Where to Go in Lake Tahoe When You’re Not Skiing

Lake Tahoe, the cobalt blue lake where California and Nevada meet, boasts a reputation as the ultimate skiing destination for travelers seeking mountainside luxury and rugged adventure. This winter, Tahoe has experienced record snowfall fairly earlyin the season, so visitors looking to plan a trip should act fast, as local resorts will get quickly booked! And while Tahoe is primarily known as a skier’s paradise, with resorts like Sugar Bowl Resort and the upscale Northstar California Resort standing out as popular destinations, there are plenty of options beyond the slopes. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite things to do before or after a day of skiing — or for travelers who would rather take in the scenery than speed down a mountain.

Foodie-Friendly Dining

The Ritz-Carlton’s restaurant, Manzanita, is particularly popular for its refined dishes all made with local ingredients, along with a wine list featuring many Northern California favorites. For a more intimate experience, visitors should check out Cafe Fiore, consisting of seven tables in a tiny alpine cabin. Cafe Fiore is known for its hearty Italian fare, with its house special, scallops and other seafood sauteed in lemon and wine tossed with linguine, a particular standout.

Health-conscious travelers should make a point to stop by Sprouts Cafe, a natural foods cafe established way back in 1990. It’s informal atmosphere is family-friendly, with books and games for kids are scattered about. Another great casual option isBasecamp Pizza Co., which offers hearty fare, including pizzas laden with ingredients ranging from bbq chicken to crisp vegetables. The vibe is laid-back but lively, with a happy hour every day and live music every night.

Daytrip to Truckee, CA

Visitors should trek up to the north shore of the Lake and make a stop in the charming old railroad town of Truckee, CA, now an upscale, hippie town  with a bustling nightlife. The crown jewel is Moody’s Bistro Bar and Beats, tucked into the Victorian-era Truckee Hotel. A hip bar and live music (including past visits by regular Paul McCartney) will make for a lively night on the town. Those interested in a down-to-earth “dive” should stop by the Tourist Club, one of the oldest bars in town and somewhere a party is always happening.

High-Rolling in South Lake Tahoe

Those wishing to get a taste of Vegas-like activities should check out South Lake Tahoe, across the Nevada state line, where a small strip of casinos sits alongside the lake. Harvey’s, which is right along the lake, is known for its old-school atmosphere.  Just down the street is the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, which offers, in addition to its casino, three restaurants and two bars and lounges. The MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa is known for its nightlife, as its Opal Ultra Lounge is the place to go for a wild night out. (It’s a favorite of bachelorette parties!) For affordable lodgings in the area, consider the Holiday Inn Express South Tahoe, which is located near the main casino strip and also features a relaxing sauna.

Bustling Galleries for Art Lovers

Art fans should make sure to check out some of the galleries in the Tahoe area, which specialize in various styles of art, from painting to sculpture to glasswork and photography. A long-time favorite is Gallery Keoki, specializing in fine art photography and even offering the service of creating custom fine art installations for homes and office spaces. The James Harold Galleries has a large and varied collection of paintings and sculpture, all by new and known names in contemporary art. To take a piece of Tahoe home, visitors should definitely stop by the Jon Paul Gallery, which specializes in photographic artworks depicting the majestic natural beauty of Tahoe. Photographer Jon Paul even offers workshops for aspiring photographers, hinging on his philosophy of “bringing the fine art of nature home.”

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 28, 2016.

Sydney’s Coolest Places

If you already reside in sunny Australia or you long for visiting this irresistible country, you just can’t miss the jaw-dropping beauty of one of its greatest jewels, Sydney. As the home of the world’s most beautiful Opera House, impressive harbour and stunning beach richness, Sydney really captivates with its attractiveness and cosmopolitan spirit. Gladsome mentality, unique lifestyle and eternal summer are just a part of astonishing Sydney magic, and if you add an endless number of magnificent spots, you realize why is this city among the best ones in the world.

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There’s no doubt Sydney is a very vibrant city, but here you can read couple of extra firsthand insights:

Surry Hills

In the very heart of the Sydney, Surry Hills is an entertaining and artistic kingdom. Energetic Crown Street is the ultimate location where you’ll be overwhelmed with cuisine and yummy Aussie snacks and desserts along with a variety of prime beverages. From wine bars and cafes to comprehensive restaurants, everything is wrapped into a creative atmosphere. Moving further through the street, you’ll come across a stunning artistic nest full of greatest galleries, design and fashion studios presenting top local and international artworks, designers’ pieces and vintage items.

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You just can’t miss a chance to peek into lovely the Cream on Crown boutique, magnificent Brett Whiteley Studio and imposing Badger and Fox Gallery. As you stroll around, you’ll find the architecture amusing wherever you go.

