Traverse City fall color tours: 4 routes for amazing views


TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Traverse City’s bays, peninsulas and wooded shorelines are pretty glorious in any season. But add some fall colors into the mix, and you’ve got miles of roads and trails just begging to be explored.

“Traverse City’s orchards, vineyards, forests, and villages create a beautiful patchwork of orange, crimson, scarlet, and gold,” according to tourism leaders there. “Whichever route you choose, it will be the perfect one for a drive that combines fall color with views of the bay, visits to wineries and roadside fruit stands, and unforgettable meals.”

Our friends at Traverse City Tourism have mapped out four scenic routes for maximum “wow” factor this fall. We’re sharing them here, just to give you a little nudge with your fall travel plans.

So pack some snacks, grab your sunglasses – and a sweatshirt – and get ready to hit the open road. Here are some great routes, as described by the tourism staff:

Old Mission Wineries

2 Lads Winery is located on the Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City, Michigan.John Gonzalez

TOUR #1: OLD MISSION PENINSULA, 45 miles | Two-hour drive

What you’ll see: Old Mission Peninsula is nearly 20 miles long and filled with vineyards, forests, orchards – and a lighthouse with some great trails at the very end. You’ll pass plenty of wineries, a handful of restaurants and some roadside stands that sell everything from fruit to Petoskey stones.

The route: “Follow M-37 (Center Road) north from Traverse City. The road begins with a steep climb through pleasant residential and orchard country, descends to the shore of East Bay, and gradually climbs again to a spectacular viewpoint near the Chateau Grand Traverse winery that overlooks both East and West Grand Traverse Bays. About a mile past the charming community of Mapleton, turn right onto Smokey Hollow Road and follow it down through vineyards and orchards to the quiet village of Old Mission, the oldest permanent settlement in the region. Take a left turn onto Swaney Road and follow it back to M-37, where a right turn will have you heading north to the picturesque Mission Point Lighthouse.

“On the return journey, head back south on M-37 to Mapleton. Here you’ll turn right onto Bowers Harbor Road and follow it down to the shore of West Bay. Keeping to the left, you’ll return to Traverse City by way of Peninsula Drive, a pleasant residential road that skirts the shore of the bay with wonderful views of isolated Power Island, Neahtawanta Point, and the distant hills of the Leelanau Peninsula.”

Traverse City

Flyfishing in Traverse City’s Boardman River. | Photo courtesy Traverse City Tourism

TOUR #2: Long Lake, Interlochen, and the Boardman Valley, 55 miles | Two-hour drive

What you’ll see: Inland lakes, meadows and farm towns all can be found on this route south of Traverse City that crosses into the picturesque Boardman River Valley.

The route: “Head west on Front Street, Traverse City’s main east-west street, as it climbs the hills west of town to become North Long Lake Road, skirts the northern edge of the lake, and finally is known as West Long Lake Road. Make a right onto South Long Lake Road as it heads south to Interlochen. Here the road (also known as M-137) slips between two beautiful lakes at the pine-shaded campus of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Just past Interlochen, turn left onto Youker Road and follow it east to M-37, where a quick jog to the south will bring you to M-113, where you’ll turn left again and head to Kingsley.

“At Kingsley, turn left again onto Garfield Road, which will take you north through the tiny village of Mayfield and across the Boardman River. Just past the river, turn right onto Hobbs Highway and follow it for another mile to the next right, which is Ranch Rudolf Road. (There’s a fine view here across the valley and the Boardman River.) Follow the road for several miles to Rennie Lake Road, turn left and pass several small lakes, take another left onto Supply Road and follow it to Hobbs Highway again. Turn left onto Hobbs and follow it past more forest-shaded lakes to rejoin Garfield. Stay on the road for about half a mile until you reach River Road; turn right and follow it down the Boardman Valley, which begins to open up dramatically just beyond this point.

“Bear to the left at Beitner Road and follow it as it climbs steeply from the valley floor, then continue past the intersection at U.S. 31 to East Silver Lake Road, which will take you north and back to Traverse City for one last impressive view.”

Frankfort's Lake Michigan beach

One of the prettiest beaches along Lake Michigan, Frankfort has a wide expanse of sand and plenty of benches to watch the waves, or catch a great sunset.

