Posts Tagged ‘family summer travel’

New Hampshire Grand Has Grand Deals for Summer Travel in Granite State’s Coos County

June 30, 2014

New Hampshire Grand, the official visitor information source for Coos County, has launched Grand Deals to invite summer travelers to stay and play at some of NH Grand’s premiere lodging and attractions at a discounted price. Current Grand Deals include adventures and lodging packages at Bear Rock Adventures in Colebrook, and the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour and the Omni Mount Washington Hotel – both in Bretton Woods.

“We are excited to launch the Grand Deals program and hope to bring first-time visitors to northern New Hampshire, along with visitors who return year after year who want to take advantage of some great savings,” said Cathy Conway of NH Grand. “The Grand Deals make family travel more affordable and attracts visitors who are seeking wild outdoor adventures or more relaxing, peaceful lodging accommodations.”

Bear Rock Adventures, the premiere ATV and OHRV rental agent in the North Country, is offering the Grand Deal of 10% off rental reservations. ATV novices and enthusiasts are encouraged to rent an ATV or OHRV for the day or weekend and Ride the Wilds, the 1000+ miles of interconnected ATV trails throughout northern New Hampshire. This Grand Deal must be redeemed through the Grand Deal website.

Using the promo code NHGRAND14, the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour is offering the Grand Deal of 10% off reservations for the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour. Situated high on the slopes of Bretton Woods and descending over 1000 feet of elevation, the three-hour tour takes nature-lovers and thrill-seekers across a series of nine tree-top zip lines through a network of platforms and sky bridges high in the ancient hemlocks.

The Omni Mount Washington Resort in the majestic White Mountains offers a four-diamond White Mountain getaway just 2 ½ hours from Boston, with guest access to all resort activities and amenities including two golf courses, a full service spa and year-round Canopy Tour. Take advantage of the Grand Deal and enjoy 10% off lodging with promo code “GRAND”.

To learn more about NH Grand’s Grand Deals, visit www.nhgrand.com/deals. Grand Deals are subject to availability, and restrictions and black-out dates may apply.

 

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Summer in Tahoe South, ‘America’s Best Lake,’ is Packed with Entertainment, Celebrities, Recreation-Adventure Events

May 3, 2013

Remember summer camp? Intense and fleeting, full of traditions, camp was the bright beacon in the depths of winter. Tahoe South offers its own rituals of the season: sun-drenched beaches, Grammy winning artists on outdoor stages, family events and outdoor recreation, the country’s biggest celebrity golf tournament, fireworks, and enough nightlife to put the wild side into summer. (http://www.tahoesouth.com)

Voted by USA Today readers as “America’s Best Lake,” Tahoe South visitors can expect the best this summer with warm summer days, countless adventures and entertainment venues that brim with high endurance.

MUSIC, STAGE STARS AND SPORTS GREATS

A powerhouse lineup of sports legends including Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Oscar de la Hoya, and Bodie Miller will join entertainers Ray Romano and Jack Wagner for the 24th annual American Century Championship, July 16-21, 2013. (www.TahoeCelebrityGolf.com).

More than 80 of the brightest sports and entertainment stars and celebrities will tee it up at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, vying for the $125,000 winner’s share of the $600,000 purse. First-timers this year include NFL Hall of Famer John Randle; former NFL Pro-Bowl wide receiver Andre Reed; former NBA All-Star Detlef Schrempf and former MLB All-Star Tim Wakefield.

Harrah’s Outdoor Concert Series, an annual South Shore favorite, features a star-studded lineup: Steve Miller Band, June 22; Tim McGraw, July 16; Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry, July 19; Phish, July 30-31; FUN with Tegan and Sara, Aug. 27; Brad Paisley, Aug. 30 and Dave Matthews Band, Sept. 4. Shows are anticipated to sell out. In the meantime, showroom entertainment includes: Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings, April 27; Sammy Hagar, May 3-4; Super Diamond, May 11; Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, June 1 and Eric Burdon & The Animals, June 8. www.SouthShoreRoom.com.

MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa’s Summer Concert Series second annual Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival returns on Saturday, June 29. Tahoe’s taste of island irie at the 4,000-seat outdoor amphitheater will feature breezy Jamaica rhythms and reggae ska beats from headliners SOJA and Alpha Blondy, along with special guests Passafire, Stickfigure, Tomorrow’s Bad Seed and Island of Black & White. Also added to the outdoor concert lineup are Slightly Stoopid and Atmosphere with Tribal Seeds, The Grouch and Eligh, July 18. Additional acts will be finalized soon but expect a variety of rock, reggae, hip-hop, punk, etc. In the meantime, showroom entertainment inside includes: The Shins, May 11; Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, May 23; Gretchen Wilson, May 31; The Virgins, June 8. www.montbleuresort.com.

The Valhalla Arts & Music Festival (http://valhallatahoe.com/) celebrates music and visual arts from June through fall. In its 33rd year, this event series is set against a backdrop of Lake Tahoe and the Tallac Historic Site. It features performances and comedy at the Boathouse Theater, outdoor concerts, festivals, and cultural events.

