Monday, July 30, 2012

Spotlight on: Great American Beer Festival

One great way to explore new cities is to identify festivals that feature your interests. My husband and I are very interested in craft beer so in 2011, we headed to the Great American Beer Festival.

Tickets for the Great American Beer Festival go on sale August 2nd. If you are a craft beer lover, you should seriously consider attending this festival at least once in your life. I attended GABF in 2011.

GABF brings together breweries from all over the country. The Festival consists of four sampling sessions: Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. We had two tickets to two sessions: Friday night and Saturday afternoon. The Saturday afternoon session is for members of the Homebrewers Association only.  The sessions are 4 hours of drinking… I mean sampling different beers from across the country. In addition to beer samples, the Festival offers cooking demonstrations, cheese tasting, a silent disco, and a You Be the Judge experience where you can experience the criteria and process the Festival judges use to name the best beer.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dealing with Hotel Disappointments

At the end of June, I had a very disappointing stay at a hotel in St. Louis. Many people were unhappy with their stay. Some people were able to get their stay for free and others received no resolution. What was the difference?

The people who were successful were able to do three key things:

1. Be polite, but firm
2. Clearly explain how the hotel failed to meet expectations.
3. Articulate a resolution

Monday, July 23, 2012

Spotlight on: Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee is one of my favorite Midwestern cities. It is easy to get around and offers a lot to see and do. Here's some of the highlights from my visit:

Comet Cafe

Comet CafĂ© is a restaurant known for “slow food” - locally sourced ingredients and everything made from scratch.  We loved their awesome BLT with a fried egg. 

Milwaukee Public Market

The Milwaukee Public Market was a little smaller than we were anticipating, but it had a great mix of artisans. We discovered a great Spice Shop where we picked up some flavored salt and Himalayan salt slab.

The Safe House

We had seen the Safe House on TV and wanted to check it out. It did not disappoint. We entered through a non-descript storefront, figured out which lever to pull and then entered through a secret book case door. Exiting the bar was just as challenging!

Miller Park

If you are a baseball fan, Miller Park is worth a tour.  We got to go down to the field, hang out in the dugout and the press box and learn more about the history of baseball in Milwaukee and the construction of the park.

Cheese Bar

All I can say is that it had Wisconsin cheese plates

with matching Wisconsin beer flights.

Hello lover.

Have you been to Milwaukee? What are some of your favorites?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

7.19.12 Cruise Deals: Transatlantic, Caribbean, Alaska, New England

Carnival Pack N Go Specials – Book by July 20th

5 Day Cruise from Jacksonville, Florida in September
starting at $219 per person

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Disney World: On Property or Off Property

So you have decided to go to Disney World. Another question I get is do we stay on-property or off-property?

King bed room at WDW Coronado Springs
Any decision about a vacation is a serious of trade-offs.

Disney World  resorts have two big advantages:
1. Transportation - The resorts are connected to all the Parks by boats, buses or Monrail. This means you don't have a rent a car and withing 30 minutes (usually), you are on your way to the next location.
2. Entertainment - Each resort has a series of activities poolside on any given day: movies, games or scavenger hunts. Some resorts like Fort Wilderness and the Polynesian  even have their own special events. The pools at the Disney Resorts include water features and water slides so it's easy to spend a day there instead of in the park.

Non-Disney World resorts have one big advantage: Price.
It is also much easier to secure a multi-bedroom room at a non-Disney resort.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spotlight on: Savannah, GA

Savannah, Georgia is a great weekend getaway. It offers great food, great history and a beach for those interested. For our first trip, we spent most of our time exploring all the great food of Savannah.

Holiday Inn Express - Savannah Historic District

I loved this hotel. It was centrally located – right across the street from the River Walk. It is a gorgeous hotel with a beautiful lobby and bar. We had a great King Corner room with a couch, two really nice arm chairs, a desk and a wet bar.  The Front Desk was really friendly and helpful. The only negative was that the Valet Parking was a little slow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Disney Cruise v. Disney Vacation

Today, Disney opens it's bookings for 2013 for travel agents. One question I often get is "Should we go on a Disney Cruise, a Disney World Vacation or both?"

As I always say, "Depends on what you want."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Spotlight on: Southern Illinois

Every once in a while I am pleasantly surprised by a location. In June, I traveled to Southern Illinois for a wedding and I loved the area. It was a great reminder to get out of the cities and enjoy some more rural areas of our country.  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cruise Deals 7.5.12


5 Day Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral
from $259 per person for an Oceanview cabin
7 Day Caribbean Cruise from New Orleans or Charleston
from $379 per person

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Hope you are having a wonderful day celebrating
America's Independence!