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T UNICA x a l e R y a t Play S

Harrah’s Casino Resort Tunica Renuka Christoph

ABOVE: The Gateway to the Blues Visitor Center opened recently in Tunica County on US Highway 61. Its the first phase of a project which will evolve into a cultural center and museum, capturing the rich music history of the Mississippi Delta. The Gateway to the Blues Visitor Center renovated building is a turn-ofthe-century wood-frame train depot that was moved from Dundee, Miss. LEFT: Harrah’s Bellissimo’s Spa Below: ‘37 Fine Dining Restaurant at Harrah’s

Enjoy a weekend of gaming in Tunica, MS. Located on U.S. Highway 61, also known as “The Blues Highway,” Tunica offers recreation and relaxation with historical markers along the way. There is no shortage of gaming selection in Tunica. The casinos are conveniently located near one another and offer convenient shuttle service for guests. There are several casinos to choose from, including Harrah’s Casino Resort Tunica. Harrah’s Casino Tunica offers table games, slots, craps tables, blackjack and Roulette. There are three luxury hotels on property to choose from as well as an RV resort. For a break from gaming, take a swing at the Links at Cottonwoods, an award-winning 18–hole golf course designed by U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin. Harrah’s Tunica also provides nightlife with its Sphere Bar centrally located on the casino floor. For a change of pace, consider a day at the spa. Bellissimo’s 16,000-square-foot spa delivers the antithesis of the casino scene. Immediate serenity overtakes guests upon arrival at the spa. Take time out to unwind with Signature Facial and Body Massage. Tense muscles quickly find relief under the skilled hands of an expert masseuse. Hair care, manicures, hair removal services and body treatments are also available. A sauna and steam room can be enjoyed either before or after treatments, or both. Another detoxifying experience is a purifying bath ritual. Though it takes courage, take a dip in the cold plunge pool followed by the heated whirlpool. The average temperature of a cold plunge pool hovers between 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit. Though most initially hesitate to experience such a shock to the

system, having knowledge of the health benefits helps. Exposure to a heated environment and then immediately plunging into cold water, even if just a few seconds, offers many benefits to the body, the greatest being stimulation for blood circulation. The ice cold water instantly numbs the nerves surrounding joints and muscles, causing the release of hormones and endorphins. Alleviate muscle and joint strain and stress after a day of gaming. Another benefit of plunging into cold water is stimulation of the immune system as well as stabilization of blood pressure. All the activity calls for good eating. For some fine dining, enjoy the chic ambience and decadence at ‘37. The name, which stands for 1937, is the year in which Harrah’s opened its very first casino. There is plenty to choose but highly recommend is the Mero Sea Bass. It an 8 oz. portion prepared with pan fried broccolini and lemon butter. Add on Alaskan king crab legs or Maine lobster tail for a complete seafood lovers dinner. Begin the meal with the ‘37 Signature Salad, which consists of treviso and baby mesclun, grape tomatoes, goat cheese, spiced walnuts and a Sherry vinaigrette. And save room for a dessert sampler, which will satisfy a sweet tooth. For a historical detour, take a roadtrip, beginning at the Tunica Visitors Center on Highway 61, the entrance of America’s Blues Highway. Continue on the Mississippi Blues Trail, which offers over 120 historical markers throughout the state. All ages will be fascinated in learning how the blues were founded. For a convenient weekend drive, head to Tunica and let the games begin. For more information, visit www.tunicatravel. com.


Huntsville Family Fun for All Ages

Relax and Enjoy Downtown Chattanooga

Bridge Street Town Centre

Courtesy Huntsville CVB

Renuka Christoph

Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age exhibit at the Space & Rocket Center now thru Sept. 3

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center enjoyed by all ages Renuka Christoph Get ready to have a blast at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. Located within a scenic two hour drive from Nashville, the center offers family fun for all ages. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center ignites the thrill of discovery as visitors find themselves surrounded by Apollo, Mercury and Space Shuttle spacecraft along with interactive exhibits on space exploration. As the world’s largest space attraction, the facility houses rockets developed in Huntsville which range from the Army boosters that put America’s first satellite and astronauts in orbit to NASA’s Saturn V moon rocket and the Space Shuttle. The U. S. Space & Rocket Center gives visitors the unique opportunity to stand under a “full stack” - the Space Shuttle, external tank and two rocket boosters. Thrill seekers will enjoy the GForce Accelerator which has three times the force of gravity, giving riders quite the spin. Experience the powerful G forces of launch aboard the Space Shot. And climb aboard a simulated ride on the Mission to Mars. The Spacedome Omnimax theater offers viewers breathtaking cinematography. Current movies are the IMAX movie To the Arctic, Air Racers and Space Junk.

Visitors can step back in time to the Ice Age and view The Field Museum exhibition Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age. Wall panels of prehistoric video, hands-on interactive displays, life-sized models, fossil tusks and skulls—and even touchable teeth— bring these ancient giants back to life. The tour begins with the question, “Are Mastodons related to elephants?” Learn the surprising answer to this and more. SPACE CAMP The U.S. Space & Rocket Center offers a phenomenal educational opportunity for young explorers with its Space Camp. June marked the 30th anniversary of Space Camp, where youth enjoy science, technology, engineering and math in a practical way that gives the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators a chance to begin seeing their future. Dr. Deborah Barnhart, the center’s CEO and executive director since December 2010 stated graduates have included four astronauts and one cosmonaut. “I think there’s more interest than ever,” said Barnhart, who first worked at the space center in corporate development in 1986 before becoming Space Camp director and developing the curriculum for Space Academy II, the

teachers’ program and Aviation Challenge. “We find global interest in Space Camp and global knowledge of Space Camp.” OTHER ATTRACTIONS The Huntsville Botanical Garden is home to the nation’s largest open-air butterfly house. There is the Sci-Quest, a hands-on science center, the Huntsville Museum of Art with a wide variety of exhibits in its 13 galleries, the EarlyWorks Museum Complex which is three attractions in one – EarlyWorks Hands-on Children’s Museum, The Historic Huntsville Depot and Alabama Constitution Village. Step back in time and see life in the 1800s. Burritt on the Mountain is a living history museum with interpreters in period dress and a fantastic panoramic view of the city. For more information, visit WHERE TO STAY Enjoy comfortable accommodations at the Hilton Garden Inn South. Guests can swim, relax in the whirlpool and enjoy a restful night in a unique sleep system bed. There is complimentary WiFi and a 24-hour Business Center, fitness center and a full-service restaurant, offering a daily breakfast buffet. For more information, visit

The Hilton Garden Inn South lobby

The Hilton Garden Inn South beds offer a setting to adjust the firmness of the mattress

Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month Returns in September with More than 60 Restaurants Enjoy Three-Course $30 Dinners For An Entire Month In Orlando ORLANDO, Fla. – This September, some of Orlando’s best restaurants offer the ultimate jaw-dropping combo –memorable meals and big savings – during Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month. This 7th annual culinary celebration, presented by Visit Orlando, showcases Central Florida’s ever-expanding dining uni-

verse, with more than 60 top Orlando-area restaurants offering three-course prix-fixe dinners for $30. The month-long event will also benefit the Edgewood Children’s Ranch, with $1 from every meal donated to the organization. In 2011, more than $40,000 was raised for the partner charity organization.

From Sept. 1 – 30, 2012, diners can choose from a wide range of restaurants in locations all across Orlando. A few of the participants in Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month include: • Convention District (Pointe Orlando and International Drive) – Cala Bella (Rosen Shingle Creek), Spencer’s for Steaks and

Chops (Hilton Orlando), Taverna Opa, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, The Capital Grille and Cuba Libre. • Restaurant Row District – Big Fin Seafood Kitchen, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Ocean Prime, Roy’s Restaurant and Season’s 52. • Universal/CityWalk District – Bice Restaurant,

The Palm Restaurant and Mama Della’s Ristorante. • Disney/Lake Buena Vista District – Todd English’s bluezoo, The Venetian Room, NINE18 (Villas of Grand Cypress) and Andiamo Italian Bistro. • Downtown District – The Boheme, Nick’s Italian Kitchen, Hue Restaurant and Prickly Pear.

• Winter Park District – Luma on Park, Chez Vincent, Park Plaza Gardens and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. More information about Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, including a complete list of participating restaurants, will soon be available at

Chattanoogan Relax and Enjoy Downtown Chattanooga

The Chattanoogan offers its guests a convenient and comfortable getaway, with dining, shopping and activities nearby

Renuka Christoph The way to relax mind, body and spirit is to get out of your daily element. There are plenty of options, a drive to the country, a walk on a nature trail or perhaps, a more intentional means of relaxation. Consider a spa destination at the Chattanoogan, the city’s only AAA Four Diamond-rated full-service hotel, with plenty of dining and attractions nearby. The drive to Chattanooga is the perfect beginning to a weekend of letting go as green rolling hills paint the horizon, distracting an otherwise busy mind. The spa at the Chattanoogan is sure to please with a variety of massages, body, facial and nail treatments and packages. Consider the Signature Anti Aging Facial which utilizes botanical products and Passion Flower tea. Tension is released and your skin feels rejuvenated Balance the facial with the Flowing River Massage. Pressure is based according to preference as a therapist uses expert techniques to release muscle tension. The hotel offers three outstanding restaurants, Broad Street Grille (BSG), The Foundry and Stroud’s. Broad Street Grille

serves daily breakfast, lunch and dinner and a delectable Sunday Brunch. Enjoy mimosas and Bloody Mary’s which come with the buffet. Choose from an assortment of breakfast favorites including french toast with cream and blueberries, salads, roast beef, salmon, desserts and more. The Grille specializes in prime meats, sustainable seafood, house made pasta, farm-fresh produce from local growers, local artisan breads and signature side dishes. The talented culinary team works with local farmers and purveyors to provide guests with the freshest products available. On Friday nights, Broad Street Grille serves the finest cuts of prime meats in the area at its weekly Steak Nights. On Saturday nights, couples enjoy the romantic and affordable Date Nights which features an amazing meal – two appetizers, two soups or salads, two entrees, dessert and bottle of wine – for only $65 per couple. To assist with gas costs, the Chattanoogan is offering an added incentive for travelers to make the hotel their travel destination. When vacationers visit the

hotel for a two-night stay, they will receive a complimentary $50 gas card to help offset the price of fuel. Overnight rates at The Chattanoogan start at $129. There are plenty of attractions in Chattanooga including the Tennessee Aquarium in close proximity. When strolling downtown, visit Bluewater Grille for a great seafood dining experience. The restaurant is part of a sustainable seafood initiative. For starters, enjoy the Artisanal Cheese Plate which includes local farm cheeses and drizzled with honey and served crostinis. Another winner-the Lobster Bites, which are among the best lobster cakes I’ve had in the South. Thick pieces of lobster meat are tossed in seasoned flour and served Maryland style. Recommended dinner choice is Miso Seared Chilean Sea Bass. It’s thick and juicy with a pleasant buttery flavor and served with ginger rice and vegetables. For more information on the Chattanoogan, visit www.chattanooganhotel. com. It’s the perfect weekend getaway.

Experience the Chattanoogan Spa with an array of services

Enjoy a great atmosphere and meal at Bluewater Grille

Jacksonville: Fly and Stay for Cheap Renuka Christoph

There is more to Florida than expensive park tickets and attractions. Jacksonville offers visitors a glimpse of unique history, beaches and a diverse downtown. And good for Nashville travelers is that it is the least expensive Florida destination from Nashville. A convenient and comfortable hotel near the airport is the Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Hotel. Airfare and hotel provide travelers with an affordable journey. The Crowne Plaza is 15 minutes from Downtown Jacksonville and 25 minutes from beaches and golf courses. A $12 million dollar renovation project was recently completed. All 317 guest rooms, lobby, meeting space and building exterior have been upgraded to enhance the

guests’ experience. Consistent with the Crowne Plaza brand, the hotel features the Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage®, which encompasses the entire sleep experience, from training staff on how to create and maintain a restful environment to providing innovative products and services to ensure a great night’s sleep. The Rain Forest Lounge, an indoor and outdoor pool are some of the amenities guests can enjoy. For more information on Jacksonville, go to

Downtown Jacksonville Crowne Plaza lobby

d n a l s I a i l e Am Discover Florida’s Hidden Gem

Amelia Island offers stunning beach views Renuka Christoph Tucked away between stretches of beach and rich vegetation lies one of the country’s most well preserved historical landmarks, Amelia Island. The barrier island, located on the northeasternmost corner of Florida, is a convenient 20 minute ride from the Jacksonville airport. Amelia Island offers 4,000 years of captivating history, being the only U.S. location under 8 flags: French, Spanish, British, Patriots, Green Cross of Florida, Mexican, Confederate and U.S. Its named after Princess Amelia, the daughter of George II. It has been occupied by Timucuan Indians and Spanish explorers as well as by pirates, nobles and confederates. The island is canvassed with Spanish moss, tropical palms, oak trees and Victorian-era architecture. Along the outskirts lies 13 miles of beach, with several entry points along the island. Stunning sea oats protect the sand while framing ocean views. The root system of these oats prevent erosion of the dunes. WHERE TO EAT Bar Zin,. located in

Palmetto Walk off of First Coast Highway, offers local artisan cheeses and fresh American bistro cuisine in a modern indoor or outdoor seating. Enjoy specialities as macadamia crusted grouper and mussels in a broth consisting of white wine, pernod and garlic-thyme butter. Cafe Karibo offers a variety of creative and tantalizing menu options including a delightful shrimp salad on a croissant and an amazing falafel in pita, which is brought in from a local bakery. Enjoy an authentic Italian meal at Pompeo’s where homemade noodles and fresh catch fish can be enjoyed. The possibilities are endless but two recommendations are the lemon grouper and Italian seafood linguine, Owner Mario Pompeo holds secret recipes close but openly shares Italian hospitality and robust flavors in his dishes. For all natural, organic fare, visit Mustard Seed Cafe. SUGGESTED STAY For complete comfort and relaxation, choose the Fairbanks House Bed and Breakfast. The 8,000

sq. ft. home was built in 1885 by R.S. Schuyler for Major George Fairbanks. The bed and breakfast offers spacious size suites, an in-ground pool and a living and dining room. Each evening, guests are invited to enjoy happy hour, including beer, wines or a sangria slush and appetizers. Every morning, the aroma of a homemade breakfast fills the halls as guests can dine in the luxurious dining room or on the porch. Fairbanks is located on South 7th St., and minutes away from dining and shopping in the historic downtown district. Bikes are offered for those who wish to bike to the beach. WHERE TO SPA The Ritz-Carlton Spa has reached the pinnacle of spa success, blending modern and ancient techniques in its massage therapies. Unique to the luxury resort is the Hammock Spa treatment, which cradles the body while a masseuse skillfully applies expert technique, offering “a sense of weightless flotation.” “Surrender” to a superb facial, where a skin expert offers individualized treatment and relaxation.

For an intimate couple’s experience, the Couples Wrap is the perfect choice. The 2½ hour treatment consists of a honey vanilla milk bath, chocolatepomegranate wrap, a warm scalp oil massage and a body massage. Unique to the spa, the couple is cocooned during the wrap to allow the chocolate to penetrate the skin. The result is smooth skin with a hint of chocolate aroma, a natural aphrodisiac. Spa goers have access to the adult spa salt water pool, saunas, steam rooms and relaxation lounges. HOW TO GET AROUND Amelia Island Shuttle Service offers transportation to/from the airport and travel within the island. WHAT TO DO Experience a boat tour while on Amelia Island. Amelia River Cruises offer a relaxing trip with the perfect views along the Inter-

(RIGHT) Guests are pampered at Fairbanks House Bed and Breakfast (BELOW) The RitzCarlton Pool facing the beach

Capt. Sean McCarthy, the “Fishin Musician” offers Eco Tours

coastal Waterway. Watch for dolphins, sea turtles, manatees, egrets, herons, spoonbills and osprey. The EcoBoat Tour brings aboard an expert marine biologist who explains marine life caught during the boat excursion. The Amelia Island Museum of History was once the Nassau County Jail. View artifacts, memoirs and take the Isle of Eight Flags Tour. Take a stroll in Fernandina Beach Historic Centre Street and find unique shopping, dining and historical markers. Recreational activities can be enjoyed at Fort Clinch State Park. Choose from swimming at the beach, hiking or biking while admiring the stunning sand dune formations. Walking trails wind through the park, displaying native plants and wildlife. For more information on Amelia Island, go to Notable facts Amelia Island was listed by and USA Today as one of 10 charming towns with local flavor in May 2012. Fort Clinch State Park was listed as a Top Five Florida State Park for Summer Tent Camping by Yahoo! Sports in May 2012. Fairbanks House received TripAdvisor’s Certificates of Excellence. The Certificate of Excellence is awarded to approximately 10 percent of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor and honors those with outstanding traveler reviews on the Web site. The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island has earned North America’s most prestigious travel award, the AAA Five Diamond travel designation, for its resort and premier restaurant, Salt.

