Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, March 2016 Issue
Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 877
Logan OH 43138
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright 2016
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff
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Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania
Free Nights in London When You Book Early
|Planning a trip to London next winter? With the Early Bird Sale you can score free nights. Get London Perfect’s free nights offer by booking a winter 2016 stay now. During the Early Bird Sale, you’ll receive free nights on bookings from Oct. 29, 2016 to Dec. 16, 2016, at participating apartments. The longer you stay the more free nights you'll get.
Planning in advance means you may also find cheaper airfare rates and get your first choice of London apartments before they're fully booked.
Here's how to get free nights in London:
- Book seven nights, pay for six, get one night free
- Book 14 nights, pay for 12, get two nights free
- Book 21 nights, pay for 18, get three nights free.
The free-nights promotion cannot be combined with other discounts and is subject to availability. You cannot backdate existing bookings to take advantage of the offer and the offer can be discontinued without prior warning.
Previous paying guests of Paris Perfect or London Perfect will get an extra one night free on a 21 night booking receiving four free nights when booking 21 or more nights.
London Perfect or 888/520-2087.
SuperShuttle and ExecuCar 2016 Winter Sale
|SuperShuttle, the nation's largest airport shared ride service and its black car service ExecuCar, offer 10 percent off all rides to and from more than 80 airports when booking online until Mar. 15, 2016.
The Winter Sale is available system-wide including some of SuperShuttle and ExecuCar's newest locations such as Salt Lake City. Go online to book.
This special offer on SuperShuttle allows you to earn airline points and miles on participating carriers including; American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta Air Lines SkyMiles, Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, and United Airlines MileagePlus.
SuperShuttle serves 40 airports and provides ExecuCar (sedan service) at all airports served by SuperShuttle. SuperShuttle is also available in Paris, France, Cancun and Los Cabos, Mexico. ExecuCar is available in 70 Airports.
Margaritaville Vacation Club Sweepstakes
|Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham, a primary consumer brand of Wyndham Vacation Ownership invites you to enter the "Winter Escape Sweepstakes" through Mar. 31, 2016. Prizes include weekly drawings for $100 Margaritaville gifts cards and one grand prize drawn after Mar. 31, 2016, a seven-night vacation package aboard the Norwegian Escape worth up to $8,000.
Enter the sweepstakes and complete an online entry form on the Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham website, where you can learn about the newest Margaritaville Vacation Club resorts.
The Winter Escape Sweepstakes is valid for legal residents of the contiguous continental United States, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas (USVI), the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. You must be 21 and older at the time of entry and no purchase is necessary. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.
Winter Escape Sweepstakes and Official Rules.
Tourist Cards in Italy
|Travel and explore the cultural heritage of the cities and regions of Italy with Tourist Cards. The cards offer discounts on museum and cultural offers, deals on public transport, and other discounts.
Some of the web pages are in Italian so you need to use your web translator. Here are some of the tourist cards available:
Abruzzo - Parco Naturale Majella - The Majella Card is the discount card for the Parco della Majella and is available in a Fidelity Card and Family Card version. The web page is in Italian. Use a translator.
Campania - Campania Arte Card - Gives access to art and culture sites in Naples and the Campania region (museums, archaeology, contemporary works, places of sacred art, underground tours and theatres) and use of the Unicocampania public transport system.
Emilia Romagna - The Romagna Visit Card is an access pass that guarantees free admission to 48 historic buildings and attractions plus discounts to amusement parks, shows and festivals.
Bologna Welcome Card – Discover the attractions for about $29. The card is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Bologna and the Municipality of Bologna. It offers eight hours' free admission to museums, a guided tour, BLQ shuttle bus, a daily bus ticket and special offers and discounts at restaurants, spas and shops.
Lazio - The OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card is a sightseeing pass that gives free entry to top attractions in Rome and the Vatican City with Fast Track Entry, a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, free guidebook and travelcard.
Liguaria - Genova Card Musei provides discounts at 21 city and communal, State and private museums. The musei+bus version offers free admission on urban transportation.
Lombardy – Milan - The tourist MilanoCard includes free public transport, a free personal driver and free entry or discounts at more than 500 Milan tourist attractions including 20 museums, tours, restaurants, hotels, shops and event tickets. Valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours MilanoCard lets you to do everything at a reduced cost and offers services in Lombardy, Rome, Florence and Venice for one month.
Marches - Carta Musei Marche - Lets you visit museums, archaeological sites and exhibitions in the region. It gives access to places of culture and discounts at partner shops. The annual fee is 30 euro (about $34) or 25 euro (about $28) if you are under 26 or over 65 years. A family card for 50 euros (about $56) is good two adults and any number of minors.
