Bucket List Item: Attend a Murder Mystery Weekend!

Remember that episode on Saved by the Bell where the characters partook in a Murder Mystery Event?  Ever since that episode I have always dream of attending such an event so when I heard of Murder Mystery Weekends happening at Historic Inns across the US, I was intrigued.

I have yet to PARTAKE in any of these, but thought I’d share this great list of events and Inns that partake in these kind of weekends: Needless to say it really is that EASY to make a dream a reality thanks to these historic inns.

Wilburton Inn: Manchester Village, Vermont:

The Wilburton Inn is a historic inn in beautiful Vermont, and as well known for one of the best Mansions around!  This upcoming November 8th and 9th they are hosting their second annual Murder Mystery Weekend where this is the story:


Our mystery takes place in 1955, at a secret board meeting of the newly merged RKO Pictures- General Tire, at the Wilburton Inn.  Tom O’Neil, the new CEO, has convened this meeting in the mountains to share his new corporate strategy and reveal the real reason he bought a barely functioning film studio. His lawyer informs him that he is obligated by contract to produce one last great RKO film. Will it be a musical? A Western? Or a noir thriller? 

Saturday Nov 8 Dinner & Interactive Murder Mystery, 7pm $40 per person
Sunday Nov 9, Broadway Brunch 8-10 am, $20. Singalong at the Piano, with Broadway Cast Album Producer Brian Drutman. Call to reserve: 802-362-2500.

Architect’s Inn: Newport, Rhode Island


The Architect Inn is celebrating it’s 141st birthday this year!  The Architect’s Inn Guesthouse was constructed in 1873 as the palatial, private residence of George Champlin Mason, the famous Newport architect. It was later the home to America’s Cup sailors, the Vanderbilt family, the Belmont family as well as post-revolutionary Russian royalty. As one of the oldest Inns in Newport, it has hosted everyone from celebrities to the bourgeoisie.

Experience the suspense and excitement of a murder mystery in this Victorian Mansion in the City-by-the-Sea. Awaken your inner Sherlock Holmes, Watson and Professor Moriarty. Will you be a suspect, red herring, accomplice or murderer? We create a full-length mystery for you and participating guests to be the characters, detectives, suspects and, in some instances, the murderer (just be careful not to end up the victim). Presented by the Marley Bridges Theater Company, formerly the renowned Astors’ Beechwood Theater Company on Bellevue Avenue, you will be receive your character role via email before arrival. All guests receive character profiles that are customized to fit their personality, interests and comfort levels.

They put on a variety of Murder Mystery Weekends.  Upcoming dates include: Oct 24 -26, Oct 31-Nov 2nd, Nov 7 – 9, November 14-16, November 22-24, December 5 -7, and December 19-21, 2014.

Mont Rest Hotel: Bellevue, Iowa

Mont-Rest-InnMont Rest Inn Murder Mystery Weekend

If you’re located in the MidWest, you just may want to book a weekend at the Mont Rest Inn in Iowa.  This historic inn established in 1893 hosts Murder Mysteries every weekend all year round.  The evening begins at 5:30 and ends approximately at 9:30.  A gourmet dinner is included. They will also costume you from head to toe! An additional 65 dollar cost per person along with room costs plus tax.

Spicer Castle: Spicer, Minnesota


You are cordially invited to an evening filled with merriment and suspense as you help catch a murderer. But think twice… it could be you! You and your guests participate in our mysteries. You may be invited to a 1930’s English Mansion, 1920’s Chicago Speakeasy, Scottish Castle or some other intriguing place at one of our Minnesota Murder Mystery Dinners. ~Spicer Castle

Of course, this all occurs over dinner!

Crystal River Inn: San Marcos, Texas


One last Murder Mystery weekend geared towards Ladies only will take place the weekend of November 14 and 15th, 2014.  Or make reservations for their New Year’s Eve Gala which is always a blast! Keep an eye out for new 2015 dates coming soon.

San Marcos is a peaceful Hill Country town, complete with sparkling river, dams and waterfalls, lovely old Victorian architecture, and a rich heritage. But in our fantasies, it harbors a mass of (mythical) secrets which could take years to sort out. The series is planned so that you can tune in on any point.

The first chapter in this saga was born in 1987, and since then has delighted thousands of guests with its historically-flavored plotline. In 1989, we introduced the first sequel, wherein the original victim is summoned back to the inn – via séance! In 1991 came the second sequel, which revisits the cast of characters five and 10 years later. The Victorian Frontier Follies, a hilarious look back at the original troupe’s ancestors, debuted in 1993. And our festive Monaco Mystery, with its grand-opening setting, is the gala’s newest addition. From aging hippies and conniving politicians to sheikhs, Indian chiefs and feathered saloon girls, this beguiling cast of misfits will stop at nothing to confuse and intrigue you.  

