Category Archives: Uncategorized

Alpine Coaster Oberammergau: Thrills for the Entire Family!

Alpine Coaster OberammergauThe Alpine coaster Oberammergau is a thrill ride (with a view!) for the entire family.   You ride the coaster in a cart on the world’s longest weatherproof toboggan run with a magnet system. How would I know? I’ve done it myself, and I don’t even like roller coasters!

 

What You Need to Know about the Alpine Coaster Oberammergau

 

Alpine Coaster Oberammergau

chair lift to the coaster

 

First, purchase a ticket for both the chair lift and the alpine coaster.   Then, you’ll take the chair lift (like the ones at a ski resort) for a ride up the mountain, where you’ll board the coaster at the top. The chair lift ride is incredibly scenic.  Looking forward, you’ll get lovely views of the forest and mountain, and looking behind you, you’ll see the gorgeous Bavarian countryside and Alps.

 

Once at the top, you’ll transfer over to a cart to ride the Alpine coaster.   Here are the details:

  • The coaster features a modern, magnetic break system. You control the brakes, which are levers that are located on both sides of the cart.

 

  • Seat belts are required for safety.

 

  • The fastest that you can go is 25 miles per hours, and believe me, that’s fast enough!

    Alpine Coaster Oberammergau

    rear view from the chair left

 

  • Each cart seats either a single user, an adult and a child, or a taller adult and a smaller adult. If two people are going in one cart, one person sits inside the legs of the other. Be aware that the smaller person must sit in the front.  My fiancée and I went in one cart, but one of us is much taller than the other.

 

  • Children ages 3 and up can only ride with an adult.
Alpine Coaster Oberammergau

where you board the coaster

 

 

  • Children age 8 and taller than 4 feet 7 inches (1,40m) can ride alone.

 

 

  • The track is an 8,530 foot (2,600 m) slide, with many twists and turns, that goes down the side of the mountain. There are not any huge rises and falls, like on a roller coaster; it’s more like a toboggan run.

 

Are You Hesitant to Ride?

I definitely was too! I don’t enjoy roller coasters, and I’m afraid of heights. I went on the Alpine coaster because my Alpine Coaster Oberammergaufiancée really wanted to.   We rode in one cart because I was too scared to go on my own. I would highly recommend riding together if you’re scared. Let the other person control the breaks and tell them you don’t want to go very fast. I made it through just fine, although I did close my eyes around many of the turns!   My fiancée absolutely loved it, and took another ride by himself.  You can check out the video below that my fiancée took of a portion of his ride.  It will give you a sense of what to expect.  My advice to you . . . Do it!  If I did it, so can you.  It’s a vacation experience you won’t forget and will regret not doing, if you don’t go.

 

Location of the Alpine Coaster Oberammergau

***Be sure to check the park’s website before you go. Hours can very from month to month and are weather dependent.

The Alpine Coaster Oberammergau is located at Kreislainenweg, 82487 in Oberammergau. The park is right off highway B23 but can be a bit tricky to find if you don’t have a GPS or a cell phone with the internet. If you have internet access on your cell phone, click on the map below to get driving directions.   If not, print the directions and a map of the turns near the park before you leave. There is one tricky turn in which you’ll have to go under the highway to enter the park.

Alpine Coaster oberammergau

Other Activities at the Park

From June to early November, the park also features a ropes course, playground, and hiking trails. In the winter, a ski facility operates on site.

 

Other Activities in the Area

Here are my guides for other destinations near the Alpine coaster:

Video of Alpine Coaster Oberammergau

Here’s the video that my fiancée took of a portion of his solo ride.  It will let you know what to expect in your ride.

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Fussen: A Guide to Your Home Base for Exploring Southern Bavaria

Fussen GermanyFussen is a town in southern Bavaria that makes an excellent home base for travelers who want to explore Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles or the Bavarian Alps, in general. The area around Fussen is gorgeous with the Alps all around you and the German countryside at your doorstep.  Fussen has only a few attractions in its own right, but its convenient location and many services make it an attractive place to spend one or more nights. Tourists have many hotels, b&bs, and apartments to choose from, and the plethora of restaurants, cafes, shops, and gelato stands make for relaxing evenings after long days of sightseeing.  Here are my recommendations for where to stay, what to see, where to eat, and what day trips to take.