TOUR #3: Benzie County, 90 miles | Two-hour drive

What you’ll see: Northwest of Traverse City, Benzie County rolls and sprawls until it reaches Lake Michigan. It’s got miles of shoreline and peaceful scenery that just gets more vibrant in the fall.

The route: “Head out of town on West Front Street and North Long Lake Road, which will turn into Maple Street as you approach the village of Lake Ann. Along the way, you’ll pass Long Lake and – you guessed it – Lake Ann, before taking a jaunt (via a right on Ole White Dr. and a left on Almira Road) up to Fowler Road, also known as County Road 610. A left turn onto M-22 will send you along the southern tip of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Platte Lake.

“Continue following M-22 to pass the Point Betsie Lighthouse as you traverse the narrow strip of land between Lake Michigan and Crystal Lake. When you reach Frankfort, Benzie’s jewel of a beach town, swing a right on M-115 E toward the villages of Beulah and Benzonia. A little jog south on US-31 will lead you back to 115, which you can follow the forested highway all the way to Thompsonville. Turn left onto Lindy Road, then left onto Karlin Road (which becomes Nessen and then Karlin again) to begin your journey back toward Traverse City. After you pass Interlochen, take a right on U.S. 31 to return to town.”

Fishtown

Water rushing over the Leland Dam along the edge of Fishtown. Photo courtesy of Leland Preservation.

TOUR #4: The Leelanau Peninsula Length: 75 miles | 3-hour drive (30 miles extra for the optional loop, another hour drive)

What you’ll see: This drive is quintessential Up North, with the storybook towns of Leland, Suttons Bay and Northport all holding court as you wind your way up Michigan’s “little finger” known as the Leelanau Peninsula. **The optional add-on route takes you into tiny Glen Arbor, then shows off the expanse of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The route: “Take M-22 north from Traverse City along the shore of West Bay to Cherry Bend Road, where a left turn will take you to the foot of the TimberLee Hills. Turn right here and head north on County Road 633, a lovely rural road that leads through beautiful upland country to the village of Suttons Bay. Here you’ll rejoin M-22 and continue north along the shore through the villages of Peshawbestown (home to the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians), Omena, and Northport. From Northport, continue north to the tip of the peninsula and visit Leelanau State Park and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

“Returning to Northport, take M-22 west to the charming fishing port of Leland. **(See below for the optional loop, which starts here). Beyond Leland, you’ll skirt the western shore of Lake Leelanau for a mile or so and turn left onto County Road 204, which leads to the inland village of Lake Leelanau. Turn right here, just before the bridge, onto County Road 643 which follows a very scenic route along the lake and eventually takes you to the picturesque town of Cedar. Continue south from Cedar on County Road 651 to M-72, turn left, and follow the highway back for a spectacular return to Traverse City.

**(Optional loop) “After leaving Leland, continue south on M-22 along the Lake Michigan shoreline and through the eastern section of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to the village of Glen Arbor. Continue through the village on what is now called M-109, past the ghost port of Glen Haven and the famous Dune Climb, and take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (permit required), which offers splendid views of the surrounding lake and dune country. Turn right when leaving the scenic drive and go for about a mile to County Road 616, where you make a left turn and head along the southern shore of the two Glen Lakes. Just past the lakes the road climbs steeply – at its top is an excellent viewpoint called Inspiration Point. Continue eastward through the villages of Maple City and Cedar. In Cedar, take a right turn onto County Road 651 and follow it south to M-72, where a left turn will bring you back to Traverse City.”

For more route details, maps and suggested stops, check out the Fall Travel Guide from Traverse City Tourism here.

Rove Estate Vineyard

Fall is a beautiful time to visit Rove’s tasting room high atop the Leelanau Peninsula. Photo courtesy of Rove Estate Vineyard & Winery.Photo courtesy of Rove Estate Vineyard & Winery

Headed to the Traverse City area? Here are some things not to miss:

Traverse City fall vacation deals: resorts, wine tasting and golf

Northern Michigan winery offers unique Barrel Room tastings

This delightful Northern Michigan winery is perched atop Leelanau Peninsula’s highest point



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4 New Holiday Travel Trends Revealed


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — As droves of US tourists prepare to travel this holiday season, travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth.com says the lingering impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are evident in their booking behavior.

