Vacation Station Travel & Leisure Magazine - Fall/Winter 2021

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CONTENTS 5. Editors Block

DESTINATIONS 8. The Arts In Silver City, New Mexico 14. Savor the Sights on 17-Mile Drive

UNIQUE SLEEPS 20. Stay Authentic in Palm Springs 22. Exclusive Tents 24. Ohio’s Mohicans Treehouse Resort 30. Bed & Breakfasts: Midwest to Mid-Atlantic 44. Bed & Breakfasts: Oregon’s Waterfall Trail

FALL TRAVEL & EVENT PLANNER 48. CityPass Discounted Attraction Tickets 50. San Diego Oktoberfests 52. Celebrate Fall in Tulare County, CA 56. Discover San Benito County, CA 58. Travel Medford, Oregon 59. Visit Albuquerque, New Mexico 60. DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun 62. Fun in the Sun in Yuma, Arizona 64. Fall Adventures in Yerington, Nevada PAGE 3

CONTENTS Continued… 68. Family Fun in Greeley & Weld County, CO 70. Fall Fun in Louisiana’s Oldest Settlement 74. Autumn Delights in the Midwest 76. Experience Erie, The Flagship City 77. Songs & Travel Puzzles

TOURISM & HOSPITALITY 78. Food, Wine & Travel Writer Talk 80. California’s Prop 22 Unconstitutional?!


EDITORS BLOCK “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” Jimmy Dean Welcome to the inaugural issue of Big Blend’s Vacation Station Travel & Leisure Magazine! From bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels to treehouses and glamping, this issue focuses on unique sleeps and lodgings across the country, as well as fall and holiday events and travels destinations, travel writing adventures, hospitality news, and even some fun games, puzzles and travel music. Of course, things are always changing in today’s world of travel so it’s always good to call or check websites before heading to a festival or destination. We all know that travel is a challenge for both the destination and the traveler these days. Both of us want the act of travel to happen, but it’s a rocky, bumpy road to get there. Usually, it’s worth it. After all, detours make travel a journey and give us those great stories and memories we can share throughout our lifetimes. Maybe all we need is a little smile and a bit of humor to help us along the way. Keep up with our travel stories, news & interviews: - Big Blend e-Newsletter - - - Big Blend Facebook Page - Big Blend Twitter - Big Blend Instagram - Big Blend YouTube - Big Blend Pinterest Happy Travels, Nancy J. Reid & Lisa D. Smith Big Blend’s mother-daughter team in travel, publishing, and podcasting.

FRONT COVER IMAGE: Glamping in Nature with Exclusive Tents. See story on page 22. 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.


by Victoria Chick

Sculpture at WMNU in Silver City PAGE 8

Historic Downtown Silver City In 2006, Silver City, New Mexico was put on the map as an art town by John Villani in his book "The 100 Best Art Towns in America." What was true in 2006 has grown exponentially with the arrival of new visual artists, musicians, and writers, the development of art festivals and workshops, numerous galleries, international exhibitions, and the formation of a fine art museum and art center in the process.

Victoria Chick on Big Blend Radio: Watch here in the YouTube player download/listen to the podcast in PodBean.

MUSIC Almost any evening a wide genre of music from rock to country, to folk, to jazz can be heard coming from the many restaurants and downtown bars and even Sunday mornings at the Tranquil Buzz Coffee Shop, where the proprietor and his friends play guitar, mandolin, and other stringed instruments.

at the University. The Community Concert Association presents 5-6 traveling productions in the winter months. As part of their contract, the performers spend an afternoon teaching and demonstrating their musical specialty to children.

Western New Mexico University extends an invitation to the community to attend concerts PAGE 9

Continued on Next Page…

Singer-songwriter Wally Lawder performs.

Silver City Continued… The Mimbres Region Art Council (recognized for several years as the best in New Mexico) is well known for the Memorial Weekend Blues Festival. An outdoor event in Gough Park, it is the largest free Blues Festival in the Southwest and is family-friendly.


and introducing new talent. SCAA Galleries also have special openings for new exhibits on a year-round basis. Let the galleries know you want to be notified or check the Silver City Art Association Calendar at Another active visual arts group with its own Gallery in Silver City is the Grant County Art Guild. Keep up with their exhibits at

A leading visual arts organization is the Silver City Art Association supporting member galleries, studios, and individual artists with weekend events or exhibitions. Gateway to the Continental Divide Mural at the Murray Ryan Visitor Center. At each annual SCAA RED DOT Studio Tour, artists open their normally private studios to the public who can see the art in progress, ask questions, and in some cases, try the process themselves. Driving to the various studios lets the tour-goer see some great scenery too. Columbus Day Weekend, October 9 and 10, will be the SCAA RED DOT Gallery Walk. All galleries in downtown Silver City will be open with new shows, works by your favorite artists, PAGE 10

Day of the Dead ofrenda mural in Silver City. Undoubtedly, the most visible art for a person lovers and artists and is generally held in driving into town is the works by the Silver City July. Mural Program. The murals definitely let you Continued on Next Page… know you are in an Art Town. These murals might be painted, or done in ceramic pieces and are always a breathtaking example of public art. Diana Ingalls Leyba is the director of the Mural program with other artists assisting. The professional artists guide school students in the development of the idea, its design, composition, and color. Most of the work is done by middle school and high school students and the subjects of the murals relate to the history, culture, or present life in Silver City.

THEATER Raging Thespians, Community Theater, Virus Theater, and the annual, outrageous, 1.98 Show are some of the companies that enjoy entertaining you. Check for schedules.

FESTIVALS Silver City loves Festivals. The largest is the week-long Clay Festival that just completed its 10th year. Each year is different but always has a mix of exhibits, workshops, lectures, tours, clay market, and a juried International Clay Exhibition. The Clay Festival appeals to both art PAGE 11

Street color by the Big Ditch in downtown Silver City. Silver City Continued… Silver City Print Fiesta invites printmakers from all over to participate in a giant outdoor street market. A special attraction of the print Festival is Steam Roller printing in the street. Artists use plywood to make a large woodblock printing plate. After ink is applied, an appropriately sized sheet of paper is placed on the carved plate, a heavy felt blanket over that, and then the whole thing is run over by a steam roller to transfer the ink to the paper. People cheer when the paper is lifted off and the print design is exposed. This year the Print Fiesta coincides with the RED DOT ARTWALK weekend. The Oct. 9-10 Silver City weekend is sure to satisfy any art lover.

MUSEUMS In Silver City visit the WNMU museum devoted to the preservation and study of pottery made by the Mimbres Culture Indians who lived in what is now Silver City and surrounding areas from about 200–1450 AD.

