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Top 8 Summer Music Festivals in the World

A music festival is a timeless way to see new places, spend time with your favorite people, and hear some great live music. A good festival, of course, is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a chaotic meshing of sounds, socializing, food, unique fashion statements, creative art forms, and merchandise. Ever since Woodstock, music festivals have become a rite of passage for young people and, increasingly, people of all ages. Best of all, there are amazing festivals in all corners of the globe. Let’s look at some of the top summer music festivals in the world.

1. Lollapalooza

Grant Park, Chicago, USA

Right in the heart of downtown, Chicago, Lollapalooza is an amazing festival that’s been running since 1991. It features eight stages and more than 170 bands, covering a wide range of styles. A festival in an urban setting can either be a perk or a drawback, depending on your point of view. On the one hand, you don’t have to drive into the wilderness and set up your campsite. You have all the city amenities within walking distance. Chicago is famous for its great food (especially pizza), bars, museums, and impressive skyline. On the other hand, escaping civilization is one of the features that draws you to festivals, you have plenty of other choices.
In addition to music, Lollapalooza has a mini-festival for kids, an art market, and plenty of merch. You can buy 4-day tickets for the entire festival or single-day tickets. There are also hotel packages. Children under 10 with an adult are admitted free (up to two kids per adult).

2. FYF Fest

Los Angeles, CA, USA

This annual 3-day festival is held at Exposition Park in Los Angeles. FYF Fest has been popular on the West Coast since 2004 and is known for its edgy atmosphere and diverse selection of music, including pop, rock, rap, electronic, hip-hop, and indie. It’s a good festival choice for those with eclectic tastes.

3. Tomorrowland

Boom, Belgium

Tomorrowland is a two-weekend festival that combines electronic music and the arts with a vision for a more peaceful and environmentally sustainable future. This festival began in 2005 and attracts an enthusiastic audience from all over the world. In some ways reminiscent of Burning Man in the U.S., Tomorrowland is full of futuristic visions, art installations, and its own “city,” DreamVille.
There are several options for accommodations, from As with most festivals, there are many tiers for ticket prices, depending on when you buy tickets, what you want to experience, and how long you stay. There are quite a few creative options, at various prices for lodging, including simple tents, tiny home-like structures to luxury “mansions.”

4. Hideout

Zrce Beach, Croatia

Hideout is a good choice if you want to get an early start to celebrating the summer. Set in a remote and pristine location on the Adriatic Sea with a view of mountains, this festival is famous for its boat rides, beach parties, and a wide selection of electronic music. As the name suggests, Hideout is a place where you can escape the everyday rut and experience an idyllic world for a few days.
This is also a great festival for adventurous travelers who enjoy water sports such as jet skiing, boating, and quad biking. Festival goers have a chance to island hop and explore beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park.

5. Electric Zoo

 New York City, USA

Electric Zoo is an end-of-summer Labor Day festival held at Randall’s Island Park, a 480-acre urban park on the border of Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx. Established in 2009, Electric Zoo has been held all over the world. The original location, however, is New York. The 2018 theme is The 6th Boro, which reveals the ambitious attempt to make the festival a permanent part of the New York City (which has five official boroughs or counties) cultural scene.
Their past lineup included DJ Snake, Above & Beyond, Galantis, and Sasha & John Digweed. Check the website for early bird tickets.

6. Wireless Festival

London, UK

If you want to visit London this summer, you may want to schedule your trip to coincide with this festival, held at Finsbury Park. Now in its 13th year, Wireless has become one of the most popular music festivals in the UK. Since Wireless is an urban festival, you have to find your own accommodations. London, however, is an easy city to navigate. If you don’t want to spring for a costly hotel, there are plenty of hostels and reasonable Airbnb options.

7. Arise

 Loveland, Colorado, USA

The Arise Music Festival, approaching its 6th year, is a diverse event held at Sunset Ranch, a 350-acre organic farm in a scenic valley. In addition to music, Arise gives participants the chance to explore a variety of classes, workshops, and art installations. Many attendees are active in political and environmental causes. One of the requirements is that you “leave no trace” –i.e. clean up and leave the grounds as you found them.
Tickets for the 3-day festival include camping. Car camping is another option. There are also camping upgrades available if you want additional amenities.

