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Table of Contents

6 TOP TEN CHRISTMAS LIGHTS DISPLAYS IN THE U.S.A.

PLACES TO GO;

Our regular column “Top Ten” focuses on the Christmas Light Displays from 2015.

FEATURES

6

Top Ten Where to go to see the holiday light exhibits

10

18

38

Northeast Region Tioga Downs Winterfest in Nichols, New York

10

Pets welcomed in Connecticut, Vermont, VA hotels

12

Things to Do: Health Retreat at Green Mountain

15

Midwest Region Mohican Winterfest

18

America’s Baking & Sweets Show-Il

20

Eagle Watching at Lake of the Ozarks, MO

22

McHenry County, Illinois

26

Chattanooga, Tennessee

30

South Region McRaven House in Vicksburgh, MS

38

Watch the Sun Rise in N. Carolina

40

Hampton, VA

42

44

Luxury Travels

44

48

Western Region Skiing in Wyoming

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48 50

Chatta”NEW”ga, Tennessee. Dining at the Back Inn Café transports you to a little Italian bistro. The food is superb. The live jazz is mellow. The view of the Tennessee River and the Sculpture Garden is breathtaking!

Published quarterly by BarnettPRO Publishing 71 Plymouth St., Plymouth, OH 44865. PHONE/FAX 419-687-0002 Email: info@barnettpro.com Publisher - Michael D. Arnold mike@barnettpro.com Managing Editor - Kathy Barnett kathy@barnettpro.com Places to Go Editor: Kandy Derden Things to Do Editor: Norman Reed People to See Editor: Sheeree Oney Contributing Editors: Lisa Rhoden editor@weekenderextended.com Graphics Design Savannah Mosely / Norman Reed

ABOUT THE COVER: To access the majority of the Grand Visit our Website for event coverage Teton National between regular issues at www.WeekenderExtended.com Park during the Online Subscriptions are FREE! Submit winter, you need to your name and email address & we’ll also have skis or snowenter it in our monthly drawing for a FREE shoes to explore it. weekend getaway! Copyright 2016 by BarnettPRO Publishing All rights reserved. Reproductions of any material from this issue is expressly forbidden without permission of the publisher. Advertisements in this publication do not necessarily carry the endorsement of the publishing company.


About the Cover: The Grand Teton National Park in the Winter

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51

THINGS TO DO:

PEOPLE TO SEE

Eagle Watching at the Lake of the Ozarkds region in Missouri.

Country Entertainer of the Year, Luke Bryan, begins his new “Kill The Lights” Tour this month.

Up Close: From the Editor

D

Remember the theme song to Roy Rodgers’ and Dale Evans’ TV show from the 50s & 60s? “Happy Trails to you until we meet again...” And that’s exactly how I feel about the Chocolate Trails in Richmond , Indiana. It is worth returning to again and again. See Dec. Indiana issue at www. theweekendermagazine.com/magazines

tt e n r a B y ditor E h g n Kat i g a n Ma

id you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year?

I usually stick with the same three and don’t last much past the first week. The ever popular “losing weight” resolution just isn’t for me.So I figured I would just stick to trying to be more healthy. If I watch what I eat and excercise more, perhaps the weight will eventually take care of itself. This is why I’m so impressed with the self-help article on page 15 about a place to go and not worry about such topics. Green Mountain at Fox Run, is known as the country’s first non-diet residential weight management program for women. It ‘s definately worth a try if all else has failed. Another New Year’s term I’ve used

in the past is “out with the old and in with the new.” If this is more to your liking, Chattanooga is the places to go. However, a better solution for this city was to create a happy blend of both old and new. See Kathleen Wall’s article on page 32 where she reviews just how they did it. Kathleen is the editor of American Roads Magazine. Last, but certainly not least, My favorite resolution (and the one I WILL keep) is to visit at least one new places I’ve not been before and to return to at least one favorite destination! One is the Richmond, IN Chocolate Trail which includes a stop at Abbot’s Candies. Read all about it in the winter issue of American Roads or the December Indiana Weekender. Here’s to Happy Extended Weekend Travels & a Happy New Year!

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Top Ten http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/19/travel/best-christmas-lights-u-s-/

10

#10 Austin, Texas In Ziller Park - It takes 15,000 hours and 1,500 volunteers to put together this Trail of Lights. The 1.14 mile walking circut features more than 100 lights trees.

9

#9 Branson, Missouri Silver Dollar City - An Old Time Christmas in Branson is home to the five-story Christmas Tree that features 350,000 LEDs synchronized with Christmas music.

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According to EscapeHere.com


8

#8 Denver, Colorado The Botanic Gardens - Visitors see thousands of lights on the trees and plants throughout. A pair of Holospex turn the lights into 3D candy canes, snowflakes and other shapes.

7

Las Vegas, Nevada Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Hosting the Glittering Lights, this is a 2.5-mile circuit that offers car-bound visitors the opportunity to see more than 400 animated displays.

6

#6 Kissimmee, Florida Disney’s Hollywood Studios - With five million lights, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights requires more than 10 miles of rope lighting and 30 miles of extension chordes.

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CONTINUED... FROM PAGE 7

And here are the Top Five...

5 #5 North Pole, Alaska For the past eight years, residents of this city have hosted a sixweek Christmas on Ice Festival, combining lights with intricate ice sculputres.

4

#4 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Macy’s - Macy’s Christmas Light Show always has a Magic Christmas Tree and 100,000+ LEDs behind a four-story velvet curtain that tell a story with reindeer, toy solderis and ballerinas.

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3

#3 Washington, D. C. Smithsonian’s National Zoo - Zoolights turns this zoo into a 500,000 LED light winter wonderland.

2 #2 Knoxville & Bristol, Tennessee Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Shadrack’s Water Sports - A large hillside behind the boat showroom is a Christmas wonderland with thousands of brightly colored lights dynamically synchronized and dancing to Christmas musice. When in the area, be sure to visit the Winterfest of Lights Driving Tour with more than five million lights!

1

#1 Wheeling, W. Virginia Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights has spread throughout the city of Wheeling. The first year, displays and landscape lighting covered about 125 acres over a three-mile drive throughout the resort. Since then, the show has grown into one of the nation’s largest Christmas light shows, covering more than three hundred acres over a six-mile drive throughout the resort.

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PLACES TO GO

Tioga Downs Fun at the Casino

ts

ing Ligh c n a D l a c i g a M

Singing Tree

Wagon n w a r d e s r o H Shows &

Nichols, NY - The magic of the holidays is evident at Tioga Down’s annual Winterfest, a free celebration of the season for the entire family. The event kicks off each year in November and features nightly attractions such as a brand new magical dancing light and music show, singing tree shows and horse drawn wagon rides* from 5 - 9 p.m. The event takes place on

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Rides

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout December. Additional event dates are planned for December 28, 29 and 30. Winterfest will not take place on December 25, but it resumes December 26 with an Outrageous Sweater contest at 8 pm offering cash prizes of $500, $300 and $200 and also features a reindeer petting zoo from 5 - 9 pm. Winterfest 2015 wraps up Wednesday, December 30 with closing night events set for 5 - 9 pm. Tioga Downs offers live harness racing, video lottery terminals, video poker and


electronic roulette. A variety of eateries are also part of the current entertainment complex. Jeff Gural owns Tioga Downs in Nichols, NY and Vernon Downs in Vernon, NY. Tioga Downs is beginning the process of transforming into a full casino gaming resort to serve the Southern Tier and beyond as well as expanding its facility and

workforce to accommodate live casino gaming. In the last decade, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have created more than 700 familysustaining jobs and donated millions to nonprofit organizations. For more information on Tioga Downs, please visit www.tiogadowns.com. *Horse drawn carriage

rides will not take place on Sundays with the exception of December 20 and December 27.

