Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Girls Getaway to North Carolina - Oktoberfest

To celebrate this fabulous fall, this month’s Girls Getaway photo is submitted by Heather Howell who writes:

“I have a time share in North Carolina every year during peak leaf changing season. In the past it has always been just family, but this year I made it a Girls Getaway. We shopped the Historic Mast General store in Valle Crucis, as well as downtown Boone, Banner Elk, Blowing Rock, NC and Mt. City, TN, which has great antique stores and plenty of culture. We also loaded up on great fall decorations. We stopped at the wine store after shopping and drank wine by the fire, then shopped Clemmons Produce for fresh produce, jellies, jams, butt rubs & BBQ sauces.”

PHOTO: Shelley Hinote and Heather Howell (both from Avon Park, FL) at Octoberfest Sugar Mountain, NC.

To submit your girl getaway photos, email us at info@GirlsGetawayGuide.net.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

New DOT Rule Limits Airline Tarmac Delays

In what one advocate called "a Christmas miracle for airline passengers," the Department of Transportation on Monday announced a rule prohibiting U.S. aircraft on domestic routes from remaining on a tarmac for more than three hours with travelers aboard."

Airline passengers have rights, and these new rules will require airlines to live up to their obligation to treat their customers fairly," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. Exceptions to the three-hour rule would be allowed only for safety and security reasons or if air traffic controllers advise a pilot that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations, the department said.

U.S. airlines operating international flights departing from or arriving in the United States "must specify, in advance, their own time limits for deplaning passengers, with the same exceptions applicable," the statement said. Airlines also are required to provide adequate food and water for passengers within two hours of their plane being delayed on the tarmac, the department said, maintain operable restrooms and provide medical attention if necessary.

Click here to read full article.

Source: CNN

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tourism is the Ultimate Stimulus Package Says Media Travel Expert

Creating sustainable prosperity in U.S. towns and cities through creation and promotion of alluring attractions in U.S. destinations coupled with focused marketing aimed at reaching travelers in global destinations where their currency conversion results in powerful purchasing power should be a lead agenda item in every village, town and city in the U.S. according to travel expert broadcaster Stephanie Abrams.

According to Abrams, “The reinforcement of our national infrastructure as part of our ‘stimulus package’ agenda is very important. But if our roads, tunnels and bridges are marketed as part of a tourism trail that leads travelers along appealing routes that would attracts domestic and international tourists, we would be well on the way to economic recovery and ongoing sustainable prosperity for towns and cities large and small.” Abrams points out that construction projects that begin and end provide employment in the locales for a finite period of time.

But Abrams notes that, “If construction projects were tied into identifying, creating and promoting existing historic, cultural, and natural sites of interest as well as attractions and locations where exciting events can be planned, these tourism attractions would create and perpetuate jobs in each community.
Sales and marketing personnel would be needed to promote the destination, local attractions would create job opportunities for everyone from admission sales to maintenance, and the influx of visitors would add to the region’s economy through the purchase of overnight stays at local lodgings, restaurant visits, souvenir shopping and other purchases that add to the profits of local businesses, support non-profit venues, and add to the local, state and federal tax revenues. There’s no nicer way to increase local tax collection than by having visitors support your economy through local purchases and payment of taxes associated with those purchases.”

Click here to read full story.

Source: Hospitality 1st

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Years Even Party Themes for a Fun Night In

Want to stay home (or close to home) and still celebrate the end of 2009? Here are some New Year’s Eve Party Ideas that are appropriate for all ages:

*Ring Out the Old Year Party – Play up the “out with the old, in with the new” phrase and pick a decade or time in history to represent the nostalgia of years past. Ask guests to dress according the era and decorate accordingly.

*Fortune Telling Party – Invite friends over to predict their good fortunes for the New Year. Guests can dress as gypsies and the party site can be decorated as a gypsy or palm readers’ house. Activities may include a poker table (for anyone who feels lucky), lottery card scratch offs and a hired fortune teller or palm reader.

*New Year’s Eve in New York City – Cannot actually be in NYC for New Year’s? You can still throw a NYC-themed party to help friends and family ring in the New Year. Ask guests to dress up and decorate the location NYC-style. You can also borrow some Sex and the City ideas and serve Cosmos or have a replica of the NYC ball in the room.

*Casino Night – Wish you could be in Vegas for the end of the year? If not, bring Vegas to you and your friends. A very cool New Years Eve Casino Night is a fun way to ring in the New Year. Ask guests to dress in black tie and rent poker tables, dealers, etc and make your party more than just a “roll of the dice.”

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Congratulations Week 2 - 12 Days til Christmas Winners

Congratulations to our week two winners of the Girls Getaway Guide's "12 Days til Christmas." Happy holidays, and safe travels!

Dec. 14
Girls Getaway to Martha’s Vineyard
Two nights stay in one-bedroom luxury suite
Value: $500
Donated by: Edgartown Residence Club www.EdgartownResidenceClub.com
Winner: Elizabeth G., Chicago, IL

Dec. 15
Best Friends’ One-Night Getaway
Enjoy two rooms for a one-night stay at any AVIA hotel (Savannah, Napa, Long Beach or The Woodlands)
Value: $500
Donated by: AVIA Hotels www.AVIAHotels.com
Winner: Emma V., Olive Branch, MS

Dec. 16
Girls Getaway to Phoenix
One night stay in the Ocattia at the Arizona Biltmore with Club Lounge Access
Value: $500
Donated by: Arizona Biltmore www.ArizonaBiltmore.com
Winner: Eileen M., Willow Grove, PA

Dec. 17
Girls Getaway to Pinehurst, NC
Trip for two for an Evergreen Escape Spa Getaway, including room, breakfast and spa treatments.
Value: $550
Donated by: Pinehurst Resort www.Pinehurst.com
Winner: Helen M.Fruitland Park, FL

Dec. 18
Girls Getaway to New Orleans
Two nights stay at the Inn on Bourbon
Value: $600
Donated by Inn On Bourbon www.InnOnBourbon.com
Winner: Stacey K., Croswell, MI

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Congratulations Week 1 - 12 Days til Christmas Winners

If you still have not entered to win one of the fabulous travel prizes in our 12 Days til Christmas promotion, be sure and register today at www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net.

Here are the winners from Week 1:

Dec. 8
ICE! VIP Package 4 tickets to ICE! & gift bag
Value: $250
Donated by: Gaylord Palms Resort www.GaylordHotels.com/gaylord-palms/
Winner: Maggie H. of Sebring, FL

Dec. 9
Michael Kors Designer Travel Bag Large Printed Canvas Travel Tote Bag – Style: Joplin
Value: $348
Donated by: Neiman Marcus Last Call at Prime Outlets Orlando www.Prime Outlets.com/Orlando
Winner: Kim B. of Cincinnati, OH

Dec. 10
Girls Getaway to Miami Two nights stay, two “Welcome to Miami” cocktails & breakfast for two
Value: $450
Donated by: Hotel Urbano www.HotelUrbano.com
Winner: Steve S. of Lorida, FL

Dec. 11
Discover Charleston Package Two nights for two at Fulton Lane Inn, tickets to Middleton Place, carriage tour & tickets to historic Nathaniel Russell House
Value: $489
Donated by: Charming Inns www.CharmingInns.com
Winner: Kathie M. of Sebring, FL

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Turks & Caicos - Day 3

After breakfast the next day (it sounds like all we do is eat), a few girls walked across the street to do some shopping. We found a fabulous boutique, Rumeurs, which has furniture, home décor, clothing, jewelry and more all imported from places like Paris and Bali. We all left with shopping bags full of goodies, which is an indication of how great the store really is.

Next, we headed to the Caicos Conch Farm, which is the only conch farm in the world. Denver taught us all about the conch, how fast they grow, where they export to and how they grow the baby conchs in a nursery. The highlight of the tour was meeting Sally and Jerry, two tame conchs that Denver used to show us how to tell the difference between female and male conchs. It was all downhill from there with this group, and the “Conch Weenie” was born (stay tuned for more details). We took a quick drive to Turtle Cove Marina, where many large boats and yachts are stored. They also have good restaurants and shopping in this area.

Our last dinner was at Coco Bistro (http://www.cocobistro.tc/), which featured my favorite dish of the whole trip…Herb Ravioli of Conch and Flame Grilled Sweet Peppers with a White Wine Cream Sauce, Light Tomato Vinaigrette, Pan Grilled Artichoke Hearts, Pecan Basil Pesto and Fresh Shaved Parmesan. It was amazing! As we dined under the palms, we relived our adventures in the Turks & Caicos and realized we made several new friends for life. After a quick stop at Casablanca Casino, where we all watched Paul lose $20 in 30 seconds, we headed to Infiniti Bar, which is the Caribbean’s longest bar, for one last toast to the gorgeous Turks & Caicos.

