Ultimate Rest & Relaxation Getaways

asiseeit_fayette_headshotMany of the vacations we take every year involve family-packed amusement parks, day-long sight-seeing tours, and shopping galore. Of course then there’s golf, skiing, and other outdoor activities that we choose to take up hours of our day. And while these are quite often the most popular types of getaways and activities, we often find ourselves looking forward to returning home for some rest and relaxation from our vacation. After all, the all-inclusive island resorts’ watersports and endless Tiki bar or the all-you-can-eat cruise ship buffet can be down right exhausting. Sometimes all we really need is to get away from it all, and I mean “all”. You know, the way we romanticized about how early writers and artists nestled themselves in the middle of nowhere to conjure up their creative inner genius. So for 2015, here are four of my ultimate rest and relaxation getaway spots in the U.S. to assist you in recharging your mind and soothing your soul.


THE LODGE AT GLENDORN

Bradford, PA

A stay at this “paradise in the woods” will have you instantly questioning why you haven’t done this before, and planning on when you’re visiting again. Located in north-central Pennsylvania, The GlendornLobbyLodge at Glendorn is within hours of Pittsburgh to the south, Buffalo, NY to the north, Ohio to the west, and the NYC and Philly region to the east. Founded by the oil-rich Dorn family in the late 1920s, this 1500 acre retreat is where the family spent many vacations for generations. In 2009 Cliff Forrest and his family made Glendorn their own, and opened it as one of the premiere retreat resorts in America.
The accommodations at Glendorn are unique, with each of its various rooms and cabins whispering stories of bygone days. The origiGlendornMillerCabinnal home of the Dorn family is known as the Big House today, and houses several suites and rooms as well as the main dining room and recreation room. For more privacy and seclusion the cabins that are scattered throughout the woodland-filled acreage may be just what the doctor ordered. All cabin accommodations include outdoor fire pits for their guests to enjoy while taking in the evening constellations. My stay at the Miller Cabin was pure rustic elegance. Situated just over a rushing brook from the Big House, Miller Cabin possesses two living areas, two full baths, a full kitchen (with a bottomless chocolate chip cookie jar), a screened in porch, as well as two gas-assisted fireplaces. With full maid service twice a day, including turn-down service, the treatment guests receive at Glendorn rivals that of royalty.
GlendornOutdoorDinnersDining at Glendorn is a true culinary delight. Each meal is an experience and every bite of food becomes a fond memory. With a grand piano playing on weekend evenings in the main dining room one can easily harken back to the days when this estate was filled with family laughter and joy. Guests are even invited to make a reservation with the executive chef for a personal cooking class. My lesson in preparing a monk fish with polenta entrée was amazing!
The Lodge at Glendorn spans over 1500 acres, through valleys and streams to the winding trails that lead to the tops of some of the Allegheny Mountains. The resort’s Bondieu Lake plays host to summer barbecues, peaceful paddle boats and fishing lessons. Mountain biking, hiking, and even a Jeep tour of the entire grounds are available during your stay. Skeet & trap shooting along with top-notch fly fishing can also be planned during a stay at the Glendorn.GlendornJeep
For those that feel more like pampering themselves, The Forest Spa is a full service spa ranging from Swedish massages to pedicures. From the moment you enter, the sounds and aromas calm your mind and body.
If you find time to pull yourself away from the fireplace and put down that favorite book, make your way into Bradford, PA. This quaint town has some unique shops and restaurants, but even more importantly is home to the famous Zippo Lighter Museum and Factory. Hmm, who knew?

