There is nothing better than escaping the monotony of life to find a quiet place to slow down and enjoy moments with the ones you love. In America this doesn’t happen as often. We opt for quick escapes through entertainment or hobbies. But truly getting away and with the intention to make the most of the moments at hand is hard to come by.
Well, maybe it’s not for you. Maybe you schedule your getaways a year in advance and save and plan and organize. That’s not me. I decided I need some R&R at 4 o'clock on a Friday morning before one of my Girls Night Outs. Coordinating events, running a blog and all the social media marketing that goes along with that is a bit intense.
So I hopped on the web and searched “suites in Corpus Christi, Tx”. I was pleased to find this sweet little condo vacation place called Multi-Resorts Puerta Vista on the North Padre Island. It had everything I wanted from a water view, multiple bedrooms, a kitchen, and a pool. I picked 3 nights between 2 events I had to attend and went back to bed.
Slept like a baby.
Just knowing that I could sit back and relax for a few days with my kids and mom was enough to lullaby me back to sleep.
Our stay there was exactly what I wanted. I was still going to have to work a bit but my goal was to do that only in the morning and late night and hang with the family in between.
We were welcomed at check-in easily and our room even had flowers in it ( I am a suck for fresh flowers, swoon!!) After my kids took a quick dip into the pool we headed over to a local steakhouse favorite that was recommended by some friends- Texas Flame Steakhouse (see my review here).
The best part of dinner was the cheesecake. If you know me you know I don’t do dairy (other than cheese) and I am not a dessert person (unless it's wedding cake or a piece of dark chocolate.) So that is saying a lot.
The next day the beach beckoned us even though the winds were high it was quite warm. Sun burns, sandy hair and seashells made the day memorable. All the boys tried to boogie board on the waves and enjoyed themselves greatly. My daughter dove straight into the water. Unconcerned about the waves crashing or the temperature or the wind.
She came up crying and fighting and wanting to dive in for more.
She is fearless.
That evening we hit a Padre Island local favorite, Skuttlebutts. There menu was enormous with sushi, burgers, oysters, steak and peanut butter and banana sandwiches with honey dipping sauce.
I bet you can guess what my kids choose :)
What a fun restaurant to take the kids to enjoy live music and a shark hanging from the ceiling. Happy hour had the best prices on sushi and my mom choose a Lemon Drop Martini that was superb. (read my review here)
The next day was windy again and with our sun burns we decided just a walk around Port Aranas would do with a game board and popcorn movie night to close out our stay.
Spending time with my kids and enjoying them playing card games and shooting popcorn in each others mouths is my kind of vacation. Some people like to hit all the hot spots and be super busy. But that's me at home. That’s my line of work. So sitting and doing nothing, watching the waves and thinking about life or nothing or shoes is my perfect getaway.
What do you like to do when you get away?
Disclaimer: I was compensated in some manner for my reviews but all opinions are my own.
Travelers know that romance is best celebrated all year long, not just one day in February. In fact, in 2016, “Couples & Romance” ranked among the top 10 travel interest searches on TravelLeaders.com:
Given the popularity of interests focused on couples-related vacations, here are Travel Leaders’ top recommended beach and island destinations for planning a romantic getaway.
Hawaii. “Hawaii is a beautiful destination with so many opportunities to experience romance, no matter what that means to you,” said Debbie Isom, a Travel Leaders travel agent in Bloomington, Indiana. “This tropical location, accessible without the need of a passport, is a wonderful getaway for those who appreciate ecotourism and natural beauty. A particular romantic spot is the Na Pali coast – one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world.
Mexico. From Cabo San Lucas to the Riviera Maya, add some romance with a trip to Mexico. “Visit one of 10 Secrets Resorts throughout Mexico for the ultimate spicy getaway with authentic award-winning Mexican foods and the ultimate in romantic vibes throughout the all-inclusive, adult-only properties,” advised Alex Trettin of Travel Leaders in Tacoma, Washington. “Secrets Cabo is a romantic weekend getaway accessible within just a few hours from any southern or western state. For something a little off the beaten path, visit Huatulco or Secrets Aura Cozumel.
