Category Archives: Timeshare Resales

Timeshare Exit Companies Under Fire

The timeshare industry and companies that help you exit your timeshare are at war, according to a MSN.com 50-second video: http://a.msn.com/01/en-us/BBRsPMn?ocid=se. According to freelance writer and longtime resort industry veteran Sharon Scott Wilson, “Timeshare exit companies have popped up everywhere, it seems. Many of them attempt to mislead consumers who have entered into legally binding real estate agreements by persuading them to essentially lie. Often these companies advise consumers to make claims that they were misled in the sales process and, in so doing, they are told they may then refuse to meet their mortgage and annual homeowner fee obligations.”

“While the legal system needs to protect individuals who have legitimate complaints, it does not condone fraudulent claims,’” she added. “Before attending a timeshare presentation, I would advise people to do some research. One informative resource is BayTreeSolutions.com, a timeshare resort resale provider. (By way of full disclosure, Bay Tree Solutions is a client of mine and the company’s CEO, Doug Milbrath, is one of what I would call ‘the good guys.’)

“In addition, I recommend reading Lisa Ann Schreier’s Timeshare Vacations for Dummies, which I have found to have plenty of good information. You can also visit VacationBetter.org, a consumer-oriented website managed by the American Resort Development Industry.”

About Sharon Scott Wilson

Wilson writes print/online content for blog posts, feature-length articles, and social media. She is experienced in planning and implementation of online marketing strategy, and is a prolific business writer. Her timeshare industry-focused B2B articles have appeared on numerous occasions in Resort Trades, DEVELOPMENTS (ARDA’s magazine) and other media.  Sharon is Publisher of Resort Trades and Golf Course Trades magazines.  Her PR and marketing firm, SharonINK, recently became a subsidiary of The Trades Publishing Company.

Media Contact: Sharon Scott Wilson, RRP;  SharonINK.com; 310-923-1269

The Lore and Allure of the Smokies

(Originally published October 30, 2018, at https://www.baytreesolutions.com/blog/2018/10/31/the-lore-and-allure-of-the-smokies.)

They call it “Rocky Top” for a reason; early settlers struggled to find a patch of arable ground in the Tennessee Smoky Mountain region of the Appalachians. Still, after the discovery of the Cumberland Gap in 1750 and at the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, a few rugged settlers scrubbed out a hard-knock living here. A visit to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and the surrounding areas elicits visions of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone-like pioneers, clad in coonskin hats and buckskin clothing, shouldering a long rifle and powder horn and accompanied by rugged-looking long-skirted women or Cherokee brides.

The region’s history is just part of the allure drawing vacationers year-round to drive east on the I-40 from Knoxville, turn south on Route 441 (or, as the natives call it, ‘the Parkway’), passing Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg on their way to visit one of America’s oldest and most storied national parks, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

If you take the trip, as you leave the Interstate you’ll find yourself in Sevierville. This is an excellent halfway point between Knoxville with its small-city feel and the park, which occupies 244,000 acres of Tennessee and 276,000 acres of North Carolina. This totals 520,000 acres, which equates to over 800 square miles. The Smokies are the most-visited national park in the United States, but you’d never know it as you have over 800 miles of hiking trails to choose from, including 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

Take a look at the Wyndham Smoky Mountains while you’re there. This resort is loaded with amenities; there are two of everything! There are two outdoor swimming pools, two indoor swimming pools, two outdoor children’s pools, two outdoor hot tubs, two exercise equipment areas, two miniature golf areas, two playgrounds, and two dry saunas. (You might need at least one of these saunas to help you wind down after all that exercise!) You might find it difficult to peel yourself away for a visit to the national park, but it will be worth it!

The park opened in 1934 and still has no entry fee. There are miles and miles of trails for every stroller or full-on hiker which lead you through the verdant forest, past trickling brooks and streams, and up to views of gushing waterfalls. For the full outdoor experience there’s whitewater rafting, river tubing, and fly fishing. In the winter months, downhill skiing can be enjoyed for a short season at Ober Gatlinburg.

Route 441, or the Parkway, is the Smokies’ main street leading southward from I-40 toward the national park. Once you’re past Sevierville, you’ll come to the mountain town of Pigeon Forge. Here you’ll find country singer Dolly Parton’s Appalachian-themed Dollywood, consisting of a theme park with thrilling rides and an adjoining water park. There’s a museum of Dolly’s costumes and memorabilia and, on occasion, one of her relatives might just drop by. There are comedy and country music shows, including the not-to-be-missed Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede.

The Lodges at the Great Smoky Mountains are located in Pigeon Forge and would also make a lovely choice for your resort home. Each picturesque one-to-three-bedroom cabin or mountain lodge provides you with that wilderness feel, but with a luxurious touch. After a day of hiking, shopping, or entertainment, you can curl up in front of a crackling fire with a glass of wine, whip up dinner in your fully equipped kitchen (yes, there’s a dishwasher!), and have a nice long soak in your copper tub.

Driving along the Parkway you’ll see the Old Mill, a restaurant and shopping complex built around a 19th-century gristmill, and the Titanic Museum Attraction, a re-creation of the luxury ocean liner that sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. Other attractions include Parrot Mountain & Gardens, in which you can get up close and personal with the colorful creatures and lush foliage.

The division between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg is hardly discernable, except Gatlinburg – with its narrower passageways and chockablock boutique shops – has an almost Old World charm to it. The local chamber of commerce provides an app for your mobile device and an online visitor’s guide to help you plan your fun. While you’re in town, families with small children might wish to set aside an entire day for a visit to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. There, kids of all ages can ‘meet’ the penguins, watch an African penguin create a work of art in the Penguin Painting Experience; touch a horseshoe crab or stingray; or step onto a moving 340-foot-long glide path winding through an underwater tunnel as you view sea turtles, sharks, and moray eels.

