Back to the Future Day Travel Deals
Today, the red-letter day of October 21, 2015, you're going to see some serious stuff in the travel world, from free DeLorean rides to 1985-era hotel prices, in honor of Back to the Future Day, the precise day that Marty McFly, Doc Brown, and Jennifer Parker zoom to in Back to the Future Part II—30 years after 1985. Yep, it's finally here!
Read on for awesome travel deals from companies that are as geeky about BTTF as we are here at BT. (Nerd confession: I read the new book We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy last week on the beach in French Polynesia on my honeymoon.)
Ride in a DeLorean for Free in NYC
Select "McFly Mode" in the Lyft ride-requesting app in New York City's Manhattan borough today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and you'll get a free ride in a DeLorean DMC-12. There's a 15-minute time limit, unfortunately; otherwise, we'd run all of our errands in it. The cars are being shipped into NYC from around the U.S., so fingers crossed the supply meets the heavy demand.
Book a Cayman Islands Resort Stay from $85 Per Night
Keep your eye on the clock (tower) for the Cayman Islands' 48-hour Back to the Future Day flash sale, which runs from midnight on October 21 through 11:59 p.m. on October 22.
The islands are touting throwback deals on stays in the near future at resorts including Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach (from $85 per night, Oct. 21–31, 2015), Jeff’s Guest Home (from $99 per night, Oct. 18–Nov. 7 and Nov. 14–Dec. 20, 2015), and Wyndham Reef Resort (all-inclusive, $241 per person per night, Jan. 1–Dec. 22, 2016).
Get 1985 Pricing at U.S. Westgate Resorts, Starting at $29 Per Night in Las Vegas
Until the stroke of midnight tonight, book 1985-era rates at Westgate Resorts with the chain's Back to 1985 promotion, good for stays through Feb. 29, 2016, at any of Westgate Resorts' 23 U.S. properties. Destinations include Orlando, Florida (from $64 per night); Park City, Utah (from $91 per night); and other U.S. vacation spots.
The lowest rate: $29 per night at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, perfect for re-enacting your very own slots-heavy Biffhorrific alternate universe from Back to the Future Part II. Just keep your eyes peeled for a crazy wild-eyed scientist or a kid who might show up asking about a certain sports almanac.
Secrets of Italy's Emilia Romagna Region
On this particular exploration we find ourselves in Modena, the balsamic vinegar capital of the world. Aceto balsamico is one of those quintessential Italian foodstuffs that originated in Emilia Romagna, along with prosciutto from Parma, the famous parmigiano reggiano cheese, and more kinds of salumi than you can count—like the prized, artisinal culatello of tiny Zibello. This region offers some of the best—and most filling—plates served anywhere. It’s a hot day as we walk through Modena’s Piazza Grande; the huge open town square is flanked by the imposing Duomo (cathedral) and its adjacent clock tower, the Torre Ghirlandina. Some welcome shade is to be found between the two edifices: We lean against the cool stone Porta della Pescheria doorway, with its ornate carvings of Zodiac-like calendar figures, Biblical depictions, Arthurian characters, and other fantastical scenes. We hear the sound of the bells tolling in the tower; they mingle with the voices of the congregation singing while taking communion inside the cathedral. This is one of those experiences that feel like a step back in time; indeed, the bells themselves are over 700 years old. Modena is small enough to wander effectively on foot, though good shoes are a must on the town’s many cobbled streets. We wander from the Piazza to the famous Mercato Albinelli, a huge covered marketplace with dozens of stalls where local food vendors and artisans ply their wares. You can’t ask for a better place to get all your shopping done, from fresh produce to local meats and cheeses to baked goods to oil, vinegar, salt and spices. Don’t miss stall #94, which sells a traditional cookie called “amaretti”—chewy, sweet cookies infused with almond essence. The smells are tantalizing; the temptation to try a bit of everything risks compromising your appetite for lunch. As always when eating in Emilia Romagna, pace yourself. Not far from the Tower we stumble upon La Gioja, the shop of glass artist Susanna Martini. Susanna was trained by the glass masters of Murano in Venice; she has applied her skills to creating a more modern art form. Glass jewelry is her specialty, and each piece is unique. Her shop displays shelves full of her wares right next to her cluttered workspace—if you’re lucky, you’ll catch the goggled Susanna at work, and you’ll hear the sizzle of the glass melting under a white-hot flame. One of her best selling and simplest pieces is “una goccia di aceto”, a drop of vinegar—her homage to Modena’s life-blood, captured in glass as if frozen in mid-pour. We speak to Susanna and her husband for quite a while—which pays off when we tell them where we planned to eat lunch. “Oh, they’re closed for the summer,” they explain (in a charming mix of Italian and English), “but we’ll call and reserve you a table at this other place, you’ll love it.” The other place, it turns out, is a little trattoria down a small side street where tourists would never bother to venture: Ristorante Il Fantino, a very casual place filled with locals. There are only a few dishes available; everything is handmade and of a very high quality, in a light and cheery atmosphere. The walls are filled with food- and wine-themed art, which whetted our appetites while they made our dishes from scratch. A simple plate of tortelloni with butter and sage was delicate