Water Country

There is nothing more refreshing than being at a waterpark on a hot summer day.  In Portsmouth, New Hampshire there is a water park called Water Country.  The park opened in 1984 by the Samuels family until Festival Fun Parks bought out the family in 2000.   Palace Entertainment now owns the water park which contains many slides, waves, rivers, and swimming pools for all ages.

The newest ride to the park is Dr. Von Dark’s Tunnel of Terror.  It will open this season.  In a two person tube, you will sit face to face and take a 40 foot plunge through a twisting totally dark tunnel.  During the ride you will experience a tornado funnel that will make your head spin.  It is the first ride like this in New England.   Another thrilling experience is the Double Geronimo which is a body slide.  You fly down a 58 foot slide that is nearly vertical.

A gentler experience could include the Giant Wave Pool.  It is New England’s largest wave pool containing 700,000 gallons of water.   The adventure river allows you to float for ¼ of a mile through waterfalls, fountains and caves.  In addition, there is an Activity Pool where

for the whole family can relax for open swim.

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Photo Credits: rickpilot_2000

The schedule for Water Country begins in early June and ends on Labor Day.  The park opens at 10:30 am and closes at either 5:00 pm or 6:30 pm depending on the day.  Check weather as the park may alter its hours.  It is usually open if raining but severe weather may close the park.  The single day tickets prices are $37.99 for 48” and taller, $25.99 under 48”, $25.99 for 65 and older.  Children under 2 years are free.  Season passes are available for $65.99.  The contact information is www.watercountry.com on the web or call 1-603-427-1111.

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White Water Rafting

An exciting day trip for the summer is white water rafting at U. S. Rafting Maine.  It offers   locations on the Kennebec and Dead Rivers. The experience includes rafting down Class III and IV rapids with all necessary equipment and an experienced guide.  There is transportation between the river and base camp.  A full lunch at the base camp is prepared for you, which includes barbecue chicken, baked beans, pasta salad and watermelon.  Finally you will receive a video viewing of your experience.

The Kennebec River is the most rafted river in Maine.  The Upper Gorge is a huge adrenaline rush mixing fun with fear. The Kennebec River requires no previous experience and is perfect for a family adventure.  You must be at least 10 years of age to attend.  The Dead River offers 16 miles of continuous whitewater and many surf holes and famous for the “High Water” releases.  The Dead River requires no experience, but is challenging.  You must be at least 14 years of age to attend.

The check-in is at 9:30 a.m. and trips return to the base camp at 4 p.m. This is a full-day adventure which includes all necessary equipment including a paddle, life jacket and helmet, a licensed guide.  The guides are knowledgeable and make the experience awesome.  You will be on the water for 3 to 4 hours of the day in a raft that fits up to 10 people.

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Photo credits: Razvan Orendovici

The schedule for white water rafting begins in May and concludes in early October.  The cost for the trip starts at $129 per person.  The excursion will take place despite rain since they figure you are going to get wet anyway.  For more specific information, visit the website as schedules and pricing differ depending on which river you choose to raft.  For more information, you can visit http://www.usraftingmaine.com on the web or call 1-207-323-3052.

Summer: A Poem

Photo Credit: Varun Kapoor

Photo Credit: Varun Kapoor

Long days, short nights

Walking Barefoot

Playing with kites

 

Going to Camp

Staying out late

Meeting with friends

Fishing with bait

 

Doing what you please

Climbing up trees

Going to the beach

Not having to recite a long, long, long, long speech

 

Cinnamon bun

Water gun

Midnight sun

That long run

 

Hamburger bun

Tanning under the sun

Having fun

Until summer’s done

 

Going on a family vacation

Touring the nation

Playing games outside

Eating foods that are fried

 

Swimming in a lake

Stuffing your mouth with cake

 

Not an old plumber

Not a big fat bummer

But Summer

Summer.

 

Caribbean post 3: Snorkeling

A great portion of our trip in the British Virgin Islands was spent snorkeling.  It was a new experience for me, but I quickly got the hang of it.  Almost every stop we made had snorkeling involved.

