Do You Know the Real Story of Mount Rushmore?

Knowing the “Real”story behind a destination: Mount Rushmore

By Amanda Vallone

Have you ever wondered what the “real story” is behind a destination, piece of art, or monument? If you are like most, you have probably learned about famous sights in history from a book, magazine articles, history lesson, or television show. It is a unique opportunity to put that knowledge to the test when you see the sight in person.

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One of the most recognizable monuments in the US is Mount Rushmore- nearly three million people each year travel worldwide to marvel at the majestic beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota and see the National Monument to four of our nation’s most influential leaders. What may surprise you, is that it was not the original idea of artist Gutzon Borglum to create a monument to the president to the badlands of South Dakota… rather, South Dakota historian Doane Robinson was initially looking to bring tourists to the badlands by celebrating the West. They were to commission an artist to sculpt Western heroes like Oglala Lakota leader Red Cloud, explorers Lewis and Clark, and Buffalo Bill Cody into the nearby stone pinnacles known as the Needles. But the dream of making this tourist attraction large enough to draw people from around the globe needed to be larger than the Needles…. It needed to be carved into the side of a mountain. And so, it was.

Did you know:

* Jefferson was supposed to be on Washington’s Right? But the rock didn’t work out so his face was blasted out and replaced to the left.

* There is a hall of records behind the head of President Lincoln which holds our Nation’s most valuable information and is stored and meant to be opened thousands of years from now to educate our future generations.

* The carving was originally meant to include the bodies of the presidents down to their waists.

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* In 1937, a bill was introduced to Congress to add the image of women’s rights leader Susan B. Anthony to the mountain… But then, Congress then passed a bill requiring only the heads that had already been started be completed.

* 400 men worked on Mount Rushmore, only one of whom was hired an artist, the rest were miners who were good with dynamite. Surprisingly, no man died during this project.

* The one artist Borglums did hire Korczak Ziolkowski, to work as an assistant on the mountain. But after 19 days and a heated argument with Borglum, Korczak Ziolkowski left the project. He would later begin another mountain carving nearby, Crazy Horse Memorial, which today is the world’s largest mountain sculpture in progress.

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You see, some of the most famous monuments in our nation have a lot of interesting and fun facts behind them. This summer the Aging Tree will take a group departure to Mount Rushmore and get a first hand view of these 60 foot tall carvings in the side of a mountain that draw over 3 million visitors from around the world every year. This guided tour brings you to experience the greatness of Mount Rushmore, sightseeing, dinner, and the spectacular lighting of the memorial at night. You will partake in

a patriotic welcome and salute to our Veterans and the Presidents who were chosen for their significant contribution to the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of this great country.

Do you want to learn more about Mount Rushmore, or the rest of the destinations on this departure including Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Devils Tower and Crazy Horse Memorial?

Join us February 28th at 4:30 at the Aging Tree for more information. Call 386-734-7245 today to RSVP and for more information- CLICK HERE

Can I tell you a story about the time I lived in India

My Bollywood Adventure… Well maybe not quite that glam.

By Amanda Vallone

Picture this, I am in my last year of grad school at Auburn University and my husband (yes, husband- I was a child bride) was completing his second bachelors degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering also at Auburn University.  It is 2008 and George (hubby) is taking graduate classes at university and working on some scientific things I couldn’t even begin to explain pertaining to everything from space travel, rockets, to providing sufficient hydration and protection for our military while learning about renewable energy sources.

December of 2007 we were offered the opportunity only seven students in the whole University were awarded- the chance to travel abroad to India all expenses paid if we came back with a research project and an international perspective of the “foreign -exchange student” experience to share with other Auburn students in our own curriculum.

So what would any other poor, working (three jobs)- yet barely surviving, adventurous student do before they had to graduate and get their “big boy and big girl jobs”?

I don’t think you need to think hard to figure that one out… We of course said YES to the opportunity to travel to India and take part in the 4 month research program. No Questions Asked!

Hahahaha- we were literally crazy. We knew nothing about India and we had to apply for our Visas, find a place to stay, work, research, and figure out the travel. We were connected to one of the most prestigious universities in all of India and even the wold- IIT Madras.

Except, upon arrival, they did not have housing for us- party foul! How does one travel this far and plan for 6 months without a place to stay?

 

So what did we do? We left Chennai and traveled 7 hours down mostly unpaved, bumpy, dirt roads to Tiruchirappall, IIT Trichy to stay at a neighboring university for our first two weeks until we could find other accommodations and come up with plan B.

