A Guide to Planning Your Spa Visit

When you choose to spend your vacation with Bluegreen Resorts at the Cibola Vista Resort and Spa in Peoria, Arizona, you will find yourself within close proximity to the Phoenix, Arizona, area’s rich variety of outdoor activities and vibrant cityscape. You can also enjoy being pampered at the resort’s luxurious on-site spa. Other Bluegreen properties located across the United States offer access to spas, and whether you are a regular spa client or novice, you will find plenty of ways to relax for a few hours or an entire day or weekend.

You can enhance your spa visit by planning ahead and doing your research. Following are a few simple insights to keep in mind as you prepare for your stay:

When you initially contact a spa to book an appointment, be sure to have a list of questions ready so that you can find out about the services and policies that are most important to you beforehand. Ensure that the staff answers your questions completely and to your satisfaction. Guidelines such as deposit requirements, tipping policies, cancellation lead-time requirements, and refund policies will vary from one spa to another, as will the types of treatments offered and the price range for each service. A 15 to 20 percent tip for each service
provider is customary.

In order to ensure that you feel comfortable, ask the spa for a tour. Be aware that in order to maintain their clients’ privacy, spas will not escort you through areas that are actively providing client services. The spa may also not be able to facilitate a tour during its busiest days or times.
Moreover, try to be sure to arrive on time. Many spas cannot accommodate latecomers, even those who are only about 10 minutes late. In addition, being early allows you plenty of time to situate your belongings in your locker, relax in the lounge, and prepare for your treatment.
If you have a preference for obtaining a massage from a male or a female therapist, be sure to make your request in advance in order to avoid surprises.
Remember to turn off your cell phone and electronic devices for the comfort and relaxation of fellow spa-goers.

If you take medication, check with your medical professional to find out whether there are certain spa treatments, such as the whirlpool or sauna, in which you should not indulge. In addition, remember that if you are booking any kind of exfoliation treatment, you should not shave for at least 24 hours prior to your visit.
If you have never been to a spa before, don’t hesitate to speak up and ask questions about what you can expect. Your treatment professional will want to know if something is uncomfortable or if pressure needs to be adjusted.

A little preparation can make your time at a spa the most bliss-inducing experience it can be.

Preparation Is Key When Traveling With Older Adults

Taking a vacation with an older parent or grandparent can be an enriching way to make new memories together. Still, many people become understandably concerned about the logistics of traveling with seniors and dealing with issues involving physical endurance, mobility, and medication.

The following tips can help you plan thoroughly for any health and safety needs, and arrange for any special accommodations, in transit or at your resort.

1. Make sure that your older loved one has a doctor’s clearance to travel.

Ask about any restrictions on activity that the doctor might think necessary. Thoroughly research your chosen vacation spot to ascertain whether it could present health-related challenges, and ensure that you have an adequate supply of
all needed medications.

2. Keep important documents with you at all times.

Make multiple copies of documents such as ID cards and insurance information. If your loved one is affected by dementia or a potentially life-threatening condition, ensure that he or she travels with any necessary medic alert bracelets and identity documents.

3. Contact your airline in advance.

Speak with airline staff to make sure that your senior’s needs will be met, whether that involves reserving a wheelchair or selecting disability-compatible seating. Additionally, make sure your senior is fully aware of current airport security procedures, particularly if a medical device is involved.

4. Make sure to incorporate regular rest times into your travel plans.

After you and your parent or grandparent have agreed on a destination, give him or her the option of lessening frustration by leaving the details to you. And once on the road, maintain a normal routine as closely as you can, adhering to regular times for medication and rest periods.

5. Remember to keep important phone numbers with you at all times.

In addition to pre-program your older adult’s cell phone with your own phone numbers, make sure that you keep a list of emergency contacts with you at all times in case of emergency. Other vital contacts may include your parent or grandparent’s physician, as well as medical facilities near your destination.

6. Pack lightly and efficiently.

Offer your senior an individual travel bag with his or her most important items readily available. In addition to vital medications and documents, include a comfortable pillow, a sweater, snacks and bottled water, sunscreen, and
entertainment items such as books, crossword puzzles, and portable electronic devices.

Whether you and your older loved one enjoy one of Bluegreen Resorts’ destinations near a historically rich city such as Williamsburg, Virginia, or a relaxing outdoor experience in Gulf Shores, Alabama, a little preparation goes a long way toward creating the best kind of vacation memories.

How to Enjoy Traveling With Your Teens

Adolescents, whose lifestyle choices and interests rarely coincide with those of parents or younger siblings, can present a number of challenges when it comes time for a family vacation. The much-discussed teen moodiness can be especially problematic when the entire family travels together within the confines of a car or even a plane. In fact, some experienced travelers go so far as to say that, if a vacation choice makes the teens in the group happy, everyone will be happy.

Experts say that including your teens in the planning process before you even buy a ticket could help alleviate stress for the whole family. Brainstorm about favorite places, and ask your teen to share his or her ideal vacation spots. Be ready to make compromises that create a vacation all of you can enjoy.

