Improved building-code enforcement sought

TRINIDAD — The city council here is discussing proposed local building-code changes aimed at providing better enforcement tools to ensure buildings aren’t allowed to fall into disrepair.

Les Downs, city attorney, said the proposed changes would, in part, add six paragraphs to the existing codes, making them more specific to Trinidad’s situation and not as focused on the updated 2009 International Building Codes (IBC) that council adopted last year. Downs said the intent of the changes is to give Chris Kelley, city building inspector, more enforcement authority. Downs said the proposed changes spell out what Kelley does and what authority he has as a building inspector. Kelley and other staff members of the building inspector’s office drafted the changes.

Kelley said his department had made the changes on the recommendation of the council to strengthen the codes for abandoned and non-used buildings. He said he and his staff had used code examples from seven other municipalities in coming up with the proposed changes.

Kelley said the big change is in the “Notice of Order,” which is the citation he sends to building owners when an inspection reveals they’re not in compliance with city codes, and the building may be a threat to people’s life and safety. Currently, the city has little recourse if a building owner doesn’t respond to a Notice of Order, except to send another notice.

“We’re only going to send you two notices from now on,” he said. “You get one, and if you don’t respond we’ll send you a final one. You have 30 days to respond, and if you don’t respond we’re going to step in and either tear it down or repair it, one of the two.”

Kelley said that was better than the present situation, where one Notice of Order was followed a few months later by another, and then by a third. He said the end result of that process was that years could pass with nothing done to repair a building whose owner received the Notices of Order.

Council member Linda Velasquez asked who would be responsible for paying for the repair of derelict buildings.

Kelley said he thought the city would pay for the repairs of a site owned by an absentee or otherwise non-responsive owner. He said the updated codes would enable the city to not only add the repair costs to the owner’s tax lien, as it does now but would also make possible a court filing against the owner of the record in order to recover the city’s repair costs. He said that right now the city can only put a lien against the property and hope to get paid when the property was sold.

Kelley added that if a building owner had received a Notice of Order, the owner could not sell the building until it was repaired to the city’s satisfaction.

“I hope that with strengthening these codes, the owners understand that the city is serious and that we want them to pay attention to their buildings,” City Manager Tom Acre said. “Along with collecting the money, say if we had to do something to a building, by assessing on the tax lien, they would have to pay it with their property taxes every year. We can make it to where it’s on their tax bill every year.”

Kelley noted there are provisions in the proposed code updates that provide for penalties in civil court for code violations. He said those provisions are based on the 2009 IBC codes.

Why Twitter Matters To Marketers Now More Than Ever

Remember when Twitter was first launched and people were mocking the name itself and the word “tweet?” I can vividly recall many in the public eye and “regular” folks as well openly making light of this new social network and often times predicting its demise before it even had a chance to get off the ground.

I can absolutely recall with much clarity sitting in meetings across from marketers lamenting the fact that they didn’t see any value in Twitter because they “didn’t care what people had for breakfast.”

Remember those comments about Twitter? I surely do…

I wonder how many of those same marketers are still lamenting the same concerns. If there are marketers out there who still think Twitter is a waste of time, you may want to a) look for a new line of work or b) consider the findings of a new report from Exact Target called “Twitter X-Factors” in which they identify five factors which make Twitter, well Twitter.

Factor #1 – Influential Behaviors

73% of Twitter users say they want to gain a large following BUT not for the sake of gaining a large following; in other words, they are VERY selective about whom they follow and want as followers
Extended reach… 12% of online consumers have created a profile in order to participate on Twitter, another 11% say they read other people’s Tweets even though they haven’t created a Twitter account of their own.

