Category Archives: Travel and Leisure

Get Into the Grecian Spirit

Get Into the Grecian Spirit

If you’re looking for a holiday that fuses golden sandy beaches and calm azure waters with a fascinating history and superb climate, then Greece may just be the place for you; whether you choose to visit the mainland or one of the many Greek islands.

Mainland Greece is a popular tourist destination that offers just about everything from artefacts of ancient civilisations to modern beachside bars and just about everything in-between.

The capital city of Athens merits a visit if only for the Acropolis, a holy rock dating back to the 5th BC that is crowned with Athena’s sacred temple, the Parthenon. Visit in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds, and you will find access to this site is easy via the Athens Metro. The National Archaeological Museum in Athens is another must-see and is crammed with a world-class display of seemingly endless artefacts.

The Halkidiki area of mainland Greece is a popular spot, as is the southern Peloponnese area which is often described as ‘true Greece’. The Peloponnese area is where you will also find several traditional villages, unblemished countryside, awe-inspiring ancient sites and golden sand beaches. Heading to areas such as this gives you a real taste of the country and culture, and provides you with have a feel for what authentic Greece is truly like.

The destination of Parga – on Greece’s west coast – also has a low-key feel and is another unspoilt area where you can sample Grecian life at its most authentic. Sivota, which is located just north of Parga, is one of the best preserved resorts in Greece and has a medley of pine forests and olive trees which provide a welcoming retreat from the more popular tourist areas.

There are 1400 Greek islands scattered across the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea. Each island is unique and has its own defining characteristics, so you really can tailor your trip to suit yourself.

The island of Santorini is the place of Atlantis legends, a living volcanic legacy and superb local wine. Mykonos is another popular destination for tourists and one of the best known islands. Renowned for its sophisticated and international atmosphere there is a vibrant nightlife, enough shopping to satisfy even the most diehard shopaholic and more beaches per square mile than anywhere else in Greece.

So, whether you plan to take your holidays in Greece to visit the mainland or the islands, with such a diverse culture you are bound to find an area that is of interest to you.

Road Trip Planning

Road Trip Planning

The key to a successful road trip is planning ahead. All too often what should have been a relaxing get-away is marred by the frantic search for a forgotten essential, a poorly planned budget, or an inadequate understanding of the area in which you are traveling.

The first step in planning your trip is, of course, to choose a destination. This can be a single place that you are looking to visit, or a general area that you are looking to tour. Use a map to plan out your route, if possible try to plan for a different route to and from your destination, maximizing the opportunity for discovery as you travel.

Once you know where you are headed take the time to go online to research what cities and towns you are traveling through along the way. Many cities and towns have websites that list the tourist attractions in their vicinity. You can also make use of a number of travel websites to see where others have been and the attractions they recommend. Write a list of the places you’d like to see, including the amount of time you will likely need at each stop and the cost of the attractions. Keep an eye open for coupons to save you money. Visit information booths.

Before starting your trip, make sure your vehicle is in good repair, and has had an oil change or tune-up if needed. Your tires should be suitable for the weather expected. Take along an emergency kit, and have an emergency plan.

While driving, you will likely be able to cover around 40 miles per hour. Although you may actually be driving more quickly at times, this is offset by traffic and stopping at lights and signs. This means that 6 hours of driving in a day will take you around 240 miles.

As you look at your route, plan for rest stops about every 1.5-2 hours. You will need to break for lunch, restrooms and to stretch the legs at some point, and you should finish your day’s travel well before dark if you plan on camping or need to find accommodation. It is best to select an overnight destination that offers an evening attraction so that once you are set up for the night you can enjoy the local entertainment.

Next you need to consider your budget:

o Keep in mind the costs of the attractions that you intend to visit as you travel.

o You will need to plan for meals and snacks. Bringing along your own food can save a lot of money, so consider bringing a cooler.

o Make reservations for accommodations in advance.

o Make sure that you have enough leeway to cover the cost of fuel. You may want to go exploring the scenic routes in the area you are visiting.

o Souvenirs, there will always be a little something extra that you may not have thought of, so having a spending allowance for extras is useful.

o Finally, you need to plan what to bring with you. While you will want to pack light, you don’t want to discover that you forgot something essential.