Also visit the Silver City Museum dedicated to the history of the area landscape, events, and people. In keeping with the designation of being one of the 100 Best Art Towns, the Southwest Regional Museum of Art and Art Center has been organized and is in the process of development in Silver City with American art the focus of its permanent collection. Join us in celebrating and appreciating the arts in Silver City, NM. Go to to see additional events and festivals/fiestas. 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


by Debbie Stone

The Lone Cypress PAGE 14

Feast for the senses. If you find yourself in Monterey or Carmel, don’t hesitate to add 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach to your must-see and do list. This scenic loop is one of the most picturesque drives in the country and can be accessed at several entrances in Carmel and Pacific Grove, as well as from the main highway off of California State Route 1. You’ll pay a fee (per car) to drive it, but it’s well worth it, as you’ll discover a host of jaw-dropping views, from dramatic coastal cliffs and white sand beaches to enchanting forests and giant trees. There are also famed golf courses and gorgeous homes dotting the area, evoking styles of the rich and famous.

Over a century ago, the drive was a trail used by covered wagons to transport guests from the posh Hotel Del Monte (now the site of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey) to picnic grounds along Pebble Beach. In 1919, Pebble Beach Golf Links and The Lodge at Pebble Beach opened to the public. Later, Spyglass Hill Golf Course opened and the first U.S. Open Championship was held at Pebble Beach. Other world-class golf courses and hotels followed, creating a luxurious enclave of accommodations, restaurants, and spas. The first stop that visitors often make on the route is Spanish Bay, as it has a lovely beach with ample parking. Historical records note that Spanish explorers camped out here in 1769. They were attempting to find Monterey Bay and mistook it for Spanish Bay.

Upon entrance, you’ll be given a map with a brief description of each point of interest along the route. There are seventeen in all. Allow a few hours for the trip, especially if you stop to eat or take lots of pictures. And trust me, the photo ops are plentiful. PAGE 15

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17- Mile Drive Continued

Bird Rock

From Spanish Bay to Point Joe is the Restless Sea. It’s aptly named because the ocean is known to be turbulent in this section of the coastline. Some say this is due to the currents’ proximity to the shore or the submerged rocks. Waves crash and converge and the scene is a mesmerizing feast for the senses. Further up the road is Point Joe. Story has it that in the early 1900s, a man called Joe lived in a driftwood hut here and sold trinkets to tourists. No one really knows if Joe was named for the Point or vice versa. You can’t miss Bird Rock, with all the white substance (guano) covering it from the bird life that inhabits the area. Cormorants and pelicans, along with sea lions, share the rock. Seals and sea otters also like to hang out nearby. This is when a pair of binoculars comes in handy.

The Gingerbread House This colorful residence, with its high-pitched and painted tile roof, resembles a cottage from the fairytale, “Hansel and Gretel.” It was built back in the 1940s by artist Pedro de Lemos and was meant to be used as temporary living quarters during the construction of a main dwelling, which was never finished.

Fanshell Beach and Cypress Point Lookouts are choice spots for mother harbor seals to have At Seal Rock, there’s a little beach from where their babies. If you’re there between April 1st to you can hike on the boardwalk toward the June 1st, however, the beaches are closed, as Gingerbread House. this is the pupping season. PAGE 16

Purple carpet along Ocean View The Monterey Cypress takes center stage in Crocker Grove, home to the largest and oldest of these trees. This rare species can reach a soaring seventy feet in height and live for several hundred years. The grove is one of only two native Monterey Cypress forests in the world. The other is south of Carmel, at Point Lobos State Park. If you’re wondering about the grove’s name, it’s a nod to Charles Crocker, the railroad titan who built the Hotel Del Monte and the original 17-Mile Drive back in 1881. A favorite point of interest is the Lone Cypress. Situated on a rock overlooking the ocean, the tree has managed to survive the elements for more than 250 years. Its iconic form has been the logo of the Pebble Beach Company since its inception. You’ll probably have to wait your turn to frame the perfect picture, as there’s typically a throng of visitors congregating in the area. My advice, avoid the crowds and get an early start to the drive. Continued on Next Page…

The Crocker Grove PAGE 17

17- Mile Drive Continued

Formidable Rock is a perfect perch for this bird.

Towards the latter part of the route, you’ll come to The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Stretch your legs, stop in at the visitor center to learn more about the history of the area, peruse the high-end shops, grab a bite to eat or watch golfers ready for their game.

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and to all seven continents.

There’s not much to see on the drive after the Lodge, so if you want an easy departure, exit at the signs for Carmel. You’ll end up in the hub of this charming seaside town, which if you haven’t visited, now’s a good opportunity. And if you’re like me, you’ll never pass up a chance for a revisit.


White sand beaches.

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels Monkey Tree - Palm Springs This episode of Big Blend Radio's 2nd Tuesday "Food, Wine & Travel" Show with IFWTWA is all about seasonal fun and boutique hotels in Palm Springs, California. Featured guests are Kimberli Munkres of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels and Karina Castaneda of Los Arboles Hotel and El Mirasol restaurants. Watch their interview here in the YouTube player, or download/listen to the podcast on PodBean. Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is a consortium of independently owned boutique hotels, which are an essential part of this Southern California desert resort town’s uncommon culture and economy. From quirky to charming, mid-century modern to clothingoptional, Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels has got your stay! More at: PAGE 20

Glamping in Style While Connecting with Nature

This episode of Big Blend Radio features Zane Zway of Exclusive Tents, who talks about their custom crafted glamping and resort tents that are commissioned around the world! Watch here in the YouTube player or download/listen to the podcast on Podbean. Exclusive Tents was founded in 2005, but have been perfecting their craft since 1984. The company was started by two families that came together to

Relaxation in an Exclusive Tent

make the most durable and luxurious glamping tents on the market. Every stitch stitched, every piece of canvas cut, and every welded piece of steel is their form of art. Exclusive Tents has a mission of keeping things eco-friendly, with minimal footprint, and integrating nature within their designs. More: PAGE 22



By Mary Farah

As a travel writer, I’m always up for an adventure. I’ve had the pleasure to see some beautiful destinations and one-of-a-kind resorts. When the opportunity arose to pay a visit to the Mohicans Treehouse and Wedding Venue in Ohio, I jumped at the chance. Having never been to Ohio let alone stayed in a treehouse, I didn’t quite know what to expect. What did I find? An extremely unique and rural escape.