The drive was… rough. I will leave it at that. No, I am not talking about the bumpy roads. That was difficult too, but getting off at street markets and needing to use a eastern facility that is similar to an outhouse is a bit more of what I am considering rough. And figuring out what to eat,  or what not to eat, and the conversion of money… it was all a bit much on extreme jet lag.

  • At this point in my story I am wondering if those reading it are questioning how I got into the travel industry if I am “complaining” — keep reading on…

So we arrive in Trichy after asking directions (because there are not street signs everywhere) and people just give head nods to our drivers questions “Ana Trichy Bono” Which means “Which way Trichy, thank you?!”

Things I saw along the way:

  • Signs for STD’s everywhere- say whaaaat? I later found out it was their sim card for their phone. Totally different from what I would have ever guessed.
  • Coconut Oil- You think you are up on the latest trend by using beauty products or cooking with Coconut Oil in the last few years? India has been doing it forever. No conditioner to be found… but Coconut Oil is sold at the street corner shop in individual packages.
  • Monkeys… they just ran right across the street like squirrels do here. Difference is, if we hit a squirrel in the states we might be upset or even cry about it… In India if you hit a monkey you will sell your car because it is bad luck and some believe monkeys are gods.
  • Rickshaws- an awesome form of transportation to try once or twice.
  • Motorcycles as the family vehicle- with 5-6 people piled up on them
  • Traffic lanes that fit three times the amount of vehicles we would ever dare into the same area.

So we spent our two week allotment at IIT Trichy worked in their lab and met with countless professors about engineering stuff that was over my head. I am not dumb by any means, it just was not interesting at all. The culture however, was extremely interesting. I went to temples, bazaars, and watched traditional dance performances after every single meeting. One of my favorite parts of India was mingling with the people.

We went to the famous Rock Fort that is said to geologically date back a billion years (the actual rock). This historic Rock Fort and temple complex are built on the very top of this huge hill/ rock that measures 273 feet high in the city of Tiruchirapalli. It was truly a pilgrimage to so many. For us, it was our first temple and an amazing experience. We had to take our shoes off before going in and walk barefoot out of respect. The colors on the walls were spectacular and the carvings and designs of the gods and deities were spectacular. There are two Hindu temples inside the Rockfort, The Uchchi Pillaiyar Koil and The Siva Temple.

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This temple was just the beginning of us visiting countless more temples and faith-filled places. It really was quite an experience.

So onto the rest of our time.

I had a professor in the states, Dr. Veena Chattaraman who had a connections with the Gandhi Rural Rehabilitation Centre (GRRC), which was located in a little rural village just a couple hours away in Alampoondi. GRRC was originally founded by monks who wanted to help those of society who were considered “castaways” including those who had leprosy.  GRRC is now working with the disadvantaged and under privileged village youth, children, women, widow and handicapped people.

Since I was an undergraduate student of Fashion Design and a Masters of Science in Consumer Affairs with emphasis in Entrepreneurship in the apparel industry my project was to come to GRRC and help the handloom weavers and the tailors create designs that would be marketable to a more “Western” market. And to then help with the marketing plan of this.

George was to stay with me and bring solar energy to this community or at least this compound, as they were so far off the grid there would be three days at a time we did not get electricity.

Some of the best people in all of India we met were located right here… they did not speak English, and our only way to communicate was pointing and hand motions or with the one gentleman who could speak Tamil and English. Mr. Kumar was the director of the compound, welcomed us into his facility  and into his home for dinner on a few occasions. He had a different type of home because it was whats they called a “love marriage” rather than an arranged marriage. They educated us greatly on the cultural views of marriage, cast system, and what they thought of the US… it was an election year and an Olympic year too. Being an outsider looking into these events was quite an interesting experience.

We stayed in India for about 4 months traveling all over the place. We explored Southern India going back and forth from Chennai to Trichy to Aloompoondi and we even took a vacation to the backwaters of Kerala in which we stayed on a houseboat. Kerala’s backwaters is somewhat similar to the bayou as it is a network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes and inlets. It is truly a labyrinthine system formed by nearly 600 miles of waterways.

Though I have been a vegetarian collectively almost 1/2 of my life picking it up and dropping it on and off over the years, I found it difficult in India. The one thing I looked forward to was when we would go to Chennai  (one of 2 times total) they had a Pizza Hut and I ordered myself a whole large pizza with real pepperoni…. omg it was delicious.

