Things I Love about Branson Mo

Saturday, 30 November 2013 0 comments
Branson, Missouri can be an exciting destination to visit! There is certainly so much to do to keep everyone busy. It's tough to choose which usually activities would be best, but allow me to share 10 of the items I love regarding Branson. The weather throughout Branson is moderate with temperatures ranging from 22 to 44 degrees F in the winter by incorporating occasional snow. The average summertime temps vary from 67 for you to 89 certifications.

No visit to Branson would be full without traveling to Silver Greenback City. This kind of engaging theme park will transfer you returning to the 1880’s by having an assortment of routines, crafts, celebrations and fascinating rides.

If you love splashing close to in the water, then visit White Water and glide down one of many two 75-foot freefall drop lanes, or even speed along a 315-foot 4 mat racing lane. Then when you're finished, pop up to one of the Great Cabanas for your own exclusive getaway!

In the event you or a friend or acquaintance is a experienced, a tour throughout the Veterans Memorial Museum. is a memorable as well as emotional knowledge that you'll never forget. View World War II memorabilia while you’ve never seen this before.

Use your "Wacky Quakers" and Ride The Ducks! Choose between two adventures every offering a new stroll by way of town prior to a sprinkle in the water. That is fun for the whole family!

Cruise trip onto the Showboat Branson Belle to relish live leisure, music and also delicious food. Opt for a few private occasion on patio to enjoy the gorgeous scenery coming past, as well as socialize along with other visitors and get to know the locals.

Check out the Natural stone Hill Winery and require a tasting trip offering a number of the finest wine Branson has to offer. Or even learn about the Winery's German heritage throughout the citywide celebration of "See the World throughout Branson" when corporations adopt various countries on the planet.

If you've ever imagined meeting a favorite celebrity close up, then you need to prevent by the The show biz industry Wax Public and "meet" celebrities such as Lana turner or Michael Jackson. You will feel as if your current idol is standing beside you.

Golfing has never been as much fun as it will likely be when you experience Buccaneers Cove. Putt your way through falls and key caves together with abandoned vessels.

Vacationing with the family should be fun and exciting and it can be! Enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes associated with Branson while you help to make memories to last a lifetime.

by Sonny Stevens

THE OLD MEN

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 0 comments
I used to frequent a restaurant on Saturday mornings, and there was a group of old men who sat in the corner and drank coffee together. It was usually the same bunch of ten to twelve although occasionally someone new would join and a regular would drop out. The old men liked to sit and solve the world’s problems over steaming cups of black coffee. You wouldn’t find these guys drinking flavors like Irish Mocha or French Vanilla or adding whipped cream to their drinks. These were men with nicotine stained fingers that sometimes bothered to shave the overnight stubble but just as likely would not. Their faces were deeply lined and their skin was leathery from years of hard work in the sun. None of these men had ever paid for a tan. They would discuss politics, religion and every other topic that is forbidden and occasionally the political talk would become heated, but eventually cooler heads would prevail and the local sports teams would become the unifying subject they could all agree on. Some of these men were obviously farmers. They proudly wore caps with the logo of their favorite farm machinery on them, and a couple wore overalls every week. Others had probably been businessmen, factory workers - almost anything.

Over the months I couldn’t help but notice that one of the men was a little quieter than the others. He seemed to have full acceptance within the group, but he caught my attention because he wasn’t as loud and didn’t laugh quite as much as the rest. I eventually learned his name was Pete. One morning the guys got to talking about how annoying their wives were, and they began throwing around the usual stereotypes that crop up when a group of men, who have been married to the same long-suffering woman for decades, feel the need to express their marital frustrations. However, I noticed that Pete didn’t say a word. He just sat silently staring into his coffee cup. It was at that point I noticed he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring like the others. After the joking and complaining about the wives subsided one of the men turned to Pete and gently asked, “How long has Louise been gone now?” Pete looked up with an expression that conveyed both weariness and pain and softly answered, “Three years, last month.” The old men sat silently for a time each contemplating what their days would be like if the woman they had shared a lifetime with was no longer by their side.