SPECTACULAR SHOWS

Recognized by NBC’s Today Show as one of the country’s top Fourth of July weekend celebrations, Lights on the Lake fireworks show is a Tahoe South ritual that packs the shoreline with spectators. The best viewing spots are South Shore’s sandy beaches or aboard the M.S. Dixie II or Tahoe Queen paddlewheelers. An end-of-summer fireworks display will grip the skies over Tahoe South again Labor Day weekend. Both displays feature simultaneous music set to sky rockets on local radio stations KRLT-FM 93.9 and KOWL-AM 1490.

Hot August Nights South Lake Tahoe Experience returns for its fourth year, Aug. 2-3, at MontBleu. Car lovers can slide behind the wheel and cruise through four straight days and nights of show-n-shines, car exhibits, exclusive car auctions, and an outdoor pavilion with food, beverages and great oldies music.

The 24th annual (www.lakeintheskyairshow.com) Lake in the Sky Air Show takes flight, Aug. 23-25, and features some of the world’s top aircraft performers, radio-controlled demonstrations and military aircraft.

Labor Day weekend also features the 4th annual (www.samplethesierra.com) Sample the Sierra, a farm-to-fork festival, Sept. 1. This event offers regional products such as honey, jams, olive oil and soaps along with pottery, painting, photography and handmade crafts by regional artists. The festival brings live entertainment, storytellers and acoustic music as well as tastings of local produce paired with beverages from Sierra Nevada wineries and breweries.

FESTIVALS, FAIRIES AND COMPETITIONS

The 21st (http://www.valhallafaire.com) Valhalla Renaissance Faire, June 1-2 and 8-9, will exhibit the pleasures and pageantry of the Elizabethan era. Costumed players perform at Camp Richardson Resort in the shady lanes and byways, and sell their wares from market stalls filled with fine handmade crafts.

During the 22nd annual (http://www.bikethewest.com) America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, participants pedal the 72-mile circumference of Lake Tahoe, June 2. This ride promotes Lake Tahoe Bikeway, a plan to build and interconnect bike lanes/trails around Lake Tahoe. Rounding out summer will be the Tour de Tahoe — Bike Big Blue Ride to Cure Diabetes, Sept. 8.

World class paddlers strike out from El Dorado Beach, June 29-30, for the nation’s premier flat-water standup paddleboard competition, Race the Lake of the Sky (http://racethelakeofthesky.com/). Multiple races are offered including short course, long distance, team relay, grom races plus a new SUP Cross Sprint course. Vendors, food booths and music are available throughout the weekend.

Runners will take to the woods around Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort this summer for the Ragnar Trail Relays, July 26-27. (http://ragnartrail.com/) This overnight running and camping race pits eight- and four-person teams as contestants charge around three loops that range from four to eight miles long.

One of the largest gatherings of unique boats in Northern California is the South Tahoe Wooden Boat Classic, July 26-27, at Tahoe Keys Marina & Yacht Club (http://www.tahoewoodenboats.com). Enthusiasts can get an up close look at the vessels, talk with their owners and hear the powerful roar behind straight V6, V8 and V12 engines. From the early 1900s to the fiberglass vessels of the 1960s, enthusiasts can see more than 65 wooden antique and classic boats in the water and eight race boats on their trailers.

The Valhalla Grand Lawn is also the site of the annual Wa She Shu It Deh Native American Arts Festival, July 27-28, a cultural gathering that features traditional American Indian dancers and drummers, basket weaving displays, art and great food.

The third Tahoe Show (http://www.tahoeshow.com/) body building and sculpting competition at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa is set for Aug. 24, and will bring hundreds of the area’s fittest to compete for cash prizes in a judged competition featuring bodybuilding, figure and physique, fitness and bikini.

Return to the 1920s and enjoy the (http://www.tahoeheritage.org) 28th annual Great Gatsby Festival on the Pope Estate at the Tallac Historic Site, Aug. 10-11. Visitors will find antiques, Roaring ’20s era costumes, live music, interactive historic house tours, vintage auto rides, ice cream, cotton candy and vintage kid’s games.

Run, walk, swim, paddle, peddle or golf, Sept. 27-29, during one of the many (http://www.laketahoemarathon.com) Lake Tahoe Marathon events. Both the half and full marathons are along the west shore of Lake Tahoe and feature challenging hills around Emerald Bay.

For real time updates on events, promotions, packages, conditions and events in Tahoe South, The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority is on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TahoeSouth, Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TahoeSouth, YouTube: www.youtube.com/LTVA. For Tahoe South information: 1-800-288-2463 or www.tahoesouth.com.

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Loews Hotels Celebrates National Ice Cream Month with Free Ice Cream Every Day in Summer

July 12, 2011

The stunning Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando. Loews Hotels is celebrating National Ice Cream Month with complimentary frozen treats for guests from4-5 pm all summer long © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

Loews Hotels celebrates National Ice Cream Month this July with complimentary frozen treats for guests every afternoon all summer long. Available from 4 pm to 5pm daily, roving carts filled with ice cream pops, ranging from bomb pops and ice cream sandwiches to classics such as fudgesicles and creamsicles will be stationed in the lobbies of all 18 Loews Hotel properties across North America for guests to enjoy – free.

Loews Hotels is recapturing the spirit of the “Summer of Love” with Summer of Loews, featuring freedom, fun and a variety of activities and offerings for the entire family. Guests of all ages are invited to “Come Invent Your Day” with the help of Loews concierges who act as personal counselors to custom-craft a summer experience that’s as unique as each and every family member.

To help feed the soul, chefs at Loews have created special menus that capture the flavors of summer, like BBQs with all the “fixins” to Haute Dogs that elevate the casual dining experience. Guests looking to really beat the heat are invited to any Loews Hotel restaurant to “Invent Your Sundae” featuring three scoops of premium ice cream, whip cream, hot fudge, sprinkles, cherry and choice of three additional toppings such as gummi bears, cookie crumbles, marshmallow and much more.

“Who doesn’t enjoy eating ice cream on a hot summer afternoon?” said Nancy Mendelson, Senior Vice President Branding & Communication. “We’ll be celebrating National Ice Cream Month this July – and all summer long.”

For more information about Loews Hotels Summer of Loews experiences and special offers or to make a reservation at Loews Hotels, call 1-800-23-LOEWS or visit www.loewshotels.com.

ABOUT LOEWS HOTELS
Headquartered in New York City, Loews Hotels owns and/or operates 18 hotels and resorts in the U.S. and Canada, including the newest 414-room Loews Atlanta Hotel opened April 1, 2010. Located in major city centers and resort destinations from coast to coast, the Loews portfolio features one-of-a-kind properties that go beyond Four Diamond standards to delight guests with a supremely comfortable, uniquely local and vibrant travel experience. Loews boasts some of the industry’s most innovative and successful travel programs, including Loews Loves Kids for families and Loews Loves Pets for discerning animals on the road. For reservations or more information on Loews Hotels, call 1-800-23-LOEWS or check http://www.loewshotels.com.

Follow Loews Hotels on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Loews_Hotels, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/LoewsHotels. and watch on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/LoewsHotels.

See also:

 Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Lets You Live Universal’s Theme Park Fantasy and slideshow

For more travel features, visit

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

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

 

Wake Up In Woodstock Package Showcases Vermont’s Summer Festivals

July 8, 2011

Summer is peak festival season in Vermont and The Woodstock Inn & Resort’s Wake Up In Woodstock package offers value and flexibility for guests to enjoy any number of events.  Wake Up In Woodstock includes accommodations, breakfast, welcome gift, admission to the Billings Farm & Museum, admission to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and complimentary use of the Inn’s Racquet & Fitness Club.  Guests will also enjoy one complimentary appetizer per room in The Red Rooster for dinner.  Prices start at $282 per night based on double occupancy.

The Woodstock Inn & Resort is hosting its annual Summer @ Six Concert Series at nearby Suicide Six (pentanglearts.org).  The concert series kicks off Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23 with a bluegrass festival featuring performances by Grammy-award winner bluegrass singer-songwriter Peter Rowan; bluegrass virtuosic instrumentalist/singer/songwriters Sierra Hull & Highway 111; David Grisman, famed acoustic string instrumental musician; The King of Newgrass Sam Bush; Ricky Skaggs & The Kentucky Thunder; The Bluegrass Gospel Project and The Infamous Stringdusters.

On Friday, August 26, the Levon Helm Band headlines the second Summer @ Six concert with special guests Assembly of Dust, Bow Thayer and the Perfect Trainwreck.

Other summer events include:

The Killington Music Festival Concert Series will also kick off in July with Saturday concerts July 9, July 16, July 23, July 30 and August 6 (killington.com)

Billings Farm & Museum has a full calendar of events throughout the summer including Foodways Fridays from July 15-October 14 where visitors can learn how to use heirloom vegetables from the garden in historic recipes prepared in the 1890 Farm House kitchen.  Celebrate National Ice Cream Day July 17 where visitors can lend a hand making and tasting the ice cream (billingsfarm.org).

Glassmaker Simon Pearce’s restaurant, housed in a restored mill overlooking a waterfall, hosts complimentary cooking demonstrations each month.  On July 21, visitors can learn about “Summer Produce.”  August will feature “Summer Soups” and September “Vermont Cheeses.”  In addition, enjoy special access “Drinks on the Deck” on select Wednesdays and Sundays.  For specific dates, visit www.simonpearce.com/category/restaurants/quechee.do

Enjoy the “Taste of Woodstock” on August 13 from 10am-8:30pm with local wines, craft beer, organic foods, kettle corn, lemonade and live entertainment ShackletonThomas and Sustainable Woodstock host the Naked Table Project and lunch, on the covered bridge in Woodstock August 20-21.  Saturday, participants construct a table out of sustainably grown sugar maple, harvested from the Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Park.  On Sunday, all are invited to a locavore lunch served on the newly made tables under the covered bridge.  Admission: $35 lunch or $850 for table making (nakedtable.com)

For a full listing of events in and around Woodstock, visit woodstockinn.com/the-resort/events.

