Monday, September 18, 2017

Have an Exciting Miami Beach Adventure!|Collectible Topographical Wood Art


Miami Beach is one of the country’s best beaches since early 20th century which rests in Miami-Dade County in Florida. The city lies in a natural and man-made barrier islands between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. In its southernmost part lies South Beach along with Port of Miami and downtown Miami. It was incorporated on March 26, 1915, and according to the 2010 US Census, it has a total of 87,779 residents. 

It a popular tourists destination all year with Greater Miami’s pristine beaches and other historical destinations.  Miami Beach houses the largest collection of Art Deco that comprises hundreds of apartments and hotels dating back from 1923 to 1943. Other destinations include museums, scenic drives, and historical infrastructures.  

#1 Miami Beach


Most people do not realize that Miami Beach is, in fact, a separate municipality from Miami. The beach sits on an island, where a number of bridges connected it to the mainland. Small it may seem, it is considered as an expensive tourist destination. Miami Beach’s ocean front is lined with classy restaurants, hotels, shop, and sunbathing lounging areas. If you are planning to visit Miami Beach, take the time to visit Ocean Drive where you can find the Art Deco Buildings, trendy shopping centers, and world-class hotels. 

# 2 Art Deco District


The National Register of Historic Places listed the Art Deco District in Miami Beach as one of the most preserved historical sites in 1979. Some of the represented art styles include Streamline Moderne, Art Deco, and Mediterranean. Barbara Capitman spearheaded the preservation of the Art Deco District, and to honor her efforts they named a street after her. The Art Deco buildings represent the old Miami in its earlier times in the 1930s. Many of these pastel colored historic buildings display neon signs overlooking Miami Beach’s pristine shorelines. 

# 3 Ocean Drive


After visiting the Art Deco District, you can go for another marvelous sightseeing adventure in Ocean Drive. It runs along the Miami Beach’s ocean front, passing the Art Deco District and the famous South Beach. If you are interested to see more of the Art Deco structures, try to look for these well-known buildings like:
    Colony Hotel

    Waldorf Towers

    Cardozo

    Cavalier

   Breakwater

# 4 Freedom Tower


For some historical destination, you may want to start in the Freedom Tower. The tower got its name after the immigration-processing event for thousands of people who fled Cuba in the 1960s. To honor the humanitarian feat, the place now stands as a tribute to Cuban immigration. Built in 1925, the Freedom Tower serves as the oldest skyscrapers in the southern US. The unique “wedding-cake” style building was home for the Miami Daily News for years.

# 5 Gold Coast Railroad Museum


The Miami Railroad Historical Society established the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in the 1950s. It now houses at least well-known 30 antique railway automobiles.  Some of its notable displays include "Silver Crescent" and "Silver Stag". But its main attraction is the “Ferdinand Magellan”, the famous Presidential Railcar of Franklin Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Reagan, and Truman. You kids would love to place some of their wooden train displays.
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Friday, September 15, 2017

Interesting Sites to See When Visiting Longboat Key|Gifts for All Occasions for the Boater in Your Life


Longboat Key is city located in Manatee and Sarasota counties in Florida. It lies south of Anna Maria Island and the Gulf of Mexico. The town is part of the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice statistical area.  In the 2010 US Census, it has an approximate 6,888 residents. 

Native Americans used to inhabit Longboat Key. The first known man to explore the island was Juan de Añasco, who founded the Native Americans hostile. Añasco spent two months just to find a landing site and the first outsider to laid eyes on Sarasota Bay, Manatee River, and Boca Ciega Bay. Urban legend said that the notorious Pirate Jean Lafitte had been shipwreck near Longboat Key and for the next 300 years, no one believed the stories. Today, Longboat Key offers a wide range of activities for the family. 

# 1 Florida Maritime Museum


The Florida Maritime Museum rests on 4 acres of land on a historic 1912 Schoolhouse. Located in the famous fishing village of Cortex, it would take a short drive from the island. Hurricanes usually bouts Cortez Village that greatly suffers from the storm’s aftermath. Residents of the village help the maritime museum in their endeavors preserving the environment and teaching about the importance of maritime history. 
The Cortex Nature Preserve surrounds the maritime museum, making it one of Longboat Key’s hidden gems. The Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Courts sponsors the activity of Maritime Museum, which was founded to raise awareness about the fishing industry in the region. Join them as they explore maritime tradition and learn all about Florida’s maritime history. 

# 2 Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Garden is one of the most magical places in Longboat Key. It aims to boosts appreciation of tropical plants and its conservation. They offer programs about its conservation, research and continuing education about the plants. 
Seven greenhouses serve as the heart of the botanical research boasting of more than 6,000 beautiful orchids. These are the main reason why the Marie Selby Botanical Garden garnered international recognition.
Many people who visited the botanical garden are captivated by an ancient huge ficus tree called as Banyan. Its large branches overshadow other plants in the garden, providing shades for visitors and the perfect environment for plants to flourish.  Another attention grabbing tree in the garden is the Rainbow Gum Tree, known for its astonishing rainbow-colored trunk. Explore the grounds of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens which include areas of the towering Bamboo Pavilion, Banyan Grove, Tropical Display House, Cactus and Succulent Garden and Cycad Collection. 

# 3 Longboat Beaches (Whitey Beach, Longboat Key Beach and Beer Can Island)


A trip to Longboat Key would not be complete without visiting some of its amazing beaches. A 30-minute drive northwest of downtown Sarasota, Longboat Key is a great place to enjoy pristine beaches without the usual crowds of Florida. It does not matter where you choose to stay; every beach in Longboat Island has the same pristine white sand beaches. Try to collect seashells along its beaches. Rumor has it that you can find some interesting sea shells along its beach shores that you cannot find elsewhere. 

# 4 Boat Shows


Before Longboat Key becomes a holiday destination for some, merchants and pirates roam its waters. It is just right to say that they earned some of the best boat shows in Florida. Most boating enthusiasts visit Longboat Key when they held boat shows like St. Armands Boat Show. Both experienced boaters and first-time boaters would come to see the latest model or latest trend in the boating world. 

# 5 Myakka River State Park


Another nearby tourist spot in Longboat Key lies in Sarasota. Myakka River State Park is one of the oldest and largest state parks in the US. The state park has a diverse natural habitat for animals that stretches 58 miles of both dry and wetlands. You can explore and learn about wildlife up close. The park is home to raccoons, deer, turkeys, vultures, barred owls, and red-shouldered hawks. You can also walk to their wooden boardwalk that spreads all throughout the Upper Myakka Lake. Look out for wading birds, wood storks, ducks, roseate spoonbills, eagles, ospreys and even alligators. Keep in mind that the park maintains the place as a natural habitat for these animals, try not to disturb them.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Places You Should Not Miss in Lake Travis|Collectible Art


Lake Travis is a reservoir located on the Colorado River in Texas. Mansfield Dam constructed it in 1942, on the western part of Austin, Texas. The Lower Colorado River Authority designed Lake Travis to hold flood waters to protect flash-flood prone areas. Initially, the plan was to contain flood waters but during its construction in July of 1938, a severe flood damaged the reservoir. The incident prompted an increase of its storage capacity for flood waters. 

Among the seven reservoirs of the Highland Lakes, Lake Travis holds the record as the largest storage capacity reservoir. Measuring 65 miles from Travis County, going to Burnet County up until Max Starcke Dam, the lake has a snake-like design which ends in Marble Falls town. The Pedernales River flows drains into the lake from the southwestern part of Travis County. In all of Texas, Lake Travis has the clearest water and a significant water source for Austin and nearby cities.  Other purposes of the lake include water supply, electrical power generation as well as recreation. 
Most people visit Lake Travis because of its fun and exciting outdoor recreational activities. Activities like boating, fishing, boating, and camping are amongst the favorites. A more bold activity within the lake happens in Hippie Hollow Park, aside from swimming, nude sunbathing is allowed on this beach. The very scenic beauty of Lake Travis has created these popular destinations. 

