Archive for January, 2012

Morro Bay, California Rocks with Romance in February

January 31, 2012

Morro Rock is a classic landmark in the quaint California fishing village and is the final link in the “Seven Sisters” chain of volcanic eruptions that stretch from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay on California’s Central Coast © 2012 Karen Rubin/

Romance is in the air in Morro Bay, California, especially if your special someone is expecting a “big rock” this Valentine’s Day. Morro Bay offers the perfect romantic vacation, complete with an up-close-and-personal view of the biggest rock on the West Coast: Morro Rock. The iconic Morro Rock is a classic landmark and is the final link in the “Seven Sisters” chain of volcanic eruptions that stretch from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay on California’s Central Coast.

Morro Bay offers more than a spectacular view during the month of February: hotels, restaurants and attractions have teamed up to offer visitor specials all month long. Guests can stay busy with dinner and whale watching cruises; enjoy sailing, surfing and kayaking and miles of hiking trails and unspoiled beaches. There are opportunities to dine on the waterfront and explore local wineries. The town is dotted with art galleries and boutique shops, and Hearst Castle is just minutes away on Coast Highway 1. Some visitors to Morro Bay want to just sit back and relax, soaking up the special ambiance that has enchanted generations of visitors.

Whatever your vacation style, Morro Bay has a plan to fit the bill. Special February Romance offerings include those noted below (with more posted online at

  • 15% off room rates
  • Wine tasting packages –  Edna Valley Wine Basket with one-night stay
  • Lost Isle Adventure packages
  • $50 Gift Certificate to Windows on the Water Restaurant
  • Dessert samplings plus Champagne

Additional information is available online at

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Cape May, NJ Hosts Sherlock Holmes Weekend March 16-18, 2012

January 31, 2012

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's master sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, and his partner, Dr. Watson, join forces to solve a baffling new mystery for 2012 during a weekend of intrigue, Friday through Sunday, March 16-18, in "Sherlock Holmes and the Trial of Moriarty's Challenge," sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (photo by Joe Evangelista)..

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s master sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, and his partner, Dr. Watson, join forces to solve a baffling new mystery for 2012 during a weekend of intrigue, Friday through Sunday, March 16-18, in “Sherlock Holmes and the Trial of Moriarty’s Challenge,” sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC).

Stalk the gaslit streets in search of clues and compete for the $250 grand prize and a variety of other valuable gifts as you attempt to solve the mystery. Full weekend packages are available at $180 per couple or $95 per person and include the welcome reception, performances, tour, luncheon and gift. The Search for Clues tour on Saturday, March 17, can be purchased separately.

Affordable overnight packages with accommodations are also available. Call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278, ext. 185 for more information or to reserve your overnight package.

The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the preservation, interpretation, and cultural enrichment of the Cape May region for its residents and visitors. MAC membership is open to all. For information about MAC’s year-round schedule of tours, festivals, and special events, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278, or visit MAC’s Web site at

For information about restaurants, accommodations and shopping, call the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May at 609-884-5508.

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LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago Launches Contest to Find Next Master Model Builder

January 31, 2012

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago is holding a contest to find a Master Model Builder who will be responsible for developing new exhibits and models for the thousands of children and families who attend events at the Center. Interested candidates can apply online at

“The winning Master Model Builder will join an elite class of LEGO® builders,” said Cassi Weber, general manager of LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago. “Only four people in the United States and eight people in the world have the honor of being called a LEGOLAND Discovery Center Master Model Builder and we are very excited to meet the person that can fulfill that role here in Chicago!”

Applicants must log on to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago’s website by Friday, Feb. 17 and upload a resume and a one-minute YouTube video showing why they should be LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago’s next Master Model Builder. Applicants must be 18 years or older to enter.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago will choose 10 finalists who will be invited to a public build-off event at LDC Chicago in Schaumburg on Sunday, March 4, where their true skills will be put to the test.

“This is truly a dream job for someone who loves building with LEGObricks,” Weber said. “The Master Model Builder must be creative, enjoy working with our guests and understand that this job is truly working at play.”