Piedmont - The Torino+Piemonte Card gives free entrance to museums where offered. You must show the card to get a ticket for free admission. The microchip card is automatically activated with the first swipe at a participating museums and is valid for 24, 48, 72 or 120 consecutive hours. The card is valid for an adult and one child under 12. A junior card is for young adults younger than 18.
Trentino-Alto Adige (South Tyrol) - Get your Trento Card for free at participating hotels. The card provides free admission to more than 40 museums, 15 castles and more than 40 attractions, free travel on public transportation including trains and discounts on 40 activities in Trentino.
Parco Card - is an electronic, pre-paid card to enjoy nature in the Parco Naturale Adamello Brenta, a national park, and discover local culture.
Tuscany – Firenzecard is the official museum pass of the City of Florence. It costs 72 euro, (about $81), is valid for 72 hours starting from the first entrance and it allows you to enter once into all the local museums of the Circuit and to visit permanent collections and temporary exhibitions. With the card you can get priority access to museums with no need to make reservations.
Umbria – Assisi - The 2 euro (about $2.50) Assisi Card gets you discounts to Assisi museums, restaurants, shopping, excursions to Mount Subasio, horseback riding, mountain biking, excursions to the cities of Umbria, taxi service or parking
Perugia Città Museo Card provides access to the city's most important cultural sites. It gives cardholders discounts on services throughout the city, reduced admission to temporary exhibits and events, discounts at shops and restaurants. The card can be purchased at participating museums and select hotels.
Veneto – Create a personalized Venezia Unica City Pass for you and your travelling companions which is valid up to two years after purchase. Choose what to purchase: public transportation tickets, entrance to major attractions and other services. Once you completed the online purchase, you will receive a voucher so you can collect your card when you arrive, at a sales location near you.
The Padova Card is valid 48 hours (cost: 16 euro about $18) or 72 (21 euros about $24) hours from the start date and hour that you specify at purchase. It is valid for one adult and a child under 14. It is non-transferable and you receive no refund if lost or stolen. It provides free or reduced admission to museums and cultural institutions, restaurants, accommodations, transportation, shopping and service. You must show the Padova Card when asked at attractions.
Verona Card - You can visit 15 museums, churches and monuments for free and receive discount entrance tickets five additional museums. The Verona Card gives you free city bus travel. The 24 hour card costs 18 euros (about $20) and the 48 hour card costs 22 euros (about $25). Your time starts when you show the card in a museum or on the bus. You can purchase the card in participating monuments, museums and churches and in tobacco shops and tourist information offices.
Italian Tourist Cards
Marriott Rewards' MegaBonus Promotion
|Marriott Rewards, Marriott International's loyalty program, launched its MegaBonus global promotion making it easier for members to earn bonus points through stays.
Through May 15, 2016, earn a free night after your second paid stay at 4,000 participating properties worldwide across 17 different brands. You can automatically unlock an additional offer after meeting the initial challenge, becoming eligible to earn bonus points on subsequent stays. Challenges will vary based on your activity.
Registration is required to participate in MegaBonus and must be completed by Apr. 15, 2016.
Marriott Rewards is free to join and has no blackout dates and you can earn and redeem points at Marriott International properties around the world and at Marriott Rewards exclusive partner the Ritz-Carlton. You can redeem points for frequent flyer miles, cruises, car rentals and merchandise.
32% off at Solage Calistoga
|Solage Calistoga, in Calistoga, CA, is a Napa Valley resort with a Michelin-star restaurant, spa, and a fleet of Mercedes Benz cars for your use.
The Soak up the Springs package costs $1,350 ($675 per night), based on double occupancy and is valid for travel through Mar. 31, 2016.
The package includes:
Two nights in a Studio room
Sparkling wine upon arrival
Two Mudslide treatments, which include a mud application, a hot springs soak, and sound chair session
Two signature Spa Solage massages
Dinner for two at Solbar restaurant
Breakfast for two every morning
Solage Calistoga or 866/942-7442.
Save on Mighty Mississippi Voyages
|Save up to $3,600 per stateroom on the new, full-length Mighty Mississippi voyages onboard the American Queen.
The offer expires Mar. 31, 2016, or when no qualifying cabins are available. It is valid on new, paid-in-full bookings with full payment at the time of booking. The offers are open to U.S. and Canadian residents only and not on group bookings or existing reservations. The offer cannot be combined with other promotions or discounts.
The promotional fares and amenities are capacity controlled, may vary by sailing and may be withdrawn without notice. Cruise fare does not include government taxes and fees, port charges, gratuities, airfare, insurance, personal expenditures, and transportation costs incurred while traveling to and from embarkation ports.
Save $3,600 per stateroom double occupancy on Cabin Category AAA for select 2016 American Queen voyage dates.
Save $2,200 per stateroom double occupancy on Cabin Category AA for select 2016 American Queen voyage dates.
Save $2,000 per stateroom double occupancy on Cabin Categories F or G for select 2016 American Queen voyage dates.
