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West Witton’s Old Vicarage Explore the Dales

West Witton’s Old Vicarage – Explore the Dales…

A charming village in the Yorkshire Dales, West Witton is a perfect

West Witton's Old Vicarage sits along the main road
West Witton’s Old Vicarage on Main Street

location to use as your base to explore. Picturesque. Quiet. Relaxing. Stay at the caravan park, a farm or a lovely Bed & Breakfast. Our personal favorite is the Old Vicarage.

West Witton’s Old Vicarage…

This Grade II historical property offers just five rooms. Built of stone, with

West Witton's Old Vicarage has ample parking in the rear
Old Vicarage ample parking behind rear garden

an intriguing history. Ask about the Vicar who made his home here. Some parts of the building date back over 300 years, but guest rooms have all the modern amenities and are en suite. From your windows, enjoy views of the garden or panoramic vistas of the Dales.

When you arrive at the Vicarage, relax with a spot of tea or coffee and maybe a homemade treat by your hostess Kirsteen. Besides treats, she also makes amazing preserves. You can even take one home with you to extend your memories.

West Witton's Old Vicarage
Old Vicarage guest lounge snug on a rainy day

The guest’s lounge has that very friendly English country feel. Relax with a book, peruse a map, take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. Enjoy the log fireplace when the weather is cool. It’s the sort of room you want to snug up in on a rainy day.

From the front windows, Bolton Castle invites you across the valley. It welcomes you to come visit the medieval castle, maze, gardens and birds of prey.  Explore, have an adventure or even get married there.

West Witton is only three miles from Leyburn and four miles to Aysgarth

West Witton's Old Vicarage guest room
West Witton’s Old Vicarage room with four-poster bed

Falls. In exchange for the short drive, the Old Vicarage gives you the peace and tranquility of the Dales. Though the house is right on Main Street, in the evenings it becomes very quiet.

Fox & Hounds is a favorite

Just a short way down Main Street is the Fox and Hounds, a local’s

Yorkshire steak and kidney pie at Fox & Hounds

favorite. Leave the car tucked in its space behind the Vicarage and walk. It’s only a block or two.

The pub specializes in quality home cooking, locally sourced and… some

amazing ales. Never tried a Yorkshire steak and kidney pie? This is a good spot to give it a try. Not quite that brave? They have great fish and chips and other classical pub favorites. Every Sunday you can have the traditional Roast Beef lunch.

Locals and visitors gather and chat, play games or cards or… darts. A 15th-

Fox & Hounds near Old Vicarage
Enjoy a game of darts at the Fox & Hounds

century pub, the Fox and Hounds oozes character. It’s homey, friendly and the classical juke box keeps the music going. They say you know it’s a good night when the manager, Blackie, is feeding the jukebox too.

 

After a quiet rest, the aromas of bacon and sausage grilling will tease you awake. Yes, fresh hot coffee, or tea if you prefer. While you enjoy their amazing homemade breakfasts, you can plan your tour for the day.

Explore…

Outdoor adventures await you. Hiking, bicycling, motorcycling or a drive

River Ure near West Witton

in your car. Visit waterfalls, castles or the Wensleydale Cheese Factory. Want to picnic? Plan ahead with Kirsteen, they will arrange a packed lunch on request. They also offer a flask filling facility.

Want to shop? Visit Hawes and Leyburn. They are both market towns full of quaint shops and history along with beautiful views. You’re in the country where stories of the famous veterinarian, James Herriot took place.

In an easy day trip, you can venture to Thirsk to the Herriot museum, or to Ripon and visit beautiful Fountains Abbey. There is so much to see and do in this area you can’t do it all in a weekend visit. You’ll need to come back again. Kirsteen and Roddy will welcome you, pamper you and make you feel at home.

Plan your next stay at the Old Vicarage…

For the very best rates and friendly service, contact them directly. Ask them about events and specials during the time you want to visit. Complete details are here: http://www.oldvicaragewestwitton.co.uk/.

Rudding Park Spa for Wellness

Rudding Park Spa Embraces Nature for Wellness

Rudding Park specializes in escapes. The sprawling estate welcomes those

Rudding Park luxury hotel, Spa and golf
Rudding Park, Harrogate, UK regency manor house, courtesy Rudding Park.

who come to soak in the restorative waters while they enjoy nature’s healing balm. You’ll find it on the outskirts of the historic spa town of Harrogate. Since Victorian days, the area has drawn visitors with its mineral springs and many beautiful parks. Here they walked, visited, soaked and drank the waters.

The elegant Regency style sandstone manor has long been a popular destination for golf, weddings and holidays. This spring it unveiled its newest expansion, The Spa. It has quickly become the place to escape for guests and locals.