Squaremouth analyzed data from thousands of policies purchased for travel between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve to identify four new trends this holiday season.

Covid Concerns Top of Mind (and on the Rise)
Coverage for Covid-19 related concerns has dominated travel insurance sales since the onset of the pandemic. 34% of travelers on Squaremouth.com specifically sought out Covid coverage for trips this holiday season. This is the highest level of interest in Covid coverage that Squaremouth has seen, and is an increase from 21% during the 2020 holiday travel season.

Number of Insured Travelers Quadruples
Earlier this year, Squaremouth reported insuring more travelers than prior to the pandemic. This holiday season, the comparison engine has insured 300% more travelers than last year, and 70% more than 2019.

“Interest and awareness surrounding travel insurance is at an all-time high as we approach the busy holiday travel season,” said Megan Moncrief, chief marketing officer for Squaremouth. “Travelers are preparing differently this year by opting for travel insurance, to protect themselves in case travel plans are affected by unpredictable events from cancellations to illnesses.”

Caribbean Destinations Outpace European Countries as Most Popular
Despite additional borders opening to US tourists, Caribbean destinations that have largely remained open throughout the pandemic continue to attract the most travelers.

This holiday season, 8 out of Squaremouth’s top 10 international destinations are Caribbean countries, with the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos, and the US Virgin Islands joining the list for the first time.

Travelers are Cautiously Confident Traveling Internationally
Prior to the pandemic, close to 90% of trips booked for holiday travel were to international destinations. While border closures forced many travelers to stay stateside last year, Squaremouth reports a 326% increase in the number of US tourists traveling internationally this holiday season.

Travelers can quote, compare, and buy travel insurance for their holiday travel on Squaremouth.com. Squaremouth sells over 90 plans from 20+ providers, and offers the largest portfolio of products offering coverage related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Notes to editors

Available Topic Expert: Megan Moncrief, Chief Marketing Officer, is available for comment and interview. [email protected]

Squaremouth maintains a list of country insurance requirements here: https://www.squaremouth.com/destinations

ABOUT SQUAREMOUTH
Squaremouth.com, and their multi-award winning customer service team, has helped over 2 million travelers save time and money to find the best travel insurance policy for their trip.

Leveraging decades of travel expertise, and industry-leading technology, Squaremouth.com hosts the most intuitive travel insurance quoting and comparison engine on the market today.

Coupled with verified customer reviews and the largest portfolio of products, Squaremouth allows travelers to instantly purchase a travel insurance policy from every major provider in the US.

SOURCE Squaremouth

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CDC travel advisories: Singapore placed at Level 4, “highest risk” for Covid


(CNN) — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added one new location to its list of “very high” risk travel destinations this week.

The ultramodern city-state of Singapore has moved up from Level 3, or “high” risk for Covid-19, to Level 4, the agency’s highest risk category.

This news comes on the heels of a recent decision by Singapore to further loosen restrictions and add eight new countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, to its Vaccinated Travel Lane program. Fully vaccinated people arriving from those nations can apply for a quarantine-free entry.

Destinations that fall into the “Covid-19 Very High” Level 4 category have had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days, according to CDC criteria.

People should avoid traveling to locations designated with a Level 4 notice, the CDC recommends. Anyone who must travel should be fully vaccinated first, the agency advises.
This newest update is far cry from early August, when the CDC added 16 destinations in one week to Level 4, and Delta variant cases were rising rapidly across much of the planet. This is the first week since early August that only one nation has been added to Level 4.

Popular favorites remaining on Level 4

However, other popular international vacation spots remain at this highest level of alert, evidence of Covid-19’s continuing foothold. The current list of Level 4 destinations includes the following:

• Austria
• Belize
• Botswana
• Croatia
• Greece
• Ireland
• Malaysia
• Switzerland
• Turkey
• United Kingdom

In the case of the UK, it’s been lodged at Level 4 since July 19, and Greece has been there since August 2.

New Level 3 locations

Budapest is the capital of Hungary, which was placed at Level 3 ("high" risk for Covid) by the CDC on October 18.

Budapest is the capital of Hungary, which was placed at Level 3 (“high” risk for Covid) by the CDC on October 18.

