Tag Archives: wine

My Top Travel Memories.

Travel memories! The flood gates have opened, so many great memories flowing out from when I was a kid up until now. Thinking back about solo travel is great, but a lot of my top travel memories are from trips with family, friends and other loved ones.

I’m sharing the travel memories below as a part of team BLUE in the Lowcostholidays.com blogging competition. It’s a Blogging Relay themed after the Olympics where one blogger posts and passes the baton onto another who posts, etc. Follow the hashtags #BloggerRelay and #teamBLUE on Twitter. There are prizes involved too including an iPad 2, a digital SLR camera and walking boots.

Thank you to Dave and Deb from The Planet D for passing the baton on to me and to team captain Christina of Jandal Road for including me on the team. Well here we go!

My Top Travel Memories

Gold: The South Island of New Zealand Road Trip.

The gold medal or favorite travel memory has to go to New Zealand. No words can describe it. It’s just beautiful all around. I had the chance to really see it up close during one week of road tripping around the South Island. Starting and ending in Christchurch, my brother and I stopped at Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook, Queenstown, Franz Glacier, Lake Hawea and Wanaka just to name a few. Down below is a shot from our time at Lake Wanaka. If you look closely you can notice a faint rainbow. 🙂

Lake Wanaka - Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand

We saw the continuous change of the landscape as we drove going through the countryside, mountains, rainforest and prairie. We stayed in hostels, slept in the car, cooked Ramen type noodles on the side of road with a portable burner, devoured Fergburgers and frites with aioli, downed one V Energy after another, stared out into the Tasman Sea, met people from all over the world and helped to get a hitchhiker from A to B. Lot’s of great memories and experiences that I will remember forever, even more so because I experienced it all with my brother.

Fergburger, Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand

Silver: California Beach towning it in Capitola.

Lot’s of family time growing up in the scenic, coastal California beach town of Capitola off the Pacific Coast Highway in-between San Francisco and Monterey. Every stop there brought the same memories: grabbing ice cream at Souza’s, a slice of pizza at Pizza My Heart, hanging out in Mr. Toot’s Coffeehouse and relaxing at the beach and checking out all the miniature Mediterranean houses. I remember building lot’s of sand castles and digging holes in the beach and all of us having fun playing in the ocean waters.

Pacific Ocean from Capitola Beach in California

Bronze: Winery Hopping in the North Georgia Mountains.

I’ve gone to various wineries several times in North Georgia wine country, but one trip up there sticks out. It was a year ago with my immediate family and my girlfriend. 🙂 The first quality time we really all spent together. We went to my favorite winery, Montaluce Winery & Estates as well as Wolf Mountain Vineyards. They all got a chance to get to know her as well she did them while experiencing great wines, cheeses, breads and scenery. Having great views of the grapes, the end of Appalachia and all the greenery made for a perfect setting and great memories. Photo from the balcony at Wolf Mountain Vineyards.

Wolf Mountain Winery - North Georgia Wine Country

The above are some great travel memories that I will always cherish. It’s time to pass on the baton, the torch if you will, for some more. It’s on to you:

Mark of Migrationology

Go Team Blue!

To follow some great bloggers and their travel memories, checkout the hashtags #BloggerRelay and #teamBLUE on Twitter.

Please reach out to team captain Christina of Jandal Road if your interested in joining team BLUE and sharing your favorite travel memories.

A Foodies Paradise at “What’s Cooking Detroit?”

I had a chance this past weekend to go to What’s Cooking Detroit? at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan. It was a surprise from my love, thank you! 🙂

What's Cooking Detroit?, foodies

What’s Cooking Detroit Wine & Food Festival was a one day foodies and chef wannabes paradise. Cooking demos, hands-on workshops, contests and recipes galore.

What's Cooking Detroit?, speakers, demonstrations

The chef wannabe in me was in heaven sampling cheeses, barbecue sauces, chocolate, cooking oils, wine, spirits, beer and more. In all there were 100’s of Michigan vendors covering every aspect of the culinary world taking over the entire perimeter of the Palace.

What's Cooking Detroit? - The Palace of Auburn Hills

A favorite stop were the cheeses from Farm Country Cheese House out of Lakeview, Michigan. Dozens of flavors of cheese to sample, my favorites being “Onion & Garlic” and “Bacon”. How can you ever go wrong with any three of these things?

What's Cooking Detroit? - Farm Country Cheese House

Another tasty stop was Herkner’s Old Fashioned Cherry Goodness. A versatile northern Michigan cherry topping for desserts, meats and entrées, can serve as a salad dressing and a whole lot more.

What's Cooking Detroit? - Herkner's - cherry goodness

We purchased two passes for the wine, spirits and beer tasting. I had several wine and beer samples from Michigan-based wineries and breweries. I even tried some Black Star Farms pear whiskey. It was interesting trying them all in combination haha. Some highlights included the Pilsener from Frankenmuth Brewery in Frankenmuth and the Peach & Honey sweet fruit wine from Warner Vineyards in Paw Paw, Michigan. You got to keep your tasting glass as a souvenir.

