This year is going to be anything but boring. Tokyo is going to host the Summer Olympics, while Sapporo will hold its Snow Festival. Jamaica will be celebrating the late Bob Marley’s 75th birthday, and Dublin will commemorate the life of writer James Joyce during Bloomsday. Of course, there are lesser-known events, too. Glouster, UK, will hold its annual Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, while Cocullo, Italy, will honor snakes with its annual Festa dei Serpari or Serpent Festival. And there will be carnivals all over. Venice will host more than three million visitors during its weeks-long celebration while two million people will head to Rio to take part in one of the oldest.
You may not have the opportunity to head to any of those events, so our travel writers have come up with suggestions for places you might want to visit in 2020. See the world. Celebrate with old—and new—friends. Make some memories.
Alberobello is a small commune in Puglia in southeastern Italy. During the 15th century, the area’s landowner forced the peasants to build homes without using mortar, and the residents found that the round shape was easy to build and able to support the conical roof. While most of the small town has what we consider “normal” buildings, with trulli dot its streets.There are two districts that house the majority of the trulli. Rione Aia Piccola, the residential area, is quiet and home to residents who still call the trulli home. Rione Monti, though, is full of bars, cafès, restaurants, shops, B&Bs, and more. The main attractions are the trullis, and many shop owners will invite you in to have a look around. You can also visit the town’s museum, Museo del Territorio. Ten trulli combine to display the ancient agricultural and building equipment as well as rooms decorated in period style. You can even stay in a bed-and-breakfast housed in trulli.
~ Christine Cutler, Cold Pasta and Red Wine
Napa Valley, California
One of Napa Valley’s most amazing wineries provides wine enthusiasts with awe-inspiring vistas of the bucolic rolling vineyards of Napa Valley. Perched high on a verdant hilltop in southern Napa Valley, Artesa Winery crafts small-batch world-class pinot noir and chardonnay. Its iconic modern architecture, captivating fountains, and award-winning wines make the avant-garde Spanish-American vineyards and winery a must visit. The property is so magnificent, it served as the setting for recent Hollywood movie Wine Country starring Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and a full cast of stars. One of the best Artesa experiences is enjoying a Heritage Flight of white and red Spanish-inspired wines perfectly paired with five small, delectable bites known as pintxos. You won’t find a more beautiful combination of scenery, wine and creative small plates in the Napa region.
~ Noreen Kompanik, What’s In Your Suitcase
San Diego, California
Sake and sushi options abound in San Diego, but only one, Saiko Sushi in North Park, has a sake sommelier to guide you through tastings. When the artful and incredibly fresh sushi arrives at your table, you might be confused about which sake to complement your meal. Start with one of several Sake Samplers, each with a different flavor profile, and ask questions of the bartender or Chef Anthony Pasquale, the master sake sommelier, for insights and recommendations. Hungry for more? Attend one of the sake tastings the chef organizes several times a year.
~ Elaine J. Masters, Trip Well Gal
Messina Hof Winery
The Texas Hill Country is full of wonderful wineries. A great example of why many wine lovers refer to the Texas Hill Country as the next Napa is Messina Hof Winery. Founded by the husband and wife team of Paul and Merrill Bonarigo, the winery has three locations and is the largest producer of Texas wines in the state. The original winery is in Bryan, just minutes from Texas A&M, Bonarrigo’s alma mater. Messina Hof recently celebrated their 40th anniversary of making great wines in the great state of Texas. Try the Paulo Cuvee blend, one of the most popular wines of many great ones made by this fabulous winery.
~ Scott Kendall, PlayStayEat
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Old Mesilla, part of the Las Cruces, New Mexico area, is one of the most authentic Old West towns in New Mexico. Sitting in a disputed area, the town became a US city in 1854. The border town still has most of its original buildings and lots of western legends. The plaza once was a stop for the Butterfield Stagecoach. The Basilica of San Albino was built in 1908 to replace the original 1855 adobe church built by Spanish Padres. The former courthouse and jail where Billy the Kid stood trial and was sentenced to hang in 1881 is still there but is a gift shop now. One of the oldest buildings was built as a home by Valentin Maese in 1849. Today, it houses Double Eagle Restaurant. Besides great food, the Double Eagle has a Romeo and Juliet type ghost story.
~ Kathleen Walls, American Roads
Dutchess County, New York
Just a quick train ride outside of New York City, the Hudson Valley stuns with rolling farmland, historic villages, beautiful hikes, and of course, fantastic food. Dutchess County has so much to offer. From cross-country ski trails to a hot air balloon festival, it’s an ideal weekend escape no matter what season you need to get away. You can walk through history in three National Historic Sites from the Roosevelt era, sleep in a castle, dine at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, and sip wine at Millbrook Winery, nominated by Wine Enthusiast for “American Winery of the Year.” There are dozens of independently owned restaurants to pick from celebrating love for local agriculture and seasonal flavors. No matter what flavor of adventure you’re looking for, you can discover it in Dutchess.
~ Kita Roberts, Pass the Sushi
California Surf Museum
The California Surf Museum in Oceanside is small but mighty with surf boards on display showing the history and sizes of boards. All ages will enjoy browsing the section about famous surfers and how the official sport of California has progressed through the years.
An original box camera used to take pictures while on an old board hitting the waves is on display as well as Bethany Hamilton’s surfboard which was destroyed by a shark that also bit her arm. There’s much to see and surfer dude docents love to talk with guests. The adaptive surf area which, by the way, has become a competitive sport, showcases equipment for those who don’t let limitations interfere with the ocean. There’s even a science section that explains how surfing conditions are predicted. The museum attracts people from across the world and is open daily 10am to 4pm (Thursdays until 8pm). Admission is $5. Your inner surf dreams can be realized in this fun museum.