 

There are many reefs scattered around the islands.  The fish come in so many beautiful colors.  They lived among many different species of coral, which has been living in the reef for a long time.  As I swam above the fish, they were fine with sharing the reef with a larger creature, only when I swam towards them would they swim away.

 

Another place we snorkeled at, but was not a reef, was the wreck of the Rhone.  This 310 foot long ship had tipped over in a hurricane.  The captain thought that the storm had passed after they were in the eye of the storm, so he sailed for open water.  Which resulted in the end of the ship.  Today it is one of the most popular shipwrecks to dive at.  I actually dove down to touch the propeller of the ship, in just my snorkel gear.  My ears felt like they were being crushed because of the depth, but it was a great feeling after to have reached my goal.

 

Whether exploring a reef or a shipwreck, snorkeling was a major part of my vacation in the Caribbean.

Caribbean post 2: Bitter End Yacht Club

Photo Credit: Myself

Photo Credit: Myself

Another great location in the British Virgin Islands, Is on the same Island as the last location I blogged about.  The Bitter End Yacht Club is located in the most beautiful setting I have ever seen, Gorda Sound on the north part of the island, Vigin Gorda.  There are many things to do, both leisurely and active in the beautiful tropical setting.

There are a few great restaurants in the area, most notably Saba Rock.  This restaurant and hotel is located on a small island within Gorda Sound.  The only way to get to it is by dinghy or a short ride in a small ferry.  There is always a place to relax.  Hammocks are strung everywhere between palm trees.  And there are lounge chairs overlooking the pool and Gorda Sound.

If you are more of an active person, there are also many activities to do for fun.  There are many hiking trails prepared.  They go up and down the mountain that towers out of the water.  In addition, you can rent small sailboats to have a fun time sailing around or exploring Gorda Sound.

Caribbean Trip Post 1: The Baths

Last month, I took a family trip to the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.  One of my favorite places was a beach on the West Coast of Virgin Gorda.  The Baths is not a beach you typically go to for relaxation.  This beach is meant for adventuring.  South of the beach is a colony of granite rocks, that were imbedded in volcanic lava long ago, and create a series of caves known as the devil’s path.  The name fits it well.  Waves crash through these rocks, and can toss around a person like a ragdoll.  There are multiple ways to find a path through the rocks, but they can be summarized into three routes.  I call them the water route, the inland route, and the overland route.

Photo Credit: Myself

Photo Credit: Myself

The overland route was the most fun way to get through, in my opinion, and provided a great view.  It was probably the most dangerous way as well. There were many moments when I thought I might fall, which made the experience scary.  In parts, you have to jump to another rock with a sheer drop below you.  In order to get to the top of the highest rock, you have to run on all fours up the side of a rock at a 45º angle.  If you stopped moving your feet you would slide back down.

The water route was also about as fun, and challenging as the overland route.  To make it through that way, you have to be prepared to swim, and always be ready to grab onto a rock if a big wave comes.  The sea life was amazing to watch; the colorful fish would use waves to save energy while swimming around.

The inland route was boring compared to the other ways.  Sure you do have to climb over small rocks, and watch your feet for rocks that could cause you to trip and fall onto a pile of sand, but for all of the larger rocks, there are wooden staircases for steep climbs, and ropes for slippery parts, unlike the other routes.  There are even arrows to show you where to go.  However, there has to be some way through for people who don’t want to risk hurting themselves, or if they are carrying a load, maybe snorkeling equipment to snorkel at Devil’s Bay on the other side.  This is also the slowest route, because it is always filled with people going in both directions.

The Baths was one out of many of the great locations in the British Virgin Islands.

