Archive for March, 2011

MILL STREET INN, NEWPORT’S LANDMARK ALL-SUITE LUXURY HOTEL, JOINS SMALL LUXURY HOTELS OF THE WORLD

March 31, 2011

Gilded Age mansions, like The Breakers (above), are among the top attractions that bring visitors to Newport, RI. Make your lodging as interesting by staying in a 19th century mill converted to a luxury, all-suite hotel, the Mill Street Inn © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Newport, RI –

The Mill Street Inn, Newport’s landmark all-suite hotel was recently honored with election as a member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) brand.  Nestled in Newport’s historic hill area and featuring 23 newly renovated luxury suites, the Inn is offering several packages to guests visiting Newport this season.

A former 19th-century mill, the Inn was converted to an all-suite hotel in the 1980’s and has undergone major improvements under its current ownership.  Over $1 million has been invested in the Inn over the last few years to bring the property to its SLH status.  Only the world’s finest small luxury hotels are accepted into the SLH brand based on strict criteria.  The Mill Street Inn is now proud to be part of an unrivalled portfolio consisting of 500 hotel s in 70 countries.

Suites have been fully renovated throughout the hotel, combining historic charm with today’s modern luxuries.  Spacious suites, with exposed brick walls and original beams, are decorated with a contemporary style and nautical theme.  While maintaining the historical integrity of the Inn, the Inn is now also a member of the Green Hotels Association, incorporating green technologies such as energy efficient lighting and plumbing systems.  Gas fireplaces will also be added to the townhouse suites this spring.

In addition to the many renovations, each suite offers a list of hotel amenities including:  Aveda spa products, 300-thread-count linens, feather bed comforters, mini-bar, flat screen TVs, high-speed internet access and a complimentary breakfast each morning, with freshly squeezed orange juice and Nespresso coffee.  A rooftop patio with expansive views of the harbor lets guests enjoy breakfast on sunny mornings in the ocean breeze.

Dean Maki, the General Manager, says the hotel is preparing for a busy summer, but encourages travellers to also visit Newport this spring.  The hotel recently launched a springtime package deal that includes a two night stay, dinner at 22 Bowen’s, a mansion tour, bottle of wine upon arrival, and a continental breakfast starting at $255.  Visitors are encouraged to visit www.millstreetinn.com for further package details.

 Newport’s famed waterfront, excellent dining and speciality shops are within close walking distance from the Inn.   

Mill Street Inn, 75 Mill Street, Newport, Rhode Island, 401-849-9500, www.millstreetinn.com.

See also: NEWPORT IS RICH IN OFF-SEASON ACTIVITIES

NEWPORT OFF-SEASON: STORIES THESE GRAND MANSIONS DO TELL

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Nashville’s Metro Historical Commission Launches Civil War Series April 9

March 15, 2011

Tennessee launches five-year commemoration of 150th anniversary of Civil War with a color guard of Union and Confederate soldiers at Nashville's Tennessee State Museum © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Nashville, TN, March 4, 2011—

The commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is already underway, as key events are marked. The state of Tennessee, the only state which has been declared a Civil War Heritage Area, has launched the most ambitious and comprehensive program with a Civil War Heritage Trail that encompasses the entire state, with scores of events taking place over the next five years. In its entirety, the depth and breadth provides an unparalleled opportunity to re-connect with the complex and tormenting history and understand it in a way that is eerily, horrifyingly relevant to today.

Nashville’s Metropolitan Historical Commission will commence its Civil War Sesquicentennial program Saturday, April 9, at The Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville with a series of presentations called “The War Begins:  Causes of the Secession Crisis in Tennessee.” The church is located at the corner of Church Street and Fifth Avenue, North.

At 8:30 a. m., Mayor Karl Dean will make opening remarks.  He will be followed by Jim Hoobler, chairman of Metro Historical Commission’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, who will give a brief history of The Downtown Presbyterian Church and its use during the Civil War.

Starting at 9 a. m., Dr. Jonathan Atkins, of Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia, will speak on “Parties, Politics and Sectional Conflict in Tennessee 1832-1861,” in which he will describe the causes in Tennessee leading to its involvement in the Civil War.

