Guide to Best Family Beaches in USA

Beaches have always been a hot favorite as vacation spots. When one needs an escape from their daily chores the gusting waters at the sea provide a perfect sight to sooth the senses. Nothing is more rejuvenating than the best of U.S. beaches. Among top rated beaches in U.S. is the Fort Desoto Park’s North Beach, St Petersburg, Florida. The beach is a natural treasure for the city and accounts for majority of popularity enjoyed by it. It offers excellent opportunity for variety water games including kayaking, canoeing, boating, fishing, swimming, biking, camping and bird watching. A specialist attraction of the place is a dog park that enables one to go touring with their animal partners. Another vital facility offered here is ample parking space that is an essential requirement for any beach to be successful and popular. Concerned officers and administrators, who work to educate public about environmental concerns of the sea, contribute to enhance popularity of the beach through planned management and smart projects.

Ocracoke Islands, Outer Banks, North Carolina is another favorite beach for vacationers. Ocracoke Islands being surrounded by water on all sides is reachable only by air or water and is a part of Hyde County. Its banks spread to around 16 miles offering all possibilities for surfing, fishing and swimming. Many birds that migrate from water and land on the eastern flyway present exotic view for bird lovers.

One more beach adding to U.S. list of admired coastlines is Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii. The region offers excellent opportunities for high surfers and serves as a contest site for expert surfers. However there might even be dangerous waves at specific time spans. Both Amaama Road and Hee Road lead to Waioli Beach Park. Another popular coast is Hanauma Bay, on the island of Oahu that is essentially an underwater park.

Florida boasts of having finest coastlines that spread around 1,100 miles. It has beaches to suit everyone’s taste. Shell Key, St. Pete Beach offers best birding opportunities with bird sanctuary spread more than half of the area. There is minimal concrete on the surface and consists of only natural beauties. Bahia Honda State Park is supreme tropical seashore revealing clear, gentle water. It serves as a tropical heaven on earth with swimming opportunities. Sebastian Inlet State Park at south of Melbourne Beach is excellent for surfing and is treated as capital of east coast. Another attraction of Florida’s beaches is that of South Walton famous for its soothing effects on feet. The gleaming sand on the beach provide exciting experience when walking bare foot. This is basically due to fact that this sand is composed mainly of pure quartz that has been brought down by Appalachian Mountains. The list of Florida’s superb coastlines extends to many other beaches but giving space to other seashores in U.S. are the following water bodies.

Massachusetts, Coast Guard Beach at Cape Cod is major swimming beach during summer season. The region has limited parking space and even that remains closed during summer days. Visitors to the place are taken to and fro by specific shuttle bus services provided at those days. The place is excellent for hiking opportunities.

Fun Hollywood Stories Fly Off the Bus!

Here are seven fun stories about Hollywood:

The Universal Maniac

In 1999, an Australian gentleman told me about an interesting experience he and his family had at Universal Studios. They were on the backlot tour passing one of the theme park’s main attractions, the Bates Motel used in the 1960 horror classic Psycho, about a murderous young man named Norman Bates who loved his mother a little too much. As the guide gave out information about how director Alfred Hitchcock shot the picture, a tall man, dressed in drag and carrying a large knife, emerged from behind the old set and charged toward the tram. The narrator seemed to know nothing about the Norman Bates look-alike and clammed up completely. The make-believe killer wore such a convincing maniacal expression that some of the paying customers were frightened and screamed when he raised his weapon. Then the “fiend” pulled off his wig and he turned out to be comic Jim Carrey; the thirty-seven-year-old star was clowning around during a work break. After his laughing “victims” calmed down, Jim was happy to pose for pictures and sign autographs.

The Wildest Guest

Longtime staff at the old Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles had many candidates for the most outrageously behaved celebrity guest. There were the hammy Barrymore brothers who always tried to outdo one another; after the drunken John earned many stares for bringing his pet monkey in the hotel’s famed Moroccan-style club, the Coconut Grove, Lionel arrived there with seven chimps. Chaos erupted when the well-dressed guests chased the animals as they swung through the paper Mache trees. Then there was famed movie theater owner Sid Grauman who told Charlie Chaplin that he found a dead body in his hotel bed. The tramp fled in terror when Sid pulled back the blankets, not realizing he was looking at a wax dummy covered in ketchup. But it was hard to top the antics of actress Tallulah Bankhead who once called for room service, answered the door in the buff and told the bell boy no tip; she had nothing on her.

Marlene’s Wartime Regret

Marlene Dietrich found her true calling entertaining the Allied troops in 1943. The forty-two-year-old actress, who never enjoyed making movies, got a crash course in how to talk to audiences. Nothing could be tougher or more fulfilling than performing in front of young men who might die in battle the next day. The Berlin-born American citizen overcame suspicions that she was actually an Axis spy, and was proud of spurning Hitler’s request to return to Germany. After World War II ended, she enjoyed being a lusty cabaret singer for many years and tried never to take herself too seriously. Marlene, whose long list of romances ranged from John Wayne to General Patton, once mentioned to her husband that she should have married Hitler back in the thirties, and then there would have been no war. She laughed when he agreed and stated that the Fuhrer would have killed himself much sooner.