Rita Franca/NurPhoto/Getty Images

The Level 3 category applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

Six new destinations were assigned to this “high” risk category, three of which moved up from Level 2:

• Angola
• Djibouti
• Hungary

The Level 3 designation was good news for people interested in the following three destinations, which previously had been at Level 4:

Cypus
Eswatini
Tunisia

Some options in Level 2

Destinations carrying the “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” designation have seen 50 to 99 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

Popular destinations in this less risky category on October 18 included the following:

• Dominican Republic
• Egypt
• Peru

Just keep in mind the CDC list updates weekly, and your lower-risk destination of choice might move up after you begin making plans.

In the category of “Level 1: Covid-19 Low” destinations, fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents have been logged over the past 28 days. New Zealand is in this category, but it has yet to open its doors to leisure travelers yet.
In its broader travel guidance, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully vaccinated.

“Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread Covid-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some Covid-19 variants,” the agency said.

Top image: A view of the skyline and waterfront of Singapore. (Ore Huiying/Bloomberg/Getty Images)



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Caribbean Mostly Under Level 4 Advisories, But Travelers Are Going Anyway


As it’s officially autumn and there’s once again a chill in the air, snowbirds are surely beginning to think about heading south for the winter. Even those of us who live in milder climates could use a tropical getaway after enduring 19 months of pandemic banality.

The Caribbean typically sees throngs of North Americans looking to escape their icy environs in the winter season, though the region, which is home to more than two dozen destinations, is an equally popular spring and summer retreat.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

But, amid COVID-19, things can get a bit complicated for travelers dreaming of an island vacation, since much of the Caribbean, like plenty of other nations on the planet, continues to battle the current Delta variant surge. And, while everyone in the U.S. is able to get vaccinated when they choose, this region is struggling with insufficient access to vaccines, according to The Washington Post.

Due to ‘very high’ COVID-19 case rates, the U.S. Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) has slapped a ‘Level 4: COVID-19 Very High’ advisory on the majority of Caribbean tourism destinations, which carries a recommendation that the public avoid traveling there altogether.

Currently in this category are over 20 tourism destinations, including Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, U.S. Virgin Islands. If we begin looking at continental destinations that line the Caribbean Sea, it becomes an even higher number.


Castries, St Lucia
Castries, St. Lucia. (photo via NAPA74/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

One level down, there’s the ‘Level 3: COVID-19 High’ warning, which recommends that travelers be fully vaccinated before traveling to these destinations. Anguilla, Bonaire, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos currently carry this label, while the Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands are the two to carry lower-level advisories.

“Caribbean travel was the first to see a resurgence in early 2021 and, while most destinations continue to maintain a Level 4 status with the CDC, it hasn’t kept travelers away,” travel adviser Mike Salvadore of 58 Stars Travel told the Post. He observed that interest in the region declined slightly during hurricane season and just after Europe reopened, but interest in the Caribbean for fall and holiday travel is “robust”.

The CDC’s high-level travel advisories don’t seem to be dampening people’s enthusiasm for visiting the region. For instance, the Bahamas saw an almost 50 percent higher visitation number through August than it did last year. I. Chester Cooper, the Bahamian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, said in an emailed statement that his country is optimistic that it will also see a “robust holiday season”.

Of course, things still aren’t what they were in pre-pandemic times, as international travel is only beginning to rebound. Neil Walters, acting Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization told the Post that the Caribbean’s overall international tourist arrivals during the first half of 2021 reached 6.6 million, down 12 percent from the first half of last year (in fairness, travel didn’t shut down until mid-March of 2020). That’s also a decrease of 62 percent from the same period in 2019.


Emerald water idyllic beach at Nassau, The Bahamas in a sunny day. (poladamonte / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
PHOTO: Nassau, The Bahamas on a sunny day. (poladamonte / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The CDC’s travel advisories can, however, be a source of frustration for Caribbean officials and stakeholders. Vanessa Ledesma, Acting CEO and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), said in September that the sector has worked hard to protect tourists and workers alike. “We have gone to great lengths to produce the safest possible corridors in our tourism-related communities,” she said. “Caribbean travel is safe and continues to get safer.”

Ledesma also said she feels that travel warnings based on COVID-19 positivity levels can be misleading. Clive Landis, who chairs the University of the West Indies’ COVID-19 task force in Barbados, is also skeptical of their value, especially when the warnings are applied to countries that have low overall case rates, such as Anguilla.

