Travel Back in Time For an Old-Fashioned Winter Holiday in Mendocino County, Northern California

All Aboard a Vintage Christmas Train!

Seaside villages bordered by fragrant forests make Mendocino an idyllic place to fulfill your dreams of a small-town winter. Gracious Victorians sparkle warmly, inviting shops line cobbled streets, and majestic whales can be spotted offshore on their annual migration. Mendocino is at its most quaint and un-crowded at this time of year—you’d never know you were only 100 miles north of San Francisco. The air is redolent of pine and cedar outdoors, while indoors you will find crackling fires and tables piled high with local delicacies such as Dungeness crab and Chanterelle mushrooms, alongside luscious wines that originated from grapes grown in one of Mendocino’s famed wine regions.

Seasonal specials at alluring inns entice you to enjoy the traditional fun—ride the Magical Christmas train with Santa, marvel at the stunning display of lights that adorn the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens during their annual holiday festival, sip artisanal wines with a friendly winemaker—or decompress at a heritage campground that brings the mysteries of nature to you.

The small port town of Fort Bragg is renowned for their resemblance to Cape Cod and the sweet Dungeness crab they pull from the sea each winter. Start your adventure there as you board the Skunk Train for an historical ride through some of the most inaccessible, glorious landscape on earth. Chug through tunnels, deep into virgin old growth forests – maybe spotting a family of white tailed deer drinking from the river along the way. At this time of year they add to the fun by running the Magical Christmas Train, a 60-minute journey through a storybook wonderland. Each child gets a personal visit with Santa, cookies, and hot chocolate in their own souvenir mug. Carols, reindeer games and more are in store. Trains also make a 90-minute jaunt from their inland Willits terminal, or from the coastal Fort Bragg station.

To learn more and book tickets, please visit: The Magical Christmas Train runs daily December 2 – 23, 2017. Skunk Train, 100 W Laurel St, Fort Bragg, CA  95437, (707) 964-6371,



Perfecting Paris



Julia Child once said, “In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.”  Paris Perfect, the leading luxury apartment rental and concierge service with more than 100 properties in the heart of the city, has just launched Paris Perfect Gourmet, offering guests a new hands-on way to be immersed in the art of French cuisine.

They are now offering a wide range of experiences in and around the city, including bike tours around Versailles, day trips to Normandy and shopping excursions through Le Marais. Paris Perfect is now focusing on expanding its culinary offerings. All of the new gourmet offerings have been personally selected and vetted by the Paris Perfect team, and include open-air market tours, in-apartment cooking classes, neighborhood culinary tours and more to provide guests with an authentic taste of French cuisine.

Each of these Paris Perfect Gourmet Experiences can either be booked individually or organized as part of a larger itinerary through Paris Perfect’s Travel Design Team.  The gourmet offerings include the following:

  • Market Tour and Cooking ClassCordon Bleu-trained chef Charlotte Puckette will lead guests through the famous Rue Cler open-air market, followed by a gourmet three-course cooking class in her own kitchen, where guests will learn how to make dishes such as tagine de poulet au citron confit.
  • Macaron Masterclass : Meilleur Ouvrier de France Christophe Rhedon invites guests to his kitchen in the 7th arrondissement to learn the art of making the iconic French pastry.
  • Flawless French SoufflésPhilippe Excoffier, former Head Chef at the American Embassy, teaches guests the secrets of making the perfect soufflé at his own restaurant just steps from the Champ de Mars. Recipes include his signature savory Soufflé Suissesse, as well as his popular Salted Butter Caramel and Chocolate Praline sweet soufflés.
  • Personal Chef for an EveningGuests can enjoy haute French cuisine in the comfort of their Paris Perfect apartment by bringing in a professional local chef to prepare a customized three-course menu.
  • Canal Saint-Martin Food TourA local food expert will escort guests through the ins and outs of the best food spots in this trendy neighborhood, seeking out the best cured meats, local wines and cheeses, and organic vegetables.
  • Wine & Cheese Pairing: A selection of fine wines and cheeses will be served in the guests’ apartment, guided by an expert local.

