Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum

Woodrow Wilson was born in the city of Staunton, Va. in 1856. His father, a first generation American of Scotch-Irish ancestry was the Presbyterian minister in the city. He accepted the post in 1854 and brought his wife and two daughters to live here in 1855. They were from the north but adapted easily to the southern way of life. His mother, Jessie Woodrow, was a Scot who had been born in England where her father, also a Presbyterian minister, was serving. Her family immigrated to Ohio when she was a child.

Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born on December 28, 1856 at 12:45 a.m. In April 1857 Jessie wrote the following to her father about her new son “The boy is a fine healthy fellow. He is much larger than either of the other ones were and just as fat as can be. Everyone tells us he is a beautiful boy. What is best of all, he is just as good as can be, as little trouble as it is possible for a baby to be.”

The family only stayed here for a few years but it always remained in the heart of the future president. He returned to visit Staunton after he was elected president but before he took office. He spent his 56th birthday in the home where he was born. After his death, Mary Baldwin College decided it wanted to set up a memorial in the city of his birth and they purchased the manse. The rest as they say is history. Today not only is there the historic birth site but a museum and the Presidential Library.

If it has been a few years since you visited or if you have never visited you will be delighted with what you will find here. Your visit begins in the Visitor Center where the shop is also located. There is a 12 minute film to watch to prepare you for your visit to the museum and the manse. After watching the film, head to the museum building to purchase your ticket and to sign up for the guided tour of the manse. You enter the manse through the basement and it is disturbing to find out that the Wilson family had three slaves helping at the manse when they were here.

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and encouraged us to ask questions. The tour is not too long, maybe a half hour; it covers the basement and first floor of the house. You then head back to take your time enjoying all the information that is on display in the museum. The presidential Pierce Arrow is one of the most popular exhibits. The museum is very well organized and the information is well displayed and explained. Allow at least a half hour and a lot more if you are a history buff.

As presidential sites go, this one is pretty darn interesting. We spent quite a long time here and left feeling as if we knew Woodrow Wilson a lot better than we had when we walked in. Pictures are allowed in the museum but not inside the manse. There is a parking lot located behind the buildings that is accessed from E. Frederick Street.

Where to find Carnival masks

Finding the perfect Carnival masks takes some searching but the following websites listed have a large selection and wide variety, you may just find ideal Carnival masks for your next masquerade or costume party.

Carnival masks #1

This website offers Carnival masks, commedia masquerade masks, party masquerade masks, imported masquerade masks. This website also offers footwear, hats, wigs, costumes and make-up artists.

Carnival masks #2

The Venetian Carnival masks on this site are stunning plus the website offers such masks as: Commedia masks, Greek masks, animals masks, Fairy Tales masks, leather masks and Masquerade masks. The masks on the site are award winning and it is obvious the masks are unique and creative when seeing the photographs of masks being sold.

Carnival masks #3

This website offers a large variety of Carnival masks plus lot of other choices in masquerade masks such as: handcrafted masquerade masks, Venetian Carnival masquerade masks, economy masks, masks of Mardi Gras, Carnival masks. Theme masks such as: wedding masks, phantom masks, poodle skirts, Shrek masks, Gorilla masks and Vendetta masks.

Carnival masks #4

Here you will find lots of masquerade masks such as: Carnival Masks, feather masks, velvet masks, Mardi Gras masks, fantasy masks, darkside masks, Halloween masks, famous people masks, latex masks, animal masks and ball accessories.

Carnival masks #5

Here you will find lots of unusual and intriguing Carnival masks. The Carnival masks offered really lovely plus the site also offers: Phantom of the Opera masks, Carnivale masks, Music Theatre masks, Music Ball masks, Pavone Mask Jester sticks, Donatella Feather mask, Teatro Harlequino mask and Trevolti Masquerade mask.

The Carnival masks offered on these websites are beautiful and creative. Whether you are looking for Masquerade masks or Venetian Carnival masks, you will be sure to find unique and stunning Carnival Masquerade masks!

