Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, October 2010 Issue
Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright 2010
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff
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NFL Team Branded Spa Bag
Every fan deserves to be pampered with this extravagant spa bag, available for all 32 NFL teams plus the Ohio State University.
- Each spa bag includes - an 8 oz jar of natural brown sugar scrub with 3 natural raw sugars for gentle but deep exfoliation
- 8 oz jar of goat's milk and honey lotion with shea butter and Vitamin E - natural moisturizers that help hydrate and nourish skin
- 8 oz jar of Mediterranean Sea Salts - solar evaporated and one of the world's purest salts
- 2 bottles of nail polish in team colors.
Priced at $39.99 per bag, each spa bag comes packaged in a lovely organza gift bag. Quantities are limited. Purchase at ke specialties llc.
|In This Issue: |
Collectibles at World of Coca Cola, Atlanta, GA
|A remote mountain hut, unreachable by car, might seem the idyllic getaway. The 10th Mountain Division Hut Association operates 32 back country huts in the Colorado Rockies that are open to public use winter and summer. Hut users ski, snowshoe, hike or bike to the huts, located between 9,700 and 11,700 feet, along 300-plus miles of designated, marked routes.
Since 1987, small PV arrays provided lighting for the more than 50,000 people who visit the huts annually. This allows guests to use renewable energy and reduce the dangers associated with the misuse of propane lanterns.
The nonprofit 10th Mountain Division Hut Association was formed in the early 1980s by several Aspen skiers. From the start, the group set its sights on a trail with closely spaced huts, all accessible via intermediate ski touring trails.
Each hut sleeps 16 people, divided among three or four bunk rooms. Huts include wood-burning heat and cook stoves; propane stoves (for those who can't figure out the wood-burning cook stoves); cooking and eating utensils; mattresses and pillows on sleeping platforms; supplies such as toilet paper, soap, cleaning supplies, trash bags; and photovoltaic lighting.
There are no televisions, computers or humming appliances in the huts, and cell phones rarely have coverage. The 10th Mountain hut experience is about enjoying the back country and being self-sufficient. The huts provide opportunities for environmental and experiential education for people of all ages.
Because the huts contain few appliances and gadgets, the huts' energy needs are minimal. The average capacity of the huts is about 200 watts, and each hut has two to three panels. The systems are designed to have a five-day reserve capacity, storing sufficient reserve energy to operate the lights for five consecutive cloudy or stormy days, with no energy from the sun recharging the system.
However, occasional user misuse, such as leaving the lights on all night or using too many lights, sometimes results in brown outs, and the automatic controls shut the system down until it can be recharged.
The huts do not receive daily maid visits. Hut visitors are responsible for leaving the hut in as good or better shape than they found it. This works remarkably well.
10th Mountain staff travels to each hut every seven to 10 days to thoroughly clean, occasional repair and inspect various systems.
Each of the 10th Mountain huts offers a library with about 50 identical titles. You can begin to read a book at one hut and finish it at a later hut, without taking the book.
Hut users are encouraged to submit reports of spotted Canada lynx tracks or activity. 10th Mountain works closely with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the agency responsible for the reintroduction effort of this endangered species, to provide identification information and reporting techniques.
The 10th Mountain Division Hut Association or 970/925-5775.
Windjammer Landing 55% Savings and Resort Credit
|Book a vacation at the Green Globe certified Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort in St. Lucia and get 55 percent off nightly rates through Dec. 19, 2010. Nightly resort credit, Sun Dollars, from $50 to $200 per night will be available to further complement the Caribbean vacation.
Windjammer Landing features villas and suites with multi-level living space, many with full kitchens and sunset views. The resort features the Serenity Spa; adjacent golf course; water sports program; and holiday programming. Children are entertained with daily Jacquot Fun Club and teens have dedicated teen programming.
Sample 55 percent reduced nightly fall rates, double occupancy
- Anthurium Lily Suites $135
- Anthurium Lily Premium Suites $148
- One Bedroom Hibiscus Suites with Jacuzzi $247
- Two Bedroom Hibiscus Suites with Jacuzzi $449
- One Bedroom Villas with Plunge Pool $247
- Two Bedroom Villas with Plunge Pool $479
- Three Bedroom Villas with Plunge Pool $539
- Four Bedroom Villas with Plunge Pool $599
Sun Dollars Resort Credit are valid for Windjammer Landing room upgrades, airport transfers, meal packages, wine, spa treatments, wedding packages, activities such as golf , horseback riding, scuba diving and zip lining. Airport transfers and meal packages must be requested at time of booking.
