The Orange County Tourism & Film team is incredibly excited to share that LEGOLAND® New York Resort is officially open for fun. The 150-acre park is located in Goshen, New York.
“We are thrilled that LEGOLAND® New York Resort is officially open to all!” said Orange County Tourism Director Amanda Dana. “LEGOLAND® New York Resort will not only benefit Orange County, but it will have a tremendous economic benefit in the Hudson Valley region and the entirety of New York. I know I can’t wait to go explore LEGOLAND® New York Resort!”
After starting construction in 2018, LEGOLAND® New York Resort opened all seven of their themed lands to the general public on Friday morning. Attending the grand opening was Gov. Andrew Cuomo, joined by other elected officials and regional tourism partners who marked the opening of the theme park by flipping a power switch.
LEGOLAND® New York Resort features a theme park with seven uniquely themed worlds, filled with attractions for the whole family. The theme park also includes a variety of dining options, as well as stores to purchase your favorite LEGO® products. A 250-room resort accompanies the theme park, offering patrons the chance to stay in either pirate, kingdom, Lego Friends or LEGO® NINJAGO® themed rooms. The LEGOLAND® hotel will start accepting reservations on August 6.
The addition of LEGOLAND® New York Resort increases the number of major attractions in New York State that currently reside in Orange County. Sitting 50 miles away from New York City, Orange County provides recreational activities, history, shopping, arts and culture, dining and more for all ages. Enjoy a tasting at one of the numerous wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries or enjoy the outdoors, rafting down the Delaware River or hiking the Appalachian Trail. Orange County provides fun for all ages throughout the entire year, making the area a premier North East destination.
About Orange County Tourism & Film
Orange County Tourism, based in Goshen, N.Y., is the county’s tourism headquarters and a participant in the I LOVE NY program. A comprehensive listing of area attractions, lodging and events can be found at Orange County Tourism and Film. Like Orange County Tourism on Facebook for the latest news on local happenings.
What’s New, Trending and Blooming this Spring in Tennessee
Memphis – Memphis Zoo’s all-new Kangazoo Experience lets you get face-to-face with kangaroos roaming free in the walk-through exhibit. Visitor favorites also include giraffe-feeding, the panda exhibit and Sting Ray Cove.
Jackson – Discover what makes Jackson a unique place for music lovers of all backgrounds whether you’re looking for new eclectic sounds, blues and gospel, country music or more with live performances of Jackson’s Hidden Tracks.
Nashville – Enjoy premiere shopping, world-class dining, live music and views of downtown at Fifth + Broadway. This 300,000 square foot multi-level mecca is a must-see and home to the National Museum of African American Musicand Assembly Food Hall featuring two dozen restaurants on multiple levels.
Columbia – The Mulehouse is a 55,000 square feet new music and event venue located a few blocks from the downtown square, established by country radio personality and broadcaster, Blair Garner.
Manchester – A brand new concert series features live, in-person performances in a socially-distanced setting at the Bonnaroo Farm. Concerts on the Farm includes performances by Billy Strings, Jon Pardy, Jameson Rodgers, The Avett Brothers and more.
Chattanooga – Grab your thinking caps, maps and don’t forget your mask. Take adventure to the next level. Learn more about Chattanooga’s top attractions and neighborhoods during the Spring Break Safari Scavenger Hunt.
Knoxville – Three levels of magical crystal barrooms wait to be discovered in downtown Knoxville. Bernadette’sbarrooms include the Knox County Quartz House, the Amethyst Lounge, and a stunning rooftop of Crystal Gardens.
Gatlinburg – Anakeesta will be in full bloom with the launch of Blooms and Tunes featuring colorful nature-themed art installations, live music and a new spring-themed menu at four restaurants in the park.
Townsend – The Smoky Mountain Bigfoot Festival Noon-10 p.m. May 22 includes live music, vendors, food trucks, bigfoot competitions, oral histories, 1-mile fun run and more at the Townsend Visitor’s Center.
Johnson City – Grab a scavenger hunt clue card online or from a downtown business to search for 15 bronze animal sculptures as part of Wildabout Walkabout Scavenger Hunt from the public library and King Commons Park to Main and Market Streets.
New Restaurants, Breweries and Distilleries
Memphis – Renowned chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman are at it again, this time with their Little Bettie pizza joint inside Wiseacre’s newly opened downtown taproom.
Clarksville – The Thirsty Goat is a newer gathering place outside of the city that features a beer garden, artisan coffee shop and oven-fired pizzas.
Murfreesboro – Biscuit-based meals made baked fresh daily are at the forefront of Maple Street Biscuit Co. Jams and jellies are also made in-store. Featured on Food Network, The Squawking Goat dish is an all-natural fried chicken breast, fried goat cheese medallion and house-made pepper jelly atop a flaky biscuit.
