Current Cape Cod Favorites

IMG_0186It’s been over a year and a half since my last post, and wow, has a lot happened in that year and a half…nothing that I’m going to get into on here, right now, though.  Maybe someday, when I write my tell-all memoir (haha), but for now, I’ll get back into writing about a few of my favorite things — travel and food. For all that’s happened since I last posted back in January 2014, there hasn’t been a lot of travel, though. Lots of eating, but unfortunately not lots of travel. It looks like my passport will expire before my next international trip, but I guess worse things could happen. I did make it up to Killington, VT for a weekend ski trip this winter, and finally made it back to the Cape last week, though.

Motivated by my need to pay $26.00 to renew my blog’s official “.com” website, here are my current ramblings of Cape Cod favorites:

  1. Affordable motels that aren’t run down, dirty, or out-of-the-way.  Hotels, or more realistically, motels on the Cape don’t come cheap.  You’re lucky if you can find anything for under $200 per night over the summer, so I’m always pleasantly surprised when I find somewhere to stay that is more in the $150-ish per night range, clean, close to the beach, semi updated, and friendly.  The Cove in Orleans is all of these and more.   Conveniently located within walking distance of quite a few shops and restaurants, a 5-10 minute drive to Nauset Beach on the ocean side and Skaket Beach on the bay side, and with beautiful views of the waterfront, The Cove has to be one of my favorite motels.  The room was large, clean, and comfortable; the staff was friendly; and the pool was perfect for a quick dip to cool off after a hot day at the beach or bike riding. I will definitely return.
  2. Perfect beach days.  This one also depends a little bit on luck because no one can predict the weather…or sharks…but we were lucky enough to have some perfectly sunny days.  We enjoyed our time at Nauset Beach and Cahoon Hollow Beach, and only had to stay out of the water for about an hour or two because of “hazardous marine life.”
  3. The Cape Cod Rail Trail.  Need to burn off all those lobster rolls, fried seafood, and beer? Just jump on a bike and hit the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which stretches over 22 miles from Dennis to Wellfleet. We rented bikes from Orleans Cycle, which was a quick walk from our hotel, and rode from Orleans to the end of the trail in Wellfleet and back. Close to 20 miles of calorie-burning fun to prepare me for one of my favorite parts of vacation – eating! On a close to 90-degree sunny day. It was…fun?? And tiring.
  4. Sunsets over the ocean.  Skaket Beach, located on the bay side in Orleans, is a great place for viewing sunsets. Minus the multitudes of bugs that attack you while you’re enjoying the view.
  5. Seafood, seafood, and more seafood.  I’m sure pretty much any place that you visit on the Cape will have great seafood, but a couple of my favorites that I visited during this trip were Moby Dick’s in Wellfleet, where I enjoyed broiled scallops with corn on the cob and a baked potato, and the Lobster Claw in Orleans where I had a delicious lobster roll.IMG_0197
  6. Super fresh Wellfleet oysters in Wellfleet.  I’m not the biggest oyster lover. I mean, if they’re offered for $1 during Happy Hour somewhere I may get a few, but I’m not out ordering them by the dozen.  While at the Beachcomber in Wellfleet, I just had to have some, though. I ordered a 1/2 dozen, and they didn’t disappoint! I even got 1 for free and somehow ended up with 7.
  7. Drinks, drinks, drinks.  What’s vacation without a little booze? I’d say my favorite spot was the Beachcomber, which is located in the sandy parking lots right next to (or maybe above…since the beach is so eroded) Cahoon Hollow Beach in Wellfleet.  The offer the perfect refreshments after a long day in the sun — just make sure you don’t mind waiting a while for a seat at the bar! Their food was delicious, as well, and they offer live music most nights.  I also happened to find some of the best red sangria at an outdoor bar on Main Street in Hyannis. We stopped at Torino for a light lunch before heading to our hotel in Orleans.
  8. Finally, and probably most importantly – relaxation and time away from everything.  Although the Cape is only a few hours away, whenever I’m their I enter a totally different frame of mind and just learn to relax and love life for a few days.  All the stresses of work and life are left behind. I can’t wait to return next summer!

