Going Back in Time on the Ultimate Steamboat Vacation

 

Going Back in Time on the Ultimate Steamboat Vacation

by Amy Lignor

 

Many people love taking a cruise. But it is the river cruise on that glorious steamboat that not only offers all the benefits a big ocean liner offers, but also creates a more personalized, intimate vacation experience. It is a unique recipe: being able to witness stunning landscapes, mixed with amazing history, while dining on acclaimed regional cuisine and enjoying exceptional entertainment. It is also a true adventure to explore riverside port cities and then come back to the steamboat to find your own personal attendant is waiting to make sure you have everything you need and want during your trip.

river cruise, American Queen Steamboat Company, Hop-On/Hop-Off, shore excursions, Mississippi River, Ohio & Tennessee Rivers, Steamboat Vacation,  Lewis and Clark, adventure, Tom & Huck, Columbia & Snake River Cruises

Choosing the American Queen Steamboat Company for your river cruise is perfect. After all, the only thing you need to do is relax while the steamboat takes you on some of the most memorable river cruises in the U.S. Say you are a history buff, by traveling the Mississippi River you will explore the history, culture, and nature of the famous waterway. And that is just one of the unique and unforgettable river cruise packages you can choose from.

 

This is the ideal vacation – with all of the luxury and none of the hassles. With three magnificent and glorious vessels to choose from – the American Queen, American Duchess, or the American Empress – the abundance of luxurious amenities that come along with the signature benefits of pre-cruise deluxe hotel stays will literally have you spoiled by the time the vacation comes to a close. (So much so, you are not going to want to get off that boat!) Hop-On/Hop-Off shore excursions in each port, fabulous dining venues, nightly entertainment and dancing, 24-hour room service…you name it, it’s yours. And whether you wish to explore the Heartland or wish to get those breathtaking views of the great Pacific Northwest, these journeys through ‘authentic America’ are like nothing you have ever experienced.

 

Choices that can be made include the Lower Mississippi River Cruises. You will witness antebellum plantations, cotton fields and Civil War memorials. River cruising through the rich history of the Old South is literally like taking a step back in time. When you explore the port cities, you will be enthralled by everything from the restored mansions that grace the Great River Road to the sidewalk cafes of New Orleans’ French Quarter to the sounds of the soulful blues streaming through the streets of Memphis.

 

If choosing one of the Upper Mississippi River Cruises, you will find yourself taken back in time as you cruise a river that became legendary through Mark Twain’s words. His beloved characters – from Tom Sawyer to Huck Finn to Becky Thatcher – are still alive and well in Hannibal, Missouri, Twain’s boyhood hometown. You will be swept away as you cruise aboard a classic, steam-powered vessel that includes stops at storybook American towns and vibrant, bustling cities.

 

River cruises are also available along the Ohio & Tennessee Rivers. On these particular cruises, a cultural mecca comes in the form of cities and towns along these two rivers. From Civil War battlefields, forts and homesteads to quaint Main Streets, this is one region that is alive with history. Cruising the Cumberland River takes you straight into Bluegrass Country. The Ohio River is a literal showcase of the best America has to offer. The Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers are a reminder of the wilderness that had to be conquered in order to make this nation great. So whether you are cruising through the wilderness or heading to attractions like Churchill Downs, there will never be a dull moment.

 

Another choice you can make for the ultimate September Steamboat Vacation comes in the form of the Columbia and Snake River Cruises. Talk about awe-inspiring. Natural, iconic destinations, every port along the journey includes vibrant history. Daring frontiersmen and adventurers came down these rivers and you will quite literally feast your own eyes upon the land just as it appeared in the days of Lewis and Clark when they first spotted it in 1805. The raw, still frightening power of Mount St. Helens; the unmatched beauty of Multnomah Falls; and even stops at the acclaimed wineries of the Pacific Northwest – this is a true corner of America that you do not want to miss.

 

So as you rack your brain trying to figure out a unique, thrilling, and luxurious vacation for you and the family to take, consider the mighty steamboat that will allow you to look at America from a whole new perspective…while being spoiled rotten at the same time.

 

Source:  Baret News

 

Get Your Groove On! Visit Music City U.S.A.

 

Get Your Groove On! Visit Music City U.S.A.

by Amy Lignor

 

For some, it seems like choosing a vacation destination is extremely difficult. However, if you’re looking for a perfect “menu” that includes: sites to see, history to be learned, the best restaurants imaginable, and enjoying the heck out of each and every day while listening to the ‘best of the best’ music imaginable, then there is only one choice…Nashville!

