Posts tagged with "adventure"

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. 

Japan Tourism Breaks Record

The Japan National Tourism Organization announced that more than 30 million overseas travelers visited Japan in 2018, an all-time record and an 8.7% increase over 2017 (the previous record year).

“Tourism to Japan from the United States – about 5% of the total – soared 11%,” says Naohito Ise, Executive Director of the Japan National Tourism Organization in New York, “with more and more Americans seeking beyond the classic tourism destinations of Tokyo and Kyoto to discover lesser-known parts of the country.”

In 2018, America’s two most influential travel magazines gave travel to Japan a major thumbs-up, with Travel+Leisure pronouncing Japan the “Destination of the Year” for 2018 and the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards citing Tokyo and Kyoto as the top two big cities in the world.

“American tourism to Japan is expected to continue to rise in 2019 as the country builds up to host major international sporting events,” continued Ise, “with a host of prestigious American media including Japan in their much-valued annual lists of the most recommended places to visit in the coming year.” The list of media is unusually impressive, including the New York Times, theWall Street JournalAFAR, Architectural Digest, Departures, Fodor’s, and Frommer’s.

For more information about travel to Japan, visit JNTO on its WebsiteFacebookInstagram and Twitter. To contact the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) New York office directly, please e-mail jntonyc_press@jnto.go.jp or call 212-757-5641.

Western River Expeditions

One river rafting company anticipates one of its best years in its history is just around the bend, thanks to the unprecedented strength of its early season bookings.
 
Western River Expeditions reports that its 3, 4, 6 and 7-day Grand Canyon trips for 2020 are full on many dates. And 2019 is already completely sold out. Western River is taking a wait list for spots that open up due to cancellations.
 
Opening day to place 2020 reservations was Nov. 15, 2018. “We booked over 1,000 seats on that day alone,” says Brandon Lake, CMO of Western River Expeditions.  “Online bookings are way up, with over 70 percent of some trips being booking online. Compared to the 40 percent average norm, this is a huge increase!”
 
He adds that, “other rivers are also seeing booming interest and bookings.” Bookings for 2019 five-day trips on Desolation Canyon, Green River are up three-fold over 2018. ”We have as many bookings for Desolation Canyon now as we usually end the year with.”
 
Other rivers favored in this booking uptick, comparing same time 2018 and 2019 include 

Lake attributes these record sales in part to:

  • Good overall US economy (to this point),
  • Swell of retiring Baby Boomers,
  • Popularity of the bucket list and desire to experience lifelong dreams like running the Grand Canyon and Cataract Canyon, 
  • Increasing interest in National Parks, particularly Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park which many guests visit while in Moab, Utah, before their trip to Desolation Canyon or Cataract Canyon.
  • Many new, excellent accommodation choices and availability for pre- and post-trip stays on adventures that depart from Moab, Utah (Cataract Canyon and Desolation Canyon). 

For those chomping at the bit to get on a raft in 2019, Western River advises that people call soon to reserve their space. “There are still some spots on some of our most popular expeditions and this is going to be an incredible year to experience the river.”
 
Lake explains that Western River is bound by the permits granted to them. These permits limit the number of guests that can travel with them each year. “This number doesn’t change, but guest demand for what is essentially a limited opportunity does.”
 
Utah’s Cataract Canyon, deep within Canyonlands National Park, is near enough in scale, appearance and proximity to the Grand Canyon that it works the same kind of magic found in the Grand herself. Just one canyon upstream on the Colorado River in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park is hands down the best alternative to a Grand Canyon rafting vacation,” he says.
 
Farther north from the confluence, Utah’s Desolation Canyon was carved by the 730-mile Green River, born from glacial melts on the Continental Divide in the Wyoming Rockies. The Green has created such rare and unique universe that Desolation Canyon has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. The Green’s whitewater promises soft adventure thrills over 60 fun-filled Class II and III rapids.
 

Calling Desolation Canyon “the ultimate, back-country family river trip,” Jason Taylor, an operations manager who oversees all of Western River Expeditions’ trips in Utah, noted that the five-day program is appropriate for children as young as 5. It’s also a great river trip for extended families and first-time rafters.
 
For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2019 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.

BEST CITIES TO VISIT IN 2019

From cities that may be closer to home to exciting overseas destinations, these are some of the top places to visit in 2019.