As I eventually learned, Pete had been a medic in the Korean War, and the horror he witnessed during that conflict affected him for the rest of his life. He had come home in a different mental state, and his outlook on the world had completely changed. He often disagreed with the other old men who always seemed gung-ho to bomb someone somewhere back into the Stone Age, however, he had witnessed so much death that he could no longer stomach the thought of it. But it was the fact that Pete had lost a son in Vietnam that made the others respect his opinions about peace. His boy had been killed by small arms fire just 6 weeks before his tour of duty was over. Pete and Louise had gone to Washington DC one summer to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Like so many others they had found their son’s name and made a tracing of it on a sheet of paper. Pete carried it in his wallet so that he was never without it…But there were also good things in his life. I found out Pete had two beautiful daughters who meant the world to him, and he loved to show off photos of his great-grandchildren. He didn’t travel to see them as much now that Louise was gone, but they still kept in touch and came to visit him whenever possible.

Over the next year or so I slowly learned that after returning home from the army Pete briefly considered using his medical training for some type of civilian work, but his nerves were frayed, and he knew he couldn’t handle anymore human suffering. Instead he took a job at a local manufacturing plant that produced tires for cars and trucks. He spent 46 years at the plant working his way up to management. When he retired, a small party was thrown for him and he was given a few simple gifts and a pat on the back for giving four decades of his life to the company. It was a few months after his retirement when Pete stumbled onto the group of men drinking coffee each morning at the restaurant near his home. Like him, many had been told their services were no longer needed, and they too had been cast aside after it was determined their ongoing usefulness to a particular organization was in doubt. Pete had felt lost without a job to go to each day, but now he discovered he wasn’t alone. It didn’t take long for Pete to become one of the regulars.

Over the next couple of years I had breakfast almost every Saturday morning at the restaurant while I listened to the old timers talk longingly about how things used to be. But my attention was always drawn to Pete. In the beginning I thought he was just another old man, the kind of person you see every day without giving a thought to, but the more I learned about him the more interesting he became. It was an odd thing because it seemed like I knew him fairly well and yet we never spoke. We had seen each other so often that each of us would nod when the other came into the building but that was it - just a quiet acknowledgement of the other’s existence - nothing more.

Finally one Saturday morning I came into the restaurant and noticed the old men sitting quietly. As I ate, I kept wondering when Pete would arrive but soon enough I understood that he was never again going to be part of the group. As I listened to the brief snatches of conversation the picture became clear. Pete had suffered a massive stroke earlier in the week. One of the men had spoken to Pete’s oldest daughter, and she had told him that the doctors said that her father would never recover. It was apparently now just a matter of time until he passed. Several of the men blustered about how they would never want to be kept alive in that condition, but it seemed that no one really had the heart to express their opinion on the pros and cons of extending life. The group soon fell silent as they sipped their coffee lost in their own thoughts.

It was a strange feeling that came over me when I realized I would never see Pete again. I wasn’t sure why I felt so sad. I didn’t even know his last name. But for some reason Pete remained in my thoughts over the next few months. I would think about him when I saw other elderly men. I would wonder if he was still alive, if he could recognize the face of a grandchild. About 6 months later the restaurant was closed and eventually it was torn down, but it had served its purpose. It had been a place of community for a group of men who had lived long hard lives, who had been patriotic with more than just words but also with deeds. These were men who had raised families and did their best to make the world a safe and prosperous place for their children. These were men who were now being passed by as younger generations ignored them and the sacrifices they had made.

I’m sure some of the old men scattered to new places to drink and solve the latest world crisis, while others just stayed home. But for a time they had shared their hopes, dreams and experiences. They had connected in a way that younger people do not. Their shared history of life created a bond that was difficult for someone of a different age to understand. Although their appreciation and sympathy for each other went unspoken, it was clearly understood. Each man valued the worth of the other because they were equals. They were survivors.

Pete had led an anonymous life. How many others were like me and had never bothered to learn his last name? But it would the worst kind of disrespect to say it was not a life of consequence. He had been married to someone he obviously loved deeply. He had brought three children into the world and he had been blessed with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He had fought for the country he loved and he had saved many lives in the process. It appeared that he had been a man of character and convictions, and yet he had endured the worst that life has to offer. Pete was just an ordinary man who had done the best he could, in the circumstances he found himself in. What more can anyone do?