Columbia – Wolf and Scout Coffee Car is located in the Columbia Arts Building serving varieties of coffees and their signature drink, the Wolfhunter.
Carthage – Cajun wings, honey BBQ wings, onion rings, fries and delicious sides are on tap at Something 2 Wing About.
Farragut – 35 North, located in the heart of Farragut, features the area’s best food trucks, local brews, wine and spirits and features two patios, an outdoor fireplace and a place for gathering.
LaFollette – Twin Flame features amazing hot dogs, burgers, wings, catfish, specialty drinks and much more with carry-out and dining room seating available.
Wartburg – The MoCo Brewing Project is Morgan County’s latest brewery and coffee shop with signature beers named and influenced by local landmarks. The owners brew beer, coffee and offer flavored coffee and hot chocolate.
Sevierville – Tennessee Shine Co.uses family recipes and small-batch distilling, features a tasting bar and Moonshine Tour.
Johnson City – Watauga Brewing Company is a three story brewery, restaurant and rooftop bar. Restaurant On 2 combines upscale New American cuisine with Appalachian and southern roots. The chef uses local, seasonal foods in her menu.
New Attractions and Exhibits
Memphis –Visitors can enjoy movie nights and world-renowned musicians in an all-new outdoor setting at The Grove at GPAC.
Memphis – Graceland celebrates the 50 anniversary King of Rock ‘n’ Roll meeting then President Richard Nixon with a special pop-up exhibit and artifacts with Dear Mr. President: Elvis and Mr. Nixon.
Nashville – Once Upon a Spring at Gaylord Opryland includes a live story time show, art activities, cookie decorating, scavenger hunt, boat rides and other fun programming.
Knoxville – Zoo Knoxville’s The ARC (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Campus), open spring 2021, will showcase the zoo’s pioneering conservation work with these species and feature revolutionary STEM education resources.
Johnson City – Paradise Acresis a family farm park with an 18-hole mini-golf course, outdoor laser tag, barn-side drive-in theater and U-Pick produce.
New Hotels & Places to Stay
Memphis – Walk the line between southern hospitality, offbeat and elevated cuisine to get a genuine taste of Midtown’s unconventional personality, storied art district and Overton Square at The Memphian, set to open April 2021.
Memphis – Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis is within walking distance of the city’s famed entertainment district, nestled in a vibrant neighborhood known for lauded music venues, historic landmarks, southern comfort and Memphis-style barbecue.
Nashville – W Hotel Nashville is set to take the stage in the heart of the Gulch. Opening spring 2021 with 346 rooms, the new hotel will welcome visitors with curated local tunes, garden-to-glass cocktails and welcoming communal spaces.
Pigeon Forge – Pigeon Forge RV Resort along the Little Pigeon River includes 149 RV sites, camping, riverside fishing, illuminated river walk. On-property offerings include on-site concierge services, a pool, and hot tub, playground, picnic pavilion, a dog park, golf cart rentals, a retail store, conference room, gym, and laundry facilities.
Columbia – Columbia features several new stores including Cope (in the Columbia Arts Building with a variety of trendy plants), family-owned jewelry store Tillis Jewelry on the downtown square and Southern Clutter Boutique with a variety of clothing, accessories, home goods and crafts.
Farragut – Euphoric Cheese features cut-to-order cheeses from all around the world, a wide variety of charcuterie items, specialty groceries and a selection of local brews. Items such as chocolate-covered figs, blue cheese stuffed olives, creamed honey and rosemary crackers will make your grazing board memorable.
Kingston – That Local Cheeseboard Co.features handcrafted charcuterie boards & boxes, grazing tables, customizable boxes, corporate catering, and gifts and items for special occasions.
Hornbeak – Vacation while you dine at Blue Bank Fishhouse & Grill at Blue Bank Resort with delicious weekend specials, local craft beer, live music, fire pits, butterfly garden & front row seating to a beautiful sunset on Reelfoot Lake.
Alamo – Drive through the 5.5 miles of safari roads in your own car, interact and feed animals at Tennessee Safari Park. After the journey, experience the walk-through zoo, enjoy refreshments at the concessions, the playground area, and the petting zoo.
Clarksville – Downtown at Sundown Concerts at Downtown Commons includes free live music the first and third Friday nights May through October. The large urban outdoor park allows space to socially distance with your chairs or blanket.
Linden – Experience serenity on the water. Commodore River Adventures offers an uncrowded, individual or small-group, artisan kayaking experience.
Nashville – Celebrate spring, warmer weather and longer days with more than 150,000 blooming bulbs and fun seasonal activities during Cheekwood in Bloom.
