Kim is back to traveling and this week she fills us in on her recent Seattle staycation and her mother-daughters trip to Vail, Colorado.
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Today’s podcast is brought to you by Atlas Ocean Voyages.
If you have ever dreamed of cruising to Greece or Egypt, now is the time to book! Atlas Ocean Voyages just introduced its expedition ship World Navigator. This small ship, luxury vessel is built for adventure in a sustainable, energy-efficient manner.
Perfect for adventurous families or multi-generational groups, its compact size and small guest count of fewer than 200 passengers, means a higher space to guest ratio and more intimacy and personalized service.
From August through September 2021, World Navigator will sail 7 separate 12 night itineraries to Greece and Egypt. And its small size and agility means she can dock in smaller ports, avoiding large crowds and getting a more authentic experience. And this summer, arrivals in Greece do not coincide with any other cruise ships in port!
Bookings are all inclusive, including both airfare and excursions. The ship’s facilities and protocols reflect state of the art public health guidance. With stringent public health protocols followed by staff and crew with pre-boarding and pre-embarkation PCR testing provided for all passengers. Social distancing will be maintained with small group shore excursions.
Atlas welcomes travelers to ‘come back to something brand new’ To learn more, please visit www.AtlasOceanVoyages.com and we thank them for their support.
- There are two many tourist districts in Seattle, one is downtown not far from Pike Place Market, the Seattle Aquarium, and the waterfront, and the other is at Seattle Center, where the Space Needle, MoPop, the Science Center, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass is located.
- You can use the monorail to get between these two main areas.
- Kim and her girls stayed at the newly remodeled Fairmont Olympic Hotel downtown.
- You can have afternoon tea in the newly redecorated lobby and lobby bar — and they are very good about food allergies.
- A great way to explore the city is with CityPASS. For the Seattle CityPASS you can go to three of the following five attractions: Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Harbor Cruise, MoPop, and Woodland Park Zoo. The Pacific Science Center is usually included as an option but it is currently closed and scheduled to reopen in late 2021.
- Many attractions currently require reservations but the CityPASS system makes this easy to do online — although it pays to do it a week or more in advance.
- If you can, try to plan your days to visit the Aquarium and Pike Place on the same day (and do a harbor cruise if that is your choice). Then visit the Space Needle, Chihuly, and MoPop on the same day since they are all very close to each other. You can then visit the zoo on the third day of your trip.
- However, you should consider the weather forecast and try to pick a clear day to visit the Space Needle.
- Right now MoPop has a special Disney Villians and Heroes Exhibit (not included in the CityPASS)
- Pike Place Chowder in the waterfront area is a great place for lunch.
- Woodland Park Zoo currently has a very cute baby gorilla.
Summer Trip to Vail
Note: Kim and her family were hosted by Vail Resorts. All opinions are her own.
- If you fly into Denver, you can take the Epic Mountain Express shuttle to Vail, which is about a 2.5 hour trip depending on traffic (Denver is known for bad traffic)
- Kim stayed in the Manor Vail condos, about a 10 minute walk from Vail Village (there are also shuttles).
- Manor Vail is next to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
- In Vail Village there are many restaurants and shops, an indoor bowling alley, and outdoor cornhole, which is a lot of fun
- Give yourself time to adjust to altitude but rest, drinking a lot of water, and an oxygen shot can help.
- You can go horseback riding in Vail with a two hour trail ride through a magical forest.
- Alpen Rose is a great spot in town for dinner.
- From Lion’s Head you can take the Eagle Bahn Gondola
- At the top of the mountain there is an Epic Discovery park with ziplines, a mountain coaster, trampolines, a rock wall, and a lawn slide.
- Eating at the top of the mountain is expensive so be prepared or eat before you go.
- The ziplines and ropes course is currently closed for the summer.
- Picnic Vail will arrange a picnic for you at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, including set up and clean up, complete with food and interactive games to play together.
- If you can visit during the week it will be less crowded in Vail Village and at the activities
- If you decide to rent a car, rent in advance and be prepared for long lines and high rates this summer.
- There are also more flight cancellations this summer as travel gets back into gear and airlines struggle to bring employees back on board.
Full Episode Transcript
[00:00:00.060] – Kim Tate
Staycation and vacations. Find out what Kim’s been up to this summer.
[00:00:16.530] – Announcer
Welcome to Vacation Mavens, a family travel podcast with ideas for your next vacation and tips to get you out the door. Here are your hosts, Kim from Stuffed Suitcase and Tamara from We3Travel.
[00:00:31.620] – Tamara Gruber
Today’s podcast is brought to you by Atlas Ocean Voyages. If you’ve ever dreamed of cruising to Greece or Egypt, now is the time to book Atlas. Ocean Voyages just introduced its new expedition ship, The World Navigator. This small ship luxury vessel is built for adventure in a sustainable but energy efficient manner. It’s perfect for adventurous families or multigenerational groups. It’s compact size and small guest count of fewer than 200 passengers means a higher space to guest ratio and more intimacy and personalized service.
[00:01:01.500] – Tamara Gruber
From August through September 2021, World Navigator will sail seven separate 12 night itineraries to Greece and Egypt, and its small size and agility means she can dock in smaller ports, avoiding large crowds and getting a more authentic experience. And this summer, arrivals in Greece do not coincide with any other cruise ships in port bookings are all inclusive, including both airfare and excursions. The ship’s facilities and protocols reflect state of the art public health guidance, with stringent public health protocols followed by staff and crew.
[00:01:30.390] – Tamara Gruber
With preboarding and pre embarkation PCR testing provided for all passengers, social distancing will be maintained with small groups shore excursions. Atlas welcomes travelers to come back to something brand new. To learn more, please visit www.AtlasOcean Voyages.com, and we thank them for their support. So Kim, I’m sure you’re like melting over there in Seattle in this heat wave. Are you ready to hop on a cruise ship to Greece?
[00:01:56.760] – Kim Tate
Yes. That sounded pleasant when you were saying it. I was thinking it’d be so nice to stand out on a cruise deck with the ocean. And, you know, that cool ocean breeze sounds so amazing right now.
[00:02:08.310] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. And, you know, I love the small ship concept. Sounds like really good to me. And the fact that it can go into the smaller ports and the more authentic kind of places and not have any other cruise ships and ports. You’re not fighting with all those other gazillion passengers.
[00:02:22.710] – Kim Tate
You know, that’s huge, I think, because we all I mean, those of us who have cruised on mega ships, which is everything I’ve done, you definitely get that sense of kind of being the herd at the end of the dock as you all come off and everybody’s trying to sell you stuff and it’s just chaos.
[00:02:40.800] – Kim Tate
So I like the idea that it’s just a small ship and kind of sounds like it’s more of an intimate feel and you probably get more, you know, like you think when you step off and there’s not a bunch of people you can kind of enjoy taking in the scenery a little more. You’re not worried about all the hustle and bustle and hurrying somewhere, right?
[00:02:57.630] – Tamara Gruber
Exactly. Yeah. Well, I’m by the time this comes out, I’m actually going to be back from my trip from Greece, assuming all goes well. But you’ve had a few little trips of your own recently and I would love to hear more about them. So do you want to tell us a little bit about your staycation first?
[00:03:15.690] – Kim Tate
Of course, yeah. I’m so excited to get a chat a little because you’ve been so busy traveling. So finally, I got to dip my toes back in the summer travels and our first trip was more of just a staycation and it was with Seattle. And what happened is basically it was that CityPASS had reached out and said, hey, are you still in Seattle? Do you want to, you know, use some CityPASSes and enjoy some of the sights now that they’re opening back up?
[00:03:39.060] – Kim Tate
And I said, absolutely, let’s do it. And so I actually arranged with the Fairmont in Seattle, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, which I’ve never stayed at before. And it’s kind of considered one of those classic original hotels in Seattle that people will actually come in to kind of tour and get a look around. And they have a brand new lobby design and a brand new lobby bar that they just opened. So I reached out to them and they hosted us for two nights.
