The Best Wine Destinations In USA

by Julia on March 17, 2020

A wine-soaked vacation with your friends or a partner should definitely be on your bucket list! There is something special about traveling to beautiful regions, learning about its history and culture, and tasting award-winning wines while watching how the sun goes down.

If you are about to hit the road for the best wine in your life, checking out this map with the best wine destination in the US will be necessary:

Walla Walla, Washington

Did you know that Washington state is one of the largest wine producers in the whole country? The White House or the Lincoln Memorial is not the only reason tourists come to the city!

So, next time you travel to Washington DC, make sure to visit the wine industry’s heart called Walla Walla. This relatively small town has more than one hundred wineries. Besides tasting incredible local wine, you will also be able to visit farm-to-table restaurants, take a photo in the field of wheat, and take a walk in the Pioneer Park.

Give Walla Walla a chance, and it will take your heart away!

Boise, Idaho

Right after tasting wine in Washington, you can travel to Idaho, the state that made its unforgettable mark on the world map. Interestingly, wine is not the only thing locals are proud of. There are also great weather, volcanoes, and a significant number of female entrepreneurs.

You can explore the city on the scooter and then go on a wine tour. If you travel with kids, you can go to the local zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden.

Finger Lakes, New York

According to experts at Acker Merrall, there are around 140 wineries in the Finger Lakes region. Besides trying famous local sparkling wines, you will also find plenty of outdoor activities such as boating, fishing, waterfall hunting, and hiking trails. The Finger Lakes area is famous for ice wine, Riesling, and Pinot Noir.

Fredericksburg, Texas

The Lone Star State has a lot of surprises for locals and visitors! The thing is that its climate is just perfect for making delicious Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Touriga Nacional!

Fredericksburg is a small town in Texas where you can find a huge wine scene (one of the biggest in the country, to be exact).

Other than that, the town is a perfect destination for hikers, antique lovers, and wildflower enthusiasts. Fredericksburg should definitely be the palace for your next weekend getaway!

Kansas City, Missouri

There are a lot of things a tourist can do in Kansas City! The place is famous for its jazz music, top class museums, barbeque and a large number of fountains.

Another great thing about Kansas City is that it’s growing the next generation of winemakers. The local wine lovers are not afraid of experimenting with tastes and formulas. That’s why you should not miss the next opportunity to travel to Missouri! Just pack your suitcase and let the city show you its magic!

Santa Fe, New Mexico

New Mexico is not only known for its abodes, incredible sunsets, and hatch chile. Americans also consider it a birthplace of winegrowing. Back to 1630, Spanish missionaries planted wine grapes over there. It happened right before California was developed!

In New Mexico, you can try sparkling wine Gruet, the one that appeared on the list of the best wines in the world! Once you are there, you should also taste Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, and Sangiovese. As you can understand, one weekend in New Mexico is simply not enough!

Besides tasting the best wines in the country, you will also have a chance to visit the International UFO museum and research center, White Sands National Park, and musical highway!

Traverse City, Michigan

If you have just one day off and feel like going for wine tasting, you should go to Traverse City. It is a home for more than twenty wineries owned by sports celebrities and TV stars. Sharing a table and doing a complimentary wine tasting with Kyle MacLachlan or David Beckham is not just a silly dream but a possibility in Traverse City!

Once you are in Michigan, find some time to try locally produced Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc.

In case you are not sure where to start your wine journey, consider booking a tour with a local agency – there are plenty of them in Traverse City!

The bottom line

There is no need to travel to well-promoted France or Portugal since you can taste the world’s best wines in the United States! The best thing is that all towns known for its great wine offer other attractions as well. So, moms and dads should not worry about looking for a nanny! You can go to the zoo in the morning and taste Merlot in the evening in a fine restaurant.

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Is New Orleans a Safe Travel Destination?

by Julia on March 16, 2020

From Mardi Gras to the world-famous Cajun fare, New Orleans is one of the most amazing cities in the world to visit. However, is it safe?

New Orleans can be a dangerous city in different ways, from traffic accidents to crime, but if you know the risks ahead of time there are things you can do to mitigate them.

The following are important things to know about New Orleans as a travel destination.

Reasons to Visit New Orleans

Undoubtedly, the reasons you should visit New Orleans outweigh the reasons you shouldn’t.

