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US: Mystic, CT – Sharkfest Swim, Kayak and SUP Races Down the Mystic River

It’s the inaugural Mystic River Day, a day celebrating the Mystic River Community.

Festivities include: children’s activities and games on the Mystic River Park green, discover Mystic River history,  many local non-profits, animal encounters, meet the Mystic Mermaid in the park – photo op, Sharkfest Swim, Kayak and SUP races down the Mystic River.Mystic Day IMG_0252-2

Cheer on the Mystic Sharkfest Swimmers from  8:30 am – 11:30 am, on their 1500 meter swim from Middle Wharf at Mystic Seaport, down the Mystic River, under the famous Bascule drawbridge, finishing at Dock A at Seaport Marine.

This swim will give you the perfect excuse to visit a classic New England seaport on Long Island Sound. The swim course will take you past the fully restored whaling ship, Charles Morgan and around the Mystic Harbor lighthouse and down river through the picturesque village that is steeped in shipbuilding history.

Participating downtown shops, restaurants, and bars will offer specials, discounts and extended happy hours throughout the day.

Location:Mystic River Park, Cottrell Street, Mystic, 06355
Date: Sun, July 8, 2018
Time: 9am – 2:30pm
Tel: 860-572-9578
thisismystic.com/event/mystic-river-day
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: mysticchamber.org

US: Alexandria, VA – Your Destination for a Family Friendly New Year’s Eve

This annual New Year’s Eve bash takes over Old Town Alexandria with more than 150 performances at 23 indoor venues, with live music, dancing, children’s face painting and games. First Night Alexandria is a celebration of the new year through the performing arts. Retail stores, hotels, museums and public buildings are turned into performance venues to showcase incredible local and regional talent.

For a small fee for adults (children 12 and under are free), you have access to all the entertainment, all evening. Everything is within easy walking distances. The afternoon’s Ninth Annual Fun Hunt with all-new activities for families and pets. There’s a venue at the Mount Vernon Fireworks 2014 - 2Recreation Center in Del Ray filled with fun activities for children 10 and younger, dancing in the street at the east end of King Street beginning at 10 pm and the piece de resistance is the First Night’s fireworks finale with a spectacular display over the Potomac River at midnight. First Night Alexandria is so packed with entertainment, you will have a hard time deciding which performances to attend.

Event Schedule and Locations:
10:00am Noon Year’s Eve – Alexandria Library – Kate Waller Barrett Branch, 717 Queen Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
12pm Watch Night at Alfred Street Baptist Church –301 South Alfred Street Alexandria
1pm George Washington Masonic Memorial Tour – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA, 22301
1pm Hooray For Books! – 1555 King Street, #101, Alexandria, VA 22314
1pm Olio – Oil & Vinegar Tasting – Olio Tasting Room. 1223 King Street, Alexandria, VA
1:30pm The Art League Gallery – 105 North Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
2pm 9th Annual Fun Hunt – Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
2pm Kid’s Art for Animal Adoptions – Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
2pm Mobile Art Lab – Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
2pm Pottery at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum – Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
2pm TC Williams Jazz Band – Embassy Suites Hotel, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA
2pm Ten Thousand Villages –Ten Thousand Villages, 915 King Street, Alexandria, VA
2pm Thinkfun Family Game Room – Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street
2:30pm George Washington Masonic Memorial Tour – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA, 22301
4pm George Washington Masonic Memorial Tour –George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA, 22301
5pm Amazing Clowns – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA, 22301
5pm Let’s Make a Face – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA, 22301
5pm Seaworthy Small Ships –George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA, 22301
6pm An Old Fashioned Carnival – Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave, Alexandria, VA 22305
6pm Becky’s Balloon Animals – Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave, Alexandria, VA 22305
6pm Blue Sky Puppets – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA, 22301
6pm How-To Cowboy: Jokefest – Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave, Alexandria, VA 22305
6pm Kickoff and Drawing for Fun Hunt Prize Winners – Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
6pm Rainbow Rock Band – Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave
6:15pm Mike Rose – Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
6:45pm Mister Don – Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305
6:45pm Virginia Bronze – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA, 22301
7pm Alexandria Singers – Washington Street United Methodist Church, 109 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
7pm Amateur Facepainters – Washington Street United Methodist Church, 109 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
7pm Billy & Bob Classic Country Show – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA, 22301
7pm Blue Moon Cowgirls –St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 228 South Pitt Street, Alexandria
7pm Blue Sky Puppets – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive
7pm Cletus Kennelly – Alexandria’s Union Station | 110 Callahan Drive, Alexandria
7pm Curtis Blues – Alexandria Library – Kate Waller Barrett Branch, 717 Queen Street
7pm Dr. Robert Band – Fraternal Order of the Eagles 871, 1015 Cameron Street
7pm Irish Breakfast Band
7pm Janna Audey & Rob Santos – Long & Foster, 400 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
7pm Lesson Zero – Christ Church Auditorium, 118 North Washington Street, Alexandria
7pm Mike Rose – Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
7pm Pete Farnham – Alexandria City Hall – Vola Lawson Lobby, 301 King Street
7pm Primary Colors – Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
7pm Ruthie & the Wranglers – American Legion Post 24, 400 Cameron Street, Alexandria,
7pm Stairwells –Old Presbyterian Meeting House, 321 South Fairfax Street, Alexandria
7pm The Glimpses – Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
7pm The Grandsons – Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union Street, Alexandria
7pm The Rogues – Alexandria Visitor Center, 221 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
7pm The Truehearts –George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive
7pm Vaughn Ambrose Trio – Principle Gallery, 208 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
7pm Watch Night at Alfred Street Baptist Church –301 South Alfred Street Alexandria, VA
7:30pm Battle of the Local Stars –Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street, Alexandria
7:30pm How-To Cowboy: Jokefest- Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305
7:30pm Katherine Archer – Duchess M, 805 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
7:30pm Razor Hill – Refresh Yoga, 110 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
7:30pm Tom Teasley Duo –Imagine Artwear, 1124 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
7:30pm Virginia Bronze –George Washington Masonic Memorial,101 Callahan Drive
7:45pm Billy Coulter Band- Fraternal Order of the Eagles 871, 1015 Cameron Street
7:45pm Bill Kirchen –Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union Street, Alexandria
7:45pm Janine Wilson Band- American Legion Post 24, 400 Cameron Street, Alexandria
7:45pm King Teddy – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive
7:45pm Mark Wesling –Alexandria’s Union Station-110 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA
7:45pm Mike Rose- Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
7:45pm Nicole Belanus –St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 228 South Pitt Street, Alexandria
7:45pm Nobody’s Business –Christ Church Auditorium, 118 North Washington Street
7:45pm Not So Modern Jazz Quartet – Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street
7:45pm Sound of Sleat – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive
7:45pmWashington Philharmonic’s Woodwind Quintet –Washington Street United Methodist Church, 109 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
8pm Al Petteway & Amy White – Old Presbyterian Meeting House, 321 South Fairfax St.
8pm Blue Sky Puppets-George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive
8pm Janna Audey & Rob Santos – Long & Foster, 400 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
8pm The Glimpses – Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
8pm The Rogues – Alexandria Visitor Center, 221 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
8pm Vaughn Ambrose Trio – Principle Gallery, 208 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
8:15pm Mister Don- Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Avenue
8:30pm Alexandria Singers – Washington Street United Methodist Church, 109 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
8:30pm Billy & Bob Classic Country Show- George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA, 22301
8:30pm Blue Moon Cowgirls –St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 228 South Pitt Street
8:30pm Cletus Kennelly – Alexandria’s Union Station | 110 Callahan Drive, Alexandria
8:30pmCurtis Blues  –Alexandria Library – Kate Waller Barrett Branch,717 Queen Street
8:30pm Dr. Robert Band –Fraternal Order of the Eagles 871, 1015 Cameron Street
8:30pm Irish Breakfast Band –Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA
8:30pm Katherine Archer- Duchess M, 805 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
8:30pm Lesson Zero –Christ Church Auditorium, 118 North Washington Street
8:30pm Mike Rose –Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
8:30pm Pete Farnham- Alexandria City Hall – Vola Lawson Lobby, 301 King Street
8:30pm Razor Hill – Refresh Yoga, 110 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
8:30pm Ruthie & the Wranglers –American Legion Post 24, 400 Cameron Street
8:30pm The Grandsons – Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union Street
8:30pm The Truehearts  –George Washington Masonic Memorial,101 Callahan Drive
8:30pm Tom Teasley Duo- Imagine Artwear, 1124 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
8:45pmVirginia Bronze- George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive
9pm Janna Audey & Rob Santos- Long & Foster, 400 King Street, Alexandria, VA
9pm Stairwells – Old Presbyterian Meeting House, 321 South Fairfax Street
9pm The Glimpses  – Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA
9pm The Rogues – Alexandria Visitor Center, 221 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
9pm Vaughn Ambrose Trio –Principle Gallery, 208 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
9:15pm Bill Kirchen – Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union Street, Alexandria
9:15pm Billy Coulter Band – Fraternal Order of the Eagles 871, 1015 Cameron Street
9:15pm Janine Wilson Band – American Legion Post 24, 400 Cameron Street, Alexandria
9:15pm King Teddy – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive
9:15pm Mark Wesling – Alexandria’s Union Station, 110 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA
9:15pm Mike Rose – Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
9:15pm Nicole Belanus –St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 228 South Pitt Street, Alexandria
9:15pm Nobody’s Business – Christ Church Auditorium, 118 North Washington Street
9:15pm Not So Modern Jazz Quartet – Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street, Alexandria
9:15pm Sound of Sleat – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive
9:15pm Washington Philharmonic’s Woodwind Quintet – Washington Street United Methodist Church, 109 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
9:30pm Curtis Blues – Alexandria Library – Kate Waller Barrett Branch, 717 Queen Street
9:30pm Katherine Archer – Duchess M, 805 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
9:30pm Keira Moran- Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
9:30pm Pete Farnham – Alexandria City Hall – Vola Lawson Lobby, 301 King Street
9:30pm Razor Hill- Refresh Yoga, 110 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
9:30pm Tom Teasley Duo – Imagine Artwear, 1124 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
10pm Al Petteway & Amy White – Old Presbyterian Meeting House, 321 South Fairfax St.
10pm Alexandria Singers – Washington Street United Methodist Church, 109 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
10pm Billy & Bob Classic Country Show- George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA, 22301
10pm Blue Moon Cowgirls- St. Paul’s Episcopal Church,228 South Pitt Street, Alexandria
10pm Christ Church Sanctuary- Christ Church Auditorium, 118 North Washington Street
10pm Cletus Kennelly – Alexandria’s Union Station, 110 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA
10pm Dr. Robert Band – Fraternal Order of the Eagles 871, 1015 Cameron Street
10pm Irish Breakfast Band – Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA
10pm Janna Audey & Rob Santos – Long & Foster, 400 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
10pm Lesson Zero – Christ Church Auditorium, 118 North Washington Street, Alexandria
10pm Mike Rose – Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
10pm Ruthie & the Wranglers – American Legion Post 24, 400 Cameron Street
10pm Stairwells – Alexandria Waterfront, King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
10pm The Glimpses – Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
10pm The Grandsons –Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union Street, Alexandria
10pm The Rogues – Alexandria Visitor Center, 221 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
10pmThe Truehearts –George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive
10pm Vaughn Ambrose Trio – Principle Gallery, 208 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
10pm Watch Night at Alfred Street Baptist Church, 301 South Alfred Street Alexandria
10:30pm Curtis Blues – Alexandria Library – Kate Waller Barrett Branch, 717 Queen St.
10:30pm Katherine Archer – Duchess M, 805 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
10:30pm Pete Farnham – Alexandria City Hall – Vola Lawson Lobby, 301 King Street
10:30pm  Tom Teasley Duo – Imagine Artwear, 1124 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
10:45pm Bill Kirchen – Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union Street, Alexandria
10:45pm Billy Coulter Band – Fraternal Order of the Eagles 871, 1015 Cameron Street
10:45pm Janine Wilson Band- American Legion Post 24,400 Cameron St., Alexandria
10:45pm King Teddy – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive
10:45pm Mark Wesling- Alexandria’s Union Station, 110 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA
10:45pm Nicole Belanus- St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 228 South Pitt Street, Alexandria
10:45pm Nobody’s Business – Christ Church Auditorium, 118 North Washington Street
10:45pm Not So Modern Jazz Quartet – Lyceum, 201 South Washington St, Alexandria
10:45pm Sound of Sleat  – George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive
10:45pm Washington Philharmonic’s Woodwind Quintet –Washington Street United Methodist Church, 109 South Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
12am Fireworks on the River! – Alexandria Waterfront, King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Location: Old Town, Alexandria, VA
Date: Sun, Dec 31st, 2017
Times: 10am – midnight
Tel: 703-746-3299
firstnightalexandria.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitalexandriava.com