Orlando Adventure for the Family

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Safari Ride offers stunning views

Renuka Christoph Central Florida has it all - adventure, thrill and pure family fun. It is a daunting task to select how to narrow down from a large list of to do options. Here are some ideas. The magic of Walt Disney World is indeed a mystery. The resort makes every guests feel like a king and queen, a prince and princess. The systematic flow of the crowd control and cleanliness of each of the parks is impressive. Magic Kingdom caters to a younger crowd with its majestic castle and fairy tale sites, Epcot will take travelers around the world and into the future, Hollywood Studios is where behind the scene stunt shows can be enjoyed along with various movie attractions and Animal Kingdom offers Himalayan Mountain adventures and an African safari journey. Each park is designed so differently and promises fun for every age. A good option is the park hopper which allows entry

into each of the parks for the day. It is possible to hit all four but select ahead of time the top two or three must see attractions at each park. Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center is a total destination resort offering great comfort and convenience to guests. In addition, there are complimentary shuttle rides to Disney parks. The architectural feature is the 4.5-acre glassenclosed atrium where guests discover a variety of themed environments that depict such popular Florida destinations as Key West, St. Augustine and the Everglades. Resort highlights include a replica of the Castillo de San Marcos, a Key West-inspired Mallory Square and the famed “river of grass”. Thousands of tropical plants and several species of animals including alligators and stingrays native to Florida inhabit the resort. Walking through the resort takes

guests to a surreal tropical getaway. Gaylord Palms is reminiscent of a grand Florida mansion and draws from classic Florida architecture. A must see and experience is the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament Show. Upon entering the castle, guests will feel immersed in a different time and place. There are coats of arms of prestigious families, medieval weapons and armor displays. Beyond the great doors of the Hall of Arms is the celebration arena, where guests are dined and entertained. King Philippe and his daughter-in-law, Princess Leonore draw the crowd into a world of chivalry from the balcony above. Below the feast begins with garlic bread and tomato bisque soup. There are no utensils, true to the times. The bill of fare consists of spare rib, roasted chicken and more. Meanwhile the Tournament of Games begins.

Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center offers spectacular balcony views

There is jousting, sword fighting and special effects. Each section of the crowd must cheer for their Knight to victory. It is an evening fit for royalty. Every lego lover will be thrilled to find megasize lego attractions at LEGOLAND. There are thrill rides, attractions and 4D movies. The LEGOLAND® Water Park is set to open May 26. Key areas of LEGOLAND Water Park attraction will include the LEGO Wave Pool where visitors of all ages can catch a gentle wave, Build-A-Raft River where visitors design and build a unique LEGO vessel and set afloat on a maiden voyage around the 1000-foot-long lazy river, set amongst playful LEGO Friends, flowering vegetation and palm trees. Also to come are the Twin Chasers where tubes go 375 feet down an intertwining pair of enclosed water slides before plunging into a refreshing pool below. Splash

Out will attract the thrill seekers and Joker Soaker, an interactive playground, will keep the younger crowd busy. And even toddlers will have a chance to splash with the DUPLO Splash Safari.

So as summer is quickly approaching, consider these great options in the sunshine state. Go to and visitorlando. com for more information.

Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament excites the crowd

Miniland USA at LEGOLAND is home to seven specially themed areas.


French Lick Resort

ABOVE: West Baden Springs LEFT: Waterpark fun for young visitors

Renuka Christoph French Lick Resort, French Lick, Indiana A perfect place to enjoy golfing, gaming, relaxing, hiking, shopping or sightseeing. Distance from Nashville: 201 miles, via I-65 Stay: French Lick Resort is a luxurious getaway for all ages with a remarkable history. There are two luxury hotels on the French Lick property, West Baden Springs and French Lick Springs. Guests can choose from outdoor adventure, gaming, shopping or total relaxation at the spa. The resort has preserved its historical integrity and maintained its authenticity while providing modern day comfort. Shop: Choose from antique and collectible shops, local artisan galleries and shops, as well as primitive and handcrafted home items. Enjoy Hinshaw’s Rock & Gems, a distinctive jewelry story that was mentioned in the December issue of Midwest Living as a great spot for Christmas shopping. The store is in its 50th year of business. Bear Hollow Wood Carvers artisan shop is owned by Jason Emmons, one of the top eight chainsaw carvers in the United States. Emmons is currently being featured on Saw Dogs, a reality show about chainsaw carvers on the Velocity Network. Dine: The French Lick Resort offers several dining venues including 1875 and Sinclair’s, both high-end restaurants. 33 Brickstreet is a family restaurant with a full service bar. The French Lick Winery houses a vintage café in the winery with an Italian menu. Pauline’s offers various pastries and sandwiches. Landmarks: The French Lick West Baden Museum provides the rich history of the two towns. A large portion of the museum houses a handmade Hagenbeck Wallace circus diorama. The Hagenbeck Wallace Circus was owned by Ed Ballard, who once owned the West Baden Springs Hotel. Mr. Ballard would shelter the circus animals in the area. Another area to visit is Patoka Lake, named one of the 51 best places in the United States to view wildlife. January and February are the best time of year to see bald eagles. Best Kept Secret: Paoli Peaks is a ski resort designed for all levels of skiiers. The outdoor adventure site also offers a snow tubing park. Need to know: The French Lick Resort was once believed to house the fountain of youth. The origin of West Baden Springs Hotel traces back 1778 when mineral springs and salt licks were discovered. As word spread of curative powers, the area became a travel destination. The property was abandoned after the Great Depression and a fire. In May 2007, the hotel was reopened for the first time since 1932. Surrounded by free flowing mineral water, French Lick Springs Hotel derived its name from the animals that would lick the residual salt off of the rocks surrounding the springs. In the early 20th century, the casino’s appeal drew in celebrities like boxer Joe Louis, composer Irving Berlin and gangster Al Capone as well as Franklin D. Roosevelt. In contrast to the casino, the Pluto Mineral Spring attracted visitors for its natural healing powers. Today, guests can enjoy the French Lick Springs Hotel’s Pluto Mineral Spring bath.

Breakaway to Fort Walton Beach

The Breakers offers its guests a convenient and comfortable getaway, with dining, shopping and activities nearby

Renuka Christoph Paradise for all ages, can be found along the panhandle of Florida. Fort Walton Beach offers thrill and relaxation for every type of traveler. The allure of the emerald coast and white sand draws in every spectator with its majestic display. The waves are gentle and forceful at the same time as they wash ashore. When traveling to the area, consider staying at the Breakers. Located along coast, the resort offers its own beach with plenty of nearby dining options to fit every type of budget. The Breakers offers a few floor plan options. Choose from one, two or three bedroom units with two size options for the two and three bedroom units. The rooms offer quality and comfort, fully equipped with a kitchen and all the conveniences of home away from home. ACTIVITIES There are an array of activities to choose from in the area. The following come with one complimentary admission.

DOLPHIN CRUISE The Gulf of Mexico is the ideal spot for dolphin viewing as well as an amazing array of sea life that thrive in its clear, warm water. The cruise takes guests out to find sea life, offering a peaceful ride. ONE ROUND OF GOLF WITH A HALF CART RENTAL Enjoy 18 challenging holes at Shalimar Pointe Country Club, one of Florida’s top-rated courses. (This is not available on specials or monthly reservation packages. LITTLE NEMO FISHING ADVENTURE Eager fishermen will enjoy the Little Nemo, docked at the Destin fishing fleet marina, behind the Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant in Destin. Clean, air conditioned and family oriented, this trip is a fishing tournament geared towards children five to 15. Little anglers will pull crabs from the crab traps in the bay, fish for bait fish in the pass, and troll for mackerel using the baitfish, all while competing for prizes. The

Little Nemo will provide bait, tackle, and fishing license. Experienced mates offer personal assistance. Fish cleaning services are offered for tips. There are two trips daily, an 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. The Little Nemo package is available for one adult rider per unit per paid night stay, non-cumulative. Additional tickets for adult and children riders may be purchased at the current standard rate. For more information on the Breakers, visit When taking the drive from Nashville to Fort Walton Beach, a great midpoint stay is at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa. The full service spa is a great place to unwind after road tripping. Or take a swim in the impressive and serene rooftop pool. The hotel is easily accessible with great dining to choose from, including Wintzell’s Oyster House. For more information on the Renaissance, call 1-877-545-0311 or visit

The Master Suite has a balcony with full view of the Gulf

A peaceful sunset over the calm waters

Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa is a convenient and comfortable midway stay between Nashville and Fort Walton Beach.




Visit Las Vegas and find Luxury at The Venetian

Experience serenity at one of the pools

Visit for more information The exterior of The Venetian

Courtesy Photos from The Venetian and The Palazzo

The Casino Floor

Renuka Christoph

The Blue Man group

Las Vegas is far more than just the gaming and glitter. The glamorous city offers a broad spectrum of choices which will appeal even to the non-gamers. Explore the grandeur of the themed hotels, the theatrical sensation of broadway productions and amazing dining to satisfy every palate. And find the total package of comfort, luxury, entertainment and dining at The Venetian. Located on the world-renowned Las Vegas Strip, on the historic site of the Sands Hotel, The Venetian Las Vegas rose from one man’s dream. The man behind the vision was Sheldon G. Adelson, Chairman of the Board of Las Vegas Sands Corp., who set out to authentically recreate the famous Italian city of Venice, known the world over for its canals, gondoliers, and rich Italian history. The Venetian brings the authenticity of Italy to Nevada with its baroque themed hallways, restaurants and to top it off, a gondola ride under the bridges of the canal. Enjoy the musical spectacular Phantom of the Opera and immerse yourself into the drama and romance

Relax in the lounge at LAVO

of the backstage mystery. The Andrew Lloyd Webber song from the original stirs the magic as special effects of the chandelier mesmerize the audience. The Blue Man Group delivers a stunning show blending, humor, percussion and other unique acts. The show utilizes clever props to create live art and captures the isolation of urban living through humorous performances. There are plenty of dining choices to cater to different budgets and tastes. Enjoy fine dining at LAVO and relax in the lounge. Expect superb food and service and a fun atmosphere. Lagasse’s Stadium, a vision of Emeril Lagasse is the perfect spot for the food loving sports enthusiast. Games are displayed on the screens throughout the restaurant with plush stage seats in the center of the venue. Zine Noodles Dim Sum at The Palazzo offers some of the finest in Asian cuisine. Eastern hospitality is extended to each guest and each dish is presented as a masterpiece. And make time to pamper your-


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self at the Canyon Ranch Spa. Choose from a workout, hair treatment or one of the spa treatments. Enjoy the day in the AquavanaEuropean-inspired suite of thermal spa cabins, experiential showers, cold rooms and aqua thermal bathing experiences. The Palazzo is the newest addition to the complex. The 50-story Palazzo offers 3,066 expansive suites, luxury shopping and worldclass dining and entertainment, The Palazzo Las Vegas opened in December 2007 under the direction of Sheldon G. Adelson, Chairman of the Board of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Highlighted by a flagship, 85,000-square-foot Barneys New York, The Shoppes at The Palazzo features more than 60 luxury boutiques. In addition, 20 remarkable stores and luxury brands made their Las Vegas debuts at The Palazzo, including Chloe, Tory Burch, Christian Louboutin, Diane Von Furstenberg, Van Cleef & Arpels, Catherine Malandrino, Anya Hindmarch and Michael Kors.



From Caves to Corvettes

Family Fun in Bowling Green Kentucky

The Corvette Museum displays automotive memorabilia in addition to car preparation and delivery area, Corvette Store and the Corvette Café

Renuka Christoph Explore caves and corvettes in nearby Bowling Green, Kentucky. The whole family will enjoy a day trip where fun awaits. Lost River Cave is Kentucky’s only underground boat tour. Visitors can enjoy a 20 minute boat ride into the 55 degree cave sanctuary. Inside are natural rock formations which stretch the imagination, from a mummy to a tiger. The brief journey gives visitors a glimpse of another world. The Old Mill gift shop has charming artifacts and souvenirs. Find everything from fossils and rocks to Kentuckymade food products. Young explorers will enjoy participating in a rock dig or fossil find. Sifting through the sand, younger visitors can find treasures. Bring walking shoes and enjoy a hike on the scenic trails. The following are upcoming events at Lost River Cave. May, 15th - Geocaching 101 and Flash Mob Join the Lost River Cave Team and local geocaching expert, Danny Bays for an exciting geocaching adventure. When the clock strikes 10:00 AM rush from wherever you are standing towards the Lost River Water Wheel.

A flashmob will happen simultaneously with hundreds of other flash mobs all over the world. Then learn about geocahing and explore the Lost River Valley. Geocaching is an interactive treasure hunt that uses latitude/ longitude coordinates and GPS technology to find caches all over the world. The event begins at 10:00 AM at Lost River Cave & Valley June 5th, 2010 - National Trails Day Celebration - Lost River Cave is proud to announce its first annual event celebrating the beauty of nature trails all over the country. Offered will be Bluebird Talks with a local expert, a Bike Safety Talk and Greenways Trail Ride, Nature Photography Seminar, a guided hike of the Lost River Valley, a “Leave No Trace” presentation, and an optional Invasive Plant Pull. The first event begins at 10:00 AM and the plant pull, being the last event, begins at 3:00 PM June, 27th, 2010 - Annual Butterfly Celebration Visit the Charles W. Miller Butterfly Habitat from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. This event is free to anyone who wants to attend. Meet in the valley for

FREE butterfly gardening tips, great photo opportunities, face painting, FREE lemonade, and information about Rain Barrels. The first 100 children who arrive get to release their very own butterfly into the habitat. Be sure to learn about the environmentally friendly rain barrels and register to win a FREE “Friends and Family” membership, a $75 value. Visit for more information. After a glimpse of natural rock formations, cruise on over to the Corvette Museum. The Museum is well designed and moves visitors through a timeline of the classic American sportscar. The largest display area is the famous Skydome portion of the Museum, 140 feet in diameter with a nearly 100-foot high glass ceiling. Cars in this area, as in every part of the Museum, are constantly being changed and rotated. The Skydome features production vehicles on-loan from private owners as well as cars made famous by magazines and auto shows the world over. There are also several display cases showing valuable Corvette collectibles. Each year a selection of

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individuals are honored for their contributions to Corvette, and the sky dome is a place of recognition for the prestigious Corvette Hall of Fame. Current inductees are spotlighted within the spire, while information and video clips on every inductee is available via two touch-screen kiosks. Kids will enjoy the interactive play area which will keep them occupied and challenge their sciVisitors enjoy the boat tour in Lost River Cave entific creativity. After enjoying the Museum, visit the Corvette Café. The Café is a 50’s-themed diner with modern menu favorites. Open for breakfast Monday through Saturday and lunch daily until 3:30pm, visitor can enjoy everything from a burger and hand-spun shake, to wraps, soup, salad, sandwiches and many other favorites hot off the grill. The National Corvette Museum opened in 1994 as an educational tribute to America’s sports car. Every Corvette in the world since 1981 is assembled at the General Eli and Elliot Christoph enjoy Lost River Mining as Motors Bowling Green they pan for gemstones Assembly Plant located just ¼ mile from the National Corvette Museum. Both the Museum and Assembly Plant offer tours to the public. Visit for more information. Entrance to the Lost River Cave boatride

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t n e m e t i Exc Tunica in

Harrah’s in Tunica

Renuka Christoph Go for the gold in the mines of Tunica. Slot machines, black jack, poker, name the game and hope for the jackpot. The gaming thrill of the casinos take guests into another world. Tunica offers visitors with a number of different casino locations. It’s a gamble whether one will come out ahead, but the thrill clearly keeps seats filled.. Visitors can enjoy complementary beverages as they play. Take a break from the exhilaration of the casinos and relax at the Bellissimo

Spa at Harrah’s Terrace Hotel. The spacious haven will calm the spirit and quiet the soul. Enjoy various spa treatments such as the Bellissimo Facial or Swedish Massage. It is the perfect tension release which guests are sure to cherish. The16,000-square-foot facility is on the first floor of the Terrace Hotel. Everyone can find a favorite at Paula Deen’s Buffet exclusive to Harrah’s. Enjoy downhome cookin’ in an upscale buffet. Paula’s classics are sure to satisfy. In addition, there are plenty

of nearby destinations. Memphis, Tennessee Memphis is the home of Elvis, pork barbeque, Rock ‘n Roll and the Blues. Spend time touring Elvis’ Graceland, the automotive museum, his private jets and the Meditation Garden where Elvis and his family are buried. Visit the new Smithsonian Rock ‘n Roll Museum, Beale Street, Memphis Zoo, Sun Records and much more. Attend a Memphis Grizzlies (NBA) game at the new FedEx Forum or a Memphis Redbirds (baseball) game

at AutoZone Park. Clarksdale, Mississippi Located 35 miles south on Highway 61, Clarksdale was the home of many Blues legends, including W.C. Handy, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. Tour the Delta Blues Museum, housed in the newly renovated Clarksdale Depot. Your tour might include a stop at the Hopson Plantation for a glimpse of the Mississippi Delta agriculture. Consider an evening at actor Morgan Freeman’s Madiddi’s Restaurant or Ground Zero

Blues Club. Oxford, Mississippi In Oxford, located approximately 70 miles away from the casino resort area, you can visit Rowan Oak, home of William Faulkner. The town square in Oxford is known for its specialty shops, unique restaurants, and Square Books. Oxford is also home of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), rich with history and found on a beautiful campus. Mississippi Delta The Mississippi Delta is

where roots run deep, and history and culture have intertwined to create a place unique to the world. For the thousands of visitors who come each year, the Delta is more than just part of something larger. More than a region or a feature on a map, the Delta is a land unto itself. The Mississippi Delta includes: DeSoto County, Clarksdale, Cleveland, Greenville, Greenwood, Indianola, Vicksburg, and Yazoo City. Go to for updates on all of these area travel locations.

