Category Archives: Villa Vacations

Road trip to Perth for 200th anniversary celebrations. Summer 2016

Adventures during our Perth-Ottawa Road Trip. Summer 2016

 

We left Toronto early in morning and after about an hour on 401 as usually stopped over at Big Apple. The place is well known for cute cafeteria, large giftshop, children`s outdoor pet zoo, and clean washrooms.

After arriving to Perth, we first stopped over at the Fairgrounds where the place was already prepared for the 200th years celebrations. One could see the rib grillers’ stands from all over Lanark county and the vendors offering foods and drinks to all tastes. There was a mini amusement park for young children with bouncy castles and a climbing tower. The stage was ready for musicians and singers; close by the stone carvers were competing in their art – the winners’ sculptures will become part of the new stone bridge being constructed in Perth and funded mainly by donations.

Perth lanark County
Building a New Bridge in Perth, Lanark County, Canada

 

Late afternoon we headed to the McReary’s beach resort. The resort has beautiful and spacious cottages and we stayed in one of them for the next 3 days. The resort is located on the beach and at the same time not far from the main road; that made it convenient for our local day trips exploring the area. Our cottage had fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms, living room and the deck with BBQ. The environment is really family friendly and kids were allowed to go around by themselves.

McReary Beach Resort
Paddling in McReary Beach resort

Once settled we all headed for a boat tour that was so much fun!

Water Fun on the lake near McReary Resort
Fun time at McReary Beach resort

We swam in warm lake water, did spectacular jumps from the boat and raced each other. On the way back to the cottage we saw two eagles high up on a pine tree.

Eagle nest near McReary Beach resort
Eagle nest near McReary Beach resort

Next to the beach there one can find a boat house with many canoes and kayaks to borrow, but we were too tempted to relax in the indoor pool; under same roof there is a sauna and hot tub. After dinner we played for a while and later enjoyed a beautiful sunset and the marshmallows roasted on the campfire right behind the cottage.

Family Nights at McReary Beach Resort
Marshmallow Party at the Cottage in McReary Beach resort

The next morning we went to Perth to see the 200th year anniversary parade, which was very well organized and included a lot of various performances. After the parade   we stopped by the ice-cream shop before heading to the park.

Not far from the park there was a farmers market where we bought local maple syrup and some homemade jams; the stands were also filled with crafts and flowers. It was a fine place to browse…

Perth Farmers Market
Farmers Market in Perth

 

200th Perth Maple Syrup
Special edition “200th anniversary of Perth” Maple Syrup at farmers market

In the park the speeches were already underway and we could see the Mayor and other city officials on the stage. At the end of the ceremony the Mayor handed the special capsule with the money collected for the construction of the new stone bridge to the builders.

After the official part everyone headed across the park to the spacious lawn where the dressed up musicians and dancers were getting ready to perform. The Scottish kilts in different colours, traditional musical instruments and actors were all mixed with the arriving public.
For the next hour we all could watch the scenes from the past brought by the musicians and actors to show the history of Perth from 19th century. The show ended by the guns’ salute and marching of the bands.

Perth 200th
200th anniversary of Perth Celebration

On the way back to the cottage we stopped again at Fairgrounds to have some ribs, check out the stone carving competition and listen to some music.

The day was almost done, we only had enough time to get back to the cottage for some swim in a pool and dinner.

The next morning we left early for the Blue Heron Golf club. The club house was already busy with the arriving golfers, so we quickly got ready and headed out to the course.

Blue Heron Golf Club
Playing Golf in Blue Heron Golf Club, lanark County, Ontario, Canada

The course has nine holes which makes it suitable for those new to the game or seasoned golfers. The beautiful landscaping adds to the natural surroundings creating pleasant environment – mix of water, forest and green lawns… after golf we all were ready to have good lunch, and decided to go towards Perth.

Perth, Lanark County
Beautiful Perth

On the way we stopped by the General store to buy sandwiches. Forget the sandwiches – in the middle of the store there was a small table where a lady was painting the large egg… The painting reminded us some fine antique porcelains, Easter eggs and may be Christmas… the paintings were filled with very fine details such as flowers, birds, butterflies, little bunnies and colourful ornaments. Hard to resist – we bought two beautifully painted eggs and then turned to sandwiches – we were hungry!

Tatlock Quarry
Observation Deck in Tatlock Quarry in Lanark County

After Perth our destination was Ottawa. Instead of staying in the city hotel we stopped at the Generations Inn., which is about thirty minutes away. Even before we open our bags right away kids went to swim in a lake… The Inn has three rooms with private bathrooms located in the old estate. The place is quite well known for the fact that the chief for the Ottawa Senators sometimes cooks his famous dishes for the guests, but you have to call in advance to find out when; we didn’t and so had to visit nearby restaurants.

Generations Inn
Funtime at “Generations Inn”

Next morning we were in Ottawa. First we visited The Museum of History, Children’s Museum and Parliament Hill, later the Airspace Museum and we finished the day watching the amazing Light Show that is projected right on the Parliament building.

