Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, November 2012 Issue
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright 2012
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff
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Sky Walk at Kinzua Bridge State Park, Mt. Jewett, PA.
Photo credit: Allegheny National Forest Convention and Visitors Bureau
Foreign Exchange for Adults and Seniors
|Foreign Exchange Experiences Abroad for Adults and Seniors (FEXEXA) believes that adults shouldn't be left out of the travel experiences enjoyed by students. FEXEXA offers adults and seniors a chance to take part in a cultural exchange similar to what’s available to high school and college students, the experience of living in a foreign country and meeting local people.
Louise Harber of FLSAS (Foreign Language Study Abroad Service) developed the program after the parents and grandparents of children sent abroad by her company wanted to know how they could participate in a similar program.
FLSAS has sent students abroad for more than 35 year and now FEXEXA lets adults and seniors participate like their younger relatives.
You learn more about a country and its people when you take part in activities that interest you and spend time with locals who share your interests. FEXEXA participants visit gardens, play golf, explore castles, go hiking and biking, take cooking lessons, eat home cooked meals instead of restaurant meals or shop in stores only locals know about. Participants have a more enjoyable experience interacting with locals because they are not staring out the tour bus window surrounded by other tourists.
Examples of FEXEXA's programs include:
- Istanbul – a mosaic of four different cultures
- France – explore the lesser known regions
- Get to know Galway – the most Gaelic County in Ireland
- Discover the Smaller Cities in China
- Experience Vendimia in Mendoza, Argentina
- Visit the Jesuit Missions of Paraguay
FEXEXA is designed for individuals such as women travelling alone, couples and small groups of family or friends. All participants are paired with carefully selected local hosts.
Rather than staying in bed and breakfast homestays, FEXEXA participants are guests in the host's home and are matched with a host based on personal interests – art, cooking, music, genealogy, gardening, golf, etc. FEXEXA's program encourages participants to embrace the cultural differences inherent in the foreign country of their choice.
There are 40 countries to choose from. English speaking hosts are available in all countries. This is not a home exchange.
FEXEXA's scheduling is flexible, available throughout the year, including major holidays. Participants have access to FEXEXA's local organizers who select the hosts and are on call 24/7. You can choose stays from one week and longer. There are three different categories: standard, superior or luxury. Prices are not published but available from Louise Harber.
FEXEXA or 786/216-7302.
Delta Hotels and Resorts Fall Rewards
|Delta Hotels and Resorts, Air Canada and Aeroplan offer a promotion and contest providing members who stay at any Delta hotel or resort with 15 per cent off their Air Canada Tango and Tango Plus airfare to any destination in Canada. You also have the opportunity to win one of several weekly prizes of 250,000 Bonus Aeroplan miles and a Toyota Venza. Aeroplan Members will earn Aeroplan Miles with every stay in addition to qualifying for the weekly prize. The Delta Fall Rewards promotion is available to Delta Privilege members, who stay with Delta Hotels and Resorts through Nov. 30, 2012.
To qualify, you must book your hotel stay at a qualifying rate, which is any rate except Air Crew and those booked through booking channels such as Hotwire.com and Priceline.com. You must be a Delta Privilege loyalty member, which you can join for free, and an Aeroplan member to earn Aeroplan Miles. Air Canada discount codes will be issued immediately when you receive your hotel booking confirmation via e-mail. A cancellation fee is included if you cancel your hotel stay prior to using the Air Canada discount.
Travelers who input their Aeroplan number when booking will automatically be entered for the chance to win one of the weekly prize draws of 250,000 Aeroplan Miles each. The winners will be determined at the end of each week. You also have the chance to win a Toyota Venza which will be drawn at the end of the promotional period.
The promotion and contest are valid on new bookings only, and are open only to Canadian residents. The Air Canada discount promotional code must be booked and completed by Feb. 13, 2013.
No purchase is necessary. The approximate total retail value of the prize excluding the Aeroplan Miles is approximately $33,000. Aeroplan Miles have no monetary value.
Delta Hotels and Resorts Fall Rewards.
Stay at Marriott, Pay with Visa Promotion
|Marriott Rewards members who book a weekend stay and pay using their Visa Card will be entered to win one of four Super Bowl XLVII Experience packages or one of 1,000 $100 NFLShop.com gift cards.
Stays must take place by Dec. 15, 2012 to be eligible. The sweepstakes is open to Marriott Rewards members who are legal residents of the 50 United States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico who are at least 18 years old or the age of majority in their state/jurisdiction of residence, whichever is greater at the time of entry.
Each month, 250 gift cards will be given away.
One NFL Super Bowl XLVII Experience package will be randomly awarded each month. The package includes:
- Two tickets to Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, 2013 in New Orleans.
- Two tickets to Super Bowl XLVII Tailgate Party – a pre-game celebration on Feb. 3, 2013 with entertainment.
- Two tickets to the NFL Experience at the New Orleans Convention Center beginning Jan. 31, 2013.
- Two NFL Xtra tickets for the NFL Experience.
- One $200 NFLShop.com gift card.
- Four-night stay at the New Orleans Marriott hotel.
- Roundtrip coach air transportation for two to New Orleans.
- Roundtrip ground transportation for two to/from the airport.
- $3,000 check for the winner.
