- March 12th 2013
One of the best times to visit Washington D.C. during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Since 1927, the festival has celebrated the planting of the first two cherry trees in the area.
Tokyo, Japan gifted 3,000 cherry trees to Washington DC on March 27, 1912, as a gesture of friendship between the two countries. Unfortunately, these trees were infected with insects, and in an effort to protect vegetation here in the United States, the trees were burned. Then Secretary of State Knox wrote to the Japanese Ambassador Takamine of the situation. After hearing this news, the Ambassador donated 3,000 cherry trees. These specific trees were a hybrid of a famous group of trees in Tokyo. These trees arrived in Washington DC on March 26, 1912. In a ceremony the next day, President Taft’s wife, and Ambassador Takamine’s wife planted the first to cherry trees along the Potomac River‘s north bank.
Since 1927, Washington DC has celebrated the planting of the first two cherry trees along the Potomac with a festival. Over the course of the years, the festival has evolved into a celebration that spans three weeks. From a Pink Tie Party to a Spy Cherry Blossom SCVNGR hunt, there are tons of activities to include every member of the family. And, if you want to take a tour, you have several options. You may opt to take a guided bus tour, a cherry blossom safari, a photo tour, or cruise the Potomac River. There truly is something for everyone!
Want to go at the peak cherry blossom time? The National Park Service horticulturists predict that the peak blooming period forecast will start around March 22. This is the period when only 20% of the blossoms are open until the petals fall off and the leaves appear. Blooming periods start several days before the peak bloom, but all this is also affected by the unpredictable weather in Washington. Currently, the NPS is predicting the 2013 Peak Bloom Date is between March 26 – 30, and the average will be April 4. To keep up to date on the bloom schedule, go to Bloom Watch Page or National Park Service.
Tags: Travel Fun
- February 8th 2013
Spring break is almost here, and you are traveling with the kids. We have 10 must do tips to make everyone’s life bearable while you are out on the road. There’s no reason why everyone can’t have a great time on the next vacation.
- If your travel plans include long plane rides, you may just want to dress your kids on some comfy one piece pajamas. They can wear their tennis shoes over the footies of the jammies, and they feel nice and comfy on the plane. Plus, if they do have an accident, it’s much easier to change a single item of clothing rather than a whole outfit.
- Feed your kids before they get on the plane. Fed children tend to behave a bit more, and may actually sleep if they have a meal before they board the plane.
- Split some time with the kids between Mom and Dad. Going to the pool with Dad can leave Mom some time to relax and feel like she’s on a vacation. Alternatively, Mom can take the kids to a museum and Dad can catch up on his book at the beach.
- If you are going to be laden down with a lot of luggage and you cannot scale down further, consider sending some to your destination ahead of schedule. Your bags can be waiting on you when you arrive. Alternatively, I have shipped home things from a trip that I didn’t want to tote through and airport and plane.
- Small wrapped gifts to present to the children in case they start to unravel on the plane or car trip. A few inexpensive surprises may just be the lifesaver on a flight. Small trucks, plastic animals, finger puppets may be the best diversion.
- Try to keep to the same schedule as you have at home. This will make to happier kids, and in turn, a happier you. If you completely disrupt their sleep pattern day after day, it will just make everyone cranky.
- Go off the beaten path. Sometimes it pays to take a side trip. I’ve often take a few side trips and found that it was the best part of the entire vacation. We all love to view the world’s biggest ketchup bottle, right?
- Ask your kids what they may like to do on your vacation. Not only does it give them a sense of being included in decision making, but they may bring up a good idea that you never even considered.
- Be prepared to be spontaneous. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but sometimes just going with the flow will make your trip easier and your family happier. Isn’t that what the vacation was supposed to be for? Relaxation?
- Bring a sense of humor. No matter how irritating, aggravating, and/or annoying your kids can be, there are times they make you laugh. To find humor in the smallest things will lighten the mood, and save your trip.
One way to keep your stress down before and after your trip, make a reservation at ParkRideFlyUSA.com. Our network of vendors service all the major airports in the United States. With guaranteed parking spaces, great rates, transportation to and from the airport and luggage assistance, you will save time and money. Your best place to reserve off-airport parking.
- October 15th 2012
October has always been one of my favorite months of the year. I love the colors of Autumn, and even as an adult I love pumpkins, fall decorations, and of course Halloween. In celebration of October, I complied the top ten kookiest, most bizarre, Superstitions in the U.S.
- Dropping an umbrella on the floor of your home means there will be a murder in the residence.
- If you dream of a lizard, it is a sign you have a secret enemy.
- Never take a used broom when you move. Just ditch it. Always pick up a new one for your new home.
