Category Archives: Palm Breeze Travel

Adding A History Lesson To Your Vacation Should Be A Breeze 

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A trip to Williamsburg has always been a favorite of mine. This was a childhood vacation that my parents had first taken my brother and I on when I was 8 years old. I remember it like it was yesterday, the cannon fire, the oxen in the yard, the people walking around in colonial costumes and never coming out of character, eating rock candy, and strangely, the musty smell of the bricks that many of the buildings were constructed of.  I loved all of it.

Last summer we took our children to Williamsburg, Virginia and we drove in a Honda Civic. It was surprisingly comfortable and cost only $75.00 in gas, I swear. So for all of you SUV drivers it may cost you a little more in gas but it will be like driving in a rolling home.  It took us approximately 6 hours from Lacey including a stop for breakfast.

Williamsburg was settled in the 1600’s and became the colonial capital of Virginia. It became a central location for many political events leading up to the US revolution. It also has the College of William and Mary that is the second oldest in the country. The college is within walking distance of the colonial city which gives the area a cool vibe with bookstores, coffee shops and gastropubs.

Williamsburg tries to blend entertainment with authentic history and they do a great job. The houses are wonderfully maintained and history is meticulously researched. They have daily re-enactments of many historical events. Last summer my family was able to join a regiment of the colonial Army for an hour and it was really real. They had us march, yell at us, explain what our life would be like, and fire muskets. The participants, never for a moment acted as if this was not the real thing. It was extremely authentic, fun and educational. The colonial city also has great Ghost walks, bicycle rentals, spy games, and scavenger hunts.

Williamsburg is part of the historical triangle comprised of Jamestown and Yorktown. They are all close to each other and have great historical significance to the founding of our country. Also in Williamsburg is the Busch Gardens Theme Park and Water Country USA. Value combination tickets for the theme parks and the colonial city can be purchased in advance. There are many stay options in the Williamsburg area for all budgets and styles. All the major hotel chains are present. My personal favorite is the Williamsburg Lodge located on England Street, and is good for families. It is charming, historical and is in walking distance from the colonial city. This location is convenient for an evening walk down The Duke of Gloucester Street with all the smudge pots lit, musicians playing and colonial flare displayed. Maybe you might want to make a quick stop into Chownings Tavern for a pint of ale or two, not to mention some 18th century fare like Brunswick stew or Welsh Rarebit.

I love history and it is up to us to preserve and teach it. Like so many so-called living museums in the United Sates, Williamsburg, the granddaddy of them all has suffered as a result of the decreased emphasis on history in schools and the shorter attention spans in this technological age.  In case the readers are unaware of how little history they teach in our schools I will give you a brief example, my daughter is finishing 5th grade and she has not had one bit of United States History. I don’t want to go down a political road, but it just makes me sad. I wanted to touch on this subject because some of our greatest historical locations are within driving distance of Lacey, New Jersey and can be   incorporated into wonderful summer vacations.

Don’t let our History be forgotten. Take a road trip this summer or even in the early fall, the weather in Virginia is still very pleasant. Please contact your local travel agent, we have all the great information and travel tidbits for driving distance vacations.

Oceans of love from Kristen and all your friendly agents of Palm Breezes Travel

A local agency in Forked River, NJ   609-971-9267

 

Palm Breeze O’Dreams

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Now that the parades are over, the beer has been drunk, the corned beef is finished (and we know we only really cook and eat it once a year) we continue to think about Ireland.  This time every year we celebrate our Irish heritage or at least we pretend to. Every year I get tons of people who get carried away with the Irish spirit and want to go to Ireland. They ask, “when is the best time to go” and I always reply anytime is a good time in Ireland.

Ireland is still in reach, the prices are still very reasonable. There is never a bad time to travel there, not too hot and not too cold, you’ll find Ireland is just right. Ireland’s climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and as a result, it doesn’t have the extreme temperatures that we have in New Jersey, especially what we have experienced this year. The average temperature in Ireland is a mild 50 degrees F.

Summer is the high season and the daylight lasts until 11:00PM and the temps are warmer. The summer is also the high tourist season and the prices will reflect this.  I truly recommend discovering Ireland in the winter season in the months of December, January, and February. Do not be afraid. You will get the most bang for your buck and the hills will still be green. Just imagine yourself sitting in an old pub next to a roaring fire in your new handmade Irish wool sweater sipping a local pint and listening to traditional music. That sounds like “neamh” which is Gaelic for heaven.

