WineWednesday again! Dancin Vineyards in Jacksonville Oregon

#WineWednesday again!

Dancin Vineyards in Jacksonville Oregon

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Dancin Vineyards in Jacksonville Oregon

“If you had a penny for every kind act, you’d surely be a millionaire.”
– fortune from the fortune cookie from the Chinese food last night

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Chinese Food! Kung Pao Chicken, Broccoli Beef, Steamed Rice and Chicken Egg Rolls

Good Morning! It’s Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 and please join me as we Blog our day. We tried this last week and it turned out okay, so let’s do it again.

8:24am We have had our first cup of espresso (with non-dairy creamer) and enjoyed a toasted bagel with cream cheese. The puppies are fed and have been outside to do their business, and now they are playing in our office while we begin this Blog, surf the interweb, post on fb and watch the morning news…..

NOTE: The next door neighbors’ gardeners are here and the unending construction continues over the back wall. Our gardeners will be here later in the afternoon.

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8:30am Puppies Playing in the Office

Oh yeah, we didn’t sleep very much last night and we have about a thousand e-mails to go through today along with several errands to run and a couple of tasks that require our immediate attention. Be right back.

9:10am Second cup of espresso, puppies went outside again, briefly because the hawk is hunting. We just remembered we have leftover Chinese food from last night for brunch and we are going to take care of the first major task now.

10:12am Puppies went into the pen, came back inside and are now caged for a short nap. Working on the first major task…. just taking break. It’s already pretty warm outside (currently 71 degrees and rising) and we must hurry!

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Hummingbird on a wire!

12:22pm Lunchtime! Leftover Chinese food as planned. Major task #1 completed.

There are two hawks, a mated pair, that have been roosting in the tree over our backyard and hunting in the neighborhood. (See our previous Blog)

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY
AND THEN CLICK AGAIN TO VIEW THE PIC AT FULL SIZE!

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Hawk in Flight

1:00pm We worked up a sweat and got dirty with Major task #1, so we just took a quick shower. The dogs are napping on the bed in our office. It’s time for the One O’Clock “Not News”. And our gardeners are here.

2:24pm We’ve dealt with some e-mails! Time for errands! But first an iced espresso.

5:12pm And we’re back! We went to get our hair cut and had a 3:30pm appointment… and as usual we waited 30 mins! We were ON TIME as always, we always expect to wait, so we weren’t disappointed, except we were disappointed. He’s been cutting my hair for 30+ years and he does a great job, but we hate to wait when we have an appointment!

NOTE: We used the 30 minutes of wait time to work on getting rid of more e-mails.

9:25pm We fed the dogs and watched some of the news. We fell asleep around 6:30pm and took a nap with the puppies. We woke up around 9pm and made dinner: a chicken and jalapeño cheese quesadilla with salsa verde and an iced espresso.

 

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Chicken and Jalapeño Cheese Quesadilla with Salsa Verde

The Dodgers game is ON local network television, a deal Spectrum Cable (aka TimeWarner and SportsNetLA) made with KTLA channel 5 to air ten games disguised as advertisement. Constant promotion and marketing, even during the game, it’s like a 3 hour commercial with commercials and some baseball thrown in tonight.

The Dodgers game is ON local network television, a deal Spectrum Cable (aka TimeWarner and SportsNetLA) made with KTLA channel 5 to air ten games disguised as advertisement. Constant promotion and marketing, even during the game, it’s like a 3 hour commercial (for the asshats holding the games hostage) with commercials and some baseball thrown in tonight.

WE ARE STILL BOYCOTTING THE DODGERS AND TIME-WARNER/SPECTRUM!
Read the previous Blog!

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BOYCOTT THE DODGERS! BOYCOTT SPORTSNETLA! BOYCOTT TIME-WARNER/SPECTRUM CABLE!

9:52pm the Dodgers are leading 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs.
Can they hold on and win? Or will they CHOKE? Third out! Dodgers Win!
WE DON’T CARE!
We have currently lost all interest in the Dodgers and might have to find a new team (like the winning Chicago Cubs) to support.

And that’s the Blog! It was a cute little experiment. We may or may not do this again…..

 

Dancin VineyardsWine Press Northwest 2017 Oregon Winery of the Year!

Dancin Vineyards4477 S Stage Rd, Medford, OR 97501 (near Jacksonville)
(541) 245-1133 dancinvineyards.com

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#WineWednesday Again!

