Archive for the ‘mother daughter travel’ Category

Volunteers Rebuild Nepal, Brick by Brick

nepal travel

One year has passed since the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April last year. While Nepal is doing everything it can to recover and rebuild, the country is still in need of significant aid and resources.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, Projects Abroad initiated a Disaster Relief Project to assist with the recovery process. Since the project began in June 2015, hundreds of Projects Abroad volunteers have made incredible progress in helping with the organization’s goal of restoring a safe learning environment for children in the Kathmandu Valley. Currently volunteers’ efforts are focused on reconstructing Yashaswi Gurukul English Secondary School, the sixth Disaster Relief site to date. Their help has been invaluable.

volunteer nepal

When the work at Yashaswi Gurukul is completed, the new building will also serve another purpose. As aftershocks continue even nine months later, and the fear of another large-scale quake remains, the school building will be able to serve as a safe gathering space for the local community, in case of further disaster. Projects Abroad staff estimate that work at this site will conclude in the next month or so, and then volunteers will move on to the next site where they are desperately needed.

Projects Abroad has made a commitment, not only through Disaster Relief but also through Teaching and Care Projects, to restore stability to the education of young students. In working with dedicated local experts and volunteers, the organization is striving to get Nepalese communities back on their feet, brick by brick!

For more information on how to get involved yourself with Disaster Relief work in Nepal, have a look here:

www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/building/disaster-relief/volunteer-nepal

 

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Maui Wowie… Yoga-Style, Brah

The grounds of Lumeria Maui

The grounds of Lumeria Maui

We’re a little obsessed with yoga retreats… we know, we know. And, since we’re also Kama’aina (local Hawaiian, bradah), we wanted to share Lumeria Mauis latest. Lumeria Maui is Hawaii’s newest luxury retreat for yoga, well-being, and personal growth, if you must know, and they’re presenting Symphony Of The Senses with four retreats in 2013.  These retreats integrate yoga, music, movement, sensory awareness, nature, and gourmet organic cuisine (check!)  in, as they say, “a nurturing, supportive, holistic, and vibrantly energetic environment.” Certified Anusara teacher, Skeeter Tichnor, plans to facilitate the movement of energy in participants’ bodies through the practice of yoga.

The goal?

To guide attendees in accessing and experiencing beauty, peace and compassionate awareness. As a leading innovator of contemporary healing and transformational music, Peter Kater will also provide the soundscape to a deeper experience of our emotional bodies and a heightened awareness of our essential selves with music created specifically for these retreats.

A room at Lumeria

A room at Lumeria

The first retreat will consist of a four night and five day stay from April 27 – May 1, 2013 and starts at $1,500 per person based on double occupancy.  In addition to the retreat, this package includes three meals per day at Harvest Café as well as all classes, sessions, and on-property activities. The second immersion is a five night and six day retreat from July 20 – 25, 2013, which starts at $1,700 per person based on double occupancy. Dates and details on the last two Symphony of the Senses retreats are soon to be announced on Lumeria Maui’s website.

Lumeria encompasses six ocean- and mountain-view acres between the seaside village of Paia and the upcountry paniolo (that’s “cowboy”, for all you city slickers) town of Makawao. In addition to its 24 luxury guest accommodations, the retreat also features a spacious yoga studio, 900-square-foot outdoor yoga platform and 8,000-square-foot lower terrace suited for group activities. The Harvest Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week with menus featuring local, organically grown produce.

Relaxing at Lumeria. Not too shabby, eh?

Relaxing at Lumeria. Not too shabby, eh?

Daily instruction in yoga and meditation are included with accommodations. Further education is made available through customized programs in therapeutic healing arts, water sports, personal growth and transformation, and the history and practices of indigenous Hawaiian culture. Located just 2.5 miles from the Maui’s famed North Shore, Lumeria Maui’s adventure experiences include surfing, kite-surfing, stand up paddle board and windsurfing sessions, all led by world-class athletes and instructors.

