"Rare Vacation Destinations to Die For"
by Debra Fortosis


Everybody is familiar with the typical "dream" vacations like Hawaii, Orlando, Florida, London, and Paris. But what about all the unbelievable destinations you may not have even heard about? Here are a select few of them.

1. Cinque Terre, Italy is a series of villages clinging to a remote stretch of the Riviera coastline. The quaintness of the towns and the area's natural beauty is forever preserved because Cinque Terre has been declared a national park. Hikers love to walk trails that tower above the Mediterranean and pass close by the native villages. Riomaggiore takes you through a tunnel to a tangle of colorful homes and an uncrowded beach. Corniglia sits smugly upon a hilltop from which you can swoon at the view. Vernazza is a rugged place full of vineyard terraces for the best wine in the region, all overseen by a mysterious ruined castle. Monterosso al Mare has a sandy beach where you can swim if you really want to. Then it's back to Vernazza for a delicious dinner of the freshest seafood. This is beautiful, authentic Italy-the one you dreamed of experiencing.

2. Four Seasons Tented Camp, Thailand: The Golden Triangle is comprised of bamboo forests where Thailand, Burma, and Laos meet. This is where you can find Four Seasons, the ultimate jungle luxury-an eclectic mix of asian rustic and modern taste. Fifteen elevated tented accommodations are reminiscent of 19th century adventure expeditions, even down to the hand-hammered copper bathtubs. An open-air thatched roof pavilion by the riverbank offers Thai, Laotian, Burmese, and western cuisine. During the day, one can watch elephant training or go on one of the fascinating excursions. If you need pampering, go to the spa for rejuvenating treatments for your body and spirit. At night, torches burn by the tents as travelers gaze out at a magnificent sunset and find perfect serenity.

3. Marrakech, Morocco: And now for something completely different! When you step into Marrakech you will think you have just stepped into a Middle Eastern movie set. Picture scores of market stalls along an endless labyrinth--- snake charmers, monkeys, musicians, dancers and storytellers performing to the sound of weird music and drum beat. Visit the Majorelle Gardens, visit actual Berber villages, see the Dar Si Said Museum, or tour the ornate El Bahia palace. If you want more action, go biking, Hot Air Ballooning, or White Water Rafting. The government ensures that all food stalls offer fresh, top quality food so not to worry. Buy grilled sausages on Moroccan bread, beef stew, harira soup, riifa (Moroccan pancake) and the delicious spicy tea. For posh surroundings, you can eat at the La Makarechi. Otherwise, enjoy repasts at Café Agrana, Café Alhamra, or Chez El Bahia. Foods not to miss are pastille (sweet, savory meat pie), Kefta (superb ground beef and egg), tagine (chicken/olive, prune/almond, etc.), or a spicy dessert. There's a wide span of lodgings, from modern western hotels to native riads. Equity Point Marrakech is a beautiful hostel to check out in the best section of the city. The place has an amazing rooftop from which to view the town. There are doubles, singles, and dorms available. Rooms have full bathrooms, incredible furniture, mezzanines, cushions, etc. There's also a restaurant attached serving excellent Moroccan food. If you have a taste for the exotic, Marrakech is for you.

4. St. Vincent, the Grenadines: I know. You've probably never heard of the Grenadines. That's for the best. They are still fresh and unspoiled. It's a small group of islands between Puerto Rico and the Venezuelan coast. What do these islands offer? Only natural waterfalls where you can swim, black sand beaches, majestic volcanoes, botanical gardens, fortification ruins, Romanesque and Gothic Christian sites, spectacular diving, and serene resorts with every amenity. These are only the perfect islands for you.

5. Whitefish, Montana: Whitefish is a small town in a huge state. But this small town stands near the entrance of one of the most remarkable state parks in the U.S., Glacier National Park. We can heartily recommend two lodging places, depending on your tastes: If you don't mind country rustic and a distant train whistle, then the Grouse Mountain Lodge is your pick. It has a gigantic fireplace, antler chandeliers, and stuffed bears in the lobby. On the other hand, if you like peace and complete privacy, you might opt for the North Forty Resort with its well-equipped cabins where you can sit on your porch and cook out every night if you want. Some other great places to eat are the award-winning Tupelo Grille, the Red Caboose (breakfast), Mackenzies (pizza), and the Craggy Range (buffalo burgers).There are a thousand things to do, including the national park which encompasses over 1 million acres, 300 lakes, 50 active glaciers, the longest designated wild river system in the U.S., and hundreds of animal species including the wild mountain goat. Do I really have to list all that you can see or do? I think you can figure it out.

6. Bernese Oberland, Switzerland: In the famously beautiful nation of Switzerland, the Oberland could be called the crown jewel. On a comfortable summer day, you will wonder how you can walk through a field of flowers, step over jagged rocks, view snow-studded peaks above you, while lakes just below the peaks are not frozen solid. Gazing down from a mountain top you glimpse bluffs boasting over 70 waterfalls, and then you're awestruck with panoramic Lauterbrunnen Valley. Even skiers who've seen a hundred similar sites agree it's the most breathtaking valley in Europe. The area offers both great hiking and fast skiing---along with mountain-biking, rock climbing, swimming, golf, horseback riding, tennis, sailing and windsurfing. Bed down in a cozy chalet in Interlaken, Grindelwald, Gstaad, or Thun.

7. Finger Lakes, New York: We're talking about eleven slender lakes, 25 state parks, 1,063 waterfalls, strings of river gorges, a national wildlife refuge, and acres and acres of wine vineyards. In the midst of this wondrous area, the John Treman State Park comes highly recommended. Two great restaurants are the Taughannock Farms Inn and Port's Café. Three bed & breakfast inns that folks rave about are: South Glenora Tree Farm, Wagener Estate, and Elmira's Painted Lady. Between the hiking, the water sports, festivals, cultural events, and the wine-tasting, one does not run out of things to do.

8. Quebec City, Canada: Calling this city the "poor man's Paris" is very unfair. It's cobblestone streets and chateau-style clifftop architecture is charming, expenses are lower than in Paris, and it offers attractive options for either summer or winter. Between July 4-14 the International Summer Festival offers streetside improvisational theater and some of the best jazz, folk, and rock performances you will ever hear. And beginning in the middle of January and into February, the city offers Carnival de Quebec. Here you will find the Calgary Stampede flapjack breakfast, outdoor dance parties, ice fishing, a single- and double-harness sleigh race, dog agility competition obstacle course, snow slides, downhill skiing, an ice tower, snow rafting, and a snow sculpture contest. (While you're in the city, you really can't afford to miss the Laurentides Wildlife Park). And I'll bet you thought the only thing to do in Canada was fish. Wrong.

I'll bet you can't decide which of these destinations you most want to visit. Well, why not rank them and try to go to everyone during your lifetime.

Contact the Author

Debra Fortosis is a professional who owns an agency that offers babysitters and nannies for children and offers senior companions for the older folks.

Debra Fortosis
Care for children and senior adults
debra@elitefamilycare.com
Site: http://www.mndgetaways.com

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