It’s #WineWednesday Again!
Celebrate the end of November!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Make it “A December You Won’t Need to Remember!”

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Wine Tasting at the Belle Fiore Winery in Ashland, Oregon

READ the “Wine Tasting at the Belle Fiore Winery in Ashland, Oregon” BLOG!> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1QU
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Dinner in the Backroom at Mozza Osteria in Hollywood!

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Wines, Single Malt Scotch and Tequila from Thanksgiving 2016

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Fine Wines and Finnish Chocolate from Thanksgiving 2015

 

All photos copyright 2014-2015-2016 JoshWillTravel

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Party on the Patio at the LUXE Hotel on Sunset!

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Weisinger Family Winery in Ashland, Oregon on WineWednesday!

Weisinger Family Winery in Ashland, Oregon on WineWednesday!

Petite Pompadour – Red blend

CHEERS!

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It’s WineWednesday (again)!

It’s WineWednesday (again)!

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Pour the wine again!
Today is WineWednesday!
Enjoy a big glass!
Enjoy a bottle!
WineWednesday is today!
Pour the wine again!

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CHEERS!

Read the Previous Blog>
Wine Tasting at the Belle Fiore Estate & Winery in Ashland, Oregon> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1QU

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Wine Wednesday! The Aftermath!

Wine Wednesday! The Aftermath!

Wine and cheese party in Ashland Oregon: South Stage Cellars petite syrah, Chateau Lorane sauvignon blanc, Grizzly Peak tempranillo, a Margerum M5 and more.

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The Aftermath! Wine and Cheese Party in Ashland Oregon!

There was cheese and plenty of other appetizers too.
It was a lovely evening with friends and family!

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Say Cheeeeese! Rogue Creamery in Central Point Oregon

Best “Weekend Getaway” From Los Angeles?

Best “weekend getaway” from Los Angeles?

Here’s a Q&A from another saved draft. This is a Travel Blog.

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Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Q: My mom is coming to visit me in Venice for a week in April and we want to getaway! We’re looking for a destination to relax, hit up the spa, wine taste or have a great meal, do some boutique shopping, and maybe go for an easy hike? Since this will be for 1-2 nights, would like to keep it within 3 hours (one way). Out of all the amazing places, if you have to pick 1 destination for a visitor to see, what is the best destination for a weekend getaway from L.A. and why?

A: A fantastic Spa Weekend “Getaway” that meets your description can be experienced at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village. It’s a beautiful full-service, luxury four star resort just north of Los Angeles with free self-parking.

The hotel has an amazing spa and pool facility with all the amenities. There’s fine dining on-site and in Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Agoura, Moorpark, Malibu or the Pacific Palisades (and the hotel also provides a shuttle that will take you to the beach).

Watch the sunset and enjoy a cocktail on the deck at Moonshadows Malibu or have an amazing $u$hi meal at Nobu Malibu. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner at the Saddle Peak Lodge, Cafe Firenze or one of the many fine restaurants nearby. We’ve heard about (and seen pictures of) the fabulous desserts at CHOCOLATINE Café French Pastries.

There is great easy hiking nearby in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. We recommend the Paramount Ranch (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” filming site), Malibu Creek State Park (“MASH” filming site) or Point Dume State Beach.

There are also some nice wineries to visit nearby: Malibu Wines, SIP Malibu, Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards, Cornell Winery & Tasting Room and others are open to the public.

Horseback riding, shopping of all kinds, beach activities, nightlife options and more are all available locally. The hotel also offers cooking classes, other educational programs and fun activities.

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Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Good hikes in LA or surrounding areas?

Q: I have done a few in Malibu and Hollywood but looking for more ideas!

A: A great place to hike in Los Angeles is the Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills and other trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Park entry and parking are free! Topanga State Park, Malibu Creek State Park, Rocky Oaks Park, Stunt Ranch State Park, Will Rogers State Historic Park, Temescal Canyon Park and Point Dume State Beach all have great hiking. Entrance fees and parking vary by location.

To Paramount Ranch: Exit Kanan Rd off the 101 freeway, turn left towards the beach, just past Agoura Rd make a left on Cornell Rd and drive to the park entrance. Park near the Ranger Station and enter through the Western Town film location.