For beautiful mountaintop views, a visit to the Holiday Inn Vacation Smoky Mountains Resort is in order. This resort offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas — all with fully equipped kitchens, washers and dryers, and a furnished patio or balcony. Guests typically compliment it with accolades such as ‘wonderful’ and ‘beautiful.’ You can’t beat it for location; it’s smack-dab in the middle of Gatlinburg. After a day of wandering the streets in town, you can just imagine enjoying a hot toddy in front of the huge outdoor fireplace in the evening or a long soak in a luxurious hot tub.

The Parkway leads directly through the heart of the Smokies. One detour you’ll want to make once you get to the park is to visit the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, which celebrates the cultural heritage of East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountain region. The center features gallery exhibits, educational programs, demonstrations, and festivals leading visitors through a historic journey. Neighborhood model train aficionados, members of the Maryville Model Railroad Club, have launched a new holiday tradition exhibiting the Smoky Junction Model Train Exhibit on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through January 6th. Visitors will enjoy a multi-themed model railroad experience at the Heritage Center featuring a Townsend/Walland landscape, a garden scale train, and a winter wonderland.

Probably one of the best draws of the area is affordability. You can enjoy many of the same amusements and entertainment venues as are offered in Vegas or Orlando for much, much less! Adult tickets for the Dixie Stampede, for example, start around only $55.00.  This includes a pre-dinner music concert; a tasty three-course meal; and an amazing show featuring trick horseback riding, music, and comedy. Dinner was so delicious that our unusually finicky two children, ages four and seven, actually ate it all with relish!

Plus, in the Smokies region, you typically won’t have long lines for rides, at restaurants, or to see a show. The weather in winter is typically cool, but mild. Last year, for example, the high temperatures in December averaged in the mid-50s with very few rainy days. Temperatures in summer can reach the lower 90s, but in the fall and spring, they are just about perfect, of course. You have the cool breezes flowing through the mountain passes which keep the temperatures consistently in the high 70s. Give a vacation in the Smokies a try and you just might find – like so many others – there’s no better place for a vacation.

(Originally published October 30, 2018, at https://www.baytreesolutions.com/blog/2018/10/31/the-lore-and-allure-of-the-smokies.)

4 Off-Beat Reasons to Visit Vegas (Besides Gambling)

Originally published at https://www.baytreesolutions.com/blog/2018/08/21/4-off-beat-reasons-to-visit-vegas-besides-gambling.

By Sharon Scott Wilson

I’ll admit I’m not much of a gambler. Let’s just say that my name isn’t on any casino’s list of big spenders. So when I first went to Vegas, I was expecting to be bored out of my mind. What a surprise! Now I go every year, anytime I have the opportunity. It’s become my go-to destination and gambling has nothing to do with it.

To me, Vegas is my yearly getaway from the daily grind, a way to rejuvenate myself. Who knows but that I might even be extending my life by a few years through my annual pilgrimage. Could it do the same for you? Maybe. Here’s my advice:

  1. Hone Your Fixation on Art

In Vegas, architecture is the prevalent artistic expression. If you stop to think about it, where else, other than in Disneyland or Walt Disney World, have the most brilliant illuminati in architecture been given such free reign?

If you’re like me, you’ll notice new details that will enrich the experience each time you visit. Day or night, a stroll down the Strip stimulates your own imagination. Where else do you find yourself imbued and inspired by the talent and genius of what may be the most creative designers and architects in the world, today? And guess what? As a timeshare owner, you essentially own a little part of this incredible town. Moreover, the view is ever-changing each time you come and (bonus here!) it’s at no extra charge! Once you own a timeshare in this bold, beautiful town, the world is your oyster….at least several artistic renditions of it are.

I wonder what archeologists finding the ruins of Vegas thousands of years from now will think. Will they be befuddled, or what?

On the one hand, they might find the classicism of ancient Rome in Caesar’s Palace with its Corinthian columns, carefully chiseled bas relief, and statues of toga-clad figures. (The columns in Caesar’s are reputed to be the tallest in the world, by the way.) According to Wikipedia, “Caesars Palace was established in 1966 by Jay Sarno, who sought to create an opulent facility that gave guests a sense of life during the Roman Empire.” Amazing to think that 52 years later, it’s still awe inspiring.

After exploring the Roman era iconography and statues, including a 20-foot statue of Augustus Caesar at the entrance, the group might next find the Paris Las Vegas with replicas of the Paris Opera House, the Hôtel de Ville, and the Louvre, along with its own Eiffel Tower.

Dig a little further and a team of future explorers might then stumble on other marvels. “Is this Venetian lagoon, surrounded by Italian Renaissance palazzos, and piazzas a desert mirage?” they might ask. They’ll be convinced they’ve been transported to the banks of Lake Cuomo in Italy by the time they reach the Bellagio where, 2,000 square feet of the lobby ceiling is covered with 2,000 of Dale Chihuly’s “Fiori di Como.” Actually, these delicate hand-blown glass flowers will likely be shattered by the hand of time before they see them; so you’d better go now!

  1. Go Wild; Go Native

Of course, residents of Sin City avoid the Strip like the plague. But, not us! However, once I’ve taken in a show or two, perhaps tried my hand at baccarat, and made the ‘scene,’ I’m ready for a change. That’s when I ‘go native.’

When Las Vegans want to party, they go to the Fremont Street Experience, a five-block entertainment district in the historic downtown area. I remember the city planners proudly restoring this section of what had been a pretty seedy area of town at least two decades ago. At the time, ‘historic’ was a euphemism for the run-down part of town; today, the area is an extraordinary mecca for fun seekers.