New Orleans is like no other city in the country or the world.

There are so many different and equally unique facets of New Orleans. New Orleans is rich in culture and history, and some of the many things that are alluring to tourists include:

  • The French Quarter and Bourbon Street are the most well-known and visited parts of the city. This part of New Orleans is known for drinking and partying, but the French Quarter is also home to some of the best jazz music in the world.
  • The food stands alone as it combines elements of creole and Cajun fare, and many chefs will bring these influences together with a modern twist.
  • Mardi Gras is often called the greatest free show on earth, so during two weeks, you can wear costumes, meet new people and party in a way you might not have ever envisioned.
  • There’s an air of spookiness to New Orleans thanks to the history of voodoo, vampires, and ghosts.
  • The architecture of New Orleans is historic, and the brightly colored homes stand on their own.
  • Along with Mardi Gras, there is almost always a free festival happening in the city.

So how can you stay safe, and what should you know about visiting New Orleans?

What’s the Risk Level?

With any city, there are risks and New Orleans is no exception.

The crime rate in New Orleans is somewhat high, and that’s making more of an impact on tourist-dense areas like the French Quarter more than it has in the past. New Orleans also has one of the highest murder rates in the country, but most murders do take place far from tourist neighborhoods, although of course, that’s not always true.

There has been a spike that concerns public officials despite the fact that they’ve beefed up police and security, and also the use of surveillance cameras. There was a drop in 2017 in violent crime, and then it spiked back up in 2019.

These trends came as crime elsewhere in the city outside of tourist zones was actually going down.

Many of the crimes are concentrated around Bourbon Street, and last year was one of the most violent times the city’s famous street saw since 2011. Of course, Bourbon Street has a long history as a somewhat raucous place to go. For example, in the 1960s, it was known for its illegal backroom gambling

If you’re deciding on a neighborhood to stay, some are safer than others. The Garden District, Uptown, and the Central Business District all tend to be fairly safe. Both the Garden District and Uptown have crime rates that tend to be below two percent.

These neighborhoods also have beautiful homes and elegant, tree-lined streets that will take you back in time.

Bourbon Street Safety Tips

If you’re visiting Bourbon Street, there are some safety tips to keep in mind.

First, don’t bring your kids here, especially in the evening.

In the evening, it’s anything but kid-friendly.

When you’re intoxicated, you’re more likely to be the target of scammers and pickpockets as well, so keep your bearings at all times.

Carry your purse in front of you and put your wallet in your front pocket. Don’t leave your purse unattended, and don’t bring valuables you don’t need.

What Not to Do in New Orleans

If you’re planning a trip to the Big Easy, don’t make the following mistakes:

  • Don’t drink to the point that you lose awareness. When you’re in New Orleans, or anywhere for that matter, you need to stay aware of what’s happening around you. If you drink too much you’re going to inherently be putting yourself at a greater risk level. In New Orleans, there are a lot of car accidents and many of them involve pedestrians, which is one more reason to watch how much alcohol you consume.
  • Be cautious of walking alone at night, especially if you’re a female. It’s better, if possible to travel in groups, especially after dark.
  • Be cautious as far as to scam artists who may try to initiate a seemingly friendly conversation with you.
  • Be very careful about visiting cemeteries after dark without a tour group. There are some excellent cemetery tours you can take that will give you haunted history, but criminals are known to hide in cemeteries waiting to mug people who are there on their own.
  • Don’t leave belongings in a car. If you’re driving in New Orleans, vehicle break-ins are very common.
  • Be aware of the time of year you’re traveling. It’s not just crime and personal safety that you should be aware of in New Orleans. The city does tend to get hit by natural disasters, often such as flooding. Try to avoid hurricane season as well and if you are planning a trip between the months of July and October, keep an eye on the weather forecasts.
  • Don’t engage with the extreme religious groups on Bourbon Street. Don’t try to argue or make fun of them, and don’t take photos. They’re not necessarily dangerous, but it can turn heated, and that can particularly problematic when alcohol is involved.

Finally, just because New Orleans has lax open container laws doesn’t mean that it’s complete mayhem.

Be responsible in how you drink, how you behave, and what you do with your cups when you’re finished. Cops are always on the lookout for out-of-control tourists, so don’t be that person.

