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Sunday, January 31, 2016

St. John National Park Island Tour (via Royal Caribbean)

At least 2/3 of the amazing little island of St. John is located within the National Park which was donated by the Rockefeller family in 1956. If you want to spend more time learning about St. John, this 4-hour tour is worth it. This tour is mostly offered by cruise ships like Royal Caribbean, and other cruise ships, but itineraries can be a bit different depending on what cruise ship would you be in. In my case, I am sharing this experience when I had my 7 nights Southern Caribbean Cruise via Royal Caribbean when I signed up for this tour. :)

The tour begins with a 45-minute boat ride going to St. John from Charlotte, Amalie, St. Thomas. The boat docks at the charming town of Cruz Bay, wherein an open-air safari vehicle is waiting for tour passengers to board for a scenic island drive.

A tour guide (the driver) will provide you information about the rich history of St. John, while enjoying the tropical lush foliage and the indigenous wildlife at the same time during your sceninc sightseeing.
This tour also mainly shows St. John's panoramic views of the British Virgin Islands as well as its white-sand beaches. Visits also include scenic overlooks of Trunk Bay, - considered to be one of the most photographed beaches in the world, Caneel Bay, Hawksnest Bay and many more.

Trunk Bay
From Caneel Bay, you'll also be able to look at the scenic view of the famous Rockefeller plantation. Another highlight will be a drive to Bordeaux Mountain which is the highest summit in the Virgin Islands at 1,277 feet elevation,which also provides one of the most extraordinary vista points.

Bordeaux Mountain
The tour ends back at the louche part of Cruz Bay. Some free time will be for shopping. There are upscale shopping spots in this quaint town.

There is also a visitor center (V.I. National Park) just located at the Cruz Bay docking area in St. John for visitors who want to know other activities to do while exploring the island.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Music Is For Kids Too!

One way to produce a good musician is to train them while they are young. Most musicians of today had been trained when they were young, and of course another major reason why they become successful in their music career is that they love what they are doing. The passion for things you love doing is a stepping stone to turning good on what you become. 

 So, if your kids demonstrates their passion of liking music, don't forbid them. Instead, help them and support them in their training. Do they love to sing? Help them develop the talent. Are they interested to play a certain musical instrument? Then, let them develop a training to play with it. There are musical instruments for toddlers that can help you train your little kids to develop their passion for music. The earlier they are trained, the higher they develop a passion to keep on doing what they love. Come check them out!

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Shen Yun Performing Arts Show (The Modell Lyric Baltimore)

If you are fascinated in learning about cultures, the Chinese culture is one of those that has a lot of story to tell, from the ancient times up to the present.

The Shen Yun dance performance can promise you a show full of dances that reflect colors, action, theater effects and songs describing their ancient culture.
Shen Yun started in 2006 in New York formed by leading Chinese artists from all around the world with a goal to revive the Chinese ancient culture through music, dance and songs.
They perform few times each year and every year, they create an all-new production of performance.

You have to be aware though that in between the performances are dances that reflect teachings of Falun Dafa books, which are inspired by Falun Gong philosphy. It's nowhere that you can see anything about Dafa teachings being promoted until you watch the entire performance.
Falun Dafa is a Chinese spiritual practice for mind and body, through meditation that mainly focuses on truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. 

Some reviews about this, being incorporated with Shen Yun performances sound offensive to some, and some were led to practice it. They leave up to the audience to choose, - to practice and believe it or not.
Otherwise, the audience can just focus on the spectacular and colorful dances, music and the colorful costumes of the dancers, the acrobats, and many more.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Musical Instruments' Winter Clearance!

It would take quite a while before winter ends! And so when it comes to musical instruments, this is your best time to save big for the winter clearance. Make sure to check from woodwind and brasswind store online and get 50% discounts on some selected overstock instruments and accessories. 

 You can get the chance to browse all their offered products as well such as all types of woodwind and brasswind instruments. There are top brands to choose from as well, and even if you are looking for hard to find products, you can find them all here, and quality products are all assured!

