Tag archives: travel

Sensei Porcupine Creek: A Real Life Mirage in Rancho Mirage
By Leslie Westbrook   |   April 16, 2024

After a three-day wellness program visit to Sensei Porcupine Creek in Rancho Mirage, California, I can honestly say that the bar for health retreats was set incredibly high. I’ve visited many stellar “health retreats/spas” over the years (Rancho La Puerta is a favorite that comes to mind), and this one is right up there in […]

Ticked Off
By Chuck Graham   |   March 19, 2024

After bushwhacking and rambling across three mountain ranges and crossing two rivers between Nira Camp in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument, amazingly I didn’t find a single tick on me. It was December 2023, and fortunately, the same went for my five comrades as we spent seven days and […]

Uncorking Rioja: A Wine Journey Like No Other
By Jamie Knee   |   March 12, 2024

As I set foot into the legendary Rioja wine region, I knew I was about to embark on a journey like no other. After enduring countless delays, my long-awaited adventure – to Rioja, Spain, for the prestigious Rioja Wine Educator Certification Course – felt like a triumphant victory. Nestled in the heart of Spain, Rioja […]

Alluvial Alternatives
By Chuck Graham   |   March 5, 2024

The Channel Islands National Park has more sea caves documented than anywhere else in the world, with close to 300 grottos. However, there isn’t a toothy grotto quite like the geological feature that’s wave-battered into the sheer, 200-foot-tall cliffs of West Anacapa Island. As I kayaked inside the dark, dank sea cave at dawn, I […]

From Zero to Zen in an Hour: A Sublime Time at Nobu Ryokan in Malibu
By Leslie Westbrook   |   February 20, 2024

I’ve always wanted to visit Japan – a country that recently reopened to tourism. In the meantime, I thought I might approximate a Zen-like trip to Japan along the coast of California… just an hour’s drive away. These days, you can go throw a dart just about anywhere on the tourism planet map and visit […]

Costa Rican Escapades
By Richard Mineards   |   February 20, 2024

Maria McCall, founder of Montecito Bank & Trust’s MClub, chose the perfect time to leave town and fly to Costa Rica to see the natural wonders. During the torrential downpours in our Eden by the Beach the tony troupe went whitewater rafting, zip lining and hiking through a private primary forest reserve in the canton […]

Tanya Newlove: Mom brings her concierge travel company to Santa Barbara!
By Dalina Michaels   |   January 16, 2024

A new paradigm of luxury travel services has emerged in our enclave. Nouvel Amour, a renowned name in the travel industry, has recently made Santa Barbara its home, promising an unparalleled level of sophistication and tailored experiences for the discerning traveler. A Fusion of Elegance and Expertise  Looking to travel in 2024? The Newloves have […]

Exploring the Enigmatic World of Balkan Wines in North Macedonia
By Jamie Knee   |   January 16, 2024

I’ve just returned from the captivating landscapes of North Macedonia, brimming with excitement to unravel the hidden marvels of this Balkan gem. Picture a land where time slows down, where over 50 lakes sparkle like gems against a backdrop of 34 towering mountains, ranking seventh among the 10 most mountainous countries in the world. Traversing […]

Nuthatch Nirvana
By Chuck Graham   |   January 9, 2024

During the fall, when it’s hot and dry on the southeast end of Santa Cruz Island, cold, crisp, purple grapes are a must-have fruit on the largest isle off the California coast. It’s also a time for annoying, seemingly perpetual deer flies that seek moisture out of the ears, nose, and eyes. To momentarily escape […]

Mazatlán Part Two: Gems of Mazatlán – What Not to Miss!
By Leslie Westbrook   |   January 2, 2024

With my Mazatlán tour underway, here are some of the highlights and special spots found along the way… 1. Observatorio Mazatlán 1873 – Set high atop a hill and accessed by a steep climb up the 260-foot slope or a ride on the 45-degree funicular, discover the extremely photogenic, historic observatorio. While the building shows […]

