Topsider Resort Stay

Our Topsider Resort stay during Presidents’ Day Week in February was a much needed respite from the cold Winter we all have been experiencing this year.  We are timeshare owners of this week at the Topsider Resort in Islamorada, located in the Middle Keys of Florida.

Last year, over New Year’s Week, we spent the week in Key Largo at the Anchorage Resort and Yacht Club.  We had visited the Keys only once previously, on a day trip many, many years ago.  Last year, we enjoyed our stay very much and knew that we wanted to spend more time there.  We had purchased the Topsider Resort Week 7 last year, sight-unseen, through the resort.

We anticipated a warmer week.  As the whole country was going through a deep freeze, so was southern Florida and the Keys.  No, we did not have snow in Florida, like much of the country was experiencing that week, but there were recording-breaking lows.   There was one day in the 70’s that week, but it was too cool for swimming or snorkeling, and most days required jackets.

Still, we thoroughly enjoyed the trip.  Islamorada is a great home base for exploring the Keys, with its mid-location on the Overseas Highway.  We found many great restaurants nearby.  We didn’t begin to see and do all the things that we had planned.  We spent a day in Key West, but that was way too little time.  We took a CityView Trolley Tour, which was a great way to get some great Key West history, find out about the sights, and have the opportunity to “hop off and on” at about eight stops.  Unfortunately, we should have arrived much earlier in the day in order to see and do more.

We’re looking forward to a return visit to the Florida Keys again next Winter. Our Topsider Resort stay was very pleasant.  This is an older resort and updates are piece-by-piece.   The trade-off for these mostly outdated units is the location on Florida Bay in Islamorada and the resort’s proximity to some really great restaurants and places to visit in the Florida Keys.  Winter is high season in the Florida Keys.  This is a place where one can stay during high season, taking a break from Winter’s cold, for an affordable price.  It’s steps to a private beach area, with a nice pier from which to watch sunsets and fish, and a heated pool.

 

VACATION Rentals and Craigslist

Vacation Rentals and Craigslist go hand-in-hand for me as a timeshare owner listing my weeks of ownership for rent.  I utilize several avenues in getting my vacation rentals out there for potential vacationers to see.  Craigslist is a great, free resource to utilize and I have been very successful with my rentals on this site.

Craigslist is the “go-to” site for many people looking for accommodations for their vacation.  Many prefer to look for lodging that is more than just a hotel room.  Many timeshare owners now rent out their time when they are unable to use it personally.  This is a great opportunity to stay in a timeshare without owning one.

I know, that as a regular vacationer, I only want to be subjected to a small one-room accommodation, such as a hotel, for one-night stays only.  Usually, we have found it to be much more economical to rent a timeshare owner’s fully-equipped condo, as opposed to staying at a hotel in the same area.

Back to Vacation Rentals and Craigslist…..You must always keep in mind that you are dealing with strangers on Craigslist.  I regularly list ads on Craigslist.  I also like to sometimes check out the competition and scan the listings to see what looks interesting. Many times, I have seen listings that are obviously scams.  I will see listings for timeshare resorts for rent where I own. The descriptions will be off or the pictures won’t even reflect the actual property. Normally, the pricing is “too good to be true.”  I try to keep a running post going during my rental season warning of Scammers on Craigslist.  Many times, I will get a “thank you” back.  Sometimes, my listings get flagged and removed.  This morning I received the following, which is not unique.

---- Joan Hughes <0927872e99d634ca823f29f645938e2a@reply.craigslist.org> wrote: 
 
============= 
 
Thanks for posting this.  We also own a vacation rental and have found it 
advertised on Craigslist countless times.   We have actually had people contact 
us wanting to get into our rental after they rented it via Craigslist.   We’ve 
posted similar ads.   We also post an ad using the exact title of the one for 
our rental with FRAUD before and after the description.   
 
Keep up the good work. 
 
 
http://norfolk.craigslist.org/vac/4905985826.html 

It is your money.  If the person posting the ad cannot provide proof of ownership, proof of reservation, or the ability to allow you to pay with PAYPAL and confirm your stay with the resort; move on. There’s plenty of legitimate rentals on Craigslist, but you do have to wade through some scam listings.  Below is a link to my warning for Vacation Rentals and Craigslist.

http://norfolk.craigslist.org/vac/4905985826.html

There are some great vacation rentals on Craigslist, just be careful.

 

BEACHWOODS Resort Condo

We’re very excited to be staying in the Outer Banks later this month when we attend the OBX Taste of the Beach.  It also includes the first day of Spring!  We will be staying in a Beachwoods resort condo for this expanding 4-Day Event.  The dates were originally March 19 through March 22, 2015.  However, it was just announced that a Kick-Off Party will be held on Wednesday evening at the Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills.  It’s FREE to attend!

I purchased my first event in early January for the Chef-s 6-Course Wine Dinner at Trio in Kitty Hawk.  It’s a one-night event limited to 12.  Being a big fan of Trio and what they offer, this was one event that I didn’t want to be left with “woulda, coulda, shoulda.”

Last night, I combed the events once again trying to narrow things down.  We have our accommodations set for a full week at the Beachwoods resort condo.  While we may not arrive until mid-week, due to the needs of our full-time jobs, we do plan to help “kick-off” this grand time on the Outer Banks Wednesday evening at the Outer Banks Brewing Station.

We experienced our first OBX Taste of the Beach in 2013.  It was so much fun.  We hope to start going annually since the Outer Banks is a place that we have enjoyed for many, many years and always look forward to revisiting.  Also, we love to try and experience new things.  Event vacations are fun if you like to shake things up a bit in a familiar place.

The Beachwoods resort condo that we will be staying in is at the former Barrier Island Station Kitty Hawk.  The resort was purchased by Gold Key Resorts last year, and all units and amenities are being upgraded and renovated.  Gold Key Resorts is recognized as an industry leader in vacation ownership, and is headquartered in Virginia Beach.  I have seen first-hand the remarkable changes that have taken place over the years at the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

Being a timeshare owner at their Virginia Beach resorts, I am familiar with their resort operations.  The Gold Key resorts, hotels and restaurants are the best at the Beach.  I was thrilled to learn about their purchase of the Kitty Hawk property.  I only see positive things coming.  We were able to attend the “vision” presentation by Gold Key Resorts back in November and tour the remodeled units.  The planned amenities are fantastic.  This will be “the” premier resort on the Outer Banks without taking away any of the aesthetics inside this maritime forest.

We look forward to taking pictures of the changes taking place. Except for the indoor water park, all units, amenities and landscaping are expected to be completed by Memorial Day.

We have an additional Beachwoods resort condo available for the week of March 15-22.  It’s a great rate for a fully-equipped, completely updated condo with one bedroom, two full bathrooms, a full kitchen and a foyer with shared washer/dryer.  We are offering this unit for $495 for seven nights or $375 for four nights.  There are no other lodging fees or taxes.