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The Roaming Gnome’s Top 5 Asheville Breweries for a Weekend Beer Tour

Whether you’re a casual beer lover or a raving hophead then you belong in Asheville, NC.  The artsy mountain town has more breweries per capita than any other city in the country, and more brewing operations (from the likes of Sierra Nevada and New Belgium) are coming soon.

Access to all those suds could be overwhelming to a thirsty weekend traveler, so the Roaming Gnome has selflessly taken it upon himself to test out Asheville’s best tasting rooms to create the quintessential beer lover’s guide:

Highland Brewery

This is the oldest, and currently the largest local brewery in Asheville. Go for the Gaelic Ale and Oatmeal Porter, stay for the outdoor pavilion and live music.

“If you’re there in the fall, get your gob on some Cold Mountain. It goes faster than you can say ‘it goes fast’ which is very, very fast indeed.”—RG
“If you’re there in the fall, get your gob on some Cold Mountain. It goes faster than you can say ‘it goes fast’ which is very, very fast indeed.”—RG

Burial Beer Co.

The new small-batch brewery in the South Slope brewing district, Burial is entirely family-run and very kid-friendly. But that doesn’t stop them from paying incredible attention to craft with creative brews like their Counter Culture Coffee Saison Series.

 “They have toe tags on all their taps. Which is good because you may keel over from beer deliciousness.” —RG
“They have toe tags on all their taps. Which is good because you may keel over from beer deliciousness.” —RG

Wicked Weed Brewing

The polar opposite of Burial, this massive beer haven in Downtown Asheville has fire pits and tasting tables for days. And Belgians, Saisons, and IPA’s for days too.

 “They have a downstairs tasting room, an upstairs tap room and a restaurant. I tried to move in but they didn’t have a bedroom.” —RG
“They have a downstairs tasting room, an upstairs tap room and a restaurant. I tried to move in but they didn’t have a bedroom.” —RG

Green Man Brewery

Also in the South Slope brewing district, this quirky Local favorite started as a brewpub and grew from there. It really hops at night so be sure to include it on your brewery hopping tour.

 “If you ask very nicely they just might give you a tour of their new tank room. I showed them a little leg. Seemed to work.” —RG
“If you ask very nicely they just might give you a tour of their new tank room. I showed them a little leg. Seemed to work.” —RG

Wedge Brewing

In the River Arts District, this brewery takes flights seriously with 8 half pints per taster. The tasting room itself is quite cozy, but the outdoor area is abundant and it’s worth a visit for the amazing mechanical barking dog sculpture alone.

 “Touring the River Arts District makes one very thirsty. Fortunately the Julian Price Pilsner perfectly fixed up that particular problem.”—RG
“Touring the River Arts District makes one very thirsty. Fortunately the Julian Price Pilsner perfectly fixed up that particular problem.”—RG

And finally, no Asheville brewery tour would be complete without a stop at locally –owned Bruisin’ Ales. Named one of the top 10 bottle shops in the U.S. it’s not a brewery per se, but has 1,000 beers in stock, which make for perfect souvenirs.

To start planning your Asheville beer getaway, check out Travelocity’s Asheville vacation page.

Join the Roaming Gnome on Twitter for his Holiday Travel #Roamtalk

It’s that time of year again, when airports are bustling, carry-ons are bursting at the seams and you have loved ones who you can’t wait to see.  As a very frequent flyer, the Roaming Gnome knows that the key to surviving holiday travel is to be prepared.  So he’s hosting a live Twitter chat at 4 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 19 to help you stay a step ahead.

Join in to share airport survival tips, swap packing strategies and share your most memorable holiday trips.

Here’s how to get in on the action:

  1. Search for and follow the #roamtalk hashtag on Twitter
  2. @roaminggnome will tweet a series of holiday travel questions starting on Tuesday, November 19  4 p.m. EST
  3. To answer, tweet your responses and tag them with #roamtalk

For even more live holiday advice, follow along with Travelocity’s Turkey Taskforce as they tweet real-time airport updates from the top 10 busiest airports on November 26 and 27.

Follow These 4 Spirit Trails This Fall – Beer, Wine, Bourbon & Tequila

You’ve all heard of a booze cruise, but what about a spirit trail?  From bourbon to beer, wine to tequila, these spirits will guide you on four distinct fall adventures ranging from romantic to rustic.

