3 Seasonal Specials at the Blue Harbor Resort

March 11th, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

The beaches along Lake Michigan offer families outdoor adventures and comfortable accommodations. At the Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, families can enjoy lakefront guestrooms and suites, an indoor water park, mini-golf, onsite dining and more – all within driving distance from major Midwest cities like Chicago and Milwaukee. And right now, the resort is offering three great packages for families to enjoy this spring and summer.

Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Book your spring break vacation at the Blue Harbor Resort and enjoy the Snack-n-Splash package. Families will enjoy overnight accommodations, water park admission, one large, two-topping pizza and fountain sodas from the Rocky Bottom Snack Bar, one $10 credit for the Washed Ashore Gift Shop and 20 arcade tokens. Nightly rates are not available for this package. Offer valid March 19 through April 19, 2015.

123, Go!
Also offered this spring, the 123, Go! package offers 10 percent off one-night stays, 20 percent off two-night stays and 30 percent off three-night stays. All guests also receive admission to the onsite, indoor water park. Rates start from about $144 per night. Offer valid March 19 through April 19, 2015. Use promo code 123GO when booking.

123, Go for Summer!
If you can’t make it to the resort for a spring break getaway, head there for a summer vacation and save with the 123, Go for Summer! special, which offers 10 percent off one-night stays, 20 percent off two-night stays and 30 percent off three-night stays. All guests also receive admission to the onsite, indoor water park. Rates start from about $120 per night. Book by June 30, for stays June 1 through July 30, 2015. Use promo code 123GO when booking.

For more great hotel deals, visit our Deals page!

Offers based on availability and blackout dates may apply.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

Mother-Daughter Time at The Spa at Norwich Inn

March 10th, 2015 by Guest Blogger 3 comments »

My oldest daughter was 5 years old the first time she had her nails painted at a nail salon. Her smile reached from ear-to-ear and her eyes danced with excitement. She reminded me of what I must look like to others when I return from a destination spa, one of my favorite trips to take. I made a promise on that day to take her to her first destination spa when she turned 16.

Fast-forward 11 years and that same girl is now approaching her sweet 16 birthday and I’m happy to say I fulfilled my promise with a weekend getaway to the Spa at Norwich Inn in Norwich, Connecticut, approximately 30 minutes from Mystic, Connecticut. Once again, her smile reached from ear-to-ear and her eyes danced with excitement.

The trip had an over-abundance of pampering as it should, but it also provided a precious gift that I rarely get to enjoy now that my big girl is a busy teen with her own life. It gave us time alone to talk, to laugh and to simply relax and enjoy each other’s company at the Inn.

The Spa
Stacey, right, and her daughter, at the Spa at Norwich InnJust over a two-hour drive from both New York City and Boston, The Spa at Norwich Inn in Southeastern Connecticut is a perfect weekend getaway from this region. On the drive there and back, we discussed summer plans, friends, school and her music, and I even shared some of my travel stories. We stopped along the way at the Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets in Clinton, Connecticut, and the Tanger Outlets in Westbrook, Connecticut, because, second to spa time, shopping is high on our list of favorite things to do together. Both outlets are approximately 30 minutes from the spa.

The Spa at Norwich Inn is first and foremost a spa for pampering, with the long list of spa treatments and amenities including everything from facials and massages, to body wraps and nail services. Fitness classes are also on offer, with plenty of a la carte options available, but my daughter was more interested in the hot tub and the frozen yogurt at the spa bar.

The spa asks guests to bring swimsuits, but they supply one-size white robes, which we walked around in while indulging in massages. We enjoyed the Duet Massage together, and my daughter tried the Teen Massage while I signed up for the Swedish Massage. We also enjoyed manicures and pedicures, as well as the hot tub, which certainly warmed our cold bones during one of the harshest winters to hit the East Coast in years. We took a meditation class one morning and a Progressive Relaxation class one day that actually had us both fast asleep at one point.

Guests must be at least 14 years old to enter the spa area and enjoy treatments, services and fitness classes. Parents also need to accompany guests between 14 to 16 years, and proof of age may be required.

The Inn
Aerial view of the Spa at Norwich InnThe small size and homey feel of the property also makes it an ideal introduction to the spa life for teens. The Norwich Inn features 100 guestrooms and suites. Our suite was large with plenty of space, with one king bed and a living room with a sofa bed. Amenities include flat-screen TVs and DVD players.

Onsite dining is available at the Inn, too. The first night we ate at Kensington’s, which features fresh, local ingredients on its menu. My daughter was thrilled to pair her virgin piña colada with Tiramisu espresso crusted filet mignon with mascarpone whipped potatoes, while I attempted to be healthy with delicious scallops that came with a plantain mash. The second night we ate burgers at the cozy Ascot’s Pub. Kensington’s also offers a daily buffet breakfast, which fueled us for our daily activities. Complimentary afternoon tea and wine tastings are offered, as well as sandwiches, salads, smoothies and frozen yogurt at the spa bar.

