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November 21, 2011

Tips to Avoid Holiday Travel Chaos

Holiday Travel Tips

Ahhh, the holidays are here again! Turkey, Mom's famous sweet potato pie...and chaos at the airport. To ensure your holiday travel experience is as enjoyable as possible, please consider these tips:

Allow for extra time at the airport. Domestic travelers should arrive at the airport 75 minutes prior to departure. International travelers should arrive two hours in advance.

Bring photo identification with you. All passengers age 18 and older must carry government-issued photo identification at all times and may be asked to show identification at check-in, security checkpoints and during boarding.

In cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration, a boarding pass is required to get through security checkpoints. An E-Ticket receipt or itinerary is no longer adequate. To eliminate uncertainty, all passengers should obtain a boarding pass prior to the security checkpoint. All Tips Here.

October 26, 2011

British Columbia, Canada - Hot Spots

Victoria, BC, Canada Parliament Building


Vancouver Island: Cowichan Valley provides a taste of the countryside:

Need incentive to travel? Hand-crafted treats and homegrown flavors are sure to draw you to Vancouver Island’s delectable Saison Market Vineyard, north of Duncan. Thanks to the fine touch of Ingrid Lehwald and Frédéric Desbiens, garden-fresh soups, artisan breads, fruit preserves, savory treats, pastries and baked goods — all fashioned in the market vineyard kitchen — will have you singing their sweet praises each weekend when Saison opens its doors to guests. For flavors steeped in tradition, continue the journey north to the Teafarm. This four-hectare (11-acre) small-scale commercial tea grower — the first in Canada — produces aromatic pours, thanks to a landscape that nurtures a wide variety of herbs and flowers, alongside the tea plant Camellia sinensis. Here, just south of Nanaimo, Victor Vesely and Margit Nellemann produce 23 original hand-blended cups that include the smoky Cowichan Caravan, the revitalizing White Lavender and the earthy Minty Nettle. You can even pull up a pillow in the tasting room to sample the farm’s Chinese Zodiac pours: warm the senses with a steaming mug of lemon balm, rose and chamomile Rabbit Tea (2011’s signature blend), or linger over the calendula flowers and ginger root of the green Dragon Tea, a 2012 brew sure to bring in the new year with a bite. www.saisonmarket.ca; www.teafarm.ca

To read more story ideas from the Vancouver Island region, visit www.hellobc.com/vancouverislandmedia.

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains: Glaciers, Mountains and Airplanes, Oh My!
Sometimes a bird’s eye view offers the very best vantage point. Not to mention a total adrenalin rush. With Squamish’s Glacier Air, you get both, thanks to flightseeing tours that buckle in for high-flying glimpses of glaciers, mountains and forests between Vancouver and Whistler. You could, for example, spend 25 exhilarating minutes high above the Squamish Valley, with unobstructed views of the rainforests, ice falls and glaciers that make up the Tantalus Mountain Range. There’s a 40-minute panoramic tour into Garibaldi Provincial Park — one of BC’s largest — complete with unforgettable glimpses of the mighty Black Tusk and the Mamquam Icefield. To cool the jets, the 50-minute “Olympic” tour of the mountain town of Whistler is a tad bit more sedate, with views of a natural volcanic dam, Cloudburst Mountain, and glimpses of the ski runs on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains that garnered so much gold during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. No matter your choice, you’re in good hands with the pros at Glacier Air; with over 25 years of in-flight experience, these pilots will surely demonstrate that the sky is the limit. www.glacierair.com. To read more story ideas from the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region, visit www.hellobc.com/vcmbcmedia.

For more places to go and things to do in British Columbia, click here.

October 11, 2011

Ohio's Punderson Manor State Park Lodge

Punderson Manor State Park Lodge

A LONG HISTORY OF THRILLING GHOST STORIES

Some people avoid “haunted” hotels and lodges. Others flock to them. Those in the latter category will find esoteric thrills galore at the Punderson Manor State Park Lodge in northeast Ohio’s Punderson State Park. And it doesn’t have to be Halloween, or even a dark and stormy night, to bring on the action.