The best plan is to create a list of everything you might need as you travel then pare it down to the essentials. For clothing, be sure to pack for the season, and choose layers that can adapt to varying weather conditions. Sometimes the weather can surprise you! If you will be staying at various locations for short periods of time, pack your suitcase so you can bring in a couple days worth of clothes and not have to carry in the whole suitcase. Consider all personal supplies that you might wind up needing, using a toiletry kit will keep all those items in one place and be easy to carry from place to place. Don’t forget to bring any medications you require.

If you are camping consider not only the basics such as a tent and sleeping bags, but also cooking utensils and lighting for after dark. Don’t forget about sunscreen and bug spray. A freshly stocked first aid kit is another smart addition to your packing list. Make sure you have enough batteries and fuel for campsite equipment.

Finally, don’t forget to bring something for entertainment along the road. Many rural areas have poor radio reception and little to no selection. Try bringing music CDs and audio books. A good book can be a great way to pass the time when not driving. If you are traveling with kids, portable games and DVD players are good distractions while driving.

A well planned trip gives you the chance to make the most out of your vacation. Being prepared will reduce your stress and keep things running smoothly. So take your time, be prepared, and have a great road trip!

Barbados Cuisine

Barbados Cuisine

Like other islands in the Caribbean, they have there own local dishes. Barbados is no different. Barbados national dish is called cou-cou and flying fish. Some of the local dishes in Barbados are:

Flying Fish – it is a fish that most Barbadians eat on a daily basis. Tourists are instantly hooked on this delicacy because of it unique taste. You can fry the flying fish, steam it and even bake it. One of the popular night spots in the island to experience this local cuisine is Oistins especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

Rum Cake / Great Cake – this cake also referred to as black cake contains alcohol particular our own local rum (Mount Gay Rum). Since Barbadians’ are such lovers of liquor it is no surprise they love this cake. You can eat this cake all year round but traditionally it is usually consumed on Valentines Day and around the Christmas holiday.

Pudding and Souse – this is one unique dish you must try. Traditionally it is used on Saturdays and you would find that locals sell this dish along with the supermarkets as well. The pudding is made from the intestines of the pig and seasoned with many things to give it a unique taste. The souse is boiled pig’s head or feet served cold with onions, peppers etc. You might say that it sounds nasty but trust us when we say it tastes great.

Sea Egg – this is a delicacy from the waters around Barbados. You would normally find the people from the country consuming this rare delicacy. They are harvested in season so when you are in Barbados you can check or ask a local fisherman if it is in season. There is a fish market literally just down the road from the Bridgetown port ( 5 minute walk) where you can ask the locals about the sea eggs.

Dive Into Belize And Discover The Big Blue Hole

Dive Into Belize And Discover The Big Blue Hole

Belize, which is situated along the eastern coast of Central America, boasts a rich cultural history and varied natural beauty including spectacular diving sites. For a scuba holiday with a difference you could do worse than Dive in Belize. Holiday makers can visit the great Mayan ruins on the mainland or accept the challenge to dive in Belize’s famous Blue Hole.

The climate in Belize is hot and humid for most of the year with little variation in temperature even in winter. In addition to the wonderful diving opportunities, there are plenty of land activities for tourists, such as the Belize zoo and Ancient Mayan temples. Many tourists, however, come exclusively to enjoy the many dive sites in Belize.

Experienced divers tend to prefer the challenge of adventure dives, and the Blue Hole in Belize is one of those dives. A blue hole is a cave or sinkhole and is also known as a vertical cave. The steep drop means that the centre of the hole is a rich dark blue colour, and the closer one gets to the shallows around it, the lighter the water becomes. Blue holes are thought to have been formed during the last Ice Age when sea levels were much lower than they are now.

