Thursday, March 28, 2013

WellsWorld on the radio: Spring flings in Europe and the U.S.A.

Timing tip

Planning a quick, impromptu getaway? If it's to the south of Europe better do enough planning to have confirmed reservations for transportation and lodging.

After Easter northern Europe residents surge to the south and sunshine like swallows to Capistrano. Planes and trains that may have been mostly empty before Easter, are crammed and overbooked. Same with hotels, ferries and cruise ships to sunny islands.

Viva! Tallahassee

Timucuan Chief Saturiba. Photo © by Judy Wells.

As Florida celebrates Viva Florida, the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon landing on its shores, the Museum of Florida History has added an exhibit to show what followed that momentous event.

Herman the giant mastadon, an earlier resident of the state, has been joined by  Timucuan Chief Saturiba, a Spanish galleon and dozens more characters and interesting objects.

It's an easy way to learn and appreciate the state's fascinating history that ensued from the arrival of Europeans.

Museum of Florida History
R.A. Gray Building
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250
(850) 245-6400

Austrian Beauty Week

GrandHotel Lienz
What: Special Beauty Week package for men and women includes seven nights in a Superior Suite with scenic views from your balcony, breakfast buffet, 5-course gourmet dinner, fitness program of  full body toning and aerobics, a series of special massages and scalp treatments, steam bath, use of all facilities and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Where: GrandHotel Lienz, named World's Leading Medical/Wellness Spa by World Travel Awards, amid the mountain scenery of Lienze, Austria. 

When: May 8 to Oct. 31, 2013 and Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, 2013.

How Much: $1,690 per person per week May to October; $1,300 from November to December 15, based on exchange rates as of March 8, 2013..

Luxury Tour of China

Great Wall

What: Stay in 5-star hotels - Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-La and boutique ship Victoria Anna - during a 16-day Dragon Heart of China Tour from China Spree. Includes 15 American buffet breakfasts, 26 other meals, guides, special shows, InSites Cultural Program, entrance fees, baggage handling and airfare. 

Where: Fly from San Francisco to to Beijing, Xian, Guilikn, Chongqin, Yangtze River cruise, Suzhou, Tongli and Shanghai.

Cost: $4,799 per person, double occupancy ($5,099 from New York) if booked by March 31. Prices are cash only (add $200 for payment by credit card), subject to availability.
(Click on "China Tours" then "Luxury Tours".

VIP Packages for South Walton Beaches Food and Wine Festival

What: "Grand Tasting Getaway" includes upgraded beach-view accommodations at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa and two tickets to to the Grand Tasting April 27 starting at $409 per night.
"VIP Wine Lover's Weekend" includes beach-view accommodations; two tickets to the the Exclusive Vibrant Rioja Reserve and Grand Reserve Tasting and Food Pairing event Friday, April 26; two Upgraded VIP tickets to the Grand Tasting Saturday, April 27; and two tickets to the "After-Party Party" Saturday, April 27; for $769 per night.

When: April 25-28, 2013

Details: Use code WP for Grand Tasting Getaway; code VP for the VIP Wine Lover's package.

 Book early to save at Disney Resort Hotels

For: Florida residents

What: Book by March 31, 2013, for lower rates at Disney Resort Hotels, slightly more for bookings April 1 to May 30, 2013.

How Much: 
• All-Star Music Resort, $82/$88 per night
• Coronado Springs Resort, $136/$145
• Animal Kingdom Lodge, $221/$238
• Old Key West Resort, $240/$258

Add Discover Disney tickets and save on those too.

Free Guide to N.C. Mountains

What: A 48-page, full-color guide to leisure pursuits in Jackson County's popular mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Cullowhee, Dillsboro and Sylva. Information on unique destinations like the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, the nation's only fly fishing trail, and the Richland Balsam Overlook, the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 6,053 feet in elevation. Also on where to stay, dine and shop including a pull-out map of hiking trails and waterfalls.

How: Call 800-962-1911, request online at or download.

Segway through historic St. Augustine

What: St. Francis Inn, the oldest inn in St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, offers special deal on newest form of transport.

Details: Stay two nights at the Inn Sunday through Thursday and receive a complimentary two-hour ride through town on a Segway ($59 value) per person. Advance reservations at regular rates required.

Where: St. Francis Inn, 279 St. George S', St. Augustine, FL.

Moms rule at Mainsail Beach Inn

Anna Maria Island

What: "Month of Mom" package. Reserve a three-night or more stay Sunday through Thursday and receive a $250 American Express Gift Card  for Mom.

When: Month of May, 2013.

Where: Mainsail Beach Inn, Anna Maria Island, Florida, 40 miles south of Tampa.

How Much: Rates begin at $234 for a two-bedroom suite.