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Paramount Ranch Park in Agoura, California (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Copyright 2016 JoshWillTravel

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Wine Wednesday – Bella Fiore Caprettone 2014

Wine Wednesday – Bella Fiore Caprettone 2014

A Fine Wine! Bella Fiore Winery’s Bella Esprit label – Award Winning Caprettone 2014

Bella Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery – Bella Esprit Caprettone 2014 (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

READ THE BLOG! WINE TASTING AT THE BELLA FIORE WINERY & ESTATE> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-1QU

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Wine Tasting at the Belle Fiore Winery in Ashland Oregon

Wine Tasting at Belle Fiore Winery in Ashland Oregon

To be honest, I was heading for Weisinger’s Winery, but missed it and followed the signs to Belle Fiore Estate & Winery…and I am very glad I did!

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

 

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Belle Fiore Winery – Beautifully landscaped parking lot

Belle Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – the Main Building

I arrived about noon and followed the road up the hill to the Tasting Room, Winery and Restaurant. It’s very pretty and even the parking pot is beautifully landscaped! The main building has the exterior design of a modern Italian Palazzo, with nice classical details.

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Belle Fiore Winery – the Main Building: Tasting Room, Winery and Restaurant

The interior is also lovely! There is table seating and a wine tasting bar downstairs, and a restaurant upstairs. The first floor also has the winery offices, a private dining/tasting room, restrooms and a kitchen area. The inside space is beautiful and decorated with art.

They have the Belle Arte label and hold an art competition every year, the winner is chosen and their art is featured on all the Belle Arte vintages that year. And artists can show and sell their work in the downstairs space.

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Belle Fiore Winery – Downstairs Tasting Room and Art Gallery

Belle Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – the fancy ironwork stairs to the Restaurant upstairs

There was only one other person at the tasting room bar when I arrived. I met my server Dottie, who passed me on the road in her new BMW and had just arrived at work. I would also meet Savannah (aka Sarah from Havana) and Michael while I enjoyed their wine.

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Belle Fiore Winery – the Wine Tasting Bar downstairs

Tasting Time! They had two tasting menus to choose from, and the wines change weekly and there are substitutions and add ons available. I decided to try the $12 tasting menu with five wines: a sauvignon blanc, a pinot noir, a syrah, a cabernet sauvignon and a muscat canelli. Along the way I also tasted a caprettone, a montepulciano and their recent Gold Medal Award Winner the Numinos red wine blend.

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Belle Fiore Winery – Wine Tasting Time!

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Belle Fiore Winery – Wine Tasting Menu

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Belle Fiore Winery – Dottie and Savannah at the Wine Tasting Bar

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Belle Fiore Winery – Belle Esprit 2014 Caprettone

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Belle Fiore Winery – 2014 Sauvignon Blanc

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Belle Fiore Winery – 2013 Estate Pinot Noir

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Belle Fiore Winery – 2012 Estate Syrah

Their Numinos red wine blend just won a Double Gold Medal Award!

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Numinos 2012 Red Wine Blend – Gold Medal Award Winner

 

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Big Thanks to Dottie, Savannah and Michael for their service, knowledge, stories and personal entertainment. Savannah and Michael are both very talented singers! They were also nice enough to let me plug in my phone charger while I was at the bar.

Bella Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery – 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Belle Arte 2012 Montepulciano

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Belle Esprit 2013 Muscat Canelli

They have a food tasting menu downstairs and a full restaurant upstairs. And I think the restaurant menu is available downstairs as well. I have to thank my new friends Kim and Lynn again for sharing their cheese, bread and charcuterie leftovers with me.

Belle Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Downstair Wine Bar Tating Menu

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Bread & Cheese

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Belle Fiore Winery – Charcuterie Board Leftovers

The wines were EXCELLENT! All of the wines I tasted were absolute winners!

The whites were light, fruity and delicious. I would definitely drink the Caprettone and Sauvignon Blanc. The Muscat Cannelli is an excellent dessert wine.

Their red wines each had distinct qualities and wonderful flavors. The Numinos was exceptional and I “really-really” liked the Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Montepulciano vintages.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Private Dining/TastingRoom

I spent a couple of hours at the bar, tried a lot of wines, and then wandered around the parking lot and building afterwards. It was cloudy, hazy and smoky but I got a few good pictures. The winery is onsite and the loading dock is adjacent to the tasting room.

