Experience the Unique Charm of Portland

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Portland is one of the country’s most unique cities, well known for its eclectic vibe. Situated between the Columbia and Willamette rivers, it’s full of Pacific Northwest beauty. Portland offers an array of entertainment options including performing arts theaters, museums, and parks. Explore the Pearl District, see the world’s largest bookstore, and check out some of the latest art exhibitions.

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The Mark Spencer

Stay at The Mark Spencer and immerse yourself in Portland. This stylish and comfortable hotel provides free continental breakfast, afternoon tea and cookies, and an evening wine reception. It’s located right in downtown Portland, close to the vibrant West End and Pearl District. Book the Paperback Writer package, which includes a $50 gift certificate to the famous Powell’s Books, a Powell’s coffee mug, and a bookstore map. You’ll also enjoy free parking at the hotel and a late 1pm checkout.

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Powell’s Books

Any book lover will tell you that Powell’s Books is one of the most famous bookstores in the country. The store has been an independently owned Portland landmark since 1971, and has expanded to include five stores. Visit the flagship store, which is called Powell’s City of Books due to its incredible size. It’s the world’s largest used and new bookstore, occupying an entire block of Portland’s Pearl District. Don’t miss the Rare Book Room, which has about 9,000 of their most valuable and exciting volumes.

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The Pearl District has become one of the city’s most exciting areas. It boasts art galleries, spas, and endless food and beverage options. Stop at Ovation Coffee & Tea for an afternoon pick-me-up. They have a great selection of coffee and tea, including Moroccan beverages and cold brew, as well as delicious scones and pastries. The Pearl District is also a great place to browse some of Portland’s unique, independently owned shops. You’ll find amazing stationary at Oblation Papers & Press, a 19th-century print shop. Visit Nau, a store committed to creating sustainable clothing, for some of Portland’s best fashion.

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Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum is the oldest in the Pacific Northwest. It was founded in 1892 and features over 42,000 objects and unique exhibitions. Case Work: Studies in Form, Space & Construction blends art and architecture together, presenting pieces of architectural design that were part of the creative process for some of the country’s most impressive buildings. The museum is also presenting Native Fashion Now, a look at modern Native American Fashion and indigenous designers in the last half-century. Both exhibitions run through September 4, 2016.

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Go “Floating”

Portland is full of unique trends and opportunities. Try something new while you’re in town and check out Float On. What is “floating”? Floaters spend 90 minutes inside a float tank containing a mix of water and Epsom salt. The tank is soundproof and dark, and the buoyancy makes you float on your back in the water. The idea is to lose track of your body and the environment around you. It’s been described as a profoundly relaxing experience, reducing stress and giving your body a break from gravity.

Blue Wave Bar and Grill at Island Palms | San Diego

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The Blue Wave Bar & Grill at the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina offers handcrafted food and drinks, friendly service, and picturesque views. The on-site bar and restaurant features a marina view dining room and an outdoor deck overlooking the pool. The restaurant hosts a unique mix of hotel guests, locals, and crew members that have come to San Diego from all over the world. Executive Chef Christopher Spayde has created a contemporary California menu for all hours of the day.

Island Palms’ Shelter Island Escape Package offers guests the perfect way to experience the restaurant. In addition to complimentary parking at the hotel, you’ll be greeted with welcome beverages, receive a breakfast credit for two, and enjoy a 20% discount off of lunch or dinner at the Blue Wave throughout your stay.

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Lunch With a View

The outdoor deck makes the Blue Wave a perfect place for lunch. Take a seat overlooking the marina and enjoy one of their handcrafted cocktails with your meal. Our server Theresa was friendly and attentive, answering all of our questions about the menu and recommending some wonderful food and drink pairings for us. Blue Wave offers a variety of classic and California-inspired dishes, all freshly made with house sauces and condiments.

Try the Grilled Fish Tacos for a truly Southern California meal. Fresh Mahi Mahi is wrapped in corn tortillas and topped with homemade salsa and Jalapeno crème. The tacos are served with a side of house-made potato chips. Pair your fish tacos with a Firestone Walker Brewing Co. 805 Blonde Ale, a refreshing and light California-style beer.

