Maureen Dempsey

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Ever ridden in a snow cat?  Don’t know what one is, you say?  Well either did I…until last night.

It turns out there’s a private dinner club at the top of one of the mountains we’ve been skiing and the only way to get there is by snow cat – the machines used to groom ski hills.

These vehicles have enclosed cabs for the driver to sit in and have the same tracks that tanks use.  But to go up the side of the mountain and be able to groom such steep tracks as black diamonds, they’ve got to be pretty powerful…and have a driver with a taste for the daring.

This uber schwanky dining experience (too nice to pedestrianize it with the moiker “restaurant”), The Game Creek Club takes reservations for non-members one night a week.  So last night we took the gondola most of the way up the mountain and then boarded a snowcat for the remainder of the trip. Continue reading

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Last night we went to the Japanese restaurant Matsuhisa that specializes in fusion cuisine…even in their sushi.

Now, I’m a huge sushi lover and being pregnant hasn’t changed that. Though, I eat mostly cooked sushi now but this is the most high-end sushi place I’ve ever set foot in so I figured it’d be safe to gamble a little with some raw fish.

Our waitress was fantastic and the menu was incredibly eclectic, so we let her order for us. Continue reading

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Our much-needed massage after the chair-lift incident was ridiculous. We booked it at our resort spa so it was all sorts of fanciness. There was a fireplace not only in the “relaxation room” where we drank lemon-infused water while awaiting our massage, but there was one above the stone tub (where they do mud baths) in the room where we got our massage. Luxurious doesn’t begin to describe this place.

There were his and her sauna/whirl pool/steam baths that you could use before your treatment and guests got their own robes and slippers. Everything was stunning. The ceilings looked to be made of stained teak and even the room for our massage had a vaulted ceiling. The walls were made of slate and the lighting was warmly dim, conducive to utter relaxation. Continue reading

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Ever since meeting Ted and learning to surf, he’s been telling me about snowboarding and how it’s like a really, really long wave.  Being that with surfing, the rides are just never long enough, so this idea of a never-ending ride was pretty appealing to me.

I’ve finally gotten my chance, as we’re out in Vail for the week!  He’s attending a conference but they break from 9 to 3, leaving us plenty of time to hit the slopes each day.  Since it’s been almost 10 years since Ted’s snowboarded, we both took lessons our first day here. Continue reading

On the way to the dentist last week I saw a couple of college-aged girls wearing fanny packs.

Fanny packs. 

Now, I’ve been seeing Saved By the Bell-era fashion slowly creeping its way into the mainstream over the last year or two (like high-wasted shorts and baggy neon tank tops), but fanny packs?!  Those were questionable even in their heyday.  I remember my brother making fun of my purple one (that matched my slap bracelet…which I casually stored in my Caboodle, BTW). Continue reading

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I don’t know a better way to kick off the day than with a couple of café con leche(s) – it’s always weird pluralizing nouns in a romance languages – and guava pastries. By the time the crash from the sugar begins setting in, the caffeine from the coffee takes over.

We met up with the fam yesterday morning at the famous Versailles – the south Florida mainstay for Cuban food, not Louis’ bankrupting palace. After I gringo’d myself out by asking for the café con leche without sugar, a sweet little Cuban lady in her early 80s walked up to the table and pointed at me as she began to tell me in Spanish that I wasn’t Cuban.

Huh…the girl with freckles and curly, somewhat reddish hair wasn’t Cuban? How’d they know? Continue reading

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Remember going to the water park as a kid and wishing you never had to leave?  Today was one of those days…only we’re not children, and we weren’t at a water park precisely.

We were at the Venetian Pool – a spring fed pool made from a coral quarry – so perhaps even cooler than typical water parks with concrete bottoms and chlorinated water pumped in. Continue reading

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True story: I’m a Florida native who somehow reached her 30s before ever going to Miami.

My husband, who is from this fair city, has loved me despite that fact.  But this weekend, a family wedding at the famed Biltmore (the peach hotel, not the sprawling estate) finally got me that check in the box.

We lucked out with a room at the Hotel St. Michel, a European boutique hotel built in 1926.  It was preserved masterfully with every room unique in its furnishings and artwork.  And the furniture is all antique (we actually have a wardrobe in which to hang our clothes…à la, the Lion and the Witch). Continue reading

How did we become the hosts for the heinously tacky bike rally, Thunder Beach?  Wasn’t that Daytona’s shtick?  They seem to be shedding all of their mistakes and we are snatching them up one after another.  Case in point: spring break.

Come on Panama City, can we not actively pursue the seedy side of life?

You know how American’s often put Canadian flags on their backpacks when they travel abroad because they don’t want people to know where they’re from?  That’s how I feel about Panama City sometimes. Continue reading

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It’s our last morning at the cottage and I’m enjoying my last bowl of Wheatabix for a while.   I probably shouldn’t be having dairy so soon after the incident, but all I’ve had in 36 hours has been a quarter of an apple and three measly crackers so I’m starving. Roll the bones McClain.

I woke up sometime before dawn and after lying in bed for two hours, I finally decided to get up. The sky is the clearest it’s been all week and I can see sun painting the eastern side of the farmhouse a few fields over. Continue reading