The Caverns of Sonora is a fun West Texas road trip destination

The Caverns of Sonora features a lovely array of calcite crystal formations, especially helictites. The cave is located on Interstate 10 in Texas, halfway between Big Bend National Park and San Antonio. It is located 15 miles southwest of Sonora. Along with guided tours of this cave, there are other activities including gemstone panning, exploring the nature trail, enjoying a workshop and camping out.

The Visitor Center and gift shop was built in 1961. It is a ranch barn design with vaulted ceilings and exposed oak beams. The store sells sterling silver and gemstone jewelry, rocks, minerals and fossil specimens from around the world. In 1966 the cavern was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior. It is one of the most active caves in the world with over 95% of its formations still ‘growing’.

The cave was discovered when a dog chased a raccoon into a 20-inch opening in a rock. Locals began exploring the cave sometime in the early 1920’s. They were able to go about 500 feet from the entrance to a fifty foot deep pit. This section of the cave was eventually known as Mayfield Cave. In 1955, three speleologists, Bob Crisman, Bart Crisman and James Estes from Abilene were exploring another cave in Sutton County. They headed to the Mayfield Ranch to take a look at another cave known as Mayfield Cave. The speleologists entered the cave and made their way to a large room. A deep pit blocked their progress. On the other side of this pit were seemingly inaccessible passages that continued on. They were pressed for time, so they left the cave.

This story was passed on other cavers. On Labor day weekend of 1955, Danny Sheffield, Jack Allen, Claude Head and Jack Prince crossed a narrow, sloping ledge, high on the top of the right hand side of the big pit. They reached the passages on the other side. Stories of bizarre formations and untold beauty began circulating among members of the caving community.

Jack Burch, a caver from Oklahoma saw the cavern for the first time in 1956. He began to see human impact in the caverns in places where there shouldn’t have been any damage. His vision was to develop the cavern to stop this destruction and preserve the cavern for future generations. Development started in 1959. The Caverns of Sonora was opened to the public on July 16, 1960.

The cave is formed in 100-million-year-old Cretaceous period Segovia limestone, from the Edward limestone group. The formation of the cave itself may have occurred between 1.5 to 5 million years ago. The stunning mineral formations, known as speleothems, formed after water had drained from the cave.

Doug Manfrin named Executive Chef at Inn at Cedar Falls

The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, located in southeast Ohio’s stunning Hocking Hills region, announced today that Doug Manfrin has joined the Inn as Executive Chef. Manfrin will oversee all food and beverage operations at the award-winning country Inn, which is nationally known for its culinary focus. Manfrin will work with Inn gardener, Kellie Hutchison, to expand the Inn’s on-property gardens, developing menus and recipes based on produce and foraged ingredients produced on site or from local farms, forests and suppliers.

Residing with his wife, Melissa, on a 47-acre Hocking Hills farm, Manfrin says living on a farm gives him a truer understanding of and respect for how the best ingredients are produced.

“Just as a chef shepherds the kitchen, it takes a lot of work and passion to take a farm or garden where you want it to be,” Manfrin said. “I love growing ingredients that I can use both in my home kitchen and in recipes for the Inn’s guests.”

Innkeepers Ellen Grinsfelder and Terry Lingo expressed elation at the addition of Manfrin to the Inn’s culinary staff.
“Doug brings the perfect blend of both experience and passion to our team,” said Lingo. “He will be an asset to the restaurant and our entire business and we look forward to showcasing his fine food to our guests as he grows the Inn’s already-strong culinary offerings.”

Most recently, Manfrin served as Executive Chef for Sushi Rock Restaurant in Columbus’ Short North Arts & Entertainment District. In that role, he was responsible for creating and executing the menu, and supervising a staff of 10+ employees. Previously, Manfrin served as Sous Chef at Spagio in Columbus, as well as at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV. In addition, he worked as Executive Chef for the Sandstone Restaurant in the 1990s and has served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Manfrin attended Hocking College from 2009-2013, graduating with a degree in Culinary Arts and Baking. He is also proficient in technology, having attended Belmont Technical College.