The All Inclusive option features welcome cocktails; breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner at five restaurants; all beverages including wines, premium and local brands of cocktails; room service items (delivery service fee is extra); motorized and non-motorized water sports such as water skiing, wake and knee boarding, Hobie cat sailing, snorkeling, banana boat and tubing rides; tennis; fitness center; shopping shuttle; nightly entertainment; tax and gratuity. All Inclusive day rates are $150 per adult, $75 per teen and $40 per child
The resort resembles a Mediterranean village with red-tile roofed villas that overlook the beach.
Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort or 800/958-7376.
Book an Unlimited Spa Getaway at Ceiba del Mar, on the shores of a private beach at the edge of Puerto Morelos, in Riviera Maya, Mexico, and enjoy three nights of ocean-view accommodations and limitless free spa treatments until Dec. 22, 2010.
The Unlimited Spa Getaway includes:
- A welcome champagne cocktail;
- Three nights of accommodations in a deluxe room or suite;
- Unlimited inter- and outer-focused spa treatments from the wellness aromatherapy spa
- A Vital Energy Flow Analysis with Bio-Tensor and a customized gift of signature blended oils.
The wellness and aromatherapy Spa at Ceiba del Mar has a menu of spa therapies and its own natural and organic product line. Spa-goers have free access to and/or use of six treatment rooms and a couple's suite with private lounge and Jacuzzi terrace; a purifying hydrotherapy circuit with sauna, plunge pools, indoor heated Jacuzzi and steam room; fully-equipped gym; a high-platform meditation palapa; Yoga and Aquafit classes, and land/sea sports equipment (bikes, kayaks and snorkeling gear).
Traditional, innovative and Mayan-inspired spa treatments include an ancient Mayan cleansing rite that takes place at sunset inside a terra-cotta sweat lodge on the beach.
Rates per couple, per stay, for the Unlimited Spa Getaway, valid through Dec. 22, 2010, start at $1,680 ($840 per person), plus 14 percent tax and a 5 percent service charge based on double occupancy. Spa gratuities are not included. The package is not combinable for group reservations such as incentive meetings or weddings.
The resort's 88 suites, seven of which are penthouses, each have an ocean view and include: a balcony or terrace and hammock; a full bathroom with a shower and separate bathtub; organic bath products; free wireless Internet; twice daily housekeeping service; premium linens and pillow menu; free in-room morning coffee daily; nightly turndown service with Mexican handcrafted gift; International cable TV and DVD/CD player; and 24-hour room service.
Ceiba Del Mar Beach & Spa Resort or 877/545-6221.
Apple Vacations has charter flights to Costa Rica from Chicago's O'Hare Airport on USA3000 Airlines. Nonstop flights to Liberia depart Friday mornings with a Friday night return Jan. 14 to Apr. 22, 2011.
A seven-night fly/drive self-guided tour starts from $1,299.99 per person, including roundtrip air, a four-wheel drive rental car, seven nights' hotel accommodation and a variety of meals. This option allows you to see the interior of Costa Rica, including waterfalls, volcanoes and monkeys, at your own pace.
If you prefer to stay in the Guanacaste beach area, seven nights at the RIU Guanacaste starts from $1,499.99, including roundtrip air, hotel transfers and all meals and drinks. Additional hotels featured include Occidental, Barcelo, Paradisus, Hilton and Marriott.
In addition to its charter program, Apple offers a year-round, scheduled air program from departure cities nationwide into Liberia and San Jose. The San Jose program features five escorted tours, optional day tours, and city stays in San Jose followed by optional stays on the beach in Puntarenas or Manuel Antonio.
Experience fall with the Fall Foliage offer from the Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa, on an Ozark mountaintop overlooking Southwest Missouri's scenic Table Rock Lake.
The Fall Foliage offer lets you stay two nights in a mountain view room and receive the third night free. The offer also includes use of the resort's outdoor and indoor pools, hot tubs, fitness facilities and nature trails; plus free indoor parking. The offer, available Sunday through Thursday nights through Dece. 16, 2010, starts at $139 per room, per night, based on restricted availability. Taxes and gratuities are additional and some other restrictions may apply.
Dining options at the 301 room resort include the Chateau Grille with views of Table Rock Lake, the Downstairs Deli, the Atrium Cafe and Wine Bar, and The Sweet Shoppe.
The resort's rooms and suites include cherry wood beds, down comforters, tiled stone baths, dual-line telephones with data port, Wi-Fi access, iron and ironing board, coffee maker, in-room safes, and in-room movies and music (at a nominal fee).
Recreational options at Chateau include the Spa Chateau, 24-hour fitness center, two lighted tennis courts, the Sassafras Movie Theater, Crawdaddies Kids Club, and full-service concierge.
Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa or 888/333-5253.
