Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for August, 2011

Follow the Vines Along Delaware River Valley

By Linda Tancs

In summer it’s easy to see why New Jersey earns its moniker as The Garden State, offering a bumper crop of tomatoes, sweet corn, berries, plums, peaches and other delectables.  Like wine.  That’s right.  Move over, Tuscany.  You can sample and experience a bevy of award-winning fine wines of Hunterdon and Mercer counties, just one hour from New York City or Philadelphia.  The Delaware River Valley Wine Trail boasts four vineyards:  Old York Cellars, Unionville, Hopewell Valley and Terhune Orchards.  Tasting rooms open at noon on weekends at Old York and Terhune and every day at Unionville and Hopewell Valley.  Hopewell’s tasting room is a destination in itself, featuring a brick oven pizza stove and a wine bar overlooking the glorious vineyards.  Check for special events at each location, too, like wine and music under the stars.  With dozens of varietals awaiting your taste buds, you’ll be enjoying the ambience for years to come.

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Watermelon Olympics in Arkansas

By Linda Tancs

The farmers in Hope, Arkansas, are proud to be growers of the world’s largest watermelons. In fact, they’ve been breaking world records since the 1930s, and an area farmer’s 268.8 pound melon still retains the title as the world’s largest watermelon in the Guinness World Records. So what better place to celebrate the summer fruit than in the famous birthplace of President Bill Clinton, among others. You needn’t be spitting mad to enter the melon spitting contest, but a little bit of oomph could go a long way toward landing you in the winner’s circle at this year’s Watermelon Festival in Fair Park today through Saturday. Or give it a toss at the Watermelon Olympics. Or just plain eat it. After all, watermelon has excellent levels of vitamins A and C and a good level of vitamin B6, not to mention the water content. Perfect for a hot summer day.

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Celebrate the Huckleberry in Montana

By Linda Tancs

In Trout Creek, Montana, the huckleberry–that purple berry resembling a blueberry–reigns supreme.  So much so, in fact, that the legislature proclaimed Trout Creek the huckleberry capital of the State.  This small northwestern town is proud to celebrate their prized bounty each year with a Huckleberry Festival.  That means, of course, you can sample the huckleberry in every food imaginable, like ice cream cones, pizza, cheesecake, hot dogs and pancakes.  Far from just another food fest, the annual event includes such activities as a 5K run, dancing under the stars, karaoke, dog agility demonstration, a pageant, an auction, children’s activities, a horseshoe contest, and an interfaith worship service.  Don’t miss the fun between 12 and 14 August. 
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UK Dining Discounts

By Linda Tancs

There’s a dining revolution taking place in the UK.  A Tastecard membership gives you 50% off the total food bill or 2 meals for the price of one at all 5,000+ participating restaurants. You can always order from the full a la carte menu, so your choice will not be restricted in any way.  Buy the card online or at the Visitor Centre at Regent Street. 

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Rendezvous in the Black Hills

By Linda Tancs

Motorcycle mania hits the Black Hills of South Dakota during the Sturgis Rally from August 8 to 14 this year. The origins of the race began with the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club in 1936, with an official American Motorcycle Association (AMA) charter in 1937. AMA began promoting the racing events which started the now famous Rally in Sturgis on August 14, 1938. That weekend celebration in 1938 had a lineup of only nine racers and a small audience watching the races.  Now the rally will hold 12 events, including motocross racing, a 1/2 mile race, hill climbs, road tours and short track racing.  As you can see, the Sturgis Rally has grown quite a bit since the first rally in 1937!  Is this the greatest motorcycle rally anywhere?  You decide.

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Making Order Out of Chaos

By Linda Tancs

Wordsmiths will be battling it out in the National Scrabble Championship on August 6–10, 2011 at the Hotel InterContinental Dallas at 15201 Dallas Parkway in Addison, Texas.  Not just any wordsmith, mind you.  To compete you must be a rated player–in other words, an official brainiac.  This year’s tournament has four divisions, with the best players duking it out in Division 4.  So who will the W-I-N-N-E-R be?

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The Maine Event

By Linda Tancs

Maine.  Lobster.  Perfect together.  So of course the Maine event (okay, I couldn’t resist the pun) in Vacationland is the annual Lobster Festival  today through 7 August at Rockland’s Harbor Park, less than two hours from Portland.  Today is Hometown Day, and admission is free to kickoff the festivities.  Not that you’ll mind the eight dollars for adults and two dollars for children (ages 6 to 12) thereafter for your crack at nearly 20,000 pounds of Maine’s proudest export.  So nip along smartly before it’s all gone.

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A Retreat Fit for a Filmmaker

By Linda Tancs

Talk about star quality:  Blancaneaux Lodge, a luxe resort in Belize, is the former family retreat of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.  Lucky for us he decided to share it with the rest of the world over a decade ago.  This hideaway in the rainforest is a birder’s paradise, offering the potential to view the ecosystem’s 300+ species like the Stygian owl, black-headed siskin, rufous-capped warbler, Great Pewee and solitary eagle.  Voted #1 Best Resort in Central and South America in 2009 and 2010 by Travel + Leisure, the menu includes local favorites like shredded beef salad flavored with sour orange and cilantro and classic Italian fare from the Coppola family cookbook. 

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London’s Sweetest Attraction

By Linda Tancs

Now the candy that “melts in your mouth and not in your hand” has its own showcase across the pond.  Opening earlier this month, M&M’s World in London’s Leicester Square is the first overseas attraction for the brand’s candy maker.  The 35,000-square feet behemoth features a Union Jack comprising M&M’s logos, a Wall of Chocolate and a range of merchandise from apparel to bedding. 

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