PGA Golf Club at PGA Village Verano

With the perfect address for a golf club, PGA Golf Club, at 1916 Perfect Drive in Port St Lucie, is a golfer’s dream destination. Play three championship 18-hole golf courses, The Wanamaker, The Ryder and the Pete Dye, all owned and operated by The PGA of America.  And stay like a resident in a beautiful home on property at PGA Village Verano, minutes from the three golf courses in a resort-style golf community with a Stay & Play package.

Kolter Homes PGA Village Verano
Kolter Homes PGA Village Verano photo credit: Kolter Homes

The Wanamaker Course is one of two Tom Fazio designs on the property and does its namesake – PGA founder Rodman Wanamaker proud. Fazio designed both the Wanamaker and Ryder in 1999, but the twins are definitely fraternal and reveal different personalities.

Hole 18 on the Wanamaker Course PGA Village
Hole 18 on the Wanamaker Course PGA Village photo credit: John Cameron

Department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker helped establish the PGA of America, funded the first PGA Championship in 1916 and has his name attached to the champion’s prized trophy, The Wanamaker. Fazio’s Ryder Course honors Samuel Ryder, the namesake and founder of the Ryder Cup matches, which began in 1927. All 36 tees have plaques that unveil the storied lore of both the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup.

On the Ryder Course, Fazio transports you to North Carolina, with his holes winding among majestic pines, rolling hills and elevation changes, and recurrent red-staked hazards.

 

Pete Dye Course PGA Village
Pete Dye Course PGA Village photo credit: Sherel Purcell

Pete Dye’s eponymous course at PGA Village opened for play in 2007. Highlighting the native environment, especially the wetlands, Dye fashioned a links-style course reminiscent of the British Isles, like playing in Scotland or Ireland without the airfare.

The three courses have their own driving range and putting and chipping areas as well as the “Short Course,” six holes between 35-60 yards where you can work on your finesse shots. However, the nearby 35-acre PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance is a golf instruction, practice, technology and fitness park all in one. Named a “2013 Golf Range Association of America Top 50 Range,” the center includes more than 100 hitting stations (many weather-protected), short-game practice areas, putting greens, three practice holes and nine separate bunkers that simulate play worldwide.

Grab lunch at the Taplow Pub in the clubhouse – the street tacos are delicious.  After your round, enjoy a drink and dinner with PGA members at the 19th hole and watch golfers approach the 18th green on the Wanamaker course.

Museum at PGA Village Golf Club
Museum at PGA Village Golf Club photo credit: John Cameron

While not a comprehensive museum on the history of golf ( for that check out the excellent World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine) PGA Village does have  the on-site PGA Museum of Golf. There’s plenty here to impress the golf fan if you love the game. Open to the public, it traces the history of the PGA of America through its major championship and the Ryder Cup. Check out the Wanamaker trophy. Golf fans can see more great golf memorabilia at Sam Snead’s Grill & Tavern at the nearby Holiday Garden Inn.

Kolter Homes PGA Village Verano
Kolter Homes PGA Village Verano photo credit: Kolter Homes

During a Kolter Homes Stay & Play, visitors have access to award-winning golf on the Ryder and Pete Dye courses in addition to the Wanamaker course. 

Pool at Club Talavera
Pool at Club Talavera photo credit: Sherel Purcell

A-three day, two-night stay includes access to the new 27,000 square ft. Club Talavera Social Center with full use of all amenities including the13,000 square ft. Fitness Center, with yoga, tennis, indoor/outdoor pools, bocce ball, basketball, Har-Tru tennis courts and one round of golf for two at the adjacent PGA Golf Club.

PGA Golf Club is just off I-95 at Exit 121, 45 minutes north of Palm Beach and a two-hour drive from both Orlando and Miami.

 

 

Enjoy Great Wine on a Road Trip to Paso Robles

Enjoy great wine and beautiful vistas on a scenic California road trip to Paso Robles. The hilly inland Paso Robles terroir offers superb and tasty full-bodied reds, because of its hotter, drier climate and riverbeds. Paso Robles is a three hour drive north from Los Angeles or a 3 hour drive south of San Francisco.