Auckland, New Zealand

The vibrant capital city of New Zealand recently became one of just 31 cities that are part of the UNESCO Creative Cities network for music. This trending travel destination is home to many of the nation’s renowned artists and institutions. No matter when you visit you can expect to find fabulous live tunes and there’s likely to be a music festival or special event to enjoy too. Visitors can also look forward to the famous panoramic vistas from the iconic Sky Tower and exploring countless museums like the Auckland Art Gallery, the largest art institution in the country featuring more than 15,000 works of historic, modern and contemporary art.

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City has been popping up on lists of top travel destinations everywhere in recent years, and for good reason. It’s one of America’s top foodie cities, with high quality dishes served at all price points from deep dish pizza to hot dogs and fine dining at the two Michelin-starred Acadia. Chicago is also home to one of the world’s greatest museums, the Art Institute of Chicago and five pro sports teams: the MLB’s White Sox and Cubs, the NFL’s Bears, the NHL’s Blackhawks and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls making it easy to catch a game just about anytime of the year. There’s so much to do in this midwestern city you might just find yourself browsing through Chicago real estate looking for your next new home.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is a place everyone should visit at least once and 2019 may be one of the best times to check this Argentinian city off your travel bucket list. Airfares are lower than ever thanks to low-cost carriers and emerging airlines, and the dollar is incredible strong against the Argentinian peso too, making that famously tasty Malbec more affordable than ever. Look forward to walking through the delightful pedestrian areas and watching tango dances in the streets as you explore the wealth of wine bars, cafes and steakhouses.

Berlin, Germany

There are two important anniversaries in Berlin that will be marked in 2019, including the 30-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the centenary of the Bauhaus, with its festival held from January 16 to January 24. Stroll through Berlin Mitte, the historical heart of the city. and you’ll be able to check out many of its top sites like the Brandenburg Gate, the iconic symbol of Berlin that symbolizes the reunification of the West and East. If you visit in September, the weather is not only likely to be ideal, but you can attend the Lollapalooza Berlin, hosted on September 8 and 9 in 2019. It’s sure to bring plenty of big-name artists – last year’s lineup included headliners like Imagine Dragons and Liam Gallagher. It also features an open-air art gallery, street theater, wine bars and a festival for kids.

HOLIDAY RIVER EXPEDITIONS

Soldier, geologist and explorer John Wesley Powell is an American legend. One-hundred-fifty years ago this year, he and a brave band of men set out from Green River, WY, with a mission to map and log the canyons, tributaries and features of the unexplored Green and Colorado rivers. History tells the amazing tale of adventure, hardship and ultimate success.

In 2019, to honor and celebrate the spirit of that epic journey, Holiday River Expeditions will re-create a portion of Powell’s trip on an 18-day, oar-powered rafting adventure from July 5 to 22. The John Wesley Powell 150th Celebration Trip will retrace Powell’s route through Lodore, Desolation, Gray, Labyrinth, Stillwater and Cataract Canyons in Utah. The 308 miles can be done as a whole, spanning the entire state of Utah, or as one or more of four stand-alone segments.

“This kind of epic, multi-week rafting adventure is rarely offered in this day and age of quick escape vacations. For this season only, it’s our honor to offer guests this voyage back in time offering a true slice of American history through stories and expert insights,“ explains Lauren Wood, Trip Director and granddaughter of company founder, the late Dee Holladay. “While this journey is lengthy, modern equipment and services guarantee it’s nowhere near as arduous and challenging as Powell’s expedition was.”

On each leg of the trip, Holiday River Expeditions has invited a renowned river historian along to help recreate what Powell encountered on his journey via captivating stories and readings.

The full July 5-22 18-day adventure is $3,850 per person (plus Land Use Fee). Included in all four legs of the trip are delicious campfire meals, snacks and beverages, all required equipment, expert guides and shuttle transportation.