Save $1,600 per stateroom double occupancy on Cabin Category A for select 2016 American Queen voyage dates.
Solo travelers pay 125 percent single supplement.
American Queen Steamboat Company or 888/749-5280.
South African Surprise
|Indus Travel introduces South Africa’s most famous sights and lesser-known spots with its 14 night South African Surprise tour. Prices start at $1,595 per person.
The tour includes:
- 14 nights’ accommodations
- Transportation in air conditioned buses
- English speaking tour guide
- 14 breakfasts and four dinners
- Airport transfers and hotel porterage
- Kruger National Park Conservation Levy
- Taxes and surcharges
- International or domestic airfare
- Beverages with meals
- Items of a personal nature
- Optional tours
- Tips & gratuities
- Travel insurance and visas if applicable
Beginning in Johannesburg, the tour travels through the Lowveld to Hazyview where you can visit Kruger National Park in search of game. Next is Swaziland en-route to the coastal town of St. Lucia, another wildlife haven. Following the coast towards Durban, the tour then heads into the Drakensburg Mountains before returning to Port Elizabeth on the southern coast.
Departures on June 12, July 3, July 17 and Aug. 14, 2016 are $1595, per person based on double occupancy with a $650 single supplement.
Tour highlights include:
- A game drive in Kruger National Park
- World Heritage site of St. Lucia
- Leisure activities in the southern Drakensburg Mountains
- Towering rock formations in the Cango Caves
- Cape Town
Indus Travel or 866/978-2997.
New Orleans Power Pass
|New Orleans relaunched the New Orleans Power Pass for easy access to more than 25 of the city’s top attractions, museums, tours, and experiences.
The comprehensive city card eliminates standing in line to buy attraction tickets and is your fast track entry at top attractions where you can skip the lines at many attractions. The pass is your electronic ticket into more than 25 attractions and a free ticket to the Adventures in New Orleans Bus Tour.
The New Orleans Power Pass works through a scan and barcode system and becomes activated the first time of use at an attraction. Activate the pass first thing in the morning to get the most out of your pass usage as the pass works on consecutive calendar days and not 24 hours. So if you activate your pass at 5 p.m. that will count as day one of your pass. The passes are valid at each attraction once.
The pass has a smartphone- and tablet-friendly website. With the pass, you can see Louisiana white alligators at the Audubon Aquarium, visit Oak Alley Plantation, cook with the New Orleans School of Cooking and take a boat tour through the alligator-filled Manchac Swamp.
A one-day pass starts at $80.49 per adult and $49.49 for kids ages two to 12, with two-, three-, and five-day options.
New Orleans Power Pass or 800/490-9330.
Deccan Odyssey Train Early Bird Offer
|Deccan Odyssey, a luxury train in India operated by Cox & Kings Ltd., has an offer for journeys starting in October 2016. The offer must be booked by Apr. 30, 2016.
Each trip on the Deccan Odyssey explores India's diversity, locales and the discovery of timeless traditions.
The offer includes a seven-night journey for the price of six nights at $7,188 per couple, per journey, instead of $8,386. This includes a free 60-minute spa session for a couple. The train has been refurbished to reflect the changing needs of travelers.
Seven night itineraries:
- Maharashtra Splendour: (Mumbai - Nashik - Aurangabad (Ellora Caves) - Ajanta Caves - Kolhapur - Goa- Ratnagiri -Mumbai)
- Hidden Treasures of Gujarat: (Mumbai - Vadodara - Palitana - Sasan Gir - Little Rann of Kutch - Modhera (Patan) - Nashik - Mumbai)
- Indian Sojourn (Mumbai - Vadodara - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Agra - Sawai Madhopur - Jaipur - Delhi)
- Indian Odyssey (Delhi - Sawai Madhopur - Agra - Jaipur - Udaipur - Vadodara - Aurangabad (Ellora Caves) - Mumbai)
- Jewels of the Deccan (Mumbai - Bijapur - Aihole - Pattadakal - Hampi - Hyderabad - Ellora Caves - Ajanta Caves - Mumbai)
- Maharashtra Wild Trail (Mumbai - Ellora Caves - Aurangabad - Pench (Ramtek) - Tadoba - Ajanta - Nashik - Mumbai).
The Deccan Odyssey train includes features and amenities such as 24/7 Wi-Fi connectivity, cell phones and LCD TVs in every cabin, spa, gym, beauty salon, doctor on call, two restaurants and a bar.
New Stockholm Pass
|Sightseeing in Sweden's capital Stockholm becomes easier with the new Stockholm Pass which aims to provide 'the whole city with one card.'
Offering entry to more than 60 attractions, monuments and museums, plus boat and bus tours, the Stockholm Pass is the city's most comprehensive sightseeing product. Priced from 595 Swedish Krona (approximately $71) for a one-day adult pass, the Stockholm Pass includes a free guidebook to help you plan your visit.
