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  • Winter Getaways

    Check Out GMAA’s Recommendations for the Best 2019 Winter Escapes.

    Go Now! Fly Away!

    NIKKI SINGLETON

    Working hard really doesn’t mean much unless you take a little personal time to relax, recoup and reflect. Yes, reflect. We all need to reflect on our successes and accomplishments, our setbacks, our challenges and what we are doing or will do to improve on it all… and maybe to have a cocktail or two.

    Plus, let’s face it, if you live in the Midwest, about 4 months out of every year, you will experience frozen mud, whipping high winds, hail the size of carburetors, snow up to your butt (or higher), icy windshields and temperatures so cold that your lawyer keeps his hands in his own pockets. So what’s the answer? Escape the elements!

    To make this a little easier for you, we have decided to compile a list of the obvious, unarguable, undisputed, Top 5 Travel Destinations in the Country (as far as we’re concerned).

    So, take off your snow boots and grab you’re swimming trunks… you’re outta here!

  • OUR PICK NUMBER 5:

    Las Cruces, New Mexico

    Here’s one for the taking. A little bit of Spanish speaking a lot of traditional Mexican food; Las Cruces, New Mexico is a hombre’s home away from home.

    Join us at La Nueva Casita Cafe for lunch or for dinner. A local’s favorite and a visitor’s dream. Here you will find the most authentic tasting food in the most surprising of places. It looks like a hole in the wall but it will most definitely complete that empty feeling in your stomach!

    Next stop, a run with the bulls! Don’t worry, you don’t really have to saddle up, you can simply enjoy watching these magnificent creatures in a wildlife setting. This is an interesting and educational excursion for the entire family. Enjoy this outing at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, which is home to over 45 acres of land and perfect for all ages. This is the perfect venue for tracing the origin of America's missile and space activity, finding out how the atomic age began and learning of the accomplishments of top rocket scientists.

    Try out the Farmers and Crafts Market, Old Mesilla Village (pictured at left) and, our favorite, the White Sands Missile Range Museum - perfect for anyone interested in mechanics!

    Overall, this is a fun, exciting, relaxing and entertaining mix… perfect for a winter excursion.

  • OUR PICK NUMBER 4:

    New Orleans, Louisiana

    Known as “The Big Easy”, this southern city sits conveniently on the water coastline and has been made famous by the international holiday, Mardi Gras; which pretty much just means that everyone throws a party for a week straight via parades, liquor, food and dancing. However, being a coastal city, New Orleans is also a great getaway for families, as well as those of you who enjoy partaking in a good adult beverage on occasion.

    On this list, we have gone one step further to put together two separate guides: vacations that are family friendly and vacations that are nothing short of an adult’s dream getaway.

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    New Orleans Family Style-

    We highly recommend grabbing the kids and forcing them to the National World War 2 Museum. By the end of it, they will actually thank you for bringing them there; but you might want to give them a little break from history afterwards by taking them to Storyland in City Park. Storyland is one of our favorite family destinations being as it is home to over 20 gigantic sculptures of storybook characters. A literal, real-life fictional playground that you might even enjoy yourself!

    Finish the trip off with a steamboat cruise hosted by the Steamboat Natchez. This 2-hour boat cruise will take you soaring down the Mississippi river, cherishing the gorgeous city views along the way.

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    New Orleans Adult Style-

    We’re going to leave this one to the nightlife side of you. Bourbon Street is a must as your first stop (and might just end up being your last if all goes well). This is a famous stretch of road where it is actually legal for you to consume alcohol on the street! Grab your go-cup and head down the aisle of endless bars and music. In the morning, grab your hangover Bloody Mary at the French Quarter where there are always musicians playing your favorite tunes for free, right there, outdoors, where you’re grabbing your favorite grub! Slow it down in the afternoon with a famous swamp tour - Louisiana is ideal for this, for obvious reasons! Our recommendation is to call Airboat Swamp Tours ahead of time to catch the best prices for your excursion as these expeditions are by reservation only. New Orleans is one adult style getaway that you’ll never forget.

  • OUR PICK NUMBER THREE:

    Laguna Beach, California

    It’s not hard to believe that California is on our Top 5 list. However, we want to give you some insight on a place much less touristy than West Hollywood or San Francisco (although, these are other great places to get away).

