Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Subdue the stresses of a modern world by including spa and wellness options in your family vacation planning. Here are five ideas to consider. 

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, Bali

For the most peaceful snooze of your life, opt for the Sacred Nap, offered in an open-air setting within this jungle resort’s Sacred River Spa. Designed by on-site Wellness Mentor Ibu Fera, the experience was inspired by rocking her own baby to sleep. Simulating the batik sling used by Balinese mothers, guests relax into aerial silk hammocks, most commonly used for antigravity yoga. Fera visits each participant, gently nudging the hammocks into a rocking motion, before quietly telling the life story of Buddha, chanting mantras and adding the soothing sound of the singing bowl for more sacred energy. Most, fall asleep within their cozy cocoon before her story ends. Fera also works with guests to create individual wellness programs, sharing techniques for living mindfully and with a loving heart, some of which she learned during seven years as a Buddhist nun. 

Contact: https://www.fourseasons.com/sayan/spa/

Pronghorn Resort, Bend, Ore.

Set amid ancient juniper groves in Central Oregon’s high desert, this resort, near Bend, a mecca for outdoor lovers, offers multiple ways to pursue your wellness goals. Spend a day at the full-service spa, sampling restorative services. Take a meditative approach to a round of golf on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, or ponder the meaning of darkness during a tour of the on-property cave. Visit the wellness Teepee for yoga classes, music-enhanced, guided meditations, crystal guidance workshops and herbal tastings. Stay in vacation rentals or the newly opened 104-room Huntington Lodge where panoramic views of the Cascade mountains will take your breath away.

Contact: www.PronghornResort.com

The Lodge at Vail, Vail, Colo. 

For a unique, whole body experience climb into the Dream Pod Float Tank at the Rock Resort spa tucked within this slopeside hideaway.  Designed as an alternative or compliment to a massage, you’ll step into the womb-like environment where the water is heated to skin temperature. Thanks to a hefty amount of Epsom salt, you’ll easily float and quickly relax, without the usual sound, light and other distractions that keep us focused outwardly. Floaters report a deep sense of relaxation after the zen-like treatment. Committed to an eco-conscious approach, the spa also offers indigenous massages and wraps, facials, and other treatments using organic ingredients. 

Contact: http://lodgeatvail.rockresorts.com

Acqualina Resort, Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. 

A one of kind wellness experience, the Acqualina Spa by ESPA’s Sound Care Ritual treatment, blends the therapeutic powers of music and massage. The relaxing journey begins with a foot massage during which guests review music choices via an IPad and custom, sound-blocking headphones. Options include original music compositions from classical and new age to Latin and reggae as well as the natural sounds of the ocean or rainforests. The French-based music application is reported to provide natural calm and aid with sleep disorders, stress and anxiety. Later, build sand castles on the beach or relax aside one of three oceanfront swimming pools. 

Contact: www.AcqualinaResort.com

Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale, Ariz

Choose from the Jet Set Crowd menu to sample treatments that will transcend your location and provide an international flavor to the spa experience. Envelop yourself in the Helsinki Nature treatment during which guests benefit from a mist of cloud milk, white peat exfoliant and a wild-harvested Arctic berry wrap reported to replenish the skin. Try out a Turkish Hammam experience sure to cleanse, exfoliate, mist and massage or go for a soothing Hawaiin style Lomi Lomi massage. Make time to visit the hotel’s hip OH pool, surrounded by colorful chaise lounges. Consider an on-site walking tour to learn about the hotel's Hollywood history and its iconic mid-century modern design.  

Contact: www.HotelValleyHo.com.

Embark on a journey of discovery and understanding when you and your family visit these destinations and landmarks that play a part in the American civil rights story.

Here are six to consider:

National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery, Ala. 

Open since April, 2018, the six-acre memorial was conceived with the hope of creating a meaningful site where people could gather, learn and reflect on America’s history of racial inequality. Using sculpture, art and design to contextualize racial terror, the outdoor memorial, as well as the nearby Legacy Museum, were the inspiration of Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Both are designed to provide comprehensive content about the legacy of slavery through contemporary issues including the mass incarceration of African-American men and the current proliferation of mass shootings. .

Located .07 miles apart, a shuttle service runs between the museum and the memorial. 

