Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Don't Miss Toasting the Town with 'Savor Yuma' Tour

Photos Provided by Visit Yuma
Did you make a New Year's resolution to eat healthy-more fresh foods?

In Yuma, Arizona it is all about authentic border fare and "fresh from the field" produce during the "Savor Yuma" tour.

The tours treat diners to a mystery culinary quest, much like a progressive dinner with three stops. Leave the driving to the motor coach designated driver.
You will start off your tour with appetizers at the first stop. Then comes the fresh soup or salad at the second and the main course at the third stop. Each diner can enjoy two specialty "adult" drinks along the way and a sweet treat tops the evening. 
This is the fourth year for the tour and the first one kicks off Jan. 5. at 5 p.m., but the available dates continue into April. The tour departs from the Yuma Heritage Center (old city hall) at 180 W. 1st Street. 
Featured restaurants include A&R Grill, Garden Cafe, Market Grill Steak & Seafood, Main Street Cafe, The Press, The Patio at The Hills, River City Grill, Tina's Cocina and Yuma Landing.
It is a great way to get a taste of culinary Yuma.

Savor Yuma tours are scheduled for Jan. 5 and 19, Feb. 9 and 16. March 3 and 22 and April 7. The cost of $55 per person includes transportation, dinner and two "adult beverages." Tickets are on sale now at YVB's Visitor Information Center at the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, 201 N. 4th Avenue, call 800-293-0071 or 928-783-0071 for more information. The VIC is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week through May. Savor Yuma and Field to Feast tickets also can be purchased online at VisitYuma.com  (http://www.visityuma.com/savor-yuma-culinary-tour.html).

In January and February, Tuesday evening dinner tours also coordinate with Wednesday morning Field to Feast agriculture tours, for a double helping of fresh Yuma bounty. See more info at VisitYuma.com(http://www.visityuma.com/field-to-feast-agriculture-tour.html).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cruising for Comfort Food

Here is something a little different to spice up your winter. The Comfort Food Cruise in Hocking Hills had become a very popular event and is the answer to spicing up the winter.

Hocking Hills State Park is about a three hour drive from our area and makes for a great day trip or overnight stay.

The Comfort Food Cruise is a unique food tasting that takes you to 13 scrumptious stops.  Each stop has something tasty to "taste". Not only is the food good, but the drive is fun. The area is known as a scenic destination. Drive along the scenic roads to each delicious stop. The Hocking Hills area is becoming well known as a traveler favorite for its culinary scene and this is your chance to taste a little something from many popular eateries.

If you are not yet tempted to join the Comfort Food Cruise these tasty treats may change your mind. This year's cruise includes 13 stops for you to take in, try all of them or some of them, it is up to you and your taste buds.

Begin at the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center to get information, a mini cinnamon roll, coffee and a free souvenir. After your sweet treat, begin your morning at Pearl's Diner with some good ole biscuits and gravy. Then take off to Jack's Steak House where there is a little more sweetness––french toast sticks with syrup. Spice up your day at the Maya Burrito with a chocolate churro. the Boot Factory Grill is serving up prime rib sliders and Pizza Crossing has pizza. But, the tempting taste treats do not end here as the Millstone BBQ has sweet corn muffins and the Hocking Hills Dining Lodge is serving meaty mac and cheese. Warm up at the M & M Diner with vegetable soup. Make a plan and visit the restaurants in the order for what you want to eat when. You can even top the day off with dinner by visiting the Ridge Inn for meatloaf and then traveling to the Olde Dutch Restaurant for chicken and homemade noodles or mashed potatoes.  

At this point you will be comfort food full, but why not top it all off with ice cream from Sandy Sue's Silver Diner and the ultimate chocolate brownie from the Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls.

The Comfort Food Event spans three weekends so there are plenty of options to make plans to takes in this unique "cruise" experience. The dates are Jan. 23 and 24; Jan. 30 and 31; and Feb. 6 and 7.

Tickets for the event are $18 and include one comfort food at each of stops and $5 from each ticket supports local food banks. No restaurant reservations are needed, but tickets are required in order to receive the featured complimentary comfort food samples and gift. Event and visitor information, as well as details on Comfort Food Cruise packages is available at www.ExploreHockingHills.com.

