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Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, November 2018 Issue



Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 877
Logan OH 43138
http://www.onthegopublishing.com/currentissue.html
travelnewsletter@aim.com
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright  2018 
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff


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Cancun - The Sunny Vacation Getaway


In This Issue:
Pyramid Point at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Glen Arbor, MI



  • 5% Early Booking Discount
  • Fall Discounts at Trump Hotels
  • Antlers at Vail Thanksgiving Package
  • 25% off Amazon Cruise
  • Celebrate Fall with Buy 2, Get 1 Deal
  • Gauguin Cruises Celebrates "#CHOOSECRUISE"
  • Victory Cruise Lines Early Booking Discount
  • Share Home-Cooked Meals in Thailand
  • Virginia OpenSeat Program
  • WOW air Adds Orlando Seasonally
  • Breakers’ Fall Savings
  • Ritz-Carlton Holiday in Bali
  • Wonders Of Romania Hot Deal
  • Reduced Rate for 13 Night China Tour
  • Spooktacular Savings at Divi Resorts
  • Hilton Hotels Save and Stay Late Promotion
  • Chaa Creek Shoulder Season Sale
  • Currency Change in the U.K.
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
  • Book Early to Save on Whistler Getaway

  • 5% Early Booking Discount

    Tour operator Globus offers five percent off early booking discount on its 2019 Asia, Africa and South Pacific tours.

    Book and deposit a 2019 Globus Asia, Africa and South Pacific vacation to save five percent per person on the land-only portion of the core tour not including extra night accommodations, extensions, taxes/fees, tips or supplements.

    Booking must be made and under deposit and the discount applied by Apr. 30, 2019 for travel in 2019. The offer cannot be combined with other promotions except the Welcome Back Credit and any applicable air promos.

    The offer is on a space available basis and applies to new 2019 bookings only. Full cancellation penalties apply.

    Globus or 866/755-8581.


    Fall Discounts at Trump Hotels

    For a limited time, plan a fall getaway at all Trump Hotels destinations with the “Suite Escape” offer and receive one free night when staying for four or more consecutive nights in a suite. The offer is available when booking for stays through Dec, 31, 2018.

    Trump Hotels or 855/878-6700.

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    Antlers at Vail Thanksgiving Package

    Hours of cooking and cleanup, and it feels like the Thanksgiving meal lasts for mere moments. The Antlers at Vail hotel in Vail, CO, offers a memory-making alternative.

    The Early Bird Gets the Bird package, offered Nov. 21 to 23, 2018, takes the hassle out of the holiday. The package comes with two nights in a two-bedroom suite, a chef-prepared turkey dinner for four and a free "Thanksgiving Survival Kit." Dining and living areas, a full kitchen, two bedrooms and gas fireplaces allow the family to relax in comfort.

    Reserve the package by Nov. 20, 2018, and spend your time skiing or snowboarding, ice skating, shopping in Vail Village, swimming in Antlers' pool, or soaking in the hot tub.

    Chef Barry Robinson prepares Thanksgiving dinner for a family of four including roast turkey breast, giblet gravy, mixed greens salad, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans with toasted almonds, caramelized butternut squash, savory stuffing and cranberry sauce, all topped off by pumpkin pie and vanilla bean ice cream.

    The Early Bird Gets the Bird package includes a Thanksgiving Survival Kit: a bottle of wine or six-pack of locally made beer, travel-size Tums and Advil, disposable hand and foot warmers and pumpkin pie-scented ChapStick. Every guests who arrives with the family pooch (advance reservation required), the kit will include natural turkey and sweet potato-flavored dog treats.

    Antlers free amenities include ski rentals, free ski lockers and ski valet service to shuttle equipment to the Gondola, free loaner snowshoes and sleds and GoPro cameras.

    The Early Bird Gets the Bird package starts at $798 (taxes not included) for a two-night stay in a two-bedroom suite for four people, Nov. 21 to 23, 2018, with additional nights at a 30 percent discount. The package includes a prepared holiday dinner for four on Thursday, Nov. 22 (reservations must be received by Tuesday, Nov. 20). Additional Thanksgiving dinners are available for $40 per person. The Early Bird Gets the Bird package is subject to availability and there is no resort fee.

