Seaside food and wine celebration
For the first time, the third annual “Bacchus on the Beach” event, a two-day seaside celebration of food and wine to benefit the Child Protection Center, will be open to the public. The event, set for Nov. 8-9 at The Resort at Longboat Key Club, includes vintner-hosted dinners ($135/each per person) on Friday night, and the “Passion of the Pig” barbecue ($38 per person) on Saturday. Tastings, blending classes and cooking demonstrations will complete Saturday’s activities.
The grand finale will be the Stone Crab Celebration & Wine Tasting ($200 per person). The resort’s culinary staff will prepare and serve dishes from tasting stations that showcase West Coast Florida’s wine and culinary offerings, and, of course, loads of stone crab claws.
For complete access, guests can purchase a Celebration Pass for $350, which includes attendance to one Vintner Dinner, admission to Passion of the Pig, festival demonstrations and the stone crab event.
Rates at the Resort at Longboat Key Club start at $289. For more information or reservations, visit www.longboatkeyclub.com.
Holiday home away from home
If you can’t be home for the holidays, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, is a delightful option. The resort is offering two holiday packages. The Holiday Bed and Breakfast package starts at $329 per night and allows guests to experience the beautifully decorated resort during the holiday season. The deal includes a coastal view room, full American breakfast for two, and daily valet parking. The offer is valid Nov. 27 through Dec. 29.
The New Year’s Eve Black & White Gala package starts at $859, and includes a one-, two-, or three-night accommodation option, champagne and chocolate strawberries upon arrival, breakfast buffet for two each morning, daily valet parking and admission for two to the New Year’s Eve Gala Celebration, which features a delectable buffet, live music, dancing, open bar and fireworks.
For details or reservations, call (904) 277-1100 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland.
Bridge run on the horizon
Almost time to lace up your sneakers and trot down to the Keys for the 5th Annual Key Largo Bridge Run on Nov. 9. The route crosses the 65-foot-high, 1.25-mile-long Jewfish Creek Bridge, and racers occupy the northbound lanes of the bridge and the southern portion of the 18-Mile Stretch, a section of the Overseas Highway that connects mainland South Florida with Key Largo.
The run is held in conjunction with a free-admission Health and Fitness Expo featuring a variety of vendors and health screenings. The expo is set for noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 8, at the Key Largo Holiday Inn at mile marker 100.
Specially priced Key Largo accommodations are available for the weekend event. For more information, call (800) 822-1088 or visit www.keylargobridgerun.com.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Vacation like the stars
The Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau revealed its latest website travel planning feature — Celebrities Seen itineraries — launched as part of a new online itinerary builder tool at PalmBeachFL.com/trip-builder. The 72-hour travel itineraries feature destination hotspots popular with the “who’s who” of red carpet personalities, athletes and socialites who frequent The Palm Beaches. Grouped into the three broad categories of Luxury, Golf and Family Fun, each itinerary includes some of the destination’s A-list resorts, hotels, attractions, dining and nightlife, complete with a list of recent publicized celebrity sightings. .
Visitors can use the itinerary builder tool to “vacation like the stars” by incorporating the Celebrities Seen itineraries into their trip. This feature allows users to build a custom vacation itinerary with a simple “click to add” option that populates their potential daily travel schedule with accommodations, attractions, dining and other experiences within The Palm Beaches.
The website also has suggested itineraries for marine enthusiasts, eco-adventures and holiday travelers. For more information or to experience the new planning tool and Celebrities Seen itineraries, visit www.PalmBeachFL.com/trip-builder.
Small town charm and a touch of fall
If you long for more of a fall feeling than you find in South Florida, consider a trip to tiny Micanopy, near Gainesville. Book a room at the Herlong Mansion. Not much has changed at the B&B in recent years, says Carolyn Stevens West, who owns the elegant mansion with four carved Corinthian columns and a wide veranda. Return guests will find the continued wonder of unspoiled quietness here in the tiny hamlet. The mansion has floors inlaid with maple and mahogany, 12-foot ceilings, tiger oak and walnut paneling. The dining room has ceiling-to-floor windows, giving guests a good look at breakfasts, scrumptious by all accounts. The fare ranges from country ham quiche and grits fritters, to apple sausage covered with cornbread. Eggs are delivered fresh every day from a local chicken farm.
Those seeking a peaceful start to the day can join in one of the daily yoga classes offered at Herlong. Some guests like to explore the old Micanopy cemetery, while others check out the shops. The Shop is full of Christmas décor. The Asian shop sells unique antiques. Dakota Mercantile sells creams and candles and hand-embroidered items. On Saturday nights, live auctions are held in the garage of a house featured in the “Doc Hollywood” movie that starred Michael J. Fox.
For reservations and information, call (800) HERLONG (437-5664) or visit www.herlong.com.
Mary Thurwachter is a West Palm Beach freelance writer and founder/producer of INNsideFlorida.com (www.innsideflorida.com). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org