- Donna P. from Washington, NC
I’ve been traveling to Vermont for almost 20 years now and I have so many fantastic memories of my times there. I first started my relationship with the Green Mountain state as a teenager when I used to trek up North in an attempt to find the most rigorous and challenging ski trails. With more than 15 different mountains and resorts, Vermont offers a wide variety of options for all kinds of skiers and snowboarders, no matter what your skill level.
While the winter may be my favorite time to visit Vermont, I’ve also had the opportunity to experience it in the autumn and summer. I can honestly say that New England during the height of fall foliage is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. The views of the rolling mountains and hills, filled with different hues of yellow, orange and red, are quite breathtaking. Vermont is also a great place to visit in the summer. One of my favorite memories was when I visited my sister in July and we spent the afternoon walking the streets of Burlington before ending the day relaxing in a park that overlooked Lake Champlain.
This week on the blog, we’ll be featuring stories and pictures about Vermont from RCI subscribing members. Be sure to check back throughout the week to get some great ideas and information that can help you plan a trip to the Green Mountain state.
I've been lucky over the years... I've lived in some of the most beautiful states in the country. When I was young I lived in Northern California, then we moved to Alaska. I've also lived in Colorado and Connecticut and I've had a job that has taken me to all 50 states... numerous times. Having said that, I think I now live in the best state of all...Utah! You can literally go skiing in the morning and play golf that same afternoon. I love it! And while there are cool cities and towns everywhere in Utah, you have to visit Park City!
Park City is the perfect place - there are three ski resorts within just a few miles of each other - The Canyons, Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley. Each has won their share of International awards. One of the things I love about Park City is its easy access. There is a 6 lane freeway (I-80) that runs right past it and you can actually fly into Salt Lake City International airport and be at any of these resorts within 45 minutes.
Park City has just the right mix of locals and tourists. If you like to shop there is a huge outlet mall out by the freeway exit as well and another shopping center less than a mile away that has new cinemas, the latest stores and good restaurants, too. But the best part of Park City is "Historic Main Street". Park City was built up during the 19th century as a mining town and many of the earliest original buildings are still a part of Main Street. Main Street has a little bit of everything... really unique shops and stores selling everything from your typical souvenirs to high-end furs. There are great art galleries and lots of really quaint, local restaurants, diners, coffee shops and ice cream stores. The one thing you won't find on Main Street is any kind of a chain store or restaurant - I absolutely love it.
Park City is a true, four season destination. I live about 45 minutes away and we play in Park City year round. I grew up in Alaska so I definitely like to hit the slopes during the winter. But I also love photography and, during the spring, the mountains and meadows burst with color as a result of all the spring flowers. During the summer we've enjoyed everything from hot air balloon rides to great rounds of golf and lots of outdoor concerts. Fall in Park City is amazing as all the leaves change colors and everything is blazing in oranges, reds, yellows and greens. This is the time of year that we typically use some of our Points and exchange through RCI to stay at any of their affiliated resorts - we really like The Miners Club at The Canyons.
If you like amazing natural beauty with the fun and sophistication of a classy resort town proud of its history and heritage, you will LOVE Park City. And besides...it seems like the air is always clean and crisp and the sun a little brighter up here. If you haven't been to Park City you really should check it out... and if you have been here, well... I know you'll be back!
This week on the RCI Blog, we’ll be sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have visited Park City. Be sure to come back to read about their adventures!
As we boarded the Scandinavian flight to Östersund from Stockholm to reach our RCI affiliated resort, Holiday Club Åre, a strange sense of wonder washed over me. Sweden consists of tens of thousands of lakes and our picture perfect resort had cottages on the Aresjon Lake and Olympic ski slopes with an extensive network of lifts and pistes as the backdrop. August is the height of summer for the Swedes and with 16 hours of daylight, our town was a downhill mountain bike paradise.
Biking families are armoured in colourful bike gear, children and dog in tow. They come hurling downhill on the rough dirt track on the bald terrain of Mt. Areskutan, the tallest peak in Sweden.
We tried hiking on a dedicated trail admiring the mesmerizing scenery and once the cold got to us we enjoyed the sauna in the room to renew our nerves.
Every cottage can take two bikes from the clubhouse and there are beautiful, dedicated tracks all along the serene lakeside. The club has various activities like table ice hockey, a bowling alley and video games. I especially enjoyed the meandering waters of the pool with Jacuzzis at different levels, a water slide, and different saunas. Our contemporary two bedroom cottage was in Nordic décor with one bedroom, bathroom with attached sauna, a well equipped kitchen, and a lounge with plasma TV opening on a huge deck overlooking the lake. A flight of steps takes you to the upper level where there is a sitting room with a TV and a bedroom with four bunk beds. The resort is attached to the picturesque railway station which has a huge supermarket from where we picked up our groceries.
We walked to the medieval main square called Åre Torg which is surrounded with quaint shops, cafes and restaurants. The ski lift station is also located there. As we climbed up the cable car we saw the town disappear under us and the jaw dropping scenery envelopes you. The cable car drops you at a point from where you take a short trek to Mt. Areskutan and you can sip a coffee in the restaurant. Fierce winds engulfed us and we had to negotiate a steep gradient to get to the summit. Whew! What a view. The spectacular sweep of valleys and towns below gives you a miniscule feeling. We let out a collective gasp as we made our way back to the secure cable car station.
There is a quaint chocolate factory 2 kilometers away where you can taste all the different chocolates they make. In the other direction is the cute town of Duved with a lovely church…
We took an overnight train to Stockholm, a city that consists of fourteen islands connected to each other over pretty bridges, and our hotel was strategically located from where you can walk everywhere without taking any public transport.
We walked to the Bohemian Island of Gamla Stan founded in 1252 where Baroque buildings jostle for space with hip cafes, beer bars and curio filled shops. The narrow, cobbled streets are bustling with tourists. The Royal Palace also on this island offers a collection displaying the vast wealth in more than 600 rooms. Its intention seems to give expression to the nations pride and tradition.
The sweet smell of waffles from a bakery pervades the air. A buzzing bar beckons us to taste the 22 varieties of freshly brewed Sweden beer. I enjoyed the chocolate flavoured beer. We also peeked into medieval art galleries and saw facades of pastel coloured buildings with interesting bistros in their gangways.
Shopping! Yes who can do without that the bubbling pedestrian streets of Drottninggatan (the Queen Street) and Vasagatan, which run parallel to each other. The huge stores of local brands like H&M and Lindex have a good variety. The street of Götgatan and the Sofo area is also lined with an unordinary assortment of trendy stores.
Exhausted with emptying our wallets running through the town shops, we were magnetically attracted to walk towards the verdant island of Djurgården to recharge our batteries. Vast vistas of greenery on this huge island makes you wonder at this space dedicated to cyclists and joggers to have their sport in this breathtaking oasis. This almost gives a center stage position which Djurgården richly deserves. We relaxed under a huge maple tree waiting to change its colour…
The strip of Baltic Sea running in is dotted with medieval gullets, modern yachts, cruise ships and chic cafes on the marina floating on wooden jetties. The backdrop of the church steeple makes it a panoramic setting.
As we savoured our last meal in a lovely, modern Italian restaurant near our hotel called Vapiano, we were enthralled with what Sweden had to offer us and thanked RCI for lovely memories we took home.
- Bina T. from Mumbai, India
Both RCI® Weeks and RCI Points® subscribing members now have the ability to upgrade their standard RCI membership to RCI Platinum membership. Of course, I’m sure the first thing that probably comes to mind is “How much does it cost?” and “Is it worth it for me?” At only $55 USD per year, you shouldn’t have to think twice about an RCI Platinum membership. Here’s why: the membership offers a wide array of great exchange and lifestyle benefits that can more than help offset the cost of the upgrade and simultaneously add value to your RCI membership.
For example, as an RCI Platinum member, let’s say you book two Extra VacationsSM getaways or combine deposits twice; you would earn $50 USD in Platinum Rebates that are automatically credited to your RCI account. That would almost cover your entire RCI Platinum membership cost right there. Plus, with discounts of up to 50% off dining, golf, ski, and more, you’re bound to find great savings around where you live or travel. The savings you make here could surpass the cost of your upgrade.
However, in my opinion, it’s the non-monetary benefits that mean the most, but often go unnoticed. Take Unit Upgrades, for example. This means you can choose to be automatically upgraded from a 1 bedroom unit to a 2 bedroom unit if, within two weeks of check-in for your exchange vacation, a larger unit is available at that resort. Booking a larger unit on your own typically requires more Deposit Trading Power or Points, but with RCI Platinum membership, an upgrade to a larger unit is complimentary. It’s kind of like being upgraded to first class on an airplane. There’s also Priority Access which allows RCI Platinum members to be among the first to access specially-acquired Exchange vacations in cities like Chicago, San Diego and Miami. Staying a week in one of these cities could easily cost thousands of dollars, but with RCI Platinum membership, it’s just the cost of a standard exchange.
To discover more about the RCI Platinum membership or to upgrade, call your RCI Vacation Guide today. Have you upgraded to RCI Platinum membership already? If so, please comment below and let us know what you like the most.
Whenever I tell people I work on Endless Vacation magazine, their typical response is “wow, it must be so fun reading about traveling and great destinations all day.” And the truth is: it is! I can’t help but picture myself sitting on the beach in the Dominican Republic, skiing the fresh powder in Lake Tahoe, walking on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, or taking a zip line in the rain forest in Costa Rica. But I have to admit, every time one of our issues goes to print, I get a little sad that we cannot include all of the amazing photos our photographers take while on photo shoots. And mostly, I am even sadder I am not the photographer taking those pictures!
But, with RCI’s innovation and dedication to being on the cutting edge of technology, I was more than excited to hear I could help bring Endless Vacation magazine to the iPad in its very own app! Working on the Endless Vacation magazine app for the iPad has been fun and rewarding, knowing that we get to show you even more! The Endless Vacation app for the iPad showcases even more photos in each article than in our printed issue. Not only that, we get behind the scenes footage from our photographers and writers and incorporate those videos into the app to really bring the destinations to life. Plus we added some cool extras like panoramic photos, interactive images and maps, audio clips, fun facts, and links to explore more about RCI affiliated resorts – making it even easier to research and book your next vacation with just the tap of a finger.
Just visit the iTunes® App Store and download the latest issue of Endless Vacation magazine onto your iPad. I hope you have as much fun playing with the Endless Vacation app for the iPad as I had working on it. If you find yourself dreaming about catching some rays in St. Maarten, wanting to watch artisans blow glass in Los Cabos, or find the RCI affiliated resort for your next vacation, then we have done our job. Now get playing!
Endless Vacation magazine is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored or otherwise approved by Apple Inc. iPad and iTunes are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.