1Kentucky Bourbon Trail  – September is Bourbon Heritage Month so Kentucky is full of special events and special bottle releases.  Kentuckians began making bourbon in the 1700s and actually the name Bourbon is derived from one of Kentucky’s original counties.  Barrels of whiskey stamped with “Bourbon County” traveled down Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans.  Along the way the whiskey would age and soon became known as Bourbon Whiskey.  Start your trail in Lexington, KY at Alltech’s Town Branch Distillery, then wind your way along the scenic drive of Woodford County, hit the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, pass several more picturesque towns and distilleries before arriving in Shepardsville at the Jim Beam Distillery.

Hotel Pick: Hyatt Regency Downtown (approximately $152/night average in September) or the Marriott East Louisville (approximately $159/night average in September) — it’s a bourbon-themed hotel!

2Finger Lakes Wine Trail, New York – Fall, particularly October, is the best time to visit the Finger Lakes, as foliage is at its peak. There are three wine trails to choose from:  the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, the Keuka Lake Wine Trail, and the largest of the three, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail home to 34 wineries, a distillery, two breweries and a meadery, which produces honey wine.

Hotel Pick: Hotel Clarence (approximately $161/night in October). Modern boutique charm in the heart of historic Seneca Falls, NY.  Rooms are very romantic with crystal chandeliers, black plush fabric and sleek design.  Perfect location for your wine tour.

3Bend Ale Beer Trail, Bend Oregon - Bend, Oregon is known for its outdoor adventures but people are also flocking to the Bend Ale Beer Trail.  Bike, walk or take a pedicab to all eleven craft breweries.  Get stamps in your Bend Ale Trail passport to earn a prize at the end, and also learn the Central Oregon tradition of craft brewing.  While you’re there, take advantage of the great outdoors and try some whitewater rafting, mountain biking, fly fishing or hiking.

Hotel Pick: Pine Ridge Inn ($169/night in October).  Cozy, rustic boutique hotel, overlooks the Farewell Bend Park and Deschutes River!  The hotel offers an included daily hot chef’s choice breakfast as well as complimentary afternoon appetizers, wine, and microbrews.

4Taste Mexico’s national spirit on a Tequila Tour in Guadalajara!  Start your drive out of Guadalajara past the beautiful blue agave fields, native to the region.  Stop by Mundo Cuervo, a magical place home to different workshops from silver and stone carving to ceramics.  Tour through the oldest distillery, La Rojeña of Jose Cuervo, to learn the entire process of tequila making.  Also visit a family-run farm and distillery in the charming town of Santiago de Tequila.  The town is nicknamed “Pueblo Magico” (magic town) and when you go you’ll see why.  This entire region has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Hotel Pick: Hotel Morales in the Colonial downtown of Guadalajara.  Fantastic location and price, approximately $88/night in October.

 

How to Pack for a Month in Carry-On Luggage

How to pack?  What to pack?  What to pack in? The packing dilemma continues to be a big one, and everyone has adopted their own method for packing success. For me, successful packing means never having to check luggage, whether you’re traveling for a weekend or a month. And if you’re traveling for a month, I challenge you to follow these easy steps to be able to fit everything you could possibly need (and nothing you don’t) exclusively in carry-on luggage.

Step 1Pre-Arrange Your Outfits to Maximize Mixing and Matching
Packing for 30 days does not mean you should pack 30 outfits.  An ideal travel wardrobe is one that can be mixed and matched into a variety of outfits.  At least a week before your trip, lay out all of your favorite clothing items and accessories,then start coordinating.  Avoid playing the “What If” game when packing.  What if I get invited to a fancy party?  I’ll need a floor-length gown.  What if I end up hiking Mt. Everest? I’ll need a winter parka.  Weed out items that don’t coordinate, that are too bulky, and that just don’t make sense for your particular trip.


