Friday, May 04, 2012

We've added a new friend for Davenport since he lost his beloved pal, Phoebe, a few years back. Meet Sweet Pea, who very often is called Phoebe by mistake. It's just easier to say! Sweet Pea is a rescued dog who came to us in December, 2011 at 14 months old, from a rescue organization in Rochester, NY. This will be her first summer in Maine and Davenport will be in charge of showing her the ropes. I anticipate that she'll get wet, a lot, falling out of the kayak, slipping off rocks, etc. She'll be available for oohing and aaahing by cruise ship patrons, visitors to Acadia National Park's loop road, and on our road where people pass by all day long, jogging, strolling, and bicycling.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

NCL Crluises - Book Early, Be Happy! Group Formed for Unique One-Time Itinerary

Book one of many NCL cruises for 2012-13 and get free upgrades, shipboard credit and a reduced deposit! But the deadline is August 14!!


When: begins on September 16, 2012
Duration: 14 days
Departure Port: round trip from Copenhagen Denmark
Countries/Ports Visited:
Faroe Islands
Dublin (Ireland)
Glasgow (Scotland)
Ship: Norwegian Sun

Join the group, get some perks, plus all the above mentioned freebies if you book by August 14, 2011, take the rest of the year to pay for your trip! Can't get much easier!!

Call Geri 315 337 6463, or write

Monday, May 16, 2011

2 for 1 River Cruises this summer + Free Air!

11 days - Budapest to Bucharest
Jun 24, 2011
Original fare: $6,399
Now: $3,256
per person
(Cat C)
from Boston, Newark, New York, Philadelphia
or Pittsburgh

Grand European Tour
15 days - Budapest to Amsterdam
Jun 26, 2011
Original fare from $10,399
Now: $5,312
per person
(Cat C)
from Boston, Newark, New York, Philadelphia
or Pittsburgh

Contact Geri at 315 337 6463, or email:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Off Broadway hotel a hit with me!

When I travel from upstate NY to the City for a few days, I like to take the train down. It really beats driving into Manhattan with a stick.

What I like even better is a good deal on a hotel that doesn't skeeve me out.

I have stayed for many years at the Carlton Arms on the corner of E. 25th and 3rd Avenue. It's a funky little place with each room and bath decorated by local artists in a variety of motifs, some tasteful, some not so much. It's really nothing to write home to mother, or to anyone else for that matter, but I like it. I like the resident cat, I like to buy some Chinese food and sit out on the fire escape to eat it, watching the people pass by on 3rd Avenue. I like to walk over to Madison Park, the site of the original Madison Square Garden, and get something to eat at the little food hut there. But some time between visits, a pub opened up across the street on the opposite side of 3rd Avenue, and I spent a restless night listening to a lot of unwelcomed noise.

Too, there is no elevator at the Carlton Arms, so it's a schlep up a steep flight of stairs. That's getting a little old as I get a little older.

Traveling with a companion who is not a risk taker and who likes some of the finer things in life, like shopping at Tiffany's, whether she can afford anything or not, during my last visit to the City, I knew I had to find some better digs for us, without breaking my bank.

I found the Hotel St. James on W. 45th St., just a block and a half from the Times Square TKTS booth (7th Av). Now I call that, location.

The hotel, in business since 1972, has recently been spruced up, and is a twelve story, pre-war "tower." But some of the old touches remain like the ornate iron stair cases, and the old fireplace in my room on the 4th floor. I got a free WIFI connection, and the usual hotel amenities: wake up call, cable TV, direct dial phone in my room (none of which the Carlton Arms offers, by the way), clean, comfortable beds, windows that open.

They could get rid of a few touches, like the freight elevator that they use for the second lift to the upper floors. Maybe that's next on the list. Too, I noticed there was no AC in the window that opened. In March, that's not a problem, but in August, it could be.

Next door was a great Dunhill deli for breakfast (try their corned beef hash) or lunch, and a couple of Irish pubs and restaurants completed our block.

The room, with two double beds and a newly refurbished bath, ran about $160 per night. I really couldn't complain, because that was about half of what we paid the last time I was in New York, when we stayed across the way at the Crowne Plaza.

If you're looking for a good location, cleanliness and comfort, a friendly staff who asks you to leave your key with them as you go out and pick it up as you come in (kind of an old-fashioned touch), try the Hotel St. James.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

2 for 1 Caribbean Sailings

Crisp white sails unfurl and stretch toward the sky. Quiet coves and tucked-away
harbors welcome your visit. World-class luxury awaits without pretense, jacket or tie.
With only 148-312 guests on board it feels like your own private yacht — and it is.

This Windstar Cruise offer expires October 31st, so get on it!

