103 West Strand Road
Oxford, MD 21654
If you are looking for a bit of heavenly peace, I have found the place for you. SANDAWAY WATERFRONT LODGING is a quaint Bed & Breakfast located literally yards from the Chesapeake Bay. Each unique room, suite or cottage is decorated with a mixture of antique furniture and modern accommodations. Four-legged tubs, roll-top desks, four-poster beds and stenciled wood complement free Wi-Fi, plenty of outlets, and flat screen televisions. Boasting its own sandy beach, most rooms have a waterfront view and all have private screened-in porches. Complimentary coffee/tea and snacks are available 24 hours in both the library sitting room and the separate beach house. A basket with fresh baked goods, fruit, beverages and other breakfast items is delivered to your door each morning. In the tiny gift shop, you can pick up toiletries, souvenirs, a set of the luxury sheets used by the Inn, and even a CD of 50’s music recorded by owner Kenny Gibson. The Innkeepers really don’t know how to do things wrong here. All your needs are met, and if you come up with something special, they will try to accommodate you.
As for activities, you can sit in the Adirondack chairs or chase lounges and watch the boats sail by or you can visit the historic town of Oxford. For a special treat there’s a ferry that takes you over to St. Michaels, a slightly more tourist-y town but full of old-world charm. But there is definitely another option – SANDAWAY WATERFRONT LODGING makes doing nothing totally delightful.
- Laurie Lawson –
- Photography by ChaCru -
TWO-NATION VACATION Detroit, Michigan/Windsor, Canada Detroit: 1-800-DETROIT or www.visitdetroit.com Windsor: 1-800-265-3633 or www.city.windsor.on.ca Detroit, Michigan, is your starting point for a vacation that combines international flair, historical value, family activities, adult entertainment, and surprises around every corner. Known to most of us as "Motor City" or the place where Motown began, this unlikely vacation destination has enough variety to please even the most jaded traveler. And after you have discovered the wonders of Detroit, you can head right across the river to Windsor, Canada. Use the numbers or websites above to get your free Two-Nation Vacation Value Pass full of discounts and bargains that will stretch your vacation dollar. An hour and twenty minutes flying time, Northwest Airlines offers direct, non-stop flights from New York City to Detroit. Once there you can comfortably settle down at the conveniently-located Courtyard by Marriott Detroit Downtown (333 East Jefferson Street, 313-222-7700). The hotel has 260 spacious guestrooms and full amenities, including a restaurant, hair salon, gift shop/newsstand, indoor pool, solarium, exercise room, sauna, Web/Cable TV, and a business center. Getting around this area is a piece of cake thanks to the People Mover, an elevated computerized rail transit system that stops at 13 stations throughout downtown Detroit. One of the most popular stops is Greektown, a two-block area chock full of historic churches, ethnic restaurants and bakeries, shops and nightclubs, and the recently-opened Greektown Casino (1-888-771-4386). Stop by the New Parthenon Restaurant (547 N. Monroe Street) and sample authentic Greek cuisine. Their Special Trio offers spinach pie, moussaka, and pastitso; don't leave without trying saganaki ("flaming cheese") and deep-fried artichokes served with a spicy dipping sauce. After dinner, the Gem and Century Theatres (333 Madison Avenue) can fulfill your artistic cravings. The quaint and ornate Gem is currently featuring a hilarious play by Jeff Daniels ("Tropical Pickle"), and mentalist extraordinaire Marc Salem is appearing at the Century (click here for current information: www.gemtheatre.com). Late nighters can top off their evening with a visit to the casino. Venture out a little further from the downtown district and you're awash in history that helped to shape the course of American life today. The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village is an indoor/outdoor historical complex that will keep you fascinated all day. Celebrating the spirit of innovation and resourcefulness, the museum features 100 years of the automobile; furniture collections that include the theater chair in which Abraham Lincoln was sitting the night he was shot, a Holiday Inn room circa 1950-60, and Edgar Allan Poe's writing desk; a letter from Clyde Barrow complimenting the cars he had stolen; the limousine in which John F. Kennedy was shot; and appliances, airplanes, and anecdotes galore. The village has been authentically replicated to depict life from the late 17th century through the turn of the 20th century. Tour the village via coal-powered locomotive or riverboat, and you will see Henry Ford's birthplace, Noah Webster's home, horse-drawn carriages, the Susquehanna Plantation, the 1850's Eagle Tavern that serves meals you could have