Indulge in the Luxury & History Found at the Marcus Whitman Hotel
Located in downtown Walla Walla the Marcus Whitman Hotel has been restored and features premier dining and luxury in Washington wine country.
Guests at the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center in historic downtown Walla Walla, Washington are bound to discover warmth, comfort, and pleasures unexpected.
Originally opened in 1928, the historic hotel was renovated and restored in 2001 with 127 guest rooms and the addition of more than 13,000 square feet of event and conference space, ideal for groups of any size. Business, pleasure, or a combination of both are reasons to stay at this delightful hotel. Anniversary party anyone? You can set the mood before arrival by ordering flowers, chocolate covered strawberries and wine—48 hour notice is required.
Taking in Loudoun DC's Wine Country
Gaining in popularity, Virginia's wine country offers a full calendar of engaging events to compliment their delicious wines.
On the western banks of the Potomac River, just about 25 miles from the heart of Washington DC, beautiful Loudoun County, Virginia holds hundreds of excuses for you to get away. It’s blessed with wine, horses, Civil War history, quaint towns and villages, rave-review restaurants, and scenery so stunning, you’ll find it hard to believe that the nation’s capital is just a stone’s throw away. Loudoun County offers a full calendar of engaging events all year round, and someone there is always cooking up something innovative and new to do. Case in point: on Labor Day weekend (August 30–September 2, 2013), in partnership with Saveur magazine, Loudoun hosted the inaugural Epicurience Virginia. When they came up with the idea for the event, it was so unique, no existing name quite described it.
Timber Cove Inn: An Unspoiled Hideaway Overlooking the Sea
Located in the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA, Timber Cove Inn is a cozy hideaway during a Sonoma wine tasting excursion.
Guests can sense they’re about to make a wonderful Sonoma Coast wine country discovery even before they arrive at Timber Cove Inn. They follow a picturesque, winding route filled with redwood groves and jaw-dropping ocean views to a beautiful hillside bluff overlooking the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. Here they find the inn, perched on a cliff overlooking one of California’s most beautiful coastlines.
Timber Cove Inn is known for its unspoiled, peaceful location and rustic rooms that celebrate a view of the ocean, cove, or forest.
The Beauty and Flavor of Southern Oregon Awaits
Between Portland and San Francisco is a wine lover's paradise.
Located about mid-way between Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California, Southern Oregon is an amazing vacation destination and oenophile’s delight.
A paradise for lovers of the great outdoors and great wines, Southern Oregon offers you mountains, rivers, green forests, pastoral plains, and vineyards planted to umpteen grape varieties. As a growing region, the Southern Oregon AVA stretches 125 miles south of Eugene to the California border, and 60 miles between the Cascade Mountain Range to the east and the Coast Range to the west. While this beautiful area provides the warmest growing conditions in Oregon, its hillsides and valleys provide an array of microclimates where cool-climate grapes successfully grow. So, expect to find an amazing amount of diversity while touring and tasting.
Dundee Hills: Boutique, World-Class Wines Just Outside Portland
A small area of densely populated vineyards makes Dundee Hills a breathtaking and delicious Oregon destination.
Less than 30 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon the spectacular Dundee Hills appellation is no longer a secret: it’s a destination.
Since the mid-1960s, the red clay loam Jory soils of the Dundee Hills have become known as an exceptional place to grow new world Pinot Noir. Today, discerning wine lovers from around the globe travel to Dundee to sample world-class wines from boutique to domain wineries, experience meals from the region that has made food a fetish, and become one with the non-stop, stunning scenery, including the distant snowcapped tips of Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson. Beyond wine and food, wonderful accommodations await—everything from charming bed and breakfasts and small, quaint inns, to the height of chic.
Take an Adventure With Your Spouse on the Heritage Wine Trail
Spend an entire day visiting (and tasting) the most iconic and breathtaking wineries in Napa Valley.
From Carneros to Calistoga, the beautiful Napa Valley changes at every stretch and curve. There’s so much to discover and explore! Suppose you had one day to tour and wanted to make it perfect. What would you do? The Heritage Wine Trail is one simple answer. It takes away all the guesswork, with pre-arranged stops at four iconic wineries and a picnic lunch. Each winery treats you like a VIP and offers an utterly unique experience while you sample many fabulous wines. The timing is generous and so is the price: just $99 for the entire day. Now, isn’t that heavenly!
Most Of California's Ancient Wine Vines Are Planted Here
Contra Costa County is the perfect destination for travelers look for the "new" secret wine spot.
Just an hour east of downtown San Francisco, a sleeping giant has awakened to the delight of wine tourists eager to discover someplace "new."
Actually, when it comes to wine, Contra Costa County is anything but new. The 800-square-mile county has been producing award-winning wine and grapes for more than 120 years; and prior to the Prohibition, it was home to 50-plus wineries. Through the years, a series of historical events and its grow-ing population took Contra Costa County out of the wine industry limelight: but the region never stopped producing exceptional grapes. Giants don’t sleep forever and today, thanks to its nonstop grape friendly conditions and a sophisticated following, Contra Costa County is soaring in all sorts of ways.
