Archive for the ‘exploravacation’ Category

Belmond Charleston Place Hotel Offers Hands-on Master Craft Program to Learn Building Arts

March 23, 2014

Belmond Charleston Place Hotel is offering a  rare opportunity to experience the traditional building arts that make this city so special. The exclusive “Charleston Building Arts Package” includes a two night’s stay at Belmond Charleston Place with breakfast for two, a hands-on plaster lesson at American College of the Building Arts (ACBA) and admission for two to the Nathaniel-Russell House to see examples of plaster work and other building arts at their finest.

Guests will begin by touring the college, the only liberal arts college in the U.S. teaching traditional building arts. Participants will learn about each of the trades taught –plasterwork, masonry, stone carving, timber framing, ironworking and carpentry ­– and background on the college. Then, guests will join students for a rare opportunity to create plasterwork as it has been done for hundreds of years. World-renowned instructors will lead guests through making castings (pouring plaster into molds to create beautiful designs), creating and shaping intricate crown molding and even building a plaster souvenir.

Participants also get a “master class” by visiting a magnificent example of traditional Charleston architecture featuring numerous building arts at the Nathaniel-Russell House (51 Meeting St.). Here, guests can observe some of the finest examples of plasterwork, ironwork, carpentry and masonry.

The “Charleston Building Arts Package” is offered starting at $380 per night. Package includes a plaster lesson for one, admission to the Nathaniel-Russell House, two nights accommodation and breakfast for two daily. Additional ACBA sessions available.  ACBA plaster lessons are available Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. until April 17, 2014 (Fall package dates to be announced). To inquire or to book, contact 800-383-2335 or visit and use the promo code “build.”

The American College of the Building Arts is the only four-year liberal arts college in America educating and training artisans in the traditional building arts to foster exceptional craftsmanship. For more information, visit:

Belmond Charleston Place Hotel

Consistently ranked among the best hotels in the world by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines, Belmond Charleston Place Hotel evokes the feeling of a grand, 17th century residence, from its lush personal suites to the Italian marble lobby with its signature Georgian Open Arm staircase and 12-foot crystal chandelier. The staff of the hotel is dedicated to indulging its guests with the finest in Southern hospitality, and has become the choice of celebrities, princes and politicians.  Guests can enjoy the hotel’s full service European-style spa and horizon-edge swimming pool with retractable glass roof. Belmond Charleston Place is centrally located, surrounded by historic homes and buildings, and within strolling distance of the city’s delightful shops, galleries and restaurants. To book, please call 800-383-2335, or for more information, visit

Owned and operated by Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., Belmond is a global collection of exceptional hotel and luxury travel adventures in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations.  Established over 30 years ago with the acquisition of Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, its unique and distinctive portfolio now embraces 45 hotel, rail and river cruise experiences in many of the world’s most celebrated destinations.  From city landmarks to intimate resorts, the collection includes Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, St. Petersburg; Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya; and Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara.  Belmond also encompasses safaris, six luxury tourist trains including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and three river cruises. Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. also operates ‘21’, one of New York’s most storied restaurants (

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Greene County Offers Hudson River Tours, Moonlit Paddles and New York’s #1 Water Park

August 20, 2013
Hiking the Hudson River Art School Trail in the northern Catskills Taking in the spectacular view along the hike to Sunset Rock, one of eight Hudson River School Art Trail sites in New York's northern Catskills © 2013 Karen Rubin/

Hiking the Hudson River Art School Trail in the northern Catskills Taking in the spectacular view along the hike to Sunset Rock, one of eight Hudson River School Art Trail sites in New York’s northern Catskills © 2013 Karen Rubin/

The Great Northern Catskills of Greene County offer adventure all summer long – from sightseeing tours on the legendary Hudson River, to moonlit paddling excursions and hiking trails that wind to panoramic vistas with 360-degree views. Beat the back-to-school blues in Greene County and cool off in the Adventure Capital of the Catskills.

Cruises along Catskill Waterways

Sail along the Hudson River and explore Catskill Creek, one of the river’s most scenic tributaries, offering access to Greene County’s waterfront communities, restaurants, shops and scenic parks. The Great Northern Catskill’s Waterfront Guide offers invaluable information for boaters, including the locations of full-service marinas, restaurants, shopping districts and nearby attractions. Just download, print and set sail along one of North America’s most scenic and historic rivers.

Hudson Cruises Inc. offers sightseeing boat tours along the river on select weekends, and invites visitors to climb aboard the Little Spirit of the Hudson for day or evening excursions, complete with an on-board murder mystery show, or just in time to relax with friends and enjoy the view. This Saturday, August 10, join in one of three guided excursions to the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse and discover the fascinating history of the lighthouse keeper as told by his daughter, Emily Brunner. Tours leave from the Athens Riverfront Park every hour from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Reservations are suggested and tickets cost $25 for adults, $5 for children. Lighthouse excursions are also scheduled for September 14 and October 12.

