Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Canada – Ottawa, On -Ingenious Ingenium: Canada Science and Technology Museum Re-Opened

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

What can you say about a museum when the 7-year-old you are with stops in her tracks at the entrance because she’s in awe of what she sees? Imagine you are walking thru a video screen of Canadian nature: the aurora borealis, crystals, wheat fields or fire. The museum has been completely re-done, with only two of the all-time favorite exhibits remaining – the crazy kitchen (it’s still so fun watching the video monitor of “drunken” people trying to walk through) and those majestic steam locomotives.
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Visiting with a group of kids with an age range of 4-13, all of them were entranced for over 5 hours. Even though it was a busy weekend day, it rarely felt crowded, since there were so many corners to get lost in. One you may not find was a favorite – go past those hulking locomotives and around a corner to look for the soundproof Sounds of Silence room. Nearby, behind those trains, are movable touchable displays called Sound by Design.

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The 13-year old liked the wearable technology and how it made the great outdoors easier to enjoy. He got to test a hockey helmets ( you get to whack one with a hammer) and perused the development of beekeepers’ gloves.

At Into the Great Outdoors, I was entranced by the land-water car owned by a family who needed it to drive/float to their chalet on an island.  Though the Zoom room was noted for ages 0-8, all of the kids had fun there – especially on the climbing wall with its secret smells and in the wind tunnel. The 4 year-old was in there for hours. We even saw couples on dates walking around in there with silly grins on.IMG_0167

Medical sensations was scary to one of the young girls, but they enjoyed manipulating facial features and guessing what the colorful patterns were which were captured by microscopes and telescopes.

The Exploratek room is near the cafe. Here the kids can gets creative and build buildings, create tube tracks or work with a robot.  The museum helps you keep costs down by making sure there are tables and cozy couches if you want to bring your own lunch, We’d suggest you do this, sinces the line for hot food in the cafe  moved slowly. There was a good selection of healthy foods.

A few times a day there are live demonstrations – we got lucky and saw one on pyrotechnics, including a rocket firing. Three-Two-One blast-off to this interactive fun learning museum.fire

Location: Canada Science and Technology Museum, 1867 St Laurent Blvd, Ottawa, ON K1G 5A3
Telephone: 613-991-3044 or toll-free: 1-866-442-4416
Hours: May 1 to September 1: Open daily; September 2 to April 30: Closed Mondays

https://ingeniumcanada.org

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US: Savannah, GA – Eli Whitney Slept Here

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Why not stay at a hotel that has embraces a piece of Southern history –   Inn at Mulberry Grove. Mulberry Grove was the name of the plantation where Eli Whitney arrived as a tutor for widow Mrs. Nathaniel Greene’s children. Her hubby was 2nd in command to Washington, and had been given The Mulberry Grove Plantation as a gift from the spoils of the Revolutionary War.

Whitney was no average tutor. A Yale graduate, he tinkered with inventions, and recognized the need to speed up the process of separating cotton seeds from cotton fibers. He gained worldwide recognition for inventing the cotton gin, which revolutionized the South’s cotton industry. During the Civil War, General Sherman burned down Greene’s original house, but now you can stay in this Inn on the same land.orig_cotton_gin

There’s a touch of European elegance here, with gilded mirrors and dark wood furnishings. The hot breakfast with sausage, biscuits, grits and waffles can be taken in the courtyard. There’s a guest laundry, and it’s budget friendly.

Location: Inn at Mulberry Grove, 101 O’Leary Road, Port Wentworth GA 31407
Tel: 912-965-9666
innatmulberrygrove.com
For Regional Information, Restaurants & Attractions: visitsavannah.com

 

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Canada – Ontario Weekend Getaway: Low Fat Donuts, Fair Trade Coffee, Chainsaws and Friendly Alpacas

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

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Why not get away with your family to Almonte, ON, just west of Ottawa . The very first reason is that Ed Atwell of Healthy Food Technologies (hft) has figured out how to make low-fat donuts that are scrumptious. He “tricks” the donuts by frying them (in zero trans fat oil) for 1/2 the time and then baking them at the same temperature. Watch the video to see him explain the process he invented.