Opolo Vineyards Paso Robles
Opolo Vineyards Paso Robles

On your first day, take a drive east along Highway 46 to Opolo Vineyards at 7110 Vineyard Drive. Owners Rick Quinn and Dave Nichols have produced Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Muscat Canelli on 280 acres of vineyards since 1999. Our favorite out of many great bottles? Opolo’s fantastic tempranillo. Pair it with one of their tasty gourmet pizzas for a memorable lunch.

Brecon Estate Winery, Paso Robles
Brecon Estate Winery Paso Robles

Just a few minutes away, drop into the Brecon Estate winery at 7450 Vineyard Drive. We love their 2017 Forty Two –a red Rhone blend that scored 93 points from Wine Enthusiast. This was their first screw cap red wine, but, as they say, “the romance is in the glass, not in the cork.”

Pasolvio, Paso Robles
Pasolvio, Paso Robles

Another few minutes further along at number 8530, stop by Pasolivo for a different tasting experience – a taste of palate-cleansing olive oils. Pasolivio offers personal one on one tutoring sessions and lots of great recipes.

Where to Eat in Paso Robles

Road-trippers will appreciate dinner at Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles, thanks to a menu of local fresh ingredients used in the imaginative and colorful dishes. The emphasis here is on organic, regionally-produced food: poultry, fish, grass-fed beef, lamb and exotic meats. Nearby farmers provide all the fruits and vegetables, and breads are baked locally.

Eberle Winery Paso Robles
Eberle Winery Paso Robles

On the next day, visit pet-friendly Eberle Winery, 3810 E Highway 46,  for a tasting and cave tour. For a one of a kind experience, book a private tasting in the underground caves,  one of the most unique aspects of Eberle Winery.

Underground Cave at Eberle Winery, Paso Robles
Underground Cave at Eberle Winery, Paso Robles

In the 1990s, American Wine Legend Gary Eberle expanded underground, building the first wine caves in Paso Robles. Gary still greets guests daily with complimentary wine tastings, public tours of the production facility and the 16,000 square feet of underground caves.

Cass Winery, Paso Robles
Cass Winery, Paso Robles

From here, a 20-minute drive southeast takes you to Cass Winery at 7350 Linne Road. In addition to wine tasting, the on-site café offers lunch – try the succulent Benny Burger. The knowledgeable staff have great suggestions for wine pairings with lunch.

At Cass Winery, guests have the option of staying on site. Choose between The Geneseo Inn, a contemporary boutique hotel created from shipping containers or the Guesthouse, a three bedroom ranch house.

Where to Stay in Paso Robles

Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles
Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles

Start your Central California road trip with a stay at the 4.5-star Allegretto Vineyard Resort in Paso Robles, where U.S. 101 meets Highway 46. It’s a perfect base for exploring many great Paso Robles wineries all connected by scenic road trips.

Terrace at Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles
Terrace at Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles

The excellent onsite Cello Ristorante is available for all-day dining. The resort also offers an upscale tasting room, spa services, steam room and an outdoor pool in peaceful surroundings of lush gardens and vineyards.

Visit Florida’s Space Coast

The billionaire space race has reignited public interest in space exploration and travel, an interest not seen since millions watched Neil Armstrong make one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

It’s easy to forget that space travel was the dream of one man. In 1961 John F. Kennedy asked America to commit to sending men to the moon “before this decade is out.” Sadly President Kennedy did not live to see his dream come true.

JFK at Kennedy Space Center
JFK at Kennedy Space Center

When the space program began, NASA chose Merritt Island, Florida for two reasons: the launch would occur over unpopulated areas and an east coast location meant rockets leaving Earth would get a boost from the Earth’s rotation.

Explore Kennedy Space Center main gate
Explore Kennedy Space Center main gate

If you’re interested in space travel and the science of space exploration,  a visit to the Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s Space Coast is probably on your bucket list.

