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Q: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable ( No Answer,   35 Comments )
Subject: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
Category: Relationships and Society > Romance
Asked by: infohelp-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 19 Jan 2003 00:36 PST
Expires: 18 Feb 2003 00:36 PST
Question ID: 145464
My soulmate, super Mom and extrordinary wife is turnign 50 in May. I
want to through a party for her that will be remembered for years to
come by all. For the sake of this exercise, let's say I have 5 to 10K
to spend (but don't limit your response by dollar amount only - as a
matter of fact, I've been contemplating hiring a private jet to whisk
our party off for somehting extrordinary as part of the festivities).
Then again, the love of my life is not a materially obsesed person and
if we could do something  that has the same end result - that's
perfectly OK to (we live in Denver, CO)

This night needs to be special, very special.

What ideas can you provide?

Thx. in advance.

Request for Question Clarification by serenata-ga on 19 Jan 2003 02:07 PST
Hi Infohelp!

What fun to arrange a party for someone without having to pay
attention to dollar amounts. I'll provide you with a few ideas which
should / could help plan a special party for your very lucky wife!

Horse Racing:

Horse racing is the sport of kings, but there are a few in the US that
are considered a "must do" at least once in your lifetime.

The first saturday of May is the 129th running of the Kentucky Derby
at Churchill Downs. There is a special excitement being a part of the
Run for the Roses! This is the place where history is made, and it is
possible to reserve a box or room for your party.

You can add to the fun by traveling with the Society of International
Railway Travelers ... a trip from St. Paul, Minnesota to Louisville.
The food is excellent, and the company superb.

Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) celebrations:
Includes cruises to either the west or gulf coasts of Mexico or
numerous coastal cities in California (or any western state for that

MAY 2003 to SEPTEMBER 2003 will mark the 50TH Anniversary of the Cape
Hatteras National Seashore ... From Killdevil Hills to the Cape, you'd
look hard and long for a livelier or lovelier Eastern Seaboard getaway

May 2003 is also the 50th anniversary of the Corvette ... that could
amount to  a theme party. (and for around $45,000 you can get her the
2003 Corvette!)

You haven't given the date of your wife's party or shared enough
information to plan a party yet, but if any of the above appeal, let
me know, and I can give you the details to make arrangements.

If your wife is a reader, a theme party can be built around the best
sellers for every year since her birth.

If she's an opera buff, there are some anniversary performances in May
you can build a party around.

Some other information could come in about her tastes, etc., in order
to help plan your über party.

I'd be thrilled to help plan that special event, but some other
information would help!


Clarification of Question by infohelp-ga on 19 Jan 2003 13:01 PST
First off, I'm truly in awe with the ideas/recommendations offered in
response to my question. To each of you , thank you so much!

As requested, here's some more detail and thoughts on some of the
recommendations given so far.

* Wife's Birthday - May 13th. 

* What my wife enjoys and prefers to do without: 

What my wife could probably do without:

While I loved the idea of the Kentucky Derby, J (my wife's email sig
line to me) is not a gambler (she doesn't like and usually doesn't go
with me on my trips to Vegas). I agree the Derby is much more than the
act of placing a bet, and our other special friends and me would have
a blast (in one of my earlier lives I made a pastime of playing the
ponies - I especially loved Saratoga) Nevertheless, probably best to
pass on this theme.

J is not a seditary person, and while a wonderful dinner/evening out
will certainly be a part of the festivities, activity needs to be the
larger part.

What my wife enjoys:

J loves the outdoors and is very athletic. As a matter of fact, we're 
spending next week on family vacation skiing the glorious mountains of
Colorado (that reminds me, I'd better do a little conditioning after I
finish this response!) J also loves adventure. During a recent Outward
Bound mgmt training program, orienteering was employed. She had an
absolute blast, volunteering to lead the team assigned to locate &
retrieve the most challenging/valuable flags.

Misc. Info & who's attending:
I haven't decided yet how many will attend (in part this will be
driven by activities, duration, logistics, etc.). However, J's parents
are flying over from across the Atlantic/Pacific and my parents will
be here as well for the event.

J attending school oversees and loves to travel. 

Possible ideas:

With the above highlighted, and the advise given so far, I'd like to
explore a 50th birthday party them based around the following:

probonopublico-ga & omnivorous-ga;
I agree, there must be an extrordinary surprise element central to the
theme. However, with J already knowing family will be here, the party
itself won't be the surprise.