4-day Gates of Lodore – Guests begin with Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument, arriving by van from Vernal, UT. The put-in is in Brown’s Park National Wildlife Refuge where almost immediately some of Powell’s more infamous rapids — Disaster Falls and Hell’s Half Mile — challenge rafters (the Powell party named most all of the rapids and features found here and downstream). Tranquil waters prevail up to the confluence of the Yampa River in Echo Park, named for its incredible acoustics and scenery. Then come the swirling, unpredictable currents Powell dubbed Whirlpool Canyon. The last day in Dinosaur National Monument carries guests into what Powell described as a place where the river stretched out shallow and as wide as the Missouri River.The per person rate for Leg 1 is $1,005 (youth, senior and group rate $885). River historian Roy Webb joins this segment. He has spent his life running the rivers of the western United States and has authored four books and many articles and book reviews, virtually all on the history of river running in Utah. He is a charter member of the Colorado Plateau River Guides Association. 5-day Desolation Canyon includes a 30-minute scenic flight from Green River, UT, to the embarkation point for Desolation Canyon at Sand Wash. Much of Desolation Canyon is a National Historic Landmark established in 1969, the centennial of the Powell expedition. It was selected because it is relatively unchanged from the time of Powell and the place where the most authentic experience can still be had today. As the cliffs’ colors shift dramatically, it is easy to see why Powell named Gray Canyon. Even more eccentric rock towers lead to sporty rapids like Wire Fence, Three Fords and Coal Creek. Mystical seeps in the rock layer bring verdant life to the canyon walls.The per person rate for Leg 2 is $1,180 (youth $980, senior, group $1,085). Dennis Willis, a noted river historian, joins this sector. For 30 years Dennis worked for the BLM’s Price Field Office as the caretaker of Desolation Canyon. He supported and nurtured scientific research in fisheries and hydrology, geology, botany and archaeology. With over 120 Desolation trips logged, it is still his magical, special place.

5-day Labyrinth Canyon brings guests through a rarely visited section of the Green River and into the upper stretches of Labyrinth Canyon that slowly rises up and closes in, moving from alien flat lands of the upper section to breathtaking red-canyon walls with exquisite side stops like Trin Alcove, 10-mile Canyon and Bowknot Bend.The per person rate for Leg 3 is $950. Joining this section is John Weisheit, an active member of the Conservation of Living Rivers and Colorado Riverkeeper of the Waterkeeper Alliance. 5-day Cataract Canyon begins with tranquility on the flat water and in the secret tiered grottoes of Stillwater Canyon. Here signs of Ancestral Puebloan peoples abound. The confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers marks the beginning of Cataract Canyon and the heart of Canyonlands National Park. After few short miles of flat water, from downstream comes an ominous thunder of Powell’s Cataracts – 30-plus rapids. With full chapters written about them, these massive wave-trains and churning holes are an epic crescendo for this extended and historic excursion.

The per person rate for Leg 4 is $1,180 (youth, senior, group $1,040).Weisheit will also provide insight and interpretation along this final leg of the journey.

About Holiday River Expeditions

Holiday River Expeditions began in 1966, when Dee Holladay and his wife Sue took the plunge to become river outfitters. Due to its respect for the lands, rivers, guests and employees, the family-owned-and-operated company has grown exponentially. Each of its guides is professionally trained in first aid and river safety, and with 50+ years of experience, the company provides guests the opportunity to explore the nation’s wild lands safely and securely. Holiday River Expeditions has a commitment to protect the environment through education and conservation, and as such, uses oar-powered and paddle rafts exclusively.

FREDERICKSBURG

By Alexandria Baiz × Vaughn Lowery

Fredericksburg, Texas the destination of historical sites and culture welcomes us. With the hidden treasures of food, wine and goods the Texas Hill Country is a must-visit.

Beginning with a stay at the one and only Hanger Hotel. This hotel has a WWII hangar of the romantic 1940’s to it’s design with fine woods and custom carpets. Famous for the Observation Deck on the second floor with views adjacent to the airport to see the planes come and go from one end of the runway to the end.

Later a stop to the Pioneer Museum Complex preserved from the 19th century German Pioneer days. In the mid-1840s Germans faced every obstacle to come to Texas and create a unique German colony in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. The Museum strives to preserve and tell this story. With a combination museum and historical site, it reaches over 3.5 acres on Main Street in downtown Fredericksburg.

Dinner at Das Peach Haus that houses delicious jams, jellies and sauces made by Fischer and Wieser Speciality Foods. The Historic roadside fruit stand offers gourmet products with unique flavor combinations. The Tasting Room offers tastings from two Texas wineries, which change out every two months. Vintage wines are paired with international assortment of cured meats and cheeses. Fischer and Wieser include more than 70-award-winning products, which each inspire culinary adventures around the world by being able to purchase online.