The property is a restored historic site, originally constructed in 1909, and features classic Hawaii-style neo-colonial fusion architecture. We love. In light of its adaptive reuse, the project is also listed in the National Registry of Historical Places, and was an honored recipient of a 2012 Preservation Award from the Historic Hawaii Foundation.

Now that’s da kine.

www.lumeriamaui.com

Full Moon Hikes, Red Rock Jeep Tours, Wine, and Qi Gong… Sign me up!

Mountains of Sedona

Mountains of Sedona

If you’re planning a girls’ getaway, think outside the box this time and head to the raw red rocks of Sedona, AZ for a truly unforgettable experience. The “Wild West” is no longer the perilous destination that tested the mettle of pioneer women.  No, sir. The sweet city of Sedona offers the best of food, wine, spa treatments, galleries, shops (zen crystals and palm readings, anyone?), outdoor adventures, all within one of the most beautiful and inspirational natural settings to “girls” of all ages. Whether it’s a Girlfriends’ Getaway, Mother-Daughter retreat, Female Family Reunion – Sedona is idyllic.
El Portal - Sedona Exterior

El Portal – Sedona Exterior

One fantastic home base for a girls’ getaway in Sedona is El Portal Sedona Hotel.  This 12 room luxury boutique hotel offers truly personalized concierge services for Sedona and area, spectacular gourmet breakfasts and spacious Sedona accommodations. Guests appreciate the attention to detail in the stunning turn of the century Southwestern design, as well as the fact suites feature all modern amenities. Each guest suite includes a private entrance, patio or balcony, fireplace, whirlpool bath, entertainment center with DVD player, free wireless and more. (It is a pet friendly Sedona hotel with never a fee for pets, and offers free pet sitting).
El Portal Lobby

El Portal Lobby

After settling in at El Portal, a quick trip into town will introduce girls to an array of shops and galleries, including Sedona Wineworks and The Art of Wine.  This wine shop and tasting room features Arizona wines and wine-inspired original artwork, and is open for tasting seven days a week.  After sampling some unique wines, head to Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village to browse in the shops and galleries, then relax over dinner at Rene’s or El Rincon, both just steps away from El Portal. After reconnecting over a great meal, make yourself at home back at El Portal with a glass of wine (and complimentary chocolate-chip cookies) around the campfire or on your a private patio or balcony. Taking a look back at women’s history in Arizona is a great way to celebrate the bonds of friendship while in Sedona. Through Labor Day, the Sedona Heritage Museum will be featuring the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail traveling exhibit, which is a celebration of women who have made significant contributions and left a lasting mark on Arizona.
El Portal Courtyard

El Portal Courtyard

Sun Country Adventures jeep tours of Sedona also allow girlfriends to connect with the rich landscape in a unique way, exploring seldom seen parts of the area on exhilarating jeep rides. Sun Country tour guides work with visitors to incorporate yoga or Qi Gong, meditation and ceremony if desired on customized hikes. Guests at El Portal Sedona Hotel can arrange full moon hikes, sunset hikes, hikes to high places, exhilarating and challenging hikes, as well as gentle hikes suitable for beginners. El Portal will even pack picnic lunches or arrange cowgirl cookouts.
Sun Country Adventures - Sedona Jeep Tour

Sun Country Adventures – Sedona Jeep Tour

One of the most popular hiking destinations in the area is Sedona’s majestic Red Rock State Park.  The park is a 286-acre preserve and environmental education center with breathtaking scenery of red rock and flowing water.  Unusual local rock formations such as Devil’s Bridge, which is considered the largest natural arch in the Sedona area, are great hiking destinations. Devil’s Bridge features dramatic views of the canyons, mountains and red rock cliffs from atop the cracked and fractured sandstone arch. The trail utilizes natural rocks as stairs to the top of the arch, making the trail suitable for hikers of most abilities and a great spot for memorable photos.
Of course, no girls’ trip is complete without spa treatments.  Guests of El Portal Sedona Hotel can walk over to Sedona Spa to indulge in everything from facials to massages and full-body treatments. These are just a few of the activities you can include in a unique and memorable girls’ getaway. Sedona offers biking, golf, musical performances, wine tours, hot air balloon rides and much more.  Contact El Portal Sedona for assistance in “rocking” the ideal girls’ trip.

