Destination Spotlight-Barbados

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Barbados is sophisticated, safe, friendly and romantic. Barbados has something for everyone from expensive to affordable.  They offer accommodations from Ultra Luxury to European. Barbados is a tropical island that has sun-filled days and balmy nights. Those that explore Barbados, fall in love with this land and, return again and again.  The average annual temperature ranges from 70°F–87°F.  There is no bad time to visit Barbados it has a tropical climate year-round and Barbados is outside the hurricane belt!

Barbados may not have any dolphins, but they still have an experience of a lifetime as you can swim with the turtles!  Something I so desperately want to do.  Barbados is the home to a healthy population of hawksbill and leatherback turtles.  The turtles once were endangered by being over fished.  However, these great creatures are now protected and monitored throughout the Island.There are programs in place such as the Barbados Sea Turtle Project to help recover the marine turtle populations.  This is all done through training, education and public awareness.  Without such projects, we would not have the opportunity to enjoy these truly amazing creatures.

Turtles are sociable and tend to stay in the same area, following steady routines.  They can be seen playing and feeding along the inshore reefs.  There are certain monitored areas where they have become accustomed to humans and are very tame.  You can swim with them as they feed along the coral.  One of the best ways to do this is by snorkeling.
Barbados’ South coast and West coast are best known for their swimming, snorkeling and water activities.  Where as the East coast or the Atlantic side is known for surfing.  However, Barbados does not have any private beaches.
Some other interesting facts about Barbados…
It is known as the birthplace of the finest rum
It is divided up into 11 parishes. Each of them with their own church and cemetery
If you are looking to get married, there is no waiting period for you to do so in Barbados
It is the host of the museum for the Concord where you can partake in a flight simulation

Fun Fact: Driving in Barbados, as on many of the Caribbean Islands, is on the left side of the road. Before you rent a car, please make sure you are comfortable driving this way. However, precautions aren’t only for drivers. Pedestrians must also remember to look right as well as left when crossing the street!


Andrea Ward is an independent travel consultant of Boomerang Escapes, who is based in Wisconsin.

She has been planning vacation escapes for the company since 2013 and specializes in Caribbean Destinations. Her primary focus is on the all-inclusive vacation experience for adult or family getaways for individuals and small groups. Sandals and AMResorts are among the specialist certificates she holds.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Andrea WardDestination Spotlight-Barbados
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Passport for Your Palate-Jellied Cranberries

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It’s Thanksgiving time here in the United States, which means its time to give thanks for all our blessings as we gather round the table.  It is also the time to pull out your stretchy pants for the over indulging you will do on all your family and friend’s cooking.  Then the big nap that ensues and takes over your body after such a wonderful feast. True relaxation!

In this bit, I share a recipe that has become a kid favorite and annual request. It became part of our thanksgiving in its original recipe form around 2003 when we first moved to the state of Tennessee.  That year, we had become very self-conscious of our health and unlike Wisconsin, Tennessee can be quite warm on Thanksgiving and thus we began cooking our turkey on the grill that year.   This year however, I am taking my dish with me to Vermont where the kids and I will enjoy family time with my parents.

I love this dish because it is very easy to whip up first thing Thanksgiving morning or can be prepared a day ahead which makes it a perfect dish to bring to other homes.  My current recipe is an adaptation from a South Beach Diet recipe I found back in 2003. Since then, like any good cook, I have modified and tweaked it over the course of time to its current state.  I love its freshness with the crisp tart cranberries, sweet bursting pomegranates, and zesty orange.  I sometimes have to make two bowls due to its popularity.

Jellied Cranberries
Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 envelope (four 1/2-cup servings) sugar-free raspberry gelatin (you can use regular, just cutting calories here. Also, Jell-O brand is gluten-free)
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
ice cubes ( I use the crushed ice setting on my refrigerator when time to add)
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (Time saver: buy the ones already seeded in the fruit section of your grocery)

Instructions:
Stir boiling water into gelatin powder in medium bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Measure 1/2 cup of cold water and add enough ice cubes to make 1 1/4 cups ice water. Add cold water and ice cubes to gelatin.  Stir until slightly thickened. Remove any remaining ice. Set aside.
Add cranberries and orange zest to bowl of food processor or blender. Process until finely chopped (do not puree) Add to dissolved gelatin.  Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until set (About 3 hours)

On Thanksgiving this is always one of the first things I make and get put aside.  It is a great recipe for the kids to help put together too.  I have always loved having my kids in the kitchen since they were toddlers. Fond memories of “cook’s helper” in their homemade aprons.

