Posted on


Restaurants in Old Town Alexandria offer unforgettable meals in a beautifully historic and walkable setting. With the combination of a polished atmosphere, exquisite ingredients and personal service, Alexandria’s restaurants leave diners in awe after every meal.   There is something for every taste and budget.   Even if one follows a Vegan and Vegetarian diet you will be able to have a fabulous dining experience.  Restaurants range from Ethiopian, Italian, Spanish, Irish, Indian, Thai, Lebanese, regional and Native American fare, Seafood and more.  This is but a brief introduction and look into the dining experiences that await you in Alexandria. I am aware of many outstanding restaurants as well as micro-breweries and pubs that can be found in Alexandria, and I could write a more complete dinning guide. I don’t mean to slight any of them.

An excellent choice of regional American cuisine can be found at Restaurant 219 on King Street in the heart of Old Town. Found in an elegant Victorian setting, serving genuine New Orleans cuisine since 1979. The Basin Street Lounge has live jazz & blues Fri. & Sat. The Bayou Room has dancing with a DJ. Outdoor dining is available weather permitting.

Take to the outdoors and dine alongside Alexandria’s bustling streetscape or tranquil waterfront. With more than 30 of the city’s restaurants featuring sidewalk or patio seating, finding crepes, pad thai, burgers, or seafood (even dog-only menus!) to enjoy outside is simple. Sip on a glass of wine at Grape & Bean or indulge in Greek cuisine on the garden patio of Taverna Cretekou.

Whether setting the tone for a relaxing, laid back weekend or fueling up for a day of activity in Alexandria, there’s no better meal than weekend brunch, where coffee and mimosas flow. For savory dishes like salmon benedict and shrimp and hoecakes, head to Bastille, or head over to the organic-minded Del Ray Café for sweet treats like fluffy brioche French toast tossed in a vanilla batter and served with a strawberry rhubarb compote.

At Il Porto Brunch offerings include a variety of items including Brunch drinks such as Tuscan Punch, mimosas, Grand mimosa. Favorites include our chop salad, coconut shrimp, paninis, sauteed jumbo lump crab cakes, french toast, poached eggs with hollandaise and biscuits. Try the Grilled Filet Mignon & Eggs, short Smoked Salmon Filet, Jumbo Lump Crab Meat Omelet, home fries and more.     Il Porto’s Brunch menu is as expansive and outstanding as their fantastic lunch and dinner menus.   Every dish at Il Porto Italian Ristorante is made from scratch, on premise, including our pasta, all fresh, every day!  The chef has added his own signature to the Northern Italian style of cooking at Il Porto. The daily specials are not to be missed, always new, always innovative, while still rooted in Northern Italy style and tradition. There is also a wide variety of wines to accompany any and all meals as well as after dinner selections.

Bastille offers elegant and contemporary French bistro cuisine in a comfortable yet, upscale setting. Highlighting the cooking of acclaimed chefs Christophe and Michelle Poteaux, Bastille features an award-winning wine list. Locally sourced ingredients exemplify the cooking of this duo along with an amazing hand selected wine list are just a sample of what awaits you at Bastille. Outdoor seating available, weather permitting.

Nestled in the West End, Tempo Restaurant is one of Alexandria’s best-kept secrets. This elegant, but unpretentious, neighborhood restaurant is where the locals dine. Tempo’s menu displays a blend of northern Italian and French cuisine, featuring fresh seafood.

If you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, look no further than Old Town for some of the region’s most delicious and creative seafood fare. Stop by the Cajun-inspired Warehouse Bar and Grill for crawfish and shrimp beignets or The Wharf for tender clams and oysters steeped in garlic herb butter. DC-area legend Hank’s Oyster Bar, named amongst America’s Best Oyster Bars by Food & Wine, brings New England style comfort food to Old Town. If views leave you breathless, book your reservation at the Chart House at sunset, where diners watch the amber sun’s reflection slip into the Potomac as they dine on macadamia crusted Mahi Mahi drizzled in a warm peanut sauce. In the spring, summer and early fall you can even sit outside at the Chart House and the Wharf to enjoy your meal.

A newcomer to the dining experience is Blackwall Hitch which honors the heritage of the Chesapeake Bay with a modern interpretation of a classic coastal tavern. We deliver an ambiance of relaxed sophistication, with service that pampers and delights and food that is simple, fresh and delicious. Their sophisticated yet comfortable ambiance offers flexible gathering spaces for all occasions. The menu draws upon classic American techniques while we look to our region for additional inspiration. Simply put, the best ingredients make the best food. Their menu is seasonally inspired with classic, local fare. To complement any meal there is an exceptional beverage program complete with creative cocktails and an extensive wine list and draught beer selection. Whether it’s the colossal Blackwall Prawns, oysters shucked at your request, or the wood-fired flatbreads rolled out daily, they deliver an experience you are guaranteed to remember.

In the Del Ray area of Alexandria, I have discovered Cheesetique, a gourmet cheese boutique specializing in hard-to-find cheeses, meats and accompaniments from around the world. Also take the time to browse through their extensive wine and beer selection. If you are unsure of what to choose, do allow their expert staff to help you make selections or create your custom party platter or gift bucket.

For a slightly different dining experience complete with gourmet dining, dancing and an unparalleled view of our nation’s majestic monuments. Day or night, rain or shine, year ’round. Nina’s Dandy features a 465-square-foot marble dance floor and 3,700-square-foot outer deck for dancing under the stars.

There is also the Odyssey. Experience Washington DC from a stunning, glass-enclosed ship on the Potomac River. Listen and dance to live music. And take in the beautiful, totally unobstructed view of our nation’s capital while enjoying creative cuisine. Your Odyssey escape awaits. Come see why nothing on land can compare to the Odyssey.   Delicious food and drinks, top entertainment and stunning views combine for an experience both you and your guests won’t forget. From business meetings to special occasion celebrations, give your event a whole new energy.

There are also two excellent examples to have a bygone era dining experience in Alexandria.   The first is at Gadsby’s Tavern in Old Town.   Gadsby’s is an Historic 18th-century tavern, serving fine dining since 1770. They also serve Brunch on the weekends. Enjoy lunch and dinner in elegant Colonial dining rooms, while enjoying nightly Colonial entertainment.

The other is the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant, located just footsteps from George Washington’s historic estate.  The Inn is open daily for lunch and dinner and brunch on the weekends.   They also offer happy hour Tuesday thru Friday. The menu uses only the freshest and seasonal items, and while contemporary in nature, yet remains colonial in nature. The Inn, like Gadsby’s, is also available for private events and both offer seasonal menus.

The Mount Vernon Inn is located 8 miles south of Old Town Alexandria and 16 miles from Washington, D.C. at the southern end of the George Washington Parkway. The Mount Vernon Inn is considered one of Washington’s best- kept secrets.

Kathy Kiefer


Travel unforgettable & magical places. Hotel Gli Dei, Pozzuoli (Napoli), Italy.

Posted on Updated on



Travel unforgettable, magical places, where the body and mind find their center thanks to an energy that stems from three factors: beauty, harmony, quality.


vista-dall-hotelI have gotten to know this hotel via photographs posted by my editor, Alessandro Sicuro. Since then I have had an in-depth interest to know what happened here. And know more about this fabulous hotel with the spectacle of nature mixed with myth and history.

If we take a bay in front of us like that of Rio de Janeiro. A dominant position in the face of this scenario. A dream location, with Olympic swimming pools, terraces with breathtaking views. The interiors are warm, inviting and refined. The rooms are comfortable and spacious, each with a balcony of 80 meters, overlooking the sea. An outstanding restaurant offering a cuisine of the first order. As well as a health club that boasts an upscale spa. Tourist paths around the hotel make for interesting walks leading to archaeology sites, as well as art, culture, food and beverage venues. It has the most beautiful sea to be found anywhere that is warm and crystal clear. Well and clear that with all these connotations we can find at the Gli Dei Hotel in Pozzuoli.

