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Celebrate 100 Years of State Parks in North Carolina!

Going for a more traditional vacation this summer? Steeped in history, culture and fun, the Outer Banks of North Carolina is about as traditional as it gets! But what’s especially fun this year is that the North Carolina state parks system turns 100, and there will be events all summer to celebrate. Home to one of the nation’s first state parks at the summit of Mount Mitchell, there is now more than a quarter-million acres set aside for conservation, recreation and education throughout the state and several in and around the Outer Banks. And, bonus! As with every state park in the country, fourth graders get in free! We’re highlighting a few great places to visit that are in and around the Outer Banks.

Wright Brothers

At the Wright Brothers National Memorial, site of the world’s first controlled powered flight on December 17, 1903, you’ll find an exhibit hall with special exhibits, including a replica of the 1902 Wright Glider and a multipurpose auditorium. The Visitor Center features full-scale reproductions of the Wright 1903 Powered Flyer and interpretive presentations, and the grounds include historical markers of each attempted powered flight, replica camp buildings and a 60-foot granite monument on top of Big Kill Devil Hill (a 90-foot dune) honoring the Wright brothers.

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

The veritable birthplace of European Settlement in America, the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is home to the first settlement of English colonists. Although the first two groups of settlers were unsuccessful—one giving up and returning to England after a year and the second mysteriously disappearing—the area did eventually become the very successful Freedmen’s Colony in 1863. Up to 2,200 African-Americans called the self-sustaining colony home. While at Fort Raleigh, don’t miss the Elizabethan Gardens within the site. The gardens pay tribute to those 117 men, women and children who vanished from the Roanoke Colony.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

The 400-acre Jockey’s Ridge State Park encompasses the highest living sand dune on the Atlantic Coast and one of the Outer Banks’ best known visual icons. Climb to the top of the nearly 90-foot dune to view the panoramic vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and Roanoke Sound. Shifting sands, high winds, extreme temperatures and a lack of water give the park a desert feel, but also encompasses the wonders of an estuarine environment. Activities include hang gliding, hiking on one of the park’s two self-guided nature trails, kite flying, sandboarding and picnicking.

Centennial Scavenger Hunt

Last, but not least, and just for those who happen to live in North Carolina, this Memorial Day weekend the park service is holding a massive scavenger hunt at South Mountains State Park. South Mountains is full of “Naturally Wonderful” things for you to discover. Search for 100 different natural items marked with special tags throughout the park. Start off by picking up a Centennial Scavenger Hunt checklist and a map at the Visitor Center, and get searching!

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/27 at 08:30 AM
Family TravelPermalink


Swim with Seals? Yes, Please!

Through September 15, you have the chance to swim and snorkel with sea lions in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez. What a great opportunity for an all-day family adventure! After a short hour and 20-minute boat ride to the barrier island of Espiritu Santo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Bio Reserve, you’ll be visiting and swimming at the sea lion colony. Hungry swimmers will savor a freshly prepared lunch on the beach of Ensenada Grande Island that is surrounded by commanding red rocks and towering cacti. Snorkeling equipment is included!

After lunch, a professional guide will lead a discussion about interesting facts about the natural history of the area. Espiritu Santo Island is a pristine eco-system where you can see blue-footed boobies, sea lions, dolphins, sea turtles and, if you’re there at the right time, grey whales. Unfortunately, the Sea of Cortez area is in danger of overfishing and pollution unless serious, consistent conservation is put in place.

Even better, this trip is part of a five day, four night package that includes breakfast, four lunches and three dinners at CostaBaja™ Resort and Spa. Just 10 minutes south of downtown La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur, this resort won’t disappoint. The resort overlooks a 250-slip double-basin marina and a white sand beach. Just the place to decompress for a week away! Even after your visit to the Island, you won’t be bored, because golf, spa and relaxing are very much on the menu!

