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?

 

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: Aruba

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight:

Aruba

Continents

Countries

Oceans

The perfect vacation can often include beaches, beverages, beautiful and bustling with activities. One of our Coon Rapids Riverdale Travel agents recently traveled to Aruba and saw some of the most amazing sunsets ever!

Explore the beaches of Aruba

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Aruba

Truly known for its beaches,  I expected the country to be beautiful, but the peaceful surf and pristine water was more than I could have imagined. The combination of being tropical yet an arid desert gives the island a unique landscape.

We spent hours walking one of the most beautiful beaches in the world; Eagle beach. Visitors have the options of strolling through the soft sand or on a boardwalk which is perfect for those who want to enjoy the gorgeous views but may have mobility concerns. On the street side, there are wonderful local stores and shops.

Discover Arikok National Park

Activities abound. We loved Arikok National Park which represents 18% of the island and offers some of the most stunning views and great photo opportunities. In the park there are three caves, the Huliba Cave is also known as the Tunnel of Love because of the heart shaped opening at its entrance.

Local villages and shopping

A must see for me was the city of SanNicolas. This quaint village whose name I share, (yes even spelled the same!) was just a short trip from our resort! While there you must stop at Charlies Bar – the food and drink are top notch – but what really sets this local favorite is the decor!

Call me so I can tell you about my experiences at Renaissance Island with its famous Pink Flamingos, the black sand beach, and the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary.

 

 

If you are staying at an all-inclusive, you can enjoy breakfast and lunch along all day beverages. Since Aruba is affordable, you can certainly feel comfortable having dinner at one of the local restaurants. Unlike other beach destinations, all hotels and resorts are open to the public, visitors can wonder through hotels, dine in restaurants, and are encouraged to play a round or two of blackjack in any of the local casinos.

With its location only 15 miles north of South America, Aruba is out of the hurricane zone so an ideal spot for a vacation any time of the year. It’s a perfect location for beach lovers like me, destination weddings, honeymooners, and adventure seekers.

What are you waiting for?

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: Christmas Markets on the Rhine Cruise

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: Christmas Markets on the Rhine Cruise

Love Christmas and chocolates and creative gifts, but hate battling the frigid cold (even while sipping hot cocoa and mulled wines)?

Then a visit to Zürich’s indoor Christmas Market is sure to feel like a special holiday treat! Our Coon Rapids Travel Agent spotlight is featuring a girlfriends getaway in December 2018 with our Christmas Market Cruise down the Rhine River, including a stop in Zurich.  Wondering what you’ll experience in Zurich?  Read on to get a glimpse of Zurich at Christmas.

Zurich’s Hauptbahnhof Train Station

 

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight Christmas Markets Cruise Zurich

The festive Christmas Market held at Zürich’s busy Hauptbahnhof Train Station (aka Zürich’s Main Station) is one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe. It may be a White Christmas and winter wonderland outside but keep cozy and warm in here — with 150 festively decorated market stalls to get in the yuletide spirit. The fragrant scent of cinnamon, Glühwein (mulled wine), Glögg (another mulled wine), traditional tirggel biscuits (which have been enjoyed here since 1461), Christstollen fruit loaf and roasted almonds waft through the station, beckoning commuting travelers and shoppers alike. Find handmade gifts full of character – including Christmas ornaments, jewelry and handmade candles as you listen to Christmas carols. But of course, the big showstopper here is the 50 foot Christmas tree decorated with between 5,000-7,000 Swarovski crystals and ornaments.

Touring the station

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Christmas Markets Cruise in ZurichWhile the Christmas market is a highlight, many tourists come to see the magnificence of the station. The market, which was originally starting in 1994, had humble beginnings starting with just a dozen stalls. While it has flourished in the relatively few years since its founding, its location of the Hauptbahnhof station lends it an older, more established feel.

The station, which opened in 1871, is a  Neo-Renaissance masterpiece which features an elegant triumphal arch at the main entrance and faces the dazzling Bahnhofstrasse. Richly decorated lobbies, atriums, restaurants, halls and a monumental fountain commemorating Swiss Alfred Escher – it is clear to see why it is listed as Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National Significance – and a must-see in its own right.

The Bahnhofstrasse

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight Christmas Markets in ZurichOf course, there are many other ways to celebrate Zürich’s holiday season. One of the most popular favorites is strolling down the vibrant and exclusive Bahnhofstrasse. This is Zurich’s most tantalizing shopping avenue and it is always at its most stunning when aglow for the holiday! Bahnhofstrasse is one of the most expensive and exquisite shopping avenues in the world, on par with New York City’s 5th Avenue – and home to stores like Bvlgari, Hermés, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Shopping here anytime is a special treat but during the holidays, the street becomes particularly magical. As if the bling in nearby Tiffany’s and Dior weren’t quite enough, 12,000 glittering LED lights are sure to keep the festive twinkle in shoppers’ eyes. The annual Santa Claus Parade also uses the Bahnhofstrasse as its annual route.

The Wienachtsdorf Market

The Wienachtsdorf is another one of Zürich’s popular markets. Set in Old Town by the spectacular Opera House, the market caters to shoppers with 100 red market stalls, delicious foods and artisanal goodies. Look for incredible fondue chalets and intricate wooden ornaments to add a something cheery and bright to the festivities.

