Fall has dropped in the United States. I heard that in Denver, CO the temperature on the weekend was 101 and by three days later was to plunge to the 30s and snow. Where I am based, we are still dealing with the sauna bath known as Florida summer that sometimes seems like that last 10 pounds on a diet—nothing you do can make it disappear! For some reason, my husband keeps saying “It’s Fall… things should be cooling down from the humidity-soaking 100+ degrees we still face daily.” I remind him that I have worked Halloween gigs (as my alter ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady) wearing sleeveless blouses because temperatures have barely taken a dip into the low 90s.
Ever swim with a manatee? Have you even watched them from a heated boat as they lazily swim in waters ranging from 72-74 degrees? Now’s your chance to see the sea cows up close and personal with River Ventures in Homosassa, FL. Multiple packages available. Use promo code E N E W S 1 0.
I don’t ski. Way too clumsy and going up on a mountain atop a slim set of boards is riskier than when I thought I was a roller skater extraordinaire and slid the length of an elongated hill in my neighborhood, painfully removing most of the skin on my bared legs. However, I do recognize there are many of you far more agile and coordinated than me, so maybe you’ll be excited to know that Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley (CA) has lift ticket packages ready. The company in charge says more than double the amount of snow from last year has already fallen, so the excitement has mounted (get my sly sense of pun-ish humor there?). There are multiple packages, so explore those options on your own.
Time is running out to book The Village at Squaw Valley Lodging (Olympic Village, CA) winter sale and save 25% for stays from Jan. 6 – May 31, based on availability and only for Sun-Thursday and non-holiday stays. The majority of room have private balconies, fireplaces and kitchens. Standard rooms do not have those amenities.
The Winter Escape Package being offered by Caribe Royale Orlando isn’t the luxury resorts only promotional package being offered. There’s one for Florida and Georgia residents and if you hurry, there’s a Fall program Read more
In this issue: Omni helps planners Escape Their Way”
From snow-capped mountain skiing to tropical Hawaiian island stays
If you could have any wish granted before the New Year’s Ball drops in New York City’s Times Square, what would it be? Would it be to find true love, or to have the money to buy a house or travel first class? Would it be for world peace or to find peace within your heart? Would it be for a job that enables you to safeguard your family’s future or would it be to have a career that suits your personality and capabilities?
I really would like to hear your wish. I’ll even publish it if you respond. Most of all, I want to know how others see the world or see themselves.
I’ll start it off. My wish is to matter… to make a positive difference in someone’s life. My blog posts are just one of the ways I strive to touch someone’s life. If I provide you data on a destination, event, restaurant or resort that guides you on an adventure you might not have otherwise known about, then I feel I have made a contribution to someone’s quality of life. It’s why I enjoy writing this blog. It allows me to connect with you Read more
When I was very young, taking a vacation nearly always involved a road trip. With my Dad in the Air Force and subject to frequent transfers, we found ourselves packed tightly into our car of the moment, traversing the country from one base to another. It wasn’t much different when we took a vacation. In the years before my brother arrived on the scene, my sister and I would either share the back seat with piles of boxes and luggage that rose like a wobbly tower from the floorboard, or we’d find ourselves nestled snugly in the back of the station wagon, sitting on blankets and playing board games to pass the time… at least when I wasn’t suffering from motion sickness and forced to just meditate to sleep. (And yes, I know kids sitting sans seat belts are no longer a viable option.) Vacations weren’t luxury resort destinations. They were sightseeing glimpses of the state or country we were in or near at that time. Each journey created indelible images of ethnic cuisine (which my Mom would later strive to duplicate), unusual architecture, or the cultural stamp of the local populace.
Even now, when I travel for work or pleasure, those memorable Read more
I smell the cookies baking. It must be December. Not that I don’t bake cookies all year, but from the time I was young, baking for the holidays began early in the month. My Mom, sister, and then my daughter and I would begin our ritual of selecting which favorites and which new recipes would warm our kitchen. They were meant to be sampled and mostly, meant to be shared. In the last two years I had last minute writing assignments and performing gigs that made my life too hectic to spend casual time listening to holiday music while I kneaded, mixed, and decorated an assortment of goodies. Cooking and baking are cathartic. They feed my soul, not just my belly. I already “sense” this December will be different. We have one trip planned to visit relatives, parties to enjoy, and two cookie exchanges for which to prep. I’m feeling merrier already.
May you have the holiday you either remember or one you wish to have. Here are some possibilities that may stoke your imagination or get you to pack your bags for a new adventure.
Even I, a complete chicken when it comes to anything involving heights and the possibility of me hitting the bottom in an unintended splat, might consider taking advantage of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows’$49 Learn to Ski and Ride Weekend, December 14-15. The package includes lift tickets, a half-day lesson and full rental packages for first time skiers and riders. Reservations are required for kids’ lessons (ages 12 and under). 13 and over can register online. Walk-ins Read more
You’ll need more than driving gloves, a good sense of direction, or a love for speed to compete in the annual off-road race held in the Kenyan bush or the world’s most challenging wheelbarrow race, held at Hell’s Gate National Park, Naivasha. The 25-year-old Rhino Charge, an off-road motorsport competition sponsored by The Rhino Ark Charitable Trust, has been raising money for conversation of Kenya’s Aberdare Ecosystem since 1989. The event is June 1. http://www.rhinocharge.co.ke/ The wheelbarrow race, June 7-8, raises funds for a new Kenya Wildlife Service Education Center. http://www.kws.org/info/events/2013/Details/26mayhellgate2013.html
If you haven’t visited Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, CA in the past couple of years for top-notch winter sports, this may be the year to make it a planned vacation. The resort area is investing nearly $8 million in improvements this winter and next. The investment totals more than $46 million in year three of the resorts’ five-year, $70 million renaissance. Money is being poured into new snow cats for smoother, carve-able slopes, a new Wanderlust yoga studio, Spruce, a new home furnishings store, and comprehensive room renovations at The Village at Squaw Valley, as well as new on-mountain and valley signage for increased way-finding and accessibility. In the past two years, the base village was renovated with restaurants, bars and firepits. Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Read more
I don’t ski, but I have been to Squaw Valley many times during my life. The last time was a few years ago as my husband and I were travelling from the Sunnyside Lodge on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. We were pre-snow season, so Squaw Valley was a stop to see what the area looked like post-1960 Winter Olympics and what fun we would miss during the upcoming winter. It was also a nostalgic moment. My family lived in Reno, NV at the former Stead AFB. During our sightseeing travels, we often stopped at Squaw Valley. To this day I think of it as the place where we were in shorts and sandals and walking through snowy areas under a warm, shiny sky.
The Squaw Valley I remember just got a $24 million facelift that “those who ski” or “those who lodge” will appreciate. Since last year’s investment of $15 in base area and on-mountain improvements, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have added another $24 million in improvements, including a new high-speed, six-passenger chairlift subtly titled Big Blue Express, improved High Camp beginner experience at Squaw Valley, and a mile-long terrain park at Alpine Meadows.
“We are very excited about the significant investment devoted to capital improvements for the upcoming season,” said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. “Snowmaking improvements, in particular, for this season and in the future, Read more