5 Exciting Places This Winter for a Vacation Exchange

As winter arrives, you may be thinking of a good destination for a home exchange vacation. While Aspen is one of the most popular winter vacation destinations, if you’re looking for a new set of ideas, we’ve got plenty. Consider a house swap vacation in one of these exciting spots this winter.


Have you ever visited Michigan in the winter? The state is known for its ample amounts of snow and an abundance of activities. It’s time to consider Michigan for your next house swap, because we have plenty of options for you to explore the state.

Frankenmuth is known as Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” and is less than three hours from several of our Michigan home exchange properties. This charming town features has things to do for adults and kids alike, including indoor and outdoor activities. The town has a magic about it, and you’ll feel you’ve been transported to a quaint German village. Tourists and residents love watching the clock tower at noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and 9 p.m. daily as the landmark plays a 35 bell Carillion and then depicts imagery from the Piped Piper of Hamlin folk tale. A Christmas museum, and Frankenmuth’s famous fried chicken are just a few of the reasons to visit for a quick day trip.

Photograph used under Creative Commons - Flickr user eepaul

Photograph used under Creative Commons from  Flickr user eepaul

If you’d like to indulge in winter sports, you can’t go wrong with Michigan. Tubing, sledding, skiing, and snowmobiling are just some of the options for this great state. Nubs Nob is known as a great ski destination for families, and features 43 slopes. For a departure from winter sports, consider a little cultural exploration. Do you love exploring wineries? Suttons Bay has several wineries for you to visit, such as Black Star Farms, L. Mawby Vineyards, and Longview Winery. If museums are more your taste, Michigan has several throughout the state worth seeing, including The Henry Ford Museum, Great Lakes Children’s Museum, and the History Center of Traverse. When the snow is falling, you can take in art and history at your leisure at these attractions.

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An Update from The Vacation Exchange Network’s New North Bimini Ad Agency

We at The Vacation Exchange Network have always believed that our uniqueness speaks for itself.  But thanks to one of our members, it no longer has to….

When Berne and Sam Webb were on a home exchange vacation in the Bahamas, a conversation with a few couples from Miami, Florida quickly turned into a lively presentation about the benefits of The Vacation Exchange Network, complete with a hands-on demonstration!

The Webbs have been Vacation Exchange Network members for a few years.  Last year, they traveled to Sanibel Island, Florida on a non-mutual house swap.  Berne tells me the Sanibel home was beautiful.  Located a few blocks from the beach, it also had a pool in the backyard.  Perfect for an afternoon swim or as a backdrop to evening cocktails.

North Bimini Island in the Bahamas was the Webbs’ vacation destination this year.  This home exchange was mutual and non-simultaneous; the owners of the home in Bimini plan to travel to the Webbs’ home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts at a different time — when the weather in Cape Cod is at its best.

So, how did we convince Berne to serve as our remote marketer?

No convincing was necessary.  Sitting in a North Bimini Island cafe, Berne and Sam struck up a conversation with a few couples sitting at a nearby table.  “What brings you to the Bahamas?” they asked each other.  Berne’s response that she was on a home exchange sparked wide eyes from the other couples, so Berne went on to provide them with a lively description of home swapping with The Vacation Exchange Network.  With her fellow cafe goers’ interest piqued, Berne opened up her laptop, fortunately remembering  her PIN, and took her captive audience on a tour of the Vacation Exchange website.  The other couples were laughing and clapping along with Berne’s enthusiasm.  Apparently, she didn’t even need the white board and film projector we offered to send her!

One of the Miami couples was particularly interested in traveling to Italy, so Berne showed them The Vacation Exchange Network’s homes in Terracina, Rome, and Teramo.

Teramo Italy Vacation Home Exchange

Berne tells me that she raved about the travel opportunities afforded by vacation home exchanges.  Since the Webbs’ children are grown, their travels no longer need to be tied to school vacations.  Like our other members, the Webbs enjoy the freedom and flexibility afforded by the non-mutual and non-simultaneous home exchanges that are the hallmark of The Vacation Exchange Network.  The Webbs can travel when and where they’d like to travel, without the necessity of finding someone else who wants to use their home at the same time.

