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.

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Family Getaway: Key West

asiseeit_fayette_headshotFor decades Key West, Florida has been seen as the ultimate adult getaway. From Bike week, the Hemingway Festival, and FantasyFest, Key West has created an aura of over-indulgence and the lowering of one’s inhibitions. And while to many that may truly be the case, my annual visits over the past ten years have found a let’s say, ‘Kinder and gentler Key West’. I have traveled there with my wife many times as a couples’ retreat, but we’ve also included the entire family as well on occasion. From seemingly limitless eating choices to non-stop water fun, the Conch Republic is a fabulous place to plan your next family getaway.

My home away from home is always the Hyatt Sunset Harbor located on the Gulf end of Duval Street. This resort is located just next to Mallory Square and its boardwalk. EveningsIMG_4003 produce breathtaking sunsets, while mornings awake to cruse ships making Key West their next port of call. The rooms at Sunset Harbor range from studios to 2-bedroom suites. All accommodations are spacious, and always up to Hyatt expectations. Their pool and hot tub are the centerpiece of many daily poolside activities.

If a resort setting isn’t your family’s style, Key West is packed with Bed & Breakfast inns, as well as VRBOs (vacation rentals by owner). Depending on your budget, your stay can be in an entire house or the sharing of one with another couple or family. Many of these rentals will even allow for the family pet to come along as well, but always make sure you check that out with management, and get it in writing, prior to arrival.

For those that have always dreamed of living on the water, there are many motor yachts and houseboats that are able to be rented out by the week or month. Some come with a complete crew, while others allow you and your family to sail solo.

IMG_4059When it comes to the ultimate in getting away from it all, there is no better place to stay in Key West than on a private island known as Sunset Key. Approximately three-quarters of the island located just to the west of Mallory Square consists of private homes, but the remaining quarter of the island has 1-bedroom to 3-bedroom cottages, along with pool facilities and a private beach. My annual visit to the island’s exceptional restaurant, Latitudes, lets me enjoy the surroundings if only for a couple hours, and keeps me dreaming for yet another year.

Getting around Key West is extremely easy. No car necessary! While my family usually walks from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean (about 14 blocks on Duval), bicycle and motor cart rentals are also available on a daily to weekly basis. Taxis are readily available, as well as pedicabs too. My taxi driver (I like to say that…) is saved in my contacts for a quick call when I arrive at the airport, and when my vacation is over. When staying in the historic section of the island known as Old Key West that’s about the only time I ever need a cab. While Key West is very pedestrian-friendly and speed limit concerns are rarely an issue, its always important to still be alert so your stay isn’t cut short by an incident.

Water fun on Key West can be non-stop. From ocean fishing to sunset dinner cruises, and jet skiing to snorkeling, the activities on the water are so numerous that you may not have a enough time toIMG_4031 take them all in on one stay. While I have enjoyed several excursions with the Fury and Sebago companies, my most enjoyable have been with Danger Charters. While the larger companies have you aboard with 40-50 others, the Danger Charters schooner only holds about twenty. My most recent adventure with ‘Danger’ started around 9:30 in the morning. Sailing out about five miles to the Strait of Florida we were able to snorkel for about 90 minutes on one of the world’s greatest reefs. One of the three crew on board Danger Charters actually became our snorkeling guide as she showed us the places to view amazing fish and underwater creatures. Following a fresh fruit and water break, two of the crew split the group and took us on a fabulous kayak journey around the Key West National Nature Preserve. This uninhabited island plays home to incredible wildlife as well as unique trees and plants. On our return the sails went up on the multi-mast schooner for a fun 60-minute sail.

Booking for either half-day or full-day excursions is as easy as going online and selecting the package that is right for your family. Whether it’s parasailing over the Gulf or jet skiing around this 2 by 4-mile island of Key West, a day on the water is sure to create a lifetime of memories. And when the busy day is coming to an end there is no better way to take in the famous Key West sunsets than by enjoying them aboard dinner and/or sunset cruises. Many companies have varied packages with one to surely fit every family’s needs.

