Travel + Food

MOST INSTAWORTHY LOCATIONS

The Most Hashtagged Places In America
  • PlayPicks reveal that Disneyland in Anaheim is the USA’s favourite place to pap an Instaworthy photograph
  • Miami Beach has been shared 8,673,724 times on Instagram, making it the most hashtagged beach and second most hashtagged place overall in America
  • New study shows men have a more active social (media) life, admitting to sharing online multiple times a day whilst on holiday

 In 2019, if you don’t take a photo it’s like it never happened. Social platforms like Instagram act as outlets which let us explore places we’ve never seen before – one search of a hashtag and you’ll have everything at your fingertips. But where are the most tagged places in America?

New research from entertainment experts PlayPicks uncovers the most shared locations in the USA, delving into categories from beaches to arenas and festivals, to uncover the most Instagrammable hotspots in the US. Alongside this, PlayPicks ran a survey of the US public to reveal just how reliant the nation is on social media, in particular when it comes to travelling.

Top 5 Most Hashtagged Places in the U.S

Playpicks have scoured Instagram to find the top 20 hashtagged places spanning over nine different categories. These are the top five most hashtagged locations overall in the U.S for Instagrammers: 

  • Disneyland Anaheim – Not just where dreams come true, but also where hashtags are made. Disneyland was built in 1955 and has since received 19,783,733 Insta shares. Considering the fact that they had an estimated attendance last year of 18.3 million, it’s of no surprise that it’s the most hashtagged location in America. It’s sister park in Florida, Disneyland Magic Kingdom, takes the second spot on the most hashtagged list at 9,400,298 posts.
  • Miami Beach – This man-made beach has 8,673,724 shares on Instagram, making it the most Instagrammed beach in the US – and with 15.22 square miles of beautiful, golden sand and relaxation, it’s easy to see why you can’t help but take one for your grid.
  • Central Park – One of two of New York’s offerings in the top 10 list (the other being Times Square) is its first major landscape park. The park’s construction started in 1857 and upon its completion, it became one of the most popular tourist destinations – having approximately 40 million visitors a year and 6,104,544 shares on Instagram.

The Influence of Influencers 

In the age of the influencer, Instagram has a more direct effect on our everyday choices. PlayPicks surveyed the US public to uncover how much of an influence social media really has on our travel decisions and experiences:

  • The majority of male respondents (45%) admitted to taking holiday inspiration solely from influencer posts on social media rather than their friends. Only 22% of women said they would listen to just an influencer, instead 50% would balance their decision based on both friends and influencers.
  • Men care the most about getting the perfect snap for the ‘gram – on average, men spend 20.28 minutes getting a picture just right before uploading it, while women spend only 14.67 minutes.
  • Although 49% of respondents said they solely take photos for themselves, 26% said they do it for social media – this was preferred over taking snaps for family and friends, which only 24% claimed was their primary reason for documenting their trips.

To explore the rest of America’s favourite social media destinations, search the interactive tool and find the most hashtagged places in America here.

Baby Sea Otter Reunited With Mother

Watch Video of Baby Sea Otter Reunited With its Mother in Morro Bay

Morro Bay Harbor Department Saves the Day for This Otter Family

In between cloudbursts yesterday, a baby sea otter was reunited with its mother. The baby, spotted alone by one of the community’s commercial fishermen, got assistance from the Harbor Department, the Marine Mammal Center and Mike Harris of Fish & Wildlife. The city of Morro Bay caught this video of the baby being released before swimming to its mother.

As the Harbor Department commented, “All in a day’s work.”

For the last couple years, thereߣs been an abundance of pure unadulterated cuteness going on in the seaside town due to an increase in California Sea Otter families that call Morro Bay home. Mommas and babies are everywhere eating and grooming each other as if no one is watching. But we are and we canߣt look away – they are so dang cute! Now is the perfect time to catch a glimpse of these sea creatures in their natural habitat since Morro Bay harbor is experiencing the highest count to date of these adorable critters. A survey taken last May of the Morro Bay harbor documented adult sea otters and nine pups, a significantly higher number than the typical five or fewer otters frequenting the harbor in the early 2000s.

“Large gatherings of otters throughout the harbor have attracted tourists and locals all along the waterfront to experience them in their natural habitat,” explains Jennifer Little, Executive Director of Discover Morro Bay. “You can watch along the shore or rent paddleboards and watch from a safe distance on the water as they forage for food and groom their young. They use rocks and other tools to break open crab and local food sources and are so fun to watch. We’ve seen up to 30 or 40 of them at a time floating around on their backs and enjoying life in Morro Bay.”

