South Carolina Welcomes Travelers with Grits, Pastries and More

It's time for "Grits Stop" again in South Carolina.

No, I don't mean to stop eating grits. I mean stop and eat some grits.

That is, if you're traveling down I-77 in Fort Mill on Friday, May 14 from 9 am to 12 noon, during National Travel and Tourism Week. That's when York County tourism will partner with Rock Hill/York County Convention Bureau, Rock Hill Parks, Recreation and Tourism and Recreation, the Olde English District and the Fort Mill Welcome Center (what a mouthful!) to serve up a heapin' helpin' of grits.

If you've never eaten grits before, come with an open mind. If you love grits, come with an appetite because a variety of seasonings and toppings will be offered, along with side dishes and pastries. As a bonus you'll be greeted in style by costumed characters from local attractions.

Out-of-towners, if you're hesitant to eat grits I implore you to try them. Put on a dab of butter, sprinkle on some cheese, salt and pepper them if you will, but just take a taste. Eating grits in the south is as normal as apple pie. When I was growing up they had to be cooked on the stove, but now instant grits can be zapped in the microwave in just one minute. In addition to regular grits, butter, cheddar cheese, country ham and bacon flavors are available.

But if you really, really like grits, drive down to the Hominy Grill in Charleston, South Carolina. Not only will you get grits in this establishment that has been heralded in The New York Times, Gourmet magazine (which stopped publishing in 2009), and Garden and Gun, but you'll get omelets, fried green tomatoes, pinto bean cakes, chicken, steaks and fish–to name just a few of the available dishes.

But don't forget to whet your appetite at the Grits Stop at the Fort Mill Welcome Center on Friday. I have to go now, my grits are getting cold.…

My Childhoods Most Horrific Summer Travel Experience

As a child, we liked to go to Carolina Beach, NC in the summer. The sand was warm, the ocean was cool, and the wind was just right. Getting there on the other hand was sometimes as memorable as the vacation was but for all the wrong reasons.

The most horrific trip to the coast happened in early August of 1980. We had taken two vehicles that summer because we had my cousin, aunt, and uncle with us also. It was the only time that I ever got to ride in the front seat of out Dodge Dart. I was really enjoying the view and the cool summer morning breeze as it lifted my spirits away from the doldrums of a hot steamy summer in Greensboro.

Suddenly I heard the screech of the tires and the even louder yell blaring from the top of my Mom's lungs as the car lunged forward. With a "crack" my head hit the windshield of the car shattering the glass into the exact formation of a spider's web. Fortunately for me was the fact that at 12 years old, I only weighed a mere 110 pounds or else I would have been shot through the glass like a cannon ball through space until I splatted on the pavement like a mosquito on our windshield just had moments before.

Spending the first day of our vacation in the New Hanover County Hospital was not how I had envisioned the trip starting out. It was made worse by the fact that the doctor liked to joke with my Mom about how hard headed I must be for my skull to be intact. I am glad someone had a laugh that day.…

Millennials Travel: 5 Ways to Attract an Entire Generation

Did you know that 50% of hotel bookings come from Millennials? With such a large portion of travel for both business and pleasure coming from this generation, it's important to know what this savvy age-group is looking for when they're on the go.

If you want to ensure that some of this Millennial travel business comes your way, focus on a few key elements, and you're sure to attract this important demographic to your place of business.

What Matters to Millennials:


What are you doing to make the world a better place? Make sure your environmental efforts are clearly on display. Don't keep your customers guessing. Green standards are quickly becoming an expectation, especially among this segment of the population. Let it be known what steps you take toward sustainability .


Millennials are more connected than ever, and they share many of their experiences online through social media. Make sure internet access is seamless and speedy. A slow or non-existent connection is an instant turn-off. Make internet access first-rate. This is no longer a luxury. It's a necessity and an expectation.


Food matters. Make finding excellent food easy. Concentrate on your own establishment's offerings, or compile a strong list of local fare worth venturing out for. Don't leave your guests without plenty of quality choices for nourishment.


Remember how connected millennials are? That means they will voice opinions, both good and bad. If you want a good message to spread about your establishment, concentrate on service. It's impossible to beat the power a strong word of mouth recommendation carries. Give your customers plenty of reasons to brag to friends and colleagues about your service. You will generate buzz, but make sure it's positive.


Millennials appreciate convenience and ease of use. Any way you can streamline the customer experience is a plus. Cut unnecessary steps, and allow as much room for customer control as possible.

Any transactions that can be handled completely online will appeal to Millennials. Polish every step of the process between you and your customer, and they'll remember a great hassle-free experience with your business.…

Compare Cheap Tickets on, and


You need tickets for an upcoming flight and you’re thinking of ways to buy the cheapest possible ticket. There are three websites that should give you a decent selection to work with:, and Keep in mind, the best ticket is the one with the best value and may not be the cheapest ticket available.