Nashville – Board the General Jackson Showboat, one of Gaylord Opryland’s most popular attractions, for cruises featuring first-class live entertainment, delicious meals and gorgeous views of Nashville.
LaFollette – Chapman Hill Winery is a quaint winery with an elegant tasting room nestled in the hills of East Tennessee on the edge of Norris Lake. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for the Vineyard Vibrations live music series.
Farragut – Enjoy a stroll through town, a heritage trail, cemetery and educational sites to learn history of the area, pioneer settlements and more through artifacts, photos and stories during the Farragut History Walk.
Harriman – Lakeshore Park offers recreation fun for the family and is home to the Gupton Wetlands area, where at least 114 species of birds can be found. Bring bikes, kayaks, fishing poles and enjoy scenery and trails.
Lancing – Lilly Hopyard Brewery is tucked away in the woods near the Obed Wild and Scenic River. Warm up around the campfire, watch the game, play corn hole, listen to live music and enjoy the Sauced Frog eatery.
Winchester – Stroll with family and friends during Food Truck Fridays at the downtown Farmers Market Pavilion on the Boulevard. Downtown merchants will stay open late on the first Friday of every month.
Johnson City – At the 40-acre Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park, riders can experience the thrill of off-road riding from the gnarly, rocky downhill of the Black Diamond to smooth dirt paths on the green trails.
Pigeon Forge – Explore larger-than-life plant sculptures adorned in half-a-million colorful flower blooms, dance under an Umbrella Sky and indulge in garden-fresh flavors from chefs during Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival.
Spring Festivals & Events
Gatlinburg (March 18-20) – Explore the new Gatlinburg St. Patrick’s Day Celebration complete with traditional Irish music, food, fireworks, and more. The city will be decorated with Shamrock green and feature fireworks show at 10 p.m. Friday at the Space Needle.
Bell Buckle (March 20) – The historic town adapts Daffodil Days to include a tree seedling give away, spring bulbs vendors on the square, spring items in stores, and a book signing by beloved former Tennessee Poet Laureate Maggi Vaugn.
Chattanooga (March 20-21) – Come see the High Falls flow green during Shamrock City at Rock City featuring Irish food, specialty beer from Chattanooga Brewing Co., bagpipers, pop-up Irish dance performers, and virtual scavenger hunt.
Linden (March 26-27) – The Blooming Arts Festival mixes fine arts, local craftsmanship, performances and fantastic local eats. Masks and social distancing recommended. Sanitization stations will be up on Main Street.
Pigeon Forge (March 26-28) – Cowboy cooks circle the wagons for the one-of-a-kind outdoor Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff that features chuck wagons–the original food trucks. Attendees can sample the offerings at lunch.
Murfreesboro (March 29-April 2) – Looking for a fun and safe way to kick off spring? Stop by the Discovery Center for Mess Fest. Get creative and messy with free outdoor activities such as making oobleck, elephant toothpaste and more.
Spring Hill (April 2) – Grammy Award Winner Casting Crowns performs a socially distancing family-friendly drive-in concert 7 p.m. at Rippavilla. Tickets benefit the Well Outreach Food Pantry.
Crossville (April 2-June 24) – Cumberland County Playhouse kicks off its 2021 spring season with productions like Clue on Stage, The Savannah Sipping Society, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now and Duck Hunter Shoots Angel.
Savannah (April 3) – The 9th Annual Generals Breakfast kicks off at 9 a.m. at Cherry Mansion with an outdoor breakfast, storytelling program and a Q&A by the homeowners. Tickets are $15. Masks and social distancing are encouraged.
Murfreesboro (April 23) – Travis Tritt with special guest Frank Foster takes the stage at 7 p.m. at Hop Springs Beer Park. There’s live music every weekend at the family & dog-friendly park with food and a huge selection of craft beers on tap.
Granville (May 1) – The Cornbread & Moonshine Festival features whiskey tastings, cornbread tasting, food, music, and craftsmen. Admission is $5. The new Whiskey Decanter Museum also opens with over 3,000 whiskey decanters.
Cookeville (May 1) – Cookeville Storyfest 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the big tent in Dogwood Park includes headliners Andy Offutt Irwin and Minton Sparks, and an amateur storytelling competition.
Tellico Plains (May 1) – The Tellico Trout Festival 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. downtown gathers fishermen, river sports enthusiasts and families for fun, education, food, entertainment and outfitter services.
Gatlinburg (May 1-3) – Guests can begin a creative journey in crafts, woodworking, basket weaving, jewelry making and more during Hands on Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. Register in advance before workshops sell out.
Pigeon Forge (May 5-8) – Textile art and techniques to stitch quilts are on display at Pigeon Forge’s A Mountain Quiltfest. Guests can register for instructional classes. The free quilt exhibit and vendor hall are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the LeConte Center.
