Archive for October, 2012

Fourth Annual Right Whale Festival, Jacksonville Beach

The Fourth Annual Right Whale Festival is Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 on Jacksonville Beach, and it’s one event you won’t want to miss. With only about 400 right whales remaining in the world, we need to learn all we can to lessen negative human impacts and to protect them from extinction — and this festival is a fantastic way to help do that.

North Florida is blessed with the appearance of these critically endangered creatures each winter. The warm coastal waters here are ideal for these beautiful whales to give birth and raise their calves before returning to their feeding grounds by early April. This is the only known calving area in the southeast United States for North Atlantic Right Whales.

The one-day festival will take place at the Jacksonville Beach Sea Walk Pavilion from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include:

  • Beach cleanup
  • Fun activities for children
  • Music
  • Food vendors
  • Educational displays

Make a weekend out of it and enjoy special rates on hotel rooms at the Quality Suites Oceanfront for $129, right next to the SeaWalk Pavilion. Call 904-435-3535 and give them the group name: Right Whale Festival. The Holiday Inn Express is offering rooms for $80 a night and they’re only one mile away. Call 904-435-3000 and mention the Right Whale Festival.

Continue reading Fourth Annual Right Whale Festival, Jacksonville Beach »

Photo: Port St. Joe

Animated figures at Port St. Joe’s Constitutional Convention Museum reenact the creation of Florida’s first governing document.

Continue reading Photo: Port St. Joe »

72 Hours Only: Holiday Sale at Nickelodeon Suites

Oh, boy. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. But I have good news — for the next 72 hours, you can book your holiday getaway in a family suite at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando from only $109 a night and get a $50 Resort Credit, too.

This is my eight-year old’s favorite place for many reasons: character sightings and breakfasts; the daily sliming; pool parties; onsite movies and shows and he genuinely loves the food. For parents, there are redeeming amenities like the adult-only bar, and rooms with separate bedrooms and a kitchen. It's loud, it's crazy, it's fun beyond belief.

Let someone else do the planning, cooking and cleaning this season and come see Celebrate Nickmas, with SpongeBob, Dora and other Nick friends while it snows on your head, indoors. And on New Year's Eve, your kids can be there for the Slime Drop at the stroke of midnight. How cool is that?

Don’t wait, this offer is only available from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.

Thanksgiving Special Offer includes:
    • Rates from $109
    • $50 Resort Credit per stay
    • For stays Nov. 18 – 26
    • Must stay 2 nights or more
    • Use promo code: GOBBLE

Christmas & New Year's Special Offer includes:
    • Rates starting at $159
    • For stays Dec. 21 – Jan. 2
    • Must stay 2 nights or more
    • Use promo code: JOLLY

To take advantage, you just have to book by end of day on Nov. 2, and you have to stay two nights or more. That's it. Have the Slime of your life!


 

Continue reading 72 Hours Only: Holiday Sale at Nickelodeon Suites »

Holiday Sale: 72 Hours Only at Nickelodeon Suites

Oh, boy. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. But I have good news — for the next 72 hours, you can book your holiday getaway at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando from only $109 a night in a family suite and get a $50 Resort Credit, too.

This is my eight-year old’s favorite place for many reasons: character sightings and breakfasts; the daily sliming; pool parties; onsite movies and shows and he genuinely loves the food. For parents, there are redeeming amenities like the adult-only bar, and rooms with separate bedrooms and a kitchen. It's loud, it's crazy, it's fun beyond belief.

Let someone else do the planning, cooking and cleaning this season and come see Celebrate Nickmas, with SpongeBob, Dora and other Nick friends while it snows on your head, indoors. And on New Year's Eve, your kids can be there for the Slime Drop at the stroke of midnight. How cool is that?

Don’t wait, this offer is only available from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.

Thanksgiving Special Offer includes:
    • Rates from $109
    • $50 Resort Credit per stay
    • For stays Nov. 18 – 26
    • Must stay 2 nights or more
    • Use promo code: GOBBLE

Christmas & New Year's Special Offer includes:
    • Rates starting at $159
    • For stays Dec. 21 – Jan. 2
    • Must stay 2 nights or more
    • Use promo code: JOLLY

To take advantage, you just have to book by end of day on Nov. 2, and you have to stay two nights or more. That's it. Have the Slime of your life!