The pass works on a scan-and-enter system, acting as a ticket into the city's attractions and tours. You can discover the history and culture of Stockholm while saving money, as the pass represents a discount on normal attraction and tour prices.
Featured attractions and tours include:
The Royal Palace, Vasa Museum, Royal Canal Boat Tour, Nobel Museum, Gröna Lund Tivoli Sweden's oldest amusement park, and SkyView a gondola to the top of the world's largest spherical building, the Ericsson Globe.
A feature of the Stockholm Pass is a hop-on, hop-off combination bus and boat ticket, which provides 24 hours of sightseeing on a range of bus and boat touring routes. With stops at many of the city's best-loved sites, this is ideal for visitors who want to see as much as possible in a limited time.
In addition to saving money pass holders save time, having the convenience of not having to pre-book or line up for tickets at any featured attraction or tour.
The Stockholm Pass is available as a one-, two- three- or five-day purchase, with prices as follows:
- 1-day Adult Pass: 595 Krona (approximately $71)
- 1-day Child Pass: 298 Krona ($36)
- 2-day Adult Pass: 795 Krona ($95)
- 2-day Child Pass: 398 Krona ($47)
- 3-day Adult Pass: 995 Krona ($118)
- 3-day Child Pass: 498 Krona ($59)
- 5-day Adult Pass: 1,295 Krona ($154)
- 5-day Child Pass: 648 Krona ($77)
Public transportation can be included at additional cost.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages Reduced Fares
|Experience the rugged and beautiful nature in Iceland. Cruise and Maritime Voyages offers discounts on cruises in the North Atlantic and Northern Isles.
Here are some of the discounts.
Iceland & Northern Isles, Cruise G614, 12 nights onboard the MS Magellan from Newcastle, England on Apr. 24, 2016. Was $4,649, now $1,369 per person.
Iceland & Northern Isles, Cruise G6D4, 12 Nights onboard the MS Magellan from Dundee Scotland on Apr. 25, 2016. Was $4,219, now $1,289 per person.
Iceland & Northern Isles, Cruise P614, 12 nights onboard the MS Marco Polo from Hull, England on June 4, 2016. Was $4,259, now $1,469 per person.
Iceland & Northern Isles, Cruise P616, 12 nights onboard the MS Marco Polo from Newcastle, England on June 22, 2016. Was $3,859, now $1,349 per person.
Iceland & Northern Isles, Cruise P620, 12 nights onboard the MS Marco Polo from Edinburgh, Scotland on July 29, 2016. Was $3,959, now $1,379 per person.
Offers apply to new bookings only and do not include travel cost such as airfare, transfers, and/or hotel. Offer is capacity controlled and may be withdrawn at any time. Rates do not include gratuities of approximately $8 per person, per night debited to on board account.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages or 855/206-4897.
Emerald Waterways 2017 River Cruise at 2016 Prices
|Emerald Waterways, is accepting bookings for the 2017 river cruise season. Save with an early booking offer. Book any 2017 sailing before Apr. 30, 2016, and pay 2016 fares. You also receive additional savings of $250 per person on seven to 10 night sailings and $500 per person on longer trips.
Sailings are available on some 2016 itineraries and come with big savings: booking a panorama balcony, grand balcony & owner’s one-bedroom suites on any 2016 sailing between March and August will get free airfare to Europe from select cities.
The 2017 river cruising season brings two new ships – The Emerald Liberté in France and the Emerald Radiance in Portugal and new itineraries on Portugal’s Douro and France’s Rhône and Saône Rivers.
The eight-day Secrets of the Douro sailing will stop in Portugal and Spain.
The eight-day Sensations of Southern France voyage travels from Lyon to Arles along the Rhône and Saône Rivers, passing through Chalon-Sur-Saône, Tournon and Avignon.
The new Star Ships will be smaller versions of the original design to take advantage of the rivers’ structures. The Emerald Liberté will carry 138 guests in 70 suites and staterooms, while the Emerald Radiance will sail with 112 guests in 56 suites and staterooms, both with a three-to-one guest to crew ratio. A new category of stateroom will appear on the Radiance with 330 sq. feet of living space and amenities found in the grand balcony suites. The Emerald Liberté will have the Emerald onboard heated swimming pool with a retractable glass roof, which transforms into a cinema in the evening. The Emerald Radiance will feature an outdoor lounging pool on the sun deck.
Emerald Waterways features near all-inclusive pricing. The cruise fare includes all transfers to and from the ship; all onboard (and some on-shore) meals; unlimited tea and coffee; wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; bottled water in the cabins replenished daily; continental breakfast, pre-dinner canapés and after-dinner sweet treats served in the top suites; free WiFi onboard the ship, a shore excursion daily; and all gratuities on and off the ship.
Emerald Waterways or 855/222-3214.
