Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blue Heron French Cheese Company, Tillamook, Oregon

On our way home from Neskowin Creek RV Resort, we decided to have lunch at the Blue Heron French Cheese Company in Tillamook. We’ve stopped here many times and meandered their store, but had not eaten a meal. We each ordered a sandwich and they were GREAT! Fresh bread, wonderful cheese, yummy deli – we were thrilled, especially after the prior day’s mediocre lunch. Besides the great lunch, it’s always fun to wander around the country store – lots of samples of mustards, jams/jellies, cheese – yum! This is a definitely place to stop, enjoy, and eat when in Tillamook!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grateful Bread Bakery, Pacific City, Oregon

One of our favorite things about camping at Neskowin Creek RV Resort is going to the Riverhouse Restaurant in Pacific City – we LOVE their crab melt sandwiches! So after playing on the beach with Zoey, then shopping at the factory outlets, we headed north to eat……………however…………they were closed! Seems like earlier this year there was a kitchen fire and the entire kitchen was destroyed – luckily no one was there and no one was hurt. Besides the ruined kitchen, the restaurant had a lot of smoke damage. We heard through the Pacific City grapevine that are renovating and plan to reopen late-May/early-June. Yippee!

So bummed about the Riverhouse, we drove around and came upon the Grateful Bread Bakery, which looked promising – beautiful desserts and the air smelled of fresh baked bread. Brad ordered a sandwich and Suzanne had some soup ~ neither was great – they both lacked flavor, quite honestly. We even split a dessert – a cream cheese brownie, but still – we were not impressed – it seemed to lack flavor again. We had already committed to bringing back a couple scones for breakfast the next day – hoping that Grateful Bread would redeem itself, but alas – no. :-(

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shopping on the Oregon Coast, Lincoln City, Oregon

Not far from Neskowin Creek RV Resort, south on 101, is Lincoln City where the Tanger Outlet Mall can be found. It’s a nice mall (RV parking in the rear), with some good stores, such as Eddie Bauer, Coach, Gap, Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Book Warehouse, Bath & Body Express, etc… - the typical far found in many outlet malls. One thing we forgot from our previous Outlet Mall experience was that they sell (for $5) coupon books (in the Lincoln City Mall the vending machine is found in the middle, by Shoppers Services) with savings, such as $10 off in Eddie Bauer if you spend more than $100, stuff like that. If you have a AAA card, then the coupon book is free. So if you do some shopping and realize that you’ll save more than $5, definitely put your stuff on hold and get a coupon book.

And you know, shopping made us hungry…………

Monday, May 17, 2010

Neskowin Beach State Recreation Site, Neskowin, Oregon

The picture says it all ~ our big announcement ~ meet Zoey! She our new addition (well, actually last January) and this was her first foray (to our knowledge) to the Oregon Coast! We adopted Zoey form the Oregon Humane Society - our wonderful animal shelter where we have been volunteering since 2001 (after adopting our first dog, Mickey). Zoey’s about 5 years old (best guess), intelligent (smarter than us, in fact) and sweet, sweet, sweet. She loves to ride in the car (good thing for a future full-timing dog) and is friendly to all – human and dog. So back to the trip……….

One of the things we especially like about Neskowin Creek RV Resort is the close proximity to the Oregon Coast. You can walk through a charming neighborhood to the coast, or drive just about ½ mile north on 101 and go to the Neskowin Beach State Recreation Site (free), park and walk a bit to the water. Now it’s not the biggest beach along the coast, but it’s beautiful, somewhat sheltered from the wind, and has a portion of the Nestucca River flowing into the ocean, thus some fresh water to play, whether child or dog.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Neskowin Creek RV Resort, Neskowin, Oregon

We went back to our home park, Neskowin Creek last weekend, as Portland’s been having some wonderfully warm weather these days. Since this is our home park, we don’t have to pay to stay, and it’s a nice park overall (nice club house, book exchange, laundry room, indoor pool with spa, exercise room, shuffleboard courts, basketball & tennis courts, grassy areas to play, a swing set for kids…….).

One thing you may have remembered we’ve commented on in the past is the over- abundance of rabbits roaming the campground ~ and with lots of rabbits comes lots of rabbit poop, which is sort of a pain. We were pleasantly surprised to see barely any rabbits this time (now don’t take this the wrong way – we love nature, but there were hundreds – no exaggeration- last fall). When we inquired, we found out that it was a very rough winter and only one family of rabbits survived. So fewer rabbits were nice - but we all know how quickly they multiply, so we’ll see how the population grows by the end of the season!

We tried a couple new restaurants while here and did quite a bit for just being there for a weekend – we’ll write about everything over the next couple of day, plus, we have an announcement! (How’s that for a teaser?)

Oh, since Brad wanted to watch Nascar AND hang by the fire, he figured out a solution………..

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A recap of The Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Some final thoughts of out stay at The Atlantis…….

• Some of the staff were fabulous, some weren’t. Same everywhere, we know, but at the prices we paid for everything, we expected to be treated extremely well all the time.