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Are you planning on a trip to Vietnam? Well, this South Asian country welcomes you to experience its rich culture and striking views. Imagine mouthwatering dishes, ancient cities, extraordinary mountains, and so on. With all these, you wouldn’t want to look back. On your arrival, you will meet other captivating sceneries that nobody will tell you about. So, made up your mind? Check out some of the thrilling places you can visit in Vietnam

1. The province of Ha Giang 

Vietnam borders China. And it is a fun destination for a road trip. You can pass by some of the exotic mountains like Plateau Geopark, and the deep valleys. For this reason, Ha Giang is perfect if you are a biker. Also, you will be mesmerized by the lots of rural villages enjoying their well-preserved heritage. All these will add cultural value to an exciting trip. A motorbike is not a thing for everyone, so Ha Giang provides numerous treks. However, it also offers mountain bike opportunities. Are you ready for the fun? Get your Vietnam Visa and land in the country of unique culture and charming settlements that will linger in your mind forever.

2. Sapa

On the highest mountains of Vietnam, another famous and beautiful place known as Sapa awaits you. It is more comfortable to ride in a cable car if you are visiting Mount Fansipan summit. You will also enjoy hiking along rice terraces. As you leave Sapa, you will have a memorable time at the Tram Ton Pass. This includes the Waterfall that thunders down. Also, there are numerous hotels in Sapa where you can enjoy mouthwatering meals as you view the stunning mountains.

3. Ha Long Bay

Make sure while on your trip, you visit this surreal landscape located in Lotin Gulf. Ha Long Bay belongs to the seven natural wonders. So take a cruise trip to view the mountains or caves carefully. Some of the activities you can enjoy at Ha Long Bay include walking through caves and enjoying cruises, among others. If you want to enjoy more, use a kayak to explore the cliffs. You will unearth the secret caves as you enjoy the experience with your buddies.

But probably the most fun way to explore the cliffs is by kayak.

4. The imperial city of Hue

The imperial city of Hue offers architectural style and numerous decorations. These magnificent Chinese inspired architecture include perfect woodwork, dragon pictures, as well as alluring greens. So when planning for your trip, connect with a guided tour. Such tours ensure you explore the former Vietnam capital Hue by yourself.

Conclusion

There are numerous inviting places you can visit in Vietnam despite the ones mentioned above. If you want to experience the beauty of Vietnam, put down some crucial factors like Vietnam Visa cost. This will help you budget for other necessities as well. Planning well will ensure you explore many fascinating and unique areas in Vietnam. 

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The Most Underrated Spots in Vancouver

by Julia on March 10, 2020

Vancouver is a beautiful city, but it isn’t a particularly large city. It’s small enough that when the word gets out about an awesome place to go, within a short time period, you can expect to see tons of people at that place. Hype travels fast in this city, and things to do and places to go quickly become overcrowded and overrated.

Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium is Canada’s largest aquarium and one of the most visited sites in Stanley Park. Presiding over Stanley Park, Canada’s largest aquarium houses more than 50,000 creatures, from penguins to sea otters to three-toed sloths. Don’t miss the star turns from the rescued Steller sea lions Izzy and Rogue, who swoop gracefully under the water and bask on sun-warmed rocks. Afterward, be sure to visit the theater, which goes beyond 3-D with mist, scents, wind, and even lightning. Adding substance to style, the aquarium is also the headquarters of Ocean Wise, a global conservation initiative dedicated to increasing the understanding, wonder, and appreciation of our seas.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Located on the North Shore, not far from the base of the Grouse Mountain ski hill and the Cleveland Dam, the venue features an impressive and world-famous suspension bridge. At the Capilano Suspension Bridge you’ll find a number of interesting things to do and see including the suspension bridge, paths through the forest, Indigenous art, a Cliffwalk at the edge of the canyon, and rope bridges high up between the trees. The Capilano Suspension Bridge property is right in the forest. All around are paths through the trees, as well as geological, historical and nature-educational displays and First Nations art.

Coolest Neighborhoods

Vancouver, may be best-loved for its mountains, forests, and beaches but Vancouver real estate comprises several great neighborhoods. Gastown is a neighborhood best seen at night when the lamps lining Water Street and the fairy lights in the trees glow. Fortunately, it’s an area known for its dining options, so it’s a perfect spot for dinner. Also, a cute town known to locals as just “The Drive,” Commercial Drive is a street filled with boutiques, restaurants, grocers, and bars. The street’s main hub consists of 21 blocks. All along this strip, there are over 400 businesses.

