Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 Top 10 Most Romantic Inns –

Rediscover the romance in your relationship with an easy getaway to a romantic inn. Take a look at the selection of the 2014 Top 10 Romantic Inns. “They are the cream of the crop, offering world-class hospitality, picturesque properties, and amenities and experiences that touch the heart and revive relationships,” says iLoveInns spokeswoman Deborah Sakach.

Hermann Hill Vineyard & Inn – Hermann, Mo.
hermann-hill-inn-hermannWine Country in Missouri is at its best at Herman Hill’s hilltop location overlooking the Missouri River where bald eagles sometimes fly past the hot tub on your private deck. Every evening warm cookies with ice cream are brought to your room. All rooms have fireplaces, steam showers, Jacuzzi tubs. Welcome trays include wine, cheese, bread and fruit.

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant Middleburg, Va.
goodstone-inn-middleburgGoodstone Inn is set on 265 beautiful Virginia acres and offers cottages, farm-to-table dining, hunt country breakfasts, gourmet picnics and canoeing on Goose Creek.  A swimming pool is set against the ivy covered historic mansion and a Jacuzzi boasts countryside and garden views.  Condé Nast quoted Jenna Bush Hager as saying Middleburg and Goodstone was her second best place  (Kennebunkport first).

Made INN Vermont Burlington, Vt.
made-inn-vermont-burlingtonHip and mod in the same sentence as Bed and Breakfast? Romantic Made Inn Vermont blends the chic with a setting in a classic Victorian near Church Street Marketplace with its sidewalk cafes, twinkling lights, and live music every day.  The innkeepers offer warm welcomes,  turn down service, and fridges filled with complimentary Vermont products, Vermont beers are offered and there’s  a 4th floor belvedere for panoramic views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks.

Black Dolphin Inn – New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
black-dolphin-inn-new-smyrna-beachWhat makes it sizzle? Hip style on a waterfront sanctuary. Couples take walks along the beach and use the private dock on the Intracoastal Waterway to  kayak, canoe, paddle-board with dolphins, manatees, white heron and pelicans. In the inn, an open-air exhibition kitchen makes for a fun foodie experience. innkeepers warm welcomes and attention to guest needs give travelers a profound sense of belonging.

Whitestone Country Inn – Kingston, Tenn.
whitestone-country-inn-kingstonLooking to elope? This inn has its own chapel, florist, gazebo and horse drawn carriage. Couples take walks through the acres of wildlife refuge fronting the lake or through the woods – there’s plenty of outdoor activities. Pristine rooms and cottages offer all the amenities as well as fireplaces and lake views. There’s a unique 8-station marriage walk with reflective questions, a favorite of the many who come for their anniversaries.

maison-d-memoire-rayneGrab a porch swing and afternoon tea and enjoy your authentic Cajun cottage, then stroll along the pond and stream, through meadows and trees for doing absolutely nothing or jump on a swamp tour and hunt down alligators, take an airboat to skim over lakes and bayous or visit the Flooded Forest of Cypress and Topulo trees draped with Spanish moss, home to 197 different species of birds.

Cheshire Cat Inn & Spa – Santa Barbara, Calif.
cheshire-cat-inn-santa-barbaraEnjoy the warmth of the Santa Barbara sun and the innkeepers whose motto is hospitality, hospitality, hospitality.  They will guide you into enjoying all the town has to offer. Take the train from Los Angeles along with your bikes and you’ll have the time of your life cycling along the boardwalk. Or stroll hand in hand through the streets reminiscent of the Mediterranean with perfect climate and sidewalk cafes and boutiques, then come home to two pristine Victorians for evening treats, a stroll in the garden and a dip in the Jacuzzi.