8. Montreux Jazz Festival

Montreux, Switzerland

The Montreux Jazz Festival, founded in 1967, is one of the most glamorous and popular jazz festivals in the world. The program typically includes rock, soul, and blues musicians as well as jazz greats. On the scenic shores of Lake Geneva, the setting is perfect for relaxation and boat rides as well as great music, parties, and socializing.
Montreux has a variety of venues to enjoy music and special events, such as the Auditorium Stravinski, known for its outstanding acoustics and the Montreux Jazz Club, where you can enjoy intimate performances by contemporary artists. Visit the website to find out program details. Past participants have included B.B. King, David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Radiohead, and scores of other household names as well as new performers.
You can buy an all-music pass or attend one of the festival’s many free events such as jam sessions, concerts, and film screenings.

Music Festivals Make the Summer More Fun

A music festival can be the highlight of summer vacation. If it’s close to home, it can make for an awesome road trip. The above are some of the most exciting summer festivals in the world. Some festivals don’t announce their lineups until fairly late in the season. However, keep in mind that tickets often sell out fast. So, if you want to attend one of these festivals, it’s best to buy your tickets early!
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5 Historic Homes of Famous American Authors

Visiting the homes and places where America’s literary luminaries lived and worked can give new insight into a favorite author’s work –or just deepen your understanding of another culture and another time. Here are several places that honor U.S. authors’ literary heritage.

Emily Dickinson Museum–Amherst, Massachusetts

280 Main Street

The museum includes two historic homes and gardens where this reclusive poet spent most of her days: the Homestead where she was born and lived most of her life and the neighboring Evergreens, home to her brother and his family.
The Homestead, probably the first brick house in Amherst, remained in the family until 1916. While many of the poet’s belongings and family furnishings are lost, the museum has faithfully recreated rooms so visitors can sense the environment in which the poet found her voice. The Evergreens is one of the earliest and best-preserved examples of Italianate domestic architecture in Amherst. The house is complete with Dickinson family furniture, household items, and decor selected and displayed by the family during the 19th Century.
A path described by Emily as “just wide enough for two who love” links the two houses. The landscaped grounds give further insight into this poet who assured us “Success is counted sweetest by those who n’er succeed.”

Robert Frost Stone House Museum–Shaftsbury, Vermont

121 Historic Route 7A

Open on Wednesday through Sunday in June through October from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Robert Frost’s 1769 Stone House Museum was his home for nine years during which he wrote his first Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poetry. He composed “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” at the dining room table on a hot, summer day. Situated on seven acres, visitors can see diverging paths and yellow woods that inspired him. Rugged, stone fences are still standing. But which neighbor inspired the line “Good fences make good neighbors?”
Walking trails around the property spark the imaginations of would-be poets. For those looking for a healthy snack, Frost’s apple trees still yield fruit. There are apple trees throughout the property as frost planned to be an apple farmer, not a poet.
The museum expects to have poetry readings at the house and bluegrass concerts on the grounds, so check before you go if you would like your visit to be enhanced by a performance.

The Steinbeck House–Salinas, California

132 Central Avenue

The birthplace and boyhood home of John Steinbeck is a Queen Anne style Victorian house built in 1897 and occupied by the Steinbeck family in 1900. It opened to the public as a restaurant in 1974 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The menu makes a few nods to Steinbeck’s novels such as East of Eden pasta, and Steinbeck photos and memorabilia cover the walls. It is open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday.
The National Steinbeck Center is just a two-block walk from the home and houses the largest archive of the writer’s work. The museum, divided into sections, tells the story and the history of his most famous novels. The visuals help visitors picture key fictional scenes and historical eras in the author’s life. Using his words as the narrative, the exhibit navigates guests through theatrical sets and displays so they can step into Cannery Row, the Depression, the Dust Bowl, and more.

