Monday, October 20, 2014

Liz's Travel News and Views - Cranberries, The Bachelor, Halloween Happenings

The site of recent filming of The Bachelor TV Show
It's a very romantic spot at La Fonda
Sometimes there are interesting tidbits to share between articles. So I decided to do a little newsy blog entry when I have enough of interest to share:

Santa Fe Bachelor Filming
They're busy filming an episode of  the TV Series, The Bachelor, in Santa Fe New Mexico. Rumor has it that one segment is being filmed on the beautiful terrace at La Fonda overlooking Santa Fe's venerable Cathedral Basilica St. Francis. I've been on that terrace and the adjoining ballroom and think it is a very romantic place. It is filled with flowers and has a tiled fountain.  The series is due to air early next year.

Washington Cranberry Harvest
I recently returned from the Long Beach Peninsula of Washington. Cranberry harvest was in full swing. A relative newcomer to the cranberry farming scene, Starvation Alley Farms, is taking the culinary world by storm with their organic Cranberry for Concoctions. Of the 1700 acres of cranberries in production  on the Long Beach Peninsula Starvation Alley Farms is the first to succeed at achieving the challenging USDA Organic Certification. You'll find their specialty juice at local farmers markets and at some of the finer bars in Portland and Seattle. 
Even dogs enjoy the cranberry harvest on the
Long Beach Peninsula of Washington

I purchased a bottle and have been having a great time mixing it with soda water produced by my home SodaStream home soda maker. It's delicious and healthy.

This is an ideal time to get to the Long Beach Peninsula and see the cranberries being harvested. It's close to the end of the season. More Information.

Halloween Hauntings
Meanwhile, closer to my home you can enjoy some Halloween fun in Portland, Oregon. Offered by Portland Walking Tours, the Beyond Bizarre Ghost Tour (Thursday–Sunday, $9-29) doubles as a Ghost Hunting 101 crash course for prospective paranormal investigators. Guests wield electromagnetic field meters and other ghoul-detecting gear while venturing to the top three haunted places in the city, including the infamous Merchant Hotel. Along the way, certified ghost hunters explain how they distinguish between hoaxes and hauntings, demonstrate paranormal documentation tactics and classify different types of hauntings. The early tour, starting at 7 p.m., is family-friendly, while the more expensive (and scarier) 10 p.m. tour is for adults only. More Information.

Want to enjoy brews with your ghostly apparitions? The Haunted Pub Crawl from BeerQuest PDX (Oct. 10–Nov. 2, $45-49) unites fun-loving specter-seekers on a tour of Old Town Portland. With its cobblestone streets and beautiful 19th-century buildings, this district is steeped in history and is purportedly home to a sizable ghost population. Imbibe up to seven drink samples, including award-winning brews from Old Town Brewing, while experts deliver nonstop doses of goose bumps. More Information.

Meanwhile in Washougal, Washington, just across the river, you can enjoy a brew with your favorite Zombie friends. The Zombie Brewfest  takes place on October 25th at Doomsday Brewing in Washougal. Wear your best Zombie attire.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Long Beach Peninsula of Washington: Kite Surprise

We took a walk along the Discovery Trail accessing it from our B&B, Boreas Inn. Although there are many things to stop and see along the trail, this sight stopped us in our tracks. The huge round kites were spinning in the wind. Long Beach is famous for its International Kite Festival. However, as we found out, you can be surprised by kites year 'round.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Portland's Goose Hollow Neighborhood - Where real geese once roamed

Bronze Goose at the Kings Hill MAX stop in Portland

When riding Portland's MAX light rail you never know what type of art might be seen along the way and at the stops. This bronze goose welcomed us at the Kings Hill/Salmon Street stop. Of course I wondered, why a goose?

This is the Goose Hollow neighborhood. The name Goose Hollow comes from the early days of Portland.  Women raised geese in the low-lands and gulches of the area in the West Hills foothills.  Here's a great history of the Goose Hollow area

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Finding Fall Foliage in Arizona

It's fall foliage time in Arizona. A favorite place to go is the Arizona high country. Fall foliage peaks between late September all the way through December.  Here are some places where you can hike and sightsee in the Arizona autumn wonderland. Be sure and bring your camera!

Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Located east of Phoenix off highway 60, Boyce Thompson Arboretum is known for their Fall Foliage Finale on Thanksgiving weekend. Aspen and maple leaves have fallen in the San Francisco peaks and Catalinas by mid-November, but the true grand finale of autumn foliage in Arizona is at the Arboretum in November, with peak color typically during Thanksgiving weekend. More on the Boyce Thompson Arboretum's Fall Foliage. Also, watch their Facebook Page.

Sedona's Oak Creek Canyon
You'll find fall foliage in Oak Creek Canyon any time between October and December. You'll need to check with the Visitor's Center.  You'll enjoy fall foliage at the right time throughout Sedona.  There is nothing better than a vista of the Red Rocks and fall leaves.

The Flagstaff and surrounding areas offer a variety of fall colors from late September to early October. Expect to see an abundance of red, orange and yellow leaves. There are Aspen groves and deep canyons. More information on fall in Flagstaff.

Coconino National Forest
You may see Fall color in Coconino National Forest as early as mid-September.