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PlacesPlaces to Go

Places to Go:

Country Canine Retreats

Extra Special Hotels in Connecticut, Vermont and Virginia Welcome Furry Pals

Morris, CT; Orange, VA; Woodstock, VT – Traveling can be hard when there are dogs at home. Worries about unreliable sitters, elderly canine pals on medications, and worst of all, who hasn’t had their heart broken as the door closes, the dog staring sadly out the window? The solution to these problems is simple with the dog-friendly rooms, suites and cottages at three top east coast properties, including: Winvian Farm in Morris, CT; The Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, VA; and 506 On the River Inn in Woodstock, VT. 506 On the River Inn located in the historic town of Woodstock (VT, not NY!) feature 40 upscale rooms that include two designated as dog-friendly. The rooms are outfitted with dog treats and doggy bags and an optional plush pet bed. Both rooms are on the ground level for easy access to the property’s six acres of meadows. Nearby 506 are many hiking trails to explore and the Ottauquechee River, which flows just behind the hotel, is ideal for splashing about. For more information or to book a stay, visit www.ontheriverwoodstock.com. For those seeking a more southern New England destination, Winvian Farm in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut features 18 designer dwellings, three of which are pet- friendly, includ-

Inn at Willow Grove

ing Stone Cottage, Greenhouse Cottage and Connecticut Yankee Cottage. Dog beds, food and water bowls and crates are available upon request and a special tennis ball welcome gift greets each pup at check-in. Find your way to Winvian Farm for a spectacular New Year’s Eve… Create an unforgettable experience with your special someone (and pet) For more information or to book a stay, visit www.winvian.com. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is The Inn at Willow Grove, a former 18th century plantation which was transformed into a luxury hotel in 2010. Here, guests and their four

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legged friend may enjoy two suites in the Overlook East and West cottages. Amenities for dogs include a comfy bed, doggie treats, and food and water bowls. The holidays are a great time to visit as the incredible seasonal decorations add extra sparkle to our luxurious decor, setting the stage for special festivity and fun! For more information or to book a stay visit http://innatwillowgrove.com So the next time Rover may be left behind, reserve a room at 506 On The River Inn, Winvian Farm or The Inn at Willow Grove: beautiful properties that are guaranteed to be a home away from home for humans and canines!


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Things to Do:

Gain(?) Weight

LUDLOW, VT ‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry! Well we all know what that means; it can sometimes present situations that become a green light for us to eat with abandon thinking that tomorrow we will “get back on track”. The experts at Green Mountain at Fox Run, the country’s first non-diet residential weight management program for women, have other ideas on the matter. http://www.fitwoman. com/our-program/. They are happy to share their well-researched advice, not tabloid tips that are published during the holidays to grab headlines and sell magazines. TIP ONE Tabloid Tip: Diet before and during the holiday season. Really,

how’s that working for you? Real Advice: Learn to eat mindfully (in other words, listen to what your body is telling you and try to be aware of when you are full or satisfied). Make decisions that leave you feeling good about yourself and your choices, even if one of those choices is to have that delicious dessert. It’s not about good or bad foods. It’s about eating in a way that makes you feel good while eating and afterwards; this helps reduce the holiday challenge of overeating. TIP TWO Tabloid Tip: Double up on your workout to shed those extra calories. Real Advice: Regular physical activities that you enjoy are as beneficial for good health as they are for weight management. It’s not

about burning calories but, again, about feeling good, which sets you up for making better choices. Exercise in excess is usually not healthy - and even worse, an injury could occur making the holidays miserable. The old saying “slow and steady wins the race” works well during the holidays and year-round. TIP THREE Tabloid Tip: Weigh yourself daily to help control your eating. Real Advice: Lets face it – we all fluctuate on a daily basis when it comes to the numbers on the scale. Weighing yourself often has a negative impact on self-esteem and it decreases motivation for self care. Focusing on how you feel and your energy levels helps you make smarter eating choices.

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Continued... TIP FOUR Tabloid Tip: How to navigate six holiday parties in one evening? Real Advice: Over-committing can cause stress, which often leads to emotional overeating. Try committing to fewer parties or host simpler celebrations. You’ll better enjoy the holiday season and be more relaxed. You help set yourself up for a positive outcome that promotes eating behavior that you feel good about. TIP FIVE Tabloid Tip: It’s okay to overin-

dulge during holiday celebrations – you can “get back on track” tomorrow. Real Advice: Eat what you want to avoid feelings of deprivation that drive overeating Try being a foodie during the holidays (and year round). Be particular about what you eat, choosing only those items that truly delight your taste buds and leave you feeling great TIP SIX Tabloid Advice: Leftovers are great to have around. You never know when an unexpected guest might show up during the holiday season. Real Tip: If extra food or leftovers drive you to eat more than you need, considering donating it to local shelters or give it away to neighbors, etc. It’s a great way to share during the holidays Green Mountain at Fox Run,

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the acclaimed Vermont residential healthy weight retreat is exclusively for women who are seeking real and lasting change in their eating behavior, the way they think about their bodies, and managing their weight. More than 40 years ago, Green Mountain at Fox Run pioneered and still promotes a mindful approach to eating and stress management that can help women better understand their needs, approach eating in a healthier way, find ways to move and exercise that they enjoy, and end the cycle of emotional and binge eating and the associated shame and guilt that perpetuates this negative behavior. We move women forward on the journey to healthy weight and wellbeing. To learn more about Green Mountain, visit our website at www.fitwoman.com, or call 1-800448-8106.


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Places to Go:

Submitted by Georgia Kaufman Yes, it is winter. It is supposed to be cold. That is even more reason to get out and enjoy all life has to offer. A lot of studies have shown that in order to help fight off those winter blues is to be active. Be involved. In other words, get outside and have some fun. Get the coat on, grab friends and family and head out to the world. It is exciting and it is warm. Actually, it is on fire! Yes, there is fun to be had in winter, and not just sled riding. One way to get out and start the year is to visit Mohican. It may be the “off season,” but that does not mean Mohican is off. Make plans now to stay and play in Mohican. It is just beginning. January 8th – 10th, 2016, Mohican is kicking off the year with Mohican Winterfest with new and exciting attractions. Participating Independent stores and restaurants will feature extended hours to help everyone appreciate all that the area has to offer. Enjoy ice sculpting, with demonstrations, by Aaron Costic of Elegant Ice Creations. His award winning displays will bring the imagination to life. Audience participation is encouraged during live demonstrations. Children can enjoy seeing their names written in ice. Keep that smartphone at the ready and use #MWF. There will be a social media scavenger hunt taking place on Saturday.

Winter in Mohican

The winner will receive one free overnight stay at the luxurious Landoll’s Mohican Castle. More details to follow on Discover Mohican’s Facebook and Twitter. New attractions include “Fire & Ice.” That is right. Fire Poi, featuring Mohican artists, will be performing with fire in front of the ice sculptures. Stand in awe as fire is whirled in front of the eyes and senses. Get warm and enjoy the fun with fire and ice.

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Also new this year is a vintage snowmobile show. Look around and enjoy how far snowmobiles have come. Another hint about the show is that the Mohican-Memorial State Forest have snowmobile trails. Enjoy the rush, with two inches or more of snow, on the trails of Mohican. Whether hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or on a snowmobile-the trails never close. That’s right. The trails of Mohican are open 365 days of


the year. Enjoy a FREE family-friendly movie and magic shows at The Ohio Theatre. Now equipped with digital projection and sound. Take a look and go back in time gazing at vintage toy-train expo. Get up close and personal and look at the collections people have kept in their basement. The Model Train Expo is a little kid’s dream. Mohican is proud to be the home of a future Junior Olympian. That is correct, Kylie Snively, will showcase her talents, along with her teammate, at the ice rink; located at the Loudonville Public Pool. Watch as they dance on ice. Free and open to the public. Kylie and her teammate have agreed to hang around after their performances to skate with whoever wants to join them on the ice. The first hike of the year will happen on Sunday. The first Winter Hike is hosted by the Mohican State Park and the Mohican Trails Club. Free and open to the public, get out and learn how winter and nature work hand-in-hand. This hike will give a view of the trails rarely seen. Discover the fun for adults during a wine tasting with local wineries followed by a Snowball Dance. End the day with fun, wine, food and dancing. Winter does not mean to stay inside, it is all the more reason to get out and have some fun. Enjoy the season, enjoy life, and enjoy Mohican!

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AMERICA’ BAKING & SWEETS SHOW South Region

Take a Sweet Tour with Charlie, Willy, & Oompa

By Paul McKenzie News Svce SCHAUMBURGH, IL Celebrity guests on The Domino Sugar and Bosch Main Stage include the Ace of Cakes Duff Goldman; Brian Emmett, winner of CBS’s The American Baking Competition; Heather Saffer, a winner on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars; as well as from Sally’s Baking Addiction, Sally Quinn. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Ordering advance tickets online at Tweetsie.com is strongly recommended. Daytime visitors can still enjoy all of the Wild West family fun and adventure they’ve come to expect from Tweetsie Railroad. But beware when the sun goes down: the park is transformed into a world filled with new frights and delights around every corner, when the gates open at 7:30 p.m. each night. The Ghost Train will howl its way through the night, taking riders on a frightful three-mile trip.

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’S & W!

