Terry Zinn


Photography by Terry Zinn

What is it about a destination that you are forbid to visit that makes it that much more interesting? Just say “no” and the object or experience is on the top of your bucket list.  For decades Cuba was out of bounds for United States visitors, unless you were with some special cultural program or association.  Not the case today, as Cuba has been opened up to American tourists.

You hear all the time to hurry up and go to Cuba before it changes. Changes, meaning bright fancy new hotels and resorts, over shadowing the quaint colonial town.  Cuba has been open to international businesses for decades, and yet when visiting today, you see very little recognizable modern infra structure.  Why has not the international community invested in Cuba with tourist amenities?  One reason might be that Cuba still all the whole, does not allow ownership of property.  Who wants to invest in property that they do not own?  Until this Cuban policy changes, Cuba will not quickly be spoiled by outside developers.

So there is no real need to hurry up and see Cuba. As a slowly developing country, Cuba is stymied in the atmosphere and development of the 1950’s.  The classic cars that are the icon of Cuba today is still in abundance and for a fee you can ride around the streets in one, or have your photo made by one.  The fee you pay may help the up keep of these classic 1950’s and 60’s cars.

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And while there are horror stories of tourists booking their own rooms in hotels without the expected tourist amenities, right now it might be best to book a cruise as your floating hotel and see several Cuban cities, not just Havana. This can be accomplished with Fathom Cruises. They promote their cruises as interaction with the locals through preplanned tours taking you either in a walking tour of an area with stops at local pre-approved locations, or a bus tour visiting several approved tourist spots.  They promote interaction with the locales, but on a recent tour the time restrains for personal interaction was minimal.

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One such attraction was visiting a concert of local singers in a classic Cuban auditorium set up just for visiting tourist. The music was enjoyable but the scheduled interaction time with the local singers was nonexistent, and the tour was hustled out of the auditorium.  No reason was given just that we had to move on.  This was the case on many tours.  I’m not sure this was a government mandated restriction, more like poor planning on the part of the local tour operator, and an over scheduled day.  Being only the eighth American cruise ship to arrive in Havana may be the answer.  While the tour guides were always congenial their Spanish accents and lack of professional tour guide experience was less than optimum.  While the tour guides were officially trained and licensed by the government, they need more experience in their chosen field.  This, hopefully, will be remedied with more practice, and then reflected in generous tipping.

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Of course you don’t go to Cuba expecting the Little Cuba neighborhoods of Miami, but you do expect to have an enjoyable, pleasant and memorable experience. What you may bring back from Cuba is only a glimpse of the architecture which needs renovating and preservation, a few grand plazas, and food while edible, not especially memorable.  Even the Cuba Libre, the iconic rum and coke drink, may be watered down.

Well known for its gourmand cigars, you will no doubt be escorted to an approved tobacco shop. We were advised to look for the official cigar stamp/label on the cigars we purchased as there may be some offered that are not official Cuban cigars.  Now with trade agreements open on Americans buying and bring back Cigars, the Cigar trade for tourist might be diminishing, but probably not anytime soon.  While the prices are premium in Cuba, the price offered by your bell person at Miami Hotels behind the counter were doubled, and perhaps that might change with the free import restriction lifted.

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Another commerce challenge is that Cuba has two currencies, one for locals and one for tourists. That may hinder you once you have exchange your dollars in to tourist dollars, and find that the store you happened upon or street vendor only takes local currency. Exchanging money in Cuba is quite simple and except if there is a line, very efficient, friendly and fast.

As with any tropical destination in a developing country, don’t expect air conditioning, bring your own bottled water on tours, protect yourself with sunscreen and an ugly wide brimmed hat. And in a group of tourists don’t be surprised to be approached by semi well-dressed pan handlers, either giving you a sob story (“My wife is very sick, expecting a child and I am out of work”) or simply a hand out for you to fill.  We were discouraged to give in to our humanitarian instincts, as this would only encourage the population to do likewise. A simple no or wave of the hand, or such is sufficient to dismiss the well intentioned local.

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These reflections of my recent trip is not to discourage your interest, but just to report that Cuba is still a developing country for tourists and there is no need to rush to see it. Any booked tour of Cuba is an adventure, and as with any adventure you may find the summer heat and glaring sun a challenge. Going with Fathom Cruises (https://www.fathom.org/cruise-to-cuba/ may add the convenience with amenities that are good fit for senior travelers.  More about a Fathom cruise next month.