Just plop down a beach chair along the Morro Bay Harbor Walk and start watching – they’re everywhere and easy to find. If there isnߣt a family of otters hanging out already, they will soon appear. The southeast side of Morro Rock is a great landmark for sea otter viewing as is Coleman beach at the intersection of Embarcadero and Coleman Drive. There are also public viewing spots all along the Embarcadero for wildlife viewing in between the plethora of restaurants, boutique shops and wine bars. To get an even closer look, paddle out in a kayak or rent a boat at Bay Cruisers and Electric Boats. Visitors can also take a ride on the Lost Isle Tiki boat to see the otters and the ever-barking sea lions, which includes a quick detour to the Morro Bay natural sand spit. Kayaks can be rented at Kayak Horizons and the Kayak Shack.

Experts say what’s really driving the population increase is the abundance of food they find in the waters of Morro Bay. Sea otters are integral to the health of the Morro Bay harbor environment. When viewing otters be very careful as they are wild animals and may react poorly if approached. When viewing from the water, it’s best to stay at least five kayak lengths away at all times and enjoy them in a responsible manner.

Divine Tours

DIVINE TOURS LAUNCHES COUTURISTA TRAVEL TO PROVIDE LUXURY, FASHION-FOCUSED TRAVEL EXPERIENCES

Now Booking its First Tour: A Curated Visit to Tuscany in April 2019

Since 1996, DiVine Tours has been providing innovative luxury travel excursions throughout Italy. This spring, DiVine Tours will launch their newest extension: Couturista Travel – a travel experience personalized for connoisseurs of high-end fashion, gourmet cuisine, and luxury lifestyle. Couturista Travel is now booking for its April fashion-focused journey through Tuscany, followed by trips to Miami and Mexico later in the year.

The inaugural trip, entitled Tuscany Couture, includes stays in luxury fashion inspired hotels such as the Ferragamo-owned Gallery Art Hotel, exclusive vineyard tours, and VIP access and discounts at the world’s leading fashion retailers. Travelers will enjoy once-in-a-lifetime, exclusive, curated access to shops including Prada, Gucci, Armani, Ferragamo, Emilio Pucci, Sergio Rossi, Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, and many more.

Couturistas will begin their nine-day-long escape in Florence on April 6th, 2019 with a reception and welcome dinner. The following day will include an intimate inside look into the history of Italian Fashion, then & now, via private tours through the culture rich UNESCO City. Expert guides will then transport guests back to the 18th century via the Pitti Palace Costume Gallery, featuring rich collections that represent the evolution of fashion for didactic purposes.

The historical experiences will also include a visit to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum. Dedicated to the life and work of the famed Italian shoe designer, the museum contains over 10,000 models of shoes and a variety of exhibits dedicated to the life and work of Ferragamo from the 1920’s until his death in 1960.

In addition to visits to Italy’s top historical fashion destinations and some of the most sophisticated shopping in the world, the Tuscany Couture trip includes visits to local artisan’s workshops, private trunk shows, dining at Florence’s most revered restaurants and guided visits to the iconic sites in historical cities throughout the Tuscan region.

“Tuscany Couture is the ideal vacation framed by the magic and elegance of Florence. Suited for the curious shopper or the fashion-savvy, a group of friends seeking the ultimate getaway, or even the mother-daughter duo looking for a bonding retreat,” said Myriam Angulo, co-founder of Couturista Travel. “There is so much to see in Florence and Chianti besides the traditional visits to see renowned art and wine tastings. Couturista organizers use their personal knowledge and intimate relationships to open the doors to artisan shoemakers, pop-up shops, flagship stores and everything in between. Tuscany Couture is the perfect trip for the inquisitive, divine traveler.”

Tuscany Couture’s $6,999 pp fee includes the complete land program with transportation, deluxe hotel accommodations, English-speaking guides, daily breakfast buffets, welcome and farewell dinners, shopping tours, museum entrances, winery visits, and many more activities for travelers looking to do it all.

With some days planned out and others that allow Couturistas to explore suggested sites on their own, each traveler has the ability to mold their vacation to fit their every want and desire. There are also unique extension options for those who want to extend their stay in Italy with opportunities to spend three additional days in the North or South of Florence.

Following the trip to Tuscany, Couturista Travel will offer innovative programs in the Magic City that is Miami with two distinct themes: Exploration of Art and Curated Shopping; as well as an opportunity to explore and shop Mexico later in the year.