What's Cooking Detroit? - Frankenmuth Brewery, Warner Vineyards

Saw a lot of great items to cook and bake with in the kitchen. This pasta maker caught the eye (forgot the vendor, got some looking up to do) as well as the mini cast iron barbecue grill from PanGrill-it.com.

What's Cooking Detroit? - pasta maker

What's Cooking Detroit? - PanGrill-it.com

They had culinary experts and celebrity chefs in the house, which led to another surprise. My girlfriend also purchased tickets to see the Cake (and Kitchen) Boss, Buddy Valastro. On the floor of the Palace we watched him prepare breaded veal, a potatoes and onions treat and cupcakes.

What's Cooking Detroit? - TLC The Cake Boss

He interacted playfully with the crowd as he cooked, sharing his experiences and though process when it comes to working in the kitchen. There was fun banter in regards to how much salt you should use. Hint: Use more thank you think. He highlighted that cooking is always trial and error and that there will be a lot of improv. You could smell the breaded veal up in the stands yum.

What's Cooking Detroit? - TLC The Cake Boss

We left the show with lot’s of goodies and tips and ideas on future purchases. There a lot of wineries and breweries that will need to be explored in northern and western Michigan. After the experience I have the desire to attend more food and culinary shows in the future.

Any wineries or breweries in Michigan that our must visits? Has any one checked out other foodie or culinary events in their travels?

North Georgia Wine Country: Frogtown Cellars

About an hour directly north of Atlanta, Georgia are the Blue Ridge Mountains, the southern portion of Appalachia and countless wineries. The area is known as North Georgia Wine Country to many. One of my favorites stops is Frogtown Cellars.

As your entering and driving through wine country, you’ll usually see signage guiding you to the various wineries. When you get to Frogtown Cellars, just outside of Dahlonega you’ll see the following. Time to go “up the hill”.

North Georgia wine country, Frogtown Cellars

The winery, which opened in 1998, sits on a hillside looking over the vineyard.

North Georgia wine country, Frogtown Cellars

The three levels of the winery is where all the magic happens.

North Georgia wine country, Frogtown Cellars

North Georgia wine country, Frogtown Cellars

Out on the two large decks and porch you can get great views of the 25 different wine grape types and 22,000+ grape vines that Frogtown has, as well as the Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance. There are usually dogs running around on the deck and property, which is fun especially for the kids.

Notice the white table on the right-hand side of the first photo? More on that later.

North Georgia wine country, Frogtown Cellars

North Georgia wine country, Frogtown Cellars

One of the wine choices on this day was the Thirteenth Colony Merlot 2005. They produce wine under the Thirteenth Colony label as well as Frogtown. They offer dry red, dry white and off dry and sweet wine tastings. The tasting room is open year around and you can choose to taste in the tasting room or outside to soak in all the views. Buy your favorites to take home.

North Georgia wine country, Frogtown Cellars

On Friday’s and the weekend enjoy your wine with one of their delicious paninis. My favorite being the Reuben. You get a salad and chips on the side.

North Georgia wine country, Frogtown Cellars - paninis

Have always had friendly and great service. Check them out if you’re looking to host a private event or wedding. The blown up photo from above shows a private table for two within the vineyard.

North Georgia wine country, Frogtown Cellars - paninis

For great wine, paninis, atmosphere and scenic views, make sure when making the rounds in North Georgia Wine Country, you get to Frogtown. What is your favorite winery in Northern Georgia? Anywhere in your travels?

How I Roll – The ABCs of Travel

I’ve been happily tagged by Leah of Leah Travels to take part in the ABC’s of travel series. Without further ado from A-Z:

Age you went on your first international trip:
I’ll say 11. A family road trip through Ontario and Quebec, with lengthy stays in Toronto and Montreal. The start of many trips to Canada in the years that followed.

Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where:
I’m not a huge beer drinker, but I would say Monteith’s in New Zealand. Really took a liking to all of their varieties of beer when in Christchurch. Does the Crushed Pear Cider count too? Tasty. 🙂

Monteith’s Beer - New Zealand Monteith’s - New Zealand - Crushed Pear Cider

Cuisine (favorite):
Asian and Filipino. Always on the lookout for Asian and Filipino dining opportunities, a favorite being Japanese Hibachi. My favorite so far is Tokyo Steakhouse in Findlay, Ohio.

Japanese Hibachi - Tokyo Steakhouse, Findlay, Ohio

Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:
No doubt New Zealand. You’ll see that throughout this post and in my writings in general. The fact that you can go from the rainforest to desert and from the prairie to the mountains in the blink of an eye is amazing. You want to constantly get out of your vehicle or off the bus and take pictures. Everyone is so nice too.

