Thursday, November 6, 2008

OFF TOPIC - Favorite Vacation Spot


Whether you've traveled near and far...or saved up for your ultimate Vacation Dream, tell us about it.

What made your vacation spot so wonderful? Was it the hotel? The locals? The scenery? The food? Tell us!

53 comments:

SamanthaNC said...

s definitley no exotic location but I LOVE Disney World. Honest to goodness if I could I would live there, I think I enjoyed our trip last May more than our 5 year old did! We stayed at a DW resort so we literally never left Disney grounds. This sounds terrible I know, but I would actually like to take a trip to DW sans children- you can only ride the teacups so many times and I would love to explore Downtown Disney as well.

Nina Bell said...

My favorite vacation was a trip to Alaska several years ago to celebrate an anniversary. It is just the most beautiful place. The people were warm and friendly. Wildlife was amazing. We both want to go back.

We also spent a couple of weeks in New York City several summers ago and had a great time there. Another place I would like to visit again. Quite a bit different than Alaska but an amazing place. Loved the food and something different to see and do every day.

Last summer we flew into Boston (love that city} and spent time there and then rented a car and drove up the coast to Canada. We came back through Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Conn and spent a few days on Cape Cod. Again beautiful states and very friendly and warm people. Loved the lighthouses and the covered bridges.

I have my eye on going to Italy next and would love to see Ireland

Mom said...

I can't just say one!

Several years ago before little one, I went to Maine. Beautiful. Peaceful. Fun. Would love to go back again.

New Smyrna Beach, Florida is a great family destination. My sister's family and friends (about 50+ total) have been going there for over 15 years! I've joined them several times. Two summers ago my H and I went when our dude was 5 mos old and had a blast!

We can't WAIT to go to Disney World when our dude can handle it? BTW, what is a good age for a tot to go? 4? 5? Any suggestions?

GLO said...

The best vacation I've ever taken was a free trip to Cancun, Mexico. (Who doesn't like free! HA!)

The food was atrocious at our resort, but we found a great little place away from the tourist area
that served awesome food.

The people were very friendly, and I really enjoyed haggling in the markets for souvenirs.

I guess what made the trip so wonderful was the fact that it was February and boo-chilly cold at home. Getting off the plane to upper-70 degree weather, and smelling the ocean...ahhhh!

Of course, it made coming back home to snow and cold really wretched, but oh, so totally worth it.

SamanthaNC said...

Mom-
4+ is a perfect age! Our daughter was about to turn 5. www.allears.net is a great site for dw tips. We kept seeing tips to bring an umbrella stroller even for older kids and so we took ours just incase. I'm soooooo glad we did bc we did so much walking she literally sat in it the whole trip. You can rent them there for about $15/day but they're huge and you cant park hop with them of course, you have to get a new one at each park and hope they havent run out, so I reccommend bringing your own! 4 is an age when they're old enough to do most things but they're young enough that everything is still "magical"!

marci said...

Hi Mom,

I, like Samanthanc, am a DisneyWorld fanatic!!!;)) Can't get enough.

There's a good reason it's free to take your kids to DW until they're 3... There are very few actual rides to take them on until they're older and larger. However, I think there are enough interactive experiences, shows and just stuff to look at that a toddler would enjoy and not get bored toooo quickly.

The trick to DW is to stay at an on-site resort (like Samanthanc mentioned) and take a break after lunch...go back to your room and nap, go swimming.. and then go out again for the evening.

If you want the adults to have a good time too, they do have a ride-share type arrangement where one parent can ride at a time while the other one watches the child and then they let you jump in line to switch. Or just go with some more adults so everyone gets a turn.

We took my son to Disneyland first at 3 (which was just the Magic Kingdom at the time) and had a nice day. Disney World is a much bigger experience and we didn't take him there until he was 6, although he could have done it earlier. Just be careful what you expose them to when...we made the mistake of going on Space Mountain with him at 6 and he developed an aversion to anything resembling a roller coaster.