The spot defies description. You’ll feel the ‘wow’ factor as you start walking under the world’s largest video screen, which towers over the pedestrian mall. Called the Vida Vision, the screen is 1,500 feet long, 90 feet wide, and pumps out free light shows every night of the week as daredevils shoot out from underneath on 850-foot ziplines. Actually, the ziplines are for the chickens in the crowd. Above them at 1,750 feet are suspended “Zoomlines” upon which the truly insane can fly superhero-style as they are shot off from a 12-story slot machine-themed tower.

The Fremont Street Experience hosts free concerts, food and retail venues, plus “Fear the Walking Dead Survival,” an immersive, walk-through attraction that’s part thrill ride, part escape room, part maze and part interactive video game. And, of course, there are plenty of gambling and drinking opportunities throughout. Hilton Grand Vacations has a number of resorts located not too far from there, but you’ll want to drive or take a cab in my opinion.

  1. Go Native; But No-So-Wild

Ready for a more laid-back experience? Try a visit to Vegas’ diminutive Chinatown, located in the Las Vegas Chinatown Plaza, 4205 Spring Mountain Road. There you can pour through quaint little shops while you search for authentic Chinese arts and craft objects, jade pieces, and home decor items before taking a break for some tasty dim sum or spring rolls. There are almost a dozen eateries in Chinatown Plaza. For a break from traditional Chinese cuisine, you might want to try one of the mall’s other spots such as Kapit Bahay Filipino Fast Food (‘get it fast, but eat it slow’), Mother’s Grill for Korean BBQ or the Pho Vietnam Restaurant. Top it all off with a coffee and a pain au chocolate from The French Bakery for dessert. The prices are certainly more affordable than those on the Strip. You’ll have a little green left over for more shopping in the center’s almost 20 stores.

There are a number of quirky sites and museums in town that are off the beaten path. One of these, the Neon Museum, located inside the historic La Concha Motel, has an ever-expanding collection of retired Vegas signs and memorabilia. Remember the old Stardust sign? It’s here, resting in peace in the Neon Boneyard. How about the Hard Rock guitar? Yup…it’s here, too. In fact, the non-profit has managed to garner the funds to restore as many as eleven signs, despite restoration being a very involved and costly process.

Even the museum visitor center was, itself, saved from demolition in 2005 and brought to its new home at 770 Las Vegas Boulevard North. The shell-shaped building was designed by acclaimed architect Paul Revere Williams. Williams, who placed a significant stamp on post-WWII Los Angeles with his futuristic, spaceship-like design, was the first African-American ever to win the American Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal.

Be prepared to ‘check your weapons at the door’ if you’re planning on’ doing some time’ at the Mob Museum. Four floors of artifacts and informational materials focused on organized crime are packed into a Palladium styled building at 300 Stewart Avenue. You can climb the backstairs, slip into the Speakeasy, and explore how the mob rose to power in the devil-may-care days of prohibition. Carefully curated and informative displays take you through the years exploring how authorities are continuously challenged by malfeasants and manage to maintain the upper hand, despite evildoers’ worst intent.

You’ll need a safe harbor after studying the dark side.  Maybe you’d like to ‘make your escape’ as far as possible. In that case, I recommend the Westgate Flamingo Bay at 5625 West Flamingo Road. Flee to your one- or two-bedroom villa, unwind in your jetted tub, and sip on a cool glass of something…. Canadian whiskey or moonshine, anyone?

  1. Get Pampered

I doubt there’s another city in the world offering so many avenues to self-improvement and in a relatively compact area. One of my favorite resorts in the area is Marriott’s Grand Chateau for about a billion reasons, not the least of which is for their spa. It’s a splurge and probably the most expensive non-food-related activity I go for; but each time I visit, I take an entire day at the Aquae Sulis Spa, located right there at the resort. Schedule a facial and a massage toward the end of the day and plan on showing up as soon as the place opens in the morning to get more bang for the buck.

The name, aquae sulis, is Latin for “the waters of Sulis,” after a temple the Romans built over hot springs in Britain, in honor of the Celtic goddess. Sulis was thought of as a nurturing, life-giving Mother Earth type figure. It won’t take much to conjure up your own inner goddess (or, gentlemen, perhaps your inner Jupiter) as you luxuriate in a bubbling hot whirlpool bath and feel your muscles release their tension, all the while serenaded by soothing rhythmic tones.

You’ll want to pace yourself as you move from there to the indoor or outdoor pool, the steam room, or the sauna. Often there’s some confusion about the use of a sauna versus a steam room. The two originally arose from different cultures, but the objective of either one is to aid the body in sloughing off impurities by sweating. So it doesn’t matter if in which order you move from one to the other, if you wish to sample them both. You are King or Queen for the Day, so you can do like I do and use every, single, gosh-darned apparatus there, or you can do only one or none of the above. Just remember to keep yourself hydrated.

They have a wonderful, magic ‘gadget’ you can add to any facial, which produces what are called microcurrents.  Microcurrent is a low-level current that is said to mimic the body’s natural current to provide antiaging results. The idea of having my face shocked freaked me out, but they promised it wouldn’t be uncomfortable. They were correct. This is called the “non-surgical facelift” and I couldn’t agree more! My face feels amazing for days afterwards! I highly recommend it even if you’re not interested in antiaging.

These are just a few of the reasons I like to visit Las Vegas every year, if possible. At the end of my stay, I go home with no hangover, no regrets, and with money in my pocket. In fact, I return home feeling rejuvenated, educated, and energized.

Of course, I’ve only just scratched the surface; there’s so much to do in this vacation spot. How about you? How often do you manage to get to Vegas? How frequently do you manage to get away at all? When someone owns a timeshare week, it’s like having a prepaid vacation. You know you are guaranteed a vacation every year and it’s even better when you can make it into a healthful, restorative event filled with pleasant memories!