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/24 at 08:30 AM
Family TravelLuxuryPermalink


Want to try ‘Forest Bathing?’ Head to Mohonk Mountain House

Need to get out of the city this spring?Just a 90-minute drive north from New York City set in the Shawangunk Mountains, Mohonk Mountain House lies at the heart of the Hudson Valley. Owned and operated by the Smiley Family since its founding in 1869, you’ll find recreation and renewal in this sprawling Victorian castle resort. The National Historic Landmark offers a wealth of outdoor activities. There’s a picturesque lake for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, stand-up paddleboarding and even log-rolling at the height of season! And more than 85 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and our newest offering, ‘forest bathing,’ which involves guided mindfulness walks through the woods. Rejuvenate your mind, spirit and body as you connect with nature!

Recognized as one of the Best Family Hotels by Travel + Leisure, Mohonk offers children’s specials where kids stay and eat free – upcoming dates are June 26-30 and July 5-28. No matter when you stay, the overnight rates include all meals and many activities, so families can enjoy most of the activities at no extra charge. This year, coinciding with the Kids Stay & Eat Free special from June 26-30, their Summer of Discovery offers an exciting array of daily activities for kids including our Junior Naturalist Program, scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, and more. Explore the Children’s Garden and enjoy talented performers that provide workshops and entertainment for the entire family.

But that’s not all, there’s lots more to do for kids! The complimentary Mohonk Kids’ Club is for guests ages 2 – 12 years and is tailored to your kid’s interests and abilities. The outdoorsy child may choose hiking and a frog hunt, while another child may prefer arts and crafts. Offered daily throughout the summer, as part of the Kids’ Club, the Junior Naturalist Program introduces children to the wonders of the world outdoors through eco-friendly activities that provide a hands-on approach to nature.

While the kids are making new friends, your goal will be to relax in the award-winning Spa at Mohonk Mountain House, named the Number One Resort Spa in the United States by Condé Nast TravelerWe covered it here and are dying to try out their Signature Treatments inspired by history and nature and an extensive Mindfulness Program.

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/20 at 08:30 AM
Family TravelPermalink


Crazy Hotels You Definitely Don’t Want to Miss!

Every so often on Poshbrood, we like to cover a few of the crazy fun hotels that pop around the world. Because if you’re going to travel, why not make your experience just a little more unique!

Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam

The Zaan region—one of the world’s first industrialized areas—in Amsterdam boasts a distinct, colorful architecture of houses and windmills. You might actually recognize the look from a series of 25 paintings by Monet. While visiting Zaandam in the summer of 1871, Monet said “Zaandam is quite remarkable and there is enough to paint for a lifetime. Houses in all colors, hundreds of mills and delightful boats.” Taking a cue from the landscape, the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam uses examples of the traditional houses ofund around the region as its façade. Stacked on top of each other, the hotel looks a little like a Lego project gone awry. But the hotel offers superb rooms that reflect the traditional products, the pioneers of the local craft industries and the families that made the area world famous.

Solent Forts

Interested in history? The Solent Forts in Portsmouth UK offers an amazing trip through the past along with luxury accomodations! The forts were originally built to defend against Napoleon III, but weren’t built in time to fulfill that particular task. They were used to during World Wars I and II to protect from advancing forces. After decommissioning, the forts were sold and renovated into beautiful hotels and a museum. From the Crow’s Nest to the Wine Cave, privacy and fun are the goals!

La Balade des Gnomes

Have you ever wanted to stay in a fairytale house? La Balade des Gnomes in Heyd Nr Durbuy, Belgium is what you’ve been looking for! Shaped like a Trojan Horse, the inside is even more unexpected. Within the 10-room fantasy environment, you can sleep ina spaceship in a lunar landscape or cozy up in a troll’s habitat complete with running stream and goldfish. The owner and architect wanted to convey the simplicity of modern times and pulled inspiration from around the world to create this off-beat treasure!

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/17 at 08:30 AM


Stay Active at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Heading to Hawaii this summer? If you’re looking to stay active and entertained, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai has set up a summer of fun and sun overload! They are offering six completely different awesome activities that will appeal to anyone and everyone.

Dave Scott Triathlon Experience

Triathlon enthusiasts know Kona as home to the IRONMAN World Championship, and they certainly know Dave Scott (aka “The Man”), six-time champion and first inductee into the IRONMAN Hall of Fame. This summer, Dave will personally host a series of triathlon clinics July 25-30, August 15-20 and August 22-27, available exclusively to a very limited number of guests at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Each clinic will be five days of highly-personalized coaching by Dave and his team, focused on all disciplines of triathlon, for all athletes from motivated novice to seasoned veteran.