[00:04:07.260] – Kim Tate
And one thing I’ll say is for people who are planning a trip to Seattle, I don’t know much about Seattle. I consider, of course, Seattle’s spread out and has tons of neighborhoods and each neighborhood has some benefits and nice parts to it. But if you’re going to do like the traditional touristy things, there’s kind of a downtown district that’s more of the business district and it’s just up from kind of Pike Place Market and the wharf and the aquarium and all the all the cruise sports kind of are nearby there. And then a little further up is Seattle Center. And that’s where I mean, I know, you know this that’s where they have MoPop and the Space Needle and Chiluly is there as well as the science center. So there’s two main kind of tourist sectors. And I personally love staying in the more the downtown corridor that’s near Pike Place, that’s just I like that area better.
[00:05:01.530] – Kim Tate
It just has kind of a vibe that I like. So that’s where Fairmont is. It’s kind of in that area. And we really liked our stay there. I stayed in a King executive suite and then they gave us a connecting room for the girls, which was a double and. Again, it’s just so nice I mean, the rooms are nice, very clean, you know, fresh linens and all of that, the lobby is just amazing there.
[00:05:25.170] – Kim Tate
And we actually had afternoon tea at the Fairmont, which is something they’re well known for. All Fairmont’s are known for.
[00:05:30.990] – Tamara Gruber
I was going to say, yes, I always think I mean, I love Fairmont Hotels. They’re just wonderful. I’ve stayed in that area a couple of times, but it’s always been the Westin. But the Fairmont’s definitely are known for the tea, so you got to do that.
[00:05:44.370] – Kim Tate
So we did do that one day and it was so nice. The girls and I both liked it and I thought, they were so helpful with Mia’s allergies. So we had said, you know, nuts and eggs are an issue. And they actually brought her out her own little tray of food and then and our own tray that Lizzy and I could eat off of. And so it’s just things like, you know, we had chicken salad.
[00:06:08.220] – Kim Tate
Some of our sandwiches were like chicken salad on little piece of lettuce, whereas they just gave her little bits of chicken without the mayo for the salad part. And then the all the sweet treats they provided were vegan. So no eggs and then didn’t have nuts. So she was very happy. And it was nice that they recognize that. And then, of course, the tea aspect, it’s so fun for them. They really enjoy that because we each you know, each of us got to choose our own type of tea.
[00:06:34.950] – Kim Tate
And then they bring the pot and you have your glass and your little strainer and you can pour it. And they just it was just nice. And the other thing is the seating areas they have they’re in the lobby for it are all cozy seating, you know, which has become so popular, I think, with hotels now. But, you know, we had like a couch and two armchairs and that was to kind of whatever you call poufs, which, of course, we didn’t use because there was just three of us.
[00:06:59.760] – Kim Tate
But it’s just a really it’s kind of a fun seating area where you can relax a little bit. And so we talked and we spent, I would say, about an hour and 15 minutes just kind of enjoying our experience there. So that was a lot of fun. And I was glad that we got to experience one of the Fairmont Classic things to do.
[00:07:16.410] – Tamara Gruber
Did you guys get dressed up for it too?
[00:07:18.510] – Kim Tate
We did. Yeah, we did. I had each of the girls and I was kind of nice. So then we went back up to our room, changed into more, you know, normal everyday clothes. And we we used, which is something I did with you. We use the monorail a lot and it is under construction. Now, the Westlake Center is under construction right now, but they’re still operating the monorail, which is such a convenient way, like I said, to get between those two areas.
[00:07:44.070] – Kim Tate
And that was the funny thing about the monorail is built with the 62 World’s Fair when the Space Needle was built. And so it’s got this futuristic feel, but it is just like a monorail, kind of like it Disney or, you know, anything like that. The thing that throws most people off, because I heard tourists on the train, they didn’t get that. There’s literally one stop. It’s just a back and forth shuttle of sorts. So that’s one thing to keep in mind.
[00:08:08.310] – Kim Tate
It’s not like this really long. You’re not going throughout the city in it.
[00:08:12.270] – Kim Tate
Yeah. You’re not getting a tour. Exactly. Yeah, that’s a great way of saying it. So but we use that a lot just to get up there, because like I said, with the CityPASS, which is one of the reasons we’re there, your admission if you buy a CityPASS ticket, you automatically get admission to the Space Needle and the aquarium, which, like I said, are in the two different sectors. And then you also get to choose three attractions from a list of five.
[00:08:35.850] – Kim Tate
So it’s you can either take a little harbor tour with Argosy Cruises. You can go to the Museum of Pop Culture, also known as Mo Pop, used to be called Experience Music Project. And then you can go to the Woodland Park Zoo, you can go to Chihuly garden of glass or you can go to the Pacific Science Center. The Pacific Science Center is still closed right now and isn’t set to reopen until the end of this year. Late this year or so, that one wasn’t an issue for us.
[00:09:02.310] – Kim Tate
So we chose to do the Space Needle. The aquarium, MoPop, the zoo, and Chilhuly. And the thing to think, the thing that we did on that, that is something you have to keep in mind right now. A CityPASS is the fact that you have to make reservations in advance for a lot of these places because they’re still just doing limited capacity. And so I was a little worried about how that would work. However, the CityPASS system is really just works great.
[00:09:28.140] – Kim Tate
They have everything streamlined and it’s all done electronically. You know, through a website, you just click on, say, make a reservation. The hardest reservation to make was the aquarium. They had the most limitations. And like I said, because of the location of things, I tried to pair the aquarium up on a different day, whereas I compared, like the Space Needle and Chihuly and MoPop, I wanted to pair them together since they’re all in one area and then the zoo is a little further north.
[00:09:55.470] – Kim Tate
So when we checked out of the hotel, we just drove up to the zoo and did that before we drove home. So, yeah, it was a fun day. You know, they’re just such classic things to do in Seattle, the Space Needle, it was a beautiful, clear day. It was very busy. So we once we turned it, you know, scanned our tickets for entrance. It was probably about a half an hour. Till we got to the elevator, so they have kind of a queue line that wraps around the gift shop of all places, but you stand in that line and then you you don’t actually get to shop.
[00:10:27.370] – Kim Tate
It’s kind of an overlook over the gift shop. But you then get to the elevators and they have a couple of different elevators that they start taking people up. There’s actually four elevators on different sides. And I didn’t even realize that. It’s so funny. I’ve been up the Space Needle a few times and I’ve never really considered that it does make a difference which elevator you get your view. I mean, obviously. So the four elevators that face different directions give you a very different view.
[00:10:53.020] – Kim Tate
So we are lucky enough to get the which I consider one of the best elevators, which is more of the south facing elevator. So you can see Rainier as you’re going up and you also see the Puget Sound a bit. And whereas if you’re on the north side, you see like the Lake Union, Lake Washington, University of Washington, kind of that angle. So it’s an interesting thing to keep in mind is just that depending on what elevator you get, your view up is a little different.
[00:11:16.900] – Kim Tate
But once you get in, you know, I walk around when you’re like, yes, yes, that’s I was going to say, of course, once I get to top, it doesn’t matter what the view is, it’s strictly just when you’re in the elevator, they have to it’s got kind of the window view. But, yeah, once you’re at the top, they’ve got the interesting thing is they’ve got it open. However, they’ve started doing something.
[00:11:35.410] – Kim Tate
I think this might have just been I’m curious if this will stick around. I saw that they did close it for the summer. And so I’m wondering if this is going to be an off season thing or how this works. But they did close sections of the viewpoints and they had put private tables there and they sold packages to people where you could go do like wine tasting and appetizers up on the needle. And it was a table for two. And I think they had maybe some for four as well.
[00:12:02.270] – Kim Tate
So if you did it with another couple, but it is something to keep in mind so you don’t get quite the wide open look as you used to. However, when I was doing the research, I noticed they closed. There was no more tickets for that. So I’m wondering if during peak summer they’re getting rid of that. And that’s more of an off season thing to help fill dollar bills that say, you know what, I’m trying to.
