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Romance on the Road

February 13, 2019
Travel, on its own, is incredibly romantic. Going on vacation with a special someone can strengthen bonds, can reinvigorate a life worn down by the daily grind, and can even remind each other why they fell in love in the first place. Heading on the road on Valentine’s Day? It’s hard not to be shot by Cupid’s arrow in that case.

Mitch-Stuart offers trips to romantic destinations both close by and far flung as non-profit fundraising auction travel packages. For tomorrow’s holiday, we picked three of our favorites and created romantic itineraries for the day. The best news: None of these are Valentine’s-specific – your donors can follow these tips year-round!

Paris: It’s hard to put together a non-romantic itinerary for the City of Light, but we’re got some favorites. Start at the Wall of Love, which features tiles with the phrase “I love you” in 250 languages. (It’s neighborhood, Montmarte, was a big favorite of artists during the Belle Epoque; it’s worth a wander, as well.) From there, take a sunset cruise down the Seine River (we love it so much that it’s ended up in two of our trips) and, if there’s no dinner aboard the boat, head to the Hôtel Plaza Athénée for one of Paris’ greatest meals at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée. A post-meal cocktail at Verjus Bar a Vins puts a perfect bow on top of a Valentine’s Day in, arguably, the world’s capital of love.

New York: First, if your donors have a chance to stay at The Plaza New York (like with our “A Suite Taste of the Big Apple” trip), they should do it. There’s no more romantic place to rest one’s head than the hotel that’s welcomed countless celebrities and appeared in everything from “The Great Gatsby” to “Almost Famous.” From there, if the weather is aggregable, take in one of the city’s many park attractions (we’re partial to the Bow Bridge in Central Park or the High Line). If a show is in your donors’ plans (and it’s Broadway – a show SHOULD be in their plans), then a pre-show meal at Joe Allen is a great choice. It’s proximity to the theaters means that your supporters will only be a short walk away from their production of choice, and its brick interior and strong martinis give it a New York feel that’s hard to duplicate outside the five boroughs. At the end of the evening, luxuriate in the lights of Times Square. It’s a tourist trap by day (and still busy at night!), but in the late evening visitors have a little elbow room and can move at a slower pace.

San Francisco: On the nose? Perhaps. But the Cupid’s Span sculpture along the Embarcadero is a beautiful way to kick off a romantic day in the city by the bay. From there, it’s a short walk to Ghirardelli Square; the actual chocolate factory is not operational, but the company’s flagship store is there, along with other boutiques. Grab a pre-dinner beverage at Top of the Mark, which sits high above the city and boasts the best 360 view of San Francisco available. It’s less than a mile – and downhill – to Bix, a restaurant that serves up both American-French fare and nightly jazz music.


The Sporting Season

February 06, 2019
Next week, the pitchers and catchers of the Oakland A’s report to the team’s spring training in Mesa, Arizona. Yes, despite how it has felt across much of the country, spring is coming – and it brings one of the most crowded sports calendars of the year.

Between now and June, there are huge sporting events each month, and Mitch-Stuart has non-profit fundraising auction travel packages that can send your supporters to see them in person. If you’ve got donors who are nightly “SportsCenter” viewers, you’ll have a big audience for these upcoming trips.

If some of your supporters are sports fans and you ask them what comes after March, they might say “Madness” instead of “April.” The NCAA basketball tournaments are some of the most popular sporting events in the country, running for three weekends and drawing enough viewers on its weekdays that CNBC estimated the tournament cost companies $4 billion in lost revenue during the 2016 outing – just for the opening weekend. We can take them to a weekend of the tournament, all the way through the Final Four.

For other sporting donors, they’ll know April comes next because it’s the month of the Masters. The tournament is the first of golf’s four yearly major tournaments, and it’s the most prestigious; the green jacket awarded to the winner is one of the most iconic awards in sports. Golf fans around the world follow along at home – but your supporters can walk through the galleries and check out the views from ground level.

Showers in April (hopefully not on Masters’ weekend!) bring May flowers, but the sporting world will keep their eyes on the track at Churchill Downs, thank you very much. The Kentucky Derby is colorful both in its infield and in the stands, with pastel colors and large hats being themes every year. Clubhouse seats will put your donors as close to the action as anyone but the jockeys, and the traditions of the day will leave lasting memories.

Finally, if your donors’ appetites for football weren’t satiated by this past weekend’s Super Bowl, they can watch the first steps of next season take place – in one of our favorite destinations! The NFL Draft takes place in late April in Nashville, and we can send a pair of your supporters to see the best and brightest of the college football ranks find out where they’ll be plying their trade for the next few years. It’s a great trip for the pigskin diehards, but everyone will enjoy setting up shop for the weekend in Music City, with its history and vibrance.