 

At the end of our trip we had the forethought to plan to fly out of Northern India so we had no excuse not to visit the tourist sights and see the Taj Mahal. So George and I visited a Indian travel agent and set up a trip to see the Golden Triangle which included Seeing the Taj Mahal, visiting New Delhi, Agra, the Pink City of Jaipur, Rajastan  New Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan.

Jaipur is the capital city of Rajasthan and is also known as the Pink City. The maharaja painted the whole city pink, the color of hospitality, when Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales visited Jaipur in 1876. We visited the city’s historic forts and palaces.

We also visited Amber Fort- a marvelous example of Rajput architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The interior of the fort has various royal halls decorated with intricate ivory, mirror and glass work complemented by exquisite wall paintings. It was here that we took an elephant ride around the fort and realized if you give an ounce of interest to those selling you something you will miss all of the sights and you will only haggle the whole tour…

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Luckily today I have 2 beautiful blankets with round mirrors on them to tell everyone about the scenery I missed because I had to buy these blankets.

 

This Golden Triangle Tour really was everything that people think they will see in India. We ran into so many Western Tourists who said they absolutely LOVED India because they only stayed in Northern India. We had such a different and life altering experience in India the two weeks we spent doing the golden triangle was like a vacation that I only remember sparse memories from. The sights were beautiful and I would totally plan to go back for this Northern India Experience again… Ask me to move to India all expenses paid again? I would have to decline.

So moral of the story, I LOVE what I do in tourism… I think traveling the world opens your mind, heart and soul to people. There are new experiences all around you waiting for you to enjoy. It opens your life to opportunity, and it opens your eyes to the world.

I will be sharing pictures of my experience at our upcoming event “Spotlight on Travel” Wednesday, February 8th and would be more than happy to share the full story with you. Want more information on a specific destination in India? Just let me know. 386-734-7245

 

Explorer Spotlight on Australia

A Roseborough Explorer Perspective of Australia

explorer-spotlightSpotlight written by Lisa and Steve Pauszek

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  • Why did you want to go here? We like to go to places that are different from what we are used to. We enjoy seeking out cultural differences in other countries & especially enjoy trying foreign foods. We loved the fact that so many animals & birds were completely new to us here. It was really a pleasure to encounter so much that was new to us. 

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  • What was your favorite part about this destination? We would highly recommend Australia & can’t possibly pick out a favorite part of the vacation. Things we especially enjoyed were the Great Barrier Reef out of Port Douglas, hot air ballooning over the Yarra Valley, and the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne is a must, as is the Australia Zoo on the outside of Brisbane. The biggest problem we had in Australia was not having enough suitcase space coming back! 

Great Barrier Reef

Yarra Valley Hot Air Balloon Ride

  • How did you travel here?  Independent- getting around the cities was exceptionally easy. Plenty of trams! Keep in mind that Australia is larger than you imagine it is, so air travel between cities is almost a must. 
  • What is #1 on your “Live it” List and why? Antarctica. We would love the accomplishment of going somewhere that so few people have seen. We have been hiking on glaciers in Iceland & it was one of the most majestic experiences that we have lived through. The views are amazing. I would love to leave from Patagonia, in order to experience those breathtaking views. 

 

 
  • What is your favorite place in the world to travel just for the food and wine and why?

Steve’s gut reaction to this question was Italy, however, I’ve never been! I would say Scandinavia for food. I LOVE game. It was so fun to try reindeer, moose, bear & elk in Sweden & Finland. If you ever get a chance to have reindeer filet- TAKE IT! It was delicious! For wine, I would say Australia. We went wine tasting in both Adelaide & Melbourne. I would go again & again. I think I would bring “wine luggage” next time.

-Lisa & Steve Pauszek

Explorer Spotlight: Antarctica on Azamara Club Cruises

explorer-spotlightExplorer Spotlight: Antarctica on Azamara Club Cruises

 

dianeheadBy: Diane Congdon- an adventurous and well traveled client of Roseborough Travel Agency.

 

The most absolute-over-the-top trip I have ever taken was a cruise to Antarctica in 2008 on the Azamara Journey.  At about 700 passengers, it was the smallest, most luxurious ship and the longest trip I had taken.