 

Where to Stay in Fussen

Fussen Germany

Mein lieber Schwan

While in Fussen, we stayed at Mein lieber Schwan, an Art Noveau home that’s now divided into a series of four apartments rented by a local family, who also lives in the house. They also own another building in town that contains two other apartments. We spent three nights in the Leda apartment, which was exceptionally large for European standards, nicely decorated with German antiques, and very comfortable. Our apartment had a bedroom, living room, eat in kitchen (with all of the appliances and amenities that you would ever need!), bathroom, and balcony with Alpine views. The apartment was exceptionally quiet and very reasonably priced. There is one free, but tight, parking space available, but instead, we chose to park (for a fee) at the nearby garage, located under the Theresienhof Shopping Mall. The apartment is located on a small side street in the middle of town, with less than a 5 minute walk to restaurants, cafes, and shops.

 

Sites in Fussen

Early evening is a nice time to walk around town to take in the sites. You’ll see everything in less than an hour. Here are the highlights.  For a map of these locations, see the “locations” section below.

 

  • In the center of town are Hotel Hirsch, a pleasant garden, and interesting water sculptures. Across the main street is one of only two stone towers from Fussen’s medieval town walls.

    Fussen Germany

    Church of the Holy Spirit

Fussen Germany

medieval tower

  • Head down to the Lech Riverbank for a lovely walk, along Flosser and Stadtbleiche Streets.

 

  • Stop at the Church of the Holy Spirit to take a look at its painted façade.

 

  • Step inside the gates of a former monastery to see what’s now the Fussen Heritage Museum. Even if you won’t want to go inside the museum, step into the courtyard for a look.

 

  • Climb up the hill to see the best sites in Fussen: St. Magnus Basilica and the High Castle. The former home and church of the Bishop of Augsburg dominate the landscape and provide amazing views of town. Be sure to walk into the castle’s courtyard to see how it’s painted to make flat walls look 3D.

 

Eating in Fussen

 

Dinner

Fussen Germany

Fussen Heritage Museum

For dinner, I highly recommend the following reasonably priced restaurants in Fussen. We ate at both and enjoyed our food and experience tremendously!  Both also have menus available in English and other languages.

  • Restauarant Ritterstub’n – excellent authentic German food – if the weather is nice, sit in the cozy courtyard in the back

 

  • Schenke & Wirtshaus – delicious traditional Bavarian dishes in very German setting

 

Dessert

Eiscafe Hohes Scholoss (Gelato/Italian Ice Cream) – serves the best gelato in town. We went there all three nights that we were in Fussen!  And if you’re dairy free, like me, they offer a large variety of delicious sorbets (sorbettos).

 

Breakfast

Fussen Germany

Clock Tower of the High Castle

For breakfast, we choose to eat on the go.   Each day, we stopped into the local REWE supermarket (located in the Theresienhof Shopping Mall) and bought freshly baked bread (they have a whole counter of bread and pastries baked in store!), German sandwich meats, fruits, and snacks to have a delicious meal to take with us. The market also sells pre-made sandwiches at the bread counter in the front of the store.

 

Day Trips from Fussen

Fussen is a less than 10 minute drive to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles. This is extremely convenient because you’ll want to arrive at the castles when they open to avoid the hordes of tourists and tour buses that descend on the site by 9/10:00AM.

 

Driving distance from Fussen to other destinations:

  • Oberammergau & Ettal Monastery – 1 hour
  • Zugspitze – 1 hour

    Fussen Germany

    statue of St. Magnus in Fussen

  • Mittenwald – 90 minutes

 

Please see my other guides to destinations nearby Fussen:

 

Locations in Fussen

I have placed all of the locations listed above on a Google My Map that you can access by clicking here.

