Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Getaway Girl Featured on's Waiting to Board

The Getaway Girl® was recently featured on website in the Waiting to Board section. The Q&A covered all types of travel-related info, such as challenges she faced while switching careers into the travel industry, how anxious travelers can cope and the secrets behind her travel research.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Girls Getaway to Alaska - Thank You!

We had an unbelievable trip to The Last Frontier. Visiting Alaska should certainly be on everyone’s bucket list. This vast land is a reminder of just how magnificent nature really is. Thank you to the State of Alaska Tourism and Thompson & Co. for setting up this amazing and unforgettable Girls Getaway to Alaska! For more information about visiting Alaska, visit

Monday, August 22, 2011

Girls Getaway to Alaska - Day 7

Our last day in Alaska was spent with the Seavey family at their Ididaride Sled Dog Tour. Mitch Seavey, 2004 Iditarod Champion, and his family have about 200 working sled dogs. The intrigue of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, also known as Alaska’s Super Bowl, came alive as we met competitors and heard their stories. The Iditarod race covers over 1,150 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer with jagged mountain ranges, frozen river, dense forest, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast at the mushers and their dog teams. Add to that temperatures far below zero, winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility, the hazards of overflow, long hours of darkness and treacherous climbs and side hills, and you have the Iditarod.

After a brief introduction to the family and business, we walked back to where the dog are kept. I was expecting covered kennels, and was shocked to find tons of dogs each equipped with their own, private kennel. As the staff started hooking up the sled, the dogs became more and more excited, almost saying “pick me; I want to go.” It was incredible feel how powerful, excited and smart these dogs are. Since we were there in the summer, we rode in a wheeled cart that they use to train the dogs with when there’s no snow on the ground. We rode behind 16 dogs for two miles mushing through the Alaskan wilderness to the base of Resurrection Mountain and along Box Canyon Creek. After our ride, we toured the kennel facilities, saw what the mushers wear during the Iditarod race, and met future sled dogs that were only a few months old. This tour was chosen as one of Alaska’s Top Twenty Attractions, and is certainly one I will never forget.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Girls Getaway to Alaska - Day 6

The next morning we checked out of the Alyeska Resort and continued driving south to Seward for the Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise. We opted for the four-hour Resurrection Bay Cruise that included a lunch stop at Fox Island for a salmon and prime rib lunch. During the boat ride, we saw otters, sea lions (my favorite), horned puffins, bald eagles and tons of birds. As the boat arrived back at the dock, we saw fishermen unloading their daily fishing catch of silver salmon into wheelbarrows.

We checked into the Seward Windsong Lodge, a charming lodge with several out buildings scattered around the property. It’s award-winning Resurrection Roadhouse Restaurant and the Goliath Bar & Grill was the perfect dining choice as they offered an ample list of local beer and had a great wine and cocktail selection....very important after a tough day of sightseeing :).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Girls Getaway to Alaska - Day 5

The next morning we picked up our rental car at Avis and drove to Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. We checked in to the beautiful resort and met Molly at the Ascending Path Yurt for departure on the Glacier Hike.

The Spencer Glacier is located just South of Portage Valley and the Turnagain Arm in the Kenai Mountains and the Chugach National Forest. It is entirely off the road system, so we rode a train from Girdwood to the Spencer Whistle Stop. From the Spencer Whistle Stop, our group of three, hiked to an overlook to enjoy outstanding views of the glacier and icebergs floating in the Spencer terminal lake. The total distance from the train to the edge of the glacier is more than three miles of flat Forest Service maintained trails. The last half mile is rugged moraine (think huge black dirt piles) walking.

