Destination Report: Lake Arrowhead & Big Bear

For people in Southern California to experience honest to goodness autumn and winter weather, they don’t need to go away; they simply need to go up. The mountain resort areas of Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake are just a couple hours from Los Angeles, but the atmosphere could not be more different.

You can feel it in the air, which has a genuine chill to it a mile above sea level. You can hear it in the calls of ducks and Steller jays. And you can see it everywhere, from the ubiquitous lookouts on the side of the road that give overviews of the Inland Empire, to the forested alpine lakes, to the chalet-style buildings that look like they belong in Switzerland rather than Southern California.

In all seasons, the outdoor activities are what draw visitors to towns where the elevation is higher than the population on the roadside signs welcoming you. The lakes are in the heart of the San Bernardino National Forest, and there is a plethora of hiking trails showcasing the tranquility that has made the area a favorite getaway for movie stars for decades. The natural setting also stood in for foreign locales in many movies.

Though snowfall isn’t always plentiful, Big Bear has a thriving ski scene, and snow machines fill in when natural powder falls short. Bear Mountain and Snow Summit combine to offer 400 acres of skiable terrain. In warmer times, watersports abound on the pristine lakes. Kayaking, jet skiing, and water skiing are all family favorites. The mountain terrain also makes Jeep adventures and horseback riding favorite pastimes.

Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear truly are four seasons destinations stacked on top of a place known for ever-present sunshine and warm days. Next time you’re in the L.A. area and want to experience a little quiet solitude, just head up. It’s where you go when you need a break from paradise.

Where to stay:

Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa
Under the gabled roofs of Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa, casual luxury meets breathtaking vistas. This is where the sun rises over majestic pines and sets over a sparkling lake. Where you can warm your spirit by a crackling fire or raise your heart rate zooming down the side of a mountain. Where rustic elegance and modern comfort converge to create an experience you can’t find anywhere else in Southern California.

Top Destinations for Solo Female Travelers

We talk a lot here about how travel is great for spending quality time with loved ones. But for some people, travel is something they do solo for a variety of reasons: busy schedules that don’t allow for vacation time when others can go along, stressful lives that travel serves as a temporary escape from or the simple fact that single people like to travel too. For solo female travelers, safety can be an extra concern. And what good is traveling, alone or with others, if you don’t learn something about yourself? These are some of our experts’ recommendations for solo female travelers.

Australia & New Zealand

Being so far away, these destinations require more time off to visit. Family and work obligations can mean you don’t find somebody to go with you. Fortunately, while you’re certain to learn some new words, there isn’t a language barrier. The people are friendly, and it’s safe. There are enough cultural similarities to help you ease in but enough differences to make for a real adventure. There are great cities, expansive nature and unique wildlife.

Galapagos

Expedition ships often have special sailings where single supplement fees are waived, which means you have your own cabin at no additional cost. You’re still traveling in a relatively small group, so it’s easy to make friends, especially when you’re experiencing something so life-changing. The diversity of wildlife in the Galapagos definitely makes for a one-of-a-kind journey and will prompt some introspection that might lead to journaling in your cabin at night, much like Charles Darwin did when he visited.

The Nordic countries

Quality of life is pretty good, and people are generally welcoming. There’s a reason the rankings of happiest countries in the world basically read as a list of the Nordic countries: Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Sweden are all in the top 10 for this year’s rankings. Depending on when you go, you can maximize your chance at seeing the Northern Lights or have it be daytime all the time. See for yourself what makes life in these countries so happy.

Spain & Portugal

The distance between cities can be covered in a few hours on a train. They’re rich in culture, and the food is incredible. Each region offers something unique, so you can pack a variety of experiences into a compact area. The architecture and art are out of this world. The weather is usually good most times of year. This corner of Europe offers adventure and beauty at every turn.

Japan

A lot of locals travel solo, so there’s an infrastructure for it and a level of familiarity. It’s easy to base yourself in one place and do day trips. The country is safer than most, and there are emergency phones and small police buildings called koban virtually everywhere if you need help. Hotels and ryokan are used to accommodating solo travelers, as are restaurants. Some cities offer female-only train cars on public transit.

Destination Report: Pacific Northwest


Towering mountains, ancient forests shrouded in mist and draped in moss, cascading waterfalls. You don’t have to journey to Middle-earth or some other mythical land to see them. In fact, you don’t even need your passport. You can find all these and more in the Pacific Northwest.

Sometimes to be reminded how vast this country is, you need to head to the corners of it. You can read all about what to see and do in the region’s largest city, Seattle, here. This journey begins by heading south from the airport to the satellite city of Tacoma, in the shadows of Mt. Rainier. While it might not be as bustling in Seattle, Tacoma has views to rival its neighbor to the north and boasts a revitalized downtown featuring the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum and America’s Car Museum, as well as microbreweries occupying former warehouses.