I have noticed that staff of The Gli Dei Hotel warmly welcomes its guests to their two-story Mediterranean-style Hotel, which12166894_10153083604301363_1679939744_n offers great views of the sea, exploring the Gulf of Pozzuoli. In its breathtaking views making a spectacular backdrop, it was also designed for business meetings and conferences. In fact, the Gli Dei Hotel has 3 meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 550 people.

Additionally, with the impressive backdrop of the sea, the deck is the perfect setting for hosting ceremonies, parties and banquets.    With a huge ballroom as well, it is suitable for major events such as wedding receptions and other major events such as New Year’s Eve parties.  The staff will also ensure that ever you desire to eat and drink at your event will   surpass your expectations.

The space and facilities available at the Gli Dei Hotel meet your needs precisely and makes for an impressive conference setting.

Kathy Kiefer

Special thanks to Hotel Gli Dei Pozzuoli  (NA) Italy

Click on the pictures for slideshows ⬇︎




Latin America. The new El Dorado of the world economy

Posted on

Schermata 2014-12-20 alle 06.21.35

Latin America

The new El Dorado of the world economy

Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico

European exporters to growing markets

America del surLatin America! More and more companies are looking with interest to Latin America and almost always with good reason. Here’s a close look on a continent that has yet to offer many opportunities for Italian exporters.

In recent years in Latin America countries such as Colombia, Chile, Peru and Mexico, have gained a leading position and claim a more important role in the world economy. To what extent can Swiss companies benefit from their ambitions?

Latin America is a growing market with excellent prospects. Witness also the data of the Swiss export economy: in 2012 the Red Cross exports, not only to Latin America. grew by 10% and in 2013 by 6.4%. These are record values in the current comparison. However, economic development does not follow the same trend in all countries. On the one hand there is the Pacific Alliance with Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru and Chile as full members. This alliance brings together, as it were, the liberal economic forces in Latin America. On the other side we find the Mercosur, with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela, which is opposed to the Pacific Alliance for its protectionist orientation. The largest differences between these two economic blocks are found in the growth of GDP in 2012; gross domestic product of the Pacific  Alliance increased by 4.6%, or two and a half times compared to Brazil’s economy by far the strongest among the states of Mercosur. The disparities are also particularly evident in exports. In 2012 the countries of the Pacific Alliance have exported goods to the value of $545 billion dollars, while Brazil only $ 243 billion. For example, only Mexico 50% more of Brazil. Mexico, in fact, not only produces for its domestic market and manages to be very competitive on the world market, which of course is reflected on the dynamics of growth.

Mexico, the locomotive, “Chile, the first class”  The actor stronger in terms of economic potential in theSchermata 2014-12-20 alle 05.00.36 framework of the Pacific Alliance is Mexico, in which the future would benefit even better and with this potential stability. To this end, however, it must first reduce its dependence on the United States. Seventy-five percent of Mexican exports are directed to its great northern neighbor. It is a concentrated risk that Mexico wants to evade, with a greater orientation toward the south, or to South America, and to the west, or to Asia. To keep the economic trend of recent years, Mexico and other states of the Pacific Alliance must invest even more in infrastructure, especially in transport networks, whose construction in mountainous areas on the western Andean slope presents many difficulties. A task which seems made for Swiss suppliers. In most countries huge investments are also required in the fields of mining, in health care, in energy supply, water management and waste disposal. Namely classical infrastructures whose quality ultimately determines the direction in which to continue the economic development in the countries of the Pacific Alliance and, in general, of Latin America.

Schermata 2014-12-21 alle 02.51.24Switzerland, for example, has signed a bilateral free trade agreement with all countries of the Pacific Alliance. Even with Chile, which, thanks to the political and economic stability and good growth rate (5.6% in 2012), associated with the low level of inflation and reduced debt, is confirmed as the first of the Latin American class. Despite the relatively small size of the market, Chile is increasingly appreciated by European SMEs as a gateway or test market for South America by virtue of the investment friendly climate and the ease of access to the market.

In all countries there is a strong demand for innovation and cutting edge technology, to increase efficiency and economic productivity. Moreover, in Latin America the trend is toward very strong consumption. In the face of rising incomes there is also a growing demand for better living standards and the demand for high quality products, these needs can only be met by imports from abroad.

The euphoria on the Pacific Alliance is to the detriment of Brazil and Argentina. What are the strengths of these two countries?

Despite the boom in the countries of the Pacific Alliance, Brazil continues to be the most important player in South America in economic terms. It should be noted that Brazil is the sixth world economy, although in 2013 the GDP grew by a modest 0.9%. However for 2014 it is expected to recover with an increase in earnings of 2.6%. The pressure exerted by civil society is of little weight in this area. The social unrest of the last few months, in fact, were triggered primarily by deficiencies in public transport and health services that can only be solved if in the coming years, Brazil will invest heavily in medical infrastructure and public transportation. At the same time we must do everything possible to increase productivity, such as targeted measures against the bureaucracy that rules prevails in the country.

Brazil and Argentina, the giants of the market  In 2014, as the host country of the World Cup, Brazil is theargentina-brasile center of attention in the world. Argentina – Brazil presidential and parliamentary elections that are scheduled for next October will attract international attention. In addition, many targeted investments are aimed to conquer the electorate, but that should continue even after the elections, to dispel the danger of another wave of protests. 2016 will be followed by another mega event, the Olympic Games. Brazil, therefore, can’t afford to pull the oars in the coming years. To make a good impression in front of the rest of the world and not fall behind the competition in their own continent, the giant must focus more than ever on investments.

As we have seen, in Latin America there are two coalitions. An interesting scenario. On the one hand there are the giants Brazil and Argentina. Here it should be noted in particular the potential market for consumer goods offered by the country of Samba, with its 200 million inhabitants and the expanding middle class. Unfortunately, Brazil is a very complex market with many obstacles to access, high taxes and high costs paid by the undertaking (cost of doing business) and because of an excessive bureaucracy where protectionism is prevalent. The same is true for Argentina which, with 40 million inhabitants, has a smaller market and less lively in terms of purchasing power compared to Brazil, but to make it less competitive. However, on the business with Argentina adversely affect the restrictions on foreign trade under President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has become even more stringent.

On the other side we have the smaller countries of the Pacific Alliance, who can’ hold a candle to Brazil in terms of size, but they have on their side easier access to the market and a more open liberal economic system. Establishing a company in Chile, for example, is much easier than in the countries of Mercosur.

15d406f06ce12f2ac57cb5137d1afc69_XLIn a nutshell: for those who is on markets by large numbers and are able to deal with administrative obstacles above, Brazil is the right choice. Those who considered it important, easy access to the market, and to make the first experiences in South America and is looking for an entrance that can be used as a hub or test market should move towards the countries of the Pacific Alliance.

What Uruguay has to offer?
Uruguay is small, with just over three million inhabitants, but is conveniently located between Brazil and Argentina, the two giants of the Mercosur. But, above all, Uruguay is by far the most liberal and open country economically among all the states of the “Common Market of the South.”

Uruguay, the jewel   Economic charts rank Uruguay in first place, or at least in the first three, among the Southernuruguay350 Latin American countries. In practice, it is at the same level of Chile, the most virtuous of the continent. Here is what it has to offer. Uruguay: a small cohesive market, and therefore easy to penetrate. Two million people, in fact, live in the capital, Montevideo, or its suburbs. At the same time in Uruguay there are, in progress or planned, many large projects designed to better position the country, which is still heavily dependent on agriculture, such as square industry, particularly for the mining sector and services in the financial and IT.