Belize has the largest and arguably the most stunning blue hole in the world, and located near Lighthouse reef, it is a diving paradise. The hole is nearly a perfect circle and is more than 1,000 feet (305m) wide and 480 feet (146m) deep.

Interestingly, a blue hole does not generate much circulation, thus little oxygen reaches the depths of the hole. As a result, few marine life creatures can survive there, though bacteria seem to proliferate.

Other famous blue holes include the Andros Island Bahamas Blue Hole and the, Egyptian Blue Hole just north of Dahab. All the main Islands in the Bahamas have blue holes, but the Andros Island is considered to be the best of the lot. The Egyptian blue hole, in particular, is known to be very dangerous and has claimed the lives of many divers over the years.

Belize also has wonderful world famous reefs to scuba dive. The largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere can be found in Belize. It has mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries and is surrounded by several marine reserves. The area has been placed on the exclusive list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, which is a testament to the great beauty found there. The blue hole and reefs alone make Belize a fantastic place to go scuba diving.

Divers travel from all over the world to experience scuba diving in Belize. For serious scuba divers, the one thing to do in Central America is to dive in Belize.

Five Must Do Things in Brisbane

Five Must Do Things in Brisbane

Mount Coot-tha Lookout: Mt Coot-tha is only a short drive out of the city. Once there you can get a great view the entire city of Brisbane, from the top. This view is absolutely breathtaking during the night time . Once there you can enjoy a restaurant, bar, caf and gift shop on the observation deck. From there you can take a track down to Slaughters Falls where see Aboriginal art, en route.

Southbank: Just a quick walk, City Cat or ferry ride from the city, Southbank is home to the famous Streets Beach. Streets beach is a lagoon with crystal clear water. The water in the lagoon is so eminence that it can fill up five Olympic swimming pools. Some other areas of interest in Southbank are the cafes, shops cinemas and live entertainment. You can also enjoy a festival and fireworks at certain time throughout the year. Southbank is also home to the Queensland Cultural Centre.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary : Koalas, Tasmanian devils , Kangaroos, Possums, Wombats , Fruit bats, and more can be found at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. This sanctuary is only a thirty five minute ride or a relaxing one hour cruise form the city.

City Botanic Gardens: These gardens are the citys oldest park, originally planted in 1825 with food crops to feed the prison colony. They include ancient trees, rainforest glades and exotic species and are the whole length of Alice Street bordered by Parliament House on one side and the Brisbanes River on the other. There lots of guided tours, a caf numerous play areas for children and are a wonderful green haven for visitors and locals alike.

Roma Street Parkland : With its landscaped gardens, Queenslands largest public art collection, hundreds of unique plants, a lake precinct or the subtropical rainforest, this is a must see for any visitor. Roma Street Parkland is a 16 hectare park with a lot to see and do. You can choose to take a brochure and tour the parkland on your own, take a guided tour, or hop on the trackless train that takes you down the parks paths.

Turning Your Passion For Flying Into a Career

Turning Your Passion For Flying Into a Career

The desire to fly with the birds in the sky is as old as mankind itself. Some of the oldest stories from ancient myths explore the fascination with flight. Think of Icarus, the son of Daedalus, who while escaping, was so enthralled with his ability to fly that he flew too close to the sun and melted the wax on his wings. Even Leonardo da Vinci, back in the 1500’s, explored flying with amazing accuracy. So if you have felt that yearning to fly or that urge be part of the aviation community, you are in good company. In this article, we will explore a few of the paths for taking your passion and making it a career.

What is your final aviation goal?

For many of us, at first we wanted to get a pilot’s certificate because it was always something we wanted to do. Some get their pilot certificate because they want to enjoy an occasional flight with family and friends. Still others see the business advantage of it by being able to rent (or own) an airplane, fly to where they have business, and avoid the commercial airport and airlines altogether. But no matter what the reason, once the “aviation bug” gets into your system, don’t be surprised if you see yourself involved in aviation full-time and turning it into a career.

