Category Archives: travels

Beautiful British Columbia

Stanley Park, Vancouvers famous first “greenspace”designated in 1888

The long holiday wasn’t intended to be a break from blogging but 8 weeks later here I am finally getting around to this long overdue post!  British Columbia had been on our travel list for years, both as an opportunity to see more of the Pacific Northwest and a chance to visit Stephanes’ father in Vancouver. 


 

The famous salmon burger at the wildsidegrill accompanied by a local tasty tofinobrew

 Darwin’s Cafe and gardens at the Tofino Botanical Gardens Foundation

Extreme kiteboarding in Squamish, glacier water just below freezing point, rapid currents, and super strong winds make this a place for the diehards . . . so not surprised to meet a fellow Wyomingite getting ready to ride!

Absolutely incredible wining and dining at Quails Gate

Sunset view from the Quails Gate Estate and Winery

Big thanks to Roger (the tireless photographer) and Judy for hosting us in their hometown and sharing their amazing province with us!  We had such an amazing trip; camping, hiking, biking, and marveling at all the beautiful places we hope to someday relive again!

Wild Wyoming

4th of July in the Tetons!
Grand Teton sunset
 Full moon at the cabin
 Never expected to find Turks and Caicos colored water in WY!  Natural geysers in Yellowstone
Yellowstone buffalo 

So fantastic to spend some time home on the range, gave me a reinforced feeling that I am incredibly fortunate to call myself a Wyomingite.
 Thanks Mom for the new kicks.  Dad and are were a pretty stylish pair on our hikes!  Such fun, thanks dad for joining us on this leg of our adventure!

More from beautiful British Columbia to follow soon . . . .

Road Trip

 Image via pinterest

 Many apologies for being so infrequently here, this last month has been hectic preparing for a loooooooong holiday!   Our vacation is going to look a lot like this; motorcycle, mountains, a couple of backpacks, and the wide open road leading to  . . . . . . 
 Image via pinterest.
Image via pinterest
Happy Canada Day to the Canadians and Happy 4th of July to the Americans!
Image via pinterest

Scouting St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Please pardon the long absence, it has been March madness around here!   Mid month I arrived in beautiful St. Vincent and the Grenadines for a week long whirlwind tour of this 32 island Caribbean country.   Cindi Blair (cindiblairproductions & turksandcaicosproductions) and I arrived to scout, document, and explore, all made possible by invitation from the SVG Tourism Authority who had expertly arranged all our details.
  Our first stop, or might I say hop, Young Island, the place I knew by this iconic aerial image of a heart shaped 32 acre patch of green engulfed in blue.  What a perfect little escape, just a four minute ferry ride from St. Vincent and it’s 120,000 inhabitants and busy, by Caribbean standards, city streets.  It’s not all city that St. Vincent has to offer however; the islands elevation is in thanks to two partially submerged volcanoes towering high within the landscape.  The capital city, Kingstown, boasts the oldest botanic garden in the New World and waterfalls and hiking abound just over an hour from the city center.  At breakfast our first morning, looking out over the narrow channel separating Young Island from St. Vincent, we witnessed a family slipping on fins from their sailboat at anchor, diving into their day with a snorkel.  If we had not had a flight to Mustique to catch, we surely would have followed lead!
The moment we set foot on Mustique, it was apparent this was a lifestyle island, and that lifestyle is all about leisure. Just beyond the charming little airport lies miles of green grass dedicated to the retired horses of the equestrian centre (I can imagine horses worldwide swimming for Mustique’s shores for inclusion) This gentle giant African Baobab tree sits by the Bamboo Church not far from the children’s playground.  This island sanctuary envisioned by Lord Glennconnor has now grown to 75 fully fabulous vacation villas (development is capped to 100 homes), each one distinctive and incredible in its own right.  We were lucky enough to tour five of these luscious properties, each with endless opportunities for production clientele:
Mustique certainly has it all in terms of locations; from palatial estates to classic Caribbean charmers, modern minimalist architecture to opulent interiors, in every influence from Balinese to Mediterranean. And nestled within this exclusive but laid back 1,400 acre neighborhood lies the 17 room, effortlessly chic boutique hotel, Cotton House.   Here you will find an old stone mill, lily ponds, and veranda dining at the famous great-room-bar.  This is the only place of it’s kind on Mustique, take a great visual tour here
A short flight back to Young Island, we wrapped the day with a fantastic farewell dinner with our lovely host at Young Island, GM Bianca Porter.  Early the next morning I took a nature walk on the islands endless gardens where I captured this dawn image of neighboring Fort Duvernette and it’s stone handcut winding staircase before catching our next flight. 
Canouan island followed, where we were welcomed by the eloquent GM Cynzia and the cheerful staff of the Tamarind Beach Hotel.  Situated on an intimate stretch of white sand beach on a boat filled bay, it could not have been more picturesque.  
 Unlike many standard style norms in the Caribbean, Tamarind is darkly different . . . she is a shiny black pearl amongst a handful of white shells. Her entire exterior is painted velvety black, only the gingerbread trim is classic Caribbean white. 
 This would be an excellent accommodation choice for a production team. Every room is not only ocean view but beachfront; the lower level units have private porches with petite swinging gates opening to white sand while the upper level offers breezy rooms with vaulted ceilings. The handsome property feels very tropical getaway with its tiny hut beach bar, billowing draped reception, and a palapa style restaurant overlooking the water.  At night the Pirate Cove Bar comes alive,  with plenty of deck room for guests, locals, and sailors to eat, drink, and dance the night away.  