A Hocking Hills Tourism Association Certified Green destination, The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is located ½ mile above Hocking Hills’ scenic Cedar Falls. The region offers a variety of recreational opportunities including hiking, bird watching, canoeing and fishing, as well as exquisite photo opportunities. The Inn’s pampering spa offers a full complement of spa services, including couples massage, girlfriend getaways, bridal parties and group events. Fine American cuisine is the specialty at the Inn’s dining room and meals are prepared with the finest organic herbs, produce and ingredients. The Gathering Place at The Inn at Cedar Falls caters to weddings, family reunions, business retreats and organizational brainstorming sessions of up to 50 guests. Reservations and complete information on the Inn, Spa and Gathering Place are available at www.innatcedarfalls.com or 1-800-653-2557 (1-800-65-FALLS). The Inn is a member of Select Registry Distinguished Inns of North America.

10 best college spring break destinations for 2014

WESH News announced Friday that they have the 10 best spring break destinations. However, they should have said it’s the 10 best college destinations and most of them are not in US. What’s interesting is that this Orlando, Florida news station created this list based on affordability, accessibility, popularity and nightlife while many states in the US are still covered with snow storms. However, the term affordability is based on what one considers to be affordable, most Americans are choosing not to leave the US when price is of concern and only a few could be considered family destinations in the off season. The majority seem to fit college students, young millennials and couples, which is what this is all about, partying and getting some sun, especially if you’re living in the cold states.

Countdown of 10 best college spring break destinations and some tips when you visit.

10. Sanibel Island – affordable for your average college student, only if you’re staying at a hotel off the island. There are affordable hotels before you go over the bridge which is about 20 to 30 minutes, but it’s worth the drive and the savings to your wallet. Bring your own bicycles or rent them for a nice leisure ride and check out the small town boutiques. Shell collecting is a must in this area. This is a good family destination, especially if you live in Florida, it is about two hours from Disney World.

9. Playa del Carmen in Cancun. Although the accommodations may be affordable, it’s all relative especially if you don’t live there, your best bet is to look for a air/hotel package.

8. Cabo San Lucas, considered the “party capital of southern Baja.” Need we say more?

7. Jamaica – spring break for college students.

6. Puerto Rico – another Caribbean flair, and island that is still considered the U.S.

5. The Bahamas, with cruise ships galore, there’s lots of activities for sun seekers.

4. Puerto Vallarta – another party central for spring breakers.

3. Cancun – laid back, but still has late-night partying.

2. South Padre Island, Texas – interestingly this area caters to families in the luxury resort hotels but during spring break parties fill the streets.

1. Miami Beach – Florida vacations are only pricey if you stay in Miami, other parts of Florida actually have a good deal of versatility in accommodation costs. If you want to be near the beach in Miami it is near to impossible on a low budget. Even the worse inland hotels will burn a hole in your wallet, especially during the high season. However, if you’re traveling with friends, find a place you can all share a room then you may get a decent hotel.

If you liked this article click the Subscribe button to receive email updates when a new article is published. Connect with Monica on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Monica Lehua was born and raised in Hawaii, lives in Orlando, FL and has traveled throughout the US, parts of Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Sweden’s master painter Anders Zorn at NY’s National Academy Museum

One of the most successful artists of the Gilded Age, and one of the era’s most favored celebrities, Anders Zorn (1860-1920) was a portraitist of such skill and influence that only John Singer Sargent rivaled Zorn in popularity.
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The National Academy’s new exhibition, Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Master Painter, helps to explain how an illegitimate son of a Bavarian brewer raised in the countryside on his grandparents’ farm in Mora, Sweden became one of the most acclaimed and sought-after international artists of European royalty and American high society.

Featuring 90 works drawn from private and public collections throughout Europe and the United States, the retrospective displays Zorn’s mastery of oil painting, watercolors, etching, and sculpting.