Few spas can claim fully booked days in less than two months. Spa memberships have already been capped and have a wait list. The Spa accomplished both of these and there is good reason for its swift popularity.

Rudding spa embraces nature…

Instead of tucking away, Rudding Park Spa reaches out and embraces

Rooftop Spa gardens embraces nature at Rudding Park
Rudding Park rooftop spa overlooks gardens and manor. Image courtesy Rudding Park.

nature. Window walls, patios, pools, and gardens surround you. Lounge areas direct your gaze outward calming and inviting. As you work out, swim, or soak, the views beyond relax and soothe your mind as well as your body.

Rudding Park Spa uses its surroundings and natural spring waters to create an ambiance of complete wellness.

Hotel guests can access the exquisite indoor pool, sauna and bucket shower. Those who want to enjoy all that the spa has to offer schedule for treatments or packages.  Limiting the number of the packages offered for a full day, morning afternoon or evening means an enhanced experience for guests and a well-being work environment for staff.

The Spa’s mission: “Wellness of mind, body, and soul.”

Every aspect is state of the art… in a peaceful and serene environment. It seamlessly blends amazing cutting-edge experiences into the relaxing historic setting.

Handpicked staff offer the highest quality of service. You’ll drift off into

Couples experience suite Rudding Park Spa
Couples room with copper bath, courtesy Rudding Park.

bliss as skilled therapists work their magic in your bespoke (custom) treatment. But facials, body treatments, massage and more are only part of the experience.

Infinity Pool Rudding Park spa
Rudding Park infinity pool courtesy Rudding Park

Enjoy pools for swimming, pools for hydrotherapy, indoors or outdoors, it’s your choice to take advantage of any or all. Lounge in a steam room or you can relax in the panoramic sauna or herbal steam bath. And, don’t miss the ice shower or tropical rainforest thermal experiences. Each works to restore and soothe your senses.

Step outside the spa to the rooftop garden complete with its own pools, sauna, shower and sun deck. Skies, gardens and ancient trees surround you. Quiet, peaceful. It’s the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon.

But Rudding Park Spa has even more to offer…

Take time to discover the unique mind and sense zones. Each room offers its own sensory experience so you can savor one or explore your way through all of them.

  • The video wall treats your gaze to picturesque landscapes. Lounge in the
    Visual sense experience at Rudding Park Spa
    Visual room at Rudding Park Spa transports you to tranquil vistas.

    oversize rattan swing and soak up scenes of waves lapping on beaches, wildflower meadows, and expansive mountain vistas. Enjoy it alone or relax with friends.

  • In the relax room you’ll find silence and serene lighting. Unwind as you recline on a sleek comfortable lounge – it’s the perfect place to find peace.
  • In the audio room, snuggle into a quiet niche. Listen to meditation or
    Audio relaxation experience Rudding Park Spa
    Enjoy meditation or relaxing music while you snuggle into a private niche at Rudding Park Spa

    soothing sound tracks on your own personal headphones.

  • The mind room offers a unique setting to stimulate your awareness. Coloring books, puzzles, and books from their spa library allow you to settle and center alone or chill with friends.
Don’t forget your sense of taste…

Many of the spa packages include a welcome beverage and a snack. But should you fancy something a bit more substantial, tasty delights await you at Horto Restaurant. Horto’s name, referring to horticulture, gives you hints as to its kitchen garden inspiration.

Situated right next to the spa reception area, Horto, with its own wall of

Horto pudding Rudding Park Spa
Horto amazing fruit salad pudding. Photo, Judith Culp Pearson

windows, is casual and inviting. During the day, you are welcome in your robe, no need to change. Simply wander over and enjoy the fresh garden, farm to table choices that will please your pallet. This is not the time to skip the Puddings either… they’re amazing!

Plan your escape…

The entire property encourages you to disconnect from your hectic routine from the moment you enter. Go leisurely. Enjoy, savor, de-stress, relax, and enhance your entire well-being. That’s what Rudding Park and The Spa are all about. Because spa packages do sell out, book early to get your preferred dates and the experiences that have you daydreaming. Weekends can be particularly busy.

For the latest in their specials and offerings visit www.ruddingpark.co.uk/offers/. Choose from the Sleeping Beauty Spa Break, Spa and Horto, Escape with Me or Time for 2 and more. So many choices.  Plan now for your own unique, personal escape.

 

Join the party, Explore vibrant Hull UK City of Culture

Hull City of Culture a fun visit

The city of Hull, (actually Kingston on Hull), is this year’s City of Culture

Hull’s City Hall is the backdrop for the splash ponds that kids love.

in the UK.  I don’t know what I expected, but I found it a picturesque, vibrant and delightful place to visit.