 Whether you are a beginner or a professional musician, every product that suits you are available. You can conveniently shop direct from home without really needing to drive over and visit an actual music store only to be discouraged not finding what you are looking for.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Cape May Winery Tour

A visit to Cape May Winery while in Jersey shore is worth doing. They offer winery tours year round including self-guided vineyard walks (tour of the vineyard) and inside their facility such as the fermentation room and the bottling area.

The first part of the tour will lead you to a room where you will be given an introduction about the art of wine-making. As you continue the tour, your tour guide will lead you to various facilities inside the winery as he will share to you about how and where the wines are processed and bottled.

processing area

fermentation room

fermentation room (back)

bottling area
Although tours are being offered all-year round. it is much more recommended to visit during the warmer months like summer. The vineyard during the winter is bare and dry, plus it can really be very cold during the tour outside. If ever you plan to visit in the colder months, be sure you are bundled up as you will be outdoors for the vineyard tour.

The highlight of the tour is the free wine-tasting. This will be done at the end of the tour at the tasting room. Included in the wine tasting is a fruit and cheese tray to pair it with your wine.

You will then pass by the shop after the wine tasting. They have many good collections of both dry red and white wines, sweet and dessert wines.
Cape May Winery is located at Townbank Road, in North Cape May, New Jersey.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Historic District Trolley Tour in Cape May

The perfect way to get acquainted with Cape May is to hop on those cheery, red trolleys and let your tour guide tells you about Cape May. You will learn and enjoy it in a most comfortable and easy way as well.

As you sit back and relax, you will see some of the highlights of the tour like the gingerbread houses, the oldest residential street in town, (Hughes Street) and the elegant Grande Dames of Cape May. You will also see and learn about the town's Victorian heritage and the historical past and present about Cape May as America's first seaside resort and about its maritime and seashore history.

A ginger bread house;Courtesy photo by

You can take as many photos as you want. Just be sure your camera can take good and clear photos in a moving vehicle. This is the best time to take photos because the tour is done during daytime.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christmas Candlelight House Tour

The Christmas House Tour in Cape May is a self-guided  evening tour to festively decorated residential homes, hotels, inns and even churches. Most decorated homes and centers are open to the public as people will enjoy the twinkling holiday lights and Victorian-style decors for a visit. This is one of Cape May's main attraction during the holiday season. It is filled not only with decorations but also with some caroling, strolling musicians and good old fashioned cheer.

Some participating homes, inns and hospitality centers offer warm beverages and traditional treats for visitors too!

When you sign up for the tour, you will be given a map as a guide. On the map are lists of participating homes and their addresses along with the street map on which these houses are numbered. Trolley stops are also indicated on the map, so if you plan to go for a faster pace, and you want to see all of the participating houses, boarding the trolley saves you time.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a good experience with this tour when I visited in December 2014. Well, every experience is different so don't get discouraged! There are some tips I want to share though for those who are planning to do this tour.
Since this is an evening tour, it gets cold at night, so don't forget to bundle up. Every home or inn you'll be visiting is heated though, so that would be a bonus. But remember that this involves a lot of walking. There are some houses that are a block away from one house to the other and the closer the distances, trolley stops are NOT in the area.

Next thing to consider: - as early as 6PM would already be peak hours, which means ALL trolleys are full and would NOT stop at the trolley stop if they are full! You can still probably make it to your next stop since it's a walking tour NOT unless when you are with a tour bus group and when your time is limited. Normally, trolley comes every 15 minutes in every trolley stop, but peak hours can last until around 9:30PM or even later. I experienced waiting for a trolley for almost an hour, - and ending up walking back later to where our bus was which was a 30-35 minutes walk! It so happened I was at the farthest area from where our bus was :((. So, instead of spending time seeing more houses, it was all spent walking back to the bus because I had to catch the time departure.

Unless you are living in the area for an overnight, or staying for a few nights, you are safe just to skip the trolley because there is no time to beat up.

So, there you have the idea to keep in mind. We all deserve to enjoy the holiday festivities no matter what. The more you know what to expect, the more you would enjoy it.

Enjoy Christmas in Cape May!