No purchase or payment is necessary to enter or win. Void where prohibited. For complete Official Rules, free method of entry, and eligibility send a SASE to Marriott rewards & Visa Super Bowl Sweeps, 100 Marcus Drive (Dept MV), Melville, NY 11747. Vermont residents may omit return postage.
Marriott Rewards & Visa Super Bowl Sweeps and official rules.
Vacation Tips to Protect Your Valuables
|A recent survey conducted by Perfect Circle Jewelry Insurance, a product of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, found that more than one-quarter of people surveyed had lost a piece of jewelry while vacationing.
The survey of 600 married women in the United States also found that almost two-thirds of people bring or wear valuable jewelry while on vacation. The most common place people left their jewelry was in the room safe, which is the best option next to wearing your jewelry and keeping it with you at all times. But almost one-quarter of people left pieces of jewelry in their luggage, which is not advisable when it comes to protecting your favorite diamond earrings or new pearl bracelet.
So whether you're a jet-setter or weekend road-tripper, here are some helpful safety tips from Perfect Circle Jewelry Insurance by Jewelers Mutual:
Choose wisely. Pack light and take only the jewelry you'll wear while traveling and at your destination. Don’t take the four-carat diamond ring you save for special occasions and bring the pearls that go with everything.
Make a list. List all the jewelry you'll take with you. Make two copies. Take one copy with you and store it separately from your jewelry. Leave the other copy at home. Also helpful: take pictures or a video of your jewelry.
Carry it on. Never put jewelry in checked bags. Instead, wear it or stow it in your carry-on bag. If you wear it, take extra care by slipping a pendant inside a sweater or turning your ring so only the band shows.
Keep it with you. Put your jewelry in a favorite bag you'll carry while traveling. Don't leave your jewelry in an unattended car or suitcase. When checking into your hotel or condo, don't hand your jewelry bag to hotel staff. Carry it personally.
Use the safe. Always store jewelry in the in-room safe when you're not wearing it.
Insure it right. Perfect Circle Jewelry Insurance provides personal jewelry protection against loss, damage, theft and mysterious disappearance wherever your travels take you, worldwide.
Perfect Circle Jewelry Insurance.
100,000 Bonus Miles for Trans-Atlantic Travel
|Members of the American Airlines AAdvantage program who travel roundtrip between the U.S. or Canada and Europe can earn AAdvantage bonus miles through Jan. 31, 2013, for travel on first class, business class or select economy class fares.
To participate in the bonus miles offer, register prior to travel and use promotion code AAEUR.
American's joint business relationship with British Airways and Iberia, allows members to earn bonus miles when flying on any of the three carriers during the promotion.
After three roundtrips, you earn a total of 100,000 bonus miles. Each additional roundtrip rewards you with 50,000 miles, and there is no limit to the number of bonus miles that can be earned during the promotion.
Number of Roundtrips 1 Bonus Miles for Roundtrip Travel 15,000
Number of Roundtrips 2 Bonus Miles for Roundtrip Travel 35,000
Number of Roundtrips 3 (or more) Bonus Miles for Roundtrip Trave l50,000
American is hosting a "Spotlight on London" feature. The site includes useful travel information about activities, events and attractions in London, a key international destination served by all three airlines.
Mississippi "Coast is Clear" Promotion
|Get more bang for your buck on the Mississippi Gulf Coast courtesy of a new “The Coast is Clear” special. Book a two-night stay at one of 19 participating hotels, condos, or bed and breakfast properties and get a third night free. Rates start from $65 per night. The Coast is Clear promotion is available into December, with some offers available into 2013.
A complete list of participating properties is available online, along with booking codes. Some blackout dates and restrictions apply.
Reservations can be made by calling the individual properties, with several properties allowing reservations through the Mississippi Hotel & Lodging Association’s reservations line, 888/388-1006.
Claremont Hotels Extend 'Discover Claremont' Packages
|The Claremont, CA tourism board extends its "Discover Claremont" package through Dec. 30, 2012.
The "Discover Claremont" package includes a one-night stay and $100 in Claremont gift cards redeemable at more than 100 participating retailers, including shops, day spas and salons, and restaurants and pubs.
A limited number of "Discover Claremont" packages are available on a first-come, first-served basis through Dec. 30, 2012, if you book directly through participating Claremont hotels, including:
- Hotel Casa 425, 909/624-2272 – One night in a Courtyard King or Deluxe King room; VIP Guest Card to Lounge 425 with 15 percent off food and drinks; breakfast for two; free parking, Internet and bicycles to borrow; and $100 in Claremont gift cards. For November and December, package cost is $205, Sunday through Thursday, and $230, Friday and Saturday; subject to availability.
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Claremont, 909/626-2411 – One night in a King or Double-bedded room; free entry to the PianoPiano dueling piano lounge; breakfast for two; free parking and Wi-Fi; cookies upon arrival; and $100 in Claremont gift cards. Package cost starts at $199; subject to availability.
A complete list of Claremont merchants participating in the gift card promotion can be found online.
Free Night w/Airfare Credit at Round Hill
|Round Hill Hotel and Villas, outside Montego Bay, Jamaica, offers a $200 airfare credit and fourth-night free when booking a three-night consecutive stay on-property. With increased seasonal airline service from major gateways in the US, you now have an added incentive to experience Round Hill Hotel and Villas.