Many thanks to Julia Maximo and Ian McLeod with Ocean Club Resorts for their fantastic hospitality. Also, thank you to Cheryl Andrews and Grace Salisbury with Cheryl Andrews Marketing Communications for organizing such a wonderful trip with great people.

PHOTO: Casey Wohl holds Sally the Conch in Turks & Caicos.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Turks & Caicos - Day 2

The next morning I was anxious to get a massage at Spa Tropique, which was just a few steps away from my room. After a relaxing, 50-minute “Naughty but Nice” massage, I met the group for lunch where we were all very impressed by the resort’s Beet Mojitos…yes, Beet Mojitos. They tasted as good as they looked!

Then, we were off to our snorkel and sunset cruise aboard the Atabeyra (http://www.suncharters.tc/). Many thanks to David (a fellow Rollins College alum) and Isabelle as they showed us the magnificent underwater world and beautiful islands that surround the Turks & Caicos. We saw magnificent purple fish, hunted shells and sand dollars on deserted islands, and enjoyed snacking on lobster rolls and wine during the sail. At the end of the sail, our one male traveler dove overboard to fetch his shoes…making this now a true “Girls Getaway.”

That night, we spiced things up with a tapas-style, Moroccan dinner at Lemon Café (http://www.lemoncafe.tc/). Proprietor Mark Dillon’s Moroccan mother-in-law inspired the great food and atmosphere found at Lemon. Everything from the décor, utensils and chairs were imported and add a sophisticated flair to the restaurant. Grace and I even tried our belly dancing skills on stage…we think we were good, but that was probably due to the wine.

PHOTO: Our ship, the Atabeyra, took us all around the Turks & Caicos.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Turks & Caicos - Day 1

When I told fans I was going to the Turks & Caicos, the most frequent questions I received was, “What and where are the Turks & Caicos?” The Turks & Caicos Islands consist of 40 islands and cays, eight of which are inhabited. The islands are located 550 miles southeast of Miami, just south of the Bahamas, east of Cuba and north of Haiti. Technically, the Turks & Caicos are located in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea. The islands are home to about 30,000 full time residents, and welcome more than 200,000 tourists annually. The islands are well known for their love of shellfish, particularly conch, which is available in abundance to this day, thanks to the work of the Caicos Conch farm, the only commercial conch farm in the world.

Turks & Caicos is a British Crown colony; however, it was not until the early 1980s when the islands started to become a viable tourist destination. Since then, increasingly more development has taken shape, and the small, salt raking island country of Turks & Caicos has grown into what is quickly becoming recognized as one of the world’s premier beach destinations.

After a 75 minute plane ride from Miami, I arrived in Providenciales (or known as Provo) and was transported by van (thank you Tina) to Ocean Club West Resort (http://www.oceanclubresorts.com/), which was just a 15 ride away. Upon arriving at Ocean Club, I checked in to my King One-Bedroom Suite complete with a lovely balcony overlooking the pool and ocean, full kitchen, dining room and comfortable living area. I made my way down to the Seaside Café and ordered their award-winning Conch Burger, which was every bit as good as it sounds. After re-fueling at the Café, it was time to check out the beautiful Grace Bay beach and get some R&R under one of the resort’s signature pink umbrellas.

Dinner that night was at the resort’s second property, Ocean Club, where they treated us like kings at their fine dining restaurant, Opus. Everything on the menu sounded wonderful, from steaks to lamb to seafood, there was something for everyone. I opted for the Whole Roasted Red Snapper with Lemon Caper Butter and got a lesson on how to eat a fish when it is served head, skin and all.
Stay tuned!!
PHOTO: Beach at Ocean Club West.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Who Says There’s No Such Thing as a Free Vacation?

To help people continue to enjoy the gift of travel, the Girls Getaway Guide is pleased to announce The Getaway Girl’s® third annual “12 Days ‘til Christmas” holiday promotion. In an effort to help people beat the holiday madness and Leave Your Baggage at Home®, the Girls Getaway Guide will host a countdown to the big day.

Travel lovers everywhere can visit the Girls Getaway Guide online at http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ to sign up for more than $7,000 in fabulous giveaways, which are sure to provide welcome holiday cheer during this stressful time of year. The winners will be selected on each of the 12 business days starting Dec. 8 through Dec. 23, with the Grand Prizes selected on Dec. 24 & 25. Each day leading up to Christmas, a terrific Girls Getaway Guide prize will be given away to a randomly-selected entrant.

Don’t delay, be sure to sign up today at www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Leave Your Baggage at Home® Shirts Make Great Gifts

The Getaway Girl's® "must-have" custom shirt makes a great holiday gift. It combines the brilliance of Swarovski crystals, rhinestones and studs and captures the popular phrase "Leave Your Baggage at Home®". Wear it on your next girls’ getaway, to make a fashion statement or simply as a reminder to leave it all behind!

The shirt comes in black, pink or white and is available in S, M, L, XL. Retail price = $38. Call or email for bulk discounts and wholesale prices. To order, visit www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Girls Getaway to the Turks & Caicos

On a plane today! Follow my adventures to the Turks & Caicos as I enjoy suite accommodations at Ocean Club Resorts (http://www.oceanclubresorts.com/) situated on stunning Grace Bay Beach. What to do first? Snorkel, relax with some beach time, indulge in a spa treatment, experience local cuisine, take a sunset cruise, explore the island? Follow my travels on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/GetawayGirl) or via Facebook (Fan Page: Girls Getaway Guide).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Girls Getaway Guide's BOGO December

To spread some holiday cheer (and girls getaway fun), the Girls Getaway Guide is offering a Buy One, Get One Free special on any Girls Getaway Guide book that is purchased on the Girls Getaway Guide website http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ or at an event in the month of December. Order your copies today at http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/. These make great gifts and are a fantastic deal this month!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fabulous Trips, Fantastic Girls Getaway Guide Partners

If you haven't yet registered, enter today at www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net.
Prizes will be selected beginning Dec. 8. Be sure to check out the wonderful partnering businesses that have donated prizes for the “12 Days ‘til Christmas”:

33 Group, LLC (Las Vegas) www.ThirtyThreeGroup.com
Arizona Biltmore (Phoenix) www.ArizonaBiltmore.com
AVIA Hotels (Savannah or Napa) www.AVIAHotels.com
Charming Inns (Charleston) www.CharmingInns.com
Cranwell Resort (Lenox, MA) www.Cranwell.com
Edgartown Residence Club (Martha’s Vineyard) www.EdgartownResidenceClub.com
Flatpenny Inn (Montana) www.FlatpennyInn.com
Gaylord Palms Resort (Orlando) www.GaylordPalms.com/ice
Hotel Palomar Philadelphia www.HotelPalomar-Philadelphia.com
Hotel Urbano (Miami) www.HotelUrbano.com
Inn On Bourbon (New Orleans) www.InnOnBourbon.com
Neiman Marcus Last Call at Prime Outlets Orlando www.PrimeOutlets.com/Orlando
Orlando Premium Outlets & Floridays Resort Orlando www.PremiumOutlets.com/Orlando
Pinehurst Resort (North Carolina) www.Pinehurst.com

Sunday, November 29, 2009

BONUS PRIZE Shop til You Drop Girls Getaway to Orlando

Shopping, shopping and more shopping. The Grand Prize in the Girls Getaway Guide's third annual "12 Days 'til Christmas" promotion is a Girls Getaway to Orlando donated by our friends at Orlando Premium Outlets (www.PremiumOutlets.com/Orlando) & Floridays Resort Orlando. This trip includes a four day/three night-stay in a 2-bedroom Grand Suite at Floridays Resort, $250 Chelsea/Visa Gift Card and a VIP Gift Bag from Orlando Premium Outlets all valued at $775.

The winner of this Grand Prize will be selected on Dec. 25, so be sure and register no later than Dec. 24 at http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lucky #13 Win a Girls Getaway to Montana!

Lucky #13 and bonus prize in the Girls Getaway Guide's "12 Days 'til Christmas" is a Girls Getaway to Montana, which includes a five day/four night-stay for one person at Flatpenny Inn Adventure Lodge in Livingston, Montana valued at $699 and donated by our friends at BusyBodies Fitness & Adventure (http://www.flatpennyinn.com/).

