Tag Archive | travel

Try It Tuesday – #Travel Tuesday #orlandoFL #hotelpicks

This is another Travel Edition of TRY IT TUESDAY !

Caribe Royale Orlando
8101 World Center Drive, Orlando FL 32821
http://www.cariberoyale.com/

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On our last trip to Disney World, we decided to stay at Caribe Royale. This is an all-suite hotel in Orlando, FL. I chose this location because it was close to Disney, had a free shuttle, and was centrally located to restaurants. Plus, it had free parking. #winning

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We were in room 1840 which was facing the parking lot. Our view was mostly the tops of palm trees, which was fine with me. The suite was set up so when you walked in, you entered the sitting area, then the bathroom, and then bedroom. There are doors that close off each area from the rest. I liked that because it made the room seem like a mini apartment. The refrigerator and microwave were in the sitting area.

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While we had our things spread out over the whole suite, but mostly stayed in the bedroom area. It was easier that way. The bed was so comfortable and had lots of pillows.

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Side note: I got all these pictures from their website and the hotel looks exactly the same in person. That says a lot to me.

We did not use any of the amenities because the main focus of our trip was going to Disney. From what I could tell, there was a nice, large pool where guest were enjoying themselves. There were several restaurants and sitting areas that were occupied every time I passed by them.

Getting our tickets for the shuttle was easy. You have to reserve your shuttle by going to the Concierge desk at least 1 hour before the time you want to depart. The shuttle to go to Disney is free (technically it was included in the paid hotel fee). The reservation is only for the trip to Disney.

You can take any return shuttle. We reserved the 9:30am shuttle and arrived at Disney’s Transportation and Ticketing center. From there we took the monorail to Epcot and were walking through the entrance gate at 9:50. Very easy!

At the end of the day, we went to Disney Springs and decided not to return to the Disney’s Transportation and Ticketing center to catch the shuttle back to the hotel. We got a LYFT ride and it cost less than $10.

You can obtain shuttles to go to other Orlando attractions, but there is an additional fee. Honestly, taking an Uber/Lyft would probably be cheaper depending on the size of your group because the shuttle fee is PER PERSON.

TOW Final Word: Great hotel and loved the location. If you want to go to Disney, but not stay on property, this is the spot for you.

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Ramada Plaza New Yorker Hotel

Ramada Plaza New Yorker Hotel

481 8th Avenue, 34th St. & 8th Ave, New York City, NY 10001

I booked my trip on Hotwire (of all places) and said I was looking for a 4 star hotel with double beds. I used Hotwire because I did not want to spend $300+ on a room. Every other website seemed to want to make me pay through the nose for a long weekend (but I digress).

I chose the area I wanted (midtown Manhattan) and the price I wanted with the amenities I thought best – after paying my hotel was revealed: THE NEW YORKER HOTEL

Fancy fancy! With taxes, we paid $155 per night in NYC in December! I thought it was a great deal for the hotel and the location in comparison to the other options we had.

We arrived about 1 pm and I was prepared to have to wait until check-in at 3pm. Fortunately, our room was already available. Check-in was a breeze. We headed up the elevator to the 20th floor to our room. I like that they have elevators specifically for the 20-40 floors. For us, it was as if every elevator was express. Lobby to 20th with no stops in between.

The room was cute but super small. If you have ever travelled to London, the room size was on par with what you find there for midgrade hotels. Since we did not go to NYC to stay in the room, I was fine with me. It was very difficult to get a good picture of the entire room. Plus the lighting was not conducive to taking pictures. So using the one good picture I was able to take of the one of the beds and your imagination, you can figure out what the room looked like. There were 2 double beds that completely filled most of the room (I stood in the bathroom to get the picture of the one bed). The bathroom was small as well (about as big as an office cubicle). There was a little glass shelf above the sink but below the mirror on which the lotion, soap, and shampoo was placed but there was not much room for anything else. The sink was a pedestal sink with Kohler fixtures. LOVE!

The television was a flat screen on the wall so that took up minimal space. There was a small desk in the room that we could have done without. We spent most of our time walking around it. If the closet had been bigger, we probably would have put the desk in there.

The only drawback to the hotel room was that there was not a lot of power outlets. Given the age of the hotel, I understand but it was still an inconvenience. We all had cell phones, laptops, iPads, and camera batteries that needed to be charged each night. I thought about buying one of those 99 cent power strips but decided against it since I did not want to burn down my room from a power surge. Electrical fire in a confined space on the 20th floor? Yea, I’ll pass. I ended up charging my phone in the bathroom while we used the rest of the outlets for laptops.

Overall, I was happy to be situated in the middle of everything. The A train was at the corner. Penn Station was across the street. Times Square was a few blocks away. There were plenty of restaurant options for every time of day. Duane Reed was across the street for those essential items that we forgot to bring. Even though the room was small, it was comfortable and fit what we needed for the long weekend. I would definitely stay at the Ramada Plaza New Yorker Hotel again.

