Best Places to Watch Flowers Bloom

Have you ever thought about taking a vacation just to Watch Flowers Bloom? Well, you should. We go to see the mountains and the sand so why not the flowers? There are places all over the world, but some are right in our backyard. Travel+ Leisure recently posted an article showcasing the top places to visit to see the flowers bloom, here are 8 of those spots.

Crested Butte, Colorado

Have you ever heard of a Wildflower Festival? Crested Butte, Colorado offers its visitors many different activities to enjoy; hikes/walks, garden tours, art workshops and more! It is the 33rd year that the festival is held. July 5tht o the 14th trails open for an unbelievable sight of wildflowers. Not only will you experience the flowers but because it is up in the West Elk mountains the view itself will be quite stunning.  

Kauai, Hawaii

The best part about Kauai, Hawaii is the McBryde Garden Biodiversity Trail. The trail offers guided and unguided tours. Endangered and rare plants are conserved here and you can even see how movies like Jurassic Park were made.  Make sure to visit their visitor information before making the trip so you have everything you need.

And the best part? Because the area is so wet all of the time, there is always something blooming.

Arizona-Sonora Desert, Arizona

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is over 90 acres of multiple attractions including; a botanical garden, natural history museum, zoo, art gallery, aquarium, and a zoo! On top of that the Museum’s mission is to help conserve the Sonoran Desert region. The Museum is also often named on the top ten zoological parks in the world. The unique thing about this Museum is that 85% of it is outside.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Every year in Chiang Mai (also known as the “rose of the north) there is a Flower Festival that is three days long. It is in February when the season is being to warm up. There are flower floats and Thai women, younger women, carry baskets around while wearing floor length gowns, and usually a band after. Much like our own parades. You can pick your own bundle of lilies.

Furano, Japan

Have you ever seen a lavender field? Furano, Japan’s mild summers make it one of the best places to grow lavender. Farm Tomita offers an unbelievable views, creating a rainbow that appears to look fake. July is the perfect time to go, they even have a lavender themed gift shop. They even have soft-serve that is lavender flavored.

Mainau Island, Germany

Mainau Island, Germany, also known as “Flower Island”. This island has over 110 acres of paths, flower beds, and sweeping lawns. There are two waves a blooming, one in late March and then the next one starting in late May. The island also offers places to eat and of course places to shop.

Bowral, New South Wales, Australia

Because Australia’s season are flopped from ours, it’s a perfect getaway during the colder months here in the states. There is an annual Tulip Time Festival.Corbett Gardens has been having the festival since 1911. It is also the center of the Spring Garden Festival, over 30,000 people visit the festival. The garden is usually free unless you are going during the Tulip Time Festival, so make sure you check so you don’t show up empty handed.

Giverny, France

Giverny, France  is known as the village where the painter Claude Monet lived for over 40 years. Giverny is home to his house as well as his garden, which reopened on March 22nd. You can even book a private tour to be guided thru Monet’s beautiful garden. Visit their website for all of your booking information.

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Top Hotels Around the World in 2019

Is there any more important choice than lodging or Hotels when planning your vacation?  Don’t be the traveler that logs hours of internet research and thousands of dollars only to be miserable in a resort that you thought would be luxury.  Depending on your priorities, there’s the perfect lodging choice no matter where you choose to travel, but these Hotels are so lovely that you may want to choose your travel destination around the Hotel.  Travelandleisure.com recently published their list of top hotels to visit in 2019 and we couldn’t be more on board!  From huge, sprawling, popular resorts to under the radar cottages, their list was compiled by seasoned professional travelers, travel writers and hospitality specialists who are all in the know, and now you can be in the know before planning your next big adventure!

