ExperiencePlus! celebrates friendly bike community events

July 21, 2014 on 12:41 pm | In Outdoors | Comments Off

June 25th was Bike to Work Day in Colorado where ExperiencePlus! has its world headquarters based in Fort Collins. Colorado celebrates Bike Month in June rather than May (with fewer chances of snow storms). The Colorado office staff gear up each year for their favorite bike month activity, co-hosting the Bike to Work Day breakfast station at 250 E. Mountain Ave in partnership with the Fort Collins Food Co-Op and the Bohemian Foundation. This year they offered healthy and tasty vegan and gluten-free granola with a variety of non-dairy milk options while mingling with over 400 hungry riders including many ExperiencePlus! tour alumni donning an assortment of their prized-jerseys.

ExperiencePlus! offers tours in 22 countries. For further details on all tours and itineraries, please visit www.ExperiencePlus.com  or www.BikeRentalsPlus.com .

Get outdoors for summer fun in Asheville, NC, at Navitat Canopy Adventures‏

July 10, 2014 on 7:04 am | In Adventure Travel, Outdoors, The South | Comments Off

Looking for a fun escape this summer? You’ll find it at NAVITAT CANOPY ADVENTURES, a high-adventure zipline canopy tour in the cool, beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina and minutes from the vibrant city of Asheville.

All new this summer at NAVITAT is the Blue Ridge Experience, an unprecedented ridge-to-ridge tour featuring the longest and some of the highest ziplines in the Southeast. Tour highlights include:

-Side-by-side racing-style ziplines that stretch across an expansive mountain valley.

-Ziplines at heights more than 350 feet off the ground, nearly three-quarters of a mile long and as fast as 60 mph.

-Panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and long-range vistas to the west and north into Tennessee.

-Three scenic hikes through diverse Southern Appalachian forest.

NAVITAT is a perfect adventure for nature lovers, thrill seekers and active families who are visiting Asheville. This beautiful city is home to thriving arts, entertainment, culinary and craft brew scenes, and the surrounding mountains are full of outdoor adventures — from mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing and camping, to river tubing and whitewater rafting.

For a look at NAVITAT’s Blue Ridge Experience tour, check out our video.

As you look for new destinations and new outdoor adventures to cover this summer for Jetsetters Magazine, we hope you’ll consider featuring NAVITAT’s new Blue Ridge Experience tour and Asheville.

RootsRated Introduces it’s New Mobile App

July 2, 2014 on 10:29 am | In Adventure Travel, Beachbooker, Cabinweb, Outdoors | Comments Off

Chattanooga, TN – RootsRated, the online resource for “where to go outdoors,” has introduced its new RootsRated mobile app for iPhone. Flooded with helpful reviews and inspiring photography, the RootsRated app sources local grassroots knowledge to offer the most up-to-date, verified information on the best outdoor adventures. RootsRated is currently sharing local knowledge on roughly 4,000 adventures in 61 U.S. cities.

“People don’t want to waste time researching where to go outside. They want to get outside – now,” says Fynn Glover, founder of RootsRated. “Our app makes it easy to discover memorable outdoor adventures. Because our content is written by local experts, RootsRated visitors can trust that the reviews are accurate and timely.”

The RootsRated mobile app and website ask the visitor two simple questions: where are you and what do you want to do outdoors?Detailed RootsRated reviews and directions then identify a city’s very best outdoor experiences: where to hike, climb, trail run, cycle, and paddle – even where to grab a bite or drink afterward.

RootsRated app for iPhone provides:

Expert grassroots content
Efficient filtering (activity, location and difficulty level)
Intuitive navigation
Clean aesthetic
Inspiring images
User interaction (“completed adventures” and “bucket list”)

“With solid recommendations from outdoor veterans, RootsRated will quickly mature into an indispensable resource for travelers and locals alike,” says Dustin Clark, outdoor industry veteran and digital marketing consultant. “Since time immemorial, any outdoor adventure has been a mix of skill, knowledge, passion and gear. RootsRated is merging all elements into a simple, sleek interface that’s easy to access on-the-go.”

