New Mexico

Friday 5: North American Honeymoon Destinations for Nature-Lovers

It's time for another instalment of the Honeymoon Series! Today I've put together 5 North American destinations for the nature-lovers out there. Each trip offers uniquely beautiful landscapes, outdoor adventure, and some romantic luxury. Plus, they're not just for honeymoons!

Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada

A no-brainer for our short-list since we got engaged in Algonquin Park. It would be a great destination for any couple that really wants to get away from it all. For the truly adventurous, there are remote ranger cabins throughout the park that offer incredible opportunities for hiking and seeing wildlife. Some of the cabins are even waterfront, so it's like having your own private beach. But they don’t have running water or electricity and most of them need to be reached by foot and canoe.

If that sounds nuts, Bartlett Lodge is a beautiful lodge located on Cache Lake (video link for email subscribers). It offers upscale camping (I refuse to call it galloping), cottage rentals, and rooms in the lodge. Guests can be on the meal plan and have breakfast and five-course dinner at the lodge. They focus on local goods and fish from the lake. A short video about dining at Bartlett Lodge here.

Kauai, Hawaii

Ah, Hawaii! A perennial favorite for honeymooners. My parents honeymooned here and have talked about how beautiful it was for years and years. Naturally, it was on of the first destinations we talked about for our own honeymoon. We looked into Kauai because it seemed to offer a nice balance between beautiful beaches and dramatic landscapes from the cliffs of the Kalalau Trail on the Napali Coast to the lush Waimea Canyon. We never found a rental we loved, but if I could splurge we’d probably stay at Koa Kea Hotel and Resort on Poipu Beach or the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa

"Oxbow Bend outlook in the Grand Teton National Park" by I, Michael Gäbler. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via  Wikimedia Commons 

"Oxbow Bend outlook in the Grand Teton National Park" by I, Michael Gäbler. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Rustic luxury and some of them most breathtaking landscapes in America. This trip was at the top of my list for a little while. I thought it would be wonderful to stay at the Rustic Inn in Jackson so we could visit Grand Teton National Park.

"Yellowstone River in Hayden Valley" by Ed Austin/Herb Jones - http://www.nps.gov/archive/yell/slidefile/water/creeksstreamsrivers/yellrdbelowlake/Images/13240.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via  Wikimedia Commons  

"Yellowstone River in Hayden Valley" by Ed Austin/Herb Jones - http://www.nps.gov/archive/yell/slidefile/water/creeksstreamsrivers/yellrdbelowlake/Images/13240.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

Then, we would take a road trip to Yellowstone and stay at Old Faithful Inn or one of the other summer lodges. I still think this would be a fantastic honeymoon for the right couple! Actually, I just think this would be a fantastic trip, period. 

"Lake Louise 17092005" by Gorgo - Photo taken by author. Licensed under Public Domain via  Wikimedia Commons  

"Lake Louise 17092005" by Gorgo - Photo taken by author. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

Lake Louise and Banff, Alberta, Canada

I’ve seen iconic pictures of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise resort so many times that, frankly, I’m just dying to go there at this point. It’s located in Banff National Park on the stunningly pretty Lake Louise surrounded by the Canadian Rockies. Alongside a beautiful spa and restaurant, they offer Mountain Adventure Programs during which naturalists and historians take guests on half-day hikes, full-day hikes, and guided canoe trips. I’d be all over a guided hike one day and a canoe trip the next. Afterwards, a trip to the spa for massages might be in order.

"Banff Avenue - Cascade Mountain". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via  Wikimedia Commons  

"Banff Avenue - Cascade Mountain". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

There are plenty of other activities and sites outside of the resort from hiking to cycling to whitewater rafting. For a slower pace, there’s always Banff Upper Hot Springs, the Banff Gondola for amazing views of the mountain ranges, and the town of Banff for shopping and eating. If you’re really craving the city, Calgary is about a 2 hour drive, which also makes it easy to get to a major airport. 