“I think here in the Caribbean, our record—even now with the surge of the Delta variant—is still, in terms of cases per capita…well below the U.S.,” Landis said. “It’s not as if they’re stepping into some kind of a hot spot that they’re not used to in their own country.”

For the latest insight on travel around the world, check out this interactive guide:



For the latest travel news, updates, and deals, be sure to subscribe to the daily TravelPulse newsletter here.





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4 Your Information: Strategies for booking holiday travel


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The summer travel season is over, but there’s plenty of travel ahead in the holiday season.

However, the upcoming holiday season arrives amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Lia Vincent with VincentVacations.com spoke with KFOR on Wednesday, providing travel tips, insight into travel-related financial concerns and information on how the pandemic is impacting travel.

Watch the above video for Lia’s insight.

More information can be found at VincentVacations.com.

Vincent Vacations has agents in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Texas.



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4 Unique Woodinville Wineries – TravelAwaits


The majority of Washington vineyards are in eastern Washington where the warm climate and land are perfect for growing grapes. Most people live in western Washington with the Cascade Mountains in between. Winemakers realized if they wanted wine lovers to sip their creations, they needed a destination that was closer while still having a wine country experience. Woodinville fit the bill and Chateau Ste. Michelle became the first winery to establish a presence in the town. It even built a chateau and rebranded it to reflect its name. Columbia Winery followed in 1989 and then many more in the 1990s. Today Woodinville is a premier destination for wine lovers and there are now over 130 wineries with tasting rooms in the area.

Woodinville is nestled in the Sammamish River Valley. It is a lovely town filled with friendly people. Even though the region boasts more 90+ rated vintages than anywhere in the world it is not pretentious. Washington winemakers are not mired in the rules of wine traditions and are more creative and artistic than their counterparts from California and France. When visiting a tasting room, ask questions to find out what makes their winery unique. Chances are the winemaker experimented with a wine and it came out so good it ended up going into production.

Pro Tip: With over 130 wineries in Woodinville it can be overwhelming to decide where to go. The town is divided into four winemaking districts: downtown, Hollywood, the Warehouse and West Valley districts. I like to pick one district and plan my tasting around that area. For this trip I chose the Hollywood District. 

My stay in Woodinville was a press trip hosted by Woodinville Wine Country.

Exterior of the historic Hollywood Schoolhouse overlooking the Hollywood District.
Woodinville Wine Country

The Hollywood District is both ritzy and rustic at the same time. You’ll find a gold-rated Conde Nast lodge not far from tasting rooms nestled into rural historic homes. Fancy dining and pub grub, you’ll find it all in Hollywood. The district was named after the Hollywood Schoolhouse which is now an event center and tasting room.

Winetasting at Dusted Valley, with bottle of red wine and wine glass on the table.
Peggy Cleveland

1. Dusted Valley

I love a winery with a great story. The Dusted Valley philosophy is when family works together the American Dream can turn into a living reality. More than 16 years ago the Johnsons and Braunels quit their jobs and established Dusted Valley. Chad Johnson and Corey Braunel’s strong roots in agriculture led to their roles as winegrowers. In a bit of serendipity, they married two sisters, Janet Johnson and Cindy Braunel, who handle all the sales, distribution, admin, and the wine club. The Stained Tooth Society wine club is the coolest name ever.

Great wines grow in the vineyard and Dusted Valley’s sustainable farming practices in the Walla Walla valley and skilled winemakers have created some wines I really enjoyed. The 2018 Stained Tooth Syrah is one of the best I’ve had. It is a rich deep purple color. Chad’s dad is a dentist and I love his quote. “Life is too short to stain your teeth on bad wine,” Dr. Dan Johnson D.D.S. It is an old-world style, and the syrah is blended with a hint (3 percent) of viognier. Another standout for me, the 2018 Chardonnay which comes from the Yakima Valley AVA.

Exterior of the tasting room at Lauren Ashton Cellars.
Peggy Clevelande

2. Lauren Ashton Cellars

The Apple Farm Village is the perfect setting for Lauren Ashton Cellars. A group of historic cottages were moved to this site and then restored. Beautiful gardens surround the buildings creating lovely outdoor tasting areas. Owner Kit Singh, a dentist by profession, is a gifted winemaker who truly has a passion for the artistry of winemaking. The name of the winery is inspired by the names of his two children, Ashley Lauren and Ashton Troy. The wine labels are adored with photographs showcasing the beautiful country of Estonia to honor his wife Riinu’s heritage.