[00:12:23.890] – Tamara Gruber
So, I mean, the Space Needle, they just redid that, like not that many years ago. So I remember when you and I met up there. Yes. It after we did the cruise. Right like that. It was recently done and it looked, you know, looked things looked really nice. Yeah, it is really nice. They have a few they have kind of that the you know, they’ve got the glass walls now and then they have these glass benches or maybe it’s not glass, plastic or whatever it is, but basically it’s clear.
[00:12:51.130] – Kim Tate
So you can get the sensation, like you can sit on the bench and lean back, you know, so slightly angled out on the glass if you feel brave enough. And so there’s a couple of things where they try make it interactive like that and then you can go down. So that’s the upper level. And then you go down one level and that’s where they have the rotating floor. That’s the glass. And so you can stand on the floor and kind of see yourself rotate over the Seattle center area.
[00:13:15.370] – Kim Tate
And then, of course, you still have the windows to look out, but it’s not the open air like on the upper level. And so there are two levels that you can explore. And then they have a little, you know, bar up there. So some people choose to you know, I don’t know how the reservations work for that. But, you know, it’s just something to keep in mind. But they are it’s a fun thing to do, especially if it’s a clear day, which since you have to make reservations, it’s a little more, you know, to make sure you time that right.
[00:13:42.850] – Kim Tate
So I did definitely look on for a weekend. I looked on the weather forecast and I chose the day there was seemed, you know, it was like partly cloudy and sort of cloudy. We had a beautiful, beautiful view of Mt. Rainier in the city skyline. So it was gorgeous.
[00:14:00.790] – Tamara Gruber
And so it’s nice and it works out, especially with your Seattle weather, right?
[00:14:04.840] – Kim Tate
Yeah, exactly. Our Seattle weather man, it’s like you already said, we’re dying now. So it’s crazy, our weather. So that’s the one thing we did. And then we actually had worked it. We actually did that on the first day. And like I said, how I tried to pair everything up. But the aquarium we did that evening. So we finished up the needle, went and got lunch and then came back and then walked down and did the aquarium, which is, you know, it’s it’s renowned and people love it.
[00:14:32.530] – Kim Tate
It’s my girls really wanted to go there. That was the number one thing they wanted to do. I think it’s a fine aquarium. It’s not like Monterey Bay Aquarium or it’s not, you know, like some of these massive aquariums that you hear about the Seattle aquariums. Not like that. The cool thing about the Seattle Aquarium is that it’s really focused around, like the fact that it sits over Puget Sound and they actually funnel water from the sound through some of their exhibits.
[00:14:55.660] – Kim Tate
You get a real sense that these are the animals, this is the climate, this is the habitat that you’re looking at right out here. And I think that’s the neat the neat part of it is that it is so tangibly linked to the Puget Sound. So that’s one cool thing. They they’re little. They my girls love their little otters and they were not out and visible. So we were kind of bummed on that. But it’s neat to be down there.
[00:15:20.860] – Kim Tate
And like I said, it’s on the waterfront, which is always a fun, fun place to walk around and see.
[00:15:28.000] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I remember when I was there just to hanging out at the otters for quite a while because they are so cute is a bummer that they’re not that they weren’t swimming. They are there are a lot of fun to watch. And I do have to say something really quickly about if you’re the type that likes to buy souvenirs, all these Seattle attractions do an amazing job with their gift shops. I don’t know who curates them or whatever, but we end up always browsing and walking through the gift shops and they they just somehow find the cutest little things that they procure. And so allow time for that and money for that.
[00:16:03.340] – Kim Tate
If you like buying souvenirs, because the gift shops at the Space Needle, especially, we bought actually a puzzle for my mom. That was from the sixty two World’s Fair. That was really cool. And the girls got Lizzy got two sweatshirts. But anyways, the Seattle Aquarium was great. We went back then we went we went and got dinner and then kind of called it a night. And then the next day we did Chihuly and Mo Pop.
[00:16:30.370] – Kim Tate
I’m sure a lot of people have heard of Dave Chihuly. He’s a major glass artist that he actually studied in the Seattle area for a while. And that’s why there’s such a tie to him there. I can’t remember where he’s originally from. I’m blanking right now. But he helped found some of the glass school stuff in Seattle. So he’s a big name for the Seattle Glass art community. But that usually garden and glass exhibit is just beautiful. It’s not if you’ve been there once, it doesn’t really change.
[00:16:57.700] – Kim Tate
It’s but it’s got the most amazing artistry when you can really look at the artistry of the pieces instead of just like, oh, cool. It’s a big piece of art sculpture that’s cool. And you kind of get past it. But then when you actually start diving in and looking at the unique striations or little bumps here and you think of how that was done with hot molten glass, it really is quite, quite amazing artistry.
[00:17:23.080] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, his work is is amazing. I’ve I mean, I think everyone’s seen it even if they don’t know that they’ve seen it. You know, there’s so many pieces and so many places from like know casinos to airports and all that, that that museum is really spectacular.
[00:17:37.780] – Kim Tate
Yeah, it’s quite beautiful. And they have a nice little, you know, cafe near there that we actually ate at on this trip. And I love that cafe because it’s kind of fun. They have these it’s a really eclectic it’s like collectors. They have they have like a whole bunch of old accordions hanging from the ceiling. And then they have these old radios on the wall. And I don’t know, it’s kind of fun on our our table.
[00:18:01.570] – Kim Tate
There was a hollowed out section. So under the glass top table, there were, I think, old radios. It’s just cute.
[00:18:08.140] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I remember the food is good. It wasn’t just like, you know, some places would have a like a restaurant cafe and it would be like, you know, burgers and fries and stuff like.
[00:18:17.210] – Kim Tate
Yes, this one. Nice. Yeah, this was flatbread. Pizzas is what they had going on right now and definitely pricey. But the the pizzas were delicious. We each got one and yeah, it was well done. And you can see them cook in the pizzas, you know, nearby. So it was great. So that was a nice little stop. And again, it’s right next to the Space Needle, but we had done that the previous day and then we went over to Mo Pop, which I actually upgraded from our CityPASS.
[00:18:44.500] – Kim Tate
Right now they have a Disney Heroes and Villains costume exhibit, which was six dollars more per person. So I actually paid that and upgraded our CityPASS. The CityPASS covers the the museum itself and then the extra exhibit cost more. But we’ve been. To MoPop before, and it’s it’s just kind of a fun, fun thing. It was funny because I was just there in March with Mia when it was still kind of, you know, things were still kind of locked down and they had just recently reopened and there was nobody in there.
[00:19:13.870] – Kim Tate
And they had a Minecraft exhibit that she was really wanting to go see. And so we had gone and done that and there was nobody in there. And, you know, you get there and they gave us these little styluses to use. And now when we when we went there and it was, you know, June, everything’s open again. And they still have the timed entry. But there was so many people. And, you know, Lizzy was kind of sad because she didn’t get to see the Minecraft exhibit because they got rid of that, of course, to bring in the Disney exhibit.
[00:19:40.030] – Kim Tate
And there was just it was there was a lot of people visiting. And so tourism is definitely back in Seattle. We had one of our favorite places that Mia loves is called Pike Place Chowder, and they are down this kind of back alley is what it’s called near Pike Place Market. And we thought, oh, yeah, we’ll just hop over there and get you some food. And that was our first experience, like our first day down there.
[00:20:02.860] – Kim Tate
We went down there to go get lunch there. And I was like, wow, OK, tourism’s definitely back because the line was all the way to the street. And, you know, it’s just it was just kind of funny. It was it was great. It’s great to see that people are back and visiting the city and spending money. And so we were you’re like, oh, I have to wait in line.
[00:20:20.690] – Kim Tate
Exactly. Especially when it’s a staycation. Right? You’re like, oh, this this is my town. I want to just be able to do whatever I want. And why didn’t I take advantage of this before everyone came back? So, yeah, it’s but it was good. So we didn’t get the chowder there. But I don’t remember where I was going with this when I went off on that.