During the public build-off, candidates will be challenged with mountains of pre-selected LEGO bricks and must build complex LEGO models using only the bricks in front of them. A special panel of adults and children will judge each candidate’s performance to eventually determine a winner.

For more information or to apply, visit

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10th Annual Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival, Feb 10-14, 2012

January 31, 2012

Downtown Salem is celebrating Valentine’s Day weekend with more than 15 large ice sculptures, chocolate samplings and great discounts February 10 – 14, 2012.

Beautiful ice sculptures will grace downtown Salem starting February 11 as part of the 10th annual Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate and Ice Sculpture Festival. Ice Sculpture Themes include a dragon, Marilyn Monroe, the SSU Viking, TinTin and Snowy, a crystal snowflake, a one room school house and the Salem Witch. Many downtown businesses will offer discounts and free chocolate during the weekend as well.

The festival officially kicks off with a Chocolate and Wine Tasting, on Friday, February 10 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, at Hamilton Hall, 9 Chestnut Street. This luscious tasting event features wine and chocolate samplings from premier Salem restaurants, stores and sweet shops. The Chocolate and Wine Tasting is sponsored by the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased in advance at the Salem Chamber of Commerce starting January 13, 265 Essex Street.

The Salem Trolley will be offering trolley rides around the festival route weather permitting on February 11 & 12 from 12 – 4 for Adults $1, children are free. Pick up locations include the Salem Visitor Center, Pickering Wharf and Washington Street near Eastern Bank.

With over 60 places to eat, downtown Salem is the perfect place to have a romantic dinner or casual lunch. In celebration of the chocolate weekend, many of Salem’s finest restaurants will feature special chocolate offerings on their menus, including desserts, cocktails, and inventive sauces. Participating Salem retailers will offer in-store promotions, innovative displays and items geared toward chocolate and Valentine’s Day ranging from a chocolate fondue fountain to Valentine inspired dog treats. Once again, Golden Tickets will be available in downtown Salem for a chance to win the Salem’s So Sweet Gift Basket. Pick up your Golden Ticket and have it validated at participating businesses (no purchase necessary) then enter to win a Salem’s So Sweet gift basket which features many fine items from area retailers.

There are numerous special events during the festival. The Salem Theatre Company is offering a discount on their hit performance: The Real Thing. The National Park Service Visitor Center will have a historic display on ice and chocolate.

Salem Main Streets, the Salem Chamber of Commerce, and local retailers, restaurants and businesses invite you to attend the 10th annual Salem’s So Sweet, Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival. A decadent tradition of delectable chocolate, sparkling ice sculptures and Valentine’s Day shopping…don’t miss Salem’s sweetest event of the year! For more information and details about the festival contact (978)744-0004 or visit the website or

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Breakers Rewards savings make it easier to enjoy romantic escape to iconic Palm Beach resort

January 31, 2012

The Breakers resort is making it easier for couples to enjoy a luxurious romantic escape and families to enjoy a winter getaway with the added savings of “Breakers Rewards,” its seasonal offer available through February 14, 2012, just in time for Valentine's Day © 2012 Karen Rubin/

The Breakers resort is making it easier for couples to enjoy a luxurious romantic escape and families to enjoy a winter getaway with the added savings of “Breakers Rewards,” its seasonal offer available through February 14, 2012, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

You get $50, $100 or $200 in nightly credits per room, based on category of accommodations booked at regular rates:

• $50 Breakers Rewards (per room per night), applicable to Deluxe guest rooms
• $100 Breakers Rewards (per room, per night), applicable to Premium guest rooms
• $200 Breakers Rewards (per room, per night), applicable to Flagler Club (concierge level), Oceanfront Rooms and Suites

Breakers Rewards are applicable to myriad resort amenities:
• Dining and drinks at any of the resort’s nine Palm Beach restaurants and five lounges
• Golf play on The Breakers’ two championship courses
• Personalized golf instruction at the renowned John Webster Golf Academy
• Rejuvenating luxury spa
• Tennis, applicable to court play and private instruction
• Luxury beach bungalows for daytime rental
• World-class shopping, applicable to purchases at the resort’s 11 boutiques
• Children’s programs at the Family Entertainment Center.
• Overnight valet parking

Complimentary resort benefits always include Internet inclusive of WiFi, access to main hotel’s fitness center and fitness classes (excluding private sessions).  Breakers Rewards not available to groups.  Other restrictions apply.

