Luxury in the Florida Keys at Hawks Cay Resort

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Imagine a vacation place where you can feel at home in the Florida Keys. Just heard about Hawks Cay Resort Hotel and compound, a Triple-A four-diamond resort located in the Keys. If you like luxurious surroundings. If your group or family wants tons of activities for every age. If you like the idea of five totally different types of pools. If you crave top-notch hotel food, services and amenities, it sounds like you couldn’t do much better.

Whether you are a couple looking for a total relaxation experience or a family of 4 generations looking for a place where each member of every generation can have his/her own idea of fun any time they want and then come back together as a family again for chosen times and activities, this place has it all. Along with stunning vistas, private lagoons, a pirate-ship swimming pool among other features in Coral Cay kids’ place, and a full-service spa and diving shop.
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Oh, and they’ve got snuba diving – which means you and your kids (as young as 8) can experience the excitement and joy of deeper-level diving in a sea loaded with coral reefs and astoundingly diverse sea creatures without carrying the traditional heavy air tan on your backs (the tanks float above you on a raft) and without having to pass the sometimes-challenging certification process required for regular scuba diving.
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Hawks Cay draws visitors from all over the world (their biggest international clientele comes from Canada). The resort works with the local Turtle Rescue to help sea turtles who’ve been wounded (sometimes by man-made things like boat propellers) rehabilitate themselves and get back out to sea where they belong. Visit the Turtle Rescue while you’re here and see one up close.
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Hawks Cay underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation in 2008, and now with new owners, has just completed another extensive upgrade with plans for more. The place is gorgeous, with matchless views of the ocean on all sides. It sits at mile marker 61 in Duck Key on that long road from mainland Florida out to all the Keys.

At Hawks Cay there’s no need to be athletic – relaxation is the biggest goal of many guests of all ages. Make yourself at home in one of 177 guestrooms in the main section, or one of 2f50 two-, three- and four-bedroom  suites, all within walking distance of Coral Cay (the kids’ place). Or get moving with volleyball, camp morning/afternoon, all-day sessions for kids in the Pirate Ship swimming pool area, all included in the $39/day resort fee.
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Family accommodations are readily available as well as lots of adult suites. Sixteen four-bedroom units to group families together.
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Because there are very few natural beaches in the Keys, Hawks Cay has sculpted the area and shipped in fine sand. Blue is the fishing boat service. Lagoon for kids to experience snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking.
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Hawks Cay’s 5 pools include the main, the Tranquility pool, the family pool, the Sunset Village (spectacular sunset views!), and the Pirate Ship pool.
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Flying from Chicgo to either Miami or Ft. Lauderdale (easier to get in and out of), it takes your jet airplane about an hour and a half. Or if you’re up for true luxury, you can get private flights into Key West or Marathon and then you’re only 15 minutes from Hawks Cay. If you’re up for luxury, you won’t be disappointed.
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Getting older tends to improve mental health

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Yes, despite dealing with increased (some more, some less) physical issues, people tend as they age to feel better about themselves and their lives. Like good wine and cheese that get better with time,  human beings can improve with aging.

More than 1000 senior adults, chosen randomly and across ethnic variations (not volunteers who might have self-selected as people doing well) reported themselves “happier and more content with their lives than those in their 20s and 30s, despite their physical ailments,” according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Older, wiser, good-looking and highly content couple
Older, wiser, good-looking and highly content couple

Most seniors have accumulated some level of wisdom, don’t feel they have to prove much of anything any more, and don’t often face as many life-changing decisions as younger adults. Remember how exhausting it was trying to figure out how to handle various situations – at work, in your family life, in your marriage/romantic relationship? Of course, the results of these questions might be different for seniors who are yet struggling to pay the bills in their later years. But for many, simply not having to keep up with a job or career – or keeping up with a much-loved career but feeling more secure in it – can feel liberating and relaxing.

Always nice to hear about the benefits of getting older. Read more in the article on Medscape.

 

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Uber rides this week for $3.12

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Thank you, Timeout Chicago, for sharing this important information about such a deal on Uber travel good for rides generally in the 312 area code.  If you want to travel in Chicago in a square bounded by south of Irving Park, north of 71st Street and east of Western Avenue, you’ll automatically get the $3.12 fares through Friday at 10pm.

If you’ve been hesitant to try Uber, it’s time to jump in and give ’em a try. Around here, we use Uber regularly and have had mainly very positive experiences – on the whole better than some taxi rides.  With this kind of deal in this heat. why resist?

P.S. Tried it today, Thursday August 18. Worked fine. $3.12 for the ride but it was only available for UberPool at 6 pm. Turned out fine  because another person was going in the same direction at the same time, so there was no wait.

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Cool off with luscious low-cal summer eats

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Summers in Chicago can be brutal. When temps reach 90-ish and humidity gets over 60%, we’re talking grim. Seniors and anybody with heart or lung conditions has to either stay inside or get door-to-air-conditioned-door service.

