Thursday, July 31, 2014

Borrego Springs' La Casa del Zorro is Back!

Summer scenario: What do you do when it’s pitch-perfect weather in San Diego? My choice was a bit unconventional, yet warmly rewarding. I headed 90 miles from home into the Anza-Borrego Desert for a stay at its most iconic and best known lodging, La Casa del Zorro. Upon arrival, our dash registered a temp of 106 degrees, but I was not deterred.
Originally established in 1930s as a welcoming lodge for guests, its legacy of hospitality remains a significant component of the ranch-style stucco hacienda. Purchased in 1960 by James Copley, San Diego’s top newspaper magnate, changes were lovingly made (expanded dining facility, new accommodations and the resort’s first swimming pool). Fast-forward to today and to a getaway that is impressive in an understatedly classic way, with none of the over-the-top trappings that are the hallmark of many high-profile resorts.
Closed for three years (during which time its fate was unknown), its 2013 reopening revealed a $13 million renovation. A past guest, albeit more than a decade ago, I was anticipatory but also apprehensive as my memories were fond ones. I feared changes, big changes, and a resort that was not necessarily better, just different. But my concerns were for naught.

Upon opening the lobby’s carved wooden door, I was greeted with a familiar scene – multiple seating areas in an atmosphere of hand-hewn beams, white adobe walls and terra cotta tile flooring. Its eateries cover the gamut from classic cuisine in the Butterfield Dining Room to a more casual fare in the Fox Den Bar and Cantina. The restaurant’s daily blue plate specials are legendary (aptly named, they were originally served on blue plates).

Because of the weather, Borrego Springs and La Casa del Zorro are seasonal. Even the population is reflective of the time of year: summer season, 2,500 permanent residents; remaining seasons, 25,000 residents. But with La Casa’s selection of multiple pools and one of nature’s darkest skies brilliantly showcasing the Milky Way in summer months, there are many advantages of a warm weather visit.

It’s a place with a wishing well and sculpted sand grounds that are raked and groomed daily, explaining the staff of 13 for landscape and pool maintenance.  With 66 rooms on 42 acres, a tennis complex, full fitness center, spa, 26 pools, bocce ball court, horseshoe pit, croquet field and a life-size chess set, the details are conclusive – La Casa del Zorro has it all.

But it was signage on the foot path from our room to the lobby that best described a visit: “Slow, adults at play.”

Don’t miss:

~ Borrego Night Sky Tours.  Conducted by local resident and master astronomer, Dennis Mammana, his impressive resume lists the Smithsonian, the University of Arizona and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Mammana’s goal is simple: “I want you to see and feel what it’s like to be alone under the cosmos.” He did not disappoint. The night’s sightings included the Milky Way, Saturn and the rings of Saturn, a satellite, the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, the birth of a star, a dying star and, as we were packing to leave, a shooting star.

Set amid Anza-Borrego State Park’s 600,000 acres, surrounded by the Santa Rosa Mountains and having only 25 street lights (all fully-shielded downward), Borrego has the distinction of being one of the world’s seven dark-sky communities and the only one in California, making it an astronomical mecca.

~ Galleta Meadows' larger-than-life metal sculptures are scattered throughout Borrego. Guided by a map, it's possible to find each of the 129 sculptures. Akin to a scavenger hunt, discoveries include desert tortoises, wild horses and a 350-foot serpent, which travels from one side of the road to the other.

  Photos by Cynthia Dial
  Article by Cynthia Dial for

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Whistler to Vancouver Along Sea-to-Sky Highway

Whistler to Vancouver aboard Pacific Coach Lines along the Sea-to-Sky highway is the only way to roll..
#travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia #travelpics #pacificcoachlines #vancouver #whistler #seatoskyhighway #canada

Whistler, Camada

Whistler is about Olympic-style fun.

#whistler #canada #Olympics #2010winterolympics #travel #travelingcynthia #traveltips

Fairmont Chateau Whistler - Whistler - Canada

Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Whistler Village. Canada. Room 956. Home sweet home. #traveltoes #travelingcynthia #travel #traveltips #whistler #canada #fairmontchateauwhistler

Travel Toes - Scandinavia Spa Whistler - Canada

Travel toes. Scandinavia Spa Whistler. Canada. 

