California’s Coastal Range
Road warriors traveling to the San Francisco Bay Area rarely consider this a trip to the mountains. In fact, this region is part of the Pacific Coastal Range and offers lots of fun activities.
Extended Stay Hotels guests staying in either of the Santa Rosa hotels are just minutes away from wonderful outdoor adventure. The nearest facility to Santa Rosa is Annadel State Park. A haven for wildflowers in April and May, Annadel’s trails are great for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. You can even fish for bass and bluegill in Lake Ilsanjo.
Also nearby are Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and Hood Mountain Regional Park. Sugarloaf contains the headwaters of Sonoma Creek, so come in the early spring for best viewing of the 25-foot waterfall. This is also a good place to view deer and gray foxes. You may even get a glimpse of the occasional bobcat or coyote. Hood Mountain advertises itself as being for the serious hiker, so be prepared for rugged trails and, if possible, bring a hiking buddy along.
From the Extended Stay Hotels in Vacaville and Fairfield, you have easy access to the Napa Valley, arguably the most famous valley within the Coastal Range. Volumes have been written about the tourist attractions here, but Road Warrior will focus on nature’s beauty and the best places to enjoy it.
West of the Napa Valley, off Highway 128, is Lake Berryessa, a man-made lake providing drinking water and flood control for the region. While not as highly developed as some lakes, Berryessa offers boat and jet ski rental as well as great fishing.
Most people don’t realize that one reason the Napa Valley grows wonderful wine grapes is its proximity to an ancient volcano. This fact also created some interesting places to visit and fun things to do.
Near the northern end of the Valley is Calistoga, the self described “best spa town in America.” Here water, heated by underground molten magma, is offered by local spas in the form of mineral hot springs, mud baths and soothing whirlpools. At some places, you can even add a glass of local wine and a relaxing massage.
Two other local attractions owe their existence to the region’s volcanic past. Just north of the town of Calistoga is the Old Faithful Geyser of California. While not as well-known as its cousin in Yellowstone Park, this Old Faithful delivers its show of steam about every 30 minutes.
Just ten minutes from Old Faithful is the Petrified Forest. Here you will step back in time more than 3 million years. Giant trees once covered by volcanic ash have been turned to rock and remain here today for your viewing.
As sophisticated as urban San Francisco may be, there is plenty of natural beauty in the mountainous region to make your business or leisure trip more enjoyable. It is nice to know that these attractions are also close to your comfortable, affordable room at one of our San Francisco By area Extended Stay Hotels.
Weekend Stays from $23.99/night - Extended Stay Hotels
Last minute deals for new bookings this weekend (stays 1/29 through 1/31) and next weekend (stays 2/5 through 2/7) at select Extended Stay Hotels(sm) locations. Visit our Weekend Deals section by clicking here. From there, you can book and save at least 20% on stays this weekend or next at your favorite destinations, like Phoenix, Orlando, Dallas, San Diego, and more.
For Arrival Dates 1/22/2010 and 1/23/2010
* Phoenix, AZ - Rates from $39.99/night
* San Diego, CA- Rates from $47.99/night
* Orlando, FL- Rates from $35.99/night
* Dallas, TX - Rates from $29.99/night
* Washington, DC Area - Rates from $43.99/night
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For Arrival Dates 2/5/2010 and 2/6/2010
* Los Angeles, CA- Rates from $41.99/night
* Atlanta, GA - Rates from $31.99/night
* St. Louis, MO- Rates from $23.99/night
* Las Vegas, NV- Rates from $39.99/night
* Seattle, WA - Rates from $35.99/night
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Business Friendly States
Highlights from a recent report by Development Counselors International on states with a favorable business environment are revealing. One of the important findings of this report is that amount of business travel is a key influencer on where to locate new business operations. Another, clearly related, focus of the report was to rank states based on their business-friendly environment.
Ranked from first to third by business development executives are: Texas, North Carolina and Georgia. These are no surprise to Road Warrior since Extended Stay Hotels, a frequent choice for business travelers, has over 130 properties in these three states alone.