Dr. Kristopher Ray, of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, and editor of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly, will explain at 10 a. m. how the leaders in both the North and South reinterpreted the precepts of America’s founding fathers to suit their own political, social and economic purposes.

At 11 a. m., The Fisk Jubilee Singers will perform spirituals and other songs appropriate to the Civil War period.  Their performance is partially funded by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

The program will end at noon.

“The Civil War was a defining event in American history,” Hoobler says.  “The causes of the war defined who we had been as a country, and the outcome of the war determined that we are a country.  Mayor Dean has asked that we as a community commemorate the brave men and women, North and South, who fought and died in this struggle. This event will mark the beginning of a five year activity of commemoration and remembrance.  The citizens of Nashville are encouraged to participate in these events and to remember our shared past.”

The event is free and open to the public.  Free parking is available in the Premier Parking Lot at Fifth and Church to those people who tell the attendant that they are attending the Symposium. For more information, contact Jim Hoobler at Jim.Hoobler@tn.gov.

See our series about Tennessee’s Civil War Trail launching soon at www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

Crystal Cruises Expands Worldwide Jewish Heritage Programming in 2011

March 15, 2011
Rome

With increased participation in Jewish heritage tours, luxury seafarer Crystal Cruises is expanding its Jewish heritage programming in 2011, scheduling over a dozen Crystal Adventures that explore Jewish life, past and present, around the world, including Rome, where there is a centuries-old Jewish Quarter © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

LOS ANGELES, March 14, 2011 –

With increased participation in Jewish heritage tours, luxury seafarer Crystal Cruises is expanding its related programming in 2011.  Scheduled are over a dozen Crystal Adventures that explore Jewish life, past and present, around the world: in/near Mumbai, Miami, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Rome, Dublin, Jerusalem/Ashdod, and Odessa.

Each tour gives an overview of a culture within a culture, while also providing intimate connection with spaces, exhibits, artifacts, traditions, and people that bring the international Jewish narrative to life.

Among the highlights:

  • St. Petersburg: Discover how this resilient Russian Jewish community survived Communist oppression, war, and hardship to flourish today, as demonstrated through its people, community centers, music, and an intimate home visit.
  • Mumbai: Visit three synagogues, ranging from Baghdadi to Bene-Israel congregations.
  • Copenhagen: Learn how 99% of Denmark’s Jews survived the Holocaust, at the Museum of Danish Resistance.
  • Dublin: Take in the social, legal, and political contributions of the Irish-Jewish community; see the first dedicated day school and home of Israeli ex-President Chaim Herzog.
  • German Concentration Camps: Explore Neungamme, which housed 100,000 prisoners outside Hamburg, and Berlin’s Sachsenhausen, which became the blueprint for all other camps.
  • Rome: Walk through the 2000+ year-old Jewish Quarter of Rome.

While most 2012 excursions are still in development, Crystal is planning a Jewish heritage tour of Shanghai for its 2012 World Cruise.

“These experiences offer meaningful opportunity for education, understanding, and reflection, for Jews and non-Jews alike,” says Vice President, Land and Port Operations John Stoll.

Crystal Cruises’ passion for creating unique and impactful luxury shore-side experiences are cornerstones of its Crystal Adventures program, and have earned the line top ratings from international travelers for two decades.

The excursions, starting at $46 per person, are available as half-day or full-day adventures with the worldwide, value-rich itineraries aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.  Cruise promotions include up to $2,000/couple “All Inclusive—As You Wish” spending credit, up to $8,000/couple Verandah and Penthouse savings, Fall Fare Sale, Crystal’s Family Memories programs, and New-to-Crystal, Bring-a-Friend, and Crystal Society benefits.  All cruises include free air from many North American gateways (or generous air credits).

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625 or visit www.crystalcruises.com.

For more cruising, destination and heritage travel stories, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/eclectic-traveler-in-long-island/karen-rubin

Silversea Cruise Voyages Offering up to $1000 in Onboard Spending Credits

March 11, 2011

Crown Cruise Collection is offering ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises’ “Passport to Luxury” promotion with the addition of 30 new voyages offering Onboard Spending Credits of up to $1,000 per suite ($500 per person). This means most voyages (over 90) in 2011 now feature the promotion. These enticing offers are available on new bookings made by June 30, 2011.