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum–Key West, Florida,

907 Whitehead Street

Open every day including holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hemingway called Key West the “San Tropez of the Poor,” and lived for ten years in the heart of the city’s old town. His French Colonial house, built in 1851, has many of Hemingway’s furnishings and artworks. Visitors can see where he wrote To Have and Have Not, The Green Hills of Africa, and other important works. The lush grounds are home to more than 40 cats, some descendants of the six-toed cats the novelist nurtured. A urinal Hemingway yanked from Sloppy Joes, a favorite bar, still waters the cats.
Sloppy Joes is the bar made famous by the hard-working, hard-drinking writer. There is a long curving bar inside with scars from generations of visitors and Hemingway fans. Open 365 days a year, Sloppy Joe’s offers food, drinks, live music and dancing, all with that offbeat, Key West ambiance. Each summer, the bar hosts a Hemingway look-alike contest where more than 100 men grow beards and do their best to dress like the Nobel winning author.
Key West’s Hemingway Days Festival coincide with his birthday in July and is a moveable feast of hard-driving activities including a mock bullfight. Sloppy Joes is the epicenter of the festival.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum–Mansfield, Missouri

Rocky Ridge Farm, 3060 Highway A

Open March 1 to November 15: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The author of the beloved “Little House” books did most of her writing as an adult reflecting on her childhood in a pioneering family. She and her husband Almanzo lived in a one-room cabin on the 200-acre Rocky Ridge Farm until the completion of their farmhouse in 1913. Today the farmhouse is a museum and visitors can tour her home, see her study and writing desk, and view many of Laura’s treasures that remain exactly how she left them.
The museum contains the most comprehensive Ingalls and Wilder family collections in the world. It includes Pa’s fiddle that accompanied the Ingalls family on their homesteading adventures and set Laura off on her married life with the song “These Happy Golden Years.”
Christmas at Laura’s is a favorite tradition. The house is festive with vintage decorations and Kids can have their photos taken with Santa by Laura’s fireplace. Guests can taste a sample of Laura’s recipes and take a copy of the recipe home. The bookstore in the house museum is a good place to find a quaint, unusual holiday gift. This is the only time the museum is open in winter.
It is wise to check the website of these literary homes before you make plans. Most are ran by small groups of volunteers, so times can change.

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3 Unconventional U.S. Cities to Spend the Holidays

Christmas Tree

For anyone looking to travel for an unforgettable holiday trip, consider these three options that offer an incredible spread of possibilities catering to a variety of interests.

1. Colorado Springs, CO

Jingle Bell Run 5K and Kids’ Reindeer Romp

From romance to family-friendly events, Colorado Springs is always a magical place to visit when fall finally gives way to winter. At a sprawling costume party and holiday celebration rolled into one, the Jingle Bell Run 5K and Kids’ Reindeer Romp is one of the main events that kicks the season into high gear. Participants toss on their ugliest ugly-Christmas sweaters, Santa suits, and reindeer antlers for an energetic run (or stroll) through scenic Fountain Creek Regional Park, which lies at the base of the snowcapped Rocky Mountains. The fun run also is for a great cause that will help you get into the holiday giving spirit, as the proceeds go to a variety of programs that help local teens.
While the Jingle Bell Run 5K is perfect for families, couples, or individuals, the same goes for the popular Skate in the Park, a growing tradition at Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs. Featuring demos by Olympic skaters and programs for skaters of all ages and skill levels, Skate in the Park is circled by holiday lights and dwarfed by the surrounding mountains. Families also tend to go all-in for the Santa Express Train, where patrons toss on their favorite holiday pjs and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies with Santa on the way to the North Pole.

Spend the Day at a Castle

On top of the robust list of family options in Colorado Springs during the holidays, there are also some great opportunities for small groups or couples looking to drum up a little romance. At Glen Eyrie, you can not only have a cozy night in a real castle, but you can also participate in a range of holiday activities, from the very popular Yule Tea to the immaculately decorated Madrigal Banquet, which will whisk you back to the 16th century for a jolly night of great food and activities. Also in the area, Miramont Castle offers a Victorian-era Christmas atmosphere from mid-November onward, creating another beautiful backdrop to get the season rolling in the right direction.
Also consider: For more than three decades, the Festival of the Lights Parade has taken over downtown Colorado Springs with a wondrous spread of lights and holiday spirit. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Electric Safari also pivots to the holiday season with all kinds of impressive decorations and offers outstanding views of city holiday lights from its mountain perch.