Camp Manitou at Hualālai

Kids ages 9-17 will delight in attending Camp Manitou at Hualālai, an exclusive partnership with the heralded Camp Manitou, one of the nation’s foremost overnight summer camps. From July 4 to August 26, the Camp will feature outstanding programs and staff, focusing on group bonding through an array of cultural, recreational and explorative activities at the Resort and throughout Hawaii Island, with single and multi-day itineraries.

Wild Wellness Retreats

Join America’s top fitness and wellness instructors at Hualalai for a series of five-day retreats, designed to get the body and mind into optimal condition, through a wide variety of practices, training methods and healing arts. The retreats, held between July 10 and August 28, include Zack Schares’ Hawaii Island Boot Camp, July 10-14; Intense Yoga Immersion by Sean Phelps, July 17-21; Ally Bogard Retreat, July 24-28; One Love Retreat by Dr. Nikki Starr Noce, August 7-11; Millana Snow’s Journey Within Retreat, August 14-18; and Total Wellness Made Sexy by Nikki Sharp and Fern Langham, August 21-25.

La Dolce Vita

The annual Resort-wide celebration of the sweet life, returns to Hualalai with a series of celebratory events June 2-4, co-hosted by Executive Chef Massimo Falsini and winemakers Steve and Chrystal Clifton (Palmina, La Voix). A variety of spa, retail and lifestyle experiences add to this popular weekend of Italian-inspired indulgence.

Joe McNally Photography Workshop

Based on the amazing photo above, this class is a must-do! Photography aficionados are invited to learn and/or refine their camera skills June 9-12 with legendary National Geographic photographer Joe McNally. As guest photography instructor, McNally will lead a series of interactive photography and lighting workshops, sure to enhance the skills of any aspiring shooter.

Hawaii Master Artists Series

Guests are invited to dive deep into Hawaii’s contemporary art scene, as local talent unveil masterful works of art at the Resort, July 4 - August 26. Exclusive shows will change every two weeks, and feature artist workshops, local-style “talk story” collector receptions and private dining experiences with master artists.

They all sound so awesome, I don’t think I can choose! How about you? Make your reservation here, and let us know how it went!

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/13 at 08:30 AM


Hawks Cay Resort Launches Environmental Education Program

Just in time for summer vacation, Hawks Cay Resort is launching their Camp Hawk Environmental Education Program. The camp offers kids ages five to 12 the opportunity to learn about the unique Florida Keys ecosystem and beyond with engaging topics that range from bugs to birds, sea creatures to creepy critters—and even Florida’s wacky weather!

Hawks Cay Resort has always had great programs for kids, but this new program takes the resort camp experience to a new level. Hawks Cay knows parents want kids to be engaged and enriched on vacation, so they set out to develop a curriculum-based program that fulfills an educational need while at the same time making the process fun, fresh and exciting!

The Environmental Education Program is offered daily at Camp Hawk from 9am–1pm for multiple grade levels: K-1st, 2nd-3rd and 4th-6th. The morning session is $60 and includes lunch. For campers interested in a full day experience, the session is $90 and includes lunch, a snack and access to the afternoon adventure program, which features themed games, crafts and more.

The Environmental Education Program rounds out the resort’s newly enhanced schedule of activities created by Hawks Cay’s Director of Resort Experience, a.k.a. The Fun Concierge. Activities create bonding opportunities for families as well as experiences for parents and children separately. Hawks Cay is a complete destination for families eager to escape to a flip-flop lifestyle. The resort offers every activity imaginable above and below the water including dolphin experiences through its onsite Dolphin Connection facility. The centerpiece of the resort for families is the newly renovated Coral Cay Activities & Adventures, home to the kids club and teen lounge and featuring a swimming pool, pirate ship pool, sports venues and more.

photos courtesy Hawks Cay Resort

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/10 at 08:30 AM
Family TravelPermalink


Yes, It’s Time to Relax in St. Barth’s!