What are your family favorites and traditions? I would love to hear.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Jellied Cranberries
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Personal Review-Pineapple Beach Club-Antigua

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Recently I had the advantage and opportunity to travel to Antigua with the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Board, but prior to meeting up with my business development manager I had the pleasure of using free nights ( a sometime perk of the industry) at Pineapple Beach Club located on Long Bay in St. Phillip Parish.  For those not familiar with this property, you may remember it as Sandals Grand Pineapple, but they have since sold it back to Elite Island Resorts about 2 years ago. It is currently under some slight renovations  (Nov 2018)


What’s great about this resort is the pristine white stretch of 1/4 mile beach with ever endless shades of blue water lapping upon it and the beautiful island greenery as it’s back drop.

The resort truly offers a true authentic “Caribbean Feel” to it, which was one of my favorite bits about laying back and falling into “island time” here.  Like the rest of the island the temperatures here range year round from 75F-80F with amazing trade wind breezes and very little rain. Antigua herself seems to lie just out of the hurricane belt making this a year round destination.

The Pineapple Beach club is a value to moderate priced  all-inclusive resort for adults only (age 16 and up). While it’s rooms might not boast the elegance of some of the newer larger resorts, it makes up for it in charm, feel, food and service.  The resort had 4 primary areas for accommodations ranging from garden suites up to waterfront suites. The waterfront being the most spectacular of views on the water.  I stayed in an Ocean View up on the hillside that had beautiful views of the gardens and beach below. It was a perfect place to sit on the balcony and watch the day come alive as the sun rose.  The room itself was basic with king bed, armoire, table and chair. The balcony had 2 chairs and a table.  The bath was situated with a separate vanity and sink area along with a tub/shower combo. One thing to note about the resort, is it does lie within a hillside setting, so there are quite a lot of stairs. Perfect if you are looking to keeping fit as the lovely fitness center was 70 stairs, not steps from my room.  I did notice a woman with a walker that was accommodated in the garden suites near the shops, but I would not list the resort myself as handicap friendly.  But for the active to beach chair sleeper this resort has a lot to offer.

There are 3 restaurants, plus the snack bar by the pool.  The main restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner has an abundant selection and variety on the buffet.  The two other restaurants do require an advance reservation, but are worth doing so. One is Italian fare while the other caters to the Caribbean flavors and seafood. The snack bar by the pool served your American favorites such as nachos, hamburgers, and sandwiches. Another great treat for lunch is to make your way up to the hilltop for The Outhouse for some authentic island barbecue.  You won’t regret it!

The main bar serviced the bulk of the area and there is also a smaller bar near the main beach activity area. They do have beach service as well which is nice when you feel too relaxed to get up and freshen your drink. One of my favorite daily activities was to order the drink of the day. Mostly with rum, but not overly sweet as some other island resort drinks I’ve had.  Mauvin the main bartender was great and would create us our very own special drink before we headed to dinner. The staff really did take a liking to the guests.There is a daily activity board, the option to go off resort to explore the island, and of course nightly entertainment.  Often the evening entertainment was music in way of band or DJ. Note the entertainment ends by 11pm so this is not your all night party place.  Non-motorized water sports are included.  I highly recommend the Hobie cat with Keri as your captain.  And to break up your tanning, give the Caribbean Dance lessons a try. Truly this place is a perfect Caribbean escape for those looking to disconnect (though free Wi-Fi in certain areas and a pay plan for rooms) and fell the island vibe. It is what the Caribbean is and always has been.  And as they say numbers don’t lie, Pineapple Beach Club has a 75% repeat rate and the guests seemed more like family to the staff then visitors.

If you are looking for more information on Pineapple Beach Club or other resorts in the Elite Island Resort Family or just more on Antigua as a destination, please email info@boomerangescapes.com


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPersonal Review-Pineapple Beach Club-Antigua
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