• We felt a bit nickeled-and-dimed a bit. Again, for the cost the stay (and do anything) at The Atlantis, guests still have to pay to use the fitness center ($15/day) and internet ($15/day). There is a library that provided 15-minutes per person per day Internet use, and it is open 9am-6pm everyday.

• Free movies were offered everyday in their (very nice) theater, and these were first-run movies.

• There is a ton to do for families with children of all ages, from toddlers to teens.

• Housekeeping was questionable – we had three lights out in our room, they forgot to finish making the bed, we were left with no tissues, and (women, you’ll understand) the toilet paper was terrible – again, not to repeat again, but for what we paid, we’d expect much nice tp!

• There was a “be blue” goal (i.e. reuse towels, not have them washed everyday – stuff like that), but the USA today was wrapped in a plastic bag everyday (why? It didn’t rain in the halls…..) – seemed quite contradictory.

• So the final question – would we go again? No. We had a good time, glad we went, but once was enough – there wasn’t enough to do for us.

• Okay, the real final question – do we recommend you go? Perhaps, it all depends what you want out of your next vacation.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tips for your Atlantis Vacation, Paradise Island, Bahamas

If you’re thinking of going to The Atlantis, here are some tips to help make your vacation even better, as well as save some money:

1. The Atlantic website,, often has special rates, such as stay 3 nights and get the 4th night free and/or free companion airfare, so be sure to check often. Also, don’t feel as if you have to wait to catch a good deal on your reseration, they will honor price changes (to your benefit) with just a phone call, as long as it’s more than 30 days to your arrival.

2. They offer a food plan, which we did not partake, but if you stick to the restaurants within each plan (they have two: Casual and Gourmet), you may come out ahead. Just remember that the plan does not include alcohol. We’d recommend skipping the plan – it may be too confining, now that we know the restaurants.

3. You can get from the airport to The Atlantis via Don Knowles Tours, the Atlantis’s shuttle service, or a taxi. Don Knowles was $13 per person each way, so $26 for both of us, plus a couple bucks tip. The taxi was about $32, plus tip. In retrospect, we would have taken a taxi for the few dollars more – we had to catch a 7am shuttle to the airport to get our 11am flight, and could have probably slept another hour (or more) had we simply arranged a taxi.

4. Get bottled water and postcards at the Paradise Shopping Center and save a bunch of money.

5. Speaking of bottled water, it’s a big seller at The Atlantis, but we were fine with the tap water.
6. Speaking of money, there is no need to exchange American dollars for Bahamian money – it’s like a little USA down there and American currency is take on-par and happily.

7. Be sure you check The Altantean for daily activities, schedule of (free) movies, fish feedings, etc…

8. There are complimentary bus shuttles between all the hotels every 30 minutes.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Shopping Opportunities near The Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Paradise Shopping Village is just outside The Atlantis (where we ate at Anthony’s restaurant) and is a good place to stop if you want to buy bottled water for much less than what they sell it for at The Atlantis. You can also do better on postcards, t-shirts, souvenirs, liquor, Cuban cigars, etc… Just behind the shopping village is the Arts & Crafts Market where you can buy Bahamian straw products, souvenirs, coconut and conch shell items, etc…. Both are nice to wander and are easily accessible.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Time-sharing at The Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Since we were staying at The Atlantis so long, we had plenty of time, and for the first time in our lives, we listened to time-sharing information for 90 minutes and in exchange, got a $200 voucher which we immediately applied to our total bill. It was the typical (we suppose) presentation, and in a nutshell (in case you’re interested in buying at The Atlantis), you can buy a week a year at Harborside Resort for $12,300 with dues of ~$1300/year. If you’re only interested in an every-other year plan, you can buy for $7,900 and split the $1300 dues over two years, so $650/year. If you’re interested, ask for Liz – she was the one who did our talk and was very nice. :-)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More Activities at The Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

There are more activities besides the fun water/tube slides at The Atlantis…………

Swimming with the dolphins and/or sea lions ~ We did not do this, but it is a very popular (and expensive) activity for people coming to The Atlantis. There is an entire area dedicated to the dolphins, known as Dolphin Cay. If you haven’t paid to enter the area, there is still a small viewing area where you can watch others interact with the wildlife.

Snorkeling ~ There are trips off-site (which we debated, but ultimately did not go, but wish we had since Suzanne’s brother’s family loved it) and a short 30-minute on-site snorkeling trip to their human-created “ruins” which we did. It was okay – we’d recommend passing on this (which was more expensive anyway) and taking a real snorkeling trip, if snorkeling is your thing. Alternatively (or additionally) you can rent (or bring your own) snorkeling equipment for $10/hour and putter around their lagoon for a while – it is ocean water and fish a-plenty.

Swim in the Atlantic Ocean ~ it’s right at the edge of The Atlantis and The Atlantis maintains a couple lifeguards and some chairs – we swam one day – not too cold – and it was enjoyable. It was also nice to have sand underfoot, rather than concrete.