“With Onboard Spending Credits of up to $1,000 per suite now offered on most sailings this year, travelers essentially hold a ‘passport to luxury’ that lets them enjoy a completely personalized, all-inclusive vacation experience,” said Ross Spalding, President of Crown Cruise Collection.

For those interested in taking a French cooking class … or surprising a loved one with a gift from the onboard boutique, the choice is there.

Silversea guests can craft their own luxury experience — treat yourself to an oriental aroma stone massage at the onboard spa while sailing to Asia. Hire a private car and driver in St. Tropez to explore the glamorous Riviera. Or savor an exquisite six-course dinner in Le Champagne — the only Relais & Châteaux wine restaurant at sea.

Onboard Spending Credit options include:

Spa treatments
Specialty restaurants
Premium spirits and rare vintages from the Connoisseur’s List
Silver Shore excursions (none are excluded)
Boutique purchases
Internet packages
Laundry service
Personal fitness training
Direct-dial phone calls

Aboard Silversea’s award-winning, all-suite ships, guests enjoy spacious, ocean-view accommodations, sumptuous gourmet cuisine, the personalized service of a butler assigned to every suite, and a generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including complimentary beverages, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, 24-hour room service, stocked in-suite beverage cabinet and all gratuities.

Following is a small sampling of new 2011 voyages on Crown Cruise Collection offering a $1,000 Onboard Spending Credit, Silver Savings fares reflecting a 60% savings, plus included roundtrip air and transfers (available from select gateway cities)*:

Transoceanic Voyage : Silver Shadow, September 8 – 23, Seward to Tokyo, with calls in Homer, Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, Kamchatka, Kushiro, and Hakodate. Silver Savings fares start at $6,118.

Transoceanic Voyage : Silver Spirit, October 21 – November 5, Lisbon to Barbados, with calls in Funchal, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas, La Gomera, Antigua, Guadeloupe and St. Lucia. Silver Savings fares start at $5,638.

Far East Voyage : Silver Shadow, November 9 – 18, Hong Kong to Singapore, with calls in Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Chan May, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City (overnight visit). Silver Savings fares start at $5,318.

South America Voyage : Silver Whisper, November 26 – December 4, Rio de Janeiro (overnight visit) to Buenos Aires (overnight visit), with calls in Parati, Santos (Sao Paulo), Rio Grande do Sul, and Montevideo. Silver Savings fares start at $4,798.

Far East Voyage : Silver Shadow, November 27 – December 7, Hong Kong to Singapore, with calls in Hanoi (overnight visit), Ha Long Bay, Chan May, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City (overnight visit). Silver Savings fares start at $5,318.

South America Voyage : Silver Whisper, December 4 – 20, Buenos Aires to Santiago, with calls in Montevideo, Punta del Este, Puerto Madryn, Falkland Islands, Punta Arenas (overnight stay), Laguna San Raphael, Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Montt. Silver Savings fares start at $7,598.

All fares listed above are per person based on double occupancy for a Vista Suite and do not include port charges and handling fees that can range from $209 to $500 per person on these sailings, depending on the itinerary. Silver Savings is a capacity-controlled program and subject to availability.

*Included roundtrip air and transfers: A roundtrip economy air package (included in the cruise fare), that includes transfers between airport and pier on the day of embarkation and disembarkation, is available from 22 gateway cities in the U.S. and Canada. It is a capacity-controlled program offered for a limited time. Additionally, there are specially priced air add-on programs available from another 50 cities.

The Onboard Spending Credit is a capacity-controlled program and subject to availability. The Onboard Spending Credit is offered per suite, not per voyage, and only once to guests sailing on consecutive voyages. Maximum value of Onboard Spending Credit is either $1,000 or $500 per suite, depending on voyage. Single occupancy suites will receive 50% of the Onboard Spending Credit. It is valued in U.S. dollars, regardless of booking currency. It may not be redeemed for cash, and any unused portion will be forfeited. Additional restrictions may apply.

