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Piloting Your Next Family Vacation

Pilot

Is there anything better than a family vacation? No! But in today’s crazy commercial airport scene, getting through security and navigating through a myriad of obstacles just to get to your gate can be a nightmare. The flying experience is definitely not what it used to be. With hidden fees and headaches par for the course when traveling commercial, it just might be time to start flying your family yourself. It’s true! Becoming a private pilot might just might be the best decision you’ll ever make.

Angelina Jolie Pilot

Getting your pilot’s license has never been easier and, in the future, private planes and pilots may be as ubiquitous as family cars and drivers’ licenses. Celebrities like Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie all find that flying themselves is easier and more fun! Although it might seem natural to rent, many families choose to purchase personal aircraft instead. You also need your own personal aviation equipment like log books, maps and head sets. PilotMall.com offers flight simulator software if you would like to further hone your skills. But, ultimately, the freedom and security is worth the upfront cost! And joining a private pilot community and a support group will definitely help you on your way.

Seeing loved ones is so much better when you are in control of you travel. According to AOPA, there are almost 20,000 private and small craft airports in the U.S. These private airports are much likely closer to your intended destination than large international airports saving you the hassle of renting cars or taking expensive taxis.

Flying yourself will shorten your travel time and open up doors to new places you may never have thought of going. A three-day weekend to a remote exotic location is a reality, because you can fly more than 600 hundred miles in the same day with no problem. No overnight stays at hotels, and no burning hours in the car.

Flying yourself is definitely better than traipsing through the airport and being trapped on someone else’s timetable! So channel your inner Angelina and get your pilot’s license! No more lost days stuck in strange cities and more time spent at your location—and time is the most precious commodity of all.

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Posted by Elizabeth on 11/25 at 07:40 AM
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Days Out in London that Feed the Imagination

London

Home of supercalifragilisticexpialidociousness, pigeons and the Queen, the iconic cityscape of The Gherkin, the London Eye and the Thames, is an urban wonderland for the curious child. For little ones full of curiosity, the buzz of this exciting and active city should be enough to distract them from any fits of bordem. Child-friendly restaurants, family shows, adventure playgrounds and museums all make London one of the best cities in the world for your next jet-setting vacation!

London

Ripley’s Believe it or Not London
This emporium of quirky wonders in Piccadilly Circus is certainly a unique way to spend an afternoon! At Ripley’s Believe it or Not you can explore more than 700 artifacts and curios—from a bottle-cap Michelle Obama to fossilized dinosaur eggs and Amazonian shrunken heads. Once you’ve explored the oddities, channel Bruce Lee and take on the baffling mirror maze, or try your very own Mission Impossible in the Laserace, where hundreds of laser beams will block your path as you twist and swerve to complete the challenge in the fastest possible time. Then, if you aren’t sufficiently fuddled, enter the Black Hole, a twisting, swerving tunnel which will trick your eyes and baffle your senses with its spinning light show.

London

Madame Tussauds London
Schmooze with the glitterati on a day out to Madame Tussauds, the world’s most famous waxwork museum while baffling friends and family with your celebri-selfies. Whether you love superheros, Hollywood A-listers or the royal family, you can get up close and personal with their waxworks. There are sections for politicians, Bollywood superstars and iconic film characters, too! And once you’ve had your fill of your favorite stars of stage and screen, become part of a 4D adventure movie with the Marvel Super Heroes.

London

The Warner Bros Studio Tour
Home to the sets and props of the beloved Harry Potter series of films, the Warner Bros Studio tour is a perfectly preserved treasure trove that will transport you to Hogwarts (without the inconvenience of having to locate Platform 9 3/4). Fans of the books and new initiates alike will gasp with delight, while parents may well feel some nostalgia for their own experiences with these lauded children’s books. Learn what Butterbeer really tastes like, walk through the echoing space of The Great Hall, be awestruck by Dumbledore’s office and fall in love all over again with the magic of one of the most imaginative works of children’s fiction ever written.

These are only a handful of interesting and exciting places to visit in London during what will certainly be a magical vacation for the whole family. London is a city made to be explored!

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Posted by Elizabeth on 11/21 at 08:30 AM
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4 Top Child-Friendly Vegas Attractions

Las Vegas

If your last trip to Las Vegas without kids was a debauchery-filled affair, you might be wondering what on earth to do with the little ones on your next visit to Sin City. While there are always plenty of five-star hotels and high-end boutiques for adults, Las Vegas is not famous for being a child-friendly destination. Happily though, the city actually does have plenty of attractions to keep the kids just as entertained and excited as the adults! From adrenaline-pumping theme parks to learning about the body and forensic science in top-quality exhibitions, even the fussiest child will be entertained and educated. Read on for four interesting and educational activities that make Vegas the perfect family-friendly holiday destination!

Las Vegas

Bodies: The Exhibition
Both children and adults will enjoy spending time exploring Bodies: The Exhibition, located within the popular Luxor Hotel and Casino. This educational exhibit has been visited by more than 15 million people from across the globe and provides visitors with a fascinating view into the anatomical details of the human body.

Much of the information presented at the exhibit has been limited to medical professionals in the past, but now those interested in the inner workings of the body can take advantage of the exhibit’s detailed look into the skeletal, respiratory, nervous, muscular, digestive, circulatory and endocrine systems. Kids will be enthralled by the 200-plus actual human bodies and specimens on display. The displayed bodies have been carefully dissected and prepared by using a cutting-edge preservation process that ensures none of the specimens will decay over time. After visiting The Bodies, you might just end up with an aspiring doctor in the family!

