Wednesday, January 24, 2018

January Travel, Deals and Steals Without the Crowds

Hopefully everyone has recovered from the holidays physically, emotionally, and financially.  If you can say you are relatively healthy in all three, this is the perfect time to start traveling again as you can get wonderful deals for hotels and restaurants without the crowds and in some instances, the best weather of the year. 

Leavenworth, Washington

Last year, I took advantage of the low rates the weekend after Ice Fest and visited picturesque Leavenworth Washington - where this Christmas lights loving girl got to still enjoy the beautiful decorations the town is generous to keep up until Valentine’s Day without the wall to wall crowds that flooded the town during the month of December.  At just $500 for a 3 night stay in a deluxe room with fireplace at the Alpen Rose Inn including a daily hearty breakfast, evening dessert and 2 ski lift tickets, it was a steal. 

Carmel, California

I am lucky enough to live about a 2 hour drive away from Carmel for a quick day trip or overnight road trip so I have probably been there every month over the years.  Ironically it is normally foggy and a bit chilly during the summer months, which is great if you are trying to escape a heat wave.  However, if you are looking for warm and sunny, I find you tend to have the best luck in January.  Exploring it at a leisurely pace without the crowds and tour buses enables you to experience it the way it use to be before it became too touristy.  I was able to find that peace and solitude on a rare Sunday evening one May before summer started - but find it most pleasant in January like I did just a couple of weeks ago, enjoying brunch outdoors in a mild 72 degree weather,

then a drive with the sun roof open through Carmel Valley before watching the sunset at Carmel Beach.


Restaurant Week

At least in the San Francisco Bay Area, Restaurant Week has been hitting many cities with culinary gems. 

After the horrific 9/11 attacks, because travel and tourism had been hit hard, the restaurant industry had suffered as a result.  So shortly after the holidays when it is normally the slowest season with everyone still paying off their bills, to encourage local residents to dine out again, San Francisco started Dine About Town where for the last 2 weeks  in January even high end restaurants were offering 3 course prix fixe menus for as low as $30.  Over 16 years later I still remember dining on that crab cake appetizer at the Cliff House overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Due to the success of it, it had continued since with many cities neighboring and across the country jumping on the bandwagon and rebranded it Restaurant Week.  Although most high end restaurants are no longer participating, it is still a great way to discover some wonderful up and coming gems. 

Although Oakland Restaurant Week had already ended, I did take advantage of two great values, Belly/Sweet Belly,



and Navi’s Kitchen. 

We are now in the midst of Berkeley’s Restaurant Week like these indulgences from Saha that offered a choice from their full menu,


with San Francisco coming right up.  With all these wonderful deals and steals, you may want to make mid-late January Travel a new tradition.      

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