Clear River Pecan does things differently with hot-from-the-oven baked goods, homemade ice cream and house deli. Homemade ice cream with high-quality ingredients has been voted as the third best ice cream in Texas. For a bite to eat the deli and salad selection is notable with house favorites like the Chipotle Ranch Chicken Wrap. Fresh baked goods can satisfy any sweet tooth with an Apple Strudel, Peach Cobbler and everything in between.

Tour at the George H.W. Bush Gallery at The National Museum of the Pacific War dedicated exclusively to telling the story of the Pacific Theater in World War II. The Museum is noted for its historic materials with iconic elements of the Pacific War era. Guided tours debut the newly renovated Pacific Combat Zone, a realistic environment for a deep understanding of the momentous struggle between Allied Forces and Japanese forces.

For lunch we enjoy an Arts District Stroll through the Peach Tree Gift Gallery and Tea Room. With the Cottage style restaurant, you will find a combination of fresh, homemade breads, soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts. For over 39 years this family owned business has been a destination in Fredericksburg, because of the seasonal fruits and vegetables they use.

After lunch, we took an art tour through the streets of Fredericksburg to meet with the area’s top galleries. Insight Gallery represents the cities artists and sculptors that today work on landscape, figurative, impressionistic, still life, wildlife and western art. The Good ART Company is beautiful with a contemporary fusion in a restored 4,000+ square foot historical building with high ceilings and limestone walls. The gallery features an array of genres with some of the best regional, national, and international artists. Koch Gallery owned and operated by Bert E. Koch a trader/broker for traditional, contemporary and modern Native American Art. For over 30 years it continues its long tradition of providing important works of art from all major cultural regions in North America. Artisans Gallery makes your artistic dreams reality with unique pieces that come in every medium, size and price range. RS Hanna a jewel for fine arts with original works of acclaimed artists. Workings range from oil, watercolor, bronze and wood. Gallery 330 is the newest addition to the art scene representing contemporary established artists whose works include sculpture, painting and prints, serigraphs and watercolors.

The Holiday Wine Trail takes us to Texas’s countryside to travel along Wine Road 290 with visit to award winning wineries.

The trail begins at Stout’s Trattoria at Grape Creek Vineyards a 100-acre vineyard estate. With oaks and vines surrounding the tasting rooms there is a romantic Tuscan setting that is truly unforgettable. The Vineyards have won over 100 medals in the last two years for their wines.

In the heart of the Texas Hill Country, 4.0 Cellars offers a relaxing and elegant setting to discover the infamous Texas Wines. In a private tasting room we enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing. With four award-winning chocolate truffles from local chocolatier with four carefully selected dry red wines.

Dinner at August E’s, known for it’s organic produce and superb local suppliers. August E inspired by his Thai roots and years in various culinary pursuits throughout the world has created a Nouveau Texas Cuisine. Utilizing ingredients like: Niman ranch Natural Premium Aged Angus steaks and local farmers fruits and vegetables year round. Menu specials change seasonally based on the creative mood of Chef Leu like duck from Maple Leaf Farms and Sashimi Grade Fish.

A favorite in the Texas Hill, we enjoy dinner at Otto’s German Bistro. Menu changes weekly with the season so each visit is an exciting adventure. Dedicated to local, organic produce ingredients that are always fresh and the highest quality.

We enjoy breakfast at Java Ranch a locally owned coffee stop. The ranch serves the finest hot or iced coffee drinks anywhere including lattes, cappuccinos, Hill Country roasted brewed coffee, Americanos and mochas. To start the day off we dive in a breakfast taco or kolaches, house favorites.

We take a visit to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park for a “Texas style” morning. During his administration, Johnson signed more education bills into law than any other president. In respect to that we see his first school where he signed the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education act of 1965. Other stops include the family cemetery and the LBJ Ranch Show.

In the afternoon we endow in lunch and a beer tasting at Altstadt Brewery Fredericksburg’s newest brewery an authentic Bavarian brewery. Dedicated to creating the purest drinking beers the 120-acre old world destination features a fine dining restaurant, brewery tours and a beautiful venue. Brewery exclusives include traditional brews like Schwarzbier, a traditional German “Black Beer.”