Due to the day of J's B-day this year (Tue) and the desire to
surprise, I think best to have the party the week-end before (May

I'm very intriged by the Treasure Hunt idea (similiar to what J loved
about Orienteering) and I know family & friends would really be
engaged. However, never having done one or been involved with one, I'd
need a lot of help pulling it off.

probonopublico-ga & omnivorous-ga;
I also love the combined idea of dinner at a favorite resturaunt with
her favorite entertainer showing up (it would have to be a great Tina
look-a-like) and then off to that special place.

So, talking out loud a bit, the idea of taking J and family out to
breakfast at a fun breakfast spot and having our friends start showing
up followed up by the treasure hunt encompassing Denver and
surrounding areas. I'm not clear if the treasure hunt should be
everyone working together to help J find the clues or if more fun to
break into two team. I'm also not sure if it would be better to hire a
firm to coordinate everything so I'm a participant rather than
coordinator. Regardless I think best to hire limos or a bus/van to get
people where they have to go.

I like the idea of "all the numerous clues, surprises and photo
opportunities- that would reveal a final message on the actual
birthday culminating in a special event, party etc.?"

As for the ultimate surprise - If we go with the Treasure Hunt theme,
one thought is the clues leading everyone back at our place by about
7pm. As we're gone the entire day, I could hire a cater to totally
deck out our home in the theme reflecting where J & I will fly off to
after dinner and activities (including our Tina T. look-a-like show
(probably a late evening flight). I'm not sure at this point if our
final location should be for only a day, returning Sunday night/Monday
or make it a week of falling in love all over again. The challenge of
extending the birthday trip is we're both senior execs and although
the family is here to help look after the girls, this could cause
mixed feeling for J. on both a work and spending time with family
level. So, any ideas on where we could go for an awesome extended day

Alternatively, the clues could lead us to a private jet in time to
wisk us off to dinner and/or a special event (ideally a real Tina T.
concert somewhere within the US). If we go this route, I'd have to
limit the invite list to the number of seats on the jet. Or we might
still have the clues lead us to our decked out home for cocktais and
appetizers before we're off to a local event/dinner.

I could continue replying, perhaps best to submit this and see what
your thoughts/advise are based on this additional input.

P.S. I am prepared to provide additional tips to some of you, but not
sure how to do it.

Thx. again.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: probonopublico-ga on 19 Jan 2003 03:34 PST
Women (in particular) like to be surprised ... so throw a surprise

You prime her by saying that you propose to have a small scale affair
at her favourite restaurant ... then, surprise, surprise, friends
start arriving plus her favourite entertainer (an Elvis Pressley

This will bowl her over ... for ever!
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: kinglouie-ga on 19 Jan 2003 03:54 PST
For our 20th Anniversary we are planning an “Inner Passage “ cruise to
If your wife appreciates the wonders of nature this may be the perfect
There will be spectacular scenery, icebergs, and wild life to enjoy
during the day.
At night enjoy the variety of activities and dining aboard ship.
Whether you decide to make it a special time for just the two of you
or bring along some special friends; it will be a memorable
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: brudenell-ga on 19 Jan 2003 04:27 PST
How about a lead up treasure hunt preceding the special day with
numerous clues, surprises and photo opportunities- that would reveal a
final message on the
actual birthday culminating in a special event, party etc.? You have
sufficient time to have 50 clues planned & planted. Clues could be
placed over time- in
some cases you could be planting them just ahead of her schedule. This
could be alot of fun and would certainly be memorable. A specially
Valentine's Day card could kick off the hunt with of course clue #1
leading to location number 2. Some of the clues could be over a wide
geographical area,
planted well in advance. Plan a final message that would be gradually
revealed in segments collected from each and every clue. Put it in a
simple code that
would be provided at the end of the hunt. Reveal some in various
'personals' newspaper ads, solutions to puzzles etc. The best clues
are those that come from
surprise, simple sources e.g.. in a loaf of bread. Others could be in
hard to get at places: high on a tree branch in a city park or in a
tree at a favourite place
that only you two know, bury a cassette tape with "Mission Impossible"
instructions, clues pasted under a table in that special restaurant.
Get others in on the
hunt: force her to go into a stranger's office (bank manager, tax
collector etc.) to ask to see behind a framed painting, diploma etc.
on a wall behind the
stranger's desk; get her to ask the gas attendant where she normal
fills up the car for an unusual item whereupon she would be presented
with a rose and a
card with the next clue; the same could be done in her usual coffee
shop, health food store etc. If you live where she went to high
school, university etc.- hide
a clue behind framed pictures, or stick it on the wall above her class
photo. Bury a clue in an awkward spot. Take a photo of the spot and
have the shot made
into a puzzle with an 'X' indicating the clue location. The puzzle
should be discovered as part of the sequence. All of this of course
leads up to your final
event- others could supply those ideas. As you can see, this doesn't
have to cost very much and of course the memories would be priceless!
Post a comment if
you would like more clue suggestions. Hope you both have a great time-
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: seizer-ga on 19 Jan 2003 04:30 PST
Not quite a party, I know: but you could give her an unrepeatable
holiday to the Three Gorges, on the Yangtze river in China. Why
"unrepeatable?" - because by 2009 (and probably much earlier), the
area will be flooded by a new dam being built downstream.