Captain Farris House – South Yarmouth, Mass.
captain-farris-house-south-yarmouthSometimes it’s the little touches that make your getaway perfect and Captain Farris nails it with many welcoming amenities such as offering beverages immediately upon your arrival. A National Register building, the inn is located in a venerable historic district with nearby attractions that include mysterious lighthouses, the National Seashore and bright red cranberry bogs,

The Queen Victoria Cape May, N.J.
queen-victoria-cape-mayYou won’t believe how much fun you’ll have here – men especially write rave reviews of the 35- room Queen  Victoria Inn. Maybe it’s the afternoon teas and fireside chats with other anniversary couples or the ease of strolling along gas-lit streets for dinner, or the beach at sunset.  Carriage rides and wine tastings at local wineries are popular.

three-tree-point-seattle-wa“The best place we’ve ever stayed,” is a frequent comment by those who have enjoyed the beautiful setting on a bluff overlooking Puget Sound, sunrises over Mount Rainer and sunsets over the Olympic Mountains. Some visit Pike Place Market to bring home something wonderful for the barbecue or simply choose Bistro Baffi or 909 restaurant for local cuisine.

Planning a Romantic Valentine’s Weekend in Goleta

Goleta CA is the ultimate destination for a romantic Valentine’s Day get-away weekend with your sweetheart. Whether you want to reconnect, spend some alone time together, or just enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company, Goleta is the perfect place for you. To find the easiest way to get here, just visit for information on transportation to Goleta.
We can also help you find the best hotels in Goleta. The Bacara Resort & Spa has a Special Valentine’s Day Package. Through February 28, they’re offering a Special Valentine’s Day Hotel Package including two nights at Santa Barbara’s most romantic retreat. Upon arrival, guests enjoy a bottle of champagne and a fruit welcome amenity in their room. You and your sweetie are invited to the Foley Wine Room to savor two tastings, where they bring California wine country to you. You might want to spend the whole weekend at Bacara, but here are a few other activities in Goleta that you can enjoy together:
  • Butterflies: You could have a chance to see the last of this year’s Monarch butterfly migration at The Goleta Butterfly Grove (Ellwood Main) in the Sperling Preserve on the Ellwood Mesa. Monarchs are usually found in Goleta from mid-November through mid-February and docents are available on weekends from 11am-2pm during these months.  As of January 17, there were approximately 2,400 monarch butterflies at the grove.
  • Trains: Couples will get a kick out of the Sweetheart Specials available February 15 and 16 at the Goleta Train Depot. Take a day-long trip along our beautiful coast line and enjoy the breathtaking Gaviota Coast, the legendary surfing beaches of the Hollister and Bixby ranches, Point Conception, the vineyards of the Edna Valley, and a variety of wildlife and botanical wonders. Includes a boxed lunch from Far Western Tavern.
  • Art: A Valentine’s Day Exhibition for Between Seer and Seen: Art+Love Exhibition:  Meet Mark Robert Halper, photographer of the critically acclaimed coffee table book Between Seer and Seen. His photographic portraits of local artists will have a special exhibition at the Santa Barbara Tennis Club for three weeks. Artists whose portraits will be on display have created original works of art to complement Halper’s work. Runs daily February 14 to March 7, 2014, from 10am to 9pm. 2375 Foothill Road in Santa Barbara. The Artist’s Reception on Friday, February 14, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, is open to the public.
Goleta is also home to some of the best hiking, biking, swimming and boating anywhere. After a day of fun, check out for restaurants in Goleta and find the perfect ending to your romantic day.
Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at!
Valentine's Day in Goleta
About is Goleta, California’s premier travel guide. It organizes all of the best Goleta restaurantsGoleta hotelsGoleta events and Goleta activities in one convenient location. brings all of the hottest Goleta, California happenings together in one convenient online locationVisit the website and Facebook page or call 805-967-2500 for more travel information about Goleta CA.
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Make It a Fun Valentine’s Date at The Neighborhood Bar!

