I just returned from my vacation on beautiful Anna Marie Island, FL., just south of St Petersburg. Anna Marie is a quiet destination to enjoy white powdery sand beaches, amazing restaurants that overlook the ocean, shopping in some locally owned boutiques, and the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.
The weather is consistently 78 degrees year round, and the homes are painted bright cheerful colors with beautiful landscaping, most have private pools. The beaches are walking distance from any home on the island and the waves are perfect for paddle boarding or windsurfing. We rented bicycles for the week and rode to the popular local "Dips Ice Cream" each evening after watching the sunset on the beach.
The Sandbar restaurant is a local favorite with fresh seafood and vegetables grown on their own farm, with a large patio for outdoor seating right on the beach as well as indoor seating. The stuffed shrimp was delicious and so is the stuffed grouper.
The Starfish company is a small ala-carte dockside restaurant with dining on picnic tables on the pier. They don’t open until 11:30 am because they catch all of their fish in the mornings and prepare them fried, grilled, or blackened. The fish tacos are the best I’ve ever eaten and homemade hush puppies that would make my grandma proud. They have charters that sail across the bay and to the Gulf for a 2 hour tour. If you dine there, make note they only accept cash.
We had lunch at Mr. Bones BBQ and I was hesitant since St Louis has some of the best BBQ in the country, but they were impressive and had the most amazing rub on the ribs and pork.
Anna Marie Island is someplace I would definitely return to for my vacation, it was so relaxing, and it's only an hour and 15 minutes from Tampa Airport.
To book a trip to Anna Marie Island, email Leigh or call her at 314-439-5700 x131
"I worked with Ann at Brentwood Travel, and she handled all the details for a Disney Cruise that my family took in April, 2017. Everything was executed in perfect detail, and our trip was wonderful! Thank you, Ann and Brentwood Travel, for your thorough handling of our travel arrangements and for making our trip a success!"
- Bonnie D.
To plan your next Disney cruise, contact Ann via email or at 314-439-5700 x 118
As a born and bred New Yorker, I take my love affair and memories of the city very seriously.
New York is an ever changing city. Given all the changes, finding the parts of “Old New York” can be hard to find. There are certain parts of the city that have changed for the better and also kept the nostalgic charm. One of the areas is the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It has had huge amounts of
re-gentrification, but also kept the grit of New York City.
One of the diamonds is The Bowery Hotel which is located between East 2nd Street and East 3rd Street. It is unassuming in its exterior and mystic and warm on the interior. The lobby has warm dark woods with vintage upholstered sofas. It is like walking into an aristocratic drawing room or a private club.
The Bowery Hotel is truly a luxury boutique hotel and is not for big groups. The key to the guests’ rooms are big and heavy, the kind you want to hand back to the front desk when leaving. It looks like a real key but is actually electronic. When I used my key to enter my King room facing east, it was quiet. It was comfortable and made me think this is going to be a great place to call home for the night.
The room has floor to ceiling windows with black trimmed panes bringing in lots of natural light. A small table with two comfortable chairs are placed by the window. The original craftsmanship of crown molding, arch ways with stained glass are within the room. The night sleep was restful in an incredibly comfortable bed. The type you feel no rush to get out of and start the day.
The Bowery Hotel has a fitness center, the Gemma Restaurant serves delicious Italian cuisine, and there is also a beautiful bar. The hotel has a total of 135 rooms and each is fully stocked with fantastic smelling products from C.O. Bigelow. I understand why this is a favorite hotel among young Hollywood and people working in the creative fields.
There is lots to do and see in the area with wonderful shops, restaurants, and galleries. The hotel is easy to access other parts of the city. Astor Place subway station is a five minutes away and cabs are easily available. You will want to walk and see all the East Village, Greenwich Village, NOHO and SOHO have to offer. However, I found myself wanting to stay put, looking at the city from the windows within these wonderful walls.
I highly recommend The Bowery Hotel for several reasons:
1. It is quiet, especially on the East side of the building.
2. The public areas are beautifully decorated and give you a feeling of escape.
3. It is a great downtown location with a neighborhood feel of the Lower East Side.
4. The service is attentive and strives to keep a bit of 'old New York' alive.
Email Dana for more reviews and to book your trip to New York City.