Take a brisk winter hike past frozen waterfalls and through the area's stunning winter landscapes before, during or after munching on the tasty treats during your Comfort Food Cruise. Work up an appetite or walk off that full feeling and take a hike to Old Man's Cave, the spot that legend says hermit Richard Rowe once called home. Visitors can also enjoy the area’s fresh air and spectacular winter landscape with an easy hike to Ash Cave or a longer trek to Cedar Falls or around Conkle’s Hollow––or any of the area’s many other gorgeous natural features.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Another Ghostly Place

 Another ghostly place in Mansfield is the Renaissance Theatre. Employees and patrons have reported many creepy encounters throughout the years.

The theatre is known for its grand staircase...where footsteps have been heard as well as in the dark hallways and twisting corridors outside the second floor grand ballroom. 

Spectral figures have been spotted in the balcony. Voices, laughter and even music has been heard coming from the theatre--well after audiences have gone home. 

"Pete" took up residence at the Renaissance shortly after his beloved projector was transplanted there from the Madison Theatre down the street. 

Wall sconces in the lower lobby's elegant marbled grand salon are said to have a mind of their own and, when the building is unlocked in the morning, the sconces are often found turned completely upside-down. 

Voices whispering have been heard in rooms under the stage. Actors and crew have reported seeing a shadowy “woman in white” standing in the wings during performances. 

However, the most haunted area is the lobby is where theatre manager Edward Rafter was murdered in a botched robbery attempt Oct. 30, 1929. For 80 years, witnesses have reported seeing a forlorn Rafter pacing back and forth along the marble floor. They also report seeing the ghost of his assailant, hiding in the darkest corner of the lobby. 

Tours will point out these and other places for paranormal occurrences, and guests are welcome to perform their own paranormal investigations, backstage, in the  basement, upstairs ballrooms and even camp out in restrooms.

For information or to order a Visitors Guide, consumers can call 800-642-8282 or visit www.MansfieldTourism.com.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Even More Haunts in Mansfield

Continuing with the haunting of this northern central Ohio city, the Mansfield Fire Museum, is known for its strange happenings. Employees and visitors have experienced a fire truck side mirror that seems to move on its own. When only one person is in the building, unexplained sounds occur. 

Lights flicker and shadow people have been reported during paranormal investigations. Open Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The free tour points out known paranormal hot spots and occurrences. Guests are also welcome to schedule private paranormal investigations at no cost that take place from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. by calling 419-564-5531. 

In Galion, just west of Mansfield, Brownella Cottage is known for its Gothic architecture and the former home of religious-leader-turned-communist Bishop William M. Brown. Guests are invited to use equipment to perform their own paranormal investigations, which have revealed strange voices, lights that seem to do their own thing and peculiar door slamming. Does the deceased Bishop Brown still roams the halls?

 Tours begin at Historic Grace Church in Galion and include a bit of history and an overview of paranormal equipment. Tours run 8 p.m.-midnight and can be scheduled by calling 419-462-5672 or email cathym_75@hotmail.com.

For information or to order a Visitors Guide, consumers can call 800-642-8282 or visit www.MansfieldTourism.com.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

More Hauntings in Mansfield Ohio

Be one of the tens of thousands of visitors that make their way to north central Ohio to see if they can handle the host of haunted destinations that have earned Mansfield its spooky reputation. 

The sites written about have been featured on national TV, including: Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures," SyFy's "Ghost Hunters" and Bio's "My Ghost Story.

"The 128-year-old Bissman Building was also used in the movie "Shawshank Redemption". The building is 128-years-old and was designed by the same architect who drew up plans for the Reformatory. The building is located in downtown Mansfield's historic district as a wholesale grocery warehouse. Ghost hunters have reported that when the company closed its doors, "Not all of the employees left the building." Travelers can tour the haunted building. Guides will tell you all about the history, stories of movies and videos filmed on site as well as the chilling takes of the spirits. 

Guests under 18 are welcome with parent/legal guardian. Tours also include a full-blown paranormal investigation. A public Ghost Hunt is offered Oct. 31 and private tours for groups of up to 30 are available by reservation. Tours begin at 7 p.m., typically run until 3 a.m. and cost $50 per person. They can be scheduled by emailing ghost@bissmanbuilding.com or calling 419-295-5002.

