Posts tagged with "hiking"

10 Ways to Keep the Family Physically and Mentally Active This Summer

With summer break upon us, many parents will be scrambling for ideas of how to keep their families active over the next couple of months. Staying active, both physically and mentally, can help families avoid the dreaded summer brain drain, where kids tend to lose some of what they learned during the school year, and it can help keep the body healthier. Plus, you can make some great family memories and everyone can learn something. There are numerous ways for the whole family to keep active this summer in the Pigeon Forge area.

“Summer is a great time to engage your family in something new,” states Ed Shaffer, General Manager for WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge. “By seeing and experiencing different things over the break, their mind and body will stay active and challenged. The Pigeon Forge area offers plenty of opportunities for the family to make memories together.”

Here are 10 ways to keep the family physically and mentally active this summer in the Pigeon Forge area:

  1. Explore Art. Check out the illusion artwork at WonderWorks, some of which have hidden objects. You can also play brain games by answering riddles along the way.
  2. Get climbing. WonderWorks offers a 50-foot tall indoor ropes course, where you can be challenged and have fun. The four stories of ropes over over 50 different obstacles and activities.
  3. Play tag. There’s nothing like a family-friendly game of laser tag to create fun memories. WonderWorks offers offers an interactive laser tag option that is a great experience for the whole family.
  4. Be awed. Don’t miss The Wonders of Magic show at WonderWorks, starring Terry Evanswood. Considered the best magic show in the state, it won’t disappoint!
  5. Start digging. Visit the interactive sandbox at WonderWorks, where every hand motion and sand movement leads to more to explore.
  6. Take a hike. The wonders of nature and benefits of spending time out in it cannot be overlooked. Pick a trail that is appropriate for all ages of those in your family, and head out for a nice hike.
  7. Learn something new. Visit a nature center, where you can take part in guided activities, learning about things in the environment.
  8. Family bike ride. Head out on one of the area’s paved bike trails, such as Riverwalk Greenway, and explore by bike. Those who are not local can rent bikes for the journey.
  9. Visit goats. Give the kids a hands-on experience with animals. Families love stopping by to see and feed the animals at Goats on the Roof.
  10. Go downriver. A fun family experience for everyone, head out for a couple of hours of family tubing or rafting. This experience provides an exhilarating experience for all.

“We are blessed to live in an area that offers many family friendly activity opportunities,” added Shaffer. “Combining WonderWorks with some outdoor activities will help keep your loved ones physically and mentally strong and growing over the summer break.”

WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge offers 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment” opportunities, billing itself as an amusement park for the mind. They offer over 100 hands-on exhibits covering natural disasters, space discovery, an imagination lab, a physical challenge zone, a far out art gallery, and a light and sound zone. WonderWorks is open daily from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. For more information, log onto their site: https://www.wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge/.

About WonderWorks

WonderWorks, a science focused indoor amusement park, combines education and entertainment. With over 100 hands-on exhibits – there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of 71mph hurricane–force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make huge, life–sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment in our Astronaut Training Gyro and experience zero gravity. Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. Conquer your fear of heights on our indoor Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes Course. WonderWorks is also home to Wonders of Magic, starring Terry Evanswood, the award-winning and longest running performer in Pigeon Forge. WonderWorks hosts birthday parties and special events seasonally. Open daily from 9 a.m. until midnight. https://www.wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge.

Easy Ways to Plan Mother’s Day

Unforgettable Mother’s Day Getaways

Forget breakfast in bed–this Mother’s Day, treat the ladies in your life to the vacation they deserve. From weekend hiking excursions in the Catskills to phone-free retreats in the stunning mountains of Alaska, we gathered the most wonderful ways to show your love to the mom who deserves more than a day to celebrate.  

For the Brand New Mom

Separation anxiety need not apply–give Mom a break while making beautiful family memories with the Baby’s First Holiday package at Martinhal Cascais Family Hotel in Lisbon. You’ll be greeted with a baby welcome pack and a special gift for the baby, then guided to your Deluxe Room complete with a private balcony, baby cot, bottle warmer and sterilizer, and changing mat. The package includes plenty of ways for new parents to unwind with a spa treatment for Mom and Dad, a 3-course romantic dinner with a babysitter included, and two hours of childcare per day. Spend quality time dolphin-watching, hiking, or kayaking on the vibrant Lisbon coast, or explore the region by bike with Martinhal Cascais’s convenient on-site Bike Station. Martinhal’s first water experience for baby and parents rounds out this once-in-a-lifetime vacation.  If the beachy Algarve is more your style, the same package is available at Martinhal Sagres.