St. Lucia. “Everything from the dramatic Piton Mountains in the west to the quintessentially Caribbean white sand beaches by luxury resorts makes the island of St. Lucia scream romance,” said Fort Worth, Texas-based Travel Leaders travel agent Sandy Duvall. “If you’d like a more secluded getaway, there are fabulous resorts all over St. Lucia’s eastern coast. Nothing beats a tropical getaway.”
Costa Rica. “If you want an intimate setting for just you and your sweetheart, a sparkling champagne toast and a candlelight dinner for two under the stars on a white, soft sandy beach in Costa Rica, with a gentle breeze will create a wonderful memory,” said Jaime Buss, Travel Leaders, Woodbury, Minnesota.
New Zealand. “Head to New Zealand and drive across the famous Ninety Mile Beach, or go yachting along any one of New Zealand’s picturesque coastlines,” advised Debbie Sebastian, a Kiwi Specialist from Travel Leaders in Danville, Kentucky. “The scenery is picture perfect no matter where you are and what you do on the island, because in New Zealand, from sunrise to sunset, you create your own love story.”
French Polynesia. “You will fall in love all over again as you fall in love with Tahiti and these other awe-inspiring little islands, atolls and motus,” exclaimed Teresa Scannell, a Travel Leaders agent in Mesa, Arizona. “Bora Bora is breathtaking, but if you want to disconnect from the world and focus on each other, then try a hidden gem like Le Tahaa or Vahine Island.”
As the snow continues to fall in record amounts outside, Hotel Becket, a Joie de Vivre hotel, is keeping guests comfortable inside with a special buy two, get one night free offer. 304 inches of fresh powder blanketed South Tahoe in January alone making Hotel Becket the perfect retreat to experience the winter wonderland.
This “sweater weather” offer starts at $238 for the three-night stay and is available through the end of ski season (mid-April). Plus, with snow totaling more than 25 feet so far this winter, the ski conditions are guaranteed to be great through season’s end. To take advantage of this special package, please use promo code “SWEATER” when booking online at hotelbecket.com.
Hotel Becket recently reinvented and combined two hotels – the Park Tahoe Inn and 968 Park Tahoe – to form Hotel Becket. The name of the hotel is inspired by the becket knot, a nautical term for tying two ropes into one, and it also symbolizes the bringing together of people in the property’s newly joined spaces. The combined property offers an authentic sense of place and reflects the mountain lifestyle of the Lake Tahoe basin with modern, rustic details and artful touches.
The hotel is conveniently located across the street from Heavenly Village for access to more than 4,800 acres of world-class skiing and snowboarding. The crystal clear water of Lake Tahoe is a short walk from the hotel where guests have entry to a private beach. The vibrant casino nightlife of Nevada is two blocks away for gaming and live entertainment by national and international performers.
Guest services and programs at Hotel Becket also reflect the nature of the Sierra Mountain Range. For example, the resort offers ski valet service through a local company in the winter. The pet-friendly hotel also offers a friendly four-legged companion for guests to enjoy during their stay – Remington, the hotel’s resident Bernese Mountain Dog will greet guests upon arrival. Remington also is available for walks in the snow or hikes in the summertime as part of the property’s “Borrow a Bernese” program.
After a day of adventures in the mountains, guests can refuel at Ten Crows Restaurant, which serves southern barbecue and craft beers in a fun, animated setting. An indoor-outdoor bar connects the restaurant to an expansive outdoor terrace complete with games and fire pits for a relaxed, social atmosphere.
