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Help- vacation ideas

Hi all,

Looking for vacation ideas for about a weeklong trip in February coming from Chicago. I have loved Miami in the past, but we have gone there for our last two vacations and want to try something different. We are willing to try to rough it to a certain extent in terms of food, but are much more wanting to have access to kosher food to have a nice relaxing (and warm) vacation. We were looking into Acapulco because of the kosher restaurant at the "Hyatt," however the hotel is changing hands and has gotten some very bad reviews as of late. I wanted to go to Disneyworld but my husband is not big on the theme park thing. Any ideas?

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  1. Oh, and I know about shamash.org. I'm looking for people's experiences.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Pluckyduk8

      we had a great time in charleston, sc. there isa a great kosher b&b as well as a kosher restaurants and lots to do

      1. re: koshergourmetmart

        The B&B in Charleston SC is at http://www.charlestonkosherbedandbrea...

        I can't speak from personal experience, but I've heard great things about it, and the proprietress (whom I know from when she lived in NY) is a wonderful person and a great cook.

        1. re: zsero

          We were in Charleston 2 years ago in the winter and had a great time. The B&B was wonderful -- attractive rooms, delicious food. It is a 20 or so minute walk to the orthodox synagogue. There are a lot of historical sites to visit while in Charleston and shopping as well. We were there for 3 1/2 days, including shabbat, and could have spent another day or two touring. There was also a Kosher restaurant in town -- Israeli food -- shwarma etc that was quite good.

          1. re: zsero

            Warning: if you're allergic to kvelling yiddishe bobbes, showing off pictures of their einiklach, you might want to stay away for a while. Last week Hadassah's first grandchild was born :-)

      2. And by the way, I know about shamash.org, I'm looking for people's experiences.

        1. Charleston is wonderful. Holiday Inn in Orlando is going Kosher if you can convince your husband. I think there are options in terms of group vacations in cancun and the bahamas. I don't know the specifics. Why not bring your food and do the gulf coast of Florida. People rent villas down there with their own pools. There used to be a Minyan in the Keys. Check with Chabad. There was frozen food in the supermarket due to the large Israeli pop.

          1. I loved Los Angeles. Lots of kosher food there, plus all the Coffee Bean and Tea Leafs have kosher salads and sandwiches. There was tons to do in and around LA.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cheesecake17

              Go to The Caribe Hilton in San Juan and book a room with a kitchen on the property at at "The Villa's", Omar Rivera helps manage that area and he is top notch. Call the hotel directly. The only kosher food in the area is by Chabad but with the kitchen there, you're set and visiting the "El Yunque" Rainforest on one of the hotel's tours is not to be missed! No passport needed for PR travel from the US either. The resort and it's spa are gorgeous and the dairy activities (included) like Aqua Aerobics, Spanish lessons and Bingo-By-The-Beach are fun!

              1. re: chocolatebirthdaycake

                Is "Bingo-By-The-Beach" anything like Beach Blanket Bingo? Were Annette and Frankie there? :-)

            2. if you are feeling like you want to have some adventure and get out of your comfort zone, I recommend Costa Rica. Its amazing. The weather is great, there is so much to do, you can be really active or really relaxed and stay on the beach. In the capital you can find lots of kosher food (including burger king!) and a great warm, welcoming community. its great to arrive on Wed., do a rainforest tour on Thursday and then stay there for shabbat, and then head out to the beach. http://www.centroisraelita.com/centro...
              has all the info on the community. good luck and enjoy!!

              1. I'm also looking into going somewhere in February. Right now I'm leaning toward Oxnard, CA, where Baron Herzog has their vineyards. A friend went and she was raving about it. There's an amazing restaurant there, Tierra Sur. It's an hour from LA so I figure I'll spend a few days here and there. Check out baron herzog website for more info and links to nearby attractions (like beaches, spas and shopping!)

                3 Replies
                1. re: Prozack

                  I've been there (Oxnard) and I wouldn't go so far as your friend. Yawn.The major beef I have with Herzog is the fact it would seem, that they do NOT manage or care about quality control as far as shelf life of their product. It was recommended by a friend, so the next few times I happened by a fine liquor store, or even a kosher wine shop- I purchased a couple of bottles.
                  A couple of reserves, I recall one was Russian River- and 4 champagnes and 6 out of 8 were undrinkable. I should have noted the color on one through the glass- it was so dark when we decanted it and it stank! The champagnes were probably bad two years prior or longer- it was astonishing. I took the wine back to the store and got my money back on those 3! The two that were not 'spoiled' were drinkable, but lousy!! I'd like to give a good review, but am not so wealthy that I'll throw money after anything Herzog or related again and I read the fine print. Perhaps the wine shops overbuy on this and it doesn't move fast at all or appear to sell very welll, because it is just to old too drink. I have never had this happen with other wines I frequently buy- NEVER.

                  1. re: Gullwing

                    Herzog advertises that it consistently wins gold and silver medals in blind taste tests against kosher and non-kowher wines, so I don't believe that Gullwing's unfortunate bad experience is common with Herzog wines.

                    1. re: midasgold

                      Midasgold, I am well aware that Herzog wines have various accolades, but to purchase a 2003 reserve chardonnay on the shelf at what is considered one of the best kosher supermarkets in Aventura, Florida...only to decant more than one bottle that had the aroma of vinegar. Considering that this was not my only experience- purchases were made at two other well known liquor stores (Crowne) in other areas of Miami, and had the same results- so it would be appear that if could be more common than not. Having to buy only kosher wines, I chose to forego Herzog products and buy other brands, and happily, have had no problems with quality, spoilage, etc. Bought Yarden at the same stores I typically frequent- no problems at all-and continue to see dusty/old vintage bottles of BH on the shelf, again, at numerous locations- if you look, you will find the same thing. This is not to impugn the fact they have some good wines and accolades in Wine Spectator.

                2. Talking about adventure, we went to Alaska... No, not the typical cruise. Flew to Anchorage, rented an RV and travel in-land. Keeping kosher was not a problem. Between the meat we brough and the fresh ingredients and the fresh salmon. Plus the scenery of that beautiful land. Yes, between my brother, my two boys and his son, we didn't have a minyan... Shabat dinner under the sky was amazing. We did it again through the southwest. RV is the answer to keeping kosher while moving :)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: mrotmd

                    I don't think an RV trip in Alaska in "February" is gonna go over> I assume your trip was in the summer

                    1. re: berel

                      RV ing is absolutely a wonderful way to travel. In Feb, I would go South, obviously. The outerbanks of NC, maybe?

                      1. re: berel

                        Opps! yes we did it in the summer :)

                        1. re: mrotmd

                          I just couldn't picture anyone Rv'ing in Alaska in February......then again maybe a new TV reality show... Ice Road Rv'ers?

                    2. My sister went to the Hyatt in Acapulco last year and said the food was excellent, though the hotel just fine. She said if she would do it again she would stay at a nicer hotel nearby and eat one big meal at the Hyatt every day. Though they did do the full 3 meals a day package and said it was very nice not to scrounge for food.

                      1. Palm Springs if you love the outdoors!

                        1. Eilat in Israel would be a nice choice, plenty of access to kosher food, warm and relaxing. I went to Israel last Feb and stayed at the Hilton Queen of Sheba while in Eilat - enormous breakfast buffet.

                          1. About Acapulco, (not relevant this year, It's kosher dec-mar only), the hotel got the same owners, only they left the "hayatt", and it calls "the grand hotel". I was there twice at the last season, and we liked it a lot.