The Breakers offers an alluring, domestic winter vacation in the style of tropical and Mediterranean destinations. This 140-acre Palm Beach resort, originally built in 1896, has undergone a comprehensive, $250 million revitalization and expansion over the past ten years, and today features a glamorous yet classic ambiance that combines Italian Renaissance style and European feel, with an alluring beachfront reminiscent of St. Tropez.  The value of its proximity is palpable…a prime stateside location, more affordable than overseas, with stunning vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, easy air transit for guests and close airport proximity.  With its bounty of dining and recreational amenities, The Breakers is a self-contained, panoramic escape, from which guests never have to step a sandal off property.

“We have found that these daily monetary credits encourage winter travelers to enjoy and save on their preferred experiences, all available on site,” said David Burke, vice president of sales & marketing of the 140-acre property.  “The Breakers Palm Beach offers an unrivaled resort experience that could not be replicated today – a stunning atmosphere of relaxed elegance with an amazing range of resort experiences.  With our long-term vision and commitment to future generations of guests, we ensure it keeps getting better year after year.”

One of America’s legendary resort destinations, this 540-room, Italian Renaissance-style hotel resides on 140 acres of oceanfront property in the heart of Palm Beach.  The Breakers was founded in 1896 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and continues to thrive independent of chain affiliation.  Renowned for its gracious service, the resort indulges its clientele, whether couples on a romantic getaway, multi-generational travelers on a family vacation or large gatherings in celebration.  With the commitment of its long-standing ownership, descendants of founder Henry Flagler, The Breakers invests $20 million each year in the property’s ongoing enhancement to ensure it remains appealing to future guests.  Following a comprehensive ten-year $250 million revitalization, its timeless atmosphere — from its magnificent interiors to its artfully designed landscape — has been renewed in a style of relaxed elegance.

A multi-faceted destination, The Breakers features 36 holes of championship Florida golf, including the Ocean Course and The Breakers Rees Jones® Course; 10 Har-Tru tennis courts; luxury spa; a breathtaking oceanfront with a half-mile of private beach, Mediterranean-style beach club, as well as luxury beach bungalows for daytime-rental, five pools, four whirlpool spas and a variety of water sports; a Family Entertainment Center and an extensive program of family and children’s activities.  Nine distinctive restaurants, as well as an array of on-site boutiques, are all owned and managed by the resort.  The Breakers is recognized as a AAA Five Diamond property and has earned numerous accolades for its commitment to the environment, community service and the quality of life it provides to its employees.

For reservations or more information, contact the resort toll-free at 1-888-BREAKERS (273-2537), (561) 655-6611, visit, or contact your travel professional.

See also:

The Breakers Palm Beach: iconic American resort has relaxed, contemporary feel and slideshow

The Breakers, iconic Palm Beach destination resort, redefines dining experience and slideshow

New Life Hiking Spa Celebrates Upcoming 35th Summer in Vermont with a $350 Discount on the Opening Day Weight Loss Retreat

January 27, 2012

New Life Hiking Spa, a nationally recognized affordable spa for men and women located in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont since 1978, known for its exhilarating hiking program, a world renowned weight loss retreat, delicious healthy meals and a comfortable atmosphere, is taking reservations for its 2012 season, May 17-September 30.

Founded in 1978 as a healthy hiking and spa vacation by Jimmy LeSage, M.S., New Life Hiking Spa offers the chance to experience the peace of the outdoors in a down-to-earth, country inn environment. The resort hosts approximately 600 visitors each year from around the globe.

To mark the occasion of the 35th Summer Anniversary, New Life is offering a $350 discount off the first 11 night Weight Loss Retreat of the year (May 17 – 28) for double occupancy. That is a total price of $1,949 (plus service and tax) per person for the entire 11 nights.

