Erika Preval - Simply Put

Tag: travel

MINI GUIDE TO ROSEWOOD TUCKER’S POINT

Excluding times I’ve lived abroad as a student, I’ve traveled solo at least once a year for nearly 20 years. Turning 40, I decided that Bermuda had remained on my travel bucket list far too long. The trip proved to be more than worth the wait, and I cannot wait to return. There’s so much to share (if you follow me on Snapchat, you’ll concur) that I’m dividing my time there between two posts. The first will focus on the property I chose to reside in during my stay and the second will cover adventures off-property.

One of the most important details when traveling alone is safety. So, I’m always very particular about my accommodations and make certain they’re aware of my plans. Rosewood Tucker’s Point makes this process easy and takes it a step further by sending over a Guest Preference form upon booking your reservation. Arguably the nicest property on the island, the thoughtful inquiries on the form are just a glimpse into the level of service you can anticipate during your stay.

Beach Club

Opting for the Manor House Poolside Deluxe Room during my 4-night stay, by the time I reached the room and walked outside to Castle Harbor Pool, I was greeted by a rain shower that ruined initial plans to lounge on my daybed and order a late poolside lunch. Before I could decide what to do next the doorbell rang announcing luggage delivery. As quickly as the sun disappeared, it returned. You’ll hear it said, and is true, that if you don’t like the weather in Bermuda, wait 5 minutes!

castle harbor pool

EAT

In addition to room service and poolside dining options, there are multiple restaurants at Rosewood. During my stay, I enjoyed three of them. Sul Mer is a beachside restaurant offering a casual dining experience steps away from the Atlantic Ocean. Think French bistro, as far as cuisine. It’s the way to go for a meal that’s lighter on the waistline and the pockets.

The Golf Clubhouse offers two dining options – Sul Verde and The Grille Room. Everyone raves about the Antipasti Bar at the former, and it is perfect for the guest who loves meats and cheeses. Of note is that this is also the restaurant’s only option for enjoying a salad with your meal. Sul Verde’s vegetarian pasta dish was yummy. Five Cheeses pizza from the Grille Room made for a great meal, as well, and you can order it ahead for carryout.

Pizza at Golf Club

The Point is the resort’s upscale dining option. I wanted a more laid back trip, so I’ve not yet dined there, but did enjoy cocktails and Bermuda Fish Chowder right next door at Tucker’s Bar.

PLAY

Rosewood is part of the private resort community of  Tucker’s Point Club. During your stay, you’ll take a shuttle for visits the beach, golf and tennis clubs. Along the way you’ll be whisked past beautiful mansions (including one owned by Michael Bloomberg) and can request a stop at The Mid Ocean Club for a round of golf.

You’ll find an adult only and children’s pool at the beach, and two pools back at the resort. Castle Harbor Pool is the quieter option, but can be a bit shady at certain points of the day. Note that the poolside cabanas at Castle Harbor are for the sole use of guests within the poolside rooms, hence my choosing that accommodation. Rent a private cabana at the Palm Court pool, or enjoy sunning on its plentiful chaise lounges overlooking the Coffee Chine Grotto.

pool view

As you approach the Palm Court Pool, you’ll pass the croquet lawn and Sense spa. Spa treatments book quickly, so you’ll want to arrange for spa treatments before or at the very start of your stay. Prepare to be spoiled during your time at the spa. The space is indulgently charming and I can personally vouch for their Cedar Warming Massage.

Sense Spa Rosewood Tucker's Point

Bermuda isn’t known for being on the list of budget travel, but there are ways to make your trip more affordable. Rosewood Tucker’s Point is a luxury accommodation, so bargain hunters beware. A great source for Bermuda travel deals, including resorts like Rosewood, here. Also research perks that cards like the Platinum American Express offer. Have you visited Bermuda? I’d love to hear about your favorite things to do on the island.

