Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Start the New Year on the road

January and February are great months for Southerners to travel in our own backyard. Tourists are few, the beaches and golf courses are in good, non-crowded shape, the weather is rarely cold or rainy enough to limit activities, bugs are down and prices are as low as they are likely to go.

My suggestion is to make a list with the family of all the things you want to see within a hundred miles or so. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

It's a bit chilly for tubing the Itchitucknee, but how about a swim with the manatees at Crystal River or Homassassa Springs?  Prices run about $60-65 per person and you can rent a wet suit from the outfitter.

Take a hike. The Devil's Millhopper in Gainesville or our own Timuqua Preserve are good options.

Get a list of state parks and start seeing them.

Rent an oceanfront condo for a family, friends or girls' getaway.our list

While making your list,  consider these deals and specials.


Sixteenth hole at Mission Inn.
Century of class. Play in the spike marks of Ben Hogan, Patty Berg, Babe Zaharias, Arnold Palmer and trick-shot artist Joe Kirkwood. Celebrate the 100th year of Mission Inn Resort and Club's El Campeon golf course with this Golfers' Getaway package with rates 28-47 percent below regular pricing.

• Deluxe guest accommodations
• Daily golf with shared cart
• Unlimited use of practice facilities
• Buffet breakfasts daily at La Hacienda restaurant
• One three-course wine diner for two on arrival night at El Conquistador lakeside restaurant
• Commemorative 100th anniversary merchandise gift set per person per package
• On-site anniversary savings coupons for merchandise, spa* and more
• Club storage and cleaning.

Located in the rolling countryside of central Florida, Mission Hills is just 35 minutes from Orlando.

For more information call 800-874-9053 or go to  www.missioninnresort.com.

* I can personally recommend the spa.

Island dining. A memorable meals at a bargain is a good reason for a road trip so mark your calendar to visit Amelia Island January 20- 29 during Restaurant Week.

 Participating restaurants include 29 South, 801 Kitchen and Bar, Bar Zin Bistro and Wine Bar, Brett's Waterway Cafe, Burlingame, Cafe Karibo, Ciao Italian Bistro, Coast, Crab Trap,  Cucina South, Espana Restaurant and Tapas, Gilbert's Underground Kitchen, Hola Cuban Cafe, Horizons, Jack and Diane's Cafe, Joe's 2nd Street Bistro, La Mancha Restaurant, Les Clos, Lechonera El Coqui, Lucas on Centre, Lulu's at the Thompson, Marina Seafoood Restaurant, Oceanside, The Patio Place, Pi Infinite Combinations, The Salty Pelican Bar and Grill, The Surf Restaurant and Bar and Verandah.

Bring some culinary skills home. The Amelia Island Culinary Institute offers demonstration and hands-on cooking classes for adults and children plus a chef's shopping tour through a farmers' market.

Spice your dining with a Mixology Tour. This mobile cocktail party leisurely ambles through downtown so you can experience the area's bars and their signature cocktails. Vote for your favorite so its bar-tending creator has bragging rights for the year. Pick your Thursday, Friday or Saturday, 5:30-7:30 p.m., $45, 904-330-5746.

Full details for all events and special accommodation prices,  at http://restaurantweek.ameliaisland.com/events/.


King and Prince Resort, St. Simons Island, GA.

Got great Christmas decorations?

Send a photo of your favorite to The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort on St. Simons Island and you will be entered to win a two-night stay in an oceanfront room.

Contest ends 9 p.m. Sunday, January 1, 2017.

Here's the contest link: https://www.facebook.com/TheKingandPrince/app/451684954848385?brandloc=DISABLE&app_data=chk-584ff9fa56401

If you don't win, Winter Island Escape room rates begin at $129.

Over 50? Book a Standard Room, get a Resort View Room; book a Resort View Room, get a Partial Ocean view Room; book one of those and get an Oceanfront Room.

Over 50 and play golf? When staying at the resort on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, get a golf rate of $50 per person including greens fees and cart, a $29 savings.

For each hour-long massage booked at the Royal Treatment cottage, receive an additional 15 minutes.

To get the Golden Age Special, call 800-342-0212.

Play the courses, catch the fish at Reynolds Lake Oconee.
More goodies for golfers. The First Round is on them at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, GA, between Atlanta and Augusta.

Now through March 2017 the golf and cottage package includes

• Free round of golf on the day of arrival (after noon)
• A round of drinks following each day's round of golf
• Choice of cottage for one to three days
• Breakfast daily
• Same course, same day unlimited golf on Oconee, Great Waters, National and Landing ($50 signature course upcharge for play on the Great Waters and Oconee courses applied to first round of the day).
• Pricing from $249 per person per night, minimum two persons per cottage.

For details,  www.reynoldslakeoconee.com.

  Opportunities for free golf vacations here, too.

The "Reynolds Insider Sweepstakes" offers four quarterly golf vacations for two
•  3-day, 2-night stay for two in a Reynolds Lake Oconee cottage or condominium
• 2 rounds of golf per person during length of stay
• $100 resort credit

and a grand prize of
• 4-day, 3-night stay for four in a brand new National Club Cottage
• 3 rounds of golf per person during length of stay
• Full-set club fitting (woods, irons, and putter) for each person at Reynolds Kingdom of Golf presented by TaylorMade
• 2-hour instructional clinic for the group with PGA Professionals at Reynolds Kingdom of Golf presented by TaylorMade
•  $500 resort credit.

The quarterly prizes will be randomly selected on or about the first week of April, July and October, 2017 and January 2018. The grand prize will be randomly selected the first week of January 2018 based on all entries received by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on January 1, 2018.

To register as a Reynolds Insider and to see the complete official rules, visit www.reynoldslakeoconee.com/sweepstakes.  Entries also are accepted by mail; limit one entry per household, regardless of entry method.