Nina,

Also have been to Alaska...did an inland waterway cruise...AMAZING!

Samanthanc,

You did go to Downtown Disney when you went, right? Even with the kids? Did you mean you wanted to explore the nightclubs?

indianprincess said...

I really like Disneyland and California Adventures. We went when our oldest was 14 months old. The fam had a blast. California adventures had a small area of rides just for little children in one spot. Loved it!. My hubby and I like Reno and we go at least once a year. I also like road trips. It's harder to travel with chilren so most of my traveling was before kids. I would love to go to Puerto Rico someday. I just live through the Travel channel. :)

Kikibee said...

More Disney World love here. Now I don't feel like such a geek. I'd live there too if I could, Samantha.
We took our kids the first time when one was 3 and the other 5 months. We had a great time. The youngest doesn't remember, of course, but I will never forget her little face smiling up at me during the
Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The little ones can go on pretty much anything that isn't a "thrill" ride.

I reminded my husband the other day that there will be a new "member" of the Hall of Presidents. He thinks that would be a good reason to go next summer.

I also like the ocean. Mostly been around the Atlantic, but any ocean will do. I don't like to swim in it, don't mind being on it, I just like looking at and listening to it.

iluvobx said...

My all time favorite is Bora Bora in Tahati. We stayed at the Hotel Bora Bora. No tv, no newspapers, no nothing not even a/c! Most beautiful water in the world. No sand blowing in your face because the sand is from coral. A barrier reef protecting the island. PARADISE! On the beach with a drink. Second favorite place: OBX! Ocracoke to be exact. Always stayed at Blackbeard's.

MonicaW42 said...

Om my....too many to list. My husband and I have been very blessed to be able to travel. My top ones are Italy( got a Louis Vuiton there at an outlet,yes a real one for under $300) in Milan. And the food..... you will need be rolled out of there. France is always fun (we go for the Tour de France as hubby is a cyclist) I like the museums more than the food. England has so much history that I loved it there (food not so much). I begged and pleaded to go to Scotland this past June to see filming for The Tudors as I am in love with Johnathan Rhys Meyers...those blue eyes. An expensive trip for a crush but worth it. Another place the food sucks but I was there for the scenery :)~ And of course I love Disneyland and always will. Our next trip is Dubai the first week of December and will post pics on my blog. If anyone plans on traveling to any of these locals and would like any info and tips just contact me.

Thanks Nina,

Now I have a bad case of wanting Italian. :)

SamanthaNC said...

Marci-
No we didnt go to downtown disney and I wish we had- we tried to cram in as much for her as we possibly could and take advantage of late hours and of course the parades and fireworks at night so we never made it over there. I defiintley will next time! Was it amazing?

MommyZinger said...

I love beaches.

Palawan, a teeny tiny island in the Philippines. When we went it was new so there was hardly anyone there. It was like having the whole island to ourselves.

I love Mexican resorts not just for the beaches but the staff are always so friendly and happy. Oh and all the food!

Hawaii. Love the weather and it has a laid back, zen, "Cool, whatever" sort of feel to it.

The biggest reason I enjoyed all these places was because I was with my family and I'm glad I'll have those memeories.

HBIC8u said...

My very favorite spot is Folly Beach, SC. It is on an island right outside of Charleston and the way of life there is just sooo different. The streets are small and lined with little beach shops and people walk around in bathing suits. You can lounge on the beach during the day and then cross the bridge to Charleston and party downtown all night. We look forward to it every year.


Ahhhh just thinking about it made my tense muscles relax a bit:-)

marci said...

Samanthanc,

Downtown Disney is a lot of fun. It has lots of restaurants. DisneyQuest (think 3-story arcade) and Cirque are over there (they have separate admission tickets).