Through Dec. 15, 2012, you can take advantage of Round Hill’s ‘Fall Escape’ offer. Book three nights and you receive a fourth night free, plus airfare credit of $200.
Rates for the ‘Fall Escape’ package start at $459 per night based on double occupancy. Booking code is FE4.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas is on a 110-acre peninsula west of Montego Bay, Jamaica. Accommodations include 36 Ralph Lauren-designed oceanfront rooms, 90 villa rooms and suites or a selection of 27 private two to six bedroom villas – most with private pools. Other highlights include open-air terrace dining, family programs, an infinity pool, tennis courts, and an Elemis spa in a restored 18th century plantation house.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas or 800/972-2159.
AdventureSmith Discounts on Antarctic Cruises
|AdventureSmith Explorations, the active travel company, reports deep discounts in cruises to Antarctica this coming season. Deals are over when they are sold out.
Following are programs discounted up to 30 percent and others offering charter air savings. Small cruise vessels that ply these southern waters vary in capacity from 110 to 189 passengers.
At a 30 percent discount, Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Cruise is geared toward the traveler interested in actively exploring away from the ship - kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing, camping, mountaineering, scuba diving and photography workshops. Departure are Nov. 22 to Dec. 3, 2012 and Dec. 3 to 13, 2012. The per person (double occupancy) rate before the discount begins at $8,050.
The Antarctica Peninsula with South Shetlands Cruise comes with a 30 percent discount aboard a research vessel that gets up close and personal with the land of snow and ice. Departures are Dec. 3 to 13, 2012, and Dec. 23 to Jan. 1, 2012/13. The per person (double) rate before the discount is from $8,050.
Mawson’s Antarctica offers a discount of up to 15 percent or no single supplement. Beginning and ending in New Zealand, this 19-day expedition’s departure dates are Dec. 20 to Jan 7, 2013, and Jan. 7 to 25, 2013. The person (double) rate before the discount is from $17,430.
Antarctica Air Cruise is a whale photo safari with a $1,500 per person air credit for a Dec. 7 to 13, 2012 departure. The per person (double) rate is from $10,800.
National Geographic the White Continent is a journey with Lindblad Expeditions that comes with a $1,400 air credit or a $700 air credit and two free days in Buenos Aires. Departures are Nov. 27 to Dec. 10, 2012, and Dec. 7 to 20, 2012. The per person (double) rate is from $11,740.
AdventureSmith Explorations or 800/728-2875.
Off-Season Value at Grand Isle Resort & Spa
|Give yourself an early present and get 30 percent off on one to four bedroom villas at Grand Isle Resort & Spa, on the shores of Emerald Bay on Great Exuma, Bahamas.
Available for reservations of three or more consecutive days through Dec. 18, 2012, the value villa rates can be booked, along with airfare. All villa configurations are eligible for the off-season prices.
Grand Isle has added enhancements to the resort, including expanding the al fresco dining room and bar and modernizing the kitchen. In-villa dining is offered for a more intimate experience.
The ocean front resort in a gated community consists of 78 one- to four-bedroom villas that range from 1,250 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft. Villas offer a fully equipped kitchen, living area, and views. Getting around the resort is quick as every villa is equipped with a personal golf cart. Free high-speed wireless internet is available.
Grand Isle Resort & Spa or 866/380-5213.
Kids Ski Free at Keystone Resort
|Keystone Resort in Keystone, CO, takes its kid-friendly programming to a new level. Throughout the 2012-2013 winter season, children 12 and under will ski/snowboard for free. Keystone Resort opens on Nov. 2, 2012.
Keystone's Kids Ski Free program removes the red tape and fine print, allowing all children 12 years of age and under to ski and snowboard free every day, all season. The program has no blackout dates and is available on all weekends and holidays. To qualify, families must stay two or more nights in one of Keystone's owned and operated accommodation options, from luxury hotel rooms to ski-in/ski-out condominiums. There are no restrictions on the number of children per adult. Reservations must be booked through Keystone Resort.
Keystone's lodging is serviced by in-resort transportation making getting to ski school, dinner or the lift easier than ever. Small touches keep families in mind, from a treasure chest for kids to choose from at check-in to wagons that ease gear transportation from parking lots to throughout the Village areas.
This season, an enhanced resort experience includes the Kidtopia program that will expand to daily animation and entertainment all winter long. Featuring activities and events including the third installment of the World's Largest Snowfort, street performers in the resort's Village centers, kids' apres gatherings, a weekly Kidtopia parade, on-ice dance parties at the resort's two ice skating rinks, and the Snowed-In Festival. Kidtopia gives Mom and Dad a break with free entertainment options for kids.
Keystone's dining outlets offer family options including Der Fondue Chessel, a Bavarian-themed restaurant accessed by an enchanting two-gondola ride. For an old-West flavor, Keystone's horse-drawn sleigh ride dinners offer a glimpse of what the first settlers in Summit County experienced.
