Each year we recognize “National Plan for Vacation Day” in January – but experts say that may be too late to wait this year.
Jennifer Weatherhead, travel expert, joined us today with tips to give you a jump on vacation planning.
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Take a trip around the world with some amazing wine and food pairings. Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington, travel expert highlights wines from around the world that are perfect for fall options and tips on the destination it hails from, so you can start planning your next wine-themed vacation, while enjoying it at home for now.
California wines are a perfect option for doing a wine tasting or celebrating… and when we do get to go back to travelling, it’s not too far away, so it can make for an easy long weekend filled with wine, amazing weather and some gorgeous views.
I picked this from California’s prominent wine region – Napa Valley – it’s a premium pick Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon which means it’ll be more full-bodied than a Pinot Noir and so it opens with flavours of intense dark berries, cocoa, and espresso aromas layered by spice and herb complexity. It’s on the higher end, so it deserves to be paired with something extra special.
To pretend you’re in Napa Valley, elevate your wine tasting by adding in some strawberries. I took it up a notch and made these balsamic parmesan strawberry bites, you can get the recipe on californiastrawberries.com. California strawberries are hitting their peak season right now, so it’s a great way to extend summer for us, and it’s a great way to really feel like you’re doing a real wine tasting.
NZ is known for having some of the most incredible wines and having some of the most breathtaking vineyards in the world. For being a small island it has stunning views.
Right from Marlborough in beautiful New Zealand comes this Kim Crawford Pinot Noir.
Kim Crawford is well-known for their #1 selling Sauvignon Blanc, which is incredible and such an easy drinking wine, but I also wanted to show you this Pinot Noir. It’s a cool-climate Pinot Noir which means it offers classic flavours of black cherry and raspberry with some earth notes.
This is one that would go great with a roasted lamb or meat dish, a hearty risotto, really anything that is earthy and rustic lends to that NZ feeling.
I know a lot of us are dreaming of that European vacation and maybe a little time in the south of France, known for their incredible red wine production. This wine I picked comes from France’s Languedoc region which sees more sunny days than most of the country, making it ideal for growing ripe, rich versions of cabernet sauvignon grapes.
Felix & Lucie’s Cabernet Sauvignon delivers earthy flavours and aromas of cocoa, black fruit and rosemary so serve it with beef brisket or robust stews. Try pairing this with dark chocolate or a full French meal to feel like you’re actually in France.
My ideal wine trip would be to Italy… I was there not long before the pandemic and I have to say, I have never met a Chianti I didn’t like! There’s an ease about doing wine tours in Italy… things move slower and you can really take your time to enjoy.
Italian red wines are always so delicious and this one is no exception – this is one from Tuscany and it’s one of the most recognized Tuscan wines in the world. Ruffino’s Chianti is one of the top selling Chiantis in North America and boasts flavours of red berries, cherries with spicy notes and even a touch of pepper.
And make it a full-on Italian experience with some Parmigiano-Reggiano, olives, marinated artichokes and more.
Portugal may not always be on the top of wine destinations, but I’m here to change your mind! Porto’s Douro Valley is where the world famous sweet Port wine is created. And also where some other great wines are mastered too. If you get a chance to visit Porto, do at least a day trip on the Douro river with stops at the vineyards and wineries.
I selected two uniquely Portugese wines to try. First, Port… and I say go for a white Port like this by Fonseca if you’re not a fan of fortified wines. It’s not as sweet and intense and works perfectly for a Port & Tonic (a spin on a classic Gin & Tonic) with orange slices and rosemary. It has oaky flavours and a bit of fruitiness. You can also try out a Verde wine, or a “green wine”… it’s not really “green” in colour, it just means it’s a very young and not aged long, and is a classic Portuguese take on a white wine.
For more from Weatherhead Harringon, visit her Instagram.
It’s the year a lot of us are getting a little more in touch with America’s beautiful nature, but let’s say camping isn’t your thing, Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington, travel expert, shares incredible glamping and luxury camping options across the state of Indiana so you feel like you’re in the great outdoors, minus the ‘roughing’ it.
When it comes to visiting the great outdoors, not everyone is into the whole camping idea. But thankfully there are these 4 luxury glamping sites all in the state of Indiana that make ‘camping’ seem so much better, and you don’t even have to pitch a tent. Keep in mind you can also look for cabins, lodges and more that have a luxury feel on vacation rental sites like AirBnb or Vrbo, but these are also great options.
What is glamping?
Glamping is a lot like camping, but made easier. You don’t have to worry about pitching a tent, lugging a bunch of gear with you, or sleeping on the ground. You still get the wilderness and being outdoors, but with comforts like beds, bathrooms and having things already set up. Perfect for someone looking to ease into actual camping. So I think of glamping as being anything from a safari tent, to a yurt, to a rustic cabin depending on your comfort level.
Why glamping or even camping?
It’s a great solution to the social distancing world. Most glamping or camping options are spaced out, secluded and can mean you can be pretty much on your own, with your own food, etc. Plus is just great to get in touch with the great outdoors!
Ease into it with a log cabin
These spacious and comfy/chic log cabins are at Antler Log Cabins in Unionville, IN. They have 8 custom cabins on a secluded 114 acre wooded estate with 5 private lakes. If you’re not a camping person, haven’t tried it before, but want to ease your way into exploring nature and the wilderness, opt for a cabin. They are comfortable, come with all the things you need in terms of bedding, kitchen items, etc. And they even come with indoor bathrooms (bonus!!). Plus you can do loads of outdoor activities like hiking and fishing.
Glamp on a lake
If you are willing to ‘rough it’ a little more (not too much though!), there are great glamping options with tents that come fully equipped with all the necessities. These tents in Jasonville, IN, come with the use of two kayaks, a queen bed, gas grill, firepit and it’s only a few feet away from a beautiful lake. You do have a private toilet outside, and an outdoor shower. Note, you need to bring Linens, towels, dish rags and personal hygiene items.
Book yourself a yurt
I found these two yurts in a valley Bristow, IN, at Mary Rose Herb Farm and Retreat and they are a great mix of being outside but still being comfortable. I’d say book the two yurts together for a family getaway… they come with heating and air conditioning, Japanese hot tubs outside, a fire pit and bbq, not to mention you get a hot breakfast included in your stay. They even have a mini spa and massages on site… so you’re camping, but with a lot of luxury.
Think about a beach cottage
The Idle Zone Mini Beach Cottage is located in Jasonville, and is set right on a little beach on a lake. It may be small, but if you don’t want to really rough it, it comes with all you need including indoor plumbing. As they say, they want you to feel like you’re camping without the hardships of actually camping. It’s a great spot to unwind, disconnect and sleep your days away in a hammock.
Do it yourself… with an RV
Another great way to up the luxury when it comes to camping or exploring the outdoors is to book a fancy or unique RV. Again they usually come nicely equipped with necessities, and you can decide when/where you’re going to go and when you want to stop and rest at a park.
For more from Weatherhead Harringon, visit her Instagram.