2. San Diego, CA

You may not instantly think of Southern California when you conjure up images of the holidays, but one trip to San Diego at the right time of year can change that in an instant – particularly for anyone hoping to escape the more wintery aspects of the holiday season. Over at the renowned Hotel Del on Coronado Island, you can actually walk right along the ocean all the way up to the Del’s famous outdoor ice-skating rink, where holiday enthusiasm runs rampant throughout December and early-January. Staged between the wide Coronado beaches and the famous red rooftops of Hotel Del, the rink offers California-style ice skating that typically comes with mild weather (think low to mid-60s) and the patented San Diego sunshine. Hotel Del also gets very decked out for the holidays as well, including an enormous evergreen tree in the lobby decorated to the hilt.

Balboa Park

Meanwhile, Balboa Park in downtown San Diego puts on the steadily growing December Nights, an astounding holiday festival that draws on cultural traditions from all over the world. For four decades, December Nights has taken over the sprawling, 1,200-acre park that showcases the world-famous San Diego Zoo along with an assortment of renowned museums and gardens. But for one weekend in early December, the park is enlivened by countless holiday lights and a staggering spread of food vendors, making for an international holiday celebration and enormous food festival rolled into one. Add in some live holiday-themed performances at the Old Globe and other activities embedded in December Nights and it’s easy to see why visitors (and locals) turn up at Balboa Park in December.

Parade of Lights

As a prominent port of call, San Diego is also not exactly lacking in beautiful harbor views, which create the background for the explosion of holiday colors that come with the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. For nearly a half-century, participants have shown off their inner creativity by decorating their boats based on the annual theme, which have ranged from “Aargh! A Pirate’s Christmas” to “A Tropical Island Christmas” (2018) in recent years. To get the best views of the roughly 80-boat parade, viewers show up early and spread out around the two embarcaderos that jut out into the harbor overlooking Coronado Island.
Anyone up for a short drive from central San Diego also has even more terrific options for the holidays. Though all the beach towns north of downtown (e.g. Pacific Beach, La Jolla, Encinitas, Del Mar) have their own holiday festivals worth checking out as well, driving a little east to Julian, California will give you a completely different experience. Sitting at the base of the Cuyamaca Mountains, Julian is known for its snow-capped mountain scenery, crisp air, and wonderful little historic area that springs to life for the holidays. Regionally famous for the pies and various homemade delicacies, Julian has a fun tree-lighting ceremony and looks like a postcard once Main Street is fully lit with holiday excitement. From major festivals celebrating diverse holiday traditions to events that take full advantage of local geographic advantages, San Diego is simply a great place to spend the holidays.

3. Williamsburg, VA

Christmas Wonderland

There’s an irrefutable holiday cheer in the air in Williamsburg, Virginia once the calendar moves past Halloween. At the heart of the action, Busch Gardens Christmas Town is a vintage winter wonderland complete with more than 10 million lights. It constantly smells of fresh Christmas trees, and has an impressive spread of boutiques lining the cozy village within Williamsburg. Unique holiday-based dining experiences, Santa sightings, and a North Pole workshop help create an electrifying atmosphere sure to get the holiday fun started in Williamsburg. Nearby, at Yankee Candle Village, Christmas is actually celebrated all year. However, it really pops to life in November and December to offer another memorable stroll through lights, decorations, and holiday activities.

Christmas Tree Lighting

Because Williamsburg is often credited with being the site of the first community Christmas tree, the tree-lighting ceremony has become a seminal way to usher in the good vibes of the season. The first tree was decorated here all the way back in the 1840s, and by 1915. Williamsburg celebrated with its first community tree complete with electric lights, making the annual ceremony a timeless tradition that continues to draw both locals and visitors. Not only do participants gather to see the lighting of the enormous evergreen tree in Market Square but everyone crowds around for a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” followed by caroling.
Though Colonial Williamsburg and the surrounding region is always great for delving into the magic of the region’s rich history, history lovers have even more options during the holiday season. A short 15-minute drive from central Williamsburg to Jamestown will let you time-travel to the Christmas traditions of the first English settlement on the continent. Whether you come for planned events and activities or simply want a great location to wander and take in a traditional holiday experience, Williamsburg is tough to beat.

Final considerations

Part of the fun of holiday travel is looking for the under-the-radar possibilities that will really tie your vacation together, making the holiday season an amazing opportunity to dive headlong into new experiences and traditions. Even in places that don’t immediately come to mind when you think of the holidays, there’s a good chance there are plenty of exciting sites and local events that will put you in the holiday spirit. With an eye on local social media pages and willingness to consider contrarian options, you’ll be well on your way to finding the right balance of cozy traditions and newfound adventures no matter where you choose to travel.
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The Best Halloween Events in The U.S.