Whale Watching

From March to October each year, thousands of whales migrate through the waters near Vancouver, making it one of the world’s best locations for whale watching. A number of tour operators offer whale watching  expeditions around the Gulf and San Juan islands, so you can spot pods of whales from a high-speed zodiac, fully-equipped cruiser, kayak or seaplane. Many varieties of whales pass through these northern waterways, including humpback whales, orcas,  gray whales and minke whales.

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5 Top-Rated Places to Visit in New Zealand

by Julia on March 10, 2020

Narrowing down a list to only five of the places to visit in New Zealand can be a challenging task. With its spectacular waterfalls, fantastic beaches, and magnificent mountains, it is probably on your bucket list for a long time. This article is not going to suppress your itchy feet because we also know New Zealand is considered the top most beautiful country in the world. Both the south and north Islands offer lots of activities and heaps of natural wonders to explore. On the North Island, you’ll have to see its largest city, Auckland, and plenty of its dreamy beaches. You will find South Island adventurous because this is where you’ll find Queenstown.

So here are the topmost places to visit in New Zealand, but before a short look at a few things, you need to enter New Zealand.

Do US Citizens Need Visa

Those who are planning to stay more than ninety days or want to travel to New Zealand for other purposes need a proper visa to visit. Today several companies are giving New Zealand visa for US citizens to make their stay legal. Apart from the permit, you should take your other documents with you in case of any emergency.

Places to Visit in New Zealand

  1. Tongariro National Park

This is the first New Zealand’s national park. The park’s diverse collection of ecosystems includes tranquil lakes, active volcanoes, desert-like plateaus, untamed forests, and herb fields. Start your hike at the Whakapapa Visitor Center, just a three hours walk from the stunning Taranaki Falls. This short trek will take you through forests and scrubland and across the lava line of volcanic eruptions.

  1. Milford Sound

This one is the most beautiful place in the entire country. So get ready yourself to enjoy the sight of hundreds of cascading waterfalls, rainforest, Dolphins, and towering mountains. This can be explored by plane or boat. Each medium offers its own unique feel of joy. You’ll quickly realize that you cannot compare a single image you have ever seen with the real place.

Hikers will love its track, which starts from Te Anau Lake and ends at Sound Wharf. Milford Sound also for those who want to get up close with beautiful forestry and mountains.

  1. Muriwai Beach

 In just a fifty minute drive from Auckland’s city, you will find it on the west coast. Amazing surf, massive black dunes, and killer sunsets make this one of the best places to visit in Auckland city. Visit on a stormy day would introduce you to why this also known as the Wild West Coast.

  1. Matapouri

Matapouri in Northland is one of the best places to visit in New Zealand. Here are lots of scenic walking tracks like the Whale Bay track from the Northern end through the massive dunes. Another walking path Tane Moana bush starts in Clements Road and ends at Waiotoi Road. These tracks will take you through the kauri tree and beautiful bushland on the east coast.

  1. Coromandel Peninsula

This place is considered a summer holiday favorite. It is a collection of campsites, picturesque coastal towns, fishing locations, and surf spots. Plus, beautiful gems such as Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove are additional bonuses.

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5 Essential Aspects of Adventure Travel

by Julia on March 9, 2020

We’re all inspired when we read online blogs from brave travellers who toughed it out for a few months in Alaska or went down part of the Amazon River, and if you’ve decided to experience life on the edge and travel, here are a few essential aspects to adventure travel you should be aware of.

  1. Be Prepared – This cannot be overstated; anything and everything might happen at some point, which means you need to be prepared. Prior to starting an adventure, do some online research and learn about the language, customs, climate, wildlife and other important aspects, which will really help you pack the right items, plus you will know what to expect and be aware of any issues prior to your arrival.

  2. Safety & Security – Heading off into the unknown might sound thrilling, but you should take precautions, like investing in one of the amazing Alpaka slash-proof backpacks that will protect your valuables while on the trail. As a rule, you should have a system in place whereby you keep in regular contact with a friend or family member, and should you fail to ‘check in’, they can alert the authorities. Many adventure travellers are alive today because they did just that, after some form of accident that left them stranded, and their contact was able to alert rescue facilities.