    Antlers at Vail.


    25% off Amazon Cruise

    Save 25 percent on a nine-day Adventuresmith cruise on the 30-guest Amatista riverboat to explore the Peruvian Amazon through Your Perfect Peru. The discounted price starts at $2,549 per person, based on double occupancy. Led by an Amazon Reserve naturalist guide, the cruise begins and ends in Lima, Peru, and includes daily excursions by motorized skiff to reveal the exotic rainforest wildlife.

    The cruise explores the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve with minimum impact on wildlife and sensitive habitats. Immerse into the Peruvian Amazon lifestyle with regional cuisines that provide a window into the local culture.

    Itineraries in the Peruvian Amazon vary based on high- and low-water season. High-water season, November to May, is ideal for getting into isolated corners of the reserve aboard speedy boats. Low-water season is June through October and allows for more trail walks. Low-water season is for travelers who prefer to walk through the rainforest and discover its flora and fauna. Listed activities depend on water levels, weather and season.

    Your Perfect Peru


    Celebrate Fall with Buy 2, Get 1 Deal

    Yosemite Pines RV Park in Groveland, CA offers a family Escapation to the Yosemite National Park area. Buy two consecutive nights and get a third consecutive night free in any cabin, yurt, classic trailer, retro trailer, Conestoga wagon or RV site.

    The fall deal is valid for three-night stays (must be consecutive) any day of the week through Mar. 31, 2019. The offer is not available online, and you must call 209/962-7690 and use code YPFALL to reserve. Not valid for reservations, the deal cannot be combined with any other offer, and is subject to availability.

    Yosemite Pines RV Park is 22 miles from the western gate of Yosemite National Park. Call the resort and use code ypfun2018 to receive 20 percent off on lodging, camping and RV sites when you reserve the Sunshine rafting trip down the Stanislaus River. Provided by Sunshine Rafting Adventures, rafting trips start around $30 per person and are class I & II rapids for ages five and older. To receive this discount call Yosemite Pines 209/962-7690 and use code ypfun2018. Then get 20 percent off when you reserve your rafting trip online at Sunshine Rafting and enter yosemitepines here.

    You only receive the lodging discount when you call Yosemite Pines and use code ypfun2018. This discount is not available online, is not applicable to current reservations, and cannot be combined with any other offer.

    Yosemite Pines RV Resort or 209/692-7690.


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    Gauguin Cruises Celebrates "#CHOOSECRUISE"

    Paul Gauguin Cruises whose ship, the m/s Paul Gauguin, sails in the South Pacific, takes part in Cruise Lines International Association's "#CHOOSECRUISE" campaign.

    This campaign is designed to inspire travelers to plan and book cruise vacations. During "#CHOOSECRUISE" month, cruise lines feature savings and special offers.

    Book a 2018, 2019, or 2020 sailing aboard the Gauguin and receive a $100 per person shipboard credit that can be used in the spa, boutique, or a shore excursion while onboard. There is a maximum $200 shipboard credit per stateroom.

    Paul Gauguin Cruises also offers 50 percent savings on standard all-inclusive cruise fares on all voyages, plus included airfare from Los Angeles. For a greater opportunity to take advantage of this offer, Paul Gauguin Cruises extends the booking period to Nov. 10, 2018.

    The offer is for new bookings only and while space lasts. The offer may be combined with third guest in stateroom offer and applicable past guest savings but is not combinable with other offers, including Two-Week Sales.

    Port, security, and handling charges are additional. Shipboard Credit may be used to purchase shore excursions aboard ship but not in advance of sailing. Shipboard Credit must be requested at booking, please use the code CLIA1002018. Offer expires Nov. 10, 2018.

    Paul Gauguin Cruises or 800/848-6172.


    Victory Cruise Lines Early Booking Discount

    Book a Great Lakes cruise by Dec. 15, 2018 and take advantage of up to $1,250 per person early booking discounts on all Lake Superior voyages.

    All Lake Superior cruises begin or end in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada’s gateway to its western frontier. Explore cities and towns historically significant in the U.S. and Canada.

