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  • Pamela Froman

Bed and Breakfasts – the Ultimate, Intimate Vacation


When the weather begins to warm there's an irresistible pull to get away. Here in Southern California, there are so many ways to escape right in our own backyard. Simply take a drive and you'll find the quintessential home away from home – the bed and breakfast.

A bed and breakfast – or b&b – is a hotel without the hotel. It offers overnight lodging and a yummy inclusive breakfast. Most bed and breakfasts will treat you luxuriously.

Wine and b&bs go together like peanut butter and jelly. There are plenty of local escapes that combine all things grape with ease and relaxation.

A perfect place to have a mini vacation and do a little wine tasting is Temecula Valley Wine Country. Temecula Valley has something for everyone. There are tons of bed and breakfasts, spas, golf, and award-winning restaurants. And it's close by! Temecula's beautiful vineyards are perfect for the wine connoisseur. You can even check out the gorgeous scenery in a hot air balloon.

Temecula Creek Inn offers tons of vacation packages. Have a drink in their cocktail lounge or pamper yourself with an in-room massage. The Stay & Unlimited Play Package brings out your inner golfer. This package for two includes a one-night stay and unlimited golf. $259 Sunday - Thursday and $389 Friday – Saturday. If wine tasting is your goal then check out the Wine Country Getaway Package. You get a one-night stay, a chauffeured ride to and from the wineries, a winemaking tour, tastings at four unique Temecula wineries, a gourmet picnic lunch, and a passport that features an array of Temecula wine country discounts. $289 Sunday – Thursday and $441 Friday – Saturday. Enjoy a beautiful sunrise as you ride a hot air balloon over the stunning Temecula vineyards. The Grape Escape Hot Air Balloon Package features a one-night stay, a hot air balloon ride, champagne, OJ, continental breakfast, and a souvenir certificate of flight 2-for-1 wine tastings at Europa Village Winery. $361 Sunday – Thursday and $507 Friday – Saturday. www.temeculacreekinn.com

The Inn at Europa is a unique and luxurious bed and breakfast in Temecula Wine Country. Located on a lush vineyard overlooking Temecula Wine Country, The Inn offers a sense of serenity and peace as well as deluxe amenities. The grounds feature beautiful citrus trees, panoramic views, and a patio with a six-foot fire pit and an eight-person Jacuzzi hot tub. Your day will start on a high note with the two-course gourmet breakfast “experience.” www.innateuropavillage.com

Go off road with Sun Rider Jeep Tours. You'll sample over 18 different wines! Ride through Temecula's scenic vineyards and enjoy intimate sights. www.sunriderwinetours.com

The unique village of Idyllwild is nestled within the San Jacinto mountains. Pine trees create a picturesque atmosphere. Small town feel abounds with locally owned shops and restaurants. Peace and tranquility is yours for the taking.

At Rainbow Inn bed and Breakfast in Idyllwild you relax in a guesthouse that is sitting pretty among the pine trees. There is tons of living space with a library/living room, separate bedroom and large bath. The b&b backs up to Cleveland National Forrest, with an elevation of 2,000 feet! Take a stroll along a mountain stream or peruse the unique shops, galleries and restaurants of the village. The Swan Lake Suite features a king size bed, two-person Jacuzzi tub, and an intimate fireplace. $145 Sundays - Thursdays and $165 Fridays, Saturdays and holidays www.rainbow-inn.com

For a little wine with your scenery visit Idyll Awhile, Idyllwild's only bar, which serves a variety of American and imported wines. Craft beer – ales, lagers, barley wines, and stouts from a variety of local breweries – let you peruse plenty of tastes as you kick back and enjoy live music. http://idyll-awhile.com

Middle Ridge is a boutique winery located in Idyllwild. It features handcrafted, artisan wines in an intimate setting. Mainstays are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and a Meritage blend. Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery is coming soon! It is being touted as a rustic, elegant gathering place where people can relax with a glass of wine amidst stunning works of art. www.middleridge.com

The village of Solvang or California’s “Little Denmark” brings you a little bit of Danish flair – and close access to Santa Ynez wine country. There are tons of bed and breakfasts within easy walking to downtown shops, dining and attractions. Take a horse-drawn trolley or segway ride, go boutique shopping at one of the over 150 boutique shops, or simply walk through the historic Danish village where you can spot icons like the Little Mermaid Fountain, five windmills, the giant red clog and Round Tower. There are five authentic bakeries where you can nibble on pastries or if wine and beer is your thing, there are twenty downtown tasting rooms.