Sul Mer

IMG_1649

IMG_3404

PicTapGo-Image-7

IMG_3189

WEEKEND GETAWAY: HILTON HEAD ISLAND

IMG_3280

A last minute trip to the beach (literally booked the day before) lead us to a three-night stay on Hilton Head Island (HHI). Only a 4-hour drive from Atlanta, it’s surprising that my family waited over a decade to revisit. Our experience was definitely better with the girls as teens rather than toddlers, although you shouldn’t hesitate to head over with your little ones. It’s easy to see why Travel & Leisure has voted HHI the #1 Island in the Continental U.S.

STAY

Booking a stay during the week of Independence Day can be a challenge, so do plan ahead! Fortunately, we were able to find accommodations within the Palmetto Dunes Resort Community at the Omni Hilton Head Island Oceanfront Resort. This luxurious Lowcountry property is beautiful and the staff most welcoming. Upon check-in, anticipate glasses of champagne for the adults and cookies and mango lemonade for the younger guests.

The girls are a bit older now, so we opted for the Luxury Oceanfront Suite, which gave us ample room both inside and out on the balcony. This resort has daily activities available to keep you on property, and an Old Skool burger my family raved about, but we decided to explore a bit.

OMNIHHI

EAT

Arriving just after 3pm, everyone was looking forward to a late lunch. The first request was for something “easy” so I suggested heading to Java Burrito. You’ll quickly find that building codes restrict any blaring signage for businesses, so use Waze and keep your eyes peeled for the outdoor shopping plaza that houses Java. If you’ve been to a burrito bar like Chipotle, you’ll know what to do upon entering. Just know that, no matter the toppings you choose, this is going to be way better! Everything is extremely fresh, locally sourced and sustainably raised. In fact, I spied a bushel of unshucked corn behind the register. Coffee is available, too, hence the name. Arrive between 4-6pm and enjoy the freshest margarita you’ll find on HHI during Happy Hour.

If you’ve come to HHI in search of fresh seafood, don’t mill Skull Creek Boathouse. There will likely be a wait for those coveted outside tables beneath a canopy of mossy trees. Aim for a late lunch. If you don’t time it right, parking will be farther and the line will be longer. That being said, it’s more than worth the wait. The food is fabulous, service top notch and the atmosphere is very laid back, so relax and take in the live music and beauty of the marina and be glad you’ve dodged the touristy spot (we didn’t) and found a treasure the locals enjoy.

Near the hotel, you’ll find the newly built Shelter Cove Town Centre which houses Poseidon. Consider this your go-to if anyone in your group has food restrictions. Seafood and cocktails are at the ready, but there are plenty of gluten free options and a kids menu to satisfy the most challenging palette. Don’t miss their tomato pie!

skullcreekcod

As for the first meal of the day, we tried a few places, but enjoyed our first and last the most. Watusi is a charming restaurant and the perfect choice for a healthier breakfast and great coffee. Harold’s Diner offers no-frills but very tasty and budget friendly breakfast classics coming hot off the griddle — cash only and do follow the rules.

PLAY

Situated between the Calibogue Sound and Atlantic Ocean, Hilton Head gets a bit steamy; you’ll want to pace yourself with outdoor activities. There are three championship golf courses at Palmetto Dunes. The hubby enjoyed one designed by Robert Trent Jones while the girls and I shopped the outlets. The carts are air conditioned, but I strongly urge you to reserve the earliest tee time available so that your game isn’t affected by the heat.

IMG_3358

Want even more golf? There are lots of options for playing putt putt. We found lots of shade and a fun but challenging course at Legendary Golf. You can’t hide from humidity, so be sure to drink water and grab one of my favorite frozen treats, a cherry flavored Screwball, from their cooler before hitting the links!

My family loves going to the movies, and I was able to find a theater with the same reclining seats we’re accustomed to in Atlanta. Now, the theater is much smaller, but four adults can catch a matinee for $30 with online ticketing. Head to Park Plaza Cinema if there’s rain in the forecast or you don’t want to miss a new release.

