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Drowsy Water Ranch Colorado

The Drowsy Water Ranch has been providing visitors from around the world with authentic, western ranch vacations for over 90 years. This 700 acre family guest ranch is nestled in it’s own private mountain valley and has as much charm as it does family friendly activities. We visited the Drowsy Water Ranch in June of 2015 and loved everything about it.

The stay starts with getting your bunk house assigned to you. All of the cabins are made from local trees and perfectly pair historical flair with modern amenities. From the moment you arrive you’re greeted with authentic, down-home hospitality framed by an unforgettable mountain backdrop.

Activities are the main attraction at Drowsy Water Ranch, and include horseback riding, rafting, guided hikes, mountain biking, a ranch zip line and lots more. Their herd of over 100 horses and expert instruction provide an enjoyable experience for all experience levels.

After a day of Rocky Mountain activities, kick back and enjoy the sunset and wait for that dinner bell to ring. The dinner bell is a near-sacred activity that only the most daring kid gets to participate in. Once the bell is sounded, it’s family style eating on picnic tables and paper plates.

A week spent at the ranch will prove to be full of unforgettable memories. The word has gotten out, too! Drowsy Water Ranch was voted the 2010 #1 All Inclusive Resort in the world by tripadvisor.com, voted #4 for 2011 and recently again made to top 25 for 2012. The ranch was also named the #1 Best Dude Ranch for Families by the familyvacationcritic.com in 2011.

See their full rate and 2015 pricing schedule, here.

Learn More: Here

Hiking Masada at Sunrise

Hiking Masada at sunrise was totally worth it, and I recommend it to everyone who asks. Later in the day, you can take the cable car if you don’t want to spend 45+ minutes with aching calves. It will be far less rewarding, though, and you’ll miss the beautiful sunrise over the Dead Sea. At the top, you can see to see the beautiful, rugged mountain landscape of the Israeli desert for miles. You can explore the ancient fortress and learn about the history that took place there. The ruins still define rooms, palaces, and churches atop the towering mesa.

Sunrise is usually anywhere from 5:30-6:45 am depending on the time of year, so plan to get up early! We woke up at 3:45 and were staying less than 15 minutes away. Plan for 1.5 hours to check in, get a map, and hike to the top. Then plan for another hour at the top marveling at the sunrise, taking pictures, and wandering around. The trail up is called the Snake Path because of its windy twists and turns. There is railing and stairs on much of it, but be prepared for about an hour of steep walking and stairs. Of course, after that, the journey down is a breeze!

Learn More: Here

California Road Trip: Pacific Coast Highway

One of our favorite road trips ever was driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco along the Pacific Coast Highway. We pretty much just drove until we saw a scenic lookout sign, pulled over, and took pictures of the gorgeous scenery along the coast. One minute, it can be bright and sunny, and the next, your view is filled with billowing fog. We loved the rugged coastline and natural beauty of this part of the country. Take a look!

 

Solvang – adorable Danish town with the best Danish pancakes at Paula’s Pancake House. Pro tip: get ice cream with your pancake!

Hearst Castle – huge, ornate estate of William Randolph Hearst

Elephant Seal Beach – Piedras Blancas Beach is home to thousands of elephant seals just lounging on the beach. It’s worth a stop!

McWay Falls – right off PCH, this waterfall flows right into the aqua blue ocean. It is beautiful and well worth the stop and short hike.

Big Sur – a lovely area along PCH with some of the most picturesque and iconic views of the California coastline

Bixby Bridge – a famous bridge in Big Sur and one of the most photographed areas of PCH

Carmel Valley – a beautiful little town nestled in a valley about 12 miles inland from PCH. Have a meal on the patio at The Corkscrew Cafe.

Muir Woods National Monument – north of San Francisco, this is a great place to see towering Redwoods, go hiking, and enjoy flourishing green ferns.

Napa/Sonoma/Russian River/Alexander Valleys – take your pick, and visit some of the most gorgeous wine country there is to see. There are stunning wineries and vineyards all around these areas and cute little wine towns to match.

The Dead Sea

Floating in the Dead Sea is a bucket list-worthy item for sure. Resting in the Judean Desert, it’s the lowest point on Earth and also the saltiest body of water. Ten times saltier than the ocean, no macro organisms can survive in it, hence the name. People have been visiting the desert oasis for thousands of years to float, use the spa-quality mud, or just marvel at its beauty.

Over the last 50 years, the water level has decreased so much that the one Dead Sea is now in two main sections. People travel from all over the world to bathe in the mineral-rich muddy waters found in the larger northern basin, while we floated in the crystal clear turquoise waters of the smaller southern basin. Bring a newspaper to get the iconic Dead Sea photo, and enjoy yourself!