eaten 100 years ago, a sheep farm, and acres and acres of opportunities to participate in history. Click here for more information: www.hfmgv.org The Detroit Institute of Arts (5200 Woodward Avenue) is the fifth largest fine arts museum in the United States. One of the special attractions is the Rivera Court, where every wall is covered with beautiful murals painted by Diego Rivera depicting Detroit's industrial history. Coming July 1st is Reflections in Black: Smithsonian African American Photography, a perfect tribute to and from the city that was the last U.S. stop on the Underground Railroad. Click here for more information: www.dia.org And fulfill your lifetime dreams at the Motown Historical Museum , the actual "Hitsville USA" house at 2648 W. Grand Boulevard, where the music we grew up on began. Stand in the recording studio used by legends like Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Temptations, and The Four Tops; sneak a peek at the living space and offices of creator/founder Barry Gordy; and revel in the photographs, memorabilia, and costumes of the music that created a revolution. Grab a delicious deep-dish pizza stuffed with cheese, pepperoni, and/or spinach from Pizza Papalis Taverna (www.pizzapapalis.com) before you head on over to beautiful Windsor, Canada. You can either take the 5,160-feet-long Detroit- Windsor Tunnel or the Ambassador Bridge, the longest international suspension bridge in the world. Both countries offer duty-free shopping at their borders (great bargains can be found in Canada because the rate of exchange is so favorable to the American dollar). A valid driver's license, a passport, or a birth certificate will be requested for entry. Windsor is a sleepy little city whose cleanliness will amaze you; green trees and parks, immaculate streets and sidewalks, and friendly residents greet you everywhere. As the last stop on the Underground Railroad, cultural and historical elements from both sides of the border meld and offer a variety of travel experiences. The Canadian Club Distillery (2072 Riverside Drive East) still operates in its original 1858 Olde Walkerville location. Tours of the historical buildings and the processing operations are given daily. A driving tour of Olde Walkerville may take you to the 36-room Willistead Manor of Edward Chandler Walker, son of the founder of Hiram Walker Distillers. Surrounded by 15 acres of parkland, the setting is ideal for weddings, meetings, and other special events. Special tours can be arranged by calling 519-253-2300. Continue on to Olde Sandwich Towne, the oldest English settlement, and you'll come across Mackenzie Hall built by Canada's second Prime Minister in 1855 and the first black church, Sandwich Baptist, constructed by fugitive slaves in 1821. Call 519-252-4917 (Sandwich First Baptist Church) and 519-255-7600 (Mackenzie Hall) to arrange a visit. And for a dining experience that cannot be replicated anywhere, an evening at the Mason-Giradot Alan Manor (3202 Peter Street, 519-253-9212) is a must. This family-owned-and-operated restaurant is housed in the 1892 home of the Mayor of Sandwich. Lovingly restored, it boasts marble fireplaces, stained glass windows, wrought-iron fencing, and a hooded bay window that has been the scene for many a patron's special event. Enhanced by herbs from their own garden, entrees become exquisite culinary phenomenons; presentations are nothing short of works of art. Save room for the mysterious Victorian Strawberries dessert and try to guess the secret ingredient. One day is not enough to fully appreciate this lovely city, so you may want to stay at the full-service Holiday Inn Select (1-800-HOLIDAY or www.holiday-inn.com). Two hundred and fourteen luxurious rooms with full amenities and easy accessibility to Windsor attractions will heighten the pleasure of your visit. One of the attractions you don't want to miss is the all-new Casino Windsor with a total of 100,000 square feet of gaming space and a 60-foot-high waterfall (www.casinowindsor.com or call 1-800-991-7777). Foreign currency exchange facilities are available, and best of all, your winnings in Canada are tax free. A perfect way to end your visit is a sightseeing cruise aboard The M.V. Borealis (1-800-706-2607). Passengers can enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner and dancing as they leisurely cruise the world famous Detroit River. Sailing along flanked by the Detroit skyline and the bucolic Sculpture Park of Windsor, you'll be making plans for your return trip. Who knew? International travel has never been so easy and delightful! - Laurie Lawson- Photography by Evincent Jeffers
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA
Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce 64-A SE Fifth Avenue Delray Beach, Florida 33483 Phone: (561) 278-0424 Fax: (561) 278-0555 http://www.delraybeach.com An Overview Ask any long-time resident and they will proudly tell you that Delray Beach, Florida, was a ghost town five years ago. The source of their pride stems from the fact that Delray Beach has resurrected itself into one of the most attractive and interesting areas in Southern Florida today. Its revitalization efforts were recently rewarded with the title of "All America City," and Florida Trend Magazine declared it "The Best-Run Town in Florida." In addition to three miles of beaches and an average climate of 78 degrees, the town is full of quaint and unique shops, cultural activities, historic sites, and a casual atmosphere that lends itself to an impromptu party or celebration at the drop of a hat (or a ball and pineapple come New Year's Eve). A word of caution about Delray Beach: nothing is as it seems. You probably won't be able to buy a 2"-by-4" at the Ocean City Lumber Company, but you will find original structures that have been carefully reconstructed and now house the nationally-acclaimed Palm Beach Photographic Centre (561-276-9797), The Coffee Table full of delicious caffeine and calories, Atlantic Street Station (an active restaurant/bar), and several whimsical one-of-a-kind stores. A faux water tower and train depot,as well as an outdoor plaza and a 572-square-foot mural depicting a visual history of the town, are favorite tourist sites; and nobody has lumber on their minds. And forget about getting a degree at the Old School Square (561-243-7922). These exquisitely-restored buildings are now the hub of cultural activity for Delray Beach. Exhibits and information abound at the Cornell Museum of Art & History; the Vintage Gymnasium is a beautiful party room; and the 320-seat Crest Theatre presents a variety of performances - La Boheme, Idols Of The King (an Elvis revue), and Holiday Spectacular On Ice are a few of the upcoming events in November and December. The facilities of all three buildings are available for meetings, conferences, and special events. To learn about Delray Beach's unique approach to revitalization, talk to any town resident; they will share memories and proudly point out all the improvements. One of Delray Beach's most colorful characters is local historian Virginia Snyder. The septuagenarian is president of her own private investigation agency and was recently featured in People magazine. Her home was a filming site for the television series Maximum Bob, and she's rumored to be the inspiration behind Murder She Wrote. She can easily be convinced to share an inside story or two, as can most of the long-time residents of Delray Beach.
Getting There Nestled between Boca Raton and Boynton Beach in Palm Beach County, Delray Beach is easily accessible from both Palm Beach International Airport and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. We flew down on the coattails of Hurricane-downgraded-to-Tropical Storm Mitch and were amazed at the efficiency of Midway Airlines (1-888-44-MIDWAY), a modest but steadily growing airlines with its base in Raleigh/Durham, NC. Delays were minimal; the flight was smooth (even when we finally caught up with Mitch); and the seats are designed for comfort. Don't leave the plane until you have had a cup of their coffee - some of the best we've ever had! Click here for more information about Midway Airlines: http://www.midwayair.com Where To Stay The 72-year-old Colony Hotel & Cabana Club (561-276-4123 or 800-552-2363) is the epitome of quaint. Located in the heart of town, the picturesque shops and restaurants of Atlantic Avenue are right at your fingertips. Winner of historical and environmental awards, the 66 guestrooms are available from November 1 through April 30 ($89 - $189 based on accommodations and season). Original decor from 1926, gleaming hardwood floors of the now-extinct Delray pine, a manually-operated elevator, a plug-in switchboard which was used up until two years ago, tropical draperies, and wood blinds are all part of this hotel's charm. A complimentary shuttle service takes guests to its Cabana Club, where you can have lunch and lounge on the 250-foot private beach or enjoy the heated salt-water pool. From January - March, the hotel's restaurant is open. Two more reasons to visit the Colony are Chris Cavaliere, who prepares and serves a complimentary Continental breakfast (homemade muffins, Starbucks coffee, and juice) on the front porch, and Rob Robbins, who draws such a crowd to that same front porch with his nightly live entertainment that folks are often forced to dance on the sidewalks. The Colony is a totally non-smoking hotel, except for that famous porch. Click here to learn more about the Colony: http://www.thecolonyhotel.com/florida/ If you choose amenities over quaintness, the Delray Beach Marriott (561-274-3200 or 800-228-9290) might be the place for you. Most of the 254 deluxe guest rooms have private balconies and breath-taking views of the Atlantic Ocean. You can create your own dining experience at the Seacrest Grill