Factor #2 – Size Matters

With its 140-character limit, Twitter allows for brevity of the highest regard; eliminating any and all distractions
Twitter also forces users—marketers and consumers alike—to immediately get to the point. To summarize in 140 characters or less, brevity is the key to mastering Twitter.
This is akin to what I wrote not long ago How ADD And ADHD Affects Marketing

Factor #3 – Instant Access

Twitter provides real time, instant access to celebrities, breaking news, events and actual corporations – including high-ranking officials with said corporation
Name another social network that does this; save your breath, there is none

Factor #4 – Interactivity

Consumers are much more likely to FOLLOW brands on Twitter in order to interact than they are to become email SUBSCRIBERS or Facebook FANS
People want to interact with your brand on a real time basis; to get to know the personalities behind a company. For example, if a B2B company is deciding whether or not to purchase from a supplier, Twitter is useful in helping them get a behind-the-scenes look at who runs the company. Yes B2B Marketers, Even Though It’s Called B2B, There’s Still A “C” On The Other End

Factor #5 – Mobile, Agile & Versatile

Versatility is without question a key component to ANY social network but, as the report astutely points out… “there’s no universal reason why consumers choose to engage with marketers like you on Twitter. As a result, Twitter usage is versatile and ever-changing, depending on your target audience and their personal motivations.”
And because it is so versatile and because every consumer is different some marketers can feel overwhelmed; but marketers need to look at this as a challenge, as a way to get creative and find new ways to tap into the insights of your consumers via Twitter.

Overall, Exact Target describes daily Twitter users as “voracious online consumers and contributors” who…

  • 72% publish blog posts at least once a month
  • 70% comment on others’ blog posts
  • 61% write at least one product review a month
  • 61% comment on news sites
  • 56% write articles for third-party sites
  • 53% post videos online
  • 50% make contributions to wiki sites
  • 48% share deals found through coupon forums

Now, of course, Twitter is not for every one nor for every marketer. I don’t think anyone is saying that and if anyone does tell you that, my advice is to consider the source and/or run screaming into the night.

Ok, maybe not screaming but seriously question their knowledge because Twitter, like every thing else in life short of breathing and paying taxes, is not for everyone.

BUT… it clearly is for many.

Your job as a marketer is to find them and/or work with an agency to help you find these Twitterers, as it were… These folks are highly influential and they want to interact with you; they want to become brand ambassadors in many cases… so let them!

Are you a marketer who currently uses Twitter for your clients?

How successful has Twitter been for you and your clients?

Are you still not convinced of the power of Twitter? Still unsure because of the inability to track traffic coming via Twitter?

Well have I got news for you…

The recent development I mentioned earlier has to do with the fact now, thanks to Twitter’s new “t.co” domains, analytics tools will now categorize all traffic from both Twitter.com and all Twitter clients as traffic coming from Twitter. Whereas before it would be divided amongst all the various twitter clients (usually just as “direct traffic”) and specific pages on Twitter.com – never directly from the tweet.

This, according to the post on The Next Web…

For brands and businesses that have yet to see the true value of Twitter, expect to be impressed. Twitter just stepped up and demanded to be noticed. If you weren’t convinced of the physical traffic Twitter drives, you should definitely notice it now.

Expect big silver price surge if gold stays positive

What a difference 10 days makes. A little over a week ago the gold market was all doom and gloom with the yellow metal crashing back below $1200 an ounce. But with a few extraneous geopolitical and global health factors positively impacting the market, and the possibility of a general stock market crash in the minds of investors, gold has seen positive action on the price front in something of a safe haven turnaround. But silver, on the other hand, has hardly moved at all. Compare the 30-day Kitco gold and silver charts below – courtesy kitco.com and kitcosilver.com.

Historically, silver prices have sharply outperformed gold when precious metals prices are rising and sharply underperformed when they are falling yet this pattern on the upside has just not yet started to appear. But if the recent gold price rise isn’t just a blip then we would expect silver to start to move upwards – and move upwards fast.

After all, as we pointed out in our recent article looking at silver supply and demand – see: Silver in supply deficit but price unmoved so far – there is no big surplus of silver coming to the market although admittedly there have been some strange movements in and out of the big silver ETFs which could affect short-term supplies.

Most recently perhaps the most respected silver analyst, Ted Butler, who scrutinizes such matters more closely than anyone else, commented: “There was some unusual activity in the big silver ETF, SLV, this week as 4 million oz were withdrawn. I say unusual because deposits into and withdrawals from SLV have been somewhat counterintuitive recently, namely, deposits have come on price weakness and withdrawals on (relative) price strength. One would normally expect the opposite to occur.”