Santa Fe, New Mexico

There’s a reason why New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment. There’s nowhere quite like it from food to landscape. It has beautiful weather—it’s a dry heat!—and since I’m from New Mexico, I’ve been wanting to take S there since we started dating. The Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado seemed like a perfect spot. It’s nestled at the foot of the Sangre de Christo mountains on 57 acres next to the Santa Fe National Forest, but it’s also only 10 minutes from Santa Fe. 

"Atop Tesuque Peak Looking Towards Santa Fe Lake (7271534354)" by Thomas Shahan - Atop Tesuque Peak Looking Towards Santa Fe LakeUploaded by Jacopo Werther. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via  Wikimedia Commons  

"Atop Tesuque Peak Looking Towards Santa Fe Lake (7271534354)" by Thomas Shahan - Atop Tesuque Peak Looking Towards Santa Fe LakeUploaded by Jacopo Werther. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

Want adventure? You could fill your days with hiking, exploring ruins, or whitewater rafting in the forest.

And culture? How about decadent meals, an evening at the Santa Fe Opera House, shopping at the Flea, or the Santa Fe Indian Market (in August), or Spanish Market (in July)? (Must-watch video link for email subscribers)


That's it for this week! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

For the rest of the Honeymoon Planning series click here.

Friday 10: Canadian Thanksgiving!

It's Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday, so I'm writing this on Thursday and getting ready for a drive up to Muskoka. After all of my years in Canada, having Thanksgiving on a Monday still feels odd to me, but I love being able to celebrate it twice a year. I'm really looking forward to visiting everyone, getting out into the country, and relaxing. 

We were hoping to go on a long hike through Algonquin Park before the winter comes, but I injured my calf and should be resting it. I'm not very happy about it. I tried to convince S that I was feeling good enough to do a little hike yesterday morning. Then my leg swelled again at night after some light walking. Whoops! We will still drive up to see the fall colors, but I may have to be tied down in the car. 

Algonquin Park, Whiskey Rapids Trail, Summer 2012

Algonquin Park, Whiskey Rapids Trail, Summer 2012

I'll be back on Tuesday, hopefully with a full belly and some great photos! In the meantime, I put together a collection Thanksgiving, travel and food links for the week.  

Thanksgiving

#1 Some fast facts about Canadian Thanksgiving. While the origins of Thanksgiving are a little murky and sometimes debated, Martin Frobisher, an English explorer, is often suggested as the originator. After landing in Newfoundland in 1578, he held a feast to give thanks their safe passage across the Atlantic. This was 42 years before the Pilgrim and Wampanoag Thanksgiving in 1621 in Massachusetts. 

#2 & 3 So what did they eat, anyway? The First Nations origins of Thanksgiving foods. And look at what the Pilgrims/Wampanoag might have eaten for their harvest feast. Spoiler: No pie! The horror!   

Travel

#4 Giving Trippy a look after hearing about it on Go Fork Yourself. It's a travel site that allows users to ask questions about places and "destination experts" answer them. The idea is that the best answers get voted up and rise to the top. 

#5 Following the trail of N. Howard (Jack) Thorp through New Mexico. (via NYT Travel)

Thorp’s New Mexico is a place of overlapping cultures and harsh beauty, of cowboys and their whooping, hollering animal calls. It captures the mesquite and cat-claw thickets of tornillo bushes and encounters with the “wild and wooly” cow men of Roswell and Carlsbad.

It sounded like my kind of place.

Food

#6 I loved this Foodie Originals video of Joseph Johnson, a sous chef at Michelin-Starred Mélisse in Santa Monica. The passion and dedication it takes to work in the food world always  (via Eater). 

# 7 This Pumpkin Chili has become a staple in our house. It's healthy, filling, and so easy to make. I usually omit some of the sugar and add extra chili powder and cayenne for some heat. Don't let the pumpkin throw you off, it's very mild!

# 8, 9 & 10 Lastly, I'm heading off to make some portable snacks for the weekend: Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas (a great alternative to chips), Pumpkin Oatmeal Anytime Squares, and, maybe some Healthy 5-Ingredient No-Bake Granola Bars (via Oh She Glows and Minimalist Baker)


That's it for this week! I hope you have a lovely weekend and, if you're Canadian, you eat lots, spend time with loved ones, and celebrate the things you are thankful for. Bring on the turkey! 