About the Author: Wendy Rubicam is a freelance writer and marketing consultant based in Las Vegas, NV.  Wendy specializes in all things written for a wide variety of business clients, as well as freelance feature stories for magazines. Find out more about Wendy at www.rubicamwriting.com

A Wine Cave, Spa Grotto, and Star Anise Kobe Beef? Welcome to The Meritage in Napa

The Meritage Hotel and Spa

The Meritage Resort and Spa

Ah… The Meritage Resort and Spa. For those looking to Escape to Napa, this is one we’re keen to check out. An idyllic Napa Valley hotel and resort, it’s set against rolling hills with its own private vineyards (’cause, oftentimes, when we slurp wine, we like to do it from the confines of our own exclusive vineyard). A destination unto itself with Tuscan inspired rooms and luxury suites, we’re also keen on it’s seasonal farm-to-table cuisine in their Siena restaurant and wine tasting in the Estate Cave featuring Trinitas Cellars. Siena’s Napa Terroir-influenced menu sources the best local, seasonal meats, fish and produce designed by an award-winning executive chef to compliment area wines. Entrees also start at a reasonable $12. From appetizers to savory desserts Siena has something for every palate, but some of favorite entrees include Seared Sea Bass with Sautéed Rock Shrimp; and Cinnamon and Star Anise Scented Kobe Beef Short Ribs.

The Meritage's underground wine cellar

The Meritage’s underground wine cellar

If that’s not slurpalicious enough, you can regain a healthful balance with curative treatments at Spa Terra – a lavish underground spa with steam grottos, soaking pools, treatment alcoves and tranquil walls of water. How cool is that? Spa Terra’s signature 100-minute package? Solo Vino, an exfoliating grape seed scrub, followed by an invigorating jet shower rinse and a decadent body wrap with wine cave mud. A 50-minute Terra Massage ends this Napa favorite! Massages and treatments start at $65. Then, you can unwind at Crush Ultra Lounge, which offers six swanky bowling lanes, a pool table, fireplace and more. The resort also claims the most comprehensive event and meeting space in wine country – for those looking for the most romantic Napa wedding in town or an ideal corporate retreat.

This has to be one of the coolest spas we've seen!

This has to be one of the coolest spas we’ve seen!

Looks like I’ll either have to convince my honey to take me on a romantic wine country trip or convince my company that Napa is the perfect place for a little corporate bonding. Over wine or in a grotto, of course.

Rates from around $260/night

www.themeritageresort.com 

A Fitness Weekend in Falmouth

Yoga on the Beach say 'Hey'

One of our Falmouth faves is celebrating Spring (a time when most are looking to shed a few of those extra winter pounds in preparation for summer). The Sea Crest Beach Hotel, located on Buzzards Bay in North Falmouth, has the perfect fix to jump start diet and exercise routines with its Fun & Fitness Getaway Weekend from April 14-16, 2012. This action packed workout schedule will have guests ready to hit Old Silver Beach kicking off with an hour long, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning Zumba dance class. Following a light lunch at Red’s, Sea Crest Beach Hotel’s ocean front restaurant and lounge, guests will enjoy a Pilates class that aims to condition, strengthen and tone the body from head to toe.

The Sea Crest Beach Hotel's Quaint Lobby

After a healthy Dinner at Red’s, the weekend continues as guests and local residents are invited to dance the night away in a Salsa & Swing dance class from 7 to 11 p.m. After a well-earned rest, a tranquil yoga class awaits on Sunday morning, followed by a balanced breakfast with a nutritionist who will be on hand for guests seeking advice on putting their eating habits and food plans on the fast track to success. Those looking to head outdoors are encouraged to grab a bike and hit the trail, or enjoy a walk on the sands of Old Silver Beach. The fitness weekend is a value-packed program ideal for singles and couples with or without family and friends. Movies, munchies and martinis will be available from 6 to 11 p.m. on Sunday night as well as breakfast before check out on Monday morning.