Les Ilets de la Plage

Everybody needs a little relaxing time—even you! So take that vacation time, and head to Les Ilets de la Plage in St. Barth’s.

Les Ilets de la Plage

Stay at Les Ilets de la Plage, a quiet, understated resort of 11 villas located on the beautiful St. Jean Beach with a mixture of one, two and three-bedroom layouts either on the beach itself or among the hillside’s lush tThe two-story beach villas are one-bedroom (extra beds for kids available) with a kitchen, dining and living room area. The terrace, complete with a teak table and sun chairs, faces the beach and surrounding gardens. Garden villas are three-bedroom with their very own private garden area.unding gardens. Garden villas are three-bedroom with their very own private garden area.

Les Ilets de la Plage

Take them up on their 3-Night Summer Package and you’ll get three nights in a Caribbean villa, a 4x4 rental car, welcome amenity and a daily pastry delivery just for you.

Les Ilets de la Plage

Spend all your time on the beach, chill out with multiple spa treatments, experience the incredible duty-free shopping or focus on the night-life. No one can tell you what to do, because it’s your vacation! Maybe we’ll see you there!

photos courtesy Les Ilets de la Plage

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/06 at 08:30 AM
HotelsLuxuryTravel DealsPermalink


5 Summer Travel Deals from Awesome Resorts!

From kids eat free promotions to complimentary water park passes, these summer deals are awesome!

Luxury Shopping Package at The Condado Plaza Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico

In partnership with Puerto Rico’s newest shopping hotspot, The Mall of San Juan, The Condado Plaza Hilton has created a special package for shopaholics who would also enjoy exciting watersports. As the only hotel overlooking both the Atlantic Ocean and Condado Lagoon, the Condado Plaza is the prime launching pad for a wide range of water activities including kayaks, stand up paddleboards, snorkeling and pedal boats. With a wealth of shopping and on-property features, the Luxury Shopping Package includes:

· Full American Breakfast for two at The Condado Plaza Hilton
· The Mall of San Juan Passport to Shopping discount booklet
· Visa Gift
· A pre-fixed Kona Grill menu for two ($50 value)
· A complimentary glass of mimosa or cup of coffee when shopping at Kate Spade New York
· A complimentary personal stylist appointment and beauty consultation at Nordstrom
· A gift with any purchase of $100 or more at Tommy Bahama
· A $50 Gift Card to Nouvelle D’ Spa to indulge in spa services
· One free specialty beverage at Teavana
· A complimentary, specialty beverage and 10% off a purchase of $200 or more at Daniel Espinosa Jewelry Boutique
· A 10% discount on one hour Watersports Rentals
· Two welcome drinks at the Moon Bar, considered the perfect spot to see and be seen in the center of the hotel lobby

Set along the vibrant Condado strip of San Juan, The Condado Plaza Hilton offers award-winning fine dining at Pikayo, the flagship restaurant of acclaimed Puerto Rican Chef Wilo Benet; a calm, cove-like beach and exhilarating water sports; four oasis-style pools, including the only saltwater pool in Puerto Rico; natural and artificial indigenous themed reefs; and more. To get the full info on the package, click here!

Summer Getaway Package at South Seas Island Resort in Captiva Island, FL

Spanning two and a half miles of shell-laden beaches framing the tranquil waters of the Gulf of Mexico, South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island is offering a fourth night free plus kids eat free breakfast with the Summer Getaway package, available for travel from May 1 through September 30. Also included in the package, guests receive a coupon book with more than $250 in savings on resort outlets from rounds of beachfront golf and water sports to island cruises, spa services, dining, shopping and more. Additional activities offered at the 330-acre destination beach resort and wildlife preserve include tennis, nature tours, sailing lessons, fishing, interactive children’s programs, a full-service marina with boat rentals and more. Want the deets? Click here!

