Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WellsWorld on First Coast Connect, Oct. 26, 20112

Travel Auction
Like getting deals on travel to great destinations?

Go to the Society of American Travel Writers annual auction, take a look and bid on your favorites. It's open to the public and great bargains can be be found.

A few samples:
A 1-week Italian language and cooking school in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, with accommodations for one, value $1,200; current bid $150.

Fairmont Monte Carlo 
A 2-night stay at the Fairmont Monte Carlo with a sea view room, buffet breakfast, 60-minute side by side treatment for 2 at Willow Stream Spa. Value $2,000; current bid, $250.

Closer to home, a 3-night getaway for up to 4 in a one-bedroom unit at the Ft. Lauderdale Windjammer Resort and Beach Club in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Value $600, current bid $75.
Bidding ends at 1 a.m. Monday, Nov. 21.

Give it a try at www.satw.org
Click on 2011 SATW Auction Live.

Chesapeake Bay Western Shore
For a relaxing, kicked-back holiday, try the lesser known WESTERN shore of Chesapeake Bay. I was recently up there to look around and to meet with representatives of other areas in the Mid-Atlantic states and found it a comforting combination of New England and the South.

The architecture is a blend of  New England clapboard and peaked roofs with southern colonial. Trees, mainly deciduous hardwoods, give it a northern feel while water-oriented resorts provide the southern.

The slow cooking, locally sourced, environmentally friendly and sustainable food movements are well entrenched. Oyster farming is bringing back that delicacy but crab is still king, especially the Maryland crab cake.  The best I had were at the Rod 'N' Reel in Chesapeake Beach, www. chesapeakebeachresortspa.com/rodnreel, and the Ruddy Duck Brewery & Grill, www.ruddyduckbrewery.com,   in Solomons, MD.

In Leonardtown, MD. where I met the oyster farmer, I also met Chef Loic Jaffres, a classically trained French chef whose Cafe des Artistes restaurant, www.cafedesartistes.ws,  serves up classic country French cuisine. Not far away in Prince Frederick, you'll find Charleen Obal, a low country-born kitchen wizard, whipping up roux in her Saphron Restaurant, www.saphronrestaurant.com.

Small towns with interesting histories abound, often separated by rolling hills, farms and wide-shouldered lanes to accommodate the horse and buggies of the 300 Amish and 300 Mennonite families who live and farm in the area.

One of my favorite spots is Historic St. Mary's City, a Williamsburg-like living museum of 17th century life that commemorates the fourth permanent English settlement in the New World and Maryland's first capital, www.stmaryscity.org. Sotterley Plantation, www.sotterley.org,  is another historic gem worth visiting.

B and Bs are a nice alternative, but the Chesapeake Beach Resort & Spa, www.cbrspa.com,  is a great headquarters for the family with good food, comfortable rooms, activities from the town water park to fishing right out the front door and a most unique chandelier.

The whole area is a bedroom community for Baltimore and Washington, DC which means when walking the sidewalks and stairs of our nation's capital has worn you out, take refuge on the western shore for a few days.

Maryland provides super free guides to this area including Southern Maryland Trails, www.somdtrails.com, and So Maryland, So Good Farm Guide, www.somarylandsogood.com.

Deals and Steals

Anniversary special now through Dec. 23: Orlando's Rosen Inns - AAA Three Diamond Hotels: Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando and Rosen Inn (closest to Universal .

$39.99 a night when booked by Oct. 31. Add a full American breakfast for 2 adults for $10 plus tax a night.

To book: Go to www.roseninns.com/anniversary or call 866-337-6733.

Let them do the cooking for Thanksgiving

Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa, Young Harris, GA - www.brasstownvalley.com or 800-201-3205.

Residence Inn Amelia Island, FL - Book by Nov. 1 and receive a $25 dining credit at local restaurants. Gobble early - arrive Wednesday night and enjoy a complimentary evening holiday feast including beer and wine, a $50 value. Stick around and go shopping on Black Friday in your P.J.s. Book at www.residenceinnameliaisland.com or 866-245-6099.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Travel Bargain Hunters Alert

Fairmont Southampton Bermuda

Like getting deals on travel to great destinations?

