Winter Activities

Snowbirds Flock South for Winter Migration

Friday, September 27th, 2013

By Diana Andrews

In elementary school we learn about great migrations south. Some of the lessons come straight from our text books. If we’re lucky, they come from craning our necks skyward and witnessing a cloud of birds making their way across the crisp blue skies of Autumn as they pass over on their way to warmer parts of the world. Perhaps you’ve even been so lucky to find yourself in a swarm of migrating monarchs while visiting a favorite garden spot.

Migration is the regular seasonal movement of animals from one place to another. Even the USGS Western Ecological Research Center admits not fully understanding “migratory connectivity, or the links between breeding and nonbreeding areas.” They are examining such things as advanced telemetry, chemical isotopes and molecular genetic markers for more insight into this mystery of connectivity.

There’s another great migration that happens, and it, too, involves a kind of ‘bird.’ Snowbird, that is. A snowbird is someone who migrates from their main residence to spend a large portion of winter in a warmer locale. There’s really no mystery here to why there is connectivity between snowbirds of the north and a Gulf Shores snowbird escape like such ones offered at Martinique on the Gulf.

Snowbirds (chemical isotopes of a more mature kind) are apt enough to know to utilize advanced telemetry, aka automated communications, such as email, social media and online reservation portals to make sure they have a comfortable place to nest for the winter. They may also rely on past migrations to hone their sites on desirable winter locations such as Alabama’s Gulf Shores.

Snowbirds are easily identified by their molecular genetic markers like silvering hair and more weathered skin than their younger fledglings. Like other migratory animals, they head south to warmer climates for winter. However, the only ‘breeding’ likely to happen is the ever growing population of such creatures to places such as the glorious Gulf Shores beaches! Join the flock and experience the wonderful snowbird migration south for yourself.

Telluride Colorado; A Year’s Worth of Festivals, Activities and Events

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

by Diana Andrews

Tourist boards and planners must have consulted the Roman and Julian calendars when creating Telluride’s festivals, year round activities and events. Is it a coincidence how well they align with the historical meaning of each month’s name?  Let’s compare and see how you can plan your next Telluride vacation accordingly….


Calendar Month
Meaning of the Month’s Names Telluride Things To Do
Roman god of gates and doorways, depicted with 2 faces looking opposite directions How about opening new gates and doorways with a backcountry hut tour traversing 5 huts between Telluride, Ridgway and Ouray?
February Roman festival of purification Try humor purification at the Telluride Comedy Festival. Or breathe pure mountain air with a Helicopter ski trip! (or traverse any of Telluride’s 2,000 skiable acres)
March (the original beginning of each year) Time for resumption of war Resume your attack on marching up to the summits of the area’s 14’ers! (or any of the area’s many trails)
April Associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty Visit beautiful Bridal Falls. Telluride has no shortage of beauty in any month of the year. You’re going to love it here!
May Maia means ‘the great one’ and is the goddess of spring May kicks off spring with not one but two great festivals – Mountain Film and Telluride Balloon Festivals
June Goddess of marriage and the well-being of women Besides being a gloriously beautiful place for a destination wedding, June is a great month to take care of your inner cowgirl (or boy) – Don’t miss the Wild West, Heritage, Bluegrass, Plein Air and Wine Festivals! (of course, retail therapy is always a
possibility as well)
July Named by Julius Caesar for Julius Caesar after reforming the Roman calendar Reform yourself at any or all of this month’s events –the Hardrock 100 Endurance Run, Yoga, Compassion and KOTO Ride Festivals will get you started!
August Augustus Caesar took over the calendar from Julius and followed suit with naming this month for himself There’s nothing selfish in wanting to attend the Jazz, Chamber Music, Mushroom, Film and Arts Festivals.
September A time for games Well, it’s not a game per se, but they’ll be playing at the Blues & Brews Festival! Then there’s the game of guessing the peak time to schedule your Jeep 4X4 Fall Colors Tour
October A month of celebrations & feasts Feast at the Barbecue Fest. Celebrate Telluride’s Horror Show
November & December Simply the 9th & 10th months of the Roman calendar There’s nothing simple about trying to complete recommended itineraries associated with ice skating, sleigh rides, sledding, snowmobiling, ice climbing, dog sledding and so much more!

Of course, making your way through and around Telluride’s shops, galleries, museums, Victorian architecture, and history can be accomplished all year. It’s more than enough to keep you coming back for more. And more. And more.

Winter Dreams Coming True

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

by Diana Andrews

Bing Crosby isn’t the only one who dreams of a white Christmas. If you live in the upper Northeast dreams are coming true early with plenty of snow falling thanks to Hurricane Sandy and the beginning of the winter season. This is great news for those outdoor enthusiasts who look forward to the natural escape of hitting the slopes early and skiing late into spring.



Luckily, for those of us who have nightmares about falling down a black diamond run as we disembark the chair lift, Wisp Resort has plenty of fun-in-the-snow activities that keep us from having to have long planks strapped to our feet subsequently confining our feet to a very rigid form of footwear.



