Thursday, March 7, 2019

Chicago's Science-Inspired Hotel EMC2 Celebrates Pi Day and Albert Einstein's Birthday

Hotel EMC2, the art and science inspired hotel located at 228 E. Ontario Street, is celebrating both Albert Einstein’s Birthday and Pi Day on Thursday, March 14 with a charitable event and science-inspired incentives throughout the day. Keeping with the pie theme on Pi Day, the hotel’s contemporary restaurant, the Albert, will be offering a selection of hand pies, courtesy of highly acclaimed Executive Pastry Chef Vanarin Kuch, for $3.14. Both guests of the hotel and hotel employees are also invited to participate in a “Pie in the Face” event benefiting Project SYNCERE on the patio of the property. In homage to the restaurant’s namesake, the Albert will be serving up The Famous Vegetarian cocktail featuring CH Aquavit, carrot, orange, ginger, and coconut, as well as an Einstein Birthday Cake with vanilla cake, vanilla frosting, and sprinkles. Additionally, those who guess “What Did Einstein Never Wear” correctly when asked by a Front Office Agent at the property will receive a 10% off voucher at the Albert.

The “Pie in the Face” event will take place on March 14 from 2pm to 4pm. Those looking to participate can purchase a $5 pie for a ten foot throw or a $10 pie for a five foot throw. These pies will be thrown at the Hotel EMC2 management team and all proceeds from the event will benefit Project SYNCERE, an educational, Chicago-based non-profit that combines art and science to create transformational experiences for youth within underserved Chicago communities. Jason Coleman, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Project SYNCERE, and members from the philanthropic organization will be present at the event.

Hotel EMC2 is located at 228 E. Ontario Street. Room rates start at $249.00. For details on reservations, please visit or call 884-205-3939.
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Monday, February 11, 2019

Sand, Sun, and Kid-Friendly Fun in New Smyrna Beach

With 17 miles of white sand and beautiful blue waters, New Smyrna Beach, located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, is a prime spot for families wanting to plan a getaway this spring. And with so many kid-friendly attractions, camps, and free activities, they’ll want to do more than just build sandcastles and splash in the surf (although we love that too!). Take a peek at some of the fun:

  • Marine Discovery Center: 5-Day Spring Adventure Camp (March 18-22) With pontoon rides, fishing, and arts and crafts, the kids will be too busy having fun to notice they’re learning about New Smyrna Beach’s wildlife and environment.
  • The Hub on Canal: Art Fun 4 Kids with Heather Pastor (March 13, April 10) Kiddos can channel their inner Van Gogh with an art class at The Hub on Canal. Instructor Heather Pastor teaches about famous artists, then children create their own masterpieces with a variety of mediums.
  • Surfin’ NSB: Ride the Waves: Little thrill-seekers will love a private family surf lesson from the pros at Surfin’ NSB. An instructor will bring boards right to your hotel or condo, so all you need to do is walk out onto the sand.
  • Turtle Mound River Tours: Set sail on a two-hour narrated tour of the Indian River Lagoon for a chance to see dolphins, manatees, and incredible views of Canaveral National Seashore.
  • New Smyrna Museum of History: Encourage a love for learning by exploring NSB’s interesting past through cool artifacts, models, and photographs. Kids will love the vintage boards and other local memorabilia in the surfing exhibit. Parents will love that it’s free admission.
  • Fishing Charters: Reel in the fun on the Indian River Lagoon with a local guide, like Captain Drew Cavanaugh of Florida Inshore Fishing Charters. From hauling in a prize catch to close-up views of local wildlife, a charter is a perfect way to spend a day on the water.
  • New Smyrna Speedway: Zoom zoom! Watch as stockcars and trucks vie for a spot at the finish line. Races are held weekly and children 11 and under are free.
  • New Smyrna Beach Escape Room: Older kids and teens will love this combo scavenger hunt and puzzle-solving activity. Participants attempt to escape from a locked room by deciphering riddles and puzzles. Choose from themes like “Alien Autopsy” and “Houdini’s Secrets.”
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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Fairmont Chicago Launches New Valentine's Day Packages