Photography by Terry Zinn

Branson, Missouri has long been identified with top notch entertainment and entertainers. Over the years Branson has changed and updated, but the quality has continued.  If you have visited there in the past with it being the home of iconic performers, you might be disappointed to find out that those entertainers have either passed on or moved out of town.  Don’t be alarmed as the Branson, Missouri reputation is still intact.  As Branson likes to say, “Branson is not your grandmothers anymore.”  True, but fun and family entertainment still survives, and is well suited to senior tastes.


Recommended for your new Branson visit is your home base accommodations. The Hilton has two locations offering the Hilton familiarity and both are in the downtown area. Off at Table Mountain Lake is the Chateau resort, complete with views of the Ozark lake, and options for your boating pleasure.  The 15 minute drive out of Branson’s entertainment strip is a small price to pay for this elegant peaceful retreat.  Both hotels offer ample self-parking, some with a fee.

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Food can be entertainment as well. The Level Two Steak House inside the Hilton, offers the very best in quality steaks. One real surprise is the display and choice you might be offered by your server with a cabinet collection of steak knives with varying handles and steel blade varieties from which to choose your cutlery.  The superior steak and beverage served from your instructions may surprise you, for you’d never expect such luxury in an Ozark tourist location.  Another surprise is the dining at the Chateau Grille Restaurant at the Chateau resort, where again top of the line beverages and meals assure you of no regrets.

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Steamboat Branson Belle, is a combination of food, excursion and entertainment. The food quality was surpassed by the friendly wait staff, and the entertainers again, were of the highest quality with comedy and a variety of song styles to suit a variety of tastes.  The evening Steamboat cruise on the lake is hard to take in at night as you are cruising the lake so calm and dark that you hardly believe you’ve left the dock.  A daylight cruise is recommended.

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Other food venues not to be missed are Mel’s Hard Luck Diner in the Grand Village shopping area conveniently located on Highway 76. Your servers sing live to recorded background tracks with extreme precision and talent as they move about the dining rooms. The vocal talent exhibited there is equaled with the Happy Days style of food and ice-cream, in a setting fit for a movie set.  The Grand Village with plenty of free parking also offers several upscale shopping opportunities, with the two Christmas shops a real favorite. As one of the largest Christmas selections in the area, you are sure to be tempted with a purchase or two of items not found elsewhere.  I happily succumbed to the holiday decor temptation.

The main street of Branson entertainment is Highway 76, which is undergoing a several year renovation to improved sidewalks and the removal of high wire utility lines that obscure the elaborate exterior attractions of: King Kong, a giant Chicken and even a large meatball.  Along this strip you can find the recently added Ferris wheel and the expertly presented Titanic experience.

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Sitting back and letting the many entertainment options take over may be the best enjoyment of Branson. A few of the best of Branson talent and entrainment is the Raiding The Country Vault, where iconic country songs are performed by talented performers; the magic of Illusionist Rick Thomas, where his expertise at fooling the eye is truly mind boggling and admired; and Legends at the Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater, where while watching impressions of well-known celebrities do their act, you can enjoy food and beverages at the upstairs VIP balcony during their performances.

A short drive away, a visit to Silver Dollar City can offer a meaningful experience, especially during one of their festivals. At the National Harvest and Cowboy Festival; the Wilde West Show, the display of the 1880 restored Journey Stage Coach and a meeting of artist and Gunsmoke co-star, Buck Taylor, was an unexpected treat.

Many other notable attractions await your visit in Branson, as a long weekend in Branson may not be enough time to take in all it has to offer.  Find your options at: http://www.explorebranson.com

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, and can’t be awed by renown Impressionist painters, comes the Kimbell’s Claude Monet the Early Years: 1858 – 1872.

You will be illuminated to find out that Monet, mostly known for his broad strokes of mixing colors to produce a shimmering visual effect, started out as an accomplished realistic painter. Up until the 1870’s Monet produced a body of work comparable to the best of his artistic times, even though many were rejected at first evaluation by the prestigious Paris Salon.