He goes on to suggest that this looks as if it could be due to “a large trader this week being responsible for the 4 million oz withdrawal due to a conversion of SLV shares into physical metal for the purpose of avoiding the 5% reporting threshold that the SEC mandates. Since there is no reporting requirement for holdings of physical metal (as there is for futures and stock ownership), by converting shares of SLV into actual metal holdings, a single entity could use SLV as a vehicle to acquire a significant silver position without having to publicly reveal ownership. One needn’t even have to move the silver, just transfer from shares to metal. If this is the case, then the withdrawal can hardly be considered bearish to price. Alternatively, the metal being withdrawn from SLV could have been needed more urgently elsewhere, also hardly a bearish development.”

But whether such strange metal movements will have any impact on the market or not – and this one could have been having a short-term effect – the silver price is now overdue for a big bound upwards provided that gold at least holds its ground. Of course, both gold and silver are also partly being held down by the appreciation in the US dollar – although this should perhaps be more aptly described as the depreciation of other major currencies against their US counterpart. The dollar index has risen 8% since May for example. But despite this overall dollar strength gold has risen nearly 4% in the past ten days and on past performance, silver would normally be expected to increase in price by perhaps 6 or 7% under such a scenario.

The Gold: Silver ratio also seems firmly well stuck for the moment at a little over 70 – close to the highest level seen for nearly five years – so this also looks due to come down, as silver’s performance vs gold improves. The pointers are all there; it just remains to be seen whether silver follows this likely pattern or not.

Road Rage.

Road Rage.

I had to get on here and tell everyone a little bit about my experience with my own road rage. Usually, I’m a pretty laid back person. On the road, it can be a different story. Sure, I’ve done my fair share of stupid moves when driving, but I can’t stand people who don’t plan ahead or pay attention. The story I’m about to tell you took place on a Thursday afternoon. I’m done with work, getting ready to go home to relax, but first I have to make a pit stop to pay a bill.

Road Rage.

I take a right hand turn out of the office on to state street, and head south. I change lanes into the middle lane, knowing that I’m going to have to turn left eventually to get to my pit stop. Planning ahead. Well, in the middle lane, there happens to be a slow moving SUV, me being an impatient younger male, I decide that I don’t want to be behind them, so I go into the left-hand lane and begin to drive by them. Suddenly, no signal, no reason (they have no cars in front of them) they cut me off. I’m instantly annoyed and wondering what that was all about. They continue driving slow, oblivious to the move they just pulled, and we get caught in a yellow light I would have easily made going the speed limit. So I sit, fuming behind this SUV while the other cars are going, and I’m stopped at this red light. Well, I decided hey, I’m going to let it go, not a big deal. So I forget about it, and our light turns green. Naturally, there are still a couple of left-hand turners left, and they take their turns, and SUV champ decides to start going. Suddenly a late left-hand turner runs the red light and cuts the SUV off, I’m like WHAT THE!! and we slam on our brakes. As if that was bad enough the SUV continues, and OUT FLIES THE MINIVAN! Another late left-hand turner flies out after the SUV and cuts me off! I lay on my horn and give this lady the meanest stare possible. AND THEN, she looks at ME like I’M the idiot! OH my goodness, I have never been so close to T-boning someone on purpose. I almost stomped on the gas. I withheld, but am still irritated about this incident to this day. Though it has been a couple of weeks now, I am guessing I will get over it… eventually.

Road Rage.

platinum

LME to take over London platinum, palladium fixes

The London Metal Exchange, owned by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, will take charge of London’s platinum and palladium pricing, also known as “fixes”, from Dec. 1, replacing a teleconference with an electronic platform.

The unexpected move marks a stunning comeback for the LME, which failed to secure administration of the century-old London silver price benchmark – the first to go electronic in a wave of reform for precious metals pricing procedures.

It also puts the world’s biggest metals marketplace back in contention to take over the much larger gold benchmark.

