Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, November 2008 Issue
Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright 2008
All Rights Reserved.
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Equally at home at the rodeo or the office, these beautiful earrings are sure to be show stoppers. Hand-made with the finest sterling silver, the French earring wires hold a cascade of real
turquoise beads, drops and pebbles to create the nearly inch-and-a-half long dangles. Add sterling silver beads to finish off the earrings and this unforgettable look of turquoise and silver is complete.
Expect to pay $100 at upscale stores and jewelry boutiques. Our price for these designer earrings is only $29.
Order immediately to get your turquoise earrings from AAA Jewelry Outlet. Quantities are limited. Click here to order.
|In This Issue: |
Sarcophagus of Djed Khons Iwef Ankh, Frank H. McClung Museum
|Save with two fr.ee days or fr.ee upgrades on high-season stays at Club Med properties around the world.
Get two days fr.ee when you stay from Thanksgiving through Feb. 20, 2009. Space and availability are limited. The 2 Days Fr.ee offer is good at the following family resorts: Cancun Yucatan, Mexico; Ixtapa Pacific, Mexico; La Caravelle, Dominican Republic; Sandpiper, Florida; Caravelle, Guadeloupe; Buccaneer’s Creek, Martinique and the following singles or friends and couples resorts: Turkoise, Turks and Caicos; Columbus Isle, Bahamas; Bora Bora, French Polynesia.
The Suite Life - Upgrade to a suite or a deluxe room at no extra charge and save up to 50 percent off a suite and up to 20 percent off a deluxe room on a seven-night all-inclusive Club Med stay. You must book by Dec. 20, 2008 for travel January through June 2009.
At Punta Cana, Dominican Republic you get 50 percent off a seven-night stay when booking an Oceanfront Family suite and 20 percent off for a Deluxe Family room. At Ixtapa Pacific, Mexico get 50 percent off when booking an Oceanview suite, 35 percent off for a Oceanview Family suite and 20 percent off a Deluxe Family room with balcony or oceanview. At Cancun Yucatan, Mexico get 50 percent off an Oceanfront Family suite or an Oceanfront suite, 25 percent off a Deluxe Oceanfront two bedroom and 20 percent off a Deluxe Concierge two bedroom.
This fr.ee upgrade offer is also available at Columbus Isle, Bahamas; Turkoise, Turks & Caicos; Sandpiper, Florida; Caravelle, Guadeloupe; Bucaneer's Creek, Martinique; Bali, Indonesia; and Phuket, Thailand.
Club Med Deals or 800/CLUB-MED.
Balsams Ski Fr=ee in 2009 Package
The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, in Dixville Notch, NH, offers a discount January through March 2009. From Sunday to Thursday, you can book the Ski Fr=ee package for $89 per night. This package, which excludes holidays, includes lodging, breakfast, lift tickets to the alpine ski area and trail passes for cross-country skiing. The Ski F=ree package is subject to availability and the rate is per person based on double occupancy. When booking online, enter promo code SKIFREE.
Located on 15,000 private acres in the Great North Woods in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel offers 95 kilometers of cross country ski trails, including 77 kilometers of groomed trails on diverse terrain.
In addition to Nordic skiing, the Balsams features 16 trails and five glades with runs up to one mile long.
The Balsams or 866/380-6798.
|Give a Jaguar -- An Amber Jaguar --
The remarkable face of a jaguar is hand-carved onto a lovely piece of cherry amber that's 33x20 mm in size. The dramatic pendent hangs on an ultra-chic 18" natural-colored leather necklace cord with a sterling silver clasp. Boy will this turn heads.
High-style boutiques and jewelers charge $500 or more for this glam piece. It's yours for only $125 plus shipping & insurance.
Click here to order. At the home page, click on the amber category.
Value Place, a national extended stay hotel chain, launches its $50,000 Refer-A-Stay Giveaway sweepstakes. Over the next eight months, Value Place will give away $5,000 in cash prizes each month and a grand prize of $50,000 at the end of the contest period.
The sweepstakes is open to everyone and no purchase is required. When you stay at any of Value Place's 100 plus locations through Mar. 31, 2009, you will receive a sweepstakes entry code. You can visit the sweepstakes website and type in your code and also enter a drawing for a monthly cash prize and the $50,000 grand prize, which will be awarded on Apr. 6, 2009. When you stay longer than a week, you will receive a new sweepstakes code every week during your stay.