Singh has more of a French style of winemaking and makes lower alcohol wines which produce less of a “buzz.”  If you are a white wine drinker this is the winery for you because he produces quite a variety of whites. He takes his craft seriously and works to produce a purposeful “nose” with the scent of a promise of what is to come when you take a sip. Seriously, they smell so good you could almost could wear it as a perfume. Usually, when I visit a winery, one or two standout for me but during this visit, I loved everything I tasted while sitting in the lovely garden under a shade tree. Singh’s craft really shines in his 2009 Cuvée Arlette Red Blend with varietals from the Red Mountain AVA. Most Red Mountain red wines are big and bold. His blend is almost as if you had a big, red mountain wine and left the heavy stuff behind. It is a more nuanced refined wine layered with fruit from a cooler area. Every bottle of wine and every sip you take of Singh’s wine is very personal to him. It comes from the heart with each vintage created from his hands.

Wine glass with wine, The unique Cabernet Sauvignon Rose at Obelisco Estate.
Peggy Cleveland

3. Obelisco Estate

This family run estate has such a great story. General manager and winemaker Ken Abbott fell in love with wine while visiting his late uncle Doug and aunt Betsy Long in St. Helena and their vineyards on the famed Pritchard Hill in Napa Valley. A very short version of the history, Doug and Betsy retired in Gig Harbor, Washington, but were lured back into winemaking by the promise of the mystical “Red Mountain.” Ken gradually drew Doug in by asking for help until eventually, he gave up his career in real estate, finance and development. With Doug’s passing in 2017, Ken carries on the family tradition of crafting wine for Obelisco along with aunt Betsy.

Doug and Ken were kindred spirits with a love of history and archeology. Needless to say, I was “fan-girling” big time meeting Ken as I too share a love of history, archeology (my childhood dream career) and to add wine tasting into the mix made for a perfect day. The earliest wines were made by Egyptians and that heritage is evident at Obelisco, which translates to obelisk. I tasted so many truly great ones during this visit, but there is not enough space to write about them all. Ken and Doug had a conversation one day about how it was too bad people must wait three years to taste their cabernet sauvignon, so they decided to make a rosé from these grapes. It is 100 percent juice and no water (most rosés have water added). This is a unique rosé with a beautiful red/rose color, the staff calls it the “Brose” due to its depth of flavor. You won’t taste a rosé like this anywhere else.

For a truly special occasion wine, the 2017 Nefer III (triple Nefer) fits the bill. It’s 100 percent cabernet sauvignon and it is worthy of its triple nefer rating. Egyptians had their own wine rating system, the nfr (the language had no vowels so Ken and Doug added the “E” so people could pronounce it. It means beautiful inside and out.). Wine jars were sealed and marked with one nefer for the public, two nefers indicated wine for the nobility and three nefers was wine reserved for the Pharaohs. It was a special treat to be able to taste this wine and it is worth the hefty price tag.

Wine cellar at Chateau Ste. Michelle.
Chateau Ste. Michelle (Photo Credit: Peggy Cleveland)

4. Hollywood District Tasting Rooms

With so many tasting rooms in Woodinville, and even in the Hollywood District, you won’t have time to visit them all. Within a single block in Hollywood, you can spend all day wine tasting and won’t have to move your car. On previous visits, I tasted at the Alexandria Nicole Cellars located on the ground floor of the Hollywood Schoolhouse building. The tasting room has a speakeasy feel to it and it also has some nice outdoor seating. It is making two fun sparkling wines, a rosé and a white called “Adult-ing,” and is designed to be an everyday folding laundry or other household chores sipping wine. Also, in the Schoolhouse is the renowned Maryhill Winery which recently opened and has 10,000 square feet in the building.

Inside the Chateau Ste. Michelle.
Chateau Ste. Michelle (Photo Credit: Peggy Cleveland)

The Milbrandt Vineyards and Ryan Patrick Wines tasting rooms are located next to each other across the street from the Hollywood Schoolhouse. Lovely wines and beautiful venues to wine taste, both are worth a stop. Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery was the first in Woodinville and the perfect spot if you are new to wine tasting or want to learn more about wine. There are a variety of experiences available to enhance your knowledge or just to enjoy, such as a picnic on the grounds.

