About Us – Vacations Blog
Aloha! Welcome to the Vacations Blog for UpTake- your first step to a great trip.
You may find yourself reading this blog and wondering who all of these fascinating people are. They’re us! We’re a group of road-tested individuals that have vacationed all over the place and lived to tell about it. We are here to share the best, the worst and everything in-between.
Whether you are looking for family fun, romantic getaways, trips with the pooch or travels on a limited budget, we have what you need.
Please read, enjoy, comment and question. Contact Vacations.
For press information on UpTake please visit: Press & Blogger Information.
And now, your Bloggers of Leisure:
Whit Honea is an award-winning writer in the greater Los Angeles Seattle area. He is a husband of one, a father of two and the lifeline to many relatively tame creatures.
Whit’s writing can be found at Babble, AOL, DadCentric, MamaPop, Savvy Source and the Disney Blog. His personal site, Honea Express (Honea sounds like pony), is an eclectic mix of family fun and foul-mouthed tirades.
Whit’s Favorite Vacation: My favorite vacation would either be the trip I took to Europe one summer while I was is in college or the time that my wife (when she was still my girlfriend) and I went to Walt Disney World in Orlando.
The trip to Europe consisted of museums, drinking, hearts and heroes. There may or may not have been jail time. Walt Disney World was romantic and relaxing and by a random act of spontaneity, the spot where I proposed to my wife. I better go with the latter.
J. Edward Romeo has 16 years experience in software development and team management. He was the founder of New Jersey Online Travel and served as the director of Redbank.com before they were acquired by Banyan Vines along with ePresence, where he worked on the design and development of Switchboard.com, YourHomeDirect.com and the original Survivor site for CBS.
Presently he serves as the Director of Fire Services at Emergency Software Products , as well as the co-host of the Parentograpy Podcast. He spends his free time photographing his travels and maintains a personal blog Triple Venti.
Jay’s Favorite Vacation: This dramatically changed in 2006, when I made my first trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida, where I had the opportunity to become a kid again and experience it with my wife and daughter for the first time. Sights, activities, everything that both young and old could enjoy to a point of exhaustion. We had originally planned it as a “once in a lifetime” trip, but found that the happiest place on earth doesn’t allow you to escape with just one visit, so we will be returning.
Britt Reints has been blogging at Miss Britt since 2005. Offline, she has a fancy title that includes words like “VP” and “marketing” – which essentially means she sells stuff. Online, she’s entirely too open about her personal life and has embraced the motto, “Dignity is Overrated.” She neglects to tell any of this to her editors at her paid blogging gigs where she portrays a very responsible working mother, childcare expert and travel aficionado for the entire state of Florida.
Britt’s Favorite Vacation: I’ve been fortunate enough to visit numerous white sandy beaches and European destinations, including Switzerland and Italy. But my favorite vacation experience was a three day trip to New York City. I traveled alone, leaving my husband and kids at home and meeting friends upon my arrival in the Big Apple. I spent less than $500 on the entire weekend and jammed an exciting tourist experience into 72 hours. Beaches are fabulous for rest and relaxation, but nothing gets my blood pumping again like a full body immersion into city life.
Matthew Henry, CEO of Blogging at Childsplayx2, has been chronicling the highs and lows of parenting twins since he knocked up his wife in 2004. Childsplayx2 has been featured in Parents Magazine, the New York Daily News and his mother’s annual Christmas newsletter. When not battling twins, Matthew is an executive for the YMCA who enjoys exercising, reading and eating fine desserts – not necessarily in that order.
Matthew’s Favorite Vacations: My favorite vacations include ones where there are plenty of sandy beaches and crystal blue waters. However, when traveling with toddler twins, I believe that successful vacations are the ones when nobody gets killed. As a child, my own mother took me and my brother on a train trip across Canada and we once crisscrossed Mexico via bus, train and burro. It is my hope that I can introduce my own kids to those same experiences through travel. Well, maybe not the burros.
Joe Romano works in in the field of corporate communications and has worked as a freelance writer and blogger since 2005. His blog, Hey Joe, is a collection of random bits of flotsam concerning life, his family, dead celebrities and other miscellaneous drivel that strikes his fancy.
Joe’s Favorite Vacation: To me a great vacation should provide abundant opportunities to relax. As much as like seeing new sights I never feel that a vacation was a complete success unless I managed to finish at least one book. Therefore, beach trips (Anna Maria Island, Florida comes to mind) have to rank up there as some of my favorites. They offer both the time to relax and time for fun with the kids. When we manage to get away sans kids, my wife and I enjoy exploring the many cozy coastal locations of California.