On the lesson front, Camp Keystone offers a different take on the traditional Ski School program that includes a guarantee of the same instructor for any child booking three or more days of lessons. Camp Keystone offers a designated lift and teaching area, special theme days and instructional techniques that incorporate games to keep children engaged on-snow longer. Learning can be a family affair with Keystone's Mom, Dad and Me Lesson, a private lesson for the family that includes instruction for Mom and Dad to aid in continued progression of their children's skills.
Keystone Resort or 877/204-7889.
Villa del Palmar Three Air-Inclusive Packages
|Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto offers three new air-inclusive packages to Loreto, Mexico, with air travel by Alaska Airlines. Packages will sell through Apr. 30, 2013. Space is limited, so early booking is encouraged.
The Grand Loreto Adventure, Experience Loreto and Reach for the Stars packages, available as three night packages with extra night options, highlight the Loreto region and Villa del Palmar. Packages start from $789 per person based on double occupancy, plus taxes.
The packages include airfare by Alaska Airlines to Loreto via Los Angeles and originate from multiple destinations including Seattle; Portland; Vancouver, B.C.; the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles area.
Grand Loreto Adventure Package - In addition to airfare and hotel charges, the package includes guided participation in unlimited scuba diving, fishing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking and a boat tour of the Islands of Loreto. Prices start at $1,220 per person, based on double occupancy, plus taxes.
Experience Loreto Package – Explore the Loreto area on your own. This package includes airfare, hotel and taxes, plus all of the standard amenities at the resort. Prices start at $789 per person based on double occupancy, plus taxes.
Reach for the Stars Package – This all-inclusive package includes meals and beverage service with access to the resort's three restaurants, and access to the resort’s swimming pools and facilities. Prices start at $966 per person based on double occupancy, plus taxes.
The Islands of Loreto are on the east coast of the Baja California Peninsula on the Sea of Cortez. The region is known as a place to enjoy the authentic culture of the region without the commotion of heavily-trafficked Mexican destinations.
Villa del Palmar or 866/209-0726.
Lake Tahoe & Lake Las Vegas Fall Savings
|Aston Hotels & Resorts offer fall savings at two of their properties. At both properties, some date and/or category restrictions may apply. The offers are subject to availability and cannot be combined with other promotions. Rates do not include taxes and fees.
Aston Lakeland Village - the condominium resort fronts the south shore of Lake Tahoe. Stay in a lodge deluxe studio from $95 per night when you book and travel by Dec 21, 2012. The regular rate is $175 per night. Lakeland Village is spread across 19 acres of woods and trails. There is an undisclosed daily resort fee that provides in-room internet access, in-room coffee and tea, pool towel service and use of the fitness center.
Aston MonteLago Village Resort is the Mediterranean themed resort near Las Vegas. The condominium resort features suites and views of Lake Las Vegas. Fall rates are $95 per room, per night for a Luna di Lusso studio compared to the regular rate of $126 per night. Book and travel by Dec. 21, 2012. There is an undisclosed daily resort fee that provides in-room internet access, in-room coffee and tea, pool towel service and use of the fitness center.
Aston Hotels & Resorts or 877/997-6667.
Free Central Coast Guide
|Want to know what to do in San Luis Obispo County, CA, such as where to sky dive on the beach, contribute bubble gum on an ever changing alley wall or visit a lavender farm?
A new guide called “101 Reasons to Exit Highway 101 on the Central Coast” gives you a heads-up on great finds and local secrets.
Available from Martin Resorts and its five properties in the area, the hotel company’s employees have long provided tips on things to do within walking distance, picnic spots, where Fido is welcome and seasonal events.
“101 Reasons to Exit Highway 101” is free online and at each Martin Resort hotel; in Pismo Beach at Pismo Lighthouse Suites, Best Western Plus Shore Cliff Lodge and Best Western Plus Shelter Cove Lodge, in Avila Beach at the Avila Lighthouse Suites, and in downtown Paso Robles at the historic Paso Robles Inn. Each hotel has a short list of nearby favorites.
Some of the information included: bicycling trails; wine, champagne and beer tasting rooms; docent-led lighthouse tours; disc-golf courses or original bowling alleys. Many of the suggestions are free and there are more than two dozen aimed at travelers with children.
The list also includes local foodie favorites and advice, such as Old West Cinnamon Rolls (get there early, they sell out), clam chowder at Splash Café, and Doc Bernstein’s Ice Cream Lab in Pismo Beach, where it’s “all-you-can eat” of five house-made flavors on Tuesday evenings.
Sandals Resorts 65% Off Offer
|Sandals Resorts, with properties throughout the Caribbean, offers discounts of 65 percent off. They are all-inclusive resorts cater to honeymooners and families.
To receive the 65 percent off, you must book by Dec. 31, 2012, for travel to any of their resorts before Dec. 31, 2013. For example, at the Emerald Bay in Exuma, Bahamas, you save from $270 per night, per person and get up to $555 in air credit. At the Royal Plantation, in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, the discounted rate is $286 per night, per person and up to $325 in air credit. At the Grande St. Lucian, in Castries, St. Lucia, the rate is $261 per person, per night and a $325 air credit.
Sandals honors military members for their service by giving them an additional 10 percent off those current promotions. If you are a firefighter and a member of the International Association of Firefighters member, you also receive an additional 10 percent off this promotion. Blackout dates apply.