Top Tips for Kennedy Space Center Visitors

First time visitor? KSC is overwhelming. Will you have time to see everything? What should you see first? Start early and make use of the helpful concierge at the information center.

They can plan out a visit based on what you most want to see and your time available. The free map has good must see suggestions. A multi day ticket is also available – good for multiple admissions within one year.

Tip #1. 

My suggestion: Start where it all began – take the bus ride from KSC to Launch pad A. The world’s fascination with space travel was ignited by Apollo 11, the first crewed mission to land on the Moon, on July 2oth 1969.

Apollo 11 Control Room, KSC
Apollo 11 Control Room, KSC

See the actual control room, not a replica but the control room used for the first moon landing in 1969. These computers cost $3.5 million a piece and were the size of a car. Now your smartphone is millions of times more powerful than the Apollo 11 guidance computers. You can walk under a gigantic Saturn V rocket and touch a moon rock, which unremarkably feels just like an earth rock.

Saturn V Rocket at Kennedy Space Center
Saturn V Rocket at Kennedy Space Center

Looking like a model kit built by giants, the Saturn V rocket fills the room. The three-stage liquid-propellant reliable, but non-recyclable Saturn V was the NASA rocket that launched humans to the moon.

Tip #2. 

After you return, join the timed entry for space shuttle Atlantis. Choose your KSC visit partner carefully. This is not the time to have the argument that space travel is a waste of government money – money better spent improving lives on earth. That may be true but it’s a total buzz kill.

Tip #3.

After all that time on your feet, you’re ready to sit down. Visit the Imax Theaters for a film. When you visit the IMAX theater, take the stairs to the very back – the experience will be more immersive.  Also families with fidgety, coughing children will stay together on the first level by the entry doors.

While the Kennedy Space Center is the feature attraction of Florida’s Space Coast, there are plenty of other places and attractions to visit. Cities in the area include Titusville, Cocoa, Rockledge, Cape Canaveral, Merritt Island (unincorporated), Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Indialantic, Palm Bay, and Viera.

Cocoa Beach, south of Cape Canaveral, is known for its beach and surf breaks. Inside a surf shop, the Florida Surf Museum traces the sport’s local history. Nearby Cocoa Beach Pier has eateries and shops. The maritime forest at oceanfront Lori Wilson Park attracts birdlife. If you’re looking for unique crafts and curiosities or vintage clothes, check out Historic Cocoa Village.

Duran Golf Club
Duran Golf Club

Viera’s Duran Golf Club features a championship 18-hole links-style Florida golf course which plays 7151 yards from the tips. Designed by Chip Powell, Duran opened to the public in 2005.

The par-4  18th is the signature hole at Duran. This long, sweeping dogleg left wraps around a large lake, a challenging finale to your round.

Duran Golf Club Invitational annually hosts top women’s college golf teams from Louisville, Florida, Florida State and UCF,South Carolina, LSU, and Auburn.

Where to Stay on Florida’s Space Coast

Just steps from the Atlantic, the pet-friendly Windemere Inn by the Sea is situated on a barrier island with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Indian River to the west, located on A1A, in Indialantic, Florida. 

Windemere Inn by the Sea
Windemere Inn by the Sea

The Windemere Inn B&B features eleven comfortable guest-rooms. 

Pet-friendly Windemere Inn
Pet-friendly Windemere Inn

Tesla and Universal/J1772 charging stations are provided as well as parking.  Pets travelling with their owners are welcome in the secluded English Garden and the Windsong rooms.

Guests have the choice to swim in the ocean or the heated pool. Beach towels, umbrellas and beach chairs are all available to take to the nearby beach. 

Windemere Inn by the Sea
Windemere Inn by the Sea

We enjoyed comparing notes with other travellers over delicious homemade complimentary breakfasts and our genial host had great suggestions for local bars and restaurants including Meg O’Malley’s Irish bar in downtown Melbourne. Try the famous 18-cent bean soup and the best Guiness ever – in Florida!

Your Guide to an Active Vacation