Each weekend offers an entire package for the Murder Mystery Weekend that begins Friday evening and lasts through Sunday morning.

Madison Street Inn: Santa Clara, CA

Of course we can’t forget those on the West Coast.  In Northern California be sure to book a Murder Mystery weekend at the Madison Street Inn.

There’s been a murder! Join your guests and become suspects in this murder investigation. Dress up as one of the 12 characters and allow the entertaining plot to unfold. Your evening begins by visiting the scene of the crime. Throughout the night you gather evidence by reading the lab reports and learning motives and secrets about each suspect. Twists and turns along the way make for an evening of intrigue and adventure!

This inn specializes in group murder mystery parties.  Be sure to visit them for more information. ]

Glen Tavern, Santa Paula, CA


And in Southern California, spend a weekend at the Glen Tavern where a Murder Mystery Package is available with tickets to the Sharpo Murder Mystery show.

Come enjoy an evening of mystery and fun that captures all the senses. The Glen Tavern Inn’s murder mystery theater is a humorous and interactive dramatic adventure. Professionally produced by the acclaimed “Sharpo Murder Mystery,” the show begins with a murder, whereupon the colorful cast of characters takes the audience on a romp as the mystery unfolds and clues are revealed. The murderer may be anyone and even in the audience.

 The show will begin at the pre-dinner guest reception and conclude that evening when the murder is revealed. Characters mingle with the crowd throughout the festive evening and the audience can play detective and submit guesses, with a prize awarded to the most accurate unraveling of the mystery. This romantic date worth dying for.
There are many more inns across the US that partake in these Murder Mystery Weekends, seriously, just do a search to find your next Bucket List adventure.




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Get Your Read on with Nextissue and Giveaway!

Disclosure: I received a 3 Month Subscription for a trial run with this review.  All opinions are my own. Post may include affiliate links. 


One of my favorite things to do right before bed is to pull out my Dell Venue 7 16 GB Tablet (Android) and open up the Nextissue App.  I then settle down for the night and cozy up to read some of my favorite magazines.  I dream of scenic destinations to travel to, get inspired by home decor, and find some new favorite recipes.

What is Nextissue exactly?  It is a App where you pay a low monthly fee (think 9.99) for access to over 140 Magazine titles.  Think about it?  You go to the Newsstand, Your local grocery store, and grab a magazine off the rack.  They can range anywhere from 4.99 to 9.99 depending on what you’re craving to read.  With the Nextissue app, you have access to well over 140 titles for the cost of just one magazine at the store.  Let me tell you, it’s a good investment!

There are two different subscriptions to choose from:

9.99 Subscription (per month):

Gives you access to 135 Magazines to choose from.  Titles include: AllRecipes, Allure, Elle, Entrepreneur, Marie Claire and many many more.

14.99 Subscription (per month):

Gives you access to over 145 Magazines including those weekly subscriptions such as People, The New Yorker and many other titles.

If you’re like me, you read different things depending on your moods, so to have all this access under one app, and through my tablet makes it super convenient.  Whether you read each night, or when you’re traveling, this app is right there with you bringing your favorites right along keeping your entertained.

I recently teamed up with Nextissue to share my latest Weekend Finds from some of my favorite articles found through the app.  You can read the full article here.

And since I love the app so much (which I will be continuing my membership after my trial is up) I thought it’d be great to give you the opportunity to try it out yourself.


3 Lucky Readers will get a chance to win a 3 Months Subscription.  And if you don’t like the app, you don’t have to continue it afterwards.  No worries at all.

Just leave a comment below telling me about some of your favorite magazines.   That’s it, really, it’s that simple!

Some of mine include: Travel & Leisure, Sunset Magazine, People, US Weekly, Everyday With Rachel Ray, Better Homes & Gardens to name just a few.

No purchase necessary, void where prohibited.  Must be 18 years or older and reside in the US.  Winners will be notified by email.  Giveaway ends 10/30 at 9pm PST.  All other rules can be found here.

For more information about Next issue and to learn what magazines are available be sure to stop by their site.  Perhaps you’ll even sign up yourself.

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Tips When Planning a Trip to Sonoma County!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile, but every time I started to, I’d stop again.  Something about residing in such a beautiful area that has so much to offer how can one write just one post about it for potential travelers to the area?

But, here I am, giving it a go.  Whether you’ll be visiting the area for a Conference, a trip to the Wineries, a visit to family, or perhaps even a work trip, here are some tips to get you through your time here.


