Archive for May, 2012

Sweet Summertime Festivals in Keystone, Colorado

Keystone, Colorado

Keystone, Colorado

Want an outdoor summertime experience not to be missed? Want some bacon sprinkled caramel apples to go with your wine and jazz too? Then check out the high-country of Keystone, Colorado as they roll out the red carpet for visitors and locals with some of the coolest events yet.  From the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour (snort, snort!), to the country chic Wine and Jazz Festival, you can even get your bluegrass on with the Bluegrass and Beer Festival this season. Not only will you be able to sample great food and drink and enjoy live music and mountain entertainment, but you’ll also enjoy it all in Keystone’s cool mountain climate, a great way to beat the heat and enjoy plenty of friend or family fun this summer.

Bacon Caramel Apples? That's right!

Bacon Caramel Apples? That’s right!

Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour, 1pm-6pm, June 23-24, River Run Village
For the second year in a row Keystone Resort will play host to the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour, June 23-24 in River Run Village. This pork-tastic event will feature over 2,000 lbs of bacon, including fried, salted, dried and smoked verities. Bacon-inspired dishes and beverages (bacon bloody mary, anyone?) will be served by Keystone’s excellent restaurants and participating bacon purveyors, many from the local Colorado area, will include well-known names such as Tender Belly, Eden Farms and Daly’s. Chefs will dream up wild bacon-infused treats while competing in both savory and sweet cook-off competition. If the plethora of available outdoor activities including hiking and biking are more than your bacon-filled belly can handle, you can still work on lowering that cholesterol with some foot stomping in the Keystone Village. Live musical guests will include Better than Bacon, Hells Belle’s, Universally Famous Rocket Surgeons and more. All concerts are FREE throughout the weekend, and for those wishing to partake in the bacon extravaganza, festival admittance is affordable with one-day tickets from $30 and weekend packages beginning at $50. For those bringing little ones, children’s programming will be available throughout the village, including a children’s craft arena. Lodging and festival packages start as low as $80 and are available online.

Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival, 1pm-5pm, July 13-15, River Run Village
The Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival, July 13-15 in River Run Village, caters to every palette with a weekend-long event featuring unique mountain offerings including a VIP mountaintop wine tasting, educational wine seminars, live jazz performances at the base of the mountain, and of course,  remarkable food and over 300 wines to sample. The Festival kicks off Friday, July 13 with the NEW VIP Mountain Top Reserve Wine Tasting taking place atop Dercum Mountain at the picturesque Keytop Deck. Priced at $100 per person, which includes a gondola ticket, this event will allow you to sample some of the best wines available; all priced at over $100 a bottle.Early bird pricing, available through June 4, offers discounted event passes providing unlimited Saturday and Sunday sampling for $55 for a one-day wine pass and $95 for a weekend wine pass, including unique souvenir sampling glass. But food and wine aren’t complete without music accompaniment, and Keystone will offer plenty of that with live concerns from the Village stage. Admission is FREE to all concerts, no sampling ticket necessary, and the line-up will include big names such as Salsa Con Jazz, Elan Trotman & Lin Rountree, Dotsero and Hazel Miller. For those wishing to delve deeper into the world of wines, specialty seminars will be held at Warren Station Center for the Arts, conveniently located in River Run Village. Each seminar is $20 per person and comprises of fun topics such as “Bubbles Everyday on Any Budget” and “Jelly Belly Wine Bar Experience.” For those looking for a casual weekend with the family, children’s activities, including a KidZone, will be available throughout the weekend. Lodging packages are available and tickets may be purchased online.

The Bluegrass and Beer Festival

The Bluegrass and Beer Festival

Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival, 12pm-5pm, August 4-5, River Run Village
The spirit of Colorado and summertime come together during Keystone’s 16th Annual Bluegrass and Beer Festival. This summer staple, which will offer tasty sampling from up to 30 breweries, is one of the largest Beer Festivals in the state. The River Run Village will come alive, August 4-5, and attendees will not only be able to enjoy world-class Bluegrass performers, they can learn how to become one. Unique to Keystone’s Bluegrass and Beer Festival, special bluegrass seminars will be offered at Warren Station Center for the Arts, including banjo instruction from Jesse Langlais (Town Mountain), fiddle instruction with Casey Driessen, singing instruction with Tim O’Brien and songwriting instruction with Darrell Scott. Seminars are only $10 or FREE to Keystone lodging guests. This year’s music line-up will be presented across three stages with performances by Darrell Scott, Tim O’Brien, Head for the Hills and Jeff Scroggins & Colorado. Admission to all concerts is FREE and a kid’s craft area will be available for children. Unlimited beer sampling is available with early bird pricing from $35 for a one-day pass and $70 for a weekend pass, including keepsake sampling glass. Lodging packages and event tickets may be purchased online.

Keystone Resort Event Lodging Deals
So, we say… enjoy great festival entertainment, mountain activities, a variety of shopping and dining activities and plenty of fun for the whole family. Spend the weekend in Keystone’s cool mountain atmosphere with great Festival Lodging Packages below!