The five hours of hiking included tons of photos and stops to learn about interesting local wildlife, history and glaciology. At the glacier's edge we geared up with helmets and crampons, ate lunch on a the glacier itself and then traveled out onto the glacier ice to explore the amazing ice features (blue ice, crevasses, ice caves, moulins, etc) with Molly as our guide. Words cannot describe how incredible this experience was...a “must do” in Alaska!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Girls Getaway to Alaska - Day 4

And if all of these adventures were not enough, we woke up early the next morning for some fun on the water.....the white water of Nenana River. We checked in for Denali Raft Adventure Canyon Run at 7:30 AM. With barely enough coffee in me, we were stuffed into dry suits and outfitted with rubber gloves and hats for the 11-mile trip to Healy. After “worst case scenario” instructions from Peacock, we boarded our inflatable raft and braved the rapids. How bad was it? We got soaked! In fact, it was so rough I got water up my nose during one rapid. But it was a complete blast and we enjoyed making new friends with guides Peacock and Bacon, as well as our raftmates Dony, Ehli, Mark and Janice! What a great group!! After white water rafting, we went back to the railroad station and boarded the train back to Anchorage.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Girls Getaway to Alaska - Day 3

The next morning was an early one as we boarded the bus for the Tundra Wilderness Tour at 6:20 AM en route to Denali. Our guide for the day, Lisa Frederic, has been in Alaska for 30 years and is an active dog musher who has participated in the Iditarod Dog Sled competition. During the day, she shared so much fascinating information about Denali, Mt McKinley and Alaska....what an amazing tour guide! The 7.5 hour bus ride explored just a portion of the 6 million acre state park (bigger than the state of Massachusetts). We had a very lucky day as we saw about 10 Grizzley bears, Dall Sheep, falcons and the tallest point in North America....Mt McKinley that provided an incredible view the day we visited.

After the bus ride, we went on an evening ATV ride with Denali ATV Adventures into an old coal mining area near the park border where we got an aerial view of Lake Otto and the town of Healy. After we worked up an appetite, we made our way to the famous Denali Salmon Bake Restaurant where Dani greeted us with pink heart-shaped sunglasses....we loved her right away! We feasted on elk sliders (my fave), halibut tacos and a yak-a-dilla (yes, yak meat). It was all great and my apricot beer was the perfect pairing!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Girls Getaway to Alaska - Day 2

The next morning we took the hotel shuttle to the railroad station and boarded the Alaska Railroad for Denali. The eight-hour train ride provides a fantastic view of the Alaskan countryside. Once we arrived at Denali, we were shuttled to our new home for the next two nights, the McKinley Chalet Resort. Located just across the street from shopping, stores and activities, the resort had everything you could want, including the Nenana View Grill & Bar that features a gorgeous view of the Nenana River (and a great place to enjoy a bottle of wine and a reindeer sausage, artichoke & mushroom pizza like we did).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Girls Getaway to Alaska - Day 1

I have always wanted to go to Alaska, and when my friend Diana said that’s where she wanted to go for her 50th birthday, we booked our flights immediately. We arrived in Anchorage ready to see as much of The Last Frontier as we could fit in one week.

On our first morning, we were picked up at our hotel, the Inlet Tower Hotel and Suites, by Rust’s Flying Service who took us to our float plane. From there, we departed for Redoubt Bay Lodge, which is located 70 miles southwest of Anchorage. Redoubt Bay is home to one of the most concentrated and viewable bear populations in Alaska. Our float plane pilot, Curtis, set the mood for a great day by pointing out interesting sites during the flight. We even caught a glimpse of a Beluga Whale while over Cook Bay. We arrived at Redoubt and were greeted by Amy, the lodge manager. With a bubbly personality and an excitement about the day, we couldn’t help but like her immediately. After some coffee and muffins in the lodge and a brief overview of the area and plans for the day, we boarded a pontoon boat with Amy and went in search of bears through the chain of Big River Lakes.

There were several fishing boats on the water and in action as this area is home to sockeye and coho salmon. While we were watching the salmon getting ready to make a run up the river (it was absolutely amazing and looked like a shark feeding frenzy), Amy spotted a black bear walking along the waters edge right next to us. It was incredible to see this bear in its natural environment in search of food (as long as we weren’t it). We even had the unique experience to go "bogging" where we took off our shoes and walk along a water bog (spongy grass bed). After seeing two more black bears, we headed back to the lodge for lunch. Redoubt has two chefs on staff and they did not disappoint with a beautiful lunch anchored by a delicious salmon burger.