  3. Discipline and a Positive Attitude – There will be times when you are cold, wet and hungry; wondering why on earth you ever thought about doing this, but that is part of the unique experience, and a positive attitude will always stand you in good stead. Don’t take unnecessary risks and be disciplined in every way – understand the reality of the situation – you are in a strange place and only have what is on your person. Be polite and respectful when meeting local people, which will always be warmly appreciated and there will be times when you rely on locals.

  4. Packing for a Trip – Obviously, a lot of research would result in a long list of essential items that you plan to take, and if you are travelling with others, many items can be shared, so bear that in mind. The items you pack would very much depend on where you are going, but essentially, you will need a good first aid kit, wet weather clothing, a good sleeping bag and tent (if you plan on camping). You should invest in a good quality camping knife; one that has many attachments and tools that can help you in a range of situations, plus a good LED torch, preferably rechargeable, which is a must.

  5. Insurance – Most people would take out comprehensive health insurance prior to embarking on an adventure, and if you are planning a 3-month trek in Asia without any insurance, you are braver than most! Anything could go wrong, and without medical insurance, treatment could run into thousands of dollars, so it simply isn’t worth taking the risk.

If you are fit and healthy and have a desire for some adventure, there’s no reason why you can’t join the thousands of other adventure travellers who see the world from a unique standpoint.

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Staten Island is the least popular among the five boroughs of NYC. However, it has its own unique attractions for different groups of travelers – be it a tourist outing, or a class field trip. Slowly but surely, it is doing away with being the ‘forgotten borough’. If you are on Staten Island for your next tourist outing, make sure to look into the many options that Staten Island bus rentals has to offer depending on the size of your group and your specific needs. If you are with your family, you can opt for a mini coach bus. However, if you are travelling with a bigger group of say, more than twenty people, a coach bus would be the best option. Travelling in a bus is way more convenient than driving your personal cars. With an experienced driver, you can sit back, enjoy the view and the roads, and simply relax, without having to worry about being behind the wheel.

With the mode of transportation sorted out, here are some of the spots you cannot miss on your trip to Staten Island.

Historic Richmond Town:

Before the borough became a part of New York in 1898, Richmond town is where all government and administrative undertakings took place for Staten Island. Now, it is a living history village spread over 100 acres. Visitors and tourists can take up a guided tour of the village to fully soak in the history and culture of the place.

The Alice Austen House:

Alice Austen was a prolific photographer and feminist, whose works are showcased in the Alice Austen House. The house was first built sometime in the 1690s, after which it has gone through several remodeling and renovations throughout the years. Austen’s work provides important insight into the lives of the 19th century New Yorkers. The house now holds an important place in LGBTQ history.

Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art:

If you are someone who loves visiting museums, you will love the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art. This museum boasts of having the greatest number of Himalayan artifacts. It was founded by one Jacques Marchais in 1945, who loved collecting Tibetan art. The museum has meditation classes and gardens, a number of different crafts, performances and so much more.

Snug Harbor Cultural Centre and Botanical Garden:

Also called the ‘crown jewel’ of the Staten Island borough, The Snug Harbor Cultural Centre claims to be “one of the largest ongoing adaptive reuse projects in the United States.” This Centre includes as many as 23 historical buildings, nine botanical gardens and a huge area of wetlands.

Flagship Brewery:

Who doesn’t love some good beer after all this touring and sight-seeing? The Flagship Brewery claims to have “unforgettable beer brewed in the Forgotten Borough” Smart wordplay there. Along with good beer, the place has a great aura and plays some commendable music.

Apart from these, Staten Island also has places like the Staten Island Borough Hall, Lemon Creek Park, the National Lighthouse Museum, Fort Wadsworth, St. George Theatre, The Crimson Beech and a few more. For some delicious pizza, go to Marie’s 2. There are lots of great places to eat in New York including on Staten Island. If you are in the mood to enjoy a good concert, including Latin-jazz, bhangra fusion and much more, you can attend the Court Yard Friday’s concerts for free.

Staten Island has thus come a long way from being forgotten. There’s so much more to do now, with a number of museums, forts and parks coming up in every other corner. This borough is perfect for a quiet family getaway, a new place for those that like to travel or a relaxing tourist destination.

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