Sweetwater (May 7-8) – Head to Historic Downtown Sweetwater for the Blooms, Bluegrass and BBQ Festival with live music, barbecue competition, vendors, picker’s corner, kids’ zone and fun activities.
Smithville (May 8) – Center Hill Lake Fest 4-10 p.m. at The Burlap Room Beer Garden and Dispensary features plenty of space to socially-distance while enjoying food from local food trucks, craft beer and local vendors. Please wear a mask in vendor and restroom lines. Tickets for the kid and pet-friendly event start at $20.
Rugby (May 8) – Raise a cup to Queen Victoria during the Queen’s Tea at Historic Rugby. The festive tea will include sandwiches, scones and dessert. Tickets are $22.
Wartburg (May 15) – The Tennessee Mountain Laurel Festival is filled with music, food, exhibits, creative arts, crafts, a car show and 24 designated scenic trails 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. around courthouse square.
Harriman (May 22-23, May 29-31) – Join a weekend of fun with costume contests, pirate Olympics, treasure hunts, get a picture with a mermaid or scallywag or shop the merchant village for unique treasures at the 5th Annual Tennessee Pirate Fest.
Bell Buckle (May 29) – Load up the car and go on an adventure in Historic Bell Buckle geocaching for prizes 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. during the Bell Buckle Car Cache and Pig Bash. Registration information can be found here.
Donelson (May-October) – Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, shop from local vendors, listen to live music and stroll through the historic grounds of Two Rivers Mansion Fridays 4-7 p.m. during the outdoor Hip Donelson Farmers Market.
360 Magazine Culture Editor, Tom Wilmer explores Knoxville—the third largest city in Tennessee.
When people think of Tennessee, Nashville and Memphis get the prime spotlight, and they most often make the top of the to-do list for travelers. But Knoxville has an abundance of attractions that are alluringly unique.
Knoxville’s first iteration as a world-class travel destination happened with a bang when the town hosted the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair. Today the two remaining iconic vestiges are the Sunsphere tower, and a stunningly beautiful riverside performance amphitheater.
Knoxville is graced with historic architecture, both in the urban core, and surrounding residential neighborhoods, but its the friendliness of the people is an essential ingredient that makes the town so attractive.
Most of the businesses are locally owned. There’s been a recent explosion of new upscale eateries (more than 80 in the urban core) and trendy brew pubs that keep the downtown core hopping in to the wee hours of the night. Festivals like the annual Rhythm and Blooms Blues Festival in May is just a sampler of the live events that take place downtown throughout the year.
Outdoor hiking, biking and kayaking are viral endeavors for locals and visitors alike. Knoxville rightfully touts its super popular Urban Wilderness with more than 1,000 unspoiled acres right in the heart of the city.
Carol Evans shares insights about the city’s Urban Wilderness adventures for hikers, bikers. and kayakers. Sam Carlton at the four-star The TENNESSEAN Hotel talks about the Knoxville World’s Fair back in 1982, and how the momentum instilled by the fair continues today.
Tom Bugg, general manager at the city’s two historic theaters—the Tennessee and the Bijou Theatre—paints a vivid picture of Knoxville’s past and present, and how the renovation of the theaters served as an economic stimulus for other downtown revitalization projects.
David Butler, executive director at the Knoxville Museum of Art talks about community engagement through showcasing regional art, educational outreach and gratis admission.
The 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair “Sunsphere”still graces the skyline in the heart of town
Christmas parties are around the corner, and as you begin to think about how you’re celebrating the holidays this year, let us introduce you toSplacer, a platform where you can find and rent 3,000 of the most unique spaces from captained yachts to speakeasies or breweries, abandoned rail cars to lofts, and warehouses to art galleries and car showrooms.
As you are planning your holiday party, Thanksgiving, and Friendsgiving stories, or sharing some of the best-kept secrets in cities across the US, check out some of the most unique places down below.
Granada Hotel and Bistro (lunch, dinner and weekend brunch) & Nourish (breakfast and lunch)
Granada Bistro takes its culinary cues from the classic French bistro and enlivens them with modern techniques and bold flavors. Right next door, you will find Nourish, a healthy eatery featuring fresh, local and soul satisfying meals. Nourish is open from 7 a.m. -3 p.m. every day.
Granada Hotel and Bistro
1126 Morro St.
Koberl at Blue (dinner and drinks)
Enjoy a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail with dinner in their dining room or while relaxing at the bar. Koberl at Blue features cuisine to complement the Central Coast’s wine region with each item created with a wine paring in mind.
Koberl at Blue
998 Monterey St.
Sidecar Cocktail Co. (drinks)
Sidecar’s commitment to bring creative and thoughtfully-sourced cocktails from every corner of California is evident in each glass they serve. The menu celebrates the abundance of the Central Coast, sourcing locally means working locally with people doing exciting things in the community!
