About Special Places
Fred & Mardi Nystrom
Mardi and I have been helping people discover Special Places for over 23 years. Combining the perspective from Mardi’s restaurant experience with my decade with Sunset Magazine, we decided to seek out only the best of the privately owned, high quality places to stay.
From the inception in 1984, our concept has always been simple: to quietly inspect independent places while being a guest. We travel incognito and pay our own way to gain a guest’s perspective of the experience. We select only those places with warm and genuine hospitality and then we pass our findings onto you.
Early on, those findings only took the form of editorials in the seven editions of the Special Places travel guidebooks we published. Our books have always been well received by discerning travelers, having sold over 135,000 copies.
In 1995, we joined the early Internet as one of the original travel "content providers" for Microsoft and their new MSN service. This new avenue added a new way for us to deliver our findings to travelers. We are one of just a few who can trace their online legacy back to 1995 and been active on the web since that time.
It is no accident that the places we call special encompass a broad range of experiences including urban hotels, off the beaten path country inns, romantic bed and breakfasts, mountain lodges, and full-service resorts. It reflects the unique nature of our customers' interests and desires.
However, despite the unique nature of each individual Special Place, what they all have in common is their unusually high level of hospitality.
Special Places is not simply a name, but rather a belief that truly unique travel experiences exist all around you if you know where to find them.
As American's vacation time has become more fragmented, leaving most to take more frequent mini-vacations, staying closer to home, and using the family car rather than confronting the hassles of flying, we too are adjusting to these changes. From this point forward we are only doing books that cover a state or region, and covering them in depth. We are providing detailed information on the very best places in a state, starting where we live in Washington. Soon to follow will be Oregon and British Columbia.
Our readers tell us that they also enjoy discovering local wineries that produce finely crafted wines. Soon we will be adding the top wineries in the Pacific Northwest for your touring and tasting pleasure.
So stay tuned and come back often as we continually expand this site with new Special Places.
Fred & Mardi Nystrom