Travel Tips for Packing

You’ve researched, you’ve planned and you’ve booked. Now you’re counting down the days till you set off. Just the packing left to do. How well this stage goes will depend on what sort of packer you are. Read on for some tips you may have forgotten or just not seen. #1 Organize your case and compress your clothes at the same time If fitting everything in your suitcase … Continue reading Travel Tips for Packing

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April Showers and Flowers

The month of April is everything we are looking for after the winter. Glorious bursts of colors as flowers gently open to the warm rays of the sun. Travelling can be dull and boring, so brighten the experience by checking out nearby Botanical Gardens Nashville, TN Cheekwood Botanical Garden, not too far from the Scottish Inns Hotel located at 426 Murfreesboro Road, Nashville, TN 37210 Ranked #9 … Continue reading April Showers and Flowers

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November – The Thankful Month

Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Birthdays are all days that are familiar November opportunities for Americans to be Thankful. But November is a special month in many other countries too.   Diwali – India’s Festival of Lights that symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, took place in November this year. Over in the UK November 5th is always a huge celebration with bonfires and fireworks … Continue reading November – The Thankful Month

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It’s Not Too Late to Start A Bucket List . . . .

Is this on your bucket list?
Is this on your bucket list?
When it comes to what’s on a bucket list I would imagine some folks are more adventurous than others; like wanting to sky dive in the Swiss Alps or climb Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the Himalayas, but then again a lot of people just want to go somewhere they’ve never been before. That pretty much sums up my bucket list.

In doing my curating for this blog I happened upon an article by Travel & Leisure about the most visited tourism sites in the world, so I thought I would compare their list of 52 popular tourist sites with my list. Much to my amazement, it appears I’ve done that, been there, a lot!

New York City was ranked #1, and although I did not see Central park (ranked #2), attend a Broadway show or see Times Square; during my two brief trips to the Big Apple I did stretch my neck upward in seeking out as many iconic structures in the New York City skyline as I could. I was in awe of the Twin Towers, Empire State Building and other historic skyscrapers, and well remember the excitement I felt in experiencing such a vibrant city with its crescendo of honking horns and a myriad of voices adding to the overall din. Perhaps not a complete bucket list accomplishment, but close enough. Have you been to NYC?

Photo of Lincoln Memorial - Wikimedia Commons
Photo of Lincoln Memorial – Wikimedia Commons
I missed seeing #3, Washington, D.C.’s Union Station, but was fortunate enough to tour our nations’ capital and visit #30 National Air and Space Museum, #34 Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and #36, the Lincoln Memorial: sites that many, especially Americans, would like to visit. I still get goose bumps, and feel a sense of pride when I think of the history of our country through so many historic buildings and places in Washington, D.C. This a major bucket list must see!
Continue reading “It’s Not Too Late to Start A Bucket List . . . .”

Mad as a March Hare – March Comes in Like a Lion – March Madness

More than likely you have heard of one or more of these phrases as we say goodbye to those wintery days and look forward to Spring.

hareIn the case of Mad as a March hare, it may be a reference to the erratic behavior of animals (or humans) in the month of March . . . what about March, coming in like a Lion and out like a Lamb . . . well, the Rev. Dr. David Q. Hall describes why “March winds are well known” in his blog, The Rev. Dr.s Musings on Nature, Life and Belief.

bbp 1The phrase March Madness actually pertained to the European Hare’s breeding season, but a more current (20th Century) reference is about Basketball. Fact is, March Madness became a nickname for the NCAA Basketball tournaments, which take place in the month of March. The tie in to tourism is simply that the tournaments take place in a variety of cities each March (and often go into early April), thus attracting a great number of basketball fans, supporters, etc. who not only fill sport venue bleachers and seats, but as is the case with out-of-town visitors, require overnight lodging, the requisite number of meals and an assortment of purchases; all which help to beef up the economical windfall for the lucky hosting city(s).

