SUMMER SPOOKY: Maybe it was the arrival of summer, and a few warm-blast, find-shade days. Maybe it is because we're getting word that some of the larger Halloween events around the Golden State are beginning to send out audition announcements. ("Halloween in June" has such the curious ring.) Or maybe we simply like the Winchester Mansion, a lot, and like a good hotel deal, a lot. Whatever the reason, we're liking this deal at the Santa Clara-based Avatar Hotel. The Joie de Vivre property has a Winchester Mystery House package, which includes a night at the hotel and two tickets to the attraction.
LATE SLEEP-IN: And you'll want a late check-out, yes? Just in case your dreams are filled with doors opening to walls and staircases to nowhere. The deal extends your stay to 2 p.m., which is nice. You'll need to mention the package when you book. If you're thinking you like your odder attractions in October, and want to go more summery, the Avatar has a package geared toward Great America and July weekends. That's a bit less shadowy and a bit more sunny, but really, we like both.