Contact: www.EJI.orghttps://museumandmemorial.eji.org/memorial; https://museumandmemorial.eji.org/museum

Rosa Parks Museum, Montgomery, Alabama. 

"In 1955, when I was arrested... I had no way of knowing what the future held,” observed the woman who would become known as the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement when this museum was named in her honor. Set in front of the bus stop where the historic moment took place, the Rosa Parks Museum features a video reenactment of her refusal to give up her seat to a white man and other interactive presentations. A children’s wing provides age appropriate history lessons for youngsters.

Contact: www.VisitingMontgomery.com

Alexandria, VA. 

Rising on the banks of the historic Potomac River, Alexandria, founded in 1746, is steeped in African-American history. Visit the city to seek an   understanding of civil rights from colonial times to the Civil War, illuminated by a compelling collection of sites. Originally the segregated library for Alexandria's African American residents, the Black History museum documents the local and national African American experience through exhibits, speakers and interactive programs. Visit the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center to learn about those enslaved at nearby Mount Vernon. This exhibit explores the household furnishings, art works, archaeological discoveries, documents, and demonstrates how closely intertwined the lives of the Washington family members were with those they enslaved. Walking tours of Old Town Alexandria, offered by Manumission Tour Company, provide additional insight by sharing little-known stories from the era of slave trade.

Contact: www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington DC. 

Families can seek ongoing inspiration from the words and work of clergyman and civil rights leader, Dr. King, through a visit to this monument in West Potomac Park. The memorial, located adjacent to the National Mall near the FDR Memorial and framing views of the Tidal Basin, features quotes extracted from his eloquent speeches emphasizing four of King’s primary messages: justice, democracy, hope and love. Site tours and Junior Ranger badge activities are available and can help extend the experience for children.

Contact: https://www.nps.gov/mlkm/planyourvisit/


1.

Natchez, MS.

The story of slavery and African-American culture in Natchez is one of the most complex threads of the city’s multi-faceted history. Visitors can delve into the past at the Museum of African American History & Culture on Main St. Consider a double-decker bus tour (hop on and hop off at various locations) that launches at the Natchez Visitors Center and rolls through the Southern town, passing by many of the most significant landmarks. Narration is provided from the point of view of two slaves who lived during the difficult era when slave trading at local slave markets was a part of daily life.

Contact:www.VisitNatchez.org.

The National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN. 

The museum complex includes the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated as well as the building where James Earl Ray fired the shot. The museum seeks to open a dialogue about a history that spans the dark era of slavery through the modern Civil Rights Movement. A family guide is offered to assist adults in discussing the sensitive topics and events that are addressed within the museum.  

Contact: www.civilrightsmuseum.org

Get in on the  not-so-spooky fun for families with Great Wolf Lodge's annual Howl-O-Ween celebration, taking place now through Oct. 31, 2019.

Guests are encouraged to don costumes and join in daily activities, from monster bash dance parties and fall-fun crafting projects, to a trick-or-treat trail filled with interactive games and adventures that snakes throughout the resort. A fall tradition, families are sure to enjoy the spooky spirit at Great Wolf Lodge.

Howl, hop and hustle around Great Wolf Lodge as the Grand Lobby transforms into a spooktacular extravaganza complete with pumpkins and festive decorations. During Howl-O-Ween, guests can partake in complimentary programs including Twisted & Tangled, where children follow the spinner and try to stay on their feet to get a treat and be declared the winner. Guests can also enjoy Boo Bingo where five in a row gets them a bingo and yelling “boo” is the winning lingo.

Howl-O-Ween favorites include the Costume Parade, where children  showcase their favorite costumes during an event in the Grand Lobby, and then attend a Monster Bash Dance Party. 

On the Trick-Or-Treat Trail kids can play interactive games and collect candy at stops located throughout the Lodge. The trail features a Teal Pumpkin stop, offering a Great Wolf Lodge  non-food treat for guests with food allergies, or parents looking to avoid too many sweets. There are also Howl-O-Ween overlays to the children’s activities throughout the season, including Spooktacular Story Time, Critter Cartoons, and Paws On Projects feature arts and crafts with a silly, not-so scary twist.