From haunted hikes to terrifying hay-rides, here are some of the best halloween events across the U.S. sure to give you a scare.

Sleepy Hollow, New York

Sleepy Hollow commemorates Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with scary events occurring year round. But during October, the legend rises to its spookiest heights. Hear a dramatic reading of the tale of the Headless Horseman accompanied by eerie organ music in the Old Dutch Church or grab a seat on the “hair raising” Haunted Hayride. The wagon rolls through forests filled with spooky sights and a frighteningly close encounter with the Headless Horseman. A block party lets revelers gear up to be spooked or wind down from being terrified. The premiere haunted town and house attraction is so realistically portrayed that you may want to leave the kids at home. Costumes are encouraged, and screams are heard nonstop all over town.

 The Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze, New York

Billed as the tristate’s largest Halloween event, the Blaze features 7,000 intricately hand-carved pumpkins in amazing configurations that form incredible displays in an 18th Century landscape. The grandfather clock and windmill actually work, and T-Rex is poised to attack.
Wander around new medieval castle guarded by jack o’ lantern owls, see the pumpkin carousel twirl, thrill at the sight of a giant sea serpent. With synchronized lighting and soundtrack, the color-changing star show and the all-pumpkin Statue of Liberty come alive.
There’s plenty of snacks and drinks including seasonal favorites such as pumpkin beer, cider, candy apples, and pumpkin spice treats.

Terror on Tillson Street, Michigan

Romeo is a small, quaint village of historic homes dating back to the mid-1800s in and around Tillson street. Homeowners decorate for Halloween as if their frightening decorations and elaborate graveyard displays will keep their demons away.
The trick or treating takes place Halloween evening from 6 to 8 is so popular that the 30 participating homes usually distribute 60,000 pieces of candy in two hours. It is safe with the Romeo High School football team patrolling the streets with flashlights and on the lookout for troublemakers and lost little witches and vampires. But Tillson Street becomes frightening on Halloween night with elaborately decorated homes trying to outdo each other on the scary scale. Many people avoid the Halloween crowds by viewing the decorations after dark before the big night.

Erebus, Michigan

This half-mile horror hike goes up and down a four-story parking garage and is in the Guinness World Records as the largest walk-through haunted attraction. In Erebus, walls move in to crush you, lasers and mirrors disorient you, demonic monkeys and a T-Rex attempt to make you their dinner. The bottomless pit, spike spindle, and buried-alive rooms may make your life flash before your eyes. The screams are real and the creatures know how to evoke them. The 100 actors on fright duty each night have all graduated from boo school. But who knows where the corpse of Uncle Freddy learned to lurch.
The experience takes under an hour and may shave a decade off your life, but be assured no human will touch you. Erebus’s policy demands that visitors can be touched only with props. Roaming spooks that may be in the area cannot be made to honor the policy.

Screams Halloween Theme Park, Texas

Just 30 miles south of Dallas in the town of Waxahachie, the world’s largest Halloween theme park is a delightful, frightful place with five seriously haunted houses. The witches of Terra Mythica Castle lead you on a terrifying trip through the scariest medieval myths. A cursed pirate village spills gallons of blood during looting, murder, and magic. At Hotel D’Feers, meet the creepy creatures who are sticking around for eternity and want you to know it. The Zombie Apocalypse will test your ability to muffle your screams. Creepy people only will want this circus to dance through children’s dreams.
Roaming characters frighten at random and face painters will give you the most gruesome look you can imagine. Shiver through horror movies and sing your worst at the Scary-oke. The main stage hosts live music and entertainment, and the food court serves traditional trade fair food with slices of worry: do the zombies eat here, too?

The House of The Occult at Lemp Brewery, Missouri

The basement of the 1864 Lemp Brewery becomes a terrifying abyss for the Halloween season. With just a candle, find your way through tunnels that are five stories underground and filled with mutilated bodies and real-life spirits.
Paranormal investigators have discovered authentic signs of hauntings by members of the disturbed Lemp family and even Indians cursed these caves centuries ago. The spook you encounter may not be rehearsed. Will you be in the tunnel on the one night in the history of the Abyss when not one person screams the safe word?

