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Posted by Victor Crew on

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Jody Victor: It took 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution to produce the unique ecosystems and distinct human culture displayed by the volcanoes in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

It was over 1,600 years ago when Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands migrated to Hawaii. They came in great double-hulled canoes guided by the sun and stars, and reading the winds, currents, and the flight of seabirds.

The beautiful park you see today was created to preserve the natural setting of Kilauea and Mauna Loa and as a refuge for the islands native plants and animals.

If you plan on visiting and hiking the wonderful trails, be sure to wear light layers and hiking boots or shoes. The temperature and weather can vary from rainy and chilly to hot, dry and windy depending on the elevation and area you are visiting. Park trails range in difficulty from easy walks (Bird Park/Kipuka Puaulu or Thurston Lava Tube/Nahuku) to longer hikes such as Kilauea Ike or Mauna Iki.

 The true character of the park is best discovered on foot. With over 150 miles of trails in the park, exploration by walking and hiking can be a fascinating and enjoyable experience.

Located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and nestled on the rim of Kilauea caldera is the Volcano House. With its unique charm it has captured the hearts of travelers and islanders alike. The Volcano house has offered spectacular views and warm hospitality for decades as Hawaii’s oldest continually operated hotel with a history dating back to 1846.

Hawaii has always been one of our family’s favorite vacation destinations. Add in the spectacular volcanoes and you’ve made a wonderful choice for the whole family.

Jody Victor

Posted by Victor Crew on

Jody Goes to Niagara Falls

If you have never been to Niagara Falls, you should try it. It’s a wonderful trip for a couple, family, or group. The Niagara Falls is the most powerful waterfalls in North America. They were formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciations (the last ice age), and water from the newly formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment on route to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty, as a valuable source of hydroelectric power, and of course tourism. From the Canadian side, floodlights illuminate both sides of the falls for several hours after dark (until midnight). You will need a current passport to go to the Canadian side. The falls are 17 miles north-northwest of Buffalo, New York and 75 miles sout-southeast of Toronto, Ontario, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York.

From the U.S. side, the American Falls can be viewed from walkways along Prospect Point Park, which also features the Prospect Point Park observation tower and a boat dock for the Maid of the Mist. The Maid of the Mist boat cruise, the oldest and best known tourist attraction at Niagara Falls, is named for an ancient Ongiara Indian mythical character. Cruise boats operate from boat docks on both sides of the falls and have carried passengers into the rapids immediately below the falls since 1846.

Goat Island offers more views of the falls and is accessible by foot and automobile traffic by bridge above the American Falls. From Goat Island, the Cave of the Winds is accessible by elevator and leads hikers to a point beneath Bridal Veil Falls. Also on Goat Island are the Three Sisters Islands, the Power Portal where a huge statue of Nikola Tesla can be seen, and a walking path which enables views of the rapids, the Niagara River, the gorge, and all of the falls. Most of these attractions lie within the Niagara Falls State Park.

The Niagara Scenic Trolley offers guided trips along the American Falls and around Goat Island. Panoramic and aerial views of the falls can also be viewed from the Flight of Angels helium balloon ride, or by helicopter. The Niagara Gorge Discovery Center showcases the natural and local history of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge. If you like to gamble, a casino and luxury hotel was opened in Niagara Falls, New York, by the Seneca Indian tribe. And there are many more hotels, shops, restaurants and attractions in the area – something for everyone.

Posted by Victor Crew on

Jody At The Great Barrier Reef

If you ever get the chance to visit Australia, don’t miss it. It’s a great country, full of surprises! On one of our visits there we were able to take in the Great Barrier Reef. Because of its natural beauty, both above and below the water, the Great Barrier Reef has become one of the world’s most sought after tourist destinations.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. It is larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres (1,600 miles) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000sqmi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia.

A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. Due to its vast biodiversity, warm clear waters and accessibility from the tourist boats called ‘live aboards’,the reef is a very popular destination, expicially for scuba divers. Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef is concentrated in the Whisundays and Cairns due to their accessibility.

Many cities along the Queensland coast offer daily boat trips. Several continental and coral cay islands are now resorts, including the pristine Lady Elliot Island.

A variety of boat tours and cruises are offered, from single day trips, to longer voyages. Boat sizes range fron dinghies to superyachts. Glass-bottmed boats and underwater observatories are also pupular, as are helicopter flights. By far, the most popular tourist activites on the Great Barrier Reef are snorkelling and diving, for which pontoons are often used, and the area is often enclosed by nets. The outer part of the Great Barrier Reef is favored for snorkelling due to the clear pristine water.

Our trip was by boat and we snorkeled the reef. We saw beautiful corals, many varieties of fish and other sea creatures. All in all, it was well worth the time and expense. We highly reccommend it!

Posted by Victor Crew on

Jody Victor In Weeki Wachee

Florida is a state known for it’s beautiful beaches and wonderful tourism. Since 1947, the mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs have delighted visitors. Even today, visitors can still witmess the magic of the mermaids, take a river boat cruise or paddle down the spring fed, crystal clear Weeki Wachee River in a conoe or kayak. The average water temperature is 74 degrees year round. The State Park is 538 acres featuring a first magnitude spring and a 400-seat submerged theatre for watching the live mermaid show.

This fun filled park also offers a flume ride, called Buccaneer Bay, for thrill seekers of all ages. There’s a white sand beach area and covered picnic pavilions for a relaxing day for the entire family. They also provide audiences with with an entertaining and educational look at domesticated birds and reptiles as part of their animal shows.

They are located on US 19 at the intersecion of State Road 50, just north of Spring Hill and south of Homosassa Springs.springs

Posted by Victor Crew on

Jody Goes To Frankenmuth

Not far from anywhere in Ohio, there is a small town in Michigan called Frankenmuth. Frankenmuth’s history dates back to 1840, through Frederick Wyneken, a German Lutheran missionary, whose work covered Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Frederick Wyneken, noted that the German settlers of the Saginaw Valley lacked pastors, churches and schools. Frederick reqested help from Lutherans in Germany. It wasn’t long before he got an answer. Wilhelm Loehe, a pastor in Neuendettelsau, Mittelfranekn, Kingdom, sent a congregation of 13, mainly farmers, to the Saginaw Valley. Their purpose was to offer spiritual aid to the German emigrants and to bring Christianity to the Chippewa tribes.

The settlement consisted of many farms,  and eventually various trades and businesses which included mills such as flour, saw and woolens, and the manufacturing of beer, sausages and cheeses.

In the 1950’s, the people of Frankenmuth saw an opportunity to increase the tourist trade when Interstate 75 was built right next to them. Many of the buildings used German inspired architecture and in 1958 William Zehnder Jr. held the first Bavariam Festival to announce his newly remodeled Bavarian Inn.

Today, Frankenmuth still boasts 53% of it’s population is of German decent. It has become a favorite tourist attraction for over three million people each year.  They offer a multitude of entertainment, planned events, tours of sausage and cheese companies, and wonderful shopping areas. For a fun time for the whole family visit Frankenmuth year round.