    Great Lakes cruise stops include the history of the iron industry in Marquette and Houghton, Michigan, steam locomotives collections in Duluth, Minnesota, the grand locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway in Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinac Island.

    The eight night Aug. 8th cruise from Detroit to Thunder Bay and the eight night Aug. 17th cruise from Thunder Bay to Detroit, both from $5,389 per person, reflect the early booking discount if booked by Dec. 15, 2018.

    Cruises include wine, beer and cocktails, all meals, all shore excursions and WiFi.

    The price does not include air and transfer costs or $15.50 per person, per day on-board gratuities. Port charges are $429 per person.

    Victory Cruise Lines or 888/907-2636.


    Share Home-Cooked Meals in Thailand

    The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and TakeMeTour, with locals in 55 cities, launched LocalTable. Partner support includes AccorHotels, AirAsia, dtac, and King Power. LocalTable invites you to dine at local homes and restaurants.

    TakeMeTour’s online tour booking platform brings local participants into Thailand’s tourism industry and offers more than 1,000 local tours and aims to launch more than 70 LocalTable tours around Thailand.

    At LocalTable, you book authentic local trips online, explore Thailand, and share a meal cooked from locally-sourced ingredients at local homes or restaurants. TakeMeTour and Thai chefs co-created these gastronomic tours with locals. Dusit Thani College, Thailand’s top hospitality school, provides a training course for local experts and awards them with food safety certificate.

    Whether it is exploring floating markets, spending a day at a salt farm, or cooking a local feast, you can book your LocalTable here.


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    Virginia OpenSeat Program

    The Virginia Tourism Corporation and OpenTable, launched OpenSeat, a program that allows diners to share an open seat at their table with someone new. The program is designed to bring people together over a shared meal and celebrate common ground. More than 30 restaurants across the Commonwealth are participating in this pilot program.

    To participate, book your reservations at one of the participating restaurants on OpenTable here. Before completing the reservation, write “OpenSeat” in the notes section. If another guest who chose “OpenSeat” on his or her reservation walks into the restaurant, both parties will be seated together. You will have the opportunity to get to know one another. Participants will also receive a free appetizer as a part of their experience.

      Participating restaurants include:
    • Alexander’s – Roanoke, VA
    • Brine at Mosaic – Fairfax, VA
    • Little Saint – Richmond, VA
    • The Majestic – Alexandria, VA
    • Mermaid Winery – Norfolk, VA
    • Pasture – Richmond, VA
    • Rappahannock – Richmond, VA
    • RockSalt – Charlottesville, VA

    A full list of participating restaurants can be found here.


    Australia Highlights Tour

    WOW air, Iceland's low-cost transatlantic airline, extends its North American growth with a new route from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Keflavik International Airport (KEF). The inaugural flight will take-off before the end of the year on Dec. 18, 2018.

    Orlando is the airline's 14th U.S. destination and service from MCO will be offered seasonally from December through the end of April, three days a week.

    To celebrate the new route, WOW air offers $99 one-way fares from Orlando to Iceland (KEF) and $149 one-way fares from Orlando to London (LGW), Frankfurt (FRA), Edinburgh (EDI), Dublin (DUB), Paris (CDG), Copenhagen (CPH), Stockholm (ARN), Brussels (BRU), Berlin (SFX) and Amsterdam (AMS). The offer applies for 1,260 seats on select flights, only when booked on a return trip.

    Travelers looking to travel beyond Europe can purchase $399 one-way flights to New Delhi (DEL) from Orlando. The special fares will be available for travel January to March 2019 when booking a roundtrip ticket.

    Passengers can take advantage of the WOW Stopover by staying in Iceland for as long as they wish. It gives travelers the flexibility to break up a long-haul journey while taking in everything Iceland has to offer.

    WOW air.


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    Breakers Fall Savings

    Celebrate fall with a stay at the Breakers, in Palm Beach, FL. Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2018.
      Free benefits include:
    • Full American breakfast buffet at the Circle or Beach Club Restaurant
    • Unlimited access to the fitness center
    • Weekly group fitness classes including cycling and yoga
    • High-speed WiFi throughout property
    • No resort fee.