Mary Farah on Big Blend Radio: Watch her interview here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

Read on for five fun facts about the Mohicans and why you should plan a trip. 1. It’s Perfect for “Glamping”

I love to unplug and be far out in nature. That doesn’t mean I necessarily love the idea of camping. Visitors (who include Matthew McConaughey) can enjoy the best of both worlds


Tranquil Lake on the property. at the Mohicans. Wifi will be scarce in your treehouse or cabin (more on those later) and civilization is a good 10 miles away. Take the opportunity to enjoy the DVD player and movies in the room, read a book, or do what my husband and I did. We downloaded movies and watched them on our laptop while enjoying a bottle of wine. Living Room at the El Castillo

The grounds are pristine and there are over 75 acres of wide-open spaces for long walks and solitude. If you just can’t stand the thought of not checking your phone, rest assured. Service is accessible at the lake near the gateway entrance.

Loft bedroom at our Treehouse

No treehouse and cabin are alike and amenities include a kitchenette, cookware, and plates. Continued on Next Page… PAGE 25

Treehouses Continued…

Celebrate your wedding day at the Mohicans

Toiletries like shampoo and a hairdryer are not included, so pack accordingly. We stayed in the El Castillo treehouse (which means “castle”) and loved that there was both an outdoor and indoor shower. We marveled that the water was warmer than some hotels we’ve stayed in. 2. The Treehouses are Crafted and Built by the Amish We had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Mooney, founder of the Mohicans, and learn more about the resort. Located in Mohican-Loudonville, Ohio, the area has a strong Amish population. The craftsmanship and attention to detail within the treehouses are remarkable. We learned that most of Mooney’s contractors are from the Amish community. We even managed to see some horse-pulled buggies during our stay!

Wedding Ceremony Space Amish, it’s often a family affair. Most have been in the business for multiple generations. Each treehouse truly tells a story and boasts nearmagical energy. 3. It’s one of the Top Wedding Venues in the State

Take a look on the Mohicans Instagram, and you’ll notice they host a lot of weddings. They’re recipients of nearly a dozen wedding venue As cell phones are not the norm for his staff, awards and are continually named a “Best Of Mooney explained that you’ll see more pay Weddings” pick from the Knot (seven phones than usual when in town. Since consecutive years). craftsmanship is a common trade among the PAGE 26

The El Castillo Treehouse The wedding venue makes for exquisite fairy tale nuptials. The building is a stunning two-story timber frame. It sits among hardwoods and pines high atop the hills of the Buckeye state’s Mohican Valley. The elaborate solid oak rustic staircase leads up to the mezzanine with access to a second-story deck perched outside.

irresistible. Next up was a vegan Thai green curry bursting with flavor thanks to a hint of heat from Thai red peppers. For our main course, we devoured a line-caught red snapper with a beet and cilantro puree. They pulled out all of the stops and the meal was a highlight of our trip.

Given that the Mohicans cuisine is top-notch it's Guests can book the whole resort (six cabins and not surprising they’ve extended beyond the eight treehouses) for their big day. If something resort. Treehouse Provisions opened last year more intimate or spontaneous is desired, the and is located in Cleveland. Locals can order grounds are just as ideal. As someone who got online and carry out their meals or utilize married at the Beverly Hills Courthouse with DoorDash for delivery. Favorites like burgers and under 25 guests, I love the thought of a pasta make up just some of the wide array of treehouse elopement. selections. Need catering for a special day or big game? Treehouse Provisions is an excellent 4. Enjoy some of the Best Food Coming Out of choice. Cleveland 5. More Exciting Accommodations are on the During our stay, we got to experience a delicious, Way informal dinner in the resort’s kitchen. When guests book an event with the Mohicans, they Although the travel industry has in no doubt can work with their on-site catering services. As I struggled since 2020, the Mohicans have follow a gluten-free diet (and primarily persevered remarkably. Two new cabins, the pescatarian) I was impressed at the versatility of Manor and the Farmhouse have recently opened the culinary staff. with more on the way. Plans are underway for another treehouse, a glamping tent treehouse, We began with potato chips right out of the and even an Airstream cabin. oven. Salty and flavorful, it was easy to forget we had more plates coming since these were so Continued on Next Page… PAGE 27

Treehouses Continued…

Red Snapper with Beet and Cilantro Puree The El Castillo Treehouse

The bar has been set high for their peers and similar destinations. The resort is centrally located 65 miles from Columbus Airport and 80 miles from Cleveland Airport. You'll find supermarkets 20 miles away from Mount Vernon. You’re also a stone’s throw from the charming town of Loudonville. Looking to experience a treehouse stay on the West Coast? The Mohicans sister property, Klickitat Treehouse Resort, awaits you in White Salmon, Washington. As a lover of the Pacific Northwest, I cannot wait to see all they have to offer. Maybe a follow-up story will arise? Mary is a freelance travel writer based in Los Angeles. She's written on her blog, Along Comes Mary, since 2012. Her work can be found in various online outlets as well as FWT Magazine. Mary is a proud member of IFWTWA, the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association. A former Executive Board Member, she currently serves on their Conference and Editorial Committees. Keep up with Mary’s adventures at:


The Midwest to The Mid-Atla




Blackburn Park

Unique Stays Continued…

10 Bed & Breakfasts to Experience from Missouri & Michigan to Pennsylvania, Maryland & Delaware A Love Your Parks Tour Travel List by Nancy J. Reid & These hardworking entrepreneurs and small Lisa D. Smith, Big Blend’s mother-daughter travel, business owners are invested in their homes and publishing, and podcast team. community, and their caring hospitality shows it. Over the last couple of years, we have visited and stayed in over 30 Bed & Breakfast Inns across America. Each provided a unique lodging experience, offering deluxe comfort with charm and character, and delicious breakfast fare crafted from local ingredients. From keeping a clean house to pouring afternoon tea, and sharing their region’s seasonal events, activities, and must-do attractions, innkeepers pay great attention to their guest needs which is more than appreciated during this unprecedented time in travel. And to top it all off, each Inn has a fascinating history and backstory, as do the innkeepers themselves.

Travel in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic areas of the country provides a beautiful four-season experience. We visited these states mostly during last year’s summer and fall seasons, delighting in the local farms and gardens, exploring exquisite parks and nature preserves, browsing vibrant public art, sampling delectable regional and farm-fresh cuisine, and walking the historic downtown districts and architecturally interesting residential areas. Follows is a list of 10 B&Bs we recommend staying in (or maybe even get married in), each with an innkeeper podcast interview sharing their Inn’s history, guest experiences, and local highlights.