                                                                  Blue Harbor Resort & Spa

Go to the Society of American Travel Writers annual auction, take a look and bid on your favorites. Open to the public and great bargains to be found.

Give it a try at www.satw.org
Click on 2011 SATW Auction Live.

Terranea Resort Golf Getaway

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Johnnie Walker Scotch Dinner


What: Johnnie Walker Scotch Dinner

When: Thursday, November 3, 2011

Where: King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St. Simons Island, GA

Schedule: Reception 6:30PM to 7:00PM | Dinner 7:00PM


Hors d’oeuvres
Whiskey Punch

First Course
Whiskey River Vidalia Onion Soup
Caramelized Onions, Flamed Whiskey Consommé
Johnnie Walker Red Label

Second Course
Poached Pear Salad
  Baby Mesculin Greens, Whiskey Infused White Balsamic Vinaigrette,
Sweet Grass Dairy Gorgonzola Cheese, Roasted Walnuts
Johnnie Walker Green Label

  Braised Rib Steak, Johnny Walker Black Label Whiskey Au Jus
    Sun Dried Tomato and Asiago Cheese Popover, Grilled Asparagus,
Potato Tower
Johnnie Walker Black Label

Sweet Georgia Pecan Bread Pudding
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Chocolate Whiskey Sauce
Johnnie Walker Gold Label

“The Perfect Serve” Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Organized and prepared by:
“Master of Whiskey” Mr. Kevin Mulcahy, Johnnie Walker Scotch
Chef’s de Cuisine  Ms. Paula Murphy and Mr. Dwayne Austell

Cost: $65 per person includes tax and gratuity

To Book: Information and Reservations, 912-268jpazur@mmihg.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bargain Beijing

What: Six-night trip to Beijing for $799 plus $71 tax.

When: January or February

Details: Offered by China Spree Travel, the trip's U.S. gateway is San Francisco; cost from Los Angeles, $849; from New York $1,129. Based on double occupancy, cash only.

Includes: Round-trip air, airport transfers, accommodations in a centrally located, 4-star hotel, daily American buffet breakfasts, three lunches and three days of guided tours and entrance fees to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, rickshaw ride through a hutong, Sacred Way of Ming tombs, Great Wall of China, the Temple of Heaven, the “Bird Nest” Olympic stadium exterior, Summer Palace gardens and marble boat. 

Why so cheap? Activities are outside, Beijing is cold that time of year and you can't put the trip on a credit card.

To Book: www.chinaspree.com.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

WellsWorld on First Coast Connect: Jokester Ghost, Winter Dolphin Deals, Go Luxe for Less, Wine Deals, Parrotheads' Special

                  Grand Canyon

Train into the Grand Canyon
 Before Arizona was a state, before mule tours, the Grand Canyon Railway was bringing visitors into our nation's landmark. 

It's a real trip. Spend a night in Williams, wake up to Western troubadors, comedic cowboys and pseudo shootouts then board the beautifully refurbished cars and prepare to be entertained until you arrive an easy amble from the South Rim's historic lodges and that gasp-worthy first look across and down. Stay for awhile then take the train back, experience a daring if daffy train robbery and spend another night in the surprisingly lively Williams.
Packages start at $390 per couple for the train, 2 nights at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams. Add kids for $32. At the top, $772 per couple gets you the train and stays at the GCR Hotel, a night in Grand Canyon National Park, a motorcoach rim tour, 2 breakfasts and two dinners per person; kids come for another $87.

Once at the canyon you don't need a car; free shuttle buses take you within an easy walk of where you want to be.


A Room that goes Boo?
The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, N. C. - 1 of America's Top 10 haunted hotels - invites us all to spend an evening with its resident ghost, Dr. William Jacocks. He's friendly but a prankster, especially to guests in Room 256, once his permanent home.

