Tag Archives: destinations

Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers, a tranquil town located on Florida’s west coast, is known the world over for the Festival of Lights that celebrates its famous resident, Thomas Edison. It is even better known for the fact that visitors can experience some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches just minutes from downtown.

The city is one of the most frequented winter destinations as people from the north escape the cold for the warm, tropical breezes of south Florida. Winter is by far the busiest season as many visitors from the cold north come to visit this tranquil Florida paradise. Any time of year is good for golf. With a variety of challenging public courses available, there is one to fit any level and with the beautiful scenery of the area, it’s a wonderful experience, regardless of the score.

With its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, one “must do” sport is the art of “shelling”. Picture a warm breeze, soft sand, the Gulf waters gently rolling onto the beach, while walking right at the water’s edge searching for that perfect shell that is about to roll in with the tide.

Of course there are many attractions, museums, restaurants, sports opportunities, and shopping available as well. Of particular interest to anyone visiting the area, is the Edison & Ford Winter Estate. As one of the nation’s most visited historic homes, the Estate includes 20 acres of historic buildings and gardens, Edison’s original rubber lab, a large museum, food and retail areas, and river cruises on a replica of his electric launch. It’s truly electrifying!

For a unique experience, the Imaginarium is the place to visit. Conveniently located in town,
the Imaginarium is a hands on museum that offers exciting interactive exhibits for all ages including live animals, a hurricane simulator, wide-screen movie theater, dino dig, and an early-childhood exploration area.

To enjoy a variety of attractions in one venue, be sure to visit The Shell Factory and Nature Park
to enjoy nature, ride the rides, ‘shop til you drop,’ or see some of Mother Nature’s finest creations.. Not only does the Shell Factory include a collection of common and rare shells, sponges, coral, fossils and sea life specimens; there are a host of other things to do and see. For the fun seeker, there are arcade games, miniature golf, and even a radar gun to test the speed of a pitch. If you want to get bumped around a little, bumper boats are available. In addition, the Nature Park features a petting zoo, environmental education center, and a botanical trail and garden. It’s a day of education and fun for the entire family.

And what visit to south Florida would be complete without seeing an alligator or two? The Everglades Day Safari offers daily departures from town to the famous Florida Everglades.
It’s an exciting adventure through the different kingdoms that make up the “Everglades.” Guests are accompanied by highly trained guides who discuss the past, present and future of this truly unique area. You’ll want to bring your camera for this one.

After a visit to this wonderfully tranquil, yet exciting Florida City, you’ll know why Thomas Edison made it his home and why Henry Ford personally opened the first Ford dealership here. It is a vacation destination you will love to visit and that you won’t want to leave.

Sarasota, Florida

It may not be a big-name Florida city like Miami, Tampa, St. Petersburg or Orlando, but Sarasota, on Florida’s southwest coast, is the place to go for all the conveniences of a big city in a small package.

Located about 40 miles south of the Tampa Bay area, Sarasota has a variety of attractions and events that attract the arts-minded tourist who’s interested in more than just riding some gussied-up roller coasters.

Sarasota is known as the “Circus Town.” The city was once the winter quarters of the “Greatest Show on Earth,” hence, the moniker.The work and contributions of John Ringling, of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, have made the city a cultural capital. John and his wife Mable built a mansion on Sarasota Bay and set out to collect art by Peter Paul Reubens and other Flemish and Italian masters of the 17th century. That collection today is called the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Ringling’s name is also immortalized as an avenue in downtown Sarasota.

Downtown Sarasota is in the midst of a building boom, with condos, office buildings and shopping either in place, under construction or planned. In addition, urban renewal projects are working to make a better life for the city’s less-fortunate citizens. As befits a cultural capital, it’s the small galleries by artists in various media that make the arts scene vibrant. Galleries are scattered throughout the city and surrounding area, and even amateur artists take their crafts seriously.

Other Sarasota attractions include the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, the Pelican Man Sanctuary, Selby Gardens and Jungle Gardens. Arts and cultural events are presented at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Asolo Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre and Sarasota Opera House. The city hosts an annual book fair and film festival, too.

To the east, Myakka River State Park offers one of Florida’s largest and most diverse natural areas. It was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934 and some of the original buildings are still in use. It offers a scenic drive, dirt roads, hiking trails and more.
When you’ve had enough exploring in Sarasota, it’s time to hit the beaches. Sarasota features 35 miles of sand and several beautiful keys on the Gulf of Mexico that are well-known to sun-and-fun lovers, including St. Armands Key, Longboat Key, Lido Key, Bird Key, Siesta Key (considered by some to have the whitest and finest sand in the world), Casey Key, Venice Beach, Anna Maria Island and Bradenton Beach.