10 of This Summer’s Best Outdoor Adventure Packages

June 9, 2014 on 1:15 pm | In Adventure Travel, Germany, Outdoors, Southwest, Switzerland, USA | Comments Off


Alsol Hotels & Resorts

Guests can take advantage of Alsol Luxury Village’s “Luxury, Sun & Adventure” package in balmy Cap Cana, Dominican Republic. From June 1 – September 30, adventurers will enjoy: an All Under the Sun Program, complete with gourmet al la carte meals and an unlimited selection of domestic and imported drinks; an off-road Adventure Buggies Experience Tour, with a stop at beautiful Juanillo beach, where travelers explore and follow a trail, leading to a spectacular turquoise lagoon 37m deep at its deepest point; 5 nights in one of Alsol Luxury Village’s luxury suites (which recently received a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor), and round trip transfers to/from the hotel to the tours. Starts at $1,065 per person based on double occupancy. For booking, use code “LSA” at www.alsolluxuryvillage.com  email reservations@alsolluxuryvillage.com  or dial 1-809-562-9191.

Biras Creek Resort

Guests at Biras Creek Resort have the unique opportunity to explore all the sights and sounds of the British Virgin Islands by spending two days of their visit sailing aboard a luxurious yacht by booking the “BVI Sail Away” package this summer. The package features five-night accommodations in a Garden, Ocean or Grand Suite at Biras, two-night accommodations in the master cabin aboard the Crystal Clear classic sailing schooner, a personal captain and cook who will provide all meals and beverages at sea, and three daily meals provided for two while on land. Rates start at $814 per night (plus tax and service charge). For more information, visit www.biras.com .

Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort

With proximity to both San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort provides direct access to Mexican-infused summer adventure tours, such as the popular Outback & Camel Safari. When not hitting the beach (the hotel sits along one of Cabo’s only swimmable beaches!), guests can enjoy a safari nature walk through the pristine desert landscape followed by a breathtaking camel ride along a private beach. After working up an appetite, a local ranch provides guests with a spread of authentic Mexican cuisine. On the way back to the hotel, adventurers can relish in a desert ride in a signature Mercedes-Benz Unimog 4×4 truck, capping off the adventure with a lively tasting of the finest tequilas Mexico has to offer. Adults: $99, Children: $70 www.hiltonloscabos.com


Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

Inspired by the 2014 Oscar and BAFTA award-winning Italian film “La Grande Bellezza” (The Great Beauty) by Paolo Sorrentino, Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts launched an exclusive tour inviting guests to explore the magnificent, undiscovered locations throughout the Eternal City featured in the film. Led by the hotel’s resident art historian, Alexandra Massini, the full-day excursion engages guests with a morning filled with visits to the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola on the Janiculum Hill and Donato Bramante’s Tempietto within the courtyard at San Pietro in Montorio. Participants are then driven to Trastevere and walk across the Ponte Sisto, what some consider the most beautiful bridge in the city. From there, guests can walk to and marvel at the Palazzo Spada, Piazza Farnese and along the cobblestones of the historic Via Giulia lined with Renaissance palaces and hidden courtyards.

Only through Rome Cavalieri’s “Great Beauty” tour can guests visit the private apartments of the palace of the Marquis Sacchetti and enjoy a private reception at the home of Marchioness Violante Guerrieri Gonzaga, where the Marchioness herself will prepare a meal special for the visitors on the rooftop terrace of Palazzo Taverna with stunning 360º views of the historic city center. After an optional lunch (ranging from aperitifs to a seated feast), guests will discover the Piazza Navona, Villa Medici with an exclusive tour of the gardens, drive along the Via Veneto and stop on a terrace overlooking the Colosseum. The evening concludes with a visit to the grand baths of an ancient Caracalla, and a drive up the Aventine Hill to discover a surprise view from a keyhole.

