Friday, April 18, 2014

Skies so Blue-- Colorado Springs

Who doesn't love crisp mountain air and sunny blue skies? If you are looking for a health conscious family outing that will rejuvenate the mind, body and soul-- Colorado Springs will suit you to a T.

With dozens of recreational attractions and leisure pursuits, it's easy to see why, 'The Springs' is quickly becoming a world-wide popular travel destination. Although some activities are seasonal, the climate is mild and when it does snow-- it is breathtaking and melts quickly.
Not to mention the hiking trails--a do not miss-- for an exhilarating healthy lifestyle and taking in the surrounding beauty of nature. The grand Colorado high-country offers a source of never ending clean oxygen that will invigorate your body and make you feel more alive than ever.
The Ideal Car Rental:
Considering all the wide ranging activities, and high altitude walking you will be doing once you arrive in Colorado Springs-- you will need to rent a car to make the most of your trip. The perfect timeframe when leasing a car? Go online and rent an auto-- precisely one and a half weeks-- before your arrival date--
I can assure you with confidence, the price you will secure-- will beat 'last-minute' or 'months before you need the auto' rates. If you can find a rate of fifteen dollars-- take it-- snatch it up and look back with no regrets.
Lie Down with Dogs... or Where NOT to Stay:
Snuggly set against the backdrop of the scenic mountain-side, is the outdated and inadequate Cheyenne Mountain Resort which proudly boasts it's 'pet friendly' environment. In Colorado many lodgings accommodate dogs-- under 75 lbs-- which is usually good a thing-- but when not done properly it's kind of like staying in a smoking room-- when you're not a smoker-- the residual effects of past guests creep in...
Immediately upon entering the room-- you will be confronted by 'throw blankets' on the beds that are covered in pet dander and fur. Wonderful, now when the weather turns chilly, you can lie awake with the inescapable fear of contracting Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever dancing through your head. Unattended animals, stained carpets and other guests complaints landing on an inept management staff's deaf ears. Enough said-- book elsewhere. Especially if you are considering a corporate event or destination wedding.
Spa at The Broadmoor:
Regardless of where you decide to stay in Colorado Springs be sure to make an appointment at this luxurious 43,000 sq ft spa. Escape from the rat race and reconnect with one's inner health and well being-- to a place where you are treated like royalty.
As soon as you step into the posh reception area, you begin to anticipate what an upscale spa truly has to offer.  Lounge in the dry sauna, or aromatherapy room to detoxify all body systems and rediscover true peace of mind. 

broadmoor.com/luxury-spa-resorts/

The Ivywild School:

Of all the reclamation projects I've seen lately, Colorado Springs'-- Ivywild School-- has set the new standard.  What used to be an abandoned, rundown school is now a modish place for the locals to congregate, shop, and eat wholesomely. 
The clever use of old school-rooms now artfully display a variety of homespun products from a tasty bakery to a full-blown micro-brewery.  You can even drop in the principal's office and then lament about your visit over an Pale Ale in a full bar setting.
This attractive, ever-evolving establishment raises the bar for all of us to become mindful of responsibility to our communities.  The Ivywild School gets an A+ in all subjects-- cool.
Venture Out: 
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Take an exciting train ride up to Pike's Peak on The Cog Railway. Bring along all members of the family on this half day excursion up to the mountaintop. On a clear day the vistas are unparalleled and you can see, literally all the way back to Nebraska.
Shutterbugs delight-- Each of the train's cars are outfitted with large glass windows, which allow for excellent photographs of the Colorado Rockies and surrounding valley.  One can certainly appreciate how Katharine Lee Bates was so inspired to pen "America The Beautiful," after making the summit to Pike's Peak.
Manitou Incline--
Not for the faint of heart on this Hike of Epic Proportions-- The Incline goes straight up! We're talking the ultimate Stair Stepper-- This is a great way to bond with family and friends as you justify why you couldn't reach the summit on your way down the mountainside.
www.manitouincline.net/ 

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Explore each nook and cranny of ancient cliff dwellings reassembled into a canyon wall that overlooks the small enclave of Manitou Springs. The sense of wonder and discovery of the ancient stone village adds value to every kid's delight. If you are pressed for time, simply drive slowly through the park and pull over at your own pace.
Garden of the Gods--