Sidecar Cocktail Co.
1127 Broad St.
Luna Red (lunch, dinner or drinks)
A passion for simple and clean food, local produce, and a warm ambiance helped spur the vision for Luna Red. Inspired by the European custom of respect for the locality and traditional preparation of food, the menu includes cured meats, local cheeses, and produce from regional farmers’ markets.
1023 Chorro St.
Novo Restaurant & Lounge (lunch, dinner or drinks)
An iconic dining experience in the heart of downtown where global cuisine combines with hand selected and crafted beverages with a beautiful atmosphere. Enjoy your meal creekside on their beautiful patio, in the intimate bar and lounge or in the downstairs cellar.
Novo Restaurant & Lounge
726 Higuera St.
Experience the outdoors just minutes from downtown
When it comes to hiking, local favorites include the 1,292-foot Cerro San Luis Mountain, a trip to the summit rewards hikers and rock-climbers with sweeping views of the entire city. A fairly easy route through the 800 acre Reservoir Canyon Natural Reserve leads to a waterfall that’s stunning during winter and spring. Keep going and the trails climbs steadily before leveling off, offering unparalleled views of the area and, on particularly clear days, out to the ocean. Follow this link for interactive trail maps for these and other hikes.
The historic Chamisal property, the first vineyard planted in the Edna Valley, has long been producing wines of a distinctive character – bold, complex and intriguing. With the ideal climate of the region and the exceptional clonal selection planted, their winemaking philosophy is to simply reflect the natural characteristics of this remarkable estate.
Biddle Ranch Vineyard was conceived by a group of friends with a love for fine wine, good food, and the Central Coast. Every element of Biddle Ranch – the wine, the setting, and the people are the way they feel life should be: simple, authentic and inspired.
Biddle Ranch Vineyard
2050 Biddle Ranch Rd,
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Claiborne & Churchill Winery
Claiborne & Churchill is a small, premium family-owned winery in the Edna Valley of San Luis Obispo, producing about 8,000 cases of wine each year with grapes sourced from vineyards throughout the Central Coast and their own small estate vineyards.
Claiborne & Churchill Winery
2649 Carpenter Canyon Rd
Tolosa’s vineyard, Edna Ranch, consists of six distinct sections, with 60 soil types and myriad microclimates encapsulating a remarkable spectrum of terroirs. Combining these challenging, calcium- rich soil conditions and ancient seabed with the valley’s warm days and cool nights, you possess the ingredients for timeless and profound wines of diverse and distinctive character.
4910 Edna Rd
The Station is a carefully curated wine bar, wine shop, market and event space in San Luis Obispo. They select wines, and other items considers to be the best in best in their field and not readily found else ware for their market shelves. The Station is also the home to ART BAR SLO, a venue for art, craft, wine and music.
311 Higuera St
For more information about events, attractions and visitor services in San Luis Obispo, phone the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce at 877-SLO-TOWN or visit the City’s website at www.SanLuisObispoVacations.com.
FROM ROTHSCHILD GIRAFFES TO PYGMY FORESTS, BOWLING BALL BEACH & 10,000 BUDDHAS, MENDOCINO COUNTY UPS THE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE WITH AN INSPIRING LINEUP OF ADVENTURES
Diving deep into Northern California’s crown jewel delivers an experience that’s both easy on the wallet and hard to replicate. This is the land of ancient redwood groves, natural oddities and awe-inspiring attractions; an earthy blend of maverick farmers, cutting-edge brew masters and personalities with a passion for the offbeat.
Just two hours north of San Francisco, Mendocino County is the true call of the wild, effortlessly mixing wine, waves and wilderness. Linger on the Lost Coast, break a sweat at Bowling Ball Beach or dive deep into flights of award-winning Alsatian wines. Boasting 90 miles of prime Pacific coastline, 90+ wineries and 24 state/national parklands, the options for adventure are endless. www.VisitMendocino.com.
TOP TREKS FOR THE EXPERIENTIAL TRAVELER
• Lost Coast Adventure/Candelabra Tree Forest – North of Fort Bragg lies California’s famed Lost Coast, Mendocino’s most wild and remote coastal wilderness with plenty of bragging rights. The Shady Dell Trail – a three-mile excursion – invites visitors to discover the rugged region including the mysterious candelabra tree forest. Free; www.mendocinolandtrust.org.
• B. Bryan Preserve – Experience the African veldt on Mendocino County’s south coast. Join the twice-daily tours to feed the rare African hoofstock- Rothschild Giraffe, Zebra, and Antelope-at B. Bryan Preserve. This remote outpost tucked into Point Arena along scenic Highway 1 also offers an eye-popping giraffe barn for offbeat events. $35 per adult/$20 per child for 1.5 hour Land Rover tour; www.bbryanpreserve.com.