A few tips:

  • Don’t shave for several days before getting in the extreme saline water. I cannot emphasize this!
  • Bring a swimsuit you don’t mind getting messy. The mud and salty water can stain it.
  • Be extra careful not to get any water in your mouth and eyes.
  • It’s only recommended to stay in for about 20 minutes.
  • Rinse off at a beach shower immediately afterward.

While you’re in the Dead Sea area, you should also:

  • Visit the Ein Gedi desert oasis and nature reserve
  • Hike the mountain fortress of Masada
  • Get a massage at a nearby spa – there are lots of them!

 

Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe

We love to ski and will go any chance we get. We’ve been to a lot of mountains throughout Colorado and New Mexico, but one of our favorites is Ski Santa Fe in New Mexico. We went there again this year and fell in love with the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe. From soaring mountain views, to fresh produce grown on site used by the chef, Rancho Encantado is one of the most exclusive and rejuvenating resorts you can find.

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Centara Rooftop Bar & Restaurant

We love eating, and we love seeing new places (what this entire blog is about). Bangkok is such a great city to do both of those things at a rooftop restaurant or bar. The weather is warm year-round, so it’s a perfect city to explore from above while enjoying cocktails and tasty cuisine.

Naturally, we wanted to partake in the trendy rooftop scene, so we spent a fun evening at Centara Watergate Pavillion. They actually have two rooftop hangouts. One is a restaurant called Chili Hip that features Thai cuisine and other Asian delicacies. The other is a modern bar called Walk that serves craft cocktails and specialty snacks.

At Chili Hip, we tried a variety of dishes like roasted lamb, red curry chicken, and chocolate ganache cake for dessert. They have a specialty cocktail made with vodka that has an actual chili pepper in it. It’s one of the bravest/coolest looking drinks I’ve ever had! The entire restaurant is trendy and romantic without being ultra cheesy. 

At Walk, there is modern furniture, glowing lights, and a giant screen featuring models on a catwalk. Basically, it felt like we were at a fashion show after-party, not that I know what that actually feels like, but a girl can dream. The bar alone is edgy and posh, and the rooftop aspect and beautiful views of the city make for an incredible night out. 

To best enjoy stunning views of Bangkok, we recommend getting to Centara near dusk because the lighting is phenomenal for photography, and then continue to enjoy the mesmerizing city at nighttime. Start at Chili Hip for tasty fusion cuisine and then make your way up the stairs to Walk for a more upbeat cap to your evening. Check out the pictures from our experience!

Koh Phi Phi Leh

One of the most beautiful parts of Thailand is a group of islands called the Phi Phi Islands, where we were fortunate enough to stay at Outrigger Phi Phi Island Resort & Spa. The nearby island that has become world famous after the filming of The Beach is called Koh Phi Phi Leh and is an uninhabited national park. The island is just spectacular, with giant limestone cliffs rising over mesmerizing jewel tone waters.

We went on the Early Bird Trip with our resort to avoid the swarms of tourists that come from Phuket and Krabi around midday, and we loved it. There was only one other small boat of people, so we practically had the entire place to ourselves. We were never rushed and had plenty of time to enjoy the jaw-dropping natural beauty. We visited Maya Bay, Loh Samah Bay, and Viking Cave, famous for the bird’s nest that is used in Chinese bird’s nest soup. We also went snorkeling several times throughout the trip. It was the best snorkeling I’ve ever experienced. The fish are bright and beautiful, with many different varieties living among the coral reefs around the island. The water surrounding this incredible archipelago is the most gorgeous blue-green water I’ve ever seen, quite unforgettable. The pictures do not do the island justice!

Thai Cooking Class with Outrigger Phi Phi Island

One of the most fun things we did in Thailand was learn to cook traditional Thai food in a cooking class with Outrigger Phi Phi Island Resort. We learned how to make Yum Moo Yang, Tom Kha Talay, Geang Kiew Waan Gai, and Kluay Buad Chee. That translates to spicy grilled pork salad, savory coconut milk soup with seafood and Thai herbs, green curry chicken, and a sweet banana coconut milk dessert. It was all delicious!

Hilton Anatole

Dallas,TX, is a unique place. Situated in middle America, it’s a hub of thriving business and an emerging culture that recognizes it’s cowboy past as it prepares for the high-tech future. At the center of it all is the Hilton Anatole, a local icon and destination within itself. We kicked off our boots for a few nights while touring the city.
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