Posts tagged with "kayak"

Women Seize the Oars

Women’s empowerment has seized the rafting industry. A leading river company is seeing a sizable uptick in the number of women now part of its crew of raft guides and staff. And they are recording an increasing number of female guests on rafting and mountain biking trips, scheduled and chartered.

Holiday River Expeditions (http://www.bikeraft.com/) reports that through the 2018 season, 40 percent of their guide staff were women. That’s the highest representation ever in its 50+ year history. It is looking like this coming year will be no different.

“Most of these women are returning for 2019. And we now have more applications for guide and crew positions coming in from women than from men these days,” said Karen Johnson, Holiday’s long-time office manager and spokeswoman. A growing number of women also serve in the office and warehouse as drivers and company managers. Susan Munroe, a long-time Holiday employee, leads an in-house guide/crew training program. Natalie Osborn has recently come onboard as the Social Media Director. Lauren Wood, a third-generation guide and founder Dee Holladay’s grandchild, is the company’s Trip Director and identifies as non-binary, adding further gender diversity to Holiday’s eclectic staff.

Female guides aren’t new to Holiday River Expeditions but they are becoming more of a force and influence. “Early on the rafting industry, much like every other outdoor industry in the 60’s and 70’s, was male dominated. Our founder Dee Holladay, always recognized the arbitrary nature of gender divisions and truly appreciated the added and necessary perspectives of women on the river,” added Johnson. “He used to say that women made better guides because they knew how to read the water better and not simply muscle their way through obstacles and rapids.”

Creative marketing at a time when the market is also expanding has led to an increase in the number of female guests. For example, a series of Balance & Flow Yoga and Wellness Trips draws increasingly more solo female travelers. Reunions of friends and just-for-the-fun-of-it groups of colleagues sign up for these itineraries, as do mothers and daughters.

“It’s not unusual to have an entire female staff on any of our trips these days. I hear it all the time that Mom was so glad for her daughter to witness a strong and capable female rowing their boat or leading their trip. It’s the perfect role model,” said Johnson.

New this year from April/May through September/October are custom, small group women-only rafting and biking itineraries in Utah and Colorado. These trips can be tailored to group desires, from the area, length, menu options and guides; all female or a mix. Here is a list of the most popular chartered trips. For details see: https://www.bikeraft.com/womens-river-rafting-trips/.

  • Gates of Lodore Canyon Rafting Trip: With 10 or more women (ages 18 and up), the per person rate is $885 for four days on the Green River in the heart of Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.
  • 3 Day Westwater Canyon: This program is offered three times weekly and can be chartered for groups of 15 to 20. Thrilling Class IV whitewater on the Colorado River through Westwater Canyon (a miniature Grand Canyon) in eastern Utah provides excitement and beauty to spare. The per person rate is $610 for groups of 10 or more.
  • 3-4 Day White Rim Trail is a multi-day, technically challenging mountain biking and star gazing exploration of the wilderness around and sky overhead Moab, UT. The per person rate is from $745 to $830 for groups of eight or more. This program is offered in April and May and again in September and October.
  • 4-5 Day Yampa River through Dinosaur National Monument is offered in May and June when the river runs full and the wildflowers bloom. The per person rate is $885 to $965 with a group of 10 or more.
  • 5-6 Day Cataract Canyon in the heart of Canyonlands National Park is the company’s signature adventure that can be chartered for a minimum of 15 (24 maximum). The per person rate is $1,040 to $1,105 for 10 or more. Nowhere on its entire course does the Colorado River descend more precipitously than through Cataract Canyon, offering white water rafting at its best.  