Orlando - Nation’s top Destination for Travel in 2010 - Launches New Deals for the New Year ORLANDO, Fla. – With Orlando fresh off the distinction by Travel Leader’s as the top domestic destination being booked for 2010, the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. (Orlando CVB) has launched a new program featuring rotating Super Deals for travel any time throughout the year. Only available through, Southwest Vacations kicks off the Super Deal program with an exclusive Orlando CVB offer starting at $34 a day for a seven day Orlando vacation. Offer details include: From now until March 1, when you purchase a flight + 7-night hotel package at select Orlando ho-

tels, three of those nights are FREE! Hotel options include locations throughout Orlando including DoubleTree at the Entrance to Universal Orlando, Sheraton Safari Hotel & Suites, Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel and more. Travelers who book this exclusive Orlando CVB package on will save an extra $150. In addition, a 7-day Disney’s Magic Your Way® Ticket can be added to the package for the price of a 4-day ticket. The Southwest Vacations Super Deal is only available to book until

March 1, but travel can take place anytime during 2010. A new limited-time Super Deal will be unveiled on March 2 and new Super Deals will continue to rotate through 2010. For more details and to book, go to deals. In addition to the Super Deal, the Orlando CVB unveiled its 2010 Orlando Magicard which provides year-round savings at more than 75 area establishments including attractions, accommodations, restaurants, dinner theaters, ground transportation, golf courses, and cultural arts. The Orlando Magicard is free and can be downloaded at, requested for mail delivery

by calling 1-800-551-0181, or picked up at The Official Visitors Center in Orlando. The 2010 version of the card provides expanded offers including theme park deals and other significant savings options such as free nights plus additional free amenities at area accommodations; buy one ticket, get one free offers at attractions; or straight discounts up to 50% off. Examples include: * Orange County Regional History Center: One free admission with each paid admission * Ripley’s Believe It or Not: $2.00 off admission plus second day free * Orlando Shakespeare Theatre: Purchase one ticket and receive a


YOURS! Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) use about one-fourth the energy of incandescent lightbulbs.* By using CFLs in your home, you have the power to save energy and money. Conserve Today.

Save Tomorrow.

*Source: U.S. Department of Energy

free second ticket of equal or lesser value * Funky Monkey Wine Company, Pointe Orlando: Complimentary sushi roll with entrée * Capone’s Dinner & Show: 50% off all tickets plus free souvenir * Marriott’s Grande Vista Resort: Buy 3 nights, get 2 nights free, plus two adult 3-day tickets to any of the four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks For more information about vacation experiences in Orlando, to order a complimentary vacation planning kit that includes a comprehensive Official Vacation Guide the Orlando Magicard™ or to purchase discount attraction tickets, visitors can log onto Or-

lando’s official Web site at or call an Official Travel Counselor at 1-800-551-0181 (United States and Canada) or 407-363-5872. For real time updates, follow us on Twitter at VisitOrlando or Facebook at While in Orlando, visitors may stop by the Official Visitor Center located at 8723 International Drive, at the southeast corner of International Drive and Austrian Row. The Official Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (closes at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 and is closed Dec. 25).



Discover the Gulf! Alabama’s shores offer coastal paradise

View from the balcony of The Island House Hotel

Renuka Christoph Paradise is often thought of as some far away place on the other side of the world. But this theory can be disproven upon the shores of Alabama. Experience uninterrupted stretches of sandy white beach and sparkling blue water in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Find comfortable and scenic accommodations at The Island House Hotel. The beach is in the backyard as every room offers a Gulf view. Located on Perdido Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach, The Island House Hotel extends the finest in Southern hospitality to its guests. The Hangout lives up to its name as a great place to lounge. Outdoor comfort can be found outside the restaurant with cozy, adequate seating and live music. Check out the Big Daddy “Baked” Stuffed Oysters as a great starter. Fish tacos are a winner for dinner and save room for the fried honeybun. Tacky Jack’s is known for its Farmer’s Market omelet and belgian waffles. The portions will carry visitors well beyond lunch. A must stop and eat at place is King Neptune’s Seafood Restaurant. The

prices can’t be beat. But more important, the cuisine will tantalize the taste buds of every seafood lover. The corn and crab bisque is sensational. The West Indies salad offers a refreshing zest of flavor with its marinated jumbo lump crabmeat. Unique to the area is royal red shrimp. It is sweeter than other shrimp and literally red. Another must have are the fried crab claws. Check out LuLu’s at Homeport Marina for a burger made with all natural grass-fed beef. Cosmo’s Restaurant offers an eclectic atmosphere and affordable, fusion cuisine. Although the endless miles of sugar white sand remain the area’s number one attraction, individuals searching for an activity off the beach are sure to find numerous options with the following trails: The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail attracts avid bird watchers and novices to its six loops that wind throughout Baldwin and Mobile Counties. Highlighting a large diversity of ecosystems, each trail loop could easily take a half day or more. Suggestions are

given for some of the birds that may be expected at each site. This coastal area serves as a crucial layover point for migratory neotropical birds in the spring and fall. For more information, visit The Battle of Mobile Bay Civil War Trail is a 90mile trail that features 18 sites throughout Baldwin and Mobile Counties. Each stop on the trail utilizes interpretative signage to convey the stories of ship captains, fort commanders and common fighting men who played a role in this battle and the Overland Campaign. For more information, visit The Orange Beach Canoe Trail is a 10-stop trail that begins on the north side of Pleasure Island (near Wolf Bay) and travels east along the Intracoastal Waterway before passing around Bear Point. The trail then continues west through Bayou St. John and Terry Cove to reach the final stop in Cotton Bayou. Organized by the City of Orange Beach, this trail features designated signage at each stop. For more information, visit

The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail is a nearly 8 mile long trail that highlights diverse landscapes, such as pitcher plant bogs, ancient hardwood forests, pine savanna, swamps and scrub-covered dunes. The trails are Catman Trail (which runs to Orange Beach), an extension that runs alongside the Orange Beach Sportsplex, the Gulf Park Oak Ridge Trail (that runs to the back of the golf course) and the Rosemary Trail (which runs south of Middle Lake and Little Lake and comes out on the beach road). Developed through a partnership between the Gulf State Park and the City of Orange Beach, construction on the Back Country Trail began in 2003, and it was subsequently dedicated to Branyon, the longtime Gulf State Park superintendent who has worked in State Parks Division since the 1960s. This trail and the surrounding public land will remain free to anyone wishing to visit on their own time. The Gulf State Park, through which parts of the guided tour travel, also has several other trails.

In June 2009, the Backcountry Trail was named a National Recreation Trail by the U.S. Department of Interior and became only the third trail in the state to receive this prestigious honor. For more information, visit or www.alapark. com/GulfState. Alabama’s Coastal Connection is an approximately 130 mile scenic byway highlighting the authentic resources and attractions of the southern tip of the state. Beginning at the Grand Bay exit (exit #4) on Interstate 10, this scenic route travels throughout Mobile and Baldwin counties and returns to the interstate at the Daphne exit (exit #35). Highlights along the journey feature the area’s connection with the waters, ways and wildlife native to this charming detour from normal interstate travels.

What would you do if you were left out in the cold?

The byway was honored with a state designation in 2004 and became a National Scenic Byway in 2009. For more information and a downloadable map, visit Within an eight hour drive from Nashville , find 32 miles of sugar white sand and warm coastal waters. All ages will relish Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Lucy Buffet’s Lulu’s at Homeport Marina (Jimmy Buffet’s sister)

You can make sure your neighbors in need stay warm this winter by adding just one dollar to your electric bill each month through NES’ emergency energy assistance program, PROJECT HELP. To learn more, visit



The Hutton Hotel

Brings Luxury and Class to Music City

The Hutton Hotel impresses guests within steps of entry Renuka Christoph

Nashville can boast of its premiere luxury boutique hotel now open. The cozy yet modern artistic surroundings cater to all ages that visit. The Hutton extends a generous dose of Southern hospitatliy. The four-star independent luxury hotel has been honored as a member of the world’s most prestigious collection of luxury hotels: The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. “Achieving this status of The Leading Hotels of the World is a great honor, establishing Hutton Hotel as one of the finest

hotels in the world,” said Steven André, General Manager of Hutton Hotel. “We are delighted to be among a superior class of hotels and resorts that share our distinction and level of service.” Providing a fresh new alternative to downtown, Hutton Hotel is situated on West End, boasting an ideal balance of elegance and comfort. This independent luxury hotel houses innovative technology and sustainability features throughout paired with custom-designed finishes and amenities keeping business and weekend guests in

mind. Nashville’s newest signature hotel features unique guest experiences including: • 248 stylish rooms, including 54 suites, featuring sumptuous bedding, granite baths and showers, refreshment centers and laptop safes • 2 spectacular Penthouse Apartments, with restricted access, private balcony, fireplace, 50” LCD-HDTV with surround sound, steam showers, wet bar and more • 13,600 square feet of meeting space and

an executive boardroom, all equipped with stateof-the-art A/V and sound systems • 1808 Grill, a New American cuisine restaurant, specializing in fresh fish and meats for a casual, yet upscale dining experience

Hutton’s modern, yet elegant design will be one of a kind and comparable to some of the best boutique hotels around the world. Hutton Hotel is a development of Amerimar Enterprises, a recog-

nized leader in the renovation and repositioning of office, hotel, retail, multi-family and mixed use properties throughout the country. For more information, please visit

About Hutton Hotel Hutton Hotel, Nashville’s newest independent luxury hotel, is set to open in January 2009 at 1808 West End Avenue. Hutton will offer 248 guest rooms and 13,600 additional square feet of meeting space, along with some retail space. The Hutton Hotel lobby

THE ELF ON THE SHELF ® TRADITION-IN-A-BOX™ A Budget-Savvy, Affordable Christmas Classic THE NORTH POLE — When money is tight, families get creative, especially when it comes to ways to make the holidays magical for their young ones. “When we talk to parents around the country, their most cherished holiday memories are less about any one particular toy and more about the simple joy of family traditions,” says Carol Aebersold, coauthor, along with her daughter Chanda Bell, of The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition®. “We

see a return to tradition, rather than extravagant spending, becoming the heart of the holidays for families.” Never has that been more profound than in today’s economy. According to Aebersold, parents are keeping a close eye on their holiday spending and are delighted to create new traditions with their own children around The Elf on the Shelf. Whether their elf makes its first appearance of the season on Thanksgiving Day or they enjoy the hunt for their elf each morning, families are

2010 Alaskan Cruise May 28- June 3 on the Celebrity Infinity

Seattle, Ketchikan, Tracy Arms, Juneau, Skagway, Inside Passage, Victoria and return to Seattle. Scheduled to Depart from Seattle, Washington Date: Friday, May 28, 2010 Time: 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time

creating lasting memories that will be woven into the fabric of their family history. Explains Aebersold, “With The Elf on the Shelf parents enter into that state of wonder and amazement right along with their children. Celebrating the holidays isn’t about spending money; rather, it’s about spending time together as a family.” In that way, The Elf on the Shelf is much like the classics of yesteryear — affordable and dependent on a child’s innocent belief to truly come to life. More importantly,

the classics hold their value in ways fads never do. Many moms and dads may remember the Scandinavian tale of the pixie elf who reports to Santa on their behavior but appreciate the way Aebersold and Bell, along with illustrator Coë Steinwart, have given it new life. Their beautifully illustrated hardcover book tells the story of why Santa relies upon these scout elves to do his job and explains how they work. Last year, the gift set was so popular that moms were meet-

ing delivery trucks in the store parking lots, grabbing a keepsake box for their families before they even made it onto shelves. This year looks to be even hotter. Both national and independent retailers are promoting The Elf on the Shelf as one of their best holiday buys and predict it will be one of the season’s best-selling items. Even in this hyperelectronic age, toys powered by imagination are becoming even more popular with a new generation of families.

Payment Plan: $500.00 per cabin Balance (Total) Due: March 1, 2010 Please remit payment to the Office of Alumni AffairsAttention: Mrs. Rena Thompson Additional Information: 12 hours CE course credit pending Strongly recommend that you carry your passport. Fly into Seattle, Washington. Air fares are not included in the above referenced fees. Questions? Please call 615-327-6266




Eat | Shop | Play

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant serves the signature Marzen Barbeque burger.

The Ellis is one of Atlanta’s Newest Boutique Hotels. High Kickin’ Holidays rates start at $99 per night, allowing visitors the option to relish with breakfast in bed and sip on savory cocktails at The Lobby Bar then enjoy dinner at Terrace, the pure and simple restaurant overlooking Peachtree Street.

Colin Kopel, Manager at The Atlanta Fish Market, serves a fine meal

Renuka Christoph

The season for holiday shopping and hustling has arrived. Consider a venture out of Music City for a different spin during the holiday shopping experience. Atlanta is the perfect spot with endless shopping and phenomenal dining. A quick weekend getaway to Atlanta will refresh and recharge while

offering some of the best in shopping. Whether a visit to IKEA, downtown shopping or nearby outlet malls, Atlanta truly has something for everyone. The variety is unbeatable and worth checking out. Stay at the Ellis Hotel which is downtown Atlanta’s newest chic boutique hotel. The charming hotel provides a modern

coziness with a touch of class. Included in the stay are Molten Brown products for further overnight enhancement. For a great lunch spot, check out Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. There are plenty of good picks, including the fish tacos or the Marzen Barbeque burger. The appetizer to go for is the

Brewer’s Feast which consists of Kobe sliders, garlic fries, southwest egg rolls and hummus with garlic crostini. The Brewery is especially known for the garlic fries. The venue provides friendly service and great food. For dinner, look no further than The Atlanta Fish Market where guests

will find Atlanta’s finest seafood. With an impressive array of seafood, the enticing choices are flown in fresh daily. The clever atmosphere intertwines a fish marketplace with fine dining. Choice picks are the Chilean Sea Bass, Cedar Planked Short Smoked Atlantic Salmon, Grouper Francese. Appetizer

must-haves are the Jumbo Lump Crabcakes and Signature Flash Fried Lobster Tail. And save room for the Bread Pudding soaked in rum! Hop in the car and enjoy the pleasant and nearby drive to Atlanta, indulging in some of the finest in dining and shopping.

Holiday picks of the week: Aerobed® Luxury Collection Mattress Style Pillowtop Inflatable Bed: Comfort and convenience combined with this quality product. A great Mattress provides cushiony comfort with an extra plush air pillow top design. The Smart Pump has automatic inflate and deflate with one click control, and automatic shut-off once the bed is fully inflated. The comfort control wand provides unlimited range of firmness adjustment at the touch of a button. The large air release valve quickly and easily “whooshes” the air out. The reinforced bed construction keeps air distributed evenly all night long while the outer ring provides stable edge support. Sleephones: Called pajamas for the ears, these fleece band earphones block noise while offering sound quality. The speakers are removable and the headband is machine washable.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites


A comfortable stay between Nashville and Chattanooga 111 Hospitality Blvd. 931-728-9383

All Aboard

Travel for kids: Toy: Legos: Take your pick! Book: Diary of a Wimpy kid

2010 Alaskan Cruise May 28- June 3 on the Celebrity Infinity

Seattle, Ketchikan, Tracy Arms, Juneau, Skagway, Inside Passage, Victoria and return to Seattle. Scheduled to Depart from Seattle, Washington Date: Friday, May 28, 2010 Time: 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Payment Plan: $500.00 per cabin Balance (Total) Due: March 1, 2010 Please remit payment to the Office of Alumni AffairsAttention: Mrs. Rena Thompson Additional Information: 12 hours CE course credit pending Strongly recommend that you carry your passport. Fly into Seattle, Washington. Air fares are not included in the above referenced fees. Questions? Please call 615-327-6266



September 24-30, 2009

Discover Historical Charm and Coastal Fun

B 1B

Mobile Alabama

Dauphin Island Pavilions Photo: Mike Henderson

The enchanting lobby of the Historic Battle House Renaissance Hotel was once referred to as the “Living room” of downtown Mobile.

Renuka Christoph Mobile Bay is a great travel destination for all ages, whether the excursion is for a beach escape or exposure to Southern culture and history. There are plenty of choices for the busy or leisurely traveler. Places to visit Mobile at Fort Conde and the Museum of Mobile. The Museum of Mobile was once a viable marketplace, buzzing with vendors and eager shoppers. Visitors will get lost in imagination upon entering the historical landmark, where carriages once roam the open walkways. The Mobile Carnival Museum A little known fact is that the first Mardi Gras was in Mobile in 1703, Mobile is rich with Mardi Gras traditions. Visitors will be in awe over the luxurious display of the jeweled crowns, lavish gowns and robes of Mobile’s Mardi Gras Kings and Queens in this historic Government Street mansion,. There are fascinating stories about secret societies

and festivities unique to the festival. Dauphin Island Sail Dauphin Island aboard Action Adventures’ “The Duke.” All can come on aboard and enjoy a scenic ride and experience watching a fresh catch of aquatic life in the fishnet. Fort Gaines and the Estuarium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab The sea lab will be enjoyable for all ages with aquatic information about the local waters Estuaries are the parts of bodies of water where salt and freshwater meet. They do not resemble river or ocean habitats. The Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuary Walk along the wooden boardwalks through the natural ecosystem which houses migrating birds and butterflies. The Sanctuary consists of 164 acres of maritime forest, marshes, and dunes, including a lake, a swamp and a beach. Places to eat Spot of Tea A historical landmark transformed into

Fort Gaines Blacksmith utilizes a forge and anvil, hammer and tongs to make agricultural, household and military items from iron and steel. Photo: Mike Henderson

an eclectic restaurant, the “Spot of Tea” is far more than a tea room. The luxury two story loft offers rental party rooms upstairs and a club and restaurant downstairs. Homemade cooking by Ruby T. Moore draws in a daily crowd in Historic Downtown Mobile. Wintzell’s Oyster House Oyster lovers, go no further. A must stop is the Oyster House where oysters can be enjoyed “fried, stewed or nude.” and outstanding seafood in a casual atmosphere. Also enjoy crawfish etoufee, fried crab claws or bacon wrapped shrimp. Bimini Bob’s A phenominal restaurant with waterfront sunset deck overlooking Mobile Bay, enjoy some of the finest food in the area along with live music. The view of the downtown skyline is the backdrop to the scenic water view. Former football pro for the Miami Dolphins, Bob Baumhower has scored a touchdown with creative and fresh seafood dishes at reasonable prices.

