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Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, June 2011 Issue



Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
http://www.onthegopublishing.com/currentissue.html
travelnewsletter@aim.com
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright  2011 
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff


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Circle necklace Sterling Silver Circle Pendent

The 30 mm sterling circle pendent is nearly 1 1/4 inch wide with a pave finish to make it look like small diamonds line the circle. The back of the pendent is clad in yellow 18K yellow gold overlay while the front remains silver. The necklace is finished off with an 18-inch sterling silver box-like chain clad in the same 18K yellow gold overlay. Comes in a black faux-leather gift box.

Priced at $75. Our price $24.95.

Order quickly from AAA Jewelry Outlet so you won't be disappointed. Quantities are very limited. Click here to order.



In This Issue:
Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

  • IHG "Sweetheart Deal"
  • Discover France Adventures Group Rate
  • Finnair European Summer Rates
  • Occidental Grand Xcaret Savings
  • Wimco Caribbean Villa Values
  • Is Traveling by Car Better than Flying?
  • Ceiba del Mar’s Time to Celebrate Package
  • Aquamare "Take Five" Offer
  • Breakers Palm Beach Summer Special
  • JetSuite Private Jet Flights From $499
  • China Deal
  • New Panama Tour
  • Georgia Social Media Contest
  • Swinging Deal at Scotland's Marcliffe Hotel
  • Starwood "Stay Three, Getaway Free"
  • Free Oakland CA Walking Tours
  • Summer Savings in Greater Fort Lauderdale
  • Breakfast & $150 Savings at Shores Resort & Spa
  • Bicycling in Berlin
  • Choice Stay One, Two and Then Free


    IHG "Sweetheart Deal"

    InterContinental Hotels Group gets newlyweds off to a blissful start with its Sweetheart Deal. Brides- and grooms-to-be can create their perfect "Sweetheart Deal" with a wedding reception at any participating Holiday Inn in the U.S. and receive a prepaid Visa card up to $750 when choosing the Sweetheart Deal wedding reception offer.

    Or choose the Sweetheart Deal honeymoon offer between now and the end of 2011 at any of IHG's 4,400 hotels worldwide (such as InterContinental Hotels & Resorts or Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts) and get up to 20 percent off the room rate plus a $100 prepaid Visa card. Combine both offers and get a reward of up to $850.

    The Sweetheart Deal is valid for hotel stays and wedding reception bookings through Dec. 31, 2011 and must be redeemed by Jan. 31, 2012. A copy of the marriage license and final hotel folio are required to redeem the Sweetheart Deal honeymoon package.

    Sweetheart Deal.


    Discover France Adventures Group Rate

    Discover France Adventures, specialists in France for cycling and hiking tours, offers groups of four or more discounts on self-guided cycling tours that were only available to groups of 10 or more. The amount of savings increases with the group size.

    For example, on the self-guided Provence Vineyards & Lavender tour, the posted per person rate is 1,335 euros (accommodations in European category 3 and 4 star hotels). If four people book and travel together, a discount of 55 euros per person is possible, adding to a group savings of 220 euros, or about $320.

    This offer is valid for bookings through Oct. 31 for the 2011 season only.

    Discover France Adventures or 800/960-2221.


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    Finnair Summer Rates To 21 European Destinations

    Finnair offers special rates for summer travel to 21 cities in Europe. Finnair flies the shorter northern route via Helsinki, offering a fast and efficient connecting time for traveling to Europe. Finnair’s summer rates between JFK International Airport and Europe start at $776. Finnair offers two new destinations including Murmansk in Northern Russia and Aarhuus in Denmark in cooperation with Sun-Air.

    In Helsinki’s terminal, designed for transfer traffic, Finnair offers several lounges and a Finnair Spa. For business class passengers, Finnair’s pre-order meal service extends to long-haul flights. You can place a food order two weeks before traveling up until 24 hours before departure.

    Direct services to summer destinations include Slovenia, Poland, Lisbon, and Pisa. Finnair flies the shortest and fastest direct route to Asia via Helsinki to cities such as Delhi, Hong Kong or Seoul. Flights to Delhi start at $836.

    Finnair.



    Occidental Grand Xcaret Savings

    Occidental Grand Xcaret, an all-inclusive resort on the Mexican-Caribbean shoreline in the Riviera Maya, offers nightly rates from $91 per person, per night, a savings of 46 percent, through June 25, 2011. In addition, two children ages 12 and under can vacation free with a paying adult through Dec. 23, 2011.

