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.
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.
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.
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.