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Thursday, January 24th, 2013
Listening to the radio this morning, I hear that it’s 13 degrees in New York City, but it feels like 4. As I grab a thicker sweater, my mind drifts to warmer days—specifically a weekend in October I spent on Emerald Isle in the Southern Outer Banks in North Carolina. I arrived late at night, and though I couldn’t see the beach when I got to the house in which I’d be staying, I was greeted with the sound of the waves and the refreshing smell of the salty air.
The view from my room.
After a restful night’s sleep, I awoke to a view of the sun rising over the beach. Ah. Heaven! I would’ve loved to have sipped coffee on my room’s balcony, but there was no time to sit and stare (plus, there’d be time for that later. I soon realized that staying in a rented beach house, with it’s mix of privacy and luxury, is a nice change of pace to my usual resort vacations). After a quick breakfast with a few fellow journalists who were also touring N.C., we were off to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Once there, I gazed at the various swimming creatures, pet a couple rays in the touch pool, and took part in the Sea Turtle Rescue exhibit, where I assessed the ailments of a (plastic) turtle and diagnosed it with hypothermia. How appropriate. I’d welcome the blanket I used to treat the little guy now!
Me, posing at the aquarium!
Later that day, we took a boat ride to Cape Lookout National Seashore where we had a picnic lunch on the beach to fuel our 207-step climb to the top of Cape Lookout Lighthouse. From our new perspective we gawked at the gorgeous view of sand, sparkling ocean, and the wild horses galloping on a nearby island.
Looking at the lighthouse before our climb. It wasn’t as strenuous as I expected!
After our descent, we got back on the boat and headed for home. About midway back to shore, a team (school? Pod?) of dolphins surrounded us! The playful fellas jumped and squeaked, seemingly pleased to pose for our cameras.
Click to watch a video of the dolphins!
The following day we got up early and headed to Hot Wax Surf Shop for a stand-up paddle-boarding lesson. Don’t let the picture fool you—we did make it out on the water! We were doing great, despite it being all of our first times, until the Coast Guard cruised by and knocked us all down with the waves created by their boat! There was no harm done, though, and we all had a good laugh, got back onto our boards, and continued paddling.
The beginning of our lesson.
After drying off and freshening up, the gang headed to historic Beaufort (the third oldest town in North Carolina) where we heard about the history on a double-decker bus tour. It’s a quaint town right on the water that started as a fishing village. (Side note: If you’re a fan of fishing, the Outer Banks is the place for you! I took a run on the beach each day of my trip and dodged happy-looking fishermen, -women, and -children the whole way.) Okay, back to Beaufort: Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to spend there but other highlights are the Maritime Museum, tours of restored historic buildings, and a yummy fudge shop (okay, I may have made the time to sample some fudge).
The group in front of the double-decker bus.
Later that evening, we were treated to a 5-course catered dinner at our vacation house, where we raised a glass to a great stay in North Carolina!
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beach, Beaufort, Cape Lookout National Seashore, Crystal Coast, dolphins, Hot Wax Surf Shop, lighthouse, North Carolina, North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, stand-up paddle boarding, vacation | Categories:
Thursday, November 8th, 2012
If you’re looking for a last minute holiday get away, check out the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico – the queen bee of family stays. Located on 500 acres of a 73,000-acre Native-American reservation, the resort hosts unbeatable views of the Sandia Mountains and Rio Grande and an even more unbeatable lineup of activities for the holiday season.
The Tamaya Resort and Spa has an assortment of family-friendly excursions year round, ranging from hot air balloon rides to tribal dancing performances. But when you go in November, you can take part in hay ride tours, landscape painting classes, treasure hunts, and a pueblo-style Thanksgiving celebration. Or enter a New Mexico-style winter wonderland in December, for ornament making, gingerbread house decorating, and stories and s’mores under the stars. The best part? Most of the activities are either free for guests or super affordable.
Don’t miss out on booking one of the 350 pueblo-style rooms from now until February 28 for the awesome $155 per-room winter rate that includes 20 percent off trail rides, spa and salon treatments, and green fees at the Twin Warriors Golf Club. It’s definitely a steal for the gorgeous setting and one-of-a-kind amenities, but more so for the peace of mind that even though Albuquerque and Santa Fe are less than 50 miles away, there’s enough excitement at the resort to keep your kiddies entertained from check-in to check-out.
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Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
When you think of celebrity vacations, exotic resorts and spas may come to mind. But our celeb correspondent Nancy O’Dell found out that many famous parents like to have a low-key summer with the kids. Some of their favorite getaway spots may even be in your neck of the woods. Check out the celebs and their destinations of choice by clicking here for the full story from the July issue of Parents. And don’t forget to catch Nancy weeknights on Entertainment Tonight–or chat with her directly at facebook.com/nancyodellspage.
Image courtesy of Ulrica Wihlborg
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Friday, July 13th, 2012
Parents teamed up with Embassy Suites to find out how you vacation. According to our survey, more than one half of families, consider themselves “vacation dabblers,” who sporadically take days off throughout the year for shorter, one- to two-night trips. This is a surprisingly high percentage, considering people need at least three days to benefit from time off. On the other end of the spectrum, only a mere 13% are considered “vacation maximizers,” who patiently save up vacation days for one long trip.