Make a list of possible travel dates and potential airports you can use. The more flexible you can be, the greater the chances you will have of finding tickets with the best value. ;

Create a second list for each airport you’re going to consider, listing fees for parking your car and/or ground transportation costs at your departure and arrival points. This is the only way to determine the true cost of your travel. (Remember, if you’re driving to a major airport, many nearby hotels will let you leave your car there for several days for free if you stay a night with them.);

Visit each of these three online sites –, and – and do a search for the dates you wish to fly. This will give you a range of prices for the same ticket. Be sure to include segment fees, energy surcharges and shipping (shipping the tickets) fees so you’ll have the actual price of your travel choice. ;

Redo the search but this time change the criteria to different airports and travel dates to see if you can save even more money. Remember to look at that list you compiled of parking and ground transportation fees to see if changing airports and/or dates will really save you any money.;

Book your flight when you have found the best reasonable fare, keeping in the mind the convenience of the airports you’re going to use, costs of ground transportation, etc.

Double check with your specific airline(s) to ascertain the latest security requirements for your carryon luggage. These tend to change very quickly and it will save you time if you have your items packed as suggested.;…

Five Places on My Travel Wishlist

I love to travel. One of my favorite things to do is go to a new place that I haven't been to before. Here are five places I'd love to see in the next five years.

  1.  Moab and Arches National Park
    Utah is right next to my home state of Colorado, but I've never been. I think the scenery is just gorgeous; I can't wait to see the arches in person. Sunrise or sunset in the park has to be one of the most beautiful sights.
  2.  Paris, France
    While I have been to lots of continents, I haven't been to Europe yet. Paris is at the top of my European wish list. The croissants! The wine! The Eiffel Tower! All of it, really. I'd love to stay somewhere close to all the sights so I can walk or bike everywhere.
  3.  Seattle, WA
    Seattle is an intriguing city to me. I can't wait to try the fresh snow crab and of course go to the original Starbucks and Pike Place market. I would also love to take a ferry to the outer islands and see that part of the Pacific Northwest as well.
  4.  Cayman Brac
    There is nothing more relaxing than a beach vacation. When I traveled to Grand Cayman 12 years ago, it was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. I would like to make it over to the smaller, sister island, Cayman Brac. Talk about getting off the map!
  5.  Quebec City, Canada
    This mountain resort looks like something out of a fairy tale. The enormous castle seems like it would envelop you into a world of French-speaking, old-world Canada. There's a direct flight from Denver to Montreal, where we can rent a car and drive 2-3 hours up to Quebec City.

What's your top five on your travel wish list?…

Marriott's Residence Inn Offers Travelers Complimentary Breakfast

One of the best features of staying at a Marriott Residence Inn is that they offer a complimentary breakfast. When booking a hotel many hotels will offer a continental complimentary breakfast, however The Marriott Residence Inn offers a full buffet breakfast. The breakfast has many choices for you or your family to choose from including healthy food options.

The complimentary breakfast is also included within the price of the room. The Residence Inn serves breakfast daily seven days a week. The breakfast buffet has an assortment of traditional and healthy breakfast choices. Some of the items include freshly made waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes, cereal and bacon.

Some of the healthier choices that are included with the free complimentary breakfast buffet are fresh fruits, homemade yogurt with granola parfaits, whole grain breads and oatmeal.

While enjoying your complimentary breakfast while staying at The Residence Inn you can also enjoy free Wi-Fi or high speed internet. If you are planning a business trip the free Wi-Fi can help make your stay more enjoyable. You can be on the internet while enjoying your breakfast in their modern style dining room.

Another great feature while staying at The Residence Inn is the free grocery shopping service. All of the rooms at The Residence Inn come with a full service kitchen including plates and utensils. If you have children who possibly might awaken early before the complimentary breakfast, you can easily prepare a healthy meal right in the comfort of your hotel room.

To take advantage of the complimentary grocery shopping service at The Residence Inn, provide the staff with your required groceries when you check-in at the hotel. The staff will happily do all of your shopping and stock your kitchen for you. The only cost associated with this service is the cost of food.

Traveling can be costly, however The Residence Inn will help lower your travel costs by providing a full service breakfast daily during your stay. When you come into the restaurant of the hotel you will be greatly by a pleasant staff ready to help accommodate your every need while traveling.…

Traveling with a Child? Find the Closest Public Restroom

Summer is often a great time to start potty training your child. It is also the time to venture with your baby a bit farther from home. But are you worried that your newborn or potty-training child will have a potty related “accident” on the go? You will be less stressed if you are prepared and know where the closest clean public restroom is when you are traveling.

Places that routinely have public restrooms include bookstores, shopping malls, sit-down restaurants and many coffee shops. My tip is to avoid those that are frequently used (e.g. fast food restaurants in tourist spots) and go for the less frequented, which are usually cleaner. These include doctors’ offices (avoid the infectious disease specialties) and department stores. Many high-rise residential buildings, hotels and office buildings also have a clean restroom in the lobby.