Other highlights of Howl-O-Ween include:

  • ·Candy Corn Guessing Contest:There is a ghastly number of Candy Corn goodies filled to the brim in a jar at the front desk. The mysterious mission is to guess how many of the devilish treats are contained. Guesses will be collected throughout Howl-O-Ween. The guess closest to the correct number without going over will win a Great Wolf Gift Card. 
  • ·Character Meet, Greet & Treat: Grab a yummy snack during a break from all the Howl-O-Ween fun. Even better, snap a picture with Wiley before you’re back on the run!

In addition to two days of play in the water park for each night stayed at Great Wolf Lodge, all the Howl-O-Ween activities are included for no extra charge. Activities vary daily and by location. A complete listing of daily activities and times can be found in the Lodge Life event schedule provided to guests upon check-in, verified in advance at GreatWolf.com or by calling the location directly.

Discover a new waterfront where your family can enjoy fresh air, tasty food and each other’s good company. Here are seven places to consider: 

Gurneys

Montauk, N.Y. 

Head to the end of Long Island, just beyond the famed Hamptons, for a relaxed experience in a beachy enclave where fishermen, surfers, urban hipsters and families easily mix in the salty air. Stroll along the docks to witness (and later sample) the arrival of the day's fresh catch, as tony yachts and the occasional sightseeing boat, spouting the area's seafaring history, inch into the harbor. Stay at the historic Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina, where all things nautical will serve as your holiday backdrop. A children's playground, stand-up paddle boards, kayaks and fishing expeditions provide plenty of opportunity for family fun. Head to the wide stretch of Atlantic Ocean beach a few miles away where you can watch surfers take on the world-famous wave action. Stop in to the Sloppy Tuna’s roof top deck, just steps from the sand,  for a beverage, a lobster roll and one of the best views around. 

Contact:  www.discoverlongisland.com; www.GurneysResorts.com

Grand Marais, Minn. 

Located on the shores of Lake Superior, this friendly, harborside village blends an artistic, creative vibe with an adventurous spirit. Home to nationally renowned artist schools and galleries, Grand Marais also serves as the gateway to the Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Hike Pincushion Mountain, set sail on Superior or bike along the shoreline. Plan a side trip down the historic Gunflint Trail where you’ll have the option to paddle across glacier-carved lakes, hike through ancient forests, fish for Walleye and sample Northwoods hospitality. 

Contact: www.Gunflint.comVisitCookCounty.comwww.OnlyinMN.com 

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Porter, Ind.

Geocaching is a favorite activity of families who choose to explore this 15,000-acre Midwestern lakeshore. Be on the lookout for the rare Karner blue butterfly. Climb over dunes, along rivers and through wetlands as you choose from 50 miles of meandering trails where 1,100 native plants flourish.  Take the Succession trail to the top of a dune for a view of the Chicago skyline. Kayak via the Lake Michigan Water Trail or claim your spot along the 15-mile stretch of sandy beach.  

Contact:  https://www.nps.gov/indu 

Baltimore's Inner Harbor, Baltimore

Decades ago, this spirited Maryland city bolstered a movement to transform industrial waterfronts into tourist meccas where restaurants, shops and appealing attractions would soon energize the local economy. Today, visitors flock to the Inner Harbor, which serves the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the U.S., bordered by the Susquehanna River on the north and the Atlantic Ocean on the south. Family travel plans often include a visit to the National Aquarium, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing and feasting on the region's famous blue crabs, oysters and clams.

Contact: www.visitmaryland.org; www.baltimore.org; www.aqua.org

Half Moon Bay, Calif. 

This small enclave is an ideal spot for a relaxing coastal getaway. Sample Dungeness crab and other seafood offered by local fishermen. Visit the historic main street for shopping, galleries and restaurants where nearby farms showcase their fresh offerings. The state's magnificent redwood forest is a short drive away. There, you and your family can hike and picnic under the canopy of awe-inspiring trees. Stay in small seaside inns or more luxurious cliffside digs.

Contact: visithalfmoonbay.org  

Ketchikan, Alaska

Facing the Inside Passage on the state's southeastern coast, this rugged frontier town welcomes visitors from cruise ships as well as other adventurers, eager to hear tales of the gold rush and to observe local wildlife. Visit the Tongass Historical Museum, the Totem Heritage Center and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center to learn about the area's earliest residents -- the native Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people. Ketchikan is home to the largest collection of totem poles in the world, many of which are scattered throughout town.