Booking a Valentine’s Day getaway or date night has never been easier thanks to new packages and events from Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, 200 North Columbus Drive. From a couples’ spa retreat to a fondue party, guests can enjoy an effortless weekend away with their loved one.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day vacations, Fairmont Chicago is offering guests a new Romantic Escape Package, which includes overnight accommodation for two in a luxurious Fairmont Guestroom at 20% off the best available rate, late checkout, and a bottle of bubbles, starting at $189. Guests may enhance their stay with a variety of amenities, including one dozen roses delivered to the guest room upon check in, in-room blowouts and hair styling, ice-skating for two at Maggie Daley Park, and breakfast in bed with mimosas.

Guests looking to restore and reconnect this year can treat themselves to a getaway at Fairmont Chicago’s luxurious spa. mySpa’s Be Mine Package offers a champagne toast for two, 25-minute soak in the infinity tub with a seasonal bath bomb, 50-minute couples myMassages, and 50-minute couples signature facials starting at $500 per couple during the week and $550 on weekends (price represents 25% spa services) from February 1 – February 28.

Fairmont Chicago is also inviting Fairmont Gold guests to a Valentine Soirée, the Some Like It Hot Fondue Party, in the exclusive Fairmont Gold Lounge, February 15 -16, featuring tableside fondue and signature cocktails crafted from local distilleries. Pre-Dinner appetizers will be served from 4 – 6 p.m., featuring cheese fondue, and desserts from 8 – 9 p.m., featuring chocolate fondue. Guests looking to take advantage of Fairmont Gold and join the Valentine Soirée may book the Gold Rush Package, receiving three nights for the price of two.

More information on Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, please visit
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Monday, February 4, 2019

World Exclusive NOLA-Distillery Opens

Keeping up with the tradition of New Orleans, NOLA-Distillery’s focus is producing products made with Louisiana grown ingredients and traditions of the south.

Conceptualized and manufactured in New Orleans, their brands consist of a Louisiana-grown Sweet Potato NOLA Vodka and NOLA Pepper Vodka. In addition, their newest brands Louisiana Tradition Whiskey, Gin, Rum and Vodka. They also have a Special Edition Mardi Gras NOLA Vodka available.

NOLA-Distillery focuses on personalized handcrafted spirits. The Jazzmen Rice group is working with NOLA-Distillery in developing and marketing the first Louisiana Jasmine Rice Vodka to penetrate and compete in the new trend globally. Dawn Vachon, National Sales and Marketing Director says, “Jazzmen Rice Vodka will be wildly popular in the local and national retail market because they already have brand recognition on supermarket shelves, retail outlets and have an international presence.”

They will be producing Multi-Award-Winning Handcrafted Hierarchy Vodka and Larry Flynt’s HUSTLER® Vodka as well as additional HUSTLER® products.

NOLA-Distillery's motto is “Everybody has Experienced Handcrafted Spirits, but NOLA-Distillery Perfected them.”

NOLA-Distillery has a beautiful Tasting Room and is conducting tours open to the public.
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Thursday, January 31, 2019

RCI Adding Sky Trail® to LuLu's Restaurant in North Myrtle Beach

Ropes Courses Incorporated (RCI) is at work to assist Lucy “LuLu” Buffett, owner of three popular LuLu’s restaurants in Destin, Florida; Gulf Shores, Alabama; and North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in opening her second outdoor Sky Trail® aerial attraction in mid-February at Buffett’s North Myrtle Beach restaurant at Barefoot Landing. The 48-foot-tall (14.63m) Sky Trail® is being designed and installed by RCI. LuLu’s waterfront location along the Intracoastal Waterway is known for its fun coastal menu and its beach and vacation-spirited merchandise available in its adjacent shop. And, new for 2019, Buffett is adding an extra element of excitement with the debut of her second Sky Trail® in one of her three signature restaurants.