• Pygmy Forest – From Jug Handle State Beach, step back through time as you hike the 2.5-mile self-guided nature trail called The Ecological Staircase, which explores five ocean terraces (each representing 100,000 years) that have been uplifted over time and have created this unique coastal range. Visitors can take a walkabout in the local gardens or bed down for a deal at Jug Handle Creek Farm, a European-style hostel for just $45/night; http://www.jughandlecreekfarm.org/nature-education/ecological-staircase/.
• Bowling Ball Beach – Rows of boulders carved by time and tide await at Bowling Ball Beach. Hidden, like the Terracotta Army, at low tide these concretions reveal themselves once the sea has retreated. The beach is part of Schooner Gulch State Beach, free; www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=446.
• City of 10,000 Buddhas – Peacocks, pagodas and “Vigor” and “Virtue” signposts — backed with the resonance of chanting monks – this is the stop for a peaceful walkabout at one of the nation’s largest Buddhist monasteries. Open to the public, this stunning City of 10,000 Buddhas offers daily prayer (12:30 p.m.) in the eye-popping Jeweled Hall, complete with 10,000 golden Buddhas lining the facility from floor to ceiling; free. Stay for a tasty lunch at Jyuan Kang Vegetarian Restaurant on-site. www.cttbusa.org.
• Solar Living Institute/Memorial Car Grove – A scout about the Memorial Car Grove at the Solar Living Institute in Hopland is certain to spur a selfie. Tucked along the Inspiration Highway (101) at the gateway of Mendocino County, this oddity takes shape in the form of hulking gas guzzlers, including classic Edsels repurposed as art. These rusting relics from the 1950s and ’60s with grown trees sprouting from the interiors are a statement to our times. Get up close and personal with a grinning grille or hug that tree. Free; www.solarlivinginstitute.org.
• DIY Point Arena-Stornetta Lands Hike – Relish the wild outdoors at the only land-based portion of the 1,100-mile California Coastal National Monument: Point Arena-Stornetta Lands. The newly acquired lands and moody bluffs of Mendocino’s coast — incorporating more than 1,600 acres — give hikers new access to a 12-mile stretch of coastline laced with cypress forests, scenic cliffs and wildflower fields. Free; http://www.visitmendocino.com/point-arena-stornetta-public-lands/.
• Point Arena Lighthouse – Make a day of scouting the coast with a pit stop at Point Arena Lighthouse. The tower is the only West Coast lighthouse of significant height (115 feet) that visitors can access all the way to the top. Breathtaking 360-degree views and a museum and shop await. Six lodgings dot the 23-acre property including the romantic Lighthouse Keeper’s Apartment ($200/dbl.). General admission $7/children 11 and under $1; www.pointarenalighthouse.com.
• Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens — Work up a thirst while touring one of the few botanical gardens located directly on prime Pacific Ocean frontage. Known for its spectacular displays of rhododendrons and dahlias, the garden delights in all four seasons. Bee Friendly Gardens and Sustainable Vegetable Gardening are a snapshot of the annual seminars held. Pet- and kid-friendly. $14 adult/$5 children (5-17); www.gardenbythesea.org.
• Beer Flight at North Coast Brewing Company – Tame your thirst with a flight of brews at the north coast’s best brewpub. Slither into a tasting flight of four beers ($6) or splurge with the 14-beer sampler with a friend; $21. The Tap Room is the stop for wood-fired pizza and weekends deliver live jazz; www.northcoastbrewing.com.
• Glass Beach – An anomaly that is eye-popping, visitors can seek out sea glass on Fort Bragg’s unique trash-to-treasure state beach. Formerly the city dump, Glass Beach has evolved over tide and time polishing the glass from head- and tail-lights, jars, bottles, and more into tiny, colorful glass pebbles. Red and blue are the rarest! Free; www.visitmendocino.com/does-glass-beach-really-have-glass.
• Roots of Motive Power – The age of steam is alive and on show in Willits, California. Just east of town off the Inspiration Highway (101), Roots of Motive Power shows off its cache of classic steam engines, donkeys and railroad track to visitors on their work days each month, free; www.rootsofmotivepower.com/work-days.
• Orr Hot Springs – Soak up some relaxation at this clothing-optional outpost nestled in the rolling hills near the town of Ukiah. The mineral waters flow through communal tubs, a cold pool, rooftop and private tubs. Simple lodgings are also offered as well as camping on site. Day use is $30 for adults/$25 children. Reservations required; www.orrhotsprings.org.