Contact: www.visit-ketchikan.com

Charleston, S.C. 

Founded in 1670, this Southern city and its scenic harbor provide an appealing blend of old and new. Cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and stories of Civil War-era prominence, beckon history lovers. Meanwhile, a burgeoning food scene, stunning beaches, nearby plantations, a top-notch aquarium and hip hotels nudge families to experience both. The Waterfront Park offers an ideal place to relax after an active day. As colorful sailboats and ocean-worthy ships slip in and out of the harbor, take note of nearby Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War rang out across the water.

Contact: www.charlestoncvb.com

  

Choose a ranch vacation to learn horsemanship in an authentic  setting, explore pristine wilderness areas, fish wild and scenic rivers and relax in Western style.

Here are five destinations to consider: 

ft Winter at The Home Ranch

The Home Ranch, Clark, Colo.

A visit to this mountain retreat near Steamboat Springs, involves decision making. Will you choose rocking on the porch, listening to the rustle of Aspen leaves, multiple massage sessions or curling up by the stone fireplace with your favorite book while the kids sharpen skills in the corral under the watchful eyes of resident wranglers? (The children and teen programs will keep the youngsters in your group plenty busy.)

Or, you can join the family for fly fishing on a private stretch of the Elk River, (it's Orvis-endorsed) morning hikes, afternoon trail rides, day-long outings into nearby wilderness areas, yoga classes and post-dinner music, barn dances and star gazing. During the winter months, snow shoeing, Nordic and downhill skiing and horseback and sleigh rides are all possible.

You’ll enjoy exceptional cuisine, fine wines and well-deserved slumber in the comfort of cozy lodge rooms or rustic yet well-appointed cabins, tucked within a tree studded landscape. Pack your schedule with active pursuits or relax your week away. Either way, it’s all included. 

Contact: www.HomeRanch.com.

Westgate River Ranch, River Ranch, Fla. 

You'll be just an hour from Orlando but feel a world away when you arrive at the largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi. Situated on 1,700 acres of wilderness in Florida's cattle country, the ranch offers a menu of lodging options that include glamping-style tents, lodge rooms and two-bedroom cabins. Opt for horse and pony rides, airboat excursions, miniature golf, nature hikes and zip lining. You'll want to take in the Saturday night rodeo, campfires, cookouts, hayrides and a weekly street party.

Contact: www.wgriverranch.com

Latigo Ranch FamilyTravel.com

Latigo Ranch, Kremmling, Colo. 

Choose your season and relish the peace and tranquility you'll find at this historic ranch. With never-ending views along the Continental Divide, choose from snowshoeing, tubing, cross-country skiing and fat biking in pristine winter conditions. The summer months offer top-notch horseback riding on over 200 miles of trail, cattle drives, hiking and mountain biking for the active members of your family. For those eager to relax, settle in on the porch for a card game, in a meadow or near a crackling fire with a book or puzzle at the ready.

Contact: www.LatigoTrails.com

Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Mont.

Just a stone’s throw from Yellowstone National Park’s northwest border, in the shadow of Lone Peak, you’ll find a cluster of hand-built cabins. Authentic and luxurious, the historic accommodations, tucked creekside, in the pine trees or in meadows,  help visitors conjure the days when the property was a working cattle ranch, operating in untamed country.

Then, like now, the region is home to stunning vistas, and abundant wildlife including grizzlies, black bears, bison and wolves.  In the company of guides or on your own,  adventurers have the  chance to fish Blue Ribbon trout streams and explore the last best place via horseback, Nordic and downhill skis, snowshoes and on the many hiking trails in the area. 

Contact: www.LoneMountainRanch.com  www.VisitMT.com 

White Stallion

White Stallion Ranch, Tucson, Ariz. 

Family-owned and -operated, this working cattle ranch is known for award-winning service, exceptional riding opportunities and a family-friendly atmosphere. Ride amid towering saguaros and enjoy moonlit bonfires, hay rides, fat tire biking, cowboy entertainment, astronomy shows, Western dance lessons and a weekly rodeo where family members can admire the roping, barrel racing and steer wrestling skills of local wranglers.