    Activities at the resort include the Turtle Tip program, where you assist liberating baby turtles, or the weekly Green Day initiative, where you participate in eco-friendly activities such as arts and crafts with recycled materials and authentic Mayan cooking classes. You can explore the hotel grounds to identify fauna, flora (there are more than 60 different types), and Mayan vestiges. Deer, flamingos and turtles are a few of the animals you may see, and a children’s version is available through the Kids Club.

    The hotel, the only resort neighboring Mexico’s Mayan-themed, eco-archeological Xcaret Park, offers a 40 percent discount on admission to the attraction.

    Occidental Grand Xcaret vacations include unlimited meals and snacks (at 11 restaurants), free drinks including alcohol, five swimming pools, access to the sauna at the spa, and sports including snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, pool volleyball, tennis, mini golf, archery and dance classes. Daily entertainment, a supervised Kids Club and a Fun Club for teens are part of the package, plus nightly shows and live entertainment and all taxes and gratuities.

    The spring sale and kids free offer is available at all Occidental Hotels & Resorts including Grand and Allegro hotels in Aruba, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. Rates start at $47 per person, per night at Allegro Puerto Plata, savings of up to 48 percent at Occidental Grand Cozumel, with rates from $100 per person, per night.

    Occidental Grand Xcaret or 800/858-2258.


    Wimco Caribbean Villa Values

    For a third year, Wimco, the villa rental company in the Caribbean, brings back its Value Villas program for the summer and fall of 2011. You can stay on the islands of St. Barts, St. John and Barbados, all for under $200 per night.

    St. Barts offers three bedroom, three bath villas: Villa WV BIK ($195 per bedroom, per night), includes a private pool. French, Brazilian and Balinese styles blend in Villa WV TRQ ($174 per bedroom, per night), which looks out over Grand Cul-de-Sac. Villa TER ($190 per bedroom, per night), includes a pool to soak up the sun.

    St. John features some of the most unspoiled vistas in the Caribbean. Villa CT BEI ($167 per bedroom, per night) is a three bedroom, three bath villa perched 50 feet above the sea. Villa MAS GRE ($161 per bedroom, per night), is a four bedroom, 4.5 bath villa with private pool. Villa CT SEA ($196 per bedroom, per night) is a four bedroom, four bath villa with a private pool and poised above Great Cruz Bay.

    In Barbados, Villa RL GLA ($192 per bedroom, per night) is a short walk from Gibbs beach and features three bedrooms, three baths and a veranda with outdoor dining and pool. Also near Gibbs beach, Villa BS JAC ($183 per bedroom, per night) is a three bedroom, four bath villa with an indoor plunge pool, outdoor pool and deck with a grilling area. On the west coast of Barbados, Villa RL PAL ($200 per bedroom, per night) is a five bedroom, five bath beachfront villa with a living room terrace facing the sea.

    In the Caribbean, Wimco represents more than 270 villas on St Barts and privately owned villas in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos, Anguilla, Barbados, Mustique, Nevis, St Martin, Jamaica and Grand Cayman.

    As well as providing accommodation and destination information, Wimco Villas can arrange for private chefs, yoga instructors, yacht charters or a restaurant reservation.

    Wimco Villas or 800/449-1553.



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    Is Traveling by Car Better than Flying?

    Even if gas prices hit $5 a gallon, travel by vehicle costs less, is more convenient and is not as stressful as flying, according to the Car Care Council. A family of four traveling by car costs the same as one person traveling by air.

    "Rising ticket prices, fewer daily flights, fuller planes, limited baggage, fewer non-stops and longer layovers between connecting flights doesn't paint a pretty picture of flying," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "However, even with gas prices considerably higher than last year, the cost of driving is a much better deal compared with going by air."

    Based on a family of four traveling 1,000 miles roundtrip, the council compared the cost of flying vs. driving.

    By air: A family of four will spend an average of $1,508 for tickets, based on 2010 third quarter statistics from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Add to this cost checked baggage fees, transportation to and from the airport and/or parking.

    By vehicle: If gasoline prices hit $5 a gallon, the cost for a family of four traveling by SUV would be about $350. That includes the cost of gasoline plus tire wear and maintenance based on the American Automobile Association's (AAA) vehicle operating costs.

