Travel

Cautiously Courageous: Reflections On Life Expanding Decisions

I recently went on a women’s empowerment cruise, invited by my daughter who was one of the featured speakers. Sitting in that audience, I wondered if I were their age today whether everything out-of-the-box would still seem as scary. Then I realized most of these women had a safety net my friends and I didn’t have… us as parents encouraging them to have goals that trumped being safe and secure. We instilled in them the knowledge that although making brave choices generates anxiety, it’s survivable and so worth the risk. My parents’ fears of the uncertain were contagious; hopefully our confidence in our daughters’ resilience is too. ...
Beth Nast

Trying Out Santa Barbara For The Winter

There are many ways to go on vacation. Each one suits a person’s soul, budget and time constraints. Trips to Europe to see cathedrals and art, cruising the Greek Islands, staying put at a lush resort in Fiji, climbing the Alps, the list is endless. Over the last 10 years or so, since empty nest-hood and semi retirement, we’ve taken to renting homes in one place and learning the ins and outs as if we’ve moved there. Our kids visit and we are a family in a home again, having traded traditional home life for our Boston condo years ago. Spending time in one place suits my purpose of feeling as if I have lived in many places. We’ve done this in Breckenridge, Colorado (4 yrs), and Delray Beach, FL (4 years) and this year we added a new place to our temporary digs: Santa Barbara, California. Santa Barbara is known as The American Riviera thanks to its Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, cliffside beaches, mountain ranges, a world-renowned food and wine scene, stunning natural beauty and near-perfect weather. That sounded to us like a trip to Europe while staying in the USA. Our Colorado son said, “Sounds like another rich white flight” (which in part it is), but fortunately we were there long enough to see what lies beneath. After careful investigation on Air B&B, and enlisting a local to confirm our choice, we rented a hilltop beach home in Summerland, CA, a tiny town just a few miles outside of Santa Barbara, next door to Montecito, the home of Harry and Meghan, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah, to namedrop a few....
Kayaking in New Zealand

Amazing Affordable & Athletic New Zealand in 2 Weeks

Kia Ora (good day) to you all. I am writing this piece after wrapping up our 14 day group South Island tour of Otearoa (New Zealand) -- which means the land of the long white cloud in Māori. It's hard to write about a 14 day trip that covered 2,000 miles of driving, 100 miles of hiking and 30 miles of kayaking and biking, 7 different accommodations and 40 meals in a short post but I'm going to try. There are so many ways to experience New Zealand and my husband and I decided we wanted to be immersed in nature, travel with a small group and use a local tour company. We signed on for a 2 week road trip, staying in "moderate" accommodations, with a physically challenging itinerary and hiking level. That said, the magic ingredients of a successful trip include research first and foremost but, no amount of research can guarantee a great trip.  Travel requires optimism, a positive attitude, faith and luck. Our trip to New Zealand was amazing for all those reasons, some in our control. Bill and I were thinking about which of our friends would enjoy this trip and as much as we loved our 2 week adventure …it is not for everyone. Here’s why…....
Felice Shapiro in New Zealand

It Starts With The Journey: 24 Hours of Travel To New Zealand

My husband and I are on what we consider the "trip of a lifetime." It took us 28 hours to get to New Zealand from the states, maybe more. Some would say with the time difference it took us two days. I kind of stopped counting after the 3 hour delay  at  LAX and the 2 missed connections in Sydney and Auckland. But that was so last week and I wasn't going to write about it because we are here for 3 weeks and loving the trip which I promise to share -- but first -- getting to New Zealand is not a small effort and worth talking about. Assuming a journey this far could be seamless is foolhardy but we adventure traveling humans tend to be optimists so we don't normally plan for set backs. But this time we did -- a little....
Santa dance

Holiday Spirit Re-Routed

was thinking this was going to be a stellar day — it started out with a Santa Dance at my local  Expresso Love coffee shop in Edgartown. A little boy watched and clapped as my pup and I danced and then he said, “I have a present for your dog.” He pulled his hat out of his backpack and with the sweetest smile he held the hat up to give to little LULU." "I want to give this to your dog." I wanted to hug that child but have been trained not to these past 2 years - however, he totally melted me. “Your child is the poster child for Christmas Spirit — who gives their hat away -- and it's a really cold day? That is precious and priceless.” Lulu and I gratefully thanked the 4 year old and his Mom and we were all in the best of moods. And then the taxi arrived and we headed to Martha’s Vineyard  Airport. There was no one there but two lovely greeters behind the Cape Air desk.   “Are we the only 2 people going to JFK?” “Wait is your dog going with you, because if it is — you aren’t going...
Felice and Bill in Aspen

Sleep Overs After 60….44 Hours In Aspen

I loved camp, love sleep-overs, and still after 60, cherish morning visits in PJ's and organic unfolding of days with friends that only a sleepover can bring. Bill, loves his own bed. So when our friends Jill and Jeff invited us for a sleepover and we said yes. "Come ski, hike, hang- out. It will be fun." The New York Times has great travel stories about 36 or 48 hours in places so here’s our version ... a BA50 /44 hour itinerary of awesome Aspen post-Covid with great friends. Reader take note. Aspen is pricey, crazy pricey and full of frustrated workers, limited affordable housing and frankly, it's got issues. But, the town still has got plenty of charm and awesome natural beauty. ...
Women's retreat

Into the Vortex: 35 Bad-Ass Women Over 50 Meet Up In Sedona

Thirty-five women walked in silence for 10 minutes - and seamlessly, deer came to feed almost at our feet. The river flowed nearby over small rapids fed by the snow above and the aquifers below. We were hiking down from the Vortex at Cathedral Rock where we had sat for a guided mediation which was truly transformative.  Sedona, Arizona is the land of enchantment, electro magnetic energy fields —-some measurable and some not. This is the land of vortexes and magic, of psychics and scientists. The red towering rocks and cliffs are everywhere and life is lived in 360 degree technicolor.  The horizon is infinitely far and the light casts shadows and heat in extremes. The trees hold secrets - the Sycamores trees talk to the Pinon trees and this was the backdrop for 35 women to come together on a 5- day trip created by our leader Sue Shale and facilitated by Rabbi Jamie, the  Adventure  Rabbi from Boulder, Colorado. ...
Giant blue door in Paris

Turning a Profit on Your Passion: An Interview With Founder of Girls Guide To Paris

Belau joked that her encore career has been an overnight sensation, 50+ years in the making. Doni Belau’s third career is in the Happiness business. The founder of Girls Guide to Paris believes travel leads to a sense of discovery and better understanding. She calls it her ministry. “I wanted to do something I loved and meeting women from all over the world feeds my soul,” she said in a recent interview....
Zoom meeting

Launching a Resort On An Island In A Pandemic: Felice Talks with Co-Founder Gwenn Snider Of Little Gem Resorts

Imagine opening a hotel, on an island with the challenge of mobility and resources in the middle of a Pandemic? Well, that's what Mark and Gwenn Snider did this year and it's quite a story. Lovango is in the US Virgin Islands just a short boat ride from St. John and St. Thomas. Please join me for this interview with my life long friend Gwenn Masterman Snider who inspires us with her energy and vision. She is truly a BA50 (A BadAss50....and a Betterafter50 woman)!...