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Why Antarctica?  As a long-time Floridian, I am always looking for cooler weather and mountains for my trips.  The scenery was so breathtakingly spectacular that it is not describable in words.  I spent three days standing on the deck from dawn to dusk in rain, snow, sleet, hail and sunshine looking at icebergs more than a mile long and much taller than the ship (and remember only 1/10 of the berg actually shows above the water), beautiful mists, whales and bazillions of penguins and other birds, only coming in to get dry gloves and socks and a hot drink.  We went where the ice captains knew there were things to see with no set itinerary; if we saw something, the ship stopped and we looked.

The real bonus was the Chilean fjords.  Because the ship was so small, we hugged the coast line of Chile from Valparaiso down to the tip of South America.  The fjords rivaled, and may have exceeded, the beauties of the Alaska and Norway coasts.  The other real bonus was the people; the Chileans, Uruguayans and Argentinians were so welcoming and so proud of their lands.  I took a horseback ride to the end of the Americas; drank great Chilean wines; had Uruguayan barbecue at a ranch; bought a hand-woven wool shawl from the woman who carded the wool, wove the yarn and made the shawl (using sign language, finger waving and smiles to make the purchase).

 

And, yes, Roseborough planned this trip for me.

 

This trip is still at the top of my list to do again.  Along with a safari-laden trip to South Africa.

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South Africa for Children & Jungle Book

South Africa for Children, the Jungle Book, and Mommy who loves wine- how it all “Works”

By Amanda Vallone

So I just got done watching Jungle Book with my Two and a half year old baby girl Aurora the Explorer… (mommy side note, OMG I cannot believe she is almost  3 eeeeek) Anyway, Similar to my Tarzan movie experience I started jumping and getting all excited about going to Africa, specifically South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe on our September  22–October 2, 2017 departure next year with Salute Africa.

AfricaTour Flyer

The animals get me every time. By no means am I am  person to own a farm or ton of animals, though from these blogs you may think I am a total wildlife psycho. But something about traveling to a destination and seeing the wild roam free is literally tear-jerking to me. Yup… I used tear-jerking as a adjective because I am crying I am so excited. That’s Me!

I don’t know… I grew up with “different” types of pets when I was young. My dad had snakes, iguanas, turtles, mice (to feed to the snakes) and toads when I was young. I remember driving home (Dunkrik, New York) from Florida in a Pontiac Grand Am one year with a massive iguana separating my sister and I in the back seat (saved lots of fights).

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(Embarrassing photo alert! Who does this to their kids hair? MOM! This is me and my younger sister Jess who I lovingly call Buttmunch… literally. Hence, the fighting in the grand am story)

I digress, the wildlife does something to my soul… and I realize my daughter Aurora has the same type of soul- the kid LOVES animals. As we were watching Jungle Book she was rawring with the tigers and panthers, howling with the wolf pack, and trumpeting with the elephants it literally makes my heart smile 🙂

So I am going to South Africa in   2017 on this AMAZING Adventure which includes two full days on Safari PLUS other animal encounters…  (Penguins and Seals off Cape Town). When planning this adventure I knew I had to bring my kid. She will LOVE this trip. Plus she doesn’t get the nickname Aurora the Explorer because she never takes a trip… nope, this child has more frequent flyer miles than most adults do and she is a GOOD traveler. Seriously, as my clients and trip-goers who have traveled with us… they tell me all the time they would have never known she was on the trip with us.

 

Anyway, the whole point of my writing this blog was to tell you this trip is CHILD FRIENDLY! It is a huge deal. No, by no means is it a Disney theme park that your kid will be entertained 24/7… you have to have a good traveler to begin with because it is a long flight and then lots of travel and on the game drive the kid MUST stay in their seat and quiet for hours (many children cannot do this and it is okay, but for those who can they will get to see the best wildlife). Mom and Dad, if you have a child who you “think” can go on this trip but you are worried about the game drive part I just mentioned with hours of quiet time… NO PROBLEM!!! We will set you up, in advance a private game drive that your family can enjoy but then come back when the kids get antsy… you know what this means? No dirty looks from other passengers in your jeep, plus the game drive experience for your family… best of Both Worlds!2015-03-09 21.41.20

In closing, I if you cannot tell am extremely excited about traveling to South Africa with you! Or telling you all about it when I get home, either way, I am going.

I have already started talking to Aurora the Explorer about visiting South Africa as well as started my personal “tasting” experience on African Wines… yummmmmmmm

Want more information? Click here or give me a call at Roseborough Travel Agency 386-734-7245

 

National Parks Celebrate 100 years #NPS100

National Parks Celebrate 100 years #NPS100

By Amanda Vallone

Happy birthday to you.. happy Birthday to you… Happy birthday NPS… Happy birthday to you.

