Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Life's Good

Think the world is a cold, hard place? Sometimes just reading the news (and then vacationing somewhere really friendly) will solve your problems. In Baker City, Oregon, a man named Bill Fulton got his wallet back after it fell behind the bleachers in the Baker Middle School Gym—in 1946! His social security card and bike license were sitting in the pockets where they belonged, and the outside of the brown leather wallet still bore a clear cowboy design across the front. Fulton, 78, said that the wallet must have fallen out of his trousers while cheering on a basketball team on the pine bleachers, which had remained in the same place since the building opened in 1936. Nathan Osborne, a school worker, recovered the wallet from the gym and passed it on to the middle school's secretary, who hand-delivered it the next day. "It's hard to believe that the times have gone so fast,” Fulton said.

This sounds like quite the heartwarming story, especially for the cynics amongst us, doesn't it? It's sometimes hard to believe that the world is still a friendly place, but at least there are a few places to vacation with a remarkably hospitable vibe—and that aren't totally remote, either! The Bahamas is well-known for its supreme hospitality, thriving tourist industry, and its number of cool resorts on white sand beaches. If you want to see some wide smiles and happy local faces, head to the Bahamas for an uplifting visit. Old Bahama Bay Resort and Yacht Harbor is a great getaway spot for the work-weary, but it also happens to have amazing service and lots of resort activities from which to choose. Go boating, snorkeling, or fishing, or grab a few hours alone for spa treatments to beautify before you bask on the beach. The Old Bahama Bay Resort is located just 56 miles from the coast of Florida, so many travelers can experience a different culture not too far away from home. The Cove Atlantis is another smart choice, sitting atop two beautiful beaches and in close proximity to AQUAVENTURE, a 63-acre “water experience” that's situated next door to a dolphin interaction habitat called Dolphin Cay. Go ahead and indulge! It's expected of you in the Bahamas, and the stage is set for ocean gazing, leisurely strolling, and sightseeing as you see fit.

There are plenty of places in the States that promise good times with friendly people—and in a relaxed atmosphere. While you might meet up with great friends in New York City, it's hard to unwind when there's so many things to see and do. Get yourself to the lush islands of Hawaii, however, and you'll be singing a different tune. The Four Seasons at Manele Bay in Lanai City, Hawaii has a 7,000 square-foot ballroom, an impressive extended bar, and a comfortable low rise layout built right into the low bluff near a rocky shoreline. It's a more unusual location than the traditional plantation-style hotels, and you'll discover that that's not the only thing that stands out about the hotel. You get amazing panoramic views from many a hotel vantage point, and the recent $50-million upgrade means that the level of service you experience (and your surroundings) will seem utterly unreal. As soon as you step off the airplane and get draped in leis, you'll feel the warmth of Hawaiian culture. Visit the Lanai Culture and Heritage Center on the island to check out more information about the heritage of the island natives, including traditions and historical highlights. After the visit, be sure to check out Shipwreck Beach, where you just might find a treasure to complete your journey.

If you don't want time to disappear like it did for Bill Fulton, you should start vacationing in some low-key spots this year. Things will slow down when you're enjoying your oceanside drink in the shade.

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