Originally published at https://www.baytreesolutions.com/blog/2018/08/21/4-off-beat-reasons-to-visit-vegas-besides-gambling.

Celebrating Independence Day, Independent-LY!

By Sharon Scott Wilson

(Reprinted from Bay Tree Solutions Blog with Permission.)

In a workaday world, most of us occasionally get the feeling we’re trapped. Let’s face it: we’re just not taking enough time off from the daily grind to free ourselves from stress and lack of rest. As I write this, we are heading into the July 4th Independence Day holiday and you know what? I’ll bet many of us can’t remember when we actually took a week’s vacation!

According to an article written by Daniel B. Kline for “The Motley Fool,” @CNNMoney*, “Americans are self-defeating when it comes to vacation. A 2016 Bankrate study showed that more than 50% of U.S. workers give up at least some of their paid vacation days each year. On top of that, an earlier report in 2014 showed that 42% of Americans claimed they don’t take vacation time at all.

“That’s potentially bad for workers and their employers. Taking time off — whether it be a short break or an extended vacation — can help you function better at work. ‘There is a lot of research that says we have a limited pool of cognitive resources,’ Allison Gabriel, an assistant professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University told Entrepreneur [magazine]. ‘When you are constantly draining your resources, you are not being as productive as you can be. If you get depleted, we see performance decline. You’re able to persist less and have trouble solving tasks.’”

How about you? Are you longing to shake off those golden handcuffs? Perhaps it’s time to take a look at making a commitment to yourself and your family to take an honest-to-goodness vacation each and every year. In fact, maybe this your moment in which you begin to turn over the proverbial new leaf. You might even start to move forward by celebrating July 4th in a luxurious resort condo of your very own….At least, you can own a piece of one.

Call It Vacation Ownership; Call It Timeshare….But Most of All, Call It Freedom!

Ask anyone who owns points or a week at a timeshare resort and, invariably, they’ll go on and on about how much better it is to vacation in one, rather than staying in a hotel. It’s much more than a room! Most resorts have 2- and 3-bedroom units with living rooms, separate bedrooms with their own bathrooms, kitchens, dining areas, and balconies.

Family meals together are back in the picture. There’s no more stuffing your family into one hotel room to eat pizza on the bed! No way! You’ll have a fully equipped kitchen for those grab-it-and-go meals or to whisk up a big batch of spaghetti complete with Grandma’s spicy meatballs. If your family enjoys games, sports, swimming, or golfing, most resorts have enough choices of activities to fill the bill.

Oh! And speaking of Independence, did we mention your exchange privileges? You’ll have the freedom to explore a new destination every year if you’re the adventuresome type. Depending on the value of your vacation ownership purchase, it’s entirely possible to spend a week in Orlando one year, another in Europe the next, and yet-another in Hawaii or Bali after that! Or, you may prefer to reconnect with your loved ones in a familiar place for an annual reunion.

Vacation ownership allows you to invest in your happiness and in your relationship with your family by ensuring you take future vacations—and saves you money in the long run. Once you own a timeshare, your vacation choices are almost limitless. You can choose different destinations, resorts, and times of the year. Through exchange programs, you can select places around the world—for your family vacation, a girlfriend getaway, adventurous solo travel, a romantic retreat—whatever your heart desires.

Is It Too Late to Enjoy a Resort on July 4th?

Maybe not! The July 4th holiday falls smack-dab in the middle of the year; that’s “Week 26.” As I write this, it’s close to the last week in June 2018. If you were to purchase a floating week today, there may still be an opportunity to enjoy your first holiday in Week 26. Take a look at Bay Tree Solutions’ list of available weeks at Marriott Vacation Club and note: They are all floating. I’d urge you to call Bay Tree at 800-647-4130 for more specifics.

Imagine watching Independence Day fireworks light the sky over Cinderella’s Castle! At the time of this post, Bay Tree Solutions had several timeshare choices available in Kissimmee, Florida. Among them were some great bargains like the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort-East Village. Located on over 1,000 acres of mystical wetlands adjacent to the Walt Disney World Complex, the East Village of Orange Lake Resort offers luxury mid-rise condos overlooking the championship Arnold Palmer designed golf course. You can choose from two- or three-bedroom units that accommodate eight or ten people respectively, with full kitchens, private patios, washers/dryers, and flat-panel TVs. East Village amenities include golf pro shop, sports bar, pools and spas, and a fitness center. Plus, Orange Lake Resort owners and guest enjoy access to amenities at the other three villages: West Village, North Village, and the newest River Island. Browse East Village timeshares for sale by owner now to save thousands!

Or, what could be more in keeping with the Spirit of ’76 than a vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia? From historic sites to roller coasters of great heights, there’s something for everyone. Did you know that General George Washington assembled the Continental Army in Williamsburg in 1781 for the siege of nearby Yorktown? From there, his ragged team fought what was, at the time, the largest military organization in the world and won the war for American independence. The famous attorney, planter, and orator Patrick Henry, known for his brave statement, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” had his plantation nearby. The town’s newest timeshare resort, Patrick Henry Square, was given the moniker in honor of the early patriot.

Perhaps you are reading this article after the 2018 Independence Day has come and gone. Well then, this is the perfect time to start planning for next year…or even, next month! It’s never too late to declare your own independence from drudgery and commit to happiness!

*http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/08/pf/jobs/taking-vacation/index.html

Your Summer (Plus, a Lifetime of Enjoyment) Starts Here!

Reprinted with permission, Bay Tree Solutions, June 2018.

Memorial Day sales may be over for retailers, but when it comes to buying a week or points at a vacation ownership resort, bargains are still available! Start your summer out right. In fact, if you move quickly, you can get a last-minute steal and enjoy a week at one of the nation’s top resort destinations right away!

