Travel Notes: Wine & chocolate along Lake Erie tour

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If you're looking for chocolate and wine to celebrate Valentine's Day, Lake Erie Wine Country is offering a weekend of events at 23 wineries along the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail.

Among the offerings on the 50-mile self-guided tour will be fudgy shortcakes, mini chocolate eclairs, white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and peanut butter pie, each served with selected wines. There are five host wineries and others offering savory stops.

Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday. One ticket is good for all three days.

Cost is $35 per person and participants will receive a wine glass, recipe booklet, $5 voucher for wine purchase and, for the first 750 ticket purchases, a box of specialty chocolates from Webb Candies of Mayville, N.Y. If you plan to attend only on Friday or Sunday, tickets are $29.

Tickets for designated drivers and non-wine drinkers are $20.

Signage has been improved along the route to help particpants find the wineries.

To order tickets or for more details, go to www.lakeeriewinecountry.org or call 1-877-326-6561.

-- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Germiest tourist spot

Runner-up status for world's germiest tourist attraction goes to Seattle's Gum Wall in Post Alley.

The wall is a form of people's participatory art apparently started by Market Theatre audience members in the early 1990s, who thought better of sticking gum under seats and started leaving it on the brick wall outside.

Over the years it has grown vertically, horizontally and now is spreading to the wall on the west side of the alley, with gum stuck to the signs requesting "No Gum This Side, Thank You."

There are business cards, coins, Chinese fortune-cookie fortunes, the Swedish and Brazilian flags, gum wrappers and love notes.

The Pike Place Market estimates the wall holds 750,000 wads of gum. Its Preservation and Development Authority works to keep the 8-foot-high, 54-foot-wide curiosity from going too far.

Clearly, the germiest lists are not scientific: The Gum Wall beat out Paris' sewer tour and India's Karni Mata Rat Temple.

-- The Seattle Times

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