With over 150 specialty shops, shopping is one of the primary reasons visitors come to Fredericksburg. In store we see everything from clothing, upscale home accessories, to unique collectibles and more perfect items for holiday shopping. Blackchalk Home and Laundry originally an old laundromat had been transformed into an electric home goods store. The hip store features gifts, kitchen goods, and one of a kind rugs. The infamous Christmas Store open year round specializes in collectibles. For collectors, this store is paradise with Department 56 miniature villages and Christopher Radko blown glass ornaments. The Hill Country Outfitters and The Grasshopper offer products to fit the hill country lifestyle in downtown Fredericksburg. Brands like Ugg and The North Face are housed in the Outfitters. The Narrow Path Tasting Room inside is an intimate space with French cafe feelings in the air.

To continue the Holiday Wine Trail, a stop at Signor Vineyard in the rolling hills of Central Texas. Where the Pedernales River meets Grape Creek, established by a friendship spanning three generations of two Texas families. Their focus is growing premium varietal fruit with soulful wines reflective of the unique terroir.

Our stay is perfect timing for the Fredericksburg’s 61st Annual Holiday Home Tour. A self guided tour showcasing unique local homes decorated in their holiday finest. With more than 22 vendors each year selling personal gifts, homemade foods and holiday items.

For dinner we dine at Navajo Grill, which encompasses an unusual blend of Hill Country craftsman design. Enjoying Southern cuisine composed with old and New Mexican flavors with a touch of Creole & Caribbean influences. Specialties like the Sunday Chicken Fried Steak dinner are served with housemade sauces and dressings.

After dinner drinks at Elk Store Winery & Distillery. Since 1895 the business has carried a family tradition that pays homage to the spirit of realizing the American Dream. In the footsteps of their great grandfather Todd Smajstrla along with Scott Hladky, produced moonshine, gin, rum, and whiskey. Since then, the business serves Incredible wines from all over the world. Along with small batches of handmade liquors by the bottle or cocktails.

Dinner at Rathskeller a full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner spot in downtown Fredericksburg. The menu selection is extremely versatile featuring German dishes and daily specials. On Friday and Saturday nights enjoy live music that house the restaurant.

Nothing better than the taste of handmade tortillas for breakfast at Hilda’s Tortillas. Hilda’s is a small family owned and operated business. Specializing in authentic Mexican fare their breakfast tacos and burritos are a must try. Twice a week 300 or more pounds of tortilla chips are produced within the restaurant.

For some fresh air we bike the quiet country backroads with Jack and Adams Bicycles. At Jack and Adams you can rent out Road, Tri-bike, Cruisers and even kid bicycles and accessories from a variety of brands. The Hill Country scenes with its rolling hills and panoramic views, is considered the cycling capital of Texas.

In addition to the speciality shops we visited above there is a collection of shops specializing in different festive treats. Emma + Ollie bakeshop takes classic treats we grew up loving and elevated them. The shop prides themselves on using only fresh ingredients; no processed foods, no artificial sweeteners, just pure dessert. The founders Emma and Ollie wanted the shop to feel as if customers stepped into an upscaled version of their own grandma’s kitchen. Chocolat store creator, Lecia Duke, was the first to introduce European-Style, liquid centered chocolate in the U.S. The truffle chocolates are of course a house favorite as the delicate shell gives way to the pure liquid flavor casades in your mouth. In addition there is also colette’s, creams, silk fudges, nut clusters, barks, and caramels. Fredericksburg Pecan Company provides fine quality of pecan products grown in the Texas Hill Country. Owners are dedicated to providing excellent quality pecans available for online order at reasonable prices with the best customer service. Pecans are flavored and glossed in everything from pecan brittle to pecan coffee.

Rustlin Rob’s Texas Gourmet Food is not your ordinary gourmet food, not limited to people who cook but to “foodies” of all ages. The store is enjoyable because it caters to anyone who loves to eat. With over 350 gourmet foods we can sample from ranging from peanut butters, mustards, bread mixes, and some 5 Alarm hot sauces.

Fredericksburg Pie Company mission is to serve pie that is as good as, or better than your mothers or grandmothers made. In store pies are made from scratch and selections change daily with up to 20 kinds of pie. While here, we enjoy an option of coffee, milk, and more with our slice of pie and even a book selection. Sugar free pies are also available with a call in a day before.

