Romance Travel Magazine - May/June 2015

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This issues features Romantic Wine Experiences in Illinois and Michigan, 5 Romantic American Restaurants, and wine retreats in South America and much more. In each issue we highlight some incredibly romantic boutique hotels, Bed and Breakfast Inns and amazing resorts from all over the world. These beautiful destinations are ripe for a romantic escape a deux. We also showcase the best places for an unforgettable marriage proposal, fabulous destination wedding, dream honeymoon and vows renewal celebration. Plus, we profile both people in the travel industry and the personal stories from travelers from around the world. Visually the magazine has wonderful photography that will bring the world of romance to you.


ROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINE 1ROMANCETRAVELMAY/JUNE 2015Romantic Wine Experiences in Illinois and MichiganDestination Spotlight: Napa Valley, CaliforniaInterview with Grant Thompson, Tofino Expeditions 5 Romantic American Restaurants2 ROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINEContentsPublishers Message3Freshly Caught Seafood and Coastal CuisineDestination Spotlight: Napa Valley, CaliforniaRomantic Wine Experiences in Illinois and MichiganParty On, DudeRomantic American Restaurants An Interview with Grant Thompson, Tofino ExpeditionsRing-a-Ding-Ding Take Care of Your RingEat, Sleep, and Drink in Total Luxury4 Great Mountain Biking Trails to Visitin Moab, Utah 4 6710 1113128 9ROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINE 3Its the spring travel season and a wonderful time to plan that romantic getaway. The U.S. dollar is strong, and travel to Europe hasnt been this inexpensive for years.Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America all have great deals at many destinations. Even in the USA, you can find some incredible offers at hotels and resorts. In this issue, we are focusing on where to wine and dine for romance. You can often impress your date by romancing with wine and food. I strongly believe that old saying still has merit: The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. However, just as many women love gourmet food and wine, so the man who can provide that and more is sure to impress his date for the evening.Part of romancing with wine and food begins with the ambiance, and nothing says romance like dining according to the seasons. During the Spring and summertime, dining outside can make all the difference in the world. You can enjoy the warm weather, and enjoy the food that goes with the season. Appetizers with fresh fruit and cheese are best for the warmer season and pair well with chilled wine.In this issue, youll learn about luxury wine retreats in South America. These little known spots in Brazil, Argentina, and Chili may inspire you to explore one of these destinations. If youre in the Midwest, try one of the wine experiences unique to Illinois or Michigan. Our destination spotlight this month is on the Napa Valley. While Napa is known for its more than 800 wine brands, this article highlights many of the things you can do that dont require wine tasting. We also feature an article on 5 of Americas most romantic restaurants for you to try. If you enjoy nature and the great outdoors, dont miss our interview with Grant Thompson of Tofino Expeditions. His company has kayaking adventures around the world.Romance is the language of love, a prerequisite to a great relationship. The best gift you can give each other is the gift of a romantic getaway. Dont wait, tomorrow is not promised. Now is the time to create memories exploring the world together.Wishing You Remarkable Romance,Donna Beasley, The Romance LadyPublishers MessageStunning scenery and sensational wineswhats not to love about South Americas wine regions? Little known wineries in Brazil and the wine hot spots of Chile and Argentina never fail to disappoint, and, after spending a week in Mendoza last November, I can certainly vouch for the quality of the wineand the steak! Let me tell you a little about my own experience thereTaking the Vitivinicola bus, we were picked up and dropped off at 4 different wineries in Mendoza, including Casarena, Vistalba, Clos de Chacras, and TierrasAltas. Our day trip was fantastic and very well organized, enabling us to learn so much about the whole winemaking process, tour diverse vineyards, and taste plenty of delicious wine. We also had time for a fabulous lunch in Clos de Chacras in which each of the courses was paired with one of their winesa new experience we really enjoyed.However, if you and your travel companion have more time, hiring a car is recommended. In these ruggedly beautiful lands, overflowing with rich winemaking history and a flair for the finer things in life, youll be able to sample some of the worlds best vino tinto and indulge yourselves in internationally acclaimed wine tastings with accommodations to match. From one-day tours to weeklong excursions, there is something to suit everyone.Wine Retreats in South America: Eat, Sleep, and Drink in Total LuxuryBy Nathalie AucuttResidence at Lapostolle, Colchagua Valley, ChileWarm, but cooled with a Pacific breeze, Colchagua is a textbook wine-growing region in central Chile. Just 100 miles south of Chiles capital, Santiago, its said to be reminiscent of the Napa Valley, with many vineyards, tree-covered hills, and a fresh river running through it.As one of Chiles most high-end wine retreats, the Residence at Lapostolle is a 5-star resort overlooking the acclaimed Apalta Vineyard, which still houses vines that were brought over from France at the end of the 19th Century. Consisting of just 4 exclusive Casitas,this is a venue to relax ina family-owned wine haven thats perfect for honeymooners, with tastings to excite wine enthusiasts.Inside their impressive Clos Apalta winerya rare, vertical design that is 100% gravity fed, going through the granite hillsidewine tastings take place every day. With a traditional Chilean hacienda style, the winery is home to over 3,500 French Oak barrels for fermentation and produces exquisite wines, including Chiles famed Carmenre, which you can taste as part of your stay at Lapostolle. 