Author: Deep Culture Travel

I’m lucky to live in California’s Sonoma Valley wine country, where we have a large Mexican population and many authentic Mexican restaurants and food trucks. I don’t need to cook Mexican cuisine, but I want to! Your “Foodies’ Pilgrimage in Mexico” starts here with guided and self-guided expeditions to San Miguel de Allende and Mexico City. One of my fav places to take a cooking class is the UNESCO World Heritage city of San Miguel de Allende. The good news is that this town is a foodie’s dream, with more than 350 restaurants and cafes; big, beautiful marketplaces, and several…

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[pullquote]“On the last day, my son said ‘I’m so sad to be leaving. This was the best vacation of my life, and I will never forget it.’” Bolingbrook, IL family[/pullquote]A summer or fall bike trip in the Mosel Valley of Germany could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your family. And it’s hard to beat Austin Adventures as your tour company—Travel + Leisure has named it “Top Tour Operator for Families” and one of the world’s “Top Tour Operators.” On the Germany Family Mosel Valley bike tour this July or August kids will love the castles and palaces; Pop Art at…

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The luxurious and historic Hacienda Petac in Mexico’s Yucatan offers a unique culture-focused vacation that keeps youngsters entertained and learning about the Mayan world while parents and grandparents enjoy the estate and go daytripping nearby. Near the city of Merida, on a 250-acre, 17th century estate, Hacienda Petac offers a children’s activity program that includes: Scavenger hunt in the Mérida food market where the family is introduced by the hacienda chef to the fruits, vegetables and spices of the area. Ingredients are gathered for an iconic Yucatécan dish (pah-ch’uhuk? ibes? espalone?) Sightseeing excursion around Mérida’s central square, with a stop…

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Bringing children along to the California Wine Country can be tricky if winery visits are the main focus. Nonetheless, a couple of days of family fun can be found in the Anderson Valley, which is a couple of hours north of San Francisco (on the way to or from the coast). Kids seem to love the old-timey farms, the rustic eateries, a vintage general store, and the chance to run around under the redwoods. On an early-morning drive from Cloverdale, northwest on Highway 128, fog drifitng in from the nearby Mendocino Coast creates a magical scene of mossy oak forests…

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In 1775, Spanish naval lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala sailed through the mouth of a vast bay in the New World, and cruised into a sheltered cove on his ship, the San Carlos, to be greeted by a few resident Miwok Indians. Soon after, the Spanish set up camp across the bay on the mainland, the Mexican army followed in 1821, and settlers began to arrive from across the country. In 1846, the flag of the United States was raised over the hardscrabble port town of Yerba Buena, soon to be renamed San Francisco. When gold was discovered in 1849,…

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A snowy winter weekend in Québec that I’m hoping will inspire you to plan a winter holiday in Canada’s second oldest city—founded in 1608, and still a charmer after all these years! (An easy way to get there is to fly into Montreal and take the train—a very comfortable and scenic 3-hour ride.) Heading for a Christmas shopping trip in Québec City, my daughter and I gazed out of the train windows at the winter-gray St. Lawrence River sliding past, while a steady snowfall turned the dense woods and a procession of little villages into winter-white postcards. Three hours later,…

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From Jenner north to Fort Bragg, the wintertime drama along the California North Coast can make for romantic weekends to remember. November through March, low-pressure systems roll in off the Pacific, one after another, and the tumultuous surf is thrilling to watch. Because this is California, it’s also common for blue skies to break through between tempests, and that is a magical time, when the sun glints on dripping evergreen branches and the beaches are treasure chests of driftwood, shells, and discoveries washed up by the pounding waves. Some travelers toast their tootsies and sip hot toddies by roaring fireplaces in snug bed-and-breakfast inns, while…

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Exploring Yosemite in Winter Wandering the crystalline kingdom that is Yosemite National Park in the deep winter, I came across historical sites, wildlife, and cozy spots to warm my toes and sip a toddy while watching the silent snowfall. Shallow snow crunched under my boots as I walked the path along the Merced River, a few hundred yards from Yosemite Valley Lodge. I was alone amid ice-glazed cottonwoods and tall, frosted grasses reflected in the dark mirror of the river. Although a rushing torrent filled with snowmelt in the spring, in mid-winter, the river barely sighs as it moves between…

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When the weather outside is frightful at Lake Tahoe, skiers and snow bunnies head for the fireplaces and the fire pits, the hot springs and all those other tootsie-toasting spots around the lake. Even if you can’t imagine plunging down an icy slope in the freezing cold, don’t hesitate to plan a winter weekend at Tahoe, where you can while away a frosty day or two with a book, a few hot toddies and your feet up by a roaring fire. North Shore Lake Tahoe As the sun sets over the largest alpine lake in North America, there is no…

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Did you know that the Northern California Wine Country has enchanting small towns and villages hidden away in idyllic, lesser-known valleys? Far from the maddening crowds of wine tasters and merrymakers who flood Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties, here are some of my recent stories of great daytrips and weekend getaways in California Wine Country villages—waiting your discovery! Redwoods and Ravioli in Occidental In the late 19th century, the last stop west on the narrow-gauge North Pacific Coast Railroad was the village of Occidental, isolated high in dense redwood forests. An 1890’s account described a “well-built” town with “a…

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