Right before Christmas, we were invited down to Outlook Lodge, a quaint getaway near Colorado Springs. The building itself has been there since 1889 but was completely renovated with modern upgrades that still reflect its original character. Think rich wood, luxurious fabrics and pine trees all around as you settle in with some wine.
I was recently in Lisbon, Portugal, for Web Summit and had planned to stay near the conference the whole time. It was a wonderful surprise when Martinhal Chiado Family Suites reached out and asked if I would like to stay with them for part of my time in their town. They had just opened a new hotel in the fantastic Chiado neighborhood. Lucky for me, the night I stayed there, Web Summit was holding a "Night Summit" nearby - Night Summit being a code word for "party". So I got to explore a hotel that I definitely plan to return to with my family, tucked in an area of town I would have been exploring that night anyway. Perfect!
Martinhal Chiado - Family Hotel in Lisbon
Recently, we headed up the hill from Denver to check out the new "yurt village" at YMCA's Snow Mountain Ranch. Sometimes we Denverites forget how much beauty is so close to us, just a quick drive away. The yurts are a great option for families that want to camp, but still have some luxuries... you know - like electricity and beds. Each yurt can sleep up to 6 people, with one queen bed and two bunked beds. And! You can bring your dog. Something I will definitely keep in mind for next time.
There are so many adventures from our travels over the past year that I feel like I haven't even been able to get to just because life moves so fast. One of them is the River Drift we did in Costa Rica right after ziplining near the Arenal volcano. Sky Adventures offers a combined package of zipline and tube rafting, and since I had visited their facilities during my 2014 Costa Rica trip, I thought it would be fun to expand our horizons.
A few weeks ago, my family and our best friend's family did a tag-team road trip to Mount Rushmore. Neither of us had ever been, and the area is a quick 5-6 hour drive from Denver. So we decided to pack as much as we could into a 3-day weekend... but as I started to research the Black Hills area of South Dakota, I realized there were many things we would not be able to fit in! I will describe where we went, and some alternatives/add-ons you may consider if you have more time. I definitely recommend planning at least the driving route fairly well because we lost cell service many times over the weekend - and, as always when driving in the west - be mindful of how full your gas tank is. [caption id="attachment_13118" align="alignnone" width="700"] My teenager. Hanging out with buffalo. As one does.[/caption] We pretty much did a loop, since we were coming in from the south. The map below shows our route, and while this seems like a huge amount of ground to cover, we did Hot Springs to Deadwood in one (long) day.
When I returned to Costa Rica for the second time, there was one place I knew we had to visit that, since I had missed it the first time around. Manuel Antonio National Park is in the central Pacific Coast side of Costa Rica and is well-known for its diversity of plants and animals - pretty astounding considering the whole country is the most biologically diverse in the world.