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True Stories

Four Seasons Resort Vail, Colorado

Cate Caruso

A cosy and fun vibe, with touches of sophisticated artsy's not an easy trick to pull off but this resort succeeds on every level.  Perfectly located in central Vail with easy access to everything that makes Vail such a winning all-season destination. 


Sundance Mountain Resort - Provo Utah

Cadence Travel

Located at the base of the stunning Mt. Timpanogos (described by many as the US equivalent of the Matterhorn) the special Sundance Mountain resort deserves a place of honor in the collection of True Places.

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The St Regis Deer Valley

Cadence Travel

Located on its own mountain sitting high atop Park City...access to the St. Regis Deer Valley is accomplished via the funicular and gives the visitor a really unique experience to start the visit.

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Stein Eriksen Lodge - Deer Valley

Cadence Travel

It doesn't get more real and local than the Stein Eriksen Lodge - a recent and very well qualified entry to the Virtuoso family.  Here Deer Valley history comes alive as the visionary Olympic medalist, Stein Eriksen himself, was honored by having this historic hotel named after him. 

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The Stunning Montage Deer Valley

Cadence Travel

Sophisticated but relaxed - Montage Deer Valley

A longish day of driving from Boise Idaho into the heart of one of Utah's best ski destinations, the lovely Montage Deer Valley provided a warm welcome...a sophisticated but unpretentious and relaxed atmosphere awaits the tired traveler.

The following amenities are available if booked through True Places Travels: 

For 2016 // Exclusively for Virtuoso guests:

  • Upgrade at time of booking, subject to availability (view catagory & applicable to hotel inventory only. Residences are eligible for an upgrade at time of arrival, based on availability)
  • A daily breakfast credit up to US $60 (per room, per night for breakfast in restaurant)
  • $100 USD Equivalent Spa Services credit, (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full, not valid towards retail purchases)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

True Places - Best of the West Road Trip is about to begin!

Cadence Travel

The best thing about road trips? No long TSA lines! This trip is not designed to avoid airports necessarily, but to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our National Parks, and to scout out new territory for my avid ski/mountain lover clients.  

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True Cruising

Cadence Travel

48 Hours with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic

The experience aboard Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic is hard to put into many ways can one quantify how very different this type of cruising is from that which most of us picture in our minds? The typical image is of enormous ships, crowds of people, endless buffets of questionable food, expensive excursions that often involve crowded tourist towns or being herded like cattle from ship to bus and back. Not a pretty picture...which is why many people write off cruising as not their "cup of tea".

Small ship/expedition cruising (also known as discovery cruising) is different...on every level. And, Lindblad Expeditions is the pioneer in this kind of journey. Fifty years ago, Lars-Eric Lindblad was a travel visionary and set into motion the very first concept of eco-tourism by taking a small team of intrepid travelers to Antarctica. Today, this type of tourism exists and is well worth the investment.

Our short but wonderful journey began in Seattle aboard the good ship, Sea Bird....carrying only 62 guests, the Sea Bird plies the waters between Baja California and Alaska.  Click here for more about this ship.

 Seattle's iconic Pike Place Market

Seattle's iconic Pike Place Market

 The Sea Bird awaits at Pier 69

The Sea Bird awaits at Pier 69

After boarding the ship and having a sumptuous dinner, we bid Seattle goodbye and set sail for the San Juan Islands...our playground for the next 48 hours.


The next day started out with a bit of typical Pacific Northwest drizzle, but the skies quickly cleared and we readied ourselves for our hiking and kayaking excursion on Sucia Island.  Forget crowded buses and tourist towns...our shore trip involved a very comfortable ride in the inflatable boat, a fun hop ashore, a brilliant hike with the fascinating and knowledgeable Sharon Grainger (one of Lindblad's sensational expedition here for Sharon's bio), and a fabulous kayak jaunt in a gorgeous protected bay.


Sharon pointed out endless tiny treasures which we would probably never had noticed on our own, and told us the engaging stories of the native plants - and how they have been used by countless generations of native people.  

 Sharon explains the medicinal uses of a native plant  

Sharon explains the medicinal uses of a native plant

  Sharon spots a tiny subject for macro photography

Sharon spots a tiny subject for macro photography


Seeing our ship from the island was a special treat....framed by one of the island's lovely madrone trees....another native species and called, aptly, "the painted ladies" as they show off their richly colored bark.


Later that day, we pulled anchor to begin our cruise of the waters in search of the killer whale.  Our excitement grew as we spotted the Orca pods in the distance.  All cameras were clicking as we eased close enough to take some amazing photographs, but at a distance that respected the space of these magnificent creatures.

 A curious Orca checks us out with a "spy hopping" behavior

A curious Orca checks us out with a "spy hopping" behavior

Magnificent scenery stretched out in every direction as the captain skillfully navigated around the stunning island chain for the balance of the afternoon and evening.  At dinner, we compared photographs, got to know our traveling companions better, and enjoyed world class table service and cuisine.

After a calm night cruising back to Seattle, the day dawned sunny and brilliant as the skyline came into view.