C – K Autumn Fest, West Virginia

If pumpkins are more your style than ghosts, don’t miss the Ultimate Pumpkin Experience in the quaint West Virginia communities of Ceredo and Kenova. The Pumpkin House is a Victorian mansion displaying 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins for what is known as the Ultimate Pumpkin Experience. The Great Scarecrow hunt is fun for kids without being too scary, and the tractor show draws a crowd. An arts and crafts show, bake-offs, canning competitions, and food vendors make this a full day of seasonal fun and discovery. The festival’s “Introduction to the Paranormal” will pique your Halloween spirit.

Cool Patch Pumpkins Corn Maze, California

The Cool Patch corn maze is the world’s largest according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Each year the maze design is unique and it just keeps growing. After dark maze explorers are welcome (as rescued as needed), and a smaller maze is just the right size for kids. Hayrides and pumpkin splatting opportunities add to the fun. Concession stands open October 6 on Friday nights and weekends.
While you are there, pick out your pumpkins and decorative gourds.
However you plan to celebrate Halloween, there are several frightening events that take place each year throughout the country. Just look up your city and see what events tickle your interest.

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4 Unforgettable Destinations for Wine Enthusiasts

Unforgettable Wine Destinations

Take an unbelievable journey to these 4 must-see destination’s to experience ancient traditions and cutting-edge techniques that fuse each region’s uniquely charming history into the finest vintage lines to create an unforgettable travel adventure for the oenophile in everyone.

Stellenbosch, South Africa

With over 160 regional wineries to choose from and a historic status as South Africa’s second oldest city, the nearly 350-year-old Stellenbosch lays claim to the country’s first wine route that takes you along the breathtaking Precambrian granite mountains and lush scenic valleys of the Western Cape. The local winemakers’ long-running experience is reflected in their award-winning Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinotage creations, as well as their warm and inviting vibe. Here, mineral-rich, delectable wines are augmented by the deeply rich cultural heritage which includes numerous art galleries and museums, as well as celebrated restaurants that have garnered the district its fitting moniker as “The Gourmet Capital.”

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Stellenbosch

Where to Visit: The historic 1690 Stellenbosch Vineyards feature multi-tiered food and wine fusions that offer a one-of-a-kind dining experience, including a delectable new Chocolate & Wine Pairing. The estate is just 5 minutes from the innovative tasting room of Thandi Wines, the first fair-trade brand in the world. If you’d like some wildlife with your wine, head over to the elegant minimalism of Remhoogte Estate, where the succulent summer tastings overlook a park stocked with zebra, springbok, and wildebeest. Many of the area’s vineyards have their own on-site, full-service restaurants, including Simonsig, Delheim, and Warwick, and the wide array of accommodations feature the most modern hotels mixed in with rustic lodges, quaint cottages, and centuries-old homesteads. The Vine Hopper Tour takes you on an enlightening outing to 15-20 vineyards spread across the northern, southern, and eastern sections of this vibrant region.
Best Time to Go: From September until mid-February you can experience the beautiful spring and summer weather of the southern hemisphere, and the cool, lush autumn season ends around mid-April. Many fun Harvest Season bashes take place from late January until mid-March.

Napa Valley, California

For three days each April, the world-renowned ‘Vineyard to Vintner’ festival in Napa Valley takes travelers inside the homes and inner sanctuaries of the area’s leading winemakers for private tours of the cellars, fun social tastings, celebrated dining experiences, and exclusive access to purchase select varieties from internationally acclaimed vineyards. During these festivities and throughout the year you can learn about the exquisite soils, climate, and geology that make this unique district California’s first American Viticultural Area.

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Napa Valley

Where to Go: Napa Valley is home to some of the most exclusive Cabernet Sauvignons in the world, as well as singular berry blends of Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Zinfandel. Explore the lands on the famed Napa Valley Bike Tours, or board the elegant Napa Valley Wine Train to visit environmentally Gold Certified Cade Estate, enchanting Inglebrook’s 150-year old French heritage, or the 15,000 square foot cave tastings and tours of Failla Winery. The region also has a vibrant arts scene showcased in the annually curated masterpieces of downtown’s Napa Art Walk and a week-long film festival featuring artists from across the globe.
Best Time to Go: Late April for the Vineyard to Vintner Festival, late August through early November for the full grape harvesting experience, November 7-11, 2018 for the Napa Valley Film Festival, and March through May for a less-crowded visit while spring is in full bloom.