So my birthday was just on Tuesday. I’ve heard the birthday song almost more times than I can bare.  I love celebrating, don’t get me wrong- But hate being serenaded. And believe me, no one in their right mind would have wanted to hear me sing that birthday song.

grandma and I

So today is the national park services 100 year birthday. That’s pretty spectacular. One true milestone I think we all can agree upon. Yellowstone national park was the first of the national parks within the system and possibly the world. Known for its wildlife and many geothermal features, especially for Old Faithful Geyser-one of the most popular features in the park, Yellowstone is a favorite park to many.

(Some of Amanda’s pics from her previous National Parks article)

Jean recently went on a Mayflower tour to the National Parks and this was her experience “Old Faithful- Our Yellowstone naturalist guide was like a walking guidebook and showed us all sorts of great information about Yellowstone that I didn’t know. Most important, he coordinated with our Mayflower tour manager to be sure we got to see Old Faithful go off after grabbing a bite to eat at the visitor’s center. The smell of Sulphur all around, we saw a little bubbling as we stood at a viewing platform all around. Then, all of a sudden- whoosh! The geyser shot up and it sounded like a heavy rain falling.”

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Continental Divide- this was a really cool spot where we had breakfast with a view of the Grand Tetons in the background. We had hot coffee, juice, flapjacks, French Toast, sausage and bacon which were delicious- but it was the view that made it spectacular!

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Devil’s Tower- according to Native American legend, the rock rose up to save seven little girls from a larger bear. It’s home to more than 20 Native American tribes and we’ve seen it in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Pretty awesome to be standing right in front of it!

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Custer State Park- up close with all sorts of beautiful creatures

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Float trip- our view of the Grand Tetons from the raft on the river was totally free of any cars or buildings blocking them. Our raft guide kept us safe on our soft adventure, while giving all sorts of insight about the birds, wildlife, history and stories of the area. And we even got to see a bald eagle! They say smelling the fresh pine is actually a stress relief…and I agree!

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Mt Rushmore- so pretty with the sun shining, but we also got to see a ceremony at night- what a patriotic way to experience this monument.Validation that it is great to be seeing such cool things right in the states!

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– Picture of the mountains- Pretty much sums up the natural beauty of this trip…this is going up on the wall!

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As the great John Muir said “The mountains are calling, and I must go!”

If you are interested in joining a tour like Jean or Amanda took check out this link It is our group going June 2017 to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Mt. Rushmore…

Or give us a call at 386-734-7245 at Roseborough Travel and we will be happy to help you with planning your National Parks tour.

 

A Magical Disney Experience

A Magical Disney Experience

By Amanda Vallone

To see Disney through a two and three year olds eyes is truly magical!

art of animation aurora and maddi

This weekend I brought my daughter Aurora (not named after the princess, rather the Aurora Borealis- see Alaska) to visit her Gigi and her cousins in Orlando.

art of anuimation family

Sure Disney is only a hop, skip, and a jump from our office and home in DeLand, Florida… but we decided to get a hotel at Disney so we could make the most of the family experience and our time. Rather than driving to and fro on I-4 we crammed 6 of us in the family suite at the Art of Animation Resort on Disney Property.

art of animation entry

Art of Animation is the budget level accommodation on Disney property that is also the newest hotel on property. It is themed after the animators pallet. There are sketches everywhere and paintings. When you walk into the resort there are cast members who will teach your children how to draw famed characters like Nemo, one of the stars of the resort.

art lobby

Art of Animation is themed after Nemo, Little Mermaid, Lion King, and Cars. They have family style rooms and whole buildings and pools themed after each movie. We stayed in a Nemo Family suite. When you walked into our building ( building 4) you walked right under the seagulls known  to go “mine mine mine” well guess what? The said “mine mine mine” every 15 minutes. It wasn’t annoying, you could only hear it if you were right near them (and we had the first room in the hotel door entry- I promise they were not annoying).

The resort had one large Nemo/ mermaid under the sea style pool and one more small quiet “cozy cone” Cars themed pool.

Our family style suite was what I would consider to be related to a Holiday Inn style accommodation. It was a budget friendly accommodation. Not many frills or thrills.. Entry level. But totally Disney themed and did the trick!