Great Northern Catskills Paddling Adventures

Paddlehead Boards in Athens, NY sponsors paddling events and stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) excursions, as well as providing canoe, kayak and SUP rentals. On August 20, join the Paddle Club for an evening of excitement, refreshments and full moon fun with a SUP trip around the Hudson River. Perfect your SUP skills and paddle like a pro on the legendary river as the sun sets and the full moon rises. The group will depart from Paddlhead Board’s storefront at 6 pm. Admission is $60 and includes a paddleboard rental, food and refreshments. For more information about this and other paddling events, visit

Starting from the banks of the Hudson River, travel into the mountains for family-friendly fun at Greene County’s premier lakeside destination – North-South Lake State Park. Situated within a few steps of many popular Catskills hiking trails, North-South Lake offers the ideal mountain getaway. Enjoy easy access to popular Catskill hiking trails, paddle the scenic lakeshore and enjoy a Catskills camping trip at one of the 200 campsites available throughout the park.

Don’t miss New York’s #1 Water Park, the Zoom Flume Water Park in East Durham, offering family-friendly fun and relaxation, with water attractions, games and more. Experience the thrill of shooting down waterslides bearing names like the “Black Vortex,” or spend an afternoon by the Lazy River with a good book. Open through Labor Day, the Zoom Flume caters to families and groups looking to beat the back-to-school blues by making a splash.

For ticket information, canoe and kayak rentals and lodging packages, visit:

About Greene County:                

Greene County is located in the Great Northern Catskill Mountains and the verdant Hudson River Valley.  The region is home to five of the 10 highest Catskill Peaks and the Catskill State Park and is known as the nation’s first wilderness. Renowned as the home of Thomas Cole’s Hudson River School and the inspiration for Washington Irving’s literary legend, Rip Van Winkle, the Catskills are a haven for outdoor recreation and artistic inspiration.

Now through October 13, visitors can share their own legendary adventures through the Adventure Passport Contest. Log on to: for details and the chance to win a grand prize seasonal getaway to Greene County. Discover the Catskills and Awaken to Adventure at

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Quark Expeditions announces 2013-14 Antarctic Season; Book by Sept 30 for Discounts

August 15, 2012

Polar Pioneer Introduces the First-Ever Polar Floating Film Festival Voyage and a New Fly Cruise Itinerary

Quark Expeditions, a leader in polar adventure, has just announced its Antarctic 2013 -2014 season. Highlights include a voyage featuring the first-ever Floating Polar Film Festival in conjunction with Hot Docs, a fly-cruise itinerary that takes passengers across the Antarctic Circle, and a 23-day ‘do it all’ Antarctic adventure. The Epic Antarctica itinerary is the only voyage of its kind to take passengers to South Georgia, the Falkland Islands as well as the Antarctic Peninsula.

With 32 departures starting November 1, 2013, Quark offers more Antarctic voyages than any other Polar operator.

New Expeditions Added

Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica via Buenos Aires: Explorers and Kings
The inaugural voyage of the season aboard the Sea Spirit offers passengers an unprecedented experience. Departing from Buenos Aires, the 22-day voyage offers passengers the first-ever Floating Polar Film Festival. Curated by North America’s largest documentary festival, Hot Docs, this on-board festival will feature a diverse documentary film program set against the remote beauty of Antarctic waters. The journey starts on November 1, 2013 on the Sea Spirit.

Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle
Quark’s newest fly-cruise voyage offers passengers all the incredible experiences and bragging rights of crossing the Antarctic Circle, in less time than a typical voyage. This new 11-day expedition (instead of the usual 15) departs on December 22, 2013 and will have passengers celebrating New Year’s Eve aboard the Sea Adventurer.

Crossing the Circle via Falklands & South Georgia: Epic Antarctica
For those looking for the ultimate Antarctic experience, there is now a 23-day ‘do it all’ expedition on the Sea Adventurer which departs February 23, 2014. This extensive itinerary offers travelers a chance to see seven species of penguins, and more than 30 species of birds while visiting the “Galapagos of the Poles.” This is the only voyage available taking passengers to the Falklands and South Georgia as well as across the Antarctic Circle to the Peninsula.

The largest of Quark’s fleet, the ‘Super Yacht,’ Ocean Diamond, is back with Quark Expeditions for its second season of Carbon Neutral voyages. The ship features unparalleled comfort and stability.

Passengers will enjoy a massage and wellness program, the largest Polar library, in-room flat screen TV and DVD player and each cabin offers exterior views and en-suite bath. An all-inclusive beverage package is also available on this ship.

Sea Adventurer (formerly known as Clipper Adventurer) boasts outside cabins with en-suite facilities, a TV and DVD player in every cabin, a Polar Boutique, internet access, a fitness room and more. All-inclusive beverage packages are available on this ship.