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2014 Winter Olympics at the BCAE

2014 Winter Olympics Logo

2014 Winter Olympics Logo

Doesn’t it feel like we just watched the 2012 Summer Olympics in London? Doesn’t it feel like just a few months ago the Spice Girls were reunited for a few songs and that gymnast girl was unimpressed with her silver medal? Has it really been almost two years? Apparently.

Strangely enough, I can barely remember the last Winter Olympics in 2010…Apparently it was in Vancouver? I do remember one from 1998, though, where young figure skaters Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan were competing for the gold.

Back to the present, though.  This winter the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE) is offering Boston’s only up-close and personal look at the Winter Olympics. In celebration of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, the BCAE is bringing together a group of renowned experts including a former Olympian for a series of unique classes designed to provide in-depth knowledge on the Winter Olympics and its competitions including bobsledding, figure skating, skiing, snowboarding and curling.

The BCAE will turn into Boston’s own Olympic village during the last two weeks of January. The series kicked off on January 22nd, 2014 with Skiing and Snowboarding led by Tom Meyers of Wachusett Mountain. Meyers and his expert staff will gave students an insider’s look at the Olympic sports including what to wear, proper form, what to look for while watching the competitions on TV, as well as the different types of skis and snowboards used in various competitions during this two hour class. On Thursday, January 23rd and January 30th, 2014 Anne Stacy will lead Figure Skating. Stacy, an esteemed figure skating coach, will guide students through the technique, pageantry and beauty of this beloved Olympic sport.  The two-part course will teach students everything they need to know about what it takes to become an Olympic skater including the amount of preparation that goes into a four minute routine, training, the history of the sport, an explanation of the esoteric scoring system, and a demonstration session where students will learn how to do lutz and axel jumps in the BCAE’s spacious ballroom.

On Monday, January 27th, 2014 the BCAE will give students a rare look at curling, one of the most intriguing Winter Olympic sports. Broomstones Curling Club will lead a hands-on Curlingclass, demonstrating the methods behind the madness of this unique winter event. Students will learn the rules, regulations and strategy of the sport, and participants will be given the opportunity to test out their skills with a specially-made curling stone created for dry land demonstrations. On Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 two-time Olympian Peter Donohue will lead a rare discussion onBobsledding and what it takes to be an Olympic athlete. After a career as a world-class sprinter in Ireland, Donohoe turned his sites towards bobsledding and qualified for the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, representing Ireland. This lecture will include notes on Peter’s career, a video demonstration, equipment samples, and a question and answer session about both bobsledding and his career.

For those looking for a cultural taste of Sochi, the BCAE will host aVodka Tasting (chosen as a staff pick!) led by expert Randall Bird onThursday, January 23rd This class will cover production, labeling standards, understanding Vodka bottles, and will of course include a tasting of many Vodkas. Finally, on Saturday, January 25th the BCAE’s Dustin Todd Rennells will present Sochi Succulents: Russian Eating Olympics, a crash-course on preparing Russian cuisine such as blintzes and borscht. These classes are perfect inspiration for Winter Olympic game parties and preparation.

WHEN:            Skiing and Snowboarding: Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014; 6:00PM to 8:00PM; 1 session. $40 / $34 members

Figure Skating: Thursday, January 23rd and January 30th, 2014; 6:30PM to 8:30PM; 2 sessions. $60 / $51 members

Vodka Tasting: Thursday, January 23rd, 2014; 6:30PM to 8:30PM; 1 session. Staff pick pricing: $36 / $31 members, materials $15 (regularly $45/$38 members)

Sochi Succulents: Russian Eating Olympics: Saturday, January 25th, 2014; 2:30PM to 5:30PM; 1 session. $55 / $47 members, materials $18

Curling: Monday, January 27th, 2014; 6:30PM to 8:30PM; 1 session. $40 / $34 members

Bobsledding: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014; 6:00PM to 8:00PM; 1 session. $40 / $34 members

WHERE:          Boston Center for Adult Education, 122 Arlington Street, Boston, MA, 02116

RSVP:             To register visit www.bcae.org or call the Boston Center for Adult Education at 617-267-4430

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Tis the Season…For some fun holiday events in Boston

Pretty lights in Faneuil Hall, Boston

Pretty lights in Faneuil Hall, Boston

With snow starting to pile up, lights twinkling throughout the city, and temperatures dropping, the holidays are on everyone’s minds. From tree lightings, to concerts, to parties with family and friends, to work events, to sports games, the list of activities in and around the city at this time of year are endless.