#traveltoes #travelingcynthia #travel #traveltips #whistler #canada #ScandinaveWhistler

Whistler Village - Travel Toes

Travel toes. Whistler Village. Canada. 

#traveltoes #travelingcynthia #travel #traveltips #whistler #canada

Monday, July 21, 2014

10 Things to do Outside of San Diego Comic Con

Hey everyone! My name is Colin K. Bass and I am proud to be a guest blogger on Cynthia Dial's blog. As much as I love travel, my expertise is in the comic book industry. For those of you who don't know, San Diego Comic Con is just around the corner. Tickets have been sold out for months, but that doesn't mean you can't get in on some of the fun.

There are hundreds of options of exciting things to do outside of the convention. But I am going to limit this list to ten so that you guys know where to get started, then you can explore from there. Click the titles for more information!

1. Petco Park Interactive Zone

"Petco Park Events was kind enough to provide us with a map and hours for the annual Petco Park Interactive Zone, held just across the street from the San Diego Convention Center.

This year the Interactive Zone brings us booths from upcoming movies like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sin City 2, TV series including the Sleepy Hollow Headless-Horseman bridge, and a number of other activations, including the return of the Adult Swim Fun House. And good news for foodies- the local food trucks will be on hand to help curve those convention-going appetites as well."

2. Comedy Central-Con

"Comedy Central is returning to San Diego Comic-Con, in a bigger way than ever before. Not only will the network have panels for three of their series — Key & PeeleBrickleberry, and new animated series Moonbeam City — but on Friday and Saturday, Comedy Central is offering a special offsite event, #ComedyCentralCon. The event is free and open to the public, and doesn’t require a badge, so head on down to The San Diego Wine & Culinary Center (200 Harbor Dr. #120) from 11AM-8PM on Friday and Saturday."
3. Geek & Sundry Returning to Jolt’n Joes

"Geek & Sundry
, the YouTube channel created by Felicia Day and home of popular internet shows such as Spooked, the Day’s Co-Optitude, and  Wil Wheaton’sTableTop, will be returning as an offsite during San Diego Comic-Con.The popular Comic-Con offsite will be returning to its 2013 location, Jolt’n Joes in the Gaslamp (4th Avenue and J Street), where it will be hosting two packed days of programming, giveaways, and parties on Thursday, July 24, and Friday, July 25."

4. Hard Rock Cafe turns into 
Hard Rock Cafe turns into 'Ascension Cafe'

For the last several years, Syfy has taken over Mary Jane’s restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel to rebrand it as something related to their series. In years past, the restaurant has been everything from CafeDiem from Eureka to the Defiance Cafe, but so far, there’s been no word on if the cafe what the cafe might be transformed into for this year.

Thanks to our very own 
Shawn “The Con Fluence” Marshall, though, who is currently on the ground in San Diego, we know what 2014′s theme will be: The Ascension Cafe.Ascension follows a 1960′s government-ordered covert space mission, sending hundreds of men, women and children on a century-long voyage aboard the starship “Ascension” to populate a new world, assuring the survival of the human race. The six hour event series will air in November on Syfy.

Attendees can also catch a panel for the series, with stars Tricia Helfer, Brian Van Holt, and Andrea Roth on Saturday at 3:15PM in Room 6DE.Here are some photos of the Syfy restaurant makeover:"

5. Nintendo’s Gaming Lounge at SDCC 2014

the Nintendo Gaming Lounge will be at the Marriott Marquis and Marina, in the San Diego Ballroom on the main floor off the lobby. This is the same location at which it’s been for the previous two years, so attendees who were there before will be familiar. The hours of the event are 10 am to 7 pm PT, Thursday July 24 to SaturdayJuly 26, and 10 am to 5 pm PT Sunday July 27. It is open to the public, meaning you do not need a badge for entry.
There will be tons of playable games for both the Wii U and 3DS available for attendees of the lounge."