• Montgomery Wo0dsState Reserve – Near Orr Hot Springs lies one of the state’s most magnificent groves of virgin redwoods. To stand among the redwood spires deep in the forest is to stand in the nave of one of nature’s cathedrals. High up in the canopy, past flying buttresses of enormous branches, the green treetops soar 300 or more feet above. A network of easy trails links the Reserve and adjoining fern groves. Free; www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=434.
• Disc Golf at Anderson Valley Brewing Company – Pick up a six-pack at the Tap Room and head outside to play a round of disc golf on the brewery’s 18-hole course. Or, take a tour of the brewery offered daily at 1:30 p.m., (and 3:30 p.m./summer); free; www.avbc.com.
• Pennyroyal Farm – Get your goat on at this new, polished venue marking the entrance to Anderson Valley. A daily tour at this award-winning farmstead dairy includes a visit to the barn to meet 143+ dairy goat companions and 30 dairy sheep, view of the creamery and finale cheese tasting; $15 for adults/$10 for children/under 5 free. New Pennyroyal Farms wines are also on tap; (Daily tours $15/adults; $10/children.) www.pennyroyalfarm.com.
• Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree – Size matters. Soaring at 315 feet high with a girth of 21 feet, this 2,000-year-old towering tree is a definite show stopper. Cut in the late 1930s as a tourist attraction, the Chandelier Tree seems to defy nature, allowing autos a smooth passage through its center, albeit tight at times. Ideal for Instagram Live, a $5.00 fee gains entry through this gentle giant; there are also wonderful hiking trails in nearby Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area. www.drivethrutree.com.
• Skunk Train – It’s a train thing and it doesn’t get any better than tucking deep into mystical redwoods aboard the legendary Skunk Train. Depart from Fort Bragg or Willits, which offers an adventure on the Northspur Flyer, for a four-hour trek ascending the 1,740 ft. summit then pushing through to the lush Noyo River Canyon aboard a vintage railcruiser (one of the original 132-year old Skunks) with an open-air coach. Prices vary. www.skunktrain.com.
Mendocino County welcomes nearly 1.8 million visitors annually who explore its 90 miles of prime Pacific coastline, 90+ wineries and 10 diverse AVAs (earning the highest percentage of organic and biodynamic vineyards in the United States), 24 state/national parklands and 450+ unique accommodations. Straddling scenic Highways 1 and 101, “The Redwood Corridor,” the County delivers an ideal vortex of waves, wines and redwoods laced with historic villages and outback adventures. Located 114 mi./184 km. north of San Francisco, the region’s gateway airports are San Francisco International (SFO), Oakland International (OAK), Sacramento International Airport (SMF), and Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS). Visit Mendocino County is a non-profit destination marketing organization designed to enhance the economic vitality of the community by increasing tourism revenue. For more information, go to www.visitmendocino.com.
Welcome to Virginia’s Blue Ridge! This stretch of iconic mountains welcomes travelers by air, car, and foot. By foot? That’s right. Roanoke and Botetourt counties are popular places to stop for brave souls hiking through the Appalachian Trail. Many thru-hikers send packages addressed to themselves to the Troutville, Virginia post office, knowing that the Blue Ridge is the perfect place to refresh and restock for their journey. The scenery of Virginia can also be enjoyed by automobile on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which meanders through 469 miles of small towns, peaks and valleys to link the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Flying, driving and hiking won’t be the only ways to make it to Virginia’s Blue Ridge. As of late, Amtrak has opened a platform in Roanoke with direct routes to Washington DC so visitors will be able to catch a train to one of the south’s most historic railroad hubs.
Learn about Roanoke’s rail history at the O. Winston Link Museum, with its magnificent collection of striking photographic and auditory works from a man who was so completely passionate about the Norfolk & Southern Railroad, you have to see it to believe it.
Then, take a walk along the Railwalk, a convenient ½ mile path along an outdoor museum with interactive signage, displays and whistles, detailing the history of the railroad in Roanoke up to the present day. The Railwalk connects the downtown Market District to the Virginia Museum of Transportation. All aboard for a guided tour of the Virginia Museum of Transportation, the Commonwealth’s Official Transportation Museum, located in Roanoke’s historic Norfolk & Western Railway Freight Station, whose collection includes approximately 2,500 objects, more than 50 pieces of rolling stock–locomotives and other rail cars–the largest collection of diesel locomotives in the South. The museum has expanded its collection to include automotive, aviation, transit and other artifacts, and frequently exhibits loaned objects.
Then, spend the morning exploring Franklin county–stop at Homestead Creamery for ice cream made from locally sourced milk. Homestead Creamery still has home delivery!
Take a tour of Booker T. Washington National Monument. This national monument commemorates the life of this famous educator, writer, orator and presidential advisor. Exhibits, films, farm, tours and special events tell of his remarkable rise from enslavement to being one of the most influential, but controversial, African Americans of his time.
