Great American Home Cooking Clubs – Food Lovers Paradise

[ad_1] If you are looking for a common place where you can share recipes and great cooking ideas with like minded people like yourself then the Great American Home Cooking Club is just the place for you. This club was created by a group of individuals who were out and out ‘foodies’. Constantly experimenting and … Continue reading “Great American Home Cooking Clubs – Food Lovers Paradise”

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If you are looking for a common place where you can share recipes and great cooking ideas with like minded people like yourself then the Great American Home Cooking Club is just the place for you. This club was created by a group of individuals who were out and out ‘foodies’. Constantly experimenting and coming up with innovative and great tasting dishes. They initially offered news related to food, a place for members to hangout and relax and share their home recipes and an endless list of American recipes to take hone and try out.

The American Home Cooking Club was created by a chef and this club has grown to become on of the top cooking clubs in the land. In the recipes section of the club one can find recipes to create the greatest of meals, appetizer, drinks, desserts, sandwiches and almost any dish under the sun. The Great American Cooking Club is known to feature a ‘recipe of the week’. There will even be a qualified chef standing by to give members a taste of the recipe of the week and also explain how to make the dish at home.

The club has created their own great home cooking links to different clubs and online portals and is a great medium to study the different ways food is prepared and served. The club is fast gaining popularity throughout the land and a lot of people are signing up just to hone their skills at cooking great meals for their families and friends.

The members or even visitors can search through the columns of the Great American Cooking Club to find their favorite recipe and how to go about preparing it. Others can subscribe to a chef’s news letter out of which the Fish Wrap and Food News letters are sent out once a week to every one who cares to subscribe. These news letters contain information about local American as well as international food and recipes.

The I chef as the club is called is a system where individuals can create their own site within the site and upload their own recipes, cooking stories and articles about anything that pertains to food and diet. It is possible for just about any member to create a recipe club and invite people to join and share their ideas and recipes. There are individual clubs such as cake baking, bread making, Beverages and brewing you name it – I Chef has it!

So log on and set yourself with an account and enjoy learning newer recipes and brews and also do not forget to share some of your home recipe secrets as well.

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Living History in Bedford, Pennsylvania

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Bedford, a pocket of preserved past, offers the visitor a living history experience, enabling him to walk the paths his forefathers forged, inspect several important houses and forts, and even stay in the very resort which sparked its rise.

Covered with a quit of rolling hills, meadows, and forests, the former frontier called for a soul to exert its intrinsic properties of creation on it, as evidenced by the forts which had risen from Harris Ferry along the Susquehanna River in the east to Logstown on the Ohio River in the west during the French and Indian War of 1754 to 1763. Marking the westward expansion of the British like a series of GPS waypoints, they carried names such as Lyttleton, Loudon, Frederick, Raystown/Bedford, Cumberland, Ligonier, Necessity, and Pitt/Duquesne. The two with the dual designations, however, were to be the most instrumental in the area’s development.

Where transportation paths meet, settlements usually rise, as did the town of Bedford in the form of a fort erected by the British during its 1758 campaign against the French along Forbes Road, which had previously been a cohesive collection of Indian trails. They would later evolve into the first trans-Pennsylvania toll rode artery, facilitating horse and wagon transport.

Constructed by Colonel Henry Boquet, General John Forbes’ deputy, the irregularly shaped fortification, covering 7,000 square yards, sported five bastions. A four- to five-foot deep by three-foot-wide, V-shaped ditch encircling its perimeter supported 18-foot-long, side-by-side laid logs, cut from the surrounding oak forests and hewn flat and snugly interlocked before being inserted, while a loopholed gallery extended from the central bastion on its north front down to the water’s edge. Swivel guns guarded its corners.
Entry was provided by three gates-a main one on its south side parallel to today’s Pitt Street; a second, smaller, west-facing one; and a northward-opening postern one.

Perched on a bluff overlooking the river gap, the initially-designated Fort Raystown served as a staging post for 6,790 westward-advancing troops subjected to attacks during their crossing of the imposing Allegheny Mountains, but replenished with necessary supplies before they continued toward Fort Pitt/Duquesne, stronghold of the French.

The British strategy proved successful: their opponents were defeated, effectively removing the barrier to English-speaking control of the Ohio Valley and, ultimately, America.

Redesignated “Fort Bedford” at the end of 1758 after the Fourth Duke of Bedford, England, the bastion served the secondary purpose of providing a sense of safety against Indian attacks, its security fostering settlement of people in search of agricultural valleys and timber-abundant mountains. It thus provided the seed from which the namesaked village eventually grew, becoming the first county seat west of the Tuscarora Mountains and, for a time, all of Western Pennsylvania, strategically located on the intra-state roadway.

Laid out in 1766, it was incorporated 29 years later, on March 13.

County development, paralleling that of the town, was spurred by the discovery of coal on Broad Top Mountain, giving rise to the rails needed to transport it to the area’s budding iron foundries and sparking a 100-percent population increase between 1870 and 1890 alone. Track networks, facilitating iron, timber, and passenger conveyance, were later supplemented, and finally succeeded by, the Lincoln Highway (Route 30), which connects Bedford with Pittsburgh, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

A short, in-town walking tour of Bedford itself enables the visitor to step back into its history in several important buildings.

The National Museum of the American Coverlet, for instance, is housed in the Common School, itself constructed in 1859 at a $7,000 cost and opened with an initial, 211-student enrollment the following year. Functioning as a school until it was sold to private interests in 1999, it incorporates a significant portion of its original structure, including its middle section, ventilation system, and surrounding iron fence.

The Bedford County Court House, built by Solomon Filler between 1828 and 1829 at a $7,500 cost, equally exudes originality, particularly in its tower-installed clock, which had to be hand-wound after a vigorous climb until it was electrified in 1975, and its two internal, self-supporting, circular staircases which lead to the second floor, portrait-lined courtroom. The pair of columns characterizing its façade, later donated by Filler himself, represents God on the left and justice on the right.

