Rose Season is well under way in Tyler, Texas. During the entire month of October, Tyler offers activities and workshops, all leading up to the renowned Texas Rose Festival, October 19-22.
Rose Season is celebrated throughout the month with a variety of events for the whole family to enjoy. Some of those events include arts and craft fairs, historic home and rose tours, festivals, concerts, and more. For a list of Rose Season activities go to www.VisitTyler.com/roseseason.
History of the Texas Rose Festival
In 1933, during the height of the Great Depression, a group of Tyler civic and community leaders created a festival to showcase Tyler’s rose industry. Thanks to the Oil Boom, Tyler had been somewhat insulated from the reality much of the rest of the country was experiencing.
Tyler had real cause to celebrate, so the Texas Rose Festival was born, known in the beginning as the Tyler Rose Festival. The annual festivities were quickly adopted and word of the elaborate gowns and awe-inspiring roses spread statewide.
As the years progressed, The Texas Rose Festival played host to multiple dignitaries and gained significant national attention. Today, tourists come from all over to be a part of Texas history and participate in this annual celebration. Even though gardens filled with beautiful roses of every variety draw visitors to Tyler in October, the flower displays are popular throughout the year.
Texas Rose Festival
Rose Season would not be complete without the Texas Rose Festival. This year the Texas Rose Festival will be celebrating with elaborate displays of roses and activities including the Rose Show, the Coronation, Queen’s Tea, and of course, the popular Texas Rose Festival Parade.
In 2016, approximately 46,000 visitors from out of town attended the Rose Season festivities, which resulted in a $2.5 million estimated economic impact on the local community. That’s even more reason for Tyler citizens to be proud of their rose gardens and surrounding landscaping. For more information about the Texas Rose Festival, visit www.texasrosefestival.com.
Information courtesy of Holli Fourniquet, Vice President, Marketing, Texas Rose Festival
Photos from Beverly Burmeier and free sources
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Need to ramp up the fright factor of Halloween? Austin, Texas has more than 40 locations where ghosts and spirits have been reported. But the otherworldly figures don’t just surface around Halloween; they spook folks year round Here are a few of the city’s notable haunted spots.
|Famously haunted Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas|
Less than a block from the Driskill is Buffalo Billiards, original site of the Missouri Hotel, Austin’s first boarding house and a questionable entertainment spot for cowboys in the 1860s. Ghost sightings have startled a cleaning woman and night bartender. Occasional ghosts still drift through the crowds at this popular night spot on trendy and hip 6th Street.
|Neil-Cochran House and Museum in Austin|
|Strange things happen in Austin's Paramount Theater.|
Employees of downtown Paramount Theater frequently report moving props, strange lights, and unseen hands engaging in unexplained activity at this historic venue that has produced vaudeville, silent movies, music, dance, and Broadway shows for more than 90 years. Theater patrons accept these strange occurrences good-naturedly, even searching out new reports.Teachers working late by the gum at Crockett High School report hearing a little girl crying and walking up and down the hall. It is said that she is searching for her family.
|University of Texas Tower|
People who remember the infamous observation tower shooting rampage of Charles Whitman in 1966 won’t be too surprised to learn that Whitman is said to still haunt the Universityof Texas Tower and campus.Want to know more? Paranormal researcher Fiona Broome recounts some of the most familiar tales in her book The Ghosts of Austin, Texas: Who They Are and Where to Find Them.
Photos from free sources.
Saturday, October 14, 2017
I once read a quote from Dalai Lama that perfectly expressed how I feel about travel: “Once a year go somewhere you have never been before.” It’s inspiring to know such a laudable person shares my life philosophy—at least on this point.
|A fishing village nestled on the coast of the Faroe Islands|
The history of the Faroes began when Irish monks came more than 200 years before Norse settlers arrived in 850 A.D. Vikings later drove them out, and Norwegians ruled until Denmark took over.The Faroe Islands are still part of Denmark, although the islands became autonomous in 1948 after World War II. Cultural and financial connections to Denmark are strong. For example, every citizen receives an annual stipend from the Danish government, and they use Danish coins but have their own paper bills.
