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Independent Contractor Pamela Davis - From Virginia Beach to Martha’s Vineyard

Hello readers.  Traveling has always been a passion of mine and I truly love a good road trip!!!  I recently returned from a journey that started in my hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina all the way to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.    

My first stop was a relaxing week on the majestic Virginia Beach.  The water was warm and the sand was hot!  After daily hours on the beach, I spent my evenings near the Neptune stature enjoying dinner on the Boardwalk and listening to live entertainment.

 
 

After a week in the sun, I traveled further North to The City of Brotherly Love…Philadelphia.  There I spent the weekend at the beautiful Sofitel Hotel.  The urban life forever brings about new and exciting things.  I shopped, ate, and explored the city’s hidden nooks and crannies. 


 

So now, I’ve had my ‘city fix’ and I’m on the road again.  This time I’m traveling to a place that’s publically known to be reserved for the refined and privileged…Martha’s Vineyard.  I drove my car onto the ferry at Woods Hole, Massachusetts and set off for a week of sightseeing, pampering, and just plain relaxing.  Martha’s Vineyard is one of the most beautiful places I’ve traveled to.   I stayed at the recently refurbished Nobnocket Boutique Inn; a house built in 1908 and turned into a luxury guesthouse.  I toured the different villages, shopped at unique stores and met the locals.  I was truly amazed by the history of and present life on this famed island. 

 


 

After a week on Martha’s Vineyard and it’s time to head back to North Carolina.  On my way back, I have to break up the long journey home.  I spent one night in Atlantic City…for rest and recuperation only.  The next morning I drove back to Virginia Beach to enjoy the sun for a few more days.  After three additional days on the beach, I headed back home.  My speedometer on the car calculated that I had driven approximately 2,538 miles.  WOW, what a trip!!! 

As an Independent Contractor for Jean Wells Travel, I plan and formulate my own journeys.   I avidly research for the best places to go, stay, and what to experience.  I can do the same for you.  If you need assistance deciding where to go, or you just need to book your trip, please call me at (336) 659-1160.  I love to travel and will use my extensive travel experience and professional knowledge to make sure your travels are as rewarding as mine. 

“Make the World Your Playground” - Pam

 

Hi Jean!

I wanted to let you know we had a phenomenal time on our group trip. Thank you for all of your efforts and coordinating everything! As promised, attached are some photos! Things we loved: The food was wonderful Great service and people BEAUTIFUL grounds and wildlife all around us!

Thanks again!

JWT introduces Seth Martin in Reykjavik, Iceland. When he came to my office and we started talking about Iceland, he said he wanted to go to this country by himself as he knew exactly what he wanted to do, and indeed he did. With a flight from RDU, and car rental upon arrival, he began to explore this beautiful country and did all the things he wanted to do. Read his commentary; enjoy his pictures, and you will feel as if you were in Iceland enjoying it all. Thanks, Seth, for sending this to me. Warmest regards, Jean

The land of fire and ice.  This is the best way to describe the unique experience that is Iceland.  This beautiful country is loaded with breathtaking landscapes. 

It’s no wonder that the hit show “Game of Thrones” shoots in many parts of Iceland, where you can soak in nature in the rawest form.  Iceland is sparsely populated, with the total number of citizens just over 320,000 people.  Most of these are concentrated in the capital of Reykjavík.

One of the highlights of Reykjavík is Hallgrímskirkja.  The unique design of this church was inspired by the natural basalt rock formations that are created by the cooling of lava flows from volcanic eruptions.              

For me one of the joys of Iceland was driving down the scenic highways and taking in the extreme changes in the terrain. 

 

Just a short distance encountering a mountain, I would often drive up on a beach of black sand!

I thoroughly enjoyed strapping a pair of crampons on my feet and hiking the glacier Svínafellsjökull.

One of the most memorable scenes in Iceland was the glacier lagoon, where the glacier meets the sea and breaks off into the water and melts before drifting out to the sea.

The tides of the ocean take the smaller chunks of ice and wash them back up on the shore at Diamond Beach.

Another stunning phenomenon in Iceland were the Northern Lights. 

The waterfalls in Iceland were amazing!

One of the most unusual, unique and awesome experiences I have ever had was hiking up into the mountains almost 2 miles to a thermal river heated by a mostly dormant volcano.

The most surreal memory of the trip for me was sitting in the water that was almost 110° F while a snowstorm came in and my ears began to get cold while the rest of me was relaxed and comfortable!  I have never experienced such an intense and invigorating cold as when I exited the river and had to dry off and change back into my hiking gear.  Highly recommended!

 

The snowstorm continued as I descended the mountain.

I would like to take this opportunity to flex my gratitude muscles and thank Jean Wells for making this trip possible.  Anyone looking for an adventure should check out Iceland!

Two of my clients, Edward and Sonya Baskin, who just happen to be my nephew and niece, took an awesome getaway to the lovely Dominican Republic.  It was such an honor planning this trip for them.   When you read their commentary and see their beautiful pictures, you will want to make this your next stop! 
Pamela Davis  336 659-1160

We just got back from a fabulous trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, where we stayed at the Alsol Luxury Village Resort in the Cap Cana area, an upscale and private resort community. Our suite overlooked the marina where many beautiful multi million-dollar yachts were docked.  In addition to feeling like the "rich and famous,"  we spent our week strolling on the white sands of Juanillo Beach, dining on mouth watering fresh red snapper, para-sailing in the bluest skies and sipping on the local favorite,”Mamajuana”. 

Pamela Davis, our travel agent at Jean Wells Travel, set everything up for us. We gave her our budget and where we wanted to travel. She sent us several resorts to compare and made a final decision on which one to book.   Needless to say, she handled the rest. She booked our flights, reserved our suite at the resort and scheduled our transportation to and from the resort. I can honestly say she made our arrangements as if she was making them for herself. The flight seating arrangements, the upgraded suite and reliable local transportation,  were perfect!  She was also very informative of the “small” things occasional travelers might not be aware of such as the cash only tourist fees and currency exchange procedures.  She provided excellent tips on how to prepare our identification while we were on our excursions. She made herself very accessible during the entire process. We had a discussion a few days before our trip and a follow-up conversation after the trip.

We could not have asked for a better travel experience. It was a trip of a lifetime!

 

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed putting together this package for Stephen & Feben.  They wanted to go somewhere "exotic" and I was so excited to do the research. I learn something new every time I work with a client and that's what makes my job so interesting.  Go on this journey with them through their commentary and beautiful  pictures! Warm Regards, Pam *3363911010

My wife and I chose to skip out on Thanksgiving and take a much needed vacation to the Canary Islands!  At first, we had no clue where in the world these islands were located as the destination idea came from a friend.  Part of Spain, the Canary Islands, consists of seven main islands and is an archipelago located about 60 miles east of Morocco.

Pamela orchestrated our trip including housing and travel to Tenerife (the main island of the Canary Islands). This location is typically an European destination therefore there are no direct flights from the States but this worked to our advantage because it meant most of the guests were not American and my wife and I got exposure to many different cultures all at the same time.

We stayed at the Roca Nivaria, a 5-star all-inclusive resort in the Tenerife South region.  Meals were included along with one-time access to the spa, sporting facilities and nightly entertainment.

However the best part of Tenerife were the attractions that it had to offer.  The main roads were well-maintained (I would dare to say better than the USA) and people drive on the right side of the road like we do so we felt bold enough to rent a car for a few days.  With the car we traveled all over the island.  We got lost twice in Santa Cruz (capital city of the Canary Islands) and visited the world’s second greatest zoo, Loro Parque (Parrot Park). We fought for parking to hike around the largest volcano in Spain, Teide and shopped for souvenirs and some sightseeing at the shopping center of Playa Fañabe (Fañabe Beach).

We also traveled to one of the other islands via a ferry, La Gomera.  This island’s call to fame is due to the fact that Christopher Columbus used it as a docking port for his conquest/discovery voyages to the Americas.  Here we took a long bus tour, making multiple scenic stops along the way.  We also got a demonstration of the native whistling language of this island after our lunch meal.  During the demonstration, I was volunteered to relinquish my coat to a stranger as I watched a man whistle instructions to another woman to both retrieve and return my coat to me.

The next day, we had a layover in Madrid, Spain before returning to the States.  There we got to explore several different landmarks like Madrid’s modern art museum, Reina Sofía (Queen Sofia).  We also visited Plaza Mayor with its market style boutiques and European style shops along the streets.  In the same vicinity, we got to visit the oldest restaurant in Europe, Botin.

For us this trip was phenomenal!  It was our first trip to a European country.  The weather in the Canary Islands was perfect, not too hot or cold and sunny about 90% of the time.  However, Madrid’s weather reminded me of Seattle, but it was probably just the time of the year that we visited (end of November).  Next we plan to experience the beauty of Italy and we will definitely be using Pamela’s services again!

Stephen & Feben Mobley


Hello, my dear travelin' friends! 

How I wish all of you could have been with us for this MOST interesting trip we took Oct. 27 returning Nov. 3.  Some of the travelers wanted to share comments and pictures and you will enjoy these. Since Fidel Castro died, many segments have been on television and it was incredible seeing so many of the exact locations where we were; this is one trip we will never forget.
Once again, our leaders, Mike Micheli and Mily, were extraordinary assisting us with the Cuban culture, the food, the beautiful countryside locations-- we LOVED it all. We cannot thank this travel team enough for all they did for us-- maybe they will come to "our neck of the woods" one day and we can return the favor.
Enjoy this Part II of the Cuba trip-- Jean and Tim

Cuba notes Sharon:
What a great way to celebrate my birthday.
Jose Fuster, called the Picasso of the Caribbean creates a beautiful, colorful, tile neighborhood.
The visit to the school was a highlight. It was so great to bring them much needed supplies. They drew us pictures. So precious!
The chicken with the fork symbolizes people leaving Cuba to search for a better life!
Gotta love those cars brought over by the mafia. What a ride!
Two lectures by professors enlightened us. They were open and answered our questions.
The Peter Pan Operation was a mission to bring Cuban children to the US in the early 60s to keep them from Castro’s influence. Over 14,000 came in the dead of night. They were scattered all over the country. Years later most were reunited with family.
The people were as warm as the weather! They love their country. They are so proud as they attempt to enter the 21st century. Great trip, great group.
Sharon Dunnagan

 

When my husband said that he wanted to visit Cuba, I asked him "Why Cuba?"  He responded that he wanted to see the country now, because it is a country in transition.  We learned that there are many more reasons to visit Cuba.  Our tour guide gave us an experience that we could not do on our own.   We were awed by the warmth of the people, the 1950's cars, the cabaret show and 2 lectures from university professors on the history of Cuba. A special treat was visiting an elementary school. It made us realize that children are the same everywhere; very warm and welcoming. They were very proud of their artwork that they gave us.
Nancy and John

My trip to Cuba was a really exciting experience. My favorite part of the trip was visiting the school and interacting with the students. Being able to hear two professors talk to us in an informal way about Cuba was a real educational experience.
I was impressed with the people. They were so friendly to us everywhere we went. I felt safe even in areas that did not look so good.
The scenery as we drove down the highway was magnificent from the mountains to the sea. We were exposed to so many different parts of Cuba—tobacco farm, rum factory, a boat ride in a cave, organic farm, Trinidad, second oldest city in Cuba.
This was a well organized tour. The leader knew so much about Cuba and was able to adjust to changes that popped up. If something was closed something else was substituted right away.
I would highly recommend this trip.
Hilda Cox

Oz and I were so pleased with all of the Cuban experience and we owe that to the dedication of Mike and Mily in providing us with such a well planned tour  which was both fun and educational.  One outstanding highlight was staying in the casas and interacting with our hosts. 
Oz and Pat Mauck

Hello, Hello, my travelin' friends! We are so pleased to present this extraordinary country that we visited October 27 and returned November 3.