After 60 years, the staff at Brentwood Travel has learned a lot from our own travels as well as the stories from fellow adventurers. We love to share tricks and trends to make each trip a positive experience. Here are essential travel tips we have collected to help you along your own journeys.
In December of 2016, my fellow travel agent Cathy Robinson and I set out for a tour of Iceland with Collette Guided by Travel. Iceland has been at the top of my list for years because of its amazing scenery and the opportunity to see the Northern Lights. Once we arrived in Iceland, we were picked up by our guide and bus driver and swept away to our hotel in the city center of Reykjavik.
Our tour guide, Jeff, has been leading tours in Iceland for years. He was extremely knowledgeable and shared fun facts on our way to the hotel. Since our flight got in early in the morning our hotel room was not ready. The hotel stored our luggage as we enjoyed snacks at a local cafe. About half of the travelers had booked a pre-night hotel and arrive the previous day. I would highly recommend this because they were well rested and ready to go for the start of our tour.
Once the sun started to rise (around 11am!), Cathy and I set out for our walking tour of Reykjavik. We were split into two groups and led around by two local guides. Reykjavik has a very walkable downtown area. We were able to visit the modern Harpa concert hall, old Hallgrimskirkja church, and learn about Iceland’s history. I was particularly interested in the path of women’s rights in Iceland.
This is also where we were first introduced to the weather of Iceland.
It’s called the “land of extremes” for very good reasons. About 10 minutes into our walk, rain started to fall from the sky and also from all directions. Experiencing sideways rain was a first for me!
Our local guide wasn’t even fazed by it. He was just wearing a jacket over his t-shirt and only carried an umbrella that was being battered in the wind. This is where I learned the importance of following the dress code. The weather is always changing and carrying your waterproof coat is a MUST.
The food of Iceland is quite a treat! Cathy and I had a wonderful buffet dinner at a popular restaurant and I discovered a new love of broccoli soup and their slightly salted bread. Our guide, Jeff, was constantly checking the weather for cloud coverage and the probability of the spectacular Aurora Borealis. Unfortunately the weather was acting up and our Northern Lights cruise was canceled. We went off to bed so that we were refreshed for a day of touring the Golden Circle the next day.
The Golden Circle is a popular path to see some of Iceland’s most basinful natural sights: Thingvellir National Park, geothermal fields of Geysir and Strokkur, and spectacular waterfalls. These were some beauties and the pictures do not do them justice.
Our stay at the guesthouse in Vik was delightful! I loved how cozy this hotel was in the Iceland countryside. Our floors were naturally heated with geothermal pipes and we threw our clothes right on the ground to dry! I also enjoyed the geothermal hot tubs and tasty breakfast & dinner buffets.
Cathy and I also had the chance to experience the folklore of Iceland in a very charming way. We were lucky to be visiting during the time of year for the 13 Yule Lads. Every night a different Yule Lad visits leaving gifts or rotting potatoes, depending on your behavior throughout the year. We had little gifts from the spoon-licker, pot-scraper, bowl-licker, and door-slammer.
The weather of Iceland didn’t quite cooperate and I never was able to see the beauty of Aurora Borealis. However I did get to experience the culture of the Icelandic people, stunning waterfalls, a swim at the Blue Lagoon, and tour around downtown Reykjavik. I hope to visit again soon, either to hunt for the Northern Lights again or experience almost 21 hours of sunlight in the summer.
If you would like to know how you can experience the wonders of Iceland or just hear more stories, please contact Cathy at 314-439-5700 ext 114, or send her an email. You can also call Stacey at 314-439-5700 ext 128, or send her a message.
Are you looking for a new river cruise experience in Europe? Look no further! Dianna, one of our in-house consultants, just returned from an incredible Viking River Cruise down the Rhone River in France. She and her husband, Bill, cruised on Viking Delling that started in Lyon, France and ended in Arles, France.
Dianna said, "Viking did an amazing job. Everything was well organized. Each night they told you what to expect and they gave you a map of where you were going that day." In addition, she mentioned "someone was always around to answer questions and they all got to know our names."
