America, Countries

American winners

And we’re all American winners with the US borders reopening in November for UK and EU visitors.

But indulge me a minute to give a shout-out to my old pal Fionn Davenport, Editor in Chief of the Ireland’s Travel Trade Network.

Scroll of honour: Fionn Davenport

Prize guy

Fionn has only gone and won the major international Travel award at IPW, the American Travel Fair.

The only downside is that I wasn’t there in Las Vegas to see him receive it and share the celebrations.

With the British and Irish contingent who did make it out to the US on the International Exemption Order.

An exemption I was granted but which non-Travel writers or special sectors aren’t given.

Go Joe

Honest Joe: Joe Biden

Only from November there will be no need after Joe Biden at last gave us all the news we’ve been waiting so long to hear.

The word on the street is that we could all be over there by Thanksgiving (November 25) which is around the time of someone’s birthday (hint)!.

Irelando: With Fionn Davenport (middle)

While we, the travellers, are licking our lips my thoughts never veer far from our dream-makers, our Travel providers.

So imagine the excitement at Universal (Orlando and Hollywood), Disney (World and Anaheim), American Holidays, Tour America, Attraction Tickets, TUI, Hays.

And here in Scotland Barrhead Travel.

Digging out my new ESTA I already have my five-year visa, but belts and braces, I’m imagining those pancakes at a US diner.

Next stop Orlando

The 2022 renewal of the American Travel Fair is slated for Orlando in May.

But I’m free between now and then (hint!)

A postscript here and a return to Fionn’s award, for his article on California from the Travel Fair in Anaheim which I also attended.

Fionn is a popular name in Ireland but unheard of on the other side of the Irish Sea.

Pronounced Fee-on, it means ‘fair-haired’.

None of which, of course, the editor who drew the pages for an article from Fionn.

And he immediately assumed that it was a mistake and changed his byline to Fiona.

Now we all make mistakes and I’ve made most of them and being that soldier myself I felt for the editor.

Only one Fionn Davenport

Duck Tales: Next year in Orlando

They must have trawled back through the article to see if ladyfying Fionn might have inadvertently changed his orientations.

Thankfully though nothing to alarm the lovely Laura here.

And Lauren too

Prize gal: Lauren Jarvis

And in further breaking news, big hurrah to too another fave of our Travel Pack, international woman of mystery, Lauren Jarvis.

All of which brings me back to American winners, Fionn Davenport, Lauren Jarvis, us Travel writers and editors and our Travel providers.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

 

America, Countries

Snowbirds down to Florida

If little birds fly south for winter then why, oh, why can’t I…

With apologies to Judy Garland who I’m sure joined the snowbirds down to Florida.

In any normal year getting away from the dark and the cold of a Northern European winter to Florida is a no-brainer.

Which is why our Floridian friends would always make a point of getting me and my Travel professional friends out there then.

HINT, HINT, HINT?

American Holidays know me only too well… and you too.

And they are luring us (it doesn’t take much) back out to the Sunshine State with this goodie to sample.

Now President Biden is making positive noises.

He is vowing to have all American adults vaccinated in the next few months.

And vaccine passports on the way, with me with my ten-year American visa in place, then I’m all good to go.

Awelando

Love a duck: At Epcot Centre, Florida

And both these offers have Orlando at their heart.

They have a ten-night getaway to Orlando and Daytona Beach.

We know about magical Orlando but what about Daytona...? Well, for starters, it has 23 miles of sandy coastline.

And that means watersports… so a deep breath, hold your nose and jump in.

There’s paddle boarding, surfing, kayaking and parasailing.

With the last of those the only one I’ve not failed at, and only because I’ve not tried it.

Florida winter sun

I’m safer on a watching brief, checking out the dolphins and manatee on a tour.

They also recommend renting a bike (no guarantee of me not messing that up) and experiencing the thrills of the Boardwalk & Pier.

And tour Daytona International Speedway… and remember this is a state that loves its thrills.

While if you just want to take it all in from up above then climb to new heights at Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

Tuck in: Biscayne in Miami

Check out the package Orlando & Daytona Beach,which comes in at, from €999pp

Areeba to Mexico

And don’t shoot me but I’ll be hoping to spend this December in Florida like I have before… and looking out over to the Gulf of Mexico.

Miami is always a must-see and you can spend three nights in the Art Deco city while also taking in South Beach, one of America’s best loved beaches!

