resorts create lasting family memories.
(NAPSI)—Think back. Chances are that some of your most cherished
childhood memories started on your family vacation. Simple fun from a simple
time—your parents made it look so easy. Now it’s your turn! And
it really can be that easy with all-inclusive vacations in Mexico and the Caribbean.
In general, all-inclusive includes accommodations, all meals, snacks,
unlimited beverages (soft and alcoholic), nonmotorized water sports and other
activities, as well as nightly entertainment.
Both Mexico and the Caribbean offer luxurious resorts with attentive
service, spectacular beaches, brilliant blue waters and warm surf. And access
couldn’t be easier with convenient flights on major carriers.
The hardest part of the whole trip may be deciding between these two idyllic
options. Mexico can be
less expensive but the Caribbean offers
exceptional values. It may just come down to your personal taste and what you’re
hungry for: savory Mexican cuisine warmed by a blend of roasted chilies, or
tangy jerk dishes infused with exotic Caribbean
spices. Either way, you’re sure to create memories that last a
For more information, contact Pleasant Holidays at 1-800-448-3333 or at www.PleasantHolidays.com.
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Natural Fit For Your Location
NAPSI)-For many manufacturers and entrepreneurs, finding the right
location for their business means more than square footage and reasonable
costs. It’s about location—literally—because the location
is a natural fit for their business.
For Mark Coffman, president of Lucky Bums, which makes technical and
functional gear for kids, the state of Idaho
is a perfect location for his business. “We can field-test the ski
clothing with our own kids on a day trip to the ski resort or hiking and
camping gear in the mountains and rivers just a few minutes from our
headquarters,” said Coffman, whose company is based in Boise. “Here, you get urban
efficiency with rural lifestyle.”
Some companies need to consider whether their location is a natural fit
for the type of products they produce. Surfboards designed in China, for instance, wouldn’t have the
credibility among aficionados that a label from Maui
A number of outdoor-oriented companies have located in the northwestern
state because of the variety of its terrain and outdoor culture. Everything
from fly-fishing poles to ski goggles are designed, tested and manufactured
there, taking advantage of the natural laboratory.
When does location matter? Outdoor equipment manufacturers in Idaho cite these
advantages to matching their product to their company’s location:
• Credibility. The Scott
Company, makers of ski equipment, started in Sun Valley,
the legendary ski resort known for its luxury, killer slopes and its appeal
to the rich and famous. The company was launched in 1958 by Ed Scott, a ski
racer and engineer. While the company has grown enormously with operations
around the world, it maintains its headquarters in Sun
• Natural laboratory. SJX
Jetboats in Lewiston
finds having the Snake River right outside
its office door a benefit. The company can easily test its equipment on a
river that offers both turbulent whitewater and shallow drafts.
• Knowledgeable labor force.
At Lucky Bums, employees live the outdoor life, so they are familiar with how
the products will be used. Employees will understand customer needs on a
personal level, so they can be a more valuable resource to the company.
• Lower costs. Business
costs can drop dramatically in a more rural setting, depending on the needs
of the company. Buck Knives moved from San Diego
to Post Falls, Idaho—a
move that enabled the company to move manufacturing back to the United States from China.
To learn more about finding the right business location, visit www.commerce.idaho.gov/building-your-business.
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Republic A Haven For Whales And Ecotourism
(NAPSI)—The idea of whales making an annual migration to the Caribbean may sound like a fish tale, but it’s not.
In fact, it turns out that one of the best places for whale watching is a
destination many consider a tropical paradise.
With 25 percent of its lush green land and pristine coastal areas
protected as national parks, reserves and sanctuaries, the Dominican
Republic—also known as the DR—is thought to be the most biodiverse country in the Caribbean and is a major
destination for ecotourists, most notably for whale
watching along the Samaná Peninsula.
A migration destination
Each winter, 3,000 to 5,000 whales migrate to the warm crystalline waters
of the Bay of Samaná.
Whale-watching season begins in mid-January and continues through the end of
March; however, excursions are available as long as whales remain in the bay.
These gentle creatures migrate with intentions of mating and giving birth.
While the males assertively romp in the outer bays competing for females, the
females reside along the shallow waters of the inner bay to provide a nursery
for their young.
Whale-watching tours are offered along the Northeast
Coast and in Samaná Bay,
a part of the Marine Mammal Sanctuary of the Dominican Republic. The sanctuary
surrounds the Peninsula
and is considered one of the first whale sanctuaries in the world. There,
visitors can observe the humpback whales and listen to their song at close
range without endangering them or risking their own safety.
An ecotourism leader
For decades, the DR has been a leader in the preservation of sensitive ecosystems
in the region. It has developed partnerships with leaders such as The Nature
Conservancy, the United Nations and the Smithsonian to establish powerful
“Our reserves, magnificent sanctuaries and pristine beaches are a vital
tourism draw. The DR offers an array of eco-friendly activities for travelers
to pursue adventures that best promote conservation and preservation,”
said the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.