About DiVine Tours & Couturista Travel

DiVine Tours is a boutique tour operation specializing in exclusive Wine Tours, and Gourmet Programs in Italy since 1996. Most recently, they have branched out to develop COUTURISTA TRAVEL, which offers new Curated Fashion Shopping Experiences in famous locations as well as in new, undiscovered destinations. Originally based out of Chianti, Italy, director and owner Myriam Angulo has come back home to Miami, Florida and is determined to bring couture lifestyle back to the tour industry.

Couturista Travel is now accepting reservations for Tuscany Couture taking place on April 6th – 14th.

For booking information, visit www.couturistatravel.com or contact info@couturistatravel.com / 1-877-COUTRVL (1-877-268-8785)

A Perfect Valentine’s Getaway with San Ignacio Resort Hotel in Belize

With a temperate year round climate, farm fresh cuisine and unique adventure experiences, Belize is a perfect three day weekend getaway to escape the winter months. Daily, affordable nonstop flights are offered countrywide from Minneapolis, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and other major travel hubs making a visit to Belize easier than ever.

The San Ignacio Resort Hotel, a premier full-service Belize resort, located in the Cayo district, is within a scenic 90-minute drive or 30-minute flight from Belize City. The hotel boasts first-class amenities and accommodations for those seeking to relax and enjoy a beautiful tropical resort, yet offers nearby adventures for those wanting to explore inland Belize. In addition to stunning jungle views, San Ignacio Resort Hotel offers impeccable service, extraordinary dining options at its Running W Steakhouse & Restaurant, a tennis court and is in close proximity to San Ignacio Town.

Plan your Three Perfect Days in Belize Package starting at $1,446 per person, excluding airfare.

  • Roundtrip transfers from and to Belize international airport
  • Accommodation in the luxurious Honeymoon Suite – boasting exquisite views of untouched rainforest
  • Assigned Personal Butler upon check in
  • Daily Breakfast
  • 2 dinners at the Running W Steakhouse at a reserved Balcony table
  • 1 Private dinner in balcony of your room
  • One 60-minute Luxury in-room wellness treatment per person
  • 1 Full day tour at Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Maya sites
  • 1 full day tour at Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve with an exclusive picnic day trip with hiking trails and optional swimming in private cascades and natural pools.

To book your trip visit www.sanignaciobelize.com.

Women Seize the Oars

Women’s empowerment has seized the rafting industry. A leading river company is seeing a sizable uptick in the number of women now part of its crew of raft guides and staff. And they are recording an increasing number of female guests on rafting and mountain biking trips, scheduled and chartered.

Holiday River Expeditions (http://www.bikeraft.com/) reports that through the 2018 season, 40 percent of their guide staff were women. That’s the highest representation ever in its 50+ year history. It is looking like this coming year will be no different.

“Most of these women are returning for 2019. And we now have more applications for guide and crew positions coming in from women than from men these days,” said Karen Johnson, Holiday’s long-time office manager and spokeswoman. A growing number of women also serve in the office and warehouse as drivers and company managers. Susan Munroe, a long-time Holiday employee, leads an in-house guide/crew training program. Natalie Osborn has recently come onboard as the Social Media Director. Lauren Wood, a third-generation guide and founder Dee Holladay’s grandchild, is the company’s Trip Director and identifies as non-binary, adding further gender diversity to Holiday’s eclectic staff.

Female guides aren’t new to Holiday River Expeditions but they are becoming more of a force and influence. “Early on the rafting industry, much like every other outdoor industry in the 60’s and 70’s, was male dominated. Our founder Dee Holladay, always recognized the arbitrary nature of gender divisions and truly appreciated the added and necessary perspectives of women on the river,” added Johnson. “He used to say that women made better guides because they knew how to read the water better and not simply muscle their way through obstacles and rapids.”

Creative marketing at a time when the market is also expanding has led to an increase in the number of female guests. For example, a series of Balance & Flow Yoga and Wellness Trips draws increasingly more solo female travelers. Reunions of friends and just-for-the-fun-of-it groups of colleagues sign up for these itineraries, as do mothers and daughters.

“It’s not unusual to have an entire female staff on any of our trips these days. I hear it all the time that Mom was so glad for her daughter to witness a strong and capable female rowing their boat or leading their trip. It’s the perfect role model,” said Johnson.