“We built (our electronic platform) primarily to participate platinum and palladium but the gold fixing process is very similar, so what we said is that if the market would like to use (it) for gold as well then we are very happy to discuss that,” the LME Head of Business Development Matthew Chamberlain said in a phone interview with Reuters.

platinum

The platinum and palladium benchmarks were established in 1989, when banks chose to agree a price twice a day on which their customers – producers, consumers and investors – could trade the metal and value their holdings.

This unified the way all precious metals markets set their benchmarks. The gold fix began in 1919 and silver back in 1897.

The new pricing process will be run via bespoke platform LMEbullion, which is an electronic version of the current round-by-round fixing process, Chamberlain said.

“It was fairly clear that what the banks wanted was the electronic version of what happens at the moment but with the addition of a lot of audit and reporting and compliance features,” he said.

The platinum and palladium new auctions will have an initial price after which the participants will declare their interest. They will also have the ability to pause during the process to recalculate overall interest and allow customers to change their orders.

The four banks currently running the process said in July that it would seek a third-party administrator for its price benchmarks, following similar announcements from the operators of the gold and silver fixings.

It later appointed an independent chairman, former Barclays product manager Jon Spall of G Cubed Metals Ltd, to oversee the current fixes operated by HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Standard Bank and BASF Metals Ltd.

As of December 1, the LME will also become the independent chairman, Chamberlain said.

CME Group and Thomson Reuters were named in July as the administrator of the new silver benchmark, the LBMA Silver Price.

platinum

A process to find a new administrator of the gold fixing was launched last month by the London gold fixing company, with the support of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA).

At least 15 companies expressed interest in replacing the London gold benchmark, but a shortlist of fewer than 10 will be published on Friday by the LBMA, sources said. Potential administrators include ICAP, the world’s biggest inter-dealer broker, and CME Group and Thomson Reuters and the LME.

Scrutiny over the way precious metals benchmarks are set increased ahead of the implementation of stricter regulations on price setting from the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) this year. (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore, Jan Harvey and Clara Denina in London; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Susan Thomas, Veronica Brown and Hugh Lawson)

Hecla Mining

Despite strong Q3 output, Hecla Mining misses expectations

Hecla Mining reported Wednesday that “all three of our mines performed strongly in the third quarter, leading to higher production over the entire suit of metals we produce”.

During a conference call with analysts Wednesday, Hecla CEO Phil Baker observed, “The production increases come in times of volatility and low silver prices and we are fortunate to have several competitive advantages to reduce that volatility and deal with the low silver prices. For example, because of our low cash cost after by-product credits, our high-quality assets are not very price-sensitive.

“Another advantage is that we produce large amounts of four metals. The prices of gold and silver are weaker, but the prices of lead and zinc are stronger giving us a natural revenue hedge,” he added. “We also hedge a portion of our lead and zinc production, cushioning us further against price volatility.”

Hecla Mining

During Q3 Hecla reported silver equivalent production of 7.7 million ounces (239 tonnes) and 22.6 million SEO (684 t) for the first nine months of 2014. Total silver production increased 25% in Q3 to 2.9 million ounces (90 t) at a cash cost after by-product credits of $5.43 per ounce, compared to production of 2.3 million ounces (71 t) of silver for Q3 of last year at a cash cost of $7.43/oz.

For the first nine months of this year, Hecla reported 7.88 million ounces ( 254 t) of silver output at a cash cost, after by-product credits of $4.90/oz, up 22% from 6.43 million ounces of silver (199 t) at $6.65/oz for the same period of 2013.

Hecla also reported gold production of 42,501 ounces (one tonne) during the third quarter of this year at a cash cost, after by-product credits, of $898/oz, up 15% from 36,966 ounces (one tonne) at $1,066/oz during Q3 2013.

For the first nine months of this year, Hecla reported 132,323 ounces (4 t) of gold production at a cash cost, after by-product credits, of $911/oz, up 82% from production of 72,881 ounces (2 t) at $1,086/oz for the same period of last year.

The company also produced 30,468 tons (27,640 t) of lead and 50,750 tons (46,039 t) of zinc during the first nine months of the year, up from 21,027 tons of lead (19,075 t) and 44,990 tons (40,814 t) of zinc for the first nine months of 2013.