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.  In celebration of Summer, guests can experience the 100-minute Signature Berry Bliss Treatment which begins with an exfoliating body scrub and hydrating wrap and ends with a full-body massage.

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.

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

About The Woodstock Inn & Resort

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 two 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.

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Free Disney Ticket is Feature of Summer Package at Two Hilton Hotels in Orlando

June 30, 2011

Families can get a free Disney ticket with a two-night stay at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, through September 9 © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Two Hilton hotels in  Orlando – the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and the Waldorf Astoria Orlando – are offering special deals for families this summer – even a free Disney ticket

  •  SummerBlast! at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek (through Sept. 9) — a summer-long program filled with special events, like Radio Disney pool parties, DUCKTONA 500 rubber duck races in our lazy river, and other recreational activities. Most notably, it is providing a free Disney ticket for every two nights booked.  Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is located inside the gates of Walt Disney World® Resort. This new resort is filled with amazing amenities, including a lazy river pool, an award-winning golf course, a luxurious Spa by Guerlain and popular dining options.  To make a reservation, visit http://www.hiltonbonnetcreek.com/summer, or call 888-353-2013.
  • Enchanted Evenings at Waldorf Astoria Orlando (through Sept. 9) – a summer-long program filled with special events, like Martini Madness, WeirdScience Ice Cream social, Twilight Golf, spa happy hour specials and other recreational activities. Here, too, for every two nights booked at Waldorf Astoria Orlando, you get a Free Disney ticket. Waldorf Astoria Orlando is newest luxury resort, conveniently accessed inside the gates of Walt Disney World® Resort. Resort amenities include a zero entry pool, a separate private pool with cabanas, an awarding winning golf course, a luxurious Spa by Guerlain and popular dining options. To make a reservation, visit http://www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com, or call 888-353-2009.

See also:

Disney Still Has That Magic

Inside Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter and slideshow

Brendan Offers Escorted Family Summer Vacations to US, Canada, Ireland, Europe

June 13, 2011

Brendan Vacations’ Escorted Family Vacations allow you to take a break and enjoy some quality time with your kids at a great value and price and with a wide array of destinations, including the USA, Europe and Ireland. And, when you book a qualifying 2011 Escorted Family Vacation before August 31, 2011, you will receive a $200 American Express gift card (more details on http://www.brendanvacations.com/familytravel/).

“Traveling with parents or grandparents on these guided tours offers a unique multigenerational opportunity to not just bond, but also to experience the best of cultures, cuisines, sights and sounds of the USA – and the world,” says Brendan Vacations President, Nico Zenner.  “Brendan’s $200 gift card will help in securing quality time with family members in a fantastic new setting, all while enjoying a break away from the daily routine at home.”

These enriching experiences have been carefully planned to include fun, multi-generational and kid-friendly activities that will entertain and educate children of all ages. You might find yourself decorating your own colorful Carnival mask in Venice, making paella in Valencia, riding on the London Eye, visiting a dude ranch in Wyoming, enjoying a poolside pizza party, or playing an exciting round of miniature golf.

Along with the exclusive gift card offer, Brendan Vacations offers ways for families to save:

Here are some examples of the family vacation offerings:

USA & Canada
Trails of Liberty” – 8 Days. Experience the heart of America like never before on this exploration into the history of the United States of America….Priced from $1,650 land only, based on double occupancy.
Ireland
“Castles, Lighthouses & Pots of Gold” – 8 Days. Experience the majesty of Ireland on an 8-day Small Boutique Escorted Vacation, providing small group discoveries of Dublin, historic lighthouses and other sights all while on a luxury motorcoach with no more than 24 passengers…. Prices starting from $1850 land only, based on double occupancy.

Europe
“Castles and Kilts” – 10 Days. In London, join a city tour and see the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. On to see the location of the red telephone box where Harry and Mr. Weasley descended into the secret Ministry of Magic from the Order of the Phoenix, plus the magical platform 9 3/4 sign where Harry caught the Hogwarts Express… Priced from $2350 land only, based on double occupancy.

To book, call 800 421 8446 or www.brendanvacations.com/familytravel for complete tour descriptions and a full listing of eligible itineraries.

For more travel features, visit

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

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

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 arkansas-outdoor-adventures.com.

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 reserveeureka.com.

“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, americasmosthauntedhotel.com.

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 reserveeureka.com.  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 facebook.com/officialeurekasprings.

“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, www.crescenthotel.com, Historic Hotels of America toll-free reservations number, 800-678-8946).

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

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

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

 

St. Lucia Invites Families to “Go Bananas’ this Summer with Value-Added Benefits

June 9, 2011

Saint Lucia is inviting families to “Go Bananas” this summer with their popular family program featuring many of the island’s resorts and excursions.  Kids can tap their inner pirate to hunt for treasure with a special “Go Bananas Treasure Hunt,” play in the mud at the Sulphur Springs, go ziplining through the rain forest and mix up delicious banana inspired “mocktails.”  And parents will appreciate a special “Go Bananas Express” immigration line, room upgrades, discounts at restaurants and free babysitting.