Most affective is the The Magpie (1868-69) where in an expansive rural snow scape on a canvas of 35 by 52 inches, Monet captures our attention and imagination not only in the frosty landscape but by the technical master class with the many shades of white. Off center a back lit black magpie perches on the top rung of a primitive wooden gate.  This lonely image is haunting yet peaceful.  From the collection of the Musee d’Orsay, it’s only one of the many paintings pulled together from a variety of collections for this extraordinary exhibition.

Sailboats on the Seine at Petit-Gennevilliers (1874), exhibits Monet’s full fledge Impressionism with the dancing water reflections of sailboats under a wistful cloud filled sky. Other water reflections examples can be seen in Houses on the Bank of the River Zoan (1871-72), and Regatta at Argenteuil (1872).

An added delight is the free with admission hand held audio and visual self-tour appliance. The traditional numbers that coordinates with the art, is enhanced here with a visual image on your device.  Not only for the painting you are currently viewing but for visual comparisons to other works of art not on display. Once such educational comparison is with Monet’s, Still Life with Flowers and Fruit (1869), compared to Renoir painting the same still life.  It may not be known that Monet and Renoir occasionally painted together with plein air subjects.   The two floral bouquets are easily and fascinating compared in this exhibition.

Be sure and take your time in the galleries to imprint on you mind the treasure of art you are among. A number of benches are placed throughout the exhibition giving you time to sit, view, spin, view and spin again, enabling you to take in, compare and imprint in your mind this once in a lifetime experience.

You may also want to stroll through the Kimbell’s main gallery of their permanent collection with samples of many of arts greatest artists. And if you visit the Museum Store adjacent to the Monet exhibit, say hello for me to congenial sales assistant, Alice.

This limited edition exhibition at Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum is on display until January 29th. Admission for seniors is $16 and adults $18. More information at: www.kimbellart.org.

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Photography by Terry Zinn

Some Florida resorts are located amid a massive amount of traffic and tourist activity. The Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa is somewhat off the beaten track, and is boon for motorists, with their own transportation.

While a stroll within a mile of the property can be charming, there are not many cafes, restaurants or shops within the immediate area. If your desire is to get away from it all, and just ensconce yourself in a comfortable setting with pristine and maintained beaches, 2 pools, 2 towers of accommodations and delicious eating experiences, Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa may be your ideal.

When you consider a visit to Florida at any time of year, it is important to keep in mind the annual hurricane season from mid-summer through September. Of course these days, predictable weather patterns of past years seem to be unpredictable.  It’s a boon to Pompano that they are far North of Miami Beach with its recent health headlines.  It also is North of Fort Lauderdale, and a comfortable distance from its neighbor Lauderdale-By-the-Sea, which is a more active community with its many eateries and entertainment options. Again motorists will find it near enough to quench a typical Florida tourist’s appetite.

Near Pompano is the Hillsboro Lighthouse, privately owned and only open for tours at certain times, being a coast guard operated property. Upcoming tour date for 2016 is December 3.


Happily, sequestered in your ninth floor ocean front room with balcony, you might find the sporadic afternoon thunderstorm a real 3-D entertainment, more impactful than the best free action disaster movie, shown on your large in room TV screen. Be sure and inquire about a corner suite room, for added luxury.  As with many upscale hotels, housekeeping may be sporadic, even when alerting them to your out of room schedule.

Check in time is listed at 4 pm, but as someone I know had to do, you might have to wait until 6 pm, which will give you time to explore the property, Atlantic Ocean beach, Spa, and exercise room or grab a bite to eat.


McCoy’s restaurant both comfortably inside or out by the active pools, offers a variety of delectable meal options and beverages with congenial wait staff. If you’re a fan of specially cocktails, with the proper and courtesy instruction, they follow through with your requests most satisfactorily.

Florida still offers what many sun worshipers require and the family welcoming Marriott’s Pompano Beach Resort, might be your new favorite Florida oasis for you and your extended family.

For more information and reservations: www.marriott.com/fllpm





It’s said that timing is everything, and it’s so true when picking a time to visit a destination. Mexico has many festivals throughout the year, but one such is the combination of the Puerto Vallarta’s LGTB May Pride Celebration as it coincides with their Restaurant week, providing many opportunities for both exceptional fun and food.