In addition, early booking specials are also available for $20 a night discount on any length of stay from May 17th – September 15th or $300 off the total price of an 11 night Weight Loss Retreat for the following dates: May 17-28, May 29-June 9, June 29-July 10, July 10 – 21, any 11 nights during the month of August or September 1-12.

Reservations must take place by February 10, 2012 to receive the discounted rates. Discounts cannot be combined.

“We are excited to be celebrating our 35th Summer in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont” stated Jimmy LeSage, founder and director. “We have been one of the spa industry’s best values since we began in 1978 and we are pleased to continue to offer a fabulous destination spa vacation at an affordable price with superior service. For the 19 weeks we are open, there is simply no better place to go hiking than New Life Hiking Spa in Killington, Vermont. The weather and views are fantastic, we have an experienced staff, fabulous fitness and wellness classes and tasty spa cuisine!” he went on to say.

New Life Hiking Spa’s prices are all inclusive. The nightly rate includes a room with a private bath, three healthy meals a day, fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks, one basic massage for each 3 night stay, all fitness programming, daily guided hikes (three levels offered per day), cooking demos, lectures and evening activities. Regular nightly rates start at $209 per night and vary based on length of stay and occupancy.

In January of 2010 & 2011, New Life Hiking Spa was selected as one of the top 10 fitness vacations in the world by MSNBC. New Life Hiking Spa was selected by Shape Magazine as “one of the eight best weight loss spas”, and by Health Magazine as “one of four great weight loss spas”. For Six years in a row (2006-2011) New Life has won Best for Going Solo, Best for Hiking and Best for Affordability by SpaFinder Readers’ Choice Awards. In addition, Jimmy LeSage was also voted as one of the top ten Spa Managers in the world in 2011 by SpaFinder Reader’s Choice Awards.

More information can be found online at New Life Hiking Spa’s Website: or a three minute video can be seen at

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New Hampshire Ski Resorts offer Super Deals for Super Bowl Weekend

January 27, 2012

Snowboarding down a trail at Waterville Valley, a premeir New Hampshire ski resort. New Hampshire mountain resorts are offering super deals for Super Bowl weekend © 2012 Karen Rubin/

The New England Patriots and New York Giants will face off in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, February 5. The Super Bowl is a traditional occasion for family and friends to gather to enjoy the game. The 6:30 pm kickoff time is ideal for skiers and riders who want to enjoy a weekend on the snow and still be on the couch for kickoff with plenty of time to spare.

During past Patriots’ Super Bowl appearances many guests have elected to pass up skiing and riding that weekend even though the game isn’t played until Sunday night. As a result, this means less-crowded slopes and an opportunity to enjoy midweek crowds with mid-winter conditions. Ski areas have also recognized the popularity of the Super Bowl and many offer lift ticket specials to entice guests.

Among the special offers this Super Bowl weekend is the Super Sunday Special at Cannon Mountain where two people can ski or ride for $68 on February 5. King Pine at Purity Spring Resort will be offering half-day, morning lift tickets for $22 for adults and $15 for juniors on February 5. Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain will be offering $46 all-day lift tickets on February 5. Cranmore Mountain Resort is offering a Super Bowl ECoupon that must be printed in advance from and is valid for $47 adult, $37 teen, and $32 child lift tickets on February 5. Show up at Gunstock Mountain Resort with your Patriots gear on and receive $12 off a full price adult ticket on February 5. In celebration of Super Bowl XLVI, Waterville Valley will be offering $46 lift tickets for adults and $15 for ages 12 and under on February 5. Ragged Mountain will be offering two-for-one full price lift tickets on February 5.

For cross country skiers Jackson Ski Touring will be hosting Super Bowl Widows Weekend with 50% off one or two day trails passes for groups of three or more women. Pine Hill XC Ski Club in New London will be offering a pre-Super Bowl Two Trail Passes for One promotion.

