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Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, September 2007 Issue



Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 91033
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ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright © 2007 
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Purchase the Perfect Pair!Purchase the Perfect Pair!

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In This Issue:
Monarch Butterfly at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL

Monarch butterfly

  • Knightsbridge Hotel Deal
  • American Flights for Fewer Miles
  • Tailoredtours.com Tour Index
  • St. Kitts Island-Wide Hotel Savings & Discounts
  • Fall Packages, Deals to Yellowstone Country
  • Horseshoe Bay Resort Unlimited Golf Getaway
  • Miami Explorer Pass
  • Delta Queen Farewell in 2008
  • Tahiti Deals
  • Night in an Igloo
  • Fr.ee Air on NCV Antarctica Cruise
  • Shop Til You Drop in St. Thomas
  • Traverse City "Fab Fall" Packages
  • Save on Crystal Cruises this Fall
  • NY Passenger Rights Bill
  • Answer the Call, Win Camry Hybrid
  • 2-for-1 Savings on Fall Foliage Cruises
  • Monarch Madness at National Wildlife Refuges
  • Inn at The Springs Four for Four

  • Durley House Hotel Deal

    Save 33 percent or at least $700 (three nights for the price of two), if you need to stay three nights in London through 2007. Durley Lane Hotel, a furnished all-suite boutique hotel on Sloane Street has a Stay Another Day package. One-bedroom suites start at about $700 a night, two-bedroom suites at about $830, so the third-night savings are substantial.

    Durley House is near Knightsbridge‘s international fashion houses including Gucci, Prada, Versace and Louis Vuitton and London‘s famous department stores, Harrods and Harvey Nichols. The King‘s Road just round the corner is lined with trendy interiors emporiums and the boutiques of Issey Miyake, Voyage and Joseph can be found nearby on Draycott Avenue.

    In British pounds, rates start at £349 for a one bedroom suite and £ 409 for a two bedroom suite. The offer is valid until Dec. 21, 2007 and is subject to availability. The 17.5 percent VAT is not included and rates are per room, per night based on double occupancy.

    Durley House or +44 (0) 20 7235 5537.


    American Flights for Fewer Miles

    American Airlines again offers AAdvantage members the chance to book economy-class, short-hop flights for fewer miles. For a limited time, you can book roundtrip MileSAAver(SM) awards on routes under 750 miles each way for 15,000 AAdvantage miles (a 10,000 mile savings). The routes must be within the continental United States and Canada.

    These special awards are available for travel Sep. 1, 2007, through Feb. 29, 2008, on nonstop flights operated by American Airlines, American Eagle or AmericanConnection(R) carriers.

    Awards are subject to seat availability (may not be available on all flights) and capacity controls. The short-hop award is valid for roundtrip travel only on non-stop flights less than 750 air miles one way. Determination of the 750 air miles restriction will be made by American Airlines. Open jaws are not allowed for this award.

    Additionally, you can now view availability and book short-hop awards by using the new AAdvantage booking tool online. The tool includes an at-a-glance view of award availability for a four-week period in an easy-to-read, color-coded calendar.

    Sample Short Hop markets include Dallas/Fort Worth to Denver, Chicago to Atlanta, Chicago to New York, Miami to New Orleans, Los Angeles to San Francisco and Boston to Raleigh/Durham.

    American Airlines short-hop flights.


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    Tailoredtours.com Tour Index

    TailoredTours.com’s tour index makes it easier for you to build your own self-guided New York City sightseeing itinerary online.

    The index lets you cross-reference more than 450 points of interest around the city. The sights and attractions are divided into 14 categories, including: Major Attractions; restaurants; other points of interest; bars, clubs & pubs; stores & shops; museums & galleries; parks & gardens; notable buildings; movie & TV show locations; neighborhoods; Central Park; theaters; monuments, statues & memorials; and churches & religious structures.

    Tour icons next to each listing display the tour number where that sight is featured and provide one-click access to the full tour description. From that point, you can add the tour to your shopping cart or return to the tour index.