Colourful Miami

Spend time exploring the sultry neighbourhood of Little Havana, home to a large Cuban community, and it’s not the one I thought it was, Biscayne.

If you’re not partied out (and even if you are) then take in seen nights all-inclusive in Mexico.

So you’ll be back in the water for those wet sports.

But if you prefer a shot of culture (and Tequila) then explore the Mayan archaeological sites, including the ruins at Tulum.

Then there’s tbe pyramids at Uxmal and the temple of Chichen Itza, one fo the New Seven Wonders of the World.

The package comes in at €12399pp.

 

Africa, America, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Europe, Ireland

Water waterfalls

Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Please stick to the rivers and lakes that you’re used to – TLC

Only I do go chasing waterfallsor rather they go chasing me.

And probably you too… after all they are a staple of your holiday day tours.

Angel’s from heaven: In Venezuela

But like rivers and lakes usually once you’ve seen one then you’ve seen them all.

Chasing rainbows: Niagara Falls

The must-sees are obviously Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls and Angel Falls.

The Big Three

The first of them I have ticked off in Canada on a trip to see family in Toronto.

The second on the list is with my friends from Ethiopian Airlines en route to Namibia.

Victoria tall. www.victoriafallstourism.com

While the third in Venezuela I’m inching closer to having acquainted myself with the Venezuelan Spanish ladies of Tobago.

Not all waterfalls have to have come down from the highest heavens.

Caribbean scream

Nor do they have to be at a neck-craning height to be blessed by the gods.

Water world

As I discovered in Kythera in Greek Attica.

Keeping dry in Kythera

Whether you’re gazing on nature’s wonders among the world’s great mountain ranges such as the Pyrenees

Rockie waterfall high

In the valley of the Rockies. cruising through the fjords.

Or with the sun on your back in the Caribbean waterfalls are one of the Gods’ gifts.

There are trolls up there in the fjords

Unless, of course, it’s Powerscourt’s waterfalls in my old back yard of Co. Wicklow in Ireland which you have to pay for.

Power of Powerscourt

Powerscourt, its gardens and splendid hotel and grounds and best-value restaurant is one of the country’s jewels.

Spray that again

All of which waterfall waffling brings me to the subject in hand, an invitation from one of the best Travel providers in the business.

Monty zoomer: Montmorency

American Holidays are flagging up their Canadian market and as well as Niagara Falls, the less well-known Montmorency Waterfalls.

The Montmorency Falls in Quebec are actually 30m higher than its much-vaunted Ontario neighbour.

You can decide for yourself which you prefer on your nine-day tour of Canada’s great Eastern Cities.

Toronto A

Where you’ll spend three nights each in Toronto, Montréal and Quebec.

You’ll fly from Dublin to Toronto and return from Montréal from €1539pp.

MEET YOU BY THE WATERFALLS

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Ireland

Empire Skate of Mind

I got a pocketful of dreams, and memories, an Empire Skate of Mind ,… with Daddy’s Little Girl.

I wonder if Jay-Z and Alicia Keys could do anything with it.

The Rockefeller is an institution in the city that never sleeps with many a movie set here.

Me and Daddy’s Little Girl are in there somewhere

And I do think Tom and Meg, who had their lovey/-dovey scene here, should reprise Sleepless in Seattle with Sleepless in the Big Apple.

For all the movie gen you need get on the full tour.

The Rockefeller is where New York is at its most festive with the best fir in the city, and the Rockefeller Christmas Tree is where you’ll want to look for your present.

The tree dates back to 1931 when all the workers pooled their money to buy a 20fr tree while their families garlanded it.

And yes you would think someone as rich as Rockefeller would have put one up out of his own pocket!

The old tree in the Thirties

The joys of a Christmas New York City will be confined to all you New Yorkers this year.

In previous years it has been something of a tradition to go Christmas shopping in Manhattan… from Ireland.

And with optimism over the roll-out of a vaccine.

And our hard-working dream-makers (our travel companies) putting trips together for 2021, it’s time to plan.

The United Skates

American Holidays have a four-night trip to NY in November from €799pp.

Staying in the Doubletree Metropolitan by Hilton, based on two sharing.

Shop til you drop

And with return flights from Dublin to New York.

When all those mad shoppers will be back from Ireland and the island next to it.

