Cruising Alaska for “Noncruisers”

Friday September 19, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 4 Comments

Mega cruise ships the size of small cities not your cup of tea? While I love exploring the world from the deck of a cruise ship, not everyone feels the same way towards cruising. My husband is one of those active adventure travelers who feels that he would go “stir crazy” trapped on a cruise ship – no matter the travel itinerary. I have found the answer to the “noncruisers” dilemma. The company is called Un-Cruise Adventures and it is my answer to cruising Alaska for the noncruiser.
 

"Safari Endeavour" Alaska

Safari Endeavour for the noncruiser. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Discover Alaska’s glacier country

I had the chance to explore southeast Alaska and Discover Glacier Country on an eight day, seven night voyage with Un-Cruise Adventures. Our journey began and ended in Juneau, Alaska with stops at Glacier Bay National Park, Chichagof Island, Icy Strait and Stephen’s Passage, among others.

Other than covering the Iditarod Dog Sled Race in Anchorage, Alaska, this has been one of my most memorable experiences to this “Great Land” of 3 million lakes, 100,000 glaciers, 33,904 miles of coastline and over 3.2 million acres of State Park lands.
 


 

“We don’t like the ordinary or the typical,” noted Carole Heaton of Atlanta, Georgia (seen above in the video with her husband Mike Morrow). “This has been a unique experience that got us on a boat for a week.”

 

"Un-Cruise Adventures" Alaska

Our journey with Un-Cruise Adventures


 

Over a series of blog posts I will share with you, my dear reader, my experiences kayaking next to Lamplugh Glacier, following bear tracks on Chichagof Island and watching humpback whales bubblenet feed off Admiralty Island. I will share my video on how to pack for an Alaskan outdoor adventure and offer my insider tips on what it’s like to sail on an 84 guest small ship cruise line and how you may discover Alaska’s glacier country for yourself. What a trip!

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @UnCruise on Twitter.

 
If You Go:

UnCruise Adventures (888) 862-8881
3826 18th Ave
W. Seattle, Washington 98119

Article written by, video and photo courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Un-Cruise Adventures. All opinions are my own.

New Adventure Thrills in Hocking Hills, Ohio

Wednesday September 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM | 0 Comments

Fly like Superman across the river down below

Fly like Superman across the river down below

Recently, I saw the woods and the river in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio from a whole different angle–flying like Superman. At the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours Adventure, the SuperZip is quarter of a mile zipline that begins at the top of an 85 ft. tower and ends across the Hocking River where strapping young men await your arrival. It’s their job to help you get earth bound once you stop.

The swift journey–an up to 50 mph speed, is a blast. I did it twice and managed to capture the flights of some of my traveling companions.

The end of the line of the SuperZip

The end of the line of the SuperZip

One of the terrific things about this zipline is that there’s the thrill of speed and height without the stomach drop that comes with a roller coaster ride. Plus it’s eco-friendly. Nothing but pulleys, zipline cable and the laws of physics at work.

The SuperZip is also a perfect thrill for anyone who doesn’t have the couple hours it takes to go through the full Hocking Hills Canopy Tour–and it’s cheaper. One trip on the SuperZip is $30. Two trips cost $45 and one more is $55.

Segway trip past folks in flight

Segway trip past folks in flight

Because the SuperZip doesn’t require reservations, this way to tour Hocking Hills can be a spur of the moment decision. It can also be paired with a canoe trip from nearby Logan. It’s possible to paddle up the river, take time out for a SuperZip trip or two and then resume your river travel.

For those afraid of heights, or just wanting a from the ground view, Hocking Hills Canopy Tours has added another adventure–the Off-road Segway tour.

Wildflowers and butterflies abound

Wildflowers and butterflies abound

I tried that too and give that trip along trails mowed through sections of the property a thumbs up as well.  At first, as I almost ran over the guide, I wondered if I would ever get the  hang of Segway travel.  Fortunately, he was patient and taught me well. After a session of practicing,  I was able to navigate hills and turns without any trouble.