      In addition to the obvious direct cost savings, going by car offers a number of advantages over flying including:
    • Leave when you want from where you want.
    • No airport parking.
    • No waiting in long ticket counter and security lines.
    • No weather delays.
    • Pack whatever and as much as you want.
    • Stop and stretch any time.
    • More and better meal options.
    • No rental car or taxi expenses.
    • More legroom and overall comfort.
    • No strangers sitting next to you.
    • Convenience and ease of taking your pet with you.
    • Better able to enjoy the ride.

    The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair.

    Car Care Council.



    Ceiba del Mar’s Time to Celebrate Package

    To honor the 65 and over Baby Boomer generation, the seaside Ceiba del Mar, a boutique resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya area” offers a Time to Celebrate package that includes savings off the resort’s room rates.

    If you are 65 years or older and book a best rate available night, the next night is $65 including breakfast (not inclusive of tax). There is no limit to the number of nights you can reserve and there is no expiration date for the Time to Celebrate package. You must mention the “best available rate” when booking. A five percent service charge and 14 percent taxes, based on double occupancy, are additional. For example, if you book a six-night stay, the first, third and fifth nights are at the best rate available price and the second, fourth and sixth nights are $65 each.

    The secluded resort is on the shores of a half-mile private beach at the edge of Puerto Morelos. The resort has 88 rooms and seven suites all with ocean-view terraces. Amenities include personal butler service and breakfast in your room, private terrace or balcony and hammock, welcome champagne cocktail, free wireless Internet; twice daily housekeeping, pillow menu, free in-room morning coffee, International cable TV and DVD/CD player, and 24-hour room service.

    Other resort amenities include a private outdoor pool with views of the ocean, indoor/outdoor dining, fitness center and spa.

    Ceiba Del Mar Beach & Spa Resort or 877/545-6221.



    Aquamare "Take Five" Offer

    The idea of a villa vacation is appealing, but a week-long stay is a problem for the time-pressed, over-worked traveler. Now, Villa Aquamare, in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, has a solution.

    The new "Take Five" offer is a summer-long program that allows you to book a five-night stay at one of Aquamare's five-bedroom villas, any day of the week.

    Whether your schedule works best Thursday to Tuesday, Friday to Wednesday, or any consecutive five nights, "Take Five" accommodates a busy lifestyle. Each of Villa Aquamare's three private homes has five bedrooms, sleeping 10 adults and up to 12 guests if children are in the group.

      The "Take Five" villa vacation costs $13,640 and is valid through Aug. 31, 2011. It includes:
    • Five nights in a five-bedroom 8,000 square-foot beachfront villa.
    • Welcome dinner for up to 10 guests, prepared in the villa by a private chef, including a sunset champagne toast.
    • One free rental car for duration of stay.

    Aquamare or 787/461-2638.


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    Philadelphia Eagles boys growth chart thumb NFL Team Branded Growth Chart

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    NFL team growth charts are available at NFL.com Search for team name growth chart. Ohio State University growth charts are available on amazon.com. Search for Ohio State University growth chart.



    Breakers Palm Beach Summer Special

    The summer vacation promotion from the Breakers Palm Beach, in Palm Beach, FL, makes weekday travel to this oceanfront resort more affordable.

    Through Sep. 30, 2011, rates start at $269 per room, per night, based on superior accommodations, and include the following free weekday incentives:

  • Continental breakfast buffet Monday - Thursday mornings (special pricing Friday through Sunday)
  • Access to spa and fitness center Monday - Thursday (special pricing Friday - Sunday)
  • Kid's meals ordered off children’s menus, ages 12 and under with paying adult: Monday - Thursday (special pricing Friday - Sunday)
  • Kids camp: Monday - Thursday (special pricing Friday - Sunday)
  • Overnight valet parking: Sunday - Wednesday nights; $20 per night Thursday - Saturday
  • Free benefits, seven days a week, include unlimited tennis, fitness classes, WiFi, Internet access and local calls.

    Summer savings include unlimited golf on the Ocean Course and the Rees Jones Course, with greens fees (including cart), from $60 per person, per day, June 20 through Sep. 30, 2011.

    Breakers Palm Beach or 888/273-2537.



    JetSuite Private Jet Flights From $499

    JetSuite Air, a private jet service, offers its "SuiteDeal of the Day."

    Through Facebook, JetSuite will promote last minute deals where you can purchase private jet flights from $499. The deals are for one-way trips on its fleet of four-passenger Phenom 100 aircraft. The fare is for the entire plane.

