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CONTENTS 5. Editors Block

CALIFORNIA & PACIFIC NORTHWEST 6. Long Beach Peninsula, WA 12. Small Town Wonders of Albany, OR 18. Strollin’ San Benito County, CA 26. Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs 28. Fall in California’s Sequoia Country 34. San Diego Botanic Garden

SOUTHWEST 40. Aguirre Lake Trail Adventure 44. Ted DeGrazia’s Cowboy Paintings 46. High in Desert Skies 48. High Five to Yuma, Arizona 56. An Adventure at Pony Hills 60. Artist-in-Residence Rose B. Simpson 64. Fall Fun in Yerington, Nevada Continued on Next Page…


CONTENTS Continued SOUTH & SOUTHEAST 68. Hiking the Great Smoky Mountains 78. Central Kentucky Bourbon Heritage 82. Fall in Louisiana’s Oldest City NORTHEAST 86. Photographer William Bretzger 88. Cape Cod & Nantucket Island

INTERNATIONAL 100. Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer 106. Roman Roads of England 110. Impressions of Belize

GENERAL INTEREST 114. Lighthouses in Art 118. Photographer Otis Harville 120. The Path of Flexibility

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.


EDITORS BLOCK From the rugged coastline of Washington State to beautiful Cape Cod, this Fall issue of Parks & Travel Magazine takes you across America, exploring nature, history and the arts in California and the Pacific northwest, the dramatic desert southwest, historic Louisiana and Kentucky, the Great Smoky Mountains and Gettysburg. Broadening our horizons, we cover luxury rail travel on Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer, take a walk along ancient Roman roads in England, and bask in the coastal paradise of Belize. Hence, our name change from Spirit of America Magazine to Parks & Travel Magazine. We are thrilled to announce that while we remain dedicated to covering America’s national parks and their gateway communities, we are now featuring all types of parks and public lands, nationally and internationally.

Our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted by the recent hurricanes, wildfires and floods. Let us all stand together to help heal and rebuild. Happy Travels,

Come share your park adventures, photos and favorite destinations in our new Facebook Groups! We have something for everyone’s travel interest including walks and trails, the arts, gardens and farms, recipes and foodie destinations, nature and the environment, and more! Be sure to visit our park travel planning website to read articles, listen to interviews and watch videos about parks and their destinations. Many of the stories come from our travels on the Big Blend Spirit of America Tour, our quest to visit and cover all 417 national park units and their gateway communities.

Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith Big Blend’s motherdaughter publishing, radio and travel team; along with Priscilla, the pink sock monkey travel mascot for the Big Blend Spirit of America Tour! Front Cover Photos: Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Sasabe, AZ; Egret at West Wetlands Park in Yuma, AZ. By Lisa D. Smith.

Subscribe to our weekly Big Blend e-Newsletter and get your free digital copies of our Big Blend Radio & TV Magazine and Parks & Travel Magazine in your inbox, as well as event news, radio interview podcasts, videos, and updates about our park travels. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



Rita Nicely Home Garden Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula is all about exploring the things you love—whether it’s 28 miles of sandy beach, terroir-driven cuisine, or the beauty of the Pacific Northwest garden. There are plenty of things to do and see, but make sure you plan at least one trip around the Music in the Gardens Tour which takes place each July. Here’s a list of things you must see and do to take advantage of this 100% awesome destination. 1. Glimpse breathtaking views of private home gardens Each year the Water Music Society presents the wildly popular Music in the Gardens Tour. The gardens in Long Beach Peninsula are a source of pride and beauty for the community. You will be amazed by the diversity of plants and ideas on how to display them in your own backyard.

Listen to the Big Blend Radio travel discussion on Long Beach Peninsula, with travel writer Linda Kissam, artist Susan Spence of Beach Baskets, and Nancy Allen from the Music in Gardens Tour and Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau. Wafting music and small bites are the perfect complement, as guests gather ideas and inspiration. A MUST see for all garden enthusiasts. At $20, it is a steal of a deal. Tour via your own car from 10am – 4pm.

2. Make an Appointment Hard to believe, but did you know you can contact the Chamber of Commerce to arrange even more private garden tours, not on the garden tour? I was treated to three private gardens that inspired and engaged every one of my senses. Many talented locals are honored to share their passion with visitors. It’s like spending a day with friends. Highly recommend. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 7

Approximately (depending on the year) seven private gardens are opened to the public for one day offering exclusive glimpses into the creative minds of local garden aficionados. Think edible gardens, seaside gardens, graceful symmetry in small and large lots, and formal British inspired gardens.

Depot Restaurant

Salt Pub Dungeness Mac ‘n Cheese

Long Beach Peninsula Continued… 3. Savor the Terroir Love trying regional foods? “Dine at the source” is a saying on the Long Beach Peninsula, reflecting the many delicious dining opportunities available to visitors. Where else can you enjoy fresh Willapa Bay oysters, Dungeness crab, Chinook salmon and albacore tuna found in the Pacific Northwest, but not leaving out outrageous meat and chicken based dishes styled in a regional plate? Local chefs are all in —featuring their own distinct, terroir-driven cuisine at award-winning restaurants like The Depot (ask to be seated at the Chef’s Table), The Pickled Fish (try the pizza), 42nd Street Café & Bistro (order the Bistro Steak & Prawns), The Shelburne Pub (Pan-Fried Willapa Bay Oyster ) and the Salt Pub (Albacore tuna fish & chips). Celebrate local bounty and creative menus at each one. Expect a wide range of dishes and affordable pricing. Dinner reservations are a good idea. Restaurants are pretty much done by 9:30pm so plan accordingly.

4. Dip your toes and go fly a kite With 28 miles of sandy shoreline, tourists can experience it all…including the nation’s longest beach. Build sandcastles, spread a blanket on the sand, dodge incoming erratic wave formations, and build your own driftwood cabana. Waikiki Beach is a favorite for good reason. Snuggled in a cove fronting the river, Waikiki Beach offers a view of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and dramatic storm-watching during the winter. Benson Beach extends two miles from the North Jetty to the rocky base of North Head, a perfect place for beachcombing and kiteflying. Consider lighting a beach bonfire while munching on a picnic dinner with the blazing sun melting into the Pacific as your own personal backdrop. The Peninsula is sprinkled with six public beach access points, so make a plan and stake a claim!


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Long Beach Peninsula Continued… 5. Take a memorable #onehourwalk Perhaps the best place for nature and history lovers can be found at Cape Disappointment State Park in Ilwaco. Visitors can hike four scenic trails through coastal forests and headlands, bike along the park’s paved roads, or stroll two sandy beaches. If you can’t find a one-hour-walk to suit your personal style, you just aren’t trying. I know you will enjoy the North Head and Cape Disappointment Lighthouses, as well as the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Walking and hiking trails vary in length. Easy or challenging – it’s up to you. I’ve mentioned this above, but it’s worth repeating. I’ve seen a whole lot of beaches in my travels but nothing like the one nestled inside of the park in a cove fronting the river. Waikiki Beach offers a view of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and fun times dodging waves and building driftwood shelters. Parking is easy. Whale watchers stalk Cape Disappointment’s vantage points, such as North Head, to search the ocean for gray whales during late December, early January, and March through May. Wildlife sightings, especially black-tailed deer and a variety of birds, are also a favorite find.

Guided #OneHourWalk / Cape Disappointment Continued on Next Page… Breathtaking views on Robert Gray Dr, llwaco

Two century-old working lighthouses continue to delight mariners of all ages. The 161-year-old Cape Disappointment Lighthouse guides sailors into the mouth of the Columbia River from the south, while the 119-year-old North Head Lighthouse illuminates the way for ships approaching from the north. Short hikes lead to both lighthouses from a large well maintained parking lot. Along the way spectacular views of the state park and greater peninsula are yours. The main question in this area is why the name “Cape Disappointment?” A bit of research says the name was bestowed upon the area by English explorer John Meares after he failed to find the Columbia River in 1788. That being said, today’s visitors will find the park’s old-growth forests, ocean beaches and recreational opportunities anything but a disappointment. PAGE 9

Ropes scavenged from beach walks

Shelburne Inn Pub

Long Beach Peninsula Continued… For the dedicated hiker, the 8.5-mile Discovery Trail meanders through the beach dunes between Cape Disappointment State Park and Long Beach, following the path of early explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, whose overland expedition ended near the peninsula in 1805. The path is ideal for walking, jogging, bicycling and skateboarding, or just about any non-motorized activity. The trail is lined with local art and interpretive signs that narrate the area’s history and wildlife. 6. Make a sensational buy on local art The Long Beach Peninsula boasts a robust artist community. Artists are absolutely everywhere. I need to come back to dig deeper into the great things happening here, but for now, if you see the Marie Powell Gallery check out the crazybeautiful basket work of Susan Spence. Susan takes ropes found on her beach walks and using a special crochet technique turns them in to high end magical baskets. I’ve not seen anything quite like it before.

Walk through downtown Long Beach for souvenir hunting, and ask the Long Beach Visitors Bureau for a map or two that will guide you on the art trail or the antique/thrift store trail. Stop by the wacky Hobo Junction for glass fishing floats and Japanese fishing flags. Sensational pottery by local artist David Campiche is on display at the Shelburne Inn. 7. Where to stay Need a Place to Stay? The Shelburne Inn is an excellent choice. A boutique bed and breakfast dating back to 1896, it is the oldest, continuously operating hotel in Washington State. Expect a daily lavish breakfast and large rooms. Flowers and gardens everywhere! Pet-friendly. Affordable rates, generally between $129- $250. 4415 Pacific Way, Seaview, 360-642-2442. Book the room with a private balcony overlooking the herb garden. A pristine 28-mile stretch of wild Pacific seacoast is just a 10-minute walk.


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Long Beach Peninsula Continued… Great restaurants are walkable also. Although built in 1896 the owners have kept current with a to-die for breakfast, comfy rooms and a large lobby. Try lunch or an evening cocktail at their Pub. Furnishings are antique, but the comfort level is just fine. Take time to peruse the unique pottery of David Campicheon on display. I scored two “Cha Won tea bowls” for my collection. It is my sincere hope that the owners will be on premise during your stay. They are charming and extremely knowledgeable about the past, present and future of the Peninsula.

Above: Garden 2

Plan your trip by visiting Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau at

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 11

Below: Garden Tour Shuttle


Thompson's Mills Heritage Park America was built upon small towns. Many of them have grown up to become grand urban centers. But fortunately, many of them are still thriving and waiting for you to see what they have to offer. Coast to coast adventures await the openminded traveler who wants a taste of what it’s like to live a small town lifestyle. One of the most beautiful small towns to visit in the U.S. is Albany, Oregon. Albany and its surrounding areas summon travelers from every corner of the world to experience grand rivers and majestic mountains. From the misty farm valley, engaging heritage sites and trending culinary scene it never fails to charm, providing stories to tell and memories to hold dear. If you’re looking to plan your next trip to a place whose strengths include history, visual arts, learning, food, spirits, wine, and theatre, this would be the place. It Americana at its best.

Listen to Linda Kissam discuss Albany, Oregon on Big Blend Radio! Places to get to know local history and culture: The Albany Historic District (also known as Monteith Historic District) is home to four historic districts and more than 700 historic buildings. You can easily walk the district or drive it in your car. Continued on Next Page…

Albany, Oregon is part of the Ice Age Floods National Geological Trail! "At the end of the last Ice Age, some 12,000 to 17,000 years ago, a series of cataclysmic floods occurred in what is now the northwest region of the United States, leaving a lasting mark of dramatic and distinguishing features on the landscape of parts of the States of Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon." Public Law 111-11, March 30, 2009 PAGE 13

Whitespires Church Albany Continued… Albany was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1980. The Monteith district contains a number of churches. A former United Presbyterian Church, now known as "Whitespires" is located at the corner of Washington and Fifth. It was built in 1891 and showcases unique stained glass windows and Carpenter Gothic details. Its spire is the highest point in Albany. Be inspired by the many Victorian homes and the 1849 Monteith House which is recognized as the most authentically restored pioneer era home in Oregon. Do not miss the Albany Historic Carousel and Museum. A 10 year grass roots project has finally come to fruition with 52 locally crafted and sponsored animals set atop a donated 1909 Dentzel Carousel mechanism. Animals were designed by each sponsor and represent one of a kind dragons, unicorns, cats, zebras, dogs and a seven foot tall giraffe. The spectacular one of a kind carousel is housed in a custom two story wood building. Tourists can ride on the carousel, buy souvenirs, catch a bite to eat and see animal carving demonstrations year round.

Carousel Workshop Local restaurants where visitors can find unique menus and regional pampering: Eats and Treats Café located in the tiny town of Shedd, may be an entirely gluten free restaurant, but it will be the BBQ food and desserts that will win you over. Be ready to taste love on a plate created by a family whose entire members are all gluten intolerant. This is foot stomping, lip smacking, big portion cuisine that will likely be tagged for franchising because it’s that unique and good. Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant located in Albany is a place that has legions of local loyal followers. The food is authentic, the service is amazing and the Chicken Paprikas is a signature dish not to be missed. Truly a sparkling gem amongst the jewels found in this tasty town’s culinary offerings. Absolutely enjoy the killer desserts.


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Eats and Treats BBQ plate Albany Continued…

Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant Continued on Next Page…

Every small town has at least one story of the home town boy who made it big in the big city, but returned home to start another legacy. This would be that restaurant. Frankie’s chef and coowner Cody Utzman has brought his New York success to Albany. A two-time champion on Food Network’s Chopped, Cody brings his farm to table menu in a casual setting. Watch out for this guy, he’s starting his own bakery and cultivating his own 2-acre farm to make sure everything served in the restaurant is prime-time good. Beautiful scenes in nature: Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Park chronicles 150 years of Oregon rural life as it honors the owners who adapted the mill to the ever changing world around it. The Oregon State Park Department purchased the property for $856,547 and paid an additional $15,000 for artifacts and historic equipment associated with the mill in May 2004. After 3 years of safety and structural upgrades, Thompson's Mills State Heritage Site is now open to the public. Frankie’s Restaurant PAGE 15

Thompson's Mills Heritage Park Albany Continued… Interestingly, work continues every day at the Mill- from minor repairs to major rehab or waterworks projects. The adjustable dam has been installed allowing the Mill to do milling demonstrations year round and it also allows for fish passage. The removal of Sodom Dam, the removal of Shearer Dam and finally the construction of the adjustable dam have allowed the Calapooia River to once again be freeflowing, yet the function and appearance at Thompson's Mills is preserved for tourists to experience. It’s a lovely, serene property. The grounds are open from 9am until 4pm every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Private tours are available or take the well planned self-tour. It’s a beautiful spot for picnics or artists wishing to paint pictures of the mill.

2 Towns Ciderhouse tasting and co-owner

The tasting room is run by owners Jay and Janet Westley and has one of the most memorable views in the Pacific Northwest. Planted in Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and both Pommard and Wädenswil Pinot Noir, the wines are worth the drive. In Corvallis, stop in the industrial center at 33930 SE Eastgate Circle. Make three tasty stops for unique brews done right. 2 Towns Ciderhouse features some of the best cider on the West Coast. Young owners have brought new ideas and fanciful names to the trending cider scene such as “Ginja Ninja” and “Naughty and Nice”. A pioneer manufacturer of artisanal old world-style cider, the company is one of the largest makers of hard cider in the Pacific Northwest.

Chances to taste locally made adult beverages: The Willamette Valley is known for its entrepreneurial spirt. This can be seen in its unique beer, wine, cider and spirits, starting with Marks Ridge Winery nestled on a 58-acre site in the picturesque Cascade Foothills region of the Willamette Valley. PAGE 16

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Nectar Creek Honeywine line up

Albany Continued… Just next door, the Mazama Brewing Company is a family owned brewery specializing in Belgian and American beers. Smooth and refreshing. In the same center is Nectar Creek Honeywine, a welcome surprise to the mead market. This is not your sickly sweet mead of old. It is light, clean and definitely refreshing. They’re growing by leaps and bounds, and for good reason. You can find many of the meads in Whole Foods Markets. Up the street a ways is Vivacity Fine Spirits creating small batch, award winning vodka, gins, liqueur and rum using a bit of modern innovation to make its beverages while working alongside time treasured techniques. Vivacity released its first bottle in 2011 and now has a premium line up of 5 spirits. Be sure to try the Turkish coffee. It’s a rich, deep, and dark coffee liqueur with a little sweetness and spice. Sip slowly to savor the complex intensity. Vivacity Fine Spirits uses locally roasted coffee and freshly ground cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks in the mix. The result is an intoxicating liqueur that will be especially favored by coffee lovers. Certainly worth the visit to this tiny distillery and its innovative offerings.