4 ROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINEROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINE 5La Casona at Matetic Vineyards, San Antonio Valley, ChileWith numerous awards under their belt, the Matetic Vineyards are situated south of bohemian and romantic Valparaiso, close to the Pacific Ocean. The properties span the Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys and aim to bring you an intoxicating mix of wines from organic and biodynamic vines.Take a tour of Matetics contemporary winery to sample their delicious red and white wines. After enjoying a traditional Chilean meal in the Equilibrio restaurant, you can take advantage of La Casonas charming accommodations. Located in the Rosario Valley, a subdivision of the San Antonio Valley, it is surrounded by a wonderfully diverse, protected environment filled with wild flowers and songbirds. If, or when, youre done with the wine and relaxation, you and your partner can take a walk or even a horseback ride through this delightful part of the world.Casa de Uco, Uco Valley, ArgentinaWith jaw-dropping views of the majestic Andes, Casa de Uco is located in a unique area, southwest of Mendoza in the Uco Valley. Some of the best Malbec grapes in the world grow here, so its no surprise that this valley is home to numerous wineries for you to enjoy. Casa de Uco is an unforgettable retreat, designed to inspire and astonish at every turn. It is ideal for a tranquil and romantic break.From daily adventures and in-depth wine tastings to poolside relaxation and sumptuous beds, this wine resort has it all. Experience the vineyards fine wines under the supervision of industry experts and learn about everything from grape harvesting to bottling in breathtaking surroundings.Hotel Spa do Vinho, Vale dos Vinhedos, BrazilAs one of the best hotels in Brazils south-central wine-growing region, Hotel Spa do Vinho will encourage you to enjoy some of the lesser known wines of this great country. Interestingly, Vale dos Vinhedos has a sub-tropical climate, yet remains cool and damp with its hilly landscapeideal for growing grapes that are destined for winemaking.The hotel itself is a large hilltop resort overlooking many vineyards, similar to the landscape in the Italian region of Tuscany. It is overflowing with views to make your romantic wine tasting trip extra special. With its calming ambience, youll feel welcome and well looked after in the hotels grand rooms, onsite spa, and terraces. The restaurant offers French-Italian food, paired with a healthy selection of the areas best wines.The hotel organizes trips out to surrounding vineyards, like Miolo and Casa Valduga, so that you can taste a wide variety of wines, including some great sparkling pinot noir. Nathalie Aucutt is a published writer and travel lover who ditched office life in the UK and now writes wherever the wind takes her. After travelling extensively through Latin America in 2014, she is looking forward to another year of creating stories from her spontaneous adventures. Stay up to date by visiting or find her on Twitter @onceupontweetsPhoto courtesy of Hotel Spa do Vinhophoto courtesy of La Casona at Matetic Vineyards6 ROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINEMOUNTAIN BIKINGTRAILS TO VISIT IN MOAB, UTAH Klondike Bluff Beginner LoopAs its name implies, the Klondike Bluff Beginner Loop is excellent for biking newbies or those who prefer a more leisurely ride. The trail is all singletrack, that means its the perfect width for a bicycle to go through comfortably, but not for ATVs or other 4-wheel vehicles, with clearly defined path edges marked by large stones. Bikers get to go over a variety of terrains, including red dirt during one section and white rocks in another. The landscape is essentially free of vegetation and has an almost otherworldly feel to it. If you and your partner try the Klondike Beginner Loop and feel ready for something a little more advanced, move on to its sister trail, the Klondike Bluff Outer Loop.Porcupine Rim This is among the most popular and grueling biking trails in Moab. It has an ascent of over 1,100 feet and a descent of nearly 3,000 feet. Yes, that means a lot of the ride is downhill, and its often over very rough terrain. This 21.9-mile trail has been called bone jarringmore than once. If you and your partner are extreme bikers looking for the trail thats worthy of a spot on any biking bucket list, youll want to check out the Porcupine Rim. The combination of a unique physical challenge and Moabs stunning scenery set the stage for an unforgettable day together that you will be proud of and will never