If you are tired of all the hype and pressure surrounding Valentine’s Day, and are just looking for a great place to spend a fun night together, thenThe Neighborhood Bar is for you! Voted Best Bar in Santa Barbara, five years in a row, The Neighborhood Bar serves up a fun Santa Barbara Happy Hour until 8:00 p.m. every day. The Olympic Games will still be in full force, so you can sit back and cheer for Team USA on one of our eighteen satellite TVs. Or you and your sweetheart can have the opportunity to share in some good-natured competition with our Indoor Ping Pong Tables, Billiards, Foosball, Video Games and more.
TheNeighborhood FebFacebookProf2 300x238 Make It a Fun Valentine’s Date at The Neighborhood Bar!
Start off with one of our reasonably priced “Eat and Drink” specials, served from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. every day. For only $10 each, you and your Valentine can choose one of our menu items priced at $7.50 or less and enjoy your choice of a well cocktail, house wine, any pint, or any bottled beer. Or try one of our sandwiches and burgers, with your choice of thin-cut fries or a side salad. You might even be interested in one of our specialty pizzas, or you can build one of your own together. If you’re not in the mood for a full meal, try one of our bar munchies like flash fried jalapenos, chicken wings, taquitos, or crispy calamari strips.

You’re sure to enjoy the fun of our low key local hangout spot with Touch Tunes, ping pong, billiards, Buck Hunter, foosball, and many other fun games. You can sit inside and join in all the action, or relax on our dog-friendly patio while choosing one of the twelve beers we have on tap to taste-test with your Valentine.
Neighborhood 48 2 Make It a Fun Valentine’s Date at The Neighborhood Bar!
There is always something going on at The ‘Hood’, so come on down for Valentine’s Day and get a taste of the “real” Santa Barbara. You will spend the evening eating, playing games, watching sports, or listening to some great music. Everyone is welcome, so you don’t have to worry about what to wear or whether you’ll fit in. Just come prepared for a great evening because we’re all about the good friends, good food, and good times.
Bring your sweetheart down to The Neighborhood Bar and Grill for Valentine’s Day because the beer is always cold and the food is always good!
About The Neighborhood Bar and Grill: Located at 235 West Montecito Street in Santa Barbara, The Neighborhood Bar has been voted the best bar in Santa Barbara for five years in row. Guests enjoy a relaxed environment, happy hour until 8:00 p.m. every day, excellent food at an amazing price, served up by a helpful and friendly staff, and plenty of neighborhood bar entertainmentVisit the website and Facebook pageor call 805-963-7600 for more information or to book a private party.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa Wedding from Elizabeth Messina Photography

Just when you imagine that this day of gorgeous events from Elizabeth Messina could not possibly be topped, it gets topped in a major, major way. An elegant, crazy beautiful kind of way masterminded by Merryl Brown Events  with flower combos like you wouldn’t believe by Mindy Rice set against the prettiness of Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and all finished off with a French Patisserie. Phew, it’s A LOT but I promise you it’s so worth a good long look. Have a peek at all the beautiful imagery captured by Elizabeth, including some sweet as can be family portraits right here.

