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  #1 (permalink)  
Old June 26th, 2005, 10:07 AM
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Default A Hidden Jewel

You know it's funny, when you live in one place all your life, and tend to go to the same places for vacations, or to visit, you maybe don't realize, [me included] just how many fabulous places there are to investigate. This morning I watched a segment on tv about Lake Geneva Wisconsin, and a mail boat they have there, that sails the river delivering mail to the summer people. The area was fabulous, and the mansions that were built early on, by rich so and so's, were breathtaking.They called it the Newport of the midwest. I pulled up the website for it, and what a nice area, to live work and play. I thought of you Phyl, and Lisa, not sure how close either of you are to this area, you lucky ducks..

When a group of us visited Kuki, some years ago, we had our eyes opened by the incredible beauty of the Canadian Rockies. That visit still brings back fond memories.

So Cruisemates, I ask you, do you have a "Hidden Jewel" in your neck of the woods A place you have visited, the still evokes a smile, even after all these years? Where would you tell us where to go, [in only the nicest way]

Post Edited (06-26-05 10:43)

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old June 26th, 2005, 10:24 AM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) of Minnesota. It's wilderness and you can only get in and out via non-motorized canoe. This is true beauty and I haven't been up there in four years because of medical issues but it is true beauty and holds a special place in my heart. True quite, wildlife, fishing, and natural beauty if you are willing to do some paddling to get away from the standard lakes.

I can't get into the area now but we still get to the North Shore (Duluth to Grand Marais,MN) area at least once a year to at least get a "taste".

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Old June 26th, 2005, 10:45 AM
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Trip?..I am so fortunate that I live in one of those kind of places from which you speak of. We sometimes dont realize it and even complain about it. Every evening when I drive home through the historic district, I notice lic plates from all over the U.S. and some from out of country, even Alaska. When I see those from Canada, I always try to get around them to ask if they Know Kuki.>G< We have the beautiful lakes and streams with all the surrounding Mountains. The one lake does not have but one house on it and that was by mistake when they surveyed it back in the 50's. The water is 96% pure.
Where do I live you ask..Hot Springs National Park in Ark. The very first and the only one with a town in the middle of it. I would tell you to go there but I can only tell you to "come here and visit.">VBG<

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Old June 26th, 2005, 10:45 AM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

Trip, I've been to Lake Geneva a number of times, and taken the scenic boat ride on the lake. They offer a number of different choices, and you get to hear all about the wealthy Chicago families who built their homes around the lake. Never done the mailboat run, but that's available too. There is a walking path that goes all around the lake, and if you are into hiking you can walk the whole way around, going right in front of all those beautiful homes. Lots of great little shops to visit too. Just for you Trip!!!!!

As for other gems, I couldn't believe that I lived about 4 hours from N.H. growing up, and it wasn't until I was married that we took our first trip to the White Mountains. A beautiful area and so close by. Also visited the Maine coast a few years ago for the first time. That's another gorgeous area if you don't mind the traffic jams.


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Old June 26th, 2005, 11:09 AM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

Mike, I have to agree about the BWCA. I went there on a 10 day canoe trip as a teeneager. This is one of the few places of unspoiled beauty. We went for days and never saw any other people and it blew my mind that you could dip your cup right into a lake and take a drink of crystal clear water. Granted the first day or so, we kept looking at one another asking, "did we really pay money for this?" simply because portaging was hard work and the mosquitoes thought we were an all you can eat buffet. But I have wonderful memories of my time up there.
We live in west central Indiana, and now we have two young children. Since d/h is on the road so much with work these days, I go to great efforts to ensure that when we have the chance, we spend lots of quality time doing fun things as a family. I do alot of research on the internet and I am continually amazed at all of the great things to do that are a short drive away. I often wonder how anyone ever planned a vacation before the internet existed.
Where we live the land is pretty flat and there are corn fields as far as the eye can see. But if you drive about 30 minutes south to Turkey Run in Marshall, IN, you'll find beautiful forests with trails, and limestone cliffs. Or go a few hours south of us to Santa Claus, IN and you'll find Holiday World, which is one of the oldest, friendliest and cleanest family owned amusement and water parks in the world ( I actually saw the owner working when we were last there). The ohio river is nearby, and we love to stay at one of Bud Colucci's River Cabins in Magnet, IN, which are essentially Log Mansions on cliffs above the Ohio River, we spend our evenings on the balcony soaking in the hot tub drinking wine after the kids fall asleep. On really hot days we go to Wyandot and Squire Boone Caves (since its always nice and cool down there) and after we work up a hearty appetite we finish our day with a meal at the beautiful scenic Overlook Restuarant in Leavenworth, IN
So much to do, so little time...
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Old June 26th, 2005, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

Whidbey Island in Seattle WA...this is where they filmed an Officer and a Gentleman..they have a great Victorian Bed and Breakfast near the ferry station (you take a ferry from downtown Seattle to the island)..they have some great Washington wineries and great seafood dining places..the most romantic weekend I ever spent when I lived in Seattle was on Valentine's Day on Whidbey Island
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Old June 26th, 2005, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

I believe the Texas hill country is a jewel although not hidden. It also includes Enchanted Rock ,which is similar in composition to Ayers rock in Australia.

Then, south of Corpus Christie, we have Padre Island National Seashore where you can drive on the sand for miles and see no construction of any kind. Nothing but sea, dunes, birds and few other people.

Also , San Antonio is famous for the River Walk and the Alamo, but many people are not aware of the five Spanish Missions here in town.

I believe that you can find hidden jewels almost anywhere you go both in Canada and in the US.
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Old June 26th, 2005, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

Trip - I'm about a 45 minute to an hour drive away from Lake Geneva but I haven't been there in over 20 years. Another hidden jewel here in Wisconsin is Door County......especially from Sturgeon Bay north to Washington Island. Very much like New England with lots of neat little towns like Egg Harbor and Fish Creek and Bailey's Harbor, Peninsula State Park, etc. I love driving up the Green Bay side of the Door Peninsula and down the Lake Michigan side.

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Old June 26th, 2005, 02:41 PM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

Not exactly that close to Montreal, but in Eastern Canada is a little jewel called Prince Edward Island (one of our provinces). Visiting there is like stepping back in time. Quiet, peaceful, unhurried, little traffic, quaint little towns to visit, including the birthplace of the author of Anne of Green Gables. Beautiful beaches, with red sand. Also original home of Canadian icon Stompin' Tom Connors. We stayed in a rented cottage near the beach, but I also hear that the camping there is wonderful. Wonderful memories of our first family vacation together when James joined our family.


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Old June 26th, 2005, 03:10 PM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

On St. Simons Island here in Georgia (about a 5 hour drive from Atlanta) you can still lose yourself paddling thru the marsh in a canoe or kayak. Truly a beautiful place with Spanish moss dripping from the trees, great wildlife and QUIET. Although St. Simons itself is pretty developed, there are still little pieces of unspoiled beauty.

We also recently canoed thru the Okefeenokee Swamp. Amazing place.


Post Edited (06-27-05 14:31)

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Old June 26th, 2005, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

Sadly here in Central Florida it seems like there's a strip mall or subdivision popping up on every corner but my favorite hidden jewel has to be the Winter Park scenic boat tour. Of course the last time I was on it was 16 years ago when I was expecting my son.....we were quite a group....me 8 months pregnant, my 2 year old daughter and my senior citizen father who was sure I would go into labor at every bump!
Seriously, if you're in the Orlando/Winter Park area and it's not the dead of summer you should consider it....a nice way to spend a morning or afternoon.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old June 26th, 2005, 06:54 PM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

For those looking for the perfect white sand beach for you and the family, try Siesta Beach in Sarasota, Florida. The beautiful white sand virtually never gets hot and your feet don't go down two feet in the sand because it is really compact. They have a great playground for the kids, volleyball nets, and tennis courts. It is a very family orientated beach. The sunsets are breath taking. On a calm day, you can look down to your feet and see the mullets swimming around. Not a lot of shells, but enough to keep a kid happy.

They have the Ringling Home and Circus Museum, Parrot Jungle and a believe some kind of Car Museum. There's a lot more, but you can find that all on the website.
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Old June 26th, 2005, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

There is a wonderful little city in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley called Staunton, Virginia. It's about a two hour ride from the Washington area. It is an unbelievable little Victorian city, a college town, and an incredible arts center. There's a Victorian festival weekend every spring. There's a wonderful folk music festival every August which we try to never miss. Several years ago they opened the Blackfriars Theatre, a true replica of Shakespeare's "indoor" theatre, and already considered one of the most important Shakespeare theatres in the world. There's a performance every night. Across the street, the historic theatre of the town, the Dixie, is being restored to be a community performance center for film and stage.

Staunton (pronounced "Stanton") is one of those jewels that's so easy to drive by on the interstate. We have many friends there, one of whom lives in Stonewall Jackson's mapmaker's house, a landmarked Victorian mansion.

There's something special around every corner in Staunton, so if you're ever in Virginia's beautiful central valley be sure to stop by.

I also have to mention an overseas candidate. Once when we told a friend in Geneva that after visiting him we would be taking the train to Vienna, he insisted that we take an extra couple days to stop at the Hotel de Sonloup in Les Avants, Switzerland, just above Montreux. "I'll make all the arrangements with the proprietor," he said.

You get to the hotel by taking the train to Montreux where you transfer to the narrow gauge railroad that goes up the mountain. After many switchbacks you alight at the little village of Les Avants. You cross the tracks and ring the bell for the rack-and-pinion funicular that chatters down the hill and stops right in front of you. You load your luggage and yourselves aboard and push the button. After a 7 minute ride up a beautiful Swiss mountain the funicular stops at the hotel, its only destination. It's a true chalet, beautiful in every way and commanding incredible views in all directions.

The manager gave us a lovely room with a wrap around balcony overlooking the greenest valley I've ever seen. So tranquil, the only sound was cow bells and the only other sign of life on the balcony was the hotel collie that made regular visitation rounds. The food was spectacular, and altogether it was an absolutely lovely diversion. I'll always be indebted to my friend George for "insisting" that we go.
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Old June 26th, 2005, 07:49 PM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

I'll have to second BigJohn's Hot Springs, Ark. recommendation! We live less than an hour from Hot Springs and love to visit!

Besides all the natural beauty, there are the Bath Houses, fed from the hot springs. There's the Hot Springs Mountain Tower, with beautiful views.

Great massages and "baths" are available in some hotels and in a "refurbished" bath house. Can't remember which one, but BJ will know!

In the spring there's horse racing at Oaklawn Park.

Lots of great restaurants. There are "Duck" rides, amphibious vehicles (I believe Army surplus) that leave from downtown and "cruise" on one of the lakes. There are three beautiful lakes.

My only complaint about Hot Springs is that they "roll up the sidewalks" downtown after 5 PM!

As BJ said, this was the first National Park in the US. There's a lot of history in Hot Springs. It's said (I'm not THAT old!) that the big time crime bosses would come to HS and there was an unwritten rule that everyone would get along! And they did!

If you are visiting Little Rock, (perhaps going to the Clinton Library?), you really should take the time to go to Hot Springs, too.

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Old June 27th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

All of these trips sound wonderful. I went to the Riverwalk in San Antoio several months ago for the first time, and i remember St Simons Isl. as a kid growing up in Atlanta. It is nice to go to all these places in your mind. What a great idea for a thread.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 08:12 AM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

All the places I like are not exactly "hidden." I'd have to say St. Augustine, FL and Key Largo, FL. And I agree with Paul B. about the Texas Hill Country - my favorite place on earth.

Michelle P.


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Old June 28th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

I live in central Louisiana and the bayou country south of here is beautiful. Lazy bayous filled with cypress knees and Spanish moss, big white egrets and picturesque cajun fishing camps. A preserve set aside by the MacIlhenny family is Avery Island. A fabulous collection of native plantings and bird sancturary home to thousands of birds. The Tabasco factory is at the gate of the reserve. Come on down to cajun land and as we say, "pass a good time".

Slightly north of hear is Natchitoches, oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. It is the town where 'Steel Magnolias" was filmed and is just beautiful. "The Man in the Moon" was also filmed there. Outside of town along Cane River is a series of plantations, one of which was the home of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Historical note: a replica of the cabin is there because someone actually stole the original cabin. Yep, jacked it up, loaded it on a flatbed and plum stole it. Now, aint that sum'in. Beautiful place, big draping live oaks.
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Old June 28th, 2005, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: A Hidden Jewel

It's a small town, but I have always LOVED Green Lake here in Wisconsin. It is in the center of the state. I only live about 30 minutes from there, but I never seem to make it out there often. Another great place in Wisconsin is Cedarburg. Oh and there is always Sheboygan!!! There are so many wonderful places here in Wisconsin.... I just love living here. I grew up in Illinois, but I've always loved it here in my home state of Wisconsin!!



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