Part I(Part 2 will follow in a few days;  there was so much to see and do, we all had a lot to say.)

Cuba was AWESOME; I seem to be using this word a lot, but it is the BEST word to use.  This country has been on our "top travel list" for several years, and it was exciting when we connected with Mike Micheli, from San Diego, and his extraordinary expertise.

On Oct. 26 our lovely group flew from Greensboro to Miami-- met Mike at the airport-- spent the night-- got up @3am in preparation for a gathering in the lobby @4am.  We met Mike who took us for our charter departure; we were excited!  We were going to Cuba; we had many forms to fill out before departure, and we all scrambled to get this done.  Soon we were boarding the plane with much anticipation.

On Oct. 27 we arrived in Havana!  We began our exploration of this very beautiful island nation, only 90 miles south of the Florida Keys.  Mike, Mily--Head Tour Leader, Reynaldo--Coach Driver, Manuel-- Tour Leader, and our group boarded a comfortable mini bus and we started our tour of the 4 Plazas in Old Havana.  Immediately we were drawn to the hundreds of 1950 American cars-- ’54 Fords-- ’57 Chevy's-- old Buicks; they were everywhere; it was like stepping back 60 years.  We loved it!!  We both love cars, so this was a pure delight.  A lack of spare parts for the cars can make for some interesting modifications.

We stayed 5 nights on the Malecon, or waterfront, with a lovely family.   Our lodging was a 14 story high rise, with commanding views of the city skyline.  Our accommodations were very nice and we enjoyed this part of the trip very much, rather than staying in hotels.

Day 2 we were off to the mountains-- Cuban cigar country.  It was so interesting to watch the cigars being hand rolled.  We were shown the steps of a tobacco plantation operation. 

Fresh coffee beans were here also, and we all made many purchases.

At Virales we had a great lunch; this was an organic farm on a hilltop restaurant overlooking a beautiful valley. 

For another experience, Mily and Mike had arranged for 2 lectures by history professors from the University of Havana.  One Instructor spoke about the history of the American mafia during the 1950's—very, very interesting.  The lecture was given in the bar lounge of the famous Hotel Nationale.

We later toured downtown Havana and saw Sloppy Joe's Bar; this was one of the sites frequented by one of my favorite authors:  Ernest Hemingway.

The last 2 days we stayed in Ceinfuegos, a beautiful seaside city on the southern coast.  A trip to Trinidad, a 500-year-old unesco world heritage site was a highlight here at the end of the trip.

The Cuban people were very warm and friendly; we enjoyed so much interacting with them.  They were very welcoming to us, and hoped more Americans would come visit.

As said previously, Cuba was AWESOME!!  Tim and I loved it, and continue to talk about it every day.

*My most favorite moment was our visit to a children's school, where we visited a 4th grade class.  The beautiful children were thrilled to see us, and had prepared small colored pictures that they wanted us to have.  I went up and down the aisles and accepted their drawings and shook their hands.  After I returned home to Winston-Salem, I shared this visit with 2 of my Grand Girls, Gillian and Gabby; I also gave them 2 drawings each and re-told our visit with the Cuban children.  They were awe struck, and I hope they will put these drawings in a very safe place; what they have in their possession is very precious.  Excellent day!

*Tim's most favorite moment was when we rode in the back seat of a '56 gorgeous convertible while we were going to an evening event.  Another excellent evening!

A MAJOR BIG thank you to Mike Micheli, our fearless leader, and his extraordinary team.

Our trip was AWESOME, and the memories will last forever!!

Warmest regards, Jean and Tim
**If you are interested in traveling to Cuba, call me and I can assist. Keep those travelin' shoes ready!

 

My wife and I just returned from our second trip to Jamaica and it couldn't have been any better! We stayed eight nights at the beautiful Couples Negril resort on the west coast of Jamaica where we witnessed some of the most incredible sunsets anyone could ever see. This all-inclusive resort offered delicious gourmet food, unlimited drinks, fantastic entertainment day and night, all types of water sports, scuba, golf, tennis, etc. (all included).

We spent our days doing our favorite things...lounging on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and taking an occasional stroll down this magnificent stretch of sand along the Caribbean Sea where we mingled with locals offering everything from fresh cooked Caribbean lobster to any type of souvenir imaginable.

One highlight of our trip was a private boat cruise we took along the famous seven-mile beach in Negril with a couple stops along the way. On the first stop we got to snorkel into an ocean cave where we saw a vast array of underwater sea life, not to mention the bats inside the cave!

On our second stop we visited the legendary Rick's Cafe where we watched cliff divers jump from dizzying heights into the ocean. Can't wait to plan our next trip, and again, a big thanks to Jean Wells and her part in making it all happen!

Jean and Rick Hudspeth in Negril, Jamaica

 

What can I say about this fantastic destination? For starters, we enjoyed our time in paradise from the moment we set foot on the Majestic’s immaculate grounds. Amazingly, it seemed as if every day was sunny and clear! The staff was friendly and helpful and the pools were always the perfect temperature! To top it all off the beaches were easily accessible and the best way to spend an afternoon.

Whether in the air or underwater we were constantly entertained with laughter and delight. There was always something to do and something to see. The shows, luau, beach parties and street-markets were an exhilarating way to fill our sizzling summer nights.

If the Majestic wasn’t spectacular enough the excursions made it even better. Our dune buggy adventure took us everywhere from local coffee houses, to exotic beaches and underground pools. We walked on the bottom of the bay and swam with the sharks on our Seaquarium tour  and then lounged the day away at beautiful Saona Island. When we returned to the room for our anniversary we had a private dinner planned and rose petals welcoming us home. The complimentary champagne and cake made our 9th anniversary extra special! What a classy way to start another year of love!

As I close, I would like to say that I highly recommend the Majestic to anyone looking to wade in natural pools and play with starfish or ride on catamarans. Yes, there is such a thing as paradise on Earth people, and it’s right here at the Majestic Colonial Resort in Punta Cana!

Thanks, Belinda and Forrest;  so very glad you had such a wonderful time!!

 

 

Hello, my dear traveling friends--

What an absolutely fabulous 4 days we had in New York City August 4-7, 2016. This was a birthday gift from Tim and, I think we did it all!!

When one is in this awesome City, where does one begin? I have been here many many times, and each time I'm here I always feel like it is the first time I have visited; there is always so much to see and so much to do. My MOST FAVORITE thing to do here is a Broadway Show, and we chose "Kinky Boots" at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre; the actors had all of us in the palm of their hands the first few minutes, and the Play was BEYOND FABULOUS!! It was truly wonderful and fun, and we knew we were in New York City.

We loved it all and we did as much as we possibly could; it was fun returning to the Frick Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, South Street Seaport (which had been greatly damaged by Hurricane Sandy and still not completely refurbished), a carriage ride through Central Park, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, and, SO MUCH MORE! I have always loved NY and will want to return again and again. One of my MOST favorite stops was Serendipity-- the BEST place to have lunch and dessert, with their "BEYOND FABULOUS" cold hot chocolate drink, and their "to die for" hot fudge sundae where the fudge sauce is dripping over the dish-- unbelievably delicious! It is worth a trip to NY just to have this experience.

Tim's comments: August is a good month to visit the Big Apple; we had great weather and the view from the 27th floor of our hotel, the Novotel, was stunning. Jean and I had planned a fun itinerary to follow for this 4 day long week-end. My favorite stops included the Museum of Modern Art and the Frick Collection. In the MOMA there was "Starry Night" and in the same room Henri Rousseau's "The Sleeping Gypsy" --WOW!! Piccaso--Matisse--Chagall--what more could you ask for? We took a carriage ride through Central Park--BEAUTIFUL! Later we made our way down to the World Trade Center Tower, the 9/11 Memorial is something that every American needs to see and the fountains with the names of all the 9/11 victims made me reflect of where we were on 9/11, and the great loss of life our nation endured. Jean and I cannot wait to return!

Ditto from me on everything Tim said; and, all I can add is, What about next year's birthday gift, Honey? This one was mighty fine. :-)

Travel is a great and wonderful gift; call if I may further assist with any of your travel needs or pleasures--

Warmest regards,
Jean and Tim

 

Hello my travelin' friends, I loved receiving this commentary from Lester and Gail Morris as I knew they would "fall in love" with this beautiful Viking Cruise:  The Rhine, Swiss Alps & Amsterdam.

THE ROMANTIC RHINE...SWITZERLAND, GERMANY, FRANCE, AND THE NETHERLANDS

Our recent Rhine  River cruise couldn't have been more wonderful!!!   We enjoyed Switzerland...Bern, a trip to the Jungfraujoch (top of the Alps),  gorgeous Lucerne with its beautiful lake encircled by snow covered mountains!   I was in "art sketch" heaven! 

Our excursion to Stuttgart was most memorable. Lester was very excited about visiting the Porsche Museum, and I enjoyed the indoor and outdoor marketplaces! Lots of great people watching! 

Docking in Rudesheim was delightful!   While I stayed aboard on the ship deck sketching, Lester took a walk through the town. 

Cruising up the Middle Rhine on the gorgeous ship, the MS Grace..castles dotting the landscape, beautiful little villages all along the way. One of the highlights was dinner at Ehreshoven Castle, Linz, Germany.   It is a beautiful castle sitting amongst 3,000 acres of rolling hillside. A four-string quartet welcomed us in the courtyard. Very romantic!! 

Our day in Colmar, France, in the Alsace region was lovely.  Colmar is a delightful old world village with a little canal threading through it.  It is sometimes called Little Venice.  We enjoyed a wonderful lunch of local cheeses, charcuterie, and Alsatian wine! 

Cologne was a beautiful city. The Cathedral is magnificent as was our tour of the Roman-Germanic Museum,  where we viewed Roman artifacts from the Roman settlement on which Cologne is built. 

The Netherlands are breathtaking...Dordrecht, lunch at a Dutch cheese farm, windmills in Kinderdijk, ending in Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum was incredible as was the canal cruise with coffees and Danish!! 

To sum it up, we had a fantastic trip, not one negative event occurred.  Jean Wells is the best!!! 

