NO RESERVATIONS. Anthony Bourdain
The more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough -- to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, at least for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.
NO RESERVATIONS. Anthony Bourdain
We love all inclusive resorts and I’m ALWAYS asked if there are any in the US.
With only one exception, there are no all inclusives in the US. And that one exception is exceptional.
I don’t know why more people don’t know about this place, it’s amazing.
Club Med Sandpiper is located in Port St. Lucie Florida about 45 minutes north of Palm Beach.
It's part of the Club Med group and they know how to have fun.
It’s wonderful. It’s all inclusive. All of your meals, all of your drinks, entertainment, and activities are part of the deal. It’s right there in Florida, no passport needed.
My family spent a week there last June and we loved it. My kids are older, in their early 20’s and we all kept as busy as we wanted to be. We swam, kayaked and paddle boarded. The kids took their turns on the Flying Trapeze. They were just fearless, like they tend to be at that age.
The Club sits on a river about 10 minutes from the ocean, We planned on driving over to Jensen Beach but never made it. We didn’t need to.
The Mini Club Med for kids 4 to 10 years old and the Club Med Passworld from 11 to 17 years old are included in the package. The Baby Club Med and Petit Club Med for the younger ones are available with a supplement. It’s a win win. Everyone has fun.
Lee and I watched our guys play beach volleyball every afternoon with a group their age.
We all visited the Club Med Spa by L’OCCITANE and indulged. When the most demanding thing you have to do after a massage is eat a wonderful dinner, it’s been a good day.
Did I mention the food? Three words, White Chocolate Bread is all you need to remember. They serve this wonderful bread chocked full of dark chocolate or white chocolate, your choice. They serve it at every meal and they run out. One morning at breakfast, some sleepy heads, not mine, showed up for breakfast late, say 9:30. The only traces of this wonderful bread were a few chocolate morsels on the plate. I saw tears in their eyes!
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in about 8 different stations at the Marketplace so believe me when I say there is something for everyone. Crab legs, seafood, steak, chicken, pasta, salads, lots of vegetables and desserts. The white chocolate bread is served at the Bread station so it’s not even considered a dessert!
The Marketplace is buffet style but there are two sit down options too.
I saw lots of families and couples laughing and playing. There was a bridal shower, a family reunion, a girls weekend getaway and one price took care of all of it. That’s what we love about all inclusive resorts. Whether you go for a week or a weekend it's a great way to decompress.
It’s a short 2 hour drive from Orlando, 45 minutes from West Palm Beach, 2 1/2 hours from Tampa and 1 hour and 30 min from Ft. Lauderdale. Easy to get to and once you’re there, just relax.
So I’m sharing my secret, Club Med Sandpiper. It's okay if you tell someone.
Club Med rates now available through Oct. 28, 2018
The first time I saw Belfast was over 25 years ago and it was unnerving.
Police stood behind bunkers and military tanks surrounded the City Hall. Street lights were caged in chicken wire so rocks couldn’t break them. We were on our way to the ferry in Larne just north of the city and driving through Belfast was unavoidable. The war was winding down and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. It wasn’t long after the ceasefire was declared. I always wanted to go back some day but I’ll admit I wasn’t in any hurry. Oddly enough, as the ferry was pulling away from the dock that day there was a beautiful rainbow over the city.
Today is a different story. The tanks and the military are gone and the grim feeling that went with them.
There is construction all over the city. Always a good sign for visitors, six new hotels on the rise. The sidewalks are busy with people. At night the city is just as lively with pubs and restaurants everywhere. And there’s music pouring out of those pubs every night. Let’s face it, a highlight of any trip to Ireland is a night in an Irish pub.
That said, the big deal in town is the Titanic Museum.Voted one of the leading tourist attractions in the world in 2016, it's a must see. The architecture of the museum stands out in the city skyline. It’s very modern but tells the old story behind the famous British passenger liner. The details are fascinating, describing life in Belfast at the time the Titanic was built and the lives of the workers in a multimedia display. Near the end of the tour you’ll actually feel some of the drama surrounding the final moments of that great ship and the 1500 passengers that died when it sunk. If you’ve seen the movie you’ll love it, if you haven’t seen the movie you’ll love it.
But the museum isn’t the only reason to visit Belfast. Plan an extra day to head north a short distance to the Giant’s Causeway, a geologic phenomenon that created some 40,000 hexagonal columns from the earth that according to the Irish imagination resembles a giant’s walkway. Nearby is the Bushmills Distillery where whiskey has been made for over 400 years. (The tour ends in the tasting room!)
A short drive away is the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge suspended 100 feet over the crashing waves and yes you can walk across if you have the courage. Along the way is the beautiful Irish countryside where the 2019 British Open will be played at the Royal Portrush Golf Club.
There are memorials to the “troubles” and they are fascinating but their purpose is to educate and remember those that died in the conflict. While there are still high walls between some of the neighborhoods, the younger Catholics and Protestants work together to build a new Belfast
I didn’t see a rainbow this time but the pot of gold is there, in the city.
I have been in the travel industry for over 25 years, as a flight attendant, travel agent and travel writer. I think all travelers should have the kind of inside information that professional travelers have. The business has changed over the years and those on the front lines deserve a lot of credit. And what they know can help all of us get more out of our travel experience.