Because I am a blogger for USFamilyGuide, I am able to share with you a great line up of special offers for summer hot spots all around the northeast!
As the summer months start to appear on the horizon, it’s a good time to start thinking about holidays. Everyone loves the chance to get away from it all for a week or two, but what about when you’re traveling with children? It may take a more organized approach, but it can be easier than you think if you know what to look for and what to consider.
Here, we’ve covered everything you need to know. Continue reading
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Aruba Tourism Authority. All opinions are 100% mine.
Did you know that Aruba (Ad) contains everything you need and more? Whether you are an adventure type, beach bum or foodie, Aruba has everything at you want at your fingertips!
If you are an adventurer, some of the things that might interest you during your Aruba travel (Ad) are:
- Kids will enjoy all the creatures at the Butterfly Farm, Ostrich Farm and Donkey Sanctuary.
- Horseback riding
- Hiking in Arikok National Park
- Exploring the Casibari and Ayo rock formations and Indian caves
- Golfing while enjoying the beauty of the sweeping Caribbean views
- Island tours via air-conditioned motor coach or jeep safari
- Water activities like: catamaran sailing, jet-ski, sunfish, wave-runner, tubing, fishing excursion, kayaking, snorkeling and wreck diving!
- Walk through history at the Bushiribana gold mill
- Explore the new state-of-the-art Archaeology Museum and the fascinating Numismatic Museum
If you are a beach bum you are going to love the quiet retreats while sunbathing. Much of the seven-mile strip along the west coast is lined with resorts and packed with activity. Beachgoers relax on their comfortable lounges, can get lost in their favorite book or enjoy some people-watching. Swimming, snorkeling, kite surfing, waterskiing, tubing, parasailing, banana-boating, and all kinds of wet ‘n wild adventures are just steps away on Aruba’s beaches. Perhaps you would rather explore the magical coves carved out of limestone on the windward coast?
For the foodies, Aruba is a place full of flavor and diverse cuisines prepared by world-class chefs. The high-rise strip is now home to over 100 resort and independent restaurants. This bustling area is dotted with an eclectic patchwork of shops, malls, cafés and Caribbean restaurants. If you wish to venture off the beaten path you will want to head downtown to discover local favorites and trendy new establishments. No matter where you go, you will find an eclectic menu of delicious ethnic and international fare.
I have always wanted to go horseback riding on a beach, so that is something I would definitely want to do while visiting Aruba. I would also love to explore all the rock formations and Indian caves! I’m a little on the nerdy side so I would love to visit the Bushiribana gold mill as well as the various museums! I think Tony would like to take an island tour, but he HATES the heat so we would opt for the air-conditioned motor coach!
Check out this video of the Everly family who has visited Aruba 20 times!
If you and your family have chosen to restrain from the typical Christmas you have each year, and feel a strong treveler’s itch at the same time, then you will need to subdue to that wish of yours and have a more intriguing holiday. The key to having an unforgettable time is to visit a country you have not been to before. So, following are a couple of ideas for an unforgettable Christmas Eve, regardless of whether you will be traveling on your own, with your sweetheart or with the whole family.
Mexico is a great place to run away from the unbearable chill and show the month of December has to offer. The wide variety of resorts that offer all-inclusive luxury at reasonable prices are more than welcoming. What better way to welcome Santa Claus than on the beach with a Margarita cocktail in hand? The weather in Mexico during the Christmas holidays is so great that it will undoubtedly lift your spirits. If you book in advance, you are also very likely to make a good deal on a two-wa plane ticket.
Just as Mexico, the Caribbean islands offer a sunshine-filled experience during the Christmas holiday. For example Jamaica, which is the fifth largest island in the Caribbean is often visited by budget travelers all throughout the year. A preferred town in Jamaica is Negril. This is probably due to the cheap, yet convenient holiday rental homes. Celebrating Christmas while dancing to the upbeat sounds of reggae music is definitely something which you will remember for many years.
Often referred to as the queen of all cities, London is the place where you are bound to feel the Christmas spirit. This is guaranteed. Christmas Eve over there is known for having a special, fairytale charm. Tourist from all over the world are amazed by the flamboyant firework display in the city centre and can definitely sense the beautiful holiday aura. Besides that, as a tourist, you can explore the marvels that London has in store.
It seems like ‘The Big Apple’ is present in almost all ‘top destination’ lists, but it is especially gorgeous during Christmas time. It is highly favored by shopaholics, because of the great deals one can find at the malls and shopping centres around the time of Christmas. What makes New York unique is also the huge Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. The lighting of the tree is usually celebrated with musical performances and a special ceremony. Another attraction tourists can enjoy is the famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular – a type of show, that highly resembles one from Broadway. Taking part in the show are the renowned Radio City Music Hall Orchestra and the Rockettes dancing troupe.
5.Napapiiri in Lapland, Finland
Now, where on the globe can you MEET Santa Claus? Since the only traveling he does is for business, your only chance is to visit him in his home. Needless to say, on Christmas day he is away, distributing presents. In the so called Santa Village you will be able to enjoy various activities including riding a real reindeer drawn sleigh through the frozen rivers and snowy forests. You will also have the unique chance to meet good ol’ Santa himself. He will give you a tour around his workshop and meet you with the elves and Mrs. Claus.
Some people consider it to be Santa Claus’ birthplace and that is why the Christmas celebrations there are so renowned for continuing almost two months, starting on the 14th of November. That is when Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) arrive. However, for those used to celebrating on the 24th and 25th of December, there is still plenty of entertainment going on – ice skating rinks and twinkling white lights all over town.
Remember that you can have an amazing Christmes wherever you go. You just need to be with the people you love and always have the Christmas spirit wherever you go.
While we were on the boat heading out to Singer Castle on Dark Island, our tour guide pointed out a lot of interesting things along the way. There were two different dive teams exploring wreckage in the St. Lawrence River. We learned that most islands don’t have electric because you have to run the lines underground which is VERY expensive. Due to strict regulations sewage towers must be above ground (so they don’t contaminate the water) and since they are above ground, they stink unless you pay to have them pumped out regularly. We also learned how Thousand Islands Dressing got its name. It never dawned on me that the dressing I love so dearly on my Ruben sandwiches was named after the Thousand Islands region! There are many variations as to how it actually happened but it seems like everyone agrees that it happened something like this:
The rich back then often had parties out on their yachts and would return to dock and have a feast of salad and whatever else they caught. Each captain would have their own recipe for salad dressing that they would serve their guests. One time a captain realized he didn’t have any of his salad dressing left and him and his wife or staff (depending on which version you go by) quickly improvised with ingredients they had on hand. The guests loved it and kept asking for it every time they came back. Some say Mr. Boldts was on board, loved it and started serving it at his hotel the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Other say an actress, May Irwin, who was onboard the LaLonde family’s boat where it was first served, loved it and then passed it on to a chef at the Waldorf-Astoria.
Check out my gallery below. You can click on any picture to enlarge it, read descriptions of the picture, and then use the arrows to scroll through other enlarged pictures.
We also visited the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park which is in nearby Watertown, NY. I thought Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester was small. The New York State Zoo at Thompson Park is awful. I understand that they have primarily (maybe only) animals that are native to New York but we finished the whole zoo in less than a half hour! Maybe I am spoiled because I grew up having a membership to the Bronx Zoo. The Bronx Zoo is one of the world’s largest metropolitan zoos, with over 600 species from around the world. The Bronx zoo comprises 265 acres. I’m not sure how big the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park is but I can tell you it is small, really small. It also happened to be in the mid 90’s the day we visited so a lot of the animals were hiding in the shade. The butterfly exhibit was locked up and had a sign saying that it closed at 4:30pm. We didn’t quite understand why it was closed since it was only about noon when we got there! A lot of other exhibits were under construction. I took a picture of every type of animal we did see, other than the snakes, bugs, and small amphibians.
We searched and searched the exhibits but couldn’t find the Wolverine, American Black Bear, Guinea Hog, Seba’s Short Tailed Bat, Turkey Vulture, Red-Tailed Hawk, Gray Fox, Great Gray Owl, Great Horned Owl, Long Tailed Chinchilla. I think the Owls, Hawk and Vultures exhibits were in a building under construction but im not really sure. It’s not like there was any staff walking around to answer questions. Actually the exhibits themselves were pretty poor at letting you know what animal was inside. Most had small signs in one spot so you would have to walk around to the other side to see the sign sometimes. I hate to be so critical but I really don’t know what else to say. We were pretty much the only ones at the zoo except for a summer camp group. I love animals so I’m glad we stopped in. We actually spent most of our time watching the otters play. They kept showing off and climbing up the rocks and diving into the deeper part of the exhibit!
To read about what a disaster our first day was read, Back From Camping.
To read about other places we visited, read Sight Seeing around the Thousand Islands.