Alternatively, click on the names of any of the locations below to be taken to specific walking directions.

Mien lieber Schwan is located Augustenstrasse 3 .

Hotel Hirsch and the medieval tower are located at .

The Fussen Heritage Museum is located at .

The Church of the Holy Spirit is located at

St. Magnus Basilica and the High Castle are located at

Restauarant Ritterstub’n is located at

Schenke & Wirtshaus is located at

Eiscafé Hohes Schloss is located at Reichenstrasse 14.

The REWE supermarket is located at .

 

 

 

 

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Things to Do in Tampa: The Henry Plant Victorian Hotel Museum

Henry Plant Museum

Minaret of the Henry Plant Museum

If you’re visiting Tampa, Florida, then you’re probably enjoying a vacation of fun in the sun. Did you know that people have been visiting Tampa for its wonderful tropical weather since the late 1800’s? You can see how these rich “high rollers” of the past spent their vacation days at a former opulent Victorian hotel that’s now a museum. And it’s right in the heart of downtown Tampa!  Visit the Henry Plant Museum.

 

From 1891 to 1932, Henry B. Plant, a railroad and steamship millionaire, operated a grand hotel for the rich in the new, rustic resort known as Tampa. Today, the former hotel is the Henry Plant Museum, where you can explore what it was like to stay at this sumptuous, state-of-the-art resort.  Henry Plant spent $2.5 million dollars to build the hotel and then traveled through Europe to collect $500,000 worth of furniture, antiques, and collectables to decorate it.  His hotel was the lap of luxury and featured splendors that were almost unknown at the time, including electricity, telephones, and private bathrooms in each room!  Visit a recreated suite and learn how guests were pampered and waited on hand and foot.  Wander through room after room of fascinating artifacts and displays about how visitors were lavishly entertained (by celebrities!), wined, and dined.  If you love Downtown Abbey, you’ll be in heaven at this hotel museum!

 

Henry Plant MuseumWhen you’re finished exploring the Henry Plant Museum, you can wander through the remainder of the hotel, which is now used by the University of Tampa as an administration building.  Don’t forget to take pictures of the glistening, metallic minarets and sweeping, exquisitely carved verandas. Sit for a spell, close your eyes, and imagine yourself as a Victorian gentleman or lady enjoying your tropical vacation. Now that’s the life!

 

Getting hungry? How about some Cuban food?   La Bamba is a Cuban restaurant frequented and beloved by locals. The food is as good and plentiful as eating in your Henry Plant Museumabuela’s kitchen. Don’t be put off by the exterior, which makes the restaurant appear to be an office building.   Grab a tray, get in line at the cafeteria-style kitchen, and allow the staff to explain to you the variety of meals available that day. Your taste buds will be as happy as your wallet, because meals are only $7.00!  Just be aware that his hidden gem is only open for breakfast and lunch (closing at 3:00), so fit it into your plans accordingly. You won’t be disappointed!

 

If you’d like to make a day out of your time in Tampa, I suggest visiting the 56-acre Lowry Park Zoo. In 2009, it was voted as the #1 family zoo in America by the readers of USA Today!   The zoo is divided into “park areas” including, but not limited to, Wallaroo Station, Safari Africa, primate world, Asian gardens, and the Florida wildlife center. There are also rides for kids and animal shows. My favorite part is feeding the giraffes!

 

Locations

 

The Henry B. Plant Museum is located at 401 West Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa, Florida. It’s located on the grounds of the University of Tampa. Free parking is available in the adjacent admissions lot (ask for a parking pass inside the museum).  Click on the map for directions.

La Bamba Restaurant is located at 4815 West Laurel Street in Tampa.  Click on the map for directions.

The Lowry Park Zoo is located at 1101 West Sligh Avenue in Tampa.  Click on the map for directions.

 

What to do in Tampa Florida

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Rockport, Massachusetts: Classic New England

Rockport Massachusetts

Rockport Harbor

If you’re looking for a picture perfect, classic New England town, then Rockport, Massachusetts is the destination for you. Located just one hour north of Boston, Rockport is an easy day trip that offers seacoast charm, fun shopping, tasty seafood, and colorful art. 

 

Bearskin Neck Rockport Massachusetts

Bearskin Neck

Most of the action in Rockport centers around Bearskin Neck, a long street of old fisherman and lobster shacks that have been transformed into a picturesque shopper’s alley.  You won’t find any name bands here; it’s all local artists and owners.  So you can truly shop locally, and there’s something for everyone, from nautical gifts, to soaps and silversmiths, to home and kitchen accessories.  One of my favorite stops is Rusty and Ingrid, where you can purchase fine art screen prints that are sketched and created entirely in-store.  On my last visit, Rusty kindly offered to show us how he and his wife make each screen print by hand.  It’s a fascinating process, and I couldn’t resist buying two prints before leaving.  I also recommend the Rockport Candle Company where all the candles are hand-poured and where you’ll find inventive scents like Salt Water Taffy, Buttered Lobster, Summer Crush, and Cocktails by the Sea. When you’re done shopping, head all the way to the end of Bearskin Neck for incredible views and a walk out onto the rock jetty.

 

Roy Moore Lobster Rockport Massachusetts

Roy Moore’s Lobster Co.

Helmut's Strudel Rockport Massachusetts

Helmut’s Strudel

Feeling hungry?  Rockport has many options for dining and dessert.  If you’re craving seafood, head over to Roy Moore’s Lobster Company.  You have two options: a full service restaurant (called Roy Moore’s Fish Shack) or the seafood market and eatery.  Today, we went for takeout, ordering a lobster roll, fish cakes, and stuffed clams and then walking to the end of Bearskin Neck to sit on the rocks and enjoy the scenery.  Who needs fine dining with these kind of ocean views?!  For dessert, you could get ice cream, but I would recommend the apple or cherry strudel from Helmut’s Strudel Shop.  During our last trip, we split a flaky delicious cherry strudel and savored every bite.  Of course I ended up with powdered sugar all over me, but it was well worth it!

 

If you have a sweet tooth and are looking for something to bring home, then stop in at Tuck’s Candy Factory.  They’ve been making candy on the premises since 1929, so you know it’s got to be good!  There are two locations: one combines a candy counter and fun gift shop, while the other is strictly candy.  At the latter, you might even catch them making salt water taffy, a classic New England treat! 

 

Looking for other activities in Rockport?  Try these add-ons:

  • ·      Fit in some beach time.  Front Beach is on Main St, while Pebble Beach is on Penzance Rd.  Both are very small (so you’ll likely have a lot of company), and the latter is quite rocky.  But they’re a close choice to cool off.

 

  • ·      Visit the Paper House.  It’s a house made entirely out of newspapers!  Don’t ask me why.  Just go because you know you’re curious now!

 

  • ·      Spend some time at Halibut Point State Park.  It was a once a quarry but now offers easy trails with incredible cliff and ocean views.   

 

 

  • See a concert or live music act at the Shalin Liu Performance Center.  There’s no back stage here, just a stunning view of the ocean through huge windows right behind the performers.  See their schedule by clicking here.

 

 

Locations

Rusty and Ingrids is located at 11 Main St.

Jetty Rockport Massachusetts

Jetty at the End of Bearskin Neck

The Rockport Candle Company is located at 45 Bearskin Neck.

Roy Moore Lobster Company and Eatery (take out or plastic tables) is located at 39 Bearskin Neck, while Ray Moore’s Fish Shack (restaurant) is at 21 Dock Square.

Helmut’s Strudel Shop bakes and sells at 60 Bearskin Neck.

Tuck’s Candy Factory has two locations: gifts and candy at 15 Main St. and the other that sells strictly candy at 7 Dock Square.

The Paper House is located on 52 Pigeon Hill St.

Halibut Point State Park is located on Gott Avenue in Rockport.