Friday 10: Food, Fall, and Farewell to Summer

I can't believe it's almost Labor Day. I'm not sure why summer passes so quickly, but I never feel like I've squeezed all of the goodness out of it before it's gone.

This year I made a list of goals for making the  most of summer. Looking back, I actually did a little bit of everything. 

  • I read more. I especially loved Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.
  • I explored Ontario and took a great trip to Ottawa
  • I got creative and started taking Skillshare classes on calligraphy. I even made something pretty.  
From my first strokes to my first mini project making wrapping paper. I have a ton to learn but I'm loving learning, practicing, and playing. I'm still extremely proud of that one capital G next to the giant ink blob! 

From my first strokes to my first mini project making wrapping paper. I have a ton to learn but I'm loving learning, practicing, and playing. I'm still extremely proud of that one capital G next to the giant ink blob! 

Maybe I did make the most out of my summer afterall! I think I'll do another list for fall. 

So in honor of Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer, I have a list of (mostly) foodie links have been inspiring me this week. 

#1 I'm looking for something delicious to make from Food52s 27 Genius Recipes for Labor Day. Oh how I want to eat that Atlantic Beach Pie! (via Food52)

#2 New Mexico is gearing up for chile roasting season. There's nothing quite like the smell of roasting chile hanging in the air to herald the change of seasons. Not to mention the endless supply of delicious, flavorful green chile (my favorite!). I had a conversation with a hot sauce producer this week. When I told her I was from New Mexico,  her response was "Oh, I get it! You like hot but you also like flavor." Bingo! Nothing compares to or beats New Mexican green chile in my book. For the uninitiated, here's Eater's "Definitive Guide to Santa Fe Green Chile."  (via Eater)

#3 Apparently the snowball is a Baltimore, Maryland specialty. I grew up with a snowball shack just down the street and crave them all summer long. Maybe this explains why my love of snowballs/snow cones/shaved ice seems so out of place here. (via Serious Eats)

#4 After drooling over the things I can't have from places I don't live anymore, I was happy to see that one Toronto restaurant on my "must try" list, Edulis, has a $100 black truffle-covered chicken that's been called the "most succulent bird in North America." I'll have to take their word for it, but the $50 tasting menu sounds right up my alley for a special night out. How can I pass up an opportunity to have "one of the warmest fine dining experiences in North America?"  (via Eater)

#5 & 6 Upon reading the (unsurprising) news that Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte has insane amounts of sugar and no actual pumpkin, I decided to make these baked pumpkin spiced doughnuts as my first fall-flavored treat instead of the annual PSL. (Food Babe link via Self | doughnuts via Against All Grain  )

#7 & 8 Dreaming about eating my way through France thanks to my favorite food writer, David Liebovitz's Tour de France post part 1 and part 2. (via David Liebovitz)

#9 Five regional French dishes to try while attempting to eat my way through France. (via New York Times Travel)

#10 A beautiful homebase called La Maison Matelot (Homeaway link) for a French getaway in the fishing village of Port-en-Bessin, Normandy (near Caen). I've had this place in mind for over a year and remembered it while honeymoon brainstorming. The timing didn't work for our trip last year and we won't make it next year, either. But my emails with the owner were always great and I think someone should go and report back. For science! 

Bonus! Every year the Canadian National Exhibition, a giant fair in Toronto, signals a last hurrah before school starts. It started in 1879 and I stumbled upon these great archival photos while checking out tickets. 


That's it for this week! My plans for this weekend are to relax completely. I'm going dress shopping and then S and I are going to have some kind of adventure. I may even take the plunge and unplug--no phone, no computer--on Monday, which means there won't be a new post, but I'll be back. 

What about you? Any plans or Labor Day traditions? What about favorite foods for this summer/fall shoulder season?  

Enjoy your (hopefully long) weekend!