Now take a walk around the corner and pick up your to-go-with coffee at fair trade high quality Equator Coffee Roasters. They roast the beans right there, having bought them from small-scale farming communities and paid the farmers well. Do not  miss the Oh-so-Canadian maple-flavored latte. It’s worth driving there just for that! Kids can enjoy the hot chocolate.coffee


Next you can pick up snacks for the car or yummies to take home at Dandelion Foods co-op before a 45 min. drive to Wheelers Pancake House and Maple Sugar Camp. D
andelion Foods co-op sells whole, local and organic foods and some for specialty diets. Here you can buy the famous Hummingbird chocolate bars favored by Prime Minister Trudeau. Note the PB & Joy (with peanut butter) and the spicy Mayan.  Please bring back the Empire Cheese caramelized onion cheddar cheese for me.
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For lunch and fun, at Wheelers Pancake House you can visit the Maple Museum and the Chainsaw & Logging museum and the kids can have fun in the playground. Handy men and women will be mesmerized by Mark Wheeler’s dad Vernon’s collection of hundreds of chainsaws. Everyone will enjoy his “largest collection of pure maple syrup artifacts” which help explain the history of the maple sugar industry. From First Nations wooden spigots to the plastic lines of today, syrup pour-ers, molds, pails, and everything else related to this sweet topic, it’s all here at this 38-year family business. Don’t forget to leave room for the freshly made pancakes and delicious syrup right from their trees.
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For the grand finale, we visited Keith and Elizabeth Adam’s alpacas and llamas at their  Serendipity Farm. For retirement they decided to raise alpacas for the fun of it. The couple exudes their enjoyment of spending their golden years with these elegant, fluffy friends. They’ll chatter about the little quirks of each of the animals as well as the work associated with raising them.

Alpacas produce fiber that is as fine as cashmere, soft, silky and much warmer than sheep’s wool, while also wicking moisture away from the body.alpacas
In their little shop you can buy scarves, gloves, purses, as well as fiber felted sheets, alpaca and fiber rovings and handspun yarn.

Leave some time too for the local shops which wind their way along the downtown streets. Yes there’s plenty to do in Lanark County for a low-key interesting getaway weekend. We are not sure how this area attracted so many hippie/free trade/entrepreneurial types who seem to care for the planet. You can feel virtuous spending time and money in this town.

Equator Coffee Roasters, 451-A Ottawa St, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0, Tel: 613-256-5960
www.equator.ca

Dandelion Foods, 541 Ottawa St, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0,  Tel: 1-613-256-4545
www.dandelionfoods.ca

Healthy Food Technologies, 25 Industrial Rd., Almonte ON  Tel: 613-256-9900
(HFT) https://www.facebook.com/HFTinc

Wheelers Pancake House and Maple Sugar Camp, 1001 Highland Line, McDonalds Corners(Lanark Highlands), ON K0G 1M0 Tel: 613-278-2090
www.wheelersmaple.com

Serendipity Farm Alpacas & Llamas,  929 South Lavant Rd, Lanark, ON K0G1K0  Tel: 613-259-3304 or 613-222-6303
www.serendipityalpacas.ca

www.lanarkcounty.ca

 

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US: Wilson, NC – Wilson Whirligig Festival and Cake Dive

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

The Wilson Whirligig Festival is a community celebration of people and art in motion held the first weekend in November, where everyone comes together for an energetic street festival focusing the whimsical North Carolina Folk Art, Vollis Simpson’s Whirligigs.

Don’t forget to check out the Cake Dive, the festival’s MESSIEST event, held on the Courthouse plaza on Sunday at 4 pm.  Participants  “dive” into a large10 ft x 10 ft anniversary cake for a variety of prizes.

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With 35,000+ attendees , over 200 vendors, 3 stages of entertainment, arts & crafts
food vendors, FREE! Whirli-Kidz Zone and lots of Special events.

This commemoration is truly family-friendly and kid focused. FREE  live performances all day long with a wide variety of dance and demonstrations, from hip hop to lyrical, from clogging to ballet, from singing to karate. Play carnival games, create a craft, slide down a giant 26 foot slide or bounce in one of the many inflatable activities. Children of all ages can enjoy a variety of activities. Kids shouldn’t have all the fun! Demo’s available for 16 and up. Virtual Reality is not just for gamers anymore, it is everywhere. Learn more about this technology.

Location: Historic Downtown Wilson, 112 Goldsboro E ,Wilson, NC 27893
Date: Sat, Nov 5 – Sun, Nov 6, 2016
Time: Sat 10 – 5pm, Sun Noon – 5pm
Tel: 252-289-9650
whirligigfestivalnc.org

For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: wilsonnc.org

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US: Darien, GA – Car Show, Water Race, Doggie Parade and Battle Re-enactment in Darien

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Fall is in the air and the Darien Fall Festival is the place to be.  Enjoy the Coastal scenery at this family- friendly event, offering tons to do; food, arts, and entertainment and taking place in the picturesque setting of  downtown Darien.