Kids Eat Free at Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, FL

This summer, Boca Raton Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort in South Florida, invites families to take a bite out of summer with its Kids Eat Free promotion. Families staying at the resort May 1st through September 30th enjoy the added bonus of kids eat free at select restaurants at the resort. With the purchase of a parent’s entrée, up to three children ages 12 and under enjoy free breakfast buffet at the resort’s acclaimed Palm Court which boasts a dramatic transparent ceiling, as well as complimentary kids’ menu lunch and dinner at 501 East, an all-American cuisine style restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. While staying at the resort, families also enjoy a half-mile private beach, 50,000 sq. ft. Waldorf Astoria Spa, six pools, over a dozen food and beverage outlets and lounges, daily-themed Quest Kids Camp, and a variety of water sports including surfing on the resort’s FlowRider, a dual-sided wave simulator. Ready to pack your bags? Here’s what you need to know!

Movie and Treats at The London NYC in New York, NY

Plan a summer getaway to NYC and enjoy a family movie night in a spacious, newly-debuted London Crown Suite, offering 600 square feet of luxurious surroundings. Boasting a King Bed and a Queen Sleeper Sofa, London Crown Suites are perfectly suited for family travel. Book a stay in a London Crown Suite via The London NYC’s website and receive a complimentary Royal Movie Night amenity that includes an in-suite movie on the suite’s 50-inch television as well as popcorn, sodas, nuts and chocolate bars for four guests. Babysitters are available upon request. Find out more here!

Fun in the Sun at El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Puerto Rico

For a sun-splashed Caribbean escape this summer, El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Puerto Rico, is offering a Fun in the Sun package with free daily admission for a family of four to the resort’s seaside Coqui Water Park. Also included in the package is a $50 nightly resort credit, which can be used towards rounds of golf on the renowned Arthur Hills designed 18-hole golf course, spa treatments for both kids and adults at the Waldorf Astoria Spa and Ki’ Children’s Spa, watersports on the resort’s 100-acre private island, dining at the resort’s 23 food and beverage outlets, and more. Inspired by the nearby El Yunque Rainforest, the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System, Coqui Water Park delivers 2.4 acres of thrill and adventure including exhilarating slides, a lazy river, infinity edge pool and more. Check it out here!

Don’t forget to let us know where you’re headed this summer!

Posted by Elizabeth on 05/03 at 08:30 AM
Family TravelHotelsLuxuryPermalink


3 Summer Lake Vacations You Won’t Want to Miss

Quick, what do you picture when you think of the quintessential American summer? The lake house, of course! This week we’re sharing three awesome places for a fantastic summer on the lake.

View from the new house

Lake Minocqua, Wisconsin

What’s the first thing you need for a perfect lake house vacation? A great lake, of course! And that’s exactly what you’ll find on Lake Minocqua in Wisconsin. According to Travel Wisconsin, Lake Minocqua qualifies as watersport heaven. Within the area there are more than 3,200 lakes excellent for fishing, boating, water-skiing or long afternoons splashing in the water with family. Out of the water, there’s the Willow Reservoir, the Oehmcke Fish Hatchery, the Wildwood Wildlife Park and Sheer’s Lumberjack Shows. And don’t forget to partake in the most famous part of Wisconsin: cheese!

Kids at Smith Mountain Lake

Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

If Virginia is more your style, head to Smith Mountain Lake in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Created to produce electricity and manage nearby water flows. The lake is 250ft deep and covers 32 square miles. power boating, canoeing, sailing, parasailing, swimming, fishing, water skiing, wakeboarding, and jet skiing are all popular activities on the lake, or you can head to Hot Shots for some mini golf and pizza!

Images of Acadia.  Near Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine.

Mount Desert Island, Maine

The beautiful Mount Desert Island in Maine is a wonderful area for a lake vacation. Acadia National Park is the main(!) attraction and offers tons to do for all ages. The water is a little chilly even in summer, but there’s still swimming, biking, hiking and exploring of the local history to keep even the most screen-centric kids occupied outside. Bar Harbor is a great place to visit—with not just water activities, but also shopping, dining and sightseeing!