Through September 30, the “Go Bananas” program includes the following value-added benefits:

§  Kids under 17 stay, play and eat for free

§  “Go Bananas Express” special immigration line

§  “Go Bananas” kiddy mixology sessions at participating hotels where kids can learn how to make non-alcoholic beverages with bananas. Adult version classes too!

§  Saint Lucia discount card and discount booklet for use in many of the island’s restaurants, shops and tours with savings up to 15%

§  A choice of complimentary excursions such as ziplining, a skyride, horseback riding, whale watching and heritage tours

§  Complimentary room upgrade based on availability

§  Complimentary Go Bananas souvenir for kids

§  Complimentary babysitting for parents for one evening at select participating hotels

§  Chance to win six days/five nights return trip to Saint Lucia for family of four

The “Go Bananas” Treasure Hunt will encourage families to partake in as many activities across the island under four categories “Local Flavor,” “Botanical,” “Aqua Fun” and “Adventure.”  Upon completion and collecting “Go Bananas” stickers along the way, they will be entered to win a free return Saint Lucia vacation for a family of four. (Full details and terms and conditions are outlined at www.saintlucianow.com.)

“Whether it’s horseback riding, visiting the world’s only drive-in volcano, or bathing in the Sulphur Springs and enjoying the mud, there is no shortage of family-friendly activities on Saint Lucia,” says Nerdin St. Rose VP Marketing & Sales for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. “The “Go Bananas” name incorporates our rich history with bananas and its influence on our daily lives and encourages families to really relax and just have fun.”

Participating hotels include: Almond Morgan Bay, Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa, Bay Gardens Hotel, Bay Gardens Inn, Coco Resorts, Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, Cotton Bay Village, Discovery at Marigot Bay Resort & Spa, Fond Doux Holiday Plantation, Four Springs Villa, Habitat Terrace, Hilltop Views Guesthouse, La Haut Plantation, Royal by rex resorts, St. Lucian by rex resorts, Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa, The Landings, Village Inn and Spa, and Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort & Spa.

Participating attractions include: whale watching with Captain Mike’s, Rainforest Sky Rides, International Pony Club Horseback Riding, Rainforest Canopy Adventures, Eastern Caribbean Diving, Fond Latisab Creole Park, Fond Doux Plantation, Grande Anse Turtle Watch, Latille Waterfall, Lushan Country Life, Mamiku Gardens, Morne Coubaril Estate/Soufriere Hotwire Rides, Pigeon Island National Landmark, Heritage tours of Saint Lucia including the Sulphur Springs, and Trims Riding Academy.

For more information about the “Go Bananas Summer Family Program” and the island of Saint Lucia call 1-800-456-3984, or visit www.saintlucianow.com.

About Saint Lucia

One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies’ Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is nestled halfway down the eastern Caribbean archipelago. The “Helen of the West Indies,” Saint Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a tropical rainforest and one of the world’s few drive-in volcanoes. Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual Saint Lucia Jazz festival. Saint Lucia’s wide range of accommodations includes world-class five-star resorts, all-inclusive resorts, intimate inns and value-oriented properties.

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Vail Mountain Blooms with Activities, Events in Summer

May 27, 2011

Take a guided horseback trail ride during your summer stay at Vail Mountain, Colorado © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

When the snow melts, Vail blooms with activities, events, including many that are free. This summer, Vail’s guests can expect thrilling activities like the Top-of-the-Mountain Tour, classic events like Friday Afternoon Club, dining at its finest at Game Creek Restaurant and beautiful blue sky days with temperatures in the high 70’s.

 Activities for All Ages at New Heights

 Eagle Bahn Gondola

Enjoy a scenic summer ride on the Eagle Bahn Gondola (#19) from Lionshead to Eagle’s Nest where you’ll find views of magnificent peaks and an array of affordable dining and adventurous activities for all ages and abilities at your fingertipsWeekend operations begin June 3 and daily operations begin June 23-Sept. 5. *See Vail Mountain summer operation dates and hours listed below.

NEW 9-Hole Mini Golf

Family-friendly putting comes to the Lionshead base area this year with the debut of Vail Mountain’s new 9-hole mini golf course. Children and adults of all ages will be able to practice putting their hole-in-ones underneath the Colorado sun when the new course debuts early this summer. With a location set in front of the Lionshead summer ticket office, the 9-hole course will feature a unique interpretive animal theme that spotlights a different local animal species at each hole. More information will be available soon at www.vail.com.

Top-of-the-Mountain Tour

After its introduction late last summer, the Top-of-the-Mountain Tour returns for summer 2011. Combining affordable, accessible adventure for all ages with incredible views of Vail’s legendary Back Bowls, the Gore Range and Mount of the Holy Cross, the new motorized mountain tour starts its 11-mile loop at Eagle’s Nest, passing Two Elk and Patrol Headquarters with a final destination of the Orient Express Lift (#21) at the top of China Bowl. Top of the Mountain Tours start at $25 a person and can also be combined with lift and lunch packages.