    Additionally, stay five consecutive nights and get the sixth night free Nov. 25 through Dec. 15, 2018. The offer can be combined with the free daily benefits and fall savings offer.

    The Breakers or 855/866-3795.


    Ritz-Carlton Holiday in Bali

    The Ritz-Carlton, Bali offers an eight night Holiday Escape offer, with an array of free benefits.

    Made for a winter getaway, the Holiday Escape includes a private airport transfer to the resort with a choice of accommodations, including suites and private pool villas. You receive daily buffet breakfast and evening cocktails. You can choose between a three-course lunch or three-course dinner. Further enticements include a free 60 minute traditional massage for two at the spa and unlimited access to the Hydro-Vital pool. Those traveling with children can take advantage of free access to Ritz Kids Club.

    Optional add-ons give you a chance to discover Bali through Balinese cooking classes and soul purification rituals. Customized land tours can be organized through The Ritz-Carlton concierge.

    The offer is based on two adults and is valid until Dec. 24, 2019.

    The beachfront Ritz-Carlton, Bali features 279 suites and 34 villas, along with the Ritz-Carlton Club, six dining venues, a marine-inspired spa, and recreational activities for children of all ages.

    Rates start from $172 per night for a one bedroom junior suite with balcony for the week of Dec. 2 to 9, 2018. That is the non-refundable Marriott Rewards Member Advance Purchase rate, prepaid in full.

    RitzCarlton Holiday in Bali.


    Wonders Of Romania Hot Deal

    Pacific Holidays offers a seven night escorted coach tour to the southeastern European country of Romania from $1,100 per person, land only. A three night extension to the Danube Delta is available for $640 per person.

    The trip starts in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, and then spends five nights in the medieval villages of Transylvania, the birthplace of the legend of Dracula.

      The tour includes:
    • Arrival and departure airport/hotel transfers in Bucharest
    • Transportation by bus or minibus
    • Seven nights’ hotel accommodations at three- or four-star hotels
    • Two nights in Bucharest
    • One night in Sibiel
    • One night in Bistrita
    • One night in Gura Himorlui
    • Two nights in Brasov
    • Breakfast daily, six lunches and five dinners, including farewell dinner in Bucharest
    • Escorted tours
    • Entrance fees to museums and the sites mentioned in the itinerary.

    Stops include the painted monasteries in Bucovina; “Dracula’s medieval Castle” and Peles Castle; Voronet Monastery, the Sistine Chapel of the East in Bucovina; and the medieval Citadel in Sighisoara.

    Departures are scheduled Apr. 28, May 26, June 9, July 21, Aug. 11 and 25, and Sep. 15, 2019.

    Pacific Holidays or 800/355-8025.


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    Reduced Rate for 13 Night China Tour

    Chinatour.com reduces the price of its 13 night Yangtze Cruise Tour with Bullet Train, code SY15, from $3,599 to $1,699 per person, based on double occupancy. The price is the land-only tour but there are options with international airfare from Los Angeles or New York.
      With a maximum 25 participants, the tour includes:
    • Admission fees to spots listed in the itinerary
    • Meals specified in the itinerary
    • English-speaking private tour guides
    • Land transfers
    • Domestic flights in China
    • Ticket for the bullet train experience from Shanghai to Yichang
    • Accommodations: hotels/cruises based on double or single occupancy
    • Government taxes and fees
    • Arrangement: planning, handling, operational and communication charges.
      Accommodations include:
    • Three nights in Beijing– Four Points by Sheraton or similar
    • One night in Suzhou – Metropark Hotel Suzhou or similar
    • One night in Hangzhou– Metropark Hotel Hangzhou or similar
    • Two nights in Shanghai – Renaissance Shanghai Putuo Hotel or similar
    • Four nights Yangtze River cruise - President No. 8 deluxe cabin or similar
    • Two nights in Xi’an – Sheraton Xi’an Hotel or similar.