Here are a select few food and wine events that sounded fun to me. Enjoy!

  • Boston Center for Adult Education Classes on Winter’s Best Brews: This season the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE) is offering Bostonians a chance to boost their beer knowledge with an all-new “Winter Brews” Series. This three class series led by the Belmont’s Craft Beer Cellar staff and Ben Bouton of Urban Grape’s Urban Hops Program gives participants a chance to sample some of the best winter beverages.  The third and final class in the series is this upcoming Monday: What’s A Craft Beer? Intrigued by IPA? Curious about Kolsch? Join Urban Grape’s resident beer expert Ben Bouton for a class on craft beer basics! Ben will explain the differences between mass and craft production, and divulge the details of several popular beer varieties. The best part? You’ll learn by tasting! Monday, December 16th, 2013; 6:30PM to 8:00PM, $45/$38 Members, Materials $15
  • The Beehive’s Very Merry Performance: Can you hear it? The holiday season is in full swing and The Beehive is hosting a Christmas concert featuring local Christmas repertoire specialist Bailey Cunningham and team on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013. From 8:00PM to 12:00AM guests can enjoy the beautiful sounds of their favorite holiday melodies while enjoying delicious food and drink throughout the evening.In the kitchen, chef Marc Orfaly will serve delicious dishes from The Beehive’s dinner menu such as braised pork osso buco with sweet & sour cabbage and German potato salad ($24), exotic mushroom lasagne with spinach & pomodoro sauce ($22), duck au poivre with kimchee fried rice & apricot chutney ($27) and seafood fra diavolo with lobster, shrimp, whitefish, artichoke and linguine ($29). The Beehive’s bar team will also be serving their highly acclaimed cocktails such as the seasonal cranberry winter mojito made with gosling’s black rum, drunken cranberries, fresh mint and lime ($12.50), and the arroyo made with silver tequila, illegal mezcal joven, agave nectar, black balsam currant and lime juice ($13) all evening long! For dinner reservations or for more information please call 617.423.0069 or visit www.beehiveboston.comNo cover charge, cash bar, reservations recommended.
  • MET Back Bay’s Boston Hot Chocolate Experience: It’s time to add another must-try item to the Boston sweets scene. Met Back Bay, located at 279 Dartmouth Street in Boston, MA, has launched the “Boston Hot Chocolate Experience” featuring Taza Chocolate just in time for the holiday season! Presented in a flight of four miniature glasses for $14.00, they offer four distinct flavors for chocolate lovers including: Classic Hot Chocolate  – featuring Taza Vanilla Chocolate, whipped cream and mini toasted marshmallows, Mexican Hot Chocolate – with Taza Cinnamon Chocolate, whipped cream, a cinnamon stick and grated Taza Guajillo Chili Chocolate, Salted Almond Hot Chocolate  – with Taza Salted Almond Chocolate, whipped cream and an almond biscotti and finally, Peppermint Hot Chocolate – featuring Taza Cacao Puro Chocolate, peppermint, whipped cream & candy cane.  Each flavor can be upgraded to an “adult version” with additions like, Bailey’s White Chocolate, XO Patron, Amaretto and White Crème de Menthe.
  • Beat Hôtel’s Holiday Lunch to Last Minute Harvard Square Shoppers On Christmas Eve: Stressing about last minute Christmas errands? Take the edge off on Christmas Eve and join Beat Hôtel on Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 from 11:00AM to 6:00PM for a special holiday lunch in charming, bustling Harvard Square. Perfect for both last minute shoppers grabbing a quick bite as well as those looking for an extended celebration with friends and co-workers alike, guests can take a break and relax withdelicious lunch fare, unique, high-quality wine & traditional glögg, and a live holiday performance before heading off to their evening festivities. Executive chef Rebecca Newell will be serving Beat Hôtel’s newly launched lunch menu including a variety of sandwiches, a selection of mains including the wedge salad with grilled skirt steak and blue cheese vinaigrette ($19), quiche with spinach, cauliflower, leeks, frites and salad ($14) as well  as Beat’s signature earth bowl.Rushing around and in need of a quick booze re-boot? Swing by one of Beat’s two bars and relax with a glass of glögg, a traditional and festive blend of dry red wine, dark rum, cinnamon sticks, cardamom seedpods, whole cloves, dark raisins and almonds ($5 per glass), or a glass (or two!) of one of Beat Hôtel’s small-crafted, high-quality wines on tap. For lunch reservations call Beat Hôtel at 617-499-0001. For full menu visit BeatHotel.com.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays. Enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