And yes The Scary One has forewarned me!

GET YOUR SKATES ON

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – Lobster for Thanksgiving

It was a time of plague and pestilence when frontiersmen reached out to new peoples in an act of trust.

And it is the best of America, its Thanksgiving Day.

Clouded in myth from what I can see there are two main contenders.

The 1619 religious feast on the English Puritans’ arrival in Berkeley Hundred, Virginia.

And the 1621 shared harvest meal between the settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts and the Native American Wampanoag people.

Mass gathering

The indigenous people had helped the incomers get through the previous harsh winters.

The feast is akin to a Christmas meal with roast turkey the centrepiece.

And didn’t we all see the turkey get a pardon at the White House last week?… they’re coming back for the bird today.

But while you may go for turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, and cranberry sauce if you want to be really authentic then here’s how to party like it’s 1621.

Walk like a Puritan

And If you want to walk like a Puritan then you need to get your hands on waterfowl, venison, lobsters, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin snd squash.

Now because Thanksgiving is a celebration of Settler and Native-American unity, a fairly rare occurrence these 500 years let’s focus on the First Nations.

And other than getting out on a reservation (and I will) their representative body and my pals, AIANTA are the folks to go to for everything you need to know.

While the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC is the Smithsonian Museum which chronicles their history.

The pipes of peace: In Denver

The American story belongs to all those who have settled, been settled or resettled including more than a couple of Murtys and McNultys (my Mum’s people).

While not all got out to the Wild West, I did, as did Buffalo Bill Cody and his Plainsmen. Chief Sitting Bull was already there.

Wild West Road Trip

My friends at American Holidays know the way already.

And they are offering a Road Trip through Wyoming and my fave Colorado, who both claim Buffalo Bill’s bones, the two Dakotas, Montana and Utah.

All from €1499. They’ll give you 15 days RV rental with unlimited mileage, flights from Dublin to Denver and return from Salt Lake City.

With two nights in Mile High City, Denver, before your trip.

Buffalo Bill’s graveyard: Golden, Colorado

You’ll also get a Vehicle Provisioning Kit of cookware, crockery and utensils.

And personal kits for four people – bath towels, pillows and bedding.

And maybe in the spirit of Thanksgiving leave room for some lobster, venison, waterfowl and pumpkins.

Adventure, America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

Orlando’s Dinosaur Rollercoaster

What do you get when you cross a paleontologist with a coasteroligist? Universal Orlando’s VelociCoaster that’s what?

Great news from our old pals in Florida that the coaster we’ve been we’ve been waiting a year for is ready and snarling.

Jurassic Park VelociCoaster will roar into life next summer and we’ll be first in line.

But let’s go back in time for a minute… to Spring 2019 when I met Veloci at A VIPs event in Universal Studios Hollywood.

Hello sailor

Maybe not at my best having shaken off 24-hour sickness bug to make my meeting.

Although, I wasn’t quite ready for rollercoasters then – and I know you have to be at your fighting weight from my past visit to Orlando.

You want a sneak preview of VelociCoaster… well, that was it.

A world of wonders

I caught the rollercoaster bug on a mostly-Irish trip there… Irelando, if you will.

And have been back there and up the road to The Donald’s place.

So here’s what our holiday providers have lined up for for us for 2021…

The American Holidays Hot Offer is a seven-night Universal Orlando Resort Stay including Park tickets from €975pp.

And, of course, you’ll get the run of three theme parks and a water theme park.

Harry’s Hollywood

You’ll have a wizarding time, we promise you.

Contact Tour America who have been serving you for 25 years which is all the recommendation you need and they’ll sort out your beat deal.

While I would always direct you to Attraction Tickets who took this young dinosaur to Orlando and then Hollywood.

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Adventure, America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Flying, Ireland

Crazy Horses

You know you’re in the Wild West when you see wild horses thundering across the Grand Canyon.

And look out from The Buffalo Bill Grave and Museum at Lookout Mountain at the Great Plains where he once roamed.

The wide open spaces, the freedom, the clean air, the sanctity of nature, the conservation of the animals on whom their very survival depended.

Bandanaman and Issy in Clark, Colorado

It’s how people lived for centuries in these lands before we found ‘a better way’.

I have my Native American headdress on (though not literally though I did have one as a kid), having signed up for the virtual conference from New Mexico next month.

