8 Virtual Getaways while #SaferAtHome

The digital world is our new norm during days of social distancing and shelter-in-place, offering enriching wanderlust virtual trip. Hotels and cities are getting creative offering armchair travel sights and sounds through their social media channels. They post videos, photos, enrichement programs and culinary recipes. It’s a new way to take a break from all the craziness of being at home to plan ahead for when we can travel freely, safely and remain healthy.

Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach Hotel referred to as “Hawaii’s Most Hawaiian Hotel,” has the simple fix to bring a little aloha spirit home by sharing their cultural insights in quick video snippets along with signature Hawaiian recipes and cocktails. IMG_6635

The Ka’anapali Beach Hotel ‘ohana and esteemed cultural practitioners showcase a few helpful tips to bring the Hawaiian culture across their social channels with Hawaiian Language Word of the Day Series: Each week, the property will be sharing insights such as `ōlelo Hawai`i (Hawaiian language), activities, and much more. Take a virtual ride on Ka’anapali Beach Hotel’s traditional outrigger canoe with their on-staff navigators and watermen. Learn some culinary skills with authentic recipes crafted by Executive Chef Tom Muromoto to create a luau-theme night at home including Fresh Hawaiian Style Ahi Poke Bowls, grilled Kōʻala Lamb Chops. Make a floral Hibis Kiss cocktail and a Rosemary Watermelon Crush mocktail for kids (rosemary optional).


2. Villa del Palmar Islands of Loreto – For golf, spa, kayaking, paddle boarding, excellent cuisine, and beach inspiration follow the social channels for Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa (@villadelpalmarl), Sabila Spa (@danzantewellness) and TPC Danzante Bay (@tpcdanzantebay). The bay is teeming with gentle rays, fish and pelicans. It’s a sanctuary for wildlife and people. Read what happened when I had rays jumping right in front of my kayak when I visited this favorite resort in 2018.


3. Ventura, Calif.  What better way to connect to nature and the sea than with an inspiring virtual visit to one of Southern California’s most iconic seaside visitor destinations. The coastal enclave of Ventura and Ventura Harbor Village offers families and adventure travelers the opportunity to travel outdoors to see beautiful, natural sights/sounds of the Channel Islands National Park. Visitors can enjoy the newly released high-definition 25-minute movie entitled, “Treasure in the Sea”, narrated by Kevin Costner. The movie explores the underwater marine sanctuary, and the birds and wildlife on Anacapa Islands. Gather the kids around, and tap the link to Channel Islands Live Archived Programs, a thoroughly absorbing series of videos, graded for youngsters, fourth through sixth grades, explaining the underwater ecosystem of the Channel Islands. There are also segments on subjects related to “What is Kelp?” and the beautiful “California Spiny Lobster.” Armchair travelers are encouraged to post their impressions on social media, tag their favorite video segment and share their photos on Social Channels Facebook, and Instagram and tag @venturaharbor. Visit https://www.venturaharborvillage.com/blog/connect-from-home/.


4. Stay in a Treehouse at Hamanasi in Belize – Charles Darwin described Belize in his 1842 book, Coral Reefs of the World, as “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies.” With over 1,000 different live species, there are 500 types of fish and 100 different varieties of coral. Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world. Bordering Guatemala, Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, the water is a pleasant 82 degrees, with visibility of at least 100 feet. Hamanasi Resort is a luxury 23-room vacation destination with beautiful wood tree houses, raised 12 feet off the jungle floor. Their staff guide guests on adventures throughout Belize that include hiking, exploring caves, swimming in waterfalls, learning about the Mayan culture, snorkeling and diving in the unique Blue Hole. For more information, click here.


5. Catalina Island – Since the Island has temporarily suspended all resort operations for the safety of the residents and employees through May 21, 2020, they are accepting activity reservations for May 22, 2020 and beyond. They will continue to monitor the situation and communicate any changes on their Social Media sites. Bookings can be made at (877)778-8322. Keep up to date with Catalina Island Company information: Facebook @santacatalinaisland Instagram: @visitcatalinaisland 
Twitter: @visitcatalina. Taking a one hour Catalina Express boat ride to Avalon, staying at the new Hotel Atwater and enjoying a day at the Island Spa is on my bucketlist.