How often do we look at older men or women without really seeing them? Do we realize the history that is represented by each of these lives? Many of them made extraordinary sacrifices that I can’t even imagine. They lived through the Great Depression and World War II. They survived marriages, divorces, the birth and deaths of loved ones. They have had a jobs and careers through the years and possibly lost them both. As they aged they have battled their own health problems and they may be bravely living with a disease or condition right now that will eventually claim their life. Everyone that is my age and younger owes a debt to those who came before us that we will never be able to repay. When you see an older person it is easy to forget that they were once the exact same age as you. When you look at them you are seeing your future. We must treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve because one day we will be in their place.

Who knows, maybe someday I’ll sit in the corner of a restaurant and drink coffee with a group of my contemporaries. Perhaps we will also trade lies, exaggerated stories and mindless conversation to pass the time. And if I do, I’m sure I’ll remember Pete and his friends. I will be fortunate to have what they had.

by Michael Crawley

Comfort Inn - Binghampton

Wednesday, 20 November 2013 0 comments
Comfort Inn, a hotel in Binghamton NY near Binghamton University

The Comfort InnÃ,® hotel is conveniently located within minutes of downtown Binghamton, perfect for business and leisure travelers. This Binghamton, NY hotel is close to the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, NYSEG Stadium, the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park, Binghamton University and Empire State College.

Additional points of interest less than 30 miles away include historic Owego and the Catskill Mountains. The Greater Binghamton Airport is 12 miles away. Several malls and a variety of restaurants and cocktail lounges are located in the surrounding area.Comfort Inn Binghamton has a fitness facility and a seasonal outdoor pool. Wireless Internet access is complimentary in public areas. There is a business center on site. A complimentary breakfast is available.

Additional amenities include coffee in the lobby, complimentary newspapers in the lobby, and a safe deposit box at the front desk. Guest parking is complimentary.

The 104 air-conditioned guestrooms at Comfort Inn Binghamton include coffee/tea makers and complimentary weekday newspapers. Guests can use the in-room complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access. Televisions are equipped with satellite channels. All accommodations provide phones along with free local calls (restrictions may apply).

Bathrooms offer hair dryers and complimentary toiletries.Business travelers will appreciate conveniences like the business center and access to copy and fax services. There are meeting facilities available on the premises.All warmly decorated guest rooms include irons, ironing boards, coffee makers and hair dryers. Non-smoking rooms are provided upon request.The hotel also has an ATM located on the property for added guest convenience.Next time you are visiting the Binghamton area, enjoy the great amenities and gracious hospitality of the Comfort Inn hotel.

Our friendly staff looks forward to serving you soon.Directions to Our Hotel:From I-81 North or South: Take exit 5, right on Front Street 1.3 miles, hotel on the right. From Route 17 East or West: Take I-81 North to exit 5, right on Front Street 1.3 miles, hotel on the right.

To view, change or cancel a reservation online, click on "My Reservations" at the top of the page. You can use this form to view reservations made online at choicehotels.com, or made by phone with a Choice Hotels reservations sales representative, as long as you have: Guest Last Name Confirmation number or the credit card number that you used to guarantee the reservation. A Netscape, Microsoft, or other security-enabled (SSL) web browser.

(If you made a reservation directly with a hotel, you will need to call the hotel directly to ask about the reservation.)

by Staff

Charter Bus: Washington, DC for a Tour of History

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 1 comments
Washington, DC is the ultimate place for a tour of history where visitors can feel at one with the early beginnings of the United States by seeing and reading the original Constitution. One of the most notable memorials in Washington, DC is the 19-foot President Lincoln statue. Organize your group and travel by charter bus. Washington, DC is best seen with a large tour group, travelling together for glimpses of history.

Other Washington, DC memorials and museums include the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, National Museum of Natural History, National Air & Space Museum, National Museum of American History, National Zoological Park, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, National Archives, the Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Capitol Building, all symbolic of significant events or persons in American history.

A tour of Washington, DC should start at the White House where there are lots of photo opportunities for visitors. Breakfast can be delightful at the White House Fresh Farm Market at Vermont Avenue where visitors can have a feast of fresh-baked breads and choices of healthy fruits. A visit to the Newseum should be next on the itinerary. This 250,000 sq.ft. museum is dedicated to news and its history. The Wolfgang Puck famous restaurant named The Source can be found next to the Newseum where visitors and tourists can have a sumptuous lunch. Another good place to have lunch is the Good Stuff Eatery, offering simple low-key burgers.

At the National Portrait Gallery, the famous Obama print by Shepart Fairey is on display, together with portraits of the previous presidents of the United States. From here, visitors can just walk to see Madame Tussauds’ The Presidents Gallery and pose with lifelike figures of the First Couple in wax. After this itinerary, the group can now choose to board the charter bus. Washington DCs sports teams including the Washington Wizards basketball team can be seen at play at the Verizon Center if members of the group are into sports.

The National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institute is another must-see in Washington, DC. Many of the First Ladies’ gowns are on exhibit here. There is also the American Presidency exhibition for viewing. Cedar Hill, the former residence of Frederick Douglass, one of America’s most gifted orator and statesmen is another place to visit. Its location on top of a hill will give visitors a breathtaking view of the surrounding city.

The Washington National Cathedral, the site of President Obama’s Inaugural Prayer Service is another landmark that is worth a visit. Nearby is the Equinox where Todd Gray serves farm-to-table food for lunch. The Restaurant Nora is another eating place nearby featuring organically grown food. Georgetown can be the next stop of the charter bus. Washington, DC retailers, shops and boutiques are located in Georgetown Park where many young designers feature their creations. Watching a performance at the Kennedy Center can be a fitting end to a busy sightseeing day. Citronelle by Michel Richard is a recommended place to have dinner. Another stop at the Abe Lincoln Memorial will be inspiring to see at day’s end when it is illuminated by moonlight.

by Kim

Super 8 Urbandale/ Des Moines Area

Wednesday, 6 November 2013 0 comments
Close to Adventureland and Cownie Sports Complex with Indoor Pool and Hot Tub

Super 8 Urbandale / Des Moines Area hotel offers value and conveniences to help you refuel for your travels. Our Urbandale, Iowa, hotel is located off Interstate 35 / 80 with easy access to bustling downtown Des Moines and scenic Saylorville Lake. Take advantage of handy amenities like free Wi-Fi, guest laundry, microwave, refrigerator and ample parking for any size vehicle. Wake up each morning to free SuperStart continental breakfast, then hit the road to enjoy our proximity to key attractions like Wells Fargo Arena, Adventureland Amusement Park and Des Moines International Airport. Unwind with a workout in the gym or a soak in the heated indoor pool and hot tub. Non-smoking and handicapped-accessible rooms are available, and kids 17 and under stay free with an adult at our pet-friendly hotel.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

Shop until you drop at Merle Hay Mall, or step back in time at Living History Farms. If you brought your clubs, hit the greens at Waveland Golf Course. When you travel with kids, take them to Blank Park Zoo or Adventureland Amusement Park. Attend a concert or live event at Iowa Events Center, like an Iowa Barnstormers football game or a Des Moines Dragons basketball game. Let loose at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Head into downtown Des Moines, or get away from it all at Saylorville Lake. You can find something every traveler will enjoy near our Urbandale, Iowa, hotel.

DINING OPTIONS

Try Midwest favorites like Pagliai’s Pizza and Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Cafe, both within a half mile. Try the finger-licking ribs at When Pigs Fly BBQ, or stick to a familiar favorite like Bennigan’s, Perkins or Applebee’s, all within walking distance of our Urbandale, IA, hotel.

BUSINESS AND EVENT FACILITIES

Our Urbandale, IA, hotel offers free Wi-Fi as well as copy and fax services to help you stay connected to work.

Local Attractions
• Merle Hay Mall - 1 mi
• Living History Farms - 2 mi
• Waveland Golf Course - 3 mi
• Drake Relays - 4 mi
• Des Moines Art Center - 5 mi
• Dragons IBA - 5 mi
• Des Moines Botanical Center - 5 mi
• Convention Center - 5 mi
• Iowa Barnstormers AFL - 5 mi
• State Capital - 5 mi
• Valley Junction Collectables - 5 mi
• Veterans Memorial Auditorium - 5 mi
• World Pork Expo - 6 mi
• Blank Park Zoo - 9 mi
• Adventureland Park - 10 mi
• Iowa State Fairgrounds - 10 mi
• Saylorville Lake - 11 mi

by Representative