|Ancient volcanic activity left its mark on the landscape of Faroe Islands|
|Deep clefts on the mountain side make the land mostly unusable.|
If you’re getting the picture that the Faroe Islands are a difficult place to live, you are right. Often young people leave the islands to study and work—and many (especially women) don’t come back.
|A squiggly road traverses the mountain on its way to the village.|
|Fishing for cod, haddock, and mackerel and salmon farming (the ring)|
are important to the economy of the Faroe Islands.
|Gorgeous cliffs at the village of Eioi on the island of Eystuoy.|
|Grass roofs utilize a commodity that is native to the islands.|
Throughout our travels from Torshavn, tiny clusters of homes dotted the coastline, while sparkling waterfalls tumbled down hillsides on their way to the ocean. Knowing that the idyllic setting belies the adverse living condition of the Faroe Islands, I cherish the memories of hazy mist drifting over verdant hillsides even more.
|Waterfalls take a circuitous path down the mountains.|
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Maui brings visions of beaches shaded by tall palm trees, sunsets glistening on ocean waves, and hikes to beautiful waterfalls. All of that is reason enough to visit this popular Hawaiian island.
|Near the beach there are trails to follow, many with volcanic rock|
creating stunning views--and rocky paths.
|Lounging on the trampoline, enjoying the|
sail to Lanai
So we booked a full day excursion with Sail Maui on a catamaran called Paragon. Our group of eight had the most fantastic crew led by Captain Ray and Lacey. I highly recommend them—and no, I do not receive any compensation for mentioning this company.The April day could not have been more perfect—sunny but not too hot with dainty white clouds in the sky and sparkling blue water for contrast. Most of us settled in on the trampoline—the netted area at the front of the catamaran—to enjoy the pleasant ride. Breakfast breads, fresh fruits, yogurt, and drinks filled our tummies once we embarked on the journey to Lanai.
|Dolphins can often be found in these waters.|
While we expected to see fish while snorkeling, the biggest surprise—and an awesome bonus to the trip—was spotting a pod of dolphins. Literally hundreds of the magnificent animals followed our boat, jumping in and out of the water in groups of two, three, or four at a time. Although Lacey said the pod seemed sleepy and not as active as on some days, we were thoroughly delighted with the show.And we did stop to snorkel, with the crew providing top notch gear. The water was cool, especially over deep areas, the best places to see many varieties of coral and fish. As usual, we spent a good bit of time snapping photos of the moving targets with our waterproof cameras.
|Larry enjoys lunch with the sandy beach|
in the background.
At Manele Harbor we disembarked the catamaran for almost two hours of free time. Sail Maui provided each guest with a cooler containing lunch: sandwiches in the variety that we had pre-selected, fresh pasta salad, chips, and cookie plus bottled water. Larry and I took our bags and walked to the beach where we found a picnic table in the shade.
|Exploring the rugged coastline of Lanai|
|The upper cliff as it extends over the water is called Sweetheart Rock.|
While there we chose to hike to Sweetheart Rock, an enormous cliff with expansive views of the ocean. This took all our remaining time, partly because we just had water sandals on, not shoes more appropriate for trekking over the rocky path. But the climb was well worth the effort, even if we did have to jog to return to the boat on time.
|One last dive into the sea|
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier
Saturday, September 30, 2017
In my previous post, Volcano by Bike, Getting There, I described how my husband and I left our hotel at 2:00 a.m. to drive up Haleakala volcano on Maui, Hawaii, to watch the sun rise and then ride bicycles 38 miles down the mountain to the coast.
|Watch sunrise at Haleakala National Park.|
Back to business
Each person in our group was observed biking around the parking lot to determine riding position. The entire group could only go as fast as the slowest rider, who would be at the front of our single-file line (not me, thankfully).
Our guide showed us hand signals to indicate such things as “move off the road” and “stop,” necessary because we were riding down Hwy. 37, the same road we had used to ascend the mountain in the van. I never saw these signals, however, because of my intense concentration on the treacherous (at least to me) road itself.
|The yellow rain suits helped keep us warm and dry.|
The code of the mountain for bike tours is “first up, first down.” Groups leave at 20-minute intervals to prevent overcrowding on the road. Since we were the second van up, we left soon after sunrise. (Later arrivals sometimes don’t get off the summit until almost noon.) Breakfast at the historic cowboy town of Makawao was planned for approximately 8:30 a.m., and we didn’t want to be late.