Tuxedo Park STL Bed & Breakfast Inn

Tuxedo Park STL Bed & Breakfast Inn - Missouri Located in a charming historic neighborhood outside of St. Louis, this renovated Inn is housed in a beautiful former church that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the second-floor classrooms and nursery rooms of the Queen Ann shingle schoolhouse are four spacious and cheerful guest rooms with private baths. The adjoining original Akron Plan Auditorium has become the main guest gathering area and kitchen which retains its 24-foot ceilings and original stained glass. Listen to the podcast with innkeepers/owners Bill & Elliot on YouTube.

Address & Info: 700 Tuxedo Blvd, Webster Groves, MO 63119. Tel: (314) 801-8818. Web:

Continued on Next Page… PAGE 33

The Hotel Saugatuck

Unique Stays Continued…

The Hotel Saugatuck - Michigan One of Michigan’s Historical Landmarks, this romantic Michigan Art Coast getaway is located on the edge of Kalamazoo Lake, at the gateway of Saugatuck’s Historic District and just a short walk to downtown and Douglas. Originally built in 1865 as a mill, this newly redesigned luxury 18-room Bed & Breakfast offers the ultimate in guest service, modern comfort, along with gourmet breakfast and tempting desserts delivered to your room. Listen to the podcast with innkeeper/owner Al Heminger on YouTube.

Address & Info: 900 Lake St., Saugatuck, MI 49453. Tel: (269) 416-0731. Web:


Leonard at Logan Bed & Breakfast

Leonard at Logan Bed & Breakfast - Michigan Constructed in 1914, this grand mansion is located in Heritage Hill, one of the largest urban historic districts in the country, and near downtown Grand Rapids and the worldfamous Frederik Meijer Gardens. The Inn features 8 individually decorated and comfortable rooms, beautiful indoor and outdoor common areas including a gorgeous garden patio. Guests enjoy a delicious hot breakfast and yogurt bar, and a fully stocked snack room. Listen to the podcast with innkeepers Ken & Ruth Andrus on YouTube.

Address & Info: 440 Logan St, SE Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Tel: (616) 308-6585. Web: Continued on Next Page… PAGE 35

Spencer House Bed & Breakfast

Unique Stays Continued…

Spencer House Bed & Breakfast - Pennsylvania One of the landmark Victorian mansions in the heart of historic “Millionaires Row” and the first B&B in Erie, this beautiful Inn is just a few steps from the Hagen History Center and the Watson-Curtze Mansion, and is near downtown Erie, Presque Isle State Park, and Lake Erie’s Wine Country. Guests delight in the architecture, comfortable rooms, warm hospitality, as well as the hearty country-style breakfasts. Listen to the podcast with innkeepers Steve and Lisa Freysz on YouTube.

Address & Info: 519 West 6th Street in Erie, PA. Tel: (814) 464-0419. Web:


Lafayette Inn

Lafayette Inn - Pennsylvania This historic and charming lodging destination in the National Historic District of Easton offers the best of both worlds: the quaint, individual character of a bed and breakfast, and also the services and privacy you expect in a fine Easton hotel. Eighteen individually decorated guest rooms in a stunning 1895 Georgian Mansion will make you feel at home while exploring the greater Lehigh Valley area. Listen to the podcast with former innkeepers/owners Paolo & Laura Di Liello on YouTube.

Address & Info: 525 W Monroe St, Easton, PA 18042-1737. Tel: (610) 253-4500. Web: Continued on Next Page… PAGE 37

Indoor pool at Lancaster Ridge Bed & Breakfast

Unique Stays Continued…

Lancaster Ridge Bed & Breakfast- Pennsylvania Located on five beautifully landscaped acres, near downtown Ephrata in Lancaster County, this familyfriendly and pet-friendly inn features four spacious and tastefully appointed guest rooms, a large indoor heated pool and hot tub, game room, tennis court, and outdoor covered gazebos. Breakfast is sumptuous and made with ingredients gathered from local markets and farms. Listen to the podcast interview with innkeeper/owner Susan Reimel on YouTube.

Address & Info: 34 Ridge Avenue, Ephrata, PA, 17522. Tel: (717) 466-2338. Web:


Wild Wisteria Bed & Breakfast

Wild Wisteria Bed & Breakfast - Pennsylvania Located in Chadds Ford, in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Valley, this lovely and historic lodging and event destination is set on 8 beautiful garden and forest acres. Built over 300 years ago, the inn is near the Brandywine Battlefield, Longwood Gardens, and charming Kennett Square, and features six themed guest rooms, a large living room with an open fireplace, a delicious homemade breakfast, as well as a full coffee bar. Listen to the podcast interview with innkeepers/owners Brad & Cindy Eck on YouTube.

Address & Info: 83 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA 19317. Tel: (610) 388-1435. Web: Continued on Next Page… PAGE 39

Georges on York Bed & Breakfast

Unique Stays Continued…

Georges on York Bed & Breakfast - Maryland Offering comfortable elegance in a historic setting, this completely renovated circa 1840s and 1870s brick Georgian historic home has the amenities of the 21st century while honoring its history and inherent beauty. The Inn features six beautiful guest rooms, scrumptious breakfasts, garden seating, intimate wedding and event space, and is near Gettysburg National Military Park and Catoctin State Park. Listen to the podcast with innkeepers/owners Chris & Sharon Tillman on YouTube.

Address & Info: 10 York St., Taneytown, MD 21787. Tel: (443) 465-9818. Web:


Hummingbird Inn

Hummingbird Inn - Maryland Blending the grandeur of the past with modern features and comfort, the Hummingbird Inn is a stately Queen Anne Victorian with a striking copper-roofed turret, lush gardens, and wrap-around porch. The Inn boasts six unique rooms, wedding and special event space, gourmet breakfasts, and is just steps away from shops and restaurants in historic downtown Easton. It is also close to Eastern Shore attractions and activities. Listen to the podcast with innkeeper/owner Eric Levinson on YouTube.

Address & Info: 14 N Aurora Street, Easton, MD, 21601. Tel: (410) 822-0605. Web: Continued on Next Page… PAGE 41

Miller & Dunham House Bed & Breakfast

Unique Stays Continued…

Miller & Dunham House Bed & Breakfast - Delaware This beautiful colonial-style home is located in the heart of historic Odessa, which is home to the Corbit-Sharp House on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, and is near Blackbird Creek Reserve, Lums Pond State Park, and Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. The Inn is pet-friendly and features four guest rooms uniquely themed to the area, lovely gardens and a patio area, and delicious homemade breakfasts. Listen to the podcast with innkeepers Debi and Bob Schulman on YouTube.