So how about making something delicious and light and COLD to eat? Order from Peapod if you can’t make it out to the grocery store, and try out a few recipe ideas created by Chef Anthony Stewart from Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa. They sound so good and look so beautiful! His chilled tomato, watermelon and basil soup, citrus fennel mango salad, and creamy banana ricotta ice cream all sound unique and refreshing and don’t require any weird ingredients. Check ’em out:

 

Chilled Tomato, Watermelon, and Basil Soup 

  • 1 cup canned low-sodium plum tomatoes
  • ¼ cup low-sodium tomato puree
  • 1 cup chopped watermelon (seedless)
  • ½ teaspoon chopped garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest *
  • 1 tablespoon basil, chiffonade (cut into thin strips)
  • Garnish:  Four sprigs of fresh basil
  1. Using a grater or microplane, shave off the peel of an orange to make ½ teaspoon of shavings
  2. The shavings are your zest, which add strong, wonderfully citrus flavor to foods
  3. Use only the colored part of the peel, not the bitter white pith beneath

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Blend well.
Chill.  Before serving, garnish each bowl with a sprig of fresh basil.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 35 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1g protein, 2g fiber, 15mg sodium.

 

Citrus Fennel Mango Salad 

  • 2 Bulbs fennel julienne
  • 1 Grapefruit (supreme)
  • 2 Oranges (Supreme)
  • 3 Mangoes (peeled & julienne)
  • ¼ Bu Cilantro chopped
  • 1 t chopped garlic
  • 1 Red onion julienne
  • 1 Red pepper julienne
  • 1 Green pepper julienne
  • 1 carrot julienne
  • 1 # Lettuce (chopped)

Dressing:

  • 1 T Low sodium stone ground mustard
  • ¼ C Rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T Apple juice concentrate
  1. Combine all Vegetables in a bowl
  2. In a separate bowl combine all ingredients for dressing and mix well
  3. Add dressing to vegetables and let stand for 15 minutes
  4. Serve on a bed of chopped lettuce

Banana Ricotta Ice Cream 

  • 1 pound very ripe bananas (peeled, vacuum sealed, and frozen)
  • 1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Remove bananas from freezer and let sit for 5 minutes (until they begin to defrost around the edges).
  2. Place ricotta cheese in a food processor and pulse.
  3. Chop the bananas and add to the food processor along with all remaining ingredients.
  4. Puree until smooth and creamy.
  5. Scoop mixture into a plastic bowl and cover with food-grade plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap touches the top of the mixture. Place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Bon appetit!

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Disney’s Pete’s Dragon filmed in New Zealand

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Speaking of New Zealand, as we were in the last post, here’s some cool news about Disney’s classic family film Pete’s Dragon. They’ve re-filmed it with spectacular, real-life locations in New Zealand serving as a backdrop. The film was shot over both of New Zealand’s main islands, the North and the South, showcasing the country’s diverse landscapes. 

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Hanging out on Rotorua’s Redwood Forest Treewalk (Photo Credit: Tourism Meda) and taking in a dragon’s eye view of Queenstown (Photo Credit: Destination Queenstown)

Disney’s Pete’s Dragon fans who want to transport themselves into the film by visiting the real movie locations can explore New Zealand and take off on their own adventure:
  • The Rotorua Redwood Forest (North Island): Home of Elliot the Dragon and where Pete comes across his mysterious new friend, the 110-year-old trees of the Rotorua Redwood Forest tower above the forest floor and the numerous tracks and trails are popular with walkers and bikers. For a dragon’s-eye view of the forest floor below, the new Redwood Forest Treewalk takes you high above ground to stroll among giants. A grove of 22 majestic specimens are linked together 40-feet in the air without a single nail or screw connecting the structure to the trees;
  • Wellington (North Island): Just 30 minutes out of Wellington is Battle Hill Farm Park, where Pete makes the leap off a cliff only to land on Elliot’s back. The Battle Hill Farm Park is home to cycle trails and mountain bike tracks. The park is a popular spot for walkers and there are designated camping areas so you can stay overnight right in the heart of the film location. Wellington is also home to Weta Workshops, which played an important role in bringing Disney’s Pete’s Dragon to life. Weta Workshop tours have been named one of the top 10 studio tours in the world. Film fans can meet members of the creative team and see first-hand how they create jaw-dropping special effects;
  • Queenstown & Paradise (South Island): Situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath the Remarkables mountain range, Queenstown’s beautiful lakes and snowy alps are picture-perfect for a flight on the back of a dragon. Take your own leap off the edge, much like Pete in the film, with AJ Hackett Bungy, home of the world’s first commercial bungy operation. Not far from Queenstown, on the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, sits Glenorchy and the gateway to Paradise. Paradise is true to its namesake and the picturesque location has to be seen to be believed. Travel along one of New Zealand’s most scenic drives, then zoom through the shallow river aboard a Dart River Jet Boat on your way to Paradise. You won’t believe your eyes;
  • Tapanui (South Island): This small town with a population of 900 was transformed into the Millhaven, a small logging town in America’s Pacific Northwest, for Disney’s Pete’s Dragon. Tapanui is renowned for its incredible fishing in rivers brimming with brown trout and salmon. The Pomahaka River offers world class fishing with some of the biggest brown trout to be found anywhere in the world. If fishing isn’t your thing, grab a bike and jump on the Clutha Gold Trail, one of the New Zealand Cycle Trail’s Great Rides. The trail is 45 miles long and follows one of the country’s longest rivers through a landscape rich with goldminers’ tales of bust and boom.
Discover how you can create your own Disney’s Pete’s Dragon itinerary through New Zealand by visiting http://www.newzealand.com/us/feature/petes-dragon/.
The story about an orphaned boy and his best friend Elliot the dragon is directed by David Lowery and stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, New Zealand’s own Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Robert Redford. And if you want to take a dragon’s eye view of the gorgeous scenery, here’s a cool video:

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