Monday, May 28, 2018

Travel Tip Tuesday -Five Ways to Use Duct Tape When You Travel

Duct tape was originally invented by Johnson and Johnson's Permacel division during World War II for the military. The military needed a waterproof tape to keep moisture out of ammunition cases. Originally the tape was green, not silver and it is thought that soldiers called it "duck" tape because of its color and the fact that it shed water, like a duck.  Soldiers noticed that duct tape was not only good for waterproofing but that it also came in handy for repairing things.



For travelers, duct tape can come in handy for a quick fix while you are on the road.  Here are a few clever ways to use this handy tape. When packing duct tape, you don't need to bring a full roll, travel sizes are also available.

Fix Luggage

If your bag gets ripped along the way or the handle falls off, use duct tape for a quick repair.  You can also mark your luggage with a bright roll of duct tape and can even attach extra gear to your suitcase or backpack if you run out of space.

Seal Leaky Containers

There is nothing worse than having shampoo, make-up or sunscreen leak all over your clothes while you are in transit.  Wrap duct tape around the lid of bottles that are questionable.  If you are traveling with food and you want to keep it fresh, just slap a little duct tape on the container for extra freshness.

Fix Broken Glasses

There is nothing more annoying than not being able to see the scenery while traveling because of a broken pair of glasses. Not to worry, just duct tape the broken glasses and continue enjoying your trip.

Block Out Light

Sometimes hotel curtains don't close all the way and the bright rays of the morning or the glare of city lights keep light sleepers awake.  No worries,  for a good night sleep, in a dark room just duct tape the curtains shut.

Mend Clothes and Shoes

If your hemline starts to unravel or your shoe gets a hole in it, duct tape offers a quick fix.  You may not look like a perfect fashion statement but duct tape will get you through the day until you can replace the item at a store.  Duct tape is also helpful in removing unwanted lint or animal hair from your clothes.

If you are looking for travel size duct tape to throw into your suitcase check out Medical SOL Duct Tape that is sold in two easily packable 50-inch rolls.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Enduring Charm of the Hudson River

Sometimes a day away is just what the doctor ordered. A perfectly planned day trip is always a good idea for a quick respite for the soul - plus they are easy on the bank account!  Exploring our Past, a day trip to New York offered by TOD on August 25 is an ideal way to experience a soothing day- on and off the water!

 Architectural Eye Candy

Newburgh, New York founded in 1709 is an old city by American standards.  It is often referred to as "the Birthplace of the Republic"  because George Washington used the Hasbrouck House as his military headquarters from 1782 to 1783 at the close of the Revolutionary War.  


Hasbrouck House

In the 19th century, Newburgh thrived on the Hudson River maritime trade because it was the key link between New York City and the state capitol, Albany.   As the city became more affluent, Newburgh's architectural scene blossomed and visitors today will marvel at some of these architectural treasures located on Montgomery and Grand Street, as well as those that can be seen from the water.  Architectural gems include a whimsical gingerbread house built in the Gothic revival style by Calvert Vaux, the first power station built by Edison making Newburgh America's first electrified city, and the magnificent Dutch Reformed Church, a National Historic Landmark built in 1835 in the Greek Revival style.  


Dutch Reformed Church

The jewel of  Newburgh is its' waterfront with a long winding paved promenade, top-notch restaurants, and interesting shops. A walk along the boardwalk offers fabulous views of the magnificent Hudson River and the surrounding hills that are reminders of simpler times.




For Foodies

One of the best places for dining on the waterfront is the River Grill.  It has been voted as the "Best River View Dining" by Hudson Valley Magazine and has a  4.0 rating for food from Zagat.  




River Grill on the Water, Newburgh

Nestled in the heart of Newburgh's historic waterfront the River Grill offers picturesque views making alfresco dining a must in season.  The patio affords a bird's eye view of the river and boardwalk.  It's a local favorite well known for its award-winning eclectic American menu. Grilled salmon, stuffed filet of sole, seafood salad, mini crab cakes, baked stuffed shrimp, red snapper piccata can be found on the menu along with chicken marsala, prime rib, and pasta primavera.



For the more adventurous, the menu offers delectables such as lobster meat blended with a creamy lemon dressing, shrimp wrapped with hickory smoked bacon, "rags to riches" a combo of shrimp, lobster, and spinach tossed in a parmesan cream sauce, and salmon with artichoke hearts and fresh salsa. 

