I LOVED your article on renewing wedding vows in Las Vegas ["The Renewlywed Game," June 12]. My husband and I, and four of our best friends, went to Vegas when we renewed our vows after 20 wonderful years together.
We renewed them at the Graceland Chapel (as I have been a huge Elvis fan since I was a little kid), so it seemed only fitting that the King be the one to perform this ceremony. Though parts of it may have seemed a little cheesy (not to me), the ceremony was wonderful and I cried, just as I had 20 years earlier. Knowing then what I know now, I would have skipped all the things that wear out a new bride associated with your first wedding, and let the professionals in Vegas handle it. It was painless and the people were wonderful. It is a memory I cherish to this day -- eight years later.
Shopping Naples, Fla.
AS A FORMER resident of Naples, Fla., I was pleased to see your article about the downtown shopping district ["Naples: Ladies Who Spend," June 12]. My favorite place to shop, however, was at the Waterside Shops, at U.S. 41 and Seagate Drive. The center is undergoing a renovation that will add high-end stores such as Tiffany's, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci and more down-to-earth, less-expensive ones (Pottery Barn, Gap and Williams-Sonoma); renovations should be finished in early 2006. Readers need to be aware that in the off season (summer), many independent boutiques have shorter hours of operation, so don't plan on doing any shopping in the evening after a day at the beach. Thanks for making me homesick again!
Best of Two Beaches, Cont'd
SANDBRIDGE BEACH, which is a 15-minute drive from VaBeach ["Best of Two Beaches," June 5], is of the best spots for families. The beach is beautiful, is not congested and has great surfing. You can get the best crab cakes (very little filler) at the Sandbridge Inn and market. We love it.
I WAS VERY disappointed that Susan Harb did not list Zero's Subs & Pizza as one of her favorite spots. I am a native Washingtonian, but attended college at ODU. Zero's was one of our favorite "staples." I have traveled quite a bit, and have not yet found a better sub than Zero's!
Joanne I. Goldman
Travel Q&A & You
I READ YOUR Travel Q&A on Dracula's Castle and Transylvania [June 5]. Last year I spent a month in Romania, working with the Romanian government. I told them my intentions to visit Transylvania, Peles Castle and Bran Castle and asked the best way to get there. They insisted that I hire a local touring company instead of trying to drive to Bran myself. They were 100 percent correct.
Driving in Romania is a white-knuckle ride on potholed secondary roads with no highways or directional signs. If a tourist without Romanian language skills were to try to drive from Bucharest to Bran, I guarantee that they would get lost.
The tours that the Marriott Grand Bucharest arranged cost less than $50 (including tip) and included lunch. (The food in Romania is horrible, with the exception of Transylvanian Chicken Soup -- a must-try). The tour I was on included a stop at the Black Church in Brasov, Peles Castle and Bran Castle. I had a great time and am very thankful that I didn't drive.
YOUR RECOMMENDATION in the June 12 Q&A that the Pocono Mountains have "no shortage of spas and dining" is probably correct as far as it goes, but the quality of that dining leaves a lot to be desired. I have spent a long weekend every summer for the past 15 years visiting my sister at her vacation home in the Poconos, and we have learned that the only way to get even a halfway decent meal is to cook it ourselves. Please advise your readers that if they opt for the Poconos, they should get accommodations that include a kitchen.
Lawrence D. Powers
ABOUT HALFWAY through your Scam Watch item [Coming and Going, May 29], you asked, "But how to avoid trouble to begin with?" I was surprised that you did not mention that Steve Jackson could have checked the United Airlines Web site to see whether he was really getting a good deal at $800 per ticket.
If he found an equal or lower price there, he could have dealt directly with the airline (see the Travel Tech article in the same issue) and avoided all of his problems with Galaxy Tours. I fly to London on United twice a year and have never paid as much as $800 for a seat.
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