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Home Travel Western Travel Buzz Latest News, Deals & Savings for Sept. 21

Latest News, Deals & Savings for Sept. 21

Half Moon Bay in northern California will be celebrating the pumpkin in October, Jackson Hole Fall Elk Bugling Ecotour being offered by Wyoming Inn, and Arizona’s Fairmont Scottsdale hotel is offering weekends with famous authors.

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California's Half Moon Bay Celebrates All Things Pumpkin

From a renowned annual art and pumpkin festival to farm fresh, pumpkin-inspired cuisine, Half Moon Bay in northern California is getting ready to pay homage to one of the public's favorite gourd.
A vibrant coastal town located approximately 40 minutes south of San Francisco, Half Moon Bay is widely recognized as the pumpkin capital of the world with more than 3,000 tons of pumpkins produced each year by local growers. 

Bountiful fields are rich with brilliant orange pick-your-own pumpkins, pumpkin beer is on tap, homemade pumpkin ravioli is on the menu and specialty pumpkin spa experiences offer the perfect seasonal indulgence.

www.visithalfmoonbay.org for everything you might need to plan your trip - from information on cozy inns and luxury coastal resorts, to renowned restaurants, farm visits, golfing, wine tasting, fishing, whale watching, surfing and much more.

Below is a summary of 2009's pumpkin-related events in Half Moon Bay that could make for a great fall vacation.

Glass Pumpkin Patch
Oct. 10 - 11, 2009 / 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The grounds of La Nebbia Winery will be transformed into a glistening glass pumpkin patch featuring the work of artist and glass blower Douglass C. Brown, owner of Colquhoun Glass Works. Displayed throughout the grounds, this artistic installation will feature a large selection of one-of-a-kind glass pumpkins available for purchase. For those who prefer a more hands-on experience, Brown offers glass blowing classes. La Nebbia is open daily for wine tasting from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 12341 San Mateo Rd., call (650) 726-9463 or visit
www.lanebbiawinery.com for more information.

36th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off
Oct. 12, 2009 / 7 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Pumpkin growers from California, Oregon and Washington descend upon Half Moon Bay with their colossal pumpkins to vie for the coveted title of heaviest pumpkin. In 2008, two-time champion Thad Starr obliterated the field with his record 1,528-pound Atlantic Giant. This year, he'll compete to defend his title. In a pay-by-the-pound system, the winners receive $6 per pound for the champion pumpkin. A special $500 prize will be awarded to the "most beautiful pumpkin" as judged by the audience based on color, shape and size. IDES Grounds, call (650) 726-9652 or visit
www.miramarevents.com for more information.

39th Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 17 - 18, 2009 / 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The World Pumpkin Capital of Half Moon Bay celebrates its bountiful fall harvest with a fantastic lineup of rustic pumpkin patches, harvest-inspired crafts, home-style foods, expert pumpkin carvers, the Great Pumpkin Parade, a bone-chilling haunted house, a titanic weigh-off of champion pumpkins, a pie-eating contest, pumpkin carving, costume contests, a pancake breakfast, a five & 10K run/walk and three stages of blockbuster entertainment. Admission is free. Main Street, call (650) 726-9652 -or visit  
www.miramarevents.com for more information.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming Fall Elk Bugling Ecotour

A new travel package from Wyoming Inn located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming takes advantage of nature's dramatic autumn show with a family-friendly, four-hour Sunset Expedition through the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with the experienced biologist/guides of Wildlife Expeditions, a division of nonprofit Teton Science Schools.

The ecotour is part of a two-night Wyoming Inn Elk Bugling Package that offers great value - including an additional $200 discount on trips after Oct. 3, 2009.

The Wyoming Inn Elk Bugling Package for two includes the Wildlife Expeditions four-hour Sunset Expedition for two in a customized, safari-style vehicle accompanied by a biologist guide, and two nights accommodations for two in Queen/Queen or King room, including:

  • - Complimentary breakfast each morning of your stay
  • - Complimentary shuttle service from the airport, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
  • - Pillowtop beds for a great night's sleep
  • - Free snacks available all day
  • - Warm cookies with milk each evening

The package rate for two adults/two nights inclusive of the Sunset Expedition starts from $790 until Oct. 3, when the rate is reduced to $590. The Wyoming Inn Elk Bugling Package rate varies depending on size and make-up of family groups; Fireplace, King-Fireplace-Jacuzzi-Kitchen rooms and extra nights are available on request.

For information, visit
www.wyominginn.com or call (800) 844.0035.

Fairmont Scottsdale Schedules Weekends with Famous Authors

Arizona's Fairmont Scottsdale hotel is offering "Season of Personal Discovery" vacations focused on up-close and personal time with 32 best-selling authors and lecturers over six themed weekends.

From Sept. 25 to Dec. 6, 2009, the weekends invite travelers to follow their passion and learn life-enriching skills. The schedule includes:

Each themed weekend includes a three-day/two-night stay at the resort, exclusive admission to the Friday "Meet the Authors" welcome reception, Saturday readings, demonstrations and "Q&A" sessions, a Saturday evening "Mix & Mingle" reception and gala dinner, a Sunday farewell breakfast and a keepsake "Season" gift.

Living Your Best Life - Sept. 25-27, 2009
The world's top lifestyle and health writers join together for this inspiring weekend: Chris Crowley, Joseph C. Piscatella, Nicholas Boothman, Sean Foy, Tom Moon and Tom Valenti.

For the Love of Books - Oct. 2-4, 2009
Riveting and powerful, authors Anita Diamant, Debra Dean and Lisa See have each crafted works of literary art.

Ultimate Girls Getaway - Oct. 9-11, 2009
This pampering weekend invites grown-up girls to pack their "little black dress and their pj's" to spend time together with fun, entertaining events and fascinating workshops led by Nadja Piatka, Beverley East, Kathy Balland, Linda Henley-Smith, Sandi M. Marques and Lisa McKenzie.

Food and Wine for the Soul - Oct. 23-25, 2009
For passionate epicureans, this weekend features these food and wine experts: Michael Mina, Michelle Bernstein, Jamie and Bobby Deen, Karen MacNeil and Robin Goldstein.

Cloak and Dagger - Nov. 6-8, 2009
Gripping and suspenseful, this weekend delves into the minds of masters of mystery: Steve Berry, Les Standiford, Joseph Finder, M.J. Rose and David Morrell.

Grand Finale Weekend - Dec. 4-6, 2009
From a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist, to crime novelists and global philanthropists, this weekend is literary jambalaya, packed with laughs, mystery and a meaningful punch. Literary Stew includes Dave Berry, Ridley Pearson and Scott Turow, and Small Change for Big Change features Wendy Smith, Jacqueline Novogratz and Jessica Jackley.

Pricing is $499 per person, based on double occupancy, including gratuities. For complete details and reservations, call (800) 908-9397 or visit