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Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Maze

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Who loves corn? Or should I ask the real question, who loves a good corn maze? I remember the first time I saw the sign for a corn maze. It was years ago and I wasn’t sure if I was seeing what I was seeing. I came back that evening and couldn’t wait to get my flashlight and map. I had a blast. I also got lost for hours. The maze was huge! Afterwards I went home and thought about the next time I was going to go. It wasn’t until the next year. This time I went on a haunted maze. It was me and a friend and it felt like we were the only ones there. And the ghosts and ghouls. What a great time I had. Since then I’ve been to all kinds of corn mazes, whether during the day or night. Some lasting an entire afternoon. And this year is no different. I plan to find a phenomenal corn maze and maybe I’ll even try for a haunted one again.

 

It doesn’t matter where you live, corn mazes are popping up everywhere. They have become a main attraction. You will even find the mazes are part of fall festivals with rides, homemade food stands and animal attractions.

 

I have come across a lot of corn mazes but one of the most impressive is the maze at Richardson Farms in Spring Grove, IL. It boasts to be 33 acres of maze! Now that’s a lot of corn. A corn maze that has been turned into a tribute to The Beatles; this is a dedicated farm. As with most mazes now, there are so many things to do here you might get lost before you even make it to the corn. There are pig races, hayrides, pumpkin picking and orbiting. What is orbiting? A huge ball you get into and go for a ride! Who knew? An area for food including hamburgers, hot dogs and those yummy homemade apple-cider donuts.  There is even a day designated to bring your horse to the maze. Want to come back for Christmas; they even have a Christmas tree field where you can cut down your own tree. This farm has it all. Well almost…

 

Corn mazes and Halloween in my book go hand in hand. Not every farm does Halloween so shop around and don’t just sample one farm. Each one has its own unique spin to the maze and what it offers. Scream Acres in Atkins, IA doesn’t just have a maze it has a curtain chaos and slaughterhouse.  Or in Glendale, AZ the AZ Field of Screams is a romp-roaring corn maze at night made to frighten.

 

Whether you want to go with family, sit back and chow down on a donut while looking at your map or going with your best friends and screaming for an hour it’s out there. You can always do what I do and do both. Why choose when both are so much fun!

 
Monday, 07 October 2013

Temples of the Past

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In school I was always fascinated by pyramids and of course the most famous of pyramids are in Egypt. I was enthralled by those but what really caught my attention were the stone monuments in Guatemala or rather the Maya civilization and how they lived. The monuments and temples looked majestic in a completely different way than the Egyptian pyramids. Perhaps it’s because they are surrounded by the forest and hidden away. I’m not sure but they are just as extraordinary in their history as any other temple you come across.

 

The Maya, an ancient civilization that existed for a short period of time lived in Tikal, Guatemala. They constructed pyramids, temples and palaces for their people. They are known for their use of the number zero and the calendar.  There are approximately 3,000 buildings that still remain but less than a dozen pyramids are still in existence; each having its own name from The Temple of the Masks to The Temple of the Jaguar Pries.  Not only is the temple named after the jaguar, a select group that governed over the Maya called Jaguar Clan Lords ruled this area.

 

Depending on when you travel to Guatemala to see the temples will determine what your experience will be. In the morning you’ll see and hear the spider monkeys. Howler monkeys are also in the area but not quite as visible. The toucan birds and coatimundis can be seen everywhere and of course there are jaguars in the area but the odds of seeing one are very slim.

 

During your tour you’re able to explore the area and climb the steps of the temples. You won’t be able to climb all of them but there are still a few where you’re able climb the steps and see the view from the top. You’ll notice archeologists still digging in the area as they are still exploring and discovering temples and remains. Just like every destination where you stay is up to you but I recommend spending a few extra dollars and staying in the park where you will be surrounded by nature and hear the sounds of the forest.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Leef Peepers

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It’s time to get out the fuzzy sweaters, hot apple cider and think about carving pumpkins. That’s right, autumn has arrived and it’s here to stay, well until winter comes blowing in but who wants to think about snow at least not yet. As I look my window I can see the hint of leaves changing to warm fall colors, reds, oranges and yellows. The leaves never stay long enough for me to enjoy them and yet I’m grateful I live in the New England states where it gives me  the best seat in the house.

