This is our monthly list of recommendations on stuff to eat, drink, and do. Today, we present things to do in April.
Carpe Diem: Visit a National Park
In the surest sign that we are beginning to turn a corner on COVID, the CDC last week issued travel guidance for Americans who have been fully vaccinated: We are free to travel. However, the pandemic is most definitely not over, so we are urged to continue to wear masks and observe social distancing protocols in public.
So it’s probably not the time to attend a big event in a hotel ballroom, or to go bar hopping in a new city.
What we’re thinking is that this month would be a great opportunity to visit one of our wonderful National Parks, where you can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.
With Linda in Northern California and Donna in LA, a perfect point between us is Yosemite National Park. A few years ago we met in the middle there to celebrate Donna’s 25th wedding anniversary.
At this time, you no longer need a reservation to enter the park, but parts of it are still closed due to both winter weather and COVID, so if you plan a trip, do check the website first. Only one campground is open at this writing, but the famous (and expensive) Ahwahnee Hotel is operating, as well as the Yosemite Valley Lodge. When we visited, we stayed about 30 minutes outside the park at the Tenaya Lodge.
And if you have hit the magical age of 62, one of the best things about the National Parks is that they offer special passes that will allow you free admission to every park in the system. A one-year pass will cost you $20. For $80, you can obtain a lifetime pass that will get you into every park for as long as you live.
Carpe Noctem: Keep your money an extra month
The IRS has extended the deadline to file your taxes. This year, you have until May 17 to get that paperwork in, but if you are expecting a refund or a stimulus payment contingent on your 2020 income, you’re better off filing sooner than later.
“The moving of the federal deadline for filing does not mean everything due on April 15th moved,” warns financial planner Cyrus Purnell in Forbes. “Estimated tax payments are still due on April 15th. While 41 states moved their deadline last year to line up with the federal date, some states may still have April 15th as their 2020 deadline. Check with your state’s tax administrator to verify when your state return is due.”
Carpe Vinum: This month’s wine
Post & Beam 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon
It’s the first time we’ve tried this deep red wine and we’ll be buying more, because it’s good right out of the bottle. Honestly, it barely needs breathing! It’s just plain yummy after it sits for a few minutes.
We would call it “deep” the way a 72% dark chocolate is deep. So there’s actually still a little room to go, but if the train stops here, I won’t be complaining.
We purchased Post & Beam at one of 2DA’s favorite wine stores, Capitol Cellars, and we’d love to direct you to the the winery, which ships to many states – but it’s SOLD OUT. We did find it on sale at our local Total Wine for $49.99, so we suggest you check on it before they run out, too.
In the meantime, the Post & Beam winery has re-opened for tastings. So they may show up again here this summer as a place to visit.
Carpe Festum: This month’s cheese
Yeah, we know. You’ve had it. Nothing new here, move along. But is there any herb more evocative of spring than dill? And of all the things to do in April we are suggesting, the easiest of all is picking up a slab of Havarti dill cheese.
This creamy, delicious cheese is taken for granted by many of us and that has to stop. Sure, it’s in every grocery store refrigerator section, but that’s because people like it. And did we mention that it’s creamy?
This traditional Danish cheese is really versatile. It has a “springy” texture, is perfect for a grilled cheese sandwich, omelete, or cut into small cubes to be eaten with your crackers and salami for dinner.
Because Havarti is so mild, Linda enjoys it with most wines.
“To be honest, I’m not sure I can taste the dill, but I always reach for it instead of the plain Havarti. Either way, it’s a win,” she says.
As we said, you can pick Havarti dill up at any supermarket – but our favorite comes from Trader Joe’s.