At first glance, the countries of Central America do not appear to be the primary destination for European SMEs. Nevertheless, with certain strategies and in some situations, the readiness of the international market towards Central America may make sense: to export samples that have already covered more markets, for example, in countries such as Panama or Costa Rica with a relatively high complementary per capita income is definitely interesting.

Central America – wide variety of small-scale                                                                                                       pana-MMAP-mdEven a hub in Panama is convenient, especially from a logistical standpoint. The country is politically stable and offers a huge advantage because thepanamacanale currency local currency – the Panama Canal – Panamanian balboa, is tied to the dollar. Or follow a systematic strategy, a niche, pointing to unexplored segments, where the product offered is not yet on the market. Of course, the market potential is not comparable to that of Brazil, but in return the margins are higher in the absence of competition. At last but not least, the countries with low wages such as Nicaragua are increasing including production plants ideal for high density areas of labor, thanks to numerous free trade areas.

Latin America has the strength and dynamism as well as the political and economic stability necessary to continue to grow in the long term? The answer is’ yes, but you can’t give a summary response. More than 20 latinoamerica_camuflada_con_sus_banderas__335798_t0_bcountries of the continent are too different from each other in size, economic strength or history. Take for example Brazil. The country is at a crossroads. In terms of economic development is a big step forward compared to other South American states? The claims of the population have never been so high. Expectations for the country as a business and industrial center grow from year to year. And the whole world is watching. The World Cup, the Olympics, as well as the growing economic status or BRICS, all places, obligations and responsibilities, primarily with regard to better positioning in the international economy. Because, in the long run, no state can survive only with domestic trade and consumption, even Brazil. The only way to progress is to open and liberalize the market further, invest more in infrastructure and improve productivity. The prospects of this are optimistic or at the very least not negative. The Brazilian government has understood the sign of the times. Over the next two years we will see if it will also be able to draw the right lesson.

imgresFor states of the Pacific Alliance, in particular, it is expected a very promising future. For almost twenty years it has been politically stable. However, they are still a number of measures to increase the added value in the long term. In other words, Latin America should not focus solely on the export of raw materials, but rather invest in a sustainable way in the development of industries and services. Especially in view of a more important role in the world economy and in the creation of additional jobs to ensure economic, political and social stability. This process is already under way and should be pursued further.

Alessandro Sicuro

by sure-com America

click on the pictures for slideshow⬇︎



Posted on




What is a seaside resort or a regular resort?

What makes them different from going to a hotel/motel on a trip?

The_promenade,_Blackpool,_Lancashire,_England,_ca._1898A seaside resort is a resort town or resort hotel, generally located along the coast.   A resort is a place used for relaxation or recreation, attracting visitors for vacations and/or tourism. Resorts are places, towns or sometimes commercial establishment operated by a single company

The coast has always been a recreational environment, although until the mid-nineteenth century, such recreation was a luxury only for the wealthy. Even in Roman times, the town of Baiae, by the Tyrrhenian Sea in Italy, was a resort for those who were sufficiently prosperous.

The development of the beach as a popular leisure resort from the mid-19th century was the first manifestation of what is now the global tourist industry. The first seaside resorts were opened in the 18th century for the aristocracy, who began to frequent the seaside as well as the then fashionable spa towns, for recreation and health. One of the earliest such seaside resorts, was Scarborough in Yorkshire during the 1720s; it had been a fashionable spa town since a stream of acidic water was discovered running from one of the cliffs to the south of the town in the 17th century. The first rolling bathing machines were introduced by 1735.

The opening of the resort in Brighton and its reception of royal patronage from King George IV extended the seaside as a resort for health and pleasure to the much larger London market, and the beach became a centre for upper-class pleasure and frivolity. This trend was praised and artistically elevated by the new romantic ideal of the picturesque landscape; Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon is an example of that. Later, Queen Victoria’s long-standing patronage of the Isle of Wight and Ramsgate in Kent ensured that a seaside residence was considered as a highly fashionable possession for those wealthy enough to afford more than one home.

The extension of this form of leisure to the middle and working class began with the development of the railways in the 1840s, which offered cheap and affordable fares to fast growing resort towns. In particular, the completion of a branch line to the small seaside town Blackpool from Poulton led to a sustained economic and demographic boom. A sudden influx of visitors, arriving by rail, provided the motivation for entrepreneurs to build accommodation and create new attractions, leading to more visitors and a rapid cycle of growth throughout the 1850s and 1860s.

The growth was intensified by the practice among the Lancashire cotton mill owners of closing the factories for a week every year to service and repair machinery. These became known as wakes weeks. Each town’s mills would close for a different week, allowing Blackpool to manage a steady and reliable stream of visitors over a prolonged period in the summer. A prominent feature of the resort was the promenade and the pleasure piers, where an eclectic variety of performances vied for the people’s attention. In 1863, the North Pier in Blackpool was completed, rapidly becoming a centre of attraction for elite visitors. Central Pier was completed in 1868, with a theatre and a large open-air dance floor.

Many of the popular beach resorts were equipped with bathing machines because even the all-covering beachwear of the period was considered immodest. By the end of the century the English coastline had over 100 large resort towns, some with populations exceeding 50,000.

The development of the seaside resort abroad was stimulated by the well-developed English love of the beach. The French Riviera alongside the Mediterranean had already become a popular destination for the British upper class by the end of the 18th century. In 1864, the first railway to Nice was completed, making the Riviera accessible to visitors from all over Europe. By 1874, residents of foreign enclaves in Nice, most of whom were British, numbered 25,000. The coastline became renowned for attracting the royalty of Europe, including Queen Victoria and King Edward VII.

Continental European attitudes towards gambling and nakedness tended to be more lax than in Britain, so British and French entrepreneurs were quick to exploit the possibilities. In 1863, the Prince of Monaco, Charles III and Francois, a French businessman, arranged for steamships and carriages to take visitors from Nice to Monaco, where large luxury hotels, gardens and casinos were built. The place was renamed Monte Carlo.

Commercial sea bathing also spread to the United States and parts of the British Empire such as Australia where surfing became popular in the early 20th century. By the 1970s cheap and affordable air travel was the catalyst for the growth of a truly global tourism market which benefited areas with a sunny climate, such as the Mediterranean coasts of Spain, Italy and southern France.

Recreational fishing and leisure boat pursuits have recently become very lucrative, and traditional fishing villages are often well positioned to take advantage of this. For example, Destin on the coast of Florida has evolved from an artisanal fishing village into a seaside resort dedicated to tourism with a large fishing fleet of recreational charter boats. The tourist appeal of fishing villages has become so big that the Korean government is purpose-building 48 fishing villages for their tourist drawing power

In North American English, the term “resort” is now also used for a self-contained commercial establishment which attempts to provide for most of a vacationer’s wants while remaining on the premises, such as food, drink, lodging, sports, entertainment, and shopping. The term may be used to identify a hotel property that provides an array of amenities and typically includes entertainment and recreational activities. A hotel is frequently a central feature of a resort, such as the Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island, Michigan. A resort is not always a commercial establishment operated by a single company, although in the late twentieth century this sort of facility became more common.

Towns which are resorts — or where tourism or vacationing is a major part of the local activity — are sometimes called resort towns. If they are by the sea they are called seaside resorts. Inland resorts include ski resorts, mountain resorts and spa towns. Towns such as Sochi in Russia, Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, Barizo in Spain, Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy, Druskininka in Lithuania, Cancun in Mexico, Newport, Rhode Island in the USA, Ischgl in Austria, St. Moritz in Switzerland, Blackpool in England and Malam Jabba in Pakistan are well-known resorts.