Even the bust of the last several years could not undo Dublin’s transformation into a World City. They have everything from wonderful gastro-pubs, literary pub crawls, world class museums, castles and galleries and historical National Botanical Gardens.  Last year Dublin hosted a historic Notre Dame vs. Navy football game in which the fighting Irish sunk navy in this Emerald Isle classic. This year they will host Penn State University vs. University of Central Florida on August 30 as an exciting way to kick off the season.

I highly suggest a guided tour to this lovely Island especially for first time visitors. The tours are well planned, full of information and fun, and never stuffy. CIE is one of the top Ireland tour operators and is based in Morristown, New Jersey.  This is a plus because they can usually get great air prices from our local airports. They have some of the best tours and prices, for example they are offering for 2014 an 8 day Irish Pub and Folklore trip that can be surprisingly affordable.  Some of the highlights of this trip will include all tours of Dublin, Killarney, Cliffs of Moher, Galway, and a special tour of Blarney Castle near Cork where you will be able to kiss the stone and never be at a loss for words.  For this tour most meals are included, nightly entertainment, some drinks, superior accommodations, luxury motorcoach, creative tour guides and so much more.

I wish I could send everyone on a trip to the lush and mystical Emerald Island, so contact me or a travel agent to get you the best possible prices and dates. A good travel agent will have extensive knowledge and great contacts for Ireland. If you dreamed of this, the time is now to grab some luck of the Irish.

picture of Kristen

Oceans of love from Kristen and all your friendly agents of Palm Breezes Travel a local agency in Forked River, NJ   609-971-9267

Palm Breeze Dreams

We are lucky we live in Ocean County. We are close to some major cruise-ports. Cruising is still a fun safe and easy way to take the whole family on vacation. Cruising is accessible and affordable. Right now is the time to think about taking a great cruise from one of our local ports of New York City, Bayonne, Brooklyn, and Baltimore. There is two to three sailings departing form any local port every week. The travel industry considers this the Wave season and is offering some of the best deals for the year.

In 2013 and 2014 two brand new ships debut and home port in NYC and Bayonne.  Norwegian Cruise line debuted The Breakaway in May 2013 to rave reviews and Royal Caribbean will roll out it’s much anticipated Quantum of the Seas.

The Breakaway is a completely new style of cruise ship with an abundance of food, bar and activity choices. This ship will homeport year round in New York City passenger ship terminal and will make alternate cruises to Bermuda, Bahamas, and a few longer Caribbean throughout the year. This ship was designed for fun and families. It includes a ropes course, “walk the plank”, nickelodeon characters and much more. But it also has quiet spaces, and quintessential cruise spa, and world class dining options for all tastes. They still adhere to the “Freestyle” motto.  This ship has a full Ice Bar that everyone has been having a blast with.

The Quantum of the Seas will make its premier in November 2014 and be sailing many various cruise itineraries throughout the year. It will make it’s homeport in Bayonne, NJ.  There are always in State resident specials running for Royal Caribbean and this is always a plus for us.  This is another brand new ship with all the bells and whistles that will make it wonderful for families. This ship will have many “firsts” at sea and it was designed for action.

These brand new ships are right within our reach, just a short drive up north, no airports and high priced plane tickets to worry about. Pack all the heavy suitcases you want and walk onto a dream vacation.  There is a cruise at a length and price range for everyone.

Don’t be afraid of the Seas coming out of the NY harbor, they are never that rough and the innovative technology of large ship mechanics give the smoothest sailing possible.  Take advantage of these great new opportunities.

As a travel agent I whole heartedly recommend cruising for everyone, don’t let a few bad experiences scare you away, it is still the safest vacation option and I feel all cruise lines will be on their best behavior and give you the best experience.  This is the time to sail.

Always book your travel with an agent. We are not obsolete, can help you navigate through the choices of cruiselines, itineraries, and cabins. We can also usually beat most online prices. Let us do the work for you.

picture of Kristen

Oceans of love from Kristen and all your friendly agents of Palm Breezes Travel, a local agency in Forked River, NJ. 609-971-9267