Address & Info: 207 High Street, Odessa, DE 19730. Tel: (302) 378-0459. Web:



Oregon B&Bs Draw Doodle Map of Must-See State Waterfalls for Socially-Distant Adventures Twenty-nine bed and breakfasts across the state of Oregon have put pen to paper to draw a doodle map and encourage travelers to fill their tanks, hit the road, and seize their vacation – one waterfall at a time. “If we’ve learned anything from this incredibly challenging time, it’s to value experiences and relish in the safety and beauty of the great outdoors,” said Sue Stein, president of the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild, which is the professional association of Oregon’s individually operated bed and breakfast inns, and the group that sketched the timely initiative.

and mailed free-of-charge to travelers upon request, while supplies last. The front of the map features more than 80 must-see waterfalls across the entire state, as well as nearby bed and breakfasts where one can reserve a room and stay. The B&Bs and waterfalls are in color, the remaining landmarks and terrain are in black and white, to afford adults an unexpected moment of quiet, and the opportunity to envision their own adventure and color their course.

The back on the map highlights various bits of information, like the many Oregon food trails, The Oregon Trail of Waterfalls, as it’s called, is a Instagram-worthy drives, popular in-state movie beautiful, limited edition, double-sided map spots, and scenic bikeways – Oregon has the illustrated by artist Victoria Buchkova. It’s a huge only Scenic Bikeway program in the United piece of art measuring 24-inches across and 18States with 17 routes that pedal across desert inches down. Each map will be carefully folded Continued on Next Page… PAGE 45

Waterfalls Continued… highways, geological wonders, and by the sea. “We really tried to think of everything that would encompass a truly remarkable journey, from getting the map, to getting excited, to getting in your car, and getting here,” says Stein. “Plus, we all know our areas so incredibly well, what we really created is the blueprint to the experience of a lifetime.” The B&Bs are clearly marked on the map in relation to the waterfalls, wineries, bikeways and byways, eliminating any guess work by first time travelers. In addition to the paper maps, the innkeepers have launched a website with even more information on different activities with links to insider resources. Each participating bed and breakfast is part of the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild and is meticulously inspected for cleanliness, sanitation, insurance, and licensing. All of the B&Bs have nine rooms or less, reducing potential risk to travelers and maximizing the attention to detail.

Mulnomah Falls -- Photo by Mary Pellegrini For more information on The Oregon Trail of Waterfalls, to reserve a room, or to request your free map visit

A’ Tuscan Estate Bed & Breakfast in McMinnville, Oregon


Seattle Spaceneedle This episode of Big Blend Radio’s Vacation Station “Food Wine & Travel Show” features Deborah Wakefield of CityPASS, a company that creates discounted, bundled admission tickets for the top attractions in 14 North American destinations. Watch here in the YouTube player or download/listen to the podcast on Podbean. From the Empire State Building and Houston Museum of Natural Science to LEGOLAND and the Seattle Space Needle, Deborah talks about some of the attractions and theme parks where CityPASS is available, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. Using CityPASS can save you up to 50% on admission to the very best attractions in 11 North American cities, and up to 30% on admission to Southern California's top theme parks, including Disneyland. Plus, you'll skip many main ticket lines! Learn more at PAGE 48

Houstan astronauts - Space Center

Entrance to Legoland California Tyrannosaurus rex at Houstan Museum of Natural Science


Home to over 150 breweries and known for producing West Coast IPA, San Diego has become a craft beer lover's destination. Fall and Oktoberfest season is the perfect time to experience San Diego’s hoppin’ brew scene. For a complete list of San Diego breweries, check out

San Diego Oktoberfest Calendar: Sept. 24-26 & Oct. 1-3: El Cajon Oktoberfest. Info: Oct. 1-3: La Mesa Oktoberfest. Info: Oct. 2-31: Carlsbad Oktober-Feast. Info: Oct. 3: 25th Annual Encinitas Oktoberfest. Info: Oct. 8-9: Ocean Beach Oktoberfest. Info: PAGE 50


Family Festival Fun in California’s Sequoia Country

The Downtown Dream in Tulare Along with being a major agricultural hub that is known for feeding America, Tulare County is also home to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia National Forest. Dubbed California’s Sequoia Country, the region 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.

Big Blend Radio “Touring Tulare County 2021” Playlist In spring 2021, Big Blend Radio hosts Nancy J. Reid & Lisa D. Smith made a return visit to Tulare County in California's Sequoia Country. This playlist features interviews recorded onsite as well as follow-up conversations from the destinations they visited and people they met. Listen here in the YouTube player or on

Events Continued on Next Page… THE KNP COMPLEX FIRE RECOVERY FUND FOR SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK Donations will Support Sequoia Conservation, Lost Habitat Restoration, Repairs & Damage to Cultural and Historic Structures, Trail Work, and Wildfire Mitigation Efforts. Visit PAGE 53

A taste of Visalia

Tulare Continued…

Mark Your Calendar for these upcoming Annual Tulare County Festivals Oct. 1-31: 10th Annual Exeter Scarecrow Contest - Downtown Exeter. Info: (559) 592-2919 Oct 9: 107th Exeter Fall Festival - Held all day in downtown Exeter with a Scarecrow 2.0 Mile Walk/Run beginning at 8am plus kids activities, live bands performing, food trucks, vendors, book sale, and the Beer Garden. Info: (559) 592-2919 Oct. 9: Irish Fest - Held at Rawhide Stadium in Visalia and featuring a sampling of over 30 favors of local craft breweries, local food and more. Info: Oct. 16: Taste The Arts - Annual family-friendly festival held in downtown Visalia and presented by the Arts Consortium— the official arts council of Tulare County. This event features over 70 regional visual artists and their paintings, sculptures, steel work, photographs, gourds, and jewelry. Enjoy entertainment on two packed stages featuring musical acts, dance troupes, and cultural performers. Participate in aerosol art and printmaking workshops, or showcase your creativity in the Farmers Market "Fun with Food" sculpture contest. Take advantage of numerous youth activities and more. Free admission. Info: (559) 802-3266 Oct. 19: Taste of Downtown Visalia - Enjoy

food from over 30 downtown Visalia restaurants along with wine and beer tasting, and live music. Info: (559) 732-7737 Oct. 21-23: Tulare County Library 4th Annual Book Festival - Held at the Visalia Branch Library with a hybrid virtual/limited in-person event. This year is a space themed festival entitled Tulare County Library Space Book Festival 2021: Where no library has gone before. Info: (559) 713-2700 Oct. 23: Pride Visalia - This family-friendly Pride event will be a fall and Halloween-theme with amazing food, fantastic entertainment, drag shows, and a beautiful setting at the Rawhide Stadium. Info: (559) 429-4277 Nov. 29: 75th Annual Candy Cane Lane Parade - Experience all the sights and sounds of the Holidays as floats, trucks, bands, dancers, and more parade down the iconic Candy Cane Lane in downtown Visalia! Info: (559) 732-7737 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 more about the area including up-to-date event information, visit Please note event details may change or events may even be canceled last minute due to COVID-19 regulations and concerns.