forget. SlickrockThere be no other trail in the country that is as well known as Moabs Slickrock, a 10.7-mile route thats also popular with motorized dirt bikes. Many bikers even call this the absolute best bike ride in the U.S. Most first timers start by visiting the practice loop to get familiar with the smooth slickrock surface that makes up almost all of the trail. The trail itself has lots of steep inclines and declines, plus some extra spurs off the main path where you and your partner can sneak off for a quick break and to admire the scenery. Moab Canyon Paved PathFor a smooth and comfortable ride, head straight to this 9-mile paved bikeway. The views along the trail are incredible, and since you have a smooth surface beneath you the whole way, you can really take in the natural beauty of the area while youre peddling. The more advanced Bar M and Mag 7 trails can be accessed directly off this trail, so if you feel like testing something a bit more rugged, even for a few minutes, youll have the opportunity to do so. The town of Moab is home to a host of bike shops that rent bicycles for the day. Many even have shuttle services to get you to designated trailheads. If youre planning a trip to Moab, coordinate an outing with your partner to experience the majestic red rocks this area is known for up close and personal. 4 GREATDepending on your levels of experience, you and your partner may be intimidated by the notion of riding along the Moab bike trails. If this sounds like you, erase those thoughts and look at it from a fresh perspective. There are miles and miles of amazing trailsfor all skill levelsthat you should learn about before ditching the idea of making biking a part of your trip. Youll appreciate the dramatic Moab landscapes even more after riding through a trailor many!during your couples getaway to Utah. These are some of the trails you should consider:ROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINE 7On Washingtons Olympic Peninsula, the options for outdoor adventure and reconnecting with Mother Nature are trumped only by the endless choices of seafood and farm-to-table cuisine. One of the main draws, undoubtedly, is the Olympic Culinary Loop. The famed Loop is a route that highlights the best of the Pacific Northwests culinary delights and showcases the regions invaluable access to waterfront realestate, with everything from fine dining restaurants that feature local, organic products to the shores oyster farms, offering fresh seafood caught right in front of you! The Culinary Loop is a great escape for citydwellers from Seattle who are looking to take a quick day trip into the mountains. For those traveling from another state, who want to experience several of the stops along the way, there is a variety of lodging options throughout the Loop that make a multi-day trip easily feasible. When vacationing there myself, I flew into Seattle, which was just a 1.5-hour drive from Alderbrook Resort and Spa ( I arrived to the property on an eerie morning. As I approached the grounds, the drizzling rain and rolling fog opened up to the lush landscape. Alderbrook definitely excels in the laid-back luxury category, with an emphasis on fabulous customer service. The best option for couples is a room in the main building (accommodations in the guest cottages are typically bettersuited for families), and, of course, the spa is located just steps from the guest rooms. Situated right on the water, the resorts restaurant features local food from the Puget Sound and Hood Canal for a meal in a romantic, fine dining setting. Continuing onward along the Hood Canal, I came across Hama Hamawow! This property wears a few different hats. Not only does it double as an oyster farm and grocery market, but it also offers relaxed dining, complete with outdoor picnic tables and a bar. Hama Hama ( is the place to go for those who like to quite literally see where their seafood comes from! The entire experience at the oyster farm is entertaining, and its best to go in the afternoon after the clouds have broken for some fun in the sun. I was happy to find a truly authentic, local experience when I went to Hama Hama for lunch. Family-owned and operated, the siblings who run the day-to-day operations really know their stuff. For those who make it to Hama Hama, definitely ask to take a quick tour of the facility for a first-hand look at the process, operations, and, my favorite, the oyster farmers rocking out as they do their thing! As I made my way up the Hood Canal, my next stop was in Port Ludlow at the Fireside Restaurant ( The community features both residential neighborhoods and the Inn at Port Ludlowa 37-room boutique inn on the shores of the Puget Soundwhich offers an intimate, waterfront escape with a quiet serenity. After 18 holes on the golf course, the Fireside Restaurant is the perfect choice for those looking to retire with a well-deserved glass of wine. The cozy atmosphere has a truly extensive list, including local favorites and award-winning wines alike. From Port Ludlow, its a quick shot to Sequim. I departed in the morning from Port Ludlow and drove to the town dubbed the Lavender Capital of North America. I absolutely loved Sequim. The town is adorable and the main street is perfect for strolling and window shopping, not to mention the amount of sun Sequim receives due to how its geographically situated. For those who have time, spend the night at the Purple Haze Vacation Rental, set back on a lavender farm for privacy and seclusion. The three-bedroom farmhouse is full of charming character and is situated amidst the Purple Haze Lavender Farm ( The Olympic Culinary Loop offers such a variety of places to eat, drink, and stay. After only having gotten a taste, Im already planning my next trip back to visit the places I missed the first time around! Find more information Caught Seafood and Coastal Cuisine Abound on the Shores of the Olympic Peninsula By Julie Peirano Chef Dan photo courtesy Fireside Restaurant. Photo courtesy of the Inn at Port Ludlow.8 ROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINERing-a-Ding-DingTake Care of Your RingRichard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor a 33.19-carat diamond. 