The tour for a group of five begins at €1,345 EUR ($1,858 USD). For individuals and groups smaller than five, pricing varies based upon customization of tour elements, mode of transportation and lunch options. Given the exclusivity of the tour, guests must book 10-14 days in advance. If lunch is desired, guests should allow three weeks advance booking. For additional details, pricing or to book the experience, please contact Concierge at +39 06 3509 2040, ROMHI.Concierge@waldorfastoria.com  or visit www.romecavalieri.com

VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations

Visit VBT at  www.VBT.com  or call  800-245-3868

VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations offers 51 deluxe, small group bicycling and walking tours in 26 different countries, including destinations throughout Europe, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru and the United States. Each trip includes all accommodations, many meals, two expert local Trip Leaders, unique sightseeing and cultural activities and on-tour vehicle support. Unlike other companies, VBT also includes roundtrip international airfare from over 30 U.S. cities and select Canadian cities for all overseas vacations. All itineraries invite travelers into local homes for a one-of-a-kind experience with the people who live there and share the culture.

Below are two examples from VBT:

Lake Constance: Germany, Austria & Switzerland – 10 days from only $3,595 including international airfare.

Travelers will discover soaring, snow-capped peaks and a vast glistening lake. Pedal along paved roads with Lake Constance at the forefront. Charming villages and lakeside retreats offer up a hearty welcome. Swim in hot springs and explore fertile farmland and vineyards, offering delicious ingredients and fruitful wine. Discover the rich, intertwined history of a trio of nations.

Highlights include:

Taste organic fruit brandy and Germany’s famed beer.
Learn the history behind this lake connecting three countries.
Marvel at the magnificent Romanesque churches of Reichenau.
Cycle three countries on an organized network of bike paths.
Cruise across Lake Constance aboard a ferry with breathtaking views.
Waltz through the riotous array of flowers on the Island of Mainau.

Holland and Belgium Bike & Barge Brussels – 12 days from only $3,895 including international airfare.

In the lands of medieval and natural splendor, rustic windmills dot a dreamy countryside, simple ways are defined by the flow of the sea and a rich mercantile tradition created powerful nations. To get to the heart of it all travel along wistful waterways at the most leisurely pace and cycle along tranquil paths to storybook villages and chat with locals.

Highlights include:

Exploring the medieval wonders of Bruges with a local guide.
Unpack just once, then cruise for seven nights by private canal barge.
Experience the countryside up close, as only a barge-and-bike tour allows.
Travel as the locals do—along easy bike paths.
Enjoy a guided tour of Ghent.
Visiting a local family in their fishing-village home.
Kinderdijk’s windmills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Taste authentic Belgian beer.


Finger Lakes Region

As one of the country’s top wine producing regions known for its Rieslings, Gewurztraminer and Ice Wine and a leader in the passionate farm-to-table movement, the Finger Lakes region offers a plethora of culinary aspects for all to enjoy. Many wineries are included on wine trails surrounding Seneca, Cayuga, Canandaigua and Keuka lakes with regularly scheduled events, trail-wide tasting passports, locavore restaurants and scenic views, a true Finger Lakes wine and food experience can be found here. Two examples include:

Finger Lakes Murder Mystery Wine Tour

Wine and mystery lovers alike with relish in this a one-of-a-kind wine tour which offers a taste of Ithaca’s premier wines all the while being neck deep in solving a mysterious murder. On the “In the Distill of the Night” tour, guests have the choice to join as a detective, or for those brave of heart, as a suspect in the crime itself, all while visiting two of Ithaca’s famous wineries, Six Mile Creek and Ports of New York. The monthly tour runs from 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm, departing from La Tourelle Resort & Spa, Ithaca. Travelers can enjoy the experience for $120/person inclusive of pre-tour wine reception at La Tourelle, wine tastings at two wineries, vineyard/cellar tour at Six Mile Creek, port-making and wine museum tour at Ports of NY, post-tour reception at La Tourelle. Accommodation packages are available at La Tourelle Resort & Spa. http://experiencefingerlakes.com/ithaca-tours/wine-tours-in-ithaca/murder-mystery-wine-tour/,

