Travel News: Vineyards to Vegas Edition

Wander along a wine trail, discovery history in your back yard, or escape to Guatemala

By: Sophie Gilbert

Of all the things we’ve never understood about vineyard tours, the most perplexing seems to be how you’re supposed to get from vineyard to vineyard cheaply and efficiently while simultaneously “tasting” as many wines as is possible before falling into a Merlot-induced snooze. Luckily, some brilliant people in Sonoma County have come up with the ultimate solution: a wine trail you can walk, as Budget Travel puts it, “one mellow step at a time.”

Here at Travel News, we like to highlight as many local attractions as possible because we appreciate that not everyone can hop on a jet to the Bahamas every weekend. This weekend, Old Town is celebrating George Washington’s birthday with a parade, a Revolutionary War reenactment at Fort Ward Park, a banquet and ball at Gadsby’s Tavern, open houses, and a 10K race. Admission to Mount Vernon is free Monday to mark the occasion. For more information, go to visitalexandriava.com.

Two deals this week on Vegas hotels because . . . well, just because. Jetsetter is offering special rates on suites at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, an Asian-themed establishment with a Michelin-starred restaurant, an ice lounge, a “beach” complete with 2,700 tons of sand, and of course, a 135,000-square-foot casino. Rates for the 725-square-foot suites (which are bigger than most of the apartments we’ve ever had) start at $70 a night.

Travelzoo has a deal on the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel & Casino, offering midweek rates of $45 a night at the four-star hotel (weekend rates are an additional $75 per night). In addition to a casino floor, seven restaurants (including Nobu), and an on-site spa, the hotel has a significant amount of rock memorabilia for your nostalgic pleasure. The price excludes a $15 daily resort fee, which allows for access to the pool, business center, and health club.

Travelzoo also has a four-night getaway to Guatemala—including round-trip flights, accommodation, all transfers and entrance fees, and an English-speaking tour guide—for $537, booked through Gate1 Travel. Travel is valid on 45 dates from April through November, and the trip goes to Lake Atitlán and Antigua Guatemala, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The final price adds an addition $100 or so in taxes and fees, but even so, this is a pretty good price for an international getaway.

And finally, CNN has an interesting (and lengthy) discussion this week on why a mere 30 percent of Americans are passport-carrying, international-fridge-magnet-flaunting citizens of the world. Key quote: “Many Americans follow the same pattern: work hard in high school, go to college, accrue a lot of debt, and get a job right away to work it off.” ’Nuff said.

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