The Man on the Monument, located at the intersection of Juliana and Penn streets, was erected in 1890 to honor the soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the Civil War, incorporating the more than 20,000 pennies school children had collected for it. It was moved to its present location in 1957.

Behind it is the site of the city’s first courthouse and jail, constructed of blue limestone between 1774 and 1775.

One of the most significant structures-so much so, in fact, that it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1984-is the Espy House. Owned by Colonel and Mrs. David Espy, it served as George Washington’s headquarters during the 1794 Whisky Rebellion, in which Western Pennsylvania farmers protested the excise tax imposed on the alcohol by Secretary of Treasury Hamilton. Thwarted by Washington’s 13,000-strong Federal Army, which had claimed the surrounding expanses for its own overnight accommodation, it marked the first and only time that a US president had commanded an army in the field.

Dispersing into the hills by October, the rebels demonstrated defeat.

The National House, opening its doors to weary travelers as a hotel for almost its entire existence, was strategically located on Forbes Road, which is now designated “Pitt Street.”

Built, like the Court House, by Solomon Filler, the Anderson House stands on land acquired from state-namesaked William Penn and was used as a medical office at its front and the Allegheny Bank of Pennsylvania at its back. It served as the only such public depository between Pittsburgh and Chandersburg.

Fort Bedford Museum:

The original fort’s importance was short-lived and the site of only one historically significant event: attempting to release the prisoners held there, James Smith and his Black Boys captured it on September 17, 1769, but after the French and Indian War, its garrison had already been reduced to a paltry 12, and by 1775, when the frontier had moved to Pittsburgh, it quickly spiraled into a state of disrepair.

In order to celebrate Bedford’s bicentennial, a blockade-style structure, formed by logs and chinking, rose from the site of the original fort 200 years after it had been built, in 1958, still perched on a bluff overlooking the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River. A section of its north wall was added in 2006, adjacent to what is now the Fort Bedford Museum.

Subdivided into a main gallery, a transportation room, a rear gallery, a mezzanine, and a gift shop, the blockhouse building internally exudes Western Pennsylvania’s New Frontier atmosphere, displaying some of the 2,000 artifacts in its collection, inclusive of Native American implements, civilian and military objects, household items, flintlock riffles, antique hand tools, 19th-century women’s clothing, a Civil War cannon, a Conestoga wagon, a stoneware crock, documents signed by the Penn family, and a Bedford Springs Resort ledger displaying President Buchanan’s signature.

Its focal point is a large-scale model of the original fort depicting Forbes Road, the Juniata River, and its surrounding area. But, perhaps the rarest piece in the collection is an original, 1758 flag. A gift to British forces at still-designated Fort Raystown from England’s Fourth Duke of Bedford, the hand-sewn, red silk satin damask flag, sporting a 23- by 24-inch union jack canton on its upper, left corner, prompted the fort’s renaming to Bedford at the end of 1758 in his honor. Although no evidence exists as to whether this was its official one, that had hung in the Officer’s Quarters and was only displayed during special occasions.
Nevertheless, patriots from a British officer seized it when freedom from English rule, expressed as the Declaration of Independence, traveled by word of mouth to Bedford.

The museum’s example is the only known British Red Fly to have survived from the French and Indian War.

Old Bedford Village:

The Fort Bedford Museum offers only a single taste of the town’s past. But the more than 40 original and reproduced log, frame, and stone structures comprising Old Bedford Village enable the visitor to step into the shoes of citizens past and walk their paths, interpreting the early pocket of Pennsylvania life preserved here.

A drive through the Claycomb Covered Bridge and a brief pass through the Welcome Center returns him to Pennsylvania’s dawn as a colony, where horse-clomping carriages are pulled over gravel paths, plumes of smoke spiral from log cabin chimneys, people wear period dress, and the sounds of striking metal reverberate from the blacksmith shop.

The village offers several examples of era dwellings. The Biddle House, for instance, is a two-story log structure originally built a few miles away in Dutch Corner, and is one of the earliest within the complex. Its V-shaped, double fireplace provided both heat and a method for cooking.

A hybrid of dwellings, the Kegg-Blasko House next door incorporates the remnants of a structure built by Thomas Kinton in 1768 and James Heydon in 1790, both located in Bedford County.

An 1802 deed identifies the village’s Semanek House as “the log mansion,” which originally stood in the village of Ryot in West St. Clair Township. It employed now almost-extinct chestnut in its construction.

The Williams Cabin is typical of the shacks most first-generation settlers lived in until time and establishment enabled them to construct more substantial ones, while the contrastive Anderson Victorian House, assembled from Anandale Hotel lumber, evokes its namesaked Victorian period.

Two schools are represented: the Kniseley School, of standard configuration, was constructed near Pleasantville in 1869 and used until the 1930s, while the appropriately-named 8 Square School, an octagonal building created in 1851 by Nat Hoover in East St. Clair Township, tended to be frequented by children of wealthier families.

There are numerous shops and services where costumed citizens still practice original methods. The Ice Cream Parlor features 17th-century cottage style construction and Feather’s Bakery, believed to have been built by William Nichols in 1808, still produces purchasable baked goods in its ovens as the “Old Bedford Village Bakery,” as evidenced by the aromas escaping from its opened door. Light lunches can equally be enjoyed in the dark, wooden-booth-provisioned interior of the Pendergrass Tavern, whose original counterpart had been located just outside the walls of Fort Bedford in the 1750s.