Nashville, Songwriting Capital of the World, Queen of England, Music City, Country Music Hall of Fame, Parthenon, Grand Ole Opry, vacation

Nashville’s very first celebrity, believe or not, was the famous frontiersmen Davy Crockett, who was known far and wide for his colorful fiddle playing. As time moved forward, Nashville literally grew to become a national center for music publishing. So how did it get the nickname, “Music City?” Well…you’ll most likely be surprised. It came about when the first around-the-world tour by a musical act was made by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, who happened to come from Nashville’s Fisk University. It was upon playing for the Queen of England that the queen stated the Fisk Jubilee Singers must come from “Music City.”

 

There is no question that any historian or visitor who simply wants to go to some of the coolest places located in the United States, will love traveling to Nashville. The historic venues that you and your family or friends can be a part of makes up a list a mile long.

 

Start your visit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Not only will you experience the evolution of one of the fastest growing music genres, but you will also see how country music influenced other genres of music, explaining why Nashville became and remains the epicenter of the country music industry.

Just up the street from there is the Parthenon at Centennial Park. Here, you’ll find a full scale replica of the Greek Parthenon (no, not kidding at all.) You’ll learn why Nashville was called the “Athens of the South” before British royalty ever dubbed it “Music City.”

Next…the Ryman Auditorium – the home of the Grand Ole Opry – awaits. Literally nicknamed “Carnegie Hall of the South,” the Ryman’s unrivaled acoustic qualities has caused it to receive the prestigious “Theater of the Year” award seven times. In other words, this is the best auditorium to experience live music. The Opry is still staged live every week and continues to ignite the careers of hundreds of rising stars.

 

On to Music Row. This is a true empire for musicians and visitors. Recording studios, record labels, entertainment offices – anything and everything you can think of make up this area and is a whole lot of fun to delve into.

 

As the “Songwriting Capital of the World,” when it comes to being “discovered” as a writer, the famous Bluebird Café still showcases songwriters performing their original music. Here you can be a part of it all as you walk through these doors, following in the steps of some of the most famous talent in the world. Sit, drink, eat, and listen to the music performed in a venue that continues to launch songs and writers each and every week.

 

Take in the Walk of Fame Park during your visit and have a blast! Nashville is not all country and western music; this city has literally become a hub for pop, rock, bluegrass, jazz, classical, and more. Artists galore have chosen to call Nashville home, and running into one of the best musicians on the planet is not unheard of when visiting the city.

 

Do not miss those world-famous honky-tonks, either. Live music can be seen and heard every day and night of the week in Nashville, and Lower Broadway – with those neon lights and music streaming out of doors and into the streets – cannot be missed. There’s no cover charge, but don’t forget that the bands need your tips.

 

“Music City” has proven for over 200 years that it is the place to go for music, while also soaking in the historic ambience and having a whole lot of fun. So…Get Your Groove On, America! Head to Nashville for your next vacation and discover a destination that you will want to visit again and again.

 

Source:  Baret News

 

Leaf-Peeping is Around Every Corner in the Northeast

 

Leaf-Peeping is Around Every Corner in the Northeast

by Amy Lignor

 

Believe it or not, leaf-peeping is just around the corner – every corner when you’re talking about the North East section of the United States. And even though you may still be sweating and enjoying the last lazy days of summer, it is right now when you have to plan that ultimate vacation that is all about slowing down and, quite literally, taking in the view.

Autumn, United States, vacation, New England, Vermont, Maine, Stephen King, prime viewing, Connecticut Yankee,  Upstate New York, New Hampshire, fall foliage, United States Forest Service

Great Smokey Mountains National Park – Most Breathtaking National Parks to Visit for Fall Colors

Although plenty of other states sport leaves and trees, New England has always been and still, to this day, reigns supreme for having the most beautiful fall-foliage viewing. When you think of the word “picturesque,” the landscapes of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Upstate New York in the autumn are the best definition of the word. Autumn leaves are not unique, but with these areas’ rolling hills, forested terrain, and quaint little towns nestled in between, you can enjoy the brilliant, vivid, colorful sites that define the true “leaf-peeping experience.” Here are the best spots to take a good “look” at while you prepare to choose where you will go for this relaxing, stunning trip.

 

When it comes to Maine, the top road trip entails getting on Route 17 and staying there. Beginning from the coastal city of Rockland all the way to Augusta, the state capital, this route is breathtaking, traveling around Sebago Lake and Baxter State Park. Perhaps you can even stop by Stephen King’s house and say hello.

 

In Vermont, you can enjoy a stunning ride along the 88-mile loop set dead center in the state, with Routes 100, 107, 12 and 106 as choices that will take you through Gaysville, Barnard, Woodstock, and more. You will also have the added-extra bonus of stopping (every five minutes, mind you) for some of the best maple syrup candy you have ever eaten.