"The time to enjoy a European trip is about three weeks after unpacking!"...George Ade, Forty Modern Fables. 

 

We LOVE LOVE LOVE working with honeymoon couples;  call any of the JWT Independent Contractors and they will be able to assist with great ideas and work within your budget! -Jean

The water was breathtaking, from the moment when we flew over the water and landed; it was the bluest water we had ever seen. On our first day on the beach, we were in the water up to our heads, and I could still see my toenail polish at the bottom of the ocean. It almost felt like a big swimming pool. Every staff member we encountered was incredibly sweet, helpful and polite.  We were amazed by how good the food was— at every single meal; the food was wonderful and there were plenty of options. We also enjoyed the water bikes, which were a bit of a work out, but we didn’t mind; after all of the food we were eating! We had a couples' massage done that was incredible.

We also played pool at The Cricketer and enjoyed meeting new friends that we have kept in touch with. Overall, it was the most beautiful place my husband and I had ever seen and we were so impressed by the level of customer service every employee at the resort exemplified. We can’t wait to go back to Turks!

Alex and Logan Jarrell

Good friends, Diane and Paul, did indeed go on a "trip of a lifetime!" They thoroughly enjoyed this Viking Star Cruise as they visited several countries in April. You will enjoy their commentary and their pictures; if you have not had a Viking Ocean Cruise experience, OR a riverboat cruise experience, call me soon and I'll talk to you about all the amenities they have to offer. It is a wonderful way to see a "portion of our awesome world." There are brochures in the JWT office that you can pick up, take home, and find the perfect trip for you!

With lingering memories of our previous Viking cruise on the Danube River, we decided to have a second adventure—this time on the Mediterranean Sea.  The ocean cruise ship, the Viking Star, was a beauty and many times larger than the river cruise ship.  It was obvious that great attention had been given to all aspects of the ship’s spacious design, including its impressive art collection.  We spent nearly two weeks on the Star with only one full day at sea.  Our odyssey took us to six countries (seven if you count the Vatican!).  As in our previous experience, the service was superb, the food delicious, and the atmosphere open and friendly.  We renewed our friendship with a delightful Scottish couple we had met on our river cruise and met other interesting people as well.

The first port-of-call was Venice, and on our own we explored the narrow streets by foot and the quiet canals by gondola before we boarded the ship.  Venice is enchanting and unique—no cars, trucks or bikes allowed, with all travel by boat or foot.  After a well-informed guided tour our second day in Venice, we sailed on to Split, Croatia.

Near Split, we enjoyed a motor boat cruise down the scenic Cetina River, stopping along the riverside at a charming restaurant offering regional refreshments and lively music.  The next day in medieval Dubrovnik, we walked around the top of the ancient castle wall, which surrounded the entirety of the city.  Before rounding the tip of Italy through the Strait of Messina, we savored the quaintness of Corfu, Greece, and enjoyed shopping along its narrow streets.

While we were in Naples, we opted to board a bus in order to explore the ruins of Pompeii, followed by a trip to the beautiful Sorrento peninsula.  Rome was also a highlight, and we marveled at seeing the Coliseum, the newly restored Trevi Fountain, as well as St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. After Rome, we anchored in Livorno and took in the Tuscany sights of both Florence and Pisa in a single day.

When we disembarked to see the beauty of Monaco, we spent all morning touring the medieval quarter of Monaco known as “The Rock,” and all afternoon experiencing the charm of nearby Nice.  There we took a small train through Old Town and then up a scenic mountain above Nice to the Parc de Chateau with its unforgettable view of this French Riviera city.  The next day in Toulon, France, we were excited to visit the colorful Provencal market in the morning and tour the city and harbor in the afternoon.

Our last port-of-call was Barcelona, Spain.  We loved the architectural beauty and pristine cleanliness of Barcelona.  Music echoed in the streets creating a festive, lighthearted atmosphere.  Beyond Barcelona, we took time to travel by train to the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey, Catalonia’s most cherished place of pilgrimage.  Riding up the steep mountain to get there was exciting in itself, and the views were spectacular.

At each port, most of our days were long, as we attempted to visit every site we could.  Some difficult choices had to be made, since there was simply not enough time to see all we wanted to see.  The Viking Star itself was a masterpiece, and we would have delighted in more time to enjoy the different areas of this luxurious ship.  Still, the convenience of unpacking and repacking only once; the relief of having most of the sailing time occur at night while we were asleep; the fellowship and camaraderie onboard; and the great gift of exploring places we have only dreamed about, made this Mediterranean Odyssey one of our best travel experiences.  We give it a thumbs up!

Diane and Paul

Commentary from Jim Parks as he and his wife enjoyed their family in Punta Cana.

 The resort was beautiful and service was excellent; the beach was lovely, and the spa was a delight.  We enjoyed so much the opportunity to all be together!
Thanks--Jim


Hello, my travelin' friends,

And, yet again, another visit to our favorite island in the Caribbean, St. John.  Tim and I visited January 8 - 16, and had such a wonderful week!  We stayed in the home of Tim's college roommate, Nelson, where there were four bedrooms (all King accommodations) and five bathrooms, pool and hot tub--  GORGEOUS!  We enjoyed every moment of every day, and were very sad when it was time to leave.

Few places exemplify a casual island attitude better than this island.  St. John is a unique combination of basking in the sun and dancing in the sand;  known as Love City, Cruz Bay is the center of all activity here.  Just a quick 20 minute ride from Red Hook, St. Thomas, hourly ferries make a day trip easy and convenient.

As you disembark the ferry, your first stop will be the park that serves as the center of the town, directly across from the dock. There are often arts and craft vendors set up throughout the park where one can pick up island trinkets and homemade hot sauces.  To the right of the park are Wharfside Village and the Galleria Beach Shops, a colorful collection of boutiques, jewelers and cafes overlooking the beach.  The street loops around to more unique shops and restaurants at Raintree Court and Lemon Tree Mall, ending back at the park.  Be sure to notice the historic Nazareth Lutheran Church, established in the 1720 and still in use today.

Behind the park, follow the road north to the shops at the Lumberyard and the popular Mongoose Junction, a lovely labyrinth of boutiques, galleries and eateries in a peaceful garden setting. Across from Mongoose Junction is the National Park Visitor's Center, the entrance to the Virgin Islands National Park.  Here you can pick up free hiking maps or sign up for one of many guided nature tours and activities.

Other St. John Points of Interest
Elaine Ione Sprauve Library and Museum
*A restored plantation home just outside Cruz Bay exhibits photograpsh, documents and artifacts from the Indian and colonial eras.
Catherineberg Ruins
*The historic ruins, featuring a sugar factory, rum still, stone warehouse and restored windmill, were originally built in 1718.
Bordeaux Mountain
*St. John's highest point offers a stunning panoramic view.
Fredriksdal Ruins
*The 18th century ruins include the remains of an estate house, including an oven, a well, a horse mill and more.
Annaberg School
*One of the Caribbean's oldest public school houses was built in 1856.
Coral Bay
*This small community is the East End's boating center.
Old Danish Road
*This cleared section of a colonial Danish road leads to an old stone bridge.
Peace Hill Ruins
*A 10 minute hike off Northshore Road, the old sugar mill tower sits on a grassy scenic overlook.
Tektite Underwater Habitat Museum
*Project Tektite at Lameshur Bay was an underwater habitat research project conducted by NASA in 1969 and 1970.

And, of course, there is soooooooo much more to do and see;  we especially enjoyed driving around the island and enjoyed its beauty.   Nelson was our personal guide on several occasions, and we can't thank him enough for his generosity in spending so much time with us.  There were free-roaming donkeys that would come up to your car and visit, and of course there were excellent restaurants/eateries that we thoroughly enjoyed.  However, we probably enjoyed doing most of our cooking inside the beautiful home;  we loved shopping the markets and bringing home "fresh everything."  We loved swimming in the pool every day, and simply enjoyed "just being there."

One of our favorite stops was visiting artist Elaine Estern in her Coconut Coast Studios;  I had purchased one of her pieces several years ago, and visiting with her again was lovely.  Another favorite stop was visiting artist Aimee Trayser at her home;  I had purchased one of her pieces several years ago and purchased another on this trip--  loved spending a couple of hours with her as we saw her newest pieces.  St. John has many many artists and artist/potters who love here.  My favorite artist/potter was Donald Schnell-- purchased many of his pieces as well.  LOVE LOVE LOVE the cultural side of this island.

If you are interested in visiting St. John, Nelson's home is available to rent, or if you are wanting a resort, I would recommend The Westin or Caneel Bay;  just give me an call and I will assist with your plans.  If you are wanting to visit an island that is off the beaten track, St. John is an excellent choice.


What an indeed pleasure this was to assist Pam Johnson as she wanted to take this "trip of a lifetime!!"  We spent several weeks working out the details as this was a MAJOR undertaking, on her part, and mine.  She had so many dreams and  I wanted to be certain each dream became a reality, so the research began and went on and on and on, until the itinerary was ready to send her;  a BIG "thank you" to Sky Bird  Travel and Sky Vacations, one of the vendors that JWT enjoys working with--  they really got all the details "just right!"
Jean

Dear Jean,               

Thank you again for putting together such a wonderful trip for me.   Everyone - - from the folks at the  hotels, private drivers,  tour guides,  were all professional as well as knowledgeable and friendly,  and very easy to be with! 
 
The Queen Mary 2 was such a treat.  Great food, friendly staff, beautiful ship, and really nice fellow travelers - - some were from the US, Canada, England, Scotland, Germany.  Very relaxing cruise!

Italy!  WOW!  What can anyone say, but beautiful!    Great food!   My driver for the Amalfi Coast was just great-- A very nice young man!   

India,  FANTASTIC!  Loved the spicy foods. The Taj Mahal - - Beautiful!   My tour guide there was simply the best!  The carpet I purchased in New Delhi will be here sometime around the first of December-- can't wait to see it!    The hotel in Ahmednagar where I stayed for a week  took me in like their grandmother which made the visit extra special.    The sites, sounds, smells, the food, the people!!!!!!!! Loved all of it soooooooo much!!

Sincerely,

Pam    

               

Hello, my travelin' friends!  Enjoyed SO MUCH working with Rick Hudspeth as he planned a Jamaica trip for him and his wife;  the really really fun part of this was his wife knew they were going to Jamaica;  however, she was in for a REAL SURPRISE!!  Rick decided to book the beautiful Couples San Souci;  however, as a surprise for his wife he upgraded to the Hibiscus Cottage, planned a renewal of their vows on the beach, and planned to give her a gorgeous new diamond ring.  Mission accomplished!!
Thanks,
Jean

First, a big thanks to Jean Wells and her assistance in not only planning a spectacular vacation for my wife and me, but also a surprise 30th anniversary wedding vow renewal for us.