An island resort is an island or an archipelago that contains resorts, hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and its amenities.

Seaside resorts are located on a coast. In the United Kingdom, many seaside towns have turned to other entertainment industries, and some of them have a good deal of nightlife. The cinemas and theatres often remain to become host to a number of pubs, bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Most of their entertainment facilities cater to local people and the beaches still remain popular during the summer months. Although international tourism turned people away from British seaside towns, it also brought in foreign travel and as a result, many seaside towns offer foreign language schools, the students of which often return to vacation and sometimes to settle.

In Europe and North America, ski resorts are towns and villages in ski areas, with support services for skiing such as hotels and chalets, equipment rental, ski schools ad ski lifts to access the slopes.

A destination resort is a resort that contains, in and of itself, the necessary guest attraction capabilities—that is to say that a destination resort does not need to be near a destination (town, historic site, theme park, or other) to attract its public. A commercial establishment at a resort destination such as a recreational area, a scenic or historic site, a theme park, a gaming facility or other tourist attraction may compete with other businesses at a destination. Consequently, another quality of a destination resort is that it offers food, drink, lodging, sports and entertainment, and shopping within the facility so that guests have no need to leave the facility throughout their stay. Commonly these facilities are of higher quality than would be expected if one were to stay at a hotel or eat in a town’s restaurants. Some examples are Atlantis in the Bahamas, the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, USA, Costa do Sauípe in Northeastern Brazil, Laguna Phuket in Thailand and Sun City near Johannesburg in South Africa. Closely related to these resorts are convention and large meeting sites. Generally these occur in cities where special meeting halls, together with ample accommodations as well as varied dining and entertainment, are provided.

An all-inclusive resort charges a fixed price that includes most or all items. At a minimum, most inclusive resorts include lodging, unlimited food, drink, sports activities, and entertainment for the fixed price. In recent years, the number of resorts in the United States offering “all-inclusive” amenities has decreased dramatically; in 1961, over half offered such plans and in 2007, less than ten percent do so.

An all-inclusive resort includes a minimum of three meals daily, soft drinks, most alcoholic drinks, gratuities and possibly other services in the price. Many also offer sports and other activities included in the price as well. They are often located in warmer regions. The all-inclusive model originated in the Club Med resorts which were founded by Belgian Gerard Blitz.

Some all-inclusive resorts are designed for specific vacation interests. For example, certain resorts cater to adults, while even more specialized properties accept couples only. Other all-inclusive resorts are geared toward families, with facilities like craft centers, game rooms and water parks to keep children of all ages entertained. All-inclusive resorts are also very popular locations for destination weddings.

A spa resort is a short term residential/lodging facility with the primary purpose of providing individual services for spa-goers to develop healthy habits. Historically many such spas were developed at the location of natural hot springs or sources of mineral waters. Typically over a seven-day stay, such facilities provide a comprehensive program that includes spa services, physical fitness activities, wellness education, healthy cuisine and special interest programming.

Golf resorts are resorts that cater specifically to the sport of golf, and include access to one or more golf course and or clubhouse. Golf resorts typically provide golf packages that provide visitors with all greens and cart fees, range balls, accommodations and meals.

In North America a ski resort is generally a destination resort in a ski area, and is less likely to refer to a town or village.

A resort can be expensive vacations and often boasts many visitor activities and attractions such as golf, watersports, spa and beauty facilities, skiing, natural ecology and tranquility. Because of the extent of amenities offered, it may be considered destination resort.

A megaresort is a type of destination resort which is of an exceptionally large size, such as those along the Las Vegas Strip. In Singapore and integrated resort is a euphemism for a casino-based destination resort.

A holiday village is a type of self-contained resort in Europe, where the accommodation is generally in villas. A holiday camp in the United Kingdom refers to a resort where the accommodation is in chalets. The term “holiday park” is used for a resort where the accommodation includes static caravans and chalets.

A famous historic resort of the ancient world was Baiae, Italy, popular over 2,000 years ago. Capri, an island near Naples, Italy, has attracted visitors since Roman times. Another famous historical resort was Monte Ne near Rogers, Arkansas, United States, which was active in the early 20th century. At its peak more than 10,000 people a year visited its hotels. It closed in the 1930s, and was ultimately submerged under Beaver Lake in the 1960s.

Kathy kiefer


Posted on Updated on



Are they affordable for everyone? Or are they only a luxury for the rich or very rich? The word “spa” conjures up images of long days filled with mud baths and meditation classes, exquisitely prepared spa cuisine, and fragrant eucalyptus groves. But spas seem to be everywhere: office buildings, strip malls, village storefronts. Salons with one tiny massage table tout their spa services. How can they all be spas? For one thing, there are several different types of spas. The first kind is a destination spa. At a day spa you just drop in for treatments like massage, facial and body treatments. Often, day spas are an extension of a hair salon, which is fine as long as the spa is a separate wing that offers a quiet, serene, environment. No Regulation of the Word “Spa”. The International Spa Association defines spas as “places devoted to enhancing overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit.” But no one is regulating use of the word spa. That’s why some salons promote spa services when all they have is one massage table, or use names like “spa pedicure.” If you have any doubt, check out the facilities yourself before booking an appointment.

miami-aquavanaJust drop in and ask for a quick tour. At a minimum, a day spa should offer professionally administered massages, facials and body treatments in a quiet, serene atmosphere. There’s also a huge range of experiences at resort spas. Again, no one is regulating the use of the name, so it could be anything from one massage room next to the fitness center to a multi-million facility. You should do research on the facilities before you book. There’s even a difference with destination spas, ranging from small specialty inns to Canyon Ranch, which has a staff of physicians, psychologists, nutritionists and physical therapists. It offers so many classes, lectures and services that and so many things going on that you could spend months there and still not experience them all. A spa can be a location where mineral-rich spring water is used to give medicinal baths. Spa towns or spa resorts (including hot springs resorts) typically offer various health treatments, which are also known as balneotherapy. The belief in the curative powers of mineral waters goes back to prehistoric times. Such practices have been popular worldwide, but are especially widespread in Europe and Japan. Day spas are also quite popular, and offer various personal care treatments. The term is derived from the name of the town of Spa, Belgium, whose name is known back to Roman times, when the location was called Aquae Spadanae, sometimes incorrectly connected to the Latin word “spargere” meaning to scatter, sprinkle or moisten. Since medieval times, illnesses caused by iron deficiency were treated by drinking chalybeate (iron-bearing) spring water (in 1326, the ironmaster Collin le Loup claimed a cure, when the spring was called Espa, meaning “fountain”). In 16th-century England, the old Roman ideas of medicinal bathing were revived at towns like Bath (not the source of the word bath). It is commonly claimed, in a commercial context, that the word is an acronym of various Latin phrases such as “Salus Per Aquam” or “Sanitas Per Aquam” meaning “health through water”.

relais-spa-perugiaThis is very unlikely: the derivation does not appear before the early 21st century and is probably a backronym as there is no evidence of acronyms passing into the language before the 20th century; nor does it match the known Roman name for the location. The practice of traveling to hot or cold springs in hopes of affecting a cure of some ailment dates back to pre-historic times. Archaeological investigations near hot springs in France and Czech Republic revealed Bronze Age weapons and offerings. In Great Britain, ancient legend credited early Celtic kings with the discovery of the hot springs in Bath, England. Many people around the world believed that bathing in a particular spring, well, or river resulted in physical and spiritual purification. Forms of ritual purification existed among the Native Americans, Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Today, ritual purification through water can be found in the religious ceremonies of Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus. These ceremonies reflect the ancient belief in the healing and purifying properties of water. Complex bathing rituals were also practiced in ancient Egypt, in pre-historic cities of the Indus Valley, and in Aegean civilizations. Most often these ancient people did little building construction around the water, and what they did construct was very temporary in nature. Some of the earliest descriptions of western bathing practices came from Greece. The Greeks began bathing regimens that formed the foundation for modern spa procedures. These Aegean people utilized small bathtubs, wash basins, and foot baths for personal cleanliness. The earliest such findings are the baths in the palace complex at Knossos, Crete, and the luxurious alabaster bathtubs excavated in Akrotiri, Santorini; both date from the mid-2nd millennium BC.