 

The Hudson River Valley in New York State is one of the top choices for leaf-peepers everywhere. From the elevated panoramic view at the famous Point Lookout Inn located on the Palisades Interstate Parkway, you can literally see five states when the skies are blue. The “blanket” of leaves is stunning, offering every color of the rainbow.

 

The Connecticut Yankee is beyond proud of their old time country roads, including US Route 44 that heads through Natchaug State Forest. In addition, State Route 154 through Old Saybrook is a “can’t miss” ride that will have you stopping at a wealth of antique stores and historical sites as you go.

 

Just in this area alone, make sure to stay at that perfect Bed & Breakfast set in New Hampshire’s brilliant White Mountains, New York’s Adirondack and Catskill Mountains, or even the Finger Lakes region. There is literally no “bad” spots where leaf-peeping is concerned when heading straight through the North East.

 

Mother Nature seems to have taken a shine to these locations. They are always areas you want to bring your camera to in order to document the loveliness all around – before the heavy-duty winter hits, of course; then you want your skis. Prime viewing dates vary yearly based on weather. However, when thinking about your trip, make sure to keep in mind that autumn – on average – makes its first appearance in New England in early September. To keep track, the United States Forest Service offers regular updates on its website on when and where to catch the ‘best of the best’ in fall foliage.

 

Leaf-peeping is serious business here, folks, so expect crowds on those peak weekends, and plan now in order to secure those lodging and dinner reservations that you want to indulge in while you have the experience of a lifetime.

 

Source:  Baret News

 

 

Food Vacations

 

Food Vacations

by Amy Lignor

 

It is a fact that many people out there in America base their vacation choices on nothing more than food. Oh, yes, it may be wonderful to have that perfect view or the buzzing nightlife of a certain locale, but being able to have those incredible aromas hovering all around, coming from literally the best meals in all of the United States, can top the list when planning that perfect vacation. So…how far would you travel for the perfect meal? Well…everyone knows about the elegant Parisian meals or the never-ending fare of Rome, but what if your bank account can only supply you with enough to stay in good, old America and visit the best cities here serving the most unforgettable cuisine? The U.S. most definitely has locations that can go head-to-head and even surpass anything France or Italy has to offer, and the first can be found in…Louisiana.

unforgettable cuisine, Louisiana, Charleston, San Francisco, NYC, Chicago, Chinatown, craft beer, wine

“The Big Easy” is all about slowing down and taking a time out from the chaos to enjoy the good life. And the best part is that when it comes to New Orleans, finding awesome restaurants is truly easy. Ranging from casual delis and sandwich shops that provide the best po’boy sandwiches imaginable; to literal American institutions that have legendary menus that include items like, turtle soup, New Orleans has it all. And let’s be honest, if you haven’t dug into spicy gumbo or crawfish or any other acclaimed Creole dishes, than you simply haven’t lived.

 

Another high-ranking vacation spot for food can be found in Charleston. This is a city that plays host to James Beard Award nominee chefs and their restaurants lining the streets. Seafood, country kitchens, southern soul – Charleston has it all ready for you to sink your teeth into. There are even a list of markets that offer quick bites that end up being written about on Internet sites all across the web. A boutique local wine & cheese favorite is Goat.Sheep.Cow. And the boutique markets of Bull Street Gourmet and Queen Street Gourmet cannot be missed.

 

Where is a hot spot for eating as well as seeing the most sites? “The Big Apple,” of course. Food is an obsession in NYC, which is why some of the best restaurants can be found there. And whether you are into casual dining or A+ top-rated fine dining, you can find everything that meets your desires on the streets of NYC. The only problem you will have is trying to choose between the gazillions of restaurants that have received 5 star ratings and deserved every star. Sating your every craving, you can enjoy smoked meat, ramen, authentic Chinese, Canadian-inspired poutine, the freshest sushi, to the best pizzas ever made. (But don’t tell Italy that.) Not to mention, with food in NYC comes a myriad of wine, cocktails, craft beer joints, microbreweries and more; As you feed you can also water, so to speak, and revel in both while in “The Big Apple.”

 

On the other coast, San Francisco awaits with all their ocean fare that remains unmatched. But it’s not just those fresh-shucked oysters that’ll make it the vacation of a lifetime. You also are provided with short rib tacos, market salads, pork and charred peaches—this city is renowned for its fantastic food. Being that it has more restaurants per capita than any other major city in North America, that’s not really a surprise. From fine dining to local cuisine to the intense Asian culture that provides a visitor with fresh sushi and dim sum throughout the city’s bustling Chinatown, the checklist is long. There is even North Beach, San Francisco’s Italian district, where pasta lovers unite.