For example, along the North Coast, travelers will discover the scenic 27
Waterfalls of Damajagua and Cabarete
Bay, thought to be an ideal location for kiteboarding,
cascading, scuba diving, surfing, boogie-boarding and more.
To learn more, visit www.GoDominicanRepublic.com.
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Offers A Reason To Visit
by K. Bailey
(NAPSI)—History often paints Valley Forge
and its pivotal winter encampment with unrelenting skies, white smoke and
brown, muddy campsites. But today, more than 230 years later, the
area’s stunning landscapes evolve brilliantly with each new season.
Much like Washington, D.C.’s
famous cherry blossoms, Valley
Forge National Historical Park
boasts an explosion of flowering dogwoods every spring. Planted in honor of
George Washington, a blanket of pink and white generally arrives between the
last two weeks of April and first two of May.
Lacy dogwood blossoms also dot the miles of trails along the Perkiomen
Creek at the John
Center at Mill Grove
Wildlife Sanctuary. Here, at the artist/naturalist’s first home in
America, is where Audubon learned to paint birds in natural poses and created
his world-famous, four-volume “Birds of America.”
Each spring, purple pansies and violas populate a man-made mountain at
Ott’s Exotic Plants in Schwenksville, showcasing the family-run
nursery’s tremendous selection of annuals, seasonal plants, vegetables and
succulents. Along with the advent of autumn and its changing leaves, look for
a kaleidoscope of fall colors on the spectacularly transformed “Mum Mountain.”
For many reasons, fall reigns supreme as the area’s most spectacular
season. While the arrival time of peak grandeur varies each year, it’s
generally safe to plan a visit between late October and early November.
Visitors often start their quest for color at Valley Forge National
The National Park Service has named it one of America’s top 10 national
parks for leaf peeping.
From the observation deck at close-by Fort Washington
State Park, some 30
species of mature trees create a rich, warm palette. From September through
October, hawks and other birds of prey soar high above in an airborne parade.
From Valley Forge, take the Pennsylvania Turnpike east two exits to Fort Washington.
Birches, elms, maples and oaks comprise the most colorful trees lining the
area’s 55 miles of trails. Perkiomen Trail parallels the Perkiomen
Creek and provides regional access to Central Perkiomen
in Schwenksville, among others.
In winter, Valley Forge and Montgomery
County become a
wonderland of winter recreation, from cross-country and downhill skiing and
sleigh riding to exploring the great indoors of museums, malls, theaters and
To plan an escape to Valley Forge and Montgomery County
or for more information on hotel packages, visit www.valleyforge.org.
K. Bailey Fucanan is director of communications for the Valley Forge
Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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High-Speed Rail Is Gaining Support
(NAPSI)-A majority of U.S.
travelers report they are on track with the idea of using high-speed rail.
That’s the word from experts who say a recent large-scale study shows
that nearly two-thirds of adults (62 percent) said they would definitely or
probably use high-speed rail service for leisure or business travel if it
were an option.
Travel time and cost are key
Convenience and saving money were key factors for whether travelers would
choose high-speed rail service over other modes of transportation.
For example, when asked which factors would likely influence their
decision to choose high-speed rail service, survey respondents mentioned:
• Shorter travel times compared to driving (91 percent);
• Less expensive than flying (91 percent);
• Less expensive than driving (89 percent); and
• Integration with local public transit so I can avoid use of rental
cars, cabs and parking fees (85 percent).
Time and the environment
Other factors survey respondents ranked as important included shorter
travel times compared to flying (80 percent) and environmental concerns (75
Providing jobs and options
American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President William Millar
said, “We strongly support the government’s commitment to
implementing high-speed rail. It will provide more options for travelers, as
well as create jobs and be a strong boost for the local economy.”
APTA proposes that Congress invest $50 billion over the next six years in
high-speed rail. The association says the investment during that time frame,
along with $123 billion in public transportation investment, will help
support and create 6.2 million jobs.
The survey of 24,711 adults, was conducted for APTA by Synovate, a leading
market research firm.
APTA is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public
and private member organizations engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit,
light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne passenger services and
To learn more, visit www.apta.com or
call (202) 496-4800.
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And Money: Fly Yourself
(NAPSI)-Americans of all ages and stages of life have become airplane
pilots. If you’ve ever dreamed of joining them, there could be good
news for you.
First, whether you use it for business or for pleasure, having your own
pilot’s license can help you avoid the costly delays, annoying
restrictions and risk of lost luggage that can come with having to take
Next, it can be easier to achieve than many people realize. Here are a few
of the myths that can keep people grounded and the facts that may let them
Myth: I don’t have the time and money.
Fact: While learning to fly isn’t quick or inexpensive, you can set
your own pace and pay as you go. The total cost generally runs from $5,000 to
$9,000, depending on the type of pilot certificate. The FAA sets flight-hour
minimums for each certificate. Training for a private pilot certificate
typically takes between 40 and 70 hours, which can be spread over several
months to a year or more.
Myth: Once I get my certificate, I can’t afford to buy an aircraft.