The term Americana has been largely associated with nostalgia of an idealized life in small towns and small cities in America. You can find that spirit going on in Albany, Oregon all right. It’s a great 3-5 day stay. 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

Photo right - Mazama Brewing Company PAGE 17

Boasting cooler weather and a sky that stretches out in a brilliant bright blue, Fall in San Benito County is absolutely stunning. The golden hillsides roll down into the vast ranch grasslands that shimmer lightly in the afternoon breezes, and lay low as the foundation for rustic barns and stately oak trees, and as the running ground for coyotes and local wildlife. Home to the eastern entrance of Pinnacles National Park, a variety of state and regional parks, and historic downtowns and ranching communities, San Benito County in central California is the ideal fall destination for those who like to get out and take a walk – and you don’t have to be an Olympic gold medalist to participate. There’s something for everyone – for all ages, all fitness levels, and even specialty interests like history, geology, bird and wildlife watching, art and architecture. The region has become a popular yearround destination with outdoor activities such as bird watching and hiking, golf and tennis, as well as a wonderful wine tasting trail, a delicious selection of dining options, boutique shopping, historic parks and museums, and a full calendar of events, fairs and festivals, and parades. Just remember, this is a season of change, so expect the occasional midday power surge of hot sunshine. And, be sure to take plenty of water with you, slather on that sunscreen, wear layers and put on sensible walking shoes. From scrambling through caves and climbing up mountains, to stepping back into the past in a charming historic downtown district, here are four fabulous San Benito County walking destinations, each offering a unique set of experiences. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 18

Strollin’ San Benito Continued… 1. PINNACLES NATIONAL PARK Step into a World of Geological Wonder and a Plethora of Bird & Plant Life With over 30 miles of trails through varied landscapes, and an abundance of bird, plant and wildlife species, Pinnacles National Park makes for the ultimate hiking adventure. The park boasts beautiful and diverse habitats that range from shaded oak woodlands and chaparral scrub, to open grasslands, rugged canyons, cool caves and stunning rock spires. Home to over 140 bird species, including the magnificent California condor, the park is a popular destination for birders, especially during the fall migration season.

There are trails for all fitness levels, and some are wheelchair accessible.

Video: Pinnacles National Park


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Strollin’ San Benito… 2. HISTORIC TRES PINOS Step into Central California’s Farm & Ranching Past Nestled within San Benito County’s rolling hills, wine and ranch country, Tres Pinos is a small rustic historic town between Pinnacles National Park and the city of Hollister. The perfect walking destination for history buffs, the San Benito County Historical Park is a historical village on 33 acres within San Benito County Historical and Recreational Park. Here one can tour historic homes and buildings and see a collection of historic vehicles, farm and household implements, and the rose garden. Guided and group tours are available, plus, it’s a great place to stop for an afternoon picnic! Another trail and picnic opportunity is at Bolado Park Event Center. An easy flat walk, the trail will lead you around the San Benito County Fairgrounds and RV / Camping area, and out to a nice, shaded picnic area.

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Video: San Benito County Historical


Strollin’ San Benito Continued… 3. HISTORIC DOWNTOWN HOLLISTER Stroll the Historic Streets of Art, Architecture & Geology Take a self-guided walking tour of historic downtown Hollister, the county seat, and view public art, historic buildings and architecture, and the geology of the San Andreas Fault. From murals and sculptures to painted utility boxes, the 20+ colorful art pieces portray the stories of the history, nature, people and commerce of Hollister and San Benito County. When it comes to architecture, you’ll see a variety of styles including Pioneer, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Eastlake, Craftsman Bungalow, Prairie School, and Mediterranean Revival.

4. HISTORIC SAN JUAN BAUTISTA Where California History Meets Nature Known as “The City of History”, San Juan Bautista is an authentic historic village that makes for a wonderful day of exploring history, art and architecture. The exhibits and historic buildings at the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park represent California’s people, from Native Americans through the Spanish and Mexican cultural influences, right up to the American period in the late 19th century. Be sure to stop by the impressive Old Mission San Juan Bautista, the largest mission church in California. A selfguided walking tour map can be picked up at the Welcome Center within the San Juan Bakery.

Maps for the historic building, art and geology self-guided tours are all available at the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, which is also in the downtown area. Of course, at the end of your Hollister walking adventure you may want to add in a little boutique shopping, or savor a bite and a sip at one of the many downtown restaurants that range from farm-to-table fare to Mexican and American cuisine.

Hiking opportunities abound with Anza Trail that roughly follows the footsteps of the historic Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition, as well as Fremont Peak, a state park known for its expansive views, grasslands and astronomy facilities. For San Benito County travel information including trails, events, dining and lodging opportunities, shops, parks and museums, visit Continued on Next Page…

Video: Historic Downtown Hollister

Video: Steppin’ Out in San Juan Bautista


San Benito County Trail Talk with Jim Ostdick

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Jim Ostdick.

Highlighting the various trails and walking opportunities in San Benito County, he currently writes a weekly column ‘Walking San Benito’ on An avid long-distance hiker and bicycle tourist, Jim has backpacked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada (2009), bicycled the perimeter of the contiguous United States (2013-14), and walked from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Jim Ostdick, who walked across America in benefit of coast (REACH Across America, 2016). He is the author of Palomino and the Dream Machine: A REACH San Benito Parks Foundation, a nonRetired Dude's Bicycle Tour Around the Lower Fortyprofit 501(c)3 established to facilitate a healthy Eight United States (, 2015) and the community through the preservation and soon-to-be published Palomino Nation: My 2016 enhancement of parks, facilities, and recreation programs in San Benito County, California. Along Coast to Coast Walk Across America (, 2017). Keep up with Jim on his Palomino Dream with REACH, Jim is working to create a healthier Blog at community through developing a system of parks and trails in San Benito County.


Get Festive this Fall in San Benito County, CA! Located east of Monterey and Salinas, San Benito County is the eastern gateway destination of Pinnacles National Park. This picturesque region makes for an ideal travel destination with outdoor activities, 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

HOLLISTER EVENTS Sept. 17: Mexican Independence Day Parade: Celebrate Mexican Independence Day in Downtown Hollister! Annual parade starts at 11:30am. Info: Ruben Rodriquez, (831) 902-5103. Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day Parade: Come downtown Hollister to celebrate and remember the courageous men and women of the armed forces who protect and serve our country. Contact Frankie Gallagher, (831) 638-6434.

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Juli Vieira, Chief Executive Officer of the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, who talks about fall events and activities in San Benito County. Nov. 25: Annual Light’s On Celebration & Parade: Kick off your holiday season with the annual Downtown Hollister community event that includes a day-long holiday boutique, car display featuring the Central Coast Impalas Car Club, live entertainment, Lights On Celebration parade and arrival of Santa & Mrs. Claus! Tel: (831) 636-8406 Continued on Next Page…


SAN JUAN BAUTISTA EVENTS Sept. 30: Vertigo Day: Tours, lecture and a movie at San Juan Bautista State Historic Park. Tel: (831) 6234881 Sept. 30-Oct. 1: Bi-Annual Cactus & Succulent Show & Sale: Community Center. Oct. 27-28: 9th Annual Ghost Walk: Ghost walk and paranormal activities. Tel: Jackie Munoz (831) 663-6071

TRES PINOS EVENTS Sept. 22-24: San Benito County Fair – Horse Shows: Bolado Park Event Center. Tel: (831) 628-3421 Sept. 28-Oct. 1: San Benito County Fair: Bolado Park Event Center. Tel: (831) 628-3421 Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Dara Tobias, CEO & Fair Manager, who talks about the Annual San Benito County Fair. Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Kathina Szeto, who discusses the 4th Annual San Benito Olive Festival.

Oct. 14: San Benito Olive Festival: It’s an Olive Date! Foodies and Families are all invited to enjoy local agriculture and culinary delights at the San Benito County Historical Park. It’s a fresh culinary celebration with innovative creators and delectable pairings, live music and entertainment, cooking demos and artisanal products, wine and craft beer tasting, art and crafts, and more! Tel: 831 537-7270, Oct. 28: Faultline Derby Devilz / Roller Derby: Bolado Park Event Center. Tel: (831) 628-3421 PAGE 25

Oakland Zoo, San Francisco Zoo, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Release Critically Endangered Frogs to Bolster Wild Populations The mountain yellow-legged frog complex in the Sierra Nevada is comprised of two species (Rana muscosa and Rana sierrae), that inhabit high elevation aquatic habitats between the headwaters of the Feather River, and the headwaters of the Kern River. Rana sierra occupies the northern and central Sierra Nevada south to the vicinity of Mather Pass (Fresno County), whereas Rana muscosa occupies the Sierra Nevada south of this area.

Mountain yellow-legged frogs are threatened by non-native predators and a disease caused by amphibian chytrid fungus that is responsible for the decline or extinction of more than 200 amphibian species worldwide. Amphibian chytrid fungus has been present in Asia, South America, and Africa for approximately a century, but has spread to almost every continent in recent decades, likely due to the worldwide exportation of amphibians.

Oakland Zoo, San Francisco Zoo, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered for a third year in efforts to recover endangered mountain yellowlegged frog populations in the wild. Tadpoles were emergency-airlifted from remote park locations and transported to said zoos to be cleared of disease, raised into frogs, immunized, and released back into their natal lakes in hopes of restoring their dwindling populations in the wild. Continued on Next Page‌ PAGE 26

Although historically abundant, these frogs have been extirpated from more than 92 percent of their geographic ranges, with many of the remaining populations depleted. Declines were first recognized during the 1970s and have accelerated markedly since the 1990s. The realization that these patterns would rapidly place these species at risk of extinction led to Endangered listings for both species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, since 2014.

The frogs that were released were raised from tadpoles in quarantine at both the Oakland Zoo and San Francisco Zoo, as part of a “head-start” program to increase their chance of survival in the wild. The program involves collecting diseased tadpoles from wild populations, clearing them of disease upon arrival at zoos, growing them into healthy juvenile frogs, and inoculating the frogs to boost their immune response to the fungus before reintroducing them to their population sites. Photos: Courtesy NPS Of the 215 healthy young frogs that were transported by helicopter and released into lakes in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks over two weeks in late August 2017, Oakland Zoo raised 99 of them and San Francisco Zoo raised 116 of them. “Our collaboration with biologists and several government agencies has given us the opportunity to inoculate these frogs against the deadly disease that has already wiped out 90% of this species in the wild,” said Margaret Rousser, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo. “We are honored to be able to make a real difference in the conservation of this species.” The release indicates the success of the program, now in its third year and ongoing. The program looks to continue and succeed as other groups of tadpoles are salvaged and brought to zoos for more head-starting. “This partnership has been critical to the recovery of the mountain yellow-legged frog,” said Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office Field Supervisor Jennifer Norris, Ph.D. “We’ve been able to maximize the expertise of each partner to successfully recover and relocate over 400 frogs over the past couple years alone.”

“Immunizing frogs is a new tool in our toolbox to save at risk populations,” said Jessie Bushell, Director of Conservation at the San Francisco Zoo. “Just like vaccinating people, we are jump starting their disease fighting immune systems. When released, these frogs will be better able to fight future chytrid infections. It might seem like a lot to go through, but letting populations completely die out is not a good option.” The conservation collaboration between the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and zoos is trying to help to save a native California species and give it the opportunity to thrive and repopulate in the wild. Seeing flourishing frogs in healthy habitats is the ultimate goal of the rescue for recovery, so future generations are able to experience and learn about these animals first-hand.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, which lie side by side in the southern Sierra Nevada in Central California, preserve prime examples of nature’s size, beauty, and diversity. Over 1.8 million visitors from across the U.S. and the world visit these parks to see the world’s largest trees (by volume), grand mountains, rugged “These frog reintroductions are the result of foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, the highest close collaboration and effort by many partners,” point in the lower 48 states, and more. said Danny Boiano, Aquatic Ecologist at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. “However, the expertise provided by the zoos has been instrumental to the success of being able to return so many frogs to the wild.” PAGE 27

Tulare County is home to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Sequoia National Forest and the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Whether you’re planning a family trip or a romantic escape, California’s Sequoia Country makes for a fabulous destination offering a variety of outdoor activities, a calendar full of art events and seasonal festivals, and an eclectic selection of shopping and dining opportunities in the park gateway communities of Three Rivers, Exeter, Visalia, Porterville, Tulare, Lindsay, Woodlake and Dinuba. 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. For up-to-date event and travel information, visit

SEQUOIA & KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS Fall is a beautiful time of year to visit the parks, and from guided hikes with naturalists to history programs, there are plenty of activities to participate in. Visit or for a full schedule and details. PAGE 28

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Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Sandy Blankenship, Executive Director of Exeter Chamber of Commerce, who talks about fall events in Exeter, CA.

FALL EVENTS IN EXETER Oct. 1-31: Exeter Scarecrow Contest. The “Scarecrows are Returning to Exeter” and will be on display for your viewing pleasure, at participating businesses for the entire month of October. Come to Exeter and vote for your favorite! Tel: (559) 592-2919 Oct. 14: 104th Annual Exeter Fall Festival: Plenty of family fun with this year’s theme, “Homegrown Harvest Fun”. Activities include a 5K Run & 2-Mile Walk and Pancake Breakfast; 1st Annual Antiques & Collectibles Faire; Fall Festival Parade; 11th Annual Car & Bike Show; plus, live music & entertainment; food, arts & crafts vendors; games & contests, and more! Tel: (559) 592-2919, PAGE 29

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Leah Launey, Innkeeper of Three Rivers B&B, who talks about Fall Events & Activities in Three Rivers, and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. Oct. 28: Annual Old-Fashioned Halloween Carnival: Olde-fashioned Carnival with food, crafts, games, a spook house, a jail, contests, rides, face painting, and parade. Contact Three Rivers Union School District, at (559) 561-4466


Dec. 2: Community Caroling: Sing traditional carols around a huge bonfire and enjoy hot chocolate and s’mores. Three Rivers Historical Society Museum. Tel: (559) 561-2707 Continued on Next Page…

1st Saturday Three Rivers Art Day: Enjoy a day of food, fun, and fabulous art. Featuring a different theme each time, it is held on the 1st Saturday of every month, and specials are promoted throughout the town. Watch artist demonstrations, eat good food and listen to local musicians or entertainers. Oct. 14: 4th Annual Rave’n Run: Hosted by the community of Three Rivers, but held on the grounds of ImagineU Interactive Children’s Museum in Visalia. Celebrate the joy of being outdoors in glorious Fall weather (“rave” about it!) for an altogether delightful all-ages event! Children will also be making their own raven masks. Contact Peter Sodhy at (559) 733-5975. Oct. 14: Raven Masquerade Progressive Dinner: Celebrate the river’s namesake (“Kaweah” means “raven” in the native Yokuts language) with this annual Fall evening event in where participants dine at various places throughout Three Rivers. Contact artist Nadi Spencer (559) 561-4373. PAGE 30


Fall in the Sequoias Continued…

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FALL EVENTS IN VISALIA Sept. 15: On The Air: A Tribute to Bob Hope & Radio Stars of 1940s: Visalia Fox Theatre. Tel: (559) 625-1369 Sept. 21: Visalia Waiters Race: Servers from local restaurants compete for prizes and bragging rights! 5pm, Main Street. Sept. 21-24: 16th Annual Visalia Home Show: Visalia Convention Center. Tel: (800) 700-7469 Oct. 3: 24th Annual Taste of Downtown Visalia: 5:30-8:30pm. Oct. 7: October is for Lovers: Sequoia Symphony at Visalia Fox Theatre. Tel: (559) 732-8600 Oct. 14: Taste the Arts Festival: Presented by the Arts Consortium, in downtown Visalia. Tel: (559) 802-3266 Oct. 14-15: Central California Pickle Ball Tournament: Plaza Park. Tel: (559) 713-4365

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview about Fall Events & Activities in Tulare County with Sequoia Tourism Council representatives including: Alicia Embrey - Sequoia National Forest/Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sandy Blankenship – Exeter Chamber of Commerce, Donnette Silva Carter - Tulare Chamber of Commerce, and Stephanie Cortez – Porterville Chamber of Commerce. Nov. 11: Behind the Czar: Protest & Praise: Sequoia Symphony at Visalia Fox Theatre. Tel: (559) 732-8600 Nov. 27: 72nd Annual Candy Cane Lane Parade: Downtown Visalia at 7pm.

