Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: New Orleans

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: New Orleans

By: Kay George

I have visited New Orleans in the past, it seems like each visit brings something new, along with the old of what I love from my past.  It’s always a new adventure in New Orleans and I still have so much to see!    This time my travel companion and I divide our time between the business district and the French Quarter.  The business district unlike my last visit has flourished and seems to have even survived covid, restaurants, hotels and revitalization is in full swing.    French Quarter is still rebounding from covid with many storefronts closed but the streets are full of visitors still having a wonderful time just being out and about.

We stayed at the Drury Plaza in the beautiful Cumberland Telephone Building from 1917 on Poydras Street.  From the hotels rooftop pool we noticed a rooftop bar across the street at the Alto that we had to check out, and as always when one is on a search, you find a fabulous new discovery  around the corner,  we came across the Maison de la Luz this will be my next stay when visiting New Orleans.  

We joined a tour to visit Oak Alley Plantation for the day and at $69.00 per ticket  this was a well worth the price,  just to sit on the grounds and sip on a Mint Julep is something I will always remember.

Halfway through our stay we packed up and moved to the French Quarter to stay at the W New Orleans French Quarter.   Rooms here are quintessential W – modern even a bit quirky with ours having an Alice in Wonderful vibe.  The center courtyard here is amazing and you can easily escape from the noise outside the hotel as you sit by the fountain with twinkling lights above.   We took in a evening ghost tour to walk the streets of the French Quarter and hear the ghostly stories that have evolved over the years.  The flea market is gone, this makes me sad as it has been a favorite stop of mine to shop and visit with the artisans. 

 

My favorite places for food and drink:

Broussards Restaurant and Courtyard

Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar

Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar

Herb Saint

Pat OBriens

Once again, my stay in New Orleans comes to an end to soon. This city with its charm both good and bad will always keep me returning for more.   As the hurricane approaches this weekend NOLA will be on my mind.

 

 

Are you ready to book your own New Orleans adventure?

 

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: Rhode Island

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: Rhode Island

By: Kay George

Day 1:

My getaway to Rhode Island finally arrived, this trip is a rebook destination from 2020 covid cancelled travels.  Sun Country offers non – stop flights out of Minneapolis to Providence during certain months and the 2 ½ hour flight goes fast.    Providence airport is a good alternative to Boston Logan providing easy access and no crowds!  

This evening for dinner I visited the small town of East Greenwich and had the best view on the water at Finns, the Lavender Lemonades are a refreshing summer cocktail and paired well with Lobster.

 

Day 2:

I took an uber, (thank you Raymond for wonderful service!) to Newport where I had a trolley tour and Breakers Mansion tour scheduled.   My guide Russ, a lifelong resident of Newport provided so much history and comedy along this tour he had the trolley guests laughing the entire journey!

I missed the Cliff Walk because of pouring rain this afternoon, but shops and eateries are plentiful in Newport, and you will wish for more time if just exploring for the day.  Visit the White Horse Tavern established in 1673 and a favorite local shop, Commonwealth Books of Newport,  if you are a vintage map nerd like me!

 

Day 3:

A short drive down to Narragansett where during the summer months this little beach town population more than doubles, was my departure point to catch the ferry to Block Island for a fun day of beach, shopping and eating.  I would suggest an overnight on the island in one of the many Inns and a trip to visit the lighthouse and Mohegan Bluffs.  

 

Day 4:

Rhode Island has so much to see and do I cannot wait for my return.

 I pack my bag, walk to the airport and look forward to my next adventure in September where the walk will be a bit longer (100 miles) as I take my walking journey for the soul on the Camino Way with Cosmos. If you are interested in a visit to Rhode Island or walking the Camino Way make sure to contact me for your travels. 

 

 

Are you ready to book your own Rhode Island adventure?

 

New CDC COVID Testing Rule

New CDC COVID Testing Rule

Beginning January 26, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require proof of a
negative COVID-19 test or documention of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers
arriving from a foreign country to the U.S. This includes U.S. citizens. VIEW DETAILS 

 

Hotels & Resorts across the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America,
will provide guests complimentary or low-cost testing on property.
Below are a few examples of the many options available.

AMResorts is offering COVID-19 antigen testing on-property at no cost. If a guest receives a positive test while on the property that prevents departure, the cost of quarantine will be covered for up to 14 days.

Playa Hotels & Resorts offers complimentary on-property antigen testing beginning January 22, 2021 through April 30, 2021. Complimentary antigen tests are available to registered guests returning to the U.S. from Playa resorts across Mexico and throughout the Caribbean.

Sandals & Beaches All-Inclusive Resorts’ complimentary testing will be conducted through March 31, 2021, right in the comfort of the resorts.

Velas Resorts will cover the cost of your antigen test. A certified laboratory will perform the test within the property, and the result will be ready in a maximum of 24 hours.

On-site testing will also be offered at properties in our exclusive Hotels & Resorts Collection. Contact us today for details on a specific hotel or resort you have in mind.

