5 most unique surf spots

You've heard about San Diego and Hawaii, but did you know you can surf in Michigan?

Whether you're a beginning surfer or a seasoned pro; ready to trail a tanker, edge an iceberg, or eager to stay stateside, we've got a surfing surprise is in store.

Surfing in Ireland

It may not be as obvious an association as Guinness and Jameson—which you can warm up with after a gnarly session—but the Emerald Isle boasts nearly 2,000 miles of coastline. And what a picturesque coastline it is. Think: beaches that offer long stretches of golden sand, colorful reefs, and scenic coves. The western shore comprises some of the most popular surf spots, including Tullan Strand and Strandhill, but even the east coast offers a gem (check out Tramore, Co Waterford). Beginners will be especially welcome surfing in Ireland, where beaches are dotted with surf schools. And did we mention how appealing a visit to the local pub sounds after?

Tanker Surfing in Texas

Locals say tanker surfing in Texas's Galveston Bay has been around since the 1960s, when fishermen and sailors began to ride the waves in the wake of cargo and tanker ships. But since his appearance in the 2003 documentary Step Into Liquid, which introduced tanker surfing to the wider public, James Fulbright is known as the unofficial godfather of the sport. Experienced longboarders can charter a ride with Fulbright's company, Tanker Surf Charters; he doesn't take beginners, and the sport has a somewhat exclusive, members-only vibe. There's even celebrity clientele, like ultimate beach fan Jimmy Buffet himself, who called tanker surfing "a surfing experience you will never forget." Indeed, playful dolphins have been known to leap alongside tanker surfers in the waves. Of course, traditional waves are on offer in the Lone Star State, with South Padre Island boasting the best waves in the warm, shallow waters of the Gulf.

Surfing in Iran

In the small Iranian village of Ramin in the remote region of Baluchestan, women are pioneering a surfing movement. Five-time Irish surfing champion Easkey Britton and two Iranian women, Mona Seraji and Shahla Yasini, were among the first people to surf in Iran, and the subjects of the film, Into the Sea. They've brought not only a sport to Ramin but a way to break down social and cultural barriers; as the women attracted attention, they began to teach surfing to boys in the local villages. Sports in Iran are generally open to women, but their bodies must be fully covered and their hair cannot be visible. The lack of sportswear suitable for Muslim women in water sports is a challenge for female athletes, Shahla Yasini told Huck Magazine. "The lack of freedom in movement prevents women from moving quickly and feeling comfortable in the water. It's also further distancing other women who are not used to sports, stopping them taking their chance to get close to water. Moreover, a very male dominated mentality is the greatest obstacle, especially here in Baluchestan. Myself and the other women involved in the surfing movement have to face and fight against." There are now a number of nonprofit organizations to encourage surfing in the region, including We Surf in Iran and the Surf Seeds Project.

The Great Lakes

A GI returning from Hawaii with a longboard in 1945 was the first to surf the Great Lakes—what some have called America's "Third Coast"—but surfing didn't really take off on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan until the 1960s. There are only about ten surfable days a year and the frigid water requires a thick, hooded wetsuit—and sometimes even that's not enough. "Winter swells mean 30-degree water temps and sometimes subzero air temps; sometimes you get frozen into your wetsuit," a Duluth, Minnesota surfer told the Adventure Sports Network. Still, boosters have been known to call Sheboygan, Wisconsin "the Malibu of the Midwest" for its freshwater surfing, and you can't beat the friendly vibes of the local communities. "Don't be surprised if everyone in the lineup chats you up or invites you for a post-session drink," the magazine advised.

Surfing in Iceland

The Guardian called Iceland "Europe's last surfing frontier," and surfing veteran Atli Guðbrandsson called the arctic waters, "cold, beautiful and unpredictable." Midsummer in Iceland means long days of daylight and empty waves—as long as you can take seas that "strike like a slap in the face." The waves around the Reykjanes peninsula break over a rough volcanic reef—wetsuits and foot protection required. Imagine a lunar landscape that is only an hour from cosmopolitan Reykjavik. If hostile weather and tricky logistics sound like fun and you are willing to do your homework, than the glorious scenery onshore can more than compensate. Or skip the cram session and book your adventure with Arctic Surfers, founded in 2011 by Ingó Olsen, one of Iceland's surfing pioneers, who remembers the early days. "I was, like, 'Surfing? In Iceland? Are you kidding me?'" Olsen told the Guardian. "I went one summer evening with a really old borrowed wetsuit, wool socks with plastic bags over them, and sneakers – and it was so much fun."

Surfing in the Netherlands

From April to October, Holland has its own surprising surf-scene on the North Sea that is "absolutely epic." Summer is the most welcoming time for beginners—seasoned pros will get their kicks in spring and autumn. And you won't have to venture far from Amsterdam. One of the Netherlands' best surf spots is Wijk aan Zee. Sign up for a lesson at Ozlines surf school for surfing lessons. Or head to Zandvoort, where surf schools Surfana and First Wave can help you ride the waves. In Bloemendaal there's a surf camp in the summer months. But locals call Scheveningen in The Hague the Dutch surfing mecca. Wherever you go, supplant visions of sun, sea, and palms with one that is windy, cold and gray. But as surfers say: that can make for an ideal day of waves.

Any one of these adventures could you leave you feeling like Wilma Johnson, author of Surf Mama: One Woman's Search for Love, Happiness, and the Perfect Wave. "In a moment I might be under the wave swallowing seawater and small jellyfish, but right now I am an ancient princess of Hawaii, I am a bikini model, I am a goddess before the crest of a monster billow."

To which we say, right on.

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There are several things about wine that can confuse the average person. If you haven't spent the last few years of your life learning everything there is to know about wine, you can be forgiven for picking up a box of the good stuff every now and then. However, if you want to know a little bit more about how to choose a good bottle, we can help you out. We've created a beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine so you can enjoy yourself a little more.

Know What Type of Wine To Choose

First things first, you're going to need to decide the type of wine that you're looking for in order to narrow your search. Are you looking for a red, white, sparkling, or rosé? The choices may seem overwhelming, but try to focus on what foods you'll be pairing the wine with. Reds go great with heavier meals like red meat, while whites tend to lend themselves towards lighter dishes like fish and cheeses. If you'll be drinking the wine on its own, consider what you've tried in the past and what type you tend to gravitate toward.

Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

It's no secret that a penchant for wine can become an expensive hobby. If you're just getting into the idea, don't waste your time or money with the extremely pricey bottles. A good place to start looking for decent bottles of wine is somewhere between the $10 and $30 price range. This will keep you from buying something too low quality without breaking your bank in the process.

Read the Labels Closely

A good bottle of wine will often give tasting notes right on the bottle. Because everyone's palette is different, you may not get the same notes when you try the wine, but it's a good place to start. Choose something with tasting notes that you already enjoy like berries or cocoa and try to see if you get any hints of that as you drink. The labels may also tell you about the wine's acidity, or how tart it is, and the wine's body, or the way it feels in your mouth.

A beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine can only go so far without being overwhelming. The next part of your wine journey will need to be undertaken on your own. Try various types of wine and see what tastes best to you—that's what wine is really all about.

Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!