Archive for May, 2008

If you’re 9-5’ers like us, you live for the weekends. Even so, it’s hard to get out of town in only two days. That’s why there’s nothing better than a long, relaxing three-day respite from reality (especially when it doesn’t decrement your PTO balance!). We took advantage of Memorial Day weekend to visit an old haunt – Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Just a scenic 2.5 hours from Denver, Glenwood features the world’s largest natural hot springs pool, in addition to a bevy of accessible hiking trails, a 16-mile long bike path that runs along the Colorado river, a family-oriented ski resort, and a cozy downtown area that you could just snuggle up with!

Although we used to visit Glenwood a couple times a year, it had been awhile since we’d made the trip. We usually stay at the Best Western Antlers, but this time we decided to take our two boxers, so the first task was to find a place where they would be welcome. Although there are quite a few motels, hotels, cabins and campgrounds that accept pets in Glenwood, we chose the Red Mountain Inn, in part because of their affordable rates (accommodations are a bit more pricey during the summer season in Glenwood). As it turned out, our room was clean and spacious enough for two large dogs and two good-sized people. It even had a mini-fridge and a microwave – bonus!

During our stay, we discovered that Glenwood had grown a bit since our last visit. A brand new shopping area, Glenwood Meadows, now graces the foothills of the stunning red mountain that overlooks town. In addition to stores the locals must be loving (Lowe’s, Target, PetCo, Pier One, and more),  the two-block “market shops” area features a pedestrian-like mall with smaller local and chain establishments.

We also discovered several new restaurants on this trip. Typically, we make sure to visit Pepponino’s for home-cooked Italian meals, Juicy Lucy’s for mouth-watering steaks, The Bayou for “food so good you’ll slap yo mama,” and the Daily Bread cafe for breakfast that’s worth the wait. This time, we were eager to try a few new places.

As luck would have it, our motel was right next door to the Charcoalburger Drive-in. Imagine our surprise (and delight) when we discovered buffalo burgers on the menu (our favorite!), in addition to single and double hamburgers and even elk burgers. We actually ate there twice it was so good. A word of warning, though – if you order the chili cheese fries, bring a friend, or three, to help you with the huge portion!

We also had a fantastic dinner at Fin’s Grille. The food and service were comparable to experiences we’ve had in Denver and Boulder. The bread came with a whole roasted garlic – heaven! The assorted cheeses with jalapeno jelly appetizer was an experience in itself, and big enough to share. The trout was wonderful, but we accidentally ordered the angel hair pasta with “fritti misto” (fried seafood), which was a bit bland and heavy on the palate. When we shared our lack of enthusiam with our attentive server, she happily replaced it with a lighter dish at no charge. It’s too bad we didn’t save room for dessert, but we’ll definitely pace ourselves better next time!

One other honorable mention is the Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse that allows dogs both inside and on their sidewalk patio. They even offer complimentary dog biscuits! For two-legged clients, they have a wide selection of bagel sandwiches, pastries, smoothies, and, of course, great coffee.

Just so you know, we did do more than eat (although I’m pretty sure I gained a couple of pounds!). We also had some great adventures with our pups, but I’ll save that for another post.

If you’ve been to Glenwood, leave a comment and let us know your favorite spots to stay or eat. If you’ve never been, check out the new Glenwood Chamber website and see if it’s for you!


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Memorial Day is right around the corner (thank goodness!). If you’re looking to get out of town, and you might even fly somewhere if the price was right, check out Airfare Watchdog. This independent site lists low fares – even unadvertised hot deals – for every airline you can imagine, and provides links to the sites where you can purchase the fares. You can also choose a specific departure city and receive email fare alerts.

Of course, Airfare Watchdog can’t guarantee that you’ll get the fare you want (they don’t sell tickets, they just track fares). And the fare you want may have drawbacks – like too many connections or dates that don’t fit your travel schedule. Still, if your schedule is flexible and you’re on a budget, you can get a great deal – like New York to San Francisco for $245 RT, or Chicago to Budapest for $505 RT, or even Flint, Michigan to Orlando, Florida for an unbelievable $36 RT!

You may also enjoy reading the Airfare Watchdog blog, which features questions from travelers answered by the experienced travel journalists and airfare specialists who run the site.

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Let’s talk cruising! Actually, I’m not an expert on cruises — we just took our second one last month. We were on the Carnival Triumph that left out of Miami and docked at St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk. The trip was fantastic! Although, it’s hard to compare with our first cruise, which took us to ports in Italy, Greece and Turkey on the Freedom, Carnival’s flagship. Even after just two cruises, we’ve definitely formed some opinions.


One, we love to cruise! It’s a terrific way to see someplace new that you might not have gone otherwise (like Miami’s South Beach and San Juan, Puerto Rico, two of our favorites from this cruise!). It’s also nice to unpack just once (compared to some of our previous jaunts where we stayed only 2-3 nights in one place).


Two, part of the fun of cruising is feeling like you’re being pampered. For us, this includes dressing up on formal nights, and making sure that we have a cabin with a balcony where you can watch the blue waters course by in the privacy of your pajamas if you want. It also means taking advantage of little extras, like having breakfast delivered to the room, or attending an art auction for the free champagne. Believe it or not, we actually purchased a couple affordable works of art on the last cruise (both less than $200) — talk about feeling like a rich person!


Three, you don’t have to enjoy sunbathing to go on a cruise. In fact, for pale-skinned Irish descendants like ourselves, it’s probably best that you limit your time on deck, or at least make sure to bring a lot of sunscreen. In our case, we took advantage of the outdoor jogging track to get a little fresh air. If you can handle going in circles for 9-11 laps per mile, it’s a great way to get a little sun, work off your breakfast, and feel like part of the deck lounging crowd.


I could go on, but maybe I’ll save some opionions for a later blog. I am curious, though, to talk to other people who have cruised to find out what they enjoy, so leave a comment!

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