Best Things to See and Do in Healdsburg, California

Friday August 5, 2011 at 12:12 AM | 1 Comment

"Dry Creek" "Wine Tasting" Healdsburg

When I have a visitor from out of town, I take them wine tasting in Dry Creek Valley

Are you visiting Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in Healdsburg, California.

When I have a visitor from out of town, I take them wine tasting in Dry Creek Valley.

Looking for wine country cuisine in  Healdsburg? I recommend Ravenous Café and Lounge.

Check out Healdsburg Plaza Park in downtown square. With plenty of grass, graceful trees, benches and gazebo; it’s a great place to relax and unwind.

When you come to Healdsburg, get your picture taken in a Dry Creek Valley vineyard.

Here’s a tip from a local: the best item on the menu at Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar is the grilled fish tacos.

"Healdsburg Plaza"

Make sure to visit Healdsburg’s Charming Downtown Plaza

Healdsburg is best known for visiting wineries and the small town chic charm of the downtown Square.

Looking for cheap food in Healdsburg? Head to El Farolito. This Mexican restaurant and bar has plenty of ambiance.

For an expensive meal, head to Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg. Chef Charlie Palmer makes great food and, personally, I think he’s really a nice guy.

"Charlie Palmer" "Dry Creek Kitchen" Healdsburg

For authentic wine country cuisine, try Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen

In Dry Creek Valley, take your picture with a winemaker. They are the real McCoy!

For an amazing view, walk to the deck of Sbragia Family Vineyard overlooking the length of Dry Creek Valley.

The Dutcher Crossing Winery offers great views and their grass veranda is the best place to watch or experience Passport to Dry Creek Valley

In Healdsburg/Dry Creek Valley outdoor enthusiasts will want to bike along Westside Road through the scenic vineyards and rural landscape.

"Dutcher Crossing Winery" Dry Creek Valley, Healdsburg, California

Stop for wine tasting with a beautiful view at Dutcher Crossing Winery

Looking for a little exercise? Walk along the Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve.

If you are a museum lover,  Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society is a good one to check out.

Enjoy a night out on the town? For a night of dancing, sway to the jute box at dive bar John & Zeke’s.  They may not have a website, but you’ll have a great time.

The Spoonbar at h2hotel is the spot for late night dining.

The Healdsburg Tribune will keep you posted on what’s happening in Healdsburg.

You can tell a lot about Healdsburg from visiting and watching the 4H parade and fair event. It’s one of the events that makes Healdsburg so darn appealing.

In the spring you should attend Gateway to Passport/Passport to Dry Creek Valley.

"Passport Dry Creek" wine tasting, Healdsburg, California

In the spring you’ll want to attend Passport to Dry Creek Valley

In the summer you should attend Healdsburg Concerts in the Park.

Did you know that Healdsburg is known for being in Dry Creek Valley? Plan a visit to Healdsburg during harvest in the fall.

Come to Healdsburg for relaxing spa treatments in the winter.

Insider Tip: Check out the often over-looked kayaking or canoeing down the Russian River in summer.

Coffee lovers should make a bee line to The Flying Goat for a great breakfast treat and delicious coffee.

Just outside of Healdsburg you can visit Dry Creek General Store for a beer and sandwich at this historic landmark overlooking the vineyards of Dry Creek Valley.

The best way to see Healdsburg is to walk or bike. I’m told it’s a great place for a motorcycle ride, too. No drinking while driving, of course!

Don’t miss Giorgi Park if you have kids traveling with you.

What are your favorite things to see and do in Healdsburg, California?

Thanks to Healdsburg resident Kate Jones for assistance with this post.

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Best Things to See and Do in Big Sky, Montana

Friday July 29, 2011 at 12:12 AM | 1 Comment

horseback riding, "Yellowstone Park" Big Sky, Montana, travel

Looking for things to do in Big Sky, Montana? Go horseback riding in Yellowstone National Park

Are you visiting Big Sky, Montana for the first time? I have recently returned from The Club at Spanish Peaks during my first visit to Big Sky. If you are interested in  “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in Big Sky, Montana, you might want to print this blog post.

When I have a visitor from out of town, I take them to Yellowstone National Park.

"Stacey's Steak House" Gallatin, Montana, restaurant

For steak dining with a cowboy atmosphere, visit Stacey’s Bar and Steak House outside of Big Sky, Montana

If you are looking for typical Big Sky cuisine, I recommend the Bison Tenderloin at Buck’s T-4. For a great steak sandwich where the cowboys and cowgirls go to eat and drink, you’ll want to visit Stacey’s Bar and Steak House in Gallatin Gateway, on the way to Big Sky.

Looking for a quiet place to escape and unplug? Check out the Gallatin River, Beehive Basin or Ousel Falls.

When you come to Big Sky, get your picture taken at the top of the Lone Peak Tram in the winter at 11,166 ft.

The best item on the menu at Buck’s Restaurant is the Bison Tenderloin.

Big Sky is best known for iconic Lone Peak, enormous amount of uncrowded ski terrain and a laid back peaceful lifestyle.

