Kalin’s Chronicles: Vacation Rentals – A Home Away from Home

Though there are countless hotel and B&B options for travelers, many are choosing to rent vacation homes.  I’ve had wonderful experiences renting vacation homes as part of girlfriend getaways on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and on St. Simons Island, Georgia.  According to TripAdvisor, the Southeastern and Northeastern United States are the top two destinations for vacation rentals.  And 88 percent of travelers say they would choose a vacation rental over a hotel if it was a better value.

Some of the advantages of renting a vacation home include:  more bedrooms and bathrooms, a full kitchen, more economical for parties of 3 or more, more privacy than a hotel, and most have all the comforts of home — and then some.

I recently celebrated my birthday with girlfriends at a St. Simons Island vacation rental and had a great time.  The four-bedroom, 4 ½ -bath home  was yards from the beach; had its own pool; provided four bicycles and an electric car; had a large and well-stocked kitchen with digital appliances, where we had a wonderful time bonding while preparing meals;  had a screened-in back porch and a wraparound front porch with rocking chairs.  The owner even welcomed us with two bottles of wine.  It was fabulous!  I plan to rent that house again, and am now open to renting homes more often.

Here are a few sites that specialize in vacation rentals:

So as you plan your travels for 2012, consider booking a vacation rental.  You might find it’s the perfect option for a girlfriend getaway, a romantic weekend, or even a family reunion.  It’s also a great way to celebrate turning 40!  And remember:  “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain (Photo: Washington DC Vacation Home Rental)

Kalin Thomas is Women at Forty’s Travel & Leisure Editor. She is also Senior Writer/Photographer for SoulOfAmerica. Before starting her own multimedia company, Kalin spent 17 years at CNN where she won several awards for her work as producer/correspondent for CNN’s weekly travel program, CNN TravelNow. She is currently writing a book about her travels. For more information on Kalin, visit www.seetheworldproductions.com.

Kalin’s Chronicles: Girlfriend Getaways – Part 2

Girlfriend GetawayEditor’s Note: In her last post, Kalin introduced us to Girlfriend Getaways and shared her experiences from her most recent getaway at Birmingham’s Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa. In the conclusion of Girlfriend Getaways, Kalin talks food, painting parties and of course, shopping.

The next day we did breakfast at Niki’s West, a historic restaurant that’s popular with the locals. We all enjoyed their delicious biscuits and omelets. If you go, get there early because they fill up fast. And if you’re late for breakfast, just hang around for the lunch buffet. As we were leaving we could already see the lunch line forming as the delicious foods and homemade cakes were being put out for the buffet. After breakfast, we walked off a few calories at The Shops of Grand River, where we shopped at stores like: Jones New York Outlet, DKNY and Wilson’s Leather Outlet (contact the Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau for a book of coupons). (Photo: Girlfriends enjoying conversation at Ross Bridge Resort)

Continue reading Kalin’s Chronicles: Girlfriend Getaways – Part 2

Kalin’s Chronicles: Girlfriend Getaways

Ross Bridge SpaAs Valentine’s Day approaches, I want to speak to my single Women at 40. If you don’t have a significant other in your life, don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Take charge of your own experience by gathering a few friends together for a Girlfriend Getaway. It’s a wonderful way to spend quality time with the special women in your life. I recently spent an enjoyable weekend with my girlfriends at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa in Birmingham, Alabama www.rossbridgeresort.com.

The 21,000 square-foot resort is surrounded by beautiful greenery and lakes, as well as an 18-hole golf course. The weather was a bit too chilly for a game of golf, but we did get in some wonderful relaxation treatments at the Spa at Ross Bridge. One girlfriend got the Deep Cleansing Facial, which she said left her skin feeling extremely clean and smooth. My other girlfriend got the Caribbean Therapy Body Scrub and massage, which gave her skin a feeling of being polished. I got the Swedish Massage with Aromatherapy, which was so relaxing I almost melted off the table. Afterwards, we all took a soak in the Jacuzzi and relaxed by catching up on magazines we hadn’t read, and on each other’s lives through great conversation. I could tell it was something we all desperately needed, and it was hard for us to leave the spa. (Photo: Spa at Ross Bridge)

Continue reading Kalin’s Chronicles: Girlfriend Getaways