Here’s an example. A very good friend of mine decided he wanted to fly. It had always been a dream of his so he did a Discovery Flight with me, we flew for about a half hour and I let him take the controls. We climbed, we descended, we turned, and we really enjoyed our flight. When we got back to the airport he was hooked! He bought the aviation books I recommended and started flight lessons. Eventually he became a flight instructor himself and shared his love of flying with his students. Then one day, he found himself flying a corporate jet and loving it. Do you think this could be you?

If your final goal is to fly for an airline or charter company, you will follow one path. If your final goal is to fly friends and family, then you will follow a different path. If you enjoy teaching AND love to fly, becoming a flight instructor just might be in your future. Or is your goal to work in the airline or aviation industry in some other capacity?

Obviously a career as a commercial pilot is going to take a lot of time, money, and patience to get all the ratings and certificates and hours you will need to reach that level. And if you know flying professionally is your destiny and goal, your flight instructor and your flight school will advise you on what is required and what your options are. If you are flying for fun or your own business needs, they will also be able to guide you through what you will need as well.

There are several other aviation careers of course, and they all have one thing in common. A bachelor’s degree. It is a very important way to prepare for any career in the aviation or airline industry, whether it is to fly, to work as part of a large organization or to start your own aviation-oriented business. A four-year degree gives you a much greater depth of knowledge and education. Whether your degree is aviation specific or otherwise, a four-year degree makes you a more competitive candidate during ANY interview down the road. I always recommend to my young students that they focus their studies on a major that both interests them and that they can use outside of aviation. Then, with their degree completed, they should pursue their aviation dream. The costs of getting all your pilot certificates and ratings is pretty steep. And when you are done, you will have your certificate and ratings but nothing more if you don’t get your degree first. A bachelor’s degree is the first step towards your aviation career. Flying and aviation will always be there waiting when you are done with college and probably more so in the future than ever before.

Fortunately, there are many schools like Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the University of North Dakota that offer integrated degree and flying programs. By channeling your funds into one of these full degree plans, you will still get your pilot ratings and certificates but it will be integrated into a program that will give you the business exposure into aviation and aviation management or your chosen discipline like entrepreneurship, accounting, marketing, engineering, etc. Either way, you will come out of their program with a bachelor’s degree that you can then take on to specialized training or even to a masters or PhD if you like. Ultimately, you will have more options and choices in the long run.

Personally, with regards to mixing education and flight training, I am of the mindset that you should get your bachelor’s degree first and satisfy your aviation dreams second. When you mix the two, I don’t believe that you can focus on either to the level that you should. Furthermore, these mixed programs are very expensive when combined.

 

So there you have it. First, define your goal, then take action. If you want to fly “just-for-fun” then visit a flight school and talk to a flight instructor to help you determine the best path for you. If your aspirations are greater though, get your degree first, then work on your aviation or flying goals. Get involved in some aspect of aviation that you find interesting and learn as much as you can. It never hurts to have exposure to business in general and how the entire aviation and airline businesses work if you plan to be part of it long term. In the near future, you could be flying friends and family around or stepping into a jet or working for an aviation company. Aviation and commercial flying offer many options and alternatives and it won’t take much to check out what programs are available and it might be one of the smartest career moves you ever made and you can turn your passion for flying or aviation into a life-long and rewarding career.

8 Passenger Van Rental

8 Passenger Van Rental

If you are traveling with a small group of people, or just have a large family, then renting an 8 passenger van is a great idea. You get the freedom to travel wherever you want, whenever you want. Groups traveling to conferences should seriously consider hiring a passenger van for a few days. This article will discuss how to get great deals on 8 passenger vans and also look at the benefits of renting an 8 passenger van.

Finding Great Deals

The best place to find deals on passenger vans is on the internet. A great idea is to do a quick search for sites that offer comparisons of the deals offered by the different companies. You can also visit the websites of the different van rental businesses as many of them have great daily deals. Many websites also provide coupon codes which can help you save considerable money on your rental. Some people even sell coupons on eBay and other online auction sites. Once you find the best deal you can go ahead and book it! Booking online is very simple and all you have to do is fill out some simple forms.