They newest thing...and the only thing that's ever made me long for a little girl to pal around with...is the new little girl salon they have there. It's inside the Disney store (the largest in the world). Not only do the girls get made up, but they can dress in costume and get their picture taken. I peeked around the curtain the last time we went and it looked really cute. I'm pretty sure Mady and Cara went there because I recognized the hair pieces they were wearing in the Disney episode and in one of the epis filmed right after they went. I don't think it's cheap ($100??), but it would be a great treat for a special occasion.

There are also a lot of other specialty shops (stuff you can't get at the Disney stores at the local malls) and a movie theatre. You can go there without having to be a guest or buy a pass, so the locals go there at night also, hence the nightclubs.

From what I understand (and I can't remember where I read this) they're redoing the "adult" themed section of Downtown with more family-friendly stuff to do at night.

I can understand trying to cram everything in! I know people feel they have to see everything, especially if they've come from out of state or don't know if they'll go back soom. I'm embarassed to say how many times I've gone, but let's just say it's lots and I STILL haven't seen and done everything there is to do!

If you're already hankering to go back after just 6 months you've definately caught the Disney bug!:)))

SamanthaNC said...

It's funny, we live in a beach town where tons of people flock every year for vacation- and we don't take advantage of it. We love the ocean, but we njoy looking out at the waves more than actually being in them. My family that lives in the mtns. spends more time out on the beach than I do! I'm also an "indoor girl" lol. I LOVE to walk on the beach at night especialy in the fall when it's cool out (my husband actually proposed to me that way) but that's about the extent of my beach going. Hearing everyone here talk about the beach makes me feel guilty bc we one practically in our back yard!

And yes Marci I definitley have the disney bug- have you had the chance to do Soarin' at Epcot yet?

Sorry to anyone who is sick of hearing about the happiest place on earth, I just can't help myself!

MonicaW42 said...

Samantha,

It's okay. Who can get sick of Disney? Not me.... I have yet to do Disney World. Just Disneyland so far 5 billion times. Looking forward to doing the world when we move out to the Carolinas.
Favorite Ride: Pirates of the Caribbean...

marci said...

Sam,

Yes...loved Soarin'!

If we keep this up we'll have to start a Disney thread.;)

marci said...

Monica,

POTC...another favorite! I'll have to post the picture I have of the Captain Jack character they have come out to interact with the kids outside the ride...a dead ringer for Johnny Depp!

You guys will have to let me know when you're planning a trip...I'm just chock full of semi-useful DW travel info. ;)

Daisy said...

I've also been to Disneyland 5 billion times. In California Adventure we have Soarin' Over Calif. It smells like Orange Blossoms. There's nothing like the smell of orange blossoms.

I love the Shenandoah Mountains. I was there in the summer but would like to go in the fall. Where I live we don't have fall so I'd really like to see that and New England.

I love the Central Calfiornia Coast with it's jagged coastline. Monterey is one of our family favorites. I've lived by the beach all my life too and don't go much. I like the smell, but I've had enough of sand.

Sequoia National Park is another favorite. We went there camping when my son was 18 months and unexpectedly got snowed in. Thankfully I had a snowsuit packed away in the camper for him.

MonicaW42 said...

Marci,

I will take you up on that. We will be hitting up Disney World as soon as we get moved back.

Johnny Depp....oh be still my heart.....

SamanthaNC said...

monicaw42-
Are you moving to North or South Carolina? They are both great- obviously I'm a bit partial to NC :)

I think a disney thread is a great idea Marci- imagine the outrage that would ensue. Afterall the Gosselins got a free (gasp) Disney vacation and we should probably all boycott the mouse in the name of advocacy :)

marci said...

Sam,

Noooooo, not the mouse!

But, yeah, I'm sure some would say we bought into the hype.;)

Actually, the G's stayed at my favorite Disney resort, the Wilderness Lodge. And Kate expressed on that show the same feelings I've had about my Disney trips...you feel like a kid when you're there...it's a vacation you never want to end and you're really sad when you leave. So all that show did was reaffirm my addiction to the Land of Mouse!

Hey, Nina,

If we're driving you crazy let us know. But thanks for giving the Disney fanatics a place to dwell!