But before buying, you might do a little soul-searching: Are you and your family looking forward to taking a little R&R time each year to enjoy one another’s company and get away from the stress of day-to-day concerns? Do you feel that giving yourself and your family the chance to grow closer together by building precious memories should be a priority? If so, then buying a timeshare/vacation ownership interest will be a great first step to ensuring this quality of life for the ones you love. Spending your hard-earned money on hotel rooms each time you take time off is often an inhibitor to actually doing so. Here are some of the reasons why vacation ownership may make sense for you:

Prepaid vacations – When you check out at the end of your vacation, your bill is “0,” nada! You already will have paid for your stay and, oftentimes, you will have saved money. Plus, there’s no up-charge for extra people. In many cases, a resort apartment will have beds for as many as ten people. And, because the condos have kitchen facilities, a family can easily save more than $100 a day by stocking up the refrigerator and relaxing at home! As an owner, you will get the first choice for renting unused time at true bargain owner rates.

Take a look at a recently listed bargain-price timeshare at Tanglewood Vacation Villas in Pottsville, Texas, for instance. For only $3,000.00 (and the sellers say they are even willing to negotiate), you can easily afford this 2-Bedroom/2-Bath deeded, “floating” week! (When banked with Interval International weeks, you can enjoy a two-for-one exchange privilege!)

Tanglewood Resort is located on Lake Texoma, away from the bustle of the city, approximately one hour’s drive north of Dallas. Guests can enjoy an 18-hole championship golf course. With over 500 miles of shoreline, Lake Texoma offers some of the best striper fishing in the world. Three swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, day spa, and, with the addition of Barnacles Sports Bar, two full-service restaurants also are available. All one- and two-bedroom units have a full kitchen, laundry facilities, and a private hot tub.

No more pizza on a bed! Staying in a timeshare resort condo provides you with private bedrooms, kitchen and dining accommodations, and includes housekeeping at most of the better resorts. Often, a larger resort will have several different restaurant offerings, ranging from casual hamburgers poolside or sandwiches in the golf course clubhouse to fine dining.

One such resort is Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee, Florida. The mammoth 1450-acre property offers the Tradewinds Restaurant and Bar, Currents Cafe at River Island Exchange, The River Island Grilling Company, The Legacy Bar & Grill, Breezes Restaurant & Bar, and Anchors. Who’s going hungry, here? Other amenities include the marketplace, tennis, fitness center, and excellent golf course facilities. The Orange Lake Resort complex offers a lakefront watersports center, many pools and spas, and the new River Island water park area with a lazy river.

You’ll have to hurry to get this one, as Orange Lake’s amenities and its proximity to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios make it a hot-ticket item. At the time of this writing, BayTreeSolutions.com was offering the deeded week “37” in the West Village section for $8,500.00. That’s the second full week of September, with the option to “float” during the red season! You will have the ability to exchange through Holiday Inn Club Vacations as 96,000 points per year… This particular unit may have been snapped up by the time your read this, but don’t worry. Bay Tree Solutions has other other excellent bargains available.

Entertain the ‘troops.’ In addition to swimming pools and tennis courts, many resorts offer a host of other activities including horseback riding, canoeing, karaoke, and more. Most resorts provide interactive games, activities for kids and adults, and tours of local hot spots. Spend your time enjoying vacationing. Save the hours and hassle of planning, because it has already been done for you!

Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort in Gatlinburg comes to mind when thinking of a hugely popular destination. At the moment, Bay Tree Solutions is advertising a 2-Bedroom/2-Bath July 4th week for only $5,000.00 or best offer! This is a really good deal. The resort backs up to nature trails, which take you straight from your cabin into the densely wooded forest of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, adjacent to the resort property. Guests enjoy two large swimming pools during warmer weather, each with a six-person in-ground hot tub. With Dollywood and other attractions nearby, the kids will find it really, really hard to be bored!

Exchange, Rent, or Sell — Most resorts are allied with one of the large exchange companies, RCI or Interval International, which provide many different alternatives for getting the most out of your timeshare. Many resort management companies will help you rent your unit/points if you can’t enjoy your ownership privileges for some reason. The more you learn about your vacation ‘product,’ the more you will come to enjoy the great flexibility that comes with your timeshare. You can exchange time at a deeded property or utilize your points (depending on your purchase-type) to travel to vacation destinations throughout the world! And should you decide you are no longer interested in owning your timeshare, you can always put it up for sale by advertising on www.BayTreeSolutions.com. Just remember to purchase wisely in the first place, as timeshares do not typically appreciate in value.

Another very popular resort destination is Branson, Missouri. Branson’s Nantucket, perched on the coast of Table Rock Lake, has a one-bedroom unit available. This 1-Bedroom/1-Bath Branson’s Nantucket timeshare is a deeded, “floating” week during Platinum Season! Exchange through RCI as 51,000 points per year, which is enough for larger 2- and 3-bedroom units during the off-season. Plus, the points may be exchanged at over 7,500 resorts worldwide.

Branson is known as the “live entertainment capital of the world.” Branson’s Nantucket offers luxurious accommodations with convenient access to internationally known attractions, including water parks, go-carts, miniature golf, wineries, and shopping. Visit famous Silver Dollar City, which features rides, attractions, crafts and a wide variety of live entertainment. Enjoy the view of Table Rock Lake off the deck of every unit while you and your loved ones watch the sunset. The next day, you can head out to enjoy boating, water-skiing, and fishing.

If you and your family or friends plan to vacation each year, timeshare makes great financial sense while offering superb facilities. Remember, buying timeshare is not a financial investment; it’s an emotional and spiritual one…a chance to ensure you will be able to take some precious time to build lifelong memories with loved ones and be able to put the worries and cares of the world into focus.