Some employees have heard the sound of children’s laughter when there are no children around. Fires go out. Pencils fly across a room. Doors open and shut of their own volition. Faucets turn off and on with no one near. Televisions turn on by themselves – or off. Usually at inconvenient times.

It’s enough to make a housekeeper cry, “Stop!” and sometimes these strange occurrences do. For example, guests sometimes hear loud noises coming from rooms next to them, which are in fact unoccupied or, in one case, from the room above (except that guest was on the top floor).  Most of these happenings are just annoying – or entertaining, depending on how open the guest is to experiencing such strange events.

But at least one event was pretty grisly: The specter of a lumberjack was seen hanging from a beam in the lounge for nearly three hours. Many staff members saw it. This was the only really scary event of dozens reported since the elegant 31-room manor opened in northern Ohio in the 1950s.

The land was originally settled by Lemuel Punderson and his wife, Sybal who operated a grist mill and distillery. After their deaths, the family sold it to W.B. Cleveland, whose heirs sold it to Detroit millionaire Karl Long in 1929. FULL REVIEW HERE

October 07, 2011

Top 10 Getaways for Parents without the Kids

Top 10 Getaways Without the Kids

Enjoy a Kid-Free Holiday at a Top 10 Getaway for Parents

As the kids are transitioning back into school mode, call in the grandparents and ask them to baby-sit while you and your significant other take a kid-free vacation.  Of course you love the kids, but sometimes we all need a break from the little rascals. Below are five parent getaways worth checking out over the next few months.

  • Lunenburg, Nova Scotia - In 1995, the old town of Lunenburg on Canada’s east coast was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its survival as a British colonial settlement. This quaint coastal village off Mahone Bay is the perfect place to book a bed-and-breakfast or small cottage and explore the history, do a little kayaking or simply unwind. Let Lunenburg’s small-town charm and the tranquil seaside views win you over. When looking for things to do, visit Bluenose, the world-famous wooden racing schooner, check out the Fisheries Museum and learn about the salty men who navigated the Atlantic, then head over to the Ironworks Distillery for artisan spirit tastings.

  • Portofino, Italy - The words “Italian Riviera” are usually enticing enough to dust off the suitcases, and Portofino is considered to be the most beautiful harbor of them all. What was once a quaint fishing village is now a popular boating and yachting destination. The best place to stay is on a boat, and there are plenty of exquisite restaurants and high-end boutiques that line the harbor. If sleeping on dry land is more your style, travel the sea by water taxi to other towns along the Riviera, including Genoa and San Fruttuoso. And, if you haven’t seen enough breathtaking scenery, head up to Castello Brown to check out the beautiful views and stunning gardens. Full story

October 06, 2011

Find Fall Foliage in Lincoln's Boyhood Home of Indiana

Abe Lincoln's Boyhood Home in Indiana, USA

by Carol Troesch, Spencer County Visitors Bureau


Southern Indiana is known for its rolling hills, endless outdoor recreation, and great family fun, but did you know that it’s also the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln? Because of the area’s mild autumn days and cool evenings, it also produces some of the most striking and vibrant autumn colors, which makes it a great fall destination!

The fall foliage season, when the changing palette of deciduous trees is full of blazing color, is a terrific time to visit places that can offer not only an amazing views, but also allow you to enjoy some relaxing family activities.

Lincoln State Park in Lincoln City, Indiana

Here, you can enjoy the rich colors of fall as you visit the fertile ground of Lincoln’s childhood home at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City. The memorial is located on the site where Lincoln lived with his family from age 7 to 21. The Visitor Center features two Memorial Halls, a museum with a variety of exhibits, and an orientation film. From the Memorial Center, it is a short walk up the Lincoln Boyhood Trail to the gravesite of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, who died of milk sickness in 1818. FULL STORY

September 30, 2011

Where to Find the Best Fall Foliage

Exploring the Shades of Fall

by Suzanne Carmel

When the summer travel season ends and throngs of tourists head back home to work and school, the fall season brings cool, crisp weather, vibrant colors and an easy pace in which to explore the landscape. As autumn leaves change color, hikers, bikers and road trippers come outdoors to welcome the new season.