Beyond their attraction for business, each state has great attractions that make business travel as enjoyable as it is profitable. Texas, for example, has two huge cities and plenty of fun smaller towns. Extended Stay Hotels has nearly 70 hotels in 11 Texas cities.
Houston, that state’s largest city, may have 25 Fortune 500 companies, but it is also home to amazing sightseeing attractions like the Johnson Space Center and a Theater District that is second only to New York City.
North Carolina is not only one of America’s major banking centers, it also is a thriving agricultural state. Tourists love North Carolina and have made it the sixth most visited state in the Union. This state has it all, from a magnificent coast with beautiful barrier islands to the majestic Great Smoky Mountains. With 33 hotels in eight North Carolina cities, Extended Stay Hotels is well represented here.
Known for luscious peaches, Georgia is full of wonderful places to see and things to do. Be adventurous and take a boat tour of the Okefenokee Swamp, immerse yourself in colonial history in Savannah or tour Atlanta, one of the most exciting cities in the Southeast. You will not lack for comfort and economy in Georgia since Extended Stay Hotels operates 29 hotels in Georgia’s four major cities.
Whether you will be traveling to these hot business markets or elsewhere in the United States or Canada, Extended Stay Hotels is your best place for large, comfortable accommodations are bargain prices.
Weekends from $31.99/night - Extended Stay Hotels
Last minute deals for new bookings this weekend (stays 1/22 through 1/24) and next weekend (stays 1/29 through 1/31) at select Extended Stay Hotels(sm) locations. Visit our Weekend Deals section by clicking here. From there, you can book and save at least 20% on stays this weekend or next at your favorite destinations, like San Diego, Orlando, Atlanta, Houston, and more.
For Arrival Dates 1/22/2010 and 1/23/2010
* San Diego, CA - Rates from $47.99/night
* Orlando, FL- Rates from $35.99/night
* Atlanta, GA- Rates from $31.99/night
* Houston, TX - Rates from $31.99/night
* Seattle, WA - Rates from $35.99/night
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For Arrival Dates 1/29/2010 and 1/30/2010
* Denver, CO- Rates from $29.99/night
* Raleigh/Durham, NC - Rates from $35.99/night
* Chicago, IL- Rates from $34.99/night
* Philadelphia, PA- Rates from $51.99/night
* Portland, OR - Rates from $39.99/night
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Fun for the Birders
There are plenty of jokes about bird watchers, but in reality, it is a pretty fun hobby. It is also a perfect recreation for road warriors who have some time on their hands as they travel around the country.
One big advantage to birding, a term favored by practitioners of the sport (themselves called birders), is that all you really need are some outdoor clothing, a good pair of binoculars and a birding book, all of which pack easily in your luggage. Bushnell or Nikon make good, well-priced binoculars, and National Geographic has a terrific Field Guide as well as books on specific states and regions.
Birders frequent local parks and nearby wildlife reserves to view resident birds. Of course, what constitutes a “resident bird” changes based on where you travel. The California quail may be prevalent along much of the Pacific Coast, but on the Gulf Coast, you are likely to see a swallowtail kite. Road warriors, because they travel to different parts of the country, can enjoy viewing many different birds in their natural habitat.
Migratory birds, and there are plenty, are fun to watch because they travel in such large numbers. Just imagine coming upon a wetland filled with hundreds of thousands of brightly colored ducks, geese and other migratory birds.
North American migratory birds travel into the United States from either Alaska or the northern parts of Canada. They travel along four “flyways,” the same routes they use generation after generation. Because different birds follow different flyways, the more you travel to different areas, the more bird species you are likely to see.
Experts believe that migration occurs as temperatures drop or rise and as the days shorten or lengthen. Depending where you are along the migratory route, huge flocks heading south can be seen from the late fall until well into January. The reverse is found in the spring when the flocks migrate north.
Finding a good local bird-viewing place is not as hard as one might believe. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates the National Wildlife Refuge System. They have a wonderful website that lets you search by state or by zip code and provides information on each local refuge.
Being away from home on a business trip can be a difficult time. Having an interesting hobby that you can do almost anywhere, like birding, will make your travels at least a little easier. Many of the migratory bird viewing locations can even be accessed by car, making it a warm, comfortable experience.