# 1 Austin Nature & Science Center


Location: 301 Nature Center Drive
The Austin Nature & Science Center is specifically designed for kids. It features natural history and botany where children will learn about the environment. They also host fun activities like unearthing “dinosaur bones” from a sand pit, which dates back 99 million years ago. Children will surely love digging into the sandbar to find the ‘fossils’. The center is open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday. 

# 2 Krause Springs


Krause Springs houses 2 natural springs, waterfall, caves, and picnic areas. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon by the swimming pool placed on a bluff with a scenic view of cypress creek. When the heat of the sun gets you nuts, head on to Krause Springs as the water stays at a relatively cool temperature of 70 deg. Deeply forested, you can set up a picnic in shady areas. Don’t forget to bring food and a cooler for an all-day fun experience. 

#3 St. Luke’s on the Lake


Location: 5600 Ranch Road 620 N
Known as “The Church with The View”, St. Luke’s is an Episcopal church located on the cliffs with an amazing view of Lake Travis. It has the most scenic view of the pristine waters of the lake perfect for those mini pictorials with your family. A mini viewing deck at the back of the church is the best place to take those pictures. 

# 4 Lakeway City Park


Location: 502 Hurst Creek Rd
When you find Lake Travis packed with tourists, you can park in Lakeway and just walk into the lake. Activities in the park include a playground, baseball fields, basketball and volleyball courts and walking trails. After a long walk, you will appreciate Lakeway City Park the most, as their benches are designed to be submerged in the water to cool your sore feet. That’s an added bonus going into this park. 

# 5 Hamilton Pool


Do you want to know where locals go? Hamilton Pool is a natural hidden gem in Lake Travis, where locals go for a swim. The place looks like paradise, and most photographers come here to take their perfect shot. But do bring extra clothes and waterproof camera as some days there would be small waterfalls forming in some places.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Wonderful Places to Visit on Jupiter Island| Great Quality Gifts for the Boater in your Life


Jupiter Island rests on the barrier island in Martin County Florida and part of the Port St. Lucie, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. According to the 2010 US census, the town only has 817 residents and does not have any post office. All mails will land on Hobe Sound on the mainland.Residents living on the island composed of 94.37% White, 2.20% African-American, 2.57% Asian, 5.32% Hispanics or Latinos, and 0.61% from other races. 


Small as it is, some of the country’s wealthiest people live on Jupiter Island. Worth magazine reported the island has the highest per capita income compared to any other cities in the US. Discover Jupiter Island from its historical sites to cultural attractions, there are a lot of tourists spots to see. To help you decide where to go, here are some of the best places to visit on the island. Some of the highlights of the island are the lighthouse, recreational activities, and its parks. 

#1 Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum


The National Register of Historic Places listed Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. The lighthouse is part of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area, a 120-acre of protected land. Built in the 1860s, the restored World War II museum displays some important exhibits like Five Thousand Years on the Loxahatchee. Their outdoors exhibits feature Keepers Workshops, Tindall Pioneer Homestead, Oil House, and Seminole Chickee. They also offer guided climbing tours of the ancient lighthouse. You can relax and dip your toes in its waterfront which is a great place to have a picnic. There is an observatory tower, hiking trails, restaurants, and water activities nearby. 

# 2 Peck Lake Park


Located near Gomez Avenue in Hobe Sound, Peck Lake Park is a hidden gem on Jupiter Island. It’s a great place to relax and have a lunch picnic with your family. As it does not get crowded, you can enjoy shady areas to unwind away from your worries. Most often you can get to see other families, couples, and seniors taking advantage of the good weather. Bikers would often stop to stretch their legs, and chill out in the park. 
Parking is the least of your worries. The park also has water fountains and nice restrooms strategically placed within the area. 

# 3 Hobe Sound Nature Center


The nature center is a private, non-profit organization committed protecting the environment. Founded in 1973, the Hobe Sound Nature Center aims to educate people about the importance of Florida’s environment. They offer several environmental presentations to raise awareness in people of all ages. They also organize activities like summer camps, scrub tours, evening forums, and turtle walks. Jackson Burke and Elizabeth Kirby started the center for the Jupiter Island Garden Club, Inc. For more than 30 years, the center has a partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service which helps them conduct environmental awareness. 

# 4 Palm Beach Karting


Location: 7047 Beeline Hwy 
If speed is more of your thing, then visit Palm Beach Karting. The place offers kart rentals for 1 to 2 hours which you will surely enjoy. Feel like a real racer, as each kart including you is fitted with safety gears and equipment. It’s a great activity for adults and you can race with your family in an authentic karting experience.

# 5 Burt Reynolds Park


Jupiter is full of amazing parks, and Burt Reynolds Park is another must see place in town. They have great picnic areas and water activities. You can go kayaking, stand up paddle boarding even fishing in its clear waters. Because they have great facilities, people would often prepare their catch fresh from the water into one of the grills in the picnic areas.  Boaters would often come here as they have ramps to launch boats. The park has spacious parking considering most of the people who go here have boat trailers. 

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Friday, September 8, 2017

5 Popular Key Biscayne Destinations|3-D Nautical Wood Art Collection


Key Biscayne is a part of Miami-Dade County in Florida. It rests east of Miami and south of Miami Beach, which connected Miami via Rickenbacker Causeway. Tequesta Indians first settled in Key Biscayne. In 1513, the Spanish explorer named Juan Ponce de Leon had the first record of the island. According to the 2010 US Census, Key Biscayne has a total population of 12,344 residents and among the first Miami, areas to be evacuated for any hurricane forecasts. The area has a very low elevation and faces the Atlantic Ocean directly which makes it prone to flash floods. 

Tourist would come and visit Key Biscayne to cap off their Miami trip. The town is just a short enjoyable drive over the Rickenbacker Causeway. Sometimes the Miami gets too crowded and so mainstream if you want something different visit Key Biscayne. The area is lined with great beaches between two major parks, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and Crandon Park. This means, wherever you go, there exciting places to discover and new experiences waiting for you.

#1 Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park


Located in the southern part of the island, Bill Braggs Cape Florida State Park houses one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world. You can visit the 19th century Cape Florida Lighthouse for free or enjoy the narrow beaches in the area. The place is as serene as it can be with calm and crystal clear waters. Climb up in the tower to see the magnificent 360-degree view of the island. You can also rent a bike, as Key Biscayne has a reputation for being bike-friendly. Bike trails as long as 1.5 miles traverse through the state park passing through Biscayne Bay. You don’t need to bring a bike as the park offers bike rentals. 


# 2 Crandon Park

Another popular tourist destination lies in the northern tip of Key Biscayne. Palm trees, sand dunes, and sandy white beaches make Crandon Park as one of Miami’s best beaches. No city lights or sky scrapers can ruin your tropical vacation as most of the surrounding areas are designated parkland. 

# 3 Beyond Donuts

It may not be a destination, but it sure is a popular spot for locals. After an exhausting hike or looking for a place to stop, refuel your body with some sugar. This 41-year-old Donut Gallery Diner is a very popular destination for locals. In some days, the most prominent people in the island would come here and talk about politics, business, and other important gossips. The shop has a very old school vibe with vinyl-covered bar stools and 1950s interior. 