With more than 1,100 hotels, resorts, spas and unique places to stay, we can help you find the perfect home away from home for any type of experience you seek

As travel opens up around the world, COVID-19 safety measures and precautions may change from day today. These safety measures may include but are not limited to curfews, attraction closings and reduced hours, size of group gatherings, social distancing requirements, health screenings, and self-quarantine requirements. In addition, you must follow each country or region’s guidelines and the recommendations of health officials. Please note that any public location where people have been or are present provides an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19. By traveling, you agree that you assume these inherent risks associated with your vacation. Any and all additional costs will be your sole responsibility.

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What souvenirs do you buy on vacation?

What souvenirs do you buy on vacation?

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UNRIVALED SPACE AT SEA

REGENT ’S PROMISE TO YOU As the world moves forward, Regent Seven Seas Cruises® iscommitted to the security and wellbeing of their guests and crew,and they’ll continue to do everything within their power to giveyou the best possible luxury cruise vacation.ALASKAWatch...

Upgrade Your Horizon

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The mythical beauty of ancient and hallowed lands is revealed as the morning fog dissipates while you sip your coffee in the warmth of your luxurious suite. Distant dots of emerald green grow and take shape as you approach a verdant archipelago, reclining in the...

New CDC COVID Testing Rule

New CDC COVID Testing Rule

Beginning January 26, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documention of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the U.S. This includes U.S....

Eat & Drink like you are on Vacation!

Eat & Drink like you are on Vacation!

 EAT & DRINK 

LIKE YOU ARE ON VACATION

 

Are you needing some new recipes to try?

We are here for you and have our FAVORITES listed below!

Disney Churro Bites

Ingredients
  • 1 cup of water 
  • 8 tablespoons butter 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided 
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable or canola oil 
  • ½ cup sugar 
Instructions
  1. Combine water, butter, salt, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon in 1 ½-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring pot to rolling boil. 
  1. Reduce heat to low. 
  1. Add flour and stir vigorously until mix forms a ball. Remove from heat and let rest for 5-7 min. 
  1. Add eggs, one at a time, and stir until combined. Set aside. 
  1. Heat oil in medium skillet or 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat or until temperature reaches 350˚. 
  1. Spoon dough into piping bag fitted with large star tip. Pipe 1-inch strip of dough over saucepan, cut with knife, and drop into hot oil. Repeat until churro bites fill saucepan with room to fry.  
  1. Fry churro bites until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon or mesh spider strainer. 
  1. Drain churro bites on paper towel. 
  1. Mix sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon in medium bowl. Toss in churro bites until coated. Place on serving plate and serve with favorite dipping sauce. 

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

*Info from HILTON.COM

Ingredients
  • ½ pound butter, softened (2 sticks) 
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tbsp. granulated sugar 
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 ¼ tsp. vanilla extract 
  • ¼ tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 2 ¼ cups flour 
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • Pinch of cinnamon 
  • 2 2/3 cups Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 ¾ cups walnuts, chopped 
Instructions
  1. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a stand mixer bowl on medium speed for about two minutes. 2.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice, blending with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for about two minutes, or until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl. 
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, blending for about 45 seconds. Don’t overmix. 
  4. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. 
  5. Portion dough with a scoop (about three tablespoons) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about two inches apart. 
  6. Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and center is still soft. 
  7. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for about one hour. 

Cook’s note: You can freeze the unbaked cookies, and there’s no need to thaw. Preheat oven to 300°F and place frozen cookies on parchment paper-lined baking sheet, about two inches apart. Bake until edges are golden brown and center is still soft. 

Caribe Hilton’s Original Piña Colada

Invented at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico back in 1954.

*Info from CARIBEHILTON.COM

Ingredients
  • 2 oz. rum 
  • 1 oz. coconut cream (signature recipe uses Coco Lopez brand) 
  • 1 oz. heavy cream 
  • 6 oz. pineapple juice 
  • ½ cup crushed ice 
Instructions

Mix rum, cream of coconut, heavy cream, and pineapple juice in a blender. Add ice and mix for 15 seconds. Serve in a 12-oz. glass and garnish with fresh pineapple and a cherry. 

Dollywood Cinnamon Bread

Ingredients

For the Dough: 

  • 1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit) 
  • 3/4 tsp. active dry yeast 
  • 1 tbsp. plus a pinch of granulated sugar 
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 2 tbsps. unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
  • Cooking spray 

For the Topping: 

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 6 tbsps. unsalted butter, melted 
  • 2 tbsps. light corn syrup 

For the Glaze: 

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 2 tbsps. unsalted butter, melted 
  • 3 to 5 tbsps. milk 
Instructions

Make the dough: Combine the warm water, yeast, and a pinch of granulated sugar in a small bowl and let sit until foamy, five to eight minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the bread flour, remaining one tablespoon of granulated sugar, and salt in a stand mixer. 

Add the yeast mixture and melted butter to the flour mixture. Knead with the dough hook on medium speed until it is smooth and elastic, about eight minutes. Transfer to a bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about one and a half hours. 

Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Punch down the dough and transfer to a work surface; knead a few times. Cut in half and gently shape into two three-by-six-inch loaves (do not overwork the dough). Place the loaves three inches apart on the prepared pan. Lightly spray the loaves with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until puffy, 30 minutes to one hour. 