Charles A. Downs III has been blogs at High Cotton – tales of misguided youth/adulthood are evenly balanced by heartwarming ramblings of days spent with his two daughters, the Goat (age 7 and ruler of all things pink and horsey) and the Tater (age 1.5 and ruler of all things 36″ and below). When Charles isn’t reading “The Lady with the Alligator Purse” for the 27th time or getting hustled in a game of Sorry, he enjoys fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, writing, reading, or letting the current of one of Kentucky’s scenic waterways pull him into destinations unknown.
Charles’ Favorite Vacation: This must be broken down into two categories. Category one being the family vacation. Spent with my lovely wife, oldest daughter, and youngest daughter (in utero) in the pristine beauty of Kiawah Island, SC. Exploring marshes and wetlands, watching the Dolphins play under a setting sun, letting the surf tickle our legs, and doing absolutely nothing at all. Category two would be a trip to Europe to play soccer in the summer of 1989 where I came, just inches, from starting an International Incident at Checkpoint Charlie. Long story.
Kim Tracy Prince Kim Tracy Prince is a television producer and freelance writer in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. With two little boys under 5, she writes about the messy underbelly of family life at House of Prince and contributes to Los Angeles Moms Blog and the real estate blog Bird’s Eye View on Roost.com. Kim also works with the charity blog Help a Mother Out to get donations of diapers to homeless and needy families. When she and her husband can wrestle the kids into their car seats successfully, they enjoy trips within a 7-hour drive, max.
Kim’s Favorite Vacations: My favorite vacations are the ones that get me away from as many people as possible. My honeymoon, spent aboard a 32-foot Beneteau in the British Virgin Islands, was the most relaxing time of my life. That said, family trips to places that delight my children can be worth the crowds. Last year’s day at Disneyland – in September, mid-week – was a great time for all of us.
Warren Toland is a VP of Development and Public Relations for a non-profit located in Central Connecticut. Warren has been blogging for over three years at his personal site, mr big dubya, and is a founding member of the irreverent and very popular dad blog, DadCentric. He also contributes to The Whinery, My Wife Hates My Xbox, and Draft Day Suit.
Warren’s Favorite Vacation: My wife and I have always loved to travel – even more so now that we have children. My favorite vacation was a trip to Ireland several years ago just after we got engaged. We journeyed across the pond so I could be introduced to my wife-to-be’s extended family and receive the blessing of the Hynes family matriarch (I kid.). It was a 10-day, whirlwind tour spent in such fine locales as Galway, Dublin and Beleek. We are anxious to get back and introduce our children to the Emerald Isle.
Phil Corless is a stay-at-home dad in North Idaho. He also homeschools his two kids, which makes it easier to make frequent road trips around the West as a family. He’s been writing about this unique life since 2004 at his blog, A Family Runs Through It. Corless received his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Idaho and his undergraduate degree from Cal State Fullerton.
Phil’s Favorite Vacation: Two years ago we had an extensive dream vacation planned in Western Canada, including stays in Banff, Alberta, and Victoria, British Columbia. A month before the trip, I realized I couldn’t find my birth certificate to get back across the border. Canceling all those plans, I made some last minute arrangements at a resort in the Olympic National Park that I’d never heard of called Kalaloch Lodge. That trip turned out to be a family favorite. Five days along the gorgeous Pacific beaches of Washington. It was so memorable and enjoyable, we returned to the Lodge this past summer and had just as much fun.
James Grayson is a photographer that loves to write. He currently resides in Austin, TX, with his wife and kids who provide endless hours of humor in his life. He shares some of it with the world at his blog, Daddyshack. James and his partners at Quirkee Media also publish a humor and entertainment magazine at Quirkee.com. He loves to travel and plans on doing it more often as his kids grow older. He wants to discover more of the world around him with his family and capture the moments in photographs. See more of his photography at JamesGrayson.com.
James’ Favorite Vacation: One of my favorite and most memorable vacations was earlier this year when I went with my dad and uncles to Augusta, Georgia, for a Masters tournament practice round and Par-3 contest. I love to play golf and just stepping foot on the grounds at Augusta National Golf Club was an honor. When they first went in 1998, my grandfather was still with us and they were the foursome on that trip. I was able to fill his shoes this year and walk the course he had walked before me. That will always be a memorable vacation for me even if it only lasted three days.
Darren Farrington is a theater manager and producer living in Connecticut with his wife and daughter. He got in on the blogging scene in 2005 as a daddy blogger and later incorporated posts into his professional consulting website DarrenFarrington.com. Darren began working in arts organizations in 1991, but took a much-too-long break for law school and legal practice in New York and Connecticut. Even then, his strength was writing and persuading readers to go (mentally at least) where he told them. As a big fan of vacations, he’s glad to be using his cultural and writing experience to promote travel and tourism.