That’s a recurring theme in the Pacific Northwest, where breweries are nearly as numerous and giant evergreens and the IPAs are as hazy as the forests on a foggy morning. In the autumn, you will see plenty of that on the drive on the 170-mile drive along U.S. 101 to Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast. When hunger strikes along the way, a stop at Goose Point Shellfish Farm & Oystery on Willapa Bay in Washington or Fort George Brewery + Public House just across the Oregon border in Astoria will hit the spot.

The border crossing is one to make you stop in your tracks, as it’s the point where the Columbia River opens wide as it flows into the Pacific Ocean. Fortunately, there’s a rest stop before the 4-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge so you can snap photos in safety. Astoria, the first American settlement west of the Rockies, is a great base for exploring Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark camped in the winter of 1805-06, and Fort Stevens, which took shelling from a Japanese submarine in World War II.

All those forests descend to the ocean at Cannon Beach, famous for the intertidal rocks that jut into the sky just beyond the sand. At 235 feet tall, Haystack Rock is the largest and instantly recognizable, though you can’t see it at the popular beach bonfires at night. The S’mores make up for it, and when the tide is low as you can walk seemingly forever toward the water.

Heading inland, Portland is just about 90 minutes from the coast through more evergreen forest and deciduous trees in brilliant oranges and purples. The city of about 650,000 is a big small town, easily navigable and full of galleries, breweries and restaurants along the Columbia. It’s also within easy distance of the 620-foot Multnomah Falls, Mount Hood and the Willamette Valley wine region. As with anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest, you can’t help but run into epic scenery in any direction. And isn’t that the best way to start a journey?

Where to stay:

Hotel Murano, Tacoma
Centrally located in downtown Tacoma, Hotel Murano is poised within minutes of the city’s thriving museum district and nearby waterfront where picturesque views of the Puget Sound and waterfront dining give travelers a fresh taste of life and cuisine in the Pacific Northwest. Just beyond the hotel’s doorstep, visitors can explore world-class art collections on view at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, Chihuly’s Bridge of Glass and America’s Car Museum, all located within walking distance or a short ride-share away, or imbibe on the burgeoning craft beer and distillery scene making waves in the South Sound.

Tolovana Inn, Cannon Beach
In a word, Tolovana Inn is memorable! A true oceanfront resort, located just south of downtown Cannon Beach, one of the Oregon coast’s favorite beach communities. In fact, this inviting locale is recognized by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful places in the world. Come see why. The spacious oceanfront rooms and suites at Tolovana Inn are the perfect lodging destination for a family-filled vacation, a romantic getaway or a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life. All Studios and Suites are equipped with a full kitchen, living room, private balcony and cozy fireplace, all steps to the sand and iconic Haystack Rock.
Breathe in the clean, ocean air. Hike, bike, and stroll along the beaches or nearby mountain trails. Poke around tidepools. Bring your binoculars to zero in on coastal nesting birds, migrating marine mammals and abundant sea life. You can browse inviting shops and galleries in Cannon Beach, build a beach bonfire or relax in our saltwater pool and spa. There’s plenty to do. Or not. You’ll love it.

The Nines, Portland
Elevate your experience: As you take the elevator to the eighth floor of the historic Meier & Frank building, you realize…you’ve arrived. Historic in nature, yet contemporary in everything else, The Nines is a Portland Luxury Hotel ideally situated in downtown, steps from Pioneer Square and the Central Business District. This is a LEED Silver Certified Hotel with incredible rooftop views, artwork in every room, two restaurants and gorgeous spaces for weddings, meetings and events. Browse nearby boutiques, dine in the trendy Pearl District, or use the eco-friendly MAX Light Rail or Streetcar to explore the lively city of Portland.

Top Family Spring Breaks in the Caribbean

We just got to fall, but if you’re planning on a spring break trip, it’s not too early to start planning. In fact, if you want to secure enough space for the whole family at these premium resorts, you ought to book early. With a limited window of time and high demand, these family friendly places will fill up faster than you think.

St. Lucia

Water sports are a hit at Anse Chastanet on the island’s west coast. The snorkeling and SCUBA diving are excellent, and easy to use kayaks are complimentary in the water sports center. For more experienced kayakers, prijon kayaks with rudders and carbon fiber paddles are also available. In the shadow of the pitons, Sugar Beach is a great base for hikers, and two kids clubs ensure no matter their age, your kids will have a great time. The sugar club is for 4- to 12-year-olds, while the spice club caters to tweens and teens. There’s even babysitting for babies and toddlers.

Antigua

With two beaches, there’s one dedicated to activity and one for quiet solitude at Curtain Bluff. Bay Beach is buzzing, with a cafe and bar, and a barbecue every Wednesday afternoon. At the back of the beach, there’s a pool, basketball court, bocce ball and shuffleboard. Surf Beach features hammocks and little else, so parents can escape while the kids play. There’s a shaded sandbox and jungle gym for little kids and a game room full of movies, video games and board games.