Speaking of warm and comfortable, Extended Stay Hotels has nearly 700 hotels from coast to coast and parts of Canada ready to offer you large, comfortable accommodations at an exceptional rate.
Some of us eat to live, others live to eat. Some of us in the latter group regard mealtime as an opportunity for adventure and entertainment. Finding the right unique dining experience for your taste can be a challenge, so Road Warrior has a few suggestions.
One type of unusual restaurant is where the service staff is actually your evening’s entertainment. Dinner theater is the classic version of this gastronomic genre, and Tommy Gun’s Garagein Chicago takes you back to the roaring 20s, complete with flappers, gangsters and maybe even a raid by the police. For a more traditional dinner theater experience, take in a singing performance at The Victor Café in Philadelphia, where opera is performed seven nights a week by one of the most talented groups of waiters and waitresses around.
Travelers with a good sense of humor and a hankering for fun frequent Dick’s Last Resort, found in Dallas, San Antonio, Chicago, Boston, Myrtle Beach, San Diego and Las Vegas. This place is self-described as “an imperfect place in a perfect world.” Be prepared, because your burger or chicken sandwich is sure to be accompanied by insults and hilarity.
If you have an interest in antique aircraft and are in the Colorado Springs area, visit Solo’s Restaurant. This fully intact Boeing KC-97 air tanker is actually part of the restaurant. For the complete experience, be sure you ask to be seated in the plane portion of the restaurant.
If you think dining inside an aircraft tanker is a unique experience, think again. How about dining in total darkness? This experience, offered by Opaque, can be found in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. You order your dinner in a lighted area and proceed to a dining room in complete darkness. In case you were wondering, the waitstaff are actually blind or visually impaired. This is truly a unique experience, but at around $100 per person, it is not for everyone.
At the opposite end of the price curve from Opaque are the “pay what you wish” restaurants. Originally opened as a way of feeding the less fortunate, restaurants like SAME Café in Denver and One World Everybody Eats in Salt Lake City offer a variety of meals, mostly made with organic ingredients. Guests are asked to pay what they believe the meal was worth and what they can afford.
Dining out is a great treat for Road Warriors, but most of us have neither the time nor the budget to support several restaurant meals. That’s why Extended Stay Hotels provides well-equipped kitchens, including full refrigerators, range tops, and microwaves. Enjoy the comfort and convenience of a spacious Extended Stay Hotels studio suite at any of our nearly 700 locations across the U.S. and in Canada.
Escape to the "Land of Enchantment"
For many, winter travel means fun in the sand and sun, but for those who don’t want to brave the crowded beaches, Albuquerque, New Mexico offers numerous recreational opportunities. Known as the “Land of Enchantment,” New Mexico is a year-round destination, thanks in large part to its average 310 days of sunshine each year.
Albuquerque, the state capital, is also home to four comfortable, affordable Extended Stay Hotels. With so much to see and do in the area, you are sure to appreciate the unique amenities, like a fully equipped kitchen and on-site laundry facility, awaiting you at every Extended Stay Hotels location.
For amazing skiing opportunities, there are few places that can match New Mexico. Just 45 minutes east of Albuquerque is Sandia Peak Ski Resort. With a complete rental center and plenty of ski schools, Sandia Peak is ideal for a quick day on the slopes.
Eighty miles northeast of Albuquerque in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is Ski Santa Fe, a magnificent resort that is sure to thrill skiers of any ability level. This resort is perfect for skiers who love altitude. The resort’s base is at 10,300 feet with peaks over 12,000 feet.
Those not looking for powdery slopes will enjoy their days in a moderate climate with an average daily winter temperature of 50 degrees. Dating from 1706, Albuquerque has plenty of unique sightseeing opportunities. The perfect place to begin your adventure is Old Town Albuquerque. Here you will enjoy numerous art galleries, cultural activities, museums and other attractions.
Given the area’s moderate winter temperatures, the Albuquerque Biological Park is well worth visiting. The Park includes an aquarium, botanic garden, zoo and even a beach area.
