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napa valley

by Barrie Cleveland
California Winery Advisor

What a year in the California Vineyards! In 2011 it was a “perfect storm” of strong winds, hail, devastating frosts, thunder-storms, cool summer temperatures, heat spikes and then September rain and then more rain in October!

Gary Gibson, owner of Shadow Canyon Cellars in Paso Robles feels fortunate, “We received less rain than Napa Valley, and so the weather did not have the same impact here as up north. We are just very lucky we are having a warm, rain free period that is going to allow the fruit to ripen.”

Not all growers had the same luck.

PhotobucketDespite the necktie being a smash hit for the past 15 years, you probably shouldn’t assume that your Dad wants one more this Father’s Day. Not that he didn’t absolutely appreciate the one shaped like a fish you gave him when you were 7, but he’s a hard working guy who deserves a little something extra this year. Then again, maybe what he really deserves is something extra special. He’s been going big for you your whole life, and Father’s Day is the perfect chance to return the favor by sending him on an adventure in one of these larger than life destinations!

For the Fisherman – Key West, FL

Key West offers some of the most pristine and well-stocked deep sea sport fishing grounds in the world. Serious anglers come here to land the big ones – tuna, grouper, barracuda, and of course, marlin. The wide variety of fishing tour companies in Key West is not only great due to the competitive pricing it creates, but because it also means even the weekend angler can find a tour that can easily be tailored to suit varying levels of experience.

For the Golfer – Pebble Beach, CA

If your Dad is a PGA Tour pipe-dreamer, there’s no place he’d rather hit the links than in Pebble Beach. Located on the beautiful and temperate California coast, it’s home to some of the most famous golf courses in the world. Dad will feel connected to golf history playing Del Monte, the oldest course in continuous operation west of the Mississippi, or battling through the championship tees at Spyglass Hill, from which Robert Louis Stevenson found inspiration for his classic novel, Treasure Island.

For the Baseball Nut – Cooperstown, NY

In Cooperstown (approximately 3 hours north of NYC) Dads can live out their ultimate baseball fantasy during Father’s Day weekend, which by no small coincidence is also the annual Hall of Fame Classic Weekend. Among the activities are the Hall of Fame Classic, an exhibition game featuring numerous Hall of Famers; Family Catch at Doubleday Field; a parade and the Cooperstown Golf Classic. And just like the other 51 weekends of the year, the National Baseball Hall of Fame will be open for Dad to stroll in awe through baseball history.

For the Player – Las Vegas, NV

Gambling, music, nightlife, extreme sports, and entertainment galore… doesn’t sound like your Dad? Think again. While it’s true that the siren song of Vegas beckons all men, it doesn’t do so for the sole purpose of leaving a trail of debauchery in his wake, like most movies would suggest. Vegas has plenty of class left, and is still more The Rat Pack than it is The Hangover. Sending Dad to Vegas is perfect because it gives him a chance to pack a lot of fun in a short amount of time, be it golf, cards, fine dining, or a critically-acclaimed show.

For the Romantic – Honolulu, HI

What better place for Dad to abscond with Mom on a romantic getaway than the tropical island paradise of Hawaii? Even if they somehow manage to tire of blissfully lounging on the sand and playing in the piercing blue water, Honolulu has a multitude of affordable relaxing spas, forests to explore, and has become a veritable foodie heaven of inexpensive noodle joints and artful Pacific Rim cuisine.

For the Wine Lover – Napa Valley, CA

The Napa and Sonoma Valley regions of Northern California make up the heart of what is simply known as “wine country” throughout the state, as well as across most of the U.S. While the entire area is predominantly agricultural, it’s rather easy to stumble into (or meticulously book) countless opportunities to explore the picturesque countryside and sample the delicately-crafted wares of the vintners who cultivate it. Given the area’s close proximity to San Francisco’s high-end culinary scene, you won’t run short of delectable pairing options for your favorite bottle any time soon.

For the Sightseer – New York, NY

This is a really great idea for the Dad who has never been to New York City, or wasn’t able to stop and appreciate it while there on business. The perfect addition to this trip is the New York CityPASS, which gives the holder (line-free) admission into six of New York’s most famous attractions:

  • Empire State Building
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty
  • Guggenheim Museum

For the Speed Demon – Los Angeles, CA

Have Dad put his driving chops to the ultimate test at one of the stunt driving clinics offered through the Extreme Stunt and Driving Team. If your Dad doesn’t limit his adrenaline intake to things on four wheels, you might want consider adding another day or two onto the trip to give him the chance to check out their many stunt clinics, including the high fall and fire gag (read: you could “safely” set your dad on fire).

For the Brewmaster Hopeful – Portland, OR

Portland leads the nation in concentration of microbreweries per capita, an asset that can be wonderfully advantageous to the beer aficionado hoping to tour as many different breweries and sample as many different styles as possible in a short period of time. With a little bit of advanced planning, or even via prepackaged “BrewBus” tours, Dad can learn about the brewing process and get a hands-on understanding of the inner workings of some of highest rated breweries in the country.

For the Outdoorsman – Big Sky, MT

The rugged, explorer side of your Dad will come alive in the heart of Big Sky Country. The expansive beauty on the banks of the Gallatin River, along with the surrounding Gallatin and Paradise Valleys, could keep a man occupied for years. The lower region is perfect for camping, fly fishing, viewing wildlife, or simply slipping into the sweet silence that comes from being the only person for miles around.

Jay Ferris is a Seattle-based writer, husband, and father of three, whose penchant for outdoors-based travel is rivaled only by his dependence on a steady internet connection and spider-free existence. Follow him on Twitter at @jayferris.