Make the topping: Whisk the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small baking dish. Whisk the melted butter and corn syrup in another small baking dish. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two nine-by-five-inch loaf pans with parchment paper, leaving a two-inch overhang on all sides. Cut four deep slashes across the top of each loaf (the loaves will look deflated). Dip each loaf in the butter-corn syrup mixture, turning to cover, then coat with the cinnamon sugar, making sure to get the sugar in the crevices. Place the loaves in the prepared pans. Drizzle with any remaining butter mixture and sprinkle with any remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake until light brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Lift the bread out of the loaf pans using the parchment overhang and transfer to a rack. Let cool in the paper, about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, salt, melted butter, and three tablespoons of milk in a bowl until smooth. Whisk in up to two more tablespoons of milk as needed to loosen. Drizzle on the warm loaves or serve on the side for dipping. 

Los Lobos Guacamole

*Info from ncl.com

Ingredients
  • 5 avocados, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup of tomato, cored and diced
  • 3 tbsp of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp serrano, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1/8 cup lime juice
  • Salt to taste
Instructions

Cut the avocados in half, take the seeds out with the knife. Remove the pulp from the skin using a serving spoon. In a mixing bowl combine the rest of the ingredients using the pestle. Serve as per video.

Share your creations with us on social and tag #NorwegianStaycation #CruiseNorwegian. Cheers!

Lemon Chicken

*Info from uniworld.com

Ingredients
  • 500ml fresh lemon juice 
  • 250ml olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
Instructions

Pre-heat the oven grill for 15 minutes before using it. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then grill, turning once, for 20-30 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and the juices run clear when the bird is pierced with a fork. Remove from the grill and, using a very sharp knife, cut each half into 4 pieces.  

Make the sauce by whisking together the lemon juice, oil, vinegar, garlic, 
oregano and seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken and leave to marinate for 1 hour. 

Place the chicken on a grill pan and return to the grill for 5 minutes or until very brown. Turn each piece, basting with the liquid, and grill for a further minute. You may need to add a little more oil and lemon to taste. 
Remove from the grill and place chicken onto a warm serving dish. This is also delicious served cold at room temperature.  

Lava Flow

Ingredients
  • 1.5 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. Kraken rum
  • 2 oz. coconut cream
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 oz. fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana
Instructions

Suggested music while preparing

  • Boat Drinks by Jimmy Buffet

Lava flow Instructions

  1. Mix strawberries and rum in blender and blend until well mixed.
  2. Place contents at bottom of a tall glass.
  3. Mix rest of the unused ingredients with crushed ice in a blender until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture into glass. The strawberry and rum mixture will creep up the sides of the glass, giving the drink its name.
  5. Serve with straw.

Aperol Spritz

*Info from contiki.com

Ingredients
  • Aperol
  • Prosecco 
  • Soda
  • Orange Peel
Instructions

Some people opt for the 3:2:1 method with Aperol, prosecco and soda.

I disagree – it’s all about 50, 50 baby! 
 
• Fill tall balloon or wine glasses generously with cubed ice 
• Combine Prosecco followed by Aperol in equal parts 
• Add a splash of soda (optional) 
• Garnish with a slice of orange 
 
Easy! 

Blog Post And More

UNRIVALED SPACE AT SEA

UNRIVALED SPACE AT SEA

REGENT ’S PROMISE TO YOU As the world moves forward, Regent Seven Seas Cruises® iscommitted to the security and wellbeing of their guests and crew,and they’ll continue to do everything within their power to giveyou the best possible luxury cruise vacation.ALASKAWatch...

Upgrade Your Horizon

Upgrade Your Horizon

The mythical beauty of ancient and hallowed lands is revealed as the morning fog dissipates while you sip your coffee in the warmth of your luxurious suite. Distant dots of emerald green grow and take shape as you approach a verdant archipelago, reclining in the...

New CDC COVID Testing Rule

New CDC COVID Testing Rule

Beginning January 26, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documention of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the U.S. This includes U.S....

At Your Service, Today and Always

At Your Service, Today and Always

As we continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak worldwide, your safety and well-being remains our top priority. As the situation continues to evolve, we understand that you may have concerns about your current and future travel plans. Our travel advisors are available to discuss any questions you may have, including options that may be available to reschedule or cancel your travels.

As your expert travel advisors, you can trust that we are staying on top of every detail and our global network is as connected as ever. We have been working closely with cruise lines, tour operators, hotels and other travel service providers to promote your interests and many have changed their cancellation and or payment options to allow you more time to make your decision in this rapidly changing situation.

We all hope the situation stabilizes and resolves quickly, but while it is evolving it is important to refer to verified information sources. We recommend the CDC (Centers for Disease Control)WHO (World Health Organization) and US Department of State Advisories as the best resources at this time.

Thank you for trusting us. We look forward to helping you navigate the current situation, and hopefully in the very near future, plan wonderful experiences worldwide again.

Riverdale Expert Travel Consultants

WE HAVE THE BEST OF THE BEST!