Archive for April, 2010

Is a state park getaway right for you?

Every time we take a trip, our kids return home itching to relocate our family to wherever it is we just visited. Spend a week in Idaho, and they’ll plan their next birthday party at a Wonka-esque candy shop in Boise. A few days in Seattle, and they’ll want all their fruits and veg from Pike Place Market. A couple of weeks in the Outer Banks, and they’ll want to buy a house next to the surf shop.  A weekend in Chattanooga, and well…you get the picture.                     

By now, my husband and I are accustomed to their constant requests to uproot everything and move hundreds (or thousands) of miles away, so that we can all live near “that great place with the awesome toy shop near the big sand hill that we slid down that day”.  We’re glad they enjoy traveling and that they remember each place we visit – even details that may have seemed minor to us. It makes sense, given the excitement and newness of each destination.

But I have to say I was a little surprised the other day …

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Ashy and cloudy with a (small) chance of travel

Even if you weren’t traveling internationally over the past week, you would need your head stuck in a cloud of volcanic ash to miss the havoc Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano has been wreaking on the community of travelers worldwide.  

While most fliers are accustomed to weather delays, disruptions are usually cleared up within a few hours or a day or two. The thought of six or more days of quiet skies brings back eerie memories of September 11, 2001.

Since the volcanic cloud began creeping over northern Europe’s densely-populated countries last week, several of my friends have been directly affected. Some in Paris are emailing descriptions of the gloomy ash haze. One from Florida has had to wait out the cloud before he can return home to his family from a “quick” business trip to Germany.

Engineers are concerned the sand and glass-like particles that make up the ash will do catastrophic damage to airplanes flying through the haze by congealing in the engine turbine, …

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Is the Derby one of your annual southern getaways?

While Derby Day isn’t until May 1, horse aficionados, celebrities and fans of good old-fashioned fun are beginning to descend upon the southern city of Louisville for the Kentucky Derby Festival.

The annual festival turns a two-minute horse race into a two-week-long party, filled with genteel southern balls, down-home fish fries, star-studded ‘dos, block parties and concerts.  Click here for a full listing of events going on between now and D-Day.

The Derby itself is a cultural event, where enthusiastic and diverse crowds don their fanciest hats and their Southern Sunday best or their craziest costumes while sipping $1,000 mint juleps in silver Tiffany cups or cold beers in plastic tumblers.

I am not a major gambler or race fan, but I have always had an affinity for the Derby. One of my earliest childhood memories is of riding my dad’s horse. (One of my grossest childhood chores was pitching manure from said horse out of the barn.) Even though I didn’t really follow the races, …

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Will oil exploration turn you off of southern beaches?

Since the President announced last week that he will open southern waters to offshore oil and gas exploration, several groups in Georgia and neighboring states have begun to express concern that such a move will destroy tourism and the environment along their coasts.

The government’s plan to allow exploration along the Atlantic coast from Delaware south to mid-Florida and along the eastern parts of the Gulf of Mexico could allow oil and gas companies to lease development rights in some waters by 2012.

“Under the plans announced Wednesday, the Interior Department would lease an area of the Atlantic off Virginia sometime in 2012 or earlier,” reported one AJC article. “Other leases would be made in the Gulf of Mexico, both off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana and also 125 miles off the west coast of Florida by 2012, subject to congressional approval.”  

While the drilling prospects in southeastern waters still remain a long way off, the idea of oil or gas rigs dotting the coast …

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