Guerra Vineyards Located east of Monterey and Salinas, San Benito County in central California, is the eastern gateway destination of Pinnacles National Park and part of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. This picturesque region is made up of the historic communities of Hollister, Tres Pinos, San Juan Bautista, Aromas, Paicines and New Idria. Less than 2 hours from San Francisco and 4 ½ hours from Los Angeles, San Benito County makes for an ideal travel destination with outdoor activities such as bird watching and hiking, golf and tennis, as well as a wine tasting trail, a delectable selection of dining options, boutique shopping, historic parks and museums, and a fun calendar of events as listed below! For up-to-date event information and to plan your San Benito County adventure, please contact the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau at (831) 637-5315 or visit or

Wonderful Time of the Year”. There will be exciting displays and lots of surprises provided by Ray Pulver of Upbeat Parade Productions. The community is encouraged to bring canned food or toys to donate which will be collected at the beginning of the parade. There will also be the Dec-A-Tree project on the Vets Plaza on display for your enjoyment. Park, walk, shop, eat and enjoy the beauty of downtown Hollister’s wonderful businesses and decorated storefronts. Info: (831) 636-8406 or

Mark Your Calendars for the 31st Annual Hollister Lights on Celebration & Parade Held at 5:30pm on November 27, 2021 Presented by the Hollister Downtown Association, this annual parade will be held on San Benito Street with the theme, “The Most PAGE 56

TRAVEL MEDFORD Experience the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon

Momentum River Expeditions This episode of Big Blend Radio's 2nd Friday "Food, Wine & Travel Show" with the International Food Wine & Travel Show features Eli Matthews & Ashley Cates of Travel Medford in the heart of Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley. From wine and cheese tasting to mushroom hunting, exploring Crater Lake National Park, along with upcoming festivals and sports events, hear what there is to experience in Medford and the Rogue Valley in late summer and fall. Watch here in the YouTube player or download/listen on




Hot Air Balloon - Photo: Visit Albuquerque This episode of Big Blend Radio features Brenna Moore, PR & Communications Manager for Visit Albuquerque, who shares what there is to experience in beautiful and culturally diverse Albuquerque, New Mexico. Listen here in the YouTube player, or download the podcast on PodBean. At the heart of New Mexico beats the pulse of a vibrant city. In Albuquerque, diverse cultures, authentic art and timeless traditions have helped shape the region’s centuries-old story. No matter your interests, the city has countless opportunities for you to explore. Experience the oldest wine-growing

region in the country. Sample traditional New Mexican cuisine that takes minutes to make and hundreds of years to prepare. Soar high above the city in the hot air ballooning capital of the world — a sight sure to change your perspective. More:


Superstition Mountains

Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson, Arizona, DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Museum is nationally acclaimed and recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. Opened in 1965, the 10-acre compound, mission and gardens were designed and built by Arizona artist Ted DeGrazia. The main gallery hosts several collections of DeGrazia original artwork, which depicts the history and the people of the Southwest.

Big Blend Radio: Lance Laber, Executive Director of DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, discusses the life of famed Arizona artist Ted DeGrazia and the new exhibit “DeGrazia’s Superstition Mountain

On Display Until Jan. 26, 2022:

1940’s to the late 1970’s he was a frequent visitor to the mysterious mountain range, exploring the back-country on horseback and Superstition Mountain Collection: Ted prospecting for gold. The legends, history, DeGrazia fell under the spell of the Superstition natural beauty, and native cultures of the Mountains of central Arizona. From the late PAGE 60

Superstitions fascinated the artist and inspired essays, drawings, and paintings for his 1972 book “DeGrazia and his Mountain – The Superstition.” Dinner with DeGrazia: Regional foods of the desert Southwest are featured in this new selection of drawings and paintings. DeGrazia Recycled: Tucson artist Ted DeGrazia recycled ceiling board scraps from the construction of his landmark Gallery in the Sun into a series of oil paintings. DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is located at 6300 N Swan Tucson, AZ 85718. For more information call (520) 299-9191 or (800) 545-2185, and visit

Dining with Degrazia


Visit the Gateway to the Great Southwest Yuma is located between Tucson and San Diego, and borders Mexico. Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the ‘Sunniest Place on Earth,’ this southwest city is a popular destination that features the Colorado River, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Yuma Territorial Prison State Park, Colorado River State Historic Park, a charming historic downtown district, and much more. From shows, expos, and art and entertainment, to family-friendly festivals that celebrate Yuma’s rich southwestern history, cultural traditions, there’s always happening in Yuma! For up-todate travel and event news check out and

Fall Festivals & Annual Events: Oct. 2-3: YumaCon - Cosplay, tabletop and video games, panel discussions, vendor marketplace.

community. Oct. 15-23: Yuma County Fair Fall Fest Celebrate 60 years of the Yuma County Fair with great live music & entertainment, food, games, the demolition derby, and carnival rides. Nov. 6: Somerton Corn Festival - Proceeds will go towards the Somerton High School Fund. Enjoy all varieties of corn as many vendors will sell several type of flavors. Nov. 19-21: Colorado River Crossing Hot Air Balloon Festival - See some of the most colorful and unique balloons from the west and southwest with mass ascensions in the mornings, with the Colorado River and the Sonoran Desert as its backdrop. Desert Balloon Glow set to music on Saturday night.

Nov. 27: 35th Ken & Betty Borland Holiday Pageant & Tower Lighting - Family fun with Oct. 8: 21st Annual Tribute of the Muses dance performances, Christmas carols, and a Celebrate and recognize those who have made visit from Santa! Admission is a donation of nonsignificant contributions to Yuma’s arts perishable food item(s) to benefit the Food Bank. PAGE 62


Lyon Country Museum

Experience Northwest Nevada’s Pony Express Country! 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 or cruising Highway 50, famous for being the Loneliest Road in America. The entire region makes for a fun fall getaway for nature lovers and history enthusiasts.