 

And if you’re wishing to experience the “melting pot” of the Midwest on your vacation, Chicago is all about down-home comfort food, mixed with authentic ethnic cuisine, and Michelin-starred fine dining. The best restaurants in Chicago can range from wine bars hidden to the naked eye, to bustling gastropubs, to formal locations that have to be booked months in advance. But…it is so worth it. Chicago’s citizens are all about diversity, and the restaurants mimic that as well. Casual cuisine from the best deep-dish pizza on the planet to a web of restaurants run by celebrity chefs are there for the taking.

 

So if planning your vacation based on filling your stomach with the best while having a blast, make sure these cities are at the top of your list.

 

Source:  Baret News

 

Vacation Locations: Knowledge is Fun Too!

 

Vacation Locations: Knowledge is Fun Too!

by Amy Lignor

 

Most children (and adults, too) will either roll their eyes or sigh when, while speaking about vacation locations, the word “learning” just happens to be mentioned. Yes, it is a fact that school trips take all of us during our younger years to everything from museums to libraries to historic locations in order to teach us things we should know. But when thinking about your vacation, you should know that by considering journeying to a particular place that just happens to register high on the historical or educational meter, you could have even more fun.

Smithsonian, historical battles, Mount Rushmore, Gettysburg, Statue of Liberty, Memorials, Monuments, America

One of the greatest trips this writer ever had as a child was to Washington, D.C. From the Smithsonian to the monuments…the place was buzzing with activity, cool things to look at, and was so much fun you didn’t even notice all that learning that was being soaked up by your brain as you were having a good time.

 

So make sure that if you’re looking up beach getaways, you also take the time to look up some truly awesome areas of the U.S. that you and the family can head to, have fun at, and even learn a few things as a bonus to the cool trip.

 

For those interested in historical battles, taking the family to Fort McHenry (located in Baltimore Harbor) is a whole lot of fun and education rolled into one. This star-shaped Fort has seen it all since its creation in 1794-1805. Famous for the crucial battles it held up against, it also played as the backdrop for an American named Francis Scott Key as he composed what would become the national anthem of the United States: “The Star Spangled Banner.”

 

In South Dakota, Mount Rushmore is there in all its glory, with a ton of things to do for those who love nature, hiking, sightseeing and more. Those glorious faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln are certainly a sight to see. Meticulously chiseled, these were four men who not only created the U.S. but changed it under their reigns in government and should not be missed by anyone.

 

Coming to my favorite, D.C., that Smithsonian Institution is one of the biggest and most amazing creations in the world. Everything from Lincoln’s car where he stood and delivered his famous “Four-Score” speech, to the history of flight, to the technology and amazing inventions that only this country can claim, there is something for everyone to gape at as they learn. But, of course, D.C. has far more for both adults and children in the way of learning and fun.

 

The massive marble temple that houses the stunning likeness of America’s 16th President, the Lincoln Memorial, is dedicated to one of America’s most beloved presidents and humans. Opened in 1922, this is one that cannot be missed by anyone’s gaze.

 

From the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to the JeffersonMemorial to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial – there is a list of ‘must-sees’ that only America’s capital can boast. And when it comes to tall structures that mean something to every citizen of this country, The Washington Monument, erected for the first President of the United States, is something to be seen up close and not only on the Internet. Although construction began on this stunning obelisk in 1848, the structure was not actually completed until 1884, due in large part to the years in which the country was fighting the Civil War (1861 – 1865). Today, the 554-foot tall structure (the world’s tallest structure made of stone) stands within Washington D.C.’s National Mall.

 

Last, but certainly not least (for this article) is that lady that stands for everything this country (once) stood for and should stand for to this day. Given as a gift by the French in 1886, the Statue of Liberty stands 151 feet tall and is considered by most to be the epitome of freedom. Located off the southern tip of Manhattan, with Ellis Island yet another sight to see close by, Lady Liberty to this day greets all ships and vessels entering New York City. Some passengers still have dreams in their minds and hope for better lives in their hearts. Let us hope that remains for a good long time to come.

 

There are thousands of memorials, structures, forts, and cities that bring about awe – such as Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – that all families should venture to on their summer vacations. Not only will you have fun and make lasting memories, but that extra knowledge never hurts either. Enjoy!