IMG_4017If you’d rather enjoy a meal on dry land Key West is certainly not lacking for fantastic food choices. Many of the island’s restaurants have been featured in worldwide publications and on national food and travel television networks. Starting off in the morning a trip to a couple of Key West’s best breakfast stops is bound to get your family’s day rolling in the right direction. For me it comes down to three ‘can’t miss’ places. Two Friends Patio is open all day long, but their homestyle breakfasts are always a good start to the day. LeCreperie is an amazing new restaurant on my ‘foodie radar’. Located just off Duval St., their savory crepe stuffed with scrambled eggs, various cheeses, and bacon is enough to make you wish breakfast time would never end. Perhaps my favorite breakfast stop is Pepe’s, located down by the marina. While they serve what may be considered a typically good breakfast, be sure to order their ‘toast of the day’; and pray to God that it is Coconut Toast. One bite of this beautiful piece of toasted homemade bread, and you may never look at toast the same way ever again.

The lunch choices on Key West can range from a one-of-a-kind burger experience at Garbo’s Grill to a mouth-watering lobster roll from DJs Clam Shack. I also recently stumbled across a great little Italian food and pizzeria restaurant called Onlywood. Located down a narrow lane off of Duval sits this little slice of Italy. With tables for eating inside or out, this place fires up some of the most outstanding pizza I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. With its wood oven approaching a mind-boggling 1,000-degrees, the custom made pizza pies are ready in mere moments after ordering. Blue Heaven, Sunset Pier, and Sloppy Joe’s are also fun places to take the entire family for lunch. With great live entertainment daily and unique surroundings, all three locations serve great-tasting lunches with flair.

For evening dinners, one of the largest menus in Key West can be found at Fogarty’s on Duval. With open-air seating, this restaurant serves up great tasting juicy burgers to high-quality steaks, andIMG_4076 savory salmon to delicious desserts. Located adjacent to the restaurant is the Flying Monkey Saloon, serving delicious frozen drinks for moms and dads, as well as for the “under-agers” too. Fine dining reaches its pinnacle at The Hot Tin Roof, located at the Ocean Key Resort & Spa. Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, this premiere location is only outdone by its exquisite menu. Starting with an appetizer of tuna tartare and a tomato burrata salad, followed by an entree of scallop risotto or Latin braised short ribs, executive chef Jason Westphal promises a dining experience to remember. For dining in a less formal setting, a family can enjoy a great dinner at the Conch Republic Restaurant by the marina or Pinchers Crab Shack located along Duval St. Both serve a wide menu that is sure to please adults and kids.

History abounds in Key West. A stroll through the Truman Annex will lead you to the Little White House where President Harry S. Truman spent much of his time when not in Washington DC. Various art galleries and antique shops line the streets of Old Key West. One of the highlights of the history of Key West is the Mel Fisher treasure museum, where visitors can view Fisher’s motherload from the Atocha shipwreck. This, as well as the Key West Aquarium, Fort Zachary, and the Shipwreck IMG_4082Museum can provide hours of learning and fun while on vacation. Imagine that?!

Hitting the beaches while in Key West is highly recommended. Smathers Beach along the Atlantic Ocean and Fort Zachary State Park are two of the best. While Smathers is free, Ft. Zachary is a little less crowded because of the nominal fee. At Ft. Zachary State Park beach goers will enjoy a sense of complete solitude, while those choosing Smathers Beach will have a large selection of water sports and rentals to choose from.

So when you hear someone mention Key West in the future don’t be fooled by what you’ve heard about the crazy Spring Breakers or FantasyFest crazies. Check the KeyWest.com website Events Calendar, and you may find your vacation will coincide with their annual Food Festival or Key Lime Pie Week. As I’ve so often said, Key West is Paradise Found, for couples and families alike.