    SuiteDeals will be released at the end of the business day Pacific Time, typically for flights departing some time the next day. Availability will be extremely limited, and bookings will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

    The Embraer Phenom 100 seats four passengers comfortably with a large baggage compartment for luggage, golf bags, and skis. Interiors feature Bose Quiet Comfort headsets, 110V power outlets, and XM Satellite Radio.

    JetSuite.


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    China Deal

    China Spree Travel has a winter special. The eight-day Timeless Beijing package costs $799 from San Francisco for two November departures and all January and February 2012 departures. The price, less than an air ticket, includes roundtrip non-stop flights on Air China, airport transfers, six nights’ accommodations, three days of guided private tours and entrance fees, six breakfasts and three lunches.

    The accommodations are in the four-star 464-room Huabin International, within walking distance of Tiananmen Square and close to parks, restaurants, tourist sites and shopping malls. All rooms have satellite TVs, Internet access, air conditioning, mini-bar, telephone, hair dryer, coffee maker and in-room safe.

    Touring includes Tiananmen Square; rickshaw ride through Old Beijing; and lunch in a local family home. Another day covers the Sacred Way of Ming Tombs and the legendary Great Wall of China. The third day includes visits to the Temple of Heaven, the “Bird Nest” Olympic stadium and the Summer Palace. The other two-and-a-half days are free to do as you like. Tour guides are “on standby,” and transportation for the whole group can be arranged for a reasonable price.

    Package prices are higher in the beginning of November, in December and in March. Non-stop flights from New York cost an additional $330. Add-on air fares from other cities are: $120 from Los Angeles, $190 from Washington, D.C., Hartford and Chicago, $250 from Denver, $300 from Dallas and $340 from Atlanta.

    The fuel surcharge is included in the package price, government taxes and fees of $79 are not. All prices are cash only, are per person, based on double occupancy, and are subject to availability.

    China Spree Travel .



    New Panama Tour

    The Panama City, Canal and Beach tour, from Tara Tours, spends six nights in Panama. The first two nights are at the Radisson Decapolis with daily breakfast, city tour with visit to the Canal and then four nights at the Royal Decameron Playa Blanca. Playa Blanca is an all-inclusive beach resort with all meals; unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages; daily activities; non-motorized water sports (wind glider, kayaks, snorkeling and sailboats); tennis courts, basketball, volleys; nightly entertainment; taxes and tips included. All transfers are included as well as English speaking tour guides.

    The cost of this tour including airfare from Miami via Copa Airlines is $1186 per person, based on double occupancy plus departure taxes (from $90 to $150).

    The airfare add-on from New York is $250, Washington DC $270, Los Angeles $300 and Orlando $150.

    The tour package does not include insurance, airport departure taxes, and tourist card ($5).

    Tara Tours.



    Georgia Social Media Contest

    Georgia Tourism launches Georgia Giveaways. Facebook fans and Twitter followers will have access to more than 100 prizes from across the state. New prizes will be announced every weekday through Aug. 23, 2011 on Facebook.com and @GeorgiaTourism on Twitter.

    More than 100 prizes including attraction passes, festival tickets, weekend getaways, overnight accommodations, outdoor adventure activities and gift items valued at more than $25,000 will be awarded daily. Grand prizes packages include: Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah (two-night stay with breakfast daily and two cooking classes); Flat Creek Lodge in Swainsboro (two night stay for two with breakfast daily and one dinner); and The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons Island (four nights, oceanfront room, couples massage, shrimping cruise, sea kayak tour and golf).

    Click here to learn more.


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    Fight against bacteria and flu germs with National Football League team branded hand sanitizer kleen kits. Produced by ke specialties llc, a kleen kit consists of a 2 ounce bottle of hand sanitizer, an 8 ounce bottle of hand sanitizer and a 40 count canister of wipes, available for all 32 NFL teams plus The Ohio State University.

    The 2 ounce bottle (TSA approved for 3-1-1 carry-ons) or 8 ounce bottle of hand sanitizer easily fit into a pocket, purse or back pack and the 40 count canister of wipes can be used at home, while tailgating or at work.

    NFL team and Ohio State branded kleen kits are available at ke specialties llc.