1.    Mombo Camp — Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

Top Hotels Around the World in 2019

Botswana is the premier safari/wildlife conservation area in the world.  Rated a 90/100 on the conservation scale, they are largely dedicated to conserving the land and wildlife in the area and make sure that any safaris or tours are not impacting the integrity of either.  The camp is powered by solar power and employs teams of specialists, experts and scientists to ensure the safety of all parties: travellers, wild game, the earth, and the locals. Home to a large African elephant population along with zebras and Cape buffalo, the camp is a new lodge on one of the area’s most exclusive slices of land that measures over 96k acres.  See sights and have experiences straight out of the Disney movie Jungle Book at this pristine and unique hotel.

2.    Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island

A true castaways experience, Desroches Island is a coral island in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  An authentic paradise, it offers only the best and luxurious accommodations and is the only resort on the island.  Rock slowly in an ocean-side hammock, relax in your private pool, take long naps in your rustic bungalow or cabana, or explore the 9 miles of white sand beaches and trails while feeling the ocean breeze blow on your face and listening to the soft waves crash on the shore.  When you are feeling adventurous you can visit our tortoise sanctuary where hundreds- years-old giant tortoises roam freely. When you want to renew, visit our spa or take a master yoga course. This is truly a vacation that you have on your terms.

3.    Amanyangyun — Shanghai

Boasting a one thousand-year year-old camphor forest transported from an actual village submerged by a reservoir project in Jingxia province by billionaire entrepreneur Ma Dadong, who brought them from his home province of Fuzhou, over 400 miles away, this hotel mixes the ancient and modern in curious ways.  Book one of the contemporary villas with elaborately carved interior beams and delicate tiles that are set next to open-air walkways and ponds. Shanghai itself is a metropolis drawing more and more attention from travelers from all over the world. There you will find the perfect blend of cultures and the modern mixed with the traditional.

4.    Capella Ubud — Bali, Indonesia

Designed by Bill Bensley, who is responsible for some of Southeast Asia’s most glamorous resorts, Capella Ubud takes an unexpected turn toward the natural to reflect Bensley’s love of camping. The result is 23 of the most lavish and fantastical tents ever created, something straight out of an adventure movie.  It includes copper tubs, saltwater pools, and suspension bridges. Each tent has a theme such as the Librarian’s Tent or the Cartographer’s Tent, and is outfitted with antiques from the owner’s collection. Bensley worked hard at preserving the integrity of the natural landscape and didn’t cut down a single tree on the resort’s 10 acres of rainforest and rice terraces.

5.    Skylark Negril Beach Resort — Jamaica

This hip resort is straight out of a design and style magazine. It draws inspiration from the naturally vibrant color palette of Jamaica and incorporates architectural elements such as whitewashed concrete, geometric shapes, and natural wood grains to create the minimalist style with added vivid splashes of color.

The property’s design reflects its natural surroundings- aqua marine guest room doors to symbolize the Caribbean Sea, shades of greens to symbolize the lush native vegetation, and  accent pieces to symbolize the signature ackee fruit’s bright red color. This resort will allow you access to the island’s authentic culture by way of food, music, architecture and design.

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The Best Untapped Destinations in Europe for 2019

It turns out, after years of vacationing to different areas, that some of the best memories come from the hidden and quite locations not many people have heard of before and also happen to be the Best Untapped Destinations.  The empty white, sandy beaches. The cobblestone streets where you are the only tourist.  These experiences truly immerse you in another land and culture without the touristy traps.  Once the general public finds out about an amazing destination, it’s only natural that the large influx of travelers morph that destination in some way.  Menus begin having English captions and suddenly street vendors are selling impostor goods in an attempt to appeal to the American spender.

Thanks to Travel + Leisure, we have compiled a great list of untapped European destinations for you to advantage of before everyone finds out!  Put these Best Untapped Destinations on your bucket list and get ready to have a genuine and authentic travel experience like no other.

