It's been rather chilly here in Central Florida in the past week.
Being a native Northerner, I don't mind it, really. I find it a pleasant change from the months of sweltering heat and humidity. Until it dips below freezing.
I recently spent Thanksgiving week with my family in Michigan where I got a good reminder of what winter is all about. Here's me at the Mt. Clemens Christmas Parade waiting for my nephew Steven's marching band to show up. Let's just say it took a couple hours for my toes to thaw.
On the other hand, the chilly temps also serve as a reminder that ski season is here! I love snow skiing and try to head to the Rockies a couple times each winter. Last year I visited a beautiful resort just outside of Winter Park, Colo. Devil's Thumb Ranch is a center for nordic skiing with luxury Western-style accommodations, first class restaurants and a fabulous spa.
My favorite thing about Devil's Thumb Ranch, however, is it's dedication to being green. Named one of the top 15 eco-friendly hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure, the resort's eco-friendly features include a sand filtration water sanitation system and geo-thermal heating in all cabins and buildings. Pine forest trees that fell to a rampant Asian beetle disease during the past decade were used for interior walls and ceiling beams and recycled spruce trees were used for the floors. Field stones and stones from local rock slides were used to build fireplaces. Of course, natural cleaning products, fluorescent lighting, an in-house recycling program and water conservation are mandatory. The spa uses only products with natural, herbal and organic ingredients and bathroom amenities feature vegetable-based soaps and hair products packaged in recycled paper or corn-based “eco-plastic” bottles. Two full-service restaurants, the Ranch House Restaurant and Heck’s Tavern, offer locally grown and organic meat, fish and produce.
All this and 500 acres of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing ... you gotta dig it!
If you want to check it out, go to www.devilsthumbranch.com