Rave: Hot Weekend Escapes

On The Fourth Floor, we work hard, but we also know when it’s time to relax and smell the… margaritas. The colder weather already has us yearning for a place where we can explore a new city or break out our bathers and score some quality beach hair.   

There are a ton of options when it comes to warmer-weather escapes for an extra long weekend or week-long getaway. We’ve narrowed it down to a few hot spots that we’ve tried and loved (or would love to try). 

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Providenciales is the most developed island within the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British Overseas Territory and about a three and a half hour plane ride away from Toronto.  It boasts having one of the ten best beaches in the world and the third largest reef in the world, if you’re interested in swimming with the fishes. Which we are. 


There’s a range of accommodations, from all-inclusive resorts to rental villas, with the majority being in Grace Bay – the tourist centre of Providenciales. Our dream bed? It’s at the Windsong Resort. 

Miami, Florida
We’re not going to lie, a lot of our Miami knowledge stems from our love of Dexter. We hear the nightlife is amazing, but Miami is also known for its beaches, art galleries, Little Havana and, about 30 miles away, the Everglades National ParkRide an airboat and check out some gators, or hit the beach and check out some piña coladas. Miami is a versatile city with lots to see and shop.   


There are a variety of accommodation options available, but if money was no object, we’d stay at the W in South Beach

Austin, Texas
Not only is it another great U.S. destination, Austin is also the live music capital of the world. In addition to listening to some amazing tunes, Austin has an awesome selection of vintage shopping. For nightlife, Sixth Street is the place to be and if you’re there in March, you’ll get to experience the SXSW festival. Another random perk of a springtime visit is the Congress Avenue Bridge Bats. Each night around sunset some of the approximately one million bats take flight in search of food. A definite sight to see.   


Our favourite Austin hotel – Hotel San Jose

Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegas is great for a weekend escape, since it’s just long enough to get a true taste, without being so long that you’re sucked into the never-ending lights, gambling opportunities and amazing shows. Cruise the strip, take in a pool party at Tao then catch a Vegas show. There’s a lot to see and do in this desert town, but if you’re on the adventurous side, 30 minutes east you can hike up Red Mountain and zipline your way down. 


We’d love a weekend stay at the Cosmopolitan. And remember, what happens in Vegas…usually ends up on Facebook. You’ve been warned.

Los Cabos, Mexico
Located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos boasts beautiful beaches, a warm climate and tons of beachside activities. From paddle boarding in the ocean to delicious Mexican food (check out Mi Casa) and stunning natural scenery, there are a myriad of options while hanging out beachside. 


If we had a chance to splurge on a luxury resort, the One& Only Palmilla would be our first choice. 

Which warm locale would you choose? Let us know @rockitpromo.

Rave: Childhood summer vacations

There’s nothing quite like summer to make us nostalgic about our childhood. Two months of blissful, school-free days filled with swimming, ice cream and road trips. The heat must be getting to us On The Fourth Floor, because the other day we started reminiscing about our favourite memories of past summer vacations.


My grandparents used to live on a lake near Parry Sound – it’s my favourite place in the world. We’d be outside all day and in my case, most of the time was spent in the water. At night we’d hang around the fire and play horseshoes. I have such great memories of being up there. Lots of laughter, jokes and love.




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Just picture a mini-Lisa jumping off that dock.


Lara:
I spent every summer from ages nine to 19 at Camp Winnebagoe. Life was good. I made lifelong friends, spent every waking moment outside and learned so much.


I love Murphy’s Ice Cream Parlour in Streetsville. My grandpa used to take me when I was about five, and it was always the happening spot in the summer. All the cute soccer playing boys would hang out there, which was nice little eye candy to go along with the ice cream. I still get a kiddy scoop of Caribou Tracks when I go there now.
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My family always takes an annual summer trip to Stowe, Vermont. It’s the annual Stark Stowe reunion. We make T-shirts every year. We usually stay at the Golden Eagle resort and hit the bike path, alpine slidesBen and Jerry’s factory, and a dinner at The Whip. These trips have become especially fun and meaningful since both my brother and I have had kids.