33.19 carats! Wow.And she would clean it with gin and a toothbrush. (Though I have a hard time imagining Elizabeth doing any manual labor.) But then again, whom do you trust to care for your 33-carat diamond? Properly caring for your engagement ring ensures that it will be a shining example of your commitment for the rest of your life. So read on to learn how to keep your sparkler blinding... By Jessica Lapido1. Insure your ring.Your ring is an enduring symbol of your love. It has a huge sentimental value, but it also has monetary value. Don't allow the sentimental to overshadow the monetary. Protect your investment from loss, theft, and damage. You can have the ring added as a rider to your homeowner insurance.2. Protect the ring from dirt and oil.and sunscreen, shampoo, makeup, lotions, and more. Residues can dull the surface of the diamond, get stuck in the prongs, and make it look gunky, so take off the ring before slathering on the body butter.3. Clean your ring.Do a weekly soaksimply place your ring in warm water with mild detergent and gently clean it with a soft-bristled toothbrush to get into all those nooks and crannies. And if you really want it to shine, a little toothpaste or vodka on the toothbrush will ensure that your ring will blind anyone who dares to get within 5 feet of it.4. Take it for a professional cleaning.Visit the jeweler twice a year to check to make sure the diamond is secure. A loose setting can lead to losing the gem. Consider scheduling ring checkups for the same times you schedule dental checkups so that you will never forget an appointment. 5. Take your ring off.Did you know that your fingers shrink when they are soaked in water? Remove your ring before washing dishes or taking a bath so you don't have to worry about it sliding off your finger and down the drain. On a side note: Many a ring has slipped off a finger in the pool or the ocean. And you can't call a plumber to take apart the beach to find your engagement ringit will stay there until someone with a metal detector finds it.6. Protect the metal.Gold can scratch and tarnish over time, so polish it every so often to return it to its original luster. If there are deep scratches that won't go away with a simple polishing take it to a jeweler. Professionals have buffers that make quick work of scratches. It is a very quick, inexpensive procedure.7. Be cautious of chipping. Diamonds are one of the hardest surfaces known to man, but that doesn't mean they are impervious to chipping and breaking. Remove your ring before doing heavy lifting or manual work. Remember that diamonds can also cause damage to other surfaces, so removing the ring before starting a project will protect both the ring itself and whatever you are working on.My husband, who is a chemistry professor, likes to say, "A diamond isn't forever; they only last 5,730 years before they revert to the most basic form of carbon, which is lead. So if I had really wanted to say that I will love you forever, I should have gotten you pencil lead, because that really would last forever." He is still alive and kicking, which is quite frankly a testament to my benevolence. You see, I'm willing to take the chance that 5,000-plus years from now, I will not care that the diamond in my engagement ring has reverted to carbon. I religiously use these tips to keep my ring sparkling; it will last far longer than my husband, who keeps making silly statements.Jessica Ladipo is President and Chief Romance Officer at Trips to Cherish, a travel agency specializing in destination weddings and honeymoons and other romance occasions. www.TripsToCherish.comTheres no doubt that when you hear the words Napa Valley, one thing comes to mind: wine. And lots of it! The rumors are trueNapa Valley is paradise for wine lovers. More than 800 wine brands come from this beautiful area of California, which has been blessed with a Mediterranean climate. And while it may seem that no couples getaway to Napa Valley is complete without a few wine samplings, there is plenty more to add to your itinerary. Here are some highlights of the bestand most uniqueoutings you and your partner will want to enjoy while vacationing in Napa Valley:Take a Walking Food Tour - Downtown Napa is home to an ever-growing food scene that includes everything from cozy diners to 5-star restaurants. A walking food tour provides the perfect opportunity to stroll through town hand-in-hand, discovering the best food the city has to offer and even getting a behind-the-scenes look at how these incredible meals are made. Tour the Valley via Train - Forget about those traditional wine tours and travel via train instead. Youll admire