Spacious Rooms Await at the Napa Valley Lodge
In the middle of the culinary capital of the Napa Valley are rooms that will recharge your batteries.
Set in a Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard, the Napa Valley Lodge is located in the charming village of Yountville, California—the culinary capital of the Napa Valley.
The lodge’s exterior incorporates classic Tuscan-style architecture with arched loggias, decorative iron railings, a tiled roof, and limestone and terra cotta walkways. Renowned for its friendly and expert staff, the lodge makes sure each guest’s wine country experience is memorable by making reservations for dinner, winery tours, hot air balloon excursions, bicycle rentals, and much more.
Lake County Wine Region Flexes Strength In Youth
In just a few decades the rich soils of this Northern California region are producing award-winning wines.
A new rush is on in California's Northern Mayacamas Mountains, and it has nothing to do with gold.
In just a matter of years, Lake County has gone from a coveted resource for exceptional wine grapes to a full partner in the winemaking industry, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with neighbors Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and Mendocino County. "Ten years ago, we could put maybe a dozen world-class wines on the table," says Peter Molnar, chair of the Lake County Winegrape Commission and partner and general manager for Obsidian Ridge. "Suddenly, we have 30 to 40 bottles of remarkable character and quality."
Yolo County: America's Farm to Fork Capital
Nestled between California's capital and Lake Tahoe is the fertile Yolo County.
Full of charm and surprises, Yolo County is tucked between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, less than half an hour from the steps of the capital of California in Sacramento.
Yolo County is easy to love. Its fertile fields nearly burst with abundance, and its towns hold good-hearted people who are proud of their roots. It provides many of the resources that have helped Sacramento become America’s Farm-to-Fork capital—not only through its amazing bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables, ranch-raised meats, honeys, oils, jams, and regional wines—but through its commitment to the environment and education. Yolo County is home to UC-Davis, a leader in agricultural advancement, and a slew of farms and farm communities eager to share their knowledge.
The Always Exciting Southern California Fairplex
An amazing 500-plus events take place every year at the Fairplex in Pomona, California. What are you doing this weekend?
Uniquely situated on 487 acres of park-like greenery with Art Deco architecture and modern capabilities, Fairplex, the home of the L.A. County Fair, has evolved since its 1922 beginnings in a beet and barley field into a bustling corridor of entertainment, business, and special events.
Located in Pomona, it’s easily reached from all parts of Southern California. The campus includes an 85,000-square-foot conference center; exhibition halls; two restaurants; The Learning Centers, which offer community-driven education; a museum; historic trains; a racetrack; an organic farm; an RV park; and the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center.
Explore Vibrant Downtown Napa
When you think of Napa you think wine tasting, but be sure you don't miss out on the exciting nightlife.
At the foot of the Napa Valley, charming Downtown Napa has transformed into a culinary and entertainment destination that should not be missed.
Back in 1847, the town of Napa was founded at the uppermost point of the Napa River to act as a hub for trade and transportation. Today, Downtown Napa has become a hub of a different kind, bringing world-class wine, food, and culture into one vibrant place. It seems there’s always something exciting happening in Downtown Napa: the opening of a new tasting room, a new art exhibit, or a new restaurant featuring another great chef. Rest assured, Downtown Napa is not a tourist trap. It’s genuine and real. In fact, this urban spot has become a gathering place for locals to meet, hang out, and savor all the good things Napa Valley has to offer. So next time, when in Napa Valley, do as the Napans do, and "do" Downtown Napa.
Visit the Wonderful Walla Walla in Washington
An exploding wine region makes Walla Walla the perfect place to spend the weekend and learn about wine.
At the foot of the Blue Mountains in the Southeastern corner of Washington State, lies the friendly valley of Walla Walla. Here, the weather is generally sunny and warm, and so are the people. Walla Wallans greet you with a smile, ask you where you’re from, and make you glad you came. They’re quick to tell you about all the things that make Walla Walla wonderful: the public art, the galleries, the music, the restaurants, the cooking classes, the boutiques, the colleges, the mountains, the rivers, the hiking trails, and especially the incredible wines.
The Summer Travel Survival Guide: 8 Tips to Help Parents Avoid Meltdowns on the Road
If it weren’t for the process of getting there, family trips would be a lot more fun! Here are 8 tactics to help you tone down the craziness.
If you’ve ever vacationed with kids, you know what puts the "crazy" in the crazy days of summer. Are-we-there-yets, poorly timed poops, airborne temper tantrums, lost pacifiers, and headlong races down airport terminals (while dragging luggage and a screaming baby) are enough to drive anyone insane! By the time you’ve traveled to your destination and back again, you may find yourself thinking that vacationing with children is no vacation at all.
No parent wants the fun of vacation to be spoiled by the process of getting there. The good news is, with the right information and a willingness to think ahead, you can put most of your energy toward playing in the pool instead of kid-wrangling on the road.
The Homestead: Family Paradise Found In Beautiful Northern Michigan
There's a little bit of everything for the entire family to explore from dunes and golf to a spa and cooking classes.