# 4 Overwater Bungalows

The world famous group of tropical houses built on stilts is one of Key Biscayne prominent tourist spots. Located on Biscayne shallow shoal channels, the place is accessible via a short boat ride from Crandon Park Marina. Eddie ‘Crawfish’ Walker sold beer, bait, and crawfish chowder on this stilt houses back in the 30s. The houses gathered national attention when featured in films like Miami Vice. 

# 5 Virginia Key First

Before reaching Virginia Key, you will need to pass Rickenbacker Causeway. Built in 1947, the causeway was named after Eddie Rickenbacker, a WWI veteran. Just after its constructions, the once quiet island bursts into life as a popular tourist destination.  It houses the Seaquarium where the TV series Flipper was filmed. You can also swim with the dolphins and get to know other marine animals.

However, the Virginia Key has a dark past. The National Register of Historic Places listed Virginia Key Beach Park is the only place in Miami-Dade County that African-Americans can freely roam during segregation.

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Monday, September 4, 2017

How to Prevent Boating Accidents|8 Best Tips to Prevent Boating Accidents


When sailing in the open seas, boat operators and passengers have their part to prevent accidents and injuries. But accidents can strike anytime and anywhere, it is always best to prepare ahead of time. Here are some of the things you can do in preventing boating accidents. 

#1 Do not consume alcohol when boarding


Alcohol is the main leading cause of fatalities in boating accidents, according to the US Coast Guard. In the year 2011, alcohol causes 16% of boating-related accidents deaths. In the same study of the agency, drinking while boating has a 34% chance of boating fatalities. Just like operating any types of machinery, drinking and boating increase the chance of accidents on seas. 
However, with all the fun happening under the sun and activities in the water, you can get distracted. One glass of wine or a can of beer may easily turn into one bottle or quite a number of beers. It is not that hard to get drunk while operating a boat. Make it a commitment not to consume alcohol while on board and think about safety. Also, operating a boat while under the influence can get you prison time.

# 2 Make it a habit to check you have sufficient safety equipment onboard

Your boats should always have adequate safety equipment like boat lights, and fire extinguisher. There should be enough life jackets and flotation devices for everyone as well as first aid kits and emergency provisions. Before leaving port make sure the anchor is onboard and don’t ever leave without one. 

About 70% of boat accidents fatalities happen because of drowning and 84% of people who drowned did not wear any life jackets. 


# 3 Properly Maintain the boat and keep all safety equipment in top shape


Neglecting routine check-ups, proper maintenance of the boat and its safety equipment can land you in jail. Under the rule of court, this is an act of negligence. In 2011, boat malfunction and poor safety equipment resulted in 424 boating accidents, 151 injuries, and 28 fatalities, according to the US Coast Guard. Check your boat and its main components prior to your plans of sailing away, that you give you enough time to replace or repair necessary equipment.

# 4 Constantly monitor weather conditions


Weather conditions can change drastically in the open seas. If the weather looks to get worse, follow your instinct and return to shore as soon as possible. The Coast Guard reported bad weather conditions resulted in 771 accidents with 466 injuries and 155 fatalities for the year 2011. These include environmental issues like congested waterways and treacherous water conditions. Always heed weather forecasts and warnings before heading out. 

#5 Do not overload the boat


Letting too many passengers and gear on your boat increases the risk of swamping or capsizing. Be mindful of the weight capacity of your boat, not just for the passengers but also with their gears. The weight capacity of each boat should be posted in the operator’s area. Overloading caused 193 accidents, 109 injuries and 79 deaths back in 2011.

Operators either overload the boat or improperly load the boat because of unmindful loading. You should be aware how to equally distribute passengers or gears to avoid capsizing and other accidents.

# 7 Always pay attention to your surroundings

As operating any vehicles or machinery, you need to watch other passing boats. Stay vigilant for people doing some activities in the water. Operator negligence resulted in 581 boating accidents, 363 injuries, and 58 deaths in 2011. Keep your focus on how to stay clear from other distractions in the water.  Another helpful tip from expert boaters – do not turn off your emergency radio. You can receive crash warnings and incoming weather conditions on your radio. You may not have any cell phone signals in the open seas but you can always rely on your radio. 