Cnosso-Creta-Grecia.-Autore-e-Copyright-Luca-di-LallaThey established public baths and showers within their gymnasium complexes for relaxation and personal hygiene. Greek mythology specified that certain natural springs or tidal pools were blessed by the gods to cure disease. Around these sacred pools, Greeks established bathing facilities for those desiring healing. Supplicants left offerings to the gods for healing at these sites and bathed themselves in hopes of a cure. The Spartans developed a primitive vapor bath. At Serangeum, an early Greek balneum (bathhouse), bathing chambers were cut into the hillside from which the hot springs issued. A series of niches cut into the rock above the chambers held bathers’ clothing. One of the bathing chambers had a decorative mosaic floor depicting a driver and chariot pulled by four horses, a woman followed by two dogs, and a dolphin below. Thus, the early Greeks used the natural features, but expanded them and added their own amenities, such as decorations and shelves. During later Greek civilization, bathhouses were often built in conjunction with athletic fields. Yet, the most developed and sophisticated use of water with healing and relaxation purposes comes from Turkish hammams, and Arab baths. This therapeutic use of water was introduced by Muslims in the European Middle Ages through Spain (al-Andalus). The biggest Arab baths in the world outside a Muslim country are those located in the Spanish city of Jaen, and date back to the 12th century. The Romans emulated many of the Greek bathing practices. Romans surpassed the Greeks in the size and complexity of their baths. This came about by many factors: the larger size and population of Roman cities, the availability of running water following the building of aqueducts, and the invention of cement, which made building large edifices easier, safer, and cheaper.

As in Greece, the Roman bath became a focal center for social and recreational activity. As the Roman Empire expanded, the idea of the public bath spread to all parts of the Mediterranean and into regions of Europe and North Africa. With the construction of the aqueducts, the Romans had enough water not only for domestic, agricultural, and industrial uses, but also for their leisurely pursuits. The aqueducts provided water that was later heated for use in the baths. Today, the extent of the Roman bath is revealed at ruins and in archaeological excavations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The Romans also developed baths in their colonies, taking advantage of the natural hot springs occurring in Europe to construct baths at Aix and Vichy in France, Bath and Buxton in England, Aachen and Wiesbaden in Germany, Baden, Austria, and Aquincum in Hungary, among other locations. These baths became centers for recreational and social activities in Roman communities. Libraries, lecture halls, gymnasiums, and formal gardens became part of some bath complexes. In addition, the Romans used the hot thermal waters to relieve their suffering from rheumatism, arthritis, and overindulgence in food and drink. The decline of the Roman Empire in the west, beginning in AD 337 after the death of Emperor Constantine, resulted in Roman legions abandoning their outlying provinces and leaving the baths to be taken over by the local population or destroyed.

67db8878e8Thus, the Romans elevated bathing to a fine art, and their bathhouses physically reflected these advancements. The Roman bath, for instance, included a far more complex ritual than a simple immersion or sweating procedure. The various parts of the bathing ritual — undressing, bathing, sweating, receiving a massage, and resting — required separated rooms which the Romans built to accommodate those functions. The segregation of the sexes and the additions of diversions not directly related to bathing also had direct impacts on the shape and form of bathhouses. The elaborate Roman bathing ritual and its resultant architecture served as precedents for later European and American bathing facilities. Formal garden spaces and opulent architectural arrangement equal to those of the Romans reappeared in Europe by the end of the 18th century. Major American spas followed suit a century later. With the decline of the Roman Empire, the public baths often became places of licentious behavior, and such use was responsible for the spread rather than the cure of diseases. A general belief developed among the European populace was that frequent bathing promoted disease and sickness. Medieval church authorities encouraged this belief and made every effort to close down public baths. Ecclesiastical officials believed that public bathing created an environment open to immorality and disease. Roman Catholic Church officials even banned public bathing in an unsuccessful effort to halt syphilis epidemics from sweeping Europe.

1311341081412Overall, this period represented a time of decline for public bathing. People continued to seek out a few select hot and cold springs, believed to be holy wells, to cure various ailments. In an age of religious fervor, the benefits of the water were attributed to God or one of the saints. In 1326, Collin le Loup, an ironmaster from Liege, Belgium, discovered the springs of Spa, Belgium. Around these springs, a famous health resort eventually grew and the term “spa” came to refer to any health resort located near natural springs. During this period, individual springs became associated with the specific ailment that they could allegedly benefit. Bathing procedures during this period varied greatly. By the 16th century, physicians at Karlsbd, Bohemia, prescribed that the mineral water be taken internally as well as externally. Patients periodically bathed in warm water for up to 10 or 11 hours while drinking glasses of mineral water. The first bath session occurred in the morning, the second in the afternoon. This treatment lasted several days until skin pustules formed and broke resulting in the draining of “poisons” considered to be the source of the disease. Then followed another series of shorter, hotter baths to wash the infection away and close the eruptions. In the 17th century, most upper-class Europeans washed their clothes with water often and washed only their faces (with linen), feeling that bathing the entire body was a lower-class activity; but the upper-class slowly began changing their attitudes toward bathing as a way to restore health later in that century. The wealthy flocked to health resorts to drink and bathe in the waters. In 1702, Anne, Queen of Great Britain, traveled to Bath, the former Roman development, to bathe. Bath set the tone for other spas in Europe to follow. Ostensibly, the wealthy and famous arrived there on a seasonal basis to bathe in and drink the water; however, they also came to display their opulence. Social activities at Bath included dances, concerts, playing cards, lectures, and promenading down the street. A typical day at Bath might be an early morning communal bath followed by a private breakfast party. Afterwards, one either drank water at the Pump Room (a building constructed over the thermal water source) or attended a fashion show

. Physicians encouraged health resort patrons to bathe in and drink the waters with equal vigor. In the 19th century, bathing became a more accepted practice as physicians realized some of the benefits that cleanliness could provide. A cholera epidemic in Liverpool, England in 1842 resulted in a sanitation renaissance, facilitated by the overlapping hydropathy and sanitation movements, and the implementation of a series of statutes known collectively as “The Baths and Wash-houses Acts 1846 to 1896”. The result was increased facilities for bathing and washed clothes, and more people participating in these activities.

Kathy Kiefer


Posted on Updated on



The formal architectural development of European spas took place in the 18th and 19th centuries. The architecture of Bath, England, developed along Georgian and Neoclassical lines, generally following Palladian structures. The most important architectural form that emerged was the “crescent” — a semi-elliptical street plan used in many areas of England. The spa architecture of Carlsbad, Marienbad, Franzenbad and Baden-Baden was primarily Neoclassical, but the literature seems to indicate that large bathhouses were not constructed until well into the 19th century. The emphasis on drinking the waters rather than bathing in them led to the development of separate structures known as Trinkhallen (drinking halls) where those taking the cure spent hours drinking water from the springs. By the mid-19th century, the situation had changed dramatically.