Buffalo Bill’s grave

It’s just that this COVID business has reminded us all to reconnect with the earth.

All of which you’ll find on an Escorted Tour with your American Holidays

Take their Canyon and American Lands Adventure for 2021.

TV broncos star: In Broncos’ Stadium, Denver

Kick it off in Vegas before departing for Zion National Park and hike Angels Landing.

Next up is Bryce Canyon National Park, renowned for its crimson-coloured sandstones, the hoodoos.

On my way to my next million in Vegas

You’ll recognise Monument Valley from all the old movies and here you’ll learn all about its place in Navajo legend.

Travel through the Navajo Reservation to the Cameron Trading Post to pick up jewellery and your dreamcatcher.

Of course you won’t have to wait long for your dreams to come true as you’ll cap off this unforgettable tour in the Grand Canyon.

The First Americans

Watch it from the rim or hike down it… however you take it in you’ll only sample a fraction.

And if that’s not enough Americana for you then you’ll travel back to Vegas along Route 66.

All this for two from €2099. Price includes return flights Dublin-Vegas. Seven nights’ hotel accommodation and tour guides.

America, Canada, Countries, Ireland, UK

Happy Fourth of July

Who’d have thought it? The Fourth of July today is as big a cause for celebration (if not more) here in the UK than it is in America.

I did, of course, tell you months ago that today would be the exact day that we would be coming out of lockdown in the UK (except for Scotland, doh!).

And not just in the last couple of weeks but as long ago as April 21 Wuhoo Wuhan.

Still, when all is said and done I would still prefer to be in the Oo Es of Eh today than anywhere else.

As big an Americanophile as I am I have never managed to time it so that I am there on the Fourth of July, nor for Thanksgiving either but I aim to put that right as soon as I can.

My Travel professional friends are projecting 2021 as the year when travel to America will have begun… and see what I’m doing there giving them the slogan…. We’ve Begun in ’21.

So have a nice day and my gift to you is these American dreams courtesy of our pals, the Travel providers:

American Holidays http://www.americanholidays.com has instilled some much needed confidence with their ‘Book with Confidence’ and ‘Travel with Confidence’ initiatives.

And they have backed that up with an expanded portfolio of itineraries to the West Coast, Deep South, Canada, Road Trips and Mexico.

Something for everyone

Now some say the West is Best http://www.visitcalifornia.com and https://disneyland.disney.go.com My Weekend With Marilyn and Stair Wars.

While others that it’s the Beautiful South https://www.deep-south-usa.com and The Promised Land, The Story of the Blues and The King of Kings – Jim Murty’s TravelTravelTravel.

And you can make a great Road Trip out of either and any number of zig-zags across the continent.

Canada has been in full flow all week as they celebrated July 1 with a virtual Canada Day and Irish landmarks went red in unison. And don’t think they’ve stopped because it’s now the American national holiday.

Deal me in!

American Holidays also bring you Mexico with a bit of Miami Fort Lauderdale and Miami – a tale of two sittings and https://www.miamiandbeaches.com thrown in which is always the best way.

Here’s something to get your teeth into for ’21:

Miami and Mexico, February 2021: Spend three nights in hip Miami, taking in Little Havana, South Beach and Miami Beach before kicking back and enjoying seven nights all-inclusive in Mexico. From €1849pp.

Attraction Tickets (http://www.attractiontickets.com): These are the guys to go with for Disney, either in Anaheim or in Orlando https://www.disneyworld.co.uk and http://www.visitorlando.com. Also see Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital and Why I love The Donald.

And they have a Disney and Universal Combo Ticket for £757 for adults and £727 for a child. And you’ll have a wizarding time too or you can Eat My Shorts… See off Voldemort, then for a beer at Moe’s and https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us.

For glitz-seekers America is all about New York www.nycvb.com and Las Vegas www.lvcva.com and Tour America know it. As well as all the other great offers they have they can give you.

Hit The Strip in Vegas, from Sunday, January 31-February 4 is from €435pp, based on two adults for four nights sharing one room at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino.

While they’re confident that they can get you over to New York before the year is out.

The Carvi Hotel is from €546pp, based on four adults for four nights, Tuesday, December 1-4.

See http://www.touramerica.ie and Strip… the light fantastic and Old New York: Hamilton.

Where is your favourite place in America? Let us know and we’ll share.