[00:20:41.950] – Tamara Gruber
I’ve been to MoPop twice and I do love that they always change those exhibits because, you know, it makes it very fresh. But I do I think the first time I visited, I didn’t realize that I was in a temporary exhibit. So I came back and I told Glenn all about this whole Star Trek exhibit. So when we were there for the cruise, we’re like, we got to go, we got to go.
[00:20:57.610] – Tamara Gruber
And we went there and he’s like, there’s no Star Trek exhibit. But then I think it was like Marvel, which, you know, he loved, you know, having that thing, all the Marvel costumes. Right.
[00:21:06.380] – Kim Tate
But yeah, that was good. That’s always that up upper level is the one that they use. And they do I think I think sometimes the visiting exhibits are just amazing. We there’s another one that we always like. That’s the fairy tale which is down. There’s the floor of horrors, which is kind of freaky. And then there’s the, you know, fairy tale exhibit, which is kind of fun. But we it’s funny because things must be getting busy again, like I said, because there is a few things when me and I were there in March that she wanted to show Lizzy, like one of it was I’m trying to think is a crown from some I can’t think of which show now.
[00:21:44.530] – Kim Tate
And it was on loan somewhere. And then another piece that was in the Harry Potter memorabilia was on loan and they had put something else instead. And we’re like, oh, man. You know, I was just kind of funny how sometimes the rotate to you, so but they have a few like inset places and of course, Nirvanas huge there. And that’s a big part that people a lot of people do pilgrimages to Seattle to do the whole nirvana and grunge movement thing.
[00:22:13.690] – Kim Tate
So that’s a big part of it there. Sound lab, which they normally have, which our kids love, and it’s very hands on thing that is still closed. So they don’t have the sound lab open. But the Heroes and Villains exhibit with Disney was amazing. It was so neat, especially because I like Disney and just the costuming. It makes you realize how much costumes make characters really stand out. And I think it’s just it’s really cool to see that.
[00:22:42.260] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, those are really neat, especially for like fantasy kind of shows like that, like where you said it’s it is so much about the costume. Like I’m thinking of you and I were in Belfast and we went to the Game of Thrones exhibit all the you know, the different costumes for them.
[00:22:58.000] – Kim Tate
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And the Belfast one was cute or cool with the Game of Thrones because they had a lot of the accessories and props as well. This one didn’t have as much like the props. It was definitely the costumes. So but anyway, so that was kind of cool. And then, like I said, our last day we went to Woodland Park Zoo, which is kind of just normal zoo. They do have a baby gorilla, which was born in January and it still looks so small.
[00:23:25.540] – Kim Tate
And we were seen and the mom was just holding it. And it was funny just the way seeing her hold it and just the way she would like pat his head, like just, you know, and this kind of maternal way. It was so sweet. And yeah.
[00:23:39.670] – Tamara Gruber
So I remember seeing your story about that and just how cute and sweet it is.
[00:23:43.990] – Kim Tate
It’s so adorable. Yeah. Yeah. So that was kind of our little Seattle staycation. It was great. There was just you know, it was I really do think that when you’re going to do the traditional tourist things and even being locals, we still like to do some of these tourist things. The CityPASS really is a great way to do it, and especially if I think I did the math and basically you have to do three things.
[00:24:07.350] – Kim Tate
You can do four and already save money. And then, of course, you get an extra bonus item as well. So if you’re if you’re planning to visit for it depends on how the math works. But most of it is if you’re planning to do four of the things, then yes, makes a lot of sense.
[00:24:22.020] – Tamara Gruber
And I like the way, you know, in Seattle, they’re so clustered able to do like if you could get the timed entry tickets. And, you know, when this science center opens, like, you know, the way then the Space Needle and the Chihuly and the Science Center, it’s like you can just so easily walk to all the three.
[00:24:38.040] – Kim Tate
All those. Yeah. Same at the Science Center. It’s right there as well. So. Yeah. Yeah. And then the crew. Yeah, yeah. It’s all together. And then the Argosy Cruises is down by the aquarium, so that’s very easy to get in the right place anyway.
[00:24:50.790] – Tamara Gruber
So it’s exciting to be there. So it’s like you can really fit it into a weekend or definitely a three day weekend, but even a two day weekend because sometimes you feel like I’m never going to be able to fit all this in if I’m just visiting for a weekend. But I think. Yeah, yeah, CityPASS is great. And like, not only I mean, it may not be the case now, but there are some times when you can skip the line to you.
[00:25:12.570] – Tamara Gruber
And I did that in New York when I went to the Empire State Building. And that saves you I mean, I could save you a couple of hours sometimes.
[00:25:19.590] – Kim Tate
I agree. Yeah. It can be really useful to be able to do that. I didn’t have that at the Space Needle. They used to a long time ago. So I don’t know if they’ll ever bring that back. But it’s not a not a thing they’re right now. But yeah, when you can skip the line, they normally promote or publish that. And that’s very helpful. Yeah. So, yeah, that’s right. I agree. Yeah, it was good.
[00:25:40.590] – Kim Tate
And I think a weekend, it works for a weekend. It depends how busy you want to be because if you want to it’s definitely that. But we’re going to be doing attractions all weekend long and not having a lot of downtime when you get you eat and just kind of wander between the two things. So we’ll see how long the advance reservations last. And that just requires a little bit of advance planning. But like I said, we were able to get reservations.
[00:26:02.670] – Kim Tate
No problem. I booked, I believe, the day before. So like I said, the aquarium was the hardest one. That one was one where it would have made more sense to book it a week out and book that one first. So just a heads up on that. But yeah.
So from that, we just got home from Vail, which was very different. But I’m excited to share all about that trip. And we so from Seattle, we flew into Denver and then we took the epic Mountain Express shuttle from Denver to Vail.
[00:26:33.030] – Kim Tate
And we’ve taken a shuttle system like that to Keystone as well before. And so all those from Denver to all of those kind of mountain resorts, it’s about a two to two and a half hour trip. But traffic is definitely the the asterisk on that.
[00:26:50.340] – Tamara Gruber
[00:26:50.880] – Kim Tate
Yeah, yeah. I mean, you’ve been in the area, too, but Denver traffic can really throw a kink into things. There’s construction a lot of times, especially with the summer and then just a lot of people coming in and out of Denver in all directions to go to the suburbs. And so that’s just something to keep in mind, is that traffic can be an issue. Hopefully it’s not, especially in the summer. It’s less of an issue in the winter.
[00:27:14.400] – Kim Tate
Sometimes there’s avalanches or, you know, roads are closed down for a few hours. And so that can be an issue. But it is standard. I’ve done like I said, we’ve done it twice and both times it’s been about two to two and a half hours. And they do allow they have us a middle midway spot that they will actually say, does anybody need to use the restroom or get something to drink? And they have like it’s kind of funny because it’s a privately owned store and Starbucks that’s actually owned by the by Epic Ski, you know, Vail Resorts that does the epic.
[00:27:46.800] – Kim Tate
So it’s kind of funny. So they they stop there and they have, you know, front curb parking for the shuttles and you can go in and go to the restroom. And then of course, seems like all all of us bought Starbucks as well. So it’s a smart little a very contained system. You get all the.
[00:28:05.600] – Kim Tate
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah, they’ve got it figured out. So anyways, that’s but that’s good. So we headed to Vail and we actually stayed at this condo resort type community called Manor Vail. And it is just I want to say east, but I don’t know my map perfectly for Vail. So it could be us, but it’s just about ten minutes walking distance like outside of Vail Village, but really connected availability, if that makes sense to you just kind of wandering in to get to the main center.
[00:28:34.620] – Kim Tate
It might not even be ten minutes, but about ten minutes would be the safe thing to say. So we walked. So you have so many different accommodations, things. So, you know, always going to be like directly in the village.
