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CONTENTS 5. Editors Block

PARKS & DESTINATIONS 6. Pawnee National Grassland 8. Anacortes, Washington 14. Wilderness on Vancouver Island 20. Exploring the Emerald Isle 28. Walk on the Wild Side in Wales 36. Why You Should Experience India

BOOKS, NEWS & INTERVIEWS 40. Global Park Adventures Radio 41. Missouri to Alaska Park Adventures 42. Harvest Hosts RV Road Trip Experience 44. The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles 46. Arizona & New Mexico Scenic Side Trips

HISTORY, CULTURE & THE ARTS 48. International Family History Expo 50. How Impressionism Came to America 55. Weir Farm National Historic Site Continued on Next Page… PAGE 3

CONTENTS Continued HISTORY, CULTURE & THE ARTS 56. Nick Collier: National Parks Artist-In-Residence 62. National Park Photographer Rob Decker 64. Walking Songs & Stories

TRAVEL, TOURISM & HOSPITALITY 66. Speak with Good Purpose: Be Positive 72. The Ladies Who Rock Whidbey Island, WA! 78. Workplace Theft


EDITORS BLOCK “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain This issue of Parks & Travel Magazine takes you on a global journey from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to exotic India, beautiful Ireland and the breathtaking Wales Coast Path. It explores America from awesome Anacortes, Washington to central and southern California, from Yerington on western Nevada’s Pony Express Trail to the lower Colorado River city of Yuma, Arizona, and out to the expansive Pawnee Grassland in northwest Colorado to the historic southern destinations of Natchitoches, Louisiana and Springfield, Kentucky. The arts take center stage with photographers Nick Collier and Rob Decker, the story of how impressionism came to America and Weir Farm National Historic Site, and wonderful walking music from The Walk-A-Bout and the Tall Men Group. Other highlights include family history and genealogy, unique RV travel and scenic road trips, responsible tourism and hospitality, and park travel news and traveler interviews. Want help planning your next park adventure? Check out our Park Travel Directory on, and follow our new travel articles and interviews by subscribing to our weekly Big Blend e-Newsletter, and connecting with us on our new social sites on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Happy Travels & Park Adventures, Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith, Big Blend’s mother-daughter publishing, radio and travel team; along with Priscilla, the pink sock monkey travel mascot for the Big Blend Spirit of America Tour!

Photo: Yuri Choufour. Front cover image: Black bear with a fish on the rocky coastline in Port Hardy, British Columbia. Credit: Destination BC / Yuri Choufour. Read the ‘Vancouver Island Wilderness’ front cover feature story by Allen Cox, on page 14. BIG BLEND MISSION STATEMENT: Big Blend is a company based on the belief that education is the most formidable weapon that can be waged against fear, ignorance and prejudice. It is our belief that education starts at home and branches outward. Education leads to travel, and travel leads to understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of cultures and customs different to our own, and ultimately to world peace. Our company is further based on the principle that networking, communication, and helping others to promote and market themselves leads to financial stability; thus paving the way to better education, travel, and the spirit of giving back to the community. This magazine is developed by Big Blend Magazine™, copyrighted since 1997. No part of it may be reproduced for any reason, without written permission from Big Blend Magazine. Although every effort is made to be accurate, we cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies or plagiarized copy submitted to us by advertisers or contributors.


USFS Photo: Pawnee National Grassland Spanning 193,060 acres of short grass plains, Pawnee National Grassland is one of Colorado’s two National Grasslands. This open space is an internationally recognized birding area that supports a variety of species including lark buntings (the Colorado State Bird), mountain plovers, burrowing owls, raptors and birds of prey. Keep your eye out for the wildlife species that make their home in this unique prairie, including pronghorn, mule deer, coyote, swift fox, snakes and prairie dogs. Outdoor recreation opportunities include hiking, camping, picnicking, horseback riding and stargazing. Continued on Next Page‌

Big Blend Radio interview with Reghan Cloudman, US Forest Service Public Affairs, who gives an overview of Pawnee National Grassland, a popular bird watching and recreational destination located 35 miles east of Fort Collins and 25 miles northeast of Greeley in Weld County, Colorado.


USFS Photo Pawnee National Grassland is located about 35 miles east of Fort Collins, and 25 miles northeast of Greeley in Weld County, Colorado. For more on the Grassland and local region, Click Here to listen to our Big Blend Radio interview about Greeley and Weld County, Colorado and enjoy our jigsaw puzzle of the Pawnee Buttes, the most notable geologic feature of the Grassland. Pawnee National Grassland is managed by the US Forest Service. Be sure to visit for more information, including the nearby Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.

USFS Photo



Anacortes: Anacortes Chamber of Commerce Big stories can happen in small places. When was the last time you spent time in a great small town? Small town America calls my name. I love shining a light on the best vacation experiences available. One of my choices for the best small towns in the USA is Anacortes, or as the locals call it, “A’ Town.”

Big Blend Radio: Travel writer Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’, Amanda Hubik - Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, and Erik Schorr - Anacortes Kayak Tours.

At the edge of America's Northwest region, about 1.5 hours from the Canadian border, this Washington town boasts all the charms of a rustic yet refined locale without the crowds and high price tags of its larger neighbor 2 hours to the south, Seattle. This city is a working community that is an important destination in itself. The Port of Anacortes, a natural deep water port, offers facilities for shipping to the Pacific Rim, Canada, and Alaska. A port tenant, Dakota Creek Industries operates a major shipbuilding and repair facility located between the Port’s Piers 1 and 2 by providing skilled workers, modern equipment and convenient access to goods and services. The Port Authority is forecasting that up to 5000 cruise ship passengers will dock in Anacortes in 2018. Walk the docks to experience a seafaring adventure town.

Anacortes is also a boater’s paradise. Five marinas support thousands of boaters. Cap Sante, an up-to-date spacious marina has over 950 slips. The small town supports the boating community with everything a skipper could want. Most of the stores are walking distance from the marinas. Spring, fall and summer are filled with monthly festivals taking place on the main street (Commercial Ave) and the pier at the end of Commercial Ave. The summer Farmer’s Market takes place each Saturday. Don’t miss it. Continued on Next Page…


Majestic Inn & Spa

Anacortes Continued Whether you come by car, ferry, Uber, bike, bus, or boat, you’ll find that the main street is easily walkable. I suggest you stay a couple of days to explore the wealth of attractions. Lodging is plentiful, but not always visible from the road. I can highly recommend The Majestic Hotel which sits smack in the middle of the main town. It’s walking distance to all dining, shopping, art galleries, antique shops, bars and unique one-ofa kind stores. When you’re not exploring Commercial Ave, think about booking a whale watching tour, a kayaking day trip or renting a sail or power boat. Birding, fishing, crabbing, hiking or biking are also fun activities. Do not miss exploring Washington Park. It’s one of the most beautiful world-class city parks I have ever seen. The twomile walking/driving loop is a must do.

THE BASICS IN TOWN Lodging: Majestic Inn & Spa. A luxe historic boutique hotel serves as a base for six island and day trip excursions within a one hour radius. Walking distance to all local shops and restaurants. There are two buildings to this lovely hotel. The updated historic one and a newer building that also houses a view-laden rooftop bar. Cocktails or beer, they’re all special. All rooms are great. Some are more roomy and pricey than others, a couple of the suites require walking up a flight of stairs, so check out their website for the best fit for you. My room was on the 5th floor of the historic building. It came with a view and a unique ability to make my own French-pressed coffee. I was very impressed with this hotel.

Breakfast: Island Café. Think small town diner in a historic brick building. Big town flavors are Here are my suggestions for a two-day stay in creative, fresh, affordable and delicious. Expect Anacortes. I’ve personally tried everything on large portions. Highly recommend for breakfast this list. Did I tell you that six months a year I and dinner. Try the taco salad for lunch. As an live on a 42’ Grand Banks cruiser in Cap Sante alternative, Dad’s Diner or Calico Cupboard Cafe & Bakery. Marina? It’s a great town, well deserved of your attention. PAGE 10

Mussels in Wine Sauce

Calico Cupboard Cafe & Bakery Breakfast Lunch: Rockfish Bar & Grill. A local’s favorite, make your first visit on a weekday or lunch. Weekends are impressively crowded. Known for its Northwest cuisine, the fish and chips has to be one of the most requested items on the menu. Easily sharable, don’t miss this place. Cocktails, handcrafted beers and so on – all noteworthy.

Pick Me Up: Island Smoothie. Located across the street from The Majestic Inn, this is a women-run establishment. You’ll love the two sisters who make this place sing with flavor and hospitality. My special indulgence is lemonade. The ladies make it fresh on-demand, an incredible $3.00 for 20 ounces. Lemonade not your thing? They make all kinds of healthy and delicious drinks. Suggestions are on the wall or just ask for your favorite concoction. Drinks: Rooftop Bar at the Majestic. Oooh and awe. This place is special. Traditional and daily special cocktails, beer and wine. Small but mighty hors d’oeuvres. Open 4 pm until sunset. The views are worth the price of a drink. Dinner: A’Town Bistro. Another locals favorite and for good reason. The regular and bar menus are creative and solid. If you love clam chowder, you’re going to “have a moment” with theirs. Made-from-scratch at the time you place the order. The clams are left in their shells. The broth is divine. The wait staff is knowledgeable and engaged. Just sayin’… Continued…


Anacortes Kayak Tours

Washington Park - 2 mile drive loop view

Anacortes Continued… ACTIVITIES NO MORE THAN 30 MINUTES AWAY Anacortes Kayak Tours: Talking about having a moment, this was mine. This was my first time in a kayak. I wasn’t sure kayaking was for me. What if I couldn’t get in or out of the kayak and the challenge of a three-hour ride was beyond my strength? I needn’t have worried. This company was prepared for my type, and the experienced ones too. They made it seem all too easy. They understood how to coach me through my anxieties. I easily made the threehour tour. Now, to be honest, I did have a gorgeous, buff young guide –in- training alongside me in the two-seater kayak. But I think, with all the guidance and gear supplied, I might have been able to handle the tour with most anyone in the back seat, I just felt more confidant with Mr. Buff having my back. Great activity for any age group or activity level. Highly recommend.

Washington State Park: Can you say WOW? I sure did. This is a world class city park showing the best of what the Northwest has to offer. Big glorious trees, pristine shoreline, camping, walking trails, a 2-mile driving loop and meditative outlooks from a plethora of well-placed benches. This is a don’t miss it opportunity. Free, and just 13 minutes from downtown. Farmer’s Market: Starting in spring and just 5 minutes walking from the Majestic Inn, enjoy this locals favorite open air market. Come early to enjoy the best selection on fresh local flowers, fruits and vegetables, coffee, bakery items and crafts.

Deception Pass Boat Tour: Everyone wants to see Deception Pass, the Bridge and Deception Pass State Park. It’s big, bold and iconic. For as little as $39.99 you can board a fast jet boat that gives you an insiders view from the water. Let others walk the bridge while you cruise the waters in, under and around it. It’s a safe thrill ride with wildlife and historical views, and just 30 minutes from downtown. PAGE 12

Art Walk Studio

Washington Park - Southern Bluff First Friday Art Tour: Walk out the door of the Majestic Inn. Whether you turn right or left, you’re in the middle of the art walk. Taking place 6-9 pm, meet local artists and discover their unique paintings, jewelry, soft sculpture, pottery and more. For additional information call the Visitor Information Center at 360-293-3832 or visit The Visitors Center is located on Commercial Ave at 9th Street. Author’s Note: As is normal for travel writers, a portion of my trip to discover Anacortes was sponsored. In no way did this sponsorship influence my article. This destination is wonderful, it can stand on its own merits. Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer based out of Southern California, who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit PAGE 13

Washington Park Dog Walk

A’Town Bistro Sorbet

Broughton Archipelago scene, photo Allen Cox PAGE 14

Sunset at Desolation Sound, photo Allen Cox Being thirty feet from a grizzly with nothing separating us but air and a bit of scrubby undergrowth is a sure recipe for an adrenaline spike. I feel my heart quicken, but I don’t move a muscle. Bolting would send a clear message that I am prey. I watch the bear―a young male, judging by his relatively small stature, but he’s well on his way to his 500-pound adulthood―and I can’t help thinking how magnificent. He lumbers past, fur soaked from his latest plunge into the river for salmon. My companions crouch frozen in place beside me, as instructed by our guide Tim McGrady, grizzly guru and general manager of Farewell Harbour Lodge on Berry Island, British Columbia. The wildlife program offered at Farewell Harbour Lodge―a tiny pocket of civilization in the remote and sparsely populated Broughton Archipelago between north Vancouver Island and the mainland―often includes close encounters. In a single half-day excursion, we observe grizzlies, black bear, humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, bald eagles and porpoises. I joke that we’ve spotted everything but a unicorn. Why Vancouver Island and the Inside Passage? On Vancouver Island, one doesn’t have to travel far to reach wilderness.

Big Blend Radio: Allen Cox discusses Wilderness Adventures on Vancouver Island.

Cities and small towns up and down the island give travelers access to lodging, dining and other attractions, all relatively close to wild regions, allowing the best of both worlds. Vancouver Island and the Inside Passage is a land of dramatic mountains, open ocean and protected seas, old-growth forests and caves―a 290-mile-long microcosm of every environmental feature that defines the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. It’s a haven for wildlife, where they still thrive in pristine, often untouched places, whether on land or in the ocean.