Accepted into the Royal Academy for the Fine Arts at the age of fifteen, Zorn quickly gained recognition for his elegant style. One of his early paintings was purchased by King Oscar II of Sweden. A charismatic artist who sought inspiration wherever he traveled, Zorn attended the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago where he met influential members of American society, including Isabella Stewart Gardner who became Zorn’s patron and lifelong friend.

A testament to that friendship, Zorn’s Jewel-case from 1896 is an exquisite wood carving (later transferred to bronze) of a recumbent woman on a bed. Designed for Gardner, the piece was so admired by Zorn that he couldn’t bear to part with it.

The exhibition also features Zorn’s final creation, a small bronze sculpture titled The Broken Pot, which evocatively captures the juxtaposition of artistic perseverance in the face of mortality.

During the course of his seven extensive visits to the United States, Zorn cemented his social connections, painting portraits of presidents William Howard Taft and Grover Cleveland (and the first lady Frances), as well as American magnates and industrialists such as Andrew Carnegie. In 1904, Zorn attended a reception at the White House, which resulted in an etching of Theodore Roosevelt. As his wife, Emma (née Lamm) wrote about her husband in America, “He seems to fit in here.”

When not traveling, Zorn was a painter of quotidian life in Sweden, with a focus on the natural beauty and native folk culture of the Nordic landscape. His painting Midsummer Dance is one of Sweden’s national treasures.

Founded in 1825, the National Academy integrates a museum with an art school and an artists’ and architects’ association, all focused on a mission to promote the fine arts through exhibition and education. Housed in the former Huntington mansion, a 1902 Beaux-Arts townhouse located at 89th Street and Fifth Avenue, the National Academy exhibition Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Master Painter runs through May 18, 2014.

“It is wonderful that American audiences will now be able to become more familiar with this master’s art,” stated Bruce Weber, Senior Curator.

The Snowy Holiday Lake Ultramarathon

This year’s Holiday Lake 50k++ trail run fell on the Saturday after Central Virginia’s February snowstorm.

The event is the first race in the Lynchburg Ultra Series and the Beast Series (www.extremeultrarunning.com), and is recommended as a first ultra. An ultramarathon is anything above the 26.2-mile marathon distances — the “++” in this event denotes the mileage above the official 50k/31-mile distance. Elevation change and technicality are minimal along the Holiday Lake State Park trails in Appomattox County, Virginia, with parts of the run along forest roads. The time limit is eight hours for the 33.26 miles.

The Wednesday before the race, a major winter storm rolled through Virginia, with 10 inches hitting Holiday Lake. Like most races—especially ultras—the race would go on. However, due to the conditions, the race director extended the time limit to nine hours.

Friday before race day brought some sunshine and melting, bringing the base down to perhaps 6-8 inches. But melting isn’t all good.

On Saturday, February 15, at 6:30 in the morning, 314 runners lined up at the starting line, the committed and craziest among the 400 who had signed up. The temperature hovered just above freezing and a light rain was coming down.

The Holiday Lake course is an out-and-back loop, starting and turning around at the 4-H Center. It’s mostly single-track through the woods with some fire road and a stretch of open trail on utility easement.

The first memorable leg of the trail was of lightly packed snow, often slushy and slippery, trampled by all of the pairs of feet that came before. Much of the trail became narrow single-track, as runners stepped into the path made by previous runners. Passing meant stepping into unbroken snow. The two sections that closely bordered the lake were especially tricky, bordering small drop-offs that ended in the cold water.

The trail also passed through Holliday Creek—some runners chose to cross the creek over a fallen tree, but others forged more quickly through the thigh-high water.

A runner was injured on that section of the trail, falling and breaking both bones in her lower leg. In a tribute to the quality of the running community, a dozen runners took turns carrying her to the next aid station. One of those runners was an emergency room physician and used branches for natural splinting materials.