    The tour begins in Beijing where you spend two full sightseeing Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall. You fly to Shanghai and transfer to Suzhou, called the “Venice of the East”. Sights include the Lingering Garden and the Silk Spinning Factory, afterward driving to Hangzhou. In Hangzhou there is a boat ride on West Lake and a stop at the Longjing Green Tea Village. Shanghai’s highlights include old town, the silk factory and Xintiandi and Nanjing Road for shopping.

    After a nearly eight hour bullet train to Yichang, you go to the port for your four-day Yangtze River cruise. The ship sails through Xiling Gorge, the longest of the Three Gorges; in Wushan you board a riverboat for a ride through Shennong Stream. The cruise then sails through Qutang Gorge, the shortest and most dramatic. You disembark in Chongqing and take the six hour bullet train ride to Xi’an. The city is known for its terra cotta warriors, nearly 8,000 life-size soldiers and horses buried about 2000 years ago to protect the emperor in his afterlife. You fly back home from Xi'an.

    The 13 night land-only tour is $1,699 on Mar. 24 and 31, Apr. 21, May 19, June 23 and 30, July 7, Aug. 11 and Sep. 8, 2019. With international airfare, the tour starts from $2,199 from Los Angeles or $2,399 from New York on the Mar. 24, Apr. 21 and Sep. 8, 2019 departures. On all departures, the single room supplement is $1,000.

    Chinatour.com or 877/471-6446.


    Spooktacular Savings at Divi Resorts

    Fall is here and at Divi Resorts that means savings on popular Caribbean travel dates. Escape the fall and winter chill by going to Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire or St. Maarten.

    Save up to 30 percent when you book through Nov. 30, 2018, for travel through Dec. 20, 2019. Rates are from $135 per night (room only) and $178 per person, per night (all-inclusive with a three night minimum stay) during this time. The discount is based on rack pricing and all-inclusive rates are based on double occupancy. Taxes and services charges are not included, except for all-inclusive packages.

    Divi Resorts' Caribbean locations span the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Barbados, and St. Maarten, and provide on-site amenities including restaurants, bars, freshwater pools, land and water sports, and spas.

    For families, Divi's Kids Stay & Eat Free program, offered through Dec. 17, helps stretch the budget. Parent or guardian must accompany children at all activities. Since room-only stays are priced per room and not per person, solo travelers can enjoy Divi stays without the added cost.

    Divi salutes those who serve their country and communities with a 20 percent discount, in addition to the 30 percent off deal, for a total of 50 percent off. This offer is available to all military personnel, firefighters and police, including those on active service, reserve and retired, plus their spouses and children.

    • Spooktacular Fall Sale room-only and all-inclusive rates are as follows:
    • Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort on Aruba – from $175 per night (room only) or $227 per person, per night (all-inclusive)
    • Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort on Aruba – from $169 per night (room only) or $200 per person, per night (all-inclusive)
    • Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort on Aruba – from $289 per night (room only)
    • Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino on Bonaire – from $155 per night (room only) or $178 per person, per night (all-inclusive)
    • Divi Southwinds Beach Resort on Barbados – from $135 per night (room only)
    • Divi Little Bay Beach Resort on St. Maarten – from $169 per night (room only) or $195 per person, per night (all-inclusive).

    Divi's Spooktacular Fall Sale or 800/367-3484.


    Hilton Hotels Save and Stay Late Promotion

    Hilton hotels in Texas' four largest destinations and New Orleans offer the "Save and Stay Late" fall promotion with a 4 p.m. late checkout, up to $25 credit to use on property and 20 percent off at select local restaurants to those staying at participating Hilton hotels through Dec. 31, 2018.
      The Save and Stay Late promotion is offered in the following cities:
    • Austin- travel.hilton.com/Austin
    • Dallas- Fort Worth- travel.hilton.com/DFW
    • Houston- travel.hilton.com/Houston
    • New Orleans- travel.hilton.com/New-Orleans
    • San Antonio- travel.hilton.com/San-Antonio.

    Go to these links to book your Texas or New Orleans "Save and Stay Late" promotion.


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    Chaa Creek Shoulder Season Sale

    The Lodge at Chaa Creek, in Belize, reaches out to flexible travelers with the Sunshine Super Saver offer to take advantage of Belize's shoulder season.