    Launched in December 2006, TailoredTours.com is the first website to offer interest-specific self-guided walking tours via e-mail. The tours are delivered as e-mail attachments that you can print out or upload to a cell phone or PDA. Each tour is tailored to a specific interest or activity, such as shopping, kids, nightlife or scavenger hunts. Tailored Tours cost $3 each, and every tour includes a route map and two or three "itinerary pages" that provide:

    • Turn-by-turn directions
    • The distance and estimated duration of the tour
    • Directions to the start point using public transit
    • Commentary on each point of interest along the route
    • Restaurant recommendations with price guide
    • Pictures of sights featured in the tour

    In addition, when used on a cell phone or PDA, the commentary pages include web links that connect you directly to an attraction's website.

    Tailored Tours Tour Index.



    St. Kitts Island-Wide Hotel Savings & Discounts

    Autumn is a good time to visit St. Kitts, as temperatures remaining warm and comfortable while North America starts to feel the chill. St. Kitts offers the “Fall in Love with St. Kitts” package, an island-wide value added discount program, with savings and special offers.

    Whether staying at a beachfront hotel or a plantation inn, you are guaranteed to save. All lodgings are participating in the package, offering one of the following two options:

    Stay four nights and pay for three - if you are staying at a property for three nights or longer, it amounts to a 25 percent savings.

    Stay seven nights and pay for five - for those who want a full week at their island retreat, the fourth and seventh nights of every seven-night stay are on the house. This provides a savings of nearly 30 percent on the entire stay.

    You also receive a fr.ee Continental breakfast daily.

    Other benefits include: Tropical Tours offers one fr.ee day on car rentals of three days or more and a 10 percent discount on any tour; fre.e Match n’ Play coupons included if you stay at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & Royal Beach Casino; and discounts at Dive St. Kitts and Red Sail Sports.

    To take advantage of the “Fall in Love with St. Kitts” package, you must make reservations between Aug. 1 and Dec. 11, 2007 for travel Sep. 1 to Dec. 16, 2007. Reservations can be made through a local travel professional or online. The package cannot be combined with any other offer and blackout dates may apply. The offer is subject to taxes and service charges.

    Once on island, your hotel will provide you with a card entitling you to all package discounts which must be presented to participating establishments along with a list of those establishments. The more times a card is used, the greater the overall savings becomes.

    St. Kitts Tourism Authority or from the US 800/582-6208 or from Canada 888/395-4887.



    Fall Packages, Deals to Yellowstone Country

    Anchored by the town of Cody - one of the gateways to Yellowstone National Park, this region in western Wyoming features outdoor activities, family attractions, wildlife and history.

    A variety of packages and deals are available through early fall. Rates include taxes.

    The "Best of Cody" package, available through September, starts at $187 per night for two adults and includes overnight accommodations at the Irma Hotel and seats on the Cody Trolley Tour, admission to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, reserved seats for the Cody Gunfight and admission to Old Trail Town. Discounts at various attractions are included if you purchase this package. 800/393-2639.

    "Fly Fish Wild West Waters" package, offered during October by North Fork Anglers, is available in full- or half-day versions and includes guiding and instruction, transportation to and from the North Fork Anglers store, overnight accommodations at one of three Cody hotels, two-day admission to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and lunch for full-day trips or snacks for half-day trips. The rates begin at $339. 800/393-2639.

    The "Summer Stay and Play Golf” package in Meeteetse features overnight accommodations at the Oasis Motel & RV Park, 18-hole greens fees and cart at Pine Rock Golf Course, guaranteed tee times, discounts on local attractions, private tour of Meeteetse museums and in-room amenity. Available through September, the package starts at $119 for two persons based on double occupancy. 800/868-5270.

    Golfers can play all of the area's courses by purchasing a single package available through Sep. 30, 2007. Starting at $315, it includes two nights of lodging and 45 holes of golf with cart at the nine-hole Pine Rock Golf Course in Meeteetse, the 18-hole Olive Glenn Golf and Country Club in Cody and Powell Golf Club in Powell. Accommodations are available at one of three local hotels.

    Yellowstone Country.


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    Horseshoe Bay Resort Unlimited Golf Getaway

    Horseshoe Bay Resort, in Horseshoe Bay, TX, entices golfers with the “Unlimited Golf ” getaway with unlimited tee times on any of the resort’s three Robert Trent Jones, Sr. golf courses. You also get shared carts, driving range access, club cleaning and storage, and shuttle service to and from the greens.

    Available year-round and priced seasonally, nightly rates start at $168 per person at The Waters at Horseshoe Bay Resort, and $187 at The Horseshoe Bay Resort Marriott Hotel. Daily breakfast is included at The Horseshoe Bay Resort Marriott Hotel.