We enjoyed an incredible week at the Couples Sans Souci Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The staff there treated us like royalty; the accommodations were very nice, the food was amazing, and the nightly entertainment there was second to none. We enjoyed some of the water sports (all included), a romantic, private candle-lit dinner by the sea, and a couple’s massage at the Oasis Spa on site. Our ceremony was really special and also included!

In short, I have nothing negative to say about this resort, only the contrary; this place was awesome! The resort had much to offer as far as activities and excursions but we were content to just relax most of the time. We only took one day trip to do the Dunn's River Falls hike. I don't mean to sound like an advertisement for Couples Resorts, but we really enjoyed it that much! I would recommend Jamaica to anyone thinking of a Caribbean vacation and highly recommend Couples Sans Souci with all they have to offer. The resort itself is spread out over a beautiful, lush, tropicalgarden paradise, as you can get a glimpse of from some of the pictures. We enjoyed this trip so much that we fully intend on returning and will absolutely book with Jean Wells Travel again!

Rick

Hello Everyone, This, indeed, was a BEYOND FABULOUS trip to Ireland;  it has been on our "wish list" for several years now, and we truly enjoyed every moment of every day!! We adored visiting the small towns and villages that we knew nothing about, and visiting a few that we knew "a bit about."  Loved ALL of them:  Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Kinsale, Conakilty, Skibbereeen, Bantry, Glengarriff, Kenmare, Killarney, Dingle, Cashel . . . WE LOVED IT ALL!!  No complaints.  Our Driver/Guide EXTRAORDAIRE, Dermott Walsh, was the BEST!!
Enjoy,
Jean

Dublin to Cork, Cork to Killarney, Killarney to Galway, across Ireland we did go. The Ring Of Kerry will always be remembered as the most stunning and beautiful drive that we  have ever experienced. The Irish are a lovely friendly people who welcomed jean and me,  along with our  group of 11.  Dermott Walsh was a consummate tour guide and driver,very knowledgeable and passionate about the rich history of the Emerald isle.  Dermott also was very flexible to custom-fit our itinerary to the changes in the weather as well as to accommodate  individual interests: sheepherding, shopping, pubs, and the list goes on.   Ample time for shopping resulted in an uptick in the local economy;  we did our best! Accommodations were FABULOUS and comfortable,  and the food was delicious.We could not get enough of their superb seafood chowders, fish and chips,  and great desserts. If Ireland is on your bucketlist we suggest doing a similar tour of the south.

Although October is close to the end of the tourist season, it is a great time to hop on a  12 passenger executive coach with leather seats, and take to the wild and winding backroads of this most beautiful and scenic land.
Loved it!!
Jean and Tim

Jean, It was so very special and sweetly personal to experience Southern Intimate Ireland with our small group as we traveled in comfort around the lovely countryside. My mind is full of vivid memories of the patchwork countryside dotted with sheep and cows, stone walls, old ruins, lively pubs, tidy towns and quaint shops. With our fine Irish gentleman of a guide we were treated to the best driver, historian, humorist, and friend who shared his country with us in a most informative and entertaining way. And our lodgings were just lovely . I only wish we could have had more time to relax and enjoy some of their amenities. Thank you for offering such a fine trip that truly gave a wonderful Irish experience. I'll always cherish these memories.
Love, Judie

What a glorious visit to one of the most beautiful, friendly, history-laden places on the globe.  All that, and yet somehow innocent and Eden-like.  A trip really tailored, while travelling, by Jean and our marvelous guide.  From Grafton Street street-bands in Dublin to a sheep farm to castle to monastery to shopping finds to pubs -- we had it all.  The accommodations were lovely and wonderfully located.  The food great.  Even ice cream stops.  Our driver/guide/history- mentor was  charming,  and our fellow travelers so much fun .  Truly!!!  Robin

Enjoy the pictures that Mr. and Mrs. Sherayko sent to Pam Davis, Indep. Contractor with JWT, of their recent trip to Belgium, France, and The Netherlands.  Do call Pam for any future travel needs or pleasures!!
Jean

I’d like to introduce you to Mr. & Mrs. Sherayko.  This amazing couple went to England with their choir to perform and decided to make it an ‘excursion’!  I primarily worked with Mrs. Sherayko and I felt as if I was going on the excursion with them!  She was warm and kind and knew exactly what she and her husband wanted. I hope you enjoy her commentary and pictures from this wonderful European journey.  
Pam

On the whole, the hotels were all excellent.The one in Rouen was very much the type of European hotel we love!  It was in a great location, very near the Cathedral and there was a public parking lot  nearby. The hotel in Amsterdam was great. The location was wonderful - just about a half block to the tram stop, the Rijks Museum about a block and the Van Gogh Museum just beyond that. In the other direction was a city square (Leidensplein) that had lots of restaurants, small shops, & movie theaters. 

We certainly appreciated your help,  and it's possible that we'll go on a long trip again. If so, I'll be sure to call you. Thanks again.

We had a great time and all went well.

Sincerely
Carolyn

It is with great pleasure that we feature Katrina and George Kirkley in this newsletter as they went to Ocho Rios, along with many of their friends and family, for a GORGEOUS wedding on the beach.  I started working with Katrina back in Apri,l and she had so many wonderful ideas about what she and George wanted to do, and last month, their dream came true.
Jean


Hi Jean, As promised I'm sending you a description of our nuptials in Ohco Rios, Jamaica.  If  I had to describe the trip in words,  it would be something I learned that the beautiful people of Jamaica used the whole time we were there,  and that was "One Love."

We felt loved throughout the whole trip from the time it started until the time it ended, and that was something we didn't want the trip to do, "was end."   Ocho Rios,  Jamacia was amazing!  From the swaying palm trees to crystal blue waters, evening sunsets and "oh, our beautiful wedding on the beach." To us,  it was unforgettable. 

We would like to thank you for making our arrangements for this absolutely dream come trip possible.  Jean, you are the best!

Katrina and George

For two years now I've had the pleasure of assisting Mark and Courtney Guido with their travel plans. They are a lovely couple and just recently celebrated their 1st year wedding anniversary in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. They went to Italy in August 2014 on their honeymoon. It was such a joy working with these two and making sure everything was exactly as they expected. I know you'll enjoy reading this commentary of their experiences. "Make the World Your Playground" Warm regards, Pamela L. Davis

My husband and I have booked two trips with Jean Wells Travel.  We used Pam Davis as our travel agent.  She is WONDERFUL!  She planed our honeymoon and our 1 year anniversary trip.  We went to Italy for our honeymoon last year and we went to the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana for our first anniversary.   

 

Italy was amazing! We spent a lot of time in Rome, but we also went to Tesstacio, Capri, Venice, Sperlonga and Pisa.  My husband is a big history buff and couldn’t get enough of Rome. The history and beauty was breathtaking.  The food was to die for!  Pam hooked us up with a lot of great tours, but also arranged for several days on our own.  We also did a food tour in Tesstacio with is a MUST DO! You get an English speaking guide who takes you to all the authentic places to eat and talks about the Italian food culture.  Capri was great and the Lemoncello that is made from the lemon trees on Capri was excellent.  Pisa is a great little Italian town that is known for the Leaning Tower of Pisa which was worth the train ride to see!  Sperlonga is a great place to go if you want a beach day and have the opportunity to swim in the Mediterranean Sea. Venice is the most romantic place in the world.  Pam arranged for a serenade gondola ride which was a great way to end our honeymoon. 

 

 

The Dominican Republic was very relaxing! Pam set us up with an all-inclusive five star resort (Melia Caribe Tropical- The Level).  It was an adult only resort with beach access and VIP services.  They offer some free water sports and some motorized water sports (additional charge).  There were around 10 different restaurants to choose from.  There are specialty restaurants and buffets. We had fresh bath towels twice a day and turn down services with chocolate on the beds every night.  They even gave us a complimentary Rum bottle for our anniversary.  The resort was also a wildlife refuge so we got to see a lot of different types of wildlife.

 

 

We had a great time on both of our trips! We will continue to use Pam Davis with Jean Wells Travel for our next trip!  She made the experiences stress free and was always available to answer any questions even when we were on the trips. 


Thanks so much,
Courtney and Mark
 

The Hartley Hawaii Trip

It was an amazing week. The travel and transitions went smoothly and we appreciate all Jean did to help us plan for the trip.


Honolulu -
Our first few days were spent acclimating to the time change,learning about all the culture that is so rich in Hawaii, and visiting a site that has held a lifelong interest to multiple members of our family. The City Tour and visit to Pearl Harbor were great.  It is always fun to know about the history and nuances of the city you are visiting, especially when they are so different from those to which you are accustomed. The City Tour took us to check out the Ioloani Palace and other current sites that were familiar due to many TV shows and movies using those sites for filming. The highlight for us that day was visiting Pearl Harbor.  It is an amazing
tribute to our country and those who served so bravely. The next day we got to see the other side of the island away from the city, and be totally immersed in the Polynesian Culture. Thanks for preparing us for a long day, but a good day.  We enjoyed the shows, the lessons, and the entertainment.  We were so impressed by the guide that we had that day. Cousin Mitch did a beautiful job. We would recommend that you pay the extra $25 that we did once arriving at the park to get the guide led ³pass² through the park.  With his help, we were able to see all the shows and presentations and even bypass some lines. It was a busy day capped off
with a good meal and great show. The dancer in our family even got in on the action.



Kauai -

The first thing we all realized quickly after arriving in Kauai is that one should never travel to Hawaii and only visit one island.  The difference in each place amazed us.  Kauai was a very laid back, friendly place and we took more time enjoy the beach and pool, as well as riding around the island to see the local culture. One of our mornings was spent visiting a local organic farm and chocolatier.  Island Chocolate Farm was an intense 3 hours of great information about organic farming and the process that it takes to make chocolate.  It¹s a great treat for chocolate lovers, but BE SURE to take your bug spray!!!!  The owners of the farm were happy to share all they knew and engaged the group¹s questions.  Eat breakfast, but be prepared to overindulge in chocolate samples enough that you may not need dessert the rest of the day. While traveling from one destination to another we found Spoutin  Horn and a Lighthouse.  We really enjoyed taking in the local sites and the spectacular views and wildlife, which include the wild chickens roaming everywhere on the island. One of the highlights of our time on Kauai was our Zip Lining Adventure.  This was the ultimate way of sightseeing the beautiful mountains and rain forest area of the island.  We were very well trained and taken care of so we could relax and enjoy the views as we zipped passed them high in the air.


Maui -

Another island hop confirmed to us that each island has its own identity. To where our destination in Oahu was more bustling city, and our destination in Kauai was more rural, Maui was the perfect mix of both. While in Maui we experienced the beauty of the Hawaiian sunset and their daily rainbows.  We missed out on the Mount Haleakala sunrise due to our tour being canceled because of the local roads being closed on the day of our scheduled tour, However, we spent the day paddleboarding at our resort.  While in Maui we experienced the best restaurants.  We highly recommend Lochi¹s in Wailaia, Fleetwood¹s on Front Street in Lahaina.  Fleetwood¹s is actually owned by Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac and has some fun memorabilia to take in.  Most of all, no visit to Maui would be complete without eating at ama¹s fish house.  The seafood was amazing and atmosphere was incomparable to anything your could experience in the states. Our final day before flying home we took in Mt. Haleakala by driving to the top on our own.  We found a driving tour app that was very informative and entertaining along the 22 switchbacks along the road. Words cannot express the amazing views of the island and craters below. There¹s something quite breathtaking about being above the clouds while
standing on the ground.