Puerto Vallarta has long been a friendly environment for the LGTB community and the community coming together to host their fourth annual May Pride Week in 2016 is such an example. Parties and receptions held in and around the town offers the visitor a chance to see venues, they might not know exists.  There is a structured bar crawl (http://gayvallartabarhopping.com) where first time Puerto Vallarta visitors can easily partake of the festivities with a guide, and be in the right venue for special events.

The high mountain lodge at Villa Savana (www.villasavana.com) supplies a panoramic view of the town and beach, and quaint views of the houses of local citizens. The white washed accommodation, offers an historic character to the complex of pool and vista filled terrace.  At such a reception you might be treated to the guitar stylings of Eduardo Leon, and take home his CD for remembering the intoxicating experience again and again.


An upscale and visually stunning restaurant is the Café de Artistes (www.cafedesartistes.com) There you can have a Chilean wine with a smoked “Mahi Mahi”, a delicate roasted sea bass filet over a confit turnip perfumed with anise, spinach and fine herb sauce, the best Short Rib and Beef Petals duo with creamy chipolte chili sauce and topped off with a desert of “guanaban” sorbet and fried “bunuelos”. All were presented artistically and at times the visual presentation out shinned the taste.

A family owned and indigenous restaurant is the humble and quaint, El Arrayan (http://elarrayan.com.mx/en/) located in the middle of old town. Here the walls are filled with displays of ingenious art presiding over a table of authentic local tastes.


In operation for fifteen years, the Banderas Tapas (http://barcelonatapas.net/) offers a variety of small dishes fusing traditional tastes with other cultures accompanying wonderful sunset views. A tasting menu is available. The amendable bar tender can prepare exotic cocktails or fill your own personal Martini requests. With gourmet food in an open air vista filled venue and attentive service, who could ask for more?

A true delight is the food and ambiance of the ocean side setting of the Sapphire Beach Club (http://sapphire.mx ), which also hosts accommodations and a fresh water pool, overlooking the palapas of the beach, complete with roaming sellers of local goods.


Your brunch at the Villa Mercedes (www.hotelvillamercedes.com ) might find a buffet of delights, by a pool and shaded lounge area, adjacent to a more formal restaurant and bar. You might relax here, or stay at this boutique hotel, before venturing over to the nearby Mantamar Beach Club (http://en.mantamarvallarta.com/. They supply food, drink, entertainment, and an expansive pool with cabanas, changing rooms and an upstairs area for viewing the pool and the expansive Puerto Vallarta Beach. You can spend an entire day there soaking up the festival culture with locals and out of town party goers.

For all of the above dining venues be sure to make arrangements before arriving to double check their availability.


Your home base might be the modern Casa Magna Marriott (http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pvrmx-casamagna-marriott-puerto-vallarta-resort-and-spa/) in the hotel zone away from the historic downtown, or stay a short distance away at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta (http://www.hrhvallarta.com/)   Enjoy the VIP section of the beach with wait staff and a special VIP menu, or stroll around the pool areas with cocktail in hand, or relax in the shade, or take in the offerings of their Spa, with salon treatments or a massage, and don’t forget to sample several of their restaurants.


Despite all the shopping and dining opportunities in Puerto Vallarta proper, it’s easy to recommend a coastal sail along Banderas Bay  with  Mike’s fishing and charter tours ( http://pvmikesfishing.com/ , where with party music and refreshments gives you a chance to feel as if you are on a private yacht. This get a way sail, to a coast beach near of the Marietta’s Islands is where you might enjoy snorkeling. This relaxing day experience is not to be overlooked. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

Any time is a good time to experience the safe and tourist friendly resort town of Puerto Vallarta. A sunset stroll along the popular malecon with its iconic Puerto Vallarta Sea horse sculpture is a must. More information can be obtained at:  www.visitpuertovallarta.com.

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The state of Florida has many popular and well known resort destinations, where you can find gourmet dining, beautiful ocean front vistas and upscale comfortable resort hotels. Undiscovered by many frequent Florida vacationers, is Vero Beach and the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa, which has all any tropical traveler requires.