The area is of really unparallelled beauty - witness the photos here:

Several travel agents supply tours of the area, such as:

Good luck in whatever you decide!

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: omnivorous-ga on 19 Jan 2003 07:50 PST
I'm with probono on this one -- go the surprise route.

It's her 50th: she'll expect (and you should host) a surprise party. 
It's the perfect distraction.

The real surprise should be the trip that you plan.  In the middle of
the party, have a limo show up to take the two of you away to whatever
destination you've preselected.

You can tell the guests where you'll be going, that way if it's say,
London, they can arrive with presents that hint to the destination. 
(No guidebooks please, that's a dead giveaway.)

She won't be prepared; she won't know until she gets on the airplane. 
Even then she won't have any idea what awaits at the other end!  It
means that you'll have arranged for the kids; you'll have packed her
bags.  The latter alone can provide years of memories for what you
picked -- and what you forgot.

Best regards,

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: infohelp-ga on 19 Jan 2003 14:54 PST
FYI, Wasn't sure if I should have included my update text as a comment
or clarification, so I chose clarification.
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: luciaphile-ga on 19 Jan 2003 14:56 PST
I've helped prepare treasure hunts for birthday parties(on a much
smaller scale and budget :) but the principles still hold). Teams are
maybe a bit easier to coordinate--if you're planning on a lot of
guests, one large group gets unwieldy. In fact, depending on the
number of guests, you may want more than two teams. And I think you're
right, the idea of providing transportation for the participants is
advisable. Best of luck to you!
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: austin_trill-ga on 19 Jan 2003 16:56 PST
I don't have any ideas off hand, but I did want to say that I would
vote for you in a Husband of the Year contest!  Kudos for doing
something so special for your wife.
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: infohelp-ga on 19 Jan 2003 20:34 PST
I was just reviewing all the comments on my question and wanted to add
a few footnotes:

Serenata: I really appreciated your fast response and ideas based on
limited info. I liked your identifcation of 50 Anniversary events. If
I end up deciding to fly off somewhere, we should pursue this theme

Kinglouie & Seizer: I think time constraints will present challenges
for inclusion in this effort, but what great ideas for future
vacations - I'll definately share them with family and friends.

Austin_trill - thanks for the kind words.

My biggest sub-question at the moment is, from the input recieved, it
looks like I could really use help from a couple of you to pull this
off with the desired results. Let's face it - it's going to take some
work and help from some extrordinary Google researchers - regardless
of what the final details are. Let's say I want to add another $150 to
the kittie for help in driving all the details out. Is their a way I
might structure the question/answer process to allow more than one
Google researcher be involved with this effort. Sort of a team effort
approach. I'd also want to be able to provide additional $$ tips to
individual researchers as apropriate.

Thanks again for everyone's help to date,

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: tisme-ga on 19 Jan 2003 20:39 PST
Hello infohelp,

The best way to reward other researchers would be to open up
additional questions and request that they post some sort of answer,
which will result in the other researchers being paid. You can also
decide who should provide the ultimate answer to this question.

All people with names appearing in blue are researchers and will be
able to answer any questions that you post.

Hope this is helpful, I am sure that they will appreciate your

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: serenata-ga on 19 Jan 2003 20:51 PST
An idea to add to a 'scavenger hunt' is to add "personal" touches,
ie., go to the 'third teller' ... go to the concierge ... who will
give her the next set of instructions.