Annual Apple Tasting Tour

Apple taste testing is one way to learn the differences in apples including taste, texture and scent. Each stop on the apple tasting tour is as unique as is the taste and texture of apples. Besides apples, the tour also includes stops at three Wayne County wineries. Travelers can plan on tasting a variety of wines including some amazing fruit wines. Visitors can call (800) 527-6510 for a map for this self-guided tour.  www.appletastingtour.com

Bateaux New York

Cruising from Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, European-inspired Bateaux New York is an all glass dining vessel offering gracious service, fantastic meals, and 360 degree views while cruising by some of New York City’s most renowned landmarks like the Empire State Building, The Entrepid, The Colgate Clock, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, World Center Trade Site and More. Delivering creative plated cuisine for lunch and dinner and a decadent Champagne brunch, the vessel also has two outdoor decks offering wide-open views of Manhattan, perfect for a breezy summertime tour of the city. http://www.bateauxnewyork.com/new-york-metro

Spirit of New Jersey and Sprit of New York

High energy Spirit Cruises offer lunch and dinner cruises complete with buffet-style dining, dancing, and spectacular views alongside and interactive DJ who will point out New York City’s greatest landmarks while not spinning beats. Departing from Chelsea Piers in Manhattan and Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken, NJ, both vessels also offer festive climate-controlled outdoor lounge decks with comfy seating to take in the NYC skyline while sipping a cocktail in summertime. The Empire State Building, The Entrepid, The Colgate Clock, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, World Center Trade Site are just some of the sights cruisers will see on board. http://www.spiritcruises.com/new-york-metro

Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa

At The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, guests can enjoy an array of Lowcountry adventure excursions from a kayaking tour to journeying through the area’s massive live oaks via Zip Line Hilton Head. For the history buffs, guests can tour the “undeveloped” side of this historic sea island where they’ll visit numerous fascinating historic places on Daufuskie Island – accessible by boat only. In addition, the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island are home year-round to a large and active population of wild Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin so guests can explore the back waters and magical remote islands and come close to dolphins. This tour is scheduled around optimal tides for access to remote and undeveloped locations that make the Lowcountry unique. Guests can tour The Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge via bike, which is a 4,053-acre refuge where they can check out the local wildlife from alligators and turtles to white-tailed deer and Nine-banded armadillos to the ever-popular bottlenose dolphin.

The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona

According to a recent study by the Adventure Travel Trade Association and George Washington University, adventure travel spending in North America, Europe and South America is on the rise. With this in mind, The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa gears up this summer for adventure abound with three Sonoran Desert packages: spelunking (aka cave exploring!), hiking on Sabino Canyon and four wheeling through the desert. Travelers can take advantage of nightly rates starting at $289 nightly from now through Sept. 30th.

· “Spelunking for Two” package: By venturing 135 feet underground and a quarter mile into the mountainside, adventurers can explore the inside of Colossal Cave, a natural 320+ million year old limestone formation. This guided tour of middle earth is complete with transportation, hard hats and lights. When booking, note the CAVING rate code.

· “Jeep Adventure for Two” package: Take a breather by fusing nature with speed for “four wheeling” in the Sonoran Desert. This rugged jeep excursion whisks pairs through the beautiful desert region of the Tortolita Mountains brimming with deer, jackrabbits and javelina among other wildlife. Complete with a short botanical nature walk and live critter demonstration, the 4-Wheel experience offers an up close and personal look at some of the desert’s prime inhabitants. When booking, reference the 4WHEEL rate code.

