Exciting Southern West Virginia

By Charlene S. Mixa

A Wild and Wonderful Mountain Vacation

New River Gorge Bridge

New River Gorge Bridge

Imagine scenic vistas with verdant mountains of steep hills and deep valleys, serene retreats, country culture, and serious adventure! The best kept secret in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains is Southern West Virginia. Continue reading

Lake George: A Favorite Vacation Destination

By Charlene S. Mixa

Mountains, Lakes and Activities Beckon Travelers

Village of Lake George from Propect Point

Village of Lake George from Propect Point

The year-round beauty of the mountains and lakes of upstate New York’s Lake George area make it a favorite anytime of year vacation destination. Boasting crystal-clear waters along the southern Adirondack Mountains the area offers an extensive calendar of events, a diverse selection of shops, fabulous accommodations and numerous quaint towns. Continue reading

The Captivating Château Élan Winery & Resort

An Elegant Blend of a French Countryside & Southern Hospitality

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Chateau Elan Winery & Resort

Chateau Elan Winery & Resort

Lush vineyards, rolling foothills, a magnificent Chateau and an elegant Inn create an inviting and gracious southern welcome with a French flair. With a sweeping panorama of the Northern Georgia foothills, Château Élan creates a “touch of France” as a premier Atlanta destination. A unique and magnificent resort, it combines luxury and conviviality, providing leisure opportunities of championship golf, full-production award winning winery, European health spa, culinary studio, huge swimming pool, and more world-class amenities.

Just off I-85 at Exit 126 north of Atlanta, we drive through the gates of Château Élan, a 3,500-acre estate with vineyards gracing the rolling terrain and a 16th century French-styled chateau. Anxieties are quickly whisked away in this serene setting reminiscent of a French Countryside.

Elegant and inviting bed.

Elegant and inviting bed.

After a full day of driving it is definitely time for a peaceful respite. Warm hospitality and southern charm welcome us at the Château Élan Inn. Our expansive corner guest room beautifully emulates a “French Estate” with a fresh flair. The free standing bed in dark rich walnut is accented by embroidered crisp white linens. Stylish furnishings of a leather couch and flat screen TV are complimented by subtle French touches of walls with muted shades. The lavish bathroom has an oversized tub, separate shower and large vanity. Being on the fifth floor (top floor) our corner room has windows on two walls providing views of the Château, the vineyards and the pool.

Sparkling pool and hot tub

Sparkling pool and hot tub

The sparkling outdoor pool is the perfect respite after a day’s journey. Ahh – refreshing to wash away all our “cares and woes” in this large private pool with fireside patio and plenty of comfy lounge chairs. Muscles relax in the hot tub with its cascading waterfall. For dinner it’s an easy stroll over to Paddy’s Irish Pub. This is our second visit to Château Élan so we have familiarity with the Inn and dining. It’s a “Real Irish Pub!” All Paddy’s furnishing and fixtures were created in Ireland, shipped to Château Élan, reassembled on site, and then opened in 1997. Richard enjoys their beer selections with his tantalizing Shepherd’s pie and I am thrilled with Château Élan chardonnay to accompany my Bacon and Apple Salad. Of course, I have a few hearty tastes of the Shepherd’s pie. The evening is very quiet at the Resort. The power is out! It will be a few hours before power returns. Amazing, the hotel staff greets each guest with a flashlight, efficiently carries luggage to guest rooms, and takes great steps to make guests as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. In our room we enjoy the solitude and make it an early night.

Atrium and Versailles Restaurant

Atrium and Versailles Restaurant

Today is a full day of golf, wine tasting, dinner and whatever else we opt to squeeze in. First is some good stretching and light cardio at the Fitness Room. Boasting a variety of machines and equipment with Free Weights, Stair Masters, Treadmills, Elliptical and Men and Women’s Locker Rooms it has all we need and more. In the beautiful glass atrium is the Versailles restaurant. Featuring a magnificent Breakfast Buffet with a wide array of hot and cold items, as well as, made to order eggs and omelettes. We attempt to pace ourselves but it is tempting to try more tasty breakfast treats.

Fore! Offering 63 holes of championship golf, we look forward to a round of golf. On our last visit we only played the Par 3 course, which is great for working on the short game. A short drive from the Inn, we‘re efficiently checked-in at the Clubhouse.

Par 3 on the back nine

Par 3 on the back nine

Teeing it up on No. 1 of the Woodlands, we prepare to take on this championship course. Designed by renowned architect Denis Griffiths the course winds through rolling foothills. Woodlands offers plenty of challenge with tree-lined holes, sparkling lakes that come into play, and stunning holes. The course offers plenty of “fight” to keep us on our toes. Richard gets on track with his game and begins to make great shots and putts. Luckily, my putting is very good today, which definitely helps my score. It’s an exciting and demanding day of golf. At the Clubhouse Grille, it’s a light lunch reliving our great or not so great shots. Now for a refreshing dip in the pool and an afternoon nap in the comfy poolside chaise lounges. So peaceful!

Refreshed and revitalized, we walk to the Château that houses the Winery, the Wine Market, the Culinary Studio, and Café Elan. Wow! The Wine Market has changed since our last visit adding more tasting stations and more wines. A unique variety of wine merchandise compliments the wine selection. Winery Château Élan began with the planting of vineyards in 1981. From these lush vines the winery produces Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet & Riesling wines. Today the Winery boasts the success of their Winemaker, Simone Bergese. Joining Château Élan in 2013, he has already achieved over 50 awards at prestigious wine competitions. Plus, Simone has extended the wine offerings to over 20 styles. Bragging rights continue as the Château Élan Winery is the most awarded winery on the East Coast the past 2 years. Yes, we are definitely impressed and purchase a few bottles to share with family and friends.