Our trip was amazing and full of fun adventures that will be cherished family memories.  Thanks for all you did to help us get it planned.

 




Laurie and Chris, Caroline and Taylor Ann

 

 

Hello, Hello, my travelin' friends,
It was, indeed, a privilege to assist my lovely cousin, Donna, her friend, Carolyn, and Carolyn's granddaughter, Jessica, as they planned this most special tour to Italy.
 

This was our first trip to Italy for all of us and we had such a great time! My friend Carloyn Peddycord’s granddaughter Jessica just graduated from Appalachian State University and they asked me to join them!
Upon our arrival into Rome, we were greeted by a representative from Collette Tours, who eased any concerns we had and led us to our bus that would take us to our hotel.
We had dinner with our tour mates and got to know several of them that first evening.

 

Starting the next morning, we would begin our whirlwind tour of Rome. We saw many beautiful and exquisite things, such as the Arch of Constantine, the Colosseum and visited the Vatican City. We had awesome tour guides all along the way, who gave us detailed history about each site that we visited.
   
After Rome, we traveled by bus to the birthplace of St. Francis, Assisi. This we would find, would be one of our favorite places where we had a walking tour of the old city, including a tour of the Basilica St. Francis as seen below.
                         
Our tour guide here was a wonderful and witty lady, who we loved to hear tell us about the history of this city. We had lunch on our own and actually ran into one of the shops where the store owner’s daughter attended Winston Salem School of the Arts and had NC license plates hanging from the ceiling. It was quite exciting to see a bit of home there. We sat and spoke for a while to this nice gentleman about his wines, balsamic vinaigrette and olive oils and he also let us sample some of these. Assisi is a beautiful, yet quaint little city that we immediately fell in love with.
   


We were sad to leave Assisi, but knew that we would be seeing additional beauty in Italy.                          

The next day we toured Sienna…another small town that we loved as well. We ate lunch at this small outdoor cafe. This café is right beside where they have their horse races, which Siena is well-known for.
 


The next day, we traveled to the famous city of Florence where we viewed Michelangelo’s incredible statue of David. Our tour guide told us intimate details of the creation of it. The architecture was beautiful with different colors of marble used.


                    

 One of our surprises was a stop at one of the local famed Tuscany wineries, which is also a privately owned 12th century castle who also made olive oils. We had lunch there and was able to also taste their local specialties and wines
                                   

          
We ended our day traveling to Venice where we walked to our hotel. The hotel where we stayed was in the heart of Venice and we enjoyed seeing the gondolas and the local produce and food being shipped in via boats. We took a boat ride over to the island of Murano, where we got an up-close look at the ancient art of glass making. We even had a demonstration where he actually made a glass sculpture of a horse in a matter of minutes.  There were beautiful pieces of work here and of course, we purchased a few momentoes and gifts.
                                   


Our tour came to a close in the city of Milan,  where we shopped for last minute gifts before our departure home the next day. We had a great time and lots of memories thanks to Jean Wells Travel and Collette Tours!

Hello, my travelin' friends! Enjoy this commentary by Kate and Trent Jernigan who went to Montego Bay, Jamaica, and enjoyed the Round Hill Hotel and villas; they were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary and both birthdays!!  A wonderful week of celebrations! Thanks so much, Kate and Trent, for getting this commentary to me and sharing your beautiful pictures!! '

It was amazing!  Round Hill was by far the most beautiful and private resort we have ever experienced. It is the ideal combination of perfected luxury, understated elegance, and utmost relaxation. The property is expansive and remote with every view facing the blue Jamaican water. The resort is quiet, staffed by exceptional people who cater to every need. We ate every meal outside from the shade in the morning to the magical lights at night. From day to evening the resort transforms itself in a truly magical way. In the morning the beach and water were our favorites. We would exercise in their newly re-modeled fitness facility or take a walk around the property and then find an area to relax. Trent preferred to snorkel every day. I enjoyed reading and finding sun and shade by the water with my book.

We were beyond impressed with the exceptional food. Whether it was chia seed green smoothie, a watermelon basil salad, a grilled grouper wrap, or the fresh snapper, all of the food was mouth watering delicious with lovely presentation. The accommodations are wonderful. The room in the Pineapple House was very clean with fresh, soothing decor. Our room opened onto a balacony which we kept open to enjoy the view and breeze. Trent and I had the most amazing trip. As a couple, it was exactly what we would wish for anyone who wants to escape to a beautiful, magical Carribean vacation. We are already eager to return for our 20th anniversary.  Until then, our pictures and memories will keep Round Hill fresh in our minds!

Kate and Trent Jernigan

Puerto Vallarta----  WOW!!  Read Lynda Needham's commentary and enjoy her pictures;  this is quite a treasure that we all enjoyed!! Call Lynda today for all your travel needs and pleasures--

336 354-2688

Puerto Vallarta is the best kept secret in Mexico! We had the opportunity to visit this idyllic resort town a few weeks ago. This was what we woke up to every single day while staying at Ocho Cascadas. What a break from the freezing cold we left behind in NC.

Ocho Cascadas is a collection of eight villas built on the side of a mountain. Each villa has an amazing view of the Bay of Banderas where some of our group saw dolphins and humpback whales with their young calves.

Our good friends Mike and Kevin Miller from Florence, SC were able to join us for this amazing vacation. One of our favorite parts of Puerto Vallarta was the historic district, quaint and full of history. Everyday we strolled down the Malecon, the half-mile promenade that lines the waterfront.

We enjoyed the many beachfront cafes offering a variety of cuisine, the open air sculptures and the occasional costumed locals!

We bought wonderful fruit in the Old Town Markets, strolled in the Romantic District, and saw a few well-known celebrities during our week. Of course we also purchased pottery and TShirts….seems to be a tradition with us when we travel to place we love!

Puerto Vallarta is home to the lovely Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish whose foundations were started in 1903 but the official start date of the church is 1921.The original design of the church indicated that it is a tribute to the original Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. In the church there is an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that people venerate, a 1945 oil replica by Ignacio Ramirez, an artist from Guadalajara.

One afternoon we ate lunch at El Set, a restaurant where "Night of the Iguana" starring Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr was filmed. Richard Burton brought his soon-to -be wife Elizabeth Taylor to the set. Not only was the food delicious, but our waiter Saul was so personable and entertaining. Kevin found a zumba partner!!!

As much as we enjoyed this beautiful town, enjoyed all the food, the shopping, the history, the friendly people, our very favorite place was our villa and our very favorite thing to do was to enjoy the warm sun and the beautiful view!!

We bid a very fond farewell to Puerto Vallarta, vowing to return in the very near future!

It's not too late to give me a call to plan your winter getaway!!!

By the way, I just checked…..right now it is 17 degrees in Winston-Salem with a forecast of snow and wintery miix in the next 24 hrs. Right now it is 81 degrees in Puerto Vallarta with a forecast of mid-80s the rest of the week. Sigh…….


What a joy it was for me to assist my very good friends Diane Holding and Paul Shepard on their first riverboat cruise:  Viking's Romantic Danube
And, what a pleasure it was for me to hear all the good comments from them upon their return.  Enjoy their commentary and pictures!! If you enjoy travel as much as we do, and you have not experienced a riverboat cruise, consider this form of travel in the near future.

Viking, AMAWaterways, Uniworld, Tauck riverboats, Avalon . . . they all do a tremendous job!!  And, it is the PERFECT way to travel!!  All of the excursions are included in the rate, and the ships hold about 200 passengers, give or take.   This is an absolutely beautiful way to travel and to see so much of Europe!!  And, you are un-packing one time.  If you have time to take advantage of the Pre and Post stays in the MOST beautiful cities, be sure and do so;  you are traveling a great distance and you might as well stay and enjoy it all!!

Jean

With our grown children scattered in all directions during the holiday season, we decided to have an adventure for just the two of us. We spent Christmas week on the Viking Idun as it made its way up the Danube. From Budapest to Nuremberg, we enjoyed the European scenery and sights, the delicious food and wine, and the delightful people along the way.
     How wonderful to be able to go to so many places and see so much without having to unpack but once! Life on the Viking ship was relaxed and friendly, and the service was excellent. We became quick friends with three other couples (one from Scotland, one from Maine, and one from Louisiana). Even now we continue to correspond with them.
     We landed in Budapest in the late afternoon and were welcomed by helpful Viking staff who guided us to our transport bus. By the time we arrived where our ship was docked, it was dark. Our ship was festooned with holiday lights, and the bridge and palace beyond were glowing in white, giving this section of the Danube a festive appearance.
     In beautiful Budapest we were impressed to see how quickly it had rebounded from its earlier domination by the Soviet Union. In Vienna we visited the Christmas market in this lovely city, followed by an evening concert in the Palais Auersperg featuring the music of Mozart and Strauss. On Christmas morning in Passau, we walked to St. Stephan’s Cathedral and listened to magnificent music provided by a German choir, stringed instruments, and the largest cathedral organ in the world. Snow greeted us as we toured medieval Regensburg, and we were thrilled to see the snow cover Nuremberg as we explored the city by way of a World War II historical tour. This fascinating tour ended in the Palace of Justice courtroom where the Nuremberg Trials were held.
     The Romantic Danube cruise was our first Viking cruise, but we do not want it to be our last. We have already booked our second Viking cruise, this time on the Mediterranean. And the Scottish couple that we met on the Danube cruise is going to join us there!

          DIANE HOLDING AND PAUL SHEPARD

We all LOVE Disney Good friend, Robin Voiers, invited her daughter and GrandGirls to join her in Disneyland  last month;  read Robin's commentary below and see what a WONDERFUL  time they had!!  Is there a better way to visit Disney than through the eyes of your precious little ones??  Probably not. 
Thanks, Robin, for sharing! -Jean

More fun than a barrel of Mickey Mouses!

We chose Disneyland because my grandgirls and family live in Oregon. Marc and Jean arranged everything -- flights from Oregon and North Carolina, hotel in the theme park , transportation, park passes -- everything. January temperatures were 65 to 78: very few lines for the rides. The Disneyland Hotel was a fantasy in itself -- shops, hot and cool pools, restaurants, lovely service, Disney characters in the lobby and strollways, and fireworks at night seen from our window. Disneyland Town is so clean, fun and beautiful -- Flowers everywhere, music and dancing in the streets! The rides were appropriate for our girls' ages -- and grandmother's, too.

Thank you for the time of our lives in the "Happiest Place on Earth"!