 

Saving Money on Your Orlando Vacation

orlando vacation meal planningReprinted with permission from Bay Tree Solutions: Meal Planning Can Save Money on Your Orlando Vacation.

A visit to Orlando without a day spent in one of the area’s amusement park seems out of the question to many families. But others who have ‘been-there-done-that’ may decide to skip the park and choose, instead, to lounge by the pool, play a round of golf, or visit one of the city’s many attractions.

Whatever entertainment you may select, an Orlando vacation can be a pricey undertaking. One travel expert recently observed, “How much money will you need in Orlando? $236.00 is the average daily price for traveling in Orlando. The average price of food for one day is $50.00 per person. The average price of a hotel for a couple is $216.00.”

Something may be off with my math, but when I add $100.00 for food for two, plus $216.00 for a hotel room, the daily price for an Orlando vacation appears to start at $316.00 just for room and board! Realistically, you’re going to need to plan on spending more than that if you’re to take advantage of visiting America’s biggest playground. How can you shave a few hundred off these initial basics, you might ask?

For starters, you can greatly reduce the cost of a hotel room by acquiring a vacation ownership, or timeshare, unit. This comes with the added bonus of affording you dining and kitchen areas, which leads us to our next tactic: Make a detailed meal plan for each day of your trip.

One couple writes, “We would often have a big breakfast, snack for lunch and then sit down for a nice dinner. So, we really had only two full meals per day.” Since most Americans typically have lighter fare for their midday meal, this routine would not be a sharp departure from their norm.

Judy S. from Syracuse says, “We own a week at the Sheraton Vistana Resort. It’s just my husband and me, so we’re very flexible. We’ve used our exchange privileges to visit several of the other Vistana properties in Hawaii and Arizona. So we learned that before we go, it helps to put together a shopping list that includes items for a full breakfast to have in our condo each morning and an easy one-dish dinner for most of the evenings. That way we can grab a quick sandwich on the road for lunch. When we stay at the Orlando Vistana, we’ll typically dine at one of the onsite venues a couple of times during the week. Sometimes we’ll just order a pizza or a burger from the Tacky Tiki Bar & Grill and have them deliver it.”

“We’re a family of four so we plan our budget down to the penny,” says Sarah E. from Columbus, Ohio. “We’re owners at Summer Bay Orlando by Exploria Resorts, in Kissimmee. We just love it there! For one thing, the apartments are huge and very modern, with trey ceilings and bright summery colors. But the kids love it here because there’s so much to do. There’s a lovely lake where they can go out on paddle boats or go fishing. There’s every kind of entertainment including canoeing, swimming, miniature golf, tennis, a fitness center and a game room, which is great for those rainy days. Our little one is still in diapers, so it’s great to have a washer and dryer right in the unit. Because the kids are little, we don’t go out to restaurants very often. I feel right at home in my huge kitchen at Summer Bay and can keep our expenses really low.”

“Each summer we get two units close together at Parc Soleil by Hilton Grand Vacations Club for our annual reunion,” says Marge K. from Bad Axe, Michigan. “Having a kitchen while on vacation is perfect for us. The kids can eat whenever they are hungry, without the hassle of leaving the resort or even leaving our condo. Plus, there’s plenty of space in either unit for the whole group to gather each evening. We find it’s much more affordable and comfortable to stay at a timeshare resort, rather than at a hotel. Without our kitchens, there’d be eleven of us eating pizza on a bed. Yuck!”

Sarah observes that she ordinarily visits the nearby Publix supermarket on the way to the resort. “We are usually a little tired from traveling by the time we get to Orlando. So, for the first night we pick up two rotisserie chickens, a ready-made salad and maybe chips or a potato salad. That way we’ll have an extra chicken the next day. We’ll buy cold cuts, bread and mayonnaise to tide us through lunches for the first few days. My children are content with cereal for breakfast, although, lately, I’ve been treating them to French toast. So we add that to the basket, plus drinks and desert treats. After a few days, we get into a rhythm of playing outdoors or participating in an activity in the morning, grabbing a sandwich for lunch, and then spending the rest of the afternoon in the pool. We wait until the fifth or sixth day before visiting Walt Disney World or Universal Studios. I think part of the fun is the anticipation.”

“Because we have such a large group, we make a pretty detailed plan,” says Marge. “We have some teens in the family and, boy, can they chow down! So before we even pack a bag, my sister and I sit down together and plan each and every day. This helps us justify adding a few more excursions during our week. For example, one year we visited Ybor City, which is a colorful, historic village full of art deco appointments. It was founded in 1885 as a base for cigar factories and you can still watch through a shop window as an artisan works his craft.”

“We don’t really plan too far in advance,” says Judy. “We’ve come to the Sheraton Vistana Resort for several years and we’ve worked out an easy-to-follow routine. Right before we leave home I make up a shopping list of easy-to-prepare things like frozen entrees, veggies and deserts. Publix has a wonderfully convenient delivery service. They’ll even deliver liquor so my husband and I can have our ‘Vacation Margueritas’ in the evenings. I have to admit it; I am really lazy when I’m on vacation. The Publix is located right there, but I don’t want to waste time grocery shopping. So I place my order online and they’ll deliver it to the unit.”

The ability to stay in a condo with all the appliances and conveniences of home gives you a head-start when it comes to saving money on vacation, wherever you go. And with a little planning ahead or, even with not-so-much planning ahead, you can cut reduce your dining expense by as much as 50 percent or more! After all, more money in your pocket means more opportunity to explore and experience adventures with your friends and family.

4 Easy Tips to Stay Fit on Vacation

(As published on Bay Tree Solutions blog: https://www.baytreesolutions.com/blog/2018/03/28/4-tips-to-stay-fit-on-your-next-vacation.)