Turks & Caicos

With a water park, 10 pools and pristine Grace Bay Beach, you can spend all day in the water and never run out of things to do at Beaches. There is plenty else to do, though, with beach volleyball, tennis, table tennis, croquet and basketball available, just to name a few. There are Sesame Street characters, a club for teens and entertainment all day and night. Kids of all ages can take a break from all that sun in the XBox lounge. The resort is all-inclusive, and no one will go hungry with more than 20 eateries to choose from.

The Bahamas

Atlantis is a mecca of family fun, and there is literally something for everyone. There are many options for accommodations, with villas and penthouses to pack the whole family in. There’s an adults only pool for guests of the adults only Cove if part of the family wants some alone time. There’s Dolphin Cay. There’s a water slide through a shark tank. There’s even a kids concierge. Once the kids are off to bed, there’s a casino and sports book. There’s a restaurant for every taste. Simply put, Atlantis is a one-stop vacation paradise. Fitting that it’s on Paradise Island.

Nevis

It’s a relatively quiet island as far as the Caribbean goes, playing little sister to St. Kitts. But the Four Seasons Resort Nevis makes the island a perfect destination for families. The Sea Turtle Conservancy offers educational activities as part of the Kids For All Seasons program for children ages 3-9. Sand castle molds makes it easy to have a friendly competition to see who can build the most regal castle, with a gelato bike making the rounds to make sure everyone has all the fuel they need.

World Rhino Day Conservation Efforts

There are only two northern white rhinos left in the world, but all is not lost, as scientists have been able to make embryos from harvested eggs and frozen sperm, with the hopes of implantation in a surrogate mother. That news from this month was cause for celebration on Sunday’s World Rhino Day, although there is much work to be done to save the subspecies.
The western black rhino has also gone extinct in the wild, part of a disturbing trend for the species and subspecies of rhinos. White and black rhinos live in Africa, where poaching and habitat loss have threatened them with extinction, but national parks and sanctuaries have helped conservation efforts.
The birth of a calf in April at Uganda’s Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary brought the total number of southern white rhinos to 27. Once thought to be extinct, the southern white rhino has thrived in protected sanctuaries and its status is listed as near threatened.
Among the three Asian species, Javan and Sumatran rhinos are critically endangered, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The one-horned, or Indian, rhino has improved from endangered to vulnerable, though poaching remains a problem.

To promote conservation efforts, Largay Travel preferred partner African Travel is pledging $100 per couple traveling on its Majestic South Africa 10-day itineraries that include Cape Town and the Shamwari Game Reserve, a 61,000-acre area where guests enjoy twice daily game drives.
“We exist because our goal in life is to make travel matter. It’s our responsibility to protect some of the species most at risk from extinction in the places we visit, and we are extremely passionate about rhino conservation” African Travel president Sherwin Banda said. “At Shamwari, this is something our guests will experience first-hand and we’re proud that we’re able to support sustainable tourism through this effort.”
Shamwari’s rehabilitation center cares for sick, injured, abandoned or orphaned animals, and the donations will go toward the construction of a rhino boma (enclosure) where the animals can receive treatment and prepare for release back into their natural habitat.
At andBeyond’s Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa, guests can take a direct role in conservation efforts by helping the veterinary team and rangers place tracking chips in rhinos and take DNA samples.
Contact us at info@dmctraveltailor.com for more information on these and other ways you can help with conservation efforts and see these majestic creatures up close.

Big Apple 101: Top Attractions in New York City

When traveling to New York City for the first time, you may be overwhelmed. With so much to see and do, deciding what to see during a trip can be difficult. Art, fashion, food, nightlife, Broadway shows, monuments, the choices are essentially endless. One of the best ways to see the city is to have the help of an experienced travel agent. They can help you narrow down your activities based on what you enjoy. Below are a few examples of top choices for New York City sight seeing for newbies.

Central Park

Offering a beautiful and lush park, museum and concert hall, Central Park is not to be missed. Located in central Manhattan, this notable attraction must be seen. Take a walk through the park and enjoy even a small portion of the 843-acre green space.

American Museum of Natural History

If you are a history buff or just simply want to enjoy an interesting attraction, then the American Museum of Natural History is for you. Explore interactive exhibits that feature the land, sea and outer space, with much more to discover. This attraction is a must for individuals, couples and families traveling to the Big Apple.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

While a sober choice, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is a stop that should be on your tour of the city. The tribute to the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks is a touching memorial that reminds us of how Americans came together during one of the scariest times in US history.

Statue of Liberty

A trip to New York City is not complete without seeing Lady Liberty herself. The Statue of Liberty is a shining beacon that can be reached via ferry from Battery Park. Travel to Liberty Island where you will visit the statue and then make a stop on Ellis Island before making your way back to the mainland.

These are just a few of the must-see sights when traveling to New York City. When planning your next trip, be sure to utilize the services of a top-rated travel company such as DMC Travel Tailor. With the help of an expert, you can easily plan a trip that you will remember as well as enjoy!