In the Museum of History “Napoleon” and “Gold Rush” special exhibits were well worth to visit. Going back in times of Napoleon and learning about his personality and various projects was really like visiting France and Europe of that time. In the halls of “Gold Rush” we were able to wash some golden nuggets and learn about gold mining history. At the exit the special scale displayed the value of your weight as gold equivivalent in $$ – so we all got on! Worth millions!!

Children’s Museum is always full of kids and their parents. It’s a wonderful world of real things scaled to toy size. One can be a banker, another a salesman of Turkish rugs or spices, be a sailor or mechanic or dress up and go on stage!

After lunch on the French side in a small lovely café and some rest we headed to the Airspace museum. And that is where we spent a lot of time learning about airplanes, history of aviation and space exploration.

Ottawa Aerospace Museum
Aircraft tourbine in Ottawa Aerospace Museum
Fighter jet Simulator
Fighter jet Simulator in Ottawa Aerospace Museum

A bit tired we went back to the city to have dinner. And again we went to the Airspace Museum this time for the conference to meet the real astronauts Jeremy Hansen and Robert Thirsk.

Canadian Astronaut Robert Thrisk
Precious moments! Robert Thrisk autographed a book!
Jeremy Hansen and Jonathan
Canadian Astronaut Jeremy Hansen autographed my book

They were presenting the launch of the new recruitment campaign and there were various officials and a lot of fans. We even got a chance to chat with them and get autographs.

Jeremy hansen and Robert Thirsk
Children and Canadian Astronauts Jeremy Hansen and Robert Thirsk in Ottawa Aerospace Museum, July 2016

After such an exciting evening we were back to the Parliament Hill for the Light Show that presented the history of Canada in projected images accompanied by narration and music.

Parliament Hill Light Show in Ottawa
Parliament Hill light show, Ottawa, Canada

Tired after such a long day full of events we were ready to go back to Generations Inn for a good night sleep…

Next morning we were on our way back home. We decided to stop over in Peterborough and visit the unique lift locks. Dated back to 1900 the locks operate based on the natural powers created by the weight of the water in the tubs – this is the largest hydraulic lift lock in the world that raises boats up to about 65 feet high! It was a lot of fun to watch the boats go up and down – they looked so small compare to locks’ structure!

Before getting back on the road we stopped over for pizza lunch and then drove all the way home talking about places we liked most…

Exploring Sint Maarten with kids.

Traveling to Caribbean Sint Maarten, always was an expensive adventure, especially traveling with kids.

Calculating expenses, we found out that airflight takes half of budget.

Knowing that usually prices drop in October/November, then first week of January, and after April 15th, trips could become affordable with  Westjet, Sunwing, or Transat… We use mostly www.travelation.com or selloffvacations.com, or direct websites from airlines www.westjet.com, or aircanada.com, aa.com

Marigot Harbour in Saint Martin
Marigot Harbour Saint Martin

Last year our family stayed in villa on French side in Concordia district in Marigot.

Marigot
Marigot, Saint Martin , French West Indies

It was good immersion into local life, and good practice of French for kids.  We hiked on Fort Louis in Marigot, Tree Top Trekked at Loterie Farm, took windsurfing lessons on Galleon Beach (nearby is Butterfly Farm), fine dined in Grand Case, snorkelled and sun bathed on Friars Bay. The shopping we did in “U” supermarket, and fresh bread in local boulangeries. Few times we visited Grand Case for a nice evening stroll, beach comb and fancy dinner combination.

Saint Martin
Marketplace in Marigot, Saint Martin

From nearby Marigot Sea Port we took day trips to Anguilla and St.Barth. One day we spent in LoterieFarm. It’s a place to spend a whole day, first to go on Fly Zone (like Tree Top trek), and then soak and rest in the pool. We noticed many local families spent time on weekends here. I think our favourite beach in St.Martin is still on Happy Bay, and the runner up will be Friars Bay Beach.

Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Philipsburg- the capital of Dutch side in Sint Maarten.

The choice and variety of hotels is also great in Dutch St.Maartten, from casino hotels, down to small boutique inns. We chose Joshua Rose guest house this time, cause of the good balance, price , location, and facilities.

Guest house located in the heart of Philipsburg, with easy access to transportation, beaches grocery stores and good restaurants. For dinner our favorite was “Green House” restaurant, with it’s great service, good variety and price combination. One evening we visited acclaimed “L’Escargot” with classy service and beautiful ambiance. Yes, it’s pricey, but you pay what you get, once for the trip is great. For lunch there are good places to eat like “GUSTO”, and few Chinese restaurants nearby.
I should mention the trip to “The Carousel” ice cream shop it’s well worth after lunch, and explore sophistication in ice cream variety. (Actually I tried once “Heineken Ice Cream”. It tasted good!). There are lots of photographs on display with famous people eating ice cream. Our kids, 8 and11, are too big for the Carousel to sit on, but they still enjoy the rides.

On the property of DIVI Resort, there are ruins of Fort Amsterdam, from there is a nice view of Philipsburg and Point Blanche Cruise Ship Terminal,. We spent hours there watching pelicans catch fish in blue waters down the cliff.