Goodbye for now…I’ll try to stay drama-free until after 1.2.14…..Adios. #silverliningsmarketing

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BCAE Offers Thanksgiving 101: Survival Guide

Thanksgiving-Turkey-Dinner

Thanksgiving Turkey

October, the World Series, and Halloween are over. November is here.  And for me, November means one thing — Thanksgiving.  A long weekend full of food, family, friends, football, MORE FOOD, the start of holiday shopping and decorating, and did I mention FOOD?

As a “youngish professional” living in Brookline and working in Boston, I still go home to my parents’ house for most of the weekend.  Wednesday night (Thanksgiving Eve), everyone that went to my high school will go out to the bars in the Leominster/Fitchburg area, and Thanksgiving morning I will go for a long run and/or go to the Thanksgiving day game.  Stuck in my youth for as long as possible, I won’t be cooking any family Thanksgiving dinners anytime soon, but I’m sure when the time comes I will need help. A LOT of help.  This year, though, I’ll be spending my afternoon relaxing, chatting, watching football, and eating. NOT cooking. If I was, I would nee TONS of help. I mean, I can cook some mac and cheese or chicken and veggies. That’s about it. Turkeys scare me.

So if you’re like me and need a little Thanksgiving help, check out the classes below.  Even if  you aren’t hosting anyone for the holidays, the BCAE’s Thanksgiving survival classes will be beneficial for any upcoming classy dinner party, wine and app party, or Friendsgiving.  And, you get to eat and drink while you’re there.  Some education, food, and wine. Doesn’t get much better.

On Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 Lars Liebisch will lead “Who you calling a Turkey?: Breaking Down Thanksgiving Dinner.” In this one-session class Liebisch will walk students through roasting basics, holiday side dishes and everything in between. Perfect for novices that have never prepared a holiday meal, or for those just looking to switch things up, the class will learn how to prepare an entire Thanksgiving meal in just three hours. Afterwards everyone will sit down, sip wine and indulge in their creations while asking the instructor for additional turkey tips and tricks.

On Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 BCAE instructors Dustin Rennells and Adam Centamore of Formaggio Kitchen, will show students how to tackle the second hurdle of hosting the elaborate meal; cost. During Budget Thanksgiving: Food and Wine on the Cheap” Rennells & Centamore will review their personal tips and tricks for cutting costs when it comes to planning the big meal. From decorating ideas on a dime, to saving time on stuffing and browsing for beverages, this one-session class will have students prepared to avoid all the pitfalls. Throughout the class students will sample adult-beverages and their own creations.

To register visit www.bcae.org or call the Boston Center for Adult Education at 617-267-4430

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The Ultimate Tailgate Party (football, food & charity)

It’s that time of year again.  The leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping, and sports and drinking are taking over our televisions and our lives once again.  I’ve never been a huge sports fan, but while working at Sports Depot during and after college, I gained an appreciation of the food, fun, and friends that surround football Sundays, college games on Saturdays, and daily Red Sox playoff games. Beer, buffalo wings, sports. The perfect Sunday.

