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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Historic Saratoga Springs & Guided Mineral Water Tours!

This innovative tour is one in a lifetime experience as you will learn about the famous architecture of the renowned city of Saratoga Springs and how it became as the "spa city", and a tasting tour of water samples coming from the springs.
For many centuries, Saratoga was known only as a sacred ground of the native Americans.
Sir William Johnson established a mutual strong relationship with the tribe wherein in 1771, he was brought to an area called High Rock Spring for healing. Ultimately, his healing became a news and prompted curiosity and interest of the public about the water spring.

By 19th century, Saratoga developed as a resort town and catered those who sought the water springs for therapeutic needs. The place consequently became a thriving spa where devotees sought for "the cure" by taking hydrotherapy treatments and mineral baths and drinking prescribed amounts of different mineral waters.
These mineral springs were produced as a result of fractured shale along the Saratoga Fault Line, causing the waters to spring upward out from the resulting cracks. The water dissolves minerals from the limestones where they were trapped, thus, in the process became naturally carbonated. All of these springs contain the same minerals but in different concentrations, depending upon how deep underground they have originated. The higher the mineral concentration, the deeper the depth of origin.

These mineral springs of Saratoga are known to be naturally carbonated with carbon dioxide; they have a cool constant temperature of 55F; and several of the springs are "spouters" which shoot high up in the air.

Courtesy of Saratoga.com
The photo above is the polaris spring. The water has a carbonated, "alka seltzer" taste!

The springs are also categorized as alkaline (antacid), cathartic (Laxative), or high in iron, and many claim they have healing properties.
There are at least 20 mineral springs, some located in the Spa State Park, Congress park and High Rock Areas.

Take note that during the tour, don't expect all the mineral springs to be working. Most tours have only 4-6 mineral springs location working where you are free to taste the spring waters at each location. (Bring your own cups for the sample tasting!)

Geyser Island Spouter
This is a 'spouter" located in an island, surrounded by hardened minerals.


Hayes Well Spring
This one has a distinctive horrible smell and tatste! :(


You can learn more about tours by visiting the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center.



Thursday, January 4, 2018

Campuestohan Highland Resort - Overnight Experience


Campuestohan Highland Resort is situated between the boundaries of two cities; -Bacolod and Talisay, consisting of a 5-hectar property that is surrounded by the lush green mountains of Mt. Makawili, making the place cool most of the time and misty in the late afternoons.
From the mountain is a vintage view of mostly the entire part of Negros Occidental, including the Panay Island.

The resort is located about 800-meters above sea-level making it a great place to commune with nature that also offers a majestic panorama and breathtaking views!
The resort is owned by a couple - Mr. Ricardo Tan and Nita Tan.

Today, this place, which used to be a wide grassy land is now transformed as a wonderland for many children and adult alike which is now considered as one of the most famous tourist destinations in Negros Occidental.

The resort has amenities ideal for vacationing families with smaller kids and adults as well; - children's park and rides, several swimming pools that includes the wave pool (call the resort for wave pool's open hours), big statues and the heroes' hall consisting of marvel characters' statues. The heroes' hall is more than enough to capture a kid's heart (and when you couldn't afford to bring them to Disneyland!)


Someone dared a kiss to spidey! :)
Several outdoor rides and activities for adults are also available such as the famous hamster wheel, bicycle ride, a zip line, rope course, horse back riding and bungee trampoline. All rates can be accessed through their website or better yet call them and verify the prices for all outdoor adventure rides.

I and my family went for an overnight visit so we were given a complimentary breakfast which is applicable for a group of 3 or more, and a free entrance for each. Daytime visitors are charged with a Php 150/person entrance fee. (as of this writing).

A private transportation can also be arranged to pick up and drop off customers if  you have big groups with certain fees. In our case, we chose to get a private group charter, (a private van, good for 15 persons), although we were only 7 in a group. Regardless, we still paid Php 2,500 for the van. No complain about our transportation as it was much more convenient for us not to worry about catching our ferry trip back home, knowing a transportation is readily available upon checking out. The 2,500 pesos - transportation fee was for picking up and dropping us off from and to our destination.

