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July 23, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
The boy born to Prince William and his wife, the former Catherine Middleton, drew throngs of people to Buckingham Palace in London after the announcement was made Monday. But what about celebrations on this side of the pond? Pacifica Hotel Co. launched an It's a Boy sale on rooms at 15 California hotels, taking 20% off the price -- but only for reservations made in the next 48 hours. The deal: The It's a Boy sale promises the "royal treatment" for guests who want to save on stays at a number of coastal venues.
July 3, 2013 | By Jay Jones
Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep may have made famous the bridges of Madison County, Iowa. But that county's six covered bridges are a mere ripple in the river compared with the 20 in Lane County, Ore. This sprawling county, which stretches from the Pacific Coast through Eugene to the Cascade Mountains, boasts the largest concentration of such spans west of the Mississippi River. The tab: Weekend room rates this summer at Inn at the 5th in Eugene start at $189. (Eugene hotels can fill up when the University of Oregon Ducks have home games so book in advance in season.)
June 23, 2013 | By Avital Andrews
Say "redwoods" and you're apt to think of Yosemite. But the world's largest remaining old-growth redwood forest is actually 200 miles north of San Francisco, along a fairy-tale stretch of the 101 Freeway. Dotted with small towns and kitschy roadside attractions, Humboldt County's redwood corridor supplies a literal breath of fresh air to anyone with an urge to get far from urbanism. In April, my husband and I spent two nights in the region. Not including gas for our drive from San Francisco, we spent about $50 for meals at Sicilito's and the Lost Coast Café.
June 16, 2013 | By Amy Strong
Many Napa Valley wineries are beginning to welcome visits from families, and they're making a serious effort to keep the kids engaged. Lest we forget, wineries are farms, and in many cases they have farm animals, game birds, fish ponds, picnic grounds and other kid magnets. Not all of wine country is kid-friendly, mind you, but you can find ample attractions to make this a satisfying destination for serious wine lovers … and grape juice lovers too. The tab: We spent about $647 for a family of four, including $315 for one night at the Villagio Inn, $260 on meals and $72 on a castle tour and wine tasting.
June 12, 2013 | By Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times
With ocean views selling at a pricey premium throughout Southern California, it can be dumbfounding to encounter a prominent downtown Santa Monica hotel that deliberately averts its gaze from the water. The boxy former Holiday Inn near the Third Street Promenade, however, is probably not long for this world. At the prompting of city officials, the owners have come up with a plan to raze the aging hotel and erect a three-tiered showplace that embraces the Pacific with outdoor terraces, a rooftop restaurant and sea vistas from every possible angle.
May 31, 2013 | By Rosemary McClure
The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa , an architecturally eclectic National Historic Landmark in Riverside, would like you as a guest with a package that's $189 a night. You'd be in good company: The inn has played host to 10 U.S. presidents and vice presidents, besides such celebrities as Bette Davis, Barbra Streisand and James Brolin. The deal: The castle-like downtown hotel, which opened at the turn of the 20th century, is a member of the Historic Hotels of America. It features four dining venues, including a AAA Four Diamond restaurant, a spa and a popular wedding venue, St. Francis of Assisi Chapel.
May 12, 2013 | By Amanda Jones
To some, a Mother's Day getaway means a don't-look-back, tires-screeching hall pass for an escape with girlfriends. To others, it means an amorous sojourn with a husband or partner. Then there are those who want to take along their kids or even the family pet. Herewith, places to suit all preferences. A tip: You can sometimes get fantastic last-minute deals on websites such as . Le Méridien, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia For the mother - or family - who has been everywhere.
April 4, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"Babe's and Ricky's Inn," Ramin Niami's new documentary on the legendary L.A. blues club, is a bit like the music that founder Mama Laura gathered up in her big, open-hearted embrace - an improvisational riff filled with weeping guitars, wailing harmonicas, pounding keyboards and sweat-soaked players rather than rigorous storytelling. If you don't want to get up and move at some point during this film, go see a doctor. Music in "Babe's and Ricky's" is righteous and raucous and easy to come by, but the story of Mama Laura is more elusive.
March 31, 2013 | By Valli Herman
Cowboys are my weakness. That's not just the title of my favorite Pam Houston book, but the truth about my undying fascination with those icons of the Wild West. These days, when most of the horses are under the hood instead of a barn roof, it's a challenge to find an authentic outpost where rootin,' tootin' cowboys still have a foothold. That's why there's Prescott. Though the mile-high city about 90 miles northwest of Phoenix is becoming a desirable retirement haven, it's more notable for its long-running rodeo, historic downtown and saloons that are the next-best thing to time travel.
March 25, 2013 | By Anne Harnagel
Nature photographers looking to polish their camera skills may want to check out this Big Sur hotel package, which comes with a complimentary room upgrade. The Ventana Inn & Spa 's Photo Safari includes: Accommodations in a Big Sur Suite, or better. A $150 dining credit, good for dinner for two (one per stay). Two 50-minute spa treatments. One two-hour photography session and guided tour of Big Sur, led by an instructor. One 16-by-24-inch print of an image taken during the photo tour.
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