    Laguna Beach is a place to keep your toes covered in sand and your belly full of your drink of choice. Step outside of your rented villa and watch the sunrise as you listen to the waves crash onto the Pacific shore. When it comes to rentals that sit beautifully on the ocean, among the best are the ones you can find on AirBnB, Some of these start under $100 a night!

    Once you’re settled in, head over to the water cabanas where you can lease a jet ski, surfboard or a kayak for the entire day. I’m sure we don’t have to remind you to be cautious with these toys as too much fun can sometimes have repercussions. From our experience, Pure Water Sports in Dana Point is a good bet for finding reliable equipment for the most reasonable of prices.

    If you like tender beef short rib, seaside ceviche, mouthwatering cocktails and stupendous views, our favorite dining option for dinner is Splashes, which will typically set you back about $60.00 per person (depending on drinks and appetizers). If you take our advice on this cool gem, we recommended you get reservations in advance. After dinner drinks and recreational diversion is conveniently located just steps from the ocean and only a 2-minute car ride from Splashes. Here we have the Saloon, a favorite for locals and vacation-goers alike; where you can find inexpensive drinks and endless entertainment for the nightlife. This all adds up to a memorable day and evening that you’ll reflect on for years to come!

  • OUR PICK NUMBER 2:

    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Come on, you knew this one had to be on our list. We know the auto industry loves their gambling and rambling and what not, and what better place in the world to do it than in Vegas?!

    Gambling central, you’ll win some and, well heck, we hope you win some more! Even if you can’t seem to end up on top at the tables, here are our favorites spots in Las Vegas that are sure to have you winning in other areas!

    Food, food, food! That is what Sin City is secretly known for. If you’re a sandwich lover, Carnegie Deli in the Mirage hotel is an absolute must. This place will wow you with the biggest and the best hot pastrami, corned beef, turkey and beef brisket sandwiches you could ever imagine. Mountain tall Reubens, Turkey Clubs… even one called the Woody Allen (pastrami and corned beef stacked taller than the actor himself). Guaranteed; immediately upon your sandwiches being delivered to your table you will be shooting pics of these monsters… including selfies.

    If you want a new kind of dining experience, try Top of the World, “conveniently” located at the peak of the Stratosphere hotel. This restaurant is more than just great food - it’s an adventure. With a rotating dining area and views that only this location will promise, Top of the World is a definite must do for your trip.

    If you’re a dessert lover, head to the dancing waters. Here at the Bellagio Resort you’ll discover the Patisserie- famously known for its “everything chocolate” menu. Be careful with your sweet tooth here though, this place can get a little pricey!

    Besides all of all the remarkable food Vegas has to offer, let’s not forget that this city is famous for its live, “wow factor”, entertainment. Here are a few of our recommendations for a great night out at reasonable prices:

    Nathan Burton Comedy Magic (Comedic Magician) - $13+

    V: The Ultimate Variety Show (Entertainment): $40+

    Beatleshow (Impercination Band) - $44+

    Zombie Burlesque (Burlesque) - $45+

    KA (Cirque Du Soleil) - $60+

    David Copperfield (Magician) - $62+

    Obviously, these prices will vary and there are literally hundreds of other shows and forms of entertainment in Vegas but this is a good start.


    Las Vegas, high up on our list and we’re certain it will be way up on yours as well!

  • OUR TOP PICK THIS YEAR:

    Koloa, Hawaii

    Save up your cash for this one because anything that has to do with Hawaii, except for the coconuts, are going to take some spending money. But we’re here to help you stretch your dollar as far as possible on this great island of Kauai. Let’s make this one a little bit more unusual and plan the trip that you never thought you would go on but would love to take.

    Skydiving with SkyDive Kauai is just under $250 and it includes a scenic, private airplane ride over the island, your jump and a beautiful parachute ride on the way back down to the Hawaiian earth below. Here, you will witness some of the most incredible, serene views imaginable.

    After your free fall, head to the Blue Room to witness of one planet’s most beautiful phenomenons … for free! The name, Blue Room sounds as if this spectacular place might be a bar or nightclub (and indeed there was a restaurant in Kamuela, Hawaii that took on the same name but is now closed). However, we are talking about a natural wonder. This breath-taking trio of caves at the edge of steep rocks encircles visitors in an enclosed sanctuary of glowing blue rock. While the glowing blue of the grotto has diminished over the years and the cave’s water levels have dropped, it is still a wonderful sight for visitors, especially when the tide is at its highest and the sun is just north of Ha’ena State Park, which makes the blue visible again.