THE HYATT PINON POINTE
Sedona, AZ
The lavish Pinon Pointe resort by Hyatt is known as one of the luxury jewels of Sedona. From the gorgeous red-rock landscape to out of this world sunrises and sunsets, Pinon Pointe is the ideal location for unwindingPinonPointeTerrace one’s mind, body, and soul. Nestled in Red Rock Country, this resort by Hyatt is also just steps away from year-round outdoor adventures, upscale shopping, exquisite dining, and incredible art galleries.PinonPointeTerrace
With over one hundred 2-bedroom/2-bath and 1-bedroom/1-bath units, Pinon Pointe is nothing less than what one would expect from the Hyatt brand. Many of the rooms feature private balconies with breathtaking vista views, while all rooms provide guests with the feeling of getting away from it all, while possessing all the conveniences of home.
The heated outdoor pool and two outdoor spas invite hours of R&R, while the on site tennis courts and fitness center are available for those that need to break a little sweat.
When you have relaPinonPointeFirepitxed to your fullest, explore the dozens of canyons and red-rock trails in the comfortable desert climate. Whether hiking or biking, the unique desert environment invites you to break away from the norm and experience once-in-a-lifetime sights and sounds of the American southwest.
Revitalizing the spirit is what Pinon Pointe is all about, as Sedona’s reputation as the center of healing, creativity and spirituality fills the air. Pinon Pointe has extraordinary dining to match its spectacular views and surroundings. From the fresh menu selections at Bistro Bella Terra to one of the community’s cafes and restaurants located in the Shops of Pinon Pointe, foodies can delight in the variety. The Shops at Pinon Pointe are located next door to the resort, and offer a variety of shopping experiences when guests need their foodie fix or some light shopping rehab.

THE OCEAN EDGE RESORT
Cape Cod, MA
With nearly one hundreOceanEdgeResortd newly renovated elegant rooms, guests of the Ocean Edge Resort in Brewster, Massachusetts will feel as if they’ve been transported back to a simpler time of the 19th century. The Mansion-side of Ocean Edge has been awarded AAA’s Four-Diamond rating for its luxurious accommodations, dining, and location. Only a short walk from most rooms, guests are treated to a private beach, outdoor and indoor pools, tennis courts, and a fitness center with a spa.
On the grounds of the Ocean Edge Resort are two unique restaurants. Bayzo’s Pub is a quiet gathering spot offering a wide variety of pub favorites like fried cod tacos, burgers and pizza. This English style tavern has live music on summer weekends, and sports screens throughout. The Ocean TerraceOceanEdgeVillas features an inviting bar and dining area located next to the historic Nickerson Mansion, preserved to resemble the 1900s period.
Guests to the Ocean Edge Resort are able to enjoy access to their private beach, complete with beachside service. Bonfires on the beach during the warmer months are a perfect way to round off a stay at one of the northeast’s premiere resorts.
Rooms at the Ocean Edge Resort range from the Presidential Bay Collection, two- and three-bedroom villas, to the Grand Corner Suites, all with the relaxing feel of a traditional seaside cottage.
Just moments from the quaint towns found on the mid-Cape, visitors can take a short drive to Provincetown and the nearby Cape Cod National Seashore. In the other direction guests can travel to Falmouth to take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket for the day. With its central location, Ocean Edge is the virtual hub of all there is to do on Cape Cod. And if you choose to do nothing at all, perhaps simply resting your toes in the tidal waters of Cape Cod Sound is all you need for the day at the Ocean Edge Resort.

 
THE HEIDEL HOUSE RESORT & SPA
Green Lake, WI
Along the shoreliHeidelHouseGroundsne of Green Lake, in Wisconsin, sits the Heidel House Resort & Spa. This year-round midwest resort destination has become one of the favorite return spots for guests and their families year after year. The Heidel House is a breathtaking full service resort, with incredible lakefront views of pristine Green Lake and countless forest trees that provide the perfect backdrop for a much-needed getaway. Since New Year’s Eve 1945, guests have returned to the Heidel House to enjoy top shelf dining, peaceful spa retreats, along with boating, hiking, and golf outings.
Located on twenty wooded acres along Wisconsin’s deepest inland lake, the Heidel House offers numerous amenities including nearly two hundred guestHeidelHouseLobby rooms, plenty of meeting space for conferences or corporate gatherings, soothing spa services at the Evensong Spa, and elegant dining at the famous Grey Rock Restaurant. The Boathouse Pub and Sunroom Lakeside Restaurant are also on-site restaurants that serve mouth-watering breakfasts, lunches, and even late night favorites.
The Heidel House is a short drive from Madison and Milwaukee, and offers a wide variety of accommodations. From first-class rooms and suites to more of a casual stay in their vacation rentals, this one of a kind getaway offers old world charm for every type of guest.
Selected as the 2014 Best Honeymoon location in Wisconsin by Wisconsin Bride magazine, Heidel House is always a popular destination for wedding parties as well as honeymooners.
HeidelHouseSpaFor those looking to venture out into the community, hot air balloon rides, Clydesdale horse rides, wine tasting and of course cheese tasting are all within minutes of the Heidel House Resort & Spa.
So as you fill your calendar for this coming year, why not take a break from the ordinary and make your next vacation extraordinary at one of these remarkable retreat resorts. Whether planning for winter, spring, summer, or fall, these incredible locations are sure to tantalize your taste buds, invigorate your spirit, and renew your sense of being.