Best Untapped Destinations in Europe in 2019

1.    Giornico, Switzerland

The ancient but well preserved village of Italian-speaking Giornico with its stone houses, vineyards and chestnut forests, is located in the Leventina Valley (Canton Ticino) in southern Switzerland. Architecture buffs will enjoy the seven churches, including the beautiful 12th century Romanesque Church of St. Nicholas. To fully appreciate it, drive north 35 miles from the popular lake resort towns of Ascona and Locarno and find the turnoff for Giornico, a stone relic of 14th-century Europe hiding off the main road. Down in the valley and rests a trickling little river crossed by two arching stone bridges. Take a gander at the impressive views of scenic road and rail routes, rock faces and waterfalls. Grotto dei due Ponti, a family-run restaurant serves dishes like spezzatino (meat ragoût) with polenta and overlooks the river.

2.    Kotor, Montenegro

Wedged between mountains and the bay, Kotor is a medieval maze of museums, churches, cafes and Venetian palaces. This is a perfect example of why some of these are some of the Best Untapped Destinations. It’s a delightful marriage of the past and present. Children race down cobblestone roads toward centuries-old school houses. Lines of laundry flap from wrought-iron balconies. At night, Kotor’s spectacularly lit-up walls glow as the streets buzz with live music and castle-top clubbing.  The wealthy British are scrambling to scoop up real estate in Kotor. The locals (dark-haired, green-eyed people of the Black Mountains which is where Montenegro gets its name) have opened restaurants to introduce visitors to the local fare.

3.   
Kotor, Montenegro

Ancient poets, fertile countryside, draping Cypress trees, neverending vineyards and olive groves…this truly is the gem of Tuscany.  Bolgheri boasts castles straight out of a Disney tale, like the castle of the Gherardesca Counts of Bolgheri, near Piazza Santa Teresa.   The churches are majestic as they are serene, such as the church of Saints Giacomo and Cristoforo, the oldest in the area. Carducci, author of the famous and timeless Rime Nuove, wrote beautiful poetry about the lines of Cypress trees, now numbering more than 2,500 and the only local vegetation that buffalos won’t eat. Take a bike ride over through the gentle hills of the hinterland and you will see the coast and the sea. In nearby Bibbona only 5 miles away, you’ll find the Relais Sant’Elena, a 15-room estate with canopy beds and pasta-making classes.

4.    Lavenham, England

This medieval wool town has extraordinarily well-preserved Tudor buildings and is unofficially labeled the prettiest town in England.  It’s tiny – the population hasn’t ever exceeded 2,000 – yet it is the 14th-richest town in England. This is thanks to its wool making.  Lavenham has a long history of fabrics. It was at one point exporting its fabrics as far as Russia making its wool merchants so rich that in 1487 Henry VII fined some of them for being ostentatious.

After the war, the area become impoverished for over 300 years, leaving the residents unable to afford architectural upgrades to stone and wood.  After hundreds of years, the architectural style became fashionable again and is a strong draw for tourists as it feels like a step back into time.

Let us know what you think about some of the Best Untapped Destinations in Europe right now. Have you heard of them or visited any of these?

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Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center Now Open

GMarriott recently announced that the newest premier American resort, Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, has had its Grand Opening. This resort, and the Gaylord name, has a long and rich history making them experts in the hospitality industry.

The Gaylord and Dickinson families began the Oklahoma Publishing Company, which would become the Gaylord Entertainment Company, in Oklahoma in 1903, before Oklahoma was even recognized as a state.  There was an increasing demand for news in the area and the families recognized that need and decided to capitalize on it.  Soon, radio would enter the lives of every American. The two families saw potential in this field and added on a broadcasting agency to their business.  It was the 2nd radio station in the United States. As the two entrepreneurial families recognized more and more potential during a time of major industrial growth in the US, they continued to expand their businesses to meet those needs.  The radio venture eventually led them to Nashville, the home of country music. One of their radio announcers, George D. Hay, gave birth to the renowned Grand Ole Opry with his country music radio show.

The business venture that would bring Gaylord the greatest amount of success and would thrust his company into the national spotlight was his 1983 purchase of Nashville-based Grand Ole Opry and the Opryland Hotel.  The Opryland Hotel ballooned in size during the 1980s and early 1990s to almost 2,000 rooms, making it one of the largest and most successful hotels in the world.