There are many wonderful places across the United States where September and October usher in shades of red, yellow and orange; magically transforming vistas already breathtakingly beautiful. During fall, every twist on a path or road brings a new surprise, as the possibilities in these five states illustrate.

Photo ©Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

Massachusetts

The best time to experience fall in this East Coast state is from the middle of September to the end of October. State foresters issue fall foliage reports in the morning three times a week so you're sure to have the inside scoop on where to see the best hues. The state tourist office offers tips such as visiting mid week or exploring back roads to enjoy the season leisurely. Locals and visitors alike enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing — even tramping through a pumpkin patch to find the perfect one.

Consider driving down roads in Cape Cod, the Berkshires, and on the Mohawk Trail — one of the most traveled fall foliage routes. Historic small villages, bucolic farms, seaside towns and rolling countryside are all awaiting your visit.

Full story

September 29, 2011

Where to Find the Best Fall Foliage

Exploring the Shades of Fall

by Suzanne Carmel

When the summer travel season ends and throngs of tourists head back home to work and school, the fall season brings cool, crisp weather, vibrant colors and an easy pace in which to explore the landscape. As autumn leaves change color, hikers, bikers and road trippers come outdoors to welcome the new season.

There are many wonderful places across the United States where September and October usher in shades of red, yellow and orange; magically transforming vistas already breathtakingly beautiful. During fall, every twist on a path or road brings a new surprise, as the possibilities in these five states illustrate.

Photo ©Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

Massachusetts

The best time to experience fall in this East Coast state is from the middle of September to the end of October. State foresters issue fall foliage reports in the morning three times a week so you're sure to have the inside scoop on where to see the best hues. The state tourist office offers tips such as visiting mid week or exploring back roads to enjoy the season leisurely. Locals and visitors alike enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing — even tramping through a pumpkin patch to find the perfect one.

Consider driving down roads in Cape Cod, the Berkshires, and on the Mohawk Trail — one of the most traveled fall foliage routes. Historic small villages, bucolic farms, seaside towns and rolling countryside are all awaiting your visit.

Full story

September 26, 2011

Take Time for Yourself with a Dude - At a Dude Ranch

Best Guest Ranch Vacations for Women

A Directory to the Finest Dude Ranches for Women by Patti Schmidt

The Homestead Ranch
Matfield Green, Kansas
Prairie Women Adventures and Retreat
[read our story about The Homestead Ranch]

The Homestead Ranch is a 4,000-acre working cattle ranch in the Kansas Flint Hills. Wildlife is abundant and Native American arrowheads and tools still crop up in pastures and creekbeds after spring rains. Owner Jane Koger, a fourth-generation rancher, and her mostly women ranch crews have been handling things for 20 years. William Least Heat Moon wrote about Jane and the others in Chase County in his book PrairyErth, the American Library Association's Best Work of Nonfiction for 1991. The county is the geographical center of the U.S.

Programs: Prairie Women Adventures and Retreat offers several programs: two three-day Prairie Ecology programs, which focus on the ecology and use of native prairie plants and four horseback riding programs, for those who want "just a little more time with the horses"; one branding vacation, where guests will help inoculate, brand, and band (turn bull calves into steers) them; and one pasture-burning program each spring. Program manager Ginifer Maceau stressed that this ranch does things "the preferred Humane Society way; for example, we freeze brand rather than hot-iron brand." She believes women are a lot more comfortable with that.