Continued on Next Page…

Beach on Northern Vancouver Island. Photo courtesy Northern Vancouver Island Tourism / Steven Fines Vancouver Continued… First Nations heritage is an integral part of the culture of the region. Those exploring Vancouver Island and the Inside Passage have access to cultural centers and First Nations communities where they can enrich their experience by learning about the traditions, history and contemporary culture of the First Nations peoples.

The West Coast, home to Pacific Rim National Park and the popular communities of Tofino and Ucluelet, is a hub of outdoor action, such as surfing and deep-sea fishing, and offers easy access to pristine wilderness areas. The North Island (north of Campbell River) is the least discovered of Vancouver Island’s regions and offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and wildlife viewing. Two island regions off Vancouver Island’s east coast―Desolation Sound and Broughton Archipelago―are destinations with unmatched scenery and abundant wildlife.

The Lay of the Land and the Water Many travelers think of Victoria when they think of Vancouver Island. Victoria (B.C.’s capital city) anchors Vancouver Island’s southern tip and is the most visited spot on the island. It’s a graceful, traveler-friendly mix of old-world traditions and a Ah, Wilderness! My idea of a wilderness adventure is wilderness contemporary vibe, and it makes a perfect by day and dinner, wine, a hot shower and a launch pad for exploring the island. comfy bed at night. With the close proximity of Vancouver Island can be divided into chunks for civilization and wilderness on Vancouver Island and the Inside Passage, excursions are easily ease of grasping the lay of the land. The pared down to day trips without sacrificing the southern part of the island is home to Victoria authenticity or quality of the experience. It’s and the surrounding communities. Along the simply about visiting wild places and respectfully eastern shore, several seaside and farming observing the inhabitants there. The activity level communities, such as Nanaimo, Courtenay and can be easy, moderate or strenuous, based on Campbell River, offer plenty of attractions and the adventurer’s ability; one doesn’t have to be lodging. an athlete to enjoy wild places and wildlife. PAGE 16

Aurora Explorer, photo Allen Cox Loosely defined, wilderness travel is an experience that takes you away from civilization. It opens a portal to a wild world and gives us permission to enter and observe. It is transformative and can be habit forming. And a few rules apply: respect, leave no trace, safety first.

• A week-long cruise aboard Marine Link Cruise’s 12-passenger, working cargo-delivery vessel, M.V. Aurora Explorer, in Desolation Sound or Broughton Archipelago, allows access to waterways, islands and fjords that are otherwise inaccessible except by private boat or seaplane. Marveling at snow-capped mountains dropping to the sea, spotting bears and sea lions on shore For wilderness excursions that involve unfamiliar (and if you’re lucky a pod of orcas) and watching territory or activities that could be unsafe if the crew load and unload cargo at logging camps carelessly undertaken, I prefer an expert guide and other outposts are the main attractions. familiar with the terrain, the wildlife and the They sail out of Campbell River, a 3.5-hour drive potential risks. Guides like Tim McGrady of north of Victoria. Farewell Harbour Lodge have both the knowledge and the people skills to make sure Continued on Next Page… guests have the best experience possible and return unharmed. Vancouver Island has no shortage of options for those wanting a taste of the raw nature of the Pacific Northwest. No need to scale a mountain or trek for a week over an arduous trail (although those options are available). Instead, travelers can get a taste of wilderness with ease, with the right excursions and guides. Here are a few that have all the right ingredients: professional guides, ease of access and locations that offer spectacular scenery and wildlife. PAGE 17

A pod of orcas on Vancouver Island. Photo courtesy Eagle Wing Tours / Valerie Shore.

Hiking through Elk Falls Provincial Park in Campbell River. Photo courtesy Tourism Vancouver / Jordan Dyck. Vancouver Continued… • Farewell Harbour Lodge is a remote wilderness resort on Berry Island in the Broughton Archipelago that caters to wildlife watchers. Guests are in good hands with naturalist guides familiar with the region and its wildlife. Here, the main attractions are grizzly bears and whales. Accommodations are cozy, the meals healthy and well-prepared and the staff welcoming and informative. Water taxi service from Alder Bay (about 20 minutes south of Port McNeill on north Vancouver Island) is included. • Hundreds of miles of caves lie beneath Vancouver Island, presenting an adventure for those curious about this subterranean wilderness. Horne Lake Caves, located a short drive inland from the island’s eastern shore, provides an excellent opportunity to learn about and explore this fragile ecosystem with a qualified caving guide.

Grizzly Bear from a bear watching tour out of Farewell Harbour Lodge, part of the Great Bear Rainforest on Broughton Archipelago. Photo courtesy Destination British Columbia / Ted Hesser. • At Tofino, on Vancouver Island’s wild west coast, visitors can paddle with a guide from T’ashii Paddle School in a traditional dugout canoe and hike through old-growth rainforest to experience the wilderness from a First Nations perspective. • The northwest coast of Vancouver Island is one of the least visited places on the island, not because it lacks beauty, but because it is so remote. But visitors to the north-island city of Port Hardy can easily access this wild coast with guides from Cove Adventure Tours. Old-growth rainforests, isolated beaches, sea stacks and caves await those willing to explore this pristine corner of the island. When You Go Getting to Vancouver Island from Seattle is easy by boat via Clipper Vacations or by seaplane on Kenmore Air, from Port Angeles (Washington) on Black Ball Ferry Line, and from Vancouver on B.C. Ferries or Harbour Air.


Sea Lions on Northern Vancouver Island. Photo courtesy Northern Vancouver Island Tourism / Steven Fines. Plenty of lodging is available in Victoria to suit every budget; recommended hotels are the Fairmont Empress and the Magnolia Hotel & Spa.

Allen Cox is editor in chief at Northwest Travel & Life magazine, a freelance travel writer and author of two guidebooks on day hiking. He serves as chair of the Travel & Words Conference, an annual travel writers conference held in the Pacific Northwest, In Tofino, on the west coast, recommended and is vice president of International Food, Wine lodging is The Wickaninnish Inn. In Courtenay, and Travel Writers Association. Allen believes on the eastern shore, recommended lodging is everyone should be able to enjoy the outdoors and Old House Hotel & Spa. that adventure travel should not be reserved for mountain climbers or marathon runners. One of his In Port Hardy, on the north island, recommended favorite travel-writing topics is adventure travel that lodging is Kwa’Lilas Hotel, a First Nations is accessible to people who do not wish to or are property. unable to engage in strenuous or extreme physical activity. More information and planning tips for travel to Vancouver Island can be found at Destination B.C.’s website,

Sea Otter near Spring Island by Kyuquot Sound. Photo courtesy Destination British Columbia / Boomer Jerritt. PAGE 19

Blarney Castle I am easily enamored with all things Irish and my affinity with the country and its people is apparent as soon as I step on the soil of this magical, mystical isle. I adopt O’Stone as my new last name, attempt to speak with a lilting brogue, drink Guinness for breakfast and can belt out the words to “Molly Malone” with the best of them, albeit off-key. Sadly, my strong Germanic genes and Yank accent are dead giveaways, making my transformation to an Irish lass highly improbable. But, hey, you’ve got to give me credit for trying! Big Blend Radio: Travel writer Debbie Stone discusses her Ireland to Iceland cruise.

Although I’ve been to Ireland a few times over the years, I’ve never gone via a cruise. This time, I chose to do a ten night Ireland and Iceland trip with Celebrity Cruises aboard the Celebrity Eclipse. The cruise line has a stellar reputation in the industry and has received many notable awards and honors. The company is known for its sleek ship design, culinary excellence, outstanding service, well-appointed cabin accommodations, surfeit of amenities, extensive menu of destinations that span the globe and select shore excursions that allow passengers to explore ports of call in a myriad of ways. All of these distinctions factored in to my decision to sail with the company.

Additionally, I was intrigued with the unique itinerary of this particular cruise, as it paired two countries together that are not often visited in one trip. Though very different in many aspects, these destinations share a few commonalities. They are both islands with stunning landscapes, amicable and welcoming people, colorful histories and weather that has a mind of its own. PAGE 20

Trinity College in Dublin The cruise began in Dublin, the capital and largest city in Ireland. Described by National Geographic as having a “friendly, village vibe,” this is a place that’s easily explored at your own pace. Take a historical guided walking tour to get an introduction to the town’s stirring past. Then hit the highlights, including Trinity College, Ireland’s most famous school, which boasts the treasured Book of Kells, a highly significant piece of art from the Dark Ages; 700-year-old Dublin Castle; the National Museum with its collection of Celtic artifacts from the Stone Age; Kilmainham Gaol, an historic jail once used by the British as a political prison, now a museum that tells a moving story of the suffering of the Irish people; Christ Church Cathedral; and the Irish Emigration Museum.

The pub has always been the social focus of Irish culture and it is one of Ireland’s most popular attractions. In the Temple Bar area, there are plenty of options to imbibe and enjoy the tunes. However, if you want to learn about Irish music and visit authentic establishments in the city, join a Traditional Irish Music Pub Crawl. Led by two professional musicians who play the fiddle, guitar and bodhrán (Irish drum), you’ll hear the story of Irish music and its influences on contemporary world music. And yes, having a pint or two in the process will only enhance this entertaining experience.

There are five themes in Irish music: drinking, war, emigration, lost love and death. In most cases, musical talent runs in the family and is passed down through the generations. Many Stroll through St. Stephen’s Green, a lovely oasis musicians learn by ear and not by reading the notes. When they get together to play in pubs, in the middle of the city, shop ‘til you drop on there’s typically no set list and no one really pedestrian-friendly Grafton Street, grab some knows what piece will be played next. If you’re in fish and chips or a hearty bowl of seafood the audience, don’t clap along –instead, tap your chowder, then head to Temple Bar, a colorful toes. It’s the Irish way, as most of the traditional pub district and a great spot for live music. music was made for dancing. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 21

Guinness Storehouse Brewery

Emerald Isle Continued… No trip to Dublin is complete, however, without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, as everyone knows that Guinness is synonymous with Ireland. The production site at the legendary St. James Gate Brewery has been home to the company since 1759. Here, you’ll discover the age-old art of brewing that makes Guinness so distinctive, learn how to pour the perfect pint in the Guinness Academy and of course, enjoy a multisensory tasting experience designed to help you appreciate the nuances of this iconic stout. Don’t leave without stopping in at the Gravity Bar, where you’ll have unparalleled panoramic views of the city.

The ship docked at the port town of Cobh, where you can take a train or bus to Cork. Cobh is an interesting place in itself, as this is where the Titanic paid its final visit in 1912 before departing on its ill-fated journey. You can retrace the steps taken by the passengers prior to boarding the ship on a city walking tour, followed by a visit to the Titanic Experience, which is housed in the original White Star Line Ticket Office.

During the cruise, we visited two other ports in Ireland: Cork and Belfast, the latter which is actually located in Northern Ireland. Cork originated as a monastic center and then the Vikings came and left their mark. It was also influenced by the Anglo-Normans, as well as planters, landlords and industrialists, and is the only city in the country to have experienced all historical phases in its urban development. PAGE 22

Cobh, Ireland

Cobh, Ireland Cobh is also the site of the famed Annie Moore statue. The seventeen-year-old local girl, along with her two younger brothers, traveled on the S.S. Nevada in 1891 bound for the U.S. The trio arrived on New Year’s Eve, and Annie was the first immigrant to pass through Ellis Island. A second statue of Moore and her two siblings can be found on Ellis Island. In Cork County, there is much to see and do from scenic drives along wild beaches and jagged peninsulas to a tour of the Jameson Heritage Center, where you can learn about the history of whiskey making, and of course, have a glass or two of the renowned liquor in the distillery’s traditional Irish pub. You can also take a tour of nearby Kinsale, an historic town with quaint streets and colorfully painted houses, or get a dose of Irish maritime history at Charles Fort.

The stone that was to become the Blarney Stone, was given to McCarthy by Robert the Bruce of Scotland for helping Bruce fight and defeat England’s King Edward II. McCarthy took the piece of carboniferous limestone and placed it into the battlements of the medieval fortress. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of gab, which is defined as great eloquence or skill at flattery. Continued on Next Page…

For many folks, a visit to Blarney Castle is a must in order to kiss the Blarney Stone. The castle, which was built by the King of Munster, Cormac McCarthy, is 600 years old. PAGE 23

Debbie kissing the Blarney Stone

St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin

Emerald Isle Continued… To reach the stone, you need to climb a steep 127-step staircase to the parapet walk. Once upon a time, you had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements to kiss the stone. Today, it’s a more cautious affair, as you lie down on the ground and gingerly lean backwards, while holding on to an iron railing. An assistant is there to help guide you…and thankfully wipe the stone with disinfectant in between kisses! You’ll join hundreds of world statesmen, literary giants and legends of the silver screen who have all performed this same rite. Make sure to explore the range of themed gardens on the estate, such as the Fern Garden, which is designed to feel like a tropical jungle. The Poison Garden is home to a collection of deadly and dangerous plants from around the world, like the caged specimens of nightshade, wolfsbane and poison ivy. There’s also a Water Garden with lovely waterfalls that create an enchanting backdrop.