You can have her go to a clerk in a store to pick up the appropriate
clothes which you have already paid for ... and instructions to meet
the chauffeur outside to go to the next destination ...

Each of these would have a special meaningful illustration by an
artist or caricaturist, I can recommend one ... :) ... and each step
of the journey would have something significant.

On the other hand ... you could arrange for her to have a lunch with
her friends who will then 'kidnap' her and take her on a 'journey' ...
depends on how alarmed she might be.

There are some fun ways to add a friend along the way.

A variation is to get the friends in on it and start picking up a
friend at each stop ... you could do it better that way by involving
the friends as they get picked up along the journey!

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: serenata-ga on 19 Jan 2003 21:10 PST
In addition, I have located a celebration consultant who can help you
with the arrangements for that ...

from department stores to limosing service to arranging things among
your friends to decorations/flowers/ etc.

No even is too large or too little and I can put you in touch with
this person as a coordinator.

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: jenjerina-ga on 19 Jan 2003 21:32 PST
Wow these ideas for a treasure hunt are great!

another idea - if you're wanting to involve other people such as your
kids and her friends, maybe they could be in disguise! Maybe one clue
could be at a shopping centre where your wife needs to find a wicked
witch. She might look in party shops for wicked witch figurines etc
but the wicked witch she really needs to find is actually her friend
dressed up as a wicked witch and walking around!

How exciting!
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: infohelp-ga on 19 Jan 2003 21:40 PST
OK, thanks tisme-ga for the approach on how best to leverage Google
researchers, using a team approach, to arrive the final answer.

I'll provide additional details in the sub-quesitons posted:

Serenata - based on your enthusiasm, I'd like you to provide the final
answer to this question (the "ultimate" question/answer). Think of
yourself as the project manager of this effort and I'd like you to
coordinate/interface with the other selected researchers as necessary.

omnivorous-ga - can you identify some extrordinary dinner/events (both
locally and across the nation for Sat/Sun). P.S. probonopublico-ga - I
regret to see  your not showing as a researcher - I like the way your
mind thinks.

luciaphile-ga - you seem to have expertise in the Scavanger Hunt area
- although I think I'll go with Serenata's suggestion of using a
Celebration Consultant, I'd love more information on how these things
are done. P.S. brudenell-ga, like probonopublico-ga, I regret your not
a researcher, love the way you think!

If this works for everyone, I'll submit the addional questions,
specifying requested researcher. Again, thanks so much for everyone's
help and patience with a relative newbie to finding a solution in this

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: infohelp-ga on 19 Jan 2003 22:04 PST
OK, I'll assume to previous comment is OK with everyone. I've just
bumped up  the price for this original question concidered - the
"ultimate" question/answer. Serenata-ga, I'm asuming you'll take this
on as the PM/Team Lead for this research effort and consolidate the
other researchers answers into the "final" answer. P.S. Yes, I'll want
the name of the Celebration Consultant - hopefully their in the Denver
area so I can meet them.

I'll post the sub-questions, with proposed price shortly.

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: austin_trill-ga on 19 Jan 2003 22:07 PST
Come to think of it, May is an excellent time to visit Costa Rica. 
It's when the rates drop, but before the rainy season begins in
earnest.  My husband and I got married there in late May and had a
wonderful time.  Since your wife likes outdoorsy activities, I highly
suggest whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River.  Airfare would
probably be around $500/person, rafting around $100/person, food
negligible, and fine accomodations around $200/night/room, putting it
well within your price range.  While we were there we hired a private
van and driver who was able to tell us so much about what we were
seeing, as he had a degree in botany (I think) and knew the flora and
fauna like the back of his hand.  If this interests you I'd be happy
to come up with a list of places to stay, to avoid, and the name of
the whitewater rafting company we used.

I'm thinking of a place that we stayed in coffee country which was
very close to where we went rafting that was really amazing -
romantic, beautiful, friendly, and more scenic than I can say.
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: infohelp-ga on 19 Jan 2003 23:27 PST
austin_trill-ga - if I can find a way to extend this B-day party to a
full week, I love your idea. Regardless, thanks for the recommendation
- I'll definately put it in my list of places to go and share it with
family and friends. Thanks!