Mazatlán, Mexico: Part One Land of the Deer and a Meal of My Dreams
By Leslie Westbrook   |   December 26, 2023

Settled in 1531, historic Mazatlán’s nicknames include “Pacific Pearl” and “Fish Land.” But the beautiful name is actually Nahuatl (an indigenous language still spoken by 1.5 million people today) for “place of the deer.” On our flight’s landing approach to Mazatlán, the plane traveled south of the city before circling back around to land, revealing […]

Meerkat Memories
By Chuck Graham   |   December 26, 2023

A mob of meerkats was on my Southern African menu. Deep in the Kalahari Desert, I scanned that brilliant red earth with my binoculars from dawn until dusk. Finally, on the morning of our third day in Namibia, it was meerkat mania as 20 of them arrived just after breakfast. This was my 16th trip […]

Mexico’s Hidden Wine Treasures
By Jamie Knee   |   December 26, 2023

As I reflect on my recent journey through the captivating landscapes of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, a vibrant tapestry of wine, food, and travel experiences weaves itself through my memories. This region, rich in natural beauty, unfolds a compelling invitation to explore at every juncture. Its picturesque beaches tell stories of tranquility and wonder, providing serene […]

The Burly Shorebird of Distant Shores
By Chuck Graham   |   December 19, 2023

It was getting dark, and I was tired and hungry. It had been a long, great day, but I needed to land my kayak for the night. The day had begun at Yellowbanks on the southeast fringe of Santa Cruz Island. From there, I paddled the entire south side of the largest, most diversified isle […]

Lombardy Unveiled: An Adventurous Escapade of Wine, Elegance, and Enchantment
By Jamie Knee   |   December 19, 2023

Maybe you’ve seen everyone’s Facebook and Instagram feeds covered in pictures of this summer’s European travels. Well, mine was no exception as I recently returned from a wine, food, and travel extravaganza in the Lombardy region of Italy. I genuinely believe that wanderlust is a part of my genetic makeup. There’s an unparalleled exhilaration in […]

Hugging the Island
By Chuck Graham   |   December 5, 2023

It was a microcosm of the island biome, where multiple species benefited from the hard work of one marine mammal species and the help of a narrow, craggy sea cave battered by a surging, Southern Hemisphere swell. I was kayaking back from an early evening surf session, and as I hugged the sheer cliffs of […]

A Grand Weekend at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Spa in Dana Point
By Leslie Westbrook   |   November 14, 2023

Why travel? To celebrate a special occasion? Birthday, anniversary, retirement, new job, you name it.For a change of scenery? To alleviate boredom? To explore new regions, to be pampered or just sneak off and indulge? Whatever your reason, I love flopping onto a freshly made bed in a hotel room – preferably with a view […]

Rafting Up
By Chuck Graham   |   October 31, 2023

It was a rare summer day along the Southern California coast, as the fringe of Hurricane Eugene crept northward from Baja, California, into the sleepy coastal town of Carpinteria. It was early August. Since pre-dawn dark clouds had delivered steady rain, as water droplets trickled down the tinted glass of my beach lifeguard tower. The […]

Grassland Solitude
By Chuck Graham   |   October 3, 2023

From afar, the Temblor Range in the Carrizo Plain National Monument was swept in different shades of yellow. Rancher’s fireweed, goldfields, and hillside daisies brightened the arid mountain biome. From where I stood at the base of the Caliente Mountains looking east, it was the only color on what are typically barren hillsides.  Another super […]

An Enchanting Viticultural Voyage through Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula
By Jamie Knee   |   September 12, 2023

My husband and I were thrilled when I was chosen to be a judge at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, hosted this year by Vinistra, the Association of Winegrowers and Winemakers of the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia. Returning to Croatia, one of our cherished travel destinations from a decade ago, was a dream come true. […]