Four Great Culinary Vacations

It doesn’t matter if you love or hate the term “foodie.” Food-centric vacations are here to stay, and even the nonculinarily inclined can enjoy these four great vacations that put food at the center of all the fun without sacrificing the destination or the hotel experience.
The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa – Rooftop Bee Workshop
Hosted by the property’s own beekeeper, guests learn the ins and outs of tending bees so they can implement hives at their own homes. Guests receive an arrival amenity consisting of all of the bounty from the Brown’s rooftop bee hives; including: Honey Lavender Soap, spa treatments featuring the honey, even a beer created in collaboration with a local brewery.
Four Seasons Resort Whistler – Chef-Led Farmers Market Bicycle Tour
The executive chef at the property personally leads bicycle farmer’s market tours from the resort’s front door. Following the farmer’s market, guests return to the property for a cooking lesson (with the market’s fresh bounty), and a gourmet meal at the chef’s table. Guests learn how to pick the best produce and learn cooking skills that they’ll be able to use in their own kitchens when they return home.
Travaasa Hana – Traditional Hawaiian Net Throw
Traditionally passed down through generations of native Hawaiians down from father to son, guests learn the art of catching fish with Hawaiian nets, then return to the property for a lesson on preparing the fish and cooking it. (Picture shown above).
Four Seasons Resort Vail – Mushrooms & Mercedes Expedition
Four Seasons Vail has partnered with Larry Evans, a renowned mushroom forager (who knew there even was such a thing) to offer guests a unique day trip to hunt for mushrooms and cook and enjoy a gourmet dinner upon return to the property. Evans gives guests an overview of what types of mushrooms to hunt for, what to avoid, and how to property pick and clean mushrooms. The highlight of the experience for most attendees is when the group reconvenes in the kitchen of Flame, the signature restaurant.

Video of the Day: Paraplegic girl bungee jumps in Whistler

Traveling with disabilities poses its own set of challenges. However, challenges can be overcome. That’s what makes this video so inspiring. Not one to let her paralysis keep her from enjoying an adventure, this paraplegic woman bungee jumped – with her wheelchair – off a bridge in Whistler, BC. The next time you’re feeling skittish about hitting the road, trying something new or testing your limits, remember this girl. I’m pretty sure she could kick my ass.
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Wine, food, and partying at Cornucopia in Whistler, Canada

From November 10-13, 2011, Cornucopia, a four day and night food and wine festival, will take place in Whistler, Canada. The event caters to both amateur enthusiasts as well as experts with seminars, tastings, and culinary programs that allow attendees to gain insight and knowledge.

In addition to educating the palate, Cornucopia will also be hosting an array of parties including:

  • Araxi’s Bubbles and Oceans– Enjoy seafood, champagne, and sparkling wine from 20 of the world’s top producers.
  • Bearfoot Bistro’s Masquerave– Proceeds for this event, which showcases the creations of top chefs from British Columbia, go to help ONE DROP, a foundation that helps give people from foreign countries access to clean water and sanitation where it is needed. International DJs, burlesque dancers, circus art performances, and models covered in winery-inspired body paintings will also be featured at the event.
  • House Party– This BBQ features local breweries, wineries, and cuisine, as well as live music.
  • CRUSH– A 2-night tasting event featuring more than 60 wineries from around the world. Book signings and tips will also be given by wine writer Natalie MacLean, author of “Unquenchable: A Tispy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Bottles”.
  • Casino Royale– This Vegas-style party will feature showgirls, circus performers, DJs, drinks, and a casino.
  • Top Gun…a Tribute– Burlesque dancers will perform a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the movie release “Top Gun” and the 30th anniversary of Sumac Ridge Estate Winery. Tickets include a complimentary coat check and a glass of Tribute champagne.

For more information on the event and tickets, click here.

The Whistler Sabbatical Project – sign us up

We’re a sucker for these amazing free trip contests. Year-long diving contracts in Australia? We’ll get SCUBA certified. Photographing wedding locations across Ireland? We’ll find a husband. For this new incentive from Tourism Whistler, we’ll learn to ski on more than just the bunny slopes.

Dubbed the “Whistler Sabbatical Project,” this one-month, all expenses paid trip will include airfare, accommodations, lift passes, ski or snowboard equipment and “extraordinary experiences.”

Sign us up. How do you win? Each Tuesday for the next 15 weeks, the Whistler Sabbatical Project will showcase Whistler experiences online – and ask the question: Would you do it? How contestants respond will set the stage for building an itinerary of adventure.

Potential “experiences” include slicing the tops off magnums of champagne with a sabre (in a 20,000 bottle wine cellar), access to a world-class spa facility to on-mountain adventures, and of course, all the skiing or snowboarding you can handle.

“We’re encouraging people to go to the site every week, think about the question and answer whether or not they’d do that particular activity,” said Kirsten Homeniuk, Tourism Whistler’s senior manager of marketing services.
enter the contest,” she said.

Of course, the contest is also aimed at drawing visitors to Whistler through 45-second videos that highlight not only the planned Whistler Sabbatical but the many activities that make the area a desirable tourist destination.

A sample question? “Would you dance in your ski boots until midnight?” Response options include:
□ I’ll do it
□ Been there, done that
□ I’ll need a little more time with that (and likely some good tequila)

In addition to the Whistler Sabbatical Project, contestants can enter to win each of the highlighted experiences as a weekly prize via Facebook.

The Whistler Sabbatical Project and the weekly prize contests are open to residents in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia only.

Great destinations for fall foliage viewing outside of New England

One of our favorite fall trips is a long drive into the country to view the changing leaves. Last year was considered one of the best on record, and we’re hoping this year will be no exception. Break from the expected and enjoy these five off-the-beaten-path destinations for fall foliage viewing:

Moonlight Basin, Montana
Montana seems to constantly get overlooked by more publicized destinations like Colorado and Wyoming, but come autumn, take advantage of this fact and skip the crowds. Rent a rustic, but very luxurious Cowboy Cabin at Moonlight Basin, complete with front porch hot tub and views as far as the eye can see.

Asheville, North Carolina
Take a scenic drive through the North Carolina mountains before stopping to enjoy some of the East Coast’s best breweries and chic indie art galleries. We’d bunk at the luxe Grove Park Inn, where the President stayed on his last visit, or perhaps continue the drive into the mountains and rent a cabin at Fontana Dam.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Leaf peeping in the rugged Teton National Park is tough to beat, and the prime spot to stay during the autumn season is at the luxe Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, where you can enjoy amenities including nightly s’mores. As an added bonus, the hotel also offers Wildlife Safari Tours, hosted by its own in-house Wildlife Biologist, Tenley Thompson.

Whistler, British Columbia
Enjoy some of Canada’s most scenic glaciated peaks and roaring rivers. Arrive early enough and you’ll also catch quite the leaf show. We’d opt to stay at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler or the Four Seasons Resort Whistler.

Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is dwarfed by the surrounding Pikes Peak National Forest, and the towering 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. The number of easily accessed areas for leaf peeping the city is astounding. Cheyenne Mountain Resort is the perfect base camp for a trip to Colorado Springs. The resort boasts its own golf resort, on-site herb garden and ease of access to Garden of the Gods and the Pikes Peak National Forest – including the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.

[Flickr via ForestGladesIWander]