By Kristi Smith
Special to The PREVIEW
Imagine it’s 1950 and you are in an airport at 6 p.m. on Valentine’s night when you hear the sweet cry of a saxophone in the distance. As you follow the music, you see a line of people waiting to buy a ticket to get in to a curtained off room. Your curiosity is piqued because now you’re smelling the delicious food and the music has become a siren song.
You quickly buy a $75 ticket, which includes your meal, desserts and a free drink ticket. You then pass through the black curtained entrance. You find yourself in a swanky jazz lounge filled with people dancing, drinking, eating and having a good time. The musician, Bob Hemenger, is on stage, playing his heart out. There are suitcases stacked around the room and everyone appears to be starting or ending their vacations without a care in the world.
Out of the corner of your eye, you see hundreds of little white numbered boxes tied with metallic red bows hanging on the wall. You go over to ask what the boxes contain. The box seller explains that each of the mystery boxes is $25 or five for $100 and each one contains a prize — everything from a free coffee to an all-expense paid trip worth $6,000. You decide to pick out your favorite five numbers and pay the box seller. She bags them up and gives you a claim ticket for you to redeem at 8 p.m.
You grab a plate and heap on a couple scoops of paella full of chorizo poached shrimp, saffron chicken and rosemary roasted suckling pig; a couple of Brazilian steak skewers; and some shaved ribeye on flatbread. You then find a seat at a bistro table situated near the dance floor. Your day-to-day problems begin to melt away as you fill your belly, sip your wine and relax to the smooth jazz music.
Before you know it, it’s time to open your boxes. You go pick up your bag of boxes and begin to open them one by one. Suddenly, you see a gold flash of paper and as you pull it out of the box, you realize you are the big winner. You are going on a trip of your choice to either Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada; New York City/Broadway; or the Sonoma Coast/Napa Valley in California.
Come join Aspire on Valentine’s night at the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave., for an evening of wine, dining and dancing. Buy a mystery box and maybe you will be the winner of the trip of a lifetime. Tickets are $75 (includes one drink) and may be purchased online at www.aspirepagosa.org/valentines-night-party or by calling 422-2631. Additional drink tickets will be available for purchase for $5 each. Mystery boxes are $25 each or five for $100.
This fundraiser benefits Achuleta County’s Aspire Medical Services and Education — recently named the local Nonprofit of the Year — whose services include: pregnancy care up to 36 weeks and well woman exams; free pregnancy tests; ultrasounds; free prenatal vitamins; free parenting and prenatal classes; free STD testing and treatment; free diapers, wipes, maternity clothes, baby clothes and baby supplies with earned boutique bucks; free mentoring program which offers financial classes; and free childbirth and breastfeeding classes/education.
Over 90 percent of the annual $200,000 in funding that Aspire needs to keep its doors open comes from individual donors, corporate sponsors and fundraisers. Only 10 percent of its funding comes from grants.
Aspire offers affordable, comprehensive prenatal care up to 36 weeks to all patients within the Four Corners area. Dr. Carole Nasralla has 22 years experience in family medicine, women’s health and OB/GYN.
Aspire is the only provider of parenting education classes to target 0-3 years development. Parents, grandparents and care providers are all welcome to take these free classes, which are offered throughout the year and by appointment.
About the trips
Scenic California: Sonoma Coast and Napa Vineyards — Enjoy a two-night stay at the Timber Cove Resort in Jenner, Calif. (Sonoma Coast) for two people in an ocean-view room with a king bed and redwood deck, perched on a dramatic bluff high above the Pacific Ocean. Receive a complimentary bottle of wine and charcuterie upon arrival and enjoy a four-course dinner for two at the resort’s Coast Kitchen restaurant. The property sits on 25 unrivaled acres above the stunning Sonoma Coast and boasts an expansive outdoor living room with billiards, ping-pong and fire pits. Coast Kitchen, a full-service on-site restaurant with a coastal wine country concept, offers seasonal fare served amidst stunning ocean views. The resort offers a true connection to nature with over 2 miles of hiking trails, picnic spots and lounge areas.