Following are Holiday River Expeditions’ signature Balance and Flow Yoga Wellness Trips that speak to a female audience. Trips center around immersion in nature and the guidance of specialists versed in healing practices. The adventure and relaxation intrinsic to river trips are augmented by honing in on spiritual and physical healing through natural energy, movement and nutrition. For details see https://www.bikeraft.com/balance-flow-trips/ 

  • White Rim Mt. Bike & Yoga: Katie Woods, a yoga specialist, guides this May 11-14, 2019, four-day mountain bike tour in Canyonlands National Park. 
  • Wild Yoga on the Green River: This six-day Green River rafting adventure through Desolation Canyon is June 3-8, 2019. With the group will be Rebecca Wildbear, a river and soul guide.
  • Women’s River & Yoga Trip: A four-day rafting trip on the Green River through Lodore Canyon July 11-14, 2019 comes with twice-daily yoga sessions.
  • Women’s Multi-Sport Adventure: Women raft, kayak, hike and practice yoga for four days this Aug. 24-27, 2019 in and around the Colorado River on Ruby and Westwater Canyons.
  • Stand-up Paddleboarding & Yoga: For four days this Sept. 5-8, 2019, yoga, fitness and stand-up paddleboarding join forces while rafting the Colorado River through Ruby and Westwater canyons. Led by Katie Woods and the guides at Holiday River Expeditions. 

For more information, availability, reservations or a copy of the 2019 catalog please call 800-624-6323, Email: Holiday@BikeRaft.com or log onto: http://www.bikeraft.com/

Follow Holiday River Expeditions:
On Twitter: @BikeRaft
On Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/HolidayExpeditions
On You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HolidayExpeditions
Blog: http://www.bikeraft.com/blog/

Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival

Birders descend on Morro Bay each year over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend to attend the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival and capture glimpses of the massive migrating madness as they dive, swoop and scatter by the hundreds. This is Insta-worthy at its finest. But, you don’t have to attend the festival to marvel at these fine feathered friends because Morro Bay is a distinctive coastal destination for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway through March.

The coastal Mediterranean climate sets the stage and creates the perfect backdrop for bird watching, no matter where you roam: the Morro Bay State Park boardwalk, bustling Embarcadero, iconic Morro Rock, or up close and personal from kayaks, paddleboards and boat tours. The Morro Bay National Estuary Preserve and its unique 800-acre wetland filled with salt marshes and mudflats are home to more than 250 species of land, sea, and shore birds as well as dozens of endangered species all winter long, including Peregrine Falcons.

ߦ The 23rd Annual Winter Bird Festival: January 18 – 21

This popular Winter Bird Festival, hosted by the Morro Bay Audubon Society, takes place each year over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. With more than 130 events, including nature treks, presentations, workshops, and lectures, there is a lot to discover. This event is designed to promote the understanding and appreciation of wildlife and environmental conservation. Topics range from geology and biology, to photography and more.

ߦ Saturday Art, Wine & Nibbles Reception – NEW

On Saturday, January 19, from 5:30 – 6:30 pm attendees have an opportunity to browse festival exhibits at a wine reception that includes light snacks. Afterwards, attendees will head over to the South Bay Community Center in Los Osos for James Currie’s keynote presentation.

ߦ Bird Festival Bazaar

Check out birding and bird inspired vendors, public presentations and environmental groups at the Bird Festival Bazaar Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

ߦ Self-Guided Tours

Get out in the field on your own schedule and at your own pace with the Winter Bird Festival self-guided tours. Try El Moro Elflin Forest Natural Area. With a raised board walk over the edge of the Bay, this is a great place to observe the unique plants and spot over 100 species of birds. Find the 13th Street entrance of Santa Ynez Street by following the signs in Los Osos.

ߦ Family Day

No preregistration or registration fee is required to participate in the family day events which take place on Saturday January 19th at the Museum of Natural History. Programs include arts & craft, educational talks, hikes, kayak and canoe rides, and up-close encounters with birds, reptiles, and insects. Children participating in Family Day will also be given a gift from the Morro Coast Audubon Society. Programing runs from 9:30 am-3 pm.