Vacation to France

France, a country in Europe, is a popular location for tourists all over the world for its amazing sights and food.  An attraction that draws many visitors is the Palace of Versailles.  It was started by Louis XIV, the Sun King, in 1661 as a garden, then was enlarged by architects Louis Le Vau and Jules Hardouin Mansard into a palace.  In addition, other attractions include the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Louvre located in Paris, the capital of France.  These historic places are icons that are known worldwide.  The French are well known for their culinary skills which is a huge part of their culture.  Their daily schedule and social life revolves heavily around their eating times.  Visiting France’s  famous wonders and indulging in their delicious cuisine are a unique experience.

In France there are multiple sights to see especially in Paris.  The Chateau of Versailles consists of the palace, enormous gardens, and the Queen’s hamlet.  The palace contains one of the most well-known rooms called the Hall of Mirrors. Its walls are mirrors with chandeliers hanging from the beautifully painted ceiling.  Gustave Eiffel built the most easily identified monument in the word called the Eiffel Tower in 1889.  It is 312 meters high and contains 1665 steps.  On a clear day you can see for 42 miles away.  Notre Dame is a cathedral is located on Ile de la Cite which is an island located in the middle of Seine River.  You can climb the 387 stairs, there are no elevators, to the towers of the cathedral and view the gargoyles that look out over the city.  In the opposite direction, you can visit the crypts in the basement of Notre Dame which contains ruins.  Perhaps the most famous museum of all is the Louvre.  It was originally built as a fortress to protect the city from the Vikings.  Now it is home so some of the most valuable works of art like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the sculpture Venus de Milo.  After seeing the sights, tasting the incredible cuisine of France is a must.  They are legendary for their wonderful foods and finest wines.  Breakfast generally consists of croissants with jam and butter.  Other meals consist of several courses including soups, main course, cheeses and desserts.

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Photo Credits:Wox-globe-trotter

France is a fascinating country with amazing sites and fabulous cuisine.  Imagine visiting an enormous palace that actual kings and queens resided in with ornate decorations and beautiful gardens.  Iconic monuments that are known throughout the world like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Louvre are open to the public to view.  Being able to enjoy delicious food, that cannot be found anywhere else.  It is highly recommended to visit France on your next vacation.

Around the World from A to Z: Denmark

Although Denmark may be small, that doesn’t stop it from having one of the oldest zoos in Europe, the second most-popular seasonal amusement park in the world, and the original Lego factory.  Don’t underestimate small countries!  They can have a huge impact on the world.  For example, Copenhagen is the most visited city in Scandinavia.

Denmark’s capital city is Copenhagen, widely known as a center of culture and the arts. Denmark is also part of the European Union. The official language of the country is Danish. Denmark’s government is a constitutional monarchy, the Prime Minister being Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Located north of Germany, Denmark borders the Baltic and North Seas. The country has a relative area of slightly less than twice the area of the state of Massachusetts, in the United States. Denmark borders approximately 1419 islands. The terrain consists of low to gently rolling plains and floods in some parts. The climate is mostly temperate, humid and overcast, with mild winters and cool summers.

Credit: josef.stuefer

LEGOLAND Denmark is located in Billund, Denmark.  It was built next to the original factory in Denmark, and is very popular among children. Inside the park is Miniland, made up of thousands of Lego bricks. It is one of the most visited sections of the park.  In Miniland, children can make boats out of foam Legos and can sail them in a small waterway.  Another attraction in LEGOLAND is the Lego studio, a 600-seat 4-D theater filled with special effects and a giant screen.  If you are ever visiting Denmark, be sure to visit LEGOLAND!

The Tivoli Gardens are the second most popular seasonal amusement park in the world. It is also the second oldest amusement park in the world. One famous roller coaster in the park is the wooden roller coaster Bjergbanen, the ‘Mountain Coaster’. The park even has two hotels on site for tourists.

Finally, the Copenhagen Zoo is a popular attraction in Denmark, being one of the oldest zoos in Europe. It is, in fact, the most visited zoo in Denmark and the fourth most visited attraction. One of the many fascinating parts of the zoo is the Copenhagen Zoo Tower, which is one of the tallest wooden observation decks in the world.  Continue reading