Unique Food and Wine Trip Offerings

It seems that vacations have become the time to learn new skills, or polish up on your old ones. I’ve seen some great trip ideas come across my email recently. Here are a few of the most interesting ones that I wish I had time to check out myself…

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Francis Ford Coppola’s wines (and winery) in Sonoma, but that’s not the only venture the Oscar winning director has going. He’s also the proud owner of Coppola Resorts, which consists of luxury acommodations around the world. One of these properties is Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize and they are celebrating the year of the Maya calendar with fascinating opportunities.

The cave explorations include the Rio Frio Cave trip, a dry cavern with a sandy beach that is appropriate for all physical abilities; the Barton Creek Cave, which requires paddling a canoe through the cultural exploration of the cave; the Offering Cave, through a 20-minute jungle walk in Noj Kaaz Meen Elijio Panti National Park; Actun Tunichil Mcnal Cave, one of the main attractions in Belize for the more adventurous; and Caves Branch in Nohuch Ch’en Reserve, where you can experience cave tubing.

For information on the Belize resort and cave explorations, visit the website

I've been working on a trip to Tuscany in the near future and one of the things I am anxious to do is cooking classes. It turns out that’s not something I need to go so far for after all. The Harstone Inn in Maine is offering a week long cooking school led by Chef Benedetta Vitali. The chef comes all the way from the Tuscan region to share her cooking expertise and family recipes. There will also be a cheese making course and private winery tour.

The Tuscan Cooking School will take place June 4-8. The cost starts at $1250 (based on the cost of the room) for five nights accommodations; a welcome Maine lobster bake dinner on the beach; breakfast and lunch each day; and welcome gifts. Additional guests in the room are $525 each. For more information, go to hartstoneinn.com or call (800) 788-4823. 

Santa Barbara is one of the lesser known emerging California wine regions. I’ve spent some time in this beautiful Southern California city, but have yet to check out their wineries. The Hyatt Santa Barbara is making it easier to do check out the Central Coast wine country. This newly renovated hotel (located on the Pacific Ocean) is offering a Vineyard Picnic Tour Package.

In conjunction with Grapeline Tours, you can stay at the Hyatt and receive transportation and a guide to take you to four different wineries. You will also have a picnic lunch at one of the wineries, a Value Passport for discounts at wineries, full breakfast, late checkout and, of course, a bottle of wine.

The package starts at $389 per night is valid through November 14, 2012. You can book it online or by calling (805) 882-1234.


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