which features fresh seafood, the Piano Bar with a dance floor, or the Cascades poolside dining complete with a waterfall. An outdoor heated pool and Jacuzzi, a fitness center with in-house masseuse staff, and beach services that include cabanas, water sports, and beach volleyball will keep you pampered from morning to night. Executive business services and meeting spaces are available at this facility. The all-suite Seagate Hotel & Beach Club (561-276-2421 or 800-233-3581) offers apartment-style accommodations with fully-equipped kitchens. Four hundred feet of private beach with beverage service and two heated swimming pools, one salt water and one fresh water, are a major attraction at this facility. The dining room, lounge, and terrace all take advantage of the ocean view while serving lunch and dinner; dining is definitely fine at these facilities. Complimentary newspapers, an on-premise guest laundry facility, same-day valet service, on-premise water rentals, and complimentary muffins and coffee each morning make the Seagate a favorite of return visitors. In between the Marriott and the Seagate is a great restaurant, Boston's On The Beach. Featuring seafood and pasta dishes, diners can eat upstairs and down, inside and out. Good food and a panoramic view of the ocean assure that your meal will be a special experience. What To Do Delray Beach has many events scheduled throughout the year. All of them are geared toward getting residents and visitors outside to enjoy their "new" town and take advantage of the attractions along Atlantic Avenue. There are five Art & Jazz Festivals (January, May, July, October, and December) that close down the Avenue and become a party of 15,000 - 30,000 people. In December a 100' Christmas tree is on display; and Palm Beach County's oldest and largest arts and crafts festival, Delray Affair, takes place in April. January 19-23 the "Cannes festival of the photographic arts," FotoFusion 99, will be presented by the Palm Beach Photographic Centre; featuring 100 world-renowned photographers and photo editors, this is a rare opportunity for both amateurs and professionals. Family entertainment will be found all over the place on December 31st, Delray Beach's FIRST NIGHT. If you can't make any of the annual events, fear not. There is plenty to do around Delray Beach on a daily basis. Sports fans can flex their muscles at the Delray Beach Tennis Center (561-243-7360), the Delray Beach Golf Course (561-243-7385), and Funboards Yachting & Windsurfing (561-272-3036). Other places of interest include:
Blood's Hammock Groves (561-498-3400 or 800-255-5188) Sample some of "Florida's Most Pampered Fruit," and learn how the citrus fruit is grown, selected, and packaged at this three-generational, family-owned company. Gift baskets, plants, and the family's private collection of marmalade & preserves can also be purchased (catalog and mail order available). Don't forget to stop by their juice bar and gift shop. Click here for more information on Blood's Hammock Grove: http://www.bhgcitrus.com
Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens (561-495-0233) Home of one of the largest collections of Japanese art in the US, this 200-acre wonderland is surrounded by tranquil nature paths, ponds full of turtles and fish (food can be purchased for 25 cents), and a bonsai tree farm. The outdoor cafe offers superb food, and you are sure to find at least one "must have" at their gift shop. http://www.morikami.org Levenger (561-276-2436) Corporate headquarters for "tools for serious readers," they have everything you would ever need to read or write - leather goods, pens, watches, desks, lamps, etc. - most of which are developed and designed in-house (catalog and mail order available). For more information, click here: http://www.levenger.com
Ramblin' Rose II (561-243-0686) Treat yourself to a luncheon cruise on the Intracoastal. Check out celebrity homes, look for native birds and sea life, and learn a little of Palm Beach's history. Sandoway House Nature Center (561-274-7263) They took a 1936 historic beachfront house and transformed it into a fragile environment for a variety of plant and animal species. A computer center, microscopes, and an array of hands-on learning experiences make for a fun and interesting adventure. Atlantic Avenue This picturesque avenue is full of unique shops, restaurants and bars, and art galleries. Some of our favorites are... In Chocolate (561-278-0808) - Chocolate in all shapes, forms, and flavors! Make sure you pick up the specialty of the house - cornflakes-and-chocolate cookies. Yummy! And once you're hooked, they'll gladly ship. Goodness Gracious Cafe (561-274-0071) - Lots of homemade goodies. Scones and muffins are more like heavenly desserts than your standard breakfast fare. Sonoma Wine Bar & Cafe (561-243-8581) - Stop in for a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, and/or a homemade dessert. Their