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/29 at 08:30 AM
Family TravelPermalink


All About My Weekend in Portland

Head over to the Destination Side of Poshbrood to hear all about my awesome trip to hipster enclave Portland! We hit the Portland Saturday Market, the 4T trail, the famous Voodoo Doughnuts and much, much more!

photo courtesy Kevin C. Norris

Posted by Erin on 04/26 at 08:30 AM


The Best Inn in Portland

the Inn at Northrup Station

In desperate need of a mini-break, I headed off to Portland last week. Purely by accident, I ended up staying at the best inn in the city—the Inn at Northrup Station!. With a retro feel and impeccably designed furnishings, you’ll feel at home right away at the Inn, and like me, you definitely won’t want to leave. The bright, happy colors throughout the Inn are perfect for a pick-me-up vacation: fun, light and exciting!

the Inn at Northrup Station

Every room is a suite with a sofa sleeper, two televisions and a very comfortable work area. The desk chair was so comfortable, I actually added it to my Amazon wish list! If you do need to keep up with work as I did, charging stations, USB ports and electrical outlets are readily available. Passes to a local fitness center are available at the front desk, but yoga mats are provided in your room, so you can get your zen on without leaving the suite. Many of the rooms have great private decks or patios overlooking the street, and the Signature King Suite includes a kitchen area with full-sized fridge, microwave, stove, oven, dishwasher and, most importantly, a Keurig coffee brewer.

the Inn at Northrup Station

You might not actually need that Keurig, though, because you can always grab a cup of freshly brewed (ground just for you!) coffee and some colorful candy in the lobby area. Seriously, the amenities at this place are five star all the way! An excellent continental breakfast is served each morning along with a Wine Down Wednesday wine tasting and a Hop-py Hour craft beer tasting on Thursdays.

the Inn at Northrup Station

Need to get outside for a minute? The awesome rooftop terrace is a great place to get away, eat a quick meal or just hang out!

the Inn at Northrup Station

Portland’s public transportation system is a dream compared to other cities, and the street car stops right outside the hotel. Free passes are available at the front desk along with helpful directions to anywhere you need to go in the city. Or if you want to go on your own, borrow a bike and head out on an adventure!

Headed to Portland? Make your reservations for the Inn at Northrup Station here. I’ll be sharing about the rest of my Portland adventure next week!

photos courtesy The Inn at Northrup Station

Posted by Erin on 04/22 at 08:30 AM


Kids Cook at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Does your kid love to get in the kitchen and cook up a storm? Do you have a candidate for Top Chef Junior on your hands? If so, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel’s Cooking Camp for Kids should be #1 on your list for summer travel!

Camp starts Sunday night, with a welcome dinner and a guest chef demo, followed by two full days of cooking. Kids learn basic skills, kitchen and food safety, prepping skills and get to experiment with pastry-making. Oh, and you get to enjoy the fruits of their labor along the way! The camp wraps up with a graduation and a dinner buffet.

Kids Cooking Camp Package Includes:

• Three nights accommodations in a traditional double-double
• Breakfast buffet in the Grand Dining Room each morning
• Welcome Reception and Chef Demonstration on Sunday evening
• Two days of cooking classes
• Family lunch and Chef Demonstration on Monday
• “Graduation” dinner on Tuesday night
• Group photo
• Two tickets to Summer Waves Waterpark
• Two tickets to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center

While your budding young chef is off learning the fine art of food design, you’ll have time to explore the delightful Georgia coast on hotel-sponsored day trips to Cumberland Island, St. Simons Island, Sapelo Island, Okefenokee Swamp Park, Fort King George, Howfyl-Broadfield Plantation or on your own. From carriage rides, golf, dolphin cruises, beach fun and bike exploring are all available as well—or just relax by the pool or at the Jekyll Island Club Salon & Spa.

The hotel itself is part of the Jekyll Island Club that was very popular into the 1930s but was hard hit for patrons after the two World Wars and the Great Depression. When the state of Georgia purchased the island for to create a public state park, several of the Club properties were leased back and are now the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.

Sounds like a great couple of days for the whole family!

photos courtesy Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Posted by Elizabeth on 04/19 at 08:30 AM
Family TravelHotelsNewsPermalink


Where Do The Rich And Famous Go To Unwind?

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

One of the joys of world travel is suddenly discovering your idols at play. What if you could plan your itinerary to coincide with theirs? These skittish birds require precise timing and placement, particularly if you’re going to sneak up on the Sallow Swift (say that three times after a few sips of Chablis) before she migrates. And no, you don’t have to tag her.

