Back from Vacation in Colorado posted by on July 30, 2011

We just got back from a jeep trail adventure in Ridgway, Colorado. Here are some pictures of the awesome scenery and the trails we navigated carefully to the Tomboy settlement and other places. Our hosts for the day and the trip were Dick and Diane (Suzie’s daughter and son-in-law) and Jim who is Dicks bro.

Jim’s new 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4×4……..our ride for the day

Up-close view of the front tire meeting the trail………

Jim forges a raging stream…..

The still melting snow provides the water for these astounding waterfalls……

These were the old stagecoach shelf roads 100 years ago……..

See those switchbacks cutting back and forth on the mountain ahead?………we later drove down them……

Be prepared for a very bumpy ride………(click the arrow in the middle of the picture to start the video)

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Tight quarters for a pass…….

Driving thru the ” Social Tunnel” near the Tomboy settlement. Back in the day no single ladies were permitted past this point on the trail going into the Tomboy mining settlement.

Jim & Dicks jeeps on top of the world……….

Bro’s Jim and Dick

A collapsed miners cabin……..

The sign at the former Tomboy mining settlement. It says………” The Tomboy mining and salvage basin camp was located 3000 ft. above Telluride. The settlement contained a school, store, stable, and miners cabins. The Tomboy Star was producing quantities of gold ore in 1894 and in 1897 the mine was sold for 2 million dollars. A daily stage ran along this shelf road carrying passengers and mail.”

Uncompahgre National Forest

A beautiful mountain lake…….

A Marmot crawls the rocks……….

A old railroad freight car converted into a miners cabin………..

Downtown Ridgway, Colorado

The spectacular scenery………..

We even drove thru some snow banks already plowed by the forest service in order to provide open trails for everyone

CancunTom and Cancunsuz at the Tomboy mining settlement above Telluride, Colorado

After coming down the mountain and driving back to Ridgway I saw this old wagon in the yard of a local homeowner. It was so picturesque that I had to take a picture of it……

Our many thanks to Dick and Diane for their hospitality at their beautiful home above Ridgway where we stayed for 10 days, and to Jim for taking us to so many beautiful places on the mountain trails.

Secrets of Isla……..#3…….Villa La Bella B&B posted by on July 14, 2011

Please click onto the small arrow lower left to start changing your attitude and latitude……….

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Every time we visit Isla Mujeres we look for things to see and do that we have not yet seen or done. This time we found 3 …..what I call secrets for various reasons. The first one was the “Varadero Casa Del Caribe”, the little hidden away Cuban joint on the inland waterway. Go there just for the Mojitos if you’re thirsty and then try the fried sweet potatoes or some of the other unusual dishes they offer. It’s hard to find, and not fancy.You can sit at a table on the dock to watch the boats go by and immerse yourself in all atmosphere and of course the Mojito’s.

The second place we came upon accidentally. We wanted to have a repeat dinner at “LoLo Loreno’s” but she is currently in Portugal. So Tiffany of the Barito restaurant suggested a place called “Olivia” on Matamores. She even called over and made reservations for us. It was wonderful. We liked everything from the look of the outside of the building to the quaint archways leading to the garden dining room. The food, and the service were all we could hope for on what was our 5th wedding anniversary dinner. They specialize in a fusion of Greek Mediterranean, and Moroccan dishes. I guess it’s been there for awhile but it was new to us.

The third secret for us was staying at the Villa La Bella B&B, which is owned by Curtis and Ashley Blogin. They are a delightful couple that have built their own slice of paradise on the island. Everywhere you look is evidence of their love of the local culture from the present to long long ago. They have created a most unusual tropical flavored colorful bed & breakfast. It proved to be the most relaxing and wonderful place that we could have stayed for our anniversary weekend. Here are a few pictures and some more words from us. Enjoy!!!

(Curtis and Ashley very generously donated the 2 night 3 day stay in the honeymoon suite that we stayed in, to the La Gloria English School auction at the Treasure Island Charity event this held this past Dec.26th. This cause helps school age children as well as adults learn English. In this way they are able to earn a better living because Isla is a Tourist destination. My wife and I were the lucky high bidders. We really appreciate and thank them for their generosity in donating to a worthy local cause.

The exterior is just an enticement to what awaits you upon entering……..

So many people have mentioned to me that they have passed this sign while on their golf cart rentals. They say it always brought a smile to their faces………but that they never took the time to stop and check it out not knowing what a wonderful place they were passing up. Well…… study these pictures and you’ll see a place truly worth a visit, and if time is on your side stay for a few days or weeks.

( Just so you know the owners policy is that it’s adults only so don’t bring the kids in even for a drink)

Curtis and Ashley, owners of Villa la Bella, which is named after their dog Bella.