Dec. 2: An Irish Christmas: Visalia Fox Theatre. Tel: (559) 625-1369 Continued on Next Page… PAGE 32

Antique Farm Equipment Museum at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, CA.

FALL EVENTS IN TULARE Sept. 13-17: Tulare County Fair: Tulare County Fairgrounds. Tel: (559) 686-4707 Sept. 30: Wings Over The Valley: Remote Control Aircraft event at International Agri-Center. Dec. 7: Christmas Parade: Downtown Tulare, 6pm. Tel: (559) 686-1547 FALL EVENTS IN PORTERVILLE Oct. 12: Business Expo & Taste of Porterville: 5:30pm-7:30pm, in Porterville. Tel: (559) 784-7502 Nov. 30: Children's Christmas Parade: 7pm9pm, in Porterville. Tel: (559) 784-7502

FALL EVENTS IN DINUBA Sept. 21-24: Raisin Harvest Festival: “Raisin’ Down Memory Lane” in Dinuba. Tel: (559) 591-2707 Oct. 1-Nov. 11: Scarecrow Display & Contest: Downtown Dinuba. Tel: (559) 591-2707 Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day Parade: Downtown Dinuba. Tel: (559) 591-2707 Dec. 2: Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting: Downtown Dinuba. Tel: (559) 591-2707 PAGE 33

Video - San Diego Botanic Garden


Boasting four miles of trails that wander through 29 different garden types, San Diego Botanic Garden is a plant lover’s paradise that spans over 37 acres, and is home to almost 4,000 plant varieties from all over the world! How is this possible? Location, location, location. Nestled within a little inland corridor in Encinitas, the Garden gets to enjoy the mild and coastal Big Blend Radio interview with Julian Duval, climate of Southern California, while sustaining a Executive Director of diverse topography that provides a wide variety San Diego Botanic Garden. of microclimates. Within an hour’s walk, the landscape can change from one of a lush tropical Providing a look at the native plants used by the rainforest to a dramatic desert of blooming Kumeyaay, the area’s earliest inhabitants, the cactus - an incredible and changing experience, Native Plant & Native People Trail leads you and one you will want to keep returning to! through coastal sage scrub, maritime chaparral “Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be and riparian wetland plant communities. The trail walking in a garden to know it.” Rumi will take you to a quiet pond area, and also show you a Kumeyaay homesite. Looking for ocean Yes, you can take a garden walk around the views? A walk to the Overlook Natural Area world, and you can plan all kinds of walking through even more Southern California native adventures according to the various garden habitats, will reward you with views of the exhibits and your schedule, but before we “go beautiful Pacific Ocean, courtesy of the free global”, let us first “go local” and check out the telescope at the top. If you are a local gardener, Garden’s California exhibits. From water-wise two things are important to you: fire safety and gardening to native plants, the California water waste. Both the California Gardenscapes gardens share tips on sustainability as well as and Landscape for Fire Safety exhibits are understanding local cultural heritage and natural important and informative walks to take. habitats. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 35

San Diego Botanic Garden Continued… Now let’s start our walk around the world with our neighbors in Mexico. One of the favorite and most photographed attractions at the San Diego Botanic Garden, are the Mexican Garden’s life size topiaries featuring Senoritas and Mariachis, which are grown from all kinds of succulents. Traveling further on our Global Garden Walk takes us on a water-wise plant experience through Australia and New Zealand, across Africa and Central America, and out to the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean. Other international garden highlights include the exotic and dramatic Bamboo Garden (America’s largest public bamboo collection), the New World and Old World Desert Gardens, Subtropical Fruit Garden and Tropical Rainforest Garden, and Palm Canyon. Let’s not forget the Bird & Butterfly Garden, Herb Garden, Lawn Garden and Lawn House Garden, Olive Tree Garden, Walled Garden and various Succulent Gardens. And for the kids, there’s the unique interactive Hamilton Children’s Garden and Seeds of Wonder Children’s Garden. The natural beauty at the San Diego Botanic Garden also provides the perfect setting for the annual display of 40+ sculptures. There is something wonderful waiting for visitors here. No matter which area of the garden you are in, whether you are young or young at heart, with others or walking alone, you will want to visit again. PAGE 36

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SAN DIEGO BOTANIC GARDEN EVENTS - FALL 2017 The San Diego Botanic Garden, formerly Quail Gardens, is open 364 days a year from 9 am to 5 pm with extended hours to 8 pm on Thursdays during summer. For more information, including special events and guided tours, visit Oct. 7: Orchid Clinic Oct. 21-22: Fall Plant Sale Oct. 28: Family Fall Festival Oct. 28-29: Cactus & Succulent Show and Sale Dec. 2-23, 26-30: Garden of Lights



In 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 PAGE 39

Video: Aguirre Lake Trail


The time to visit Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge is now! This past summer of 2017, Southern Arizona was blessed with a phenomenal monsoon season, and the Refuge certainly enjoyed its fair share of the soaking rainstorms. We visited the Refuge in late summer, and what a sight! The grasslands were lush and green, the wildflowers were in spectacular bloom, and the ponds and wetland areas were transformed into cool, refreshing watering stations for birds and wildlife. Dragonflies and butterflies were dancing all over the place, baby Spadefoot toads were hopping around, and the birds were chirping, whistling and cackling with joy. The even better news is that it looks like the water will maintain its drinking hole position through to the end of fall, making it a perfect landing place for resident and migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Aguirre Lake is named after Don Pedro Aguirre, who ranched the area back in the 1880s. The lake is a result of a low dam he built to capture the rain for his livestock and crops. The region went through droughts and floods, but you can still see some of the ranch buildings. It’s important to note that Aguirre Lake has not had water in a number of years, so now truly is the optimal time to visit.

Josh Smith, Wildlife Refuge Specialist, talks about the monsoon season, trails, fall visitor experience, and the restoration and conservation efforts at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. From kingbirds to vermillion flycatchers, kingfishers to ibis, the Refuge provides home to over 330 bird species along with 58 mammal species including mule deer, pronghorn antelope and javelina. The best time to see both birds and wildlife is at dawn and dusk, but still be sure to bring plenty of water, wear sunscreen and good walking shoes. Boasting magnificent views of the stately Baboquivari Peak, Aguirre Lake Trail is made up of two flat and mowed trail loops. The 2-mile loop is accessible from the Visitor Center, located at the Refuge Headquarters, in Sasabe.


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The 0.8-mile Grebe Pond Loop trailhead is about 1.3 miles from the Visitor Center, and is an easy walk for most fitness levels, plus, it has a wildlife viewing blind. There is parking at both trailheads, and a restroom at the Visitor Center. There are also two shaded picnic areas to relax and enjoy the scenery and bird chatter. Open seasonally, the Visitor Center has a series of exhibits showcasing the Refuge’s ranching history, flora and fauna, and conservation efforts – especially regarding masked bobwhite quail. There is a picnic area and restroom facilities, and you can also take a walk along the ½ mile Ranch Loop Trail. This part of the Refuge features the Altar Valley grassland habitat, as well as a small pond where you might see waterfowl. One of the highlights is Pronghorn Drive, a 10 mile dirt road that loops around the grasslands, providing opportunity to hopefully catch a glimpse of the resident pronghorn.

About 60 miles south of Tucson, the 117,500+ acre Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge is an incredibly bio-diverse bird and wildlife watching destination. You can enjoy nature walks through riparian corridors, scenic dirt road drives through rolling grasslands, along with 200 miles of back country hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails, and even primitive style camping under the stars. Aguirre Lake Trail is in the eastern portion of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, around 23 miles southwest of Arivaca, where the Refuge is home to the Arivaca Cienega Trail and Arivaca Creek Trail. For more information including the guided bird walks at the Cienega Trail and hikes in Brown Canyon (both start in November and run through April), call (520) 823-4251 or visit You can also keep up with the Refuge’s programs, bird and wildlife sightings on Facebook.



New Exhibit at DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, in Tucson, Arizona Ted DeGrazia was a prolific regional artist whose work featured the people and cultures of the Southwestern desert. Best known for his depictions of the traditional Native American and Hispanic cultures of the region, the western cowboy was a less common but enduring theme for the artist. The range-riding, working cowboys featured in this new exhibit are a small subset of DeGrazia’s cowboys. His rodeo cowboys have previously been exhibited in DeGrazia’s Rodeo Collection, but most of these images of working cowboys have never been displayed before. Curiously, there are no cows in these works, but occasionally DeGrazia’s cowboys appear in groups of two or more, or with a pack horse. Square Dancing from 1950 is the only cowboy painting featuring cowgirls, but the template for his idealized cowboy is seen in the composition he painted over and over again, a view from behind of a lone mounted rider gazing into the distance. DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is a 10-acre historic district in the foothills of Tucson, Arizona’s Santa Catalina Mountains. It was designed and built from the ground up by Ted DeGrazia who achieved worldwide acclaim for his colorful paintings of native cultures of the Sonoran desert. Using traditional adobe bricks crafted onsite, DeGrazia built the gallery so his paintings “would feel good inside”. Visit

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Lance Laber, Executive Director of the DeGrazia Foundation, who talks about the two new Ted DeGrazia exhibits at DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun – ‘DeGrazia’s Cowboy Paintings’ and ‘Fun & Games’.


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 On-Site Meeting Room for up to 50 People. 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! PAGE 45


Gravity Grovels & the Birds Lose Their Jobs to the Homo-Avis By William Kalt III While jet aircraft thunder across Arizona skies today, just over a century ago daring “bird men” challenged gravity in rickety contraptions of wire, wood, and cloth. These crazy souls of the air battled wind and weather conditions in opencockpit machines that lacked the power and instruments of modern-day airplanes. Landing on rough, poorly-cleared, too-short landing strips or on brush-filled vacant lots, airmen faced earth-bound aero-fanatics who rushed the plane as it landed in hopes of grabbing a piece of history. Deep in the nation’s southwestern corner, far from its bustling commercial centers, Arizona celebrated more of its share of “flying firsts” during the early days of aviation. Public aerial shows began in Phoenix less than a month after the United States’ first large Air Meet near Los Angeles in 1910. Similar performances soon followed in Tucson and Douglas and the flying game was on in the Territory!

Listen to William Kalt’s Big Blend Radio interview about Arizona Aviation! The next year, eastbound pioneer aviator Robert G. Fowler piloted the first plane to fly into Arizona. Foiled by a flood of mechanical and other difficulties in his attempt to secure William Randolph Hearst’s $50,000 prize for making the first flight across the United States, Fowler landed at a ballpark in Yuma on October 25, 1911. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 46

Desert Skies Continued…

Monthan Oscar and wife Army nurse Mae in plane

A statue in front of the city’s Yuma Landing Restaurant, dedicated on its 50th anniversary, commemorates the historic event. Flying his Wright Model B biplane, dubbed the “Cole Flyer,” Fowler met his westbound counterpart Cal P. Rodgers in Tucson, the only place in the nation where both initial transcontinental fliers stood on the ground at the same time. Following these historic events, seven years would elapse before an airplane again flew into the Territory and landed. December 1918 brought a military squadron four JN-4 “Jennys” to Phoenix from Coronado Island’s Rockwell Field at San Diego. The Phoenix Chamber of Commerce prepared land at the Arizona Territorial Fairgrounds at 19th Avenue and McDowell Road, which proved too short by military standards, almost resulting in Smith crashing his plane into an irrigation ditch. To the south in Tucson, city and county officials halted all work projects and directed all workers along with every horse and mule team to clear land east of present-day Evergreen Cemetery for the city’s first landing grounds. Following its successful landing and welcoming festivities the squadron soared on to execute the first flight across the country in military formation.

Within a year, Tucson opened America’s first municipal airport and Arizona hosted one of the U.S. Air Service’s initial recruitment efforts. In addition, stunt pilots, including the Victory Loan Circus, thrilled entertainment-starved crowds in a series of aerial displays. Recognition crowned two Arizona pilots who earned flying “Ace” status in World War I. One, Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr., died tragically in an heroic blaze of patriotic glory. The other, Ralph A. O’Neill, endured to develop Mexico’s initial aerial force and build the first passenger and freight airline to connect New York City with South America. The 1920s brought two highlights and a tragedy in Arizona’s early aviation history. Wear and tear on their Douglas World Cruisers forced the first airmen to circle the globe to alter their flight path in 1924 and land in Tucson. This put the small town on the map with Tokyo, Vienna, and London. The deaths of Samuel Howard Davis and Oscar Monthan (Mon-tan) in airplane accidents prompted Tucson to name a succession of airfields in their honor. Charles A. Lindbergh’s 1927 visit to Tucson following his historic trans-Atlantic solo flight provided the pinnacle of the period. More than 20,000 people gathered to hear America’s boy wonder speak before he dedicated the Ancient and Honorable Pueblo’s second Davis-Monthan Airport.

These and other tales of flying adventure join more than 200 images to bring to life the age of flight in the nation’s 48th state in William Kalt’s book, “High in Desert Skies: Early Arizona Aviation.” Purchase your copy at or at PAGE 47

Thus began an array of flights into Arizona as the state took its place as an aviation leader. The Gulf-to-Pacific Squadron soon followed, also mapping early airmail routes and capturing the first aerial photos of the Grand Canyon.

Photo: Courtesy COY


Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex. Photo: Courtesy COY

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 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, Quartermaster Depot, Yuma Art Center & Historic Yuma Theatre, and a charming historic downtown district that bustles with an eclectic array of shops and restaurants. Video: Spirit of Yuma

Big Blend Radio: Debbie Wendt, Director of the City of Yuma Parks & Recreation Department, discusses Yuma’s parks and new Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex.

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. 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…


West Wetlands

Five Yuma Parks & Sites to Put on Your Fun List: Big Blend Radio: Ana Lazo-Padilla discusses Fall Events at the Yuma Art Center & Historic Yuma Theatre.

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. 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 Yuma Art Center & Historic Yuma Theatre: Located in the heart of Historic Downtown Yuma, trailer parking area at Centennial Beach, a 15ft the Yuma Art Center is host to a number of visual stocked fishing pond, the Stewart Vincent Wolfe Creative Playground, and the Arizona Public and performing arts events, shows, and Service Solar Demonstration Garden. educational programs. The Center is comprised of the Historic Theatre, four art galleries, a Continued on Next Page… pottery studio, black and white photography dark room, multi-purpose classrooms and artist Video: The Yuma Wetlands 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. PAGE 50

Desert Hills Golf Course Yuma Continued… Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex (PAAC): Yuma’s elite tournament complex, the brand Big Blend Radio: Carrie new PAAC is a 50-acre multiuse sports project Ring discusses Fall that’s perfect for year-round leagues, Events at the Yuma tournaments and special events for all ages. With Civic Center. 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 Yuma Civic Center: Adjacent to the Desert Hills National Heritage Area and Historic Downtown. It also connects to the East Wetlands walking and Golf Course and Ray Kroc Sports Complex / Desert Sun Stadium, the Yuma Civic Center is biking trails along the Colorado River. Yuma’s favorite event space, and host to a wide variety of annual community events such as the Big Blend Radio: Drew Smith, Director of Midnight at the Oasis car show, Tunes & Tacos Festival, 4th of July All American BBQ & Golf Operations, Fireworks Spectacular, Fiestas Patrias, Relay for provides an overview Life, Frontera United Professional Soccer, Yuma of Desert Hills Golf Storm Minor League Football, and more. Course.

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!