Sandestin Family Fun for Spring Break
|Free daily activities, weekly events and friendly competitions are part of new family-focused programming for 2016 spring break by Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, FL.
The resort's plans span a five-week period and the offer is good for travel Mar. 11 to Apr. 10, 2016.
Some of the weekly free resort guest activities at the 2,400-acre resort will include: beach yoga, croquet, daily ice cream social, putt putt challenges, sand castle building, pie eating contests, magic shows, photo scavenger hunts, beach volleyball tournaments, beach Olympics, family cooking classes, and family fishing tournaments. Weekly family events for purchase will include daily breakfast buffet, Tuesday night Luaus and Friday night Pirate Dinners followed by a movie at the marina.
The Village of Baytowne Wharf will offer nightly events for spring break including Sunday night cinema, Hydroflight Mondays, Boomin' Tuesdays with fireworks over the lagoon, Wednesday Night Concerts and Magical Thursdays.
Plan your 2016 Spring Break now and receive up to 25 percent off accommodations. Use promo code: SB2016.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort or 800/622-1038.
Eurail Extra Days Offer
|Eurail rewards early vacation planners with free extra travel days. All Eurail Passes purchased by Apr. 30, 2016, add one to five extra travel days, allowing you to see more of Europe for less.
With the new permanent extension of the Eurail Pass pre-booking period from six to 11 months, take advantage of this offer now and travel in Europe by rail at a later date that suits your schedule.
Purchase a Eurail Global, Select, or One Country Pass with the extra days offer before Apr. 30, 2016, and start your journey in Europe up to 11 months after the date of purchase. Under the offer, Eurail Global Passes include up to five extra travel days, depending of the length of the Pass' original validity. All Eurail Select and One Country Passes (excluding the Greek Islands One Country Pass) include one extra free travel day.
Eurail Global Passes can be used to travel in 28 European countries to tailor your itinerary. The full Eurail Select and One Country Pass provides visits to one to four Eurail participating countries.
Eurail Passes are available from Authorized General Sales Agents.
New Berlin Pass Attractions
|New additions are available for the Berlin Pass sightseeing card.
The Berlin Pass provides access to more than 60 of the city's top attractions and tours. Four new attractions are geared to younger sightseers during their trip to the historic city.
Legoland Discovery Centre - Designed for three to 10 year olds, it houses more than five million Lego bricks under one roof. Normally priced at €18.50 per person, entry to the Legoland Discovery Centre is now included with the Berlin Pass.
Sealife Berlin - More than 5,000 aquatic creatures on display such as seahorses, common octopuses and eagle rays. Normally priced at €17.95 per person.
Madame Tussauds Berlin - Normally priced at €23.50 per person.
The Berlin Dungeon - - Kids age 10 and older will laugh and scream through 700 years of Berlin's horrible history. Live actors relate gripping stories, while special effects and rides add to the fun. Normally priced at €20.50 per person.
A two-day Berlin Pass costs about $104 for adults and about $55 for children (aged six to 14 years), while a three-day pass is priced at about $128 for adults and about $66 for children. The Berlin Pass can be purchased with a Travelcard giving you unlimited use of the city's public transportation services. A free 95 plus page guidebook is included with every pass.
The Pass can be shipped to you prior to travel or collected on arrival in the city.
Guide to Free, Affordable Fun in Philly
|Philadelphia has lots of ways to play without dipping deeply into your wallet. Here are some fun finds that ring up at $25 or less:
- Scope out future stars at the Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, 215/893-7902, where students perform solo and chamber works most Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings during the school year and many weekends, as part of the free Student Recital Series.
- Enjoy concerts during the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts,' 300 S. Broad Street, 215/670-2327, Free at the Kimmel series. In addition, $10 rush tickets are available for every Kimmel Center Presents performance at the box office at 5:30 p.m. for evening performances and 11:30 a.m. for matinees. Limit one ticket per person. Free building and theater tours offered daily at 1 p.m., give visitors a behind-the-scenes look.
- In Macy’s Grand Court, 1300 Market Street, 215/241-9000, take in a live performance of one of the world’s largest pipe organ, the Wanamaker Organ. Twice daily, except Sundays, the 28,500-pipe organ fills the shopping emporium with the rich, full sounds of the 1904 instrument. Tours of the organ are offered with advance registration.
- Download the free Museum Without Walls, 215/399-9000, audio mobile app to learn about the 65 outdoor sculptures, including Robert Indiana’s LOVE statue, Remington’s Cowboy, and others located around Center City, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and in Fairmount Park.
- On the first Sunday of each month, pay what you wish at the Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215/278-7000, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215/763-8100, located blocks away from one another.
- With its twisting tunnels, curving arches and hidden winding staircases adorned with mirror and tile mosaics and found objects, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, 1020 South Street, 215/733-0390, showcase outsider and visionary art. Admission is $10 per person.