Welcome to Miami Beach

asiseeit_fayette_headshotFrom Aventura to Key Biscayne the winter months in Miami Beach area are covered in white…..from the miles of sun-soaked beaches that is. Though snow doesn’t fall in South Florida, there is fun for all ages. Sunny Isles, Bal Harbour, Miami Beach, and South Beach all sit along the Atlantic Ocean inviting visitors to their pristine beaches and 75-degree waters. Just across Biscayne Bay Downtown Miami, Coconut Grove, and Littlewelcom-miami-beach Havana are bustling with various weekend that meld cultures into one. So for a change of pace from falling snow and temperatures in the forties, consider Miami for an upcoming winter getaway.

Tours around the Miami area are as diverse as the culture itself. Whether strolling through the Art Deco District of South Beach, sobeenjoying the beauty of the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, or experiencing the tastes of region with the Miami Culinary Tour, this slice of paradise is sure to have you quickly forgetting about the snow and cold back home. Along Ocean Drive is the historic Art Deco District of SoBe (South Beach). The architecture is timeless, the names iconic, and the history behind each building is fascinating. From The Clevelander to The Carlyle the beauty of the area screams SoBe! Just a few blocks from the Atlantic sits a quiet and serene setting known as the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Open during the daytime hours, this 2 ½ acre area of greenspace offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Built in the 1960s and refurbished in 2011, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden is home to many native miacultourplants and flowers such as the palms, cycads, and orchids and many others. Whether you’re in Miami for the first time or making a return visit, a ‘must do’ is booking an afternoon or evening with the Miami Culinary Tour. On a recent visit to Miami Beach my daughter, Morgan, and I were given a walking tour through the streets of South Beach with more than a half-dozen stops at some of the area’s finest restaurants. Mirka was our energetic and informative guide for the Miami Culinary Tour, and shared with us the history, culture, and even gossip of SoBe. Our 3-hour tour (nod to Gilligan) included tasty samples of authentic empanadas, ceviche, churros, and gelato. All of these locations aim to help make your stay that more memorable.

While northerners may be skiing the slopes or sliding down Grandpa’s hill during the winter, those guests to Miami can kayak the waters of Oleta River State Park or soak in the sun on the miles kayakof beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Nestled in North Miami is the Oleta River State Park. From the moment you arrive it’s hard to remember that you are in the middle of one of the busiest cities in America. The Oleta River State Park offers kayak and canoe rentals through the mango trees and even mountain bike rentals through several trails of various skill levels. Imagine kayaking on Biscayne Bay instead of fighting snowplows? After an enjoyable day at the park maybe grabbing a few hours of the fading winter sun on the sands of Miami Beach is just what the doctor ordered. From Sunny Isles to South Beach, and then Key Biscayne and Coral Gables, the Miami region has miles of beautiful sand beaches.

artdecoMiami is packed with fantastic stores and boutiques. From the Aventura Mall located in the northern part of Miami to the open air market-like experience of Lincoln Road, guests and locals always find unique shopping and a variety of restaurants to enjoy throughout the Miami region.

miabchEntertainment is nearly non-stop in Miami. From the hundreds of clubs and pubs to world class entertainment, there is always something going on in and around South Florida. The NBA’s Miami Heat and NHL’s Florida Panthers will all be hosting home games during the winter months and into the playoff drive of the spring.

So think about putting the parka away and start digging out that beachesswimsuit from the back of the closet, Miami Beach awaits you with warm temperatures, sunny skies, and friendly locals to help you forget about the winter season.

Summertime Fun in New York State

asiseeit_fayette_headshotThroughout the northeast, Summer is always welcomed with open arms, ready-to-spend wallets, and a desire to wear bathing suits whenever and wherever possible. With its four distinct seasons, from Memorial Day to Labor Day those in the New York State area attempt to squeeze every available sun-shining moment into their schedules.

