Saturday, December 27, 2008

Neil Young At The Ryman

I stopped watching VH1 a while ago. After I ran through the spate of Where Are They Now shows, the channel didn't offer anything that interested me. OK, I confess--I have watched the Bret Michaels reality dating show and Dr. Drew in recent times, but the channel is not really on my radar screen. Until tonight. I was checking out the cable menu, and it listed "Neil Young: Heart of Gold" on VH1. Young has always been under the radar screen, and I never bought one of his albums, but I have always liked him. One of my friends many years ago made fun of his voice and imitated him with dripping sarcasm. But I love his voice. It is one of a kind. Not only does it bring back great memories, but it is soothing like a long lost friend or a trip home. What made this show even better was that it was filmed at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman is a must-see if you come to Nashville. And I must buy a Neil Young album.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One Positive To The Slumping Economy: Cheaper Hotel Rooms?

The article below has some good news for travel junkies: The recession may actually give us cheaper hotel rooms. One of the hotels it mentions is the Bahama Atlantis, which nows gives two dolphin interaction sessions free with your room, instead of charging $110 a session as it did previously. I have seen those commercials on TV and it looks fun..........

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dr. Beach Got It Right: Caladesi Is the Best Beach

I've only been to Caladesi Beach once, a long time ago, but I have never forgotten it. My sister Laura and I were visiting relatives in the Clearwater area, and they mentioned we might want to go to Caladesi for a day. The beach is in a state park, and you get there by ferry. And then you can only stay four hours. The ferry ride is fun, and once you are there, you experience a pristene beach that seems far away from the city. There is only beach, nothing else.

Dr. Beach is professor at Florida International University and has compiled this list since 1991. He gave Caladesi the top slot in his survey; see what other beaches float his boat:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Steps Across the Cumberland

I have wanted to cross the pedestrian bridge spanning the Cumberland River in Nashville for some time, so when my sister Laura was in town and suggested we do that, I jumped at the chance. It starts on 3rd Avenue So. near Symphony Hall and ends up at LP field. It was great fun. The best part was seeing the Nashville skyline lit up, and especially the famed WKDF sign. Sometimes it is fun to be a tourist in your own town.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Five Minute Vacation

In my mind, everything comes down to travel--and the easier and cheaper the better. So when I saw an article titled "The 5- Minute Vacation," I had to check it out. With the amount of money and time I have available right now, a 5-minute vacation may be all I can manage.

The article talks about how our bodies are designed for intermittent, not constant stress, and that even taking little mini breaks can be good for us. Their recommendations: Post pictures of your vacation on your computer, so you can relive the experience. Talk about your vacation to your friends and family, so the experience lodges in your brain. Spend time outdoors, as you probably did on vacation, and recreate the sounds of vacation, i.e., listen to a tape of ocean waves. And breathe deep. Breathing deep alerts your mind that you want to relax. Their last suggestion was to recreate the scents of vacation. Not sure how to do that one!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Country Music Marathon

I did Nashville's Country Music Marathon again this year. By doing it, I mean watching the runners and cheering them on. It is not that I probably couldn't do the marathon myself; I have actually done three--the ones in Anchorage, Chicago, and San Diego--all as part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training fundraising program. It is just that I haven't had time to train for another one and for now I am content to be part of the cheering section.

Since I have done three marathons, I know the importance of having people out there, yelling such encouragement as "You can do it! Loooooking good!" Of the three I did, Chicago was the best in that regard. Cheering fans three and four deep lined the route mile after mile. I did both Anchorage and San Diego during their inaugural marathon year, so the crowd support was minimal. Apparently it takes a while for a city to develop that kind of support. I think Nashville has started to catch on, as the cheering section here gets bigger and bigger every year.