The success of the Opryland Hotel was in part a reflection of the ability of its managers.  With newfound success, money to invest, and a top-notch management team, Gaylord Entertainment announced two new hotel-development projects:  a 1,500-room Opryland Hotel in Grapevine, Texas, and a 1,400-room Opryland Hotel in Osceola County, near Orlando, Florida. The Texas and Florida Opryland Hotels were the first of several hotels the company planned to establish in the future. While construction was still underway at the two sites, the company announced plans for the $500 million Opryland Hotel Potomac, a 2,000-room hotel and convention center in National Harbor.

Gaylord Rockies Resort Photo
Marriott recently announced that the newest premier American destination, Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, has had its Grand Opening.

Gaylord’s newest enterprise offers and experience like no other previous Gaylord property.  Offering diverse convention, entertainment and lifestyle experiences, it truly celebrates the geographic heritage of the Rockies with regional themes and attractions designed exclusively for the resort.   The resort’s interior design has everything from waterfalls, boulders, native landscaping and even elevators designed to look like old mine shafts, a nod to Colorado’s gold rush history. Guest rooms boast carpets with Aspens and lumberjack plaid print pillows. In the Convention Center, one will find Colorado-inspired details throughout such as ski tracks and snow drifts. “For the past three years, a dedicated group of more than 1,500 individuals has worked tirelessly to bring this massive project to life.  We couldn’t be more excited to officially open our doors and welcome guests to experience all that’s offered at this magnificent property; a destination experience in its own that authentically captures Colorado’s adventurous spirit,” said Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center General Manager Rick Medwedeff.

The resort features 1,501 guest rooms, including 114 upscale suites, and more than 486,000-square-feet of meeting and convention space. Businesses can bring their conference, convention or meeting to life in one of the property’s new indoor or outdoor event rooms, including the 20,000-square-foot Aurora Patio and the 175,000-square-foot Exhibit Hall. The resort also offers eight dining options, a luxurious spa and salon, indoor and outdoor pools, a communal 75-foot TV, and picture-perfect views of the gorgeous landscape.  

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What to Do in Anaheim, California

Although most people may head to Anaheim just to visit Disneyland park, the area has so much more to offer!  This sunny Southern California town, with its dry, mild climate, is home to family-friendly restaurants, affordable chain hotels and sprawling strip malls. The area is very diverse, hosting rich immigrant communities that add a complex layer of food, culture and fun.  The locals are typically very active and enjoy sporting events and outdoor venues. Here are some of the best things to do if heading toward Orange County based off the New York Times list recently published.

1.    Catch a Sporting Event

The Angel Stadium of Anaheim is home to the Los Angeles Angels. The stadium is the fourth oldest in Major League Baseball and boasts a 230 foot sign that has a halo on top that lights up in honor of every victory.  A home game can attract up to 45,000 screaming fans so if you are looking for an active atmosphere then this is as good a place as any.

If ice hockey is more your taste then just opposite the Angel Stadium is the Honda Center, home to the Anaheim Ducks.  The center hosts a variety of events like football and live concerts.  In fact, when it first opened in June 1993, the first performance ever was a concert by Barry Manilow.  Once there, it may look eerily familiar.  It was also the location that the animated TV series Mighty Ducks.

2.    See Live Music

A lot of things in Anaheim are on a large scale and sometimes it is nice to enjoy some entertainment with a lot less people and a lot more intimacy.  City National Grove of Anaheim is a versatile 1,700-seat facility, located adjacent to Angel Stadium. It is consistently ranked as a “Top 10 Stop” in North America and is known for legendary performances by Prince, Merle Haggard, Lewis Black, Ray Charles and Stevie Nicks, among many others. It boasts state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment and an experienced staff that is ready to create a one-of-a-kind event of any size.  Any day of the week the multipurpose, indoor venue hosts a variety of live concerts, family shows, comedy, community and private events.