The city is only a few miles from the village of Cottingham where my husband’s family lives and where we stayed.  My sweet mother-in-law, Dorothy was a tour guide extraordinaire.  A history buff, she gave me insights to the city and made sure I saw the hot spots. Bonus? She knew where to see all the cool stuff that doesn’t have entry fees. Most did accept donations, but there is a lot to see that won’t cost you a pence. The city has worked hard to offer a lot of free venues and numerous walking tours.

Paragon Station
Paragon Station is huge and all under cover in Hull City.

We traveled like the locals, making use of the bus which meant no need to find and pay for parking. You’ll find lots to see within an easy walk of the Paragon Transport Interchange.  While each bus follows its own route into the city, they all end up at the interchange.  This huge center opened in 1847. Once dubbed “Hudson’s Folly” because of its gigantic scale. It has been revamped and rebuilt several times to keep up with needed changes and recover from direct bomb hits in WWII.  This last year it got another update to get it ready for the tourists expected during the City of Culture events.

Paragon Station now includes 38 bus stands and 4 coach stands.  On the other side of the station are six train platforms. And all of it undercover.

Don’t dash out of the station, there is much to see here

Food stands, gift shops, and florists vie for your attention.  Want a break

Replica of Jason the plane flown by Amy Johnson

and maybe a brew?  Visit the Tigers Lair pub. This setting is the original emigrant waiting room used to keep these guests separated from the locals to minimize the risk of disease spreading.

Visit the huge statue of Philip Larkin beloved poet. In the flooring around him are slate plaques commemorating some of his poems.

You’ll also find a dimensional video commemorating William Wilberforce

Philip Larkin and guide Dorothy

who headed the movement to abolish slavery.  And look up – you’ll find a full-size repleca of the Jason, the plane Amy Johnson flew solo to Australia.

On the path…
Hull City Hall preparing for another event

There are lots of must sees. Ferens Art Galery, Hull Minster, the Deep, Queens Gardens, the marina and so much more.  The best thing you can do is stop by one of the numerous Visitor booths and friendly volunteers will be happy to share. They have walking maps based on your interests.

You can follow the Hull Firsts Trail to learn about the people and their accomplishments. Or take the Hull Blitz Trail if you

Hull Minster with shallow pools

want to learn about the people and the city enduring 86 bombing raids in WWII.

Go on a quest for Larkin’s Toads.  Many of the original 40 giant fiberglass based toads created as a commemorative fund raiser are still visible around the city.  You will find them in a wide array of colorful artwork.

Those from Hull are quite proud to be able to make the claim that they

The Deep Aquarium sits at the conflux of the river Humber and its estuary to the North Sea

kept the king out.  You can visit the spot where the famous Beverly Gate once stood. Here they refused the king entry. Thus began the Civil War.

Be sure to take your “brelly” because the weather can switch from sun to showers in a heartbeat. Thanks so much for a lovely tour Dorothy!!!!!

Schedule your trip to see touring art shows, watch an event or take in a concert. Visit the city’s website to explore your options: www.hull2017.co.uk

 

Cave Castle Fairytale wedding venue

Cave Castle for Weddings and more

Cave Castle Hotel & Country Club

 Girls in the East Riding of Yorkshire all know of Cave Castle Hotel.  It is a favorite place to have your fairytale wedding. Large or intimate they can help the bride make her wedding day dreams come true. But they also offer a lot more…

 Set in the midst of 150 acres of meadows and park lands it is absolutely

Cave Castle Pond and Geese

stunning. A beautifully groomed golf course drapes around the manor like a cape. Across the drive, the pond fed by a natural spring used to be the main water source for the villagers. Now, with its resident geese, it is entertainment for the visitors. Children and adults alike enjoy their antics and quest for bread.

Cave Castle Manor
The current building was erected in the 1870s on the foundations of a previous structure. The history is a bit obscure but has tracked to the Domesday book of the 11th century.  The entrance to an underground tunnel that leads to the chapel hints at the lost stories.
 

Today guests enjoy the Victorian manor house built in the Gothic Revival

Cave Castle 4-Poster Bedroom

Style. It is complete with crenelated towers. Despite the “cannons” at the entry, it was never designed as a fortification. Inside it is a luxurious haven for relaxation and comfort.