Mobile Carnival Museum has some of the most exquisite royal gowns on display

Where to stay Battle Renaissance House Hotel

The Battle House, A Renaissance Hotel provides superior hospitality and comfort. Originally built in 1852, this downtown Mobile hotel was the primary gathering place for high society. Each of the newly renovated rooms are a spacious haven of luxury. Get a total mind, body and spirit release at the modern spa. One of the high points, figuratively and literally is the rooftop pool where guests can enjoy a leisurely swim or relax in the hot tub while taking in a city view. Mobile Bay is the perfect family or couple destination with rich heritage and history surrounded by the scenic gulf.

The African-American Heritage Trail History comes alive through a variety of Tours. The Trail spotlights Mobile’s culturally diverse heritage by linking historic contributions and events with significant locations. The Trail reveals the forgotten chapters of history telling the stories of courage and contributions made by Unsung Heroes from Mobile’s ethnically diverse past. The African-American Heritage Trail’s primary objective is to share Mobile’s diverse story. A forgotten past is recalled – the early creoles of African descent; African survivors from the Clotilda (the last slave ship to enter the US in 1860); newly freed blacks who worshipped and built the oldest churches in Alabama; African-Americans who settled in an area named ironically for Jefferson Davis – Davis Avenue that was later renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Ave; and the Civil Rights Advocates that were integral to the evolution of Mobile’s di-

verse heritage. Through the African American Heritage Trail experience, all participants will develop a taste for the rich gumbo of ethnicity as revealed by Mobile’s past and will enhance their lifelong understanding of the African-American’s role in Mobile history. Step on Tours are presently available for groups. A Tour Guide will board your bus with a map for your Driver and narrate your group’s tour of the many African American Heritage Trail sites.

15th Annual BAYFEST Music Festival Oct 2nd, 2009-Oct 4th, 2009 BayFest will celebrate its 15th anniversary on October 2-4, 2009 on the streets of downtown Mobile, Alabama for three days and nights. ayFest has become known throughout the region for its vast array of renowned musical talent suitable for the entire family.Visit




A scenic view of a sunrise in the Smokies Renuka Christoph

One of the greatest family destinations offered in Tennessee is scenic Gatlinburg. Whether the goal is to take in nature, enjoy local attractions, or a combination of both, all ages will be in awe of the Smoky Mountain landscape and venues surrounding the area. Attractions are found throughout Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Ripley’s offers thrills, shrills and aquatic fascination with its Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Musuem and top rated Ripley Aquarium of the Smokies. It was recently voted the Number One Aquarium in the United States by TripAdvisor. Get an aerial view of mountain tops on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram. It takes visitors to the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort & Amusement Park. Some of the activities to choose from include indoor ice skating, an allpine slide, water rides and a wildlife encounter. Find great food reasonably priced at McCutchin’s Brass Grill. Enjoy a prime rib sandwich and fries for $9.95. A dinner must have is Lineberger’s Seafood Company. The oceanic atmosphere combines style and comfort in this outstanding establishment. An excellent place to stay is at the new Baskins Creek Condos. Guests will feel at home in the cozy and spacious rooms.

Enjoy arts and crafts, fudge, candy stores, pottery and other specialty shops at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. UPCOMING EVENTS December 1 to 20 – Winter Magic Tunes & Tales tm – Through the holiday season, visitors can meet characters and storytellers and enjoy a capella caroling and live entertainment along the Parkway Friday and Saturday evenings during this third annual event! (GSE) (800) 568-4748 December 1 to 31 ¬– Gatlinburg Winter Magic tm – The City of Gatlinburg magically lights up the winter nights with dozens of spectacular light displays, featuring all LED bulbs. (GSE) (800) 568-4748 December 1 to 30 – Gatlinburg Winter Magic tm Trolley Ride of Lights – Enjoy a guided trolley tour of Gatlinburg Winter Magic tm lighting displays. Departure is from the Ripley’s Aquarium Trolley Station. Group reservations are available. Trolley leaves at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30. (GSE) Tickets on sale October 15. (865) 436-0535 ($) December 31 – New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show & Ball Drop – For the 22nd straight year, the Space Needle area at traffic light #8 comes alive at the stroke of midnight with a fabulous fireworks show. Features free party fa-

vors and live entertainment. “Best New Year’s Eve Show in the South.” (GSE) (800) 568-4748 JANUARY 2010 January 1 to 31 Gatlinburg Winter Magic tm – The City of Gatlinburg magically lights up the winter nights with dozens of spectacular light displays, featuring all LED bulbs. (GSE) (800) 568-4748 January 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 – Gatlinburg Winter Magic tm Trolley Ride of Lights – Enjoy a guided trolley tour of spectacular Gatlinburg Winter Magic tm lighting displays. Departure is from the Ripley’s Aquarium Trolley Station. Group reservations are available. Trolley leaves at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30. (GSE) (865) 436-0535 ($)

through February. Participants can learn about computer recording, explore professional work opportunities and walk away with a CD recording. For information, contact Laurence Evans or Dave Anderson (865) 436-4990 ($) January 31 – Tennessee Winter Special Olympics – Winter sports competitions including ice skating, snowboarding and snow skiing. Ober Gatlinburg (800) 251-9202

January 4 to 31 – Night Magic Skiing – Purchase a Lift Ticket Monday through Friday (non-holidays) from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Ober Gatlinburg (865) 436-5423 ($)

Shopping is a delight in Gatlinburg


January 28 – Rock Gatlinburg – Aspiring high school and middle school band performers and individual musicians get the opportunity to meet and receive guidance from professional musicians during this event hosted by the Gatlinburg Recreation Department at the Community Center on five consecutive Thursdays

2010 Alaskan Cruise May 28- June 3 on the Celebrity Infinity

Seattle, Ketchikan, Tracy Arms, Juneau, Skagway, Inside Passage, Victoria and return to Seattle. Scheduled to Depart from Seattle, Washington Date: Friday, May 28, 2010 Time: 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time


Payment Plan: $500.00 per cabin Balance (Total) Due: March 1, 2010 Please remit payment to the Office of Alumni AffairsAttention: Mrs. Rena Thompson Additional Information: 12 hours CE course credit pending Strongly recommend that you carry your passport. Fly into Seattle, Washington. Air fares are not included in the above referenced fees. Questions? Please call 615-327-6266



Connect Mind, Body and Spirit at Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa

The Ross Bridge Spa and Golf Resort

The Spa at Ross Bridge Golf Resort

Brock’s Restaurant

Renuka Christoph Looking for the perfect pampering to fight off the post holiday blues? Look no further than a pleasant three hour drive to the Ross Bridge Spa and Golf Resort in Hoover, Alabama. The Resort has maintained its Scottish theme and delivers its guests with lavish comforts throughout the facility. Experience the finest in golfing on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and relaxation at the Spa. The Ross Bridge course has stunning views that range from 4,800 yards to 8,191 yards and is designed specifically for PGA tournament play. The course is conducive for the casual golfer on up to the tournament player. It is the premier course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Golf Digest already calls it “one of the top-50 trips in the world,” and is equivalent to a trip to paradise. For dining, Brock’s offers fine dining with a

Mediterranean influence. The menu is cleverly designed to give guests the option of smaller portions so they can combine entrees. Dinner recommendations include the Seared Scallops and Filet of Beef Tenderloin. A breakfast signature worth trying is the Lemon Souffle Pancake. It is topped with raspberries, pine nuts and raspberry sauce. Another item would be the Poached eggs brock’s. The eggs are served on polenta cakes with greens, prosciutto and truffle sabayon. There is free wine tastings in Brock’s for guests on Wednesdays and Fridays. Casual dining is offered at the Clubhouse. The mac and cheese will satisfy the cheese lover. JT’s Bar is located on the main level and overlooks the resort pool and golf course. There is also a Coffee Shop in the lobby. Make a day at the Spa and find total tranquil-

ity and escape from the noise. There are several treatments to pick from. Suggestions are the Lavender Heaven Body Experience which indulges the senses with soothing lavender oil and massage. It is a must have for the ultimate body experience. Other recommendations are the Ross Bridge Signature Massage. For a facial, consider the Ross Bridge Facial. “We pride ourselves on our very high level of guest service,” said Susie Marquez, director of the RTJ Spa Trail. “When a guest schedules an appointment with us, we don’t just treat it as a massage or a facial. We try to create the optimal spa experience from beginning to end. Having the top three Renaissance spas and two of the top five in Marriott, including the top spa globally, is a real honor.” It is among the top three Renaissance Hotel spas for guest satisfaction in Alabama.

“From traditional warm stone massages to caviar facials, the RTJ Spa Trail features five spas across Alabama offering innovative treatments in exquisite settings,” said Steve Solberg, president and CEO of PCH Hotels & Resorts. Owned by the Retirement Systems of Alabama, the RTJ Spa Trail is part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Resort Collection. “With 57,000 square feet of space collectively, the Spa Trail locations feature 38 treatment rooms and more than 130 employees dedicated to creating relaxing and rejuvenating experiences for our guests,” said Solberg. “From the shores of Mobile Bay to the edge of the Tennessee River, the Spa Trail features some of the country’s best spas. We currently are tied with Hawaii in the number of quality spas recognized by BestSpasUSA and we still have two more to be re-

viewed.” Arizona, California and Florida are the top three states, followed by Alabama and Hawaii. As part of the new Spa Trail, an annual RTJ Spa Trail Card was created to offer discounts on spa services, hotel rooms, dining and retail shopping. A complimentary glass of wine, extended use of the spa facilities and free make-up touch ups are additional values offered to Spa Trail Card members. The RTJ Spa Trail Card costs $40 and comes with a $20 gift card which can be used in any of the five spas. “Guests having spa treatments at each of the RTJ Spa Trail’s five locations will earn a free treatment of their choice at any of the spas,” said Solberg. HISTORY In the mid 1800’s, James Taylor Ross moved his family to the Oxmoor Valley from South Carolina and began planting orchards on their new

What would you do if you were left out in the cold?

land in Alabama. Ross, a Scotsman, brought along a taste for the finer things, a spirit of entrepreneurship and the love of his native land’s golf. Needing a method to transport the materials produced by Birmingham’s industrial age, a bridge was built on the Ross estate during the Civil War connecting the city with the region. Seeded in a colorful history of family and perseverance, the Ross estate has bloomed into a picturesque resort featuring world-class golf, luxury accommodations and a menu of luxury amenities exceeding James’ dreams. The Southern architecture and strength of the original Ross Bridge still remain today and are complemented by the rebirth of Birmingham’s only destination resort. So for the perfect nearby getaway that is sure to please, consider a visit to the Ross Bridge Spa and Golf Resort where total relaxation awaits.

You can make sure your neighbors in need stay warm this winter by adding just one dollar to your electric bill each month through NES’ emergency energy assistance program, PROJECT HELP. To learn more, visit



JULY 23-JULY 29, 2009


Escape to


Tallulah Falls, GA

Tallulah Gorge is known as the “Grand Canyon of the East”. It contains a series of five waterfalls and a suspension bridge for adventuresome hikers. Renuka Christoph

If you are looking for majestic waterfalls crashing on the rocks, nature trails winding around babbling brooks and dense forest then look no further than Tallulah Falls, GA. The Blue Ridge Mountains are every nature lover’s dream. The breathtaking views are avail-

able throughout various stopping points on Hwy 295. At each of the peaks find nothing but uninterrupted views of treetops lining the mountains. The surround sound of the water and alluring views of the terrain engulf all who visit. The trails around the Falls range in difficulty so visi-

tors can take their pick between a leisurely walk or a challenging workout. While experiencing the deep South, stay at The Lodge at Tallulah Falls. The country inn offers impeccable rooms and the finest in southern hospitality. The Lodge at Tallulah Falls is located be-

tween the towns of Clarkesville and Clayton, GA which are charming towns with unique shopping and dining. The location of the Lodge is perfect for outdoor recreationalists- hikers, kayakers, mountain biking enthusiasts, whitewater rafting thrill seekers, equestrians, bird watchers,

trout fishermen, golfers and those who would enjoy boating on Lake Rabun and Lake Burton. Rabun County is filled with recreation, natural attractions, a plethora of dining choices and array of specialty shopping stores. Visit www. for more details.

“Wine is the essence of the land.” MaryAnn Hardman

Persimmon Creek Vineyards

Persimmon Creek Vineyards offers 100% estate grown Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Seyval Blanc


Persimmon Creek Vineyards offer cottage overnight accommodations

ersimmon Creek Vineyards is a haven nestled in the northeastern Georgia mountains. The Vineyard is a boutique, familyowned winery located on 110 acres of farmland. Wines are produced on premise from 100% estate grapes, with many processes – picking, crushing, bottling, corking and labeling – done by hand. What makes this property so enticing is not only the tours, but the option to stay onsite at one the luxury

cottages. Comfort is coupled with style in each of the cottages. They are surrounded by woods within the scenic hills. MaryAnn and Sonny Hardman have poured their heart and passion into their craft. MaryAnn describes wine as being the essence of the land, the taste of the region. Persimmon Creek Vineyards exemplifies that fine wine can be found in the South. Each year, the Vineyard has sold out of

each variety; while production has increased to 2000 cases per year. The Hardmans routinely partner with celebrated chefs to host special events at the vineyard, emphasizing their closely-held philosophy of “what grows together goes together.” It is a labor of love and felt by all who visit the special place. For more information on the Vineyard, visit



JUNE 11-JUNE 17, 2009


Southern Charm, Modern Class


Raleigh, NC offers the Best of the Past and Present

The Raleigh Skyline Renuka Christoph Visit Raleigh, where there is the perfect blend of Southern charm, cosmopolitan class and rich history. The food is impressive, the shopping exquisite and the attractions in abundance for all ages. What makes the capital city so attractive is its remarkable mix of rich historical charm paralleled with modernized venues. For a tasty and scrumptious walk around town , take the Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours. It’s a great way to get a sampling of Raleigh’s finest without overindulging in one spot. We are in the South so check out The Pit

for some hot smokin’ barbecue. Enjoy some of the freshest and finest southern veggies and sides to accompany the bbq. The beef brisket is tender and among the best I’ve had. Transition from a Victorian neighborhood into an eclectic row of specialty shops and dining. Rich in diversity, the birthplace of Andrew Jackson, (17th president of the United States) is a melting pot of many cultures. Raleigh is well rounded with attractions for all ages. Choose from The North Carolina Museum of History, North Carolina Museum of

Natural Sciences or the recently renovated Marbles Children’s Museum with an impressive IMAX. For a dose of luxury, visit the The Umstead Hotel and Spa which provides a full service spa, an elaborate collection of artwork, golf at Prestonwood Country Club. Enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep in one of the spacious guest rooms. A little European influence can be experienced with an afternoon High Tea. And of course there is the award winning Herons Restaurant which boasts of its Four Diamond Award in 2008. While walking around the city, wave

over a rickshaw where the sites and sounds can be enjoyed at the perfect pace. The peddler bikes up the hills as he explains the historical significance of various buildings. The arts are celebrated during downtown festivals and promoted at various venues and museums. Lively nightlife brings out the nocturnal. Choose from a variety of options, whether a club downtown or a late night family event at the outdoor play area in North Hills. Check out Raleigh for the next family or couples trip. It is about Shopping and dining allures locals and visitors 500 miles from Nash- with plenty to choose from ville.

Camping: Family Fun For Less

(NAPSI)-A great vacation doesn’t have to require a lot of money. Something as fun and easy as camping at the nearest state or national park can save you some cash as you relax with the whole family. Try these tips: Choosing The Perfect Spot

With a little research you can probably find a free or low-cost campground not too far from home. Many offer hiking trails that appeal to different ages and levels of experience, from beginner to advanced. State and national parks often provide nature maps for self-guided tours, and

some even have nature centers with formal programs led by rangers who can teach you about local plants and animals. Many parks include rivers and lakes for additional recreation. Fishing and canoeing are popular pastimes, so inquire ahead about fishing licenses and boat rent-

als. The more adventurous might want to try rafting or even kayaking, which may be provided by nearby touring companies that will arrange day trips, complete with instruction and gear. For overnights, you can choose between parks that offer cabins for shelter or designated spaces for tents, and you’ll likely find open pits for campfires close to your accomodations. Both types of site typically have “comfort stations” nearby with running water and rest-

rooms. Sitting around a campfire at night, telling stories and roasting marshmallows, can be a truly memorable event. What To Bring Before you go, think like a scout and “be prepared.” Check local weather reports and be ready, whether that means possible rain or cooler-than-usual temperatures. A first-aid kit is well advised, if only for minor scrapes and unexpected blisters. Some things to take along on the trip to make you feel at home include the basic necessities of a tent, sleeping bags, appropriate clothing, food and cooking utensils. Camping supply stores provide specialty items, such as kerosene lamps, propane stoves and other

conveniences. One item you shouldn’t take along with you is firewood. Buy it when you get there and burn it at the campground. Don’t bring it home: Moving firewood can spread the Emerald Ash Borer beetle, a nasty pest that is killing ash trees at a rapid rate. To keep the woods healthy and available for all to enjoy-people and critters alike-promise not to move firewood. For more information, visit Most state parks can be found online through your favorite search engine, or to research national parks, visit the Web site findapark/. Camping can be a fun and affordable family getaway.






