Tag Archives: travel

What’s going on in the Carolinas?

Charleston Wine and Food Festival will be held March 4 – 12 in Charleston, SC. Some of the best chefs in America can be found in the Lowcountry, so this is a great opportunity to sample their cuisine. www.charlestonwineandfood.com

Or check out the Wilmington Wine and Chocolate Festival (February 3-5) at the Coast Line Event Center in the historic district of Wilmington, NC. www.wilmingtonwineandchocolatefestival.com

IronMan 3 will be filmed in Wilmington, NC starting this summer and throughout 2012. The movie will come out in 2013.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher will unveil a new outdoor “Adventure Reef” in late spring that features a climbable reef with a moray eel slide, giant octopus, and more. In late 2012, a new whale and dolphin exhibit will be added. www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher

The 65th Annual Azalea Festival will take place April 11-15. It is one of the biggest annual events along the North Carolina coast. www.ncazaleafestival.org

A contract was awarded to a Colorado company to design a new cruise ship terminal for Charleston, SC. This will make Charleston much more competitive with Norfolk and Fort Lauderdale.

Guest blogger Terrance Zepke
Author of Coastal North Carolina and Coastal South Carolina: Welcome to the Lowcountry
www.terrancezepke.com

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Recap of Jan 25th’s #flkeys chat

Do the Florida Keys really have it all?

They do! Jimmy Buffett has the right idea. We learned all about the best restaurants, best beaches, and best coffee in the Florida Keys yesterday during the first #flkeys chat.

We met so many great people and got some wonderful ideas about dining and beaches. I was just blown away by the participation, thanks everybody! Claudia Miller (@KeysClaudia) was a fabulous host and shared many wonderful pics. We talked about Bahia Honda, the Dry Tortugas, Sombrero Beach, Coco Plum, and Zachary Taylor. We also learned about Seven Fish’s great meatloaf, Hawks Cay Resort’s flaming coffee, and key lime margaritas. This is the link to the Storify archive and here’s a video recap:

We can’t wait till next month’s chat on Feb 29th at 2p EST. Use hashtag #flkeys to participate. Won’t you join us?

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Warm Mineral Springs, Florida

A Florida spring with healing properties

That’s Warm Mineral Springs’ claim to fame, anyway. I’m not sure if that is true, but going there is a lovely way to spend the day. I’ve been there many a time and I do feel refreshed. But, keep in mind that you leave there feeling refreshed in a different way than most springs in Florida.

Warm Mineral Springs is, well, warm! It’s 87 degrees year-round. That’s a really nice temperature for water that you soak in. The other difference is that the water has the 3rd highest mineral content in the world. Because of this, it is a destination for many Europeans and visitors from across the world. That’s one of the fun parts of the springs–hearing many languages spoken around you.

Floating and swimming around the spring is a pretty neat experience. It might not be for the faint of heart–there is a sulfur smell and there is floating algae–but it’s usually enjoyed by all. It’s a great way to relax and meet new people. You can truly say this is not a theme park experience and your northern visitors will have something to write home about.

Now, I haven’t been there since the new owners took it over. So, I truly can’t speak for the atmosphere now. But the many visits I made in the past were highlighted by the food. A quick look at the menu shows me the food is a little different, but I see the pierogies on there. I hope they are the same! Try them! The rest of the menu looks updated and more spa-like. I bet they worked hard to create a menu that went with the healing properties-it looks healthy. Let me know how it is.

It’s also worth the time to read about the history surrounding Warm Mineral Springs. Ponce de Leon thought it was the Fountain of Youth and archaeologists have found cool stuff there. Some of the history is detailed at the springs and some also on their website. Don’t miss reading up on this unique aspect of the springs.

Warm Mineral Springs is a unique Florida experience. Check out their website to learn about their hours and prices. I’d love to hear about your experience, don’t forget to share by posting them on Twitter and doing an @pineapplepress. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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2011 Florida Holiday Events

Author Bruce Hunt is discussing Winter in Small-Town Florida today (Monday Dec 5th) at 12pm on Twitter via a Twitter chat.
Use hashtag #smalltownFla to follow along.
Follow Bruce on Twitter @BruceHuntImages. You can reach us via @PineapplePress

A sampling of Florida’s holiday fun for 2011

Florida is a fun place to spend the holidays, especially if you want a different spin on winter events. Those of you visiting from up north might be surprised about what Floridians created into winter fun!