The Kobe Beef Burger is another one of Blue Wave’s most popular lunch options. The burger is cooked to your liking and piled high with cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and red onion. A delicious house-made garlic aioli is the perfect finishing touch. Be sure to ask for some crisp and flavorful French fries on the side.

If you have room, the lunch menu also includes tempting dessert choices including a Flourless Chocolate Torte and Carrot Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. They’re fun to share and it’s a great way to end your meal on a sweet note.

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Happy Hour

Happy hour at the Blue Wave is the perfect way to cap off a day of sightseeing around the city. From 4-7pm daily, enjoy $3 domestic bottled beer and Bud Light Draft, $4 house wines, and $3.50 wells. You can also get select craft beers for $4. Blue Wave has beer on tap from many of San Diego’s best breweries like Stone Brewing Co. and Ballast Point Brewery. The happy hour menu includes mini tacos, sliders, and wings. We recommend sharing the Half Flatbread with chicken, caramelized onion, goat cheese, tomato, mushroom, basil, and balsamic reduction. Enjoy happy hour outside in the refreshing ocean breeze on the Blue Wave’s deck. Check into the Blue Wave Bar & Grill on Facebook to receive a special $5 drink of the day.

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Fresh Cocktails

The Blue Wave specializes in classic cocktails with modern twists. They craft their drinks with freshly squeezed juices and house-made simple syrups. We love the Blood Orange Screwdriver, made with Tito’s Vodka, fresh blood orange juice, sparkling water, and house-made rosemary simple syrup. Another good choice is the Dirty Bird, a blend of Grey Goose vodka, olive juice, and blue cheese stuffed olives.

You don’t even have to wait until 5 o’clock. The Blue Wave has a full menu of breakfast cocktails that include traditional favorites like mimosas, Bloody Marys, and Irish coffee. For something a little more adventurous, try the Peaches n’ Cream. It’s made with Absolut Apeach, peach liquor, orange juice, simple syrup, and half & half. If tequila is more your style, go with the Paloma, a refreshing mix of El Agave Silver Tequila, grapefruit juice, and sparkling water with a lime garnish.

Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel and Marina | San Diego

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Shelter Island has a tropical style that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into your own personal paradise. Stay at the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina, a waterfront hotel that encompasses three distinct building styles. Choose a room in the picturesque Island Palms, Mediterranean-style Casa Del Mar, or modern Casa Marina. Their expansive suites include fully equipped kitchens and a private patio or balcony. The hotel also features a private marina, a fitness center, tennis courts with complimentary racquet rentals, and a fantastic on-site restaurant. Enhance your stay with the Shelter Island Escape Package. It includes welcome beverages when you arrive, a breakfast credit for two, a 20% discount at the Blue Wave Bar & Grill, and complimentary parking.

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Rise and Shine

Wake up and venture out into the fresh morning air. Island Palms has its very own waterfront jogging path only steps away from your room. The 3-mile loop meanders around Shelter Island and is perfect for a walk or run. You’ll take in views of the marina, the water, and lush tropical greenery. The hotel also offers complimentary bike rentals for your enjoyment!

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Breakfast at Blue Wave

Island Palms’ onsite restaurant Blue Wave Bar & Grill offers marina views and plenty of breakfast options. Their Breakfast Value Menu offers classics like waffles, French toast, and oatmeal, while the Full Breakfast Specialties Menu has larger meals and more adventurous choices. We love the Breakfast Pizza, which has country gravy, bacon, tater tots, cheese and a poached egg, all topped off with arugula and drizzled with lemon vinaigrette. We also recommend trying a Blue Wave Bloody, hand-crafted with Stoli Jalapeno Vodka and house-made Bloody Mary mix. Blue Wave takes this classic drink to the next level with homemade pickled vegetables and bacon salt.

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Sailing Adventure

Shelter Island is a departure point for boating excursions. Go on an adventure with Sail San Diego, conveniently located just steps away from Island Palms. Their 3-hour Sailing Tour is ideal for a day out on the water. Tours depart at five different times throughout the day. Enjoy complimentary beer, wine, sodas, and snacks as you soak up the sun and enjoy the sea breeze. Sail San Diego even provides hats, jackets, sunscreen, sunglasses, and binoculars to make your trip as comfortable as possible.