We Don’t Want a Hit

Executives at United Artists Studio were unimpressed viewing the initial footage of Sean Connery playing James Bond in the 1962 spy thriller Dr. No. The thirty-two-year-old Scottish actor, whose receding hairline was carefully hidden by a toupee, seemed to change his accent in almost every scene. Sure, the former Mr. Universe runner-up was a formidable presence, but did Connery have the sophistication to play the suave super spy 007, a role originally meant for Cary Grant? The studio kept the completed film on the shelf for many months before releasing it in England where it was a smash. Well, it had to be a fluke; Bond was English, after all. Six months later, they released it in the USA where it did great again. Dr. No led to a hugely successful James Bond franchise and made Sean Connery an international star. It failed only in Japan, where movie-theater owners translated Dr. No to read, “We don’t want a doctor!”

The Battle of the Munchkins

The actors who played the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz were hard working and much maligned. In the 1960s, the often-inebriated Judy Garland became a favorite TV talk show guest and would trash her former co-stars from the 1939 classic. She would make up tales about them being drunk, swinging from chandeliers, getting into knife fights, making lewd propositions to her, and being rounded up for their scenes in butterfly nets. In real life, the New York- based Leo Singer Midgets had won the lucrative Oz contracts in a hard- fought battle with another group of little vaudevillians managed by dwarf actor Major Doyle. There was much animosity between the two rival bands of performers. The cigar- chomping Doyle was in his apartment on Fifth Avenue, still fuming over the job losses, when a phone call instructed him to look out the window. Three busloads of tiny entertainers mooned him and then it was on to California.

Walt Disney’s Daughters

Walt Disney’s two daughters, Sharon and Diane, grew up sheltered from the limelight. The children had no images of Mickey Mouse around their home. Their father didn’t go to many parties, preferring to stay in after a long day of work. Sometimes he would playfully chase the youngsters upstairs, cackling like the evil peddler woman in Snow White. When they behaved badly, Walt would admonish them with a raised eyebrow; his stern demeanor inspired the character of the wise old owl, in the 1942 animated feature Bambi. As toddlers, the brainy Diane and beautiful Sharon stayed blissfully unaware that their parents worried about them being kidnapped and allowed no pictures of the sisters to be publicly circulated. Once in 1939, a curious classmate questioned six-year-old Diane about her family. She went home and said, “Daddy, you never told me you were that Walt Disney,” and asked him for an autograph.

Who Won the Race?

Writer/director Billy Wilder liked to mess with producer Samuel Goldwyn’s head. The Austrian-born Wilder, who had fled Europe when Hitler rose to power, respected how the former glove salesman from Poland had good taste in stories, even though Sam hardly ever read anything. One time Wilder pitched the mogul a screen idea about Nijinsky, the famous Russian ballet dancer. Goldwyn was dubious, Wilder persisted; the story had great cinematic possibilities. As a young man, Nijinsky danced for the Bolshoi and received international acclaim. Then he met the great love of his life, was rejected, ended up in an insane asylum and thought he was a horse. Goldwyn stared daggers at him. Sam didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. The public would never pay to see something so negative.

“Don’t worry, Sam, it has a happy ending.”

Goldwyn asked what could possibly be happy about a man who believes he’s a horse.

“He wins the Kentucky Derby!”

You Must Have Practical Information To Enjoy Your Tour Of Spain!

Catalonia has an excellent tourist infrastructure and Barcelona is particularly well organized for visitors. There are tourist offices in every town and all offer help in finding accommodation, restaurants and activities in their area. Larger offices usually have a wealth of leaflets in several languages.

Language

Though Catalan is the language spoken by native Catalans, Catalonia is a bilingual country where people also speak castellano (Spanish). If you respond in Spanish to a question or greeting made in Catalan, the speaker will automatically switch to Spanish. All official signs and documents are in both languages.

However, as Barcelona in particular regards itself as truly cosmopolitan, most tourist literature is also in English and French.

Manners

Catalans greet and say goodbye to strangers at bus stops, in lifts, in shops and in other public places. They shake hands when introduced and whenever they meet. Women usually kiss on both cheeks when they meet, and friends and family members of both sexes may kiss or embrace briefly.

Visas and passports

Visas are not required for tourists who are citizens of specified countries including the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. However it is always best to check visa requirements before traveling.

Spanish embassies supply a list of the other countries in the non-visa category. Tourists from these countries may stay 90 days within a continuous 180-day period.

The Oficina d’estrangers de Barcelona (a local government office) deals with visa extensions. Proof of employment, study schedules, or sufficient funds for living are needed for a long stay.