Visitors to the European spas began to stress bathing in addition to drinking the waters. Besides fountains, pavilions, and Trinkhallen, bathhouses on the scale of the Roman baths were revived. Photographs of a 19th-century spa complex taken in the 1930s, detailing the earlier architecture, show a heavy use of mosaic floors, marble walls, classical statuary, arched openings, domed ceilings, segmental arches, triangular pediments, Corinthian columns, and all the other trappings of a Neoclassical revival. The buildings were usually separated by function — with the Trinkhallen, the bathhouse, the inhalatorium (for inhaling the vapors), and the Kurhaus or Conversationhaus that was the center of social activity. Baden-Baden featured golf courses and tennis courts, “superb roads to motor over, and drives along quaint lanes where wild deer are as common as cows to us, and almost as unafraid.”

szech14 The European spa started with structures to house the drinking function — from simple fountains to pavilions to elaborate Trinkhallen. The enormous bathhouses came later in the 19th century as a renewed preference for an elaborate bathing ritual to cure ills and improve health came into vogue. European architects looked back to Roman civilizations and carefully studied its fine architectural precedents. The Europeans copied the same formality, symmetry, division of rooms by function, and opulent interior design in their bathhouses. They emulated the fountains and formal garden spaces in their resorts, and they also added new diversions. The tour books always mentioned the roomy, woodsy offerings in the vicinity and the faster-paced evening diversions. By the beginning of the 19th century, the European bathing regimen consisted of numerous accumulated traditions. The bathing routine included soaking in hot water, drinking the water, steaming in a vapor room, and relaxing in a cooling room. In addition doctors ordered that patients be douched with hot or cold water and given a select diet to promote a cure. Authors began writing guidebooks to the health resorts of Europe explaining the medical benefits and social amenities of each. Rich Europeans and Americans traveled to these resorts to take in cultural activities and the baths. Each European spa began offering similar cures while maintaining a certain amount of individuality. The 19th-century bathing regimen at Karlsbad can serve as a general portrayal of European bathing practices during this century.

Visitors arose at 6 am to drink the water and be serenaded by a band. Next came a light breakfast, bath, and lunch. The doctors at Karlsbad usually limited patients to certain foods for each meal. In the afternoon, visitors went sight-seeing or attended concerts. Nightly theatrical performances followed the evening meal. This ended around 9 pm with the patients returning to their boardinghouses to sleep until 6 the next morning. This regimen continued for as long as a month and then the patients returned home until the next year. Other 19th-century European spa regimens followed similar schedules. At the beginning of the 20th century, European spas combined a strict diet and exercise regimen with a complex bathing procedure to achieve benefits for the patients. One example will suffice to illustrate the change in bathing procedures. Patients at Baden-Baden, which specialized in treating rheumatoid arthritis, were directed to see a doctor before taking the baths. Once this occurred, the bathers proceeded to the main bathhouse where they paid for their baths and stored their valuables before being assigned a booth for undressing. The bathhouse supplied bathers with towels, sheets, and slippers.

3542-baden_baden_terme1s-622x431 The Baden-Baden bathing procedure began with a warm shower. The bathers next entered a room of circulating, 140-degree hot air for 20 minutes, spent another ten minutes in a room with 150-degree temperature, partook of a 154-degree vapor bath, then showered and received a soap massage. After the massage, the bathers swam in a pool heated approximately to body temperature. After the swim, the bathers rested for 15 to 20 minutes in the warm “Sprudel” room pool. This shallow pool’s bottom contained an 8-inch layer of sand through with naturally carbonated water bubbled up. This was followed by a series of gradually cooler showers and pools. After that, the attendants rubbed down the bathers with warm towels and then wrapped them in sheets and covered them with blankets to rest for 20 minutes. This ended the bathing portion of the treatment. The rest of the cure consisted of a prescribed diet, exercise, and water-drinking program. The European spas provided various other diversions for guests after the bath, including gambling, horse racing, fishing, hunting, tennis, skating, dancing, golf, and horseback riding. Sight-seeing and theatrical performances served as further incentives for people to go to the spa. Some European governments even recognized the medical benefits of spa therapy and paid a portion of the patient’s expenses. A number of these spas catered to those suffering from obesity and overindulgence in addition to various other medical complaints. In recent years, elegance and style of earlier centuries may have diminished, but people still come to the natural hot springs for relaxation and health. In Germany, the tradition survives to the present day. ‘Taking a cure’ at a spa is covered by both public and private health care insurance, as mandated by federal legislation. Typically, a doctor prescribes a few weeks stay at a mineral spring or other natural setting where a patient’s condition will be treated with healing spring waters and natural therapies. Some European colonists brought with them knowledge of the hot water therapy for medicinal purposes, and others learned the benefits of hot springs from the Native Americans. Europeans gradually obtained many of the hot and cold springs from the various Indian tribes. They then developed the spring to suit European tastes. By the 1760s, British colonists were traveling to hot and cold springs in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia in search of water cures. Among the more frequently visited of these springs were Bath, Yellow and Bristol Springs in Pennsylvania; and Warm Springs, Hot Springs and White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and Virginia. In the last decade of the 1700s, New York spas were beginning to be frequented by intrepid travelers, most notably Ballston Spa.

Saratoga SpringNearby Saratoga Springs and Kinderhook were yet to be discovered. Colonial doctors gradually began to recommend hot springs for ailments. In 1792 doctors examined the water of Ballston Spa in New York and wrote of possible medicinal uses of the springs. Hotels were constructed to accommodate visitors to the various springs. Entrepreneurs operated establishments where the travelers could lodge, eat, and drink. Thus began the health resort industry in the United States. After the American Revolution, the spa industry continued to gain popularity. The first truly popular spa was Saratoga Springs, which, by 1815, had two large, four-story, Greek revival hotels. It grew rapidly, and by 1821 it had at least five hundred rooms for accommodation. Its relative proximity to New York City and access to the country’s most developed steamboat lines meant that by the mid-1820s the spa became the country’s most popular tourist destination, serving both the country’s elite and a more middle-class audience. Although spa activity had been central to Saratoga in the 1810s, by the 1820s the resort had hotels with great ballrooms, opera houses, stores, and clubhouses. The Union Hotel (first built in 1803 but steadily expanded over the coming decades) had its own esplanade, and by the 1820s had its own fountain and formal landscaping, but with only two small bathhouses. As the resort developed as a tourist destination mineral bathhouses became auxiliary structures and not the central features of the resort, although the drinking of mineral water was at least followed as a pro-forma activity by most in attendance, despite nightly dinners that were elaborate and extensive.

Although Saratoga and other spas in New York centered their developments around the healthful mineral waters, their real drawing card was a complex social life and a cultural cachet. However, the wider audience it garnered by the late 1820s began to take some of the bloom off the resort, and in the mid-1830s, as a successful bid to revive itself, it turned to horse racing. By the mid-1850s hot and cold spring resorts existed in 20 states. Many of these resorts contained similar architectural features. Most health resorts had a large, two-story central building near or at the springs, with smaller structures surrounding it. The main building provided the guests with facilities for dining, and possibly, dancing on the first floor and the second story consisted of sleeping rooms. The outlying structures were individual guest cabins, and other auxiliary buildings formed a semicircle or U-shape around the large building. These resorts offered swimming, fishing, hunting, and horseback riding as well as facilities for bathing. The Virginia resorts, particularly White Sulphur Springs, proved popular before and after the Civil War. After the Civil War, spa vacations became very popular as returning soldiers bathed to heal wounds and the American economy allowed more leisure time. Saratoga Springs in New York became one of the main centers for this type of activity. Bathing in and drinking the warm, carbonated spring water only served as a prelude to the more interesting social activities of gambling, promenading, horse racing, and dancing. During the last half of the 19th century, western entrepreneurs developed natural hot and cold springs into resorts — from the Mississippi River to the West Coast. Many of these spas offered individual tub baths, vapor baths, douche sprays, needle showers, and pool bathing to their guests. The various railroads that spanned the country promoted these resorts to encourage train travel. Hot Springs, Arkansas, became a major resort for people from the large metropolitan areas of St. Louis and Chicago.