    Swinging Deal at Scotland's Marcliffe Hotel

    The Marcliffe Hotel and Spa offers the chance to experience the sport where it began with a vacation package that visits three of Scotland’s golf courses. The “Swinging Deal” features one round of golf at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club; Murcar Links Golf Club; and Cruden Bay Golf Club. Package rates from £595 (about $994 with exchange rate at £1.00 = $1.67) per person, double occupancy, are valid through Oct. 31, 2011, and include three nights’ accommodation with daily breakfast and dinner one night. Tee-times are arranged at time of booking and are subject to availability; substitute courses are available in place of the Royal Aberdeen while the property hosts the 2011 Walker Cup Aug. 29 to Sept 13, 2011.

    On 11 acres near the historic town of Aberdeen, the 37 room Marcliffe Hotel and Spa offers treatments in their spa facilities and the Drawing Room Bar, stocked with more than 100 varieties of malt whiskey. Aside from golfing, the area offers salmon fishing, tours of historic castles, stalking and grouse or pheasant shooting.

    Marcliffe Hotel and Spa .



    Starwood "Stay Three, Getaway Free"

    REGISTER BY JUNE 30 - - Through July 31, 2011, with every three stays at a participating Starwood hotel or resort worldwide, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members earn one free resort night award – with no limits on the number of resort nights they can earn. Register for the "SPG Getaway Free" promotion through June 30, 2011.

    If you are not a SPG member, you can join the loyalty program and register for the promotion instantly during any stay at a Starwood hotel or resort or online . SPG membership is free and you can earn Starpoints with your first stay.

    The "SPG Getaway Free" award is flexible and simple to redeem. Award nights can be redeemed at approximately 200 resorts worldwide, through Dec. 21, 2011, with no blackout dates. Getaway Free awards are combinable, the more you stay, the more free nights you will earn.

    Stay Three, Getaway Free.



    Free Oakland CA Walking Tours

    Explore urban arts, the culinary scene and historic landmarks from Oakland, CA’s past during the 2011 Oakland Tours season. Through October, free 90-minute walking tours of downtown Oakland are offered every Wednesday and Saturday. The twice weekly guided tours showcase the city’s changing skyline, landmarks, churches and high-rises.

    Each of the eight tour itineraries, led by a volunteer guide, begin at 10 a.m. from various starting locations depending on the itinerary. Reservations are recommended by leaving a message on the Tours’ 24-hour hotline at (510) 238-3234 or via email. The tour brochure, itinerary descriptions, dates and starting locations are available online .

    Tour 1 – Old Oakland: explores the 1870s business district. The tour starts in front of Ratto’s Market & Deli, 821 Washington Street June 4, June 29, July 30, Aug. 24, Sep. 24 and Oct. 26, 2011.

    Tour 2 – City Center: Explore modern City Center, alongside restored historic landmarks like the Tribune Tower, the Rotunda Building and City Hall. The tour starts in Frank Ogawa Plaza June 15, July 16, Aug. 10, Sep. 10 and Oct. 12, 2011.

    Tour 3 – Uptown to the Lake: Oakland’s Art Deco-era landmarks. The tour starts in front of the Paramount Theatre at 2025 Broadway June 25, July 13, Aug. 13, Sep. 7 and Oct. 8, 2011.

    Tour 4 – Preservation Park: Relocated and restored Victorian architecture. The tour starts at Preservation Park at 13th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way June 8, July 9, Aug. 3, Sep. 3, Oct. 5 and Oct. 22, 2011.

    Tour 5 – Chinatown: Learn about the contributions made by Chinese and Asian immigrants. The tour starts at the courtyard fountain in the Pacific Renaissance Plaza at 388 Ninth Street June 1, July 2, July 27, Aug. 20, Sep. 21 and Oct. 15, 2011.

    Tour 6 – Jack London Waterfront: Follow Oakland’s famous literary son and see some of his favorite haunts. The tour starts by the Jack London Square entry arch at the foot of Broadway June 11, July 6, Aug. 6, Aug. 31, Sep. 28 and Oct. 29, 2011.

    Tour 7 – Churches and Temples: Visit historic places of worship and learn about their influence on the history of Oakland. The tour starts in front of the First Presbyterian Church at 2619 Broadway June 22, July 23, Aug. 17, Sep. 17 and Oct. 19.

    Tour 8 – New Era/New Politics: Highlights African-American leaders who made their mark on Oakland. The tour starts at the African American Museum and Library Oakland at 659 14th Street June 18, July 20, Aug. 27, Sep. 14 and Oct. 1, 2011.

    Free Oakland CA Walking Tours and 100 things to do.