beautiful views of the valley from the comfort of a restored rail car with a 100-year history. You can choose a daytime tour, with an emphasis on gourmet dining and stops at featured local wineries, or opt for a nighttime tour under the stars and enjoy the beauty of seemingly e n d l e s s rows of g r a p e s in the moonlight.Hike Through the Bothe Napa Valley State Park - This beautiful state park is home to more than 10 miles of hiking trails. If you and your partner are looking for a relaxing stroll, youll enjoy meandering along an easier path while admiring the towering giant redwood trees and creeping ferns this park is known for. And if you like the idea of working up a sweat, you can easily turn it into a more rigorous affair. Soak in a Natural Mud Bath - Even if youre usually a clean freak, you will love getting dirty with your sweetie when the two of you soak in one of Calistogas famous mud baths. Youll both benefit from softened skin, improved circulation, and a thorough detoxification that the mud bath provides. A mud treatment is a great way to prepare your body for an intense massageor you could always opt for a relaxing dip in the natural hot springs afterwards instead. Take a Cooking Class - Take your skills in the kitchen up a notch by signing up for a cooking class with your sweetie. Learn tips from culinary experts on everything from preparing an omelette to baking the perfect cremebrle. Remember, this is wine country, so if youve ever wanted to know the right way to sample a wine or how to best pair wine with your signature dish, this is the perfect opportunity.Bike Along the Napa River Wetlands - The American Canyon region of Napa Valley is known for its protected wetlands, which are home to dozens of species of birds and other animals. A developed trail is the perfect place to get away from the crowds while enjoying nature with your partner. If you two prefer guided outings, there are lots of other options throughout the valley that are led by experienced tour guides who can educate you on the area. Visit the Oxbrow Public Market - This upscale indoor market is home to plenty of artisanal goods, organic produce, and charming food stands. Wander up and down the aisles at a leisurely pace, enjoying the sights, sounds, and positive energy. Be sure to pick up handmade chocolates, just-baked bread, fresh cheese, and other picnic-friendly food for a simple and romantic meal with your sweetie. This is also a great place to grab lunch while walking around town. Enjoy an Olive Oil Tasting - Its practically assumed that youll go for a few wine tastings while vacationing in Napa Valley, but had you thought about trying an olive oil tasting? Many people dont know that olive oil is made fresh daily at multiple properties in the greater Napa Valley region. At Round Pond Estate, for example, you can try a variety of olive oil and red wine vinegars that have been made onsite, plus tour the property to learn more about how these gourmet products are produced.Wherever you go during your trip in Napa Valley, be sure to buy some tasty souvenirs that you can take back home with you. Artisanal chocolates, gourmet olive oils, a few bottlesor casesof a new favorite winethey all make fantastic mementos. Youll remember your romantic getaway with every bite or sip!Destination Spotlight: Napa Valley, CaliforniaBy Dusty Fox10 ROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINERomantic American Restaurants for Your Next Meal Out5Each of us has our own definition of what a romantic restaurant looks like. Maybe your vision of romance includes candle light-only ambiance, a 5-course meal expertly paired with world-class wines, and live music. Or perhaps you and your partner like historical buildings that ooze charm and old-world style. Others would say the secret to a romantic restaurant is an incredible location. No matter how you define romance, youll find it among this list of some of Americas most romantic restaurants: By Dusty FoxPalma in New York City, NYThe garden atmosphere here will win you over at any time of day, but theres no denying this sweetly petite restaurant is at its peak during the evening, when hundreds of twinkly lights transform the space. Vegetarians will rejoice at the variety of meat-free options, while carnivores will find plenty to enjoy as well. Palmas intimate setting provides the perfect place to get cozy with your sweetie while eating some of the best Italian food you may have ever had. Vesta Dipping Grill in Denver, COYou and your sweetie have the perfect excuse to feed each other at this romantic restaurant that is known for serving up a variety of dipping sauces with most menu items. Start with bread and roasted garlic in olive oil, then move on to a full-sized cheese and meat platter with sauces like black pepper aioli, Korean garlic BBQ, spicy ancho, and sweet chili ginger. They also offer gluten-free, vegan, and other specialty menus.The Cottage in San Diego, CAIf you and your sweetie love nothing more than a hearty breakfast paired with a fruity mimosa, theres no need to get all dressed up for a dinner out. Visit The Cottage for an out-of-this-world breakfast or brunch prepared with farm-fresh eggs, fruits, and veggies. Menu favorites include eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon, the wild mushroom frittata, and lemon ricotta pancakes with grilled blueberries. TRIO in Austin, TXLocated in the Four Seasons downtown, TRIO