For the Mom with a Favorite Pair of Hiking Boots

Nature is a Mother, too, so she knows what moms need. From upstate in New York’s scenic Finger Lakes to the ancient beauty of Machu Picchu, Discover Outdoors plans excursions for families with every time frame and skill level. Moms can hike, bike, hang glide, and more through the world outside of their metropolitan life. The premier guide company scouts the country’s most scenic locales, plans expeditions, and provides transportation out of the city.  All you need to do is sign up, get outside, and let Mother Nature do the rest. For the adults, plenty of adventures end in beer, wine, or whiskey. If Mom needs a break from the kids, send her off on an all-women Morning Meditation, Nature Photography Course, or Overnight Backpacking adventure, or sign up for the Women in the Outdoors week.

For the Mom Who’s Up for an Adventure

Come to the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge for the blue skies of Alaskan summer and stay for the thrill of adventure in the unparalleled mountain scenery of the Tordrillo Range. The volcanic peaks are known for stable weather conditions, creating ideal opportunities for Alaskan heli skiing–in June, ski in your t-shirt through carvable corn snow and 75-degree weather. Other sporty summer pursuits include world-class fishing, mountain biking on glaciers, whitewater rafting, glacier and alpine hiking, rock and ice climbing, canoeing, water skiing, and more. After a full day of fun, unwind by the fireplace while Mom enjoys a glass of wine from the 500-bottle cellar or soak in the luxurious lakeside wood-fired hot tub and sauna.

For the Mom Who Rocks a Five Iron

Hit the links in Vail, Colorado, at the Sonnenalp Hotel’s semi-private, 7,100-yard championship links style golf course. Take the whole family for 18 holes that cater to golfers of every skill level, with everyday playability as well as opportunities to find challenges for those who seek them. Add in some extra time to take in the breathtaking Rocky Mountain views, as the Sonnenalp Club is fabulously located to allow dramatic morning and afternoon sun to highlight the mountains’ natural radiance. Back at the Sonnenalp Hotel enjoy an exquisite spa experience, relaxing indoor and outdoor whirlpools with views of Gore Creek, and luxury lodging that perfectly captures the rustic charm of the Sonnenalp’s surroundings.

For the Mom Who Wants Her Children Off of Social Media

Get off the grid at Sheldon Chalet, a luxurious home away from home in a corner of Denali National Park so remote that you can only get there by helicopter. At an atmosphere of 6,000 feet, the troposphere above Sheldon Chalet is some of the thinnest on the planet–not great for cell signal, but ideal for jaw-dropping views of jagged snowy mountains, shooting stars, and the purple, green, and blue hues of the Aurora Borealis. Venture out onto the Ruth Glacier with a mountaineering guide or explore the crevasses of the surrounding Alaska Range, then return to the Chalet to indulge in gourmet, fresh Alaskan cuisine in a cozy lodge setting that only holds up to ten guests at a time.

For the Mom Who Loves to Learn

Culture, history, and conservation come together in one incredible place at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel in Belize. The Resort’s on-site guides entertain and educate while exposing guests to the tropical beauty of Belize. Explore ancient Mayan ruins that haunt the jungle, venture into San Ignacio for a taste of the local culture, or join a birdwatching tour to seek the elusive Crested Caracara. Discover the biodiversity of surrounding ecosystems while horseback riding, ziplining, or rappelling through caves. Book a stay in the River View Suite and enjoy complimentary access to the Resort’s Green Iguana Conservation Project, an interactive exhibit educating guests about the endangered Green Iguana, and the Medicinal Trail tour that investigates rainforest plants and herbs utilized by the Maya community for healing.

For the Mom in Need of Pampering

Moms are always looking after everyone else–give Mom some “me time” at a spa unlike any other. The Spa at Al Bait Sharjah UAE opens the door to traditional Middle Eastern beauty and wellness secrets, incorporating the most effective healing of the Far East. Using organic artisan products, the spa pampers and restores through body polishes, nurturing body wraps, rejuvenating beauty rituals, and therapeutic massages. Guests have access to separate relaxation lounges, hammam, steam rooms, and saunas. Your mom will return home relaxed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the world.