The winner of this prize will be selected on Dec. 24, so be sure and register no later than Dec. 23 at http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Win a Girls Getaway to Philadelphia

Prize #12 in the Girls Getaway Guide's "12 Days 'til Christmas" promotion is a Girls Getaway to Philadelphia, which inlcudes a two-night weekend getaway at the brand new Hotel Palomar Philadelphia valued at $649. The winner of this getaway will be selected on Dec. 23. This prize is donated by: Hotel Palomar Philadelphia (http://www.hotelpalomar-philadelphia.com/).

To enter to win, visit http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ and enter by Dec. 22.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grab a Girlfriend and Go to the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts

The Girls Getaway Guide is thrilled to announce prize #11 in the third annual "12 Days 'til Christmas" promotion. This Shop & Spa Getaway for two in Massachusetts includes a one-night stay at Cranwell Resort, 50-minute spa service/person, $65 dining credit/person, unlimited fitness classes, $50 gift card & VIP coupon book for Prime Outlets. It is valued at $620 and donated by Cranwell Resort (http://www.cranwell.com/) & Prime Outlets (www.PrimeOutlets.com/Locations/Lee.aspx).

The winner of this prize will be selected on Dec. 22, so be sure and register at http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ by Dec. 21.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Win a Trip to Las Vegas!

Win a fabulous Girls Getaway to Las Vegas in the Girls Getaway Guide's "12 Days 'til Christmas" promotion. The winner of prize #10 will be selected on Dec. 21, so be sure and register no later than Dec. 20 to be eligible. This trip includes a two-night stay at the amazing Palms Place Hotel in a Studio Suite facing The Strip. This prize is valued at $600 and donated by our friends at the 33 Group, LLC. For more details about the 33 Group, visit http://www.thirtythreegroup.com/.

To register to win this getaway, enter at http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ by Dec. 20.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let The Good Times Roll and Win a Girls Getaway to New Orleans

A Girls Getaway to New Orleans is prize #9 in the Girls Getaway Guide's third annual "12 Days 'til Christmas" promotion. This getaway will be given away on Dec. 18 and includes a two-night stay at The Inn on Bourbon, valued at $600 and donated by The Inn On Bourbon. For more details about the Inn, visit http://www.innonbourbon.com/.

To register for this prize, visit http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ by Dec. 17 and enter.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stone Mountain Getaway

We started our drive to Stone Mountain, GA on Friday morning and arrived at the lovely Evergreen Marriott Resort (http://www.evergreenmarriott.com/) around 4:00 p.m. We were greeted by a very friendly staff and enjoyed discovering our next two nights would be in the Crabwell Suite, which was large enough to accommodate a small party.

We woke up Saturday morning to a delicious breakfast buffet at the Marriott, then off to explore Stone Mountain Park (www.StoneMountainPark.com). We drove to the mountain hike base and started our climb up the Walk Up Trail. It was great to see so many people (of all ages) enjoying the morning hike. We finally made it to the top and enjoyed the view of the Stone Mountain area and Atlanta. With a quick stroll around the top to explore the Skyride area, we headed back down the mountain via a new route on the Cherokee Trail, which was beautiful.

We hopped back in the car, but our exploring was not over yet. We drove around the park and found the Grist Mill & Covered Bridge. The area around this 100-year-old mill and bridge is heavily wooded and surrounded by Stone Mountain Lake. We sat here for a while, watched the ducks and enjoyed the serenity.

After all of our exploring, we worked up quite an appetite and lunch at Village Corner German Restaurant & Bakery (http://www.germanrestaurant.com/) was just what we needed. We split a Reuben Sandwich (the menu said “a guest favorite” and it certainly was ours too) that came with German Potato Salad…yum! After lunch all we could say is "GEMÜTLICHKEIT," the one German word that describes the feeling of being at ease, comfortable, and at home.

Due to prior commitments, we were not able to enjoy all that the park had to offer, such as the Christmas shows, laser show, parade and snowfall celebration. We hope to go back again to get a full taste of Stone Mountain.

Many thanks to Evergreen Marriott Resort and Stone Mountain Park for their hospitality. I can certainly see why people enjoy visiting this unique area.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Girls Getaway to North Carolina - Evergreen Escape Spa Getaway

Announcing the Girls Getaway Guide's "12 Days 'til Christmas" promotion's prize #8 that will be given away on Dec. 17. Enter today to win a Girls Getaway to Pinehurst, NC. This trip for two includes an Evergreen Escape Spa Getaway, including room, breakfast and spa treatments valued at $550 and donated by Pinehurst Resort. For more information about the resort, visit http://www.pinehurst.com/.

To register for this getaway, visit http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ by Dec. 16.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Girls Night Out to Randy Houser Concert

The girls and I had a great time last night at country music singer Randy Houser's concert in Lakeland, FL. Randy is a true talent and a good friend of mine. A super nice guy, he wow'd the crowd with his gifted vocals and hit song "Boots On."

If you like country music, be sure to check out Randy's CD and concerts. Details can be found at http://www.randyhouser.com/.

Yee - Haw!!!
PHOTO: Angela shows Randy her "purdy pink boots."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Win A Girls Getaway to Phoenix

Announcing prize #7 in the Girls Getaway Guide's "12 Days 'til Christmas" promotion. On Dec. 16, one lucky Girls Getaway Guide fan will win a Girls Getaway to Phoenix complete with a one night stay in the Ocattia at the Arizona Biltmore with Club Lounge Access valued at $500 and donated by Arizona Biltmore. For more information about this property, visit http://www.arizonabiltmore.com/.

To register for the fantastic trip, visit http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ and enter by Dec. 15.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Win A Best Friends Getaway to Location of Your Choice

On Dec. 15, one lucky Girls Getaway Guide fan will win a Best Friends’ One-Night Getaway as prize #6 in our "12 Days 'til Christmas" promotion. The winner will enjoy two rooms for a one-night stay at any AVIA hotel (Savannah, Napa, Long Beach or The Woodlands) valued at $500 and donated by: AVIA Hotels. For more information on AVIA, visit http://www.aviahotels.com/.

To register for this terrific prize, visit http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ and enter by Dec. 14.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Getaway to Fantastic Martha's Vineyard

The Girls Getaway Guide is thrilled to offer prize #5 in the "12 Days 'til Christmas" promotion. On Dec. 14, one lucky entrant will win a fantastic Girls Getaway to Martha’s Vineyard with a two-night stay in one-bedroom luxury suite valued at $500 and donated by Edgartown Residence Club. For more information abou the club, visit http://www.edgartownresidenceclub.com/.

To win this getaway, register at http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ by Dec. 13.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Register for the 12 Days til Christmas and Win a Trip to Charleston, SC

On Dec. 11, we will select the winner of the Girls Getaway Guide's "12 Days 'til Christmas" prize #4: The Discover Charleston Package, which includes two nights for two at Fulton Lane Inn, tickets to Middleton Place, carriage tour & tickets to historic Nathaniel Russell House all valued at $489 and donated by our friends at Charming Inns. For more information about the inns, visit http://www.charminginns.com/.

To be eligible to win this great trip, register at http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ by Dec. 10.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Win a Girls Getaway to Miami

Win a fabulous Girls Getaway to Miami complete with a two-night stay, two “welcome to Miami” cocktails and breakfast for two, valued at $450. This is prize #3 in the Girls Getaway Guide's "12 Days 'til Christmas" promotion. Many thanks to Hotel Urbano for donating the prize. For more information abou the hotel, visit http://www.hotelurbano.com/.

To register to win this trip to Miami, visit http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ by Dec. 9.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Travel in Style with this Michael Kors Designer Travel Tote

On Dec. 9, we will draw the winner of this fabulous Michael Kors Designer Travel Bag Large Printed Canvas Travel Tote (Style: Joplin), valued at $348 as prize #2 in the Girls Getaway Guide's "12 Days 'til Christmas promotion. Many thanks to Neiman Marcus Last Call at Prime Outlets Orlando who donated the prize. For more details about the outlets, visit www.Prime Outlets.com/Orlando.

To register to win, visit http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ by Dec. 8.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Win ICE! VIP Package

The 12 Days 'til Christmas prize #1 is the ICE! VIP Package, which includes 4 tickets to ICE! & gift bag valued at $250. Donated by: Gaylord Palms Resort. For more details about ICE!, visit www.GaylordPalms.com/ice.

To register for this prize, enter at http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/ before Dec. 7.