 
Locals love it for social and business events small and large. They partner extensively with the local community and can meet a broad spectrum of desires.
Our guide Emma & Judi
Our hostess, Emma shared with us the fascinating building and its history. She was a wealth of knowledge on all it offers to guests. The spa, health club, golf course, country club all await both guests and locals. Cave Castle has made great efforts to tie itself into local life both as a social and business venue.
Year around events….
Emma keeps busy creating all the fun events at Cave Castle. Besides the daily activities, you’ll find lots more. Murder mysteries, concerts, and many special wedding events. There are also themed holiday events. For a quirky bit of fun, join them in December for “A Christmas Killing” murder mystery event.
 
Coming from the US, I was intrigued with the history. George Washington’s grandfather used to live at Cave Castle. He was a partial owner before he emigrated to America. A portrait of our first president still hangs in the house.
 

Both the cafe and the restaurant have first-class food. The cafe is more

Cave Castle Restaurant has views across the green park lands.

casual and the restaurant offers fine dining. If you stop by the cafe for a bit of lunch or a coffee, don’t miss their desserts. They are made on-site and are divine. 

 

Local sourced, fresh daily gourmet treats. The restaurant draws visitors for miles. Choose from the A La Carte menu or table d’hote menu which changes daily.

Cave Castle sandwich with 2 salads
Lovely Cappuccinos
 
Cave Castle hospitality attracts not only resident guests but local patrons alike. The golf club, fitness center and spa all provide opportunities for health, wellness and relaxation.

If you are ever in East Yorkshire, be sure to put this on your bucket list. Whether you are looking for a

Yummy dessert

golf retreat, spa retreat, romantic escape, or a fine dinner, this is the place to be.

Eugene tours for everyone, explore, see the sights, shop and dine

7 Unique Eugene Tours

Eugene Bike paths tour along the Willamette River provide miles of easy entertainment

There are no shortage of things to see and do in Eugene. I’ve created a pdf map that has different activity tours you might enjoy based on your interests.  From parks, events, adventure, the arts and the quirky, it’s all here.

Tour the University

This tour will help you explore all the University of Oregon campus and neighborhood have to offer.

Tour and play in the parks

This is your guide to the diversity of the Eugene Parks.  Most activities here are kid and pet-friendly, but you need to know the one place not to take your dog.

Downtown Shopping tour

Highlights of great spots to visit with your girlfriends. Between the highlighted spots you’ll no doubt discover many additional favorites.

234 Reasons to be here on Saturday

This is THE place to visit on Saturday and you won’t want to miss it.

Eugene Ale Trail tour

If you’re a beer lover you’ll want to experience this ultimate pub crawl before you die.  It’s a not to be missed exploration.

And more….

Download the pdf, click on the icons and have fun exploring.

Visit Eugene tours

 

Magical mysteries of Standing Stones

Mysteries of Standing Stones

Some of my best adventures happened when we got off the main road in search of a local treasure… like standing stones. Standing stones are a record of man’s history and they seem to hold some sort of mysterious magic. I’ve heard it called energy.

Standing Stones

Standing stones are single or groups of stones which are typically upright in position.  But, they are often combined with stones laying horizontally across the top of them.  Think Stonehenge.

Aerial view of Stonehenge standing stones
Stonehenge aerial view

 

Their fascination lies in their age. To someone who has grown up in the Western US, a man-created structure over 100 years of age is extremely rare.  On the east coast, they can trace structures back to the 17th century.

In Europe and the UK, our ancestors have left physical markers that are far older.  Those markers draw visitors by the thousands every year.  To protect popular destinations from damage and vandalism, protectors fence them or limit access.

 Stonehenge

Stonehenge exemplifies a stone circle that is easily accessed and full of history. It’s probably the best known standing stone circle in the world. Started in about 3100BC, history and mystery shroud it.

Stonehenge paths are accessible to all
Paths at Stonehenge are easily accessible to all

Accessed via the A36 and A303 it is about 40 miles east of Bath on your way to London.  Stonehenge receives tens of thousands of visitors. A paved path minimizes human impact on the site.

Two things struck me.  One – it was raining sideways and there is little shelter on the Salisbury Plains.  Be prepared for what mother nature sends you direction.

The second was the extremes.  These magnificent ancient stones erected and placed in a precise manner.  The difficulty of the work had to be incredible.  Then shift your gaze and the A303 freeway is in the background.

The site is handicap accessible and there are visitor facilities available.

I respect the need to preserve, but the restrictions of access felt sad.

The stones are magnificent and impressive, but their majesty feels restricted and distant.

Avebury

Avebury is an even older ring of stones and the largest in the world. It also

offers you a more authentic peaceful experience of the majesty of standing stones.

While you can’t reach Avebury via tour bus… that’s ok.  It means the area gets far fewer visitors and less impact.  Narrow roads and hairpin turns restrict large vehicles.  It’s an entirely different experience.