Sea Spirit is Quark’s luxury adventure ‘all-suites’ ship and features all-inclusive beverages on every voyage, every suite has an exterior view and en-suite bath, in-room satellite phone and flat screen TV and DVD player. This ship also offers passengers a hot tub and workout room, polar library and many more amenities to suit every passenger’s needs.

How to Book
As an early booking incentive, travelers who reserve by September 30, 2012 will receive a 25% discount on suites* and 20% off on all other cabin categories.

Crossing the Circle: Southern Expedition – 14 & 15 days from $6,995
Antarctic Express: Cruise South, Fly North – 10 days from $7,395
Antarctic Express: Fly South, Cruise North – 9 days from $6,995
Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake – 8 days from $7,995
Antarctic Express: Crossing the Circle – 11 days from $10,995
Antarctic Explorer: Discovering the 7th Continent – 10-12 days from $4,595
Antarctic Peninsula East and West: Explorers’ Route – 15 days from $12,995
South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula: Penguin Safari – 17 days from $14,995
Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica: Explorers and Kings – 19 & 20 days from $9,495
Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica via Buenos Aires: Explorers and Kings – 22 days from $13,995
Crossing the Circle via Falklands & South Georgia: Epic Antarctica – 23 days from $13,495

Prices listed above are in U.S. dollars and are per person based on triple occupancy. For more information contact a Quark Polar Travel Adviser at 888-892-0171 or visit

For over 20 years, Quark Expeditions has been the leading provider of polar adventure travel. With its diverse fleet of specially equipped vessels and seasoned expedition leaders, they offer travelers unparalleled access to the most remote regions on earth. In 2011, Quark was named a recipient of National Geographic Traveler’s “50 Tours of a Lifetime” for their “Three Arctic Islands” voyage.

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Travcoa introduces new ‘Ancient Mysteries’ journey combining Easter Island and Machu Picchu with $1000 savings if booked before Oct. 31.

July 17, 2012

Travcoa, a world leader in luxury travel, announces the introduction of a new “Ancient Mysteries & Sacred Sites: Easter Island & Machu Picchu” Independent Journey, which explores two fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The itinerary features Easter Island’s newest luxury resort, the Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa as well as three luxury Orient Express hotels in Peru. In celebration of this intriguing 12-day journey, Travcoa is offering savings of $1000 per person for travel before October 31, 2012.

“Together, Easter Island and Machu Picchu encompass the mystery, power and natural splendor of two sophisticated, ancient societies,” stated Jerre Fuqua, President of Travcoa. “Our local expert guides, flexible travel dates, and luxury accommodations provide guests an extraordinary travel experience to these remote destinations for a truly unique encounter with the past.”

Travcoa’s guests will spend three days accompanied by a resident archeologist unraveling the mysteries behind the massive moai stone sculptures that are found throughout remote Easter Island. Highlights include up-close encounters with the massive moai statues; Aju Tongariki, the largest of the ahu stone platforms; Rano Raraku, a volcanic crater which served as a quarry for the island’s stone sculptures; and Rano Kau, an extinct volcano that houses a freshwater lake.

Next they will spend eight days exploring Peru including Lima, the capital city, the mountainous city of Cusco, the Urubamba Valley, also known as the ‘Sacred Valley of the Incas,’ and finally, the famed citadel of Machu Picchu. Here guests will enjoy a privately-guided tour of the ruins and a tranquil evening at the exclusive Sanctuary Lodge, the only accommodation at the site. After day visitors have departed, the guests will have the privilege of enjoying the sunset and sunrise at Machu Picchu without the crowds.

From North America, the journey departs every Saturday, connects in Lima, Peru and arrives at Easter Island early Sunday morning. Land is priced from $6,995 USD per person based on double occupancy, and special airfares are available. Exclusive to Travcoa guests: travel before October 31, 2012 and save $1,000 per person.

For more information on the Ancient Mysteries & Sacred Sites: Easter Island & Machu Picchu Independent Journey, travelers can join Travcoa’s upcoming webinar about South America taking place on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 11:00 AM PT. To register, visit

For additional details or to request a brochure, call a travel agent or a Travcoa Journey Consultant at 1-800-992-2003, email or visit

Travcoa has been leading luxury adventures and in-depth explorations of the world’s most interesting destinations since 1954. The company offers three types of travel experiences around the globe: small-group Escorted Journeys with comprehensive itineraries guided by professional Travel Directors; pre-designed and priced Independent Journeys for travelers who prefer private travel on a date of their choice; and Tailor-Made Journeys crafted to individual traveler specifications.

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Eureka Springs in Arkansas Ozarks is Prime Destination for Family ‘Exploravacation’

June 9, 2011

One of the best places to experience Eureka Springs, and have that connection to its heritage and history, is the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, a member of Historic Hotels of America (courtesy of 1886 Crescent Hotel).