Las Vegas

CSI: The Experience
Another attraction that’s perfect for kids 12 and up is CSI: The Experience. Located in the MGM Grand Hotel, this interactive crime-solving exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to test their detective skills by playing the role of a crime scene investigator! The unique challenge, based on the popular “CSI” television shows, features three different simulated victims and killers. There are 15 individual lab stations and “suspects” to investigate. Participants are guided through the challenge by a series of videos that feature not just real-life forensic scientists, but also cast members from the TV shows. Kids will love using their sleuthing skills to match DNA to suspects, examine bullet casings and explore state-of-the-art forensic labs. Participants who deduce who the “killer” is during their search receive an official CSI Diploma to take home!

Las Vegas

The Aquarium at Silverton Casino Hotel
Parents planning a trip to Las Vegas whose kids are going through their “Little Mermaid phase” must visit the Silverton Casino Hotel! And now that the movie is 25(!) years old, nostalgic parents will want to visit as well. Why? The hotel hosts a huge aquarium that is home to more than 4,000 tropical fish, plus three different types of sharks and stingrays. Of course, this is Las Vegas though, so the main attraction is the live “mermaids” that swim around in the more than 440,000-liter reef aquarium.

This venue is one of the most popular free attractions in the city, so schedule your family’s visit to the aquarium between Thursdays and Sundays when the mythical creatures can be seen swimming around in the tank. In addition, interactive feeding shows are scheduled at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. each afternoon.

Las Vegas

The Adventuredome at Circus Circus
For kids that love theme parks, The Adventuredome at the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino is the perfect spot to visit. Previously known as the Grand Slam Canyon, this five-acre indoor amusement park is the largest of its type in the United States. The tourist attraction is located within a dome that is more than 197 feet high and enclosed by more than 8,600 panes of glass that weigh in at close to 300 pounds.

The Adventuredome is home to 25 exciting rides and attractions, including the Canyon Blaster, a roller coaster featuring a double-loop and double-corkscrew track that runs at around 54 miles per hour! The Sling Shot, a ride that shoots participants straight up at a 4G force, is definitely for the more brave at heart. For the energetic, but less adventureous, the Adventuredome offer bumper cars, laser tag, mini golf, an arcade and a 4D Special FX Theater with special effects, squirting water, and bubbles. Definitely don’t miss Happy Feet: Mumble’s Wild Ride 4-D!

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Posted by Elizabeth on 11/18 at 10:32 AM
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Cyber Monday Travel Deals are Almost Here!

Black Friday has evolved into a Thanksgiving tradition of hitting the stores immediately after filling up on turkey and standing in long lines to save on the year’s best deals. However, with the simple click of a mouse, savvy in-the-know travelers can save big with the following Cyber Monday deals—navigating those long lines not required!

Fancy Resort

Hawks Cay Resort, Florida
Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys has launched a special Black Friday sale available for 72 hours only starting on November 28. Travelers can save 25 percent off on guestroom and villa accommodations during stays of two nights or longer November 30, 2014 through June 4, 2015 subject to blackout dates and based on availability.

Hawks Cay Resort, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts and an AAA Four-Diamond award recipient, is the premier destination in all of the Florida Keys for outdoor fun. Alongside the emerald waters of the Atlantic Ocean, guests enjoy offshore, flats and backcountry fishing; diving; kayaking; kiteboarding and stand-up paddleboarding programs; the Cliff Drysdale tennis program; Segway tours; and the only resort-based Dolphin Connection program with complimentary daily viewings. The 60-acre resort boasts 177 guestrooms and 225 two- and three-bedroom villas, a full-service marina, four restaurants, saltwater lagoon, five swimming pools, kid and teen clubs and the award-winning Calm Waters Spa.

Luxury in the Caribbean
On Cyber Monday only, Plantation Beach Villas in Tobago is slicing an extra 10 percent off already-discounted winter rates resulting in a total savings of 20 percent. This offer is valid on stays from December 20, 2014, to April 30, 2015 and includes the first dinner and first breakfast as well as a fresh fruit basket, cold beers, soft drinks, juices and milk. In addition, Plantation Villas will also offer a 10 percent discount on the Island Girl Catamaran, plus a free day of car rental for every seven days booked from Sherman’s Rentals through the hotel.

Castara Retreats in Tobago is cutting rates by up to 25 percent for bookings of eight nights or longer. Guests who stay in June or September 2015 will receive 20 percent off while guests staying in July or August 2015 receive 25 percent off.  Castara Retreats is a highly-rated eco-resort located between the Caribbean Sea and the Rainforest Reserve on a hillside above Castara, a working fishing village on the northwestern coast of Tobago.

Guests can stay three nights and get the fourth night free at Grafton Beach Resort in Tobago. For travel December 1 through December 20, 2014, rates start at $150 per night. For travel from December 21, 2014, through April 30, 2015, rates start at $188 per night. The 106-room resort features awe-inspiring views of the Caribbean Sea, a swim-up pool bar, an onsite dive center, a business center and four restaurants and bars. Use booking code FBFREE5 to take advantage of the sale!