Who would think that a marathon is fun to watch? I never would have thought so until I got involved. It is great people watching--everyone is in a good mood and it is quite an event. If you are going to do a marathon, think about coming to Nashville. It is always held the last weekend in April, and there are country music bands every mile. They even sneak a rock and roll tune in once in a while. Two of the bandstands are right by my house--they run past my house and then circle back a block away. Nothing like an outdoor concert at 7 a.m.! And I get two different bands--one on each of the corners near my home! But it is a lot of fun for those of us who live here. And for participants, it is a great way to see the city, and you get invited to a A-list concert the night of race. I know at this point I wouldn't miss the chance to cheer on the runners and walkers. Go walkers!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

World's Largest Hotels

Nashville's own Gaylord Hotel (previously known as Opryland Hotel ) placed ninth in a list of the world's 10 largest hotels. AOL mentioned that the behemoth, with 2,881 rooms, contains under its roof not only a restaurant in an antebellum mansion but a river with boat rides, and other attractions. I go out to the hotel once in a while but not enough not to get lost. It is like a little city under one roof. The arborteum is wonderful. My favorite time to go out is during the workday when everyone is at their meetings and it is not crowded. The only problem is their $10 parking fee, which is cumbersome for the locals.

Travel Survey???

I get a lot of requests to take surveys. Some of them offer rewards such as cash or points that can be redeemed for prizes, or a chance to be entered into a sweepstakes. I ignore most of them, because I don't have time to take them. One that came to me this week was titled "What Kind of Traveler Are You?" So I thought I would give it a shot. I know a little about how research surveys are designed. But sometimes you just have to wonder. Although this one was titled a travel survey, I couldn't see anything about travel in the questions. It mainly asked about the kinds of restaurants you like. While you would eat at restaurants while on a trip, I don't understand why this survey was not titled something about restaurants instead. Oh well. At the end, they did ask you to name your two favorite restaurants. I have a lot of favorite restaurants, but decided to mention Tin Angel in Nashville, and Bella Cucina in my old hometown of Franklin, PA. While I have only eaten there a few times, it is really nice, and I thought maybe they would get some publicity out of it somehow.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Yearly Gatlinburg Fix

For anyone who has lived in or around Knoxville, you know what I mean when I say I need to get my occasional Gatlinburg fix. I went to undergraduate school at the University of Tennessee, and spent many days and weekends in the G-burg, which sits at the mouth of the Smoky Mountains. It is definitely a tourist trap, as is its even cheesier sister city Pigeon Forge. But you can't help but love it. The streets are often crowded, both with pedestrian traffic and bumper to bumper cars. Lining the streets are wedding chapels and stores selling airspray T-shirts and little trinkets and the like. But there are also some very nice stores selling local crafts, some good outlet malls, and nice restaurants. And it is good people watching.

What I love best about Gatlinburg is the chance to get away for a few days--to stay in a chalet or cabin and to be up in the mountains smelling the fresh air and hearing the bubbling brooks. Some friends and I did just that last weekend. I have hiked all around there before, so I didn't mind staying in the cabin and studying constitutional law (for my law school final) while my friends took a short hike in the mountains. Dinner that night at the Park Grill was nice. I wish we could have had another night there, but the getaway was good for us. After I get out of school I hope to get back there more. Not to miss: Old Smoky Candy Kitchen caramel apples.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fly Away--I Hope

I saw on the news today that American Airlines said their flights should all be back on schedule by tomorrow or Monday. My sister Laura and her husband Glenn were scheduled to fly today on American Airlines from Boston to Los Angeles. They are going to meet Glenn's parents and fly to Japan on another airline. I hope all went well, and their flight from Boston went out on schedule. They didn't have that much in between the flights. More on their trip later.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Down to the Wire

Today was a bad day for flying. American Airlines cancelled 1,000 flights, having a ripple effect on as many as 100,000 travelers. The cancellations came as a result of a mandate from the Federal Aviation Administration to inspect wire bundles in auxiliary hydraulic systems on MD-80 jets. The mandate given in September 2006 had a deadline of last month, and just a few weeks ago, Southwest, Delta, and United also had massive delays as they too inspected their wires. The fear is that the wires could rub against each other, causing a short or fire. An article today on reported the FAA saying that shorted wires could ignite fuel vapors and cause a fuel-tank explosion that could destroy a plane.

It is no idle worry; the explosion of TWA 800 off Long Island in 1996 was blamed on fuel vapors ignited by wiring, but that disaster involved different wiring from the bundles, the article continued. Despite the inconvenience, and I know it was greatly inconvenient, it is good this scrutiny is taking place to ensure that air travel is safe.