Not quite ready to travel to insert-name-of-dream-destination just yet? Not a problem. Your dream destination will come to you by way of an irresistible packaged experience, enticing virtual or video tour or at-home activity. Here are several:
'IF YOU CAN'T COME TO US, WE'LL COME TO YOU!'
And they'll come in a box of hand-picked products. For the past five years, Midgi Moore, founder and CEO of Juneau Food Tours – a USA Today "top 10 best food tours in North America" – has been on a mission to deliver tasty memories to those visiting Alaska's capital city. Now the forward-thinking foodie is bringing Alaska right to your front door with Taste Alaska!, seasonal subscription boxes filled with goodies showcasing the very best of the Last Frontier.
"Our goal is to not only deliver the deliciousness of Alaska, but to share artwork, culture and travel information," says Moore.
The first box contains such tasty items as smoked salmon, locally sourced tea, spruce tip caramels and wildly popular kelp hot sauce, plus the beautiful photography of award-winning photographer Mark Kelley, recipes and guides for help in planning a trip to Alaska. Future boxes will include Alaska game and sausages, smoked salmon roe, ulus (a traditional tool of Eskimo women) and cultural art pieces.
"Alaska is ready and waiting for visitors to return," says Moore. "Until that time, Taste Alaska! is a way to enjoy the true Alaska experience from your living room."
Place your order at www.juneaufoodtours.com (click on the "Taste Alaska! tab). The summer box is shipping now.
TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
At the top of many travel wish lists is Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, the largest outdoor living museum in the country, which began a phased reopening on June 14.
Until travelers plan an in-person visit, all ages can "Explore from Home" with a diverse slate of programming that includes activities, history lessons, behind-the-scenes peeks at select galleries of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and more.
"We've seen a lot of success with what we've been doing and the plan is to continue this programming indefinitely," said Carol Gillam, senior digital marketing manager. "It may be quite a while before people will be comfortable traveling again."
Live chat with nation builders: Martha Washington and Thomas Jefferson, Clementina Rind, the young printer of the Virginia Gazette, and Gowan Pamphlet, an enslaved tavern worker who secretly preached to fellow African American believers and founded Williamsburg's First Baptist Church, in operations to this day. Click into a museum collection and find a carved and painted lion carousel figure, floral prints that were an 18th century must-have for gardeners and other items.
Throw a garden party at home and decorate with paper carnations. The how-tos and supply lists for this colonial craft and others are offered via videos, along with a little background about each. Crafters will learn that artificial flower sprigs were very trendy in 18th century America to add pizzazz to a gentleman's coat or a lady's gown or embellish a curiosity cabinet. Make a recipe for an 18th century dish, like apple pie made with a "few tea-spoonsful of rose-water and some cloves" and updated for 21st century cooks. (You'll learn that the saying, "as American as apple pie," should have gone to the British!)
Programming may be accessed through the colonialwilliamsburg.org website at www.colonialwilliamsburg.org/learn/explore-from-home as well as the site's social media channels.
NAPA ZOOMS INTO YOUR LIVING ROOM
A couple of wineries in Napa Valley are inviting oenophiles to bring wine country into their home. Clos Du Val Winery (www.closduval.com) offers a "Tasting at your Table" experience with the wines tailored to your tastes and held at your convenience.
Founded in 1972 in the Stags Leap District in the Napa Valley, Clos Du Val is one of the heavyweights of this legendary winemaking region. Its name is French for "small vineyard estate of a small valley" and it is known for its award-winning cabernet sauvignon.
Tasting packs feature Clos Du Val limited-edition wines and start at $240. Once the purchase is completed a representative from Clos Du Val will be in touch to schedule a one-on-one personal tasting. Eager tasters may find details here: www.closduval.com/wine-shop/virtual-tasting-packages.
Also offering virtual tasting kits is AXR Winery (www.axrnapavalley.com), a historic estate located in the heart of St. Helena that is featuring fully customizable virtual tastings.
The winery sits on land that has been privy to dramatic chapters in American history, from that of the Native Americans who hunted it to the pioneers who blazed a trail through it to the innovator who in 1886 became the first woman vintner of California on it, one Josephine Marlin Tychson.
The winery promises a tasting experience that will take wine lovers on a journey through the past, present and future of Napa Valley. It all starts by contacting the winery and getting connected with an AXR wine ambassador to plan wine picks together. Once selections are made and purchased, tasting notes are shared digitally and buyers are offered the opportunity to enjoy a guided one-on-one virtual 60-minute tasting via zoom or FaceTime. Visit the website at www.axrnapavalley.com/enjoy-the-wines for more information and to see the selection of wines.
CRUISIN' ON LAND
Holland America Line (www.hollandamerica.com) brings a variety of experiences from the ship to your home with its HAL@HOME series, the link found with a quick scroll on the cruise line's home page.
The lineup includes programming from the ship's onboard entertainment staff along with cooking demonstrations, destination features, itinerary highlights and more that will have to tide cruise lovers over until they can get back onboard Holland's fleet of 15 ships. This includes its newest Pinnacle-class ship, Ryndam, which unveils Music Walk, an exclusive collection of five venues featuring live music and performances.
Whip up a pasta dish with Chef Ethan Stowell or a tasty appetizer with Master Chef Rudi Sodamin. Watch "Sea Turtles, The Caribbean's Living Dinosaurs" from the Exceptional Places video series. Tune into a Lincoln Center Living Room video for a live Lincoln Center Stage performance – Bach's Andante Movement from Violin Sonata No. 2 or a piano performance of Impromptus by Franz Shubert, among others.
Virtual explorers can also visit HollandAmericaFan's YouTube page to see an entire library of videos – everything from O, The Oprah Magazine Reading Room to Culinary Council cooking shows. Tune into www.facebook.com/SethonHAL to join the HAL brand ambassador during Trivia Tuesdays. On Holland America's own Facebook page, a weeklong Virtual Alaska Cruise program will be kicked off on June 22 with all the fun and excitement of a cruise, on land.
Holland America plans to begin sailing again in October of 2020 with departures from the west coast to Mexico and other destinations. Check the website for updates in case of further changes.
(Author and travel and lifestyle writer Kathy Witt feels you should never get to the end of your bucket list; there's just too much to see and do in the world. Contact her at KathyWitt24@gmail.com, @KathyWitt.)
(c)2020 Kathy Witt
Visit Kathy Witt at www.kathywitt.com
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