Loompas

Named as one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society, a ride on the Ghost Train is just the beginning. Take a stroll through the Freaky Forest where you’ll encounter dark surprises along the way. Visit the Boneyard where you can try to find your way through a 3-D Maze, a disorienting Black Hole and a mystifying Warp Tunnel. Or check out Tweetsie’s Haunted House, where 13 frightening rooms await only the bravest visitors that dare to enter. Younger guests need not fear: the Ghost Train® Halloween Festival is safe, scary fun for all ages. Enjoy the spooktacular black light show at the Haunted Palace Saloon. Join in the lively dance party on Tweetsie’s Main Street. Take a spin on the amusement rides at the Creepy Carnival. Children can collect plenty of sweet treats while trick-ortreating throughout the park, and are encouraged to wear costumes. Fun Facts about Tweetsie Railroad’s Ghost Train® Halloween Festival: • Tweetsie Railroad’s Ghost Train Halloween Festival began in 1990 and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014. • It takes six months to prepare the park for the Ghost Train Halloween Festival. • 200 employees are required to frighten all of the guests. • Professional costumers and makeup artists transform Tweetsie employees into Halloween haunters. • The Ghost Train makes up to 10 haunting trips each night of the festival. Tweetsie Railroad is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through November 1. The 2015 season ends Sunday, November 1. The park’s Wild West themed hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Ghost Train® Halloween Festival runs from 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. Tickets and Golden Rail Season Passes are available at Tweetsie.com. Tweetsie Railroad is located on U.S. Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina. For more information about the 2015 season at Tweetsie Railroad, visit Tweetsie.com or call 877.TWEETSIE (877.893.3874).

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According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, more than 2,000 bald eagles are reported around the state’s large rivers and reservoirs in the wintertime, making Missouri one of the leaders in bald eagle viewing in the lower 48 states. The bluffs and large wooded areas surrounding the Lake of the Ozarks make this area a popular stop during their annual exodus from the frigid temperatures of the north. Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days activities allow attendees to see the birds in a natural setting, perched in the trees or in flight, as well as offering opportunities for up-close viewing at programs offered by the World Bird Sanctuary from St. Louis. Events on Saturday, Jan. 9, begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 5:30 p.m. On Sunday, Jan. 10, events begin at 10 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. All Eagle Days activities are free and open to the public and take place in Lake Ozark, all within a short drive of one another. When Sue Westenhaver, chairman of the board of the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association, owner and operator of Inn at Harbour Ridge Bed and Breakfast and one of the original organizers of the Eagle Days event at the Lake, first moved to Missouri from northern Illinois, she had no idea bald eagles inhabited the Lake area, much less that they were so plentiful. After attending her first eagle viewing

event in Warsaw, Mo. at the Truman Dam in 1983, she wanted to establish a similar event at the Lake of the Ozarks. Westenhaver recruited some good friends and together they orchestrated the first program at the Lake, which was initially a one-day event held at the School of the Osage Heritage Elementary School and the Bagnell Dam Access. Over the last 30 years, this celebration of America’s national bird has continued to grow in scale and popularity from a couple hundred spectators that first year to nearly 4,000 expected over the course of the weekend for the 2016 event. “My favorite part about Eagle Days is watching the beautiful birds flying, swooping, dipping and dancing right above everyone’s head,” Westenhaver says. “That, and seeing the children’s eyes light up when they get to see a bald eagle up close during the naturalist programs. The little kids get

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so excited and just start to squeal in delight. It’s just wonderful.” Wild eagle-viewing activities are hosted by the Camden County Astronomy Club and will take place at Willmore Lodge, 1 Willmore Lane, and the Bagnell Dam Access, located off of Highway 54 on Osage River Bridge Road. Eagle-watchers are encouraged to dress for the weather and bring cameras and binoculars. Interactive exhibits and crafts will be on display at Willmore Lodge each day, and eagle nest-building and rope-making exhibitions will be held at the Bagnell Dam Access. Free hot chocolate will also be available at the Bagnell Dam Access to help birders of all sizes stay warm and enjoy their time outdoors. At Osage National Golf Resort, 400 Osage Hills Road, live eagle programs presented by the World Bird Sanctuary begin on the hour at 9 a.m. with the last of the day


The “Day Shift, Night Shift and Garbage Gal” program provides information about hawks (“day shift”), owls (“night shift”) and turkey vultures (“garbage gals”).

starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday. And, on Sunday, the first program begins at 10 a.m. and the last begins at 2 p.m. Naturalists from the World Bird Sanctuary will be on hand to interact with attendees as they show off live birds, explain about what makes these birds unique and answer questions from the audience. School of the Osage Heritage Elementary, 1571 Bagnell Dam Boulevard, will feature two programs by Springfield’s Dickerson Park Zoo. The “Day Shift, Night Shift and Garbage Gal” program provides information about hawks (“day shift”), owls (“night shift”) and turkey vultures (“garbage gals”). The second program, “Live Owls of Missouri,” features information about the species of owls indigenous to Missouri. These shows will be held every hour on the half-hour beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the last program of the day beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

On Sunday, programs begin at 10:30 a.m. with the last occurring at 3:30 p.m. There will also be photo contests, coloring contests and other activities for kids, as well as nature-related exhibitors including the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Lake of the Ozark Eagle Days is made possible by the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau, Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Osage National Golf Resort, FaceLift Marketing, School of the Osage, Camden County Astronomy Club, Missouri Master Naturalist - Lake of the Ozarks Chapter and Boy Scouts of America. More details on Eagle Days, including a complete schedule of events, listing of 2016 vendors as well as photos from past events, can be found at www.LakeoftheOzarksEagleDays.com. Many visitors build a winter weekend getaway around Ea-

gle Days to take advantage of the off-season lodging rates and smaller crowds at the various yeararound attractions and activities at the Lake. For other fun events, or for more information on all attractions and lodging and dining options at the “Best Recreational Lake” in the Nation, visit the the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau’s award-winning website, www.FunLake.com, or call 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).

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Places to Go

McHenry County Christmas is near and a short distance northwest of Chicago, snow-covered hillsides and villages welcome the season with a sleigh full of events and entertainment.

By Michael Barnett Sr., Publisher

HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT:

Woodstock Musical Theatre Company’s A Christmas Carol: November 27-December 6 at Woodstock Opera House. Journey with Scrooge through Christmases past, present and future in 1843 London. This musical is packed with charming kids, colorful costumes, carols and special effects. www. woodstockoperahouse.com Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops Concert: December 11 at Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake. An annual tradition, the orchestra toasts the holidays with classic and contemporary favorites. www.rauecenter.org The Nutcracker Ballet: December 12-20 at Woodstock Opera House and December 19 & 20 at Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake. See Tchaikovsky’s world-renowned fantasy ballet at either the Judith Svalander Dance Theatre’s production at www.woodstockoperahouse.com or the Berkshire Ballet Theatre’s presentation at www.rauecenter.org. Ed Hall’s 19th Annual Woodstock Christmas Guitar Night: December 23 at Woodstock Opera House. William Tell Productions presents internationally acclaimed guitar champions with dazzling arrangements of holiday music, plus other popular and classical guitar favorites. www.woodstockoperahouse.com

FESTIVALS & EVENTS

31st Annual Christmas Walk & Tree Lighting: November 21 in downtown McHenry. Celebrate the start of the holidays with downtown trolley rides, shopping specials, contests, games, tastes from local restaurants, all starting at noon. Then, gath-26- | WEEKDEREXTENDED.COM ~ WINTER 2015 - 16

To create lasting holiday memories, load your kids into the car and head out for a country drive to choose and cut a live Christmas tree. Open Nov. 27-Dec. 23. . All provide saws and offer assistance if needed.

Ben’s Christmas Tree Farm, 7719 Ryan Rd. & 16324 Capron Rd., Harvard. www.benstreefarm.com Bill’s Friendly Evergreen Tree Farm, 3102 W. Miller Rd., Spring Grove. Cal & Shan’s Christmas Tree Farm, 14216 Thayer Rd. & 3509 Lily Pond Rd., Woodstock. Grizzy’s Tree Farm, 15900 Marengo Rd., Union. Holly Jolly Tree Farm, 4919 Bull Valley Rd., McHenry


er in Veterans Park for visits and pictures with San- Santa arrives November 29 in the Christmas Parade ta, carolers and tree lighting. www.facebook.com/ around the Square. Then, carolers and musicians mchenryareadba stroll the streets; shops and restaurants are open late; visitors can take horse-drawn carriage rides through Festival of Lights Parade: November 27 in down- December 19. www.woodstockil.gov town Crystal Lake. Santa arrives in this annual nighttime gala featuring more than 50 colorful parade 33rd Annual Turkey Testicle Festival: November 25 units, floats, bands and treats for the kids in a down- in downtown Huntley. Parkside Pub deep-fries more town lit with thousands of glittering white lights. than 1,200 lbs. of these nuggets on Thanksgiving Eve, www.downtowncl.org with bands playing continuously from 1 p.m. to midnight. www.parksidepubhuntley.com/ttf The Lighting of the Square, Christmas Parade & Victorian Christmas: November 27-December 19 in Volo Antique Malls’ Open House: November 27downtown Woodstock. The Lighting of the Square the 29 at the Volo Antique & Merchandise Malls in Volo. night after Thanksgiving begins a three-week Victo- 15% off most items. Holiday treats and gift card drawrian Christmas celebration with carols, refreshments ings daily. www.voloshopping.com and sparkling lights in Historic Woodstock Square.