Comedy Show ~ We paid $20 each for the comedy show (in the Beach Tower) and were very disappointed. Now this is dependent on the comedians (term used loosely for the night we went), but we did not enjoy ourselves. We realize that part is whether or not a comedian’s humor works with one’s own, but since Suzanne spent most of the time watching the other audience members who weren’t laughing either, it was apparent that the comedian’s weren’t funny.

Fish feedings ~ The Atlantis publishes a daily list of events (called the Atlantean) daily with times of when each tank (i.e. sharks, sting rays, turtles, etc…) is being fed, and you can go watch and even participate in some. We saw the turtles (who eat cabbage and squid) and sting-rays (who eat dead fish) being fed, and if you want, you can hold a fish for the sting ray to come and suck into it’s body. Here’ s snorkeling/fish feeding tip – the fish aren’t fed on Mondays, so best to not snorkel that day! :-)

Casino ~ There’s a decent sized casino at The Atlantis, although the tables have pretty high minimums (for us) ~ $10 on craps (which means we could easily have $75+ on a roll of the dice), $10 on roulette and $15 or $25 on blackjack. We both lost some money playing craps, but made it back up on roulette until Brad started playing. :-) Of course, the good ‘ole one-armed bandits are there for those that like to play the slots.

If you're interested in getting a couple hundred dollars for free, read the next post. (How's that for a teaser??) :-)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Aquaventure at The Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas

One of the main reasons people go to The Atlantis, is the water activities available – one being the many water slides known as Aquaventure. Aquaventure consists of The Lazy River – a one mile water/tube ride where you can take a single-tube or join a friend on a double-tube and drift (for the most part) along the “river” under bridges, through waterfalls, up conveyer belts, through rapids, and if you want (and are over 48” tall), up to the Tower of Power – a tower of various slides that are, perhaps, in the dark, up & down, straight up via a surging stream of water, or twisty-curvy. Pretty much everyday we started with a tubing, meandering the river and taking the various off-shoots to the different choices available. There are many areas where one can get in/out, and sometimes we even took the river to a different area, thus saving ourselves the walk! (Call us lazy!)

Aquaventure also consists of other slides – some with and some without the tubes. The famous Leap of Faith is a slide (no tube) almost straight down, then through a shark tank (yes, the sharks are separate), then down to a swimming pool. If you’re not up to do this, there is a tub ride that does almost the same thing, and you actually get to see the sharks as you pass through the shark tank, since it’s much slower than the non-tube ride.

For small children, there is a the Splashers Kids Pool – a separate slide/swimming area that is the right size for kids ages 3-5.

Oh, the quote of the tube slides is "Keep your butt up" - if you don't (or don't get it high enough), you'll hit your behind on the slide and get a huge bruise. Suzanne didn't get her butt up high enough on the first ride and had a huge (probably 3" by 3" black-and-blue bruise on her butt for days!) No, no photos of this.... :-)

More on other activities at The Atlantis coming soon………

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dining in The Bahamas, Paradise Island, Bahamas

We thought it would be fun and interesting to eat “off-site” of The Atlantis a couple times (remember Anthony’s) and we went out twice for dinner – once to Luciano’s of Chicago and once to The Poop Deck.

Quite honestly, Lucianao’s wasn’t a good choice – why we thought an Italian restaurant based out of Chicago would be the place to eat in the Bahamas, we don’t know. Probably because it was our first night on the island, we had left 11pm PST the night before, were jet lagged, and wanted something familiar, thus Italian food. You have to take a taxi from The Atlantis to Luciano’s which costs about $11 (plus tip) both ways, so in retrospect we realized that negated any cost savings from eating at The Atlantis. The food – okay. The service - okay. The view of the water and The Atlantis – fabulous! In fact, the photo we posted a couple days ago (click here) is from the patio of Luciano’s restaurant.

Probably the best meal we ate the entire time in The Bahamas was at The Poop Deck – a local restaurant walk-able from The Atlantis (cross the bridge, take your first left, walk about 1/4 mile, on the left, a yellow building, is The Poop Deck). We did walk there, but as it was dark, we took the ‘ole $11 taxi home. The Poop Deck had a happy hour, which we arrived at the tail-end of, but seemed to be a favorite of the locals. The restaurant’s main fare is seafood, and Brad had some wonderful fish. Suzanne, keeping to pasta as usual, had a great chicken alfredo that was better than the Italain food of Luciano’s. The staff was nice, the prices more reasonable (of course, we’re talking island prices), and we highly recommend going here if you’re in Paradise Island or Nassua. One note – to save the taxi fare, you might want to go for lunch so you’ll feel better about walking both ways (wheelchair accessible).

One additional note about eating off-site of The Atlantis ~ most restaurants on the island do not open for dinner until 6pm. We found this on our first, jet-lagged night when we wanted to go to dinner at 5pm and the bellhop laughed when we asked for a taxi! (We napped in the lobby ‘til 6pm, then went to eat!)

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