ߦ Mind Walks Series: Peregrine Falcons

Biologist Steve Schubert chronicles the efforts of nest site attendants and endangered species management techniques, captive breeding, double clutching, captive hatching of thin, fragile wild eggs, and the fostering of falcon chicks into the wild nests that have assisted in the recovery of a once-imperiled species. Author of the book The Peregrine Falcons of Morro Rock: A 50-year History, he is past president of Morro Coast Audubon Society. In its 25th year, the Mind Walk Series offers lecture on topics of interest to residents of the Central Coast, including cultural history, natural history, and current issues every Monday, January-March.

HOLIDAY RIVER EXPEDITIONS

Soldier, geologist and explorer John Wesley Powell is an American legend. One-hundred-fifty years ago this year, he and a brave band of men set out from Green River, WY, with a mission to map and log the canyons, tributaries and features of the unexplored Green and Colorado rivers. History tells the amazing tale of adventure, hardship and ultimate success.

In 2019, to honor and celebrate the spirit of that epic journey, Holiday River Expeditions will re-create a portion of Powell’s trip on an 18-day, oar-powered rafting adventure from July 5 to 22. The John Wesley Powell 150th Celebration Trip will retrace Powell’s route through Lodore, Desolation, Gray, Labyrinth, Stillwater and Cataract Canyons in Utah. The 308 miles can be done as a whole, spanning the entire state of Utah, or as one or more of four stand-alone segments.

“This kind of epic, multi-week rafting adventure is rarely offered in this day and age of quick escape vacations. For this season only, it’s our honor to offer guests this voyage back in time offering a true slice of American history through stories and expert insights,“ explains Lauren Wood, Trip Director and granddaughter of company founder, the late Dee Holladay. “While this journey is lengthy, modern equipment and services guarantee it’s nowhere near as arduous and challenging as Powell’s expedition was.”

On each leg of the trip, Holiday River Expeditions has invited a renowned river historian along to help recreate what Powell encountered on his journey via captivating stories and readings.

The full July 5-22 18-day adventure is $3,850 per person (plus Land Use Fee). Included in all four legs of the trip are delicious campfire meals, snacks and beverages, all required equipment, expert guides and shuttle transportation.

4-day Gates of Lodore – Guests begin with Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument, arriving by van from Vernal, UT. The put-in is in Brown’s Park National Wildlife Refuge where almost immediately some of Powell’s more infamous rapids — Disaster Falls and Hell’s Half Mile — challenge rafters (the Powell party named most all of the rapids and features found here and downstream). Tranquil waters prevail up to the confluence of the Yampa River in Echo Park, named for its incredible acoustics and scenery. Then come the swirling, unpredictable currents Powell dubbed Whirlpool Canyon. The last day in Dinosaur National Monument carries guests into what Powell described as a place where the river stretched out shallow and as wide as the Missouri River.The per person rate for Leg 1 is $1,005 (youth, senior and group rate $885). River historian Roy Webb joins this segment. He has spent his life running the rivers of the western United States and has authored four books and many articles and book reviews, virtually all on the history of river running in Utah. He is a charter member of the Colorado Plateau River Guides Association. 5-day Desolation Canyon includes a 30-minute scenic flight from Green River, UT, to the embarkation point for Desolation Canyon at Sand Wash. Much of Desolation Canyon is a National Historic Landmark established in 1969, the centennial of the Powell expedition. It was selected because it is relatively unchanged from the time of Powell and the place where the most authentic experience can still be had today. As the cliffs’ colors shift dramatically, it is easy to see why Powell named Gray Canyon. Even more eccentric rock towers lead to sporty rapids like Wire Fence, Three Fords and Coal Creek. Mystical seeps in the rock layer bring verdant life to the canyon walls.The per person rate for Leg 2 is $1,180 (youth $980, senior, group $1,085). Dennis Willis, a noted river historian, joins this sector. For 30 years Dennis worked for the BLM’s Price Field Office as the caretaker of Desolation Canyon. He supported and nurtured scientific research in fisheries and hydrology, geology, botany and archaeology. With over 120 Desolation trips logged, it is still his magical, special place.