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McHenry County_Cont Submitted by Jim & Kathleen Webster / Media Consultants from Webster’s Unabridged, Inc. Holiday Market in the Hills: November 30 at Village Hall in downtown Lake in the Hills. Shop this indoor Christmas market with dozens of vendors selling arts, crafts, holiday items and foods. Free supervised drop-off for kids 3 and up, too. www.lith. org

Park and downtown Richmond. This charming Victorian village welcomes the holidays with a nod to Christmas past. Santa arrives at the tree lighting Friday evening and stays to hear youngsters’ Christmas wishes. Over the weekend, enjoy wagon rides, carolers, treats in the shops, cookie walk and craft fair. http://richmond-il.com/pdf/residents-newsletter/ Festival of Trees & Santa Ride-In: December 4 in WINTER2015.pdf downtown Lake in the Hills. Santa arrives by fire truck. Then help Santa light up the trees that have Holiday Rock on the Fox: December 5 in Algontransformed Village Hall into a winter wonderland, quin. Celebrate the holidays in Riverfront Park with and stay to tell him your Christmas wishes. Kids the community tree lighting, candy cane hunt, visit ages 2-8 enjoy stories, snacks, a craft and a flashlight with Santa, holiday music and more. www.algonsearch for treats and elusive reindeer feet! www.lith. quin.org/recreation org McHenry County Historical Society Holiday Christmas at the Dole & Winter Fest: December Open House: December 5 at the McHenry County 4 & 5 at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park in Crystal Lake. Historical Society Museum in Union. Enjoy music, Shop at a holiday themed art show, and enjoy a per- homemade cookies, bake sale and this year’s feature formance in the Listening Room, ice sculptures and display: an aluminum Christmas tree forest. www. live carving demos, Santa, cookie decorating, holiday mchsonline.org bazaar, holiday train, vendors, games, live animals and more. www.lakesidelegacy.org/winter-fest Happy Holiday Railway: December 5 & 6, 12 & 13 at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union. All aboard 24th Annual Marengo/Union Holiday Housewalk for a magical train ride through the winter countryand Arts & Crafts Fair: December 4 & 5. Do your side to visit Santa and his elves in the Toy Workshop. Christmas shopping at this juried show in homes He’ll have gifts in his sack for boys and girls on his and community facilities throughout Marengo and “good” list and refreshments will be served. ReservaUnion Townships. www.holidayhousewalk.com. tions required at www.irm.org. A Very Merry Huntley: December 4 & 5 in downtown Huntley. Christmas comes to Huntley with caroling and lighting of the town tree, Kris Kringle Market, live reindeer, horse-drawn sleigh rides, pictures with Santa, visits with Mrs. Claus, indoor farmers market, cookie walk and handbell choir concert. www.huntley.il.us/news/documents/AVERYMERRYHUNTLEYFlier2015.Final.pdf

Merry Cary Holiday Parade & Festival: December 6 in downtown Cary. The biggest community event of the year features a festive parade, Santa, pony rides, petting zoo, games, treats and more. www. carygrovechamber.com

Voices in Harmony Sing-Along Messiah: December 13 at Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake. Lend your voice to this community-based perforChristmas of Yesteryear: December 4-6 in Stevens mance when the public, the Voices in Harmony choir

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.

While in the area, why not make it a weekend for the whole family to enjoy. Visit www. visitmchenrycounty.com for more ideas.

and soloists, accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra, Lake boutiques, and along McHenry’s Riverwalk. sing Handel’s masterpiece. www.rauecenter.org And bargains rule the day at the Huntley Outlet Center, especially during the After Thanksgiving New Year’s Eve Comedy Show: December 31 at Sale, November 27-29. Raue Center in Crystal Lake. Bid the old year farewell in rollicking laughter with Steve Cochran and a PLAN AN OVERNIGHT roster of top-notch stand-up comedians. You’ll be out McHenry County is just an hour’s drive northwest in plenty of time to welcome 2016 with your friends. of Chicago, bordered on the north by Wisconsin, and www.rauecenter.org on the south by I-90. The Fox River winds down from the Chain of Lakes through the towns on the eastCHRISTMAS SHOPPING ern side of the county, while country roads meander You’ll love Christmas shopping in McHenry Coun- the western side. For visitor information, including ty villages, all decked out in evergreen garlands and links to the above attractions, along with lodging and sparkling lights. Visit quaint shops around Wood- dining options throughout McHenry County, go to stock’s 1890’s town square and Richmond’s Victorian www.VisitMcHenryCounty.com or phone 815-893downtown. Find unique gifts in downtown Crystal 6280. Follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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Places to Go

Chatta-NEW-ga Chattanooga’s location on the Tennessee River makes it a natural vacation playground. The Chattanooga Aquarium is a treat for all ages. Photo Credit Martin Walls

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Submitted by Kathleen Walls Editor of American Roads Magazine

F

or most of the 20th century one thing spoiled Chattanooga’s image as a favored destination for tourists. It was called America’s dirtiest city. The Environmental Protection Agency officially named it that in 1969 just before Earth Day. When the city decided to turn that soubrette around, they did so with a vengeance. Opening the Chattanooga Aquarium in 1992, put the city on the fast track to becoming one of America’s favorite fun destinations. The Aquarium opened as the world’s

largest freshwater aquarium but that was just the beginning. In May 2005, the city of Chattanooga unveiled its completed $120 million dollar Waterfront Project. Chattanooga’s riverfront now boasts a new addition to the aquarium called Ocean Journey. The aquarium is housed in two stunning buildings whose peaked glass spires add a distinctive touch to Chattanooga’s skyline. So if you haven’t visited Chattanooga lately, you just haven’t seen the “new” Chattanooga.


At left, sunset is a magical time in the Bluff View Art District. At right, you can see seven states from Rock City’s Lover’s Leap. photos by Kathleen Walls

This revitalized city rolls out the red carpet for visitors. They even make it easy to get around by providing free electric shuttle service running from the aquarium to the Choo Choo. You just park in one of the easily accessible and plentiful parking lots and leave the car for the day.

Aquarium

You begin your River Journey on the fourth floor with the Seahorse Exhibit. If you always thought seahorses were all alike, think again. Watch playful otters splash their way in a forest cove. Enter the steamy backwaters of the Mississippi Delta and observe the interaction of alligators, turtles, wading birds and other wildlife that make up the complex web of life in the steamy swamplands. View the variety of life that inhabits the rivers of the world. You can actually touch a prehistoric sturgeon or watch giant catfish skim along a river bottom. Once saturated in freshwater wonders, move on to the Ocean Journey. It’s hard to choose which is better. The original aquarium is larg-

er but the new addition is packed with color and adventure. From the tiny flying jewels in the butterfly garden to the huge sharks you can actually touch, this is an adventure into another dimension. View the immense beauty of a coral reef teeming with thousands of colorful fish, barracuda and shark to tiny minnows as only a diver could. Marvel at the Boneless Beauties Gallery where exotic sea life ranging from tiny luminous jellyfish to huge Pacific Octopus await you. An IMAX theater is also part of the aquarium complex.

The Passage

Oklahoma and depicts the culture and history of The People. Seven massive ceramic disks tell the history of the Cherokee Nation. At the river, seven fountains for the seven tribes of the Cherokee nation spout forth the life-giving waters of the Tennessee River.

Riverwalk

Directly in front of the aquarium, the city’s new River Pier ties the river and city even closer together. A stroll in either direction on the River Walk, leads to more exciting discoveries, both old and new. The Hunter Museum of American Art now has a bridge connecting it and the entire Bluff View Art District to the waterfront. The Hunter has long been recognized as an outstanding museum but now it has become more dynamic. It draws the visitor into the experience with an outdoor sculpture garden that offers jazz concerts atop the bluff, classes ranging from painting to cooking and so much more. Keep the art experience alive and wander into the Bluff View Art Dis-

Directly outside of the Aquarium, is The Passage. This park is more than a crossing from the city to the Riverwalk. It is an artistic recreation in stone, water and metal of the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Chattanooga is built on the site of Ross’s Landing, the Cherokee trading post owned by Chief John Ross and marks the beginning of the infamous Trail of Tears. The Passage was designed by five Cherokee artists from trict next.