New this year from April/May through September/October are custom, small group women-only rafting and biking itineraries in Utah and Colorado. These trips can be tailored to group desires, from the area, length, menu options and guides; all female or a mix. Here is a list of the most popular chartered trips. For details see: https://www.bikeraft.com/womens-river-rafting-trips/.

  • Gates of Lodore Canyon Rafting Trip: With 10 or more women (ages 18 and up), the per person rate is $885 for four days on the Green River in the heart of Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.
  • 3 Day Westwater Canyon: This program is offered three times weekly and can be chartered for groups of 15 to 20. Thrilling Class IV whitewater on the Colorado River through Westwater Canyon (a miniature Grand Canyon) in eastern Utah provides excitement and beauty to spare. The per person rate is $610 for groups of 10 or more.
  • 3-4 Day White Rim Trail is a multi-day, technically challenging mountain biking and star gazing exploration of the wilderness around and sky overhead Moab, UT. The per person rate is from $745 to $830 for groups of eight or more. This program is offered in April and May and again in September and October.
  • 4-5 Day Yampa River through Dinosaur National Monument is offered in May and June when the river runs full and the wildflowers bloom. The per person rate is $885 to $965 with a group of 10 or more.
  • 5-6 Day Cataract Canyon in the heart of Canyonlands National Park is the company’s signature adventure that can be chartered for a minimum of 15 (24 maximum). The per person rate is $1,040 to $1,105 for 10 or more. Nowhere on its entire course does the Colorado River descend more precipitously than through Cataract Canyon, offering white water rafting at its best.  

Following are Holiday River Expeditions’ signature Balance and Flow Yoga Wellness Trips that speak to a female audience. Trips center around immersion in nature and the guidance of specialists versed in healing practices. The adventure and relaxation intrinsic to river trips are augmented by honing in on spiritual and physical healing through natural energy, movement and nutrition. For details see https://www.bikeraft.com/balance-flow-trips/ 

  • White Rim Mt. Bike & Yoga: Katie Woods, a yoga specialist, guides this May 11-14, 2019, four-day mountain bike tour in Canyonlands National Park. 
  • Wild Yoga on the Green River: This six-day Green River rafting adventure through Desolation Canyon is June 3-8, 2019. With the group will be Rebecca Wildbear, a river and soul guide.
  • Women’s River & Yoga Trip: A four-day rafting trip on the Green River through Lodore Canyon July 11-14, 2019 comes with twice-daily yoga sessions.
  • Women’s Multi-Sport Adventure: Women raft, kayak, hike and practice yoga for four days this Aug. 24-27, 2019 in and around the Colorado River on Ruby and Westwater Canyons.
  • Stand-up Paddleboarding & Yoga: For four days this Sept. 5-8, 2019, yoga, fitness and stand-up paddleboarding join forces while rafting the Colorado River through Ruby and Westwater canyons. Led by Katie Woods and the guides at Holiday River Expeditions. 

For more information, availability, reservations or a copy of the 2019 catalog please call 800-624-6323, Email: Holiday@BikeRaft.com or log onto: http://www.bikeraft.com/

Follow Holiday River Expeditions:
On Twitter: @BikeRaft
On Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/HolidayExpeditions
On You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HolidayExpeditions
Blog: http://www.bikeraft.com/blog/

Huba-Huba Cambodia

By Alexandria Baiz × Vaughn Lowery

Cameron Michael Parkes was born in Vancouver, Canada (in British Columbia). He graduated from the University of Calgary, majoring in chemical engineering with a minor in petroleum. While working at a consulting firm, the oil prices dropped and he used his severance package to travel the world.

Throughout his two year journey in Southeast Asia, he found himself at Koh Rong Samloem – a small island just off the coast of Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Two main places to stay are Saracen Bay (dense more modern filled with tourists) or Mpei Bay (rustic village area with tons of locals). After a few weeks in both places, Cameron decides to trench through the hot and sticky jungle (with snakes, wild monkeys and insects) to the most desolate yet serene part of the island, Sunset Beach. He quickly becomes acquainted with paradise and decides to plant his feet at Huba-Huba where he enjoys perfect sunsets with unobstructed sea views.

After a brief trip to Sri Lanka, he returns to Huba-Huba to discover that the owner’s husband had passed in a tragic motorcycle accident. The widow offered to sell and Cameron decided to purchase. Looking back he says, “I like the beach-jungle vibe which isn’t perfect. I love this spot. Right on the beach, beautiful bay, monkeys come around, geckos.”