According to our guide, riding speeds would reach 34 miles per hour, but I thought, Not me! I couldn’t imagine pedaling at that speed, especially on a curving mountain road. What I didn’t realize was that because it’s all downhill you never have to pedal, and you still pick up speed. Men, generally heavier than women, were in the rear, and many literally rode the super heavy-duty brakes on their Schwinns the entire trip.
Being a lightweight, I had trouble keeping the pace, since the only way to gain speed should a break occur between myself and the person ahead was to lean forward in a racing stance and hope the aerodynamics would provide a sufficient boost to close the gap. Often it didn’t. I missed some gorgeous scenery while hunched over the handlebars of my bike, viewing only the upper edge of my helmet resting on my sunglasses.
|A little crazy posing for Larry and me|
After riding about 14 miles, we took a rest stop, a welcome opportunity to shed the bulky helmet temporarily and look beyond my eyebrows to the gorgeous scenery I was missing. Sunshine glimmered on the billowy sea beyond Haleakala’s rim. Distant islands danced on undulating ocean waters. I breathed deeply of the clean, crisp air that grazed my face and sighed with relief. Half way there, and I haven’t tumbled off the path. Realizing that the hardest part of the journey was now behind us, I was ready to continue riding.
|Rainbows are a common sight as you come down the mountain.|
Nine hours after leaving, we were returned to our resort at Kaanapali, weary but ecstatic. I had done what I set out to do: complete the challenging journey and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. It’s an accomplishment that I still recall when obstacles threaten my path.
Note: Newer regulations at Haleakala National Park do not allow riders to start from the same elevation that we did—it’s more like 9700 feet. But the thrills are the same!
Friday, September 22, 2017
Our day began in the middle of a nighttime yawn. The van was due at our resort at 2:00 a.m. to take my husband, me, and 12 other questionably sane visitors on Maui, Hawaii, to the top of Mt. Haleakala to watch the sunrise and then bike 38 miles back to the sea.
Startled out of sleep by my subconscious alarm at 1:50 a.m. (in his excitement my husband inadvertently set the clock alarm for 2:00 p.m.), we jumped into prearranged layers of clothing and sped out to meet the van.
Ready to roll
After loading all its passengers, the van headed for the town of Paia where we picked up a guide and trailer full of bicycles, helmets, and other necessary equipment for our sojourn down the mountain. While our group rode bicycles, the van would follow in case of accident or mechanical problems.Rising above 10,000 feet, Haleakala (meaning “House of the Sun”) is the highest peak on Maui and the world’s largest dormant volcano. It features a crater seven miles long and two miles wide that was formed when eruptions filled two existing valleys carved by erosion from the summit. I felt safe from lava flows since the last eruption was 400 years ago.
|The large crater of Haleakala before sunrise|
Outstanding views of Maui’s neighboring islands can be seen from the rim together with its rust and purple interior of sliding sands and meadows. That’s good reason Haleakala National Park has become one of Maui’s most popular destinations.
After an hour and a half of winding uphill on Haleakala Hwy. 37, the only road to the summit and one reputed for climbing the most altitude in the shortest distance (thank goodness it was dark), we arrived at the summit. Although we had been forewarned of temperature drops and strong winds on top of Haleakala, the wind chill factor below freezing was still unexpected. After all, this was Hawaii in June.
|The sun begins to peek over clouds and mountain peaks.|
Each rider was issued a rubber rain suit, heavy and bulky but definitely capable of keeping out wind and water. Looking like a gaggle of blue and yellow aliens, we ambled outside to await the sunrise.
|Bright, full sun at daybreak!|
What a spectacular moment that is. As 5:20 a.m. approached, locals joined visitors in trying to secure the perfect picture spot. Folks from sixteen bike tours and others who had driven to the top of the volcano just for this sight crowded together. Wrapped in coats and blankets as protection from the chill, all were there to witness the miracle of light rising over the clouds.