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


FALL EVENTS IN YUMA, ARIZONA Sept. 15: 2017 Fiestas Patrias Street Fair Celebration: Yuma Civic Center. Tel: (928) 3735040

Nov. 25: 32nd Annual Holiday Pageant & Tower Lighting: Desert Sun Stadium. Nov. 30: Sports Turf, Tree & Landscape Expo: Yuma Civic Center. Tel: (928) 373-5040

Oct. 7: YumaCon: Celebrate the pop cultural arts and embrace your fandom at the Yuma Civic Dec. 1: Annual Kammann Sausage Fry: Yuma Center! Tel: (928) 373-5200. Civic Center. Tel: (928) 373-5040 Oct. 13: 17th Annual Tribute of The Muses Dec. 2: City of Yuma's Military Appreciation 2017: The biggest night of the year at the Yuma Day: Madison Avenue in Yuma’s Historic Art Center! Tel: (928) 373-5200. Downtown. Oct. 21: 5th Annual Rio de Cerveza Brew Fest: Dec. 2: El Toro Bowl: Watch two of the best Desert Sun Stadium. Tel: (928) 783-0071 NJCAA football teams at Veterans Memorial Stadium! Oct. 28-29: Rocky Horror Picture Show: Historic Yuma Theatre. Tel: (928) 373-5200. Dec. 9: Holiday Art Bazaar: Yuma Art Center. Nov. 4: Corn Festival: Main Street in Somerton. Tel: (928) 373-5202 Tel: (928)722-7337. Dec. 9: 15th Annual Dorothy Young Memorial Electric Light Parade: Historic Downtown Yuma. Nov. 4: Children's Festival of the Arts: Entertainment, music, and art on Main Dec. 12: Christmas with the Rat Pack: Historic Street. Tel: (928) 373-5200. Yuma Theatre. Tel: (928) 373-5202 Nov. 17: North End Art Walk: Art and music in Dec. 16: Somerton Tamale Festival: Somerton, Historic Downtown Yuma. Tel: (928) 373-5202 AZ. Tel: 928-388-4837 Nov. 17-19: 27th Annual Colorado River Dec. 31: New Year's Eve Family Fun Night! Crossing Balloon Festival: Visit Yuma Civic Center. Tel: (928) 373-5040 PAGE 52

Video: 60 Seconds of a #OneHourWalk West Wetlands!

Video: 60 Seconds of a #OneHourWalk East Wetlands!



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

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

Coronado Gifts & Collectibles Southwest Gifts, Ice Cream & Cold Drinks Meeting Room for up to 50 People.

Win! Win! Win! Sign up on 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 PAGE 55


As an artist, one of the things I always urge people to do, if possible, is to look at art directly if they want to really appreciate it, examine the materials, see how it was made, have a better sense of the color and texture and size and, if it is located in a specific place to notice how it relates to that place. Other things about an artwork can benefit the viewer through first - hand experience too. It is not always possible to understand why an artist produced the artwork we see or recognize that the art we see may have had an entirely different meaning to the artist than what it means to us. Subject matter is not always obvious. This is a long introduction to my adventure at Pony Hills. I had some knowledge of what prehistoric petroglyphs are through research, photographs and actually seeing a few isolated ones in various locations in the western states, but, I had not experienced hundreds of petroglyphs in one location until a friend took me to Pony Hills.

Listen to Victoria Chick, contemporary figurative artist and early 19th & 20th century print collector, talk about Petroglyphs, on Big Blend Radio!

The experience was humbling. First, the trip was across the flat southern New Mexico desert almost 10 miles off the highway along a dusty, seldom traveled road to dead end at a not - very - impressive low hill of boulders and tumbled rock. There were bigger mountains all around us. We climbed uphill along a faint, rough and winding path for several hundred feet until we reached the top. Continued on Next Page‌ PAGE 57

Petroglyphs Continued… There were petroglyphs everywhere, chipped into the rock. To my eyes, some were humorous, some puzzling, some recognizable, and a couple downright mysterious. I started by questioning, trying to second guess what had driven people of early cultures to trek miles from water to make images. The sheer number of petroglyphs and the location also made me wonder what each meant and why this particular location originally attracted, and then kept, artists returning to add more petroglyphs. Geologically, the hill was pretty ordinary. Similar, nearby hills had no petroglyphs. After a short time, I realized I was appreciating the artists’ work for itself and my questions with no definite answers were unimportant from an artistic standpoint, although vital to an archaeologist.

This Pony Hill adventure left me looking around and marveling at the work I was experiencing, taking some ghost of it with me in photos and making plans to return. For those wanting to visit Pony Hills, it is on Bureau of Land Management Land, near Deming, New Mexico. It is best to ask for directions at the Visitor Center and take plenty of water with you. Victoria Chick is the founder of the Cow Trail Art Studio in southwest New Mexico. She received a B.A. in Art from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and awarded an M.F.A. in Painting from Kent State University in Ohio. Visit her website at

The shape and line that are basic to design are elements we humans understand as visual language that maintain their beauty across time. For this reason, people today are able to respond to prehistoric, primitive, ancient, modern, and contemporary art for itself. Just as in most cases we don’t know the personal meanings of contemporary, abstract works of art to those that made them, the original meaning of most prehistoric petroglyphs evades our understanding. PAGE 58

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NOTES: - For more about Petroglyphs of the Southwest US, see Victoria’s article in this back issue of Big Blend Radio & TV Magazine. - Two easier-to-reach Petroglyph sites in Southern Arizona, include: Painted Rock Petroglyph Site just off of Interstate 8, west of Gila Bend; and Signal Hill in Saguaro National Park (West) in Tucson. PAGE 59

Aztec Ruins National Monument Photo: NPS Rose B. Simpson hails from an arts and permaculture environment at Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. She is a mixed-media artist whose work engages ceramics, metal, fashion, painting, music, performance, installation, and custom cars. Her work is in museum collections nationally, and has been featured at Pomona College Museum of Art, SITE Santa Fe, National Museum of the American Indian, the Heard Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, the Clay Art Center, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the Denver Art Museum. Rose will be the National Parks Arts Foundation artist-in-residence at Aztec Ruins National Monument in September 2017, and at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in 2018. Aztec Ruins National Monument is a tightly clustered Chacoan complex made up of a Pueblo, a reconstructed Great Kiva, and plaza and several close-by ceremonial ruins.

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with mixed media artist Rose B. Simpson, and Nathan Hatfield, Chief of Interpretation for both Aztec Ruins National Monument and Chaco Culture National Historical Park in Northern New Mexico. Pueblo tradition claims this settlement as an important waypoint in the ancient settlement of the Rio Grande Valley. Aztec Ruins is hidden away in tree filled hills near the Animas River and the picturesque town of Aztec, New Mexico. See


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Holding It Together

Self Portrait Altar

Rose Simpson Continued… Comprised of eleven beautifully preserved pueblos or ceremonial structures, Chaco Culture National Historical Park is the premier site to experience the amazing and mysterious Chacoan culture. This beautiful and isolated complex is the historical trace of the sacred ancestral culture to many of the existing pueblos of the Southwest. The park is also a Dark Skies certified location, one of the ideal places for astronomy, astrophotography and other Night Sky artistic practice. See Rose earned her BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design. From 2012-2015 she attended Northern New Mexico College’s Automotive Science Program with a focus in Auto Body. She is currently enrolled in the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Low Rez Creative Writing MFA program, and is on the Board of Directors of Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute of Santa Clara Pueblo, and the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 61

Above: Tobe Pueblo, Top Right: Directed West

Rose Simpson Continued‌ Simpson is represented by Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art Gallery in Santa Fe. Residing on the Santa Clara reservation, she explores ways to deconstruct stereotypes of gender and culture while challenging social ideologies by creating 2D and 3D works in her studios, working on her classic cars in her shop, or pulling weeds and feeding animals on the farm, all while carrying her infant baby girl. See The National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF) is the only nationwide non-profit providing Artist-inResidence Programs (AiR), Workshops, Exhibits and Museum Loans uniquely in cooperation with National Parks, National Monuments, State Parks, World Heritage Sites and other park locations. See PAGE 62



Celebrate The Arts, Relax in Nature, and Step Back in Time, in Northwest Nevada’s Pony Express Country! Compiled by Lisa D. Smith & Nancy J. Reid Located in northwestern Nevada, just off the Pony Express National Historic Trail and on the California National Historic Trail, Yerington is the epitome of “Small Town America.” The historic downtown is a popular resting point for folks traveling Highway 95 between Las Vegas and Reno, and the entire region is a great getaway for nature lovers and history enthusiasts. Yerington’s historic downtown district is charming with antique shops, restaurants and casinos, including Dini’s Lucky Club – the oldest family run casino in the state! Spend a few hours taking in the exhibits and artifacts at Lyon County Museum, and visit Yerington Theatre for the Arts to see the current art exhibits, and grab a quick bite. Fort Churchill State Historic Park is a 30 minute scenic drive from Yerington. It was built as a U.S. Army fort in 1861.

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 National Historic Trail and California National Historic Trail. The surrounding Mason Valley and Smith Valley areas are beautiful with lush farm lands 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. With the changing colors in the trees and vegetation, along with the seasonal bird migration, fall is a fantastic time to explore the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area, Walker River, Walker Lake and Wilson Canyon. If you’re looking for an authentic yet unique “Small Town America” experience, put Yerington on your travel list!


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Video: Yerington, Nevada

FALL EVENTS IN YERINGTON Don’t Miss These Upcoming Shows & Events at the Yerington Theatre for The Arts. For up-todate information, call (775) 463-1783 Sept. 5-30: Magic in the Ordinary: Smith Valley Artists Pamella Nesbit & Donna Nelson Sept. 15-16: Taste of the Valley Festival 2017 Oct. 17-Nov. 17: Fantastic Florals: Winnemucca artist Belinda Bell Oct. 21: Artist Belinda Bell: Saturday Brunch Reception & Artist's Talk Nov. 10: Maria Muldaur & Her Red Hot Bluesiana Band Nov. 21-Dec. 22: Touching The Meaning: Artists Roxy Whitacre & Shari Breault Nov. 21-Dec. 22: Nutcrackers & Christmas Memories Art Exhibit Dec. 2: Holiday Memories Concert with pianist DeDe Moseley

Video: Fort Churchill State Historic Park &


The Bakery Gallery Popular destination offering a delicious variety of cakes, pies, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, Danish pastries, coffee cakes, biscotti, chocolate truffles, desserts, and breads. They serve coffee and espresso and pre-fixe to-go dinners. 215 W. Goldfield Ave., Yerington, NV 89447 Tel: (775) 463-4070,



The humidity was so thick you could cut it with a knife, even a plastic one would easily do the job. At this point I was trudging up a trail, sweating profusely, swatting at annoying gnats, and solely focused on my discomfort. Ian, our guide, suddenly stopped the group and asked that we listen to the sounds around us for a moment. At first, I confess I was a bit annoyed, as I simply wanted to get to our destination as quickly as possible. But then, I had one of those “aha” moments, when I slowly became aware of the various noises in the forest, realizing that I was in the midst of this ginormous, living and breathing environment.

Listen to Debbie Stone’s Big Blend Radio interview about her Great Smoky Mountains hiking experience.

Hiking is one of those rare activities that allows you to fully explore a place at your own pace, taking time to truly appreciate your surroundings, proving that the journey often rivals the destination. On Wildland Trekking’s 5-Day Smoky Mountains Hiking Experience, you’ll have the opportunity to get up close and Birds were making their distinct calls, while a personal with one of the most naturally and host of other creatures I couldn’t see were busy culturally significant mountain landscapes in the communicating with one another. And then country. The Great Smoky Mountains National there were these additional underlying sounds Park is both a World Heritage and Biosphere that I tried to identify, but couldn’t, and Reserve Site, renowned for its diversity of plant eventually just put them under the umbrella of and animal life, as well as for the beauty of its “nature’s murmurings.” ancient mountains. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 69

Smoky Mountains Continued… It’s also an icon of Southern Appalachian culture spanning back to the late 18th century. And the best way to experience this majestic national treasure is to do what the original settlers and explorers did – hit the trails. At over 500,000 acres, with an elevation range of more than 5,000 feet from the valley to the highest peaks, the park’s behemoth size is difficult to fathom. Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. It’s a hiker’s paradise with more than 800 miles of maintained trails and nature walks where casual hikers or experienced trekkers can enjoy the most gentle or rugged terrain imaginable in the eastern U.S. The scenery is magical with cascading waterfalls, bucolic valleys, verdant forests and sweeping vistas everywhere, along with abundant wildlife and wildflowers. And if you’re wondering about the park’s namesake, “Smoky,” it refers to the natural fog that often hangs low over the park’s forests, a result of the collective exhalation of organic compounds by the forests’ vegetation. That explains why from a distance the mountains appear as if they have large blue smoke plumes emanating from them. The movement to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park actually began back in the early 1920s. Its creation, however, was far more complex than that of its predecessors, such as Yellowstone and Yosemite. The Park Commission had to negotiate the purchase of thousands of small farms and remove entire communities, while convincing logging firms to sell lucrative lumber rights. It also had to deal with two state legislatures, which at times were not in agreement with spending taxpayer money on park efforts.

You will start and end your Wildland Trekking Smoky Mountains trip in Asheville, often known as the “Paris of the South” or “Land of the Sky.” This iconic town boasts historic landmarks, cultural attractions, a dynamic arts vibe and an innovative culinary scene. A dizzying array of craft breweries keep the beer flowing like mountain water, hence the reason for another of Asheville’s monikers – “Beer City USA.” The place is a hub of creativity that attracts artists, musicians, inventive chefs and outdoor lovers, who thrive amid the area’s natural beauty. Take the hop-on, hop-off Historic Trolley Tour for an informative and entertaining overview of the city. Knowledgeable guides will regale you with interesting facts and humorous tales of the town and the colorful characters who helped put it on the map.

Check out the River Arts District, where you can stroll along streets dotted with galleries and The park officially opened in 1934 with President studios. Stop in at Jonas Gerard Fine Art and Franklin D. Roosevelt presiding over the opening watch Gerard himself at work on one of his many abstract paintings. The well-known artist is ceremony at Newfound Gap. Today, the Great happy to chat, and you’re welcome, even Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the country with over nine million encouraged, to actually touch his paintings for a unique textural experience. visitors annually. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 70

Smoky Mountains Continued… Head downtown to browse and window shop at the many eclectic stores, and make sure you do some people watching from one of the hip sidewalk cafés. You’ll find folks of all ages in Asheville, as it’s a very inclusive town with offerings to suit a variety of interests and tastes. A must-see attraction, for most, however, is the Biltmore House & Gardens. With 250 rooms and four acres of floor space, it’s the country’s largest private home and the crown jewel of Asheville’s architecture. It has been called a “tour de force of America’s gilded age” and stands as testament to the enduring vision of its creator, George W. Vanderbilt.

The library and its shelves containing 20,000 rare books is jaw-dropping. In true upstairsdownstairs fashion, your tour also includes an opportunity to see where the small army of servants lived and worked while employed at the Biltmore. Take time to explore the grounds, as they are truly remarkable. Frederick Law Olmstead, the father of American landscape architecture, created a landscaping masterpiece that includes a naturalist forest and formal gardens, as well as a productive farm. There’s a lovely Italian garden with long pools, a shrub garden, rose and azalea gardens and an English walled garden with floral pattern beds. It’s a treat for the senses as you roam the pathways and take in the dazzling colors and perfumed scents.

As you drive the three-mile approach road to the house, the anticipation begins to build. Know that your expectations will soon be exceeded once you lay eyes on this magnificent fairytale castle. Vanderbilt sought to build a Biltmore’s 8,000-acre estate is also home to retreat reminiscent of the grand palaces and Antler Hill Village & Winery, where you can savor estates of France and Britain and he succeeded and sip complimentary tastings of handcrafted on every level. Tours of the property and its wines. Nearby is an historic barn and farmyard, extensive gardens are self-guided. Opt for the complete with an assortment of friendly animals audio version to further enhance your for the kids to enjoy. For the active set, you can experience. It’s worth it. You’ll travel back in time arrange to go cycling, take a Segway or guided to the late 1800s and early 1900s, as you walk horseback trail ride along the many paths, and through opulent rooms filled with original even kayak, paddleboard or raft the river that furnishings, art and artifacts, including priceless runs through the property. portraits of Sargent, Renoir, Whistler and others. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 71

Smoky Mountains Continued… Though you might think you’ll need to say adieu to civilization’s conveniences once you leave Asheville and begin your hiking adventure, that won’t be the case. On this particular Wildland trip, you’ll have all the creature comforts you desire. The itinerary is inn-based and ideal for those who want a hot shower and sleep in a comfortable bed after hiking upwards of eight miles a day. Personally, I don’t mind camping for a night or two, but, I’m really not a backpacker, so this style of trip greatly appealed to me. Choosing to go with Wildland Trekking was a no brainer. I had previously done a Grand Canyon hiking trip with the company and had been very pleased with my experience. Hiking in a small group with a guide proved to be incredibly fun, as well as eye-opening, as I learned a lot about the geography, geology, wildlife and history of the area. I appreciated being accompanied by a highly-trained and knowledgeable individual, who also cared about my safety… and didn’t mind answering all my questions!

