Our travels and ideas for planning your next trip!

Posts tagged ‘family’

Economical Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua

For a whole lot less dollars, experience the brilliant aqua marine water caressing silky white sand, Caribbean charm and the all-inclusive pampering of Sandals resorts at the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua.  These lesser known resorts, owned by Sandals, and located in both Jamaica and Antigua, are incredible gems for those folks willing to forgo the five-star Sandals or Beaches resort for a more colloquial, homey type of vacation. And I must say, guests at the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua were more than satisfied.  On my visit in December 2011 to six Sandals resorts, the Grand Pineapple Antigua was the only resort with “no vacancy”!  We met one woman who has been coming to the Grand Pineapple Antigua from Brittain for the month of December for twenty-five years!!

The two-story bungalow style resort is located on its own private little cove for carefree swimming and sun soaking.   Warm, friendly staff greet you with a cool scented towel and refreshing drink as you arrive.  What a “cool” touch.

Take a stroll through the lovely gardens, read a book from your bungalow porch, or sip a frosty drink under a shade tree…. My husband and I would choose this resort in a minute.  Families are welcome though children’s programs are limited.  Make your own family fun on the beach.

 

Weddings at the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua are complimentary with a seven night stay in an ocean view room or only $899 with a shorter stay.  This includes the flowers, cake, government fees and ceremony costs.  Select the garden gazebos for your wedding, then family at home can watch the ceremony on a web cam.  Isn’t that great! 

Or choose the hilltop gazebos overlooking the stunning blue waters.  There is a steep walk up to this sweet vista so be prepared.  

Of course, couples may wish to choose the beach for a wedding, after all it is the Caribbean.  Or maybe, just for relaxing on a beach chair.  This is a small resort and cove so expect company on the beach, especially during the sunshine hours.  Speaking of beach, non-motorized water sports are included. Doesn’t that water bike look fun?

 

See the hilltop gazebos up on the cliff!

Of course, sumptuous food is always a priority on vacation.  And though the dining rooms are more like a summer camp facility than a fine restaurant, the food is wonderful.  There are three restaurants, the pool side grill, the main dining room and the “Outhouse”.   

Hike up that promontory past the hilltop gazebos to discover the “Outhouse” and I promise you will not be sorry.  The ambiance is pure shack!  Grab a stick, write your thoughts or name and hammer it on.  A part of you will always remain in Antigua.  Spend a while savoring those lip smacking ribs and chicken while you are there.  

 

Two rooms became vacant while we were at the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua.  After staying at the luxury Sandals resorts, these rooms appeared basic, rather like a typical hotel.  Clean, charming and simple.  The pools are reminiscent of the 1960 era.  But hey, I’m here for the fun, sun, water and affordability.  Throw me in this folksy place anytime!

    

Scenic, friendly and serene…the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua is calling me.

If you want affordable, if you enjoy a smaller resort with a 1940’s feel, if less than perfect but funky, lovely, warm and friendly is fine with you perhaps the Grand Pineapple Beach Antigua is calling you too.

See you on the beach,

                                            

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Weddings at Sea Aboard a Cruise Ship

It is your very special day — let Princess make it truly extraordinary!

Imagine you and your sweetheart holding hands while you affirm your love for one another aboard the original “Love Boat”.  Yes, Princess was the cruise line upon which the “Love Boat” TV series was filmed inspiring “Tie the Knot Wedding at Sea by Princess”.  Traditionally, ship captains were able to marry couples when in international waters.  Yet for more than 100 years, getting married upon the high seas had ceased to exist.  In 1998 Princess Cruise Line introduced their Weddings at Sea.  The very first year, 58 couples were married by Princess captains.  Since then more than 4000 couples have chosen this romantic option.

Three soul-uniting choices are available while cruising aboard Princess.

1) At Sea – Invite your guests to sail with you to extend the fun, then get married At Sea, in the chapel or on the deck.  The captain will marry you once you are in international waters.  82% of couples choose this option.

