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Winter Tea Escape in the Bahamas-MATBA Members Only Event

posted Dec 6, 2016, 7:39 AM by L Brommer   [ updated Feb 3, 2017, 7:27 PM ]

The MATBA Board of Directors is excited to announce that fellow MATBA member Denise Worrell of "Naturally Bahamian" has been working very hard with the Department of Tourism of the Bahamas and individual local businesses to offer a very special package deal for a Winter Tea Escape in Nassau, Bahamas. It is a wonderful opportunity to escape the chill of winter (average temp. is 78 degrees), to show support for fellow members in the industry and to learn the history of tea and experience the culture of our island friends. Mark your calendar now!

Proposed Schedule:
Arrive: Nassau Bahamas - Monday January 30, 2017  
Depart: Nassau Bahamas - Thursday February 2, 2017
Reservations for air travel, transfers to the hotel, and lodging (see below) should be arranged by the individual travelers. 
Round trip airfare from Philadelphia is approx. $450. Airport transfers to the Sandyport Resort will vary, but prices range from $18 - $25 one way.
Lodging will be at the Sandyport Beach Resort (plan to arrive at the hotel before 2 pm). This is a Gold Crown Resort with an overall TripAdvisor ranking of #2 out of 37 hotels in
 Nassau. Denise Worrell is negotiating room rates for us. Current TripAdvisor posts this week offer a range of rooms and cancellation policy options available from $167 to $282 per night. Once we have a discount code for our group at the hotel, we will ask you to make your reservations using that code. Members may extend their stay on either side of these dates while realizing a continuation of hotel discounts.

During our stay, three afternoon teas are planned. One will be at the hotel, another at the Government House and one of them at a Bahamian residence. We will also tour Ranepa Farms, and other local tea businesses (Tasty Teas and Passion Teas).
Meals will include a dinner with a Bahamian Family and (subject to confirmation) a brunch or dinner at the University. Denise Worrell of Naturally Bahamian will present a lecture on herbal tea production and usage in the Bahamas, as well as be our tour guide. The cost of these offerings is expected to be in the neighborhood of $250 - $300 including group transportation. Once we have final confirmation of scheduling and the itinerary, we can offer an exact cost. As details are available we will continue to provide updates.

Optional free tours may include the John Watlings rum distilleryRum Cake FactoryNational Art Gallery. Most are within walking distance of the Government House.
Other tours that come with a fee include a Junkanoo tour that teaches the history of junkanoo, demonstrates how to make costumes and teaches the dancing. There is the Clifton Heritage Natural Park which offers tours of the plantations, slave quarters, hiking, and snorkeling of the preserved coral and underwater sculpture gardens. The cultural park has just reopened only partially and therefore has not been available to discuss group discounts, etc.

At our October meeting 13 people expressed interest. The final number will help to determine the discounts that we can receive at the hotel and on the above tours and group transportation options. 

Note: 1 US dollar is equal to 1 Bahamian dollar.  Both U.S. and Bahamian dollars are accepted interchangeably throughout the islands.
Please understand that Hurricane Matthew has delayed getting the final itinerary and costs on the overall trip. As we are able to finalize the itinerary and update pricing we will release this information. Some of the tour originally discussed is not possible because of the extent of devastation and destruction that the storm caused.
Members are responsible for all expenses involved with this trip, including airfare, lodging, transportation to and from the airport, most meals, and additional excursions. Space is limited, so we request that you confirm your participation with a $100 deposit (to be put towards the scheduled activities listed above) as early as possible, and no later than December 1st. The balance of the tour and on island transportation will be due to MATBA by January 10th. Please email Kathleen Hippeli and she will invoice members for the $100 deposit to their email address. Payment may be paid with a debit card, credit card on-line directly or mail a check to MATBA Treasurer c/o One Steep at a Thyme, PO Box 251, Spotswood, NJ 08884.
Please express your interest and direct all questions regarding this trip to Debbie & Mike Raab.
FYI: You will need a valid US Passport. All American citizens who travel to and from Caribbean nations like the Bahamas and Jamaica are required to present an approved international photo ID when crossing borders. For air travel, this means strictly an American passport.
Please Note: Our traditional winter educational conference call presentation will occur in February, after returning from our trip.