Other life necessities from the period were obtainable from the Chandler (candles), Furry’s Basket Shop, the Cooper Shop (barrels and casks), the General Store and Post Office, the Old Bedford Village Press, Bedford County Rifles, the Carriage Shop, Fisher’s Pottery, the Whitesmith (tin), and the Broom Shop.
Human power propelled all of the village’s machinery, as indicated by the foot-pedaled laith and bicycle-resembling jigsaw in Hemings Furniture and Wood Shop, and in Antonson Blacksmithing, where the tools necessary for many other period crafts took shape, including the very shoes needed to run the day’s engine-the horse.

The village also took care of man’s improper, earthly behavior in the jail, which represents the type used prior to 1800 in a county seat, and ensured that his Heavenly soul would not go ashtray in the Christ Church, a replica of the 1806 Union Church which is made of logs and still stands west of Schellsburg.

Educational programs, employing the village’s rich resources and entailing craft making, teach, depict, and demonstrate 18th- and 19th-century Pennsylvania life by means of quilting, candle dipping, coopering, blacksmithing, basket making, spinning, wheat weaving, leather working, tin smithing, broom making, Maize Pappouse doll making, and buggy riding in a series of classes, lectures, and tours. Village-made arts and crafts are purchasable in the Welcome Center’s gift shop.

Seasons and holidays mark special events, such as colonial crafts exhibits; festivals with historical customs, costumes, and cuisine; gunfights with muzzle loading; Civil and French and Indian War reenactments; Old West weekends; murder mystery evenings; pumpkinfests; and Old Fashioned Christmases, which see the village aglow with candle lanterns.

Bedford Springs Resort:

Bedford’s many important houses and forts enable the visitor to glimpse its history, but the Bedford Springs Resort enables him to live it.

Although the original Bedford Fort and Broad Top Mountain-discovered coal had attracted people to the area, there had been one other important draw: mineral springs.

As far back as 1796, Dr. John Anderson discovered what Native Americans had long known-namely, that drinking and bathing in the water from the area’s seven chalybeat, limestone, sulfur, and sweat springs produced both restorative and curative results. Incorporating these otherwise cost-free remedies in his own medical practice, he elected to purchase the 2,200 acres surrounding them and construct his own home on them. But his privacy in this idyllic spot was short-lived.

Traveling to Cumberland, Maryland, and then making the final 21-mile trek to Bedford by horse and wagon, a growing number of visitors was drawn to the area in search of the springs’ curative powers, and Dr. Anderson initially accommodated them in impromptu tents, preparing customized prescriptions based upon individual health requirements. Bathing facilities took form in 1802.

But the unquenchable thirst quickly demanded replacement of the temporary tents with more permanent-and area-indicative-accommodations–in the form of the Stone Inn four years later, whose very building blocks, like the waters, were freely provided by the springs-adjacent mountain and oxen-hauled down its sides. Permanent in location, it was only temporary in fulfilling its purpose, as the number of guests exerting demand for it quickly exceeded its capacity.

According to a travelogue written by Joshua Galpin in 1809, when the Stone House had already been joined by Crackford and a precursor to Evitt House, the facilities included a “large frame lodging house and several smaller ones for families-warm and cold baths and a billiard room.”

The Swiss building and others quickly rose from the once edificeless expanse.

Increasingly known for its comfortable accommodations, cuisine, and activities emphasizing its natural surroundings, it consistently attracted guests from industrializing eastern seaboard cities, as well as a growing list of wealthy, prominent dignitaries. Future US President and Pennsylvania native James Buchanan, for instance, first visited Bedford Springs in 1821 and would eventually spend 40 summers there, dubbing it his “Summer White House.” In 1848, James K. Polk became one of ten sitting presidents to stay there, followed by Taylor, Taft, Polk, Harding, and Eisenhower, among others, along with nine Supreme Court justices and countless celebrities. Buchanan himself received the first transatlantic cable, sent by England’s Queen Victoria, at the resort ten years later.

Travel to Bedford was greatly eased in 1872 when rail access connected the growing area with powerhouses such as Philadelphia, Washington, and New York for the first time.

Developing into one of America’s grand resorts during the end of the 19th century, it appropriately reflected the period’s golden age with spring houses, bridges, gates, and trails, and the transatlantic cable was to serve as only the first of many resort-associated innovations: it introduced one of the country’s first golf courses, designed by Spencer Oldham, in 1895, for example, and it was followed a decade later by the first indoor, mineral spring-fed pool, complete with a solarium and hydrotherapy rooms.

Although medical advances tipped the scales away from the Bedford Spring’s original purpose, its reputation as a luxurious resort serving a prestigious clientele was firmly entrenched in the area which had created it-so much so, in fact, that a central colonnade now connected the main dining room with a columned pavilion at Magnesia Springs across Schober’s Run.

Its role, still maintaining a luxurious touch, shifted between 1941 and 1943 when the US Navy, occupying the resort, trained some 7,000 sailors in radio operations, and it then served as a detention center for almost 200 Japanese diplomats captured in Germany during World War II until they were exchanged for American prisoners-of-war held in Asia.

Modern influences were again exerted in the 1950s with the installation of environmental control and sprinkler systems.

Inevitably, popularity wrestled with purpose. Travel trends shifted and, despite having been designated a National Historic Landmark in 1984, it continued to decline until it was closed two years later. A subsequent flood wreaked havoc on its 200-year-old wooden walls.

But Bedford Springs Partners, still detecting its glimmer of glory, purchased the once grand dame of properties for $8 million, subjecting it to a massive, $120 million restoration to resurrect and return it to its 1905 golden age guise and reopening its doors on July 12, 2007 after an eighth mineral spring had intermittently been discovered. After a secondary acquisition two years later, it was renamed the “Omni Bedford Springs Resort and Spa.””

Its self-proclaimed mission is to “open history’s door.”