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Things to Do in:

Chatta-NEW-ga_Cont. Bluff View Art District is a spot that feeds the soul as well as the body. Perched on the cliffs overlooking the Tennessee River, it was once a neighborhood of magnificent homes and has been revived as a Mecca for artists. Culinary art is alive and well here, also. Dining at the Back Inn Café transports you to a little Italian bistro. The food is superb. The live jazz is mellow. The view of the Tennessee River and the Sculpture Garden is breathtaking. When you have eaten your fill, drop in on the folk artists who fill the area.

of water could be yours. The Carousel is the centerpiece of the park. It is the ultimate marriage of old and new. It began life in the workshop of Gustav Dentzel in 1895. It went to its first home in Rochester, NY then moved to Massachusetts and finally Atlanta. In the 1960’s it was dismantled and its beautifully carved horses sold individually. The carousel sat rotting away in an old warehouse until a Chattanooga man, Charlie Walker, rescued it in the early 1980’s. Still it was useless without horses. Charlie told Bud Ellis, a Tennessee carver, about this beautiful machine. Ellis founded “Friends of the Creative Discovery Carousel” in Chattanooga Museum Station and Inventors Clubhouse and taught the carousel’s This museum for the child in us where budding scientists and in- supporters how to carve. While all has also undergone a $3 million ventors can explore past or future the carving was in progress, others renovation. from a child’s point of view. restored the carousel to its original In keeping with the Waterfront Rooftop Fun Factory and Arts charm but with a high tech boost. Theme, their newest addition is Alley allow them a more physical It has new soft start and stop mechRiverPlay. Here a child can pilot self-expression. a riverboat, climb into the crow’s nest, create a dam, or just engage Coolidge Park in that perennial pastime, “fishing” All of the newness isn’t conoff a pier. There is a waterfall with fined to the South side of the a spiral slide and spraying jets of river. Coolidge Park offers a water to cool off in on hot days. marriage of 21st century technolOther exhibits include the Litogy with the old-fashioned town tle Yellow House for toddlers. It park. It offers a large green space allows them to exploring a childwith a fountain and a carousel. sized version of a cozy home, High tech interactive water jets complete with their own little red power the fountain. Some spurt sports car, little yellow garage and out of the mouths of its lions and a garden scaled to their size. Older bears, some from the ground. So children will revel in Excavation if you wade, beware, the next jet -34- | WEEKDEREXTENDED.COM ~ WINTER 2015 - 16


The River

anisms that will be easier on its parts and two band organs, a Wurlitzer and a new Stinson 57-2. The finished masterpiece was placed in a specially constructed building with rocking chair seats for those who choose to sit and watch The old and new blend so skillfully you can’t spot where one ends and the other begins. But that isn’t the important thing. What is important is the legacy of this work of art for Chattanooga children and visitors alike. The line at the bottom of the organ sums it up well: Dedicated to Children of All Ages. The park can be accessed in an old or new fashioned way. Either drive over the Market St. or other bridges or hoof it on the Walnut Street Bridge. The Walnut Street Bridge is an attraction in its own right. It was originally a “normal” bridge that you drove over. When it became unsafe for automotive traffic and was destined to be demolished a lot of people didn’t want to see the old landmark go. It was decided to preserve it and create the world’s largest pedestrian bridge. Outdoor Chattanooga offers easy ways for visitors to bike, hike, kayak and enjoy Chattanooga’s diverse terrain.

The Tennessee River shaped Chattanooga’s destiny from the beginning. so it is only natural to want to get out on it. There are lots of ways to do this but three of the most fun are the Southern Belle, Chattanooga Aquarium’s River Gorge Explorer and the Chattanooga Ducks. The Southern Belle takes you out for sightseeing/dining on a riverboat. Cruises vary from the morning sightseeing only through lunch and dinner trips. Whichever one you choose, you will have fun. Food is plentiful. The narrator is well informed about the sites you pass and there is a touch of relaxing southern steamboat music to top it off. Once you board the Chattanooga Aquarium’s River Gorge Explorer, the river lulls you with its peaceful rhythm. The boat is a three million dollar creation that can seat 70 passengers inside the main deck and has an upper observation deck that is perfect for viewing and photographing. The boat’s naturalist, Betsy, told us, “We will cruise at top speeds until we reach the Tennessee River Gorge and will cover about 500,000,000 years over the next two hours. The boat is the fastest tour boat on the river but will slow and stop for interesting sights along the way. It can turn almost in its own length.” The bank is covered with interesting cliffs and greenery and wild life. You spot ospreys flying overhead and possibly coyotes, deer, chipmunks, and other wildlife along the banks. This area is one of the most biodiverse in the county. There is a 550 feet difference in elevation traveling east to west looking out on the Cumberland Plateau. Off the bow, you can see

famed Lookout Mountain. The Ducks are a totally different way to experience the river. Sometimes it is very up close and you may get wet, especially if you sit in the back part of the vehicle. The vehicle is an old WWII amphibious version of the 2-1/2 ton General Motor’s cargo truck. The DUKW, its actual name, was developed by the US Army during World War II as a means to deliver cargo and men from ships directly to shore. . The Ducks take you for a quick tour of downtown and then drop down a chute into the river. The tour includes Maclellan Island, a wildlife sanctuary. On our trip, we spotted a beaver hard at work, a turtle sunning himself and several wading birds. The captain will kill the motor in the water for a few moments so you can experience what soldiers landing on the beach felt when they were stalled there like a sitting duck. You view many of the same things you can see from the Southern Belle but the perspective is totally different. On the Belle, you are up high and viewing on more of a level, while on the Duck, you are at almost water level, putting you in a more intimate relationship with the river.

International Towing and Recovery Museum

One other museum that will interest the antique auto enthusiasts and history buffs alike is the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum.

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Chattanooga was chosen for the museum’s location because the first tow truck was built there by Earnest Holmes in 1913. It consisted of three poles, a pulley and a chain hooked to the frame of a 1913 Cadillac. Holmes patented his invention and began the manufacture of tow trucks. The museum was dedicated in 1995. In all the excitement of the New Chattanooga, don’t forget the old tried and true attractions. Ruby Falls, America’s largest underground waterfall is a must. Also nearby is that perennial favorite, Rock City Gardens. Natural rock formations and gorgeous views combine with fairytale whimsy to create a place of rare beauty. The Swing-a-Long Bridge suspends someone between earth and sky. My favorite is the Enchanted Cave filled with fairytale characters. To get up Lookout Mountain, Incline Railway is the most direct route. For railroad buffs, visiting the Chattanooga Choo Choo and taking a ride on the Tennessee Valley Railroad is what Chattanooga is all about. Touching a steam engine or spending the night in a rail car reminiscent of the Gilded Age is an experience to be treasured. The Choo Choo Hotel has undergone a huge restoration so if you visited in the past, it will be new. This encompasses what Chattanooga has accomplished in the past few decades: adding the new while not detracting from the glory of the old. -36- | WEEKDEREXTENDED.COM ~ WINTER 2015 - 16

Above, a sculptured eagle overlooks the view from Rock City. Below, Bluff View’s Sculpture Garden overlooks the Tennessee River.


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PLACES TO GO:

McRaven House

(VICKSBURG, MISS.) McRaven House opens its doors to the public once again after an eight-year hiatus of being on tour. The Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau (VCVB) expects the home to be a major new attraction in the river city. “The many curiosities of the contents of McRaven, both physical and spiritual will attract visitors from around the world,” said Bill Seratt, VCVB Executive Director. “It is truly one of the South’s greatest treasures.” Named the “most haunted house in Mississippi” and the “third most haunted house in the United States,” McRaven has a haunt-

This authentic Pre-Civil War home is Nationaly Recognized as being the most haunted house in Mississippi and the third most haunted house in the United States. ed history for over 160 years. Buying McRaven seemed like a “no brainer” for Steven and Kendra Reed as the antiques appraised for more than the property; but it was the stories of the people who lived there that set this house apart.

said Kendra Reed. “We believe it is an important part of Vicksburg’s history and it has so many fabulous stories to share.”

McRaven tour home first opened to the public in 1961. It has been featured in National Geo“We are very excited graphic Magazine, LIFE to reopen McRaven,” Magazine, The Travel

bulous McRaven has so many fa

Channel, 48 Hours, and countless regional magazines and books about hauntings. Popular for being built in three different periods, National Geographic called it the “Time Capsule of the South.” Each addition to the house left the previous rooms untouched. Today McRaven is filled with museum quality

stories

period. The rooms ch ea to ue tr , es qu ti m quality an It is filled with museu otherwise be lost. ay m at th s od ri pe e life for thes demonstrate a way of

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“THE RAILROAD REDOUBT HAPPENED JUST A FEW FEET FROM THE PROPERTY AND THE VICKSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK IS JUST A SHORT DISTANCE AWAY.”

CHRONOLOGY OF MCRAVEN

antiques, true to each period. The rooms demonstrate a way-of-life for these periods that may otherwise be lost. McRaven will be open daily from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. for history tours and at 7 and 8:30 p.m. for haunted tours. On Sundays, the home opens at 1 pm unless group reservations have been made. Call Brian Riley at 601630-7271 if interested in a paranormal investigation. History tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 6-18, and free for children under 6. Haunted tours are $25. For more information about McRaven, email General Manager Evan Winschel at evan@mcravenhouse.com.