Tax-Free goods and customs information

Non-EU Residents can reclaim IVA (VAT) on single items worth over 90 euros bought in shops displaying a “Tax-free for Tourists” sign. (Food, drink, cars, motorbikes, tobacco and medicines are exempt.) You pay the full price and ask the sales assistant for a formulari (tax exemption form), which you ask customs to stamp as you leave Spain (this must be within six months of the purchase). You receive the refund by mail or on your credit card account. Banco Exterior branches at Barcelona airport will give refunds on completed formularis.

Facilities for the Disabled

Catalonia’s association for the disabled, the Federacio ECOM, has hotel lists and travel advice for the whole region. Spain’s national association, COCEMFE, has a tour company, Servi- COCEMFE that publishes guide books to facilities in Spain and will help plan vacations.

Tourist offices and the social services departments of town halls supply information on local facilities. A travel agency, Viajes 2000, specializes in vacations for disabled people.

Spanish Time

Spain is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in winter (l’hivern) and two hours in summer (l’estiu), and uses the 24-hour clock. La matinada is the small hours, el matí (morning) lasts until about 1pm, while migdia (midday) is from 1 to 4pm. La tarda is the afternoon, el vespre the evening and la nit the night.

Conversion Chart

Imperial to metric

1 inch = 2.54 centimeters

1 foot = 30 centimeters

1 mile = 1.6 kilometers

1 ounce = 28 grams

1 pound = 454 grams

1 pint = 0.6 liter

1 gallon = 4.6 liters

Metric to imperial

1 millimeter = 0.04 inch

1 centimeter = 0.4 inch

1 meter = 3 feet 3 inches

1 kilometer = 0.6 mile

1 gram = 0.04 ounce

1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds

1 liter = 1.8 pints

USA – One of Finest Ethnically Diverse Destinations

The United States of America which is commonly known as United States or U.S is the world’s foremost economic and military power with global interests and an unmatched global reach. The country is situated mostly in North America with Washington DC as its capital. As one of largest and most diverse countries in the world, USA boast an amazing array of tourist attractions ranging from skyscrapers of New York and Chicago to natural wonders of Yellowstone, from sunny beaches of California, Florida and Hawaii to gamblers mecca Las Vegas. Every city and state of United States is so full of myriad of attractions that it becomes very difficult where to start from. Some of its amazing cities that on visit will surely leave you astonished include:

Orlando: It is a large city located in Orange Country, Florida. Orlando, for most people conjures up the image of theme parks mainly Walt Disney World, but there is a lot more. With an estimated 52 million tourists a year when it comes to filling up your vacation itinerary, Orlando offers no shortage of things to do. Enjoy various fun-filled activities at Orlando that include flying through a swamp on an air boat or getting up close with wildlife at Gatorade or Sea World’s Discovery Cove. Sports lover can’t stop themselves from cheering on Magic NBA basketball team at new Amway Center or take a ride on one of multiple zip-lines in the area. Be a part of various cultural shows at Cirque de Soleil, Blue Man Group or one of Orlando’s many dinner theaters for entertaining nightcap. So catch low fare flights to Orlando and be a part of this colorful and vibrant city that will surely leave you amazed. Most of the visitors visit Orlando between June and August while other peak time for tourism is March and April during summer vacations of kids.

San Francisco: San Francisco is the leading financial and cultural center of northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. Playing host to any type of traveller from foreign dignitaries to fashion lovers from sports to entertainment this 40 square mile is decked with amazing sights, scenes and destinations. San Francisco attractions include fine museums, theaters and destinations of neighborhood like Chinatown, Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. One of the most interesting ways to explore the city is by booking a double-decker bus tour of the city or cruise out to Alcatraz. Another favorite day trips can include a drive up to award-winning wineries in Napa and Sonoma. Book flights to San Francisco and enjoy amazing sites that include from the barking seals and seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf to the cafe`s and bistros in North Beach to the gardens and museums of Golden Gate Park, these San Francisco attractions have become a brand name that are recognized throughout the world.

Washington: Another amazing destination of United States is Washington. It is often called as Washington State to distinguish it from Washington DC. It is nicknamed as Evergreen city is the largest city in Seattle with capital of Olympia. Tourists are mainly attracted to Washington because of its scenic beauty. Visitors can enjoy their vacation in a lodge go up in a chair lift, or enjoy skiing in the state. Olympia the capital city acts as a gateway to Olympic National Park. Mount Saint Helens, a volcano that blew in 1980 is also a must visit site of Washington. So just make a plan to Washington and for this book flights to Washington from London and enjoy the stunning beauty of state for which it is renowned in the world.

Touring Around Cleveland

By Air

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) functions as a center for Continental Airlines and services almost 700 arrival routes every day from over 142 locations. The flight terminal is easily situated close to the crossroads of I-71, I-480, and I-80 along with railroad service straight from the airport terminal to the downtown area Cleveland. Address: 5300 Riverside Drive, Cleveland, OH 44135. For more information, call 216.265.6030.

