Finding Relaxation in the Most Remote Locations of All

 

 

Finding Relaxation in the Most Remote Locations of All

by Amy Lignor

 

It is a fact that the largest travel locations are also beyond popular. Among the downsides of this fact is that when you’re looking for peace, quiet, and basically a chance to do nothing more than spend time with yourself and, perhaps, one other best friend, the most popular places don’t offer that. In other words, it is the most remote (sometimes most beautiful) spots out there that you want to visit. If so, here are just a few that are there for the taking:

Deception Island, Easter Island, Heavenly Lake, Lake Baikal, Perth, Kauai, peace & quiet, vacation, remote

Located north of the Antarctic Peninsula lies an island that may surprise you. It should, considering the name: Deception Island. With a protected interior port, the island is actually the partially submerged caldera of an active volcano. Oddly enough, even though that’s the case, it has provided nothing but peace – a safe harbor for sailors and otherwise. In addition, because of the geothermally-heated water, it is literally only one of the very few places in Antarctica where it’s warm enough to go swimming.

 

Another island that is great fun, as well as being remote, does have many travelers showing up to view a massive attraction. However, Easter Island in Chile, despite the giant moai monoliths, is incredibly remote and will provide you with solo quiet time. Protected by the organization UNESCO, you can camp as well as stargaze, hike and bike. You can also enjoy the caves on Easter Island that are truly too stunning to miss.

 

Speaking of stunning, in China you can visit a remote area called “Heavenly Lake.” Although where it sits, Urumqi, is a commercial hub, the actual locale is highly remote, located over 1,500 miles away from the nearest coastline. Oddly enough, this location also looks more like it should be in Switzerland atop the Alps and not in Asia. Snow-capped mountains are all around you and everything from horseback riding to hiking and relaxing beside the turquoise-colored lake is there to choose from. Talk about “heavenly.”

Lake Baikal

For those into spending their quiet time birdwatching or exploring a plethora of plant species, Lake Baikal, Russia, is a remote location to choose. Immense, this area is surrounded by mountains, wild rivers and forests; the lake, itself, is the world’s oldest (approximately 25m years) and deepest freshwater lake in existence – containing more water than all the Great Lakes combined. Because of this, visitors can view more than 2,000 species of plants and animals – 75% of which cannot be found anywhere else in the entire world.

 

If looking for a remote locale and lean towards having an affinity for Crocodile Dundee’s accent, head to Perth, Australia. You may shake your head at this suggestion, seeing as that with over two million citizens it seems to be as remote as New York City, itself. It is actually a fact, though, that Perth offers up some of the most quiet, peaceful locations available on the map. The most isolated city in Australia, it is located almost 4,000 km from the capital of Sydney by road, and is filled with pristine parks, the nearby bush, ocean beaches, and more.

 

Last, but not least, if wishing to stay (or travel to) America for your peace and quiet, Kauai is one of the most remote and coolest locations available to visit. It may even seem “remotely familiar” to you, considering this is the place that served as a backdrop in famous films, like “Jurassic Park.” New routes are being created all the time throughout the island. There is even now a trail that leads visitors through North America’s largest mahogany forest. You can include this with all the other unforgettable views, including the towering Na Pali Coast sea cliffs, cascading waterfalls, Waimea Canyon, and truly off-beaten treks that lead through the lush landscapes of this true Hawaiian beauty.

 

Enjoy the “remote” lifestyle while gaining the epitome of rest and relaxation.

 

Source:  Baret News

 

Adventure Trips That “Erupt” with Excitement

 

Adventure Trips That “Erupt” with Excitement

by Amy Lignor

 

This is one of those articles for that ‘Indiana Jones’ breed out there who wants nothing but excitement, adventure and a bit of living-on-the-edge when it comes to where they wish to spend their summer vacation. Yes, there are those groups of travelers out there that find nothing cooler than heading to the hottest places in the world that could literally erupt at any moment. Or visiting those exotic locations that include jungles, mountains, glaciers and more, where perhaps undiscovered species roam. Well…today we are putting together that list of places to go that literally dwell in the shadow of a volcano. Although they haven’t actually ‘spewed’ anything lately, the potential of danger is there, which makes for a truly captivating trip.

Volcanos

Mount Arenal

We begin with one of the biggest attractions in South America. Mount Arenal in Costa Rica was actually known to regularly spew forth everything from ash to lava. But since 2010, this has calmed down a bit and the area offers everything from lush rainforests to rapid waters and real-life bridges that dangle over hot springs far below. Indiana Jones would love this kind of stuff, as he got in that raft with his oars or rappelled from trees or even sat with some howler monkeys, while always in the shadow of a volcano that is always on the verge of coming alive.