Those savvy, private charter guys at Stratos Jets have tracked the celebrities we crave. They pored through geo-positional data on Instagram and other sources to predict which luxurious destination these pairs and flocks of celebrities would alight at next. Any one of these lavish places could be on your itinerary this year.

In Destinations of the Rich and Famous, Stratos showed how the paparazzi-weary were searching the globe for the ultimate in exclusivity. The more social flocks—led by Leo, the Lesser-Speckled Oscar Winner—have returned repeatedly to preen upon the Caribbean shores of St. Barts. On this ritzy French island, only directly accessible by private jet, your family could also spy (a star-spotting contest?) those timid sparrows Demi, Paris and Miley.

A photo posted by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey) on

Following their seasonal path, the snowbirds are flown to Mammoth, CA. Here, it’s hard not to bump into the stars: Gwen Stefani makes out with Seal, Mariah Carey in hot water, movie stars on the moguls and monograms on the marshmallows in your hot chocolate. Where to next?

A photo posted by Paris Hilton (@parishilton) on

According to the Stratos flight crew, it depends on how much jet-setting you’re prepared to do. If you choose to follow Paris Hilton, you could be on a 22-country, 95-city marathon. If Steve Aoki is more your tempo, there are only 7 countries and 19 cities to cover. Whoever your choose to spend your vacation with, consult with Stratos first if the stars are in your sights.

Our guest poster this week is Barbara Wanless: Hi, I’m Barbara Wanless, an accidental tourist who gets creatively lost in order to discover the roads less traveled. A life-long voyageuse and gourmet chef, I am committed to finding the ‘best’ of everything. Send me your recommendations and reviews of your favorite destinations!

Posted by Erin on 04/15 at 08:30 AM


What’s New at Family-Friendly Resorts

Hotels and resorts are always upping their game when it comes to appealing to families and kids. We’ve covered some of the best, but as the desire for family travel grows, new additions pop up every day. As you’re planning your summer getaway this year, keep these awesome locations in mind!

We covered Le Méridien’s awesome offering last year, and the hotel is still doing a great job of welcoming kids. Le Méridien makes sure their kids offering is fun and educational for the whole family by focusing on multi-generational travel and inclusiveness. Each location offers a Discovery Guide of family-friendly activities to encourage and inspire curiosity for the local area.

Westin offers Westin Family—a full calendar of interactive activities created with kids’ well-being in mind and designed to inspirie kids to interact with their environment and try something new. And isn’t that what vacation is really about in the end?

The Ritz-Carlton introduces young guests to both the natural wonders and the rich cultural traditions of the local area. With their family offering, designed by Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, resorts offer a diverse collection of activities based on the four pillars of the program—water, land, environmental responsibility and culture. (We covered this great program here!) And when you stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, you can get tucked in at bedtime by a Pirate, Princess Amelia and hotel mascot, Amelia’s Treasure!

Even Holiday Inn is getting in on the fun with their KidSuites®. Many of their properties feature a personal space area for kids—within your hotel suite itself! With bunk beds, TV, Nintendo, games and toys, kids will have plenty to do in their very own clubhouse! Not every property offers this option, though, so check before you make a reservation!

Have you run into an awesome hotel for kids? Let us know in the comments below!

Posted by Erin on 04/12 at 08:30 AM
Family TravelPermalink


48 Hours in Florida with your Best Friend

from our wonderful guest poster, Kate Rockland

Dana grew up in the house next to me in New Jersey. While not opening windows to shout to one another (there was no texting in the 1980’s!) we would dream about one day travelling somewhere tropical together, without our parents.

Oh, joy! Fast-forward twenty years (okay, thirty) and we were finally setting out on a trip, only instead of being parent-free, we were child-free! Between the two of use, we have five young children, so we were super-stoked to vamoose.

After touching down in Orlando, Dana and I made a beeline for the Ritz Carlton, Grande Lakes. The spa is 40,000 feet and mixes their own products from a rooftop herb garden. We enjoyed their Citrus Grande Escape which is 120 minutes of ooh-la-la. The treatment includes all-over exfoliation with a home-grown orange peel mixture, a bath and a full-body massage. In addition to their own ingredients, the spa uses Eminence skincare products.