Capture jaw-dropping nature photos of the unique landforms at the Garden of the Gods nature refuge. The distinctive Colorado environment supports flourishing greenery accompanied by dramatic erosion-chiseled red rock formations during your visit to this popular tourist attraction. Cavorting amongst the of red rock formations with friends and family is an experience of a lifetime.
Cave of the Winds
Watch your head on this walking cave tour. Spelunker's of all ages will witness-- firsthand-- the unhurried process of nature's unique geological intricacies in this underground cavern. As an added bonus, you do always have the option of buying a hard hat  at the gift shop before your descent into the darkness begins.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

St. Kitts-- Beauty Smolders

When the four walls of your workplace seemingly begin to close in...  and you find yourself longing for the wide open spaces... If, only in your mind, you can visualize palm trees swaying and the smell of fresh topical air... If the call of seagulls beckon, then the time has certainly come to pack up the family and simply get away. 

Provided you have an inherent love of nature, the urge to hike a dormant volcano or even spend an afternoon lazily bird-watching-- then St Kitts is your ideal Caribbean destination. With comparatively untouched beaches, brilliantly sunny days and mysterious natural beauty... this tiny Island offers something for everyone. Especially those wanting to escape the chaos and chatter of the daily workspace.
Getting There:
Three of the major US Airlines run once weekly service, into St Kitts', Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw (RLB) International Airport. Only American Airlines, has twice daily service from Thursday through Sunday out of Miami International.
But that's it-- for the most part, and probably all for the better-- you are stuck there.
Getting Around:
If you are planning to rent an car there are a few hidden costs involved... Be advised, you will need to secure a temporary driving license and that is one for either St Kitts or its small companion island-- Nevis. Any St. Kitts Rental Car Agency will happily steer you in the right direction when it comes to your Island hopping plans-- so don't hesitate to ask and they will more than willingly oblige.
On the Island's Southeast Peninsula, there is an Auto Ferry Service between Nevis and St. Kitts... So if you plan on touring each island, don't take a gamble without the proper driving documentation... No one needs a silly or hefty fine putting a crimp in their vacation.
Where to stay:
Located in South Frigate Bay, the exclusive Timothy Beach Resort is nestled into the hillside with sweeping views of a calm Caribbean cove. All of the condominium suites are outfitted with private balconies, complimentary beach towels and free internet. Full kitchens makes a huge difference in vacationing budget as you can stock up on provisions and save yourself the expense of not eating out the entirety of your stay. Although the tropical decor and rattan furniture seem dated, the villas are clean and very comfortable.
The hotel is in close proximity to a plethora of shops, outstanding dining, world-class golfing and even a casino. Timothy Beach Resort proudly boasts that they are located at a privileged point on the coastline--  as 'the only St. Kitts hotel on a Caribbean beach...'.
Speaking of Monkeys--
Get this-- they have drunken monkeys that maraud and roam the island with impunity-- The well known, 'Green Vervet' Monkeys of the Caribbean have apparently developed quite a penchant for Rum Punch. These wily and crafty simians are renowned for swiping a tourist's frothy libation. So hold on tight to your hootch when you see the cute little pranksters approaching.

Also, at Independence Square in Basseterre-- is The Monkey Bar. This social hotspot serves as a favorite haunt of those that love to party-and also has a terrific seafood restaurant. Be sure to catch the lively steel drum band every Friday night.
Summit to Sea
Whether you are a certified diver with many hours of undersea time or a newbie to the sport, you will not want to miss, 'The Wreck of the River Taw'. Divers from all regions of the globe flock to this dive-spot, rated one of the top twenty Shallow Reef wrecks in the Caribbean.
With good visibility, an abundance of sea life and warm water makes this wreck dive site immensely popular in the diving community.
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park
This expansive fortress dates back to the 1700's, and features majestic views of the neighboring Caribbean Islands. For a reasonable ten dollar (US) entrance fee, visitors can stroll at their leisure through the mostly renovated historic site. Many of the restored quarters actually show life as it was in the 18th Century-- much to the delight of children and the historian in all of us.
The well-preserved fort unfortunately is not as handicapped accessible as we are accustomed to here in the States-- but hey, you are in the Caribbean-- and they have different codes than the US... So be sure to respect their lifestyle and tastes.
Amazing Place
When in St. Kitts, regardless of your religious convictions, you will not want to deprive yourself of this one of a kind and inspirational experience. The correlation to the small island's checkered history and the beloved hymn will inspire even the hardest of skeptics.
Unbeknown to many, but the serene Sandy Point in St Kitts-- served as the inspirational backdrop and life changing events of slave trader, John Newton. It was here that he composed the well-known tune, Amazing Grace.