Everyone is eligible to enter the contest by visiting any Value Place location, taking an optional tour of the hotel and obtaining a sweepstakes code.
Value Place Sweepstakes Website.
If a trip to the United Kingdom is in your future, American Airlines has an offer you won’t want to miss.
Through Dec. 31, 2008, book a ticket on American and fly roundtrip from the United States to the United Kingdom and you will earn a fr-ee companion ticket for future travel to the United Kingdom or Caribbean between Jan. 15, 2009 and Dec. 15, 2009.
To participate in this offer, book and travel on your qualifying ticket through Dec. 31, 2008. Register before your trip online using promotion code UKCMP. Be sure you are subscribed to at least one of American’s e-mail products as of Dec. 31, 2008, in order to receive your companion ticket.
Travel on code share or oneworld flights operated by other airlines do not qualify for this offer. This offer is restricted to residents of the Continental U.S. and Canada.
The companion award ticket you earn with this promotion must be booked through AAdvantage Reservations and requires a $20 award ticket payment plus government taxes and fees. For international and Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands destinations, government taxes and fees may total up to $260. Anyone traveling on the companion award ticket is not eligible to earn AAdvantage miles or accrue credit toward elite status qualification.
If you’re not an AAdvantage member, it’s easy and fr-ee to enroll. Click here to enroll.
Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort, in St. Lucia, offers savings up to 60 percent with its "Celebration Opening Rate" for its Anthurium Lily junior suites with ocean views opening in December.
The special rate for these new 1,100-square-foot suites starts at $250 per couple, per night (normally $450) and $290 for the premium suites (normally $490) for stays Dec. 1 through Dec. 27, 2008. The property's Sun Dollars (resort credit), will apply, making this the perfect time to escape to the Caribbean.
The 42 suites will have four-post mahogany queen size beds draped with mosquito netting in a plantation style, balconies, 27" plasma TVs, vessel sinks and rain-head showers.
Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort sits on a crescent-shaped, white-sand beach with many private pools and suites spread among 60 acres. The resort was recently certified green in accordance with the highest international standards.
Windjammer Landing Villa Beach or 800/345-0356.
Fr-ee Fun San Diego|
This savings-packed FR.EE brochure features almost 40 Fun, Fr-ee Things to do in San Diego. When heading to Southern California, attend concerts or visit a State Historic Park and keep that cash in your pocket.
To get your Fr-ee Fun San Diego brochure, for a $1 handling fee, click here to send us an email.
MSC Cruises celebrates the winter Caribbean season by offering a special value for Baby Boomers and Seniors.
Boomers and Seniors can save at least 50 percent on a Caribbean sailing and take the kids or grand kids along for fr-ee with the line's "Kids Sail F-ree" policy.
Boomer/Senior Saver prices on all 2008-09 Caribbean sailings of MSC Lirica and MSC Orchestra begin at $449 per person, double occupancy (cruise only, not including government fees and taxes and fuel surcharge) on seven-night itineraries and $749 per person, double occupancy on 10-night itineraries. At least one guest in the stateroom must be 50 years of age on the departure date and bookings must be made by May 1, 2009.
Children (up to two) ages 17 and younger staying in the same stateroom with two full-fare paying adults cruise for fr-ee (government taxes and fees are additional, per person) on all MSC Cruises' sailings.
Both MSC Orchestra and MSC Lirica will sail roundtrip itineraries from Fort Lauderdale.
The MSC Orchestra makes its North American debut during the winter season. The ship will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries and a seven-night Bermuda and Nassau itinerary.
MSC Lirica will sail a seven-night Eastern Caribbean Christmas sailing, a seven-night Western Caribbean New Year's cruise and 10-night Deep Caribbean sailings.
Before long, snow and ice will cover roads in many parts of the country. Preparing now for frigid weather conditions will help keep your vehicle on the road, advises AAA Michigan.
You can help keep your vehicle on the road by doing the following:
- Check your battery strength. Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. At 0 degrees, a good battery has 35 percent less starting power.
- Park your car in the garage. If you have no garage, put a tarp over the hood or park protected from prevailing winds. To keep doors from freezing shut, place a plastic trash bag between the door and the frame.