    When you stay at the Waters at Horseshoe Bay Resort in a lakefront villa, floor plans range from one to three bedrooms and all accommodations include private balconies. When staying at the Horseshoe Bay Resort Marriott Hotel you enjoy a hotel room, suite, or condo-style accommodations.

    To ensure you have a bevy of activities when off the greens, you receive temporary membership at Horseshoe Bay Resort with access to resort facilities such as the 18-hole par putting course, a jet center, private charter jet service via Air Horseshoe, four swimming pools, a spa and fitness facility, a full-service marina, five dining facilities, 12 adult tennis courts and three USTA-sponsored kids’ tennis courts.

    The Waters at Horseshoe Bay Resort concierge service 830/598-0372, the Horseshoe Bay Resort Marriott Hotel or 800/452-5330.



    Miami Explorer Pass

    Visitors to Miami have a new way to see the city’s top attractions. The Miami Explorer Pass lets you choose any three top attractions from a list of nine and visit each one once during a 30 day period. The pass is valid for up to 30 days once used at an attraction, so extended stay visitors and locals can also benefit from the flexibility.

    Available for purchase online, the Miami Explorer adult pass retails for $75, a child’s pass costs $59.

    Miami Explorer Pass customers gain admission to some of the city’s most popular attractions, including: Jungle Island, Miami Duck Tours, Miami Seaquarium, Island Queen Millionaire’s Row Cruise, Gator Park Airboat Tours, Bayside Blaster, Viscaya Museum and Gardens, Miami Science Museum, and Miami MetroZoo.

    In addition to admissions, Miami Explorer Pass customers receive savings at News Café, Kevin & Caruso’s Magic & Comedy Show, Miami Beach Parasail, Hector Watersports Jetskiing, South Beach Scooters, Segways and Fun Cards and a fr.ee coupon book to Bayside Marketplace.

    Miami Explorer Pass.



    Delta Queen Farewell in 2008

    The Delta Queen’s last year sailing as a sleep aboard passenger vessel is 2008.

    Congress did not grant the river boat a statutory exemption from a 1966 law banning passenger vessels with wooden superstructures,

    According to the ship’s owner and operator, Majestic America Line, the law prohibits wooden vessels from carrying 50 or more people on overnight trips. Built in 1926, the Delta Queen has a steel hull and a wooden superstructure.

    Majestic America Line launched a campaign emphasizing the ship's safety record and crew training program. However, Congress did not enact legislation granting the Delta Queen a seventh exemption.

    The Delta Queen is scheduled for 24 final departures through November 2008. Majestic America Line plans to celebrate the ship's legacy with special commemorative events, exclusive departures for previous Delta Queen guests and commemorative gifts.

    In 1970, the Delta Queen was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, recognized as the last operational river steam paddlewheeler with overnight accommodations. In 1989, the ship was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior. She was inducted into the National Maritime Hall of Fame in 2004. The Delta Queen was the only steamboat to transit the Panama Canal and was host to three U.S. presidents and a princess.

    Majestic America said it will evaluate the best way to preserve the Delta Queen after it is retired.


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    Tahiti Deals

    This fall, Tahiti Tourism offers deals to the islands of Tahiti. In partnership with hotels, resorts, airlines and tour operators, these specials include fr.ee breakfast and dinner, additional nights at no extra-charge, spa treatments and fr.ee upgrades. An average savings of $1500 per couple, based on seven-night, three-island package, is available when traveling to Bora Bora, Huahine, Manihi, Moorea, Raiatea, Rangiroa, and Tikehau.

    All specials are available on Tahiti Tourism’s website. For planning, there’s an online trip planner where your inquiries are sent to participating tour operators. Most specials are valid through Mar. 31, 2008. The islands of Tahiti are an eight-hour non-stop flight from Los Angeles

    Highlights from a few participating hotels and resorts are:

    The St. Regis Resort Bora Bora offers fr.ee overwater villa upgrades with beach pool villa bookings through Dec. 21, 2007. The resort features 100 overwater and beach villas, including five overwater villas with private swimming pools suspended over the lagoon and two secluded beach villas with access to a private helicopter pad.

    InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, the InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort and the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa offer fr.ee daily breakfast and dinner for guests.