coffee is so fresh they do everything except grow the bean while preparing it for you. Shining Through (561-276-8559) - A magical, mystical book and gift shop full of crystals, aromas, books, candles and jewelry. Dakotah 624 (561-274-6244) -One of the first restaurants to come to Atlantic Avenue during the renaissance and one of the most popular, this continental-cuisine restaurant is famous for its martinis. We're told there's even a chocolate one! Elwood's - What used to be the town's oldest gas station has now been converted to an outdoor restaurant and bar (a la Delray Beach style). Rumor has it they serve a mean pork sandwich with french fries. Green Owl - An unpretentious breakfast and lunch restaurant with good food, reasonable prices, and fast congenial service. Lots of town business takes place here in its casual atmosphere. ...and there are plenty more. Every shop and restaurant has its own distinctive personality with a touch of tradition, an up-to-date perspective, and an eye to the future. And therein lies the secret of Delray Beach's success. The town has managed to preserve its history while rejuvenating itself. The perfect blend of old and new create a congenial living environment, a delightful vacation experience, and a powerful incentive to return. -Laurie Lawson- Photography by E.Vincent Jeffers
PALM BEACH COUNTY STILL A TOURIST MECCA With a record-breaking increase in the number of visitors, Palm Beach County, Florida is proving to be one of the most consistent favorites of tourists worldwide. Forty-seven miles of pristine beaches, more golf courses than any other county in the nation, and an average year-round temperature of 78 degrees may explain some of the popularity. Located in Florida's Gold Coast, Palm Beach County is the only continental U.S. destination to be awarded three AAA Five Diamond Ratings for its resorts (The Breakers, The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, and Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach). In addition to quality resorts and lodgings to accommodate any budget, there are entertainment, cultural activities, fine dining, water sports, shopping, nightlife, and ecotourism opportunities galore. Many of the resorts offer enticing package deals. Boca Raton Resort & Club has a Golf Package of deluxe accommodations, unlimited greens fees, free golf balls, a daily golf clinic, and lots more. The Oceanfront Getaway at The Breakers includes a $250 Sports Credit that can be used for golf, tennis, cabana rental, fitness center admission, and bicycle rental. At The Chesterfield the Golfers' Getaway will give you a continental breakfast, two rounds of golf, and a complimentary libation each evening. Four Seasons Resort's Under the Sun offers a third-consecutive-night-free deal, and PGA National Resort & Spa's Spa Plan will pamper you with healthy cuisine and body treatments. April through December is Value Season in Palm Beach County. More than 70 resorts, hotels, and motels offer any guest who stays seven consecutive nights the seventh night free. Florida's largest music, art, and waterfront festival, SunFest (April 29 - May 3), is a great reason to take advantage of Value Season. And once again, Palm Beach County is offering "$500 Worth of the Palm Beaches Free," a free coupon booklet with reduced rates, two-for-one offers, and other savings on shopping, sports, dining, and attractions. Call 800-554-PALM for your free booklet or click on the WebSite address below. For more information on Palm Beach County, contact PALM BEACH COUNTY CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU 1555 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, Suite 204 West Palm Beach, FL 33401 Phone: (561) 471-3995 Fax: (561) 471-3990 OR Click Below to Visit Palm Beach County's Exciting WebSite http://www.palmbeachfl.com -Laurie Lawson-
HAPUNA BEACH PRINCE HOTEL 62-100 Kauna'oa Drive Kohala Coast, Hawaii 96743 (800) 882-6060 or (808) 880-1111 November 9th - 11th, 1995
If you are looking for an excuse to go to Hawaii (and who isn't?), the WINTER WINE ESCAPE provides the perfect justification. Hosted at the beautiful Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel in Kona, every effort is made to offer you consummate escapism while indulging in healthy, delicious cuisine complemented by fine wines from the Pacific Coast. What a way to eliminate the winter doldrums! The setting for this event is sublime. Located on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island, the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel extends gracious hospitality and plenty of pampering. Lush tropical vegetation and flowers surround this 500-acre resort, and each of the 350 rooms and 36 suites have a private lanai and an ocean view. Rooms range from $325 per night/double occupancy for a spacious accommodation to $5,000 per night for the 8,000 square-foot private suite with over $1 million worth of furnishings