Advertisements

Sun and Fun along Florida’s Southwest Coast

Most likely when you think of vacationing in Florida you think of the hot spots of Miami, the Keys, Ft. Lauderdale, or the tourist mecca known as Orlando. For several years I have enjoyed traveling to the Southwest region of Florida to take in the charm of the area and the warmth of the sun.  I have visited up and down the Gulf Coast, from Sarasota to Sanibel, and Naples to Key West, and the draw for me is that each area has its own cool vibe that keeps me coming back for more.

Flying into Southwest Florida International (RSW) always gets my vacation off on the right foot. Perhaps one of the cleanest and most enjoyable airports in America, RSW sets the tone of rest and relaxation from the moment one lands. With a dedicated area on the ground level of the airport, getting a rental car is as easy as renting a car can be; and I’m off on vacation!

A stay at the Hyatt Regency – Coconut Point is always my hotel of choice when in Southwest Florida. Located between Ft. Myers and Naples, just off the Tamiami Trail, Coconut is centrally located for loads of shopping, dining, and fun activities.  A stay at the Hyatt Coconut Point wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Hyatt’s private island, Big Hickory Island, across Estero Bay.  A free water taxi takes guests from the resort’s dock to the island every 30-minutes. While on your way you are likely to see dolphins and rays swimming alongside the boat. Once at the island, a two-minute walk to the other side brings you to the Gulf of Mexico in all her glory. (Wait, see the sunbeams shine down and hear the angels sing from above.) Privacy and more relaxation is the order of the day when spending time at this beach. With complimentary lounge chairs, umbrellas, and ice-filled coolers for your favorite beverages and snacks, a day at Big Hickory Island beach is perfect for saltwater swimming, sunbathing, and seashell collecting; and will surely spoil you for future excursions.

When in the Bonita Springs area visitors must visit the amazing Coconut Point shopping destination. This outdoor shopping and eating experience is rivaled by few. With condos above the stores, known as The Residences, to designer shops such as Coach and Aldo, and chain stores like Target and Champs, Coconut Point has shopping covered. The complex also has great restaurants such as The Grape, Stir Crazy, Tony Sacco’s, and California Pizza Kitchen. With hundreds of famous name stores, dozens of restaurants, and luxury living accommodations, the community of Coconut Point is a modern twist on an early 1900′s city.

The Gulf Coast offers an array of fun options for all interests.  The city of Naples is about 15 miles south of Coconut, and their pristine beaches, unique shopping, and outdoor restaurants make this a must-stop every time I’m in the area. Whether shopping along Naples’ historic Fifth Avenue, enjoying an afternoon bite to eat at the Bayside Restaurant overlooking Venetian Bay, or soaking in the sand and sun at one of its public beaches, luxury can be found in every corner of this Gulf coast city.

The famous Fort Myers Beach area is always ready to offer up fun til the early morning hours. Picking shells on the beaches, taking in the sunsets at the pier, and great food and drink at the famous Yukatan is a typical afternoon and evening at FMB. Branching out from its hub, known as Times Square and The Pier, Fort Myers Beach is home to many stores, restaurants, and nightspots to keep your vacation in high gear when not at the beach. With its many beachside hotels, FMB reminds me of the days of Gidget, Elvis, and Frankie & Annette at the beach. Fun times!

Across the bridge from Fort Myers sits the quiet little island community of Sanibel Island. Know worldwide for its seashell collecting and glorious beaches, Sanibel is one of the best places I know to get away from it all. Though there are plenty of restaurants and shopping opportunities to be found on this island, the tone and pace of Sanibel is much more laid back and easy-going. With several public beaches scattered around the perimeter of the island, taking in the warmth of the sun and searching for that elusive perfect seashell are all in a day’s pleasure on Sanibel Island.