is right in the middle of all of the excitement of Austin. Give yourself several hours here to make the most of your visitstart with a drink and an appetizer on the patio, then work your way in to the dining room for dinner. Dont forget to order dessert and a glass of champagne to top off the evening. If you come for an anniversary or other special occasion, call in advance and the staff will coordinate something extra unique for you. Muriels Jackson Square Bistro in New Orleans, LAThere are plenty of southern inspired dishes on the menu at Muriels, including seafood bayoubaisse, shrimp and grits, and a double cut pork chop. When making a reservation, be sure to specify where youd like to sitthey have multiple dining rooms, a wine room, and outdoor seating on the balcony, which affords great views over all the action going on at street level. The desserts here are out of the world, so save room to share oneor more!after youve finished dinner. Photo of Vesta Dipping Grill RestaurtantROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINE 11Grant Thompson is the owner of Tofino Expeditions, an internationally top-ranked, family owned and operated sea kayaking adventure company. They have numerous expeditions around the world. I caught up with Grant and snagged this interview while he was at the airport shuffling between flights.RTM: Where are you doing kayak expeditions?We began in Canada 27 years ago on Vancouver Islands west coast in a little town called Tofino. Thats how the company got its name. Weve been running kayak expeditions from the beginning. Its ourspecialty. Its one of those sports thats so accessible and has proven itself to be an interesting way to explore the world.RTM: What are some of your upcoming trips?We have been doing a lot of trips in Europe. We have programs in Italy and Croatia that are expanding. We have quite a number of unique trips there. We have a Venice lagoon trip in which we explore the 212 square miles of lagoon around the city and then as it goes into the city of Venice. Its a marvelous way to explore the largest waterway city of the world.RTM: Where else do you go in Europe?We also have a trip to Sardinia, a rugged, unspoiled island off the west coast of Italy. It has a culture thats very distinctive from the rest of Italy. Theres a kind of bad-assnessabout the people, due to their volatile history and thousands of years of living off the land. Sardinia is just exquisite. The water around Sardinia is like nowhere else.RTM: I love Italian food. Can they cook?The food is delicious. The best part of the experience is that you can dine in a restaurant and your wine and every single item in your 5-course dinner came from the land outside the door, down to the fresh honey and homemade cheese. Sardinians lived by the farm-to-table philosophy long before it became trendy.RTM: Is kayaking a sport for all age levels?Yes, its very accessible. Weve had people on our trips from ages 10 to 80. Its best to have a guide who can give you good instructions. Ive found that often people tend to use their arms, when you really need to engage your core. RTM: What is the advantages for couples?Its a way for couples to get out into the wilderness or have a shared cultural experience thats unique. It can strengthen relationships.RTM: How did you get into kayaking?I was a mountain climber for all of my twenties. I got into kayaking thanks to a friend, John, who had done kayaking trips in the ocean. It had never occurred to me before that. But hed been to a lot of exotic spots around the world. He opened my eyes to the potential for the sport. As I began to kayak, I found myself mountain climbing a lot less. I became enamored with the ocean. My familys background is on the water. Im literally the son, of the son, of a sailor. So it was a coming home on some levels.RTM: How did you start your business?My timing was right. In the mid to late 80s, baby boomers were looking for activities that worked for families and that had low impact in an ecological and physical way. Kayaking was this great way to get out into the environment and waterways around Canada. We branched out into international trips about 10 years ago.RTM: Your Amazon trip looks amazing.Our new Amazon trips are getting great responses. Its a way to gain an interesting perspective. In a kayak you easily get into small rivers and tributaries. And their silent progress makes it great for encountering wildlife that is missed by passengers in motorized craft. People on our trips are going out in the jungle and using kayaks as their platform to explore and observe animals, then in the evenings going back to these very luxurious lodges.RTM: What is the challenge of feeding your groups healthy food around the world?We try to find food experiences that are authentic to the area. I think one of the best ways to explore a culture is by way of the kitchen door. We look for suppliers with good quality food. When we stay in hotels, we try to find restaurants that are not your typical tourist spots. We work with local chefs to design meals that work for our group and with the culture.RTM: How do you feel when youre personally out there on the water?I love it. Kayaking is a cadence sport. You set up a rhythm. Once youre in that zone the miles just fly by. You begin to observe things. Its a satisfying experience overall. I think the idea of the romance of travel is what Ive built my life around. Its something