Benefits of Passenger Van Rentals

  • Very easy to find great deals
  • Perfect for small groups
  • Much more comfortable than traveling in buses or taxis
  • Gives you the freedom to travel where you want at anytime
  • Plenty of room to stretch your legs
  • Luxury vans are available. These often have DVD players, a television, leather seats, lasers and smoke machines. They are great for people who want to travel in style
  • Easy to book- online, over the phone or in person

Cape San Blas Vacation – My Favorite Dining Options For Daytrips to Mexico Beach Or Apalachicola

Cape San Blas Vacation - My Favorite Dining Options For Daytrips to Mexico Beach Or Apalachicola

So you’re coming to Cape San Blas this summer for a vacation at the beach! For some, that means very little time spent dining out. (And for you, watch for future on where to catch or purchase the best seafood, how to prepare it and other tips for you “do it yourself” types) But for many folks, being on vacation means being on vacation from the kitchen, too. In a recent Ezine article, I did my best to give an exhaustive list of all the eating establishments on Cape San Blas, on the way to Port St. Joe from the Cape, and in Port St. Joe itself.

This article will expand the choices to two of our favorite nearby towns, Mexico Beach and Apalachicola. Why these two towns? Well, it seems despite the fact we have fabulous weather most of the time at the Cape, on the one rainy day we might get during our vacation, we’d head to Apalach or Mexico Beach to shop, sight see, and eat lunch while the clouds passed. The shopping in Apalachicola ranges from neat little places like Blue or Avenue E to antique shops and another personal favorite, Petunia’s pet boutique. In Mexico Beach, my daughter’s favorite place is Two Gulls, a cute store in a row of adorable shops on Highway 98.

Another disclaimer, lest I offend any of the fine eateries in these towns who are not mentioned — this is definitely not intended to be an extensive listing. These are just the places my family has settled into visiting over the years. And yes, we are creatures of habit and, like the monarch butterflies who migrate to and from Cape San Blas each year, we tend to head to the same places frequently!

Mexico Beach — Remember, they’re on Central time and the Cape is on Eastern time!

Beach Pizza, 2902 Highway 98, 850-648-4600. Gourmet Pizzas and Hot and Cold Sub Sandwiches. My kids love their pizza and want to stop anytime we’re in Mexico Beach. (Also, for those of you staying in our only Mexico Beach Vacation Rental, Gary’s Gift, Beach Pizza delivers!)

Mango Marley’s, 3104 Highway 98, 850-648-5000. Great seafood, burgers, “Jamaican Me Crazy” chips and other good appetizers. Full bar, video games and something always going on, be it a football game or what I hear is the latest, Wii Bowling on Wednesday nights. We had a blast last summer when we stopped in with a large group and everybody enjoyed their food.

Regan’s Pub & Oyster Bar, 8066 W. Highway 98, 850-647-2800. I’ve eaten lots Regan’s oysters at special events and parties and they’re yummy! They have a casual atmosphere with a restaurant on one side and a lounge with pool, darts and jukebox on the other.

Sharon’s Cafe, 1100 Highway 98, 850-648-8634. Great place for breakfast or lunch. The kids loved the “happy face” pancakes when they were growing up.

Toucan’s Restaurant, 812 Highway 98, 850-648-8207. One of my kids’ favorite places to eat when they were little. There’s a beach-side playground and indoor, porch and outdoor seating. We stopped in over this spring break and had a great meal and watched the sunset. Everything from full dinners to hamburgers to seafood baskets and appetizers. Full bar.

Apalachicola (there are lots more places we have not tried yet, but these are our favorites!)

Apalachicola Seafood Grill, 100 Market Street, 850-653-9510. This is one of the oldest restaurants in Apalach and sits right on the corner of the main roads into town. I guess that’s partly why it’s the first place we tried in town. The kids loved the fried seafood, and one of our friends loves the gumbo — or maybe it’s the chowder? I can’t remember, but we always have to be sure we go early enough for her to get some or she pouts!