The Tennessee Tribune in London British Terms

Destination London: A Celebration of Rich Culture

True story: A bus carrying a full load was on the bridge a few decades ago. The driver ignored the flashing red lights warning that the bridge was raising. By the time the driver realized what was happening, it was too late. So he pushed on the gas pedal and accelerated to top speed. The bridge raised into two parts and he jumped over the split bridge. As something only seen in the movies, the bus landed on the other half of the bridge, in one piece! Tower of London is where prisoners once entered with no exit out.

by Renuka Christoph

Sure you can pick the beach or mountains. But why not venture out of the country, to let’s say London. Everyone should fly out of the country at least once in a lifetime. Why? It gives you a greater perspective on life. You are reminded that there is more to life than the world you live. That is a gift that every traveler can share in conversation. To be able to share or compare overseas interpretation on lifestyle broadens the way you and those around you will think. Reading world news will have a more personal perspective. Why London? Well, here is a quick overview why. London is a centrally located hub to exotic destinations as Madrid, Paris, Athens. Paris is a simple “chunnel” away. This is an underground tunnel not below streets but underwater. Within a couple of hours, you will be in Paris. Go to London and you will find one of the greatest representations of all cultures. The rich colors of Asia are brilliantly flashed as scarves fly in the wind from local street vendors. Markets are set up throughout different locations and offer authentic merchandise from Turkey, India, Netherlands, Russia, Egypt. People come from all over the world and make England their home. Talking to vendors and finding out how or why they came takes us into their life story. Many come to find a better lifestyle or to be closer to children that have made a foreign land their home. Authentic foods are offered throughout England. Curry is as readily available as Fish n’ Chips. People of all colors are seen throughout the area. Kabobs, masala chai tea, sushi, tea cakes and samosas show how the region has embraced cultures. There is something so enriching about walking past Buckingham Palace and hearing the languages spoken around the world while knowing it is where the Queen of England resides.Part of social culture is sitting around with friends, coworkers, family at a local pub. Pubs in England

each have unique names. We frequented the Misty Moon and drank Strombos. The pub scene is not some cheesy pick up venue but rather a gathering place for folks of all ages, including families. Smoking has been banned so parents come with children without worrying about second hand smoke. Much of England closes around five so pubs are among the few places to go after work. It is not unusual to see crowds every few blocks knowing it is the entrance of the pub. The infamous Tower of London is where executions were at one time, a form of entertainment. There is something eery about walking into the gates where prisoners once entered, knowing their fate that lie d ahead. Local townspeople would gather to watch live executions which would cause a riot and rightfully so, in present day, over the injustice. Other attractions include Windsor Palace, British Airways London Eye and Kensington Palace. Be sure to treat yourself like a queen and experience high tea in London. Afternoon tea is part of British culture and is a time set aside for tea and delicacies. I chose Hampton Court and highly recommend it for the ultimate royal experience. It was pricey, especially with the current exchange rate but something that everyone needs to enjoy. The elegant interior consists of traditional and contemporary art, persian rugs, fine china and royal service. Accompanying your choice of fine tea are tea cakes, scones, bite size sandwiches consisting of chicken salad, tuna, cheese and cucumber. The pastries include chocolate mousse bites with dark chocolate carvings and fresh raspberries on top. Getting around London is very convenient with the underground subway system known as “The Tube”. Visit the for a convenient pass to major attractions. And plan ahead as best as you can to map out your trip. Group travel is the best way to go, especially with someone who is familiar with the country.

ABOVE:Maritime Museum

BELOW RIGHT: Kensington Palace


Chemist - Pharmacist Nappy - Diaper

Loo - Bathroom

Mobile - Cell Phone Queue - Line

Football - Soccer Bobby - Police

Rubbish - Trash Telly - TV

Underground - Subway


May 1-May 7, 2008


Discover a breathtaking


eat here

stay here

Destination 3 , Day 2 y a D Day 1,

Enjoyment for everyone along the Emerald Coast in Destin, FL

Renuka Christoph The shores and clear water of Destin are unlike any other beach, making paradise a reality. The nine hour drive will lead you to visual detox and soul restoration. It is one of nature’s spas at its best and affordable for everyone. When planning an ocean journey, I recommend a flexible itinerary. Hang at the beach with leisure at the top of the list. Stroll with your bare feet on the sand. And for an unbeatable face cleanser, you must wash your face in the sea salt water. Let it dry in the sun and you will leave with a natural glow. The beachside bars are conducive for the casual at heart. Stroll up to a restaurant in bathing suit and cover up along with flip flops and you will not be out of place. One of the beachside restaurants I enjoyed was the Back Porch. I had the best AmberJack, served fresh corn on the cob which tasted like it had just been prepared.. The Back Porch makes its own coleslaw, salad dressings and Florida’s signature key lime pie. I had a great Tuna steak at Fudpucker’s. But I must highlight a phenominal meal at the Crab Trap, located on Scenic Highway 98. Cobia is the fresh fish

in season. I ordered it bronzed as an appetizer. The Triple Crab Platter will suit the crab lover. It is a must with three kinds of crab, Alaskan Snow, King and Dungeness. Another recent addition is the Grouper Provencal topped with shrimp, julienne peppers and onions in a white wine and lemon sauce. Save room for the keylime pie. For a great sunset cruise, check out the Sea Blaster. The ride will take you out to the middle of the ocean where you will see dolphins and have a chance to feed crackers to sea gulls. Choose from beer, wine, soda or water as you sail along the emerald coast. I stood at the front of the boat and watched the sky turn pink, orange and purple as the sun set on the serene water. There is no bad seat on the boat so even at full capacity, everyone will have the perfect view. One of the greatest aspects of a beach vacation is that it is well suited for all ages. Whether it is building a sand castle, dodging bold waves or just relaxing on the sand, everyone will have something to do. There are plenty of other things to do in addition to the beach. Select from one of the

many unique shopping areas, visit the Gulfarium, take a drive to Seaside. Seaside has a distinct and infamous architectural layout throughout the community with each of the houses brightly painted in pink, green and blue pastels. It is where the colorful neighborhood concept originated. The downtown square is a quaint shopping and eating area. I enjoyed a mimosa at the Modica Market, made with freshly squeezed orange juice and champagne. Affordable, clean and comfortable, stay at the Comfort Inn on Emerald Coast Parkway. It is conveniently located near shopping and restaurants and across from Henderson Beach. The impeccable hotel has an indoor and outdoor pool as well a fitness room. Breakfast comes with the stay. The greatest drawback to going to Destin? Leaving. I had to battle the beach withdrawal as I drove back across the bridge, seeing the clear blue water in the mirror. So the next time you want a relaxing and refreshing getaway, consider the panhandle of Florida.

A young visitor playing in the soft sand

Red Snapper from a deep sea fising excursion

There is plenty of fun shopping to choose from

Clear blue water surrounds Destin with an abundance of water recreation.

A group enjoying a sail on the SandBlaster

Phil Gestinger serves with a smile at the Crab Trap

A great mimosa at the Modica Market at Seaside

Fresh Seafood at the Back Porch


by Renuka Christoph

There isn’t a language that can’t be heard, there isn’t a food that can’t be found- New York- is a banquet for the eyes. Anything goes and anything is seen. The naked cowboy strums his guitar at the heart of Times Square. A spiderman roams around the streets, but have change because a picture with the superhero will cost a dollar. The stimuli of Times Square is contagious and the streets are full of activity. We stayed comfortably at the Doubletree Suites right on Times Square, a perfect central location. The window from our 25th floor room gave clear view of the continuous flurry of activity. All the museums, broadway shows and plays, famous attractions and popular activities make it difficult to narrow down what to do. The streets are full of fun and unique shops and exquisite eateries. Delis with incredibly fresh salad bars and sandwiches are readily available. Food connoisseurs can choose from Thai, Japanese, African, Indian, Italian and more. While we couldn’t do everything we had hoped, here’s a brief list of some of the things we did: Little Italy. Go here for the best Italian food. Restaurants line the streets and outdoor seating is quickly chosen over the indoor seating during summer nights. Plan to visit China Town next door for the bargains. And truly bargain down the prices.





New York Big City Fun

A view of the New York skyline

Top of the Rock is a view from the top of the Rockafellar building, located on 5th Avenue. This is a good alternative from the popular Empire State building which always has a long line.Visitors can also get a tour of the NBC studios. The infamous 5th Avenue is lined with elegant shops and famous highrises including the Trump Tower. The two story official NBA store is a great stop for basketball fans. Michael Jordan’s arms span the revolving golden doors. The lower level has a court where you can shoot some hoops. The City Pass will get you into many attractions. The New York Passport is also a good choice. The Natural History Museum is where Night at the Museum was filmed, for those that saw it. Be prepared to walk in this must-see museum because there are four floors spanning several blocks. Within the historical landmark are collections of amazing cultural and scientific artifacts as well as the new Rose Center for Earth adn Space. Central Park is a haven in the midst of the skyscrapers and yellow taxi cabs honking continuously. The Park attracts kids on up to businessmen. It was cleverly designed to provide New Yorkers with a park escape in the middle of the City. If you are able, take a nighttime carriage ride. It will be one of the most memorable experiences of your trip. The Statue of Liberty is another must

View from “Top of the Rock” of Central Park

see for everyone going to New York. The rich history shared at Ellis Island takes visitors back to a time when immigrants were arriving at the melting pot in hopes of the American dream. Times Square has something for everyone. And adults will become kids when visiting the three story M&M store, the Hershey’s store and the mega ToysRUs with an indoor ferris wheel. Even the advertisements are amusing to see, lit up on giant screens.

Ground Zero is a dedication to the men and women at the World Trade Center. The memorial stands in honor of the innocent lives that were taken. Everyone should experience New York at some point. It is a reminder of how diverse and thriving our country is. There is so much to see, and it is thrilling to be among the skyscrapers and heartbeat of a big city. MORE ATTRACTIONS:

continued “New York” on Page 2




San Francisco

San Francisco

Plenty to do on water and land in

A Golden Experience

The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island bask in the moon’s milky glow over San Francisco photo by Matthew Bowen

Renuka Christoph

The weather was pleasant with sunny skies but the wind brisk. The moving white clouds reflecting on the water cast an illusion of warmth that quickly dissipated with the feel of the wind. We arrived in time for the Latin Festival at Fisherman’s Wharf with live festive music overpowering the squawks of seagulls and voices from the crowd. The contagious beat made everyone want to shake a hip. Beyond the stage and booths were wooden walkways leading to restaurants, shops and many types of markets along the scenic San Francisco Bay. The cavernous walkways lead visitors down an endless line of stores and shops. The San Francisco Aquarium was our first stop. Though a rather quick glimpse of ocean life, the aquatic tunnels can be carefully studied while standing on a moving walkway. The freedom to stare at the bottomside of stingray and look eye to eye with a tiger shark transports viewers to the world underwater. Pier 39, known for the infamous sea li-

ons that claimed the area their home in 1989, is a humorous site. These bachelors bark and play and pile on one another, oblivious to the crowds that gather to watch. Boaters dare not challenge the forces of nature and enter sea lion territory, unless they want their boats raided by these powerful creatures. Further down Pier 39 is a little more gritty. The Ghiradeli Square is located further down Pier 39 and worth the walk for a hot fudge sundae, where the fudge is made on-site. Along the way, stop in to the famous Beaudin Bakery for a sourdough bread sandwich or clam chowder. The bakery also sells breads molded in the shape of alligators, turtles and other amusing creatures. Older tourist shops are lined across the street. We also took a boat ride on the Blue and Gold Fleet. Our tour included sailing under the San Francisco Bridge passing Alcatraz while listening to fascinating narrations about the area. Alcatraz has its own boat tour. The island, just one

San Francisco’s cable cars are ridden b 10 million people a year. SFCVB photo

mile out, once held captive the country’s most clever criminals and gangsters. It earned bragging rights among the lawbreakers. Those imprisoned inside look ominously through the bars knowing that their freedom lies one mile away. Even if one managed to escape the cell, the cold waters and strong currents would not let an escapee reach, which is why the location was ideal. The hilly San Francisco terrain requires comfortable shoes. But there are plenty of options for transportation including the BART (underground transit system), the classic cable cars, the MUNI (bus system) and of course taxi. For something different, ride a rickshaw or horse carriage.



The downtown area is a popular destination with great shopping and museums. The famous pointed TransAmerican Skyscraper towers above. Westfield is a sensory feast with great shopping and eating. Everything can be found there from Bloomingdale’s to boutiques. The food is great. Chinese, Italian and other ethnicities are well represented. Golden Gate Park is a massive sanctuary with everything from meticulous Japanese Gardens to rugged old trees to wild bison. Children can play and adults can awe over the unique vegatation of the region. San Francisco claims the country’s most crooked street, Lombard Street. Within the Mission District is Mission Dolores, the oldest building in San Francisco and well preserved with rich artifacts. Another charming spot is Sausolito where unique stores, shops, wineries and art fill the streets which reside along the harbor. We had to include wine tasting in our excursion and I chose the “dessert wine” collection. Chrissy Fields, an area off the beaten path, is a well-preserved nature center with a long beach. We enjoyed one afternoon on the beach under sunny skies. The water was cold but just sinking our feet in the warm sand felt like an indulgence. The kids were content, and so we were content. We could sit, they could run and that is the equation to happiness for the entire family. We also experienced a delightful picnic with full view of the Bridge and Bay. The winding, uphill roads are notorius to San Francisco. Riding on the streets feels like a slow moving roller coaster ride. The steep hills continuously offer full view of roof tops and vegetation below. It isn’t difficult to find bird’s eye views with all the hilltops surrounding the area. People from San Francisco fall in love with their home. It is a mix of serene waterside activities and bustling downtown excitement. Together, they provide the best of the both worlds. The area is rich in cultural arts. Cultural appetites will be well satisfied. There is everything from the cleverly architecdesigned MoMA (Museum of Modern Art ), Asian Art and historical Maritime museum. North Beach is San Francisco’s “Little Italy.” Go here for authentic Italian food. Chinatown will transport you to Asia with authentic foods and shops. Of course, there is Napa Valley for wine connosieurs. There are several different tours to choose from to get scenic doses and of course, wine doses within the area. Whenever visiting new places,decide ahead of time where you want to go. There are always the popular tourist destinations but I think it adds richness to the total travel experience to go off the beaten path and hang where the locals are. You really learn the place when you see the people. Our San Francisco trip was the perfect blend of tourist sites and not-sowell-known stops. So is San Francisco for you? Well if you like good food, shopping, boating, museums and the cultural arts, then you should have a good time.

Fisherman’s Wharf is one San Francisco’s most popular destinations. photo by Lewis Sommer


August 14 -August 20, 2008


Get Splashed!


SeaWorld and Aquatica deliver waves of fun

Universal offers theme parks and convenient on-site stay

The Peabody on International Drive offers luxury and convenience to guests

Renuka Christoph Get ready to splash and be splashed! SeaWorld, home to America’s favorite killer whale, Shamu, entertains visitors with a phenomenal show called “Believe.” It is an awe inspiring show with breathtaking jumps taken by the massive predator. But there is much more to SeaWorld than just Shamu. See penguins, sharks, sea lions, dolphins and otters in humorous and innovative shows. The park has done an amazing job in incorporating a couple of newer rides with entertaining shows that the entire family will enjoy. Get ready to endure high speed coaster called Kraken. It will take its adventurous riders on twists, turns and loops at topspeed. Journey to Atlantis is a magical journey into the Lost World which combines --exhilarating drops. Beer anyone? The Brewmaster’s Club provides each visitor one complimentary beer of choice

Choose from a classic BudLight with lime or go for something more daring as Beachbum. Clyde and Seamore is a hilarious live performance that is just as humorous to kids as adults. Enjoy Odyssea, an indoor circus with an ocean theme. SeaWorld provides a full day of fun with many shows to choose from, whether a stunt water ski show or Pets Ahoy! which is a humorous act utilizing house pets rescued by SeaWorld’s own vet. Reserve a day for Aquatica, SeaWorld’s very own waterpark filled with water thrills. This is where water lovers will find every type of water slide, from plunges to intricate winding slides. The dolphin plunge includes just what the name says, a plunge with dolphins swimming around the enclosed part of the slide. The lazy river will give onlookers a better view of the dolphins since it isn’t speeding down an incline.

Visitors can double and sometimes triple up on some of the water thrills. Each tube holds two to three people. Giant inner tubes will take guests down all kinds of winding tubes, some are fully open, some partially enclosed. Kids have plenty of areas to enjoy. When visiting Orlando, choosing a hotel can be tough. The abundance of accommodations can make it difficult to narrow down what to pick. I chose the Peabody on International Drive. It is home to the classic duck march and is just as humorous as it is impressive. Duckmaster Dave selects an honorary master to accompany him to the rooftop where the ducks are housed. The red carpet helps the ducks get to the elevator and down the aisle where a group of spectators await the waddling performers. Wanting to swim laps or just wade? A luxurious outdoor lap pool is inviting any

time of day. The room I stayed in was a suite which combined three hotel rooms. It had its own private balcony At night, I could see fireworks from the major parks, east and west. It was a spectacular display. “The Peabody Orlando’s continuing success is due to our consistent, hotel wide commitment to providing our guests an unprecedented level of service and comfort, a blend of meticulous attention to all aspects of operations, and the extraordinary level of Peabody Service Excellence® provided by our associates,” said Alan C. Villaverde, executive vice president, Peabody Hotels, and general manager of the luxury, landmark hotel on International Drive. If you are looking for aquatic fun, then head to SeaWorld and Aquatica. It will entertain the whole family. Stay at the Peabody and experience comfort and quality.

