When Father Lasuen founded Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1775, he created the 7th of modern California's 21 missions, which were intended to serve as epicenters of Christianity and Spanish culture in the New World. The mission system fell into disarray and disrepair during the war for Mexican independence and the Mexican-American War, but San Juan Capistrano remains, standing as a relic of that era and a testament to California's historical mélange of European and Native American cultures.
The mission invites visitors to learn more about the region’s history by exploring 10 acres of preserved adobe architecture, fountains, and gardens. Audio tours give groups a unique insight into the site's stories, and rotating exhibits feature artwork as well as historical and religious artifacts from San Juan Capistrano. Hands-on activities allow guests to recreate the experience of centuries-old mission life by making adobe bricks, panning for gold, or connecting computers to dial-up modems.
Flavors of Laguna's tasting tours meander to well-known Laguna Beach restaurants as well as eateries kept quiet by locals, with tastings of a wide variety of cuisines along the way. Though stops can vary, past trips have seen tour-goers dig spoons into Dolce Gelato's creamy handcrafted treats, sample sizzling dishes at La Sirena Grill, or cozy up to the horseshoe island bar at Lumberyard. (Wine or beer tastings are available for an extra fee.) Between bites, guides point out major sights during casual strolls around Laguna's streets, ensuring that tours, like city maps made of chocolate, are informative as well as delicious.
?We?re not wine snobs; we just like good wine.? The motto of WINEormous sums up the working philosophy of laidback enophile Tom Plant. He scouts out wineries and wine-focused eateries in the grape-rich area, often becoming friends with local winemakers and the elves who add just the right number of dewdrops to each grape. These relationships lead to informative and personality-packed tours for his guests, who learn the backstories behind tasting pours during their jaunts.
Lux Travel Group's early-morning ground service chariots riders to Las Vegas in style, boasting luxurious service and perks similar to a first-class flight. Commence road trips with a champagne toast before sipping on two additional complimentary cocktails from the extensive drink menu. A continental breakfast or a lunch package consisting of a half sandwich, fresh fruit or salad, and a freshly baked cookie fuels passengers up for Olympic-level Internet surfing on the free WiFi (available on most routes, but subject to location and satellite interference from clouds and bandwidth-stealing UFOs). After reveling in the bus-centric festivities, wind down during a movie screening with a chocolate-mint-drizzled cake pop. Finally, a warm scented towel allows guests to freshen up for their triumphant arrival in Vegas.
Diana Lefort frolicked with horses as a child on her family's Arizona ranch, developing a passion that led to her owning and caring for several of her own quarter steeds as an adult. Now with 30 years of professional equine experience, she welcomes every opportunity to blend her two passions: horseback riding and the gorgeous scenery of the Temecula Valley's wine country. She and her team begin their stallion-studded tours at various wineries in the region, where experts demonstrate the incantations used to summon tears from grapes and participants tipple seasonal fermented juices from at the chosen winery. The team then saddles participants on well-seasoned steeds with gentle temperaments and good credit ratings for tours through lush vineyard trails as the morning dew evaporates under the rising sun or as daylight slowly unspools around them into a glorious sunset. Many tours include a gourmet meal from local farmers at the Creekside Grille at Wilson Creek Winery.
The savvy guides behind DeVine Tours give groups insight into the winemaking process during approximately five-hour trips that cover every step from crushing to tasting. During their daily tours, groups set out to a rotating lineup of stops that feature some of Temecula's finest wineries. Passengers have ample opportunities to taste bold reds, dry whites, and sweeter varietals, and purchase wine at each winery along the tour.