that keeps me excited about the world.Contact Tofino Expeditions at: or call 800-677-0877.AN INTERVIEW WITH GRANT THOMPSON, TOFINO EXPEDITIONSBy Donna Beasley Photo courtesy of Tofino Expeditions12 ROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINEW ine has a knack for setting a romantic tone to any day or weekend getaway. If you and your love are looking to excite your palates, Michigan and Illinois may not immediately spring to mindbut they should. Wineries and vineyards have been popping up all over the Midwest in recent years. You and your sweetie can spend a day or a weekend tasting wonderful wines and enjoying each others company in the heart of the country. Plus, you can choose a few of your favorite wines to take home so you can experience the romance of a winery anytime you want. Fenn Valley Vineyards, Fennville, MIFenn Valley Vineyards, located on the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, has some of the best winemakersdinners in Michigan. Enjoy a 5-course gourmet meal, perfectly paired with Fenn Valleys fine wine selection. The care and detail that go into making each of these meals is incredible.You and your sweetie will savor every biteand every sip of winelong after the last course is served. And heres a tipdont forget to enjoy Fenn Valleys refreshing Sparkling Riesling during the cheese reception before dinner. Acquaviva Winery, Maple Park, ILBefore getting to the fine wines, the old-world art and architecture of the Acquaviva Winery will dazzle you and your love at first sight. The beauty of the grand entry atrium, decorated with colorful murals by world renowned artist Andre Zabela, will perfectly set the mood for an afternoon of escape, luxury, and romance. Take a tour of the winemaking facilities or skip straight to an Italian-inspired lunch. The 2010 Donna Mia wine is sure to pair well with romance. Tempo Vino Winery, Kalamazoo, MITempo Vino Winery in downtown Kalamazoo is made for romance, and the wine names say it all. Moonlight Serenade Cabernet Sauvignon,Moon Love Moscato,and Green Eyes Pinot Grigioare a few love-inspired wines you and your love can sip. Or, Ifyou want to make wine tasting a highly personal experience, Tempo Vino will let you make your own wine based on personal taste. Commemorate an anniversary or special date by creating a perfect flavor combination that uniquely describes your love. City Winery, Chicago, ILCouples looking for a little romance in the Windy City should stop by City Winery. Located in Chicagos hip West Loop, this winery has a fun, unique vibe. Not only do they serve house-made wines on tap, but you and your love can take a tour of this innovative urban winery, then sit down for a spectacular meal and live musical performance. Pair their artisanal cheese appetizer with their 2014 Morgan StationSauvignon Blanc for a truly delicious Chicagowine-tasting experience. Chateau Chantal, Traverse City, MIChateau Chantal is the perfect place for you and your love to experience the relaxation that comes with great wine, gourmet food, and a beautiful bed and breakfast. Known for their hospitality and attention to detail, the staff at Chateau Chantal offers a variety of wine experiences from Tapas Tours, Sensory Tours, and VIP Winery Tours to enhance your wine knowledge. Stay the whole weekend and take a 2-day cooking class that you and your sweetie will never forget. For fun, try the Chateaus Naughty Redand Nice Redwines and decide which one you and your love prefer. Blue Sky Vineyard, Makanda, ILIf you are looking for the serenity of a peaceful Illinois winery plus overnight romance, Blue Sky Vineyard has the perfect combination. Spend the afternoon tasting some of the vineyards spectacular wines, then head to the Tuscany Romance Suite, where youll enjoy RomanticWine Experiences in Illinois and MichiganBy Lana OrndorffROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINE 13warm, classic Italian decor. With a private balcony overlooking a quiet pond, romance is sure to be in the air. Dont miss this tip for summer travelif youre visiting between May and September,be sure to experience Blue Sky Vineyardsfamous sangria recipe. St. Julian Winery, Paw Paw, MIMost wineries offer tastings of their exclusive wines, but St. Julian Winerys Enhanced Tasting and Touroption adds more depth to that wine experience. You and your sweetie can make your visit extra special by adding either a chocolate or cheese pairing to your wine tasting. Talk about your favorite combinations and try to recreate them later at home. If in doubt, go with this sure betthe rich BR Cabernet Franc will pair deliciously with any of the chocolates. Kite Hill Vineyards, Carbondale, ILKite Hill Vineyards is another great location for you and your love to enjoy award-winning wine, the comfort of a bed and breakfast, and the naturalbeauty of Southern Illinois. For couples who like to spend time with each other outdoors, the popular hiking trail at the nearby Little Grand Canyonis a must-visit spot. Not only can you admire the calming beauty of the on-site lake, but fishing is also permitted there. After an active day outside, come in to the vineyards to relax with Kite Hills expertly crafted wines. Take a signature Peach Bellini Kit, complete with the vineyards White Chambourcin dry blush wine,with you for a cool, romantic treat at home.Lana Orndorff is a travel-loving writer currently living in Chicago. She's experienced beautiful parts of