Lunch at the Farm Haus Bistro in the Fredericksburg Herb Farm, with an American menu with French and Italian influences. Owners Dick and Rosemary Estenson take us on a tour of the B&B Cottages based upon the design of the early historic Fredericksburg “Sunday Houses. These houses are inspired by German settlers who built these small “city houses” to use on the weekends to buy provisions and attend Sunday church. We also visit the Nature Spa area dedicated to a truly unique relaxing experience.

Exploring Main Street is incredible when we can enjoy Eisban, an outdoor ice skating on real ice. Alongside Marketplace and the Christmas Pyramid. Afterwards a trip to Luckenbach, Texas made famous by Waylon Jennings’ and Willie Nelson’s 1976 classic country hit.

For our last destination Dinner and wine pairing at local Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Country Restaurant. Chef/Owner Ross Burtwell’s wish is to create a lasting impression of culinary craft where guest feel at home. Known for his speciality in preparing the freshest seafood, Certified Angus Beef, wild game and ranch fare. The wine selection is also superb with over 75 selections from around the State of Texas. Tripadvisor has ranked the restaurant Top 10 in the nation and we know why.

The good art company, gallery, art, Fredericksburg Texas,  360 MAGAZINE

August E's, 360 MAGAZINE,  Fredericksburg Texas

War museum, Fredericksburg Texas, 360 MAGAZINE,  Vaughn Lowery

Altstadt Brewery, Fredericksburg Texas, 360, 360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery

Chocolat, lecia Duke, 360 MAGAZINE, Fredericksburg, Vaughn Lowery

Trailblazing Women in Travel History

It’s not just men who love adventure and trailblazing into the unknown. Yet for some reason it’s men who’ve gained the notoriety of being explorers and adventurers, with the history books filled with pages of their exploits. But women aren’t the wallflowers they’ve been represented as through the years. Women, in both past and the present, have traveled from one end of the globe to the other using horses, cars, ships, planes, and trains. Today women are celebrating women…and all their accomplishments. And why wouldn’t being pioneers of travel be on the list of these achievements?

Most of these female explorers are forgotten when we look at those who have travelled into new territories and gone on amazing adventures around the world. Yet women have been travelling for thousands of years, with evidence going back as far as the 4th century. The earliest mention of a woman traveling is from 381 A.D. when the Abbess of Egeria travelled on foot up Mount Sinai. Her pilgrimage diary outlines her thoughts and experiences from those many years ago.

In the 19th century, wealthy Victorian women began to travel for many reasons, both personal and political. Still others travelled to locations around the world where they felt they could make a difference, engaging in the missionary work that men didn’t have time for. Many women travelled so they could research other cultures, writing books about their adventures. And not only did women travel to see the world, many are known for their efforts to advance feminism, leading the way for other women to follow in their footsteps.

From 1871 to 1885 Marianne North, a British naturalist and painter, travelled to six different continents where she painted flowers and plants. She voyaged by ship to South America, Asia, and Africa…travelling on her own when she couldn’t find a “satisfactory companion” to pursue her passion of painting the different flora around the world. Her paintings and letters to friends about her travel experiences are a great narrative of what travel was like for a solo female traveller.

Another well known explorer in the early 1900s was Gertrude Bell, who travelled all around Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. As a writer and an archaeologist, her books give women today a clear picture of what it was like to travel to foreign countries.

“All the earth is seamed with roads, and all the sea is furrowed with the tracks of ships, and over all the roads and all the waters a continuous stream of people passes up and down – travelling, as they say, for their pleasure. What is it, I wonder, that they go out to see?” – Gertrude Bell.

It’s easy to see that women throughout history have travelled for the same reason we do today – for adventure and to satisfy our curiosity to see the world. Spread across the years, we’re highlighting seven of the most influential and trailblazing women in travel. With their unique backgrounds, and their drive and determination, they’re a true inspiration for women around the globe.

South African Tourism

2019 will be a landmark year as South Africa celebrates 25 years of freedom and democracy. South African Tourism is encouraging travelers to make 2019 the year they discover everything that the country has to offer, from its wildlife, natural beauty, and dramatic coastlines to its world-class restaurants, art galleries, and compelling explorations of culture. It is a unique moment to reflect and acknowledge the country’s socio-economic progress since the end of apartheid and its journey to becoming one of the world’s most sought-after travel destinations.

The new year will offer a diverse array of authentic experiences from art, culture and adventure to exciting hotel developments and new itineraries. With the continued strength of the dollar to the rand, it’s the opportune time to travel to the destination!

