You can drink wine and ride horses with this adventurous vineyard experience

People ride horses through the Bartholomew Estate Winery in Sonoma, Calif.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times

By Rachel Schnalzer
Design and illustrations by Jade Cuevas

Good morning, fellow travelers. Big news: Last week, California lifted the advisory that asked travelers to stay within 120 miles of home.

That doesn’t mean things are back to normal. Times assistant travel editor Mary Forgione reports that the California Department of Public Health still discourages travelers from leaving the state or the country until more people are vaccinated.

This week, you’ll find a few in-state adventures to keep you busy until travel opens widely, as well as a look at what travelers are experiencing in Las Vegas.


🍇 Chase adventure in wine country

The one-two punch of wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the wine industry in the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

But resilient vintners have found a way to adapt, Times contributor Rosemary McClure reports.

Winemakers are leaning into outdoor adventures to enhance the traditional tasting experience. For example, visitors to the Bartholomew Estate and Alta Vista Vineyards can ride horses through the vineyards with Sonoma Valley Trail Rides.

Travelers can take a wine-tasting hike with Active Wine Adventures or combine cycling, kayaking and sipping with Getaway Adventures. Gondola rides along the Napa River offer couples or groups a way to revel in the romance of wine country.

If you can’t make the trip to Napa and Sonoma, you can still experience wine country with a virtual tasting. Just call your favorite winery or check the events listings at Visit Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley, McClure writes.

Two people enjoy glasses of wine.
Outdoor wine tasting at Bartholomew Estate Winery in Sonoma, Calif.
(Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas/Los Angeles Times)

🕺 Travelers return to Las Vegas

Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds reports that Las Vegas is revving up as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Among new additions to the city are the 1,504-room Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and Meow Wolf’s “Omega Mart” multimedia installation.

Reynolds recently visited Las Vegas to see what travelers are experiencing. Though the majority of visitors seemed to follow Nevada’s laws that require face coverings in public, commitment to social distancing was “more hit or miss.”

Deciding to visit the city was “kind of hard, kind of easy,” one visitor told Reynolds. “Because you don’t know how people are going to be. I didn’t think a lot of people would be here. But they are.”


People walk along the Linq Promenade on the Las Vegas Strip
The Linq Promenade on the Las Vegas Strip has seen growing crowds with the arrival of spring and the loosening of COVID restrictions.
(Christopher Reynolds/Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas/Los Angeles Times)

🛸 Don’t miss these architectural destinations in L.A. and San Francisco

A few weeks ago, I asked readers to send me their favorite architectural destinations in the West.

“I’m quite fond of the Vedanta building in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow and the Chemosphere House on Torreyson Drive,” Andy Adler said by email.

The Vedanta Society’s Old Temple building in San Francisco, which dates to the early 1900s, is at the corner of Filbert and Webster streets. The society’s website has photos and details about the building’s architecture.

The Los Angeles Conservancy calls the Malin Residence — otherwise known as Chemosphere — the “most Modern of iconic Modern designs.” Architect John Lautner built the startlingly spaceship-like home for an aerospace engineer and his family, who needed a house that could sit on their steep plot of land in the Hollywood Hills.

Various blogs say it’s possible to see the house from Torreyson Drive, but that can prove difficult. For a closer look, visit Mid-Century Home for photos and more information.

The Chemosphere House is shaped like a flying saucer.
The Chemosphere House in the Hollywood Hills looks like a flying saucer.
(Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

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🌺 Find peace in this Mount Washington garden

Meadow Carder-Vindel wants to share her 16,000-square-foot certified wildlife habitat with you, Times staffer Lisa Boone writes.

Carder-Vindel was born on the property where GreenStone Farm & Sanctuary sits in Mount Washington, and today she leases the space through Healing Gardens, an online marketplace that lets people rent their organic gardens.

She finds purpose in sharing the beauty of the sanctuary with guests, particularly those of marginalized communities. “It’s our responsibility and honor and privilege to have this space to share,” she told Boone. “We want people to be able to have a place to go and experience the beauty and peace and calm and quiet reflection that happens in the garden.”

Visitors can book time at the garden here.

Meadow Carder-Vindel poses for a portrait on her land at GreenStone Farm & Sanctuary in Mount Washington.
Meadow Carder-Vindel poses for a portrait at her GreenStone Farm & Sanctuary in Mount Washington.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

📰 What I’m reading

  • Trips abroad were off the table for most of 2020, so many travelers visited national parks instead. Jeff Jenkins reflects on how national parks saved us in Travel + Leisure.
  • Hoping to visit Yellowstone or Glacier National Park this summer? Lori Weisberg reports in the San Diego Union-Tribune that both Alaska Airlines and Allegiant Air will serve the parks.
  • Running through Isla Vista was a salve for Emily Henderson during her college years. She reminisces on her time in the community in the Santa Barbara Independent.
  • Many of us won’t get the chance to go mountain biking through the landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey. But we can experience it virtually with this video following pro mountain biker Kilian Bron on Outside Online.
  • A husband and wife set out to see all 18 species of penguins around the globe. Andrea Sachs spoke with the couple about their adventure in the Washington Post.
  • Hawaii is a great destination to spot rainbows. Luna Shyr explains in Atlas Obscura why the phenomena happens so frequently.
  • Heads up, men on the trail: Women in the backcountry don’t need your help, Zoe Gates writes in Backpacker.
Whitefish Mountain Resort looms above Whitefish, Mont., gateway to Glacier National Park.
(Richard Read / Los Angeles Times; photo illustration by Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

💻 Can’t adventure IRL? Here’s one way to expand your horizons

Scoping out vintage travel posters online can be a sweet, nostalgic way to quench your travel bug. As I mentioned in an earlier edition of Escapes, the Los Angeles Public Library has a vast collection of posters for online viewing.

If you’re looking for an extra dose of whimsy, print shop Inkifi has you covered. It’s selling vintage-style travel posters for Hogsmeade, Tatooine and Redania, with more fictional locations coming soon.

Hat-tip to Times assistant travel editor Mary Forgione for this fantastic way to escape.

📸 Photo of the week

A view of Hanauma Bay with Koko Head in the background from a hiking trail overlooking the popular Nature Preserve.
A view of Hanauma Bay on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

🎸 Road song

“Prisoner of the Highway” by Margo Price is for anyone who feels more at home on the open road.

Have fun out there this weekend, and keep wearing a mask ✌

illustration of road
Let “Prisoner of the Highway” by Margo Price lead your way on the road this week.
(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)