Located on Florida’s East Coast an hour’s drive from Melbourne and about an hours and a half from Orlando, the Vero Beach community, with entertaining attractions, art and jewelry galleries is worth the travel time. (You might also consider flying into the Vero Beach Regional Airport.) Crossing the bridge over the Indian River from the mainland you might be surprised at the commercial development. Once you reach the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa, conveniently located in the middle of the action, you can be secluded on the beach as with the best of any ocean side resort. You will discover beach activities that accommodate family needs, seaside casual dining and beverages, near the outdoor pool.


The twin tower hotel hosts the indoor/outdoor Cobalt restaurant where breakfast and gourmet dinners are served. They are happy to prepare a breakfast Eggs Benedict to your tastes and the evening sea bass is a light and delicious repast. Adjacent is the Cobalt bar and lounge, where the cocktail wait staff and bar tenders are eager to prepare your Martini or other exotic cocktail, to your specific specifications. This added attention to your request is a rare commodity at many exclusive lounges. The Vero Beach Hotel and Spa prides itself on its attentive and congenial service. The happy hour specials are not to be missed, are not watered down and come at a friendly price point. You can also partake of specially priced appetizers as meet other congenial travelers looking for a relaxed yet lux atmosphere.


The Vero Beach Hotel and Spa includes the full service White Orchid Spa and salon where you could spend an entire day taking in their many services. You may find an amendable spa partner when having an expert and extensive Mani-Pedi. Your fellow Salon patrons might include a fascinating personality such as Toronto’s, Barbara Reed, who as a successful professional, also creates exotic one of a kind jewelry pieces, which she is happy to share.  It’s this kind of serendipitous happening that keeps resort travelers returning to discover a happy encounter with like-minded persons.

For an evening or matinee be sure and check the schedule of the Riverside Theatre about 3 blocks from the hotel, accessible by taxi or a leisurely fifteen-minute walk. If your call for a taxi is too long a wait the front desk has a secure list of Uber drivers eager to please with prompt timing. Expert Theatre plays and elaborate musicals are presented year round, such as this spring’s Sister Act, and next season’s Mame and Chicago. Good last minute seats are usually available.


Next door to the theater is the Vero Beach Art Museum with special exhibits and a convenient Museum café with fresh sandwiches, before or after your viewing of the esoteric museum exhibits.

With all this actively you can take many leisurely strolls along the clean and constant surf along the beach, where a stroll lets you really appreciate the beauty and power of nature. Be sure and ask at the front desk, or at the other establishments you visit for the current Inside Track Almanac, the official guide to the Treasure Coast, which is filled with attractions you can consider to entertain you in your leisure time. While you may not have heard of Vero Beach, it is highly recommended for putting on your list of Florida’s favorite resort destinations where Vero Beach Hotel and Spa can be your resort oasis.  All Vero Beach’s specials can be found at:  http://www.verobeachhotelandspa.com/vero-beach-hotel-deals.

Photography by Terry Zinn

The adventure in art can be entertaining and also a reunion with favorite talented artist. The November Collectors Reserve event at Oklahoma’s Gilcrease Museum is such a gathering. The Museum is known for its western heritage art, but the Collectors Reserve brings together many contemporary artists expressing many cultures.

Following your favorite artist over the years and over the county, can be daunting, as it has been for many with the prolific bronze artist, Joshua Tobey. For many years his wildlife bronze creatures could be found in Sedona, Austin, Santa Fe and Loveland, among many galleries.  The multiple award winning artist was present for the recent Collectors Reserve at the Gilcrease, and once again took home the highest award over 100 other artists with the Best In Show.  He exhibited his large owl, Wise Guy, and bears performing a balancing act, Tricks of the Trade, and the Best In Show cougar in repose, Lions View.

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Other artists exhibited were: Joan Marron-LaRue, Doug Hyde, Oreland C. Joe Sr., Linda Turma Robertson, Jim Wilcox, Sandy Scott, and Gerald Balciar among others. Cocktails and light refreshments were served as the guest perused the art that they would like to have the opportunity to purchase with a drawing for its set price. The museum provided group prices for a downtown Tulsa hotel and offered shuttles up to the Gilcrease, making the entire evening more enjoyable.