If you choose a cruise, make sure it offers plenty of activities geared to teens, such as round-the-clock service of popular foods, youth-oriented dances and social activities, and game events. A big city such as New York can offer you the chance to introduce your teen to sophisticated dining and theater experiences. If you and your teen love adventure travel but money is a concern, try an outdoor adventure near a national park.

Set a budget that your teen can stick to, and allow him or her to keep any leftover spending money. Make sure your teen has sufficient privacy by booking adjoining rooms or a suite offering a private bedroom. One possibility, if your budget allows, is to allow your teen to bring a friend. A peer whose company you all enjoy can give your teen a needed break from parents and younger siblings.

En route, have plenty of snacks on hand with teen appeal, share music playlists, and be prepared to take arguments in stride and move on. Consider offering responsible teens the chance to help with adult jobs such as driving or navigating.

Bluegreen Resorts offers vacationing families a wealth of possibilities, with properties all across the United States and in the Caribbean. Enjoy some of the world’s best skiing in locales as varied as Big Bear Lake, California; Boyne Falls, Michigan; and Lincoln, New Hampshire. Or find summer fun on beaches in Marathon, Florida or Kauai, Hawaii. All of these, as well as the dozens of other Bluegreen Resorts possibilities, offer plenty of outdoor adventure and indoor entertainment for teens and the entire family.

A Glimpse of History: The Battle of Mobile Bay

Bluegreen Resorts offers a peaceful, comfortable vacation escape for you and your family at two locations in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Stay at Shoreline Towers or Paradise Isle Resort and reconnect with nature by taking a stroll along the beach or hiking through the surrounding countryside. The area is also close to several fascinating historical sites, among them Fort Morgan near the location of the Civil War’s Battle of Mobile Bay. When you learn more about the history around you, your trip may become even more memorable and meaningful.

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” Scholars attribute these famous words to Admiral David Farragut, the Union commander of this final significant naval engagement of the war.

In August 1864, the South still retained the potential to hold onto its independence, even after a series of bitter defeats the previous year. Although Northern troops had set up a blockade of Mobile Bay, rebel agricultural production continued to be high and Southern port cities remained active. The Union eyed Mobile Bay as a prime target for its strategy to defeat the rebels, and sent Farragut’s command on a mission to take the remaining Confederate port stronghold and close the bay to blockade runners.

The Union plan was to first engage the enemy ships and capture the bay before moving to land operations. But Admiral Franklin Buchanan, commander of the much smaller Confederate fleet, was prepared to fight. Flanking Mobile Bay were its two guardians, the 47-gun Fort Morgan at Mobile Point and Fort Gaines, situated on Dauphin Island, with 16 guns. On August 5, Farragut’s 18 ships sailed into the bay under fierce fire from the two forts and through the field of mines, called “torpedoes,” that presented an additional line of defense. On land, the city itself was entrenched behind three series of earthwork fortifications.

Farragut’s initial assault brought about the loss of his ironclad USS Tecumseh, sunk with its crew after hitting a mine. Farragut reportedly directed his forces while tied to the mast of the USS Hartford. He made quick work of all Buchanan’s ships, with the exception of the ironclad CSS Tennessee. After unrelenting fire from Farragut, the wounded Buchanan surrendered the vessel. Farragut then collaborated with Union land forces to take Forts Gaines and Morgan, the latter surrendering on August 23 after a prolonged siege.

Farragut’s victory was a decisive turning point in the war, and boosted President Abraham Lincoln’s popularity in that crucial election year.

Buying Native American Crafts in Arizona

Stay at Bluegreen Resorts’ Peoria, Arizona, retreat and you will find yourself only minutes from the excitement of Phoenix. Let Cibola Vista Resort and Spa pamper you before you enjoy visiting attractions such as the Grand Canyon or any of the Native American tribal communities and trading posts in the area.

When you enrich your Arizona experience with a day trip to a Native American community, you may have the opportunity to purchase beautiful examples of silversmithing and other crafts. Native American tribes continue to make significant artistic contributions to the Southwestern community, and the wide variety of their handicrafts parallels the diversity of each individual tribe.

Arizona is home to many venues selling silver ornaments, pottery, Navajo rugs, Apache basketwork, kachina dolls, and many other items. Before you go shopping, pinpoint your strongest interests, so that you can select the items that will be the most meaningful to you or a loved one. Decide on your budget, and remember that some shops will only accept cash.

One way of studying this unique market is to read books such as those by Susanne and Jake Page, authors of Field Guide to Southwest Indian Arts and Crafts: A Traveler’s Companion. The 1998 book remains an excellent source for information on judging quality and detecting fakes. One good place to find authentic works is in official Native museums. You can also purchase items directly from artists themselves, or at an exhibition. If you have a specific seller or artist in mind, you can always contact a tribal official to inquire where you might find their wares.

Learn about the histories behind particular tribes, as well as about the kinds of objects specific to certain customs and mythologies. Kachina dolls, for example, are distinctive to the Hopi, Zuni, and other Pueblo peoples, so an advertisement for an “Apache kachina doll” would be misleading.

The Native American pieces you purchase can add beauty to your home, and can also serve as reminders of your trip and of your new connection to the skilled artisans and their distinctive tribal cultures.