View of ... from Mt. Eden in Auckland, New Zealand

Sure there have been places I’ve liked more than others, but I can’t think of one that I would call my least favorite.

Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:
Went to an outdoor wedding in Cancún, Mexico right along the Mar Caribe. Was in awe of the setting.

Favorite mode of transportation:
That’s a toss-up. The plane because that means long distance traveling. You also have the good old vehicle too for that random (day) road trip.

Greatest feeling while traveling:
Traveling means always seeing new places, new terrain, new weather, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures and food. The best feeling when in a new place is knowing that every time you turn the corner you’ll going to see something you’ve never seen before.

Hottest place you’ve traveled to:
The middle of the desert in California. No humidity, but boy that dry heat.

Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:
I’d say when I flew V (Virgin) Australia from Los Angeles to Sydney and Melbourne and back. The atmosphere and friendliness throughout was exceptional. When checking in at LAX, there was music playing, everyone was so nice and it felt more like hanging out versus the standard boring, undescriptive long lines and waiting around for your flight.

Journey that took the longest:
The aforementioned trip above. Twenty-four plus hour journey from the eastern United States, through Los Angeles, Sydney/Melbourne and on to Christchurch. 🙂

Royal Botanical Gardens - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Keepsake from your travels:
The photos you get from those touristy places where you stand in front of a green background and they Photoshop in the background. You can then view and purchase your photos at the end of your time there. Some of the best pictures I have are from these because it’s usually with my family and loved ones.

Let-down sight, why and where:
Nothing comes to mind. Would have loved that I saw something new, even though it might not have lived up to its billing.

Moment where you fell in love with travel:
When I was a kid, we were always going on vacation with long road trips and lot’s of flights. I always remember being the navigator watching the travel signs everywhere and with all my maps in hand.

Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:
The Hyatt Cancún Caribe Resort. It’s right along the beach and the crystal blue waters of the Mar Caribe. There were pools everywhere including a romantic one with beds on the water and the bar set-up with-in.

Hyatt Cancun Caribe Resort pool

Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?:
Water and skylines. Be it the ocean, a river, lake, bay, or even a creek or puddles after it rains, a photo must be taken. I’m always looking to get skyline shots from as many places and angles as possible when in a big city. Just combine the two and wow.

Auckland, New Zealand skyline, harbour

Passport stamps, how many and from where?
A lot of stamps, but a lot are from the same places. I definitely need to increase the variety with more international travel in the future. 🙂

Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where:
I’d have to say Odette Sculpture Park along the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Some interesting contemporary sculptures by some world-renowed artists. Down below is Morning Flight by Gerald Gladstone and Eve’s Apple by Edwina Sandy.

Morning Flight - Odette Sculpture Park - Windsor, Ontario, Canada Eve's Apple - Odette Sculpture Park - Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Recommended sight, event or experience:
Everyone needs to experience San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, China Town, the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, Golden Gate Park, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and so much more. The city as an international feel, great scenery, amazing food and you’ll always find something great to do.

San Francisco, California skyline

Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling:
Great food and coffee. Not at one coffee shop or restaurant/food stand, but I just try to experience as many local dishes and caffeinated beverages as possible when traveling. Finding great pizza seems to be the latest thing.

Touristy thing you’ve done:
Every trip will include some touristy stuff. The tourist in me grabs every brochure and map from rest areas, stores and tourist centers and attractions.

Unforgettable travel memory:
A family road trip when I was younger to New England via Canada. My dad and I tried New England clam chowder from every place we could find on Cape Cod. Also lots of time in Boston, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont. It was also the last trip in which my grandmother came which made it even more memorable.

Visas, how many and for where:
Not to many, definitely need to increase that in the future as well!

Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where?
Several choices I could give from the various wineries in the North Georgia wine country. Will go with a glass of 2009 Montaluce Dolce at Montaluce Vineyards.

Montaluce Vineyards - North Georgia wine country Montaluce Vineyards - North Georgia wine country

eXcellent view and from where?:
The view of the skyline, stadiums, hills, leaf colors and the three rivers of Pittsburgh from up-top the Duquesne Incline and the Mt. Washington neighborhood. You can drive, but the best way to get to the top and the views is by going up in the historical cable cars.

Pittsburgh - Duquesne Incline, Mt. Washington

Years spent traveling?:
From as far back as I can remember. Lot’s of family trips growing up. Traveling solo for the most part since the college years.

Zealous sports fans and where?:
That’s a tough one. I’ve had the chance to attend MLB and NFL games in many stadiums over the years. I’d say the dog pound in the original Cleveland Stadium back in the 1980’s and early 90’s. They were especially zealous against the Steelers and the John Elway lead Broncos. Lots of passion for their team there. 🙂

What a great travel exercise. Just as I was tagged, I get to tag others. So…

Karla at travellersoul76
Deej at The World of Deej
Tiffany at The Good Travel Life

TAG! Your it!