All information including room accommodations and prices can be accessed through their website at www.campuestohanhighlandresort.com but reservations have to be done by phone. Take note that upon reservation, you will be required to pay 50% of your downpayment basing on your room rates, and you have to pay it through their bank account. How I wish bookings and payments can just be done online for convenience. The "paying" part is a bit of a hassle as you have to actually go to the bank to pay it, to get the actual bank receipt to present it upon checking in the resort.

For those who are planning to visit for an overnight trip, I have to be honest regarding their rooms. I find it too expensive for a Php 5,000 room that really needs maintenance! How would you like to pay 5,000 pesos for a room that has moldy ceilings, chipping paints and cracked walls??? I felt I was caught off guard because I know myself I couldn't complain in the middle of the night, and that if I will start complaining at check out, I know it will take time forever, and I didn't want our ferry trip to be compromised!...I wished I had more than enough time to do it.






Some amenities in the room is also lacking like hot water for coffee or tea! There was a thermos but no hot water!

No complaints about the rides!...I would surely prefer to visit it in the daytime, only if perhaps I'm a local and just live around the neighborhood.
It would be a sad experience for others who are quite far from the resort who need to stay for the night. By the way, I reserved 2 Tepee Hut Rooms...they have molds that need to be removed and walls that need to be repainted and fixed.

As I've said, I was caught off guard, but didn't have much time to complain. :(. Maybe, they can read this as a feedback.
We were there November 2016.

Anyway, experience wise about the rides, food and the cool breeze at night were amazing! I love the nature that surrounds the resort!


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Visit To Prospect Mountain


This beautiful iconic landmark nestles at the foothills of Adirondacks in Lake George, New York. It offers a magnificent panoramic views with a foot summit of 2,030 feet. At the peak, you can see a 100-mile view of Lake George and Adirondacks region.

There is a 5.5 mile drive up to the summit on Veteran's Memorial Highway and has 3 stunning scenic overlooks; - The Narrow, the Lake George Panorama and the Eagle's Eye. The summit was built and dedicated in 1969 in honor of America's War Veterans.



At the summit, you can conveniently use restrooms and enjoy using their picnic facilities such as picnic wooden tables and chairs provided in the area. There are also self-guided hiking and nature trails.
Don't miss the historical ruins such as the Old Cable Railway and the Bullwheel. The Old Cable Railway was once the world's largest cable railroad from 1895-1903 which was used to be a transportation that brought passengers who wanted to do an overnight stay at the Prospect Mountain House; - a hotel on the summit that was burned down twice later.



Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dining at Generations Restaurant (Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort)

This restaurant is owned by Golden Arrow Lakeside resort; - a lodge-style restaurant that also offers a view of the lake when dining located in Lake Placid, New York.



We had the experience of having a lunch here and the food was superb! There is a part where the view of the lake can be seen, but since we were a part of a big tour group, we only had a choice to sit at the middle which is quite hidden from the view. :( We had a quick peek for the view but it wasn't a good angle to take photos!
The restaurant is mainly located on Main St., and has quaint boutiques, shops and stores close by.


The Alpine Village Shoppes are series of shops that directly connects to the hotel (Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort). This is a good area for shopping for clothings, they have specialty shops, snacks, etc... you'll never get bored! :).

The neighborhood is quiet and peaceful. We saw a beautiful church close by and the colorful trees in the fall are stunning!





Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Beautiful, Charming Bermuda!

One of the best experience to visit the nautical charm of Bermuda is through a cruise ship.

Bermuda is an island and a British territory with Hamilton as its capital city. It is geographically located in the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately southeast of North Carolina, south of Nova Scotia and north of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is once a vast British colonial empire in North America.

Bermuda comprises only 2 towns; - Hamilton (the only city), and St. George. But it is also an interesting fact that the Royal Navy Dockyard also known as Dockyard is being seen as its 3rd town because of its attractive amenities; - shops, museums, restaurants, art shops, British pubs, etc... The Dockyard is actually one of Bermuda's key attractions!



It has 2 berths; - the King's Wharf and the Heritage Wharf. These 2 wharfs are the first destinations since they are the only ports suitable for mega cruise ships.

Our ship docked at Heritage Wharf and it provides an easy access to shops such as the Clocktower Shopping Mall, and other attractions and entertainment at the dockyard.


Both the King's Wharf and Heritage Wharf are located at the Royal Navy Dockyard which is the island's primary cruise port.
Beyond King's Wharf is Bermuda's historic capital, Hamilton city, blending British and islander influences. Hamilton's Front St. comprises all the shops, restaurants and other commercial establishments, while the Church St. proudly shows the Georgian-style Session House built in 1815.