Horseback Tours

Take a guided horseback trail ride through Game Creek Bowl. The 40-minute trail rides begin at the Eagle’s Nest corral for adults and children, ages 7 and up. Full tours start at $50 per person and can be combined with lift and lunch packages. One way tours to Game Creek Restaurant are available for guests who wish to enjoy a scenic horseback ride followed by a complete culinary experience at Vail’s distinctive on-mountain dining establishment. Prices start at $95 for adults and return transportation to Eagle’s Nest is provided. Children ages 2–6 years can enjoy pony rides around our mountaintop corral for just $10.

Friday Afternoon Club

Guests and locals alike kick off the weekend with Vail’s Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) at Adventure Ridge, high atop Vail Mountain. FAC starts at 5 p.m. on Talon’s Deck every Friday beginning June 24-Sept. 2 and features the best views in the valley with amazing sunsets, free live music and activities, food and drink specials, and more. Full schedule TBA at www.vail.com.

Climbing Wall, Rebound Trampoline

Race to the top of the climbing wall at Adventure Ridge, starting at 10,350 feet, or soar to new heights on the bouncing bungee harnessed trampoline at Adventure Ridge.

Disc Golf

Vail Mountain’s 18-hole self-guided disc golf course begins at the top of the Pride Express Lift (#26), winds up to the western edge of the ski area boundary, wraps below the Eagle Bahn Gondola through the Little Eagle Lift (#15) area and ends near Thunder Cat Cave. Maps are recommended and available at the information desk at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. The course is designed for all ability levels and discs, putters and drivers can be rented at Eagle’s Nest for just $10. The course is free to those with their own equipment and disc golf equipment can also be purchased at the Vail Sports location at Eagle’s Nest.

Adventure Ridge Action Pass

With all the fun summertime activities offered at Adventure Ridge – pony rides, disc golf, a climbing wall and rebound trampolines – why limit yourself to just one? Purchase an Action Pass and enjoy three activities of choice for just $22!

FREE for All! Slackline Park, Bocce Ball, Horseshoes, Bean Bag Toss and Dino Dig

Grab your friends and family and try your luck at horseshoes, bocce ball, bean bag toss or the new slackline park where kids and adults can test their balance at a variety of levels. Children age four and up are invited to dig through sand to uncover dinosaur bones and learn about prehistoric creatures through an educational display. Digging tools and a map are provided.

Nature Discovery Center & Guided Nature Hikes

Located in an all-seasons yurt adjacent to the Eagle Bahn Gondola atop Vail Mountain, the Nature Discovery Center has provided the visiting public with meaningful access to the wonders of the natural world since opening its doors in 2000. The mountain top nature center is open during the winter and summer seasons and features an array of natural history exhibits and artifacts related to Vail Mountain.

 Enjoy Nature on Foot and Bike

Vail Mountain and the surrounding valley offer expansive trail systems for the outdoor enthusiast that wind through lush forests, brilliant wildflowers and native wildlife to provide breathtaking views of the surrounding environment.

Hiking on Vail Mountain

The Vail Valley offers a wide variety of hiking trails for you to choose from. All ages and abilities can take advantage of miles and miles of trails that offer the chance to escape into nature. A few favorites include:

  • Eagle’s Loop: Short, “green” ridge-top loop with great views of Mount of the Holy Cross. 1 mile, 15-20 minutes
  • Berrypicker: Starting at Lower Fireweed, this intermediate trail winds down from Eagle’s Nest to Vail Village or Lionshead. 4.6 miles, 2-3 hours
  • Ridge Route: Intermediate climb from Eagle’s Nest to Wildwood and back with spectacular views of Mt. of the Holy Cross and the Sawatch Range. 2.8 miles, 1.5-2 hours.
  • Ptarmigan Loop: This scenic, 360-degree-view trail through shaded woods connects with Ridge Route at Wildwood to Ptarmigan Point and back. 1.2 miles, 30-40 minutes; Loop with Ridge Route: 4 miles, 2.5 -3 hours.
  • Grand Escape: This trail offers an alternative hiking experience with spectacular views of the Gore Range. Combine with Ridge Route for a loop. 1.5 miles; 1.5-2 hours one way.

Trail Running

Forgo the blacktop pavement and enjoy a run surrounded by nature on one of Vail’s many scenic trails. Runners will find a variety of trails and terrain throughout Vail that are sure to meet their fitness needs all while providing extraordinary views of the lush summer landscape.