Burke Lakefront Airport (BKL) is both a company and standard aviation flight terminal which is managed by the City of Cleveland. Found in the heart of downtown Cleveland, BKL offers unmatched entry to downtown industry as well as destinations. Address: 1501 North Marginal Drive, Cleveland, OH 44114. For more information, call 216.781.6411.

Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) is specialized in doing your flights towards the Greater Cleveland region much more comforting and satisfying. CAK provides the most affordable standard ticket of any airport terminal in Ohio with surrounding car parking, on-site auto leasing, and high quality low-fare service onboard AirTran Airways. Address: 5400 Lauby Road, N. Canton, OH 4472. For more information, call 330.896.2385.

By Taxi or Airport Van

Cabs as well as airport terminal vehicles service many of the area cities and air terminals and are a substitute for hiring a car if you do not intend on doing a great deal of sightseeing and tour.
By Rental Car
There is a wide range of car rental providers you may count on. Some choices possible are the following::

Avis (800.230.4898)
Enterprise (800.261.7331)
Hertz (800.654.3131)
National (877.222.9058)

By Train

Amtrak can make many day-to-day stops in town. The train station building (which has waiting room area) is situated at 200 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland, OH 44114. For more information, call 800.USA.RAIL (800.872.7245).

By Bus

Greyhound Bus Lines provides timetabled program to/from its downtown terminal station, that is available 24 hours/day, each day of the year. Address: 1465 Chester Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44114. For more information, call 216.781.0520 or 216.781.1841.

Megabus delivers low-cost day by day express coach assistance to/from Toledo and Chicago. Their own high-class double deckers provide you with 100 % free wi-fi, breathtaking windows, plus a eco-friendly alternative route to take a trip. Cleveland’s downtown stop area for departures and arrivals is situated at the joint RTA and megabus.com stop next to the entrance to Tower City at West Huron Road and West 3rd Street. For more information, call 877.GO2.MEGA (877.462.6342).

By Car
Highway tourists will discover Cleveland is essentially located at the junction of a number of Interstate highways (I-77, I-71 and I-90). Ohio Route 2 comes after the Lake Erie shoreline through Cleveland, while I-80 (Ohio Turnpike) and I-480 run east/west of the city.

By Public Transportation

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) – RTA features public transit in the City of Cleveland and 58 neighboring cities, and also positions as one of the state’s biggest transportation systems. It incorporates both bus and fast transportation service, a hassle-free downtown cycle bus program, and four speedy transportation lines (Red, Blue, Green, and Waterfront) bringing individuals to almost any location throughout Greater Cleveland. Fares are $2.25 each way. For more information, call 216.621.9500.

Rail Service – Generally, there are three line of rail services to select from::

Red Line: This particular rail line stretches from the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere in East-Cleveland up to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport which is found in the west.. It can accommodate a number of individuals from University Circle as well as West Park.

Blue Line and Green Line: These sister rail lines take trip between Tower City and Shaker Square. From Shaker Square, they would take separate ways. The Blue Line proceeds to Van Aken Boulevard and the intersection of Warrensville Road while the Green Line takes Shaker Boulevard to Green Road.

Waterfront Line: This particular line is just an extension of the Blue and Green Lines and its line starts at Tower City. From there, it would head to the East Bank of the Flats to the South Harbor Station in the Municipal Parking Lot.
For more information, call 216.621.9500.

Downtown Trolley Service – Trolleys are again used in Cleveland, and there is zero cost on the fare. Two routes operate from Mon-Fri 7am-7pm.

The E-Line services the Warehouse District on West 9th and West 6th Streets, Public Square and Tower City, the Entertainment District on East 4th Street, the theatres in PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland State University, as well as other industrial areas on Lower Euclid Avenue.

The B-Line encircles Superior and Lakeside Avenues in between West 6th Street in the Warehouse District and East 12th Street. It services the State Office Building, Public Square and Tower City, Cleveland Public Library, the Convention Center, Cleveland City Hall, the Federal Office Building, Cuyahoga County offices, as well as some other business spots.

Read These Tips If You Are You Considering A Motor Coach Tour Vacation This Year

Is it the “in” thing to travel in a motor coach this year?

How cool is it to see our beautiful national parks in the west, and historical aspects of the east coast, and unhurried heart of America in the middle USA? And, to see these places up close on escorted group tour vacations which are drive-free and planning-free for individuals is ideal.

A new study from the DePaul University School of Public Service disclosed, “that motor coach travel is enjoying a significant rebirth and expanding throughout the country at the fastest rate in more than 40 years.”

“This study confirms that more Americans are choosing motorcoach travel as congestion worsens, delays and hassles become more prevalent, and environmental stewardship is top of mind,” said Peter J. Pantuso, president and CEO of the American Bus Association.

What makes motor coach attractive to people?

One, it is drive-free for you. You do not have to worry about other drivers cutting you off, nor waiting in traffic. Two, there is a professional tour director to manage details every day for you as hotel and meal logistics, your luggage. Three, you generally pay one price for your vacation.