One of the trainers receives a kiss from Shamu

A young visitor emerges from the pool after daring to dive down an Aquatica slide



August 7-August 13, 2008

A Universal Experience in Orlando Universal offers theme parks and convenient on-site stay

The Royal Pacific at Universal

Islands of Adventure


Renuka Christoph Superheros, The Simpsons, Dr. Suess, Margaritaville...what is the connection? You will find rides, parks and attractions based on these popular fav’s at Universal theme parks. Universal of Orlando has designed its own haven, with an abundance of fun and stimulation for adults and little ones. Stay at one of three onsite properties, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel or Royal Pacific Resort. A fourconsecutive night stay will include Universal park passes. Classic rock fans can now enjoy a hotel base on The Hard Rock Cafe theme. Portofino Bay is a remarkable replica of the Italian seaside with colorful buildings lined against the water. The Royal Pacific, where I stayed, offers a taste of the South Pacific with warm aloha greetings from its employees. The hotel is themed after the islands and brings the tropics right into each room. Staying on-site at any of the three hotels is a convenient way to vacation. There is a free water taxi to Universal Studios, Islands of

Adventure and CityWalk. The room key gives priority access to the rides and attractions within the parks. With a two-day pass, visitors can enjoy one at Universal Studios and the other at Islands of Adventure. Universal Studios brings the thrills, shrills and humor of popular shows in the form of various attractions. Men In Black gives its visitors a chance to shoot the earth-invading aliens. The moving car spins around as aliens come from every corner. Shrek and Jimmy Neutron will entertain not only the young visitors, but also the older ones. The animated characters deliver a first class show with special effects and humor. The newest attraction ride is The Simpsons. It brings the classic into a 3D thrill that is worth the wait. Other movies that are represented at Universal include Jaws, ET, The Mummy and Twister. Islands of Adventure is where thrill seekers will find their amusement. An adrenaline rush is felt as ominous music blairs over the speakers

of a boulevard dedicated to superheroes. The Hulk rollercoaster ride offers one mean g-force speed through the green turns and loops. It boasts of the same energy as a U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter attack jet. The Spiderman ride brings the Marvel comic to edge of the moving tram. It is a 3-D experience inside the secret life of Peter Parker. Another sure pleasure for coaster fans is the Dueling Dragons. Dueling Dragons offers its slayers a daring ride with two coasters overlapping each other and in the end, barely colliding at the last second. To add to the thrill, there is no base on each coaster so riders might want to remove flip flops as their feet will dangle through all the turns and spins. There are live performances which are a good balance after the high speed, state-ofthe-art coasters. Quality productions maintain the positive experience of the park. Fun for adults and amusing for kids is the Dr. Suess Landing. The colorful, thematic rides and shops bring Dr. Suess characters to gigantic

proportions, fun for everyone to look at. The comical characters and surroundings put all ages in a whimsical mood. Paleontologists will appreciate an entire area designated for Jurassic Park. Entering the stone gates and listening to the theme song from the movie makes visitors want to take on a dinosaur adventure. The Jurassic Park River Adventure rides, shops, restaurants and a discovery area will leave a fossilized impression upon guests. Citywalk is the area between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. There is an array of fun restaurants and shops, and nightlife. Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, NBA Cafe and Food Network’s Emeril are just some of the unique places to dine. When considering the next family vacation, consider an all-inclusive Universal experience with convenient and comfortable on-site accommodations and out-of-this-world parks that everyone will love. Universal is a good time for every age group, which is the winning ticket for the perfect family getaway!

The Hulk Rollercoaster

Dr. Suess Landing




Slip into the Wilderness The Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort in Wisconsin Dells

An aerial view of the indoor waterpark Renuka Christoph

You won’t get cabin fever within these walls. In fact, the experience is the antithesis within the luxurious resort located in Wisconsin Dells. The Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort. is a great getaway for the entire family during summer or winter months. The resort offers the length of over 12 football fields of waterparks, play areas, restaurants and an award winning spa for the ultimate relaxation. The indoor and outdoor waterparks target all ages with plenty of daring waterslides, a wave pool and more. For the younger ages, there are separate play areas. The cabins are plush and cozy. The condo I stayed in had a stone fireplace in the living room with a flat screen above, providing a great gathering area after a tiring day at the park. The kitchen was fully equipped to accommodate all culinary needs. SUNDARA SPA One of the greatest spa experiences I have had was at the Sundara Spa, rated among the best in the country. The winding drive into the woods assures visitors they are entering a secluded area far from crowds and noise. There are plenty of scrubs, wraps, massages and other treatments for guests to choose from. Ayurvedic techniques are utilized

during each of the treatments. The mineral bath gives guests an opportunity to detoxify with a series of simple steps. Exfoliate with product made from local ingredients. Next enter the steam room, followed by the mineral bath. The challenge- a plunge in the very “cool pool” to totally detoxify the body. I chose a fragrance oil with my Swedish Massage though there is the option of a non- fragrance oil. I even sported a swim in the outdoor heated pool in twenty degrees with falling snow. It was probably the most exhilarating swim ever taken. There is also an outdoor hot tub. The only sounds are the bubbling waters in the heart of the Wisconsin woods. There are suites available within the Sundara Spa as well. The tranquil lounge has a giant picturesque window with full view of the outdoors. One of the greatest features of the Wilderness Lodge is its conduciveness during all four seasons. Whether braving the water attractions outside during warm months or inside during cold temps, visitors are sure to find plenty of amusing attractions. Wisconsin Dells is the Gatlinburg of the Midwest with amusement parks, waterparks, and plenty of attractions. Find tempting

fudge and candy shops, quaint stores and more attractions downtown. There are several parks and thrill rides throughout the Dells as well as the world famous Duck Rides which take guests on land and water. And of course, stop at a cheese chalet for some of the Dairyland’s finest. Stay tuned next week for Wilderness part II, which will cover the brand new Wilderness Lodge resort in the Smokies.

The Sundara Spa brings rest and relaxation for all guests

The Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort, America’s premier waterpark resort offers the perfect location for any fun-filled family getaway. All of its indoor and outdoor waterparks are exclusively for resort guests. In addition, hotel guests receive discounted golf rates, and a complimentary shuttle service is available to take guests wherever they want to go on resort grounds. Guests can also sign up for a frequent stay Perks program for special offers. Visit for more information.

The Bonanza Bluff Bucket Dump



The Spa at ARIA ARIA in Las Vegas

The Salt Room at The ARIA Spa

Hot Tubs to further enhance the spa experience

The co-ed terrace and pool offer a spectacular view of the City and the mountains

Renuka Christoph The growing trend of spa getaways is becoming a vital part of stress free living for many Americans. The daily life pressures lead to emotional and physical stress build up which need to be released. The right spa experience will provide total body detox and relaxation. ARIA in Las Vegas is an excellent choice for a unique spa experience as it weaves elements of nature within each of the rooms. Recommended is the Thai Poultice Massage which offers 5 different essential oils. Aroma therapy oils reduce inflammation, increase metabolism, release muscle tension, are good for digestion and are anti-fungal. “I want to give each guest the most unforgettable spa experience,” states massage therapist Pablo Poloni. Synchronizing balance and beauty, The Spa at ARIA invites guests into a peaceful haven where nature’s healing properties take center stage. Salt, stone, earth, fire and water join to create a spa experience that elevates guests to a meditative state for introspection and relaxation. The twolevel, 80,000-square-foot Spa at ARIA Resort & Casino features 62 treatment rooms, a full-service salon, an advanced fitness center, boutique, poolside spa ca-

banas and Las Vegas’ first co-ed spa balcony, featuring an outdoor infinity-edge pool and views of ARIA’s spectacular poolscape. In addition to skincare and massage rooms, The Spa features ashiatsu, couple’s massage, thai massage, hydro-therapy and vichy rooms, as well as three exclusive spa suites. “The Spa at ARIA delivers a fresh and progressive experience influenced by unique spa rituals from around the world,” said Michelle Wilkos, director of Spa and Salon Operations, ARIA Resort & Casino. “Our guests enjoy treatments tailored to address their individual needs and help them achieve a higher level of meditation.” SPA ELEMENTS • Celebrating Nature. Guests are welcomed by a tranquil stone and water garden adorned with sacred Japanese Aji stones, blessed in Japan to inspire calmness and tranquility. Natural light, flowing through floor-to-ceiling windows, awakens the senses and dances in harmony with the water garden in a mesmerizing rhythm. Soothing music and signature scents ease guests’ tension as panoramic views of Las Vegas’ sprawling mountain ranges and ARIA’s lush poolscape

evoke peace and prepare guests for a mental escape. • Treatment Rooms and Relaxation Lounges. Treatment room walls are made from earthy soil to provide an indigenous, warm feeling. A unique Shio Salt Room features a wall of illuminated salt bricks that encourage the healing of skin irritations and upper respiratory problems. Adorned with salt lamps and lounge chairs that provide vibration therapy in rhythm to sensual music, the Shio Salt Room also features salt-infused air which leaves guests with radiant and dewy skin. A second relaxation area, the Ganbanyoku Stone Bed room, is the only in the country to offer Japanese stone beds. During a ganbanyoku treatment, guests relax upon a bed of heated black mineral stone that emits negative ions and farinfrared rays. In addition to soothing muscles, the treatment helps improve blood circulation, increases metabolism and eliminates toxins from the body. A Fire Lounge serves as a place for relaxation prior to or following treatments. • Spa Suites. ARIA features three private spa suites, each serving as a personal “spa within a spa.” Each 800-square-

foot suite includes luxurious amenities; a striking design complemented by serene Aji stone walls and natural light; a lounge area with entertainment offerings, vanity, lockers, a personal steam shower and a three-person hydrotherapy tub. Guests are able to customize their journey from the selection of first-class spa and salon services and gourmet dining options to flower arrangements, gift baskets and more. Suites serve up to eight people, and spa packages range from a 3-hour series of treatments to the 12-hour VIP experience. • Co-Ed Balcony. All guests are welcome to visit The Spa’s co-ed balcony and enjoy the outdoor infinity-edge therapy pool. Resembling a Japanese openair hot bath (“rotenburo”), guests can experience a sense of freedom while enjoying views of the resort’s main pool deck. The outdoor is a breathtaking view of the city in contrast to the meditation rooms which take visitors to a place of quiet. The • Salon. The salon features 16 stylist stations, six color stations, four makeup stations, 12 manicure stations, 15 pedicure stations, one barber station and one waxing station. Floor-to-

ceiling windows near the color and makeup stations provide abundant natural light and views of CityCenter. • Skin and Hair Care Partners. The Spa and Salon feature specialty products including Kalologie Skincare, offering a signature facial treatment that provides clinical-strength anti-aging benefits and delivers visible rejuvenation; Swissclinical, a sustainable line spotlighted in a signature facial treatment that uses formulas that are free from parabens, colorants, mineral oils and other irritants; Kinara Skin Care, exclusively presented in the Red Carpet Facial treatment, brightens guests’ skin and produces a radiant glow; Akhassa skin care uses natural ingredients such as exotic Asian plants and herbs to enhance holistic health; Moroccanoil incorporates pure Argan oil to calm, hydrate and soothe the hair and scalp without residue buildup; Oribe Hair Care features exclusive, artisanal blends of the finest hair formulations for the glamorous and hair-obsessed; B. the Product delivers day-to-day fabulous hair; and Rock & Republic offers a sophisticated and edgy cosmetic line. • Fitness Center. The

16,000-square-foot fitness center showcases a combination of 44 cardio pieces, 20 treadmills, 10 full-body cross trainers, three lowerbody cross trainers, five recumbent bikes, three upright bikes, two espresso bikes and one body ergo meter; each have Direct Channel Access and iPod connections. The fitness center also features top-ofthe-line free weights and CYBEX strength equipment as well as group exercise studios. Personal training is available in either private or group sessions. • Boutique. The Spa Boutique highlights an indulgent collection of beauty and spa offerings, as well as eco-conscious lifestyle-driven apparel, products, home accessories and jewelry. • Spa Cabanas. Bathing in the lap of luxury, guests can experience spa services poolside at ARIA. Located on ARIA’s pool deck adjacent to The Spa, cooling massage treatments and a roaming massage staff keep guests invigorated during Las Vegas’ hot summer months. “My goal is to pamper my guests and I hope to have them return to experience other treatments,” concludes Pablo.

THURSDAY, JULY 22 - JULY 28, 2010


Deep in the Heart of Texas

San Antonio A mariachi band serenades visitors at Mi Tierra (LEFT) Local Helen Cintron enjoys live music at Greuene Hall

(BELOW) Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Que in San Antonio. It is one of several locations in Texas

The San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden

Carlos Cortés’ cement artwork studio Mary’s Street

on 1101 South St.

Fish Tacos at Rosario’s The Gruene General Store takes visitors back to simpler times

The Mercado Market offers a unique shopping experience

Renuka Christoph So often overlooked by visitors are the gold mines that only the local diggers know of. To gallop off of the beaten path can be a daunting task. Here is a cheat sheet for the heart of Texas- San Antonio. Places to Visit King William National Historic District is a lively, eclectic area where artistic expression thrives and culture abounds. German immigrants are credited for establishing the area and building luxurious mansions influenced by Greek, Victorian, and Italian architecture. Ernst Altgelt, named the main street of the District after King Wilhelm I of Prussia. Enjoy art galleries and fine dining. Find colorful prints and reflections of San Antonio in various art forms. Join the annual King William Fair which will be held April 16, 2011 to cel-

ebrate the artisans of the area. The Mercado Market demands the attention of even the most disinterested shopper with authentic Mexican artifacts such as the Day of the Dead sculpted dolls and Hispanic pottery. An abundance of food and live music complete the experience. Meet third generation cement artist Carlos Cortés. Cortés has carried on the legacy of crafting visually stunning cement sculptures. The faux bois bus stops, benches and more can be seen throughout San Antonio. The German town of Gruene, 25 miles south of San Antonio, is full of character and historical charm. It is proud to be home of the oldest dance hall with the original stage and fixtures still in tact. Gruene Hall, built in 1872, was established by

German settlers on the Guadalupe River. Loose wooden floorboard planks and a corrugated tin roof enclose the historical landmark. Be amused at the General Store where there’s “Something for Everyone”. Enjoy a 5 cent coffee at the soda fountain and get a laugh at the Texan humor flaunted on t-shirts, mugs and other unique collectables throughout the store. The store was founded by Henry Gruene “to serve the needs of the sharecroppers who lived on his land and raised cotton.” Gruene is an ideal overnight destination with offering an ample accommodations including the Gruene Mansion Inn in New Braunfels . The San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden, or Sunken Gardens Japanese Tea Garden blossomed out of an abandoned limestone rock quarry in the early 20th century. Intricate

walkways, bridges and a Japanese pagoda frame the transformed quarry. The Japanese Torii gate welcomes visitors into a dose of paradise. The water is full of giant, colorful koi fish, turtles and ducks. The Garden was near abandonment due to vandalism and neglect until the San Antonio Mayor stepped up in the 1980’s to restore the historic site. Places to Eat Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery is a must stop, off of the Riverwalk. Guests are greeted with visually stunning Latino colors both in the decor and the glass dessert display. The ceiling is a work of art with Mexican artifacts covering every inch. Little did Pete and Cruz Cortez know that their 1940’s three table cafe would one day be a 24-hour local favorite. Located in Market Square, El Mercado, the

food selections are a blend of Mexican flavor. Go for the Enchiladas de Pollo en Mole, which is 2 Chicken Enchiladas topped with mole sauce. The sauce consists of dried chili peppers, ground nuts and Mexican chocolate (cacao ground with sugar and cinnamon and occasionally nuts). Rosario is where the food is “made with love.” Owner Lisa Wong takes great pride in bringing homemade recipes to the kitchen. The Latino beat and flair promise festivity and flavor. The food is tenderly prepared and offers a burst of southwest flavor. The award winning salsa, mouthwatering ceviche, fish tacos and rich bread pudding make for a perfect meal. Rudy’s, home of “the worst barbeque” does not live up to its name. The downhome, backyard pit barbeque delivers flavorful

smoked ribs, turkey, beef brisket and an amazing sweet cream corn. Enjoy Texas’ own Shiner Beer. A patriotic support to its community, Rudy’s donated $10,000 to each army base for wounded warriors and provides military family with a 10% discount. The Oasis in Austin is the second largest restaurant in the nation, and among the most scenic. Built along the hillside of Lake Travis, the view will have visitors believe they are perched along a Grecian hillside. Eighty miles from San Antonio, The Oasis is an impressive venue complete with salsa dance lessons on the third floor. San Antonio will have visitors two steppin’ southwestern style in total bliss. All ages will enjoy the culture and variety of activities, shopping, flavors and scenic terrain deep in the heart of Texas.