Nina Bell said...

No you are not driving me crazy.

You are more than welcome to talk about Disney here.

marci said...

daisy,

The Soarin' at Epcot is the same as the one in CA...they've been bringing attractions from the different parks that are successful, I think.

I lived in San Diego for 5 years, but never got any farther north than LA. Have been to the coast in Oregon though and understand it's a lot like Northern CA. Also did lots of camping in Colorado, mostly Western Slope.

LoriNJ1970 said...

My favorite vacation was a few years back when we visited India. We saw the Taj Mahal in Agra and just about every historical site in Delhi. It was like nothing I've ever experienced before. I'd love to go back again because it rained really hard when we were at the Taj Mahal and I was so worried about slipping on the wet marble (they make you wear a sort of cloth slipper over your shoes) that I didn't get to appreciate it as much as I could have.

marci said...

daisy,

You mentioned being snowed in and it reminded me of an unusual camping experience (and why I insist on a civilized campsite with an outhouse).

My husband and I were up in the CO mountains in early fall and it started snowing. I, of course, had to use the facilities in the middle of the night (and potty seat on legs) in the bushes about 30 feet off from our camper. I saw my way by moonlight reflected off the snow, so I didn't use a flashlight.

The next morning, as evidenced by the bare patches of ground in and around the bushes where I'd gone, I had apparently had an audience of about 7 or 8 deer while I had my nighttime constitutional. I couldn't believe I hadn't tripped on one of them!

It could only happen to the girl who prefers crisp sheets, room service and a mint on her pillow!!!

MonicaW42 said...

Samantha,

South Carolina... but they are both very beautiful states. And such friendly people. A big change from Arizona where its hustle and bustle and rude people.

And back to Disney...I love Soarin also. The orange blossom smell is nice as well as the ocean smell. I loved everything on that ride but the long lines even with the Fastpass.... I really needed to have a daughter also as I am way into the princess theme. I have dibs on Aurora (Sleeping Beauty).

MonicaW42 said...

LMAO Marci,

My husband and I have "camped" in our rv but when we get moved he wants to do a real hiking and camping with a tent in the mountains back there and I am freaking out. I will do it but when you mentioned the crisp sheets gal....ha ha

marci said...

Monica,

The princess stuff really gets to me. I love it when I see little girls in their princess outfits (plastic heels and all) heading off to the park to see their heroes.

But I have to say, I'm a big fan of the older Disney works...Steamboat Willie is my favorite. Of the more modern movies, "Lady and the Tramp." And I just saw the preview for "Bolt" last weekend and I think the hamster in the plastic ball is going to be my new favorite.

marci said...

Monica,

I share your fear!;)

I saw the best t-shirt in a shop in the TN/NC mountains. It said, "I hear bangos. Paddle faster!"

Daisy said...

Marci,

You're making me cold and it's hot here. LOL about the deer.

When we were snowed in we got the last room with a tub and heat in Sequioa. An older man was ahead of us and he took the tent cabin. I was so thankful! We would have been cold in our camper. We weren't prepared for snow.

marci said...

Oh, crud...I can't spell...banjos...banjoes??

MonicaW42 said...

Okay Marci, my side hurts from laughing so hard. Dueling banjo's.. Deliverance even....

Your killing me...

marci said...

daisy,

YES...I've stayed in one of the National Park "cabins"....freakin' freezing!!!

Yeah, tub! Yeah, heater!

Now, if I could only get a park ranger to mix me up a margarita, I'd be set.

marci said...

Monica,

Remind your husband of that movie and you may end up not having to "rough it".

SamanthaNC said...

"I hear banjos" LOL that's hysterical! Now I can't get dueling banjos out of my head.

Nina-
I'm glad you enjoyed Alaska so much, my husband desperatley wants to go there, I'm more hesitant though, if you arent a hunter or into ice fishing, what in the world do you do there?

Nina Bell said...