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Poolside Fun

At the end of the day, head back to the pool at Island Palms. Take a dip or relax with a good book on one of the many loungers surrounding the pool. Blue Wave Bar & Grill offers pool service and will bring an afternoon snack right to you. Kids will love the outdoor pool area and the fun toys provided by the hotel. The Blue Wave deck, overlooking the pool and the marina, is the perfect place to enjoy one of their refreshing cocktails. Blue Wave’s drinks are hand crafted with their own fresh-squeezed juices and homemade syrups. We recommend the tropical Mai Tai, made with Bacardi Light & Gold Rum, Captain Morgan, Myers, Amaretto, and pomegranate, orange, and pineapple juices.

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Fathom Bistro, Bait, and Tackle

Across the street from the hotel you’ll find Fathom Bistro, a hidden gem frequented by locals. Right on the Shelter Island Pier, this unassuming bar has incredible views of downtown San Diego and the Coronado Bridge. Stop by for one of the many local craft beers they have on tap. Fathom Bistro is known for their homemade sausages and unique hot dog specialties. Try the Explodo Dog, a Vienna beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and smothered with pepper jack, house made kimchi, and mustard.

Island of Romance | Catalina, California

Visit Catalina, a charming island destination off the coast of Southern California. Known as the Island of Romance, Catalina is also a playground for zip line adventures, boat tours, and golf. Stroll through the main town of Avalon and take in the Mediterranean-inspired ambience, breathtaking sunsets, and sparkling beaches. The consistently sunny weather means you can plan a visit any time of year. From outdoor adventures to fine dining restaurants, there are countless activities to enjoy.

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Pavilion Hotel

The beautifully appointed Pavilion Hotel is elegantly landscaped and just a few steps away from the beach! Spend time together in the semi-private courtyard and the outdoor lounge overlooking the ocean. The hotel provides a complimentary European breakfast every morning and a wine and cheese reception in the afternoon. Book the Romance Package for an intimate getaway. It includes overnight accommodations, round-trip boat transportation, a helicopter tour of the island, and a picnic basket lunch for two.

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Catalina Coffee & Cookie Co.

Start your day with a quick breakfast and fresh brewed coffee at the Catalina Coffee & Cookie Co., a local favorite since 1980. The Catalina Coffee & Cookie Co. is a two-time winner of “Best Dessert” at the annual Taste of Avalon competition. Each of their 12 cookie flavors is an original family recipe. We recommend the Eclipse Cookie, a fudge chocolate chip cookie dipped in white chocolate. View the menu online.

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Parasailing Adventure

Soar over the ocean at an elevation of 800 feet on a parasailing excursion! Experience the crisp sea breeze along with panoramic views of Catalina and the surrounding waters. California Parasail is Catalina Island’s premier parasail operator, dedicated to providing a safe and exciting adventure. Flights accommodate two or more, so it’s the perfect activity to enjoy with a loved one. Use the discount code “Online” to save $10 per person on an 800’ flight. Browse available times and reserve your spot online.

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Descanso Beach Club

Spend your afternoon at the waterfront Descanso Beach Club. It’s a secluded beach with soft white sand. Make sure to reserve a private cabana for two, which includes complimentary bottled water, smoothies, Wi-Fi, and beach towels. Walk over to the bar and sip a cocktail as you enjoy the gorgeous ocean views. For those seeking adventure, the beach club features snorkeling, kayaking, and 32-foot rock climbing wall. If you’re in search of rest and rejuvenation, indulge in a Massage by the Sea. The trained massage therapists will pamper both your mind and body.

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Dinner and a Movie

Dress up for a romantic evening at the Avalon Grille, centrally located in the heart of downtown Avalon. The restaurant serves new American cuisine in a relaxed upscale setting overlooking the Avalon Bay. Reserve a table on the outdoor patio to take advantage of the warm California climate. The menu features regional favorites made with seasonal ingredients, as well as an extensive selection of wine, craft beer, and specialty cocktails. Be sure to try the famous Wrigley Martini, created by Major League Baseball player Philip K. Wrigley in the 1950s. It’s made with Hendrix Gin and a dash of vermouth. Dine at the Avalon Grille between 5 – 6 pm and receive a movie pass for the Avalon Theatre with the purchase of any entrée. Ask your server for details.