Sint Maarten
3D view of Maho Beach in Sint Maarten

Yes, we have to mention famous “Maho Beach”. The best time is after 1pm, when KLM / Airfrance jumbo jet is landing. It is really spectacular moment, quick and scary. Expect to see lots of tourists with cameras there.

 

PADI Open Water Certification in St.Lucia

Ah…beautiful St.Lucia…

Pitons from Anse Chastanet
Beautiful Saint Lucia. View from Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our son, after receiveing PADI  E-learning Diving Certificate wanted to get an Open Water Diver Licence.

Dive Saint Lucia
Dive Saint Lucia

We planned to visit St.Lucia in November, and found it will be a good option to combine vacation with 3 day practice diving course with DIVE SAINT LUCIA. We booked Bay Gardens Inn. It’s in walking distance to Dive St.Lucia facilities, where our son for three days was training to pass Deep Water Diver Licence. This state-of-the-art facilities with modern pool, and own moorings, offered good price for licencing. Actually it’s also fun for the day trip with divers..

YYZ_6703SLU DIVE-SLU www- YYZ_6810SLU www- YYZ_6922SLU DIVE-SLU www- YYZ_7447ASLU DIVE-SLU www- YYZ_7696SLU www-On the last day of practicing, we booked a diving trip for the whole family. This was a good treat for all. We enjoyed the speedboat trip down to Soufriere, snorkelled and suntanned while our son was diving. Actually I did one dive with my son and instructor at the foot of Petite Piton. Lots of coral reefs and fish. The other dive was at Anse Chastanet, and my son had a chance to encounter with two turtles. The views of Pitons from the boat as much spectacular as from nearby expensive resorts. YYZ_7705SLU DIVE-SLU www- YYZ_7733SLU DIVE-SLU www-

 

 

For the second half of our vacation we moved to South East, Praslin Area, where Mamiku Gardens and Piece-of-Paradise , to our family favourite Fox Grove Inn, our home-from-home. This time we got two bedroom apartment ( for the price of one room in Bay Gardens Inn). It was our special treat… We spent time in the pool (which is double size than in Bay Gardens Inn ) ,or playing ping pong, billiards, chess and puzzles , or hiked the road to beautiful vistas.

The owners, Esther and Franz as usual were sweet and helpful at any our request. If traveling as a couple , or alone, the best option will be to have a room with breakfast, and have optional lunch and dinners, but if traveling with children, especially for longer period, we prefer to book two-bedroom apartment, and have full independence, having equipped kitchen.

Fox Grove Inn
Fox Grove Inn

At Fox Grove Inn we usually enjoy hiking into tropical forest, while birdwatching, find and photograph some exotic flora.

 

 

Virgin Gorda: A $2,000 Gift for Modern Families at Villa Aquamare

Modern Families at Villa Aquamare
A Private Villa Compound for Extended Families Offers a $2,000 Credit

October 13, 2015. Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands – While today’s Modern Family may not be identical to the one starring in ABC’s sitcom, it can come awfully close. Thankfully, Villa Aquamare, the exclusive three-villa compound on a sandy beach on Virgin Gorda, BVI, is the ideal place for a Modern Family to unwind and enjoy togetherness or absolute privacy.

There’s plenty of room, since each one of Villa Aquamare’s 8,000 square foot villas can sleep up to 12 guests, thanks to five suites boasting ensuite marble bathrooms and alfresco rain showers. The villas also have room to spread out, thanks to expansive living rooms, a dining room, a gourmet kitchen, multiple terraces and an infinity pool, as well as a private Beach Park.

This winter, Villa Aquamare celebrates the diversity of today’s family life with a Modern Family Package. When a guest reserves seven nights in one of Villa Aquamare’s luxury villas before November 30, 2015 for a stay between January 10 and April 31, 2016, they will get a $2,000.00 resort credit which may be applied to one or a combination of the following: private chefs, spa treatments, archipelago day trips in motor or sail boat or a gourmet picnic on a private beach. It can also be applied to the rental rate. *

Modern Family Package
•7 nights in one of Villa Aquamare’s 8,000 square foot five-bedroom villas. The villa boasts a spacious living room and dining room area, gourmet kitchen, multiple terraces, and a private infinity pool.

•$2,000 Resort Credit

•Meet & Greet at airport or Spanish Town Marina.

•Land transfers to the villa.

•Daily maid service.

•Local concierge services.

•Use of the Beach Park, with kayaks and snorkeling equipment to explore the reef that lies just offshore.

•For a maximum occupancy of 12 guests, the price is $27,025 per villa, based on a seven-night stay. 7% Taxes and 12% service charges are extra.

•Offer good from October 15 to November 30 2015.

•*Chef services do not include beverages or alcohol.

•For reservations or more information, visit www.villaaquamare.com or call (787)-461-2638.