but rich; and the wine-soaked, falling-of-the-bone pork ribs were so delicious that we would have eaten them out of a bag in the street if they wanted us to. Happily, this was not necessary, so we were able to move on to a very artistic dessert, sfogliatelle (“pages” of crispy, flaky pastry) stacked with fresh sweet whipped cream in between and topped with a liqueur-soaked cherry. On our way out of Modena’s centro, we come to the Church of the Benedictine Abbey of San Pietro (Saint Peter). After a walk through Modena’s narrow little streets, walking inside directly into this cavernous, cool space is a welcome change of pace. Its unusual art and architecture includes several depictions of fantasy figures like satyrs and giant seahorses. The monastic shop next door, Spezieria Monastica, sells products made by Benedictine monks: wine, liqueurs, herbal perfumes, soaps, tinctures, and teas. Just past this shop is an entrance to the local monks’ gardens, where they grow the herbs and other produce that they use to make their goods (as well as their dinners). We venture out of the city and drive south into the beautiful rolling hills of the Modenese countryside. We come to Vignola, a small but bustling town on the Panaro river dominated by its huge 12th-century castle. Access to the castle, which is free to enter, is generally unrestricted and totally unguided, giving visitors free reign to explore everything this remarkable site has to offer. Like most castles, there are displays of medieval weaponry, and furniture and artwork from throughout the ages. Several huge rooms are adorned with what looks like an early version of wallpaper; this is actually finely detailed fresco-work depicting various animals, resulting in names like the “Lion and Leopard Room” or the “Hound Room." In the upper stories of the fortress, a couple of the vertigo-inducing towers are open to climb freely. The ascent up the worn stone stairs raises the all the way to the topmost levels overlooking the entire town and river valley. Those who aren’t claustrophobic can also visit the dank and ominous prison rooms. Following the Panaro river south towards its source in the forested Apennines, we divert to the east and wind our way up to the little town of Zocca. Here, on an unassuming commercial street across from a tire shop, sits Osteria dal Cinon. Flowering vines and other plants envelop the front patio, creating a little refuge from the road. This excellent restaurant has been in the same family for generations, preparing old recipes sourced from the best local, organic producers. Their classic dish is anolini in brodo, little salty prosciutto-filled tortellini in a light broth. One of the occasional daily specialties is a chicken leg quarter, slow roasted for many hours and then finished in a hot oven. The result is a very crispy, crunchy skin encasing the deliciously juicy meat inside. Cinon offers several homemade liquori, such as walnut, peach, and orange, to quaff after your meal. Continuing south and then turning west, we climb up to the little mountaintop ski resort village of Sestola, a remote town in the steep foothills of the Apennine mountains. The lower village is largely a pedestrian-only zone, and from it one can hike the short but challenging footpath up to the old medieval fortress that overlooks the town and the entire surrounding countryside. While the crowds mill around below in the town, we find ourselves nearly alone in the castle. The current castle walls and structures date from the late 1500s, though the site was a military stronghold for some 800 years before that. The castle now houses several museum installations: The fascinating Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments; the Museum of Mountain Civilization; and a whole room devoted to Teresina Burchi, a Sestola native who became a hugely successful opera star in the early 1900s. The real display, though, is the fortress itself, especially the very scary but rewarding climb to the top of the big guard tower that commands a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountainsides. Now we retrace our steps, following the river back downstream towards Modena, and winding through the hills until we approach our stopping place for the evening—the Ristorante Corte di Ca’ Bosco. On a hillside overlooking the various farms and groves below, Ca’ Bosco offers clean and comfortable rooms at a good price; but the real attraction here is the restaurant. Many of the diners are locals; others have driven nearly an hour, from Modena and Bologna, to eat on the restaurant’s beautiful terraza. Owner Mirella makes delicious fresh pastas daily; her husband Andrea is locally famous as Ringo, “DJ della griglia” (dj of the grill). His meat dishes—local beef, sausage, chicken, and veal—are all cooked perfectly and with flair on an open-air wood grill. The grill smoke and cooking meat creates a light haze of tantalizing aroma that lingers throughout the evening. While he’s cooking our dinner, Ringo chats freely and jovially with his guests; the atmosphere is less like a restaurant and more like a barbecue at an old friend’s house. This entire exploration, from Modena to Sestola and back, covers really only a tiny portion of the extensive countryside of Emilia Romagna. The itinerary demonstrates, though, the breadth of experience, the richness of history and art and architecture—and of course the wide range of great food—that one finds when steering away from the big tourist attractions, venturing instead down the little roads. Read about these places and more great Emilia-Romagna locations in the first of our Little Roads Europe Travel Guide series: “Emilia-Romagna—A Personal Guide to Little-known Places Foodies Will Love”.
How to Make the Most of Your Trip to Myanmar
In just a few years, Myanmar has gone from having virtually no international tourists to welcoming several million annually. If you’re in search of the latest emerging destination, look no further. Development is brisk, but there’s still time to see this culturally rich nation in all of its pristine pagoda-laden glory. Though comprehensive democratic reform has yet to arrive, locals are hopeful that the country is on the brink of positive change. After years of censorship and isolation, curious nationals are encouraging foreigner visitors with open arms, minds, and hearts. The number of indie travelers journeying here is growing, but the destination is not the domain of backpackers alone. Trafalgar has just started offering guided trips to this spiritual stalwart. As part of their Hidden Journeys collection, the 11-day Secrets of Myanmar tour gives you an insider’s view featuring authentic local experiences, and groups are small—you’ll travel with 26 or fewer guests. During my trip, I enjoyed a tasty dinner with a family in their home, visited children at a school run by monks, and had lunch with nuns in a nunnery. Our travel director was an English-speaking Burmese who gave us an in-depth window into what life is really like in this fast-changing country. No subject was off limits; we discussed a range of topics from dating rituals to voting habits, and I was privy to the sort of cultural insights and human connections that I could have only gained from spending several months in Myanmar, not 11 days. Of course, the sites and attractions in this exotic land are showstoppers as well. Here's what you shouldn't miss during your time in Myanmar and some of my tips for making the most of your trip. Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon Buddhism is a way of life in Myanmar and there are literally tens of thousands of pagodas gracing the landscape. Capital city Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda is one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites. Adorned with 27 metric tons of detailed gold leaf, its massive size makes it visible from nearly anywhere in the city. Visit in the early morning to see locals worship before work or at dusk for a traditional oil lamp ceremony. Inle Lake Take a ride on a motorized long-tail boat and you’ll see the ‘leg rowers,' graceful Intha fishermen who row standing up on one leg with the other leg wrapped around a single oar, leaving their hands free to manipulate their conical fishing nets. It’s an unforgettable feat of balance and grace. As you glide through the lush floating gardens where farmers grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers, you’ll have the perfect vantage point to glimpse the still-untouched rural lifestyle of this remote lake’s people. Animal lovers will want to spend some time at the Inthar Heritage House, a foundation that offers valuable career training to local youth and allows visitors to romp with kitties in their Burmese cat sanctuary. Bagan The sacred city of Bagan is a packed with several thousand pagodas. If you have no fear of heights, a ride in a hot-air balloon provides a bird’s-eye perch to view the temples. When you start experiencing pagoda overload, lacquerware is a specialty product of the area—visit a workshop and watch the highly detailed, painstaking process before you purchase a decorative hand-made object with a shiny glaze. Mandalay Stroll the U Bein Bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world. Visit the imposing royal palace. If you see just one pagoda in Mandalay, make it the Kuthodaw Pagoda—it’s where you’ll find the Thravada Buddhist scriptures individually inscribed on 729 marble slabs, earning the nickname of the world’s largest book. Sip tea with locals at one of the city’s many teahouses. Purchase artisanal souvenirs such as hand-woven tapestries, marionettes, and gold leaf at one of the bustling markets. Remember these six important tips • Though credit cards are accepted in major hotels, U.S. dollars are the sure way to pay. Keep in mind that only bills in mint condition are accepted, so watch out for notes with even tiny imperfections. • The Internet is no longer censored, but it is slow. You won’t be subject to a complete digital detox, but remember, patience is a virtue. • Myanmar is a very safe country. Travelers will want to take normal precautions, but petty crime is virtually non-existent. • Dress code is on the conservative side here—shoulders and knees must be covered when you enter temples, and female visitors might want to bring a scarf or shawl for quick cover-ups. Shoes need to be removed before entering temples, so get your tootsies in shape with a pre-trip pedi. • You’ll need a visa. Citizens of 67 countries can apply for an online e-Visa. It costs $70 and takes about five business days to process. • For a deeper understanding of this complicated nation, read one of Myanmar’s literary treasures before you depart. Aung San Suu Kyi’s Letters From Burma is a good place to start. The Secrets of Myanmar tour by Trafalgar took me to these and many more unforgettable places. Top-notch hotels with spectacular swimming pools, activities, and most meals are also included in the tour. Their next Myanmar departure is in January 2016. From $3,507 per person; based on double occupancy. International airfare is not included in the package price. This article was written by Allison Tibaldi, a native New Yorker who has lived in Rome, Tuscany, Melbourne, Toronto, and Los Angeles. She is fluent in Italian and Spanish and laughably adequate in French. When she's not traveling, she's scouring NYC for delectable eats. As a freelance travel writer, she focuses on family, culinary, and car-free travel. She's also a senior travel writer at offMetro.com.
Don't Miss These Fall Travel Sales!
Hotels, tour packages, and flights are all on sale this fall. Here's what you need to know. HOTELS • Marriott Hotels & Resorts want you to enjoy a special fall break this season. Book your stay at one of 35 participating properties on the east coast, west coast, Hawaii, or in the central U.S. by Oct. 31st and enjoy room rates from $99 a night and up to $100 in resort credit per night that can be used towards dining, golf, spa services, and other on-property perks. Valid on stays from Oct. 1st thru Nov. 22nd when you use promo code ZX0. AAA members can also use promo code AAZ to save an additional 5 percent. • Half Moon, A RockResort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, wants you to save big on a Caribbean getaway with their Jamaican Escape package. Rates start at $289 per night when you book a stay of at least four nights, but you'll get one night free and a $150 resort credit that can be used towards spa treatments at the Fern Tree Spa or dining under the stars at the resort's Beach BBQ. Valid thru Dec. 18th. • Celebrate the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort, Spa & Casino's 25th birthday with their Enjoy Something Extra, On Us promotion—book a stay of at least five nights during the birthday and receive a special $25 starting rate on Oct. 23rd, complimentary room upgrades, a $50 resort credit per night ($250 for your five-night stay, yes please!), a special 25 percent discount on services at the ZoiA Spa, $25 match play credit at the casino, a $2.50 daily buffet breakfast for two at the resort's Ruinas del Mar restaurant, a $2.50 signature cocktail called the Aruba Ariba at all resort bars, and a special 25th anniversary welcome gift. Valid thru Dec. 18th. Book via the link above. • Save on a stay at the Orlando World Center Marriott with rates from $135 available now thru Dec. 31st for stays between Oct. 1, 2015, and Mar. 31, 2016. You'll save 20 percent and receive a $25 daily resort credit when you use promo code P91. • Frank Sinatra fans everywhere will appreciate this one: In honor of his 100th birthday, the Triada Palm Springs is offering a special two-night package available Sundays thru Thursdays between Oct. 15th and Dec. 15th featuring straw fedoras for the guys, a pair of bobby socks for the dolls, two Jack Daniels specialty cocktails in the lobby lounge, and a Classic Sinatra CD including favorites like Come Fly With Me, Witchcraft, The Lady Is A Tramp, and My Funny Valentine. Please refer to the Classic Sinatra Package when booking this deal. • The Hotel Zamora in St. Pete Beach, Florida, is offering rates from $169 per night when you stay Fridays through Nov. 20th. Another sale lets you stay one night and get the second night half off on stays through Nov. 30th. Visit their "Specials" page to learn more. • Don't miss the fall sale at Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, where you can save up to 45 percent. Rates start at $199 per night when you book and stay by Dec. 22nd. • Attention Staycationers: Residents of the Hawaiian Islands with a valid ID can save 15 percent on rates at Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach with promo code KAMAA on stays now thru Mar. 31, 2016 (rates start at $189 per night and include complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi before the discount is calculated). Florida residents can save 20 percent on weekend stays now thru Dec. 23rd at the Hyatt Regency Orlando (rates range from $127-$159 per night after the discount). If you have a valid Massachusetts ID or can prove that you work in the Downtown Boston area, you can save 15 percent on stays at The Godfrey Hotel, Boston, between Nov. 16, 2015, and Feb. 29, 2016, when you use promo code Element 617 (rates start at $199 per night before the discount). Guests who live or work in the downtown River North area can save 15 percent on rates at The Godfrey Hotel, Chicago, now until May 2016 (rates start at $150 per night before the discount. Please refer to the Element 54 package when booking). • You can save $250 instantly this summer when you book an air-inclusive vacation to Nassau Paradise Island in the Bahamas for at least four nights. Participating hotels include Atlantis, Paradise Island, Best Western Bay View Suites, British Colonial Hilton Nassau, Comfort Suites Paradise Island, The Cove Atlantis, Graycliff Hotel, Harborside Resort at Atlantis, Meliá Nassau Beach Resort, One & Only Ocean Club, Paradise Harbour Club & Marina, Paradise Island Beach Club, The Reef Atlantis, Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, and Sunrise Beach Club & Villas. Book your beach getaway by Nov. 10th for travel by Jun. 5, 2016. Blackout dates do apply between Nov. 22-27, 2015, Dec. 20, 2015 thru Jan. 2, 2016, and Mar. 19 to Apr. 2, 2016. Click the link above for more details. TOUR PACKAGES • Attention 18-35 year-olds: Contiki is offering several sales this season—save 10 percent on Europe trips that are more than seven days by using promo code LEGENDS2016 when you book and pay the $200 non-refundable deposit by Nov. 18th (valid on trips between Mar. 23, 2016, and Mar. 31, 2017). Another sale lets you save $250 per person when you book your flight to Europe with American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, or Finnair through Contiki and use promo code AP2016TAKEOFF (book by Nov. 6th for travel between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016. Must pay the $200 non-refundable deposit and $350 air deposit by Nov. 6th in order to score this deal). Keep an eye on their Last Minute Deals page if you're looking to have an unforgettable adventure for less. • Embrace your inner Indiana Jones and save 20 percent on Intrepid Travel's Exploring the Mayan World tour now thru Oct. 31st—you'll travel Nov. 14-28 and two weeks exploring little-known Mayan ruins, visiting Teotihuacan, roaming the colorful markets of Oaxaca, and tasting traditional delicacies in San Cristobal de las Casas. Not your cup of tea? Check the latest deals page often, and don't miss Intrepid Travel's last minute deals page for further discounts of up to 25 percent off last-minute getaways. • G Adventures has several specials this fall, including 15 percent off select trips to the Himalayas when you book by Oct. 25th. You'll also save 20 percent on select trips to Western Australia and the British Virgin Islands, and 15 percent off select trips to East Africa, India, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Peru, North America, South America, Australia, and South Africa, when you book by Oct. 30th. Check this page to see their current promotions. • Attention people who serve our country: Active members of the military, veterans, police, firefighters, and EMTs can save $100 per person with this Mexican beach vacation deal from CheapCaribbean.com that includes round-trip airfare between Fort Lauderdale and Cancun, with four nights' accommodations at Oasis Cancun. Book this deal by Dec. 7th for travel between now and Dec. 23rd. Rates start at $629 per person for a four-night trip with airfare before the $100 discount is calculated. Request your military discount within 48 hours of making your reservation. Valid ID and proof of service required. FLIGHTS • Flights to the Guadeloupe Islands start at just $99 one way and are going fast! Fly from New York City (JFK), Boston and Baltimore on Norwegian starting Dec. 3rd. The airline is also offering vacation packages to go along with the initial sale: enjoy a seven-night stay at Auberge de La Vieille Tour including airfare from $885 per person, a seven-night stay with airfare and 20 percent off rates at La Creole Beach Hotel & Spa from $975 per person, or a seven-night stay at La Toubana Hotel & Spa with airfare from $1,675 per person. • This amazing sale from Qantas ends Sunday, Oct. 18th so don't wait! Round-trip flights to Sydney from L.A. start at $1,299 when you travel between Feb. 9th and Apr. 5th, 2016, or between May 1st and Jun. 21st, 2016. Flights from San Francisco also start at $1,299 when you fly between Jan. 20th and Apr. 5th or May 1st and Jun. 21st. Flights from New York City (JFK) start at $1,399 when you travel Feb. 1st to Apr. 5th or May 1st to Jun. 21st. Flights from Dallas/Fort Worth start at $1,399 when you travel between Feb. 7th and Apr. 5th or May 1st to Jun. 21st. • In a special promotion with Tourism Australia, Air New Zealand is offering an incredible sale on flights from the U.S. to eight Aussie bucket-list worthy cities—Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide, Perth, Coolangatta (on The Gold Coast), and the Sunshine Coast. Round-trip flights from L.A. and San Francisco start at $1,225 when you book now thru Oct. 25th for travel between May 1st and Jun. 21st or July 24th and Sept. 21st, 2016. Flights from Houston start at $1,525.
Fall Festivals Worth Traveling To
Celebrating America’s best food, wine, beer, and music, amazing fall festivals are happening over the next few weeks. Here, a look at some of the best! NEW YORK CITY WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL happens next weekend, October 15 through 18, with a wide variety of price points from downright indulgent to stylish steals. All proceeds benefitting Food Bank for New York City and No Kid Hungry. Amazing demonstrations and food and wine tastings at NYC’s Piers 92 and 94, with celebs like Giada De Laurentiis, Rachael Ray, Mario Batali, and Emeril Lagasse hosting events. You have never tasted anything like this concentration of culinary talent all in one place! It’s a foodie convention like no other! We’re especially excited about the “under $100” events, starting at just $20, which include panel discussions and hands-on classes on Italian cooking, making jam, wine-tasting, home-brewing beer, and cocktail mixology. ARKANSAS STATE FAIR Two-foot hot dogs! Bacon bombs (filled with peanut butter and chocolate)! Fried red velvet Oreos! Those are just some of the jaw-dropping culinary concoctions being served up at the Arkansas State Fair, which happens October 9 through 18 at the Arkansas State Fair Complex in the state capital, Little Rock. There will be rides, animals (including the Exotic Animal Petting Zoo), decadently delicious fried foods, a motorcycle stunt show, high diving, and musical performances by country music giants Montgomery Gentry, rock favorite Eddie Money, and the classic band Styx. And if you love Arkansas as much as we do, check out Budget Travel’s #LoveArkansas contest for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to become our “Local Guide” to all things Arkansas! CRESCENT CITY BLUES & BBQ FESTIVAL happens next weekend in New Orleans’s Lafayette Square Park, October 16 through 18, and it’s FREE! Hear New Orleans’s finest blues musicians, including The Funky Meters, Allen Toussaint, and Irma Thomas (the Soul Queen of New Orleans). New Orleans is America’s music capital, and this event brings the best of the city’s musicians together for one amazing weekend. BBQ will span a variety of regional styles, including 6-Hour St. Louis Spare Ribs, Jerk Chicken, the “Drunk Pig” – roast pork marinated in dark beer! – Chargrilled Oysters, and Smoked Salmon Sliders! WELLFLEET OYSTERFEST happens October 17 & 18 in Wellfleet, Cape Cod. If you’re a fan of shellfish like oysters and clams, this weekend event is a must, spotlighting local cuisine, arts, cooking demonstrations, educational programs, children’s activities, walking tours of the beautiful town, live music, crafts, and the legendary “Shuck-Off” competition! In addition, proceeds benefit the educational mission, college scholarship program, and community grant awards and initiatives of Wellfleet Shellfish Promotion and Tasting (SPAT), a nonprofit devoted to sustaining Wellfleet’s shellfishing and other aquaculture industries. MENDOCINO MUSHROOM, WINE & BEER FESTIVAL happens November 6 through 15 and one of the things we love about this unique festival is that is is COUNTYWIDE, with restaurants, hotels, and special events all over beautiful Mendocino County, California, for 10 days! Mushrooms flourish in Northern California in late October and early November, and Mendocino County is home to more than 3,000 types of mushrooms, including chanterelles, porcinis, morels, and the rare candy-cap mushroom (which tastes like maple syrup – they even make ice cream out of it!). The festival includes mushroom dinners, winemaker dinners, brewmaster dinners, horseback riding adventures, cycling, kayaking, and, of course, the backdrop of Mondocino County’s rugged coastline (with popular destinations like Fort Bragg, Mendocino, and Gualala), redwood forests, and welcoming little towns.