    Le Méridien Bora Bora offers fr.ee buffet breakfast and buffet-style dinner at Le Tipanié restaurant or a three-course lunch at Te Ava restaurant. Le Méridien Tahiti offers fr.ee buffet breakfast and dinner.

    Pearl Resorts & Spa offers fr.ee breakfast and dinner for two, at five of their eight properties.

    Tahiti Tourisme North America or 877/468-2448.



    Night in an Igloo

    If you ever fantasized about being an Eskimo, make that dream a reality with Nordique Tours’ Night in an Igloo package to Finland.

    Available Dec. 1, 2007, through Apr. 30, 2008, this vacation is priced at $1,863 per person, based on double occupancy, or $2,319 single supplement.

    The trip allows you to view the aurora borealis almost 200 miles north of the Artic Circle. A dog sled luncheon excursion and a reindeer sleigh ride are included activities in addition to the one-night stay in an igloo and another three nights in a log cabin at the Hotel and Igloo Village Kakslauttanen. The Nordique Tour package also includes roundtrip airport transfers between Ivalo Airport and the hotel, which is about a 30 minute drive.

    Nordique Tours, owned and operated by Picasso Travel, can help you find the best international airfare available at the time of booking to Finland in conjunction with this vacation.

    Nordique Tours or 800/995-7997.


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    Fr.ee Air on NCV Antarctica Cruise

    Norwegian Coastal Voyage extends two of its Antarctica savings programs.

    The cruise line offers f.ree airfare from Miami, Los Angeles and New York on its 13-day Chile and Antarctica cruise on the 318-passenger MS Fram. The fr.ee air offer is available on four sailings from Dec. 25, 2007 through Jan. 18, 2008.

    There are also savings of $700 to $1,100 per person on the 19-day Antarctica and Chilean Fjords cruise and the 21-day Antarctica, South Georgia and Falkland Islands cruise. The discounts are for sailings between Oct. 15, 2007 and Feb. 20, 2008.

    Bookings must be made by Oct. 31, 2007. Brochure rates range from $4,999 to $6,699 per person, based on double occupancy. Both offers can be combined with an AARP member discount of $150 per cabin.

    All cruises include roundtrip flights between the U.S. and South American gateway cities, five-star hotels in capital cities and city orientation tours, Chilean domestic flights, all meals onboard the cruise, naturalist guides, Antarctica shore excursions, port charges and transfers. Optional excursions are available.

    Norwegian Coastal Voyage or 800/323-7436.



    Shop Til You Drop in St. Thomas

    Until Christmas, bask in the Caribbean sun and get a head start on holiday shopping at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

    Frenchman¹s Reef and the Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort offer Shop Til You Drop packages through Dec. 20, 2007.

    With the duty-fre.e allowance of $1,600, twice the allowance of any other island in the Caribbean, you can enjoy a vacation and get your holiday shopping done. Shopping in St. Thomas means no sales or luxury taxes on watches, cameras, fine jewelry, china and leather goods. Passports are not required for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    The Shop Til You Drop package includes: a shopping seminar on finding the best deals on St. Thomas, discount coupons from local shops, unlimited water ferry tickets from resort to downtown St. Thomas, daily breakfast buffet for two, room, tax and gratuities for bellman and housekeeper.

    Package rates start from $222 per night through Oct. 31, 2007 and $324 per night, Nov. 1 through Dec. 20, 2007. Rates are based on double occupancy with a four night minimum stay.

    Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort or 800/524-2000.



    Traverse City "Fab Fall" Packages

    From Sept. 3 through Nov. 25, the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau offers "Fab Fall" getaway packages . Encouraged by its spring Girlfriends Getaway packages, the Bureau is repeating that promotion and adding a men-only "Man-cation" program and a third getaway package for couples.

    All three programs carry the same price tag, from $25 per person, per night (plus tax, based on double occupancy) and include extras as discounts to downtown and outlet center shops, 25 percent discounts for meals and drinks at select locations, and a coupon book with $10 in f.ree coins for the Turtle Creek and Leelanau Sands casinos.

    Other elements and experiences can be added for an extra fee such as spa treatments, winery tour and tasting, half-day fishing excursions on Grand Traverse Bay, guided cycling tours, and golf at any of 19 area courses.

