Monthly Archives: April 2009

Beale Street Heats Up with Hot Sounds During the Beale Street Music Festival

Blues City CafeIf there is one thing Memphis is known for it is the soulful sounds that the city has produced throughout the years, and once again the unique sounds of Memphis will be paid homage with the Beale Street Music Festival. For three days, from May 1 through 3, Beale Street will be flooded with revelers and rockin’ sounds. With the festival just days away, the line-up is set with a number of popular acts making an appearance. Below is a short list of some of the notable performers attending:

  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Elvis Costello
  • George Clinton
  • Medeski, Martin & Wood
  • and More

While this popular event is definitely beginning to pack Memphis to capacity, there are still a number of lodging options available for those planning a last minute visit. Follow this link to browse and reserve lodging options still available throughout the city of Memphis.

Other than music, Beale Street is also well known for its one-of-a-kind ribs. And with the festival taking place on Beale Street, it’s extremely easy to enjoy the Memphis delicacy without missing any of the music. In particular, Blues City Cafe will offer ribs and southern cuisine that will be sure to please the taste buds and provide the sustenance needed to tackle a full day of concert going.

And for those that don’t plan on attending every day of the festival, but are still looking for music oriented entertainment, you’re always welcome at The King’s house. Though Elvis is no longer with us, his legacy is still alive and well, and with a tour of his Graceland mansion Memphis visitors can get closer than ever to Elvis Aaron Presley and his extraordinary life.

Experience the Natural Beauty Surrounding Las Vegas!

Colorado River Raft TourWhile the multi-million dollar performances and allure of quick money may be Las Vegas? bread and butter, visitors looking for a varied vacation will find that the natural areas surrounding Sin City can be every bit as impressive as the neon lights of the city itself. From desolate sands to mighty rivers, there are numerous natural wonders that surround Las Vegas, each providing its own unique adventure during your next getaway.

Death Valley Photo Tour

Located on the border of California and Nevada, Death Valley is one of the most famous deserts in all of North America. From being the home of the Timbisha Tribe to being considered a dangerous obstacle by miners during the California Gold Rush, it has long been an active part of America?s history. And with the Death Valley Photo Tour you will experience the desolate beauty that keeps the area at the forefront of Americana. Along the tour, you will visit the ghost town of Rhyolite, Badwater (the lowest point of elevation in Death Valley), and numerous natural structures ranging from dunes to jagged cliffs. Be sure to keep your camera at the ready throughout this adventurous journey that will take you worlds away in just a matter of hours!

Colorado River Raft Tour

In contrast to the barren sights of Death Valley, the Colorado River Raft Tour will introduce you to the life-sustaining Colorado River. As the name implies, you will raft approximately eleven miles of the Colorado River over the course of nine hours, with notable sights seen including the Hoover Dam. Aside from the Hoover Dam, numerous natural sights will be on display during the course of the rafting adventure for a Las Vegas vacation activity that will completely remove you from the hustle and bustle of the city streets.

Monument Valley Day Tour

The Monument Valley Day Tour offers a comprehensive look into the natural wonders of the southwest as you experience both Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. Depart Las Vegas by way of plane before landing in Monument Valley and exploring the area further by 4 x 4 vehicle. After your tour of Monument Valley, you will continue towards the Grand Canyon as you are shown sights of Boulder City, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and the Colorado River.

Gatlinburg’s Natural Beauty and Faith-Based Entertainment Create the Perfect Setting for Inspiration

Exalt, A Christian Music Concert Spectacular!With the natural beauty and inspiration of the Great Smoky Mountains blanketing the backdrop of the Gatlinburg – Pigeon Forge area, it is no wonder that travelers can find a wide range of gospel and faith-based performances throughout the two towns. Certainly, the uplifting harmonies of these performances paint the perfect accompaniment to the region’s natural wonders, offering travelers a vacation that can refresh the mind, soul and body.

