Category: Destination Updates

Put Your “Wine Country” Trip on the Back Burner

Put Your “Wine Country” Trip on the Back Burner

California’s “Wine Country” (Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino counties) near San Francisco has long been a “hot” tourist destination, especially at this time of year.

(FlippinYank Flickr Photo)

But right now it’s “too hot to handle” for both visitors and locals as fires have burnt across the region destroying wineries, vineyards, homes, and business with no end to the conflagrations in sight.

Here’s why I urge those who were planning a trip to the area to put their plans “on the back burner.”

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In Oregon: The Adult “School Lunch”

In Oregon: The Adult “School Lunch”

When I was a kid my mother packed a lunch for me to take to school.

And that was a good thing because “The School Lunch” served up in the cafeteria often consisted of “mystery meat” and spinach that was so overcooked it looked as though it had been excreted from an orifice of some alien being from another planet.

Ick!

Today school lunch programs across the U.S. have improved since I turned my face away from them in disgust way back in the mid-20th century.

For example in Berkeley, California, Alice Waters, owner of the legendary restaurant, Chez Panisse, has campaigned for healthier and more palatable school cafeteria food and created a foundation that “envisions a curriculum integrated with the school lunch service, in which growing, cooking, and sharing food at the table give students the knowledge and values to build a humane and sustainable future.”

And here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, adults can enjoy a terrific “school lunch,” too.

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In Oregon: On the Trail of Ale

In Oregon: On the Trail of Ale

The first evening in our new hometown of Eugene, Oregon, my wife and I walked to a grocery store across the street from our temporary lodgings to purchase some take-out food for dinner.

While my wife searched in vain for an already-chilled bottle of white wine—that store provides a “quick-chilling” vat of liquid so customers can cool a bottle of wine to the temperature they desire rather than picking it out of a refrigeration case—she suddenly exclaimed “They must sell at least 500 different beers!”

(Pond Skipper Flickr Photo)

Welcome to Oregon, where “Beer” is one of the state’s unofficial “Four Food Groups,” along with “Coffee,” “Wine,” and “Everything Else.”

And while there are over five hundred wineries in the Willamette Valley, don’t ask me how many places make beer.

But there are “a lot,” or at least “plenty” to keep you tasting and drinking your life away, at least for a good while.

And an excellent way to find and drink beer is to take a trek, long or short, along the “Eugene Ale Trail.”

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