Dreaming in Rome

In Rome-- love, romance, and history are all wonderfully interwoven into a tapestry that will create for a unforgettable vacation. From tossing a coin into the mystical Trevi Fountain or ascending the steep slope of Spanish Steps-  countless reminders of the ancient Roman civilization greet you at every turn.

History serves as the backdrop to a city buzzing with energy, modern-day sophistication and the commerce of Rome's city center. By embracing their legacy, the denizens of Rome have dutifully preserved the city's authenticity and unique historical feel-- and in the process, fashioned the ultimate travel destination.

Recharge the soul on the trip of a lifetime to this first-class city nestled in the heart of Italy.
Deals Abound...
With the recent merger of the two power players in the airline industry-- US Airways and American Airlines-- and contrary to popular belief, air fare deals abound. From last minute deals-- to blockbuster competitor pricing-- make no mistake about it-- airlines need to fill seats. Regardless of how you choose to arrive at your European destination, getting to Rome has never been easier.
From Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport Guide (FCO)-- you have a myriad of transportation options that will get you safely to the City Center--
The Metro Rail runs service every thirty minutes and costs a scant fourteen Euro. The COTRAL Public Buses take a seemingly forever-- hour long trip to get to the downtown area, but only run five Euro per person. Count on Taxi Service deducting fifty euro from your travel budget, for the twenty five minute journey to your hotel.
When in Rome...
With over 2977 properties available in Rome you won't be at a loss to find a room for a night or two... However, just a 10-minute walk from the Roma Termini Station is the centrally located Rome Life Hotel. For an  affordable and a satisfying vacation in Rome, be sure to book your accommodations at this property-- only half a mile jaunt from the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and other major sightseeing  opportunities.
The stylish rooms are streamline, and feature all the essential  modern day amenities-- including a private bathroom. With a roof-top terrace providing stunning views of your Italian surroundings, free internet, and air-conditioned rooms you can't go wrong staying at the Rome Life Hotel.

The Rome Life Hotel caters your health-conscious side with hypoallergenic mattresses, and a complimentary breakfast-- featuring organic dairy and gluten-free options. For that added European Touch each room is outfitted with a tea pot and an assortment of herbal teas. Also my favorite an In-room Safe.

The Vatican City
No visit to Rome would be complete without an afternoon visit to the official residence of the Pope-- The Vatican City. Once inside St. Peter's Basilica, you will be instantly awe-struck by the unparalleled artwork of the Renaissance masters. One can spend hours marveling evocative paintings, inspirational cathedral domes and of course the emotive sculpture, 'The Pieta--'
Keep in mind- when visiting the Vatican, lines into the Sistine Chapel-- for instance, can be grueling and long... Your best option is to book a tour, this will fast track you through the awaiting throngs of masses hoping to catch a glimpse of Michelangelo's fresco, The Creation of Adam. Bite the bullet on this one-- the tour operators quite possibly will pick your party up at the hotel or another convenient location--
Also, don't miss the photo opportunity of a lifetime by snapping off a few shutters of colorful and timeless Swiss Guardsman--
Shopping
From fine leather products to the sophistication of Dior--the fashion in Rome is at its best.  The look here is ultra chic--dark shades, the finest leather shoes & bags, and of course the trendiest coats--it's a look that sets the pace for the rest of the world to follow.
Whether you are looking for haute couture, old world collectibles, or unique home furnishings-- have confidence that in Rome you can find what you are looking for... and even take in wonderful historical statues and fountains as you meander through the downtown cobblestone streets. In Rome there a numerous districts that create for a shopaholic's paradise.
One of the main centers for shopping in Rome is The Via Del Governo Vecchio where you will discover untold  fashion bargains, including jewelry. Cluttered with traditional, chic boutiques, these shops stay open late and host an antiques fair. Not to mention there are many art galleries and antique shops nearby.
In the historic district, another major marketplace for antiques is the Via del Babuino. This well known street is home to many designer clothing outlets the highly regarded store, 'Alberto di Castro--' a great place to purchase some stunning lithographs.
Fine Dining
Located in one of the most beautiful streets of the historic center of Rome is the restaurant, Life. Lending a brilliant sense of intimacy to your a romantic atmosphere, the restaurant has three quaint dining areas-- as well as an outdoor terrace which is open all year for lunch or dinner.
Exceptional hospitality and service is complemented by the Ristorante Life's casual and fun atmosphere. Innovative gourmet Italian cuisine and splendid ambiance transform your Roman dining experience into a night to remember.
Their masterful chefs prepare their culinary delights using only the freshest seasonal ingredients. and homemade bread, pastas. Even the fish are freshly caught in the Tyrrhenian Sea and chosen with care at a daily auction and  the meats are hand selected from one of Rome's the best butchers.
A notable stand out is the tenderloin filet with black truffles from Norcia, Italy. 