3.    Visit a Park

Sitting just outside Anaheim is Ralph B. Clark Regional Park. A great location for those who like the fresh air and outdoors life.  The park has many activities to enjoy with your family and friends such as cycling, fishing, hiking, boating, or even stop for a picnic or barbeque.   Birders love to sit at one of the many picnic tables or under a shade tree with their binoculars and some snacks, as they can enjoy more than 130 varieties of species.  The hiking trails are a magnet for visitors because they are shaded by trees and run along the outer perimeter of the park.

If biking is more your preferred activity, try Canyon Rim Park.  This 6.5-acre park has 56 regular parking spots, as well as 2 spots that accommodate for people with disabilities, restrooms, drinking fountains and trash receptacles. There are a multitude of trail varieties and difficulties so no matter your age or physical restriction, there will be a trail for you. The park is located near the southerly entrance to the Deer Canyon Park Preserve and the trails leading to Oak Canyon Nature Center as well as the Walnut Canyon Reservoir Trail.

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10 Trips to Take In Your 30’s

Looking for some of the best trips to take? More and more 30 somethings are prioritizing travel time amidst the busy family time and career-building. You’re older and wiser. And hopefully more financially secure. Where to travel now that you’ve got your life together? (Relatively-speaking, of course.) Here are 10 trips that deliver the perfect mix of excitement, intrigue, adventure, luxury, and most importantly—fun!—from an off-the-grid getaway in Alaska to a bucket-list safari in Africa.

  1. Costa Rica

    Cheap travel and world-class swells brought you to Costa Rica in your twenties. Now, experience some of the country’s more grown-up pleasures—namely, its jaw-dropping natural scenery, inspired cuisine, and wellness-focused attractions—at the adults-only Oxygen Jungle Villas. The boutique hotel is nestled within a plot of protected Costa Rican rainforest and perched above the Pacific Ocean, so you truly feel like you’re living in the wild. You’ll spend your days lounging in your Balinese-style villa, going on countless outdoor excursions (hiking, whale watching, scuba diving), and exploring the restaurants and storefronts of neighboring town Ojochal.

    2.    Lanserhof Tegernsee, Bavaria

    Vacation days—and we mean real vacation days, sans work and family commitments—are hard to come by in your thirties. Which is why it’s important to truly relax, re-center, and recharge when you do get a few days to yourself. Enter the legendary Lanserhof Tegernsee detox resort in the Bavarian Alps. Here, spa-goers are retaught how to chew and sleep, forced to cut sugar and alcohol from their diets, and if the specialists deem it necessary, subjected to futuristic medical evaluations including sleep assessments. The amenities make up for the rigors of the program: we’re talking an 18-course golf course, a saltwater swimming pool, nightly classical music concerts and a monastically beautiful setting (all glass and stone and embowered by the forest).

 

  1. Stockholm, Sweden

    Your thirties are all about cultivating a distinctive sense of taste and style. And in Stockholm, you’ll have world-class museums, galleries, design stores, and concept boutiques at your fingertips. A few must-stops: Sven Harrys-Art Museum, a slick new art space that houses the private collection of collector Sven-Harry Karlsson; Malmstenbutiken, a storied Swedish brand known for its furniture and textile designs; and hotel At Six, a boutique high-rise with an art collection that includes big names like Sol Le Witt and Jaume Plensa.

 

  1. Amalfi Coast

    You’ve dreamt about Amalfi’s pastel-hued villages, cobbled streets, and cerulean waters for as long as you can remember. Now that you have disposable income to spend and (hopefully) more vacation days, it’s time to make those dreams a reality. Stay in Amalfi at the five-start Hotel Santa Caterina, set in a 19th-century, liberty-style villa above the sea. When you’re not lounging by the private pool or the beach club, explore the town’s charming maze of narrow streets, whitewashed buildings, precipitous steps, and bustling piazza.