Enjoy the scenery! Whale watch. Visit with the locals. We were busy the whole time. Visit the glaciers. Watch out for the bears!

MonicaW42 said...

Marci,

I will just get a "Do Not Enter" sticker and slap it on his backside.....

Alaska,

My aunt and uncle lived there for 6 years and I only went once...brrrrrr cold. And I went via a cruise. The cruise was beautiful but with all the ice melting I don't know how it is now. That was a ways back for me.

SamanthaNC said...

Question: If I visit Alaska will I really be able to see Russia when I look out the window? :)

MonicaW42 said...

Samantha,

You betcha !!!! with my best Palin (or Fargo) dialect going.

marci said...

Sam,

Yes...and you'll become an expert on foreign relations just by crossing the state line, donchaknow...

Baby Mama said...

I am very fortunate to live in a city that people love to vacation in ;) But the Gosselins did it again! I just booked my first to to CA next year so I can see Disneyland! 11 trips to Florida & Epcot made me realize I need a new change of scenery with the kids! Super excited!
By the way, I went to Alaska on a cruise and it was the most wonderful trip I have taken thus far...

CeeCee said...

We went to Hawaii several times (Maui gets my top vote of the islands we visited). It's very relaxing, if you want to relax, or if you want adventure that's there as well.

The western side of Maui, where we stayed, is the dry side and the eastern side (which has the scary road to Hana) is the wet side. And then there's the ride up to the top of the mountain (that I can't spell). We didn't ride down on a bike but passed many who did and it looked like fun.

My second favorite island is Kauai which was much less developed than Maui, and more laid back, when we were there a number of years ago. We stayed on the south end (drier); the north end is the lush part that looks like a rain forest and what I once though all the islands looked like.

However, I have also enjoyed my vacations in Europe as well because I am interested in history and love museums, castles, and churches. And the scenery, especially Switzerland, Austria and Southern Germany is spectacular as well.

I don't think I can pick a favorite vacation. When my son was young we did things appropriate to his age and those were fun, especially Disney. When he was much older we began going to Hawaii, which he loved. After he was an adult, we began going (mostly without him) to Europe.

I think any vacation you take with someone you care about is going to be fun, no matter where or what it might be. It's the company you keep although it's great to see new places and new things.

merryway said...

I love Jamaica Mon! The people are wonderful. I always have culture shock in Mexico and Jamaica, it's hard to see the poverty. If I was alone I'd want to live in Jamaica part of the year. But, the favorite memories are of all the Orlando things with my kids. We loved Universal and went to Pleasure Island almost every night. They also loved the Disney water parks.
Local camping was also a big part of our lives and my boys loved it. I am just not up to it with this one, she will only get a taste.
I am excited that I will get to take my last little one on an Orlando fling.
I'd love to go to Alaska and I will Michaelangelo's David before I leave this earth.

merryway said...

Glad to know I'm not the only Disney Dork! This was nice, I haven't thought about those trips for awhile..and it's been awhile.

goldensglitter said...

First time posting here, but I luv the topic and could not resist.

Mexico, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen.....just wonderful. Best beaches, wonderful people, great food and shopping. Second, Aruba. Picturesque, friendly, great deals on jewelry, safe to go anywhere there, and fab dining. Plus the casinos are interesting as well.

Disneyworld was our go to spot when the kids were young. Nothing can replace those experiences and memories, cannot be beat.

Lastly, I am a sucker for Las Vegas, just to people watch, play a bit of slots, shows, all the lights, great dining, the city that never sleeps.

Someday Europe.....London especially, I am a big English history freak and would love to see all the history it has to offer.

Saint said...