5-day Labyrinth Canyon brings guests through a rarely visited section of the Green River and into the upper stretches of Labyrinth Canyon that slowly rises up and closes in, moving from alien flat lands of the upper section to breathtaking red-canyon walls with exquisite side stops like Trin Alcove, 10-mile Canyon and Bowknot Bend.The per person rate for Leg 3 is $950. Joining this section is John Weisheit, an active member of the Conservation of Living Rivers and Colorado Riverkeeper of the Waterkeeper Alliance. 5-day Cataract Canyon begins with tranquility on the flat water and in the secret tiered grottoes of Stillwater Canyon. Here signs of Ancestral Puebloan peoples abound. The confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers marks the beginning of Cataract Canyon and the heart of Canyonlands National Park. After few short miles of flat water, from downstream comes an ominous thunder of Powell’s Cataracts – 30-plus rapids. With full chapters written about them, these massive wave-trains and churning holes are an epic crescendo for this extended and historic excursion.

The per person rate for Leg 4 is $1,180 (youth, senior, group $1,040).Weisheit will also provide insight and interpretation along this final leg of the journey.

About Holiday River Expeditions

Holiday River Expeditions began in 1966, when Dee Holladay and his wife Sue took the plunge to become river outfitters. Due to its respect for the lands, rivers, guests and employees, the family-owned-and-operated company has grown exponentially. Each of its guides is professionally trained in first aid and river safety, and with 50+ years of experience, the company provides guests the opportunity to explore the nation’s wild lands safely and securely. Holiday River Expeditions has a commitment to protect the environment through education and conservation, and as such, uses oar-powered and paddle rafts exclusively.

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)

EAU CLAIRE

 

Eau Claire, Wis., has been owning its role in bringing an indie sensibility to the Midwest for several years now, with music, art, culinary and recreation offerings drawing favorable comparisons to a young Austin or mini Portland. For 2018, this university city situated at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers in the northwest part of the state brings it, with new businesses and events that will appeal to travelers with a similar independent spirit and penchant for the original, artful and playful. For more travel ideas and sample itineraries, log on to the official tourism website, www.VisitEauClaire.com.

Brand New for 2018

Artisan Forge Studios Expansion: Home to nearly 40 artisans, this artists’ guild, led by metalworks master Greg Johnson, recently added 16,000 square foot to its already 20,000 square foot garage-like space, with the addition filling up quickly with artists and businesses including a potter’s studio, a bike remixer who creates art out of old bikes, and a pop-up coffee shop to fuel all that creativity. One of the existing tenants, Eco Urban Timber, is introducing its first urban wood furniture line in 2018, reclaiming beautiful quirky urban wood and giving it new life as furniture. Outdoors, there will be a full courtyard experience for large-scale art installations and community gatherings. Artisan Forge Studios hosts events all year long, including Uptown Art Jams, artisan markets, outdoor muralist creations, and album release parties.

Confluence Arts Center to Open: The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, in collaboration with the entire community, will be opening its Confluence Arts Center in late 2018. This center will include a 1,200‐seat theatre and a flexible 400-seat theatre; visual arts studio and galleries; and labs for sound, lighting, set design, recording arts, and costume design. It will also be the new home for Visit Eau Claire’s interactive visitor center, located on the first floor.   

Mash-up of Coffee and Gears at Shift Cyclery: This full-service bicycle repair shop in downtown Eau Claire happily coexists with Soul Brewed Coffee Roasters. Get your necessary intake of caffeine at the craft coffee bar while your bike is tuned up.

Run to Blue Ox Running: Serious runners will appreciate that this specialty retailer in downtown Eau Claire is operated by two UW-Eau Claire alum who met when running cross country and track at the university.