Though Ireland is high on many tourists’ bucket lists, Northern Ireland doesn’t always make the cut. This is unfortunate, as it is a very worthwhile destination that rewards visitors with dramatic scenery spanning the gamut from gentle, verdant countryside to exposed moorlands and rugged shores. It’s also the location of the Giant’s Causeway, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Eighth Wonder of the World. These unique geological formations, consisting of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, some as high as thirty feet, were created from a volcanic eruption. And yes, they appear as if a giant placed them there. Giant’s Causeway - Eighth Wonder in the World


Titanic Belfast Belfast, where the ship docks, is the capital city of Northern Ireland. It’s a bustling no-nonsense metropolis that was once a major textile town and shipbuilding industry hub, known for being the birthplace of the Titanic. To uncover the true legend of the famous cruise liner, head to the Titanic Quarter, where you’ll find Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience. Creative interpretive and interactive displays bring the tale of the ship and the people who brought her to life in a memorable way. The building’s iconic architecture is also notable. At six stories tall, it has more than 3,000 aluminum panels that reflect the sunlight. Each of the four corners represent the bows of ships, pointing along the cardinal compass points.

Your tour will take you to Shankill Road (Unionist Protestant) and Falls Road (Nationalist Catholic), two working-class neighborhoods, which are separated by a Peace Wall. Nearly a hundred walls were erected over the years as a means of defusing sectarian tension. Today, “peace gates” are being opened in some of the walls in an attempt to foster greater links between communities. The plan is to hopefully tear down all of these structures in the future. Continued on Next Page…

A tour of the many political murals which dot the city and depict the region’s past and current political and religious divisions provides valuable insight into “the Troubles.” These colorful and often poignant murals have become important symbols of Northern Ireland and are of great interest to visitors. PAGE 25

Political mural in Belfast

Emerald Isle Continued… Among the more unique shore excursions available for Celebrity passengers in Belfast and its environs include opportunities to learn about Irish traditions via music and dance (where I discovered after trying a few steps that I would never get chosen to be in the cast of “Riverdance!”), make traditional Irish bread, have tea at a grand country estate, spend an afternoon in an eerie Victoria-era gaol, and dress up in a “Game of Thrones” costume while trying your hand at medieval archery at Castle Ward (Winterfell), the set of the hit HBO series. For those who don’t wish to participate in a group excursion, there’s always the option to go the independent route and plan your own activities off the ship. If you go: Deborah Stone is a travel and lifestyle writer, who explores the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers. She’s an avid adventurer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for travel and cross-cultural connections. Her travels have taken her to all seven continents, over 65 countries and 45 U.S. states.


Traditional Irish Music Pub Crawl

Tenby, Wales Big Blend Radio: Debbie Stone discusses her For many trekkers, hiking the entire Appalachian Wales Coast Path walking adventure! Trail from Georgia to Maine is a bucket list accomplishment. It’s one of three long distance walks in the famed Triple Crown; the other two being the Pacific Crest and the Continental Divide Trails. Outside of the U.S., there’s a number of walks with similar bragging rights. Among them is the Wales Coast Path, an 870mile route, spanning eight geographical areas, from Chepsstow, Monmouthshire in the south to Queensferry, Flintshire in the north. Wales has the distinction of being the largest country in the world with a continuous trail around its entire This is a trail that’s recognized for its diversity of coast. scenery, from soaring cliffs and windswept beaches to densely wooded forests, bucolic The path is visually stunning, with backdrops that fields and rolling hills of green. And amid all this could be straight out of a fairytale. It’s also rich in splendor are medieval castles and ancient history and teeming with wildlife. The route runs churches, along with Neolithic burial chambers through National Nature Reserves, World and mysterious rock formations that are Heritage Sites, Special Areas of Conservation, believed to have prehistoric roots. You’ll travel National Parks, Heritage Coasts, Areas of through quaint villages and storybook hamlets, Outstanding Natural Beauty, and areas managed where there’s a pub on every corner offering the and protected by Wildlife Trusts and the National opportunity to meet a host of colorful, local Trust. characters. It’s a truly special landscape with moods that change as often as the weather. PAGE 28

Castle Apartments

Cardiff Castle The hardy souls who complete the entire circuit are to be commended. But, not everyone has the time, energy or inclination to walk it all at once. Instead, most people do a section or sections of the path, as my husband and I did in early summer. We chose to explore a region of South Wales between Tenby and Burry Port, putting in a total of nearly sixty miles in six days.

Before starting our journey, we spent some time in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. The city was originally built during Britain’s 19th century coal boom and for many years, it was primarily an industrial town. Though never regarded as one of the country’s most attractive cities, Cardiff has been changing with the times and major regeneration projects have given it a new face.

To facilitate the trip, we worked with Celtic Trails, a company with twenty plus years’ experience in providing tailored, self-guided walking trips in the UK and Europe. As leaders in the industry, Celtic Trails is known for its personal service and impeccable attention to detail, as well as its depth of knowledge regarding the different terrains.

In the heart of town is Cardiff Castle, a combination Roman fort, impressive citadel and Victorian Gothic palace, created for one of the world’s richest men – John Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute. Make sure to climb to the top of the medieval Keep, explore the Wartime Shelters and tour the Castle Apartments with their opulent interiors of gilding, wood carvings and stained glass. Continued on Next Page…

The company works with walkers of every level, from beginners to seasoned trekkers, and handles all of the specifics, including route planning, accommodations and luggage transfers from inn-to-inn. And the information it provides prior to your trip is extensive, with a day-to-day itinerary, route maps, guidebooks, packing list, important contact numbers and more. The staff is dedicated to providing the support you need for a memorable adventure.


Princess Katharine Water Taxi

Tenby, Wales Stroll through picturesque Bute Park, then hop on the Princess Katharine, a narrated water taxi that will take you to Cardiff Bay. This waterfront area is a hive of eclectic shops, bars and restaurants. At the National Museum Cardiff, you’ll find exhibits on the country’s natural history, archaeology and geology, along with the country’s notable art collection. And if you want to experience the Welsh obsession, head to Millennium Stadium and join all the rabid fans cheering for their teams at a rugby match. From Cardiff, we went by train to Tenby, where our walk officially began. Tenby is a lovely seaside resort with cotton candy-colored houses and streets that form a maze of narrow lanes and alleyways inside the old town wall. Picturesque views of golden beaches and nearby islands pop up around every corner. Walk the lovely promenade, stop in at a “chippie” for some fish and chips, or perhaps try a traditional Welsh pie or pasty.

The place serves beautifully prepared food with a cosmopolitan flair and is known for its daily fresh fish features that might include bass, skate, cod, hake, salmon and tuna. And when the boat comes in, there’s locally caught Pembrokeshire lobster on the menu. Tenby offers many choices when it comes to accommodations, from inns and lodges, to hotels and spa resorts. We stayed at the Broadmead Boutique B&B, a handsome 18th century country house with lush lawn gardens. Each of the bedrooms is individually designed and tastefully furnished.

For a special meal, dine at The Stables. Nestled between the medieval town walls, in what was historically an old coaching inn, the restaurant is popular with both visitors and locals alike. PAGE 30

Broadmead Boutique B&B

Stables Restaurant

Stables Restaurant You’ll climb up and down hills and dunes, go through old railway tunnels, countless stiles and kissing gates, and meander along peaceful country backroads. Flora and fauna abound with seabirds and orchids, butterflies and Atlantic grey seals. Continued on Next Page…

As with the majority of accommodations in Wales, breakfast is included in your stay. Typically, there’s a buffet with continental-style items, as well as a menu of hot dishes. The traditional English breakfast consists of eggs, bacon, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, toast and “bangers,” or sausages. It’s a hearty way to start the day!

Fish & Chips

During our walk, we encountered all types of weather. Some days it was wet and damp (good raingear is essential!), with an eerie mist reminiscent of a scene from a Brontë novel; other times, the sun appeared and made everything sparkle in vivid Technicolor. The trail is well-marked overall and distinguished by blue and yellow colored “waymarkers,” with a white shell logo. My husband and I only got confused in a few places when the path or markers were difficult to see due to heavy vegetation overgrowth. You’ll walk on a variety of surfaces, from dirt and grass to sand, rocks, wood, gravel and asphalt, and if you’re not careful, you might step in a few cow pies as well!


Sheep on The Coastal Trail Wales, Continued Though labeled the Coastal Trail, the route also takes you inland through stretches of rural farms, where you’ll encounter cows and sheep and the occasional farmer. Some of the time, you’re walking on private property, though no one ever makes you feel uncomfortable or unwelcome when they see you on their land. The Welsh people we met were friendly and helpful, and always curious about where we were from and how far we were going on the path.

We often went miles without seeing a soul and had the trail to ourselves. We created our own rhythms, which varied depending on whether we wanted to walk and talk together, or put a bit of distance between us and quietly get lost in our separate worlds. The journey gave us the opportunity to truly notice our surroundings and appreciate this spectacular natural environment one step at a time.

There are plenty of detours off the route, where you can explore quirky villages, old churches, WWII remnants, various ruins and even a museum or two. Doing a self-guided walk allows you much flexibility, as you have all day to get to your night’s accommodations. You set the pace, determine where and when you’ll rest, eat a snack, stop in at a pub, or decide to take an offthe-beaten-path excursion. And you’ll be traveling light, with only a daypack to carry the essentials. PAGE 32

Mellieha Guest House, Amroth

Brown’s Boutique B&B, Laugharne Our accommodations during the trip were each unique and different. In the charming town of Amroth, we stayed at the Mellieha Guest House and enjoyed the warm hospitality of owners Stuart and Julia Adams. The couple’s home is cozy and inviting with country and sea views, and a glorious garden. Julia’s homemade Welsh cakes proved addictive and Stuart’s cooked-to-order breakfasts were tasty and filling. Brown’s Boutique B&B was our digs in Laugharne. Built in 1752, the place is an iconic literary address, as it was the favorite watering hole of poet and writer Dylan Thomas, who famously left the bar’s phone number as his own.

Dylan Thomas Grave, St. Martin’s Church Also of note is the Dylan Thomas Boathouse. The writer and his wife lived here for several years, and it’s where he wrote one of his best known works, “Under Milk Wood.” Though Thomas was originally from Swansea, his family roots were in Carmarthenshire and it was this area that provided him with a constant source of inspiration. He is buried in the graveyard of St. Martin’s Church in Laugharne.

In Llansteffen, we spent the night at the Mansion House, an elegant estate set on a hilltop with sublime views of Carmarthen Bay. The décor blends period charm and contemporary design, Other celebs and dignitaries have made their highlighting the home’s stately Georgian style way to Brown’s, including Prince Charles, Mick architecture. And the restaurant on site is a gem Jagger, Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton and Liz with innovative dishes incorporating a strong Taylor, and even President Carter. The inn’s local provenance. I swooned over a starter of décor and furnishings are vintage chic, lending broccoli, watercress, spring onion and rocket an air of nostalgia to the place. And the bar is the soup, accompanied by a Welsh rarebit crisp, social hub of the town, offering live music every followed by line-caught seabass and balsamic Sunday afternoon, as well as a monthly Poems & potatoes. Dessert was a heavenly treacle tart Pints night. with lemon curd and pistachio ice cream. While in Laugharne, take time to visit the castle, where you’ll find the remains of a 12th century structure that has been the focus of archaeological investigation and gradual restoration for the past two decades. PAGE 33

Continued on Next Page…

Kidwelly, Wales

Wales Continued…

Nick and Gerri Tennant own and operate the Kidwelly Bed & Breakfast in the town of Kidwelly, another of our stops on the trail. Their inn is a relaxing, sunny and light-filled haven with all the comforts of home. For dinner, we accompanied the Tennants to the Mason’s Arms, a lively neighborhood pub and restaurant full of locals Carmarthen has a strong claim to being the enjoying their pints. We heard our share of oldest city in the country, having been founded entertaining stories, some of which we could by the Romans in the first century A.D. Your walk understand and others that we failed to catch into town from the path will take you along the due to the strong Welsh accents. banks of the Towy River, where you might see Welsh English, which is spoken by everyone, is a fisherman in small, rounded boats called dialect of English, whereas Welch is a Celtic coracles. This traditional style, one-person craft dates back to pre-Roman times and is made out language. Signs in Wales are posted in both English and Welsh, and if you’re like me, you’ll of woven wood with a waterproof covering. probably cause much confusion if you try and Coracle fisherman secure a net between two of the boats and then drift down the river in hopes pronounce words written in the latter. My futile attempts were a constant source of amusement of catching fish as they go. There are only a few places in Wales where coracles are still used, the for the residents. The Ivy Bush Royal Hotel, where we stayed in Carmarthen, possesses an Old World ambiance, and was once the favored retreat of Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton. Its accessible location to shops and restaurants makes it very convenient for walkers.

River Towy being one of them. PAGE 34

The Kidwelly Castle is a must-see, as it is one of the most well-preserved and complete castles in Wales. It’s a mighty and daunting monument to Norman power. An eerie aura pervades this medieval stronghold as you explore its dark and dank rooms, take a peek into the gloomy dungeons and climb the steep and narrow spiral staircases to the top of the tower. Your efforts will be rewarded with a commanding view of the landscape. There are numerous informative plaques placed throughout the castle, which include historical details and descriptions about life back in the Middle Ages. I chuckled upon reading that the bread baked in the ovens typically got burnt on the bottom, so the lord ate the upper crust, hence the saying! Our last night’s accommodations were at Chrissie Whitford’s in Burry Port. The establishment operates a café and kitchen shop on the ground floor, and up above there are several spacious, loft-style, en suite rooms.

The walk gave us a good sense of accomplishment, but more importantly, it introduced us to this enchanting and captivating corner of the world. Celtic Trails: Carmarthenshire area visitor information: Pembrokeshire area visitor information: Deborah Stone is a travel and lifestyle writer, who explores the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers. She’s an avid adventurer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for travel and cross-cultural connections. Her travels have taken her to all seven continents, over 65 countries and 45 U.S. states.