From Merryl Brown Events… Our bride and groom’s amazing wedding ceremony took place in the intimate Ojai Valley Inn Herb Garden. Cozy, with family and friends and the couple’s baby in her antique, flower-draped pram, we created a ceremony site that was perfect for the garden setting. Two antique urns on beautiful pillars held dramatic floral and fresh greenery, adding a beautiful depth and texture to the ceremony site. Situated on the sprawling green grass in the field below the ceremony was a classic white tent, draped in taffeta, with generous curtains pulled back with garlands of rich, peachy-golden toned floral. The peach tones floral arrangements were stunning, as they meandered down each table in a variety of antique vessels, enhanced by the natural amber glow of candle light. The room had a warm and romantic tone, and was particularly sweet with the grass below… a welcome juxtaposition to such a stunning and elegant tent. The custom wood and linen pillars and inset linen ceiling were fabulous and unique décor elements. The dark wood dining chairs were lovely, particularly at the end of each oval table, which held two chairs with a custom ruffled linen slipcover to match the table drape. Those slipcovered chairs were such charming elements.
The piece de resistance of the event was a patisserie and a charcuterie. The patisserie was every girl’s dream… while the charcuterie, every man’s. What an amazing and original reveal it was when these two beautifully designed boutique “stores” were revealed to guests’ delight after the cake was cut! The lighting and interior of each made them seem as if they were plucked from a tiny street in France.
The Patisserie had a tall, white display case, flanked by two elegantly framed gilded mirrors. Three crystal chandeliers hung from above, illuminating the soft pink draping on the walls of the shop. Cloches of fresh baked goods, truffles and macaroons all made by former Martha Stewart Food Editor Elizabeth Colling were bountiful. Staggeringly beautiful cakes and cupcakes were presented in an array of flavors and muted colors by the uber talented Robyn Loves Cake. Antique porcelain dishes were stacked high, allowing guests to help themselves or be served by the adorable white and pink frocked Patisserie attendants.
The Charcuterie/Fromagerie was more on the rustic side… as if you walked into a sixth generation family owned store. A tall armoire flanked with large chalkboards listing the ‘menu’ and an old French table with marble blocks displayed an array of worldly cheeses. French bread baskets hung on the walls, filled with fresh baguettes; sliced cured meats and olives were piled high on the table for guests to sample. Simple white dishes were stacked behind the apron clad servers ready to accommodate the requests of the “customers”. This was a wedding that was so incredibly charming and love filled from beginning to end. The video really helps to bring all of these images to life.
Photography: Elizabeth Messina | Design and Production: Merryl Brown Events | Videography: Isaac Hernandez | Draping, Furniture and Décor: Rrivre Works Inc. | Floral and Decor: Mindy Rice | Venue: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Collateral: The Stationery Collection |  Ceremony Music: Aurora Ensemble | Officiant: Soaring Starkey | Reception Band: Jumpstart | Sound and Lighting: 721 Productions | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Dance Floor: Barker Décor Service Inc. | Patisserie Desserts: Elizabeth Colling | Patisserie Cakes: Robyn Loves Cake | Wedding Cake: The Butter End Cakery| Hair: Travis Jay Hazzard | Makeup: Tomiko Taft | Wedding Dress: Claire Pettibone
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Creative Ways To Use Vanilla Products Over The Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone from our family here at Vanilla From Tahiti. As you gear up for the holidays, make sure you have plenty of our Vanilla From Tahiti products on-hand for all of your holiday baking, partying and gift-giving needs. Our Tahitian vanilla food products are made from the finest Tahitian vanilla beans, and can be used in a variety of unique ways over the holidays.

Baking: Whether entertaining guests or making holiday presents, cooks, chelato makers, chocolatiers, pastry chefs, and food lovers alike can all flex their baking muscles by adding the extra flavor of pure Vanilla From Tahiti to any recipe. Known for its aromatics, our Tahitian vanilla extract is the perfect addition to your next recipe. Its fruity, intense notes are excellent for baking and flavoring both sweet and savory dishes. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about anyone who has allergies to gluten, wheat or corn. Our products are all made from pure Tahitian vanilla beans, with nothing added during the extraction process.

Holiday Drinks: Add a pure vanilla bean to any of your holiday drink specials for an extra bit of visual appeal and flavor. Traditional holiday drinks like eggnog, rum toddies, or a Tom & Jerry will all taste better when graced with a vanilla bean.

Holiday Gifts: Looking for some unique gift ideas that everyone will love? How about some vanilla coffee or vanilla mustard? Or savor the tropical freshness of vanilla body care products including bar soap, conditioning shampoo, lotion, body oil, and shower gel.