Follow the Sun-- Ochos Rios, Jamaica

There's a popular Beatles song, whose lyric goes-- 'I'll follow the sun...'  Well you deserve the same pleasure by experiencing firsthand, 'the beauty of the tropics' in Ocho Rios... Jamaica's lush Garden Parish.

As the days get shorter and we spend seemingly longer hours under the artificial lighting of the workplace... It's time to reconnect with our families-- It's time to spend some quality time basking in surf and golden rays of the sun. Now is the season to treat your loved ones to a timeless getaway-- where you can revel in the fruits of your labor.
Doll it Up
The spacious suites are clean and well-appointed... Your entire family will feel comfortable and have plenty of breathing space. Leave your suite with peace of mind at this stylish resort that has trusted maid service and in-room safes for securing your valuables. At Beaches-Ocho Rios, you will find an all-inclusive retreat that offers unfettered access to a private beach... The only thing you will regret about booking your stay at Beaches Ocho Rios, is when you hand in the room key and are checking out.
When the kids are happy...
The kids will delight in any number of activities that include three sparkling swimming pools, a thrilling water park... even an X-Box Room and Craft Center. Your children look up to you with adoration and respect like you are 'the parent with the most...' Walk the property like you're the CEO, like you own the place... At Beaches- Ocho Rios, everyone is treated like an extended family and the smiling staff will go out of their way to ensure you stay in style.
Free Championship Golf... Wait What?
That's right, provided you bring your own Clubs and Shoes-- golfing is all complimentary-- Gratis Green Fees and Transportation to the Championship Course-- Although there is an added-in and well deserved caddie gratuity, considering they do chase after your Top-Flite golf balls all over the Jamaican countryside.
If you are lucky enough you might even run across Wesley Brown where you can pick up a few pointers from the up and coming Jamaican Tour Pro-
At Beaches-- It's not just the Hobie Cat, paddle board and windsurfing that are all included-- Guess what?? At your Beaches-Ocho Rios-- there is no additional charge The Banana Boat Rides, Snorkeling Adventures and Glass Bottom Boat Trips... Saving you hundreds of dollars in the process.
Non Motorized Water Sports
At Beaches-- It's not just the Hobie Cat, paddle board and windsurfing that are all included-- Guess what?? At your Beaches-Ocho Rios-- there is no additional charge The Banana Boat Rides, Snorkeling Adventures and Glass Bottom Boat Trips... Saving you hundreds of dollars in the process.
Something Different each Night
It is no hidden secret that Ocho Rios has some of the finest dining in all of Jamaica... but why venture out for a perilous drive into town when you have everything you could want to experience right at your fingertips at the resort. Beaches- - Ocho Rios operates a collection of six unique restaurants serving up the true flavor of the Caribbean. Feel free to do something different each night. One notable restaurant is The Venetian, that serves up classic pasta dishes to Italian fine dining all in a resort casual atmosphere. All restaurants even feature a gluten free bread, a plethora of vegetarian options, and of course a full kids menu.
Dunn River Falls
Visit one of Jamaica's most picturesque waterfalls literally a few miles from the Beaches Ocho Rios Resort. There's nothing quite like the display and crash of falling water. Wade your way up the Dunn River as the water streams by you and over you. Tweet back your candid photos of family and new friends for images that will last a lifetime.
Set in a breathtaking landscape of remarkable rock formations and dense flora the picturesque waterfall embodies Jamaica's nature garden at its best.
Chukka Horseback-Riding
Saddle up and experience an inner-peace as you gallop along Jamaica's picturesque northern coastline. Ride along miles of sandy beaches on the Papillon Cove as you and your steed wade into the refreshing waters of the Caribbean Sea. You can either hone your riding skills or simply enjoy a leisurely pace as you connect with the beautiful natural surroundings.
The enchanting and revitalizing ride is lead by an experienced guide and certainly should be considered 'a do not miss' island excursion.
Leaving There-- Airport Heads Up
A quick, little known way to cruise through jam-packed immigration lines is to sign up for Club
Mobay. For a small pittance you can gain access to a safe haven where you can relax and prepare for your flight. At Montego Bay's (MBJ) Sangster International Airport crowded departure aisle ways  are a thing of the past.
The fully equipped lounge-- complete with a full service spa, and Wi-Fi-- presents you with a distinctive opportunity to kickback and wind-down before your scheduled departure. However, after your Ocho Rios vacation-- you'll most assuredly already be in low-mode-- so look at Club Mobay as a way to skate through security and customs.