The guide did warn us a few times that Segways can be dangerous, particularly if one isn’t paying attention or getting too cocky. For anyone who has water skied, cross-country skied or skated before the movement felt similar. A helpful hint is to remember is that you’re the boss. Don’t let the Segway take over. If you step off by accident, let go–the thing will stop.

As I rode along on my Segway, following the guide who pointed out details about the area and woods, I was relaxed enough to enjoy the scenery.

Because  the Hocking Hills Canopy Tour Segways don’t go over 12 miles an hour, I wasn’t speeding by the butterflies flitting among the purple thistles and golden rod.

A way to enjoy the woods

Enjoying the woods in Ohio

For sections of the off-road trip that wound through woods, across fields, and up and down hills, we skirted by part of the “X- TREME”  zipline, a series of 11 ziplines that tower above the ground with a birds eye view of some of Ohio’s prettiest landscape. It was fun watching folks fly by overhead as I moved along on my own adventure.

If you go, make reservations soon for the Hocking Hills Canopy Tour if that’s your aim. Fall foliage season is on its way. Again, the SuperZip does not require reservations. The Off-Road Segway tour has only been in operation for 3 months. Reservations are required for that as well.

By the way, the Off-Road Segway tour is for people 14 and older. Check Hocking Hills Canopy Tours website for other age and size regulations.

If you go: Hocking Hills Canopy Tour is about 45 minutes south of Columbus, Ohio. There is a snack bar, gift shop and places to picnic.

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours
10714 Jackson Street
Rockbridge, Ohio 43149

1-740-385-9477

I was a guest at Hocking Hills Canopy Tours for research purposes.

Photos and Post courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of Midwest Travel Writers Association

 

Empty Nest Travel Tips

Friday September 12, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 4 Comments

empty nest

Empty nest travel

As our daughter graduated from college this summer and our son traveled to Oxford, Mississippi to begin college, it has occurred to me that my husband and I are now empty nest. Our young adult children have flown the coop and we are free to travel at our leisure. No more worries about teenagers hosting house parties while the parents are away or having to pay outrageous prices for airline tickets and hotel stays when everyone with children is on vacation from school. We are looking forward to empty nest travel! Here are 5 travel tips for empty nest baby boomers!

 

 

Tips for empty nest travel

1. Take advantage of off peak pricing.

Airlines, hotels, resorts and cruise ships are all looking to capture the baby boomer traveler who is no longer tied to travel during school holidays.

2. Financial freedom

Depending on the amount of children in your family, empty nesters no longer need to worry about reserving multiple hotel rooms, family-friendly villas, requesting adjoining hotel rooms or renting houses large enough to accommodate kids and friends.
 

traveling with teens

Dining with teens

 

3. Dining decisions

I don’t know about you, but often times our dining decisions during travel were based on where the kids wanted to eat. Traveling with teens often boiled down to fast food drive-ins or chain restaurants. Dining out as empty nest travelers gives us flexibility to choose where we spend our dining dollars.

4. Travel discounts

When it comes to travel tips, I’m all about discovering the discount. I’m not entitled to senior citizen discounts yet, but there are organizations such as AARP (a non-profit organization that helps people over 50 improve the quality of their lives) and AAA ( a North American based not-for-profit motor club that offers emergency road service, insurance & travel assistance)  that offer travel discounts for hotels, tours, cruises and such.

 

"empty nest travel tips" mini cooper

Travel tips: downsize the car


 

5. Automotive downsize

Ditch the mini van or sport utility vehicle that carries children and a dog. Instead, downsize to a sporty Mini Cooper or electric car. You’ll get better gas mileage driving a two-seater coupe and a smaller vehicle forces you to pack more efficiently.

Are you an empty nest parent or getting ready to enter this stage of life? What empty nest travel tips do you have to share?

Article and photos by empty nest baby boomer Nancy D. Brown.