Exalt: A Christian Music Concert Spectacular

Exalt offers travelers a varied, high-energy performance featuring everything from classic hymns to some of today’s top contemporary Christian hits. Throughout the two hour performance, guests will be entertained by the music of Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Third Day, Bill Gaither, Mercy Me and more. Additionally, the venue that houses Exalt, the Miracle Theater, is a faith-based venue, ensuring that your entire experience at Exalt will be a healthy environment for the entire family.

Blackwood Breakfast Variety Show

Those looking for a morning activity that will sustain both the body and soul need look no further than the Blackwood Breakfast Variety Show. Featuring the talents of the Blackwood Quartet, this variety performance offers timeless gospel classics and family-friendly comedy wrapped in a positive message that can provide ample energy for the rest of the day. Furthermore, guests of the Blackwood Breakfast Variety Show are treated to a hearty breakfast consisting of cinnamon rolls, omelets, hash browns, bacon, sausage, and biscuits for the perfect jump-start in the morning!

Travel to the Tropics with a Guided Vacation in Costa Rica

Costa RicaTravelers looking to escape to an untouched expanse of natural beauty will find just such a setting in Costa Rica. Located in Central America, Costa Rica’s geography ranges from sandy beaches and lush green mountain ranges to rugged volcanoes. And with the 12-day Costa Rica – A World of Nature, prospective travelers will find an escorted adventure that will take you through the quaint villages, past local plantations, and into the natural wonders that Costa Rica is so noted for.

The first three days of your journey will see you staying in the city of San Jose. As the capital and largest city in Costa Rica, San Jose offers a modern look into the country through a variety of night life options as well as numerous cultural charms.

From San Jose, Costa Rica – A World of Nature will take you into the natural beauty of Costa Rica with the next two days focusing on Tortuguero National Park. The vivid sights of the rainforest will be presented in picturesque fashion during your time at Tortuguero National Park with sights of interest ranging from the Green Turtle Research Station to numerous wildlife including exotic birds, sloths and howler monkeys.

The last half of your journey through Costa Rica will take you through Sarapiqui, Arenal and Tarcoles, with activities including bird watching, horse-back riding, and even visiting an active volcano!

Those interested in escaping the daily grind and immersing themselves in the exotic locales of Costa Rica are encouraged to learn more about Costa Rica – A World of Nature online.

Potential travelers can browse a variety of guided vacations around the world online as well!

Explore All of New England from Boston, MA

old town trolley narrated tourWhile the city of Boston can offer more than enough activities and sights to keep travelers busy for weeks on end, Beantown is also blessed with a surrounding area rich in culture and history. From Salem to Cape Cod, the entire region has played an integral part in both the history of New England and development of the United States. And with an expansive vacation in the area you can easily immerse yourself in settings centuries old for a unique vacation that will all at once entertain and educate. Read on for just a few ideas on how to expand your next visit to Boston, Massachusetts.

Salem – The Witch City Tour

Along Salem – The Witch City Tour, you will gain an intimate understanding of the tragic events that surrounded the Salem Witch Trials, as well as experience numerous other sights throughout the city that have helped raise it to prominence in a more positive light. Throughout the five and a half hour tour, you will explore the Salem Witch Museum for a broad look into the history of the trials; pass by Hawthorne’s Custom House, as popularized by the book “The Scarlet Letter;” and take a stroll through Abbot Hall, birthplace of the American Navy. While many are drawn to Salem because of its infamous tales surrounding the Witch Trials, those that actually visit will find the city has much more to offer than macabre stories of the past.

Cape Cod Excursion Tour

With a sandy coast, rolling dunes and near constant cool breeze, Cape Cod offers a picturesque view into the natural beauty that blankets New England, and with the Cape Cod Excursion Tour you will find a unique time of sightseeing and shopping that will open your eyes to the charms of the area. A harbor cruise, visit to the John F. Kennedy Memorial, and time for shopping at the quaint seaside markets that dot the peninsula are just some of the experiences offered throughout the Cape Cod Excursion Tour.