Be careful, as there are many motor coach tours to choose from, most itineraries include all components for one price. Motor coach travel is similar to that of traveling by cruise ships offering economical tours versus the upscale tours. The scenery changes every couple of days as you travel to different regions of remote country to lively cities. And, you get to look at attractions like the mountains, ocean and city views (instead of having your eyes glued to the road while driving).

Yes, my favorite method of travel is on a group motor coach tour. As a professional tour director and learning from many experiences of managing people on tours, keep these following tips in mind when you travel:

o Don’t hog the front seats. Even though most group tours have a seat-rotation method, your fellow travelers will quietly hate you if you are one of those selfish spoilsports who gulp breakfast every day in order to grab the shotgun rows.

o Don’t be late. Everyone can oversleep once, especially in a new time zone. Have you actually listened to what your fellow comrades are saying about you on the bus if they have to wait for you a second time?

o Don’t complain about things the tour director cannot fix. To name a few: the weather, the exchange rate, the maddening insistence of foreign countries on using currencies other than the dollar, the number of tourists in Europe who want to visit the same places you do, the number of stairs that Emperor Franz Josef built into his summer palace.

o Do complain about things tour director can fix. Tour Directors actually relished being to fix items on behalf of their guests: balky air conditioners, underdone steaks, twice-billed wine, and noisy rooms.

o Don’t steal the bananas. Each morning, I searched for a banana (for my cereal, don’t you know), and every day the buffet was banana-less. Finally, I complained (see Rule 4) and learned that hotels commonly hide unpeeled fruit from big bus groups because it all gets stolen for lunches! Please don’t strip the buffet to save yourself a few dollars (or euros), and maybe they’ll give us our bananas back.

Remember to relax and enjoy. Motor coach tours really are an awesome way to travel on vacation. The work is done for you – you have fun.

Begin Your Tour at Home in the USA

Never leave America if you want to see beauty at it’s best. Sure, there are other places with great beauty around the world. However, none of us can see it all in our lifetime even if we’re on a perpetual tour that never stops. It’s doubtful that many of us would enjoy constant travel. Most of us like to see family and friends, keep up with the neighborhood, stay connected with our church family, old classmates too.

Actually, work is a nice break too. Something about giving, using our talents and skills for the good of society. Making a contribution along the way is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, too many of us are workaholics, money becomes our highest priority. It’s nice to have money but family should be your first priority. Many folks considered poor are far better connected with their spouse and children. No one ever asks for another day at the office or plant on their deathbed, family is all that matters throughout our lifetime as priority ONE.

Usually, the family that prays together, stays together. If possible, an annual family vacation should be a priority. Often, lack of money can be a problem, but there are lots of things you and your family can do that’s inexpensive or free. Go to the park for a picnic; take in a ballgame with a moonpie and RC Cola; a trip to the mountains with a picnic lunch can be lots of fun for everyone; go to Discovery Place or the Mint Museum to expand your exposure to new discoveries and other places bidding you to come.

Our mountains, beaches, waterfalls, water parks, horseback riding is always fun and recreational. Sometimes there are festivals in nearby towns that attract hundreds of visitors over a weekend. Even the farmers market can be a good experience and educational for the children. The new Billy Graham Library invites you to come for a visit and tour to learn about Dr. Graham and his preaching the Gospel around the world.

Take a trip to see beautiful Niagara Falls, a breath taking beauty that everyone should see. Visit Las Vegas or Atlantic City, take in the Kentucky Derby or plan to see the Grand Canyon with it’s massive views, mule riding, boat trips and sunsets. Huge hotels with tremendous stage shows, dancing, musicians, singing everywhere. Plan a visit to Dolly Parton’s DollyWood extravaganza in Pigeon Forge, TN along with other family shows on the main drag. Pigeon Force is a busy town. Don’t miss Gatlinburg, TN with it’s time shares, chalets, motels, candy shops along with pancake houses and fine dining. Only 5 miles between the towns along some wonderful mountain scenery.

Go North, South, East or West to discover wonderful places and sites to see. You’ll never be bored traveling America by car, bus, motorcycle or your own RV with car in tow. See the geysers in Yellowstone or take in Hawaii as the southern tip of the USA. Big cities, small towns welcome visitors and offer tours in restored Williamsburg, VA and Winston Salem, NC for a beginning tour. Most places are very affordable and inviting for the tourist. George Washington’s Mt. Vernon estate, the Kentucky horse plantations with beautiful farmland across the plains.

Outstanding Acadia National Park in Maine – USA

Acadia National Park is one of the premier outdoor destinations in the US State of Maine, especially during summer. Acadia is in fact, the first eastern national park established in the country and the only National Park in New England. Aside from housing a plethora of plants and animals, it is also home to the tallest mountain in the Atlantic coast of United States. It’s no wonder that it is one of the most visited parks in the US and North America.