Along the trail, our guide Ian, an enthusiastic young man with an abiding respect for Mother Nature, waxed poetic about the Reishi mushroom. High in antioxidants, it reportedly has miraculous health benefits. We saw the fungi attached on trees in shelf-like fashion. Sometimes it was white; other times, red or caramel colored. Ian also pointed out plants like wood sorrel, which is edible and tastes similar to parsley, along with the infamous poison ivy and prolific mountain laurel of the Smokies.

On another day, we trekked up the Middle Prong The trip emphasizes several highlights of the of the Little River to Lynn Camp Prong Cascades Smokies, providing an intimate experience with and Indian Flats Falls. This stunning river valley is the landscape at various areas in the park. We explored the Tennessee and North Carolina sides arguably home to the Smokies’ most scenic with hikes to such places as Big Creek, known for waterfall hike and along the way, you’ll get a fascinating glimpse into Smoky Mountain lumber spectacular Midnight Hole and Mouse Creek history. Part of the trail used to be a railroad Falls. The former is a deep, dark green pool below a picturesque waterfall that flows between route to get supplies in and lumber out of the mountains and you can see remnants of this two large boulders; whereas, the latter is a 45railroad, as well as parts of buildings from the foot waterfall that tumbles over several tiers of old community of Tremont. moss covered rocks before crashing into the Continued on Next Page… creek. PAGE 72

Smoky Mountains Continued… The trail passes numerous smaller waterfalls, all picture-pretty, and is blanketed with a host of wildflowers such as trilliums, violets and jack-inthe-pulpits. Stream sounds provide a melodious musical accompaniment. After a series of switchbacks, you’ll get the return on investment upon reaching glorious Indian Flats Falls. Dip your tired feet in the icy water or go big and opt for the full body treatment that’s guaranteed to be refreshing! A hike to Porters Creek led to an historic barn and the old headquarters for the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club. There was a small backcountry cemetery nearby with graves dating back to the 1870s; several which belonged to infants and young children. Early settler history is prevalent throughout the park, but nowhere is it most prominent than at Cades Cove, once home to a pioneer community of farmers, families and homespun industry. This broad valley surrounded by mountains is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies, as it offers the widest variety of historic buildings of any area in the park. Scattered along the loop road are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses and many other carefully restored 18th and 19th century structures. Look for the handprints on the ceiling of the Primitive Baptist Church. They were made by the children who held the boards in place for the men to hammer. The wood was pine and its sap made it sticky to work with; hence, the indelible record of human hands. At the Cabel Mill Historic Area in Cades Cove, you’ll have the opportunity to talk to one of the volunteer millers, who works at the still active 149-year old gristmill. You’ll learn about the importance of mills to the people of Cades Cove and how entire villages were built around them in the 1800s. They were vital to the local economies because of their ability to grind grains into flour or cornmeal at a faster rate than the farmers could do on their own. Since so much time was spent at the mill, it became the social hub of the town. PAGE 73

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Smoky Mountains Continued… Today, Cabel Mill can produce up to 150 pounds of meal per hour. Another interesting fact about mills concerns their influence on our language. Several adages having to do with mills were coined over the years, including, “Put your nose to the grindstone,” “Wait your turn or else things might come to a grinding halt,” and “Are you just milling around?”

Visitors need to be continually reminded that bears are wild animals. They are dangerous and unpredictable and you should not approach them or allow them to approach you. Unfortunately, there are some folks who will do anything to get that special picture, jeopardizing not only their lives, but those of the bears as well.

Cades Cove is also known for having some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. You can often spot large numbers of whitetailed deer, along with wild turkey, black bear, coyotes and other creatures in the open valley. We were fortunate to see several bears, but at a comfortable distance as to not disturb them.

One of my favorite hikes was along the fabled Appalachian Trail (the A.T. as if is commonly called) towards Charlies Bunion, a celebrated rock formation, with fabulous views of the endless rolling ridges of the Smokies. Story has it that this bare rock pinnacle was named after mountain guide Charlie Connor’s foot affliction because it jutted out just like his bunion.

You can always tell there’s a bear somewhere when you see a pile up of cars on the side of the road and hordes of folks with cameras and binoculars excitedly pointing in one direction. The park is actually one of the largest protected areas in the eastern U.S. where black bears can live in wild, natural surroundings. Biologists estimate that roughly 1,500 of these creatures live in the park, a population density of approximately two bears per square mile.

The popular hike begins at historic Newfound Gap, a mountain pass located near the center of the park and situated along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina at the state line. This is the place where FDR formally dedicated the park. It’s also the site of the Rockefeller Memorial, which honors the $5 million gift from the Rockefeller Foundation to complete land acquisitions for the creation of the park. Continued on Next Page…


Smoky Mountains Continued… As we hiked, we came across a number of A.T. hikers, some who claimed to be thru-hikers, attempting to complete the entire 2,190 miles in five to seven months. Each year thousands set off to accomplish this massive undertaking, but the reality is that only one in four actually makes it all the way. The trail goes through fourteen states, ranging from Georgia to Maine, and is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. It is also one of the most supported, long distance trails with over 250 backcountry shelters and a range of services to assist hikers.

The Smokies are home to as many tree species as are found in all of Europe (130 native species) and the region is considered a crown jewel of virgin old-growth eastern hardwood forest. As for the fauna, there are 66 species of mammals, over 240 species of birds, 43 species of amphibians, including the greatest variety of salamanders in the world, 60 species of fish and 40 species of reptiles. Flora and fauna have been thriving and diversifying here undisturbed for millennia due to the fact that the last Ice Age didn’t get this far south and the sea never came this far inland. To this day, researchers are still Chatting with some of these ambitious folks gave discovering and documenting new species. me insight into how arduous and grueling this endeavor is and the physical and mental toll it During the trip, we also enjoyed views of Fontana takes on the individual. Observing the loads they Lake from Fontana Dam on the Little Tennessee carried made me glad to be toting only a River. At 480 feet, the equivalent of a 50-story daypack! skyscraper, it’s the tallest hydroelectric dam east of the Rockies. A visitor center operated by the It seemed that each hike we took, we saw Tennessee Valley Authority presents the history something different. The biodiversity of the park and creation of the dam, as well as details of its is staggering, from tiny plants and moss growing operation. on a rock by the side of a trail to a huge 400 year tulip tree towering like a sentinel over the forest. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 75

Smoky Mountains Continued…

Construction began in 1942 and because of the urgent need for electric power during WWII, the dam was finished in just 36 months. The Appalachian Trail crosses the top of the dam and the hot showers at a nearby trail shelter have led grateful hikers to dub it the “Fontana Hilton.” In between hikes, we stopped in at several of the park’s visitor centers at Sugarlands, Cades Cove and Oconaluftee. Sugarlands has a natural history museum with exhibits on the geology of the Smokies, history of people in the mountains, flora and fauna of the region and more. At Oconaluftee, in addition to displays about the development of the park and settlement time periods, there is the adjacent Mountain Farm Museum. It’s an outdoor venue with farm buildings, most dating around 1900, that were moved from their original locations throughout the park to create an open-air museum. You can explore a log farmhouse, barn, apple house, smokehouse, springhouse and working blacksmith shop to get a sense of how families may have lived one hundred years ago. After hiking each day, we would return to our charming accommodations. For the first two nights, we stayed at Dancing Bear Lodge in Townsend, Tennessee. This property offers deluxe, comfy cabins with all the amenities, including hot tubs, stone fireplaces, heavenly beds and mini kitchens stocked with house made granola, fresh fruit, yogurt, juice and coffee –all the fixings you need for a tasty continental breakfast in the morning.

Dinner at the lodge’s Appalachian Bistro is a memorable culinary experience with dishes like Lump Crab Stuffed Trout, Truffle Potato Crusted Halibut and Cast Iron Beef Tenderloin. Dine al fresco on the patio and later, head to the rock fire pit to toast marshmallows and make your own s’mores. Our digs for the last two nights of the trip was the Everett Hotel in Bryson City, North Carolina. This luxury boutique hotel, a renovated bank building from 1908, has nine tastefully appointed guest suites, a rooftop terrace with panoramic city and mountain views, and a newly opened restaurant, the Cork & Bean Bistro, which focuses on local, sustainable and seasonable fare. Here you’ll find such delectable offerings as Carolina Mountain Trout with a cornmeal crust; Gumbo Ya Ya, a combination of chicken, Andouille sausage, brown rice and veggies; and Eggplant Involtini, sautéed eggplant stuffed with goat cheese, accompanied by roasted spaghetti squash and grilled broccolini. A hot cooked breakfast is complimentary for guests, and as hikers, we appreciated a menu of hearty entrees that included fresh made quiches, crepes, Belgian waffles and breakfast sandwiches to fuel us for the day’s trek.


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Smoky Mountains Continued‌ On the trail, Ian would prepare lunch each day. From his bulging backpack, he would pull out pots and pans, and all sorts of ingredients, and whip up a yummy spread that we attacked like piranhas. One day it was lettuce wraps with salmon; the next, an innovative corn and bean salad with tortilla chips. We enthusiastically chowed down on whatever concoction he prepared, knowing it would be tasty and satisfying. Ian proved to be a man of many talents, and outdoor cooking skills was definitely one of them! In addition, he was very knowledgeable about the region, never hesitating to provide us with information about the flora, fauna, geology and history of the Smokies. It was obvious he had a deep connection with the landscape, and a love of the outdoors that he wanted to share with others.

Hiking in a small group provides you with the opportunity to get to know your companions well and a sense of camaraderie develops in a short time. Wildland Trekking attracts kindred spirits, who are active adventure seekers, enjoy nature and are generally curious about the world around them. Each participant adds something to the group with his/her individual perspective and knowledge base. And as you hike, there’s plenty of time to exchange life stories, allowing connections to be made with people who were mere strangers a short time ago. Wildland Trekking Company offers a variety of guided hiking adventures in North American and around the world. For more 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. PAGE 77

Is it the clean water and the limestone terrain that makes Kentucky Bourbon ‘The American Spirit’ such a sought after libation? Nicolas Laracuente is a historic archaeologist who lives and works in Kentucky, and has a passion for researching the State’s distilleries. The big question at the moment is: how do you identify (and preserve!) these sites through excavations and other archaeological approaches? Depending on how you define "distillery," there were hundreds, maybe even thousands, of these sites in Kentucky. For the most part, the stories of the people who lived around and worked in these places have disappeared. Artifact by artifact, site by site, these stories will be recovered through archaeology.

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview about Central Kentucky’s Bourbon Heritage and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail with Stephanie McMillin - Executive Director of the Springfield Tourism Commission, and Nicolas Laracuente, M.A. - Director of Jack Jouett Archaeology Project and publisher of

Located in the heart of Central Kentucky’s You can also see Nicolas in the feature length Bourbon Trail, the historic city of Springfield is documentary “NEAT: The Story of Bourbon” at celebrating National Bourbon Heritage Month Jim Beam's Fred Noe will throughout September 2017, with a special be a special speaker on September 21, 2017. Of Bourbon Archaeology Exhibit ‘The American course, you can experience the Bourbon Trail Spirit’ at the Springfield Opera House. Presented year-round – just stop by the Visitor Center at by Nicolas Laracuente, the exhibit features the Springfield Opera House, for a map and artifacts and displays from three distillery details. excavations, bourbon industry speakers, and an Continued on Next Page… interactive kids corner. PAGE 78

Team at Frazier Distillery,photo courtesy of Nicolas Laracuente Central Kentucky Continued…

Fall Springfield Events that Celebrate Kentucky’s Bourbon Heritage & Agriculture, The Arts & Community: Sept. 1-30: Bourbon Archaeology Exhibit, Opera House Sept. 8-17: ‘The 39 Steps’ – Central Kentucky Theatre Sept. 29-Oct. 1: Washington County Sorghum Festival Oct. 6-7: Jim Beam BBQ Classic Cook-off Oct. 13-14: Bourbon Chase Oct. 20-29: ‘Frankenstein a New Musical’ – Central Kentucky Community Theatre Oct. 31: Downtown Halloween Trick or Treat Event Nov. 15-16: Christmas Crafters Market and Merchants Open Houses Dec. 1-3: ‘Hairy Tale Rock’ – Central Kentucky Theatre Continued on Next Page… PAGE 79

Bridge at Canada Dry Distillery Central Kentucky Continued‌ Established in 1793, Springfield is part of the Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail, and is the ancestral home of Abraham Lincoln’s family. This historic city is also on the Lincoln Scenic Byway, Kentucky Bourbon Trail, TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, the Barn Quilt Trail and Kentucky Fiber Trail. Along with being a destination for outdoor and nature enthusiasts, 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. The charming historic downtown features museums and historic buildings, restaurants and shops. Lodging choices range from historic inns to vacation rentals, and RV camping. For details see

Test units at Jouett

Photos courtesy of Nicolas Laracuente

Anne and Jack excavating shovel test PAGE 80


Video : 60 Second Spotlight - Natchitoches, LA


Discover Historic Downtown Natchitoches Compiled by Lisa D. Smith and Nancy J. Reid 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. Home to the Cane River Creole National Historical Park, it 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. The downtown National Historic Landmark District is a 33-block area that runs along the beautiful banks of Cane River Lake, welcoming visitors into a charming mecca of historic sites and museums, art galleries and specialty shops, restaurants and quaint Bed & Breakfast lodgings. Along with experiencing the city’s popular and festive seasonal events, one of the best ways to explore the district is on foot, whether selfguided (maps are available at Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau), or on one of the self-guided tours hosted by the Cane River National Heritage Area.

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview on Historic Downtown Natchitoches with Arlene Gould – Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau; Luke Frederick –Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile Store; Angela Lasyone – Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant.

Buildings in the district are constructed in several architectural styles that range from French Creole to Queen Anne, Italianate to Spanish Revival, Art Deco to Victorian.


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Nine Distinct Experiences in Historic Downtown Natchitoches - Taste a famous Natchitoches meat pie. A Natchitoches tradition since 1967, Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant is an authentic soulful Creole Cuisine experience not to be missed – and their famous meat pies are simply scrumptious! - Start your holiday shopping at KaffieFrederick General Mercantile. Established in 1863, it is the oldest general store in Louisiana, and the oldest business in downtown Natchitoches. From hardware to kitchenware, folk art to toys and holiday décor, this general store truly has something for everyone! - Get your Louisiana sports fix on! Be wowed at the achievements of over 300 legendary Louisiana athletes, coaches and sports figures at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. This $23million museum complex is also home to the Northwest Louisiana History Museum.

- Explore the historic American Cemetery. Established around 1737, the cemetery is said to be the oldest cemetery in the Louisiana Purchase. Legend has it, that St. Denis, the town’s founder, is buried somewhere on the grounds. Oct. 7, 2017 is the “History Among the Tombstones: Stories from the American Cemetery” event, where guides dressed in period costumes will share the history of the cemetery. - Step into history at the 63rd Annual Fall Tour of Homes. Held Oct. 13-15, this popular event features three incredible themed tours of historic Natchitoches homes, buildings, and plantations, along with a Saturday full of special presentations centered around “Natchitoches Underground,” the cellars and tunnels beneath the city streets. Continued on Next Page…

- Get your motor running at the 11th Annual Natchitoches Car Show. Held Sept. 29-30, Friday’s events include a poker run, and then a fish fry with live music. Saturday features the car show in downtown, along with live music on three stages. PAGE 84

Video: Kaffie-Frederick Merchantile

- Delight in flowers, waterfalls and twinkly lights. The Beau Jardin Water Feature & Garden overlooks beautiful Cane River Lake and along with being a wonderful area to take a romantic stroll, it’s also an popular wedding and event venue.