Old Town Trolley Narrated Tour – Boston

Certainly, you can’t visit Boston without delving into the current wonders and rich history of Boston itself. And with the Old Town Trolley Narrated Tour – Boston, you will find just such an experience as you travel through Beantown by way of trolley. Sights including Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Beacon Hill, Newbury Street, and Chinatown will all be experienced throughout the tour, with hop-on / hop-off privileges allowing you to depart the trolley at any stop, explore at your own pace, and simply catch the next trolley on the route!

Experience the Splendors of the Nile

ancient pyramids that surround Cairo Travel across the world and through history during your next vacation with the adventurous Splendors of the Nile, an escorted vacation package through Egypt that features eleven nights hotel accommodations, meals, and experiences ranging from exploring the ancient pyramids that surround Cairo to rafting the mighty Nile River. Throughout the journey, you will witness modern metropolis settings and ancient natural wonders for an immersive time of discovery!

Splendors of the Nile will ease you into your new surroundings, giving you time to check-in at your hotel and acquaint yourself with the setting of Cairo. On day two, you will depart for Giza and jump right into adventure as you trek past pyramids and through Memphis, making a point to stop at the city’s 40-foot statue of Ramses II.

Come day six, you will leave the city settings of Cairo, Memphis and Luxor and begin a four-day cruise along the Nile. Along the cruise, you will stop at sites including the Temple of Karnak, city of Esna, Temple of Horus, and Aswan.

Combining intimate looks into the current landscape of Egypt with the country’s rich past, Splendors of the Nile meshes cityscapes, natural beauty and history for an encompassing journey that can help you experience Egypt in its entirety.

Learn more about the Splendors of the Nile online.

Additionally, learn more about escorted vacations throughout other parts of Africa.

Great Fun is Located In and Around Washington DC

knight from medieval times Here’s your chance to get a look at life during the Civil War! You will experience live music, wagon rides, actors portraying key Civil War figures and a variety of other interesting activities, all taking place at Civil War Weekend located in Fairfax, Virgina. The event will take place May 2nd and 3rd. You will learn all about Fairfax’s Civil War history through demonstrations and reenactments. There are many workshops available that pertain to the era, including quilting and dancing. Children will enjoy the number of activities designed just for them such as a scavenger hunt and marching drills. On Sunday, visitors can attend a period church service. Be sure to join Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Clara Barton and other historical figures during Civil War Weekend.

If you are looking for a more “hands on” history lesson, then don’t forget to check out Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Hanover, Maryland. Medieval Times is one of the most famous attractions in America. Take a seat and enjoy a four-course meal that is sure to satisfy your appetite. As you dine, you will be treated to the spectacle of watching six knights competing in sword fighting and jousting competitions to prove their valor and chivalry. This two hour show is appropriate for all ages, and will make you feel like a real Lord or Lady.

If you are looking for something located in Washington, then the DC in a Day Tour is a good choice. This tour will take you to some of the area’s most popular monuments and museums, including the National Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the Capitol Building, the FBI Building and the Library of Congress, among various other stops along the tour. Stop by the White House Visitor’s Center, where you can learn about the most famous house in America. Then see the world famous Ford’s Theatre, where President Abraham Lincoln was shot, and the Petersen House, where he was taken to spend his final hours. You will also make stops at famous monuments and museums like the World War II Memorial and the American History Museum. Whether you’re a local who wants to know more about where you live or a tourist who has only seen pictures, the DC in a Day tour is the perfect way to absorb the essence of Washington DC in just one nine-hour day.

Take A Trip to the Past in Williamsburg, Virginia

susan constant godspeed and discoveryFor a tase of authentic American history, be sure to make it to Jamestown Landing Day at the Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg, Virginia on Saturday, May 16th. Get a glimpse into the lives of America’s first colonists with the 399th anniversary celebration of the landing at the settlement. Activities and events throughout the day will include a cannon salute, maritime demonstrations, replica ships and other special events and programs. In addition to the special events, visitors will be able to enjoy the regularly scheduled excitement at the Jametown Settlement, including reenactments, living history performances, films and interactive activities. Visitors can help carve a canoe, enjoy traditional colonial-era children’s games, engage in arts and crafts and much more.