Burry Port made its name in the coal industry, but it surprisingly also has a place in aviation history. In June 1928, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, after she landed in Burry Port following a twenty-two hour flight from Newfoundland. The town has a plaque and monument commemorating this event. PAGE 35

See Tigers on Safari India has seen a considerable influx of tourism in recent years – deservedly, as it truly is one of the most wondrous, interesting and beautiful countries in the world, let alone Asia. If you’re travelling for the first time and looking for the best destination to ease you in, India is a good place to consider, and here are a few reasons why. It’s full of natural beauty India’s natural splendor is evident throughout. From the northern Himalayan region to southern Kerala and its luscious tropical settings, the natural climate is both diverse and stunning wherever you go. The Himalayas are arguably one of India’s biggest draws – understandably, with the mountain range being home to some of the world’s biggest peaks, including Mount Everest (despite it being in Nepal and not India). You’ll find some incredible scenery hidden in the midst of the mountains too, with Darjeeling being just one of them. Here you can ride the Toy Train up to the hill station to discover a secluded town and get one of the world’s best cups of tea.

The destinations are diverse It all comes down to what you’re looking for from your trip – do you crave the bustle of a big city? If so, head to Delhi. The country’s capital is teeming with vibrant energy, and is full to the brim with things to do and see. From the history of the Red Fort to the technological hub of Gurugram, there’s a diversity in the city that cannot be beaten. However, quieter regions such as Kalimpong and Lucknow are often overlooked by travellers in favour of the better-known and more popular towns and cities. Consider heading off-thebeaten-track to discover a secret escape with its authenticity intact.


The Taj Mahali Culture and history are prevalent From the sights of the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort, to the homestays on offer throughout the country, there are plenty of ways to get your cultural fill whilst you’re here. The latter idea is best executed in Kerala, an underrated town by all means. Homestays are the perfect way to get an authentic insight into the Indian ways of life, with families opening their doors for travellers to come in and integrate.

Parathas in particular are popular for their diversity, whether you want it as an accompaniment to a hearty main meal or as a solitary snack. Street food is quick, affordable and always tasty.

Its sights are some of the best in the world Whether you’re seeing one of India’s most popular sights, such as the Taj Mahal or the river of Ganges, or even somewhere a bit less developed – the Great Wall of India is an up-andHomestays allow you to experience something in coming destination for the adventurous traveller a different way, with the locals being some of the – there’s no doubt you’ll discover something most accommodating and welcoming you’ll ever spectacular, whether you’re seeking it or not. meet. Learn how to cook traditional Indian food Continued on Next Page… and share stories through the evening, and you’ll soon forget you’re a temporary visitor. Deer in Bandhavgarh National Park The food is spectacular In India you’ll taste some of the best food you’ve ever had. The dishes here are often divine and delectable, and rich in flavour and fragrance like no other cuisine in the world. Your best chance at grabbing an authentic plate is at the street stalls of one of the country’s major cities – Delhi in particular is where you’ll find some of the best. From paneer to curry, parathas to desserts, you’ll find it all along the streets of Delhi. PAGE 37

Himalayas India Continued… If you do choose to visit the Taj Mahal, make sure you get there early to avoid the biggest crowds, whilst also getting a view of the majestic mausoleum glowing at sunrise. Pictures do not do it justice – you simply need to see it for yourself. There are (perhaps surprisingly) great safari opportunities If you are seeking an adventure from your Indian getaway, why not join a safari? India’s national parks boast incredible opportunities to spot wildlife – it’s actually the only country in the world where you can witness tigers and lions coexisting in the wild. Add to that elephants, majestic birds, rhinos, leopards and bears to name a few, and you’ll be set for an experience unlike any other in the world. Consider Bandhavgarh or Ranthambore for perhaps the best parks of all!

He started the travel journal in 2016 with an aim to promote destinations, travel values, cultural differences prevailing in different states and countries, and to know the world better. He dedicates this website to all people passionate about traveling and to wake up the wanderlust present inside all of us.

Somnath is an avid traveller, photo and travel journalist, and solo backpacker with interest in writing, photography, gardening and mountaineering. He has travelled to most Asian countries and some amazing offbeat destinations around the world and places of natural interest. Somnath takes pride in working with leading brands, publishers, press and international organizations including the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association. PAGE 38

Toy Train - Darjeeling

Food Stall

From Kenya to England and California to Canada, this episode of Big Blend Radio’s Vacation Station Park Travel Show is all about national parks, outdoor adventures, hiking and walking trails, wildlife encounters, conservation and campfire gatherings!

Adam M. Roberts

Jim Ostdick

Glynn Burrows

Featured guests: - Adam M. Roberts “The Compassionate Conservationist” is a wildlife conservation expert who has spent the past 25 years working for animal protection and wildlife conservation around the world. - Jim “Palomino” Ostdick is a retired earth science teacher, and avid hiker and cyclist who has written two books on his adventures: “Palomino Nation: My 2016 Crazyass Walk Across America” and “Palomino and the Dream Machine: A Retired Dude's Bicycle Tour Around the Lower Forty-Eight United States.”

- Glynn Burrows is a family history expert and owner of Norfolk Tours in England where he puts together tailored trips covering all of England and the British Isles.

Music on this episode is “Great Blue Sky” from the album “As Things Could Be” by Evren Ozan. PAGE 40

Jodi Canter, owner of Wanderlust Mark merchandise for National Park Junkies, joins Big Blend Radio to discuss her recent national park adventures including the dedication ceremony at Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri, and bear watching at Katmai National Park & Preserve in Southern Alaska (photo above by Jodi Canter). Plus, hear Steve Schneickert recall the Hollywood History of movies filmed in Western National Parks, and featured music: “Wanderlust” by Aoede (Lisa Sniderman), and “Oh Alaska” by Robbie Boyd. Keep up with Jodi at

Have fun with our online jigsaw puzzle of Jodi’s bear photo, on



Harvest Hosts is a company reinventing the great American road trip, kind of how Airbnb transformed the hotel space. Joel Holland, new owner and CEO, talks with Big Blend Radio and shares some of his RV travel adventures and explains how Harvest Hosts connects self-contained RV travelers with unique host sites such as wineries, breweries, farms and museums. Founded in 2009 by husband and wife duo, Don and Kim Greene, Harvest Hosts was created to enhance the RV experience and open up unexpected RV destinations around North America, including, wineries, breweries, farms, museums and other attractions. Since inception, Kim and Don organically created an extensive network excited to welcome guests on their land for once in a lifetime experiences. "We are thrilled to have Joel take the reins at Harvest Hosts and continue our legacy of enhancing and expanding what it truly means to RV," said Don Greene, co-founder of Harvest Hosts. "His genuine passion for RV travel and desire to bring that unique experience to people An avid RVer, Holland is the founder and former CEO of an established platform for stock video around the country made him a natural fit. The and audio, and brings a knowledge and RV industry will continue to rapidly expand, and experience to expanding the Harvest Hosts Joel will play an integral role in the growth and network for hosts and members. continued success of Harvest Hosts for both hosts and members." PAGE 42

For his previous entrepreneurial accomplishments, Joel has been named one of the "Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25" by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Ernst and Young for the Greater Washington DC Region, and made Inc. Magazine's prestigious "30 Under 30" list in 2013.

The RV industry is growing rapidly with an overall economic impact of $50 billion, a recordbreaking 10 million RVs on the road and 540,000 wholesale RV shipments expected in 2018. At the same time, the age of RVers is expanding. An industry that has been dominated by empty nesters is now also thriving with millennials. According to the RV Dealers Association, in 2017, "As a young entrepreneur, it's easy to get 51 percent of millennials stated that they wrapped up in your business, but it's important planned to camp more. The RV industry is ready to stay inspired by doing things that you're truly for disruption and Harvest Hosts is at the passionate about," said Joel Holland, CEO of forefront of that movement, offering Harvest Hosts. "My mission with Harvest Hosts is independent wineries, breweries, farms and simple: RVing provides a sense of ultimate other small businesses the opportunity to freedom, which most people seek and not benefit from RVers who are looking for more enough find. We can help a lot of people live unique overnight experiences. happier lives if we can get them off of the couch and onto the open road. From sleeping under For a $49 yearly membership fee, Harvest Hosts the stars at a vineyard in California to enjoying a gives members overnight access to more than picnic at an alpaca farm, members of Harvest 600 locations in the lower 48 US states, Canada Hosts get to stay at a five billion star 'hotel' at and Alaska for free, providing new opportunities more than 600 locations for free." to explore and enjoy the RVing lifestyle. For more information about becoming a member or sign up as a host, please visit PAGE 43

THE PINK STEERING WHEEL CHRONICLES: A LOVE STORY Laura Fahrenthold talks with Big Blend Radio about her memoir “The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles� and her North American RV travels with her two daughters and a stray dog.

The book is not a travelogue. It's a put-yourheart-back-together memoir/love story with an unexpected ending where they reconnect in eerie, unexpected and surprisingly moving ways. Laura's journalism career includes Woman's World Magazine where she has interviewed more than 60,000 women over the course of 15 years. She has hundreds of bylines and has won several Associated Press writing awards. Her late husband was Mark Pittman, Bloomberg financial reporter and the first person ever to sue the Federal Reserve. When she isn't working, Laura is mother to her two teenage daughters and serves on the board for the Bereavement Center of Westchester. She resides just outside of New York City. The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles is published by Hatherleigh Press and distributed through Penguin Random House.

When Bloomberg journalist Mark Pittman suddenly died, his widow spent four summers driving 31,152 miles searching for answers. A former NY Daily News crime reporter, Laura Fahrenthold presents her moving portrait of life told with unflinching honesty about marriage, motherhood and mourning in The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles. Share in her adventures and misadventures, her deeply-layered love story, and her heartbreaking yet often hilarious slice of life dispatches as captain of a 1993 RV as she traverses North America spreading his ashes with their young daughters and a stray dog where the pink steering wheel becomes their spiritual GPS. PAGE 44

ARIZONA & NEW MEXICO: 25 SCENIC SIDE TRIPS Adventure traveler, writer, photographer and anthropologist Rick Quinn chats with Big Blend Radio about his latest book, RoadTrip America “Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips.”

Add fun, history, and jaw-dropping natural wonders to your southwestern road trip with RoadTrip America Arizona and “New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips,” each one beginning and ending at an Interstate highway and drivable within a day. Full-color maps and photographs illustrate easy-to-follow scenic routes through breathtaking landscapes and iconic towns in Arizona and New Mexico. Discover the surreal beauty of White Sands, watch the sun set over Monument Valley, or explore the subterranean marvels of Carlsbad Caverns. Find out why Jerome was "the Wickedest Town in the West" or walk in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp in Tombstone. Pamper yourself at a spa in Taos or soak up the vibes at an "energy vortex" in the red rocks of Sedona. This beautiful guide book was researched and written by native Arizonan and adventure traveler Rick Quinn, whose road trips have taken him from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska and San Francisco to Washington D.C. Photographer, travel writer, and anthropologist, Quinn is an expert on the topography, history, and culture of the American southwest and how best to enjoy its wonders by automobile. More at PAGE 46

Paul Adjei

Debbie Gurtler

Holly Hansen

Big Blend Radio Panel Discussion featuring: Holly T. Hansen - President of Family History Expos, Debbie Gurtler - AGÂŽ, Latin America & Southern Europe Research Specialist, and Paul A. Adjei - CEO at Worldbiz Business in Kumasi-Ghana

Pirates of the Pedigree: 2018 International Family History Expo Family History Expos is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a totally virtual online event, "Pirates of the Pedigree 2018 International Family History Expo," held October 15-20, 2018. Everyone can participate from their personal computer or mobile device. And you can join in from anywhere you have an internet connection, just go to Family historians from different lands will be coming together to share and learn from each other. With the advent of the internet and digital documents, we are surrounded by a virtual sea of opportunity. Your ancestors are waiting to be found. Watch out for the Pirates and look for the treasures. This week-long event will be full of gems to get you started and keep you going.

Follow our social media Boosters for details and fun stuff regarding the Expo. Or become a Booster and help get the word out to your family, friends, and social connections.

Paid registered attendees receive the following with their registration: * Registration gift packet of digital fun and educational items * Access to view and print class handouts * Access to view recorded classes after the Expo is over Six full days and nights of classes, exhibitors, and * Eligibility to win door prizes sponsors will be participating from around the As the Expo gets closer fun contests and door world. This is a totally online event. Classes will prizes will be announced for our family history be broadcast. Sponsor and Exhibitor links allow enthusiast friends. We have a special gift for you to visit their website or social media page each of you who have shared some time with us quickly. Visit websites, blogs, and social media today. Go to sites where you can learn about the resources and services available to help you successfully and download a chart or two. You will thoroughly and accurately research your family history. enjoy framing the decorative charts to share and display your family history. PAGE 48

HOW IMPRESSIONISM CAME TO AMERICA And Changed the Way We Look at Art By Victoria Chick, contemporary figurative artist and early 19th & 20th Century Print Collector The term Impressionism is often used to describe any painting with loose, sketchy brushwork, thus the elements that constituted French Impressionism and, by extension, American Impressionism, need to be more clearly defined. The main element is realism. Included under realism were changes from the hard- edged, smooth surfaced, studio paintings of Classical and Romantic styles that had been rigidly adhered to by the main schools of art in Paris for nearly two centuries. These changes included new ways of expressing light and movement, color, texture and the manipulation of paint on canvases, most often by painting outdoors. Just as important, was the change from formal allegorical, historical, and portrait painting to informal subjects of ordinary people doing ordinary things. It was this last change that so outraged the traditional French painters and forced the Realist artists to exhibit together in independent exhibitions after the rejection of their work to being included in the yearly official Salon Exhibitions. In the beginning, these artists did not call themselves Impressionists. That was a derogatory term coined by a critic during their first exhibition to describe what he considered to be sloppy and vulgar painting. But, the name stuck. The movement toward French Impressionism began with realistic subject matter from the 1840s starting with the Realists Courbet and Corot, and developed stylistically through the Barbizon painters and, by the 1860s, to Claude Manet. There were differences to their work, but each artist or group of artists felt they were expressing truly what they saw.