Enjoy a two-night stay at The Setting Inn in Napa for two people. Daily continental breakfast is delivered to your room, featuring pastries from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. The main building, a recently remodeled 1901 farmhouse, offers five spacious guest rooms. From the moment you arrive, the proprietors will make sure you feel at home, whether you want to relax in the Barn Lounge, enjoy the vineyard views while seated around one of the courtyard fire pits, or get assistance with planning winery visits and dining at some of the region’s award-winning restaurants.
This experience includes:
• Two-night stay at Timber Cove Resort, situated on a dramatic bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
• Four-course dinner for two at Timber Cove Resort’s Coast Kitchen Restaurant.
• Two-night stay at The Setting Inn, a beautiful property surrounded by vineyards.
• Private tasting of The Setting Wines for two.
• Round-trip coach class airfare for two from within the 48 contiguous U.S. to San Francisco or Oakland, Calif.
Puntacana Resort and Club Caribbean Paradise — Enjoy a four-night stay in a traditional king or queen room with breathtaking views of the sparkling Caribbean from your balcony. The Westin Puntacana Resort and Club is ideally located in the Playa Blanca area of the impressive 15,000-acre Puntacana Resort and Club property, which includes restaurants, a shopping village and a full-service marina. Boasting 3 miles of white-sand beaches along the brilliant Caribbean Sea, the Puntacana Resort and Club encompasses a vast range of recreational activities and indulgent facilities. Golf at the P.B. Dye designed La Cana Golf Club, named the No. 1 course in the Caribbean by Golf Magazine, and relax at the 19th Hole Terrace, designed by Dominican Republic native Oscar de la Renta. Pamper yourself at the leading Six Senses spa based on Asian philosophy, offering signature treatments as well as tai chi, yoga and meditation. Relax at the beach and pool and enjoy a wide variety of activities including kiteboarding, scuba diving, volleyball, pilates, Latin mix and Tae Bo cardio. (Additional fees may apply.) The Westin Punatacana Resort and Club offers free shuttle service throughout the resort and club area.
This experience includes:
• Four-night stay in a traditional king or queen room at The Westin Puntacana Resort and Club.
• Round-trip coach class airfare for two from within the 48 contiguous U.S. to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise — Enjoy a three-night stay in a junior suite including daily breakfast for two in the dining room at this prestigious member of Conde Nast’s Gold List and one of the Top 500 Hotels in the World according to Travel+Leisure Magazine. It is North America’s No. 16-rated ski resort according to Conde Nast’s Top 50 Ski Resorts. This property is located three hours from Calgary and only one hour from Banff. Timeless beauty among the peaks will be yours at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, where majestic mountains soaring skyward are reflected in the vibrant blues and greens of the glacier that feeds Lake Louise. The “Diamond in the Wilderness” invites you to hit the ski slopes in winter, paddle a canoe on the lake in the summer, savor the cuisine year-round and just soak up the casual elegance that makes The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise such a memorable experience.
This experience includes:
• Three-night stay in a Junior Suite at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta.
• Daily breakfast for two.
• Round-trip coach class airfare for two from within the 48 contiguous U.S. to Calgary, Canada.
New York long weekend — Enjoy two orchestra or front mezzanine tickets to your choice of one Broadway show, subject to availability through Broadway.com. A small additional charge may apply during holidays and special performances. Some current productions include (subject to change): “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Aladdin,” “Beetlejuice,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Chicago,” “Come From Away,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Frozen,” “The Lion King,” “Mean Girls,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Tootsie,” “West Side Story” and “Wicked,” based on availability.
This experience includes:
• Two tickets to one Broadway show of your choice.
• $200 gift card towards dining at your choice of participating New York city restaurants.
• Three-night weekend stay in a standard guest room at the Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott or comparable hotel.
• Round-trip coach class airfare for two from within the 48 contiguous U.S. to New York.
By Kristi Smith