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury cruise line industry, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper and Silver Spirit – all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the inclusion of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II, Silversea Cruises’ itineraries encompass all seven continents and feature worldwide luxury cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, both polar regions and over 400 fascinating destinations in between.

Crown Cruise Collection has all Silversea itineraries available online and cruises can be booked personally with a Crown Cruise Collection cruise specialist or with Ross Spalding. Specialists work to assure their clients receive the very finest cruise accommodations and other onboard amenities available to travelers, as well as unique port excursions and other experiences that make their cruise vacations truly unforgettable. Nothing is left to chance by Crown Cruise Collection.

For more information on Silversea Cruises or to book a cruise, call 609-945-9803 or 877-222-8404.

For a complete list of Silversea voyages, go to Crown Cruise Collection.

See cruise stories at:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/eclectic-traveler-in-long-island/karen-rubin

 

Happy Birthday, National Wildife Refuge System

March 11, 2011
Birthday Events at National Wildlife Refuges

San Diego National Wildlife Refuge manager Jill Terp helps children explore nature at a public event at the refuge. Many refuges will hold open houses to celebrate the Refuge System's 108th birthday on March 14 (photo credit: USFWS).

Scores of national wildlife refuges will be holding open houses and other special events to celebrate the Refuge System’s 108th birthday on March 14, 2011.

On March 14, 1903, President Teddy Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge on Florida’s Pelican Island to protect wild birds from bounty hunters. In the proclamation, President Roosevelt said: “Wild beasts and birds are by right not the property merely of the people who are alive today, but the property of unknown generations, whose belongings we have no right to squander.” He would go on to protect 52 more areas as wildlife sanctuaries before leaving office.

The President’s America’s Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations, initiative is the result of a national conversation affirming America’s commitment to conserving and connecting with our outdoor heritage. Our national wildlife refuges provide opportunities for families to share time together and Americans to fish, hike, hunt and pass on proud outdoor traditions to our children.

Today, the Refuge System’s 553 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts support at least 700 species of birds, 220 mammals, 250 reptiles and amphibians, more than 1,000 species of fish and countless invertebrates and plants.

Just a few examples of refuge celebrations to be held on or around the birthday date follow. To find out if your local refuge has an event scheduled, use the “Find Your Refuge” feature on the Refuge System homepage. Or go to the Visitors tab on the yellow bar at the top of the page, and click on Special Events in the pull-down menu. Click on “Display All Events.” All events are listed chronologically.

  • Attend the Refuge System Birthday Bash!

Saturday, March 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Patuxent Research Refuge, MD
Celebrate the birthday of the National Wildlife Refuge System. See animals close up and enjoy performances by Reptile World. Includes wildlife habitat tram tours and children’s activities and crafts. Learn more about Patuxent Refuge.

  • Enjoy an Open House in Honor of the Refuge System Birthday

Saturday, March 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge, OR
Celebrate the Refuge System’s birthday by taking part in free family events at the refuge. Take a free two-hour guided “behind the scenes” tour with refuge managers at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. Advance registration is required. To reserve, call 541-757-7236. Take part in activities on prescribed fire, local wildlife and plants, law enforcement, wildlife photography and historic structures. Learn more about William L. Finley Refuge.

  • Attend a Family Event in Honor of the Refuge System Anniversary

Saturday, March 12, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. — Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, LA
An anniversary celebration, called “Walk Where the Wildlife Walks,” emphasizes refuge trails. Take a guided trail walk, try mystery geocaching or test yourself with challenge trail activities. Canoe the refuge’s expanded canoe loop trail. Learn more about Black Bayou Lake Refuge.

  • Attend a Birthday Event

Saturday, March 12, 9 a.m. to noon — Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC
Enjoy a free tram tour, and learn why it’s important to preserve these and other public lands for generations to come. Learn more about the event. Learn more about Alligator River Refuge.

  • Attend the 19th Annual Pelican Island Wildlife Festival

Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Riverview Park, Sebastian, FL
Celebrate the 108th birthday of Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System. Enjoy exhibits, wildlife shows, boat tours to Pelican Island, live music and kids’ activities. Learn more about the festival. Learn more about Pelican Island Refuge.