This year’s guidance remains unchanged at 9.5 million to 10 million ounces of silver and 180,000 gold ounces at cash costs of $5 per silver ounce and $900/oz for gold.

During the conference call, Baker highlighted the company’s San Sebastian project in Mexico because, he said, it’s looking like it could become a producing mine. “We believe that San Sebastian is a district that, over time, will ultimately have more than 100 million silver equivalent ounces,” said Baker.

When asked by analyst John Bridges of J.P. Morgan “How quickly could you get this thing moving?” Baker responded that it would take a couple of years to construct a mill. “So nothing could occur immediately but this would probably be a relatively low capital project; something less than a $100 million.”

Hecla operated the underground San Sebastian mine from 2001-2005, producing about 25 million SEO.

“We have on the books, at the beginning of the year, silver equivalent of about 55-60 million ounces. So we are saying we think that the property will ultimately be over 100 million ounces from where we are starting right now. Stay tuned on what the specific capital will be and what the operating cost will be,” said Baker.

When asked by analyst David Deterding of Wells Fargo regarding “any thoughts we might see if we see silver prices stay in this $15-$16 range for the next 12 plus months?”, Baker responded, “I think it puts a lot of pressure on the development capital for a number of mines. So what ends up happening is, yes, they are able to operate and they are able to stay in business for the next year, two years, but they just get way behind on development and they sort of put themselves where they cannot complete their mine plans.

“And that’s where we really have the opportunity, with the cash flow that our mines generate, we will be able to work our way through that price environment. And coming out the other side, we would be in a position to put capital into those mines that are trouble. So we just see it as a great place to be,” Baker stressed.

“With respect to what we think about the supply-demand fundamentals for silver over the next five years, it’s extraordinarily good, from the standpoints that there are so many new applications that are consuming silver. And those new applications are being applied to significantly more people,” Baker observed.

Hecla Mining

“You have got 300-400 million people in China whose lifestyle is very similar to the lifestyle in the Western world and the people in the Western world consume roughly 4/10 of an ounce of silver per annum. And so the outlook for silver seems to us to be very good. And it will continue beyond that five-year timeframe,” he stressed.

Financials

Despite Baker’s optimism, Hecla missed adjusted Q3 net income expectations. While the company reported net income applicable to shareholders of $3.5 million or 1 cent per basic share for the third quarter, up from a loss of $8.46 million or 3-cents per share in the third-quarter 2013, adjusted net income was a loss of $2.1 million or one-cent per share, which was slightly below consensus of a one-cent gain per share for the Q3 2014.

For the first nine months of this year, Hecla reported a net income of $505 million or one cent per share, compared to a net loss of $22.6 million or 7-cents per share for the first nine months of last year.

Adjusted net income for the first nine months of this year was $61 million, compared to an adjusted loss of $12.3 million or 4-cents per share for the same period of 2013.

Scotiabank analyst Trevor Turnbull maintained Hecla’s “Sector Perform” rating as the company’s production profile “is expected to be relatively flat until Lucky Friday reaches higher-grade material in 2017; however, we note the positive exposure to rising lead and zinc prices.” The target is US$3 per share.

Cowen and Company’s Adam P. Graf observed, “Mines are operationally cash flow positive, but the company remains free-cash flow negative. Production and cost guidance remains intact, and capital programs are moving along.” He maintains a “Market Perform” rating.

Nevertheless, shares of Hecla Mining hit a new 52-week low of $2/sh during trading on the NYSE Wednesday, closing at $2.04 with a volume of 15,429,070 shares traded.

ITEXPO Preview Using Smart Wireless to Enhance Business Communications

ITEXPO Preview: Using Smart Wireless to Enhance Business Communications

Going to ITEXPO Jan. 27-30 next week? I am, and the rest of the team and I are particularly excited about the presentation we’re giving at Channel-vision Expo Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m. The topic, as you may have guessed, deals with utilizing Wi-Fi to improve business communication efficiency, and I wanted to give you a little sneak peak of what exactly that entails in this week’s blog post.ITEXPO Preview Using Smart Wireless to Enhance Business Communications

The current state of communications and the UC-factor
There’s a big push right now in business communications for increased mobility and efficiency. Technology has given all of us as individuals a taste of freedom when it comes to when and how to connect, and now businesses want in on it. This means communications networks need to do more and, subsequently, the infrastructures they operate on need to be better.