    Next, take a dive off of the shores of Poipu Beach Park and observe some of the most impressive and magnificent sea creatures known to man. Guests can snorkel or scuba dive depending on their preference (even if you’ve never been before). This little excursion is a great value considering you can experience it for as little as $160.00 which includes your gear with Fathom Five Divers.

    As for restaurants, there’s really no bad choices in Koloa - but our favorite dinner just so happens to be Red Salt at the Koa Kea Hotel and Resort. Yes, a bit pricey but worth every cent if you are looking to really treat yourself and your loved ones. Any dish imaginable from Wagyu Sliders to Kona Lobster Gnocchi, Red Salt is sure to have what your taste buds are craving!

    All this adds up to making Koloa, Hawaii our top destination for your 2019 Winter Getaway… enjoy!

    Convenient Links to Destinations for Our 2019 Winter Getaways:

    La Nueva Casita Cafe - http://www.lanuevacasitacafe.com/

    New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum - http://www.nmfarmandranchmuseum.org/

    Farmers and Crafts Market - http://www.fcmlc.org/

    White Sands Missile Range Museum - http://www.wsmr-history.org/

    National World War 2 Museum - https://www.nationalww2museum.org/

    Storyland in City Park - http://neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/Storyland

    Steamboat Natchez - https://www.steamboatnatchez.com/

    Bourbon Street - https://www.neworleans.com/plan/streets/bourbon-street/

    French Quarter - https://www.frenchquarter.com/

    Airboat Swamp Tours - https://bigeasyswampadventures.com/

    AirBnB - https://www.airbnb.com/

    Pure Water Sports - https://www.balboawatersports.com/?utm_source=local&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb

    Splashes - https://www.surfandsandresort.com/splashes/?nck=8882813502

    The Saloon - https://www.facebook.com/TheSaloonLagunaBeach/

    Carnegie Deli - https://www.mirage.com/en/restaurants/carnegie-delicatessen.html

    Top of the World - http://www.topoftheworldlv.com/

    The Patisserie - https://www.bellagio.com/en/restaurants/bellagio-patisserie.html

    Cirque Du Soleil - https://www.vegas.com/iv2/searchresults/shows/-/category/1022/sort/popular?gclid=Cj0KCQiA3IPgBRCAARIsABb-iGJoEcLuJ2wx0SKmuKUth0On-ER_GNc10eH_L-FAn22HKkErLeGXTx0aAoXAEALw_wcB

    Celine Dion - https://www.vegas.com/shows/concerts/celine-dion-las-vegas/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA3IPgBRCAARIsABb-iGIoE2CJux3eWVrTkJauMoB82tMgJr8JhV6s4JO_vokBY6nza9pERXwaAjMbEALw_wcB

    Nathan Burton Comedy Magic - https://www.vegas4locals.com/coupons/las-vegas-shows/nathan-burton-comedy-magic/

    V: The Ultimate Variety Show - http://www.smartervegas.com/shows/v-ultimate_variety_show/ticketsdiscounts.aspx?svid=74&gclid=Cj0KCQiA3IPgBRCAARIsABb-iGKGaORoDn-f6yDK7TwLhAVjrED5nwYVkqEszTA_wWIMwEZ0sIvCpxgaAoMdEALw_wcB

    Beatleshow - https://www.lasvegashowto.com/promo-beatle-show

    Zombie Burlesque - https://www.tix4tonight.com/zombie-burlesque/

    KA - http://www.travelvegas.com/shows/ka/

    David Copperfield - https://www.lasvegas.com/shows/magic/david-copperfield-las-vegas/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA3IPgBRCAARIsABb-iGL7LhB7JkpbBCXAnrxTN2_A0G7MSfKpPRHAgUG24IL9S6Rl0GVh05QaAuveEALw_wcB

    Kauai - https://www.gohawaii.com/islands/kauai/travel-info

    SkyDive Kauai - https://skydivekauai.com/

    Blue Room - https://hawaiihideaways.com/hawaiitravelblog/2010/09/kauais-secret-cave-come-explore-the-blue-room/

    Fathom Five Divers - https://fathomfive.com/

    Red Salt - https://meritagecollection.com/koa-kea/dining/red-...