Of course, back at the hotel there are pools to explore, sugar sand beaches to wander and s’mores to be made. If planning your first trip to Hilton Head, don’t miss going the iconic red-and-white-striped Harbour Town Lighthouse. With all we did during our 4-days at HHI, we left plenty of items on our to do list for the next time we need a beach getaway. And something tells me that with our oldest headed into her senior year of high school, that will be sooner rather than later!

tomatopie

javaburrito

skullcreekoutdoor

lifeguardstand

sunrise

NASHVILLE: 3-DAY GUIDE FOR THE COUNTRY AVERSE

nashville sign

A three-day weekend is quickly approaching! In case you’re looking for a great road trip destination, do allow me to suggest a drive to Nashville, Tennessee. Should an aversion to country music have you thinking it’s not the ideal destination, know that the Music City has far more to offer. If you enjoy good food and good times, Nashville is one of the hottest places to visit in the South, and just keeps getting better. Here’s a snapshot of all that you can get into with three days to spare.

STAY

Although it sells out quickly, do your best to reserve a room at the Omni Nashville. Located in downtown Nashville within walking distance of the hubbub of Broadway, this unique hotel has multiple restaurant options, rooftop pool, and impeccable service. Sold out? Make your way to Union Station Hotel – a bit more demure but absolutely charming.

EAT

pancake pantry

Breakfast: You don’t want to leave Nashville without having a proper biscuit. A bit of a drive will lead you to Loveless Café. If you’d prefer staying near downtown head over to the food truck offshoot Biscuit Love in The Gulch. Don’t question it – order the bonuts for starters.  Arrive early to avoid the (long) line at Pancake Pantry; it’s definitely worth the wait. Or simply head downstairs to the biscuit bar at Kitchen Notes in the Omni lobby.

pharmacy

Lunch: Options for lunch are endless, but you won’t go wrong making your way over to East Nashville for burgers and tots at The Pharmacy. You’ll find another former food truck, Mas Tacos Por Favor, right across the street. Beyond tacos, be sure to order their chicken tortilla soup (chicken can be omitted) and elote. Cash and checks only. Feeling nostalgic? Head over to Puckett’s Grocery. A doable walk from the hotel, make a pit stop at the Goo Goo Shop for a sweet treat after dining at this historic meat and three.

husk

Dinner: When traveling, we tend to sleep in a bit, which throws off a typical three squares a day timeline. Those times we were hungry enough for a full-fledged meal, we headed to Husk’s Nashville location (the original is in Charleston), which never disappoints. If you’re lucky, you’ll dine next to Elvis at Demos’ Steak and Spaghetti House. Order any of the amazingly generous and yummy pasta dishes, but not steak. Trust me.

PLAY

pinewood social

Reserve a bowling lane at Pinewood Social. These book up weeks in advance, but opting for an early evening time might work to your advantage. The Escape Game is also a fun family-friendly activity for tweens and teens. Once the kids are settled in with the sitter, head to The Patterson House for superbly crafted cocktails in a speakeasy setting. Get there early to avoid a wait.

Do share your Nashville favorites (don’t miss shopping in downtown Franklin, TN) and travel safely!

Erika

GUEST POST: ROAD TRIP ETIQUETTE

The holiday season is here, which means lots of potential travel to be with family and friends. I’ve partnered with Ford Motor Company to share their tips for a more charming road trip. Although the words are not my own, I agree wholeheartedly with the advice shared. This post is a bit longer than usual, but hang in there until the end – it’s chock full of great tidbits!

Safe travels and the happiest of holidays to you and yours!

Erika

image002

Tips from Ford Motor Company and The Emily Post Institute

for an enjoyable (and polite) drive this holiday season

Holiday driving can cause more than road rage – it can wreak havoc on relationships. Whether stuck in Thanksgiving traffic or riding for hours with the in-laws, the “most wonderful time of the year” has serious potential to turn family fun into family feud.

Last Thanksgiving, AAA predicted 46.3 million Americans traveled more than 50 miles from home – the greatest distance in nearly a decade. Now, with drivers enjoying the lowest gas prices in five years, AAA estimates 90 percent of Americans will celebrate the holidays this year with a road trip. But fear not – avoiding common road frustrations is often as simple as minding your manners, even before you arrive at Grandmother’s house for dinner.

