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Groundhog’s Day in Punxsutawney

Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania

brer_groundhog_at_workGroundhogs Day for 2015 is approaching and it is one of the biggest winter events in the state of Pennsylvania.  Although it is a cultural event based on Candlemas that take place on various days worldwide, it is best know today as an annual event of top hat fashion and celebration in Punxsutawney to see if Phil (that’s Punxsutawney Phil) see’s his shadow every year.  As the legend states, if he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.  If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

According to an old English song:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

According to an old Scotch couplet:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear,
There’ll be twa (two) winters in the year.

Another variation of the Scottish rhyme:

If Candlemas day be dry and fair,
The half o’ winter to come and mair,
If Candlemas day be wet and foul,
The half of winter’s gone at Yule.

The Roman legions, during the conquest of the northern country, supposedly brought this tradition to the Teutons, or Germans, who picked it up and concluded that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal, the hedgehog, would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather, which they interpolated as the length of the “Second Winter.”

Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers were Germans and they found groundhogs to in profusion in many parts of the state. They determined that the groundhog, resembling the European hedgehog, was a most intelligent and sensible animal and therefore decided that if the sun did appear on February 2nd, so wise an animal as the groundhog would see its shadow and hurry back into its underground home for another six weeks of winter.

The Germans recited:

For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until the May.

This passage may be the one most closely represented by the first Punxsutawney Groundhog Day observances because there were references to the length of shadows in early Groundhog Day predictions.

How To See The Celebration

This annual event has been extremely, especially after the 1993 Columbia Picture of the same name starring Bill Murray.  Thousands of people flock to the town to be a part of the celebration.  Now is the time to book your trip and see the event of the season and find out first hand if we will have 6 more weeks of winter or has spring arrived.

Contact us to make reservations and enjoy the show.


Grand Getaways

Join Florida’s Biggest Winter Festival

Plan now to be a part of the biggest winter festival in the state of Florida.  You think of Florida as being the state for Citrus crops, sunshine and beaches, however, Florida has one other big surprise.  Plant City, Florida (just east of Tampa, Florida) is the Strawberry Capital of the World.  Yes – Strawberries!  And if you ever drove down any highway in or around Plant City you will see Strawberry Fields Forever.

Plant City is also know for one other thing.  It is the host city of the Strawberry Festival every year.  The Strawberry Festival draws the best entertainment from the biggest country stars in show business.  Imagine in one week seeing such stars as Alabama, Mel Tillis, Scotty McCreery, Sawyer Brown, Ronnie Milsap, Sara Evans, Ricky Scaggs, The Oak Ridge Boys, Loretta Lynn, Parmalee and REBA.

Then if you want non country it offers John Legend, Boys II Men, Bobby Vinton and dozens of other stars.  There is even an appearance of Kevin Costner’s own band Modern West.

Now sample hundreds of different strawberry recipes and other great food the festival has to offer, the midway, the exhibits and attractions from all over the country.  This is great fun for the entire family!

This year the festival lasts from February 26 to March 8, 2015.  Get away from the cold and enjoy Florida this year, then discover the hidden treasures this great state has.

Grand Getaways

The Skiing World Focuses on Colorado in 2015

For the first time since 1999, the World Alpine Ski Championships will return to the United States at Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado. This brings the world focus of skiing to all of Colorado. Facilities at all ski resorts throughout the state will be at their best for visitors wanting to be a part of the ski world this year.

Learn and Ski with the best skiers from around the world as they flock to the Rocky Mountain Ski resorts preparing for the championships and experience the glory yourself as you ski down these spectacular slopes.

Avon will be in the heart of the action with Après Avon – A Street Fair of Music, Tastings and Spontaneity during the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships. One of three major programs of the Championships, Après Avon is the featured “after-the-races” activity each day from 2:00 —5:30 p.m. Conceived of by the Vail Valley Foundation, Après Avon will be an outdoor and tented venue in Avon’s central core and will present live music, performance art, food, craft brews and distilled tastings, as well host athlete signings, visits by the 2015 mascots, and American–rooted activities.

The Championship event will take place from February 3rd to the 15th. Witness the event itself or just enjoy the special atmosphere that will be unique to the Colorado ski resorts this winter.

Check us out for availability this month and enjoy your winter holiday.

Grand Getaways

Celebrate New Years Eve in Las Vegas

We can sum up New Years Eve in Las Vegas in one word: Crazy.

And we mean crazy in a good way. The entire Strip is shut down to traffic and it becomes like one giant block party for you and 300,000 of your closest buddies. At midnight, the casinos launch a choreographed fireworks display that makes the Times Square ball drop look like child’s play. Inside, the showrooms rock with the hottest entertainment and the nightclubs are packed with celebrities and partygoers who are dressed to impress.