Photo shows Orville Wright in flight
Photo shows Orville Wright in flight
Tourism would be greatly affected today had it not been for the Wright Brothers and the first airplane flight on December 17, 1903 and although it took place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they hailed from Dayton, Ohio, called the birthplace of aviation, and the first stop for the ‘First Four’ at UD Arena in Dayton (March 18-19). Not only will basketball fans be treated to a heart-pounding, foot-stomping start to 2014’s March Madness, but there’s more to Dayton than just the hoops, like the world’s largest and oldest aviation museum, “National Museum of the U.S. Air Force” and the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park.
Continue reading “Mad as a March Hare – March Comes in Like a Lion – March Madness”

The Birdwatcher In Us!

Central Park

"The deceptively cute Gray Jay is one of the most intrepid birds in North America, living in northern forests year-round and rearing chicks in the dark of winter."  www.allaboutbirds.org
“The deceptively cute Gray Jay is one of the most intrepid birds in North America, living in northern forests year-round and rearing chicks in the dark of winter.” http://www.allaboutbirds.org
Let’s face it, there’s a little birdwatcher in all of us. Stop and think for a moment; do you remember when you looked skyward and wondered where that flock of geese was flying to as they headed southward? How about the time you saw birds of a feather swoop from one set of tree tops to another; or watched the antics of a Blue Jay taking possession of its space, or a Mother bird feed her young amid their gaping beaks, twitters and peeps. Yes, you were bird watching!

Mountain Desert Island, Maine - a year-round birding paradise - Wikimedia Commons
Mountain Desert Island, Maine – a year-round birding paradise – Wikimedia Commons
I’ve never actually considered myself a birdwatcher per se, but I do remember quite a few years ago, while touring the Florida Everglades, encountering a group of tourists who were actually on a bird watching tour. They disembarked quietly from their tour bus in single file with binoculars in hand. At first, I couldn’t help wonder what they were doing, but then it was evident as they dispersed and quickly raised their binoculars toward the tree tops. I could barely hear their whispers, but imagined they were pointing out one bird or another. You could see the fascination and quiet excitement on their faces. I watched three or four congregate near some Palmetto’s as they peered around the prickly green pointed Palmetto, and in hushed tones speak of some great feathered find.
Continue reading “The Birdwatcher In Us!”

Holidays: The Name’s the Same!

It appears there are a number of cities and towns in the US with holiday type names, so how about a little trivia where the name is the same when it comes to holidays?

The Star of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is easily visible 20 miles away
The Star of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is easily visible 20 miles away

Probably the most recognized Christmas related town name is Bethlehem, and in the US there are (reportedly) eight to 12. I’ve discovered 9 of them: Bethlehem, CT; Bethlehem, GA; Bethlehem, IN; Bethlehem, KY, Bethlehem, MD; Bethlehem, MS; Bethlehem, NH; Bethlehem, PA; Bethlehem, WV, with Bethlehem, PA being the most prominently known.

It was on Christmas eve in 1741, when a group of Moravians founded the mission community of Bethlehem, which proved to be a town for the future when in 1762 it built the “first-water works in America to pump water for public use.”

After the Civil War Bethlehem became a city, and a center for heavy industry and trade during the industrial revolution, thus Bethlehem Steel Corporation was founded, becoming the 2nd largest steel producer in the US, and was also one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world. Unfortunately they ceased their operations in 1995, after about 140 years of being in business.

Could it be the result of a grand ceremony on December 7, 1937, during the Great Depression, when the wife of Bethlehem Steel Corporation President, Charles F. Brown, flipped on the switch to turn on the new Christmas street lights and a large wooden star [that the city of Bethlehem still beckons visitors]? It was also at this time the Chamber of Commerce adopted the nickname ‘Christmas City, USA’. Today, that wooden star when lit up can be seen as far as Wind Gap, 20 miles away.

Bethlehem is also home to three large universities, including Lehigh University, and Money Magazine listed it at number 88 out of 100 ‘best cities to live’ . . .
Continue reading “Holidays: The Name’s the Same!”