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You may want to plan to attend the 2016 Collectors Reserve, or sample the Gilcrease before then with Rick Bartow: Things You Know But Cannot Explain opened January 24 and runs through April 24, 2016 at Gilcrease Museum. Featuring more than 100 pieces, including a broad selection of sculptures, paintings, drawings, prints, mixed media work and the giant pastels for which he is mostly known, the exhibition draws from public and private collections (including the artist’s studio) that affirm this extraordinary artist’s regional, national and international impact. Also see the works of early nineteen hundred artist William R. Leigh, where in 1906, an opportunity to expand the scope of his work came about when the Santa Fe Railroad offered him free passage to the West in exchange for a painting of the Grand Canyon.

If you don’t have a favorite artist, you might start your art adventure at the Gilcrease. For more information, go to: https://gilcrease.org/


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Photos by Terry Zinn

Having been to Santa Fe a number of times, it is always fun and relaxing to again visit those dining establishments that made an impression over the years. This fall the eating adventure led me to sample several familiar popular gourmet dining venues, and none mentioned here disappointed.

The Compound, http://www.compoundrestaurant.com/ located just off of artist filled Canyon Road, is an all-time favorite for the sophisticated palate. In an upscale adobe styled dining room, you can succumb to the temptations of; a Stacked Salad of Romaine, Tomato, Ham, Blue Cheese and Hard Cooked Taos eggs with Avocado Ranch Dressing topped with Free Range Chicken.

If your luncheon appetite is not quenched, for dessert you might try the Bittersweet Chocolate Marquis of Pistachio Gelato, Apricot Pistachio; or the Orange Olive Oil Cake of Fig Jam, Lemon Curd and Crème Fraiche. Your evening plans might include a return to the Compound to enjoy a night cap or light supper at the intimate bar. With seating only about ten people, reservations are recommended.

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The La Fonda Hotel http://www.lafondasantafe.com/la-plazuela holds many historic adventurous tales due to its early Santa Fe birth in 1640, but the restaurant, La Plazuela, has been a long time favorite for its casual, attentive, and never disappointing selections.  Your selections might include: a spinach salad with grilled hazelnuts, with gluten free prosciutto bathed in a cranberry vinaigrette. Your entre might be the Alaskan Silver Salmon with lemon cilantro butter sauce, or sweet and buttery hearty pork tenderloins with pineapple glaze and papaya vinaigrette.

Top the meal with a Chocolate Molten Cake of dark chocolate truffles, dark rum cream glaze, which accents the dessert’s warmth and coolness. It is impressive when your server knows the term “Ice on the Pond” when ordering your extra cold, extra dry Martini, which is served to perfection.

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While the décor has been renovated in recent years, the hand-painted side glass panels remains the restaurant’s signature Santa Fe tradition. Your high expectations for Santa Fe service, ambiance and dining are always met at La Fonda. Be sure and take time to visit the shops at La Fonda and the outside entrance to the top fashions of Rocki Gorman, a noted fashion and jewelry designer.

If you have not discovered the surprising and intimate atmosphere of Santacafe, http://santacafe.com/ you are missing a treat. Here inside white adobe, small dining areas, complete with a hint of Georgia O’Keeffe styled décor, you will find the best fresh Chimayo Red Chile onion rings available anywhere.

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But this seemingly simple appetizer is only a prelude to an array of tasty selections including: Blue Corn Chicken Confit of enchiladas of red and green chili, or the healthy pan seared salmon roasted with fingerling potatoes over a kale and spinach lime cream. It’s known during high season to have one of the best outdoor patios for celebrity sightings.

While the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi has undergone a dining room renovation, to open up the bar for casual tequila tastings and encourage conversation, the restaurant retains its elegant atmosphere and gourmet menu. You might start off your evening with a Kettle One Citron Pomegranate Martini, or a selection from one of their fine wines.

A flavorful good soup is an invitation to a gourmet meal and the Anasazi sweet potato soup was a perfect complement to the autumn weather. The Buffalo Empanada over an Avocado Mouse is personally recommended as is the fashionable crusted Salmon with baby beets, parsnips in a tamarind sauce. For dessert, you can play like a child with the Fried Ice Cream reminiscent of an outdoor campfire’s s’more.

You can’t leave Santa Fe without a nighttime visit to La Cantina next to La Casa Sena restaurant http://lacasasena.com/ . At the Cantina, the waiters treat you, between serving food courses and beverages, with their favorite contemporary and Broadway styled songs. Many of the talented singers are biding their time here, saving their money before jumping into the Broadway pool of performers. Feel free to order a Mexican styled dinner, or just a beverage with their chips and dip. The congenial atmosphere, the prompt and friendly service is a fitting farewell to the enchantment that is Santa Fe.