Tobago’s adults-only resort, Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort, is offering one night free for every two consecutive nights booked. Rates start at $188 per night for travel December 1 through December 20, 2014, and $225 for travel from December 21, 2014, through April 30, 2015. The 83-room luxury resort is a tranquil sanctuary featuring breathtaking views of Stone Haven Bay and a long stretch of soft, sandy beach. Use reference code FBFREE6 when booking!

This Black Friday through Cyber Monday, Viceroy Anguilla is offering guests the option to “linger longer” with a complimentary fifth night. The “Linger Longer” promotion is available for stays through September 20, 2015, and is subject to availability and blackout dates.

Situated on 35 acres, the Viceroy Anguilla boasts two white sand beaches, a glimmering saltwater infinity pool, and three resort pools. The resort features five dining options and a range of cuisines, including Middle Eastern, Asian, and American seafood and steak. Two-level villas of four and five bedrooms overlook the bay, while private residences offer the option to call Anguilla home. For further information or to book, visit .

Or you could skip the holiday shopping lines and box wrapping by giving a gift of fun in the sun! Ocean Club Resorts, located in Turks and Caicos, invites guests to take advantage of their Cyber Monday special. Guests who book from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST on December 1, 2014, will receive every fourth night free on stays from May to August 15, 2015. Please note this offer excludes studio accommodations at Ocean Club West. To book this deal, call 800-457-8787.

Ocean Club Resorts, comprised of two all-suite properties, is the perfect home away from home with spacious accommodations ranging from studios to three-bedroom suites. Guests can do as much or as little as they desire at the resort, from exploring the coral reef on a snorkel excursion to lounging under one of the resort’s signature pink beach umbrellas to learning how to stand-up paddle board.

Grand Residences, Riviera Cancun
The all new, all-suite Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is offering a Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale. Rates start from $259 for a Junior Suite, including taxes. Guests also receive one complimentary bottle of tequila, one massage for two and daily a la carte breakfast for two. This special offer is valid for stays from November 1, 2014, through December 18, 2015. The special rates are non-refundable and non-transferable. Blackout dates apply.

An affiliate to the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World collection, Grand Residences features sprawling suites designed as private residences, blending all of the comforts of home with the luxurious amenities of a five-star resort. Nestled in a private enclave between scenic Riviera Maya and bustling Cancun, this exclusive hideaway is ideally located between the world’s second largest barrier reef and a tranquil nature preserve. The resort sets the new standard in luxury beachfront living: spacious suites, all with private outdoor terraces and many with private Jacuzzis; gourmet dining; a world-class spa and salon; personalized beach and pool service; and much more. Book online to take advantage of this special offer!

Posted by Elizabeth on 11/14 at 08:30 AM
HotelsLuxuryTravel DealsPermalink

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A Pet Paradise for a Lucky Dog (or Cat)!

Wag Hotels

When we go on vacation, it’s a sad fact that our furry, fun and fabulous family members are often left behind. Even though we love them, sometimes it’s just not feasible to take our fuzzy companions with us to our vacation destinations. But that doesn’t mean they need to endure a solitary existence at home while we’re off having fun!

Wag Hotels

Next time your itinerary necessitates a petless vacation, give your special buddy a getaway of their own at Wag Hotels for cats and dogs! So much more than your average kennel, Wag offers day-long supervised play, personal grooming and training sessions for dogs, and multi-room condos, three 15-minute cuddle sessions daily and constantly refreshed litter and bedding for lucky kitties. And you can check in any time you’d like!

Wag Hotels

Doggies will delight in the All Day Play, which includes themed parties several times a year for holidays like Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Dogs are grouped by size, age and temperament, and can spend their days from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. snoozing, running around and engaging in interactive play with staff. After all that fun, it’s time for relaxation with professional groomers that take care of your beloved pooch’s fur, nails and teeth to keep them looking their absolute best for your return. And it’s not just about keeping their bodies in shape, fully qualified training staff give daily lessons from socializing puppies to reining in adolescent antics.

Wag Hotels

And not to forget our purring pals, multi-room cat condos can be interconnected for families, and every cat is given three 15-minute sessions of one-on-one personal cuddle time a day. And while they lounge in their air-conditioned, fresh and cozy rooms, they’ll enjoy cat specific entertainment and attention from the round-the-clock staff.

Wag Hotel

So next time, instead of feeling guilty for not bringing your pets on vacation, give them a vacation of their own! The only thing you have to worry about is whether they’ll even want to leave!

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photo credit: Wag Hotels
photo credit: Wag Hotels
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Posted by Elizabeth on 11/11 at 11:01 AM
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Great Savings and More Await on Your Next Family Getaway!

Look no further than Preferred Hotel Group when planning your next family vacation. Popular destinations from the Adirondacks to Arizona, and Cancun to Rome offer great incentives to get the gang together and hit the road. Enjoy savings on second rooms, complimentary nights, access to local attractions and more.

The Wigwam
First Room at Best Available Rate, Second Room 50% off in Arizona
The Wigwam in Litchfield Park, AZ is where Western history meets true Wigwam hospitality. The Old World Arizonian charm of this resort is complemented by unending experiences for every age, including a world-class golf academy, the Camp Pow Wow children’s program, and shopping and dining in nearby Phoenix.

The Townsend Hotel
Access to Local Attractions, Parking, Family Amenities & More
Families experience old-world grandeur at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, MI, winner of Condé Nast Traveler’s “Best in the World – Midwest Hotel,” 2012. Long revered as Metropolitan Detroit’s Grand Dame of elegance, The Townsend Hotel is an incomparable boutique hotel, offering a new level of sophistication and comfort for families in Birmingham, Michigan.