- For good luck, watch what food you eat each month. In January, eat black-eyed peas for good luck all year. February, you should eat servings of noodles. Eating seeds in March will continue your good luck. In April, stick to eggs. You can retain your luck in May if you eat yogurt and cheese. Be sure to attend a wedding in June so you can have some wedding cake to ward off any bad luck. A sweet piece of watermelon is the ticket for luck in July. August, some servings of sweet corn on the cob is best. Fish and Oysters are at the top of the list for lucky foods in September. October brings a nice pumpkin in a nice freshly baked pie is a sweet treat. For November, turkey is lucky for everyone but the bird and in December, be sure to have a lot of fruit in your refrigerator and pantry.
- A bird in the house is a sign of death.
- If black cat walks toward you, luck is on its way. However, if it walks away, so will your good fortune.
- Counting Crows – Yes, the number of crows you count in a murder (a group of crows) will predict the following: 1 crow – bad luck. 2 crows – good luck. 3 crows health and 4 crows are wealth. 5 crows sickness and if there are 6 crows death…………………..
- Seeing an owl during the day means someone will die.
- Never give your child a name with 13 letters.
- Friday the 13th. Need I say more?
This is just my personal compilation of kooky superstitions. If you have more nominations, please let me know in the comments. I would love to add them!
One thing you don’t have to take a chance on is your off-airport parking. For guaranteed reservations for your next trip, you won’t have to avoid stepping on cracks or holding a button if you go over some train tracks, visit ParkRideFlyUSA to secure your airport parking.
- August 29th 2012
If you’re ready for a bit of armchair sightseeing, then the World Wonders project we recently reviewed isn’t your only option. There are several other sites where you can see less famous (but still interesting) sights, courtesy of Google Maps. Here are six of them.
1. Google Lat-Long
To kick things off, here’s the only official Google blog on the list, the Google Lat-Long blog. This keeps readers up to date with what the Google Earth and Google Maps team are doing, and there are plenty of links to other map blogs which Google Maps aficionados will also find useful.
2. Google Earth Hacks
Google Earth Hacks provides lots of downloads to help you get more from Google Earth, but that’s not all. Travelers may be interested in entries showing aircraft in flight or places of interest that don’t happen to be world monuments. There are more than 28,000 files available on the site.
3. Virtual Globetrotting
Virtual Globetrotting uses Google, Bing and Yahoo maps to provide an eclectic mix of maps, including the diner where Michael Jackson filmed Beat It, a ruined church at Chichen Itza and a range of Street View maps relating to buildings, land, events and transportation. Confusingly, the site also features the portraits of famous people from galleries around the world in their ‘this week’s birthdays’ feature.
4. Google Maps Mania
Google Maps Mania has been running since 2005 to track sites, mashups and tools which rely on Google Maps. Interesting recent mashups include transit planning for people with disabilities, a map showing restaurants featured on the Food Network and and air quality map.
5. Google Earth Blog
Despite its name, the Google Earth Blog is an unofficial blog but it covers news, sights and technology relating to Google Earth as well as tips on getting more from Google Earth. Whether you need a basic introduction to Google Earth, more advanced tips or just want to see how people have used Google Earth for virtual sightseeing you will find it here.
6. Google Sightseeing
The tagline of Google Sightseeing is “why bother seeing the world for real?” While we don’t agree that virtual travel replaces real travel, it’s worth browsing the ‘weird and wonderful sights’ presented here. You will find everything from abandoned towns and cities to volcanoes, theme parks and an eclectic collection of weirdness.
Which are your favorite sites to explore maps?
- August 27th 2012
Can’t travel but want to see something new? Ever wondered if those famous sights are really worth the price of admission? If you want to get a preview of the wonders of the world, then Google has the answer: the World Wonders Project. Working with organizations like Unesco, the World Monuments Fund, Getty Images and others, Google has used Street View to bring world heritage sights to your computer. It’s a way to virtually explore some of the wonders of the ancient and modern world.
Exploring World Wonders
There are several ways to explore the content on the site. You can select Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America or South America from the drop down menu. There’s another menu which highlights specific themes (archeological sites, architecture, cities and towns, historic sites, monuments and memorials, palaces and castles, parks and gardens, places of worship, regions and landscapes, and wonders of nature. And the home page feature a slideshow of famous sights along with a globe that shifts to highlight other sights in the region. Just click on one of the red flags to find the one you want.
Getting More Info
Once you go to a place, the main window shows it as it would look if you were standing there. Click on a white circle to go to a particular spot or use the familiar Google Maps and Google Earth controls to navigate to where you want. The sidebar menu gives an overview of the location, additional information from Unesco, photos and videos (including those submitted by visitors to the location, 3D models and a map where you can explore other nearby places of interest.
Of course, a virtual tour of Pompeii isn’t really a replacement for being there, seeing the sights, smelling the smells and absorbing the local color, but if your planned trip is some time in the future, this site can keep your appetite whetted and help with your trip research. It’s also a useful site for educators and students looking to learn more about the wonders of the world.