Nestled between stunning Lake Michigan and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the Homestead in Glen Arbor provides an ideal oasis for guests discovering the wonders of northern Michigan. Designed to highlight the beauty of its surroundings, the Homestead’s accommodations are found in separate areas—along Sleeping Bear Bay; at the edge of Crystal River; and on ridge lines overlooking Lake Michigan, the Manitou Islands, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes (named Most Beautiful Place in America by ABC’s Good Morning America). All accommodations—whether they are hotel rooms, condominiums, or homes—are given a quality rating to help guests find the spot and style of lodging that’s just right for them.
Inn at the Tides: The Best of California’s Coast & Wine Country
Bodega Bay inspired Alfred Hitchcock, but it's not just for the birds; couples will fall in love with this piece of isolated Sonoma coastline.
Simple elegance abounds, as it has for decades, at The Inn at the Tides in Bodega Bay, California. Set along the isolated Sonoma coastline, the enclave of 86 guest lodges, two restaurants, swimming pool, spa, and meeting facilities provide an ideal sanctuary for rejuvenation and relaxation.
There’s a faint feeling of recognition for many first-time guests when they arrive. Although the property boasts all the amenities of a 21st century luxury resort, they often feel like they’ve been there before, especially when they eat at The Tides Wharf Restaurant, lined with windows overlooking the bay. There’s actually a reason for this. In 1961, Alfred Hitchcock selected Bodega Bay as the location for his legendary film The Birds.
Enjoy the Surf & Turf of Pismo Beach
From surfing to hiking to biking to wine tasting and much more, Pismo offers a classic California experience.
The words "California dreaming" create an idyllic scene. We picture a strong, sturdy pier jutting out from a white pristine beach, inviting, surfable waves, graceful pelicans soaring above, and happy people enjoying it all. Even Californians are known to "California dream" because this classic California way of life isn’t as common as one might think. But there is a place where Classic California is alive. In fact, it’s thriving in Pismo Beach.
This friendly, laid-back town covers seven miles of clean, white sand on California’ s Central Coast. It is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco along scenic Pacific Coast Highway 1 and Highway 101, making it easy to get to, yet not so easy to leave.
A Collection of Boutique Hotels in Beautiful San Luis Obispo
Before you hit the wine trail, be sure to book your room at one of these four intimate getaways.
With so many intriguing things to do in San Luis Obispo County wine country, it’s good to find a distinctive place to stay that offers an array of services and an authentic California experience.
The Cliffs Resort
Pismo Beach, California
Standing on the cliffs above pristine Shell Beach, this luxurious full-service oceanfront hotel offers 160 newly renovated guest rooms, including 24 oceanfront suites.
One of America's Greatest Hidden Gems, Traverse City
If you pulled the mitten off Michigan you'd find this sparkling jewel of a city.
The upper left edge of the Michigan "mitten" holds many treasures. Stately pine forests, windswept peninsulas, sugar sand beaches, towering dunes, crystal blue lakes, acres upon acres of cherry orchards, and thriving vineyards. At the heart of all of this sits Traverse City, a gem of a town just waiting to be discovered. Well actually, it has already been discovered by many talented chefs, musicians, fine artists, and creative winemakers who know a good thing when they see it. And then there’s the press. We keep putting Traverse City at the top of the list for surprisingly good wine, great food, and activity-filled vacations.
Reignite Your Marriage at the Charming Avila Lighthouse
Sun, sand, rest, relaxation, wine, spa, luxury, beach, biking, and so much more. A perfect couple's getaway.
Located in California's jewel box village of Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo wine country, Avila Lighthouse Suites provides guests an ideal home away from home as they explore this enchanting area. The all-suite hotel sits next to the Avila Beach promenade, a closed-off section of Front Street, just steps from the sand. It’s an easy walk to everything this tiny beachfront village has to offer, including six tasting rooms.
Besides a perfect location, Avila Lighthouse Suites features 52 spacious two-room suites, each with a bedroom, bathroom, and living room. They are beautifully appointed with a long list of amenities, including granite bathroom counter tops, hair dryers, two 37-inch flat screen televisions with cable service, complimentary WiFi, mini refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, and private balconies or patios.
Go On a Western Adventure in the Santa Ynez Valley
A last bastion of California's Wild West offers the rare opportunity to finish a 90-minute horseback ride with a wine tasting.
Santa Barbara wine country is located just 35 miles north of the beaches of Santa Barbara, California in wild and wonderful Santa Ynez Valley.
It’s a glorious descent from the Santa Ynez Mountain range into the long, fertile Santa Ynez Valley. For wine tourists coming from the city of Santa Barbara, the first vista view is so stunning, they often pull off the road to take it all in. Santa Ynez Valley is Santa Barbara County’s largest AVA region covering 76,000 acres with more than 100 wineries and tasting rooms to discover.
Wine & Roses Offers Up a Custom Romantic Retreat
A rising gem in California, Wine & Roses boasts 79 individually designed rooms for the perfect romantic getaway.
Set in an environment that’s as romantic as its name, Wine & Roses Hotel, Restaurant, and Spa offers visitors to Lodi, California wine country a splendid retreat. From the moment they arrive, guests feel they’re in good hands. The staff has a knack for sensing just how much pampering one requires and proceeds accordingly.
