Archives for category: Venues & (E)Vents
It's always a happy holiday with a Christmas tree of Dunham Cellars wine bottles

It’s always a happy holiday with a Christmas tree of Dunham Cellars wine bottles

In Part 1, Yakima Valley Wineries were discussed

All photos by Russell Wagner

Two of the biggest decisions we faced when deciding to visit both Yakima Valley and Walla Walla wineries were where to stay for the easiest travel after a day of exploration and sipping, and which of the many wineries to visit of those we knew or had been recommended to us. There were far more wineries on our list than we could reasonably expect to actually drop into. Where to stay turned out to be Kennewick, because it sits roughly an hour’s drive between the two wine regions along accessible highways.

Next time we go (and after this visit it’s not an if, but definite), we may stay at the historic Marcus Whitman Hotel, a luxury lodging in downtown Walla Walla, built originally in 1927. All of us—Russ, his brother Randy and our sister-in-law Cher, relish historically preserved and revered architecture. This 133-room hotel, restored and reopened in 2001 represents the essence of elegance, sophistication and beauty from an earlier era. We did dine at The Marc Restaurant, named “Restaurant of the Year” by the Washington State Wine Commission, which I will happily rave about at the end of this blog.

With the question of where to stay on our current journey resolved, the next was where to do our tastings. Russ and I have been drinking wines from Walla Walla more frequently, discovering them at various tastings at home in Central Florida. Walla Walla has been recognized as an AVA (American Viticultural Area) since 1984. Two-thirds of the AVA is in Read the rest of this entry »

My idea of luxury camping. Loimugi House at Serara Camp, Kenya.

My idea of luxury camping. Loimugi House at Serara Camp, Kenya.

In this issue: Hot Deals Will Warm Up Your Winter Chill

Team Building Activities in Montréal Can Run Hot & Cold


When you want to save up to £2,000 per day * and are willing to travel to the UK to do it, who are you going to call? Brocket Hall, a 5-star standard Regency stately home that can be your group’s exclusively if you book any time before the end of January 2015 and fulfill the commitment anytime between January and April. The savings include an array of amenities that may make this an offer too good to refuse. Check this out. Traditional English Butler service, complimentary WiFi, meeting capacity for 150 (theater style). The luxurious property boasts 46 en-suite rooms and there are two championship standard golf courses and Palmerston Golf Academy set amongst 543 acres of private land, located just 22 miles Read the rest of this entry »

Skiing just got more exciting at Squaw Valley Mountain Resort in Olympic Valley, California. photo by Trevor Clark.

Skiing just got more exciting at Squaw Valley Mountain Resort in Olympic Valley, California. photo by Trevor Clark.

In this issue: Omni helps planners Escape Their Way”

From snow-capped mountain skiing to tropical Hawaiian island stays

If you could have any wish granted before the New Year’s Ball drops in New York City’s Times Square, what would it be? Would it be to find true love, or to have the money to buy a house or travel first class? Would it be for world peace or to find peace within your heart? Would it be for a job that enables you to safeguard your family’s future or would it be to have a career that suits your personality and capabilities?

I really would like to hear your wish. I’ll even publish it if you respond. Most of all, I want to know how others see the world or see themselves.

I’ll start it off. My wish is to matter… to make a positive difference in someone’s life. My blog posts are just one of the ways I strive to touch someone’s life. If I provide you data on a destination, event, restaurant or resort that guides you on an adventure you might not have otherwise known about, then I feel I have made a contribution to someone’s quality of life. It’s why I enjoy writing this blog. It allows me to connect with you Read the rest of this entry »

Bob Hope is honored with his own room at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, FL

Bob Hope is honored with his own room at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, FL

With real estate, it’s location, location, location.

With travel destinations, it’s experience, experience, experience, especially ones not likely duplicated in your hometown. On a recent press trip to North Florida, I expected to see sand, sun and surf. What I got instead were experiences in unique venues that amped the good-times value meter.