Sarasota’s weather is mild, especially compared to some other places in the winter. Sarasota is well-connected to the northern parts of West and Central Florida by Interstate 75 and Interstate 275. Traveling south, Interstate 75 offers a reasonably fast ride, but U.S. 41 (the legendary Tamiami Trail of years gone by) is presently used only for local travel due to road construction, congestion and its many traffic lights.

State Road 70 provides access to the eastern part of the state. The road is a two-lane divided highway across Florida, and there are several areas now under construction, which can cause delays. Some who visit Sarasota fly to Tampa International Airport and then drive south, but Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport has service from Delta Air Lines, mainly to and from Atlanta for connections; ATA Airlines, which is establishing a code-sharing arrangement with Southwest for flights to Chicago-Midway; and AirTran Airways, which offers direct service to and from Baltimore, Chicago-Midway and Atlanta, and has connections to other cities.

There is so much to see and do in Sarasota that more than one visit may be required!

Knoxville, Tennessee

The city of Knoxville is growing in popularity with each passing season. In addition to a year round moderate climate, the city is located within 90 minutes of six National Parks, including the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, and is home to one of the finest universities in the world, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Known throughout the area for its unsurpassed beauty and tranquility, this eastern Tennessee city is alive with a variety of activities year round. No matter what a visitor’s personal taste, ranging from the outdoors to the cultural arts, Knoxville has it.

The city is easily accessible from virtually anywhere. It is located at the geographical center of the eastern United States and is within a day’s drive of half the nation’s population. Knoxville sits at the crossroads of three major interstates (I-75, I-40, and I-81).

The two busiest times of the year are when the University of Tennessee is in full session and the summer, when tourists come to visit nearby Great Smokey Mountain National Park and the many local attractions. Visitors are warmly welcomed in this temperate climate. During the busy summer season, the countryside is green and gentle. With the daytime temperatures in the mid 80’s F and the evenings dropping into the mid 60’s F, it’s a perfect time to partake of any of the numerous outdoor activities. The fall color is truly magnificent as hills light up in brilliant autumn hues. Winter is brief and mild with just a dusting of snow. When it does snow, it transforms the already postcard like setting into an entirely new effect. Spring arrives early and stays for a long time, featuring glorious dogwoods, azaleas and other beautiful flowers. Throughout the year, Knoxville has a very accommodating climate.

Knoxville offers a host of activities in every season. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing dinner cruise along the Tennessee River aboard an authentic paddle wheeler riverboat licensed by the US Coast Guard. During the day, a historic visit to Blount Mansion should not be missed. Built in 1792, Blount Mansion was home to territorial Gov. William Blount, signer of the U.S. Constitution. Guided tours of this National Historic Landmark show 18th century antiques and the workings of frontier government.

If visitors are feeling a little more like seeing the sites on their own, a downtown self-guided walking tour highlights the beginnings of country music in Knoxville. The tour includes markers regarding Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, The Everly Brothers, Roy Acuff and others. Of course, a trip to the sprawling campus of the University of Tennessee is a must. Whether it’s visiting the Football Hall of Fame, watching one of the many sporting events taking place year round, or just wandering the campus, the University is truly remarkable.

For those individuals intrigued by the Civil War, a must see is the Mabry-Hazen House Museum & Civil War “Bethel Cemetery”. This home of the Civil War and Victorian periods showcases original artifacts including china, silver, crystal, and antique furnishings. At various times, the house served as headquarters for both Union and Confederate troops. More than 1,600 Civil War soldiers and 50 Union prisoners are buried in Bethel Cemetery.

Attractions, great weather, unsurpassed beauty, year round entertainment and sports: this easily accessible eastern Tennessee city has it all.

Lexington, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky is best known for its horses and bluegrass. It was here that Bluegrass music was born. Lexington, the world capital of racehorse breeding and burley tobacco was named by patriotic hunters who camped here in 1775 shortly after hearing news of the first battle of Revolutionary War at Lexington, Massachusetts.

Huge caverns and Appalachian hikes attract adventurous tourists. History buffs can walk where Daniel Boone hunted and enjoy all the sites that he may have encountered. Visitors can also take a step back in time at the birthplace of one of our President’s, Abraham Lincoln; Ashland, Henry Clay’s estate; the Hunt-Morgan House, the Bodley-Bullock House and Waveland. For the Bourbon connoisseurs, Lexington has a fine variety of distilleries – offering samples to those who visit. If fast paced excitement, is more to your style then be sure to play the odds while enjoying a cup of burgoo at the Kentucky Derby.

