadero Lookout Point  In Arepo.  This point offers a spectacular view of Copper Canyon that includes Piedra Volada—a mound that projects out over the canyon with an enormous round rock on top that visitors like to climb on and dangerously rock from side to side.  Many Tarahumara Indians sell their handmade crafts and souvenirs here. 

If you find yourself leaving, like I did, from the Divisadero train station, be sure and try a wonderful gordita.  I paid about $1, and it was made right in front of me on a converted grill-sized can. 

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sights to See: Jesuit missions, Creel, Mexico

Jesuit missions  Built in the 17th and 18th centuries, these missions played an important role in the development of the Tarahumara (they refer to themselves as Raramuri) Indian communities, which still exist here today.  The many missions are spread out, so a guided tour can be efficient.
Mision Jesuita Santo Cinco Señores de Cusarare  Located in the central zone of Parque Barrancas, off the Guachochi Highway, about 15 miles from Creel.  This is one of the region’s oldest missions, and many Tarahumara celebrations take place here.  The original architecture of the church is intact, and the interior is adorned with Tarahumara paintings.
Mision de San Ignacio Arareko  Located in the northern part of the park, in the middle of the San Ignacio Arareko commons, about 3 miles south of Creel.  Built with a limestone base, this simple church resembles the other missions.  Objects used by the Tarahumaras for Holy Week celebrations are displayed.


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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers