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US: Florence, SC – Go Nuts for Pecans in Florence and Snag some Free Swag

April is National Pecan month so why not celebrate by following a culinary trail dedicated to the pecan.

Julie Belle's - White Russian Pecan PieFlorence is home to the South Carolina Pecan Trail, showcasing 17 local restaurants and specialty shops offering pecan dishes or products, putting pecans in the spotlight. From pecan-encrusted grouper to pecan pie martinis, those venturing on the trail will experience a variety of originality.Rebel Pie - Danish Pizza

Pick up a passport at the visitors center, 3290 W. Radio Drive, or any of the participating restaurants to start the journey. Earn a stamp in the passport by feasting on the featured pecan item at each establishment.

Pecan Pie Martini - Victors

Return your passport to the Visitors Center in person or by mail for some sweet Pecan Trail swag. Show up with four stamps, and receive a charming metal nutcracker. Eight stamps will get you a drawstring bag and the nutcracker. Present a fully stamped passport and  walk away with a T-shirt, drawstring bag and the nutcracker. SC Pecan Trail

 

Get your stamps and enjoy tasty pecan offerings at these restaurants and specialty shops:

Block and Vino: Seasonal praline pecan cheesecake; candied pecan brie-stuffed chicken

Clay Pot Coffee Shop: Signature BIG cookie: Southern Maple Pecan Oatmeal Cookie

Dolce Vita: Double chocolate chip pecan muffin

Freeman’s Bakery: Assortment of baked goods, including cakes, Danish pastries

Julian Belle’s: White Russian pecan pie

The Library: Bourbon pecan pie

Rebel Pie Wood-fired Pizza: Danish pizza

Red Bone Alley: Chicken salad with pecans; apple crisp; chocolate chip cookie pie

Seminar Brewing: Pecans Gone Wild smoked brown ale

Struttin’ Turkey: Turkey salad with cranberries and pecans

Top Hat Special-Teas: Top Hat Pecan Scones

Town Hall: Braised oxtail ravioli, local sweet potato puree, espelette-spiced pecans and sage oil

Tubb’s Shrimp and Fish Co.: Sweet potato cheesecake

Venus Restaurant and Catering: Pecan (Belgian) waffle, Southern pecan pancakes

Victors: Pecan pie martini

Wholly Smokin’: Goat cheese salad, features warm goat cheese patty encrusted with local pecans

Young Plantations: Variety of flavored pecans

Location: Visitor Information Center, 3290 W. Radio Drive, Florence Center Upper Level, Florence, SC 29501
Time: Daily 9am – 5pm
Tel: 800-325-9005
visitflo.com

US: Bowie, MD – Around the World in Just One Day

Travel around the world in just one day at the  Bowie International Festival and learn about traditions and customs that span the globe at this multicultural, FREE fete.

The International Festival will showcase performing arts, visual arts, and cuisine from various regions and cultures throughout the world. Listen to bagpipes and violins, watch Moroccan belly dancing or Irish step dance, and enjoy lots of tasty international food. The event will also feature a wide variety of artists and crafters selling clothing, jewelry, crafts and other items from around the world. Bowie International Fest

The most fun might be for the children, where they are able to pick up a passport at any children’s activity booth and participate in various activities from different cultures, accumulating stamps at each booth. Activities include dance, music, story time and arts and crafts from around the world. At the end of the “trip” children receive an international prize.

Location: Allen Pond Park, 3330 Northview Dr.Bowie, MD 20716
Date: Sat, Oct. 1, 2016
Time: 11 – 5pm
Tel: 301-809-3011
cityofbowie.org/index.aspx?NID=1016
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:
visitprincegeorgescounty.com

Canada Ottawa: Museum of History

The swooping architecture of the building and jaw-dropping 17 metre-high domed ceiling of Canada Hall are visions you will not easily forget after you have visited the newly named Canadian Museum of History (was Canadian Museum of Civilization), which covers Canadian life from AD 1000 to 2000.

From now until Sept 28, 2014,  you can enjoy the informative exhibit about Snow and the ingenious ways in which  Canadians have adapted to difficult winter conditions, from sleighs to snow removal. You can participate in a fun quiz at the end.

The museum is a playground for all, as the Children’s Museum takes the kids on travels around the world – including a passport to stamp in each country. All kinds of imaginative play from driving a bus, motorcycle, ship or camel to running a shop, putting on a puppet show, living in a pyramid, moving heavy boxes using a winch, or booking a trip can all be tried out.

museumofhistory
In the main galleries, visitors see a Viking family arriving in Newfoundland around AD 1000,  discover New France through a farmhouse, inn, hospital, shoemaker’s shop and visit a voyageur camp, a lumber camp, a Métis campsite, British military living quarters and a Maritime shipyard. There’s a stroll past shops  along the main street of a small town in late 19th-century Ontario.