2) Harborside – Your friends and family may join you aboard ship the morning before you set sail for a Harborside Wedding or Vow Renewal by a local clergy, then you sail away blissfully alone for your honeymoon.  10% of couples choose this option.

3)  Ashore – Sail away to your dream destination, then get married ashore by a local clergy. Choose from ports of call in the USA, Canada, Mexico or Caribbean. All the arrangements for the shore wedding are handled by a wedding planner.  8% of couples choose this option.

Everything is provided for Weddings at Sea including music, bouquet, cake, photos, champagne and a wedding coordinator for only $2250.  A vow renewal ceremony is only $285.  What an incredible deal!  This basic package, of course, may be upgraded to suit your every wish and dream.  Since your honeymoon is the cruise itself, the whole affair is less than a wedding at home!  (Cruise cost is extra.)

Wedding Packages by Princess

TIE THE KNOT AT SEA

  • Wedding Chapel or ideal onboard location
  • Candlelit ceremony
  • Captain to perform ceremony
  • Special vows at sea
  • Wedding coordinator onboard*
  • Ceremony music (pre-recorded)
  • Two fresh floral arrangements to adorn the ceremony location
  • Rose bouquet (one dozen)
  • Boutonniere
  • Photographer**
  • Videographer***
  • One 16×20 canvas wall portrait (unframed)***
  • 9″ Wedding cake
  • Bottle of champagne
  • Two Princess keepsake champagne flutes
  • Keepsake wedding certificate

Tie The Knot At Sea Prices

Package Price:          $1,800

License Fees:             $455

(witness fee may apply)

TOTAL:      $2,255

*Available on “sea” days only.  Details, special requirements and upgrades may add onto the basic price quoted.

TIE THE KNOT HARBORSIDE

  • Priority check-in and boarding for couple and guests
  • Wedding Chapel or onboard location
  • Non-denominational officiant
  • Wedding coordinator onboard
  • Ceremony music (pre-recorded)
  • Romantic vows
  • Two silk floral arrangements atop two pillars
  • Rose bouquet (one half dozen)
  • Boutonniere
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • 9″ wedding cake
  • Bottle of champagne
  • Keepsake wedding certificate

TIE THE KNOT ASHORE

  • Beautiful beach or garden ceremony location
  • Non-denominational officiant
  • Wedding coordinator
  • Exotic island vows
  • Bridal bouquet
  • Boutonniere
  • Photographer
  • Transportation for bridal couple
  • Specialty cake for two
  • Bottle of champagne
  • Keepsake wedding certificate
  • Additional roundtrip transportation service for guests from $20 per person
  • Cake and champagne service for guests from $15 per guest

Prices for Tie the Know Harborside and Ashore vary by destination.  For price information, work with your travel agent or wedding coordinator.

EXQUISITE TOUCHES TO FULFILL YOUR DREAM

Many additional features are available.  If you can dream it, Princess will be happy to make it come true.

-Fresh custom flowers                       -Conch shell                   -Custom cakes                       -Dining receptions                      -Hor d’oeuvres bar                        – Ice sculpture                  -Wine packages                      -Champagne waterfall                     -Live musician                   -Spa and Salon services                         -Tuxedo rental                 -Bridal party dinner                      -Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties

     

What do you think?  A Cruise Ship Wedding is a wonderful possibility.  If this fulfills your dream, I would be delighted to assist you.  Just give me a call or email me at (208) 964-3578 or 4anne@dreamalongtravel.com.  Princess pays me, so I cost you nothing at all.

Enjoy Dreaming,

Safe to play in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

      At the tip of Baha California, the pristine beaches of Cabo San Lucas are still a welcoming, safe place for American to indulge in a luxury sun and sand vacation.  Separate and distant from the turmoils of Mexico, Cabo offers affordable pricing for west coast travelers with hotels ranging from basic to extreme luxury, plus plenty of adventure from snorkeling to zip lining.  The resort location of Los Cabos, Mexico was voted as the #3 Best Destination in the Caribbean and Mexico for the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards.