Well, I’ve found the ideal event that combines a few of my favorite things — sports, food, and nonprofits.

On Sunday, November 10th, 2013, Lovin’ Spoonfuls, will host the third annual Ultimate Tailgate Party overlooking Boston’s scenic waterfront on the lawn at Sam’s. The annual event, hosted by Esti and Drew Parsons, co-owners of Sam’s and emceed by Charlie Rose of City Year, features 17 of Boston’s “MVP” chefs cooking high-end versions of their favorite tailgate food, cocktails shaken by Sam’s own Jon Parsons & the legendary Josh Childs, a silent auction, entertainment and much more. This year’s event will also be honoring Mayor Thomas M. Menino for his hard work and service to the city of Boston. The theme of the event resonates Lovin’s message: combatting hunger is a team sport.

Currently 1 in 5 Bostonians are classified as food insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from. Since founding Lovin’ Spoonfuls, 501(c)(3) non-profit, in 2010, Ashley Stanley and her team have collected more than 785,000lbs of fresh, healthy food that would otherwise be thrown away, and distributed it at no cost to local soup kitchens, homeless shelters and crisis centers throughout the city. 2012’s ultimate tailgate party allowed Lovin’s team to put a third truck on the road, drastically increasing their ability to pick up and drop off rescued food, and this year aims to do the same!

This year’s event will include previews from three highly anticipated restaurants (Row 34, Alden & Harlow, and La Brasa), as well as an all-star team of 17 of Boston’s premiere chefs who will join the party by cooking their own creative takes on their favorite tailgate food. Guests will be able to enjoy creative comfort food from Lovin’ Spoonfuls board members, Joanne Chang (Myers & Chang andFlour), Jeremy Sewall (Lineage, Row 34 and Island Creek Oyster Bar) and Jamie Bissonnette (Coppa and Toro), as well as Karen Akunowicz (Myers & Chang), Alex Sáenz (Lineage), Asia Mei (Sam’s), Jason Bond (Bondir), Colin Lynch (Menton and No. 9 Park), Mary Dumont (Harvest), Will Gilson (Puritan & Co.), Louis DiBiccari (Tavern Road), Joe Cassinelli (Posto) who will be bringing Posto’s mobile pizza oven, Michael Scelfo (Alden & Harlow), Daniel Bojorquez (La Brasa), and Christine & Carla Pallotta from the newly re-openedNeboFrank McClellandexecutive chef and proprietor of New England’s most decorated independent restaurantL’Espalier, will be hosting a tailgate to the tailgate during VIP hour from 6PM to 7PM. 

That’s not all! The event, emceed by Charlie Rose of City Year, will feature a silent auction with fun and unique experiences, a photo booth stocked with everyone’s favorite football memorabilia, and complimentary beer from Peak Organic Brewery, as well as wine & champagne from sponsor M.S. Walker.

What would a party be without cocktails? Popular Boston mixologists, Jon Parsons (bar manager at Sam’s) and Josh Childs (Silvertone, Parlor Sports and Trina’s Starlite Lounge) will be throwing down and shaking up specialty drinks all evening.

WHERE:           Sam’s| 60 Northern Avenue Boston, MA 02110, (617) 295-0191. The event will take place under a tent outside of Sam’s along the waterfront.

WHEN:             Sunday, November 10th, 2013; VIP Hour from 6:00PM to 7:00PM, event from 7:00PM to 10:00PM.

COST:              All proceeds benefit Lovin’ Spoonfuls. General admission tickets are $100. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $250 and include access to the VIP hour from 6:00PM to 7:00PM which includes a special tasting as well as a VIP gift bag. VIP ticket holders will also have exclusive “buy it now” privileges for all silent auction items. All tickets are available for purchase here: http://lovinspoonfulstailgate13.eventbrite.com

PARKING:       Complimentary valet parking will be available.