Huba-Huba Cambodia

Situated at the end of the beach, it contains 4 bungalows, 1 family bungalow, 4 private double rooms and 1 dorm – 8 beds and 3 tents. Their kitchen is armed with one of the best cooks on the entire island. Their “BBQ Nights” serve up sensational samplers of pork ribs, tofu, prawns and chicken. Polite waitstaff, heavy handed mixologists and free painting station where you can repurpose instruments as well as pieces of wood to build a sculpture from scratch. Snorkeling gear is available for rental.

Sleeping Trees owned by Yves Chalot

Yves (a notable bartender from Brittany) came to Sunset Beach as a dive instructor and fell in love. One day after speaking with his bosses, he discovers a beachfront property for rent. Then he invites his brother (a carpenter) and they decided to erect ‘Sleeping Trees.’ The name derived from only having tree tents and the idea of ‘sleep in’ trees arose. The vacation area has two newly renovated bungalows, four tipis and four tree tents. Each space can accommodate up to two people. In addition, there’s a 4-room dorm which can host eight. At the present moment, both owners want to focus on better gardening and overall aesthetics of the property. Best attributes are their crepes, homemade rum shots and Reggae Night on Saturdays.

Robinson Bungalows

Sebastian Straub, former social worker in Switzerland, has now owned the property for 5 years alongside of his wife Julia. Their location is pet-friendly and includes 7 bungalows and 7 tipis. Each bungalow is constructed from wood with straw rooves perfect for a cozy and tropical stay. Their reimaginged family bungalow or ‘Cozy Kikki Lu’ is an ideal choice for guests seeking modern-like amenities. Tents make for a perfect glamping experience since they’re about thirty feet from the ocean. We enjoyed soaking up the sun in one of the 20 hammocks on the premises. Take advantage of the full bar and $1 beers during happy hour. The onsite restaurant takes advantage of seasonal local produce and fresh catches when possible. Our favorite menu items were the English breakfast, hearty fruit bowls, red snapper and barbecued pork & chicken skewer. You may enjoy meals upstairs (two-stories high) in an outdoor covered dining patio and/or at the beach bar. Every morning, a taxi boat for guests cost $10 to go to the city and is easily accessible.

Sunboo Beach Bungalows

Karlo and Parisa Zahipour Moarefi both came from Austria, borrowed money from friends and invested in Sunboo. There are 6 Bungalows and a dorm with 8 beds. The beach or garden bungalows have ceiling fans and newly renovated bathrooms and sinks. With a strong Italian influence, everyday dining is delightful. For breakfast they make french toast, pancakes, crispy bacon and homemade baguettes. For lunch fresh gnocchi, burgers and triple fried french fries. The dinner menu is westernized with our favorite thin crust pizza. And of course the Sunboo beach bar is the party area where we sip and socialize. One of the only establishments which serve wine on Sunset Beach.

Sunset Adventures Dive Shop

They offer a full array of outdoor activities on the island with two locations – Saracen Bay and Sunset Beach. We took their half-day diving class (for all levels) and their master instructors were extremely attentive. The rock climbing experience offers amazing views of the sea. Kayaking trips are a must-try with a guide to discover the wonderful island and underwater world. The most intriguing activity on the island is the nighttime plankton tour which allows one to witness and capture their bioluminescence.

Lazy Beach Resort

A private tropical hideaway on Koh Rong Samloem. The vacation area has 1 private beach, 22 bungalows and 1 guest house. The wooden bungalows all have two large double beds, en-suite bathrooms and a spacious balcony offering waters edge views of the warm tropical ocean. Paddle boarding is one of the most popular activities to do, but also board games, snorkeling and dive sites. The infamous bar is a must visit with the number one drink being the ‘Bahama Mama.’ All sorts of signature drinks like brown and white rum malibu, grenadine and juices. This private beach getaway is breathtaking.

Koh Rong Samloem Lighthouse

The most amazing experience on the island and also its highest point. We recommend you take a taxi boat to the drop-off or trail which leads up to the lighthouse. Rumored to have been an old military watch tower, the views are spectacular. Be prepared to climb at least 7 to 8 stories to the top. The smell inside the lighthouse is a tad overwhelming and rancid. Be willing to pay at least $1-3 USD for the private tour. That price does not include the taxi boat.