Villa Aquamare, set on the scenic Western coast of Virgin Gorda at Mahoe Bay along half a mile of pristine beach frontage, consists of three 8,000 square‑foot private villas. Designed and constructed specifically as elite villa vacation homes, with multiple ensuite master bedrooms, spacious living areas and professional‑grade kitchens, Aquamare is the new benchmark for luxury villa rentals on one of the B.V.I.’s quietest and most exclusive islands. For reservations or more information, visit www.villaaquamare.com or call (787) 461‑2638

Ultimate Fall Colour Adventure Contest runs until October 9, 2015

If you’ve ever visited Grey County during the fall, you know we’ve got something special here. From blazing colours atop the Niagara Escarpment to warm sunny days topped with crisp fall nights, from bustling farmer’s markets to orchards and vineyards tucked away in the Beaver Valley, fall in Grey County is a truly epic experience.

This fall, we’ve been sharing those fall touring opportunities with folks far and wide via a giant Facebook campaign. We’ve mailed out over 3000 packages with maps, brochures and information for those hoping to visit. At the heart of our campaign is the Ultimate Fall Colour Adventure Contest which will see one lucky winner walk away with a fabulous fall tour of Grey County, valued at over $3000. The contest runs until, October 9, 2015.

Grey County in Fall 2015, Top 5 Family Fall Activities!

Top 5 Family Fall Activities in Grey County

Autumn is a great time to experience our area, with all the harvest bounty and vibrant colours plus fall events and activities. We have made it easy for you to pack up the kids for a day or weekend fall themed getaway.
To extend your adventure visit our website, visitgrey.ca for places to eat and stay.

  1. Pick some apples, play with some barnyard animals and take a wagon ride through the rural countryside at Farmer’s Pantry .
  2. Watch the salmon jumping at the Mill Dam on the increasingly popular Owen Sound Salmon Tour.
  3. Indulge in everything apple infused on the Apple Pie Trail–best experienced on an empty stomach!
  4. Attend Meaford’s Scarecrow Invasion festivities, join in the parade and stroll the streets to photograph hundreds of uniquely decorated scarecrows.
  5. Take in the vibrant reds & gold’s of changing foliage atop Ontario’s longest suspension bridge at Scenic Caves

 

 

 

 

News From St.Kitts . August 2015 issue

St. Kitts Tourism Updates 

What’s New and Noteworthy on Island

Basseterre, St. Kitts –– The St. Kitts Tourism Authority summarizes the most recent tourism-related news, events and developments from the island, as follows-

Visitor Arrivals:

A proactive approach to building and supporting airlift services from key source markets continues to produce positive results.  Full year 2014 year-to-date scheduled arrivals posted a 6.5% year-over-year gain as compared to full year 2013.  From North America, total arrivals also continue to register strong growth, posting a 7.1% year-over-year increase.  For the first six months of 2015, system-wide scheduled arrivals posted a 6.7% increase over the same period in 2014.  From North America, total arrivals posted a 6.4% year-over-year increase.  Contributing to the continued growth are the capacity increases from the second Miami weekend flights, Seaborne and the additional April operations of Air Canada and Delta.  Delta is once again operating non-stop flights to St. Kitts from ATL year-round, plus the flight will be returning early from its fall hiatus with operations resuming as of November 7, 2015; American Airlines provided double daily flights during the holiday period from December 18, 2014 through January 12, 2015.  American Airlines also added Sunday non-stop flights from JFK operating June 21 through August 16, 2015, which complement the carrier’s Saturday non-stop JFK-SKB flights. In May 2015, St. Kitts welcomed new 3x weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) non-stop flights from Barbados on Liat, complementing the carrier’s daily service to island from Antigua and St. Maarten. Further, Seaborne Airlines and JetBlue Airways, which is the largest carrier flying into San Juan, have finalized terms to begin a codeshare marketing relationship, expanding upon the carriers’ successful interline agreement in place since 2013, making St. Kitts will a JetBlue destination, with JetBlue flights from the US via San Juan to St. Kitts available for booking.  On August 10, it was announced that United Airlines is launching inaugural non-stop service from its New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to St. Kitts. Starting December 19, 2015, the flights will operate weekly on Saturdays through April 30, 2016.

Private Jet Terminal:

Construction is complete on the new private jet terminal, which opened in June 2014. The private jet terminal is a world-class facility at St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport located west of the main airport parking apron.  It consists of world class YU Lounge arrival and departure lounges, a dedicated crew lounge, a business center and related offices and processing facilities, as well as an elegantly landscaped courtyard.  YU Lounge services include greeting on the runway and transportation in a luxury vehicle to the facility, baggage handling, seamless customs and immigration processing, mouth-watering finger foods and complimentary beverages. Available to guests arriving by private jet or commercial aircraft, amenities of the facility include Apple computers, plush seating areas, bathrooms including showers and an outdoor lounge area (in the departures lounge). Further, the facility features fully equipped meeting rooms with complimentary wi-fi, device charging facilities, gourmet catering services and dedicated secretarial services. For private aircraft the facility provides a diverse range of FBO and aircraft dispatch services, including specialized and tailored services to accommodate operators and executives. The total cost of the final project estimated at US $15 million. The terminal has been constructed by Veling Limited and operated by Leeward Flight Services with full ownership to be transferred to The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) at the end of the concession contract period.  Veling Limited is a global aviation solution provider with offices in Mauritius and London.  The architect and interior decorator for the new terminal is internationally acclaimed Bobby Mukherji & Associates, one of India’s top ten design firms.