Amenities: Guests reside in a modern bunkhouse: up to two in the one private bedroom; the other 10 guests sleep dormitory style in the bunkhouse, which is heated, air-conditioned, and includes a hot tub on the deck. All meals are provided; the afternoon I spoke with Maceau, they were having teriyaki beef kabobs, rice pilaf, salad, fresh bread and lemonade pie with strawberries.

For more information: contact Prairie Women Adventures and Retreat / The Homestead Ranch Guest Programs at (620) 753-3416.
Website: http://www.guestranches.com/homestead
Email: ginifer@wheatstate.com

Wilderness Trails Dude Ranch
Durango, Colo.
Women's Week

The San Juan Mountains and the Los Pinos Valley lend this 160-acre ranch beauty; it also shares a fence line with the Piedra Wilderness Study Area. The Roberts family-Gene, Jan, Randy, Lance, and Erika, who have owned it since 1970- are responsible for its designation in Gene Kilgore 's Ranch Vacations as "one of the finest ranch vacation experiences in the country." At times of the year other than Women's Week, especially in summer, families provide this ranch about 95 percent of its often repeat customers.

FULL ARTICLE

September 23, 2011

Top 10 World Road Trip Destinations

Top 10 Road Trip Destinations Around the World

There’s something about hitting the road that makes travel come alive, especially when the drive is through some of the world’s most scenic roadways and locales. Here are our choices of the best destinations for exploring by car. Our Top 10 Road Trips Worldwide highlights the best of the best for ambling by car - whether it’s stopping to taste wine at vineyards in New Zealand or to pitch a tent in Alberta’s Banff National Park.

Road tripping empowers you as a traveler with the flexibility to route – and re-route – your itinerary at any time. Whether traveling with the family, with a group of friends or with your partner, there’s no better way to discover new cultures, see great sites or navigate an unknown terrain than by car.

  • Pacific Coast Highway, California, U.S. - There’s no better vantage point for spectacular views of the Pacific than from California’s Pacific Coast Highway. Start your drive in sunny Los Angeles and, after dipping your toes in the waves at Malibu’s highfalutin beaches, point your car due north – well, nearly – to San Francisco. Stop in coastal towns like Santa Barbara and Monterey, or wherever you feel like pulling off. The absolute must-see is Big Sur. Situated roughly 150 miles south of San Francisco, the cluster of seaside national parks offers wonderful options – camping, hiking and surfing – for even the hardest-to-please adventure travelers.
  • Provence, France - Wine lovers, art lovers, food lovers – heck, even lavender lovers – love Provence. From Paris, take a train to Avignon – there, visit the Papal Palace and grab a chèvre chaud salad al fresco – before renting a car and touring the back roads of a region that astonishingly resembles works by Monet. Drive between Montpellier, Salon-de-Provence and Arles, and stop for exquisite wines (the region produces the best rosé in the world) and light fare. Stock up on satchels full of lavender – wonderful souvenirs for friends back home – and shop for antiques among endless fields of sunflowers, lavender and grapes. Full story

August 26, 2011

Where to Find the Best Fall Foliage

Exploring the Shades of Fall

by Suzanne Carmel

When the summer travel season ends and throngs of tourists head back home to work and school, the fall season brings cool, crisp weather, vibrant colors and an easy pace in which to explore the landscape. As autumn leaves change color, hikers, bikers and road trippers come outdoors to welcome the new season.

There are many wonderful places across the United States where September and October usher in shades of red, yellow and orange; magically transforming vistas already breathtakingly beautiful. During fall, every twist on a path or road brings a new surprise, as the possibilities in these five states illustrate.

Massachusetts

The best time to experience fall in this East Coast state is from the middle of September to the end of October. State foresters issue fall foliage reports in the morning three times a week so you're sure to have the inside scoop on where to see the best hues. The state tourist office offers tips such as visiting mid week or exploring back roads to enjoy the season leisurely. Locals and visitors alike enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing — even tramping through a pumpkin patch to find the perfect one. Read Full Article