 

When it comes to trips that involve seeing the most amazing wildlife there is, the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador are the place to visit. What people may not know, however, is the fact that nine active volcanoes are also there (yes, I said active) and are always creating brand new landscape that is home to a brand new variety of flora and fauna. You want to learn about evolution at the very center of it all? Then head here and have a ball.

 

Heading from blistering hot to horrendously cold, Eyjafallajökull, Iceland (say that five times fast) is resting in a peaceful slumber after causing absolute chaos back in April of 2010. This is a place made for the Indiana Jones junkie out there who can choose to explore the glacier by jeep or helicopter. But for those really intense vacationers who want to see up close the extreme differences between fire and ice landscapes, you can hike to the summit on foot…if you dare.

 

The highest and most scenic mountain in Japan is Mount Fuji. Oddly enough, even though this particular volcano has not blown its top since 1708, it is still in the active category. Steam can be seen escaping those craters and vents, and gosh knows it’s been waiting a long time to rear its ugly head once again. But that does not stop tourists from ascending to the summit.

 

If wanting to hear a little Australian accent during your vacation, Tongariro National Park located in New Zealand lies within the Taupo Volcanic Zone. AKA: the southern tip of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Talk about stunning! Lakes that literally look emerald are towered over by several active volcanoes, including Ruapehu which starred in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) and last announced its presence in 2007. The region is constantly monitored, but everything from hiking trails to ski resorts are constantly packed by those danger-loving tourists.

 

Saving the best for last, Mount Vesuvius in Italy allows for that true adventurer and lover of history and all things ancient to have the most stunning and memorable trip humanly possible. What became and still remains to this day the most infamous eruption ever seen by mankind, it was Mount Vesuvius that, in 79AD, destroyed and decimated the people of Pompeii and Herculaneum in an explosion that was a hundred thousand times the thermal energy of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Burying these towns for centuries, when they were rediscovered and excavated ancient history of elite proportions was opened for the world to see. Will Mount V. be the one to once again make horrible history by producing yet another catastrophic event? Who knows? But the smoke and steam continues to rise, offering a menacing view. Yet this is one location people will not stay away from.

 

So have fun. Get the adrenaline pumping, take breathtaking pictures, co-exist with flora and fauna that the eye may never see again and…bring your best running shoes, just in case.

 

Source:  Baret News

Swimming Holes Ain’t What They Used to Be. They’re Better!

 
Swimming Holes Ain’t What They Used to Be. They’re Better!

by Amy Lignor

 

Oh, come now, you remember back when… The excitement that school was finally over for the year and you were getting that two month reprieve to go and have some fun, leaving those “books and teachers’ dirty looks” behind. Perhaps down the road in your small town there was a swimming hole where you would all gather. The tire swing hung from that old oak limb that looked as if it would break, even though it had held up under all kinds of weather for hundreds of years. Maybe you lived in a city and you longed for a swimming hole, but the only thing available was the community pool. It was okay but, let’s face it, it was confining and every time you wanted to go with you and your friends there were always a million others who had the same idea to do it before you got there.

 

You may not be aware of the numerous swimming holes just waiting to be explored, dotting the landscape of states that would make perfect vacation spots for you and the family this summer. There are always reports in regards to the ‘best of the best’ swimming holes out there, but let’s take a look at some true ‘paradises on earth’ that will give you the swimming, scuba diving, or snorkeling opportunity you just can’t find anywhere else.

Paradise, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, Havasu Falls, Homestead Crater, Devil’s Den, Dorset Quarry,

Havasu Falls Photo Credit: Andy Withers

It seems intelligent that one of the hottest states on the map provides one of the most amazing swimming holes in the world. In Arizona, Havasu Falls in located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. We are talking here about one of the most stunning waterfalls imaginable. Located in the Grand Canyon, it is a perfect spot for those who like to swim as well as trek. You see, in order to get to this breathtaking location, you must first hike ten miles. If you are a hiker or an adventurer, you can take this trek with a friend. If not, you can book a guided tour that will have an expert take you to the Falls. But book soon. This is one place, being that it is on the reservation, that you need a permit to see. And as more and more hear about this spot, less and less trips are available to book.

 

In the state of Utah people can enjoy one of the most amazing natural wonders of the world. Not only do visitors see it as a swimming hole, but it is also the only warm scuba diving destination in the continental U.S. People come from everywhere across the country to swim or snorkel in the 96-degree water. Hidden under a rock dome, with an opening at the top that allows for both sunlight and air, lies the Homestead Crater. At one time people would have to rappel down into the dome to enjoy the beauty inside. Now, of course, there is easy access through a side tunnel made for visitors who are craving to jump in to that mineral spring water just waiting to relax the bones.