    The average combined temperature for September, October and November in Belize is around 78° F with highs of around 83° and lows of 75° meaning you can swim, take nature walks, explore Maya temples and other outdoor activities.

    The Sunshine Super Saver offer includes accommodations, access to all amenities within Chaa Creek's 400-acre private nature reserve and six of the jungle lodge's most popular activities for $99 a night.

    Free activities include canoeing down the Macal River, guided morning bird watching walks, access to miles of trails crisscrossing the 400-acre private nature reserve, use of the infinity pool, and guided tours of the Belize Natural History Museum, Butterfly Farm, and Maya Medicinal Plant Trail.

    Chaa Creek's Sunshine on My Shoulder Season Super Saver will run until Dec. 1, 2018.

    Chaa Creek also offers an all-inclusive Belize vacation packages during shoulder season. If interested contact a travel agent or Chaa Creek directly.

    The Lodge at Chaa Creek.


    Currency Change in the U.K.

    From Mar. 1, 2018 the United Kingdom changed the 10 pound note, called a tenner by locals. The new polymer 10 pound notes featuring Jane Austen are now legal tender.

    The old Charles Darwin 10 pound notes will not be accepted in shops and other businesses, so be alert when someone gives you change. It is still possible for Charles Darwin notes to be exchanged at the Bank of England for free in person.

      The new 10 pound note has sophisticated security features to thwart counterfeiters.
    • A see-through window featuring the Queen's portrait
    • Winchester Cathedral shown in gold foil on the front of the note and silver on the back
    • A quill at the side of the window which changes from purple to orange
    • A hologram with the word Ten that changes to Pounds when the note is tilted
    • A hologram of the coronation crown which appears 3D and multi-colored when the note is tilted
    • A book-shaped copper foil patch which contains the lettering JA
    • Micro-lettering beneath the Queen's portrait with tiny letters and numbers that can be seen under a microscope
    • The words Bank of England printed in intaglio (raised ink) along the top of the note.

    Paper bank notes – 5, 10 and 20 pounds – are gradually being replaced by plastic notes, which are more secure and harder to counterfeit, more resistant to dirt and more durable.

    The paper five pound note is no longer legal tender, and the new polymer 20 pound banknote will be issued in 2020, with the portrait of J.M.W Turner printed on it.


    Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore by Nicki and Harold Chodnoff

    The northern shores of the Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan, are gifts from glaciers and ice sheets that once covered this area in past millennia. Not far from Traverse City, MI, about 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline displays huge striking dunes which slope precariously toward the lake. Glacial moraines, an accumulation of glacial debris, formed this area and the 400 foot sand dunes perched atop the glacial moraines.

    It is fitting that the beauty of these dunes and the lake be preserved for future generations and in 2014, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was designated as wilderness.

    In traveling to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northern Michigan, the drive is as pretty as the destination. The wilderness area is long and narrow, bounded by the lake’s sparkling light blue water, large dark evergreen and birch trees with their white peeling bark. When I think of the north woods, these are the sights I imagine. As we drive, we see cars with canoes and kayaks strapped to their roofs, drawn to this beautiful land and clear waters. We seem to follow in the footsteps of the fur trappers, the first white people in this land and Native Americans who paddled these lakes and were nourished by the land.

    Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore derived its names from the Native Americans from this area, the Ojibwe, also known as the Chippewa. According to an Ojibwe legend, an enormous forest fire on the western shore of Lake Michigan drove a mother bear and her two cubs into the lake for shelter. After many miles of swimming, the two cubs lagged behind and the exhausted cubs drowned in the lake. When the mother bear reached the shore, she waited on the top of a high bluff. She stayed and waited in hopes that her cubs would appear. Impressed by the mother bear's determination and faith, the Great Spirit created two islands to commemorate the cubs, and the winds buried the sleeping bear under the sands of the dunes where she waits to this day. The grieving mother was transformed into a giant sand dune, and her two cubs became the twin Manitou Islands. Wind and erosion reduced the size of the "bear" over the years.

