Original post in my Madame Noire column.
Tax season is here so how about using your windfall to take a single girl’s vacation? You don’t need to spend all your pennies either–if you go off the beaten path a little bit. “What is a frugal travel destination? Itâ€™s not only a cheap airfare; it also means that once you arrive at the destination, you will find great food, culture and accommodation that are reasonably priced,” says Thomas Kent, vice president of marketing at Vayama, an online travel agency specializing in international travel.
Wine Tasting in Temecula, California
Forget France, consider a wine tour in Temecula. This little town is a mini Sideways trip. Temecula Wine Country has 21 wineries and counting. The biggest one–South Coast Winery, is like the Disneyland and grand-daddy of them all in the surrounding area, with posh villas peppered through the vineyards, a gym, full-service spa and Olympic-style pool. It makes for a good jump-off spot to take tours of other nearby venues, like Wilson Creek (they make the most SPECTACULAR almond champagne), enjoy the country-farm feel of Maurice Car’rie and enjoy their scrum-dili-icious brie bread, made fresh on the weekends, or check out Ponte Winery’s soon-to-be opening inn. Opening on April 16, this 60-room mission-style boutique inn will have all the bells and whistles, including a full bar just in case you want have a little variety in your spirits. Once you’re done roaming around come back to South Coast and have your final tasting there–they stay open till 6 while all the other wineries shutter up at 5.
ATTENTION!! There’s a sale for a stay at South Coast Winery on Hautelook for $135 per night! These things only last a few days, so you better hurry up…(more deals for SCW below)
Did you know you can book a trip for this place for as low as $565? Europe…for less than a grand?! “Turkey has everything Greece has and then some, except the expensive Euro. The Aegean coast of Turkey used to be part of Greece, and it still looks and feels Greek in culture and nature, a fact that has not escaped the hordes European tourists who flock to Turkeyâ€™s Aegean coves for topless sunbathing on calm sands,” says Kent. You’d be surprised at how much to offer this secular Muslim country has. Spicy nightlife and yummy food. Better load up on the kabobs.
Fly from Miami to Guatemala City and then take the local bus (shared taxis are another affordable option) to Antigua, a jewel of Spanish colonial architecture under the shadow of steaming volcanoes. Local buses crisscross the country and can be used to visit Guatemalaâ€™s impressive array of pre-Columbian pyramids and temples and haunting active volcanoes. Plus, the beer is cheap, the food is tasty and plentiful and the low cost pensions are quaint and full of flowers, adds Kent.
“Cartagena was the coveted crown jewel of the Spanish Main during the golden age of Pirates in the Caribbean and was once pillaged by the swashbuckling Captain Morgan for its Spanish gold. These days, Cartagena is a city of cobblestoned alleyways, Spanish colonial churches and serene Caribbean beaches. Stretch your dollar at Cartagenaâ€™s lively bars and restaurants and experience Colombiaâ€™s cheerful Caribbean sidei,” says Kent. You can land a trip to see Jack Sparrow for around $530.
More South Coast Winery Deals:
ONLY TUES, FEB. 14
Guests can treat their sweetheart to an unforgettable Valentine’s Day dinner celebration on Tuesday, February 14th in the Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. From 5:30 p.m.- 9 p.m, award-winning Chef Mike Terry will serve up a special romantic gourmet menu as guests enjoy an intimate evening in the dining room or terrace overlooking the surrounding vineyards. Valentines Day menu can be found online at SouthCoastWinery.com Price: check online.
Call the Vineyard Rose Restaurant at (866) 994-6379 ext. 2 to make a reservation.
STARTS FEBRUARY 1st ENDS FEBRUARY 29th
In the month of February, grab your girlfriends and create a world of tranquility and relaxation with the Decadence Massage Package at the GrapeSeed Spa at South Coast Winery. The Decadence Massage Package includes a 50-minute massage in one of our custom treatment rooms, followed by a complimentary glass of our award winning sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries, served on our veranda overlooking Mount Palomar. The Decadence Massage Package also includes a spa day pass so one can enjoy all the GrapeSeed Spa has to offer, like a heated outdoor saltwater pool, alfresco whirlpools, private steam rooms, saunas and state-of-the-art fitness center. Package Price: $105 per person.
*Black out dates apply
Call the GrapeSeedSpa at (866) 994-6379 ext. 7280 to make a reservation.
Retreat into the peaceful vineyards of South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. Our 76 private villas are luxuriously appointed with a fireplace, natural stone dÃ©cor, custom wood furnishings and a marble bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub, you will enjoy a distinctive blend of opulence and the sanctuary of home. Unwind with a complimentary bottle of wine and marvel at the surrounding vineyards from the veranda. In the month of love, treat that special someone to some extra treats such as scattered rose petals upon arrival, chocolate covered strawberries and sparkling wine, a couples massage, or even a sunset Horse Drawn Carriage ride. Also available are our specialty packages that will make your stay the ultimate experience. Packages include Wine Tours, Spa Treatments, Balloon Rides, Wine and Cheese Pairings, and Golf.
Weekday: $209 – $269
Weekend: $289 – $359
Suites: $309 – $599