The Shalin Liu Peformance Center holds shows at 37 Main St. in Rockport.

 

Rockport Massachusetts Map

Click the map for driving directions to Rockport.

 

What to do in Rockport Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quebec City’s Top Sites: Old Europe in the New World

If you can’t jet set across the pond to visit Europe, then set your compass north and travel to Quebec City instead. This historic provincial capital has the charm of a European city at a quarter of the cost.   The French-speaking natives will make you feel like you’re a continent away, and the food will make you feel like you’re in heaven! Here are my top six destinations to add to your Québécois itinerary.

#6 Fallin’ for These Falls

Montmorency FallsLocated just 15 minutes outside of Quebec City, Montmorency Falls are almost 100 feet (30 meters) higher than those at Niagara! The falls are located at the mouth of the Montmorency River where it breathtakingly drops over a cliff to empty into the St. Lawrence. You can climb a staircase up to the falls, but I would recommend taking the cable car instead.   At the top, a suspension bridge offers access to both sides of the surrounding park and allows for some incredible views. We visited when the cable car was closed, but we still enjoyed amazing views. Before going, check the website for the hours of operation. Even if you can’t make the ascent in the cable car, seeing this natural wonder is definitely worth the short trip.

#5 One of the Best Meals of My Life

Au Grain de FolieOne morning, we were browsing through a gift shop in Quebec, and the friendly sales clerk asked where we were from. Hearing that we weren’t locals, she asked if we needed any advice about places of interest or restaurants. I’m always eager to hear from locals about the best places to eat. When you’re traveling, you want to dine where the locals do because the food will be better, and often cheaper, than at restaurants frequented by tourists. She raved about a restaurant located across the river that served farm to table food at reasonable prices. Need she say more?!  We got in our rental car and made the 30 minute drive across the St. Lawrence River to the city of Levis, located directly opposite Quebec.

Au Grain de Folie Bistro (which roughly translates to “to the grain of madness” – how cute!) is a tiny restaurant that serves food with a huge flavor punch! The menu, which is written in chalk on the wall, changes with what is available at local farms. If you can’t speak French, don’t worry! The friendly and helpful wait staff will translate for you (as they did for us) and offer suggestions regarding courses and wines. The chef, who frequently visits with tables, is masterful and prepares food that is out of this world. We ordered several courses, and by the end of dinner, practically had to wheel ourselves out of there because we ate so much. I am not exaggerating when I stated in the title that it was one of the best meals of my life. If you’re in Quebec City and you have a car, make the short drive to this restaurant. Your taste buds will be glad that you did!  As a bonus, you’ll even get a lovely view of Quebec City from the small park across the street.

 

#4 La Citadelle: Stormin’ the Fort & Changin’ the Guard

Citadelle de Quebec Quebec City is built high up on the promontory known as Cape Diamond for good reason; it needed to be protected from attack by the British and, later, those pesky Americans (he,he). The walls surrounding the Old City are the oldest in the Americas, north of Mexico, and are, in their own right, a UNESCO world heritage site. After the War of 1812, the British, who then ruled Canada, knew they needed to shore up the defenses of Quebec, and so they built a state-of-the-art fort, La Citadelle, which was completed in 1850. Today, La Citadelle is the largest fortress in North America, a functioning military installation, and a viceregal residence. The fascinating tour (available in French or English) takes you through over 300 years of the history of Quebec and introduces you to some of the traditions of the Royal 22nd Regiment, which garrisons the fort even today. For you royal watchers, you can also tour the Quebec City from the Citadelresidence of the Governor-General, Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Canada.  Even better yet, you can see the Changing of the Guard daily at 10AM, from June 24 to Labor Day, right at La Citadelle. No need to go to Buckingham Palace to see royal soldiers in crimson uniforms and bearskin hats!  If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of Batisse, a goat that is the royal mascot of the regiment. Now, that’s a photo that you’re not going to get anywhere else! Speaking of photo-ops, the ramparts of the fort provide spectacular views of Quebec City and the Chateau Frontenac. So bring your cameras for the urban and hircine views.