Morro Bay Bike Ride

Public Invited to Ride across Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 Finish at the Morro Bay Bike Ride Pre-Event and Party at the Pro Cyclists Meet & Greet

Cycle through the Stage 4 Finish Line on Race Day, Meet Former Professional

American Cyclist and Author Bob Roll and other Pro Cyclists at The Siren, Volunteer and Watch the Race Front and Center, Book Race Day VIP Lodging Packages or Hotels along the Race Route

The public is invited to participate in Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 race day fun in #cyclingmecca Morro Bay. The 2019 Amgen Tour of California announced Morro Bay will host the Stage 4 Finish of the men’s race on May 15, 2019 following the scenic route the Amgen Tour took in 2017, when Peter Sagan won the sprint finish. After passing through picturesque Morro Bay State Park, where riders get their first glimpse of iconic Morro Rock, Morro Bay’s busting waterfront before sprinting uphill into downtown Morro Bay for the big finish.

“Of all sports, it is cycling that has the most beautiful stadium and this ocean front Stage 4 Finish in Morro Bay is a stunner,” according to Bob Roll, former professional American cyclist and author. “With perfect year round riding weather, the world will get its chance to experience what the locals have enjoyed for years: varied terrain, wide open roads, first class dining and drop dead views. Can’t wait to be there!”

Morro Bay Bike Ride Pre-Event: Ride Across the Amgen Stage 4 Finish Line

Join event producer RaceSLO on race day for the Morro Bay Bike Ride May 15, 2019 from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. This ride ends with a sprint through the Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 Finish line on Harbor Street! All levels are welcome to this celebratory cycle pep rally with three participation options: kid-friendly, recreational rider or seasoned cyclist. Enjoy vendors, food and beverages as the crowd awaits the professional racers to start crossing the finish around 3:40 pm. Participants receive a collectible event t-shirt and free bike valet. Ride proceeds go to local non-profit partner Bike SLO County.

Pro Cyclists Meet & Greet at Siren Rhythm & Booze

Stick around after the race and head to the FREE Bob Roll Pro Cyclists Meet & Greet Event at The Siren May 15, 2019 at 5:30 pm, produced by RaceSLO. Get some cool cycling swag and raise some cold craft pints while helping raise funds for Bike SLO County during a LIVE Auction. Enjoy live music and catch a glimpse of Amgen competitors up close and personal. The event is over 21 only and FREE, but seating is limited so you must pre-register and present a ticket at the door.

Volunteer at Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 Finish

Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. Tour officials say the 2019 race will be the longest and most challenging in its 14-year history. Many volunteers are needed to make this event a success. You don’t have to live in Morro Bay to participate. Click here to sign up and see the race up close!

Book Lodging Along the Race Route or Amgen Tour of California VIP Packages

Book your stay at a hotel along the Amgen Tour of California route to get a front row seat as the riders pass by. Or, book a suite or waterfront room in one of the participating Morro Bay hotels and receive exclusive access into the Amgen Tour of California VIP tent filled with perks and goodies! Hospitality Passes provide exclusive access into the main VIP Hospitality Tent located adjacent to the FINISH Line. VIP Hospitality Includes:

  • Swag bag of goodies that you’ll receive upon check-in
  • Premium Viewing Location right at the finish line
  • Gourmet foods catered from local restaurants throughout the area
  • Open Bar (includes beer and wine)
  • Lounge Style Seating with closed-circuit tv viewing
  • Live Race Coverage (last two hours of the broadcast)

For additional information on hotels in Morro Bay check out our booking engine here. Recently named one of the Best Small Towns in CA by Country Living Magazine, Morro Bay offers year round mild weather, perfect for epic outdoor adventure all year long. For more information on visiting Morro Bay, go to www.morrobay.org. #multisportmecca

About Morro Bay

A true #outdoormecca, this active seaside fishing village with bustling waterfront offers a picture-perfect getaway for travelers who seek food, wine and outdoor adventures found in nature. Located along coastal Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County just south of Big Sur, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay offers year-round activities in an unspoiled slice of California. From ocean-side golf, kayaking, sailing, hiking, fishing, surfing, biking, and bird watching, to kite flying, shopping, dining, wine bars, local craft brews and miles of unspoiled beaches, there is something for everyone.