     On our last trip to Cabo San Lucas, my husband, Gene and I just hung out at the harbor and cantina.    We were in the mood to just relax and stroll.  For those bursting with energy, stop into one of the tourist shops along the walk into town to arrange an ATV trek or check out www.bajaoutback.com .  World class sport fishing awaits those with the lure of the sea.  My Dad, years ago, had the fishing trip of his lifetime here when a great upwelling of fish occured just as he and Uncle Owen set their poles.  Try www.picesssportfishing.com or www.pincantesportfishing.com to charter a boat. 

   Here kitty, kitty, give me a kiss.  A highlight for Gene and I was having our pictures taken with these lion cubs.  The local animal preserve uses this photo opportunity as a fund raiser.  These cuties were about 2 months old and obviously very accustomed to being handled.  The jaguar was not so friendly and gave Gene a nasty nip.

Love being seranaded by the Mariochis! Great fresh seafood for lunch!

   Remember the Eagles’ song, “Hotel California”?  Take a tour or rent a car for a 45 minute jaunt to the quaint town of Todos Santas.  This is the location of the namesake of the song.   Or better yet, rent a utility vehicle such as a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport for a back -country trip down the old road to La Paz.  You may be greeted by burros, cows, pigs, Mexican hawks along the dirt roads.  Stop in the tiny village of La Calenderia to visit the historic church and pause under the plumeria trees. 

     Into the party scene, Cabo is ready for you.  Clubs to visit starting about 11:00 pm include Cabo Wabo and Mandala.  For daytime party fun, try the Passion Club at the ME Cabo hotel on Medano Beach.

     Don’t forget to take a water taxi to get a close up view of the famous rock formations of Cabo. 

    As long as we are relaxing, the ultimate is worth investing in so stay at the  4 1/2 star Zoetry Casa Del Mar Los Cabos.     www.zoetryresorts.com   For romance, attention to your every need, stunning vistas, superb spa and a quiet setting, Zoetry Casa Del Mar is unsurpassed.  Better yet, plan to hold your wedding at Zoetry for exquisite beauty and grace. 

    Dreams Los Cabos Suites is another favorite of mine. www.dreamsresorts.com  Such a beautiful place to plan your wedding or honeymoon.  With their branded “Unlimited Luxury” you will be well pampered.  Just look at the honeymoon package they offer: 

This package is complimentary when booking a Honeymoon Suiteor higher for a minimum of 7 nights.

  • Champagne on arrival
  • Fresh flowers and exotic fruit platter in room upon arrival
  • Champagne breakfast in bed the first morning after arrival
  • Tension Release Massage for two in our couples massage suite (25 minutes)
  • Choice of either a European Facial or a Salt Glow Scrub body treatment for two (25 minutes)
  • Private beachfront dinner one evening- upon return from dinner you will find a romantic candlelit rose petal bath (includes bottle of wine)
  • Private petit fours each evening at turn down service
  • Earn Free Nights towards a first anniversary return stay

Both of these resorts are all-inclusive so every bit of food, drink and activities are INCLUDED!  You may find that you never want to venture away from the resort, there is so much to do and we mustn’t forget lying on the beach with a good book.

Next winter, when snow is on the ground, you will love being in Cabo San Lucas where near perfect weather is an everyday occurance.  For a getaway, honeymoon, destination wedding or romance rekindling…how about Cabo?

Smiles,

Anne

 

 

California Wine Country Backroads Getaway

      Heading north from San Francisco for a few days in the California Wine Country, I was eagar to relive my very favorite backroads wine country outing.  Even though I spent eleven years leading groups on this same exact route (and would do it again in a minute if any of my readers want to put together a group), I am thrilled to return again (especially now that I live in Idaho) with my cousins in tow. 

     From Petaluma, take Bodega Ave (get yourself a map) to Valley Ford Road, destination the village of Freestone. You will wind through gently rolling hills and emerald meadows reminecent of the English countryside resplendent with flocks of sheep and spring lambs.  Stop for a few few minutes in Freestone a blink-and-you-missed it rustic little town.  Save some tummy room for a sticky bun at the Wild Flour Bakery.  Spa enthusiasts must not miss an osmosis enzyme bath at the Osmosis world class spa hidden away in this tiny town. 