Families looking for a vacation destination that can offer a lot to do in a small area, fun activities that don’t cost a lot, a safe place for kids to explore, and a place that has a proven track record in creating lifetime memories – in short, who want to do an “exploravacation” this year – can find it in Eureka Springs, a historic Victorian village in the Arkansas Ozarks that is surrounded by lakes and rivers for their family’s “exploravacation” this year.

“The term ‘exploravacation’ was one we coined after interviewing vacationing parents and kids, separately,” explained local hotelier Jack Moyer. “We discovered that parents feel comfortable allowing their kids to go off alone in exploring our historic downtown district assuming they are traveling in pairs and that their cell phones are on.  The kids described being wowed at the Eureka’s crazy staircases, unique history, interesting buildings and designs and the feel that you were on this fun scavenger hunt with a new discovery at every turn.  I enjoyed the kids’ analogy that being downtown was like hanging at the mall just a lot more interesting.”

To give kids -and their parents- a head start in exploring downtown Eureka Springs, a Downtown-n-Underground Tour has been developed that traces the town’s history from its beginnings through the Civil War era, the days of Wild West outlaws, right on up to today.  Additionally, the downtown Eureka Springs Historical Museum offers numerous maps of hidden walkways and trails of this “city that time forgot”.  The community is so historically distinctive, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Eureka Springs as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations.

“The kids also told us that a summer vacation without water is like a day without sunshine,” Moyer noted, “and Eureka Springs doesn’t disappoint in that area either.”

Just minutes from downtown are Table Rock and Beaver lakes, recreational swimming and boating are easily accessible as is world-famous trout fishing in the White River and bountiful bass fishing and floating on the Kings River.

Surrounding 85-acre city-owned Lake Leatherwood are 40 miles of trails for hiking and biking, perfect for family outings.  For those skilled adventurers, area caves and more rugged trails can be found in almost every direction.  Many of these excursions can be found on

Affordable commercial attractions abound, too.  The list includes such “must sees” as Turpentine Creek, a wildlife refuge with the largest collection of lions and tigers and bears in the region; The Great Passion Play remains America’s number one attended outdoor drama; and the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway, a real steam-driven train.  Nearby Pea Ridge National Military Park is the perfect entrée into the sesquicentennial commemoration of America’s Civil War.  A complete list of attractions, calendar of events, and many activities available for kids and families can be found at

“One of the most intriguing aspects of our community is its reputation for our ghosts,” added Moyer.  “Perhaps the most famous for ghosts, thanks to nationally televised episodes on such programs as ‘Ghost Hunters’, is the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa.  This four-story limestone structure is a successful mountaintop spa resort yet boasts of having ‘guests who checked out but never left’.”  The hotel offers nightly ghost tours and has a special paranormal website,

Moyer explained, “No community is like Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and no family vacation provides such positives without spending the majority of your day and your vacation budget while waiting in line in the sun for a two-minute roller coaster ride.  We hear it time and again, our guests remember their visit here as the time that their family actually did something together that produced lifetime memories, memories that can be shared by generations to come.  And they did it within the family budget.”

Family vacation packages abound for Eureka Springs.  Many can be found at  Most of the packages include lodging and attraction tickets while many include some meals.  Throughout the season both attractions and places to say will post “hot deals” on

“In a time when family ties long to be tightened and vacation budgets are short on cash, moms have told us that an ‘exploravacation’ to Eureka Springs proves to be a pretty good investment,” Moyer concluded, “an investment that reaps major dividends in lifetime memories.”

1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa

Eureka Springs has been attracting family vacationers for more than a century. In fact, the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations.

One of the best places to experience Eureka Springs, and have that connection to its heritage and history, is the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, a member of Historic Hotels of America. The 1886Crescent Hotel is a palatial structure that echoes the recuperative splendor of the surrounding Ozark Mountain region.

The hotel features 15 on-site acres of gardens and nature trails. Located in the historic district with more than 100 restored Victorian shops, restaurants and galleries, the hotel seamlessly retains its 19th-century character, from the Victorian-style Crystal Dining Room to the elegantly furnished guest rooms, without sacrificing a single full-service amenity. The Ozark Mountains premier spa, The New Moon, boasts spa, salon and wellness treatments while the hotel host numerous meetings and wedding events. The New Moon Spa, the recently rebuilt conservatory the addition of luxury suites in the previously vacant stone annex reinforce the modern identity of this century-old hotel.

By the way, frequent paranormal sightings rank the hotel as one of the most haunted hotels in the U.S.

(1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, 75 Prospect Avenue, Eureka Springs, AR 72632, 479-253-9766,, Historic Hotels of America toll-free reservations number, 800-678-8946).

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