Friday, November 6, 2009

US Airlines Hike Holiday Surcharges

Most of the largest U.S. airlines have increased a surcharge for travel on the busiest travel days to $20 each way, up from $10. As per the information available, Delta, Northwest, American and United have doubled the surcharge they’ve imposed for the busiest travel days around Christmas and New Year’s.

USA Today reported that this week’s increases are aimed at getting as much revenue as the financially battered airlines can on the days people travel most near the holidays. It also highlighted that the busiest travel days ordinarily fall right before Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Before Christmas, it’s December 23 and 24. But this year, Christmas, along with New Year’s Day, falls on a Friday. That can extend the period for outbound travel to the Saturday and Sunday before Christmas, which gives the airlines the opportunity to charge more. But it also can bunch travel on the Sunday after Christmas, December 27 — a day when many of the $20 one-way surcharges will be imposed.

Tim Smith, spokesman for Fort Worth-based American Airlines, confirmed the higher surcharges, reported The AP. He said that although airlines are filing the increases as a surcharge this time, “fares on those peak days have always tended to be higher. It’s a matter of supply and demand.”

Source: Eye for Travel

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Third Annual '12 Days 'til Christmas' Returns to Give the Gift of Travel

Seven swans a swimming, five golden rings, two turtle doves? Everyone has different items on their holiday list, but the current economy may prevent some people from getting their wish. To help people continue to enjoy the gift of travel, the Girls Getaway Guide is pleased to announce The Getaway Girl’s® third annual “12 Days ‘til Christmas” holiday promotion.

In an effort to help people beat the holiday madness and Leave Your Baggage at Home®, the Girls Getaway Guide will host a countdown to the big day. Women everywhere can visit the Girls Getaway Guide online at www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net to sign up for more than $7,000 in fabulous giveaways, which are sure to provide welcome holiday cheer during this stressful time of year. The winners will be selected on each of the 12 business days starting Dec. 8 through Dec. 23, with two Grand Prizes selected on Dec. 24 and 25. Each day leading up to Christmas, a terrific Girls Getaway Guide prize will be given away to a randomly-selected entrant.

Partnering businesses that have donated prizes include: 33 Group, LLC (Las Vegas), Arizona Biltmore (Phoenix), AVIA Hotels (Savannah or Napa), Charming Inns (Charleston), Cranwell Resort (Lenox, MA), Edgartown Residence Club (Martha’s Vineyard), Flatpenny Inn (Montana), Gaylord Palms Resort (Orlando), Hotel Palomar Philadelphia, Hotel Urbano (Miami), Inn On Bourbon (New Orleans), Neiman Marcus Last Call at Prime Outlets Orlando, Orlando Premium Outlets & Floridays Resort Orlando, and Pinehurst Resort (North Carolina).

To register, visit www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Girls Getaway to Ocean Key Resort

This month’s girls’ getaway photo was submitted by Shanna Elsberry of Windermere, FL. Shanna writes: “I won last year’s 12 Days ‘til Christmas Grand Prize trip to the Ocean Key Resort and Spa in Key West, FL. We went last weekend, and I had the BEST time of my life!! I went with my two best girlfriends for my birthday. Ocean Key Resort was wonderful at setting everything up for us. The staff was great and really made my birthday experience one to remember. I will be going back there one day! I have enclosed a photo of us on our way out for the evening, as well as the view from our room and that gorgeous Key West Sunset. Thanks again, and I look forward to many more girls getaways!!!”

Pictured (L to R): Shanna Elsberry, Deann Hasbrouck, and Kelly Armstrong all from Windermere, FL.

To submit your girl getaway photos, email us at info@GirlsGetawayGuide.net.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Did you Win Free Stuff? If you entered to win our fabulous fall prizes, including Vera Bradley, Barefoot Wine and Ideal Image, be sure to check and see if you won!

Winners were recently posted in the“Win Free Stuff” section of the Girls Getaway Guide website at www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net/win.html where nearly $1,000 in fun and travel-related prizes have been given away.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Join Me For A Girls Night Out (GNO) Friday!

Join me on Friday, November 6th for a fabulous Girls Night Out (GNO) in Winter Haven, FL as we kick off the Junior League of Greater Winter Haven’s (JLGWH) 2nd Annual Merry Market. Be there to celebrate with us from 6:30 – 9:39 PM at the Nora Mayo Hall (500 3rd St NW, Winter Haven). Call (863) 581-1965 or visit http://www.jlgwh.org/ for tickets and details. See you there!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Join Me at Banana Republic's 'After 5 Style Event'

Join me on Thursday, November 5 beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Mall at Millenia’s Banana Republic in Orlando as we celebrate their “After 5 Style Event.”
Attendees will receive 25% off all purchases of $100 regular price merchandise (plus an additional 5% if you use your BR card) of $100 or more, and preview the exciting new winter arrivals. Mix, mingle and enjoy the fun. For more details, call (407) 226-8640.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gaylord Palms® Resort, a hot spot for the next generation “girlfriend’s getaways,” has launched a special-edition getaway program to bring women together while serving a cause – the Girlfriends “Positively Pink” Getaway. The new program will support local affiliates of Susan G. Komen For the Cure®, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit organizations devoted to the fight against breast cancer.
A spin-off of the successful Girlfriends “Truth or Dare” Getaway, “Positively Pink” offers an exclusive rate of $149 per room (based on a 4-room minimum.) For every group that holds a Girlfriends “Positively Pink” Getaway through December 30, 2009, Gaylord Palms will donate $50 to Susan G. Komen For the Cure® to aid in breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatment.

For more information, visit gaylordpalms.com/pinklady or call 407-586-2984.

Friday, October 23, 2009

See you at Fantasy Fest!

Fearsome fanged vampires, wicket vixens and villains of all sorts are expected to prowl the streets of Key West Friday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Nov. 1, during the island city’s annual Fantasy Fest celebration.

This year themed “Villains, Vixens and Vampires,” Fantasy Fest offers 10 days of masquerade balls, quirky costume contests and other delights climaxing in a glittering grand parade set for Halloween night.

Conceived 30 years ago, Fantasy Fest has grown to be internationally recognized for its uninhibited flair and lighthearted spirit. Revelers flock to Key West to shed their real-world personalities and live out their fantasies on the island city’s quaint downtown streets.

Event organizers encourage 2009 participants to take their cue from the festival theme, designing floats and costumes to salute bloodthirsty creatures of the night such as Dracula and Lestat, villains ranging from melodrama’s bad boys to money-hungry Madoffs, and vixens both evil and enchanting.

“Villains, Vixens and Vampires” are to run wild in the streets Friday, Oct. 30, during an open-air bizarre bazaar known as the Fantasy Fest Street Fair. Key West’s Duval Street will be transformed into a mile-long marketplace where attendees can find tempting delights such as feathered masks, exotic costumes, arts and crafts, island edibles and frosty libations.

Fantasy Fest’s frivolity is to reach fever pitch Saturday, Oct. 31 — Halloween night — as vampires prowl for prey and villains and vixens join forces during the spectacular Captain Morgan Fantasy Fest Parade. Some 70,000 spectators typically throng Whitehead and Duval streets to watch the parade’s brilliantly conceived floats, some breathing “flames” or incorporating mysterious animatronics, proceed along Key West’s main thoroughfares accompanied by Caribbean marching bands and lavishly costumed dancing groups.

For more information about Fantasy Fest and a schedule of events, visit the festival’s Web site at http://www.fantasyfest.net/ or call (305) 296-1817.
See you there!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Travel Expert Recommends “Spooktacular” Getaways

Travel expert and Daytime TV Travel Correspondent Casey Wohl foresees some big Halloween parties this year with Oct. 31 falling on a Saturday. After some bewitching research, The Getaway Girl® provides her top picks for some “Spooktacular” getaways.

Key West, FL: For 30 years, no other island has celebrated Halloween like Key West has with its annual Fantasy Fest. This year themed “Villains, Vixens and Vampires,” Fantasy Fest offers 10 days of masquerade balls, quirky costume contests and other delights climaxing in a glittering grand parade set for Halloween night that draws 70,000 per year. Some of the event highlights include: the Pet Masquerade & Parade, where pets dress as people and people as pets; Toga Party; Annual Headdress Ball, with elaborate head pieces; Celebrity Look-A-Like Contest; Halos & Horns Pool Party and of course….the infamous body costume painting.

Salem, MA: Located 16 miles north of Boston, Salem's long history with witches make it an obvious choice for Halloween revelers as hundreds of thousands of people visit this town each October. As home to the Salem Witch Trials more than 300 years ago, the city is now home to the Festival of the Dead, which helps visitors explore death from various perspectives. The cornerstone is the Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo, featuring a range of colorful personalities. They also host Séances and Mourning Teas, a series of Balls including the Retro Zombie Ball and Vampires Masquerade, and the internationally known Official Salem Witches Halloween Ball. You can also visit the numerous witches museums, ghost tours and cemetery tours.