 

Source:  Baret News

 

This Summer the RV Gets an A+

 

This Summer the RV Gets an A+

by Amy Lignor

 

When it comes to summer vacation (and vacation plans for the fall, by the way) it is a fact that almost *80% of Americans are planning to get in their RVs and hit the highways for a road trip in 2017. (*Statistics provided from AAA). No, it’s not just those who love to camp, or hunt, or fish, or be a part of the Great Outdoors – choosing the RV comes from low gas prices, great weather, and being provided with some of the coolest places on the map to visit.

summer vacation, road trip, adventure, explore, family fun, American freedom, AAA, RVing, fall foliage, destinations

Hitting the road is part of American freedom, in a way. By living in your own ‘motel,’ you experience an easier ride, so to speak, than other travelers: Taking any road you want, traveling anywhere you wish to go, not having to worry about plane rides and delays, not having to pay big money at restaurants, because you’re able to eat inside your own RV ‘motel,’ and the list goes on. You also experience more fun by putting together a plan that allows you to hit as many tourist destinations as you want.

 

Recently, AAA, and other travel sites, have put together their own lists when it comes to the perfect places for RVers to go and take a gander at. These are places most researched on the Internet, as well as places that some may not even know about but that are perfect for the RV traveler.

 

We begin with…an island. The KOA Campground on South Padre Island is awesome. A long barrier island situated in the Gulf of Mexico, there are miles of beaches and other campgrounds that are incredible for the RV. Just think, you’re between Padre Island National Seashore and Port Isabel, which means you have all the time in the world to enjoy your ‘motel on wheels’ as you soak in the sun.

 

Ahhh…Florida. Key West, as most people know, is the ultimate vacation spot. Here is the end of the line when it comes to the U.S. of A., offering the most stunning sunsets and most delicious drinks in all the land. Being the very last town to hit in the long chain of islands that stretch into the Gulf, the campgrounds are just waiting for your RV to arrive so that you and the family can fish, snorkel, or just sit back and enjoy those drinks as you watch the fiery sun set.

 

A completely different view, but the same sort of awesomeness when it comes to vacationing in the RV, can be found at Horse Thief Lake in South Dakota. Yes, Mount Rushmore is the big money-maker up there for tourists, but Horse Thief Lake is ‘the’ spot for the perfect camping experience. The trails all around are inspiring, and investigating the Black Hills National Forest before returning to the RV every evening is something that will live in the memory banks for all time.

 

In southern Oregon, RVers have talked about the spectacular views around Crater Lake, which is a lake filled only with rainwater and snow that goes down 1,900 feet. Many RV parks are there to choose from, and heading out there to enjoy this deepest lake in the U.S. is the perfect choice if you want to bike, boat, swim and more.

 

We all know that RVers love Yellowstone, as well, and love to park their ‘motel’ in order to sit in this magnificent area and witness everything from Old Faithful spewing to the most amazing array of wildlife imaginable. But there are also other spots you may not know about.

 

Looking for a true historical journey in the RV? Well, then look no further than Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Stretching over 300+ acres, you are talking about exploring the past in your RV. Driving and walking, you will become a part of the 18th century as you explore hundreds of buildings and shops that have been reconstructed on their original foundations. This is one trip so cool that both adults and kids will find history to be a whole lot of fun!

 

If wanting to visit the West, Arches National Park in Utah is one that RVers will enjoy. Instead of historical buildings, you will discover 2,000 natural sandstone arches set among other incredible rock formations. Millions of years of geologic history can be found here, and while sitting outside the RV having dinner, watching the textures and colors of the desert all come together makes for the most incredible sights to witness.

 

Last, but certainly not least, if you’re an RVer looking to plan something for the cooler days of autumn, heading over the highways and roads of the small towns and historic locales located in the Northeast United States is absolutely perfect. Here is ‘the’ area that must be visited at least once in order to be a part of the incredible fall foliage season. Beginning in September in the northern regions and ending in early November in the southern locations of the Northeast, a fall foliage RV tour is a ‘bucket list’ must.

 

So forget those long lines at ticket counters and the uncomfortable beds in those hotel rooms. RVing is a national pastime that has once again become uber-popular with travelers and should be enjoyed!

 

Source:  Baret News

 

The B&B’s Offer A+ Service for Your Vacation

 

The B&B’s Offer A+ Service for Your Vacation

by Amy Lignor

 

When it comes to vacations people always think and worry about the locale. Where will they go? Does it have something for the kids? Are they looking at a camping trip, a historical location where they can treasure hunt through the museums, or simply that relaxing by the beach vacation that has everything to do with getting the right tan while sipping those amazing cocktails with the bright, colorful umbrellas? However…there is definitely another thing to think about. The location is a big deal, true, but what about the choice of lodging?

Bed & Breakfasts, Travel, Summer, Vacation, lodging, comfort, personal attention, delectable meals

There are hotels and motels all over the place in this country (and others). Everywhere across the highways of America you will find those familiar signs that offer a place to stay. But when it comes to pure luxury, there are also those lodgings out there called Bed & Breakfasts that give far more in the way of comfort and amenities than any old hotel/motel you can think of – not to mention, offer up lasting memories where the lodging is actually more beautiful and fun than the actual location where it sits.