Vaughn Lowery, 360 magazine, Huba-Huba cambodia

Vaughn Lowery on a taxi boat to Mpei Bay

Huba-huba Cambodia, 360 magazine, Cambodia

Ping pong at Huba-Huba Cambodia

Koh rong samloem lighthouse, Cambodia, koh rong sanloem lighthouse, 360 magazine

Koh Rong Samloem Lighthouse

Sunset adventures dive shop on sunset beach, koh rong samloem, Cambodia,  360 MAGAZINE

Vaughn Lowery dives w/ Sunset Adventures

Koh rong samloem, Cambodia, southeast Asia,  360 MAGAZINE

Sleeping Trees at Sunset Beach

Koh rong samloem, Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Sunset at Sunset Beach

Sunset adventures dive shop on sunset beach,  koh rong samloem,  Cambodia,  360 MAGAZINE

Sunset Adventures Dive Shop on Sunset Beach

Sleeping trees, sunset beach, koh rong samloem, Cambodia,  360 MAGAZINE

Inside Sleeping Trees newly renovated bungalow

Sleeping trees sunset beach, koh rong samloem, Cambodia,  360 magazine

Sleeping Trees tipi

Owners of sunboo bungalows, koh rong samloem, Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Owners of Sunboo Beach Bungalows

Sleeping trees sunset beach, koh rong samloem, Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Sweet & sour tofu at Sleeping Trees

Huba-huba Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Tempura battered chicken at Huba-Huba Cambodia

Robinson bungalows, 360 MAGAZINE

English breakfast at Robinson Bungalows

Huba-huba Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Huba-Huba Cambodia staff member

Huba-huba Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Tents at Huba-Huba Cambodia

Cameron Michael Parkes, Huba-Huba Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Cameron Michael Parkes of Huba-Huba Cambodia

Huba-huba Cambodia, 360 MAGAZINE

Outdoor area at Huba-Huba Cambodia

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Southern Roots Festival

Food Network Stars Join Celebrity Chef Ashley Clay For Anticipated Southern Roots Festival, The Ultimate Tailgating Culinary Experience To The Big Game

Southern hospitality extended to 1.5 million fans via a showcase of music, arts, culture, and food

Four fabulous Food Network Culinary Divas will join Celebrity Chef Ashley Clay to bring the richness of “Down South” to the forefront during the Southern Roots Festival in Atlanta, GA as a prelude to the Big Game. The Southern Roots festival will kick off on Monday, January 28, 2019, and run until Sunday, February 3, 2019.

In conjunction with Southern Roots Festival Creative Director and Executive Producer, Aisha Davis of DESHO Productions, and NORTH&KING Developers, “Southern Roots,” founded by celebrity chef, Ashley Clay, will be presented directly across the street from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a first in Super Bowl history for a private festival. The seven-day experience will include family-friendly activations of culinary excitement, an outdoor pop-up mall, interactive gaming, a silent disco, live concerts from local and national talent and live demonstrations hosted across ten zones and two main stages.

Food Network’s Chef Penny Davidi, Chef Maneet Chauhan, Chef Tregaye Fraser, and Chef Michele Ragussis will participate in “Battle of the Culinary Divas” events at the Southern Roots Kitchen Stadium during the following days and times:

● Friday, February 1 (1 to 3 p.m.) “Battle of the Grits”

○ Hosted by Food Network’s favorite villain, Chef Penny Davidi, sponsored by Sugar Foods

○ Each celebrity chef partnered with NFL players to whip up unique grit dishes

○ Winning team to go on to Sunday cookoff playoffs

● Saturday, February 2 (1 to 3 p.m.) “Battle of the Mac ‘N’ Cheese”

○ Hosted by Food Network’s favorite villain, Chef Penny Davidi, sponsored by Sugar Foods

○ Each celebrity chef partnered with NFL players to create mac n’ cheese dishes

○ Winning team to go on to Sunday cookoff playoffs

● Game Day! Sunday, February 3 (1 to 3 p.m.) “Battle of the Chicken Wings”

○ Hosted by Food Network’s favorite villain, Chef Penny Davidi, sponsored by Sugar Foods

○ Final two celebrity chefs and NFL players battle for the crown

“We are thrilled to have Food Network stars join us for the Southern Roots Festival! Their presence will elevate our event as the premier culinary tailgating experience in Atlanta. I can’t wait to interact and cook with the talented women who are welcomed into 100 million households across the nations.” – Chef Ashley Clay, CEO/Founder

For more information, visit https://southernrootsexperience.com/. To apply for media coverage, click here.