Wilson Canyon

Built as a US Army fort in 1861, Fort Churchill Yerington’s historic downtown district is State Historic Park is just a 30-minute scenic charming with antique shops, restaurants, and drive from Yerington. Fall is a beautiful time of casinos, including Dini’s Lucky Club – the oldest family-run casino in the state! Spend a few hours year to tour the ruins, especially if you are interested in southwest history and taking in the exhibits and artifacts at Lyon County Museum, and visit Yerington Theatre for photography. the Arts to see the current art exhibits and grab Continued on Next Page… a quick bite. PAGE 65

Yerington Continued… Visit the museum and cemetery, enjoy a picnic, go camping, hike the nature trail, and enjoy various ranger programs. You can also tour nearby Buckland Station, once a supply center and boarding house. 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! Soak up the views of lush farmlands that stretch out to natural areas, rugged high desert hillsides that lead down to hearty shrublands, wetland ponds and meadows active with birdlife, and wind-carved canyons that dip down to cool running waters. The whole region is a world-renown destination for geocaching. And if you love the outdoors, be sure to explore the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area, Walker River, Walker Lake, Wilson Canyon, and Lahontan State Recreation Area. Lahontan Reservoir spans 69 miles of shoreline and is one of the most popular places

Photo: Fort Churchill State Historic Park in Nevada to go boating, fishing, water-skiing, horseback riding, bird watching, and more. If you’re looking for an authentic yet unique “Small Town America” experience, put Yerington on your travel list!


Perfectly situated on the high plains with panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains, Weld County in Northeast Colorado offers a small town feel with big city attractions and entertainment, and outdoor adventures. Throughout its history, this area has been known for growing sugar beets, corn, potatoes, and onions, among many other crops – all made possible on irrigated farmland. Along with its outdoor activities, historic sites and cultural attractions, the region boasts craft breweries and distilleries, all kinds of restaurant and lodging establishments, and a full calendar of annual festivals and live entertainment. In fact, the first Go-Cup District in Colorado exists in downtown Greeley, the county seat! Check it all out at and Oct. 23: 4th Annual Frederick Tiny Terror Town Discover the tiniest frights you’ll find on the Front Range! This family-friendly Halloween event will be a safe place for kids and families to trick-or-treat at tiny abodes in Crist Park. Participate in the Big Beast Bazaar pet costume contest for great prizes!

Dec. 4: Frederick Festival of Lights: Kick of the holiday season by helping count down to the tree lighting in Crist Park in Frederick, along with horse-drawn carriage rides, a live ice sculpture demonstration, selfies with Santa, festive holiday performances by local school choirs and carolers.



Celebrate the Fall & Winter Holidays in Historic Natchitoches! Founded in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, Natchitoches is the original French Colony and oldest city in Louisiana. Celebrating a vibrant blend of French, Spanish, African, Native American, and Creole cultures, this historic destination is home to Cane River Creole National Historical Park and Melrose Plantation, and is part of the Cane River National Heritage Area, Louisiana’s No Man’s Land, and the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail.

-friendly, and festive with all kinds of seasonal and cultural events, along with numerous historic sites and museums to explore, art galleries and specialty shops to browse, and a delicious variety of dining options to experience. Don’t forget to try the iconic Natchitoches Meat Pie when you are there! Lodging options range from quaint Bed & Breakfasts to brand hotels, equipped vacation rentals, and RV and camping resorts.

Talking of trails, did you know that you can tour some of the filming sites of the movie “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 adaptation directed by Herbert Ross was filmed in and around Natchitoches, as were some other films like 1959’s “Horse Soldiers” with John Wayne, and 1991’s “The Man in the Moon” featuring Reese Witherspoon.


Oct. 1, Nov. 5, Dec. 3: American Cemetery Tour - The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum offers an American Cemetery Walking Tour on the first Friday of each month. Learn about some of the notable people from the area buried in the oldest cemetery in Natchitoches. Over the years, planters, businessman, politicians, and educators have all made their mark on Natchitoches and the surrounding area. The From hiking in Kisatchie National Forest to kayaking Cane River Lake, Natchitoches offers all markers in the cemetery tell stories of the Continued on Next Page… kinds of outdoor activities. It’s charming, family PAGE 71

Natchitoches Continued… region’s people and act as an outdoor museum dedicated to their legacy. Free and open to the public. Info: (318) 357-2492 Sept. 29-30 & Oct. 1-2: Natchitoches Parish Fair - Enjoy cotton candy, candy apples, Ferris wheels, and livestock shows, and more. Info: (318) 332-9181

American Cemetery Oct. 8-9: Folk Art Festival - Inspired by Clementine Hunter, Melrose Plantation will be hosting its first Folk Art Festival. Info: (318) 3790055 Oct. 9: Tapped-Tober - Enjoy a variety of craft beers, wines, and live entertainment on the Natchitoches Riverfront.

Oct. 1-2, 8-9, 15-17, 22-23, 29-31: Dark Woods Oct. 9, 16, 23, 30 & Nov. 6, 13: Natchitoches Haunt - Two terrifying haunts in one convenient Farmers Market - Open seasonally on location, Dark Woods Haunted Attraction is Saturdays from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. in downtown Natchitoches’ most unique visitor experience. Natchitoches on the riverbank. The NFM Come immerse yourself in seven acres of features locally grown produce, meats, food Hollywood-style special effects, live actor products, plants, herbs, flowers, crafts, handperformances, and professionally themed sets made jewelry, and much more! and costumes. Enter the mind-bending world of Info: (318) 238-4211 Dark Carnival 3D. It brings a new brand of terror Oct. 21-24: Northwestern State University to the Big Top with 4,000 sq. ft. of black-lit Greek Centennial Celebration - Inaugural mayhem seen through ChromaDepth glasses. Greek Centennial Celebration hosted by the Winding over a third mile through the deepest Northwestern State Alumni Association and the recesses of Dark Woods you’ll find Dead Fall NSU Office of Greek Life. Info: (318) 357-5513 Trail, an outdoor journey into the twisted folk tales and legends of horror of Louisiana. Info: PAGE 72

Nov. 20-Jan. 6: 95th Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival - Since 1927, we are home to one of the oldest communitybased holiday celebrations in the country. Starting as a one-day festival, the Natchitoches Christmas Festival has evolved into a six-week-long Christmas Season. The Christmas Season begins on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and concludes on January the 6th, the Epiphany. Over 300,000 lights and 100 plus set pieces are on display every night at dusk. Info & Schedule of Events:

Celebrate Fall in Natchitoches

Nov. 26-27 & Dec. 3-4: Christmas in the Park Step into a magical winter wonderland as Dark Woods Adventure Park transforms for Christmas In The Park, Natchitoches’ newest holiday attraction. Experience over 8 acres of enchanting, lighted walkways with over 250,000 LED lights and displays that bring the woods to life! Our 128 foot lighted footbridge, along with snowflakes and a canopy of twinkling ice lights, will let you explore the beauty of nature like

you’ve never seen it. Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or coffee and indulge in our signature “melt in your mouth” miniature donuts. Meet and get your picture with Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, The Frozen Princess and her reindeer at our Kringle Outpost. To learn more about the greater Natchitoches area’s many attractions and events, lodging establishments, shops and restaurants, visit


by Debbie Stone

Pumpkins are a sign of fall. I’m a born and bred Midwesterner and though I no longer live in the Heartland, it will always hold very special memories for me. Particularly, in the fall, which is when I typically choose to make a return visit. I know New Englanders might feel they have a corner on this season, but in my opinion the Midwest offers an autumnal display that is equally as swoon-worthy. This region of the country comes alive with color each October when Mother Nature struts her stuff. The bold hues of the foliage create dramatic tapestries within small towns and rural areas. Add in all the delightful tastes and smells of harvest time and it’s a veritable feast for the senses.

