If you listened to The Travel Voice by Becky today locally on APH Radio FM99.9 (click here for iHeart Radio http://www.iheart.com/show/27000431/), here are the linkups you’ll be looking for! Hey, thanks for listening!!!
Take a Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses 800 square miles in the states of Tennessee and North Carolina and is the showcase for some of the most inspiring natural and cultural treasures that the Southern Appalachians have to offer. The Park’s abundant plant and animal life and historical significance, coupled with its accessibility, makes this park the most visited in the nation with over nine million visitors annually. GSMNP lies within 550 miles of one-third of the American population.
The Park boasts more than 1,100 front country campsites, 100 backcountry campsites, 800 miles of trails, 700 miles of streams, 11 picnic grounds, three visitor centers and numerous scenic overlooks. American black bears, deer, turkeys, flowers and other wildlife are popular with nature photographers in the Smokies. The Park’s intricate trail system provides access to view the diversity of life in the Smokies. Many salamander and plant species are found nowhere else in the world, and the forests contain more tree species than any national park.
Your safety depends on your own good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant attention. Backcountry hikers should be in good physical condition and be able to survive on their own. Proper equipment and the knowledge of how to use it are essential for a safe trip. Your safety is your responsibility.
Here are a few basics to help you get started:
Let a responsible person know your route and return time. Have them contact the park at (865) 436-1230 if you do not return within a reasonable time.
Always hike with another person. Keep your hiking party together and stay on officially maintained trails. Always keep children in your sight when hiking—do not allow them to get ahead of you or fall behind.
Carry a current park trail map and know how to read it.
Carry 2 small flashlights or headlamps—even on a dayhike. If you have trouble on the trail, darkness may fall before you can finish your hike.
Take adequate water—minimum 2 quarts per person per day. All water obtained from the backcountry should be treated either by filtering or boiling.
Carry a small first aid kit.
Check the current weather forecast and be prepared for quickly changing conditions.
Wear shoes or boots that provide good ankle support.
Avoid hypothermia (the dangerous lowering of body temperature) by keeping dry. Avoid cotton clothing. Dress in layers that can be easily removed or added as you heat up or cool down. Always carry a wind-resistant jacket and rain gear—even on sunny days!
Don’t attempt to cross rain-swollen streams; they will recede rapidly after precipitation stops and the wait may save your life! When crossing any stream more than ankle-deep: unbuckle the waist strap of your pack, wear shoes, and use a staff to steady yourself.
Park maps, guidebooks, handbooks and videos are available at the Park bookstores within each visitor center. More information can be found online at http://www.nps.gov/grsm and by calling 865/436-1200.
Charleston, South Carolina – The South Preserved
For many folks, Charleston is more than a seaport town with antebellum homes and cobblestone walkways. This charming, picturesque city caters to tourists, walking them through history and satisfying Southern culinary needs. No matter if Charleston is your weeklong vacation spot, a stay-over or stay-after when cruising from the Port of Charleston, or just a stopover when traveling through South Carolina, it is a special place where the south remains preserved for all.
Charleston beaches – savor the sweet life…
Five distinctly different beaches are within the boundaries of Charleston, offering various amenities and unique character…something for everyone! Kiawah Island is an unspoiled beachside community some 20 miles from downtown Charleston. Hospitality is king in award-winning Kiawah Island as vacationers flock there for its beauty, championship golf, biking, tennis, and relaxation.
Folly Beach is aptly named for its personality lending a sense of fun and adventure to guests and locals alike. Slow down and enjoy wider beaches, surfing, and amazing coastal cuisine. Put Morris Island Lighthouse on your “must see” list and spend some time meandering around without an agenda. It’s Folly Beach…so relax!
Twelve miles from the downtown area, the Isle of Palms’ is situated on almost 3,000 acres offering beautiful sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean. Guests here enjoy not only the recreation that comes with beach communities, but also golf, tennis, great restaurants and lively entertainment.
Neighboring Sullivan’s Island packs a lot of punch within its small space. It offers lots of water recreation plus history lessons and great food! Fort Moultrie is the place to learn about the history of the Revolutionary War and other local entities will entertain guests using age-old folklore.
If you are searching for a retreat, then look no more! Seabrook Island is just the ticket with soothing expanses of coastal beaches, protected sand dunes and marshes, as well as a natural habitat for sea turtles. Other amenities on Seabrook Island include shopping, certified children’s clubs, and an equestrian center. Definitely different, this is a great place for families to spend together time!
Other attractions not to miss…
One of the most photographed places in Charleston is the popular tourist attraction referred to as Rainbow Row, named for the pastel-colored historic houses present in this area. Post Civil War, this area declined and became an unwelcoming slum. After the turn of the century, Dorothy Porcher Legge invested in a few of the houses, renovating them and giving them fresh coats of pink paint resonating with Caribbean hues. Subsequent owners continued the trend of painting the houses in pastel colors, which not only brought about the naming of Rainbow Row, but also helped keep the houses cooler.
Visitors also find Charleston City Market to be a destination within itself. It’s open year round and invites guests and locals to shop with vendors selling their wares. Find treasures to take home as souvenirs amidst the four blocks of open-air buildings or just stroll through enjoying the tastes of Charleston. The most popular item for sale is typical Charleston’s famous sweetgrass baskets…so that is something to look for!