"Avebury Standing Stone
Massive natural standing stone at Avebury

Avebury’s about 30 miles north of Stonehenge.  It’s a short hop north off the A4 – an old Roman road that used to link London to Bath.

Much of Avebury is within a huge standing stone circle.  Researchers date the stones to 3400BC.  The start of construction had to be 300 years before Stonehenge.  Another difference is the stones.  The stones not smoothed or chiseled like those of its neighbor.  These are natural in shape. The work needed to move them from their quarry two miles away had to be extreme.

Go and Explore

Park your car and go through the gate – mind you don’t let the sheep out. There you are. You and the sheep among the massive stones.

The remaining perimeter standing stones at Avebury seen from aerial view
Avebury seen from aerial view

The outermost circle is 1396 feet in circumference but there is more than one circle here.  Inside this is a second circle which encloses two more circles. They offer guided walks of this Neolithic monument. Or do a self-tour.  There is a great little store in the post office that has lots of useful information on the area available.

The Avebury pub is the only one in the world completely surrounded by a stone circle… It’s  also got a reputation for good food.

No one will rush you here.  Walk the perimeter, enjoy the peace and the energy. Visit with the locals.  Take your time and restore.

 

Travel insurance protection for international travel

Do I Really Need Travel Insurance?

Do the current attacks and events have you a little nervous about travel? It may be time to reconsider travel insurance.

This is a question that has personally confused me over the years. First, how do you know if you need it? Second, how do you pick it?

I think the answer is there are a few “ifs” and a lot you need to check out. Fortunately, it’s getting much easier to know whether you need it, and then to find the right coverage.

What to consider…

Where are you traveling?

If you’re headed to the coast with the kids for a weekend you probably don’t need travel insurance.  Headed down the road to visit Grandma? Same answer.

Frazzled travel planner 

If you are traveling over 100 miles, have to prepay for tickets, expensive events, or a tour, you may want coverage.

Keywords are “prepaid” and “non-refundable”. You can’t get insurance to reimburse you for money you haven’t spent.

If you are flying, you may want coverage in case there are flight delays or baggage issues.

Sit down with pen and paper and add up trip costs that are non-refundable. Things like pre-paid flights, hotel, all-inclusive packages, tour packages and event tickets. This will show you the travel coverage that you need.

International travel

International has more considerations. It’s more expensive and insurance coverage that you have may not cover you.

  • If traveling internationally, you may want to supplement your health insurance. This may also cover emergency medical evacuation. Medicare does not cover international travelers.
  • Are you a regular traveler? You can purchase coverage that covers all your travels in a year. There are some restrictions and caveats.
  • Another way to save on insurance is to cover all family members traveling together on the same policy.
  • Be aware of the limits and exclusions on the policy.
  • Think about extra coverage – for failure of an airline, cruise ship or travel
    Stressed travel researcher

    company.

  • Activity coverage. There are a lot of common tourist activities that are only covered if you request this. You may not ride an elephant or camel at home, but tourists do this. One woman was badly hurt falling off a camel.
  • Winter sports are a lot of fun but can lead to accidents. You need these covered, just in case.
  • “Cancel for any reason” this covers you for all eventualities. This covers you for things that are foreseeable but unavoidable. If you are traveling with a known medical condition, it’s the only way you can get reimbursed for last minute cancellation.
  • What about coverage through my airline reservation? Do some comparisons. These generally are much more restrictive and harder to receive reimbursement on.

Will you be driving internationally? Most travel policies do not cover international car rental. Your existing auto insurance may not cover this. Some credit card benefits do cover international car rental – check it out. But there are specific restrictions you need to be aware of. Reading the fine print is the only way to know.

Select coverage

When you start making reservations, you need to find desired coverage right away. Most companies require you to purchase coverage within 10-21 days of making your initial purchase. If you have additional purchases to make, contact the company.

Once you have decided what you need, you need to go to an insurance comparison website. Three of the leaders are:

  • insuremytrip.ocm
  • squaremouth.com
  • travelinsurance.com

I recently used Squaremouth based on a travel insurance review that I read. The company is top rated and has 44,795 travel insurance reviews. They made it easy to compare coverage and find exactly what I needed. And the price was less than I was expecting to have to pay.

[Note: I have no financial interest in Squaremouth and receive no reimbursement from them.]

Take documentation with you

In addition to your travel documentation, be sure to take copies and contact information for:

Travel documents
  • your travel insurance policy
  • international health care coverage
  • credit card details on international car rental if applicable

Proper insurance coverage will allow you to relax and travel knowing you have it covered.