What makes this experience unique and special? Lindblad Expeditions sums it up well on their website:

  • Expeditions are extraordinary experiences—designed with curious, intelligent people in mind. There are opportunities:
  • To go to the planet’s exceptional places, many of which are either otherwise inaccessible (e.g. Antarctica) or best accessed by a ship (e.g. Galápagos, Alaska, Baja’s Sea of Cortez, Costa Rica & Panama, to name only a few)
  • To have privileged, personal encounters with the world’s wonders
  • To travel accompanied by veteran expedition teams with the expertise to ensure you see all the facets, and contribute insight along the way
  • To share the experience with like-minded others
  • To have incredible stories to share, a priceless stock of memories, and perhaps, even the best photos of your life

I couldn't agree more! Bravo Lindblad Expeditions for creating these extraordinary experiences with the utmost integrity and inspiring travelers to care deeply about exploring and caring for our amazing world!

For more about how to get yourself aboard one of Lindblad's amazing cruises, please click here to contact me, Cate Caruso.

India and South Africa...the Butterfly effect and our human connection

Cadence Travel

It is late and we fly away from Durban to the Cape tomorrow very early...but I had to post a word or two about Ghandi and seeing his home of 20 years here in Durban.  There will be more of an explanation but for now here are a couple of photos ....

Ghandi was the father of the South African resistance to oppression...this I did not know.  This is why I travel.

Another fine garden...

Cadence Travel

My dear friend, Annie Kendrick, just gave me this delightful and completely enthralling book, aptly titled The Garden Book, for me to research some of the gardens on my upcoming trip.... and in addition to Gravetye Manor and Barnesly House noted in this book, I found another garden that is on our schedule, Rodmarton House and Garden. 

This will be a stop on our way from Gravetye in Sussex, to the Cotswolds, and is nestled in the little town of Cirencester, Gloucestershire. It is notable as the creation of the famous Arts and Crafts movement architect, Ernest Barnsley, in the early part of the 20th century.

To quote Tim Richardson (English Gardens in the Twentieth Century-Aurum Press 2005) “Hidcote and Sissinghurst may have emerged as indisputably the most influential English gardens of the twentieth century... but perhaps Rodmarton should be up there with them... Hidcote has its unique ‘otherness’, Sissinghurst its irresistible biographical appeal, but Rodmarton is possessed of an intense and sequestered atmosphere that is all its own, and even now retains a strong sense of its original integrity.”

It will be interesting to see how the "intense and sequestered atmosphere" unfolds in this quiet part of the country. 

Thanks for stopping by....and remember, by clicking on the GREEN text you will open up a webpage that provides details about the item.

From South Africa to England...a different kind of travel coming up.Garden fans take note!

Cadence Travel

Great Gardens of England - a short list...

When I saw the invitation arrive in my email box last November I was absolutely thrilled.  Here was an opportunity to take a study tour of the Great Gardens of England in April with two of the travel industry's premier destination specialists for the United Kingdom. A small but merry band of advisors who specialize in garden journeys will be experiencing a few choice gardens in the English countryside.  Though the list of great gardens in England is very long, we will be concentrating on these specific destinations: (Note: clicking on the green text will take you to a web page with more information)....

Gravetye Manor

This was the home of the iconic English garden designer, William are a few words from the website..."The gardens at Gravetye Manor are a very special place and can be considered amongst the most influential in English gardening history. The manor became the home of the creative, innovative and revolutionary gardener, William Robinson in 1884. Robinson spent his remarkable life as a professional gardener and botanist, but made his fortune through writing about his experiences and ideas on horticulture. His most notable works include The English Flower Garden, which is one of the best-selling horticultural books of all time, and the hugely influential title, The Wild Garden."

Next we are off to Barnsley House in the Cotswolds....

...these gardens were designed by Rosemary Verey, a garden designer of great distinction..."Rosemary Verey was a garden designer, lecturer and prolific garden writer. Rosemary began designing the Barnsley House gardens in the 1950s and went on to design many more gardens, both here in the UK and internationally – including the famous New York Botanical Gardens, as well as gardens for Prince Charles, Sir Elton John and Princess Michael of Kent."

Calcot Manor is next...not too far from the Barnsley House...

...once settling in here we will be off to see this incredible garden destination...Highgrove Gardens.

And, finally, we're off to Hartwell House...a little closer to London in the county of Buckinghamshire...

This will be our base of operations for our visits to Oxford and the gardens at Worcestor College, reputed to be the oldest garden in England.  Here our host will be Simon Bagnall, Head of Gardens.  An article in Country Life magazine discusses this lovely garden...Is this the oldest garden in England?

And, while there we will also visit the gardens at Haseley Court hosted by the owner, Fiona Heyward.

So many gardens, so little time! Only four days, but chock full of learning about this amazing garden destination. My plan is to next year offer a hand-crafted garden journey of my own. In the meantime, I invite you to join me on this virtual journey via my blog!

All that glitters.....a day in Old Town and a night in the desert

Cadence Travel

There was more than the glittering Burj Khalifa, fortunately.  We had a last splendid day in the old town of Dubai where we were hosted and the Sheik Muhhamed Center for Cultural Understanding...