Learn about life in a turn-of-the-century prairie railway station and yard, a Saskatchewan grain elevator, an authentic Ukrainian church, a Chinese hand laundry and a 1920s Alberta oil derrick. You can even sit in Yellowknife’s Wildcat Cafe, the town’s first restaurant and a popular gathering spot for prospectors, bush pilots, miners and trappers.

If you love animals, leave time for the up close and personal movie, Kenya 3-D about a safari through Africa.

Location: 100 Laurier St., Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M8
Phone: 819-776-7000 or 800-555-5621
www.civilization.ca

Quebec: Parc Safari is a Good Deal and A Good Deal of Fun

Parc Safari has something for everyone in your family. It is wayyyy beyond a drive around to see exotic animals, though that is an amazing part of the day. The water park, with its three lagoons (one with a waterfall), tube ride, and especially the new sculpturally beautiful splash pad/slide Lagon des dauphins, can be a whole day in itself. This new area offers up 8 water slides and 60 water games.  Here’s a tip: if you go there, keep your eye on the yellow pail of water.

Besides the safari drive, you can walk around three animal areas. We’re talking 500 animals, folks, in about 60 different species: elephant, bison, deer, camel, tiger, lion, water buffalo, yak, zebra, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, wildebeest, eland, black bear, monkeys, etc.  You can find great scrabble words as you come across the oryx, addax, gaur and onager.  Learning about the animals is fascinating:  giraffes only sleep 20 min a day, swan couples mate for life,  zebras are black with white stripes  (finally found that out!) and Shaka the lion is a movie star, having appeared in the film “The Aviator” with Leonardo DiCaprio.

There is no way you cannot be wowed by the lion and tiger clear glass tunnels which you walk through and are separated by a mere 3 cm.  from these beautiful beasts. Have you ever gone eye-to-eye with a giraffe? Well you can do that here too.

A lovely part about Parc Safari is that you hardly have to put your hand in your pocket once you pay to get in ($113.86  for a family of 4, or under $100 with a CAA discount). They allow you to bring your own lunch, and have endless amount of picnic tables in the shade, grass, and even a sandy beach.  The staff in the parc actually give you the food to feed the bears or monkeys, etc.  You can bring your own carrots to feed the safari animals – it’s so much fun to watch as they chew and crunch right in your face.

If you decide to lunch at Parc Safari, besides your burgers, pizza and hot dogs, you can munch chicken burgers, smoked meat, sausages, waffles, fruit smoothies, poutine (mais oui!) and even grab a beer. It costs about $8-$14 for the restaurant meals and $6-$7 in the cafeteria.

For those who like rides, there are still some retro ones that bring huge smiles (and screams) to both young and old. Where else can you spend a day on all the rides you want, as many times as you want for a measly $3 per person? The few extras in the parc are so minimal: a pony ride is only $4, and one on the camel is $6. The tube ride is a mere $2.  If you want to buy a box of animal food, it’s only a tooney.

Especially endearing is the  “custom spray” tilt-a-whirl ride. You do not have to go high tech to make customers happy on a hot day – all you need is a hose. As you get on this ride, a gentleman ask if you would like to get sprayed as you pass him; you can say yes or no, and even ask for a little or a lot. Where else can you select-a-preference-water-factor on a ride?

On a busy day the 45 min safari adventure can take up to 2 hours. This is NOT necessarily a negative. We must learn to slow ourselves down to the pace of nature. If you are inching along, sitting in the comfort of your air-conditioned car, you get to really take the time to watch the animals live and interact.  Babies are being shown what to do by their mommas, bisons are rolling in the dirt to scratch themselves, animals’ chests are rising and falling as they take a siesta, and yes they’re  peeing and pooing too – still a thrill for the kids. You can feed and even touch some of the species as they come up to visit you at your car window.

And we haven’t even gotten to the six stage shows and eight animal feedings or les Filouminous characters who wander around the park giving hugs.  There is so much to do that you can turn this in to a staycation weekend. Look on their site for reasonably priced 1 and 2-day packages, including an overnight in nearby motels or campsites.

Parc Safari is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year so to celebrate they are having a contest with over $8,000 in prizes. You can win a backyard swing set, a safari package, summer camp at the Cosmodome, and gift certificates and passes. You can go online to fill out the form:  www.clikici.ca/ralleye-safari-2012.php

If you haven’t been to Parc Safari since you were a kid, it’s time to go back. The best deal is that if you add $20 to your admission price, you get a season passport.  Divide that all up into many days of fun and it is really pennies to enjoy this entertaining gem right at our doorstep.

Location: 280 Rang Roxham, St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, QC, J0J 1V0
Tel: 450 247-2727
Summer Hours: 10-5 for the safari, 10-7 for the parc  (less hours in Spring and Fall)
www.parcsafari.com