The Sagamore
Book 3 Nights in the Adirondacks, 4th Night is Free
For more than 125 years, The Sagamore has been a family hotel in Lake George, New York, providing five-star services and accommodations. With a breathtaking location in the Adirondack Mountains, this upstate hotel is the perfect place to celebrate the beauty of the great outdoors. Overlooking a sparkling lake, this classic inn provides year-round entertainment for all ages, perfect for family vacations in New York. Relax with a spa treatment, hit the golf course, or enjoy a leisurely meal at the hotel’s family friendly restaurants.

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun Resort & Spa
50% Off Second Suite at Mexico Beach Resort
Set along beautiful white sandy beaches and azure waters, Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun Resort & Spa is a family Cancun resort with gorgeous surroundings combined with top-level service. Winner of numerous awards, including being named one of Mexico’s best resorts by Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler, families will be welcomed by sunny Caribbean days cooled by gentle ocean breezes. Numerous dining, relaxation, and recreation options abound within the resort.

Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel & Spa
Discover Rome with 50% Off Second Room & More
Families experience “La Dolce Vita” within the Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel & Spa in Rome, Italy. Just a short stroll from the Via Veneto, the marvel of Trinita dei Monti, and the splendor of St. Peter’s, this exquisite Rome luxury hotel is a true family getaway in the heart of Rome. The perfect property for all generations and ages, families will enjoy its central location and modern amenities.

Offer Name: Exclusive Preferred Family Offer

Posted by Elizabeth on 11/07 at 08:13 AM
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Poshbrood’s is Flying High with Southwest Air This November

We’re so excited to be featured in the November issue of Southwest: The Magazine talking about our favorite family (and pet!) friendly escapes this winter.

Have babies; need sun? We love Round Hill Resort in Montego Bay.

round hill

Got active teens? The Viceroy Snowmass may be your nirvana.

We have lots more picks to fun destinations that Southwest flies too—you can read the full article below or better yet, book that trip and read it onboard.

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pace/southwest_201411/#/76

So, when is your next trip??

Posted by Elizabeth on 11/05 at 03:10 PM
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5 Kid-Friendly San Diego Sites

San Diego

Want to visit an area with great weather and tons of tourist-friendly activities great for the whole family? San Diego should definitely be in the running! This amazing city and surrounding area has a little bit of something for everyone, and a trip here will certainly not disappoint. We have five great places you may not have heard of that are worthy of an addition to your San Diego itinerary!

San Diego

Boomers! San Diego
A visit here is good for one whole day of awesomeness because Boomers! is chock-full of fun activities! On top of batting cages, mini-golf, rides on the giant Ferris wheel and bumper boats, you can check out the Kid’s County Fair that features a special section with rides just for kids! The Boomers! Cafe has plenty of standard all-American fare with a few healthy choices thrown in!

Discovery Science Center

Discovery Science Center
If you want to combine a bit of education with your fun, the Discovery Science Center is the perfect spot to bring the kids! It is best-known for its 10-story Solar Cube and two floors overflowing with hands-on exhibits. You can experience what it feels like to be in an earthquake, play some virtual volleyball and see an geyser erupt. The 4-D theater is always playing new shows to educate and inspire budding scientists. Check out their calendar for the events that will be on tap during your visit!

San Diego

LEGOLAND
Just a mere 45 minutes north of San Diego, LEGOLAND is a great family experience that shouldn’t be missed! There are dozens of rides and super-fun exhibits like Miniland USA, where you can see 20:1 reproductions of popular US spots such as Las Vegas and San Francisco using 20 million LEGO bricks!. There’s also Fun Town, a whole town just the right size for kids to explore, and Dino Island, where you can dig for fossils and ride a junior roller coaster. The LEGOLAND California Water Park is another top attraction at LEGOLAND and a perfect way to cool down on a hot day. And that’s not all! There’s so much more to the park, you’ll never get bored!

San Diego

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
If you want to soak up some of the natural beauty found in the area, the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a great spot to take the family. It is full of native plants, like the Torrey Pine (obviously), desert brush, prickly pear cactus and loads of beautiful wildflowers. There are eight trails from which to choose. If you would like some amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, the Beach Trail is a good pick.

San Diego

San Diego Botanic Garden
Spanning 37 acres, the San Diego Botanic Garden is home to more than two dozen themed gardens along four miles of trails. If you have kids who are kindergarten-aged or younger, the Seed of Wonder Children’s Garden is a must-visit. Here kids can make bubbles, play in the play house, observe the model train railroad and dig up buried dinosaurs. For older kids, the Hamilton Children’s Garden is full of fun activities like learning to read a sundial, giant tic-tac-toe, climbing a treehouse and wandering through a labyrinth of plants.