    Traverse City continues its "Create Your Own” golf package until the end of golf season, with basic packages from $67.20 per person for a night's lodging and a round of golf at a participating course.

    Fab Fall getaway packages, 800/872-8377. Create Your Own” golf package, 888/499-4503.



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    Save on Crystal Cruises this Fall

    Crystal Cruises has new savings promotions for 2007 and 2008. The offers, insider tips, f,ree services and amenities provide value for travelers seeking exotic and close-to-home vacations.

    Here are some of the values.

    Save up to 48 percent on select fall 11- and 12-day Mediterranean voyages aboard the Crystal Serenity. Cruises depart from Venice, Monte Carlo, Athens, Istanbul and Rome. Fares start at $3,890.

    Save up to $1,000 per couple on 2007 Thanksgiving Voyages and kids sail fr.ee.

    In November, save $500 per person in most stateroom categories on voyages through the Panama Canal and Caribbean aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. Kids 11 years and under sail fr.ee when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare adults. The Crystal Serenity increased its third berth capacity by 15 percent, offering more choices for families.

    Save up to 52 percent with Crystal Cruises' Value Collection sailings. Crystal's 2008 Value Collection features 11 sailings of 10 to 17 days through the Panama Canal, South America, the Mediterranean, Western Europe, Caribbean and a Trans-Pacific voyage from Los Angeles to Hong Kong.

    Book before Sep. 14, 2007 and save 20 percent on all staterooms and 10 percent on all penthouse accommodations aboard Crystal Symphony's 13-day Western European voyage departing May 25, 2008 from Athens to London. Fares start at $3,995.

    Save 20 percent on a longer European cruise when you book before Sep. 14, 2007 and combine Crystal Symphony's May 25 Athens to London cruise with the cruise prior or cruise following. The combination cruises offer a 27-day or 24-day journey with savings ranging from $1,000 to $2,530 per person. Combine all three voyages for a 38-day cruise and save $3,840 per person.

    If you book a future cruise while on a Crystal cruise, you receive four to 4.5 percent off your next cruise. Additionally, you will receive a 3.5 percent discount when you pay in full six months in advance.

    Crystal Cruises or 888/799-4625.


    NY Passenger Rights Bill

    New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer signed a state airline passenger rights bill that likely will be challenged by the nation's airlines. The bill shows the frustration travelers have with airline service.

    The law establishes an Office of the Airline Consumer Advocate within the state's Consumer Protection Board to oversee compliance. The airline advocate will take complaints and refer them to the state attorney general.

    The law applies to all airlines operating out of New York airports. As of Jan. 1, 2008, airlines must provide passengers with food, water, fresh air, lighting and working rest rooms on any flight that has left the gate and been on the tarmac for more than three hours. The airlines risk a $1,000 fine per violation, per passenger, if they don't comply.

    Airlines must post an explanation of passenger rights and how to lodge a complaint at service desks and other visible places at the airport.

    The law will likely be challenged by the airlines, as the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 included language to keep states from interfering. Under the federal law, states "may not enact or enforce a law, regulation or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route or service of an air carrier."

    New York passed its law as Congress considers legislation to re-authorize funding for the Federal Aviation Administration. The Senate Commerce Committee approved language requiring airlines to provide "adequate" food, potable water and rest room facilities to passengers when a flight is "substantially delayed."

    Airlines would also have to develop a plan with a "clear time frame under which [passengers] will be permitted to deplane." Without that plan, airlines must let passengers deplane after three hours unless the pilot "reasonably determined" the flight will take off within 30 minutes or that deplaning jeopardizes passenger safety or security.

    The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a provision requiring airlines and airports to develop an "emergency contingency plan" describing how they would provide food, water, rest room facilities, cabin ventilation and access to medical treatment for passengers stuck on a grounded aircraft for "an extended period."


    Answer the Call, Win Camry Hybrid

    The West Virginia Division of Tourism launched the West Virginia "Answer the Call" contest, giving visitors to the Mountain State the opportunity to win a 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid Synergy Drive.

    No purchase is necessary to win. The contest is open to all to legal residents, at least 18 years old at the time of entry, who live in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.

    To enter the content, you must upload and submit an original video clip, created by you and based on the West Virginia is calling theme. After you uploaded your video, you must complete and submit your registration.