Kaibab National Forest
There are a number of scenic drives on the Kaibab National Forest that provide great opportunities for viewing fall colors. Watch carefully as you drive along forest roads; you may catch a glimpse of a Kaibab squirrel amongst the golden aspen, or a flock of wild turkey along a meadow’s edge.
National Forest Fall Information Page

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Long Beach Peninsula of Washington: Kites and Cranberries

The hand-painted kites at the Kite Museum
are works of art
There's always something going on at the beach. Washington's Long Beach Peninsula, in the southwest portion of the state, was named one of ‘America’s Favorite Beach Towns’ by and voted ‘Best Beach’ by the viewers of Seattle’s KING-5 TV. The Long Beach Peninsula offers visitors colorful shops, great locally sourced seafood, unusual museums, horseback riding, and miles of oceanfront dunes and beaches.

Long Beach is known for kites and the sea breezes that hold them aloft. Each August kites from all over the world are found at the annual Washington State International Kite Festival. You'll see colorful mass ascensions, sport kite events and trick flying. For one glorious week, kites are king in this beach town. 

Year round you can enjoy the beauty and sport of kites by visiting The World Kite Museum in Long Beach. This two story building displays different shapes and uses of kites ranging from the Kites of WWII to the beautiful display of Asian kites. These hand painted and beautifully constructed works of art caught my eye on a recent visit. 
Pirate ship kite.

Throughout the museum you'll constantly be looking up to see what's flying. A tall-masted pirate ship kite fascinated us. Videos display the kites in action. You can even make your own kite to take with you. The beach is close-by. (museum has admission charge)

Vintage photo of the cranberry harvest.
In fall, thoughts turn to the bright red cranberry. Early August is harvest time. You can see the bogs being flooded and the cranberries, that will float to the top of the water, being scooped up. The annual Cranberrian Fair, held in October is a good time to sample cranberry cuisine, tour bogs and travel by Cranberry Trolley. 

Ripening cranberries.
The Cranberry Museum is worth a visit. You can learn about the history of cranberry production in Washington, see cranberry-related machinery, take a self guided bog tour and buy a locally produced cranberry product in their gift shop.

Although these are great times to visit the Long Beach Peninsula, I enjoy the beach year round. Storms can batter the coast and make cozying up to a fire place a real treat. 

The beach is always great for walking. Long Beach has the Discovery Trail and Boardwalk to enjoy. And the local chefs do wonders with the locally sourced cuisine. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

6 Reasons to Head for Albuquerque this Fall

You need to visit Albuquerque this fall. This is the season locals call “magical” and the one that’s looked forward to throughout the year. New Mexico is beautiful in any season but the fall leaves, the chile and those colorful balloons will give you great excuses for making a visit.

Here are six reasons that you’ll fall head-over-heels in love with Albuquerque’s amazing autumn:

1. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - More than 500 hot air balloons dot the clear blue skies during this annual event, creating a feast for the eyes. Early risers can witness the mass ascension events, eat world-famous breakfast burritos, and see the sun rise over the Sandia Mountains. In the evenings, balloons stay on the ground for “glow” events, allowing visitors to see these beauties up close. There will also be concerts, competitions and new special shapes, including an orca and a snail. This year’s event runs October 4-12.

2. Chile Roasting Season – Snap, crackle and pop! It’s what you’ll hear when exiting your vehicle at any of the dozens of locations throughout the city where chiles are roasting. Fall is chile harvest season, and visitors will see roasters set up everywhere, from the grocery store to farmers markets and restaurants. If native New Mexicans had to pick one smell that reminds them of home, most would choose roasting chiles in the fall. See the roasting in action, then go to one of the many local restaurants that incorporate them into dishes, from donuts to stuffed sopapillas.

3. Fall colors from many angles – Most people don’t think of the Southwest when they think of vibrant fall colors, but Albuquerque’s location in a river valley and altitude – more than a mile high – means that the city has many deciduous trees, from cottonwood to aspen. To see the trees up close, take a bike tour along the Rio Grande on the city’s well-known Bosque Trail, a paddling tour on the river, or a breathtaking tram ride to the top of the more than 10,000-foot-high Sandia Mountains. Those who enjoy driving can also take the Sandia Crest National Scenic Byway to reach the range’s highest point.

4. Balloon-themed cocktails – Whether celebrating your first hot air balloon ride or winding down after an activity-filled day, there are two balloon-themed cocktails that will fit the occasion perfectly. Ibiza, the hip rooftop bar at historic Hotel Andaluz, is offering Pilot’s Punch, a champagne-based cocktail that’s a nod to hot air balloon pilots who frequently pop a bottle of bubbly to celebrate a flight. Just a few minutes away, another historic hotel with a hip rooftop bar, Hotel Parq Central’s Apothecary Lounge, has created the Chile Berry Glow. This warm cocktail celebrates the flavors of the season, with red chile powder, raspberry and chocolate, and is made tableside in an infuser over an open flame, inspired by the flame in a hot air balloon.

5. Weather – Simply put, Albuquerque’s October weather is spectacular. Most days are clear and sunny, with highs in the 70s and lows around 50. Humidity is nearly nonexistent, meaning conditions are ideal for spending time outside. If you’re up early to take in a balloon ride or hike, dress in warm layers for the cool mornings that can be peeled off as the sun comes up. And, don’t miss the sunsets – some of the most stunning in the world, due to big skies, beautiful clouds and a landscape featuring mountains that turn a watermelon pink as the sun goes down.

6. Events – Aside from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque has many more events happening in the fall. From pumpkin patches to corn mazes and ghost hunts, it’s a great city for fall traditions. There are also several arts and cultural festivals, including events with a Native American focus and a Greek-inspired celebration. One of the most colorful events in fall is Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which is used to honor deceased loved ones in a celebratory fashion. Brightly decorated skulls can be seen everywhere, from jewelry and art, and even as face painting!

Come celebrate the “magical” season in Albuquerque. Start planning today at

Information courtesy: Albuquerque CVB