1) Talk to the Locals

First piece of advice when you visit here, or really, any other place, is to spend some time talking to some of the locals.  Seriously, Sonoma County has some pretty awesome people out there, but not only that, you will always find a fun local spot to frequent that they can tell you about.

Some of my favorite local spots?

The Barlow

Paradise Ridge Winery

Chateau St. Jean Winery

VJB Cellars


Sonoma Mountain Marketplace

Downtown Petaluma

and many others that I’m not quite ready to disclose…


2) Get out of the Touristy Areas

Don’t get me wrong, there’s some great spots including The Sonoma Plaza and Healdsburg Square, but a huge part of the charm of Sonoma County are driving through the roadways.  Take yourself to Sebastopol, and see some of the arts scattered around the area, enjoy some of the scenic views on roads throughout the county, and be sure to stop and just take a picture with whatever happens to catch your eye, yes, even if it is a cow.  And take a trek out to the Sonoma Coast to see the Northern California coastline, trust me, it will make you want to come back for more.

3) It’s Not Just About the Wine: Have you Tried the Cheese?

I’m from the Midwest, I grew up knowing some pretty good cheese.  Cheese curds, anyone?  However, being out in Sonoma County definitely has its perks, and YOU must find some local cheese shops while you’re in town, and yes, you may have to drive a little (Marin County has some great creameries too!)

A few favorites include:

Cowgirl Creamery

Marin French Cheese Company

Valley Ford Cheese Company

Vella Cheese Company

But there are so many more local varietals.  Stop into a specialty cheese store such as the Sonoma Market or Glen Ellen Market or Olivers and just browse lovingly at all the varietals.

4) Do Something Out of the Ordinary!

You’re here.  Make it memorable.

A few ideas:

Zipline through the Redwoods with Sonoma Canopy Tours

Wine Taste on the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley

Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride over the Vineyards

Stay Overnight amongst Wild Animals at Safari West

Go Camping along the Sonoma Coast right in Bodega Bay

Go rafting down the Russian River

Stopped off along the Russian River today after exploring #mendocinocounty #russianriver

A photo posted by Jamie Gall (@jamiegall1930) on

 5) When it Comes to the Wine….

When you plan your trip to Sonoma County, whether it’s for a few days, or an entire week, or perhaps a whole month, realize that there are 16 Wine Appellations within the county.  That is a lot of acreage, and even more wineries.  You will get overwhelmed. So, with that being said, pick a few out of each appellation for each day you’re here.   Then rank them in order of importance of ones you truly want to visit to the lesser ones.  And the key? Always have a few backups on hand, just in case you get to a tasting room, and it just wasn’t everything YOU had hoped it to be.

Oh, and with that being said, work with a Tour Guide Company.  They know the area, and the wineries really well and can help guide you to exactly what you want to experience while you’re here. I can not recommend these two companies enough:

Terrific Tours

Sonoma Wine Guides

Of course, you could always talk to me too, I have a few favorites and/or suggestions.

6) Get LOCAL!  

Enjoyed exploring around the Sonoma Mountain marketpkace. Open every Saturday and Subsay

A photo posted by Jamie Gall (@jamiegall1930) on

There are so many amazing local companies in the area that are creating some pretty incredible things.  My new favorite place of late is the Sonoma Mountain Marketplace right in Rohnert Park.  Its open every weekend, Saturday and Sunday, and is a shopping mecca with incredible deals from local creatives.

Stop by a Farmer’s Market from the Saturday morning Santa Rosa one to the Tuesday evening (during the summer) one in the Sonoma Plaza.  They’re always a great place to shop local, support your local community while being entertained for the evening.

And seriously, you need to check out The Barlow in Sebastopol.  This place really touches on “Local” by bringing in only local made companies, with many, producing their products right on the property.  Another fun place to check out is Cornerstone Sonoma that also has some great local creatives coming together in one place.

There’s some GREAT local craft breweries in the area, along with some hard core cider makers.  Get to know them!

7) The FOOD!

Promise me something, please! That when you plan your trip to Sonoma County that you will NOT eat at any FAST FOOD Establishments while here.  PLEASE?

There are some pretty incredible chefs in the area doing some wonderful things.  Farm to Table?  Yes, Sonoma County is at the mecca of it with such fresh ingredients all around them.  Do your research, and indulge on some of the restaurants in the area.  YOU WILL BE BEGGING FOR MORE after.

Psst: Sonoma County Restaurant Week is a good way to do research fast.

But the key to your vacation? To just sit back, enjoy the scenery around you, and not to STRESS one bit.   That’s what a vacation is truly about anyhow.






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