Natchitoches Continued… - Tour some of the filming sites of ‘Steel Magnolias’. Robert Harling grew up in Natchitoches, and lost his sister to diabetes in 1985. He turned that experience into the iconic stage play ‘Steel Magnolias’. The 1989 film adaption directed by Herbert Ross was filmed in and around Natchitoches. The Steel Magnolia House (now a B&B) is part of the Christmas Tour of Homes this year!

- Celebrate Christmas at the 91st Annual Christmas Festival of Lights. Held from Nov. 18-Jan. 6, this 45 night celebration of lights, fun and festivities is set along the backdrop of downtown Historic Natchitoches and Cane River Lake. Cane River is illuminated by more than 300,000 twinkling lights and 100 set pieces. Highlights of the Natchitoches Christmas season include the 91st Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival Day – always held on the first Saturday in December, The Holiday Tour of Homes, Natchitoches-NSU Christmas Gala, and spectacular fireworks displays over Cane River Lake. To learn more about the greater Natchitoches area’s attractions and events, lodging establishments, shops and restaurants, visit

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview on the 91st Annual Natchitoches Christmas & Annual Festival of Lights with Arlene Gould – Executive Director of Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Jill Leo of Natchitoches Historic District. Business Association.


A National Parks Arts Foundation Artist-in-Residence William Bretzger has been photographing Gettysburg for over 20 years. Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview about his work and career, and experience as the National Parks Arts Foundation’s artist-in-residence at Gettysburg National Military Park. William Bretzger’s work at Gettysburg started when he was just beginning as a photographer. During that time, he completed his master’s degree in photojournalism from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication, and then began a career in photography for daily newspapers. The first images he made at Gettysburg were 35mm color transparencies, many of which he printed for exhibition in a traditional darkroom.

Big Blend Radio: Photographer William Bretzger on-location in Gettysburg

Bretzger has since shifted to shooting primarily black and white film in medium and large format, and continued his darkroom work as well as returning to color images of the battlefield, now often shooting in digital format.


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William Bretzger Continued… At a beautiful, serene location such as Gettysburg it is easy to get caught up in cliché landscape images. But in repeated visits – with his work now stretching into a third decade – the deeper, storytelling images become apparent. Bretzger’s photography, perhaps because of his photojournalism background, is focused on capturing the soul and story of the battlefield as best he can imagine, and communicating it through the lens. The National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF), a 501(c)3 non-profit, has expanded its Artist-inResidence program Service at Gettysburg National Military Park to include 12 artists over 12 months. The Gettysburg Foundation supports the Gettysburg program which has become a model for artist residencies in all of the national parks. NPAF selects any sort of artist for national park residencies, from traditional landscape painters, photographers, to performers, installations, films/video, as well as writers, poets, sound artists, and new arts media. More information about these opportunities is available at PAGE 87


There’s nothing like strolling on a pristine ocean beach with nary a soul in sight and only the occasional gull or plover to share the space. Far off in the distance, a pair of whales spout, while nearby, several seals play peekaboo in the water. The air is fresh and crisp, and Mother Nature’s good mood means ample sunshine. It’s April on Cape Cod and the crowds have yet to make their way to this captivating destination. Come Memorial Day, however, they will be here en masse, staking claim to their spots in the sand, lining up at the lobster shacks and fudge shops and creating traffic jams along the roadways of this famed locale. Spring on Cape Cod is a magical time, as that’s when everything begins to awaken. Flowers start to bloom, while preparations are in process for the upcoming summer season. Workmen make their presence known as they ready hotels and other businesses in advance of the hordes of visitors that will soon descend on the area. But, there’s still a sleepy quality to the place, with the majority of attractions closed or “shut” as the signs indicate. To some, this particular reality may be a downside.

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with Debbie Stone, who talks about her Cape Cod & Nantucket Island experience. Others, though, might view it as an opportunity to leisurely explore one of the country’s most beautiful vacation spots with plenty of elbow room to spare. Geographically, Cape Cod is situated at the extreme southeast corner of Massachusetts. Originally a peninsula, it became a man-made island after the Cape Cod Canal was built in 1914. The history of this area dates back 10,000 years ago, when the earliest inhabitants arrived. Native Americans, the Wampanoag in particular, populated the region prior to the Pilgrims making their appearance in 1620.


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Cape Cod & Nantucket Continued… The Pilgrims came aboard the Mayflower and sailed into Provincetown Harbor on the hooked tip of the Cape after a difficult trans-Atlantic voyage. Before going ashore, they executed the Mayflower Compact, which committed all male passengers to pledge to cooperate in the new government. The ship then left Cape Cod and proceeded to Plymouth, where the first colony was established. As the colony grew, some individuals decided to move to the Cape, where they farmed and fished for their livelihood. English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold is credited with coining the name of the area after he visited its shores in 1602 and took aboard a “great store of codfish” from the peninsula’s surrounding waters.

The Cape boasts some impressive statistics including 586 miles of seashore, 13 lighthouses, 115 beaches, 106 miles of bike paths, 83 museums, 321 hotels, 2,254 shops and over a thousand restaurants.

Beaches remain the most popular of destinations for visitors and the options are many, from popular Sandy Neck in Barnstable to Race Point and Herring Cove in Provincetown. Cape Cod is approximately seventy miles long Some, like Town Beach in Sandwich, are from the Canal to Provincetown’s Race Point on accessed via a boardwalk that is built over low the outer tip of the island. It encompasses a total dunes and a creek. As you stroll the walkway, of 399 square miles and is from one to twenty you’ll notice that the planks are engraved with miles wide. There are fifteen towns on the Cape, names and special messages. After Hurricane which are divided into three sections: Upper, Mid Bob destroyed the initial boardwalk in 1991, and Lower Cape. residents and business owners purchased new planks to rebuild it. The area is easily accessible by car from Boston and other New England metro areas. For those seeking the wild, untamed coastline, Additionally, there are regularly scheduled flights Cape Cod National Seashore is a must. Henry to the Cape from major airports in Boston and David Thoreau, who traced the coast of the Providence. Though relatively close to several Atlantic Ocean in Massachusetts back in the metropolitan hubs, the island possesses a feeling 1800s, wrote of the area, “A man may stand of being “world’s away” from urban existence. there and put all America behind him.” Continued on Next Page… PAGE 90

Cape Cod & Nantucket Continued…

Nobska Lighthouse

Begin your visit with an orientation at the Salt Pond Visitor Center, which offers an outstanding museum with exhibits that showcase the Outer Cape’s location in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and Wampanoag culture and history. You’ll be treated to lovely views of Salt Pond, Nauset March and the Atlantic, while learning about the best hiking trails, beaches, scenic routes and overlooks within this forty-mile sanctuary. The landscape is diverse, consisting of marshes, ponds, sandy beaches, uplands and wild cranberry bogs. There are also several historic buildings, including lighthouses, cottages and even an old life-saving station. Lighthouses have played a major role in the history of the island. Highland Light in Truro was the first to be erected back in 1798 and served as a beacon for voyagers coming from Europe to Boston. The present brick structure dates from 1857 and is perched high along windswept bluffs overlooking the Atlantic. Don’t be surprised if you see golfers in the vicinity, as Highland Links, one of the Cape’s oldest courses, is located nearby.

The place has seen more than a hundred years of golf and boasts a heritage that’s aligned with the genuine links of the Scottish tradition. The course is comprised of deep natural rough, Scotch broom and heath, and has spectacular ocean views, though the conditions are known to be quite windy. Each of the lighthouses on the Cape has its own quintessential New England flavor. My personal favorites include picture-pretty Chatham Light, which is on Coast Guard property in the town of Chatham; Nauset Light in Eastham, famous for being the lighthouse featured on the Cape Cod Potato Chips bag; and Nobska Light in Woods Hole. The latter is a photographer’s dream, as the setting is incredibly beautiful and romantic. Poised on a hilltop overlooking Vineyards Sound and Martha’s Vineyard, this extraordinary location offers epic sunsets. Visitors to the island might be surprised to learn that it is a cultural mecca. Artists, actors and writers have been coming to the Cape for years, inspired by its dramatic landscape.


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Cape Cod & Nantucket Continued… There are year-round festivals celebrating the arts, as islanders embrace creativity in all forms. Galleries abound, as do museums, where the offerings range from the esteemed Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the Cahoon Museum of American Art to the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Museum and the Heritage Museums and Gardens. Some of these institutions might not be open in the off-season, so it’s always good to check websites for accurate information. Of special note is the Sandwich Glass Museum with its extensive collection of the various types of glassware produced in Sandwich by the well-known Boston & Sandwich Glass Company in the 1800s. Daily glassblowing demonstrations are given on-site.

Glass blowing at Sandwich Glass Museum

One of the most popular attractions on the Cape is the JFK Hyannis Museum and corresponding Kennedy Memorial. People flock to Hyannis to pay homage to our 35th president, who spent many idyllic times sailing in the ocean near his summer home in Hyannis Port. The monument, which is adorned with Kennedy’s image, looks over Lewis Bay. A small garden and fountain provide space for reflection. The museum is dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of JFK, his family and their deep connection to the Cape. Through a series of engaging multi-media displays and numerous photos, visitors are able to gain greater insight into Kennedy’s private and public life. The newest exhibit, “JFK at 100: Life and Legacy,” tells the story of our fallen president from his childhood through Election Day and beyond into the White House. Among the displays are rarely seen photos of Kennedy and his wife Jackie, along with other family members, as well as pictures of life at the Kennedy Compound, often known as the Summer White House.

Gain insight into Kennedy’s private and public life at the JFK Museum in Hyannis.

Cape Cod Potato Chips’ factory self-guided tour

Its chips are known for being kettle-cooked and Also in Hyannis is the Cape Cod Potato Chips factory, where you can take a self-guided tour to thicker-than-normal in consistency. And of course, free samples are provided at the end of learn about the process of making these tasty snacks. The company is a success story that has the tour. Continued on Next Page… brought additional fame to the Cape. PAGE 92

Stately homes and cobblestone streets are among Nantucket’s many charms.

Seafood reigns supreme on the Cape, with lobster taking center stage.

Cape Cod & Nantucket Continued… Culture is also prominent in the region’s architecture, with many homes built in the recognizable Cape Cod style, which traces its origins to Colonial New England. I experienced house envy, as I oohed and aahed at these beauties with their steeply pitched roofs, end gables, double dormers and weathered cedar shake shingles. And then there are the numerous historical monuments, colonial courthouses and 18th and 19th century churches and meetinghouses that dot the island. As you drive around, you’ll begin to notice that these handsome edifices are prolific in each town. One after another, they appear as sentinels or guardians of the past. They are among some of the most photogenic buildings you’ll ever see. A few, like the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown and Scargo Tower in Dennis, offer great views of the surrounding areas. As you trudge up the seemingly never-ending stairs of the Pilgrim Monument, know that the reward is definitely worth the climb!

Homemade fudge and ice creameries abound You’ll also be tempted to stop at the homemade fudge and ice creameries, which are abundant on the island. Indulge yourself. You won’t be disappointed. When it comes to accommodations, the Cape has more than 19,000 guest rooms available. The options are extensive, from small B&Bs and intimate country inns to full-service resorts. I planted myself at the centrally-situated Platinum Pebble Boutique Inn in Harwich during my stay. This adults-only, upscale, yet surprisingly affordable property, is rated as one of the top inns on the Cape and it exceeded my expectations on every level. The place is located in the heart of the island on a quiet residential street within walking distance to the beach, several conservation areas and the Cape Cod Rail Trail (a great multi-user trail that extends 32 miles from Harwich to Wellfleet).

Such physical exertion demands sustenance. Be assured you won’t go hungry on the Cape. There’s something to appeal to everyone’s palette and budget. Seafood, however, reigns supreme. I ate my fill and then some of fresh fish, clams, shrimp and lobster. The latter appeared in so many different forms including rolls, bisque, salads, pasta, quesadillas, melts and more, that I stopped counting. PAGE 93

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The Platinum Pebble Boutique Inn is top-rated.

Taking the ferry to Nantucket helps visitors get into an “island time” mode.

Cape Cod & Nantucket Continued… It’s also close to Herring River, a prime spot for kayaking. The inn is artfully designed in a chic, contemporary style with clean lines and soothing tones. Rooms are ample in size with expansive walk-around showers, comfy beds and lovely linens. They’re blessedly free of knick-knacks and potpourri. Outside, there’s a swimming pool, outdoor fireplace and perennial garden.

It’s a magical place with a legendary status that attracts visitors from all parts of the globe, many who return year after year. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, art aficionado or sports enthusiast, there’s something for everyone on Nantucket.

Reaching the island takes a bit of effort, but the journey is part of the experience. You can only Owners Stephanie and Mike Hogan are terrific get there by sea or air, as there are no land hosts, who genuinely care about their guests. routes, bridges or tunnels connecting the island They are incredibly helpful, offering advice, to the mainland. The majority of visitors don’t suggestions and recommendations about bring their cars because having one on activities and attractions on the island. They will Nantucket is more of an inconvenience than an also make dinner reservations for you at any one asset. It’s also costly to put your vehicle on the of the numerous restaurants in the area. And car ferries. Hy-Line Cruises operates a highSteph, a real foodie, whips up delightful gourmet speed catamaran passenger-only ferry year breakfasts each morning that you can choose to round between Hyannis on Cape Cod and have served in your room, the lounge or on the Nantucket. The trip takes an hour and it’s a great patio by the pool. One morning it was baconway to relax and get into an “island time” mode, wrapped asparagus, poached eggs and a fruit while enjoying the scenery. parfait with yogurt and homemade granola. Continued on Next Page… Another time it was Belgian waffles with whipped lemon ricotta. On my last day at the inn, Steph made it even harder for me to leave after I consumed her eggs Benedict and sweet potato hash. Next stop – Nantucket Island. Known as the “faraway land” or “the Grey Lady,” this enchanting enclave, thirty miles out to sea, has been the recipient of numerous accolades over the years, including “Best Island in the World” by National Geographic. Weathered, shingled buildings in Nantucket PAGE 94

Cape Cod & Nantucket Continued… As you come into the harbor, all of your preconceived notions of Nantucket, will instantly become reality. The place is everything you imagined it to be, from the classic weathered grey shingled cottages to the quaint cobblestone streets lined with eclectic shops and eateries. This pocket-sized island, which measures about fourteen miles long and three and a half miles wide, is devoid of traffic lights, fast food restaurant chains and neon signs. Approximately 10,000 residents make their home here year-round, but during the summer months this number skyrockets to 60,000. This is reason enough to come in the off-season, when you’ll have the place pretty much to yourself. The island is ideal for cyclists, as there are more than 29 miles of bike and multi-user paths, as well as miles of roadways to explore on two wheels. And the bike shops in town are stocked with rentals, so no need to haul your equipment with you on the ferry. Many attractions are located within the main hub of the island and thus also accessible on foot. Head to the visitors center for orientation information and make sure to pick up the self-guided historic walking tour.

Wandering about, you’ll see a variety of architectural styles including early lean-to houses, Federal and Greek Revival mansions with classical porticos, Victorian homes with gingerbread elements, and of course, the typical Nantucket House with a four-bay façade and central chimney. Many of the stately residential buildings on Main Street date from the 1820s, 30s and 40s, and were constructed by wealthy families during Nantucket’s economic peak. Some historical properties of note in town include the Old Mill, which has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating windmill in the country; Quaker Meeting House, the last of its kind to survive on the island; Old Gaol, the town’s penal facility until 1933; Oldest House, the sole surviving structure from the island’s original 17th century English settlement; African Meeting House, one of the oldest Black church buildings in the nation; and the Fire Hose Cart House.

The latter was built forty years after the Great Fire of 1846 destroyed much of downtown Nantucket to serve as a reminder of the pivotal role fire played in the island’s history. This Nantucket has preserved some of the finest 18th catastrophic incident propelled an already and early 19th century architecture in the declining economy to hit bottom and eventually country. It’s a remarkably intact town where cause the demise of Nantucket’s whaling more than 800 houses built before the Civil War industry. Decades of hardship followed until the still stand. Due to its architectural integrity, the island began to reinvent itself as a tourist historic core was designated a National Historic destination. Landmark in 1966 and subsequently extended to Continued on Next Page… the entire island in 1971. PAGE 95

Cape Cod & Nantucket Continued… There are a number of small museums on the island with niches that explore the natural sciences, ecology and marine life, astronomy, the art of Nantucket’s famed lightship baskets, shipwreck and lifesaving efforts, and more. The Nantucket Whaling Museum, however, takes center stage. Housed in what was once a spermaceti candle factory, the museum provides fascinating insight into the island’s century-long reign as Whaling Capital of the World. It features top-quality exhibits with galleries devoted to scrimshaw art, decorative arts, trading souvenirs from Asia and the South Pacific, portraits of whaling captains and wealthy merchants and a restored 1847 candle factory.