Dinner that night was at Ginger Restaurant. Our favorite dish was the Baked Sea Scallops “Mac & Cheese,” which is seared and oven-finished jumbo Alaskan scallops served over penne pasta with three-cheese cream sauce drizzled with truffle oil. Amazing! After dinner we went to the hotel’s Mixx Grill Bar (think Cheers but in Alaska) where we met locals and visitors and made new friends. If you are ever there, be sure to ask for Happy Harold.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Girls Getaway to Alaska

We are ready for our Girls Getaway to Alaska!!!!!

Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait. From fly fishing to hiking to dog sledding to bear watching, we plan to do it all during this highly-anticipated getaway to The Last Frontier. Follow our adventures on Facebook and Twitter!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tips to Staying Healthy While You Travel

When you travel you are out of your normal routine, so it is difficult staying healthy during this time. Here are some suggestions from The Getaway Girl® during her recent Daytime TV segment.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Incredible Island Getaways

Who doesn't love a fantastic Island Getaway? Just envisioning white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and the romance of the island breeze is enough to make you day dream all afternoon. But what are some of the best and most unique Island Getaways? Here are a few to consider:

Hamilton Island, Australia

Hamilton Island is one of 74 tropical islands in the Coral Sea between the Queensland coast and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia (where Oprah recently stayed). The largest inhabited island in the Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island is on the same latitude in the southern hemisphere as Honolulu in the north with an average of 81F temperatures year round. With more than six accommodation choices, 10 restaurants and varied water and beach activities, the Island makes the perfect launching pad for U.S. travelers to enjoy Australia's most spectacular beaches, explore the Great Barrier Reef and create an unforgettable vacation in tropical Australia.
qualia, Australia's world class luxury resort on the Great Barrier Reef, is located on the secluded and breathtakingly beautiful northern-most point of Hamilton Island. qualia has 60 elegant one-bedroom pavilions and a Beach House, each set among eucalyptus trees with postcard views of the idyllic blue, green waters of the Whitsundays. Two superb restaurants and Spa qualia cater exclusively to guests of the resort. Also available are a Yacht Club, golf club and two spas. Offering special seven-night deal with accommodations, champagne, dinner for two and a sunset cruise for $6,270.

Mackinac Island, MI
Located in Michigan’s Lake Huron, this island is 3.8 square miles. The entire island is a National Historic Landmark as the 500 year round residents ensure the historic aspect of the island is preserved. You can get there by boat, ferry and air. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the island; only horse & buggy and bicycles.
The Grand Hotel is charming, historic and affordable. For about $1,000 guests can stay 3 nights, have a 5 star meal three times a day at one of a kind dining...on a one-of-a-kind island. The food, the atmosphere, the service is spectacular. And there's No tipping! That really makes it affordable.
Full breakfast and five-course dinner are included daily in most guest room rates. Guests 11 and under stay and eat free. Significantly reduced rates are also available for guests 17 and younger. Thanks to many activities and kids' programs, the readers of Travel + Leisure Family magazine consider Grand Hotel one of the 10 kid-friendliest resorts in the U.S. and Canada.

Catalina Island, CA
Santa Catalina Island, often called Catalina Island, or just Catalina, is an island off the coast of Southern California. just 22 miles SW of Los Angeles. To get to this 76 square mile island, you can arrive in 15 minutes by helicopter or 1 hour by boat. So much to do, camping, snorkeling, snuba, beach, museum, theater, kayak, shopping, segway tour, glass bottom boats, spas, fishing, ocean rafting, historical walking tour, ziplining, tennis, hiking.
Accommodation options include: bed and breakfasts, hotels, campgrounds, vacation homes/condos, 4-star inn.
Free family friendly concerts, live entertainment,
The newly renovated Pavilion Hotel has 71 rooms and is just 14 steps from the beach. The hotel’s “Unlimited” package includes: 

* Minimum 2 nights accommodations (starting at $159/night)

* Complimentary deluxe continental breakfast
*Complimentary afternoon wine and cheese pairing

* Preferred seating and reservations at the New Avalon Grille Restaurant

* 50% off the New Zip Line Eco Tour (savings of $50 per person)

* Children aged 11 and under stay free!

