Grape Expectations: Why You Should Visit Wine Country USA

If someone said to you the two words “wine country”, be honest: would you think they meant somewhere like France or Italy? Absolutely no-one would blame you if that were the case.

In reality, though, more and more those words are being used to describe a slice of the West Coast of America that forms part of the New World range of wine-making locations. As well as being home to some excellent vineyards, the New World is also full of attractions and locations for a holiday you’ll remember for years to come. You don’t need to be an oenophile to enjoy these vacation spots; though it definitely helps!


Paso Robles

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Paso Robles vines.

Paso Robles is a bustling Californian city, surrounded by a seemingly endless array of excellent vineyards. Indeed, it is where the Californian wine trail began in many ways, with settlers finding that the vines carried more fruit than they could reasonably eat. What do you do with too many grapes? Make wine, of course.

Today Paso Robles is famed for its excellent Zinfandel wines, which go particularly well with fish (good job you’re on the coast, then!), as well as the hot springs which will make your stay all the more relaxing.


San Francisco

In many people’s minds, San Francisco is the jewel in the crown of California, and it’s certainly the hub for any wine tour. The city itself is home to some of the most chic wine bars anywhere in the world, and there are several excellent wineries dotted around the outskirts of the city.

It’s also the perfect place to base yourself for the duration of your stay. A short trip from your base in the Comfort Inn & Suites at San Francisco Airport West, you’ve got an eternity’s worth of sightseeing to do. The Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Haight-Ashbury and, if you travel between September and January, the legendary San Francisco 49ers play in nearby Santa Clara.


Napa Valley

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Vineyards as far as the eye can see in Napa Valley.

Wine buffs will be used to seeing the words “Napa Valley” on the side of bottles. The valley — and its famous cool winds — provide the perfect environment for Cabernet grapes, which make some of the best red wines available today. The Old World of France or Italy can only dream of the grapes that the Napa Valley is able to provide– so this area is a must visit if you’re a fan of red wine.

Taking the wine train through the valley, you’ll delight at the stunning verdant scenery, rolling hills filled with vines, and the pools and lakes of the Bothe-Napa State Park. You’ll see more wineries than you could possibly stop at, including the famous Inglenook with its award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon. You’ll also get to see Old Faithful— the legendary geyser that erupts, as if programmed to do so, every hour or so.

Stunning locations and some of the best wine the New World has to offer– who could possibly resist?

The City of Festivals: The Top 5 Festivals in Milwaukee.

When you think of festivals, Milwaukee may not instantly spring to mind. Yet it should, since Milwaukee is the City of Festivals! In addition to playing host to the largest festival in the world, the city puts on a dazzling variety of events that you probably didn’t even know existed. Here’s a list of the top five festivals you must attend in 2018. Bear in mind, this popular festival city runs out of accommodations quickly, so book your Milwaukee hotel in advance!

Irish Fest 

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Image via Flickr by fegavronski

 This is North America’s largest festival celebrating the vibrant culture and music of Ireland. Along with enjoying the great music, food, and Guinness, you should take a trip to the cultural village. This area includes unique attractions such as the Meehan Boat House, which displays currachs, or traditional Irish boats, and tells you all about their history. You’ll also find a genealogy corner where you can learn about Irish family history and its impact on America. Don’t miss the Celtic Kitchen that provides Irish food tastings and education, either. August 16-19

Polish Fest

I can’t exclude this festival, can I? I am a quarter Polish, after all. The city of Milwaukee is home to a large Polish community that puts on the USA’s largest Polish festival. You’ll find plenty of Polish music to enjoy, and you can dance away on the nonstop polka stage! Be sure to try the pierogi, which is a super tasty dumpling dish that’s sure to satisfy your cravings. June 15-17

Summer Fest

Welcome to the world’s largest music festival. Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, this festival features 11 days of music for absolutely everyone spread across 11 main stages. You’ll find everything from local country to world-famous indie and pop music. Previous headliners include the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, A Day to Remember, and Weezer.

 This festival has more than just music, with shops, restaurants, zones for the kids to play in, comedy acts, and amazing fireworks on opening night. The festival is so big that over the weekend in 2017, more than 80,000 cheeseburgers were consumed! June 28-July 9

Wisconsin State Fair 

The Wisconsin State Fair is a spectacular 11-day event celebrating rural Wisconsin. One of the main attractions is the farm animal display, which includes cows, ducks, and many others that you can pet. Some of these animals also compete in the fair. Look out for the traditional pig race!

 If you’re feeling peckish, you’ll find tons of mouth-watering options, like my favorite, melted cheese covering succulent steak tips. For dessert, be sure to try some warm blueberry pie with a glass of fresh milk on the side. If you want to take some local food home, there are many stalls selling scrumptious local products. If you’ve finished eating your way through the festival, relax to some of the great music! August 3-13

German Fest 

We’ve all heard of Oktoberfest and know of all the fun to be had there. Well, German Fest is all that fun and more, but in July! Here you can experience all that German culture and cuisine has to offer, including frankfurters and pretzels. Wash these down with a beer from a huge German stein! My favorite attraction at German Fest is the Dachshund Derby. In this race, teeny little sausage dogs enter costume competitions and race against each other in a 20-meter dash. July 27–29

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Image via Flickr by Morning theft

Although Milwaukee may not spring to mind as the top city to visit for a festival, it’s actually one of the best in the world! It hosts the largest music festival in the world as well as a plethora of other events that offer unique entertainment for all.

The 5 Best Speakeasies in Chicago and How to Enter Them

We all love knowing that we’re visiting somewhere that not many people know about. You want to head off the beaten track, find a hidden gem, and go where the locals go. What’s better than doing this while also being immersed in some of America’s Prohibition-era history? Well, if you want to achieve this, then you need to head to one of a number of hidden speakeasy-inspired bars dotted around Chicago. Check out these five speakeasy bars in some of my favorite Chicago neighborhoods that offer that hidden gem feeling along with some of the best cocktails around.

The Dream Fitness Holiday.

Many of you will know that travelling is a major passion in my life – this blog may have given that away! 😉

What you may not know is that being healthy and general fitness is another huge passion in my life.

It probably stems from my past as a competitive swimmer. Since I ‘retired’ 3 years ago, I try to hit the gym as much as I can to stay in shape and I try to eat healthily along the way.

Say Hola To Spain: How To Make The Most Of An Extended Trip!

There is something about Spain that makes it a country that it’s easy to spend long amounts of time exploring. Home to some incredibly diverse landscapes, the Spanish Pyrenees are a beautiful mountain range, while Sierra Nevada, a gorgeous snow capped mountain range, rises up above the sunshine of Andalucia. Then there are the country’s incredible cliffs in the Northwest, swaddled by Mediterranean coves and white sand beaches. Throughout the country, there are historic villages featuring traditional Spanish architecture, as well as vibrant towns and cities. There is no doubt about it, Spain is somewhere that has a lot to offer every traveller.

Five Things Worth Knowing About The US Before You Go.

There’s often great misconceptions about the US when it comes to visitors from other parts of the world. We’re so clued into their TV, their movies, even their news and politics that we think we know everything we need to and will fit in like a hand into a glove once we arrive. Yet when people visit, they often feel woefully out of the loop and realise that there’s SO much more to the states than what we see on MTV or Sky News. Before you go, there are a few things you need to remember that will definitely help you acclimatise.