Hamilton in Chicago

A new block of tickets go on sale this morning for Hamilton in Chicago.  These dates will be from September 2018 through January 2019. We were successful in purchasing tickets last fall for a spring break family surprise.  These tickets are generally the most affordable way to get into the show.

More information can be found here at the Chicago Tribune website:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/news/ct-ent-new-hamilton-tickets-may-8-20180502-story.html

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Lovers Key State Park

If you are a regular reader of Stretchingittotravel you know we love activities that are low cost.  State parks are great places to visit due to their cheap cost and many activities.

We spent a few nights at Fort Myers Beach with the intention of visiting Lovers Key State Park.  We arrived around 9am Christmas morning to a rapidly filling parking lot.  Admission for the day is $8 a car and the park is open from 8am to sunset daily.

Lovers Key State Park

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We waited a bit for a trolley to drop us near the waterfront.  There was some confusion as to if the trolley ran on Christmas so we ended up walking the short path to the beach.

The park has well over two miles of beautiful sandy beaches to walk.  We walked from the boardwalk around to Big Carlos Bay by the bridge and back.  A nice clean, wide beach to explore.

Lovers Key State Park

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Later when the sun was really hot we walked the nature trail to view the canals.  The island was being developed to become a resort but sold to the state in the 1980s.

We saw many gopher turtles on our walk and their holes.

Lovers Key State Park

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There are opportunities to rent bikes, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards for use inside the park.  They also offer kayak tours and rent beach gear.

We spent most of our day relaxing at Lovers Key.  Relaxing by the ocean is one of my favorite ways to spend the day.

More information on Lovers Key can be found here: https://www.loverskeyadventures.com/

 

 

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Everglades Airboat Tour

Over a few trips we have tossed around doing an airboat tour.  The family always thought it would be fun but generally I could not find one at a cost I was happy with. This is not the case in the Everglades.  Competition is fierce and prices are lower than any others we had seen to date.

I also could not chose between taking a grassland tour or mangrove tour.  Then I read about Captain Mitch’s tours.  They offer a tour that visits both on their property.

 

Captain Mitch’s Airboat Rides

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I was able to secure a reservation online a couple of weeks in advance of our December trip for an afternoon tour.  This location is just outside of Naples.

Captain Mitch’s

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Captain Mitch’s

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Our tour was so much fun!  We started out in the mangroves and ended up in the grassslands.  We saw a few gators, a gator nest and many birds.

Captain Mitch’s in mangroves

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Flying through the mangrove channels is a very unique experience.

Captain Mitch’s grassland

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The one hour tour is forty dollars for adults and twenty dollars per child.  There is also a coupon on the website for three dollars off per person.

After the airboat ride you can go inside the office and meet an alligator.  You can take pictures and hold it.  We had a great time and would love to ride again.

More information here: http://www.captainmitchs.com/

 

 

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Fair Trade Friday April 2018

Fair Trade Friday April 2018

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This months Fair Trade Friday box was one of my favorites.

Fair Trade Friday April

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#Whomademyclothes? Vote with your money and know who makes the items you wear.

Fair Trade Friday April

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Fair Trade Friday April

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I love the light pink tassel necklace. Very fun for summer.

Fair Trade Friday April

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Fair Trade Friday April

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And this navy and white kimono will be great for cool summer nights.

Fair Trade Friday April

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More information on Fair Trade Friday can be found here: http://fairtradefriday.club/

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Free Entrance into our National Parks

There are four days in 2018 that entrance to our National Parks are free for visitors.

From the National Park Service website:

Come experience the national parks! On four days in 2018, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone. Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2018:

The entrance fee waiver for fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

More information can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm 

 

 

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Choice Hotels Spring Promotion 2018

Book now on ChoiceHotels.com or the mobile app and you’ll be on the way to earning a free night. Remember, you must make two separate stays between April 2 and May 25 to earn enough points to redeem for a future free night at over 1,000 hotels worldwide.

Register here: https://www.choicehotels.com/deals/free-night

Book. Stay. Repeat.

From the Choice Rewards Website:

Register Register! You must register for the promotion to make sure all your stays count.
Book Book on ChoiceHotels.com or the mobile app.
Stay 2x Make two separate qualifying stays between April 2 and May 25, 2018.
Free Night Earn points to redeem for a future free night at over 1,000 hotels.
Repeat Repeat to keep earning!
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Passport Execution Fees Rising April

If you are going to need a passport in the near future do so before April to save $10.

On April 2, 2018 the fee to process your passport will increase from $25 to $35.

From the U.S. Department of State website:

“The Department of State published a Final Rule on January 31, 2018, that increases the passport execution fee. The passport execution fee will be $35 starting on April 2, 2018. This rule increased the fee $10 from the previous $25 fee. Individuals who apply for a passport renewal by mail will not see a fee increase.”

More information can be found here: https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/01/277799.htm

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Wyndham Rewards Offer

Our biggest offer ever

Earn up to one free night at any of our 8,000+ hotels worldwide when you stay twice.* Register and book by June 30, 2018 and complete your second qualified stay by July 1, 2018 to get 15,000 bonus points that you can redeem for a free night* at Super 8, Ramada, Wyndham Grand, and more.

Not a Wyndham Rewards member? You can still book your stays now and register for the offer later.

*15,000 Wyndham Rewards points are good for one standard bedroom per night, subject to availability, blackout dates/rates and other restrictions.  Resort fees apply at Caesars hotels, even for award nights, and cannot be paid with points. See Promotion Terms & Conditions for additional information.

 

Stay twice for 15,000 points is a good promotion if you have lower cost hotels to book to earn the points.  Many Wyndham family hotels in our area are from $65 – $85 a night.

We have used Wyndham rewards points two ways.  #1 any hotel is 15,000 points so we cashed in 15,000 points for a night at the Mills House in Charleston.  Over the weekend rates can be around $270 so I was happy to use points instead.  #2 is a points and cash option.  We did this over Christmas break to spend three nights on Fort Myers Beach. 3,000 points and cash gave us a great vacation for a little money out of pocket.  Rooms again were running $270+ a night.  I do not have that kind of money to throw at a hotel room so I was thrilled to use points to offset the price.

You can register for the promotion here:  Register here

 

 

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Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River

After a change of plans to include manatees on this Florida trip we had some free time on Saturday in Crystal River. We had our amazing swim in the morning, and a little warm up time in the hotel hot tub afterwards.  I had heard that Three Sisters Springs was the place to see manatee so we drove five minutes up the road to the address online.

Parking is available at City Hall.  We had just missed the shuttle and had an almost 20 minute wait.  This gave us time to sit in the sunshine and to grab sweatshirts from the car.

Three Sisters Springs

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Fair Trade Friday January 2018

Fair Trade Friday Jan 2018

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January starts off a new year of Fair Trade Friday packages for me.

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