Vacation Express Cancun Summer Charters
|From Feb. 17, through May 12, 2013 Vacation Express will offer Atlanta to Cancun non-stop champagne flights every Sunday, with air only and complete vacation packages available.
Sunwing Airlines will operate the flights through May 12, 2013 with B737-800 aircraft and include in-flight service and amenities with a "bon voyage" glass of champagne, hot towel service, choice of hot meal or snacks with wine, non-alcoholic beverages and special kids' amenities.
AeroMexico will operate the charter service May 19, 2013 through Aug. 4, 2013. Passengers on AeroMexico will receive meal service, free bar and free headsets. You may upgrade to first class for $75 each way. One free bag per person (up to 44 lbs) is free on both airlines.
And on May 26, 2013, Vacation Express will offer seasonal service from New Orleans to Cancun. Flights will be operated by AeroMexico and depart Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) on Sundays.
The Vacation Express service and the Sunday to Sunday pattern is ideal for the summer honeymoon market. Flight times include early afternoon departures and late morning returns, allowing plenty of time to regroup before heading back to work the next day.
The two hour flight includes light snack service, a free bar and free headsets. Passengers in coach can free check one bag (max 44 lbs.) while those in first class are permitted two free bags. Passengers may upgrade to first class for $75 each way.
The program, which you can book online at vacationexpress.com or through their call center, will run from May 26 through Aug. 4, 2013. The best package vacation deals are available with early booking deals for travel through 2013, including summer vacation travel dates. Complete vacation packages with all-inclusive hotel for seven nights and roundtrip air are available from $799 per person. Price includes all taxes and fees.
Vacation Express or 800/309-4717.
CityPASS Winter Special
|City Pass, the company that packages discounted admission tickets to the top attractions in major North American destinations, offers a Winter Special that lengthens the CityPASS program's traditional nine-day validity period.
Beginning Dec. 15, 2012, purchase or activate previously purchased CityPASS ticket booklets for New York City, Seattle, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia and Hollywood and you will have up to 76 days (until Feb. 28, 2013) to redeem the included attraction tickets (one use per individual ticket). Typically, once the first admission ticket in a booklet is redeemed, you have nine days to use the remaining attraction tickets. Winter Special, however, waives the nine-day rule, extending the usage period considerably.
In addition to giving you more time to use the passes at attractions, CityPASS ticket booklets save you up to 50 percent off the cost of purchasing the attraction tickets separately. CityPASS ticket booklets save time, allowing you to bypass most main-entrance ticket lines.
While visitors find CityPASS ticket booklets to be a good deal, the expanded Winter Special usage period makes the pass attractive to locals.
CityPASS ticket booklets can be purchased online or at any of the participating attractions. Customers who purchase — or start using a previously purchased CityPASS ticket booklet — for the participating cities on or after Dec. 15, 2012, will have until Feb. 28, 2013, to use the included admission tickets. For travel starting Feb. 20, 2013, or later, the normal nine-day validity period will apply. Each attraction admission ticket included in a CityPASS booklet may be used for only one admission to the respective attraction.
The cities participating in the 2012 CityPASS Winter Special include:
New York CityPASS Cost: $89 adult, $64 youth (6-17) Savings: 46 percent
Included Attractions: Empire State Building Observatory, American Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Top of the Rock observation deck or Guggenheim Museum, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise.
Seattle CityPASS Cost: $69 adult, $44 child (4-12) Savings: 46 percent
Included Attractions: Space Needle, Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, Pacific Science Center, EMP Museum, and Woodland Park Zoo or The Museum of Flight.
Houston CityPASS Cost: $39 adult, $29 child (3-11) Savings: 45 percent
Included Attractions: Space Center Houston (NASA), Aquarium, Museum of Natural Science, the Houston Zoo or The Health Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts or the Children's Museum.
Boston CityPASS Cost: $46 adult, $29 child (3-11) Savings: 49 percent
Included Attractions: Aquarium, Museum of Science, Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center; Museum of Fine Arts; and the Harvard Museum of Natural History or RevolutionaryBoston at the Old State House.
Philadelphia CityPASS Cost: $59 adult, $39 child (2-12)Savings: 50 percent
Included Attractions: The Franklin Institute, Adventure Aquarium, Phila Trolley Works Tour & The Big Bus Company, Zoo, National Constitution Center or The Academy of Natural Sciences, and Eastern State Penitentiary or Please Touch Museum.
Hollywood CityPASS Cost: $59 adult, $39 child (3-11) Savings: 46 percent
Included Attractions: Starline Movie Stars' Homes Tour, Madame Tussauds, Red Line Tours' "Hollywood Behind-the-Scenes" Tour, and the Dolby Theatre Guided Tour or The Hollywood Museum.
Book Med Cruise Packages by Dec. 31 for Savings
|For next spring and summer TourCrafters offers Mediterranean cruises with pre and post land packages. If you book by Dec. 31, 2012, you’ll get an Early-Bird discount. To check all the packages at TourCrafters web page, click “Deal of the Week.”
The 13-night “Italian Southern Splendor and Mediterranean Odyssey” cruise starts with three days in Rome, then a cruise on the Sovereign to Livorno (Pisa or Florence), Villefranche on the French Riviera, Barcelona, Tunisia, Naples and a four-star hotel stay in Sorrento or Amalfi Cost: from $2,129 per person with savings of $539.