US: St. Marys, GA – Checkout Beautiful St Marys Waterfront through a Type-8 Periscope

Imagine an attic full of personal memorabilia of many submariners, and you get the feel of this homey museum.

The St. Marys Submarine Museum gives visitors a real feel for life aboard a submarine. The museum’s 5,000 square feet of exhibition and displays feature real and working shipboard equipment. A ship’s control panel, ballast control panel, periscope, and working sonar panels give exciting visuals of the interior of a submarine.St Marys Sub Museum submus1

At St. Marys Submarine Museum a wide variety of Submarine artifacts, memorabilia and information are available for viewing. You can see early submarine designs (pig boats) right up to nuclear ones, consoles, a working Type-8 periscope, listings of boats built and lost in WW II and tons of command plaques.

For the truly addicted, submarine movies play all day, and you are invited
to read actual files of each U.S. submarine or support commands. More than 99% of all WWII Patrol Reports and their command history files are here (even previously classified documents); these are not usually seen by the average person or submarine veteran. St Marys Sub Museum - inside

Location: St. Marys Submarine Museum, 102 W. St. Marys St., St. Marys, GA 31558
Hours: Tues-Sat 10am – 5pm, Sun 12pm – 5pm
Tel: 912-882-2782
stmaryssubmuseum.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitkingsland.com

US: Mystic, CT – Mystic Sharkfest Swim

The 3rd Annual Mystic Sharkfest will be a 1500 meter swim from Middle Wharf at Mystic Seaport, down the Mystic River and under the famous Bascule drawbridge to finish at Dock A at Seaport Marine next to Red 36 Restaurant.Mystic Sharkfest - ParticipantsIMG_7483

This swim will give you the perfect excuse to visit a classic New England seaport on Long Island Sound. The swim course will take you past the fully restored whaling ship, Charles Morgan and around the Mystic Harbor lighthouse and down river through the picturesque village.

Mystic Sharkfest SwimDon’t miss the opportunity to explore this small town that is steeped in shipbuilding history.  Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Its collections and exhibits include over 500 historic watercraft, a major research library, a large gallery of maritime art, a unique diorama displaying the town of Mystic as it was in the 19th century, a ship restoration shipyard, the Treworgy Planetarium, and a re-creation of a 19th-century seafaring village. You will also want to visit the Mystic Aquarium where you can actually pet the sharks…the perfect conclusion to your Sharkfest weekend.

PLEASE NOTE: This swim is not for novices. This event is for experienced open-water swimmers only. You should be able to swim one mile comfortably in a pool in under 40 minutes.

Mystic Sharkfest LogoIMG_7394

Location:Downtown Mystic, Mystic Seaport, Main Street,  Mystic, CT 06355
Date: Sun, July 16, 2017
Time: 8:30am – 12:00pm
Tel: 415-868-1829
raceroster.com/events/2017/9524/2017-mystic-sharkfest-swim
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: thisismystic.com
mysticdowntown.org

US: Milford, CT – Search for Cap’n Kidd’s Treasure on Pirates Day

Ahoy Mateys! For over 300 years, people of all ages have searched for Captain Kidd’s treasure.  Sunday, June 11th, 2017 is Pirates Day in MilfordJoin Captain Kidd and his crew as they sail into Milford Harbor, ‘kidnap’ Mayor Blake and “take over” downtown Milford.Pirates Day 2 2017-05-15_11-03-05

For the 13th annual Cap’n Kidd Treasure Hunt, participants will pick up a downtown treasure map, a strand of pirate beads, and a booty bag at Lisman Landing or by the Gazebo on the Green. Take part in the scavenger hunt by following the clues listed on the map, decipher the clue that matches the stop, and fill up your booty bags with treasures galore at the participating Pirate Stops.  Don’t forget to get your map stamped for a chance to win a treasure chest of prizes. Here’s a clue…Only the places displaying Pirate Flags will have the loot you seek.

There will be pirate-themed activities for children on the Green by the Gazebo, and  live, local bands for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to keep a look out for more crew members for great photo ops and  join Cap’n Kidd and his motley crew for a spectacular pirate parade. Pirates Day image

So put on your best pirate garb, learn how to talk like a pirate, and search for Cap’n Kidd’s treasure. Matey, don’t miss this fun, family-friendly adventure, brimming with special treasures and pirate bustle all day long … or be prepared to walk the Plank!  AAARRRGGGG…

Cap’n Kidd Pirates Day Treasure Hunt:
SUNDAY, JUNE 11th, 2017 Noon to 5:00 PM
(subject to change)
Pirates Day

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM Map Distribution Lisman Landing (can also be picked up at the Gazebo – after 1 pm pick up at Gazebo on the Green only)
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM  Tim Payson & Friends
12:00 PM  Cap’n Kidd, Captain Jack, colorful pirates and pirate ship arrive at Harbor/Lisman Landing
12:15 PM   Mayor Benjamin G. Blake greets crowd, kicks off event
12:00 PM –  2:00 PM  Map Distribution continues by the Gazebo on the Green
12:30 – 2:00 PM  Pirate Rock Painting with Rock On Pirate Girls By the Gazebo on the Green  * Proceeds benefit the Get In Touch Foundation
1:00 PM  Milford Volunteers Ancient Fife and Drum Corps – Park by Café Atlantique
1:30 – 2:00 PM  Katie Gillick, musician/composer – Gazebo on the Green
2:30 – 3:00 PM  Pirates Parade on the Green by the Gazebo – everyone invited to join in
2:00 – 3:00 PM  The Elwoods (Classic Rock/Blues) Gazebo on the Green
2:30 – 3:30 PM  Pirate-related Kiddie Activities by the Gazebo on the Green and story-time by Friends of the Milford Library
3:00 – 4:00 PM  The Elwoods (Classic Rock/Blues) Gazebo on the Green
4:00 – 5:00 PM  Drop off completed maps at the DMBA Exhibit by the Gazebo on the Green, for a chance to win a Treasure Chest of prizes (one adult winner & one child winner will be chosen); event closes promptly at 5:00 PM

Location: Lisman Landing or Gazebo on the Green, Downtown Milford, CT 06460
Date: Sun, June 11th, 2017
Hours: noon – 5pm
Tel:  203-745-4946
downtownmilfordct.com/copy-of-wine-trail
For Regional Accommodation, Restaurants & Attractions: milfordct.com

US: Skippers, VA – Good Earth Peanuts are Virginia Peanuts at their Best

Virginia grows the largest variety of peanuts in the world. The Good Earth Peanut Company ships Virginia peanuts fresh in a variety of forms: raw and cooked, in and out of the shell. Sitting right on a 1650’s Tuscarora Indian trail which is now a railroad junction, in an old time (circa 1854) general store, this family business roasts and sells peanuts.IMG_3539

Lindsey and Scott Vincent go beyond the ordinary nut to sell cashew brittle, wasabi flavored peas, nut berry thrill, diet trail mix, cracked pepper and sea salt peanuts, chocolate covered peanut brittle (Sandra’s favorite) and maple covered nuts, as well as pecans like key lime ones (we’re addicted to the butter toasted pecans in our salads).

There are FREE tastes of the 36 or so salty and sweet treats. We’ll take the dark chocolate
covered cherries. Some groceries still line the walls, like McCutcheon’s preserves and Virginia hams.IMG_3538

You’ve gotta stop here, you won’t be disappointed, the quality and the assortment are amazing. You can even order them on-line and have them shipped to you. They will  include information about the history of peanuts, also known as goobers and groundnuts, and how peanuts are grown.  WARNING: These products are addictive!

Location: The Good Earth Peanut Company,  5334 Skippers Road, Skippers, Va 23879
Hours: Mon – Fri 8-6pm, Sat 9-4pm
Tel: 1-800-643-1695
goodearthpeanuts.com

Canada: Montreal, Quebec – Voiles en Voiles Pirate Ship

Voiles en Voiles is a family-oriented park in the Old Port of Montreal, based on a pirate ship and consisting of aerial climbing, zipping, wall climbing and inflatable bouncing games. Voiles en Voiles Pirate ShipThis is an idea of what you are up against at Voiles en voiles.