BON APPÉTIT! Scenic vistas of lush vineyards along rolling foothills and sipping wine on an enclosed veranda all create a wonderful setting for our final evening at Château Élan. Oui! Yes! The Château captures the essence of being in the French countryside. As the evening cools and a gentle breeze wafts through the large open windows the ambiance is that of a French café. Café Elan specializes in modern French inspired classics with a Mediterranean twist. Our servers graciously give suggestions and carefully describe each dish. Tonight, the pace is set for a slow leisurely dinner. Sipping the delicious Château Élan Chardonnay, a classic oak style, rich and full bodied wine, it definitely pleases my taste preference for a rich Chardonnay.

Succulent Scallop Dinner

Succulent Scallop Dinner

Starting with the tangy Mushroom Bruschetta with the delicate, yet, meaty taste of wild mushrooms, we follow it with the tantalizing Lollo Rosso Pomegranate & Asian Pear salad with a vinaigrette dressing. My entrée of Sea Scallops over a Cauliflower Puree with Foie Gras Butter is succulent. Richard’s Artic Char accompanied with Wild Rice Porridge, Baby Beets, Breakfast Radish and Baby carrots definitely exceeds his expectations. After a leisurely dinner, on our stroll to the Inn under a moonlit sky we stop to admire the statue of a lady girl stomping grapes in front of the Château. Merci beaucoup! Thank you very much! Château Élan easily creates an inviting retreat of a French countryside with warm southern hospitality nestled in the Georgia foothills.

The Chateau

The Chateau

If you go:
We recommend planning your visit to enjoy the many amenities of the Resort. Their European health spa is excellent whether going with a day pass or partaking of spa services. Cooking classes and Cooking Demos are exciting and an activity we have on our list to experience on our next visit. Be sure to check out the many packages designed to create an escape to meet your dreams. Escape to a French countryside in Georgia at Château Élan Winery & Resort!

Château Élan Winery & Resort| 100 Rue Charlemagne, Braselton, Georgia 30517
678-425-0900
www.chateauelan.com

 

San Jose, CA- It’s not just high tech!

 

Hotel Valencia at Santana Row

Hotel Valencia at Santana Row

Exciting Silicon Valley 

By: Charlene S. Mixa

Sunshine 300 days a year, the San Jose skyline surrounded by mountains, steep hillside vineyards, tree-lined streets, sidewalk cafes, sports venues, and quaint yet bustling small towns are all found in Silicon Valley. San Jose, the tenth largest city in the nation is exciting and trendy while still having a small town charm. The city in this wide valley creates a warm welcome. Continue reading

The TradeWinds Resort: Go To a Tropical Paradise

Just Let Go to Sensational Sun, Surf, Sand, and Spectacular Leisure Going-ons!

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Welcome to the Tradewinds!

Welcome to the Tradewinds!

Go to a tropical paradise on St. Pete Beach. Slip on your flip flops, leave all your inhibitions, worries and cares behind – “Just Let Go!” Go for a walk on the beach, go down a huge slide, go nap in a hammock, go swim with the fish, go for a dip in the pool, go for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico, go to dinner or go find a hidden sanctuary. A 20-acre beachfront playground, the TradeWinds Resort is a place to escape, totally relax and have fun. The Resort lives up to its latest logo or mantra: “Just Let Go!” Continue reading

Explore the Prospects of Breckenridge, Colorado

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

From Gold Mines to Mountain Golf and More!

 

Riverwalk on Blue River in Breckenridge

Riverwalk on Blue River in Breckenridge

It’s not just about gold. In 1859 prospectors discovered gold and founded the town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Initially a mining town rich with veins of gold and silver, today its treasures lie in tourism with scenic mountains, summer activities, and fantastic winter sportsAs one of the nation’s premier year-round destinations, Continue reading

The Famous and Stimulating Saratoga Springs

By Charlene S. Mixa

A Vibrant Vacation Destination

A Day at the Races!

A Day at the Races!

For over a century, visitors from around the world have been drawn to Saratoga Springs. The summer center of the horseracing universe it is also recognized as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A town with a storied past that is alive with character, charm, and so much to see and do. Continue reading

Letchworth State Park: “Grand Canyon of the East”

By Charlene S. Mixa

Waterfalls, a Deep Gorge & Lush Forest!

Upper Falls Letchworth State Park

Upper Falls Letchworth State Park

Our drive today takes us across the rolling hills of the Finger Lakes and its rich farmland on our way to Letchworth State Park. The park is a beautiful 17 mile gorge between Portage and Mount Morris, New York, renowned as the “Grand Canyon of the East”. Continue reading

Kinsale: Ireland’s Hidden Gem

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Find the “Pot of Gold” in Ireland’s Popular Holiday Resort

Kinsale Harbor

Kinsale Harbor

Castles, shamrocks, devilish Leprechauns, the Blarney stone, and a “Pot of Gold” at the end of the rainbow! All are images of a fascinating country that easily charms or bewitches visitors. IRELAND! An isle with ancient legends to uncover, amazing landscapes to explore, and enchanting villages to investigate.  Continue reading

The Taste & Sights of Louisville

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

From Luscious Eats to One-of-a-kind Attractions  

Barbaro Statue at entrance of Churchill Downs

Barbaro Statue at entrance of Churchill Downs

Boarding a white van decorated with plastic flowers and a plastic horse’s head on the hood, it’s a hearty “Welcome to Louisville’s City Taste Tour!” With one hand on the wheel and the other on the microphone, Leslie, our guide-owner, begins our excursion of the tastes and sights of Louisville, Kentucky. Continue reading