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: knowledge_seeker-ga on 20 Jan 2003 05:08 PST
How about Rent an Island?

No prices on this one. (I guess if you have to ask ...), but wow ...

Previously an uninhabited island, Richard Branson's luxurious House on
Devil's Hill is the main residence complemented by the romantic and
secluded Balinese style Cottages, Bali Cliff, Bali Hi and Bali Lo.

Available for private hire. 
You and your guests are the only residents apart from the wildlife and
our team of staff who are dedicated to making your stay a dream come

Your own house, your own pool, your own island. 


These, a bit more realistic ...

And so forth ...

 -K~   (Just indulging in a little escapist fantasy .. :-))
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: jcdill-ga on 20 Jan 2003 09:25 PST
If you want this to be a surprise...

Many years ago we threw a surprise "special date" party for my mother.
 After the party, she confessed that she had known that we had
something planned (although she did not know exactly what).  She told
us that she noticed that no one asked her what she was doing to
celebrate the big day, so she surmised that everyone *else* knew, and
thus that a surprise party was in the making.  So you might want to
plan TWO parties.  The other party could be a decoy rarty (that you
don't actually hold), or it could be a real party that is less lavish
and held locally, perhaps scheduled on her actual birthday (so that
the big party held the weekend before is then a sudden surprise). 
Then make sure that her best friends are in on the planning of the
decoy or less lavish party.
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: nellie_bly-ga on 20 Jan 2003 10:28 PST
Let's see,  $5,000 at 10 meals per dollar.  You could give your wife
the honor of supplying 50,000 meals to starving children in her name
through an organization like the Children's Hunger Fund -- A thousand
meals for each year of her life.

Nellie Bly
Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: taxmama-ga on 21 Jan 2003 07:00 PST
Dear Infohelp,

Sounds like such a wonderful project.

And Serenata is, indeed, one of the most creative 
people I know.

But, there is one thing that may help all the planning.

Where are you located? 

Having that as a starting point would help.

Incidentally, combining knowledge_seeker-ga  and
austin_trill-ga's Rent-an-Island idea and Costa Rica,
I remember when, last summer, Serenata-ga did a 
review of a hotel website in Puerto Rico.

It's not a large place. And if they're not already
booked, I suspect that Serenata-ga could help you 
arrange a very active and interesting weekend for 
your whole family/friends. (combining any number of
the elements below - scavenger hunt, etc.)

Just a thought,

Your TaxMama-ga
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: lisaradha-ga on 24 Jan 2003 16:47 PST
Just a simple idea that all the 50th parties I attended this year
had... A dvd put together by the husband of all the photos, videos,
and special songs from day 1 to 50 years!  Everyone laughed, cried and
sighed with all the memories.  Everyone usually gave the guests a copy
to take home as well.
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: sublime1-ga on 25 Jan 2003 11:24 PST

Wow! There are so many suggestions here that I had to run a 
page search to make sure someone hadn't already suggested the
idea I wanted to offer. Consider a hot-air balloon flight,
if you can find one in a convenient location. The flights are
often conducted in the early morning and concluded with a
champagne toast, which you could follow with breakfast.
If your wife has never had this experience, it's guaranteed
to be an unforgettable one - floating through the air at
the exact speed of the wind (so you can actually hang a 
scarf on the side of the balloon basket and it won't move,
since, relatively, there is no wind for you). It's an
incredibly peaceful ride, with an unmatched view of the 
landscape below, and the horizon surrounding you. I would
recommend it as the start of your day - something to be
shared by just the two of you - a romantic prelude to the
festivities to follow.

Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extraordinary Ideas for something really memorable
From: intotravel-ga on 25 Jan 2003 16:46 PST
Hi, Infohelp-ga, Thanks for wanting to organize a memorable occasion
for your wife's birthday!  I  have a couple of ideas based on my own
enthusiasms! so I  hope that they're of interest, or useful, to
somebody reading this ...
  (1) Denver is on the Amtrak route from Chicago to Emeryville,
California. The rail route through Denver is said to be the most
beautiful in America, and I wonder if it were possible to organize
some kind of holiday or party on a rail carriage, a party that
combines sightseeing and eating with perhaps a private "Tina Turner"
performance! Or a short trip that culminates in a town with a great
B&B or motel (see (2)).
      Being on a rail carriage together could be one way for everyone
in your families to enjoy the view together, and have all the services
laid on at the same time.