The Avalon Theatre is located on the lower level of the Catalina Island Casino. It’s a spacious auditorium that measures 43 feet high and seats up to 1,184 people. Renowned painter John Gabriel Beckman adorned the walls with intricate art deco-style murals. The brilliant artwork and crisp acoustics create a unique movie-going experience. Feature films are shown nightly at 7:30 pm. View the screening schedule online.

 

Explore Laguna Beach

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Seven miles of coastline, 30 beaches and parks, 70 art galleries, and 400 working artists and studios make Laguna Beach one of the most vibrant places to visit in Southern California. It’s perfect for a springtime getaway, whether you’re looking for a romantic trip, family vacation, or girls’ weekend. Stay in a stylish hotel, have an adventure out on the water, and experience the best music, art, food, and outdoor activities that this popular seaside town has to offer.

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Laguna Beach House

Stay at the Laguna Beach House, a recently renovated hotel overlooking the sea. The property was designed to feel like a beach cottage and is styled with vintage furniture and coastal decorations. The Laguna Beach House offers a truly indulgent hotel experience, pampering you throughout the day with coffee in the morning, a sunset wine hour, and milk and cookies before bed. The hotel is conveniently located within walking distance from beautiful beaches, the boutiques and restaurants in downtown Laguna Beach, and the cliffs and tide pools of Heisler Park. Stay for one night and have a paddle board adventure for two with the Stand Up Paddle Package. You’ll receive two paddle board rentals, take a half-hour lesson on land, and then set off on an hour-long guided tour on the water. See dolphins, fish, sea lions, and plenty of beautiful scenery as you paddle from Fisherman’s Cove to Sea Lion Rock.

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Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Head up to Laguna Coast Wilderness Park for impressive views of Laguna Beach’s gorgeous coastline. The park spans 7,000 acres of coastal canyon, oak and sycamore woodlands, and rocky cliffs overlooking the sea. Choose from forty miles of trails that are perfect for hiking, biking, running, and horseback riding. Pack a lunch and take the Boat Road trail, a moderate 1.3-mile route that ends in a scenic vista. You’ll enjoy a picnic with 180-degree views of Laguna Beach and the Pacific Ocean.

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Blues Wednesdays at Mozambique

Mozambique Restaurant and Coastal Lounge brings South African cuisine to Laguna Beach. This sophisticated venue hosts concerts almost every day of the week and is a great place to see some of Laguna Beach’s best bands perform. Their Blues Wednesdays feature live performances by blues bands every Wednesday from 7:30pm to close. While you’re enjoying the music, be sure to try one of their specialty Mozambique Cocktails like the “African Mojito,” a unique twist on the classic mojito made with citrus vodka, muddled red grapes, lemon, and Chambord.

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First Thursdays Art Walk

Laguna Beach has been an artist’s colony for over a hundred years. First Thursdays Art Walk is a free monthly event that allows the public to experience local art and museums. Every first Thursday of the month from 6-9pm, nearly 40 galleries and museums up and down the coast open their doors to visitors. You can take a self-guided tour by downloading an Art Walk Gallery Guide and taking the free trolley service. Make sure to stop at the Laguna Art Museum to see the current exhibition “City Life, Los Angeles: 1930s to 1950s,” which features pieces depicting the development of urban Los Angeles.

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Nick’s Laguna Beach

Nick’s Laguna Beach is a restaurant praised by locals and visitors alike for excellent service and delicious California and Mexican cuisine. Enjoy a relaxing weekend brunch at an outside table overlooking the water. We recommend ordering a Bloody Mary (Nick’s are garnished with fried blue cheese olives) and the Oatmeal Brulee, which is made with old-fashioned oats, caramelized berries, vanilla, and cinnamon. After brunch, you can walk right down to the beach!

Escape to Palm Springs

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Palm Springs has long been thought of as Southern California’s luxury destination with 350 days of sunshine per year, making it ideal for playing golf and relaxing by the pool. More recently, Palm Springs has become a year round arts and culture destination with the remarkable Coachella Valley art scene, lively farmers markets, performing arts theaters, and the very first Palm Springs Life Festival.