The Tennessee Tribune 1 B

Relaxin’ in San Destin San Destin Golf and Beach Resort

San Destin Golf and Beach Resort offers its guests a variety of accommodation options, dining, shopping and activities

Ocean Club Restaurant serves exquisite cuisine

San Gelato displays irresistible creamy treats

Another Broken Egg Cafe’s creative and hearty menu is sure to satisfy all

Renuka Christoph As families search for the perfect vacation getaway, there is a southern gem which will satisfy all ages. San Destin Golf and Beach Resort is a hole in one. The resort provides its guests total comfort and quality along the ocean. The drive from Nashville is a convenient eight-hour journey. Upon arriving at the resort, guests will feel warmly welcomed in one of the luxurious accommodations. There are full kitchens in all condos and townhomes larger than a one bedroom. All studios even have a microwave and mini-fridge. Families can save money by eating in and have the convenience of a washer/dryer in the unit. Plenty can be enjoyed on a tight budget. There are four hours of free bicycle rental for two people per day, one hour of free canoe or kayak and one hour of tennis court time. Ready for some adventure? Grab a paddle

and either a kayak or the YOLO board. “You Only Live Once” so why not YOLO? The standing surf board with a paddle provides a wide surface area. It is best described as a surfboard-kayak hybrid. Golfers get ready and pick your course. A 2,400acre premier destination resort in Northwest Florida and home of the 2006 PGA Champions Tour Boeing Championship at Sandestin, San Destin Golf offers one of the best combinations of quality and variety among golf resorts in the Southeast. There are 72 holes of golf on four championship courses, including Raven Golf Club, Burnt Pine Golf Club, Baytowne Golf Club and The Links Course. Designed by three worldrenowned golf course architects, each distinctive course makes use of the surrounding landscape, from wetlands to marshes and beach to bay to offer golfers of all skill levels different challenges and

experiences. Baytowne Golf Club was renovated in the summer of 2005 by original course architect Tom Jackson and recognized by Golf Digest’s Places to Play with 4 ½ Stars. With a routing that takes guests from the beach to the bay, and boasts some of the only elevation change in the area, Baytowne Golf Club is as forgiving from the forward tees as it is challenging from the championship ones. The addition of a fifth set of junior tees makes Baytowne Golf Club a great place for beginners to learn the game, or pick up the pace for an afternoon executive round. And then there is the beach, one of the most beautiful in the country. The white sand canvases the coast as emerald blue waters glisten under the sun. The mild manner of the ocean waters of the panhandle are a calm invite. Sandestin is located

on more than seven miles of beach and bayfront property between Pensacola and Panama City, just eight miles east of Destin. San Destin Golf and Beach Resort even has its own village square. The Baytown Village is lined with a unique array of shops, dining and treats. Boutiques and kid friendly stores such as the Magic Shop will amuse shoppers. Young visitors will be entertained by the numerous activities including rock climbing, a zip line, a rope line course and a massive play area. Be sure to grab a gelato at San Gelato. The frozen treat will tantalize every taste bud with an abundance of flavors. The owners describe how authentic gelato differs from ice cream in that it has a lower fat content, lower air content, and even though they belong to the ice cream category, they are substantially different. Gelato contains a little cream and has a smooth and velvety

Travel Tech for Today’s Road Warrior (Family Features) According to a national survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 50 percent of today’s road warriors say that life as a business traveler is easier and more productive now than it was 10 years ago. Travel tech expert Katie Linendoll recently teamed up with Hyatt Place to provide tips on the best gadgets and amenities for making life easier on the road. “A smart phone is a must,” she says. Here are some of her favorite travel uses for it - beyond the obvious: * GPS: These devices can cost

up to $20 a day with your rental car, so ditch that extra cost and use your phone. * Mobile hotspots: It’s an additional $20 or more on your plan, but is worth it for fast Internet connectivity for your laptop, netbook or tablet. * Apps: One of my favorites to use is the Camera ZOOM FX app. I also use local apps like AroundMe to find restaurants, ATMs, shops or the local FedEx to ship work or supplies back home.

When it comes to finding a hotel, Linendoll recommends finding one that lets you stay fully connected. “Look for hotels like Hyatt Place, which offers free WiFi, 24/7 food options, and a layout that smartly integrates technology so it’s easy to work on the go,” she says. For more tips and travel ideas, and to enter for a chance to win a head-to-toe business traveler makeover, which is worth more than $8,000 and includes many of Linendoll’s must-have gadgets, visit

consistency because of the delicate process, not the cream. Air is an important component in making Gelato and one of the key differences between gelato and ice cream. Most important, it is less fat. The taste...magnifico! If the plan for the evening is a casual dinner with a view, Hammerhead’s is a good choice. I recommend a tuna sandwich which consists of a hearty, freshly caught steak. The deck offers one of the best sunset views. For some breakfast food, whether morning, noon or evening, the Broken Egg will fix a hearty appetite. The Floridian omelette is filled with cream cheese and topped with fresh crab. For a bit more traditional fare, go for the Popeye which is an omelette stuffed with bacon, spinach and cheese. A delightful starter is the Brie platter, served warm, topped with pecans, almonds and raisins. For fine dining, check

out the Ocean Club. The chef ’s specialty is Grouper Pontchartrain which consists of a fillet of fresh gulf grouper dredged in seasoned flour, sauteed golden brown, topped with a pan fried colossal soft-shell blue crab and finished with toasted pecans, almonds and a house meuniere & beurre blanc sauces. For a sweet rest stop, visit Priester’s Pecans. The candy maker boasts of hand dipping pecans and candies the old fashion way. There are pecans of various flavors, available for sampling. Weary travelers will be refreshed by the smell and sites with a viewing area on the second floor. Enjoy some fudge, ice cream and a cup of gourmet coffee and browse around the gift shop full of dazzling trinkets. Ready for warmth, white sand and turquoise water? Then visit www. for details on the perfect getaway.



Enjoy Relax Play •

French Lick Resort, IN

The lap pool at West Baden

Visitor enjoy the pool at French Lick Springs

The Lobby of French Lick Springs provides a grand entrance to the impressive resort Enjoy unique shopping at the French Lick Resort


FRENCH LICK, IN —Take a four hour drive and find a hidden jewel in French Lick, IN. Upon arriving in the lobby of the French Lick Springs Hotel, visitors are welcomed by ornate French detail and luxury. It is the perfect blend of class and conduciveness for the entire family. Its counterpart, West Baden Springs Hotel recently restored its grand rotunda, which is surrounded by beautifully furnished guest rooms. The hotels at French Lick Resort are located in the Hoosier National Forest, where many mineral water springs freely flow. Residuals of salt on the rocks from the springs attracted deer and buffalo to lick the salt off the rocks, hence leading to the name French Lick. West Baden Springs Hotel and French Lick Springs Hotel exemplify

French artisan class and comfort in the heart of the Midwest. There is something for everyone at the expansive resorts and surrounding areas. Kids will be entertained at Pluto’s Alley, an indoor bowling alley with a pizza parlor and bar. Bowling and Pizza nights will enterain kids while adults can enjoy the resrot. The Kidsfest activity center, a facility designed for ages 6-12, is run by trained counselors so the entire family is promised a good time. The Stables at French Lick offer horse rides, pony rides and carriage rides. Bikers and hikers can enjoy the property on such trails as the Buffalo Trace Trail, an upward climb of 6 miles. Golf enthusiasts can choose from one of three courses designed by golf pros Donald Ross, Pete

Dye and Tom Bendelow. The Pete Dye Indiana Golf Course offers fine dining at the Pete Dye Mansion. And for the perfect downtime, relax at either The Spa at West Baden or French Lick. The Spa at West Baden offers a twolevel natatorium with a full-service spa, 12 treatment rooms, a full-service salon and health club with an indoor lap pool. The Spa at French Lick offers 24 rooms and the legendary Pluto Mineral Bath. Experience a holiday glow with the Classic Facial which consists of a synergistic complex and mild enzyme peel. A therapeutic hand, shoulder and foot massage is included. The spa provides the perfect balance of tranquility after a round in the casino. Take a dive in the pool or relax in the hot tub which is outdoor at French Lick or indoor at West Baden.

Choose from area attractions as Big Splash Adventure Indoor Water Park & Resort, part of French Lick, The Indiana Railway Museum and more. Find more information, visit The Holidays are a special time of year at French Lick Resort The premier Midwest resort destination pulls out all the stops to create a festive atmosphere, wonderful holiday entertainment and lots of opportunities for families and friends to create memories that will last a lifetime. Here are the top ten reasons to visit French Lick for this holiday season: Pretty as a picture, West Baden Springs Hotel sparkles even more during the holidays. Your holiday experience begins as you travel through the lit archway and onto the grounds of the magnificent wonder.

The cobblestone driveway lined with festively lit trees, twinkling gardens and old-world charm sets the scene for what’s to come. Step inside this ultimate holiday destination and your jaw will drop at the sight of the holiday showpiece that rises from the center of the atrium. The 40 foot tree with nearly 50,000 lights is a sight in and of itself, but, the base makes it even more dramatic. The 8 foot high perch pays homage to the angel murals found high above the dome in a secret room. Just a mile away, French Lick Springs Hotel is a sparkling holiday wonderland in its own right. From the 40 foot outdoor tree with vintage toys that greets you as you arrive to the more than 25 different trees situated around the hotel, holiday spirit is found around every cor-

ner. Festive vignettes and beautiful backdrops create the perfect locations for your holiday photos. Holiday music has a way of instantly bringing back memories of seasons past while providing a soundtrack for new ones. Holiday music this season will include everything from a piano soloist to a full blown Broadwaystyle show. Hoff, Longoria, Reichard and Spencer Live in Concert with a Holiday Twist! Reuniting 4 Stars from The Original Broadway Cast of Jersey Boys Saturday, December 18 Time: 8 p.m. Tickets: $35 - $95 The Holiday Twist Tour reunites four stars from the Original Cast of Broadway’s Jersey Boys. The Tony Award winning Broadway hit tells the turbulent story of Frankie Valli and the Four SeaCont’d on 3B



Cont’d from 1B

sons’ rise to fame. In addition to hits from the play, Hoff, Longoria, Reichard and Spencer will be singing your favorite Holiday hits with a 60’s Twist as well as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Jackson Five, The Mamas and The Papas, The Four Seasons and more. We dare you not to tap your toes! Christmas with the Wright Brothers December 26 – 29 Times: 6:30 p.m. Dinner • 7:30 p.m. Show Tickets: $45 French Lick’s own Wright family brings their brand of holiday standards alive along with stories of growing up and spending Christmas in Springs Valley. The holiday dinner show will run nightly in the Windsor Ballroom. Dickens Carolers Saturdays, November 27

and December 4, 11 & 18 Time: 2 – 4 p.m. Price: Free of charge If you had a chance to catch the Dickens Carolers last year, you know this highly-talented quintet has a large repertoire of holiday classics and performs them with amazing harmony. Check out the group on Saturday afternoons at the West Baden Springs Hotel and you will not be disappointed. You can get into the holiday spirit with live music on Friday and Saturday nights in the West Baden Springs Hotel atrium from 6 – 9 p.m. Friday nights you will discover holiday tunes on the piano and Saturday nights will feature crowd-favorite Sarah Stivers. Santa can be pretty busy this time of year, but there’s a good chance you will find the jolly old fel-

low during many of the resort’s holiday activities. Santa Meet and Greet Saturdays, November 27 and December 4, 11 & 18 Time: 2 – 5 p.m. Price: $5 keepsake photo Every child dreams of meeting Santa in person. Bring your kids to Santa’s Gingerbread Forest and remember the moment for years to come with a keepsake photo. Story Time with Mrs. Claus Fridays and Saturdays, November 26, 27 and December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18 Time: 7 p.m. Price: Free of charge Grab a cookie and grab a seat near Mrs. Claus as she reads classic holiday stories. Breakfast with Santa Sundays, November 28

and December 5, 12 & 19 Time: 8 – 11 a.m. Price: $13 (13 & older) • $6 (5-12 yrs old) • FREE (4 & younger) What says the holidays more than breakfast with Santa? The young and young-at-heart will enjoy this holiday tradition offered every Sunday in the Grand Colonnade Restaurant. Gift-A-Way Giveaway Sunday, November 28 Time: 1 – 10 p.m. French Lick Casino To help everyone get in the spirit of giving, we’ve got PRESENTS for YOU! Randomly selected guests will be awarded prizes every half hour! At 10 p.m., one lucky winner receives a home theatre system valued at $2,200! Santa’s Secret Shop

Every Thursday – Sunday, November 18 – December 19 Time: 2 – 10 p.m. Located near the entrance of the French Lick Casino Go on a buying spree in Santa’s Secret Shop before he delivers everything on Christmas Eve! Order what you want and pay for it with your Rewards Points! Choose from toys, games, electronics and much more. There is also a program of scheduled activities available now through

December 20 including Bowling with the Elves, Holiday Movies, Holiday KidCooks, Holiday Party and open play. Families have come to the French Lick Resort for over 100 years to celebrate the season. Centrally located in the heart of the Midwest, the resort makes a perfect gathering place for relatives from near and far. Special hotel packages, delicious holiday meals and entertainment options for the whole family make holiday planning a breeze.

A gingerbread house at French Lick Springs

Taking A Vacation?

New Ways To Wow Them This Holiday Make Sure To Season Secure Your Home First

(NAPSI)-Four to five minutesthat could be the difference between whether or not your return home from vacation is ruined by a burglar. According to experts, that’s the maximum time most thieves will spend trying to break into a house before giving up in search of easier prey. That holds true year-round, whether you’re blissfully off on a winter ski getaway or spending the summer on the beach. “People don’t realize that going on vacation can be an invitation for would-be thieves,” says Mike Convery, vice president and chief claim officer at MetLife Auto & Home®. “Or that the average burglary will result in a loss of more than $2,000.” In fact, the Insurance Information Institute indicates nine out of 10 break-ins could have been prevented if homeowners had burglar-proofed their properties. The simple act of locking your doors before leaving home can go a long way toward deterring a burglar. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 50 percent of burglars use an unlocked door or window to gain access to a home. How else can you avoid returning to a home that’s been ransacked? Read on for some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” from the experts: DON’T advertise you’re away. Arrange to have the lawn mowed, put lights and electronics on variable timers, and-to really complete the illusion-ask a neighbor to park a car in your driveway. DO make would-be thieves feel both exposed and contained. Choose picket or chain-link fencing instead of solid fencing to create a physical barrier that’s less easy to hide behind. Keep hedges clipped to around waist level. DON’T hesitate to rearrange things. Those expensive belongings, including TVs and stereo systems, might as well have a sign on them saying “Take Me” if they’re left in plain view from windows and doors. DO get an assist from technology. A solar-powered, motion-sensor lightwhich doesn’t require an electrician to install-illuminates your property so that lurking intruders are easier for neighbors and passing patrol cars to spot. DON’T hide keys in “secret places” outside your home. Most burglars know where to look. Better to leave a duplicate with someone you trust. DO invest in a burglar alarm. The most effective ones notify an outside service of trouble, but any kind is a good deterrent. Just make sure there’s a friend or family member available to turn it off if it’s set off in your absence. One last thing: “In addition to those preventive measures, all homeowners should complete a personal property inventory,” says Convery. “That way, if you are burglarized, you’ll already have a detailed list of your valuables for the authorities, which can be a difficult task after the fact.” You can get a free Personal Property Inventory brochure from MetLife Auto & Home by calling (800) 6080190.

(NAPSI)-While more than a quarter of the country expects to celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time and place this year as last year, the fare they’ll be eating may be very different indeed. Survey Says The latest “Juicy Secrets Survey” from Char-Broil LLC discovered home cooks plan on making the menu more interesting than ever. The survey also uncovered a few new facts and debunked conventional wisdom about how Americans prepare and enjoy their holiday feasts. While 40 percent of the people surveyed said they serve the same menu that

mom created, more than half say they’re open to trying new recipes or techniques to make the meal special—and a full 10 percent make it a tradition to do so each holiday. Frying Has Fans Frying the turkey is at the top of that “must try” list, with one in three Americans reporting they’ve eaten fried turkey. The majority said it was better than traditional oven-baked turkey. The primary reason: It’s juicier. Of the few who didn’t like their turkey fried, more than half said it was because of the grease. Cooks Warm to Infrared

Fortunately for them, CharBroil has created the first oilless infrared turkey fryer: The Big Easy. A safer and healthier alternative to traditional oilbased fryers, it uses natural infrared heat to cook moist, flavorful turkey in significantly less time than an ordinary oven. Now, with The Big Easy oilless fryer, the idea of “frying” a turkey doesn’t have to mean loads of calories, safety hazards or messy cleanup at Thanksgiving. More Timesaving Tips Other popular ways home chefs save time and trouble in-

clude: • Letting guests bring a side dish • Using frozen vegetables • Serving store-bought desserts • Adding dry mix to get the gravy just right. Learn More For more information, tips and recipes, go to www.charbroil. com. The Big Easy can be purchased at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Bass Pro Shops and

Many Still Plan To Have A Helping Holiday stance, when guests purchase the new Turner Owl, 50 cents is donated to First Book to provide new books to children from low-income families and 50 cents is donated to the Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation to support other literacy and education programs. Other furry friends benefit domestic pet programs (Jack Russell Terrier is a favorite in the Bearemy’s Kennel Pals series), children’s health and wellness causes (Champ— A Champion Fur Kids), and endangered animals and their habitats (WWF Gray Wolf). Team up with Toys for Tots

(NAPSI)-A new survey finds reassuring news in the midst of the current economic climate. Most respondents still see charitable giving as a holiday priority—and believe the holidays are a good time to encourage children to be charitable. Among more than 3,000 adult respondents in a BuildA-Bear Workshop survey (most of them moms), 63 percent said their charitable giving would remain about the same as last year and more than 24 percent said they would increase donations this holiday. These responses are even more striking when com-

pared to survey results concerning spending in other areas. For instance, more than half of the respondents plan to cut back on eating out at restaurants and 44 percent will forgo redecorating or remodeling their homes. However, moms are still intent on buying for their kids. Just under 60 percent said their spending on children would remain the same this holiday season compared to last and 18 percent said it would increase. More than 60 percent said they prefer products that benefit charities when selecting gifts. Build-A-Bear Workshop offers a variety of options for charitable giving. For in-

This year, the company will again partner with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to conduct a toy drive the weekend of Dec. 3 to 5. Guests at each store will be encouraged to purchase a furry friend or bring a new toy to donate. During the month of December, guests are also invited to add a $1 donation (or more if they so desire) to support Toys for Tots when they check out either at the store or online at Last year, through the generosity of its guests, the company raised nearly $400,000 for the Toys for Tots program. Have a “Helping Holiday” Survey results also reveal that 70 percent of moms think there are opportunities for kids to get involved with charitable organizations. Build-A-Bear Workshop encourages young people to make a difference in their communities through its Huggable Heroes program, which recognizes leaders for

their outstanding charity efforts. This year’s class of 10 Huggable Heroes, ranging in age from 11 to 18, raised funds and collected items valued at more than $22.5 million, and they volunteer more than 650 hours of their time each month. The company asked these young experts for advice on ways to make the holidays better for others. Here are some of their ideas: • Start a food collection drive for a homeless shelter. • Go to a nursing home and make handmade ornaments with residents. • Gather coats, hats and gloves for children who may not have warm clothing for the winter. • Bake cookies and raise funds for a selected charity through a bake sale. • Make a basket with some essentials and give it to another family; encourage your friends to do the same and host an event to make the baskets. • Foster an animal at a nearby animal shelter. • Use your individual talents to “give back.” For example, if a child plays an instrument or sings, encourage him/her to gather friends with a similar talent and contact local nursing homes, senior centers and hospital pediatric wards to arrange musical holiday performances. The positive impact of music on the recovery and immune systems of children and the elderly is significant. For more information, visit



