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.
Wilkommen! to Frankenmuth, Michigan. Wilkomen is German for welcome, an offer to come and join in. Something we don’t hear enough of these days. Frankenmuth, Michigan’s little Bavaria, is a place to find all the things that make time together meaningful. It’s a place of horse-drawn carrriages and covered bridges; of river boat cruises and world famous chicken dinners.
There are loads of things for you and your family to do in Frankenmuth. With festivals year round, the town welcomes visitors with Bavarian hospitality regardless of the season. It’s a great place for a day trip for the family or a weekend retreat with friends. Activities include concerts in the park, indoor and outdoor family fun, and even pet friendly fun.
If you are a shopper, this is your perfect destination. Shops include anything from leather to silk, china to sporting goods, apparel to gifts and much more.
For dining there are breweries, coffee shops, French, German and Oriental cuisines, and plenty of fast food and sweet shops. Lodging includes hotels, motels, B&Bs, and RV/campgrounds for your convenience.
From fantastic food, eclectic shopping and entertainment, to rich historical beauty and culture, Frankenmuth is the ideal departure from the ordinary every day.
There is much to see in the oldest city in North America! The mainland of the North American Continent was first sighted by the Spanish explorer and treasure hunter, Don Juan Ponce de Leon on Easter, March 27, 1513. He claimed the land for Spain and named it La Florida, meaning “Land of Flowers.”
Sometime later, Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles was named governor of Florida. When Menendez arrived off the coast of Florida, it was August 28, 1565, the Feast Day of St. Augustine – that is how St. Augustine got it’s name.
So, St. Augustine was founded forty-two years before the English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, and 55 years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in Massachusettes – making it the oldest permanent European settlement on the North American Continent.
The oldest fort in the US is in St. Augustine – you can visit it – a great place full of history. If you visit on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday you can watch as soldiers in period costume, load one of the many cannons at the fort and set it off! Loud but interesting. Also the oldest school house is located in the old part of St. Augustine. As you walk up and down the old narrow streets it is easy to picture Spanish soldiers and their familes living and working in the area. There are quite a few Bed and Breakfast inns and smaller hotels in the Old section if you want to get the real feeling of Old St. Augustine. There are many tours availabel throughout the city. You can ride horse-drawn carriages, visit the old lighthouse, the Fountain of Youth, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, museums, and of course, there’s a multitude of quaint shops, taverns and restaurants sprinkled in among it all!
The beaches around St. Augustine are some of the best in Florida.All in all it’s a great place to visit whether you are a couple, a family or traveling in a group.
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.