The Classic Coastal Cruisers of Darien Car Show will be on display in Vernon Square, The rescue group, HART of McIntosh, will hold its Doggie Day Parade along Broad Street where you’ll find costumed participants and their owners, kayakers, canoeists, and paddle boarders will compete along a 2.4-mile course from the Darien River Bridge to Fort King George Historic Site Be entertained by the McIntosh County Line Dancers and musical performances while Fine Arts vendors, Craft and Antique Vendors, and  Food and Drink vendors will be set up along the streets.darien-fall-fest2

Spend the day strolling the streets of historic Darien while enjoying the arts, antiques, food, and music or watching a battle re-enactment at FortKingGeorge , the Trailhead Center -Burning of Darien;  Museum will be open and there will be horseback rides for children. Ashantilly Mansion and Print Shop will be open. There will be a Lime Burn with a talk on the history of Ashantilly, and then  a historian led walking tour through historic St. Andrews Cemetery.

Diverse outdoor demonstrations including: yard and garden art, furniture and home decor, jewelry and clothing will take place on the grounds of the Old Jail Art Center during Fall Fest. Come out and celebrate the rich history and heritage of Darien.

Location: Downtown – Darien, GA 31305
Date: Nov 5, 2016
Hours: 8am – 5pm
Tel: 912-617-7299
darienfallfest.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitdarien.com

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US: Adirondack Northway, New York – Text Stop

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Love the concept and the humor that New York State uses on the Adirondack Northway, Route 87. Signs tell you how far it is until you can safely pull over and do your texting. Breathe deeply and try to control yourself.

Text Stop

 

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Canadian Museum of Nature is Museum of Fun

Friday, May 27th, 2016

If you are heading out to Ottawa to enjoy our nation’s capitol, leave some time to explore the Canadian Museum of Nature. It’s the perfect place for all ages of the family to enjoy themselves. The brainy kids (or adults) can soak up extensive details about nature while the playful gang can pull levers or turn knobs in a deep sea sub, IMG_5043learn on many touch screens, or even dance around in front of  the endothermy camera checking out their colorful “hotspots”.

Everyone is awed by the the 19.8-metre blue whale skeleton in the Water Gallery but keeping going further in. All the way in the back are many interactive games for young and old alike: make believe areas for the wee ones, a board game along a wall,  animal jigsaw puzzles on touch screens, word games, etc.  

Gawk at the dinosaur fossils or walk amongst the fleshed-out dinosaur creatures for photo ops with kids. In the Vale Earth Gallery swoon over the 1200 gorgeous minerals, rocks and meteorites. Our 5 1/2-year-old couldn’t get enough of the joystick which controls a huge earth or the button to start the volcano.

Sure there’s a full size mammal gallery but the 11, 8 and 5 1/2 year-olds all stayed longer in the small Nature Live space where they oogled the cases of walking stick bugs in different camouflage colors and thicknesses. How many of you have come face to face with a tarantula? Then they listened intently as a docent showed fossils which were indigenous to Ottawa.

If you have time there are two 3D movies, “Prehistoric Planet 3D and Micro-Monsters 3D” (both too scary for the 5 1/2 -year old) but our gang liked the interactive museum more.IMG_5051

The famous Bird Gallery, with  one of the most extensive collections of Canadian birds in the world re-opened June 1. A special exhibit on now is Ultimate Dinosaurs June 11-September 5 and then upcoming is Reptiles: The Beautiful and the Deadly, October 6-April 2 .

A brand new Arctic Gallery will be unveiled on June 23 which is set to explain how the arctic is changing, including plants, animals and people of the area plus scientific research. Outside, three new ecozones will be shown off on June 17 including a woolly mammoths and an “iceberg”.

I’d like to give a thumbs up to the friendly security guards who answered questions informatively and helped to point out nearby bathrooms and water fountains.

Canadian Museum of Nature, a Beaux Arts building, was our first national museum, completed in 1912. Trivia buffs should note that this building  served as home to Canada’s House of Commons and Senate following the fire that destroyed the Centre Block of Parliament in 1916.

Location: 240 McLeod St., Ottawa
Phone: 613-364-4021
www.nature.ca

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