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Winery Loading Dock and Vineyards

Bella Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Vineyards

Belle Fiore Winery

Belle Fiore Winery – Vineyards

They have acres of vineyards and the neighbor’s properties make for good pictures.

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Belle Fiore Winery – the view from the parking lot of the neighbors property

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Belle Fiore Winery – the view from the parking lot of the neighbors property

I had a wonderful time and all the wines were great! I would definitely return and want to try the private tour/tasting of the Mansion and eat at the restaurant next time I’m in town.

NOTE: The Private Tour and Tasting available at the Mansion Estate and gardens up the hill includes a tour, a select wine tasting and is fully accessible for Special Needs visitors.  The cost for the Private experience is $25 per person for a group of 1-8 guests.

They are licensed to ship wine to CA, NY, WA, NV and CO. They will also pack your purchase for shipping and you can ship it yourself as “perishable food” (don’t tell them it’s wine) if they don’t ship to your home state.

Belle Fiore Estate & Winery 955 Dead Indian Memorial Road, Ashland, Oregon 541-552-4900  www.bellefiorewine.com

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel

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See Southern Oregon! (btw Sacramento CA & Bend OR)

Travel Answers about Southern Oregon!

Visit our Ashland, Oregon facebook page: www.facebook.com/theatreinashland

Q: What is a must see between Sacramento, CA and Bend, OR?

My husband and I will be driving from Sacramento, CA, to Bend, OR, in early August, what are some must sees along the way?  I just discovered the Mt Shasta Lavender Farm will be closed for the season August 4 the day we will be doing our drive north.

A: Must see between Sacramento, CA and Bend, OR?

Food, Wine & Theatre in Ashland Oregon with JoshWillTravel

Food, Wine & Theatre in Ashland Oregon with JoshWillTravel

Ashland in Southern Oregon is just across the California border on the 5 freeway.

Home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Southern Oregon University, the city is a great place to stop and stay overnight or for a few days.

The OSF theatre season runs February to November, and there are free Green Shows during the summer. There are several other theaters in town and nearby, and the university has a full schedule of music, dance and drama programs as well. The Britt Festival Pavilion hosts great concerts and the Oang Medford Armory always has events scheduled.

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park was just voted one of the best parks in the United States, and is right off downtown. There’s hiking, biking, sports, a playground, a lake for swimming, ice skating in winter and bandshell concerts in summer.

There are lots of really great restaurants in Ashland! Beasy’s On The Creek, Peerless Hotel & Restaurant, and Amuse to name just three of the best. Other food places of note are Callahan’s Lodge and Restaurant, New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro outside Ashland, Puck’s Doughnuts and Noble Coffee in town.

The historic Ashland Springs Hotel with Lark’s Restaurant is located on Main Street and the Lithia Springs Resort is just north of town. Both are good choices if you’re staying overnight, and there are many other hotels, motels, B&Bs, and other accommodations available in Ashland or any of the neighboring towns.

Rogue Valley, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Rogue Valley, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There are great wineries that offer tastings throughout the Rogue, Applegate, Umpqua and Willamette Valleys like Weisinger’s Winery, RoxyAnn Winery and Grizzly Peak Winery, named for the mountain and there’s great hiking at Grizzly Peak Trail and Mt. Ashland Ski Resort.

Visit historic Jacksonville (Oregon) and drive by Medford, but be sure stop in Central Point at Lillie Belle Farms Artisan Chocolatesand the Rogue Creamery cheese shop before continuing north.

Visit our facebook page “Food, Wine and Theatre in Ashland, Oregon with JoshWillTravel” for more info: www.facebook.com/theatreinashland


Q: “Can’t miss” in Oregon Wine Country? Where’s best base? Best time to go?

We’re planning a trip to explore the best of Oregon’s wine country and would appreciate any insider suggestions as to when is the least expensive and least crowded time to go, where to stay to maximize the experience and what we should be sure to do!

It will be my boyfriend and I, less expensive is ideal, I prefer white wines but know this is red wine country!  Want to do as little driving as possible but understand that wineries are spread out….

Are there any festivals or events we should check out?

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

A: Oregon Wine Country!

Visit the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon.Stay in Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Visit historic Jacksonville, home of the Britt Festivals and Medford, home of the Harry & David Country Village.

There are lots of great wineries: Grizzly Peak Winery, RoxyAnn Winery, Weisinger’s Winery, Trium Wine, EdenVale Winery and many others. You’re also just south of the Applegate, Umpqua and Willamette Valley wineries, so there are great day trips available.