Bermuda has a rich maritime heritage with a nautical charm, full of rich heritage.

Pink sand beaches are also commonly seen along the South Shore and are considered to be famous worldwide.

It's really difficult to see the sand as pink in photos! I couldn't see the pink-ish sand but when you are actually facing the shore, there are pink accents that glitters as the sands are being washed by the waves!


The House On The Hill:




The house you see fronting the Heritage Wharf situated on a hill is the Commissioner's House! Did you know that it was actually a ship called "HMS Malabar"? It didn't actually sail or float but it was a ship! Its walls are made of hard Bermuda limestones which were quarried and shaped by British prisoners including some slaves and local workers as well.

The Commissioner's House was Bermuda's equivalent of the White House in Washington DC. After the British left the dockyard in 1951, it became abandoned until 1974, and then after 25 years, it was restored in the year 2000 with the efforts of many private and corporate donors and volunteers.
Nowadays, it is a common sight to behold when you're in Bermuda, considered to be its westernmost landmark.

Shopping wise, you will enjoy going around the shops, from the dockyard to Hamilton Front St., and St. George. Indeed, you can enjoy a fabulous shopping in Bermuda!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

One Liberty Observation Deck - A Must See!

See Philly from the top as you travel 883 feet above street level for an extraordinary 360 degree view of the City of Brotherly Love!
Once you're on top, there is an interactive environment that serves as your guide as you view from each direction which also provides a comprehensive educational experience.

The deck is located on the 57th floor of One Liberty Place in downtown Philadelphia. This is the best place to discover the stunning view of the Philadelphia skyline.

They offer guided tour as well if you prefer to get a more detailed information or if you have queries in mind you might want to be answered.




One stunning view


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Cruiser Olympia & Becuna at Independence Seaport Museum

The Independence Seaport Museum has two floors (st and 2nd) and mostly contains galleries and exhibits. The first floor has a theater and it is where the gift shop is located, while the 2nd floor has the galleries and exhibits with a playhouse, an education center and a library.

Part of the museum are two historical ships few meters from the museum towards the dock; - the Cruiser Olympia and the submarine Becuna!



Top deck of Cruiser Olympia

Getting down inside the submarine Becuna

Entrance going inside Cruiser Olympia

The museum is located at Columbus Blvd. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Cruiser Olympia, the oldest steel warship in the world was launched in 1892, and the only surviving naval ship of the Spanish-American War. Its role in the battle of Manila Bay was so vital because of its victory over the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay, making the US's emergence as a world naval power, which was commandered by Admiral Dewey.
Its last naval mission was its transport of the body of an unknown soldier from France to the US in 1921. In 1996, it become part of the Independence Seaport Museum and became a National Historic Landmark.

Here are some photos inside Olympia:







Another historic ship worth visiting is the submarine Becuna. It was launched in 1944 and served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean during the Korean and Vietnam wars. It was decommissioned in 1969 and became a National Historic Landmark and part of the Independence Seaport Museum in 1996.

Just a heads up if you want to explore the submarine on the inside. It doesn't have any AC and is not recommended for people who are claustrophobic.
For those who are interested and quite more adventurous, don't miss out the opportunity to visit the torpedo rooms, control and sonar rooms.






Thursday, October 5, 2017

Historic London Town & Gardens

London Town is just minutes away from Annapolis, Maryland. It is one of Maryland's earliest settlements on South River that has a museum and park and features history, archaeology and horticulture in a 23-acre area of space.




One of our tour experience was a chance to get a free taste of a dessert unique to Maryland; - the 10 layer Smith Island Cake. It was superb! ( I should have taken a photo of it...ugh!, but you can easily find one online if you get curious how it looks! )

Here is one: (photo is not mine:)


They offer a colonial hearth cooking demonstration to visitors, so this was actually the highlight of our tour! :)

There is a garden sanctuary on the South River at the crossroads of the Chesapeake Bay, but due to time constraints, we didn't visit the gardens.

We were able to visit one of the historic areas though, - the Lord Mayor's Tenement. It's an old colonial house and inside of it showcases the lifestyle routine of a daily living in a typical colonial home. Quite an interesting experience!