On a calm beach, a big wave can knock you off your feet—and even act as a thief, as one resort guest recently learned.
Brittania Fisher and her husband were vacationing earlier this month at Miami’s Turnberry Isle Miami, and on their last day there, Brittania was wading in shallow water and picking up shells on the private beach. Suddenly, a big wave surprised her, and knocked her over. "I clenched my left hand because the water was cold, and I knew it would make my fingers shrink," the Dallas native told us. "But my rings were already gone."
She immediately enlisted other people on the beach to help her look, and hotel staffers are still looking—but so far, with no results.
Turnberry's staffers, it should be noted, have recovered lost rings in the past. In 2002, Heather Mills, former wife of Paul McCartney, "lost" one hers when she was staying with the music legend at the resort. "Apparently they had a big row in our Grand Presidential Suite, and in their fight she threw her engagement ring off the balcony," Rachel Pinzur, the resort's public relations director, told NBC Miami. A determined hotel employee found it in the bushes with the help of a flashlight.
The shoreline may pose greater challenges, but Fisher says that she is hopeful that her two rings—both platinum, and soldered together—are heavy enough to have sunk into the sand, rather than be sucked out to sea. (See picture: above.) She recently posted on the resort's Facebook page asking guests to keep looking, and is offering a $2,000 reward for their return.
“There's a dollar amount on the rings, of course, but I can't replace them," Fisher told us. “The engagement ring was what my husband had when he got down on one knee, and he slipped the band on my hand on our wedding day. They're priceless." She's willing to be patient, too. "You always hear stories about people being reunited with items after a long time, so I'll believe in miracles."
To some travelers, feeding stingrays in their native habitat may seem like a way fun to share some inter-species goodwill, but it turns out that it can leave the wildlife feeling a little off-kilter, to say the least.
According to recent announcement, a study by the Guy Harvey Research Institute, at Florida’s Nova Southeastern University, looked at how regular human interaction is affecting the marine wildlife at Stingray City in the Cayman Islands, where travelers can pet, feed and swim with the big fish. Researchers found some distinct changes in the stingrays' behavior. For instance, the fish shifted from foraging for food at night to doing so only during the day—perhaps when human visitors might be handing out snacks—and then sleeping at night.
From Miami, you’ll head south on one of the country’s most scenic highways to get to Key West. The Overseas Highway is 120 miles of incredible bridges that pass over tropical blue water. Bring a camera! WHERE TO STAY The brightly colored Truman Hotel, just a short walk from the bars along Duval Street, has a small pool and balconies on the upper floors. PRICE $299 a night.
Love to shop? You can’t do better than Fort Lauderdale, which has the posh boutiques along Las Olas Boulevard and more than 300 outlet boutiques at Sawgrass Mills. WHERE TO STAYB Ocean Fort Lauderdale is just north of some of the pricier hotels, but it’s a much better value: there’s free WiFi, complimentary iPad rental, and ocean views from standard rooms. PRICE $299 a night.
A visit to the Magic Kingdom is the ultimate trip for every kid, but parents can have a great time, too. WHERE TO STAYThe Waldorf-Astoria Orlando is set on a 482-acre nature preserve with jogging paths and golf. Disney-view rooms look onto the park’s nightly fireworks show. PRICE $299 a night.
Nothing helps shake off the stress of work like a beach vacation far from home. But as one Welshman learned, there may be a fine line between easing stress and whooping it up—at least in the eyes of his bosses back at home. Paul Marshallsea was taking stress-related sick leave from his job at a charity in Wales, and was using part of that time to visit Australia's Sunshine Coast. On the beach one day, the 62-year-old spotted a shark in shallow waters near a group of kids. "It could have been very nasty," he told the BBC. "My instincts took over and I just grabbed the shark by the tail."
And then some: Marshallsea wrestled the shark into deeper waters, all of which happened to get caught on film and broadcast on Australia's Channel 9, where he was declared a hero. (Watch the video above.)
For starters, we feel for anyone who takes a vacation expressly to unwind, and ends up tangling with a shark. But Marshallsea's good deed did no go unpunished: Back in Wales, his employers happened to see the clip and fired him. "If I hadn't gone in to save the kids on that beach that day, I would still have a job," he told WalesOnline. "You think being … a children's charity, they would have tapped me on the back."
What do you think? Is it out of bounds to take a vacation while on stress-related sick leave?
On February 10th, “We Found Love” earned R&B superstar Rihanna her sixth Grammy, this time for best short form music video. That’s nice, but the songstress has another video that T+L readers may find even nicer. It’s a tourism promotional video for Barbados, Rihanna’s home country, and one of the Caribbean’s top destinations.