West Coast Festivals to Experience this Summer

 Experience West Coast Festivals

 
There are lots of fabulous west coast festivals to experience this summer. Here are some great events that will make a fun, memorable trip.

San Francisco Summer of Love

2017 celebrates 50 year anniversary of San Francisco Summer of Love
West Coast Festival – San Francisco Summer of Love 1967
This summer is the 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love”. SanFrancisco is packed with event offerings and great music. Many of them are free! For a complete listing visit: http://summerof.love/events/2017-06/.
 
From April 17th until September 4, 2017, you can take a “magic carpet ride” through the city. Featuring San Francisco landmarks, the 2-1/2 hour guided tour departs three times daily. Explore the city that launched a cultural revolution.
 
You’ll visit The Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Warf, Pier 39, Coit Tower, Palace of Fine Arts, China Town, Golden Gate Bridge and more. The tour features sights and sounds from the Summer of Love – 1967.
For details visit: www.extranomical.com.

Sacramento Music Festival

 
If you like music Sacramento Music Festival is a great place to be

High Street is always a favorite band
High Street Jazz Band at Sacramento’s Music Festival
Jazz, Zydeco, Rock, Latin, Blues Sacramento Music festival has it all
Festival fans love their music

Memorial Weekend. Old Sacramento dresses up in ith holiday finest and hosts a safe, four-day party featuring LIVE music. 100 performances. Stree dancing. animated parades, instruments booming, great food and drink.

 
It’s a high energy atmosphere and so much fun. It used to be traditional jazz, but it has evolved into much more. Jazz, blues, rock, zydeco and more. Bands from around the world.
 
There are many venues and free buses whisk attendees with no parking worries. You’ll wake up to music in the morning and go to sleep with it echoing in your brain. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that makes me smile every time I remember my visits.

Portland rose Festival

Grand Floral Parade  is a highlight of Portland's 100 year tradition of the Rose Festival
Grand Floral Parade at Portland’s Rose Festival
 
Portland is often called the City of Roses. Their Rose Garden is a must see. And at Rose Festival time, you’ll see them all in bloom. Usually held in early June, this year it is May 26 – June 11, 2017. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, built on the site of a former freeway hosts the celebration.
 
Besides the festival, the week offers concerts, water races, and other events. June 3rd will be the evening Starlight Parade through downtown Portland. The week culminates with the Grand Floral Parade on June 10.
 
This year is honors the 100 years of roses at the International Rose Test Garden. For complete details visit www.rosefestival.org.

Napa Valley Festival

Napa Valley Festival features local cuisine specialties
Taste of Napa
The Napa Valley is also in the festival mode. July 14-23, 2017 will be the best of Napa.
Features include food, wine, music, dance, theater and more. They plan to offer the finest performing arts. Stars of music, dance, and theater combined with fine wine and cuisine.
Complete details are here: https://festivalnapavalley.org/
 

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Ashland Oregon is home to the Shakespearean festival
Shakespearean festival under the stars
Each year Oregon Shakespeare Festival attracts people in droves. This regional repertory theater in Ashland, Oregon is first class. The festival produces eleven plays on three stages. The season lasts from mid-February until early November.
 
The festival is set against a backdrop of pristine parks and stunning landscapes. You’ll find great food and friendly locals. For complete details visit: https://www.osfashland.org

Tall Ships

Tall ships crew works as a team to sail the vessle
Tall ships crew setting off
Ship Ahoy!! Direct from the movies, the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain are on the move. Early in the spring, they sail from their home in Washington to San Diego.
 
Then they make their way up the coast stopping in ports and sharing their magic.
 
It’s the experience of a lifetime and if you have the opportunity, don’t miss it. Here is a link to their 2017 schedule:
http://coastexplorermagazine.com/features/tall-ships-visit-oregon-and-washington-coast-in-2017.
 

Highland Games

Professional athletes compete in highland games
Mackenzie Highland Games photos by David Postier
Highland Games are a great way to spend a day, a weekend or several. Fun for the entire family and there is probably one near you.
Bagpipes, drummers, brass, piano, harps and more. Add in the dancers, parades and the games.
Ah yes, the games. What is more fun than watching men in kilts vie for titles in arduous events? Kaber tossing (think small telephone poles). Pitching boulders, kegs, staffs and more. The events are as diverse as the games.
 
The quickest way to find an up-to-date list of Highland Games near you is a Google Search. Type in highland games and the state where you want to attend one. It may surprise you how many there are. Open to everyone, you don’t have to be English or Scottish to attend. Bring your smile and come have fun.