Enjoy a moderate to strenuous guided hike to McAfee Knob, a trademark of the Appalachian Trail and one of the Trail’s most photographed sites. The knob is located atop Catawba Mountain with an elevation of 3,197 feet, featuring an overhang of rock and an almost 270 degree panorama of the valley. This is hike is approximately 8.8 miles round trip.
Afterwards, reward your hard work with a cold brew from Parkway Brewing Company in Salem, Virginia. Parkway Brewing Company is a 30-barrel manufacturing facility producing distinctive craft beers. Located adjacent to Salem’s Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail, a section of the Roanoke Valley Greenway system, Parkway has become a meeting place for runners, cyclists and community seekers throughout the region.
Visit Black Dog Salvage, the brainchild of Mike Whiteside and Robert Kulp with the idea of preserving Southwest Virginia’s architectural past. These “Salvage Dawgs” specialize in reclaiming and reselling industrial fixtures from mantels and doors to vintage plumbing and art tiles found in historic homes. The popularity of their craft landed the crew a TV show in 2012 which airs on DIY Network, HGTV, and GAC.
Then, wander through Historic Grandin Village – a charming 1920s neighborhood with the restored 1930s Grandin Theatre(@TheGrandinTheat); serving soda pops and popcorn, Pop’s Ice Cream & Soda Bar opened to the public on March 7, 2006. Pop’s has since won numerous local awards for best ice cream, milkshakes, soup and sandwiches, and was honored to be featured in Oxford American Magazine’s 2009 “Best of the South” issue; Black Dog Salvage (@BlackDogSalvage)–40,000 square-feet filled with one-of-a-kind architectural treasures, antique and custom designs including mantels, stained glass, wrought iron, doors, windows, furniture, antiques and more! Black Dog Salvage is the setting for DIY network’s show “Salvage Dawgs.” More information at www.blackdogsalvage.com.
Visit the Star-The Roanoke Star and Overlook-for a bird’s eye view of the city from this historic landmark, touted as the world’s largest man-made star.
Visit the Taubman Museum of Art, located in an architectural wonder that encompasses stunning design elements reminiscent of the Roanoke Valley region, and showcases American art, modern and contemporary art, design and decorative arts, folk and visionary art, regional art and works on paper. The museum has about 2,050 pieces in its permanent collection–a 10-foot sculpture “Art World” by James Harold Jennings; the inch-and-a-half square photograph “Maggie on Beach with Dog” by Thomas Cowperthwaite Eakins; 3,500-year-old Egyptian Ushabiti ceramic figures; Personalized Roanoke Star Clutch decorative handbag by Judith Leiber; and contemporary Roanoke artists. For more information visit: www.taubmanmuseum.org.
Then, explore some of the downtown Roanoke art galleries at your leisure.
Take a beer hop and see why Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains is quickly developing into a popular location for craft breweries.
The plentiful supply of top-quality water combined with the beautiful landscape and unique culture that exists in the region makes Virginia’s Blue Ridge a natural choice for many beer companies. We’ll even take a look at the new Deschutes tasting room in downtown Roanoke!
Free time before dinner to explore the Historic Roanoke City Market (@DowntownRoanoke) and downtown shops of Roanoke, or take the self-guided walking tour of downtown Roanoke.
Then, enjoy dinner at area restaurant.
Historic Home Tour in Fincastle located in Botetourt County, VA – founded in 1772 and named after Lord Fincastle, son of Lord Dunmore, Virginia’s last royal governor. Antebellum churches, tree-lined streets, a courthouse designed by Thomas Jefferson, restored homes and a quaint village atmosphere make it a wonderful place to visit. Journalists will tour historic homes, buildings and other prominent landmarks in the area with local guides. (www.hisfin.org) or (www.visitbotetourt.com)
The trail features three local wineries in Botetourt County, located in the northern part of Virginia’s Blue Ridge region, and the wineries combine wonderful flavor with charming hospitality and unique mountain.
Enjoy the fall colors at Carvins Cove Nature Reserve–The second largest municipal park in the nation. It holds a major water source within its 12,700 acres and overflowing recreational opportunities including hiking, biking, fishing, and boat rentals. 11,363 acres of Carvins Cove is protected by the largest conservation easement in Virginia’s history. There are more than 40 miles of multi-use trails. Experience the fall colors with a kayak trip or the colors with a leisurely hike.
Enjoy dinner and a cold brew at Ballast Point Brewing Company. With 128 taps featuring a variety of Ballast Point beers, growler filling station, retail area with unique merchandise & swag, and a restaurant, it’s a one-stop shop for everything Ballast Point Brewing Company. The views from the bar and dining room also feature the stunning beauty of Virginia’s Blue Ridge–Perfect for an evening sunset.
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