Little Palm Island, FL
Discovered over two decades ago, the private, 5 1/2-acre Little Palm Island (pictured above) has been the escape of choice for presidents, high profile celebrities and savvy travelers alike. The magic of this island is its exclusive location where a captivating view exists in every direction and Snowy Egrets are your only competition for a prime beach spot. Crushed seashell paths, 30 oceanfront suites, thatched roof bungalows, make this a unique getaway like no other.
There are no telephones or televisions, or guests under the age of 16 - the only distractions are the outdoors and each other. Located on Little Torch Island in the relaxing Florida Keys, this resort is listed on Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List, Travel + Leisure – 500 World’s Best Hotels. You can do as much or as little during your stay: Snorkel or scuba Looe Key, a living reef located in the Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Resort’s on site spa, water sports (kayak, fishing, kite boarding, seaplane, sailing). Thirty minutes to downtown Key West and Swim with the Dolphins. Life-sized chess and checkers, pool relaxation, gourmet island dining. Absolutely gorgeous!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Girls Getaway to Northern Michigan - Day 3

After a relaxing morning at the resort and a wonderful massage at the spa, we were ready for some fly fishing on one of Michigan’s gorgeous rivers. We met up with Phil Croff from CC Guide Service so I could try my hand a fly fishing. Just putting on the waders proved challenge enough for me, but with my new fashion statement (waders are sexy), I was ready to catch some fish. We ended up with no fish (although I had a big bite), but we had a great time fishing until midnight under a full moon in one of Phil’s handcrafted row boats that was beautiful.

I quickly realized that my trip to Northern Michigan was too short. Treetops Resort is currently undergoing a massive renovation, so I will be anxious to see the final result. If you are looking for summer or winter time fun in Northern Michigan, be sure to check out Treetops. Summer rates (one night, one round of golf and breakfast) starts at $97/person and winter rates (one night, ski and breakfast) starts at $79/person. Both rates are based on double occupancy and based on availability.

Many thanks to everyone who made my very first trip to Michigan a memorable one!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Girls Getaway to Northern Michigan - Day 2

My first morning in Michigan was spent rafting on the Sturgeon River. Three of us were sent off on our inflatable raft with some oars and a half-concocted plan as to how we’d work together as a team. Much to my and Chelle’s surprise, we actually did pretty well. The river was relaxing enough for us to take in the natural beauty but provided enough action that kept us entertained. Many thanks to Big Bear Adventures for a fun morning.

After our rafting expedition, I served as cart girl and beer opener as the others played Treetops Resort’s Threetops Course, which is considered the Best Par-3 Course on Earth by some. Designed by Rick Smith, his first par three course received national recognition since it opened, and it consistently ranks as the #1 par three course in America by Golf Magazine, Golfweek and Golf & Travel. It's perhaps the most recognized par three course in America. For a number of years, Threetops hosted the ESPN Par 3 Shootout.

Later that evening, we made our way to Downtown Gaylord to attend the Gaylord Alpenfest, which has been one of Northern Michigan’s most unique and fun festivals for 47 years. This annual Swiss-themed festival is held in July with live music, Queen’s Pageant, parade, carnival, food and drinks. Why Alpenfest? Gaylord’s sister city is Pontresina, Switzerland, which is a tourist community of about 1,800 people. This 850-year-old village is located at the foot of the majestic Bernina Peaks. With live entertainment and wacky contests (Ladies Best Ankles and Men’s Best Knees), Alpenfest is great fun!