August 21, 2015

Eat Well, Be Happy On Your Vacation

The world is a grand place. There are endless opportunities to explore and experience different cultures, histories and landscapes. There are endless options available for traveling, from local or national, to around the world, and there is something to cater to for any budget. But there is one thing that no matter how or where you go, that always unites people and makes any vacation that much more special. That one thing is food. Did you know you can make food your focus for a vacation?

Tourism and travel in general have many facets from the big picture to the finer details which cater to the varied palates of travelers. One aspect includes vacations based on culinary experiences. culinary tour, whether you travel with a guide or independent, brings you up close and personal
to a regions foods. You go beyond eating national dishes and regional favorites, there is more to explore than specific foods known in different destinations. You can learn how to cook in a specific style. You can take the opportunity to bring home the know how to recreate a dish taught to you by experts in their field. And with these opportunities, you can truly get to know the spirit of a place, the heart of the people.

France and Italy have become known as European food meccas where you can receive cooking lessons from renowned chefs in a many locations. Culinary tours go beyond Europe though, you can journey through culinary tours across Asia, the United States, and the Middles East as well. Anyone who has a love of food can take a vacation to enjoy all that a particular region or style of food offers.

Beyond cooking lessons, when you take a culinary tour you get in depth, behind the scenes experiences such as taking a trip to local markets with a personal chef where you can see firsthand where they get the best of their local ingredients. The spice bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey is a feast not only for the eyes but full of exotic aromas as well. 

There are opportunities to tour vineyards that are hundreds of years old, and take a course in wine making. In Portugal you can even get a pampered spa day with wine therapy which uses grapes and other parts of the plant for skin care. 

Take a step back in time in Greece and join in the annual olive harvesting, partaking in long standing traditions from harvesting of the trees to pressing the fragrant olive oil by stone. 

Croatia, home of incredible truffles offers you a chance to go truffle hunting at night with a local farmer and his dog. Imagine the quiet calm of the dark forest and the treasure to be found. 

Photo Zhaffsky
Back here in the states, take a trip to Louisiana for a top rated cook vacation all about creole and Cajun food. These extraordinary comfort foods will be beckoning you to learn and taste all day long.

Photo Nicole Tarazona -

Do you love tea? You can fully immerse yourself in the history and culture of tea in China. There is an international tea festival and tours which give you hands on teach to pick the right tea leaves for a fragrant and tasty blend.

See for yourself the bustling fish market and taste the fruits of your labor as you learn to roll your own sushi from a master in Japan.

Whatever you love about food, if you want to go deeper in understanding that which you love and create a lifelong memory, a culinary tour could be just for you. When it comes to leisure travel, you are the focus, what you want to experience is what we at C.P. Trips will help you plan. For a small fee we will help your vacation dreams comes true. Check out our Website page, Vacation Ideas for You, which is updated regularly for more ideas. Call us at 503-658-5646 or email at for more information.


August 5, 2015

Go Off the Beaten Path along the Oregon Coast

If you live in Oregon, chances are you have been to the Coast and have your favorite places to go and things to do when you are there. If you are planning a visit to Oregon, the coast is more than likely a part of your travel plans as one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon. No matter where you begin or how many times you have been, there are always new and exciting things to experience along the Oregon Coast. We have done some of our own research and exploration to find some unique places and activities for you to check out the next time you go traveling down Highway 101.