If you just can’t resist strapping odd-shaped devices or long planks to your feet’s underside, then you can, by all means, snow shoe or take a turn at the Nordic Center where terrain isn’t as steep.

If, however, you prefer to stay a little more ‘grounded’ then there is a fantastic snow tubing hill for your enjoyment. PLUS, you don’t have to carry your tube back up the hill with a jaunty hike OR hover high above the hillside on a swaying-in-the-wind chairlift! Simply step onto a Conveyor Carpet and up you go.

Find all the joys of childhood sledding without the effort to take a second run. This new and fast growing winter sport is suitable for all age groups and doesn’t require expensive equipment. Do remember to dress warmly and remember to pocket a kerchief to wipe the tears from your eyes after a cold, exhilarating whoosh down 750 feet of groomed tubing lanes.

Deep Creek Lake Maryland has so many things to do and places to go that you won’t have a chance to be succumbed by cabin fever. Of course, if that’s your intent and you want to volunteer to keep the fire blazing warm and the cocoa steaming hot on the stove, then you’ll delight in the vacation rentals located close to the resort.

No matter what your pleasure once winter has won the seasonal battle of wills, Deep Creek Lake is where you’ll find warmth, friendly people and plenty of ways to burn off those extra holiday calories.

Winter Magic in McCall, Idaho

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

by Diana Andrews

Winter Carnival - Snow SculpturesOne of the reasons I yearned to move West from the cold hinterlands of Iowa was so that I could get out and enjoy the great outdoors all year round! Although I don’t ski, winter magic abounds in mountainous regions giving chairlift chickens such as myself plenty of outdoor options. This year, for instance, the annual Winter Carnival in McCall, Idaho will be held from Jan 25 – Feb 3, 2013.



Who doesn’t wish they could find a festival that offers such family fun as

Fireworks  fireworks

live music

snow sculpting contests

children’s torchlight parade

a Mardi Gras parade (brrrrr)

and family BINGO?!



There’s plenty of fun and revelry for the over 21 crowd, too!  sexy legs .......

Bust a gut at Comedy Night. Hit it big at either the Party BINGO or Monte Carlo Casino Nights.

Your kids ask that you to put them to bed before becoming a contestant in the Beard, Hairy & Sexy Leg Competition.

And, please, preserve their cool factor by not posting any photos on your Facebook page!


You can learn all about the annual event, find lodging and preview sculpture and venue maps to make the best of your visit. But don’t forget to pack the skis. Although the town proper of McCall will be all a quiver with participants, Brundage Mountain remains relatively crowd-free for your powder pleasure.

Could this be you?

Why, yes,

Yes, it could.

But you better hurry and make your reservations soon!

Orlando, The City Beautiful, Awaits Your Arrival

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

by Diana Andrews

Orlando, Florida

  • 2010 – 79th largest city in the US
  • 26th largest metro area in the US
  • 6th largest metro area in the Southeastern US
  • 3rd largest metro area in Florida
  • 5th largest city in Florida
  • The Orlando International Airport is the 13th busiest in the US, 29th in the world
  • Nicknamed “The City Beautiful” or “The Theme Park Capital of the World
  • Symbol – Fountain at Lake Eola
  • Orlando means “famous land” in German and Italian; “famous” in Spanish; “bright sun” in Latin
  • Most Visited American City in 2009 attracting over 51 million tourists a year

With a bio like this, one would expect to face crowds, lack of lodging and long lines, and this may put off some potential visitors. But wait! There’s a way around these potential barriers to a great Orlando vacation.

Free Overexposed Faux Vintage Film Scared Crying Child Creative Commons


First, imagine the looks on your children’s faces when you tell them you’re NOT taking them to Disney to see Cinderella and Mickey Mouse.



Second, consider vacation rental homes, condos and townhomes. You can give your family their own private pool in addition to an ample amount of room to stretch out and relax.  Leave the small, over-chlorinated pools found in most hotels to business and less savvy travelers.


Third, skip the crowded malls and losing your car in the parking lot and give the gift of an Orlando Christmas. You’d be surprised at how much shorter and faster moving the lines are at major theme parks this time of year.

Plus, it’s an enchanting walk around the neighborhoods viewing palm trees decorated like their cousins to the north, seeing snowmen where there’s not likely to ever be snow, hearing carolers as they pass by in Hawaiian print shirts, cargo shorts and flip flops. And who wouldn’t want to unwrap themselves enough to warm their skin under the golden sun and sink their toes into the white sand of nearby beaches?


Fourth, warm temps mean fewer clothes to pack which, in turn, translates to cost savings when checking bags with most airlines and quicker exits from the airport.

Natural beauty, friendly and excited visitors, the warmth of the sun, the beauty of having less luggage to cart through crowded airports and feelings of escapism are all reasons to make your vacation plans to Orlando sooner than later. You’ll regret it if you don’t, and your kids will never let you live it down.