App…Find Me a Park

If you like seeing National Parks and Monuments when on vacation, you’ve probably already figured out the ones near your vacation spot. There are many state parks worth seeing as well. How do you find out about them?

With an app, of course!

Oh, Ranger covers every national, state, and local park in the United States. You can hike, bike, swim, or ride wherever you are.

It’s free and available on iOS and Android.

Let me know what you think.

No Reservation

When you travel, do you have your hotel reservation already made? If not, this app might be a good one for you. Hotel Tonight is an app that tells you what hotels with available rooms are nearby. It focuses on major cities and their immediate metro areas, so it won’t help you find a room in small towns in the middle of nowhere.

It’s free and available on iOS, Android, Windows Mobile.

If you’ve used it, let me know how you like it.

Running Through the Airport

Have you ever made the mistake of not leaving enough time between connecting flights? Have you missed your flight because of this?

When you booked those flights, did you think 45 minutes was enough time between flights? After all, who wants to hang out in an airport for hours…right?

Before you book your connecting flights too close together, keep in mind some things. How far apart are the gates? Even if you think you know, they can change. Look at how far apart the furthest gates are from each other. Those may be yours. Then, look at the size of the airport. Lots of planes coming and going? How about the weather? Flying through Denver in the winter might cause delays. Same thing with flying through Phoenix in the summer.

Are you carrying your luggage? Can you run with it? Are you traveling with small children? Do you have to use the restroom?

Maybe a couple extra hours in the airport is better than missing your connection. Most airlines will charge you to rebook if the issue isn’t their fault.

Flying and Driving

Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly into a smaller airport instead of the major one. You’ve probably read about San Jose versus SFO or Fort Lauderdale versus Miami. And, many times it is cheaper.

Remember to figure in all the facts when looking at fares, though. Will transportation costs be greater? Will you spend more time on the road? Is there the transportation you need?

When you take into account all the fees, times, and in some cases, convenience you may be surprised which one is cheaper.

Save the Date!

The 28th annual Napa Valley Open Studios is a free, self-guided tour where you can meet local artists, learn about what they do and purchase art directly from them.

During the last two weekends in September studios all over the Napa Valley will be open to bring you up close and personal with the artists and their work.

With 79 participating artists and 45 unique studio locations, this will be a great event for collectors, artists, and those who are looking for an artistic experience.

For more information, check out the website at http://napavalleyopenstudios.org/#home.

Viura…Ever Heard of it?

Ever heard of the grape Viura? Perhaps you know it as Macabeo. Either way, it’s a white wine grape used in Spain’s Rioja region and in the southernmost region of France. The Viura grape is one of the three that goes into Spanish sparkling wine, Cava. But, it can also be used on its own to make still wine.

Depending on how it is grown and used. If picked early and aged in stainless steel, the wines can be fresh, floral, and aromatic. Or, if harvested later and aged in oak you can expect heavier, more honeyed, and nuttier tastes.

This pairs nicely with grilled shrimp, mango salad, white pizza, risotto, Manchego cheese, or Gouda cheese…or an easy drink at a party. Sounds like summer time to me.