Seaside is one of the most popular towns in all of Oregon. This quaint town has all the charm you could want in a beach town with a boardwalk, and plenty of shops too. But Seaside has a lesser known side, one which holds a gem waiting to be discovered. At the North end of Seaside is the Necanicum River which flows into the Pacific. You can reach the mouth of the river by crossing it at 12th Street and then head north to the end of the Seaside Promenade. This area is full of rich nutrients and makes the ideal place for Sand dollars, the pinnacle beach combing treasure. Because this part of North end of Seaside toward the next town, Gearhart and you will find more whole sand dollars than just about anywhere else in the state. But be aware when you go, you may run across live specimens. These are usually a light lavender color and look like they have a laye of velvet hairs all around. Take one of these homes and the resulting smell will not be pleasant. Just look for ones that are white, these are the remnant shells of these one-time urchins, and make for wonderful coastal memories.
the Pacific is also fed by the Columbia River just to the north, Sand dollars are able to thrive, and the beach proves it. Take a stroll along the beach between the

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach is known the world over, but did you know there is more than one Haystack Rock along the Oregon Coast? There is a taller Haystack Rock in Pacific City, and even a third one in Bandon. Haystack Rock in Pacific City is more than 100 feet taller than the one in Cannon Beach. It stands more than a mile offshore so you can’t get up close to it- but it is quite a sight to behold. The Pacific City Haystack Rock is also a protected wildlife refuge, like the one in Cannon Beach. While you can’t swim out to, boaters have been known to try to reach it- this is not allowed for its protected status, but a good camera can get some great photos. In Bandon Haystack Rock is part of a group of sea stacks, large monoliths that dot the shoreline in the Bandon South Jetty County Park. Looking less like a haystack and more like a hay bale, its sheer size and the surrounding natural landscape make the drive to Bandon worth it. Planning an excursion to visit all the Haystack Rocks on the Oregon Coast could make for a relaxing long weekend.

Another intriguing site along the coast resides in Oceanside, a quaint little town just south of Cape Meares. At the north end of the beach in Oceanside there is a tunnel running through the Cliffside there. The tunnel leads to Tunnel Beach and then on to an amazing treasure around the bend, aptly named Agate Beach.  But you can only access these areas at low tides, so plan your trip accordingly and review current tidal maps so you don’t get caught aware. You can hunt for agates on either beach and are sure to find some beautiful specimens.

For a hauntingly beautiful natural site to view, head to the Central coastal town of Neskowin. Here you will find the Neskowin Ghost Forest, the remains of an ancient Sitka spruce forest which is buried partially in the sand. The forest was discovered after a series of storms in 1997-1998. It is believed that the forest was originally buried 2,000 years ago from either a tsunami or earthquake. When the tide is out up to 100 of these ancient tree stumps can be seen, creating an eerily beautiful sight, a nature lover and photographer’s dream.

A rare site awaits you just north of Florence. This is where you will find the Darlingtonia State Natural Site, a small marsh area which is home to Oregon’s only bug eating plant, Darlingtonia californica, a pitcher plant commonly known as cobra lily. As the only carnivorous plant in Oregon, the natural site is dedicated to the protection of the species which is a rare plant indeed. The name Cobra Lily refers to the elongated tubular leaves which look like a rearing cobra, and a forked leaf that look like fangs.

If you want to experience a bit more action on your next Oregon Coast trip, head down to Florence, the birth place of one of the newest sports around, sandboarding. Instead of surfing along snow, you can now surf along sand, no waves required. The dunes of Florence offer some of the best Sand Master Park is the first sandboard park in the world. Just Oregon took the lead in Windsurfing and Mountain Biking, Sand Surfing is the stuff born of a love of the outdoors. The park has other activities including Dune Buggy tours, sand sledding and boogie boarding. You can also attend a Sand sculpting clinic and play in a giant sandbox.
sand to surf the day away.

Whatever you choose to do at the Oregon Coast, you will find something new and exciting to experience where ever you travel. For a small fee, we at C.P. Trips are here to work with you in planning a stress free Oregon vacation.  Check out our website, and our Visit the Wonders of Oregon page for more information and travel ideas to the 7 Wonders of Oregon. Email us at, or call Cindy Passannante at 503-658-5646 or our Oregon Dream’s Specialist, Julie Hirning at 503-705-8043, today and we can explore the incredible variety of vacation ideas and options waiting for you in our wonderful state of Oregon.