 

  1. Sri Lanka

    If you’re celebrating a big anniversary or birthday, there’s no better place to do so than Sri Lanka. The exotic island offers out-of-this-world Indian Ocean coastlines, lush tropical vegetation, elephant-filled national parks, and plenty of luxury resorts like the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, spread across a 21-acre former coconut plantation on the southernmost coast of Sri Lanka. Splurge on a private villa—which comes with a private plunge pool, expansive deck, butler pantry, tiled rainfall shower—and you may never want to leave your guest room. But we’d recommend peeling yourself away for at least a few hours to indulge at an authentic Ayrvedic treatment at the spa, learn the ropes of Sri Lankan cooking at Anatara’s popular Spice Spoons Cooking school, or take part in a traditional high-tea service.

    6.    Chile

    With age comes wisdom—plus, an affinity for the finer things in life. And at Chile’s Viña Vik Hotel, a design-forward retreat and spa located two hours from Santiago, in Chile’s Millahue Valley, you’ll find plenty of amenities that will appeal to your refined tastes. We’re talking an award-winning spa, infinity pool, two restaurants, and high-design guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, original artwork, and curvilinear furniture (an homage to the property’s undulating titanium rooftop). Want to get outside and take in some of that jaw-dropping scenery? There are seven horses on standby that can whisk you around the property’s vineyard.

 

  1. Alaska

    There will come a time in your thirties when you just need to get away from it all (the job, the bills, the responsibilities) with a back-to-nature trip. And for this kind of escapist getaway, we’d recommend Alaska—a land of impenetrable forests, vast tundras, towering glaciers, and some of the world’s most awe-inspiring animals. To see the region’s wildlife up close and personal, hop on a guided glacier or wildlife walk with Salmon Berry Tours, where you might spot Dall sheep, mountain goats, and caribou as you explore the Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet. Then it’s on to the Kenai Fjords National Park, the smallest national park in Alaska, to see The Harding Icefield (almost 714 square miles of ice up to a mile thick) and Resurrection Bay. Make your home base The Hotel Alyeska, a rustic mountain lodge with direct access to hiking and biking trails.

 

  1. Shanghai, China

    It can be easy to fall into a bit of a vacation rut in your thirties, returning to the same hotels and destinations over and over again. To rediscover your love of travel—and immerse yourself in an intoxicating foreign environment—pack your bags for Shanghai. The cosmopolitan city has it all: sleek skyscrapers, high-end shopping, innovative restaurants, and cultural landmarks, from the French Concession and Nanshi to the riverfront Bund. Check into The Puli Hotel and Spa, a serene urban hideaway with a central address in city’s Jing’An district and Zen vibe.

    9.    Douro Valley, Portugal

    You did Lisbon and Porto in your twenties. Now, it’s time to see a different side of Portugal by spending some time in Douro Valley—a landscape of sun-drenched vineyards the blanket steep mountainsides, with the majestic Douro River as the centerpiece. Visit the historic Six Senses, a 19th-century manor house restored for the 21st century by New York-based firm Clodagh Design. Guests can unwind with treatments in the spa. Take a break from your education in viniculture at the property’s magnificent infinity-edge pool, which looks out over the winding river.

 

  1. Newfoundland

    If you’ve been to Canada, chances are it wasn’t to Newfoundland. The sleepy Atlantic Canadian province doesn’t exactly have the uh, international appeal as cities like Montreal or Toronto. What it does have? Quaint fishing villages, arctic wildlife, jaw-droppingly beautiful national parks, and plenty of Maritime charm—all things you likely have more of an appreciation for now that’s you’re older. Start your adventure in the capital city of St. John’s, a colorful little town with steep streets and clapboard houses.  Then hit the road in the direction of Fogo Island. The tiny, salt-tanged isle offers fewer than a dozen restaurants and cafes, but makes up for it with a burgeoning art scene and plenty of design-forward accommodations—like the 29-room Fogo Island Inn.

 

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