There are also many great restaurants, places to shop, tourist activities and nice places to stay in addition to the wine and theatre available in Ashland. Please see my other answers for more details!

There’s skiing at Mt. Ashland Ski Resort if there’s snow.

Another great day trip is north 2-1/2 hours to Crater Lake National Park


Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon

Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon

Q: Place to stay w/ Kids at Crater Lake?

Driving up to Crater Lake this summer w/ 3 kids in tow. Would love a recommendation for a place to stay for 2 nights as close as possible to the lake.

Place to stay w/ Kids at Crater Lake National Park?

A: The best place to stay inside the park is the historic Crater Lake Lodge inside the park on the rim of the lake. Spend the extra money and get a room with a view if available!

From the nps.gov website: http://www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/hours.htm

Crater Lake Lodge has 71 rooms and is normally open mid May through mid October (2014 Operating Season is May 16 – October 12, 2013). Advance reservations are strongly recommended and can be made on-line or by calling (888) 774-2728 

Cabins At Mazama has 40 units and is located in the Mazama Village complex. It is open late May through early October (2014 Operating Season is May 23 – October 5, 2014). Reservations are recommended. (888) 774-2728

RESERVATIONS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED!

Accommodations for spring and summer book early and sell out fast! Check the nps.gov website for info.

There are additional places to stay (motels and cabins for rent) and activities (rafting, fishing, horseback riding, and more) available outside the park near Lost Creek Lake, Prospect, Fort Klamath, along the Rogue River and Highway 62 down the mountain.

 

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Is it expensive to island hop in Hawaii? In a word: YES.

Q: Is it expensive to island hop? My fiance and I are coming to the big island for a work trip for 3 days and are looking to extend our trip a couple days. Is it expensive to fly from the big island to Maui? ~ Katie C., Huntington Beach, CA

A: Yes Katie, it is expensive to island hop in Hawaii.

Consider not only the cost in money (airfare, bag fees, transfers, tips, etc.), but in time. Inter-Island travel time is short, but you’ll lose a day at the airport, getting a rental car and checking in to a new hotel.

There’s so much to do on the The Big Island Hawaii:

Watch the sunrise/sunset from the top of Mauna Kea. You can go skiing if there’s snow (and then head for the beach afterwards).

Spend a whole day at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park! Visit the Kīlauea Volcano. Try a tasting at the Volcano Winery, buy a bottle of wine and drive through the lava fields to where the molten lava spills into the ocean. Have dinner at Hawaii Volcano House Hotel and/or stay overnight with a view of the crater.

 Kilauea meets the sea. Volcanoes National Park - Big Island Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Kilauea meets the sea. Volcanoes National Park – Big Island Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Drive around the island and visit the green sand beaches at South Point in Kalae, the southern most point in the United States. There are lots of places to stop, eat and shop along the way.

Hike Akaka Falls State Park home of two majestic waterfalls and lush tropical gardens. Visit Rainbow Falls and see historic Hilo.

Rainbow Falls - Hilo, Hawaii (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Rainbow Falls – Hilo, Hawaii (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Snorkel Keauhou Bay and and other spots along the Kona coast, you might get to swim with endangered sea turtles.

Visit the Waipio Valley and “cowboy country”. Have a steak dinner. Go horseback riding. There are lots of places to visit, eat, shop, etc.

Snorkel Honaunau Bay and visit Pu’uhonua O Honaunau Park.

Take a snorkel cruise to the Captain Cook Monument or go whale/dolphin/manta ray watching. Go to a Luau w/dinner & entertainment.

A beautiful Waikoloa sunset on the Big Island of Hawaii (copyright 2010 Joshua Weisel)

A beautiful Waikoloa sunset on the Big Island of Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Visit some of the other amazing Resort Hotels! Hilton Waikoloa Village, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu, etc. See Petroglyphs, tropical gardens, art, etc. for free.

These are just a few suggestions, there is so much to do and see on the Big Island Hawaii (you wouldn’t be able to do it all in three days if you weren’t working) that isn’t on this list. And of course, take time to just relax and DO NOTHING. Lay on the beach or by the pool and sip umbrella drinks, that’s an essential part of the Hawaiian experience.

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NOTE: You can also spend a week on Maui and not see everything, so consider visiting another island on a return trip.

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