Perhaps the first place to visit while in this park is Hulls Cover Visitor Center, located off Route 3 in Bar Harbor. The center is actually perched on a hill and can be reached by climbing 52 steps. There is a special back entrance allocated for those with special needs. While at Hulls, you may inquire about activity schedules, maps and guide books. There is also a 15-minute audio/visual presentation that showcases the features of Acadia National Park. Just nearby the center is the historical Carriage Road, which has become a popular hiking and biking spot.

Situated off the coast of Maine, Acadia National Park is indeed a majestic land that offers plenty of outdoor fun and activities. You can experience wildlife watching, bike historic trails or just enjoy the spectacular scenery. Hiking is especially popular in Acadia as the park boasts a range of interconnected trails, which stretch to more than 120 miles and feature varying difficulty levels.

One of the most popular hiking paths is the Acadia Mountain Trail due to its gorgeous panoramas of Southwest Harbor and Somes Sound. But the trail also is quite challenging as involves a steep 700-foot ascent. After a satisfying day of hiking, you can also opt to camp for the night at designated grounds like the Blackwoods Campground and Seawall Campground.

Another fantastic way to fully maximize your time on Acadia, is to go for one of the exciting National Park tours organized by the park management. The tour consists of riding a bus that travels throughout the park. Over the two-and- a-half hour trip, a guide will give valuable insights and information regarding the surroundings and the park’s occupants. There will also be 15-minute stops at notable sites including those on Cadillac Mountain. The tour is made available to the public from May through October. On top of the bus tour; you also have the option to take the narrated trolley tour that lasts 1 or 1.5 hours.

If you want something different from land exploration, why not try a narrated boat cruise, headed by a park ranger. Some of the cruise itineraries to consider include the Baker Island Cruise, the Dive-In Theater Boat Cruise, Frenchman Bay Cruise and Islesford Historical Cruise. These cruises have varying operation schedules so make sure to check before making plans.

A cruise or a private boat tour allows you to visit the smaller yet very scenic islands in Acadia. Perhaps, the most popular among these islands is Mount Desert Island. Here, you can choose to do nothing but relax and enjoy the ocean view! On Mount Desert, the seaside resort town of Bar Harbor has become a favorite among travelers exploring the Acadia National Park. Other islands to consider visiting include Ellsworth, Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor. You can also choose to stay overnight on one of these islands. Aside from hotels; a variety of vacation rentals, cottages and cabins are also available for rent.

Adventures in Guatemala: Bus Ride to the Ruins of Tikal, Lago Atitlan, Take Off to the USA

On our way by local bus via the Pan-American Highway we eventually sighted the capital of Guatemala, Guatemala City, where we gladly settled down for several days in order to share precious moments at the famous pyramids of Tikal amongst other experiences soon to come. It was long ago that we spent some time of lazy distraction in such a big city. We were quite impressed by the colossal amount of colored billboards spread out all over the town revealing a touch of multi -nationality. We chose a youth-hostel called La Mesa.

By coincidence we ran into a local family that politely invited us to dinner at their house. Raise hell, one of the relatives we got to know there, turned out to be a former Miss Guatemala. We cherished the invitation via carefully listening to their opinion about the current political situation in the country and the daily struggle of life.

Whilst hitting the hay we already pondered about potential preventive measures that would be necessary for our trip to the jungle of Tikal, north of the capital. Being familiar with the impact of Malaria pills that ought to avoid any infectious transmission of diseases we strolled down the street looking for a pharmacy.

In spite of precise explanations, at least from our point of view, the owner didn’t catch anything. Nevertheless, we did not want to give in beforehand and therefore purchased some pills which were supposed to provide for mandatory antibodies in case of emergency. We felt content and relieved and left for Panuchos on January 3, 1988.

Due to millions of tourists scattered all over we quite disliked the village desperately missing the local Indian tribes. In terms of strategic planning, however, we weren’t too far away from a real hotspot, called Lago Atitlan, which happened to become my most favorite resort from now on.

It was a wonderfully located valley, surrounded by 3 volcanoes which are still partly active these days. The perfect setting was created by a lake that encompassed those volcanoes. It doesn’t have to be neglected that we had been luckily rewarded with a terrific sunset every evening even adoring a small cloud remaining on top of the volcano that made for a rather romantic picture. This time, our campground was a tiny hotel characterized by an abundance of exotic flowers even ranging to the top of our veranda. For breakfast I discovered the best cereal ever, but to be alert was still the prerequisite of daily life, since gun fire filled our ears once in a while.

On the 5th of January, 1988 we fancied a boat trip over the lake to San Pedro and San Antonio, two lovely villages close to the volcano area. These villages were both supposed to be real resort places to enjoy calm and peaceful moments.
Most of all, we liked the vast majority of children populating those sites. I guess it is due to an extremely high fertility rate but also rooted in an inherent lovely attitude towards kids in particular, that generated such a wonderful outcome. Best practice was one girl called Constitucion, what we treasured very much because of the etymology. Although this excursion lasted only 2 hours, I was not able to erase that day from my memory: On our way back to the boat, we came across numerous local Indian women doing their washing at the lake in a diligent manner.