Looking for cheap food in Big Sky? Go to Blue Moon Bakery for Lunch or Lotus Pad for dinner.

For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Rainbow Ranch in Big Sky, Montana.

"Grizzly Bear" Big Sky, Montana, Gallatin Field Airport

Take your picture with the bronze grizzly bear statue at the Gallatin Field Airport in Bozeman, Montana

In the Gallatin Field Airport, take your picture with the huge bronze grizzly statue.

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of any of the numerous trails in the area.

The Town Center Park offers great views and is the best place to watch or experience the weekly concerts and Farmers Markets.

In Big Sky, outdoor enthusiasts will want to hike, bike, horseback ride, walk, fly fish, raft, zipline and golf.

Looking for a little exercise? Walk the Ousel Falls trail.

"Crail Ranch" Big Sky, Montana, museum

Take the kids to Crail Ranch for a little Big Sky, Montana history

If you are a museum lover, Big Sky’s best museum is Crail Ranch.

Enjoy a night out on the town? For a night of dancing, go to the Half Moon Saloon or the Corral.

The Big Sky Weekly and Lone Peak Lookout will keep you posted on what’s happening in Big Sky.

"Montana Cowgirl" Big Sky, rodeo

You can tell a lot about Big Sky, Montana when you watch the Pro Bull Riders Rodeo in August

You can tell a lot about Big Sky from visiting and watching the Pro Bull Riders Rodeo in August.

In the spring you should attend the Pond Skim at Big Sky Resort.

In the summer you should attend the Food Festival, weekly Farmers Markets and concerts in the Big Sky Town Center Park.

Did you know that Big Sky is known for incredible fly fishing in the fall?

Come to Big Sky for the Biggest Skiing in America in the winter.

Insider Tip: Check out the often over-looked Nordic skiing.

Go to the Bugaboo Cafe for a great breakfast treat or coffee.

Just outside of Big Sky you can visit Yellowstone National Park and have lunch at the Old Faithful Inn.

Don’t miss the zipline or rafting if you have kids traveling with you.

"Chad McDonald" Big Sky, Montana, cowboy

Chad McDonald welcomes you to Big Sky, Montana

What are your favorite things to do in Big Sky, Montana?

Thanks to Club at Spanish Peaks and Scott Johnson for assistance with this post. You may also follow Spanish Peaks on Twitter or become a Facebook Fan of  Spanish Peaks. I was a guest of Club at Spanish Peaks. Article, YouTube video and photos by Nancy D. Brown

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Selk’bag Sleepwear System Travel Gear Review

Friday July 22, 2011 at 12:12 AM | 3 Comments

"Selk'bag" "Nancy D. Brown" travel gear review

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown in the Selk' bag 4G Lite - Travel Gear Review

Outdoor Adventures in Selk’ Bag 4G Lite – Travel Gear Review

The Selk’bag would have been great to have on as I watched the aurora borealis light show taking place in Fairbanks, Alaska or the sled dog ride in Chena Hotsprings. When the Selk’ Bag Sleepwear System arrived in the mail, my husband and son were all over it. They are both hunters and with hunting comes overnight camping trips. I requested the extra large size knowing full well that the sleeping bag, or “Selk bag” as it is called, might be an ideal match for my outdoor boys.

The Selk’bag arrived on a hot July summer day in Northern California. Being a professional travel writer and reviewer of travel apparel and travel equipment, I dutifully tried on the “Selk’ Bag 4G Lite Sleepwear System.  Deemed “Lite,” the 4G has a comfort rating of  45 degrees Fahrenheit, designed for fall and summer season wear. Technically, this is not the Sleepwear System designed for winters in Alaska, but I think it would be ideal for overnight camping trips and outdoor adventures in Northern California.

Originally created by Rodrigo Alonso of Müsuc Design Studios of Santiago, Chile, the Selk’bag wearable sleeping bag features no-zip quick release hand systems and comes in three colors; dark grey, royal blue and violet.

"Selk'bag" "travel gear review"

Selk'bag Carry Sack - Travel Gear Review

Features include:

  • Baffled construction to eliminate cold spots
  • Soft, yet durable ripstop nylon shell with DWR (durable water resistant) finish
  • Reinforced nylon soles prevent wear and lateral grips give traction on multiple surfaces
  • A hood with drawstring for added warmth
  • Compacting carry sack
  • Thermal collar around the head and neck to prevent drafts
  • Exaggerated draft tubes to stop heat loss around zippers
  • Wide zipper tape, preventing snags

The Selk’bag 4G Lite is available for purchase from Selk’bag’s online store  at $79 for the kids’ version and $99 for adults. You may follow Selk’bag on Twitter and follow Nancy D. Brown on Twitter for all things travel.

"Selk'bag" "Travel Gear Review"

Not everyone was happy to try the Selk'bag Sleepwear System - Travel Gear Review on hot summer day

If You Go:

Pack your Selk’bag. It packs in a stuff sack and doesn’t take up much room. I challenge Rolf Potts to wear this on the airplane the next time he does a no baggage challenge.

Selk Bag supplied me with this travel gear for review.

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