Foodie Gifts: Every foodie on your list will appreciate our Tahitian Vanilla Sampler. This sampler is a convenient way to experience pure Tahitian vanilla in its most popular forms. Perfect for the home chef, this sampler includes ground vanilla, vanilla extract, and two Tahitian vanilla beans. Readers will enjoy learning about the culture and history of the world’s most popular spice in Vanille de Tahiti. Our Vanilla Gift Set, for that someone special, is the perfect collection of Tahitian vanilla goodies to surprise and delight any epicurean. It includes a copy of the Vanille de Tahiti book, vanilla mustard, ground vanilla, vanilla extract, and two Tahitian vanilla beans.

You may have noticed we rolled out a brand new web site last month, and to express our gratitude this Thanksgiving, we're giving you $5 in Rewards Points to put towards your next purchase just for registering on our NEW website by December 13!

Vanilla From Tahiti caters to those who expect the very best in quality vanilla bean products. No matter what your plans are for the holiday season, rely on Vanilla From Tahiti to add the finest touch of vanilla.

About Vanilla From Tahiti: Vanilla From Tahiti imports only real Tahitian vanilla beans from partners in Raiatea, French Polynesia. Since its founding the company has become the web’s premier site for pure Tahitian vanilla products, Tahitian vanilla extract, andTahitian vanilla beans. Vanilla from Tahiti won the prestigious Medaille D’Or Award in 2012 for its array of fine vanilla productsVisit the website and Facebook page or call 805-965-5153 to obtain more information,buy vanilla extract for all your holiday needs, or learn more about the Loyalty Rewards Program.

Primal Essence Presents 7 Benefits of Chai Concentrate

In the past few years we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of customers purchasing our chai concentrate. The West first came to love the savory flavors of this rich Indian drink in coffee houses and upscale restaurants. It has become so widespread that many industry analysts predict chai will become as popular as lattes and cappuccinos.
Leading edge chefs and health-conscious food service professionals have also discovered that chai can make a tantalizing addition to ice cream, breads, pancakes, cookies, and so much more. If you’re thinking about exploring the benefits of adding chai to your menu or drink offerings, here are the top seven benefits of using chai concentrate from Primal Essence:
1.  Ease of Use: Instead of struggling to find the individual ingredients or spending the time to make your own chai, purchasing it in bulk concentrate can save you time and money.
2.  A Little Goes a Long Way: Our unique extraction process enables Primal Essence to produce concentrates that are many times more potent than ground herbs and spices.
3.  High Quality: Our facility operates under the strict guidelines of a Quality Assurance Program consisting of Good Manufacturing Practices, a HACCP plan, and a Pure Food Guarantee.
4.  Affordable Pricing: Bulk practices mean we can offer more affordable pricing on a wide variety of bulk herbal extracts.
5.  Added Health Boost: Primal Essence uses only natural or certified organic ingredients including ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and black pepper in our chai concentrate. The spices which give chai its unique taste also impart great health benefits. Use it for its precious antioxidants and natural phytochemicals.
6.  Versatility: Simply pump it into hot or cold water, any oil, or any liquid base used in cooking for an added flavor boost. Chaicomplements any raw, vegan or organic menu or adds an extra zest to everyday recipes.
7.  Safe and Natural: Chai concentrate is pure and chemical-free, containing no saturated fat and no cholesterol. No additives or preservatives are used.
Adding the full-bodied flavor of chai to your food and drink offerings can help boost your restaurant or hotel in many ways. You can up the taste and health quotient of your meals without sacrificing any quality or increasing any cost. Chai concentrate is consistent, versatile, affordable, and natural. Try some today and see how chai concentrate can add to your bottom line.
About Primal Essence: Primal Essence in Oxnard, CA is a leading supplier of bulk herbal extracts to the food service industry, including restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other institutions. If you need bulk supplies of quality natural extracts like fenugreek extract,turmeric extractrosemary extract, chai concentrate, chamomile extractnatural Astaxanthinfennel extractspearmint extract, or supercritical extracts, turn to the professionals at Primal Essence. Visit the website and Facebook page or call 805-981-2409 for more information.