With no shortage of family-friendly fun in this amazing city and surrounding area, it’s easy to plan the ultimate trip to San Diego full of your favorite activities!

photo credit: Boomers! San Diego
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Posted by Elizabeth on 11/04 at 08:30 AM
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Historic Hotels of America Presents its Most Haunted Hotels

Historic Hotels of America is inviting YOU to visit America’s most haunted hotels! More than 110 historic hotels are still home to friendly hauntings. From spooky hotel tours and spirited stories, to real life hauntings, it’s a great time to take advantage of their fall-themed packages:

Haunted Hotels

Admiral Fell Inn (1770) Baltimore, Maryland
The Fells Point neighborhood in Baltimore has changed since the time when it was filled with crime-ridden saloons, brothels, and shipyards, but that doesn’t mean the spirits of the time have left. The Admiral Fell Inn is no stranger to ghost stories. Guests have often reported seeing floating sailors and disappearing butlers knocking on their doors. A hotel manager is also said to have heard a loud party after the hotel was evacuated during a hurricane. This comes as no surprise as parts of the building date back to the 1770s when it was a theater and boarding house where seamen, immigrants and “ladies of the evening” would pass through.

Haunted Hotel

1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa (1886) Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is host to a wide variety of spirits, hence the moniker “America’s Most Haunted Hotel.” It is said that after the skeleton frame of hotel had been constructed in the 1880s that one of the Irish stone masons plunged to his death in what is now guestroom 218. This room proves to be the most spiritually active room in the hotel and has attracted television film crews for decades because of the quantity and quality of the ghost sightings reported. Throughout the history of the hotel, employees have referred to this entity at “Michael,” a classified poltergeist due to the nature of the unexplained activity. Guests have witnessed hands coming out of the bathroom mirror, cries of a falling man in the ceiling, the door opening then slamming shut, unable to be opened again. The intrigue of this activity had drawn guests to specifically request the historic accommodations of guestroom 218 for the chance of experiencing something.

Haunted Hotel

Jekyll Island Club Hotel (1887) Jekyll Island, Georgia
Sans Souci, one of the separate buildings of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel is a four-story structure that was designed by Charles Alling Gifford in 1896. It was originally a condominium with apartments for six members and their families. One of these members, J. Pierpont Morgan, was especially fond of the large porch which graced the front of his apartment and allowed a view of the Jekyll River. He was a cigar smoker and would rise every morning at 5:00 a.m. to have a smoke on the porch without criticism from others. Morgan was fond of large, black cigars shaped like Hercules’ club, and they say you’d know where he was by following the trail of the smoke. Contemporary guests who stay in this area have reported smelling the faint odor of a cigar wafting about at this time of day——when absolutely no one else is awake and certainly not smoking a cigar!

Haunted Hotels

The Omni Grove Park Inn (1913) Asheville, North Carolina
For nearly half a century there has been the belief by many employees and guests that there is a ghost who roams the hallways of the Main Inn at the Omni Grove Park Inn. She is referred to as the Pink Lady because of the flowing pink gown she wears. It is believed that this young woman was a guest in guestroom 545 in the 1920s and that she either jumped or was pushed to her death in the Palm Court, five floors below. No records exist that support any of these claims but it may have been hushed up to avoid negative publicity. Reports of her sightings still occur, some say they just see a pink mist, others a full apparition of a young long-haired beauty in a pink gown.

Haunted Hotels

The Red Lion Inn (1773) Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Ghostly rumors continue to swirl at the Red Lion Inn which has seen the likes of many paranormal investigators and mediums. The fourth floor, in particular, is said to have the most activity. Both cleaning staff and guests have claimed to see a “ghostly young girl carrying flowers” and “a man in a top hat.” Other guests have woken up to the feeling of someone standing over them at the foot of the bed. Cold spots, unexplained knocks, and electrical disturbances have all been reported. Guestroom 301 is especially haunted!

Haunted Hotel

The Stanley (1909) Estes Park, Colorado
Precisely when the strange events at the Stanley Hotel started has never been documented, but interesting occurrences are a part of the history of this hotel. Ms. Elizabeth Wilson was the chief housekeeper at The Stanley Hotel in its very early days. On the evening of June 25, 1911, during a storm, she was involved in an explosion that took place as she was lighting the acetylene lanterns that were the back-up system for the hotel’s electricity. Ms. Wilson was catapulted from what is now guestroom 217 down to the floor of the MacGregor Room one story below. She was not killed, but her ankles were broken. Since the 1950s, it has been reported that she takes special care of guests staying in Room 217! Those staying in that room sometimes encounter extra housekeeping services, including having their things put away or unpacked.

If you’re traveling this Halloween, we hope it’s to one of these deliciously scary historic hotels! If you’ve experienced a ghost encounter at any of these places, let us know in the comments below!

Posted by Elizabeth on 10/31 at 08:30 AM
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Ready for the Beach? Try a Private Island!

Private Islands

Looking for a destination that’s miles above and beyond your usual family vacation spot? A way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and find the tranquil peace of sun, sand and surf? Why not try your own private island resort? Take a look at three of the best, and get planning!

Private Island

Vivanta by Taj - Rebak Island, Langkawi Islands, Malaysia
Named after a native tree, Rebak Island is privately owned and host to Vivanta by Taj, a 94-room retreat with unique traditional Malaysian architecture, romantic dining nooks and activities from Batik lessons, to a mangrove tour and stingray experience to a sunset cruise. But the real draw, of course, is the location: a 10-minute drive from the airport to the marina, and you are whisked away across the water on a speedboat to the only fully functional yacht marina in Malaysia. Once you arrive at the resort, you will sip your special herb infused welcome drink and begin your days of relaxation in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Private Island

Vomo Island Resort - Vomo Island, Mamanuca Islands, Fiji
Vomo Island is a 225-acre privately owned island at the very top of the Momanuca Islands Group in the South Pacific. It’s a short trip from the Fiji mainland by helicopter or seaplane to this tropical paradise that is said to have been a historical favorite retreat of the Fijian Royal Chiefs. The resort is made up of villas that blend in with the natural surroundings, and the accommodations, with luxuriously appointed rooms and beachfront decks with personal sun loungers, are absolutely stunning. There are also two- and three-bedroom villas available for more space and a private pool. Daily activities include snorkeling, swimming and, for the adventurous, invigorating hiking experiences, including to the top of the island’s Mt. Vomo where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire island.