Lexington is outlined by winding roads, miles of white-planked fences, rolling countryside and picturesque horse farms. Lexington does, however, offer numerous cultural activities including the Lexington Philharmonic, the newly-expanded Lexington Children’s Theatre, the Lexington Children’s Museum, Broadway Live, and the Ballet Theatre of Lexington.

For the sports enthusiasts, Lexington provides entertainment by keeping fans cheering in the stands for The American Hockey League’s Kentucky Thorough blades and the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team. In the stadium, football enthusiasts can enjoy Southeastern Conference football at the newly expanded Commonwealth Stadium on UK’s campus.

Lexington’s charms its visitors both by the close proximity of the area’s rural surroundings and by the metropolitan conveniences of a dynamic city.

Detroit, Michigan

Detroit has had a profound impact on the world. From the advent of the automotive assembly line to the Motown sound, modern techno and rock music, Detroit continues to shape both American and global culture. The city has seen many of its historic buildings renovated, and is bustling with new developments and attractions that complement its world class museums and theatres. The city offers myriad things to see and do. Detroit is an exciting travel destination filled with technological advance and historic charm.

Downtown Detroit is unique: an International Riverfront , ornate buildings, sculptures, fountains, the nation’s second largest theater district, and one of the nation’s largest collection of pre-depression era skyscrapers. Two major traffic circles along Woodward Avenue surround Campus Martius Park and Grand Circus Park, both gathering points. The city has ample parking much of it in garages. Many historic buildings have been converted into loft apartments, and over sixty new businesses have opened in the Central Business District over the past two years. Downtown Detroit features the Renaissance Center, including the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere, the Detroit Marriott, with the largest rooftop restaurant, Coach Insignia. Many restaurants emanate from the Renaissance Center, Greektown, the arts and theatre district, and stadium area. Joining the eastern, riverfront parks, the city has the 982-acre Belle Isle Park with the large James Scott Memorial Fountain, historic conservatory, gardens, and spectacular views of the city skyline.

Visitors may reserve a public dock downtown at the Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor. Great Lakes Cruises are also available. Surrounding neighborhoods such as Corktown, home to Detroit’s early Irish population, New Center, Midtown, and Eastern Market (the nation’s largest open air market), are experiencing a revival. Detroit has a rich architectural heritage, such as the recently restored historic Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel, the Guardian and Fisher buildings with exquisitely ornate interiors and exteriors, the Detroit Institute of Arts (top five museums in the country) to name a few. In 2005, Detroit’s architecture was heralded as some of America’s finest; many of the city’s architecturally significant buildings are listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as among America’s most endangered landmarks.

Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. to offer casino resorts. The three major casino resorts are MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown, and MotorCity. A fourth major casino is just across the river in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Detroit Metro Airport is one of the few to offer world class hotel and meeting facilities inside the terminal. The Renaissance Center and the Southfield Town Center are among the nation’s finest mixed use facilities for large conferences. Downtown Detroit serves as the cultural and entertainment hub of the metropolitan region, Windsor, Ontario, and even for Toledo, Ohio residents, many of whom work in metropolitan Detroit. While most of the region’s attractions are in the city of Detroit, tourists will find that nearly all of the shopping malls are located in suburbs, such as Troy. The Detroit-Windsor metro area population totals about 5.9 million; it jumps to 6.5 million if Toledo is included. An estimated 46 million people live within a 300 mi radius of Detroit. The city’s northern inner ring suburbs like Ferndale, Southfield, Royal Oak, and Birmingham provide an urban experience in the suburbs complete with dining, shopping and other attractions. The Detroit area has many regal mansions, within the city and especially in Grosse Pointe, Bloomfield Hills, and Birmingham. Ann Arbor provides the nearby experience of a college town.

Detroit is an international destination for sporting events of all types; patrons enjoy their experience in world class venues. The Detroit Convention and Visitors bureau maintains the Detroit Metro Sports Commission. The city and region have state of the art facilities for major conferences and conventions.

Detroit is known as the world’s “Automobile Capital” and “Motown” (for “Motor Town”), the city where Henry Ford pioneered the automotive assembly line, with the world’s first mass produced car, the Model T. During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt called Detroit the “Arsenal of Democracy.” Today, the region serves as the global center for the automotive world. Headquartered in metro Detroit, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler all have major corporate, manufacturing, engineering, design, and research facilities in the area. Hyundai, Toyota, Nissan, among others, have a presence in the region. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is a global leader in research and development. Metro Detroit has made Michigan’s economy a leader in information technology, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. Michigan ranks fourth nationally in high tech employment with 568,000 high tech workers, including 70,000 in the automotive industry. Michigan typically ranks among the top three states for overall research and development investment expenditures in the US. The domestic auto industry accounts directly and indirectly for one of every ten jobs in the US.

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