Club Med offers seven-day weekends at their resorts in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean. The seven day weekend provides seven all-inclusive nights for the price of three with rates from $999 per person, based on double occupancy. To get this rate, you must book by Nov. 1, 2010.
The offer does not include airfare and is valid for new bookings at select villages for travel through Apr. 29, 2011. The rate is not combinable with any other promotion or offer and a minimum seven night stay in a minimum category room is required. Club Med membership fees of $60 per adult and $30 per child are additional. All Turkoise guests must be 18 and older.
A Club Med all-inclusive vacation offers a range of land and water activities from snorkeling to tennis. For families, Club Med offers children's programs starting from four-months and family-friendly activities including Le Petit Chef.
In addition to the array of activities, Club Med provides accommodations, gourmet-dining options with a full open bar with premium beverages.
Club Med or 800/ClubMed.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) updated its guide to air travelers' rights, Fly Rights: A Consumer Guide to Air Travel.
Since it was first published in 1973, Fly Rights provided air travelers with helpful advice on how to get the best airfare, what to expect when a flight is delayed or canceled, and how to avoid travel scams. The guide provides easy-to-read information on federal airline regulations in a number of areas, including accommodating air travelers with disabilities and rules for bumping and baggage compensation. Fly Rights also contains information on airline safety, air traveler health and how to file official complaints against airlines.
The latest version includes updated information on the DOT's new consumer protections, including the three-hour limit on tarmac delays for domestic flights, the requirement for large airlines to display on-time performance information for domestic flights on their web sites, and the requirement for airlines to respond to consumer complaints about an air travel experience. Fly Rights is available online.
In addition to Fly Rights, the DOT developed the pamphlet, When Kids Fly Alone, with tips for parents of unaccompanied minors. When Kids Fly Alone is available online.
Print copies of Fly Rights and When Kids Fly Alone are free from the DOT warehouse by e-mail or write to DOT Warehouse, 3341-Q 75th Ave., Lanham, MD 20785. Specify item number X0111A for Fly Rights and X0176 for When Kids Fly Alone.
Southwest Airlines will increase the number of hospitals and medical transportation organizations that receive grants in the airline's 2011 Medical Transportation Grant Program. Southwest has nearly doubled the grant program's 2011 budget with hopes of assisting more than 5,500 patients and family members with their medical related travel needs.
Many patients with chronic or terminal illnesses have to travel for their appointments or treatments. To ease some of this burden, Southwest Airlines created a program to assist patients during this difficult time. Through the Southwest Airlines Medical Transportation Grant Program (MTGP), the airline provides free, roundtrip tickets to hospitals and medical transportation nonprofit organizations. The tickets are distributed by the organizations to deserving patients and their caregivers who must travel for medical care.
Only 501(c)3 qualified hospitals and organizations are eligible to apply for the program.
Other organizations that help provide free medical travel are:
Wounded warriors and their families are provided free medically related flights by Air Compassion for Veterans.
Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic makes sure that no patient in need is denied access to distant specialized medical evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, or rehabilitation because they lack funds for long-distance medical air transportation. Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic provides medical air transport for patients departing from: District of Columbia, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
Medical Mercy Airlift is a resource that helps people in need of medical air transportation with organizations that can provide help and other useful links.
NFL Team Branded Growth Chart |
A great keepsake to capture a child's growth through the years and show your team spirit.
Available for all 32 NFL teams plus the Ohio State University, the large growth chart (54" long by 15" wide) easily hangs
on any surface with removable adhesive tabs. A pink version for all 32 NFL teams is available for girls.
The growth chart comes with 14 removable footballs that adhere directly onto the chart.
Footballs, placed at the child's measurement each year, include a place to write the date and child's age, when measured,
and a place for a photo!
NFL team and Ohio State University growth charts are available at ke specialties llc
TourCrafters has off-season market packages that focus on local color, authentic food and real people. Most are four-nights and all include roundtrip air from New York, fuel surcharges, hotel accommodations and daily breakfast. They are valid Nov. 1, 2010 to Mar. 31, 2011, except during the Christmas-New Year period.
The Paris Marche des Enfants-Rouges package (from $868), encourages you to wander in the oldest (1615) covered market in the Marais quarter. Here there are flowers, vegetables, charcuterie and traiteurs who sell freshly-prepared dishes that you can eat at nearby tables for an inexpensive lunch or early dinner.
The Istanbul package (from $999) includes visits to the Grand Bazaar, one of the world's largest covered markets, with thousands of shops selling Turkish carpets, gold jewelry and pottery. The bazaar also has a dozen restaurants, two hamams (Turkish baths) and the Spice Market (or Egyptian Bazaar).