The Camelback-- Scottsdale AZ

As the weather turns damp and chilly-- most of us long to get away some place where it's warm and the air is dry-- Nothing fits this prescription better than a trip to sunny Scottsdale AZ.

Located a scant ten minutes from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Scottsdale has been long known as an overnight oasis for many professionals in the airline industry. Scottsdale is an outdoor enthusiast where you will discover easy access to all of Arizona's scenic wonders-- including the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater and Mystical Vortexes renowned for their healing powers.
Paradise Valley
When considering lodging in Scottsdale, The Hermosa Inn, should be considered base camp for any savvy traveler. This  luxury boutique hotel is recognized as an opulent oasis that will fulfill all of your lodging needs. The Hermosa Inn is a true extravagance with spacious studio rooms that feature tall arching and vaulted
ceilings. The spa-like bathrooms are mammoth, and designed to not only pamper-- but provide guests with an intimate place to unwind.
The grounds of the Hermosa Inn are beautifully landscaped and decorated with ornate sculptures of Native Americans. Also, be sure to take full advantage of the inviting pool and hot tub.
“The Beverly Hills of the Southwest”
If shopping is one of your top passions the don't hesitate to drop by the largest shopping mall in Arizona. Located just blocks away from the Hermosa Inn this premier shopping experience the Scottsdale Fashion Square showcases top brands at every glance. This galleria boasts some of the area's most outstanding dining, entertainment and high-end fashion-- all nestled within close proximity.

Scottsdale Old Town Farmers' Market  
If you are looking for a casual browsing experience or just a place to find a nice assortment of organic produce-- then the Old Town Farmers' Market is the perfect spot for you. Every Saturday this cheerful bazaar features local arts, crafts and specialty locally grown produce.
Arizona Flavor
For an authentic taste of the American Southwest as well as an unforgettable dining experience under the stars--  look no further than dining at LON’s. This Hermosa Inn- on-site restaurant- has the locals and visitors lined up to see what exciting and new entrees will be featured from celebrity Chef Jeremy Pacheco's kitchen. His creative culinary team serves up delectable whole food servings direct from their on-site organic garden to your table.

Bring Lots of Agua
Welcome to Echo Canyon Park-- home to the Camelback Mountain. This challenging hike truly reflects the raw beauty of the American Southwest- gravelly trails, cactus and amazing vistas in every direction. However, this
formidable hike is not for the faint of heart-- and features plenty of climbing over boulders and rocky outcroppings.
Be sure to outfit yourself with sure-grip shoes and moisture whisking clothing as you prepare to drop a few pounds in sweat and tears on this rewarding outdoor experience.

Monday, January 20, 2014

One for the Bucket List-- Jackson Hole, Wy

How many of us long to personally witness the famous geyser eruption of Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park? Hasn't the child adventurer in everyone secretly desired to follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, by traversing the Snake River's intimidating whitewater rapids?
Who wouldn't wish for a leisurely afternoon of horseback riding through mountain meadow trails of America's true West? However, only the select few will plan on taking a frantic leap off one of Wyoming's highest peaks-- But that's precisely what you will come to expect when you venture out to Jackson Hole, WY-- on a paragliding escapade of a lifetime-- But, hey this outdoor vacation is just one for the bucket list-- right.

Wyoming ranks as America's tenth largest state in area, and the least populated-- This beautiful landscape is a wildlife paparazzi and outdoor enthusiast's dream-- This time of year, thousands of elk migrate to feed on the crisp grass just north of Jackson Hole. But beware, danger lurks at every turn-- stealthy mountain lions, wolves-- brown bears, black bears-- bull moose, and mammoth bison roam the great wide open with impunity--

Getting there:

The Jackson Hole Airport is the only airport in the US where commercial airplanes land in a National Park. Due to land conservations and Federal restrictions the landing strip is smaller than their metropolitan counterparts-- So in  harsh winter conditions or  extremely inclement weather some flights will be diverted to Salt Lake City, Utah-- which results in an untimely four hour commute to the world class ski resort of Jackson Hole.