The 14-night “Spain and the Islands of Legends,” package starts with two nights in Madrid, then Andalucia and Valencia by rental car, a cruise to Malaga (Costa del Sol), Sardinia, Rome, Corsica, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona for two nights. This starts at $2,299, with a discount of $495.
Both of these prices and discounts are for the least expensive cabin on the ship. Discounts can be up to $1,769 for the Grand Suite, with a verandah, king-size bed, sofa bed, and mini-bar.
For those with deeper pockets, TourCrafters offers yacht cruises with land packages. On the new 223-foot yacht Variety Voyager, you’ll visit Nice, St. Tropez, Corsica, Elba, Portovenere (Cinque Terre), Portofino, Monte Carlo, three nights in Nice and a train trip to Paris. The Early-Bird price for the first passenger on this “Paris, Provence and Riviera” package is $4,530. The price for the second is $3,035, for a saving of $1,495 per couple.
The package from Venice includes three nights in a four-star hotel and an Adriatic cruise for a discount of $1,113. The package from Athens cruises around the Aegean Islands and Peloponnese with a land-tour of Athens, Delphi and Meteora’s “perched” monasteries with a discount of $1,345.
All prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and are subject to availability. Prices do not include air fare (available on request), shore excursions, gratuities, port charges or city tax (to be paid in euros directly to the hotels).
TourCrafters or 800/482-5995.
Checking Out the Allegheny National Forest Region by Nicki Chodnoff.
Photos courtesy of the Allegheny National Forest Convention and Visitors Bureau
|The Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania is more than a half million acres of recreational opportunities, scenic views and hidden treasures. If you want to meander around or blaze your own trails, then the Allegheny Forest is the place for you. Besides the wild life where wild turkey, deer, and bald eagles taken up residence, the region offers endearing small towns, engaging places to stay and eat plus stimulating things to do and see. Importantly, all this adds up to a place where you can get away from life’s hustle and bustle. Here are a few of the many things to do and see.
The rusted beauty of the Sky Walk at Kinzua Bridge State Park, in Mt. Jewett, PA, built as a railroad viaduct in 1882, was nearly destroyed when a tornado blew down 11 of 20 towers in 2003. After an extensive renovation, the “bridge” with a pedestrian walkway on the remaining towers of the old bridge reopened as a state park. The Sky Walk pedestrian walkway will remind you why the structure was once billed as the eighth wonder of the world. It perches atop six now repaired towers and concludes with a reinforced-glass view of the valley below. You can enjoy spectacular vistas of treetops and hills in the park that also offers picnic areas, hiking and camping.
When built in 1882, the Kinzua railroad bridge sped trains loaded with coal and timber to market. At 301 feet above the valley, 24 1/2 feet taller than the Brooklyn Bridge towers, the bridge negotiated a 2,053-foot chasm of wooded splendor. Commercial railroad traffic ruled six days a week. But on Sundays pleasure riders came from all over to experience the tracks across the sky.
The old Pennsylvania Railroad Depot was constructed in 1873 and an extension was added in 1890. It now serves as the Kane Railroad Depot and Museum, 1 South Fraley Street, and preserves the transportation heritage of Kane, PA with documents and photos. Art Works at the Depot, an artist co-operative, showcases regional art at the depot, with more than 20 local artists offering oil paintings, water colors, pencil, photography, jewelry, fine wood products carved locally and sculptures. Locally manufactured Holgate Toys are also for sale. The depot is open late spring through Christmas. The Kane Depot is the oldest surviving commercial building in Kane, PA and one of two existing buildings that the town's founder, General Thomas L. Kane, is sure to have been in.
Flickerwood Wine Cellars 309 Flickerwood Rd., Kane, PA 16735-3915 814/837-7566. The only winery in McKean County is a hop, skip and jump from the Kane Railroad Depot and Musem. The wine lounge was open in spring 2007 and hosts dinners, concerts and other events throughout the year. Meander through the gift shop, leisurely sample some wine and enjoy a tour of the winery. Each year the winery hosts a spring and fall festival with music, vendors, food and wine.
Old Jail Museum and library in Smethport, PA is the former McKean County Jail. The building is an artifact as it is the County’s oldest building, built in 1875 and used until 1990. One of the quirkier exhibits is a photograph of Thomas L. Kane, as he made medical surgical history in 1921. As Chief Surgeon at Kane Summit Hospital he removed his own appendix demonstrating that major surgery could be performed with local anesthesia and ether.
Rock City Park in Olean NY draws people with its beautiful scenery and amazing stories. In prehistoric times, Rock City Park was the ocean floor where river and delta sediments deposited on the eroded surface of Devonian shales. The crevices that attract visitors formed when North Africa collided with the Northeastern United States in the Permian Period to form the world's largest exposure of quartz conglomerate also called Pudding Stone. The rock has been dated as older than 320 million years and the quartz is at least half a billion years old.
When you enter the park, you are on top of a large, flat surface that provides a magnificent scenic overlook to the valley and surrounding hills. Narrow steps at Fat Man’s Squeeze descend into a crevice where park paths wind around rock edges or go underneath natural bridges for about three quarters of a mile.