Wine Valley Inn offers Dutch-inspired ambiance with a variety of spacious chateaus, cottages and lofts. Every room is unique. Start your day with the complimentary hot breakfast served fresh and featuring scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, signature Solvang danishes and yogurt. You can also rent a bike or surrey to sight-see the village. Explore wine country to the fullest with the Grape Escape package. You'll receive classic wine tasting for two at the exquisite Sunstone Winery along with a bottle that comes home with you. It's a wine lovers paradise! Seeking a little rest and relaxation? The Couples Spa Special will melt your stresses away. You get overnight accommodations, a complimentary bottle of wine, and a hour-long couples Swedish massage. For the ultimate wine package, check out the Vineyard Picnic Tour which includes overnight accommodations, a tour for two to four different local wineries (including tastings), a delicious lunch, and a bottle of local wine delivered to your room. www.winevalleyinn.com

Mirabelle Inn in Solvang takes pampering to a new level. This boutique hotel will go out of their way to make your experience amazing. Mirabelle greats guests with classic Northern European, Renaissance-style “half-timbered” architecture. Then there is the amazing lobby – an interior paying homage to a Danish marzipan cake. The Inn features the highly-rated First & Oak restaurant and the Fireside Room, a tranquil, separate space for breakfast. Twelve exquisite guest suites offer amenities such as whirlpool tubs, romantic gas-lit fireplaces, flat screen Smart TVs, and even in-room robes and slippers. There is also guest library and wine lounge. www.mirabelleinn.com

The cozy twenty room Santa Ynez Inn offers elegant ambiance and friendly hospitality. It's the perfect spot for a wine country excursion. Modeled as a historic turn-of-the-century Inn, but with the luxury of a bed and breakfast, Santa Ynez Inn is perfect for an unspoiled vacation. All rooms have upwards of twelve foot ceilings, and each is unique. Fireplaces, private balconies, and oversized bathrooms are standard. Junior Suites feature heated marble bathroom floors, steam rain head showers, and Jacuzzi bathtubs. A yummy breakfast is served daily, and hors d’oeuvres and local wine are presented every evening in front of a warm fire. www.santaynezinn.com Santa Barbara is super close, but it feels like another world. There are amazing beaches, shopping and scenery. Check out the many wine tasting rooms and get away. You can taste the superior wines produced in Santa Barbara County on the Urban Wine Trail, located within blocks of downtown and the beach. The Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail is a self-guided tour that lets you learn about and taste many different varieties of wines from Santa Barbara County’s best vineyards. www.urbanwinetrailsb.com

Experience Santa Barbara at A White Jasmine Inn. This charming bed and breakfast, is made up of three cottages, complete with private gardens. Accommodations feature spas, fireplaces, handsome robes, kitchenettes, mini-fridges, microwaves, coffee-makers, and other indulgences. The Inn has a prime location and a quaint atmosphere. Enjoy the full, hot breakfast brought to your room in a basket everyday. www.whitejasmineinnsantabarbara.com

Paso Robles is another perfect wine destination. Paso Robles and the Central Coast are recognized for producing premier wines. Wineries offer tastings, cave tours, wine and cheese pairings, gift shops with wine-themed items, and viewpoints as you sip your vino.

Elegant Image Limo offers superbly enticing wine tours in Paso Robles. Experience the California Central Coast wineries with their Wine Tour Package. All tours include lunch. You select which wineries you want to visit and then go! It’s a totally personalized wine tour. www.elegantimagelimos.com/wine-tours

Inn Paradiso is located five minutes from the center of Paso Robles. Nature abounds on the property, and you can expect to share your space with deer, fox and hawks. Check out the fantastic eateries nearby, as well as wineries, farms and relaxing hot springs. Inn Paradiso is rustic, yet modern with its handcrafted wood and metal design. All rooms feature gas fireplaces and balconies with views of oak trees. www.innparadiso.com

Want a weekend away? There is so much in Southern California that is super close but feel like it's a world away. San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Palm Springs are all unique places to visit.