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Parker Palm Springs

The Parker Palm Springs has a style that’s simultaneously classic and modern. Elegant rooms feature unique furniture, art, and decorations. The resort offers an incredible culinary package for food enthusiasts. The Glutton’s Delight deal offers low rates ($249 for weekdays, $299 for weekends) on a chic estate room, and includes a $250 credit for food and non-alcoholic drinks that you can use at any of their on-site restaurants or for room service. Make sure to eat at Norma’s, their 5-star diner that serves gourmet breakfast and comfort food all day. Wake up with a stack of Nutella Packed Jacks with pineapple and raspberries, or stop by at night to build your own Pie Shake from a variety of ice creams, fillings, and crusts. You’ll also want to check out Mister Parker’s, an intimate lounge that serves bistro-style food. They have an extensive wine list and make an amazing Moroccan Spiced Salmon, served with green hummus and pomegranate reduction.

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Palm Springs Life Festival

Be a part of the inaugural Palm Springs Life Festival, a season-long event running from March 20 to April 24 that will pull together fashion, food, wine, music, and art throughout the Coachella Valley. The festival will incorporate the already well-known Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival, which brings together chefs and fare from all over America, and Fashion Week El Paseo, the largest fashion week on the west coast. Other events include the In Vino Veritas series of wine tastings, a meet and greet with the stars of Project Runway, and a variety of concerts. See world-famous violinist Midori perform classics by Bach in a solo recital on Friday, March 25. Check out the full list of events and buy tickets here.

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Ristorante Mamma Gina

You won’t find a more authentic Italian restaurant in Palm Desert than Ristorante Mamma Gina. Its sister restaurant opened in Florence in the 1950s, and the Palm Desert location has been serving delicious Italian cuisine for thirty years. Stop by any time for their “All Day Happy Hour” and try the Mango Mojito, one of their specialty cocktails made with mango simple syrup and fresh lime, mango, and mint. For lunch, we recommend the Ravioli Neri, homemade black ravioli filled with ricotta and lobster in a vodka rose sauce.

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VillageFest

VillageFest is a vibrant street fair with live entertainment that takes place every Thursday from 6-10pm in Downtown Palm Springs. Stroll through booths of art, crafts, jewelry, fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables, snacks, and more. Find Bean Boys Coffee and try one of their 83 varieties of coffee, and don’t miss the Antique Galleries of Palm Springs booth, which has antiques and collectables in the mid-century style that Palm Springs is so famous for.

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Desert Art Tours

Desert Art Tours, led by art consultant Richard Almada, offer a unique way to experience the fantastic art of the Coachella Valley. They have museum, gallery, and even shopping tours. We recommend the Public & Private Art Tour, where you will learn about the stories behind the public art located throughout the Valley. You can enjoy a glass of wine as you view the current exhibitions at the local gallery stops along the way.

Borrego Springs Adventure

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Borrego Springs is a desert town surrounded by the vast Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Fresh air, stunning desert landscapes, and a number of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, and golf make Borrego Springs a great spot for a weekend away. On your way to Borrego, be sure to stop in the nearby mountain town of Julian for a rest and some great BBQ and apple pie.

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La Casa del Zorro Resort & Spa

La Casa del Zorro is a stylish desert retreat steps away from the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The elegant rooms feature high ceilings, fireplaces, and balconies, and they offer endless activities for guests to enjoy. Go for a swim in one of the many pools, take a class at the yoga studio, or challenge each other to a game of tennis! Pamper yourself with the Relax. Renew. Revive. package, available Sunday through Thursday from March 1 – 31, 2016. Stay for two nights in a Deluxe Guest Room and you’ll receive a $125 credit for a relaxing treatment at La Casa Del Zorro’s luxurious spa.

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Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Wildflowers

From mid-February to early April, beautiful wildflowers burst into bloom throughout the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. 2016 is the Year of the Lily – you can find desert lilies at the north end of DiGiorgio Road, Vista Del Malpais, and Arroyo Salado Primitive Campground. Desert sunflowers and dune primrose are also blooming at Henderson Canyon Road. Visit a few of these spots to see some truly unique and striking flowers!