Robin Voiers, Ivy, Loren and Stella

 

We recently visited this beautiful country, featuring the Estoril Coast &  Azores.  Highlights included Lisbon, a fun Folkloric/Fado Dinner Show, the Portuguese Riviera, Fatima, Obidos, St. Michael Island- Azores, Ponta Delgada, Sete Cidades, Plantation Visits, Furnas Valley, a Cooking Class . . . and, SO MUCH MORE!!



Tim and I joined a group of about 25 Travel Professionals back in November visiting a country that we both were excited about;  as always there was so much to do and so much to see.  We quickly discovered the beauty  of Portugal's Riviera with visits to Sintra, Cascais, and Estoril.  We always fall in love with these small villages that we know so little about;  we enjoyed walking around and speaking to shop owners, eating delicious food, and of course purchasing hand made items.  As always I brought home some very stunning items.


Sintra was my personal favorite village . . . this was the summer residence of Portuguese kings for six centuries.

A tour of Lisbon featured the Moorish Alfama Quarter, Jeronimo's Monastery, the Monument to the Discoveries, and the Tower of Belem. Then, we were off to Portugal's "Silver Coast,"  a region of sleepy villages, rich vineyards and age-old castles.  We began in the pilgrimage town of Fatima and saw the famous Basilica.

On to St. Michael in the Azores, the largest of the nine volcanic islands that form the Azores archipelago.  Our walking tour of Ponta Delgada  featured the "Portas da Cidade,"  Saint Christ's Church, St. Sebastian Church with 17th century painted tiles, the Jesuit College and the seashore promenade.  Our day concluded with a magnificent view of the coastal village of Mosteiros.



We visited pineapple and tea plantations to learn about timeless methods of production.  In Furnas Valley we experienced a "cozido das furnas" lunch  with meat and vegetables stewed in the heat of the volcanic earth.  We strolled through the botanical garden of Terra Nostra Park, home to the world's largest collection of camellias.

We saw the fascinating landscape of Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake), a mystical lake surrounded by mountains.  We visited a studio where they were hand-painting ceramics;  we stopped at a family-owned distillery to taste some of the all-natural local liqueurs.  We went to the highest part of the island, scenic Nordeste, where we explored the natural beauty of Ribeira dos Caldeiroes Natural Park with its waterfalls, watermills and unique vegetation.  Our day ended in Provacao, home of the island's first settlement and oldest church.

My Oh My . . . what lovely memories we have of Portugal!!


Thanks--

Jean

Hello, Hello, my Travelin' Friends,
JWT Independent  Contractors Lynda and John Needham recently returned from their FABULOUS trip to Italy, my favorite country. Have I said that more than once over the years??

What an experience they had. . .Lynda is sharing her commentary and pictures with you;  if you have not been to Italy, put this one at the top of your list.  If you have been, you may want to go again to a different region.  I have been eight times now, and hope to visit another eight times!!  LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

Jean


Commentary from Lynda Needham:  336 354-2688

ITALIAN VISTA

John & I were so fortunate to escort a group to Italy in October as a part of a GLOBUS tour. This group was such a fun collection of people who became good friends during the week - we shared so many memories.

I have written this newsletter several times, however each version was too long! How do you describe such a wonderful vacation with so few words???? So I will just tease you with a few highlights & hope you will allow me to book a similar amazing experience for you in the near future.

The itinerary was perfect. We loved visiting all the sights in the major cities of Rome (the Vatican Museum, St. Peter’s Basilca, the Colosseum, The Roman Forum), Florence (the Academy of Fine Arts & Michelangelo’s David, Giotto’s Bell Tower, Signoria Square), Venice (St. Mark’s Square, Doges Palace, the Bridge of Sighs) and Milan (La Scala Opera House, the gothic Duomo, the glass-domed Galleria). My favorite city was Venice.

There is absolutely nothing better than to celebrate anniversary with a gondola ride, complete with serenade!

We all enjoyed the smaller, quaint Italian villages with their narrow lanes, picturesque homes and wonderful shops. Orvieto, a townoutsi de of Rome, is perched atop a volcanic rock! There was plenty of time to shop in the lanes off the Piazza del Duomo.

We visited (and shopped) in Verona, the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. We had the opportunity to see Juliet’s balcony and rub the shining breast on her statue for good luck.

The little town of Burano, famous for its linens & lace, charmed us all with the colorful homes, narrow canals, leaning towers, and little shops.

One of our MOST favorite excursions was to Bellagio on Lake Como outside of Milan. Lake Como is nestled below the Swiss Alps and the beauty of the area was just breathtaking!

Shopping in Bellagio was also breathtaking!

And food…did I fail to mention food and wine?? If there is one thing we did every day and in just about every town is shop and enjoy meals together.

The bruschetta, the gelato, the caprese, the pizza, the pasta, the olive oil, the bread, the wine - oh my!!! We enjoyed it all - and with gusto!

In all seriousness, we covered a lot of classic Italian cities and villages and visited many iconic sites in 8 days. GLOBUS did a great job with the transportation, the portage and managing the group. Our tour director Ciro was great.

From Barbara Cannon in our group:
“I just returned from the Italian Vista trip. It was truly the trip of a lifetime! Our tour guide, Ciro, was extremely knowledgeable and enjoyable. The local guides were equally as knowledgeable. We had the right balance of sightseeing and down time. I absolutely loved every minute of the trip and would love to do the whole thing over again!"

As I said before, our group was fantastic and I look forward to traveling with each of them again. My sincere gratitude to Barbara Cannon, Nita Saylor, Susan Baldwin, Pat Wagner, Cheryl Lambert, Pam Holcomb and Johnny Johnson for allowing John and I to share this experience with them.

In a note from Cheryl Lambert:
“Lynda, I want you to know that I appreciate the superb job you did with our trip. You did a great job with the planning. You went above and beyond in taking care of all of us & kept your cool in dealing with each issue. Thank you for including me in such a wonderful experience”

Now is the time to travel! Please give me a call to plan your next memorable vacation! I look forward to working with you!

Explore! Dream! Discover!
Lynda Needham
Independent Contractor
Jean Wells Travel
336-354-2688
lynda.needham@jeanwellstravel.com
lynda.needham@gmail.com

 

Enjoy the commentary from Independent Contractor Pamela Davis, and her friend, Sarah, as they traveled through the Netherlands on a Collette Vacations tour: Amsterdam, Belgium, and Paris. This is a great time to think about travel for 2015!! Hope all is well with you and your families!! Warmest regards, Jean

Commentary from Pamela Davis (Call Pamela today to plan your next excursion!!)
336 893-7359 10am-4pm

Hi Jean, This trip was fantastic! It was our first time using Collette Vacations and, to say the least, they did an awesome job!

My girlfriend Sarah and I traveled to The Netherlands, Belgium, and Paris. We had been to all 3 places before, but this time was completely different. In The Netherlands we toured the Anne Frank house. To see how she and her family hid in such a small, compact place was amazing. We also visited a diamond-cutting factory. We were tempted…but… LOL!

While in Belgium we went to a cheese and wooden factory. Not only was it interesting, but entertaining!!! The chocolatiers in Brussels and Bruges were all over the place and we tasted some of the finest chocolates there. Bruges is a lovely and old preserved village and I think to stay there a night or two would be very interesting! The Belgium tour also included visiting a Monastery with an awesome lunch.

Paris was certainly the way to end the tour...and Collette surely knew that!!! We visited the Louvre. (An interesting fact: If you study each piece of art in the Louvre for 1-2 minutes, it would take you 3 months to finish!!!) Paris would not have been complete without a visit to Montmartre for a caricature!!! We had fun at The Paradis Latin Cabaret with a lovely, fun dinner at a restaurant in the Latin Quarter. The night (and tour) ended with an evening cruise on the Seine.

I give Collette Vacations a 5-star. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. Each hotel we stayed in was very nice and the meals were fantastic.

Thanks Collette!!!!!

Hello, my travelin' friends-------- All families LOVE LOVE LOVE Disney!! It is an expensive property; however, families return again and again, just like my son, Marc and his family. They have been to Disney several times now, and each time seems to get better and better; each time they go they say "this was the BEST trip ever!!" They continue to top their previous experiences, and just have a wonderful time!! I asked Marc and his girls to write some commentary for you; you will enjoy their experiences and their pictures-- they have already begun saving their nickels and dimes for their Disney trip!! If you have not been to Disney, Marc is a great source to assist you with these travel plans!! Enjoy!! Jean

Some people head to the pool to combat the summer scorch. Some head to the beach. It seems that a lot of people resorted to dumping huge buckets of ice water on their heads to help not only great cause, but also to provide some relief from the hot and humid North Carolina summer. My family took a little different approach. We went to Florida. Orlando, Florida, to be specific. Disney World to be even more specific, because that’s where we got to experience the ultimate in chilling out for a week.

Would you believe it if I told you that we saw snow in Orlando in July? Or an ice skating rink in the middle of one of the Disney parks?

I’ve wanted to stay at Disney’s Art of Animation resort since it opened. I can honestly say now that we have returned that it was my favorite. We stayed in a Lion King family suite.

Even though AOA is listed as a “value” property, it is a little pricier than some of the normal rooms at other hotels, but well worth it. These suites are twice the size of a normal room, have two bathrooms, and what my kids called a “magic bed” as well as a sofa bed. The “magic bed” pulled down from the wall, which meant that the sofa bed wasn’t even used. My kids wanted to sleep in the “magic bed together” as opposed to having their own beds. Two really neat components in our room were foot stools with the lyrics to two of the more famous “Lion King” songs from the movie not sung by Elton John.

.

Feeling the Magic

Disney has recently gone away from the key cards that used to serve as your room key, park pass, and expense card for charges made to your room. Now, Disney has something called the Magic Band, and let me say, they are glorious. It wraps around your wrist like a watch, and is your all-everything while you are having the time of your life. After making your reservations and completing payment for your trip, you can choose your Magic Bands and customize your Disney experience. They are your new door key, park pass, charge card, and Fast Pass-plus holders. Pretty remarkable. And fashionable.


Hello Everyone--  Another fabulous trip has been taken by Sandy and Eric Nilsson to our 50th State, Hawaii.  What they decided to do was to go a few days early, take the NCL Pride of America Cruise to four of the Islands, and then stay a couple of nights in Honolulu before returning to North Carolina.  They have shared their experience with us, and I do appreciate it so much when clients do this.  Hawaii is such a wonderful destination--  if you have not been there, do put this on your travel list!

Hope all is well with you and your families--

Warmest regards,

Jean

 

Hawaiian Vacation

Who has not dreamed of visiting our 50th state? Lush islands, exotic people, and unique experiences.  We arrived in Honolulu in midweek giving us 3 days to see sights prior to our 7-night cruise. You cannot visit Honolulu without visiting the beaches-  Waikiki - and Pearl Harbor.  The city tour took us through downtown, to Pearl Harbor, to see the USS Missouri, and to the Punch Bowl Memorial Cemetery. Going out to the USS Arizona Memorial is a sobering experience. Visitors to the memorial are eerily quiet, speaking in whispers or not at all. An interesting fact is that Elvis Presley did the first fundraiser in support of the construction of the memorial.