Find more details on all of the new Gourmet Experiences offerings here:


Paris Perfect, founded in the late 1990s, is a luxury apartment rental and concierge service with an incredible portfolio of over 100 properties in Paris, mostly concentrated on the bustling Left Bank in the heart of the city. They have all been either personally designed, renovated or vetted by American-born Paris Perfect founder Madelyn Byrne. Staying at a Paris Perfect apartment is akin to staying at a luxury hotel in Paris, each equipped with its own branded amenities and more. Paris Perfect also offers concierge services and special offerings, such as private cooking classes, market tours and French language courses. Viva La France!



How to Vacation Like a Movie Star in Mexico


You don’t have to be a movie star to enjoy Baja’s ultimate and most prestigious hotel, which is surprisingly affordable!

It’s easy to vacation like a movie-star in Mexico! All you have to do is cross the border from San Diego into Tijuana, and drive south for just a few miles until you reach Rosarito Beach, an area in Baja/Cal-Mex known for its Puerto Nuevo lobster, glorious coastline and movie stars.

What do Sinatra, Hayworth, Douglas, Peck and Monroe have in common besides the obvious?  They all stayed and played at the beautifully renovated Rosarito Beach Hotel. 

The legendary hotel is a haven for the cinematic stars of Hollywood.

It was here that the place was proudly proclaimed as Frank Sinatra’s favorite bar, and where Rita Hayworth had her steamy love affair with the son of the Shah of Iran decades ago (later, they were to marry).  And now, this luxurious hotel invites you to be a part of their history and member of their family, as they certainly know the definition of “high-class hospitality.”

From their humble beginnings as a 12- bungalow hunting lodge in 1925, to their star-studded era of the 1940’s & 1950’s when guests included a galaxy of luminaries, the Rosarito Beach Hotel has completed their brand new, exquisite 18-story Pacifico tower. As part of The Legend, which is more like a hotel-condo, it’s a montage of tradition and beauty of Mexico’s past with all the current creature comforts and infusion of excitement of Mexico’s future. The suites are just beautiiful and zen-like, while also being luxurious and very modern. There’s a coffee-table in the great room which provides a sand tray of pebbles to play with, a full kitchen with stove, fridge, cupboards full of dishes and drawers filled with cutlery. There’s a huge bathroom with a sunken bath tub and separate shower. Plus some of the most comfortable beds and pillows you’ll ever sleep on are featured in the beautiful master bedroom… complete with dramatic lighting. All the suites boast two plasma TV’s.

Aside from many tourists, most recently pop-performer Britney Spears spent a few days there, and actor Mickey Rourke (9 ½ Weeks) decided he liked the atmosphere and surroundings so much he stayed for several days.  Movie studios are located just a few miles down the coast, where Russell Crowe starred in Master & Commander, Brendon Frasier was spotlighted in The Eye and Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet proved their on-screen passion in the  award-winning film, Titanic.

At Rosarito Beach Hotel, their tour will allow you to learn about the couple who started it all—businessman Manuel Barbachano and his gorgeous wife, Mexican actress Maria Luisa Chabert. Not only do their descendants still own the hotel, but Chabert’s nephew is actually the Mayor of Rosarito Beach. You’ll walk in amazement as you look around their beautiful mansion that they called home. It’s now the decadent Casa Playa Spa and the elegantly refined Chabert’s Restaurant, known for their “Frenchican” fare, serving up escargot, flaming Crepes Suzette, grilled Puerto Nuevo lobster, traditional, fluffy Mexican rice and freshly hand-tossed tortillas.

You will travel to the beginnings of the hotel through the Pasillo Maya corridor, where you’ll discover unique, ancient art as you go along. From there, you’ll re-visit the past as Rosarito Beach Hotel began to grow and expand—preserving the past while still planning for the future.

Why not travel to Baja and book your suite at the Rosarito Beach Hotel? It’s a memorable journey through Baja’s largest and most historic oceanfront hotel—and through time, one you’ll always remember. So put on those movie-star sunglasses and scarves and come travel back in time and tradition as you vacation at the exclusive, but not elusive, legendary Rosarito Beach Hotel. See


The Ultimate Travel Show is Coming Our Way

Tickets Now Available for 2018 New York Times Travel Show, ‘Celebrating 15 Years of Uncommon Adventures’

Annual Event to Showcase Latest in Global Travel Trends January 26-28, 2018

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Today the New York Times announced that registration is open for its 2018 New York Times Travel Show, the largest and longest-running trade and consumer travel show in North America. Now in its 15th year, the event will take place Friday, Jan. 26 to Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Tickets are available at

They will be presenting an expansive showcase where industry experts and travel enthusiasts come together to share the latest travel news, trends and inspirations for the year ahead. The Travel Show will feature more than 560 exhibitors from around the world and is expected to draw more than 30,000 attendees in January.