Try Aerial Yoga at Sky Yoga: Yet another downtown business, this one is a yoga studio offering a variety of drop-in classes including aerial yoga, barre, strength and toning, and more. They even have classes for young yogis.

Candlewood Suites Caters to Extended Stay: Scheduled to open in fall 2018 on the city’s far south side, the Candlewood Suites Hotel will have 81 suites well suited for business travelers on extended stay. Guests will have access to 24-hour laundry facilities and a gym.

Pop-Up Shop Style

Tangled Up in Hue: Known for hosting pop-up artist showings, meet the maker events, and classes, this art collective supporting more than 100 artists will have a full event calendar for 2018.

Red’s Mercantile: This women’s lifestyle shop is planning a variety of group workshops for the coming year, like a clay bowl workshop during which participants create their own bowl for keeping jewelry and keepsakes safe, and a “learn how to make bath salts” workshop with attendees leaving with some Zen -inducing salts to take home.

The Local Store: The goods at this shop are either made locally or evoke a sense of place in the Chippewa Valley. Look for an expanded schedule of in-house events including night markets, meet the maker nights, author book readings, and film screenings.

For Those Who Live for Live Music

Chippewa Valley Blues Society: This group is responsible for the wildly popular Tuesday Night Blues concerts, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018. This is the only free concert series in Eau Claire, and the show goes on rain or shine at the bandshell in Owen Park. Crowds of upwards of 2,000 music lovers are not unusual.  

Chippewa Valley Music Festivals: This group puts on Rock Fest, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018. Along with the live music, festival goers flock to the more than 7,000 campsites for their overnight digs. Set for July 12-14 in nearby Cadott.

The Master Singers: This is also the silver anniversary for this choral ensemble which presents seven performances each season. Over its 25-year history, more than 240 area musicians have performed with this group.

Revival Records: Each year this vinyl shop commissions an artist to create an original poster for sale exclusively on National Record Store Day, which celebrates the culture of indie record stores. In 2018, it’s April 21. Ask the store staff and they’ll even play your favorite album while you shop. The owners plan to add more live music events to the in-store schedule for the coming year as well.

For Foodies

Forage at Banbury Place: Aspiring home chefs and those who aspire to a career in culinary can both find a place at the table at Forage cooking classes. They also have a “Little Hands” class for kids. Check their calendar for meal events too, like pop-up Saturday brunches and food and wine pairing dinners.

430 Water Street: The owners of Mona Lisa’s, representing the finest of fine dining in the area, jumped at the chance to occupy the space next door upon learning it would become available in 2018. Look for a combo food/drinks/shopping experience, with a spring wine fling in April to kick things off.

The Nucleus: This bistro-style eatery is so popular that people line up outside waiting for the door to open for breakfast. In addition to their a.m. and lunch offerings Wednesday through Sunday, The Nucleus is now open for dinner and wine Thursday through Saturday.

The Lakely at The Oxbow Hotel: Look for full new line-up of food and music pairings in the Lakely Limited Series. The culinary team here is also planning Wandering Spirits craft cocktail demos and cooking classes with Chef Nathan Berg. 

Cowboy Jack’s: Just opened in June 2017 in neighboring Altoona, this restaurant gained a fast following thanks to its menu of handcrafted burgers and BBQ entrees paired with live music that leans country. In 2018 they’ll be enclosing part of their outdoor patio so patrons can enjoy views to the Eau Claire River in the winter months too.

Wagner’s Lanes: It may sound like a broken record, but this place is popular for its food and music pairings too, with concerts regularly selling out. For 2018 they’re building a new bar and restaurant area. Patrons can burn off the calories playing the lawn game Kubb, bowling, or playing indoor sand volleyball under a bubble.

A Decade for The Livery: Come 2018, the culinary team at The Livery restaurant will be celebrating a decade of serving up modern comfort food. This eatery in downtown Eau Claire’s North Barstow District is housed in a historic building that once served as a livery in the 1880s, later evolving from the horse transportation trade to life as an auto garage at one point as well.