The Polynesian Culture Center is a fairly long drive from Honolulu. The Center's aim is to educate visitors about the cultures and peoples of Polynesia. Exhibits, demonstrations, a luau, and a live-show ended a very long day.
 
On Saturday we boarded  NCL's Pride of America, for a  cruise to 4 of the 8 Hawaiian islands. Formed from lava, each island offers unique landscapes, adventures, and opportunities. While in Hilo, our helicopter took us over an active volcano which actually grows each year as lava flows to the ocean.

We had a fanciful visit to the Seahorse Farm in Kona. This is the oldest seahorse farm in the world. There are many varieties of seahorses and the research farm is dedicated to understanding and sustaining these fragile animals. It was a delightful experience to put my hands into the tank, make a bridge, and have the seahorse wrap its tail around my fingers.

Next stop was Nawiliwili on the island of Kauai. It was here we went on a helicopter trip to the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific",  abundant with green trees, and  waterfalls spilling out from the mountainsides.  

Don't forget the shopping; from the coffee and macadamia nut plantations to the local clothing and jewelry. There are many opportunities to acquire unique gifts to bring home.

Thanks to Jean Wells for a well-planned and unforgetable vacation to the Hawaiian Islands. 

Sandy and Eric Nilsson

 

I truly enjoyed helping Mr. & Mrs. Conner plan their trip to the Bahamas. This was their 30th wedding anniversary, so I knew it had to be special! They are a very warm and friendly couple and I look forward to helping them in the future!

"Make the World Your Playground"
Warm regards,
Pamela L. Davis
Independent Contractor
Jean Wells Travel
pam.davis@jeanwellstravel.com
Ph: (336) 893-7359
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm

Pam,
Please let me start by thanking you for all of your help and guidance during our recent vacation to the Melia Resort in Nassau, Bahamas. When we first started with this adventure, I thought that the hotel was too good to be true, but it really lived up to all of my expectations. Upon landing in Nassau, the lines getting through Customs were out of this world LONG, but after getting through it all without a hitch, Majestic had several vans there to pick us up and take us straight to the Melia. The driver was very pleasant and suggested some things to see and do while there (very helpful). We were greeted very warmly by the doormen and beautiful ladies at the check-in desk. It was a little warm in the hallway to our room and we could see that there was some renovating going on, but our king (ocean front) room was beautiful and cool. I immediately starting taking photos from my balcony; it was absolutely beautiful!!

We did everything we wanted during our 7 day stay and all that we didn't want to do. My husband went snorkeling and I of course enjoyed the warm beautiful water, and I worked on my tan. (Smile) We slept late most mornings, but not too late, did not want to miss the wonderful buffet breakfast which was ready every morning until 11 am. Out of the 5 restaurants at the Melia, 3 were available during our stay. They were all different but equally good and the staff was so very nice and always willing to please the customer. We made friends quickly and we were sad when we had to say goodbye. Of course all ladies must get some shopping in on any vacation and I most certainly did. We went to the casino one night, but it was a very brief stay......my husband just can't understand why people give their money away at a place like that.......it was all in fun! We went downtown on Bay Street for shopping and just hanging out, as well as visiting the Fish Fry (local spot which was highly recommended).

I'm sorry this is so long, but I really wanted you to know what a great time we had and we want to return again next year. I even have some friends who are interested in talking with you as well. All Inclusive at the Melia is the way to go!!

Again, thank you and we will be in touch soon! > >
Kim Conner

 

Love this wonderful adventurous couple--Gail and Lester Morris!! Upon their return to Italy back in May, I had asked them to "please" write some commentary about their tour, and to include some pictures, which they did.  Hopefully, many of you read the commentary and enjoyed their pictures featuring many of their interesting stops along the way.
A bit later, I was speaking to Gail, an oil and watercolor artist, and asking her about how her art work was coming along, as I knew she had taken a 1000 pictures (no kidding) and was going to paint many of them.  She started emailing some of her work--  it is so extraordinary and gorgeous--  I wanted to share it with you, and she willingly agreed to send me several of her pieces.  How she did them so quickly, I have no idea, but here they are---------FABULOUS!!

Enjoy!!
Jean

**And, "hint hint" if you haven't traveled to Italy, you MUST put it on your list!!  As all of you probably know by now it remains my MOST favorite country.



For the artist (me),  or the historian (my husband), traveling in Italy is a total feast for all the senses!  Each day brings new adventure and learning opportunities, each one more exciting than the last.

While on our recent Tauck "Classic Italy" trip, we took almost 1,000 photos!! I wanted to bring it ALL  home with me!  We returned almost two months ago and are still marveling over all we saw..truly incredible!

Since our return, I have reproduced a few of these photos into oil and watercolor paintings.
While painting these, I was transported right back to the location...feeling the warmth of the sun, inhaling the fragrance of lemon trees hanging with fruit, tasting the wine, hearing the church bells ring...memories we will always have!

I hope you enjoy!!!

Best, Gail

 



“Booking our vacation with Jean Wells Travel to Montego Bay, Jamaica was affordable, stress free, and so much fun!  Tim was easy to work with and did his best to meet all of our vacation requirements.  Secrets Wild Orchid was fantastic!  The scenery was gorgeous, the staff was extremely hospitable, and the food was amazing.  

During the day we enjoyed laying by the pool and soaking up the sunshine on the beach.  At the resort we also enjoyed a guided snorkeling tour, a bike tour, kayaking, and a glass bottom boat ride.  Of the evenings we had 7 restaurant choices for dinner,  all of which were delicious and very conscientious of food allergies.  They also offered live concerts and different shows each night.  The 4th of July at Secrets was ridiculously great.  There were Elvis impersonators;   the house band sang covers of popular music from the 60s-today, and the buffet was incredible!

We did leave the resort to tour Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios. It was about an hour and a half drive from the resort,  but it didn't seem like it.  The guide was perfect for this history and geography buff.  The falls were gorgeous – a MUST SEE  in Jamaica.  With a guide you climb up through the falls and swim in the cold springs of Dunns River which empties into the Caribbean.  While it was hard to pry us away from the white sand and the teal beaches, the time we spent at Dunns River Falls was well worth it. "

It was a very memorable, romantic trip!

-Miranda McKinney

Hello, my travelin' friends--
I'm always so excited when I have clients traveling to Italy, which many of you know is my MOST favorite country! Gail and Lester Morris spent two weeks in this beautiful and divine destination---and, LOVED IT!! It was wonderful hearing from them upon their return and receiving all the gorgeous pictures!! Enjoy!!

Classic Italy - Tauck Tour... May 7-20, 2014
When I read from my travel journal, the ribbon of words are interspersed with, "incredible, gorgeous, unbelievable, beautiful, WOW"!! Mere verse cannot adequately describe our recent Italy trip. It was perfect in every way...from the moment we boarded Luftansa Airline in Charlotte until we returned  fifteen days later!  We explored Sorrento, the Amalfi coast, Pompeii, Rome, Tuscany villages, Florence, and Venice. All the hotels were exceptional. The Tauck tour guide was professional and fun! There were many special treats such as an after hours tour of the Sistine Chapel, direct admission to the Coliseum, dinner in a centuries old Roman villa, wine tastings, Umbrian cooking class, lunches with wonderful local  Italian hosts and more. Lemons, Italian coffee, chocolate, pasta, WINES, buffalo mozzarella cheese, gelato, ceramics, Murano glass, but most of all....gorgeous scenery...these were a few of our favorite things!!  We traveled by plane, train, boat and bus...We highly recommend this trip!!

We are very grateful to Jean Wells for helping make it possible.

Ciao, ciao!!
Gail and Lester Morris

 

 

Hello Jean,

We had an amazing time on the Carnival Cruise and we are already talking about planning another one in September or October!! We will keep in touch with you on that! I'm sending you a few pictures that you asked for from our cruise.

We had just as much fun as the pictures make it seem.

Thank you, Bree and Persian

 

Hello, my travelin' friends--
LOVED LOVED LOVED working with Kelly on this NY package; I have known Kelly for many years and she always has the most wonderful ideas of what she wants to do.  This past trip was to delight her adorable niece, Maddy, with a five night package to "the city that never sleeps!"  Below is some of the commentary she shared with me.

"When my niece, Maddy, was 7 years old, we watched "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and she was so intrigued with it, I promised her when she turned 13 we would go to NYC--  go to Tiffany's, see a Broadway Show, and see the City!!  2014 was her 13th birthday and off we went!!    High on the list was to see "Wicked;"   it  was FANTASTIC!!  This is one of the first things we did.

Something we really enjoyed was the NYC double-decker bus;  we got to see the entire City, hopped on and off as many times as we wanted!  Went to Tiffany's where I had ordered a necklace for her, and had it engraved.  It was a very magical moment--Maddy was so surprised and loved it!  Saw the Statue of Liberty--AWESOME!!

Saw the 911 Memorial--   ate at the Stardust Diner--  the wait staff danced and sang and were completely entertaining--  ate at Bobby Flay's restaurant, fabulous!!
Loved Carmine's, an Italian restaurant,  which was GREAT!

Loved the Residence Inn Times Square --we got lucky and had a view of The Empire State Building-------------walked and walked and walked!  Be certain you wear comfortable shoes;  we enjoyed every inch of the City!!  Great trip for a 13th Birthday!!"


**I love it when clients prepare a trip such as this one, and Kelly and Maddy have had many special trips together.  My Granddaughter, Alayna, turns 16 in November and I plan to take her to NYC December 26 for three nights.  We just may follow in Kelly's footsteps!  When my three sons turned 16 I took them to NYC for their birthday, and I am hoping to do the same for my 5 Granddaughters.  NY is such a special place;  there is something for everyone, and is truly an awesome destination to re-visit time and time again.

Hello, my travel'n friends--
It is with with great pleasure that I share with you some of the highlights from the Paris trip of Lynn Berry, her daughter Nicole Gottfried and her daughter, Grace, 22 months. (Lynn's Granddaughter) Also, within the group are good friends Sue Cousart and Beth Hubbartt. They went to Paris in March, and did you notice that baby Grace was 22 months a the time of travel; baby Grace wins TRAVELER OF THE YEAR!! According to all accounts, she did GREAT!! And, therefore, her Mom and Grandmother, are eager to take her on their next adventure!! Enjoy the commentary that was given to me.
So very glad the trip went well and enjoyment was shared by all!!
Warmest regards, Jean

Hi Jean,
The trip was wonderful!  Grace did great with all the crazy hours and flying.  I think we got to see everything we wanted to see and even took the train out to Epernay to enjoy some champagne. We did lots of tourist things but also had the time to enjoy life in Paris ---- going to grocery stores, drug stores, markets, little shops and the indoor malls.  The metro and trains were great and easy to navigate.  Great Time!!!    Here are just a couple of pictures for the mean time. 
Thanks for all your help! 
Lynn

Hi Jean!
The trip was amazing. My favorite part of the trip was the day trip to Epernay! Grace loved the train ride and it was nice to see the small villages. Epernay was beautiful and we had a chance to do several tastings at different cellars. We also took a tour and tasting at Moet & Chandon. Another highlight was our visit to Sacre Couer. We hiked the steps and the view from the top was fabulous, and the church was beautiful. Even better was the open-air art market in Montmartre where I had a portrait of Grace drawn. Despite the overwhelming amount of baby stuff---- stroller, car seat, diapers, etc...traveling with Grace went well. She loved riding the buses, trains, and metro, and she did awesome on the airplane. Having a bulkhead seat made the difference with regards to fitting her car seat and allowing a place for her to stretch and eventually sleep on the flight.
Nicole

Punta Cana!   What more can I say!  WOW!!



