Need a Scenic Escape? Try the Poconos


Karen PI’ve blogged before about the Poconos being a great vacation destination for outdoor lovers and adventure enthusiasts.  But, if you are just in the mood for a relaxing getaway and want to simply enjoy the scenery and fresh air, then a trip to Pennsylvania may be in order.

Lake Wallenpaupack (actually a reservoir in Pennsylvania) is perfect for boating, swimming and fishing, but its shoreline also lends itself to hiking and gazing at wildlife.  I spent many summers on its shores with my extended family, enjoying each other’s company and the natural beauty of the area. I truly cannot think of anything more relaxing.

This week on the RCI Blog, we’ll sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have also enjoyed vacations made complete with stunning lakes and natural beauty. Be sure to come back to take a look! Are you heading on a lake vacation this summer? Let us know where by commenting below!

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Montreal – Arts, food, and more!


It’s been years since I visited Montreal, but lately I find myself thinking about planning a return trip to the area.  Montreal is a unique blend of cosmopolitan city life that still retains some of its “Old World” character, particularly in the Old Montreal neighborhood.

The highlight of my trip was a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux-Arts), which features an impressive permanent collection of international art from some of my favorite artists, including Renoir and Matisse.  Oh, and admission to the permanent collection is FREE!  Tip: I would recommend planning to spend at least 2-3 hours here, as there is a lot to see scattered between the museum’s two buildings. You can use the underground pass to walk back and forth.

If you’re looking to enjoy a good meal in a fun atmosphere, I would recommend Crescent Street, which is home to a variety of restaurants and pubs as well as a lively nightlife scene that includes a mix of both locals and tourists.

I hope to plan a trip back very soon! Come back to the RCI Blog this week to read stories and see photos from RCI subscribing members who have visited Montreal and other amazing areas in Quebec. Enjoy!

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Ski Vacation in the Poconos


Karen P. - RCI Social Media and Marketing NewsI’ll be honest, I’m not an expert skier – or even close to tackling a double black diamond trail for that matter.  But I do love a great ski getaway, whether it’s for a nice long week across country (I live in New Jersey) or nearby in the Poconos.

I grew up skiing at a local mountain, but it wasn’t until years later that I planned my first ski vacation at Shawnee Mountain in Pennsylvania.  Shawnee is a great ski mountain for all skill levels.  It seems to be designed for beginners, as most of the trails are a beginner or intermediate, but it also offers a few expert trails as well as a terrain park for more advanced skiers.  If a few in your family or group don’t ski, Shawnee offers a snow tubing park, which is a lot of fun.  Once you’re done with the slopes, there’s plenty to explore in the nearby Shawnee-on-Delaware and East Stroudsburg area, including great shopping and dining.

If you love to ski or are looking to plan your next ski adventure, check back throughout the week to read stories and view photos that RCI subscribing members have shared from their ski vacations through RCI.  You might just get an idea for your next winter escape!

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Florida Keys: A Vacation Gem


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When it comes to vacationing, I’m a big fan of beach destinations.  Cabo San Lucas and the Greek Islands have been my favorite beach escapes… until I explored the Florida Keys!

 

This past January I was lucky enough to visit the Keys with my boyfriend’s family for a weekend getaway in Big Pine Key (part of the Lower Keys), which is about a 40-minute drive from Key West.  Although we only vacationed for a few days, we managed to squeeze in both adventure AND relaxation.

 

If you plan to visit the Florida Keys, I definitely recommend booking a fishing charter.  If you’re an angler, you know that the Keys has some of the best sport fishing in the world!  Although the weather can be somewhat unpredictable in January, we were very lucky to have fantastic weather as we fished for Yellowtail Tuna and Dorado.

 

After a long day of fishing, it can be fun to venture out in Key West to catch the sunset on Sunset Pier or enjoy a delicious seafood dinner.  I recommend strolling up and down the infamous Duval Street to experience the excitement and energy of the city (it actually felt more like a charming town than a big city!).  We had some fantastic mahi-mahi at Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery, which is also claimed to be the Southernmost Brewery in the US!

 

For some relaxation, we spent a day on the public beach at Bahia Honda State Park (http://bahiahondapark.com/) located at mile marker 37.  Peaceful and serene, this was the perfect spot to just kick back and enjoy the natural beauty of the Florida Keys.

 

I wish I had stayed in the Florida Keys for more than just a few days… from what I hear there’s so much more to experience!  Even from just a quick taste, I can say that Key West and the Florida Keys is my new favorite vacation destination.  The beach is never too far away, and it’s the perfect balance of excitement and serenity.  I can’t wait to go back!

 

Come back to the RCI Blog this week to read stories and see photos from RCI subscribing members who have visited the Florida Keys. Want to hear about other Florida destinations? You’re in luck! We’ll be devoting this entire month to sharing photos and stories from many other cities in Florida. Don’t miss out!

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Want a great getaway? Say “Poco-yes” to the Poconos!


Karen P. - RCI Social Media and Marketing NewsI’ve been to the Poconos for more weekend getaways than I can count (I live close-by in New Jersey) and I can honestly say that it’s one of my favorite places to escape to.  There’s something to do all year-round, and no matter the season, you’re almost guaranteed gorgeous scenery.

If you like to ski but aren’t quite a master of slopes, I would recommend staying near Shawnee Mountain in Shawnee, PA.  The mountain is beginner-friendly and the area itself is home to many great shops and restaurants (I highly recommend The Stone Bar Inn in nearby Stroudsburg, PA for some fine dining).

Or, if skiing isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty of outdoor adventure in the Poconos!  The summertime offers perfect weather for hiking, camping, canoeing, and my personal favorite… fishing!  I’ve spent many summers on my uncle’s boat out on Lake Wallenpaupack, an area that offers plenty of fun for families.  If you’ve got little ones, you should plan to visit Claws “N” Paws Animal Park near Hamlin, PA (http://www.clawsnpaws.com/).  Callie's Candy Kitchen and Callie's Pretzel Factory are also two stops that are well worth the trip.

There’s so much adventure in the Pocono Mountains that I’m hoping to escape there for more than just a weekend this year!

Come back to the RCI Blog this week for stories from RCI subscribing members who have visited the Poconos. If you have a story or photo of your own that you would like to share, click here. We may post yours at the end of the week!

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Sun, Sand & Surf… Take Me To the Beach!


Karen P. - RCI Social Media and Marketing NewsThere are so many different destinations around the world that have great beaches, and there’s so much to do both in and out of the water wherever you choose to go.  I’ve been planning vacations near beach destinations my whole life, and I’ve read some great stories from members who have gone on some fun-filled getaways to Cape Cod, Florida, Hawaii, Hilton Head, the Pacific Coast, St. Martin and more.

Recently I ventured down to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for a beach vacation of my own.  Even though I stayed on the Pacific Coast, where the waves are too rough for swimming, we took day trips over to the Sea of Cortez, where the beach was perfect for both relaxing and trying out some water sports (I even took my first surfing lesson!).

Aside from Mexico, there are many other great vacation spots with beautiful coastlines and sandy shores.  Although I haven’t been there yet, I’ve heard that the Canary Islands is a fantastic vacation spot – exotic beaches, European culture and delicious cuisine that combines traditional Spanish recipes with African and Latin American influences.

Just writing about the beach has sent me daydreaming.  Ahhhh… if only I was there now relaxing in the sun and listening to the waves…

This week on the blog we’ll be sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have escaped to the sun and sand for a beach getaway.  Have you been on a fabulous beach vacation?  I’d love to hear about it in your comments.  Or if you have a photo of a particularly beautiful ocean view, share it here on the blog!  It’s easy, just click here to get started.

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Making Memories in Williamsburg


Karen P. - RCI Social Media and Marketing NewsI can still remember years back to when I went on a family vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia. We had received an RCI Guest Certificate from a family friend to use her timeshare, so one week during summer break we packed up our car and headed south. We learned so much that week, and had a lot of fun doing it! Colonial Williamsburg really had a way of bringing history to life for my family and me.

Years later, as I’m doing my own vacation planning, Williamsburg is near the top of my “must-see” (or in this case, my “must-return-to”) list. There truly is something for everyone.  The Jamestown Settlement is a rich history lesson about the first permanent English settlement, Busch Gardens features some of the world’s most incredible roller coasters, and the Mystery Dinner Playhouse will keep you guessing “whodunit”.  If you’re feeling especially brave, venture on the candlelit journey through streets of Colonial Williamsburg and listen to some of the famous ghost stories of the area.

I’m interested in reading about some of your own memories from vacationing in Williamsburg or hearing about places I should visit or activities I should do next time I return. Comment below and share a story of your own, or check back throughout the week to read other subscribing members’ tales of history and adventure in this great destination!

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Timeshares and Family Reunions Go Hand in Hand


Karen P. - RCI Social Media and Marketing NewsI attended my first family reunion 3 years ago and I have to say, it was an experience I will never forget. It was located in the heart of the Poconos in Pennsylvania, and members of my extended family (including a famous magician, who shall remain anonymous!) traveled from across the country to spend a weekend together. Looking back on all of the preparation that went into that weekend, I can definitely see how owning a timeshare can make the planning of a family reunion both easy and fun.

Keep reading our blog this week to see stories from RCI subscribing members who have planned family reunions themselves using their exchanges through RCI. There was even a family that coordinated a reunion for 23 people!

Do you have a story about a family reunion at an RCI affiliated resort? If so, please share your story here!

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