San Clemente is a beautiful and quaint beach city in Orange County. Visiting the San Clemente Pier is a perfect way to spend the day. Steps from the pier is Del Mar St., which features delicious restaurants, fun bars, and shopping galore. Other exciting attractions including whale watching, fishing, Catalina cruises, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and more.

Enjoy a stunning view of the water at Casa Tropicana, a b&b located at the San Clemente pier. They offer eight individual and well-appointed rooms with Jacuzzi whirlpool tubs for two, cozy fireplaces, flat screen TV’s, and daily morning baskets. Each room has a refrigerator stocked with complimentary goodies and drinks. There is also a 24-hour coffee and refreshment station to get your caffeine fix. For an extra romantic touch, the I FaLaLaLa - Love You! Package at Casa Tropicana will shower your loved one with rose petals, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and a bottle of champagne. $65. www.casatropicana.com

Another gem in Orange County is Laguna Beach. You are welcomed by the famous 1935-built gate that reads: The Gate Hangs Well and Hinders None, Refresh and Rest, Then Travel On." While in Laguna, there are plenty of must-see things to do. Heisler Park is a beautiful viewpoint of the coastline. There is a half-mile paved path, and space for a picnic or barbecue. The park also pays homage to service veterans with “Monument Point.”

During the summer, the Pageant of the Masters, a unique and stunning artistic production, makes its home in Laguna Beach. It features 90 minutes of “living pictures.” Actors recreate classical and contemporary works of art by posing in front of an audience. An orchestra, original score, and live narration complete the event. 2016's program theme is "Partners." Other Laguna Beach summer attractions that are coming up is the Festival of Arts, the Sawdust Art Festival and Art-A-Fair.

Casa Laguna Inn and Spa is perfect for a weekend getaway in Laguna Beach. Casa Laguna's architecture is comparable to villas you find in Spain. Relax on the garden patio, luxuriate with a relaxing massage or soak, or wander down to Victoria Beach. The inn is close to shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Casa Laguna’s features patios and an ocean-view pool deck, as well as rare Catalina tiles. The inn’s romantic Bell Tower is the perfect place to see the sunset. www.casalaguna.com

If you love the ocean, head down to Encinitas in North San Diego County. This quaint town was recently named among the twenty best surf towns in the world by National Geographic. So grab your board and head out! Encinitas is a perfect picture beach culture, and features surf shops, coffeehouses and record stores. A favorite surf spot, Swami’s beach, was captured in song by the Beach Boys. Downtown Encinitas is over 100 years old and the historic buildings house shops and cafes for every taste.

The Encinitas April Street Fair takes place April 23 - 24. There will be over 450 unique food, arts and crafts vendors on display, plus three entertainment stages, children’s rides, a Dog Zone, Kids Zone, bike valets, and a beer garden. www.encinitas101.com/events/springstreetfair

Inn at Moonlight Beach is Encinita's pacific coast bed and breakfast inn. The inn overlooks Moonlight Beach which is just two blocks away. That's as close to the ocean as you can get. Rooms and suites are styled like a French Seaside Inn. Every morning greets you with delicious pastries as well as a homemade breakfast. Relax by a cozy fireplace or in a private hot tub. Meditative fountains decorate the grounds, providing peaceful serenity. http://www.innatmoonlightbeach.com

Head from Encinitas next door to Carlsbad for another gorgeous weekend getaway. From beaches and theaters to fine dining, Carlsbad Village is your perfect North San Diego County destination. Carlsbad features unspoiled coastline and you can swim and sunbathe to your heart's content. Shops in the Village offer everything from antiques to apparel and jewelry. Or get some retail therapy on at the Carlsbad Premium Outlets.