Contact: www.whitestallion.com

Resource: www.DudeRanch.org

Whether you’re a devoted cyclist or a leisure rider, a wonderful way to experience a new destination is by bicycle. Cycling is more popular than ever, and the trend of exploring far-off destinations by bike is on the rise. An array of companies across the globe offer guided cycling tours of varying lengths, locations, price points, and surfaces. Here are six exceptional experiences hosted by top-notch operators, ranging from epic road rides across Europe to leisurely tours in Cajun Country and from gravel grinders in Tuscany to high-altitude mountain bike excursions in New Zealand. 

1.      Discover SE Asia by Bike 

This new cycling tour from Grasshopper Adventures is the essential discovery trip of Thailand, Cambodia and the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. It includes a wide variety of dynamic riding, ranging from single-lane bike trails to remote backroads through the countryside. The itinerary includes must-sees, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Angkor Archaeological Park, the Silk Islands and Cai Rang Floating Market.

2.      Big Easy Bicycle Tour 

Cycle of Life Adventures’ New Orleans Big Easy Bike Tour includes riding the routes of the Mardi Gras Parade, exploring historic neighborhoods with lavish 300-year-old mansions, overnighting in plantation houses draped by live oaks, biking the levees on the Mississippi River Trail and pedaling along Lake Pontchartrain.

3.       Bike New Zealand’s South Island 

Get off the beaten track and into New Zealand’s wild, dramatic landscapes on a mountain bike tour of the South Island with H+I Adventures. This trip takes riders from coastal cliffs near Christchurch to the flowing singletrack of Craigieburn, the rainforest and ridgelines of the Old Ghost Road, the technical trails of Alexandra and, finally, the descents around Queenstown.

4.       Cycle from Venice to Athens 

Ride & Seek, an adventure cycling company offering itineraries that follow in the footsteps of historical figures, is thrilled to announce The Marco Polo Expedition. This epic cycling tour leads riders 1,900 km from Venice to Athens, Greece. Guests will cycle down the coast from Italy through Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece.

5.       Pedal Volcanos in Ecuador 

Ride to waterfalls, lakes and Inca ruins during the day, and stay in classic haciendas each night on a tour of the foothills around Ecuador’s Cotopaxi National Park with Adventure Life. At the end of the trip, take on the thrilling descent of Cotopaxi Volcano itself into the valley below.

6.       Gravel Tour Tuscany 

Cycle Tuscany’s historic gravel roads on a new eight-day cycling trip that crisscrosses Italy’s famous Chianti region. The trip, offered by Tourissimo and Ride & Seek, passes through medieval hilltop towns and by abbeys, wineries and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Be ready for steep climbs and winding descents when you join this trip.

NPR celebrates the power of poetry and place with this beautiful crowdsourced poem. 

Where I'm From: AMorning Edition Crowdsourced Poem of Remembering

I am from travelers and adventure
from "Be seen, not heard!"
from ritual and plainsong
from England and exile
from mint sauce and lamb.

I am from casseroles and canned tuna
Kennedys and Saturday morning cartoons
I am from Tang in a Daffy Duck glass
from wall phones with mangled cords stretched during private calls in a room too far 
I come from popcorn ceilings
dining rooms of glossy mahogany

I am from bed sheets 
Draped over our dining room chairs.
from the trees Littering the backyard
The sweet taste of mulberries Staining my fingers red
I'm from big hats under rainbow umbrellas
Buckets of wet sand and unstable castles
I'm from orange and vanilla custard
with a pizza slice the size of your chest
From hot July days and cool summer nights
I am from Sunday night pizza and Monday Night Football

I am from marbles
From empanadas cooking in the street
I am from orchids and mango trees
I am from la torta tres leches and ruana
I am from happy and serious
From hard work and sweat

I'm from grit, respect, and discipline.
from big family reunions and endless laughs.
I am from houses never locked
from the projects in Brooklyn
and dominoes in the park
I am from salsa and the car horns blaring

I am from diners and malls and accents that put an "aw" in coffee.
from silky lingerie and sweat socks, bruised knuckles and scars I gave myself
from longing to be someone, somewhere else.
I am from a mother who was still a girl;
whose beauty kept her shy
I am from dirt and fences
from strength and toughness

I am from ashes flicked into the tray
the despair of divorce
bonds gone unappreciated
eviction and being thrown away
running and begging to stay
I am from a little girl who just needed a break

I am from a time when my mother went to the hospital and never came back;
when my toys were in a box by the curb as we drove away.
I am from singing in the darkness of night
Putting myself to sleep with the sound of my own voice.