1797 Pioneer Brick structure built by Andrew Glass in Walnut Hills. 1802 Vicksburg becomes a town. 1817 Mississippi becomes 20th state in the Union on December 10th. 1825 Walnut Hills incorporates into Vicksburg. 1831 Trail of Tears McRaven used as a way station. 1836 Sheriff Stephan Howard buys McRaven and builds Empire Section. 1836 Mary Elizabeth Howard dies soon after childbirth. 1849 John H. Bobb buys McRaven and builds Green Revival Section. 1861 Mississippi secedes from the Union January 9, 1891. 1863 Railroad Redoubt just outside McRaven.

1863 Siege of Vicksburg May 18 – July 4 McRaven used as field hospital/camp site 1864 John H. Bobb murdered near property by Union Soldiers May 18. 1865 Civil war ends May 10th/ Jefferson Davis a former Vicksburg resident is captured in GA. 1882 William Murray buys McRaven and raises family. 1960 Last of Murray family sells and moves out of McRaven the house is unchanged. 1961 Bradway family purchases McRaven, refurbish it and open it as a tour house. 1985 Leyland French purchases McRaven, moves in and restores furnishings to proper era. 2008 McRaven closes for tours and sits empty. 2015 McRaven purchased by Dr. & Mrs. Steven Reed and reopen for tours.

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Things to Do - Watch the Su

10 Perfect Places to Watch the Sunrise Watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean from the beaches of the Brunswick Islands. Rise and shine, there’s much to do in North Carolina. Start your adventure early at one of these 10 spots, each perfect for taking in a beautiful sunrise. You won’t miss the sleep. We promise.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Lighthouse.

Hatteras - Cape Hatteras National Seashore is our state’s easternmost point and the first to see the sunrise. Use any of the beach accesses to walk or wade with some of the more than 400 bird species. Once the sun is up, learn more about seashore ecology at Hatteras Island Ocean Center. Its interactive exhibits are interesting for visitors of any age.

View from Morrow Mountain

Brunswick Islands - These are the five southernmost barrier islands. Oak Island has family-friendly activities, the state’s youngest lighthouse, 60 public beach access sites and beautiful sunrises. Before summer sunrises, watch for nesting sea turtles. Winter brings another special sight. When the sun is low in the southern sky, the islands’ east-west orientation means they’re among the only places on Earth to see sunrises and sunsets from the same beach.

Corolla -

Oak Island Pier in the Brunswick Islands .

Corolla sunrise sea oats silhouette

On the Currituck Outer Banks, wild horses will watch the sunrise with you. Historians believe they arrived with Spanish explorers 400 years ago. Today, the protected herds roam near where paved N.C. Highway 12 ends in Corolla and travel continues by foot or off-road vehicle on the beach. Horses can be anywhere — from surf to backyards — so keep your eyes open and maintain a distance of at least 50 feet. They are unpredictable when approached.

Jordan Lake - West of Raleigh and south of Durham, you’ll find 13,900-acre Everett B. Jordan Reservoir. A popular boating, swimming and fishing site, it offers some of the best sunrise views near the Triangle. Head to the north side of the N.C. Highway 751 bridge or west side of the U.S. Highway 64 bridge, where there’s parking at a boat launch. Morrow Mountain State Park - Head to the top of the park’s namesake mountain, where you’ll find park-

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Good morning from Charlotte!

Waterrock Knob Overloo


unrise By Pete M. Anderson

Sunrise Islands North Carolina sea

ing and an easy 0.8-mile trail. Unobstructed views to the east look over Lake Tillery. Winter sunrises are later, about 7:30 a.m., so be at the park when it opens at 7 a.m., or stay at one of more than 100 campsites to be on time for earlier summer sunrises. Then you can spend the day touring a restored 19th-century doctor’s home, swimming in the pool or fishing from shore or boat.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport - You might get lucky to see the sunrise at Charlotte Douglas International Airport from a window seat on your flight, but you can definitely see it at the airport’s overlook, which features benches, a shaded picnic area and the longest unobstructed view in the city. It’s on the airport’s western side but doesn’t open until 8 a.m., so park along the access road and stroll the sidewalk, which follows the perimeter fence and offers the same view of the Charlotte skyline and plenty of planes. The airport has more than 700 departures and landings each day.

Lake Norman - At 32,500 acres, Lake Norman is the largest body of water entirely in North Carolina. Its sunrises are as impressive, and they’re best seen from a boat. Sail your vessel from one of the many launches to either Davidson or Reedy creeks, which flow east to west. If you don’t have a boat, rent one, or drive to Beatties Ford launch in Denver, where the lake is wide and the best view is from the dock. Linn Cove Viaduct - It’s

hard to find a bad Blue Ridge Parkway view, especially at the Linn Cove Viaduct,

which wraps around the eastern face of Grandfather Mountain. View it and the sunrise from the Visitors Center at Milepost 304.4, or one of the trails that go under it. A short drive north is Blowing Rock, a small village with shopping, dining and plenty of cabins to rent, whether for a romantic getaway or family reunion. Most have their own sunrise view.

Max Patch Bald

- Max Patch Bald, which was a live-

stock pasture in the 1800s and is covered with wildflowers in warmer months, offers 360-degree views that few hikers take advantage of. You’ll see the sun rise by Mount Mitchell, the highest point in the East, and Great Smoky Mountains to the south. The easy 1.6-mile roundtrip hike uses the Appalachian Trail near Hot Springs.

Waterrock Knob - Attention sleepyheads: The sun rises later the farther west you travel. Enjoy an extra 30 minutes of shuteye by heading to Waterrock Knob instead of Hatteras. You’ll find it at Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 451.2. Use the parking lot at the Visitor Center, which opens later and has a few ecology exhibits and a gift shop. You can see the sunrise there, or take the 1.2-mile moderate hike to the 6,292-foot peak, where you’ll also see the Great Smoky Mountains and Maggie Valley. Pete M. Anderson is a Gastonia-based writer who says lakes, race tracks and barbecue joints are his favorite places to enjoy North Carolina. WINTER, 2015-16 ~ WEEKENDEREXTENDED.COM | -41-


Things to Do:

LET’S MAKE

By Ryan Downey Hampton, VA CVB

A Heavy Helping o

A Heavy Helping of Upcoming Holiday Happenings are in store for visitors to Hampton, VA this season. Enjoy street parades, nautical light shows, ice skating, and more ... This Winter, slip into a warm sweater, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and head to Hampton, Virginia for a large helping of holiday cheer. Whether taking in a special seasonal performance at The American Theatre in Phoebus, enjoying a nautical parade of lights on the Hampton River, or cheering traditional street parades in Coliseum Central and downtown Hampton, there is an activity or event for every member of the family to celebrate this holiday season. November 13-15, browse over 300 quality crafters, vendors, artists, and local businesses at the Bodacious Bazaar & Wine Festival, a shopping extravaganza taking place at the Hampton Roads Convention Center. The three-day event will feature upscale gifts, gourmet foods, fine art, and more. The “Real” Santa Claus will also make an appearance, so be sure to bring the kids! Cost is $7.00 for adults ($10.00 for two days), $4.00 for children, and children in strollers are free. Wine festival tickets are $27.00 daily. Check out www.bodaciousbazaar.com for further information. On November 14, join the Peninsula Town Center as they celebrate Christmas in Hampton with the Fifth annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Bring the family, enjoy free hot chocolate, and sing Christmas carols as they light their 50-foot tree. -42- | WEEKDEREXTENDED.COM ~ WINTER 2015 - 16

The 17th annual Coliseum Central Holiday Parade returns on November 21. Festivities include live entertainment, floats, huge helium balloons, marching bands, and Santa. The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. but get there early for a prime spot. This December 4-5, the 20th annual Holiday and Kwanzaa Marketplace returns to Hampton University Museum. Beginning at 10:00 a.m. on December 4, guests may purchase holiday and Kwanzaa gifts from the museum gift shop. The shop specializes in African, African-American, and other multicultural items and artwork. At 5:30 p.m., enjoy special holiday music, sales, and planned activities. On December 5, in addition to shopping noon- 4:00 p.m., opt to partake in a delicious holiday and Kwanzaa inspired brunch. Though the event is free, there is a fee for the brunch. December 10-11, shop for the perfect holiday gift or pick up a little treasure for personal enjoyment at the Santa’s Attic Craft Show at Hampton City Hall. Santa’s Attic features the best talents of area crafters as they showcase an array of original, hand-made items. The show runs noon- 5 p.m. on Dec.10 and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Dec. 11. The 27th annual Downtown Hampton Lighted Boat Parade sails back into downtown Friday, Dec. 11. Festivities begin at 7:15 p.m., as this highly anticipated parade of illuminated power and sail boats will be visible from anywhere along the Hampton River. Spectators interested in the narration will want to find a spot near the Hampton Maritime Center. Those who don’t have a vessel but want to join the action can board the Miss Hampton II tour boat. Attendees interested in riding on the Miss Hampton II are encouraged to make reservations by calling 757/722-


of Holiday Cheer!

