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Showing posts from May, 2012

Tasting and Touring Through Alexandria

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The Alexandria Tourism Board had arranged for me to have a private tour of this historic area. Whitney met me at the Visitors Center in the morning for my walking exploration. We started walking by Market Square and continued through the area’s highlights, talking about the history and the founding fathers.  Since it’s also the location of the longest running continuous farmer’s market in the nation, Whitney explained how the area had evolved from a seaport to a functioning town. I was fascinated with the cobblestone street of Sea Captains Row, once inhabited by a large family (20 children – all girls!!) that spread from one house to raising their own families in the others.  I was also surprised to see how tiny the house owned by George and Martha Washington was, though Whitney explained that they sent extra guests there most of the time while they stayed at Mount Vernon. We walked by the headquarters of the Alexandria News Gazette, the longest running daily news

Visiting Virginia

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When I received an assignment to write about the George Washington Distillery for Capitol File Magazine , one of the things that excited me the most about it was the chance to head back to the Washington, DC area. I decided it would be fun to combine a good foodie town with the trip and quickly settled on Alexandria .  It was a great choice. Virginia Tourism helped me organize a trip filled with great cocktails, restaurants, and a bit of history.  I also had the bonus of being joined on some of the trip by a friend I had recently met on my press trip to St. Maarten , Julia Coney of All About the Pretty . I arrived at the Sheraton Suites Old Town Alexandria in the early evening for my three night stay there.  I had never been there before, but I immediately knew why it had been chosen as the suite had what I needed and it was located within walking distance of most of the sites and venues I was going to. ` Claire from Alexandria Tourism picked me up for dinner. I had

Spa Life Among The Boulders

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I had been battling a cold and sinus infection all week. I spent lots of time in the spa at the Arizona Biltmore and Sanctuary at Camelback in steam rooms filled with eucalyptus. I was finally starting to feel a bit better at The Boulders , and I it was a good thing because I got to really enjoy one most incredible spas I have ever seen. It’s hard to explain The Boulders to a person who has never been. Breathtaking doesn’t even begin to describe the sprawling grounds, filled with natural boulders, more types of cacti than you have ever seen, and just about anything you could need in this miniature city on the mountain. My day began just as it should in a place like this – with sunrise yoga. I practice yoga all the time, but there’s something about a setting like this that made the class amazing. I wished I had been feeling better and could also experience the other classes offered on the fitness side in this huge Golden Door Spa . The spa at The Boulders is 33,0

Exploring Scottsdale on the way to The Boulders

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It was time to leave our beautiful casita at Sanctuary at Camelback and head to The Boulders, but before we checked in there, we were going to make a stop to check out some of Scottsdale. I had been intrigued when I read about Chef Jose Garces creating three complimentary food spaces at the new Saguaro Hotel and had arranged for my fellow writer and companion Susan and I to have lunch there. We enjoyed walking through the Saguaro Hotel to get to Distrito . The d├ęcor was contemporary and eclectic so we seemed to constantly be stopping to look at things such as a Hello Kitty poster or an advertisement for Twinkies and Ding Dongs.   The food venues at Saguaro Hotel included a coffee shop and a whiskey bar, featuring more brands than even I knew existed.  Distrito matched the style of the rest of the building. Even the menu was minimalistic, but it had all we really needed. The weather was beautiful so we decided to take an outside table. There was an event going

Spa and Casita Living at Sanctuary at Camelback

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The weather was starting to warm up a bit in the Phoenix area of Arizona. Susan Campbell, a friend and fellow travel writer, and I were happy to keep the car parked while we enjoyed the scenery and learned more about the Sanctuary at Camelback . We were supposed to go on a hike in the morning, but my cold had turned into a sinus infection and walking steady was not my strong point. Susan did take off for a while and examine the breathtaking grounds of the property. I was not at a total loss as you didn’t have to walk far at the Sanctuary at Camelback to be blown away by the views. Breakfast was in the Elements restaurant, which is full of windows so we didn’t miss a moment of the mountains. The menu ranged from healthy, gluten-free and vegetarian, to slightly indulgent. Susan went for the eggs and bacon with an Arizona Sunrise Smoothie, while I had a decadent Brioche French Toast, with cherries, almonds and whipped mascarpone. After breakfast she headed to the poo

Finding Sanctuary at Camelback

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It was still a bit cold and rainy in Phoenix and my cold was lingering, but I was not going to let any of this keep me down. I started the day with a little yoga and some breakfast in the Executive Lounge at the Arizona Biltmore , and lots of positive thoughts. My friend and fellow travel writer Susan Campbell and I had planned this Arizona getaway to include three hotels. On day three, we left Arizona Biltmore and headed out to the Sanctuary at Camelback .  We made a stop first at the Homewood Phoenix Biltmore . It was a hotel we were going to also stay at, but in the end there weren’t enough nights. We toured there for a bit and found it to be even more comforting than many other Homewood properties I have stayed in. We arrived at the Sanctuary at Camelback at about 2:30 in the afternoon and were instantly impressed. The main building was very contemporary, with lots of glass and wonderful mountain views. Our Casita also had great views from the balconies, and a cute