Two totally cool things- We had 2 full baths in our room.

And 3 double beds or larger. So we were able to accommodate George and I plus Aurora in the Master bedroom (with a pack and play provided by the resort for Aurora).art of animation george

My sister in law, Stephanie stayed in the full size murphy bed in the  dining room, and my in laws, George & Joanne stayed in the family room on the pull-out couch.

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There was even a mini kitchenette

art of kitchenette

Additional things at the resort were: Full food court, bar, fun bicycle experience around the lake (watch my youtube video here), and a huge Disney Store on property.

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For more information on Disney Vacation Packages including Disney Cruises Give us a call 386-734-7245 or visit our site. Click here

A Zip-line Adventure

A Zip-line Adventure

By JoHanna James

I so enjoy cruising because it offers so many fun experiences!  Celebrating life aka birthdays, has always been a moment in time when I seek to enjoy the view and family even the more. One of the things that I decided to do to celebrate my 55th birthday was to do something adventurous – zip line!  Having challenged some family and friends who were part of a group cruise, the opportunity came aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas!  I was happy and excited to learn that the Oasis had its own zip-line and it was part of the cruise experience, aka FREE!

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So, with my best adventurous attitude, I signed the waiver, and jumped into line where I had plenty of opportunity to back-out (but I didn’t), instead I took the time to chat with others in line – most younger than me :), who were also seeking a thrill.  The Oasis’ zip-line was just the right length and height and offered a priceless view of the ship.  The moment I was strapped into the gear-an interesting process- I followed the instructions of the ride’s attendant and off I went!!!!!!  Before I could get scared, it was over, but I will never forget the fun, the fear, the joy, and the contentment of having land under my feet again!

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If you are interested in going on an Oasis of the Seas vacation, I will be happy to talk with you more about my experience onboard the ship and with Royal Caribbean. I am a WOW certified agent and happy to help!

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Stellar Client Review for MaryAnn Slamovitz

At Roseborough Travel Agency our mission is to fulfill your travel dreams and make sure you receive incredible customer service. It is with great passion, direct resources, and knowledge of the industry that we plan extraordinary vacations for our #RoseboroughExplorers to enjoy.

Most often we have clients plan amazing vacations and our clients come back and tell us that they had a great time. But there is nothing like reading it in a “review” to others to really solidify that our hard work did not go unnoticed.

Mary Ann Slamovitz an independent contractor and outside travel professional for Roseborough Travel. Her passion is Europe as well as the Bridal Market. She really loves making sure honeymoon couples have a seamless time. Well her client Amanda Rodriguez would agree. Read her review below:

 

I wanted to take this opportunity to e-mail you both and tell you what an amazing experience we had with Mary Ann in planning our 3 week honeymoon. Amanda Rodriguez

We left May 25th and flew from FL to Madrid. Spent some time in Madrid then went to Barcelona for 2 days where our cruise left from. Took an 11 night cruise on Celebrity going from Spain to France, Italy, Turkey, and Greece. Then we spent 2 night in Athens. Flew back to Madrid to spend another 2 nights. Came home June 15th. 
 

Mary Ann was amazing!!! She met with us at the office, met me in New Smyrna Beach, and we had numerous e-mails and phone calls back and forth. Due to my work schedule we had many late night chats which was much appreciated. Through the entire planning process she was very cost conscious. She was very knowledgeable. She had great suggestions. She booked our transports, excursions, special dinners, hotels, etc. Everything went so smoothly! 
  

We had the most amazing time and owe it all to Mary Ann!”

 

To contact MaryAnn and see more about her click here 

South Africa and Tarzan

By Amanda Vallone

It is Friday night… What does that mean? Movie night! So the Legend of Tarzan it is. Tiffany Clay has been going on about how great the new Tarzan movie is so George and I figured we would have to check it out. On a side note- I was a total True Blood fan, so the main actor in Tarzan,   Alexander Skarsgård, totally sold it for me before I ever saw the trailer.

So, what the heck does this blog post have to do about travel? Well, a lot! My normal day is just about as inconsistent as… let’s just say it is very inconsistent. Not because I cannot stay on task (though, I bet you are wondering if I can, after reading these first few sentences), but rather, what I do at Roseborough is wear a great many hats. One moment I will be blogging, the next moment I will be video posting, then there is flyers, facebook, newspapers, presentations, e-newsletters, group trips, website work… the list goes on. So, what was I doing today? Today I just so happened to be working on our 2017 South African Adventure.

