RCI Blog – Wineries

Jenny DMy first taste of wine was during a Study Abroad trip to Italy. Since then, I’ve been hooked. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting wineries both near (my NJ home) and far (Europe and Australia), and although my tastes have changed over the years (from red to white, from crisp to sweet), my love for this full-bodied beverage has only continued to grow.

I firmly believe that wine brings people together. Each winery experience I’ve had involved creating and sharing wonderful memories with friends or family, through wine tastings, tours or the festive music and good food that go hand-in-hand with the inspiring natural surroundings of a vineyard.

My most memorable experience of touring different wineries was a trip to Australia with my husband’s family. We primarily traveled within Victoria, heading from Melbourne down along the Great Ocean Road through the Otways wine region, visiting different wineries along the way. Each vineyard had its own heritage and produced its own unique flavors of wine and other liqueurs. During our journey, it was a particular treat to visit Shadowfax Winery (http://www.shadowfax.com.au), who offered a tour of their underground barrel hall and the chance to learn more about the art of winemaking.

Come back to the RCI Blog this week, where we’ll be sharing some photos from RCI subscribing members who have also visited some great wineries.

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Colorado: A Great Surprise!

Jenny DBefore my parents-in-law moved to Colorado, I had never visited the state, and believed that the only thing people did there was ski. So when my husband and I planned our first trip to visit his parents a few years ago, I was not very enthusiastic (seeing as my favorite vacation spot is the beach!). Since that first visit, we’ve been back to Colorado many times, and each time there is something new and so very different from my home-state of NJ, that I now very much look forward to our visits.

Once, we visited a little amusement park called Santa’s Workshop, built into the slopes of the Pikes Peak mountain range (that was certainly a first for me).  And don’t be fooled by the name! It is a Christmas-themed amusement park and open from mid-May until December 24. On another visit, we spent time at the Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center, an amazing up-close encounter with rescued wolves of all types and sizes, who even treat you to a serenade at the end of your walking tour! And although I’d never imagined standing next to a rock the height of a skyscraper, I was amazed at the beauty of the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center. The stunning views were like something I’d only seen on the National Geographic channel!

All in all, Colorado has now become a favorite place to visit, and I always leave having seen or learned something interesting and new – and very different from my East Coast roots.

This week on the RCI Blog, we’ll be sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have traveled to Colorado. Come back and take a look!

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The one-of-a-kind experience that is Australia

Jenny DNothing can quite fully describe the one-of-a-kind experience that is Australia. I had the joy of discovering the many varied and spectacular sights that this incredible destination has to offer. From bustling cities to sights nearly unbelievable with their abundant natural beauty, Australia has so much to see and do!

My trip was primarily focused in the area of Victoria, in Southern Australia. We began our journey in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, taking in the city sights and catching a show at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Then, over the course of a few days, we made our way down Great Ocean Road – a spectacular scenic ride down the southeastern coast – oohing and aahing over the natural splendor of the Twelve Apostles. We made the three mile trek through the Great Ocean Walk and then spent a few days on Kangaroo Island (yes, that is truly its name!), where we saw many different types of animals native to Australia – kangaroos (of course!), Wallabies (basically a miniature version of a kangaroo), and a few koalas.

Our journey ended with a week-long stay in the seaside town of Apollo Bay. We shopped at the quaint local shops and dined at a different restaurant each night. We spent hours exploring the miles of sandy white beaches. And on one of our final days there, we climbed up the steep mountain pathway to Marriners Lookout, and were rewarded with stunning panoramic views.  It was a lovely way to end our incredible Australian adventure. Take a look at some photos below from our trip!

We’ll be devoting this week on the RCI Blog to photos and stories about Australia from RCI subscribing members. Have you visited Australia, too? If so, tell us about it here.


Apollo Bay

 View of Apollo Bay


View of the Twelve Apostles from Great Ocean Road

View of the Twelve Apostles from Great Ocean Road


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The Holidays at the Beach

Jenny D. - RCI Updates and Travel StoriesThere are few places I’d rather be than the beach, no matter what time of year. Even if it’s not warm enough to go swimming, I love the sand between my toes, the sound of the waves crashing to shore and the coconut smell of my sunscreen. Quite simply, everything about the beach appeals to me, so what could be better than spending the holidays at the beach?

This year we’ll once again be visiting Galveston, Texas to celebrate the holidays, where we’ll join my husband’s family. Our party will consist of six adults and three kids, ranging in age from 18 months to 6 years. And although traveling with a toddler is not easy, it’s nice knowing that when the plane lands, there will be miles of sandy beaches for him to run and play!

During our week in Galveston, we’ll make daily trips to The Strand to go shopping and enjoy the fresh fish at the local restaurants. Then we’ll tour some old mansions, such as The Moody Mansion or Bishop’s Palace, which are open year round. And since it will be Christmas time, we’ll take in some of the local holiday flair, such as The Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens. No matter what time of year, Galveston always has tons of different things to offer for all different ages and tastes!

Are you traveling for the holidays this year, too? If so, I’d like to leave you with one tip I’ve learned along the way: to make the airport experience easier at this time of year, don’t wrap your gifts until you arrive at your destination. There is not much worse, after all, than watching a TSA agent rip through your beautiful wrapping job!

This week on the RCI Blog, we’ll be sharing photos and stories from RCI subscribing members who have, like me, traveled for the holidays. Be sure to come back or share a story or photo of your own here!

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