Charleston is one of South Carolina’s biggest gems known for architecture and antebellum homes bursting with their very own character! Take a walking tour or a carriage ride, preferably one with a guide to gain all the benefits of the local knowledge. This is a place for beach lovers, history fanatics, and those searching for a slower pace. Enjoy Charleston as a couple, as a family or for a gal pal getaway!
If you go…
Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau
Panama City Beach’s Edgewater is an oldie but goodie!
Florida’s panhandle communities, such as Panama City Beach (PCB), have provided Spring Break memories for Alabamians for as long as I can remember. One of the mainstays as far as accommodations in this coastal town is Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort known for its affordability, countless amenities, and location. My family has stayed there often and has never been disappointed. Current day Edgewater has kept up with the times very nicely: renovations, additions and fabulous upkeep continues to invite guests to make new memories in the heart of PCB!
Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort is found in the redeveloped Panama City Beach area. Once known for lower-end hotels and college-type bars, this beach community has been transformed, replacing these venues with beautiful high-rises and more upscale dining opportunities.
Edgewater has created an inviting atmosphere for vacationers and residents alike offering hotel, condo and villa accommodations—something for even the most discriminating taste. My three-bedroom condo had the most unbelievable view from the balcony overlooking the tower pool area. The landscaping created a more private, surreal feeling of safety and security. It’s hard to imagine a better view!
Units have fully-equipped kitchens, washer/dryer units, and wireless Internet service. Condos are roomy and perfect for families who need to spread out and not be under each other’s feet. It’s a big convenience to be able to stock the condo with groceries (especially when staying an extended amount of time) and not run out for every meal.
Eating and more…
Edgewater has a surplus of amenities…plenty to keep everyone active: 11 pools, four Jacuzzis, shuffleboard, six tennis courts, a 9-hole executive golf course and privileges at a nearby full-service golf course, Hombre Golf Club. Looking for adventure? Parasailing just might be the ticket…or jet skiing! Continue your fitness routine with weight lifting or beach yoga. You can even splurge for a body wrap.
Firefly Restaurant, located in the Shoppes at Edgewater and managed by The Resort Collection of Panama City Beach, has expanded to include a brand new sushi bar opening this month (March 2013). This hip new scene will create a great hangout option for when the main dining room is closed.
The music played in the sushi bar will be more youthful and current with a combination of country (Zac Brown and Kenny Chesney) and classic rock (the Rolling Stones and Van Halen). And, of course, the sushi will be fresh and scrumptious!
Edgewater Beach Resort runs the full gamut when it comes to amenities on a beach front property offering golf, tennis, and a spa nestled along a half-mile stretch among the “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.” It’s perfect for Spring Break or summer family vacations.
If you go…
Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort
11212 Front Beach Road
Panama City Beach, FL 32407
The Firefly Restaurant
The Shoppes of Edgewater
Hombre Golf Club
Albany, Georgia – Southwest Georgia Fishing Hole
The small town of Albany (pronounced by locals as Aw beeny) is probably best known today for the filming of Christian-based movies such as Fireproof and Courageous. If you are looking for a quaint weekend getaway for fishing and reminiscing, then this southwest Georgia destination is just for you!
Albany’s first folks to call it home were Creek Indians who lived by the riverbank “Thronateeska” which means “the place where flint is picked up.” It seems very fitting that the river flowing through this southern place is called the Flint.
The Flint River resource…
Current day Albany thrives through a private-public partnership that is redeveloping the downtown area by playing up the area’s prime natural resource – the Flint River. The centerpiece of the redevelopment is the Flint RiverQuarium, a 175,000 gallon, 22-foot deep Blue Hole aquarium filled with the plants, fish and reptiles – including Albany’s celebrated river turtle – found in the Flint River’s ecosystem, and the Imagination Theater with its three-story IWERKS screen and digital surround sound. Riverfront Park, with its expansive views of the river, Turtle Grove Play Park, water features and riverside trails, gives families the opportunity to play and learn together. The RiverFront Trail now travels north three miles to Cleve Cox Landing on Philema Road. Eventually the trail will connect to Chehaw – “Nature’s Playground” and south to Radium Springs Garden, one of Georgia’s Seven Natural Wonders.
Take time to listen to Ray Charles’ music while sitting on piano keys in the new Ray Charles Plaza. This plaza features a life-sized bronze statue of “The Genius of Soul” seated at his piano. Spend the day at the newly expanded and renovated Thronateeska Heritage Center, encompassing the Wetherbee Planetarium, Science Discovery Center and Museum of History, as well as a model train layout.
Tour the Civil Rights Institute, the repository for Albany’s African American civil and human rights legacy, in its beautiful glass-enclosed, state-of-the-art museum adjacent to the 1906 Mt. Zion Baptist Church – one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s main speaking locations. And if you visit on the second Saturday of the month, you’ll hear the authentic songs of the Civil Rights era performed by the SNCC Freedom Singers, a group formed in 1962 to share the freedom songs – and leave their mark, and tracks, in Albany.
Take time to fish…
The Flint River, stretching throughout southwest Georgia, is one of only 40 rivers than flows unimpeded for more than 200 river miles in the continental US. Along this meandering river, you can see the unique ecosystem – the highly prized shoal bass and Halloween darter – up close. Looking for a good spot to cast that line to catch one of these fish? Bring your gear down to Riverfront Park and try your cast off the banks of the Flint River.
If you go…
Visit Albany Georgia