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TRAVELMATE: Cheryl Clear at Battlefield Travel in Culpeper

Travel gets in your blood.

Being a travel agent gets you that much closer to visiting foreign destinations and experiencing the life changing perspective that only leaving your comfort zone allows.

For Cheryl Clear, while she's made Culpeper her home, she's also anchored herself on Davis Street as a business whose business is to get people moving to other places.

A visit to Battlefield Travel is immediately inspiring with posters and brochures of exotic places to discover.

With the uncertainty of the Euro in Europe and unrest in other parts of the world, staying on American soil seems to remain popular with Hawaii and Alaska as places to head as well as the Caribbean.

But within the last few years a favorite haunt of Americans in the 40s and 50s has opened allowing tourists to rediscover a land rich in history, culture, art and nightlife ― Cuba.

Author Ernest Hemingway lived for a time in Cuba and you can visit his home. It is nearly unchanged from when he left in 1960.

Grand Hotels can be found in many major cities and countries throughout the world. Havana's Hotel Nacional de Cuba is no exception. While not every room had someone famous staying inside, many of them did. The rear of the hotel faces the sea.

Traveling to Cuba is not without restriction. Battlefield Travel has partnered with Collette Vacations which has a license issued by the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which authorizes registered guests to legally travel to Cuba and participate in a full schedule of educationally focused activities.

Clear is hoping that Culpeper will be ready for Cuba and has booked space for travel October 14-22, 2012.

A deposit of $250 will hold space with the remaining amount due in mid-August. Total cost of the trip is $3,749 based on double occupancy.

“I'm definitely going,” said Clear with a broad smile. “We're going.”

October will be good weather in Cuba with, hopefully, no hurricanes.

Clear reflects.

“I have a cousin...she's in her 90s now...but she spent part of her college days in Cuba as a young girl in her 20s...I suspect that not a lot has changed.”

While Cuba is a coming attraction in the fall, Clear is preparing for this Sunday's All Things Bridal Show, a debut event sponsored by the Culpeper Wedding Specialists.

As one of the steering members of the group, along with Randy Jones at Randy's Flowers and Peggy Williams at Petersen Jewelers, they are hoping for a large turnout at Tuscany Hall starting around noon. There will be some 30 vendors participating. Gowns and tuxedos will be modeled at 2:30 p.m.

Battlefield Travel has arranged quite a number of destination weddings.

“What's fun is when it's a second marriage and the kids are going along,” said Clear. “The grandparents can babysit!”

According to Clear, it's often less expensive to go away for the wedding itself at a fancy resort on a tropical island.

“Then, you can have a reception when you return.”

Whether it's Cuba or a ceremony by the beach for your wedding, Clear and her staff can facilitate making that happen.

“I bought this business in 2000...right before 9/11...I had to dig out of that to get the business going...but here I am and I love it.”
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