A 46-foot sperm whale skeleton dives from the ceiling of the Whaling Museum. Original Nantucket lightship baskets were made from tightly woven rattan with sturdy wooden bottoms and swinging handles, designed to tote anything from food to firewood. Sailors on whaling ships would make them to while away the long hours of boredom at sea and then often give them to their wives left on shore.

In the souvenir gallery, you’ll find such items as a Hawaiian tribal necklace made of whale tooth and hair, a warrior’s sharkskin body armor and a rare model of a Maori war canoe. An integral component of the museum is the 1847 spermaceti-candle factory with its two-story beam press, the only original beam press still in place in the world, along with the foundation of The museum’s collection of scrimshaw is considered one of the most important of its kind. the oil-processing tryworks. Highlights include some of the earliest and rarest The most dramatic object in the museum, sperm whale teeth engraved by famous however, is a 46-foot sperm whale skeleton that scrimshaw artists, as well as specimens of tools, dives from the ceiling, mouth open, teeth coconut-shell dippers, furniture, boxes and menacing. more. In the decorative arts gallery, you’ll discover a wonderful collection of lightship Continued on Next Page… baskets and framed needlework pieces. PAGE 96

Mural downtown depicts distances from Nantucket to points in the world.

Cape Cod & Nantucket Continued… Being this close to such an articulation is breathtaking. It’s almost as if the whale is an animated being- swimming, twisting and turning its head, flipping its tail - while eyeing you, the human, not the other way around. The skeleton is from a bull whale that died in 1998, after floundering for two days in the surf off the eastern end of the island. This excellent museum also offers several programs for visitors. Take time to watch the signature “Nantucket” film by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ric Burns or listen to a storyteller present the tale of the ill-fated Nantucket whaleship Essex, which was sunk in the Pacific in 1820 after being attacked by a sperm whale. This was the story that inspired Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. And before you leave, check out the rooftop observation deck. Positioned to see all of the harbor and much of the town, it offers spectacular views of the island. From this perch, it’s easy to imagine Nantucket as a thriving, bustling whaling port.

History is a major draw on the island, but its beaches are also prime attractions. Nantucket boasts more than 82 miles of some of the finest beaches in the northeastern U.S. Those on the north side of the island, like Brant Point, Jetties and Steps, are generally calmer than those located on the south end because they are protected by Nantucket Sound and have fewer waves. On some of the beaches, you can drive a vehicle, as long as you have a permit. One of the popular activities is to rent a jeep for the day and go out to Great Point, on the extreme northwest tip of the island. This is a ruggedly beautiful coastal environment with windswept dunes, tidal ponds and marsh grasses. The area provides multiple habitats for an array of coastal plant and animal species. Driving on sand can be tricky, though, so it’s best to heed the instructions about tire pressure because if you get stuck, the tow fee is steep.


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Serenity at Great Point Lighthouse After about seven miles of driving on the beach, you’ll reach Great Point Light. The setting is stunning and remarkably serene, especially in the off-season. It might surprise you, however, to realize that the rocks you thought you saw from a distance are actually seals. This is a wellknown basking spot for these creatures and they are everywhere. Pups frolic in the water, while moms vigilantly watch them. Further down the beach the large males or bulls lounge indolently. Look for the horseshoe crabs that skitter in the sand and gaze at the shorebirds that skim the waves. This is nirvana.

The restored Periwinkle Guest House Take a walk or ride around the area, which is mostly residential, consisting of typical Nantucket style houses and smaller low-roofed bungalows. Some of these dwellings are over two centuries old. Many, like a number of homes on the island, are identified by their names, such as The Beehive, Woodbox, Little Miss Dreamer and Captain’s House, as opposed to their addresses. This is common practice on the island and it’s fun to read off the various habitation epithets as you roam the area.

Like Cape Cod, Nantucket shines in the culinary arena with plentiful offerings from the sea, Another nice outing is to visit the wee village of including its renowned Nantucket Bay Scallops. Siasconset or ‘Sconset’ as the locals call it, on the The island’s chefs take pride in incorporating southwestern side of the island. Getting there fresh, seasonal ingredients in their innovative involves a pleasant seven mile bike ride from dishes, creating palette-pleasing, farm-to-table town on a dedicated path. You’ll know you’ve meals. Restaurants run the gamut from high end arrived when you reach a roundabout, where fine dining establishments with to-die-for views there’s a small post office and a few shops. The to casual eateries where you can kick back and exertion demands a treat, so head into the enjoy the local color. In the off-season, there are Siasconset Market for an ice cream cone or fewer options available, but it’s never a problem sandwich made to order. finding good food. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 98

Furnishings are reminiscent of the style of the whaling era and contribute to the ambiance of an authentic old fashioned guest house. And to further set the scene, there’s a copy of Moby Dick in each room for your reading pleasure. A tasty continental breakfast buffet is available in the mornings with delicious homemade muffins, granola, fruit, yogurt, juices, coffee and tea. Dine in the cozy breakfast room or opt to eat outside in the lovely garden. Later in the afternoon, freshly baked cookies will greet you after your day’s outing. When it comes to questions about the island, Gail, the concierge, is a wealth of information. She’s also available to make dinner and tour reservations. Cape Cod & Nantucket Continued… When it comes to libations, the island’s triumvirate of Nantucket Vineyard, Triple Eight Distillery and Cisco Brewers has you covered. Better yet, you can taste and sample any of these offerings in just one location. It’s a triple threat, guaranteed to please any kind of drinker, any kind of taste. You’ll find locals and visitors alike mingling at the picnic tables inside the big white tent, or on the back deck, as they imbibe in a glass of Peach Pinot Gris, Cranberry Vodka or Whale’s Tale Pale Ale, while listening to live music.

For more information on Cape Cod visit, and for Nantucket Island, see: 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.

There’s a wide array of lodging options on the island, including cozy B&Bs, distinctive inns, grand old hotels, full-service resorts and cottages set amidst rural landscapes. Most of the properties are located within the main town. Many are historic homes that have been impeccably restored, such as the Periwinkle Guest House, where I stayed during my visit. This Greek Revival style house, circa 1846, is located in an area historically known as “Guest House Row.” It’s conveniently located and within walking distance to the ferries, downtown shopping, restaurants, beaches and the Whaling Museum. Rooms, some with king and queen size four-posted canopy beds, offer views of the harbor, gardens or other historical homes in the neighborhood. PAGE 99

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Canadian Landscape As Seen Aboard the Rocky Mountaineer “Is that a coyote?” I turn my gaze out the window of our 360º view glass-dome coach. Other passengers follow suit, buzzing with excitement over our first confirmed wildlife sighting aboard Canada’s luxury train, the Rocky Mountaineer. And we haven’t even left the Vancouver, B.C. station. For Seattle travelers like myself, our Gold-Leaf rail riding adventure began the previous day on the Coastal Passage which connects the two global destinations. Our overnight stay at Seattle’s historic, newly-renovated (2016) Fairmont Olympic Hotel included a delectable dinner at Shucker’s, the in-house Oyster Bar and Restaurant. After a leisurely breakfast, followed by a window-shopping excursion, we’re ready to hop aboard Rocky Mountaineer’s Coastal Passage for our day trip to Vancouver. Within minutes after boarding, our engaging host delivers a celebratory cranberry spritzer to kick off our journey in high style.

Listen to Nancy Mueller discuss her Rocky Mountaineer experience, on Big Blend Radio! On-board crew members of the Guest Experience take turns entertaining us with stories of the region’s history as our train winds the coastline out of Seattle through small communities like Mt. Vernon, Stanwood and Bellingham. Meanwhile, we’re content to simply sit back in our comfortable seats and listen while we soak up the scenic views across Puget Sound, Skagit Valley and Chuckanut Bay.

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Rocky Mountaineer Continued… As we cross the border into Canada approaching twilight, we perk up when two crew members process down the aisle flourishing a Canadian flag, leading everyone in a rousing rendition of the country’s national anthem, “O Canada.” We arrive at our next destination rested and wellnourished after an exquisite evening meal, happy to pause for the night. We’re whisked off to our hotel, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, where rail passengers stayed as early as the 1800s, enjoying the hotel’s style and comfort before continuing their travels. Vancouver is the launching pad for the next part of our Rocky Mountaineer adventure. Here passengers have a choice of routes linking to the Canadian Rockies. For those of us taking the First Passage to the West, we’ll retrace the historic route of the Canadian Pacific Railway, passing notable landmarks like Craigellachie, site of the “Last Spike” of CP Rail linking Canada coast to coast. But first we have a day to stay and play in Vancouver. We make a beeline to the waterfront. From here we jump on the rainbow-colored Aquabus, a tiny water taxi that takes us to Granville Island for a stroll through the public market, featuring everything from fresh produce and gourmet foods to baked goods, spices, and seafood. Later, we stop by the Vancouver Art Gallery to catch a Picasso exhibit, followed by Happy Hour at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Bright and early the next morning, we’re transported to the Rocky Mountaineer Station. After a resplendent bagpiper send-off, with waves from a smiling Rocky Mountaineer staff, our First Passage to the West journey begins. Before reaching our final destination in Banff, we will have traveled 594 miles at elevations up to 3,618 feet, through the peaks of the spellbinding Canadian Rockies, into the famed spiral tunnels, across wide swaths of farmland and grasslands. Best of all, we do so from the comfort of our seating or outdoor viewing vestibule for unparalleled photo opportunities. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 102

Bagpiper Send-off Fairmont Hotel, Vancouver

Rocky Mountaineer Continued… The first day of our route follows along the “Mighty Fraser,” the longest river in British Columbia. We pass by berry farms and orchards while watching a bald eagle soar overhead from the top of our bi-level panoramic coach. The gentle rocking of the train car is like a lullaby on rails, making it easy to nod off now and then. But our attention always returns to Mother Nature’s ever-changing landscape, a movable feast for the eyes and spirit. On this leg of our trip, we’ll see Hell’s Gate, the narrowest part of the Fraser, and one of the most popular attractions along this route, together with Rainbow Canyon, so-named for the ribbons of colors produced by its rock minerals.

Our 10-hour day flies by, even for restless travelers, as we move about the car, conversing with other passengers, sharing wine and spirits together over scrumptious, locally-sourced meals. Snacks are served at regular intervals so no fears about getting hungry anytime soon. For Executive Sous Chef Daniel Stierhof, “the scenery is the best part of his job” aboard the Rocky Mountaineer. That, along with memorable moments with “Trains for Heroes,” an annual event when Rocky Mountaineer invites unsung heroes to ride the rails. Chef Daniel’s main mission, he explains, is “to make sure each guest has their best experience.” Hiring, training staff and handling logistics of culinary wizardry are among his most important duties. Lucky for us, Chef Daniel’s background as a pastry chef is on full display when dessert is served. On his watch, chances are good that passengers will enjoy a creme brûlée (his favorite food to make) or peach cake, a treasured family recipe. Continued on Next Page…

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Engaging Crew on the train

Scallops, Carrots, Bok Choy and Cauliflower

Rocky Mountaineer Continued…

Salmon. Photo: Rocky Mountaineer

Our arrival into the historic rail town of Kamloops comes a bit later than planned due to an unexpected train delay. But no one here is in a hurry to move on anytime soon. Yet following our overnight stay at Hotel 540, move on we must to beautiful Banff. In an impressive coordinated bus ballet, seventeen buses arrive simultaneously to take passengers back to the gleaming Rocky Mountaineer. We’re told train elves have cleaned every window overnight to ensure the best possible viewing of the day’s coming wonders. As we climb aboard for the second day of our First to the West adventure, our crew greets each of us by name, welcoming us to “Please settle back as we begin our wonderful day.” Our Guest Services Manager assures us that “They were all up all night to paint the sky blue for us,” which has to be the ultimate luxury experience by anyone’s standards. Still ahead? Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, the Hoodoos unique rock formations, spiral tunnels and crossing of the Continental Divide. We can hardly wait. Nancy Mueller is a Seattle-based speaker, travel writer/photographer, publisher of, author of “Work Worldwide: International Career Strategies for the Adventurous Job Seeker”, and a member of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association. PAGE 104

Click here for the Rocky Mountaineer’s recipe for Braised Alberta Beef Short Ribs, simmered in Okanagan Valley Merlot and served with horseradish mashed potatoes! Short Rib. Photo: Rocky Mountaineer

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It’s quite amazing that in rural Norfolk, as well as over much of England, it is possible to walk along Roman Roads through many miles of unspoiled, natural beauty. Although we all know that the Romans had a fantastically advanced way of life, with underfloor heating, baths, mosaics, pottery, glass, houses, farms and had a great love of international food and drink, the main thing which many of us don’t realise is that this all relied upon a fantastic system of communication. The Romans were good sailors but their ability to quickly set up forts and an excellent network of reliable roads meant that they could expand their area of command swiftly and efficiently. When they first arrived in England, they took over control of some existing towns, such as Colchester in Essex, and built up their empire around those places. They soon established their own major settlements, with the road systems acting as the arteries and veins, to enable these settlements to become their centres of administration - their area capitals. These Roman towns and cities often still exist as our County towns and cities today.

Listen to Glynn Burrows discuss England’s Roman Roads on Big Blend Radio! Roman roads were very large structures, typically measuring 16 to 23 feet wide and, because they were always built to be free from mud, reaching a height of around 1 foot 6 inches in the centre. The line of the road was usually set with ranging poles, in a straight line across the countryside, unless natural obstacles made it much easier to deviate and, if on good solid ground, the surface was built up of progressively smaller stones, finishing with gravel, or large flat stones, if available, on the top.

If the road was to cross wet ground, the road would often be built on piles and raised well above the surrounding countryside. The road surface would have a camber and there would be ditches either side, to allow good drainage. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 107

Roman Roads Continued… It is testament to their engineering skills that many of these roads are still in very good condition today, even after nearly two thousand years of weathering, use, and the build-up of debris. Where they have fallen out of use for a long time, some of them are very difficult to spot at ground level but, as they were often used as Parish or property boundaries they can still be spotted on maps and aerial photographs, as straight lines running across the countryside. England is definitely a long way from Rome and the climate is definitely very different, so I have to spare a thought for the poor Roman Centurions who had to come to this outpost of the Empire to spend time building roads, towns, cities, forts, and converting the locals to the Roman way of life. It is thanks to them and their hard work, that we can take walks through some of our beautiful countryside, enjoying the nature which has sprung up alongside these routes. Many of the hedgerows and the creatures which live in and on them, are the descendants of the flora and fauna which were there two thousand years ago.

Taking a walk along my local Roman road, The Peddar’s Way, couldn’t be easier. All I need to do, is drive about ten miles, park up and walk. There is no charge and it is open 24/7, 365 days a year. The spot I would go to is where the present road, which for a few miles is built on the Peddar’s Way, veers off to the right, leaving the Roman road to continue on its journey through the fields, and on to the Norfolk coast. Parking the car, I put my back-pack on my back and stroll off, taking in the smell of the freshly cut cereal crop in the field over the hedgerow. The first thing I notice, apart from the smell, is the coolness of the air between the high, overhanging hedgerows. Surprising how the dappled shade of the leaves not only cuts down the sun getting through, but traps the moisture from escaping too, making the air in here a lot cooler and damper than the air where I parked the car.

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Roman Roads Continued… Quickly leaving the hustle and bustle of the day behind me, I soon enter into a totally different world. There are no signs of modern life, and the scale of the track is much more human than the roads “out there”. Between the hedgerows, the track is about six paces across, the centre does feel a little higher than the edges, and there are slight hollows on either side. The surface is mostly leaves and soil, there are lots of flints, and it feels very solid. The pattern for building Roman roads was obviously followed here. The sense of calm and serenity is almost palpable, with nothing but nature all around. Trees, flowers, insects, birds and even deer inhabit this area, along with shrews, mice, badgers and a myriad of other creatures. I am the outsider here, and I show my respect by keeping quiet and walking calmly. It’s not something I would do anyway, but the thought of music blaring out of ear-phones or jogging along this track would just be wrong. This is for a quiet, reflective walk, taking in the atmosphere. Atmosphere which is here by the bucketful.

Walking through the countryside, one gets the odd surprise: A bird flitting from branch to branch, hunting for a meal or looking at this strange creature, invading its space. A field of pigs, quietly enjoying themselves in the muddy corner of the field or just laying in the sun. A farm cottage, originally built for a labourer and his family, but now a holiday home. Traffic on one of the roads which cross the track, is a reminder that the real world is actually still there, but another reminder of the present day, is the welcome sight of a village in the distance, with an extremely welcome pub, where I can get a bite to eat. All this walking and fresh air makes me hungry and I must deserve something nice, I have to walk back to my car! Glynn Burrows is the owner of Norfolk Tours in England. For help or advice about tracing your family history, or if you are thinking about taking a vacation to England visit For more about the Peddar’s Way walk , visit here and find maps here.

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Altun Ha Archaeological Reserve From the moment we landed in Belize City, we noticed how easy the area is. Some places are hectic and people seem pushy and radiate irritation, but not here. Maybe we were just lucky and arrived on a slow day, but getting through the airport, renting a car, and figuring out our way to the hotel was painless and people were friendly and helpful. Driving in Belize City is not for the faint of heart. There is one stop light in Belize City and it doesn’t work. Stop signs seem to be a suggestion and be wary of one way streets. It’s not always obvious. As with many old cities, streets are tight, congested, and not clearly marked except for the “BUMP” signs. You can believe every one of those. We stayed downtown at the Ramada Princess. The hotel sits on the edge of the ocean and our view was lovely. Our room was clean and everything worked, especially the air conditioning. If we were more inclined to party, the Ramada would be perfect because there is a casino, movie theater, and nightclub on the ground floor, besides the restaurant and bar. Adjacent to the hotel, The Calypso Bar and Grill had fresh fish and a casual atmosphere.

Listen to Eva Eldridge talk about her trip to Belize, on Big Blend Radio The Ramada Princess is close to downtown, but I’m not sure the downtown area is much different from the rest of Belize City. It’s an interesting mix of businesses, homes, touristy areas, and a soccer field. Our first afternoon, we wandered around the city and found a local restaurant for fish balls, and yes, we laughed as we ate them, and crab soup. Everything tasted great, but the crab was the local crab which is small and slippery. But, while in Belize you have to try the local fare even if you end up wearing some of it. We stopped by an ice cream shop on the way back to hotel for a delicious sweet treat. If you are a beer drinker, you’re in luck. Belikin Beer is the official beer of Belize. Pretty much, it’s the only beer in Belize. Continued on Next Page…

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Cottage at Tranquility Bay Resort Belize Continued… One of the things we noticed was a lot of broken sidewalks and security guards. Once off the main street, be careful as you walk around because sidewalk maintenance isn’t a priority. We were told not to walk around at night, which is usually good advice when you are in a strange city. Despite the sidewalks and the traffic, I still loved the feel of the city.

One of the things I found interesting was Altun Ha didn’t practice sacrifices as some of the other ruins indicate. The stone work is tight and solid, but the jungle is going to claim its ground over time. Only a few of the structures were dug out and restored. Others are huge mounds of dirt. Standing in the plaza you can transport yourself back in time and imagine the people living and working in the area. I met my first allspice tree here and even the leaves smell like the spice.

Altun Ha Archaeological Reserve Altun Ha are Mayan ruins located about thirty miles north of Belize City. It’s an easy drive if you If you visit Altun Ha, I highly recommend using one of the local guides, bring a hat and don’t want to join a tour, but be careful of the speed bumps because they can sneak up on you. sunscreen because the sun is intense, and use mosquito repellent. Driving out of Belize City gives you an Tranquility Bay Resort opportunity to see areas that don’t cater to the The name says it all. Tranquility Bay Resort lies tourists. We went on a day where there weren’t just inside the remarkable Belize Barrier Reef, the buses of tourists, which was good for us, but maybe not so much for the vendors and guides. longest unbroken living reef on earth. It is the only resort on Ambergris Caye that is actually Our guide, Esther, said she lived in the area her inside the Bacalar Chica National Marine Park whole life and was able to give us local and United Nations World Heritage Site. information along with the history of Altun Ha. Tranquility Bay is fourteen miles from San Pedro The ruins were used for building materials until and access is by a thirty minute boat ride from 1963 when archeologists noticed and it became San Pedro. an archaeological site. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 111

Aquarium Restaurant Belize Continued… The ferry from Belize City to San Pedro is an hour and a half ride with a stop in Caye Caulker before dropping passengers off in San Pedro on Ambergis Caye. You can also fly in from Belize City. Our ride to Tranquility Bay was waiting for us when we got to San Pedro. We had a chance to get a bite to eat, pick up beer, and find a bathroom before they ferried us to the resort. We were greeted with drinks and a friendly smile. Seafood The staff took care of our luggage so all we had Shrimp and fresh fish, mostly red snapper, to do is make our way to our cottage. dominated the menu. We ate fish every day and The beds were comfortable and each unit had its we never tired of it. Everything was fresh and local. Fish was purchased from the local own hot water tank and air conditioning. Since I’m from the desert, having someplace to go that fisherman, unless you caught one and the chef cooked it for you. An eleven year old boy caught isn’t humid is very nice. The units come with a fridge and microwave. There’s a little coffee pot, a nice sized red snapper right off the dock. You but mostly, I think eating at the restaurant is the know what that family had for dinner. Even the vegetables came from the mainland and were preferred way to go. seasonal. What I really want to rave about is the Aquarium Besides the food, I loved the people, both the Restaurant. The food was amazing. We came in on a Saturday afternoon and had our first dinner guests and the staff. Belize is a melting pot of cultures and I love the variety. in the restaurant. Of course lobster is on the menu. Bacon wrapped lobster, lobster with Continued on Next Page… garlic. Lobster ceviche, lobster corn chowder. PAGE 112

Aquarium Restaurant Belize Continued… According to the manager, Mark Ridge, many of the employees were related and they all support each other. The guests were friendly, coming from all over the United States and Canada. Because most of the guests stay for a few days and there are only fourteen cabins, you get to know them. You see them at meals or playing and lounging on the beach. Tranquility Bay is one of the closest places to the barrier reef which makes diving or fishing the reef quite accessible. The bay waters are clear, aqua, and full of fish. It’s an ideal place to snorkel and watch the pelicans and frigate birds soar through the blue skies and dive for food. The sea grass shelters many small fish including sardines, baby tarpons, trumpetfish, and manta rays, just to mention a few. The Aquarium Restaurant is a perfect place to watch the fish, especially at night when they turn on the lights under the restaurant which attracts many of the fish. Activities like fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving can be arranged on site with their own dive shop. There are sea kayaks available for guest use, hammocks, and lounge chairs. You can be as busy as you want to be, or not at all.

Belikin Beer It was cool enough one morning I had to wear a long sleeved shirt for my morning walk. The bad thing about having no wind was the sand flies and mosquitoes. A strong bug repellant and a serious layer of baby oil was necessary to keep the little blood suckers at bay. I wasn’t completely successful and would suggest an antihistamine to help with the scratching, and a couple of happy hour cocktails.

Belize is less than a three hour flight from Dallas, TX. The language is English, although you will hear Spanish and other languages. Belize is working hard at being eco-friendly and I loved the fact that there was no television in the sustainable in regards to shrimp farming and cabins and the WiFi didn’t work well except in the tourism. If you want ruins and beaches, Belize is restaurant. This forced me to disconnect for a definitely a place to see. while. I read books, walked on the beach, played in the ocean, took naps, and enjoyed not doing Eva Eldridge is a contributing writer for Big anything. Weather wise, it was warm and humid Blend Radio & TV Magazine and Parks & Travel when we arrived. One day the wind shifted from Magazine. Along with travel and lifestyle an ocean breeze to an inland breeze, then articles, she also writes fiction and poetry. Visit completely died. PAGE 113

By Victoria Chick, contemporary figurative artist and early 19th & 20th Century Print Collector Although lighthouses existed to mark the ports of ancient civilizations, they were not recorded as subject matter by the artists of their time. Some drawings of lighthouse ruins have been left to us by archeologists of the 1800s. It was not until the 18th century, beginning the era of widespread naval trade, that the building of lighthouses proliferated. Obviously practical, they also came to be thought of as romantic symbols and began to appear in the work of visual artists. By the end of the 18th century, most every country with a coastline had artists that placed lighthouses in their paintings.

William Trost Richards - Seascape with Distant Lighthouse, Atlantic City, New Jersey (1873)

Listen to Victoria Chick discuss Lighthouses in Art, on Big Blend Radio!

The lighthouse purpose of guiding ships to harbor or warning of reefs; the joy of sailors on seeing a lighthouse after coming through stormy seas all made the lighthouse synonymous with comfort and safety.

Besides their architectural beauty, there were and are a number of qualities associated with lighthouses that contributed and still contribute to their being symbols having anthropomorphic relationships with human feelings. The isolation In art and in life, lighthouses are sometimes of lighthouses manned by a single individual viewed as relics of the past. In 2000, the National often represents loneliness. Lighthouses were Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act was passed engineered to withstand huge storms, that transferred lighthouses to local and nonmonstrous waves, and extreme temperatures profit control, with the U.S. Coast Guard still giving them a reputation for strength and the maintaining the lamps and lenses. idea of survival – a symbol of mans’ struggle with Continued on Next Page… nature. PAGE 114

Top: Fitz Hugh Lane - Owl's Head, Penobscot_Bay, Maine Bottom: Claude-Joseph Vernet - A Calm at a Mediterranean Port

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Lighthouses Continued‌

George Chambers - Port on a Stormy Day

This was done because with the passing of years, modern invention and technology have rendered lighthouses less necessary for safe navigation. Some 20th century paintings of lighthouses stress their purity of form and sculptural qualities rather than the original utilitarian purpose. These paintings are usually done from the land side perspective rather than the ocean side perspective. Earlier artists stressed the sailors’ dependency on the lighthouse by showing the relationship between the lighthouse, the sky, and the action of the water to the boat or ship. The position of the lighthouse as a symbol changed with some art styles in the late 19th century, when art forms became as important as the objects in the paintings. For example, Impressionist and Pointillist artists used the shape of the lighthouse as an excuse to paint the way light reflected off its surface. They were interested in the sun, not the lighthouse, per se. PAGE 116

Alfred Stevens - Lighthouse at Dusk

Lighthouses Continued‌ Nevertheless, through history, paintings including lighthouses have connected visually and emotionally with a large public. Artists will continue in the 21st Century to paint lighthouses thanks to preservation efforts in the United States and other countries. Victoria Chick is the founder of the Cow Trail Art Studio in southwest New Mexico. She received a B.A. in Art from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and awarded an M.F.A. in Painting from Kent State University in Ohio. Visit her website at

The Lighthouse on Point of Air, Flintshire

Claude-Joseph Vernet - A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast

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Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with photographer Otis Harville, who discusses his digital fine art imagery, his Four Pillars of Artistic Process, and traveling and photographing in various national and state parks across the country. An award-winning photographer with a passion for creating fine art imagery, Otis Harville is a native of Rochester Hills, Michigan who currently resides in Carmel, Indiana. He graduated with his first degree from Wayne State University. It was while finishing his studies at Indiana University Bloomington that this art form became his passion. Artist’s Statement: A digital fine art photograph is an image that is both artistically inspired and technically excellent. One without the other isn't enough. Technique without art is flat and uninviting, while art without good technique prevents the viewer from truly enjoying and appreciating the work. For me, a work of art is primarily the product of a person, not a machine. My goal is not to document the world we all have access to. Instead, my images are intended to be seen as a representation of my creativity, artistic intent, vision and desire to create a unique world as I transform light into fine art photographic prints.

My view is that fine art photography goes beyond simple reality. It requires the artist to be inspired to a vision beyond the simplicity of the image captured by the camera. By accessing my Four Pillars of Artistic Process, the integration of Inspiration and Creativity helps provide the Vision. This expressed vision paves the way for me to achieve a Personal Style that concentrates on landscape and outdoor photography. By going beyond simple reality, I aim to better serve the subject and to accurately represent my emotions by reflecting them in the image; not merely producing a straightforward representation of the world as it appears to most. For me, photography is a satisfying blend of creativity, intellectual challenge, and craftsmanship in the service of creating my memories of these environments. Continued on Next Page‌

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Otis Harville Continued‌ My approach to every scene has the same goal: utilize colors, tones, contrast, and a calibrated workflow to convey my emotions. By doing this, I create memories of moments of serene beauty and then preserve them with museum quality archival materials. Simply said, I consider digital photography to be an art form with three parts: Photography, Creative Imagination, Archival Printing.

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Video: Bobbi DePorter outlines each of the 8 Keys of Excellence

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Video: Karen Beppler-Dorn, Superintendent of Pinnacles National Park, discusses the Flexibility Key of Excellence

Flexibility - Change Direction. Be Willing To Do Things Differently. Compiled by Lisa D. Smith & Nancy J. Reid, proud ambassadors of the 8 Keys of Excellence character education program. From different languages to transportation delays, travel is a great teacher of flexibility. One that nudges us out of our comfort zone, and takes us on an alternate route towards our destination. It’s what makes travel a journey, and provides us with a true experience that we can learn from. One that leads us to understanding, and an acceptance and appreciation of cultures and customs different to our own. It also builds inner confidence and character, and sparks the flame of creativity.

Listen to Big Blend Radio’s special 8 Keys of Excellence show featuring: Bobbi DePorter – Co-Founder of SuperCamp & Creator of 8 Keys of Excellence; Ralph Masengill Jr., author of “Conquer Change & Win”; Sarah H. Elliston, author of “Lessons From a Difficult Person”, and Steve Schneickert – Big Blend Hollywood Historian.

Flexibility is the 7th Key in the 8 Keys of Excellence. Created by Bobbi DePorter, the 8 Keys of Excellence is a character education program that guides young people toward a positive future full of confidence, motivation, Flexibility is the willingness to try something creativity, team work, leadership and valuable different when we realize that what we’re doing isn’t working. Many times a day we are faced with life principles. On our way to changing the lives situations that are different from what we had of 50 million children, The Excellence Effect is a originally planned. One way to deal with these movement to build excellence in the lives of situations is to be rigid and continue to do things young people worldwide through the 8 Keys of in the same way over and over—another is to Excellence family and school character handle them with flexibility. Being flexible is programs. See responding to changing or new situations in ways that move us forward. Continued on Next Page… "I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination." Jimmy Dean

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Take a Virtual Walk in the Excellence Hall of Fame As part of The Excellence Effect, we’re taking a virtual walk down the Excellence Hall of Fame, to reflect upon some of the wise words written and spoken by eight leaders who exemplify the Flexibility Key of Excellence, and have parks and historic sites named in their honor! These parks are all within the National Park Service, and include: John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site, George Washington Carver National Monument, Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Clara Barton National Historic Site, Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site, Wright Brothers National Memorial. Continued on Next Page…

JOHN F. KENNEDY 35th President of the United States “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.”

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HARRY S. TRUMAN 33rd President of the United States GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER Botanist & Inventor “Since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.”

JOHN D. ROCKERFELLER JR. Financier, conservationist and philanthropist. “If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.”

“It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow's viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences.”

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT 32nd President of the United States “Take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly, and try another. But by all means, try something.” Continued on Next Page… PAGE 123

CLARA BARTON Nurse & Founder of the American Red Cross “This conflict is one thing I've been waiting for. I'm well and strong and young - young enough to go to the front. If I can't be a soldier, I'll help soldiers.”

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW Poet & Educator “All things must change to something new, to something strange.”

ORVILLE WRIGHT Inventor & Aviation Pioneer “If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance.” PAGE 124

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Parks & Travel Magazine Fall 2017  

PARKS & TRAVEL MAGAZINE: Fall 2017 – From California to Cape Cod, the Pacific Northwest to the Southwest, Canada, England and Belize, it’s a...

Parks & Travel Magazine Fall 2017  

PARKS & TRAVEL MAGAZINE: Fall 2017 – From California to Cape Cod, the Pacific Northwest to the Southwest, Canada, England and Belize, it’s a...