Spring Break Alternatives After Hurricanes Irma and Maria

We all know that the Caribbean has suffered a horrible hurricane season this year with the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Many of the destinations will take months and even worse case scenario, years to recuperate.

All is not lost for winter and Spring Break 2018, though. There are many destinations in the Caribbean that did not get hit by Irma or Maria. Mexico is also a very safe and still wonderful choice too.

As of the beginning of October, probably the worst hit is Puerto Rico where people are without food, supplies, water or electricity. Barbuda, Dominica, St. Maarten and the US. Virgin Islands were not devastated as badly, but it will be some time before they are back on track and functioning as per usual, although cruise ships are already preparing for docking at many ports of call that were hit.

What didn’t get hit is a very nice list. Two of the major destinations, with their non-stop flights out of Minnesota , were not devastated or even suffered one bit of damage are the Dominican Republic or Jamaica. Each of these islands have their own personality and distinctions that are very popular with American tourists looking for culture and gastronomy.

Other more remote Caribbean islands that were passed over were St. Kitts and Nevis, Bahamas, Haiti, Martinique, Antigua, St. Lucia and Aruba. If you are interested in Caribbean islands that are a little less accessible, but gorgeous and relaxing, the Caribbean is still an option.

Lastly, Mexico is still a fantastic choice for sunshine, white sand beaches and teal blue water. There are many activities to experience and the scenery is wonderful. Mexico’s welcoming hospitality is still intact, and the food and beverages are still top notch. Tourist safety is the number one priority for both American Travel Agencies and Mexico. You can have as much nightlife as you wish or as much relaxing as you wish, for safe memories that will last a lifetime.

Treat Your Culinary Desires on your Honeymoon!

Mexico is where it’s at for great culinary experience—thinking Peruvian, Italian and Asian food on your honeymoon!

The Riviera Maya is home to the El Dorado Maroma, Playa Maroma. It is where you will be surrounded by white sand beaches, teal blue water and swaying palm trees in the warm Mexican breezes. The property is gorgeous, lush with green foliage and flowers. The El Dorado Maroma is also home to it’s first of a kind in Mexico, Palifitos, over the water bungalows just like Fiji without the long plane ride.

So if you like diversity with what you eat, the El Dorado has plenty to keep your palate entertained. Lima Limon is a Peruvian style restaurant featuring signature cerveches and Peruvian style prepared meat and seafood dishes, and the presentation is just as beautiful as the white sand beaches … 5-Stars.

Mio Cuccina Italiana specializes in classic fresh fish dishes like Carpaccio and Frutti di mare and homemade pasta, daily in an intimate restaurant setting.

As for Asian, the staff at Kiyoko does a fantastic job with a selection of Sashimi, teppanyaki and other specialties. Chef will even customize a meal for you.

If the Caribbean is what calls you, there is plenty of opportunity for fabulous gastronomy as well.

Sandals is always a wonderful luxury go-to in Jamaica, but the Sandals Royal Plantation raises the bar for French inspired cuisine, Escargot, La Coquille du Pecheur, and of course nightly featured chef-prepared entrees. And of course the red wine will be flowing.

If afternoon tea is the experience you desire, scones, pastries and clotted cream served on fine china is available.

For a little more casual dining with high-end flair, try the Wobbly Peacock Gastro Pub. With traditional mahogany furnishings and an inviting atmosphere, The Wobbly Peacock features Confit Salmon and Lamb Rump as two classic Brittish entrees.

So whatever destination you choose in Mexico and the Caribbean, there are endless options for fantastic gastronomy to go with all of the beautiful beaches.

Michelle is finding the love for Paris… Again!

Aaah, Paris. The city of lights and love. This has always been and always will be one of the greatest places in the world for ALL of your senses to be aroused. From having a cup of coffee and taking in the view of the Eiffel Tower, at Printemps Department Store’s rooftop café, to enjoying an evening of Burgundy wine and a full-course meal at Le Cinq, the premier restaurant at the Four Seasons George V, Paris, the smells and tastes of this city would whet anyone’s appetite for all it has to offer. Theater buffs will want to visit the Moulin Rouge for a Cabaret show while architecture buffs can marvel at the Neoclassical structure of the Arc de Triomphe and many other famous buildings. If you like art, the Louvre Museum, home to the famous Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci, awaits. Lastly, don’t forget to take in some of Paris’s best scenery with a leisurely stroll along the River Siene to get the true feel of this lovely place.

Some of the popular food and wine festivals around Paris include:

From late January to early February, Loire Valley wine tastings La Renaissance de Appellations, Les Vins Anonymes, and La Dive Bouteille.

February 11th to 14, Taste of Paris returns to the Grand Palais. This festival features more than 18 chefs and 60 different dishes.

February 23rd to 26th, the Salon du Fromage will feature 165 producers, farmers and cheesemongers from 13 countries for a celebration of all things dairy.

March 6th to 8th, Omnivore, the food festival devoted to “young cuisine”. The city of Montreal will be this year’s guest of honor.

March 20th. Jour du Macaron, to celebrate macarons and raise money for charity.

June, Salon de Vin RDF will  welcome hundreds of winemakers to the Palais de Bronginiart for 2 days of tasting.

Late September, La Fete de la Gastronomie, a 3 day celebration of the Gallic gastronomy, including markets, tastings, cooking classes, picnics and fashion shows.

Late September, Street Food Temple, featuring trucks and stalls in and around Le Carreau du Temple.

With all of this and so much more to experience, there is a certain irresistible feeling of this city that has never really been diminished.

I can help you make your visit to Paris what you would like it to be from educational guided tours that offer time to explore on your own, to a completely crafted vacation of your lifetime with all the things included that you wish to do!

Let me know if you want to go!

Paris Restaurant

Michelle’s Cancun/Riviera Maya Adventure

I visited Cancun/Riviera Maya October 2014 and was pleasantly surprised at the 2 resorts I stayed at. First we stayed at the Marina El Cid then we moved to the Fiesta Americana.

The Marina El Cid is in the Riviera Maya, approximately 30 minutes from the Cancun International Airport, was delightful. I stayed in an oceanfront room with Lovely views of the resort and the ocean. The room I stayed at was spacious with fun things like a pillow menu and aroma therapy. There were even chocolate covered strawberries waiting for me when I arrived. I was thoroughly impressed with the property’s authentic Italian restaurant. The food was superb!

The white-sand beach was beautiful, but the sand was very compact. I spent most my down time at the pools.

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At the Fiesta Americana, Cancun my best memories were of the delicious, authentic Mexican meal we were treated to of Osobuco, watermelon salad and hibiscus margaritas which were amazing! At the end of the day having cocktails brought to me as I sat in my beach chair, watching the sun go down on the powdery, white sand beach that was studded with new baby palm trees made me very happy.

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