Cary Deuber’s name is now synonymous with Dallas as a wine-swirling member of the local “Real Housewives” franchise. And while the East Coast native will always love her adopted city, it’s a completely different country she seeks when she wants respite from the “reality” world.
“The first time I went to Switzerland I was in awe of the country’s beauty and serenity,” says Deuber. “The mountains and nature just radiate beauty and peace.”
It’s been a constant since she met her husband, luxury shopaholic Dr. Mark Deuber, who was born and raised in the mountain-rich land of chocolate and watches. He’s made sure his children, who have dual citizenship, have plenty of exposure to his native land. They even named their youngest daughter Zuri, the Swiss German word for Zürich.
“Our kids are lucky enough to go to camp there,” Deuber says. “They are Swiss because of their father and are able to go to a camp for kids of expats through the Organization of the Swiss Abroad.”
In addition to camp, the Deubers spend two-to-six weeks in and around Zürich, the nation’s largest city. They’ve talked about buying a house among the mountainous peaks, most famously on the show after a particularly vicious girls’ weekend away. “You know, I’m thinking after my awesome girls’ trip to Austin, that maybe we do need to leave the country,” Deuber said with her signature snark.
But the Preston Hollow couple has yet to make a residential purchase overseas, partially because they don’t want to give up the indulgent experience at the Hotel Baur au Lac, a 173-year-old property with sweeping views of the Alps and Lake Zürich where rooms fetch up to $1,000 a night.
“I stayed there for a week by myself while I took a Swiss German language immersion class,” Deuber says. “I was pregnant at the time and felt perfectly safe and cared for.”
It’s an outdoorsy paradise. Mark Twain once said “Switzerland would be a mighty big place if it were ironed flat.” But the fact that it isn’t is what draws in visitors, who jump at the chance to hike or ride up the rocky paths for breathtaking views of the snow-capped peaks.
Avoid the tourist traps by taking the train out of the city center, where the countryside is lush and the cows wear bells. But don’t skip the touristy taste of fresh fondue or a gooey raclette, those oversized wheels of soft cheese you’ve likely seen in cartoons.
“It is so yummy,” Deuber confirms.
She blogs about her travels at carydeuber.com.
Switzerland like a Deuber
What to bring: Layers, even in the summer since there’s snow in the mountains. “Leave the stilettos at home. Women don’t really dress up that much. You will look insane trying to walk on cobblestone streets in high heels.”
Plane survival: “No matter what we are doing, I always have my headphones and my lip gloss.”
Where to stay: Hotel Baur au Lac in Zürich, Tschuggen Grand Hotel in Arosa or Badrutt’s Palace in St. Moritz.
Where to eat: Rico’s Kunststuben. “It is actually located in Küsnacht, just as few train stops outside of Zürich.”
Where to shop: The Bahnhofstrasse and the cobblestone streets around Storchengasse. “We always go to Teuscher and buy chocolate.”
Etiquette to know: “The Swiss are very protective of their personal space. They don’t hug someone that is not family or a very, very close friend.”
Where to take the kids: Scenic hiking. “The hiking is for all levels, and they have awesome food on the mountains at the huts.”
Jet lag relief: “I found that if you push through that first day and have a massage in the afternoon it helps. Stay up until at least 9 p.m. the first night.”
Do you spend part of the year in a different city? We want to feature you, email Elissa Chudwin at email@example.com
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.