I am from playing backyard baseball with tennis balls, Wiffle balls, even roundish gourds.
from weekend sleep-overs
from orange push-ups
from fallen leaves kicked up in swirls on walks to school,
from early morning radio announcements of a snow day — no school!

I am from the South and the North.
from immigrant grandparents and Civil War soldiers.
I am from the red dirt clay of Virginia
From the sounds of the fiddle to the beauty of a choir
From the jig and the reel
to the cloggers and the dancers.
From collard greens and fat back,
chitterlings and white bread
I'm from hymns learned on Sundays,
hypocrisy displayed on Mondays.

I am from Tom Petty
and baby oil in the hot sun
rye bread and salami.
I am from black cows,
tacos, bicycles, and
The gentle lure of crickets.

I am from James Brown and Santana.
from Groovin' on a Sunday Afternoon
and Crystal Blue Persuasion.

I am from endless steps,
from California and Texas, and Durango, Colorado.
From unknown ancestors of the ancient Southwest,
cliff-dwellers and puebloans.
I am from the earth --

from from cityscapes and sleepy suburbs
from cicada clicks and firefly sparks
from the call of books and breathing through struggles.
I am from you

and you are from me
We are love

We are home
We are from this day forward.

 

Soak up the magic of the Matterhorn as Zermatt in Switzerland becomes the first European destination partner on theIkon Pass. Now Ikon Pass holders have access to snow at 41 global destinations across five continents.

The Matterhorn towers over more than 3,500 acres (1,416 hectares) of terrain that spans both Switzerland and Italy, offering Swiss hospitality coupled with Italian lifestyle, in the highest skiable terrain offered in the picturesque Alps. Connected lift service offers Ikon Pass holders access to Rothorn, Gornergrat and the Schwarzsee-Matterhorn glacier paradise within the Zermatt ski area, plus Cervinia-Valtournenche ski areas in Italy, collectively known as Matterhorn ski paradise.

Ikon Pass holders will have seven-day access to Zermatt and the Matterhorn ski paradise network on the Ikon Pass with no blackout dates, and five-day access on the Ikon Base Pass, also with no blackout dates.

The Ikon Pass unlocks adventure with access to 41 iconic winter destinations across the Americas, Switzerland, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and is a collaboration of industry leaders – Alterra Mountain Company, Aspen Skiing Company, Boyne Resorts, POWDR, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, SkiBig3, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Taos Ski Valley, Sugarbush Resort, Zermatt, Thredbo, Mt Buller, Niseko United, Valle Nevado, and NZ Ski. 

Geographic spread, busy careers and hectic school schedules can make planning a vacation challenging.  But, carving out time with the people we care about often ranks high on our priority list.

Here are five ways it may work for you and members of your family - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins -  to gather. 

 

Skip-gen or Gramping  

Family life is busy.  Remedy: skip-gen or gramping vacations. Parents get a break and grandparents and grandkids  get to know each other without the filter of mom or dad on the scene.

Grandparents: why not take the opportunity to share your experiences and knowledge with your grandkids? Are you a World War II veteran? Did you grow up inspired by jazz or classical music? Did the ethnic or rural neighborhood of your youth greatly influence the person you are today? Visit a war memorial, take in a concert or visit the old stomping grounds.  It will mean more to hear a bit of history from someone who has been there than what they’ll find in school books.

And, remember, you are part of their history.

Contact:  www.Grandparentrips.comwww.DestinationHotels.com

Milestone Moments

Planning ahead to celebrate birthdays, graduations, retirements and anniversaries can be an important touchstone and meaningful part of a family’s legacy. With plenty of advance notice,  the odds increase that more family members will be able to take part in the fun.  Consider a cruise, a dude ranch or an all-inclusive resort for your gathering. You’ll find a long list of intriguing itineraries and appealing destinations from which to choose. With activities to engage every generation, food choices to suit the pickiest eater (and plenty of volume to satisfy hungry teens) you’re sure to see smiles all around. Separate sleeping quarters provide the privacy and flexibility required for early birds, nappers and night owls.

