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Archive for July, 2011

Gilroy’s Garlic Fest

By Linda Tancs

Where will you find 10 tons of beef, four tons of pasta and calamari, two tons of scampi
and two tons of fresh Christopher Ranch garlic?  Gilroy, California–of course.  This weekend marks the 33rd annual Garlic Festival at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, 30 miles south of San Jose.  Locals can save five dollars off up to two general admission tickets on Friday with proof of residency.  Cook-offs and celebrity demos are scheduled throughout the weekend, with the garlic showdown of professional chefs culminating on Sunday.  You’ll be swooning to the cool sounds of jazz, rock ‘n roll, country, blues, reggae, swing and much more coming from the strolling musicians and stage performances.  Don’t miss this year’s Gourmet Alley, featuring the Surf & Turf Alley Wrap–a steak, shrimp, rice, cilantro and garlic aioli wrapped in a garlic-infused lavash.  Breath mints are optional.

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Ship Enhancements at Royal Caribbean

By Linda Tancs

Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas now sport various enhancements to suit your cruising tastes.  So what will it be:  the DreamWorks® Experience,  a 3D movie theater, puppet show, nursery or even more dining options?  Check out your favorite ship and see what’s new.  Other fleet enhancements are promised soon.

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The Blue Angels of Pensacola

By Linda Tancs

The National Naval Aviation Museum, one of the world’s largest aviation museums, is located aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.  On display are beautifully restored aircraft, hands-on exhibits and more than 4,000 artifacts representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aviation.  A family fun adventure, the museum offers middle graders the chance to learn about science, math and technology via a Flight Adventure Deck incorporating 38 interactive devices, 11 educational kiosks, an interactive wind tunnel and four computer-based flight simulators.  See the Blue Angels in the dazzling seven-story glass and steel atrium that showcases four A-4 Skyhawks in a diving diamond formation or view them at eye-level from the Second Deck.  Better still, enjoy Blue Angels at practice air shows from March through November.  And it’s all free.

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The Smallest Church in the World

By Linda Tancs

In the bay of St. Malo in the English Channel lie the Channel Islands, about 30 miles from the north coast of France and 70 miles from the south coast of England.  A world apart from its more cosmopolitan neighbors, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that these ancient islands would yield up some signature sights.  Take, for example, the so-called smallest church in the world on Guernsey.  Aptly named The Little Chapel, the church is beautifully decorated with seashells, pebbles and colorful pieces of broken china. Begun by Brother Déodat in March 1914, the goal was to create a miniature version of the famous grotto and basilica at Lourdes in France.  Admission is free, but do be sure to pick up a souvenir booklet of this amazing structure at the Tourist Office at St. Peter Port.

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Playing Solitaire in France

By Linda Tancs

Only single hands on deck for France’s La Solitaire du Figaro, a skipper-only race around seaside towns in France (and one in Ireland).  Sailing only the Figaro Bénéteau 2, the 49 rivals comprising this year’s competition will sail a 1,695 nautical mile race in a traditional format with four legs set between the 46th and 53rd parallels, starting in Perros-Guirec on the North Brittany coast on 23 July and visiting Caen, Normandy, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, Les Sables d’Olonne, Vendée, before finishing in Dieppe, Pas de Calais, on 28 August.

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Feeling Bullish in Virginia

By Linda Tancs

Civil War buffs are readying for the call to arms near Virginia’s Manassas Battlefield Park this weekend.  Commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Bull Run, the first major land battle of the American Civil War, the Commonwealth and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission will treat spectators to a reenactment of the seminal conflict at Manassas Junction on both Saturday and Sunday.  Other events include tours of seven historic sites–Manassas Museum, Liberia Plantation, Confederate Cemetery, Cannon Branch Fort, Jennie Dean Historical Site, Mayfield Fort and Camp Manassas–a parade, concerts at the Loy Harris Pavilion, and events at Manassas Museum.

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Melting Off the Pounds at Sea

By Linda Tancs

You’ll need to do lots of laps around the exercise deck to work off all those gourmet delights you know you can’t resist on your cruise.  There’s a better–even fun–way to lose weight.  On Princess Cruises, get ready for the fleet-wide roll-out of Zumba, a fitness program combining rumba-like moves with choreography designed to melt off those stubborn pounds.  Best of all, the workouts are complimentary once or twice a week.  Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

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