On the Water

After a riverside lunch, one of the best ways to experience Newburgh and the enduring charm of the Hudson River is to take a cruise on the River Rose, an authentic stern-driven Mississippi paddle wheeler.  Onboard, guests listen to a fascinating narration highlighting the history of the river as the boat plies its way on the tranquil waters of the river. 

Along the way, you will pass many sites such as Bannerman's Island and Castle, the Catskill Water Aqueduct, the Village of Cold Spring, World's End and, the great military academy, West Point. 


West Point from the Hudson River

The River Rose, once a small casino boat on the Mississippi River is now entertaining guests under the watchful eye of Captain John "Duke" Panzella, owner of this vessel.  This vessel has a full-service bar, bathrooms, and two decks, an upper and lower deck, perfect for sightseeing and photos.




For Wine Aficionados

The perfect conclusion to a day away is a stop at Brotherhood Winery, America's oldest winery established in 1839 by a French Huguenot emigre, Jean Jaques.  The underground wine cellars where the first wine was fermented are the oldest and largest in American and still in use today.  



A stroll through the network of wine cellars is an unforgettable experience; the walls are lined with hundreds of oak barrels that contain some of the oldest vintages in the country. Tastings are arranged to take visitors on a journey through vintages ranging from Cabernet Sauvignon with its cherry like notes to a Burgundian style Chardonnay that has the bright aroma of Barlett pears with light vanilla notes.



Tour Details
Exploring our Past departs on August 25 and includes lunch at the River Grill, a sightseeing cruise on the River Rose, and a wine tasting tour of Brotherhood Winery. The cost is $128 per person. The package also includes a professional tour director from TOD and all gratuities for the tour director and driver. Everything is taken care of so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the day!  To sign up click here.

Transportation -36 Passenger Motorcoach

Transportation is a key element of any trip.  TOD takes your comfort seriously which is why their transportation partner is DATTCO.  On this day trip, you will be traveling in the height of comfort in a 36 passenger state of the art motor coach from DATTCO, a Connecticut company with one of the largest fleets in the country that has been family owned since 1924. 



Plush ergonomic seating, legroom galore and spacious overhead compartments to store your belongings make traveling on this mid-size luxury coach an ideal way to reach your destination in style and comfort.  This motorcoach comes with many amenities like wide screen TVs, and outlets to charge your electronic devices making getting there half the fun!  This motorcoach is perfect for smaller groups with a smaller budget because the 36 seater has all the amenities of a full-size coach.


About Tours of Distinction

For more than 45 years, Tours of Distinction has understood that your vacation time is precious.  Travel is a way of life for members of our team and we want to share our discoveries and in-depth knowledge with you. Our clients seek authenticity and our team’s expertise and hands-on assistance will ensure that your journey with us is fun, fulfilling and, that it fits your budget.  Our goal is to make sure that every day of your journey with Tours of Distinction is the best that it can be.


For almost a half a century, Tours of Distinction has offered a diverse collection of small escorted group and individual tour itineraries carefully crafted by our Professional Travel Team.  We specialize in everything from carefree day trips and multi-day adventures to 7 - 14-day journeys of a lifetime, nationally and internationally. Whether you are a first-time traveler or a seasoned globetrotter we are here to provide you with expert service because when it comes to travel, service and our years of experience make all the difference.

For Tours of Distinction, travel is not just a “business” it is a lifestyle that inspires a sense of community that spans the globe.  We would like to welcome you… to our “Tours of Distinction” and invite you to enjoy the magic, excitement and exhilarating experiences of travel with us…the world awaits!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Travel Tip Tuesday -Mobile Electronic Key Cards

In our evolving digital world, self-check-in mobile hotel key cards are becoming more available at select properties.  Industry insiders are predicting that within the next five to ten years most hotels will adopt keyless entry.



Mobile Hotel Keys

If you want to bypass the front desk and are techno-savvy, check to see if the hotel that you are checking into offers a mobile check-in and a digital room key.  Some hotels offer this feature through their mobile apps allowing guests to go straight to their rooms without waiting in a line at the front desk to check in. The room will open with the mobile key when the phone touches the lock on the door.  These mobile keys may also provide access to other parts of the hotel such as the health club, elevator, and parking garage.

To date hotels that offer the mobile key feature includes:

Marriott and SPG hotels at 400 plus properties

Hilton offers digital keys at over 1,000 properties

Radisson Red offers this option at three properties

Open Key

Some hotels support an app called Open Key.  This app provides guests with a keyless entry, remote check-in, and other hotel specific apps.  This app is available for free on iOS and Android operating systems.  Basically, this technology enables hotel owners to control guestroom access remotely and enables guests the ability to use their smartphone for mobile entry into their room.  The app also provides the room number, check-in and out dates, and even a satisfaction survey following your stay.





Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Fresh Look @ Washington D.C.

Washington D. C.  our Nation's Capital -- a place where history comes alive -- there are monuments, memorials, museums, and a hot culinary scene.  In 2016,  D.C. was named restaurant city of the year by Bon Appetit and hottest food city by Zagat.  In a nutshell, Washington D.C. is a place like no other, as colorful and eclectic as America itself.  There is no better way to see it than with Tours of Distinction in a 52 seat luxury motorcoach provided by DATTCO.


Lincoln Memorial

On this fully escorted tour participants will visit of some of D.C.'s most iconic attractions including Arlington National Cemetary, the Lincoln, FDR, and MLK Memorials, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Vietnam Wall,  Arlington House, Smithsonian, and Mount Vernon, just to name a few.   
Mount Vernon

National Museum of African American History and Culture

A highlight of the TOD  Washington D.C.  excursion is a special pass to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.  This evocative museum is designed to illustrate the major periods of African American history, beginning with the origins in Africa and continuing through slavery, reconstruction, the civil rights era, the Harlem Renaissance and into the 21st century.
National Museum of African American History

There are many highlights in this museum, and a few that shouldn't be missed.   The collection of  American abolitionist and political activist, Harriet Tubman is fascinating.  Among the many items on display, the collection includes her hymnal (c.1876); lace shawl (c. 1897) given to her by Queen Victoria; and family photos from her funeral.  
Lace  Shawl given by Queen Victoria to Harriet Tubman


A beautiful satin gown that was worn by Danbury Connecticut's Marion Anderson is also on display. Anderson was one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century that made history by singing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after she was denied the right to perform at Constitution Hall by the DAR because of her race.
Gown worn by Marion Anderson

A 1920  restored Pullman passenger car that ran along the Southern Railway Route during the  Jim Crow era of the twentieth century is one of the largest artifacts in the collection.  This disturbing immersive experience serves as a centerpiece to the exhibition, "Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom: Era of Segregation 1876-1968.  Walking through this car gives visitors the uncomfortable feeling of what our segregated past was like.  
Pullman Passenger Car


If you are a fan of Chuck Berry, don't miss his gleaming red Cadillac convertible from 1973 that was driven during the filming of Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll, a documentary that chronicles two concerts that he performed in 1986. Today this iconic car greets visitors in the music exhibit and is a symbol of Berry's musical legacy as a primary architect of rock 'n' roll.


Chuck Berry's Red Cadi

If you are a fashionista, this museum has a treasure trove of Black Fashion with more than 1,000 garments on display.  There are garments created by slaves and famous dressmakers such as Ann Lowe, Arthur McGee, and Rosa Parks as well as clothes by contemporary designers such as Peter Davy, and Geoffrey Holder.


Designed by Geoffrey Holder. Worn by DeeDee Bridgewater. Costume for the Good Witch in The Wiz, Broadway, 1975

There are many more exhibitions from  famous Works of Art and Emmett Till's casket, a glass-topped coffin (c. 1955) that held the body of 14-year old Emmett Till whose murder in Mississippi helped to galvanize the civil rights movement, to slave cabins from Edisto Island in South Carolina that  date from 1800 to 1850.
Point of Pines Plantation, South Carolina


For Foodies!

For TOD staff,  good food is a serious cultural pursuit! We know that after all this sightseeing, odds are that you have worked up an appetite!  With that in mind, we have included two special culinary outposts -  one with fabulous views (and food)  and the other, a spot where the locals in the know dine.  
Tony and Joe's Seafood 

Imagine relaxing on the water... a gentle breeze is blowing and you are dining on fresh delicacies from Tony and Joe's Seafood place located right on the exclusive Georgetown Waterfront. This is dining with spectacular views of the serene waters of the Potomac River, Kennedy Center, Washington Monument, Roosevelt Island, and the Key Bridge.
Crab  Cakes, a Classic at Tony and Joe's



There are so many tempting dishes to choose from like Maryland Crab Cakes, a Chesapeake Steampot of seafood goodness or even a great Filet Mignon.   It is no surprise that this restaurant won a 2017 Open Table Diners Award.

