Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs

I sincerely wish I could maintain a more consistent posting schedule on this travel blog, but with all of the projects I juggle, this one seems to be destined to remain at the bottom of the "To Do" list. I actually LOVE to write about travel, but I also love to write about writing and post far more frequently to, where I often feature other authors and their works, provide updates on my endeavors, interview interesting and inspiring characters that I meet along this writing journey, and just mention whatever is on my scattered mind.

In the interest of keeping this blog alive, however, I'm posting today about one of my favorite locations: The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO.  I have stayed there multiple times in the past few years, and each visit was beyond relaxing and peaceful. I previously wrote about this lovely property a couple of years ago on my writing blog, and I'll share that information (slightly revised) with you today.

We recently had the privilege of spending a few days at the fabulous Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. I can't begin to describe the beauty, relaxation, and accommodation that this location provides. From the yummy dining, the fabulous spa, the picturesque outdoor lakeside pool, charming paddle boats, hidden flower and sculpture gardens, the blue Colorado sky with the cottony white puffy clouds, and charming boutiques to the meticulously manicured 54 holes of golf, this place is amazing. The staff members were incredibly helpful and friendly. Rumor has it that one of the three golf courses is far more challenging than the others, but I won't reveal which one is the toughest. 

A visit to the spa is a MUST, where one will find all tension eliminated by the experts in facials and massage. It features a special relaxation room, where one can lean back in a comfortable, cushiony lounge, sip lemon flavored water and nibble on fruit, and read a book or magazine while occasionally gazing out a gigantic picture window that exposes a background of spectacular blue sky and mountain scenery. A visit to this spa isn't complete without a brief stop in one of the restrooms--even if you don't really have the urge to go. The restrooms were the talk of the dinner table, as the ladies were astounded at the unique experience of sitting on a heated toilet seat at the spa. That wasn't all, however. The bidet has nothing on these toilets. They were fitted with some type of contraption with a control panel on the right hand wall where one could choose a front light spray, front heavy spray, rear light spray, rear heavy spray, and the best----a dryer. I must say that I have never seen anything like this in my entire life--the toilet seat of all toilet seats. I could have stayed in there for half an hour just to experiment with the various sprays and dryer. I pushed every button just to see what it would happen next! I wish I had taken a photo of it, but it simply didn't occur to me at the time.

Essential to a trip to Colorado Springs is the cog railway trip to the top of Pike's Peak. The Broadmoor is at an elevation just above 6,000 feet, and Pike's Peak boasts an elevation of approximately 14,100 feet. Let me assure you that at that height, it definitely impacts your body. I felt light headed, queasy, woozy, and almost disoriented; however, it is something that everyone in good health should experience once. I've been there twice, so I've exceeded the requisite one visit. Next time, I think I'll try out the golf course or the heated toilet seat instead. You will notice in the photo that I am not smiling, and yes, that is snow on which I'm reluctantly standing. I was turning green at the time, and stayed outside just long enough for the photos.

On a prior visit to the Broadmoor, I was fortunate enough to be included in an historical tour of the property, hosted by a knowledgeable, affable guide. Learning the history of this magnificent location was fascinating.
I highly recommend the Broadmoor for a well deserved getaway!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Exploring the Historic Hudson Valley

It isn’t just a series of rolling hills that is coincidentally situated between New York City and the Adirondack Mountains. It is a worthy destination of its own!

Venture off the New York State Thruway at Exit 17 approximately one hour north of New York City at Newburgh, New York, and enter a timeless sanctuary of serenity—packed with options of activities representing a simpler, more peaceful era. The vicinity offers tours of West Point, comfortable Bed & Breakfasts, multiple antique market locations, galleries featuring fine art, sculptures, photography, handmade jewelry, pottery and blown glass.  There are concerts, crafts fairs, festivals, historic mansion tours, castles, villas, inns, a renowned culinary institute, horse shows, fabulous restaurants, tea rooms, museums, the New York Renaissance Faire, hiking, horseback riding and the best shining gem of all—the picturesque Hudson River. Plant a little smooch on the lips of your darlin’ as you saunter, hand in hand, along the romantic riverfront.

Not only is the visitor able to choose from a variety of restaurant venues spaced along the spectacular riverfront, but they can also hop aboard a tour boat that will guide them on a narrative historical journey as they navigate the waters of the mighty Hudson. While there are numerous choices, Hubby and I ventured over to The River Rose during a recent visit. This is an authentic New Orleans paddle wheeler that holds 150 passengers plus an affable crew. We spent some time chatting with Captain John “Duke” Panzela—truly a fascinating character. I’d certainly like to be writing his life story! An entertaining, informative, reasonably priced two hour tour on a pristine, sun-soaked day was a perfect (oops, Never Say Perfect…the name of one of my novels…) and memorable afternoon along the Hudson. Check out

Dinner at elegant Torches on the riverfront was the epitome of a lovely dining experience and served as a delicious glaze on top of a special day to cherish. Torches serves “Eclectic American Cuisine” and boasts a 6,000 gallon aquarium for diners to ogle.See

For additional information about the Hudson Valley region, visit, and plan to take that detour off the hectic NYS Thruway by taking Exit 17. You may just be glad you did!

Sipping an afternoon iced tea along the riverfront

Hope to see you again soon!

