Monday, May 30, 2016

Seattle Washington the Emerald City

Seattle is surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests, and encompasses thousands of acres of parkland. Located between the saltwater Puget Sound to the west and Lake Washington to the east, the city's chief harbor is Elliott Bay. North of the city center, Lake Washington Ship Canal connects Puget Sound to Lake Washington, incorporating four natural bodies of water: Lake Union, Salmon Bay, Portage Bay and Union Bay.

A Major Gateway for Trade with Asia and the Third Largest Port in North America
From Logging to High Tech logging was Seattle's first major industry, and by the late 19th century the city also became a commercial and shipbuilding center as a gateway to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. In the 1940s, Boeing established Seattle as a center for aircraft manufacturing and, beginning in the 1980s, the area developed as a technology center with companies like Microsoft and Amazon.
Music from 1918 to 1951, nearly two dozen jazz nightclubs existed along Jackson Street, from the current Chinatown/International, to the Central District. The jazz scene developed the early careers of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones and Ernestine Anderson. Seattle is also the birthplace of rock musician Jimi Hendrix and alternative rock.

Outdoors the mild, temperate, marine climate allows year-round outdoor recreation, including walking, cycling, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, rock climbing, motor boating, sailing, team sports, and swimming. Also popular are hikes and skiing in the nearby Cascade or Olympic Mountains and kayaking and sailing in the waters of Puget Sound.
Seattle is one of the Most Walkable Cities in the United States
Getting around Seattle is one of the few cities in North America whose fleet includes electric trolleybuses. A light rail line links the University of Washington and Sea-Tac Airport. Washington State Ferries manages the largest network of ferries in the United States and third largest in the world, connecting Seattle to Bainbridge and Bremerton. 

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The Arts the city’s award-winning public art program enlivens parks, bridges, streets libraries and transfer stations while many storefronts expose temporary art installations. The theater on both a large and small scale is an integral part of Seattle’s arts scene with local theater service group Theatre Puget Sound counts more than 140 producing theater companies in its membership.
Wines and Brews the sunny, dry weather in Washington Wine Country is fantastic for growing grapes and producing premium wines. With over 850 wineries, it is the 2nd largest premium wine producer in the United States. There are also 200 independent breweries that continue innovating, balancing the classics with small specialty batches of sours, imperial stouts or barrel-aged cult favorites.

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Houston Texas Architecture Space a Museum District Home Grown Breweries Wine Trails Boating and Cruising

Houston is the largest city in Texas and the US South as well as America's fourth-largest. A cosmopolitan destination and home to an energetic arts community, Houston was founded in 1836 near the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The city was named after former General Sam Houston, who was president of the Republic of Texas and commander at the Battle of San Jacinto, 25 miles - 40 km - east of where the city was established.
The Port and Railroad, combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city's population. In the mid-20th century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center, the world's largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions, and NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
Space Center Houston’s Level 9 tram tour consists of a behind the scenes tour to Johnson Space Center including the Historical Mission Control Center and the International Space Station Shuttle mock-up facility where astronauts receive their training.
Revival Market is a grocery store with mostly local, organic products—from meats raised down the road by the proprietor himself and displayed in the charcuterie case to produce and dairy products from Houston-area farmers.
Architecture the Bayou City is full of interesting buildings that reveal its past; throughout Downtown and the city's central core, there is an abundance of significant architecture that tells the story of this port and railroad town turned metropolis.

METRORail Light Rail provides service along 23 miles of Central Houston

The Downtown Aquarium is an underwater-themed complex features dining among several giant aquariums, shark tunnel tours, a white tiger exhibit, generous banquet facilities, a 100-foot Ferris wheel, plus fun and games.

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Home Grown Breweries Texas' oldest craft brewer, Saint Arnold, makes 10 different craft brews and shows off its operation to thousands of visitors annually. Guests are able to explore the new biergarten-inspired space, sample brew in the tasting room and get a peek at the tank farm. Production began at Conroe’s Southern Star in 2008 and has been ramping up ever since. Karbach Brewing’s Sympathy for the Lager, Rodeo Clown Double IPA and Weisse Versa Wheat promise to become household names in Texas' growing craft beer movement and family-owned No Label craft brewery produces a line of ales and lagers with names like El Jefe, a German Hefeweizen, and Pale Horse,an American pale ale.   
The Bluebonnet Wine Trail offers spectacular views and award-winning wines not far from Houston. Cork This! Winery is a boutique spot specializing in custom made wines and offers half-dozen selections; experience bottling your own wine with a personally designed custom label. Bernhardt Winery produces approximately 6,000 gallons of wine each year with a Tuscan-style tasting room, which sits atop a beautiful hill overlooking endless hills and valleys. Peach Creek offers five acres of vineyards, along with a tasting room and large event pavilion. Messina Hof Winery is a 100-acre estate, of which 42 host the vineyard in Bryan, Texas. Windy Winery produces Texas Wine from Texas Grapes©, bottling 100 percent of their products on site. Saddlehorn Winery is set on a 390-acre ranch in Burton, Texas overlooking the rolling hills of Washington County, birthplace of Texas.
Experience Urban Cowboy and Western Heritage at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
The Houston Museum District is comprised of nineteen institutions and is one of the top cultural districts in the country, including the:
Asia Society Texas Center features a dynamic gallery space as well as classrooms, conference facilities, a performance theater and reception spaces.
Buffalo Soldiers Museum educates the public about the contributions of African-American soldiers by chronicling their accomplishments from the Revolutionary War to modern times.
Children's Museum of Houston is ranked as the No. 1 children's museum in the country.
Contemporary Art Museum is dedicated to presenting the best and most exciting international, national and regional art of the last 40 years.
Czech Cultural Center celebrates the culture of Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia and Silesia.
DiverseWorks is a non-profit art center dedicated to presenting new visual, performing, and literary art.
Health Museum features three-dimensional anatomy models and interactive exhibits.
Boating and Cruising the Bayport Cruise Terminal is located on the Western shore of Galveston Bay, 30 minutes from downtown Houston. The state-of-the-art facility is near the Kemah Boardwalk with a 36-foot carousel, a 65-foot Ferris wheel and rides like Aviator, Boardwalk Tower and the Boardwalk Beast, a boat ride that takes you four miles into Galveston Bay at speeds up to 40 mph.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Minnesota River Towns Lakes State Parks Performing Arts and Local Brew Traditions