Sitting majestically between the beach and the harbor lays the iconic and historic landmark Morro Rock, welcoming travelers from miles away as they approach Morro Bay. Located just minutes from world-renowned Hearst Castle, historic missions, breathtaking Montana de Oro State Park, and surrounded by vineyards from Paso Robles to Edna Valley, Morro Bay is a destination designed to fit any style and budget for families, couples or groups. Morro Bay also offers a myriad of year-round events including food, wine and music festivals, art fairs and car shows unique to the town. For more travel information visit www.morrobay.org or follow Morro Bay on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Moab Adventure Center

Two popular multi-day adventure vacation packages invite active travelers to explore the wonders in and around the red rock playground of Moab, Utah, during the 2019 season. But visitors take note: due to the growing demand for quick escapes, space will go fast!

Moab Adventure Center (www.moabadventurecenter.com), the go-to specialists for all the outdoor pursuits Moab is famous for, has seen bookings increase every year for its four-day Southwest Sampler and their 4-day Westwater Canyon Multi-Sport vacation packages.

“We’ve experienced unsurpassed growth over the past several years on our multi-day tours that include activities and lodging,” reports Brandon Lake, company CMO. “For 2019, we took action and have doubled our guest capacity on the ever popular Moab, Utah vacation package, the Southwest Sampler.”

There’s good availability now for the spring and summer on all Moab Adventure Center’s offerings, but Lake suggests booking soon for the coming season.

“These popular programs fit perfectly into the type of escape visitors are now into,” explains Lake. “They are short (just four days and three nights), the activities are thrilling but easy enough for most everyone to enjoy, as multisport programs the action never stops (think Hummer Safari, an Arches National Park Tour, and whitewater rafting), one package offers a mix of camping and hotel lodging, and with both, there’s ample time to fill out the week by further exploring Moab and the surrounding region pre- or post-trip.”

Bundling the activities rather than reserving a la carte also saves money.

Keeping pace with increased sales and demand, new for 2019 is a partnership between the Moab Adventure Center and the newly opened SpringHill Suites by Marriott for lodging. Offering twice as many guest rooms as the previous property utilized, it has enabled the tour operator to double guest capacity on its Southwest Sampler package. Widely considered to be the best family hotel in Moab, it offers multiple pools, hot tubs, and a kid’s canyon, complete with a splash pad and waterfalls.

Moab Adventure Center’s Southwest Sampler captures the best of the Southwest over four days and three nights from May through August. Guests lodge the first two nights at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott that enjoys the closest proximity to Arches National Park of any lodging in town. From here, guests enjoy an off-road Hummer Safari through a fantasyland of slickrock. Then comes a two-day, 19.6-mile river rafting adventure through Class I and II rapids, with one night of pampered beach camping on the banks of the Colorado River. The per person rate is $690 for ages 16 and up and $595 for ages 5-15. Thanks to the amenities and easy river passage this is a program that can suit the needs of young families with children as young as age 5. See: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/southwest-sampler

Westwater Canyon Multi-Sport engages Moab’s breathtaking backcountry via a red rock Hummer Safari and rafting the Class III-V rapids of the Colorado River while coursing through Westwater Canyon. This is a four-day getaway available from June through September. The package includes three luxury nights of lodging at Red Cliffs Lodge situated on the banks of the Colorado River. National Geographic dubbed the 26-mile rafting adventure through Westwater Canyon “The West’s Best Short Whitewater Trip.” There’s an optional horseback ride in Castle Valley where movies and commercials are frequently shot. The package for ages 16 and up is $705; for youth 12-15 $675. Included are three breakfasts, accommodation, one dinner, one on-river lunch, activities and transfers to and from the raft put-in. For details see https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/westwater-canyon-package

About the Moab Adventure Center
Moab Adventure Center is at the epicenter of nature-themed rather than theme-park-style adventure, promising activities that include rafting, jet boating, stand up paddle boarding, hiking, mountain biking and hot air ballooning. Hummer safaris, rock climbing, canyoneering and horseback riding are also very popular pursuits. Many of these activities are conducted with guides, an arrangement that helps preclude the kind of damage to the land that can happen when uneducated visitors venture into sensitive areas. Guides help people understand where they can move through backcountry with the least impact possible.

The Moab Adventure Center is a division of Western River Expeditions (www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. For information and reservations please call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs.

VENICE’S SAN CLEMENTE PALACE KEMPINSKI REOPENS FOR ITS 2019 SEASON

San Clemente Palace Kempinski, the Venetian luxury resort uniquely located on its own private island eight minutes away from St. Mark’s Square, will open for its fourth season on March 20, 2019.