Theismann, Alexandria Virgina


In Alexandria Virginia, experience Theismann, a neighborhood pub restaurant that has been pleasing locals and visitors since 1975. Menu offerings here are varied and extensive,  from bar fare to eclectic entrees.  Theismann offers something for everyone and includes dishes like Mahi over lobster risotto and shallot blue cheese topped filet to wings, burgers, chops, salads, and nachos. The L shaped bar is flanked by two dining rooms that offer a view of the bar.  In warm weather, rooftop deck dining is also offered. 
Roof Top Dining @ Theismann



Travel In Safety & Comfort

Our professional team curates every aspect of each tour itinerary with the enjoyment of our clients in mind right down to the motorcoach company we contract.  The comfort and safety of our clients is paramount to our philosophy...to make every journey with us the best that it can be, and that's why DATTCO is our motorcoach partner. 

You will be traveling in a state of the art 52 passenger seat motorcoach with our transportation partner, DATTCO .  This motorcoach provides lots of legroom, comfortable reclining seats and plenty of overhead storage that makes traveling in this vehicle a delight. This luxury motorcoach also has large flat screen monitors, WIFI, and outlets to charge your phone and laptop so you are never disconnected.


Tour Details


Tours of Distinction is offering this three-day roundtrip excursion to Washington D.C. July 20-22 and November 16-18.  The D.C. Tour includes includes four meals, two breakfasts, and two dinners plus two nights at the Holiday Inn Capitol.  Also included in this tour is admission/tram tour of Arlington National Cemetery, Admission to Mount Vernon, Admission to the *new* African American Museum of History, roundtrip baggage handling and a professional Tours of Distinction Tour Director.  There are no hidden fees, even all gratuities for the Tour Director, Driver and Local Guides are included in the price.  For details click here.


About Tours of Distinction

For more than 45 years, Tours of Distinction has understood that your vacation time is precious.  Travel is a way of life for members of our team and we want to share our discoveries and in-depth knowledge with you. Our clients seek authenticity and our team’s expertise and hands-on assistance will ensure that your journey with us is fun, fulfilling and, that it fits your budget.  Our goal is to make sure that every day of your journey with Tours of Distinction is the best that it can be.


For almost a half a century, Tours of Distinction has offered a diverse collection of small escorted group and individual tour itineraries carefully crafted by our Professional Travel Team.  We specialize in everything from carefree daytrips and multi-day adventures to 7 - 14-day journeys of a lifetime, nationally and internationally. Whether you are a first time traveler or a seasoned globetrotter we are here to provide you with expert service because when it comes to travel, service and our years of experience make all the difference.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How to Choose the Best Seat on a Motorcoach!

Traveling with a group in a motorcoach is fun and entertaining. Sometimes getting to your destination is half the fun - especially when traveling with old friends or making new ones!  There are a few tried and true techniques to snagging the best seat on the motorcoach to make the time fly by.  Although, everyone has their own preferences, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Courtesy of Dattco


Aisle or Window

Some folks love to gaze out the window, others like to stretch out a bit more by taking an aisle seat. Your leg room and bathroom access is limited if you choose the fine view of a window seat.  If you choose the aisle, not only will you have more legroom, but you can get up and down as much as you please.  The drawback to an aisle seat is that you could get bumped into by passengers walking by.

View of the Screen

If you enjoy watching movies while you travel and your motorcoach is equipped with a large screen monitor, be sure to snag a seat with a good view of the screen.

The Restroom

Depending on the length of your journey, take note where the restroom is. Being somewhat close can be helpful, but you also run the risk of being bumped by passengers waiting to use it.

The Sun

When you get on the motorcoach, if it doesn't have shades or tinted windows, figure out which side of the bus the sun will be on during your journey.  If you don't want the sun beating down on you, sit on the other side!


Last Minute

If the bus isn't full, ask your tour director if you can change your seat.

About Tours of Distinction

For more than 45 years, Tours of Distinction has understood that your vacation time is precious.  Travel is a way of life for members of our team and we want to share our discoveries and in-depth knowledge with you. Our clients seek authenticity and our team’s expertise and hands-on assistance will ensure that your journey with us is fun, fulfilling and, that it fits your budget.  Our goal is to make sure that every day of your journey with Tours of Distinction is the best that it can be.

For almost a half a century, Tours of Distinction has offered a diverse collection of small escorted group and individual tour itineraries carefully crafted by our Professional Travel Team.  We specialize in everything from carefree daytrips and multi-day adventures to 7 - 14-day journeys of a lifetime, nationally and internationally. Whether you are a first time traveler or a seasoned globetrotter we are here to provide you with expert service because when it comes to travel, service and our years of experience make all the difference.