Belmond Royal Scotsman, Edinburgh

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If you haven’t yet spent an entire vacation aboard a moving hotel-train hybrid, you’re missing out. The Belmond Royal Scotsman is a once-in-a-lifetime intimate travel experience comprised of private cabins, a cool, lounge-like observation car, and a spa; the train accommodates just 40 passengers and makes great stops along the journey through the Highlands. You can design your own itinerary, choosing from excursions like the Strathisla Distillery in Keith, the Rothiemurchus Estate for some clay pigeon shooting, and of course, an opportunity to explore a giant castle or two in true Scottish fashion, plus much more. This beautifully designed time machine will sweep you off your feet, both figuratively and literally.


Racing across the U.S. to see as many sights as possible isn’t always the best thing to do with kids on a road trip. There is a lot to see in the state of Arizona. No matter if you are passing through or on a cross-country road trip  across the country a stop at the Grand Canyon is a must. Even if you only have  a morning to check it out.

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Start out your Grand Canyon adventure on the South Rim pull into the parking spot outside of Yavapai Lodge in the park. This will be your home for the night. 


El Tovar Hotel is the place to stay in the Grand Canyon. As one of the Fred Harvey Company hotels opened in 1905, it is still considered one of the top park lodges in the nation. You might get lucky enough to snag a room before it is booked up, but if not, you could have breakfast there. 

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Here is an example of a trip prepared by one of our travel planner/advisors. This is a very basic plan. A more detailed plan would have reservations to any and all events you would be attending during your stay, including dinners.  If you think we can be of help for any of your travel needs contact one of our travel planner/advisors to help you plan your next adventure. Exampleimg_4284-25


Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, yet is is much less frequently visited than its northern neighbor, the thriving metropolis of Auckland. Still, Wellington is worth the visit, not only for the sights within the city, but for it prime position as a jumping-off point to explore some of the more remote areas of New Zealand. From there, you can easily travel to the areas of Martinborough and Cape Palliser, or join in on a Lord of the Rings-themed tour.

Seal pups at Cape Palliser. Photo courtesy of Rolf Hicker.

Cape Palliser is a gorgeous spot not far from Wellington, at the very southern tip of the island. It boasts a lovely lighthouse (the climb is steep and tiring, but worth it) and a large population of fur seals that sun themselves on the coast. Visit in summer to see seal pups—they’re insanely adorable, and playful, too. The drive out to Cape Palliser itself is worth the trip, as the approximately hour’s journey takes you along some sheer, but stunning, rock cliffs. For nature lovers, the cape is not to be missed.

The Hobbit holes at Hobbiton are a permanent attraction, easily reached from Wellington. Photo courtesy of the New Zealand tourism board.

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films have captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people world-wide, from hardcore fans of the book to blockbuster-obsessed moviegoers. While the films introduced audiences to some now household-name actors, the true star was the setting of New Zealand as Middle Earth. Many scenes from the movies were filmed in and around Wellington, and tours frequently visit areas that are known in the hearts of tourists as Rivendell, Isengard and Minas Tirith. 

A charming winery in Martinborough. Photo courtesy of

For a more leisurely sojourn, explore the town of Martinborough, just a short car drive from Wellington; it’s situated in the heart of New Zealand’s wine country, and a dozen wineries are easily accessed from the center of town. This is a great place to walk or bike in, with a small-town charm and some fantastic restaurants. Martinborough is a great place to escape the (admittedly mild) hustle and bustle of Wellington. With more than twenty vineyards in the area, it’s a must for oenophiles; the drive there itself is also a thing of great beauty.

For a different side of New Zealand, skip Auckland, and learn the charms of the south, with Wellington as your depature point. 

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FOR MORE INFO: For complete details on available resorts and dates contact one of our Vacation Guru’s travel planners/advisors.


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An Autumn road trip on the Bridge Ridge Parkway

An autumn road trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Fall is swiftly approaching, and I can think of no better way to experience its crisp air and vibrant foliage than on a leisurely road trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway stretches from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, with dozens of jaw-dropping vistas along the way. It’s a truly gorgeous stretch of the country, and fall is the perfect time to take it all in.

Fall foliage in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Start your trip with a rejuvenating stay at The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia. With a staff-to-room ratio of 4-to-1, this Relais & Chateaux property is full of charm and elegance, and the dining is sumptuous. Spend a day or two here before starting your journey along the parkway, which admittedly will be full of leaf-peepers in autumn. Just acknowledge that you’ll be taking it slow, and soak up the views.

The Inn at Little Washington

Your trip will begin in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, a vast mountain wilderness of oak, hickory, birch, dogwood and chestnut trees. History buffs will want to explore the Civil War history of the area, especially in the town of Winchester, which changed hands 72 times during the Civil War.

Continue on to Roanoke, Virginia, which is home to some great museums on African-American culture and history. The O. Winston Link Museum is also great for its 1950s photography—exploring the museum is like stepping back in time.

About two-and-a-half hours after you’ve left Roanoke, you’ll arrive on the North Carolina segment of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The next major town along the route is Boone, North Carolina. This mountain town is home to Appalachian State University, and it has a laid-back vibe. Go mining for gemstones at Foggy Mountain Gem Mine, or hike at Howard Knob Park.

Howard Knob Park, Boone

Just past Boone, you’ve earned yourself another day of pampering at a stellar hotel. Westglow Resort & Spa in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, is a destination in itself. With 10 spa treatment rooms, plus light-filled rooms for yoga, aerobic workouts and even individual sessions with personal trainers, you’ll be able to stretch out and relax after all that driving. Oh, and the views are spectacular.

The Relaxation Room at Westglow

It may be tempting to spend all your time in this magnificent hotel, but don’t miss the charming town of Blowing Rock. It’s dotted with quaint antique shops, galleries and restaurants. Fall is the perfect season to grab a cup of coffee and window-shop in the town center.

After you’ve had time to enjoy Blowing Rock and the facilities at Westglow, continue on to one of my favorite cities, Asheville. Asheville merits a several-day stay, as there’s plenty to do, including wonderful restaurants, music and shopping, plus the gorgeous Biltmore Estate, as well as plenty of great hiking within driving distance. Stay at the Omni Grove Park Inn (don’t miss drinks with a stunning view on the terrace) or at The Inn on Biltmore Estate.

Omni Grove Park Inn terrace

When you’re ready to savor the last bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway, continue on to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you’ll have even more opportunities for hiking and strolling in the mountains. The foliage will be a stunning end to your drive, and you might even spot some wildlife, including bears, deer, elk and wild turkeys.

Have you ever driven the Blue Ridge Parkway? Any tips for avoiding the crowds during prime foliage season? Let us know !!