    Your video must be from one to three minutes long; be shot within the borders of West Virginia; be in an acceptable Windows Media, Quick Time or MPG format; and be less than 500 MB. Your video must not have been previously submitted to a contest or exhibited or displayed publicly. Complete details are online.

    You may only submit a maximum of five videos in this contest, which ends on Oct. 31, 2007 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

    The winner will be determined by Nov. 14, 2007 by a panel of expert judges and the winner will be notified by mail, email or phone around Nov. 15, 2007. The judges decisions will be based on 30 percent relevance to the contest theme; 40 percent creativity and originality; 20 percent humor and 10 percent viral popularity.

    To receive the list of winners, send an email with Subject Line: “West Virginia is Calling, Answer the Call Contest,” to WinListRequests@eprizefulfillment.com. Requests must be received by Mar. 28, 2008.

    Answer the Call Contest.



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    2-for-1 Savings on Fall Foliage Cruises

    Majestic America Line offers two-for-one savings on fall foliage cruises aboard its American Queen and historic Delta Queen steam boats. The ships cruise the Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

    The two-for-one savings are combined with free airfare from select cities on select departures. Rates start from $995 per person, based on double occupancy.

    American Queen sailings are Sep. 2, 9, 16, 23, and Oct. 21 and 28, 2007. Delta Queen sailings are Sep 21, Oct 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and Nov. 18, 2007. Free airfare is not available on the Nov. 18 Delta Queen cruise. Space is limited and the savings and free airfare offer are valid on outside cabins only.

    Majestic America Lineor 800/434-1232.


    Monarch Madness At National Wildlife Refuges

    People start calling the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge as early as August to find out when the Monarch butterflies are coming. Monarchs, after all, are a species of wonder.

    On the Gulf coast of Florida, 25 miles south of Tallahassee, St. Marks Refuge is the last stop for thousands of migrating Monarchs before they fly over the open water of the Gulf of Mexico. Every year on the fourth Saturday of October, St. Marks Refuge has its annual Butterfly Festival. Refuge Ranger Robin Will says that somehow the tired butterflies “just know” to drop down and feed on salt bushes, which bloom about the time they arrive in mid to late October. They wait there for the wind to shift offshore and carry them toward Mexico.

    Every fall, the brilliant orange and black butterflies travel thousands of miles from where they first emerged from cocoons to a handful of overwintering sites in Central Mexico. Beginning as far north as Canada, the Monarch’s long journey captures people’s imaginations.

    St. Marks Refuge’s daylong festival offers demonstrations of butterfly tagging, a tent filled with live butterflies, guided butterfly walks, butterfly talks, butterfly crafts for children and van tours to where butterflies are feeding. All of that is in addition to the refuge’s usual attractions. St. Marks Refuge covers 43 miles of Florida coastline, encompassing a variety of habitats that provide food and shelter for a large number of migratory birds. Fishing is allowed year-round, and there are more than 85 miles of marked trails.

    Will said there were more monarchs on the refuge during the 2006 festival than she has seen in 20 years. In the two days before the festival, volunteers tagged 2,000 butterflies.

    St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge fr.ee Butterfly Festival is held Oct. 27, 2007. The refuge charges a $5 entry fee per vehicle. For more information call 850-925-6121 or visit here.

    St. Marks Refuge isn’t the only national wildlife refuge on the migration trail of the Monarch. Here are some others:

    Virginia - In 1999, the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge had 100,000 monarchs in one night, remembers Refuge Manager Susan Rice. She says the butterflies filled the air and virtually dripped off of trees. But Monarchs are subject to huge swings in population. Each year, the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory, working at the refuge, conducts a count that records how “fat” the Monarch is, the condition of its wings and its gender. Then the butterfly is tagged.

    The tagging operation runs during Monarch season, mid-September to late October, and is open to the public. Butterflies are also a big part of the annual Birding Festival, scheduled Oct. 5 to 7, 2007, and coordinated with the Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce. During the three-day event, the refuge and nearby Kiptopeke State Park offer butterfly walks along their butterfly trails and gardens.

    The 1,157-acre Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge is open every day during daylight hours. At the tip of the Delmarva Peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, the refuge is an important stopover for migratory birds. The refuge does not charge an entrance fee. For more information, call 757-331-2760, or visit http://www.fws.gov/northeast/easternshore/ .

