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Canada: Hudson Village Theatre – Savannah Sipping Society is Light Summer Fun

Many of us enjoy a light read to while away a lazy summer afternoon. At the Hudson Village Theatre, you don’t even have to read to have fun – you can just listen and watch as four women meet, mingle and moan – and become a family of friends.

The director, Ellen David, takes this (Jessie) Jones (Nicholas) Hope (Jamie) Wooten delightful script and gently guides the dynamic quattro of actors as they learn “what is holding you back from one’s past and self-imposed limitations towards a compelling future”.  This could be any one of us.

The performers David chose are as well cast and strong as the four sides of a square. Randa Covington (Jane Wheeler) has defined herself by her work, and doesn’t know how to re-define herself beyond that. She tries to hold on to her safe proper business countenance, but is weighed down by feeling second best in her family. Marlafaye (Lisa Bronwyn Moore) gets the classic “dumped for a younger woman” part, so feelings of anger and rejection are keeping her from moving forward. “I swear the older you get the harder it is to jump start a new life”, she says.

Dot (Kathleen Fee), the oldest of the bunch, has just lost her husband, the only man she has known, and with whom she had planned to retire. She has no idea how to figure out what comes next. Her subtle acting is deliciously wonderful as she delivers many funny zinger lines. Paula Costain as Jinx moves and talks with the right zippy attitude to convince them, as their new “life coach”, to go (as David says)” beyond their comfort zone to a brave new world where they eventually find themselves”. Jinx reminds us that her older sister (now incapacitated with dementia) taught her that “it’s the happy in life that counts”.

The set by Jean-Claude Olivier is a comfortable porch, so the women have an informal place to gently and liquidly reveal their sagas. As this is a “Sipping Society”, drinking props (by Lea Robertson) were a fun challenge due to the many iterations of serving different kinds of alcohol. Marlafaye once toasted, “Girls, here’s to living single and drinking doubles”.

There were more costume changes than you would expect (by Elisabeth De Medeiros), creating a fashion show which helped define the scenes and the forward movement of their lives.

Jamie Wooten, one of the playwrights, was a writer for The Golden Girls, so the quality of their patter and the giggly one-liners is in the same genre of that hysterical show.  When Marlafaye sees Randa’s house for the first time she opines, “Yeah, sure is a pretty place. Everything’s so neat and clean. I’m not like that. Instead of cleaning my house, I just turn off the lights”.  When Randa comments on drinking mead, “This really isn’t so horrible”, Marlafaye responds, “The very words I said on my wedding night”.  Marlafaye also says,  “Sex is like a brownie – when it’s good it’s really good. And when it’s bad….it’s still pretty good!”.

Andrea Romaldi, the artistic director writes, “friendships are our lifelines and support structures. Good friends cheer us, challenge us, bewilder us and irritate us, but ultimately they support and help us grow into our best selves”. Head out to Hudson and lift a glass to friendship.

Location: 28 Rue Wharf, Hudson, QC J0P 1H0
Phone: 450- 458-5361
Dates: til July 22
https://villagetheatre.ca/

 

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: Newark, DE – Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware Exceeds Expectations

We all know that not all hotels measure-up the same, and there is good reason why the Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware is the winner of numerous Trip Advisor and Marriott awards for excellence in guest service, as evaluated by direct guest feedback. With over 250 years of hospitality experience on the management team, Bill Sullivan and his award winning crew do an amazing job exceeding your expectations.Fall Aerials

Enjoy modern accommodations, state-of-the-art technology, and impeccable service at the four-story, 126-room Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware. The hotel offers all of the comforts of home for your visit – whether you’re in the area for business, or to visit the campus of the University of Delaware, the  hotel places you in the center of the action with easy access to the Daniel S. Frawley Stadium, Market Street Mall, Christiana Mall and the Financial District.Brickyard CafŽ by Marriott Hotel

Nestle into the comfortable accommodations in the spacious rooms and suites, equipped with a well-lit work desk and ergonomic chair, free high-speed Wi-Fi, flat-screen HDTVs, mini-fridges, and you will sleep soundly on the comfy pillow-top mattresses.

The hotel works closely with the University Hospitality Program, helping to teach future hoteliers, and has always employed hearing-impaired staff. It’s not only disability friendly, it is pet friendly too – including small pet yard outside.

Location: Courtyard Newark: 400 David Hollowell Dr., Newark, DE 19711 (GPS use 200 New London Rd)
Tel: 302-737-0900
udel.edu/hotel
For Regional Restaurants & Accommodations: visitwilmingtonde.com

US: Dunn, NC – Celebrating Cotton and Importantly, the Cotton Farmers

The 19th annual North Carolina Cotton Festival  takes place in Downtown Dunn on November 4, 2017. This family-fun event draws more than 10,000 people each year and is a celebration of the farmer and in particular the cotton farmer and their contributions as well as the cotton farming and harvesting heritage that plays an important role in the Dunn area.car show

November is peak season for cotton farmers and downtown Dunn was once known as the largest wagon cotton yard in the country. During the festival, the local cotton gin, that until recent years was located in downtown, offers free tours through the gin, allowing you to see cotton production up close and personal. Shuttles are offered from the festival site to the gin every half hour.Quality Equipment

The event covers over 16 city blocks and offers entertainment on 2 stage featuring a variety of music, carnival rides and games, a classic car show -where over 100 antique and custom cars compete for best in show, petting zoo, Kiddie Land, Antique Tractor Show, over 125 vendors showcasing commodities like cotton, needle work, fabric, food and crafts.wilson avenue

FREE admission, lots of downtown shopping at some interesting shops, freebies and family fun for all ages.