There are also packages to Sicily (Palermo Vucciria Market package, from $965), to Nice (the Marche aux Fleurs package, from $835), and Madrid ( Mercado de San Miguel package, from $904). In addition, Paris/ Nice and Paris/Istanbul are combined into longer packages that include a free stopover in Paris and up to two free hotel nights on specific dates.
All prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to availability and do not include airport taxes that can be up to $116. Reservations must be paid for within 72 hours of booking. Add-on air fares are available for departure cities other than New York.
TourCrafters or 800/482-5995.
The Field Museum, John Hancock Observatory, the Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium, SkyDeck Chicago and 20 more top tourist draws in Chicago created a customizable ticket platform. You can build a custom ticket that covers up to 26 attractions you wish to see, all for a discounted price compared to standard ticketing options.
The new system features an online configurator where you make your selections. Each selection is added to a running tally that shows the attractions, a price for the combined selections, and the savings compared to buying each ticket separately.
Once finished making your choices, you check out online and a smart card is coded with your selected attractions and shipped to you. You use the smart card -- called a Custom Chicago Explorer Pass -- as your entry ticket to each of the attractions coded on the card.
Each of the 26 Chicago-area attractions have smart card readers to accept the cards for admission.
The configurator will be available in Boston, Las Vegas, Maui, Miami, New York City, Oahu, Orlando, San Diego, and San Francisco.
The configurator is available online.
Explore traditional Native American culture during the ninth season of Native Trails in Scottsdale, AZ.
Presented by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and produced by the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, this series of noontime festivals brings together colorful dances, traditional costumes and inspirational music as an expression of the Native American community that continues to shape the city of Scottsdale and state of Arizona.
Beginning Jan. 20, 2011 and continuing most Thursdays and Saturdays through Apr. 2, 2011, performances are held in the outdoor amphitheater at the downtown Scottsdale Civic Center Mall.
Performers from tribes such as the Hopi, Dine, Akimel O'Odham and Cree will take the stage to guide you through this educational journey of song and dance complete with an audience participation round dance to bring the experience full circle. Traditional Native American artists featuring their history through jewelry, textiles, pottery and food are on hand for an immersed cultural experience.
Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau or 800/782-1117.
Stay two nights at the Lost Iguana Resort & Spa in Arenal, Costa Rica, through Nov. 15, 2010, and get two nights free, including breakfast daily.
Book the Two for Two special and get 50 percent off regular rates and a free couples massage at the resort's spa, if you mention that you read about the special in Travel Savings Alerts. Four-night stays start at $370 per room, based on double occupancy, including two free nights and daily breakfast.
On 120 acres of rainforest, the Lost Iguana's 42 rooms, suites, villas and casitas are designed to view the lava-flowing side of Arenal Volcano, one of the 10 most active in the world. The resort includes trails through the jungle and an onsite wildlife guide who can answer questions and lead individualized tours; two pools; swim-up bar; open-air restaurant and spa with saunas, gymnasium and massage bungalows.
Located near popular attractions, you can walk the famous Hanging Bridges, enjoy white-water rafting, rappel alongside waterfalls or enjoy the local thermal hot springs.
Lost Iguana Resort & Spa.
|The Tennessee Valley Authority is leading efforts to develop advanced electric vehicle charging stations that are solar-assisted and fast-charging, in what is believed to be one of the nation's largest electric vehicle charging networks. This is largely due to TVA's key role in The EV Project, a public-private initiative established with a grant from the Department of Energy that is the largest electric vehicle rollout to date.
Under the EV Project, managed by ECOtality North America, the Nashville to Knoxville to Chattanooga corridor will serve as a national pilot for connecting three metropolitan areas with an electric vehicle charging network. The Tennessee project will include infrastructure for 1,000 Nissan Leaf plug-in electric cars, more than 2,200 standard charging stations, 60 fast charging stations and 125 solar-assisted charging stations - more than any other area in the nation to date.
TVA's solar-assisted charging station project, called the Smart Modal Area Recharge Terminal, or SMART station is due this fall. The first prototype station will feature power generation by solar photovoltaic panels, stationary battery storage and smart grid technology.
TVA electric transportation programs.
NFL Team Branded kleen kits
Fight against bacteria and flu germs with National Football League team branded hand sanitizer kleen kits. Produced by ke specialties llc, a kleen kit consists of a 2 ounce bottle of hand sanitizer, an 8 ounce bottle of hand sanitizer and a 40 count canister of wipes, available for all 32 NFL teams plus The Ohio State University.
The 2 ounce bottle (TSA approved for 3-1-1 carry-ons) or 8 ounce bottle of hand sanitizer easily fit into a pocket, purse or back pack and the 40 count canister of wipes can be used at home, while tailgating or at work.
