Danielle Robb is the executive producer and host of A Place in the Sun, an eclectic lifestyle, property, and travel show on Discovery’s Velocity Network. A Place in the Sun is dedicated to helping home buyers break boundaries in their own lives, while searching for affordable property around the world either for relocation, as an investment property, or as a vacation home. Last month, Danielle shared her Vacations on a Dime suggestions and today she highlights her favourite vacation destinations for this time of year. So without further ado, over to Danielle!
This region is best known for its wines but it also has a rich cultural and culinary heritage that shouldn’t be overlooked. Many of the resorts in this region are small and cozy, but offer top-notch service and will even arrange a wine tour for you or a cooking class.
After long days of filming, I looked forward to watching the sunset disappear behind the snow-capped Andes with a glass of Malbec in hand, which did in fact become my wine of choice after my visit there. Many of the wineries serve food that is harvested on the property. I didn’t have a bad meal here and the empanadas were the best I’ve ever tasted.
The Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia in March is a fantastic festival for the wine lover. For the more adventurous, book a whitewater rafting or mountain climbing excursion or ride up the Andes Mountains on horseback. If you are in the San Rafael region, visiting the breathtaking Atuel Canyon is a must!
Being south of the equator, it will be in the 80’s this time of year but with over 330 days of sun annually, this is really a destination spot that can be enjoyed year round. The simplicity of life in Mendoza is a beautiful thing. There is a reason they call this the Napa of 50 years ago.
Before our first season shoot here, this part of BC Canada was completely unknown to me. However it didn’t take long to fall in love with what I call “the best kept secret of the North”.
The Okanagan Valley is a 4 season destination spot and can be enjoyed year round. If you are a skiing or snowboarding enthusiast, this is the perfect winter trip. It’s just a short flight from Seattle or Portland and an easy destination for anyone on the west coast. It has world-class skiing without the attitude you can sometimes encounter at swanky ski destinations stateside. The atmosphere is relaxed and the people are down-to-earth, no attitude here! I know it’s a stereotype, but it’s true- the Canadians are so nice!
I try to be conscious about what I eat, so I really appreciate the flourishing organic and farm-to-table movement that is evident in many of the restaurants around the Okanagan. Just to be clear, the Okanagan is a region that is made up of picture-perfect towns, (with storybook names like Peachland). There isn’t a city I wouldn’t recommend in this region- so pick your activity of choice and resort that offers it and just go!
My love for Canada continues in the city of Montreal, which has the charm and sophistication of a large European city without the long flight.
For a culinary experience, wander down St. Laurent or Crescent Street, both are lined with great pubs and restaurants. My pick is Buono Notte, a “seen and be seen” hotspot with delicious food. If you’re up for some shopping head to Ste-Catherine Street, it’s also a perfect spot for people watching!
I’m a huge sports fan and if there is ever a place to take in a hockey game, this is the city to do it. Montreal Canadians are part of the “original six”, a staple of this city and the fans are wild! Even if you are not a hockey fan, it’s an event worth experiencing.
What I also love about this city is there always seems to be a concert or festival happening (even in chilly winter). Whether you are passionate about music- from Jazz to Electronic- Montreal has a festival for it. This time of year there is the Montreal En Lumiere festival. It’s 11 days of food, concerts and art in a beautifully illuminated downtown setting. So, get on a plane now or mark your calendars for next year!
I’m in London for business quite often and it has become my favorite big city in the world. I think it mixes the historic with the modern better than anywhere else. It feels timeless and of-the-moment all at the same time. I think I could go to London every other month for the rest of my life and still barely explore all of the museums this great city has to offer. No matter what interests you (art, history, biology, religion, medicine, toys, aviation, clocks, ballet)- there is a museum in London dedicated to it.
If I stay in London over a weekend, I’ll usually take in the Portobello Market and spend the afternoon meandering through Notting Hill. If I’m feeling more adventurous I’ll take the train out to Oxford or Cambridge for the day. I walk as much as humanly possible in this city and I find something new to explore every time I’m there.
London is also the city to take in some incredible shows. They have everything from the Classics to musicals we won’t see on Broadway for another year or two. Just do your homework in advance to make sure you know what is playing and get tickets early.
I have to agree with Danielle here, London is one of my favourite cities too. I’ll be running some more detailed pieces on it over the next few months as part of a series of guest travel posts by local writers. I’ve lived in or near London for much of the past 20 years, so I know it well. If you would like to write a guest post about your hometown, please do get in touch!
Nelson, New Zealand
With the seasons reversed, New Zealand is actually enjoying summer this time of year. It has something for everyone but I would say it is especially fitting for the adventurous type. We filmed around the city of Nelson on the south island, to date I don’t think any show of ours has as much activity in it as our New Zealand episode. I sea kayaked, bungee jumped, zip-lined and road ATV’s through the mountains- all within 20 minutes of this seaside community.
If a more relaxed day is what you are after, spend it touring one of the many family run wineries or walk through downtown and pick up a few souvenirs from the thriving arts and crafts community. I found some beautiful one of a kind jewellery and couldn’t pass up stopping by the Jens Hansen store; the jeweller who made the original ring for “Lord of the Rings”. I also came back with a few wool sweaters- after all this is a country where sheep outnumber people.
This part of the Southern Island is a great home base to explore what I think is one of the top 5 most beautiful countries in the world. There’s a reason they film so many movies there- it provides jaw-dropping vistas at every turn. I’m looking forward to returning to New Zealand for season two!
Thank you so much to Danielle for sharing some of her wonderful vacation destinations with us. For more great travel information, don’t forget to check out A Place in the Sun on Discovery’s Velocity Network.