I am so excited about this trip to South Africa including Botswana & Zimbabwe. As I was putting final details on the written portion of the flyer, and doing some additional research, my brain started reeling. Next year I will be going to my absolute numeral UNO destination on my live it list in the entire world. Eeeeeeeeeek!!!! Seriously, my heart is doing a little happy dance right now and I am literally giddy. Sure it is 11:30pm and I just had a cup of espresso (don’t ask me why). But the excitement is totally about Africa and not the caffeine!

So what will we be doing on this adventure you ask? Well let me tell you. We begin by flying into Cape Town which is a totally cool port city on the Southwest coast of South Africa. Cape Town is the second most populous urban area in South Africa and home to highlights including:

  • Table Mountain
  • Robben Island
  • V&A Waterfront
  • Camps Bay
  • Boulders Beach
  • Kirstenbosch Gardens
  • Wine Regions

I myself, am totally stoked about Table Mountain as well as Robben Island the former penal colony where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. Did you know the prison tours are actually now run my former political prisoners like Mr. Mandela whom have firsthand knowledge and experiences of the nearly 500 year system that Robben Island was built on. Our tour is actually going to end at his cell. I am not sure words can describe this. The only thing I can even relate this experience to (not having actually experienced Robben Island yet) is Alcatraz. When I went to San Francisco I was not overly excited about going to Alcatraz, rather it was a portion of a day tour to Muir Woods and Sausalito in which we chose the Alcatraz extension because my hubby George wanted to go. Well the tour was spoken in the words of the prisoners and the prison guards. It was spectacular! So I am only assuming that Robben Island would and should live up to that same odd historical prison experience I am somehow overly “excited” for. And if it for any reason does not live up to my dreams (which I highly doubt), we will be going to the winelands of South Africa for lunch and then a tour and tasting. Uh… SCORE!

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(Photo Credit: Poonam Jayarajan)

Yup, total wino and coffee addict am I… I think I may begin taste testing all of the South African Wines I can get my hands on to “prepare” for this trip. Its for educational value, isn’t it? Who wants to join me?

 Wine Tour

Anyway South Africa has amazing vineyards that are as if you stepped into the south of France- Dreams DO come TRUE!

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Ok ok, so where are all the animals? Well get this, I bet I will shock you with what animals we will see first.

Penguins! Yup, you read that right! We are going to see a colony of Penguins in Africa (my favorite)

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Next odd one up….

Seals!

 Elephant seal colony (mirounga angustirostris), California, 2007

OK, now for the Big Five- as we venture on to Chobe National Park this is where we will partake in not only game drives in those jeeps that you think of when people picture traveling through Africa. But we will also take a River Safari Ride. Remember, the animals come to the water to drink and cool down. So the river ride will give us the opportunity to see many bird species as well as animal drinking. My Salute Africa travel rep Bruce had a pack of Elephants cross in the water right in front of him (about 10 feet away). His wife got some great footage on her iPad. And they saw a bunch of hippopotamus up close and personal on this same river ride.

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So what are the Big Five? What does that term mean? The Big Five was a term coined back in the early 1900’s because it meant it was the most difficult and dangerous animals to kill/ hunt on foot. These animals include: the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and the rhinoceros. Today tour operators use this term to talk about the animals that would bring presidents and dignitaries to South Africa in years past. Now the only difference is, on our hunt we will be shooting them with our cameras and iPads.

After spending 2 nights in the Chobe National Park Lodge with game drives, boat rides, and hiking opportunities I am sure we will get our chance to see a ton of wildlife J

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And if all of that was not enough… we are going to see the AMAZING Victoria Falls. This magnificent wonder took over 500,000 years for nature to carve out and it is spectacular!

So how does that all relate to Tarzan? Watch the movie… the scenery alone will make you want to go to South Africa. Just about every 20 minutes I said “I cannot wait to go to Africa” from the animals to the beautiful landscape, the culture to the cuisine I literally cannot wait. My heart yearns to travel to South Africa, Zimbabwe, & Botswana on this trip. I am going next September and as soon as I have more details and a flyer posted I will definitely include it. In the meantime, I am going to have an event that will answer some questions about the trip. Join us Thursday, September 8th for our Let’s Talk Travel Series. It is themed Multi-generational Travel- but we are going to talk about this adventure because it is planned as a family friendly departure. That’s Right, Aurora the Explorer is coming along!

Let’s go to Africa!

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