· “Hiking for Two” package: Outdoorsy lovers are encouraged to experience the awe of the Sonoran Desert during a 90 minute hiking adventure on Sabino Canyon. The venture includes an open air tram ride, 45 minute narrated tour, panoramic views, plentiful photo opportunities and a 90 minute hiking adventure complete with guide. When booking, reference the HIKING rate code.

To book, please refer readers to visit www.westinlapalomaresort.com/adventure or call (888) 627-7201. Please note that additional nights can be added by booking a room rate of only $99 nightly. Packages are subject to availability and not inclusive of taxes and resort fees. Photos can be downloaded at the following link: http://ge.tt/5RbmoRE1?c.

HOLLYFORD launches new Two Day hiking product

June 1, 2014 on 9:42 am | In Adventure Travel, New Zealand, Outdoors, Pacific Islands | Comments Off

After the busiest season in its history, Hollyford Track guided walks is launching a new product for the 2014-15 season. The two-day ‘Ocean to Alps’ departure using the stunning Martins Bay Lodge is an exclusive guided walk for small group tours.

Ocean to Alps trips will only be offered to travel trade, with group sizes set at a minimum of six and a maximum of 16 people. The trip includes a helicopter flight in, comfortable accommodation in a fully-catered private wilderness lodge, a jet boat trip and, of course, walking with specialist and experienced guides to bring the forest, coastal areas and personalities of the Hollyford to life.

“This product will enable the operator to have a more flexible cancellation policy than the existing three-day trip,” according to Hollyford Track marketing manager Nigel Kerr.

“A huge ‘plus’ is the chance to stay in the Martins Bay private Wilderness Lodge which includes twin-share bedding, hot showers, great cuisine and a warm and spacious lounge. It’s the perfect place to view those stunning Fiordland sunsets.

“We’ve also scheduled the trips so that customers on the longer Three Day Guided Wilderness trips will never meet the two-day customers walking in the opposite direction, as the Hollyford’s isolation and the fact that guests never meet another person on the walk is a very frequently mentioned ‘plus’ in guest surveys.”

David Hurst, group account manager at Ngai Tahu Tourism which operates the Hollyford Track, said initial feedback from the few operators he had talked to pre-TRENZ had been “really positive”.

“This exclusive guide, lodge and a wilderness experience that only takes two days means it can easily fit into existing itineraries,” he said. “We have quite a few appointments at TRENZ that are in direct response to the Ocean to Alps product.”

Adventure Cycling Launches 5th Annual U.S. Bicycle Route System Campaign

May 7, 2014 on 8:43 am | In Adventure Travel, Outdoors | Comments Off

Annual fundraiser kicks off to support creation of the largest official cycling network in the world

Missoula, MT— For the fifth year in a row, Adventure Cycling is kicking off its celebration of National Bike Month by launching a month-long U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) fundraising campaign, Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. Thanks in part to more than $270,000 raised over the last four years by this spring event, 5,973 miles of U.S. Bicycle Routes (USBR) have been designated, with thousands more to come.

This year, Adventure Cycling plans to raise $125,000 by May 31. “Last fall, we celebrated with our partners as new U.S. Bicycle Routes were designated in Tennessee and Maryland,” said Adventure Cycling’s Executive Director Jim Sayer. “The momentum from those designations has inspired other states to pursue USBR development.” Presently, more than 40 states are working on U.S. Bicycle Routes.

Adventure Cycling provides staff support for development of the U.S. Bicycle Route System, which is a project of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

A powerful voice in the transportation sector, its primary goal is to foster the development of an integrated national transportation system.

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“Cycling is a wonderful way to discover America, get to work, and promote physical fitness,” said Bud Wright, executive director of AASHTO. “The goal of the USBRS is to connect communities of all types — urban, suburban, and rural — through a network of cycling facilities that everyone can use. We’re proud of this effort.