This year besides the free celebration on the world’s famous strip, you can also book separately to some of the best New Year’s parties available anywhere. Some of the featured performers that will have shows New Years Eve include: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, Drake, Robin Thicke, Bruno Mars, ZEDD, Britney Spears, Michael Feinstein, Olivia Newton-John, Iggy Azalea, Snoop Dogg, DJ Calvin Harris, Lil John, DJ Khalad, plus countless others.

This is the biggest New Years celebration in the world, and the place to be to celebrate the beginning of 2015.

Grand Getaways

Christmas Comes To Life In Branson

One of the best Christmas Destinations this year is at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. This is truly a place where Christmas comes to life for the entire family.

Looking for Broadway Quality Productions? Check out your favorite Christmas Stories with It’s a Wonderful Life and Charles Dickens Christmas Carol done live on stage.

How about a Christmas Parade to bring life to the child in each of us? The New Holly JollyTM Christmas Light Parade featuring Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & Friends can delight.

Want to see dazzling lights? There are 1,000 decorated Christmas Trees, featuring a 5-Story Special Effects Christmas Tree.

The sights, the sounds and the joy of Christmas come alive in Branson. There are over 30 show stages in Branson that also feature Christmas events and some of the nicest accommodations and restaurants you will find anywhere.

Come celebrate a special Branson with us and contact us on how we can get you there.

Grand Getaways

Atlantic City Lights Up For Christmas

The DO AC Tree & Light Fest features 25 brilliantly illuminated and lavishly decorated themed trees in Tanger Outlets The Walk at Michigan and Arctic Avenues.

Tree themes include Atlantic City icons, a tree for each casino, Monopoly, Miss America, Happy New Year, trees for neighboring cities – Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York – and the much-anticipated peek-a-boo tree. Behind closed doors, this tree is a nod to the adult entertainment and nightlife options found only in AC and can only be viewed by visitors age 21 and over.

Holiday Decor 2013

Atlantic City will also feature other illuminated trees at the following locations:

  • One giant, 30-foot, outdoor tree at the base of the Atlantic City Expressway
  • Four artist decorated, customized trees at the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton College at Fairmount and Mississippi Avenues
  • 200 lighted decorations, 2,800 feet of lighted garland and 1,000 glittering lights along Atlantic Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, at Bartram Avenue and the Boardwalk and Center City Park at Atlantic and North Carolina Avenues as part of the CRDA citywide, outdoor holiday décor
  • The Deck The Hall Festival of Trees at Boardwalk Hall from December 4 – January 2 featuring unique, custom-decorated holiday trees sponsored by local organizations and businesses to support the Community Food Bank of New Jersey Southern Branch

All the holiday trees and displays in the casinos, hotels, attractions and businesses throughout Atlantic City


Nov 24, 2014 – Jan 2, 2015

Mon – Sat | 12:00 pm – 7 pm

Sun | 11:00 am – 6 pm


Free and Open to the General Public

Ruth Baucom

7 Reasons to Visit Edison & Ford Winter Estates

If you are even the slightest bit nerdy about inventions, mechanics, botany, antiques or architecture, then you’ll be fascinated by Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Before I made the trip to the Ft. Myers residence with visiting family, I had no idea that Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were friends, let alone Florida neighbors. Here are seven reasons why you should carve out 4 hours of your day for the homes, gardens, laboratory and museum when you’re in The City of Palms.

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Ruth Baucom

Tips for Travel-Lovers Planning Their Honeymoons

I was never one of those girls who had their entire weddings planned out by the age of 10. I was more concerned with studying, working, traveling, volunteering – you know, all the important things – until it happened. I fell in love. (Warning: You may meet your prince charming at a fall festival chili cook-off under a circus tent in the backyard of a church. At least that’s where I met mine.)

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Ruth Baucom

Chase Fall Colors to These 7 Destinations

By now I’m used to wearing shorts to Thanksgiving dinner. It’s the great Floridian compromise: seasons are swapped for sunshine. My friends and I have fake fall parties. We wear our only sweater, crank down the air conditioning and burn candles that supposedly smell like autumn. It’s fun, but nothing compares to sipping apple cider on a brisk day surrounded by trees the color of school buses, stop signs and oranges.

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Ruth Baucom

Explore the Shores of the Great Lakes

East Coast cities, Florida and California receive all the hype, leaving the Great Lakes repeatedly underrated. Did you know that these five massive lakes combined are nearly as large as the United Kingdom? In other terms, as a whole, it’s the world’s largest body of fresh water. Yes, it’s really cold water, even for swimming in August, but why don’t we call it refreshing?

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