- Keep the fuel tank at least half-full to avoid fuel-line freeze-up.
- To avoid frozen door locks, buy a lubricant available in most auto supply stores. If your lock freezes, heat your key with a pocket lighter but remember to wear gloves or hold the key with pliers. Or, fill a plastic jug with hot water. Hold it against the door panel or lock area. Do not throw hot water on the car. It may freeze and run the risk of cracking glass.
- If you become stranded, stay with your vehicle. It provides excellent shelter from the cold and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. If you can start your engine, run it only enough to keep warm. Make sure the exhaust pipe is snow-fr.ee. Keep emergency supplies in the car, such as a cell phone, boots, hats, gloves, blankets, a "coffee can heater," flashlight and reflective triangle.
American Canadian Caribbean Line, a casual niche cruise line popular with active mature travelers, offers 15 percent savings on 11-night Caribbean itineraries departing roundtrip from Belize City on the M/V Grande Mariner.
You can choose from three itineraries featuring coastal exploration of Belize, Guatemala, Barrier Reef and the Honduran Bay Islands. The cruise line is the only overnight passenger vessel able to navigate the Rio Dulce and Lago de Izabal. Each itinerary offers activities ranging from snorkeling and relaxation to Mayan ruins and cultural attractions.
The Wonders of Belize & Guatemala itinerary departs Jan. 3 and Jan.30, 2009. The Belize, Barrier Reef & Guatemala itinerary departs Jan.16 and Feb. 27, 2009, while the Belize, Barrier Reef & Honduran Bay Islands itinerary departs Feb. 13 and Mar. 12, 2009.
Regularly, ACCL winter cruises are priced from $3,045 to $3,685 per person, double occupancy (not including port charges, optional tours, gratuities and fuel supplement). With these offers, you can save $456 to $552 per person, subject to cruise and cabin category.
In addition to the 15 percent discount, ACCL extends its "Bring Friends" program allowing extra savings of $500 per cabin if you book two cabins at the same time and at least one cabin's guests are new to the cruise line.
Single travelers get extra savings, too since ACCL waives the single supplement on select cabins. For the first time, some discounts can be combined on the Caribbean sailings.
ACCL extends the 15 percent booking offer on all American Heartland and Lake Champlain/Hudson River Revolutionary Trail sailings. This offer must be booked by Dec. 31, 2008.
American Canadian Caribbean Line or 800/556-7450.
Face-It Luggage Tags -- Your Face on Your Luggage|
There's no mistaking your luggage with the Face-It Luggage Tag. The durable, laminated tag displays your face and the phrase "This Face Belongs With This Luggage."
A Face-It Luggage tag makes it less likely for a stranger or thief to walk off with your luggage and helps you recognize your luggage at a glance in hotels or airports. Face-It Tags are also available for briefcases, portfolio books, backpacks, sporting equipment, musical instruments, bicycles and more.
Face-It Luggage Tags.
BOOK BY NOV. 15 - - Book Early and Save packages offer the best value for the 2008/09 winter season for skiing and snowboarding at Whistler, British Columbia, the official Host Mountain Resort for the 2010 Winter Games.
Booking early means value. You save up to 35 percent on accommodations and lift tickets, plus kids 12 and under ski and rent fr^ee if you book before Nov. 15, 2008. Five-night lodging and four-day lift packages start from $448 per person. Seven-night lodging and six-day lift packages start from $640 per person. And you can choose the hotel you want in Whistler Village, with its restaurants, shops and boutiques, and activities for the whole family.
New at Whistler Blackcomb this year is the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. Opening Dec. 12, 2008, it will move skiers and snowboarders between Whistler Blackcomb's two peaks in 11 minutes. The longest unsupported lift span in the world, the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola lets you quickly access the best snow and weather.
Book Early and Save packages or 800/944-7853.
The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, celebrates its 80th anniversary with a special rate this Thanksgiving holiday. Temperatures average a high of 70 degrees in November.
Nov. 26, 2008 through Nov. 30, 2008, you can enjoy a Thanksgiving Day feast, breakfast daily, unlimited golf, unlimited tennis court time, daily golf tournaments with prizes, planned recreation and activities for children, live entertainment nightly, turndown service and fr.ee newspapers each morning.