Pro Tip: The Washington wine app is a helpful resource for navigating Washington wine country. Map My WA Wine App for Apple and Android.

Hilton Garden Inn Redmond at night with blue lights.
Woodinville Wine Country

It can be challenging sometimes to find lodging right in Woodinville due to its popularity. On my recent visit, I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Redmond Center which is just a 10-minute drive. It is a chain hotel but felt more like a luxury boutique hotel. The staff was very friendly and helpful and the common areas were perfect places to hang out with friends.

Check out these other Washington attractions while you’re visiting:



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You Could Save Thousands by Getting Medical Care in These 4 Countries


As borders open and tourism picks back up, it isn’t just sightseers who are getting back to traveling. Each year, thousands of U.S. travelers who have been let down by their own broken healthcare system head overseas in search of affordable medical care.

Medical tourism was a growing industry before COVID hit, with an estimated 780,000 people traveling for both elective and necessary medical procedures in 2019. While the number was understandably low in 2020, medical tourism is picking back up in 2021, and it’s projected that around 650,000 people will travel for medical care in 2021.

The key to making the most of medical tourism is to find a balance between affordable costs — the whole point is to avoid medical debt — and quality care. The countries on this list are popular destinations for U.S. medical tourists thanks to reputations for well-educated professionals and costs up to 80% lower than they’d typically be for the same procedures stateside.

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1. Mexico

Our neighbor to the south is one of the top destinations for U.S. medical tourists, especially those looking for affordable dental care. Dental implants, for example, tend to cost between $3,000 and $4,500 each in the U.S., while the same implants cost more than 60% less across the border.

Dentists in Mexico are highly trained, either at home or in U.S. dental schools, and clinics follow many of the same standards you’d find in the U.S. In fact, because cross-border medical tourism is so common, some towns near the border are highly dedicated to the industry.

2. Malaysia

Located in southeast Asia, Malaysia sees around 4.9 million medical tourists each year. Malaysia has a top-rated medical care system, with state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology.

Many tourists head to Malaysia for major procedures, including heart surgery and hip replacements, which can cost less than a quarter of what similar procedures would cost in the U.S. It also doesn’t hurt that the country is well known for its beautiful beaches, making it a lovely place to recover.

3. Thailand

Thailand is known as a place with a very affordable cost of living, and it’s a popular destination for expats and digital nomads for just that reason. But medical tourists are also drawn to Thailand’s affordability, where many procedures cost thousands less than you’d pay in the U.S.

Moreover, the low cost of living means staying there during your recovery won’t run up your credit cards, either. But while healthcare in Thailand is affordable, Thailand doesn’t skip out of quality of care. It has several world-renowned hospitals and is known for its advanced medical technology.

4. India

Medical tourism is a billion-dollar industry in India, but it’s not all about facelifts and Botox. India is a highly popular destination for affordable non-elective surgery, including cancer care, transplants, and cardiac bypass surgeries.

Procedural costs can be as low as 10% of the cost of comparable U.S. surgeries — without sacrificing quality. India is home to dozens of internationally recognized hospitals, and Indian surgeons are often educated abroad at some of the top medical schools in the world before returning home to practice.

Know the risks

Any medical procedure has its own risks, no matter where it’s performed. But traveling abroad can add extra layers of potential risk, or at least complication. The language and cultural differences, for instance, can make even a regular tourist visit more difficult, let alone a medical procedure.

You also need to consider travel risks. Many countries will require some type of visa, especially if you need to stay for several months. Be sure you’ll qualify for the appropriate travel visa before booking or paying for a medical procedure abroad.

Then there are the potential legal issues. Since you’re not in the U.S., our laws won’t apply. So, if something goes wrong to the point where you might have a solid malpractice case in the U.S., you could be entirely without legal recourse in another country.

There are also potential privacy problems to consider. The U.S. has its privacy issues, but what can — and can’t — be shared about your medical history is fairly well protected. The same may not be true in other countries. You may also have issues with getting your own records when you need them.

Consider all the costs

Although it’s easy to save money on the actual procedure, that won’t be your only cost when traveling abroad for medical purposes.