While hiring a public relations firm to do publicity about The Vacation Exchange Network might get us a few lines in some travel magazines and allow us to garner invitations to a few fancy cocktail parties, having members like the Webbs is much more rewarding.  Our thanks to the Webbs,  and to all of our other members, who speak so graciously about our service.

Please visit The Vacation Exchange Network’s site to join our home swap network, to learn more about how home exchanges work, or to refer a friend to The Vacation Exchange Network.

Have you had an opportunity to tell someone about The Vacation Exchange Network or about your home exchange vacation?  We’d love to hear about it.  Use the comment box below orcontact us via email.  We look forward to hearing from you!


A Vacation in St. Augustine, Florida Has Much to Offer Golfers (and Anyone Who Eats)!

Our spotlight on St. Augustine, Florida continues this week with golf and restaurant reviews by our members. Take a look at last week’s Vacation Exchange Network Blog for posts aboutsights to see and things to do in St. Augustine and vacation homes available for swap in St. Augustine.

Golf and Restaurant Reviews by The Vacation Exchange Network Members

Our members’ St. Augustine golf course picks:

St. Johns Golf & Country Club is located between St. Augustine and Jacksonville, Florida and offers extraordinary golf. The 18-hole Clyde Johnston-designed course has the right challenges for novice and avid golfers alike. A great place to hone your skills, St. Johns is known for its consistent quality of service and conditions, being nationally ranked for customer satisfaction and loyalty by the National Golf Foundation, and host to the PGA TOUR Qualifying School in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Cimarrone Golf in Jacksonville should not be missed. Cimarrone’s manicured course conditions and challenging design provides a fun, player-friendly experience for golfers of all abilities.

King & Bear Golf Course in World Golf Village is named for its co-designers, World Golf Hall of Fame members Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Wide fairways, top-notch conditioning. Not to be missed!

These restaurants have gotten rave reviews by our members:

O.C. White’s Restaurant: If sightseeing downtown, O.C. Whites is a good choice for lunch or dinner. Offering fresh local seafood, it is located in a historic building. Music in the patio area in the evening creates a fun atmosphere to spend part of an evening.

Pusser’s Bar and Grill in Ponte Vedra Beach (a short drive north of St. Augustine) is a great spot. Try the fish and chips. You won’t be sorry.

Ocean 60 (in Atlantic Beach) is a trendy spot with great food. You’d think you were in SOHO in New York City. Be sure and make a reservation because it’s a very popular spot. Located in a very cute little area that’s perfect for taking a walk after dinner.

Benito’s: There were so many good restaurants in the area, but for wonderful Italian food, don’t miss Benito’s. Located in Vilano Beach (a section of St. Augustine), the food at this very unassuming spot is terrific. On top of wonderful food, the prices are very reasonable. Over a two week period, we ate here four times.

Columbia Restaurant: This Spanish restaurant on St. George Street serves wonderful food with atmosphere. Indoor patio is stunning. Don’t miss the Scallops Casimiro.

Aunt Kate’s is a casual spot with great food and reasonable prices. The fried shrimp is terrific.

Salt Water Cowboy’s is not fancy but has a pleasant atmosphere; good food with a southern flair and good value. For those with a daring streak, try the fried alligator. Of course, be sure and try the fried chicken.

The Vacation Exchange Network is always looking for restaurant, golf, attraction, and destination reviews. Please share yours in the comments section below, or if you are a member, please email us with your reviews.

The Vacation Exchange Network

Unmatched in the home exchange industry, The Vacation Exchange Network is the vacation home owner’s first stop in vacation planning. Swap a stay in your vacation home for a stay anywhere in the United States or around the world, without the necessity of having to find someone who wants to use your home. Please visit The Vacation Exchange Network’s main site for more information about how home swaps work or to become a member and start planning your next home exchange vacation!