 

The options for a road trip are unlimited once you reach Connecticut but I say go a little further and cross the Massachusetts line. Here you can travel to Walden Park (yes, the famous one) and get out the camera. Take a drive across Mohawk Trail which leads into Connecticut and New York. Keep traveling and you can find yourself in the Catskills. You will need a map or a GPS. If New York is not where you want to end up you can always keep traveling and go into New Hampshire or Vermont.

 

In Vermont you’ll be able to find biking or walking tours as you take in the scenery or you can go on a tour of covered bridges. I can’t think of a better time than during the fall months when the beauty will be most spectacular to see both. Keep going north and you’ll end up in Maine. The Arcadia state park is a welcoming sight for leaf peepers. No matter what state you’re in the closer you get to the ocean the longer and later the trees turn allowing you to enjoy their beauty for a few weeks longer than anywhere else.

 

In fact there really aren’t too many places you can’t go in the New England states to enjoy the fall foliage. While driving along those back roads with your binoculars and cameras, stop by a farm stand or farm and pick your own apples or taste a homemade apple donut. Just like the leaves you won’t want to miss this special memory that only happens once a year.

 
Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Falling into Air

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My last trip to the beach for the season has gone and past and yet I still have the itch to get back into the water, any water to keep hold of summer. I’ll even settle for a pool or to be extreme one of the world’s largest waterfalls.  Okay so I can’t go swimming in the waterfall but I can go bungee jumping.

Nestled in the mountains of Africa is Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River; waterfall that reaches into the sky and is ready for anyone who dares plunge off of it. While it isn’t the highest waterfall or the widest it is the largest in the world. Its width is over 5,000 ft. and its height is over 300 ft.  Imagine a place like Niagara Falls and double its size.

The idea of bungee jumping off Victoria Falls is exciting and frightening all at the same time. Too much of a free fall, instead of free flying through the air you might opt to take a zip line across the falls instead. This can be just as exhilarating. Along the edge of the falls is the Devil’s Pool. You can relax in the pool and look over the lip to see the water splashing below. Is it dangerous? A little. However, there is a rock formation to keep you from going over the edge. Maybe bungee jumping isn’t so bad after all. Not feeling the need to be one with the air, there are always elephant safaris, fly fishing, white water rafting and my personal favorite walking with lions. Not just any lions where you’re in a vehicle somewhat safe and watching with binoculars. These lions happen to be unleashed without collars walking right beside you. The lions are being released back into the jungle and you’re able to be part of this wonderful experience. The activities are limitless at the falls, there is even mountain biking through the cliffs and microlight flights. No matter what your fear level is, Victoria Falls will test it. 

Depending on what season you travel here will depend on what you can and cannot do. If you go during the early months of the year you will see the falls in full glory. Only to be experienced by aerial view if you want to be able to take in the magnitude of its beauty. As the months proceed the falls will become less and less. By November the falls will be all but gone and you will be able to see the cliffs without the falls spilling over them as well as take a raft to the bottom of the falls. If you’re like me and already miss the summer feel of being free maybe I’ll see you sailing through the sky with only a cord flying behind you.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Wildflower Days

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Are you like me and can already smell fall in the air even though it’s only August. It’s possible it might be my imagination yet I still can’t shake the feeling of holidays approaching and winter is on its way. As the lazy days of summer pass by I’m ready for the colder months to come upon me.

Whether you want to travel to the Himalayan Mountainsduring the summer or winter there is one hotel that stands outamong the rest, Wildflower Hall. A luxury resort nestled in the mountains with exquisite views. It is surrounded by magnificentpine and cedar trees.

The rooms are state of the art with walk-in closets, butler service, fireplaces, personal bars and teak floors. The bathrooms are laced with marble and each with a bathtub as well as a shower for your convenience.

After you’ve settled into your room enjoy all the resort has to offer.  A deluxe spa that is chocked full of a wide assortment of massages including a couple’s massage;  choose from anassortment of baths from herbal to milk and rose to accompany your massage. Afterwards, stretch with a session of yoga. Venture over to the indoor heated pool that overlooks the mountains with bigger than life chandeliers and mosaic tiled floor. Or you can go outside to the heated infinity whirlpoolunder the snowflakes where you will feel one with nature.

No matter what season you choose the grounds are yours for the taking. Go hiking through the forest and take a picnic or grab a mountain bike and go riding. In the winter go skiing down the mountains. There is the option of white water rafting or ice skating depending on the weather. Of course you don’t have do to any of these things. You can sit back; relax with a bottle of wine in your room or sit on the terrace to bask in a delicious meal overlooking a view that will take your breath away.  

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