Rates range from $351 to $384 for a four-night package including accommodations. Rates are per night for double occupancy with a four-night minimum. Rates for the three-day package range from $367 to $399 per night for double occupancy with a three-night minimum.
For both packages, children under 11 years of age stay in the same room with their parents for fr^ee. Taxes and gratuities are included in package prices.
The oceanfront Ponte Vedra Inn & Club features 250 guest rooms and suites, two 18-hole golf courses, a tennis program, full-service spa, gym facility and boutiques. Activities include the use of a family pool, a 270-degree water slide, a children’s wading pool, swimming lessons, pedal boating, golf, tennis, lagoon fishing, sailing and horseback riding.
Ponte Vedra Inn & Club or 800/234-7842.
Protect Your Luggage with Baggage Guard Seals |
The pre-numbered, one-time use plastic padlocks are the perfect way to protect your luggage since they cannot be reinstalled once removed. That feature lets you instantly know if someone tampered with your luggage. Yet when TSAs at airports need to inspect your luggage, Baggage Guard Seals can be easily removed. A package of 10 Baggage Guard Seals is still only $9.95.
Click Here to Order from On The Go Publishing.
Nicholson Yacht Charters still offers summer rates for sailing around the island of the Caribbean, through Dec. 15, 2008. For fully crewed yachts, sail and power, weekly rates start from $4,000 for two.
Nicholson Yacht Charters has a selection of 96 sailing yachts and 38 motor yachts for fall charters throughout the Caribbean. These are all crewed yachts, with professional captains experienced in sailing Caribbean waters. The crew takes care of all the sailing, the formalities, and the organizing of trips ashore. Rates range from $4,000 for two passengers to $50,000 for 10 passengers.
For example, a 72-foot ketch for eight passengers rents for $12,000 per week (meals included), the same price as in July. In January 2009, the rate goes up to $18,000 for week.
Nicholson Yacht Charters or 800/662-6066.
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, in Naples FL, offers a “Sunset Romantic Getaway.”
The package includes accommodations for two nights, breakfast for two daily, dinner for two daily, reserved beach chairs and cabana daily for two, one hour of tennis, afternoon tea and cookies daily, a bottle of champagne, nightly turndown service and fre^e access to the spa and fitness center.
The package is priced from $810 per couple through Dec. 21, 2008; from $1,110 per couple Dec. 22, 2008 through Apr. 13, 2009; from $850 per couple Apr. 14 through May 25, 2009; and from $650 per couple May 26 to Oct.1, 2009.
With a Gulf-front setting blocks from shopping on 5th Avenue South and 3rd Street South, the hotel is Southwest Florida’s only beachfront resort with an on-site golf course, tennis center and spa.
Newly remodeled, the 318 rooms feature large closets, in-room refrigerator, two telephones with voicemail, modem access, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, in-room safe, flat-panel televisions, cable television, high-speed wireless Internet access, climate control, and security keycard. All rooms and suites include furnished balconies.
Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club or 800/237-7600.
The Inns of Elegance are six historic inns on or near the bay front in St.Augustine, FL. For 2009, they created a “Romance Is Inn the Air Honeymoon” contest, a four-night prize awarded to a couple every month throughout 2009.
The monthly grand prize, a $1,800 value, begins in January 2009. The four-night stay at one of the Inns of Elegance is offered Sunday thru Thursday. The prize also includes champagne and chocolate on upon arrival, two dinners for two, one lunch for two, Old Town Trolley tickets, Fountain of Youth tickets and a sunset schooner cruise.
To enter, submit a 200-word story about “Why Romance is Inn the Air in St. Augustine.” An entry form is online at the Inns of Elegance website. You must send your story by email to Inns of Elegance publicist Leigh Cort at email@example.com .
To enter, you must be 21 years or older. Winner cannot substitute or transfer prizes and prizes are not redeemable for cash. By accepting a prize, winners consent to use of their names and/or photographs for publicity without compensation.
Each month one story will be chosen. Submitted stories must include your name, address, telephone number and email. All submitted stories become the property of Inns of Elegance and will not be returned.