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    Summer Savings in Greater Fort Lauderdale

    Learn bass fishing; ride a banana boat; or get lost in a land of butterflies. These are some of the activities you can enjoy with Greater Fort Lauderdale's Super Summer Savings package.

    Through Sep. 30, 2011, you will receive more than 30 options. When combined with summer hotel value rates and low-fare air service from more than 50 U.S. destinations, summer in Greater Fort Lauderdale is easy and affordable.

      A sample of the Super Summer Savings' offers includes:
    • South Florida Diving Headquarters: 2-for-1 snorkeling trips
    • Butterfly World: 2-for-1 admission
    • Flamingo Gardens: 2-for-1 admission
    • Sawgrass Recreation Park: Go gator-spotting with 2-for-1 airboat tours
    • Water Taxi: 2-for-1 tickets
    • Tropical Sailing Catamaran Charters: 2-for-1 tickets on a "Come Sail Away Cruise"
    • Museum of Art 2-for-1 admission
    • Bonnet House Museum & Gardens: 2-for-1 admission

    Greater Fort Lauderdale "Super Summer Savings".



    Free Breakfast, $150 Savings at Shores Resort & Spa

    Families looking to save on their Florida beach vacation can take advantage of two family packages at the Shores Resort & Spa, in Daytona Beach Shores FL. The Shores Resort & Spa offers savings up to $163 and kids eat breakfast for free (for a limited time). Two-night family packages must be booked by June 30, 2011, start at $326 and are valid through Sep. 30, 2011.

    The two-night Family Grand Adventure (family of four in one room) package includes an all-access tour at NASCAR’s Daytona International Speedway; a trip to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse; a visit to the Marine Science Center; miniature golf; a $100 resort dining credit and a Shores bag of beach toys.

    The Stay + Play Family Beach (family of four in one room) package includes two-nights’ accommodations, a $100 resort dining credit, beach rentals for two days, a family beach pack and S’mores by the oceanside fire pits.

    The resort’s 212 rooms and suites offer views of the Atlantic Ocean or Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway.

    Service and amenities include a concierge service, check-in ambassadors, and on-site Indulge Spa, oceanfront pool and the miles of shoreline. The Shores also offers a Kid’s Club and Activity Center, Kid’s night out programs and poolside cabanas. Free recreational activities include Bocce Ball, shuffleboard, horseshoes and tennis at The Oceans Racquet & Recreation Club, half-mile south of the resort.

    Shores Resort & Spa or 866/396-2217.



    Bicycling in Berlin - articles and photos by Kay Douglas

    No sooner had I arrived in Berlin this past March than I noticed something: there were bicyclists everywhere. Natty businessmen with bicycle clips securing pant legs. Parents towing children in bright yellow enclosed trailers. Shoppers with handlebar baskets brimming with fresh produce. Bicycle tour groups filing past the Brandenburg Gate. Senior citizens pedaling sedately through the Tiergarten.

    And no wonder: the city is relatively flat, many streets are admirably wide, and there are bike lanes practically everywhere. The city’s excellent transportation infrastructure includes 80 kilometers (about 49 miles) of bike lanes in the streets, 100 kilometers (about 62 miles)of pedestrian/bike paths, 70 kilometers (about 43 miles) of bus lanes accessible to cyclists, and 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) of sidewalk bike paths, according to the green-living website Treehugger.com.

    In the courtyard of my Ku’damm boutique hotel, I noticed a neat row of blue rental bikes. Twelve euros a day. How could I resist?

    On a single day’s pedaling in Berlin, I squeezed in more sights than I had the two previous days spent exploring on foot and by S- and U-bahn. Not that I was rushing, mind you. On the contrary – it seemed the day went by more slowly as I wended my way through the city, stopping frequently to consult my map or just take in the view.

    Cycling out to Schloss Charlottenburg in the morning, I go against the flow of incoming commuter traffic as I pedal along Kantstrasse. Then I turn up Schloss Strasse, gliding past middle-class residences as I make my way to the Bröhan Museum, a lovely Art Nouveau collection. On such a fine day it is one of two indoor activities I’d guiltily planned to squeeze in.

    Photobucket Initially, I confess to feeling slightly intimidated by the morning traffic. Although in my youth I’d been an urban cyclist, the bulk of my more recent cycling forays have been in rural areas or on dedicated bike trails. But not only were Berlin’s bike lanes clearly and consistently marked (sometimes even running on very wide sidewalks), but also most cyclists seemed to be following road rules, which boosted my confidence. There were few harum-scarum bikers running lights or darting across traffic. At red lights, I took my place behind other cyclists patiently waiting for the light to change. From a middle-aged cyclist’s perspective, there’s a lot to be said for the German affinity for rules. Not to mention that there’s far less spandex.

