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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: Richmond, VA – Mother’s Day Fun or Just Stop and Smell the Roses at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is an oasis on a driving trip – 82 magnificent acres which started life as Powhatanhuntinggrounds and was at one time owned by patriot Patrick Henry.

In 1884, Lewis Ginter, who was orphaned at 17 and later became a millionaire from tobacco and real estate, developed a Wheel Club House here for Richmond bicyclists (now Bloemendaal House). His niece, Grace Arents, developed the gardens, and her original design is still here.

There are more kinds of gardens than we ever knew existed: four seasons, healing, Asian, rose, wetland, azalea and a community kitchen one where they grow food for the hungry. The children’s garden offers up a tree house and an activity center; there’s sidewalk chalk, hula hooping, digging and watering opportunities.  They love the Kids Quest treasure hunt. For walkers, there’s a “walk on the wild side” and a bird trail, and as if all that wasn’t enough, there’s a lush indoor conservatory with exotic plants from around the world.

Featured Events:

A Million Blooms

Until Thursday, June 1, 2017 A Million Bllooms - Flowers -3-28-2017 2-47-04 PM
A Million Blooms is included with Garden admission. A parade of blooms unfurls as the weather warms: daffodils, tulips, peonies, roses and  more.

Butterflies LIVE!

Butterflys @ Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Stephanie Gross 434.962.2019

Until  Sunday, October 15, 2017
Experience the wonderful world of butterflies! Butterflies LIVE! is an indoor exhibit in the Conservatory and is geared for all ages. Get up close and personal as hundreds of tropical butterflies feed, flutter and take flight all around you. Explore their origins, preferred habitats and life cycles.

Butterflys @ Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Stephanie Gross 434.962.2019

Mother’s Day Weekend
May 12, 13 & 14, 2017
Regular Garden admission
A three-day weekend with many opportunities to honor and spend time with mom. Enjoy the popular Butterflies LIVE! exhibit, shopping and dining:

  • The long weekend kicks off Friday, May 12 with National Public Gardens Day.
  • On Saturday, May 13, create the experience your mom would like. Stretch out on quilts in the Louise Cochrane Rose Garden and read favorite books. Explore woodland walks searching for fairies. Get down and dirty with digging activities. Help weave a Maypole, try the hula hoop and chase bubbles! (10 am – 4 pm)
  • Sunday, May 14 is the popular Mother’s Day concert with Glenroy Bailey & Co. (1 – 4pm). Food available for purchase in front of Bloemendaal House. Guests are also welcome to bring blankets or lawn chairs but no outside food or beverage. Activities in the Children’s Garden include “make-and-takes” for mom (10am – 4pm)

Location: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Ave, Richmond, VA 23228
Hours: Daily 9am – 5pm
Tel: 804-262-9887
lewisginter.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitrichmondva.com

US: Folkston, GA – Canoe, Kayak, or Boat the Black Waters of the Okefenokee Swamp

Nature enthusiasts will relish the natural unspoiled and virtually unmarked by man Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge that was established in 1937 to preserve the Okefenokee Swamp. The refuge encompasses over 400,000 acres of canals, moss draped cypress trees and lily pads which provide sanctuaries for hundreds of species of birds and wildlife.Kayakers on canal

Okefenokee has the great distinction of not only being a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, but also the National Wilderness Preservation System. Swamp habitats comprise open wet “prairies,” cypress forests, scrub-shrub vegetation, upland islands, and open lakes. Wildlife species include wading birds, ducks, alligators and other reptiles, a variety of amphibians, bobcats, raptors, white-tailed deer, black bears, and songbirds.

To assist you on your exploration, Okefenokee Adventures offers a full range of tour options and is located inside the refuge on the historic Suwannee Canal.  Canoe, kayak, or boat the mirrored black waters of the Okefenokee Swamp: You can join a regularly scheduled 90 minute guided boat tours, or reserve a 2 hour sunset tour or arrange a half or full day private excursion with an expert, professional guide. Their staff includes well-known authorities on alligator biology, wetland ecology, and Okefenokee cultural history. gator on log

Experience canoe camping in the back-country wilderness of the Swamp interior, or head out on your own in a canoe or kayak. You can bike or drive the Swamp Island Drive, visit an authentic Swamp homestead or walk the nature trails and boardwalk and  get bird’s eye views of the swamp from atop the observation tower.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Location: Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, 2700 Suwanee Canal Rd, Folkston, GA 31537 , Tel: 912-496-7836 or 877-860-6787

Location: Okefenokee Adventures, 4159 Suwannee Canal Rd., Folkston, GA 31537
Hours: Open: ½-hour before sunrise every day,
Closed: 7:30pm – March 1 through Oct 31, Closed: 5:30pm – Nov 1 through end of Feb
Tel: 912-496-7156, 866-843-7926
okefenokeeadventures.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitkingsland.com

US: Daytona Beach, FL – Calling All Jeep Aficionados… Jeep Beach is the Place to be!

Jeep enthusiasts celebrate a passion for off-road vehicles over JeepBeach Flyerfive days of family-friendly fun for Jeep owners. The Jeep Beach event has become the largest Jeep only five-day event in the southeast USA and is held each April in Daytona Beach, Florida to raise much needed funds for worthwhile local and national charities.