Girl with Flowers by Robert L. Reid

Kristin Lessard

Victoria Chick

Big Blend Radio: Artist Victoria Chick and Kristin Lessard - Chief of Interpretation & Education at Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut.


J. Alden Weir by John Singer Sargent, 1890 Realism was not widely accepted. American painters knew about Realism but were heavily influenced to reject it by the teaching of the well established art schools they had traveled to France to attend. One of the most outspoken was a later American Impressionist artist, J. Alden Weir, when he encountered impressionism for the first time: "I never in my life saw more horrible things. It was worse than the Chamber of Horrors." He complained about the Impressionists in a letter from April 15, 1877 to his parents saying, "They do not observe drawing nor form but give you an impression of what they call nature". (Young, Dorothy Weir, The Life and Letters of J. Alden Weir, Yale University Press, pg.123)

Awaiting His Return by Edward E. Simmons, 1884 The Impressionists in France, as the realist painters now identified themselves, had eight exhibitions from 1874 to 1886 to protest the official annual Salon exhibitions. The American artist, Mary Cassatt, was invited to exhibit in the 4th exhibition. Offshoots of Impressionism such as Pointillism, as well as more expressive painting styles that were also offensive to the official Salon, began to be included in Impressionist exhibitions until the stylistic cohesiveness that held Impressionist painters together began to unravel with the newer style introductions.

By the eighth exhibition, Monet, Sisley, and Yet, within 10 years J. Alden Weir and other Renoir refused to participate with the neoAmerican artists had completely adopted the Impressionist style. Their subject matter was the impressionist and post- impressionist painters. As the dictates of the official Salon were more everyday things they observed, although it and more ignored, it gradually lost its differed from their French counterparts, in that institutional power, even though the major art their paintings depicted mostly family members and friends, reflecting upper class activity, rather schools continued to operate and teach traditional painting and drawing. than Parisian street life. However the loose brushwork, avoidance of hard edges, interweaving complimentary colors of paint on Continued on Next Page‌ the canvas, and use of tints to emphasize the quality of light were techniques learned from studying the French Impressionists. PAGE 51

The Ten

Impressionism Continued… It was an ironic happening that, as the French Impressionist painters strove to exhibit despite being rebuffed by the official Salon, they began to object to exhibiting with painters whose work they considered unworthy. And ironic again, that so many American painters who initially were repulsed by Realist/Impressionist work, came to proudly call themselves Impressionists once they were back in the United States. The highpoint of American Impressionism was from the last two decades of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century. The turning point for acceptance of French Impressionism by the American public came in 1886 when a Parisian art dealer staged the first large exhibition of Impressionist paintings at the National Academy of Design in New York. It was fairly successful and several well-known American collectors made purchases. Not long after that, American Impressionist painters were exhibiting in New York and Boston as well.

Collectively, a group of painters working outdoors in the Impressionist style developed an art colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut. Another, at Cos Cob, Connecticut had more daring members that eventually split off, forming a group that called themselves “The Ten,” and exhibited together. They were Frank Benson, Joseph DeCamp, Thomas Dewing, Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, Robert Reid, Edward Simmons, Edmund Tarbell, Henry Twachtman, and J. Alden Weir. These artists were among the avant-garde of American painters.

In 1913, an exhibition of the latest art in Europe was held at the New York Armory and then taken to armories in Boston and Chicago. Art in Europe had changed so much since the Impressionists stood up to the stultifying French Academy that even the work of Vincent Van Gogh and Gauguin were not considered modern. It had had been supplanted by Fauvism, Surrealism, and Cubism. The Armory Show was conceived by the founders of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors. PAGE 52

In the Orchard by Edmund C. Tarbell, 1891

"The origins of the show lie in the emergence of progressive groups and independent exhibitions in the early 20th century (with significant French precedents), which challenged the aesthetic ideals, exclusionary policies, and authority of the National Academy of Design, while expanding exhibition and sales opportunities, enhancing public knowledge, and enlarging audiences for contemporary art." Berman, Avis (2000). As National as the National Biscuit Company; The Academy, the Critics, and the Armory Show, Rave Reviews American Art and Its Critics, 1826–1925. New York: National Academy of Design. p. 131. Continued on Next Page‌

Wild Cherry Tree by John Henry Twachtman, 1901 PAGE 53

Afternoon by the Pond by J. Alden Weir Impressionism Continued‌ It is to his credit that American Impressionist, J. Alden Weir, was one of those founders who understood, from personal experience, the value of free creative expression. Yet, the Armory Show was too radical for him to accept and he resigned from the AAPS sponsoring group.

The peaceful setting and changing seasons made the farm a perfect place for outdoor painting in the Impressionist manner. Today, it is a National Historic Site.

Victoria Chick is the founder of the Cow Trail Art Studio in southwest New Mexico. She received a B.A. Weir owned several farms, including one that had in Art from the University of Missouri at Kansas City belonged to his second wife. But It was the farm and awarded an M.F.A. in Painting from Kent State University in Ohio. Visit her website at in Branchville, Connecticut, that he considered the most beautiful and spent much of his time painting there, inviting his artist friends to stay there and paint also. The artists that most often took advantage of his generous invitations to use the farm as a place to paint were the American Impressionists, Child Hassam, John Henry Twachtman, John Singer Sargent, along with a painter friend whose style was totally his own, Albert Pinkham Ryder. PAGE 54


Established on October 31, 1990, Weir Farm National Historic Site in Ridgefield and Wilton, Connecticut features the home, studio and grounds of landscape artist Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), one of the founders of the impressionist tradition in American Art. Along with Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, it is one of the only two sites within the national park system that focus primarily on the visual arts. While preserving the life and work of Weir, this beautiful and historic site also commemorates noteworthy artists who stayed or visited the Farm including Childe Hassam, Albert Pinkham Ryder, John Singer Sargent, and John Twachtman.

Be sure to join in the fun at the Art in the Park Annual Festival, held August 25th. This free annual event celebrates the birthday of the National Park Service and the creativity inspired by Weir Farm. Enjoy demonstrations, activity stations, free-to-use art supplies, refreshments, music, and more! For more information call (203) 834-1896 or visit Photos by NPS

Visitors can explore the picturesque 60-acre grounds that feature over 250 painting sites, gardens with historic stone walls, fields and woodlands, a pond, streams and wetlands, and enjoy activities such as hiking, bird watching, viewing spring and summer wildflowers, photography and plein air painting. You can tour the historic Burlingham House & Visitor Center, Weir House, Weir Studio and Young Studio. There are also junior ranger programs, as well as art exhibits, art workshops and artist-in-residence opportunities. PAGE 55

NICK COLLIER National Parks Artist-in-Residence Success Insider A photographer, sculptor and installation artist, Nick Collier was NPAF’s first-ever U.S. veteran artist when he was selected to pilot the foundation’s program at Big Bend National Park, and the successful program has grown to encompass several residencies at Gettysburg National Military Park, and now at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Nick has been an artistin-residence in all three parks. Listen to our Jan. 2017 interview with Nick after his Big Bend National Park AiR. Nick is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, with a combat action ribbon for his time in Afghanistan. His unit was in Afghanistan running missions that set the frame work and would in part lead up to the actions portrayed in the movie, “Lone Survivor,” with Mark Wahlburg. His unit was the first unit in the Korengal Valley prior to the Army unit portrayed in the movie, “Restrepo.” Nick received his BFA from George Mason University, Virginia, in 2012 and his MFA from Florida State University in 2016. He works as an interdisciplinary artist, employing photography, social practice, and sculpture to explore the intersection of ideas revolving around place, history, and contemporary culture. His work has been shown in galleries in Washington D.C., Virginia, and Florida. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he splits his time between his studio practice, the development of his start-up Aloft Aerial Imaging, and working as a residential remodeler. See his work and learn more at

Big Blend Radio conversation with recent Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park artist-inresidence Nick Collier, and Tanya Ortega Founder of National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF).

So what does it take to be a successful artist and national park artist-in-residence? Listen to our Big Blend Radio discussion with Nick Collier and Tanya Ortega, founder of National Parks Arts Foundation, and read Nick’s answers to our 10 National Park Artist-inResidence Insider Questions.

1. What led you to become an artist and photographer? I don’t know if it was really any one thing that National Parks Arts Foundation selects any sort of artist for national park residencies, from attracted me to art. It’s something that I’ve traditional landscape painters, photographers, to always been into even from a young age. I think performers, installations, films/video, as well as part of it then was that it came naturally, the writers, poets, sound artists, and new arts media. same way someone else might pick up an More information about these opportunities is instrument or play a particular sport. available at PAGE 56

Super Moon in Octotillo Grove - Big Blend NP These days it’s still partly that but also as a means of concentrated reflection, a creative outlet, and a way to apply skills Ive acquired throughout my life.

I guess really the only thing would have to be taking the time to pursue two degrees in fine arts and then putting those things to work for me!

2. Who or what inspires you? As cheesy as it sounds, I’m inspired by the world around me and the environments I surround myself with. During my undergad I was exposed to the idea of art being created through questioning and research and not just aesthetics or technical proficiency. I loved how expansive that was.

5. What do you consider your biggest challenge? I don't really find that I have challenges. Maybe just opportunities for unique perspectives.

3. Describe your ideal viewing audience? My ideal audience really is anyone that enjoys what I make. I think if you make work that has to try and please everyone, you’ll be constantly worried about reaching that mark. Make what you enjoy and you’ll find people (even if only a few) that appreciate and applaud you.

6. If you could invite any three people (alive or passed on) for a dinner party who would they be? Both of my grandfathers (both passed when I was young and before I was able to ever really know them), and my good friend and fellow Marine, Nick Kirven, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. 7. If you could switch careers for a day, what would you choose? Charter sailboat captain for sure.

4. What personal changes have you had to make in order to build your career? I haven’t really been faced with making personal changes in order to make art work as career. PAGE 57

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Thunderstorm Timelapse - Big Bend NP

Nick Continued…

8. What led you to apply to be a NPAF Artistin-Residence, and more than once? I applied for the first NPAF residency because a grad school friend of mine passed it my way knowing that I would be a good fit. This was for the Military Veteran Artist in Residence launch at Big Bend National Park so I figured that I would have a pretty good chance at least to make it into the top three. I was actually kind of stunned when I found out that I was awarded the opportunity. I was hooked after that first one and just wanted to try to get to every park that I could! 9. What attributes do you have that make you a good fit for being a successful artist-inresidence? Well I guess I’m a good fit because I enjoy history and researching the parks that I visit. I also love the outdoors and spending time not only learning the parks, but also getting to know the park employees, the surrounding towns and towns people.

10. What is the most important tip you would pass on to another artist applying for an art residency? Make sure your work and application are solid. Some of the required items are boiler plate type stuff that everyone should have prepped and ready to go at any time (bio, resume/CV, images of work). The proposal should be strong too, but I find it’s easier to leave them a bit open ended and flexible. I don’t like to get too specific with those things because I would rather have the ability to develop work once I’m on site. You have to apply though. Again, and again, and again, because it can take several tries before you are accepted so don’t get discouraged!! Continued on Next Page… **Editors Note: The photograph ‘Fence Climbing’ on page 59, is Nick’s recreation of an actual battle scene. That’s Nick portraying each solider you see in the photo!


**Fence Climbing- Gettysburg National Military Park Nick Continued‌

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Klingle Farm - Gettysburg National Military Park


Nick Continued… *ARTIST’S STATEMENT ON HAWAII & QUARANTINE SERIES: With the main portion of the park being closed due to the ongoing eruption of Mt Kilauea, my focus was directed toward the only portion of the park still open.

Both photos are from the Quarantine Series. Ohia Lehua - Tree Flower, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

In Hawaiian culture this tree has a deep historical significance. Legend says that one day The Fire Goddess Pele, keeper of Kilauea, came across a handsome woodsman working in the forest. Pele wanted Ohia as her lover but her The Kahuku Unit, covering roughly 116,000 acres, advances were rejected because Ohia was is a former cattle ranch and newest addition to already in love with the beautiful Lehua. In a fit the park. The area has a long and storied history of jealousy and rage Pele turned Ohia into a including lava flows, livestock, and a WWII U.S. twisted and gnarled tree trunk for eternity. military occupation. Devastated, Lehua went to the gods and pleaded that they change him back but it was too late. Currently, the park is ground zero for a new The gods instead transformed Lehua into a threat in the form of a fungus called Rapid Ohia beautiful red flower and placed her upon the Disease. If not controlled, this disease has the tree so they could be together forever. It is said capability of wiping out a key plant and corner stone of the islands eco system, the Ohia Lehua. that if the flower is plucked from the tree the sky will fill with rain, the tears of the separated Attempts to control its spread have led to laws lovers. banning the handling and transport of the tree and park patrons are asked to thoroughly clean shoes, gear, and vehicles before entering and after exiting back country trails. After a new lava flow has cooled and the earth begins the process of repair, the Ohia Lehua is the first plant to establish itself. Growing at first as an air plant on top of the lava its roots eventually permeate the porous rock and reach deep within the earth in search of water. As the tree grows and the root system expands it breaks down the lava and creates homes for the next wave of plants, insects, and animals to take hold.