Michelle:
I loved going to the Toronto Zoo. I always had a fascination with watching animals and thought of it as such an adventure. I still dream of going to African Lion Safari – maybe this is the summer!


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The mighty polar bears at the Toronto Zoo.
Christina

I grew up spending summers in Bass River, Nova Scotia. As a city girl, I adapted quickly to country living (with a ton of allergy pills and nose spray) and soon learned to milk a cow, drive a tractor and race around on a four wheeler. My favourite memory is when we spent two weeks camping across Newfoundland with our best family friends. I think it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. 
I loved the cottage that my family used to rent just north of Sudbury. My brother, sister and I would basically be left on our own for the entire time, and we loved it. We’d swim, fish, explore in the woods, read books (well, only I would do that), stay up late and roast marshmallows over campfires at night. I still love going to cottages, and try to get to a friend’s every chance I get. To me, it’s the essence of summer in Canada.

Debra:
I also spent my summers up at camp in Perth, Ontario. It is where I found my independence, hit puberty and fell in love. I also learned how to build a fire, camp out with just a tarp and play capture the flag. I love the memories that I have and wouldn’t trade those summers for anything.

What is your favourite summer memory? Leave a comment, or tweet us @rockitpromo.


Rave: Great vacation reads

Vacation time is here, and one of the ways we love to relax is with a good book. Whether on the beach or inside by a cozy fire, we’ve found some great reads for our break. Here are three that we’ve been sitting down with:
Set in 1962, The Help is a story about the white children of Jackson, Mississippi, and the black women who raised them. The story begins when Skeeter Phelan comes home after graduating from Ole Miss to find her much-loved maid, Constantine, is gone. When her mother offers no answers about Constantine’s whereabouts, Skeeter embarks on a journey to find her. 
Skeeter asks two maids to help her – the always-loyal Aibileen and the always-loud Minnie. In doing so, Skeeter is exposed to the tough realities of racial divide. While Skeeter’s journey begins as a pursuit of the truth, together these three women start a movement that forever changes their Southern town. Written by Kathryn Stockett, The Help is a hopeful book about the boundaries that exist and the time to cross them. 

Transitioning between the past and present, Sarah’s Key breaks the silence on Paris’ Vél’ d’Hiv’ roundup of Jewish men, women and children. The book begins in 1942, when French police arrest Sarah and her family. With no foresight of the danger that lies ahead, Sarah locks her brother in her family’s apartment cupboard to try and keep him safe. While the French police hold the family captive at the Vel’ d’Hiv’, Sarah holds the key to her brother’s life in her pocket.
In 2002, journalist Julia Jarmond’s editor assigns her to write an article to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Vel’ d’Hiv’. As Julia begins her investigation, the information she discovers connects Sarah’s past to her own family’s future. Following Sarah’s journey from the roundup on, Julia’s life becomes forever intertwined with hers. Written by Tatiana De Rosnay, Sarah’s Key is an unbelievable Holocaust story about our duty to always remember. It’s not a light read, but will be one of the most memorable books you pick up.


After giving birth to a daughter during a monsoon in a remote Indian village, Kavita has no choice but give her up. Kavita brings her baby to a Mumbai orphanage with nothing but a silver bangle. Meanwhile, in California, American-born Somer and her Indian husband Kris decide to adopt a child from his birth place, Mumbai.
Though she loves her adoptive parents dearly, Asha takes a break from college life to discover her roots. She returns to Mumbai to find out who she is and where she came from. Switching between the stories of the two families, The Secret Daughter, written by Canadian Shilipi Somaya Gowda, tells the story of a mother suffering the loss of her daughter, and a daughter’s search for the mother who gave her up.

Pick up one of these books and become immersed in another world, giving you the mental break that you deserve during vacation. Happy reading!

What are your top vacation book picks? Tweet us – @rockitpromo!