Location: Downtown Dunn
Date: November 4, 2017
Time:10am – 4pm
Tel: 910-892-3282
nccottonfestival.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: dunntourism.org

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

Canada – Montreal – Bakerfield Mist: Artsy Fartsy Tryst at Centaur

It is really hard to take the boring authenticity-proving side of the modern art world and make it into a delightful audience loving (2 standing ovations on opening night) theatre piece.

Stephen Sachs, the playwright, took on the true story of Terry Horton, a former truck driver who scavenged a painting for $5 at a second-hand shop as a gift for a friend who needed cheering up. Maude Gutman, as she is called in this play, is a lover of kitsch – her trailer is overwhelmed by it (A congratulatory shout out here for the jam-packed shelves created by set and costume designer Pam Johnson, who really needed my Smart Shopping Montreal book to find all that stuff!). At a yard sale, the local art teacher noticed the painting and mentioned it might be a Jackson Pollock; and so begins the tale. Somehow Gutman managed to get a major art house in NYC to send an expert over to check out her claim.

And therein lies this sparring pied-a-deux. A foul-mouthed bourbon drinking trailer park madam vs. the snooty elitist artsy gentleman. Human authenticity versus art authenticity is set to be proven. Nicola Cavendish walks the walk and talks the talk. Her sneaker grounded stalking moves her around the trailer while her expert verbal comedic timing keeps the pace going. She even manages to give the garbage pail “a line”.

Jonathan Monro (Lionel Percy), himself a renaissance man (competitive swimmer, piano prodigy, singer, director, lyricist, actor), glides around her, expertly dodging her verbal and physical attacks. My take-away forever (as a former NYC art teacher) is the exuberant and sexually suggestive way in which Monro teaches us the how and why a Jackson Pollock painting is important – and not just a bunch of paint splashes on a canvas.
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Though Percy always trusts his “first blink”, it is Nicola Cavendish who summed it up brilliantly when she observed Pollock’s paintings, “You can see that what emerges is layers and layers and layers. I think it’s a lesson on how we can learn to look more closely, whether we are talking about a piece of art or whether we’re talking about the woman who lives across the street who’s offensive.” Modern art is beyond the understanding of the ordinary citizen, and this play opens the door a crack as to what it is all about, how it works and doesn’t work. The show makes it all fun and drives Maude’s trailer expertly to the end to find out if she goes from rags to riches.

Location: 453 St-Francois Xavier
corner: Notre-Dame
Tel: 514-288-3161
Dates: Jan 31-Feb 26, 2017
Prices $28- $51
www.centaurtheatre.com
Metro: Place d’Armes

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

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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

 

US: Newark, DE – Courtyard Newark/Univ of Delaware is Pet, Disability and Ice Cream Friendly

This is a special Courtyard, located on the grounds of the University of Delaware, so you can take advantage of University fun. Check to see if you can catch a game or something exciting going on on the campus. The hotel works closely with the University Hospitality Program, helping to teach future hoteliers, and has always employed hearing-impaired staff. It’s not only disability friendly, it is pet friendly too – including small pet yard outside.courtyard-newark-outside

There is good reason why this hotel is the winner of numerous Trip Advisor and Marriott awards for excellence in guest service, as evaluated by direct guest feedback. With over 250 years of hospitality experience on the management team, Bill Sullivan and his award winning crew do an amazing job exceeding your expectations.

Enjoy modern accommodations, state-of-the-art technology, and impeccable service at the  four-story, 126-room Courtyard Newark-University of Delaware. The hotel offers all of the comforts of home for your visit – whether you’re in the area for business, or to visit the campus of the University of Delaware. Make yourself at home in the spacious, pleasingly designed rooms and suites, equipped with a well-lit work desk and ergonomic chair, free high-speed Wi-Fi, flat-screen HDTVs, mini-fridges, and comfy pillowtop mattresses.bedroom-courtyard-newark2

For an interesting dining experience, ask them about the unique student restaurant on the campus – and the student ice cream parlor too. It is truly farm-to-table, since other students learning about the dairy industry care for the cows, milk them and prepare the cream for the ice cream.  Sample healthy American fare and award-winning crab cakes at The Bistro, which also serves Starbucks® coffee. Squeeze in a workout in the fully-equipped fitness center, or take a swim in the indoor pool. Book today, this hotel won’t disappoint!

Location: Courtyard Newark: 400 David Hollowell Dr., Newark, DE 19711 (GPS use 200 New London Rd)
Tel: 302-737-0900
udel.edu/hotel
For Regional Restaurants & Accommodations: go-delaware.com/Newark-Delaware

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: Titusville, FL – Vintage War Aircrafts

This is a UH-1 Huey helicopter shown at the Valiant Air Command Warbird museum in Florida. Here you can find a collection of vintage war aircraft, photos, uniforms and personal artifacts of the vets, and you can even meet some of these vets as they volunteer to work on the restoration of these planes.

UH-1 Huey helicopter