Bermuda’s Finest: Say Hello to Tucker’s Point, My Friends

Tucker’s Point Beach Club

Searching for a fabulous summer getaway only a short plane ride away from most U.S. cities on the East Coast? What a coincidence! So are we! Enter: Bermuda’s Rosewood Tucker’s Point. Whether you’re a passionate golfer, tennis enthusiast, or simply seeking a little R&R, Bermuda’s a great escape for a weekend or week. Did we also mention that they make a mean Rum Punch?

A Room with a View

A Room with a View

We like Rosewood Tucker’s Point for their oceanfront, newly-enhanced Sense® Spa, but golfers come for Tucker’s Point’s championship course (rated one of the top two in Bermuda). For yogis like us, there’s also an elevated Yoga and Tai Chi lawn, along with access to Bermuda’s longest private pink sand beach, multiple heated swimming pools, a Dive & Water Sports Center offering everything from a children’s water play park to scuba and boating excursions, a croquet lawn, and bicycle and scooter rentals. Yes, for those with kiddies, the new Rose Buds® children’s program has an array of activities for kids, leaving adults free to pursue their own pleasures. This we like and we don’t even have little ones.

The best eco-friendly part? It’s just a 90-minute plane ride from most U.S. cities on the East Coast and Rosewood Tucker’s Point is an easy 10-minute drive from Bermuda International Airport.

Price (well, we certainly didn’t say it was cheap): $720/night

Australia: A Work Travel Experience Program

Working Hard Down Under

Diana Chowdhury of Alliance Abroad Group, ‘working’ hard to enjoy herself on the Great Barrier Reef

Normally, I’m happy to be over the age of thirty as the twenties sure were fun, but I have little desire to go back to the days when I had such self-doubt and concern over making a living and having a future. Alas, I have reached an age where I am much more zen and content, but when I read about a program like this… it makes me yearn for the days when I, too, could get a job Down Under and sail through my youth (or lounge on Bondi Beach). Ahhhh…

Alliance Abroad Group’s Work Experience Australia Program has just launched and we wanted you to be the first to know about this exciting new program for anyone under the age of 30 years old. Just in time for Summer 2012, this program is a perfect opportunity for hospitality and tourism professionals and young adults to have a guaranteed job placement while gaining international paid experience. The first of it’s kind to guaranteed jobs prior to leaving the U.S., you’ll meet with all of the employers and experience staff lifestyle first hand – familiarizing yourself with the working and social environment each employer has to offer.

Dancing with the locals

Dancing with the Aborigines. She sure is cute!

In partnership with Tourism Queensland, the Alliance Abroad Group (AAG), a 20-year-old cultural exchange organization, is expanding its offerings to the South Pacific. Launching this spring, AAG’s Work Experience Australia program offers American students and young professionals an opportunity to enrich their lives with a cultural exchange to gain valuable, paid work experience and international experience on the pristine beaches of the Great Barrier Reef.

This first-of-its-kind program guarantees participants a job placement in advance of their travels as well as travel insurance and assistance with visa paperwork, transportation and in-country needs while abroad. These components provide ease of mind to those participating as the place of work and wage will be secured before departure in addition to on-the-ground support throughout their stay. AAG actively recruits and pre-screens potential candidates nationwide and matches them to appropriate tourism and hospitality employers to ensure employment expectations are met on both sides – employer and employee.

Surf's Always Up for Aussies

Surf’s Always Up for Aussies and Those Who Love Them

One of the many participating employers in AAG’s Work Experience Australia program is Hamilton Island’s luxurious resort, qualia, considered one of the finest resort properties in the world. When not gaining invaluable professional experience with international clientele at four- and five-star resorts, students spend time experiencing the beauty and wonder that the magnificent Great Barrier Reef offers. Additionally, the tax refund students earn will likely provide enough monetary means to account for the program fee and airfare to Australia.

Profile of Work Experience Australia Candidate
• Students, recent grads and young professionals
• Under the age of 30 upon entry into Australia

Work Experience Australia Program Types
• Signature –train and work with world-class, award-wining hotels and resorts, learning from some of the finest in the industry.
• Horizons –for those who want to work in a variety of departments and get a full-picture of the industry with exposure to a number of facets of the hotel business.
• Specialist –enhance specialized skills for those who want to build upon a specific skill set such as massage therapy.

