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US: Dillon, SC – Stop and Stretch Your Legs in Dillon

If you’re getting stiff from all that driving or the kids are just suffering from cabin fever from being in the car for so long, here is your perfect solution. The City of Dillon’s Wellness Center is approximately half way between New York and Miami. Why not stop and workout the kinks of travel or walk off that lunch while enjoy their facility. IMG_0456

You are welcome to use (for FREE) the 1/2 mile lighted outdoor walking path outside the complex , which is open 24/7 and dogs on a leash are always welcome.

You can buy a day pass for a mere $5 to go inside and use the city of Dillon’s 40,000 sq ft indoor sport and fitness complex that includes state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment, weight machines, a free weights room and an aerobics & dance room. At the indoor sports complex you can let the kids play basketball, volleyball, or compete in a game of  ping pong.IMG_0460

In addition they have a gym, dry sauna, locker rooms/showers, lounge, wireless internet, cable TV and trained staff.  not Take a break and take advantage of this very inviting and clean gymnasium and fitness center.

Location: 1647 Commerce Dr, Dillon, South Carolina
Hours: Mon – Fri 5:30am – 8:30pm , Sat 8am – 5pm , Sun 2 – 5pm
Tel: 843-774-5115
cityofdillonsc.us/residents/wellness_center.php
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: cityofdillonsc.us

US: Miami, FL – Arts and Culture Festival in Little Havana every Friday

Little Havana Viernes Culturales Abril-15-9Miami, FL Exit 1B: Little Havana is a true reflection of Hispanic culture. As you approach the heart of the neighborhood at SW 8th Street—known as Calle Ocho by the locals; the geographical, historical and emotional heart of the Miami Cuban exile community,  you may feel you’ve been transported to another time and place. Go there for authentic Cuban fare, a strong cafecito, a good Cuban cigar, Latin festivals or a fierce game of dominoes. From salsa-dancing and art exhibits, to a historic movie theater, concerts, Little Havana uncovers a thriving arts and culture scene with a distinctly Cuban flair.Little Havana CraftsVC JAN 2015 (20)

Experience Little Havana by partaking in the Cuban culture at Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays), Little Havana’s popular vibrant art and culture festival, taking place on the last Friday of every month, from 7 to 11 pm on SW 8th Street (Calle Ocho) between 13th and 17th Avenues. It promises to be a fun-filled event for the whole family.

Enjoy live music, dancing under the stars, discover works by local artists and artisans in and around iconic Domino Plaza on SW 8th Street and SW 15th Avenue, contemporary and historic artworks at the many fine art galleries, domino games, cigar rollers, local arts and crafts, all while taking in the flavor and ethnic diversity that Little Havana has to offer.Little Havana FoodVC JAN 2015 (26)

Get the sense of this tight knit community by taking advantage of the Free Little Havana Walking Tour.  Dr. Paul George has developed 12 different tours of the surrounding neighborhoods and this historic walking tour experience brings a unique and different audience from all parts of South Florida. Meet in front of the Tower Theater (1508 SW 8th St.) @ 7 PM, Free, no reservations required.Little Havana Face Painting Viernes Culturales Abril-15-60

Free Trolley Service : The City of Miami takes you for free on the Miami Trolley leaving from the Mary Brickell Village and the Brickell Metrorail/Metromover Station to the heart of the Viernes Culturales festival every 15 minutes, starting at 6:30 pm.

Location: Along Southwest 8th Street from 13th to 17th avenues, Miami, FL 33135
Date: Fri, June 30 2017 (Later 2017 Dates: 7/28, 8/25, 9/29, 10/27, 11/24, 12/29)
Hours: 7 – 11 pm
Tel: 305-643-5500
viernesculturales.org/mainvc/
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: miamiandbeaches.com

US: Dillon, SC – Dillon Wellness Center – Exercise Gym is only $5

The City of Dillon’s Wellness Center is approximately half way between New York and Miami. Why not stop and workout the kinks of travel or walk off that lunch while enjoy their facility. IMG_0456

You are welcome to use (for FREE) the 1/2 mile lighted outdoor walking path outside the complex , which is open 24/7 and dogs on a leash are always welcome.