ABOUT SOUTHERN ROOTS FESTIVAL

The Southern Roots Festival is a culinary tailgate entertainment experience hosted during Super Bowl LIII offering arts, music, culture and mouth-watering Southern cuisine. The festival features programming that highlights food, sports, gaming and special events curated by lifestyle influencers. It represents a collective vision of events and experiences that transcend color, sex, and cultural background.

ABOUT ASHLEY CLAY ENTERPRISES

Celebrity Chef Ashley Clay, an Atlanta native, is the founder of Chef Ashley, Inc, a catering empire, which includes Chef Ashley Enterprises and By The Pans. Chef Ashley was exposed to a style of cooking during her childhood and fused her unique Southern flair and traditional American influences to create flavorful masterpieces. Her dishes have delighted the likes of Atlanta royalty including Ludacris, Ciara, L.A. Reid, Floyd Mayweather, and Tyler Perry, all of whom helped catapult her into the political arena landing her private meetings in the Mayor’s office with senators and members of Congress. Most recently, Chef Ashley has become the go-to lifestyle and culinary curator for Atlanta’s Fortune 500 C-Suite executives. The serial entrepreneur is in the kitchen whipping up a recipe of success to produce her own line of seasonings, food products, and culinary expansion into restaurants and hotels. She’s also in talks with producers about creating a southern-centric food television show.

ABOUT FOOD NETWORK

FOOD NETWORK is a unique lifestyle network, website, and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to nearly 100 million U.S. households and draws over 46 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown 13 times and is the No. 2 best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand, with 13.5 million readers. Food Network is owned by Discovery, Inc., a global leader in real life entertainment whose portfolio also includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, TLC, Investigation Discovery, and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

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Sweden Turns Into World’s Largest Gourmet Restaurant

To highlight healthy and natural food available in nature, Sweden, together with four Swedish Michelin-starred chefs, is launching The Edible Country – a 100-million-acre-DIY gourmet restaurant. The restaurant, with a menu created from ingredients found in Swedish nature, is free of charge and open for reservations.

In this new global initiative, Sweden is showing the world how easy and accessible healthy food can be. The Edible Country consists of a nine-course menu that visitors can prepare and cook themselves – in the wild. It is co-created by Swedish Michelin-starred chefs Titti Qvarnström, Niklas Ekstedt, Jacob Holmström and Anton Bjuhr.

As part of the initiative, seven handmade wooden tables have been placed across the country with ready-to-use kitchen kits and cooking tools. The tables are bookable between May and September through visitsweden.com/ediblecountry or bookatable.co.uk/theediblecountry. And if they are fully booked, it is still possible to visit The Edible Country and prepare the dishes at any other preferred location in Swedish nature.

“Sweden is 96 percent uninhabited and yet easily accessible for everyone. Our nature is filled with edible ingredients and we want to invite the world to enjoy them, and at the same time wind down in nature like us Swedes do. By using our star chefs’ menu, this new and innovative DIY culinary experience makes it possible for visitors to explore and transform nature into gourmet food themselves,” says Jennie Skogsborn Missuna, Chief Experience Officer at Visit Sweden.

Highly processed foods have become everyday food for people all over the world, with healthy alternatives often perceived as complicated and inaccessible. With The Edible Country, Sweden proves how natural and healthy food can be just as tasty and easy to make as anything else, with ingredients available in nature.

“For me, Swedish nature has always been my biggest source of inspiration when cooking. The hours I have spent in the forest have turned into the realization that cooking outdoors, with the ingredients right in front of me, is the core of Swedish cuisine. The Edible Country is a symbol of how easy, close and uncomplicated food can and should be,” says Niklas Ekstedt.

The dishes on the menu vary depending on the season, so the ingredients can be found in nature almost all year round. Among the dishes is forest broth with poached perch and broiled herb butter, and freshly smoked char with chanterelles and wood sorrel. This and much more is found in The Edible Country, which is now open for reservations.

“At Bookatable we help diners find great restaurants to create memorable dining experiences, so we are absolutely delighted to help with this innovative idea. Discovering a new restaurant is always exciting, but getting to forage for food in Sweden’s beautiful countryside and then cook a dish created by a Michelin-starred chef is an opportunity not to be missed. My only advice would be to book up quickly!” says Michel Cassius, CEO Bookatable by Michelin.

> More information about the restaurant: visitsweden.com/ediblecountry

> Make your reservation at visitsweden.com/ediblecountry or bookatable.co.uk/theediblecountry

Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival

Birders descend on Morro Bay each year over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend to attend the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival and capture glimpses of the massive migrating madness as they dive, swoop and scatter by the hundreds. This is Insta-worthy at its finest. But, you don’t have to attend the festival to marvel at these fine feathered friends because Morro Bay is a distinctive coastal destination for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway through March.