Located in the Allegheny Mountain region of south-central Pennsylvania, and overlooking Cumberland Valley, the Bedford Springs Resort is accessed by driving down a small, return-to-history hill to a sanctuary preserved in time, and then passing the white, porch-lined façade of a sprawling mansion. Negotiating manicured lawns and formal gardens amid the audible trickles of streams and springs, the visitor enters the circular driveway, which approaches the dual-story, brick, ante-bellum Colonnade. Aside from being a National Historic Landmark, the resort is both a Triple-A four-diamond property and ranks as one of the Historic Hotels of America.

Serving as the core of connectivity to the mixture of adjoining building styles, the Colonnade itself houses the guest reception adorned with an original, 39-star American flag; the lobby; the location of the daily, complementary afternoon tea service; and the staircase leading to the ballroom. One of its wings leads to the Stone Inn with its Frontier Tavern and 1796 Room restaurants, while the other leads past the Crystal Room Restaurant, through the library, past the Che Sara Sara snack stand, the indoor pool, and the shop-lined corridor to the spa.

The resort’s 216 rooms and four suites, located in either the Historic or new Spa Wing, are seeped in history and tradition, yet offer modern luxury, with authentic patterns and textures, marble floors and vanities in their bathrooms, Egyptian linens, and authentic, bygone-era reminiscent walking sticks.

There are several restaurants.

The Crystal Room, for example, had formerly served as the Music Room and had also been used as the Ladies’ Parlor. Renovated in 1905 during the resort’s grand campaign, it replaced the considerably sized facility upstairs, which then became the Colonnade Ballroom. Now featuring a screen of classic Doric columns on either side, it sports original, name-reflective crystal chandeliers; gilt-framed mirrors; Victorian, round-back chairs; four hues of blue; a rotisserie; an exhibition kitchen; a 1,500-bottle wine cellar; and a collection of guest photographs taken between 1892 and 1898. It opens on to the private Daniel Webster Room.

The Frontier Tavern, located in the hotel’s Stone Inn section, had been a stagecoach stop from which the Bedford Spring’s earliest guests had been wagon-transported to the original tavern three miles away for dinner. Adorned with period artifacts, such as a bear trap, tools, a wood stove, and colorful crockery, it also sports a bar and billiard table.

The 1796 Room, also located in the Stone Inn section, reflects the very year that Dr. John Anderson first purchased the Bedford Springs property and exudes this 18th-century atmosphere with a steaks-and-chops, American colonial menu, which also includes choices such as bison, venison, rabbit, wild boar, quail, game pie, and mountain trout.

The mineral spring-fed indoor pool, returned to its 1905 appearance, sports the orchestra pit from which guests had been entertained more than a century ago.

The 30,000-square-foot Springs Eternal Spa includes wet and dry treatment rooms, aromatherapy, massages, facials, a garden, and a boutique, with actual mineral springs water used in all treatments.

The conference center is two-thirds its size, at 20,000 square feet.

The 18-hole, “Old Course”-designated golf course, reflecting the 1923, Donald Ross-designed rendition, is the third such creation after that of Spencer Oldham in 1895 and the intermittent, nine-hole, A. W. Tillinghast version of 1912.

Aside from golfing, the Bedford Springs Resort offers a considerable array of activities, including indoor and outdoor swimming, hiking and bicycling on 25 miles of trails, fishing in a gold-medal trout stream, kayaking, river rafting, and cross-country skiing, and hosts a wide range of functions, from reunions to horse-and-carriage weddings.

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A Visit to Israel – The Land of Mysticism

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Israel can be considered as one of the world’s oldest countries having many revelations about three great monotheistic religions namely Islam, Judaism and Christianity. It is the home of the Bible and the place where the most exciting archaeological and historical research has occurred. An immense experience can be acquired by spending a few days at the various holiday resorts with an almost endless variety of things to do and see. The visitor gets an opportunity to enrich his / her knowledge as far as the religious and historical aspects of the country are concerned. The curiosity of the tourist is aroused by the snow- capped Mount Hermon in the north, dominating historic Galilee with its exuberant valleys and lake Kinneret down through the industrialised and urban coastal plain through the empty mountainous Neger desert, to the tropical Red Sea coast with the sparkling part of Eilat- Israel and its diversity are within low reach. Several flights are scheduled and tours are organised from London via the British Airways. Options also exist for travelling from Paris in Air France and Nairobi or Johannesburg by the South African Airways.

Throughout the year there is a Mediterranean climate with almost daily sunshine guaranteeing a great holiday. In winter there is moderate rain and January is accompanied by snow in Jerusalem. Spring starts in April whereby there is warm season and lasts till October where relief can be acquired through the cool evenings in the hilly areas. A passport valid for six months is required to enter Israel. A visa will be issued after justification of your visit. Some rather strict formalities are practised by the immigration authorities to control the influx of illegal immigrants The visitor may well be requested to show proof of a return ticket, hotel reservations or other accommodation arrangements, necessary finance for the duration of the stay. Hence everything must be carefully planned before departure.

Appropriate dress is required to visit holy sites,otherwise informal dress is suitable and comfortable. It is advisable to wear a hat, sunglasses, sunblock and specially a flask of water when out on tours. One should not forget the camera to fix on pellicle the sites, sights and the various monuments that can be immortalised. There are no restrictions concerning photographs However, the devotee who prays at the Wailing Wall and the inhabitants of the Mea Shearim quarter dislike being photographed on Saturday ( Jewish Sabbah). Hence, it is preferable to respect their wish. Certain regions cannot be explored due to the Israel- Palestinian conflict.. So keep away from the Gaza strip, Hebron Ramallah and so on.