Darren’s Favorite Vacation: Any vacation with my wife and daughter is a favorite, but we’re most drawn to sandy beaches and warm temperatures. Coastal New England in the summer (sometimes even into the early fall) fits the bill, but nothing beats cold-shouldering the snow and ice and taking off for the Caribbean in the middle of winter. We’ve all become fans of kid-friendly cruises where my wife and I get some adult time while my daughter spends a couple of hours each day in supervised kids’ clubs. Give me sand in my toes and the smell of sunscreen and I’m a happy man.
Ed Lamaze has spent the better part of his life dreaming of someplace else and traveling less than extensively. Elated when offered the opportunity to be a part of the Vacations Blog team at UpTake.com, his wife flatly countered, “But you don’t take vacations.” “I know, that’s the beauty of it!” Ed is a Stay-at-Home father of five children having left a career as a Registered Nurse in a Children’s Hospital ER to tend to the scrapes and bruises of everyday life at home. Rest assured that when Ed speaks of a vacation destination, it’s been tested kid friendly.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Ed currently resides in a historical home (that means it’s old) outside of Columbus, Ohio where he will be writing of vacation adventures in America’s Heartland. His personal blog, Little M Long A, chronicles some of the zaniness of raising five crazy kids.
Ed’s Favorite Vacation: My wife and I spent a carefree week in Jamaica before we were married in a little resort located just outside of Montego Bay. A private villa nestled along the shores yielded panoramic views of sunsets to the west and the lush greenery of the mountains to the east. For an entire week, we golfed, snorkeled, swam, hiked, dined and lounged in a near Utopian setting. We immersed ourselves in all that Jamaica had to offer. Best of all, not once during that week did anyone refer to me as Daddy! Good times.
Jason Roth, a resident of Las Vegas, provides UpTake readers a local’s take on the hotels, restaurants, attractions and events that make for an ultimate family vacation in the City of Sin. A blogger for nearly four years, he also chronicles his journey as a husband and father under the pseudonym of VegasDad on his personal blog ivegasfamily.com. In addition to blogging, Jason is director of marketing and public relations for a private university in Southern Nevada. He has more than 10 years of experience in public relations, having served clients in variety of industries at firms in Southern California, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Jason’s Favorite Vacation: My family and I enjoy any opportunity to take a break from the Las Vegas scene. Our favorite places to visit are large cities, such as San Francisco, New York and Montreal, where we take full advantage of the cultural experiences not available at home. We’re especially fond of culinary art and always make an effort during our trips to discover great restaurants.
James Austin is a longtime Seattle, WA resident and Pacific Northwest native. A husband of 10 years and a first time father of an energetic toddler, James enjoys discovering and experiencing all the diverse beauty and wealth of exciting things to do within minutes of his Seattle home. James has been documenting his experiences as a new father for the past year on his dad blog “Luke, I am your Father.” In his free time, James enjoys managing people, as well as systems and operations, for a mid-sized office in a non-profit organization.
James’ Favorite Vacation: The destination is Kailua Beach on Oahu, Hawaii. Kailua Beach is just my speed. It is located on the windward side of Oahu, far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu to make you feel like you are actually on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but close enough that you can do an excursion to the city for some night life, if you desire. Kailua Beach is a wonderful place to take the family. The sand is soft, the water remains shallow several hundred yards out, and it is not overly crowded. It is also a perfect place to wake early and watch the sunrise, which once complete highlights the stunning topography of the surrounding mountains.
Jason Avant lives and works in the Southern California beach town of Encinitas, in north San Diego county. As he lives right across the street from the beach, “works” is somewhat misleading, unless you count being a full-time dad and avid surfer who blogs about being a dad and avid surfer as work, which he does. Jason is the founder and managing editor of the popular dad blog DadCentric , and also rants, babbles, and muses at his personal blog, Pet Cobra.
Jason’s Favorite Vacation: Until very recently, I was a slave to my corporate existence, and we took vacations where and when we could get ‘em. Not that I’m complaining; as Third Person Me indicated above, I can walk across the street and stick my toes in the ocean, so “vacation” is a relative term for us. We’re lucky to live in Paradise, and California is a great place to take quick jaunts and long weekends. Favorite getaways include the Bay Area, the Lost Coast, Yosemite, Joshua Tree National Park, Los Osos, Napa Valley and the Santa Barbara wine country, and yes, I will drink bleeping merlot.
Tiffany Joyce has had an online presence since 2000, blogging at Snerkology and various associated websites over the years. She is a native of Maine, and currently resides in Arizona. Her “day” job is in Supply Chain Management in the semiconductor industry. At any given moment Tiffany can be found with her nose stuck in front of the computer, in a good book, or behind the lens of her camera. She and her husband are enjoying a renaissance of their honeymoon, as the children have both grown up (well, mostly) and moved out of the house.