If you want a better look at the Jamestown Settlement, then you will definitely want to be there for Jamestown Day on Saturday, May 16th. Jamestown Day celebrates the 1607 founding of the colony. Jamestown marks and honors the founding of the first permanent British colony in the United States, which was founded 13 years prior to the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. Jamestown Settlement is a historic recreation of the original landing site and buildings. Some of the attractions include a Powhatan Native village and the fort where the settlers lived, worked and played. Down by the river, there are three ships replicating the original ones that landed. You can also see various exhibits on the history of settlement and life in Jamestown. Jamestown Day involves a range of activities that acknowledge and display the colony’s early life. You can travel the grounds and listen to the traditionally attired guides explain the town’s history and explain what is happening in the surrounding environment. You will see and understand the history between the Powhatan Natives and the English Settlers. After experiencing Jamestown Day, you will leave with a greater comprehension of life in early America.

Take one more step back in time at the Colonial Craftsman’s Faire at Endview Plantation in Newport News, Virginia. The Faire, which will take place on May 16th and 17th, will give visitors a chance to see nationally renowned craftsmen including furniture-makers, spinners, pewtersmyths, basket weavers, dollmakers, weavers and more. These talented craftspeople will be dressed in colonial attire as they offer demonstrations and have a selection of goods and wares for sale. There will also be plenty of interactive family fun and spectacular food. Visitors can also enjoy a living history lesson as Revolutionary War reenactors take you back to 1769 with exhibits that center on family life, military drills and demonstrations. Don’t miss out on this chance to take a look into the illustrious history of America.

Find Time for Weekend Travel

nautica queen cruiseEvery once in awhile, one needs a break from the daily  grind. That’s why the team at Vacations Made Easy has compiled Weekend themed vacation options. Perfect for those times when two days are all you have, these mini-vacations easily compare to week-long alternatives. Whether coastal destinations appeal to you or you find the idea of an excursion in the south quaint, these diminutive escapes will be an impeccable fit for your busy lifestyle.

Try a Midwest trip to Cleveland, OH where you can discover the history of “firsts” this city is known for. Board at a trendy hotel downtown, sail the Cleveland waterfront on the the Nautica Queen Lunch & Dinner Cruise, dine at the Hard Rock Cafe and tour many other historical sights and attractions. Don’t forget to check out other cities in Ohio such as Columbus and Cincinnati where a wealth of similar vacation options are offered.

Perhaps the west coast is more your pace in which case you should check out Sacramento, CA where you can explore the rich art and history of the area as well as enjoy it’s variety of shopping centers.

Have A Grand Ol’ Time at the Grand Ole Opry

Grand Ole Opry House The Grand Ole Opry is both a Tennessee and national landmark. For more than 75 years, some of the best country music stars have graced the Opry stage for its terrific show. The Grand Ole Opry is full of surprises, and you never know when Opry members like Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley and Dierks Bently may stop by for a surprise visit. Be sure to book your seats today to have a chance to be a part of this great American tradition.

As part of the great Grand Ole Opry tradition, fans will have the opportunity to “rush the stage” to get a photo of your favorite superstars and musicians. Be sure to get a good look at the performers as they step into the dark oak circle behind the microphone. This well-worn, six-foot circle was cut from the stage of the Ryman Auditorium, the “Mother Church of Country Music,” allowing performers to stand in the same spot where Patsy Cline made history with “Crazy,” and where numerous other legends made their Opry debut.

Because you’re watching a live radio broadcast, you as an audience member get to be a part of the action. Those listening to the broadcast on WSM 650-AM will be hearing your applause and cheers. You will also get to see the radio commercials performed right in front of you on stage, and see the broadcast “disc jockey” live! There is no editing or voice enhancement at the Opry, just wholesome, old-fashioned entertainment.

Be sure to arrive early enough to explore the Opry Museum, located within the Opry Plaza. Although hours vary, the museum is open prior to the show and features great exhibits dedicated to Patsy Cline, George Jones, Marty Robbins, Little Jimmy Dickens and many, many more! There is no additional cost to tour the museum, which is designed to resemble the Nashville of yesteryear.