In order to achieve these goals, many organizations are looking to unified communications (UC) solutions. The push for UC represents a big shift in the traditional business model, and with any big change comes barriers to adoption. In this case, user experience can make or break UC adoption within the organization.

So what’s the key to a good UC user experience? Obviously the particular platform you choose and the features/capabilities that come with it matter, but it all starts with – yep – your Wi-Fi network.

Six elements to an enhanced wireless network

  1. What makes one wireless network better than another, and what makes so-called “smart” Wi-Fi better than traditional Wi-Fi? Our presentation next week will go into greater detail on the following:
  2. Setting standards. Ask yourself, “Is good enough good enough?” It’s okay to have high expectations, but where should you focus your attention?
  3. Managing radio frequency (RF). Approach the problem by thinking, “How can the RF spectrum available be used best?”ITEXPO Preview Using Smart Wireless to Enhance Business Communications
  4. Quality of Service (QoS) limitations. Understanding these limitations is critical if you want to utilize multimedia applications on your network. But what are they?
  5. Airtime scarcity. Video and voice suffer in congested airtime. How do you design a network that overcomes this challenge?
  6. Link/Connection quality. Poor device connection quality with the access point will reduce speed. What’s the trick to improving link quality?
  7. Access Point (AP) strategy. Is more better when it comes to AP layout? Hint: the answer is “no.”
    Join us Jan. 28 in Miami to get all the details!

Wi-Fi is changing the workplace, giving employers and employees more options in how they get work done. The better your wireless network, the better you’ll be able to take advantage of those options. We’ll discuss all of these topics and more in Miami. I’m a bit biased, but I think it’s a can’t-miss show for buyers and agents alike. We’ll see you there!

Vacation Ideas 1

Couples Vacation Ideas

Whether you’re falling in love or doing some rekindling, nothing sparks romance like a nice trip together somewhere. It could be a far-flung exotic destination on a sleepy part of the Mediterranean coast or maybe a big city. Perhaps a mountainous locale is more your speed. Here are a few suggestions for a getaway that might help turn that spark into a fire.Vacation Ideas 1

The Cinque Terre

Five coastal villages strung together by a hiking trail along the Italian Riviera, the Cinque Terre (“five lands”) is a place for couples to relax on a European vacation. What this area doesn’t have is just as important as what it does and part of what makes it special. No museums or major tourist attractions, no traffic, nowhere to rush to and no one rushing to get there; this less-developed part of the coast seems to be made for romance. Don’t expect casinos or high rises here, just picturesque, pastel-colored, centuries-old villages where couples can stroll and take in the local flavor, day and night. While there is no road that directly connects the towns, there is a train line. This makes it easy to spend a day hiking through the Cinque Terre and hop on the train back to the village you’re staying in without having to worry about walking back. European travel expert Rick Steves calls the Cinque Terre “the most fantasy-fulfilling stretch of the fabled Riviera.”

How to Plan a Romantic Weekend

New York City

An axiom about New York City is that it’s a hard place to be alone, but one of the most romantic places to be with someone. Songs have been written trying to describe this intangible pull that the city has on lovers. Many couples are intimidated at first, but a stroll through Central Park soon changes their attitude. There’s a reason so many movies have been filmed in Central Park–considered the green lung of New York, it’s one of the most romantic places in the city. Anytime of year is a good time to visit– there’s ice skating in the winter and rowboating in the summer. A walk through ultra-illuminated Times Square or strolling the galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will also get the endorphins of love flowing. There seems to be no end to the array of romantic options for couples in NYC.