New Resort Developments:

Kittitian Hill – As of December 2014, the 84-unit cottage hotel plus with seven, four-bedroom Farmhouses named ‘Belle Mont Farm’ is open to welcome guests.  Kittitian Hill has also opened The Kitchen Restaurant and The Mill Bar, also making their formal debut in December 2014.   Belle Mont Farm on Kittitian Hill immerses guests in local culture and heritage, an organic farming community, and distinct farm-to-table culinary experiences. Wellness offerings elevate mind, body and spirit. Kittitian Hill’s organic farm offers a world-class collection of exotic fruits and vegetables, with accommodations thoughtfully sowed in the landscape. Designed by award-winning world-renowned architect Bill Bensley, the hotel features panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and neighbouring islands such as St Barths. Belle Mont Farm amenities include the Irie Fields Golf Course and The Workshop fitness centre. Set on a stunning 400-acre hillside site in the Northern part of St. Kitts, Kittitian Hill will upon completion consist of a cottage style hotel, creative arts centre, golf course and destination spa featuring indigenous treatments. Kittitian Hill is a contemporary Caribbean community for sustainable luxury living founded on the principles of holistic development based on environmental and community responsibility.  It is a member of the Preferred Residences® exchange network, a hospitality branded membership and exchange program for luxury shared ownership resorts offered by an operating business of Interval Leisure Group.

Park Hyatt – Groundbreaking on the Park Hyatt hotel at Banana Bay, Christophe Harbour, took place on June 3, 2013 and construction is underway on several buildings.  The final project will feature 200 hotel rooms and 50 branded residential condominiums. Phase One of construction has begun and will include the completion of 134 hotel guest rooms and related service facilities, conceptualized around a Caribbean village theme. Phase One of construction is scheduled for completion in late spring 2016.  The second phase of construction will include the completion of the remaining guest rooms and additional facilities. Development continues on the Christophe Harbour marina, with the naturally protected harbor to include 300 berths with the ability to accommodate the world’s largest superyachts, with the first yachts welcoming ceremony held at the end of 2014 and the official opening held on February 14, 2015marking completion of Phase One of the marina development. Christophe Harbour has also constructed an authentic, upscale beach club with a dock located around the old salt factory at WhiteHouse Bay, named SALT Plage, which opened in June 2014. The Christophe Harbour Development Company, Ltd (CHDC) is the master developer for Christophe Harbour, a luxury resort development currently underway.  Located on 2,500+ acres of the southeastern peninsula of St. Kitts, plans include a mega-yacht harbor, marina, Tom Fazio championship golf course and an impressive collection of restaurants, shops, boutiques, five-star hotels, oceanfront and hillside homesites and villas. Kier, a global construction company based in the UK and a publicly listed FTSE 250 company, is the main contractor for Phase One of the construction of Park Hyatt St. Kitts.  Kier’s plans for the development include providing employment in construction and maximizing the use of local materials and resources.  Approximately 350 construction jobs and additional training program jobs are expected to be created in Phase One.

Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Kitts – Announced on May 6, 2015 by Hilton Hotels following the signing of a franchise agreement with Caribbean-based developers Sterling Developments, the 226-suite hotel is currently in construction and scheduled to debut in the first quarter of 2017.  The condo hotel complex will include six towers, 3,847 square feet of meeting space, an infinity pool, a fitness center spa and kids’ club.  All Embassy Suites by Hilton signature spacious signature suites will have direct views of the Caribbean as well as a separate living area, private bedroom and wet bar fitted with a microwave, mini-fridge and coffee maker.  The new hotel will also offer the Embassy Suites brand’s signature features, such as an inviting atrium environment, where guests will have access to complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and Evening Reception with complimentary appetizers and beverage. Restaurant facilities on the resort will include a three-meal restaurant, a specialty restaurant, and a pool and beach bar. The Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Kitts will be located in Pelican Bay, which is an exclusive private cove nestled on seven acres of gently sloping land, cascading down to a private beach on the Caribbean side of the island. Once complete, the hotel will offer easy access to the area’s main roads and downtown attractions, and is only 10 minutes away from Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. The Embassy Suites will be Hilton’s first property in St. Kitts & Nevis.  Hilton Worldwide currently has 20 hotels open or in the pipeline throughout the Caribbean. Groundbreaking for the US $90 million development took place on March 11, 2013.

Koi Resort & Residences – First announced in February 2013, the first concrete pour took place in September 2014 and construction is underway on the US $180 million 298-unit Koi Resort & Residences in St. Kitts’ Half Moon Bay.  Piling has been completed and Phase One is scheduled for completion in December 2015 and will include the development’s first 80 rooms along with its beach bar, spa, conference room and fitness facility.  Situated on 16 acres of prime beachfront property adjacent to the Royal St. Kits Golf Club, it will feature 24 Half Moon Villas and 12 waterside villas with the rest being studio and one-bedroom units.  The mixed-use resort development will also include the renowned Koi Restaurant, beach club, and an exclusive ultra-lounge, all with a design that will combine colonial and modern architecture to capture the definition of rustic luxury.  An internationally-known brand with properties in the US, Thailand and Abu Dhabi, Koi Resort & Residences will blend the natural beauty of its beachfront location to create an architectural story of one living with nature.  All luxury villas and suites will have sweeping ocean views and guests will have access to a variety of state of the art resort features upon completion, including banquet and special event facilities, bars and restaurants, a destination spa, swimming pools and a wide variety of sports and leisure activities.