A vacation should be a means to restore your vitality, as well as to enjoy the company of those with whom you travel. For Americans, this usually includes lounging by the beach or pool, enjoying a cocktail while gazing at a perfect outdoor scene at sunset and enjoying leisurely meals and …oh yes!…sampling deserts! According to an article in Eat This magazine, “It might come as no surprise that vacation days can cause weight gain, but it’s not just the alcohol that’s doing it. Between skipped workouts, lazy days by the pool, and extra-indulgent restaurant meals, there are plenty of vacation mistakes that are wrecking your body goals.”

My theory is just the opposite. If properly planned and executed, I believe these four tips will help keep you fit on your next vacay. So, read on!

Tip #1 – Stay Active & Engaged.

Fortunately for those of us enjoying our vacation at a timeshare resort, we’ve got options. Many resorts are actually famous for their activities, such as the award-winning ‘INSPIRED FOR YOU’ program at the Welk Resort in Escondido. There you can try your hand at one of their championship golf courses or enjoy one of the five recreation centers and a stunning new 6,000 square foot fitness center featuring spin and yoga rooms, state-of-the-art strength and cardio machines and a two-story climbing wall.

Typically, a resort’s activities director will host poolside activities. For example, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa features several pools. One of these, High Rock Spring Pool, is the resort’s hub and includes a Donald Duck-themed splash area for tots, plus a 126-foot waterslide zipping past a waterfall. For grownups, there are two whirlpool tubs nestled on a rocky hill overlooking the pool. Monster’s Inc., G-Force and Enchanted are just a few of the poolside movies offered at night.

Tip #2 – Save Your Restaurant Outings for Special Occasions.

One blogger advises keeping a fairly consistent diet. “It helps maintain weight better than being erratic.  Even when you’re on vacation, aim to eat roughly the same amount and kinds of food as you usually do. Your body will thank you.” Consider stocking your fridge with plenty of easy-to-fix ingredients. We especially like keeping packages of precut veggies and fruits on hand to tempt the kids instead of having them load up on sugary snacks or begging to go to a fast food joint. Most evenings we will serve a simple meal like a salad, canned or frozen veggies and a rotisserie chicken or a broiled steak. There’s nothing like having a home-away-from-home with a dining area and kitchen facilities to make this possible!

We especially like the way Marriott Vacation Club timeshare condos are designed in this respect. Marriott’s Grand Chateau in Las Vegas has one of the most spacious and commodious suites we’ve encountered, yet. Located within a short walk of the Strip a block south of Flamingo Road, you can stroll over to one of the casinos to try your luck. But with the marketplace and restaurants, fitness center, rooftop pool and spa facilities located in-house, you may never wish to leave this luxurious palace!

Tip #3 – Get Out And Enjoy the Sites.

Maybe it’s time to be adventurous and try something new. Challenge yourself to try something different while you’re away. Break out of a workout rut and use vacation as an excuse to try rock climbing, sailing, zip-lining or parasailing. Or maybe you’d be more comfortable on the golf course or at the bowling alley. How about a walk on the beach, a hike through the foothills or a stroll through a colorful village?

Whatever you choose, staying active is a great way to keep your mind young and your body in shape. My husband and I enjoy studying history. So whenever possible, we love to visit sites such as Williamsburg, Virginia, where we can get our exercise in while learning more about the life and times of colonials. In addition to historic attractions, there are world-class roller coasters in Busch Gardens and other theme parks and theaters presenting Broadway-style shows, not to mention tours such as a sunset voyage on a pirate ship. Aargh!

We found King’s Creek Plantation to be a great location. The resort is fairly new and we like the roomier accommodations and more modern layout and fixtures. When you get tired of tromping around the historic district, the resort has all the amenities you’d expect and then some. It has a delightful Aquatic Center with a beautiful junior-size Olympic swimming pool for year-round enjoyment. Plus there are three outdoor pools.

Tip #4 – Enjoy Your Travel Companions

Keep work away. It’s a vacation, remember? Resist the urge to check work e-mails and focus on having fun. It will keep your mind clear and allow you to decompress. Free your mind. Meditating for just a few minutes each day can help relieve anxiety and stress. Bonus points if you can find a beautiful space to do it in.Most of all, enjoy the company of the people around you.

When we take a vacation, it’s like meeting one another for the first time in years…I mean, really getting reacquainted, connecting and communicating. Getting away to a resort with living areas separate from bedrooms is about the only way to truly do this, in my opinion. We play games, talk about school and work or just sit together reading or watching TV. There’s a closeness in this that we just can’t get at home and certainly can’t get in a starchy hotel room.

Plus, we always seem to meet fun people at resorts each and every time we go. The atmosphere is so relaxed; people are at their most serene and friendly.  The most current belief in the health community is that people who connect with friends and loved ones actually live longer and have greater health.

A vacation doesn’t have to mean you’re going to gain five pounds. If you make the most of your time away, you can return refreshed, renewed and invigorated. And who knows? Perhaps you will have added precious time to your lifespan!

One Top Travel Secret: Kennebunk, ME, in the Off-Season

(Published on Bay Tree Solutions’ blog, https://www.baytreesolutions.com/blog/2018/02/15/one-top-travel-secret-kennebunk-maine-in-the-off-season)

As a recent article, “What the Travel Industry Needs in 2018,” posted by Robin Amster on TravelPulse.com mentions, “the line between ‘high’ and ‘shoulder’ season has blurred as travelers head out to explore destinations year-round.” The author prognosticates that this year’s travel trends will be punctuated by “New Seasons for Traditional Destinations.”

This is particularly good news for timeshare resort owners who might wish to optimize their week by using their week(s)’ exchange value or points. You can really stretch your vacation ownership privileges when you explore resorts in the off-season.