[00:28:47.730] – Tamara Gruber
But I mean, I remember when we a couple of summers ago stayed in Copper Mountain and we were right in the village. There’s downsides to that, too, because like the music playing and stuff like that. So it’s sometimes it’s not too bad to have, like, a little bit of a walk.
[00:29:00.450] – Kim Tate
Yeah, we actually really liked it and there is a free metro shuttle system and we chose to walk because it was not bad. We did get rained on once and we just dealt with it. The girls were give me a hard time. They’re like, we’re from Seattle, Mom, like, chill out, it’s fine. And I was like, don’t you want to take the bus? But yeah. So it was it was great.
[00:29:22.080] – Kim Tate
And so they do have a bus that, you know, operates regularly, like every I think they say like five, eight minutes, you know, a bus is coming around and takes you and then so on. The other end is Lionhead, which is where another one of the big gondolas is and between where we stayed in Manor Vail and Lion’s Head is about one mile, but it’s about a 30 minute walk just because of curves and in and out of streets.
[00:29:42.750] – Kim Tate
And we did that walk, we know one day and it is a little longer, but it’s totally doable. And so I you know, we really liked it. We fell in love with Vale Village. It was it was so nice. And just what you expect of those kind of, you know, European folsky villages, it was just nice. And I think that’s a hidden those are hidden destinations in the summer, although it’s certainly definitely it certainly seemed busy.
[00:30:06.680] – Kim Tate
I’ll say that, you know, which is great to see.
[00:30:09.480] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. I mean, I’ve only experienced it a little bit, but I really love mountain resorts in the summer and I have not been Vail. But when I whenever I see anyone’s pictures, it just looks like a little Swiss town. And I’m like, oh yeah. It just it looks so cute. And I just I would love to do this today. It’s just so it’s just nice to be, you know, in the mountains because they have so many activities like those those resorts are so good about, you know, like you don’t have to leave that resort.
[00:30:35.040] – Tamara Gruber
There’s so much to do. Right.
[00:30:36.840] – Kim Tate
Right. Well, it’s so nice to be able I mean, there’s so much to eat. I just there’s so much. And so we’re we’re out Manor Vail. It’s actually right next to this Betty Ford Alpine Gardens area and park. And so we had this beautiful view of the water and people were, you know, go over there and they sometimes have little festivals and there’s an amphitheater over there. And it’s just really neat. And like you said, there’s just there’s stuff to do.
[00:31:00.930] – Kim Tate
And even if, you know, like in the center of town, there’s this big Solaris, which is a kind of luxury condo, I think, resort. And they have a big space. They have like the lower level are all restaurants and shops. And then upper levels are the rooms. And on the lower level, they have this place called Bowl, which is an indoor bowling alley. And then outside they have cornhole in kind of an open green space that kids were playing soccer while we were playing cornhole.
[00:31:26.580] – Kim Tate
And there’s just they can sell you drinks and there is seating and you can just hang out and chat. And so it’s a really it’s kind of one of those villages where you could easily just go find a place to people watch and sit and drink and eat and chat. And so I think it’s a really good social town, if that makes sense, like it’s a good place to go, be social as a family or with friends for sure. Yeah.
[00:31:48.840] – Kim Tate
So yeah, our first so we flew in and the first day we arrived we just took it easy and we had dinner at our, you know, after a long travel day, we just had dinner at our hotel which they have like a little restaurant there. And then the next day we got up to go horseback riding. And one thing is, Lizzy, she got up and she was going to go. She was like, oh, I’m not feeling good.
[00:32:08.910] – Kim Tate
And it took her a while to get out of the room. We were a little late because we were just buying her. We bought her some oxygen shot and she got there and there was a booking issue. They only had two of us and they were going to add a third. But she’s like, you know, honestly, I don’t feel good anyways. And we didn’t want her to, like, pass out on top of her horse or be uncomfortable.
[00:32:27.810] – Kim Tate
Yeah. So the we had gotten, you know, driven there by the hotel. And so they we called and they were going to come back and get her and take her back to the room. And we told her just to drink lots of water, eat food, rest, take some of the more of the oxygen shot. And then so me and I went on the horseback ride and I was we made the right choice because we actually went up quite a bit like took a bit of an elevation because we wanted to out to our to her, to our to her anyways, changing ours there, but headed up the mountain.
[00:32:56.790] – Kim Tate
And it was just beautiful. It’s nice to go horseback riding. We did it through Vail Stables, which was right across from where we were staying at at Manor Vail. So it was an easy, really easy get to thankfully they drove us. It’s oh, it’s across the main interstate. So you can’t, like, walk there and it’s quite up the hill a little. So but it was it was fun. We had our little horseback ride and it was the nice thing.
[00:33:20.550] – Kim Tate
Like one of the one of the parts was they called it magical forest and it was where it was a really narrow path. And of course, it was a trail ride. So single single-file line, but it was just through these aspen trees and just the green and the white bark of the aspen trees and just like little birds chirping. And we actually heard they were like, that’s a moment that was talking, you know, like to make these funny noises.
[00:33:44.280] – Kim Tate
And so it was just it was really nice. It’s a great way to kind of get that mountain, you know, Aspen feel. And then, of course, we got on a couple little meadow outlooks where you could look down and see Vail Village in the distance. So that was pretty cool. But yeah. So we did that. Yeah, and then once we came back and got to the room, Lizzy was feeling much better and was ready to go out to lunch.
[00:34:05.810] – Kim Tate
And so thankfully, she had adjusted with the rest and water and oxygen. We had gone into the village and did a little bit of shopping, like souvenir shopping for some sweatshirts and just getting a feel for the village a little. And then we went back to our room and we were thinking about going swimming, but it looked like there was rain moving in. So we decided to just that we wouldn’t do that. And then we ended up going to dinner that night at a really famous place in the village called Alpen Rose, which when you’re talking about like Suess, this is total Bavarian, I think, a little restaurant in the heart of the village.
[00:34:42.410] – Kim Tate
And it was so perfect. It’s kind of one of those things where, you know, we had a busy day and then there was some rain and we just were looking for a good evening meal. And this place was just amazing. It’s a very it’s I wouldn’t call it very limited menu, but it’s a small menu because what they do, they do really well. If that makes sense and they put us in this front little it’s kind of a house is what it feels like, maybe like a chalet, because it’s kind of open, like not tons of little rooms, but the lower floor definitely felt kind of like a house.
[00:35:15.020] – Kim Tate
And they put us at the front, a front window bench seating table, which was just so cute. And you could totally they have an outdoor patio as well. And it was just amazing. We loved it. And it was kind of one of those things we had. We all three of us got hot chocolates which were served in these kind of enamel mugs that just looked really cute with the whipped cream. It was just it felt like we were like you said, it felt like we were at a European ski village and just enjoying some great pasta, Mia got salmon, and it was it was awesome.
[00:35:49.670] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. I was going to ask if you had, like, schnitzel or something like that because it seemed like it would the kind of place.
[00:35:54.390] – Kim Tate
That’s exactly. They had it on the menu. There is schnitzel on the menu. But yeah, we were we realized we got a few because there was a big pretzel. I don’t know if you saw the picture that, you know, they had a massive pretzel. And then we also got this. I can’t even think of the name of it, but there is kind of like fried potato bites of sorts. And we got so full we realized that Lizzy and I should have just shared because we both ordered the pasta carbonara, which featured grandma’s pasta, which was like fresh made pasta.
[00:36:23.930] – Kim Tate
And we realized we should just shared it because after the appetizers and, you know, the hot chocolate and everything, we we both didn’t finish our our plates of pasta.
[00:36:32.240] – Tamara Gruber
I feel like there’s always so many times when Hannah and I are traveling and we’re like, when are we going to learn that we need to just share?
[00:36:37.730] – Kim Tate
Yeah, I think you should we should know that, like when you order appetizers, but you order the appetizer and then you’re like, OK, well, what are you going to order for your main dish? Then you just kind of forget that there’s going to be this other food that’s about ready to arrive, right?