That first lap itself was difficult, with frequent slips challenging knees and ankles, calling upon muscles that hadn’t been trained for such conditions. Unfortunately, conditions got harder. After the turnaround, each part of the trail had been trampled even more, since many runners had begun their trek back on the out-and-back course. Temperatures in the low 30s continued to soften the surface. What had been like running in sand became more like running in quicksand, with slush and mud sucking at the feet, invariably finding their way inside the shoes.

On the return lap, some sections of the trail had become small streams, with muddy waters forming narrow, 6-8 inch wide gullies flowing towards the low parts, which became large, slushy puddles that were usually impossible to skirt. Some surfaces were so slushy and slippery that running seemed an exercise in futility, and walking became the norm.

The race featured aid station stops at seven spots along the way, with helpful volunteers and an assortment of junk food.

Of the only 314 starters, only 89% finished. In comparing times of runners who had competed both in 2013 and 2014, the typical runner added at least 1:15 to his or her finishing time.

The slushy, snowy trails at the 2014 Holiday Lake 50k++ were manageable, and conquering them was even more thrilling than if conditions had been easy.

Star athletes often endorse junk food to kids, study says

According to HealthDay News on Monday, professional athletes may be known for their fitness, but the foods they endorse are usually less than healthy, a new study finds.

Of 512 brands endorsed by 100 top athletes, nearly a quarter of them (122) were for food and beverages – 44 different brands in 2010, the year studied by researchers from Yale, Stanford, Duke and Harvard universities. (Some brands appeared more than once on the list.)

Nearly 80% of the 49 food products were “energy-dense and nutrient-poor,” and 93% of the 73 beverages got all of their calories from added sugar, according to the study.

Experts said the findings, reported online Oct. 7 and in the November print issue of Pediatrics, are not startling. But they are concerning, in part because athletes are paragons of fitness, said Dr. Michael Rich, a pediatrician and director of the Center on Media and Child Health, in Boston.

“You see them everywhere — TV, newspapers, magazines, the Internet,” Rich said. And based on Nielsen data, her team found, teenagers see those TV ads more often than adults do. That’s troubling, Bragg said, because teenagers often idolize sports stars. And, he added, “kids are much more likely to see TV ads than to read nutrition labels on products.”

Sports beverages were the largest category of athlete endorsements, with 39, followed by soft drinks with 21 and fast food with 16, the researchers wrote. The products in tennis star Serena Williams’ ads had the worst scores for nutrition.

Peyton Manning had the most ads for food and beverages with 25, followed by baseball player Ryan Howard with 21. Howard, the researchers wrote, endorsed the fewest energy-dense, nutrient-poor products. He reportedly earns $10 million a year from contracts with Papa John’s Pizza, Gatorade, Wheaties and other companies that do not sell food, the researchers said.

Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant earned an estimated $12 million a year from his endorsement contract with McDonald’s, they said. Lebron James, also a basketball star, was reported to receive $5 million to endorse Bubblicious Gum; one flavor was called LeBron’s Lightning Lemonade.

“Our ultimate hope would be that athletes reject the unhealthy endorsements or, at the very least, promote healthy foods,” said Marie Bragg, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Yale University. “These athletes have an opportunity to work with parents. Instead, they’re promoting really unhealthy foods.”

Pick your favorite flavor

Who can resist an ice cream, even in winter? Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is an American ice cream company with the principal factory in Waterbury Vermont. Receive a free sample of their best after seeing how it’s made.

Its factory tour is one of Vermont’s most popular tourist attractions. The tour begins with a short video about its history and company’s founders. A bird’s eye view of the production room demonstrates their manufacturing process of ice cream. The tour ends with an ice cream sample of a new flavor with more ice cream to purchase in their gift shop.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield founded this premium ice cream brand in 1978. Ben & Jerry’s produce ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt and ice cream novelty products. The company history is one of the great American dream. It begins by two childhood friends who upon college graduation decided on a unique career direction.

In 1977 they completed an ice cream making correspondence course offered by Pennsylvania State University’s Creamery. In May 1978 their $12,000 investment opened an ice cream parlor in a renovated gas station in downtown Burlington VT. In 1980 operations were expanded in larger quarters with ice cream packed in pints.