Mary Anne Benedetto

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cape May Girls Only Vacation


I had actually intended my next post to be about Paris…not that I’ve been there yet, but I certainly hope to go some day! After visiting Italy, Paris is next on my bucket list. Since I just returned from my annual Girls Only Week in Cape May, NJ, I decided to do a quick post about this fascinating, relaxing location.

Cape May reminds me of a step back in time. Besides the intricately designed Victorian structures, it is simply the small hometown feeling that one senses by walking along Beach Avenue or in the Washington Street Mall area, seeing the visitors enjoying a horse & carriage ride along the narrow streets, families donning helmets as they pedal their way around the streets in covered surreys, visiting Della's 5 & 10 cent store where they have an old fashioned soda fountain-type counter in the rear, browsing through all of the unique boutiques and shops…hardly a chain store to be found here. 

We’ve been enjoying this week every year for over 20 years, and it never gets old. We rent the same house on Kearney Avenue, and this is a perfect location—2 blocks from the beach, an easy walk and very quiet when we are sitting out on our gigantic side porch where we lounge around in our jammies, not easily visible from the street.

Each year we like to plan an unusual activity in order to take a break from all of the beach time, shopping and eating. This year, we thoroughly enjoyed a two hour boat ride on A Tiny Cruise Line ( ). There were seven in our party, and the tour took us from the harbor located by the Lobster House, along the coast with a view of the Cape May beaches, out past Cape May Point and the lighthouse, along the waterway beside the Cape May-Lewes Ferry terminal, and then a shortcut back to the harbor. Captain Doug and his First Mate, Lexi, were personable and informative about the sights we were viewing. Lexi was kind and patient enough to take several shots of us with multiple cameras, God bless her. We highly recommend this tour! Call 609-602-1118 to discuss the possibilities. BTW, they also run a hop on and off water shuttle that runs between various waterfront restaurants. I would  imagine that their sunset cruise is absolutely amazing. We’ll have to try that one another time.

We had a wonderful dinner at the Merion Inn. My Chilean Sea Bass was out of this world delicious. I would highly recommend this restaurant.

Mary Ann usually departs a little early from the beach and prepares a dip, crackers, cheese, pepperoni, etc. so the starving beach bunnies will have something to chow down when they arrive from the shore. One of our favorite meals is our Italian dinner that we prepare in our own kitchen, complete with Aunt Minnie’s delectable marinara sauce. Many thanks to Aunt Minnie, as she has been supplying this sauce for us for a number of years, lovingly made from scratch. Chef Candy grills the steaks, Cheryl & Calf make the humungous salad (and a special thank you that they indulge me in providing a small individual salad for me with NO dressing…one of my many food quirks), and Calf also produced a gigantic potato salad.  Dee Dee prepares the asparagus, and we have those fabulous garlic knots from Mario’s in Cape May. Robin & I work on the cleanup because we stay out of the way while the cooking is in progress. Obviously, we can only have so many bodies crammed into a kitchen at the same time and still be productive. We usually have Lori in the mix, but she was touring Italy this year, and her little spark was greatly missed.
Fireworks that we could easily view from our beach chairs, strategically placed along the shoreline, were spectacular and memorable. We love walking to Uncle Charley’s in Washington Street Mall for a late night ice cream before they close up for the evening. We assume that the walk back to Kearney Ave. will eliminate the calories we have just ingested. Walking at night in Cape May has its own charm because it offers the best view of some of the lighted parlor areas inside the many Victorian bed and breakfast establishments which line these charming narrow streets. One could easily arrive in Cape May and never again feel the need to drive a vehicle, except for a quick trek to the Lobster House, which is just a little too far for a walk from the center of town unless you are accustomed to lengthy hikes. 

Although Cape May is a captivating location, it is really the friendships and laughter that are the best medicine during this vacation. Dee Dee annually performs her rendition of Yankee Doodle Dandy, which was captured on video this year, but she threatened litigation if I post it. I absolutely love these girls and the memories we share. They understand when I am quiet and preoccupied. As a writer, I always have multiple projects in various stages of completion running through my brain. They just let me be me—for better or for worse, and they are the best.

                                                                           Photographs by Lexi Quinn
Special thanks to Lexi Quinn, Realtor
Jersey Cape Realty, Inc.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm Still Alive

I have to apologize for my delay in travel writing during recent months! Not only do I write about travel, I just recently published two (!) new books back to back. One is nonfiction-7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time! and the other is fiction-Never Say Perfect. It has been a complete whirlwind for me and continues to present challenges of wearing the marketing and promotion hats while I also enjoy introducing and featuring other authors on my writing blog. Then there is always just the craziness of every day living.

Never fear, however. I absolutely love travel writing and just returned from a visit in Bradenton, FL and then on to Naples, FL, two gorgeous southern locations. In the very near future, I will be writing a couple of posts about Paris, hopefully the next major travel destination for Marianne, Sharon, Laura and me in 2013. If you have read the Italy series on this travel blog, you know all about these great travel companions of mine! Fingers are crossed that a few days in London and then on to Paris in 2013 will become a reality.

I also intend to write about a visit to Sea Island, Georgia and also Asheville, North Carolina in future posts if I can just add a few hours to my hectic day. Stay tuned though, and don't give up hope. These are definitely on my To Do list!

Blessings to all, and I promise to be back very soon with travel fun and surprises.

Visit for more information on 7 Easy Steps and Never Say Perfect and for posts on authors, books and the world of writing!

Mary Anne