 

For those who are unaware, or feel that staying at a Bed & Breakfast would take more money out of the wallet than your standard hotel/motel, there are things you need to know. There are actually B&B’s that can be found almost anywhere you go, in any location you choose, that provide much more bang for your buck. You receive personal attention and delectable meals. When it comes to a motel/hotel, you receive a room that’s normally on the small side. And as far as “extras,” you’d be lucky to receive free parking. And that good old continental breakfast they serve is always sub-standard. You also end up having to pay for things like snacks, and if you open up that wine bar, the word ‘complimentary’ no longer applies.

 

There are many differences between the B&B and the standard hotel room. At a B&B the room is more than comfortable and the décor is amazing. Some even pride themselves on having ‘themes’ for each of their rooms in order to appeal to all guest’s individual tastes. Whether or not you wish to stay in a place that “feels like home” or has the fun and exuberance that home may be missing, there is a B&B out there just as unique as you are.

 

A majority of the B&Bs also offer everything from free parking to free snacks, and one of the greatest ‘gifts’ is a real complimentary breakfast every morning that literally is more delicious than a home-cooked meal. None of that ‘cereal in a box’ stuff or doughnuts and muffins that are a week old. Some B&B’s also offer discounts on the local attractions.

 

If you’re looking for history, there are lists of B&B’s that boast exciting histories; there are some B&B’s that are restored buildings hundreds of years old. In the Deep South of the U.S. you will find some B&B’s that were once plantation houses that are stunningly beautiful. In France you can stay in historical authentic chateaus. And in the U.K., there are B&B’s that were actual castles that played a large part in Britain’s history. So make sure that no matter where you go you ask the innkeeper about the background of the inn. You may be extremely surprised by what you learn.

 

Another thing B&B’s offer that hotels and motels have no interest in providing is personal attention. At a B&B the staff goes above and beyond to make sure the guests are comfortable, feel welcome, and have all the amenities they require (and more). You are not simply a ‘person staying in a single room with a double bed’. At the B&B you have an actual name and they make sure you know up front that they are available to help you when you need it. If you want tips on what to do in the area, or have questions about the B&B itself, those innkeepers are always there to answer your questions.

 

Little extras will always be found at the B&B, as well. There are those that leave out freshly baked bread or cookies in the dining area for their guests, while others have a Happy Hour where wine and appetizers are served. Some even offer a library of books and/or DVDs for the guests who wish to curl up in their comfortable room for the evening.

 

There is even a competition run every year for the best “dish” served at a B&B that features some of the most intriguing and innovative recipes ever seen. Innkeepers from all over enter this contest with this year’s winner coming from the Chestnut Street Inn in Sheffield, Illinois, with their breakfast offering: Elvis Toast with Candied Bacon. Now, really, are you ever going to find anything that cool at the Motel 6, 8 (or whatever number you wish to place in here) that looms on the side of the highway? I think not, my friends.

 

So when you’re thinking about the location of your trip, make sure to think long and hard about the wonderful lodging that you can have by simply turning to those Bed & Breakfasts across the land just waiting to welcome you to their neck of the woods.

 

Source:  Baret News

 

The Ultimate Vacations for the Ultimate Animal Lover

 

The Ultimate Vacations for the Ultimate Animal Lover

by Amy Lignor

 

The numbers may still shock some, but I sincerely doubt it. It is a fact that 79.7 million people living in the U.S. own and absolutely love their pet. (The Humane Society). Oddly enough, however, there are also millions who want to view unique wildlife with their own eyes. Yes, the dog and cat are fine for the home, but being able to satisfy the urge to go out to these exotic locales and see how extraordinary animals live is something that’s most definitely appearing on ‘bucket lists’ across the country. From national reserves to safaris to guided excursions into the extreme outback, here are just a few that more and more animal lovers are choosing as their 2017 vacation.

Image Credit: Dee Ann

There are so many in this world who want to get a good, up-close view of the mighty elephant before they perhaps become an extinct species. In Maputaland, South Africa, however, at the Tembe Elephant Park, this is one species that will not go extinct anytime soon. First set up in order to protect the elephants migrating between Maputaland and Mozambique, the park now boasts over 250 of the largest elephants in the world. You can be a part of these elephant’s lives and be awestruck at the regal stature of these creatures.

 

Yet another elephant paradise can be found at the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. Through the hard work of both visitors and volunteers these elephants were rescued from neglect and deprivation and brought to this elephant rescue and rehabilitation center that you will absolutely love to see!