A faint glow draped the edge of distant mountains, gleaming through the foggy mist and resembling reflections on water more than the beginnings of a sunrise. Suddenly the sun burst over the mountaintops, shattering night in an explosion of light and warmth.
In minutes the temperature rose 20 degrees. Only the clicking of cameras broke hushed “oohs” and “aahs” as spectators attempted to record a scene impossible to convey by mechanical means.
|The crater is bathed in a red glow after sunrise.|
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Colorado is heading into a winter filled with new offerings, and visitors who love the excitement of soaring down mountains in the state’s many ski areas will enjoy exploring these fun opportunities.
Colorado Welcomes Winter Olympic Experiences: Colorado welcomes the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics with several Olympic experiences. Attend ski and snowboard Olympic qualifiers at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge (December 14-17, 2017) and the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain (December 6-10, 2017) and Aspen (January 10-14, 2018), visit the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, train where Olympians train at Woodward at Copper, experience Steamboat's 2018 Olympic Send-Off Celebration (January 27, 2018) and more.
Snowmass Ski Area Celebrates 50 Years: This winter season marks the 50th anniversary of the Snowmass Ski Area. The season-long celebration includes vintage, 1967 lift ticket pricing of $6.50 on Friday, December 15 as well as a festive weekend of anniversary activities December 15-17 such as a retro party at Elk Camp restaurant, fireworks display, the return of Banana Days, an on-mountain celebration at Spider Sabich Picnic arena and more. Additionally, throughout the season, the celebration continues with new gold signs that mark the original ski trails, monthly fireworks displays over Fanny Hill, a new mural in Base Village commemorating the history of Snowmass, and more.
Arapahoe Basin Expands Terrain: For the 2017-18 season, Arapahoe Basin will add 468 acres to its inbounds skiable terrain, bringing its total acreage to over 1,400 acres. Construction on the new terrain began this summer, with patrolled and maintained hike-back skiing available starting in the 2017-18 season. There will be 339 acres of lift-served skiing in The Beavers, including intermediate and advanced open bowl and tree skiing. The Steep Gullies will remain hike-back terrain and will be some of the most technical and challenging in-bounds terrain at Arapahoe Basin.
Powderhorn Mountain Resort’s New Ski Patrol Ski Along: Get the ultimate insider's guide to Powderhorn with the new Ski Patrol Ski Along. Ski with a professional Ski Patroller and learn some of the tools of the trade such as safety, transporting and caring for guests on the mountain. The ski along is open to all ages and starts at $75 per person.
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail Offers Back Bowls Ski Tour Program: Vail’s seven legendary back bowls span 3,000 acres of Vail Mountain’s backside. Vast and open, the bowls provide advanced skiers some of the most breathtaking views around. Enjoy an exclusive tour of these bowls with a local celebrity such as Pete Seibert, the son of one of the founders of Vail, as he weaves in and around the back bowls and tells stories about the founding days of Vail. To complement this full-day experience, take a break to refuel with a chef-curated picnic lunch at Blue Sky Basin.
|Groomed trails in Telluride|
Information courtesy of Carly Holbrook, Colorado Tourism Office www.COLORADO.com
All photos courtesy of Colorado Tourism Office, credit to Matt Inden/Miles
Monday, September 11, 2017
Kusadasi, a lovely port town on the coast of Turkey that many cruise ships dock at, is the gateway for visitors to Ephesus, largest city in ancient Asia Minor. Located 3.6 miles from the Aegean Sea, the governor of Rome resided in Ephesus. Geography was as important to its history as were politics and religion.
|Temple ruins in Ephesus, Turkey|
|The stadium where sporting events were held and where St, Paul preached.|
For Christians, touring Ephesus is an important adventure. As Christians, our walk through Ephesus, with a guide identifying specific landmarks, was almost surreal. It was mind-boggling to think about all the Biblical activities that had transpired at the very place and in the same streets as we were walking centuries later.
|Visitors entering Mary's house near Ephesus.|
|Sipping holy water|
Ephesus is also where John wrote his gospel, now part of the New Testament. During the Roman era, Christianity was legalized, and a beautiful church, Basilica of St. John, was eventually built over John’s tomb.Ephesus was an important archeological site since it contains the largest collection of Roman ruins, many quite identifiable. These have been pieced together to provide a good picture of life in ancient times. About 250,000 people lived in Ephesus during its heyday. It was a gathering place for skilled artisans and rich merchants.