7-day Wind Surf from $1,379 pp* (brochure fare $2,759 pp)

November 28*; December 12*, 19 (Holiday), 2010 & January 2*, 16, 30;
February 27; March 13, 27, 2011
Bridgetown, At Sea, St. Kitts, St. Martin, St. Barts, Iles des Saintes,
Pigeon Island, Bridgetown

December 5*, 26 (New Year's), 2010 & January 9*; February 20;
March 6, 20, 2011
Bridgetown, Bequia, St. George's, Mayreau, At Sea, Portsmouth,
Pigeon Island, Bridgetown
December 19 & 26, 2010 itineraries vary slightly.

7-day Wind Spirit from $1,449 pp* (brochure fare $2,899 pp)

December 19 (Holiday), 2010 & January 8*, 15, 22, 29; February 5;
March 19, 26; April 2, 2011
St. Martin, St. Kitts, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke (overnight),
Virgin Gorda (overnight), St. Barts (overnight), St. Martin
December 19, 2010 itinerary varies slightly

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: All fares mentioned are per person in US dollars, cruise only, based on double occupancy in category B and include non-discountable amounts. New bookings made by October 31, 2010. *Fares are valid on select departures only, are capacity controlled and can change at any time. 2-for-1 cruise fares listed are per person, double occupancy, based on 50 percent of published full brochure fares and are included in rates shown. Special 2-for-1 cruise fares are subject to availability, may not be combinable with any other pricing offers, are capacity controlled and may be withdrawn at any time without prior notice. Government fees and taxes are an additional ($25-$310). Fuel surcharge may be imposed over time. Cancellation penalties apply, see brochure for details. Certain restrictions apply. Ships' Registry: Bahamas.

Contact: Geri at, or call 315 337 6463.

Ready to plan a trip?

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
Mark Twain

Give me a call at 315 337 6463, or write to me at

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Think you'll get a better deal on Expedia-type sites?

Being a travel consultant, I get my share of "tire kickers." People who call me and tell me about a trip they'd like to take. They get me to do the research and the legwork, and then they take my information and go book the same thing themselves on sites like Expedia. Sometimes, they even save $20 by doing that. But here are some things to think about before you take advantage of your next travel agent (there aren't THAT many people out there who do it, but I can't deny it hasn't crossed my mind, as well, at times!):

Our tour operators will Match or Beat the price on sites like expedia, so you'll always get the lowest price. And sometimes, our prices are lower than "theirs".

Remember, there are:
* No guarantees with Expedia-type sites
* Expedia rooms are not guaranteed, people can be “walked” to another hotel.
* On Expedia, the client has to pay in full at time of booking, whereas with our agency, there is often a payment option.
* If the price goes down, Expedia-type sites will not call you and tell you. And the guarantee on Travelocity, that if someone books the same EXACT flight as yours and the price goes down, you'll get a refund, is nice, but it rarely happens. For example, how likely is it that if you book a flight from Raleigh, NC to Bangor, ME, going through LaGuardia in NY, that someone else is going to book that exact same flight on Travelocity at a lower price? Not very likely. So it sounds good, but there are no teeth in the guarantee. Kind of like the federal government.

As ASTA always says: “without a travel agent….you are on your own”

For example, when the Iceland Volcano happened, who helped those whose travel was booked on Expedia?

Something to think about the next time you want to plan a trip...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Escorted Ireland Tour a good way to get acquainted with the country

One of my favorite places to visit is Ireland. If you've never been, you don't know why the color green is always associated with that country. I'll tell you. Everything is green. Even the roads seem to have a green tint to them!

Sceptre Tours is offering a great deal on an escorted trip, 4 nights, very do-able with our busy schedules. I priced it with air out of Syracuse and with air, accommodations, coach tour, and meals, in April, or in early November, it comes to this: About $1200pp. and all the following is included.


1 night Absolute Hotel, Limerick (4*)

2 nights Killarney Towers, Killarney (4*)

1 night Maldron Hotel Cardiff Lane, Dublin (4*)


Private luxury motorcoach with services of a professional driver/guide

Other inclusions

4 full Irish breakfasts

2 dinners with choice of entree and coffee

Sightseeing including Cliffs of Moher; Ring of Kerry; Blarney Woolen Mills; Dublin City tour

For another $99pp, you can add an upgrade in either Dublin, or Shannon, or both:

Dublin upgrade includes Old Jameson Distillery Tour, Welcome glass of Guinness, dinner and a traditional Fiddle session in the 16th Century Abbey Tavern.

Shannon upgrade includes the Cliffs of Moher visitors center, the Bunratty Folk Park plus Medieval Banquet at Bunratty Castle

Airport transfers are included if you purchase air from Sceptre.

Of course, more prime months are available for travel, but you can save a few hundred dollars each by going off season. I have been in Ireland in late February-early March, and we did just fine, weather-wise.