Just minutes from the bustle of Venice and set among a centuries-old park, antique courtyards and monastery buildings, the 190-room resort has its own pitch & putt golf course, a tennis court, spa, heated outdoor pool and outdoor jogging trails, as well as a kids’ club for younger guests. Last year, the resort unveiled Al Bacaro, an outdoor lounge serving cichetti (Venetian tapas) and cocktails, overlooking the Venetian lagoon and skyline.

Throughout the 2019 season, San Clemente Palace will offer a number of unique offerings for Easter, Spring Break, the Venice Biennale and beyond. During Easter weekend, the resort will offer a special “Kids Stay for Free” package, along with celebratory chocolate egg-decorating workshops and Easter Brunch for the whole family. To commemorate the 58th Venice Biennale, from May 11 through November 4, 2019, San Clemente Palace will also offer a special dedicated package, including exclusive tickets to the Biennale.

San Clemente Palace is also poised to become a true foodie destination this year, as the resort will welcome four top Michelin-starred guest chefs to cook alongside Executive Chef Giorgio Schifferegger for a special event called “Cena a Quattro Mani” (“Four-Hands Dinner”). San Clemente Palace will also be home to a number of other special F&B events, including a Wine & Beer pairing menu with local craft beer and wine, and a pizza-tasting event welcoming Pizza World Champion Gianni Calaon.

In honor of the resort’s opening, San Clemente Palace is offering a discount of up to 40% on all suites for stays between March 20 and April 30, 2019.

For more information about the San Clemente Palace Kempinski, please visit

https://www.kempinski.com/en/venice/san-clemente-palace-kempinski/special-offers/.

6 Choices to Make Your Mental & Physical Goals a Success in 2019

According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week in February. Why? Because dramatic and immediate changes are not sustainable long-term.

So this year, make 2019 not a year of resolutions or diets but one of incremental changes to instill habits that create real long-lasting results. Here are 6 tips:

Do What You Enjoy:

Commit to trying new things or even old things to remind yourself of what you enjoy. This is especially true for keeping active and fulfilling your body’s desire for movement and exercise. This can be taking frequent walks through nature, biking, dancing, hiking, or yoga. Start taking ballroom dancing lessons that you promised yourself you would try years ago. Take a barre method class where you can let your inner ballerina shine. Better yet, put that music on full blast while you are preparing dinner and dance like no one’s watching. It is not about perfection, it is about finding what you love to do and what brings a smile to your face, then it becomes fun and not something you want to do.

Add Things, Don’t Remove Them:

If your goal is to improve your nutrition to lose weight and improve your energy levels, try adding foods into your diet like vegetables. Find fun ways to prepare them to fit your taste buds. Often times if you start with a deprivation statement like, “I am going to stop eating all carbs,” then the only thing you will think about is carbs. When you introduce something new and start noticing the benefits of that change, then you are often inspired to move on to add the next change. Think addition not deprivation!

Stop Eating by 6pm:

If you want to encourage the body to burn fat for energy, stop eating by 6 or 7pm. This allows the body to put most of its energy into rejuvenating and restoring the body for the next day. It also gives the body all time it needs to use up all the sugar storage in the liver so then it can start burning the fat cells for needed energy.

Take 5 Minutes to Stop & Breathe:

If one of your goals is to start being more mindful or to simply start incorporating some relaxation techniques to help you react to stressful events with more ease then perhaps going from not meditating to promising to meditate every day for 45 minutes a day may be a bit overwhelming.

Try this simple strategy, wake up in the morning take a deep breath, record in a journal or on your phone one thing you are grateful for, appreciate or just makes you happy. Read it out loud and then follow with 5 slow breaths and really feel that joy. This way you are starting the habit and getting your body used to what relaxation and being in a state of gratitude feels like. During the day when things get hectic, pull out that book or play that recording and take 5 deep breaths. Fast, easy and often times very effective for decreasing the effects of those stress reactions.

Go to Bed 15 Minutes Earlier:

Work on getting a good night’s rest. A healthy amount of sleep helps you to be more alert, make better decisions, maintain a healthier weight and helps you to look and feel younger. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier each week for a month so you total an hour more of sleep. Remove all electronic devices in the bedroom that gives off artificial light and creating a bedtime routine that signals the body that it is time for bed.