~ M’Liss Hinshaw, M’Liss Travels
Albany, New York
On a recent trip to the Adirondacks in New York, I flew into Albany, spent the night, and then caught an Amtrak train north to my final destination. People I met in the plane and on the train had one thing in common— they all wondered what us in Albany that anyone would want to see. That reputation is certainly undeserved. Albany, the state capital of New York, is well worth spending at least 24 hours in even if you plan to head somewhere else on your trip. Visit the New York State Capitol building, an architectural wonder listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Marvel at Empire State Plaza and the uniquely designed performing arts building affectionately dubbed The Egg. Spend a few hours wandering around the New York State Museum (It’s free), and prepare to be moved by the 9/11 exhibit that is unlike any other. Oh, and be sure to cross over the pedestrian bridge from downtown to the Hudson River to wander a path along its bank. Not far from the bridge is another museum, the USS Slater, a former destroyer-class warship. Need more information? Check out our story “24 hours in Albany – fascinating walk through time.”
~ Michael Hodgson, HI Travel Tales
Photo Caption: Even on a drizzly summer day, the mountains stop you in your tracks in awe. Here along the Karst Weg on the Kitzbüheler Horn, the Alps go on forever.
When I mentioned to friends that my recent destination was the Austrian Alpine town of Kitzbühel, their responses were usually, “Oh-la-la!” or “Be sure to pack your furs and diamonds!” Don’t let such comments keep you from visiting Kitzbühel. Escaping much destruction in World Wars I and II, the Tyrolean town offers something for everyone. That includes a copper mine, a quaint old town never lacking in festivals, historical farmhouses, 14th century churches, enjoying a beverage in spectacular huts with a 360-degree view, gourmet restaurants, Austrian wine (try the Grüner Veltliner), and, of course, the mountains. Oh, those peaks are magnificent indeed. Whether you are a passionate winter or summer athlete or just want to walk a few miles with friends or family, Kitzbühel slopes will meet your needs. Tyrolean restaurants aren’t lacking, either. Rasmushof sits at the base of the famous Streif ski run and is run by the great-granddaughter of the first person to ski down the Kitzbüheler Horn (1893). And the restaurant inside the Q! Resort near the train station has a spectacular array of organic, fresh, and local offerings. Want locally made cheese or honey? Stop into Josef Mühlbacher’s Lackenhof farm stand at most weekly markets. Read more in “Kitzbühel in the rain – best rainy day options for travelers” and “Review of the Q! Resort.”
~ Therese Iknoian, HI Travel Tales
Café du Palais
Step back and savour the art déco decor, stained-glass ceiling by Jacques Simo, paintings that adorn every wall, and figurines that cover any spare countertop at Café du Palais.
Since the 1930s, four generations of the same family have been serving traditional French cuisine at Café du Palais situated in the centre of Reims. The menu will satisfy the gastronome within you, and every whim will be catered for by staff who take pride in the knowledge of every dish served. They know each ingredient and its origins. Take your time to enjoy the décor; savour every bite; taste every sip. Do not miss Café du Palais during your next visit to Reims.
~ Robyn Nowell, Robyn’s Seasonal Kitchen
Junction City, Oregon
At Antiquum Farm, wines are grown, not made. That’s according to their fearless winemaker and founder, Stephen Hagen. The small-production vineyard lays in the tiny and quaint town of Junction City, Oregon, and that keeps it ultra laid-back. While guests are welcome to visit and enjoy some wine tasting, visiting Antiquum Farm is only available for private appointments throughout the week. On just a few exceptions a year do they find themselves “open.”
Their higher elevation in Oregon’s Willamette Valley makes their pinot noir all the more irresistible with its fruit-driven tannins and natural acidity. The lush surroundings, sights of baby lambs and chickens, and the intimacy of the winery make Antiquum Farm all the more reason to be on your list for the new year.
~ Mary Farah, Along Comes Mary
The Burgundy region of France is well known for its wonderful red wines. But did you know the region is also home to champagne and chablis? A truly unique way to explore the region is on the La Belle Epoque barge cruise with European Waterways. This six-day luxury cruise is the ultimate slow-travel experience that introduces you to some of the area’s most memorable sights. Besides touring wineries, visits to the elegant Chateau de Commarin, the UNESCO listed Abbey de Fonteney, and the highly decorative Ancy le Franc Chateau provide a memorable glimpse into this region’s long history and culture. You’ll experience all this while being pampered on board the barge with gourmet meals, fine wines, and the most personal and attentive service.
~ Rose Palmer, Quilt Tripping
If you are looking for the perfect winery to visit in 2020, I have found just the right spot that every wine enthusiast will love. Dancin Vineyards will fill you with a sense of awe. It begins with the beauty of the site and the Tuscan style wine tasting room, and it moves to the passion of its owners, Dan and Cindy Marco, and on to the wine—chardonnay, pinot noir, barbera, sangiovese, and more that show the elegance and grace of the winemaking process. Top off your wine tasting with a meal or a picnic on the grounds of this winery. Not only are their wines outstanding, but the food is exceptional, too. Find the perfect spot to spend an afternoon in the Rogue Valley. Dancin Vineyards is located in Southern Oregon within a half-hour of Ashland or Medford. Consider visiting Dancin Vineyards as part of a trip to Ashland, Oregon.
~ Cori Solomon, The Written Palette