[00:36:49.160] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. And, you know, sometimes menus are exciting and you’re like, well, that sounds good. And that sounds good.
[00:36:54.920] – Kim Tate
Yeah, exactly. So, yeah, we that was our we ended our day on that one and the next day we like I said, we walked over to Lion’s Head, which is such a fun walk. I mean it really is like I said, and I don’t know how to say this enough, but part of the appeal was just wandering and kind of going into shops. And there’s so many little patio seating areas where you could just go, OK, let’s go get a drink here.
[00:37:17.060] – Kim Tate
We’ll have an appetizer here. I think it would be really fun to do that is where you just kind of visit one place and get something here and then go to another place, get another drink and eat something there and just kind of wander around, I think would be a real fun way to enjoy that village. So we wandered and walked over to Lion’s Head and we ended up going up the Eagle Bahn Gondola because we were headed up to the top of the mountain to be able to go on there.
[00:37:41.840] – Kim Tate
They have it’s called Epic Discovery, and it’s basically kind of like an adventure park at the top, OK? And they’ve got, you know, zip lines and ropes courses and a big giant lawn slide. And they’ve got this little roller coaster, mountain coaster thing. And then they also had little kids. They’ve got like kids bouncy like trampolines, and they got a kid zip line. And then they have like a rock climbing wall and a kid’s lawn slide as well.
[00:38:06.170] – Kim Tate
So it works well, like there’s some little kid things as well. And we were there and then lightning moved in in the area. And so they had to shut everything down. So they shut the gondola down. So we did a couple of passes on the slide. And then unfortunately, we weren’t able to do any more of the activities. And we actually kind of just waited up there. They had a food place, so we grabbed some food.
[00:38:26.090] – Kim Tate
I’ll be honest that the food was extremely pricey at the top of the mountain. So once they it’s kind of like once they have you there, they know you don’t have an option.
[00:38:36.800] – Kim Tate
So we did get some we got some fries and some drinks because we weren’t sure how long we’d be waiting. And then we they opened back the gondola and we thought, well, instead of waiting on the line, we’ll go wait and hope that they open the coaster back. They opened both gondolas, but they didn’t open the epic discovery things and the zip lines and the ropes courses were both already closed for the summer, I don’t know if they’re going to do a renovation, but to me it looked like it was probably just staffing because those things, I think, require a lot of staff for getting in and out at a higher level of training, probably also just for insurance and security. So those were not open. And so we went back down the gondola and just kind of again explored the village a little bit and hung out. We got lunch and then we headed back to our room to get ready because we were doing something really cool, which was called Picnic Vail, which like I said, remember how I said Manor Vail is right next to the Betty Ford Gardens.
[00:39:36.060] – Kim Tate
Actually it’s this company. I think it’s a lady like she started up this business called Picnic Vail. And she basically comes and sets up a little one of those outdoor picnic, the charming outdoor picnics for you outdoors. And she found for us because she was like, well, we don’t know if it’s going to sprinkle again because it had rain. Like we said, that we got stranded up on the mountain because rain and we got back down.
[00:39:58.020] – Kim Tate
It wasn’t raining anymore. So we went over to the gardens and it was sunny and gorgeous. And she had set us up in this little picnic underneath the bow of an evergreen tree, like it was kind of open and it was so cute. She had a table set up and it was just like this gorgeous charcuterie board. And then we had water. And then she also had a table of games, which was really fun.
[00:40:19.530] – Kim Tate
I didn’t realize that would be part of it. So when we were thinking, I was like, oh, it’s probably going to be about an hour, you know, just eat and chat and then we’ll go. But we got there and she had, like, ladder ball set up, you know, the little ladder ball we have. Those are fun. Yeah. And so we had ladder ball and then there was also like this conversation starters.
[00:40:37.590] – Kim Tate
It’s the, you know, that Scandinavian word for like cozy home. h y y g y e.
[00:40:46.990] – Tamara Gruber
[00:40:47.460] – Kim Tate
Anyways that was like a conversation starter game and we had a lot of fun doing that. We kept just passing around the cards and we draw and ask questions for the other people and it was just fun. It was a great conversation thing and and then yeah. Ladder ball and there was something else. I’m blanking out what it was, but we had just a great time. We really enjoyed it. So and again, she was able to make sure that there was no nuts or eggs on the board.
[00:41:11.490] – Kim Tate
So that worked out well as well and really good with that.
[00:41:15.810] – Tamara Gruber
So that was a nice change from being just always restaurants to have something like that. And when I saw pictures of you doing like a lot of guys assume that that was like where the cornhole was and like other games, like in the village.
[00:41:27.840] – Kim Tate
So that’s, you know, yeah, it was our own private little experience, you know. So it was great. It was I mean, it was fun. The funny thing was they were also doing a festival of sorts.
[00:41:39.900] – Kim Tate
It looked really small. It wasn’t massive, but they had live music. So we had heard the live music the night before. And then when that happened on that was Friday night, they had live music again. So she was like, I didn’t realize you’d get live music with your, you know, with your picnic. So we sat there. Is this kind of funny because the festival is like right there and we get to hear the live music while we enjoy things.
[00:42:00.870] – Kim Tate
So it was great. It was a fun little experience. And and the nice thing is she you know, she leaves like her name and her phone number. So you get two hours and then she’s like, if you want to leave early or just give her, you know, 20 to 30 minute heads up because she cleans everything up for you. And the food, of course, since it’s in a park, she doesn’t want there to be attract animals.
[00:42:20.850] – Tamara Gruber
So, yeah, that’s really neat, because when I saw it again, I just assumed that, like, you picked up a picnic from a place that does picnics, but you picked up a picnic and there they are and they included games. But I didn’t realize, like, they set it up for you. They set it up for you. Is you like. That’s exactly it was it was a nice service. Yeah.
[00:42:37.590] – Kim Tate
Yeah, it was great. Yeah. You do nothing. So and there was even take home containers. She’s like, oh there’s containers if you want to take home any leftovers. And we’re like, well we’ve been eating well and we leave tomorrow so there’s no time for us to eat it. So thank you though. But yeah, you, you don’t have to do any of the cleanup. She acts like there’s a bag there for garbage if you do open stuff, wrap garbage and things.
[00:42:57.210] – Kim Tate
But yeah, it’s all done for you. And that was what was so nice. And I think for families it’s it would be so nice for moms. I mean, it was so nice for me to just show up and the kids fix their own food and all of that. And then we had games that they played and we’re having fun with. And then I just called her and I’m like, OK, we’re ready to wrap up. And then she showed back up and it was I mean, and you don’t have to do that.
[00:43:19.200] – Kim Tate
If you go the two hours, which we could have, it was just the girls were getting a little tired. So I was like, go ahead. You know, we just did fifteen minutes earlier. So we said, you know, meet us at some fifteen and yeah, it was just awesome. So I think it was it was cool. Like I tried to start folding the blanket because we as she left to really cozy blankets as well in case it got chilly and I had pulled one out and she’s like, don’t, don’t do that.
[00:43:41.340] – Kim Tate
Stop being a mom. I get it. I clean up everything.
[00:43:43.800] – Kim Tate
You know, it was awesome. So I think for for being on vacation, it was a really fun way to, you know, just relax. And it was unique for the girls as well. So they were engaged more on playing and, you know, just kind of the game, you know, varied the games. She had like four different games. There, so you definitely have enough where kids get bored with one thing, you can move to something else.
[00:44:04.780] – Kim Tate
So it was great.
[00:44:05.550] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, and you’re not like waiting for the server to come over to order and then waiting for your food. And then we had another check and all that kind of stuff. So.
[00:44:13.650] – Kim Tate
[00:44:14.760] – Tamara Gruber
Yes. Sounds like a great getaway. Now I’m like, OK, Colorado next year.