6. The Cape in Los Cabo located directly on a famed surf break called Monuments Beach (named for the iconic El Arco rock formation just in the distance), each room at the resort has been carefully designed offering ocean views and a private balcony, hanging daybed, freestanding copper tub, and a craft cocktail bar. Check out the waves and part of the beach from Surfline organization’s surf cam network: https://www.surfline.com/surfreport/monuments/5842041f4e65fad6a7708bd8. Also celebrity fitness trainer Modu is hosting classes on the grounds of The Cape live on Instagram. Enjoy a good workout with spectacular views from the hotel’s rooftop. https://www.instagram.com/p/B-xLSdKBAKc/.


7. Costa Mesa – Head over to Costa Mesa Virtual Vacation to experience 360º views of 15 hot spots in the city. The City of the Arts, allows you to watch the talented musicians of the Pacific Symphony play from home on the Quarantine Clips playlist. The Philharmonic Society of Orange County has a resource list of daily live stream concerts and video clips. The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) just launched their OCMA Expand virtual experience. Each week you’ll find ways to listen, learn, watch and relax with new content. There are also live programs on Thursday evenings.  Add some creativity to your day with “Chuck Jones on Your Phones” from the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity. They’re posting free projects and classes, whether you’re staying home with kids, pets or yourself.


8. See Santa Barbara offers 5 virtual tours to help keep Santa Barbara in your mind’s eye and transport you to the waterfront, surf, botanical gardens and sandy shores. A live webcam streams the picturesque views of the Santa Barbara Waterfront, perched at Hotel Milo. Watch waves rolling in on West Beach as a palm tree sways Click to watch. The UCSB’s SurfCam shows one of Goleta’s most popular surf breaks, Campus Point. On a clear day, see the Channel Islands in the distance Click to watch. Explore under the ocean’s surface to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Kelp Forest Cam at Anacapa Island. Set 25 miles offshore of Santa Barbara, the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is an ecological paradise for outdoor lovers. Nicknamed “The Galapagos of North America,” the islands and surrounding marine sanctuary are home to more than 1,000 unique species. Look for a Garibaldi (California’s bright orange state fish) swimming through the kelp forests Click to watch. The Santa Barbara Zoo is bringing all of the animals to you through a regular drop of videos on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Meet local zoo residents Monty the penguin, Bam Bam the porcupine, Michael the giraffe and Veronica the vulture. Watch otters in a cuddle puddle and see a meerkat birthday party. Click to watch Immerse yourself in the serene natural beauty of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Director of Education and Engagement, Scot Pipkin, takes viewers on a walk along the winding paths of Island View Garden, narrating the sights and sounds around him. Learn about the native plants, hear birds calling and see bees pollinating the vibrant yellow and purple wildflowers in bloom. Take deep, meditative breaths as you conjure earthy smells like fresh rain and sun burnt sage. Click to watch.


Celebrating TASTE in Costa Mesa

The 2nd annual Los Angles Times The Taste: Costa Mesa, is taking place October 18 and 19 at the MET. Many of the Times’ acclaimed Food staff will introduce some of Orange County’s rising chefs and culinary masters.


The two nights event offers cooking demonstrations, unlimited tastings, and sips of varieties of cocktails and beverages. This year, visitors will get a special chance to learn more from the likes of Chef Carlos Salgado of Michelin-starred Taco Maria, who will provide a glimpse into his contemporary spin to Mexican cooking with questions from L.A. Times Cooking Columnist Ben Mims.

Get a closer look at the artistry behind Chef Maher Nakhal’s Syrian pastries of Le Mirage Pastry, which spotlights Middle Eastern desserts and French pastries and has captured hearts with its bouza (Arabic ice cream).

Additional standout participants:

  • The Crack Shack
  • Terrace by Mix Mix
  • Knife Pleat
  • Roba Noodle
  • Delicato Family Winery
  • Puesto

This event is for guests $21 and over.

Here’s a schedule of tastings and demonstrations:

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18 (7:00 – 10:00 p.m.)  L.A. Times Cooking Editor Genevieve Ko will host a demo featuring Syrian pastry chef Maher Nakhal (Le Mirage Pastry) as he reveals the handcrafted artistry behind his authentic Middle Eastern desserts and French pastries.

