An Island Vacation......But which Island?????
1. So, how about the San Juan Islands in Washington State? There are over 172 islands, but the ferries only doc in four of them. What to do? Well, you can take a Segway tour among others, you can swim, and you can
visit a lot of the old attractions such as Old San Juan, for some unique shopping, the Juan Ponce de Leon statue, the old Arsenal, the Palacio de Santa Catalina, whale watching,…..or just find a veranda and relax…..and that’s just a few ideas.
2. Mackinac Island, Michigan. This one is located on Lake Huron and is a car free island, so you’ll be walking, not riding around here. And, just in case you don’t remember, or haven’t seen the movie, the Grand Hotel here was featured prominently in the movie Somewhere in Time, one of the best time travel flicks ever!!!!! With Jane Seymour and Christopher Reed.
This is the place to come and relax in grand style. Lounge on the huge veranda and enjoy an afternoon tea or martini. Dress in your best for dinner, and then enjoy an elegant swirl around the dance floor. It’s a lovers paradise, and it’s waiting for you to enjoy.
3. Padre Island, Texas. Nestled in one of the world’s only hypersaline lagoons (which means saltier than the ocean), the islnd is seventy miles of coastline, dunes and prairies. Doesn’t sound like an island, but it is. Padre Island stretches from Corpus Christi, Texas to the resort town of S. Padre Island. It’s a nesting place for sea turtles and a beautiful haven for almost 400 species of birds. And if you’re lucky, and adventurous, you’ll learn about the old 1500’s Spanish shipwrecks that are reported to be about here and there.
4. Hilton Head, South Carolina. Hilton Head is America’s favorite island, offering 12 miles of pristine beaches and everything you need for the ultimate retreat. Enjoy easy days relaxing in the sun, sand and surf on some of the best beaches in the country. Get into the swing of things with 24 world class golf courses and 350 tennis courts, and experience the island’s rich and vibrant history. And there’s plenty of outdoor adventure —ride horseback through a forest preserve or bike on the beach and moss-draped trails. Don’t miss exploring the island by water and discovering the famous Lowcountry cuisine at over 250 restaurants.
5. Catalina Island, California. Leave all the hustle and bustle behind and return to slower pace of life, the island life. Catalina Island is located 22 miles south southwest of Los Angeles and is the southernmost island of the Channel Islands of California. Santa Catalina Island is made up of two towns, the incorporated town of Avalon to the east end and unincorporated town Two Harbors to the west end. The island is just 22 miles long and 8 miles across. Outside of the two towns is a rugged wilderness with majestic beauty. What do to do here? How about attending the Annual 4th of July Dinner at the Casino Ballroom & Fireworks- USC Marching Band performance, BBQ Buffet dinner in the Casino Ballroom and fireworks from the Casino balcony and watching the golf cart parade on Crescent Ave. Or maybe attend the 58th Annual Catalina Channel Crossing - U.S. Outrigger Championships; the Catalina Island Women’s Forum Wine Festival, or The Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival Or New Year’s Eve.
6. Victoria, British Columbia. Victoria BC is an international destination for people seeking anything from culture, fun and food, to outdoor adventures or vibrant night life. One of the oldest cities in the northwest, Victoria has many charming brick buildings, colourful gardens and fantastic culinary experiences from all over the world. Being on the coast, seafood is both prevalent and incredibly fresh, a must try for any visitors who enjoy fish and shellfish. The harbour-front walkway hosts local artists and draws crowds to watch the talented street entertainers perform during the afternoon and evening. Nighttime casts a magical glow as the water and walkway are lit up by the 3,300+ lightbulbs that adorn BC Parliament Buildings. How to get around if not walking? How about a horse-and-carriage tour, or maybe a double-decker tour bus. On the harbour take a tour boat out to whale watch or go fishing. There are restaurants galore serving delicious fish offerings, amongst other thing; And where to stay……the Fairmont Empress of course. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. The iconic Fairmont Empress opened its doors in 1908 and in May 2017, The Fairmont Empress unveiled the completion of a $60 million dollar transformation experience. And here’s a little more info on the Empress: Afternoon Tea During the summer months the Empress serves Afternoon Tea to more guests than most hotels in London, England. More than 800 people per day come to enjoy a tradition that commenced when the hotel opened January 20, 1908. Celebrity Stays The hotel has long been accustomed to entertaining Hollywood celebrities; Rita Hayworth, Jack Benny, Pat O'Brien, Douglas Fairbanks, Katharine Hepburn, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Tallulah Bankhead, Roger Moore, John Travolta, Barbra Streisand, Harrison Ford and a host of others have passed through its lobby. Edwardian Era Landmark In 1965, there was much debate on whether to tear down what was becoming a faded, dowdy hotel, to make room for a more modern, functional high-rise hotel. One local newspaper warned that, 'Without this splendid relic of the Edwardian era, literally tens of thousands of tourists will never return. "This is the Mecca, this is the heart and soul of the city." The decision was announced on June 10, 1966: The Fairmont Empress would not be demolished. Instead she would embark on a $4 million campaign of renovation and refurbishment, playfully dubbed 'Operation Teacup.' The walls of the hotel contain stories of unusual guests and employees. In 1987, a woman wrote about her wonderful stay at The Fairmont Empress and asked if other guests had received a similar late night visitor: a little girl who had watched over her bed and then floated across the room. There are also the stories of an early 20th century maid, who shows up now and again on the sixth floor to help with the cleaning. Royal Visits Throughout its history, The Fairmont Empress has played host to kings, queens, movie stars and many famous people. In 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales, waltzed into the dawn in the Crystal Ballroom - an event considered by Victorians to be of such importance that almost 50 years later, the obituaries of elderly ladies would appear under headlines such as, 'Mrs. Thornley-Hall Dies. Prince of Wales Singled Her Out.' In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed at The Fairmont Empress as part of their cross Canada Royal Tour. It was the first time in history that reigning monarchs had visited Victoria and stayed at The Fairmont Empress. The most recent Royal Visit of HRH Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Phillip was in 2002. Prince Charles and Camilla visited in 2009 while the Emperor and Empress of Japan visited in 2010. Royal Restoration In 1989, over $45 million was spent in the Royal Restoration; all the guest rooms were renovated, and a health club, indoor swimming pool and guest reception were added. With an emphasis on craftsmanship, no attempt was made to give the hotel a new image. Instead, the goal was to restore The Fairmont Empress to her original elegance. During this restoration, the Tiffany-style stained glass roof of The Palm Court was discovered behind wood. It appeared the roof has caved in due to inclement weather. The beauty of the roof needed to be restored. Guests now enjoy the sparkle of light on the marble foyer for weddings and special events. The strong emotions The Fairmont Empress evokes in many of her guests and protectors is exemplified in the statement made by an irate gentleman: 'Anyone who doesn't know this is The Empress shouldn't be staying here’.
So, what are you waiting for? Plan your vacation. Visit an Island.