- With sculptures such as The Kiss and Eternal Springtime, the Rodin Museum, 2551 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215/763-8100, houses the largest collection of the artist’s works outside of Paris. The museum requests a $10 donation for admission.
- Hone your talents with free workshops and classes at Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine Street, 215/922-3456. There is no charge for many of their exhibitions, lectures and community programs.
- Order the happy hour wine and bar bites at R2L, 50 S. 16th Street, 37th floor, 215/564-5337, and get the views for free. Each day, the sky-high restaurant posts the sunset schedule so you can catch sunset colors and the city’s twinkling lights.
- Sip suds at Yards Brewing Company, 901 N. Delaware Avenue, 215/634-2600, and Philadelphia Brewing Company, 2440 Frankford Avenue, 215/427-BREW. Explore the facilities and learn how draughts go from barley to beer. Free guided tours on weekends begin and end in the tasting rooms.
- Part of the Bucks County Wine Trail, Buckingham Valley Vineyards, 1521 Route 413 (Durham Road), Buckingham, 215/794-7188, offers self-guided tours and free tastings Tuesday to Friday ($5 on weekends). Rushland Ridge Vineyard & Winery, 2665 Rushland Road, Jamison, 215/598-0251, provides free tastings seasonally Thursday through Sunday.
- The Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd Street, 215/922-1122, gives you a sneak peek of the show with pay-what-you-wish admission to the final dress rehearsal. For regular performances, students with I.D. can pay $10 cash for available seats 30 minutes before show time.
- FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard, 215/413-1318, offers the free Scratch Night event the first Monday of the month with an inside look at future performances with works-in-progress samples of contemporary theater, dance and performance art.
- Offering cha-cha, tango, salsa and other group and private lessons, the Society Hill Dance Academy, 409 S. 2nd Street, (215) 574- 3574, can help you get your groove on with a free lesson.
- See the sun, moon and stars up close during The Franklin Institute’s, 222 N. 20th Street, 215/448-1200, Night Skies in the Observatory monthly sky tours. In addition to access to the rooftop telescopes, the $5 ticket includes a Planetarium show and other programming.
- Get starry-eyed during the monthly Saturday evening stargazing parties and sky-viewing sessions hosted by the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers. Join the group at no charge as they scan the skies for meteors, planets and sky watch parties at locations throughout the region.
Amtrak Expands Pets Program
|Amtrak extends and expands its pets program, allowing you to travel with your small pet on many eastern corridor trains. Amtrak added this service for trips up to seven hours in length to most long distance trains and starts a weekend-only pilot program on Acela Express.
As a result of the success of its pilot test, Amtrak made its program permanent on eastern and select mid-western corridor trains and expanded the program to its long distance trains throughout the nation (with the exception of the Auto Train). More than 2,700 pets traveled with their human companions along the Northeast Corridor since the pilot launched in October 2015. Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. were the top departure cities.
The Acela Express pilot program, scheduled through June 12, 2016, will be regularly reviewed for possible improvements or continuation beyond that date.
Only one cat or one small dog are allowed in an enclosed carrier on trips up to seven hours in length. Both pet and carrier must be a combined weight of 20 pounds. Advance reservations are required and a surcharge of $25, each way, will be assessed for travel.
Amtrak welcomes service animals on board at no charge.
Amtrak's Pet Policy.
Art and Soul in Southwest Pennsylvania – story and photos by Nicki and Harold Chodnoff
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines art as something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or expresses important ideas or feelings.
While traveling around Pittsburgh and the Laurel Highlands in southwestern Pennsylvania, we encountered places and things created with imagination, beauty and skill. These treasures are throughout Pittsburgh and a mere 90 minute ride southeast of Pittsburgh in the Laurel Highlands. We’ll reveal some of our discoveries in two articles: one article geared to the Laurel Highlands in this issue and an upcoming article focusing on some of Pittsburgh’s art riches.
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright had the right stuff when he designed Fallingwater, a weekend mountain retreat that sits over a waterfall in the Laurel Highlands commissioned by the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Fallingwater was built between 1936 and 1939 and the house became famous because it seems to float over a 30’ waterfall. It captured everyone’s imagination when it was on the cover of Time magazine in 1938.
When the Kaufmanns commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright, they wanted their new house to have a wonderful view of the falls. With the house on top of the falls, it was difficult to see the falls but not to hear them. Wright wanted the Kaufmanns to live with the waterfalls, to make them part of their everyday life, and not just to look at them now and then.
Now a National Historic Landmark, Fallingwater is open to the public for tours and you can walk through the house and see it as the Kaufmanns did as the house looks exactly as it was. You won’t find a flat-screen or game console in the place. You will find the Wright-designed furnishings and the Asian artwork of the Kaufmann family intact.
