Monday, April 29, 2013

Sights to See: Valley of the Mushrooms, Creel, Mexico

Valley of the Mushrooms/Valle de Ongos  Located in Parque Natural Barrancas del Cobre, this area is named for a group of colossal mushroom-shaped rocks found here.  The rock formations where sculpted by erosion of the volcanic and sedimentary rock layers, producing some intriguing and precariously balanced rocks.  It reminds me of a Salvador Dali painting.

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sights to See: Creel, Mexico

A tour to this area usually includes the small lumber town of Creel, where colorfully dressed Indians hang out on the side of the road.  Arareko Lake, the Valley of the Mushrooms where you will see intriguing namesake rock formations, the old Jesuit San Ignacio Mission, and the cave homes where the Tarahumara Indians live are also usually visited.  This town was named a Pueblo Magico by the Federal Tourism Ministry in 2009.

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sights to See: El Fuerte, Mexico

Walking Tour of El Fuerte  Start at the historical mansion that is now the Hotel Posada del Hidalgo.  Then visit the the 18th-century Spanish church, the municipal palace, the colonial main plaza, the Fort Museum, and various old mansions.
●Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, a Jesuit mission, has secret underground tunnels radiating out.  A secret song once played from the church tower to alert revolutionaries to come to the church to, literally, be saved by hiding in the tunnels. 
●Central Plaza has a beautiful garden with three kinds of palms, including tall, tall Royal Palms.  The central gazebo was made in Mazatlan in 1903.  Sunday is the big night for strolling with music.  On other days, instead of strolling around the park, girls gather in clutches on benches and boys drive big trucks and cars blasting music. 

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, April 19, 2013

Things to Do: El Fuerte, Mexico

Birdwatchers River Raft Float  Board ultra-safe and dry eight-person river rafts for a quiet cruise down the town’s river, where you will see wild life, birds, and tropical plants.  This organized trip includes a short walk to petroglyphs and from the river back to town.  Life vests, cool bottled water, and transfer to the dock are provided.

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Misc.: Copper Canyon, Mexico

Copper Canyon tour companies:
Canyon Travel  (800) 843-1060, (830) 885-2000.  Some trips include stays at eco-lodges that host only guests of Canyon Travel.  Lodges operate on solar power, are staffed with bi-lingual natives, and are located on land closed to other commercial development.  This company uses beautiful small lodges in the canyons and in El Fuerte and has talented local guides.

The California Native  800-926-1140.

Sanborn Tours  This company is known for good value. 

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sights to See: El Fuerte, Mexico

Founded in 1564 and at 8,000-foot altitude, El Fuerte is typical northern Sinaloa town.  The Legend of El Zorro originated here.  Diego de la Vega--the man who named himself protector of the poor after a trip to California--was born and raised here.  El Fuerte is the kind of town where folks gather at dusk in their yards to talk while roosters crow and dogs bark.  It has a kind of old-time ‘50s-style that I remember from the Southern California suburbs in the U.S.  The town was named a Pueblo Magico by the Federal Tourism Ministry in 2009 (designated towns are usually small and boast considerable charm)

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Good Eats: Balaboosta, NYC

Balaboosta  214 Mulberry St., (212) 966-7366.  This very popular, cozy spot serves the yummiest Israeli cuisine.  Don’t miss the eggplant bruchetta, hummus, and fried cauliflower.

Balaboosta on Urbanspoon

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Things to Do: Lake Chapala Society, Ajijic, Mexico

Lake Chapala Society  16 de Septiembre 16-A, (376) 766-1140. Office & services M-Sat 10-2; grounds open until 5.  Expats hang out here to take classes, use the library, and chat over refreshments.  You can also visit for these reasons and additionally enjoy a stroll through the lovely gardens. 

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sights to See: Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park, Utah

Kolob Canyons  20 miles S of Cedar City.  Located in a secluded desert area, this is the rugged wilderness portion of Zion National Park.  It was established as a park in 1937 and became part of Zion in 1956.  Though it doesn’t get many visitors, it does have a visitor center that dispenses backcountry permits and provides orientation to the sandstone canyons.  A 5-mile scenic drive climbs up to the canyons and red rocks, ending at the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint.  Note that the 287-foot span of Kolob Arch is one of the longest freestanding arches in the world. 

See a live webcam focused on Zion.

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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Great Sleeps: Best Western Hotel Monteverde Express, San Migue de Allende, Mexico

Best Western Hotel Monteverde Express  Volanteros #2, Zona Centro, 5 blks. from main plaza, (800) 543-0099.  4 stars.  30 rooms.  Continental breakfast.  Partially built in the 16th century by Spanish nobility, this hacienda-style hotel retains colonial flavor with its large courtyard garden featuring a four-century-old fountain.  It is fortified from the main street by a high wall and moat-like ditch.  The cozy breakfast room has a brick barrel ceiling with white beams and red tile floors.  Breakfast or lunch in the courtyard can be pleasant.  My suite had four double beds!, one tiny bathroom with a shower/tub and toilet “closet” separated by two perilous steps from a vanity/sink in the room.  Housekeeping was immaculate.  My spacious room overlooked the street, so I know that dogs bark relentlessly some nights, and a far-away rooster announces dawn.

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 image courtesy of hotel website 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Good Eats: El Morrel, Coyoacan, Mexico City, Mexico

El Morrel  Allende 2, Colonia de Carmen, in Coyoacán, 5554-02-98.  Serving traditional Mexican food for more than 30 years, this family-run fonda has comfortable seating in a spacious dining room where a woman is often visible making tortillas by hand.  Traditional items include masa sopes, molletes (like open-face melted cheese sandwiches), and sometimes the spectacular chiles en nogada.  Meals begin with a complimentary little nopales (cactus) salad, and delicious fresh-fruit aguas fresca are available in two sizes.  When we left, we were each given a pottery ash tray as a memento.


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image c2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers