Travel Buzz

Book it!
Paul Coopersmith has been putting together garden tours around the world for more than 25 years. His latest—an 11-day tour of one-of-a-kind organic farms in Cumbria and the Cotswolds in England—has a charitable Marin tie-in. The tour includes Prince Charles’ Duchy Home Farm in the Cotswolds (if nothing unexpected occurs with HRH’s schedule) as well as other gardens rarely open to the public, premier seats at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, a scenic cruise on Lake Windermere, and stays at two of England’s finest country house hotels. The tour is scheduled for June 15–25, and the group is limited to 20. Price $5,495 (not including airfare) includes a $250/person tax-deductible donation to MALT, to be matched by Coopersmith.

Happy Birthday!
Joie de Vivre is celebrating the joy of birthdays with a year long “Birthday Bucks” promotion that gives guests who stay two nights at a Joie de Vivre hotel within seven days of their birthday $100 off their hotel bill. The credit can be applied to any charges incurred during a stay, from room service to dining at the hotel’s adjoining Joie de Vivre restaurant or the property’s spa.

Just Passing Through
The annual migration of the gray whale is currently underway, and Half Moon Bay is the perfect spot for witnessing the journey of the approximately 15,000 leviathans as they swim south to mate and nurse their young in the warm, shallow lagoons along Magdalena Bay in Baja, California.

Auberge Heads South
Southern California’s sun and sand has a Marin connection? Mill Valley’s very own Auberge Resorts has recently acquired the management contract for the Rancho Valencia Resort and its sister property the Valencia Hotel. Try both resorts in one San Diego visit with the Ranch and Coast package. Spend two nights at the Grande Dame La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, known as the Pink Lady of La Jolla, and wake to the sound of waves just beyond your ocean facing room. Enjoy dinner for two at the Mediterranean Room, where new executive chef Sean Eastwood sources local ingredients from more than a dozen area farmers.

The next day, you’ll get picked up in one of the resort’s new Mercedes and be whisked up the rolling hills of Rancho Santa Fe. You’ll spend the next two nights at the Relais and Chateaux–designated Rancho Valencia. The Spanish-style digs boast 18 tennis courts and has been named a number one tennis resort in the United States by Tennis Magazine. Stay in a Del Mar Garden Suite, with its own fireplace and private terrace. Enjoy dinner for two at The Restaurant, where executive chef C. Barclay Dodge, whose resume lists local spots like San Francisco’s Bix Supper Club, serves up cuisine incorporated with Moroccan and Spanish flavors. Before you leave, indulge in a Valencia orange–inspired couple’s spa treatment at the 10,000-square-foot luxe facility. All restaurant taxes, gratuities and room tax are included. Package starts at $2,495, call 800.548.3664 to reserve and

Wine Country
• During Mustard Season from January through March, Napa Valley celebrates food, art and wine with various events throughout the region. For art-enthusiasts, one of the most exciting is the Mustard Festival’s 17th Annual Visual Art Competition Exhibit on February 6 and 7 at St. Supéry Winery. The weekend includes art works for purchase, a reception where the public can meet the artists and a silent auction for this year’s official Mustard Season work of art, the painting Reverie by Thomas Monaghan, on display at Hall Winery. St. Supéry Winery (Rutherford). 707.963.4507, and Hall Winery (Rutherford). 707.967.2620,

• Support Napa Valley Youth Symphony at the Red Gala on February 13. The third annual fundraiser features Napa Valley vintners, a concert and auction. Lincoln Theater (Yountville). 707.944.1300

• Learn to plant a culinary garden on February 18 at Bardessono. The garden education class discusses ideal ways to create your own garden. You’ll make starter trays to take home or leave in the green house at the Hill Family property. 707.204.6030,
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