Mountain Biking on Vail Mountain

As the host of two previous Mountain Bike World Championships, Vail’s trails suit the amateur and the seasoned professional. Family cruisers can ride the gondola, explore the forests on two wheels and enjoy a mountaintop barbeque. Downhill junkies can ride uphill then seek out the most technical terrain for their descent. Equipment is available for rental or purchase at local shops. An additional bike haul ticket is needed to take a bike up the gondola. Bikes are not allowed on the gondola after 4 p.m. A few of Vail’s many mountain biking trails include:

  • Lucy’s Loop: NEW! Beginner loop from Eagle’s Nest to Mid-Vail and back.
  • Village Trail: Longest and most pleasant beginner route on the mountain, the Village Trail is a winding gravel road that traverses the mountain in a descent. 7 miles.
  • Fred’s Lunch: An alternating single and double intermediate track path that leads from Mid-Vail down the mountain, providing spectacular views. 3.2 miles
  • Grand Traverse: Vail’s signature intermediate trail crossing the Back Bowls, starts easy and becomes more difficult, accessed from Adventure Ridge or the Wildwood connector. 5.3 miles
  • Hanks Hideaway: A fun yet challenging single-track that leads from Lion Down to Lionshead Loop. 1.2 miles.

Free Events

There are scores of free activities and  events during the summer at Vail Mountain.

Art & Nature

Free Wednesday Art Walks (June 29 – August 31)
A free hour long walking tour of Vail’s public art collection meets Wednesdays at 11:00 am at the Vail Village Visitor Information Center on the top level of the parking structure. The tour then winds its way through the Village with discussions of master planning and the importance of site specific commissioned art in creating the charm of the village. Visit www.artinvail.com or call             970-479-2344       for more details.

Free Guided Nature Walks
Nature Discovery Center, June 23 – August 30, Daily, 11am & 2pm
Located in an all-seasons yurt adjacent to the Eagle Bahn Gondola atop Vail Mountain.
Join Walking Mountains Science Center on a morning or afternoon nature walk and discover how plants and animals adapt to the high elevation environment as you identify signs of life on Vail Mountain;  call  (970) 754-4675  .

Free Creekside Nature Tours, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sundays
Depart from the Vail Farmers’ Market Join the Nature Center for a casual stroll along Vail’s streamside paths. Tours depart from the Vail Nature Center booth at the Vail Farmers’ Market Sundays throughout the summer. No reservations required.

Stop by the Free Vail Nature Center
Nestled along the banks of Gore Creek, this 7 acres forest, meadow and stream are a delight and peaceful place known by many locals and visitors as their favorite place in Vail. Explore or take in one of the educational programs offered. For more information, please call             (970) 479-2291      .

Enjoy the beautiful and free Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Enjoy the highest botanical gardens in the world with a unique collection of alpine, sub-alpine and other mountain plants and flowers. Open from dawn to dusk daily through September with tours, children’s programs and many other daily activities; call  (970) 476-0103 .

Family & Kids Events

Family Fun Ride
Looking for something to do with the entire family? Vail Sports invites you to participate in our free Family Fun Rides daily from Memorial Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Experience Vail like never before with our one-hour guided ride through Lionshead Village, Vail Village, and Golden Peak. You may bring your own bike or rent a bike with us (bike rentals start at $16) . For more information, contact Vail Sports at  970-476-3600   or visit vailsports.com.

Family Saturday Afternoon Club
July 9, 16, 23, 30 & August 6 & 13; Lionshead 3:00pm to 6:00pm
The Family Saturday Afternoon Club includes a variety of activities including a Kids’ Fun Zone & Crafts Center, full of interactive projects that families would work on together, hosted by the world famous Blue Creek Children’s Theatre Company. This area also features an incredible array of of special activities including face-painting, a Hula Hoop Zone, a 60ft inflatable obstacle course, the awesome Blue Moose Pizza Dough Tossing Contest, a family “Water Balloon Toss of Death” Contest – which was an incredible hit, merchant displays, special appearances by the Vail Fire Department Family Safety Zone; and the Kids’ Discovery Zone. This fun and educational area is where “Fun Learning” is the goal. Each week the “Kids’ Discovery Zone” featured a special theme with visits by experts like the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, The Denver Butterfly Pavilion and a special “Green Planet Kids Expo” presented in partnership with the Town of Vail Environmental Sustainability Department. For more information contact Brian Hall, Blue Creek Productions, Inc. brian@bluecreek.com or    (970) 926-5855

Burn off the kid’s energy at the many town Parks or stroll around town
Ford Park, Pirateship Park, Donovan Park, Bighorn Park – each is different – check them all out to bring a smile to the kiddo’s faces! There’s no better place to just relax and enjoy your surroundings than Vail – with benches and beautiful sitting areas all around to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the summer time flowers and surrounding landscapes. You may even happen upon one of our street entertainers as you relax and enjoy. And be sure to take in the many fountains and water features throughout Vail Village.

Free AT THE VAIL LIBRARY
Story Time every Tuesday and Wednesday
Kids love story time and arts & crafts. Toddler Story Time (ages 18-30 months) is from 10am -11am and Preschool Story Time (ages 2-5 yrs.) is from 11am-12pm.

Sports & Recreation

Free for All at Adventure Ridge! Slackline Park, Bocce Ball, Horseshoes, Bean Bag Toss and Dino Dig
Grab your friends and family and try your luck at horseshoes, bocce ball, bean bag toss or the new slackline park where kids and adults can test their balance at a variety of levels. Children age four and up are invited to dig through sand to uncover dinosaur bones and learn about prehistoric creatures through an educational display. Digging tools and a map are provided.