This marks the fifth consecutive year that AASHTO has supported the U.S. Bicycle Route System’s annual fundraising campaign.”

During the USBRS campaign a year ago, AASHTO’s Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering designated U.S. Bicycle Routes in two states: a new section of USBR 45 in Minnesota which completes the 700+ mile route along the Mississippi River Trail, and USBR 76 in Missouri, which follows the TransAmerica Trail.

The committee also approved realignments for USBR 76 in Kentucky. Last fall, AASHTO designated USBR 23 in Tennessee and USBR 50 in Maryland. Presently, 12 states have designated U.S. Bicycle Routes.

This month, at its spring conference in Providence, Rhode Island, AASHTO is expected to designate routes through five more states: USBR 1 in Massachusetts, USBR 50 in the District of Columbia and Ohio, USBR 36 and 37 in Illinois, and USBR 10 in Washington.

These designations will bring the number of states with designated routes to a total of 16 along with Washington, DC.

“Every year, more and more state and local agencies and non-profits are finding ways to collaborate on this incredible project to create the largest official bike route network in the world,” commented Ginny Sullivan, Director of Travel Initiatives at Adventure Cycling and coordinator of the USBRS project. “We are seeing USBRS progress take hold in local communities and spread across state lines. It’s exciting to watch the network grow and be a part of the process.”

Another key element of this year’s USBRS campaign is that foundation and individual donors have pledged $40,000 in matching funds to encourage first-time and past donors to support work on the U.S. Bicycle Route System.

The 2014 Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. campaign is sponsored by Planet Bike, Primal Wear,Ortlieb USA, Bike Tours Direct, Sun Bicycles, and Team Estrogen. In-kind sponsors include Beer & Bike Tours, Bike2Power, BikeFlights, Bike Touring News, Cygolite, Detours, Growler Cage, Nutcase,Park Tool, Thunder Island Brewing, and Velo Orange.

The U.S. Bicycle Route System is supported in part by grants from the Tawani Foundation, Lazar Foundation, the SRAM Cycling Fund, and Climate Ride.

Gardens Of South And West Wales Release 2014 Events Calendar

March 29, 2014 on 9:15 am | In London, Outdoors, United Kingdom, Wales | Comments Off

ONE HISTORIC GARDEN presents a fabulous calendar of events at our seven restored and revitalised gardens in South and West Wales – from the famous Daffodil Season and Bluebell Walks, to a pop-up restaurant in a castle on Mother’s Day and night-time bat and moth spotting. We have over 80 special events to tempt lovers of the great outdoors – not to mention seven restored parks, gardens and woodlands to rediscover.

In South and West Wales, seven historic gardens, parks and woodlands have been given a great regeneration boost by the European Regional Development Fund through Visit Wales and the Welsh Government. Each of the properties has a wonderful events programme for 2014 (a sample of which can be found below). A full list of all events at the seven properties can be found on the Events page of the One Historic Garden website.

Aberglasney Gardens – here the unique cloister garden and rare parapet wall, hidden for centuries, were restored 16 years ago. Now the magnificent Georgian mansion has been brought back to life and is host to a series of delightful exhibitions and events. Don’t miss the ancient yew tunnel and the fantastical Ninfarium where tropical plants grow among the ruined walls of the central courtyard of the mansion.

Event: Early March to mid-May – Daffodil Season

Follow the beautiful daffodil trail through the garden – there are more varieties to see than ever. A glorious experience to enjoy from early March onwards.

At Bryngarw Country Park the elegant 18th-century country house nestles in 113 acres of woods and fields. Now it is home to an amazing selection of wildlife from bats, birds and butterflies to the more bashful polecat, nuthatch and dipper. Highly skilled rangers offer fascinating bush craft courses such as foraging and den building.

Event: 22nd-23rd March 2014 – Ranger Skills Weekend

Learn traditional rangers’ skills like campfire cooking, wild food foraging and using a trail camera to capture the activities of resident mammals.