If you’re looking for rest and relaxation in a peaceful, luxurious setting, Florida’s Southwest region may be beckoning you. With incredible weather year-round, true southern hospitality, and a slow-paced way of life, the Gulf Coast region is one of my favorite places to get away to. Whether its Naples to the south, Fort Myers to the north, or Sanibel on an island of its own, Southwest Florida is truly a slice of paradise.

Gulf Coast Getaway at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point

For several years I have enjoyed traveling to the Southwest region of Florida to take in the charm of the area and the warmth of the sun. I have visited up and down the Gulf Coast, from Sarasota to Sanibel, and Naples to Key West, and each area has its own cool vibe that keeps me coming back for more.

Recently I took my daughter, Morgan, on a father-daughter vacation to celebrate her journey off to college. She wanted to go where there were beaches and shopping. (Did I mention she was eighteen?) I immediately thought of the Gulf Coast and began to search for places. Through my Travelocity search I came across a pretty good deal for a fly & stay at the Hyatt Regency at Coconut Point. For a little under $400 each we got a roundtrip flight out of Rochester and 4-night stay at one of Hyatt’s premiere resorts. And as if that package wasn’t good enough, our arrival flight got us into the Ft. Myers airport by 11:30am, with our departure flight not leaving Florida until 5pm. To me those are great bonus hours for some sun & fun!

Upon arriving at the Hyatt Regency – Coconut Point Resort & Spa I couldn’t help but be in awe at the true luxury that welcomed us. From the valet parking to the doormen, this place screamed “vacation”! As you enter the resort the Stillwater Spa is located to your left. This full-service spa offers an enormous menu including their ‘Aqua Massage’. As guests enter the main lobby comfortable sitting areas and the Concierge are located to the left, with the minimalistic check-in area to the right. I found my check-in to be quick and easy, with the friendly desk manager giving me all kinds of information and answering all of my questions. Included with our check-in was a glass of champagne for me and a glass of OJ for Morgan.

Located on Estero Bay, which leads out to the Gulf of Mexico, the Hyatt Regency at Coconut Point offers views that are simply breath-taking. We actually made it a point one evening to stay in our room and take pictures of the sunset over the Gulf from our balcony. Incredible!

Our guestroom was magnificent. The suite contained two queen-size beds, a table with chairs, a kitchenette, and luxurious bathroom. The decor was modern, but not over-the-top. The staff cleaned our room each day and even turned our beds down at night when we weren’t there. Classy!

The Hyatt Regency – Coconut Point was recently awarded Travel & Leisure magazine’s Top 100 Hotels in the World and Top 50 Family-resorts in North America. Guests surveys have also resulted in the resort & spa receiving the AAA Four-Diamond ranking. With its 70,000 square feet of conference rooms, six restaurants and lounges, and three pools this Hyatt Regency has it all. My favorite place to eat at Coconut Point is the poolside restaurant known as the Corkscrew. Serving up great lunches and dinners, the Corkscrew is great as you relax by the pool. For more formal dining, Tarpon Bay and Tanglewood are superb. Tarpon Bay serves the best of area seafood, while Tanglewood offers up some wonderful American grille cuisine.

A stay at the Hyatt Regency – Coconut Point wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Hyatt’s private island across Estero Bay. A free water taxi takes guests from the resort’s dock to the island every 30-minutes. While on your way you are likely to see dolphins and rays swimming alongside the boat. Once at the island, a two-minute walk to the other side brings you to the Gulf of Mexico in all its glory. (Wait, see the sunbeams shine down and hear the angels sing from above.) This mile long strip of private beach is for Hyatt guests only and has complimentary chairs and umbrellas, and is perfect for saltwater swimming, sunbathing, and seashell collecting. 

Though the resort has everything you could want during your stay- tennis, golf, pools, wall-climbing, internet, flat-screen TVs, restaurants, and more- if you wanted to venture out Southwest Florida is packed with things to do. Morgan and I had lunch at the Bayside Restaurant in Naples one day, took in the sunset and had dinner at the Ft. Myers pier another night, and shopped at the amazing Coconut Point. It is an outdoor shopping and eating experience rivaled by few,with condos above the stores known as The Residences. From designer shops such as Coach and Aldo, to chain stores like Target and Champs, Coconut Point has shopping covered. The area also has great restaurants such as The Grape, Stir Crazy, and California Pizza Kitchen.