Imperial Bay Beach & Golf Residences – The US $10 million Imperial Bay Beach & Golf Residences broke ground on March 11, 2013 with construction, now well underway, having started at the end of May 2014.  The target date for completion of the project has been set for the second half of 2015.  Buildings 1 and 2, on which structures are completed and finishes have recently started, will house 12 units each on two levels. Buildings 3 and 4, which have started work on the second and third levels, will have three levels with each comprising 18 units and buildings 5 and 6, which are in the final stage of completing works on the first level, will also have three levels with a small basement with each building comprising 18 units, office and storage space. Set in St. Kitts’ Half Moon Bay adjacent to the Koi Resort & Residences, the project consists of six two- and three-story buildings housing 86 contemporary and traditionally-styled one bedroom condominium units with Atlantic Ocean views of Nevis as well as views of a lake and the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course.  It will also feature a common area with an office and leisure room, a swimming pool and manicured landscaping.

Silver Reef Resort – Phase One and Two of construction on this 90-room luxury residential development, which began in April 2011 and consisted of 36 one- and two-bedroom apartments each, is complete.  Groundbreaking for the Final Phase of construction took place on January 16, 2014.  Located at the front of the property, it will consist of two additional buildings comprised of three-bedroom apartments that are each 1,650 square feet.  These three-bedroom units will be the resort’s premium product and boast access to its three pools as well as views of the Royal St. Kitts golf course.   Set in the Frigate Bay area of St. Kitts adjacent to the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course and ten minutes outside Basseterre, this US $30 million development features villas and apartments in one- and two-bedroom configurations with spectacular views of both the Caribbean and Atlantic.  Silver Reef Resort also features landscaped gardens and freeform, infinity-edge swimming pools.  Built eco-sensitively, it employs a combination of common sense principles like orienting the buildings to optimize the breeze, recycling grey water, use of solar power and sourcing local materials to minimize the carbon footprint.

Pirate’s Nest Resort – Pirate’s Nest is a US $40 million, 246-room condominium hotel project in Frigate Bay being developed by T-Loft Property Development. Located on a 7.1-acre site, it will feature 41 condominium units in six independent buildings, each with three floors.  Groundbreaking took place in December 2013 and construction began in February 2015.

Existing Resort Developments:

Ocean Terrace Inn – Following an extensive renovation including rooms, restaurants and public spaces taking place in 2014 and early 2015, this iconic St. Kitts property reopened April 1, 2015.  The Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) will now be marketed as a four-star property and feature 50 rooms and suites, each with their own private patio or balcony and a bright new Caribbean look.  There will be free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and connections in guestrooms as well as a focus on hospitality and service to deliver a memorable experience.  The former Waterfalls restaurant has undergone a remodeling and will reopen as The Verandah, featuring Caribbean-Asian Fusion cuisines and sweeping views over the harbor and Basseterre.  The restaurant earns its name from its nine-foot wrap-around verandah, with seating either inside or outside. Located across the street and stretching out over the water, the property’s Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant was transformed in December 2013 with a contemporary modern decor and colorful accessories, open Display Kitchen, new Bar & Lounge and refreshed menus.

New Tourism Attractions:

St. Kitts Eco-Park – Tucked quietly into the hillside of the northern portion of St. Kitts, the 20-acre  St. Kitts Eco-Park is the island’s newest tourism attraction.  Created by the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan) working in collaboration, it opened its doors to the public in November 2014.  The Park boasts the Caribbean’s largest greenhouse and offers picturesque scenic views of Mount Liamuiga, Brimstone Hill and the neighboring islands of St. Eustasius, Saba and even St. Barts.  Visitors can explore the St. Kitts Tourist Center and the Taiwan Tourist Center to learn more about both cultures as well as how the Park integrates the ideas and practice of tourism, agriculture and green energy.  For example, solar panels provide a significant portion of the Farm’s energy and all buildings were constructed using GRC (glass-fiber reinforced concrete) material, which is three times lighter and five times harder than normal concrete.  Guests can stroll the expansive grounds and enjoy focal spots like the medicine herbs garden with plants from both countries, the open-air tea house, the rose garden, the butterfly orchard, the desert plants garden, and a wide range of tropical fruit trees and crops. A visual highlight of the Farm is the “Sugarcane Labyrinth” shaped to represent both St. Kitts & Nevis and Taiwan, commemorating the sugar industry that was once an economic driver in both nations.  Inside the greenhouse, discover a large central space filled with plants as well as a dedicated area for growing different varieties of orchid.  The entrance fee for visitors is just US $8 per adult and US $4 per child.