Spend Your Time with Like-Minded People:

Make an effort to spend more quality time reconnecting with family or friends.  Individuals who have social connections suffer less symptoms of depression and may live longer healthier, lives. Also, establishing a support group can help to stay on track with our goals. This may look like once every two weeks to a month spending some time with your girlfriends or skyping or face timing them to catch up.

Making these gradual changes can help you to create habits that will help to feel more energized, feel less stressed, think more clearly and make better choices for you. With each choice comes the opportunity to be the person you have always envisioned.

Eudene Harry MD is the medical director for Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center, a wellness practice devoted to integrative holistic care. She is a veteran physician with over 20 years of experience. Dr. Harry earned her medical degree and performed her residency at Thomas Jefferson University.

Dr. Harry is the author of three books designed to empower the individual to get started on their path to optimal health. She has published extensively on the topics of reducing stress, healthy lifestyle choices, and regaining youthfulness. Her most recent book, Be Iconic: Healthy and Sexy at Any Ageis now available on Amazon.

Exploring Western Belize in 2019

Belize has been featured as the only Central American country on National Geographic’s Best Trips 2019 List. Quickly growing in popularity as one of the best tropical vacation destinations in the world, Belize is a blend of cultures and natural attractions and is a place that fully embraces its Central American and Caribbean roots, celebrates its diversity and takes great pride in its spectacular natural beauty. The San Ignacio Resort Hotel in Western Belize provides a perfect springboard for a vacation filled with adrenaline adventures, fine dining and opportunities to experience the infamous Maya Temples.

Adrenaline Adventures

Black Hole Drop: Begin with a 2 hour hike up the Maya Mountains over the rainforest canopy at Actun Loch Tunich, “The Monster of All Caves.” Become mesmerized by incredible aerial views of jungle rainforests, then step off the ledge of the cliff for a 300-foot high rappelling adventure ride where you will have amazing visuals of the Black Hole and luscious greens. This experience is not for the faint of heart.

Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave: This site has been featured on National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and History Channel because of its mesmerizing giant shimmering flowstone formations, stalactites, and stalagmites widely present throughout this 3-mile long cave. ATM features burial chambers, Maya artifacts, intact calcified human remains, and slate stelaes that were used for burials. The cave itself is several miles long with multiple chambers. Once inside the cave you will spend several hours swimming, climbing, and exploring.

Fine Dining

Running W Steakhouse & Restaurant: Located at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, Running W Steakhouse & Restaurant has a new Executive Chef, Enrique Awe whose culinary journey has brought him back to his hometown of San Ignacio after working for 16 years in the USA. The Restaurant showcases an international menu with the best of Belizean cuisine and features grass fed meats from the family’s own ranch where the restaurant got its name.

Trey’s Barn & Grill: Trey Roberson grills up the freshest cuisine in Western Belize and creates cocktails that pair well with his unique dishes. You can also find him at San Ignacio Resort Hotel for special cookouts on property with live music and libations.

Maya Temples

Caracol: Located on the western edge of the Maya Mountains within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, Caracol lies on a high plateau that drops into a deep valley to the northwest and rises into hilly terrain to the southwest. The site was discovered in 1938 by Rosa Mai, a logger looking for mahogany. Although one of the most challenging Belize ruins to reach, the trip to Caracol is also one of the most scenic drives. It is the largest known Maya center within the country and holds “Canaa” (Sky Place), the largest pyramid or man-made structure in Belize at 140 feet tall.

Cahal Pech: Located on a hill that overlooks the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, excavations show that Cahal Pech was inhabited from 1000 B.C. to around 800 A.D. The central part of the ruins provides a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding area. Thirty-four structures, including temple pyramids, two ball courts, and an altar fill the 2 acre area.

Five of America’s largest airlines have nonstop flights to Belize from major cities across the country, making it easily accessible for US travelers.

360 MAGAZINE × TENNESSEE

Story × Photos by Ryan Johnson

360 Magazine visited the Upper Cumberland Area of Tennessee this October. Just in time to catch the transformation of the leaves into fall colors. This region of Tennessee is located between Nashville and Knoxville, 1 hour drive each way. The flagship towns in the area, Crossville and Cookeville, not only capture beauty of small towns on the fringe of picturesque landscapes, they provide access to a multitude of incorporated businesses. The combination of affordable shopping with the low cost of living and no state tax make this a hidden gem prime to visit for the traveler interested in an authentic experience, maybe more. If this isn’t explicit enough, it’s the only place I’ve been in the states I’m seriously considering moving to. That realization stuck in three days.