The factory is open year round. Manufacturing is scheduled five days a week from Monday through Friday, closed on major holidays. Guided tours are conducted every 30 minutes the last daily tour 1 hour before closing.

Tour hours
November through June
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
June though August
9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
August through October
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Tour fee
Adults – $4
Seniors – $3
Kids 12 and younger – free
1281 Waterbury Stowe Road
Waterbury, VT

Ben & Jerry’s winter festival is Saturday March 1, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM offering free tours all day. They give free ice cream cones for moms on May 11, 2014, and free cones for dads on June 15.

Waterbury is a town of 5,064 population 24 miles northwest of Montpelier. It is 28 miles east of Burlington and 11 miles south of Stowe. Nearby Waterbury is Mt. Mansfield, the highest peak in the state. Montpelier is the state capital, a center for insurance and granite quarrying industries with a population of 8,035. Stowe is a town of 4,314 population with New England’s finest downhill ski runs.

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is a 338 mile drive of 6:15 hours from Rochester NY. Drive I-90 east to Albany then north on US 87 past Glen Falls exit to route 4 east. Continue route 4 east across Vermont to US 89 before the Vermont border. Drive north on US 89 past Montpelier to Waterbury. Exit from US 89 on exit 10, 1-mile north on route 100 follow signs to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

Here’s what one visitor thought of the tour.
“The facility is bright and bubbly and the kids loved it!”

Welcome to the Best 5 Star Hotels in Varanasi to Enjoy the Trip

This is a dream of every person to stay in 5 star hotels. The comfort level, kingly lifestyle, amenities and the treatment like your home are some of the reasons to desire for a stay in a 5 star hotels. Varanasi being the holy city and commercial center, huger floated crowd comes here throughout the year. Various classes of the society come to this city. There are a number of 5 star hotels in Varanasi available and some of them are enumerated for your reference.

Hotel Location Charges
Hotel Radisson
Rs. 7,195.00

This hotel is located in the peaceful environment of Varanasi cantonment. The level of the hotel is self explanatory by its star rating. The hotel administration is quite pro-active in reception and treating the precious guests. The exterior of the hotel is quite attractive and inspiring. Normally business class doesnâEUR(TM)t prefer 5 star hotels but the attraction of this building fetch them. One a person stayed here, he/she will always point to this hotel always. The dishes, the comfort level, the blend, the splendor spread inside the hotel are the main factors to make the stare rating higher. This hotel has a well designed parking for the entire guest. No needs to describe the allied amenities as these are the best in class.

Hotel Ramada Plaza JHV
Rs. 7,000.00

This hotel is located in Varanasi cantonment. The management of this hotel is looked after by the reputed Wyndham Hotel Group of the country. This is world class hotel. The exact location of this hotel is Mall road. All the facilities provided here with extreme emotional touch. The luxury of the life for a small period is like a trailer and the guest feels the kingly life experience in this hotel. Since your booking, all the cares are shouldered by the dedicated and experienced hotel staff. Each and every care of the guests is ensured even beyond your imagination. You canâEUR(TM)t expect the things you will see here.

Hotel Rivatas By Ideal
Rs. 6,183.00

This hotel is mostly liked by the corporate sector as the facilities related to them are available in this hotel ion full commercial atmosphere. All the board meetings of various organizations done here on regular basis. The conference hall of the hotel is quite spacious and equipped with latest technology. A large number of press conferences are arranged here. This hotel has the amenities for its guest according to the star rating and service charges. All type of tastes available here. The guests stay here across the country. Reason being the food arrangements is made for every class and category. Inventory of the hotel is too large and a person can avail any type of service here. The connectivity of internet is one of the best facilities at hotel. Present dayâEUR(TM)s generation cannot live without the internet connectivity. Kingly life style and best services of the hotel pushes the person from across the country to reside here and make their Varanasi trip better.