Minnesota means clear blue water from the Dakota language. Nearly 60 percent of the population lives in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the center of transportation, business, industry, education, government and an internationally renowned arts community. The remainder of the Land of 10,000 Lakes consists of western prairies, forests in the southeast and mining, forestry, and recreation in the North Woods.

The Twin Cities besides the Mississippi river, they are also connected by the Metro Green Line light rail, which runs between Minneapolis’ Target Field and St. Paul’s Union Depot, with more than 20 stops.

Performing Arts Minnesota is home to a number of older stages that have been recently restored
Fergus Falls built in 1921 as the Orpheus, and later known as the Fergus Theatre, this venue has evolved from vaudeville to film and back to stage performances. The Center for the Arts remodeled and updated the space in 1995, showcasing a variety of live performances.

St Cloud the Sherman Theatre opened in 1921 and was renamed as the Paramount in 1930. Like other venues, it transitioned from vaudeville to cinema to disrepair and renovation, transforming into a multimedia arts center, keeping the original design, acoustics and decor intact.
Minneapolis historic venues include First Avenue with a history of live rock music.

Native American Heritage indigenous people have lived in what is now Minnesota for thousands of years. When the Europeans arrived the predominant American Indian tribe was the Dakota. As explorers and settlers moved west, the Ojibwe, who lived in the central Great Lakes region, were forced into Dakota Territory. The resulting migration resulted in the Dakota residing primarily in the prairies of the Minnesota River Valley and points south and west, while the Ojibwe inhabited the lakes and forests of north and central Minnesota.

Lakes and Fishing Minnesota has many bodies of water and more shoreline than California, Florida and Hawaii combined. The deep, cold waters of Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake, offer charter fishing for native lake trout as well as steelhead, chinook, salmon and walleye. Aside from the Mississippi, other rivers include the Minnesota, St. Croix and Red River of the North, where anglers can reel catfish or northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, pan fish and over 100 lesser-known species. Northern pike are one of the most widespread fish in the state, from the backwaters of the Mississippi to the wilderness lakes of canoe country.

Minnesota has 4,000 miles of Scenic Paved Biking Trails
The State Park System begins at the source of America’s greatest river. Itasca State Park, one of 67 state parks, is home to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, was established in 1891, launching what is now the second-oldest state park system in the nation. Most are on lakes or rivers with opportunities for boating, canoeing, fishing and swimming, with hundreds of miles of hiking trails through forests, bogs, grasslands, and along riverbanks and lakeshores.
Jay Cooke State Park 20 miles southwest of Duluth, follows the rugged, rocky St. Louis River, which thunders when the water is high. Whitewater rafting trips are hosted on the river in nearby Carlton, and the University of Minnesota Duluth runs the Kayak and Canoe Institute just outside the park boundaries, with classes open to the public.

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The River Towns of southeast Minnesota are perfect for a weekend packed with activities. Only 60 miles from the Twin Cities, the town of Red Wing, tucked between bluffs and river, has many historic Victorian properties and farmhouses. The St James hotel, dating to the 1880s, offers elegant dining overlooking the Mississippi River and is near the Amtrak Depot, built in 1904, with an art gallery and visitor center.

Winona is an arts and cultural center. The riverside Minnesota Marine Art Museum, with three major galleries, holds hundreds of fine art pieces, including works by Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet, depicting lakes, oceans and rivers. Enjoy a stroll around Lake Winona. The Garvin Heights overlook features panoramic views of the town and Mississippi River Valley.
New Ulm follow the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway and experience Old World German heritage through unique architecture, restaurants and shops selling German imports, from chocolates to cuckoo clocks. A traditional Glockenspiel features figures from the town’s history; you can also take a narrated history tour downtown.
Wines and Brews on a scenic estate tucked back into the woods is Schell’s, the country’s second-oldest family-run brewery. Celebrate the release of Schell’s seasonal bock beer at the annual Bock Fest on Feb. 6, the same day New Ulm celebrates Fasching, the German Mardi Gras.The town also offers one of the state’s best-established vineyards. Weekend visitors can enjoy live music and pizzas at the countryside winery weekends through December, or at The Grand Kabaret weekends throughout the winter.
Fitger’ Brewhouse in Duluth boasts more than 100 beer recipes and a connection to a North Shore brewing tradition that dates back to the 19th century, A Duluth legend, the brewery's tanks are scattered throughout the complex and can visited.
Lift Bridge in Stillwater was the first on-site brewery taproom in Minnesota, part brewery, part neighborhood hangout, and an opportunity to taste some interesting brews.
Summit Brewing in St Paul is a leader of the modern Minnesota craft beer movement with the release of its ever-popular Extra Pale Ale in 1986. Since its launch, the brewery has expanded both its production facility in St. Paul and its brewing horizons, releasing new year-round and limited-run beers that are among the most popular in the Upper Midwest.

Minnesota River Towns Lakes State Parks Performing Arts and Local Brew Traditions
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