Magical Munich

The Christmas tree is down and we are officially in the middle of winter. Instead of the winter blues, I wanted to take a moment to reflect back on my favorite 2018 holiday memory…the German Christmas Markets.
I took my family to Munich for three perfect nights to get us in the holiday spirit. I admit, a bit extreme for holiday shopping, but worth the flight and every moment.

Three perfect days in Munich:
Day 1 – After a direct flight we transferred to the hotel. We spent the night wandering the beautiful streets of Munich and had a great meal at Spatenhaus an der Oper for some local favorites. I highly recommend the potato soup.

Day 2 –

I enlisted the services of my favorite German supplier to provide us with a full day tour to Bavaria. Our guide met us in the lobby of our hotel and then we drove the scenic drive on the famous “Romantic Road” to visit the fairy take castle of Neuschwanstein. Fun fact: This castle was the inspiration for the castle at Disneyland.  How do you get to the castle? You take a horse and carriage, of course! After we toured this ornate castle, we visited the adorable of Oberammergau, home of the “Passion Play.” This charming village with many woodcarver stores is brilliant during the Christmas Season.
Our last stop was to Steingaden to see the Wieskirche (Pilgrimage Church of Wies), which became UNESCO Heritage site in 1983.

Day 3 –  We took the train to Salzburg, Austria, for another perspective of the Christmas Markets. This was a truly magical day to include a horse and carriage ride, ice skating, more Gluhwein and  shopping for treasures.

Day 4 – We spent our last morning back at the Munich markets taking in as much Gluhwein and last minute shopping as possible before we head to the airport.
It truly was a magical getaway for my family.  Yes it is a long way to go for three nights, but I would encourage everybody to take advantage of long weekend getaways. Three nights is a perfect amount of time to really explore a new city. 
If you have a few days to spend in December there is no better way to get in the holiday spirit. Contact me at jessica@mccabeworld.com for more details and ideas.

Aspen

I have found myself in Colorado for the second time this year.  This time I experienced the laid back and charming town of Aspen.

Getting there, I would suggest flying right into Aspen and there are now more and more connecting flights with many more routes to come.   Once you land, you are just minutes away from this little piece of heaven.   You can also consider Eagle (about 70 miles away), Denver (220 miles away) or Grand Junction (130 miles away).

Aspen is a fantastic destination in the Spring, Summer, and Fall months – and of course Winter for amazing skiing and boarding.  With your ski pass you have access to four incredible mountains at all skill levels.  Because there are four mountains, skiers really get to spread out and, unlike other top ski destinations, you will rarely wait for a lift. Other winter activities include:  Alpine Coaster, Tubing, Snow Bike, Snowshoeing and Ice Skating in the Base Village. And getting to the slopes couldn’t be easier.  Local transportation is convenient with free shuttle buses running continuously between all four mountains until 2:00 AM!

Outside of the winter months, there is no shortage of activities and there are loads of festivals and city events.  What to do? Give these activities a try – biking, hiking, climbing, fishing, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, paragliding, rafting & kayaking to name a few.

Where to stay? Well you will just have to ask me what the right resort is for you.  I had the opportunity to see the Jerome, Little Nell, St. Regis and The Gant. Another fabulous option in the Viceroy Snowmass which is perfect for families.  Of course Virtuoso Amenities apply!

 

Aspen Saturday Market – Enjoy local Colorado produce, crafts, live music and a food court Saturdays from 6/16 – 10/1.Top picks of what to do in Aspen:

John Denver Sanctuary – The Memorial features many of the singers’ songs etched into the rocks.  Great place to pack a picnic!

Maroon Bells –  The most photographed peaks in North America!   Absolutely stunning.

Independence Pass – East of Aspen along the winding two lane Highway 82. Several stops along the way to include the

Devil’s Punchbowl, Independence Ghost Town and the Continental Divide at the top of the pass.

Eat & Drink Outdoors – Apsen has an average of 300 days of sunshine annually  get outside and dine al fresco. I suggest trying a local brew!

Want to travel to Aspen? Contact me – 703-762-5056 or jessica@mccabeworld.com.

National Parks & Group Travel

I often receive requests for the National Parks – there are so many ways to explore these treasures. For this particular adventure I was traveling with my family, my sister’s family and my parents. We opted to take an organized group tour which worked out perfectly – I wouldn’t have changed a thing. There are many different companies that offer these tours and I would be happy to discuss the differences with you. A group tour in this instance worked not only for our family dynamic, but for the destination.
I researched several different itineraries and chose an itinerary and tour company that would work for all of us. Our itinerary started in Sedona at the beautiful Enchantment Resort. Seeing the beauty of the Red Rocks has always been on my bucket list. A trip to Scottsdale and Sedona can be combined for a week-long trip without adding any other touring. From there we traveled to the Grand Canyon – words truly cannot describe its majesty. We then traveled to Monument Valley, led by a Navajo guide. I was really looking forward to Arches National Park and it completely exceeded my expectations. We had a choice of an “easy” hike or a longer hike to the crown jewel: The Delicate Arch. I could have sat there for hours. Our tour ended with Colorado River rafting which was perfect for all ages and activity levels. The scenery was absolutely stunning and it was a trip I will always remember.
Here are my top reasons why you may consider group travel:
-You pay one price upfront and you know all of the inclusions
-Transportation is taken care of for you. Driving to various national parks involves a lot of time in the car. Being on a bus allows you to relax, chat, nap and most importantly, take in the scenery.
-Everything is thought of for you and you learn SO much more than you could ever research on your own.
-With National Parks, you don’t have to wait in line and you get prime hotel locations. This is key in the Grand Canyon, where room availability within the Canyon is extremely limited.
-You have a sense of comradery and meet like-minded travelers. If you don’t feel like being social it’s not necessary; though in this case it was wonderful to see our kids bond and make new friends.
For more information:
Contact Jessica at jessica@mccabeworld.com.
Follow on Instagram @jesstravels.
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