Private Island

Parrot Cay by COMO – Turks and Caicos, Caribbean
One of the most secluded and exclusive resort islands in the northern Caribbean, Parrot Cay is just over a thousand acres of white sand beaches and tropical landscapes that soothe as well as invigorate. You’ll be nurtured and relaxed by the resort’s Asian-inspired holistic spa, and world class cuisine will satisfy your palate and nourish your body. Accommodations range from simple guest rooms to the luxurious and private homes, but all allow you the base from which to explore all that this island paradise has to offer. The resort offers several excursions including a Dream Day getaway on Iguana Island, a Tiki Hut Lunch, a Snorkel Trip and a Sunset Cruise. 

You can stay at the beach anywhere, but a private island is so much better! Treat your family to an unforgettable vacation on one these unique and incredible island resorts!

Posted by Elizabeth on 10/28 at 11:33 AM
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Visiting the Mysterious Fathoms Below!

Mermaid

Admit it! The first time you saw Ariel singing and swimming up on the big screen, you wanted to be her! Well, thanks to Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys and the Mermaid Academy, you can!

Mermaid

Kids ages two and up (and those who are young at heart) can learn how to swim like a mermaid at Hawks Cay Resort’s Mermaid Academy. Classes start with a tutorial on how to swim and stand in the tail. Pretty soon though, new mermaids and sharks are effortlessly gliding through hula hoops and diving for treasure! And it’s not just for fun! Mermaid swimming is quite a workout for the core!

Don’t worry, if you completely fall in love with the mermaid way of life, you can buy your very own tail and matching swimsuit!

Mermaid

Available over Thanksgiving weekend and then again during the holiday break on Dec. 26 and 27 and January 2 and 3, Hawks Cay Resort’s Mermaid Academy brings these mystical and magical creatures to life with mermaid tails and swimming lessons. Classes include tail or shark fin rental and an hour-long mermaid swim lesson in one of the resort’s five swimming pools.

Hawks Cay Resort is located on Duck Key which is central to Miami and Key West and easy to reach by car, boat or plane. An onsite dolphin research facility makes dolphin encounters available to everyone. There’s also tons of activities like chartered fishing, diving, water sports and kiteboarding to round out an awesome vacation in the Keys! With numerous restaurants, and the Calm Waters Spa, Island Adventure Camp to keep the kids busy, you’ll never want to leave! Getting excited? Take a look here! Ready to go? Give them a call at 305.289.4906!

 

Posted by Elizabeth on 10/24 at 08:30 AM
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Four Spas We Can’t Wait to Visit!

The holiday season is almost here, making this the perfect time for a quick spa getaway! It’s time to recharge, rejuvenate and prepare for the non-stop events and get-togethers you’re looking forward to in the next few months. So just in time, we’re featuring four of the most relaxing spas in the country where you can restore both body and mind!

Spa Ojai
Spa Ojai at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is surrounded by the inspiring Topa Topa Mountains of Southern California. The spa offers a full range of massages, facials and body treatment in its gorgeous 31,000 sq.ft. facility. But where Spa Ojai really shines is their Mind & Body Classes that include guided meditation, several different types of yoga, cardio and the study of Chi Kung to open the energetic pathways of the body with east to follow movement. The spa even offers Full Moon Yoga—specially designed for the upcoming Harvest Moon. Other Spiritual Journey offerings include appointments with a spiritual counselor, spiritual-intuitive or an energy reader for either you or your pet.

Spa at L’Auberge

Spa at L’Auberge
The Spa at L’Auberge in Sedona is known for its highly personalized approach to delivering luxurious and harmonious services. Named one of the top Hotel Spas in the US by Condé Nast, facials are fully customized to meet the needs of your skin. Private yoga and meditation sessions are also tailored to what you need and feel. Choose one of the many types of massages—and then choose your location: at the spa, in your room or creekside where you can integrate the soothing sounds of Oak Creek into your experience.

Spa at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

The Spa at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
The Sanctuary near Charleston, South Carolina specializes in Sodashi Luxury Facials—Sanskrit for wholeness, radiance and purity. All facials are personalized to your particular needs and include the Sodashi Facial Massage Ritual and Eye Treatment. After your facial, don’t miss the Body Rescues and Fusions! These Body Rescue treatments designed to rescue and restore your skin to firm, hydrate or smooth while the Body Fusions are a multi-sensory experience combining skin treatments and massage.

Spa at Mohonk Mountain House

Spa at Mohonk Mountain House
Are you looking to increase your mindfulness and capacity for meditation? Then the Spa at Mohonk Mountain House in Hudson Valley, New York is the place for you! They offer meditation classes both in groups and private and wellness programs for de-stressing and bringing you into balance with you. Their Mindfulness at Mohonk program has something for everyone. And you can take advantage of their Mindfulness Minute even without checking in! Phone (845) 256-2701 to participate in a new simple meditation each day.

photo credit: Dennis Wong via Flickr cc by 2.0
photo credit: L’Auberge de Sedona
photo credit: Kiawah Island Golf Resort
photo credit: Mohonk Mountain House

Posted by Elizabeth on 10/21 at 09:00 AM
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Family Adventure Travel Made Easy in Peru!