    After visiting the Bröhan Museum and the gardens behind Schloss Charlottenburg, I make my way over to one of the bucolic paths running alongside the Spree River and Landwehr Canal. Such places are delightful oases of calm in bustling Berlin, along with the vast Tiergarten, which I soon reach after passing through the Zoological Garden.

    Photobucket After a thorough exploration of the Tiergarten, easily managed on bike, I come to the Reichstag at the northeast end of the park. Nearby stands the splendid Brandenburg Gate with a long pedestrianized stretch of Unter den Linden lying out before it, a magnet for pedestrians and cyclists.

    On a more somber note, I make a detour to the nearby Holocaust Mahnmal, a thought-provoking memorial consisting of 2,700 tombstone-like stelae set on a sloping field. Chaining my bike to a post, I venture into the memorial, the stelae growing taller on either side of me. I soon feel surrounded, lost among the countless mute sentinels. Even on a sunny day, this is a chilling experience.

    However, it’s lunchtime and I’m hungry, which is excuse enough to leave the Mahnmal behind and make my way to Suppenbörse (Dorotheenstrasse 43), an eatery specializing in hearty soups. The potato-laden stew I consume perched on a stool at the counter is just the fuel needed to tackle my next destination: Museum Island.

    Photobucket Here I have a tough choice to make, for there are four major museums on this “island” set in the Spree, but I really only have time for one. I opt for the Pergamon Museum, with its immense collection of antiquities. Several hours later, I emerge blinking into the late afternoon sunshine. Do I still have time for a detour through Nikolaivertel, the reconstructed medieval area nearby, before continuing eastwards? Happily, I do.

    My final destination is the East Side Gallery, which stretches for 1.3 kilometers along a remnant of the Berlin Wall. It’s reportedly the world’s longest outdoor art gallery, part political statement, part testimony to the spirit of renewal, and entirely free spirited. It seems a fitting place to end my trek eastward, although I’m conscious of having barely scratched the surface of East Berlin.

    PhotobucketI’m one of thousands of cyclists heading homeward (hotel-ward, in my case) during rush hour. I fall into the brisker rhythm of the evening commuter bikers, marveling at how commonplace this ritual is in Berlin. Even in bike-friendly U.S. cities such as Portland and San Francisco, there is nothing like it.

    If it hadn’t rained the following day, I might have elected to delve more deeply into the city’s recent history by biking the Berlin Wall Trail, which wends its way alongside the entire course of the former wall. Or I could have joined one of the many bike tours conducted in English and been one of those happy tourists I’d spotted pedaling along in single file throughout the city. I could even have loaded my rental bike onto one of the special bike carriages on the S-bahn and ridden out to Wannsee to spend the day exploring the royal palaces and historic sites of Potsdam.

    PhotobucketIn any case, exploring Berlin by bike is highly recommended. Not only are bike rentals and English-language bike tours plentiful, but there are discounts available using Berlin’s tourist Welcome Card, which makes an already affordable activity even more of a bargain.

    Useful links: Visit Berlin: Bicycle Tours and Berlin Bicycling Routes and Facilities (including the Berlin Wall Trail map)



    Choice Stay One, Two and Then Free

    You can earn a free night with Choice Hotels’ summer promotion with two separate stays through Aug. 11, 2011.

    This offer is good at Choice brand hotels throughout the U.S., including Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, and Ascend Collection hotels. Stays at other Choice brands – MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn – also count, but the stays must be a minimum of two consecutive nights to qualify.

    To earn a free night, you must be a member of the Choice Privileges rewards program and book your reservations here or 800-4CHOICE.

    After your second stay through Aug. 11, 2011, you earn enough Choice Privileges points to redeem a free night at more than 1,500 hotels. You can earn up to four free nights through this promotion, and Platinum- and Diamond-level members can earn as many as 10 free nights when they register for the promotion.

    Joining Choice Privileges is free. In addition to free nights, you can earn retail and restaurant gift cards and airline rewards.

    Choice Hotels or 800-4CHOICE..




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    Information & Credits


    The Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, P.O. Box 91033, Columbus OH 43209, edited by Nicki Chodnoff, is published monthly.

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