Later that day, we ate dinner at Portobello Country Italian Trattoria in Disney Springs. I had the Rigatoni Calbrese ($22), which has sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, olives and escarole. The sauce was delicious. Dana wanted to try a signature drink, and had the Mediterranean Mule made from limoncello, fig vodka and ginger beer. I highly recommend making reservations here the day before; the wait time as we were departing was two hours plus. I felt a little guilty being at Disney without my three children, but the feeling evaporated when I was able to duck inside a nearby shop and scoop up the latest Star Wars toys.

The next day we embarked on the second leg of our girl’s getaway, driving 2.5 hours to West Palm Beach. As Palm Beach virgins we were thrilled to score a last-minute room at the world-famous Breakers resort. Built in the 1800’s by railroad tycoon Henry Flagler, fifty million dollars a year is put into its upkeep, from the spa (renovated in November) to the new 6,000-foot fitness center that holds spin and yoga classes from its deck overlooking the rolling Atlantic.

The Breakers is such a delight to the senses, such a magical, lovely place, that words can hardly describe the experience of staying there. We were given a tour of the new Flagler club, a 25-room boutique hotel-within-the-main-hotel which opened in October. It has a private entrance, and a stay comes complete with a chauffeur, meals in its exclusive, Mad Men-esque lounge, complimentary mini-bar and Tesla car. While touring we came across grandparents who were once taken to the resort as children, now bringing their own broods.

In the main hotel, we wove in and out of ballrooms like children, gazing at the tapestries and ceilings painted with portraits of America’s founders, including Queen Isabella of Spain and Christopher Columbus. Tapestries from the 1600’s line the lobby, which require a special seamstress who is flown in from D.C. to make repairs.

We shopped for our children in Coconut Crew, one of eleven boutique stores on the property. I like that they place all their clothing down low, so kids have the option of picking out what to wear! I’d never seen mini Lily-Pulitzer dresses for toddler girls before, so that was a treat.

Next on the itinerary, we swam laps in one of the four pools, then had lunch at The Beach Club Restaurant, which has killer views and an even more deadly-delicious gazpacho. One has the option of renting a private bungalow by the pool complete with a private waiter, but if that’s not your cup of tea there are lovely changing rooms located directly behind the restaurant with full-service showers and lockers to hold your possessions.

After lunch we strolled over to the newly-renovated spa. I had a full body massage, and was delighted to be asked which oil “called out” to me for the masseuse to use. Dana had a facial with Tammy Fender products. She particularly loved the AM cleansing milk and the essential C tonic.

Feeling young and happy, we later ate dinner at HMF. The room is named for the hotel’s founder, and it’s impossible not to feel like you’re a Hollywood actress or famous socialite while sitting at one of the tables. Everywhere you look is glitter, glam—even your ears are awash in modern, fun dance music carefully chosen by one of the Breaker’s 2,000 staff members. Although our waitress said people usually share “two or three plates,” we ended up ordering five or six…it was just so delicious! I highly recommend starting with a meat and cheese plate, Artisan cheeses, membrillo and honeycomb. The Swedish meatballs with mushroom sauce are to die-for, and we were brave enough to try the Baked Alaska that is lit on fire at your table. I loved the Mae West quote on the dessert menu: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Living well is really at the heart of the Breakers experience, from its genuinely happy staff to its organic herb garden used in its nine restaurants to its outdoor yoga to its beachfront walkway we strolled along twice daily. It was difficult to board the plane back to New Jersey, but I had a wonderful 48 hours in Florida. I can’t wait to return for more vitamin C!

Summer specials at the Breakers start at $369 a night and include FREE daily summer benefits of breakfast, Kids 12 and under dine free and free golf! ($35 cart fee applies, per person, per round).

Our guest poster this week is Kate Rockland. Kate lives in New Jersey with her husband and three unruly children. When she’s not making forts out of pillows or begging people to buy one of her two novels, she loves traveling through New England.

Find Kate here:

Posted by Erin on 04/08 at 08:30 AM


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