Douro Valley, Portugal

“A geological poet. A supreme splendour.” – Portuguese poet Miguel Torga describing Douro Valley
Three distinct regions make up the ancient and awe-inspiring Douro Valley: the western Baixo Corgo is known for its ruby and lighter tawny Ports, the Cima Corgo for high-quality Vintage and LMV Ports, and the archaeologically-inspiring Douro Superior shares a border with Spain and features exceptional dry wines that match its arid climate. The dazzling scenery features magnificently steep terraces that overlook the beautifully tranquil Douro River, and the entire valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the transformative human cultivation of the land over the past 2,000 years.

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Douro Valley

Where to Go: Sister cities Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia sit on the opposite banks of the charming river and offer an enticing array of cultural and culinary experiences, such as the celebrated Wine Quay Bar which is situated amidst Porto’s historic monuments and museums and features selections from across the valley. Heading westward, Gaia’s 1751 Ferrarai Porto port house, which was founded by famed Douro matriarch Dona Antónia Adelaide, provides you with fascinating lessons in winemaking as a well as an intriguing journey into the region’s development. The valley itself is home to numerous vineyards and wine houses, including the oldest still-active Port-producing estate, 430-year-old Quinta de Roeda. One of the most unique experiences is found at the Museum of Art and Archeology in Côa, which offers tours of the region’s famous 20,000-year-old rock art followed by select tastings at the on-site restaurant.
Best Time to Go: Most everyone agrees that September through early November is the time to see the phenomenal color scapes that light up the land and to experience the one-of-a-kind harvest celebrations. The region offers a wide array of riverboat, train, hiking, biking, and motorcar tours to take you across this breathtaking and sophisticated valley in style.

Willamette Valley, Pacific Northwest

Spread across a sweeping 5,000 square feet of prime Oregon territory, this region’s tagline of ‘We are Pinot Noir’ makes a bold promise that it delivers on with its 500 internationally esteemed wineries set against stunning Cascade and Coastal Mountain scenery. The local cultivators collectively made Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 2016 Wine Region of the Year due to a generation of risk takers who recognized that the mountains, river, sea, and soil of the area all combined to form an ideal atmosphere for growing the perfect grape that bridges the gap between Burgundy and California styles.

Where to Visit: The Carlton Winemakers Studio is Oregon’s first cooperative wine house and features pourings from 15 top-rated ‘indie’ estates in a revolutionary business model that allows small vineyards to thrive. Just down the road, the ever-evolving Red Ridge Farms features 5-generations of toilers who were among the original Oregonians to grow grapes for wine cultivation. They now showcase relaxing Wine Country Retreats and a holistic food and natural product boutique right on sight for a fun shopping excursion. One of the best ways to experience the region is through a cultural wine tour aboard Precision Helicopters: you can fly over the breathtaking panoramas and hear the history, geology, and stories of the people who overcame the naysayers to craft an exclusive array of internationally acclaimed vintages. Social responsibility is also part of the community vibe, and the heartfelt Taste of Community tours offer you the opportunity to experience the valley’s famously eclectic black cherry-herb infused flavors while giving to a local cause.
Best Time to Go: From late September to early November is harvest season highlighted by multiple ‘crush’ lunches, winery concerts, interactive tours, and fun festivals, such as September’s Feast Portland. Summer is more laid back, with the lush Portland landscapes in full bloom and plenty of hiking, biking, art galleries, and resort and spa experiences to keep you entertained.
Ready to kick back with a glass of amazing vintage and a dazzling view into a whole new culture? Then pack your luggage—and your wineskins —today!
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Don’t Leave San Diego Without Visiting These 6 Locations

San Diego Mission Beach

The city is one of the most desirable destinations in the United States due to its pristine beaches, famous attractions, and near perfect year-round weather. Regardless if you’re visiting San Diego for the very first time or it’s your favorite spot to vacation, here are some places you must see!