 

The mighty gorilla is also an animal that other animal lovers want to set eyes upon. This they can easily do by Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda, Africa. Said to be one of the greatest experiences for animal lovers anywhere across the globe, it is here that small groups are guided across mountains and through forests in order to observe the gorillas in their natural habitat. Sadly, when it comes to extinction, being that the gorillas are numbering less than 700 in this entire world, taking this trip could soon become a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.

Gorilla Trekking

Image Credit: Hjalmar Gislason

If you’re more into life “under the sea,” Kaikoura, New Zealand is the place where you can swim with the dolphins and remember it forever. You will truly find yourself in an ocean filled with hundreds of these adorable, intelligent creatures right beside you – close enough to touch.

 

If wishing to enlarge that aquatic experience, you can also head on to Kadavu, Fiji and go swimming with the Manta’s. A bit more exciting (AKA: frightening) than the dolphins, the Manta Ray’s in Fiji’s famous Manta Reef are large in size. But once the heart beat slows down from the thrill of it all, you can sit next to the reef and lay eyes on the most beautiful sunrise in the world.

 

Looking for the perfect safari? Look no further than Tanzania. An exclusive and unique retreat called the Singita Serengeti House, built on the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is waiting for you and your family. Offering twelve lodges and camps in five separate wilderness regions that span three African countries, it is the perfect destination for an animal lover looking for the ultimate animal adventure.

 

If you wish to see the tallest of all animals in their natural habitat, head to Giraffe Manor in Kenya. There is no hotel as unique as this one. Set on a dozen acres of private land, the giraffes roam freely, even poking their necks through the open windows of the hotel to personally welcome you and the family to Kenya.

 

Now, we do have a special one for those millions of dog loves out there. In Invernesshire, Scotland, a true puppy celebration can be found at the Golden Retriever Festival. But if in the mood for a more adventurous experience, in Finnmark, Norway, you can have your very own dog sledding experience. As the pups do the work, you will also be able to explore the incredible landscapes that play home to everything from seals to polar foxes and polar bears.

 

If you wish to stay in the U.S. for your vacation, the National Elk Refuge in Kelly, Wyoming offers a thrilling adventure for the animal lover in you. A refuge that has been in business for over a century, the refuge consists of almost 25,000 acres playing home to 47 different mammals and 150+ species of birds. Here the animal lover in you can witness everything from elk to bison to mule deer to so much more.

 

And after that awesome trip has been had, you can then head home to share your pictures with your absolute favorite “best friend.”

 

Source:  Baret News

 

 

Finding Relaxation in the Most Remote Locations of All

 

 

Finding Relaxation in the Most Remote Locations of All

by Amy Lignor

 

It is a fact that the largest travel locations are also beyond popular. Among the downsides of this fact is that when you’re looking for peace, quiet, and basically a chance to do nothing more than spend time with yourself and, perhaps, one other best friend, the most popular places don’t offer that. In other words, it is the most remote (sometimes most beautiful) spots out there that you want to visit. If so, here are just a few that are there for the taking:

Deception Island, Easter Island, Heavenly Lake, Lake Baikal, Perth, Kauai, peace & quiet, vacation, remote

Located north of the Antarctic Peninsula lies an island that may surprise you. It should, considering the name: Deception Island. With a protected interior port, the island is actually the partially submerged caldera of an active volcano. Oddly enough, even though that’s the case, it has provided nothing but peace – a safe harbor for sailors and otherwise. In addition, because of the geothermally-heated water, it is literally only one of the very few places in Antarctica where it’s warm enough to go swimming.

 

Another island that is great fun, as well as being remote, does have many travelers showing up to view a massive attraction. However, Easter Island in Chile, despite the giant moai monoliths, is incredibly remote and will provide you with solo quiet time. Protected by the organization UNESCO, you can camp as well as stargaze, hike and bike. You can also enjoy the caves on Easter Island that are truly too stunning to miss.

 

Speaking of stunning, in China you can visit a remote area called “Heavenly Lake.” Although where it sits, Urumqi, is a commercial hub, the actual locale is highly remote, located over 1,500 miles away from the nearest coastline. Oddly enough, this location also looks more like it should be in Switzerland atop the Alps and not in Asia. Snow-capped mountains are all around you and everything from horseback riding to hiking and relaxing beside the turquoise-colored lake is there to choose from. Talk about “heavenly.”

Lake Baikal

For those into spending their quiet time birdwatching or exploring a plethora of plant species, Lake Baikal, Russia, is a remote location to choose. Immense, this area is surrounded by mountains, wild rivers and forests; the lake, itself, is the world’s oldest (approximately 25m years) and deepest freshwater lake in existence – containing more water than all the Great Lakes combined. Because of this, visitors can view more than 2,000 species of plants and animals – 75% of which cannot be found anywhere else in the entire world.