So what does this mean? Those two-day mini vacations gaining popularity may seem great in theory, but commonly aren’t rejuvenating enough. To help families “moremize” their vacations, Embassy Suites has started a Facebook contest to give away week-long vacations. All you have to do is go to the page and post a picture of your family’s best “vacation face.” Don’t forget to include a caption to explain how your family plans on getting the most out of your summer vacation before, during, and after.
When the contest ends on July 20th, five lucky winners will receive seven nights at any Embassy Suits Hotel, roundtrip airfare for four, and $10,000 spending cash—the ultimate vacation!
Whether or not your family wins the contest, here are some helpful vacation tips from health and happiness expert, Dr. Susan Biali, to keep in mind the next time you’re contemplating how to spend your days off.
* Looking forward to a vacation actually improves your attitude at work and makes you more productive. This is what Dr. Biali refers to as “vacation anticipation.”
* “Vacation dabblers” should make sure they spend their couple of days off relaxing—not doing errands and running around. Those aren’t real days off and defeat the purpose!
* Post-vacation memories can help to rejuvenate you when you’re stressed. Display vacation photos and keepsakes where you can see them often to serve as pleasant reminders of fun family times.
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Friday, July 13th, 2012
What ever happened to the wish list you had as a child—the one where you planned to ride an elephant in Africa, touch the Eiffel tower in Paris, and play in the oceans of Hawaii? If you’re like most adults, your list of whimsical dreams was replaced with paying bills, saving for your kid’s college, and planning for retirement. But what if you had the chance to make your number one childhood wish come true?
Hilton Garden Inn wants to make that happen with their second annual Life’s Ultimate To-Do List contest. Like your very own fairy godmother, Hilton Garden Inn will help 10 people cross off the top goal from their bucket lists—and give them $2,000 and airfare to make it happen. All you have to do is tell Hilton your ultimate wish by August 5th and why you deserve the prize. It’s that simple! (And way easier than planning your next vacation.) Check out Hilton Garden Inn’s facebook to see the rules, recent entries, and to submit your own.
Who said only kids get to have all the fun?
Image: Man parasailing over the ocean via Shutterstock
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Friday, June 8th, 2012
Photo courtesy of Smugglers' Notch Resort
Looking for something fun to do now that summer’s here? Hit the slopes! We’re not kidding. Winter resorts like Smugglers’ Notch near Jeffersonville, Vermont, are just as fun when the sun is shining and no one is skiing. Smuggs (as the locals call it) offers summer camps for kids ages 9-17 such as H2Awesome! Water Camp for your little fishies (turns out there are a lot of watering holes and beaches in the area) and Survival Camp, a four-day adventure for camping lovers to learn wilderness survival skills. Each day focuses on a new topic – including shelter, water, food, and fire. Smuggs also offers special activities and trips such as visits to ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, where kids can discover 70 live species and participate in more than 100 interactive experiences. For families with special needs kids, Smuggs even offers their Adaptive Program. For more information about these and other programs at Smugglers’ Notch, go to smuggs.com.
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Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Thinking about a quick getaway for Memorial Day weekend? Before you finalize your plans, explore family-friendly places by using Google Maps Street View. If you’re not familiar with this free tool, it gives you a 360-degree street level look at popular U.S. and world destinations (zoos, amusement parks, public parks, landmarks, museums, etc.). From the comfort of your own home computer or smartphone, preview places to determine if you want to visit them in person.
Get a panoramic look at these following U.S. destinations:
For bigger family vacations, you can take a road trip to different U.S. landmarks, discover historic Italy, or even set sail down the Amazon River.
Plus, if you or someone you know manages a unique destination, request a Street View team to visit the location through the Street View Partner Program.
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family travel, family vacation, google, google street view, Travel, travel plans, travel tips, traveling, vacation, vacation planning, vacation plans | Categories:
Monday, April 9th, 2012
Autism May Be Linked to Obesity During Pregnancy
Obesity during pregnancy may increase chances for having a child with autism, provocative new research suggests.
Apps Helping Autistic Children Communicate
Children with autism typically have difficulty communicating and interacting with others. Manuel Gallegus reports on one school in New Jersey that is using iPhone and iPad apps to change all that.
Colombian Girl, 10, Gives Birth to Daughter
Young mother, a member of the indigenous Wayuu tribe, delivered by C-section.
Emotional Trauma May Hurt Toddlers’ Later Learning
Suffering emotional trauma such as witnessing domestic violence or being abused early in life may inhibit children’s intellectual development, according to a new study.
Fertility Clinic Founder May Have Fathered Up to 600 Children
A pioneering British scientist who set up a controversial London fertility clinic with his wife in the 1940s may have fathered up to 600 children, according to research from two men who have discovered they are his biological sons.
Will High Gas Prices Bring On Another Summer of the ‘Staycation’?
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Remember the “staycation“? In 2009, when recession concerns reached their peak, the term came into widespread use, referring to the practice of staying home (or close to home) as a money-saving alternative to the traditional vacation involving a flight or long road trip. Rising gas prices may bring on a staycation sequel in 2012.