Chicago e n o y r e v E r o f Fun

Downtown Chicago featuring the Navy Pier

TRIBUNE|Feature Nowhere other than Chicago can visitors experience more than 45 museums, attend major league sports events, dine at restaurants of every cuisine, enjoy theater performances and see a panoramic view from the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building. The Chicago Office of Tourism is pleased to assist families planning their summer vacations with family activities that engage and delight all ages. Navy Pier – Navy Pier is free to the public and is Chicago’s most visited tourist attraction. The Pier features attractions such as a permanent 150-foot-high Ferris wheel, a musical carousel, an old-fashioned swing ride, remote control boats, daily musical and theatrical performances, and an 18hole miniature golf course. Navy Pier is also home to the Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze, Chicago Children’s Museum, and IMAX Theater at Navy Pier. Wednesdays and Saturdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Navy Pier hosts a fireworks display that fills the sky over Lake Michigan. Major League Baseball – Chicago boasts two Major League baseball teams, the Cubs and the White Sox. No summer trip to Chicago would be complete without a visit to Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs) or U.S. Cellular Field (home of the Chicago White Sox). Parents and kids alike will enjoy a history lesson while at Wrigley Field, the nation’s second oldest major league baseball park. U.S. Cellular field offers family fun with its Pontiac Fundamentals area where kids can access baseball clinics, batting cages, and practice pitching areas. Both ballparks are accessible by rapid transit, which is part of the overall experience. If you miss going to a game, both parks offer tours at reasonable rates. Hancock Observatory and Willis Tower Skydeck – Chicago is home to two of the world’s most famous skyscrapers, the John Hancock Center and the Willis Tower. Guests can see Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois from the

top of each structure. Built in 1973, the Willis Tower is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1,450 feet tall. The Hancock Observatory features talking telescopes, so visitors can hear and see the sights. The Willis Tower Skydeck features kneehigh displays and scavenger hunts for the kids. Both buildings have skydecks, which are open to visitors daily for a small entry fee. Millennium Park – Millennium Park is located in the heart of downtown Chicago and features world-class architecture and entertainment yearround. Children and adults alike will marvel at the Cloud Gate sculpture where you can see your reflection framed against the city’s dramatic skyline. The park is free to the public and in warmer months, kids of all ages will love playing in the park’s Crown Fountain, which includes two 50foot glass towers at each end that project video images of the faces Chicagoans. Each summer the park features hundreds of free events including the Great Performers of Illinois and the Family Fun Festival. Lincoln Park Zoo – Lincoln Park Zoo is a world of wildlife in the shadow of skyscrapers and is free to the public 365 days a year. The zoo includes polar bears, penguins, gorillas, reptiles, monkeys, and other species totalling nearly 1,250 animals. There are two designated sections of the zoo for children, the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo and the Farm-in-the-Zoo, presented by John Deere. In the Children’s Zoo kids can observe red wolves, black bears, river otters, and beavers in a woodsy outdoor setting, then head inside to play on the Treetop Canaopy Climbing Adventure. At the Farm-in-the-Zoo, the family can learn the origins of the food we eat, climb aboard a tractor, and visit with sheep, pigs, ponies, cows, and chickens. Chicago lakefront – Chicago enjoys 26 miles of lakefront offering biking, swimming, fishing, boating, or walking along Lake Michigan while enjoying Chicago’s stunning skyline views. Make sure to check out the boats in Monroe Harbor; enjoy

the evening light shows at Buckingham Fountain; play in the water at Oak Street Beach; and enjoy the scenery at Promontory Point in Hyde Park along the way. There are plenty of stopping off points to have a picnic, throw a football, or fly a kite. International Chicago cuisine – While Chicago has more five-star restaurants than any other city in the world and is famous for pizza, hotdogs, and popcorn, the city is also home to a diverse dining scene. The international community in Chicago is thriving and by trying one of its many restaurants you can give children a peek into other cultures and traditions. Families can discover the history and neighborhoods of Chicago by eating their way through the city. Children can taste food from countries around the world in any one of Chicago’s ethnic neighborhoods. Some kid-friendly favorites are Greek, Thai, Chinese, Polish, Mexican, Italian, and German cuisines. Chicago family hotel packages – Chicago hotels have many top-notch accommodations to fit the needs of the most discriminating traveler. Several hotels are rolling out the red carpet for children and families! Hotels such as the Hotel Burnham, Hotel Allegro, Hotel Monaco, Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, The Westin Michigan Avenue, and Residence Inn Chicago Downtown have developed hotel packages that are designed to please the entire family. Packages include some of the following amenities: complimentary CityPass admission booklet, free meals and room service for children, opportunities to create your own pizza or ice cream sundae, milk and cookies before bed, Nintendo, and a pet fish in your room. Chicago Museums – Chicago has a very impressive collection of world-class museums to call its own, with many that are both interactive and educational. Adults and children alike will marvel at Chicago’s collections and exhibitions by visiting the Art Institute of Chicago Kraft Education Center, learning about history at the DuSable Museum of African-American

Doubletree Hotel Chicago/Schaumburg provides visitors a relaxing stay

History, boarding submarines at the Museum of Science and Industry, looking in on “Sue” the preserved Tyrannosaurus rex at the Field Museum, checking out the sharks up close at the Shedd Aquarium, and gazing at the stars at the Adler Planetarium. Along with such a stellar collection of institutions come two that cater specifically to children. Families can learn about African-American history at the Bronzville Children’s Museum and take advantage of three floors of hands-on exhibits at the Chicago Children’s Museum. Visitor Information Resources - Chicago’s visitor information centers are conveniently located in two of the city’s most popular areas. Plan to visit the information centers when you arrive in Chicago and receive free brochures featuring attractions and special events. Friendly information representatives will answer your questions and assist your family in planning an action-packed itinerary. The visitor centers are located in the Chicago Cultural Center at 77 East Randolph across from Millennium Park and at the City’s historic Water Works pumping station on Michigan Avenue. Additionally, the Chicago Office of Tourism is home to the Chicago Greeter program. Chicago Greeter links friendly, knowledgeable Chicagoans up with visitors looking to see the sights through the eyes of a local. The Greeter program can tailor their tours to meet the needs of the entire family. The Chicago Office of

Tourism, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, is the official city agency dedicated to promoting Chicago to domestic and international visitors and to providing innovative visitor programs and resources. For more information please visit www. or call 1.877.CHICAGO. Legoland LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago is the first and only indoor LEGO attraction in the United States. Geared toward children ages 3-12 and their families, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago is the perfect attraction for LEGO fans young and old. Featuring two floors of attractions and over two million LEGO bricks, visitors will feel like they have just jumped into the biggest box of LEGO bricks ever. The Center is located at the Streets of Woodfield, 601 N. Martingale Rd., Schaumburg, and is open Mon-Fri from noon-7 p.m. and Sat and Sun from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on. Open extended hours on holidays during the school year. Summer hours are Mon-Thurs from 10-7 p.m. and Fri-Sun from 10-8 p.m. Included in the tour isLEGO Studios – 4D Cinema: The amazing 4D cinema inside the LEGO

Studios adds a vital character to all of its 4D films – the audience! Guests will be on the edge of their seats as a thrilling action adventure unfolds in 3D right before their eyes and then comes to life in 4D, as flurries of wind, rain, lightning, snow and other surprise features burst into the auditorium. No matter what adventures the cinematic heroes encounter, visitors will feel like they are along for the ride and truly an integrated part of an incredible and exciting story. Where to stay For a comfortable suburban geteway, choose Doubletree Hotel in Schaumburg. It is located at 800 National Parkway. Visit It is minutes away from LEGOLAND as well as an abundance of shopping and dining.

A Chicago display at LEGOLAND



Ann Arbor

Where flavor and fine arts thrive...

Photos courtesy of Ann Arbor CVB

Ann Arbor, MI is a haven for the arts and enticing cuisine. The impressive support by locals makes it a lively town, conducive for the arts. Dining Jolly Pumpkin offers Belgian style ales, including farmhouse ales and a great fresh selection of American food. For more information, visit Pacific Rim by Kana is the perfect fusion combining contemporary panAsian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai flavors. Although Duc Tang, owner and chef states, “I don’t like the term fusion because it connotes the idea of blending two disparate elements and forcing them to work together when they shouldn’t be together.” He thinks of his food as Asian and Western—traditional Asian ingredients and flavors and Western in the use of basic French techniques and an emphasis on freshness and seasonality. For more information, visit www.paci- The Blue Nile offers succulent spice and atmosphere. The Ethiopian restaurant offers guests the option of traditional seating on bamboo seats with an impressive presentation. For more information, visit Art Local artists bring personality and style into each of their unique crafts. There are severable notable craftsman to check out. Potter Marcia Polenberg incorporates her life story in her work. Each piece is as interesting to hear about as it is to observe. Potters John and Susanne Stephenson offer a stunning collection of ceramic work. The wide array of art is sure to please every onlooker. View for a preview of their work. Sculptor and ceramic artist John Schwarz offers an eclectic collection of innovative sculptures. Find his work at select Ripley’s Believe or Not Museums. The artist was also recently

featured at River Gallery in Chelsea, Mich. Visit www. chelsearivergallery. com for more information. Hollander’s in Kerrytown is a paper factory worth the stop. The display of decorative paper offers a vast display of styles, prints and textures. Visit for more information. One of the most innovative screen sets in dramatizing a Shakespeare play is performed at “The Arb.” The outdoor garden is transformed into a playset throughout the summer weeks as the audience moves with the scene. Actors make entrances from behind trees, appear over rises, vanish into woods. The audience literally “follows the action,” following the actors as they move to different sites throughout the arboretum with musicians guiding the way. The series began in the

summer 2001 as part of a Ford Motor Company grant for “Arts in the Arb” to showcase the richness of the arts in Ann Arbor. The unique experience comes from the staging. The Farmer’s Market is where the locals gather to purchase fresh breads, organic produce and handcrafted arts. Choose from an assortment of pastries and homemade breads. Preview the fresh market at For science lovers, The Exhibit Museum of Natu-

ral History in Ann Arbor offers exhibits on geology, the evolution of life on Earth, including extensive dinosaur displays, and artifacts from human cultures around the world. For more information on this educational stop, visit Zingerman’s Deli began small, serving a few sandwiches, traditional Jewish dishes, and a small selection of specialty foods. Today, the Deli serves thousands of sandwiches

and doubles as a specialty foods store, selling a mindboggling variety of cheeses, meats, olive oils, vinegars, coffees and teas. Visit www. The passion for the better things in life is contagious in this midwest town. Ann Arbor offers a variety of restaurants, galleries and unique shops, catering to all tastes. The vibe of the city draws in all ages, promising a relaxing getaway for visitors.

Travel group gains support for airline fee rule (AP) NEW YORK – A group of travel executives said it has stirred up plenty of support for a government rule that would require airlines to display extra fees prominently on their websites and in travel reservation systems. The Consumer Travel Alliance, Business Travel Coalition and American Society of Travel Agents on Thursday delivered a

petition to the Transportation Department with 50,000 signatures from consumers who want airlines to spell out fees more clearly. Thursday is the last day for public comment on proposed government rules to enhance passenger rights and make airline fares and fees more transparent. In addition to requiring

airlines to fully disclose baggage and other fees, the new rules call for refunds of fees and reimbursement for expenses when bags are lost or not delivered on time. Airlines would also have to give notice when baggage fees are increased, and notify passengers buying tickets whether they must pay to check up to two bags.

The travel industry effort to support government rule changes, called “Mad as Hell about Hidden Fees,” began two weeks ago. It claims that fees can boost ticket price by 26 percent when one bag is checked and by 54 percent when a passenger checks two bags and chooses a seat with extra legroom. The group wants all

ticket outlets to have the same information on fares and fees for travelers. More than half of all airline tickets are sold by third parties, such as travel agents and websites like Expedia or Orbitz. “Airlines should be able make a fair profit and set fares and fees that allow them to do so, as long as travelers can see and compare all of those fees

in advance,” said Paul Ruden of the American Society of Travel Agents. The Transportation Department said Monday that U.S. airlines in the second quarter made $893 million on baggage fees, $594 million from reservation change fees and $618 million from charges for things like frequent-flier sales and transporting pets.



November 20-26, 2008


Visit Savannah A Georgia Favorite

Lafayette Square

Renuka Christoph Find relaxation in quaint Savannah, Georgia with decorative architecture and lush green landscape throughout the downtown. It is an urban forest where Spanish Moss hangs from giant oak trees. There is plenty of eating, dining and shopping throughout the meandering streets and brick paved roads. When visiting Savannah, a great choice of stay is the President’s Quarters, a historic bed and breakfast located on Oglethorpe Square. The inn offers spacious rooms and luxurious comfort. There

are hors d oeuvres and wine each evening and fresh, home cooked breakfast each morning in the dining area. Built in 1855 the President’s Quarters was named most romantic bed and breakfast for 2008 in Savannah Magazine. There are sixteen bedrooms, all with private baths. Owner Steve Green purchased the inn in April 2007 and completely renovated the structure. “We spent the last year and half refurbishing, gutting every bathroom, repainting and carpeting,” states innkeeper Jane Sales. Located off of the

Atlantic, count on great seafood. For a casual indulgence of fresh seafood, check out the Crab Shack. Gators welcome guests as they enter into the wooden, oceanesque themed restaurant. Recommended is the sampler platter that gives hungry travellers a taste of crab, shrimp, mussel, shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes. There is no fried food. Seafood fare is baked, grilled or broiled. A number of tours are offered to learn about the history and haunted tales of Savannah. It is the 8th most popular tourist spot.

The President’s Quarters is a great place to stay

Choose from walking tours, trolley tours or a riverboat cruise. Attractions and museums surround the area. Find such attractions as the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum and Telfair Museum of Art and Sciences and Telfair’s Jepson Center for the Arts. Artistic flare highlights the city, marked by The Savannah School of Art and Design, a national top ranked design school. Southern hospitality is at its best in this Atlantic coast city offering well preserved historical sites, shopping, dining and scenic surroundings.

There is shopping and eating for everyone within Savannah

For authentic seafood, visit the Crab Shack

First African Baptist Church

One Ocean Awaits One Ocean Resort and Spa offers total rest of mind, body and spirit

By Renuka Christoph ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - Perhaps the most definitive spa experience is one located along the ocean with quality service and exquisite surroundings. This is what One Ocean Resort and Spa offers guests - the totality of relaxation facing the Atlantic. From modern and luxurious hotel rooms to the guest beach, the resort aims to treat each visitor like royalty. As the only full-service oceanfront spa in Northeast Florida, The Spa at One Ocean Resort, a four diamond AAA property, touts more than 40 marine-inspired rituals comprised of specialty treatments, while creating unique massage styles, body wraps, peels, facials and more. The eight treatment rooms, named after the lifespan of a sea turtle, include vichy room, pampering salon and private oceanfront VIP suites with in-room Swedish steam showers. Now offering cosmecuetical peels that provide the latest formulations with dramatic results that are gentle yet powerful applications, The Spa peels do not require the “down time” associated with most chemical peels making the treatments a perfect service. Managed by The Gallery, a collection of luxury resorts by Remington Hotels, the 193-room One Ocean Resort, a four diamond AAA property, is only 25 miles from Jacksonville International Airport and nestled directly across from the picturesque Beaches Town Center, luring guests in with its cobblestone streets featuring an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, art galleries, ice-cream parlors and nightlife options. Atlantic Beach meets Neptune Beach along Atlantic Boulevard, which is filled with small town charm and unique history. There is a place for young guests. The Sea Turtle Kids Club is a marine biology-based children’s program created for kids while offering personalized attention to each of the resort’s youthful visitors. Kids club features planned indoor and outdoor activities, wa-

ter sports, sandcastle sculpture, bedtime stories, art classes, beach themed crafts, and photography lessons. Azurea Since its young inception, Azurea, the signature restaurant of One Ocean Resort has established its own food and wine personality, creating a culture of passion and seeking perfection. Located on the beach, Azurea remains true to its local surroundings, providing an elegant, artfully inspired atmosphere, where a view of the ocean is accessible from any seat in the house. As a Wine Spectator award of excellence restaurant, Azurea is one of three AAA fourdiamond awarded restaurants in all of northeast Florida. Under the direction of highly acclaimed Executive Chef Ted Peters, the restaurant has quickly become a “must experience” destination for discerning diners. Azurea showcases the area’s cuisine movement with an eclectic tribute to the flavors of Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. The menu changes with each season, representing the latest trends and the finest ingredients. Unique to Azurea, the “Adventurous Palate,” is a culinary journey customized to each guest’s preferences and is prepared by a team of chefs. The “Adventurous Palate” experience includes perfectly paired wine selections for each course. For a more private fine dining experience, guests enjoy in-room dining, which provides the same style of food, menu and service as Azurea. Open 24-hours, in-room dining is served with an amazing presentation not typical of most room service experiences. For the perfect ocean spa experience, whether a girlfriend getaway or a couple’s retreat, One Ocean is the ideal location for rest and relaxation. Families will find plenty to enjoy together as well. Visit for more information.

The balcony view of the pool and beach

Visitors are pampered in luxury in each of the guest rooms.

One Ocean caters to visitors upon entering the resort

Renuka Pages  

Travel with Renuka around the United States to various cities, parks and sites.