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Hiking in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is California’s largest state park and has hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Spend an afternoon outdoors exploring the area. The Borrego Palm Canyon Trail meanders 3.5 miles to shady palm tree oasis. For more of a thrill, choose The Slot, a short hike that takes you through narrow openings in towering rock formations. Our favorite is the Wind Caves Trail, a 1.25 mile exploratory adventure. Climb over and through “caves” in sandstone formations that have been eroded by wind.

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Day Trip to Julian

The quaint town of Julian is less than an hour away from Borrego Springs and makes a great day trip destination. It was founded during the California Gold Rush and has retained its small-town feel. Unwind in the fresh mountain air and take in views of the Cuyamaca mountains. Visit the Julian Pioneer Museum to learn about the town’s history and see what life was like in the 1800s.

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Moms Pies

No trip to Julian is complete without a slice of apple pie. Moms Pies is a Julian institution that has been baking delicious pies for over thirty years. They offer over twenty different varieties, from traditional apple to chocolate pecan. We recommend a slice of the Apple Boysenberry with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Julian Hard Cider

Julian Hard Cider uses Julian’s famous apples to make some of Southern California’s best hard cider. Their Miner’s Saloon,” located in a former apple packing building, features live music and BBQ. Stop by for a cider tasting and try their different flavors, including Apple Pie, Cherry Bomb, and Razzmatazz.

Exploring La Jolla

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Nicknamed “the jewel,” La Jolla has become one of San Diego’s most popular areas, stretching for miles along beautiful coastline. Stroll through the quaint downtown village, eat at some of San Diego’s best restaurants, and spend a day exploring Torrey Pines.

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Hyatt Regency La Jolla

Stay at the newly renovated Hyatt Regency La Jolla, a stylish hotel located halfway between downtown La Jolla and Torrey Pines. You’ll be minutes away from La Jolla Cove and Torrey Pines State Beach, so you can spend the day exploring the areas’ beaches. At night, return to the hotel to relax in front of a fire pit or take a dip in the outdoor heated pool. Make your stay extra special with their Romance Package, which includes a luxury room, VIP services, and valet parking. You and your loved one will enjoy champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, and full breakfast for two.

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Caroline’s Seaside Café

Start your day off right with brunch at Caroline’s Seaside Café. It’s located on the second floor of the Scripps Seaside Forum and has impressive views of the Scripps Pier, La Jolla Shores, and La Jolla village. Caroline’s makes delicious California-style scrambles, pastries, wraps, sandwiches, and salads. We recommend the Curried Chicken-Almond Salad Sandwich made with local tomatoes and avocado.

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Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Head north along the coast to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. With ten easy trails featuring incredible ocean views, it’s a great place for an afternoon hike. Most of the paths are under a mile long, so you can pick a few in different areas of the reserve. Save the Beach Trail for last – it meanders down to the water and you can walk along the beach on your way back to the car.

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Torrey Pines Gliderport

Charles Lindbergh himself flew along Torrey Pines in the 1930s. For almost a century, the Torrey Pines Gliderport has been a premier aviation spot for hang gliding and paragliding. If you’re feeling adventurous, try it yourself! You can soar over the coast on a tandem flight. For those who would rather watch, grab a bite to eat in the Cliff Hanger Café. You’ll have a view of the ocean, the gliders, and sometimes even dolphins and whales.

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George’s At The Cove

Located on the tip of downtown La Jolla, George’s At The Cove has amazing food and sweeping views. The restaurant has three levels, each of which provide a different dining experience. On the first level you’ll find California Modern, which uses local and seasonal ingredients to create a casual yet delicious menu. George’s Bar on the middle level is the best place to sip unique cocktails and local craft beers. We recommend dinner at Ocean Terrace, where you can enjoy rooftop seating and watch the sunset. For a truly Californian meal, try the Marinated and Grilled Fresh Fish Tacos with jalapeno-lime mayo, avocado, cilantro, and cabbage.

Romance Through Arizona | Phoenix and Scottsdale

When you visit Phoenix, don’t forget to spend time in Scottsdale. Only a short drive from downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale is a smaller city that makes a perfect home base. Stay in a retro hotel in Scottsdale and visit their renowned art museum, then make your way into Phoenix for great food, an adventure up in the clouds, and more. The Scottsdale/Phoenix area is sure to become one of your favorite destinations – you’ll soon be planning your next trip back.