The Pelican Cove Inn is located two blocks from the beach and three blocks from the Village. The Village of Carlsbad has unique restaurants and wine bars that you can walk to from the b&b. The Inn offers 10 guest rooms, accompanied by fireplaces, flat screen TVs, featherbeds, private entrances and a private bath. Eat your fresh hot breakfast in the inside parlor, your room, on the garden-patio or on the sun porch. www.pelican-cove.com

If you are looking for a sun-filled desert paradise getaway then look no farther than Palm Springs. Filled to the brim with swimming pools and starry desert nights there is no better place to relax. Take a floating tour in a colorful hot air balloon or conquer the desert in an open-air Hummer. See the sights in a horse and carriage or on an ATV. It's all available in Palm Springs.

And of course, there's the shopping. Downtown and the Uptown Design District have a ton of fashion, art galleries, antiques and other quaint retailers. Every Thursday evening, downtown is transformed into an outdoor festival with over two hundred booths displaying art, handcrafted items and live entertainment.

Palm Springs Rendezvous is the premier bed and breakfast in Palm Springs. Go back in time at this retro boutique hotel with ten rooms, each with its own unique theme. Check out the Shake Rattle & Roll room, with a king size bed, fireplace and red loveseat adorning the main room. A spacious sink and vanity are featured in the bathroom, along with a black, white and red accented two-person whirlpool tub with shower and private massage table. A full, three-course breakfast greets you every morning and is served in the lounge along with coffee, fruit smoothies, fresh fruit and home cooked food. Free happy hour cocktails and appetizers are served every evening by the pool. The b&b also offers free bike rentals, fresh baked cookies and massage services. www.palmspringsrendezvous.com

Do you like to cook? A culinary vacation in California is super fun for foodies. There are many unique cuisines that have been influenced by our various cultures. From Mexican food to sushi and seafood, Californians are in a class of their own. Organic and locally sourced ingredients are in high demand. So why not take a vacation that celebrates cuisine? After all, it's not just you are what you eat...it's you are where you eat.

Edible Destinations offers many different food-loving packages in various locations. The A Culinary Indulgence in San Diego Package offers up a 3-night stay at Hotel Solamar, a boutique San Diego hotel in the heart of the pulsating Gaslamp Quarter, authentic Italian dining at Civico 1845, a beer trolley tasting tour, an Italian cooking class where you will learn to prepare and serve a truly Italian feast, and a historic guided walking tour of Little Italy. $1499.

A Magnificent Culinary Journey in La Jolla is a package that allows you to explore the San Diego area with a relaxed feel. You get a fabulous private cooking class and farmers market tour – ending upon a high note with a gourmet lunch. Check out a opulent chef's tasting menu at George's at the Cove with wine pairings as you overlook the ocean. $1198.

Experience the combo of food, wine and fun in A Napa Valley Epicurean Escape as you escape to Napa Valley wine country. Enjoy luxurious accommodations at Napa River Inn, the only locally-owned luxury boutique hotel in historic downtown Napa. Start each morning with breakfast on your balcony from Sweetie Pies Bakery. Then expand your cooking skills at a world-class hands-on cooking class where everyone will come together to enjoy the meal that they have just prepared. Learn the history of wine while tasting out of the finest French and American oak barrels, and then finish off with additional tastings paired with rare meats and cheeses and a scrumptious chocolate and port pairing. $849. www.epitourean.com

Horse riding vacations provide a great way to commune with nature. You get a mix of amazing scenery as well as super fun mountain trail riding. California dude ranches combine western horseback riding with food and culture.

Dude ranch vacations at Marble Mountain Ranch in Somes Bar, California offer up an American cowboy’s trail riding theme. They combine horseback trail riding vacations with thrilling activities like whitewater rafting, kayaking, sporting clays and shooting sports, fly fishing, and more. The all inclusive Summit to Sea Experience Package includes trail-rides, arena games, shooting, rafting, kayaking, adventure trail riding, gold panning, fly casting lessons, cider pressing, branding activity (branding to make cedar signs), swimming hole visit, weaving lavender wands, and more. Gift shop purchases, the NRA pistol certification class, therapeutic massage, and gratuities are the only things not included in this package. Yeehaw! www.marblemountainranch.com

Ride along the ocean and watch the mighty Pacific crash against the sand on the Spring Wildflower Extravaganza package. Make your way through the Redwood forest on this amazing vacation in Northern California. Well trained horses are the perfect companion for your trip as you explore the terrain. May 9 - 15, starting at $2,675. Lodging, fine dining, hot tubs and entertainment
are all part of the package. www.horse-vacation.com