Then something occurred to me that nobody could have ever foreseen in any respect. Duncan and I slightly changed our route on foot by following the stony shore.
All of a sudden, my feet recognized sort of muddy ground which was not exactly differentiable from the surrounding. Since we were a bit in a hurry, I just ignored that aspect unconsciously but could not avoid being slowly drowned in the mud.
At first glance, I had no idea whatsoever how to (re)act upon this rather unexpected occasion especially because my feet even more disappeared. Whilst realizing the seriousness of the situation now, I simply surrendered at least mentally and thought about my earthy end, when out of nothing the surface was within reach again. Some kind of higher force had mercifully saved my life and soul, thus keeping this adventure as the most thrilling moment in my mind. The fact that several children happily watched my struggle with nature made this event even more absurd and bizarre.

After changing my trousers we celebrated this kind of resurrection in a vegetarian restaurant, called ‘La Paz’, which was a perfect fit to my recent experience. Getting back to our hotel we were already excited about our intended departure to Tikal next day, but I felt very bad and sick again, still suffering from Turista which is obviously very common in those countries.

Considering my state of health, I had many doubts in realistically believing in the trip. Longing for some distraction, Duncan persuaded me to hop on a bus taking us to the suburbs, where the original and ancient capital of Guatemala is located.

People still look upon it as their secret capital, though it had predominantly been destroyed by the earthquake years ago, too. However, the old city maintained much of its former charming glamour. Recalling the process of contemplation with regard to the proper means of transportation for this jungle journey, it was fairly clear that we favored the bus (14 hours one way) instead of the plane (45 minutes but too expensive). According to our present financial situation it was solely impossible to go for the flight. We had been told to pick up the tickets at a sleazy bus-station somewhere in the middle of nowhere: as a matter of fact there did not exist any kind of ticket booth and we had been strangely observed as gringos once more. Since we also managed to deal with this task, Duncan and I followed up collusion and eventually decided to start off early in the morning for the jungle despite some collywobbles.

Considering my health it was sure risky to travel like this. During the ride there was no way to catch some sleep, because the vehicle was incredibly packed and sufficient space for my knees didn’t exist at all. Beggars can’t be choosers – there was no reason to complain.

At the beginning, the roads were bearable but the longer the trip lasted they got worse and worse. Driving through almost muddy soil did not mean real pleasure for the participants but constant attention instead. Of course we were allowed to appreciate a few stopovers in small villages, where we could brush our teeth with probably contaminated water and fancy a bite. That should basically do it as a survival kit.

Upon approaching the entrance of the Tikal jungle, our bus had suddenly been prevented from continuing. What happened? Everyone was asked to get off the bus and then sort of ghost busters appeared to clean up everything inside. Obviously, the bus needed to be examined for certain insects or scarce but dangerous bugs; since nobody really solved the overall confusion, this explanation tended to be the only theory so far.

Confidently but ‘not actually taken to the cleaners’ we kept on traversing wonderful highlands and astoundingly green forests until our driver got in real trouble with a hill ahead of us. He had to undertake several attempts to overcome that natural barrier but nearly caused the entire bus falling down the abyss on the left side. I experienced this tricky and tough situation being surprisingly calm and cool. Maybe this was due to the mud story, just some days ago making my mind think positively with respect to this kind of critical moment.

Anyway this had been the 2nd closest reunion with God – thank God that’s over again. Looking forward to finishing this journey very soon we happily and safely arrived at Flores, close to the Lago Peten which is about 15 minutes from Tikal. Being totally exhausted we did not intend to waste any time for anything else but settling down in a small hotel. There we took a nap beneath mosquito nets fixed upon the ceiling in order to keep away this filthy nerve killing species from sucking our precious veins.

On Friday the 8th of January 1988 at 6 am, we had to get up for the long expected ride to the ruins of Tikal. Indeed we were fairly lucky to show up there pretty early before the herds of tourists invaded this beautiful site. We did start our individual tour at the Plaza de Major, then strutted for about 10 minutes through the lush forest when we – all of a sudden – came across an apparent natural wonder, it happened to be still a bit foggy but nevertheless here we go: two giant pyramids emerged from nowhere and mightily stood in front us: La Piramide del Sol and la Piramide de la Luna proudly facing each other.

These pyramids were supposed to symbolize the world and its astrology. Overall, 5 pyramids had been scattered within this jungle area. The remaining ones are called: Templo de las Inscripciones, Templo del Jaguar and el Templo de la Serpiente, quite powerful names. You are probably familiar with the world’s famous pyramids in Mexico near Cancun, but as a matter of fact, we’d been very grateful to treasure these holy sites still being a well-known jewelry amongst the Mayan culture.