NFL team and Ohio State branded kleen kits are available at ke specialties llc.
BOOK BY OCT. 31 - - Responding to continued interest in value-driven offers, Breezes Resorts launch the Early Booking Bonus. Book by Oct. 31, 2010 for travel Jan. 1 through Dec. 23, 2011, and save up to $880 per couple on a seven-night getaway. A minimum three-night stay is required; discounts vary by resort. Blackout dates apply.
Available at seven inclusive Breezes properties in Jamaica, Panama, Curacao and the Bahamas, rates start at $79 per person, per night, based on double-occupancy.
Breezes Resorts' super-inclusive concept centers on one payment for accommodations; all meals and multiple dining options; unlimited premium brand drinks; land and water sports including equipment rental and instruction; entertainment; weddings; recreational activities; and hotel taxes. Tipping is not allowed.
Breezes Resorts or 877/Breezes.
Escape the cold and enjoy an extended weekend getaway to Bermuda with Cambridge Beaches Resort and Spa as the resort offers a third night free on stays Nov. 15, 2010 to Mar. 15, 2011.
The free night promotion requires a minimum three-night stay and bookings must be made by Mar. 12, 2011. To receive the special offer, you must mention promotional code CBW3P when making reservations. Cambridge Beaches' rates start at $370 per night and include breakfast and afternoon tea daily.
Cambridge Beaches provides an escape without the demands or distractions of children, as Bermuda's only resort that caters exclusively to adults.
The resort is set on a 30-acre peninsula on the western coast of Bermuda with 94 accommodations in traditional pink Bermuda cottages; four private beaches; gardens and nature preserve; and water views from every vantage point of the property. Amenities and activities include a spa, sailing excursions, kayaking, croquet lawn, putting green, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and on-site bicycle and moped rentals.
Bermuda has a year-round semi-tropical climate. In the winter, days are typically sunny with average temperatures ranging between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa or 800/468-7300.
The Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, NY, has a budget-friendly program exclusively for U.S. active military personnel and active reserve in appreciation of their dedication and service.
Ten percent of all proceeds from the new program will be donated to the USO, to recognize the USO's tireless efforts in supporting the U.S. military. The new offer continues until June 23, 2011.
The Lodge's new program provides a reduced rate of $129 per night for a 700 square-foot one-bedroom suite, which ranges in price from $395 to $510 per room, per night. The package also includes a 50 percent reduction on all onsite food and beverage purchases plus a 50 percent discount on spa treatments in the Lodge's spa. For larger families, two and three bedroom suites are available for an additional $129 per bedroom, per night. Taxes are additional.
The Whiteface Lodge or 800/903-4045.
Liftopia.com, the largest online seller of ski lift tickets, offers deals on discount lift tickets, lessons and rental packages on their web site, helping you save up to 85 percent off the on-mountain rate.
Liftopia.com partners with more than 150 ski resorts across North America for the 2010-2011 season. These resorts include Winter Park, Killington, Cooper Mt, Mammoth, Sun Valley, and Stowe. By partnering with ski areas, Liftopia can offer deals for any given day. There are deals at some of the biggest resorts and at resorts you may not have heard of before because they don't have marketing budgets.
Liftopia.com tickets are available all season long at varied rates, with prices and quantities fluctuating based on weather and snow conditions, day of the week, or even the price of gas. Discount lift tickets will become available as resorts open for the season. Tickets can generally be purchased up until the night before arrival. Early planning is encouraged as tickets sell out and resorts raise prices.
Liftopia.com has review features, graded on skill level, that allows you to make decisions based on feedback from others to determine the best slopes for your experience and style.
BOOK BY OCT. 31 - - Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of yachts that explore hidden harbors and coves, offers two-for-one cruise fares on select seven-day Caribbean voyages on new bookings made through Oct. 31, 2010.
The two-for-one Caribbean fares are valid on select departures, are capacity controlled and may be removed at any time. The rates are not combinable with any other promotional pricing offer. The offer is valid on new bookings and is based on a 50 percent discount off brochure fares as published in the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 Sailing Atlas. Government fees and taxes are additional.
Wind Surf's seven-day sailings depart and return to Bridgetown, Barbados and visit St. Kitts, St. Martin, St. Barts, Iles des Saintes and St. Lucia. The Wind Surf's seven day Caribbean Adventure voyages depart and return to Bridgetown, Barbados and visit Bequia, Grenada, Mayreau, Dominica and St. Lucia. The two-for-one rates on either voyage start from $1,379 (brochure fare $2,759) per person, double occupancy.