  (a) If money is no object, and the carriage is available for your
dates, it would be incredible to hire a Pullman Car and ride in
private first-class splendor over your incredible mountains and
snowy-top-fringed skies ... (getting a bit carried away here!).

      The National Railway Historical Society has a website where
members' trips are described.
      Here are two examples:

". . . After breakfast, our train took us along the former Denver &
Rio Grande Western route on a journey described as the most beautiful
train ride in North America. Our train climbed up into the mountains,
through 28 tunnels, including the 6.2 mile long Moffat Tunnel to cross
the Western Continental Divide. Moffat Tunnel, at an elevation of
9,239 feet, is the highest point on the Amtrak system. Our route took
the train through canyons and across mesas; we saw the splendor of the
Gore, Glenwood, and Ruby Canyons as the tracks followed the Colorado
River ; we were amazed at the colors of the Book Cliffs and the
vastness of the Green River Desert; we descended through the horseshoe
loop after crossing Soldier Summit into Spanish Fork Canyon."

". . . Passengers aboard were taken in by the vastness of the Green
River Desert, and the colors of the Book Cliffs. The splendor of the
Ruby, Glenwood, and Gore Canyons were also in view as the tracks
followed the Colorado River through the Rockies to the highest point
on the Amtrak system at 9,239 feet-- the 6.2 mile Moffat Tunnel across
the Continental Divide. From there our train descended to the mile
high city of Denver at nightfall."

The only drawbacks might be: 
     availability of the car, the Dover Harbor (,
which seems to operate out of Washington (if there's another Pullman
car available, I haven't come across it):
     value for money (; 
     time of year. The best time to travel is after the summer
solstice, according to the NRHS members. On the other hand, they
travelled quite a distance to get to Denver, and  you're there

By the way, there's a 50s reference in the description -- 
      "The DOVER HARBOR is an unparalleled example of first-class
railroad passenger service from 50+ years ago.
      "It is impossible to find anything in regular railroad service
today that can equal the DOVER HARBOR's heavy weight riding comfort,
elegant appointments, and full climate control. Small wonder that
Forbes Magazine, in an article published October 2, 1989, referred to
the DOVER HARBOR as a "Jewel of the Rails."  For an overnight trip
they have capacity for 10 guests, for a short trip or stationary
event, capacity is 22.

(b) Amtrak may also provide privately booked carriages on their
trains. or call 1 800 Usa-Rail

Here is a list of the cities on the Amtrak route from Chicago to
Emeryville, CA.

                 Chicago, Napierville, Mendota, Princeton (Illinois),
Galesburg, Burlington, Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa, Osceola, Creston,
Omaha, Lincoln, Hastings, Holdrege, McCook, Fort Morgan,   *  * 
Denver,   *  *  Winterpark/Fraser, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand
Junction, Green River, Helper, Provo, Salt Lake City, Elko,
Winnemucca, Sparks-Buses, Reno, Truckee, Colfa, Roseville, Sacramento,
Daviz, Martinez, Emeryville.

Amtrak  also organize holidays. I'm not sure I would recommend them,
from the point of view of having a really, really special occasion. On
the other hand, they may be able to give you some information about
rail holidays and group travel.   "Call 1-877-YES-RAIL for Rail
Inclusive price from your city."

(2)  All over America there are really great places to stay. 

     So how about finding one of these places, say a B&B or small
motel, and booking the whole house!

     It may also be possible to find an innkeeper with great ideas for
the kind of party you'd like to have, one who might help to organize

     Sometimes what's most fun is the unexpected, and not what's
planned; having time to breathe fresh air and take a walk without
having any kind  of 'agenda' or schedule to follow. Sometimes just
having all your favorite people  in one place, a place which is itself
intriguing and charming, and generates lots of stories to share over
the evening meal . . .

     Some ideas . . . 

    (a)  Anywhere you're looking for a place to stay, try a search for
"superior small lodging"; these are members of an association, with
quality standards. It originated in Fort Lauderdale, and this is where
you will find there are many, many superior small lodgings!

        "From colorful and quaint Superior Small Lodgings tucked away
on quiet tree-lined streets and offering all the amenities of home, to
grand, oceanfront resorts boasting deluxe spas and private beaches,
Greater Fort Lauderdale provides a wealth of accommodations."