Upcoming Events:

20th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival – For those who like to plan ahead, the dates for the next year’s St. Kitts Music Festival have been set for Thursday, June 23 through Saturday, June 25, 2016. Particularly for lovers of music and travel, this event is an ideal opportunity to combine a Caribbean island getaway with a fantastic musical event.  Taking place over the course of three nights, the sounds of popular local and international performers can be heard throughout Warner Park Stadium, where the event is held each year.  Having become known for featuring a mix of musical styles on the market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae and more, there are sure to be songs for nearly everyone’s musical preference. Past artists have included such top acts as John Legend, Jason Derulo, Ciara, Trey Songz, T-Pain, Michael Bolton, KC & the Sunshine Band, Wyclef Jean, Air Supply, Billy Ocean, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Sean Paul, King Konris, Stephen Marley, Biggie Irie and Maxi Priest.  For the latest news and updates about this year’s event, follow the St. Kitts Music Festival on Facebook.  Videos of past Festivals can also be found on YouTube.

Recently Earned Awards & Recognitions 

With various new luxury developments making debuts in 2014 – including the openings of Belle Mont Farm at Kittitian HillSalt Plage beach bar and the super-yacht marina at Christophe Harbour, and the YU Lounge Private Jet Terminal, all taking place within the past year – a number of top publications have named the island among the hottest places to travel for 2015.  Here are just a few of the most recent-

 

About St. Kitts:

Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking or ziplining through the tropical rainforest, riding the Caribbean’s only scenic passenger which connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on a sandy beach.  Accommodations range from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels and resorts.

For more information about St. Kitts, please contact the St. Kitts Tourism Authority toll free from the US at 1-800-582-6208 or from Canada 1-888-395-4887, e-mail info@stkittstourism.kn, visit www.stkittstourism.kn, or connect on FacebookTwitter and/or YouTube.

GREAT Value: 10 Free, Affordable and Unique Tours in Britain

6724There are so many free or affordable walking tours to choose from in Britain, delving into subjects from literature and art, to music and LGBT heritage. Get your walking shoes on!

  1. Charles Dickens walk around London – Free App

Follow the author’s footsteps around London with this app. You’ll be guided by GPS with suggestions for pubs along the way. Approximately two hours, search for ‘Walking with Dickens’ in the app store. www.dickenslondontours.co.uk

  1. The World Heritage Site Audio Tour of Bath, England – Free

Take yourself on a journey through Bath’s captivating sights, such as The Royal Crescent and Assembly Rooms. The tour comes with a free route map and 12 chapters/audio files. www.visitbath.co.uk

  1. Shakespeare Tour of Stratford upon Avon, England – $12 (£6)

Walk in William Shakespeare’s footsteps where he was born and buried. Highlights include the River Avon, Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church. Approximately two hours. www.stratfordtownwalk.co.uk

  1. Banksy tour of Bristol, England – $18.50 (£9.20)

Fans of provocative artist Banksy will love this street-art tour. What’s special about this tour is that the guides live and work in the local street art community. Approximately two hours. www.wherethewall.com/tours

  1. Food tour of East London – Pay What You Want

Eat like a king while spending only a few pounds. Sample samosas, taste the fish and chips voted ‘Best in London’ and peruse the hippest food trucks. Approximately two hours, suggested sampling cost $20-30 (£10-15). www.freetoursbyfoot.com

  1. LGBT Heritage tour of Manchester, England – $16 (£8)

Follow the stone rainbow flags to discover 200 years of LGBT life. Tour includes Mantos, the Gay Villages first openly gay bar and the statue of Alan Turing, the World War 2 mathematician persecuted for his homosexuality. Approximately 2 hours. www.manchesterguidedtours.com

  1. Mural Tour of Derry, Northern Ireland – $8 (£4)

Derry is divided culturally by hundreds of years of conflict by opposing religions. This historical tour explores the artistry and religious and political statements. Plus there’s free tea or coffee! Approximately one hour. www.derrycitytours.com

  1. Fear and Loathing in Cardiff tour, Wales – $12 (£6)

Wandering among Cardiff’s glorious gothic revival architecture, this tour takes in treachery, torture, execution, war, battles and piracy. Approximately two hours. www.cardiffwalkingtours.com

  1. Musical tour of Glasgow, Scotland – Free

Tour Glasgow to a soundtrack that features interviews with bands like Mogwai. You’ll find Franz Ferdinand’s Chateau and discover Glasgow’s cool underground scene. Download the tour through the Guidigo app and search for ‘Walking Heads.’ Four walks, all approximately one hour. www.walkngheads.net

  1. Rebus tour of Edinburgh, Scotland – $20 (£10)

Ian Rankin explores contemporary Edinburgh in his best-selling crime novels. Led by entertaining and knowledgeable guide Colin, the tour takes in locations featured in the books. Approximately two hours. www.rebustours.com

For more deals and discounts visit the VisitBritain Shop: https://www.visitbritainshop.com/

Info provided by:  Cathy Stapells

Recharge time in Northhumberland!