As you walk around, through and besides different boulder formations that may be several stories high with whimsical shapes, you’ll notice the coolness in the narrow passages that block the sun. Each rock formation has a story, such as the always scary to see "Balancing Rock" which is a large, 1,000 ton boulder that balances upon another rock. Hamburger Rock is hamburger shaped.
Rock City Park opened in the late 1800's. Tourists from all over came to marvel at the rock formations odd curiosity. Walking the park can take around an hour if you're in good enough shape. Count on more time as you can easily become absorbed in the park’s natural beauty. Rock City Park is open May through October, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Around 1900, there were 73 cutlery manufacturers between Bradford, PA and Springfield, NY. Fast forward to the early 2000s and one of the few survivors is Olean, NY’s Cutco KaBar. The makers of cutlery knives and scissors that can cut through pennies have their Cutco KaBar Visitors Center at 1040 East State Street, 716/790-7000, while nearby Bradford, PA is home to the 15,000-square-foot Zippo/Case Factory and Museum with its array of collectible pinup and World War II–era Zippo lighters.
While you can’t see the production line where people and machines make knives, the Visitors Center has photos and displays about the history of Cutco and KaBar and the knife-making process. Plus you can buy Cutco products here and take advantage of the latest specials. You can also bring your Cutco products and have them sharpened, serviced or replaced, if necessary, for free. The only charge is the cost of shipping them back to you.
It seems Cutco/KaBar fans make going to the Visitors Centre a pilgrimage, making a point to stop by when traveling in this part of the world. Yes, a number bring in assorted knives to sharpen with the intent of stopping by again to pick them up on their journey home. Even more, people stop by to see and touch the new products, assessing how they feel in their hands as they grip the newest model.
The Zippo Lighter Visitors Center in Bradford, PA caters to Zippo collectors by displaying many of their favorites in what could be a lighter shrine. It is a tribute to George G. Blaisdell, "the Zippo man," who became intrigued by an ugly Austrian lighter, modified the design, and named it "Zippo" in honor of the zipper (one of his favorite inventions). Aside from its collectible status, Zippos light things. The other big draw is the observation window into "Zippo Clinic," where sick Zippos are sent by distraught owners and examined by technicians. The company's pledge, "It works or we fix it free," is taken seriously. Glass cases display Zippos that couldn't be fixed. The labels beneath each tells the story of its demise: "power mower," "logging truck," "bulldozer," or "railroad train." The Visitors Center also pays tribute to Case knife products.
Eldred World War II Museum, 201 Main Street, Eldred, PA 16731, 814/225-2220. This fascinating museum seems to warp time. You are there for what seems like 15 minutes when in fact nearly an hour has passed. During World War II, weapons fueling the Allies' military might came from this northwestern Pennsylvania town near the New York border.
The museum, opened in 1996, is dedicated to the people who worked in the British and American munitions plant and who served overseas during the World War II. The plant employed 1,500 people, working 24 hours a day, from January 1942 to May 1945. It churned out eight million bombs, mortar shells and fuses supporting the war effort. Of those 1,500 employees, 95 percent were women.
The Eldred World War II Museum is located on land owned by George Roudebush, on which the munitions plant operated. The museum’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history of World War II and commemorate the 40 million Americans that supported the 16 million fighting soldiers. It also wants the present and future generations to understand the lessons of World War II.
The Lower Level features exhibits with war-time artifacts. The time line starts with World War I as the prelude to World War II. It explains about the rise of the Nazis, the attack at Pearl Harbor, the Home Front, the Soviet-German War and a Diorama of Kursk, the largest armored battle of the war. Artifacts include a German Sturmgewehr 44, the precursor to the modern assault rifle, a Russian uniform and decorations, a Civil Defense helmet and brochures, rations and various other items.
An entire gallery is devoted to Charleroi, PA native Mitchell J. Paige, a Marine and Medal of Honor recipient. Paige received the Medal of Honor when he and 30 men battled 3,000 Japanese ground troops on the island of Guadalcanal and held Henderson Field, a strategic air strip. Mitchell Paige Hall features many of Paige's war souvenirs and personal items including his dress whites and his Medal of Honor.
The European and Pacific theaters are highlighted in multiple displays throughout the museum. A section on the Eastern Front details the conflict between Russia and Germany that would become the largest front of the war.
Highlights include a submarine display with an authentic World War II periscope, and the "Tank Mountain" interactive display with two remote-controlled tanks. Two people can compete to see who can get their tank up the hill to the castle first. The life-size European command post includes a desk, typewriter, radio switchboard and potbellied stove. Such posts, set up behind military lines, allowed military leaders to receive information about battles through radio communication.
Jack Bell’s Meats and Poultry, 401 North Fraley Street, Kane, PA 16735, 814/837-7321. This place is worth a stop if only to speak with owner Jack. This roadside market is Jack’s shrine to handmade sausage where 15 varieties are available including Korv ( a Swedish beef and pork sausage) in this former Swedish settlement. Homemade is their mantra and if you want a snack or take home some rarely available goodies this is the place. There’s also smoked cheese, leek dip, hillbilly bacon and homemade pickled herring. The place has been a local fixture for 40 plus years.