[00:44:19.500] – Kim Tate
Yes, I loved it. I you know, the girls were saying, like, because I asked them, I say, what is this some place you would want to come back to? You know, what did you think? And they were like, yes, they absolutely loved it. And like I said, the Vail Village was really cool. I definitely I would give I mean, I think it depends on what you’re looking for. But I did notice, you know, we arrived Wednesday and even like coming in and seeing what we saw Wednesday and then Thursday, the difference between Friday and then when we left on Saturday is quite remarkable.
[00:44:47.880] – Kim Tate
So it definitely, I think, attracts weekend visitors. And so if you can visit during the weekday, you might have more of a a little more laid back. But then again, if you’re looking for like the live music and a lot of the if you like that vibe of the socialization and stuff, the weekends are great for that. So that’s just something to keep in mind.
[00:45:08.610] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, no surprise, I guess. But I think the other thing is, like you mentioned, just kind of planning for that traffic and stuff, right?
[00:45:16.740] – Kim Tate
Yeah. Yeah, that’s true. And I asked them, I said, is it tied to like rush hour, like you should get into the airport during a certain time and not during, you know? And they said, well, that’s some of it. But a lot of it, they said, is just the construction. You can’t always be sure. But like our return trip, he said, like, he brought us some wide way instead of going, like closer to the city.
[00:45:38.130] – Kim Tate
He took a different route because he said, you know, he was looking at traffic and he’s like, oh, you know, 70s really bad. So we’re going to do 70. What? I don’t remember it. It was so just something to keep in mind that you can probably ask if you are getting a shuttle. And they do know kind of the if you’re not renting a car, the shuttle people kind of know the tricks to try and avoid some of it.
[00:45:59.310] – Kim Tate
So but definitely I would think you just try and avoid that standard rush hour ideas of, you know, into the city and out of the city, I’m guessing.
[00:46:07.200] – Tamara Gruber
And was your shuttle like one of the big charter busses or more of like a sprinter and yet more sprinter than the first one? When we arrived, we were the only ones. So I don’t know how this. Yeah. So I don’t know how they time the I don’t know how they manage the pickups. Like, I don’t know if we just got lucky randomly. I don’t think they booked it as a private, you know, private experience. So but on the way home there were two other, we were the third and we’re the last pick up.
[00:46:36.690] – Kim Tate
And but thankfully there was a nice couple on because Mia and I both have motion sickness issues and they were sitting in the front and I was like, oh, I didn’t even realize because we were the only ones on the way there. I hadn’t realized it wasn’t going to be a private thing. And so I asked the driver and he’s like, well, you should have made a request for, you know, that you needed to sit in the front.
[00:46:53.970] – Kim Tate
And he’s like, we have this one front seat. And the next would be right next to the two people for two hour trip because it was like a three seat, like the front seat, three seats. Does that make sense? And so I just spoke up and asked the couple. I was like, you know, do you guys need to sit in the front by any chance? I was like, my daughter has bad motions. And they were like, oh, no problem.
[00:47:12.840] – Kim Tate
And they move back one. So thank goodness it wasn’t an issue.
[00:47:15.870] – Tamara Gruber
That’s good, because the one time that I took one of those shuttles, I thought we were all set because they picked us up and like the village where where we were and we were like the first ones on. So we sat right in the front. And then it’s like and now we’re going over here where you’re getting on like the real shuttle, you know? And so they brought us to another meeting place and then we were the last ones. And so we were literally like against the back wall.
[00:47:40.140] – Tamara Gruber
And and we were jammed in, like the whole thing was full. And we’re Hannah and I were just we felt terrible the whole time.
[00:47:46.170] – Kim Tate
Yeah. I have a feeling that it you know, you could get the bad luck of the draw and be could get sixteen passengers, I’m thinking. But we didn’t have that experience. So that wasn’t one of the big, big ones. It definitely was a sprinter van, but still it’s for sprinter. So you know, and didn’t think about the option of is always renting a car but yeah. You don’t really need it when you’re there say probably especially these days when you’re paying so much for cars.
[00:48:13.230] – Kim Tate
And can I just mention, like, the whole car rental thing, because I know we’ve talked about it off and on like one hand and I just flew to California, we waited in line to pick up our rental car because there was remember how we’ve talked about how, like, you know, if you’re Emerald Club or whatever, like you, you don’t have to you can, like, bypass the line. There was no there was no bypass.
[00:48:31.290] – Tamara Gruber
It was like the desks were closed and it was like go to the garage. And then there’s just like one line in front of, like a little not even a kiosk, but like a podium in the garage. And there was shows they were so short staffed. So it’s again, it’s another thing we’re like a lot of people got laid off and it’s taken a while to like hire people back and train them up and everything. And so we waited in that line for definitely over an hour.
[00:48:53.850] – Tamara Gruber
And I talked to a friend of mine that rented a car in Savannah. She flew down, I think it was either Savannah or Charleston. And she waited in line for over two hours. Oh, my goodness, to pick up the car.
[00:49:05.160] – Kim Tate
That’s horrible. Yeah, that’s what I’m hearing. So just something to build in your stomach. Exactly. Yeah. Is be prepared for that.
[00:49:13.170] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I, I’m really glad I decided to drive from like San Francisco to L.A., L.A. to California to Arizona, renting a car each time.
[00:49:22.140] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. Originally I was thinking, oh I’ll just fly, fly. But I’m like, oh it’s going to be such a pain. And what if they don’t have car, you know, like just I want to deal with all the hassles. And then I was so relieved.
[00:49:31.320] – Kim Tate
Yeah, that’s good. Yeah, that sounds dreadful. I’m you know, I’m wondering what we’ll have because that was one of the reasons I was looking forward to our our rental was oh it’s you know, I don’t know if we’re alema inside or whichever one it is. And you can get the skip the line if you do the advance check. And so be interesting to see at LAX if they have it staffed that way better, I don’t know.
[00:49:53.860] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, yeah. I mean it’s hopefully better, but everything you know kind of has this.
[00:49:59.520] – Kim Tate
Yeah. Well we’ve seen what’s happening also with flights and everything. I know one of our mutual friends, Leslie, she’s stuck in Connecticut for an extra two days because Southwest just canceled a bunch of flights, including the one they were supposed to be on south of the flight on me like I was before the flight. And I spent my entire tour of University of Arizona walking around in like 110 degree heat, trying to figure out how I was going to get from Arizona to Houston in that afternoon.
[00:50:27.750] – Kim Tate
So, yeah, super stressful, like it’s in Southwest has been doing this a lot.
[00:50:32.580] – Kim Tate
I think this is definitely a summer where everyone the demand is just higher than what the capacity the work capacity is right now. So if you do not already have vacation plans, I would definitely recommend a road trip, you know, near you in your own car.
[00:50:49.860] – Tamara Gruber
Well, it’s funny. I read an article recently that American was having people volunteer to work in the in the airport. And I’m like, oh, my gosh, who wants to do that? You know, like to be the one that’s maybe like getting yelled at or something. But I think they’re more like directing people to different places. But yeah, they’re like asking office workers to come volunteer to work for jobs and like, that’s that’s a that’s a huge ask.
[00:51:16.140] – Tamara Gruber
Like, why are you not paying that? They’re not. I don’t know. I understand. Like, I know. And they got bailed out. So it’s like they don’t have the funds. Yeah. And then I’ve also seen and hear I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about cleanliness in hotel rooms. I don’t know what your experience has been, but they’re saying that, you know, everyone’s saying they’re up to the standard, but the housekeeping staff are all short staffed as well.
[00:51:36.420] – Tamara Gruber
And so they’re running through and rushing through these, you know, cleaning’s of these rooms and not doing a thorough job. And people are definitely seeing that.
[00:51:45.900] – Tamara Gruber
So I definitely think it’s not like what it was if you traveled like the height of the pandemic, like the rooms then where like really pristine. But now it’s definitely not. Actually, I stayed we just went down to New Jersey to see my family over the weekend and we stayed at a hotel just because it’s a little too much for my mom right now. And so we got there. Lake’s in New York City, traffic and everything. So we got there around eleven thirty, but I checked it online.