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Hotel Valley Ho

Step back into 1950s America for romantic weekend! Located right outside of Phoenix in Scottsdale, Hotel Valley Ho is a luxury hotel with a mid-century style reminiscent of old Hollywood. Built in 1956, the hotel maintains its rich history and incorporates fresh design and pops of color. You and your love will experience the glamour of another era. Pamper yourselves with the Romance Package and enjoy Veuve Clicquot Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and a breakfast credit.

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Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Spend an afternoon at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, only a short walk from the Hotel Valley Ho. It features rotating displays of art, music, literature, film, and much more. Be sure to see the Betye Saar: Still Tickin’ exhibition, which features multimedia works with themes of nostalgia, memory, and mysticism and runs from January 30 – May 1, 2016. The museum also hosts events including author talks, comedy, and film showings.

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Pizzeria Bianco

Ready for some of the best pizza you’ve ever had? Pizzeria Bianco is an award-winning restaurant that uses fresh, local ingredients. Their menu is comprised mostly of simple, classic recipes, so you can be sure that anything you get will taste great. Stop by the downtown Phoenix location for a slice of the “Rosa,” which has red onion, parmesan, rosemary, and Arizona pistachios.

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Musical Instrument Museum

The Musical Instrument Museum is an experience you can’t miss. The museum showcases over 6,500 instruments and sound clips from all over the world. Get up close and personal in the Experience Gallery, where you and your date can form a band and play the instruments yourself! Don’t miss the Artist Gallery, featuring instruments from stars like Taylor Swift, John Lennon, and Elvis.

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Japanese Friendship Garden

Visit the Japanese Friendship Garden, dedicated to the relationship between Phoenix and its sister city of Himeji, Japan. The garden’s Japanese name is Ro Ho En, a combination of three Japanese words. Ro refers to the White Heron castle in Himeji. Ho is the Japanese word for phoenix, and En is the word for garden. The ideal place for a peaceful stroll, the gardens feature an impressive waterfall, beautiful trees and flowers, a tea house, and a koi pond.

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Hot Air Expeditions

What could be more romantic than a hot air balloon ride over the desert? Hot Air Expeditions offers morning and afternoon flights that will take you up 5,000 feet, where you’ll see amazing scenery unfold below. After your time in the sky, you’ll sit down to savor an assortment of gourmet appetizers and drinks. It will be the perfect way to complete your trip.

Escape to Jekyll Island

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Discover the serene shores, marshes, and forests of Jekyll Island, Georgia. The island’s beautiful ocean views, ten miles of beach, golf courses, tennis center, and campgrounds make it the ultimate vacation destination. Go horseback riding on the beach, or rent a bike to explore over 20 miles of paths across the island. There are also plenty of nature excursions such as bird watching, geocaching, or a visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.

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Jekyll Island Club Hotel

The Jekyll Island Club Hotel has been a premier vacation spot for over 100 years. Some of America’s wealthiest families, such as the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, were among the members of the Club in the 19th century. Choose a room in one of the resort’s five buildings, each of which has its own distinct style. Have a delicious dinner at the elegant Grand Dining Room, or check out the casual poolside Beach Pavilion. Don’t forget to explore the putting green, croquet lawn, outdoor pool, fitness room, day spa, and lending library!

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Festive February Special

For a limited time only, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel is offering a Festive February Special. From February 1 – 29, 2016 spend one night in Clubhouse or Traditional accommodations at a special rate, and wake up to breakfast for two. You can also upgrade your room for just $29 in honor of leap year! Throughout the month of February, the hotel will be putting on several fun events including a Big Band Dessert Reception, Big Band Dinner Dance, and National Sticky Bun Day celebration. Make sure you catch one during your stay!

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Girlfriend’s Getaway Package

Relax and reconnect with your friends at Jekyll Island Club Hotel! Enjoy wine delivered to your room daily and buffet breakfast in the Grand Dining Room. Spend an afternoon biking Jekyll Island’s wandering beach paths with free bike rentals and a picnic lunch. You’ll come back to afternoon tea and a massage! Book the Girlfriend’s Getaway Package for you and your friends.