The year 2020 took on a different role when it came to travel. Any travel that existed came to a halt in March. Local travel was acceptable, but the bulk of traveling took place virtually. I thought I would share my 2020 virtual travel year as I discovered many places I hope to visit in the near future when we are safe to venture from our homes.
I was fortunate to be a co-host of many virtual travel webinars. As a board member and membership chair of IFWTWA, International Food Wine Travel Writers Association, I tried to find ways to engage our membership. Virtual webinars began my norm. Although it kept me swamped as I organize these virtual travel experiences, at the same time, I discovered many places I would not have considered visiting. So join me as I share what I found.
I did not realize the plethora of unique small hotels offered by Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels. From vintage to the retro, hacienda to mid-century modern, each hotel has its own character and charm to help you enjoy the desert scene.
My virtual travel excursion took me to Medford, where I expanded what I had learned the year before traveling to Ashland. Medford is at the heart of the Rogue Valley, so of course, the big focus for me was the wine. For me, the motto have wine will travel applies. I discovered the following wineries, Anchor Valley, Awen, Cliff Creek Cellars, and Kriselle Cellars. I said hello to Irvine & Roberts, and Troon. All excellent wineries in their own right.
San Juan Island
I traveled to the northern part of Washington state to experience the laid back island culture of the San Juan Islands. I discovered that the area tantalizes all your senses as you encounter many outdoor activities, enjoying the regional seafood cuisine as you explore the Islands.
Traveling to Spain’s famous wine region, one understands why the landscape in each of the distinctive areas of Rioja produces its fabulous wines. Being one of Spain’s two DOCA, you know the wine is exceptional.
You cannot help but get into the Rhythm of Memphis through its music and its Southern Cuisine. I always thought of Nashville for music, but it is the hip place to be if you think of blues and jazz. It has made many famous American musicians who played an essential role in our countries musical history. In addition, one cannot forget about Graceland, home to Elvis Presley, or the impact Memphis played on the Civil Rights Movement
Valle De Guadalupe, Mexico
Discovering the wines of Mexico there is quite a difference in the wine and countryside. Located in Baja, the area terroir is reminiscent of Tuscany. Due to its location, a character in most wine is salinity. Many of the Valle De Guadalupe hotels are built into the landscape, and the cuisine is the epitome of fresh and local.
Costa Mesa, California
I never realized how much the arts play a role in this California community. Living 45 minutes away, I have missed out on its art and theater scene. Even during COVID, the Costa Mesa community has been creative in its endeavors to keep the arts and culture alive.
Michigan Wine Trail
Although Michigan has several wine trails, the most famous one lies near Traverse City. The area is becoming very popular for cool-climate wines. The area is known for the lake effect coming off Lake Michigan. The warmth from the lake keeps the roots of the vines warm in the winter. It is one of the reasons this area is becoming a popular destination.
Park City, Utah
We all think of Park City as a winter wonderland for skiing and other winter activities, but the town is aglow with Autumn colors. Not being a winter sports person, I look forward to immersing myself in the delights of the fall season as the town of Park City readies itself for the winter season by taking advantage of hiking and bicycling through its countryside.
Finger Lakes and Corning
The beauty of upstate New York comes to light in the Finger Lakes and Corning. From the small-town quaintness to the natural splendor of its lakes and waterfalls. Its obsession with wine, glass, and aviation, one finds a lot to explore through both art and culture. I have been yearning to visit the Corning Glass Museum and delve into the cool-climate wines, especially Riesling, possibly the region’s flagship wine.
If you want to learn the history of the civil rights movement, Birmingham is the place to explore this critical facet of our nation’s history. The city is a melting pot of eclectic cuisine that not only encompasses barbecue and Southern styled foods. For baseball fanatics, it is the home of our oldest baseball park.
I did not spend all my time traveling virtually; during the summer when it was safe to travel, I ventured to Santa Barbara for wine, of course, and several wine adventures to Lompoc to check out some new and old favorites in wineries. Just the trip up the coast brought a pleasant diversion. I love driving or walking along the California coast. It brings me to a happy place that we all can use right now.
Virtual Travel The Future
I look forward to traveling again in the future, but for the first half of 2021, it seems like my journeys will also revolve around my computer. Thank goodness for zoom. Join me in 2021 as I experience Austin, Texas Wine Country, Hungary, Phoenix, Whidbey and Camano Islands, Albuquerque, and Claremont. These are just a few of the destinations that will take me on a virtual adventure.
I wish you all a Happy New Year as we welcome in 2021.