Stories will be judged on originality and reviewed by Inns of Elegance owners. Grand prize decisions are made solely by Inns of Elegance. The winner will be notified by telephone and email monthly throughout 2009.
Inns of Elegance.
Cheap Tix Chart
Buy Tickets at a Discount -- Special ticket outlets
sell discounted day-of-performance tickets to theater productions, films, and
sporting events. Discounts can be 50 percent or more. On The Go
Publishings Cheap Tix Chart, still only $14, lists outlets in the
U.S. and eight foreign cities that sell discounted, day-of-performance tickets.
Click here to order the Cheap Tix Chart from On The Go Publishing.
Pleasant Holidays features savings up to $550 per booking, including a $200 air credit, an early booking bonus and daily breakfast, for five-night stays at participating Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts in Mexico.
Five-night vacation packages, including roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations, begin at: $959 per person from San Francisco, $975 from Los Angeles, $989 from New York City, $995 from Dallas, $999 from Phoenix, $1005 from Houston, $1009 from Portland, $1045 from Seattle, $1049 from Chicago, and $1125 from Atlanta.
Rates are based on double occupancy and include roundtrip airfare, accommodations, all hotel taxes and surcharges, and on-site assistance from Pleasant Holidays' customer service representatives. Some restrictions and blackout dates may apply.
Participating Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts include Aqua Cancun; Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun; Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun; Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos; Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta; Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort; and Fiesta Americana Villas Acapulco.
Pleasant Holidays or 800/742-9244.
Twelve Indianapolis area attractions and local restaurants come together to give you the gift of something fr.ee during the 12 days leading up to Christmas. So, take advantage of this opportunity to share in savings of the season.
- Saturday, Dec. 13 - the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum gives you an up-close view of Indy’s auto racing history and heritage, including the Indianapolis 500. The museum has approximately 75 cars on display, including the 1911 race-winning Marmon "Wasp."
- Sunday, Dec. 14 - the President Benjamin Harrison Home gives you an inside look to the home of the 23rd U.S. president. The restored 1875 Italianate mansion, decorated for the holidays, will feature a 10-foot Christmas tree like the one the Harrisons had at the White House.
- Monday, Dec. 15 - the Indy Wine Trail gives to you a f.ree wine glass to accompany a sampling of vintages at seven participating wineries (until 6 p.m.).
- Tuesday, Dec. 16 - the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home open up the home of Indiana’s most beloved poet.
- Wednesday, Dec. 17 - the Morris-Butler House gives you a genuine Victorian Christmas at this historic landmark. Tour all three floors decorated for the holidays and learn about Victorian Christmas traditions.
- Thursday, Dec. 18 - the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Lilly House celebrates Winter Solstice with ice carving, music, film, cold-weather animals and art activities for the whole family.
- Friday, Dec. 19 - the Indiana Historical Society brings a “Holidays in the Heartland” display, with vignettes about Indiana Santas, holiday food traditions, Christmas tree decorations past and present, and winters in the Midwest.
- Saturday, Dec. 20 - the Indiana Medical History Museum lets you tour the nation’s oldest surviving pathology laboratory. The building originally provided physicians in the late 1800s with state-of-the-art facilities to study mental and nervous disorders.
- Sunday, Dec. 21 - the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art showcases one of the best Native American and Western art collections in the world, including traditional and contemporary works by artists such as T.C. Cannon, Georgia O’Keeffe and Kay Walkingstick.
- Monday, Dec. 22 - the Indiana State Museum brings you the "Santa Claus Express" train. Kids can visit with Santa for photos or stop by his workshop.
- Tuesday, Dec. 23 -select Indianapolis restaurants give you a fr^ee dessert with the purchase of an entrée.
- Wednesday, Dec. 24 - The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis offers Jolly Days with holiday favorites such as the Yule Slide, Jingles the Jolly Bear and visits with Santa.
Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association or 800/323-INDY.
This winter season, kids will sail for fr,ee when traveling with their parents on Costa Cruise Line. This value is available on all 12 sailings -- including Christmas and New Year's -- aboard the Costa Fortuna. The ship departs from Ft. Lauderdale on alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean routes each Sunday. Fares for parents begin at $669 per person.
Costa's children's program, or "Squok Club" (Squok is the plush mascot of the club, a dolphin/shark mix) offers activities such as treasure hunts, pizza parties, arts and crafts and pool games. Kids are separated into groups by age and evening programs are available so adults may have a "Parents' Night Out" or two during the cruise.
The Costa Fortuna features 1,359 cabins, 857 ocean view and 458 with large verandas. The ship offers 11 bars, four restaurants, a theater extending over three floors, three swimming pools, a casino, disco, ballroom and a gym.
Costa Cruise Line or 800/GO-COSTA.
Silky Travel Jewelry Roll
A must have for travelers. Our silky travel jewelry
roll comes in a random assortment of single-color jacquards, solid colors and two-color brocades.
This handy travel jewelry roll measures 8 1/2 x 11 inches when open and closes to a compact 8 1/2 x 4 inches.
Our exclusive design offers a place for everything with one deep pocket, a ring bar and three zippered compartments.
Price $40. Click here to order from On The Go Publishing.
The Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (ACCVA) will present the first-ever Atlantic City Restaurant Week.
Scheduled Mar. 1 through 7, 2009, Restaurant Week will showcase the area's best restaurants with fixed price lunches and dinners that make fine dining affordable. Lunches will be priced at $15 per person; dinners will be priced at $30 per person at participating restaurants -- far lower than the actual value.
Participating restaurants, chefs and menus will be featured on a Restaurant Week Web site and the week will be heavily promoted.
The Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority or 888/228-4748.
The Hotel Le Christopher on St.Barths reopens Nov. 10, 2008 and offers discounted rates from $136 per night double occupancy. The rate is valid through Dec. 20, 2008. During the holidays the same room costs $455 per night.
Le Christopher has 41 rooms and two suites. Only 15 rooms, with pool view are offered at the $136 a night rate. The low rate includes a buffet continental breakfast. All rooms come with a patio or terrace and overlook the gardens and the infinity pool or the Caribbean Sea.
Each room is air conditioned and has ceiling fans, traditional French Colonial mahogany furniture, teak patio loungers, satellite TV and mini fridge.
To get the $136 rate, you have to make a few small sacrifices. There is no turndown service and room service. There's no maid service on Sundays and the reception closes at 6p.m. daily. The hotel's restaurant serves lunch only, no dinner, Monday through Saturday. Because of its location, surrounded by private luxury villas rather than hotels, Le Christopher is no more than 10 minutes from any of the island's bistros and bars.
The hotel's rates are quoted in euros so this dollar amount may fluctuate.
Hotel Le Christopher.
Twisting roads, misty lakes and rolling hills swathed in every imaginable shade of green. There's much to explore in the countryside east of Knoxville, in Tennessee.
Sitting in rustic splendor on 60-some forested acres, the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, TN makes a perfect starting point for a journey of discovery. Sheep graze in a field near a beautiful cantilevered barn, ducks waddle in puddles left from a recent rain and old-time tunes from a clutch of musicians draw you in to one of the buildings..
Considered to be the most authentic and complete replica of pioneer Appalachian life in the country, this down-home authenticity, less than an hour from Knoxville, is due to John Rice Irwin. His impressive collection of more than 30 historic log buildings dot the living mountain village.
Besides the log chapel, gristmill, smokehouse and other buildings typical of a pioneering community, there are the Barn Museum, display barn and the Appalachian Hall of Fame, all filled with everyday items from colorful "mountain folk" including Col. Cooper's 1910 glass eye and "Uncle Henry's Peg Leg." The building that may be the pièce de résistance is a privy: a "two-holer" now one of the rarest structures in America.
Irwin started the museum by accident in the late 1960s when he bought an 1890s log house and furnished it by stalking flea markets and auctions or the barns and attics of family and friends. Irwin was a pack rat and curious locals came to see his cabin and its contents. The word spread and on Sundays after church, Irwin found lines of people waiting to see his cabin. So he began charging 50 cents for a tour.
As other log structures were acquired, all were moved to Irwin's land in Norris. About 100,000 people visit each year and pay $12.95 admission to see the collection that now includes baskets, toys, quilts, furniture, farm tools, pottery, paintings, guns and musical instruments.
About five miles northwest of the Museum, as the crow flies, Norris Lake's 34,000 acres touch on five Tennessee counties. The massive lake was formed by Norris Dam, located on the Clinch River. The 265-foot-tall damn was built in the 1930s by the Tennessee Valley Authority to provide electricity to a nation battered by the Great Depression.