Over 300 sunny days a year also makes Albuquerque a top golf destination. Ranked best in New Mexico and number 30 on Golf Digest’s best golf courses, Paa-ko Ridge is a must-visit for golfers of all skill levels.
Regardless of your favorite winter recreation, Albuquerque is a great winter retreat, and the comfortable, convenient and exceptionally priced rooms at any Extended Stay Hotels location will make your stay one worth repeating.
Music City, USA
When it comes to fun music cities, perhaps no U.S. destinations is more notorious than Nashville, Tennessee, known to much of the world as Music City, USA. Nashville gained this moniker in 1925 with the opening of the Grand Ole Opry. Since then it has continued to expand the number and diversity of music venues.
Country music remains the predominate genre, generating several fun music-oriented events each year. In June, the Country Music Association rocks with a four-day Music Festival featuring some of America’s best country music stars. If you are coming to Nashville in June, be sure to bring your autograph book and dancing shoes.
Better bring running shoes as well. Each April, the Country Music Marathon draws over 25,000 runners from around the world to compete in both a marathon and a half marathon. Once the running is done, you can bet there is plenty of fantastic music to be heard at area venues.
The Country Music Association Awards are another enjoyable event. Usually held each November at the Grand Ole Opry, this nationally televised event is the hot ticket for country music fans.
Nashville offers more than country music. Each April, the best of gospel music is honored at the Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. This is no small event, as the week leading up to the awards ceremony is Gospel Music Association Week featuring all sorts of activities and performances.
Nashville has some of the finest concert venues anywhere. The AmSouth Amphitheatre in nearby Antioch is a true outdoor amphitheatre with a total capacity of over 22,000. The heart of American country music will always be the Grand Ole Opry House itself. This is the place to see the great and soon-to-be great country, bluegrass and gospel artists perform.
Nashville offers more than country music. The Tennessee Performing Arts Center has a concert and show schedule that any city in America would be proud of. Whether you want the latest in Broadway musicals, traditional opera or just about any stage performance, the TPAC, as it is locally known, is your place.
If your 2010 travels take you to Music City, then be sure you visit one of Extended Stay Hotels' eight hotels in the Nashville area. A comfortable, convenient, and affordable stay is waiting for you there or at any of the nearly 700 Extended Stay Hotels locations nationwide.
Beating the Winter Blues
The holidays are over, the boss is asking everyone to work harder during the new year, and much of the country is heading into deep freeze. It might not be easy to keep a smile on your face for the next couple of months.
Road Warrior has one idea that just may put a smile on your face for the rest of the winter – take a long weekend in San Diego, California. After all, when the rest of the country shivers in the cold, San Diego basks in glorious sunshine.
San Diego International Airport is served by over 20 airlines, so there is a good chance that your favorite airline’s frequent flyer program can get you there. Once you arrive, Extended Stay Hotels gives you plenty of options for price and location.
The two Mission Valley hotels and the Hotel Circle hotel give you wonderful access to the best tourist attractions in San Diego. Opened in 1964, Sea World San Diego was one of the first marine mammal theme parks in the country. Today it draws visitors from around the world.
Just minutes from Sea World is Balboa Park, the location of the world famous San Diego Zoo, home to over 4,000 animals of more than 800 species. Balboa Park also hosts a marvelous collection of museums and the Balboa Park Municipal Golf Course.
Travel a short distance north, and you come to the beach communities of Del Mar, Encinitas, Carlsbad and many more. You also approach the Extended Stay Hotels in Carlsbad and Oceanside. Whether you are looking for an interesting weekend arts faire or a warm, sandy beach, the northern San Diego County coast is where you want to look.
If you are traveling with children, or are a kid yourself, take a couple of hours to visit Legoland in Carlsbad. With over 50 rides, shows and attractions, it is a marvelous way to spend a day in the California sunshine. For a glimpse of life on the plains of Africa, head inland to the Wild Animal Park, sister organization to the San Diego Zoo.
Before heading for your weekend getaway, visit Extended Stay Hotels’ Suite Savings page to be sure you are getting the very best last-minute weekend rates.