The 15th anniversary celebration will include exhibitions from leading experts in various travel industries including hotels, resorts, spas, cruise lines and airlines and highlight the latest in travel news and trends.

Trade Day – The first day of the Travel Show on Friday, Jan. 26 is reserved exclusively for travel industry professionals and members of the media. The day will include expert seminars, which will inform travel professionals of the latest industry products and services, destination information and consumer trends.

New Seminars – Saturday, Jan. 27 and Sunday, Jan. 28 will be open to the public, with two full days of cultural presentations and performances, food demonstrations, and one-on-one conversations with travel experts and influencers on myriad travel topics for diverse demographics.

2018 New York Times Travel Show Sponsors

South African Tourism, a supporter of the Travel Show since 2008, is a gold sponsor of The New York Times Travel Show. MSC Cruises and Visit Florida are silver sponsors.


About The New York Times Travel Show (

The Travel Show is the largest and longest-running trade and consumer travel show in North America, featuring the Travel Industry Conference, Consumer Seminars, and an interactive Exhibition including more than 500 exhibitors from Africa, Asia, Australia/South Pacific, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, Mexico and the United States. In addition to discounts and special offers, the show provides educational seminars and live entertainment for families, individuals, couples and seniors. Join the conversation and follow @NYTTravelShow for the latest Travel Show news.





The Perfect Portable Charger for Fashionistas

Introducing your new fashion accessory…

It’s white with lavender and mint polka dots or black and white stripes, and fits into the palm of your hand:  Its the MyCHARGE Style-power extra portable charger perfect for charging your phone, tablet and more. It provides up to 2x the extra battery life of your phone or laptop. With a built in recharge cable that snaps into its side, it’s a no fuss no mess way to charge what you need to in a hurry.

Portable chargers help keep us in the loop with checking our emails and social media. It also allows us to take that wonderful vacation photo or selfie of you and your buddies. Most importantly, with MyCHARGE, you no longer have to scour for a wall outlet whenever your devices are low on battery.

And with a charger this pretty, you can carry it around like a fashion accessory. It’s a montage of both looks and quality. I keep mine in my gym bag for staying power while I workout in my Barre class. It truly delivers. I do recommend it.

Specifics: Battery: 4400mAh.        Input: 2.4A          Output: 2.4A

Visit for more details.


Happening now: Hotel Booking Scam for Labor Day Weekend

With Labor Day right around the corner, millions of Americans will be traveling for what will be their end of Summer reprieve – however, it could very well be anything but.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is warning consumers about a hotel booking scam that is costing nearly $4 Billion and affecting nearly 55 million bookings per year.

Here’s how the scam works:

  • Consumers go to book their hotel reservation online by searching hotels on Google or a similar search engine.
  • Consumer clicks on one of the top links that pops up, which appears to be the actual hotel’s website. They are then taken to this website, which appears to be the hotel’s website, with the hotel’s logo, the hotel’s copyrighted images and even a URL that includes the hotel’s name.
  • No red flags being raised, the consumer either calls the 1-800 number or books through what they think is the actual hotel’s website.
  • They then get to the hotel to find out that they did not actually book with the hotel website, but instead through a third-party.
  • Sometimes when travelers arrive, they don’t even have a reservation.

But the consumer, in most cases still gets their room – so what’s the problem?

This flat-out deception can result in a number of issues, including, but not limited to:

  • The reservation is not what they want or need – such as two double beds or handicap accessibility.
  • An additional booking fee, usually around 25%, that they would not have been charged had they actually booked directly through the hotel’s website.
  • If they need to cancel or change their reservation, they are out of luck – and since third-parties charge the consumer in advance unlike the hotel, it is nearly impossible to get their money back.
  • The reward points they thought they were earning don’t exist.
  • The reservation was lost or never existed.

So before you decide to RSVP, make sure you have a “real” reservation for accommodations this holiday weekend, especially at the correct price.