“LuLu’s has always been about family,” explained Buffett. “When we added our first Sky Trail® at the Gulf Shores location, it was wildly successful and complemented our mission to create a coastal dining and recreational experience for families. The kids get to play in a safe environment while the grown-ups get to have a drink, enjoy delicious fun food and listen to live music.”

Planning and customized design work have been underway for months and RCI began installation of the multi-level attraction in December 2018. The Sky Trail® will include 26 elements to challenge children and adults with such as the themed lily pad stepping stones and a tippy version of “Walk the Plank.” This six-inch-wide beam showcases a color-wheel at its end that draws participants further along the beam for a chance to pull the hanging cable and set the spinning wheel in motion. Thrill-seekers who reach the top of the course have the option of taking the QuickJump free-fall exit - a three-story descent with a gentle landing that delivers a breathtaking grand finale. Every participant is outfitted in a harness equipped with a single redundant slingline that keeps them secure while they work their way among the obstacles using RCI’s U.S.-patented overhead tracking system.

“We named our Sky Trail® LuLu’s Mountain of Youth and it has now become a central ingredient to the LuLu’s experience,” Buffett continued. "That’s why it was important for us to include that element in North Myrtle Beach and we were delighted to partner with FACE Amusement company to make that happen.”

This Sky Trail® with its splashy color scheme of hot pink, turquoise and yellow will be eye-catching and inviting to diners as it blends with LuLu’s tropical theme, menu and gifts.

“The Sky Trail® provides guests with a fun and engaging experience that sets this restaurant complex apart from any in the greater Myrtle Beach community. Guests of virtually every age can climb and have fun soaring above the ground, thanks to the creative design by RCI,” explained Bucky Mabe, CEO of FACE Amusement, managing company for the Sky Trail® at LuLu’s North Myrtle Beach. This is the place to be in Myrtle Beach where, after an exhilarating climb, you can enjoy fresh Gulf seafood in a fun and truly stunning restaurant, with a vibe only LuLu’s can provide,” he added.

RCI has built Sky Trail® aerial attractions in 30 different countries and in a variety of different venues including amusement parks, zoos, community centers, hotels, resorts, cruise ships, shopping centers, adventure facilities and natural or historic tourist attractions. The size, colors, elements and designs are customized to each location to complement each setting.

“The LuLu’s restaurants and their bustling gift shops have been exceptionally fun for installing two of our Sky Trails® along with a Sky Tykes®,” explained Jim Liggett, president and founder of RCI. “The whole energetic vibe of LuLu’s restaurants and shops is about fun, food and music which is the perfect fit for us and our attractions.”

For more information about RCI attractions including Sky Trail®, Clip ‘n Climb® climbing walls and Amaze’n Mazes™, visit
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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Pheasant Run Resort Valentine's Day Offerings

Pheasant Run Resort, a welcoming enclave located in St. Charles, presents the ultimate romantic experience for couples this Valentine’s Day. Guests are invited to a weekend full of romance and excitement beginning Thursday, February 14 through Saturday, February 16 with a special three-course prix fixe menu in Harvest Restaurant. Other Valentine's weekend happenings include a Little Sweeties Valentine's Party on Saturday, February 9. Guests are invited to take advantage of the resort’s amenities including; five restaurants, lively indoor replica of New Orleans’ iconic Bourbon Street, theater, comedy club, spa and indoor/outdoor pool.

Little Sweeties Valentine's Party
A Valentine's Day party for all little sweeties will be held on Saturday, February 9 from 1-4 p.m. with interactive crafts, activities, and treats. The open-house style program features a scavenger hunt to various attraction stations within the resort. Guests who visit all attractions are entered into a raffle, with drawings throughout the day. Guests staying at the resort can attend the event for free. For those just visiting for the day, event tickets are available for $5. The promo code [FAMILY] is available for $5 off three or more tickets.  