The hotel features 79 spacious guest rooms and suites located in a variety of settings. The Historic Inn, built in 1902, offers individually designed guest rooms, each with a distinctive charm. Garden Rooms boast rustic luxury, Spa Rooms emanates a Zen-like feel, and the Signature Suites are abundant with custom details and amenities.
A Close Up of Monterey Wine Country
Explore this breathtaking wine country in three glorious days with the recommended routes.
Stretching from the coast of Monterey Bay down into the Salinas Valley, Monterey wine country is home to more than 85 vintners and growers.
This striking wine country offers anything you could ask for in a wine touring experience from chic tourist destinations to unassuming farming towns. For starters, consider these three perfect tour days:
Satisfy Your Napa Sweet Tooth at the River Terrace Inn
Beside a riverfront setting, the River Terrace Inn offers luxury, charm and the best dessert menu in Napa.
Set upon a quiet bank of the Napa River, River Terrace Inn provides a peaceful retreat for those seeking the ideal blend of modern elegance and laid-back California charm in close proximity to the energy of Downtown Napa.
The enchanting property was designed with its guests in mind, whether they’re wine tourists, meeting goers, or couples on a romantic getaway. All of the luxurious guestrooms feature king- or queen-size Napa Dream Beds, complimentary high speed internet (WiFi and DSL access), mini bars, and some have balconies or patios. Besides a pristine riverfront setting, many riverside rooms include whirlpool tubs.
Family Getaway: Monterey California
Whether it means packing up and traveling to beautiful Monterey, California or just somewhere close to home, here are 5 tip to sharing moments as a family together.
It never ceases to amaze me how life changing a simple moment can be—and, if you visit Monterey, you’ll know why.
Things like waking up to the smell of clean, ocean air. Knowing, when you wake up, the world's greatest tasting breakfast is on its way. The joy of knowing my teenage children are just a few feet away and all the miracles we discover in the coming hours will be shared by all of us.
Reconnect and Luxuriate in Willows Lodge
Honoring the area's cedar-farming past, Willows Lodge is a great getaway for your next anniversary.
Dedicated to great dining, relaxation, romance, and inspired business meetings, Willows Lodge provides an ideal retreat in the heart of Woodinville, Washington's wine country.
A magnificent ancient cedar snag stands in the entry drive, giving arriving guests their first glimpse of the area’s cedar-farming past. The tribute to this legacy continues throughout the lodge’s buildings and grounds. Douglas fir timbers, fine-grained ash wood, and recycled slate are primary elements, and a photo collection of the valley in its early years hangs in the special function area.
Drink Up the Wine-Themed Twin Pine Casino
Looking forward to an amazing couple's getaway, be sure to visit Twin Pine Casino & Hotel, the only wine-themed casino in the U.S.
Ideally situated along a particularly scenic portion of Highway 29, Twin Pine Casino & Hotel in Middletown, California offers wine tourists the fun and luxury of a premier casino, hotel, and restaurant in the heart of northern California wine country. This splendid location—nearly halfway between the wineries of Calistoga in northern Napa Valley and the wineries of Lake County—sets the stage for plenty of wonderful wine touring opportunities. But it’s more than location that’s making Twin Pine such a popular place to stay. Said to be the only wine-themed casino destination in the United States, Twin Pine Casino & Hotel attracts discerning guests who like to blend their love of casino life and wine together.
Spanish Charm Found at Napa's Rancho Caymus Inn
An elegant 26-suite Spanish hacienda retreat in Napa Valley honors its roots while keeping up with modern amenities inside.
With a love for the Napa Valley that stretches back three generations, the Komes family provides wine tourists with both an ideal place to stay—Rancho Caymus Inn in Rutherford, California—and an ideal place to taste some magnificent wines—Flora Springs The Room in St. Helena.
Rancho Caymus Inn stands on land once awarded to pioneer George C. Yount as part of the Napa Valley’s first land grant. Today, the 26-suite inn provides guests an elegant retreat in the heart of the world-famous Rutherford Bench wine country. Guests appreciate the property’s connection to its heritage expressed in the keen attention to detail in the Spanish hacienda’s architectural design, materials, and furnishings. Each suite is named for a Napa Valley pioneer. Some names (like Black Bart and Robert Lewis Stevenson) are easily recognized, while others are not. Arriving guests are always delighted to learn the story of their pioneer that waits for them in their room.
Explore the Romantic L’Auberge Provençale French Country Inn
The original building was purchased for 33 shillings in the mid-1700s and couples today can enjoy the careful renovations.
They say that Virginia is for lovers, and after a stay at the romantic L’Auberge Provençale French Country Inn in the lush Shenandoah Valley, that proclamation is sure to ring true. For over 30 years, innkeepers Celeste and Alain Borel have made it their mission to provide the most authentic reflection of their Provençal heritage within every detail of L’Auberge. From the well-designed rooms and suites, and award-winning restaurant, to the beautifully maintained garden, orchard, and grounds, the couple has offered guests a true French countryside experience right here in America.
A Wine Country Resort at Honor Mansion
An easy way to honor your marriage is just a quick trip away to Honor Mansion in California's wine country.