More than likely, you will arrive safely and with no snafus into the tiny airport-- complete with no jetways to the airport terminals-- If you are lucky enough to be staying at the Snow King Resort, all you need to do is simply hop onboard their airport shuttle that will take you directly to the hotel's property. The only price you will pay is a small gratuity to your thoughtful and informative driver.

Once in the tightly woven community of Jackson Hole-- there is little need for a automobile rental. Downtown is easily within walking distance-- and any outdoor activity you might partake in, more than likely will have a courtesy shuttle.

Staying there:

Sincere and genuine smiles greet you when you enter the sliding doors of the European-style mountain lodge, Snow King Resort--  These are courteous and polite employees literally sworn to uphold 'The Cowboy Code--'  They will never betray your trust or go back on their word... When they make a promise, they keep it... They do what has to be done and refreshingly, finish what they start.

The rustic and charming property is fresh off a top to bottom 17 million dollar renovation, so no detail-- from the Alpine slide, new fitness center or year round heated pool-- has been left to chance. However, let's be up front this is not a haughty- taughty five star resort... That being said, you are at a ski resort so look past the unnecessary amenities like valet parking or pretentious bell hops looking for a handout.

Hayden's Post- Refresh, restore and renew at the Snow King Resort's Restaurant and Pub-- With the finest selection of micro-brews in the Northwest, great entertainment and a wonderful dinner menu-- Consider this basecamp to cater to all your dining and nightlife needs.
Olga’s Day Spa- Located in a non-descript section on the second floor of the resort This has to probably be one of the most unassuming spa spots in all of Jackson Hole. No relaxation room or dry saunas-- where you sweat out toxins before your treatment-- But low and behold Olga, a former Russian gymnast,  has to be one considered one of the best massage therapist in all of the Northwest.  Having worked on many high profile athletes as well as high ranking politicians, Olga has perfected her craft devoted to giving the perfect combination of Swedish and Deep Tissue massage.
The Bucket List:

Rafting Adventure--
Jackson Hole's best option for a whitewater premier rafting adventure certainly has to be with at Mad River Boat Trips. Their tour guides navigate you  skillfully down the rushing water of Snake River with swagger and bravado. The frigid water is not for the faint of heart so be sure to secure a wet suit before setting out--  Also, leave your valuables locked in your hotel room, as they don't have security lockers, and you will have no other option than to leave them unsecured on the bus during the three hour rafting tour.

Paragliding--

Located in the heart of Teton Village take an Alpine launch off the vertical cliff face  of the Grand Tetons rising above 9500 ft. and even above low lying cumulus clouds-- Every fiber of your being will scream, 'NO- Don't run and jump off this insanely steep slope--' But when the paragliding pilot you are harnessed to says, 'Go-' You go-- In a matter of seconds you are whisked away by windswept thermals and will be performing high flying aerial acrobatics like the B-line stall, and Big ears...
http://jhparagliding.com/

The National Museum of Wildlife Art--

Astonishing works of stirring wildlife art are housed in this facility modeled after a European castle. Kids of all ages will be entertained for hours as they cut loose in the specially designed Children’s Discovery Gallery or on the outdoor Sculpture Trail. Imposing wildlife figurines and grand views of the Jackson Hole Elk Refuge will take your breath away. Never before will you walk away from a museum so inspired and motivated-- http://www.wildlifeart.org/

Simply Seattle

Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Tuesday Lunch at the Dock, Occidental Square Park, Tractor Tavern, Seamonster Lounge, Queen Anne Hill, Space Needle, The Art Museum, 5th Avenue Theatre, The Music Project and the list keeps running, and running...
If you haven't guessed by now,  yes we are talking about  one of America's most sought after travel destinations-- Seattle, Washington. 'So much to see, so much to do--' and unfortunately the old adage applies... 'oh, so little time.'
Sure it can be a little inclement and damp... but rest-assured the sun will pop out.
Instead of an viewing this city as an overnighter for the cruise to Alaska, I say skip the cruise altogether and plan your stay around Seattle. Trust me, with a city as safe as this, with a group of people as hospitable as this, with a vibe and energy as good as this...you won't feel compelled to leave. Save the great white North for another day. Go ahead and spend a week, or two-- who knows you may end up relocating here.
Positively European:
Never has been getting from an airport to a downtown metropolis been so affordable and easy, unless of course you're in Europe. From the Sea-Tac International Airport simply hop on the conveniently located Light Rail Service that will usher you directly to the hotel district. Best of all, your downtown commute won't be bogged down in gridlock, and for pennies on the dollar- you can take a leisurely as well as scenic train ride to your lodgings.