The popularity of the spas continued into the 20th century. Some medical critics charged that the thermal waters in such renowned resorts as Hot Springs, Virginia, and Saratoga Springs, New York, were no more beneficial to health than ordinary heated water. The various spa owners countered these arguments by developing better hydrotherapy for their patients. At the Saratoga spa, treatments for heart and circulatory disorders, rheumatic conditions, nervous disorders, metabolic diseases, and skin diseases were developed. In 1910, the New York state government began purchasing the principal springs to protect them from exploitation. When Franklin D. Roosevelt was governor of New York, he pushed for a European type of spa development at Saratoga. The architects for the new complex spent two years studying the technical aspects of bathing in Europe. Completed in 1933, the development had three bathhouses — Lincoln, Washington, and Roosevelt — a drinking hall, the Hall of Springs, and a building housing the Simon Baruch Research Institute. Four additional buildings composed the recreation area and housed arcades and a swimming pool decorated with blue faience terra-cotta tile. Saratoga Spa State Park’s Neoclassical buildings were laid out in a grand manner, with formal perpendicular axes, solid brick construction, and stone and concrete Roman-revival detailing. The spa was surrounded by a 1,200-acre natural park that had 18 miles of bridle paths, “with measured walks at scientifically calculated gradients through its groves and vales, with spouting springs adding unexpected touches to its vistas, with the tumbling waters of Geyser Brook flowing beneath bridges of the fine roads. Full advantage has been taken of the natural beauty of the park, but no formal landscaping”. Promotional literature again advertised the attractions directly outside the spa: shopping, horse races, and historic sites associated with revolutionary war history.

obam-termal-resort-spaOther leading spas in the country during this period were French Lick, Indiana;; Hot Springs and White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia; Hot Springs, Arkansas; and Warm Springs, Georgia. French Lick specialized in treating obesity and constipation through a combination of bathing and drinking the water and exercising. Hot Springs, Virginia, specialized in digestive ailments and heart diseases, and White Sulphur Springs, Virginia, treated these ailments and skin diseases. Both resorts offered baths where the water would wash continuously over the patients as they lay in a shallow pool. Warm Springs, Georgia, gained a reputation for treating infantile paralysis by a procedure of baths and exercise. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who earlier supported Saratoga, became a frequent visitor and promoter of this spa. A body treatment, spa treatment, or cosmetic treatment is non-medical procedure to help the health of the body. It is often performed at are resort, destination spa, day spa, beauty school or school. Typical treatments include: (1) Aromatherapy; (2) Bathing or soaking in a Hot Spring (Onsen – Japanese or Thermae – Roman); (3) Hot Tub; (4) Mud Bath; (5) Peat Pulp bath; (6) Sauna; (7) Steam bath; (8) Body wraps, wrapping the body in hot linens, plastic sheets and blankets, or mud wraps, often in combination with herbal compounds; (9) Massage; (10) Nail care such as manicures and pedicures; and (11) Waxing, the removal of body hair with hot wax. Until recently, the public bathing industry in the U.S. remained stagnant. Nevertheless, in Europe, therapeutic baths have always been very popular, and remain so today. The same is true in Japan, where the traditional hot springs baths, known as Onsen, always attracted plenty of visitors. But in the United States, with the increasing focus on health and wellness, such treatments are again becoming popular. Types of Spas include: (a) Day spa, a form of beauty salon; (b) Destination spa, a resort for personal care treatments;(c) Spa town,, a town visited for the supposed healing properties of the water; (d) Foot spa; (e) Hot tub, in United States usage; (f) Spa (mineral water), from the sources in Spa; (g) Ganban’yoku, a hot stone spa; and (h) Spas usually offer mud baths for general health, or to address a variety of medical conditions. This is also known as ‘fangotherapy’. A variety of medicinal clays and peats are used.

Kathy Kiefer


Posted on



The sun and surf of Ocean City, Maryland, have been attracting visitors since Algonquian tribes first came to our beaches to fish and sun themselves. Europeans first arrived in 1524 when Giovanni da Verrazano surveyed the east coast of North America. By the 17th century, British colonists had moved north from Virginia and settled in the area.

Due to Ocean City’s isolation as a barrier island, the town remained a sleepy fishing village until 1875, when the Atlantic Hotel began welcoming visitors. The following year, the railroad bridged Sinepuxent Bay, and a resort was born.

In 1878, heroes took up residence. The U.S. Life-Saving Service, an ancestor of today’s Coast Guard, established a station here. Their mission: to venture out in stormy seas and rescue shipwreck victims. The second station, built in 1891, is now the Ocean City Life-Savings Station Museum, enshrining Ocean City’s history and saluting the brave men who worked here.

In 1900, the first boardwalk was constructed. Trimper’s Amusements opened shortly after. Unlike today, however, the boardwalk wasn’t a year-round fixture. The boards were actually taken up in the winter, and stored until the following spring!   The 20th century brought a dramatic separation and some vital connections. In August of 1933, a powerful storm ripped open a new channel from the bay to the ocean. Engineers made the inlet permanent, and with its new harbor, Ocean City became one of the east coast’s premier sport fishing destinations–the White Marlin Capital of the World.

And what railroads did for Ocean City vacations in the 19th century, bridges accelerated in the 20th. In 1952, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge offered quick, direct access from Baltimore and Washington.    In 1964, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel opened a direct connection to the Virginia Tidewater region. In a few short years, Ocean City, Maryland, established itself as the favorite resort for visitors from all over the eastern seaboard.

Today, Ocean City stretches along 10 miles of beautiful beach from the Inlet to the Delaware state line. Our classic wooden boardwalk offers nearly 3 miles of food, games and shopping. The Roland E. Powell Convention Center is a highly popular site for meetings of all sizes. And with more than 9,500 hotel rooms and 21,000 condominiums, there are accommodations for every need and taste.

Whether you’re looking for a fun family weekend at the beach, 17 outstanding golf courses, world-famous sport fishing or a weekend getaway, Ocean City delivers everything you desire ASAP. See for yourself and try out one or all of the ten must-dos while you are visiting Ocean City, MD.  Every time I have gone up to Ocean City, one of the things I love to do is go parasailing (each time going higher than the time before.