Sweet Retreat Packages
February 14 through February 16, guests are invited to enjoy a Chicagoland getaway with a sweet retreat package. Dinner and room packages starting at $279 will feature a three-course dinner in Harvest Restaurant with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries delivered to the room.

Valentine’s Day Dinner
Harvest Restaurant offers a $49 three-course prix fixe menu February 14 through February 16. Guests can enjoy upscale farm-to-fork dining in a cozy down-to-earth restaurant. The menu includes: Chilean Sea Bass, Surf & Turf, French Roasted Chicken, Wild Mushroom Ravioli, and 10oz Center Cut Beef Filet. The regular Harvest menu will also be available. Reservations are required and can be made online at

For more details on Little Sweeties Valentine's Party, Sweet Retreat or Valentine’s Day Dinner, please visit
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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Jan. 29 is National Plan for Vacation Day

January 29 is National Plan for Vacation Day, and one of the largest and most diverse award-winning travel companies, Xanterra Travel Collection, is offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences in some of the most Beautiful Places on Earth® at extremely value-driven prices. The possibilities range from a luxury Inn on a true American Oasis in the middle of Death Valley to cruises dwarfed by towering glaciers in Alaska, from fully restored historic dome rail cars on a private train that pulls up to the South Rim of Grand Canyon to actively experiencing the best of the world by bike or foot, including Italy, New Zealand or South Africa.

The globe-spanning range of possibilities is nearly endless and is a comfortable fit for any stage of life, be it solo, romance, adventure, family, friends or multi-generational travel. Here’s a sample of some of the possibilities and diversity of the Xanterra Travel Collection:
  • Grand Canyon National Park Lodges: Celebrate Grand Canyon National Park's centennial year with a complete vacation at the South Rim, including overnight accommodations, meals, interpretive motorcoach tours, unique shopping, and the World Famous Mule Rides. New in 2019: check out the exclusive Centennial Package, featuring overnight stays, guided tours, food and beverage options, retail discounts and more.
  • Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel: Make a grand trip grander in 2019 with Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, departing daily from Williams, Arizona, to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon since 1901. Bundle and save with a three-night Canyon Discovery Plus Package, including roundtrip rail transportation in any of six classes of service, onboard entertainment including an attendant with great stories to share on the history of the Grand Canyon, overnight accommodations including a night inside Grand Canyon National Park, meals, guided interpretive motorcoach tour, and more.
  • The Grand Hotel: Enjoy Grand Canyon National Park's 100th anniversary celebration in style at the recently fully refurbished Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon, the only three-diamond hotel in the region and located just one mile from the park entrance. Full-service dining, indoor heated swimming pool and spa, modern business center, updated fitness facilities, and on-site shopping all lend themselves to making a stay here, well, grand!
  • Zion National Park Lodges: The name “Zion” means “a place of peace and refuge,” and as a sanctuary with over 146,000 acres of cliffs, canyons, diverse plant and animal life, and uninterrupted beauty, Zion is well-named. And Zion Lodge – the only in-park lodging in Zion National Park – features comfortable and spacious accommodations, year-round dining, narrated tram rides, bicycle rentals, and more that puts travelers in the heart of all the action.
  • The Oasis at Death Valley: Discover why an oasis in the middle of Death Valley National Park is so special. Only here can you enjoy two distinct hotel experiences that have undergone a $100 million renaissance this past year – the historic, serene and peaceful Four Diamond Inn at Death Valley and the family-friendly, adventurer-focused Ranch at Death Valley – the energetic epicenter of this true American Oasis. Stroll among lush date palms, float the day away in spring-fed pools, or disappear into the exhilarating landscape of one of America’s largest national parks, and still return in time for a memorable dinner – and an unforgettable sunset. After dinner enjoy gazing at the stars in one of the rare designated night-sky locations in the world.
  • Glacier National Park Lodges: A four-season destination inspired by the people, culture and landscapes of Montana, the new Cedar Creek Lodge and Conference Center blends the comfort of a mountain lodge with modern style just outside Glacier National Park. Guests enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, free summer connector shuttle to Glacier's West Entrance, year-round indoor pool and hot tub, free wi-fi and parking, fitness and business center, in-room microwaves and mini-fridges, and more. Skiers will enjoy Whitefish Mountain in the winter.
  • VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations: VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations is the value leader in active biking and walking vacations and has been rated among the “World’s Best Tour Operators” by the readers of Travel + Leisure eight times. Travelers can choose from 60 deluxe, small-group bicycling, walking and barge/sail vacations in 29 different countries and 10 U.S. states. Trips include accommodations, meals, two local bilingual trip leaders, unique facilitated cultural experiences, a VBT bicycle and helmet, ground transportation, daily maps and directions, and more, all at the lowest prices compared to any other active travel company.
  • Country Walkers: For more than 39 years, Country Walkers has provided active, fully immersive and unforgettable travel experiences on five continents, including safaris to Africa. Travelers can opt for scheduled, small-group “Guided Walking Adventures” or consider independent “Self-Guided Walking Adventures.” On tour, guests enjoy superb local cuisine, first-class expert guides, fine accommodations, and authentic cultural encounters.
  • Windstar Cruises: Award-winning small ship luxury brand Windstar is celebrating their first anniversary of sailing in Alaska and Canada & New England with up to $1,000 in shipboard credits to spend on spa treatments, beverages, wi-fi and more. With only 212 guests on their all-suite power yachts, no one else goes so far to get travelers so close than Windstar. What better way to plan a vacation than to fill the soul in with the sights and sensations of quaint coastal villages and towering glaciers? Book by Feb. 11, and receive $1,000 shipboard credit per Premium Suite ($500 per guest) or $400 shipboard credit per Standard Suite ($200 per guest) for all Alaska and Canada & New England cruises.
  • Holiday Vacations: With domestic, international, rail, and cruise guided tours, award-winning tour brand Holiday Vacations has something for everyone, including airfare from more than 100 conveniently located U.S. airports, great hotels, delightful meals and interesting sights. Through March 31, travelers can save $400 per person on one of their renowned Alaska tours, and travelers who book a trip to Hawaii by Jan. 31, will save $200 per person on three or four island holidays.
  • Sea Island: Find your way south to Sea Island, a Forbes Five-Star resort on the Georgia coast. Sea Island is home to two of the top resorts in the Continental U.S., as ranked in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards. Beautiful backdrops and unique experiences, such as five miles of private beach, three stunning golf courses, a 65,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, and nature walks in search of sea turtle nests, perhaps catching a glimpse of hatchlings as they scurry to the sea, ensure a visit to Sea Island is memorable for every member of the family.
  • The Broadmoor: The Broadmoor is the longest-running consecutive winner of both the AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star awards. Since first opening in 1918, The Broadmoor has offered guests a unique way to experience the beauty of the American West, and it continues that tradition through activities and programs for guests of all ages and interests, including the recently introduced Broadmoor Wilderness Experience. Plan your next vacation at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs – The Most Unique Resort in the World.

Plan for Vacation Day is part of U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time: Off, an effort to help Americans use their paid vacation days since, according to their industry research, more than half of American workers leave 705 million paid vacation days on the table. Xanterra’s “Soul of the Traveler” quiz and its options for life-changing travel experiences ensures that those who long to explore but can’t decide where to go can get a jumpstart on their 2019 travel plans, use all of their time off, take more vacation days at once, and enjoy greater levels of happiness at work and at home. Those who take the quiz will have the chance to enter to win a complimentary two-night stay at the newly revitalized Ranch at Death Valley in Death Valley National Park.

For complete details and to take the quiz, visit To get additional inspiration for your 2019 vacation, visit
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