 

 

Beer, Wine and Spirits

Brewing Projekt: This craft brewery opened its taproom in April 2015 and within two years outgrew its space at 2000 N. Oxford Ave, so it scoped out larger digs and found just what it was looking for across the street in the much larger 1807 N. Oxford building. The brewery has just settled in to its new space which now includes riverfront seating. In the spring, they’ll set up Kubb lawn games and feature food trucks too. The owners source ingredients locally whenever they can, including maple syrup and honey.

River Bend Vineyard & Winery: Husband and wife owners will be releasing their first ever Pinot Noir in fall 2018. Visitors to this winery in nearby Chippewa Falls can also enjoy live music events and partake of wood-fired pizza. They also have a “grain-to-glass” distillery operation, with 100% Wisconsin-grown vodka, a white whiskey ideal for summer sipping, and a gin derived from grapes.

Infinity Beverages Winery & Distillery: What makes this winery unique is its urban location. The owner sources ingredients from around the country, supporting American growers and suppliers. Look for a new array of “Experimentals,” wines and spirits made in extremely small batches, to be available exclusively in their Tasting Lounge, including a Wisconsin Spirit made from products the state is famous for including cranberries, cherries, dairy, maple syrup, and grain. Most recent releases included an apple malt whiskey and a sassafras chardonnay.

Arts, Culture and Film

Hmong New Year’s Celebration:  Immerse yourself in authentic Hmong culture during the 30th annual Hmong New Year’s Celebration Nov. 10-11, 2018. There will music and dance performances, a traditional “pov pob” ball toss competition, crafts, and food.

Downtown Sculpture Tour: This sidewalk sculpture tour in downtown Eau Claire is brand new beginning every May, with some three dozen sculptures revealed at that time. Visitors and residents may cast their vote for their favorite sculpture, with the winning sculpture purchased by the city for permanent display.

Micon Cinema: The Micon’s Downtown Budget Cinema is getting reserved seating following a recent remodeling. This downtown landmark, built in 1946, hosted the first-ever Eau Claire World Film Fest in fall 2017, as well as the first Midwest Weird Fest, an independent film fest that honors the horror genre.

City of Bridges

Downtown Eau Claire: The downtown district group gets credit for the river lights at Phoenix Park that will now recognize major holidays with different light shows for each holiday. In addition, the organization is spearheading re-decking, widening and general beautification of Grand Avenue Footbridge in 2018. Staying with the bridge theme, the new Haymarket Plaza at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers and adjoining pedestrian bridge will open in 2018.

Carson Park Drive Bridge Spruce-up: The bridge leading in to Carson Park from the historic Randall Park neighborhood and crossing Half Moon Lake has been widened and enhanced for the hiker and biker. The newly-christened bridge has multi-use trails along both sides plus bike lanes, and it now connects with the Chippewa River State Trail. This new causeway also includes ADA accessible fishing piers. Once inside the grounds, families with young children will love the all-new playground equipment in Carson Park.

Chippewa River Water Trail: A new trail map of the Chippewa River, with emphasis on downtown kayak, canoe and tubing put-ins and safe navigation along a four-mile urban route, is available online and at the city’s visitor center. The map also points out historical reminders of the area’s lumber era found along the way.   

Sports Report

Eau Claire Marathon: During the weekend of May 5-6,2018, runners will take to streets and bridges for the 10thannual Eau Claire Marathon, a Boston Marathon qualifying race. There’s also a half and relay, along with a 5K run/walk. All races start and finish in Carson Park.

National Beep Baseball Association World Series: The world series of baseball for the blind and visually impaired comes to Wisconsin for the first time. This competition for ages 15-45 takes place at the Eau Claire Soccer Park, July 31-Aug. 4.

2018 USA Curling College Championship: The season-ender college curling championship will be held in Eau Claire in 2018, with the Eau Claire County Expo Center, home of the Eau Claire Curling Club, the host facility. The competition takes place March 9-11.