    Geologists don’t tell nearly as interesting a tale. More than 10,000 years ago, a mile-thick ice sheet crept down a series of ancient river valleys, gouging out the Great Lakes. When the glacier ice melted away, hills and bluffs of pulverized rock were left on the lakeshore. Winds blowing across Lake Michigan lifted the finest particles of rock to the top of these bluffs, creating perched sand dunes. Today, perched sand dunes are found in only a handful of places on the planet.

    Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is most popular in the summer, and we found the parking lot full by the time we paid and pulled in, around 1 p.m. From the parking lot, the first sight that strikes you is a giant sand dune that begs to be climbed. The Dune Climb, about five miles north of the village of Empire, is a 110-foot-high dune that kids, or anyone who can’t resist the sight of all that sand, can climb and then descend at top speed, yelling optional. According to Park Ranger John, it is a sacrifice dune so the other dunes remain pristine and intact and the public can get their fill of climbing and descending. The dune has shrunk over time, as visitors cart it away grain by grain in their shoes and clothes.

    In addition to the dune climb, there are many things to do and see at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Your activities will be limited by the time you have for your visit.

    If you have only several hours, the 7.5 mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive loop will give you a sense of the place. Parking lots on the scenic drive can fill up by noon, so go early or late to avoid the crowds. You drive to overlooks with sand dunes, forest, lakes and pines.

    The drive is in one of the widest sections of this skinny park. Pierce Stocking, a lumberman with road-building experience, wanted to share the beauty of the area with others when bought the forest land in 1948. Stocking loved the woods and walked the bluffs above Lake Michigan, awed by the view of the dunes, Lake Michigan and the islands. He conceived the idea of a road to the top of the dunes. He opened the road, known as Sleeping Bear Dunes Park, in 1967. Stocking operated the scenic drive until his death in 1976. In 1977, the road became part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

    Even before Pierce Stocking’s scenic road, Sleeping Bear Dunes had a long human history. Native Americans tapped maple trees for sugar here. French Jesuits arrived in canoes in 1675 and later Europeans moved to the area to cut timber, followed by farmers, and nature lovers building vacation cottages and homes.

      Some of the most popular stops along the 12-stop scenic drive include:

    • Overlook Seven - takes you from wildflowers through the cool lush shade of a maple, beech and birch forest which produces the main products of the north woods, maple syrup and birch bark canoes.


    • Overlook Nine - possibly the most famous point in the park, the walk to the 450-foot-high sand dunes with its incredible, vertigo-inducing high views. You are at the top of a dune that drops nearly straight down to the water below. Walk out onto the Lake Michigan Overlook deck for a beautiful backdrop for photos. During our visit, the sun sparkled off the lake as if it were full of floating, sparkling gems and the water stretched to the horizon, looking like an ocean, not a lake. If the visibility is good, you can see South Manitou Island 10 miles to the northwest. We noticed a small freighter threads its way between the shore and the Manitou Islands, hazy in the distance. This treacherous stretch of water, known as the Manitou Passage, has snared dozens of ships over the years.


    • Overlook Two - Glen Lake. Divided by a highway (M-22), Big Glen Lake reaches depths of 130 feet, while Little Glen Lake (which will be closer to you) is only 12 feet deep. Different shades of blue, from a pale barely blue to a deep sapphire blue, indicate the lake levels.

    If you have the time, at least one whole day, sail to South Manitou Island catching the passenger ferry for a day trip or camping. Far from the rush and people on the mainland, the island preserves an old growth stand of cedars; among the largest and most magnificent in the entire state. The western edge of the island has a wall of towering sand dunes and expansive views of Lake Michigan. You can learn about the island’s farms and occupants, shipwrecks and lifesaving efforts by the coast guard station. One of the best views is from the 104-foot tall South Manitou Island lighthouse, once the primary protection for vessels passing through the Mantiou Passage. About 150 years ago, the Manitou Passage was bustling with schooners and wood-fired steamers as they shuttled passengers and freight between Great Lakes ports and east, to New York and beyond. The lighthouse tower is open May to November and you can climb its 117 spiral steps onto the viewing deck for a commanding view.