Contact:www.woodloch.comwww.Beaches.comwww.RoyalCaribbean.com www.NCL.com www.duderanch.org 

Glacier Guides

Rock Star Relatives

Are you an amazing aunt, an unbelievable uncle or a cool cousin?  Perhaps your birdlings have flown the nest or your own kids have fur and four legs. Either way, you may want to join the increasing number of relatives choosing to explore the world with youngsters as their trusty travel companions.  Share your passion to fish or hike, learn a new skill together or plan a mutually engaging adventure to a National Park or a far-off land. You’re certain to return with a deeper bond and memories to share for a lifetime.  

Contact: www.XanterraTravelCollection.com;www.REI.com/adventureswww.MontanaTrout.com ; www.grasshopperadventures.com 

Family Reunion

The true value of a family gathering has less to do with boarding a snazzy cruise ship or checking in to a faraway resort. That option  might not be in the cards for your crew right now. It’s more about the quality of a shared experience. So, whether you are planning a small gathering in a state park picnic area or a mass meeting of the clan, organization will be key. Gather input regarding a budget, destination and lodging preferences, activities and  meal planning. Get a date on the calendar as soon as possible.  Communicate well and often. Keep your sense of humor at the ready and be grateful that at least some portion of your family is eager to spend time together.

“Like Family” 

With relatives spread far and wide, our best friends often become “like family”. Traveling with another crew, particularly one with children of similar ages and interests, can be fun and festive. Still, proper planning can go a long way toward keeping relationships and expectations intact. Family groups often choose to share a ski cabin, beach house, or urban condo. That can mean divvying expenses, transportation, room assignments, cleaning and cooking.

Avoid misunderstandings about how time and resources will be allocated with a clearly defined plan before your holiday gets underway. No matter how much you enjoy your vacation buddies, carve out private time  with your own family. You’ll be glad you did.  

Contact: www.Vacatia.com;  www.Airbnb.com;  www.Vail.com.

-- 

Upscale Americans are seeking adventures in less-visited destinations from Latin America to the Middle East to off-the-beaten-path Europe this fall and holiday season, according to new data from global luxury travel network Virtuoso®. Known as a respected trend forecaster, Virtuoso reviewed figures from its warehouse of more than $49.5 billion in transactions to compile the most in-demand locales for the coming fall and holiday season. 

Country Walkers tour in Italy

The Virtuoso Top 10:

The most popular fall and holiday destinations for Americans according to future bookings.  

1.       United States

2.       Italy

3.       United Kingdom

4.       France

5.       South Africa

6.       Israel

7.       Australia

8.       Germany

9.       Japan

10.   Spain.  

Behind the trend: 

With such a diversity of destinations and experiences at home, Americans increasingly choose to travel domestically for the holidays. Europe’s appeal as a summer destination extends into fall, with five countries on the list. Italy, France and Germany repeat from last year; the latter is especially popular with river cruisers for its celebrated Christmas markets.

Japan, the “it” country that topped the list of emerging destination in the 2019 Virtuoso Luxe Report, appeals to travelers from adventurers to culinary enthusiasts. Two other fall and holiday favorites, South Africa and Israel, repeat from last year’s list, beckoning families seeking trips of a lifetime at the festive season. 

Castles in Romania drive traveler interest - FamilyTravel.com

The Virtuoso Hot 10:

The countries that have experienced the largest increases by percentage in year-over-year bookings among U.S. travelers.  

1. Uruguay (+286%)                                                    6. Puerto Rico (+120%)                     

2. Maldives (+171%)                                                   7. Rwanda (+114%)

3. Malta (+140%)                                                        8. Qatar (+101%)

4. Romania (+135%)                                                   9. South Korea (+98%)

5. Egypt (+122%)                                                        10. Norway (+96%)  

Behind the trend: 

The Virtuoso Luxe Report determined the prevailing travel motivator for 2019 is exploring new destinations, and U.S. travelers are seeking fresh adventures amidst the fairytale castles of Romania, historic sites of Malta and fjords of Norway. Uruguay’s award-winning wineries, pleasant climate, and adventure opportunities make it a sought-after destination for the season.

The Middle East remains popular, with Egypt and Qatar enticing visitors with less-explored cuisines, bustling markets, and desert excursions, while Puerto Rico and the Maldives provide beach retreats for relaxation-focused travelers.  

Data is drawn from Virtuoso’s U.S. agency members and reflects travel bookings for September through December 2019.

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