Tucson, AZ: Día de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) is a religious holiday that dates before both the European arrival in the New World and Christianity. Like Halloween, Día de los Muertos is closely associated with All Saints and All Souls days which are major holy days in the Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican Churches. In recent years Día de los Muertos has been becoming a more common celebration in Tucson. While still celebrating the traditional Halloween festivities, Dia de los Muertos also honors and remembers the deceased with graveside gifts and a parade. This is much about the fun aspects of Halloween, as well as the spiritual side of death and grieving.

West Hollywood, CA: The annual West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval is returning for its 22nd year on October 31, 2009. Described as the “World’s Largest Street Party” by local Los Angeles media, the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval is a truly unique experience where nearly half a million costumed revelers and spectators are the focus in a street fair-type of scene. With live entertainment, celebrity appearances and “let your hair down” revelry, West Hollywood, as always, is THE place to be on Halloween night. The Carnaval takes place from 6PM to Midnight on Saturday, October 31 between La Cienega Boulevard and La Peer Drive on Santa Monica Boulevard, “Route 66” in West Hollywood. Free week-long events lead up to the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval, including a youth carnival, a pet costume contest, “Drag Races,” featuring competitive relay races for people dressed in drag and stiletto heels, pumpkin carving contests and more.

To see more on these haunting destinations, watch Casey’s Daytime TV interview at http://tinyurl.com/yl2sn76.

Casey is available for on-camera, on-air and print interviews to discuss these and other travel topics. Contact Info@GirlsGetawayGuide.net or (863) 224-6326 to schedule.

Casey Wohl, known as The Getaway Girl®, is passionate about two things: her girlfriends and traveling the world. By combining these two loves, Wohl has created a unique and helpful city-specific travel guide series for women worldwide. Born and raised in Central Florida, Wohl has traveled to 19 foreign countries and has organized many girls’ getaways to more than 20 different cities. She is a travel correspondent for the nationally-syndicated Daytime TV show and has been featured in Woman’s Day and Parenting magazines as well as on CBS Radio. For more information, visit www.GirlsGetawayGuide.net.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How To Stay Healthy While Traveling By Air

Many thanks to SmarterTravel.com for this great article!

With the cold and flu season upon us, the question on most travelers' minds is how to avoid a vacation-spoiling illness. The reason people are more likely to get sick during the winter is because they spend more time inside with others, and the close quarters on an airplane can mean even more contact. In fact, one recent study in the Journal of Environmental Health Research says that passengers are more than 100 times more likely to get sick on an airplane compared to everyday circumstances. This year, the added threat of H1N1 gives travelers even more reason to be wary of flying. Here are a few tips to help prevent catching a nasty bug if you do decide to take to the skies this cold and flu season.

Before you go:
*Pack items in plastic bags to prevent germs from spreading to your personal items. TSA officials go through hundreds of suitcases each day, increasing the chance of transferring viruses and bacteria to your belongings.
*Get plenty of sleep before your flight to boost your immune system and make sure it's ready to handle anything it's exposed to.
*Drink plenty of water and avoid dehydrating beverages like soda and alcohol, since dehydration inhibits your body's natural ability to fight infections.
*Get a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine as the best way to protect against getting the flu. Remember that this year there are two: the regular seasonal vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine. You'll need both to be fully protected.
*Consider taking vitamins, especially vitamin C, to help protect and enhance your immune system. Some travelers swear by supplement products such as Airborne or Emergen-C, which are dissolvable in water, as well as easy to pack.

While in Flight:
*Wash your hands. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based gel, and be sure to rub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Studies show that regular soap has the same effect as antibacterial soap.
*Again, drink water. Airplane cabins are very low in humidity—as low as 4 percent—which can dry out the sinuses, making it easier to be infected. Also, ask for bottled water whenever possible, since the aircraft's holding tank water often contains total coliform bacteria.
*Use a saline spray. This will also help to moisten the sinuses and prevent dryness.
*Use tissues to flush toilets and turn faucets and doorknobs in the bathrooms. Traces of E.coli are found in many airplane bathrooms.
*Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes, since this is the easiest way to introduce bacteria to your system.
*Wear a face mask, which can help protect you from any bacteria that your sneezing neighbors might pass along.
*Consider wiping down the armrests and tray table with a sanitizing wipe, since germs can linger on hard surfaces for a day or longer.
*Avoid using blankets and pillows offered by the airline personnel, as they are rarely laundered and can harbor germs left by previous passengers. Instead, bring your own and be sure to wash them as soon as you get home.
*Don't put your belongings in the seatback pocket. Passengers put everything from used tissues to toenail clippings to dirty diapers in there, making the pocket a holding tank for germs and bacteria.

Flying can always mean exposure to more germs, but by taking these preventive steps, travelers can lower their chances of becoming ill.

For more information, visit www.SmarterTravel.com.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Let the Good Times (and two stuffed girls) Roll!

Just when we thought we could not eat one more bite, we woke up Sunday morning just in time for the Jazz Brunch at the Palace Café (www.PalaceCafe.com). Classic and contemporary Creole cuisine is served daily at this lively, grand café located at the entrance to the French Quarter. After a quick laugh at their funny menu cover, we soon discovered we would be laughing throughout the meal as our server, Rich, was hysterical. From the Bananas Foster Beignets to the Crabmeat Cheesecake to the Café Eggs Benedict, once again, everything somehow seemed to jump off the plates and fit in our ever-expanding bellies. The Bloody Mary lubrication probably helped a lot.
With a free afternoon, we decided to stroll a few ‘blocks’ down Meeting Street to the shopping area. A few ‘miles’ later, we found a great area with vintage stores and boutiques. A few more ‘miles” was the shopping area everyone told us about complete with more boutiques, home décor stores and much more.
That evening, we met with psychic/tarot reader Judith Faye (http://www.judithfaye.com/) in the Séance Room at Muriel’s Restaurant for a reading. Liz and I are both convinced that Judith is a true talent as she talked about things in our life, from professional to personal, with great insight and advice. She also joined us for dinner and is quite the lovely young lady. We enjoyed her company very much as she provided her perspective into the city from a local’s point of view. Muriel’s Jackson Square (http://www.muriels.com/) is located at the heart of the French Quarter and is nationally recognized for its Contemporary Creole menu. The second floor offers an elegant Séance Lounge (where their resident ghost is believed to spend most of his time) and a balcony that overlooks historic Jackson Square. We started with some Alligator (sorry Gatorland, but it was pecan-crusted Louisiana alligator), and I just had to have a steak (loved the Filet Mignon that is wood grilled and served on New Orleans oyster dressing with crisp friend oysters and finished with a Worchestshire butter sauce). Liz enjoyed her Double Cut Pork Chop, which was wood grilled and topped with a Louisiana sugar cane apple glaze, served with pecan glazed sweet potatoes and Southern style greens. For dessert, we both zeroed in on the Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee, which is one of my favorites.
As we rolled ourselves back to the Hotel Monteloene, we reminisced about our fabulous Girls Getaway to New Orleans and how we must come back to see all the things we missed while we were here. “Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler” or as they say in New Orleans, “Let The Good Times Roll!!”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why do we have more photos of food than of us?

Dining in New Orleans would not be complete without a visit to the world-famous Brennan’s Restaurant (http://www.brennansneworleans.com/) where we dined Saturday morning. Since its beginning in 1946, Brennan’s has received countless culinary accolades. We were so hungry and everything on the menu looked so good that we could not decide what to order. Finally, we went with our server, Billy Mario’s, suggestion of the Eggs Hussard (poached eggs atop Holland rusks, Canadian bacon, and Marchand de Vin sauce topped with hollandaise sauce) and the Eggs Owen (roast beef hash, poached eggs topped with Marchand de Vin sauce). We savored this amazing cuisine while sipping our “Eye Opener” drinks, the Bloody Bull and the Pelican, along with tastes of the Turtle Soup. For dessert, Billy Mario (ok, not really his name, but that’s what we called him), insisted we try the “scandalousy delicious” Bananas Foster (glad we still have our eyebrows) and his personal favorite the Crepes Fitzgerald. All of it was just as Brennan’s promised…scrumptious!