With the dam, Norris Lake turns the Clinch and Powell rivers into a giant horseshoe-shaped body of water with 750 miles of shoreline, 50 miles of island shoreline and plenty of secluded coves.
One of the state parks on Norris Lake is Norris Dam State Park, began in 1933 as the first Tennessee Valley Authority project. Like many other state parks, Norris Dam State Park has miles of trails through deeply forested valleys and ridges; picnic spots; recreational fields for badminton, volleyball, basketball; camping, cabins and RV sites; and a swimming pool.
What really sets Norris Dam State Park is the Lenoir Museum Cultural Complex on the grounds of the state park. The Lenoir Museum houses thousands of items collected for more than 60 years by Will G. Lenoir. He collected everyday objects to preserve the ingenuity of everyday life in the mountains and hollers so changing times would not wipe out this legacy. Lenoir cared as much for the stories of the people as their items and shared his own stories with museum visitors until his death at 97.
Collections include a 18th-century gristmill, kitchen implements from an early 19th-century homestead and a pre-dam pictorial account of the area submerged by the lake. The prize piece may be the barrel organ "music box" with 125 pipes and 45 moving carved wooden figures. During its restoration, a German newspaper dated 1826 was found inside. The organ plays 10 tunes with 110 wood pipes. Turn one hand crank and four stages of figures perform with 44 figures in action.
The cultural complex includes the Caleb Crosby Threshing Barn. The barn and threshing machine were originally built by Caleb Crosby in the 1830s and stood along the north bank of the Holston River for about 100 years. Oxen once generated the power for the threshing machine. But the barn would be flooded by the Cherokee Dam, so the family donated it to the National Park Service. The dismantled timbers were sheltered for 34 years until Tennessee state park officials recognized the value of the barn and reconstructed it at its present site in 1978.
Originally built in 1798 along Lost Creek, the Rice Grist Mill is another building in the cultural complex. Operated by four generations of the Rice family, at times the mill was rigged to power a sawmill, a cotton gin, a trip hammer and even to supply electric lights for the Rice home in 1899. Standing on land that was to be flooded by Norris Dam, much of the mill was reassembled at its present site. The mill still grinds corn meal in the summer.
You get a taste of much older history at Fort Loudoun State Park. In the 1750s, the state of Tennessee and the United States didn't exist. The area now known as Monroe County was at the fringes of the British empire in North America.
In 1756 South Carolina's colonial government built Fort Loudoun, one of the earliest British fortifications on the western frontier. During the French and Indian War (1754-1763) England was at war with France and South Carolina felt threatened by French activities in the Mississippi Valley. The fort was in the heart of Cherokee territory near the principal Cherokee towns of Tenase, namesake of the state and Tuskegee. The fort was to ally the Cherokee Nation against the French and continue trade between the Cherokee and South Carolina.
For a year or so, relations were cordial between the colonial soldiers and the Cherokee. Trade occurred on almost a daily basis. A few Cherokee war parties fought skirmishes against the French. In 1758 relations broke down when the British general ordered his men to stop trading arms and gunpowder with the Cherokee. The Cherokees retaliated and refused to trade food with the soldiers. In 1760, the British surrendered the fort as the people inside were starving.
A replica fort is at the 1,200-acre Fort Loudoun State Historic Park. It’s as close to the original as possible with the wood-pole walls slanted outward, to make them harder to climb and a living, thorny Honey Locust wall as a first line of defense to keep the Cherokees from invading the fort. But the view is not what it was in the 1750s. The fort is now flanked by Tellico Lake instead of Cherokee villages.
When you visit Fort Loudoun, start with the visitor's center. There are exhibits and a diorama of the fort that shows what life was like in a British fort 250 years ago with weapons and tools; cutlery and bottles; clothing and furniture on display.
The visitor's center also tells about the Cherokee villages. A display of one of those villages, Tuskegee, produced a blacksmith named Sequoyah, famous for producing the Cherokee alphabet.