To help ease the stress of holiday travel, Ford Motor Company and The Emily Post Institute are working together to offer you a better road trip experience. As the great-great-grandson of America’s foremost etiquette expert Emily Post, Daniel Post Senning shares how simple car courtesies can make travel more enjoyable for driver and passengers alike. From polite passenger protocol to considerate use of new vehicle technologies, these easy “drive-by” tips will have families singing fa-la-la-la-la in harmony this season.

Holiday Travel Etiquette Tips

First and foremost, drivers are hosts. You wouldn’t invite family and friends to your home without planning for their comfort and entertainment, so why get behind the wheel without thinking through the drive? With these tips in mind, modern-day drivers are sure to experience comfortable and enjoyable travel.

  1. Chivalry’s not dead… it just looks different nowadays. Holding the door for someone will never go out of style, but with automated keyless entry and remote start, modern protocol can prove puzzling. Today, driver chivalry means unlocking the door before Aunt Ethel even tries to open it, or getting the heat (and even the heated seats) going before Grandma buckles up for a chilly trip to Christmas dinner.
  2. Let the grand tour begin. Your passengers may not be all that familiar with your ride. Put them at ease; give them a tour to help them feel more at home. Just like you would show a guest at your home where the restroom and kitchen are located, let passengers know about the controls they have for entertainment systems, seats and windows. Identify power sources for phones and electronics, like the smart-charging USB ports in the rear of the vehicle that provide easy access. Make sure all of your passengers have what they need before your trip begins.
  3. Content beats boredom. When stuck in dreaded Thanksgiving traffic, a little preparation goes a long way toward preventing boredom. Before hopping behind the wheel, curate your upcoming road trip with podcasts, audiobooks, TED Talks – even online classes. Traveling with pals to your annual Friendsgiving gathering? Build a Spotify playlist from your senior year, suggest a series, or learn something about your destination together. With in-car entertainment and communication systems like Ford SYNC 3, it’s easier than ever to bring a world of content along for the ride.
  4. If the driver is host, the passenger is honored guest. You wouldn’t show up to your Chanukah host’s home empty-handed, so don’t forget the same courtesy for your driver. To thank him or her for bearing the stress of high-pressure holiday driving, lighten the load by taking on some responsibilities of your own. Offer to help pay for gas, fetch snacks and drinks, and pack the car with suitcases and holiday gifts.

 

Communication is key in relationships, both on and off the road. Effective preparation goes hand-in-hand with clear communication – between driver, passengers and their vehicles. Know how to communicate on the road to ensure you and your crew arrive safely and in harmony.

  1.  To Grandmother’s house we go. Traveling with family? Avoid the stress of incessant “Are we there yet?” conversations by building an itinerary and communicating your plans. Talk about stops for food and restroom breaks so everyone knows what to expect. Kids can follow along, track progress, anticipate their favorite spots – even figure out arrival times on their own. With easy-to-use navigation provided by Ford SYNC 3, you can determine the quickest route, locate family-friendly pit stops along the way, and plug in your itinerary in advance to keep the trip on track.
  2. Don’t play the passive passenger. If you’re lucky enough to be sitting in the front passenger seat on a long journey, assist your driver through helpful communication. Be sure to stay alert and keep an eye out for road signs. (Do try to refrain from refreshing your Instagram feed every five seconds.) Above all, avoid all comments on how your chauffeur is driving – no one likes a back seat driver, especially when road conditions turn stressful!
  3. Chat with Mimi more than Siri. Voice activation puts a whole world of information at your command from the driver’s seat, whether locating the next rest stop or calling Grandpa hands-free to let him know you’re just up the road. With today’s voice recognition clearer than ever, people aren’t just naming their cars – they’re talking to them! Just be sure you talk to your real passengers at least as much as you communicate with your car’s infotainment system.
  4. Control distractions. Ford studies show Americans are conflicted on in-car entertainment – while three in five drivers think passengers should weigh in, just as many say the one behind the wheel should have the final say when it comes to entertainment. We all want to hear our favorite karaoke number on a long road trip, but a distracted driver is a safety hazard. As a polite passenger, defer to your chauffeur and offer to play DJ or navigate the control screen to make her job easier. If the kids in the back have their own entertainment setup, make sure they keep “Christmas Vacation” at a noise level that doesn’t surpass the cue to “Turn right in 300 feet.”

 

New technology means new manners. In 1949, when Emily Post first wrote about automotive etiquette, the car was the technological innovation. In today’s technology landscape, cars come with growing app libraries of their own – and just like smartphones, nearly everyone can use a reminder on their polite use. Make sure in-car innovations serve to enhance, not hinder, your enjoyment of holiday travel.

  1.  Connectivity caution. When traveling through remote areas on the way to your holiday celebration, you might – gasp – lose cell reception. Know your car’s navigation system capabilities, do a brief review of the major roads you’ll be traveling ahead of time, and keep actual maps in the car – ensuring you have a backup plan if connectivity goes out. Download a GB or two of your favorite music to help get through those pesky “no streaming available” zones, keeping passengers calm, cool and collected – no matter what the journey brings.
  2. Diffuse tension in a tight space. We’re all familiar with the drama that can ensue when hitting the road for the holidays. From arguments over the middle seat to debates over the radio station, tight quarters can lead to curt conversation. To diffuse tension, call on in-car features to lighten the mood. From massaging seats, to a literal change of tune on the radio, your car’s systems can help ensure the continued comfort of your passenger-guests.
  3. Support existing safety systems. Battling the tryptophan haze after a big Thanksgiving dinner? Remember, the temptation to fall asleep on the way home affects both driver and passenger. If you’ve been spared the role of designated driver this holiday season and are riding comfortably in the passenger seat, don’t begin to snooze as soon as the heated seats kick in – stay alert and talk with your driver. Smart driver-assist features like Ford’s lane-keeping aid are incredibly helpful tools, but extra eyes on the road never hurt!
  4.  Be kind, respect the lines. We all know not to fight over precious parking spaces, but it goes further than that. In a crowded parking lot on Christmas Eve, no one likes the Grinch who straddles two spots. Selfish behavior is never in style, but careless parking is especially frowned upon during the season of giving. Show respect to other drivers by staying between the lines – and if you’re not a master manipulator in reverse, no one has to know! Let advanced, semi-automated technologies like active park assist with perpendicular park and park-out assist help you squeeze in and out of that tight spot.

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: CHARLOTTE, NC

FullSizeRender-12

 Our 28 hours in Charlotte, North Carolina, last weekend were unscripted and just perfect! Since the hubby was there for an extended business trip, the girls and I took the 4-hour drive up instead of his driving home. This was our first visit to The Queen City, so we were pretty excited to see what we’d find.

Typically, I’d have researched a few places to visit for local eats and antiques, but last week was a full one, leaving no time to plan. After a quick stop at Bojangles for Bo-tato Rounds, we pulled into Charlotte around lunch time. Our first stop was the newly renovated Le Meridian, where we dropped off our bags and I handed over the wheel. Our initial plans of having a picnic at The Green, in Uptown, were thwarted, since the surrounding restaurants are closed on Saturday. A quick Google search of Charlotte’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives options lead us to Cabo Fish Taco in the NoDa (North Davidson) section of town.

FullSizeRender-13

Even if you’re not a fan of fish tacos, don’t hesitate to stop by if you enjoy Mexican cuisine. They have plenty of meat and vegan-friendly options, along with a healthy list of margaritas, wine and beer. Enjoy the local art, while you’re there!

After lunch, we headed to Crêpe Cellar Kitchen and Pub for dessert. This quaint spot had menu options that made me wish I wasn’t so full! The girls ordered their usual crepes (butter, sugar and fresh strawberries – not on the menu) and the hubby and I shared the most amazing Crêpe Suzette I’ve ever had!