Metropolitian Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10028
(212) 535-7710
www.metmuseum.org

Vacation Ideas 1

Park City, Utah

A mountain destination in the Rockies of Utah, Park City was a silver mining boomtown in the 19th century. Known mostly as a ski town in the modern age (and home of the Sundance Film Festival), Park City is worth a visit in the summer months, too, when even the ski resorts–where one can bike and hike the slopes during the warmer months–are open for business. The historic Washington School Inn, a sturdy stone building from the19th century that used to be a schoolhouse, provides a quiet respite for its guests and is located just a block away from the vibrant shopping, dining and nightlife of Main Street.

Washington School Inn
PO Box 536
543 Park Ave.
Park City, UT 84060
(800) 824-1672 (toll free)
(435) 649-3800
www.washingtonschoolinn.com

How to Plan a Romantic Weekend

How to Plan a Romantic Weekend

Planning a romantic weekend is a great way to keep spice in a relationship. Both partners can coordinate the weekend, contributing ideas and suggestions. However, providing a few surprises during the weekend keeps your traveling partner guessing and makes it a little more interesting. Start planning and making reservations early if the romantic weekend falls during a busy travel time or the holidays.

How to Plan a Romantic Weekend

Things You’ll Need:

  • Candles Flowers Bath gels Bottle of wine Fresh berries Chocolate Champagne Computer with Internet
  • connection
  • Candles
  • Flowers
  • Bath gels
  • Bottle of wine
  • Fresh berries
  • Chocolate
  • Champagne
  • Computer with Internet connection

Step 1

Select a destination. Ponder interests you both have, activities you enjoy or a place that has special meaning in your relationship. Consider travel time, because you don’t want to cut too much into your romantic weekend. Look at hotels, bed and breakfasts, and cabins. Inquire about special features such as beds, fireplaces and hot tubs. Ask about packages for weekend getaways or romantic weekends.

How to Plan a Romantic WeekendStep 2

Make dinner reservations. Choose a quiet, romantic restaurant for dinner. Ask someone where you are staying for recommendations or call the local chamber of commerce for a restaurant list. Search the Internet for websites or call the restaurant to inquire about its services. Ask for a table with a view or a private room. Order champagne so it’s sitting on your table as you arrive. Make any special requests when making the dinner reservation.

Step 3

Plan day activities. Romantic weekends should be relaxing, so don’t plan nonstop activities. Plan one or two excursions, appealing to both travel partners such as wine tasting, a walk or picnic by the lake, a hot air balloon ride or massages at a spa.

Step 4

Bring romance along. Enhance the romantic weekend by bringing candles, flowers, bath gels and a great bottle of wine. Stop at the local store for fresh berries, chocolate and champagne. Consider purchasing a special outfit for your traveling partner to wear during your romantic weekend.

A Review of South African Safaris

A Review of South African Safaris

Tucked along South Africa’s Wild Coast, Inkwenkwezi’s nearly 10,000 acres spans the rolling coastal hillsides of South Africa’s malaria-free Eastern Cape. The game reserve offers day and twilight game drives in open-topped vehicles, horseback safaris, quad bike tours, hiking, birdwatching, elephant interactions and a range of other activities. The property encompasses five different regional ecosystems (biomes) and features a canoe route into a bustling tidal estuary. Guests are accommodated in luxuriously appointed safari tents and enjoy chef-prepared meals.A Review of South African Safaris

Wows and Woes

The reserve is five minutes from Wild Coast beaches and the town of Cintsa, as well as being a short drive from the East London airport.

Though malaria-free, Inkwenkwezi is definitely not pest-free. Bring your DEET or you’ll be getting lots of tick-removal practice.

Insider Tips

Inkwenkwezi’s Wednesday Burger Night is a local tradition–don’t miss out. If you manage to pack away one of their jaw-droppingly massive hamburgers, you’re given the opportunity to commemorate the occasion with an exclusive shirt; if you manage to eat two, they’ll give you a case of South African beer.

A Review of South African Safaris

Author’s Most Memorable Moment

Inkwenkwezi participates in a program that raises baby lions, so the reserve generally has a few little ones on site during cub season. One morning, I was invited to toss dead chickens to them over the fence. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for sure, to watch the giant kittens leap up and catch them in the air.

Bottom Line

Inkwenkwezi is a solid choice for any traveler looking to balance game viewing with beach-combing, canoeing and in-town excursions.