KIDS STAY, PLAY AND EAT FOR FREE in SAN DIEGO

DSC_0278 The PARADISE POINT RESORT & SPA Is offering special deals for Families 
During the entire month of October 2013, families with children can enjoy special deals at Paradise Point Resort & Spa. Kids Free San Diego is offering “Kidvasion,” with a variety of “kids free” incentives for families visiting San Diego.
Some of the deals include complimentary attraction and museum admission entry. Others include free meals at participating restaurants. Amtrak is offering transportation deals too.
Paradise Point Resort & Spa, located on picturesque Mission Bay, allows guests to experience the best of San Diego on an island retreat amidst lush tropical gardens, resort swimming pools, tranquil lagoonsBack Camera and one mile of sandy beaches. All October long, the resort is inviting families to take advantage of the “San Diego Kids Free Package.” Stay in a waterfront bungalow or suite and kids eat breakfast for free at the resort’s legendary Barefoot Bar & Grill. Families will receive a $50 “Island Allowance” for kids to spend on kayak rentals, a game of mini-golf, and to buy a s’mores kit. Relax at one of the resort’s five tropical pools, play at the manicured 18-hole putting golf course, or hit some balls at the tennis courts. Rent one of the beach cruiser bikes, quadracycles or Segways to take on the paved bike paths around Mission Bay.
More than 100 San Diego family attractions, museums, restaurants and transportation companies are offering free kids admission this October. Paradise Point’s central location makes the resort a perfect home base for visiting participating attractions like the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, the USS Midway Museum and Belmont Park. Across the street from Paradise Point, families can take advantage of spectacular Kids Free San Diego offers from SeaWorld San Diego. The world-famous marine theme park is offering DSC_0225one child, ages 3 to 9, free admission to the park with one full-paid adult admission, and one free child pass to dine next to Shamu with one paid adult Dine With Shamu ticket. Kids, ages 10 to 13, are also invited to participate for free in SeaWorld’s Dolphin Encounter and Dolphin and Beluga Interaction Programs with one paid adult participation.
For more information on the “San Diego Kids Free Package,” or for reservations, visithttp://www.paradisepoint.com/packages/kids-free-october-in-san-diego or call (800) 344-2626.  All participating offers are valid Oct. 1-31, 2013, and age limits and other restrictions vary by venue and activity.
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Preview to the 65th Emmy Awards Governors Ball

DSC_0010I was wowed this morning when I walked into the lobby of the Leonard H. Goldenson at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and noticed the room was transformed to look like an Enchanted Forest.

The 65th Primetime Emmy Award celebration started today with a sneak-peek on the decor, food, beverages and gift items 7000 guests will get to experience on Sept. 15 for the Creative Arts Ball and Sept. 22 for the Primetime Emmy Awards.

In front was a high-performance Audi car that will be one of many to drive the nominees to the event at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Inside, the tables were decorated in a Midsummer’s Night Dream theme with flowers by LA Premier Floral Event Design.DSC_0018

Guests will be drinking Glaceau fruit water, Heineken beer, Grey Goose vodka cocktails and BV-Beaulieu Vineyard wines. Every winner will receive a one-of-a-kind complimentary custom bottle of BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve, etched with an Emmy Award on the back of the bottle.

Before the meal, Grey Goose vodka is preparing  a Grey Goose Emmy cocktail made with Grey Goose Le Citron, St. Germain liqueur, cucumber juice, fresh lime juice.

For the three-course celebratory meal, Patina Group will have over 200 chefs preparing 3000 meals for the Creative Arts awards and 4000 guests for the Primetime Emmy Awards. Each person will be served a Little Gem lettuce salad with basil scented mozzarella, marinated sun-ripened tomatoes, heirloom baby beets, sunflower seeds, basil and kale chips with a cider maple and virgin olive oil dressing.

DSC_0016The main course is Beef Filet Mignon with red wine braised short ribs, cippollini onion, potato-pear gratin and asparagus. For dessert, guests will enjoy a Black Forest (to keep with the theme) Devil’s food cake with roasted cherries and mascarpone cream.

The meal will be paired with 2011 Beaulieu Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay, 2009 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2010 Beaulieu Vineyard Maestro Collection Napa Valley Port. A Muscat de Beaulieu will be served at the Marich Premium Chocolate with flavors of chocolate blueberry chocolate strawberry, chocolate cherries, dark chocolate sea salt caramel and more.

While at the event, I ran into a nominee who I worked with almost 30 years ago, Bob Bergen. We were tour guides at IMG_4504Universal Studios during the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics. I fondly remember the various character voices he displayed throughout his tour and in the tour guide green room. I was so happy to hear that Bob is now the voice of Porky Pig and will hopefully win a statue for his creativity and artistic flair.

Watch the 65th Emmy Awards LIVE! on Sunday September 22, at 5 p.m. on CBS.