Without a doubt if you are looking for rest and relaxation in a peaceful, luxurious setting, the Hyatt Regency – Coconut Point is beckoning you. With incredible weather year-round, true southern hospitality, and slow-paced way of life, the Gulf Coast is one of my favorite places to be. Located between Ft.Myers Beach and Naples, and just 15 minutes from the Southwest Florida international Airport, the Hyatt Regency – Coconut Point is the perfect vacation destination for your next getaway. For more information contact Erin Flanagan at 239-390-4205 or visit their website at coconutpoint.hyatt.com.

Relaxing at Hyatt’s Coconut Plantation

Most likely when you think of vacationing in Florida you think of the hot spots of Miami, the Keys, Ft. Lauderdale, or the tourist mecca of Orlando. But a few years ago my wife, Rachel, and I found a fantastic getaway. Located about 10 miles south of Fort Myers Beach and 15 miles north of Naples, is the quietly growing community of Coconut. By using our Hyatt Vacation Club membership, we now try to make the Coconut Plantation on Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico an annual getaway.

Flying into Southwest Florida International (RSW) gets our vacation off on the right foot. Perhaps one of the cleanest and most enjoyable airports in America, RSW sets the tone of relaxation from the moment we landed. With a dedicated area on the ground level of the airport, getting a rental car is as easy as renting a car can be. And we’re off on vacation!

A drive of less than 20 minutes find us at our destination- The Hyatt Vacation Club’s Coconut Plantation. Off the Tamiami Trail and onto Coconut Drive, the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Coconut sits against the sun-filled sky. All of the amenities at this 4-star resort are available to those staying at the Coconut Plantation, located less than 1/4 mile further down the road. In between these two resorts is a gorgeous golf course called Raptor Bay. With water and sand placed strategically throughout the 18-holes, Raptor Bay turns out to be an enjoyable round of golf.

The first thing you will notice when walking into the main lobby of Coconut Plantation is the one-of -a-kind scent of what else? — coconut oil! From the beautiful mahogany wood floors to the warm two-sided fireplace, and welcoming “come sit in me” chairs, the Coconut Plantation screams, “Get ready to relax!”

We traditionally start our retreat with lunch at the Corkscrew Restaurant, located poolside at the Regency. However keep in mind that saying ‘poolside’  may be somewhat confusing for first-timers, because both the Regency hotel and the Coconut Plantation resort each boast 5 pools each! And between both locales, and the golf course, visitors can choose between 5 distinct restaurants.

Settling into our room is always a treat. Each room at Coconut Plantation has a beautiful lenai, with each screened in patio offering up a unique view. Whether the view is of the golf course or the resort’s pool area, each is always a relaxing. With studio, 1-bed, and 2-bedroom units available, the HVC quality never wavers. With granite counters in the bathroom and kitchen, cool tile floors in the living area, and comfortable carpets in the bedrooms, the Coconut Plantation is a fabulous home away from home.

With cascading waterfalls, a 1000-foot lazy river, and pools ranging from a kiddie pool to the adult pool on the veranda, Coconut Plantation has enough water to cool you from the typical 80-degree temperatures. Tennis and basketball courts, bike rentals, and an air conditioned fitness center are just a few of the other amenities for guests. And whether you’re taking in the rays at the Regency or the Plantation, their poolside beverage servers are the epitome of relaxation and luxury.

When we finally force ourselves to leave the grounds of this multiple resort, the south Gulf Coast offers an array of fun options. Less than two minutes away sits the vast condo/shopping area of Coconut Point. With hundreds of famous name stores, dozens of restaurants, and luxury living accommodations, this community is a modern twist on an early 1900’s city. The city of Naples is about 15 miles south of Coconut, and their pristine beaches, unique shopping, and outdoor restaurants make this a must-stop every time we’re in the area. The famous Fort Myers Beach area is just to the north of our resort and  is always ready to offer up fun til the early morning hours. Picking shells on the beaches, taking in the sunsets at the pier, and great food and drink at the Yukatan is a typical afternoon and evening at FMB.

