Vancouver to Banff via The Rocky Mountaineer!

We are blessed with perfect , warm weather as we leave the Vancouver Fairmont early May 22 and board this gorgeous luxury train. Considered and rated as the best train experience in all North America it was all it said it would be. Gold Leaf service level gets you a dedicated comfy seat for duration of trip in the domed car and all the fun that a great group of fellow travelers bring. We met lovely couples from Scotland, Texas, Ohio, Georgia .. but none from Canada although we were told East coasters sometimes do appear. Such a shame as I very much doubt there is a more Canadian experience that riding the rails through arguably the most beautiful part of Canada.. the magnificent Rocky Mountains. 

Truly an experience not to miss. From the incredible staff , spotlessly clean train plus the gourmet meals and outdoor viewing and photography area on each car’s really  so well thought through with no detail missed.

We are now relaxing in Banff after a scotch or two . This Castle in the clouds was built in the 1880s by Cornelius Van Horne for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Now a Fairmont hotel is still boggles the mind in grandeur, history and luxury. We feel we are are on a Grand Tour of old. 

Heritage Room 479 details

Aloha means both hello and goodbye

A pretty perfect week with our darlings Meghan and Ben with sweet babytb Vicchio! Clear skies and warm sand plus a phone app that enables frosty adult beverages to be delivered directly to our chairs.. helped create a lovely relaxing week of Aloha. We are already hotly anticipating our 2018 family Maui trip ( already booked) with 6 adults and THREE kiddos! Enjoy the quiet bliss while you can. Aloooo ha!


Maui 2017 Aloha blessings

We arrived to our beautiful Island yesterday and are settling in quite nicely. Each trip to Hawaii brings special moments and memories for our family. In the 80’s Coming as a couple on vacation, company events in the 90’s, traveling with friends a few times but most of all,our    True and cherished times will always be here with our girls. From teenagers lounging under plumeria trees and complaining about dropping blossoms to  young women bringing boyfriends along, to grown women with fabulous husbands we are wrapped up in the joyful “reconnecting Aloha” only a family vacation can bring.

 When Brian and I decided that Maui was a yearly must do ( 16 years ago) and bought these three Ocean front weeks at Westin Villas in Kaanapali , we joked that “someday maybe grandkids!”. Life is so sweet and true. We are missing Erin, Eric and Jacks this year because of pending ANYDAY new baby arrival. Erin is under strict conditions not to have baby until our arrival home April 1 ( she is due on 13th) and since they traveled to Disney Hawaii resort in January on Babymoon, we are not feeling too bad . We are also celebrating here with Meghan and Ben ! We found out just yesterday as they emerged off of plane from Scottsdale .. the gender of their new September grand baby ! They both wore pink and blue leis and greeted Brian and I by putting correct  lei on us ! No telling yet.. they will reveal soon…we are overjoyed with their news. One extraordinary and most beloved Jacks plus Two new grandBabies in 2017.. and a condo or two full of grandbabies next year. Almost like Brian and planned it!! Haha.

Brian’s retirement happens in a few weeks so even more celebrations ahead. We have so much to thank God for and so many blessings in this life. 

As we flew in, gate was not ready so pilot took us on a lower flyover around Haleakala and Hana. Areas unseen unless in air. Note the centuries old lava flows. A beautiful welcome to our Island.

La Jolla, California

We so rarely get to Southern California and considering its a mere hop, skip and jump from home, it truly befuddles me as to why.This weekend was all about Love at the Beach as the daughter of good friends tied the knot overlooking the blue Pacific Ocean. As the wedding was Sunday night we took full advantage and flew in Friday afternoon and out on Monday.

Stayed at the very historic and remarable La Valencia Hotel ( AKA THE HOT PINK)in downtown La Jolla. Hotel is celebrating 90 years full of kings, movie stars and common folks. Its a must stay in town.

Saturday was great as the brides family hosted 100 plus guests to the San Diego Zoo along with lunch at the Treetops Restaurant and bus tour. The day long pass allowed us to stay as long as we wished and see as much as we could. Temperate climate in late September but still warm.

Great fun. Sunday was relaxing and wedding was perfection as sun drifted into the sea.

Beautiful couple surrounded by loving family and friends. A perfect start to many happy years.

Perfect Week in Vancouver and spending time with my mum.

Vancouver Canada is just beautiful. The just over two hour flight hugs the blue Pacific Coast . On one side of plane you get to see snow capped dormant Volcanos and deep azure mountain lakes of the Northwest. On the otherside of plane you see the beautiful Pacific coastline dotted with all sorts of tiny private islands. You can almost see the Orcas, Dolphins and Eagles. My mom just celebrated her 93rd birthday and we spent the week talking about her early life in Ontario. Her memory of all of that is sharp nd good…her dinner last night escapes her. I watched her carefully ¬†and realized that if lucky enough to reach an age most do not, your perspective on the world is different. You’ve lived through the things we only read about in books. You have seen the world tetter on the edge of oblivion more than once and knows how horrible humans can be to one another. She has also known great joy And prefers to talk and remember ¬†those moments in her life. Its a great lesson and its far easier to sit and feel the great loss of so many. I have such admiration for her. She adores her wee dog ( and dogs she has lost)…and told me that dealing with loss is like owning a dog. The great joy and commitment a small dog brings daily must always outshine the grief of losing it someday. You remember the good…and let the sadness of loss….go. If not, it consumes you. Great lessons…wonderful moments with mum. Always learning from her wise words.

A Highlands goodbye !

Thanks you to Andrew MacDonald of Hame Tours
Thanks you to Andrew MacDonald of Hame Tours
Always so teary to leave this beautiful place. Culloden House was lovely and service was excellent. Knoll and staff outdid themselves. Andrew picked us up early and brought us to the MacPherson museum ( my line of family and wonderful resource going forward) as well as Midhope Castle or Lallybroch to my Outlander friends. Also a stop at The Duke of Sandringham’s wee home! Back at Balmoral in Edinbourgh and relaxing before getting home for the 4 th. Feels like a 6 week holiday.. But still need more so already coercing Brian into 40 th anniversary trip next year. Another shout out to Donna Williams of Wow travel. She finds all these wonderful adventures for us! Cheers! #cullodenhouse #culloden #outlander

Beautiful bluebird morning

The bed curtains that hung here when the Bonnie Prince stayed prior to the battle of Culloden

Lallybroch! Proof this was taken by me and not pulled off of Outlander site.. The blue trash bin outside gate!!!

Hopetoun House aka Duke of Sandingham palace without cars!