 

Speaking of both swimming and scuba diving, Devil’s Den in the Sunshine State is an amazing place that will literally bring you back in time. Although the name seems a bit scary, all Floridians will tell you that the reason for this is actually very benign. The Den earned its name from the steam that rises up from the surface of the water, stemming from the underground spring that holds the water to 72-degrees at all times – even when the winter winds may be blowing. This spring calls out to snorkelers, offering gear to rent. And when it comes to history, artifacts as well as extinct animal fossils dating all the way back to the Pleistocene Age have been found inside Devil’s Den. But don’t worry, there’s no possibility that a dinosaur will raise its head out of that water…we assume.

 

The East Coast is home to one of the most amazing and, again, historical swimming spots you can possibly imagine. Called Dorset Quarry in the state of Vermont, just looking at pictures of this place on a computer will have your eyes grow wide. A marble quarry 6-feet deep, the smooth rock areas allow you a place to sit and watch the sun’s rays bring out the multitude of colors in the marble, or even give you the perfect place to jump from…into the water below, of course. This location is huge. Thirty yards across and approximately 125 yards long, the quarry allows swimmers the ultimate spot to have a good time while cooling off in the summer. A popular swimming hole since the 1920s, you do not want to miss this!

 

There are many to choose from spanning the Continental U.S. and going all the way to China. It all depends on just how far you’re willing to travel to experience that ultimate swimming hole.

 

Source:  Baret News

“Go Big! Go Six Flags!”

 

“Go Big! Go Six Flags!”

by Amy Lignor

 

That is the beloved motto of the company that provides the ultimate in entertainment and fun. Summer is here. School is already dismissed in many states which means Six Flags Parks are gearing up to provide you and your family with the best summer trips, daily visits, and all-out massive family vacation destinations.

 multi-dimensional virtual roller coaster

Photo Credit: Rebecca Chatfield

The Six Flags Entertainment Corporation has been thrilling people for over 56 years. They are the world’s largest regional theme park company with parks open all across North America. Taking in $1.3 billion in revenue, Six Flags has provided and continues to provide new and thrilling world-class roller coasters, water parks, the most unique attractions you could hope for, and even movie-themed rides.

 

And this is not all about the family. Six Flags offers discounts for entire companies to bring their staff to the park in order to reward hard work or simply to motivate a team. Youth groups, associations, religious organizations – you name it, Six Flags works hard to make sure that no matter who you’re tagging along with, that you have the absolute time of your lives. They also will provide you with special pricing, catering packages, parking for buses and even free admission for bus drivers.

 

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation focused on building a brand new assortment of innovative rides for the 2017 season, including diving into Warner Brothers and DC Comics branded attractions. In addition, the company is opening a brand new water park in Mexico called, Hurricane Harbor Oaxtepec Mexico, adding yet another amazing location to its already extensive family.

 

At Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Great Adventure, and Six Flags Over Georgia, the award-winning JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis is a ride taking the world by storm. A multi-sensory “dark ride” featuring some of the most sophisticated technology available, guests are immersed in a video gaming world. Becoming members of the actual JUSTICE LEAGUE Reserve Team, people battle alongside their favorites: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Flash. Not only are they with their beloved superheroes, but they battle the worst of the worst (Lex Luthor, The Joker, et. Al.)

 

When it comes to Six Flags Over Texas, Six Flags Great America, and Six Flags New England:

THE JOKER rollercoaster is the biggest and most amazing in the world. THE JOKER lifts riders straight up a 12-story, 90-degree hill where they then flip head-over-heels at least six times. Unexpected drops, tumbling from one level to the next, sitting in wing seats that show the rider absolutely no track either above or below them makes for a thrilling and unforgettable experience.

 

Seeing as that it will be the biggest summer movie in 2017, it is no surprise that this mighty heroine gets her just reward at Six Flags America. WONDER WOMAN Lasso of Truth is what you would call the ultimate swing ride, spinning thrill seekers in a 98-foot circle at speeds of 40 miles per hour atop a 24-story tower.

 

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in the huge Six Flags family this year, Six Flags Fiesta Texas opens the very first rocket blast water-coaster in North America. Called Thunder Rapids, this state of the art ride is a coaster/water slide, featuring a custom-designed inline raft and new water jet propulsion technology for lightning-fast uphill speeds and drops. The entire structure is 942-feet long!

If heading to Six Flags St. Louis, a high-flying attraction called Spinsanity is new for 2017. A completely new technological and creative masterpiece, this massive disc spins first one direction and then another, while also swinging from side-to-side. Forty guests perch on motorcycle-style seats facing outward as the disc flies along a 51-foot high halfpipe track while whirling around at 14 revolutions per minute.

 

At Six Flags Mexico, North America’s very first fully-integrated Virtual Reality roller coaster will debut called The New Revolution. Riders wear Samsung Gear VR headsets in order to experience a multi-dimensional virtual roller coaster. Talk about unique and innovative, hi-def imagery storytelling with the unique track configuration of the Medusa Steel Coaster combine to create a one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen thrill ride that seamlessly allows the rider to cross from real world into virtual world and back again.