Eau Claire Express Baseball: This collegiate summer baseball team, part of the Northwoods League, is looking to spruce up its facility at Carson Park with artificial turf, expanded restroom and concession areas, improved handicap accessibility, and permanent stadium seating. They’re hoping to break ground in 2018 once fundraising wraps up.

First Full Year

Metropolis Resort started “Airobics” classes in its new trampoline park in 2017 and the craze has taken off. They also installed an outdoor motorized zipline that takes riders in reverse for 700 feet before bringing them back down to the starting point.

Ramone’s old-fashioned ice cream parlor opened in summer 2017, with lovers of the frozen treat gobbling up gallons of specialty flavors with names like Superman, Fat Elvis, and a caffeinated Iced Latte-Da. This family-run business is also big on giving back to the community, with a “tip jar” program that has employees choosing the charity they’d like to donate to.

River Prairie Park and Development is located in neighboring Altoona on a bend of the Eau Claire River, and has quickly become a destination for kayakers and canoers eager to take off on a river adventure from the landing there. There’s also an amphitheater where local musicians perform and a pet-friendly trail system. Three event spaces for rent, with the largest able to accommodate 250, feature an indoor/outdoor bar and double-sided fireplace. This mixed-use development also includes shops, a hotel, and restaurants.  

The Chippewa Off Road Bike Association – CORBA, for short – test drove, so to speak, a CORBA Kids program in 2017, and it was such a success they’re growing it for 2018. This introduction to mountain biking is both free and fun, with an expanded series of events and rides planned for “kids and their keepers.” The volunteers who run CORBA describes themselves as “advocates to be outside and to make the outside a better place.” 

For up-to-date information on these businesses plus a calendar of events, log on to www.VisitEauClaire.com.

 

About Visit Eau Claire

Visit Eau Claire is the area’s official tourism marketing organization with a role to better the city for all who live, work, study and play here and a mission to bring visitors to the area. With encouragement and support from Visit Eau Claire and benefiting greatly from the independent spirit of those who call the community home, this northern Wisconsin university city is making a name for itself as a creative hub with a hip and homegrown music and arts scene and a robust entrepreneurial culture. This city of bridges sits at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers, a breathtaking backdrop that inspires originality and encourages a love of outdoors at every turn. Midwest indie? Yes, really.

 

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Visit Eau Claire • 4319 Jeffers Road • Eau Claire, WI 54703


888.523.3866 • 715.831.2345 • info@visiteauclaire.com• www.VisitEauClaire.com

Travel Ireland 

For 2018 – Cliffs and Castles, Food and Fiddles

Permeate Newly Crafted Itineraries 
For Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

 
Inquisitive adventure travelers would be wise to put Ireland on their tour map for 2018. Vagabond Adventure Tours, Ireland’s award-winning tour operator serving fit and active travelers, and its complementary division, Driftwood Journeys of Discovery that emphasizes unique scenery, culture and history at a more relaxed pace, have added new tours and itinerary embellishments for the coming year.
 
“From the addition of unique accommodations to totally brand-new tours, 2018 is shaping up to be our most exciting new year!” says Amy Rankin, co-founder and director of Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland (https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/).
 
New from Driftwood Journeys of Discovery
 
With multiple departures scheduled for May into September 2018, Vagabond’s Driftwood Journeys of Discovery is launching a new leisurely paced 7 Day Kerry UnCorked Tour through Ireland’s southwest including two nights in Ireland’s foodie capital, Kinsale, where guests savor sea food, visit craft breweries and enjoy whiskey tasting in a local pub. Another stop with plenty of time allotted for exploring is Dingle where galleries and pubs (54 at last count) abound. The itinerary embraces visits to ancient ruins and lunar landscapes, planting a kiss on the Blarney Stone, watching the centuries-bred instincts of working sheep dogs, strolling through stately homes and gardens, being spell-bound by the green fields and stone walls of Dingle and Ireland’s wild and rugged Atlantic coastline where near the Cliffs of Moher in the Burren original Irish music still emanates. The gateway city is Dublin. The per person double rate is €1,699 (€300 single supplement). For more details see: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/cultural-ireland-tour-7-day/.
 