$2500 Program fee includes:
• Guaranteed Job Placement in Tourism/Hospitality (Paid on average $18 a hour)
• Facilitation in paperwork for Visa
• 24/7 support before, after and on the ground support while in Australia
• Travel Insurance
• Assistance finding housing, flights and support adjusting to the local culture

Time Frame:
• May, June, September 2012 departures
• 3 -6 month positions (with the option of two 6-month positions)
• Travel within the country for up to a total of 12 months

Example Job Description:

• Service attendant – island resort, Great Barrier Reef. Weekly Earnings: 38 hours+ @ $18.20 p/hr = $691.60 minus tax/housing/utilities = Net Pay $544 p/week. (a proportion of taxes are refundable upon after departure from Australia)

Apply here:

Care for the Kiddies While You’re Vacationing

Many of my friends with young children are preparing for a trip this summer and one of the things I hear the most is: How do I find trusted childcare services once we’re there? So, in the spirit of giving good advice (since we’re sweet like that). It’s to the rescue! is the largest and fastest growing online service helping American families find and connect with caregivers and, guess what? They just expanded service to the UK. UK is the first venture outside of the U.S. for the online care provider. Thousands of caregivers have already signed up to be a part of’s UK site, allowing families overseas to access this growing network.  Trusted by families for nearly five years in America, this top-notch service is now gaining momentum overseas and is a valuable resource for families looking for reliable and trustworthy care.

Let us know what you think and good luck!

The One&Only Palmilla: Mexican Culinary Festival

The One&Only Palmilla Pool (to go with your Mexican culinary experience)

The One&Only Palmilla Pool (to go with your Mexican culinary experience)

Would you like a side of salsa to go with your infinity pool? Me too! This just in: aspiring chefs and chic celeb followers… One&Only Palmilla is introducing a new Outdoor Kitchen and Herb Garden for Mexican Culinary Classes and private dining. Why is this cool? Well, not just because Jennifer Aniston and Sofia Vergara like to swim laps in their luxury pool, but also because it’s home to the upcoming Mexican Culinary Festival November 7-11, 2012 in Los Cabos! The new garden venue will serve as the location for weekly complimentary cooking demonstrations and Iron Chef-style culinary competitions led by visiting Mexican chefs and resort experts. Able to accommodate up to 12 guests, each weekly culinary seminar begins with a guided tour of the herb garden with a variety of fresh produce including a collection of indigenous chilies such as habanero, pequin, and poblano, and herbs like cilantro, epazote, sweet basil, and hibiscus tea plant. But that’s not all! Each demonstration will be paired with a Mexican wine or tequila selected by Head Sommelier Manuel Arteaga. I think I may need to fly down just to cover this great sounding space, no?


One&Only Palmilla Cuisine - Fresh, Healthy, Delicious!

One&Only Palmilla Cuisine – Fresh, Healthy, Delicious!

In addition to weekly culinary classes, the Iron-Chef-type competitions will pair teams of four guests with one chef against another in a light-hearted cook-off. Winners will be awarded a complimentary dinner at the Chef’s table. Similar style culinary classes and competitions in the Herb Garden will also be made available for teens too.  All designed to incorporate the four elements of Chi – water, fire, earth and wind – the One&Only Palmilla Herb Garden is just another reason why Jen and her besties migrate south of the border a few times a year.

The One&Only properties are truly some of the best. With the One&Only Palmilla, One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives, One&Only Le Saint Géran in Mauritius, One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai, One&Only Ocean Club in The Bahamas, One&Only Cape Town, South Africa and One&Only The Palm, Dubai, you have a One&Only retreat available at stunning exotic locations around the globe. They also recently announced plans to develop a new One&Only resort on Tufu Bay in Sanya, Hainan, China slated to begin welcoming guests in early 2014 (so you have time to hit up all of the rest until then).

It’s All About Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan, Baby!

Baku, Azerbaijan, Baby!

Have you seen the new commercials? Are you noticing subtle mentions here and there? Yes, there’s a buzz about Baku in the air as Azerbaijan utilizes some development funds and investment to spark their tourism industry alive. We say ‘Cool!’ Awhile back it was Croatia and Cololmbia, Montenegro soon started to make people mutter, now we have the Four Seasons in Baku, Azerbaijan opening it’s doors shortly to offer luxurious accommodations, with almost all opening to a balcony with views of the Caspian Sea or the Old City. Find relaxation in the penthouse spa or swim within a glass-roofed atrium. We really don’t care so long as you do the unexpected and go somewhere interesting like… Azerbaijan.

Four Seasons, Baku

Four Seasons Baku

The world is a miraculous place and it’s a lot safer than you think, especially, if you have your wits about you. Azerbaijan is no different. Baku – and the country itself – is a young country with the average male about 27 years old and average female around 30 years old. It’s predominately Muslim, but actual practicing Muslims are much fewer. In fact, Azerbaijan is a secular unitary republic, known for being one of the most liberal Muslim majority countries.  After gaining its independence, Azerbaijan has reached a high level of development, standard of living, and literacy as well as a low rate of unemployment and intentional homicide compared to other Eastern European countries. And guess what – not only is it beautiful, but about 98% of the population can read or write so you know that’s a positive sign. On the coast south of Russia, over half of Azerbaijan’s land mass consists of mountain ridges, crests, yailas, and plateaus which rise up to levels of 400–1000 meters. The first reports on the richness and diversity of animal life in Azerbaijan can be found in travel notes of Eastern travelers.

So, I don’t know about you, but I’m curious and must get my hiney over there! Oh, and in case you want tips on some places to eat in Baku, Virtual Tourist travelers have a few in mind too.

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