With Brian, our first destination was “Victoria Inn” at Gores Landing on Rice lake (about 120km drive on 401 East from Toronto)Victoria Inn on Rice LakeOn thLobby Area of Victoria Inn on Rice Lakee front lawn of Victoria Inn we met Mike McNaught, instructor and local fishing guide. First he taught us how to make the fly, then tying fly and casting. Mike with sophisticated tools explained to us sourcing and tools for good fly fishing all step by step.

After hearty lunch at Victoria Inn we drove to  Port Hope Area  and meet our new friends who joined us for the short 2km hike in Ganaraska Hiking Trail. A bit about this trail… The Ganaraska Hiking Trail begins in Port Hope along the Ganaraska River and eventually connects to the Bruce Trail near Glen Huron, after expansion to Midland and Wasaga Beach trail becomes about 500km long. We didn’t hike all the route, just a small portion, about 2km…actually, the rainy weather shortened our hike.

Hiking along the Ganaraska Hiking Trail
Even on a rainy day hiking was great pleasure.
Ganaraska Hiking Trail, crossing the river
Crossing Ganaraska River

My favorite part of  the hike was the  crossing of Ganaraska River.  Although the river is shallow there, the thrill of adventure busted my adrenalin levels. The hiking trail is maintained by volunteers from the local “Ganaraska Hiking trail Association” , who provided detailed information, and assistance during the hike.

Entrance to "Primitive Designs"
Primitive Designs Canada www.primitivedesignscanada.ca

After the hike our thoughts were to get to nearest hotel, get a warm shower , relax and chat while having dinner with good company of friends. On the way to Port Hope we stopped at “Primitive Designs”. Yes it is cool place to visit. There are lots of unusual and funky stuff, and there are lots of it..hard to describe…best to visit on your own. They claimed to have the Canada’s Tallest Transformer, 7-m-tall called “Optimus Prime”, aPrimitive Designsnd 6mhigh T-Rex dinosaur made from recycled car and bike parts.

Then we booked into The Waddell  located on the banks of the Ganaraska river in down town Port Hope.

The Waddell
The Waddell downtown Port Hope Hotel www.thewaddell.ca
The Waddell
The Waddell

 

After warm bath we decided to meet downstairs for dinner at  “Trattoria Gusto”. I liked the food and design of the restaurant, so I took some photos.

Trattoria Gusto
Trattoria Gusto www.trattoriagusto.ca

 

 

 

 

Trattoria GUSTO Three hours flew  while having good company in good restaurant.

Next morning we planned to drive to Ganaraska Treetop Trekking, another place to boost our adrenaline levels.

Treetop Trekking at Ganaraska Forest Centre
Ganaraska Treetop Trekking www.treetoptrekking.com
Treetop Trekking at Ganaraska Forest Centre
Ganaraska Treetop Trekking www.treetoptrekking.com

First levels of trekking were easyfor me, so I decided to skip few, on the last trek I shed some sweat…

My friends prepared surprise, we had lunch near Ganaraska Forest Centre at neighbouring “Moonlight and Pines” B&B, where hosts Helen and Colin prepared a fancy lunch with a nice panoramic view and good conversation. It was a good idea to look at the premises, the room at the B&B is large enough to accomodate an entire family of four. For the next trip to Treetop Trekking it would be a good idea to rent a room in this B&B, especially since it is walking distance to Ganaraska Forest Centre and Treetop Trekking .

 

Living Water Resort Awarded 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Living Water Resort Awarded 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

June 9, 2015. (Collingwood, ON)–Living Water Resort & Residences, a year-round hotel, recreation and tourist destination situated right on the shores of Georgian Bay and less than a two hour drive from Toronto, announced that it has earned a 2015 TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The Resort is one of a select few Collingwood properties to receive this award.

The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to properties that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews (an overall rating of four or higher out of a possible five) on TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months. Roughly 10% of properties listed on the site earn this certificate.

“We are pleased to receive this respected certificate”, said Larry Law, President of Living Water Resort & Residences. “Our team strives to offer our guests with the perfect experience, and this accolade has validated our hard work, care and personal touch.”

The Resort is currently in the building stages of its planned Phase 3 developments, with the openings commencing in September 2015. Phase 3 developments include:

• 100 new luxurious 1-bedroom and two bedroom suites;

• Additions to the 5,000 sq. ft. onsite spa with an exclusive Hydropath®, one of only two available throughout Canada, for wellness experiences and re-energizing retreats;

• Following Collingwood resident requests, a 5,000 sq. ft. new waterfront restaurant exclusive to the region offering culinary classes, raw seafood bar and something for all tastes.

About Living Water Resort & Residences

Located in Simcoe County at the southern tip of Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay, Living Water Resort & Residences is the only resort in the area situated right on the shores of Georgian Bay. With 91 luxurious 1-bedroom and two-bedroom suites equipped with living/dining room and kitchen areas perfect for extended stays and a five-star rating from Interval International, the interior of each unit reflects a combination of elegance and comfort. Each room and its accompanying amenities use the highest quality products with great care taken for personal space and well-being. For further information, please call (705) 446-3282 or visit [http://www.livingwaterresort.com].