We were mostly impressed by the gorgeous view on top of the sacred pyramids: we selected Piramide del Sol which we bravely ascended on our own. It was rather steep to climb up to the peak, utilizing a strong chain put aside the steps. Once we reached the summit, a guide accidentally explained to us the history of those temples and the extension of the Mayan empire at that time. From the historical point of view we deeply relished these precious and invaluable moments and inhaled that holy spot the whole nine yards. Since we were geographically and spiritually blessed the continuation of our journey needed to be brainstormed anyhow. Actually Belize was on our agenda but therefore Duncan had to acquire a Visa again, which seemed to be too much of a hassle right now. So, how to get back to Guatemala City?

On behalf of my physical state of habit, there was only one way how to decide: We both agreed upon a return via plane, which shouldn’t arouse any more biological hassle and take only 45 minutes this time. Spending the last day in Flores, Peten we had to sort out every Quetzal and/or each dollar which was left in our pocket in order to realize this aerial journey. The first price we encountered reckoned up to $30 per person, an amount we simply couldn’t afford at the moment.

How to get rid of this precarious financial dilemma? Since we ran into a German/Mexican couple at the ruins of Tikal, whose address we gladly jotted down, there was no chance to reject their offer. So we did and promised to balance our account once we were back in the capital, feeling fairly content about this resolution. It is not easy to stay cool telling you this: next morning we had been mercifully taken out of our complacency; something unbelievable had occurred: the price for the flight had curiously doubled overnight, immediately deteriorating my health situation again. Now we were not able to make it possible anymore, unless an ingenious and witty thought tackled our mind sooner or later. Probably in the jungle far away from civilization, anything can happen to anyone at anytime. We desperately tried to find a different airline with a cheaper price, but obviously there had been a general price increase in this area, which seemed to be a miracle.

I was so determined to split this pop sickle stand ASAP but my mind literally went nuts when being reminded of the second best solution of yet choosing the bus ending up in an atrocious nightmare. I mentally resisted believing in this option due to my physical weakness. Taking a powder by any chance wouldn’t have been a wise decision, so we hung on in for a while. Since everything works out anyhow, all of a sudden an airline offered a special fare for 96 Quetzal one way.

Foreclosure Formula – One Man’s Loss is Another Man’s Gain

In my book the word foreclosure is synonymous with sadness. Whether it happened before the 2008 Global Recession crisis or is happening right now – losing your house, is losing your home! And a lot more, psychologists would say! Bring into the equation hopelessness, failure, desperation and anger to name but a few emotions hundreds of thousands of families are experiencing.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs dictates a human’s basic physical requirements include the need for food, water, sleep and warmth ie shelter, your home. Take away our shelter and the other needs become deeply affected. In a frighteningly short time after the crash we saw news stories feature the devastating plight of homes being discarded as the occupants walked out with only what they could carry; leaving behind insurmountable debt. In walking out, a lifestyle of uncertainty and fear was instantaneously created with take-it-for-granted daily functions now taking priority.

Oprah featured a Special on the repercussions of foreclosures taking viewers into one abandoned home after another where beloved toys were dumped on bedroom floors, family photos still on the walls or displayed in cabinets, expensive flat screen televisions and computers untouched, pantries and fridges fully stocked, wardrobes complete with clothing and shoes. Where were these people going to go? If you were single, a few of those interviewed were fortunate enough to still have their cars and were living in them. Others were joining the ever increasing ranks in tent cities. The LOSS side of it without a doubt!

The GAIN off shoot can be seen in a myriad of flourishing businesses: removalists, bus tour companies, hospitality businesses servicing the bus tours, real estates and associated legal companies, to name but a few. Removalist companies work to excruciatingly tight schedules to clean out these properties squeezing in as many houses as daylight allows in readiness for quick sales. Indeed Oprah’s Special highlighted foreclosure bus tours as a now burgeoning industry for the lucky minority investors able to capitalize on the misfortune of others – but that’s life isn’t it?

One company on the band wagon assists cashed up investors with tailored tours for those looking for an investment property, second home or primary residence. The tour costs investors $39.95 with lunch and dinner included and if that’s not all, a fleet of professionals will assist you with a speedy purchase afterwards.

Foreclosure properties are anywhere from 50% and more below market, the American media is telling us. So good are the bargains (and if you just happen to live in Australia like I do) one company has already established three offices in Australian capital cities encouraging Australians to invest in these American properties. It promises an attractive 10%-28% net return even after your expenses are paid. A USA/Australian Tax Specialist Accountant will assist you with the purchase before you decide to go ahead with it so that you know exactly what deductions you can claim in Australia. There are rental guarantees that the property will be pre-tenanted and is of course fully managed on your behalf.

The Real Estate Bloggers article by Tom Royce on March 14 2010 (referring to USA) scares us with his opening statement: THE FORECLOSURE TSUNAMI THAT NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT! About 5 million to 7 million properties are potentially eligible for foreclosure but have not yet been repossessed and put up for sale!

Taking all this into account, it seems without question that this could be the safest way for any investor to go.