I was quite pleased with myself for taking a couple days off the computer while returning from Detroit and getting my things together before Belgium. Now I know better. I missed a huge email that said I won the Grand Prize from the North American Travel Journalists Association.
I'm still in shock and a little confused. I entered Sand in My Bra for the Best Travel Book category, but ended up winning the great big prize!
It's huge. Many thanks to judges Jim Prior, Anthony Birritteri, and George Saliba. They even called it "clever." I think it's really cool that men would choose a women's travel humor book. Thanks guys! Equal appreciation to Elizabeth Barnes for coordinating the whole thing.
The folks at Travelers' Tales must be laughing their butts off because they got the award news up on our newsbox before I found out about it. And of course I don't have a phone right now, so they couldn't call me either.
Aaaaaaannnnnnndddd...here are thePRIZES.Yahoooooooo!!!!!
Please go look at the entire NATJA website,but here's an excerpt about the grand prizes. I don't know which one I've won, but I'm sure they'll tell me soon. Can you believe this? WOW WOW WOW!
>>GRAND PRIZE 1. Wyoming Trails (8 nights). This $4,300 prize, donated by Montana Rockies Rail Tours, departs from Denver with a deluxe motorcoach trip through Wyoming, stopping at the Oregon Trail, a Pony Express station, and massive hot springs. From Cody, the tour continues into Yellowstone National Park for two days of exploring. Then it's on to Livingston, Mont. To board the Montana Daylight, America's longest-distance daylight-only tour train, for a two-day journey westbound through Montana's Big Sky country and across the Northern Montana Rockies. Relive "the Golden Age of Rail" on restored railroad carriage from the streamliner era of the '40s and '50s while enjoying a day in Big Sky class, seated in a dome car, and a day in the ultra-luxurious Montana Gold, the most opulent rail car service in North America. No more than 14 guests share these cars with their private chef and stewards.
GRAND PRIZE 2. Pacific Paradise (7 nights).Last year, the Four Seasons Maldives won first prize in the Press Kit category. This year, it is donating a prize: a three-night stay for two, with breakfast, in beach bungalow accommodations, plus an all-inclusive four-night cruise on the Four Seasons Island Explorer, a 22-passenger vessel that visits exotic atolls. The secluded, 106-room tropical resort, consists of villas and bungalows (some on stilts above the lagoon) on the fringe of a 12-acre island. In addition to scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, and snorkeling, the resort has a spa reachable in minutes by dhoni (native Madivian wooden boat). It features innovative treatments from India, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Maldive Islands, blending ancient regional traditions with natural ingredients.
GRAND PRIZE 3. Windy City Windfall (4 nights). Chicago not only wins big prizes but also donates them. This $4,000 package includes a four-night stay in the Fairmont Chicago, with views of the city and lakefront, plus dinner for two in aria, home of culturally-inspired, comfortably-American cuisine, and two Serenity Baths, in-room spa treatments provided by the hotel's Bath Sommelier (value $1600); roundtrip tickets to Chicago from any of Spirit Airlines' 14 markets (value $1600); dinner for two at Blackbird, an award-winning French restaurant in the city's West Loop district; a $100 gift certificate to Piazza Bella Trattoria, named one of America's best restaurants by Gourmet Magazine last year; two $150 dinner gift cards for The Signature Room at the 95th, at John Hancock Center; and two CityPass booklets providing admission to Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science & Industry, Hancock Observatory, and more.