Healthy Cooking Classes are offered and we ended up getting a private lesson with Executive Chef Lee Masten since we were the only two participants. He showed us easy ways to integrate healthy options into cooking and talked passionately about the Inn’s herb garden and its bees that make the property’s honey. I was hoping to inspire a desire to cook in my daughter, but I guess the lack of culinary skills is genetic.

Back home now and into our usual routine, I miss the simplicity of walking arm-in-arm in our twin robes and the spontaneity of heading for the hot tub right before bed. Most of all, I miss our one-on-one time and how I was able to remove the reality and stress of real life for my little girl (and myself) if only for just a little while. I know, however, that an annual tradition has been born. Perhaps, next year when my youngest turns 14 she will join us and our pampering duo will become a trio.

– Stacey Zable

Stacey Zable is an award-winning veteran travel writer. She specializes in family travel, spas, cruises and luxury travel. Visit her website, staceyzable.com, for more information.

New In-Room Camping Experience in Carlsbad

March 9th, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

If the kids want to go camping, but you’re not too keen on the outdoor experience, try compromising with a stay at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa. The property in Carlsbad, California, recently launched its new “The Great Indoors” room amenity with everything you’ll need for a camping experience right in your guestroom or suite.

Kids reading inside a tent

Enjoy one tent, one canvas folding chair and one sleeping bag in your room upon arrival – all of which you can take home after your trip, too! Plus, the hotel has a few ideas on how to make the experience even more authentic. Let the kids get creative and have them make “logs” for a campfire out of brown paper bags and use red, orange and yellow paper for the flames. Download campfire songs to your phone and plug it in to the in-room speakers so everyone can sing along. Bring chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows with you and make S’mores right in your room – mini-fridges are available in all accommodations and microwaves can be requested for just $10 per night. Additionally, bring your dog along for the trip – pets stay for free and receive amenities just for them, including beds and welcome kits with essentials.

The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa offers guests more fun besides the in-room camping experience. Splash in the 24-hour heated, indoor swimming pool, head to the beach via the complimentary trolley that is offered during the summer months and visit LEGOLAND, California via the resort’s very own private entrance. Scheduled activities, dive-in movies and in-room dining are also available.

Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa pool area

Book your stay now and save up to 40 percent. Book two nights and receive the first at the best available rate, and the second at 40 percent off. Rates start from about $167 per night. Offer valid year-round. Use promo code ZB4 when making your reservation. Additional restrictions and blackout dates may apply.

For more great hotel discounts, see our Deals page.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

5 Fun Updates in Williamsburg for 2015

March 8th, 2015 by Hilarey Wojtowicz No comments »

Known for its historical attractions, Williamsburg, Virginia, is a great destination option for families who want to learn while relaxing on vacation. This year, the area welcomes families with five fun updates and expansions to attractions, adventures and accommodations.
Historical reenactment in Williamsburg, Virginia

Updated Accommodations
Families looking for overnight stays can turn to two recently update properties: the Historic Powhatan Resort and the Greensprings Vacation Resort.

The Historic Powhatan Resort renovated two of its main buildings, as well as its indoor and outdoor pools. Additionally, families will enjoy the resort’s onsite dining, a playground and great in-room amenities like partial kitchens.

The Greensprings Vacation Resort added a new mini-golf course and updated its onsite playgrounds. Plus, families can enjoy scheduled activities, accommodations for up to six and laundry facilities.

Expanded Attractions and Adventures
Besides the many historical reenactments in Williamsburg, families can enjoy three newly expanded outdoor adventures, trails and museums.

Jamestown Discovery Tours returns this spring with sightseeing and nature tours, and sunset cruises. The company is the only one of its kind that takes visitors on adventures that explore the James River. Tours for the season begin on April 1 and rates start from about $20 for adults, $12 for kids ages 3 and up, and $18 for seniors. Children under 3 years are free.

The Virginia Capital Trail is currently about 29 miles of historic hiking and biking trails, but it will soon cover 52 miles across the state of Virginia that hold more than 400 years of history. The trail expansion is scheduled to be finished in September 2015.

The Yorktown Victory Center has a new 80,000-square-foot facility as it continues to expand and transform into the American Revolution Museum, which is scheduled for completion in 2016. Current and future additions include visitor amenities, classrooms, a theatre, exhibit space and a gift shop. The attraction is still known as the Yorktown Victory Center, but the new name, American Revolution Museum, will go into effect upon completion.

Start planning your next family vacation to Williamsburg now!

– Hilarey Wojtowicz