Tiffany’s Favorite Vacation: Well, my favorite type of vacation is a road trip. However, our most memorable vacation would probably have to be the trip to Maui that my husband, my daughter and I took in 2003. We spent ten days doing everything that is possible to do on the island – luaus, parasailing, snorkeling, a helicopter tour, a sunset dinner cruise, shopping, drinking(!), a drive along the Road to Hana, and a day trip to Oahu to visit Pearl Harbor. We dearly hope to go back to the island in the very near future – this time, just the two of us!
Keith Morton likes to consider himself a “globe trotting playboy philanthropist,” however when he’s not engrossed in this delusional fantasy he’s more like a chubby husband, father of a six year old boy, writer, charter school professional, and student. When he has spare time and can manage to scrape together a few bucks he mostly knocks around the New York quad-state area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania) with his family in their Hyundai, looking for GPS-guided adventure. In addition Keith writes and maintains his well-regarded daddy/life blog, African American Dad.
Keith’s Favorite Vacation: My favorite trips have all been to Key West Florida. For me it’s literally going home. Returning to the Keys for the first time as an adult with my best friend is one of my fondest memories. We flew in during a rain storm on a turbo prop plane that may or may not have lost power to one of its engines upon final descent. We Duval-crawled, bar hopped and zoomed around town on rickety rented bikes. My buddy had no scheduled vacation at the time so he daringly called out sick from work for five days straight in order to keep the party going! Did I mention that we stopped at Universal Studios for a day on the way down? Another Key West trip that I hold dear is the one where my wife and I eloped. We were married in the domestic violence room of the Key West County Clerk’s office. I get all weepy just thinking about it.
Leah Peterson is a published writer and has been writing online since 1998, back when blogs didn’t even have a name besides “my website page.” She has been doing columns, essays and interviews for print, online and video since 2004. Leah lives with her family in Southern California, including some actual teenagers and a pet cockatiel named Senator Bird. She is a consultant for the Showtime series United States of Tara. You can find her at Leahpeah, RealMental, TryHandmade and CoolMomPicks.
Leah’s Favorite Vacation: My favorite vacation is any vacation where all four of my kids are locked in the car with me for hours upon hours and they have to TALK to ME. Since they are all teens, I never see them between school, homework, activities and sports so I really look forward to uninterrupted time when I get the real scoop on how they are doing and what girl’s they like and who said what about whom. They prefer it when we go to a resort and get the royal treatment. I like it better when we go somewhere with no cell phone service or electricity so they can’t text the entire time or play video games or watch movies and ignore me. Which has yet to happen.
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a freelance journalist, blogger and arts critic specializing in travel and lifestyle topics. Her credits include Hemispheres, MSN, Salon, Brides, Yoga Journal, Rough Guide to Women Travel and the Chicago Sun Times, among other publications. She’s based in Chicago, from which she manages to escape during the Windy City’s six official winter months. The rest of the time, she shares the cold with her husband, two kids, rabbit and cat. You can read more of her work on her web site, www.RosalindCummingsYeates.com and on her blog, Farsighted Fly Girl.
Rosalind’s Favorite Vacation: Art and food typically define a great vacation for me so my time spent diving into Brazilian culture with stops in Bahia sampling coconut and fish stews, visiting artist studios and listening to live samba in Rio top my list of favorite vacations.
Jeremy Banas makes his way in the world as a claims manager for a large financial services that serves the military community. By night, he blogs away about all things related to brewing and craft beer on his own site Ruination Press. He even finds time to impart his meager knowledge about particular brews in the form of review. He’s still trying to get the hang of this writing thing. An avid homebrewer, who can’t seem to get enough, Jeremy is also working toward his Cicerone Certification, the beer industry’s equivalent to a sommelier in the wine world.
Jeremy’s Favorite Vacation: He loves to travel, and takes trips throughout the year, both with his kids and solo. Favorite places are his home state of Colorado, San Diego and anywhere he hasn’t been yet!
Tricia Honea is a native Californian that doesn’t get to travel nearly as much as she would like. Tricia used to manage a restaurant for a major chain and though she loved it, was glad to get out of the business and get a chance to be on the other side of the table. She is a homemade gourmet and loves to try her hand at making / creating new recipes for her family to enjoy. Tricia also tries, tries being the key word, to keep up with her life as a busy mom on her own blog Turning Trix.
Tricia’s Favorite Vacation: Wow, I’ve loved all of my vacations. My most memorable would have to be our family vacation to Hawaii in October of 2004. It was my first time to the island of Maui and it was magical from the moment I stepped off the plane. The sense of peace and relaxation permeated my very being and remained with me the whole time.