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Home for the Holidays Photo Contest Winners

Lionel Train under the Christmas Tree 2013

Bright lights and Lionel Trains decorate the Zayas-Collins’ tree.

Thanks to everyone who shared their holiday cheer and Lionel trains traditions with us in the Home for the Holidays photo contest! From snapshots of family time around the tree to pictures of elaborate villages and train tracks, the photos entered in the contest were truly a delight.

In many cases, it was less about the photos than the story that came along with them. Our first place winner, Jim Lenz, shared this photo of his family’s rail garden, assembled over more than 55 years by him and his father. Both men are professional firefighters, and their family loves showing the Train Garden off to surprised friends.

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The Happy Finale to a Vacation of a Lifetime

The end of 2013 was quickly approaching and so was the end of our Vacation of a Lifetime year. Warren and I decided to head to the West Coast for a few days after Christmas. Our first stop was Laguna Beach where we stayed at the fabulous Casa Laguna Inn and Spa. Kathryn and Henry, the innkeepers, greeted us and Henry immediately took us to a special place on the beach where there is a stairway from a cliff to the beach that looks like a Medieval tower.

Laguna Beach Castle Turret

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Vacation of a Lifetime: Anniversary Edition

Warren’s and my 35th anniversary was this September so we decided to head to the hill country of Texas for a long weekend. Although some of our friends were surprised that we would go for a vacation in our home state, the hill country is absolutely beautiful and made for a wonderful anniversary getaway.

View from Rose Hill Manor, Texas Hill Country B&B

Texas hill country as seen from Rose Hill Manor.

We went first to Fredericksburg, TX, where there are delightful places to eat, neat antique shops, and many things to do. That afternoon we arrived at Rose Hill Manor, a luxurious porch with a view at Rose Hill Manorbed and breakfast in a beautiful home just outside of Fredericksburg. Patti showed us to the roomy Green Suite, and we had time to sit on the porch and enjoy the view before dinner.

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A Harborside Retreat for Vacation of a Lifetime winners

Taking a break from our 2013 Vacation of a Lifetime grand prize winners, here’s an update from Patricia and John Biasuzzi, who took a second place prize of a $500 Select Registry gift certificate. Patricia and John used the opportunity to return to the Dockside Guest Quarters, one of their favorite places to escape.

Inn at York Harbor, Maine | Select RegistryRecently we enjoyed a wonderful stay at our favorite inn – the lovely Dockside Guest Quarters overlooking picturesque York Harbor, Maine. We have been going to this special place for 12 years and when we arrive, we always feel we have returned ”home.”

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Popover Pancakes and Frank Lloyd Wright: Vacation of a Lifetime in Chicago

With the end of summer fast approaching, Warren and I wanted to get one more trip in before September came and school bells again rang in my ears. We decided a quick trip to Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois, would be perfect.

Harvey House Bed and BreakfastAfter an extremely early flight (traveling can still be a bear even on a Vacation of a Lifetime), we arrived at O’Hare and took the train to downtown Chicago.

We had a wonderful two days doing all the touristy things there, and on Sunday morning we left Chicago to take the train to Harvey House Bed and Breakfast in Oak Park. The trip from Chicago took only 25 minutes and the Harvey House was just a hop, skip and a jump from the station.

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#SelectPostcard Photo Contest Begins August 15

#SelectPostcard

It’s time to celebrate a summer of good travels with a photo contest. The #SelectPostcard Photo Contest starts August 15, and it’s your chance to show us what you love about staying “Select.”

Share your trip highlights and in turn, we’ll say “wish you were here” by entering you to win one of three Select Registry gift certificates, valid at any of our member inns or B&Bs across North America.

In addition to entering on Facebook, you can also submit photos through Twitter and Instagram – just include the hashtag #SelectPostcard in your tweet or post.

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Wine-ding Down on a Vacation of a Liftetime

After a few whirlwind days spent exploring northern California, sipping wine over stunning views and even ziplining, we were down to just two more days of our Vacation of a Lifetime.

View on Vacation of a Lifetime, Sonoma valley vineyard

On Thursday we took the very winding Coleman Highway to the coast, with craggy rocks and surf that are very different from what I had seen in southern California. We explored the little town of Guerneville in the Russian River Valley and enjoyed the breathtaking scenery. Guerneville is home of Korbel California Champagne and we had a great tour learning about the history of the company and why champagne is champagne.

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Trying Something New in Sonoma on a Vacation of a Lifetime

After a delicious buffet at the Wine Country Inn and a gift of their tasty granola, we packed up and continued exploring northern California. We stopped at Castello Di Amorosa, a modern day Tuscan castle that closely resembles those built in medieval Italy. The tour of the castle revealed a moat, amazing murals, thousands of barrels of wine, and even a torture chamber.

Vacation of a Lifetime Wine Tour

After exploring the neat little town of Calistoga, it was time to head to Healdsburg and check in at the Honor Mansion, a B&B in Sonoma wine country.

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A Long-Awaited Vacation of a Lifetime in Napa Valley

Warren and I had been wanting to tour the wine country of California for several years so winning the Vacation of a Lifetime made 2013 the perfect year to do it. So, in mid-July, we hopped on a very early flight to San Francisco, rented a car, and headed to Napa. After driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, we stopped at Muir Woods and marveled at the height and beauty of the 1500 years old redwoods there.

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Celebrate the Fourth of July Near American History

Fourth of July Fireworks in Boston by Pablo ValerioEver wondered what more there might be to the Fourth of July than fireworks and blueberry cobbler? While we love celebrating with pie and pyrotechnics, there are plenty of opportunities to expand July 4th traditions to include something more … traditional. In honor of the holiday, here are some ideas for discovering American history from the comfort of a Select Registry bed and breakfast.

Concord, MA
It seems appropriate to start with the town where it all began: Concord, Massachusetts, the site of the opening battle of the American Revolutionary War. While it would be over a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed, the historic town of Concord is home to many an American legend. Paul Revere rode here; Minute Men rushed into battle here; Thoreau, Emerson and Alcott lived and wrote here.

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