We left Brennan’s to do some shopping up and down Royal Street. One of our favorite stores (and where we spent a lot of time) was MAH International Trade at 710 Royal Street (http://www.royalmask.com/). Co-owner Mohammad Anvari was very helpful in telling us all about the masks that he creates himself. We even got to watch him make a mask, and the one I bought was made just one day prior. The masks are incredible and range in sizes, shapes and prices. It is definitely worth a stop here, especially because Mohammad is so helpful and informative.

Saturday afternoon we made our way to Antoine’s Restaurant (http://www.antoines.com/), which is the oldest restaurant in New Orleans and home of several New Orleans culinary treasures, such as Crayfish Etouffee and Shrimp Remoulade. Here we met with our tour leader for the New Orleans Culinary History Tour (http://www.noculinarytour.com/). The 2.5 hour walking tour makes its way through the French Quarter where we heard the fascinating stories behind legendary pre-Civil War restaurants including some that are remembered only through the meals that they once served. The tour took us past such other notable historic landmarks including the Napoleon House and St. Louis Cathedral. We stopped at several places during the tour to sample the cuisine. We learned so much, like why New Orleans is world renowned for its distinct cuisine and is one of the most historically interesting cities in the U.S. We learned the history behind the food in describing how this unique city developed the country’s only true regional cuisine, as well as why New Orleans ranks as a major destination for serious food lovers everywhere.

After almost a whole day of walking, we were ready for some R&R at Balance Spa (www.BalanceSpaNewOrleans.com), which is located in the Loews Hotel (http://www.loewshotel.com/) on Poydras Street. Many thanks to Renee and Olivia for terrific massages. What fabulous treatments!

After a quick trip back to our hotel for showers, we walked back to the Loews Hotel for dinner at Café Adelaide and The Swizzle Stick Bar (www.CafeAdelaide.com). This newest member of the Brennan Family Restaurants is shaking up the New Orleans scene, dishing up a playful take on Creole cuisine with a side order of Big Easy bacchanalia served by the gracious hands of the new generation of the infamous Brennan clan while named after their favorite Aunt Adelaide Brennan. With starters such as Shrimp & Tasso “Corndogs” and Blue Crab Pound Cake, how could we go wrong? Entrée options included Cayenne Five Spice Rubbed Ahi Tuna, Buttermilk Biscuit Paneed Grouper and Praline Encrusted Tenderloin of Pork. All of it ridiculously good! I encourage everyone to at least visit their menu online and drool. Many thanks to Chef Chris Lusk for one incredible dining experience, as well as to Lally Brennan for meeting with us and giving me her book, In the Land of Cocktails.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Welcome to New Orleans!

Welcome to The Big Easy! I arrived at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to a sea of orange and blue as the Florida Gators were also in town to play LSU in Baton Rogue. I grabbed a taxi and headed to the Hotel Monteleone (http://www.hotelmonteloene.com/), which is located in the French Quarter a block off Bourbon Street. This historic landmark is a member of Historic Hotels of America. The hotel boasts 600 newly renovated rooms and suites, two award-winning restaurants, the famous Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge, Logo Shop, heated rooftop pool, Spa Aria, state-of-the-art exercise facility, business center, and valet parking. We were thrilled with our lovely and spacious room, the convenient location of the hotel and the friendly staff here. Definitely a great place to stay in New Orleans.

After quickly unpacking, I met up with some fabulous New Orleans residents and visitors at the Inn On Bourbon (http://www.innonbourbon.com/) for our departure, via Limousine Livery, to The New Orleans Opera Association VIP cocktail reception. The Inn On Bourbon is the site of the oldest French Quarter Opera House in America. It continues to embody the city’s rich history and is still a focal point for arts and culture in New Orleans. We arrived at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of Performing Arts for the New Orleans Opera Association’s performance of TOSCA. Being my very first time at an opera, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The promos for this performance read: “Love, Lust, Revenge, Assassination, Remorse, Betrayal and Suicide.” Sounds like I will enjoy it. This perennial favorite by Giacomo Puccini, once derided as little more than "a shabby little shocker," opened the season and is sung in Italian. Fortunately, they provided sub titles above the performers, so I was able to follow along. I felt like Julia Roberts on Pretty Woman when Richard Gere takes her to the opera and she starts crying. It was very moving but I (unlike Julia) did not almost “pee in my pants.”

After meeting up with Liz (her plane arrived at 10 p.m.), we strolled down Bourbon Street to take in the “scenery.” We finally stopped at Pat O’Brien’s for their world famous Hurricane. After a few hours of Bourbon Street chaos, we were ready to call it a day.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fabulous Fall Travel Destinations

Where to go for fabulous fall travel? Take a look at these magnificent destinations.

New Hampshire
Fantastic Fall Foliage - With 62 deciduous leaf-bearing tree species, there are few places on earth that begin to match New Hampshire’s display of fall foliage. And 84% of the state is covered with trees! Foliage experts predict an especially beautiful harvest season this fall due to all the summer rain, which won’t change the duration of the foliage season; however, it will certainly make it even more magnificent than in previous years. NH Tourism Dept has developed three new motorcycle itineraries for those who want to enjoy nature’s changing beauty on two wheels.

Terrific Tours – Newly expanded and updated Wine & Cheese Tours are a great way to see the New Hampshire countryside and taste award-winning fruit and grape wines at local wineries and sample delicious fresh cheeses at local dairy farms. On the tours, you can meet the winemakers and dairy farmers who have a passion for farming and tour their facilities. For those with a sweet tooth, start at the coast then head west on Route 101 and experience the Chocolate & Martini tour. It includes New Hampshire Magazine’s “best martini”, handmade Belgian chocolate, award-winning Swiss chocolate, and a stop at Chutters that features the world’s longest candy counter.

Keene Pumpkin Festival, Keene – As the sun starts to set, hundreds of volunteers rush to light thousands and thousands of carved pumpkins at the annual Keene Pumpkin Festival. Visitors from around the world descend upon this Monadnock Region town to watch the night sky light up with approximately 25,000 votive candles; the final countdown is announced before the fireworks begin. While waiting to see that spectacle of lights, the entire family can spend the day downtown with special activities for the kids, including a costume parade, seed-spitting and pie-eating contests, live music on three stages and more.

Return of the Pumpkin People, Jackson – Spend the day in the charming Town of Jackson, and take a self-guided tour viewing the Pumpkin People. Area businesses and homeowners get into the fall foliage spirit and create unique, colorful and playful pumpkin people throughout the village of Jackson and surrounding towns. Visitors will see everything from the Red Fox Bar & Grille's "Pumpkin Nightmare before Christmas" to the Inn at Ellis River's Pumpkin Magic Tricks. Outdoor recreation continues to be an area attraction for everyone including pumpkin people who can be seen fishing, snowshoeing, playing hide and seek and enjoying activities on the school lawn.

North Carolina
With more than 120 species of trees, NC turns into a brilliant palette of color each year as the autumn leisurely makes its way from the mountain peaks down to the coastal plains. See the state from a fresh, active perspective by taking advantage of these five unique ways to experience fall color in NC.

1. Leaf Watcher's Favorite: Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, including popular Mystery Dinner Theatre Train

2. Roads Less Traveled: Bike Off the Beaten Trail with stops at charming vineyards and historic inns.

3. The View From Above: Enjoy the Color on a Balloon Adventure

4. Ride the River Wild: Whitewater Rafting on Nantahala River (8 miles ending at Nantahala Falls)

5. Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway is like taking a journey through fall colors. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2010, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most popular ways to view North Carolina's changing fall foliage.

Illinois is becoming more popular for getaways with its unique combination of cultural experiences, centralized location and mix of both urban and rural destinations. In fact, more than 70% of Midwest residents believe Illinois offers an easier and more convenient getaway than any other Midwest state. The unique combination of cultural experiences, centralized location and mix of both rural and urban destinations makes Illinois a great fall getaway choice. Some highlights include:

*St. Charles Scarecrow Festival. Scarecrow fans of all generations gather for this free event on the Fox River to explore hundreds of hand-crafted, whimsical scarecrows and vote for the favorite scarecrow of the festival in six categories. Families can enjoy the carnival rides, see the free Autumn On The Fox Art & Craft Show or Harley-Davidson Exhibit, listen to top-notch musical entertainment and savor delicious specialties from local vendors.

*Abe’s Corn Maze. Located in Springfield, this 10-acre Abraham Lincoln-themed corn maze takes visitors on various paths cut out in the shape of an American flag, log cabin and a portrait of the legendary president. It’s a patriotic, fun and festive family adventure that is sure to be an unforgettable part of a fall getaway. After making their way through the maze, fall festival-goers will not want to miss out on the pony rides, a petting zoo, flea markets and fireworks display.