More importantly, Canouan is a great base for island hopping to the Tobago Cays.  A pick up on the private jetty and a swift boat ride and you may select the beach of your choice . . .

Mayreau not only offers amazing beaches, take a ten minute walk up to the village and you will find an old cobblestone Catholic church, dennis’s hideaway, and a half dozen quirky and colorful rasta inspired cafe’s and bars worth stepping into. 

Canouan Resort is all about luxury; a  sprawling 1200 acre private estate “featuring hidden coves, beautiful white sand beaches, championship 18-hole golf course, tennis, water sports, a 17th Century English Church located at the heart of the resort, 5 signature restaurants and bars, Sugar Palm Kids Club . . . ”
Golfers or not, the 13th hole has unforgettable 360 degree views; a green that falls off into nothing but sea and sky.   
 Union Island, a short distance south, is well known as a yachting hub.  Just off the jetty and walking to the main strip we saw a rainbow of bright colors; a circle of fruit stands and gift shops surrounding a grounded old boat, whose second lease on life is as an ice cream/snack shop and playground for young and old alike.
 We stayed a mile off Union Island in Palm Island, at the all-inclusive palmislandresort.
An afternoon walking tour of the island (formerly known as Prune Island until owner “Coconut Johny” transformed the place and the name with his ambitious planting) took us through nature trails and hikes up Iguana and Lookout Points,  steep climbs where the views paid off with the effort to reach them.
Our final night we journeyed back to St. Vincent to meet and dine with our SVG rep, Kathique Haynes.  As we pulled up to a long, dark driveway and unassuming place I felt a tinge of disappointment.  That disappointment dissolved the moment we descended down the steep slope and stepped into Driftwood.  What a savvy little surprise!  Simple style with natural decor and an easy elegance whose motto is Eat.Drink.Drift.  That we did. The food was delicious and our company was delightful and informative.  Kathique, like many Vincies we met, was friendly, professional, and a gracious host happy to share a wealth of information about her home country.  Our tour of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was an excellent experience and we are ever grateful to Jennifer at spring-obrien, Kathique and everyone at the SVGTA, and all the wonderful people we met along our way. 
Cindi Blair Productions and Turks and Caicos Productions are thrilled to soon present a sister site with a brand new database of thousands of images from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.  What you see here is just a tiny taste of the many spectacular locations available.  Stay tuned!

Pak Beng, Chiang Khong, and Chiang Mai

We boarded a long boat for our two day journey on the Mekong River and only two hours in we made our first stop at the Pak Ou Caves.  Here rests thousands of Buddha statues, and by the dust and cobwebs on them, they lie untouched.
We didn’t make it to the upper level of caves and after reading this, I was sorry we didn’t.
A long boat similiar to ours, perfect for seeing the scenery while having the mobility to walk around, a table and chairs to dine at, rows of seats to recline on, and the wonderful ease and joy of a restroom!  The alternative to the slow boat is the fast boat.  Our group was comfortably reading and playing cards as one passed us at lightning speed with all passengers in full face helmets holding on for dear life.  It was our turn to have the wisdom that comes with age!
After a full day on the boat we arrived in Pak Beng in time to watch the sun go down beyond the river and behind the mountains.  From everything I read before hand I was not expecting much of this virtually one street little village.  I was pleasantly surprised to find there were several little shops, restaurants, and guesthouses.  The village had a lighthearted, cozy ambiance and we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner.
Early the next morning, with a fog still clinging to the air, we hopped back on our boat for day two of our boat journey.
 
Our captain must have been the “early bird catches the worm type” as most all the other slowboats were still docked and the passengers most likely still getting shuteye.
Daily life along the river; men bagging rice?
Women and children fishing.  All images by PepperKeyStacie
Chiang Khong is a sleepy little border town often used by travelers going between Loas and Thailand.    We took a long walk by the river and chose this neat restaurant.  A nearly full moon hides behind the palm.
One of the greatest and lasting impressions of Thailand will be due to this magnificent piece of modern art; The White Temple or Wat Rong Khun.  It is the vision of artist Chalermchai Kositpipat who wished it to be an imitation of heaven on earth. 
This gleaming white most unusual temple was started in 1997 and the artist intends for it to be his life’s work.  He believes it’s construction will take sixty to seventy years to complete and has prepared for it’s continuation even after his death.   The cost to see this wonder for yourself, $0.  That’s right, it’s free.
This golden structure is not a temple, it’s actually the toilet.  To read more about this amazing place and this remarkable artist who is succesfully bringing tradional Thai art to a global audience, please read this article.  This post marks the end of my SE Asia travel entries, congratulations if you have made it through every one!