Wind Spirit's seven day Yachtsman's Discovery voyages depart and return to Marigot, St. Martin and visit St. Kitts, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke (overnight), Virgin Gorda (overnight) and St. Barts (overnight). The two-for-one rates start from $1,449 (brochure fare $2,899) per person, double occupancy.
Windstar Cruises or 800/258-7245.
Georgia's heritage is part of our American culture. The devastation of the Civil War, the legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the struggle of the Civil Rights movement shaped the heart and soul of the city and the New South. As a destination, metro Atlanta's culture brims with history, the arts and natural wonders - all with a dose of that sweet Southern hospitality.
Since Atlanta is such a sprawling city, you need not confine your exploring to downtown, especially if your visit takes you to the burbs. On a recent trip, the communities that envelop the northern end of Atlanta yielded many satisfying surprises. Best of all, most of the places to see and things to do were free or reasonably priced. There is just so much to see and do in metro Atlanta, our explorations merely scratched the surface. Which leaves plenty of adventures for my next trip.
To understand our collective history, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site is a can't miss. Just east of downtown in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood is the birthplace of America's most influential Civil Rights leader. Operated by the National Park Service, this historic site contains Dr. King's boyhood home, his crypt and Ebenezer Baptist Church. When you arrive, stop at the Visitor Center for a map and touring advice. Although admission is free, you must sign up for the timed tours as the historic site covers several city blocks. As we toured the birth house, Richard our Park Ranger told the story of Dr. King with such passion and insight. Seeing how and where the King family lived put a human touch to this revered icon. There's something endearing and inspiring about a man who pulled the heads off his sister's dolls and grew up to galvanize the nation with his I Have a Dream speech when he was 35. 450 Auburn Ave Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30312-1504
While still in the downtown area, take in the new World of Coca-Cola, a self-congratulatory yet entertaining museum that is basically a commercial for Coca-Cola. After Coca-Cola artifacts in the loft and a whimsical video presentation, you are on your own. At your own pace you can learn about Coca-Cola history, its popularity around the world with what seems like a billion promotional materials and collectibles, a 4-D film, Andy Warhol pieces and old TV commercials to watch. The climactic moment is when you can sample Coke products from around the world. Not all are cola products such as a ginger ale from Mozambique, bitter lemon from England and apple kiwi from Thailand. Regrettably, there is no information about why particular flavors are marketed to particular countries. Ask other tasters and they will tell you their favorite flavor and the flavor that makes them nearly loose their lunch. At the end, you get a souvenir eight ounce glass bottle of Coke bottled on site in the production line you see in operation.
Heading nearly due north to Alpharetta, American Legion Post 201's Walk of Memories reminds us that freedom is never free. Founded in 1946, American Legion Post 201 turned much of its 13 acres into a memorial that pays tribute to U.S. veterans, family and friends. The memorial of more than 7,700 inscribed bricks salute those who served in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. Bricks embedded in the pathways, honor veterans killed in action, died of wounds, served as prisoners of war, are sons of the Legion and friends and family - both living and dead. Several large monuments are dedicated to those killed in action in the Korean War and Vietnam. The monuments and equipment can surely evoke emotions and may be a starting point for conversations with your family about these historical events. Free admission. Donations welcomed.
Veterans are also honored at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse's Veterans Memorial Museum, on the square in downtown Lawrenceville. Located in Room 118, the museum is a tribute to the men and women who defended our land and liberties from the Revolutionary War to the present.
As you tour the museum, you'll be as captivated by the stories told by the volunteer veterans such as Larry Tubbs and Paul Pickard who are always on hand to explain about the collection of wartime artifacts, memorabilia and uniforms from all branches of the service. All the weapons on display, donated by veterans, are real.
Additionally the courthouse, built in 1885 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, features the original turret (balcony) to the outside and clock tower. Instead of pagers or public address systems, as used today, from the turret the court clerk informed the folks waiting on the lawn waiting which was the next case. Along on the first floor hallway, revolving art exhibits line the 24-foot high walls and in the George Williams Room, you can peer in and see the antique furniture, books and paintings. 185 Crogan Street, Lawrenceville, GA 30045
Two miles west of Alpharetta, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is the site of a battle in the Atlanta Campaign that took place June 18 to July 2, 1864. William T. Sherman's Union army of 100,000 men, 254 cannon and 35,000 horses met Confederate General Joseph E. Johnson's army of 63,000 men and 187 cannon that were dug in on the mountain. The horrors of those two weeks, when more than 67,000 soldiers were killed, wounded and captured, have been erased as today the battlefield is a peaceful place for picnics and bird watching. Among the 17.3 miles of trails you can see earthworks, cannon emplacements and historical markers, reminders of the horrific battle on the forested mountain, the tallest mountain north and west of Atlanta. Till this day, the undergrowth is so thick that the remains of a fallen Union soldier were found in the park about 15 years ago.
Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield's 2,888 acres encompasses three battlefield areas: in front of the visitor center, off Burnt Hickory Road and the main site at Cheatham Hill. The visitor center features a museum of Civil War equipment, accessories, uniforms, weapons and flags, and a short movie about the battle. The trail is 1.2 miles to the top. Or you can drive 1.4 miles on a paved road to the parking area near the top. Free admission.
Anne Frank Exhibit - 5920 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs - George Santayana said Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. That is why a museum exhibit honoring the brief life of Anne Frank is so important. Housed in a second-floor suite above the visitors center in Sandy Springs, the exhibit is owned by the Anne Frank House in the Netherlands and run by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust. Using more than 600 photographs, the exhibition tells the story of Anne Frank and her family, from freedom in the1920s Germany, to exile in the Netherlands, hiding in a secret annex above her father's business in Amsterdam, and her death in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. The exhibition enables you to experience in a more personal way, the horrors of the past and the terrible cost of unbridled prejudice, hatred and discrimination. The exhibit, considered the largest of its kind in the country, also includes a 28-minute film featuring the only known footage of Anne Frank, leaning over a balcony to watch a wedding. It also includes photojournalist William Alexander Scott III's photographs Witness to the Holocaust, documenting what he saw as a witness to the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Admission is free.
Gone With the Wind Museum - Marietta GA Although the movie premiered in 1939, Gone With The Wind, the movie and the novel, still inspire curiosity about the Southern way of life. So, the museum is a must-see for any Gone with the Wind aficionado. Before you walk in, the historic warehouse building in which the museum is housed is beautiful and sets the tone for what's inside.
If you like the movie, you can spend hours looking at the private collection of memorabilia with actual costumes from the movie, scripts, posters and items from when the movie was made. The original dress worn by Vivien Leigh during the honeymoon scene is the highlight of the tour.
The museum also informs you about the life of Margaret Mitchell and a huge collection of GWTW books published in a multitude of foreign languages and books from Margaret Mitchell's personal collection . If you have four hours, the movie runs continuously. Factoid: The outside scenes of Tara were shot in Hollywood.
Chattahoochee Nature Center - 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell - This outstanding Nature Center gives you a nature experience rain or shine. Inside, it's easy to spend an afternoon in the nature exchange where kids can trade points for found objects and become young naturalists. Outside at the 127-acre environmental sanctuary with landscaped gardens features native plants and a green roof terrace that overlooks the pond and river. Plus wildlife handlers are on site with rehabilitated snakes, birds of prey and turtles that can't be released back into the wild. There are miles of woodland trails and marsh boardwalks near fresh water ponds and river marshes for viewing plants and wildlife.
There are a bevy of galleries, art centers and theaters that you can easily create your own art hop. Or avoid them, if that's not your interest.
Spruill Center Gallery, 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road - Located in an old house right on Ashford Dunwoody next to the Walmart shopping center, this warm little gallery has a new show with various art displayed every month and half. The gallery uses the different themes of each show as a way to corral a group of artists, emerging and established, who merit attention. Think of the gallery as a venue to showcase due-to-be-discovered Georgia artists. Beyond the gallery, the nonprofit organization's mission is to foster understanding and appreciation of the visual and performing arts by offering classes, exhibition s and outreach programs. The education center offers courses for adults and children. Some are as short as one day. The gift shop in the back sells artists' work on consignment. You are bound to find something cute, clever or funky.
Abernathy Arts Center 254 Johnson Ferry Road, NW - Fulton County's oldest neighborhood arts center is dedicated to arts instruction to the community. The Center offers a broad range of day and evening classes for adults and children and the gallery features monthly exhibits that showcase student and faculty works.
Act 3 Productions Black Box Theater - 6285-R Roswell Road NE - Five east Cobb moms opened Act3 Productions after years of volunteering as directors and producers for plays at their children’s school. Known as the drama mamas, the five mothers worked with hundreds of students at two local high schools creating 14 sold-out productions. The moms incorporated into a nonprofit to continue their formula for success. With all productions, the goal is to bring in as many kids even if it means taking parts away from leads to make each piece as much as an ensemble as possible and to make sure each kid has their moment. Now with a permanent home, Act3 Playhouse will expand their professional-level youth theater to adult theater and young children as well.