Starting at $345/night (for two)

www.seacrestbeachhotel.com

 

 

San Luis Obispo For Lovers and Family

 

San Luis Obispo

 

San Luis Obispo. It’s probably that one place in life we’ll never live, but always wish we had. Sorta like Sonoma.

With an abundance of protected state parks, pristine beaches, miles of cycling, hiking, alternative transportation routes,and an inviting climate year-round, we love San Luis Obispo, CA and think it’s a nature-lover’s heaven and we’re so jealous someone lives here and it isn’t us. Wait, did we say that already?

Well, now, with the help of SLO Car Free and San Luis Obispo Vacations, eco-minded vacationers can save some green while traveling green. All you need to do is register at slocarfree.org for a voucher to book a specially priced San Luis Obispo Car-Free Hotel Package at one of the hotels listed below. The SLO Car Free Voucher can also be redeemed for discounts at participating businesses and attractions in San Luis Obispo, as well as for a 20% discount on Amtrak tickets.

Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, downtown San Luis Obispo, CA is not only a beautiful sleepy town with enough green to make you breathe in the sweet smell of earth and trees, but it’s also the cultural hub of the scenic Central Coast of California with wineries and restaurants catering to lovers and families escaping the stress of the big cities to the north and south. Its numerous downtown hotels offer an ideal home base for trips to wine country, Hearst Castle, Mission San Luis Obispo, the Thursday Evening Farmer’s Market, and more (including our personal favorite… the amazing Madonna Inn).

Car-Free Hotel Packages

Apple Farm – 15% off standard rates and a free slice of pie with the purchase of any regular priced dinner entreé

Courtyard by Marriott, San Luis Obispo – 10% off standard room rates

Downtown Travelodge – 10% off standard room rates

Embassy Suites, San Luis Obispo – 10% off standard rates and free shuttle service

Holiday Inn Express – 15% off standard room rates

Hostel Obispo – 10% off Hearst Castle tickets. Receive a free bike rental with a 3-day stay

La Cuesta Inn – $10 off standard room rates

Los Padres Inn – 15% off standard room rates. Restrictions apply

Petit Soleil Bed et Breakfast – Complimentary bike rental with stay

Quality Suites, San Luis Obispo – 30% off standard rates

Villa Motel, San Luis Obispo – 10% off standard room rates

For a list of car-free deals and itinerary ideas, check out:

SLOCarFree.org

For more on San Luis Obispo area attractions and accommodations: SanLuisObispoVacations.com

Fall Foliage: North America’s Best B&B’s

Cool, crisp, clean air brings out the leaf peeper in all of us, so it’s never too soon to pull out a foliage map and ponder where you want to be when the leaves start to turn. Of course, catching the prime peaks and intensity of colors depends on what part of the country you are in, temperature, precipitation, wind, and leaf genetics.

Across North America there are hundreds of inns and B&Bs located near forests, national parks, and vineyards that present thousands of leaf-seekers and eco-adventurer’s with myriad choices for getaways come fall. Explore a regional wine trail, get up in the colorful canopies with the birds via a zip-line adventure, or take an extreme off-road truck ride up a wild mountain. Here are some top suggestions ranging from tame to extreme culled from around North America.

To enjoy fall foliage at its peak, Mary White, founder of www.BnBFinder.com, a leading online B&B directory listing hundreds of getaway specials, says, “The character of foliage season is unique to each region; Texas has its golden forests of ‘Lost Maples,’ Arkansas has dogwoods that turn brilliant ruby red. Put your finger anywhere on a map, and there’s good chance spectacular foliage and a welcoming bed and breakfast hosted by innkeepers who know the best routes and secret spots for superb leaf-peeping awaits you.”

