WinterWonderGrass to Take Over Lake Tahoe with Bluegrass and Brews this March

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Madison, Wisconsin, is one of four state capitals that are named for U.S. Presidents. Now, our fourth President, James Madison, was known for a lot of things. He has been called the Father of the Constitution, for his contributions to that historic document. He co-authored The Federalist Papers, which helped convince the states to ratify the Constitution. Read More

Lake Tahoe Restaurants: The Top 11

  October 23, 2015  |    David Abolafia

While there is much to do in Lake Tahoe – from golf to skiing to simply soaking up the scenery – to satisfy your taste of adventure, this incredible spot on the Nevada-California border is also a dynamite place to satisfy your taste buds. There are numerous eateries to choose from, but here are our favorites, in alphabetical order:

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For many people, business travel is a necessary evil – and one that comes with all sorts of secondary behaviors, such as sleeping on planes, constantly packing constantly for trips and remaining riveted to your phone, tablet or smartwatch device. After all, the best-laid plans can quickly go awry if there’s a delay or unforeseen snafu.
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No matter whether you’re an oenophile (that’s a fancy name for “wine lover”), or you just enjoy the occasional glass with a meal, taking a trip to Kelowna, British Columbia is sure to make for a “vintage” vacation. That’s because, within a 90-mile radius of Kelowna, there are more than 100 wineries – many of which offer tours and tastings.

So, in order for you to be able to drink up as much of the atmosphere as you can in the region, here’s a rundown of the various varietals you’re likely to encounter:

  • Cabernet France – A dry red wine with flavors of currant, raspberry, blackberry, plum, cedar, herb and mint. It is similar in style to the better-known Cabernet Sauvignon, although almost always lighter and less tannic, and often with a characteristic “green” or herbaceous edge. The versions found in British Columbia are outstanding food wines, especially for casual outdoor meals.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon – A dry red wine with flavors of black currant, blackberry, plum, black cherry, eucalyptus and green olive. While the classic accompaniment is lamb, Cabernet Sauvignon stands up beautifully to virtually all red meats, whether served simply with “jus” or rich, reduced sauces. Fine, older Cabernets are excellent accompaniments to special occasion meals, while younger ones match simpler fare.
  • Chardonnay – A dry white wine with flavors of apple, pear, pineapple and tropical fruit. Chardonnay’s rich elegance finds its match in foods that are equally stylish. Bolder examples show especially well with strongly herbed dishes, while more restrained versions shine in the company of luxurious cream and butter sauces and mellow, earthy flavors such as mustard and mushrooms.
  • Gewürztraminer – A dry to semi-sweet white wine with flavors of rose, lychee, peach and grapefruit. Its intense, exotic aromas and flavours seem ideally suited to spicy cuisines from China to Thailand to India, and it stands up equally well to the fruitiest salsas and smokiest grilled and barbecued flavors of contemporary North American cuisine.
  • Merlot – A dry red wine with flavors of raspberry, plum, black cherry, licorice, orange, coffee, chocolate and fruitcake. Merlot pairs well with red meats. It has the weight and fruit to match wine-braised stews and roasts, and the structure and polish to pair with rare, grilled prime cuts.
  • Pinot Blanc –A dry white wine with flavors of apple, lemon, pear and grapefruit. Although it is sometimes called the poor man’s Chardonnay, well-made Pinot Blanc can show remarkable strength of character. It is a chameleon of a wine, providing a rich, subtle background for whatever dish it accompanies.
  • Pinot Gris – A dry to off-dry white wine with flavors of peach, pear, dried apricot, vanilla, almond, spice and clover honey. The grape ripens early, producing wines with plenty of flavor. It is very adaptable, with the structure to stand up to bold Asian, Oriental and Latin flavors. A perfect anytime choice.
  • Pinot Noir – A dry red wine with flavors of cherry, strawberry, plum, violet, beetroot, mint and cinnamon. Its greatest strength is its suppleness. Without the hard tannic structure found in many red wines, it pairs effortlessly with a wide range of foods – from fish through game birds to grilled beef and lamb. Don’t overwhelm its gentle fruits and refined complexity with strong or spicy flavors; simply prepared dishes are best.
  • Riesling – A dry to sweet white wine with flavors of lemon, apricot, peach, pear and apple. No matter what the style, Riesling maintains an attractive balance of fruit and acidity, making it an exciting match with dishes incorporating sweet and tart elements. The most fruit-driven examples take well to barbecued or smoked foods and a wide variety of fruity and subtle spicy flavors.
  • Sauvignon Blanc – A dry white wine with flavors of gooseberry, green apple, black currant, melon, green pepper and sometimes jalapeno. It is a crisp, refreshing, high-acid wine for summer sipping, on its own, or as an aperitif. It is excellent with shellfish or light, subtle dishes or, in its oak-aged versions, with richer fare.
  • Syrah – A dry red wine with flavors of spice, pepper, black currant, blackberry and cherry. Syrah (also known as Shiraz) has a unique peppery, spicy quality that makes it perfect to pair with robust meat dishes including peppercorn steak and braised lamb shanks. For the adventurous, try pairing it with a slightly spicy ethnic dish such as Mexican mole or lamb korma.

To learn more about the wine country of Kelowna, or to raise a glass in any of our other 40+ delectable travel destination, drop us a line at

Name-Checking Houston in Song

  October 8, 2015  |    David Abolafia

Houston has inspired musicians for many years – both in developing new genres of music, and as an ever-present backdrop to tales of love, loss and American dreams. However, it’s not just artists from Space City – such as Beyonce and ZZ Top — who call upon it to fill their lyrics; songwriters across the musical spectrum have found a place for it in their melodies. Sometimes the town is referenced as a throwaway, but often it is as if the composer spent time on the city’s streets.

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Finding Hilton Head on the Silver Screen

  September 30, 2015  |    David Abolafia

The beauty and majesty of Hilton Head Island make it a natural choice for movies. However, only a handful of features have taken advantage of the area’s lush scenery and put it on the big screen. Here are the titles that let you see the cinematic version of Hilton Head:

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Fort Lauderdale Filming Locations

  September 17, 2015  |    David Abolafia

When you take a trip to Fort Lauderdale, you may quickly discover that many of the beaches and other sites around the city look familiar. That’s because the “Venice of America” is a popular location for Hollywood film shoots – even, in some cases, standing in for Hollywood itself. Here are some of the big-name flicks that rolled film in southeast Florida:

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When vacationing in Freeport, Grand Bahama, there is plenty to do and see; you can pack your days with activity and have an adventure-filled trip. If, on the other hand, your idea of the perfect vacation is unwinding and curling up with a good book, you might enjoy a few titles with a Bahamas setting, allowing you to have a multi-level appreciation of both the book and your surroundings. Here are a few recommendations:

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