Built in 1883, the stately Honor Mansion in Healdsburg, California welcomes guests to Sonoma wine country with the warmth and grace of a bygone era. The magnificent wine country resort offers 13 sumptuous rooms, including seven suites, spread over four acres of beautifully landscaped grounds—which include a quarter acre of Rockpile Zinfandel vines.
Falling for Virginia
Discover all that fall has to offer in October, Virginia Wine Month.
A true wine touring experience is not only what you sample, it’s about what you do, see, smell, and taste along the way. The beautiful Commonwealth of Virginia offers endless possibilities for exploration and discovery all year round—and harvest time is no exception when Virginia invites you to "Discover your Local Crush" during October, Virginia Wine month. On most October mornings, there’s a chill in the air here that softens as the sun climbs to center stage. Well into the afternoon, it is decidedly warm. And as the sun lowers in the sky, the air cools again, causing one to reach for a sweater or jacket. It is this dependable temperature pattern that causes Virginia’s crops to develop their intense flavors. Wine grapes attain an optimal level of sugar, acid, and tannin—so they’re lusciously ripe in every way. October is a wonderful time to visit Virginia and experience the harvest in every sensorial way.
Get a Taste of the Apple Farm Inn
In the heart of San Luis Obispo, California's wine country sits this deliciously charming inn.
Nestled in the heart of San Luis Obispo County wine country, the delightfully cozy Apple Farm Inn gives wine tourists a charming home base in a fabulous California location. The hospitable hotel offers 104 welcoming guest rooms, each with its own fireplace. The Apple Farm’s guest rooms are as individual as its guests—in fact, they’re located in two separate buildings. One is a classic-style inn and the other is motel-style, offering easy room access. No matter which style guests prefer, they are treated to a haven that is uniquely decorated with appealing touches; some rooms feature canopy beds, intimate seating nooks, and private hot tubs; all are individually decorated with distinctive wallpaper, fabrics, and artwork.
Relax at the Bodega Bay Lodge
Overlooking the pristine Bodega Bay in Northern California sits a little slice of heaven.
Perched on a waterfront bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the rugged Sonoma Coast, Bodega Bay Lodge offers sweeping views and the utmost in luxury to all of its guests. Besides a memorable view of the ocean, each of its 83 guest rooms offers fluffy down comforters, a woodburning fireplace, state-of-the-art entertainment equipment, and a private balcony or patio. With sumptuous amenities like these, it doesn’t take long for newcomers to settle in and forget the fact that the city of San Francisco is just an hour’s drive south.
Explore Food and Wine in the Washington Tri-Cities Area
A booming area of Washington takes advantage of the 300-day average of sunshine.
The Tri-Cities is located in the heart of Washington wine country in the center of the Pacific Northwest, about a three and one-half hour drive from Seattle and Portland.
For first-time visitors it can be confusing, starting with the climate. As green and lush as the state of Washington is, the Tri-Cities doesn’t see much rain. It’s sunny on an average of 300 days per year. The air is dry and desert-like, but there is plenty of water, too. Three amazing rivers—the Columbia, the Snake, and the Yakima—converge here, creating an oasis that makes kayakers, fishermen, water skiers, canoeists, sailors, kite surfers, and pontoonists very happy. Landlubbers too. The area offers enough challenging terrain for cyclists, beguiling trails for hikers, and beautiful golf courses to keep everyone entertained for days on end.
Get Cozy In the Napa River Inn
Located inside the historic Napa Mill is an elegant retreat in downtown Napa.
Tucked inside the Historic Napa Mill, the elegant and historic Napa River Inn in Napa, California delivers the quintessential Napa neighborhood experience. The attractive boutique hotel offers world-class dining, local specialty shopping, and live entertainment along downtown Napa’s riverfront, giving guests an ideal vantage point for experiencing the town’s burgeoning nightlife.
12 Road Trip Tips for Safe Summer Travel
The road trip is an essential part of any summer vacation. Use these tips to make your next drive enjoyable.
Summertime is road trip time. There's something magically liberating about hitting the open highway for a summer getaway—especially when it's with someone you love. Following these 12 etiquette tips will help ensure you are still speaking to one another when you reach your destination:
1. Offer to take turns driving. Even if one of you normally does all the driving when you travel by car close to home, don't assume that person wants to drive all 12 hours of the trip. Offer to give them a break and ask again later if they say no the first time.
Take an East Coast Wine Tour in Loudoun County
Not far from the hustle and bustle of Washington DC are 30 wineries and tasting rooms.
Known as DC’s wine country for its proximity to the heart of Washington, DC (just 25 miles), Virginia’s Loudoun County provides a breath of fresh air and so much to discover.
The rolling hills of Loudoun County are a treasure trove for visitors looking for something to do. Its countryside has remained untouched for decades, with winding roads that lead past elegant estates and picturesque horse farms. Loudoun County is proud of its equestrian legacy, as evidenced by its many race tracks, riding trails, shows, and equestrian-related museums. The gently rolling pastoral landscape is a haven for golfers, hikers, rock climbers, cyclists, and birdwatchers.
Lake County Is A Breath of Fresh Air
Up in the mountains, surrounded by breathtaking views and draped in stars is where you'll find Lake County.