So without further delay (because I think the sun is coming out to stay), here are some ideas I’d like to share with you for your summertime fun in and around New York State.

In Syracuse, Saturday mornings are reserved for hundreds to pay a visit to the Regional Market. Now this is open nearly all year round, but it’s a nice way to spend a summer Saturday morning as you stroll through locallySYR Regional Market grown fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers. The Regional Market is open until 1pm on Saturdays. My wife and I usually start our Saturday out that way a couple of times during the summer. From there we head a few miles to the south, to the Armory Square district. This section of Syracuse boasts several restaurants, quaint pubs, along with specialty stores and boutiques. You can typically catch us enjoying lunch and a pint at The Blue Tusk. One of the largest attractions found in Syracuse when it’s not SU Orange basketball season is a trip to Destiny USA. Filled with hundreds of well-known stores, restaurants, and attractions, Destiny USA has something for everyone. Besides hours of shopping, this mega mall has indoor simulated golf, go-cart racing, comedy clubs, and museums. Popular eateries at Destiny USA include the Cheesecake Factory, Cantina Laredo, PF Changs, and Gordon Biersch.

Oswego Harborfest fireworks by GrucciDuring the last weekend in July the City of Oswego shows off its Lake Ontario lakefront beauty with its Harborfest celebration. From Thursday to  Sunday the city is transformed into a carnival atmosphere, mixed with great food, second-to-none free concerts, and traditionally Chamber of Commerce weather. Whether you want to taste regional wines, buy locally created crafts, take in a concert from top name acts, or just appreciate how lucky Oswegonians are to live alongside Lake Ontario, Harborfest weekend is a date you don’t want to miss.

Speaking of wine tasting, Central New Yorkers are blessed to have some of the world’s finest wines within a short drive. I enjoy taking a day, or sometimes even a weekend, to skip from winery to winery between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. Part of the Finger Lakes Wine Trail, these wineries have fun employees, great tasting wines, and many now have overnight accommodations and restaurants. I prefer FingerLakes mapstaying at The Inn at Glenora at the south end of Route 14 or Belhurst Castle, located at the north end of Route 14 in Geneva. Some of my favorite lunch and dinner locations are Fox Run Farms Winery (found on the west side of Seneca Lake), Stonecutters (located in Belhurst Castle), and Sheldrake Point (along the west side of Cayuga Lake). As far as wine tasting goes, I have my favorites, but wine tasting is like that of music or food taste- it varies with each individual. That being said if you haven’t experienced the Finger Lakes Wine Trail some must-see stops are Swedish Hill, Hazlitt’s, Bagley’s Poplar Ridge, Three Brothers, and Fox Run Farms. You can find great interactive maps and descriptions by Googling ‘Seneca Lake Wineries’ or ‘Cayuga Lake Wineries’.

More family-oriented travels may see you spending the day at Rochester’s SeaBreeze Amusement Park, along Lake Ontario or the Darien Lake Amusement Park, located midway between Rochester and Buffalo just off the Thruway. Located in Sterling, NY (near Fair Haven Beach State Park) is the Renaissance Faire. Open for the months of July and August, the RenFaire takes visitors back to the Middle Ages with jesters, joustings, and the beloved fried turkey legs.

Niagara_FallsIf you have a weekend or a few days to spare, expand your travels to Niagara Falls. Whether you stay on the U.S. side or venture to the Canadian side, one of the great wonders of the world never disappoints. (Remember- a passport in now needed when traveling to Canada.) Besides that big waterfall that everyone goes gaga over, both countries boast casinos and plenty of entertainment. On the Canadian side they have the famous Clifton Hill, otherwise known as the ‘Hill of Fun’, with restaurants, attractions like Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum, and the Hershey Chocolate store. Of course don’t forget an unforgettable ride on The Maid of the Mist, as you get closer to the falls than you ever thought imaginable. Also over the border sits the City of Kingston, Ontario is a great weekend getaway! This quaint Canadian city offers tons of food and shopping along its famous Princess Street and Ontario Street.

