The Scoop: Travel News You Can Use

By Fred Wright, Jr.

Depoe Bay

Storm Watchin’

Tornado chasers have gotten a bit of publicity in films and on TV, and there are even people who seek out the summer hurricanes. Now, here’s a chance for thrill-seekers — or just the casually curious — to do some storm watching in the Northwestern United States. More specifically, folks along Oregon’s Pacific Coast often head out for the beach when a winter storm is forecast, to catch swells of up to 20 feet (6 m). The largest waves are generated where rocky headlands jut into the ocean, and Cape Perpetua, south of the city of Yachats, fits the bill. There are plenty of other viewpoints along the coast. One safety tip: Don’t stand on driftwood to watch the waves. It takes less than an inch (2.5 cm) of water for driftwood to start rolling. For more information about where to view Oregon coast storms, call 888-628-2101 or go to

Rain MassageWhat could be more back-to-nature than a massage amid the green majesty of a rain forest with naturally flowing rainwater? That’s the latest amenity offered by Ikal del Mar resort in Playa Xcalacoco, in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera. Guests recline on a massage table outside in the adjacent jungle, wearing only a bathing suit. Warm herb-scented towels are placed on the feet and neck. Beginning on the back and continuing to the front, rainwater and healing herbs are massaged in circular motions over the body. After the massage, herbal tea is poured over the shoulders and torso. Cost is US$ 110 for the 50-minute massage. For more information about the resort and spa massage, call 888-230-7330 or go to
Palms Tobago
Bird Watchin’There are few places in the world outside of Tobago, in the Caribbean, where there are more bird species, over 210 to be exact. As a result, The Palms Villa Resort has designed a seven-night Bird Lovers’ package that includes four days of guided excursions in the rain forest (the oldest legally protected rain-forest preserve in the Western Hemisphere); off-shore island sanctuaries, such as Little Tobago; and mangrove marshes. The resort features five three-bedroom villas with wrap-around verandas. One species on view: Tobago’s national bird, the rufous-vented chachalaca. The Bird Lovers’ package is offered year-round at rates of US$ 1,685 – US$ 2,650 per person. For more information, call 800-809-5118 or go to
Home on the Wine RangeStarting in February, three vintner’s packages are being offered by Triple Creek Ranch, near Darby, in the Bitterroot Mountains area of Montana. Each weekend package features wine tastings, gourmet cuisine and a choice of outdoor and indoor activities. The three-night programs are designed to introduce area wine growers and selected vintages to guests. Among the amenities is champagne served beneath a starry Montana sky in the guests’ hot tub. Triple Creek Ranch is a 600-acre (2.4 km²) property bordered by three national forests. Accommodations include 19 luxury cabins, all with fireplaces. Costs range from US$ 1,530 to US$ 2,985 per couple. For more information, call 406-821-4600 or go to
Coutour Travel
Personal Travel ShopperNeiman Marcus and Virtuoso, two upscale entities, have combined forces to create a personalized luxury travel service called CouTour. For a US$ 500 annual fee, CouTour members will receive a “personal shopper” — style travel service with tours, amenities, gifts and other travel extras tailored to their “travel measurements.” Members will receive a quarterly newsletter as well as monthly email updates on luxury travel options. In addition, new members will receive a gift-wrapped welcome package from Neiman Marcus consisting of a black leather– and– canvas Tumi-brand travel tote, a Neiman Marcus cashmere throw and a set of Prada beauty products. For more information, call 866-299-5636 or go to
Wander WearAt beaches and airports, museums and amusement parks, parents try to have their eyes on them at all times, but children are lightning fast and incredibly curious, and they tend to wander off quickly. The Wander Wear tag can help reunite lost little people with their caregivers. It’s a brightly colored 2.5-inch (6.35 cm) plastic tag that firmly clips to clothing. Contact information for the child is filled in on its back. Cost for the easy-to-spot parent locator tag is US$ 3.99. For more information on Wonder Wear, a Boston, Massachusetts-based parent-run organization that advocates safety in public places, go to


Benjamin Rader
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