In the heart of the Mayacamas and Vaca Mountain ranges, just 20 miles north of the Napa Valley, stands a pristine wine country that has quietly been growing outstanding wine grapes for a very long time. Lake County, California rises above the rest of the world in more ways than one. It boasts the cleanest air in California, the oldest lake in the continental United States, and a variety of splendid soils whose contents range from volcanic to alluvial. On a clear day (which is most days), you can see Mount Saint Helena to the south, Pinnacle Rock to the north, and sometimes, even Mount Lassen to the east. On any day, you can see magnificent Clear Lake tucked under the watchful eye of Mount Konocti and realize that you’ve found a very extraordinary place.
California Tri-Valley Gets a Close-Up
Five charming cities in California's Bay Area offer great wine, food and unique charm.
In the eastern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area, the rolling terrain of Amador, San Ramon, and Livermore Valleys offers visitors an array of ways to getaway.
It’s surprising to many first-time visitors how an area so close to the city of San Francisco can manage to maintain its small community charm. Tri-Valley has five unique small cities (Danville, Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, and San Ramon) and plenty of wonderful places in between just bursting with opportunities for recreation and entertainment. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy hiking and horseback riding in Sunol, swimming and fishing at Shadow Cliffs, and camping at Del Valle.
Worth the Trip: California Sierra Vintners
A hidden gem worth the detour, tucked away between California and Nevada.
There’s a little gem of a wine country just about halfway between Sacramento, California and Reno, Nevada that’s too easy to find to call hidden. You'll find it just minutes from Interstate 80, and a world apart.
Sierra Vintners is a group of 15 wineries located in pristine Nevada County, California. The winemakers are true artisans, dedicated to crafting wines from an unusually wide variety of vines. Their wineries are located across this rolling Sierra Foothills terrain, but loosely clustered around the unique towns of Grass Valley and Nevada City.
Black Walnut Inn: A Tuscan Villa in Oregon Wine Country
The Utz family literally stumbled upon this slice of heaven when chasing their dog through Oregon's wine country.
Standing atop a hill in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country, Black Walnut Inn in Dundee, Oregon, provides guests with an ideal respite complete with sumptuous rooms, gourmet cuisine, and jaw-dropping views.
Reminiscent of a Tuscan villa, the nine-suite inn has been a labor of love for the Utz family, since Karen and Neal Utz and their son Kris, literally stumbled upon the land in early 2002. They chased up a deer trail after their dog, only to find themselves in a spot with a splendid view of undulating vineyards, orchards, and forests.
Bardessono: A Green Oasis in Napa Valley
A getaway that's as good for the environment as it is for your soul.
Dedicated to providing guests with an environment that is luxurious, serene, and decidedly green, Bardessono, in Yountville, California, leaves no stone unturned. The sleek 62-suite hotel offers a private retreat in the heart of the Napa Valley, complete with a world class restaurant and indulgent spa.
Bardessono has an exceptional ability to seamlessly blend the best interests of its guests and the planet together. Each guest room offers open living space, a sumptuous bathroom, gas fireplace, and private courtyard or balcony. Organic linens and bath products are featured, along with sensors that automatically open and close guest room blinds and turn off the lights when guests leave the room.
Tips to Travel With Your Spouse Without Fighting
10 great tips that will help you and your spouse enjoy your vacation rather than feel stressed out.
Planning a trip with your spouse is a great way to schedule some much-needed time together, but it can also produce some stressors as well. Throw in unpredictability, foreign languages, strange food and 24-hours a day with your spouse and you may feel the need to vacation after your vacation.
These etiquette tips for traveling together will help ensure that your "two tickets to paradise" don't lead to a road trip on the highway to hell.
How to Agree On a Vacation Destination
Understanding your spouse’s point of view can lead to a healthy agreement on where to vacation. Here's how to get there.
When it comes to traveling, my husband and I are complete opposites. I’m a homebody and he’s Mr. Adventure—always on the go and likes to travel to different countries. This can cause issues, or even arguments, when we are trying to plan a vacation destination that will suite both of our needs.
What to do? Something many couples may not even think to consider.
First, you must analyze yourself and discover why you feel the way you do. Second, you must share your thoughts and feelings with your spouse. And lastly, understand your spouse’s point of view the best you can and come to an agreement.
5 Ways to Find Romance When Vacationing With Kids
Five simple ways you and your spouse can carve out some romantic alone time while the kids are in tow.
Looking forward to a well-deserved timeout, at least once a year, to vacation is what nearly every person needs. However, if you are like many couples with children, trying to find some romance while away with kids in tow is not an easy task.
In speaking with many divorced individuals—most of whom complained that the flame had gone out of their marriages—one common lament was the lack of romance. Further, because of tough economic times, most confessed they had money for only one yearly vacation and that vacation was one they felt must include the children.
5 Tips To Make Your Spouse’s Vacation Enjoyable
Here are five practical tips for when you concede the vacation destination of your spouse's choosing.