Hotel 'Wow' Thousand:
When staying in downtown Seattle, look no further than the incomparable Hotel 1000.  There is a reason that this hotel consistently ranks as Trip Advisor's Number One Place to Stay in Seattle... Unrivaled guest relations, combined with comfort and European-styling will leave you wondering why you even remotely considered lodging anywhere else.
The Rooms are equipped for maximum comfort and privacy. After a long day of traversing the cities notoriously inclined hills, soak your tootsies in the large standalone bathtub-- whose faucet amazingly cascades water from the ceiling, gently pelting your shoulders and feet.
                Heat it Up-
Don't be concerned with your tub-time meditation being interrupted-- Each room is outfitted with a human body temperature monitoring system, allowing maids or other attendants to know if you are in the room, and wish not to be disturbed.
                Location, location, location-
Suffice to say, Hotel 1000 is easy within walking distance to the waterfront, outstanding parks and shopping. An early morning walk will bring you to the famous Pike Place Market, where you can delight in a breakfast of Seattle's Finest Java-- and healthy mouth-watering fruits and berries.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Gaze with wide-eyed wonder as you meander through an incredible garden located in the heart of Seattle. Although the vibrant colors, delicate shapes and beautiful designs are not of the floral variety... but rather showcase blown glass art work, hand-crafted by the contemporary American Master, Dale Chihuly.
From there drop in the neighboring Space Needle and take a ride up one of America's most iconic elevators and see a mind-expanding view of Seattle 360.
Seattle Locks Cruise and Sightseeing Tour:
Jump onboard a picturesque and celebrated cruise through the famous Hiram Chittenden Locks between Puget Sound and Lake Union. Your panoramic tour includes the most remarkable city sights from a uniquely seaside perspective.

Whether you'd like a romantic break or just looking for the a perfect way to spend the afternoon, regardless of the weather...  sit back, take in the invigorating sea-salt air and enjoy the all Seattle sights that surround you on this pleasant Intracoastal Waterway Cruise.


West Seattle

Take an inexpensive and fun Water Taxi ride across the Puget Sound to West Seattle- From there an awaiting  free shuttle with take you to Alki Beach. It's a great way to spend the afternoon whale watching and picking up seashells on this two and a half mile long stretch of beach. Plenty of fun shops, ice cream parlors and waterfront dining opportunities await.

Be sure to drop an Alki Beach favorite, El Chupacabra Mexican Seaside Dining . There you can sip margaritas with the colorful locals like the attractive Alaskan Air Flight Attendants that belly ache and bemoan their working conditions, but look so good doing it..
 
Tulio Ristorante
 
For delicious Italian cuisine in the heart of the downtown of Seattle, do not miss Tulio Ristorante.  Chef Walter Pisano serves up classic Italian fare, with a genuine warmth and hospitality that always makes you feel like a member of the family.  This lively 'Italian-esque Trattoria' serves up affordable and fresh dishes that consistently impress with bold flavors.

Beautifully nestled within the charming boutique Hotel Vintage Park, Tulio's atmosphere bustles with energy and enthusiasm but remains ever inviting and comfortable.

Foodie Heaven

Looking for quaint surroundings from an independent restaurant removed from Seattle's opulent hotels, and sizzling downtown area? Be adventuresome and head out of Dodge, to the Capitol Hill neighborhood and the down to earth dining experience of Volunteer Park Cafe.  Granted it will take you 'Google Transit' to get there via Seattle's amazing bus line-- but follow the directions and you can will arrive safely and inexpensively without a hitch.
 
Located in an old grocery store, this charming bistro serves up comfort foods that warm the body and soothe the spirit. You almost feel you've been teleported back to the 'Little House on the Prairie' days-- as the food is prepared so fresh-- they even have an organic veggie farm they use in the back of the restaurant.