Like most women, sometimes I run hot and sometimes
cold.  Likewise, so run my travels…sometimes hot…sometimes cold. 
And, like a woman, both are equally exciting.  Although I won’t let you in
on my personal mood swings, I will share my travel moods with you.  I love
both the warmth of the fire and the chill of the ice.


Along California’s Big Sur coast, where mountains plunge
dramatically into the Pacific, I discovered one of the most dramatic meetings
of land and sea in the world. VENTANA INN & SPA in a relatively
undeveloped and pristine area is   situated on 243 acres of
meadows and gently sloping wooded hillsides 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean
on the Big Sur coast.  Secluded Ventana provides a peaceful and soothing
atmosphere enhanced by its proximity to the area’s natural wonders, and lots of
comforting fireplaces.


GROVE PARK INN, an Asheville, North Carolina resort tucked in the
breathtaking landscape between the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great
Smoky Mountain range, is a return to the elegance of a bygone era. It is
yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  Listed in the National Register of
Historic Places, The Inn has preserved the integrity and charm of its
turn-of-the-century atmosphere.  The Great Hall, with its rustic stone walls,
weathered slate floors, wooden columns, and copper lighting fixtures, is a warm
and cozy haven in spite of its humongous size.  Following cocktails on the
Sunset Terrace, I lingered in a rocking chair in front of one of the room’s
massive 14-foot fireplaces.  The inscription over the fireplace expressed
my feelings precisely: “Take from this hearth its warmth…From this room its
charm…From this Inn its amity…Return them not, but return.”  I will


between Los Angeles and San Diego. Perched atop a 150-foot bluff with panoramic
white-water views of the Pacific Ocean and two-miles of sandy beach, The
Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is consistently ranked among the finest resorts in
the world. 180blũ is an oceanfront dining
lounge featuring panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the blue skies across
the horizon. Perched 150-feet above Salt Creek Beach, 180blũ is the perfect
Southern California experience to enjoy refreshing hand-crafted beverages,
small plates from Raya…the hotel’s awe-inspiring restaurant with ocean
views…and a little slice of heaven on earth!  Fire pits will take away any
chill that might be in the air. 



Jasper, in the Canadian Province of Alberta, is a
picturesque town, nestled within Jasper National Park, one of the largest
wilderness areas in North America. THE FAIRMONT JASPER PARK LODGE, a
true “Grand Canadian Lodge Experience” built on 903 acres of pristine forest in
Jasper National Park, is a village of cozy cedar chalets and heritage log
cabins situated along the emerald shores of Lac (Lake) Beauvert.
  The Lodge,also locally known as
 is an Alpine village comprised of rooms, suites,
cabins, and chalets, all connected by picturesque paths.  The rooms are
decorated in casually elegant styles and the main lodge, with its blazing
fireplace, stained-glass lamps, and wood furniture has a distinct Frank Lloyd
Wright flavor.  



The hottest bars in the world are also the coolest. 
My favorite trek to the Artic was on a sweltering summer day in
Scandinavia.   No matter the season, you can have a very shivery
delivery in one of several Icebars in the US and around the world. Before
chilling out in my ICEBAR, I donned a bright blue cape trimmed in
snowy white faux fur and a pair of mittens.  After being garbed for
my Arctic adventure, I was escorted into an air lock and the door closed behind
me.  Then, voila, the door into the Icebar opened.  Lo and
behold, there it was.  An entire room crafted of ice from the Torne River
in Swedish Lapland.  The walls, the bar, the tables, the booths, and
hundreds of glasses were all sculpted from clear, pure, Arctic river
water.  If you opt for an icebreaker with names like “Jack Frost”,
 “Snowflake”, or “Avalanche”, you will get that icy mouthful of magic
served in a glass made of pure ice.  Not only did I ‘clink and drink one
down’, but I clinked and drank one down very, very quickly. One does not last
too long in a bar made of ice. (The temperature was 23-degrees Fahrenheit.)
 So, within thirty minutes, I was out of there.  If you ever get to a
city with an Icebar, (as ABC News put it when reporting on the Icebar in midtown
New York)  “…go inside and party your ice off”.

 The MENDENHALL GLACIER about 12 miles from
Juneau, Alaska is the original drive-up-to glacier and probably the most famous
in the world.  This great river of ice, stretching about 13.6 miles long,
spills over onto the floor of the Mendenhall Valley.  The Mendenhall
Glacier is not just a gigantic piece of ice.  It is a constantly moving,
dynamic force that has carved the landscape around it.  This magnificent
river of ice moves every day, carving and changing the geography along its
path.  The glacier has retreated over 2.5 miles since the year 1500 and it
is believed that it will continue to retreat in the foreseeable future.


The spectacular Icefields Parkway that links Jasper and
Lake Louise is often called the most scenic highway in the world.  This
143-mile parkway got its name from the numerous glaciers that flank its western
side.  The Columbia Icefield, one of the largest accumulations of snow and
ice south of the Arctic Circle, is a gigantic ice mass that feeds eight
glaciers.  It covers an area five times bigger than Manhattan.  The
water that melts from these glaciers then flows into rivers and streams that
ultimately feed the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. ATHABASCA GLACIER,
the most accessible of the glaciers that descend from the Columbia Icefield,
was reached by boarding a six-wheel drive Snocoach that took us to the middle
of the glacier.  Descending from the Snocoach, we walked on water,
1000-feet deep, but frozen solid.  Dwarfed by the massive glacier, and
chilled by a wind that whipped across the ice, we stood in awe of the seemingly
endless river of ice that surrounded us.  Within the Icefield Interpretive
Centre, located down the road from the glacier, a mini-museum explained the
history and geology of glaciers.

A chartered catamaran (the complimentary shore excursion on
a Silversea cruise) sailed us from Paso Quesahuen, Chile to one of the most
breathtaking sites in South America.  This magical outing to the LAGUNA
was a kaleidoscope of the stunning artistry of Mother
Nature.  This awesome wall of ice was a brilliant spectacle played out in
hues of blue and white.  The thundering chunks of ice that calved into the
lake might well have been crystal sculptures by Lalique, or a pate de verre
gem executed by Daum Crystal.  Magnifico!


ANTARCTICA is the greatest show on ice.  I
came, I thawed, I conquered!  I came to Antarctica after flying some 30
round-trip hours and cruising some 3000 nautical miles. I traveled below the
Equator and beneath the Tropic of Capricorn, sailing the dreaded Drake Passage
and crossing the Antarctic Convergence (at approximately 60 degrees south
latitude). I came to the bottom of the world.  I came to Antarctica, the
most hostile continent on earth.  I thawed in Antarctica!  Leaving
the blustery one-digit temperatures of a wintery Northern Hemisphere, I was
warmed by the thirty-degree austral summer temperatures of the Southern
Hemisphere’s continent of ice. I conquered fear in Antarctica!  For decades,
the world’s seventh continent (the only one I had never visited) had been my
destination of dreams.  And being there was truly a dream come true. This
barren, white continent, that thrills the imagination and overwhelms the
senses, is a continent of superlatives.  While it is the most forbidding,
most inaccessible land on earth, it is also the most majestic and most
pristine. This harshest, most inhospitable land is also the coldest, the
windiest, the highest and the driest.  Yet, this unknown southern land,
that contains 90% of the world’s fresh water and approximately 95% of the
world’s glacial ice, is the most eerily beautiful continent on earth.  In
short, Antarctica is the greatest show on ice.  If Frank Sinatra were
there with us, he’d be obliged to re-title his fifties hit to “I Only Have
Ice For You.”                 



JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel
Writer and a Travel Consultant with the Travel Authority in Mariemont,