the world, including Argentina, Spain, Chile, Colombia, South Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Jamaica, Ecuador, and much of the United States. Give her bold red wine, intelligent friends, her loving husband, and a classic novel and she is a happy traveler.Romantic Planning a partyno matter how big or smallcan be a daunting experience. Theme? Venue? Entertainment? Food? It's enough to make you change your mind about doing the party at all. But dont put the cart before the horse. You need to start with the basics, before you begin to tackle the details. So have no fear, I'm going to reveal where you need to start with your party planningStep 1: Check em OffChecklists are an absolute MUST. You can go online and download multiple versions, specific to the type of party you are planning. A good checklist will take you through all the steps in the correct order. So get the list and actually follow the steps in order. Dont skip the boring stuff!Step 2: Budget BummerIf you tell me you want to do a sit-down reception at a vineyard for 200 of your nearest and dearest, I can predict pretty accurately what that will cost. But I have planned many parties. Novices almost always underestimate the costs, so get a budget calculator. Better yet, call me and I can tell you what that is going to cost. Once you have a realistic budget, you must stick to it. It is so easy to get Shiny Object Syndrome and rent those gorgeous, sparkly tablecloths even though they are 3 times more expensive than the regular tablecloths. My Tip: Save the money. No one will remember what the tablecloths looked like. Step 3: Count em DownUnless you have an unlimited budget, you need to decide where to splurge and where to save. Make a ranking of the things that are the most important to you. This list will allow you to know whats worth the extra expense. For my wedding, I spent about 75% of the budget on alcohol. I wanted the guests to remember (or not remember, as the case may be) having a great time, and not the fact that I did the flowers myself. Before you ask, yes, we really did spend three-quarters of our budget on alcoholand I still get comments on how much fun my reception was 10 years later.Step 4: Pop a SquatWhere will this epic party be held? Finding a venue has to be done very, very early. The good venues can fill up months (sometimes years) in advance. My Tip: Off-season and Sundays through Thursdays are usually a lot less expensive and easier to secure because other people dont want those days.Step 5: Yummy EatsI said before that you guests wouldnt remember the tableclothsthey will remember cheap alcohol and bad food. That doesnt mean you have to hire Wolfgang Puck to cater your party; it means that a significant portion of the budget will need to be allocated to catering, so plan accordingly.Step 6:I Want a Sophisticated, Rustic, City Vineyard FeelYes, I have heard this from a bride, and it was difficult to pull off. Hiring a great florist and lighting person is key to an amazing party. You dont have to spend your entire budget here; you just need to use your money strategically.Step 7: Pick the TunesBand vs. DJthe debate rages on, and I wont weigh in here. Unlike florists, cake decorators, and even many caterersthese guys can only do one party at a time. That means you need to look early to find the best. And you do want good entertainment; nothing screams BAD party like an empty dance floor. Of course, you can refer to Step 3 above and my own wedding story. My DJ was great, but no one remembers what was played.Step 8: I Kid You Not Childrenyea or nay? If you are allowing kids, you need to have some food and entertainment options for them so they dont disrupt the party. My Tip: Babysitters. Hire a few teenagers to corral the kiddos. You and your guests will thank me later.Jessica Ladipo is President and Chief Romance Officer at Trips to Cherish, a travel agency specializing in destination weddings and honeymoons and other romance occasions. www.TripsToCherish.comParty On, DudeBy Jessica Lapido15%OFFNEW ACCOUNTSFREE 14-DAY TRIALCLICK TO APPLY DISCOUNTSafe & UnlimitedStore unlimited photos and videos in your galleries and get them back with a click.Easy SharingSmugMug makes it easy to share your memories across all your favorite sites.Real PrivacyOur many privacy options ensure your photos are only seen by those you trust.Your memories look better here.Galleries as Beautiful as Your Photos14 ROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINEROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINE 15DONNA BEASLEY Publisher/EditorFREIDA CURRY Co-PublisherCLARK SUANOGraphic ArtistWriters NATHALIE AUCUTT DUSTY FOX JESSICA LAPIDO LANA ORNDORFF JULIE PEIRANOSAM WANGWe travel, initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools againto slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more. Pico IyerROMANCETRAVELSubscribe to Romance Travel MagazineIt's your personal guide to the most exotic, adventurous and remarkable places around the world for a romantic getaway.Romance Travel MagazineInspiring love filled days and passionate nightsGet started today.Click the subscribe button below or find the free magazine App in the iTunes storeSUBSCRIBE"Love isn't finding someone perfect, its loving someone imperfect, perfectly." 16 ROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINEROMANCE TRAVEL MAGAZINE 17V i s i t t h e G a l l e r y www.pam r i c ede s i gn . com