Heading into the northern part New York, one fun stop can include Lake Placid, with a trip to the summit of Whiteface Mountain mixed in with a casual walk down their wonderful Main Street along Mirror Lake. Bobsledding in the summer is possible at the Olympic training center located just outside Lake Placid.

Back in NYState are the Lake Ontario towns of Alexandria Bay, Clayton, and Sacketts Harbor. All are perfect for that much needed day-trip. Whether traveling by boat or car, these lakeside towns offer breathtaking views, fun shopping, and aBoldt Castle in 1000 Islands variety of restaurants and taverns.

If you feel like traveling a little to the southern part of the state, a great day trip or weekend getaway can be found in Cooperstown. Known of course for its Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown also is home to the Farmer’s Museum, Fenimore Cooper art museum, and the Leatherstocking golf course alongside the historic Otesaga Resort.

saratoga starting gateIf horse racing is more your guilty pleasure, check out Saratoga. During the summer months Saratoga comes alive with thoroughbred horse racing and an atmosphere of yesteryear. Saratoga is also home of SPAC (the Saratoga Performing Arts Center), which brings in top name talent in the music industry for great concerts in a perfect setting.

Of course NY City is always a fun place to make memories. Whether strolling along along Broadway or taking in views at the top of the the Empire State Building, the Big Apple is loaded with great attractions, incredible shopping and one-of-a-kind food options.

So let the thousands flock to Mickey’s Florida home or jam the roundabouts of the Cape, a trip into New York State can have you criss-crossing the Empire State and never running out of fascinating things to. The state’s traditional tourism slogan isn’t one of the most popular and long lastings phrases anywhere for nothing. This summer experience all that NY State has to offer and find out for yourself why everyone is always singing, “I Love NY!”New York Times Square

Livin it up in Louisville

asiseeit_fayette_headshotOn the first Saturday of May the horse racing world converges on Louisville, Kentucky for the running of the Kentucky Derby. Though the race only lasts a little more than two minutes on that Saturday, tens of thousands call Louisville home for weeks leading up to Derby Day. Here are some events and places to visit if you plan on visiting this horse racing mecca.

Fest-a-Ville and Chow Wagon:
Held at the Waterfront Park along the Ohio River, this festival has a little bit of everything. From beer gardens to rows of food vendors, helicopter rides to free concerts, Fest-a-Ville and Chow Wagon continue to grow in popularity each year. This year’s highlight of Waterfront Jam is a Friday, May 2nd concert featuring country artists Scotty McCreery with special guest Cassadee Pope. Horse race? Did someone say something about a horse CaliforniaChromerace?

The Pegasus Parade:
Held in downtown Louisville since 1956, this family-oriented event is filled with marching bands, inflatable characters, and of course “horses”! Running along Broadway between Campbell and Ninth Streets in the heart of Louisville, the Pegasus Parade is the longest running Kentucky Derby Week event. This year’s parade is on Thursday, May 1st.

The Kentucky Oaks:
Traditionally held the day before the Kentucky Derby, “The Oaks” celebrates the finest three-year fillies in the thoroughbred world. Lilies and the color pink highlight this prestigious race to honor and celebrate women and breast cancer awareness. Tickets for this day long event can be obtained in advance from the Kentucky Derby website or the day of the race at Churchill Downs.

ChurchillDownsThe Kentucky Derby:
“The Run for the Roses” will take place on Saturday, May 2nd this year. Gates will open at 8am with tickets available online ahead of time or at the gates the day of the race. From dedicated horse race enthusiasts to well-known celebrities, the stands, infield, and rail of Churchill Downs will be packed with mint julep-sipping fans excited to be part of “the most exciting two minutes in sports”. With thousands women wearing stunning (and outlandish) hats, the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home”, and the garland of roses for the winning horse and jockey, the Kentucky Derby is filled with tradition and pageantry.

