We pride ourselves here at Bon Voyage on tailor-making holidays for our clients that they will talk about for years to come. We particularly like what we call ‘fandom’ trips where the clients have unique reasons for wanting to travel to North America.
Here we share the first in a series of some of our sales expert’s most memorable trips they have arranged.
Dirty Dancing & Boxing
Yes, you read this right, three words you don’t necessarily put together – Dirty Dancing and Boxing! Clients were travelling to North America to get married. The wife is a huge Dirty Dancing fan while the groom loves boxing so the comprise – get married at the hotel that was the inspiration for Kellermans and the honeymoon takes in some of the best boxing sites on the East Coast.
We arranged flights and accommodation in Washington DC for the wedding party where they spent two nights seeing the sites of this wonderful city whilst acclimatising to the new time zone.
Dirty Dancing is set in Upstate New York but the hotel it was filmed at is in Virginia with some of the most famous scenes such as carrying the watermelon being shot further down in North Carolina.
We pre-arranged two cars and off the party went to Mountain Lake Lodge in Virginia to stay in the actual hotel where the movie was shot. The pictures and video could have been the start of Dirty Dancing, it looks exactly the same.
The family choose to stay in the hotel but the couple choose a cabin in the woods complete with a hot tub, they tell stories of waking up in the morning to chip monk running around and then in the evening black bears wandering around in search of picnic baskets!
We liaised with the hotel and arranged for a reverend, photographer, flowers and cake to be ready for the big day. We also secured bookings for hair and make-up in a nearby town for the ladies whilst the men went off fly-fishing with lunch at a buffalo ranch.
We hold our hands up – the only thing we didn’t arrange were bridal cars – the bride wanted to get married in the gazebo overlooking Lake Lure – this is where the scene of Penny meeting the family during dance lessons was filmed. On the day, it was pouring rain, I mean the heavens had opened up. When the groom arrived the hotel suggested moving the wedding inside, but he refused, saying they’d come 4000 miles to get married in the gazebo so that’s what they’ll do. Umbrellas at the ready, the party got to the gazebo relatively dry, whereas the bride made her grand entrance in the groundkeeper’s little van!!!!
After a fabulous meal, in the dining room where the final scenes of Dirty Dancing were filmed the party retired to their beds.
They spent a third day, pottering around the area before a return trip to the Buffalo ranch as the BBQ-pulled buffalo burger is apparently divine!
The next day was check-out and drive back to Washington DC to drop the rental cars off with the wedding party staying an extra night before flying home and the bride and groom catching their pre-booked Amtrak to Philadelphia.
Despite only staying for one night, they managed to pack a lot in – first it was a taxi straight to the Philadelphia Museum of Art so the groom could run up the Rocky steps! A quick check-in to their hotel and they were off to Citizens Bank Park where we had tickets waiting on them to see the Phillies vs. the Red Sox. The couple certainly got their money’s worth with the game going to 13 innings rather than the customary 9.
The next day it was back to boxing with a trip to the late great Joe Frazier’s gym where the groom was lucky enough to bump into the man himself. Then it was cramming as much culture into the rest of the day as possible – lunch at City Hall, seeing the Liberty Bell, visiting Independence Hall and touring the Eastern State Penitentiary. The couple ran out of time and had to catch their Amtrak to their next stop.
The couple’s first time in NYC and after a fitful night’s sleep in the central hotel we arranged for them they collected their pre-booked New York Pass – we always recommend our clients get this when they are visiting New York for the first time, one upfront fee and you get access to 115 attractions including Empire State Building, Madame Tussauds, Statue of Liberty and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum to name just a few – and off they went sight-seeing.
In the evening, it was back to the boxing theme, and we had organised tickets to see a world title fight at the historic Madison Square Garden.
Days two and three were taking advantage of the New York Pass, with dinner in a couple of restaurants we had recommended, the clients said the fried chicken in Sylvia’s restaurant was the best they had!
The couple also caught a Broadway show with premium seats that we had arranged for them.
Catskill, Upstate New York:
After the hustle and bustle of New York, the couple wanted some downtime and in keeping with the Dirty Dancing and Boxing theme they decided to have a few days in upstate New York in the town of Catskill.
The reason is that this is where the fictional hotel of Kellermans was located in the film and also where Mike Tyson (among other champions) trained at the famous Cus D’Amato gym. The gym was full when our clients arrived so they were a bit nervous about going in and choose not to, when they were in a local store they told them why they were there and that they were nervous about going into the gym, but the store owner told them not to be silly, locked up his store and took them to the gym and introduced them to Kevin Rooney, Mike Tyson’s old trainer. They were all amazed they had come to Catskill just to see the gym!
Our clients recommend Catskill as a stop, full of quaint mom & pop stores, wonderful restaurants and a cinema straight out of the 50s with curtains, tickets and intervals.
Since they were that far up and had time we recommended an overnight stay in Niagara Falls, we organised a helicopter ride over the falls and a bus tour of the area which included tickets for the boat ride on Maid of the Mist.
They decided to head to Toronto for the day and overnight, taking in the sights but they particularly enjoyed staying in the Annex area with its vibrant nightlife and droves of coffee shops, theatres, bookstores, galleries, restaurants, and bars.
On the way back to New York the couple stopped off with an overnight stay at Canastota so they could visit the boxing hall of fame. This helped break the journey back to New York up.
They had three nights in New York, and choose to stay in Greenwich Village as they wanted to use this time to see Central Park, wander around shops and generally have no real set plans.
However, they still squeezed some boxing in by visiting the world-famous Gleason’s gym, one day was particularly hot so they went to the beach at Coney Island, saw where one of their favourite films – The Warriors – was filmed, rode the Cyclone, the oldest wooden rollercoaster in the world and had a hot dog at Nathan’s Famous.
They finished their time on the East Coast by visiting family for a couple of nights in New Jersey before flying home after an epic three-week adventure all arranged by Bon Voyage!