The view out of our south facing bedroom……..

The jacuzzi perches just above the deep end of the pool……

Would a vacation in Caribbean be complete without a pool like this to relax and cool off in?

The swing bar

Hummmmmm, how about a quick swim over to see Castro, just 89 miles???

Some guests having a chat with Curtis

This is the central lounge area….where WiFi is available…..

If the swings aren’t  your thing………..then this is a more traditional bar with stools……

Interesting artwork interpretations abound throughout the property…….

This is our bed in the honeymoon suite……it is actually hung from the ceiling by those thick ropes!

We could hear the waves rolling in from three sides. Those louvered windows let the breeze blow through all night long. What a wonderful place to stay.Perfect even in July……..

The hammock is there for the using and the fabulous view from our honeymoon suite is free.

The palapa ceiling supports.

Our vanity area.

 Our view to the east.

You can lie in bed and look at the ocean through this louvered port hole window.

Our night time view.

The resident kitty enjoying one of it’s favorite perches.

One of Ashley’s decorative areas featuring sea glass and shells that she collected from their beach.

Old anchor brought up from the sea bottom by Curtis and some diver friends.

Stairway to our honeymoon suite.

This candle was lit in front of the B&B every night. Now that is attention to detail.

Our first morning’s breakfast of enchiladas covered with several tasty sauces surrounded by fresh apples and pineapple wedges. Believe it when I tell you how mouthwatering and deliciously refreshing this breakfast was to start out our day. Also a hot urn of very good freshly made coffee was just behind our table.

One of the many old ship wreck anchors that Curtis pulled out of the sea……….it’s rumored that the skull belonged to “Mundaca” the famous Pirate of Isla long ago…..LOL

Our breakfast delight on our second morning…….a slice of absolutely delicious Mexican lasagna perfectly spiced with ingredients Curtis personally finds all over the island. It was surrounded by slices of fresh banana with mango pieces on top and wedges of pineapples. Curtis truly cares about his food preparations and it is reflected in these pictures and our testimony.

Just some beautiful flowers that you find in every nook and cranny all over La Bella…….

Everywhere you look there are things that make your eyes feel good………

One of Curtis’s Mayan statues set on Ashley’s beautiful sea glass that she has gathered from the La Bella beach 

Could you possibly ask for a better location for a quiet, relaxing, interesting vacation?????

Villa la Bella is located at:

 

The phone number is: 011-52-998-888-0342 between 9AM and 7PM Central Standard Time.

It’s web site is: http://www.villalabella.com/

their email addie is: info@villalabella.com

Curtis and Ashley extented to us every courtesy you could hope for. I’ve never stayed at a better run B&B in my life. They are a pleaseure to know and we can absolutly recommend that you stay with them during your visit to Isla Mujeres.

 

 

 

Secret #2 Isla Mujeres………Restaurant Olivia posted by on July 11, 2011

Olivia – A Mediterranean/ Moroccan/ Greek fusion Restaurant on Isla Mujeres our 2nd of 3 secrets of Isla for you to explore when visiting the island……

It’s located on Matmorus just off of Rueda Medina.They have 2 sittings one at 6:30 and the other at 8:30…….we choose the later. Make reservations in advance to make sure you have a table.

Front of Olivia Restaurant on Isla Mujeres

 

The beautiful Olivia menu.

The main courses ……….

Deserts, drinks, and more……………

Olivia has indoor seating as well as in their outdoor garden which was our choice.  We were celebrating our 5th anniversary and Olivia was recommended to us as one of the best restaurants on the island.

A tip…….if it’s a hot evening sit inside because the garden will be so hot you won’t be able to enjoy your dinner…..

Happy Anniversary Suz and Tom!  We are enjoying our bottle of Merlot.

 

We ordered a Mediterranean appetizer.  It included Feta Cheese, roasted peppers, cucumbers in sour cream, Kalamata olives and a loaf of fabulous bread.  Anyone who lives on Isla or in Cancun can really appreciate good bread.  We find it so seldom.  The appetizer was a taste sensation.

Suz ordered the beef kebab with roasted potatoes with a side of cabbage.  Sorry, some got eaten before the picture.  The meat was tender and the flavors wonderful.

Tom  had the boneless rib tips on mashed potatoes w/ carrots……….  Can’t wait to have that again!

We shared a dessert of Baklava and home made cherry ice cream.  Yummmmm!

La Cuenta…….included a shared appetizer, 2 entree’s, a shared desert, and a bottle of Merlot wine.

We would highly recommend Olivia to anyone visiting Isla Mujeres and we can’t wait to go back!

It has it all……a romantic ambiance, great food, great service, and low prices…..830 pesos = $71.50 USD !