She suggests:

  • Check the National Forest Service Foliage Alerts to view maps and foliage reports.
  • Book your B&B early: fall foliage is prime time for visitors so it’s wise to pick your destination and lock in your lodging. Look for deals and better availability if you can getaway mid-week.

Here are some BnBFinder.com bed and breakfast offerings to elevate foliage viewing to new heights:

Extreme Peeping – Who said leaf peeping has to be tame? It doesn’t have to be during your stay at the lovely Rabbit Hill Inn, inLower Waterford , Vermont . Nestled in the Northeast Kingdom , famous for outdoor sports and covered bridges, the inn offers concierge services for a full range of activities including guided treks, hot air balloon rides, glider rides, golf, and tennis and even finding your way out of a corn maze. The off-road, action-packed Truck Safari up the wild trails of Barron Mountain delivers lion-hearted passengers to a breathtaking vantage point where Franconia Notch, awash in jewel-toned foliage glory, will leave thrill-seeking leaf peepers breathless. Romantic guest rooms with fireplace and whirlpool and candlelit country breakfasts are included, and two Mud Puddle cocktails at the local pub. For extreme thrill seekers zip-lines are also available.

Crush on You Foliage season in Napa , California coincides with grape crushing so visitors can enjoy the bonus of wine tasting and other grape-centric events hosted by local wine producers during this colorful time of year. The historic Beazley House offers a Wine Train package that capitalizes on the beauty of the region in foliage season and the gourmet cuisine and wines for which Napa is so famous. Passengers are treated to first-class service as they sup and sip on board this luxuriously-appointed train as it wends through the countryside and vineyards. The grape vines turn shades of brilliant gold, red, and mahogany in September and October, and the views are breathtaking. Request the Wine Train package when reserving one of the elegant guest rooms with private bath and garden views, and prepare yourself to be further enchanted by the delicious breakfast served each morning.

Jewel of the Ozarks – Eureka Springs is a vibrant Victorian village snuggled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains . With its pristine air, abundance of fall festivals, and many chef-owned eateries, this hamlet is a lovely place while you enjoy the scarlet dogwoods and golden maples. The Inn at Rose Hall is a magnificent recreation of an 1880’s Victorian manse with its period antiques, stained glass windows, and exquisite gardens. Fall gourmet breakfasts reap the bounties of harvest including such delights as pumpkin waffles with orange sauce, and chocolate zucchini bread.

Isle of Color – The spectacle of turning leaves against the backdrop of the deep blue sea, rolling farm land, and towering forests make Canadian Prince Edward Island a unique destination for leaf peepers. The Elmwood Heritage Inn, in Charlottetown , welcomes guests on foliage patrol from mid-September until late October. Century-old majestic elms with gold-crested boughs lining the hidden driveway greet you upon arrival. Cycling, golfing, walking on quiet beaches or taking scenic drives are some ways to enjoy the magnificent vistas. Or, take in the panorama of fall from the golf course, or during a bike ride around what is commonly called, this “gentle island.”

The Gold Standard – The Berkshires rank tops in fall foliage aficionado circles, and the Inn at Green River, in Hillsdale , New York , is the perfect spot for viewing foliage and partaking in the many cultural and gastronomic offerings that make this region so popular. The Inn ‘s1830 Federal-style farmhouse boasts seven romantic guest rooms with fireplaces, and ancient sugar maples and beautiful gardens adorn the grounds. Leaf peepers can begin the day with a leisurely walk down a quiet dirt road known to the locals as “the Dug way,” then progress to a hike at Batfish Falls in Taconic State Park , the Appalachian Trail , orBartholomew’s Cobble. Your innkeepers know the way, and can also direct you to Monument Mountain or Mt. Greylock , or even point you toward more adventurous pursuits such as viewing foliage from a bird’s eye perspective on the zip-line at the new aerial adventure park nearby.

Check out: www.BnBFinder.com for all of nature’s great hidden gems.

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