Go to Niagara Falls and enjoy the state park on the American Side. I still dream about it. Drive along the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and see God's country! Waterfalls, hiking trails, volcanic formations, and shooting stars make for an excellent honeymoon. What country can top the Smithsonian Institute's collection of museums (all alongside the glorious monuments) of Washington, D.C.? I've been there so many times, and STILL haven't seen everything. Take a whale boat excursion from Boston or Cape Cod and see the endangered humpback whales feeding in the summer in the Atlantic Ocean. Fabulous! Visit Philadelphia and walk our nation's "most historic mile" if you want a day of patriotism and cheese steaks. Rent a shore house with extended family at the Jersey shore, and don't miss the fudge or the Stewart's Root Beer on the boardwalk. Finally, if you have your choice between Disney World and a day in NYC to see Broadway, go shopping, touring, eating or whatever go to NYC! I LOVE NEW YORK!

Nina Bell said...

Saint,

When one of my sons wanted to go to New York for his high school graduation gift several years ago, I was not enthused. Boy was I wrong! I absolutely love New York. I returned for a shorter trip a year later and my husband and I are talking about going again. Boston also. What a beautiful and historic city.

Saint said...

Nina,
When you're in Boston, unless you get seasick, definitely go see the whales (before they're gone.)

I loved Disney with my kids, but we have some awful/funny memories from there too. My sister worked there for a few years...hardest working mice in the world! Here's some "insider" information: she used to say the "best" part of Disney was the "tunnel" where the characters would take breaks. She said it was a Bizarre-O World: Goofy with his head off and nearly 7' tall next to Donald with his head off and 4' 11"; Cinderella on a smoke break, and Snow White using the F-word. Her second-favorite part: she claimed that first-timers would check their brains at the gate and go absolutely bananas at the first character or famous ride they saw. They'd spend hundreds of dollars their first hour! They'd spend $20 worth of "Disney Dollars," then ask if it was worth anything anywhere else. She loved her years at Disney though. We're probably going back on the high school chorus trip next year.

michelle said...

As a child & a teenager, going to Walker's Valley located at Lewis and Clark Lake where we would stay at my grandma's cabin, every summer.

And hanging with my "valley" friend, E. "E" was her name ( :

Lots of fun. Along with some other "valley" girlfriends we had our own hangout, deep in the woods along a path called, "Posey Peddlers' Paradice".

Good memories with my grandma, too!

Mom said...

I LOVE NY too. I first went in high school for a backstage on Broadway tour where we'd go to a show and then the following day meet and talk to a castmember - it was AWESOME!

I've been several (maybe 8) times since and find something new to do every time. I've discovered some areas like Chelsea which I LOVE. But, if you go, it's always fun to get up at the crack of dawn and go do the Today Show! Somewhere in all my VHS tapes is some footage of me saying "hi mom!" when I was like 30! LOL.

Haven't been in quite a few years and I miss it. Some former in-laws of mine lived in the greater Philly/south Jersey area and we'd take the train to NYC from Philly -SO fun, and only a few hours away! You get dropped off right in the heart of downtown!

And, since I'm a foodie, I love a good dining experience, be it diner or fine dining.

Kelley said...

Any vacation I can go on is a favorite one! However, I have an affinity for Hawaii, especially if I'm with my hot Husband :)

A Mom-ynous said...

We have had the opportunity to do lots of Disney (love it so much that after 11 years of drooling at them, we finally bought DVC!).

We have also done (with the kids):

Hawaii (me twice with youngest dd as well, the rest of the family once).

Wales, England, Paris

DC area

Disney cruise

Regular cruise (so did not like though the kids did enjoy the clubs on this non-disney line).

As a kid, I went to the LA Olympics and a few other places.

I feel we are fortunate, I do make these life experiences some what of a priority.

This is why I don't cringe over J&K's freebies. For me to do so would only be out of jealousy.

Not everyone can travel--but many can with prudent planning.

Out of all of these--Wales was our family favorite as we stayed with a friend's family in a larger than normal home for Wales and visited a castle and a fab museum on Welsh history. It was just a pretty cool adventure and the most "economical" part of that trip for sure since we didn't really pay for much except car rental and the initial airfare for the rest of the trip (family of 4 less than $1000 direct flight from OIA).

We are headed to a cabin in Missouri soon--which will be a fun low-key trip.