How about a visit to Kennebunkport, Maine? Long an elite vacation spot for well-heeled patricians, this is the site of the summer home of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, father of former U.S. President George W. Bush. During his presidency, George H.W. Bush would occasionally host world leaders here, including Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev. Later, George W. Bush found it the ideal setting for a less formal get-together with Vladimir Putin.

While you are not likely to run into a member of the Bush dynasty outside the summer season, you can still enjoy having an entire beach to yourself if you visit from September through May. Located nearby is the small (with only 10,000 or so inhabitants), historic town of Kennebunk, where you can enjoy the full range of condo amenities in “84 Maine,” a cozy timeshare resort in the heart of town.

84 Maine is part of the popular Capital Resorts Group Vacation Club points program; allowing owners to exchange to any Capital Resorts location worldwide, in addition to Interval International’s network of more than 3,000 resorts in over 80 nations. Located in the town of Kennebunkport, 84 Maine offers eco-friendly one, two, and three-bedroom units with hardwood floors, gourmet kitchens, and private patios overlooking the town’s charming Main Street. Browse Capital Resorts timeshares for sale at 84 Maine at low ‘for sale by owner’ prices!

The Brick Store Museum is located just down the street and is worth visiting several times during your stay. Founder Edith C. Barry amassed a large number of family heirlooms and art during the beginning years of the Brick Store Museum, beginning in 1936. Today, the Museum houses close to 70,000 artifacts and archival materials.

Ms. Barry’s great-grandfather, William Lord, began constructing the main part of the museum as a dry goods store in 1825. At the time of Lord’s death in 1873, he was one of the wealthiest men in town. “Initially known as Lord’s Store, it was unusual for its time by being constructed of locally-kilned brick, a far more expensive alternative than constructing from plentiful Maine timber,” we are told by the website. “Although the brick exterior of the building remains relatively unchanged from the 19th Century, the interior has been altered significantly. Evidence of the building’s past as a store still remains upstairs, however; a windlass (or pulley system) used to hoist heavy goods is visible through a skylight.”

How fortunate for us that Lord took such pains to erect a building that has lasted almost 200 years! Edith Barry acquired three other buildings, all dating from the 1800s and expanded the museum’s footprint considerably. “These buildings date from 1810 to 1860. The initial core of the Museum’s collections came from the Lords and related families, but the Museum today is a regional history, art, and archives center.

“While many items can be found on display in rotating exhibits, most of our items are stored in a secured area of the Museum. Objects in our collections are used for exhibitions, educational programs, and research. The number of artifacts grows every day with new donations relating to the history of our community in the Kennebunks and southern Maine.

“Imagine quilts with secret pouches and handwritten inscriptions. Or a rare chest dating to 1685. Even a painting found floating at sea of a Kennebunkport ship captain. Examine pieces salvaged from area shipwrecks. Peek inside a Civil War drum for a real surprise. View the largest collection of World War I and II posters in all of Maine. Witness paintings created by Thomas Badger, John Brewster, Jr., Abbott Fuller Graves, Louis Norton, and Hannah Skeele.”

After a morning spent surveying how the typical ‘Maineiac ‘ lived during the Nineteenth Century, you can virtually remain in the past with lunch at the picturesque general store, H.B. Provisions. In 2002, an enterprising couple took over this 1865 building, turning it into a popular meeting place for the town’s community and where visitors can find a variety of unique gifts from Maine, as well as wine, beer, liquor, made to order deli breakfast and sandwiches, fresh baked goods, specialty coffee and more.

Those interested in the Great Outdoors may wish to visit the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. It was established in 1966 in cooperation with the State of Maine to protect valuable salt marshes and estuaries for migratory birds. A few of the activities to be enjoyed — particularly during the warmer months — include hunting, fishing, shell-fishing, kayaking and more. “Located along 50 miles of coastline in York and Cumberland counties, the refuge consists of eleven divisions between Kittery and Cape Elizabeth. It will contain approximately 14,600 acres when land acquisition is complete. The proximity of the refuge to the coast and its location between the eastern deciduous forest and the boreal forest creates a composition of plants and animals not found elsewhere in Maine. Major habitat types present on the refuge include forested upland, barrier beach/dune, coastal meadows, tidal salt marsh, and the distinctive rocky coast.”

With easy access to beaches from Kennebunk, here are some ideas one writer at www.weekendnotes.com/visit-the-beach-winter offered:

“You might think I am bonkers for mentioning going to the beach during the coldest season of the month, but I’m not crazy, I actually have a lot of good reasons for you and your family to visit the beach and things you can do there in Winter.

• Go shell collecting. The sand won’t be hot like it is in the Summer so it will be easier to walk around and dig up old shells. Lots of fun, my boys seem to really enjoy this activity – they paste the mini shells onto paper using glue.

• Take lovely photos of the beach. It will be less crowded and easier to take some really nice landscape shots. Kids at the beach also make for really good photos too.

• Watch the sunset and the waves crashing while there is no one around, most likely the beach will be empty. It is the perfect time to sit on a blanket or pier and watch the waves rolling in.

• Eat some hot food on the beach, if it is slightly warm or a bit cool it will feel nice eating hot food like fish and chips on the beach. You can even eat it from inside the car, but still watching the beach.

• Go for a run along the beach, much easier to do than in Summer because there isn’t a lot of people.

• I love the beach during the Winter, I think it is more beautiful and more fun to enjoy. My favorite part is that there is hardly anybody there, and if there is you can always make friends.

• I have noticed tides can be quite rough in the Winter time so always be careful and make sure your kids do not fall into the water.”

If beaches are your ‘thing,’ then check out gokennebunks.com/pages/visiting/beaches to read reviews and select your favorite. Regardless when you visit or how you like to spend your holiday time, however, this vacation destination is a great spot for anyone interested in beating the hustle and bustle of the city. Plus, you’ll fall in love with 84 Maine!