 

2013 in review: A REALLY GOOD YEAR

When I look back over all the things that happened in 2013, I must say that I am thankful that it was a very good year for me. For my blog annual review, click this link https://amaryllisturman.wordpress.com/2013/annual-report/

– Did my first of many 5k races (Run your ice off) and continued running. Most notably I did a Mud Run and a Color Run. That is saying a lot because I do not like to get dirty.

– Qualified with my tennis team to go to State championships twice and my doubles partner and I won a one tennis tournament.

– Did a lot of traveling with the hubby, best vacay locale: Honolulu Hawaii

– Saw Mumford and sons in concert and it was AMAZING

– Went zip-lining for the first time through the jungles of Mexico and that was pretty cool

I am ready and excited for what new adventures I will have in 2014!

Travel destinations: New York City

Whenever people tell me that they have not been to New York City, I begin to tell them why they HAVE to visit at least one time in their life. Manhattan is 100 cities vacuum packed into an island. Over the years, I have visited many of the places that I recommend for people.

Here my top ten recommended places to go in New York City

Grand Central Terminal needs no explanation. Just go. Stand in the middle of the floor and absorb the energy. People will walk around you as they rush to their trains or out the door.


Rockefeller center is another gathering place for people. In the wintertime, you can see people ice skating in front of the building.
Times Square – Day or night, Times Square is alive and ready to party. As you can imagine, the craziest time to go is New Year’s Eve since the ball is dropping to bring in the New Year. If you want to people watch, just find a spot and check out the thousands of people going by. Take a picture with one of the many costumed characters (see picture of me with Chewbacca), but do not forget to give them a tip. They are not standing out there for their health.
Central Park is a patch of grass and trees in a concrete jungle. In the summertime, you can check out a play in the park.
Empire State Building – 350th 5th Ave (near 33rd Str) Admission $17.61 (during my last visit). Go on a clear day and you can see for miles. It is breathtakingly, ultra-cool.


Ground Zero – 352 7th Ave. There is a museum located that gives a 2 hour tour. Last time I went, the recommend admission is $25. While most of the NYC trip might be fun and games, visiting Ground Zero allows for somber reflection on the senseless lives lost because of terrorism.
Little Italy – It is fun to walk through and visit one of the many Italian restaurants. The food is delicious.
Chinatown – Go to Canal Str and see how good your bargaining skills really are. Never EVER pay the first quoted price for anything off of the street. Even if you think it is a good deal, you can probably get it cheaper. Once you are finished shopping on the main strip, go down the side streets to check out the Chinese herbal stores. I have found the best prices for jasmine tea in one of these little shops. The only caveat is not to wander too far by yourself or too late at night. You do not want to be a target for backstreet crime.
American Museum of Natural History & Metropolitan Museum of Art – I love museums and these are two of my favorites. I can spend the whole day in each. There are many other museums, but if you only have for two, these are the ones to go to.

Broadway or off Broadway for a show. Ask the concierge at your hotel (or google) about the best way to get affordable priced show tickets.

Optional jaunt: Style is the name of the game in the Fashion District off of 34th Street. For any fashionista, this is the place to go to check out what trendy goodies are available. Clothes, shoes, scarves, jewelry. You name it, they have it. When you get your treasures home, you will get so many compliments.

Travel tip: The subway is the most efficient way to travel. Don’t let it intimidate you. Get a map of the subway lines (now available as an app for the iPhone) and you will be good to go. Taking taxis with NY traffic is like giving away money to me. I will say that the subway is not always the cleanest place, but it is not like I go there to eat.

Keep your wallet safe and have fun!

Grits and Groceries – Saylors Crossing

If you don’t know where Grits and Groceries is located, is hard for me to explain. It is in the middle of nowhere between Abbeville and Anderson South Carolina. Yes there is a sign that says Saylors Crossing, but that means nothing to me. All I know is that when I want to go to Grits and Groceries, I have to travel on a two-lane road through a small town called Due West going for some distance through a speed trap at 25 miles an hour. About 15 or 20 minutes on the other side of Due West, there is an intersection with a large chicken statute as your landmark. And this is how you know you’ve reached your destination.

So why would I make the trek into the deep country? For the praline bacon, of course. The praline bacon is delicious. It is scrumptious. It is addictive. It’s sweet, salty, crunchy, and everything you would want a vice to be.

But one cannot live on praline bacon alone. I ordered the big breakfast sandwich. It is basically a couple of eggs, bacon, and cheese on Texas toast. It is way too much food for me, but it was sufficient.

The picture in the top right corner was what my friend ordered. It was rabbit with a tomato based sauce served over grits. I don’t like grits, but I did taste the rabbit and it was good too.

If you want to go to Grits and Groceries, it is best to go in the summer time so that you can sit outside while you eat your breakfast. If you go in the winter time, there is probably going to be a 45 minute to an hour wait because this place is always crowded (and they don’t take reservations). I have talked to people that have traveled over an hour just to eat at this restaurant.

My suggestion is to order the praline bacon definitely. If you feel adventurous, try one of their gourmet specials. Pretty much everything on their menu is good, but something are AWESOME while others are just okay. Did I mention the praline bacon?