*Applepalooza! Located in Alto Pass, stop at Rendleman Orchards Farm Market for everything apple, including fall recipe and baking needs. Bake seasonal delights with fresh apple ingredients such as apple butter and applesauce. Visitors can shop for all things apple, or browse the farm market to stock up on baking necessities such as spices and jams before the holidays. Don’t forget to pick up an apple gift box for your friends and family.

*Chicagoween: Chicago is packed with an array of haunted activities during the month-long Chicagoween festival, which includes pumpkin patches, haunted houses and a theater showing live performances. Daley Plaza is transformed into “Pumpkin Plaza,” an eerie city block with Halloween-themed decorations and pumpkin decorating stations. Kids can join in the fun by marching in the costume parade and enjoy the Midnight Circus.

Oktoberfest – Dubbed Georgia’s Alpine village, the quaint town of Helen was formerly home to a logging industry. The city resurrected itself by becoming a replica of a Bavarian town - in the Appalachians instead of the Alps. Located on the Chattahoochee River in the Blue Ridge Mountains (northeast of Atlanta), Helen hosts a fantastic Oktoberfest September – November each year.

Gold Rush Days - The oldest, most established mountain festival in Georgia. An Appalachian celebration, it marks Dahlonega’s place in history as the site of the first gold rush in the U.S. Selected as a “Top 20 Event in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society, the fun unfolds on Dahlonega’s Town Square and will include a parade, children's activities, a fashion show, gold panning contest, wheelbarrow race, King and Queen Coronation, hog calling, live entertainment and food booths.

Corn Maze – Located 45 minutes north of Atlanta in Dawsonville, Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch has been recognized as one of most-well attended mazes in America, with 40,000 guests each fall. All 4 weekends in Oct have a special haunted maze. Other activities include bonfires and hayrides, and guests can also select their perfect pumpkin and shoot the corn cannon.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Girls Getaway to New Orleans

Let the good “girl” times roll…in New Orleans. This cultural “gumbo,” where European living blends perfectly with Caribbean flavors, makes New Orleans one of the nation’s most unique cities. With its spicy food, history, music and architecture, we are sure to have a great time in The Big Easy. Many thanks to the historic Hotel Monteleone (http://www.hotelmonteleone.com/) for hosting us!

Follow us during our Girls Getaway to New Orleans Oct. 9-12 at www.Twitter.com/GetawayGirl or http://www.facebook.com/ Girls Getaway Guide.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Celeb Stylist Robert Verdi Talks Fashion with The Getaway Girl

Hello everyone it is Casey Wohl, The Getaway Girl®, and I am here with a very special guest today. Celebrity stylist Robert Verdi joins me today to talk all things fashion.

As most of you know, Robert is America’s most notable TV fashion personality & style expert with several shows including Fashion Police on the Style Network. He has worked with celebrities such as Hugh Jackman, Mariska Hargitay, Bobby Flay and Cynthia Rowley, just to name a few.

Before our call I asked the Girls Getaway Guide fans if they had any questions for you, and I got a huge response, so let’s talk fashion shall we?

One of the biggest questions for fall…boots (peep toe, over the knee, etc). Are these trends here to stay and are these items worth the investment?
Robert Verdi: You must think of buying clothing as an expense or an investment. An expense is something you want to splurge on; an investment is something you need or will have for several years. Think about your lifestyle and how you will incorporate key pieces into your wardrobe. For example, if you are a princess, you will need several ball gowns. If you are not a princess, you won’t need tons of fancy dresses. I think the over the knee boot, if worn correctly, is very fashion forward and very versatile. This is a look I think we will see for several years.

The girls tell me they are seeing lots of flannel. What are your thoughts?
Robert Verdi: Flannel is part of the trend of ‘borrowing from men’s wear’ that is very popular right now. The secret to pulling off flannel on women is to make sure it is fitted for a woman’s body. Don’t pull a flannel shirt out of your dad’s closet. Get one that is tailored for the female form and still flatters your figure.

What are some of the hot trends for fall this year?
Robert Verdi: It really is all about items versus trends. As you mentioned, the over the knee boot portrays a rocker quality. The flannel shirt, along with plaids, suede and denim, is portraying a cowgirl look. Other staple items I like this year are skinny legs, elongated sweater/cardigans, belted coat and jackets, and the always classic pencil skirt.
Not many people, even celebrities, purchase entirely new wardrobes each season. The best thing to do is to invest in key pieces to spruce up what you have.

What are the trendy colors for fall this year?
Robert Verdi: What we saw on the fall runways is already carrying over into spring 2010 and that is the color blue. It is a great color because it looks terrific on everyone and is a universally flattering color. For fall, look at shades of blue such as navy and royal blue. For spring, we will see a lot of cool colors, blues and greens, in lighter shades such as turquoise. I also like the jewel tones for fall (peacock blue, emerald green, deep purple).

I travel a lot but still want to look fashionable. Do you have any advice for maintaining personal style while you travel?
Robert Verdi: For easy traveling, I always take pieces that are great for layering (tank tops, jackets, cardigans, scarves). By having the right layers, you can ensure you are always ready for any climate and social situation. I also stick with neutral colors to keep things versatile. Some great packing tips include: 1) always use shoe bags to keep shoes and clothes looking nice, 2) fold clothes first then pack them (versus folding while you pack) and 3) put small items (cosmetics, belts, undergarments) inside your shoes to maximize the space.

What is your #1 style tip?
Robert Verdi: Style and fashion is less about any one item or any one piece of advice. It is more about your own personal expression, and how the clothes make you feel. Don’t be tied to rules and regulations. Try things. If they work, that’s great. If not, just take it off and try something else. The great thing about fashion is that nothing is permanent.

I have had several women ask me why you wear the sunglasses on your head. Is this a fashion trend we should all follow?
Robert Verdi: This started when I was doing a TV show where I interviewed people on the streets of New York City. I would wear the sunglasses, and then take them off to do the interview. After one interview I realized I put them on my head and they helped my look less bald (they added something to all my flesh). So they have become a “look” for me ever since.

Casey Wohl: Well Robert, thank you so much for being with us and sharing all of this great fashion advice. We hope you have a great trip to Orlando!

If you’d like to meet Robert in person, plan to attend the LUXE 2009: The Fashion Benefit on Thursday, October 8 from 6:30 – 11:00 p.m. at Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH at the Prime Outlets - Orlando. For more details, call 407.352.9611, ext. 114.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Leisure Travel Still a Priority, Survey Says

People are still taking vacations despite the poor state of the economy, according to a recent survey released by Travel Leaders.
The travel agent network’s nationwide survey found that nearly 84 percent of travelers have already taken at least one leisure trip this year, while 88 percent said they have one planned before the end of the year.
“In this country, vacations are considered a right and the results of this survey help bolster that notion,” Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group, said in a release. “Given the economy, we are tremendously encouraged by these findings.”
Other survey findings included that 88.6 percent of participants are already planning leisure trips for next year.
Travel Leaders, formerly Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates, TraveLeaders and Tzell Travel Group, conducted the survey of 625 consumers in August.

Source: Orlando Business Journal

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Goodbye Phoenix! Hope to visit again soon.

Monday was our last day in Phoenix, but before we departed, we headed back to the Westin for yoga and spa treatment #5 at Agave. The yoga class was the perfect start to the day and reminded me how much I need to get back to it. After yoga, I indulged in the spa’s very own Berry Smoothie, and then received a relaxing rainwater stick massage, which was phenomenal.

After the massage, I got a quick lesson on how to ride a Segway...super fun!
The Westin staff was nice enough to send me to the airport with a Pacific Rim lunch (to go). After saying goodbye to my new friends and Phoenix, I loaded up the car and headed to the airport. With a final look at picturesque Phoenix, I reminisced about this whirlwind trip and the new adventures that still await The Getaway Girl® in Arizona.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Girls Getaway Fun and Adventures in Phoenix-Scottsdale

Sunday morning was an early one with a 6:30 a.m. hike in the Phoenix Mountain Park to the top of Pietewa Peak (this was much needed after the dessert last night). Our fearless hike leader Scott pointed out the flora and fauna we hiked through, such as saguaro, prickly pear, barrel and jumping cholla cactuses (which is also called teddy-bear cholla, Scott explained, as he stuck it in his arm and asked if we wanted to try to do the same. After my luck walking away from the alligator wrestling, I opted out of the cactus taming). We also saw many trees native to Arizona, such as palo verde (green stick), creosote and mesquite.