Our whole experience  going to the Dominican Republic was wonderful!  As we arrived at The Excellence Resort the staff was  waiting on us with cold towels and champagne.  I truly felt like a princess there. They have 6 restaurants -- all had fabulous food choices,  and were bursting with flavor.   Our  room was beautiful.   My personal favorite was the spa where we had a couple's massage,  and we spent an hour in the hydrotherapy room.

They really have the best service I have ever experienced!  My husband's favorite  was the dune buggy tour to the plantation, cave , and the beach. It was a lot of fun driving the buggies and splashing through the mud. We attended  the shows that they had in the theater every night;    one of the shows was the native Taino show.    It was really nice to see  the culture! 

Another one of our personal favorites was the swim- up bar;  we enjoyed  the variety of drinks that were offered and served.    The staff and  all the people of The Excellence were so nice and helpful;   they always attended every need we had. We became good "amigos" with many of them .

We can't wait to go back and have another week of pure relaxation!!!   Best Trip EVER!!!

Michele and Mark

WOW and another WOW was how we felt as JWT Independent Contractors Lynda and John Needham and Tim Lawrence and I joined Chef Monica in Rome;  she picked us up and whisked us away to the ancient medieval village of Mazzano Romano, about 30 minutes outside of Rome to a cooking lesson, that turned out to be one of our VERY BEST TRAVEL EXPERIENCES OF ALL TIME!!


We chatted along the way with her, stopped by the meat market and the vegetable market as she hand-picked all items.  She taught us the basics of preparing Italian pasta and encouraged creativity using inspiration from the fresh ingredients of the current season.  The hum of the soothing river flowing outside  the apartment and the relaxing cool breeze  added to the group's enjoyment of the local Italian wine, made this a day to remember.  We had lots of questions and were excited to be doing something like this;  she took us to a village built in the 1200's, to an apartment owned by Fabio, Head Chef of several restaurants in Rome.  Chef Monica was the teacher and Elisa was her assistant, and of course, we were her assistants as well.  There were seven of us in the group as we stood around the island in the kitchen and followed her directions.  There were 7-8 entrees that were FABULOUS, including homemade pasta that stretched 12-14 feet before it was cut,  and divine ravioli.



When the entrees had been completed we sat in the dining room and ate our DELICIOUS LUNCH that we had assisted with, and just didn't want to leave this intriguing environment that we were enjoying soooooooo much!!  Lunch took a couple of hours to eat and enjoy, and then Chef Monica politely urged us closer to the door in preparation of our exit back to Rome.

Without a doubt, this day will be one of the top 5 experiences of my 31 years in travel;  it was SPECIAL AND A DAY I WILL NOT FORGET.  I truly feel we all felt the same way!!  As many of you know, Italy is my most favorite country, and it is always a pleasure to return to this beautiful and awesome country!

I can assist you with setting up a Cooking Class if you are traveling to Rome, and I have also included information for your personal enjoyment:

www.fabiolouscookingday

info@fabiolouscookingday.com

Keep those travelin' shoes ready!    
Warmest regards,
Jean ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Best of Italy

We recently returned from an amazing trip to Italy which included a Mediterranean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas. We visited Messina (Sicily), Athens (Greece), Kusadasi (Turkey) and Chania (Crete), beginning and ending our trip in Rome. Each city holds special memories, however the jewel of our vacation included a  gourmet cooking school in a Mazzano Roma, a quaint medievial village about 45 minutes outside of Rome. First, we stopped at a local butcher shop to buy the chicken and sausage we would need for the meal, picking fresh sage growing outside the shop as we left. Next, to the village grocery to buy the fresh vegetables. We spent an unforgettable day having so much fun chopping vegetables, kneading dough, making
appetizers, 4 delicious pasta dishes and dessert - and sipping a little Italian wine! Our chef Monica and her assistant Elisa were so knowledgeable, patient and fun!!!

October was a wonderful time to visit Italy. John and I will definitely plan another trip for the fall of 2014. You may be assured it will include other cooking schools and perhaps wine tasting afternoons! The itinerary is not planned at this time, but let us know if you are interested in traveling with us. We would love to have you!

Lynda Needham    
Independent Contractor for
Jean Wells Travel
Receptive Services for the Southeast
lynda.needham@jeanwellstravel.com
336.354.2914

Our recent trip to Costa Rica in September with Caravan Tours was absolutely awesome.  From the moment of our arrival to the final goodbyes on our departure, Caravan did a terrific job to ensure we had a perfect vacation.  We traveled by bus to several destinations from “sea to sea” and had the pleasure of first-rate accommodations, delicious food, a very skilled and delightful guide as well as some very lively entertainment.  We were afforded spectacular views of the country, a luxurious hot springs resort afternoon and river cruises that rewarded us with over fifty species of birds, otters, monkeys and crocodiles. 
            I have recommended this trip to everyone I know and anyone I meet who is interested in visiting Costa Rica.  It truly was an adventure to remember.

Abby and Donald Catoe

 

 

 

We traveled North to Alaska, where we flew in a plane, rode on a train, were on several boats, and also used a bus for transportation.  We saw whales, eagles, moose, and grizzles.  Temperatures ranged from about 40 to nearly 90 degrees, and there was cold rain and beautiful blue skies.  There were nearly 24 hours of daylight;  we saw the highest mountain around, and the MOST beautiful scenery you could imagine, including glaciers and icebergs.  It took 13 days to make the trip and it gave us a lifetime of awesome moments!!  This is the BEST vacation we have ever had, and the memories will live on with our grandchildren long after we're gone.
Thanks!! 
Bob and Mary

India
Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur
July 27 - August 7, 2013

We have returned from exotic India--and, it was AWESOME!!  We had 17 in our group with an excellent Tour Director who took very good care of us, and a Driver, and an Attendant.  We learned so much and are continuing to talk about all of our experiences, sharing photos, etc.

Delhi is a bustling metropolis which successfully combines the ancient with the modern.  Amidst the fast spiraling skyscrapers the remnants of a bygone time in the form of its many monuments stand as silent reminders to the region's ancient legacy.  We were thrilled to be here and to be a part of this historic destination. 

On to Agra--many of us had dreams of visiting the Taj Mahal and it was surreal being there, touching it, and hearing all of the history .This grand edifice, built by Shah Jaham from 1631 to 1653 to enshrine the remains of his Queen Mumtaz Mahal, took 20,000 workers to build.  It is truly one of the wonders of the world.

Jaipur--  it is one of North India's finest examples of a planned city embodying the best of Rajput and Mughal architecture.  Here, we bargained and shopped and bargained and shopped!!  All of us were buying beautiful items to bring home with us!!  Riding the elephants was a "definite highlight" as we scooted on top of these magnificent creatures and rode to the top of the mountain fortress of Amber.  We laughed and giggled all the way to the top!!

We arrived next in Jodhpur--not as familiar with this city, but learned very quickly that it is a city of red sandstone palaces and it is also called "blue city" because of the indigo-washed houses in the old town. 

A favorite stop was our last one--Udaipur--  Tim and I loved this area!  Set amidst the Aravalli hills of south Rajasthan, is a beautiful city regarded as one of the most romantic in India.  Presenting an enchanting image of marble palaces, placid lakes, attractive gardens and green hills, it has been called "the Venice of the East."  The city also became a center for the performing arts, painting and crafts.  We enjoyed a lovely boat ride on Lake Pichola, which is fringed with hills, palaces, havelis, ghats, embankments and temples and offers spectacular views of the city.

As you can see, the trip to India was MAGNIFICENT;  yes, we were traveling in a third world country;  the temperatures were similar to that of N.C.--high 80's and high humidity;  however, we LOVED being there and learning about this most special culture!

Warmest regards,
Jean and Tim

**Below are comments from a couple  of the travelers.  Our group was GREAT;  we loved and enjoyed all of them, and we hope to travel together in the near future!!

Hi Jean:
It was certainly a trip of a lifetime and a very unusual country. Since the Taj Mahal will I'm sure be a photo on most people's list, I include the following, modeling a turban following the demonstration of how a nine meter long piece of cloth is wrapped to form the turban.

I never will understand the patience and tolerance shown by auto, motorcycle and tuk tuk drivers toward the cattle which blocked traffic lanes everywhere while giving no courtesy to pedestrians, and I was surprised at the amount of rubbish seen throughout. The rows of shops and vendors throughout the cities were certainly plentiful and colorful and the pushcarts and rickshaws that lined the streets seemed to let us travel back in time. Oh yeah, the hotels were great!
Tom

-------

Hello Jean,
Home sweet home.
We enjoyed the trip immensely. India was far different from other countries we have traveled in that we saw people in both rural and urban situations. " How do you like our country" we would be asked. We said, " We loved it" Neither of us understanding what each country is all about.
Peter

We had a wonderful time in St Thomas...the best time we ever had during our entire married life. We celebrated our 40th Anniversary at the Sugar Bay Resort-----the staff was very hospitable and room service was excellent! Besides that, we enjoyed the food, the tour, music, and the weather was awesome! Thanks to Jean Wells for putting together an incredible package. For that reason, I highly recommend her for your travel needs!

Bernice and Theartis

 

 

 


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Newsletter Date:
Sun, 06/11/17
Jean Wells Presents 12 great friends in CanCun

Hello All--  Get your friends together and call me;  there are so many fabulous choices to go, and have a really fun time!
Hope all is well!!

Click on the "Journeys" tab to read about a recent trip a JWT traveler made to Cancun!

Warmest regards,
Jean

===========

Newsletter Date:
Sun, 04/09/17
Jean Wells Presents Seth Martin in Iceland

JWT introduces Seth Martin in Reykjavik, Iceland.  When he came to my office and we started talking about Iceland, he said he wanted to go to this country by himself as he knew exactly what he wanted to do, and indeed he did.  With a flight from RDU, and car rental upon arrival, he began to explore this beautiful country and did all the things he wanted to do.

Click on the "Journeys" tab and read his commentary; enjoy his pictures, and you will feel as if you were in Iceland enjoying it all. Thanks, Seth, for sending this to me.

Warmest regards,
Jean

 

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