Sleeping in Albert Einstein’s Bed

IMG_2586Driving into the private secured parking lot of the historic Willows Inn, I received a warm welcome by the host and caretaker of the property, Steven Vaught. He informed me that I was walking up the same steps that Dr. Albert Einstein sauntered up in the early 1930s. He and his wife, Elsa visited the luxurious and stately Mediterranean villa four different times.

After a brief tour of the exclusive bed and breakfast, Steven led me into my spacious suite. Wouldn’t you know, my room was called, The Einstein Room. Albert Einstein slept here. Photos of the famous German-born theoretical physicist who developed the general theory of relativity, were resting on various pieces of antique furniture. Steven opened a door leading out to a private patio garden with two lounge chairs, a table, and chairs. Nearby was a 50 ft. waterfall splashing over rocks into a small pond.

Steven gave me a set of keys to open the front gate of the property, my room key and a clicker to open the parking lot security gate. Before leaving to tend to other guests, staying in this eight-room property, Steven said, “I hope you brought your bathing suit, because swimming at The Willows is a requirement.”

A dip in the pool, what a brilliant idea!  With the temperature teetering at 104 degrees, I grabbed a book and walked down to find pool all to myself. The other guests were dressing for the evening’s wine and hor’sdouver.

I could have taken a quick swim, gone back up to the house to join them all, however the pool was so private, the water was so warm and the shade so inviting, I just sat on a comfy lounge surrounded by Palm trees, Vinca flowers and desert flora. I read for about fifteen minutes, dunked in the pool for a lap of two and read again. The beauty of the Palm Springs air is that it is dry. One doesn’t sit wet for long after exiting a pool. Plush yellow towels help you dry too. I sat and wondered if Einstein ever swam here?

IMG_2638Noticing my absence upstairs, Steven arrived by my side with a tray of gourmet appetizers and a generous pour of California Pinot Noir in a plastic wine glass. He  happily answered my question about Einstein, and I learned that the good man was known to sunbathe in the nude.

For the next two hours, I enjoyed watching the sun set and the desert temperature drop. Steven appeared just when my wine glass was close to empty and filled it with more of Steven Vaught Morgan wine. He exchanged my empty plate with another filled with canapés . There was no need for me to think about dinner, I was dining poolside tonight. Ahhh, this is the life.

Finally, when I walked back to Einstein’s room, Steven told me that three guest rooms were vacant, and did I want to peek into each one. We unlocked the The Waterfall Room and a walked up the private stairway into the suite. Steven opened windows to show off the glorious views of water cascading down to the dining rooms patio. We heard frogs serenading each other. Each room in this estate is unique with a different story and personality. These rooms were enjoyed by Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Joseph P. Kennedy and Marion Davies. Miss Davies had the room with a balcony overlooking the tranquil pool.

Upton Sinclair used to enjoy staying in the Library Room with it’s shelves filled with literary treasures.

The Loft is a one-bedroom suite with a bath and one half. It overlooks the O’Donnell House that is part of this compound. This can be rented in its entirety as a four bedroom for families. The Willows is more of an adult-friendly sophisticated spot.

Back at the Einstein room I noticed a bowl of packages dried fruit, pretzels and trail mix just in case I got hungry. Each guest room includes a refrigeratorIMG_2583 with bottled water and soda and a coffee maker. Antique furniture, plush towels high quality linens and towels help one feel as if they are staying in a wealthy aunt’s historic home.

If I had wanted dinner, I could have walked across the street to the award-winning La Vallauris restaurant. If I didn’t feel like walking, the restaurant provides room service to Willow guests. There are a multitude of dining spots a block or two from The Willows, Lulu’s is one of my favorites for casual California Bistro fare.

The next morning, I walked into the stunning dining room and admired the hand painted ceiling. I sat down to an elegant three-course gourmet breakfast. We all gazed out the window to admire the stunning 50-foot waterfall while dining on half a grapefruit with a drizzle of lavender honey, house made warm scone and eggs benedict.

Upon checking out I learned that the estate is currently owned by two physicians. They hired Steven as a caretaker and to write a book about the illustrious history of the property. I look forward to learning more about the illustrious property when the book hits the shelves.

The Willows closes every year from June 2 to the first weekend after Labor Day.

SPECIAL OFFER:  Stay at The Willows Inn during the fall season in any room available for $275 a night plus tax. You will enjoy a complimentary breakfast and wine with hors d’oeuvres in the evening. This special is available from Sept. 11 through Sept. 30, 2013. It’s valid weekdays and weekends. If you stay a Friday or Saturday night, you must include a Thursday or Sunday night stay. Call (800)966-9597 to check availability. Reference booking code WILSEP or LATSEP.

You can also book a reservation and get the deal through The Willows Inn Facebook page –  https://www.facebook.com/willowsinn