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Restaurants and bars

Sydney’s tremendous restaurant and bar scene offers a true journey through culinary treasures and premium amusements. Stylish and relaxing at day and powerful parties during the night make The Argyle Bar the ultimate Sydney dining and nightlife venue. In the middle of central business district, there’s a fantastic rooftop bar – The Rook, offering the best lobster dishes and a variety of great wines and cocktails. Excellent restaurants abound from Emperors Garden BBQ and Noodles abounding with royal barbecue menus, pastry delicacies in modern Kingston &Co restaurant to great Asian and Italian specialties in Blue Fin Sushi, Bar Nosh, Pompei’s, Lang Suan restaurant , etc.

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Nature

Not far from downtown, there’s spectacular beaches, from Aussies’ glorious Bondi Beach great for waves’ riding, bathing and relaxing, to spacious Cronulla ideal for beach walks. The best surfer paradises are definitely Narrabeen, Manly and Coogee Beach.

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The greatest natural landmark near Sydney is certainly the breathtaking region of the Blue Mountains, known for impressive rock formations, blue mist and amazing local wildlife. Enjoy the wonderful scenery by taking a Blue Mountains day trip, take a bushwalk, or visit the famous rocks called The Tree Sisters, spot kangaroos, emus, dingo and a lot more.

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Beer

If looking for place to enjoy the best “Amber fluid”, start with old style Keg & Brew that serves traditionally hand -brewed beer. In Surry Hills, jump into the legendary Dove & Olive to drink excellent beer on tap.

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For a multi-tasting experience, head for 4 Pines Brewing Company in Manly, and try anything from stout to Aussie Pale Ale.

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This article was written by Roxana Oliver, a travel enthusiast and an occasional blogger from Sydney, Australia.

 

Vacation Escape to Marathon and the Florida Keys

The odds are very good that you’ve never heard of Marathon, Florida. Located in the middle of the Florida Keys (90 miles south of Miami and 45 miles north of Key West), Marathon is actually a collection of seven islands in a 10-mile long community. Marathon is known for its tropical climate and laid back lifestyle and is the boating and family destination of the Florida Keys.

If you are looking for your next beach getaway this is it – desirable beaches, seaside restaurants and a host of water activities including sailing, fishing, boating, wreck and reef diving, and more. And there are galleries, museums, parks, golf, shopping, and theaters for your time on dry land. The Florida Keys are unique and Marathon blends the laid back “Keys” lifestyle with lots of activities for vacationers.

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Photo by Gillian Kniveton via Trover.com

Top Hotel Choices in Marathon, Florida

Like most beach destinations, there’s no shortage of motels and hotels in Marathon. But given how special vacation time is, it’s a good idea to take a close look at your hotel options and select the one that most suits you and your family. Here are some of the best family resorts in Marathon:

–          Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort: Perhaps the best resort in Marathon because of its all-Florida experience. This is a small resort with beach houses, award-winning cuisine and a private sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico.

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Photo by Ting Teng via Trover.com

–          Hawks Cay Florida Keys Resort: This resort has garnered a number of Oyster Awards including Best Value, Luxury and Kid-Friendly Hotel in the Florida Keys. With its calm beach and family-friendly features, it’s hard to go wrong staying here.

–          Hyatt Place Marathon Florida Keys: With a historic lighthouse on site, this property is centrally located and walking distance from attractions. It of course features Hyatt amenities and outstanding guest service.

Top Things to do in Marathon, Florida

On the “must do and try” list in Marathon is:

–          Fish Tales Market & Eatery: If you like to eat fish, this is the place. Freshly caught fish of all kinds, homemade soups and perhaps the best Key Lime Pie in the Keys!

–          Pigeon Key Helicopter Tour: Get a bird’s eye view of Marathon, the Florida Keys, and the area’s crystal clear waters and beaches. You’ll also see the historic Sombrero Lighthouse and marine wildlife which may include bull sharks, sea turtles, manatees, tarpon and dolphins.

–          Marathon Diving & Snorkeling: Marathon’s reefs offer coral and fish life plus modern and historical shipwrecks for an incredible underwater experience. There are five different dive areas including the traditional favorite – Sombrero Reef.

–          The Turtle Hospital: Since its opening in 1986, the Turtle Hospital has treated and released over 1500 sea turtles back to the ocean. Guided Educational Experiences are offered to the public seven days a week.

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Photo by Turtles Travel via Trover.com

–          Crane Point Museum and Nature Center:  Crane Point Museum contains historic area artifacts dating back to prehistoric Indians. Crane Point sits on 64 acres of trees and vegetation and has walking trails that will take you on a hike through Florida’s nature and history.

It’s time to get back to Florida and discover Marathon and the Florida Keys!