 Shanks for the Memories, Bob Hope

I don’t golf. I’ve had a few lessons, have wiggled my hips in my cute golf skirt trying to place my feet properly, and in my college days, flirted famously with the young pro so I could get a better physical education grade. And though I do know the stellar reputations or tidbits of salacious gossip about celebrity golfers, the game has never held my attention. So why was I standing in the Shanks for the Memories room of the World Golf Hall of Fame (WGHOF) in St. Augustine, riveted in place by a flood of memories?

Surrounding me were images of Bob Hope, a man whose movies I have watched repeatedly throughout my life and who I thought heroic Read the rest of this entry »

This issue: Earn CEUs while learning ROI Methodology and Innovative Golf Games to Encourage Group Camraderie

South Place Hotel in London still has availability for Fashion Week

South Place Hotel in London still has availability for Fashion Week


I’m a diehard fan of Project Runway in all its incarnations. Maybe that’s why when I saw the enticing promo from Design Hotels that Fashion Week is coming to New York, London and Paris and that hotels were sprucing up their discounts with equal verve and finesse, I just couldn’t wait to pass on this info for those of you who may be looking for an excuse to gawk at the upcoming trends by trendy and classic designers.
New York leads off the crushing week of non-stop shows, parties and posing. There are five hotels still available for the September 4-12 shindigs. The Standard has two hotels: The High Line and the East Village. Hôtel Americano’s 56 rooms fuses Latin and industrial flavors while the Gramercy Park Hotel’s 185 rooms go for more classic chic. If price is less an object, Read the rest of this entry »

Lake Peyto, British Columbia, Canada--one of the world's prettiest lakes.

Lake Peyto, British Columbia, Canada–one of the world’s prettiest lakes.

Canada is not America.

I had to remind myself of that multiple times during our 10 day vacation to Vancouver and Banff.

Yes, we all speak English (unless you’re from provinces that are innately French in culture and language or come from a multi-lingual family), our coin currency does look faintly similar, we drive on the same side of the road (thank goodness), and both our geographic offerings run the gamut from mountains to beach and urban to rural.

Then I would come across something distinctly Canadian, such as a Bloody Caesar Vodka drink. Similar to our Bloody Mary, but using Clamato juice and often other embellishments. The best one I sucked down was at the famed Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel as we sunned on the deck of the hotel’s Walthaus pub, overlooking a gurgling stream running over rocks and a golf course whose water features would be a challenge for any player.

My husband, Russ, had read that the pub’s deck was a hidden treasure not too many tourists discover. Even many of the hotel guests don’t tackle the seven-minute walk from the ornate lobby to the European-styled building, with a fine dining Bavarian restaurant on the ground floor. We lucked out and snagged a table perfect for people and scenery watching.

Russ invariably tries out new ales. I read the description of their Caesar: a blend of olive juice, muddled pickles, Clamato juice, and vodka. The mug Read the rest of this entry »


Visiting Vancouver and Banff in British Columbia has been on my husband’s wish list for as long as I’ve known him.

Russ in Butchart's Sunken Gardens. photo by Karen Kuzsel

Russ in Butchart’s Sunken Gardens. photo by Karen Kuzsel

His original thought was to journey through the Rocky Mountains of Canada by train, whistle-stopping through some of the most touted scenic landscapes of North America.

This summer it would finally be possible. Russ had meticulously researched for months, reading through consumer reviews and studying guidebooks. Although many train options exist, about three months before our scheduled departure, he switched gears. Our decision to rent a car, follow a similar route, and stop/eat/rest when we pleased for a fraction of the cost overrode the plan to ride the rails. Russ instead researched hotels, locations, car rentals, routes and must-see attractions.

Most of our trip exceeded our expectations and I will tell you about those glorious occasions soon in another post. This story is about one of the worst vacation experiences either of us has ever had, the misinformation we were told, how it was preventable, and how it may save you headaches in your own travels.

Our day of disaster began with the decision to visit Butchart Gardens, an idyllic setting near Victoria on Vancouver Island. Russ had read Read the rest of this entry »

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