We’re Headed to Wine Country, but Not the One You Think—No, Not That One Either

PHOTO: Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com

Welcome to the Puddle Jumper, our new guide to the best things to do, see, and pack for the best weekend every weekend.

We’re going to California wine country. Well, Baja California. But, first…

What’s Going On

At Home…

The competitors for the 30th International Snow Sculpture Championship in Breckenridge, Colorado will be finishing up their entries just in time for the weekend. Over the course of five days, 16 teams from all over the world must sculpt a creation out of a 20-ton block of snow—using hand tools only. The sculptures will be on view in downtown Breckenridge until Wednesday.

And Abroad…

The Bread and Circus World Buskers Festival kicks off in Christchurch, New Zealand this weekend (and runs through February 16). A huge range of performers—comedians, magicians, musicians, jugglers—will be putting on a show across a number of venues, including the streets of Christchurch itself. This year’s acts include the cabaret and acrobatics show Blanc de Blanc and Feast of Fools, which puts an eccentric, surprise-filled twist on the “dinner and a show” experience.

Where We Want to Go This Weekend

About an hour’s drive inland from the coastal city of Ensenada is Valle de Guadalupe, home to the “Napa Valley of Mexico.” The region’s elevation and mild weather give it a Mediterranean-esque climate—perfect for growing wine grapes. Though the winemaking tradition in the region goes back to the early 1900s when Russian settlers arrived with European techniques in tow, Valle de Guadalupe didn’t start coming into its own as a wine region until about 30 years ago. Since then, it’s established itself as a place to find exciting wines from enterprising winemakers you won’t find anywhere else.

Stay: For anyone who likes the idea of camping but isn’t too keen about sleeping on the ground and couldn’t put together a tent to save their life, there’s Campera. This eco-resort is made up of 10 bubble rooms or suites where you can have all the luxuries of a traditional hotel but when you’re ready for bed you’ll be drifting off under a canopy of stars. (And can even choose the color of your bubble at night!)

Do: Vena Cava, Hacienda La Lomita, and Finca la Carrodilla are just three of the over 100 wineries that make this one of the world’s most interesting and exciting wine countries.

Eat: The menu at Corazón de Tierra, which was named as one of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America in 2017, changes from day to day, as its ingredients are partially sourced from an on-site garden. Dishes have included octopus taco and date ice cream for dessert.

What We’re Reading on the Plane

After her grandmother dies, Mouse agrees to head deep into rural North Carolina to clean out her house only to find that her grandmother had been a hoarder and that the property seems to be home to a terrifying, supernatural secret. The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher is the type of horror novel you’ll be glad you read on a plane surrounded/protected by plenty of people and not in a dark room, all alone where you could wake up to an ominous tapping on your bedroom window…

What We’re Downloading to Watch on the Plane

After last Sunday’s win for Best Supporting Performance by a Male Actor Screen Actors Guild Awards, Brad Pitt’s well on his way to secure an Oscar for his role in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. But it’s not the only notable performance Pitt gave in 2019.

Related: The Once and Future Hollywood: How to Experience Tarantino’s Golden Age of Los Angeles

Director James Gray’s Ad Astra stars Pitt as an astronaut charged with finding his father who disappeared in his search for extraterrestrial life. It’s a moody, mesmerizing exploration of masculinity and the complexities of father/son relationships.

What’s in Our Carry-On

Why does it feel like traveling, generally, is the worst thing that can happen to your skin? Especially where it’s most delicate—around your eyes. Rushing to your gate stresses you out, planes dry you out, and by the time you land any glow you’ve had has been dulled by hours of breathing stale, recycled air. Luckily, First Aid Beauty’s 5 in 1 Eye Cream has that wonderful carry-on friendly quality of being able to multitask as it combats all of those bad-for-your-skin factors. It smooths, brightens, hydrates, corrects, and protects your eyes from all the various damage you come face to face with while traveling.