Six Flags Parks, family vacation, destination, summer, world-class roller coasters, unique attractions, WONDER WOMAN, THE JOKER

From events to celebrations to food fests, there is even more when it comes to the Six Flags creativity for 2017, so head to www.sixflags.com to check out all these amazing and stunning things to do this summer. It is most definitely time to book those tickets and “Go Big!”

 

Source:  Baret News

Once Upon a Time Vacations

 

Once Upon a Time Vacations

by Amy Lignor

 

Whether you are a lover of history or you simply have the “Beauty & the Beast” obsession – which, according to movie revenue data, millions all over the world are suffering from – just think how amazing it would be to stay in an actual castle. We already know what the beauty would be from the female perspective, but when it comes to the gentlemen out there, just think about how much better that “moment” on bended knee would be if you popped the question in a very real castle.

 

There are once in a lifetime vacations. However, here we delve into those “Once Upon A Time” trips that include a stay in some of the most elegant homes ever built; homes of royals and historical heroes and heroines that will have you impressing that girl you love, or giving that history-loving mind of yours an unforgettable gift.

 

When you talk about castles, Europe is the hands-down winner of the oldest and most highly esteemed palaces ever built. Not a surprise, considering you are talking about countries ruled by kings and queens who erected walled cities and grand battlements to be able to withstand centuries of war.

Balfour Castle

BALFOUR CASTLE  Photo Credit: Stephen McKay

Talk about a rich history. We begin at Balfour Castle in Scotland, which is the most northerly castle in the world where you and yours can stay. 5-Star luxury is an understatement. At Balfour, you will be amongst some of the most impressive wilderness as you dwell in the castle on the small island of Shapinsay, which is quite famous for its sheltered bays that once provided safety to Viking ships.

 

If wishing to head to Italy for the amazing culture and even more amazing food, you can stay in Castel Relais Porrona, which is a 12th century castle located in the midst of olive trees and vineyards in Tuscany. From saunas to pools to horseback riding, this is one palace that is beyond compare.

 

Built almost 1000 years ago, situated just 60 miles from London, Amberley Castle can be found. This is one choice that will live in your memory for all time because of the fact that the castle has maintained its original medieval architecture. Each of the 19 rooms available feature whirlpool baths and other modern-day amenities, of course; yet the gardens, walls and magnificent twin-tower gatehouse still stand and add to the beauty of a world that has not existed for quite some time.

 

If France is the country of choice, the luxurious Chateau de Bourron can be found just an hour’s ride from the heart of Paris. Built in the traditional brick and stone style, this fortress was constructed in the early 17th century and even has the spring-fed moats to add to the perfect picture of what a castle should be.

 

If looking for a Spanish experience, Pousada de Óbidos is the place to visit in Portugal.

The actual city of Óbidos is walled; the castle, itself, was begun in 718 AD and not completed until the mid-1300’s. This is where the troops that defeated Napoleon for the first time were dispatched from – which feeds into that historical mind of yours. And when it comes to irresistible beauty, Pousada de Óbidos is close by the white-sand beaches and the pristine waters of the Silver Coast. From hot air balloon rides to sailing, this is one castle adventure that should not be missed.

 

The architecture in India is breathtaking, and the Neemrana Fort Palace near Delhi is one that steals the show. It was back in 1464 that the palace was constructed on a hillside by order of the king, so that he could see his lands at any time he wished to view them. Seven palace wings built over 14 layers make up the tiers of the hill, making this one of the most unique castles in the entire world.

 

And there is no other way to complete a list of the best castles other than with Ireland and the beautiful Ashford Castle. This is literally the oldest Irish castle in existence. Medieval, Ashford was constructed in 1228, and the Guinness family (who purchased Ashford in the 1800’s) added to the property, yet did not disturb the natural beauty that made up the castle in the first place. A true recipe of the ‘old’ (ramparts, chandeliers, medieval armor) mixed with the ‘new’ (spas, horseback riding, golf courses, and more), this Irish castle is most definitely one that will take your breath away.

 

So…ready for a historical walk through a royal world? Ready for the perfect spot to propose? Or are you simply ready for your own chance to have a true castle-in-the-air experience? Then check out these stunners as you move forward to book a magical vacation.

Source:  Baret News

It’s Time to Travel to These Wonders of the World that May Soon Disappear

 

It’s Time to Travel to These Wonders of the World that May Soon Disappear

by Amy Lignor

 

When it comes to travel, there are many locations you and your family should take the chance to see. However, there are also a few that should be seen now, before they become listed among the “missing” Wonders of the World. It is a fact, no matter how you look at life, that the Earth is in danger when it comes to global warming, air pollution, rising sea levels, deforestation and a list of other environmental and ecological problems. Whether by human hands or simply the changes Mother Nature has decided upon, the landscape is being altered, causing one-of-a-kind areas to slowly disappear.

jungles, rainforests, Alaska, Tuvalu, Antarctica, Venice, Italy, Disneyworld, Glacier National Park

So as you sit down and begin researching that next big family trip, take a look at these areas that provide excellent guides, adventure, fun, and create memories that will last – even if the areas themselves do not.