The coastal Mediterranean climate sets the stage and creates the perfect backdrop for bird watching, no matter where you roam: the Morro Bay State Park boardwalk, bustling Embarcadero, iconic Morro Rock, or up close and personal from kayaks, paddleboards and boat tours. The Morro Bay National Estuary Preserve and its unique 800-acre wetland filled with salt marshes and mudflats are home to more than 250 species of land, sea, and shore birds as well as dozens of endangered species all winter long, including Peregrine Falcons.

ߦ The 23rd Annual Winter Bird Festival: January 18 – 21

This popular Winter Bird Festival, hosted by the Morro Bay Audubon Society, takes place each year over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. With more than 130 events, including nature treks, presentations, workshops, and lectures, there is a lot to discover. This event is designed to promote the understanding and appreciation of wildlife and environmental conservation. Topics range from geology and biology, to photography and more.

ߦ Saturday Art, Wine & Nibbles Reception – NEW

On Saturday, January 19, from 5:30 – 6:30 pm attendees have an opportunity to browse festival exhibits at a wine reception that includes light snacks. Afterwards, attendees will head over to the South Bay Community Center in Los Osos for James Currie’s keynote presentation.

ߦ Bird Festival Bazaar

Check out birding and bird inspired vendors, public presentations and environmental groups at the Bird Festival Bazaar Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

ߦ Self-Guided Tours

Get out in the field on your own schedule and at your own pace with the Winter Bird Festival self-guided tours. Try El Moro Elflin Forest Natural Area. With a raised board walk over the edge of the Bay, this is a great place to observe the unique plants and spot over 100 species of birds. Find the 13th Street entrance of Santa Ynez Street by following the signs in Los Osos.

ߦ Family Day

No preregistration or registration fee is required to participate in the family day events which take place on Saturday January 19th at the Museum of Natural History. Programs include arts & craft, educational talks, hikes, kayak and canoe rides, and up-close encounters with birds, reptiles, and insects. Children participating in Family Day will also be given a gift from the Morro Coast Audubon Society. Programing runs from 9:30 am-3 pm.

ߦ Mind Walks Series: Peregrine Falcons

Biologist Steve Schubert chronicles the efforts of nest site attendants and endangered species management techniques, captive breeding, double clutching, captive hatching of thin, fragile wild eggs, and the fostering of falcon chicks into the wild nests that have assisted in the recovery of a once-imperiled species. Author of the book The Peregrine Falcons of Morro Rock: A 50-year History, he is past president of Morro Coast Audubon Society. In its 25th year, the Mind Walk Series offers lecture on topics of interest to residents of the Central Coast, including cultural history, natural history, and current issues every Monday, January-March.

Thomson Safaris Announces New 2019 Itinerary

Thomson Safaris, the leading luxury safari operator in Tanzania, has announced a brand-new itinerary for 2019, which will highlight the best of the country’s wildlife, and explore its rich culture from a culinary perspective, including a visit to the “spice island” of Zanzibar. 

Guests will experience remarkable wildlife viewing on a safari through the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, and dive into Tanzania’s rich culture with fun, culinary excursions in Arusha, including a colorful local market visit and an interactive Tanzanian cooking demonstration.

For three days, guests will explore the iconic Serengeti plains, and complement the wildlife viewing with an off-the-beaten path visit to the village of Robanda, where they will learn how to make banana beer.  In the afternoon, they will partake in a traditional goat roast with Maasai warriors. The journey continues through the Ngorongoro Crater — one of the only places on Earth where you can see all of the Big Five — and a stay at Gibb’s Farm, the award-winning property owned by Judi Wineland and Rick Thomson, the owners of Thomson Safaris. The itinerary will also include walks through the organic farm where coffee, fruits, nuts and vegetables thrive in the rich, volcanic soil, and over 200 species of bird can be found. Guests will learn about sustainable agriculture through farm-to-table culinary activities in the bakery, gardens and kitchen, and, of course, they will indulge in farm-fresh cuisine.

This itinerary wraps with an adventure to Zanzibar, exploring the spice farms for which the island is known, along with excursions to Stone Town and the bustling Forodhani Gardens night market. Guests will cap off their final night with a sunset dhow cruise, featuring classic Swahili Coast dishes, drinks and a vibrant equatorial sunset.