We spent most of our time in the state parks. Natural beauty wasn’t the only consistent theme. Each park was fitted with Jackson Kayaks, a local company that not only leads the sport but also the industry. The kayaks provided to the parks were offered at a massive discount to ensure everyone visiting would have the opportunity to try it themselves. A philosophy that says everything about the community and values of Jackson Kayak. This company created by Eric Jackson, a lead competitor in the sport, started the company with a kayak for his son. A product which at the time did not exist for someone that young, giving all kids the change to try it out.

In true pay it forward style, this collective effort in the community is full circle. One direct example being the contribution of outdated signs and details from the state parks to furnish a local brewery, Happy Trails Brewing Company. This brewery, headed by Jessica, a working Kindergarten Teacher in the community. Similar to all good breweries is a product of its surroundings. Another notable taste is Red Silo, a brewery that started as the winner of the home brew contest at the local WCTE PBS Station Blues & Brew fundraiser. Calf Killer is another local legend that brings a taste that will make your taste buds melt. These obvious must tries are only half the adventure, you could spend the day with the home brewers and be the judge yourself.

It’s easy to follow the well-traveled highways in between Nashville and Knoxville. You won’t regret taking an exit and heading to the green on the map. The state parks are vastly accessible, overlooks and access is a high priority brought forth by the pioneering effort of the CCC. The Civilian Conservation Corps healing gesture was an organized effort by the Roosevelt Administration in the wake of the great depression. If this doesn’t paint the picture, don’t worry. There’s a set of tourist binoculars that give people who are colorblind the ability to see colors for the first time, which in the fall will bring a loved one to their knees.

While most of the sites are accessible to all, there’s another layer for the more adventurous. Fairly strenuous hikes to the base of the many waterfalls are always buried beyond the overlooks. Some that were only made accessible by Disney in the production of the 1994 film “The Jungle Book” which created roads to some surreal and recognizable locations in the film. Justifiably integral to the jungle aesthetics the film demanded. Likewise, Tennessee is the one of two places in the world that offer the spectacle of synchronous fireflies. The other being in Southeast Asia.

With solid views and tasty beer, naturally comes great food. The care and attention restaurant owners put into their work makes the meals feel family style without the crockpot. Notably the buffet at Homestead Harvest in Cumberland Mountain State Park carries as much depth as the hike on Pioneer Trail around Byrd Lake. If you really feel like earning your meal, rent a Jackson Kayak to enjoy the cool breeze off the water. Whether you’re camping or staying in the luxury cabins at the top of the hill, wake early and catch the fog on the lake first thing in the morning.

Great things are made in Tennessee, you could be too.

As always, reach out on Instagram @360travelfood to see the best spots. Here’s a listed on vetted local flavors and experiences:

• Jackson Kayak, founded in 2003 based in Sparta, TN (jacksonkayak.com)

• Cumberland Mountain State Park, Crossville, TN (tnstateparks.com)

• Broast, TN Coffee Roasters, Cookeville, TN (broasttn.com)

• Blues & Brews Craft Beer Festival, Cookeville, TN (wcte.org/brews)

• Sunset Marina & Resort, Monroe, TN (sunsetmarina.com)

• Rock Island State Park, Rock Island, TN (tnstateparks.com/parks/rock-island)

• Fall Creek Falls State Park, Spencer, TN (tnstateparks.com/parks/fall-creek-falls)

• Ozone Falls State Park, Crossville, TN (tnvacation.com/local/crossville-ozone-falls)

• Black Mountain Overlook, Crossville, TN (cumberlandtrail.org)

• Homestead Harvest Restaurant, Crossville, TN (tnstateparks.com/parks/restaurant)

• Happy Trails Brewing Co., Sparta, TN (happytrailsbrewing.com)

• Red Silo Brewing LLC, Cookeville, TN (tnvacation.com/local)

• Calfkiller Brewing Company, Sparta, TN (calfkillerbeer.com)

• CrossFit Mayhem, Cookeville, TN (crossfitmayhem.com)

• Cumberland County Playhouse, Crossville, TN (ccplayhouse.com)

Fun Ways to Spend Your Free Time

What do you do in your free time? Does it cost you lots of money? Unfortunately, while there may be many different ways you can enjoy your free time, many of them cost money. Think how much it costs to go out to dinner, spend the afternoon shopping, or take a trip away. Free time is a precious commodity, and you want to enjoy it as much as possible. However, not everyone has a bottomless pit filled with money. Would you like some ways of enjoying your free time that won’t cost an arm and a leg? Keep reading for the top four suggestions.