       "Greater Fort Lauderdale's Superior Small Lodgings are cozy,
high quality vacation alternatives with 50 rooms or less! Perfect for
a quiet getaway or a special time with the family. . . . distinguished
by their friendly ambience and personalized service. . . . situated in
highly desirable locations - close to our famous beaches, shopping,
dining and sightseeing."

    (b) A friend of mine comes from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, which
is about 180 miles from Denver. From her account, it seems like a
wonderful place to live and to visit. She has a friend who runs a B&
B, just for fun. This lodging is mentioned on both these lists of Bed
and Breakfast inns in Steamboat.

(c) There is a website that lists romantic places to stay but I can't
find it right now.
    However, I found a list of "Group, Reunion, Wedding & Meeting

    You seem to be in the right place!
"Colorado is filled with charming, small resorts. Numerous quaint
retreats which promise a variety of romance packages to fit your

     Hope you have fun organizing this!
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: infohelp-ga on 29 Jan 2003 20:37 PST
Too all who have provided comments --THANK YOU!!

I'm truly overwhelmed by the quality and substance of all the
responses - especialy by the non-Google reseachers (thank you
probonopublico-ga, brudenell-ga, jcdill-ga, and especially

I look forward to sharing the final Answer with all of you that have
been so helpful, contribute extrodinary ideas for my wife's 50th, to
allow me to give her an experience that will be something really
memorable. THANK YOU AGAIN.

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: probonopublico-ga on 29 Jan 2003 21:51 PST
Hi, Again

Many thanks for your thanks!

Have a great time!

Kindest regards

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: brudenell-ga on 01 Feb 2003 03:02 PST
You are most welcome! We look forward to reading about the great day.
I wonder how many others that you have inspired?

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: brudenell-ga on 02 Feb 2003 12:02 PST
Hello again Infohelp!

Is see that you have two daughters (from another question that you
posted for luciaphile-ga). I have a suggestion that you may wish to
consider which would have them involved in an unforgetable way for the
big day. The birthday is in May and you have sufficient time to do the
following- it is a bit of work but the rewards are tremendous &
memorable: 1) Collect up about 55 different birthday cards. 2) Write
something special in each of the cards and have them each signed by
the girls and you. Do not write on the card envelopes. Put the cards
in their respective envelope and seal. Now you put the sealed envelope
into one slightly larger and you will add two more items (this will be
explained) 3) Now have the girls write a covering letter by hand- very
important!!! - The letter is being sent to  approx. 55 strangers the
world over who speak English (I'll explain later). Here is how you
write the note. Make it as brief as possible because you have alot to
do. I suggest doing 5 or 6 per day over 10 - 11 days. Write Dear Sir
or Madam: Have the girls write & explain that they are trying to send
their mother birthday cards from all over the world because it is a
very special occasion. Now ask the receipient to write your wife's
name, address etc. on the envelope enclosed in their own handwriting
(to fool your wife). Enclose two US dollars cash in with the
handwritten note and the previously sealed card. Ask the recepient to
purchase several small denomination local "pretty" stamps to decorate
the envelope that is being sent to your wife. Apologize nicely to the
recepient that you are unable to give them money in their currency.
Here is a way to make this 50+ birthday card surprise even more fun.
Send some to your home, send some to her place of work, send some to
her c/o the local corner store, gym etc. that she frequents. Use many
different addresses and the people who receive the mail will no doubt
comment on all this interesting mail, with nice stamps, from far away
places. The mail will come in over many days and sometimes longer. 4)
Sit down and address the envelope package being sent to complete
strangers using a list previously compiled. A good list will be to:
'Postmasters' in towns and cities the four corners the world over
where you know they speak English (find an atlas or do a Google search
 for towns that may be called after your wife's first name); send to
embassies/ consulates of English speaking countries in countries where
they may use little English, find a city or town that is exactly on
the other side of the world from Denver, write to Thule Air Force base
in northern Greenland and to the Scott Amundsen Weather Station at the
South Pole. You will have covered North and South etc. I'm sure you
get the idea. Pick many of the tropical islands in the south Pacific
and the Caribbean- they all have great stamps. THE RESULT: A flood of
birthday cards from the three of you from all over the world in
beautiful envelopes. Very few cards will not be returned, although
some will take time. The key is the charming handwritten note from
your daughters. Have them write how old they are. After all who could
resist? WILL THIS WORK? Yes- I did it for my sweetie for Valentines
Day in the year that she turned 40. I started sending out the request
letters to strangers in December. The last Valentine came from the
South Pole in the following November! She was overwhelmed. Only one or
two were never returned (that's the reason for the few extra).