  • Hear an Anniversary Talk

Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. —Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, MD
Meet at the visitor contact station to hear an interpretive talk. Learn more about Eastern Neck Refuge at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/easternneck

  • Enjoy Sense of Wonder Day

Saturday, March 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, UT
In honor of the Refuge System’s birthday and the amazing work and life of Rachel Carson, there will be movies and lectures, crafts and activities, and outdoor fun for the whole family. Learn more about Bear River Refuge.

  • Enjoy a Refuge Open House

Saturday, March 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, FL
Enjoy exhibits, hikes, nature trails, music, historical narratives, photo ops and more. Learn more about St. Vincent Refuge.

Other upcoming events at the National Wildife Refuge System:

Clean a Refuge for Earth Day
Earth Day, April 22, has been set aside since 1970 to celebrate the earth’s richness, recognize its fragility and educate people about protecting the planet. Many refuges will host public events.

Celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week
Many refuges will host public events in June to mark this annual celebration of fishing and boating, sponsored by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.

Focus on a Bird Festival
With so many national wildlife refuges located near one of the nation’s four major flyways, it’s no wonder refuges are favorite bird festival sites. Many festivals occur in April and May to coincide with spring migration and International Migratory Bird Day.

Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week
Plan ahead. National Wildlife Refuge Week, observed the second week in October, celebrates the important conservation work of America’s 553 national wildlife refuges.

Refuge Events Calendar
There is a National Wildlife Refuge within an hour’s drive of most major U.S. cities. Here is a sampling of upcoming refuge events.

For more information ,visit http://www.fws.gov.

See also:

Where to be wild in Palm Beach County, Florida and see slideshow

The Woodstock Inn & Resort Offers A Sweet Springtime Escape

March 11, 2011

WOODSTOCK, VT (March 11, 2011) –

The Woodstock Inn & Resort welcomes travelers to celebrate the onset of Spring and maple sugaring season in Vermont by enjoying the resort’s Sugar Season Escape package.  Available March 13 through May 26, the package includes accommodations in a standard guestroom with breakfast daily in the Main Dining Room.  Rates start at $159 per night Sunday through Thursday and weekend rates start at $189.

The Woodstock Inn & Resort is now home to a new 10,000 square-foot LEED-designed spa, offering a nature-inspired ambiance and featuring nourishing treatments and organic products.  Each season, a different signature treatment takes center stage among the extensive selection of year-round spa offerings.  In celebration of Spring, guests can experience the 100-minute Signature Vanilla Maple Treatment which begins with an exfoliating body scrub and hydrating wrap and ends with a full-body massage.

The Inn provides guests with a number of recreational and dining options to enhance their stay.  The Red Rooster, the resort’s award- winning fine dining restaurant emphasizes a menu using fresh, local ingredients sourced from the best purveyors in New England.  Richardson’s Tavern offers a cozy old-world atmosphere with a full bar and live music.

Resort activities include a 18-hole Robert Trent Jones designed golf course, a 41,000 square foot Racquet & Fitness Club, which includes indoor and outdoor tennis courts, indoor racquetball courts, a 30-by-60 foot indoor lap pool, a whirlpool, workout equipment and a steam room and sauna.   Guests can also enjoy downtown Woodstock filled with antique shops, art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, specialty food markets and more.  Nearby Sugarbush Farms offers sugarhouse tours, where guests can see sugar maple trees and sample four grades of 100% pure Vermont maple syrup.

Located in idyllic Woodstock, Vermont, The Woodstock Inn & Resort defines country sophistication in one of New England’s most charming and popular year-round vacation destinations.  The 142-room, AAA Four Diamond Resort and member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, offers award-winning dining in three restaurants, ranked among the finest in New England.  The Woodstock Inn & Resort is owned and operated by The Woodstock Foundation, Inc.  Proceeds from Resort operations support The Woodstock Foundation and Billings Farm & Museum education and conservation programs.

For more information, visit www.woodstockinn.com or call 888-481-8802.

 

See more about travel destinations at:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/eclectic-traveler-in-long-island/karen-rubin

Beaches of South Walton Recognized Among Top Beaches in the World for 2011

March 11, 2011

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (March 7, 2011)

The white sands of Beaches of South Walton have made not one, but two, rankings of the world’s best beaches, bringing new attention to this Northwest Florida Gulf Coast destination as the spring travel season begins.