Enjoying our meal at the Rickhouse & Lounge.

One of a kind Recipes: sprinkled, glazed and grilled with seasonal

9102. The admission is an unwrapped toy that will be donated to Toys for Tots. Captains who wish to enter their craft in the parade are encouraged to call 757/727-1276. Dec. 12, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., the Hampton History Museum plays host to the Hampton Holiday Market. Whether you are searching for a holiday gift for family, friends, or as a treat to yourself, support small businesses by checking out all of the items that the Hampton Holiday Market has to offer. The return of the Hampton Holly Days Parade Presents Happy Holidays From Crabtown, beginning at 7 p.m. Join us for an evening of enchantment at the Peninsula’s largest illuminated holiday parade. Fun includes music from marching bands, spectacular floats, and the man of the hour, Santa. Ring in 2016 at the New Year’s Eve Downtown Hampton Block Party, taking place Thursday, December 31, 9 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. on Queens Way. For the second straight year, downtown Hampton will drop a lit, oversized, crab pot from the top of the Old Point National Bank. Downtown Hampton has over eight restaurants and bars open with no cover charge during this New Year’s celebration. Hampton is the site of America’s first continuous English-speaking settlement and is home to such visitor attractions as the Virginia Air & Space Center and Riverside IMAX ® Theater, Hampton History Museum, harbor tours and cruises, Hampton University Museum, and Fort Monroe, among others. For a complete calendar of activities this winter, visit online at at www.visithampton.com

The lovely dining room at the Rickhouse with barrels of bourbon stored on the racks..

Michael explains about charring the bourbon barrels.

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Places to Go:

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The latest direction in luxury travel that Dan Austin, Founder and President of Austin Adventures (http://www.austinadventures.com/) sees is the “ultra-high-end”, over-the-top custom trip for multi-generation families. What was once a rare request, his team is now asked quite frequently to arrange a week of adventure wrapped in luxurious amenities where price is no object. According to Austin, demand for this level of spending on vacations is up 40 percent from just three years ago.


Multi generation family travel has been on the upswing for some time now. A trend of its own, Austin Adventures has seen an increase in this demographic as well, up nearly 50 percent over the past three years. According to the Virtuoso Luxe Report, in 2014 three out of 10 grandparents traveled with their grandchildren and eight of 10 families arranged for the grandparents to join in the fun. “We are seeing more clients who say price is not a concern when planning an exclusive, custom-built adventure. However, creating a special VIP experience with lasting memories is an imperative!” Austin said. “Total privacy, security and discretion are also priorities that we understand and know how to provide.” His staff is uniquely positioned to satisfy this growing market. “Whether searching for the hidden property in Belize or finding the best secluded spot for a backcountry birthday party in Zion National Park or figuring out how to fly in a band for a musical surprise, it’s extremely gratifying putting our decades of experience in the field to use planning something incredibly special,” Austin said. A list of Austin Adventures’ over-the-top experiences reads like a billionaire’s bucket list. One such vacation took place on the island of Kauai where 10 friends shared a 60th birthday party with helicopter rides, a champagne brunch at

the top of Waimea Falls and a private Luau and Pig roast with a musical trio. Flowers were dropped on the party from a helicopter. His company recently fulfilled a request from a pair of grandparents who wanted to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary and treat their kids and grandchildren (14 in total) to a two week Western adventure from Yellowstone and the Tetons to South Dakota’s Black Hills. The itinerary included a private walking tour of Little Bighorn Battlefield with a local historian and a hike up Harney Peak (highest point east of the Rockies at 7,244’) enjoyed by part of the group while the kids went hiking and swimming at Sylvan Lake with the grandparents. The trip also included an all-day horseback ride with fourth generation Montana ranchers and a private chuck wagon dinner just for the family at a secluded spot overlooking the Tetons. Thanks to the Austin Adventures team, an international celebrity and his family toured incognito behind the scenes in Yellowstone National Park. And an exclusive yacht for an extended family of 20 was secured for the Christmas Holidays in the Galapagos. Their wish to cross the Equator on the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve was fulfilled.

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Austin Adventures’ reputation among the famous and ultra-wealthy has spread. “Our guest list, if we could publish it, would read like a Who’s Who in this country: governors, congressmen, Forbes 100 list makers, philanthropists, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Television and Hollywood personalities and more,” Austin reports. A recent satisfied client wrote, “Austin Adventures definitely wrote the book on customer service. From hand-written notes when we booked to friendly follow-up calls before departure, then the personalized messages every day and treats left by the guides in our hotel rooms, this trip was the best experience imaginable.”

(think views of forest and wildlife not the parking lot), VIP services from park staff, behind-the-scenes access, insider conveniences and more. Through long-standing relationships and knowing who to neAustin attributes much of their gotiate with, we can provide VIP success in being able to pull off and behind-the-scenes access to the impossible to their recent in- experiences not readily available duction into the Xanterra Parks & to the traveling public.” Resorts family of companies. This connection, especially when it For more information on all of comes to tours in National Parks, the destinations, trips and itinerarhelps his team meet the needs of ies offered by Austin Adventures what can be a demanding market. visit http://www.austinadventures.com, call (800) 575-1540 or “Austin Adventures was one email info@austinadventures.com. of the first tour operators to offer multisport family trips in National About Austin Adventures Parks over three decades ago. And Based in Billings, MT, Austin to this day, our guests benefit from Adventures (formerly Austin-Lehour expertise and connections. Be- man Adventures) has spent more cause we are owned by Xanterra than 40 years building an interParks & Resorts we can offer the national reputation as a provider best rooms in national park lodges of scheduled small group tours -46- | WEEKDEREXTENDED.COM ~ WINTER 2015 - 16

and customized trips to all seven continents. In 2014, Kasey Austin, Vice President of Operations, was named the World’s Top Family Guide by Outside Magazine. In 2013, Austin Adventures joined the Xanterra Parks & Resorts® portfolio of experiential leisure offerings. Xanterra Parks & Resorts has operations in the Grand Canyon, including Grand Canyon Railway and The Grand Hotel; Yellowstone; Zion; Crater Lake; Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks; Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park and five Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., Windstar Cruises, and VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.


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F

eel the cool winter air breeze by as you zoom down a mountainside, surrounded by fresh white snow and the picturesque backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. Skiing and snowboarding can’t be beat as the ultimate wintertime getaway in Wyoming. Get started planning your slope-side vacation and pick the perfect place for you with our guide below. Also, get the full rundown on where to stay, guides and outfitters, unbeatable deals.

Beginner to Backco Wyoming Ski & Sn

Hogadon Ski Area - near Casper, has another amazing learn-to-ski offer: Get your daily lift ticket, equipment rental and a two-hour lesson for just $48. The smaller resort has a relaxed vibe that will make new skiers feel like they belong on the mountain.

Intimate Locales

Wyoming is also home to smaller-scale mountains with a more intimate feel. Looking for an authentic, low-key day on the slopes where you’ll enjoy fewer crowds and a laid-back atmosphere? Check out the following resorts for that relaxing bluebird day you’ve been craving:

Wyoming. This homey ski resort offers 30 runs and 1,400 vertical feet of skiing. Don’t let the size of this resort mislead you though-Pine Creek offers almost an equal split between expert, intermediate, and beginner runs, so no matter what your skill level you’ll have plenty of runs to fill your day.