...and enjoyed a beautiful Bedouin style meal served, as tradition requires, by the men.

Meanwhile, the very lovely young woman gave us an open invitation to ask any and all questions. A lively discussion was had!  These young Muslims don't shy away from even the most inflammatory issues...woman's rights, homosexuality, traditional dress, the Arab Spring...just to name a few.  She fielded the questions with graciousness and patience.

Later that evening we spent the better part of the night dining on more traditional Bedouin food and star gazing in the desert area called The Empty Quarter. A sublime ending to a fascinating two days....I wouldn't have missed this opportunity...this is why I travel.  Mind opening...heart opening....

the cultural center....a night in the desert...

A city on the sand, a mesmerizing mirage? ....more questions than answers.

Cadence Travel

If someone were to ask me to describe this place I might say that Dubai strikes me most as a glittering city built on sand. A towering achievement? Certainly...with much more to come. But, to what purpose? Are we enlightened and uplifted in our humanity by these ambitious monuments? What do they represent? What are they built upon?

These photos were taken from the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.  A towering monument to engineering that made me wish we had a team of architects and engineers in our group.

How do they build these mammoth structures? What lies beneath to hold up these towering spires and minarets? How will they tackle the problems of water, population explosion, religious extremism and the inevitable scarcity of resources? What happened to the Arab Spring? What lies ahead for Islam and the reformation movement? At the end of the day...there are more questions than answers.

Hello Dubai!

Cadence Travel

You know you're not in Oregon anymore when the first web site to pop up after logging into the swift and free wifi at the hotel in Dubai is this Google page....(by the way, I wish USA hotels would follow suit....over 80% of the rest of the world's have way better and free wifi than we do)...

The first of two days in Dubai and I am now 12 hours ahead of where I was in Oregon time. After traveling for over 24 hours, the flight from San Francisco being 16 of that, it is 6 am Tuesday. In Oregon it is 6 pm Monday night. I haven't slept much, but that doesn't dim my brimming excitement about being here, witnessing a Muslim country firsthand. The days are tightly scheduled by the Dubai Tourism Board for 45 lucky travel advisors from all over the US who have been selected to experience some legendary Middle eastern hospitality.  They did not disappoint.

The Anatara Palm Jumeirah set the stage for a very welcome nibble and bubbly awaiting us when we rolled late into our rooms...

The next morning (which came much too quickly) we were whisked up to then newly opened Waldorf Astoria for Dubai Tourism's orientation. 

The tantalizing sight of the iconic Burj al Arab....which translates to Tower of Arabia....greeted me as I wandered the grounds as the sun was rising.


Later that day we would be treated to more mesmerizing views of this stunning piece of engineering artwork.  As the sun set over the Gulf of Arabia, our day came to an end with "sundowners" and gourmet delicacies served on a private patio of the Jumeirah Palm Beach hotel, as the Burj stood sentinel over the white sand and glittering crystal sea. ...pure magic.

It seems to me that Dubai's mission is to blow your mind with the sheer scale, audacity and ambition of its presence in this part of the world.  Over and over the words of the Dubai Tourism Board that morning came back to me..."nothing is impossible".

First flight on Emirates...first impressions

Cadence Travel

My first encounter with an Emirates representative was not favorable. He was a snippy, unsmiling, unfriendly ticket agent who did not set me up for a warm and cuddly experience.  I was to see more of this kind of attitude in board the almost 16 hour flight.  Pleasant and professional air staff can make or break an airline experience,regardless of the "bells and whistles" of the aircraft. This staff wasn't completely awful, there were a few smiles and occasionally pleasant demeanors but as a whole they did not present "award winning service" as the captain so confidently prepared us for upon departure.

The economy class cabin aboard this mammoth craft had an upscale feel to it, with each generous seat adorned with welcoming pillows, blankets, headsets, and a small zipped kit which included eyeshades, a clever toothbrush/ toothpaste combo, and cosy socks. It fit perfectly in the little seat back pocket and I quickly figured I'd use it for other little odds and ends - Chapstick, lotion, and earplugs.  Out come my travel slippers, inflatable pillow, iPad (free wifi on the flight!) - all set!

And, just in case I didn't have enough to keep me busy with all that I had prepared to do with the wifi, there was always the personal entertainment system named ICE (Information Communication Entertainment) loaded up with  hundreds of movies, games, TV shows etc. enough to keep a couch potato happy for weeks.

The coolest part of this system are the three outside cameras which give you various views of takeoff and flight.  Watching this giant take off from the vantage point of the tail mounted camera was quite a thrill....

The lift of this plane is unlike any I have felt before...enormous power was evident, but also smoothness and grace. Really quite thrilling.

As I write this we are preparing for landing. All in all, not a bad experience, although the wifi never did work and my ICE system crashed about four hours from Dubai.  My socks became soaked during one bathroom stop, and I pray that it was just water swamping the bathroom floor.  On the subject of bathrooms, the ones in the rear of the plane had full length mirrors, lotion and a pleasant smelling spray.

Tray tables up, wheels down...hello Dubai!!