Boss Oyster, 123 Water Street, 850-653-9364. Great setting on the water. Casual atmosphere and outdoor seating available too. You can order your oysters 17 different ways and you can mix and match your dozen! Also serves other kinds of seafood, but I always eat oysters. They serve lunch and dinner.

The Owl Cafe, 15 Avenue D, serves lunch and dinner. They serve Sunday brunch but we have never made it to one. This is one of my favorite places and we have always had wonderful food and service at the Owl. I love the black grouper, but the steaks, pasta and specials are excellent too. The Owl is a little more upscale and little more expensive than some of our other favorite haunts, but we think it’s worth it.

Papa Joe’s Oyster Bar, 301-B Market Street, 850-653-1189. Another great place to get oysters! They serve lunch and dinner and have steaks, salads and pasta as well as seafood.

That Place on 98, Eastpoint now has a sister restaurant, That Place in Apalach, 17 Avenue E, 850-653-9898. I’ve not been to the Apalach location, but we love the original “That Place on 98” which is located at 500 US Highway 98 in Eastpoint. Their number at that location is 850-670-9898. The website says Eastpoint is closed for the season but to try the new Apalachicola location. We’ll try to hit it next time we are down. The Eastpoint restaurant has great food, a nice view and friendly, casual service. Yeah, we all have t-shirts from there too because we love the name.

We have never been to some of the other restaurants in Apalachicola that folks say are excellent. They include Verandas, Magnolia Grill and Tamara’s. Like I said, we’re creatures of habit and only get over this way maybe once during our week of summer vacation at Cape San Blas. Someday we will be lucky enough to move down there full time and visit all these great places. So feel free to pick from our “tried and true” list or expand to some of the other great restaurants in either town. Bon appetit!

Love Backpacking? Dont We All!

Love Backpacking? Don't We All!

The smell of the road often drives people crazy. Those unknown streets, those narrow alleys, or the mighty mountains, the lingering fragrance of fern and pine trees, it is an indescribable feeling. Only the backpackers will understand the joy of being on the road and only they can understand the happiness in leaving behind the hustle and bustle of everyday existence and packing the bare necessities and setting out for an unknown destination. As for these backpackers, these trekkers, these hitchhikers the only people are the mad ones-the ones who are according to Jack Kerouac “mad to live.”

While backpacking in Europe, there are definite things you must carry in your backpacking bag. The important documents like passports, travel documents, visas, money, credit cards etc should be safely kept inside a plastic folder, so that come rain or hail or snow they are safe. Those documents give you your identity so they must be safe and sound. Backpacking in Europe is a thrilling experience for sure but without the essential elements in your precious backpacking bag, it can be quite fatal! Firstly, your backpacking bag should be a light, yet sturdy one. Buy one with discretion, so that it suits your body weight and body shape. It should be spacious enough to carry whatever you need and it should definitely be waterproof. While packing your backpacking bag, be smart.

Keep the heavier things at the bottom and fill it up with lighter. You should have a proper list of essentials and be sure to put everything meticulously in that backpacking bag. Don’t carry too many clothes as you will easily get tired. Be sure to carry a pair of chunky mountain shoes or sneakers and a raincoat. Carry shorts and jeans and not more than four t-shirts. While you revel in the astonishing beauty of Europe, you surely don’t want to get tired! Don’t forget to pack clean underwear! Carry important essentials like the toothbrush, a torch, a five-in-one pocket knife, ropes (if you are mountaineer), your iPod, one book (do NOT carry more, you can easily exchange with your fellow backpackers), plates (two), forks and spoons (preferably strong ones made of plastic). Definitely pack your sunscreen and insect repellent cream, so that while camping out, those killer mosquitoes can be avoided. Also, do not forget to carry your soaps and shampoos.