Citing its calm, relaxing beaches in addition to shopping, dining, golfing, cultural and nature offerings, Yahoo! Travel named Santa Rosa Beach one of its 10 Best Beach Destinations for 2011, ranking this charming community at the heart of Beaches of South Walton alongside beaches in Hawaii, Bali and Mexico.

Whether visiting Santa Rosa, Seaside, Rosemary Beach or one of the other 15 charming communities of Beaches of South Walton, families find a relaxing atmosphere complemented by white-sand beaches that are among the world’s finest.

Trip Advisor’s FamilyVacationCritic.com has also recognized Beaches of South Walton as one of its Top 10 Beaches for Families.  The destination was chosen because “not only is the sand sugar soft, it borders the most gorgeous emerald green water you’ve ever seen.”  Family Vacation Critic describes the destination’s communities as family-friendly and providing a home away from home for vacationers.

From free performances in Alys Beach to the weekly Seaside Farmer’s Market, each beach community plays host to customized celebrations and activities that appeal to all ages. Families will enjoy the new Club KZ in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and delight in the new rickshaw rides offered along Scenic Highway30A. There are also new takes on area classics. YOLO boarding becomes an eco-adventure when paired with a nature-based certified guide. While fishing charters off Grayton Beach are even more rewarding when the fresh catch is prepared in the home or condo by the talented executive chef of Table 5.

A study by Majority Opinion Research and commissioned by Beaches of South Walton indicates an expected resurgence of travelers.  The study polled 422 visitors who vacationed in Beaches of South Walton in 2009, but did not book at the same accommodations in 2010.  It revealed that 83 percent of those who did not travel last summer stated they “will return” to Beaches of South Walton this year.

To welcome back visitors this spring, accommodations throughout Beaches of South Walton are offering a number of packages including:

For more accommodations specials and packages throughout Beaches of South Walton, click here. Now is the time to discover your beach.

About Beaches of South Walton
Beaches of South Walton is a destination located along a 26-mile stretch of Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast and comprised of 15 picturesque beach communities, and white sand beaches and emerald green waters for which the region is renowned.  Home to one of Yahoo Travel’s Top 10 beachesfor 2011, visitors to the destination enjoy a relaxing escape:  an upscale, yet casual, place to unwind and rejuvenate.  To learn more, visit www.BeachesofSouthWalton.com or call 1-800-822-6877.

See also:

Sarasota Beach, Marine Attractions Hold Surprises on Florida’s Gulf Coast

THE NATURAL WONDERS OF FLORIDA’S LEE COUNTY
From Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island to Manatee Park

CLEARWATER BEACH AND SOOOOO MUCH MORE
Back-to-Nature Experiences Are Not Your Typical Day at the Beach

6th Annual CampExperience Gathers Women for Education, Inspiration & Networking

March 11, 2011
PsycheHike at CampExperience

PsycheHike is one of the many adventures at Camp Experience, a weekend retreat for women to be held at Copper Mountain, Colorado, Sept. 23-25 (photo by Kimberly Anderson Photography).

DENVER, COLO. (March 1, 2011) —

Camp isn’t just for kids anymore with the sixth annual CampExperience™, a one-of-a-kind retreat for women in Copper Mountain, Colo., on Sept. 23 – 25. More than 200 women from some of the country’s top organizations and businesses will come together in this casual mountain setting for a weekend of education, inspiration and networking.

“After five years of CampExperience™ we have the formula: bring together coworkers, colleagues, sisters, mothers and daughters, and friends for 2.5 days of education, inspiration and networking and you have a powerful platform to uplift dreams and change lives,” says founder Betsy Wiersma.  “Many camp ‘sisters’ return every year as well as attend our other pre-camp events.”

More than 150 campers are already signed up to share the energy of national keynote speakers like Victoria Moran (www.victoriamoran.com) and Linda Larsen (www.lindalarsen.com), applaud Women Who Rock award winners, and indulge in “adventure” activities such as dance, biking, fly-fishing, self defense and a camp favorite, PsycheHiking.