Keeping the ghostly sightings alive...historic Malabar Farm State Park employees and visitors have reported tales of flickering lights and appearances by the ghost of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and screenwriter Louis Bromfield. Along with the ghostly visits of Bromfield, Ceely Rose, who murdered her entire family in the summer of 1896 has been known to visit.  Visitors can hear the grisly story of The Ghost of Ceely Rose during outdoor multi-media Chautauqua-style performance events at 7 p.m. Oct. 2-3 and 9-10.

For information or to order a Visitors Guide, consumers can call 800-642-8282 or visit www.MansfieldTourism.com.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Haunted Capitol...Get Your Scare On!

Mansfield, Ohio offers a variety of fright...that allows for visitors to get their scare on in some of the creepiest spots in the Midwest. 

Be one of the tens of thousands of visitors that make their way to north central Ohio to see if they can handle the host of haunted destinations that have earned Mansfield its spooky reputation. These sites have been featured on national TV, including: Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures," SyFy's "Ghost Hunters" and Bio's "My Ghost Story."  

It takes a brave visitor to take on the historic Ohio State Reformatory's hair-raising, one-of-a-kind Haunted Prison Experience. "Supernatural III". It has won awards and this scarefest uses professional actors and Hollywood animatronics, props and special effects to create a haunted tour that goes far beyond any typical "haunted house." More information is available at HauntedX.com

The Ohio State Reformatory has a reputation as one of the most haunted places in America as well as an architectural and cultural treasure. It is known for its use in a variety of movies including the No. 1 movie of all time, "The Shawshank Redemption." 

For complete information on all of the region's haunted and paranormal experiences, including videos, useful "ghost ratings," site tours, ghost hunts and haunted houses are found via the Haunted Mansfield Guide at www.HauntedMansfield.com.  In addition, Private Paranormal Investigations of several local haunts can be scheduled for groups and individuals by calling 419-295-5002 or emailing paranormalace@ymail.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Discovering More than the Grape!

The Grape Discovery Center in Westfield, New York is all about the grapes, except for this special event..."An Evening of Harvest Wines and Beer at the Grape." 
It is a great place to visit anytime of year, but October 3, 2015 the center will hold this special event from 6 to 10 p.m.
The evening will include pairing Harvest Wines and Craft Beer with local foods during harvest season. 
Appetizers, small bites and desserts paired with the harvest wine and beer tastings will be offered throughout the gift shop, tasting bar and exhibit room with music on the patio and a up close view of  the vineyards. 
Local experts will also been on hand to guide you through history and exhibits, give you ideas of how to entertain with wine and answer any questions. 

They are keeping it local with food from local farms and more. What better time to visit New York than the fall?

This begins a series of special events at the Grape Discovery Center presenting Lake Erie regional wine and craft beverages in a seasonal context. 

Get into the spirit for the holidays. Check out the up coming December events with Holiday Wines, Beers and spirits. 
In March, 2016...umm, Diversity of Craft Beverages and maple infused theme. 
The center is open year round and is located in the center of the famous Lake Erie Grape Region at 8305 West Main Road (NYS Route 20) in Westfield. 
The Grape Discovery Center has everything grape...wines, gifts, video's and history of the grape! For more information or to register for events call 716-326-2003 or visit www.grapediscovery.com/events.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

More San Antonio

Night time boat tour on the river
Don't miss the boat....San Antonio is known for its history, as well as its beautiful Riverwalk––blocks and blocks of shops, coffee shops and restaurants set along the river among the beautiful landscape.

The Riverwalk is slated as the "heart and soul" of the city and is home to many events throughout the year. Take a narrated boat tour of the Riverwalk to get your feet wet and scope out those things you want to do.  There is also a river taxi available for getting from place to place.

This area is one of the best and most visited places in Texas. From its hotels and restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment, shops and more there is really something to do for everyone. 

A newer section of the Riverwalk known as the Museum Reach makes the walk even bigger and better. This area has beautiful landscaping and lights at night. It features the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Bourbon Street Seafood Kitchen and the lock system for the river boats. Also the oldest VFW Post in the state is located on this section of the walk. 