When you are farther from home, your best bet is to be prepared and know the restrooms along your travel route. There are several ways to locate bathrooms in New York City. If you have an iPhone or smartphone, download NYC Way, an award-winning free application that lets users search (amongst 50 plus other things), the closest restroom based on their location. Besides the address, it also says if the restroom is free. is probably the most comprehensive global list of bathrooms available on the Internet. Their New York entries are extensive and rated by their cleanliness. Another website also maps restrooms and has a mobile app. If you are worried about accessing the Internet on the go, take a printout of restrooms along your planned travel route.

And don’t forget the wipes! Baby wipes double as family face wipes. Antibacterial (Wet Ones) wipes are useful too.…

5 Best Gay Travel Destinations

1.) Dublin, Ireland-Dublin has alot of gay hot spots. Very friendly atmosphere, and people. It is a very cultured place. (Source: Been There)

2.) Ft Lauderdale, Florida. Wilton Manor area is the gay district, 5 gay bars within 5 blocks, plus gay stores such as GayMart USA, (gay clothing store, and adult novelties) webpage, gay restaurants and lots more, plus an excellent GLBT community center the Ft Lauderdale gay/lesbian community center. (sources: self and also South Florida's

3.) Palm Springs, California-If you wanna go relax go to the warm sands area, the have an all male nudist colony, Mirage is the best 1, reasonably priced, sexy people, hot tubs, a huge swimming pool, nice, quiet rooms. (source: used to live there)

4.) San Fransisco, California-San Fran's. is cultured, with everything and anything, there are many districts that make up this beautiful city, like the Market District, China Town (awesome authentic chinese food), the gay district is made up starting in the business district, Market St. through Castro District, which inc. 19th Street. Some things to check out there is Harvey Milk Plaza, the Castro Theater, built in 1922, 575 Castro Street (the former location of Harvey Milk's Camera Store "Castro Camera", the Pink Triangle Park17th Street in the Market District, it is named after the pink triangles sewn on gay prisoners that were target by nazi's in WW 2. (source: google and wikipedia)

5.) Columbus, Ohio-Columbus is rich in culture, arts, fine dining, bars, etc. High Street is predominately gay area, with 4 gay bars, and OSU not to far from it! The best place to eat in Columbus is Union Station Video Cafe ( awesome food, great prices, cute bar tenders, and servers. Oh, and also they have a variety of shows, pagents, etc. there as well, and Columbus has the most awesome karaoke around!!! Check out Club 21, small place with a big heart, and great people!! (Source: Self)

Travel Advice: Historic Inns Require Research

A recent post from the Worcester Telegram reveals the importance of doing research on historic inns before booking a vacation. Karen Schwartz shares her disappointing story of staying at an inn that did not meet her expectations. Although there is an abundance of information online, there are people who still skip the necessary step of research before taking a vacation.

The Worcester Telegram recommends finding updated photos and descriptions for the historic inns before making a decision. In addition, it is important to find legitimate reviews from other travelers about their experiences. Recent blog posts highlight that videos from the destinations can also be useful, and social media provides a new outlet for information. Online resources for resorts and lodges often require historic inns to provide recent photographs and videos of their buildings and not post misleading information. This is why it is best to find resources that include both professional and traveler photos, so people get a chance to see the real premises and avoid an uncomfortable surprise after arriving.

Schwartz mentions that it is also important to ask about renovations, demand details about climate control and question security standards. Historic inns may be charming, but they are not guaranteed to meet the modern standards of many travelers. One of the biggest complaints about the inns tends to be the lack of individual bathrooms or small bathrooms. Many historic properties still have shared bathroom facilities with outdated fixtures. Additionally, rooms are not always standardized at one inn, so some of the rooms may provide completely different amenities.

Before making a reservation, it is crucial to ask the right questions and find out if the resorts or inns will be suitable. Price should not be the only part of the equation. The quest for a historic experience often leaves guests wishing they had turned to a modern hotel.…

How is it Forest Fires Travel Faster Up Wards Then Down Wards?

First, how is it that a fire can gain the ability to move?

A fire requires the following: Oxygen, fuel, and heat. Oxygen being from the atmosphere cannot limit wildfire movement. Plants are the main provider of fuel for fire and due to its common close arrangement allows a fire to spread from one plant to the next. Using the following three main causes of heat: convection, radiation and conduction. Which is also something closely arranged plants provide a fire.

Convection- The transfer of heat caused by the movement of a gas or liquid.

Radiation- Burning objects releasing energy in the form of heat.

Conduction- direct contact with heat.

Their are three standard places where a Forest Fire is common to take place: Underground, on the surface, and in Tree Crowns.


Underground- Where plant debris smolder below the surface of wetlands.

Surface- Burning fuels near ground level such as grass, shrubs, small plants.

Tree Crown- Fires which burn on the tops of trees.

It is common for fires to begin on the surface or underground and hit extremes of tree crowns and spread vigorously.

So now that you know a few facts about how fire works what is it that makes a fire travel faster up then down?

Heat is just energy, when we measure the temperature of heat were actually measuring the amount of energy.

The more energy something has the faster the energy can move, and since the energy is moving faster it takes more space.

And in this logic that which takes up more space will have less density. So hot air rises higher then cold air because it is less dense.

Which is why Fire moves faster uphill then downhill.…