 

A good place to start is Alaska. Falling under the already sparse category of “unique,” this state experienced output from several Canadian copper and gold mines, posing a hazard to Alaska’s major salmon rivers. Now is the perfect time to book a true, authentic Alaskan fishing lodge where you and other passionate anglers can cast for Pacific salmon, char, and more. In addition, with animal and plant species facing extinction as they lose their natural habitats, heading to Alaska and viewing the wildlife makes for a great time.

 

Along the same lines, with jungles and rainforests shrinking because of oil drilling, logging, mining, etc., taking a trip to the country of Rwanda would be a jaw-dropping experience you’ll never forget. Here, you can encounter some of the last remaining mountain gorillas, as well as golden monkeys and chimpanzees. Studies have been released showing that 60 percent of primate species are threatened with extinction, which means now is the time to soak in a Rwanda experience with some of the best guides in the business.

 

A very remote location that’s not appearing on vacation “bucket lists,” considering that only about 1,000 tourists visit here per year* (*UN data), Tuvalu in the South Pacific is perhaps the one true paradise still on Earth that should be seen. With stunning beaches, brilliant blue waters and colorful lagoons, this little nation is sinking into those rising waters at a rate of 0.2 inches per year. Seeing as that Tuvalu lies just 6.6 feet above sea level, taking pictures of those lagoons, enjoying the culture and cuisine, and walking those beaches are a must.

 

Along the same path as Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands are also being “drowned” by rising sea levels, with five of the islands already gone from view. Stunning villages have had to be relocated because of erosion on other islands, so if looking to capture that cultural experience while relishing in secluded bays and snorkeling in coral reefs, the Solomon Islands are your top choice.

Solomon Islands

Although most people want only those relaxing, warm beaches in the summertime, there are those (believe it or not) who love to partake in more adventurous pursuits. If you rate in this category, than it’s time to head to Antarctica. With the major ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula breaking, retreating or losing volume over the past decades, exploring the peninsula is definitely something you’ll never forget. From snowshoeing to mountaineering to kayaking and camping, an Antarctic excursion offers it all.

 

Greenland, as well, is suffering from its melting ice sheet. This is a country that actually logged its highest average summer temperature on record just last year. If looking for a phenomenal adventure that includes seeing those Arctic landscapes, Greenland is the perfect location. But if looking for a trip closer to home, head to Glacier National Park in Montana. If you are unaware, this is one of the most popular spots in all of the U.S. Unfortunately, those increasing numbers of visitors come from the fact that people are attempting to get a last look at the once giant glaciers that originally shaped the park. At one time this was home to approximately 150 glaciers but is now down to 25. Some scientists call for their complete disappearance by 2030, but other estimates call for the demise to be sooner than that.

 

Although there are a slew of others to be seen, one that must be mentioned is not only one of the most beautiful places on Earth but is also one of the most romantic cities and has been utilized in films galore, and been written about in tons of books. It is Venice, Italy: The city where you can take that authentic gondola ride down the canal and view the hundreds of bridges, stunning waterways and amazing architecture. Yes, Venice has been sinking for centuries, but scientific evidence has suggested that the process is speeding up, causing the one-of-a-kind city to sink almost five times faster.

 

Knowing this information, when booking your next vacation try to remember odds are positive places like Disneyworld will be around for a long time to come, but there are others out there that are just too fantastic to risk missing.

 

Source:  Baret News

Traveling to the “Stars”

 

Traveling to the “Stars”

by Amy Lignor

 

Astronomy can be daunting if you’re just starting out. After all, there’s a whole universe out there to see. The best way to begin, however, is not by investing in those expensive telescopes. Instead, simply travel to the most amazing areas in all of America and start…looking up. There, in the night sky, you will see the most incredible sights as you gaze at constellations, shooting stars, and basically relax and enjoy while being surrounded by a world that not even the master painters could recreate on canvas.

Astronomy, night sky, Joshua Tree National Park, Cherry Springs State Park, Big Bend National Park, Badlands, White Tank Mountain Regional Park, myriad of colors, brilliant skies

There is an unforgettable place located in California where surreal and unique sights await. Binoculars are a must for this one, because you will not want to miss a second of the brilliant skies that shroud Joshua Tree National Park. At the Jumbo Rocks Campground, you are talking about the sun setting on an absolutely pollution-free area that holds a fascinating menu of plants and animals that you most likely have never seen before.