#3,2,1 A Shopping, History, and Food Tour of the Oldest Part of Quebec

Quebec City FunicularWhile the Old City is beautiful, with its picturesque gateways and massive stone ramparts, it’s actually not the oldest part of Quebec. For that, you have to go to the Basse-Ville, or Lower City, and the most enjoyable way to get there is to take the funicular.   Head up towards the Chateau Frontenac, and you’ll see signs for the funicular, which has been operating since 1879 (don’t worry, it was renovated in 2004!). The funicular is a type of cliff railway that takes you from the upper city to the lower city. It’s a fun trip for adults and kids alike.

Quarter Petit Champlain Quebec Stepping off the funicular, you’ve arrived in Quartier Petit Champlain. Named after the founder of the city, this charming neighborhood of shops and restaurants is the oldest commercial district in North America. Spend some time exploring the boutiques. One of my favorites is Sculpteur Flamand, at 49 Rue du Petit-Champlain, the only shop in the city that specializes in wood sculptures. Everything there is made by hand, and you can often see the artisans at work.  On our last visit, we bought several gifts, and a little something for ourselves as a souvenir of the city. If you’re hungry, and it’s breakfast time, I recommend La Cochon Dingue at 46 Boulevard Champlain.

 

Place Royale Quebec Once you’ve shopped to your heart’s content, you should be ready for a little history. Take the short walk (see the map below) to the historic Musee de la Place Royale Quebeccenter of Quebec, the Place Royale. It was there in 1608, that Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Quebec as the capital of New France. You can learn all about the early history of the city in the Musee de la Place Royale (and dress up in period costume like I did!), visit the oldest stone church in North America (Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, 1688) and take some lovely photos of the picture perfect square.

 

Marche du Vieux-Port QuebecMarket of the Old Port Quebec The last stop on our tour of the Lower City is the Marche du Vieux-Port, or Market of the Old Port. At the market you can find a huge variety of local food products, from maple syrup to fresh produce to fine wines. Snack your way through the market, do some shopping for gifts, or pack up a French picnic lunch.  A “must-eat” is a sausage from So-Cho: Le Saucissier, which makes a terrific quick lunch or tasty snack. Also, keep your eyes open for a chocolate stand that sells homemade marshmallows. They’re magnifique!

 

Locations

 

Montmorency Falls is located at 5300 Boulevard Sainte-Anne in Quebec.  Click on the map for directions.

Au Grain de Folie Bistro is located at 2286 Chemin du Fleuve in Levis. Click on the map for directions.

 

The Quartier Petit Champlain is located at 61 Rue du Petit Champlain in Quebec. The best way to get there is to take the funicular, as described above.

 

The Place Royal is located at 27 Rue Notre Dame in Quebec. Click on the map for directions.

 

The Marche du Vieux-Port is located at 160 Quai Saint-André in Quebec. Click on the map for directions.

 

 

What to do in Quebec City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Salem Willows: An Afternoon of Old-Fashioned Entertainment

Since I was a little boy, I’ve been going to Salem Willows Park and Arcade, although it’s been in existence for muchSalem Willows Arcade longer, since 1858! Located just 10 minutes from downtown Salem, the Willows, as locals call it, offers a plethora of activities for both young and old alike. Our first stop is always the arcade, which features both modern and classic games, including our favorite, skee-ball!  Collect tickets to cash in for fun trophies . . . err . . . prizes, as mementos of your day.

Clam Shack Salem Getting hungry? While there are plenty of food options, including pizza, Chinese, and American, the best that the Willows has to offer is seafood. And there’s no better place to get it than at the Clam Shack. You wouldn’t know by just walking by, that this tiny shack has some of the best seafood on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Here, it’s take out only, but once you have your food, you can settle into the adjacent picnic tables, find a seat in one of the historic gazebos, grab a bench with an ocean view, or bring a blanket to have a picnic. The seafood is, obviously, the best thing on the menu, and they’re known for the fried clams, their namesake. A meal at the Clam Shack alone is worth a trip to the Willows!