After our invigorating hike (and near death car accident…thanks Scott), we headed over to the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa (http://www.kierlandresort.com/) for “Bubbles & Brunch” in the resort’s Nellie Cashman’s Monday Club Café. Named for “The Angel of the Mining Camp” and Arizona’s oldest woman, Nellie Cashman’s Monday Club Café offers casual dining with an emphasis on locally-grown produce and indigenous recipes along with Chef Jason Christie’s Southwestern-Mediterranean flair. Patty and I were the first to find the cocktail cart, and were completely impressed that the Westin was one of the first golf courses in the world to offer Segways versus golf carts.

We traveled to the Fairmont Scottsdale Resort (www.fairmont.com/scottsdale) for spa treatments, accommodations and a wonderful dinner at LV Bistro. The Fairmont is absolutely magnificent with its McDowell Mountains backdrop, Southwest setting, Spanish-colonial style architecture, 44,000 square foot Willow Stream Spa, five heated swimming pools, Bourbon Steak (by Chef Michael Mina), Stone Rose Lounge (presented by nightlife entrepreneurs Rande Gerber and Scott Gerber) and their newest dining options, LV Bistro. I was thrilled to arrive at Willow Stream Spa for my 90-minute Jet Lag Massage. What a wonderful treatment! I did not want to leave the spa.

After my treatment I met my good friend Tatiana (who lives in Phoenix) for drinks poolside to people watch during the Stone Rose Lounge’s Sunday Pool Party. Tatiana joined us for my Girls Getaway to Montana, and we have stayed in touch ever since July. After catching up, I headed back to my room to freshen up for dinner at LV Bistro, which provides only the freshest local organic produce, all-natural meats, sustainable seafood and organic cocktails.

Upon arriving at LV Bistro, I had a difficult time deciding between two of their infused vodkas: the Tomato & Basil or the Cucumber & Pomegranate. I finally decided to try the Tomato & Basil, which was phenomenal. We all liked it so much that most everyone ordered that for their second drink. Here’s to trying new things!!! The food was delicious. Upon Valerie’s recommendation, I ordered the All Natural Braised Beef Short Ribs. Although I was hesitant to try them (mainly due to the mess I knew I’d make), the meat just fell off the bone and was every bit as good as she promised. Dessert was sweet and entertaining as the chef created mini desserts in shot-sized glasses, which contained favorites such as chocolate mousse, carrot cake and chocolate peanut butter.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Phoenix Farmers Market, Museums, Hotels and Restaurants

The next morning, we checked out the Phoenix Farmers Market where I found homemade pasta and herb chocolates that were fantastic. We then drove to the Heard Museum (www.Heard.org), which is undoubtedly one of the best places to experience the art and culture of Native Americans of the Southwest. With the museum’s 10 exhibit galleries and exquisite art, it is easy to see why nearly 250,000 people visit the Heard each year. My favorite is the Indian Boarding School exhibit. I had no idea Indian children were removed from their families and shipped to boarding schools in an effort to eradicate the Indian culture from society. The experiences shared in this exhibit, as well as the impact it had on the tribes and culture, were deeply moving. I highly recommend a stop at the Heard when you are in Phoenix. The next stop was the Phoenix Art Museum (www.PhxArt.org), which truly does have “something for everyone.” It boasts more than 17,000 artworks in American, Asian, contemporary, European, Latin American and Western art, as well as fashion design and the Thorne Miniature Rooms of historic interiors. They also have a great gift shop where I found my new favorite quote, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

Following a delightful lunch at the Museum, we were on our way to the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch (http://Scottsdale.Hyatt.com). After a tour of this Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired property, we were on our way to Spa Avania for more spa treatments (I opted for a mani/pedi) and then tapas and cocktails. The resort has all the amenities you could want for a fun in the sun getaway, including sand beach, three-story waterslide and a 2 ½ acre water playground.

Dinner that night was hosted by the Arizona Biltmore Resort’s brand new restaurant, Frank & Albert’s. It’s based on the Biltmore’s architect, Albert Chase McArthur and his history with Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as the organic architecture inspiration for the Arizona Biltmore. The chef’s concept for the restaurant is Arizona comfort food and familiar classics accented by local flavors, and he uses a lot of local farms & purveyors. I loved the Coca Cola® Pork Chop & Organic Apples…what a unique combination. But my favorite was absolutely the dessert I chose called “As the Cookie Crumbles,” which is a huge, fresh, baked-to-order chocolate chunk cookie, served warm with vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream. Need I say more?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Girls Getaway to Phoenix

I arrived in Phoenix around noon and headed straight from the airport to Biltmore Fashion Park to meet up with the rest of my group. We congregated at True Food Kitchen (www.FoxRestaurantConcepts.com), which offers globally inspired, seasonal menu that appeals to anyone seeking a more balanced lifestyle. The cucumber lemonade, gazpacho and tuna sashimi salad were all delicious!

We then headed to the Arizona Biltmore Resort (our home for the next two nights). Opened in 1929 and known for its Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, the 39-acre resort is known as the “Jewel of the Desert.” After some R&R at the Biltmore (www.ArizonaBiltmore.com), we drove to the Scottsdale’s newest luxury resort, the InterContinental Montelucia Resort (www.ICMontelucia.com), which is nestled on 30 acres in the foothills of Camelback Mountain. This resort is incredible and reminds me so much of southern Spain. The 31,000-square-foot Joya Spa (http://www.joyaspa.com/) is a destination in and of itself. While here, we were each treated to two 25-minute “sample” treatments. My scalp massage and facial were wonderful, and I felt fully recovered from the plane ride earlier that day.

After our treatments, we headed to the InterContinental’s restaurant Prado (http://pradolife.com/) where we started the evening with a Tequila Tasting. Despite a strong aversion to tequila (for reasons I won’t mention), I tried the three options offered and felt just fine drinking water the remainder of the evening. I enjoyed my steak, but heard several people rave about the lamb sausage. I’ll have to try that next time.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Join me at Wendy's PR Crash Course

Wendy’s PR Crash Course
November 11-12, 2009
Orlando Marriott Downtown

Has your business hit a slowdown and you’re looking for ways to generate new customers, new revenue, new ideas? Are you a new business owner who’s just launching your venture? Are you an author looking to sell more books or a speaker wanting to secure more engagements? Then you’ll want to join me on Nov. 11-12 for a unique “Getaway” in Orlando.

That’s when I’ll be attending Wendy’s PR Crash Course, a hands-on interactive program designed to give you and your business the boost you need for your best year ever! The event was created and will be hosted by Wendy Kurtz, the woman who helped me launch The Getaway Girl® brand and has helped me grow my business since its inception. Wendy and her team of experts will spend two full days sharing their strategies, tips, techniques and resources to help you grow your business. You’ll even get to tour a local television station to see firsthand how news is produced.

Whether you own your business or work for someone else, come learn from the masters how you can leverage your personal style and your company’s strengths to stand out from your competition in today’s marketplace. As a special “thank you” for subscribing to the Girls Getaway Guide blog, I’ve made arrangements with Wendy for you to receive $50 off the normal registration fee. And for even more great savings, register by October 21 to receive an additional $50 early bird discount! That’s a full $100 off this two day event!

Register online: www.WendysPRCrashCourse.com.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September Girls Getaway Photo Submission

This month’s girls’ getaway photo was submitted by Amber Chancey of Sarasota, FL. Amber writes: “It was for our 20 year Sebring Middle School reunion. We stayed at the Grand Bohemian and LOVED it. Our accommodations were amazing, spent our time shopping, having wine by the cabana pool, dancing the night away and catching up!”

Pictured from left to right: Dawn Siegle Shectman, Kerry Creadon Gardner, Elizabeth Phillips, Martha Krause Morgan, Amber Chancey and Jennifer Wilke Banta. To submit your girl getaway photos, email us at info@GirlsGetawayGuide.net.

Friday, September 18, 2009

U.S. Travel Association Develops Swine Flu Toolkit

The swine flu situation continues to evolve as more schools open around the country and the possibility for spread of the disease heightens. While information gathered over the past four months suggests that the swine flu, also known as H1N1, is no more severe than the annual seasonal flu, it's critical that the travel community do all we can to ensure that the spread of the disease is limited.

At the same time, it is vital that we take this opportunity to communicate to policymakers, health officials, opinion leaders and the media about the critical role travel plays in our economy, to ensure appropriate responses as new information about swine flu becomes available.

To assist you with your own plans, U.S. Travel has created a toolkit of useful information that can be accessed by clicking on the links below, or by visiting ustravel.org/swineflu.

Source: U.S. Travel Association