Tune in for Big Blend Radio’s special National Parks Arts Foundation show every 1st Friday!



NATIONAL PARK PHOTOGRAPHER ROBERT DECKER National Park photographer Rob Decker chats with Big Blend Radio about his national park travels, his photography career which includes studying under Ansel Adams, the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project, and the organizations he supports. Colorado photographer and graphic artist Rob Decker started visiting the national parks when he was eight years old - capturing images on black and white film through the lens of his first Kodak camera. At nineteen, he studied under the famed Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park. For the past fifty years, Rob has traveled across the country, exploring and photographing the places that have inspired Americans for generations. Now he’s on a journey to create iconic images of all 60 national parks, each reminiscent of the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s and 40s. “I think it's important to connect people with nature...and to protect the vibrant culture, rich history and awe-inspiring landscapes of America’s National Parks. Perhaps more importantly, we need to inspire the next generation of supporters,” says Decker. And that’s why he donates 10% of annual profits -earmarked for educational programs -- to the organizations that support America’s National Parks. Learn more at



WALKING SONGS & STORIES New Music Insider Conversations

THE WALK-A-BOUT: Things Are Looking Up The Walk-A-Bout join Big Blend Radio to discuss their sophomore album ‘Things Are Looking Up,’ which was recorded and mixed at Ridge Hill Sound Studios, produced by Drew Michael Bertrand and mastered by Roger Lian.

Hailing from the artistic East End of Long Island, New York, Aussie-American acoustically driven rock ‘n’ roll quintet The Walk-A-Bout features Kevin Anderson (Acoustic Guitars), Darren "Sully" Sullivan (Lead Vocals, Harp & Digeridoo), Andrew "Drumz" Bertrand (Drums & Producer), Michael Perrotta (Bass), and Dave Christian (Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals).

The Walk-A-Bout will tour to support the album along the East and West Coasts throughout 2018, as well as Australia in February 2019.


TALL MEN GROUP: Walking The Tall Men Group join Big Blend Radio to discuss their ‘Walking’ collection of songs that were inspired by a songwriting challenge during their previous Big Blend Radio interview about their 4th album ‘Stripped Down.’ Hailing from Southern California, the Tall Men Group is made up of singer-songwriters and musicians Marty Axelrod, Severin Browne, Jeff Kossack, John Stowers, Ed Tree and Jimmy Yessian. Since 2012, the Tall Men Group have continued to sharpen their already impressive writing and performance skills. Their past 4 albums include: ‘Stripped Down’, ‘Feast’, ‘2 Tall’ and their debut album ’12 x 6’. Watch this space for Nancy J. Reid & Lisa D. Smith, Big Blend’s mother-daughter travel team, as they reciprocate the writing challenge dished out to them by the Talls. Their new ‘What Could Go Wrong?’ mother-daughter travel adventures column will start in the next issue of Parks & Travel Magazine.


“Positive people are able to maintain a broader perspective and see the big picture which helps them identify solutions whereas negative people maintain a narrower perspective and tend to focus on problems.” Author and Professor of Psychology, Barbara Fredrickson There are at least three main components of communication when it comes to tourism and the tourism industry. One is definitely how the guest is treated when visiting a tourism destination; two is how the traveler acts when visiting a tourism destination; and third is the communication between members of a community, especially committee members, during the process of building their destination as a place guests will find value in visiting. If you put yourself in the shoes of a guest to your destination, you can most likely guess what they will expect, based on what you yourself would expect from the visit. While most of us may think first impressions matter most, science seems to differ. Nobel-prize winning psychologist and best-selling author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, says people actually form judgements based on the most intense moments, and the end impression of an event, activity or visit. For example, if 90% of a visitor’s experience was good, but the last 10% of it was bad, the lasting impression will be mostly negative. Kahneman calls this the peak-end rule.




Big Blend Radio’s Tourism Excellence Panel Discussion features: - Bobbi DePorter - Co-Founder of SuperCamp & President of Quantum Learning Network - Ralph Masengill Jr. - Author of “Conquer Change & Win” - Jan M. Smith - Travel writer & President of Inland Management Group


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Speak With Good Purpose Continued… Oops! Did I just roll my eyes out loud? Through his research, Dr. Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus in Psychology at UCLA, found that only 7% of a message is conveyed by words while 93% is conveyed by non-verbal communication; 55% of the 93% is through body language; and 38% is through tone of voice. Even more interesting is that body language and tone are considered more honest forms of communication than words.

All parties involved can assess non-verbal (body language, facial expressions and voice tone) with verbal (words being used) communication to discern the meaning of what is being said. You can choose to minimize distractions, ask questions for clarification, and respond to let whomever is speaking know that you are listening and receiving the message that is being conveyed. Feedback is immediate.

DON’T YOU TYPE AT ME IN THAT TONE OF When a traveler asks a server in a restaurant or a VOICE! desk clerk at a hotel what there is to see and do The written word is the next most effective way in the area, they are often met with a sigh, to communicate and also has verbal and nonshrugging or slumping of shoulders, eye rolling verbal dimensions. The words you use are the and eventually words like, “Nothing, really,” or verbal dimension, but how you display them is “Well, (pause) you might try going to a movie…” the nonverbal dimension or tone of the communication. On the other hand, sometimes when a traveler is asked by a server or hotel clerk, “How are you Carefully chosen words displayed in a pleasing enjoying your stay?” the answers are often, ”Well, way takes more time to master, but it is a this rain wasn’t in any of the brochures,” or, “The valuable way to communicate with the added food around here is kind of different.” benefit of a way to keep a record of what is happening. The difficult part is that the feedback Good communication skills are vital in almost does not occur at the same time and the every aspect of our lives and regardless of the possibility of being misunderstood is greater purpose of your conversation, positive than a face-to-face conversation. communication will always bring better results for all participants, than negative In either case, whether communicating in person communication. This is especially true when you or in writing, staying positive will help further the are trying to get important points across to purpose of the conversation. If your purpose is others; trying to change the minds of others; or to change a person’s outlook on something, trying to collect or distribute information. being insulting will not get you the result you The ability to meet face-to-face to discuss something is the most effective way to communicate.

want. If your purpose is to get or give information, being demanding and pushy usually leads to closed doors and minds. PAGE 68

Convenience vs. Clarity Mobile phones and the internet are indeed remarkable, convenient and play huge parts in most people’s daily lives. However, the speed at which we can communicate, especially on social media, texting and shortened, often mistyped messages, can lead to some serious communication problems. The most ineffective way to communicate is sending quick, shortened, verbal messages in written form.

The visitor wants a good, friendly and fun visit, and the company employing workers wants to continue to be in business and to be profitable by helping to fulfill the visitor’s needs. The employees of companies in the tourism industry should be properly trained in customer service so that they can perform their duties with interest in the visitor, and a smile. This will not only help them keep their jobs, but it can lead to a full-fledged career in the tourism arena.

Keep Your Purpose in Mind When working to build a safe and economically sound community that adopts tourism as a way to boost and sustain revenue, it takes a lot of positive and consistent communication.

Those involved in community planning often find themselves in countless meetings and part of numerous committees. Positive communication is essential for any of this to be time well-spent.

From those who actively plan and work towards building their community into a responsible tourism destination, to those directly in the tourism business, and to those who indirectly benefit from tourism dollars, positive communication is a key factor.

To make a committee effective, it has to know its purpose so it can define its duties, select the right mix of members, and come up with a timeline to accomplish the purpose.

If you work in a tourism related business, being positive about your community and what is offered for a visitor is essential for all concerned. PAGE 69

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Speak With Good Purpose Continued… The success of the committee must be more important than the personal goals of the committee members. A good committee needs members that have the skills to communicate positively, the experience to complete the tasks, and have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. Most importantly, members must be able to communicate well enough to gather all input, opinions, and facts pertaining to the committee purpose, in order to put in plans in place or to make good decisions that will benefit the community as a whole. Good decisions, based on fact and research, can help a community benefit and enjoy responsible guests that enrich in cultural exchange in addition to revenue.

This is the fourth article in the “Putting the “I” Back in Community” tourism article series. For the first three articles and other informative articles and interviews on positive communication, see: Article 1: Building Excellence in Tourism Article 2: Building a Destination with a Sense of Place Article 3: Failure Leads to Success in Tourism: It’s a Detour Decision Making During a Time of Change, by Ralph Masengill The 20-50-30 Rule of Change Can Make All the Difference, by Ralph Masengill Gossip is Toxic by Sarah Elliston Are You a Difficult Leader, by Sarah Elliston


You’re about to meet four exceptional leading ladies from Whidbey Island, Washington. They are living out their dreams, leading their community and inspiring the next generation as they share their special gifts and talents. Each step they take moves Whidbey Island’s economic and tourism forward to what success looks like. They’re like a band. Each plays a different instrument. Each brings a different voice. Separately they are great, but together their music rocks the ages. Say hello to Sherrye Wyatt (Public Relations and Marketing Manager at Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism), Karen Krug (Owner Spoiled Dog Winery), Judy Feldman (Executive Director at the Organic Farm School) and Mona Newbauer (Owner of Sweet Mona’s Chocolate Boutique). Their leadership styles and journeys are each unique. However, together they have created a tangible thread where their actions are aligned with vision, where community is a priority -- all while supporting and encouraging others to step into their greatest self by providing ways for them to do so. They are change makers of the highest order.

Big Blend Radio Panel Discussion: Linda Kissam, Sherrye Wyatt, Karen Krug, Mona Newbauer, & Judy Feldman.

These ladies are building a better community through their leadership. Their decisions have a measurable impact on local businesses, regional economies, and the tourism marketplace. The particular qualities of these women’s leadership take on a new significance and new power structure in today’s world. I believe that the strengths these four women possess and the behaviors that set them apart will end up leading their communities forward in the coming years using collaboration, conviction, inclusiveness, creativity, and mentorship.


Sherrye Wyatt Success is not a one-time shot. It is about composing a life over time. Taking the time to understand their journey and celebrate their successes along the way is a big part of this article. Each participant was given the same three questions. The first was about their past contributions and achievements. A second one about their current contributions and mindsets. The last was a question about their vision for themselves and their community moving forward. Come celebrate their journey with me. Meet the ladies who rock Whidbey Island! Sherrye Wyatt: In a word, she is the “organizer” of the group. The holder of the grand map to a successful tourism program. She can take a jumbled out-of-sorts puzzle of achievement waiting to happen and understand how to reconstitute it back into a successful ending. Her special Super Woman skill is helping businesses collaborate for the greater good of a sustainable tourism platform. She is a goal setter who understands what “local” means. Her best quote of the interview concerned how the community can attract tourists, “Be who you are. We do not need to change for visitors. We do not need to create things so people will come. We need to strategically promote what we have.”

Karen Krug

The Island’s visitor market is mainly Seattle and surrounding communities at the present, but she thinks that Whidbey Island is perfect for the international traveler and business retreats. I think she’s right on target with that vision. She believes the future of the community remains in the hands of the local caretakers. “Retaining our green space is a top priority moving forward.” I wish Woodinville, WA would have had Sherrye on their team. Growth in tourism can take its toll on smaller communities. Having someone who cares about supporting local character, group cooperation and resource sustainability like Sherrye Wyatt, “Is a good thing,” just like Martha Stewart use to say.


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Karen Krug Whidbey Ladies Karen Krug: In a word, she is the “teacher” of the group. She holds the key to innovation. She has a lot of “firsts” attached to her resume. She created the highly successful Farm Tour to connect tourists and locals to Whidbey Island’s agriculture bounty. Her thought was if she could get people to understand what farming is and does for a community, there would be a lifelong connection of support and good will. She brought in the first successful commercial Pinot Noir grapes to the Island. Winning gold medals along the way was a suggestion to others to think outside the box. As she says, “Innovation and learning is key to growth and success. Think what you can do, not want others say you can’t do or haven’t thought to do.” She is eager to teach everyone who comes into her winery not only what she has to offer, but what else there is to see and do in the community. She serves on many community committees, lending her expertise and passion for quality. She believes the Island’s future is in the hands of those who Keep your eye on this one. She’s a mover and commit to quality and enriching the Island shaker, taking everyone along for the ride. through innovative thought and action. PAGE 74

Mona Newbauer Mona Newbauer: In a word, she is the “Rocky” of the group. Her motto of never giving up no matter what punches come along is an example to others to thrive beyond “no.” Having gone through a tortuous journey to create her business, she’s learned the value of, “…doing whatever it takes to reach your goals and never, never giving up. There is always a way. Be strong,” she says.

Her future plans include building affordable apartments above her sweet shop and continuing down the path of perseverance, tenacity and community service.