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and to all seven continents.

Locals and visitors celebrate the season at orchards and farms, where they can pick apples and pumpkins, enjoy a scenic hayride, see a cider mill in action and “take a walk in the stalks” through a corn maze. And of course, munch on classic favorites, like apple cider doughnuts, caramel apples, pumpkin bread and other delectable baked goods. If you go, make sure to take home a jar of apple or pumpkin butter for later to savor the tastes of fall. PAGE 74

Chicago Botanic Garden in the fall.

Nature’s artwork. The charm of a small town.


The Flagship City

Last fall, Nancy J. Reid & Lisa D. Smith, Big Blend’s mother-daughter travel and publishing team, visited Erie, Pennsylvania. Listen to their Big Blend Radio podcast chat with Chris Temple of Visit Erie who gives a seasonal overview of all there is to see and in the “Flagship City.” Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean. Erie is home to beautiful Presque Isle State Park, and known for its historic sites, outdoor recreation, wine and craft brew scene, public art, eclectic shopping (with sales no tax on clothing or apparel) and dining destinations. Whether it’s a family vacation or romantic getaway, an outdoor escape or culinary adventure, Erie is a must-visit any time of year! More at PAGE 76

Downtown Mural

Turn Up the Music, Get Puzzlin’ and Plan Your Next Adventure!

Artist Olin Calk built a giant roadrunner, 20 by 40 feet, out of recycled items, in Las Cruces in 1993. TRAVELER’S TALES: Turn up the music with this playlist of songs that share the stories of the true traveler including ramblers and wanderers, soul seekers and the lovelorn, touring musicians and performers, reporters, writers and photographers, the armed forces and medical pros, sales and business folk, drivers and truckers, athletes and adventurers, players and partners in crime. Click here.

and podcast covering all things Albuquerque, New Mexico. Click here. OUTDOOR ADVENTURE IN ROGUE VALLEY: Float the river with Momentum River Expeditions by putting this online jigsaw puzzle together while listening to the travel podcast covering Medford and Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon. Click here.

ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS: Celebrate America’s weird, interesting and quirky roadside attractions with this online crossword puzzle. Click here.

Lake Michigan

FALL IN LAKE MICHIGAN: Treasure the delights of autumn in the Midwest by piecing together this online jigsaw puzzle of Lake Michigan, as photographed with other scenic fall sights by travel writer Debbie Stone. Click here. HOT AIR BALLOONING IN ALBUQUERQUE: Soar high above the city in the hot air ballooning capital of the world with this online jigsaw puzzle PAGE 77


Conversations with Two World Travelers and Writers on Big Blend Radio ROAMING WITH ROXIE This episode of Big Blend Radio features travel writer and world traveler Roxie LaFever who discusses her global adventures and upcoming trips, one being with the Maine Windjammer Association aboard a 150-year-old schooner, and the other is another African adventure in South Africa and Mozambique. Listen to her interview here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.

moment.” Whether she’s jumping off a mountain in Rio to hang-glide down to the beach, exploring the world’s largest waterfalls by ultra-lite or zodiac, hiking at high altitudes in Without an “official bucket list,” Roxie LaFever Bhutan and Peru, or doing the “Walk of Faith” on has been to all 7 continents, seen all 7 Wonders the world’s longest glass bridge in China, you’ll of the World, and over 40 countries. With each want to travel along. Follow Roxie’s adventures trip – she tries to identify a way to step out of her at comfort zone – and help her readers “live in the


HOW TRAVEL WRITING ENRICHES LIVES This episode of Big Blend Radio features Noreen Kompanik, a San Diego based freelance travel writer and photographer, who talks about the ways travel writing enriches lives and discusses her recent and upcoming travel adventures. Listen to her interview here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean. Following 34 years of a successful nursing career, Noreen’s journey into writing began in 2014. Since then, she’s had over 500 published articles in a wide variety of digital and print publications covering food, wine, coffee, culture,

luxury travel, history, magnificent destinations, and travel writing success. She has been a guest presenter at Great Escape Publishing Company’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshops and pioneered a private writer’s program, The Travel Writer’s Café. Follow Noreen’s travels at


By Ward Heinrichs Esq., San Diego Employment Attorney

You remember Prop 22, right? It was on the 2020 ballot in California. Prop 22 exempted rideshare companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash from the new independent contractor law in California called the ABC law. Under the ABC law, the drivers for those rideshare companies are most likely employees. In contrast, the business model of the rideshare companies designated their drivers as independent contractors. Because Ward Heinrichs on Big Blend Radio: Watch here in the YouTube Prop 22 exempted the player or download/listen to the podcast on Podbean. rideshare company drivers from the ABC law, the companies have a much judge said that the California Constitution gives better chance of convincing a court that their the California Legislature the exclusive power to drivers are independent contractors. regulate compensation for workplace injuries. According to that reasoning, Prop 22 regulated Recently, a judge ruled that Prop 22 violates the compensation for workplace injuries but failed California Constitution. The case is Hector to do so through the California Legislature. Castellanos v. State of California, and the trial Therefore, because the regulation was PAGE 80

accomplished by direct vote of the people of California, and not by vote of the Legislature, it is unconstitutional. The trial judge also said that Prop 22 may not have violated the California Constitution if it had amended the constitution, rather than merely amended statutory regulations. In other words, if Prop 22 had changed the California Constitution to say that the Legislature did not solely have the power to regulate compensation for workplace injuries, then Prop 22 may not have violated the state Constitution. The California appellate court, and probably the California Supreme Court, will make the final decision about Prop 22’s constitutionality. Stay tuned! Based in San Diego, California the Employment Law Office of Ward Heinrichs represents both employers and employees in almost all areas of labor law. He and his firm litigate cases that have been filed in many different parts of California. Visit


The relationships between nature and conservation, history and preservation, culture and the arts, all walk hand-in-hand.

Come share your experiences and join the conversation about parks and travel across America and around the world. Join Big Blend’s Parks & Travel Facebook Group.