South Florida

Holiday Historic Lighted Inn Tours: Visit beautiful Key West inns while sampling mouth-watering foods and seeing exciting performances. Dec 9-10 and Dec 16-17. Learn more at www.schoonerwharf.com

Annual Dropping of the Conch Shell: Sloppy Joe’s is home to this annual New Years Eve event. Learn more at www.sloppyjoes.com

North Florida

Pensacola Winterfest: Looks like it’s a month-long celebration in Pensacola this December. Learn more at www.pensacolawinterfest.org

Regatta of Lights: St. Augustine’s spin on Christmas lights. See a parade of boats in historic St. Augustine. Dec 10. Learn more at www.visitoldcity.com

Central Florida

Cruising Downtown DeLand Car Show: Classic cars and crafts bring the holidays to DeLand. Santa Claus is the special guest. Dec. 17. Learn more at www.plantcity.org

Mount Dora Christmas Events: Mount Dora is famous for their many Christmas events. Lights, shopping, and oodles more fun. Learn more at www.mountdorachristmas.com

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FIVE REASONS YOU SHOULD VISIT CAPE HATTERAS LIGHTHOUSE

  1. If you make it to the top, you can say that you climbed to the top of America’s tallest lighthouse.
  2. It’s an excuse to visit the pristine Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
  3. To see where and learn how the beacon (which is the equivalent of a 12-story building) was moved. A remarkable feat!
  4. Because it is one of the few lighthouses that permits night tours and full moon climbing tours (seasonally).
  5. The view from the top offers a bird’s eye view of the lower Outer Banks.

For more on Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and all the other beacons that dot the shores of the Carolinas, check out Lighthouses of the Carolinas Second Edition, by Terrance Zepke. For more on the author and her books, visit www.terrancezepke.com


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Win a copy of Lighthouses of the Carolinas 2nd ed by Terrance Zepke

Who doesn’t like to win?

Now’s your chance! Head over to author Terrance Zepke’s website and get the details about her upcoming contests. Next week, one lucky contest winner can win a copy of Lighthouses of the Carolinas 2nd ed. Don’t miss out. http://terrancezepke.com/

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FLORIDA: Give me an “F”, Give me an “L”….

F L O R I D A

Give me an “F”! Give me an “L”! Give me an “O”! Give me an “R”! Give me an “I”! Give me a “D”! Give me an “A”! What’s that spell? FLORIDA! Below are some words that help define Florida.

F Fakahatchee

L Lovebugs

O Overseas Highway

R Ringling Brothers

I Islamorada

D Daytona International Speedway

A Alligators

 

To learn more about Florida, read Florida A to Z!

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Myakka River State Park in Sarasota, Florida

This past weekend I visited Myakka River State Park. Myakka has this rambling scenic drive that is really nice, especially on days with low park attendance. It was perfect for this weekend since it was so hot! This visit didn’t yield a lot of animal sightings along the drive, but we did see some turkeys. There were groups of them on both sides of the road.

We tried the Canopy Walk which is a really popular part of the park, but didn’t make it all the way to the bridge and tower part because I mistakenly left the mosquito repellant behind. If I had been prepared, it would have been the best part of the visit. This is a terrific part of the park for kids because they all love the bridge which sways when people walk on it. The towers seem like they stretch high up into the air forever, and it’s hard to make it all the way to the top sometimes.

I did take a stroll along the Bird Walk though. In the right season, many interesting species of birds nest and congregate there. It’s really popular with birdwatchers, artists, and photographers. We did see a duck and some run of the mill birds, but nothing too spectacular this time. I would like to go back when it’s full of birds so the kids can get the full effect. The coolest thing we saw the whole trip was at the boardwalk though. A baby alligator! It was pretty dry out there, but we saw him slithering along and that was super neat.