With more and more couples beginning to plan for a summer vacation over the next few months, many spouses—partaking in a "no kids allowed" adventure—are faced with the dilemma of how to have a good time when the destination one spouse wants to visit is not where the other wants to go. Certainly, it would seem only fair that if couples have vast differences in where they like to travel for a vacation, one solution may be to trade off. In other words, if a spouse chooses to visit the Grand Canyon one year, the following year the other spouse gets their choice, which might include a complete change of pace, like a whirlwind excursion to Las Vegas.
Etiquette for Summer Travel and Tipping
From finding the right mode of transportation to understanding taxis and tipping hotel help, use these tips to minimize hassle and maximize fun.
With summer approaching, you’ve decided to whisk your spouse away for a romantic trip to the big city. You’re in for a great adventure, with an array of sights, shopping, theaters, restaurants, museums and much more. But, once you arrive at your travel destination, are you prepared to navigate your way through a major metropolis? It pays to do a little homework to make sure you and your sweetie get to those amazing sights and attractions smoothly and efficiently.
7 Tips to Romance on the Road
Our romance specialist offers tips to create your own riding-off-into-the-sunset moment.
Seeing a couple riding off into the sunset is so romantic. After a wedding, it is the perfect ending to the ceremony. There is just something special about watching a couple ride off into the dusk skyline with streamers, flowers and cans in tow—even for the least cupid-struck among us. So why not relive that moment?
Hitting the road together is a great time to create intimacy and ignite passion. It is just the two of you and the open road—so go ahead, get frisky and let the flirting begin.
5 Reasons You Should Take Marriage Vacations
It's not a second honeymoon or an anniversary trip. A marriage vacation is a childless excursion you should take for the health of your marriage. Dr. Michelle Gannon explains.
Have you ever gone on a "Marriage Vacation" to re-energize your intimacy, friendship and connection? We highly recommend them, and if you have children we suggest that you really try to carve out a "No Kids Marriage Vacation."
When my husband, Patrick, first suggested that we leave our children and go to Hawaii for five nights without them I protested loudly, "If you think I am the kind of mother that would leave her children for that long, you do not know me very well." Yes, it is true. I was furious that my husband invited me to go to Hawaii with him.
Experiencing San Mateo County
Just outside San Francisco lies beautiful San Mateo County. See why this small wonder is big on adventure.
Anyone who has ever visited San Francisco understands why the city has earned its reputation as a romantic getaway destination. What can compare with watching the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge; dressing up for a night at the Starlight Room; venturing into the countryside for a wine country tour; hopping a cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf; or sharing a city view at the Mandarin Oriental? All these experiences and more lure couples back for unforgettable visits to the "City by the Bay."
Airplane Travel Etiquette
Use these tips to keep the friendly skies, friendly.
Traveling is no picnic. Why make things worse by overlooking simple steps that could make everyone’s trip more tolerable, dare I say even more enjoyable? Here are a few rules of traveling decorum that can make a big difference for you and your fellow airplane friends.
Cell phones: If your cell phone is still attached to your ear as you bang down the aisle of the airplane annoying fellow passengers as you hit them in the head
Kaaterskill Clove: The Most Beautiful Place In The World
The Kaaterskill Clove area of upstate New York is a place to reconnect with yourself and with each other.
A string of great American writers, starting with James Fenimore Cooper and Washington Irving, and running on through to Herman Melville and Mark Twain, all considered Kaaterskill Clove one of the most beautiful spots in the world. For modern American couples, perhaps looking for a romantic getaway from the stresses of everyday life, it’s heaven.
On the map, it’s only two hours north of Manhattan. But, in reality, it’s a world away. The Kaaterskill Clove is a mountain ravine of picture-postcard beauty, dotted with forests and waterfalls. And the biggest of those waterfalls – Kaaterskill – is higher than Niagara.
Checklist: Summer Travel with Friends
Use this checklist and follow these tips if you’re planning to travel with friends.
If your summer plans involve sharing your vacation with another couple, or their entire family, a little advanced planning will help to ensure that your friendship remains intact, long after your plane lands or car comes to a stop. Here are 12 tips that will get you and your spouse off to a good start.
Talk money. Discuss how everything will be divided up before you start spending money on things like airline tickets or a new GPS device.
Simple Tips on Packing Bags for Travel
The ultimate guide for packing you or your spouse’s suitcase for your next trip.
I recently had some good friends come to visit for their anniversary. I noticed my girlfriend Gina's suitcase was packed impeccably and I jokingly commented that I needed to know her packing secret. "Easy", she responded, "Tom always packs for me."
What? Her husband, Tom—the strikingly handsome, burly, athletic, a total man’s man, no nonsense, Tom, has delicately packed his wife's suitcase for the past 13 years of marriage. Not because Gina is helpless or lazy, nor incompetent, but because this is one of his many gestures of affection. Gina, an intelligent, successful businesswoman, acknowledges that her husband has a much better eye for detail and an innate ability to fold and wrap her travel wardrobe.
Adventures Await in Western North Carolina
Romance, reconnect and explore. Western North Carolina offers something for every couple.
More than a decade ago, Sue and Robin Horvath fell in love in Western North Carolina. Already married for 15 years and the parents of two children, the new object of their shared affection became 80-acres of land.