     Having totally indulged yourself, drift north again through wooded lanes to the quaint welcoming town of Occidental.  Lost in time with no expansion for decades, I always envision ladies of the 1920’s coming by train from San Francisco with broods of kids for their summer lodgings.  My mother, in fact was one of those children who learned to swim on the Russian River during summers in a cabin named “Don’t Worry”.  Her Dad came up for weekends while Grandma and six little ones played away the summer at Camp Meeker just down the road from Occidental. 

   Enjoy an Italian meal family style at Negris.   Walk around the town visiting the little shops for folk art.  Rest for the night in Occidental at The Inn At Occidental.  This is an exquisite bed and breakfast with all the romance , ambiance and delight to the eyes of a country home.  I personally recommend selecting The Inn at Occidental if you are celebrating a special occasion.  

     Next, we meandered up the redwood line roads towards Camp Meeker.  Just beyond we swerved left into the Alliance Redwoods.  My children went to school in the lodge here for three years long ago.  Now it is a bussling center for nature study classes and retreats.  More exciting, today though is the “Canopy Tours!  ZIP THE REDWOODS!!  7 adrenaline-pumping zip lines-one over 800′ long.”  My cousins purchased a gift certificate for their son’s anniversary package.   www.sonomacanopytours.com

     Still having a grand time, we continued past Alliance Redwoods to Monte Rio and Guerneville to Armstrong Redwoods.  I always feel as if hobbits are watching me from under dewy ferns in this enchanted forest of giant redwoods.  Cool and peaceful for an afternoon walk, my heart is filled with joy at the beauty of God’s creation.    Another way to tour Armstrong Redwoods is on a segway.  To set that up contact http://segwayofhealdsburg.com/.  Ask for my son, Michael Del Vecchio, to be your guide!

     Do you like champagne?  We are in the wine country so you must visit the Korbel Champagne Cellars.  Tasting and tours are free.  My favorite is the “Natural”.  Here is our darling wine server and my grinning husband.  The tour includes a facinating story about the Korbell family history so be sure to catch it. 

   Of course, a stop in Sebastopol at the Fosters Freeze for a soft-serve icecream is a must.  This was my husband’s restaurant for 22 years and boy do I miss my daily dipped cone.  Thanks for coming along on my favorite Sonoma County tour.  We didn’t visit many wineries or take a side trip to the coast but you can on your trip. 

Have fun travel dreaming,

Anne

A Superior Eco-Friendly 5 Star Resort!

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          It takes a lot to make it to the top of my list of resorts, especially when I have not yet even visited it.  Recently, while taking a class on the Yucatan Peninsula, I discovered Hacienda Tres Rios and couldn’t wait to share it with you.  It is one of a kind.  I can’t wait to go there!

           Hacienda Tres Rios, a FIVE STAR resort, was BORN GREEN.  From its concept, being responsible to preserve and even contribute to the reestablishment of almost extinct native plants has been the mission of this incredible resort.  Guests of the Hacienda have exclusive admittance to the 150 acre nature park and a tour of the botanical gardens and nursery.  The resort has won the “Green Globe” award and awards from the Rainforest Alliance. 

 “Tres Ríos Nature Park in Playa del Carmen is an inspiring example of the Caribbean’s tropical plants and animals, including rainforests, mangroves, cenotes, exotic birds, tropical fish, and other wildlife, and is one of the few remaining natural habitats protecting threatened plants and endangered animals. In a once flourishing region now threatened by deforestation from natural disasters, human encroachment, property development, and subsequent pollution, nature conservation is Tres Ríos’ mission.”  Tres Rios

Not only that, it is a beautiful, spa pampering, gourmet, “now-this-is luxury” resort hotel. You can have a fabulous vacation, sensational wedding, beyond wonderful honeymoon in a romantic, fantastic garden of nature, while contributing to the health of our planet.

Check out their website at www.haciendatresrios.com .      Then call me to book your reservations so I can be sure you receive all the specials offered through my contacts.  

Happy Spring,

Anne