[00:52:11.310] – Tamara Gruber
I come in. It was a Town Suites, you know, just like a nothing traveler kind of hotel. Yeah. And there’s no one at the front desk but I see like her purse is sitting there so clearly someone’s not too far away. So we stand there, we wait and we wait because there wasn’t a digital key. So I had to wait to check in. So we wait to check in. She comes out, she like checks me in and I’m like, OK, I had booked like a it’s a queen bed with a pull out in the living room because it’s a town place. suites,s like a one bedroom suite kind of thing. So I said, is the bedding in the room? Because, you know, they took a lot of that out during covid. And so she was like, well, I don’t know. They’ve started to put some of it back in. Some they haven’t. So soon as I got into the room, you know, I open up the bed and I would look through all the closets and there’s nothing, you know, so I I’m like, I’m not even going to call.
[00:52:56.430] – Tamara Gruber
I’m just going to go back downstairs because I’m sure there’s no one to, like, bring it to me. So go back downstairs. She’s not at the desk again. So, like, wait and wait. And then finally she comes back and I’m like, know, I’m trying to be really friendly. I’m like, oh, it turns out I need the bedding. So, yeah, you know, so she just like doesn’t even say anything.
[00:53:12.100] – Tamara Gruber
She goes around the corner into like some, you know, supply closet room, whatever. Five minutes later she comes out like, hands me. We know one of those plastic, like dust, you know, cover things, you know, with bedding, comforter. And I’m looking at it and I’m like, is there a pillow in here? And she’s like, no, we don’t have any pillows. And I just looked at her and I’m like, So I’m paying for a bed without a pillow.
[00:53:32.160] – Tamara Gruber
And she’s like, I don’t know what to tell you. There’s probably extra pillows on the bed in the other room, but I don’t have any pillows. And I was like, man, all right, you know, so I walk in and like in the elevator there was like plates there. It was really crowded there. I think people were like having parties. Like, it just was not I won’t be going back there. But yeah, you know, there were like like wet towels in the in the hallway was like trash in the hallway.
[00:53:56.670] – Tamara Gruber
And so clearly, like housekeeping was not on it. This girl is probably the only employee in the hotel at the time, you know, and so we get back, you know, come back to the room and start pulling the stuff out. There’s a mattress cover. There is one flat sheet and a comforter. So there wasn’t even like two sheets know. So like, hopefully this comforter is clean that you have to, like, pulled over.
[00:54:17.720] – Tamara Gruber
I mean, and we ended up like in the main bedroom, there were only three pillows, you know, so at least there wasn’t one extra, you know, that we could give to her. But of course, they’re so flat like you would prefer to have to yourself. But, you know, and they looked look at the bill and I’m like, I just spent two hundred and forty dollars to stay at this, like, dirty, crappy place that doesn’t even have like a pillow for the bed like and they’re acting as if like I’m asking for a favor to have bedding for like I bought something for three people.
[00:54:46.160] – Tamara Gruber
And of course there were only two towels in the bathroom bathrooms. They had to go back down to get another towel. And it’s like I booked it for three people. It’s not like I didn’t fill out the form, whatever.
[00:54:55.560] – Kim Tate
So, so annoying.
[00:54:57.680] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So it’s definitely a mix of that stuff.
[00:55:00.660] – Kim Tate
Yeah. That was like when I had that one experience in Northern California and it was like, sorry, we’re out of bar soaps so we don’t have any coffee. And then the next morning all they had was like almond milk and oatmeal. It’s like, well, that doesn’t work for my nut allergy kids. So thanks for the free breakfast that we’re supposed to be getting free. It’s just crazy. But they did give me a bunch of bonus points.
[00:55:19.700] – Kim Tate
They couldn’t give me a refund because I was like, this is how much I spent on breakfast that I should have been able to get from you guys that I spent at the, you know, gas station down the road. So they they were like, well, we can’t give you, you know, the money, the refund, because the way our system set up. But I can give you X number of points. I remember what they gave me and I’m just like, I’m not going to deal with it at this point, but I’m just asking me, like, you know, do you think that having status with a hotel like matters now?
[00:55:45.510] – Kim Tate
And I’m like, no, I don’t think it does because, you know, like, you’re not getting some of the amenities that you usually get. And the service is poor, you know, in so many places anyway.
[00:55:55.880] – Kim Tate
I don’t know. Well, you know, I just did away with their free breakfast. Now, people, their top members are getting a food and beverage credit for each day so they don’t even get free breakfast anymore.
[00:56:06.920] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, it stinks. So I was at aloft hotel when we were in Tucson. And you know how also they’re trying to put people, like, on the same floor. So it’s like easier for housekeeping. So there’s hardly anyone there. But you still have somebody, like, right next to you. Yeah. So we went out to dinner and we came back and I had a really stressful day. We just like drove from L.A. to Tucson in one hundred and twenty two degree heat.
[00:56:28.670] – Tamara Gruber
And, you know, I thought I was so worried about like breaking down in the desert, you know, I was just exhausted. Right. So I came back from dinner and there’s just like music pounding in the room next door. And you can hear people talking really loud. And I smell something, and it’s supposed to be smoke free, facilitate. And I’m like, right. That does not smell even just like regular smoke, you know?
[00:56:46.590] – Tamara Gruber
So, yeah, I was like and I was in the shower. She came out, I’m like, pack up your stuff. Like I am going downstairs. I went downstairs, I talked to the person and and I was like, and she’s like, I’ll go up there and I’m like, can you just do it after I leave? Because I don’t want to be any part of this conversation. I just want to I just want a new room, like on a new floor.
[00:57:06.560] – Tamara Gruber
So I go back up to the room. She gives me like the new key. And it turns out like there’s a cluster of people, like in the hallway right outside the room to that door, but also my door, you know. So I have to be like, oh, excuse me, you know, like to get through. And then, you know, so they move and then like, we come out with our suitcases and I’m like, oh, God, you know, yeah, I felt really bad because, like, the girl downstairs, you know.
[00:57:28.370] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I told her what was happening and I’m like, I and she’s like, oh, I’ll go up there and, you know, kick some butt kind of thing. Yeah, I’d feel bad. We have to do it. She’s like, oh no. I’ve been sitting here all day. I’m ready to it. OK, good for you. And then when I was at a Westin in Houston, the water wasn’t working like in the shower.
[00:57:46.670] – Tamara Gruber
Like I put the water on and it came out like a little trickle, you know, and then like five minutes later, all of a sudden the light came on, you know, and then the next day I was like in the middle of my shower and all of a sudden the water goes. I could barely rinse out my hair. And I’m like, oh, is weird. Yeah. So I don’t want to discourage people like, yeah, I hope you have wonderful travels, but it is not good genes.
[00:58:07.370] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. There’s, there’s definitely pack your patience.
[00:58:10.140] – Kim Tate
Yeah I agree.
[00:58:11.360] – Tamara Gruber
I think sadly you’re not, it’s not like you’re getting a bargain.
[00:58:14.240] – Kim Tate
That’s what’s going to say you’re not getting the deal either. That’s totally right. I mean it’s it’s good. It’s you know, like we all say, it’s a good problem to have, like I’m all glad that we’re back to travel. But definitely you have to pack your smiles along with you this summer, I think, because and just be ready to roll with the punches because stuff’s going to happen. Probably you’re going to be you’re going to be dealing with stuff.
[00:58:33.650] – Kim Tate
[00:58:34.490] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, well well, good things will go from well for my next trip. And so this will be out in early July and then we’ll talk about that trip after. So sounds anyway. Safe travels and happy travels to everyone. I hope everyone gets out and is able to enjoy things this summer. And if you have some horror stories, go ahead and send them in to us. And, you know, we’ll we’ll share your Sharam.
[00:58:57.390] – Kim Tate
Yeah. Awesome, thanks, everyone, for joining us. We will chat with you again soon.
[00:59:01.870] – Tamara Gruber