Dear Friend,
It's officially summer! How are you faring? My tomatoes are growing and radishes are popping out of the ground. I am staying at home and sinking deeply into writing, gardening and noticing how different it is to stay in one place. It may not be so different for you, but it's a 180 for me~

I am not traveling per se, but I am.. always in my mind. Memories flood in like a warm bath and I catch myself often in a dreamlike state. I can taste the sweetness of the apricots we picked with Captain Antonio on the island of Ventotene this time last year from his friend's farm. We swam in cool, clear waters off of a black sand beach and ate herb-infused grilled lumberjack on the bow of MiaPlacidus, our 67 ft sailboat. Docked in what was once an ancient Roman port, we can feel all the seafaring stories that came before ours. Those particular experiences grab your heart and still give you that fluttering feeling for years to come. This is the reason to travel with a local.

I am staying two steps ahead of the posse for the fall. My ticket is booked for Italy September 1st. I will go, Inshallah, and I will follow protocol. I feel the airlines and other countries, especially Italy, are being more careful than we are here in the US. And it seems a concern for them as well. It's important to know how to move, how to balance the risk and the reward, and stick to the roads less traveled. 

Our postponed trip to Sicily is happening mid-September with 2 spots left. We can spread out on 1000 acres of vines. Following Sicily, we are offering an exclusive adventure to join Linda Sarris and I on the island of Pantelleria off of Sicily's west coast, for Vino Volcanico. We'll spend five days exploring, tasting and soaking in the beauty, staying in a traditional Damuso overlooking the sea. Tuscany's doors at La Cucina al Focolare are still open in October as is Morocco, A Feast for the Senses in November. 

It is my commitment as I walk the beauty path to talk about things I love, the places we go, and the people I adore. This communication is a synopsis of what's possible even in the time of uncertainty. Dream, plan, travel, reminisce. The beginning of summer also reminds us that we'll be craving the vibrant and nourishing experience of India on the seasonal flip side. The entire land is infused with a sense of well being, ready to inspire and heal us. We are 7 months away from roti and raita and Rajasthan's various realms.

Our hearts go out to the world now and we pray the pandemic loses speed and disappears quickly.

Have a wonderful summer wherever you may be. Stay safe, sane and healthy. We will have stories to tell of the time our wings were clipped and what came of finding ordinary magic right here at home..while planning where dreams come true...

Peggy & Co.
INDIA: Of Palaces and Poetry
February 14 - 26th, 2021
Join Us...

The Ghats of Udaipur
Photo by Emma Louise Sophia 

Step into another reality. One of exhilarating excitement! You can really feel you have traveled to a far off land. Unless it's normal for you to get sprinkled with rose petals when you walk into an open doorway. India remains a far frontier for most of us and yet it is incredibly accessible and full of familiarity. How can that be? In reality, it's as beautiful as you ever imagined and not quite as foreign as you thought. 

Our choice of visiting Rajasthan is like visiting friends in Paris if you want to understand France. Yes, it’s quintessential India in every way,  the land of palaces and poetry is stunningly cultural, it’s also where our friends live. It is my business and good fortune to meet amazing people, who become friends. And these local friends, from our colleagues to expert guides to hotelier, bring India alive.

Take Udaijit Singh, owner of Dera Amer Wilderness Camp. We have always enjoyed going to the outskirts of Jaipur to visit Udaijit and his elephants, Lakshmi and Rangmala. We feed them bananas and they feed us a lovely organic camp lunch served with local Indian wine in return. We spend time with the elephants walking and stroking them. Perhaps we will bathe them next time. There is a touching synergy between the staff, the mahouts, Udaijit, and the elephants as a close knit team. They provide refuge and honor these gentle animals by not riding them or painting them. The care they require is on an incredible scale - they must be walked 11k a day and eat 4-600 lbs of food and drink 50 gallons of water a day~ a full bathtub's worth. Our visit is a beneficial contribution to help keep them cared for.
Have you been literally eye to eye with an elephant?

How about visiting an ancient spice market to gather your spices for the year and some to take home to your friends, right from the source? Or have you walked through a fennel field taller than your head? Or tasted Indian chai off the street in a small eco terracotta cup?  Rajasthans' jewels, well-treated elephants, spices, textiles, curries, princes and princesses,  make this a trip like no other. 

   I understand the circumstances we are all under. And I understand that we don't have answers and are vulnerable to the unknown. We may or may not cross borders as soon as we would like, but we must be ready. What I do know is that our trips  are very well cared for and we are given the best of everything during this adventure. My colleagues and I will make sure that every precaution is considered and keep our ears to the ground. February is a long way away and, shall I say, it's a lovely time to get away from winter and experience unprecedented hospitality and warmth, from the people, the sunshine and the spices! Expect the unexpected. Every palace hotel and unique off-the-beaten-path experience offers you breathtaking vistas and heartfelt delight.
We invite you to
join us for India: Of Palaces and Poetry, February 14 - 26, 2021. 

Upcoming Culinary Adventures
Don't miss our upcoming trips for the rest of 2020! 
~ Sicily: A Different Italy (September 9 - 16th) ..... with Linda Sarris (aka the Cheeky Chef), exploring the island countryside, cooking and wine tasting. Only 2 spots remaining! Continue the adventure and join us for Vino Volcanico: The Island of Pantelleria as an exclusive ad-on 9/17-22. Contact us for details.
~ Tuscany: La Cucina al Focolare (October 4 - 10th).... in collaboration with Zingerman's Food Tours, with Chef Piero F., wine expert Bernardo Conticelli and so many other characters who have made this program a perennial favorite for 28 years in the hills of Tuscany and the flats of Emiglia Romagna for parmigiano reggiano and aceto balsamico!  
~ Morocco: A Feast for the Senses (November 1 - 10th).... with Chef Bahija Lafredi at Jnane Tamsna and other wonderful cooks in the mountains at the Kasbah and in Essaouira on the sea. 

Food and Drink

We are very excited to share a special summer offering. My son Graham has Club Notte~ a new Wine Club complete  with recipes from his mother (wink wink!). He's offering his own cooking classes and a wine tasting book to the first 25 to join. How nice is that? Follow the link to join.

For our travelers that sign up for  for India by August 1st, you will receive a full year of Club Notte 6 pack on us!

Follow Peggy on Instagram and IG stories (@peggymarkel) for the latest on what she's cooking up!
P.S. We would love to hear from you, so please send your travel stories and photos to us      ( Let us know how you are faring during these times. 

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"I like to go where life is genuine." - Peggy Markel
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