 

The geologic features, the culture, the history – this is one area to stargaze that will be locked in your memory for all time. It is the Colorado Desert that makes up the most eastern part of the park and meets up with the slightly cooler Mojave Desert on the western side – the side that plays home to the Joshua tree. And by pitching your tent among the park’s giant granite rock formations, you find yourself 1,000 feet higher than some of the other park’s sights and sounds where you will literally watch in awe as the Southern California sky lights up in a myriad of colors.

 

Only a short hop away is Phoenix, Arizona, which is ideal for seeing those stars. You are offered places such as, White Tank Mountain Regional Park, where the skies offer stellar views of planets, star clusters and galaxies; as well as Tempe Town Lake, where you can actually be a part of a glow-in-the-dark paddling event.

 

Heading higher up into the atmosphere, Badlands National Park in South Dakota offers an incredible nighttime sky. So brilliant, in fact, that “sky viewing” is offered Friday through Monday nights. And after the ranger program is over, you can continue to stay and be impressed by the striking views that more than 7,500 stars provide. Telescopes are on-site and the campground there is actually created with 96 level campsites, where you are given an extraordinary spot to get what feels like an up-close and personal view of the Milky Way, itself.

 

And for even more depth and clarity of the Milky Way, head to the Lone Star State. Big Bend National Park in the great state of Texas boasts the least light pollution of any other National Park unit in the lower 48. There are no towns, no dwellings – nothing casts light upon that world other than the stars themselves.

 

Not to leave out the East Coast here, in the state of Pennsylvania, one of the greatest and most talked about places for stargazing is at Cherry Springs State Park. Named for its numerous stands of black cherry trees, this park is remote, wild and sits atop a mountain where it truly feels like you can touch the stars as well as see them in all their glory. This location is so incredible that they even offer a facet of the Stars-N-Parks Program for stargazing enthusiasts. The magnificent night sky at Cherry Springs can also be viewed at the Night Sky Viewing area located north of Rt. 44 (opposite the gated Astronomy Observation Field). Public parking lots are located here along with several information kiosks about the area. Visitors can either camp or simply follow the walkways, sit on the benches and gape at the stunning night sky that’s decorated with everything you can think of, including “falling stars” that make the sky look like a glittering oasis. Here, your vacation will be more than fun…it will be magical.

 

From Utah to the City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico, stargazing trips can be had no matter where you live or where you wish to visit. Mother’s Day is coming. Summer is around the bend. Perhaps you can bring the ones you truly love to get a glimpse of these breathtaking places where they can literally reach for the stars!

Source:  Baret News

Hidden Adventures for the Budget Conscious

 

Hidden Adventures for the Budget Conscious

by Amy Lignor

 

It is a fact: There is never any money for travel. We all have those bills that just keep coming. In fact, there are some months it seems like they are coming even faster than the month before. But everyone – every person, every family, every parent – wants to go on vacation, They want – actually, they need – to get away from it all for a while and have a little fun in order to http://cmscommander.com/wp-content/uploads/tom671/2017/glacier-national-park-montana-near-iceberg-lake.jpgcut down on the anxiety and celebrate life for a time. So…what to do? Well…there are places in the U.S. that were strictly put in the U.S. for the budget conscious traveler. They are not only stunning places to visit, but they are also free. Why, you ask? Because we are talking about the conglomeration of U.S. National Parks that are out there and all the unique, FREE activities and events they have to offer.

This is not just about walking trails, by the way. Take for instance Katmai National Park in the stunning vista of Alaska. Here, there is a population of 2,000+ grizzly bears, and at the National Park, you can delve into bear-watching that is truly cool. There is an area called Brooks Camp that gives you and the family the perfect “perch” where you can safely watch these bears fish, have fun and more, with peak viewing times being in July and September.

 

If heading East, you and the family will love the EarthCache Hunt held in Acadia National Park located in the state of Maine. A very cool “hunt” that offers people hidden clues that actually teach everyone about the amazing surroundings. For four to six hours families can search for the “cache” and have a great time!

 

Now many people head to the Great Smoky Mountains already, but you should be made aware of the fact that at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the fireflies put on an amazing show for visitors. Even Walt Disney couldn’t make something like this synchronized light show that occurs for roughly two weeks in late May to mid-June.

 

California’s Death Valley National Park is extremely awesome for those who are into the “dino” craze. Paleontology tours led by experienced rangers are offered to the visitors, providing them with a tour of fossilized animal tracks in parts of the Park that are usually off-limits. This is one of those activities for real hikers or those who love to exercise, seeing as that it is a seven mile round trip hike that includes new canyons to explore, moonlit sand dunes and so much more.

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For a shorter hike, head to Big Bend National Park in Texas. Here, next to the Rio Grande, you can relax in hot springs, with dissolved mineral salts in the water that, according to many, have healing powers. Visitors can take a jaunt in the 105-degree pool in the foundation of an old bathhouse on the north bank of the Rio Grande, enjoy the scenery, and even walk Hot Springs Road which leads straight to the Hot Springs Historic District.