Kings of the Hill

Experienced ski and snowboard veterans will be at home at these ski resorts, offering plenty of runs to challenge your skills. First-timers & Families Jackson Hole Mountain ReHead to these ski spots to find all sort. has 2,500 skiable acres and the amenities you need for starting 4,139 feet of vertical rise leaving out: Lessons, on-site rentals, varieyou with more terrain than anyty of terrain for all levels and other one can explore in one day. family activities. endless variety of runs “If you’re itching to slice through The Grand Targhee Remakes it a great place to sort - near Alta, has wide untouched powder, or lay the first push your skiing or riding runs, a fast-as-you-wantracks on a bowl that nobody else to the next level. While Jackna-go pace and a village son Hole Mountain Resort of shops, restaurants can get to, then Wyoming has is home to one of the most and lodging right at the thousands of acres” challenging slopes in North base. The Beginner Area America, the infamous CorFun Zone and kids-only bets Couloir, don’t overlook lessons create the perfect environWhite Pine Ski Area & Re- them for a family trip just yet. The ment for learning. There are plenty sort, located in Pinedale, offers resort offers a renowned ski school of more challenging runs, too, with stunning views of the Wind River for the kiddos and plenty of blue 1,500 more acres to ski. Mountains and a family-orient- and green runs via the Tweewinot Snow King Resort - in Jackson, ed trail system offering 22+ trails and Apres Vous quad chair to get offers three-hour morning lift tick- and hardly any lift lines. Make it better acquainted. ets for those not ready to spend the a complete getaway by booking a whole day on the slopes — and, night or two at their on-site cabins Black-diamond chutes, deep kids under six can ski a whole day that are walking distance to the moguls and challenging tree skifor just $5. You can start out by lifts. ing transform Sleeping Giant Ski learning on a long, straight run, Area, between Cody and Yellowthen check out the tubing hill and Pine Creek Ski Area is another stone, into a paradise for adrenanight skiing later. favorite in the southwest region of line junkies. This ski area doesn’t -48- | WEEKDEREXTENDED.COM ~ WINTER 2015 - 16


ountry: Plan Your nowboard Vacation

get crowded, so you can get more runs in, and with lift tickets just $30, it’s an awesome value. In the Southeast region, Snowy Range Ski Area is a good mix of intermediate and expert runs with a terrain park. Only a little more than a half-hour outside of Laramie, it’s easy to get to lodging and other nearby attractions. Locals love this sport for its intimate feel and variety of terrain.

Extreme Adventurers

If you’re itching to slice through untouched powder, or lay the first tracks on a bowl that nobody else can get to, then Wyoming has

thousands of acres of that secluded terrain you crave. Mind you, backcountry skiing even with a guide should be for expert skiers. Teton Backountry Guides offers day treks and overnight hut trips in and around the Grand Teton National Forest for diehard adventurers. With a client ratio of 4 to 1, your guaranteed to get that insider’s expertise. With Exum Mountain Guides, you’ll get to explore the coveted solitude of Wyoming’s backcountry through bowls and open glades with some steep skinning to make your way to the top. Take it a step further on the epic scale and check

out their ski mountaineering program where you’ll explore 7,000 vertical feet of breathtaking terrain. Heli skiing adds another level of thrill to expert skiing and riding. Climb aboard a Bell 407 chopper with High Mountain Heli-Skiing and get dropped into the waistdeep snow of untracked bowls, glades and ridges in Northwest Wyoming. Heli skiing is a once in a lifetime experience, so top off your bucket list with a drop into one of Wyoming’s otherworldly, untouched powder stashes with a picturesque ride to the top. See more at: https://www.wyomingtourism.org

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People to See

In Concert

Jan. 30 - Jacksonville, FL Feb. 1 - Duluth , GA Feb. 3 - Greensboro, NC Feb. 5 - Louisville, KY Feb. 17 - Pittsburgh, PA Feb. 20 - Hampton, VA Feb. 23 - Boston, MA Feb. 25 - Wash ington DC

Carrie Underwood is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol in 2005. She has expanced dates to her “Storyteller” Tour. See www. carrieunderwoodofficial.com for more information.

Jan. 13 - Indianapolis, IN Jan. 16 -Grand Rapids, MI Jan. 27 - Providence, RI Jan. 28 - Albany, NY Jan. 31 - Portland, ME Feb. 11 - Newark, NJ Feb. 12 - Baltimore, MD Feb. 24 - Tampa, FL

Jan. 21 - Amarillo, TX Jan. 22 - Houston, TX Jan. 23 - San Antonia, TX Feb. 27-Mar 5 Homecoming Caribbean Cruise. March 18 - Ft. Lauderdale March 19 - Orland, FL April 1 - Akron, OH -50- | WEEKDEREXTENDED.COM ~ WINTER 2015 - 16

Jeff Dunham has turned a life-long obsession with ventriloquism into a highly successful career performing stand-up around the world. Laugh the night away with Achmed, Melvin, Walter, Peanut, Sweet Daddy Dee, and the rest with Jeff Dunham tickets for an upcoming show.

The Gaither Vocal Band will crisscross North America in all directions bringing some of gospel music’s most-loved songs to audiences in 12 states, beginning in Texas this January.


By Norman Reed, Assistant Editor

What better way is there to spend a cold winter evening than with friends, family or loved ones at a warm and cozy concert indoors? Here are a few of my favorites... Grab your Mickey ears and get ready for the ultimate Disney

Jan. 8-17 Cleveland OH Feb. 12-21 Boston MA Mar 10-13 Detroit MI Mar 24-27 Kansas City MO

experience as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic. With a cast of over 50 and Mouseter of Ceremonies Mickey Mouse, Relive the magic of Disney’s Frozen with Anna, Elsa and the hilarious Olaf!

Luke Bryan kicks off his Feb. 18 - Evansville, IN Feb. 19 - Peoria, IL Feb. 20 - Cedar Falls, IA Mar 8 - Las Cruces, NM

brand new “Kill The Lights” Tour in 2016 at Evansville, IN. A country music singer-songwriter known for such hits as “Drink a Beer” and “That’s My Kind of Night,” He won Entertainer of the Year in 2015.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Undeniably one of the most resilient bands

Jan. 28 - Cedar Park, TX Jan. 29 - Thackerville, OK Jan. 30 - Kearney, NE

in music history since forming in 1964. Lynyrd Skynyrd remains a constant force in the touring circuit and continues to release new albums with a stable of talent that includes the late Ronnie Van Zant’s brother, Johnny, on lead vocals.

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Briefly Join us for a class in our beautiful new education center! In every session, you’ll get to taste delicious recipes and learn tips and techniques as our knowledgeable instructors demonstrate a recipe or two. Interactive Classes 217-347-6455 (MILL). or You’ll walk out with visit www.hodgsonmill.com recipes and kitchen confidence!

ILLINOIS

Take time out for familiar winter sports like sliding down a luge track, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating. And if you’re looking for a new winter sport, be sure to check out fat tire biking for an unforgettable Michigan winter experience.

MICHIGAN

www.michigan.org/ snowday/

Things to Do: Take a Cooking Class at Hodgson Mill Effingham, IL

Fat Bike Racing : Jan 23 Addison Oaks Feb. 6-Holland / Feb. 14 - Ypsilanti Plus Various Trails throughout Michigan

Things to Do: Ice Fishing in Wyoming

Places to Go: “Costume & Culter” thru Feb. 6 At the Sands-Willets House, Port Washington, NY

WYOMING

NEW YORK In the cold weather months, thick blankets of trans lucent ice transform Wyoming’s waters into pristine grounds for ice fishing. Our anglers are so serious about it, several ice-fishing tournaments take place over the winter. - See www.wyomingtourism.com -52- | WEEKDEREXTENDED.COM ~ WINTER 2015 - 16

Hosted by The Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society of Port Washington. Docent led tours on Saturdays at 12:30pm. Featuring historic garments presented in context with their heritage and history. Showcasing more than 65 garments .


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U.S e h t s s o r c A s e inter Activiti

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es below by emailing ac sp e th of e on in ed featur List your event to be derextended.com. n ke ee w @ or it ed e th oto to information with a ph

KANSAS

Try a new restaurant or try something new at your favorite participating restaurant. The participating restaurant will donate 10% of your meal price to Boys & Girls Club of South Central Kansas. Over 2 dozen restaurants are participating.

ILLINOIS

Every day is Groundhog Day in Woodstock, Ill., and if you’re among the millions of fans who view the classic film “Groundhog Day” over and over again, this McHenry County town 50 miles northwest of Chicago is throwing a wintertime party you’ll not want to miss.

Wichita Restaurant Week January 22-31st / Kansas www.wichitarestaurantweek.com

Groundhog Day Festival Woodstock, Illinois Jan. 24-Feb. 2

Winter in Sioux Falls The Outdoor Campus offers experiences with the natural landscape of South Dakota

People to See at the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville, FLA

FLORIDA

SOUTH DAKOTA Discover your inner explorer self by snowshoeing at The Outdoor Campus, trekking through the trails at Good Earth State Park, or ice fishing at Catfish Bay . We’re sure that you’ll find an activity that you enjoy.

Feb. 13 - Patty Griffin, Sarah Watkins and Anais Mitchell Feb. 15 - See Wild Kratts Live Feb. 24 - O.A.R.: You Pick the Set Tour WINTER, 2015-16 ~ WEEKENDEREXTENDED.COM | -53-


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STAY TUNED FOR MORE

t n e t n o c quality

ON OUR WEBSITE - BETWEEN ISSUES Places to go, things to do, people to see www.weekenderextended.com Click on the state desired from the U.S. map. It will open to a choice of articles about that state. Click on the topic that interests you most and enjoy! -56- | WEEKDEREXTENDED.COM ~ WINTER 2015 - 16

Weekender Extended Magazine  

Winter 2016 issue featuring extended weekend getaways in the U.S. Places to go, things to do and people to see. Winter snow fun.