Workshops this year are a new format with 2.5 hour “emersion” sessions with hand-on learning and experiences on topics such as advocacy, writing a book, embracing food as fuel and healthy weight management, emotional intelligence and stress-less living. There’s also yoga and Qi Gong to start the day, and a hands-on Creativity Corner is open throughout the weekend with pottery, jewelry making, painting and fabric art.

The popular Charity Bow-tique is back and doubled in size to offer more retail fun to benefit this year’s charity partners: Warren Village, United Way Women’s Self Sufficiency Programs, Women’s Bean Project and Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center.  Campers are asked to give three gently used or new items for the Bow-tique and to sign up for personal services (e.g., massages, reflexology, reiki and more) in exchange for a donation.

Since 2006, CampExperience™ has donated more than $138,000 in cash and in excess of 12,000 pounds of clothing and household goods to its charity partners.

“CampExperience™ is my annual respite to refuel, recharge my batteries and reconnect to amazing women in the community. In my busy life, I appreciate that CampExperience™ is built for me and maximizes my personal and business success,” says five-year camper Carol Calkins of Denver.

Pre-Camp Events
CampExperience™ also will host MiniCamp at Regis University in Denver on April 20, a Charity Kick-Off Party at The Closet Factory in Centennial on May 18, a Sleepover Adventure at Spruce Mountain Guest Ranch in Larkspur on June 2 – 3, and many free networking events throughout the year.  For more information about camp and these events and to sign up for a free newsletter, visit www.CampExperience.com or call 720.840.4001. You do not need to be registered for CampExperience™ to attend pre-camp events.

Sponsors
Presenting sponsors for 2011 include CBS4, St. Anthony Central Hospital, Northwestern Mutual Denver, Regis University, Copper Mountain Resort, and Fastlane Productions. Host sponsors are Staples, MillerCoors, Colorado View Magazine, The Kentwood Company at Cherry Creek, KUVO Radio, Garvin’s Sewer Service, Clarity International, BBVA Compass, Tomboy Tools, Silpada Designs Farmers Insurance Group and Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado.

See also

Cultural Explorer offers trips to celebrate, empower women of South Africa

Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado Rockies: Where ‘Cool’ isn’t just the weather

Costa Rica to be the site of the Medical Travel International Business Summit, February 21, 2011

March 2, 2011
Costa Rica will be the site of the second annual Medical Travel International Business Summit where 500 people will gather together, among them being experts and specialists in medicine and tourism, from more than 10 countries. This is the second time that Costa Rica has hosted the event, the first being in 2009, in order to encourage and explore development opportunities in medical tourism. 

The summit will be held from May 2nd to the 4th, 2011. The agenda includes discussions at the Hotel Ramada Plaza Herradura on topics such as: quality service and patient safety, risk reduction, and benefit plan management.

Participants will also travel to national clinics and hospitals to assess the quality of the facilities, equipment, and medical services. They will also travel to Guanacaste where besides enjoying the natural beauty of the region, they will participate in workshops at the Hotel Hilton Papagayo.

The idea is to portray Costa Rica, and Latin America, as a leader in medical tourism destinations. It will also serve as an opportunity to set up new business for providers to the healthcare industry and the tourism industry among corporate buyers, like insurance companies, medical associations, and public organizations.

This summit is supported by the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine, PROMED, the Costa Rica Tourism Board, the Health Ministry, and organizations in the medical and tourism industries.

“For the second time, Costa Rica will be an international showcase for the growing medical tourism industry. Thanks to the first-class hospital infrastructure, highly trained professionals, personal care, post-operative attention in specialized facilities and within a natural and world renowned tourism environment, the country presents a solution to the ever-increasing problems of high costs and waiting lists that healthcare systems face in developed countries,” commented Dr. Jorge Cortés, president of PROMED.

The Tourism Minister, Carlos Ricardo Benavides, stated, “The ICT, after seeing medical tourism gaining public interest, is stimulating growth in this new sector by strengthening resources and skills that Costa Rica has developed over years of investment in the healthcare and tourism industry. This summit will allow insurance companies, healthcare facilities and tourism businesses, as well as foreign consumers to see first-hand that which this field has to offer.´¨

It is estimated that some 30,000 foreigners visited Costa Rica in 2009 to have some kind of dental, esthetic, or non-elective medical procedure done like cardiac, orthopedic, urological, and preventative medicine.

