Think about your last vacation. How did you decide where you wanted to go? Was it the destination? The climate? Maybe even the food?
Traditionally, when it comes to traveling, it’s about the destination. You may decide, I’d really like to go to see Hawaii, so you book plane tickets and then start looking at the all the options and activities you have to choose from while you’re there.
But more and more, it’s the activity or even the food that’s the inspiration for the travel.
Want to be a cowboy?
The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort in Solvang is where you can do it.
Located on a working cattle ranch, the wranglers here do all the hard and dirty work so guests can experience all the fun cowboy stuff, like the Ranch’s popular breakfast ride.
About an hour or so horseback ride through some beautiful country, just about the time when you think getting out of the saddle sounds like a good idea, you arrive at Adobe Camp and a breakfast fit for a hard working cowboy or cowgirl.
Think fruit, pastries, pancakes, and biscuits and gravy, just to name a few things you can indulge on before saddling up and heading back to the Resort. Pancakes are a work of art at this cookout, so even if you don’t eat any, be sure to watch the cook at work!
The Ranch also holds a BBQ Bootcamp a couple times a year where guests can saddle up to the grill and learn to cook like a pro. It’s run by the Alisal Executive Chef Pascal Godé and Hitching Post II (of the movie Sideways fame)Chef and Owner Frank Ostini.
The Alisal is also one of those places where visitors are encouraged to slow down. The guest cottages don’t have televisions or phones. Cell phones may or may not work. There is reliable internet though for those who can’t stand the idea of being out of touch.
When sunshine is your goal, Ojai, just a couple hours north of Los Angeles in Ventura County, has that year-round Mediterranean climate going for it. But all that sunshine doesn’t just make for happy people, it makes for happy pixies. As in the fruit, not the fairies with sparkly dust.
These sweet, little tangerines are a source of pride in town. April is Pixie Tangerine Month in Ojai and there’s all sorts of ways visitors can savor their sweet taste. Everything from tours of orchards, Pixie cooking classes, spa treatments and special restaurant menus and cocktails.
Rocking the Boat
Carnival Cruise Lines is turning music lovers into cruisers with their Carnival LIVE Concert Series. It’s an impressive roster of performers; names like Styx, Smokey Robinson, Journey, Jennifer Hudson and Martina McBride.
Cruisers attend the shows in the ship’s main theater, which depending on the ship range in size from 900 to 1,300, so everyone has a good seat. The concert tickets are a steal when you compare them to the cost of tickets for shows on solid ground, ranging from $35 to $75 for general admission. VIP tickets run $125 to $250, and come with perks like sitting in the first four rows, an artist meet and greet, and a souvenir photo with the performer.
Dana often takes part in press trips to learn about a destination, but her thoughts and opinions are always her own.