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The Attic of Europe and Leonardo da Vinci

Early morning treasure hunters on he grounds of Chateau de Chambord

Early morning treasure hunters on he grounds of Chateau de Chambord

The Chambord 2020 adventure begins the moment you step from the car at Le Manoir, our home for the next five days. This stately, old school, traditional manor house was built in 1752 on the ruins of a 15th century chateau. Le Manoir sits regally beside a lake on 200 hectares of forrest and wild land yet, it’s an easy 10 minute drive through the woods to the front gates of the Chateau de Chambord.

While Leonardo da Vinci may have left this mortal coil 500 years ago, his influence is still very much alive in this part of the Loire Valley. We will visit four chateaux during our stay, each influenced by the master in different ways, including the spectacular Chateau Chambord - which is also where the “brocante-ing” takes place.

Our May 1st treasure hunt begins at dawn - to get a good head start before the crushing crowd arrives! We’ll weave our way through the vast gardens of Chambord where more than 1000 vendors have displayed their wares. Be sure to come with a wish list!

Dates: Wednesday, April 29th to Sunday, May 3rd

Maximum “chineurs” (treasure hunters) is 8

Chartres Labyrinth Weekend

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Notre Dame de Chartres Cathedral’s “rapid construction” took about 100 years, which, considering it’s size, dimension, detail and construction methods of the times is rather astounding. Little has changed since it’s completion in the early 13th century, including most of the magnificent stained glass windows and the legendary labyrinth; one of the few remaining in Europe. There are, in fact, two labyrinths in Chartres: the interior stone walk and the Bishop’s Palace garden labyrinth, we will walk both.

I am offering three ‘small group’ weekends in 2020. After traveling together by train from Paris to Chartres, we will check into our rooms at the medieval, former Prieuré (monastery) which once housed the monastic priests who served the Cathedral. We will spend the next two days deep diving into the legends and history of this very special corner of the world, explore the historic district and visit a very quirky art installation that caught Picasso’s eye in 1954.

These weekends are an excellent opportunity to intimately experience a much smaller, historic French town with a far different pace than Paris. You will also have enough personal time to deep dive into what walking the labyrinth means to you,

Dates: Thursday, May 28th to Sunday, May 31st Thursday, June 4th to Sunday, June 7th Thursday, June 18th to Sunday, June 21st

Group size is 6

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Fire and Feast in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Clay wrapped onions and middle eastern spiced rotisserie chicken; two of the dishes we will prepare

Clay wrapped onions and middle eastern spiced rotisserie chicken; two of the dishes we will prepare

Food writer/chef Mark Oppenheimer and I are known as the “Ex’s with Sharp Knives”. Together we’ve opened a neighborhood cafe, created elaborate pop-ups serving the foods we both love, and prepared some mighty meals, delighting many people with our varied and combined culinary skills.

We’ll share the tricks and secrets that have taken us years to glean… Why? Because nothing is more predictable than “Shrimp on the Barbi” or “Steak on the Grill”. Let us show you how to make the most of your outdoor fire pit and your indoor hearth.

Together we’ll prepare vegetables in ways you’ve never imagined. We’ll make waffles in an early 19th century wedding “iron”, bake bread and even a cake! Come prepared to roll up your sleeves and leave smelling smoky. You’ll learn the basics of fire starting (not using a match) as well as the care and proper use of those cast iron pans you love but are unsure of.

We’ll go to the the farmer’s market, visit some local spots for true Northern New Mexican fare, enjoy some small brew Santa Fe beers (and perhaps a shot or two of tequila), and see what other sort of culinary trouble we can cook ourselves into.

2019 Fall Dates: Friday, September 4th to Monday, September 7th*

Saturday, September 11th*

2020 Spring Dates: Friday, March 20th to Monday, March 23rd*

Saturday, March 28th*

*Group size is limited to 10 people