Canada: Montreal, Quebec – Old Montreal’s Voiles de voiles

View of the Voiles de voiles Pirate Ship adventure from the SOS Labyrinthe in Old Montreal. The Voiles consists of games, aerial courses and bouncy castles that can keep you occupied for hours.

voiles

Canada: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia – Ornate Main Gates

Looking down the length of Rue Toulouse you can see the Bourbon majesty in the ornate arch of Frederic Gate. Most of the people, news, merchandise which arrived at Fortress Louisbourg, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, as well as orders from the king arrived through the gate. The gate’s name honors the royal minister who managed France’s colonies and navy in the 18th century.

When ships arrived, crews pushed and carried their cargo through the narrow gateway. The sailors who landed here spoke French, English, Portuguese, Basque, Breton, German, and the Mi’kmaw of the native people. The quay was a gathering place for townspeople so they would have seen public announcements, auctions and even the punishment of criminals.

Cape Beton Rue Toulouse

South Africa: Visiting Robben Island, UNESCO World Heritage Site

By Adele Shapiro – March 2012.

As a child I used to visit Robben Island with my grandmother. Her son, my uncle, was a warder in the prison services there. The name “Robben”, despite sounding very English – is in fact the Dutch for “Seal” – and the name derives from the extensive seal colony that was found on the Island by the first Dutch settlers.

We would go to the Cape Town docks and from there, take a boat ride to the island, where we would spend the day with family. I was vaguely aware that there were bad people on the island, and that it was a prison…. but little did I know then of the role it was to play in South Africa’s later history. Years passed and now as an adrobben1ult, I found myself revisiting the place where “the bad people” were kept, only now I realized that some were not so bad after all.

I bought a ticket for the tour some days before the trip, (advisable, as they fill up quickly) and took time out to examine the display at the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

There were many photographs of the political dissidents, the calls for boycotts, the anti-apartheid marches and there was also a prison cell that had been reconstructed for the purposes of the exhibit. I strongly recommend a visit to this exhibit before going to the island as it helps to contextualize the experience.

The trip began, as in times of old, with a boat ride from Cape Town docks, but this time instead of my uncle meeting us, we had a pleasant tour guide who told us jokes on our bus trip, whilst pointing out various sights on the island. Our bus was parked under a sign that said: “Welcome. We serve with pride.” I wondered if that sign had been there when Robben Island had been a prison as it was so sharply incongruous to the environment. I hoped not.

robben2Robben Island has had a long history. First as a lighthouse to warn ships of the VOC, the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie), of the rocks that surround the island. But since the end of the 17th century, Robben Island has been used for the isolation of (mainly) political prisoners. The island was also used at various times as an animal quarantine station, a home for slaves, a leper colony, a hospital for the mentally ill and as a prison for French Vichy prisoners of war.

First we saw the Leper Graveyard and then house where Robert Sobukwe (Founder of the Pan Africanist Congress) had been kept separate from the other political dissidents.

It seems that Robert Sobukwe had special status in the prison. He was kept in solitary confinement at all times, but allowed certain privileges including access to books, being permitted to study, being permitted to wear civilian clothes, and being permitted bread. His children were allowed to visit him and they had their own bedroom in his “house”. Robert Sobukwe was convicted of incitement for demonstrating against and defying the Pass Laws, and in particular, for his connection to the PAC demonstration (although he was not present) which became known as the Sharpeville Massacre.

The notorious Pass Laws required black people to carry a pass book at all times when outside their compounds or designated areas, and were designed to limit severely the movements of the non-white population. This legislation was one of the dominant features of the country’s apartheid system.

Sobukwe was sentenced to three years in prison. After serving his sentence, he was moved to Robben Island for internment, as a new law called the General Law Amendment Act had been passed, which permitted his imprisonment to be renewed annually at the discretion of the Minister of Justice. This procedure became known as the “Sobukwe clause” and Robert Sobukwe was the only person whose imprisonment was extended under this clause. Imagine how special one has to be in order for parliament to pass a law just for you!

We also learned from our tour guide that the American politician and Pastor, Andrew Young, had fostered Sobukwe’s children in the USA, while Sobukwe had been in prison.

Our tour continued to the lime quarry where the political prisoners had worked. At the entrance to the quarry we saw a small cairn, and learned its history. In February 1995, (the landmark change of government was in 1994), about one thousand former political prisoners gathered again on Robben Island, but this time as free men, and to mark the occasion, each one placed a small stone from the quarry in a pile, making a small memorial to their years of hardship and struggle.