Israel offers more that three hundred supervised hotels that handle the yearly influx of one and a half million visitors of all faiths from the five continents. Moderate prices are charged for accommodation but there are some four and five -star hotels for clients seeking luxury in all the big towns and cities… Otherwise prices are adjusted for all budgets. The more informal structured stays can be sought from Christian Hospice, youth hostels, holiday villages, kibbutz guest houses and camping sites. As regards food there are dozens of first class restaurants serving the most cosmopolitan cuisines which cater for the palate – European, North& South American and oriental. Food at cheaper rates are also available in numerous snack bars and cafe serving a variety of dishes to suit all tastes at reasonable prices.Whenever you stop for a meal, Jewish and Arab specialities supplement the more conventional or exotic dishes. Since the Ministry of Tourism encourages the visitors to’ Meet an Israeli in his own home ‘, it is possible for the tourists to have dinner with an Israeli family who are accustomed to receiving and entertaining foreigners- the best way to get acquainted with the Israelis.

As far as travelling is concerned the visitor can move in the intra urban area and throughout the country by means of bus and train which are very low- priced and shared taxis (sheraf) charging reasonable fares. Ro- cars can be hired at international rates. The traveller can also derive maximum benefit from sightseeing by hiring professional guides with the availability of transport facilities.Also a camel ride is a rich experience which you will never forget and regret.

The main highlights include the Mediterranean coast, Tel Aviv, the most modern dynamic city in Israel which is the gateway to the rest of the country with the international airport. The largest port of Israel is Haifa where together with other ones crusaders and pilgrims embarked the Caesarea Aleko and Ashkelon. The site of most Christian pilgrimages is the North Nazareth, the cradle of Jesus Christ’s family and where he spent his childhood. The capital of Galilee, Tiberias, is a tourist resort. Muslim, Christian and Jewish pilgrims flock to Jerusalem,the city of peace. The little town of Bethlehem is of great significance to Christians where Mary placed her newborn son in a cradle. A monument has been built in dedication to the six million persons who died in the holocaust called the Yad Vashem. After Mecca and Medina, the third place of sanctity for the Muslims is the magnificent dome of the Rock. In the South one comes across the rolling desert of Negro with its strong craters and great sand domes of Elliat and the delicious Red Sea.There is also the Dead Sea where one can swim with assurance.

Once in Israel, the visitor can visit a multitude of sites and sights. Many archaeological sites open to volunteers willing to uncover past heritage. Visit Oumran to see the careers where the Dead Sea scrolls have been preserved for 2000 years. It is also worthwhile to visit the ancient remains of synagogues, 3000 years old, the ruins of Consadur castles. Nature lovers can admire the national parks and nature reserves which are accessible by the bus service “Egged” and all programmes for picnic areas in forests, gardens and beaches. For those seeking religious shrines, there is not more enriching land elsewhere: Bethlehem, Jesus’s birthplace, Nazareth where he grew up and performed his first miracle, the site after Multiplication of Bread and fish, the Garden of Gethsenanee where he spent the last hours of his freedom, the Wailing Wall which has spiritual importance and thrill for Christians and Muslims. The Monasteries seated over the land for centuries have resisted ages standing stunted and tough.They include museums and galleries with a wealth of viewing- classical paintings, modern sculpture, archaeological and religious treasures. Other touring sites are Tel Dan, Ein Gnedi,Cuesacea,Akhziv and Hummust Gowdee.

The visitor has the opportunity to shop from large departmental stores to open markets and bazaars. Speciality shops, exclusive stores and boutiques offer a variety of merchandise covering daily necessities, high fashions and unique souvenirs The ‘souks’ in Jerusalem, Jaffa Akko, Bethlehem and Hebron exhibit hand- made crafts, jewellery and glass. In the major urban areas goods, diamonds and fashion clothing are available Do not hesitate to shop around for commodities in the ‘souks.’ Avoid hogging with the sellers as they usually win.

While returning home from Israel not only your luggage will be packed with the country’s souvenirs and goods but your mind will be imprinted with the Israeli cultures and mode of living.Having been to the different holy sites the, visitor will undoubtedly achieve peace of mind,serenity and stability in life..

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Drawbacks of a Job That Pays You to Travel

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Drawbacks of a job that pays you to travel can be anything from demanding bosses, loss of passion for your job, difficulty finding work or just a bad day at the office that can ruin your passion and love for travelling as a whole. There are a few things to think about that are not all fun and sunshine.

It’s a job at times

Just like you will have work related stress in the office, you will get work related stress in any jobs. Dealing with tasks you don’t like, deadlines and annoying clients are part of the job title and the reason why you are getting paid. When you are feeling tired and sick of your job it can be a struggle to get up in the morning to continue.

Demanding boss

If you were getting paid to do a job, it would mean that you have someone to answer to. Not all bosses are understanding and tolerant people. You might be unfortunate in having your salary paid by a horrible boss. In that case, you are going to have to learn how to manage that relationship and deal with the high standards and unrealistic expectations that they will demand of you. Not easy on a limited budget.

Can kill your love for travel

Sometimes when you decide to make your passion a job you begin to realise the ugly truths that you may not have had to deal with when you just did travel as a fun activity. This can be a horrible wake up call and even ruin your experience of your passion forever. You might want to consider that before taking what you love for fun too seriously and ruining the love for it.

Difficult to get into

If getting paid to write were so easy then there would be lots more people within the field. In fact, I would bet most would love to do it, however; the reality is that this is a very competitive market with very specific niches. To build a reputable name for yourself and career can take time. Not to mention how you begin to even get a steady income or financial stability from this is something you are going to have to plan and think about. The industry is growing meaning there is more opportunity for paid avenues. However, you may need to do a couple odd jobs or take a less direct route on your way to an ideal situation.

Not all experience is fun

Even though all experience is useful and can only make you grow and learn, not all experience will be fun. Just like any job, there will be things that you will not like and things that you may experience as part of the job occupational hazards that are less than pleasant. However, if this is something that you truly would like to pursue, then the benefits will always outweigh to negatives.