 

If looking for a remote locale and lean towards having an affinity for Crocodile Dundee’s accent, head to Perth, Australia. You may shake your head at this suggestion, seeing as that with over two million citizens it seems to be as remote as New York City, itself. It is actually a fact, though, that Perth offers up some of the most quiet, peaceful locations available on the map. The most isolated city in Australia, it is located almost 4,000 km from the capital of Sydney by road, and is filled with pristine parks, the nearby bush, ocean beaches, and more.

 

Last, but not least, if wishing to stay (or travel to) America for your peace and quiet, Kauai is one of the most remote and coolest locations available to visit. It may even seem “remotely familiar” to you, considering this is the place that served as a backdrop in famous films, like “Jurassic Park.” New routes are being created all the time throughout the island. There is even now a trail that leads visitors through North America’s largest mahogany forest. You can include this with all the other unforgettable views, including the towering Na Pali Coast sea cliffs, cascading waterfalls, Waimea Canyon, and truly off-beaten treks that lead through the lush landscapes of this true Hawaiian beauty.

 

Enjoy the “remote” lifestyle while gaining the epitome of rest and relaxation.

 

Source:  Baret News

 

Adventure Trips That “Erupt” with Excitement

 

Adventure Trips That “Erupt” with Excitement

by Amy Lignor

 

This is one of those articles for that ‘Indiana Jones’ breed out there who wants nothing but excitement, adventure and a bit of living-on-the-edge when it comes to where they wish to spend their summer vacation. Yes, there are those groups of travelers out there that find nothing cooler than heading to the hottest places in the world that could literally erupt at any moment. Or visiting those exotic locations that include jungles, mountains, glaciers and more, where perhaps undiscovered species roam. Well…today we are putting together that list of places to go that literally dwell in the shadow of a volcano. Although they haven’t actually ‘spewed’ anything lately, the potential of danger is there, which makes for a truly captivating trip.

Volcanos

Mount Arenal

We begin with one of the biggest attractions in South America. Mount Arenal in Costa Rica was actually known to regularly spew forth everything from ash to lava. But since 2010, this has calmed down a bit and the area offers everything from lush rainforests to rapid waters and real-life bridges that dangle over hot springs far below. Indiana Jones would love this kind of stuff, as he got in that raft with his oars or rappelled from trees or even sat with some howler monkeys, while always in the shadow of a volcano that is always on the verge of coming alive.

 

When it comes to trips that involve seeing the most amazing wildlife there is, the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador are the place to visit. What people may not know, however, is the fact that nine active volcanoes are also there (yes, I said active) and are always creating brand new landscape that is home to a brand new variety of flora and fauna. You want to learn about evolution at the very center of it all? Then head here and have a ball.

 

Heading from blistering hot to horrendously cold, Eyjafallajökull, Iceland (say that five times fast) is resting in a peaceful slumber after causing absolute chaos back in April of 2010. This is a place made for the Indiana Jones junkie out there who can choose to explore the glacier by jeep or helicopter. But for those really intense vacationers who want to see up close the extreme differences between fire and ice landscapes, you can hike to the summit on foot…if you dare.

 

The highest and most scenic mountain in Japan is Mount Fuji. Oddly enough, even though this particular volcano has not blown its top since 1708, it is still in the active category. Steam can be seen escaping those craters and vents, and gosh knows it’s been waiting a long time to rear its ugly head once again. But that does not stop tourists from ascending to the summit.

 

If wanting to hear a little Australian accent during your vacation, Tongariro National Park located in New Zealand lies within the Taupo Volcanic Zone. AKA: the southern tip of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Talk about stunning! Lakes that literally look emerald are towered over by several active volcanoes, including Ruapehu which starred in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) and last announced its presence in 2007. The region is constantly monitored, but everything from hiking trails to ski resorts are constantly packed by those danger-loving tourists.

 

Saving the best for last, Mount Vesuvius in Italy allows for that true adventurer and lover of history and all things ancient to have the most stunning and memorable trip humanly possible. What became and still remains to this day the most infamous eruption ever seen by mankind, it was Mount Vesuvius that, in 79AD, destroyed and decimated the people of Pompeii and Herculaneum in an explosion that was a hundred thousand times the thermal energy of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Burying these towns for centuries, when they were rediscovered and excavated ancient history of elite proportions was opened for the world to see. Will Mount V. be the one to once again make horrible history by producing yet another catastrophic event? Who knows? But the smoke and steam continues to rise, offering a menacing view. Yet this is one location people will not stay away from.

 

So have fun. Get the adrenaline pumping, take breathtaking pictures, co-exist with flora and fauna that the eye may never see again and…bring your best running shoes, just in case.

 

Source:  Baret News