# 8 Maintain safe speed and always follow navigational rules


Even though there are no posted speed limits sign on the water, you should know the imposed limit in your area. Always follow speed limits and navigational rules when out in the water. 

Over speeding is the leading cause of boating accidents which resulted in 349 accidents, 321 injuries, and 28 deaths in 2011. There are many rules for boating but following these two significant rules can prevent accidents.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Exciting Places to See in Houston|Topographic Art for the Enthusiast!

Houston is the most populated city in Texas and is the largest city in the southern US, it is understandably the fourth most populated in the country. According to the 2016 US Census, Houston houses 2.3 million residents in its land area of 667 square miles.

Founded on August 28, 1836, the city was named after General Sam Houston who commanded at the Battle of San Jacinto.  The growing industry of railroad and oil influenced the constant surges in its population. Houston was the home of the largest concentration of research and healthcare organization in the world, the Texas Medical Center. The Johnson Space Center of NASA and the world famous Mission Control Center based its operation in the city.


The city thrives on its prosperous industry of manufacturing, energy, transportation, and aeronautics. Some of the tourist spots in the city revolve in its main industry. 


#1 Space Center Houston




Location: 1601 Nasa Pkwy,
A trip to Houston will not be complete without visiting Space Center Houston that inspired many successful Hollywood movies. The huge complex is a must see attraction in the city, where you can walk its grounds to see a life-size replica of Independence, a shuttle carrier aircraft, Skylab and even touch a real moon rock. Their main exhibit shows their upcoming missions of traveling to the planet Mars. Try to visit on Fridays, where kids can meet an astronaut when they do their presentations. A tram inside the grounds makes a round trip tour to Johnson Space Center, where you can observe how astronauts train for space missions. If you want a complete tour, Space Center Houston offers trips and because of the popularity of the center, you might want to book or get tickets in advance. 

# 2 Buffalo Bayou Park



Buffalo Bayou Park has a biking and walking trails as well as a dog park. The park has sculptures and great shady picnic areas littered across the park with the slow moving flow of Buffalo Bayou as its main attraction. There are a lot of recreational activities in the park like kayaking, stand up paddle boarding or paddling a canoe. You don’t need to bring all your bulky gears as rentals are available at the park.  Try to stay just before sunset, to see some 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats fly from Waugh Drive Bridge. 

# 3 Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park



Located in Uptown Houston, Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park is a 2.77 acre-park forested with century old oaks. It is nature showing her best for everyone to appreciate in a condensed city. The park has a massive multi-story sculptural fountain that is mesmerizing to watch its cascading water over large concrete walls.  The massive sculpture measures 64 feet and has a large arch with 46,500 square feet of water. 

# 4 Museum District




Location: 1001 Bissonnet Street
Houston boasts of 19 museums which 11 of them are free to the public. The city’s Museum District is one of the greatest cultural destinations in the country. Another great thing about it is they are located almost next to each other. With an exception of Menil and Rothko Chapel that are a little off the beaten path. Must see museums in the district include:

    Menil Collection

    Holocaust Museum

    Contemporary Arts Museum

    Museum of Fine Arts

    Children's Museum

    Houston Museum of Natural Science.


Take note of these museums as they are free of charge:


    Rice Gallery

    Houston Center for photography

    Czech Center Museum Houston

    The Menil Collection

    Rothko Chapel

    Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

    Lawndale Art Center

    Houston Museum of American Culture

    Contemporary Arts Museum

# 5 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo



Depending which month you will visit Houston, one of the not-to-be missed event is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The 19 day fair occurs every February or March of each year, with activities for the whole family and much more. There are food stands, good old carnival rides, games, rodeo and livestock show.  They also held shows like cowboys showing off their skills and music performance from local artists. But the real fun begins in their Downtown Rodeo Parade.


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