About Joie de Vivre Hotels
Since its founding in San Francisco in 1987, Joie de Vivre has made curating authentically local and eclectic experiences its signature. Each one of Joie de Vivre's hotels is an original concept designed to reflect its location and engage the five senses. Today, the brand manages the largest collection of boutique hotels and resorts in California and also has properties in Chicago and Washington, DC. Joie de Vivre Hotels is establishing its foothold on the East Coast with the newly opened The Troubadour in New Orleans, and hotels soon to open in New York City and Baltimore, MD. Follow @JDVHotels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for news and updates. For more information, please visit www.jdvhotels.com.
7 Reasons to Celebrate Spring at Wilmington’s Island Beaches: Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach
If the thought of six more weeks of winter (thanks, Punxsutawney Phil) has you bummed, we’re here to help: there are plenty of reasons to look forward to spring. Snap yourself out of the winter doldrums by setting your sights on spring at Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville Beaches:
7) New beginnings. Spring is the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill. Take a lesson from the qualified instructors at Tony Silvagni Surf School in Carolina Beach – it offers individual and group surf, paddleboard and kayak lessons. WB Surf Camp offers surf lessons for all experience levels at Wrightsville Beach, which was named one of the best surf towns in the world.
6) Active living. Shake off the winter cobwebs with a Biological Wonderland Hike at Carolina Beach State Park, or by exploring the six miles of beach and trails at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, near Kure Beach. The Wrightsville Beach Museum of History is offering a new Loop through History Walking Tour that helps visitors discover the island’s history while on foot. Or sign up for the new Island Yoga experience on Masonboro Island, courtesy of Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours.
5) Al fresco dining. Soak up the sunshine by grabbing an outside table at one of many restaurants, serving up everything from coastal cuisine and Southern staples to international fare. Oceanic Restaurant at Wrightsville Beach offers outdoor dining on the rebuilt historic Crystal Pier. Gibby’s Dock and Dine at Carolina Beach is located right on the scenic Intracoastal Waterway. Another option? Pack a picnic and head to a secluded spot. One favorite place is underneath the canopy of live oak trees at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area.
4) Fresh flowers and produce. Everything is in bloom in the spring, making it the perfect time to explore Airlie Gardens – we’re talking more than 100,000 azaleas, the 467-year-old Airlie Oak, and 67 acres of Gilded Age gardens and lakes. The Veggie Wagon – located in Carolina Beach – works with the best local farms and small batch producers to bring in the freshest and tastiest fruits and vegetables North Carolina has to offer. Motts Channel Seafood at Wrightsville Beach offers a selection of locally sourced vegetables and specialty items to complement some of the freshest fish and seafood around (you can actually see the fish come off the boats and being prepared by Motts’ staff!).
3) Social events. Come out of hibernation and reconnect with those around you! Spring boasts a busy calendar of events at the beaches. Carolina Beach and Kure Beach will host the Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-Off and Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival in April. Visitors to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, located in Kure Beach, will be delighted by the world famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids for two weekends in March. Kure Beach will also celebrate its 70th Anniversary in late April with a street festival, concert and historical programming.
2) Friendly (or not so friendly) competition. Still feeling the winter blues? Kick it into high gear by competing in one of several events taking place this spring in Wrightsville Beach. Cyclists may want to gear up for the US Fat Bike Championship, while runners and paddlers should sign up for the Wrightsville Beach Biathlon, both in March. There is more standup paddleboarding in store for April with the Wrightsville Beach SUP Surfing Pro-Am and the 2017 Carolina Cup, two of the largest SUP events in the world.
1) Longer days. One of the best things about spring? Longer days. Use the extra hours to soak up the sun and spend time on the beach – the average daily high in March/April is 70. If your four-legged friend could stand to get out of the house almost as much as you, bring him or her along: dogs are allowed on-leash at all three beaches through March 31. Or use the extra daylight to enjoy a drink or two at a locale of your choice. At Carolina Beach, check out The Fat Pelican, voted the No. 1 dive bar in the state; or Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar, named one of “America’s Best Beach Bars.” At Wrightsville Beach, pull your boat right up to the dock at one of several restaurants and bars that offer “dock and dining” – including Bluewater Grill, Dockside and more.
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