|Some statues are very well preserved.|
The city was destroyed in 263 A.D. and later rebuilt. But over several centuries the harbor filled with silt, which halted trade and eventually led to abandonment of the city.
|More ruins the have been restored in Ephesus.|
|Entrance to stadium at Ephesus.|
Among the most notable were the stadium where sporting events were held, the baths and pool on well-delineated Harbour Street, the marble road leading away from the great theater of the city (where Paul preached to thousands of people), Temple of Hadrian, public toilets and brothel, Church of St. Mary, and numerous fountains statues, columns, gates, and houses.
|Library of Celsus is one of the best preserved sites in Ephesus.|
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier
Friday, September 8, 2017
Note: I wrote this post before Hurricane Irma slashed through the Caribbean. I sincerely hope all the islands affected are able to recover quickly and again welcome tourists. If you are planning a winter or spring trip in the Caribbean, please consider these islands. Tourism dollars till go a long way towards helping in recovery.
|Snorkeling is fun at Turks and Caicos Islands|
|Shopping and dining are convenient.|
Grand Turk is the largest and political capital of the islands. The cruise center there is a world-class beachfront facility of 14 landscaped acres. Opened in 2006, the $50 million center consists of a pier, recreational area that includes one of the largest swimming pools in the Caribbean, and 1100 feet of beachfront for sunbathing and snorkeling at the foot of the cruise pier. There’s also plenty of shopping, restaurants, and bars, so cruise passengers can enjoy the island without taking an additional excursion.
|Lots of fish around The Wall at Cotton Bay.|
After snorkeling we headed to the soft, champagne-colored sand of the beach. We waded ashore from the catamaran (after sampling the crew’s rum punch) and spent a lovely time basking on the pristine beach and soaking up the warm Caribbean sun.
|This is the life! Beautiful beach and a drink in hand|
|Larry posed beside the statue of John Glen.|
Whether Turks and Caicos is a cruise port stop or you decide to spend more time there, you’ll find relaxing easy and water activities among the best in the Caribbean.
Sunday, September 3, 2017
|Majestic mountains of Grand Teton National Park|
Visit national parks for free
You probably remember that the National Park Service turned 100 years old in 2016 and many parks hosted special events and celebrations. But every year there are several designated days when fees to visit national parks that have a charge (many national park sites are always free) are waived.
|Hiking to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park|
The next fee-free day is September 30, and the last one for 2017 is Veterans Day Weekend on November 11-12. There’s no better time to enjoy our country’s history and natural beauty.
National parks have been called America’s Best Idea for good reason. Fee-free days make parks accessible to more people and provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or return to an old favorite, especially if your favorite park is one that normally charges an entrance fee. It’s good to note that only 118 of 417 National Park Service sites have an entrance fee.
|Glorious colors of Grand Canyon National Park|
|Yellowstone National Park geysers|
The noted fee waivers in September and November include entrance fees (which normally range from $3 to $30), commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.
Senior passes are golden
If you are age 62 or older, the best travel bargain you can find is the lifetime national park senior pass, even though the cost increased in August 2017 from $10 to $80. That’s for a lifetime pass, or you can purchase an annual senior pass, good for all national park sites, for $20.
While that may seem like a large increase, your traveling companions can also enter parks for free, up to four adults (Children under age 16 are always admitted free). Many sites also offer discounts on amenities like camping, swimming, boating, tours, or shopping with the senior pass.
|Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park|
|Hiking in Zion National Park|
The price increase is a result of Centennial Legislation passed by the U.S. Congress in December 2016. If you love our national parks as much as I do, you’ll be happy to know that funds from all Senior Passes purchased in a national park will go to a National Park Foundation Endowment and a National Park Centennial Challenge Fund.You can also purchase Senior Passes online or through the mail with an added $10 processing fee. Contact https://store.usgs.gov/recreational-passes
What are you waiting for? Buy that Senior Pass or go on fee-free days--just take time to explore your national parks!