Colby Woodland Garden is a haven for woodland play and encourages families with children to come and enjoy the natural attractions. There are no `Keep off the Grass’ signs here, just rope swings and stepping stones across the streams. Historically, Colby was famed for the anthracite mined in its small woodland pits – a fuel favoured by Queen Victoria for its ‘smoke-free’ quality.

Event: late Spring – Bluebell Walks at Colby Woodland

Few sights quicken the heart like masses of bluebells – and the upper West-wood at Colby is a picture in late spring.

Dylan Thomas spent his childhood playing in Cwmdonkin Park, recalling “that park grew up with me”. As the centenary of his birth is celebrated this year, the park that inspired Wales’ favourite modern poet to write many of his poems has been fully restored, with new interpretation panels installed.

Event: 6th September 2014 – Green Fuse Festival in Cwmdonkin Park

The Friends of Cwmdonkin Park, Elysium Gallery and the City and County of Swansea present a day of acoustic music, poetry, storytelling, promenading theatre and multi-activity art workshops. This free event brings the legacy of Dylan Thomas to families and adults in a park that was his ‘…world within the world’.

Margam Country Park may now host film crews from around the world but its fairytale castellated mansion and 1,000 acres of land tell an 800-year story featuring monastic ruins, a restored exotic orangery and citrus house, and an ancient walled kitchen garden on its way to being brought back to life.

Event: 30th March 2014 – Mothering Sunday Lunch

Tuck into a Tudor-style banquet in the castle in the ‘pop up restaurant’ by local chef Justin Rees. There’s a champagne and canapé reception on arrival – what a treat for mum!

Penllergare Valley Woods are undergoing one of the more dramatic transformations after being left in disarray and disrepair for some decades. A team of dedicated volunteers is painstakingly uncovering and restoring the 250-acre “edge of wilderness” valley and its amazing terraces and waterfalls built by early photographer John Dillwyn Llewelyn. The Penllergare Observatory, from which one of the earliest photos of the moon was taken, will also be restored in 2014.

Event: 3rd May 2014 – Bat and Moth night-time walk

Find out about bats and moths of the River Llan and Penllergare Valley Woods on this night-time walk/talk with The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and The Penllergare Trust. Includes setting a moth trap.

Scolton Manor in Pembrokeshire persuades you to step back in time to the life of a Victorian country squire. The large walled garden is undergoing extensive restoration with an exotic ‘hot’ pineapple house already up and working. The ‘Honey Kitchen’ where honey from the estate is processed and bottled is buzzing, and the new museum store and viewing barn for the agricultural collection is underway.

Event: 29th June 2014 – Race for Life

Take on a 5k Race for Life – run, walk or dance your way through the scenic route. Also bring family and friends for support: there will be stalls, face painting, bouncy castles and other entertainment.

Discover lots more adventures, days out and special events in our natural playgrounds at www.onehistoricgarden.co.uk

Put Your Cycling Mettle to the Pedal with Flanders‏

March 26, 2014 on 8:44 am | In Belgium, Outdoors, Sports Travel | Comments Off

More Than Just a Sport

Cycling is a culture in Flanders – from a casual cycle to pack some groceries in your panniers to a sporty Sunday tour, which almost always ends with a beer. Flemish enthusiasm for two-wheeled transport runs so high that a regional network of signposted paths lets riders easily navigate around all of Flanders. There are beers named after cycling, bars dedicated to bikes, and a series of races that kick off as soon as the ground thaws. Flanders’ steep, cobbled hills, known as ‘bergs,’ are alternatively spiritual and demonic, unique places where racing champions are revealed and leisure cyclists try to sample history without falling over. As common as beer and fries, bikes are part of life in Flanders. Learn all about cycling in Flanders here.