The Market at Werdmuhleplatz

The Christmas Market at Werdmühleplatz is Zürich’s newest market. It is still notable for its sweet ‘singing Christmas tree.’ No, this is not some hokey electronic tree – but a many tiered stage (rising up in the shape of a tree), where kids line around and sing out carols. This sweet and charming small market is sure to charm you as you shop and explore the wonders of Christmas.

Ready to board our cruise and book your girlfriends’ getaway?  Coon Rapids based Riverdale Travel is ready to help!

 

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: Norway

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: Norway

Have you been dreaming of a trip to Norway?  Our Coon Rapids travel agent spotlight features Brenda’s recent trip on a Globus tour of Norway.

Experiencing Norway

This spring,  I had the opportunity to travel thru Norway on a Globus tour. The tour highlighted the many scenic areas of Norway. We cruised fjords, drove to the Jostedal Glacier, climbed the Olympic Ski Jump in Lillehammer, visited a Stave Church, took photos of 100’s of waterfalls and sculptures in Frogner Park and sampled at an Apple Farm on the Hardanger Fjord.

Jostedal Glacier

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: NorwayJostedal Glacier is the biggest glacier on mainland Europe and divides two of the worlds longest fjords – the Songefjord and Nordfjord. Famous for it’s wide variety scenery, expect to see valleys with lush vegetation, majestic mountains, and glacier landscapes.  For the glacier enthusiast, you will find an opportunity to hike the glaciers and taking photos of the beautiful scenery as you tour this area.

Olympic Ski Jump in Lillehammer

One of the highlights of our trip was visiting Lillehammer and climbing to the top of the Olympic ski jump. The Olympics were held in Lillehammer in 1994 and the area still hosts thousands at ski resorts in the area during the winter months. The jumping tower is a popular photo stop for visitors and will enable you to see panoramic views of the town of Lillehammer and the largest lake in Norway, Mjosa. While the tower is worth the climb, you can enjoy a leisurely ride down using the chairlift or make a game out of it and count the stairs on the way down.

Stave Church

On our way to Oslo, we were able to stop at a stave church and tour this medieval wooden church building style found mostly in Norway today. Made out of a wooden post and timber framing, these historical churches are a site to see as you visit the countryside.

Frogner Park

Frogner Park in Oslo is one of the largest parks in central Norway and is a popular visitor attraction. One of it’s most popular spots, the Vigiland Sculpture Park features more than 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigiland made out of bronze, cast iron, and granite. Once you’ve toured the sculpture garden, plan for a walk through the park or a picnic lunch enjoying the grounds. After lunch, you’ll see Norway’s largest collection of roses or visit the Frogner Manor and museum.

Hardanger Fjord

A must see on any trip to Norway is the Hardanger Fjord area.  Hardanger is the 3rd largest fjord in the world and is the home of some of the most amazing hikes in Norway.  Queen Sonja’s panoramic hiking trail is for the experienced hiker as you will travel over high mountains and long and demanding trails. Trolltunga, a hike for the serious and experienced hiker requires advanced preparation, and an overnight stay – hiking over the most spectacular scenic cliffs that Norway has to offer.

For those who are less experienced, the four waterfalls trail in Husedalen Valley leads hikers on a lengthy hike ending at four scenic waterfalls.  Not up to a challenging trail?  Head to Hardangervidda National Park which offers a wide range of beautiful hiking trails to choose from.

My trip to Norway was full of adventure, history and beauty – making it hard to choose a favorite.  If you’re thinking about your own trip to Norway, we’d love to help you design a trip tailored to your interests for the trip of a lifetime.

 

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: Mediterranean cruise

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: Mediterranean cruise

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Spotlight: Mediterranean cruise

Taking a cruise on the Mediterranean Sea is a great way to see the sites of southern Europe and is the feature of our Coon Rapids Travel Agent spotlight.

Boarding in Barcelona

I had the pleasure of sailing the Mediterranean Sea out of Barcelona. Oh Barcelona! I want to go back! It is amazing to wander thru the small alleys and shops only to discover the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, which is a  gothic style Church that was built in the 1300’s. Plan on taking time to see the sites in Barcelona before boarding for your Mediterranean Cruise. After exploring the city, we boarded our ship to head out to sea.

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Mediterranean Cruise

Port stop in Cannes, France

Another favorite for me was Cannes, France. I enjoyed walking the Promenade de la Croisette, where I did a little window shopping and star stalking.  Aside from exploring the city, the Yachts in Cannes were quite amazing. I did see the luxury hotel Majestic Barriere which is a haven during the Cannes Film Festival. Your Mediterranean cruise is sure to stop in Cannes so I recommend walking the city and taking time for shopping when you stop.

Speeding through Rome

Rome was a short stop, but long enough to experience riding around Rome in the train! The high speed train! We were able to stop at the Vatican and hear the Pope speak at the Vatican.  Rome is a city filled with history and faith and worth an excursion from your ship.

A Great Cruising Experience

Coon Rapids Travel Agent Mediterranean CruiseThis is just a glimpse of my Mediterranean cruise experience. What an excellent way to see a variety of destinations throughout Europe. There’s  nothing wrong with sailing in a balcony cabin facing out the back of the ship! Beautiful sunsets and beautiful full views of the cities when departing in the evening!

If you’re ready to sail the Mediterranean, then Riverdale Travel is ready to help you create your Mediterranean cruise experience.