 

Continue reading Holiday Sale: 72 Hours Only at Nickelodeon Suites »

Super Holiday Sale Spectacular: 72 Hours Only at Nickelodeon Suites

Oh, boy. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. But I have good news — for the next 72 hours, you can book your holiday getaway at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando from only $109 a night in a family suite and get a $50 Resort Credit, too.

This is my eight-year old’s favorite place for many reasons: character sightings and breakfasts; the daily sliming; pool parties; onsite movies and shows and he genuinely loves the food. For parents, there are redeeming amenities like the adult-only bar, and rooms with separate bedrooms and a kitchen. It's loud, it's crazy, it's fun beyond belief.

Let someone else do the planning, cooking and cleaning this season and come see Celebrate Nickmas, with SpongeBob, Dora and other Nick friends while it snows on your head, indoors. And on New Year's Eve, your kids can be there for the Slime Drop at the stroke of midnight. How cool is that?

Don’t wait, this offer is only available from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.

Thanksgiving Special Offer includes:
    • Rates from $109
    • $50 Resort Credit per stay
    • For stays Nov. 18 – 26
    • Must stay 2 nights or more
    • Use promo code: GOBBLE

Christmas & New Year's Special Offer includes:
    • Rates starting at $159
    • For stays Dec. 21 – Jan. 2
    • Must stay 2 nights or more
    • Use promo code: JOLLY

To take advantage, you just have to book by end of day on Nov. 2, and you have to stay two nights or more. That's it. Have the Slime of your life!


 

Continue reading Super Holiday Sale Spectacular: 72 Hours Only at Nickelodeon Suites »

NASCAR Championship Drive Festival Nov. 15 on Miami Beach

You don’t have to be a NASCAR fan to thoroughly enjoy the NASCAR Championship Drive festival on Thursday, Nov. 15. You could just be a Daughtry fan, because this smokin' hot, multi-platinum artist will be performing live, with the ocean as his backdrop. Musical guest Frankie J. will also be there.

Now in its third year, this outdoor fan festival dubbed the World's Fastest Fan Fest, along with the Coca-Cola Racing Family Concert featuring Daughtry, takes place on Miami Beach. It all begins mid-day when about 40 race haulers from the top NASCAR teams make their way from downtown Miami, across the MacArthur Causeway and onto Ocean Drive before ending at Lummus Park. The hauler parade begins at 3:30 p.m.; the concert at 7 p.m.

This one-day festival is NASCAR’s way of saying thank you to its fans, so it’s free. It also officially kick offs Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. For race tickets, visit HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com.

In addition to great music, there will be plenty of food and beachside fun for everyone. Local radio star DJ Laz will be your host.

For more info about any of these events, visit NASCARChampionshipDrive.com. If you need tips or ideas on places to stay in Homestead or where else to go while you're here, ask me. I live right down the street so I can steer you right.

Continue reading NASCAR Championship Drive Festival Nov. 15 on Miami Beach »

Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton’s Tips and Tricks for Carving that Pumpkin

Carving a pumpkin this Halloween? Here are seven tips and tricks from Shane Cooprider at the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton to make your pumpkin spooktacular:

1. All pumpkins are not created equal. When it comes to selection, consider texture as well as shape. Traditional jack-o-lanterns look best with deep ribs and a round shape, while tall pumpkins help add character and personality. If you're drawing or painting directly on the pumpkin, try to find one with smoother sides to showcase your design.

2. Plan your design. Use a grease pencil or marker to outline your design and wipe away any mistakes. Look online for ideas and stencils. Many templates are free of charge and easy to transfer onto a pumpkin. 

3. Creative Carving Tools. When you're ready to carve, try a mix of tools. A knife is great for big cuts, but detail work requires finesse. Try push pins, paperclips, tweezers or even knitting needles for precision. (Martha Stewart loves her Dremel tool.)

4. Getting to the Guts. Here’s the fun part – scooping out the pulp! But where to hide the access hole? Many carvers cut a lid but the hole can be placed anywhere, top or bottom. Think about the display and whether you will use a light. Just be sure to keep the hole out of sight. Making a pie or collecting seeds? Remember to first have your bowls or containers ready.

5. Light your Pumpkin. Candles are traditional, but holiday lights add a colorful twist. Mix the size of the bulbs or have them blink. Just be sure the plug stays dry.