Wright’s goal of being part of the waterfalls was evident when our guide unlatched the tower windows in the corner of the upper-level library, and we heard the waterfall softly flowing.
To build the house over the waterfall, a single massive rock forms a basement wall, the living room hearth and a kitchen window ledge. After squeezing up a slender entry staircase to a higher level, you can see the same boulder spilling from the hearth. In the living room, the natural light picks up the subtle, waves of the sandstone floor. Looking down, there's more water: the hatch that leads down broad steps to the stream.
Although the Kaufmanns were department store moguls, Fallingwater isn’t lavish, it borders on austere. Hallways are skinny, beds are narrow, and seating is built-in and low-slung. The ceilings are lower than seven feet. But the outside concrete terraces are expansive.
You may see photos of the house – inside or out – but the photos don’t do the house justice. Photos can’t convey the angles, turns, colors and textures. You must see the house in person to experience the sound of the trickling water heard on the terraces, feel underfoot the irregular stone floor in the main living area or be embraced by the forested, tree house-like views from the house’s many windows.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed another house in the Laurel Highlands, Kentuck Knob. While Fallingwater is Zen and Spartan, the hilltop Kentuck Knob is cozy and the grounds expansive.
Designed in 1953, the lesser-known Wright creation sits along a ridgetop at 2,050 feet. Known as the Hagan house, for original owners I.N. Hagan and his wife Bernardine, Kentuck Knob, at 2,200 square feet, is a grander version of Wright’s Usonian homes which typically were 1,100 square feet. The Hagans, who operated a near-by dairy business, were familiar with the Kaufmanns and Fallingwater. The Hagans purchased 89 acres of woodland and wanted to build a house that had the same feel as Fallingwater but less elaborate. The Hagans moved in in 1956 and lived there until 1984.
Spurred by the Great Depression, Frank Lloyd Wright created Usonian homes as affordable housing for the middle-class. He wanted houses tailor-made to the client while making them practical and functional. Usonian homes had the core of the house in the living-room and the kitchen. The other end of the house encompassed the small bedrooms with built-ins. Narrow hallways included built-in spaces for storage and built-in pieces of furniture, pianos, and chairs designed by Wright. Other common Usonian features include horizontal lines to connect the home with the land, flat roofs with overhangs, natural materials such as brick, glass, and wood, carports, concrete slab floors, and underfloor heating, These homes did not have attics or basements.
Kentuck Knob is hexagonal; its wood is a reddish tidewater cypress, capped with a copper roof. A small square red tile cemented into the stone wall near the entrance marks it as one of Wright's 19 signed houses. Clerestory windows rim the house in a horizontal band, covered by a carved patterned band that resembles hieroglyphics. Twenty-four skylights pierce the broad overhang of the roof like tatoos. As the sun moves, the squares of light slide across the stone terrace. A pond equipped with a recirculating pump and water spilling onto stone below the bedroom windows give Kentuck Knob its water feature.
Kentuck Knob keeps true to Wright’s philosophy of compression and release, from the narrow hallways and small bedrooms you are released into the expansive looking living room with south wall of windows and its imposing stone hearth, which is the core of the three-bedroom house. Current owner British Lord Peter Palumbo’s family photos smile from the desks and tables making the house more warm as if its owners stepped out briefly. Personal effects are part of the tour so the house seems less museum-like: for instance a lighter lies on an end table and bathroom counters retain their Q-tips and toiletries.
In 1986 Lord Peter Palumbo, a British real estate dealer, bought the house and land and moved in some of his family's antiques and art. The Palumbos maintain Kentuck Knob as a part-time personal residence and opened it to the public with a house tour in 1993.
Once you’ve seen the interior of Kentuck Knob, there's more to see outside. From the top of the hill, the view is expansive, a 50-mile vista of the Youghiogheny gorge. Going down the hill is the sculpture garden with Lord Palumbo's irreverent art collection that includes Ray Smith's 1991 'Red Army,' an installation of 480 red silhouetted soldiers with their hands raised over their heads in surrender. Andy Goldsworthy's 1992 'Wall' beckons just off the path in a wooded glade. It’s hard to overlook Claes Oldenburg's larger than life-size 'Applecore' on the lawn behind the visitors' center. You can return to the visitors' center in the same small bus that brought you up the hill to the house.
The 30,000 square foot Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, PA first opened in 1959. In October 2015, it reopened after a $38 million renovation and 13,287-square-foot addition increased the size by 44 percent adding new galleries, community and educational programming spaces.
The transformation took years of planning, including two moves, when the museum staff and some of artwork temporarily relocated to a former furniture store while the building went through its metamorphoses.
After two years of construction, the museum opened its new glass doors. The original 1959 building and a west-wing addition from 1968 meld with the new zinc-clad cantilevered addition to the east so you move through brightly lit galleries, lingering before paintings and sculptures, many pausing in the sun-drenched cantilever overlooking downtown.