 

As a person who dwells in this stunning state, I can vouch for the coolness of Carlsbad Caverns State Park in New Mexico. On summer nights visitors are mesmerized by the thousands of bats that take to the sky. (Vampire lovers, this is the place for you!)

 

In Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, you and the family can head out with a ranger for a three-hour tour. Not like Gilligan’s Island, however; you will return from this tour. But only after seeing stunning landscape as well as a slew of wildlife. Ten cars are allowed at one time and is offered on a daily basis in September.

 

Last, but not least, if you want the water, a true “quest” can be had in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the state of Ohio. Starting in April and ending in November, you take this canal quest that allows you to follow rhyming clues that will lead you to a hidden box. Each and every “quest” is designed to help you learn about and admire the natural and cultural gems of the Canalway, with each treasure hunt being unique and telling its own story of a particular spot located along the canals.

 

So when looking at the bills and shaking your head wondering HOW you’re going to be able to at least take a break for a while, think long and hard about heading to one of these National Parks. Most all of the parks across this beautiful country of ours are absolutely free, while offers require only a minimum charge. And even when it comes to those, most offer several free entrance days for you to enjoy.

 

But no matter which park you choose to visit, you will be granted a memorable vacation that’s a whole lot of fun for you and the family!

Soure:  GIG News

Travel: Leaving the Commonplace Behind

 

Travel: Leaving the Commonplace Behind

By Amy Lignor

 

What is the definition of a vacation? Well, there are those living in the snow who believe their vacation should come along with the warmest beach and a few fancy drinks with little umbrellas in them so they can relax before heading back to the deep-freeze. There are also those who sit at desks all day and dream of a vacation that allows them to hike those trails in the Great Outdoors. There are even more who have the kids literally screaming in their ear who simply want a vacation from their vacation.

travel to the fascinating, not just for Halloween, Shanghai Tunnels, Old Town Tatu, Clinton Road, beauty and culture, spice it up

But when you look at the “trends” in the travel industry, more and more people are choosing to travel to the fascinating. Of course, in this case ‘fascinating’ is all about haunted places, creepy historical mansions and locales that are truly odd. That’s right…this is not just for Halloween fun anymore. In fact, these locations are now offering some of the coolest hotels, best restaurants, nightclubs and hot spots that offer up evening fun, and even shopping, art, and theatre districts in order to make the ‘abnormal’ a perfect place to visit.

 

In other words…the commonplace is out.

travel to the fascinating, not just for Halloween, Shanghai Tunnels, Old Town Tatu, Clinton Road, beauty and culture, spice it upLet us begin in Portland, Oregon. Here, visitors are heading to the Shanghai Tunnels. These is actually a maze of dark passages that run between Old Town and downtown Portland. People who love the maritime realm will love this “shanghai” tale. It is here, from 1870 to 1940, that abductors took hold of unsuspecting men and actually sold them to captains of sea vessels as basic slaves. These men had to work aboard the ships they were trapped on for no money. How did they get them, you ask? That’s where the tunnels come into play. In Old Town, Portland there were saloons that had trap doors carved in the floor – so when the patron got more than a little tipsy, they fell into this labyrinth and were held there until they were “shipped” out. Haunted by restless spirits, people love touring these tunnels and then heading in to downtown Portland to have a great meal!

 

Another “Old Town” that’s being visited is located in the bustling city of Chicago. Referred to as Old Town Tatu, it was back in the 1880s that Tatu played home to Chicago’s very first funeral parlor (and you can only imagine the number of mobsters that ended up in there.) Now people go to get inked. Here, tattoos are given, as the visitors (usually) get a view of all types of unnatural activity that includes objects moving of their own accord, active poltergeists, as well as a ghostly apparition that some remember quite well. Chicago is already an incredible city – this just adds to the ‘abnormal’ part of your visit.

 

travel to the fascinating, not just for Halloween, Shanghai Tunnels, Old Town Tatu, Clinton Road, beauty and culture, spice it upThere are many mansions across the country that are most definitely anything but commonplace. Although most everyone knows about the Winchester House located in San Jose, California, there is also a mansion in St. Louis that is part of the long list of tourist attractions in this stunning city. Now an extremely popular inn and restaurant, Lemp Mansion actually saw sixty years of tragedy inside its doors. The Lemp family was a truly rich dynasty. But when the brewing business hit the skids, father took his own life, followed by his two sons and then, oddly enough, another death occurred of a boy who lived hidden away from the world inside the mansion’s attic. Not only can you enjoy the location now for both the food and service, but there is also a weekly ghost tour of the mansion given to those visitors who wish to sink their teeth into the ‘abnormal’.

