Saturday, November 26, 2016

Great IPhone Case

With Black Friday in full swing and Cyber Monday just two days away, I know that outdoor enthusiast are always looking for that right gift.  About a month ago I was asked to check out the new HitCase waterproof Shield IPhone case.   Being that I live in an Apple IPhone household I could not pass up  the opportunity to do a product review.

HitCase sent me one waterproof Shield for an IPhone 6 Plus/6 Plus S and an IPhone 5/5S.  The instructions were very easy to use. After performing a waterproof seal test with no phones, both phones went into the case very easy.  Above are the photos of both phones in their new cases.  What I especially liked was the case frame was aluminum not plastic.  Having an aluminum frame will come in handy if you happen to have an IPhone 6. The aluminum frame will help prevent your phone from bending.  HitCase also has loads of other IPhone accessories to include a lens kit, a selfie stick and a variety of different mounts.  So this holiday season, check HitCase for your stocking stuffers. Click HERE for their website.

So until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Biltmore Estate and House

Throughout the Southeast there are a lot of places to visit.  Asheville, North Carolina is one such place.  Asheville has been called the "Paris of the South". It is listed as one of the Top 25 Cities for Art.  One of Asheville's most noted places to visit is the famous Biltmore Estate. The Biltmore House was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II. Construction started in 1889 and was completed in 1895.  The Biltmore House is the largest privately owned house in America at 178, 926 square feet.  If you ever get a chance to visit Asheville do not miss a chance to tour the Biltmore Estate.  The entry fee to tour the estate was $65.00.
The Biltmore Estate includes the house, gardens, winery, farm village, the Biltmore Inn and Deer Park.  Because of the distance from the house to Deer Park, the winery and farm village, one must ride a shuttle.  To get to the gardens it is just a short 1/4 mile walk from the house. Once one gets to the garden conservatory there is another 1/2 mile walk to bass lake and the boat house. So good walking shoes might be necessary.

While at the estate there are many good places to eat.  The restaurant was very busy the day I was there.  The wait for a table for four was very manageable. The table service was very good as was the food my group ordered.  The grilled cheese sandwich was very popular item on the menu as was the soup choices.

A visit to the winery is a must. Wine tasting is free although you can pay extra for special wine tasting or you can get accommodation and tour packages all rolled up into one.  There are so many choices.  I stayed with my wife at the Hilton Double Tree which was a short drive to the Biltmore Estate ticket office.  But one can make reservations at the Village Hotel on the Biltmore Estate of the Inn on the Biltmore Estate or one of many local hotels close to the estate. Click Here for the Biltmore Estate website.

During my visit to the estate I took hundreds of photos and video clips. The following are links to my videos on my YouTube Channel.

Biltmore House 1
Biltmore House 2
Biltmore House 3
Biltmore House 4
Biltmore House 5
Biltmore House 6
Biltmore House 7
Biltmore Winery 8

If you are planning a trip to see the Biltmore Estate and the House, check out the great floor plans on the HogWartsCampus website. Looking at these before your tour really helps you understand the magnatude of the house. I found this web page researching the Biltmore House.  The following renderings were created by Randruff and can be seen on the HogWartsCampus webpage along with many other great location.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Bavaria In Georgia

About 90 miles north east from Atlanta is the town of  Helen, Georgia.  Helen is a former logging town that has transformed itself into an Alpine Village tucked away in the most southern end of the Appalachian Mountains.  Helen sits on the southern boarder of Unicoi State Park.  

During the 1880s logging became the major industry in the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Click HERE for the U.S. Forest Service history of logging in the Southern Appalachians.  I find it fascinating that I for one having visited and hiked many trails in the Southern Appalachian Mountains really did not know the history of protected forests we take for granted today.

Click HERE for the history of the Great Smokey Mountain and Blue Ridge Parkway National Parks.  As the logging around Helen, Georgia started to decline, the town rejuvenated itself into the Alpine Village it is today.  In 1969 the town passed building codes that mandated the alpine design you see today in Helen.

Helen is a great location for visiting other areas of the norther part of Georgia.

With Unicoi State Park just minutes away, visitors have access to a great place to camp, hike, picnic and fish.  Click HERE for the Unicoi State Park Guide. Just 48 miles to the west is Springer Mountain, Georgia.  The southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.  Click HERE for the Georgia Appalachian Trail Guide.

As you walk the streets of Helen you will find many shops and restaurants catering to the many tourist that come to Helen each year.  October is a special time to visit Helen because it is Oktoberfest season when the music is loud and the beer flows. Many of the German restaurants in Helen have some of Germany's finest biers on tap.  If you do not fancy the sport of bier drinking, I am sure that the candy and bakery shops can satisfy your sweet tooth.
And if you are not accustomed to eating sauerbraten, then you can always get a hot dog.

So If you missed Oktoberfest this year in October, you can enjoy your own Oktoberfest year round in Helen, GA.

Click HERE for my video clips from my Helen, Georgia trip last month.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

2016 Helen, GA

21st EPCOT Food & Wine Festival

It has now been a few weeks since Hurricane Matthew roared past Florida with high winds and torrid rain.  Well with that in the past the weather here in central Florida is just gorgeous.  Now is the time to make your plan to visit Walt Disney World for the EPCOT International  Food & Wine Festival.  The festival is 62 days long.  If you have already attended like I have then you only have 13 days left until the festival ends.

This year the festival has spread to to more areas of EPCOT and to many of the adjoining Disney Resorts where special menus have been created. This year the TV show the CHEW returned where they taped a full week of shows that were aired on ABC's Chew the week of October 10th through the 14th.  Part of the fun being at the
21st EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is eating and drinking around the world.  But this kind of fun comes with a warning.  Eating around the world only adds a few unwanted pounds where drinking around the world can end up with a real bad headache and one's inability to drive home. Staying at one of the Walt Disney World Resorts and riding the bus will solve that problem.

When you come to the Food & Wine Festival you will need to bring a big bag of money because to enjoy eating and drinking around the worlds will set you back a pretty penny or two.  A good example of this is a German bier called.
Schofferhofer Grapefruit.  This is a beer that is half Hafeweizen bier and half grapefruit juice.  This is my favorite bier. A 1 pint, .9 fluid ounce can at the food court in the EPCOT Land exhibit cost $9.00.  I pay less than that at Total Wine for a six pack of bottles or a four pack of the cans.  But this is EPCOT and guy has got to drink.

All and all the 21st EPCOT Food & Wine Festival a full day of fun, food and bier and wine.  If you have never been, this next two weeks should be the prefect time to go.  Remember that there are no more fast passes at the parks.  You will need to get your fast passes online.  And make that restaurant reservation in advance if you want a place to sit down and eat a full meal.  And while you are at Walt Disney World do not miss out on the
new Disney Springs shopping, eating and drinking paradise. This is a place you do not want to miss cause there are no tickets to get in, its free.

So until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.