Reviving Cape Town

Thanks to innovative solutions put in place earlier this year to combat the drought in Cape Town, the Mother City is open for business and looks towards a bright 2019 with water levels stabilizing and significant efforts continuing to play a key role in the conversation on conserving our precious water. The city’s diverse range of breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural experiences, world class food and wine, art, marine life, nature and much more, are all ready to return to the spotlight in 2019.

New Activity Offerings

The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Robben Island Museum, is starting to offer tours to visitors upon request. A new exhibit at the Mayibuye History Centre at the University of the Western Cape are unique multimedia collections depicting images of the resistance and freedom struggles caused by Apartheid. The two historical exhibits offer visitors the ability to experience, learn, and pay respects to South Africa’s history and better understand the forward momentum the country has made.

Boosting Family Travel

South Africa is becoming more accessible for traveling families through updated regulations. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) announced on December 1st, 2018 that they are relaxing some of the regulations for children traveling to South Africa. The announcement comes at a pivotal point for family travel as the Festive Season, a time when many families travel with their children, is fast approaching.

  • As visas are not required for US & CAN travelers visiting for less than 90 days, generally, children (under 18) travelling with both parents will experience no additional questioning and will not be requested to provide any additional documents, over and above a valid passport.

  • However, if it may appear that you are not the parents of the child for any reason, documentation may be requested. It is suggested that you consider carrying a birth certificate which features the details of the parent or parents, or other documentation that might assist to prove the parental relationship such as a marriage certificate, adoption certificate etc.

  • For more details from the Department of Tourism click here.

News from the Bush

Located on the Kapama Private Game Reserve, the Relais & Chateaux safari lodge, Camp Jabulani, is opening “Little Jabu” in October 2019 that will house 12 suites. 7 are “Jabulani Suites” ideal for couples and 5 are “Little Jabu Family Suites” for families with up to two children. The award winning lodge is known for guided bush walks and Big 5 game drives as well as the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, a leading private research and breeding facility for endangered species in the country.

In the Eastern Cape, the renowned Shamwari Private Game Reserve has finalized the first phase of its extensive $25 million refurbishment of the Eagles Crag Lodge and the Riverdene Family Lodge. The second phase, due to complete November 2019, will see a new, flagship luxury tented camp, and the renovation of the historic Long Lee Manor, featuring 18 private luxury suites. The reserve offers visitors the opportunity to get behind the scenes of the conservancy’s volunteering efforts and environmental regeneration projects.

The Royal Portfolio announced that the The Farmstead will open May 1, 2019. This property will be an exclusive lodge at Royal Malewane, just a mere 12 minute drive south of it, and stand as The Royal Portfolio’s first property in South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park. Accommodations will be provided in a main lodge as well as luxury villas and suites with rates inclusive of accommodation, meals, drinks, game drives and bush walks. It provides a completely different design style than the existing safari lodges in South Africa with light oak, tin roofs, wrought iron and gentle hues of blue and white defining the style.

Welcoming New Urban Retreats

Newmark Hotels, Residences, Reserves & Lodges, known for the noteworthy opening of Hallmark House in Johannesburg’s trendy Maboneng Precinct, is opening Stock Exchange – an eclectic city hotel in Cape Town’s most up-and-coming region, Woodstock. Set to open March 2019, it will boast just 33 apartment-style rooms with kitchens and will include a restaurant, swimming pool, gym and shops. The interior of the rooms celebrate local talent and the connection with the neighborhood. As a result, furniture and decorations items in the rooms will be pinpointed on a “design map” of Woodstock, allowing guests to purchase similar items and support the region’s artists.

Placed on the only tree-lined and fully pedestrianized avenue in Cape Town is Gorgeous George, a new hotel set to open early 2019. The new structure is the first hotel in the area to be a member of Design Hotels. Located between St. George’s Mall and Green Market Square, the goal of the hotel is to be a new cultural hub that reflects South Africa’s design scene.

360 MAGAZINE × TENNESSEE

Story × Photos by Ryan Johnson

360 Magazine visited the Upper Cumberland Area of Tennessee this October. Just in time to catch the transformation of the leaves into fall colors. This region of Tennessee is located between Nashville and Knoxville, 1 hour drive each way. The flagship towns in the area, Crossville and Cookeville, not only capture beauty of small towns on the fringe of picturesque landscapes, they provide access to a multitude of incorporated businesses. The combination of affordable shopping with the low cost of living and no state tax make this a hidden gem prime to visit for the traveler interested in an authentic experience, maybe more. If this isn’t explicit enough, it’s the only place I’ve been in the states I’m seriously considering moving to. That realization stuck in three days.