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Consider your Santa Fe visit between high tourist times like the Santa Fe Opera Season or the Indian Market. In this way you can be assured of obtaining your preferred dining reservation times, and Santa Fe will have a more accessible feel and friendliness.

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Photography by Terry Zinn

Austin Adventures is a tour company offering a plethora of travel destinations and options. New to the 2016 line up is a trifecta of upscale accommodations and natural wonders with a partnership with Xanterra Parks & Resorts and the Broadmoor collection in Colorado Springs.  Adventure means many things to many people. This Colorado Five Star Wilderness Adventure offers soft to rugged outdoor activities, including horseback riding, zip lining, rope courses, and mild to extreme mountain hiking.

Home base is the Colorado Springs iconic Broadmoor hotel where you will check in and register with your experienced Austin Adventure guides for a night at the nine thousand foot Cloud Camp, two nights at the Emerald Valley Ranch and nights at the elegant and historic Broadmoor hotel. Austin Adventures welcomes adult and family groups for a prefixed itinerary, as well as the challenge of custom tours if requested.

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My group numbered six diverse and congenial travelers who spanned a wide range of ages, interests and varying degrees of fitness. When living and exercising at these high elevations it should be noted that the effects of high altitude can sneak up on you. Preparations of drinking plenty of water, maybe an aspirin or two, is advised but may not quench that feeling of slight exhaustion.  Seniors may be affected more than younger participants, and your Austin Adventure guides will take this into consideration for the enjoyment of all guests.  This did not keep me from enjoying the log cabin elegance and gourmet food offered at every turn of my tour.

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The adventure starts out with a quick exposure to the Garden of the Gods geological formation at the new visitor center, along with a mild hike through the rugged red stone formations. Then it is off to Cave of the Winds, where again your adjustment to altitude may be tested with trekking up and down through the sometimes narrow and claustrophobic tunnels. Then it’s off to your mountain cabin hideaway which is literally a “high” light of your Colorado adventure.

Broadmoor’s Cloud Camp is perched at an elevation of 9,000 feet of timbered adventure. As you are driven up on the Broadmoor shuttle, the many switchbacks let you know you are going somewhere special as you pass through a zoo and many private gates.  Atop the mountain I looked down upon many sections of Colorado Springs and at night it was like I was  suspended over a scattering of shimmering diamonds.  The upscale cabins most with a two bed room configuration, warmly welcomes you after a gourmet meal in the expansive and outdoor interior designed lodge which is in the shadow of a distant Pikes Peak.

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With a lengthy hike up and down the mountain you arrive at Emerald Valley Ranch, or you may be shuttled in comfort, averting altitude stress. Emerald Valley Ranch, is a compound of super upscale log cabins around a tranquil lake and offers activities such as; horseback riding, zip lining, archery, fly fishing or just relaxing in an outdoor hot tub.  Once again the congenial and ever present western attired staff is there to fill your requests, and serve another gourmet meal, sometimes providing exotic buffalo ribs, rocky mountain red trout accompanied by delicious comfort baked beans and sweet potato au gratin with pecans.  After a long day of enjoyment the night and a roaring fire in your cabin will hypnotize you into dreamland.  If your phone is off the hook service personal will gently knock on your cabin door to invite you to a hearty breakfast.

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Austin Adventures likes to say the hardest thing about this trip is leaving. But when you are leaving the tranquilly of the private Emerald Valley Ranch you have the expansive and elegant European styled Broadmoor Hotel to embrace your reluctance. The Broadmoor is indeed the epitome of luxury accommodations. A meal and beverage at the many onsite venues is a sure winner as is their elegant Primrose Room, complete at times with live dance music and crystal chandeliers. The Primrose Room is Colorado’s only five star and five diamond award winner. For breakfast a casual awakening can be taken in at the Lake Terrace, where eggs benedict is a staple.

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This new Colorado Adventure tour for 2016 is only one of the many destinations offered by Austin Adventures which may peak your adventure wanderlust. Explore Austin Adventures where, “Your toughest part is going home.” http://www.austinadventures.com/