Though the region offers beautiful public beaches and the two resorts have 10 pools between them, the best part of our stay at the Hyatt Vacation Club’s Coconut Plantation is always a trip to their private beach located at Big Hickory Island, across Estero Bay and on the Gulf of Mexico. Privacy and more relaxation is the order of the day when spending time at the beach. With complimentary lounge chairs, umbrellas, and ice-filled coolers for your favorite beverages and snacks, a day at this beach will surely spoil you for future excursions.

Though this region eluded our vacation getaway radar for some time, we now have it locked in and look forward to our visit nearly every year. For more information about The Coconut Plantation or the Hyatt Vacation Club, contact 1-800-Go-Hyatt and mention this column.

Weekend getaway to Boston

Though there are still flurries in the air and the temperatures struggle to climb into the thirties. I have a great idea for your next weekend getaway. About five hours west on the NY State Thruway and the Mass Pike sits the historic city of Boston, Massachusetts. Perhaps there is no city in America that offers so much cultural diversity and historic significance. If there were ever a city that I would want to live in, hands down it would be Boston…and that, from a Yankee fan!

My wife and I recently spent a weekend in Beantown, home of the Redsox Nation. Staying across the street from Boston Commons put us right in the heart of this bustling city. We were one block from the architecturally rich Beacon Hill; a half-block from the city’s Theatre District, one block from the open air market known as Downtown Crossing; and only a five minute stroll from the wonderful Faneuil Hall district. We stayed at the elegant Boston Hyatt and enjoyed one of their 498 rooms that perhaps possess the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in on the road. Their restaurant, Avenue One, is pure dining elegance, with live entertainment often performing throughout the week. The check in and check out process was simple and hassle-free, while their concierge offered great ideas and suggestions to a few of our sightseeing questions.

 After we got settled into our hotel room we strolled a few blocks to the BankNorth Center (home of the basketball Celtics and hockey Bruins). I, like many, still refer to it as The Boston Garden. While there we experienced what a Friday rush-hour is like for those that work in the city. It was just passed five-o’clock and thousands were making their way to catch their train out of town. The atmosphere was like that of a beehive full of honey. On our first night in Boston we had dinner at a neat restaurant known as Zuma Grill. The Tex-Mex restaurant had a great atmosphere and an inviting, authentic menu. Topping off our first evening was a trip to the Purple Shamrock pub near Quincy Market for a late-night pint. I think there’s some rule that says when visiting Boston you must visit a pub.

On Saturday we walked Boston’s Freedom Trail; a two and a half mile walking tour through the two hundred thirty year-old city. The tour took us to the Old North Church, the Paul Revere House, Bunker Hill, and history-rich Boston Harbor. We enjoyed a mid-day lunch and beverage atop the Prudential Building. Fifty-three stories up is a ‘must-see stop’ known as the Top of the Hub restaurant. The view was spectacular as we overlooked the wonderful city and Charles River. My sandwich was excellent, and my wife enjoyed a well-presented salmon entree. While in the area we also shopped around the high-end Copley Mall and the impressive Stores at the Prudential. An evening stop at Cheers allowed us to take in a little more charm of the city and its people, while enjoying a nice meal.

 Sunday was another beautiful day, and we visited the city’s North End for a taste of Italy. The neighborhood overflowed with the sights, sounds, and smells one would expect from an Italian village. As we visited the attractions of the community, we enjoyed a great afternoon lunch at a quaint Italian restaurant named Il Villagio. Before leaving the North End we were told to be sure to visit Mike’s Pastry. With three to four lines deep it was easy to see why we were directed there. Their authentic Italian cookies and pastries were absolutely out of this world! You can visit their website and even place your order at: www.mikespastry.com

So this spring, if you find the urge to experience a fun-filled, big city weekend getaway, Boston should be at the top of your short list. There is a lot of truth in the Dave Loggins classic song, “Please Come to Boston (for the springtime)”, and a lot of history to take in during your stay.

The fact that you could be eating at the very same table that Ben Franklin had once dined at, standing on the very same cobblestones that Paul Revere once rode on, or leaning against the very same outfield wall at Fenway Park that Carl Yastrzemski once made great catches against is a pretty impressive series of thoughts, all of which can be done during a weekend in Boston.

The city is Boston, and its slogan says it all: “Boston- The city where you’d want to live.”