Fact: Most pilots don’t. As with cars, there are plenty of options,
from renting to leasing to fractional ownership (think timeshare for an
airplane). Find the option that suits you and fly with it.
Myth: I’m too young or too old.
Fact: There’s no minimum or maximum age requirement for taking
lessons. But you do have to be at least 16 before you can solo an airplane (14
for a glider) and 17 before you can be issued a pilot certificate. A student
pilot doesn’t mean you have to be young in age, just young at heart.
One group, United Flying Octogenarians, is only for pilots 80 or older.
Myth: I won’t pass the medical requirements.
Fact: You don’t have to have superpowers to be a pilot. Don’t
have perfect vision? It’s all right to wear contacts or glasses. Color
blind? No problem, you can still fly during the day. Missing arms?
That’s okay, fly with your feet. Don’t believe it? Check out
Jessica Cox, the first person without arms to obtain a pilot certificate.
Also visit AbleFlight.org for more
information on learning to fly with physical disabilities.
Myth: It’s too hard to begin.
Fact: Getting started is easy. Visit www.LetsGoFlying.com,
an initiative of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association—the
world’s largest civil aviation association—for a wealth of
information on learning to fly and a database of more than 3,500 flight
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Different Vacation And Getaway Ideas
(NAPSI)-One of America’s
favorite vacation destinations, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, offers new and exciting
attractions for vacationers and weekend visitors.
The $10 million attraction combines the traditions and history of
Appalachian timbering with modern-day lumberjack athletic competition. The
1,000-seat Great Smoky Mountains Lumberjack Feud will feature a picnic meal,
a story line about two families feuding over timber rights, tree-climbing
clowns, log-pulling horses, log-rolling bears, chainsaw carving, fishing
contests and genuine competition between professional timber athletes.
For more information, visit www.LumberjackFeud.com.
Hatfields and McCoys
The Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud and Stunt Show opens this spring in
the building that has housed the popular Black Bear Jamboree dinner show
since 2002. It is a new, original show loosely based on the true story of the
famous Hatfield and McCoy feud. The audience will be divided into Hatfield
and McCoy seating areas, and the audience participates in the good-natured
Dollywood’s $5.5 Million Barnstormer Ride
Dollywood opens its 26th season with
the Barnstormer ride, a $5.5 million family thrill ride in a barnyard-themed
Taking its name from the daring aerialists and stunt pilots of the 1920s,
the Barnstormer features two pendulum arms with seating for 32 riders. Seated
back to back, riders travel progressively higher on each swing, reaching 45
miles per hour and 230 degrees of rotation. For more information, visit www.Dollywood.com.
By the Ropes at WonderWorks
WonderWorks, the upside-down “amusement park for the mind,” has
added the Space Walk Challenge, one of the nation’s largest indoor
ropes challenge courses. It’s a three-story, glow-in-the-dark course
with 45 obstacles. Because it is indoors, it offers a weatherproof challenge
for families all year long.
For more information, visit www.WonderWorksTN.com.
Memories Theatre Moves Along
Memories Theatre, a mainstay of Pigeon Forge’s entertainment scene,
is relocating to a different Parkway building—and Elvis, Willie Nelson,
Tom Jones, Patsy Cline and the rest of the cast will continue singing.
Information about all aspects of Pigeon Forge is available online at www.MyPigeonForge.com or by calling
toll-free to (800) 251-9100.
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Industry Revives Interest In Management Courses
(NAPSI)-When deciding on a major, more students may soon focus on careers
in healthy industries, such as spa management.
According to the International Spa Association, the spa industry generates
over $12 billion in revenues each year and there are over 20,000 spas in the U.S.
Despite the healthy growth of the spa industry, currently, only three
universities provide bachelor’s degree programs with a spa management
At Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), the spa management program is
offered in conjunction with the university’s Resort and Hospitality
Management Bachelor of Science degree.
Students receive a traditional food, beverage and lodging hospitality
education, as well as learn the complex management skills needed to operate
the recreation facilities and services of high-end resorts and private clubs.
To receive the Spa Management concentration, students also complete five
spa courses, including spa operations, wellness and healthy cuisine,
treatments and services, and spa client experiences.
Beyond the coursework, each student will complete three internships in the
industry before completing the degree.
FGCU’s campus is located on 760 acres in the heart of Southwest Florida’s hospitality playground of
high-end resorts and private clubs. The University’s Division of Resort
and Hospitality Management now has its own building, Herbert J. Sugden Hall.
To enrich the student’s experience, Sugden Hall recently opened the
first-of-its-kind campus spa laboratory. The lab is equipped with two dry
treatment rooms, a wet treatment room, including a Vichy shower, hair and nail salon, locker
facilities, retail space and a wet area, including steam, sauna and
Dr. Mary Wisnom, coordinator of the program, worked with spa industry
leaders and professionals to create the working-model spa lab.
If you would like more information about FGCU’s Spa Management
Concentration, contact Dr. Mary Wisnom directly at (239) 590-7854 or visit http://cps.fgcu.edu/resort.
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