Churchill Downs:
Though it is known as the Home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs is also the location of the Kentucky Derby Museum. Often referred to as “the next best thing to being at the Derby”, the Kentucky Derby Museum is filled with memorabilia and artifacts from years gone by. And not only does Churchill Downs celebrate its past, but it is excited with nearly 75,000 square feet of new and renovated grandstand space along with a new $12 million outdoor, state-of-the-art video board.

 

The Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum:
This iconic factory has turned into more than just baseball bat making facility. From the moment your walk up to the front of the building, the six-story high, 68,000 pound bat welcomes you to what will surely be a memorable experience. This hands-on museum contains baseball memorabilia galore and artifacts from the sports such as Babe Ruth’s bat the he hit his last homerun with as a Yankee. Visitors can even have their own personal bat made for them during their stay. The factory and museum is open seven days a week with admission only $12 for adults and $7 for kids 6-12 years old (Under 5 yrs old are free).

Louisville Slugger Field:
Keeping with the baseball theme, Louisville Slugger Field is home to the minor league baseball team named——-wait for it——- “The Louisville Bats”. Even if you’re not a big baseball fan, there is fun to be had at all home games, especiallyLouisvilleSluggerMuseumFactory Thursday home games which feature $1 beers and live music throughout the game. This Triple AAA farm team of the Cincinnati Reds plays in front of nearly 14,000 fans each home game.

The Louisville Zoo:
Open all year round, the Louisville Zoo is so much more than a place to go and see the animals. Featuring Sky Ropes and Sky Tykes for kids, this series of rope trails take participants over the zoo visitors below. 5K run/walks, concerts, and kid camps are also offered throughout the year at this community zoo. With dozens of exhibits located inside and outside, animals like polar bears, tigers, penguins, and gorillas all call the Louisville Zoo home.

Louisville Mega Caverns:
What can only be described as ‘Magnificent’, the Louisville Mega Caverns are one of Louisville’s must-see attractions. Located just off Interstate 264, whoever knew you could have a day full of fun 100 feet underground? The MegaTram is an hour long tour through the nearly seventeen miles of cavern trails steeped in history, education, and fun. MegaZips is a different kind of tour through the caverns. It is a 2-hour long tour using zip lines and a registered guide. MegaQuest is an aerial rope course that takes visitors to places throughout the cavern they won’t believe. The Louisville Mega Caverns are capable of hosting birthdays, team-building, and other events up to 200 people.

Old Louisville:
The historic area of Louisville known as Old Louisville is filled with rich architecture and history dating back to the late 1800s. Located north of downtown Louisville, this area has streets lined with classic victorian homes and neighborhood louisvilleskylinesquares like St. James Court. Being located between downtown and the University of Louisville has made Old Louisville a favorable place for relocation in the area.

The Muhammad Ali Center:
The museum’s Mission Statement just about says it all: “The mission of the Muhammad Ali Center is to preserve and share the legacy and ideals of Muhammad Ali, to promote respect, hope, and understanding, and to inspire adults and children everywhere to be as great as they can be.” This breath-taking facility was created to share with the world the life of the great boxer and humanitarian, Muhammad Ali. This interactive museum also hosts seminars, special community events, and educational programming. Many of the photos and memorabilia held in the Muhammad Ali Center are priceless, one-of-a-kind artifacts from “The Greatest”.

Fourth Street Live:
When you are done sightseeing for the day, why not join a few thousand of your closest friends in the heart of Louisville? Fourth Street Live is conveniently located just a few blocks from the Ohio River in the middle of historic Louisville. Billed as your “one-stop destination for dining, entertainment, and shopping”, Fourth Street Live is packed with sports bars and night clubs, 4th Street livefamous restaurants and name-brand stores, as well as live entertainment. Country stars Big and Rich will be performing on Thursday, May 1st, and Fall Out Boy will be in concert on Friday, May 2nd as part of Fourth Street Live’s Derby Week. The concerts are free for those in the area before 7pm, with a $5 cover for those arriving after seven o’clock.