Which brings us to Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, which sits on the southern end of an island in Tellico Lake, due south from Fort Loudoun State Historic area grounds. The museum, owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, is Tennessee's only tribally owned historic attraction. It preserves the contribution of Sequoyah, the son of a Virginia fur trader and a Cherokee chief's daughter, who invented a writing system for the Cherokee's oral language. Visitors can hear Cherokee myths and legends, examine the Cherokee syllabary that took Sequoyah 12 years to develop, and learn about the history and culture of the Cherokee.
But the museums tells a broader story as displays, artifacts and videos trace 8,000 years of life in the Little Tennessee River valley. Exhibits are on a time line and begin with American Indian mythology and end with the U.S. government removing the Cherokee to Oklahoma during the 1830s. Pottery, projectile points and photographs are among the artifacts that tell the story of the "Trail of Tears."
Frank H. McClung Museum - A general-interest museum on the University of Tennessee campus that's easy to overlook. The permanent exhibits include archaeology and native people of Tennessee; geology and fossil history of Tennessee, the Civil War in Knoxville, decorative arts, human origins and ancient Egypt
A mummy and his elaborate coffin, known as a sarcophagus, are on display. The mummified remains are of Djed-Khons-Iwef-Ankh, a young priest who likely lived in high society along the Nile River about 1,000 B.C. He was wrapped in high-quality linen and buried with amulets inside his body and a stone scarab on his chest. Djed has facial features similar to the ancient Egyptian high priests now displayed in Cairo's royal mummy collection.
For most people, a visitor's center as an attraction doesn't seem logical. Sure, you stop for directions, advice or brochures, but usually that's all. Well here's a new experience - stop by the Visitor Center in downtown Knoxville weekdays for the free WDVX Blue Plate Special, a live, noon-time music performance.
It's an old-time radio show, played before a live audience, in the studio of WDVX-FM, a community station that shares space with the city's visitors center. It all happens in one room, where you can get coffee, freshly baked goods, lunch and crafts. Expect a crowd as the 50 or so chairs that circle a small platform that serves as a stage fill quickly. The overflow crowd vies for space against the walls or in a doorway. Behind the small platform stage is the Blue Plate Wall of Fame. Dozens of actual blue plates hang here, each decorated with a photo of musicians who played here. Behind the stage and through the plate glass is the on-air announcer.
WDVX has been named best bluegrass station in the country several times, but the grass-roots radio station features performers doing country, blues, swing, gospel, Celtic, and rock. You never know who you'll get; one day it's a regional group that writes and sings their songs, the next it can be a nationally known performer. It's fun, refreshing and a nice change from today's computer programmed and operated radio shows.
East Tennessee Historical Society - - Prominent Knoxville civic leaders established the East Tennessee Historical Society in 1834, which is still dedicated to researching, preserving, interpreting and presenting the region's history and culture. Not your run-of-the mill museum, it occupies the Old Custom House, a downtown 1874 building that was the first Federal building in the city.
As you walk in, it may seem more like a library than a museum with a person sitting at the front desk. The main level has a permanent urban street-scape of East Tennessee from the early 1900s. The street-scape includes the corner drug store, which now is nearly a thing of the past, with its display of medicines and remedies from a bygone era . Near the drug store stands Streetcar No. 416, an original streetcar that once ran in Knoxville and still welcome kids and grown ups to climb aboard. Or you can step into the dentist's office and see an original foot-powered dental drill.
Now complete, but still in the building process during my visit, "Voices of the Land: The People of East Tennessee" is the permanent and signature exhibit of the East Tennessee Historical Society. The voices can speak out in videos or audio clips or rows of photos and portraits of famous, infamous and everyday folk on the walls. The exhibit is divided into themes and chronological sections, starting with prehistoric cultures and artifacts dating to 10,000 B.C. and ending at the 1982 World's Fair.
For more information, contact theTennessee Department of Tourist Development .
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Starting late November and through Apr. 1, 2009, Spring Creek Ranch’s “Ski Fr,ee” package starts at $295 per night, a savings of more than 30 percent. The rate is based on double occupancy and does not include tax and gratuities. A four night minimum stay applies
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Located outside of Jackson and overlooking Jackson Hole Valley, the 1,000-acre Spring Creek Ranch features stone fireplaces and hand-made lodge pole pine furniture. Accommodations include suites, studios with full kitchens, two- and three-bedroom condominiums and executive homes.
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