Carousel at Salem Willows

Next stop, take a ride on the historic carousel. The Salem Willows Carousel dates back to 1905 and features a menagerie of animals including horses, buffalo, camels, sea monsters, lions, greyhounds, and even a St. Bernard!   It’s a must for both adults and children.  C’mon grown ups; you know you want to ride it!  In the adjacent kiddie-land, here are other old fashioned rides and even a small miniature golf course.

 

Our final destination is a treat that is, to the best of my knowledge, unique to Salem Willows. Head all the way down the row of arcade buildings until you reach the end that’s closest to the water.  E.W. Hobbes has been located in this historic building since 1897. They sell ice cream and popcorn, but the treats to get are the popcorn bars. I’ve been eating them since I was a kid! The bars come in a variety of flavors, but my personal favorites are the chocolate and the molasses and coconut. Unwrap the wax paper, break off a E.W. Hobbs Popcorn Salem Willowspiece, and crunch away. I can taste them right now! While you’re savoring every bite, meander around the park for fantastic views of the ocean and Salem Sound. You might also catch some live music from the band shell.   The Willows hosts a variety of events throughout the summer and fall. Check the schedule at their website.

 

If you’re in the Witch City, stop by Salem Willows Park and Arcade for an afternoon or evening of good, old-fashioned entertainment that the entire family will enjoy.

Location

Salem Willows Park and Arcade are located at 165 Fort Ave in Salem, Massachusetts. There’s plenty of parking. If you don’t have a car and are visiting April through October, the Willows is stop #9 on the Salem Trolley. You can get more information about the trolley on their website.  Click on the map for directions.

 

What to do in Salem Massachusetts

 

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Paris’ Most Unexpected Museum: Musée des Arts et Métiers

Musée des Arts et Métiers Paris Want to do something quirky and offbeat in Paris? Need a rainy day activity that the kids will love? Does your parnter like tools, gadgets, and gizmos? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then spend a few hours at Paris’ Museum of Arts and Trades (Musée des Arts et Métiers ).   Unlike the name suggests, the museum’s collection focuses on inventions and technology across the ages. As you meander through the galleries you’ll come across curious scientific instruments and inventions from the past and ogle at Musée des Arts et Métiers Paris gigantic machines that have been used to construct both old and modern structures. You’ll explore mechanisms that humans have designed to harness steam, gas, electric, and solar energy. There’s so much here that you can easily spend an entire day, but we limited our visit to a few hours.

 

This museum brings you face to face with technologies that you’ve only read about in books or seen on television. You’ll examine James Watt’s steam engine, Edison’s phonographs, models use to build the Statue of Liberty, Lavoisier’s entire laboratory, and the very first airplane built 13 years before the Wright brothers’ flight. My favorite part of the museum was located in the former Church of St. Martin. It has been transformed into a display area aptly named the “place of wonder”. In it, you’ll marvel at the actual working Foucault’s pendulum that swings back and forth to prove that the earth rotates on its axis. You’ll climb up a gigantic ramp/stairway that brings you up close to strange flying contraptions and airplanes of the past and to antique methods of transportation, from steam carriages to locomotives to Model T’s. Both kids and adults will be awed by the amazing collection of inventions featured at this most unusual of museums.Museum of Arts and Trades Paris

 

Not only is the Museum of Arts and Trades one of Paris’ best-kept secrets, it’s also extremely affordable. Children under 18 years of age are free, and adults are only 8 euros. If you have a Paris Museum Pass, it’s also free. While the museum is closed on Mondays, it is open until 6:00pm every other day and until 9:00pm on Thursdays.

 

Location

Museum of Arts and Traded Paris

The Museum of Arts and Trades (Musée des Arts et Métiers) is located at 60 Rue Réaumur in Paris. The closest metro station is Arts et Métiers, which is located right across the street from the museum.  Click on the map for directions.

 

What to Do in Paris

 

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