Whether you’re planning to be on the rail for the big race or just heading to Louisville for all the festivities, the town is ready for you. From zip lining through 100 foot deep caverns to taking a selfie next to a 60 foot baseball bat, the City of Louisville has events and attractions to keep you entertained before, during, and after the Kentucky Derby.

8 Great St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Cities in the U.S.

asiseeit_fayette_headshotWhen the middle of March arrives two things are a near certainty in the U.S.; one, winter is nearly over for most of the hearty souls living throughout the country; and two, everyone 
becomes Irish for a day (or in some cases, a week) for endless St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. To help you “Get Your Irish On” here are eight of the hottest, craziest, tradition-filled cities and what they have planned for their St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Boston, Massachusetts
The St. Patrick’s Day parade takes place in South Boston on Sunday, March 16th this year,
beginning at 1:00pm. With nearly three-quarters of a million people expected to attend, visitors are urged to take the “T” (Boston’s public transportation) into the city and maneuver from there. In Boston, think of the parade serving as this year’s ‘halftime show’ of the St. Patrick’s Day 
holiday. There will be plenty of celebrating on Friday night and Saturday throughout the historic pubs of Beantown, including severalStPats-Boston Pub Crawls and parties. Of course the celebration will 
continue in Boston, as in most cities on Monday; the actual St. Patrick’s Day, with plenty of “Wearin’ o’ the Green” and the tasting of green beer. So whether you celebrate with the ‘Southies’ or party it up near Quincy Market, Boston will surely welcome everyone Irish,
if even for the day.

Cleveland, Ohio
With its huge immigrant population, Cleveland has traditionally played host to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration to rival many cities even several times its size. Since 1867 Cleveland Cleveland_Ohio_St._Patrick's_Day_Downtown_2012has hosted a parade, and this year promises to be no different, as nearly 10,000 participants will march through downtown Cleveland on Monday the 17th. Those who can’t wait to get their holiday started can head to one of two historic Cleveland watering holes known as Flannery’s Pub or Pickwick & Frolic for some breakfast and a pint. After the parade, those celebrating the “The Luck of the Irish” can stay in downtown and stop by Moriarty’s or the Flat Iron Cafe for tasty beer and great tasting corned beef and cabbage. Various types of Irish music will heard throughout the city of Cleveland through the weekend, as area pubs will provide entertainment ranging from traditional Irish folk music to rock.

San Francisco, California
Though the west coast may not have the same history as its neighbors to the east, don’t be fooled; SanFran knows how to throw a St. Patty’s Day bash! Featuring its annual Irish Festival, localStPats_IrishDancers_SF Pub Crawls, downtown Block Parties, and parade, San Franciscans have wrapped their Irish arms around this holiday. With U2 cover band, ‘Zoo Station’, playingSF-GuinessGirl-StPats nearly all of U2’s 
popular songs in a concert at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall and the ‘Emerald Across the Bay 12k run’ being featured across the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco promises something for everyone this and every St. Patrick’s Day.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
People at the St. Patrick's Day Celebration in Myrtle Beach, SCFrom 11am to midnight on Saturday, March 15th the touristy town of North Myrtle Beach will transform itself into something just this side of Dublin, Ireland, (well, kind of) as it kicks off its

annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Authentic food and beer will be available from dozens of vendors, along with a Family (alcohol free) Fun Zone for kids of all
ages. Perhaps the best part of the festival is that all the music and activities are free. By the way, when viewing the parade, be sure to check out one of the more popular parts of it, as locals show off their decorated and suped-up golf carts cruisin’ down Ocean Blvd. Yeah, that’s what I said, golf carts. And I haven’t any beer yet.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Since 1771 the City of Brotherly Love has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with its annual
parade. And this year, in following with tradition, the parade is scheduled to be on Sunday, March 16th at 1:00pm. Beginning on Friday, March 14th revelers can begin a New York City Holds Annual St. Patrick's Day Paradeweekend of bar crawls, with several to choose from each day. One of the nice parts about these crawls is the free shuttle service called ‘The Erin Express’, which is runs all day through the City of Philly. Several concerts (some free) will be held throughout the city during the weekend along with neighborhood festivals and Irish dancers.