6. Adult Swim Dives into Comic-Con

"In addition to the 
Fun House and Meatwad Full Dome in the Petco Interactive Zone, Adult Swim has joined forces with Intel, Lexus, and State Farm to create the “ultimate fan experience” at San Diego Comic-Con with offsite installations and offers throughout the convention.
State Farm will sponsor an Adult Swim branded “Cool Treats” ice cream truck that can be found at both the Petco Interactive Zone with the other events, as well as at various locations within the Gaslamp District over the week. There will also be State Farm branded lockers at the Fun House, where attendees can drop their bags and swag off for free while the participate in all the Fun House has to offer."

7. HBO Pop Up Shop Headed to Gaslamp

HBO is heading to San Diego Comic-Con not only with panels for two of its series (Game of Thrones and True Blood), but for the first time, it will be bringing the HBO Pop Up Shop to Comic-Con attendees.
The Pop Up Shop will be located at Market St. and 8th Ave in the Gaslamp, and will be made up of two shipping containers, one of which will be devoted entirely to Game of Thrones products. The other shipping container will highlight products from other HBO series, such as True Blood and Eastbound & Down. Attendees can stop by during the shop’s open hours, which are:
Thursday: 10AM-6PM
Friday: 10AM-6PM
Saturday: 11AM-7PM
Sunday: 9AM-3PM"

8. X-Box Lounge

At Xbox’s Booth (#100) and at thepreviously-announced Xbox Lounge at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, attendees can swing by for a chance to try out upcoming titles that won’t be heading to Xbox One consoles until later this year, includingSunset OverdriveMadden NFL 15Skylanders Trap Team, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, Evolve, and many more." 

9. MTV Fan Fest And mtvU Fandom Awards

MTV has just added a few more reasons to attend the MTV Fan Fest and mtvU Fandom Awardscelebration at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday, July 24. In addition to a performance from Linkin Park, the free offsite event has just added another musical guest, taped appearances from celebrities, and more.
In a press release, MTV announced that Oakland-based hip hop artist G-Eazy will be joining Linkin Park in treating attendees to free musical performances, as he will take the stage to sing songs and to promote his new album, These Things Happen."

10. Under The Tents 

"We have news about lots of things happening on the show floor, from a 
Bates Motel-themed booth,Peanuts sneak peeks, exclusives, artists, and more. Plus, we’ve got word that one of attendees’ favorite offsite events from last year is returning, and with a level up, all the way to Disney Infinity 2.0.
Don’t forget to check our Offsite Event calendar, presented by Eventbrite. New events addeddaily. Like news of our VIP tickets for Enchantment Under The SDCC 2014.
If you’re interested in getting a few autographs while in San Diego, check out our Announced Autograph & Signing Schedules page, compiling all the announced autographs at the booths and tables."

That's just ten of the hundreds of options for offsite activities during SDCC! A special thank you to SDCC Blog
for all of the listings and quotes. Have a great time at the con!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Opening Day -Del Mar Race Track - 2014

Selfie at Opening Day of Del Mar Race Track's 2014 season.

#travel #travelingcynthia #traveltips #delmarracing #openingday #delmar #horseracing #selfie

Opening Day - Del Mar Races

Best people-watching scene ever:,Opening Day at Del Mar Race Track.

#delmarracing #openingday #delmar #horseracing #travel #travelingcynthia #traveltips

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

San Antonio, I love you because . . .

San Antonio is about more than the Alamo and the River Walk. It's about food too. So if you're a Texas fan and you're hungry, sit back and watch!

Make sure you follow me on . . .

Official Website:





Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hollywood Bowl - Los Angeles - California

Birthday night at Hollywood Bowl listening to Chris Botti and Chris Isaak. Can you say 'perfect.'? 

#losangeles. #travel #travelpics #traveltips #travelingcynthia #hollywoodbowl #chrisbotti #chrisisaak

Los Angeles - Downtown

Downtown Los Angeles skyline.