    North Manitou Island is more remote and quieter still. The same passenger ferry continues from South Manitou Island to North Manitou Island. After you see the historic U.S. Life Saving Service village, you get to enjoy nearly 15,000 acres of undeveloped forest, fields and beaches. This is a place for self-reliant people who are looking for solitude. No services are available and you must stay overnight and bring all of your camping needs.

    You can easily extend your stay for several more days. One option is a visit to Glen Haven Historic Village, where the attractions are only open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Managed by the National Park Service, this preserved village features historic buildings such as the replica general store which looks as it did in 1920s and the blacksmith’s shop where you can see sparks fly and hear the ring of a hammer as craftsmen forge nails.

    The Maritime Museum at Sleeping Bear Point, just west of Glen Haven, is the original Sleeping Bear Point U.S. Life-Saving Station which was moved here because the sand dunes were beginning to bury it. Photos and artifacts show the harrowing rescues the U.S. Life-Saving Service, mainly a crew of volunteers, provided over the years along with Great Lakes shipping history. On Thursday afternoons, you can watch a staff member fire a Lyle Gun that would shoot a rescue rope to a sinking ship. Glen Haven has one of the nicest beaches for strolling, swimming and playing in the sand.

    Port Oneida survives as a Rural Historical District and is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It covers more than 3,400 acres in the Leelanau Peninsula of Northern Michigan and more than 120 buildings typical of Northern European settlers throughout the Midwestern United States in the later part of the 19th century.

    Stop at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire and download a PDF file of the Port Oneida Driving Tour booklet which tells about the farms, homes, businesses and other sites in the district.

    Settlers from Germany settled Port Oneida during the mid-1800s. Logging fueled the town’s economic growth which grew large enough to support a blacksmith, a general store, a post office and a boarding house.

    Logging thinned the forests so most residents abandoned the original town site by 1908. Farmers in the area scratched out a modest living. Most residents left the area by the 1930s and 1940s as sandy soil and an unreliable water supply made making a living in Port Oneida too difficult.

    The memories of Port Oneida live on today because the residents left the area. That allowed Port Oneida’s rebirth as a district dedicated to preserving the agricultural history and settlement of northern Michigan.

    Port Oneida comes to life each year with an annual two-day fair in early August. You step back to the late 1800s and early 1900s as you can help bale hay, learn about yarn spinning, candle dipping or fur trapping. The fair is held at six historic homesteads. Each farm has a variety of artists, crafts, food and activities.

    The headquarters for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is in the village of Empire, MI. Make it your first stop at the visitor center in Empire to pay the park fee, pick up brochures, and see an extensive display of stuffed animals found in the area.

    Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.


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    Book Early to Save on Whistler Getaway

    Save up to 35 percent on a winter getaway to Whistler if you book before Nov. 15, 2018. With a variety of winter deals to choose from, including stay and ski packages and discounts on lodging, activities and transportation, booking early is the best way to experience Whistler this winter season.

    Besides the incredible annual snowfall, booking a winter getaway to Whistler early also comes with a few perks to help you get the most out of your stay. You can save on accommodations with rooms from $134 CAD per night. Booking all of Whistler’s winter activities is easy and you can save up to 20 percent on snowmobiling, zip line tours and snowshoeing when booked by Nov. 15, 2018.

    For the best value, book accommodations and lift tickets through Stay & Ski packages. By booking before Nov. 15, 2018, you can purchase lodging and lift tickets deals from $146 CAD per person, per night.

    Booking early gets you the best rates and helps you get preferred dates, especially during Whistler’s peak holiday times when rooms can be limited. Guests from the U.S. receive even better value when booking early due to the favorable exchange rate.

    Whistler’s base village creates a mountain culture, whether it’s a pub meal or fine dining experience. It is recommended restaurant reservations be made in advance to secure preferred meal times.

    Whistler has received its first dusting of snow. Whistler Blackcomb’s official opening day for skiing and snowboarding is scheduled for Nov. 22, 2018.

    With the best price guarantee, Whistler.com, the official central reservations for Whistler, offers one-stop shopping with the largest selection and no booking fee for accommodation or activities.

    Whistler.com or 800/944-7853.


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    The Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, P.O. Box 877, Logan OH 43138, edited by Nicki Chodnoff, is published monthly.

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