Find a New Hobby

If you haven’t already got a hobby, now’s the time to acquire one. There are plenty of options, and you can spend as little or as much as you want. Why not learn a new language? It will benefit your career as well as exercise your brain. Get outside more perhaps, and try hiking. Business Insider discusses how being outside and at one with nature is beneficial for your mental and physical health. It is also a way of meeting new people and learning more about the environment.

Volunteer for a Good Cause

Do you have a favorite charity? Would you like to help at your local animal sanctuary? There are many different things you can do to help your local community. Volunteer with a friend or go it alone and it will be a very rewarding way to spend your free time. It doesn’t matter how or where you do it. You’ll feel happy that you’ve played a part in bettering the local area.

Get fit

Healthline discusses how regular exercise is good for you in many different ways. It is important for your mental and physical health. Half an hour’s exercise after work or at the weekend gets your blood pumping and your endorphins flowing. It builds muscle, burns calories, and oxygenates your brain. Exercise is also a great de-stressor and helps you to stay disciplined.

Exercise Your Brain

Exercising your brain improves its functioning and prevents it from becoming sluggish. As you get older, your brain also gets smaller and loses its cognitive reserve. There has been plenty of research in regards to the benefit of exercise for your body, and more recent research is now showing that exercising your brain also has its benefits. You can choose to do it in several different ways. Make a list of grocery items, things to do, car models, or anything else you can think of. Leave it for an hour and then come back and see how many items you can recall. Learn to play a musical instrument or join a choir. Learn a foreign language, play casino games at Unibet, do number or word puzzles, or take up a new hobby that requires fine-motor skills.

Enjoying your free time is important. Therefore, it’s vital you choose activities you enjoy. It’s better that some of them don’t require large amounts of money because then you can spend more time doing them. The activities you choose should be enjoyable as this helps you to unwind when you’re not at work.

Eau Claire–Inspired Culture

Culture Editor Tom Wilmer explores Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a city of 68,000 that has rapidly evolved to become a trend-setting cultural mecca.

EAU CLAIRE abounds with classic architecture melded with cutting-edge street art  Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

The driver behind the city’s renaissance has everything to do with the passionately engaged locals, including a 39-year-old tech executive who’s invested millions of his own money revitalizing his hometown’s anchor hotel-conference center, and millions more in Eau Claire’s new performing arts center, the Pablo Center at the Confluence in the heart of town.

The cutting-edge facility’s inaugural season includes dance productions, literary and film events, along with a series of musical events performed in the 1,200-seat main theater. Mack John, Public Relations Manager at Visit Eau Claire, notes, “there are multiple art galleries featuring regional and national visual art displays representing an array of mediums. And in keeping with Eau Claire’s emphasis on community engagement, the galleries are free and open to the public.”

Workers installing finishing touches at the Pablo Center in downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin in preparation for opening day festivities September 22nd 2018    Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

John added that there are also multipurpose spaces on the third floor that offer dramatic vistas of the Chippewa River and the city’s lighted Phoenix Park Bridge.

A line up of the 2018-2029 live performances includes: Cloud Cult, Ganavya Doraiswamy, Tony Jackson, Ailey II, Kate Lindsey/Baptiste Trotignon, The Oak Ridge Boys, Blind Boys of Alabama, Kodo Taiko, Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure, La Caverne (torch Sisters), Aaron Diehl, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, and Farewell Angelina.

 

Mack John at the Eau Claire Farmers Market   Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Kristin Dexter, co-owner of Forage EC Community kitchen in Eau Claire is a prime example of why the town is thriving. Listen to her conversation in the NPR.ORG Podcast   Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 

Eau Claire’s proud multi-ethnic pride is exemplified by the Hmong seller at Farmers Market in the heart of town. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Trend-setting Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s hip and happening Shift–it’s a combination coffee house and bicycle repair place Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

tranquility is mere feet away from the heart of downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE NPR.ORG PODCAST–CONVERSATIONS WITH PASSIONATELY INVOLVED LOCALS

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast travel show,  Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast Directory,  Apple Podcast, the NPR One App & Stitcher.com. Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer