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Visit Florida

(category: Destinations, Word count: 702)
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Florida, with a total area of approximately 58,000 square miles is the twenty second (22) largest state in the nation, however it's population which is in excess of 17,000,000 makes it the nation's fourth (4th) largest state population wise. It has over 1,800 miles of coastline with over 1,200 miles of beaches, over 5,000 islands, over 8,000 lakes including Lake Okeechobee, the second (2nd) largest freshwater lake in the United States, more than twenty (20) major commercial airports (twelve of which are international airports), fourteen (14) deepwater ports, over 385,000 hotel rooms, over 100,000 campsites and over 1,250 golf courses (more than any other state in the nation). Over 75,000,000 people visit Florida each year and over 350,000 people move to Florida each year.

Florida is a beach lover's paradise, with it's over 1,200 miles of sandy beaches (many of them are white sand) on the clear warm waters of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Go sunning, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving or surfing almost all year round. If you prefer freshwater swimming, you will find over 8,000 lakes with some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere.

Go saltwater or freshwater fishing to your hearts content. Go saltwater sport fishing for blue marlin, wahoo, sailfish, dolphin, kingfish, swordfish, yellowfin, blackfin tuna, redfish, bonefish, tarpon and numerous other sportfish. Go freshwater fishing in Florida's canals, lakes, ponds, and rivers for bass, bluegill, crappie, bream, catfish, sturgeon and more (There are over 250 species of freshwater fish found in Florida.).

Florida's is a golfer's paradise with it's over 1,250 beautiful, well maintained, golf courses (most of which can be played year round). Many of these courses are among the best in the world. Check out the Ocean Hammock course with it's eight (8) oceanfront holes, or the Tournament Player Course at Sawgrass which is the is the Stadium course home for the annual Players' Championship, or the Bay Hill invitational course in Orlando which is the masterpiece of golf legend Arnold Palmer, or the World Golf Village, in St. Augustine, which is home to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Florida is teeming with amusement parks, zoos, museums, etc.. Visit Disney World, Kennedy Space Center, Epcot Center, Busch Gardens, Universal Studios, The Naples Zoo, Key West Aquarium, Sunken Gardens, St. Augustine Alligator Farm, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum, Gatorland, SeaWorld Adventure Park, Silver Springs, Animal Kingdom, Cypress Gardens Adventure Park, Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, Disney-MGM Studios, Islands of Adventure, Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory, Big Cat Rescue, Butterfly World, The Shell Factory & Nature Park, Titanic - The Experience, Orange Blossom Balloon Rides, Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park, Parrot Jungle Island, Jungle Adventures, Lion Country Safari, Marineland, Dinosaur Adventure Land and dozens of other attractions.

Visit the 1,399,078 acre Everglades National Park, the only subtropical preserve in North America. It contains both temperate and tropical plant communities, including sawgrass prairies, mangrove and cypress swamps, pinelands, and hardwood hammocks, marine and estuarine environments, rich bird life with bald eagles and wading birds, such as the roseate spoonbill, wood stork, great blue heron and a variety of egrets along with owls, hawks, vultures, ducks and more. Alligators and crocodiles both inhabit the park. You will also find panthers, deer, boar, black bear, grey fox, manatee and many other species of animals. Tour the Evergaldes by airboat, riverboat, canoe, kayak, bicycle or car.

Go swimming, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, biking and hunting at Lake Okeechobee, at 730 square-miles it is Florida's largest lake and the second largest freshwater lake in the United States.

Pamper yourself and stay at one of Florida's many luxury resort hotels like, the Boca Raton Resort and Club, one of Florida's several Ritz-Carlton Hotels, the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club, the Breakers, the St. Regis Hotel & Resort, The Colony Palm Beach, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Palm Beach and Miami, the Costa Del Sol, the Mandarin Oriental, LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, Don CeSar Beach Resort & Spa and many more.

If you don't want to stay in a luxury hotel, Florida has hotels, condos, motels, RV parks and campgrounds in every price range.

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Nj Towns What S In A Name

(category: Destinations, Word count: 307)
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When you think of "Paramus" do you automatically think, "shopping malls?" If you do, you are not alone. On a recent trip to the west coast, I was asked, "where in New Jersey do you live?" When I mentioned near Paramus, the person nodded her head in recognition. She knew that the town was a shopping mecca on the east coast.

Paramus' origins and even recent history, belie the shopping mecca label. As recently as the 1960s, the borough was dotted with farmland; indeed Paramus is derived from the Lenni Lenape name Perampsus, meaning: "where there is worthwhile or fertile land." Where there was fertile land, maize or corn was grown and wild turkeys were also found in abundance. Thus, the meaning of Paramus . . . "A fertile land where corn was grown attracting wild turkeys". For kicks, go to the Paramus Park Mall and observe the Indian riding the turkey [Route 17 entrance near Macy's]. It looks odd to the visitor, but with your new knowledge of Paramus' name origin, it explains much.

Clifton could easily be called Cliftside or Underclift due to its proximity to Weasel Mountain, now called Garrett Mountain. Acquackanonk Township was an earlier name for Clifton, which at one time also included the cities presently called Passaic and Paterson. Acquackanonk was part of Essex County until its residents, unhappy, with the preferential treatment Newark was receiving, asked to leave the county and be joined to Passaic County.

In Essex County, the name Bloomfield suggests bucolic farmland. While the farmland part may have at one time been true, Bloomfield was named for a New Jersey governor who served from 1803-1812; Gov. Joseph Bloomfield also served as a U.S. Senator. The present day township of Bloomfield was originally part of Newark, which was settled in 1666.

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All About Miami Beach

(category: Destinations, Word count: 489)
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With summer approaching, it may be a nice idea to take a break from one's gruelling daily routine and splash around in the cool waters of the Atlantic. Talking about beach resorts, why look any further than Miami Beach?

Originally established in 1915, the city, located in the Miami-Dade County of Florida, changed its name to Miami Beach in 1917. It is a city known not only for the excitements that it offers as a seaside resort but also for its cultural and artistic heritage.

The city's Art-Deco style architecture won recognition in 1979 when the city's Art-Deco Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Hundreds of hotels, apartments and other structures built during the period 1923-43 provide the architectural basis for declaring the district a historic place of national importance. Besides Art-Deco, Mediterranean and Streamline Moderne are the other architectural styles that are well represented in the district.

The city's South Beach is one of the most popular areas. Being a great draw to European tourists and largely influenced by their preferences, South Beach is one of the few public beaches in the country that tolerate topless sunbathing. Today, this part of the city is a major entertainment destination with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants and oceanfront hotels.

The city is also very well known for its nightlife, fine dining culture, bike riding and shopping. While the once down-trodden Lincoln Road in the South Beach area is today acknowledged throughout the US as the destination for quality food, adventure thrills and great shopping experiences, its real claim to fame is the fact that Lincoln Road and the South Beach area has today replaced Los Angeles and New York City as the country's top night life destination. Incidentally, the city happens to be among the top 30 destinations for gay tourism in the United States. The city is also the world's fashion shoot hub with more than 1500 models living in the area and many more arriving during the October to March season.

Often called the Sun and Fun Capital of the world, Miami Beach offers tourists several points of interest. Take Collins Bridge for instance. Way back in 1913, John S. Collins and Carl G. Fisher built a 21/2 mile bridge to connect the City of Miami on the mainland and the City of Miami Beach on a barrier island in southern Florida. It was then the longest wooden bridge in the world. Although the Venetian Causeway has today replaced the original Collins Bridge, it was this link that ushered in rapid development for Miami Beach. Today the Venetian Causeway follows the original route taken by Collins Bridge.

Another must-see landmark is the Miami Beach Botanical Garden spread across 4.5 acres of land. The garden includes a conservatory and has several varieties of palms and orchids.

For fun, sun and so much more there is nothing to beat Miami Beach!

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Discover The Huntington Library Art Collections And Botanical Gardens

(category: Destinations, Word count: 514)
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The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is located on 150 acres of land at 1150 Oxford Rd. in the city of San Marino, California. San Marino is best known for the financial wealth of it's residents and for it's proximity to the city of Pasadena

The Huntington houses such treasures as "the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; a Gutenberg Bible on vellum; the double-elephant folio edition of Audubon's Birds of America; a world-class collection of the early editions of Shakespeare's works; original letters of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Lincoln; and an unsurpassed collection of materials relating to the history of the American West.", 18th century British and French art, American art ranging from the early 18th century to the early 20th, French and British sculpture, tapestries, furniture, porcelain, and silver, and British drawings and watercolors. Additionaly, the Huntington is world renowned as home to Gainsborough's Blue Boy and Lawrence's Pinkie.

"Henry Huntington began developing the Botanical Gardens in 1903. Now they span nearly 150 acres with sweeping lawns and vistas interspersed with statuary, tempiettos, and benches. Approximately 15,000 kinds of plants from all over the world make up the botanical collections, many landscaped into a series of theme gardens."

The three and a half acre Huntington Rose Garden is comprised of approximately 1,200 cultivars made up of "Old Garden Roses (roses developed before 1901); China, Tea, and Noisette Roses; Shrub Roses (including the David Austin English Roses); and Modern Roses from all parts of the world".

"Playful plant choices, such as topiary animals, weeping mulberry trees, papyrus, and tree aloes resembling something from the world of Dr. Seuss, create a storybook atmosphere that combines elements of fantasy with the very real wonder of nature" make up the children's garden.

"The Shakespeare garden contains shrubs and perennials that evoke an English garden. Many of the plants have been cultivated for centuries and were even mentioned in works of Shakespeare, including pansies, violets, pinks, rosemary, daffodils, iris, roses, pomegranate, and orange."

In the Subtropical Garden, "Walking east to west from the Jungle Garden, the areas transition from subtropical southeast Asia and South America plants, to Mesoamerica plants (Mexico and Central America) in the central beds, Chile in the upper central bed, southern Africa in the western bed extending along the road and in beds continuing uphill to the lawn, to the Mediterranean region in the upper two west beds."

There are also Chinese, Desert, Herb, Camellia, Japanese, Australian, Palm and Lilly Pond gardens as well as a Botanical Conservatory

The Huntington is closed Mondays and the following holidays: Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

Admission is free to members. For non members the fees are Adults $15, Seniors (age 65+) $12.00, Students (age 12-18 or with full-time student I.D.) $10.00, Youths (age 5-11) $6.00, children under 5 are free. Groups of 15 or more are $11 per person. Admission is free to all visitors on the first Thursday of every month.

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Ten Free Attractions For The Las Vegas Bride And Groom

(category: Destinations, Word count: 461)
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If you're getting married in Las Vegas, here are some free attractions to help make your wedding trip even more memorable.

1. Bellagio Fountains

The Bellagio Fountains on the Strip put on a show that anyone can watch for free. Music plays and the jets of water dance to the tune. The shows last two to three minutes, depending on the music. It's even better at night when the fountains are lit with beautiful lights, adding to the magic of the fountains.

Showtimes: Monday-Friday 3pm-8pm every half hour, 8pm-12am every 15 minutes. Saturday-Sunday: 12pm-8pm every half hour, 8pm-12am every 15 minutes.

2. Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

You'll find the Botanical Gardens past the Bellagio's lobby. Enjoy strolling among the wonderful seasonal display of plants and flowers. You can even take photos there.

3. MGM Grand Lion Habitat

Inside the casino you can view lions daily from 11am-10pm. It's a wonderful experience and there are plenty of Lion Habitat souvenirs you can buy at the gift shop.

4. White Tigers at the Mirage

View Siegfried & Roy's white tigers in their specially designed habitat at the Mirage. The public are able to see these majestic creatures throughout the day and evening.

5. Volcano at the Mirage

On the hour from 7pm-12am daily, you can watch the volcano erupt. It's located at the front of the Mirage and looks really impressive against the darkness of the night sky.

6. Aquarium at the Mirage

Located behind the front desk and a must see for aquarium lovers is a 53 foot long aquarium which boasts over 1,000 creatures from all over the world including Australia, Fiji and the Caribbean.

7. Sirens of TI

Daily at 7pm, 8.30pm, 10pm and 11.30pm, the Sirens of TI live show is a seventeenth century battle between attractive sirens and a group of pirates. Located at the front of Treasure Island and featuring music and dancing, it's a fun show.

8. M&M's World

M&M's World is next door to MGM Grand. You can watch a free 3D movie and have lots of fun exploring the four floors that make up M&M's World.

9. Circus Acts at Circus Circus

Every half hour from 11am-12am daily you can see exciting live circus acts at the carnival midway.

10. Ethel M Factory

Only 15 minutes from the Strip, the Ethel M Factory offers a free self guided tour, viewing of the Living Machine and a stroll through the Botanical Cactus Garden. See www.ethelm.com.

The above information was current at time of writing. Las Vegas is ever changing so it might be a good idea to check that these free attractions are still available when you plan your trip to Las Vegas.

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Spain Madrid Barcelona And Ibiza

(category: Destinations, Word count: 382)
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Spain is the land of romance and amazing oddities. From bullfights to Gaudi to partying the night away on Ibiza, travelers could easily spend a year exploring Spain.

Madrid

With a population of over three million, Madrid is a big, modern city in central Spain. The suburbs of Madrid are very modern and not particularly interesting. Make it to the center of the city, however, and you are in for a treat. Small alleys, hidden squares and odd little shops are the norm. In this center, you will find a vibrant public life with outdoor cafes literally overrun with the passionate and interesting people of Madrid. When visiting the city, keep in mind it is very hot in the summer and pretty cold in the winter.

Barcelona

One of my favorite travel destinations, Barcelona is a costal city oozing charm. The city embodies all of the interesting little oddities of Spain with ancient streets where the local hobby is people watching. The city is also the home of best Gaudi architecture in Spain. Gaudi was either a genius or a madman, but there is no denying his architecture is unique. I would describe it as a mix between dripping candles and normal architecture. The big tourist attraction, of course, is the Sagrada Familia church, but better examples can be seen by just walking through neighborhoods. Yep, his work is throughout the city. The only downside to Barcelona is a trend of modernization. While modernization is generally okay, I think it is taking a bit away from the historic charm of Barcelona.

Ibiza

If you're looking to sit on the beach all day and party the night away, Ibiza is the hottest spot in Europe. An island off the coast of Spain, Ibiza is the rare tourist spot where monstrous tourist hotels don't dominate. Instead, you'll find yourself staying in rented rooms, little hotels and hostels in Ibiza Town. During the days, it's all about enjoying the beaches. At night, the bars and clubs of the island are world famous and they never really seem to close. Bring plenty of aspirin!

If you're going to visit Spain, you can't really go wrong. If time is short, Madrid, Barcelona and Ibiza are three spots worth seeing.

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Pennsylvania Dutch Country

(category: Destinations, Word count: 213)
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Traveling to Pennsylania Dutch Country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is somewhat like taking a trip back in time. Long inhabited by the Amish who are actually Germans, the area is checkered by family farms where the men still work with horse and plow, the women bake everything from scratch, and families get around by horse drawn carriage.