Belmond Peru

Discovery and adventure should have no age boundaries–and with this in mind, Belmond has launched a series of activities for its younger guests at all five of their hotels in Peru. A magical introduction into a beguiling country of towering mountains, ancient civilizations and rich wildlife, activities are designed for children aged between five and 12 years, and are available at each of Belmond’s hotels in Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and at Machu Picchu. With picnics serving traditional Peruvian treats, cooking classes, art lessons, special afternoon tea and treasure hunts, each experience draws on Peruvian culture for inspiration. As the first luxury travel company to enter Peru over 15 years ago, Belmond can offer families traveling with little ones a seamless journey.

Belmond Peru

Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado, Sacred Valley
Set on the banks of the rushing Urubamba River, Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado is built in natural materials to resemble an authentic Andean village. Ideal for families with a sense of adventure the hotel can arrange a whole host of activities from horse riding, rafting and biking to cookery lessons, and market tours. The hotel’s solar heated swimming pool is ideal for a refreshing dip after a day of activity and children will delight in helping to give Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado’s baby alpacas their morning and afternoon feeds.

During their stay, budding artists can showcase their creative flair in a painting lesson on the hotels grounds using the nearby Urubamba River and surrounding mountains for inspiration. Their work of art will be created using natural paints made in the nearby town of Ollantayambo and the hotels family mascot, a lamb named Sonqo Q’oñi (meaning “warm” in Quechua), may even pose for a portrait or two.

Belmond Peru

Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, Cusco
Set in a tranquil plaza behind Cusco’s main square, Belmond Palacio Nazarenas is a former palace and convent offering just 55 suites each with its own personal butler. Original Inca stones and traditional elements, such as the ancient fountain at the heart of the hotel, combine with modern comforts including Cusco’s first outdoor heated swimming pool and oxygenated rooms to create one of the city’s most sought after hotels.

There are tons of activities for kids here! The hotel’s family mascot is ‘Miski,’ a friendly serpent whose name means “sweet” in the local Quechua language. Serpents had great significance to the Incas as they represented infinity and their symbols can still be seen in the hotel walls today. Children can relax in special mini bathrobes and slippers and on their first turndown they will receive a Miski toy with details of his history and significance to the hotel.

Belmond Palacio Nazarenas is offering children the chance to indulge in their own special afternoon tea. Children will be picked up from their suite by their personal butler and taken to the hotel’s secret herb garden where they will choose from a wide selection of plants including ‘muña’ mint and lemon balm to create their own herb infused tea. A table will be laid out especially and to accompany their tailored tea they will dine on favorites such as honey and marmalade sandwiches (in a nod to Peru’s most famous wellington boot clad bear) and cupcakes, combined with homemade breads and jams created using locally source golden berries and elderberries.

Belmond Peru

Belmond Hotel Monasterio, Cusco
Situated close to Cusco’s lively central square Belmond Hotel Monasterio combines centuries-old charm with luxury hotel service. A former monastery and national monument dating from 1592, young imaginations can run wild in the hotel’s cloistered courtyard. For larger families the hotel features interconnecting deluxe rooms and many are oxygenated to combat the signs of altitude.

Children can join a cooking class with one of the hotels chefs. Lasting for one hour and taking place in the hotel’s Tupay restaurant, children will be taught how to make Peruvian sweets such as cookies made with quinoa flour, one of the main ingredients used by the Incas.

Belmond Peru

Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, Machu Picchu
Belmond Sanctuary Lodge is the only hotel located adjacent to the awe-inspiring Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. It offers its guests exceptionally easy access from early morning to late afternoon, when the citadel is at its quietest.

The hotel’s beautiful gardens, overlooking the Andes are the ideal location for a treasure hunt. Young explorers will be set the challenge to find Tito, the hotel’s family mascot which is an ‘Andean cock-of-the-rock’, the national bird of Peru and a bird Belmond Sanctuary Lodge is dedicated to protecting. The treasure hunt is in the form of the puzzle with children given the challenge to collect all six pieces. Each piece found will give the clue to finding the next. The final puzzle picture is a completed treasure map leading to Tito.

Belmond Peru

Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel, Lima
Renowned for its beautiful location beside the Pacific Ocean, the newly refurbished Belmond Miraflores Park takes guests straight to the heart of all that’s best about capital city Lima. Glamorous children can relax with a dip in the rooftop swimming pool with mom and dad or visit the city’s two excellent zoos to meet Peru’s spectacled bear, inspiration for the lovable Paddington Bear, before stopping for alfajor cookies in one of the cafés scattered throughout the Miraflores district.

Children are invited on a special picnic set in the verdant Domodosola Park in front of Belmond Miraflores Park. After dining on delicious Peruvian treats such as alfajores cookies and purple corn pudding, children can enjoy activities including Frisbee and kite flying.

The family experiences are available for children aged five to 12 years of age and need to be booked prior to departure by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Posted by Elizabeth on 10/17 at 11:29 AM
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Cruising to Sweden!