We spent most of our time in the state parks. Natural beauty wasn’t the only consistent theme. Each park was fitted with Jackson Kayaks, a local company that not only leads the sport but also the industry. The kayaks provided to the parks were offered at a massive discount to ensure everyone visiting would have the opportunity to try it themselves. A philosophy that says everything about the community and values of Jackson Kayak. This company created by Eric Jackson, a lead competitor in the sport, started the company with a kayak for his son. A product which at the time did not exist for someone that young, giving all kids the change to try it out.

In true pay it forward style, this collective effort in the community is full circle. One direct example being the contribution of outdated signs and details from the state parks to furnish a local brewery, Happy Trails Brewing Company. This brewery, headed by Jessica, a working Kindergarten Teacher in the community. Similar to all good breweries is a product of its surroundings. Another notable taste is Red Silo, a brewery that started as the winner of the home brew contest at the local WCTE PBS Station Blues & Brew fundraiser. Calf Killer is another local legend that brings a taste that will make your taste buds melt. These obvious must tries are only half the adventure, you could spend the day with the home brewers and be the judge yourself.

It’s easy to follow the well-traveled highways in between Nashville and Knoxville. You won’t regret taking an exit and heading to the green on the map. The state parks are vastly accessible, overlooks and access is a high priority brought forth by the pioneering effort of the CCC. The Civilian Conservation Corps healing gesture was an organized effort by the Roosevelt Administration in the wake of the great depression. If this doesn’t paint the picture, don’t worry. There’s a set of tourist binoculars that give people who are colorblind the ability to see colors for the first time, which in the fall will bring a loved one to their knees.

While most of the sites are accessible to all, there’s another layer for the more adventurous. Fairly strenuous hikes to the base of the many waterfalls are always buried beyond the overlooks. Some that were only made accessible by Disney in the production of the 1994 film “The Jungle Book” which created roads to some surreal and recognizable locations in the film. Justifiably integral to the jungle aesthetics the film demanded. Likewise, Tennessee is the one of two places in the world that offer the spectacle of synchronous fireflies. The other being in Southeast Asia.

With solid views and tasty beer, naturally comes great food. The care and attention restaurant owners put into their work makes the meals feel family style without the crockpot. Notably the buffet at Homestead Harvest in Cumberland Mountain State Park carries as much depth as the hike on Pioneer Trail around Byrd Lake. If you really feel like earning your meal, rent a Jackson Kayak to enjoy the cool breeze off the water. Whether you’re camping or staying in the luxury cabins at the top of the hill, wake early and catch the fog on the lake first thing in the morning.

Great things are made in Tennessee, you could be too.

As always, reach out on Instagram @360travelfood to see the best spots. Here’s a listed on vetted local flavors and experiences:

• Jackson Kayak, founded in 2003 based in Sparta, TN (jacksonkayak.com)

• Cumberland Mountain State Park, Crossville, TN (tnstateparks.com)

• Broast, TN Coffee Roasters, Cookeville, TN (broasttn.com)

• Blues & Brews Craft Beer Festival, Cookeville, TN (wcte.org/brews)

• Sunset Marina & Resort, Monroe, TN (sunsetmarina.com)

• Rock Island State Park, Rock Island, TN (tnstateparks.com/parks/rock-island)

• Fall Creek Falls State Park, Spencer, TN (tnstateparks.com/parks/fall-creek-falls)

• Ozone Falls State Park, Crossville, TN (tnvacation.com/local/crossville-ozone-falls)

• Black Mountain Overlook, Crossville, TN (cumberlandtrail.org)

• Homestead Harvest Restaurant, Crossville, TN (tnstateparks.com/parks/restaurant)

• Happy Trails Brewing Co., Sparta, TN (happytrailsbrewing.com)

• Red Silo Brewing LLC, Cookeville, TN (tnvacation.com/local)

• Calfkiller Brewing Company, Sparta, TN (calfkillerbeer.com)

• CrossFit Mayhem, Cookeville, TN (crossfitmayhem.com)

• Cumberland County Playhouse, Crossville, TN (ccplayhouse.com)