Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Recently, my spouse and I found ourselves at the epicenter of a masterfully orchestrated convergence of three great loves – music, cruises, and of course, each other. The venue was a premium class cruise ship full of dedicated music lovers and a dozen well-known jazz virtuosos. Living in this magical sweet spot of almost continuous concerts, seminars and socializing for seven days proved to be a life changing experience.
First the backstory –
Music-themed cruises are a fast growing niche in the cruise industry – even full ship charters. They have been around for some time. For example – this year is the 10th anniversary for the consistently sold out Smooth Jazz Cruise.…
A chance encounter with an enthusiastic devotee – a veteran of two jazz cruises – drew my attention to this particular theme charter – a creation of Michael Lazaroff of St Louis based Entertainment Cruise Productions (ECP).
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
While every state in the union now makes wine, you still won’t find any areas as well-known as Napa and Sonoma. They are two of the most recognized wine regions in the U.S. and they also happen to be right next door to each other in Northern California. If your time is limited, how do you choose?
It’s hard to believe that two places producing wine could be so close yet so different, but it’s true. After many visits to both places, I can’t say one is “better” than the other. It all depends on what you are looking for as there are differences in the wineries, hotels, restaurants and even the general atmosphere between Napa and Sonoma.
The number of wineries in Napa and Sonoma is pretty even and hovering at around 450 each. Napa offers visits to some of the most well-known and respected wines in the world, including Robert Mondavi, Gallo Family Vineyards and Domaine Carneros.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
So Spring Break is rapidly approaching and you have made no plans whatsoever? And your family is clamoring for a beach getaway? No problem. The Gulf Coast of Florida awaits in all its magnificent sugar white sand and turquoise water splendor.
Although people have their favorite beaches and I have visited plenty of them, none compare to the gorgeous beaches which line the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. With plenty of family-friendly accommodations, great seafood restaurants, lot of shopping opportunities, and great fun activities for families, this coast is the perfect choice for a spring break getaway.
Check out these locations, pick up the phone and make a reservation, then announce to your family that Spring Break is now planned!
Read More…One of several beaches sprawling along the Gulf Coast in what is commonly known as “The Panhandle” because of the resemblance to a frying pan handle on the state of Florida, Destin has a number of hotels and resorts but I have stayed numerous times at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and it’s a wonderful place for families.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Yes, the rumors are true. Hawaii is expensive. But guess what? It’s also an epic place to visit. An enchanted, breath-taking, must-cross-off-your-bucket-list place to visit. So I say, roll up your pennies, grab your bikini and follow this guide to travel Hawaii on a budget.
First things first, get the cheapest flight there is! Wasting money due to lazy booking is a rookie-traveler mistake. Visit Kayak.com and set up an e-mail alert to notify you when the price of your destination and dates go down (this goes for any trip, by the way). For the best results, I recommend searching for Wednesday flights and booking at least a month in advance. You might be able to get a last minute deal, but usually, it’s best to play it safe and get those low fares when they first come out, and with Kayak e-mail alerts, you’ll be the first to know.
Next, if you’re traveling on a budget, I don’t recommend spending your hard earned cash on a fancy resort filled with snooty tourists.…
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Yeah, traffic may be backed up because of those drivers who are freaked out by ice and snow, the temperatures are so low you simply can’t put on enough clothing, and school has been called off yet again. Why not forget about all that and actually enjoy this fabulous winter? This is pretty easy to do if you head to Michigan to check out three equally marvelous resorts, all of which provide enough winter sports fun to make you think that winter might turn out to be your favorite season after all.
The Grand Traverse Resort…
Read More… in Acme, Michigan, located near Traverse City, boasts an incredible, soaring, 17-story glass tower of luxury hotel rooms with an amazing view of the surrounding, snow-covered fields, in addition to the Shores Condominiums overlooking East Grand Traverse Bay. There’s plenty to do at the resort and the surrounding area includes lots of microbreweries and wineries but our favorite activity was dog sledding.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
The holidays are drawing to a close and, once you have taken down all your decorations and are ready for a little getaway, a big city may be your best choice. Often, the prices are lower in the winter, you can get some great and reasonably priced hotel accommodations, and enjoy the local attractions with fewer crowds.
Read More…: Those icy cold winds may whip off Lake Michigan during the winter in The Windy City, but bundle up and enjoy this beautiful location while there are fewer crowds and better prices. Experience the ultimate in luxury with a stay at the Villa D’Citta bed and breakfast in Lincoln Park and you may never want to leave. Or make a reservation for an executive suite at the Hyatt McCormick Place and enjoy your incredible view of Lake Michigan and Navy Pier. Plan dinner one night at The Storefront, a lovely neighborhood restaurant with delicious food and a delightful atmosphere.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
As a major holiday, there are numerous activities and festivities to see and be part of, but none equals a spectacular Thanksgiving Day Parade. Nowadays, you can choose what location you want to the see the festive floats, giant character balloons and the marching bands, from New York City to Chicago to Philadelphia. It just one of those things that the TV cannot do justice to, the sights, the sound and the smell, so plan ahead to take you and yours on a memorable trip to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
New York City: The Macy’s Day Parade
As one of the most famous parades, the annual Macy’s Day Parade is televised across the world for all to see. On the procession route, the streets are literally teaming with about 3-million spectators. Almost in its 90th…
Read More… year, it’s no wonder it is the most popular parade with its gigantic character balloons that effortlessly float down the street, the creative floats, marching bands, cheerleading, dance groups and the list goes on.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
The official first day of fall has come and gone, the weather is slowly getting cooler and the days shorter so beach vacations may seem like a thing of the past at this point but, in reality, this is absolutely the best time of the year to visit many beaches. After Labor Day, the crowds diminish as children head back to school, and the prices are lowered, but the weather in many of these areas is still warm enough to enjoy the beach, have a swim, have some great seafood, shop and visit the local spa.
