Author: Mary Chong

A Pleasure House Oyster Tour in Lynnhaven Virginia

Pleasure House Oyster Tour — Let the Adventure Begin I’m not a lover of the oyster — especially oysters raw on the half shell. I know plenty of people love them, and they wax poetic of the nectar (the juice) and the terroir — oysters are often described the same way that fine wines are. I do like oysters Rockefeller however, the richness of the meat covered in garlic, cheese and herbs yummy! Today’s adventure was all about the raw oyster, and since they’ll be served fresh straight out of the water, I thought that I would challenge myself...

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Total Bliss at the Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway Puerto Vallarta

I knew I was about to have the experience to last a lifetime when a welcome letter arrived via email from the Butler of the Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway presenting me with a “pillow menu” and a “scent menu” that I could select from before my arrival. A pillow menu is quite typical in a resort of this calibre, but a scent menu is entirely foreign to me but proved to be a truly exclusive, luxury experience. With fragrance choices such as White Gardenias, Oriental Breeze, and Sage with Lemon Grass it was a tough decision...

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My (Almost) Private Tour of the Vatican with Walks of Italy

We are standing in the centre of the Sistine Chapel gazing up at the hands of God. There are less than 20 people in the room. It’s as if we are alone with Michelangelo and God. We aren’t of course, but our Walks of Italy Pristine Sistine tour group is so small (there are 7 of us in total) that it feels that way. We move to the side of the chapel to sit on the wooden benches and stare up in silence as our Walks of Italy guide whispers in our ear via a headset explaining the extraordinary...

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Sleepy Nights at Sheraton Tysons Hotel in Fairfax Virginia

Located in the Tysons Corner suburb of Fairfax Virginia the Sheraton Tysons Hotel provided a very comfortable stay in an upscale environment. With easy access to local tourist attractions, it proved to be a great home base for my visit to Virginia. About Tysons Corner Due in part to the government planning committee’s progressive 40-year vision for Tyson’s corner; the city is developing at a very rapid rate. Known as “America’s Next Great City ” and the urban centre of Fairfax County, many Fortune 500 Companies have their corporate headquarters in Tysons Corner as the city offers visitors, both...

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A Daring Date with the Bats of Austin Texas

Every summer evening at dusk the bats of Austin Texas leave their nest under the Congress Avenue Bridge to feed. A lot of planning and preparation goes into any trip that I plan (hence the calculated in Calculated Traveller). I usually seek out a few sources when doing my prep work — the tourist board website, travel blogs, and friends and family. Upon planning a road trip through Texas recently, all my sources exclaimed the need for me to see the bats of Austin Texas. But what all my sources didn’t explain is where, when, how and why I...

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Princess Cruises — A Caribbean Princess Review

Caribbean Princess first set sail in 2004 and is a sister ship to the Crown, Emerald and the Ruby. For a 12-year-old ship, the Caribbean Princess surprisingly doesn’t look or feel it’s age. Sure it doesn’t have a rock climbing wall or a waterslide but what it does have is a relaxed charm, excellent service, delicious food and great entertainment. Caribbean Princess Atrium Essentially a central hub in the middle of the ship, this is the place to be for shopping, feature entertainers, events like the Captain’s Welcome and the Champagne waterfall. My Favourite Time is — Cookie Time!...

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Psst…Take Advantage of Shoulder Season Travel Savings

Psst…Come over here. I’m going to let you in on a little travel secret. Travel can be pricey unless you utilise all the tricks up your sleeve. As a “Calculated Traveller,” the biggest trick I have up MY sleeves is to take advantage of “shoulder season” if you are looking to save on travel. What is “Shoulder Season Travel” exactly? The definition of shoulder season is “a period between a peak and off-peak season”. Okay, a little ambiguous of a definition but anytime it isn’t a high or low season, it is shoulder season and more importantly what that...

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An Historical Stay on the River Walk in San Antonio Texas

The River Walk in San Antonio Texas is one of the most romantic places to stroll. With mariachi bands serenading the couples walking hand-in-hand along the water’s edge, the cool summer breeze, the dimly lit walkways, the benches to sit and rest, and the stone bridges to cross. What’s even more romantic than strolling along the River Walk is sleeping in one of the many hotels along this famous promenade, the ultimate in romantic stays along the river being a stay at the historic Omni La Mansion del Rio Hotel. Sleeping in History at Omni La Mansion del Rio...

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#WeVisitVallarta Puerto Vallarta Mexico – August 23, 9:30 PM ET

With 365 days of the sunshine, gorgeous beaches and tonnes of things to do, Puerto Vallarta Mexico is a very popular place to visit year round whether by land or by sea. We first visited Puerto Vallarta years ago with a few friends on a Mexican Riviera cruise and thoroughly enjoyed our day in port. Since then, we’ve vowed to return again for a longer period, but we plan on returning alone — just my honey and me. Relax – Rejuvenate – Renew – Romance I imagine us relaxing on the beach, sleeping in luxurious resorts, strolling the cobblestone...

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Tips for a Working (and NOT Working) Vacation

There is a sense of satisfaction when you activate that “Out of Office” message on your email and voicemail at work isn’t there? I kind of wish that “happy dance” music played once you hit that submit button! Being self-employed I’m never truly out of the office; I still have to check in now and again to see if any clients are having an emergency or to line up future projects for my return home so that I can pay for the next trip! To make my work life easier and because I travel a lot, I have a...

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