The best time to go backpacking in Europe is during the month of June, July or August. You should definitely plan your backpacking trip to Europe. Decide for how long you plan to backpack in Europe, accordingly fix up your budget. Also know and be sure of the countries you really want to go backpacking in. Do this, so that you can acquire the suitable Euro Rail pass. Staying at the youth hostels is an inexpensive option and is definitely the ideal option for backpackers. While backpacking in Europe, be ready for wonderful adventures, be ready to explore to the maximum, be ready to meet exciting new people as mad as you are and if you plan it properly, it is surely going to be a life-changing experience!

As the Tree Falls

As the Tree Falls

A trip to Washington State is not complete without a trip around the Olympic Peninsula. From its early days, Washington has been known for its vast forests and the lumber industry. Until the 1940s the seemingly endless supply of trees dominated Washington’s economic development, with mill towns and lumber camps springing up throughout the state.

As technology improved and demand increased the supply of lumber began to dwindle. Clear-cut logging razed acres, leaving the damaged forest with little chance for regrowth. While the government stepped in and established forest reserves in an attempt to protect the valuable lumber resources, this didn’t help to rebuild the forests that were already destroyed.

Some efforts were made to replant and conserve forests for sustained yield production, but this didn’t solve the problem of the habitat being decimated by the forestry industry. In order to preserve some of the natural forest, President Theodore Roosevelt set aside 615,000 acres of forestland in 1909, establishing the Mount Olympus National Monument.

Much of the Olympic National Forest has been set aside to preserve the endangered Spotted Owls, and this forestland is the oldest and most beautiful in Washington State. However, the struggle for balance in the logging industry continues to this day.

A journey along the Olympic Peninsula takes visitors through history and into some of the most valuable forests of America. Starting at Aberdeen you travel to Hoquiam, home of the Polson Museum. This extensive collection of Gray’s Harbor history features a large collection of logging memorabilia and historical artefacts. You can stop for the night at Hoquiam Castle, the meticulously restored Victorian home of lumber baron Robert Lytle, owner of the first electric saw mill on the west coast.

From Hoquiam you will pass by young forests planted to repair the ravages of clear-cutting, until you enter the Olympic National Forest. Don’t miss the Hoh Rain Forest Nature Trail, to experience this lush old-growth forest, hung with dripping moss nourished by 140″ of rain each year.

As you travel along the US101 you will have a lovely view of the Pacific. Several unspoiled beaches line the ocean, making for a pleasant stopover for lunch and a swim. After lunch, try stopping at Den’s Wood Den where you can enjoy chainsaw wood carvings and other local wood crafts. When you reach Forks, a classic logging town, consider visiting the Forks Timber Museum to view antique logging equipment and other memorabilia.

For an enjoyable overnight, try the historic Lake Crescent Lodge. You can have a comfortable place to stay as you explore the Olympic National Park’s sights such as the 90′ high Marymore Falls, part of the Moments in Time Nature Trail. Here President Roosevelt stayed, enjoying the beauty of the forest while he made plans to create the Olympic National Park in 1938.

From the Lodge you can continue along the coastline to Port Angeles. After enjoying the sights of this busy port town, continue on to Dungeness Valley and the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. Set upon the world’s longest natural sand spit, this refuge is home to a variety of wildlife including harbour seals. Enjoy the many outdoor activities such as hiking trails, boating, and beaches along the reserve. In Sequim stop in at the Dungeness River Audubon Centre and learn about the peninsula’s valuable natural resources.

As you travel onwards, a short detour takes you to the 2,804 foot Mount Walker Observation Area, with its great views. Driving along the western shore of Hood Canal to Hoodsport, you will many places to stop as you pass marshes full of birds, oyster farms, and towns with seafood restaurants.

The Olympic Peninsula is a national treasure, filled with state history and a wealth of natural beauty, including fern-clad rain forests, secluded beaches, alpine meadows, and the snow-crowned Olympic Mountains. It is well worth taking the time to travel its shores and personally experiencing the Olympic Forest.