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Archive for October, 2010

Scaring up Business

Posted: October 26th, 2010 by

Scarecrow flickr photo by Randy Son of Robert

In this day and economy it takes ingenuity to get your fair share of business, so it comes as no surprise that using ‘scarecrows’ to scare up business is a sure fire way to get attention.  It appears that merchants, Steve and Sue Marrazzo, owners of Simple Gestures Gift Shop and Art Gallery, who originated the concept in St. Augustine, Florida, are not only calling attention to their own business located on Anastasia Boulevard in the oldest city of America, but their idea has bloomed all along the Boulevard and throughout St. Augustine, as merchants of all types have climbed on board this newest marketing tactic.

Most famous scarecrow of them all can be seen at Oz Park - Flickr photo by ikrichter

About ten scarecrows are having a picnic at the R. B. Hunt Elementary School, while a tattered scarecrow is encouraging residents to get their flu shot at Island Doctors establishment.  This phenomenon has now blossomed into a daylong event that recently took place on October 16th, considered an old-fashioned fall fun day.  Hats off to the Marrazzo’s for coming up with a simple but fun solution in attracting would-be customers, and what could be better than to turn it into an activity for a charitable cause that will no doubt bring a smile to many faces

St. Augustine is already known for its fall activities, especially those affiliated with Halloween and all things that go bump in the night.  First there is the Ripley’s Halloween Ghost Trail where you can board a Ghost Train, visit a variety of haunts, call on spirits from days gone by and just have an eerie good time.  This begins on October 16th and goes through Halloween.  Then, beginning October 26th-31st, Halloween-Haunted St. Augustine is everywhere with ghost walk tours, hayrides, trick or treat parties and just a ghoulish good time for all.

Thinking of Halloween brings to mind “haunted happenings” in Massachusetts, especially Salem where you can take a ghost cruise, be introduced to Italian witchcraft, experience ghosts in 3-D, tour Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery, tremble as you walk about the haunted neighborhood of the Salem Wax Museum, don your one-eyed mask as you visit the New England Pirate Museum, and learn all about witches at the Salem Witch Museum.

Ghost tours are available (not just at Halloween) in New Orleans cemeteries - Flickr photo by benswing

Let’s not forget New Orleans, Louisiana, where you can take your pick of a ghost, voodoo or vampire tour as well as visiting numerous haunted cemeteries.

Although these tours are popular tourist attractions, it sounds kind of spooky to me — Happy Halloween . . .

Jackolantern - Flickr photo by euart

Touring America’s Safest Cities . . .

Posted: October 20th, 2010 by


New York City's Brooklyn Bridge - Flickr photo by Francisco Diez

An article, recently published by Forbes appeared on Yahoo, citing America’s safest ‘top 10’ cities.  Criteria used to formulate this list included stats from 2008 and 2009, and was based on population (250,000+); violent crimes per 100,000 residents and traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents.  If you missed the article, you can read all about it here: http://www.forbes.com/2010/10/11/safest-cities-america-crime-accidents-lifestyle-real-estate-danger.html

Here are three of those cities; beginning in the far Northwest  with #2, Portland, Oregon; then in the heartland of America, #5, Omaha, Nebraska and ending up on the East coast is New York City, ranked #6.

Your travels begin in Pioneer Square - Flickr photo by phillie casablanca

According to www.travelportland.com, Portland is “big on livability, big on visit-ability, and is very accessible.”  One of Portland’s key attractions is the Pioneer Courthouse Square, considered the “4th Best Public Space in the World.”  At one time a school was located on the square as well as a hotel.  Located in downtown Portland, Pioneer Courthouse Square is ‘affectionately known as the city’s living room,” and boasts of more than 300 events a year.

Waterfall in Pioneer Square - Flickr photo by anne.oeldorfhirsch

Another key attraction in Portland is the Portland Art Museum, which was founded in the 1890’s, and “houses permanent collections that include Northwest Coastal Indian art, Chinese artifacts and European and Classical art.”   

While in Portland you might also want to visit the International Rose Test Gardens and the Pittock Mansion, built in 1914.  To get details and check ou the top 10 attractions in Portland, click on this link: http://www.10best.com/destinations/oregon/portland/attractions/best-attractions-activities/

Cousin Joe can be found at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha - Flickr photo by jan-tik

Traveling further east we visit Omaha, Nebraska, the 5th safest city on Forbes list.   After touring the 31-acre “Heartland of America Park,”located in downtown Omaha, you won’t want to miss taking a fun boat ride on the General Marion Boat for only a quarter! Before you climb on board though, be sure to take in the natural beauty of the lake and their two fountains (shooting water more than 300 feet into the air) as part of this phenomenal downtown attraction.  The whole family will also enjoy the Henry Doorly Zoo, considered one of America’s best (where you can visit Cousin Joe), and the Strategic Air & Space Museum.  Why not check out their great attractions here: http://www.omaha.world-guides.com/omaha_attractions.html.

Heartland of America Park is a key attraction in Omaha - Flickr photo by connermajik

New York City with 8.4 million residents came in at #6 on America’s Safest Cities list.  Wow, where does one start?  After all, New York City “has it all,” including historic landmarks, Broadway, theaters, hundreds of museums and too many attractions to list.  Visiting this website might be a good place to start.  http://www.mustseenewyork.com/attractions.html

New York City skyline - Flickr photo by vtravelled

A few key attractions that you don’t want to miss include the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, Madame Tussaud’s, Radio City Music Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Statue of Liberty, Times Square and the World Trade Center site and more than 60 other great places to visit.