She once dressed up as a nun and stood in the streets with a sign that said, “Sweet Mona’s Chocolates. There’s Nun Better. Seeking an Angel Investor…” Now that may not have gotten her an investor right then, but she persevered again and again until she found the right partners to help her create her sweet spot of success. The “life lessons” she’s battled through would make most faint on the spot. That being said, she shares her journey with those who need motivation, served on a wide variety of community committees and hands out business advice on demand. She makes a mean chocolate truffle, provides jobs, and has a soft spot for those who are struggling in their career path. “I give people a start.” Ask her about the art she hung in her first shop. It tells the story of a woman who shares her success with others. PAGE 75

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Judy Feldman: In a word, she is the farm to fork “integrator.” She leads the way to a sustainable relationship between agriculture, education and the end users, in and outside of her community. She is the model of how to make things happen through connections and perseverance. In 2011, she “inherited” a failing farm school. Yes, Virginia, there is a school that teaches anyone interested how to be a farmer. She took on the ominous task of saving a community gem that had no home or funding. Most people would have run. Judy moved through the maze of potential failure with grace, connections and determination. She also understood that even when she found a local backer to give her land and a safety net for the school, there was more than a curriculum to build. She needed housing, tuition assistance and a commitment to make sure there were yearly recruits.

Her vision is to “never go stale in attitude or action. I hope that this school outlives me by at least 50 years.” Quite a vision. Quite a visionary. What did I learn from these women? Stay open to serendipity--the joys and opportunities that appear unexpectedly in life-whether at work or in your personal life. Beware of missing or dismissing opportunities that present themselves when you’re least looking for them. But mostly, be open to saying: "Yes, let's try it and see where it leads." Lucky, lucky Whidbey Island. With these four ladies rocking your island, you have nothing but success to look forward to. Just sayin’…

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, Today she oversees the training of aspiring and wine writer based out organic farmers. During the full-time, 8-month of Southern California, who program, students spend a third of their time specializes in easy, breezy participating in weekly classes and field trainings, destination stories sharing going on bi-weekly field trips to other farms, and her favorite things about engaging in the writing of a personal farm the places she visits. Visit business plan. PAGE 76

Statistics about workplace theft show that employees regularly steal from employers. Workplace theft can cause substantial losses. Some statistics indicate that employers lose more from employee theft than from nonemployee theft.

Big Blend Radio: Ward Heinrichs discusses Workplace Theft

Employee theft is a big problem because employees have much greater access than the general public to business cash, merchandise, internal books, bank accounts, credit card systems, etc. In essence, employee theft is an inside job. An employee can have a friend punch a time Workplace theft takes many forms. Some of the clock for him or her but not be present and general categories are: Theft of cash, theft of working. Employees can take extended paid merchandise, theft of time. Employees breaks or leave an unsupervised office to run sometimes setup fake vendor accounts, make personal errands. They can also do personal payments to those accounts, and then access activities while on the clock, such as texting, the money paid to those fake vendors. searching the internet, or playing on social media. In bars and restaurants, I have heard Bookkeepers can stash money in hidden that a bartender can bring in liquor from home accounts and access the deposits. Money can be and receive cash payment without even taken directly from cash registers, and, in some presenting a bill, or the bartender can draft a cases, a cashier can overcharge a customer to handwritten or other unofficial bill. When that prevent the register from appearing to be happens, the business liquor stock remains the unbalanced. Warehouse workers may work with same, but the transaction is never officially little supervision around large quantities of tallied, allowing the bartender to keep the merchandise. proceeds. PAGE 78

How can employers battle workplace theft? Try one or more of these things to help prevent workplace theft: 1. Set up cameras in key areas. In California, employers may use cameras to monitor employees in places where they have no reasonable expectation of privacy. For instance, employers should not put cameras in bathrooms. 2. Have independent outside investigators or accountants review company books. 3. Don’t let one employee control multiple aspects of money collection and bookkeeping. 4. Do not let employees work alone in places where they have access to sensitive information, cash, or merchandise. 5. Institute expense payment procedures that are reviewed by two or more people. 6. Set up a system for checking cash register balances. For instance, many retail stores require a cashier who begins a new shift to certify the register balance and have a manager sign off on it. 7. Consider only allowing the owner or top manager to sign checks and issues payments to vendors. 8. Randomly audit cash registers, financial information, receipts, and vendor payments. 9. Screen applicants carefully. Call their references and former employers. Do criminal background checks but be aware of Ban-the-Box rules in your state. For instance, California does not allow criminal background checks until the employer has extended an offer of employment. That requirement applies to employers who have at least 5 employees. 10. Have a reward system for employees who report theft. 11. Have a written discipline policy that addresses theft issues.

* All references to statistics are taken from: 7 Tips For Preventing Employee Theft In The Workplace, Kristin Eriksen, February 15, 2018 ** Amendement from the podcast interview: Tips may be pooled among waiters. So, all the tips from waiters can be thrown into a pot and distributed in a fair way. Further, a new federal law allows the back of the house to share in tips. So, a restaurant can require all tips to be pooled and distributed to all employees, including chefs and dishwashers, in a fair manner. Based in San Diego, California the Employment Law Office of Ward Heinrichs represents both employers and employees in almost all areas of labor law. He and his firm litigate cases that have been filed in many different parts of California. Visit

“Wage Theft” describes practices that employers use to under pay employees. Although not normally labeled “Work Place Theft”, many states have passed anti-wage theft laws. Acts of wage theft may include: off-theclock work, not paying minimum wage, failure to pay overtime, and other related practices. PAGE 79

DISCOVER THE SOUTHEAST 81. Visit Springfield, in Central Kentucky 82. Celebrate Historic Natchitoches, LA

EXPERIENCE CALIFORNIA 84. San Diego Mountain Magic 86. Central California's Sequoia Country 90. Discover San Benito County

EXPLORE THE SOUTHWEST 92. Giddy Up to Yerington, Nevada 94. Have Fun in Yuma, Arizona


Visit Springfield, Kentucky! Celebrate History, Bourbon & The Arts in Central Kentucky

Photo: Mark Nalley

Nestled in the heart of Kentucky, a region known for its “Bourbon, Horses and History”, Springfield is the ancestral home of Abraham Lincoln’s family, and is on the Lincoln Scenic Byway, Kentucky Bourbon Trail, TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, the Barn Quilt Trail and Kentucky Fiber Trail. The region boasts plenty of outdoor activities including golf, hiking and bicycling, birding and wildlife watching, along with fishing and canoeing. There are numerous historic, art and cultural sites to experience, as well as events that range from musical performances to a variety of annual festivals such as the African American Heritage Festival (Aug. 4), Sorghum Festival (Oct. 6-7), and James Bond III Film Festival, Christmas Edition (Dec. 7-9). For travel and up-to-date event information, call Springfield Tourism Commission at (859) 3365412 x1 or visit


CELEBRATE HISTORIC NATCHITOCHES Rev Your Engines & Experience Louisiana History & Culture, Music, Meat Pies & More!

Founded in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, Natchitoches is the original French Colony and oldest city in Louisiana, and celebrates a vibrant blend of French, Spanish, African, Native American and Creole cultures. Natchitoches is home to the Cane River Creole National Historical Park, is part of the Cane River National Heritage Area, and is the final destination on the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail that runs up from Mexico and Texas.

Celebrate Natchitoches on Big Blend Radio with Arlene Gould - Executive Director of Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau, Jimmy Harper - 16th Annual Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival, Melvin Holmes - 19th Annual Cane River Zydeco Festival & Poker Run, Dr. Shane Rasmussen - 39th Annual Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival.

The Cane River National Heritage Trail, a Louisiana Scenic Byway that runs along Cane River Lake, links to the Isle Brevelle Trail and El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail, with Longleaf Trail and Kisatchie National Forest on the outskirts. Along with Cane River National Historical Park, another popular historic site to visit is Melrose Plantation. Built in 1796, Melrose The downtown National Historic Landmark Plantation is a National Historic Landmark, and shares the story of slave Marie ThÊrèse Coincoin District area runs along the banks of Cane River and her ten Franco-African children with Thomas Lake, and features historic sites and buildings, Pierre Metoyer, as well as the Isle Brevelle Creole museums, art galleries, specialty boutique community, the Civil War, plantation history, and shops, restaurants and Bed & Breakfast Inns. Louisiana folk art. PAGE 82

Centrally located, Natchitoches is just 275 miles from New Orleans, 255 miles from Dallas, Texas, and 290 miles from Little Rock, Arkansas. To learn more about the area’s attractions and events, lodging establishments, shops and restaurants, visit

Upcoming Natchitoches Events Aug. 31-Sept. 1: Cane River Zydeco Festival & Motorcycle Poker Run Sept. 14-15: Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival Sept. 14-15: Marthaville Good Ole Days Festival Sept. 28-29: Natchitoches Car Show Oct. 5-6: Robeline Heritage Festival Oct. 12-14: 64th Annual Fall Tour of Homes Oct. 12-14: St. Augustine Church Fair Oct. 13: Fort St. Jean at Dusk


Birds & Blooms, Picnics & Wine Tasting, Hiking & Stargazing in Julian and Palomar Mountain Palomar Mountain makes for a peaceful respite within a tranquil and natural setting. Enjoy nature walks and picnics at Palomar Mountain State Park, visit Palomar Observatory that’s world famous for housing the 200-inch Hale Telescope, or cozy up at historic Bailey’s Palomar Resort and enjoy the chatter of the resident bird life and serenity of the lush, verdant meadows. Julian is a popular mountain hamlet known for its gold rush history, apple and pear orchards, spring flowers, wineries, farm-to-table fare and apple pie. The historic downtown district makes for a fun day of shopping and dining, plus there is the California Wolf Center and Julian Pioneer Museum to visit. Enjoy bird watching, wildflowers, picnics, hiking and outdoor adventures at Lake Cuyamaca, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve, and Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve. Don’t miss the Julian Natural WonderFest (Aug. 11), Julian Grape Stomp & Festa (Sept. 1), Lake Cuyamaca Kids Fishing Derby (Sept. 22), and Fern Street Circus (Sept. 29). Julian Doves & Desperados Historical Reenactments Skits are free and held downtown on Sundays (weather permitting). PAGE 84


Located at the ‘Gateway to Julian’, San Diego’s Four-Season Mountain & Back-Country Destination! Fresh, Seasonal & Outstanding Farm-to-Table Cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Jeremy Manley Seasonal Menu & Favorites Steak, Seafood, Burgers, Salads, Sandwiches Desserts & After Dinner Beverages Vegetarian, Vegan & Gluten-Free Options Open Daily for Lunch & Dinner Indoor, Fireside & Patio Dining Live Music on Weekends Wine & Beer Pairing Dinners Private Banquet Rooms Catering & Group Events for all Occasions

Wine Bar featuring Local & Regional Wines & Champagne Micro-Brews & Specialty Beers

Located in the heart of Central California’s valley region, Tulare County is home to Sequoia and King Canyon National Parks, Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia National Forest. The region makes for a fabulous vacation offering a variety of outdoor activities, a calendar full of events and festivals, and an eclectic selection of shopping and dining opportunities in the local gateway communities.

Explore Nature & The Great Outdoors Kings Canyon National Park – Located in the southern Sierra Nevada region, and spanning 461,901 acres, the park is made up of mostly wilderness, forests and spectacular canyons, with Kings Canyon itself being one of the deepest canyons in the United States. The park is known for being home to the General Grant Grove of giant sequoia trees, the famous General Grant Tree, and the Redwood Mountain Grove which is the largest remaining natural grove of giant sequoias in the world. Enjoy babbling brooks and waterfalls offset by towering granite cliffs, as well as lush meadows and glacial canyons. Learn more at (559) 565-334 or

Listen to this Big Blend Radio segment with the Sequoia Tourism Council that focuses on summer fun in California’s Sequoia Country. Featured guests: Sintia C. Kawasaki-Yee – Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, Marily Reese – Sequoia National Forest & Giant Sequoia National Monument, Gary Rogers – Sequoia Parks Conservancy, Sandy Blankenship – Exeter Chamber of Commerce, Donnette Silva Carter – Tulare Chamber of Commerce, and Monte Reyes – Porterville Chamber of


Sequoia National Forest & Giant Sequoia National Monument – Featuring 33 groves of giant sequoia trees, the Sequoia National Forest is home to the biggest concentration of giant Visit the General Sherman Tree (the largest living sequoia groves. These groves are protected organism and tree in the world), climb Moro within the Giant Sequoia National Monument, Rock, take in spectacular views of Mt. Whitney which encompasses over 353,000 acres of (the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 diverse landscape, including two wild and scenic states), and hike through glacial canyons, lush rivers, lakes, and six wilderness areas. Along with meadows thick with wildflowers, and explore oak the magnificent giant sequoias, the area boasts woodlands. lush forest meadows and a myriad of plant, bird and animal species. There are limestone caverns The scenery is spectacular, offering a rich to explore and granite domes and spires to see, diversity of bird, plant and wildlife. Covering along with archaeological sites. The activities are 404,064 acres, there are hundreds of streams, endless and include hiking and camping, ponds, rivers, creeks and lakes, and over 200 mountain biking, horse riding, bird and wildlife marble caverns to explore. watching, and whitewater rafting. Learn more at Crescent Meadow and Big Trees Trail offer (559) 784-1500 or wonderful summer wildflowers, along with bird and wildlife viewing. Tokopah Falls Trail is a Continued on Next Page… wonderful 1.7 mile hike along the north bank of the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River, leading to the 1,200-foot cascading waterfall. Learn more at (559) 565-334 or Sequoia National Park – One of the first parks in the country, Sequoia NP is famous for its giant sequoia trees and black bears.