    Texas - In late September/early October thousands of Monarchs flutter through the prairies and oak Savannahs of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in Texas each day. Sometimes, Refuge Manager Deborah Holle says the butterflies “are on a mission, up high and flying through,” increasing the challenge of butterfly tagging activities that take place on the refuge at the height of butterfly migration season. If the Monarchs can be reached, they are tagged with tiny stickers. Holle says about seven of the butterflies tagged at Balcones Canyonlands Refuge have been found in Southern Mexico.

    Butterfly tagging is one activity offered during Balcones Canyonlands two-day National Wildlife Refuge Week celebration Oct. 13 to 14, 2007, at Doeskin Ranch. Butterfly walks and talks are available, as are presentations on native garden plants, including those that attract butterflies. Balcones Canyonlands also offers butterfly walks during its Songbird Festival in the spring.

    Where the Great Plains and the Gulf coast meet, Balcones Canyonlands Refuge is made up of limestone hills and spring-fed canyons, habitat for plants and animals that live nowhere else. The refuge charges no fees. For more information, call 512-339-9432, or visit here.

    Kansas - Toward evening, the best areas for viewing Monarchs at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas are sheltered places that are cool and damp. During the day, look for them in the wildflower areas. Here, in the central Kansas wetlands, Monarchs tend to appear through mid-September.

    The season reaches its peak at the refuge during “Monarch Mania” the third Saturday in September. A guest lecturer discusses such topics as butterfly gardening or the varieties of butterflies found in Kansas. Then everybody gets the chance to tag monarchs. Refuge Manager Dave Hilley says Monarch Mania is one of the refuge’s most popular events, especially for children and their families.

    Hilley says the butterflies tend to come through the refuge in waves. Some years, he adds, the butterflies are up too high to be caught for tagging. Other years, it’s possible to catch multiple Monarchs with one wave of the net.

    Wildflowers bloom in profusion throughout Quivira Refuge, attracting butterflies. But the interpretive trail extension, dedicated to butterfly viewing may be the best bet for Monarch spotting. For more information call 620-486-2393, or visit here.

    Iowa - Nancy Gilbertson, manager of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, is expecting a good year for Monarchs. She says the numbers of butterflies have been increasing since a big freeze in Mexico a few years ago. Neal Smith Refuge is a great place to see them.

    Near Prairie City, Iowa, the refuge is in the midst of one of the nation’s largest tallgrass prairie restoration projects. More than 3, 000 acres are planted with native plants, many are attractive to Monarchs. Monarchs can be seen along the Tallgrass Trail and along the sides of roads in the refuge. Or, Gilbertson says, they can be viewed by just sitting still.

    Retired Drake University Professor Robert Woodward counts monarchs at the refuge every year. In a little more than three hours on Sep. 20, 2006, he counted 432 Monarchs among the refuge’s sawtooth sunflowers. He thought the migration was ending, but as the day warmed, Monarchs emerged from the tall bluestem grasses where they had sheltered for the night.

    Neal Smith Refuge held its first Monarch Madness Day in 2006. Ninety people tagged 250 Monarchs during the day; almost 500 were tagged over the season. Since then five tags have been returned from El Rosario, Mexico. The event is held annually on the second Tuesday each September. For more information, call 515-994-3400, or visit here.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Click here for more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.



    Inn at The Springs Four for Four

    The Inn at The Springs, in Bonita Springs, FL welcomes families of four with a four-night vacation package through this fall. A four-night getaway for four people includes a two-bedroom, two-bath suite with equipped kitchen, unlimited use of the fitness center and fr.ee breakfast daily. Good through Nov. 30, 2007, the "Four for Four" package rate is $109 per room, per night, excluding state and local taxes. The offer is based on availability and advance reservations are required.

    The Inn at The Springs, recently completed a renovation upgrading carpeting and lighting, adding hardwood floors, granite counter tops, plasma screen televisions, plush bedcovers with matching window treatments and mahogany furniture to 64 suites. The hotel also incorporated high speed Internet throughout the hotel and business center. All rooms are suites with full kitchens equipped with dishes, pots and pans, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, and refrigerator.

    The Inn at the Springs is on the Gulf in southwest Florida, within walking distance of shopping, restaurants and recreational facilities. Bonita Springs' only all-suite hotel offers studios, one and two-bedroom suites up to 800 square feet.

    Inn at The Springs or 800/544-0377.


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