1) Hit the boardwalk.  At just under three miles, the Ocean City Boardwalk is a perfect family bike ride, an invigorating walk or run, or a relaxing tram ride. At night, the boardwalk comes to life with rides, arcades, performers and so much more; 2) Indulge in our culinary delights.  Ocean City restaurants serve up fresh seafood, boardwalk fries, Maryland crab cakes, hot, fresh pizza, juicy Delmarva fried chicken, sweet saltwater taffy and some of the finest dining in the Mid-Atlantic; 3) Catch the sun’s ups and downs.  Sunsets are spectacular on the bay as the sun sinks down along the western side of the island. And a glorious sunrise on the Ocean City beach is worth getting up early for; 4) Go back in time.  Explore Ocean City’s Colorful history at the Life-Saving Station Museum, or take a walking tour of our historic downtown area; 5) Check out Assateague’s wild ponies.  The famous ponies are just nine miles from Ocean City, along with nature trails, deer, foxes and thousands of birds; 6) Do some serious shopping.  Hit our outlets, the boardwalk, Gold Coast Mall, boutiques or do some antiquing in nearby Snow Hill and Berlin; 7) Enjoy our nights of free family fun. In the summer there is a free family event every day of the week. Some of the events include: (a) Sundaes in the Park with free concert, fireworks and ice cream for a small fee at Northside Park; (b) Concerts on the Beach every Wednesday evening; (c) Free Movies Under the Stars Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; (d) Family Beach Olympics on Tuesday evenings; (e) Sunset Park Party Nights every Thursday; (f) Laser Light Shows on Sundays; and (g) Fireworks on Mondays and Tuesdays;  8) Explore the beauty of Northside Park. This 58-acre complex is Ocean City’s largest and most popular park facility. Play your favorite sport on our softball, baseball or soccer fields. Or pack a lunch, grab your family and enjoy some quality time at one of our lovely picnic sites. Northside Park is also home to playgrounds, a gazebo and walking paths; 9) Fore! Ocean City is home to some of the most scenic and challenging golf courses in the Mid-Atlantic region. Or if miniature golf is more your speed, you will find a number of fun courses in town; and 10) Plan your return trip to Ocean City ASAP. There’s so much to do, you’ll never fit it all into one visit. So scope out what you’d like to try on your next Ocean City vacation, and make your reservations now!

Ocean City, Maryland’s Boardwalk dates back to 1902 and is recognized as one of the best Boardwalk’s in the country. Featuring shops, eateries, amusements, night life and lodging, Ocean City’s Boardwalk blends history and culture with modern convenience and fun.

HOW LONG has the Ocean City Boardwalk been around? The Boardwalk, officially known as Atlantic Avenue, dates back to 1902, when several oceanfront hotel owners got together and constructed a wooden walkway for the convenience of their guests. At high tide, it was rolled up and stored on hotel porches. Around 1910, a permanent promenade was built. It ran about five blocks and was expanded to 15th Street in the 1920’s. After being leveled by a storm in March of 1962, it was rebuilt to its present 2.5 mile length, ending at 27th Street.

INLET INDIAN     Peter Toth sculpted this representation of the Assateague Indian and presented it to the people of Maryland as a gift in 1976. It is carved of 100-year old oak. The Assateague were a sub-tribe of the Nanticokes. Toth has donated a totem to each of the fifty states.

atlanticcitysteelpier19101PIER BUILDING     Erected around 1926, the current pier building stands in the same location as the first pavilion, which was finished in July 1907. Facing the entrance to the city pier, the pavilions have been a focal point for entertainment and commercial activity since the early twentieth century. The extant two-story, nine-bay by five-bay frame building is enhanced by tapered pilasters that define the corners of the structure as well as the principal elevation. Ocean City’s neoclassical pier building is the only example of entertainment-related seaside architecture in Maryland. The building’s second floor was originally a ballroom.

The 1907 pavilion had a long arched roof with large, round-arched windows lighting the first and second floors. It contained a dancing pavilion, skating rink, bowling alleys, pool room and refreshment booths.

OCEAN CITY LIFE-SAVING STATION MUSEUM     The early history of the lifesaving service in Ocean City dates from 1878, when the first station was built on the periphery of the resort community between North Division and Caroline streets. The station was erected with its gable-front doors facing the ocean.  In 1890-91 a large, two-story frame station was built in front of the earlier structure. The first station was left freestanding and was used to house a lifesaving boat. Later, the old station was connected by a hyphen and converted for use as a service wing. The station was enlarged again in 1912-13, with a story-and-a-half wing. In 1977 the station was moved from Caroline Street to the inlet and converted to a city museum. It is the only extant station of its type in Maryland. The present color scheme, with white walls, green trim, and a red roof, dates from the years when the building was operated by the Coast Guard.  The frame station is sheathed with a combination of board-and-batten and German siding. Distinctive original features include the king-post truss stick decoration within the eaves and the rooftop observation tower on the south end of the station. The interior retains much of its beaded board walls and ceilings.

UNITED STATES COAST GUARD TOWER     Erected in 1934-35 to aid the coast guard in their lifesaving services as well as a sentinel for German U-boats during WW II. It is the oldest observation tower still standing on Maryland’s seashore. It is a five-story, braced metal structure. The platform cabin is not open to the public.

Historic Hotels of Note:   atlantic_hotel_old_1910(1)  ATLANTIC HOTEL     The Atlantic Hotel has long been a fixture in Ocean City. It was one of the first hotels to offer accommodations to the public. The current, three-story, H-shaped frame hotel is an early twentieth century replacement of the Victorian hotel that burned in December, 1925. The boardwalk elevation of the hotel is dominated by a single-story brick commercial front erected during the last thirty years. Despite the disfigurement of the east front, the Atlantic Hotel is one of the most prominent old hotel structures left in OC. Subtle period details such as broad hip roofs, corner pilasters, exterior brick chimneys, and six-over-six sash windows contribute to the early twentieth character of the buildin.


(2)  LANKFORD HOTEL     The Lankford Hotel is one of the best-preserved of the old hotels to remain in Ocean City. The colossal Tuscan-columned beach-front facade has remained intact. The third floor porch, sheltered by an extension of the hip roof, provides an elevated and protected location from which to enjoy the ocean view.   Construction of the three-and-a-half story Lankford Hotel is dated to 1923-24. Mary B. Quillen built and operated the hotel. In honor of an inheritance from her aunt Amelia Coffin Lankford, Mary Quillen named the hotel for her. Ownership has remained in the family; (3)  BEACH PLAZA HOTEL     Built in 1954 by Ethel Griffin Kelley and her son Harry Kelley, a former mayor of Ocean City. Richard Nixon and his family spent many vacations here. Bryce and Shirley Phillips have owned and operated the hotel since 1970; (4) COMMANDER HOTEL     The current Commander Hotel was built in 1998 on the site of the original Commander, built in 1929-30 by Minnie Lynch. For many years this hotel was the northernmost hotel in the city, and marked the end of the boardwalk. It
remains in the Lynch family; (5) HARRISON HALL HOTEL     The Harrison Hall was built by G. Hale and Lois C. Harrison in 195l. It was the last of the large resort hotels to be built. It remains in the Harrison family; (6) Santa Maria MOTEL     The Santa Maria is Ocean 1565684_15_zCity’s first Motor Hotel. In 1956 WiIllye Jones Ludlam financed the construction of this three-story, poured concrete hotel and restaurant with a personal loan as no bank would accept the risk of a mortgage on this radical hospitality concept. The location was also considered too far north to be successful. The old hotels were focused inward, with common rooms for dining, registration, and socializing. The new hotels catered to those arriving by automobile and were focused on the exterior; no common spaces inside and individual balconies on the outside. The low-slung appearance of the motel, with its flat roof and clean stuccoed exterior with minimal architectural decoration, points to the Art Moderne movement in twentieth century architecture. The property is still owned and operated by Mrs. Ludlam’s descendants; and (7)   THE SEASCAPE     The Seascape was built in 1954. It was the first motel built in Ocean City. The swimming pool was originally built on the ocean-front. During the storm of March 1962 the ocean waves pushed the pool through what was then the Ocean Room Restaurant and deposited it on the west side of the building (where it remains).

TRIMPER’S CAROUSEL     One of the oldest fixtures on the boardwalk is the carousel at Trimper’s Amusements, in continuous operation since its 1912 installation. It is the country’s oldest continuously operating carousel. Featuring two tiers of elaborately carved and painted animals, this Herschel-Spellman carousel dates from 1902. A multi-sided screen of painted panels and lights disguises the center pivot and power source. The entire carousel is sheltered under an octagonal metal post structure distinguished by a row of paired twelve-pane clerestory windows.  This carousel is amazing and it is definitely worth riding on, no matter what your age.

Kathy Kiefer