Many New Hampshire areas also regularly offer discounted passes on Sunday afternoons, which should prove to be an outstanding time to hit the slopes with many skiers and riders already at home on the couch. Even if you ski right until 4pm you still have 2 ½ hours until kickoff. Among those areas with Sunday afternoon offers are Attitash Mountain Resort, Black Mountain, Bretton Woods, Crotched Mountain, King Pine at Purity Spring Resort, Loon Mountain, Mount Sunapee, Ragged Mountain, Waterville Valley and Wildcat Mountain. Some of these offers apply to specific groups (like NH residents or kids) so please check for full details on the Daily Ticket Deals page at

“The first year or two the Patriots made the Super Bowl, we noticed some extra space on the slopes. Now that the Patriots make this almost an annual tradition, the ski areas have gotten creative with some incredible deals. Super Bowl weekend provides an ideal opportunity to enjoy mid-winter conditions at a discount price, with fewer skiers on the slopes, and still be home in time for the game,” stated Karl Stone, Ski NH’s Marketing Director.

For a complete list of deals and updated snow conditions, visit or

Ski NH is the statewide association representing 38 alpine and cross country resorts and more than 200 lodging and guest service properties in New Hampshire. For more information on ski areas, lodging packages, and updated winter events at Ski NH resorts, call Ski NH at (800) 88-SKI-NH (800-887-5464) or visit the Ski NH website at

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London hotels website offers discounted rooms for Six Nations Final Rugby Clash in Twickenham in February

January 27, 2012

The major booking website for London hotels,, has announced details of discounted rooms at select London hotels, close to Rugby Road and Twickenham Stadium, for fans travelling to the Six Nations final in February.

The match takes place on 26th February, between England and Wales. England come to the tie as reigning Six Nations champions, while Wales are fresh off a major semi-final in the 2011 World Cup. Kicking off at 4pm, anticipation for the match is high, with Wales currently on top form, and expectations for England as high as ever. The hosting nation are the current holders of the Six Nations trophy, but Wales have picked up a number of neutral fans since their good run in the World Cup, and the young side has been winning plaudits from all corners. It promises to be as close a contest that the Six Nations has ever witnessed.

Tickets are available directly from To help travelling supporters stay close to the action on the nights before and after the game, has released limited double rooms at reduced rates at top London hotels.

Among the discounts, the Continental Hotel has a number of double rooms within its four-star premises. Starting from just 50 pounds (a 78% discount), rugby fans can stay within a half hour’s walk from Twickenham Stadium.

Almost as close, the Richmond Hill hotel is less than two miles from Twickenham Stadium. The Richmond offers a 78% discount on selected double rooms. Starting from 63 pounds per night, the Richmond is a modern hotel set in a 17th Century building. One of the finest London hotels in the area, this four star is available at the discount only when you book through See their website for more information

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WLCVacations Sails into Spring with Incredible Savings on of the most Magnificent Destinations in the World

January 26, 2012

With spring around the corner, WLCVacations is introducing alluring Spring Savings for travelers interested in discovering some of the most beautiful destinations in the world during 2012. For a limited time, couples can save up to $1000 off select cruises, providing exceptional value to consumers.

“Whether one is looking for an adrenaline-fueled adventures like trekking through the Amazon, or seeks to unwind under the sun, we have a vacation that suites every interest,” said Ana Valente, president of WLCVacations.

In Europe, WLCVacations’ Spring Savings promotion applies to a variety of itineraries including the 7-day Vineyards of the Rhine & Mosel, cruising from the Netherlands to Luxembourg, with stops throughout Europe such as Cologne in Germany and the colorful Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam. Guests who book a cabin for the April 1 sailing date by January 31, 2012 will receive $1000 off per stateroom, plus $100 shipboard credit. All-inclusive rates begin at $1,799 per person after discount.

As another option, passengers can venture to the exotic Galapagos Islands on a luxury cruise aboard the MV Eclipse, which journeys round trip from Baltra Island. Until February 29, passengers will receive $500 off per person on all January, February and October 2012 cruises. Prices for this 7-day cruise start from $4,650 per person with the promotion included, based on double occupancy.

