OVERRATED TRAVEL SPOTS, EMILY MATHIEU IN S. AFRICA, DEAL OF DAY
The Times of London online publication, www.timesonline.co.uk, has a story posted about the most over-rated travel spots around the world. They've been getting a fair bit of attention for it, too.
It apparently came about because of a new book called The Road Less Travelled, which has an intro by my favourite travel author, Bill Bryson. Before we get to some of the great comments Times readers have offered, here's a look at their list of five over-rated destinations and their suggested alternatives:
Los Olivos, California - Fess Parker Wine Country Inn
Celebrate California Wine Month in Central California's Santa Ynez Valley at this luxury inn with the "Taste Los Olivos Package," starting at $595 U.S. (Sunday through Thursday, almost a 40% discount, not including taxes). Package includes: Local wine tasting for two at eight locations in Los Olivos and at the Fess Parker Winery located on the Foxen Wine Trail; Dinner for two with California wine at Petros Los Olivos located inside the Fess Parker Inn; Lunch for two with California wine at Patrick's Side Street Café; and Deluxe accommodations for two nights at the Fess Parker's Wine Country Inn. Package costs $995 for Friday and Saturday bookings ($1,300 value plus taxes). www.fessparker.com.
I happened to stop in while on holidays in the area a couple years ago. We went to the winery, which is where they shot the scene in Sideways where Miles dumps a big vat of red wine down the front of his shirt. I didn't expect great wine but Fess Parker makes some great whites and some wonderfully rich syrahs. The Frontier Red is occasionally seen in Ontario and it's pretty good. But the reserve syrah is rich and powerful and smoky and wonderful, as is a lot of the syrah in these parts.
The sauvignon blancs in the Santa Ynez Valley are also quite snappy.
When my wife and I went to the winery, we chatted with the guy and found it was Fess Parker's birthday. Fess Parker, for those who may not recall, played Davy Crockett on TV in the old days. They said it was his 80th birthday and that he'd be singing at the hotel.
Who could resist? We went in and it was like an old-time, homey, middle American delight. He sang a song to his wife, who used to be a dancer in Hollywood. She also managed to get up and sing. Their great grandaughter, I think, sang God Bless America. There was a group of barber shop quartet singers, women, from Bakersfield, and they looked like something off the set of the Lawrence Welk Show. Cheryl Ladd also sang a tune, and it was a hoot and three-quarters.
We also had dinner at the Hitching Post II, made famous in the Sideways film. It's got fabulous wine and awesome steaks for a ridiculously low price. And Los Olivos, the town, is a frontier-style delight with high-end wineries and boutiques alongside saddle shops and down-home grocery stores.
A dynamite place for a visit.
Don't forget your coonskin cap.