The room with a Boo! package starts at $409 a night and includes overnight accommodations, dinner for 2 (set for 3) at Carolina Crossroads Restaurant, a biography of Dr. Jacocks and The History of the Carolina.

Book online at www.carolinainn.com/packages/room-with-a-boo or call 800-962-8519.

Winter Specials
If you were inspired by Winter, the amputee dolphin that lost her tail in a crab trap and star of the movie  Dolphin Tale, consider these two packages.

Sandpearl Resort, in Clearwater, FL, official resort partner of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, will be donating a portion of the proceeds from this package to help with the feeding and care of Winter and the other residents of the Aquarium.

 Winter the Dolphin Family Package includes:
·  Accommodations in room category of choice
·  Breakfast daily for two adults and two children
·  Two tickets to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
·  A book copy of Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again
·  A close encounter with Winter.
The package starts at $219 per night for a family of four and is good for travel through Dec. 31, 2011.
Book at www.sandpearl.com or call 877-726-3111 and ask for the promotional code WINTER.

The TradeWinds Island Resorts – the Island Grand and the Sandpiper Suites – beachfront resorts on the Gulf of Mexico at St. Petersburg Beach also has a Winter package.
It includes
Meeting Winter
Two tickets to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
A dolphin watch cruise for two
A plush Winter the Dolphin toy
A TradeWinds  beach bag
A three-night stay for two beginning at $495 good through Dec. 24, 2011.

Book at www.JustLetGo.com or call toll-free (866) JUST LET GO (587-8538).

Little St. Simons Island Deal
This is a one-of-a-kind island, one of Georgia's golden Isles, where all-inclusive means everything from room, snacks, gourmet meals and beverages - including the adult ones - to guided exploring, bird watching, fishing, canoeing, bicycling, kayaking, beach-combing, even sun screen and insect repellant.

Special rates Oct. 13-20, Nov. 1-17, 27-30 and Dec. 1-14 are $439 per couple per night.

Book at www.littlestsimonsisland.com or 866-855-0718.

Luxury Savings at Sea
Incentives can put the cost for a 2012 luxury cruise on a par with less luxe cruises.

Examples cited by Travel Weekly include
Azmara Club Cruises: 50 % off published fares, 50 % off shore excursions, air credits up to $2,000 per person.
Crystal Cruises: 2-for-1 fares, "Book now" savings up to 42,000 per couple, free air or air credit ($300 to $3,600 depending on destination).
Oceania Cruises: 2-for-1 fares, free air.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises: 2-for-1 fares, free air, excursions and hotel package.
Seabourn: Up to 50 % off Europe cruises.
Silversea Cruises: Up to 60% off select sailings, onboard spending credits up to $2,500, free air.
Windstar Cruises: Free two-night hotel stays in Caribbean and Costa Rica, 15% off bookings made 180 days before departure.

Booking Deadline: for most, Oct. 31, Nov. 30 or Dec. 31.
Travel Weekly reports

Wine on and off the Vine
October is Virginia Wine Month and Southern Virginia wineries are celebrating with a deal for oenophiles.

Wine Trail Package: For $189 per night get accommodations for two and continental breakfast at Berry Hill Resort & Conference Center, South Boston, VA; a pair of SoVA Wine Trail passes for special tours and wine tastings with commemorative glasses at 10 different vineyards. Good through Nov. 20.

Book at www.berryhillonline.com or 434-517-7000.

Parrotheads Special
Flip Flops 'n Pop Tops Parrothead Weekend fills the Shores of Panama, Panama City Beach, FL, with Jimmy Buffet fare Oct. 21-23. Steel drum band and free hors d'oeuvres on Friday, all day music and drink specials followed by Jimmy Buffet Tribute Band, the Caribbean Chillers, and fireworks.

Rooms start at $79 a night plus discounts on spa services and water sports.

Book at 877-808-4323 and mention "Parrothead" or go to http://www.oaseasresorts.com/vacation-specials.html#2.