Situated up a winding mountain road amidst a Mayberry-like town called Bryson City (www.brysoncitync.info), the property adjoined the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (www.nps.gov/grsm).
Adventure Travel: Adding a Spark to Your Marriage
These couples say adventure travel offers many things, but most importantly it offers togetherness.
Can traveling together—particularly adventurous trips to exciting and exotic destinations—help strengthen your relationship? A number of couples who have shared many years of happiness think so.
"I have so many stories about what traveling has done for our marriage, I’d hardly know where to start," says Sue Painter of Knoxville, Tennessee. "Travel has always been a high priority in our life together; we’ve put it before new cars, new furniture, new clothes," says Sue who has been married to Bill Painters for 37 years. "As we have aged, our travel has changed—that’s a whole perspective in and of itself, actually."
Websites to Make Your Travel Planning Easier
Great websites that can help you plan for any trip, save money and time.
Over the past few weeks we’ve tallied a great collective of websites through our own research along with suggestions from our helpful readers. These sites deliver everything, including money-saving tips on airline tickets and gasoline, where to dine and shop and how to share photos with friends.
Most of us love to fly, but one can’t help but wonder whether or not we got the best deal on our ticket. One site that helps you get, and keep, the best airfare is Yapta (www.yapta.com).
Fall: Your Complete Guide to Watching it Happen
A complete guide to the best places in the U.S. to watch the leaves turn.
There's a special crispness in the air as the days grow shorter and summer begins to fade. Maybe it's because we both have October birthdays, but autumn is our favorite time of year—time for crunching apples, walking through corn mazes and watching the kids trick-or-treat.
But our favorite fall activity by far—aside from snuggling underneath a blanket and drinking hot chocolate—is traveling out of town to watch the leaves turn. And we're not the only ones. Popular tourist areas such as the Adirondacks and the Great Smoky Mountains are packed with cars, RVs and campers as everyone wants a first-hand view of fall's spectacular colors.
Philadelphia, Politics and Common Ground
Set aside the political divide and make a trip to Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.
It is often said politics make strange bedfellows. Strange bedfellows indeed are Democratic political consultant James Carville and his wife, Republican political consultant, Mary Matalin. And who would have ever predicted that a Kennedy named Maria Shriver would wind up married to the 38th Governor of the State of California, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger? The two remain staunchly at odds over this year’s presidential race, with Shriver endorsing Obama and Schwarzenegger supporting McCain.
Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that married couples have a higher interest in politics than any other demographic.
Before You Become Parents, Take a Babymoon
A relatively new concept, the term "Babymoon" vacation caters to parents to be.
When Chris Christensen and his wife, Joan, were expecting their first child in 1988, they decided to take a vacation. The couple booked a trip to an inn in the Heritage Park area above the older part of San Diego. "There were two reasons for the trip," Chris says. "One was to spend time together as a twosome before we became a threesome." Another was that Joan was having problems with high blood pressure—a situation the vacation solved by reducing stress that "was more work-related than baby-related."
Chris, who lives in San Jose, did not realize it at the time, but he was blazing the trail ahead of today’s growing trend of "babymoons"—weekend getaways for expectant couples. The term dates back to at least 1996
How To Be the Perfect Summer Houseguest
Take these 11 tips into consideration when you stay at a person’s home this summer.
1. Snail mail or e-mail your itenerary to the host in advance. Include your flight schedule, arrival and departure times and city that you will be transferring planes. Whether you are traveling by bus, train or air, don’t assume that the host will be able to pick you up, unless they offer. Be prepared to take a taxi to get to your hosts’ home.
2. Arrive with a hostess gift in your suitcase or pick something up on the way to their home. Do some sleuthing in advance of your visit. Ask the host questions and find out their interest or hobbies. If they collect teacups, a nice basket of tea, decorative napkins and a beautiful teacup would be thoughtful.
Planning a Perfect Vacation
It’s never too early to start planning your getaway, just make sure you’re on the same page.
Every couple wants to have a perfect vacation, and sadly, it does not always meet our expectations. To prevent disappointment, it pays to make plans carefully, and this takes time and honest communication between partners. First of all, determine what kind of vacation you want. Each of you should be very open about your preferences. It helps to write down all the pros and cons for your choices, and please remember to be practical. Consider all of the aspects you can both think of in planning this special time.
It is very important to listen to your partner and share the kind of vacation you each want. This requires patience and understanding, as well as a willingness to give a little. Once, I was on a trip and witnessed a marriage dissolve before my eyes because travel conditions in a third world country put so much pressure on each person—the experience destroyed the relationship.
10 Romantic Resorts to Ski and Stay
We're at the tail end of the snow season, but now is a perfect time to take advantage of the blue skies and remaining snow.
From around the nation and Canada, we've rounded up 10 mountain resorts that offer a little something for couples who enjoy the snow and cold. Even in March, it's not too late to grab your ski bunny and hit the slopes.
1. Heavenly, California / Nevada (www.skiheavenly.com) – Besides being California’s largest winter playground, Heavenly’s premiere location offers an array of romantic activities like hot air ballooning, natural hot springs and the moments that money can’t buy, like jaw-dropping views of Lake Tahoe. Mark Twain called the lake
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