While there, you can purchase homemade goods including jellies and jams; blankets and pillows; wood carvings; handmade furniture; outdoor items including birdhouses; and so much more. Try the fudge... YUM! Sit down for a traditional Amish meal served family style. You will share a long table with complete strangers while being waited upon by pretty maidens. Savor the tender meats, homemade noodles, gravy laden mashed potatoes, and breads and pies that will be part of your dining experience.

Located between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, the area is seeing a building boom. Some of the Amish are moving away, but many do remain. Lodging is very reasonable and more than likely you will stay at an Amish run establishment.

The Amish are a quiet, thrifty people possessing a good business acumen. Many sincerely revere Almighty God and it shows more in their mannerisms than in their dress which has changed little over the centuries.

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Thailand Post Tsunamis

(category: Destinations, Word count: 535)
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It is the dawn of a new morning in the beautiful Andaman Beach in Phuket. Vendors start arriving with their colourful goods; resort workers conscientiously prepare the many lounge chairs and umbrellas that will shield the noonday sun. The masseuses are waiting near the trees, chatting as they wait for customers. Life goes on for these Thais who depend on tourism for their livelihood. Everything is as it has always been, except for one important detail.

The tourists are nowhere to be found.

After the devastating tsunami that hit this once tourist-dense area of Southeast Asia the day after Christmas in 2004, the number of tourists in this picturesque Thai destination has gone down to a mere handful. Just a year ago you would have seen an almost frenzied horde of foreigners filling the beaches and the resorts, but today the picture is less festive, and more sombre.

However, the resilience of the people of Thailand is evident everywhere, especially where the tsunami's devastation hit the strongest. They are picking up their lives, continuing to perform their daily duties even though there is overwhelming evidence that things have definitely changed.

Tourism in areas near the coast of Thailand is at an all-time low. Resort operators are feeling the significant lack in tourist arrivals. Most hotels can only book less than ten percent of their capacity -despite cut-price rates and cheap packages being offered to lure back the tourists. In their frustration, operators now blame unfair media reporting that focused solely on the tsunami, but failed to report how these places have 'bounced back'.

And the truth of the matter is, they're right. There really is no reason now not to return. The areas that were most damaged by the calamity is certainly back on its feet. The west coast of Thailand (which bore the brunt of the tsunami) is bouncing back, and the infrastructure is back in place. Just take a drive along the western coast, and you'll be greeted by such striking natural beauty, the same view that brought travelers here in the first place. Pristine beaches like Kata Beach, which was spared from the vicious waves, remains one of the most beautiful in the area, the gorgeous Phi Phi island is as idyllic as ever, and even the so-called 'James Bond Island ' off Phang Nga Province is as lovely as it was before the tsunami. Travelling to and from islands is back to normal, with boat transfers from the mainland all fully operational.

If you want a taste of paradise minus the crowds, and at extremely wallet-friendly prices, there has never been a better time to visit the western coast of Thailand. All the amenities and travel conveniences are in place. The cost of a great room on the beach and a delicious meal is achingly low. Even the wily street vendors are offering their goods at genuine bargain prices. The wonderful scenery is undeniably back to its former beauty, and the Thais are as hospitable as ever. A little scarred perhaps, but there with a ready smile, and an infectious optimism. No doubt about it, the crowds will be back sooner than we think.

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Your Travel Guide To The Czech Republic And Prague

(category: Destinations, Word count: 113)
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Czech Republic as a travel destination

As a travel destination, the Czech Republic has much to offer. It's home to beautiful natural scenery, rolling farmlands, villages lost in time, hills crowned with castles, some of the world's finest beers, a mild climate and its vibrant capital, Prague.

The Czech Republic comprises two areas, Bohemia in the west and Moravia in the east. Gems in Bohemia include the valleys of the Vltava and Labe rivers, hills and rocky mountains which are perfect for hiking and rambling.

Bohemia boasts a number of delightful medieval towns. A sublime example is the historic center of Cesk

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