Author: Amy Tara Koch

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I caught the ski bug at 43. It’s not as if I had never been on the slopes. But, having been deposited atop a mogulled run at Alta by a boyfriend in my 20’s (he whizzed down leaving me to descend by rump), I felt fairly certain that powder was best enjoyed on a doughnut.  Then a girlfriend invited me to Park City. Instead of being coaxed into too-difficult terrain, we took lessons with an affable...

After decades of taking a back seat to New York and Los Angeles, Chicago has emerged the belle of the restaurant ball with dozens of Michelin Stars and James Beard Awards to her name not to mention accolades from top publications recognizing the Third Coast as the most exciting American city to eat in. The latest batch of eateries, many husband and wife teams, pay homage to to the Midwest with wildly creative, seasonally-inspired flavors...

How to Have a High-End Ski Vacation Without All the High Prices Stay outside of town, consider a hostel, buy a pass and eat where the locals do. The Element Basalt Aspen in Colorado.CreditElement Basalt Aspen A luxury hotel in a tony mountain town will cost a fortune. But if you forfeit proximity you can tap into peak perks without the ski in/ski price tag. Other cost-cutters? An off-peak, midweek visit, advance purchase of lift tickets, eating strategically and...

Skiing has a steep learning curve, for the sport itself and for the gear to keep you comfortable as you schuss down the slopes in freezing temps. I started skiing quite late in the game. So, aside from lessons (which I always take), I am perpetually on the hunt for tricks to ski more efficiently. And, tips to deal with altitude. This past weekend in Aspen, I had a few game-changing experiences. I took the...

With the Caribbean in shambles, parents need to recalibrate vacation plans. Here are some warm-weather alternatives Mexico, all inclusive (Hyatt Ziva (four locations)+ the  just opened  Xcaret (adventure water park) in Riviera Maya, another all inclusive. Barbados,  The House or The Waves (all inclusive) Bermuda The Loren, a new property Jamaica Tryall , (hiking, watersports on 2200 acre nature preserve), Half Moon Bay (SUP, kayak, sailing, wake boarding, tubing) Dominican Republic, Cap Cana, Eden Roc or all  inclusive...

As any graduate of the University of Michigan can attest, Saturday afternoon games at The Big House were the stuff of collegiate nirvana. The weather was crisp. The beer was flowing. Even though I had no clue what a chop block or a flea flicker was, the kinetic camaraderie was enough to draw me week after week. Yet, as the decades flew by, I attended few games. For starters, the drive from Chicago to Ann...

Predictability can be such a bore. In anticipation of winter and spring breaks, I spoke to U.S. News + World Report about some of my favorite off-the-beaten-track destinations that are both fun and culturally enriching. Here are my picks as well as their slideshow Norwegian Adventure Cruise with Hurtigruten From Bergen through Sweden  to the Arctic Circle. Days feature outings to isolated beaches with wildlife, kayaking amongst the fjords and icebergs and Viking history. A Young Explorer’s...

Fun is part of a vacation. But, parents have a new motive in choosing destinations: digital avoidance. Throwing a cultural curve ball, one that combines adventure and enrichment through tackling the unknown-exposure to foreign culture, a brush with history, physical activity in a stunning natural setting, consuming foods you can’t pronounce- underscore the importance of engaging in the moment at hand.  In fact, the dread of an unwanted digital-laced holiday has elevated the category of...

I spoke to US News + World Report about budget-friendly family getaways after the school year begins.   By September, crowds have dissipated in Park City, ushering in the pleasant and inexpensive shoulder season, explains family travel expert Amy Tara Koch. She points to the Grand Summit Hotel, located in Canyons Village, as an ideal lodging choice for families. Apart from reduced post-summer lodging rates (goSeek.com currently lists three-star hotels offering nightly rates under $100 in September),...

Fall means crisper temperatures, the changing of the leaves and a perfect time for outdoor activities. Here are some top spots to bring the fall season to life. On Labor Day, I chatted with Good Day LA about this topic. Video below.      1. Montana: Whitefish, Glacier During the summer, Glacier National Park sees over 1 million visitors. After August, the park becomes less congested so the chances seeing wildlife increases.  Stay in Whitefish  (25 miles to West...