On a Friday night, we’re racing through the streets of Boston trying to gather evidence and interrogate witnesses to find out who killed Mr. Body in what room and with that weapon. Sound familiar? If you love mysteries or the game and movie Clue, then you’ll love Clue Live Boston: the Sleuth Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt!
My friends and I, who composed a team, had two hours to figure out clues to locations, around Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market in downtown Boston, where we could find and interrogate characters from the board game and movie Clue. By completing their challenges, they revealed critical information to help solve the whodunit. Working together was an absolute must and time was of the essence. After all, were competing against other teams to solve the mystery! We received bonus clues for taking pictures of legendary and lesser known landmarks, monuments, and statues. We were even can able to bribe Clue characters, to reveal additional information, and other teams, to see what they had learned!
Will it be Miss Scarlett in the kitchen with the wrench, or Professor Plumb in the conservatory with the revolver? Clue Live Boston is a fast-paced, family friendly, and utterly enjoyable evening in which you and your friends get to play detective and immerse yourself in the game and movie. Do you have what it takes to solve the mystery?
The Sleuth Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt (Clue Live Boston) is a production of Head First Events. To find out more information and purchase tickets, visit their website by clicking here.
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!
When 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 abuela’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!
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.
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.
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’s Lobster Co.
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.
Since I was a little boy, I’ve been going to Salem Willows Park and Arcade, although it’s been in existence for much 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.
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!
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 piece, 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.
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.
You may be in Richmond, Virginia for business, pleasure, or to see some Civil War sites. Whatever the case, you deserve an escape form the hustle and bustle of everyday life with a trip to see some beautiful gardens! Here are my top three gorgeous gardens of Richmond.
#3 Botantical Bliss
Readers of U.S.A. Today, voted the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens as the fourth best gardens in the United States. That’s pretty impressive! Located on the north side of the city, the gardens feature not only over 50 acres of plentiful plants but also the only classical domed conservatory in the mid-Atlantic states. I spent a lovely, yet overcast, evening in the gardens (in the summer, they’re open until 9pm on Thursdays) and particularly enjoyed the fountain garden, floating island, orchid collection, and the butterfly house. The Ginger Botanical Gardens also hosts many special events. I was there during a Cuban musical festival in the international village that featured a live band and tasty food. Check out their website for special events, a map of the many gardens, and their opening times.
#2 Terrific Tudor Treasure
Want to walk through an authentic English Tudor garden without jetting across the pond? Head on over to the Windsor Farms neighborhood of Richmond to find Agecroft Hall, a manor house that was constructed in 16th century England, disassembled, and then rebuilt right in Richmond! The fascinating tour of the mansion and the relaxing walk in the gardens transported me back to another time. My favorite was the sunken garden that was beautifully framed by the Tudor architecture of the main house. The Elizabethan knot garden made me feel like I might stumble across the Virgin Queen herself, and the Tudor herb garden, with a living exhibit of medicinal, flavorful, and aromatic plants, was both an education and a delight for the senses.
#1 Zen Zone
The best hidden gem in the city of Richmond is located in a large public park and former estate. While the Victorian Maymont mansion is an incredible visit in itself, the Japanese garden is the real treat here! From the mansion, follow the signs through the Italianate gardens, and you’ll descend an incredible staircase, that winds down a fountain, to find yourself in a garden reminiscent of the Far East, complete with a huge waterfall and extensive koi pond. In the early 20th century, a master Japanese gardener named Muto was hired to design this spectacular garden, and it shows! Wander through the traditional gates, over the arched bridges, and pose for a photo on the stepping stones that cross the pond, just like I did! Pause for a moment in the Japanese gazebos, one by the waterfall and the other situated tranquilly pondside, and reflect on the beauty of this Zen oasis. It’s a setting that you won’t soon forget.
Agecroft Hall and Gardens is located at 4305 Sulgrave Rd in Richmond, VA. The gardens are included in the price of admission. Click on the map for directions.
The Japanese Gardens at the Maymont Mansion and Estate are located in a public park at 1700 Hampton St in Richmond, VA. I’ve marked the parking lot on the may above, and the address will taken you right to the lot. Follow the well-marked signs for the Japanese gardens. The gardens are free to explore, but there is a nominal fee for a tour of the mansion. It’s well worth the price! Click on the map for directions.