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.




    MAY/JUNE 2015

    Romantic Wine Experiences in Illinois and Michigan

    Destination Spotlight:

    Napa Valley, California

    Interview with Grant Thompson, Tofino Expeditions

    5 Romantic American Restaurants



    Publishers Message3

    Freshly Caught Seafood and

    Coastal Cuisine

    Destination Spotlight: Napa Valley,


    Romantic Wine Experiences in

    Illinois and Michigan

    Party On, Dude

    Romantic American


    An Interview with Grant Thompson, Tofino Expeditions

    Ring-a-Ding-Ding Take Care of

    Your Ring

    Eat, Sleep, and Drink in Total Luxury

    4 Great Mountain Biking Trails to Visitin

    Moab, Utah 4 6


    10 11



    8 9


    Its 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 Lady

    Publishers Message

  • Stunning 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


    Taking 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 Luxury

    By Nathalie Aucutt

    Residence at Lapostolle, Colchagua Valley, Chile

    Warm, 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.



    La Casona at Matetic Vineyards, San Antonio Valley, Chile

    With 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, Argentina

    With 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, Brazil

    As 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 @onceupontweets

    Photo courtesy of Hotel Spa do Vinho

    photo courtesy of La Casona at Matetic Vineyards



    As 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.


    There 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 Path

    For 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:


    On 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-deserv...