Overall, Myakka State Park has been one of the best state parks I’ve visited. We publish a book by the park’s naturalist, Paula Benshoff. She’s a wealth of information and you’ll never meet someone who loves her job and its location so much. Here’s a link to that book, http://new.pineapplepress.com/myakka.html

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Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida

This is the second post in a 3-part series about the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. 

My first post on the Ringling Museum was about the spectacular Beyond Bling show. But the museum has tons more to offer! I think it must be fairly unique in that it has a well-stocked traditional art museum, a circus museum, gardens, and a historic home on the same property. I’ll cover the art and circus museum in this post, followed by a post about the home and gardens next week.

John Ringling, of course, was an owner of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus. The winter quarters for the circus was at one time in the Sarasota, Florida area and Mr. Ringling and his wife eventually made it their home. He had some fabulous art pieces, so he wanted his own museum to showcase them. After his death,  he bequeathed the art museum he had built to the state of Florida. Thus, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art was born. For more information about this, visit http://www.ringling.org/ArtMuseum.aspx

Today, the Ringling Museum houses wonderful paintings by Rubens, van Dyck,  El Greco, and other artists. In addition, there are sculptures and other priceless items such as furniture and vases on display. The Museum also features traveling exhibitions that span many time periods and subjects.

The Circus Museum was created in 1948 and touts itself as the first museum of its type in the United States. On display you’ll find costumes, posters, tools, wagons, memorabilia, and more. I always enjoy the large display of circus posters. It’s fun to see how they changed over the years. The exhibits also pay respect to many of the important clowns and performers, like Emmett Kelly, and there is a planned expansion in Fall 2011 that will showcase them even more. One of the other popular parts of the Circus Museum is the The Howard Bros. Circus Model. This is lots of fun–very musical and magical.

Something I don’t recall seeing is the private Ringling railroad car on display. Sounds like I need to plan a visit this fall when the expansion opens to see all the new sites!

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Historic Spanish Point, Osprey, Florida

This weekend I visited Historic Spanish Point in Osprey, Florida. Having grown up in this area, it’s not the first time. I must say though, this was one of the best visits. They have improved the site and their brand dramatically. The website is terrific and really makes you want to visit:

http://www.historicspanishpoint.org/

Once we got to the site we stopped off at the Visitor’s Center, where the friendly staff gave us a gorgeous map and told us about the tour starting soon. We then drove down to the beginning of the attraction. On the drive, I read about the four P’s at the site. (I think this is the best thing they have going now—it really cements the idea of the site and the way they have organized it makes lots of sense.) They have divided the site into four P’s: Prehistoric, Pioneer, Palmer, and Plants. This cohesive idea resonates on the maps, in the signage, and I’d assume on the tours. I’ve been there many times, but this time I felt like the P’s concept gave me a firm idea to grasp about what was going on at this historic place and why it was so important to the area. As you go along, you find out what all the P’s mean.

You can go two different ways once you get there. We opted not to take the tour this time and started on our way toward the Guptill House, part of the Pioneer section. This house has a gorgeous view and is staffed by a knowledgeable guide. Before you get there you run across the butterfly garden, one of the Plants sections of the four P’s. It touts itself as one of the largest in Florida and we saw lots of gorgeous butterflies. Spanish Point is great for plant lovers. We visited the aqueduct and the jungle walk in this area also. Down here you also see one of the prehistoric middens that gets explained more later. The Webb packing house is pretty cool–gives you a great sense of how orange grove commerce ran back then.

The Prehistoric section of the site was next. You actually step into the middle of a shell midden!!! How cool is that? They have a great video and display about the life of the early people in the area that is a must-see.

Moving on, we visited the Palmer part of the four P’s. Bertha Palmer is legendary in this part of Florida. The house is a museum and display area that really illustrates all she did for the area and how important she was.

We finished up our tour at Mary’s Chapel which is so quaint and has a really peaceful feel to it. You can walk around inside and visit the cemetery located right outside of it.

Historic Spanish Point is a gem of an attraction and perfect for families. It is a little warm there in the summer though, so stock up on water. Take your time traveling through, as there are some beautiful views to experience from the shade!

Historic Spanish Point made this video for YouTube:

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