If you want to get out among growing things there are many places in California to visit. Gardens such as Huntington Library & Gardens, The Getty Museum Flower Gardens, Golden Gate Park Japanese Garden and Balboa Park flower gardens are perfect places to plan your weekend excursions around. Wildflower and natural gardens are hot spots too. The Carlsbad Flower Fields bloom each spring with ranunculus flowers. Encinitas is known as the "Flower Capital of the World." There are amazing nurseries and gardens, including the San Diego Botanic Garden, which offers 4,000 plants from all over the world and 37 acres of exhibits including bamboo, desert gardens, a rainforest, an undersea garden, and an interactive kid’s space. Plan a garden getaway and check out the natural beauty that surrounds us.

Hiking under the open sky is another great way to appreciate natural beauty. So why not build your getaway around it? Backroads Travel Company offers several “back to nature” destinations.

The Southern California's Dramatic Desert four days, three nights package lets you explore Joshua Tree National park, an intricate landscape with huge boulders. Head into the hills and onto a section of the legendary Pacific Crest Trail. Journey through cactus-dotted ravines en route to a hidden palm oasis, where year-round water sustains hundreds of California fan palms. Finish the fun with a ride on the popular Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Luxurious accommodations in Palm Springs are included. $2,298 - $2,498.

The Natural Splendors in California's Sierra Nevada is a six days, five nights package that includes jaw-dropping hikes to alpine meadows, spectacular panoramas and waterfalls, secrets of Yosemite Valley from a local naturalist, endless trails where you can walk amid giant sequoias, and rooms at the four-diamond Ahwahnee Hotel. The Hotel is a historic landmark and known to be the best home base for any active adventure. $3,498 - $3,898. www.backroads.com

Want to get creative? Attending a retreat or workshop in art is a learning vacation, letting you indulge your passion.

Artist Getaway in Occidental California is a painting vacation in the stunning coastal redwood forest. Stay at the Occidental Hotel and get your brushes ready for inspiration. The Russian River, Bodega Bay and the Sonoma Coast are sources of inspiration. You paint everyday and then meet up at the hotel to share and discuss your work. May 1- 6. www.artistgetaway.com

Artista Creative Safaris wants to provide a life altering experience. Painting workshops are taught by accomplished abstract artists. The inspiring location of Carmel-by-the-Sea was the home and inspiration of greats such as Jack London and Ansel Adams. So why not you? www.artistacreative.com

Airbnb is the newest trend in finding lodging, in spaces you might never have believed possible, and usually for decent prices. People list their own properties for a night, a week, or even a month and you get sign up from your computer, mobile phone or tablet.

Whether it's an apartment, a villa, or even a castle, Airbnb will connect you to a unique travel experience, with various prices – some really cheap – in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. And if you have extra space you want to share yourself, Airbnb is the easiest way to monetize it and showcase it to a captive audience. A traveler can stay in a spare bedroom, or you can rent your apartment to tourists while you're out of town.

A few local places to stay are a beautiful guest house in Topanga for $150 a night, or on the higher end, a gated, newly remodeled West Hollywood home with breathtaking views for $1445 a night.

People who travel all the time love Airbnb. It's an option that allows flexibility on where you stay and how much you want to spend, even in high-priced neighborhoods. However, don't jump in blind. While Airbnb verifies information from renters and guests alike you have to approach it with common sense. Check out the renter's history and reviews and always contact your host to discuss and confirm a booking. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is!

One of the biggest arguments against Airbnb is that they are placing an unfair advantage because they’re not subject to the same taxes as traditional bed and breakfasts. Airbnb properties are not b&b’s at all, but rather a diverse array of short-term rentals. Legitimate b&bs are not only required to serve breakfast, but are also licensed, inspected, and insured in order to protect guests. Airbnb hosts do none of these things.

So are traditional b&bs in trouble? While the model for Airbnb is successful, many cities, such as New York are cracking down on the service and making it illegal. If Airbnb becomes regulated, like typical overnight accommodations, it may level the playing field. Check it out at www.airbnb.com

Pack your bags. It's time to stay at a b&b!

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