You can buy a day pass for a mere $5 to go inside and use the city of Dillon’s 40,000 sq ft indoor sport and fitness complex that includes state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment, weight machines, a free weights room and an aerobics & dance room. At the indoor sports complex you can let the kids play basketball, volleyball, or compete in a game of  ping pong.IMG_0460

In addition they have a gym, dry sauna, locker rooms/showers, lounge, wireless internet, cable TV and trained staff.  Why not take a break from all the driving and take advantage of this very inviting and clean gymnasium and fitness center.

Location: 1647 Commerce Dr, Dillon, South Carolina
Hours: Mon – Fri 5:30am – 8:30pm , Sat 8am – 5pm , Sun 2 – 5pm
Tel: 843-774-5115
cityofdillonsc.us/residents/wellness_center.php
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: cityofdillonsc.us

US: Eulonia, GA – Buffalo Steaks Grilled to Perfection at Clay’s Sapelo Station

If you are looking for fresh local seafood near Coastal Georgia, head to Clay’s Sapelo Station, where the locals eat. Though this place is small in size they say its big in service and taste. Stop in the heart of historic McIntosh County and enjoy dinner in charming, rustic coastal ambiance.sapalo-station-ga

Your experience starts with the owner greeting you at the door. Treat your taste buds to the local seafood, including sweet Georgia shrimp, scallops, Sapelo Clams, oysters and a variety of fish. Or you can devour steam fresh crabs, freshly caught and steamed to order. The celebrated McIntosh County Buffalo Steaks are grilled to perfection, taking the South’s flavor and the North’s flair: Treat yourself to a tender buffalo steak and you’ll see why this is a house favorite.buffalo-steak-sapalo-station

Standouts are Boom Boom Shrimp, Pecan Crusted Fish, Shrimp and Grit Cake, Crab Stew, Fish Tacos and the LCB (low country boil). Eat in the dining room, the bar area or one of the porches. Often you can enjoy live music and that’s when the place gets packed with lots of dancing – and fun. Why not take a break from the road and savor their authentic warm Southern hospitality.sapalo-station-ga-shrimps

Location: Clay’s Sapelo Station – 15600 US Highway 17, Townsend, Georgia 31331
Hours: Wed – Sat 5pm – 10pm,
Sun 12pm – 10pm
Tel: 912-832-2013
clayssapelostation.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitdarien.com
mcintoshcountyga.com

US: Savannah, GA – Eli Whitney Slept Here

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

 

US: Fort Lauderdale, FL – It’s 12 Miles of the “Greatest Show on H20”

Christmas is that special time of year when winterfest-parade-fireworkslights illuminate the night sky. In South Florida, they have an annual tradition of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel Winterfest Boat Parade where privately owned boats and yachts take over the intracoastal waterway and display all of their Christmas glory.

The Boat Parade sets sail for 12 miles starting in downtown Fort Lauderdale heading North to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. Approximately one million spectators view the parade, along with millions more via television and the internet, bringing national and international recognition to South Florida. The event is the Top 20th Parade in the World and considered the Greatest Show on H2O.

Private boats to the giant showboats and corporate mega yachts will be adorned winterfest-parade-boatswith hundreds of thousands of lights, music, entertainment, decorations, celebrities, musical groups, beauty queens and many other exciting entries. Parade highlights: Grand Marshal Showboat, Galleria Mall Reindeer Barge and the Santa Showboat.

Fun, Family entertainment. Free admission along the Rwinterfest-boat-parade-logo2iverwalk.