The quality and cost of these national health services attract foreign businesses to treat the health of their employees, the majority being North American businesses, due to the fact that healthcare costs in the United States are very high.

For registration or other information, visit info@themedicaltravelsummit.com or write to info@themedicaltravelsummit.com.

Medical Tourism: a new niche

• This industry will see US$60 million in annual sales in 2010 and it is expected to reach US$100,000 million in 2011.

• In 2009, Costa Rica welcomed 30,000 medical tourists, which brought in revenue equal to 200,000 traditional tourists. On average, they spend six times more than pure vacationing tourists.

• Most sought after procedures in Cost Rica: odontology (36%), plastic-esthetic(12%), orthopedic-bariatric-cardiovascular (22%), medical treatments (14%).

Cranwell Resort in Berkshires Partners with Stash Hotel Rewards

March 2, 2011
Cranwell Resort's historic Wyndhurst mansion, in the Berkshires (© 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com).

Cranwell Resort's historic Wyndhurst mansion, in the Berkshires (© 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com).

Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club announced its partnership with Stash Hotel Rewards®, an innovative hotel rewards program that enables travelers to quickly earn free nights at distinctive, independent hotels without blackouts or inflexible category restrictions. Guests of Cranwell Resort can now earn points toward free nights each time they stay at any of the more than 110 distinctive hotels in over 80 cities that participate in Stash.

Located in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts known for its abundant cultural venues including the famed Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center and the Norman Rockwell Museum, Cranwell stands apart with it graceful, historic Gilded Age Mansion and 380 acres of surrounding panoramic views.   Visitors will now be able to experience this unique setting while earning reward points for stays at Cranwell and other one-of-a-kind, independent hotels through the U.S.

“Stash Rewards is perfect for frequent travelers who are seeking a variety of unique guest experiences at hotels and resorts like Cranwell,” said Norma Probst, Director of Marketing for Cranwell.  “Not only will our current guests who return to Cranwell year after year be rewarded for their loyalty, but Cranwell is now in a position to attract new travelers also seeking value through a rewards program.”

Guests can easily sign up for a free account at the Stash website.  Points can be earned immediately and never expire. Redemption is simple and free from rigid reward categories, and black-out dates don’t exist. Additionally, Stash partner hotels provide members with exclusive travel deals.

About Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club

Cranwell is located just two and one-half hours from New York City and Boston in the historic New England village of  Lenox, Massachusetts.   This award winning resort features 96 distinctive guest rooms and suites, an 18-hole Championship golf course set on 380 hilltop acres, and is home to one of the largest resort Spas in the Northeast.  With three restaurants and spacious banquet rooms, Cranwell also hosts numerous year-round conferences, weddings and social events.   The resort is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ brand and is also a long time member of Historic Hotels of America, which preserves the authenticity of over 200 of America’s most prominent historic hotels and inns.  The resort is listed in Zagat’s “Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas” and some of their many recognitions include SpaFinder Readers’ Choice Award for one of “Best Spa Resorts for Golf” and the Wine Spectator Magazine Award for Excellence.

About Stash Hotel Rewards
Stash Hotel Rewards frees travelers from the uninspired offerings of existing hotel reward programs by making it as easy to earn free nights at an amazing hotel as it is a so-so one. Members earn 5 points per dollar spent on their hotel room, resulting in a free night in a little as 5 typical stays. And Stash points can be redeemed without blackout dates, point expirations or annoying category restrictions found in many chain programs.  The distinctive hotels that offer Stash include some of the best spas in Napa, world-class resorts in Florida, and boutique gems in New York, Seattle and Los Angeles. Many Stash partner hotels appear on the “Best Hotels” lists of the leading travel publications and the hotels receive some of the highest recommend ratings on top travel sites.  Travelers can easily sign up for a free account at the Stash website www.stashrewards.com.

Read BERKSHIRE’S CULTURE & CRANWELL RESORT’S LUXURY ARE UNBEATABLE COMBO