Savannah, Georgia
What is now considered the second largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States will kick things off on March 7th with what is known as the “Greening of the Fountain”. Locals gets things going a week early when the famous Forsyth Fountain is filled with green water. One of the most popular festivities in Savannah is the ‘St. Patrick St.Pats-Forsyth_Fountain-SavOn the River Festival’ along the banks of the Savannah River. Continuous entertainment on multiple stages along River Street and
fantastic Irish food and beverage vendors throughout the city make this one of the hottest
festivals in the country. Nearby Tybee Island (known as “Savannah’s Beach”) has its own
St.Patrick’s Day parade scheduled to take place on Saturday, while Savannah’s parade is scheduled for Monday, March 17th. From the sandy beach of Tybee Island to the historic squares of Savannah, the hospitality of the South is on full display during its St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Chicago, Illinois
You know Chicago takes its St. Patrick’s Day seriously when nearly a half-million people line the banks of the Chicago River and watch as the river turns into a vibrant green for the nearly five hours in the afternoon of Saturday, March 15th. A parade of floats, bands, and bagpipes
continue the afternoon of fun as revelers march up Columbus Drive. Those visitors to Chicago staying in ‘The Loop’ will be close to some of the best pubs Chi-town has to offer. ????????????????????????????????????????Fun-filled pub crawls are found throughout the city and many establishments will feature lively entertainment. From Irish-step dancers to sight-seeing cruises along the Chicago River, guests to Chicago will non-stop fun during St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

New York, New York
The 253rd St. Patrick’s Day parade will take place on the holiday itself. For nearly 2 miles down Fifth Avenue, over 150,000 march in the annual parade. That’s right, 150,000 “marching” Irish! Local community groups, the NYPD & FDNY, along with special guests entertain millions along their path. After the parade, those wishing to continue celebrating the Irish will be able to gather at nearly any bar, on any street, in any borough of NYC. Many like to honor our Founding 
Fathers on this day with a trip to the historic Fraunces Tavern located down in the southern
mcsorleys-NYC_oldest bar in NYCsection of Manhattan. It is at Fraunces where legend has it that George Washington would often frequent for food and libations, and where he also gave his historic farewell to troops. Many
St. Patty’s Day partiers also feel a sense of, ummm, “responsibility” to visit NYC’s oldest bar on this celebration of everything-beer-holiday, and McSorley’s is the stop in the East Village.
Note- that when and if you get into McSorley’s be ready to drink many beers, and fast. If the workers don’t feel you are up to their expectations, you will be asked to leave. (No joke.) Throughout the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, area neighborhoods will feature Irish festivals with the smells and sounds of authentic Irish food and music floating throughout the city.

So there you have eight of the country’s most popular destinations for the St. Patrick’s DayTippHill_SYR-StPats
holiday. But make no mistake about it, these United States have town after town celebrating the Irish in their own unique way. From Dublin (Ohio) to the Home of the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame University, people love St. Patrick’s Day. Whether a town paints the largest shamrock in the U.S. on a nearby Interstate and serves green eggs and ham for breakfast around town, like those in O’Neill, Nebraska, or a neighborhood that receives special permission from the Department of Transportation to permanently ‘flip’ a traffic light along a popular Irish street, so that the “green light is always on top” like those on Syracuse, NY’s Tipperary Hill, American’s love their Irish heritage like no other ethnic background. Of course if every ethnic group would include beer in their celebrations, think of how much fun we could have almost every weekend of the year!