Parade Route: Downtown Fort Lauderdale on the New River, heading East to the Intracoastal then North to Pompano Beach
Date: Saturday, December 10, 2016
Time: 6:30PM to 11:00PM
Tel: 954-7670-0686
WinterfestParade.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: sunny.org

US: Portsmouth, NH – Tour of Fairy Houses in Portsmouth

:Put on your fairy wings and get to The Portsmouth Fairy House Tour. It’s one of the largest fairy house tours around and takes place each fall in the historic South End Neighborhood of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Presently in its 12th year, the Tour will feature over 200 handcrafted fairy houses built by creative professionals, local artists, florists, garden clubs, community members, families and students and will be on display on the grounds of Strawbery Banke Museum , Governor John Langdon HousePrescott Park  and Peirce Island. The annual Fairy House Tour attracts more than 8,000 families and fairies each year.Fairy House

Inspired by local award-winning author and illustrator Tracy Kane’s Fairy Houses Series® of books, which popularized fairy house building worldwide and served as the original inspiration for the Portsmouth Fairy House Tour. Tracy Kane will be on hand both days to greet fairy fans and sign books.

Visitors will also have the chance to see excepts from “Fairy Houses–the Ballet” performed both days on the Prescott Park Arts Festival Stage and see the magic of Tracy Kane’s Forest Secrets brought to life by the NH Theatre Project in the Langdon grove. Families are also invited to build their own fairy house on Peirce Island where Basic materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own special embellishments. For a complete list of activities: portsmouthfairyhousetour.com/activities–food.html

The centerpiece of the Tour is the Artists Invitational competition. Ten select fairy houses build by imaginative connoisseurs will be judged by a panel of three judges, including Fairy Houses Series® Author/ Illustrator, Tracy Kane.

Tour Summary:

  • Ticket includes entrance to Strawbery Banke and Governor John Langdon House
  • Meet Tracy Kane, author/illustrator of the multi-award winning Fairy Houses Series® of books and video.
  • Artists Invitation
  • Excepts from “Fairy Houses–the Ballet” performed both days on the Prescott Park Arts Festival Stage
  • See the magic of Tracy Kane’s books brought to life by the NH Theatre Project in the Langdon grove
  • Build your own Fairy House on Peirce Island and help create the World’s Largest Fairy Houses Village
  • The Amazing Bubble Machine
  • All within walking distance
  • FREE PARKING available at Peirce Island

Tickets and tour maps are available by the flag pole at Prescott Park, Governor John Langdon House, and on Peirce Island (by the main parking areas).

Location: various -Portsmouth, NH 03801
Date: Sat & Sun, Sept 24 & 25 2016
Time: 11am till 3pm Rain or Shine
Tel: 603-659-1300
portsmouthfairyhousetour.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: goportsmouthnh.com

US, VA – “12 Years a Slave” movie: Museum

VA Exit 177B: The movie, “12 Years a Slave”  has a connection to a slave site, now a Virginia museum, called Freedom House Museum. In 1808, a US law outlawed the importation of slaves. Still so necessary for plantation life, clever entrepreneurs did not let this stop the sale of slaves – they simply bred them! The slaves were encouraged to have as many children as possible so they could be auctioned off.

The last slave trader at this site, James H. Birch, was the same dealer who, in the movie,  paid kidnappers $250 for Solomon Northup of Saratoga Springs, NY; They then sold him into slavery in Louisiana. “What is unique about this building is it’s one of the few remaining buildings that the slave trade actually took place in.” said curator Julian Kiganda” who designed the exhibits here.

This building was once headquarters for the Franklin and Armfield Slave Pen, the largest and most successful domestic slave trading firm in America. “We will give Cash for one hundred likely YOUNG NEGROES”, read one of their ads in the Alexandria Gazette in 1828. “Persons who wish to sell, would do well to give us a call, as the negroes are wanted immediately. We will give more than any other purchasers that are in the market or may hereafter come into the market.”

Between the 1830’s and 1860’s Virginia exported more than 10,000 slaves a year to the Deep South, and the total may have reached 300,000, tearing families apart forever. The FREE museum is a must to absorb the personal stories of this black mark on the country’s history. “Everyone who comes through there, they feel moved.” says Kiganda.

Location: . 1315 Duke St., Alexandria, VA
Tel:  703-836-2858
www.freedomhousemuseum.org