We had a very late return flight and I hate to drive a couple of hours after landing in the dark. Usually in those situations we figure the cost of a hotel room into the plane ticket expense.
Husband had a Marriott night that was going to expire so he suggested we use it after our flight. Great idea!
We booked a studio suite at the Residence Inn. That allows daughter the couch to sleep on and we got our own bed around the corner.
Check in was very friendly and when asked provided a couple of pizza menus for the local area. We had not passed much beyond fast food on our drive from the airport. Pizza places usually have pasta for Daughter so everyone is happy.
The room was standard Residence Inn, like it that we always know what we are getting with them!
This room had a desk in the seating area and a table with two chairs.
And the standard queen bed and bathroom to the side.
With the design of these rooms we fell less on top of each other than in some hotel rooms. Usually we have all been together for a week and its nice to get a little space.
We arrived too late and tired to mess with the pool. We looked at it in the morning and it was the standard hotel pool.
More information here: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/grrri-residence-inn-grand-rapids-airport/
4443 28th Street SE Grand Rapids Michigan 49512 USA
Rates are usually $10 9 for the studio rooms and two rooms are $169. We used a category 4 certificate for our stay.
It was just my favorite day of the month. Fair Trade Friday!!!!!
This month did not disappoint!
It started with a great I’m in the club Tshirt. Very cute! Also there was soap and lip balm. My other favorite item was the orange knit wrap bracelet with beads on it. So cute and many different ways to wear it.
More information can be found here: http://fairtradefriday.club/
And other blog posts about Fair Trade Friday here: https://stretchingittotravel.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=5104&action=edit
For several years we have made the trip to South Haven for ice breaker. There was been 50 degree tempatures and white out blizzards. You never know what you will get in February!
There is always some time for skating at the ice rink after the curling demonstrations.
And the various stores sponsor an ice sculpture that is built during the day. We have seen some incredible sculptures over the years!
The Boy Scouts are out in force with heating fires to warm up by. Others are collecting money for warm your heart heating help. If you get there early enough to get a decent parking space it can be very festive as you enjoy before the crowds.
This year they even offered a 5k for fun.
More information can be found here: http://www.southhavenmi.com/pages/IceBreaker
Its Birchbox time again! The months seem to be flying by…
This box had several items for the face.
Just a reminder that Club Carlson has a pretty good promo going on right now if you are planning a three night stay between now and March 29th.
Earn 30,000 bonus Gold Points® for each Eligible Stay of 3+ nights. Earn 15,000 bonus Gold Points for each 2-night Eligible Stay.
Kick off 2015 with up to 30,000 bonus Gold Points per Eligible Stay! Now through March 29, 2015, register for the “Extend Your Stay, Earn 30K” promotion and you can earn 30,000 bonus Gold Points for each Eligible Stay of 3+ nights or 15,000 bonus Gold Points for each 2-night Eligible Stay at more than 1,000 Carlson Rezidor hotels worldwide. Register today to take advantage of this rich offer exclusive to Club CarlsonSM members.
Terms and Conditions
You must be a Club Carlson member to participate in the “Extend Your Stay, Earn 30K” promotion (“Promotion”). Promotion is valid for Eligible Stays between January 12, 2015 and March 29, 2015 (“Promotion Period”). To be eligible to earn 30,000 bonus Gold Points for each stay of three or more nights, or 15,000 bonus Gold Points for each two-night stay, members must register online for the Promotion at clubcarlson.com/30k, provide their Club Carlson number at the time of reservation or at check-in, and complete an Eligible Stay at participating Quorvus CollectionSM, Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM hotels worldwide during the Promotion Period. Stays or nights paid for by redeeming Gold Points or by using Points + Cash are not eligible for this Promotion. Members only need to register once, but registration must be received before checkout of the first Eligible Stay to qualify.
More information can be found here: https://www.clubcarlson.com/secure/offers/8854393?int_cid=promotions:featured:q1promo
We stumbled upon the Elbow Room while pursuing Groupon for dinner options while visiting Daughter’s friend. Actually she was meeting friend later in the night so we had to eat first, hence the Groupon.