CrepeSuzette

The girls witnessed their first marriage proposal and we saw lots of prom photos being taken in the Romare Bearden Park before enjoying pre-dinner cocktails (and mocktails) at Chef Rocco Whalen’s rooftop restaurant Fahrenheit. The hubby likes to explore a city’s designated ”best burger” restaurants when traveling, so we headed to The Liberty in historic South End. According to him, the Prime Ground Pub Burger does not disappoint.

As we were leaving The Liberty, we spotted a sign for Tupelo Honey Café, and decided to head there for Sunday brunch after watching Pitch Perfect 2. They offer limited online reservations, and the best seating, IMO, is in a booth near their open kitchen. It’s worth coming here for the biscuits alone.

thcbiscuit

We headed back to Atlanta, after brunch, but not before checking out the currently under construction rooftop bar at Le Meridian. It’s sure to draw large crowds when it opens, with incredible city views. Thank you for your hospitality, Charlotte. We’ll be back soon!

DRIVER’S ED: A Refresher for Those Behind the Wheel

get-attachment.aspx-79

Driving has been a major theme for my family this summer. We kicked off the season in celebration of my older teen gaining her learner’s permit. I’ll admit that I’m still taken aback by her independence in earning it – I was in no hurry for her to drive. Her driver’s manual provided a great deal of rules for the road, but there are certain courtesies that seem to be forgotten in our rush to get from Point A to Point B. In case your tendency towards Southern hospitality doesn’t kick in during such scenarios, do allow this reminder of how to make things a bit safer while sharing the road:

Pump your brakes – Live long enough, and you’re bound to find yourself in a traffic jam. Though you can’t control the flow of traffic, you can control your reaction to it. Do your best to remain calm, despite the actions of those around you and phone ahead to anyone who might be awaiting your arrival (with an apology). This can help ease the anxiety of running late until things clear up a bit.

Remain neutral – An important part of being considerate on the road is allowing fellow drivers the ability to merge. No matter how long you’ve been driving in it, the right-hand lane does not belong to you; especially when an on-ramp is within sight. Safely move into the left-hand lane when vehicles are present in an on-ramp, so that you might provide those drivers time to safely enter the lane without interrupting the flow of traffic.

Put on your hazards – Consider this: When standing in line at the grocer, you allow a certain amount of space between yourself and the guest ahead of you. Shouldn’t even more space be allowed between your 4000-pound vehicles than the plastic thing dividing your groceries on the conveyor belt? Add any number of distractions and speed, and tailgating lends itself to a particularly unsafe driving scenario.

get-attachment.aspx-78

Our season has ended with the descriptor of Car 3 in a 5-car collision. The culprit? Tailgating by Cars 4 & 5. Please take good care and consideration while traveling this holiday weekend, so that you might arrive safely to your destination. I’m counting on you to keep my teen driver and the loved ones of others in mind while on the go. I promise to do the same.

Safe travels,

Erika

Stuck in the Middle

images

There was a time when I loved the middle seat. In fact, I have fond childhood memories of riding there, in the front seat of the latest Lincoln Continental that Granddaddy purchased for Granny. They would position me between them – atop the armrest so that I could get a better view of our surroundings during my summer visits. It was the perfect space. Unfortunately, I’ve outgrown the coziness of sitting in the middle, whether in a car or airplane.

When it comes to air travel, most adults dread being assigned a middle seat. If your boarding pass reflects such an assignment and the row remains full after the forward door has closed, remember these considerations for a more comfortable flight:

Use the restroom before boarding the plane. Hopefully, that will save you from having to do so again before reaching your destination.
You’re allowed use of both armrests. If you’d like to share them, offer the forward or rear portion of the armrests to your neighbors.
Make good use of the overhead compartments to maximize your space. You’re likely 31-34 inches away from the row in front of you and squeezed into a 17-inch seat. Give yourself more legroom by storing your carry-ons overhead.

My fingers are crossed that your requests for a window or aisle seat on your next flight are honored. In case they’re not, I’m sure these tips will improve the scenario of being stuck in the middle.

Safe travels!
Erika