 #losangeles. #travel #travelpics #traveltips #travelingcynthia #skyline

Los Angeles Skyline

Birthday preamble: nachos and margaritas at #bordergrill in downtown #losangeles. #travel #travelpics #traveltips #travelingcynthia #skyline

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Where, oh where, in the world is this?

Where, oh where, in the world is this?
Photo by Cynthia Dial
#travel #travelpics #traveltips #travelingcynthia

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Travel Quote

Travel Quote: “Traveling—It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
Ibn Battuta

#travel #travelingcynthia #traveltips #quote #travelquote

Monday, July 7, 2014

101 Best Wineries in America from The Daily Meal

We’ve thoroughly plumbed the rich and diverse depths of the American wine landscape, and we are proud of the following list — and of course, grateful to the experts who aided us in determining which American wineries stood out to them.” – Jess Novak, drink editor, The Daily Meal

Here's The Daily Meal's debut ranking of . . .

101 Best Wineries in America

1. Ridge Vineyards — Cupertino, California
2. Au Bon Climat Winery — Santa Maria, California
3. Calera Wine Company — Mt. Harlan, California
4. Littorai Wines — Sebastopol, California
5. Woodward Canyon Winery — Lowden, Washington
6. Dunn Vineyards — Angwin, California
7. Heitz Cellars — St. Helena, California
8. Matthiasson Winery — Napa Valley, California
9. Sandhi Wines — Santa Barbara, CA
10. Copain Wine Cellars — Healdsburg, CA
11. Tablas Creek Vineyard — Paso Robles, California
12. Caymus Vineyards — Rutherford, California
13. Chateau Montelena — Calistoga, California
14. Domaine Drouhin Oregon — Dayton, Oregon
15. Shafer Vineyards — Napa, California
16. Corison Winery — St. Helena, California
17. Duckhorn Vineyards — St. Helena, California
18. Bonny Doon Vineyard — Santa Cruz, California
19. Schramsberg Vineyards — Calistoga, California
20. Robert Sinskey Vineyards — Napa, California
21. Whetstone Wine Cellars — Napa, California
22. Acorn Winery — Healdsburg, California
23. Andrew Will Winery — Vashon, Washington
24. Massican Winery — Napa Valley, California
25. Leonetti Cellar — Walla Walla, Washington
26. Saxum Vineyards — Paso Robles, California
27. Mayacamas Vineyards — Mount Veeder, California
28. Navarro Vineyards — Philo, California
29. Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars — Hammondsport, New York
30. Ponzi Vineyards — Sherwood, Oregon
31. Hanzell Vineyards — Sonoma, California
32. Arnot-Roberts — Healdsburg, California
33. Patz & Hall — Sonoma, California
34. Hirsch Vineyards — Cazadero, California
35. Talley Vineyards — Arroyo Grande, California
37. Qupé — Los Olivos, California
36. DeLille Cellars — Woodinville, Washington
38. The Eyrie Vineyards — McMinnville, Oregon
39. Diamond Creek Vineyards — Calistoga, California
40. Wind Gap Wines — Sebastopol, California
41. Elk Cove Vineyards — Gaston, Oregon
42. Evening Land Vineyards — Dundee, Oregon
43. Soliste — Petaluma, California
44. St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery — Rutherford, California
45. Boundary Breaks Vineyard — Lodi, New York
46. Domaine de la Côte — Lompoc, California
47. Peachy Canyon Winery — Paso Robles, California
48. Quilceda Creek — Snohomish, Washington
49. Ken Wright Cellars — Carlton, Oregon
50. Red Newt Cellars — Hector, New York
51. Robert Mondavi Winery — Napa, California
52. Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyards — Woodside, California
53. Barboursville Vineyards — Barboursville, Virginia
54. Mount Eden Vineyards — Saratoga, California
55. Tensley Wines — Los Olivos, California
56. Abeja — Walla Walla, Washington
57. Chateau Grand Traverse — Traverse City, Michigan
58. Swanson Vineyards — Napa Valley, California
59. Foxen — Santa Maria, California
60. Rochioli Vineyards and Winery — Healdsburg, California
61. Spottswoode Winery — St. Helena, California
62. Hourglass Vineyard — St. Helena, California
63. Brooks Winery — Amity, Oregon
64. Black Ankle Vineyards — Mt. Airy, Maryland
65. Va La Vineyards — Avondale, Pennsylvania
66. Keuka Lake Vineyards — Hammondsport, New York
67. Linden Vineyards — Linden, Virginia
68. Beckmen Vineyards — Los Olivos, California
69. Caparone Winery — Paso Robles, California
70. Jaffurs Wine Cellars — Santa Barbara, California
71. Truchard Vineyards — Napa, California
72. Tyler Winery — Lompoc, California
73. Bergström Winery — Newberg, Oregon
74. Lioco Wines — Santa Rosa, California
75. Pedroncelli — Geyserville, California
76. Chehalem Winery — Newberg, Oregon
77. Balletto Vineyards & Winery — Santa Rosa, California
78. Channing Daughters Winery — Bridgehampton, New York
79. The Scholium Project — Napa, California
80. Peay Vineyards — Cloverdale, California
81. Freemark Abbey Winery — Napa Valley, California
82. Gramercy Cellars — Walla Walla, Washington
83. Keplinger Wines — Napa, California
84. Big Table Farm — Portland, Oregon
85. Continuum Estate — St. Helena, California
86. Favia Wines — Napa, California
87. McPherson Cellars Winery — Lubbock, Texas
88. Ravines Wine Cellars — Hammondsport, New York
89. Gruet Winery — Albuquerque, New Mexico
90. Antica Terra — Dundee, Oregon
91. Stony Hill Vineyard — St. Helena, California
92. Allis Ranch Winery — Sedalia, Colorado
93. Becker Vineyards — Stonewall, Texas
94. Andrew Murray Vineyards — Los Olivos, California
95. The Ojai Vineyard — Oak View, California
96. Hermann J. Wiemer Winery — Dundee, New York
97. Seven Hills Winery — Walla Walla, Washington
98. Vineyard 29 — St. Helena, California
99. The Red Hook Winery — Brooklyn, New York
100. Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery — Warwick, New York