Check it out:
Okay, so now that we all officially want to go to Barbados but know nothing about it, T+L can help. Here are some things the video didn’t tell us that make a visit to this Caribbean isle more enticing:
It's not too late to get away this spring. We've found five travel deals within $200 a night, from a ranch in Jackson Hole to a beach resort in St. Kitts.
St. Kitts: St. Kitts Marriott Resort Set right on Frigate Bay Beach, this resort offers plenty of ways to play and to relax. Swim in one of several pools, work out at the fitness center or spinning center, or enjoy the on-site casino. There's also a championship golf course, as well as water-sports such as snorkeling. Go to the Emerald Mist Spa for a bamboo massage and a papaya pineapple polish, and feel free to bring your kids along as well for a princess manicure. Doubles from $199/night in April.
Florida: One Ocean Resort & Spa, Jacksonville While the 193 rooms and suites all come with full or partial ocean views with floor-to-ceiling windows, put in a special request: the balcony rooms on the hotel's east side overlook the beach, and rooms on floors 6 to 8 have the best views. You'll begin to unwind immediately thanks to the butler service that helps with unpacking your bags and so much more. The Spa at One Ocean Resort has more than 40 marine-inspired treatments, such a Seashell Massage and a rubdown designed especially for windsurfers. Head to the nearby Beaches Town Center for shops and art galleries, or go down the coast to historic St Augustine. Doubles from $179/night.
Two decades ago a little girl stood on a hot tennis court grumpily swatting at yellow balls, her parents' dreams of a professional tennis career dashed. She counted the minutes until she could get back to the beach with her sisters...
With that sunny stretch of sand still in my mind, I decided to give Sarasota, on the Florida Gulf Coast, another shot with my own family. It was the middle of February and we were desperate for a long weekend of much-needed sun. What we got was a record-breaking freeze. Thankfully, Sarasota has a lot more than beautiful beaches (and there are plenty). Here's what we discovered:
° An amazing aquarium. The Mote Marine Laboratory offers sea turtles, dolphins, and an adorable manatee named Hugh, that my son Miles thought looked like my dad.
° Some damn good restaurants. Yes, we spent a lot of time eating, and I wasn't going to let a little cold ruin my dream of lounging on a terrace with a cocktail. There's Mar Vista, hidden at the end of Long Boat Key (order the fried calamari); the Italian Salute for dinner; the Peruvian Selva Grill, with tangy Pisco Sours; the diner-like Blue Dolphin Cafe for blueberry pancakes; and my sons' favorite, the waterfront, no-frills Old Salty Dog, where all the seafood is fried--and then fried again.
° Beautiful Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. We spent an entire afternoon wandering around these 14 acres, which are filled with bamboo and banyan groves, orchids and bromeliads, and a mangrove forest. The best part: the indoor Kids' Corner, an interactive space with plant-themed books, puzzles, activities and crafts.
There's more: The renowned Ringling Art Museum, a downtown with great galleries, and of course, lots of good ice cream parlors (a must-stop for every afternoon).
As for where to stay, the Long Boat Key Club is right on the beach and ideal for families: 2 and 3 bedroom suites with everything you need—dining table, kitchen, a super-friendly staff, and a flat screen TV for movie nights if you decide to stay in.
A lot of people dream about packing up their workaday lives and moving to paradise, but few of us actually do it. Mark Yokoyama, a former marketing and merchandising executive, and his partner, Jenn Yerkes, an advertising copywriter, did just that when they moved to St. Martin in November 2009 to found Les Fruits de Mer, "the world's first Extreme Shallow Snorkeling team, dedicated to pioneering the sport, art and science of extreme shallow snorkeling all over the world."
When not extreme shallow snorkeling, Yokoyama spent much of the last three years hiking the island and documenting the diversity of its wildlife. The result is The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin, a book of original up-close nature photography and original research he released as a print-on-demand edition in 2010. Yokoyama is currently raising funds on Kickstarter for a revised and expanded edition. According to his campaign video, the more copies Yokoyama sells in advance, the cheaper he can make them and the more accessible the book will be to the island's kids. (He freely acknowledges playing the "do it for the kids" card.)
As he tells T+L below, the book is also a great resource for visitors to the island with an interest in nature and local culture.
Q. What are you doing on St. Martin and how did you come to document the island's wildlife?
As a child, I was very interested in wildlife and wildlife photography, but I grew away from that in my teens. I ended up in St. Martin after developing a love of scuba diving and underwater photography. Spending all day wandering the hills taking photos of insects was a natural next step, and now I'm doing exactly what I loved to do when I was ten-years-old.