 

Yet another mansion can be visited in the sunny, beautiful city of San Diego. The Whaley House was built in 1857 by an extremely wealthy retailer. Unfortunately, he just so happened to build it atop “unholy” ground that once served as the site where criminals were executed on the gallows. Whether you believe or disbelieve, the facts remain that Whaley was plagued with everything from deaths to suicides among his family, and when people head to San Diego they love to stop by and meet up with these restless spirits.

 

And if you are one of those who loves to hike and be a part of the Great Outdoors – yet likes a little ‘abnormality’ brought into play – West Milford, New Jersey is the perfect place for your next vacation. Just ten miles long, Clinton Road is a desolate place that has grown popular over time with tales of paranormal activity, phantom trucks being seen flying down the roadway, as well as being the place where mob hit man, “The Iceman” was discovered. Clinton Road has its very own ‘dead man’s curve,’ and offers no exits whatsoever. In other words, you do have to walk, drive or run down Clinton Road the entire ten miles…no matter what you meet up with along the way.

 

There are many more to choose from out there in the world – places that not only provide you with the beauty and culture you’re looking for, but also spice it up with sites you will never forget.

 

Source:  Baret News

Vacations…Underground

 

Vacations…Underground

by Amy Lignor

 

There are millions of spots to visit and sites to see around the world when it comes to vacation time; however, there are also those you can’t necessarily “see.” In this world of digital technology and highly imaginative architecture that creates buildings that are higher and more “glitzy” than ever before, it is important to remember that in ancient times, people were building “down.” Various civilizations created locations underground, while others actually got buried by Mother Nature and simply forgotten about. Let’s begin internationally…

 

Heading to France, you can admire an entire village made up of caves and stone called the Barry Troglodyte Village. Overlooking the Rhône Valley, not only do you receive some of the most scenic sites imaginable, but you also get to delve into history where the Neolithic actually lived until the early 20th century. And, while in France, if visiting the stunning cityscape of Paris, you can also be a part of wandering amidst over 200 miles of catacombs resting right below “The City of Lights.”

bootlegging industry, caves, Bunker Palace, NORAD, summer vacation ideas, Seattle Underground, Wieliczka Salt Mine, Underground Great Wall

In Scotland, you can be awed by a series of chambers that were formed in the 19 arches of South Bridge in Edinburgh. Built to link the “Old Town’s High Street” with University buildings on the city’s south side, the Edinburgh Vaults are something you and the family will never forget.

 

In Saskatchewan, at a place called Moose Jaw, you can visit an award winning attraction operating year-round that will give you a sneak peek at the bootlegging industry during the days of Capone.

 

If a wartime historian, the tunnels resting below the earth in Beijing, China, make up a network that is absolutely enormous. Called the “Underground Great Wall,” this was provided for the people in order for them to have the ability to run if the Russian Army invaded during the Cold War.

 

Spain offers one of the most special “underground” sites there is with Setenil de las Bodegas. Here, residents make their homes under a rock. Growing out of a network of caves, these bright white tiny houses look like they are actually emerging from the cliff face, with rock roofs as well as some with olive groves growing on their rooftops.

 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978, the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland is truly amazing, clocking in at more than 700 years old. Visitors are offered the tourist, miners’ or pilgrims’ route to take, as well as the “Mysteries Tour” which is one of the physically hardest – perfect for all those hikers out there. Being a location for TV shows, exhibitions and theatre performances, even the movie industry has utilized this incredible site.

 

And if looking for something in the United States… The Seattle Underground in Washington is extremely cool to witness. Lying under Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood there are bars, hotels, banks, and even shops that sit abandoned since 1889, when the Great Seattle Fire hit the city, razing most of the wood buildings in the business district at that time. With people capitalizing in on rebuilding efforts, they failed to do it correctly, and in 1965, a local citizen established a very popular Underground Tour (Bill Speidel) where you will learn all about what “really happened” and what “used to be.”

 

If a fan of “War Games,” the Cheyenne Mountain Complex set in Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs is the place for you. Inside lies the Combat Operations Center which became a self-contained and sufficient town hidden underneath the Rockies. It was meant to withstand a Soviet nuclear attack with NORAD – the North American Aerospace Command being the leaders of it all. Closed at one time, it was reopened to the public to tour in 2015.

 

Last, but not least, if you’re headed to “Sin City” for a little gambling fun, you just have to leave those gaming tables for a minute to check out Bunker Palace. At 15,000+ square feet, this complex is actually on the market, for sale at just $1.7 million. A two-story home is visible at street level, but underground you find an actual house with a lawn, hot tubs, and a 360-degree mural of the “Great Outdoors.” You add in a putting green, and this becomes the one place that would cause you to never want to “come up for air” again. A perfect setting for either a vampire or a person who is simply looking for a house that is one-of a-kind.

 

So when you plan your next vacation and want something out of the ordinary, just remember that there are “spots” on the map you can find and visit that will give you both thrills and chills. All you have to do is look…down.

 

 

Source:  Baret News