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A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux – A Review

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Not being a fan of time travel stories, I put off reading ‘A Knight in Shining Armor’ by Jude Deveraux, even though it makes its way onto a few lists of recommended romance reads. Surprisingly, I actually did enjoy it.

It contains a number of similarities to the movie ‘Kate and Leopold’, in that the reader is exposed to the reactions of the transported person to their new surroundings, encountering the unfamiliar customs, foodstuffs, machinery inventions and so on. It also has the suspense and urgency element of people needing to find a way of returning to their original time in history, in time to prevent or facilitate future happenings.

Dougless Montgomery considers herself to be a failure when compared to her high achieving siblings. With her low self-esteem, she’s allowed herself to be used by her boyfriend whom she lives with in America. While on holiday in England in 1988, she has a huge argument with her boyfriend and his teenage daughter, ending in them abandoning her in an old English church without money or passport.

As she weeps against the tomb of a 16th Century English Earl, she wishes for a knight in shining armor. Her cries are heard by Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck, to whom the tomb belongs only now, he is standing right before her. He tells her that her weeping has summoned him from the year 1564, where he was awaiting execution for treason, a crime which he didn’t commit. It takes quite a while for Dougless to believe he’s really who he says he is, and for her to join him on the quest to discover who had framed him. The longer they spend together, the closer they feel toward each other. Having discovered love, and believing they’ve also discovered who’d betrayed Nicholas, they begin to plan a life together in the 20th Century. Without warning, Nicholas is returned back to the 16th Century. However, history hasn’t been changed – Nicholas was still executed.

Again weeping in the church, Dougless is taken back to 1560, four years prior to the execution. Even though she’s been invited by Nicholas’ mother to live in the Stafford family home, she has her work cut out for her trying to get her warnings through to Nicholas, as he has no recollection or recognition of her at all and makes it clear he doesn’t trust her. Time is against Dougless, as certain events begin being set in motion for other events to still occur as they are printed in the history books.

Dougless isn’t the typical strong-minded heroine and she may be hard to relate to in the beginning, as she is too much of a doormat with absolutely no spine. Therefore, the first twelve pages of chapter one can make the reader question whether they really want to bother reading more of the book. Fortunately, it improves markedly, when the boyfriend and his daughter are no longer actively interacting with Dougless. She does develop some spunk as her character grows throughout the book.

The name ‘Dougless’ annoyed me, particularly at the beginning of the story. It slowed down my reading, as I kept pausing in my mind, checking that yes, that’s the female character that’s being referred to.

Nicholas isn’t a stereotypical knight. He doesn’t swoop in and meet every need of the ailing heroine. He is strong, masculine, loyal, loving, intelligent, and they share a connection that takes them time to understand, accept and develop. Ultimately, they rescue each other, with their souls being intertwined across 400 years. The downside is that he’s still a chauvinist, both in the 16th and 20th Centuries. Nicholas approaches so many of the modern items with raw fascination.

By three-quarters of the way through the book, I was really rooting for Dougless and Nicholas to end up together, but wasn’t able to imagine how the author could conceivably make it happen. Well, she didn’t. It wasn’t a predictable ending. Romantically, it was disappointing, though more ‘realistic’, if realistic can be applied, expected or anticipated in a time travel story. People will probably either love or hate the ending, with it being bittersweet.

Some of the historical facts from the Elizabethan era were very interesting but half of them were presented in a fashion that was more of a lecture or a history lesson, rather than being woven more into the story. We were told rather than shown, and it sometimes dominated the story, leaving the developing relationship in the background.

In A Knight in Shining Armor, Jude Deveraux has created a realistic time travel experience that’s a touching story.

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Florida Passport – Where to Apply For a Passport in Florida

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American citizens that live in Florida have three options when it comes to obtaining a new U.S. passport. They can apply at a local passport application acceptance facility, a regional agency or a professional expediting service. The location you choose will depend on a few factors. Let’s look closer at each option.

Florida Passport Offices

The first option, which takes the longest amount of time to process, is to apply at a Florida passport application acceptance facility. These facilities are most often located in local post offices but they can sometimes be found in public libraries or county clerk’s offices.

Residents of Florida will find at least one passport office in each of the following counties: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, Dade, De Soto, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Holmes, Indian River, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Monroe, Nassau, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Saint Johns, Saint Lucie, Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Volusia, Wakulla, Walton, Washington.

There are a few counties that do not have a passport application acceptance facility. In this case, you need to look in neighboring counties. Dade County has the largest number of passport offices with at least forty-two. The state capital has three locations. Here is the address of a couple of these.

Leon County Clerk of Circuit Court

313 S Calhoun Street Suite 101

Tallahassee, FL 32301

Tallahassee Main Post Office

2800 S Adams Street

Tallahassee, FL 32301

Routine processing takes four to six weeks. Expedited service will get your application processed in two to three weeks. If you need to get your passport faster, then you will have to choose an alternative method.

Miami Passport Agency

Another location where Florida residents can apply for a new passport is the Miami Passport Agency. This regional agency attends American citizens who need to get their travel document in two weeks or less. Regional agencies process same day passports. The address is given below.

Omni Center

1501 Biscayne Boulevard

Suite 210

Miami, FL 3313

The first step to applying for expedited passport service at the Miami agency is to set up an appointment. You do this by calling 1-877-487-2778. During peak travel seasons, the line can become congested. It may take several attempts before you are able to schedule your appointment.

The regional agency is open from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday except for national holidays. They are not open on weekends.

You are encouraged to arrive a little early since you have to pass through the security check. You will then be directed to the appropriate room where you will take a number and wait to be called. When your number is shown, you direct yourself to the appropriate desk and submit the application form and supporting documents to the passport agent.

If all your documents are all accepted, you will be asked to return later to receive your passport. This will very likely be the same day. Problems with your documents can delay the process. To avoid this, it is important that you verify all the requirements and follow them carefully.