101. King Family Vineyards — Crozet, Virginia

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Day in TJ - Tijuana, Mexico

A roundabout on Paseo de los Heroesis only one of the experienced in Tijuana, Mexico. #statue #tijuana #roundabout #mexico #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia #travelpics

San Diego Padres Baseball

Take me out to the ball game. San Diego vs San Francisco at Petco Park.

#baseball #petcopark #sandiego #sandiegopadres #padres #red #travel #travelpics #traveltips #travelingcynthia 

San Diego Padres Baseball

Baseball in San Diego at Petco Park means palm trees. 

#palmtrees.#baseball #petcopark #sandiego #sandiegopadres #padres #red #travel #travelpics #traveltips #travelingcynthia 

San Diego Padres Baseball

RIP Tony Gwynn aka Mr. Padre. His statue of tribute at Petco Park..
#baseball #petcopark #sandiego #sandiegopadres #padres #tonygwynn #mrpadre #travel #travelpics #traveltips #travelingcynthia 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

Fireworks on San Diego Bay. Happy 4th of July. 

#fireworks #4thofjuly #4th #july4th #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia #travelpics

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

World's Top 10 Landmarks - Travelers' Choice Awards - TripAdvisor Travelers

The verdict is in for the Travelers' Choice awards naming the World's Top 10 Landmarks.  Based on the millions of reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers, the following were selected.

Photo by Cynthia Dial
Top 10 World Landmarks:
1. Machu Picchu, Machu Picchu, Peru
2. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
3. Taj Mahal, Agra, India
4. Great Cathedral and Mosque, Cordoba, Spain
5. St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy
6. Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

7. Bayon Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
8. Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia
9. Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

10. Ancient City Walls, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Excerpted from
#landmarks #worldstoplandmarks #travelerschoiceawards #tripadvisor #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day to all of my Canadian friends!

#canada #canadaday #travel #traveltuesday #traveltips #travelingcynthia