Westline Inn is a quaint restaurant in Westline, PA, hidden in the Allegany National Forest. It feels like the middle of nowhere, and you won’t discover the restaurant by chance as Westline Pennsylvania wouldn’t register into our GPS. It is easily accessed from Smethport, PA so be sure to get good directions. The ambiance of the main dining room is back woods cabin with lots of mounted animals on the wall and the lighting is low. The food is about as good as you can get in this corner of the world and service is good though relaxed so you may wait about 45 minutes to get your main course.
Texas Hot Lunch in Kane, PA, 24 Field St. 814/837-8122. This fourth generation restaurant and community gathering place has been a landmark since 1919. The original building was rolled on logs to its current location. You’re bound to meet locals and former Kane residents when they come back to visit. The menu features lots of Greek specialties and American favorites including their Texas Hot, a hot dog which dates back to 1914 that the restaurant is noted for. Something like a chili dog, the Texas Hot includes mustard, onions and a sauce something like chili sauce.
Mansion District Inn, 905 West Main Street, Smethport, PA 814/887-5107. This 1890s Grande Dame beauty is elegant, charming yet homey and comfortable. Owners Ross and Jovanna are the consummate hosts attending to your every need. When you walk through the door, chances are you’ll get a history of the house and a tour of the completely restored mansion. Beautiful antique furnishings make every room museum quality and you are immersed in the opulence of days gone by. Fans of taxidermy will be especially thrilled. Bed rooms and suites offer all the new world creature comforts. The three-course breakfast served in the magnificent dining room is outstanding and you experience the Victorian version of morning radio, caged songbirds in the sunroom singing up a storm.
Mountain Laurel Inn, 136 Jackson Ave. Bradford, PA is a delightful Victorian bed and breakfast located in a mansion built by an oil speculator in 1894. This tastefully decorated, seven-room inn is worth a visit. Eating a homemade breakfast in the wood-paneled dining room and spreading orange marmalade on an English muffin will make you swear off the breakfast buffets at chain motels.
Allegheny National Forest Convention and Visitors Bureau or 800/473-9370.
Ski Vacation Deals at Gunnison-Crested Butte
|With snow on the peaks, Colorado’s Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley focuses on the opening days of ski season at Crested Butte Nordic Center on Nov. 17 and Crested Butte Mountain Resort on Nov. 21, 2012. Gunnison-Crested Butte offers travel deals.
All skiers and snowboarders can ski free on opening day at Crested Butte Mountain Resort on Nov. 21, 2012, to launch the ski and ride season. Find lodging and lift tickets deals at properties throughout the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley here.
Here are several offers.
Ski Free with lodging packages at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) Nov. 21 through Dec. 19, 2012. Properties managed by Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Peak Properties, San Moritz Condominiums, Elk Mountain Lodge and Three Rivers Resort are among those offering Ski Free with Lodging deals.
The Gunnison Getaway package is available throughout the season. Prices are per adult, per night (including a lift ticket at Crested Butte Mountain Resort) at the 11 participating properties. Prices range from $36.50 early season and $61.50 regular season at Wanderlust Hostel to $74.50 early season and $99.50 regular season at Holiday Inn Express & Suites. Price is based on double occupancy with two adult lift tickets and does not include taxes. Young adult and children’s lift tickets can be purchased when booking the stay, and the cost for children and other additional occupants staying in the room may be extra.
Book a Crested Butte vacation for three or more people by Dec. 1, 2012, and every third airline ticket is free through the Friends & Family Fly Free package, 800/810-7669. A four-night minimum stay at a Crested Butte Mountain Resort managed property or WestWall Lodge is required. The offer is available only on flights arriving and departing from the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport (GUC). Travel must take place Dec. 13, 2012 through Apr. 1, 2013 (some blackout dates around the holidays and spring break). A maximum travel credit of $450 is allowed per free airline ticket, and the offer is limited to three free airline tickets per reservation. .
The Grandest Christmas package features four nights at Grand Lodge in Mt. Crested Butte, 800/600-2803, three days of skiing or riding, and Adventure Park access for tubing, mini golf, rock climbing and bungee trampolines at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The $999 package is for two adults and two children, ages 17 or younger, and is good for travel Dec. 14 to Dec. 23, 2012. This deal must be booked by Dec. 16, 2012, and is subject to availability. Fees and taxes are extra.
From Jan. 5 to Feb. 7, 2013, Old Town Inn, 888/349-6184, in Crested Butte offers two nights lodging and two days skiing for $238 per person, based on double occupancy. It includes breakfast and afternoon cookies. Rooms feature two queen beds. Additional nights and/or lift tickets are available. A four nights lodging, three days skiing package for $399 packages is also offered. Tax is not included.
At Elk Mountain Lodge, 800/374-6521, two nights lodging, two days skiing for $261 is available Jan. 13 to 31, 2013. This price is per person and based on double occupancy in a room with one queen bed or two twin beds. Packages include breakfast, and taxes are extra. Additional nights and/or lift tickets are available.
The free Mountain Express bus system travels between Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, dropping riders off at many stops including downtown Crested Butte, the visitor centers, Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Crested Butte Nordic Center. Gunnison Valley RTA runs a free bus route up to nine times a day between Gunnison, Almont, Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte (ski equipment is allowed but no baggage) during ski season.
Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association or 800/814-8893.
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