Catchability Has Released a Definitive Free iPhone App for Aussie Fishos

March 25, 2014 on 11:13 am | In Australia, Mobile Apps, New South Wales, Northern, Outdoors, Queensland, South Australia, Sydney, Tasmania, Victoria, Western | Comments Off

Catchability for iPhone has been designed in Australia specifically for fishing in Australia and includes hand drawn pictures of fish species, maps of where they can be caught, bag limits for each state and live weather and tide information.

The app allows users to:
Follow a fish
Follow the species you like to catch – who’s catching them and where?

Follow a spot
Find out where to go fishing near you and which fish have been caught there. Enter spots of your own.

Follow a person
What are your friends catching and where?

Who’s caught the biggest, longest or the most fish?

Weather and tides
Check the weather and tides before you go and for the next 6 days. Save your favourite places for future checks.

Bag limits and pictures
Identify fish and check the current bag and size limits.

Bragging rights
Share your catches on social media (if you wish).

In addition, Catchability have teamed up with well known independent marine biologist Dr Julian Pepperell who will be involved in ongoing analysis of data created from the app about many aspects of fish populations, including:

Seasonal appearance of fish at different locations
How the fishery reacts to news of ‘runs’ of fish in different situations
‘Peaks’ and ‘troughs’ in catches of certain species through time
Sizes of fish of different species being caught by users of the application (it is anticipated that this will be especially useful to monitor catches of the larger ‘trophy’ sized fish – an indicator of health of a fishery).
Correlating time of day of catches with tidal movements and day of the month with moon phases.

Catchability for iPhone available on the App Store:

Catchability has been featured in “What’s hot” by Apple for the past few weeks and has reached number 5 in the sports app download chart.

Long-Distance Cycling Made Simple With New Accommodation Browser

March 23, 2014 on 11:30 am | In London, Mobile Apps, Outdoors, Scotland, United Kingdom, Wales | Comments Off

Until now, planning a long-distance cycle route could take hours of trawling through Google, hopelessly trying to match accommodation providers to your cycle map. Even then, you didn’t know whether they’d have space for your bike, or even welcome you in when arriving soaked through.

Now, thanks to Beds for Cyclists new accommodation route browser, cyclists can simply visit Bedsforcyclists.co.uk, click on the route they want to cycle, and then directly contact any of the cycle-friendly hosts. More importantly, cyclists in need of a bit of ride inspiration can easily browse routes and find out if it’s suitable for them. Each route page tells them the distance, difficulty level, route surface and start and finish points, as well as comprehensive accommodation listings. The site only lists cycle-friendly accommodation providers so you know your bike will have a good night too.

John Grimshaw, Sustrans founder and long distance cycle-route pioneer says, “I’ve been involved, for many years, in the creation of many fantastic long-distance cycle routes but this is the first comprehensive resource I’ve seen for cycle-friendly accommodation along them. It’s not only a really useful resource for the riders, but it’s a great tool for demonstrating the potential cycle routes have to support local businesses, a key factor to developing new routes.”

There are currently 28 long-distance routes featured and new trails will be added as they open. Catering for a range of cyclists there is a wide variety of routes to suit. From the famous and challenging Sea to Sea (C2C) and Way of the Roses routes, to the gentle Norfolk Coast Cycleway or Thames Valley route, beginners and enthusiasts can find a ride to suit them. Even the two Tour de France’s Yorkshire Grand Depart stages are detailed, for those wanting to follow in the tracks of the world’s elite cyclists.

Sam Howard, founder of Beds for Cyclists says, “This new platform will make it easy for cyclists to find accommodation on any major long-distance route in the UK. Our aim is to have a wide variety of cycle-friendly accommodation for every budget, along every major route in the UK. With more and more accommodation providers seeing the potential of the cycling trade and joining the site, this vision is becoming a reality.”

The cycling season is fast approaching so peruse the many brilliant routes on Beds for Cyclists new browser and see which one looks right for you. You know you’ll get a warm welcome wherever you stay and so will your bicycle.

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