Eugene Fun Enjoy the culture, diversity, outdoors without Portland’s traffic

Experience Eugene…. Portland Fun

Without the Traffic

looking south across downtown Eugene
Eugene, Oregon Courtesy Almay Photo
By Judith Culp Pearson
 

Eugene offers fun quirkiness and the diversity of Portland. But there is a key difference… you get that fun feeling and gorgeous scenery without the big city traffic. And, it’s

home to the University of Oregon Ducks! It’s laid back, casual, sophisticated, cultural and quirky all at once. It’s a beautiful outdoors playground.

 

At the southern end of the Willamette Valley, the hills tuck in and the valley narrows. The city takes advantage of two high Cascade snow melt rivers, the Willamette and the McKenzie. They create a habitat for wildlife and a place for people to have a great outdoors experience.

Whether you arrive by car, Amtrak train or air, you will find getting around Eugene easy. The airport is user-friendly. They say fly EUG, it’s EASY. Easy to get around, easy to park, easy to find a cab, a shuttle or a car.
 
Amtrak riders disembark only blocks from the heart of downtown and hotel properties. Cabs and the local bus service can whisk you wherever you want to go if you don’t want to rent a car.

 

Outdoors fun is one of the most popular activities.

There are over 46 miles of shared use paths. Want to hike? We have lots of

miles of walking / biking paths along the river
Wooden bridge along walking path

that too. Many of the trails run alongside the river and delta ponds.

See the town like a local. There are at least 10 different resources for renting a bike. With all those paths plus 187 miles of on-street bicycle lanes, it’s a great way to get around. Check out this web page sponsored by the city. You can even download a free bicycle map. https://www.eugene-or.gov/3260/Bike-Rentals
 
If you like watersports those are aplenty. Rent a canoe at Alton Baker Park and explore the inlets. Kayak, boat or sail at Fern Ridge Reservoir. With its 9000 acres, you can paddle narrow inlets, or sail across wide expanses. Catch white crappie, brown bullhead catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, and native cutthroat trout. Many easily accessible parks dot the shoreline offering great picnic locations.
 
You’ll find diverse arts, music, and theater rub shoulders with baseball, track and field and football at Autzen Stadium. Kids sports, soccer, hockey, and golf are all there to tempt or entertain you.
 

Go for a Broadway play, the symphony or a ballet at the Hult Center.

Hult center offers diverse cultural entertainment, symphony, ballet, opera, Broadway plays
Hult Center

Wander through the many galleries located throughout the downtown. Like classical music? You can enjoy nearly three weeks of events at the Oregon Bach Festival. It runs late June to mid-July. http://oregonbachfestival.com/

 
And then there is the food. Many restaurants feature fresh, locally sustainable regardless of cuisine. Cafes, food trucks, fine dining… you will find the diversity delightful.
 

Here are 5 fun Eugene activities you might want to include:

 

1. Tour the markets.

5th Street Market has made a name for itself as a premium attraction. It’s located on the site of a historical market where vendors could rent space for $5.00 a day. Now you’ll find diverse boutiques and great food options like Marche, Provisions and the food court. Plus the market there are lots of local merchants along 5th and 6th Streets. Restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries vie for your attention. In good weather, your dog can join you in one of the outdoor patio dining areas.

 
Local produce,meats, flowers, baked goods and more at the Eugene Farmers' Market
Eugene Farmer’s Market

On Tuesday and Saturday, you can experience the Lane County Farmer’s Market. It

offers a wide diversity of fresh, organic produce and flowers. You find farm fresh eggs, meats and honey as well as a wide range of prepared foods you can enjoy there or take home. It’s held on Oak St and 8th, only a few blocks from 5th Street Market.

 
On Saturdays, the Saturday Market joins the Farmer’s Market across eighth street at Oak. Across two park blocks, you’ll find over 200 local artisans offer handcrafted wares. Before you reach the International Food Court, you’ll catch aromas and spices of Asia, India and local favorites. Made fresh on site with local produce when possible. Music from the entertainment stage carries across the venue. It features live music of every imaginable type. Bring the family, there is something for all ages. But please, no pets allowed.
 

2. Museums on University of Oregon campus.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is beautiful architecture. It was built without windows to protect the treasures inside. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here you will find an extensive collection of American, European, Korean, Chinese and Japanese art. Visit Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm, Wednesday until 8pm. You’ll find it at 1430 Johnson Lane.

 
A short walk across campus is the Museum of Natural and Cultural History. It highlights the university’s anthropological, zoological and paleontological artifacts. It focuses on the natural and cultural history of the area. Hours are Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm. 1680 East 15th Avenue. Website: http//natural-history.uoregon.edu/.
 

