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Paso Robles Celebrates Harvest Weekend

The grapes of Napa often grab the headlines coming out of California wine country but the discerning vino cognoscenti knows that the Golden State harbors some of the best wineries in the world along its central coast. In the thick of it is Paso Robles, a vast countryside of rolling vineyards where vintners sport rustic spurs on their cowboy boots and the pace of life is calm. The annual Harvest Wine Weekend kicks off today, Friday, and promises to be the most robust yet. Over 150 wineries will host grape stomps, tours, tastings, dinners, and pairings (wine and bacon anyone?). One oenophile who will be traipsing around Harvest is Paso Wine Man (above)—the unabashed, vivacious Paso wine country cheerleader whose verve for the region’s splendors knows no bounds.

T+L caught up with the wine man before the big weekend to uncover his wines of choice; find out what makes “Tuscany with cowboys” so special; and why Paso Robles's brand of reds can’t be made anywhere else.

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New Way to Take in Fall Foliage: On a Zipline!

The Catskills Mountains are a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of New York City, and a great place to soak in the best of fall, with picturesque hiking and horseback riding trails, quirky antique shops to explore, and gourmet restaurants and markets. But if bucolic tranquility isn’t enough to get you pumped for fall, I’ve got a suggestion for all you thrill-seekers out there.

Hunter Mountain is a popular spot in the winter with skiers and snowboarders in the northeast, but it's also home to the largest Zipline course in North America, with 4.6 miles of runs at higher than 600 feet in the air. I sought out the ultimate thrill not too long ago, with New York Zipline Adventure Tours’s Skyrider course, which includes five dual runs (so you can challenge the person opposite you to a race), a 500-foot jungle bridge, and a self-powered Zipline, where "take off" means taking a running jump into thin air on a downhill slope.

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Gliding Around Chicago on a Segway

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I know that as an editor at a travel magazine I really should have more refined tastes. But secretly, I’ve always wanted to ride a Segway around a city. Whenever happy tourists have whizzed past me in D.C. or San Francisco, I’ve been a little jealous, but my travel companions are generally of the type who would rather walk barefoot on burning asphalt than be caught dead on the funny-looking two-wheeled contraptions.

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Unitard Not Required: Go Backstage at Cirque du Soleil

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This spring, visitors to Las Vegas can run away and join the Cirque (but not for peanuts).  For $260, a select few will get a small-group pre-show backstage tour to either O (at the Bellagio) or The Beatles’ Love (at the Mirage). You’ll also receive an Insider Access VIP lanyard, special reserved seats for the show, and front-of-line privileges in the concession line and at the hotels’ nightclubs after the show.

On the fence about taking the tour?  Here’s a Life.com photo gallery of the backstage scene at a Cirque du Soleil show—acrobats rehearsing a tricky move, clowns at rest, outlandish-costume repair—that gives you an inkling of how thrilling it could be to witness in person.   (Get this: during each performance of The Beatles’ Love, the 68 performers go through 331 multi-piece costumes and 110 wigs!  Kind of puts getting two kids ready for school into perspective.)

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Moor Fun: Jane Eyre Tours in Northern England

Period piece fanatics (myself included) are lining up for director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s critically acclaimed “Jane Eyre” movie, starring Mia Wasikowska as the indomitable Jane and Michael Fassbender as her changeable Mr. Rochester.

Though the brooding, Gothic romance will undoubtedly set hearts aflutter (The ball gowns! The carriages! The Fassbender!), the third member of this much-adapted love triangle will yet again take a back seat to drama onscreen: Northern England’s rolling, wind-swept moors—an indelible inspiration behind Charlotte Brontë’s original Jane Eyre, published in 1847, and her sister Emily’s Wuthering Heights. If you’re looking to get a better view of the moors than the sweeping camera pan will give you, Wayfarers’s Brontë Trail is just the thing.

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Enjoy "The Ride": $1.3 Million Tour Bus Debuts in NYC

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For many of us, the words, “tour bus” call to mind certain iconic images: sticky, screaming children, headache-inducing camera flashes, a colorfully dressed man on a unnecessary megaphone and, yes, even a fanny pack or two. Banish those images from memory—that was your grandmother’s tour bus.

Meet "The Ride" (above): a revolutionary, $1.3 million take on the classic tour bus, which was on display in Time Square, Manhattan this morning as a prelude to its maiden voyage in September.  Suped up with 49 stadium seats, an IMAX theater-worth of audio equipment and 40 video screens, The Ride certainly has the wattage to separate itself from the competition.  But it’s what’s going on off the bus that’s really grabbed our attention.

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City Tour: Running the Streets of Paris

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As both an active runner and someone who enjoys travel, I speak from experience when I say: it can be really hard to stay true to my routine when I'm away from home. (To date, I have only successfully maintained a semi-normal running schedule once while traveling. Don't judge me.) Between late nights, full days, and the desire to take in as much as possible in a short period of time, sometimes it's just not possible. (And fine, I admit: sometime I'd just rather sleep a little later than get up for a run. There, I said it.)

That being said, I was intrigued when a colleague passed along information about a different type of tour now being offered in the great City of Light: a running tour.

That's right. A running tour. This is some serious travel time management, and I love it. (Not to mention, anyone who knows me knows that when I travel, I'm very much a "do as the locals do" type. So what better way to tour a city than as a resident jogger would?)

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Finnish Company Offers Teddy Bear Vacations, Blogger Considers Shooting Himself

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A travel agency in Finland is offering guided tours of the remote Lapland region—but for teddy bears only. No people allowed. But that’s okay. After all, it’s the bears that are coming out of hibernation, not you. Does your stuffed bruin seem a bit moody lately? Maybe what that sleepy Smokey needs is a change of pace, to be off on his own, in a land of ice and snow and pine trees and pickled herring. And Teddy Tours Lapland is standing by to help your plush Grizzly get that new perspective on life.

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