Heritage Sandy Springs - 6075 Sandy Springs Circle - The non-profit organization presents programs and events throughout the year. The Sandy Springs Historic Site, home of the Williams-Payne House, doubles as a museum/gallery when it's not rented as a venue for meetings, weddings and special occasions. The four-acre Heritage Green people's park is the only green space in the center of Sandy Springs. The free outdoor Concerts by the Springs series is open to the public. Bring a picnic basket, cooler and blanket for the five free Sunday evenings performance throughout the summer. Wind-Down Wednesdays is a mid-week series of outdoor concerts with music from a variety of bands and beverages from local breweries and wine shops. Concerts end at 8 p.m. and admission is $5 for adults.
Aurora Theatre - 128 East Pike Street - The renovated 100 year old First Methodist Church building in Lawrenceville still gives you the aha moment of live theater where lights dim, the audience falls silent and the curtain rises. The thrill of live theater in offered in several venues that can showcase intimate plays, musicals, children's playhouse programs, cabarets and comedy, Funny Fridays comedy shows are presented in the 100 seat Studio Theater while the Strickland Family Stage, the largest performance area that seats up to 250 people, presents larger productions.
Although some of us don't want to admit it, shopping is one of the top travel activities. One of the top shoportunities is the 12,000 square foot American Girl Boutique & Bistro in North Point Mall in Alpharetta. I was never drawn to dolls much as a child. Going to the American Girl Boutique made me think what did I miss. If you are not familiar with the American Girl philosophy, the dolls were created in 1986 to celebrate the potential of girls ages 3 to 12. American Girl encourages girls to dream, grow, aspire, create, and imagine through a range of engaging and insightful books, educational products, and of course dolls.
The 12,000-square foot American Girl Boutique and Bistro is a wonderland for the AG enthusiast and usually a pleasant experience for the grown up she brings along. This is AG's fourth retail location in the US, so it's a place that draws girls from near and far. During my visit, you could barely move because the store was packed with little girls, their moms and grandmas.
Part of the store is devoted to the historical characters dolls, complete with video and wall signs to detail their backgrounds. The Just Like You line are contemporary dolls - about 40 of them - that you pick because they look like you. Outfits are available for kids and dolls to wear together (fitting rooms are nearby.) Bitty Babies have their own section as does the library of all AG books published to date. If you're not buying a doll, you can bring your AG doll for some TLC. There's a hair saloon where stylists tend to dolls in tiny salon chairs. No cuts here, but there are plenty of new styles and your stylist will teach you how to replicate a style at home. The bright colored Bisto is another novel area. Girls get to eat alongside their AG doll. Specially made clip-on high chairs are available for each table, and dolls get their own menu. If you did not bring your doll, not to worry. A loaner AG doll is available to sit next to you. The food was surprisingly good at what some in our group considered a gimmick. There's a mix-and-match meal at lunch or dinner, including appetizer, main course and side dish. Selections include cheddar fondue, chicken satay, burgers, paninis, salads, and veggies.
You Gotta Eat - Here are a few of the restaurants that pleasantly fill your tummy.
Oyster Bay Seafood Cafe - 125 Crogan St. Suite B, Lawrenceville - On Lawrenceville Square, a pedestrian hot spot with a bevy of eateries Oyster Bay Seafood Cafe fills your belly with crab legs, grouper, shrimp and other seaside fare in a casual setting that balances the bar crowd with a family atmosphere. You can immediately tell there's a seafood theme here with fishing rods, paintings of boats, surfboards hanging on the walls, anchors in the window and the mural of a beach dune. It's beach casual with seating at wooden booths and tables or at high-top tables and stools at the bar.
Mary Mac's Tea Room 224 Ponce De Leon Ave - This colorful Atlanta institution is a bastion of classic Southern cuisine. Patronized since 1945 by everyone from truck drivers to bank presidents, the urban lunch room in the heart of Atlanta offers dishes that exemplify Dixie cooking. You'll find a glass of pencils on your table; check off the menu items you want (they change daily) and hand your selections to your server. Famous entrees include fried chicken dredged in buttermilk and flour, country-fried steak, Brunswick stew, chicken pan pie with giblet gravy. You might select corn bread with pot likker, a tasty ham broth made with turnip greens.
McKendrick's Steakhouse4505 Ashford Dunwoody Rd. - As a steakhouse, McKendrick's delivers - large portions, cooked to perfection, plenty of choices. That means that even mid-week nearly all parking spaces near the restaurant in the Park Place Shopping Center are taken and people at the bar are four deep. This is classic, old school steak house: leather-backed horseshoe booths, oak-paneled walls, huge steaks and after-dinner cigars. The service is as good as the food. Beef people may want to try a bone-in filet, a special cut of tenderloin (filet mignon) with the bone in. The porterhouse, rib eye, New York strip and lamb chops are equally good.
Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau
Cobb County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Sandy Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau
Gwinnett Convention and Visitor's Bureau
Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau and Welcome Center
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