6. Is that pumpkin pie I smell? Sprinkle spices inside your pumpkin to fill the air with the aromas of the season. Try cinnamon, allspice or cardamom.

7. Make your Pumpkin Last. After carving, soaking the pumpkin in a mild solution of bleach and water will help slow the growth of mold and keep your pumpkin hydrated.


 

Continue reading Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton’s Tips and Tricks for Carving that Pumpkin »

Pumpkin Carving Tips And Tricks

Carving a pumpkin this Halloween? Here are seven tips and tricks from Shane Cooprider at the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton to make your pumpkin spooktacular:

1. All pumpkins are not created equal. When it comes to selection, consider texture as well as shape. Traditional Jack-O-Lanterns look best with deep ribs and a round shape, while tall pumpkins help add character and personality. If you're drawing or painting directly on the pumpkin, try to find one with smoother sides to showcase your design.

2. Plan your design. Use a grease pencil or marker to outline your design and wipe away any mistakes. Look online for ideas and stencils. Many templates are free of charge and easy to transfer onto a pumpkin. 

3. Creative Carving Tools. When you are ready to carve, try a mix of tools. A knife is great for big cuts, but detail work requires finesse. Try push pins, paperclips, tweezers or even knitting needles for precision. (Martha Stewart loves her Dremel tool.)

4. Getting to the Guts. Here’s the fun part – scooping out the pulp! But where to hide the access hole? Many carvers cut a lid but the hole can be placed anywhere, top or bottom. Think about the display and whether you will use a light. Just be sure to keep the hole out of sight. Making a pie or collecting seeds? Remember to first have your bowls or containers ready.

5. Light your Pumpkin. Candles are traditional, but holiday lights add a colorful twist. Mix the size of the bulbs or have them blink. Just be sure the plug stays dry.

6. Is that pumpkin pie I smell? Sprinkle spices on the inside of your pumpkin to fill the air with the aromas of the season. Cinnamon, Allspice or Cardamom.

7. Make your Pumpkin Last Longer. After carving, soaking the pumpkin in a mild solution of bleach and water will help slow the growth of mold and keep your pumpkin hydrated.


 

Continue reading Pumpkin Carving Tips And Tricks »

Free Halloween Event at Florida Museum of Natural History

The Great Pumpkin rises again this Halloween at the Florida Museum of Natural History  with a candy-free, get-in-free, family friendly event from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Look at all the fun things they've planned:

  • Door prizes
  • Activity stations
  • Learn about bats, spiders and other creatures
  • Face painting
  • Catch the classic, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" every half hour

All of these events tie in perfectly to the Museum’s current, temporary exhibit, “Peanuts…Naturally: Charlie Brown and Friends Explore Nature.” Get in the true Halloween spirit and dress up as your favorite Peanuts character and you’ll get into the exhibit for free (that goes for kids and adults).

And yes, they'll be plenty of treats for the kids even though it's a candy-free event. For more info, call 352-273-2062. The Museum is located on campus at the University of Florida.

Continue reading Free Halloween Event at Florida Museum of Natural History »

NASCAR Championship Taste Event Debuts at Homestead

NASCAR fans, how’d you like to spend an evening enjoying great food, sipping cocktails and hobnobbing with NASCAR drivers, all for a great cause?

Championship Taste is an all-new event happening on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, just two days before the Ford Championship Weekend.

Just imagine the excitement. You’ll be at the track itself, sampling cuisine from about 20 different South Florida restaurants and right beside you could be one of your favorite NASCAR drivers, a celebrity chef or even Jon Landau, the award-winning producer of blockbuster movies like Titanic and Avatar. He’ll be your celebrity host that evening.

Tickets are on sale now at NASCAR.com/Unites or you can order by phone at 704-348-9685. Prices range from $50 to $100 per person. All proceeds benefit the NASCAR Foundation’s Speediatrics program at Homestead Hospital. This is where I take my own kids when they’re sick or injured; we’ve been here so many times, I’m the mayor on Foursquare. It’s a wonderful facility with outstanding doctors and nurses.

About Ford Championship Weekend

This is the eleventh consecutive year that Homestead-Miami Speedway will host NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend, when NASCAR crowns its Champions in all three of its top national divisions — the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. Race weekend is Nov. 16-18, 2012.

Continue reading NASCAR Championship Taste Event Debuts at Homestead »