For one thing, you need to actually get there. Travel costs can be quite high depending on how far you’re traveling; expect to pay at least $1,000 or more for airfare alone when heading to Asia from the U.S. (Pro tip: Pick up an airline credit card and use points or miles to cover the cost of your flight.)

And then there’s the recovery time. For some procedures, you won’t get medical clearance to fly for several weeks after your surgery, which can mean a lot of extra costs for a long hospital or hotel stay.

Even with the extra costs, traveling for medical care can be an excellent way to save a lot of money versus paying inflated U.S. costs. And if you do your homework, you won’t need to sacrifice quality of care.



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Drive Medical Scout 4 Mobility Scooter Review – Forbes Health


The Scout 4 is a simple, portable mobility scooter. Most people who use this scooter have health or mobility issues but still want to get out and remain active, according to Torres. “Some can still walk and just need to use a scooter part-time,” he says.

To operate the Scout 4, set the speed knob on the console to the speed range you want and push a small throttle to start moving. This scooter doesn’t go fast—its speed maxes out at 4.25 miles per hour. The electromagnetic brake system senses when you engage the throttle and automatically releases the rear wheels. When you let go of the throttle, the brakes automatically activate and the unit slows to a stop.

Comfort Features

The height and angle of the padded seat are adjustable to fit your body. The armrest width and angle can also be adjusted, and the angle of the tiller can be tilted to fit the length of your arms so you can drive without leaning forward.

Safety Features

As a four-wheel scooter with two small anti-tip wheels at the rear, the Scout 4 offers a stable ride. There’s no danger in speeding since its speed tops out at 4.25 miles per hour. But it doesn’t have headlights or rear lights, so it’s not safe to drive outside at night.

Portability

The Scout 4 is designed to be a travel scooter, so it’s easy to take apart and reassemble. “It disassembles to four pieces,” says Torres. “I can take it apart in less than a minute. For older people, it might take a few minutes,” he says. And “everything has a handle. So when you disassemble the rear section, that has a handle. The front section has a handle and the battery box has a handle,” adding that the seat is easy to carry.

Usability

It’s a versatile mobility scooter for indoor and outdoor use—within limits. The ground clearance is only 2.5 inches, so it’s best driven on smooth, compact terrain, says Torres. “If you drive over loose gravel or sand, you’ll sink,” he says. “You can take it on light grass if it’s not too thick.” If you’re unsure about driving this scooter over a particular surface, avoid it, the owner’s manual advises.

The Customer Service Experience

Several calls to the Drive Medical customer service line were answered immediately by courteous and well-informed representatives. They took time to answer many detailed questions and offered information to help understand the uses and limitations of the scooter. Representatives were well-versed in all kinds of scooters, as they were able to compare the Scout 4 to others in terms of stability, comfort and usability.

Warranties and Discounts

Drive Medical offers a lifetime warranty for the mainframe, seat post, platform and frame welds; a 24-month warranty on the motor, throttle, brakes and other items; and a 12-month warranty on batteries. Battery manufacturers provide a 6-month warranty, so if something goes wrong after six months, the batteries are covered for the next six months by the Drive Medical warranty.



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News 4 Throwback: President Carter and First Lady travel down the Mississippi River in riverboat | St. Louis News Headlines


ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) — An event in August of 1979 that drew thousands to the St. Louis riverfront.

It wasn’t Fair Saint Louis, which didn’t start until years later, or a concert. The crowd of about 15,000 came to welcome the Delta Queen Riverboat but the boat was not the only main attraction.

On Aug, 24, 1979, President Jimmy Carter, the first lady, and their young daughter, Amy, were completing a trip down the river. The purpose was to drum up support for several policy initiatives.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved





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News 4 Throwback: President Carter and First Lady travel up the Mississippi River in riverboat | St. Louis News Headlines


ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) — An event in August of 1979 that drew thousands to the St. Louis riverfront.

It wasn’t Fair Saint Louis, which didn’t start until years later, or a concert. The crowd of about 15,000 came to welcome the Delta Queen Riverboat but the boat was not the only main attraction.

On Aug, 24, 1979, President Jimmy Carter, the first lady, and their young daughter, Amy, were completing a trip up the river. The purpose was to drum up support for several policy initiatives.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved





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