Chef Ross Pangilinan (Terrace by Mix Mix) will showcase his eclectic style and Euro-Filipino flavors through a demo of one of his signature dishes, hosted by Times Features Writer Gustavo Arellano.

Samplings from restaurants and bars include: Absolut Juice, Amor Y Tacos, Angel’s Envy, Barton & Guestier, Bernardus Winery, Beyond Meat, Codigo 1530, Color Wine, Delicato Family Winery, Driftwood Kitchen, Ellie’s Long Beach, Filomena’s Italian Kitchen, First Growth Brands, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Harley Laguna Beach, Jame Enoteca, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, LA Brisket, Las Vegana Mexicana, Las Brisas, Licor 43, Miguel’s Jr., Mule 2.0, Outpost Kitchen, Puesto, Revel Spirits, Roba Noodle, Tackle Box, Terrace by Mix Mix, The Chori-Man, The Ranch at Laguna Beach, Vaca, Verde Kitchen, WAVE Gourmet Burgers, Wine Group, Zing Zang and Zyr.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19 (12:00 – 3:00 p.m.) Chef Carlos Salgado of Michelin-starred Taco María will provide a glimpse into his contemporary, Mexican-influenced cooking with L.A. Times Cooking Columnist Ben Mims.

Taking the crowd on a wine tour through Monterey County, Rob Baker (Southern Glazer’s) will lead a presentation on Bordeaux-style wine from Carmel Valley’s Bernardus Winery.

Samplings from restaurants and bars include: 2145 Pizza, Absolut Juice, Barton & Guestier, Bartenura/Herzog, Bernardus Winery, Billy’s at the Beach, Blinking Owl, Bodvar-House of Roses, Café Sevilla, Casa Barilla, Clay Oven Indian Cuisine, Delicato Family Winery, Descanso a Modern Taqueria,Ensaymada Project, Georgia’s Restaurant, Habana, Honey Bubbles, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Koval, La Kebabology, Louies by the Bay, Leblon, Licor 43, LSXO, Mayors Table Pacific Pub & Kitchen, Mule 2.0, Olea, Revel Spirits, Roba Noodle, Santa Teresa, Sharffenberger, Shuck Oyster Bar, St. Germain, The Chori-Man, The Halal Guys, The Taco Man, The Yellow Chili, Verde Kitchen, Zing Zang and Zyr.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19 (7:00 – 10:00p.m.) Chef Wing Lam (Wahoo’s Fish Tacos) will cook up his legendary Baja-style fish tacos and discuss the start of his iconic SoCal brand.

Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault (Knife Pleat) will demonstrate modern, seasonal interpretations of classic French techniques with Times Senior Food Writer Jenn Harris.

Samplings from restaurants and bars include: 2145 Pizza, Absolut Juice, Ai Pono Café, Barton & Guestier, Bartenura/Herzog, Bernardus Winery, Billy’s at the Beach, Blinking Owl, Bodvar-House of Roses, Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, CUCINA enoteca, Delicato Family Winery, Descanso a Modern Taqueria, Ensaymada Project, Georgia’s Restaurant, Gracias Madre, Honey Bubbles, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Koval, La Kebabology, La Vegana Mexicana, Lady M Cake Boutique, Leblon, Licor 43, LSXO, Mesa, Mule 2.0, Olea, Revel Spirits, Santa Teresa, Sharffenberger, Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar, St. Germain, Toast, The Chori-Man, The Yellow Chili, Verde Kitchen, Zing Zang and Zyr.

For a detailed description of each event and full lineup of participating chefs and restaurants, visit https://events.latimes.com/taste/

 The MET is located at: 535 Anton Blvd. Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Friday, October 18 (7:00 – 10:00p.m.) – $100 (GA) – $150 (VIP), Saturday, October 19 (12:00 – 3:00p.m.) – $80 (GA) – $130 (VIP), Saturday, October 19 (7:00 – 10:00p.m.) – $100 (GA) – $150 (VIP). To purchase tickets, visit https://events.latimes.com/taste/

 Instead of driving home, Visit Costa Mesa is offering some great hotel deals, go to Travel Costa Mesa.