Here are five suggestions for locations we have visited in the fall that make perfect beach destinations for this time of year.
1. Tybee Island, Georgia…
Read More…. Located right off the coast of Savannah and frequently referred to as “Savannah’s Beach”, small and quaint Tybee is a beautiful place with lovely, tan sand beaches and some great
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
You sigh, walk on by and sit at the airport’s main departure lounge, carry-on luggage at your feet, and jacket on your lap, only now putting back things into your pockets after the security check.
What would it really take for you to access the airport lounge where you could put your feet up, relax and sip on something refreshing before your flight? Most travelers do not travel first class or business class which is the key to opening the lounge door, but there are others ways to gains access to the airport lounge without breaking the bank.
The One-Day Pass…
This will grant you access to an airport lounge at the cost of $50.00. You need to check what restrictions exist like do you have to be traveling on the same airline as the airport lounge, and can you take a guest in for free? Continental Airlines state their pass is valid for a year so you don’t have to worry what day you want to use it.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
When you think of Christmas Markets the first place that comes to mind are the traditional ones located in Europe – specifically in Germany and Austria, where old cobbled streets decorated with stringed lights house wooden chalet stalls that sell everything festive.
Located in the Rhine Valley, Strasbourg is a sprawling metropolitan city. It has a mix of French and German cultures because of its proximity to the German border. Here you will find the Christkindelsmarik or Christmas Market which is the oldest in France. Located in Place Broglie near the gothic Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg the area comes to life with over 300 chalet-style booths, singing choirs of people, hot mulled wine and trinkets for the Christmas season. The market gets busier as the time progresses with about 2 million visitors during the season, but it only adds to the atmosphere and excitement. There is also the aroma of baked goods especially Gingerbread which comes on all shapes, sizes and varieties.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Have you ever visited Kaua’i? Chances are, if you did you saw terrific beaches, not to mention great hotels, world-class golfing, sweet local restaurants, and (if you got really lucky), the elusive “green flash” which supposedly appears on the famous north shore of the island just as the sun dips below the horizon.
Of course if you go to Kaua’i for spiritual travel, there’s a lot more to see and do than have a Mai Tai and take a Jeep tour or go to a traditional Hawai’ian luau, though these activities are also not to be missed! Here are some suggestions for diving down deeper on a spiritual tour of this most wonderful Hawaiian island:
On the beautiful coastal road of Kauai’s north shore is a gorgeous mystical wet cave called “The Blue Room.” It is one of the island’s many unusual geological formations. A peaceful feeling instantly settles upon you when you enter this cave.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
One of the most important things I learned when I was in South Beach, Miami for a day recently is that if you are “in the know” you call it SoBe…
Read More…. If you find yourself in SoBe for a day and you like to shop, eat and lounge on the beach, here’s what I did to give you some ideas.
You have some choices when heading to SoBe from another part of Miami, but one of the cheapest and best ways to get there is on a city bus. We were leery when the hotel concierge suggested this, but I found the Miami buses to be clean, air-conditioned and comfortable. They also run on time, operate all over the city and are very reasonably priced. We walked to the airport near our hotel, then hopped on a bus to SoBe for only $2 each way.
If you are up for shopping, one of the first places you should go is Lincoln Road.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Milwaukee plays host to the world’s largest festival. From late June to early July each year, Summerfest takes over a 75-acre festival park with over 700 entertainers on 11 stages over an 11 day period. Last year despite a record setting heat wave, Summerfest attracted over 800,000 people participating in one or more days of the festival.
Along with some regional musical acts, this festival also attracts headliners including The Foo Fighters, the Beach Boys’ 50th Anniversary Tour, Iron Maiden with special guest Alice cooper and Lady Antebellum. Whatever your musical preferences, you will be able to find acts that make your heart sing. Stay connected to the Summerfest website for updated listings of this year’s lineup that should start to roll out in April 2013.
Add into this mix a range of children’s activities and this day can become a family affair.…
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Before we arrived at lovely Navarre Beach, we stopped at a Publix grocery on the way to pick up drinks and snacks to stock the fridge in our condo. We stopped before we got to Navarre because the last time I was there several years ago, there was no grocery store. You had to drive to nearby Pensacola or Gulf Breeze if you wanted to pick up groceries.
As we pulled up near the bridge to cross over to the snow white sand of Santa Rosa Island and the gorgeous Navarre Beach, I was surprised and pleased to see a brand new Publix grocery. This means that, with the incredible beach, fabulous accommodations and small, locally owned restaurants on Navarre Beach, you may never have to leave the area for your whole vacation!
Navarre Beach is located on Santa Rosa Island, just a few miles down from popular Pensacola Beach. I have stayed in both areas over the years and consider Navarre Beach to be superior mainly because it is so lovely, quiet and family-friendly.…