As we continued on our bus ride, we were shown a church, a hospital, a school and a mosque, and realized that far beyond our expectations, the island had supported a whole community. We duly arrived at the prison and tumbled out of the bus for our tour of “the real thing”. We were excited and filled with high spirits and I wondered for a moment where my heart would have been had I not been a tourist.

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Inside we found grey walls. It was cool at midday; it was clear that at midnight it would be very cold. The communal cells were large and each had a bathroom attached.

Here we met our prison tour guide, Derrick Basson, a former political prisoner who served time on Robben Island for sabotage.

Derrick was very patient, humble and remarkably, not bitter. He answered all the insensitive questions calmly and without anger. In addition he explained the grading of the prisoners by race and also the diets that varied due to the racial classification of each prisoner. One of the curious facts he told us was that black prisoners were not given bread. As they were Africans their “natural” food was considered to be maize meal. The mixed race prisoners were allowed bread as they were considered to be more western or European and less African. The black Africans were also not allowed jam or syrup. I suppose you do not need jam if you have no bread.

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Then I remembered that Robert Sobukwe, in spite of being black, was allowed to have bread, and it struck me that this must have been because he had been a university professor, and since this is a very “European” and non-tribal job, maybe he was considered eligible to receive bread.

Derrick further explained how prisoners slept on mats on the floor and how 5 blankets had not been enough to keep them warm at night. I suddenly remembered an interview with a former Alcatraz inmate who spoke of the extreme cold and of how prisoners had learned to sleep with only their elbows and knees touching the floor, hands locked behind the head. I became very grateful for my duvet.

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We were told that in the beginning the political prisoners had been kept with the ordinary criminals, but later on, they were, thankfully, given their own “wing” and kept together. They came to call this place “The University” as they learned many things from each other and many of them also obtained degrees while in prison.

Derrick then took us to a yard where the prisoners had chopped rocks and turned them into stones, day after day in the sun. They were told that these rocks were used for roads built on the island, but no one seemed to know if this was true or not.

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We were then taken to Nelson Mandela’s cell. Mandela was a militant anti-apartheid activist, as well as the co-founder and leader of the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), Umkhonto we Sizwe or “Spear of the Nation”. He was arrested in 1962 and convicted of sabotage, (amongst other charges), after he admitted to manufacturing explosives and acts of public violence, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela served 27 years in prison, 18 of these on Robben Island. After his release, he served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

My very first impression was of how small the cell was. No, not small, tiny. And then I thought that at least he could stand up and lie down in it, but not much more than that. At least it was larger than the dreadful box that I had heard was used in China. But there was no toilet. Just a metal bucket with a lid. At least a lid. And no tap, so no water. And if you are thirsty during the night, what should you do? And of course there was no electrical socket and no radio nor TV. And all I could think of was 27 years. TWENTY SEVEN YEARS! There was no door handle on the inside. The door was only operational from the outside, not unlike a cage. I remembered that Nelson Mandela had once remarked that the hardest and most traumatic experience he endured whilst on Robben Island for all those years was that he never ever saw, or even heard, a child. Can you imagine that? Now he insists on being photographed with children, whenever possible.

robben10And then it was all over. We walked out to the yard, Derrick took us to the exit, and we said our goodbyes.I felt an odd mixture of elation and depression. Very happy that I had been to a UNESCO World Heritage Site of such importance, happier still that it was no longer a prison, and most happy that I was leaving. Yet also depressed and ashamed because of the suffering this place represented.

Duly subdued, we gratefully returned to our boat to ponder our feelings of inspiration and shock, enjoy the beautiful sunset cruise back to Cape Town, and watch a school of dolphins at play in the sea.

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Remember when planning a visit to Robben Island, that the tours don’t always run on time. There was no snack bar on the boat. Our boat was 1 hour late in leaving Cape Town harbour and then we were rushed through our tour, which was a pity as there was too little time for questions.

A suggestion would be to make no appointments after the visit as the timing can vary, and also, take a snack pack. A sun hat and sun block are also good ideas.

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Ferries depart (supposedly) at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm, weather permitting, from Nelson Mandela Gateway, at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Tickets costs are R230 for adults and R120 for children (U/18). Telephone: +27 (0)21 413 4200
Fax: +27 (0)21 419 1057