3. Relax and enjoy a sunset

Sweetwater’s patio is a great spot to watch the Willamette River while you

Sweetwaters patio

dine or sip your favorite beverage. Located at Valley River Inn, it is blessed with an amazing river view. Accessible from either the parking lot or the walking path along the river, it is a popular place to gather.

 
The patio is perfect to enjoy a warm summer afternoon, the river and your favorite brew. If it’s a bit chilly to sit outdoors enjoy the views from the panoramic windows. They specialize in fresh, local Northwest cuisine. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
 
Whether you want fine dining, or just enjoy a glass of wine and the view, this is a popular place to relax and do just that. Sweetwater is located at 1000 Valley River Way (541) 341-3462 http://www.valleyriverinn.com/dining.htm.
 

4. Enjoy a game.

No matter what time of year you visit there are great

Autzen Stadium home of Oregon Ducks Football
Autzen Stadium

sporting events to watch. In summer, take in a Eugene Emeralds baseball game at PK Park. The whole family will love it. Kids love their special activities. They get to run the field, play games and visit with Sluggo, the team mascot. http://www.milb.com.

 
Track and field events take place on campus at historic Hayward Field. It’s great family entertainment. Parking nearby can be iffy. But public transportation will whisk you there and back again without any issues.
 
Starting In September, the acoustics at Autzen Stadium roar as fans cheer the Ducks football team. GO DUCKS! The games sell out so get tickets well in advance.
 
Come early and meet up for tailgating. Casual to sophisticated, it’s considered an art form and a great way to spend time with friends.
 
Avoid the traffic… take advantage of park and ride centers strategically located around town.
 
In the winter, it’s back to campus and Matthew Knight Arena for basketball. (This fabulous arena is also a great location to catch a concert or other special event.)
 
www.goducks.com gives you details for all the different sporting events associated with the college. For information on upcoming events and tickets visit http://matthewknightarena.com/ticketsales.php.
 

5. Experience the Eugene Ale Trail.

The area has a legacy of home brewing

Eugene's ale trail is the ultimate pub crawl
Ale Trail

before, during and after prohibition. The ultra pure water of the McKenzie is a brew crafters dream. Add a strong emphasis on local and regional hops and grains and you have a great recipe for great brews. The close proximity to many of the many beer tasting rooms makes it easy to do the ultimate pub crawl.

 
You can pick up a Passport from any participating brewery or bottleshop. They are also available at The Downtown Eugene Visitor Center at 754 Olive Street, or the Adventure Center in Springfield.
 
As you visit each brewery, ask them to stamp your passport. Collect eight stamps from eight participating breweries in the Eugene-Springfield area. They will earn you a 64oz amber Eugene Ale Trail growler.
 
Visit their website for complete details. You’ll also find suggestions for safe transportation. They recommend either a chauffeured driver or designated driver. https://www.eugenecascadescoast.org/eugene-ale-trail/.
 
Eugene residents are a friendly lot and they love living where they do. They are happy to share their city, its beauty and its quirky side. For more help planning your trip, visit https://www.eugenecascadescoast.org/eugene/.

Skip the Boozy Bachelorette – Celebrate with a Bachelorette Spa Wellness Retreat

Escape to a spa for your bachelorette retreat
Getty Images

In the past, brides, as well as grooms, have celebrated their upcoming nuptials with a weekend away partying. But with the growing focus on health and wellness millennial brides are opting for something more low key. A de-stressing bachelorette spa wellness retreat.

If you’re a bride or know a bride, it’s a great way to arrive at the wedding, relaxed, pampered and calm.

It might be just you and your bridesmaids or include some of your best friends. It’s a time to enjoy each other’s company and bond. Find somewhere local or pick a destination location.

Make it personal and include activities you and your friends enjoy.

  • Spa treatments
    • Massage
    • Facials
    • Manicures
    • Pedicures
  • Yoga together
  • Outdoor activities
    • Hiking
    • Horseback riding
    • Water sports
    • Skiing
    • Local walking tour
  • Personal fitness advice
  • Cooking class
  • Wine tasting

If fitness is a goal, find somewhere that offers healthy food choices that taste decadent. If the spa you want to visit isn’t in a hotel, is there a nice one nearby that meets those needs? It’s great to keep the group together for the best bonding and fun.

Some hotel resorts offer a great wedding location. They may also offer a package that will allow you and the girls to arrive a few days early. You can have your bachelorette spa retreat on-site. You will feel pampered, rested and relaxed for your magical day.

Their event planner can assist you with all the details and support services you will need.

Here’s a link to Brides for more ideas.