Professional Passport Expediting Services

Florida residents, who must get a passport quickly but cannot personally visit the Miami agency, can still obtain a passport in a hurry by applying through a professional expediter. Expediters are registered with regional agencies for the purpose of submitting applications for American citizens who cannot do it themselves.

While there are several expediting services that operate in Miami, it is good to choose one that has offices in other locations as well. The reason is that the regional passport agencies limit the number of same day passports that each expediter can request at each agency. Expediters that operate through several agencies can submit a larger volume of same day passport applications.

Expediters have been around for decades and are a great resource when you are in a bind and run the risk of having to cancel your trip.

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Geneva and Val D’Isere – Skiing and Sightseeing

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It is probably doubtful if any skier eagerly anticipates their ski transfer – even including the picturesque one from Geneva to Val d’Isere.

Let’s face it, even if you have had only a relatively short flight, the chances are you were probably up at some ungodly hour to get ready and then had extensive travelling to do to reach the airport at the other end. Then there would have been the almost inevitable flight delays and queues to get through security at your departure airport. All things being equal, there is a fair chance that before you even arrive in Geneva you are tired and jaded and probably not looking forward to the Geneva to Val d’Isere transfer.

Being realistic, unless you are lucky enough to have your own private jet there is probably not much you can do to avoid many of the above potential frustrations that go hand in hand with travel these days.

Yet there are two things to bear in mind: Geneva is a great city with lots of things to do so you might want to break your journey by having a night or two there exploring its attractions; and Val d’Isere is worth getting to!

A brief stopover

The origins of the city go back to before the Roman period and the old town is a magnificent area to explore. Space does not permit a full description of all of the interesting sites and cultural attractions in this world famous international city but a trip on or around the lake is surely a must. Although the onward journey from Geneva to Val d’Isere is really no big deal, a day or two spent looking around the back streets of the city might just help you recharge your batteries ready for the slopes.

Val d’Isere

Barely three miles from the border with Italy, this ski resort is one of the most famous and beautiful in France. There are, of course, a wide variety of slopes and runs available for all levels of skier but experienced sportspeople regard the resort, on the whole, to be challenging. An interesting fact about this ski resort is that it is skiable in summer due to the local glacier. This, together with some use of snow cannons, means that it offers wintertime sports all year round.

The resort itself comprises a mixture of traditional alpine village type accommodation together with some more volume-oriented higher rise hotel type lodgings. A wide range of snow sports is provided to supplement the basic attractions of the ski slopes. Many skiers love this resort for its mixture of demanding slopes and French style. Certainly it is worth putting up with flights and the short Geneva to Val d’Isere transfer in order to get here!

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Booking Flights to Orlando? Make Sure to Visit These Attractions

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Orlando is one of the most fascinating tourist destinations in the world. If you are booking flights to Orlando, you can choose from wide range of family attractions. Theme parks always remain one of the top priorities for people planning holidays to Orlando with their kids. A visit to Orlando can be full of thrill, excitement and at the same time relaxation if you choose it to be so.

If you are visiting the city with your kids, Walt Disney World Resort is one place you must visit.Every year thousands of families visit the resort which is home to four theme parks namely Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are the two water parks in the resort. Another highlight is that there are twenty four themed resorts within the main resort.

The oldest theme park in the resort is Magic Kingdom, where you can find a wide array of attractions for kids as well as adults. Here there are several themed areas known as Lands. Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland and Fantasyland are few of them. Second in the list of theme parks in Disney World is Epcot. Originally Epcot was known as EPCOT Center. It is twice as large as Magic Kingdom and allows you to know about the technological innovations.

Future World and World Showcase are the two main areas in which Epcot is divided. Few of the attractions in Future World are Innoventions, Test Track, The Land, Spaceship Earth and Imagination. World Showcase has different pavilions that represent eleven countries. Many tourists fly to Orlando to see the annual events that take place in Epcot. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival and The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival are the most popular annual events.

If you are fond cinema and want to experience the Hollywood of 1930s and 40s, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is an apt place for you. Sites that entice large number of people to Hollywood Studios are Mickey Avenue, Streets of America and Animation Courtyard.Animal Kingdom is the fourth theme park in Disney World. DinoLand, Oasis and Discovery Island are worth-mentioning highlights in the park.

SeaWorld Orlando is the theme park that creates an urge in people to experience the blend of both thrill and relaxation. One of its major alluring aspects is Aquatica Waterpark. You would need to buy an extra ticket to visit the waterpark. As you step into Aquatica, you come across tube slides, raft rides, bowl rides and racing slides to name a few of the exciting things to do is the amazing aqua park.

Universal Orlando is also considered one of the top notch attraction in the city. It consists of Universal Studios Florida,Wet ‘n Wild Orlando, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal CityWalk Orlando. Universal Studios Florida has themed areas focusing on the entertainment industry. Major themed areas are New York, Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone, San Francisco and Hollywood. Islands of Adventure and Wet ‘n Wild are other attractions in Universal Orlando.

If you want to know more about crocodiles and alligators, Gatorland in Orlando should be your first choice. It is also known as the “Alligator Capital of the World.”Apart from crocodiles and Alligators, you will also come across pythons and lizards, just in case the excitement is not enough.

Book flights to Orlando and spend your holidays in the best of the theme parks and water parks in the world.

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How Russian People Communicate

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The most favourite topic of Russian people is politics. Any Russian person can tell you how things are are in politics now and what they would do if they were the President.And they always have a plan how to save Russia from the economic crisis.

Swear-words are very popular among Russian people, especially the young now. They think that they look cool when they use them. Most of Russian swear-words are connected with sex and ties of relationship.