For more information on the Riverwalk, times of operation, boat schedule and more visit www.sanantonioriverwalk.com/.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

This Place is the Berries!

 Fresh Berries and fun for the entire family...

One of the best fresh places to go is the Blueberry Patch in Mansfield, Ohio. Although they are open year round the time to go––if you want to hit blueberry picking season is June through Aug.

You can pick your own blueberries or buy them fresh off the plants already picked. There is nothing like the freshness in the taste of these berries.

The Blueberry Patch is loaded with everything blueberries and here are some of the best reasons to visit:
Having lunch at the Blossom Cafe. It opens in the morning and serves meals and pastries until 4 p.m. The cafe serves daily lunch specials and you don't want to miss the blueberry pie. Blossom Cafe offers more than 80 teas from around the world and also cappuccino, chai, lattes and the list goes on.  Have a fresh pastry, muffin, biscotti, cookie, yogurt parfait or scone––all of this in an European Garden setting.

A fresh cup of coffee at the Beanery. The coffee is hand roasted at the Beanery. At the Patch the best beans are selected and freshly ground.  Create your own blend and it will be roasted to order. Take home your favorite––with a few of those fresh pastries. There are too many varieties to name, but there is a snicker doodle, a blueberry danish, sticky bun and about 30 others.

The Blueberry Patch Gift Shop. This is where you will find more gifts than you can think of occasions. There are handbags, baby gifts, candles, jewelry and many Ohio and USA made items.  Shoppers will find a large variety of items for their home and garden as well. From Vera Bradley to Root candles there is something for everyone including the kids.

Family fun. Picking blueberries is a fun event. Blueberries are usually available through August, but calling before you plan to go is a good idea, if you want to pick your own.  Frozen blueberries are available all year long. The Blueberry Patch grows more than 27 varieties of blueberries. The Patch welcomes families and has buckets. Pick your own at U-Pick pricing.

Health. Why eat blueberries? They are high in vitamins and antioxidants. Studies show that the little blue berry is a leader in antioxidant capacity, it has vitamin C, manganese and dietary fiber all while being low in calories and without cholesterol. It is a berry that has a history in the US.

Wine. 1285 Winery is located at the Blueberry Patch and has a tasting room and, of course, blueberry wine. They make all of the wines on site and the winery also has a full menu that is separate from the cafe.

Those should be some great reasons to visit the Blueberry Parch located at 1285 West Hanley Road. it is fun anytime of the year, but this is the time for those fresh berries. For more information on hours and berry availability call 419-884-1797 or visit www.theblueberrypatch.org/.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mansfield Ohio offers a Jurassic Experience July 17-19, 2015

If you are into the "Jurassic World" scene, you won't want to miss this special  event in Mansfield. It is your own Jurassic experience...
"Jurassic Quest" and will run July 17-19, 2015.

The event will have more than 50 life-size, ultra-realistic animatronic dinosaurs. It takes place at the Richland County Fairgrounds and provides a weekend of fun for families to experience prehistoric educational entertainment, including multiple science stations, guided dinosaur tours, fossil digs and more. 

Jurassic Quest includes dino craft stations filled with all the supplies needed to color and create a paper dinosaur. Get your face painted and blend in with the prehistoric creatures, getting their face painted and climbing aboard an animatronic dinosaur for a ride. There are also bungee pulls and bounce houses for a little extra fun. However, you can't beat the life-like baby Triceratops and Camarasaurus puppets, a walking adolescent T-Rex and Spinosaurus, will meet and greet visitors. 

Ticket information is available at JurassicQuest.com, while local hotel and visitor information can be found at MansfieldTourism.com.

Mansfield Ohio offers a wealth of unusual travel adventures and experiences, that include a haunted prison that is used for filming blockbuster movies to breathtaking scenery, downhill skiing to the working farm where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married. Complete visitor information is available at www.MansfieldTourism.com or (800) 642-8282. The fairgrounds are located at 750 N Home Road in Mansfield, Ohio 44906. Visit more Mansfield fun on this blog.

Pictures by Andy Austin