Stockholm

Who’s ready for a cruise? Believe it or not, Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is an ideal place for cruising and has tons of vacation adventures for the family. Cruises from UK ports dock at Stockholm’s centrally located inner-city harbors and well-situated for sightseeing and experiencing the cultural highlights of Stockholm. Shops, cafés and restaurants are never far away, and the two passenger terminals provide for passengers’ every need.

Stockholm

And there’s plenty for the kids to do! Beaches are always a favorite, and the sandy strips at Långholmsbadet and Smedsuddsbadet offer safe bathing and activities against a scenic backdrop of trees. For a little bit of history, you can explore Sweden’s equivalent of the British Houses of Parliament, the Riksdag, where you can book in advance for an hour-long tour. Or climb aboard for a history lesson on the 380-year-old warship Vasa which sunk in 1628—just twenty minutes into its first voyage!

Stockholm

Take in some more pomp with the daily Changing of the Guard at the Royal Palace. Ceremonies vary according to the time of year, but can include the courtyards, Army Museum, Cavalry Barracks or the public square of Mynttorget in Gamla Stan and are either mounted or on foot with a military band. Plus, while you’re in this area, you can get to know medieval Stockholm. Winding streets, old churches and little squares have grown and spread since the first settlement of 1252 or earlier and now fit right in with today’s taverns, waffle shops and tour groups.

Stockholm

Some of Stockholm’s islands are linked by bridges allowing visitors easy access to locations such as Djurgården, the former royal game park. Stroll through the parkland and forest, picnic among its green spaces and woodland and then wander along its shoreline. Visiting the museums here makes for a pleasant afternoon on colder days! Catch a ferry from the Blasieholmen peninsular for a closer look at the archipelago, cruising from the thickly wooded inner areas to the more central parts with their stark flat rocks.

Stockholm

Children and parents alike will fall for the charms of Junibacken, an indoor mini-theme park dedicated to author Astrid Lingren’s creation, Pippi Longstocking. Ride a magical train across a miniature landscape of fairytale dwellings or dress up the little ones as Pippi and slide down the roof of her house. Older children and adults will be attracted to Sweden’s thriving music scene where rock, pop, folk, jazz, salsa and nightclubs continue the legacy of Sweden’s most loved musical export, Abba.

Stockholm

Browse the shops and street markets of this land of innovative design and then move on to the fashionable contemporary art galleries of SoFo. Finish by getting beyond the traditional smörgåsbord to sample this country’s finest food, perhaps on a floating bar to help you to regain your sea legs!

photo credit: edward stojakovic via Flickr cc by 2.0
photo credit: Bengt Nyman via Flickr cc by 2.0
photo credit: Guillaume Speurt via Flickrcc by-sa 2.0
photo credit: Carles Tomás Martí via Flickr cc by 2.0
photo credit: Junibacken
photo credit: Kevin Krejci via Flickr cc by 2.0

Posted by Elizabeth on 10/14 at 08:30 AM
Family TravelPermalink

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Four Fantastic (Unusual!) Places You Should Visit!

Do you stick with the same old tired vacation spots every year? Do you and the fam ever wish you could get out there and truly experience some of the most amazing sites in world? If that sounds like you, check out these four spectacular destinations that are not to be missed!

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls, Brazil
Water, water everywhere…and waterfalls as well! Iguazu Falls in Brazil hosts 275 of them, the largest series of natural waterfalls anywhere on planet earth. This includes The Devil’s Throat, a 300-foot high wonder that creates a plume of mist visible from miles away. There are viewing platforms and tours for families, as well as a helicopter ride for the more adventurous at heart! And don’t miss the Bird Park where you can see more than 160 species of birds and reptiles in their natural habitat!

Troll’s Tongue

Trolltunga, Norway
Feel like a hike through coastal fjordland to see breathtaking views and ancient rock formations? Just a short drive from the major city of Bergen, the Trolltunga, or Troll’s Tongue, is an enormous rock formation that juts out over the coast at about 2,300 feet above sea level. This one may be a little tough for the kids, but from a scenic vantage point at the site you can see for miles, and the photo opportunities (though not for the faint of heart) are spectacular!

Canals of Venice

The Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
The Grand Canal, snaking its way through the center Venice, is lined with more than 170 buildings, most dating from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Make no mistake about it, the canal was built to be a lavish spectacle, an opportunity for noble Venetians to show off their wealth and the pride citizens had for their city. Because most of the buildings were built right up against the water, with no pavement for foot traffic, the canal’s spectacle is really best experienced by a simple gondola called a traghetto.

Easter Island

Easter Island, Chile
The opportunity to visit Easter Island in Chile is not to be missed! The site itself is a World Heritage Site and is part of Rapa Nui National Park. You may have seen photos of the Moai statues, but experiencing them in real life is a different story. Tourism is the main industry on the island, so there are plenty of tours, hotels and guesthouses, although respecting the fragile environment of the island is important. Many visit during the annual Tapati Festival in February. There are daily flights to and from the island, although it takes about three days to explore fully. The Moai statues of Easter Island are a sight to behold, and their somber, implacable motionless serves as a testament to those who built them.

Have you been to any of these amazing spots? Share in the comments below!


photo credit: SF Brit via Flickr cc by 2.0
photo credit: Thomas Frost Jensen via Flickr cc by 2.0
photo credit: Trish Hartmann via Flickr cc by 2.0
photo credit: Mary Madigan via Flickr cc by 2.0

Posted by Elizabeth on 10/10 at 11:30 AM
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