When visiting California’s Sequoia Country, be sure to explore the park and forest gateway communities including Three Rivers, Exeter, Visalia, Tulare, Porterville and Dinuba. Located along the Kaweah River, between Sequoia National Park and Lake Kaweah, Three Rivers is a vibrant art community that hosts a full calendar of events and festivals, and a variety of seasonal and cultural activities. Exeter is a quaint art and agricultural community with a historic downtown district known for its beautiful series of murals, antique shops and restaurants.

Sheila Stone of Sequoia Vacation Rentals gives Big Blend Radio a local’s insider scoop on Three Rivers, California.

Taste & Tour Tulare County A major agricultural hub that feeds America, Tulare County is a leading producer in dairy, citrus and stone fruits, nuts and berries. In fact, local farmers grow over 200 different major crops with produce being shipped to more than 75 countries worldwide. Locals and visitors can get a taste of the region’s bounty, including its dairy products, at one of the many roadside farm stands or community farmers markets, restaurants and gourmet shops, festivals and events. Along with breweries and wineries, the area’s dining opportunities range from tasty Mexican cuisine and delicious European flavors to fresh farm-to-table fare and traditional American diner food. If you’re looking for a foodie adventure, look no further!

The oldest permanent inland settlement between Stockton and Los Angeles, Visalia boasts a charming historic downtown district that features the Visalia Convention Center and the historic Fox Theater. Home to the International Agri-Center as well as the Tulare Outlet Center, Tulare is a dairy community featuring a historic downtown district with lovely tree lined streets, murals, boutique shops, and restaurants. Gateway to Sequoia National Forest, Porterville is an All American City that boasts a vibrant historic downtown district. Also an agricultural community with a historic downtown, Dinuba is near Kings Canyon National Park. East of Fresno, the area is an easy 4-5 hour drive from the San Francisco Bay Area and 3-4 hours from Los Angeles. Learn more at


Enjoy these videos covering California’s Sequoia Country!

Sequoia National Forest, Sequoia National Monument and the Trail of 100 Giants.

Park Ranger Dana Dierkes and Sequoia National Park.

John Muir and Kings Canyon National Park.

A Taste of Tulare County. PAGE 89

Experience Pinnacles National Park, History & The Arts, Shopping & Wine Tasting Located east of Monterey and Salinas, San Benito County in central California, is the eastern gateway destination of Pinnacles National Park and part of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. This picturesque region is made up of the historic communities of Hollister, Tres Pinos, San Juan Bautista, Aromas, Paicines and New Idria. Less than 2 hours from San Francisco and 5 hours from Los Angeles, San Benito County makes for an ideal travel destination with outdoor activities such as bird watching and hiking, golf and tennis, as well as a wine tasting trail, a delectable selection of dining options, boutique shopping, historic parks and museums, and a fun calendar of events! For up-to-date event information and to plan your San Benito County adventure, please contact the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau at (831) 637-5315 or visit or PAGE 90

Upcoming Events in San Benito County On-Going Events: Living History Days, First Saturdays in San Juan Bautista State Historic Park Sidewalk Saturdays, First Saturdays in Downtown San Juan Bautista Downtown Hollister Certified Farmers' Market – Wednesdays, until Sept. 28 SPECIAL EVENTS: Aug. 12: 53rd Annual Antique & Collectibles Fair: San Juan Bautista Aug. 17-19: Vaquero Heritage Days: San Juan Bautista Aug. 26: Aromas Day Sept. 2: Admission Day BBQ: Native Daughters Adobe, San Juan Bautista Sept. 28-30: San Benito County Fair Horse Show: Bolado Park Event Center Sept. 29: Vertigo Day: San Juan Bautista State Historic Park Oct. 4-7: 95th Annual San Benito County Fair: Bolado Park Event Center Oct. 20: Discovery Classic Bike Event: Oct. 26-27: 10th Annual Ghost Walk: San Juan Bautista Oct. 29: 29th Annual Red Ribbon Walk & Run: Downtown Hollister PAGE 91

Continued on Next Page…

GIDDY UP TO YERINGTON, NEVADA Celebrate the Arts, Reconnect with Nature and Soak Up Some History

South of Reno and east of Yosemite National Park, Yerington is located in western Nevada, just off the Pony Express National Historic Trail and on the California National Historic Trail.

Big Blend Radio: Melinda Taylor, owner of Yerington Inn and Coffee Slingers, talks about the region’s attractions, annual events and activities.

Built as a U.S. Army fort in 1861, Fort Churchill State Historic Park is a 30 minute scenic drive from Yerington. Tour the ruins, visit the museum and cemetery, picnic, go camping and hike the nature trail, and enjoy various ranger programs. Buckland Station is just down the road from Fort Churchill, and was a supply center and boarding house. You can tour the house and picnic outside. Both sites are part of the Pony Express and California National Historic Trails. Yerington’s historic downtown district is charming with shops, restaurants and casinos, including Dini’s Lucky Club – the oldest family run casino in the state! The surrounding Mason and Smith Valley areas are beautiful with lush farmlands that stretch out to natural areas complete with rugged high desert hillsides and desert shrub lands, wetland ponds and meadows active with birdlife, and wind carved canyons that dip down to cool running waters. The region is a popular birding, geocaching and hiking destination.

Other area highlights include: Lyon County Museum, Yerington Theatre for the Arts, Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area, Walker River Canyon, Walker Lake and Wilson Canyon. For more about Yerington, visit Upcoming Events at Yerington Theatre for the Arts Sept. 16: 10th Annual Taste of the Valley Oct. 19: Native American Dance Festival Nov. 2: Day of the Dead Festival


HAVE FUN IN YUMA, ARIZONA The City That Celebrates Its Parks & The Arts!

The ‘Gateway to the Great Southwest’ welcomes you to step back into old west history, rejuvenate in the great outdoors, feel the rush of athletic competitiveness, and delight in seasonal shopping, local flavors, festive community events and artistic celebrations. Located along the lower Colorado River in southwest Arizona, Yuma borders Mexico and is halfway between Tucson and San Diego. It’s a historic, cultural and outdoor adventure destination with attractions that include the Colorado River, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma Territorial Prison, Colorado River State Historic Park (formerly Quartermaster Depot), Yuma Art Center & Historic Yuma Theatre, and a charming historic downtown district that bustles with an eclectic array of shops and restaurants. Celebrating its listing in the Guinness Book of Records as the ‘Sunniest Place on Earth’, and boosting quality of life for Yuma’s local families and visiting communities, the City of Yuma’s Parks & Recreation Department manages over 600 acres, and over 30 parks that include neighborhood basin parks, athletic complexes, golf courses, a gymnasium, outdoor basketball courts, and volleyball courts.

Big Blend Radio: City of Yuma Parks & Recreation Department - Debbie Wendt, Lindsay Benacka, Esther Markle and Drew Smith.

Events are also a big component in keeping Yuma’s fun meter running on high. From art classes and youth sports activities to festivals and parades, the City of Yuma hosts a full calendar of educational, athletic, and familyfriendly community events that celebrate the region’s culture, the arts, and local sporting opportunities. Continued on Next Page…


Yuma Continued…

FIVE YUMA PARKS & SITES TO PUT ON YOUR FUN LIST Yuma Art Center & Historic Yuma Theatre: Located in the heart of Historic Downtown Yuma, the Yuma Art Center is host to a number of visual and performing arts events, shows, and educational programs. The Center is comprised of the Historic Theatre, four art galleries, a pottery studio, black and white photography dark room, multi-purpose classrooms and artist studios, and an artisan gift shop. In operation since 1936, the newly restored Historic Yuma Theatre hosts a full calendar of events including stage and variety productions, film screenings, community theater productions, children’s matinees, jazz festivals, art symposiums, education workshops, as well as special events and presentations in connection with Downtown Main Street.

A popular bird watching destination, the East Wetlands features a 3-mile loop that circles around a lush riparian area, as well as an unpaved ½-mile trail that runs along the lower Colorado River. The 110-acre West Wetlands Park is home to the Ed Pastor Hummingbird Garden, a Butterfly Garden with a statue honoring the Mormon Battalion, as well as a boat launch and boat trailer parking area at Centennial Beach, the new Playa Linda Beach, a 15ft stocked fishing pond, the Stewart Vincent Wolfe Creative Playground, and the Arizona Public Service Solar Demonstration Garden.

East & West Yuma Wetlands: Both the East and West Wetlands have walking and bicycle trails, shaded picnic areas, play areas for kids, and access to the Colorado River. In fact, the City of Yuma hosts guided group kayak and canoe tours along the River.

Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex (PAAC): Yuma’s elite tournament complex, the brand new PAAC is a 50-acre multi-use sports project that’s perfect for year-round leagues, tournaments and special events for all ages. Continued on Next Page…


Yuma Landing Bar & Grill Come Eat, Drink & Be Merry where the First Airplane Landed in Arizona!

Hangar Sports Bar 24 Beers on Tap ~ Daily Drink Specials Appetizers & Entrees Televised Sports Events Live Music & Entertainment

Captain’s Lounge Top-shelf Cocktails ~ Fine Wines Specialty Coffees

Yuma Landing Restaurant American & South-of-the-Border Cuisine Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Win! Win! Win! Sign up for our Captain’s Log e-Newsletter and you will be entered into our monthly drawing for a $25 Yuma Landing Gift Certificate, plus you'll get news on other great giveaways, specials, Yuma Landing recipes, events news & more! Located on the same property as the Historic Coronado Motor Hotel, the Yuma Landing Bar & Grill is the site where the first airplane landed in Arizona, and features a state monument, historic photos and memorabilia. Groups of 15 or more diners get a 15% discount on breakfast, lunch and dinner. All Military Personnel Receive a 20% Discount on Meals!

195 S. 4th Avenue, Yuma, Arizona Tel: (928) 782-7427

Yuma Continued… With a total of 10 fields for play, the PAAC is within 10 miles of 5 other major sports complexes, and is conveniently located near hotels, shops and restaurants, as well as the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area and Historic Downtown. It also connects to the East Wetlands walking and biking trails along the Colorado River. Desert Hills Golf Course: Adjacent to the Yuma Civic Center, the Desert Hills Golf Course is an award-winning 18-hole, par 72 championship course that features 6,800 yards of challenging topography and scenic views, plus, the popular Patio Restaurant & Bar. Practice areas include a driving range, pitching, and putting surfaces. Desert Hills Golf Course welcomes tournaments, hosts a series of programs and lessons, and has a Golf Pro Shop. It’s also a destination for foot golfers! Yuma Civic Center: Adjacent to the Desert Hills Golf Course and Ray Kroc Sports Complex / Desert Sun Stadium, the Yuma Civic Center is Yuma’s favorite event space, and host to a wide variety of annual community events such as the Midnight at the Oasis car show, Tunes & Tacos Festival, 4th of July All American BBQ & Fireworks Spectacular, Fiestas Patrias, Relay for Life, Frontera United Professional Soccer, Yuma Storm Minor League Football, and more.

Featuring over 43,000 square feet of flexible event space, it’s a popular and affordable venue featuring beautiful indoor and outdoor facilities, catering services, golf course views, and free parking. Yuma is active community that plays outdoors, cares about its history, culture and the arts, and loves a good festival! For a full list of the City of Yuma’s park facilities and events, visit UPCOMING YUMA EVENTS Aug. 17: Celebrate the Heat Block Party on Main Street. Aug. 17: Uproot Reggae Festival at Historic Yuma Theatre Aug. 23: Thursdays at the Theatre: Hotel Salvation Aug. 25: Yuma Party Expo at Yuma Civic Center Sept. 6: Thursdays at the Theatre: Bye Bye Germany Sept. 8: Yuma FitXpo United at Yuma County Fairgrounds Sept. 22: Battle of The Bands at Historic Yuma Theatre Sept. 29: Frank Sinatra Tribute Concert at Historic Yuma Theatre Oct. 4: Thursdays at the Theatre: Paradise Oct. 27-28: Rocky Horror Picture Show at Historic Yuma Theatre Oct. 31: Trick or Treat on Historic Main Street


Historic Coronado Motor Hotel Yuma's Destination Hotel Celebrating Over 75 Years of Tradition Where The Past Makes History

Ideal Location Close to Shopping, Restaurants, Attractions & Activities Over 120 Clean & Comfortable Guest Rooms Full Cooked Breakfast at Yuma Landing Bar & Grill Free Hi-Speed Internet & WiFi ~ Work Desk Flat Screen TV & DVD Player Fridge ~ Microwave ~ Coffee Maker Iron & Ironing Board ~ Hair Dryer ~ In-Room Safe Two Swimming Pools ~ 1 Fitness Center 2 Business Centers ~ Guest Laundry Facilities Free Parking for Cars, Boats, Buses, RVs & Trucks Group Rates & Government Per Diem Rates

233 4th Avenue, Yuma, AZ 85364 Toll Free: (877) 234-5567 Local: (928) 783-4453 Subscribe to our Captain’s log e-Newsletter for specials!

Profile for Big Blend Magazines

Parks & Travel Magazine - Aug/Sept 2018  

PARKS & TRAVEL MAGAZINE: Aug/Sept 2018 – This issue takes you on a global journey from Vancouver Island to India, Ireland and the Wales Coas...

Parks & Travel Magazine - Aug/Sept 2018  

PARKS & TRAVEL MAGAZINE: Aug/Sept 2018 – This issue takes you on a global journey from Vancouver Island to India, Ireland and the Wales Coas...

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