The Elbow Room is in Zeeland Michigan. There has been a few places to catch a burger in Zeeland but the Elbow Room takes it past burgers.
We arrived a little early for dinner. Daughter was starving and we had to meet her friend at 7pm. The menu had burgers but also other great options like herb crusted lamb. Daughter went with the Lobster Mac-N-Cheese. She raved about it. And then ate all the lobster pieces out before boxing the leftovers to take home.
I had the Chicken Parmesan. The dish was large, I took half of it home. And very, very tasty. I would order it again!
Our Groupon for $30 pretty much covered our meal. We didn’t have any drinks besides water and thought it was a good value having paid $18. We will be back for dinner sometime again when we are in the area.
More information here: http://www.elboroombistro.com/#dinner
This is simply a rollup of our trip….
Two tickets on Southwest paid with cash and 1 ticket with points. We booked these is early September to avoid high prices.
Two nights at the Radisson Resort at the Port free on points.
Three nights at the Radisson Oceanfront hotel, two on points and 1 on cash AAA discount.
The rental car was through the mousesavers discount and the lowest I could get was a little over $200.
Hands down our largest expense on the trip was dinner each night. With two seafood lovers in the family the nightly bill usually topped $50+. I need to increase my food budget for future trips now that Daughter is older and not stuck on Mac-n-cheese.
You cannot put a price on spending a week together in the warmth relaxing. I think we did alright on expenses like paying for fishing, a Christmas light festival and mini golf during the week. I would have liked more Groupons for dinner but I was unable to find any for local seafood restaurants.
We are tossing around where to go next winter. Husband wants to go back to Texas, I want a new state and Daughter wants to eat rock shrimp. Might not be lucky enough to go at Christmas again, that did not go over well with a few people. Husband wants to go over his birthday instead. Next time I guess I would do it in reverse and be in the very touristy area of Cocoa Beach on Christmas day. Toss up between waking up on the ocean or having breakfast options outside the hotel.
After the prior nights raves about rock shrimp we set out to find them one more time before we left Florida for the snow. Florida Seafood Restaurant showed them on their menu. We made time to have a nice seafood lunch before finishing our drive to Orlando.
The interior is very entertaining. We saw fish wearing Santa hats, and tiki faces.
We were quickly seated as it was a little past one. We asked the server for the rock shrimp appetizer to be told they did not have any… (Big sigh!) They had Sweet Georgia’s instead. The family went with the suggestion but Daughter will tell you they are NOT the same. They offer the butter melted over a warmer which is a nice touch at the table.
Husband ordered some fried seafood, Daughter had Alfredo and I had the burger.
The service was good, the food was good and we would be willing to go back if they had rock shrimp. I think next time we will call ahead to avoid disappointment.
More information: http://www.floridas-seafood.com/index.php
Florida’s Seafood Bar & Grill
480 West Cocoa Beach Cswy. (520)
Cocoa Beach, Florida 32931
We had a bit of a hard time finding this place. Its more in a residential area than I expected. We have the past couple of times talking about visiting the pier but never got around to it. The Saturday morning we were headed back to Orlando was perfect, almost 80 and sunny. Great time to hit the beach for a little.
Husband likes to see what people are fishing for and catching. They do offer fishing from the end of the pier. A fishing license is not required to fish from the Cocoa Beach Pier
- Hours: Open daily at 7 AM
- $7 fishing fee if you bring your own equipment
- $5 fishing fee for seniors, ages 55 & older, and ages 12 & under
- $15 fishing rod rental fee (includes bait). A $20 deposit is required.
- $2 spectator fee (required to access Mai Tai Bar)
- $5 frozen bait – shrimp, squid, mullet & clams
- Fishing Passes: 1 Week ($20), 1 Month ($30), 3 Month ($75), 6 Month ($125), 1 Year ($200)
There are a couple of tourist stores, and some restaurants on the pier. We paid $2 each to visit the fishing end of the pier. There is also a little bar out there and some benches. Parking ranges from $5-8.
There were a lot of surfers out here around the pier. Someone had set up a stand near the pier renting boards for $20. Daughter was not happy that we were not staying long enough to surf, it was one of the better days for waves.
More information here: http://www.cocoabeachpier.com/