This sounds like a great deal of work but if you pace yourself its not
bad and alot of fun & unforgetable. Your daughters will probably have
even more fun than your wife. It'll be hard for them to keep the

Good luck

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: jsimmons-ga on 17 Feb 2003 02:10 PST
Between now and then...

Build up to it, with smaller memorable things!

For instance... Keep a hidden stash of love letters.

Then, the next time you're out of town and she's at home...

1. Buy a stack of different postcards.

2. Select one of your love letters to copy from.

3. Re-write the entire love letter across all the postcards, 2 or 3 words per card.

4. Put the most colorful stamps you can get from the post office on all the cards.

5. Split the stack up into smaller piles.

6. Mail the different piles from different mailboxes that same day.

7. Let her piece together your love letter all over the bed at home.


Oh, and don't forget: stay on the case well past May!
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: ray_on_the_web-ga on 17 Feb 2003 18:24 PST
Great suggestion jsimmons-ga

Now I wonder what infohelp is going to do...

Please let us know

From: sergeantshultz-ga on 17 Feb 2003 23:05 PST
Getting her favorite stuffed animal or keepsake from various parts of
the globe.

My late father and my mom gave my grampa a stuffed gorilla one
Christmas, well the tag had fell off and they just kept quiet. Every
Christmas and some birthdays after that my grandpa would get a
gorilla. Some were sent in the mail, delivered from far off places.

My dad passed away 5 years ago but occasionally I will go online at
Ebay, find someone from London or Sydney, Australia or even France and
buy their gorilla. I will request that they address it to him and to
leave out my info. Gramps has a bedroom devoted to gorillas, big and
small, ugly and cute. Maybe you could know what your wife loves to
collect, have each guest bring a different but similar piece.

As usual Sgt. Shultz knows... Nuthing!

P.S. If you haven't done the Alaska Inside Passage cruise, especially
on a Princess cruise ship, you're missing out. I had thought do that
with a renewing of your vows by the Captain would definitely be a
surprise. Women like that stuff and would never expect it out of their
husbands. Great time to do it too with all your friends and family
getting together.
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: intotravel-ga on 18 Feb 2003 16:58 PST
You're welcome! And I'm grateful for the appreciation. 

I had another couple of ideas which may be useful to someone,
somewhere (to the people who trawl Google Answers like I do, looking
for tips on such interesting subjects as "how to be invisible").

1.    If you know any designers or illustrators, how about
commissioning some hand-made pictures. Herself with Tina Turner is
perhaps the obvious one (the grammar may be Irish, so please
forgive!).  The picture could be handpainted, or drawn, or
photoshopped; it could be the kind of snapshot you keep in your
wallet, or a birthday card, or an inspirational card with a cute
saying.  Or it could be a pack of such pictures that she could use to
send to friends.

2.   Another idea is to initiate public events around areas of
interest or excitement to your wife. Events where you can both be
involved peripherally; in other words, you get to meet the invited
guests, but don't have the blood, sweat and tears of organizing it
(although organizing can be fun, too, in my experience).
     In terms of your wife's outdoor enthusiasms, this could be
something like inviting the author of a book on mountaineering that
she enjoys to a public forum (for mountaineering people) in Denver, or
an adventure scout for a 'how-to' meet. Or a 'how to overcome
adversity' seminar with Tina Turner, and other well-known people in
your circle of interest (the people you admire and are your reference
points). Any idea can work; it's just a question of deciding on a
target date and selecting a venue, and then everything else comes into
focus around that.

So, thanks again! It was lovely to get a response.
Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: brudenell-ga on 06 Jun 2003 05:29 PDT
So... how did the big birthday go?

Would love to hear what happened.

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: cynthia-ga on 01 Jan 2004 07:11 PST
Please Update!!  What happened?

Subject: Re: Wife's 50th Birthday - Extrordinay Ideas for something really memorable
From: probonopublico-ga on 01 Jan 2004 08:47 PST
Update for Cynthia ...

Well, I for one did not get an invite.

And I was so looking forward to it.


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