How to pack for a month in carry-on luggage - mix and match outfits

Step 2 — Use These Packing Lists as Guides

For Women:  
2 pairs of flats — they take up no room and are most comfortable
1 comfortable wedge shoe — easy day-to night shoe
1 dressy shoe — for night or fancier event
1 pair of sneakers or casual shoe – for working out or hiking
6 bottoms (pants, jeans, shorts)
2 skirts  – not easily wrinkled
2 dresses – that can go day to night
12 versatile tops
2 long sleeve shirts
1 thin but warm sweater or pullover
1 sarong
2 scarves/wraps
15 pairs of underwear — hand wash mid-way through your trip
2 sets of pijamas

For Men: 
2 casual/cool shoes like Toms or Converse that can go day to night
1 pair of flip flops
1 dresssy shoe – for night or fancier event
1 pair of sneakers – for working out or hiking
8 bottoms (pants/jeans/shorts/bathing suit shorts)
6 button-down shirts
12 t-shirts — I love American Apparel
2 long sleeve cotton shirts
1 thin but warm sweater or pull-over
15 pairs of underwear – hand wash mid-way through your trip
5 pairs of socks
2 Belts (rolled)

Step 3 – Pick a carry-on that’s spacious and pliable
I have found that hard case carry-ons, while they are rugged and durable, don’t expand enough for me to fit everything that I need.  I prefer a soft carry-on that has a little stretch.  I own this Bric’s X-Bag 21” rolling duffle carry-on and I am happy with the spaciousness of the interior compartment and thankful that it has met all regulations for carry-on luggage, even on small shuttle flights.

Step 4 — Pack from the bottom of your body up 
Think about packing your suitcase from your feet up.  Shoes go on the bottom, then start building two stacks.  Pants always go on the bottom, then sweaters, long-sleeve shirts, tank tops, then scarves.

Step 5 – Compress 
Don’t forget to use your compression straps to tighten down each stack of clothes.  They will not only keep items from shifting around, but they also create extra room around the edges and on top of your clothing stacks.  Use that extra space to stuff scarves, bras, belts, bathing suits, socks etc.

Step 6 — Where to put the laptop?
Many carry-ons have a separate outside compartment especially for a laptop, which are ideal, but I can even fit my laptop on top of all my clothes inside the compartment.  It easily slides in and out at security.

Step 7 — Invest in a large tote for your personal item 
Don’t forget that you can bring a carry-on suitcase plus one personal item on any flight, so maximize the size of your personal item and go for an oversized tote bag.  I picked up this Day Gweneth Bag in Copenhagen and love how flexible and open it is.  It fits everything!  In this tote should be all additional items for your month around the world like toiletries (all 3 oz. and under), medications, camera equipment, cosmetics/shaving kit, sunglasses, jewelry, wallet, passport,etc.

how to pack for a month in carry-on luggage - oversized tote Day Gweneth

Travel Like the Lone Ranger in New Travelocity Web Series

In collaboration with New Mexico Tourism and Disney, Travelocity’s latest “Let’s Roam” weekly webisodes roam to New Mexico to discover the destinations and stories behind-the-scenes of Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ much-anticipated epic adventure, The Lone Ranger, opening in U.S. theaters on July 3.

Travelocity Senior Editor, Courtney Scott and the Travelocity Roaming Gnome embark on four different adventures inspired by the film and the destination.  From hot air ballooning over the Rio Puerco, where the town of “Colby” was built from the ground up, to road tripping into the mountains of Angel Fire through the Cimarron Canyon where the film’s epic train scene was shot, these special “Let’s Roam” webisodes showcase the diversity and beauty that New Mexico has to offer.

Two “Let’s Roam with The Lone Ranger” webisodes premiere this week; the first taking you inside Rancho de Los Suenos, near Albuquerque, NM, the site of The Lone Ranger’s “Cowboy Bootcamp,” and the second teaching you how to be a modern-day outlaw in New Mexico.

Two other webisodes will air throughout the Lone Ranger promotional period, including:

 “ Hot Air Ballooning Over the Rio Puerco” – releasing on Wednesday, July 3

“Summer Road Trip:  On the Trail of the Lone Ranger”  – releasing on Wednesday, July 10

The New Mexican locations visited in this custom co-branded series include Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Madrid, Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, and Cimarron Canyon State Park.

To roam with Travelocity and The Lone Ranger viewers can subscribe to the weekly HD videos on Travelocity’s YouTube Channel or view webisodes at www.travelocity.com/LetsRoamTV.  Consumers can also follow along on Twitter with @Travelocity, @roaminggnome and  @CourtScott using hashtags #letsroam, #LoneRanger and #NewMexicoTRUE.