Visiting Napa / Sonoma in the Off Season

Author: , February 9th, 2015

Wine GrapesMy favorite time of year to visit Napa and Sonoma are the months of January, February and March. It’s not uncommon to be the only one in the tasting room (hello, library and reserve pours!) or be invited to the cellar or winemaking facility to meet the winemaker. Why? Though the weather — between the 50s and 70s during the day, down to the 40s at night — is considered quite warm for much of the country, Bay Area residents consider it too chilly to visit tasting rooms. Within this window, the golden hue of mustard cover crops in the vineyards from late January through March, and greener grass in March as rainy season begins, makes for fantastically picturesque drives. And it’s all in all cheaper, too. Airfares are lower than in summer months — from JFK to SFO, the major airports serving Napa and Sonoma aside from Oakland, round-trip fares can run as low as $365 over a long weekend; from LAX, it’s just $44 round-trip.

The same goes for wine regions in other parts of the U.S. Out in the Finger Lakes or Long Island, for example, January and February especially offer some of the best hotel rates of the year — while lower flight demand always means cheaper airfare. It’s a no-brainer as far as we’re concerned, but here are a few extra tips for maximizing the experience:

1. Keep an eye out for seasonal hotel deals.

Like we said, during the winter months, you can score a steep discounts at hotels. Using Napa and Sonoma again as an example, the quaint English Tea Garden Inn in Cloverdale is offering 50 percent off the second night through March 30, with first night starting rates from $225. Similarly, Fern Grove Cottages in Guerneville gives you the third night free, with rates between $99 and $289, through February 28. At the luxe Harborfront Inn on Long Island’s North Fork, there are plenty of weekday rates starting from $209 and weekend rates for just $10 more in February — again roughly half of what you can expect to pay in summer.

By Kristine Hansen – Full Story at Shermans Travel | Napa Gay Travel Resources | Sonoma Gay Travel Resources

Seven Affordable, Gay Friendly Off-Season Getaways

Author: , September 20th, 2014

Rainbow FlagSummer has bid us adieu, but that’s no reason to put your luggage away. There are lots of great LGBT-friendly destinations to consider this fall, many of which are more affordable than they were just a month ago. (Resort communities hate the term “off-season,” but travelers love it.)

What new adventures should be on your itinerary? Peep our picks below, and start planning your getaway today, from warm climes to more autumnal.

Puerto Vallarta

With the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains on one side and Mexico’s picturesque Bay of Banderas on the other, the four-Diamond, luxury beachfront CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is a sight to behold. And now that it’s become the first hotel in the area to earn a certification in LGBT Service Excellence from Out Now Global, there’s no reason to consider any other accommodations. Available experiences include cultural immersion programs, tequila tastings, voluntourism opportunities like sea-turtle rescue programs, beachside dining, and more. Rates start at an eye-rubbing $89 per night so you can live la vida loca without going broke-a.

Full Story at The Dallas Voice