and art. Sister-hotel of the renowned Mauna Kea Resort just down the road, two award-winning golf courses are available to guests, as well as tennis, watersports, and a fitness center. And, if that's not enough, the beach at Hapuna Beach and Mauna Kea has been rated one of the best beaches in America. In addition, there are six dining establishments at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel offering a sumptuous variety of local and international cuisine; and the Reef Lounge serves up a wide array of international coffees and signature tropical drinks to the sounds of live musical entertainment. You may find that you never want to leave this idyllic resort. The WINTER WINE ESCAPE will provide even more temptation to linger. The theme of this year's event was "Celebrating the Enjoyment of Healthy Cuisine and Fine Wines," and participants celebrated in grand style. The event kicked off with an outdoor Winter Wine Escapade where Mauna Kea's Executive Chef Corey Waite and visiting super-star chefs prepared magnificent tasty dishes. Over 30 vintners were available to pour their wines. The second day offered participants a once- in-a-lifetime experience as they visited awe- inspiring Waipi'o Valley. An adventurous trip to the bottom of the valley produced visits to taro fields, breath-taking scenery, and a dining delight. Visiting chefs Beverly Gannon of Hailiimaile General Store, Russell Siu of 3660 on the Rise, Mark "Mako" Segawa- Gonzales of Roy's Poipu Bar and Grill, and Glenn Alos of Kona Village Resort prepared healthy entrees using local produce and seafood. Delectable items, such as Seafood Taro Cakes and Tangy Lobster Salad, were paired with some of the finest wines of California. As diners reveled in the experience, Sarah Beth King of Bon Appetit and Master Sommelier Larry Stone of Rubicon led a lively discussion of the "Food Laboratory." Later that evening participants were treated to a Jordan Winery Dinner prepared by Chef de Cuisine Thomas Oden. Vintage Jordan wines flowed freely and perfectly topped off a distinguished day. Day Three began with The Estate Cabernets of Chateau Montelena where Master Sommeliers Peter Granoff and Larry Stone led the discussion of Cabernet Sauvignons. Basking in the Glow of Healthy Cooking featured a mouth-watering luncheon of Grilled Hawaiian Swordfish, Rare Tuna, and Roasted Pheasant prepared by California Chefs Michael Mina, Traci Des Jardins, and Charles Saunders. Collio Pinot Bianco 1994, Rubicon Niebaum- Coppola 1990, Geyserville Ridge 1987 and 1993 were the accompanying wines. The Grand Finale Wine Reception, "A Return to the Past for the Future," was grand indeed. Held on South Pointe at Mauna Kea, more fine wines and foods were bountiful as participants returned to the glorious Mauna Kea to view the newly-renovated site slated to re-open December 1995. Gourmet farmers, aquaculturists, seafood experts, artisans, and master craftsmen displayed their products and wares as the now-familiar and greatly- appreciated chefs prepared exquisite dishes and vintners poured their wines. This was truly a memorable experience tainted only by the awareness that the WINTER WINE ESCAPE was coming to an end. No need to despair if you missed this event. Roy Cordeiro, Director of Sales and Marketing, assures us that plans to make next year's WINTER WINE ESCAPE even better and more unforgettable are already in the works. So start planning now to be there. Gourmet cuisine, fine wines, luxurious lodgings on one of the most beautiful islands in the world, all enhanced by the "Aloha" spirit of friendly people - where else would you want to be. - Laurie Lawson- Photography By:EVincent Jeffers
September 22nd - October 7th, 1995
Team India broke the record (previously held by Sowerby) for driving around the world; Team Poland was comprised of a guitar-strumming Nationalist who drove from the southern tip of South America to the northern tip of North America and his artist friend; the Tuvans were throat singers enjoying the status of a superstar like Michael Jackson in their tiny country; Team Mexico City included a car racer; and the other fascinating couples were from Cuernavaca, Turkey, Israel, Guatemala, Reunion Island, and Canada. Throw in a honeymooning couple from Michigan and media and press along the way, and let the adventure begin!
Teams met in Birmingham, Michigan, to pick up their 1996 Oldsmobile Auroras and learn the First Leg of their vacation. Given only the destination and adventure stops along the way, participants armed with road atlases and Polaroid and Kodak cameras took off. To document their escapades and misadventures, log books were kept. Along the way teams were given challenges, such as finding the tackiest souvenir and the best road meal (much of the fun came from explaining the meaning of "tacky" and "road meal"). The goal was to "out- vacation" each other while seeing as much of the American West as possible.
The Superhighway Connection: All you needed were a computer and a modem to join in the fun. Sowerby's Website documented each step of the journey, and websurfers were encouraged to participate by routing for their favorite team and providing advice, tips, and strategies. Garry and Associates provided daily updates, many from the teams' log books, so you can get a real taste of the event.
Check it out at http://www.adventuredrive.ca
The 1996 Oldsmobile Aurora is an awe-inspiring vehicle. The 32-valve, 250hp DOHC V-8 can (and did) easily go from 0-60 in a mere 8.2 seconds. Kongar-ool from Team Tuva felt the car should be equipped with a parachute, and Team Turkey and Team Reunion can attest to its speed (they have the tickets to prove it). Sleekly designed inside and out and fully loaded with luxury features, the Aurora attracts attention wherever it goes. Whenever I left my husband with the car, I would return to a group of strangers standing around the open hood and trunk marveling at its many wonders.
The Auroras headed out to The White Gull Inn in Fish Creek, Wisconsin; this was the first of many rendezvous where the teams shared their experiences. Days spent on the road create hilarious incidents, challenging ordeals, and an awareness of the American culture that beg to be recounted. From Fish Creek, it was on to the Paradise Dude Ranch in Buffalo, Wyoming, and then to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. From here the elegant Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, was awaiting the travelers. The lavish San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California, was the next stop, and the final leg ended up in the renowned Beverly Hills Hotel.
At a press conference in Beverly Hills the teams gathered for their final day of the AURORA VACATION CHALLENGE. Log books were on display, awards were bestowed on each team for their distinguishing qualities, experiences and impressions were shared with the media, Kongar-ool rendered an amazing performance of throat singing, and sadly everyone began preparing to return home.
Some of the log books were as much as five inches thick, and even the teams that put them together would be hard-pressed to verbalize their experiences. Anyone doubting the possibility of world peace should have been a part of this challenge. Almost immediately these teams bonded, became a part of a new and unique family, and will most assuredly maintain contact with each other for many years to come. Traveling through a foreign country, spotting an Aurora in the distance, and coming across a friendly face has to be a remarkable and welcome surprise.
Team Reunion felt so comfortable with the group that they slipped away to Las Vegas to get married and celebrated with their new-found friends at a rendezvous dinner. Throughout the challenge these atypical comrades discovered a new culture and conquered obstacles together. And Americans along for the madcap ride had an opportunity to see their country from the innocent eyes of visitors. Each team became Ambassadors of Good Will as they encountered friendly strangers and explained their mission. Cowboys in Wyoming were awe-struck as they watched the Tuvan throat singer perform; Team Poland spent the night in their car and were cheerfully rescued by local police the next day; and the stories go on and on. There were no losers in the AURORA VACATION CHALLENGE; everyone came away inspired and enriched.
Who is Garry Sowerby? Co-developer of Odyssey International Limited, he holds a Guinness Book of Records acknowledgment for driving around the world in 74 days; a long-distance driving record for a trip from Cape Agulhas, South Africa to North Cape, Norway; and a driving record for a 28-day trip from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Okay, so he knows how to drive and break records, but what makes him so special? His ability to share his love of adventure and his proficiency in putting together unlikely elements are two priceless qualities. This is not the first vacation challenge for Sowerby.
Last year he did the same thing in Europe with 8 American couples
and 2 Canadian couples, but the 1995 AURORA VACATION CHALLENGE shows the true genius of
the man.Taking ten couples from different countries on a journey from the majestic
mountains of Wyoming to the affluent sophistication of Beverly Hills and letting them do
it in a 1996 Aurora so they can experience the taste of freedom for which America is
celebrated was nothing short of genius.Making it fun and safe and successful is
mindboggling and miraculous. I came away from the AURORA VACATION CHALLENGE with a course
of action. I am periodically checking Garry's Website; I am reading every book he wrote
(Road Fever and The Great Gold Toothpick Caper are two that I'm aware of); and whenever I
hear the name Sowerby, I am paying attention. This is one fun dude!
- Laurie Lawson-
Photography By:EVincent Jeffers
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