Russians are proud that their swear-words are known to all the sailors in the world. Though sailors do not know what they are about. Russians also do not think about their meaning. I think if they thought about what these words mean, they wouldn’t use them so often.

In contrast to Englishmen, Russian people do not like to speak about the weather a lot. Their most favorite topics of conversation are: their family, their friends and neighbors, their health and the health of their relatives, and prices. They can discuss these topics even with strangers.

Foreign people used to smile even if they are not OK. There is even an expression here “American smile”, that means a formal smile in an answer to somebody’s greetings.

But Russian people will not smile if something is not right in their life. They want everybody know how they suffer. If they do not want to smile, they will not do this. That is why Russians are considered to be gloomy.

There is even a proverb here:”Laughter without a reason is a sign of a fool.”

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Corporate Gifts – The "Business" and Etiquette of Appropriate Gifting

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The term Corporate Gifts is a term used very loosely in the business world and its interpretation is used differently by many users. It means different things to different people and is an umbrella word for many different reasons, people, and occasions.

Corporate Gifts

  • Thank You Gifts for Colleagues and Clients
  • Motivational Gifts for Employees
  • Gift Baskets
  • Recognition Gifts for Employees
  • Retention of Business Clients
  • New Client Acquisition
  • Brand Awareness
  • Premiums Incentives and Incentive Programs
  • Christmas Holiday Gifts for Clients
  • Promotional Products
  • Trade Show Giveaways
  • Advertising Specialties
  • Award Programs
  • Service and Safety Awards
  • Pillow Gifts Speaker Gifts
  • Executive Gifts
  • Business Gifts
  • Awards

It is important to determine what your strategy is and to have a clear understanding of your goals associated with your gift or program. There are also rough guidelines and a few gifting hints that should be followed. Gift giving should never be construed as a bribe but as a token of appreciation or an incentive reward.

Considerations: Logo or No Logo – The decision to put your company logo on a product is a personal one. Everyone enjoys seeing their logo on products, but not every recipient appreciates it. Depending on the situation, a logo may not be appropriate. Sometimes it is better to save the logo merchandise for less expensive giveaways such as plastic pens, mugs, key chains and calendars. Of course this is a personal preference and many businesses and corporations like to leave their name in front of their customers. One item that is a discreet venue to advertise your logo is on leather portfolios. Your logo is normally debossed on the cover and in many cases some people will go a step further and personalize with the recipients initials. If you have selected an item that makes a lasting impression, there is no need to put your logo on the gift, they will remember you by the gift itself.

How Much To Spend – First thing to consider is your business relationship. You want to ensure that you give an appropriate gift in the appropriate price range. In many industries gifting can not exceed $25. Shop for Gifts Under $25. You would want to check your specific guidelines. In addition there are tax limits on the dollar amount of gift certificates and gift cards that can be presented to employees.* You never want your gift to appear as a bribe. In many cases a more expensive gift is appropriate, such as a retirement gift. Your personal situation and budget will dictate how much you should spend. Whether it is a promotional item for advertising purposes or a trade show giveaway, or a recognition gift or corporate awards for achievement, always be sure you know your spending limits.

What To Give – After you have determined your purpose for gift giving and the budget, your next challenge is WHAT? Depending on the occasion and the situation there are many options available. You never want to give anything too personal, but something with thought is always appreciated. Maybe you know a golfer who would love to get a golf gift or the wine lover who needs a new wine aerator or wine accessory?

Board of Directors /Speaker Gifts /Visiting Dignitaries – More traditional gifts are usually appropriate for this situation. Anything that is an executive gift will usually fit the bill. Leather Pad Holders, Desk Clocks, and Fine Writing Instruments are places to start for traditional type gifts. Another consideration for Global industries are items with a Global and World Theme. Items in this category show your commitment and recognition of your global connection.

Gift for Employees – There is a wide selection when purchasing for your employees. Employee Gifts can range from desk items for administrative employees, to passport holders for traveling employees. You might even want to consider fun gifts for your employees that are outdoor fun games, or picnic baskets. Of course something for the desk is always the conservative and traditional approach.

Gift For the Boss – The number one recommendation here is, do not do it alone! You are best to buy a gift with your co-workers. A gift from a sole employee might construe a bribe to your boss or make you stick out from the other employees in a negative way to both your boss and co-workers. You might have good intentions, but really assess your relationship with your boss before you give a gift without your co-workers.

Advertising / Branding – There are so many items to choose from in this category that it would literally take a year to see all that is available. In order to narrow down your search for Promotional Products that will be suit your needs, here are a few helpful tips:

  1. Set Your Budget and Quantity
  2. Define the Purpose of Giveaways
  3. How Many Colors is Your Logo – What type of product will enhance your logo
  4. How will you distribute? – In person, mail, tradeshow
  5. What industry are you in?
  6. Who is Your End User?

Case Study: Advertising and Branding for ABC Healthy and Yummy Dog Food exhibiting at a tradeshow

  1. Budget and Quantity – Less than $.50 each. Quantity 2500
  2. Purpose – Branding and Advertising
  3. One Color Logo – Black
  4. Distribute – Trade Show to Suppliers
  5. Pet Food Industry
  6. End User – Pet Store Owners

Recommendation – Yellow plastic lid covers to match the can of dog food. The lid to be imprinted in black highlighting logo. Easy to ship or carry to tradeshow (mailers not necessary) Hand distribute to trade show attendees. This is a reusable giveaway that will make a lasting impact on the recipients. Thought was given to industry, promotion, and use.

SUMMARY As you probably have deduced, selecting corporate gifts is not an exact science. The most important factors are determining your budget, audience, and goals. Try to be creative, but don’t stress over finding the “perfect” gift. Your recipients will be appreciative of anything you give them. * Always check with your financial /tax advisor for all tax and gift giving limitations. We are not experts in this field, and do not warrantee or guarantee the accuracy of this information.

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