Thousands are expected at Daytona Beach and The World Center of Racing, the Daytona International Speedway for this unique Jeep Extravaganza.  Jeep Beach attracts Jeepers and Jeep Industry Vendors from all over the USA, Canada, and even overseas. Jeep Beach - Line up

While appreciating the great weather with like-minded Jeep aficionados, enjoy and partake in the many festivities including: obstacle courses for all levels of drivers, largest Jeep specific vendor show, Beachside Mainstreet Cruise In, clean up at the Jeep-shining show, Pirate Night Themed Kick-off party, Scavenger Hunt, Off Site Trail Rides, Beachside Concert, Block Party and Fireworks, and $150,000 in Raffle Prizes.Jeep Club

Location: City wide Daytona Beach, FL 32118
Dates: April 25 – 30, 2017
Hours: For dates & times of specific events: jeepbeach.com/schedule-events
jeepbeach.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: daytonabeach.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

US: St Marys, GA – Wild Horses Graze on Georgia’s Cumberland Island

A short ferry ride transports you to the treasured, pristine Cumberland Island National Seashore, the largest and southernmost barrier island in Georgia, offering visitors over 17 miles of secluded, white, sandy beaches.

Preserved and protected for future generations, Cumberland Island National Seashore includes a designated wilderness area, undeveloped beaches, historic sites, cultural ruins, critical habitat and nesting areas. Walk on the footsteps of early natives, explorers, and wealthy industrialists.wild-horses-cumberland-island

You can’t explain Cumberland, you experience it. Time moves to the rhythm of nature. On this National Seashore, it is the animals that are the inhabitants and people are only visitors. The majestic sweep of deserted sandy beach is dotted with shells and usually deserted, except for the wild horses roaming at will. The dramatic slope of the dunes is a constant work in progress, sculptured by the wind and sea. The inland’s, majestic live oak and palmetto forests provide shelter for the horses, deer, turkey, alligator, armadillo, mink and a tremendous variety of coastal birds.

You’ll find campsites, hiking trails and first-come-first-serve bike rentals on the island. There are no amenities on the island beyond the restrooms and water fountains. You should bring lunch and water bottles to refill.

The visitor’s center in St. Mary’s, Georgia is the gateway to Cumberland Island. Here you can get tickets for the ferry over to the Island, as well as information about camping permits on the Island.

Location:Mainland Visitor Center, 113 Saint Marys St, GA 31558
Hours: Visitor Center  8 – 4 pm
Tel: 912-882-4335
nps.gov/cuis/index.htm
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:
visitkingsland.com

US: St. Marys, GA – Wild Horses Graze on Georgia’s Cumberland Island

A short ferry ride (passengers only) transports you to the treasured, pristine Cumberland Island National Seashore, the largest and southernmost barrier island in Georgia, offering visitors over 17 miles of secluded, white, sandy beaches.

Preserved and protected for future generations, Cumberland Island National Seashore includes a designated wilderness area, undeveloped beaches, historic sites, cultural ruins, critical habitat and nesting areas. Walk on the footsteps of early natives, explorers, and wealthy industrialists.

You can’t explain Cumberland, you experience it. Time moves to the rhythm of nature. On this National Seashore, it is the animals that are the inhabitants and people are only visitors. The majestic sweep of deserted sandy beach is dotted with shells and usually deserted, except for the wild horses roaming at will. The dramatic slope of the dunes is a constant work in progress, sculptured by the wind and sea. The inland’s, majestic live oak and palmetto forests provide shelter for the horses, deer, turkey, alligator, armadillo, mink and a tremendous variety of coastal birds.

You’ll find campsites, hiking trails and first-come-first-serve bike rentals on the island. There are no amenities on the island beyond the restrooms and water fountains. You should bring lunch and water bottles to refill.

The visitor’s center in St. Mary’s, Georgia is the gateway to Cumberland Island. Here you can get tickets for the ferry over to the Island, as well as information about camping permits on the Island. Wild Horses - Cumberland Island

Location:Mainland Visitor Center, 113 Saint Marys St, GA 31558
Hours: Visitor Center  8 – 4 pm
Tel: 912-882-4335
nps.gov/cuis/index.htm
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:
visitkingsland.com

Canada: Doggie Off Leash Vacation in Quebec

At Domaine Summum in Quebec, they believe that your furry best friends should be free, to be able to enjoy life with you. So they can  run, bark, romp and roll throughout their hiking trails, and jump, splash and swim in their private lake.Molly

Besides the pristine  lake. there’s 200 acres of forest, with trails everywhere. Chalets are spotlessly clean and are well-equipped with a complete kitchen, grill, and a fire pit. You can order delicious frozen ready homemade meals prepared by their “Top Chef”.

The chalets are near Mont Tremblant Village and St-Jovite so that adds options for dining, hiking, golf, mountain biking and any number of other activities.

The owners love dogs (they are breeders of Bernese Mountain dogs) and understand what you need to have a great vacation with your pet running and barking, leash-free!

– No size restriction
– No breed restriction
– No extra fee for 2 dogs
– Pets can be left alone in the room ( without having to be in a crate )
– On site SPAWS (B&B for dogs)
– Special A La Bark menu for your pet
– On site Tail Waggin’ Day Camp

www.domainesummum.com