The Center for Creative Connections, a new 1,500-foot interactive space, houses things you touch and move around that includes entire rooms from Sarah Mellon’s house.
American was added to the museum’s name, with the collection focusing on American art. That includes the Rembrandt Peale painting of George Washington, a Tiffany window originally commissioned for a house in Greenburg a mile from the museum and a new Dale Chihuly chandelier. In addition to the larger gallery space, the museum received several outdoor sculpture exhibits in the gardens that feature indigenous Pennsylvania paintings and a meadow and gardens with native plants, and trees.
If your timing is right, you can get free admission to the Westmoreland Museum of American Art the first Sunday of the month.
Art is all around you if you stay at the 3,000 acre Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania. Walls to woods: paintings, sculptures, furniture, glasswork and historical artifacts are showcased nearly everywhere. The resort and collection are the creation of founder Joseph A. Hardy III whose appreciation of art may just be topped by his passion for sharing his personal collection with resort guests.
Daily tours take you to see a selection of works including art (Medieval to modern), sculpture, furniture, porcelain and glass, antique automobiles, memorabilia from Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and an airplane once owned by actor Steve McQueen. Artists include Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Alexander Calder, Fernando Botero, Clarice Smith, Giampaolo Seguso, Frederic Remington, Tiffany Studios, Howard Behrens, J.J. Audubon and Frank Stella.
But you don't need a tour to see the art bounty and appreciate the beauty. Walk into the Tiffany library, in the original lodge, and there are 10 lamps, each valued from $20,000 to $1 million. Walk along the halls and there is art everything. The prime objective for the collection seems to be to bring enjoyment. The collection, blurs the line between museum and lodging, includes a carved and painted, six-foot-tall Punch figure from Andy Warhol’s New York apartment and marble sculptures from ancient Rome. Some works, like the vintage Hermès centennial scarf, were acquired on impulse from a dealer. Others, like the bronze resort logo, Fat Bird, were commissioned
Where to Eat
Supper Club Restaurant - In a converted 1911 train station, the Greensburg, PA restaurant maintains a balance between the original architecture and modern energy in the seating area. The Comtemporary American fare, billed as farm to table, was fresh and local.
Café at Fallingwater - Located in the welcome pavilion at Fallingwater, this cafe is a good place to snack before or after your visit. The café’s floor to ceiling glass windows look onto the lush forest surrounding the pavilion. The limited menu has healthy eating options and many snacks are mostly natural.
Restaurants at Nemacolin With so many option to chose from, you can find what you're hungering for at the many restaurants at Nemacolin. Choices include Lautrec, Aqueous and Autumn in fine dining, plus casual fare at the Tavern, the Caddyshack, Sunset Terrace, Elements, PJ'S and Otis and Henry's if you are hungering for burgers or billiards.
Where to Sleep
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort - Don’t expect the ordinary, the resort is part glitzy European hotel and part hunting lodge. The two wings are separated by shops and dining. That’s only part of the story, as there seems to be something for everyone. Nemacolin has an RV park, townhouses, individual rental homes and Falling Rock, a boutique hotel that sits on the 18th green of Mystic Rock Golf Course designed in the organic architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Yes, Nemacolin can be pricey. However, a good place to start is to check out their specials and packages. Sign up for their Great Escapes email newsletter that comes out the first week of every month with the latest special offers, reduced room rates, and special golf discounts.
Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau or 800/333-5661.
Deals on Divi Dive Vacations
|The newly renovated Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino on the Caribbean island of Bonaire offers discounted dive vacation packages. The 2016 dive specials can be booked through Dec. 19, 2016 with travel until Dec. 19, 2017.
The resort’s Divi Dive Bonaire operation is a PADI five-Star and SSI dive facility, with five custom dive boats and staff offering dive instruction for all experience levels.
The 2016 Dive Specials are as follows:
Your seventh night free in April, May, August, and December when you book a seven-night, two-tank boat dive package for the price of a six-night two-tank boat dive package. Rates start at $891 per person with travel dates from Apr. 2, to Dec. 19, 2016.
Book the seven-night dive package and get a free room upgrade plus one free themed buffet dinner at the resort. Rates start from $1,035 per person with travel dates June 1 to 30, 2016.
Explore with free afternoon boat dives plus a free themed buffet dinner in July when you book a seven-night two-tank boat dive package. Rates start at $1035 per person for travel July 1 to 31, 2016.
Groups of 10 or more receive two free dive packages in September and October when booking the seven-night two-tank boat dive package. Rates from $1035 per person for travel Sep. 1, to Oct. 31, 2016.
Book the Drive, Dive and Explore package and receive a free room upgrade, six days of unlimited shore diving with a four passenger truck rental, and free breakfast each morning. Rates from $924 per person for travel Nov. 1 to 30, 2016.
Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino or 919/419-3484.
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