Balboa Park

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Balboa Park

When was the last time you were able to visit the zoo, museums, theatre and dine at fine restaurants all at once? Balboa Park is one of the most popular attractions in San Diego because visitors can enjoy culture, science, and nature in one convenient location. Named after the Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the iconic park just celebrated its 150th anniversary. The 1,200-acre park has 16 world-class museums, lush gardens, walking trails, live performing arts venues and more for you to explore.
When you first enter the park, you can’t help but notice its beautiful, grandiose architecture. Balboa Park has a mixture of different architectural styles, ranging from Spanish-Renaissance to mid-century modern and Italian-Renaissance. The stunning buildings alone and gardens alone are awe-inspiring and make a great photo op!
Balboa Park has something for everyone. Nature lover? Check out the Botanical Building, Memorial Rose Garden and the Japanese Friendship Garden. Only care about history and science? Go to the San Diego Natural History Museum and Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Meanwhile, if you love the arts, you should visit the Timken Museum of Art, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego Art Institute and the San Diego Museum of Art. You may also be able to catch a live theatrical performance at the historic Old Globe Theatre or the San Diego Junior Theatre.

San Diego Zoo

After you explore Balboa Park, head to the legendary San Diego Zoo next door. Widely considered one of the best zoos in the world, the San Diego Zoo is one of the top tourist destinations in Southern California.
According to a local newspaper, the San Diego Zoo started from very humble beginnings when it opened in 1916. Pelicans, rattlesnakes, and bears were just some of the first animals donated to the zoo. Navy sailors raised the young bears as pets on the ship and later donated them to the zoo when the animal grew up and was too large to control.

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Animals in the San Diego Zoo

Now the San Diego Zoo has over 4,000 rare and endangered animals and 800 different species. The zoo is about 100 acres and is considered one of the best places to see polar bears, tigers, gorillas and other wild animals in naturalistic habitats. They also have an extensive botanical collection with more than 700,000 plants.
The San Diego Zoo has many unique and notable animal habitats. Some of them include the Monkey Trails, Elephant Odyssey and Australia Outback exhibit. You can also check out the Africa Rocks exhibit and see polar bears swim in the Polar Bear Plunge. Get up close and personal with animals in the Children’s Zoo or you can book a special tour like Animals in Action if you really want a unique experience.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

If you are craving adventure, you should go to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It’s one of the few places where you can go on a safari and watch in wonderment as giraffes, rhinos and other animals roam the landscape. All you have to do is decide if you want to observe the animals from the sky with a secure zip line, traveling through the park by vehicle or walking.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is located in the city of Escondido, which is a short distance from the zoo. Around 2,600 animals live inside the 1,800-acre park. One must see exhibit is the Lion Camp and the bird show. You can also check out Lorikeet Landing and personally feed lorikeets up close and in person. Meanwhile, make sure to check out the bats, meerkats, and lemurs in Nairobi Village before you leave the park.

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Giant Dipper at Mission Beach

Mission Beach

Of course, you can’t visit San Diego without exploring the city’s world-famous beaches. One of the most popular beaches is Mission Beach. Thousands of people flock to it every year to enjoy its beautiful ocean view. Mission Beach is perfect if you want to take a leisurely stroll or ride a bike along its boardwalk, sunbathe or simply enjoy the water. There are lots of charming local shops and restaurants you can visit in the area. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can visit Belmont Park. The boardwalk amusement park has a wooden roller coaster called the Giant Dipper that was originally built in 1925. You can also practice surfing at the Wave House, play miniature golf, ride bumper cars and many other fun activities.

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Coronado Beach

Coronado Beach

Known as the “Crown City,” the charming city of Coronado has some of the best views of downtown San Diego. Coronado Beach is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a nice beach vacation. The serene beach is nestled between a United States navy base and the iconic Hotel del Coronado, which was featured in many old Hollywood movies. Coronado Beach is consistently rated as one of the best beaches due to its sparkling sandy beach and pristine environment. When you’re done enjoying the beach, you can also explore the shops and restaurants in downtown Coronado.

Torrey Pines Beach

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Torrey Pines Beach

Located just north of La Jolla, Torrey Pines Beach is an amazing natural wonder that features towering rocky cliffs, canyons, and sandy beaches. The area is popular with daring hang gliders who jump off its cliffs to soar above the ocean and nature lovers who want to walk the hiking trails of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Park and marvel at the native pine trees. It’s also close by the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course.