Driftwood Journeys of Discovery’s 6 Day Northern Island Tour lavishes guests inclined to leisurely paced culture with castles and manor house estates on whose walls is written much of Northern Island’s resiliency. Appetites for grandeur are whetted on Day 1 at two Palladian-style estates, Castletown House on 550 acres maintained by the Guinness fortune, and Strokestown Park and The Irish National Famine Museum. Sweet dreams this night are within the confines of Markee Castle Hotel. After extensive renovation to become an accommodation, as of 2017 this family-owned castle-hotel is the fourth member of Romantic Castles of Ireland and a new addition to this itinerary. Guests also get tweedy in Donegal, home of the famous weave and Donegal Castle and they’re imbued in clan lore at Dunluce Castle, the McDonald stronghold. One night they sleep with ghosts in 17th century Ballygally Castle. Another recent addition to this tour is a night at a Victorian red brick masterpiece right on the beach, Slieve Donard Resort and Spa. Over six days guests enjoy jaw-dropping vistas atop Atlantic Ocean cliffs; the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Giant’s Causeway; Celtic myths and monasteries; walks on the beach along the Wild Atlantic Way; fiddle-filled pubs, tours of cultural hubs and more. The gateway city is Dublin. Scheduled departures run from April through October. The rate per person double is €1,509 (single supplement €210). For details see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/6-day-northern-ireland-tour/.
 
New from Vagabond Adventure Tours
 
Vagabond Adventure Tours offers a new-for-2018 itinerary, 7 Day Magnetic North Adventure Tour, that embraces the complex history of Northern Ireland and the north-west counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo and Mayo. The journey follows inland and sea-kissed routes where guests hike, horseback ride, bike and kayak. This seven-day tour’s magic includes:

  • castles watching over world-class gardens
  • the flora and fauna of national parks, moorlands and glens
  • villages where weavers still ply their trade
  • morning walks on Ireland’s holiest mountain
  • bike rides along the famous Western Greenway
  • museum visits
  • kayak outings on sea and river
  • playing a prehistoric sport, hurling
  • wondering at ancient Neolithic stone circles and Celtic ring forts

 
The gateway is Dublin. The rate per person double is €1,619 (€220 single supplement). Weekly departures are scheduled from late April through September, 2018. For details see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/7-day-magnetic-north-northern-ireland-adventure-tour/.
 
Also beginning in 2018, all tours that include Galway will linger a bit longer here giving guests at least two hours for exploring and shopping in this bustling city. From Eyre Square, a walk down Shop Street is a must. Onlookers are treated to entertainment from buskers as well as countless small cafes and shops, including the shop famous for Claddagh rings that promise love, loyalty and friendship. Not far from Spanish Arch is the impressive Galway Cathedral, which is home to interesting art and design. The Vagabond Adventure Tours inclusive of Galway include 7, 8, 11 and 12-day programs.
 
On all its tours, the Vagabond staff will curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4×4 Land Rover or Mercedes ‘Vagatron’ that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.
 
About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland
Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named a “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. And in 2016, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification. 
 
In 2013 the company launched Driftwood Journeys of Discovery that explores in a less strenuous manner many of the same routes of Vagabond Adventure Tours. Itineraries in both divisions focus on high yield, low impact tourism which means that local economies benefit from the company’s and guest’s contributions to local, rural Irish economies (including accommodations, meals, nightlife, attractions and shopping). For details on all of Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2018 reservations, please visit www.vagabondtours.com. Call toll free (from the US) 833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email info@vagabond and info@driftwood.