ADDITIONAL:  For more information, please visit http://lovinspoonfulstailgate13.eventbrite.com

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The search for the best froyo in Boston: some Coolidge Corner options

Yogurtland froyo with the best chocolate sauce

Yogurtland froyo with the best chocolate sauce

Coming in second place on the list of top favorite things of my life: frozen yogurt. Well actually, I guess froyo is tied for second with ice cream. Either way, they are both cool, deliciously sweet addictions. And I just can’t get enough.  Recently, my froyo addiction has grown even larger with multiple-times-per-week trips to the various froyo shops in the Coolidge Corner area with one of my roommates.  Currently, within a ten minute walk, I can visit three different locations, each with their own features and benefits.  Since I already wrote a post on 16 Handles back when they opened in the winter (sidenote: who opens an ice cream place in the winter), I will focus this entry on my other two favorites: Ice Berry and Yogurtland.

Until discovering these recent additions to the Brookline frozen yogurt scene, I was more than content with my hard frozen yogurt from JP Licks (favorite flavors including mint chip and chocolate chocolate chip) and self-serve, soft serve frozen yogurt from 16 handles (hot fudge, nuttella, whip cream?!? who can beat those toppings). Now, though, my horizons have expanded, and I’ve learned that although JP Licks has delicious hard yogurt flavors and 16 handles has amazing toppings, the flavors and consistencies of the yogurts at Ice Berry and Yogurtland are actually better.

My Ice Berry creation

My Ice Berry creation

Ice Berry, located the closest to my apartment on Beacon Street west of Coolidge Corner, is one of my favorites.  Yes, they are a little out of the way from Coolidge Corner (a three minute walk) and a 10 minute walk from Washington Square, but they should not be overlooked. On the contrary, they actually have the best yogurt flavor I have ever tried: Java Caramel Cup Greek Yogurt. Amazing. Mixed with chocolate and vanilla yogurt and topped with chocolate chips, strawberries, and nonpareils, even better.  I hope that others in Brookline realize how great their yogurt is and give it a chance. I’m confident that they will be impressed.

If I decide to 2 minutes head deeper into the Coolidge Corner area, I can always visit Yogurtland.  This yogurt shop replaced Berry Freeze (a former love of mine and the first self-serve froyo place that I visited), and I was hesitant to try it at first. I had JP Licks and 16 Handles within 20 feet of each other, what more could I need. Also, I had heard some not amazing reviews of Yogurtland…and they have weird Looney Tunes posters in their windows. How do the Looney Tunes and froyo go together? Anyways, my roommate wanted to try it, so we walked in one day, grabbed some tiny cups of free samples, and then left to go to Ice Berry.  A couple of weeks later, they switched their Looney Tunes flavor of the month to Devil’s Food Cake (chocolatey so it must be good), and we decided to give it another shot.  This time, I was happily surprised with their selection of froyo that didn’t melt very quickly. I filled my cup with a combination of Devils Food Cake (chocolate, as I mentioned above, always wins), Pistachio (usually not one of my top picks, but tasty and not too sweet), Vanilla (average), and a small amount of Red Velvet Cake (a little too sweet). And topped it with strawberries, cookie dough pieces, chocolate chips, and Giraldelli chocolate sauce…yes, you read that correctly. Giraldelli. Amazing. 

Overall, choosing between the three is very difficult. All have something to offer. 16 Handles has Nutella, hot fudge, and whip cream; Ice Berry has an amazing greek yogurt flavor, which I’ll assume has the same amount of healthy protein as regular greek yogurt does; and Yogurtland has some delicious flavors and Giradelli chocolate syrup.

I guess the verdict is…..I need to try them all. Again. At least 5 times. The winner will be decided in a few months. Check back, please!

Some of Yogurtland's many flavors

Some of Yogurtland’s many flavors

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If I saved more money, I would……buy a Marriott Vacation Club timeshare

View from our room's balcony at the Marriott Surf Club Aruba.

View from our room’s balcony at the Marriott Surf Club Aruba.

Earlier this August, I spent a week of relaxation and fun on one of my favorite islands, Aruba.  Their current “One Happy Island” marketing campaign portrays the island and its feeling perfectly. I was definitely happy the entire time while there, and as the campaign states, their weather is ideal. This was my second time on the island, and it rained for about an hour and was cloudy for a total of maybe four hours.  The rest of the time, the weather was PERFECT. A breezy 90 degrees and mostly sunny during the day. Cooler, breezy, and probably close to 80 at night. Last time, it didn’t rain for a single second while I was there. You gotta love an island with amazing blue waters, white sandy beaches, and palm trees that’s also a desert that hardly ever gets hurricanes!  I love the Bahamas too, but hurricanes would be the one thing deterring me from planning an August trip there.

Enough small talk about the weather.  This spring, while driving around the Boston area and listening to my favorite top 40 radio stations, with commercials about “One Happy Island” reminding me how great the island is every 10 seconds, I made the decision that I would just HAVE to go.  Who says traditional advertising is dying?  That radio commercial worked just fine on me.

I was very lucky to stay in a family’s suite at the Marriott Surf Club, which is a villa timeshare resort located in the same complex as a Marriott hotel and the Marriott Ocean Club villas at the northern end of Palm Beach.  Featuring a number of nice amenities, including a large pool, lazy river, swim-up bar, free wifi, sunset views, daily activities for both kids and adults (everything from Zumba to Iguana Interactions) and more, the hotel was the ideal place to spend the week.  Although we spent a couple of days sightseeing on the island and on a snorkeling trip, the rest of our time was spent laying on the beach reading, cooling off in the ocean, or aimlessly floating around the lazy river during “happy hour” while sipping refreshing Aruba Breezes.

The bedroom of the 1 bedroom villa.

The bedroom of the 1 bedroom villa.

Since the Surf Club is an easy walking distance to the hotel strip with lots of restaurants, shops, and bars, most nights we wandered out for some dinner, drinks, or souvenirs.  A perfect location in case you ever get bored of the tons of amenities the hotel offers.

Decorated in a casual, beachy blue theme,  the rooms inside the resort are ALMOST as amazing as the pool and lazy river outside it.  Our group stayed in a studio and 1 bedroom villa that were connected with a conjoining door.  So, two couples got to sleep on the luxuriously comfortable Marriott beds, while the other couple struggled through the night on a pull-out couch. I mean the couch wasn’t that bad, but the big beds are so much better. If I could squeeze one of those white comforters in my carry-on, I totally would steal it. Between the two rooms, we also had two large bathrooms, a kitchen with a dining table, a small kitchenette in the studio, a living room area, and two balconies with ocean views. Having our own kitchen was great because we were able to buy groceries for breakfast and lunch, helping us save a lot of money AND calories. As I’ve written before, bringing food on trips or buying groceries for breakfast or lunch can help you stay within your budget and allow you to splurge on nice dinners and desserts! Perfect, because in my next post you’ll see just how much I splurged both financially and calorically.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting into the routine of waking up leisurely, heading down to the fully-equipped gym on the first floor (which I surprisingly actually did a few mornings), returning to the room for a quick breakfast, and having to make the difficult decision of whether I would sit by the pool or on the beach for the day. Tough life.

Now, my stay at the Aruba Surf Club was great, but it’s not the only reason why I want to own a Marriott Vacation Club timeshare.  If you’ve spent more than two seconds on my blog, you know I love travel (and ice cream but I guess that’s besides the point).  With Marriott Vacation Club, I could choose a resort in a location where I would want to travel to often, most likely somewhere in the Caribbean or Hawaii for me. And then, the best part, on years where I don’t visit my timeshare I could try one out somewhere else in the world. Florida, Vail, multiple Hawaiian islands, Myrtle Beach, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, France, Spain, Thailand…the list just gets better and better! And those are just the locations in the “collection”; it seems that with the timeshare you can also visit other Marriotts and various different hotels around the world.

Come on bank account, start growing! Fast.

The beach at the Surf Club at sunset. Such amazing views!

The beach at the Surf Club at sunset. Such amazing views!

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