Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Camping with the Caribou!

Almost glamping. What an awesome adventure to be camping with Caribou. Come on a safari with me. Don't worry you don't have to go all the way to Africa. We're heading north to Canada, Saguenay in Quebec. Welcome to the Saint Felicien Zoo, they celebrated either 50th anniversary this year! http://www.zoosauvage.org
This probably isn't like other zoos you may have been to. The polar bear exhibit is very popular. Many people gather around to watch these aqua lovers play and eat.  If you can't get away right now, they have live webcams so you can take a creativity or mental health break and just watch as these beautiful creatures roam and play. Their habitats are grande and as much of a natural habitat as possible. 

Be introduced to their ecosystem with an interactive movie. Feel, touch, smell; awaken your senses through a marvelous movie that was filmed in the park! 
Take a tram ride through the Nature Trail (natural habitat) where you can get up close and personal with black bears, wolves, Elk and Caribou! Guests can become VIP's, with their own personal guide for more than 24 hours on an adventure inside the park. Go moose hunting (tracking) and camp out with the Caribou. Enjoy a short hike through the Borealie. Paddle on Lake Montagnais and look for caribou and other animals on the islands amist the loggers camp. Partake in lunch at a Colonial Farm. Dine on a meal cooked over an open fire. Marvel as the caribou meander through your camp. Be sure and take your flashlight if you have to go anywhere at night, you don't want to accidentally bump into a caribou on your way to the outhouse, and you definitely don't want to step in any scat).
Kids and adults can even get a behind the scenes look at the large animal veterinary clinic as well as other educational opportunities, camps and water games. 
They're friendly. Really they are! They are almost domesticated. 
Wanna hear a secret? There's a rumor going around that in the near future, you may be able to run with the wolves! Okay, maybe not run with them, but.. something similar to Camping with the Caribou. sshhhh!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fastest Indian and wheels through history

I have a love/hate relationship with motorcycles. When I was younger I was in a minor motorcycle accident. Naturally, I tended to shy away from them after that. However, I still love to look at them and even ride as a passenger, with someone I trust, on the back of a Harley or Triumph.
I had the pleasure of visiting a wonderful garage, well actually its a museum. In Maggie Valley, NC, is an awesome place where there are more than 300 rare, classic and working motorcycles and a few vehicles. The founder, Dale, of Wheels Through Time (www.wheelsthroughtime.com) is very passionate about his motorcycles and the other vehicles in the collection. "Every motorcycle has a story. I didn't just go out and buy them," explains Dale. No matter where you stop on the floor, or the second floor, Dale or his son, are happy to explain the history behind the motorcycle.
Dale was recently featured in an interview with Jay Leno at Pebble Beach. http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/at-the-garage/motorcycles/motorcycles-of-pebble-beach-2010/#comments

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gulf Beaches, Mental Health Day, Sandpiper

Life is busy. But it doesn't mean we can't escape for a day or two. In fact, it's imperative that you schedule regular mental-health days, or a creativity break. We need to debrief our brain and body from the organized chaos we live and breath from day to day.
    Walk out your door, from the Sandpiper Inn (www.sandpiperinn.com) on Longboat Key, and you'll be stepping onto one of Florida's best kept secrets. A beach where the tide gently rolls in, proffering her treasures. Beachcomb, walk along the beach, jog or bring your beloved pet too. A beautiful sunset, calming breeze and fresh air beckon you to come back regularly. Sip cocktails on your private beach and make new friends, walk among the mangroves, bays or go birding with local resident egrets and more than 200 species of birds. A wonderful park is across the street for biking and walking, Joan M. Durante Community Park.
    Rent or bring a bike to explore bike paths along Longboat Key and St. Armands Circle. (www.sarasotafl.org) Browse the unique stores and boutiques for the hard to shop for family and friends, or just for yourself! Hop aboard a fishing charter, enjoy eco-touring in local wild life habitats and reel in some fun (and memories) with your mackeral, grouper  or giant flounder.
    Stroll through Motes Aquarium (www.mote.org), great for one, two, or the family! Learn about sharks and Florida's native species. There are touch pools for adults and kids. Kids can get a bucket of sand and pan for sharks tooth and more! Marvel at John & Mable's Ringling Museum of Art (www.ringling.org) and the Ca d'Zan mansion. A must see and experience from the private art collection to the beautifully maintained home to the International Arts Festival coming in October.
    The evening wouldn't be complete without a decadent meal in a relaxing atmosphere. Our personal favorites include: Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub. This charming, weathered beach house dates back to 1912 and is accessible by land or sea. The manager told me that most of his clients don't know how to come by land, they all arrive in their boats. The Sandbar, on Anna Maria Island is also a legend dating back to 1913, offers tropical music and fresh seafood. The website for these two and a third restaurant on the beach, is www.groupersandwich.com. We ate at mar Vista and the view as well as our meal was superb and our waitress did a wonderful job making sure my scallops were just right!
    We also enjoy Harry's. A very charming restaurant where you can get a delicious german pancake with apples and bananas. They are open for breakfast and lunch with a varied schedule during off seasons. They also offer catering.
    Revisit old Florida. Leave your cell phones, blackberries and laptops at home. Bring your camera and a pair of sandals as you will be swept away in Longboat Key's peaceful respite.

    More photos and places to stay and visit in Longboat Key and Sarasota at www.newtraveladventures.com
  Another one of my favorite places to stay ad I hope will be yours, is the Cypress Bed & Breakfast  (www.cypressbb.com) in Sarasota, overlooking the bay! Their rooms are spacious, elegant, comfortable and the innkeepers will make sure you have everything you need, including a welcome glass of wine and light snacks before dinner on the town. You can walk to the historic art and theatre village only one block over. Only minutes from Sarasota's wonderful attractions including Selby Botanical Gardens, to boating and water sports, right from the marina across the street.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Myakka River State Park

Step onto the trail. Do you hear it? The stillness in the air. It's relatively quiet. An occasional car might drive along the winding road, but it's you and nature. The rustle of leaves on the ground or maybe a few treetops waving a gentle breeze. Listen to the Pied-billed Grebe, Red-headed woodpecker and the Pileated woodpecker. Keep an eye out for the Snowy or Great Egret, the Great Blue Heron and a White ibis, among dozens of other species that are permanent residents at Myakka River State Park.
Myakka River State Park offers a beautiful Canopy Walkway that is suspended 25 feet above ground and is 100 feet long through the hammock. A tower is located at one end which reaches 74 feet high. A great observation deck with a coin-operated viewfinder to observe treetops, wetlands and the prairie among other wildlife.
The fresh pine smell is relaxing and refreshing. The Myakka River flows through 5 square miles of wetlands, prairies and woodlands. Go for a hike along part of the  39 miles of trails. Rent a bike or kayak and ride along the scenic drive through shady hammocks, grassy marshes and around the lake. The park also offers a guided, narrated airboat and tram ride for visitors to relax and learn about the parks special inhabitants and history.
Myakka River State Park offers trails, campsites, boating, kayaking, birdwatching and other fun, outdoor activities for individuals, families or couples.