Saturday, August 01, 2015

Las Vegas 2015

Most people would call us crazy for flying to Vegas in the height of summer.  It was 90 degrees at home and up to 105 there.  In actuality, the heat in Vegas was more bearable because of the low humidity.

But there was a reason for our madness.  Georg was given a four week reprieve from Chemotherapy and that was our time frame.  When I got an amazing offer from Aria, our favorite Vegas hotel, we jumped on the opportunity.  Our room rate was $79 a night, with a $50 resort credit and two free tickets to Cirque de Soleil.  Miraculously, I was able to get our flights free using my British Air Avios miles (and one half the trip was even in first class!)  It seemed all the ducks were in place and we decided to go.  I was a little worried about Georg navigating the airports and so I arranged for wheelchair assistance - a Godsend.

We stayed at the resort the whole four days, getting carryout lobster rolls from Todd English and eating at the Asian restaurant,  Lemongrass,  and the incredible new Michael Mina French restaurant, Bardot, which is sure to become our favorite haunt.  Because we were blessed with such a good deal on our trip, I decided to splurge on a poolside cabana.  It was a luxury to have our own space, stocked fridge, TV, healthy fruit and veggie trays and our own personal waiter. It was fun to experience how the "other half" lives, even if just for a day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Winter Break: Turks and Caicos

Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos, January 2015
Turquoise:  semiprecious stone, typically opaque and of a greenish-blue or sky-blue color...  A perfect description of the waters of the Turks and Caicos.  It was so brilliant, it looked photoshopped.  Coming from cold, grey Michigan winter weather we had the feeling of Dorothy emerging into the colorful world of OZ.  The Turks and Caicos (TCI) are a British overseas territory, two island groups in the Caribbean.  Their main source of income is tourism, due largely to the amazing beaches (of which 12 mile long Grace Bay Beach is the most famous) and to the fact that the temperature is an average of 85 degrees year-round.

Our week-long vacation was day after day of sunning, beach and eating amazing seafood, interspersed with only a little sightseeing and exploration.  When possible we rent a house or condo on our vacations.  We like the extra space, privacy and use of a kitchen, which saves us money on food.  That is not to say we don't go out to eat.  We do, at least once a day.  But sometimes it's nice to have your morning coffee or lunch in the privacy of your own terrace or pool.  We stayed at Grace Bay Townhomes.  It wasn't right on the beach (the prices in were very expensive), but we were within a 10 minute easy stroll right onto Grace Bay Beach between two resorts where you could rent chairs or catch boat tours.   

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Palm Springs

Palm Springs was a mecca of the old-time stars and their mid-century modern homes.  Each time I drive in from Las Vegas, my heart jumps at the sight of the palm trees and windmills with the desert mountains as a backdrop.  This trip, The town is decorated for Christmas, incongruos because of the sunny, warm tropical background.  It was a quick four days of connecting with old friends and making new ones. 

Usually I stay in a vacation rental, but this trip I was in a newly renovated hotel.  The owners had done a great job of recreating the vibe of the Hollywood heyday and I went back in time, pretending I was Lauren Bacall or Joan Crawford, only less cool.

Aruba: Welcome to Happiness

In our exploration of Caribbean islands, we have been to St. Barts, St. John, Virgin Gorda, Nevis and Curacao.  Aruba was next on the list.  It is part of the Netherlands Antilles island chain called the ABC islands: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao.  When Southwest Airlines began service to Aruba in August I tried to book our flights using miles and was successful.  Then began the search for the perfect rental house.  We found Washington Gardens Villa through Aruba Happy Rentals and the trip was locked in.

I love flying over the Bahamas because the water and islands from the air are surreal.  I always sit glued to the window with camera in hand.  It is God's abstract handiwork.


We were drawn to this island because of its English speaking friendly people, beautiful beaches, driving on the right, we could use American money and, although we are not gamblers (we dabble in a bit of slots), casinos.  We picked up our rental car and found our way to the villa.  We were immediately in love.  Walking in the door, we could immediately see how clean and new everything was.  And best of all the whole wall of sliding glass doors leading directly to the inviting pool.

Another reason I was impressed by Aruba was the great variety of good restaurants and the best island supermarket I have ever seen: Superfoods.  It sure lived up to its name.  We loaded up on Dutch cheeses, lunchmeats and breads.

(To be continued)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Anna Maria Island

We were blessed to be able to fly to Florida for a long weekend and found a great little rental that suited our purposes perfectly.  Anna Maria is "old Florida" with white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico and the most amazing sunsets to be seen anywhere.  The Sandbar Restaurant is the place to be at sunset, where you can eat great food and have a drink with your feet in the sand. 

Lizzie Lu's Rentals had availability at their "Flip" duplex just a 5 minute walk to the beach.  We could have walked to the Sandbar, just one mile away.  We loved the retro look of the cottage, complete with brand-new olive green appliances. So much thought went into the decor and layout.  We felt right at home immediately.  But the best part was the very private pool, accessible directly from the french doors in our bedroom.  We felt like we were in a tropical oasis, surrounded by lush palm trees and plantings.

I love to ride and they provided me with a bike, a lock and a helmet to use during our stay.  The island is very bike friendly and I was able to easily explore a different area every morning.

There's nothing like sitting on the beach at sunset, listening to Jimmy Buffet music, enjoying a glass of wine and feeling the balmy breeze on your face.  Ahhhh.......

View the complete photo album here: