Pirates, Pralines, and Spanish Moss: A Travel Guide to Savannah and Tybee Island, Georgia

Book Cover Pirates, Pralines, and Spanish Moss: A Travel Guide to Savannah and Tybee Island, GeorgiaSo.

I wrote a book.

Yep.

An ebook.

It was a lot of work.

A whole lot of work.

I actually sat for one day at my computer for 14 hours straight.

But it’s done. And I’m kinda proud of myself.

So maybe you would like to read it? I hope so. It’s all about Savannah and Tybee Island, two of my favorite places. It has suggestions for places to stay, where to eat, what tours to take, and even some recipes! So why not order it.  Just click on the book jacket above or over there on the right. You can read it on a Kindle or just download the Kindle app and read it. Just read it!

And then let me know what you think. I can’t wait to hear!!

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Family Getaway to the Ocean Ritz in Panama City Beach

Hosted Accommodations

My goal in life is to be half as cool as my mom is when I am 89. From her, I inherited my height, long legs, and great complexion.

Thanks, Mom.

Mom on Beach Family Getaway to the Ocean Ritz in Panama City Beach

My mom on the beach in the 1950’s.

She also taught me how to shop for bargains, how to dress nicely no matter what the occasion, and how to be a true lady of the south. Bless her heart. She also took our family to the beautiful Gulf Coast regularly so that when you say vacation, I say beach.

Family on the beach Family Getaway to the Ocean Ritz in Panama City Beach

I’m the blonde kid.

Born in Pensacola, a true Florida native, and a lover of the white sand beaches of the Gulf Coast, she announced a few months ago that she wanted to see the beach one last time.

And I, her travel writer daughter, decided to make that happen.

Luckily, I have worked with Sterling Resorts several times in the past and, when they heard that my mom wanted to visit the beach, they offered us a perfectly lovely, oceanfront condo at the Ocean Ritz Resort.

Condos Family Getaway to the Ocean Ritz in Panama City Beach

The Ocean Ritz Resort. Photo courtesy of Sterling Resorts.

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Photo Friday: Ecola State Park, Oregon

We simply could not get over how beautiful the coast of Oregon was; Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach was especially gorgeous.

Ecola State Park Photo Friday: Ecola State Park, Oregon

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Tuscan Breeze, Fabulous Destin Vacation Home

Italian Villa Tuscan Breeze, Fabulous Destin Vacation Home

Hosted Accommodations

Before we booked our most recent beach house, I thought most rental companies were pretty much the same. Some not very organized or easy to reach like the one in Palm Springs who, when we stopped by to pick up our key, were nowhere to be found and had artfully hidden the key in a location where we thought we would never find it and have to stay in a hotel since they were impossible to reach.

Some quite nice like the one who made a concerted effort to locate extra parking for us close to our condo for some in our group who could not walk far.

And then there is Ocean Reef Resorts in Destin, Florida. Who are, without a doubt, the best and most professional vacation rental company we have ever worked with.

Because we were on a trip with my brother and sister-in-law, I had one kind of quirky desire in our beach rental. Although my SIL and I are beach lovers of the intensity that can only be described as MAXIMUM, my husband and brother? Not so much. In fact, they could have been perfectly happy in a house that was located pretty much anywhere – as long as they could lie on the couch, watch movies, and play video games. So I wanted two couches. One for each of our well-loved but pain in the ass couch potatoes.

Ocean Reef Resorts had kindly found us a perfectly lovely condo that was just a few feet from the beach with a quite lovely view. Sigh. Perfect for me and my SIL. Not so much for the guys. So I spent time looking through all their rentals trying to find a place that was equally lovely but had two couches. Found one. Reluctantly gave up on our quite fabulous oceanfront property and asked to switch to Tuscan Breeze.

No problem. Ocean Reef Resorts switched us quite happily.

Because we had to vacate our rental in Panama City Beach early in the day where we had just spent a few days with the rest of the family, we were stuck with a few hours to kill. Could we possibly, possibly check in early to Tuscan Breeze?

No problem. Ocean Reef Resorts let us check in early. They gave us a door code and we had no problems getting into our lovely home for the week. Then we just called when we were leaving, closed the door and left. No hassle checking in or out at all. We didn’t even have to go to the office unless we had a problem and I feel sure they would have addressed said problem in record time.

This was the point when I began to suspect that we were not dealing with your average rental company.

But it wasn’t until I actually visited their offices that I realized this is absolutely not your average rental company. They have some of the nicest offices I have ever seen with a completely local and friendly staff that can easily recommend restaurants, shopping, and activities since they live here and know the area. They have a very professionally done magazine, are working on an even better website, have a complete recording studio where they plan to make videos to post on their web site, and even have a realty office where they sell property.

I was super impressed with Ocean Reef Resorts but still just a teeny bit unhappy about giving up our beachfront property, even though it was completely my choice.

Until I actually saw Tuscan Breeze.

Tuscan Breeze 1024x682 Tuscan Breeze, Fabulous Destin Vacation Home

Tuscan Breeze, our home away from home.

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Photo Friday: Shipwreck at Fort Stevens

We had expected a much more spectacular shipwreck at Fort Stevens near Cannon Beach, Oregon but the rusted framework is all that is left.

Fort Stevens Shipwreck Photo Friday: Shipwreck at Fort Stevens

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Photo Friday: Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon

We were both absolutely amazed by Haystock Rock in Cannon Beach. Tom got this great panorama shot with his iPhone one afternoon at low tide.

Panorama of Haystack Rock Photo Friday: Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon

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Un-Cruise Adventures Voted Best Expedition Cruise Line by Porthole Magazine

Sunset on the River1 Un Cruise Adventures Voted Best Expedition Cruise Line by Porthole Magazine

Sunset on the Columbia River on an Un-Cruise Adventures trip.

I don’t often share press releases here. Wait, that’s not accurate. I never share press releases here.

But this is an exception.

Un-Cruise Adventures is truly one of the best small ship cruise lines out there and we should know – we have cruised with them twice now. Once to British Columbia which we wrote about in a number of locations, including here and here and once on their Columbia River cruise from which we just returned and are still stunned by the beauty of Oregon and how perfect our cruise was. We are supremely excited about their new destinations and hope to be able to share our adventures of them in the future.

In the meantime, if you are looking for a small ship adventure, look no further.

Porthole Magazine Readers Award Un-Cruise Adventures

Best Expedition Cruise Line

2014 Readers’ Choice Awards Announced

Seattle, WA, Nov. 4, 2014—Porthole Cruise Magazine readers chose Un-Cruise Adventures as best expedition cruise line in the magazine’s 16th annual Readers’ Choice Awards in 2014.  The small ship adventure cruise line explores remote and scenic destinations with an emphasis on flexible itineraries, wildlife viewing and active pursuits outdoors.

“It’s especially meaningful to be recognized by Porthole readers—a discerning group of travelers,” said Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO.  “We’re happy to be growing, innovating and offering more adventures including Costa Rica, Panama and Galápagos in 2016.”

Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards are determined by thousands of readers and online fans of Porthole Cruise Magazine who voted for their favorite cruise lines and ships in 54 cruise-related categories.

“We take expedition cruising seriously, and we mean to make it easy and fun,” said Tim Jacox, principal and executive vice president. “Custom made kayak launch platforms are one example of our approach; people feel safe and comfortable and can go kayaking without any experience. Exceptional on board amenities such as hot tubs, included massage and yoga/stretching classes complement the outdoor activities.”

In business since 1996, the company has expanded from operating yachts in Alaska to operating a fleet of eight vessels carrying 22-88 guests. Boutique yachts, expedition vessels and small ships sail adventure and river cruises in Alaska, Hawaiian Islands, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, coastal Washington, British Columbia and Columbia and Snake Rivers. In 2016, eight departures will be offered in the Galápagos Islands and adventure cruising begins in Costa Rica and Panama.

Adventure activities guided by expert naturalists are included on all adventure cruises and may include kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, skiff excursions, whale watching, polar plunge, hiking, beachcombing and cultural encounters. Flexible itineraries allow time to seek out and view wildlife up close, explore deeper into wilderness areas and take advantage of current weather and wildlife.

On river cruises, guided tours to points of historical interest are included each day along with crew in period uniform and onboard living history presentations.

See the full list of Porthole Cruise Magazine award winners online.  Winners will be published in the November/December 2014 issue of the magazine. To book an Un-Cruise adventure or to request additional information, contact your travel agent or Un-Cruise Adventures at 888-862-8881 or sales@un-cruise.com.

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Editor’s note: Visit the Media Gallery for press materials and images. More high-res photos for editorial use are available through Sarah Scoltock at sarahs (at) un-cruise.com.

About Un-Cruise Adventures Un-Cruise Adventures’ boutique yachts and small ships carry 22-88 guests on voyages in Alaska, Hawaiian Islands, Mexico’s Sea of Cortés, Columbia & Snake Rivers, coastal Washington, British Columbia, Galápagos Islands and Costa Rica/Panama. Un-Cruise Adventures, under the parent company of InnerSea Discoveries Alaska Inc., is a member of Trusted Adventures, dedicated to the highest standards of small-group travel and to giving back to the places visited.

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Family Getaway to the Amazing Emerald Coast of Florida

Sunset Panama City Beach 300x205 Family Getaway to the Amazing Emerald Coast of FloridaIf your family is lucky enough to be one of those which has kids starting school after Labor Day, you still have time to plan a trip to the gorgeous Emerald Coast of Florida. And you should immediately do so. The pure sugar white sand and amazing Gulf of Mexico simply can’t be missed. If your kids also have a fall break, plan your getaway for then as the area is still warm and beautiful and the prices will be even lower.

The first time we took our four year old son to the Emerald Coast years ago, he took one look at the white sand and asked eagerly if he could please, please play in the snow? True story. The soft white sand and the astonishing colors of the water which vary from the darkest aquamarine to the palest peridot will have you taking photograph after photograph.

There are plenty of accommodations in this area but we recently stayed in a lovely condo at the Azure Resort on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton. With a variety of condos ranging from three to four bedrooms, many directly facing the pools and beach area, it’s the perfect place for a family getaway. We were in unit 323 which is beautifully furnished with leather furniture and had a huge master bathroom with a great whirlpool tub. Floor to ceiling patio doors in every unit provide amazing views and access to large balconies furnished with chairs and tables to enjoy that view.

Read the rest of this article on Travelhoppers HERE.

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The Wonderful Hotel Providence

Home Sweet Home sign The Wonderful Hotel ProvidenceHosted Accommodations

 

 

It was the desk clerk who first made us really, really like the Hotel Providence.

We already had an inkling that this was our kind of hotel because it’s a unique, AAA Four Diamond luxury boutique hotel – our favorite type of hotel to visit. The exterior of this historic, downtown landmark was lovely and the lobby was truly beautiful. The hotel was awarded a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2014 and it certainly deserves this recognition.

Front of Hotel 2 The Wonderful Hotel Providence

The exterior of the beautiful Hotel Providence.

Lobby The Wonderful Hotel Providence

Marvelous lobby! Photo courtesy of the hotel.

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Photo Friday: Ducks at the Grand Geneva Resort

Somehow I missed posting this last winter when we visited the Grand Geneva Resort in Wisconsin but I love this shot Tom got of ducks taking off from a frozen creek.

Ducks at the Grand Geneva Resort Photo Friday: Ducks at the Grand Geneva Resort

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