Moreover, Africa’s Egypt takes center stage on the Splendors of Egypt & the Nile. Travelers will sail roundtrip from Cairo, staring at $2,049 with a $300 per person discount. Meanwhile, guests can discover the best of Asia on three itineraries including Highlights of China and the Yangtze for up to $300 off per couple. Beijing and Hong Kong are among the exciting destinations planned from March through November aboard the Victoria Anna and Victoria Jenna. Rates for this 11-day program start at $2,599 per person.

For more information on WLCVacations’ Spring Savings cruises, visit

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Barging through Burgundy: A visit to Chagny Market and slideshow

Barging through Burgundy, Day 2: Chateau de Rully and slideshow

Barging through Burgundy, Day 3: Hotel-Dieu, Beaune and slideshow

Barging Through Burgundy, Day 4: Clos de Vougeot, ‘mother church’ of wine and slideshow

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Friendly Planet Travel Offers 7-Day ‘Taste of Ireland’ Tour with Airfare for $1,744

January 26, 2012

Friendly Planet Travel, a leading tour operator that offers high-quality, affordable vacation packages to exotic destinations worldwide, is offering a seven-day A Taste of Ireland tour, including airfare from Newark, all for the price of $1,744.

Travelers can experience the authenticity of the Emerald Isle’s rolling green countryside, historic castles, famous pubs, and more.

“It’s no surprise that this picturesque island is referred to as the ’emerald isle.’”

“Ireland is one of the world’s most stunning destinations with outstanding scenery, brilliant castles, and green, rolling hills,” says Peggy Goldman, President of Friendly Planet Travel. “It’s no surprise that this picturesque island is referred to as the ’emerald isle.’”

A Taste of Ireland includes round-trip airfare, including fuel surcharges, from Newark (many additional departure cities available for an additional cost); all ground transportation and transfers; accommodations in superior and deluxe hotels; daily Irish breakfast and two dinners; a comprehensive touring program including entrance fees; a professional, English-speaking driver and guide, and more.

The tour begins in Ireland’s capital city of Dublin, before traveling to Ireland’s Midlands in County Kerry. Travelers then stop in the little field town of Blarney for a visit to Blarney Castle and a chance to kiss the famous Blarney Stone for the gift of gab. They continue to the Iveragh Peninsula to take in the breathtaking scenery, mountains, and magnificent views of the Ring of Kerry. The tour passes through Killorglin, famous for its unusual street festival, Puck Fair, and the village of Glenbeigh, with panoramic views of the Dingle Peninsula and Dingle Bay. Passing through the peat bogs, the group arrives in Waterville and continues on to Sneem Village, famous for its brightly colored houses. A stop at the renowned Muckross House, in the heart of the Killarney National Park, rounds out the day.

The journey continues northward to Tarbert with a short boat ride across the mouth of Ireland’s longest river, River Shannon, bringing travelers to the village of Killimer. Travelers experience a view of the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher along the Atlantic Ocean, and enjoy a tour of the Burren Region, known for its impressive scenery and numerous castles and monastic ruins.

After a relaxing day in Limerick, travelers head back to Dublin, stopping in the medieval city of Kilkenny. Stops at the Kilkenny Castle and St. Canice’s Cathedral are the culmination of the Ireland experience before travelers take a departing flight from Dublin.

Friendly Planet’s seven-day A Taste of Ireland tour is available for $1,744 on the departure dates of April 23, May 7, and Oct. 8, if booked by Feb. 22.

And for travelers with a little more time, the nine-day Discover Ireland tour, from $2,044, includes nearly all of the highlights of A Taste of Ireland, plus a visit to the old stone city of Galway, known for its narrow streets and busy pubs and the Connemara region, where Gaelic is still spoken. A tour of the Benedictine Monastery, Kylemore Abbey, and the Monastery of Clonmacnoise brings travelers back to Dublin to enjoy their remaining time in “Dublin’s Fair City” and explore Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university.

For more information about Friendly Planet Travel’s A Taste of Ireland and Discover Ireland tours, please visit the company’s website at; the blog at

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