Hiking around Vail and atop Vail Mountain is always free!
Enjoy spectacular wildflowers and wildlife as you explore the nature and forests of Vail. Pack a picnic and your camera!

Go for a run with the Vail Rec District’s Free Summer Running Club
Residents and visitors are encouraged to join the VRD for its free, weekly running club this summer that will lead participants around Vail’s scenic recreation paths and mountain trails. The club will be led by local runner Greg Decent and will meet at 5:30pm on Thursdays, beginning June 23 at the base of the Vista Bahn in Vail Village, located in the Mountain Plaza area. For details, email jgunion@vailrec.com.

Explore the Free Vail Recreation Path
The Vail Recreation Path is an affordable way to have fun with your entire family. Located right in the middle of town, the trail winds from West Vail to East Vail and has 1,100 acres of open space available to the public. The path stretches for 15 miles and is surrounded by 350,000 acres of national forest.

Free Sporting Events & Tournaments
Check out the many sports tournaments taking place at the Ford Park and Vail Athletic Fields. The majority of the events are free to watch and include some of the nation’s best soccer and lacrosse teams and players.

Vail’s Free Skatepark
Head to the LionsHead parking structure and check out Vail’s free skatepark. Open dawn to dusk daily, the free skatepark features a half-pipe, pyramid, multiple ramps, transitions, rails and banks, plus a street course area for younger or less experienced riders.

Play a free tennis match
Enjoy a free tennis match at the Golden Peak Tennis Courts. Tennis can be played at the courts on a first-come, first-served basis for free.

Free Fly Fishing Casting Clinics!
Gore Creek Fly Fisherman is pleased to offer complimentary daily casting clinics at 10:30am in Vail Village along the Gore Creek Promenade. The clinics are perfect for those who have never fly fished before and are considering trying the sport. They are also perfect for those just wanting to brush up on their technique. One of our expert staff will lead the demonstration, and he or she will be able to answer any general fly fishing questions;  call  (970) 476-3296 .

Music & Dance

Free Hot Summer Nights Concert Series – every Tuesday, June 14 – August 23 (shows start at 6:30pm)
This annual free summer concert series is hosted at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater Tuesday evenings throughout the summer months. With shows ranging from rock to country to bluegrass to funk and beyond, the Bud Light Hot Summer Nights has become synonymous with summer for locals and visitors alike. Throngs of music lovers gather at the Amphitheater each week to enjoy sunshine, picnics, friends and incredible free music.

Town Event Highlights

Annual favorites like the Teva Mountain Games return to Vail along with a slew of other great summer events for locals and visitors of the Vail Valley. Peruse fresh produce at the Vail Farmers’ Market—the largest in Colorado –, expand your cultural horizons with Bravo! and the Vail International Dance Festival and witness some of the world’s greatest athletes compete in the Quiznos Pro Challenge Bike Race as the tour ascends upon the valley. With a variety of fresh, local, cultural and competitive events happening throughout the Vail Valley there truly is something for everyone of every age. For a full event lineup, visit www.vail.com. New highlights include:

Teva Mountain Games – 10th Anniversary

Come be a part of the country’s largest celebration of mountain sport, soul and culture as professional and amateur adventure athletes converge upon Vail to compete in a variety of adrenaline pumping sports. Watch as competitors run, climb, bike, kayak, raft and fish for cash purses and ultimate bragging rights June 2-5. The weekend is rounded out with concerts, film screenings and plenty of after-partying to make this event the perfect summer kick-off!

USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Beginning Aug 22nd and continuing through Aug 28th the USA Pro Cycling Challenge is a grueling 600-mile, seven-day bike race that winds through some of the most majestic and treacherous terrain Colorado and the Rocky Mountains have to offer. The pedaling begins in Colorado Springs and hits 11 other cities and towns along the way as bikers ascend and descend their way into the Vail on day four of the race, Aug 25. Racers will cross the finish line in Denver after seven days of arduous cycling over a mix of mountain, sprint and downtown stages. Lance Armstrong was instrumental in establishing this new race which is designed to be the most challenging event in U.S. cycling history! For more information visit www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com.

BRAVO! Vail Valley Music Festival, June 26-Aug. 3

One of the leading music festivals in the country, this event is complete with world-class orchestras, soloists and venues. With three outstanding resident orchestras and guest soloists from around the world, Bravo! brings truly first-rate classical music to Vail. And, with a setting as stunning as the performances, this festival is a summer tradition that should not be missed.

Vail International Dance Festival, July 31-Aug. 13

This legendary festival draws artists from across the globe that come to perform in Vail’s spectacular setting. Highlights for this years’ event include the Beijing Dance/LDTX, the American premiere of Natalia Hills and Gabriel Miss’ tango show, a new work by Larry Keigwin, as well as performances by The Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

For more information or to book a summer vacation at Vail Mountain, visit /www.vail.com .

See more travel features at:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

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