On board breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the restaurant or you can enjoy a more casual atmosphere of the Aquavit Terrace, where Dianna especially enjoyed dining. Wine and beer is included with lunch and dinner, and the wines are sourced from various wine regions of France.
Dianna also enjoyed her accommodations in the Veranda A stateroom which had a walk-out balcony. She highly recommends this room, however if you're looking for something a little larger, she also suggests the suites that have both a walk-out balcony and a French balcony.
While sailing the Rhone and Saone Rivers, Dianna and Bill loved the quaint villages they visited. They were impressed by the architecture of the many walled cities, including: Lyon, Vienne, Tournon, Viviers, Avignon and Arles. This was Dianna’s first time cruising with Viking and she said “I would definitely do this itinerary again but in reverse."
In addition to the river cruise, Dianna and her husband spent two pre-cruise nights in Paris at Hotel Esprit Saint Germain, located on the left bank, and two post-cruise nights at the Rubens at the Palace Hotel in London, England.
Monday, March 27 - Tuesday, March 28: Paris, France
Wednesday, March 29 - Friday, March 3: Lyon, France
Saturday, April 1: Vienne, France
Sunday, April 2: Tournon and Viviers, France
Monday, April 3: Avignon, France
Tuesday, April 4: Arles, France
Wednesday, April 5 - Friday, April 7: London, England
To book a Viking River Cruise through France,
please contact Dianna Paridon at 314-439-5700 ext. 108, or send Dianna an Email
"Stephanie and her team set up the most amazing trip to Italy for our family. Our son was studying abroad and Stephanie made sure all connections and details were covered to meet our son. All of the tours and hotels were excellent. The guides she arranged were very knowledgeable. Even with the taxis on strike in Rome for a day it was all taken care. We couldn't have asked for a better family vacation. From our family a huge thank you for going above and beyond.
You're the best.
The Bahlinger Family."
"Whether you’re just starting out on an adventure or returning from a dream trip, nothing puts a damper on your pre- and post-vacation glow quite like jet lag. And, while there are many products out there that claim to kick it to the curb—a sleep-tracking app, a magical drink, a freezing cold ice-chamber—finding the remedies that actually work can be a bit dizzying.
So, what rids travelers of that debilitating fatigue? Turns out there isn't a quick fix. But, we did some digging, and found seven ways to get you looking and feeling fabulous in (almost) no time.
Get Some Vitamin D and B
Vitamin B-12 is a natural way to keep your body alert and energized, without the shaky side effects of energy drinks. Vitamin D, natural or supplemental, are related to the melatonin levels in your body—a hormone that helps get your body ready for sleep. So get out and soak up some sun (with sunscreen on, of course.)
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
While your first instinct when you’re feeling exhausted is to head to the nearest coffee house, the smartest thing you can do is resist. Not only are both these substances stimulants, but they also dehydrate you—making your jet lag worse.
Long flights can leave you stiff, tired and extremely dehydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your trip to alleviate your jet lag symptoms, fast.
Find Your Light
This may be the most effective way to combat your fatigue. Jet lag happens when your circadian rhythm is thrown off, making you feel tired. Manipulating your light exposure can help reset it. Limit the amount of artificial light (yes, this is full permission to wear your sunglass inside) and increase the amount of natural light your body is exposed to. Natural light not only gives you vitamin D but it’s what your body’s clock adjusts to. Heading East? Look out for that morning sun. Heading West? The afternoon sun is all you need.
Stretch it Out
Traveling can be stressful and stress can make the effects of jet lag even worse. A quick yoga session can help you relax and get things moving again—including your energy level. From your hotel room, or your living room, follow these tips for doing yoga anywhere
Grab a Juice
The burst of nutrients will help refresh and re-hydrate. Bonus: it will give your immune system a boost too—goodbye, airplane germs.
Taking some of this natural hormone supplement a half hour before sleep can assist you in sticking to your current time zone’s schedule."
Brentwood Travel Vacation Experts
Serving Greater St. Louis since 1957, we specialize in cruises, all-inclusive vacations, tour packages, honeymoons, and group travel.