Five Houston Area Spring Festivals To Enjoy This Weekend

Five Houston Area Spring Festivals To Enjoy This Weekend Blog Entry Image

Spring in the great state of Texas equates to outdoor fun and festivals, and this weekend is shaping up to be a gorgeous one. Here’s a sampling of six local events to keep you entertained and enjoying the outdoors all weekend.

The Woodlands CrawPHish Festival at Town Green Park
The Woodlands CrawPHish Festival was created to raise awareness for Pulmonary Hypertension, hence the “PH” in the name, and money to find a cure.  The Festival is hosted annually in Town Green Park for a day of family fun with live music, kids activities, authentic Louisiana crawfish, BBQ (for those that do not care for crawfish), networking and more. Texas singer/song writer, Kyle Park, will serve as the headliner performer. (888) 695-0888

Tomball German Heritage Festival in Downtown Tomball
Every year, on the last weekend in March, festival-goers break out their Lederhosen and Dirndls and "Go German" for the area's largest festival celebrating the heritage of the original German families that settled this area around 1840. (281) 379-6844.

Bayou City Art Festival at Memorial Park
An arts and entertainment destination for the entire family, the Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park offers a fun filled day of art, entertainment, food, wine and beer featuring the popular Green Mountain Energy Children’s Creative Zone, the Art Heist – a fundraiser within a fundraiser, as well as fine and festival fare offered from some of Houston’s most popular food trucks, restaurants and hotels with libations from top-tier sponsor Stella Artois and Barefoot Wines. (713) 521-0133.

McDonald’s Houston Children's Festival in Downtown Houston
The McDonald's Houston Children's Festival, presented by Baker Hughes and benefiting Child Advocates, Inc., is set for MARCH 29 & 30, 2014 and promises to be the very best EVER. Over 50,000 families, friends, volunteers and sponsor partners will gather together in beautiful downtown Houston to play, create, explore and learn. (281) 363-0900.

Festival of Wine, Music & Food at Wild Stallion Vineyards
Come celebrate wine, food and great music at Wild Stallion Vineyards in The Woodlands with The Fab 5. A desire to recreate the spirit & enthusiasm of the British Invasion and America’s subsequent retaliation led to the formation of The Fab 5 in 1990. The Fab 5 is a Houston-based tribute band performing the greatest hits of THE BEATLES, THE ROLLING STONES, and many more! 281.803.WINE(9463)

Travel games to keep you entertained on a road trip

Travel games to keep you entertained on a road trip Blog Entry Image

“Are we there yet?” is a question all road warriors have endured at some point.  While entertainment gadgets can help fill some of the travel void, it is inevitable that boredom will raise its weary head. That's why we've compiled a list of road trip games that require only your passengers’ minds and the open road. There’s something for every age.

I Spy
One person chooses something they see either inside or outside of the vehicle. They then give one clue that starts, “ I spy with my little eye something that is_________.” The clue for the spotted object can be a color or first letter of the object. Keep in mind the object you choose should be something that can remain in eyesight while the other passengers are guessing. 

The Alphabet Game
The alphabet game consists of trying to find letters on various highway signs, license plates, billboards, etc., which you can locate outside of the car. The first person to find all the letters in the alphabet wins. 

Guess the Rhyme
Think of a two-word rhyming phrase, such as "fat rat." Then give a two word clue in which each word is a synonym of the words in the rhyming phrase. In this instance you might give the clue of, “overweight rodent.” The first person to guess the correct rhyming phrase wins.

Going on Vacation
This is an add-on memory game. The first person starts the game by saying, “I’m going on vacation,” and then adds something they want to pack. For instance,  “I’m going on vacation and I’m going to pack a toothbrush.” The next person adds on their item by saying, “I’m going on vacation and I am going to pack a toothbrush and a bathing suit.”  Passengers keep adding on items that they would pack, until someone forgets an item. Then that person is out. The rest of the players continue the game until there is a winner.

20 Questions
One person thinks of an animal, vegetable or mineral. The other passengers then try to guess the object by asking twenty questions or less. The first question asked is always, "Animal, vegetable or mineral?" After that the passengers take turns asking questions that will help them guess the answer, noting that the answer to the questions can only be “yes,” or “no.”

Geography
Start by choosing a geography topic such as cities or states. The first player names a city, and the next player has to name another city that starts with the last letter of the previous player's city. For example, if the first player names “The Woodlands,” the next person would have to name a city that starts with the letter, “S,” such as “San Antonio.”

Tips for unplugging while on vacation

Tips for unplugging while on vacation Blog Entry Image

You’re going on vacation with the best intentions to go off the grid. You’ve promised yourself that you’ll only use your digital devices when absolutely necessary. But sometimes when our electronic devices have replaced so many of our former vacation convenience items (watch, guide books, camera, etc.) it’s not so easy. So why not truly unplug with a few of these tips?

• Depart with a full battery, but leave all of your chargers at home.  You’ll be more apt to be conservative in its use if you know the battery may run out.

• Delete the app you are most tempted to use or check in with from your phone and reinstall it when you return.

• Bring a camera. Having a separate camera will make you less apt to spend time uploading your photos to social sites, check emails, or surf the web.

• Bring a book. If it’s an electronic reader, see the bullet above – you may want to bring a paperback.

• If traveling in a group, create an “off the grid” box that everyone deposits their devices in as an agreement that it will be an electronics-free vacation.

• Wear a watch. Or better yet, don’t. The point of vacation is to unwind. 

• Plan ahead. In this new generation we’ve become accustom to being available for our bosses, clients, colleagues and others 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  When you make a point of giving plenty of advanced notice to everyone that you are going on vacation and plan to be off the grid, you’ve now created a fair expectation that you won’t be available. You’ll be surprised how many of them will encourage you to enjoy your time sans digital device.

The Benefits of Booking Direct

The Benefits of Booking Direct Blog Entry Image

There are hundreds of online options when it comes to booking travel, but nothing beats booking direct. Why? You remove the middleman. Booking direct can benefit your pocketbook and your overall experience.

Get the Best Price
Many hotels now offer best rate guarantees. At The Woodlands Resort, our best-rate guarantee means you won’t find a lower rate for our rooms online anywhere. If you find a rate that is viewable and bookable on another website for our property for the same room type, same dates and length of stay, we will verify it, and match it.

Receive a More Personalized Experience
Early check-in requests? Celebrating a special occasion? Speaking with the hotel staff while making your reservation creates an automatic personal connection and gives the resort a better understanding of how to make your stay more enjoyable. Speaking directly with the source can help you make the most of every moment.

Experience Greater Flexibility
Things happen in life that may require you to change your travel plans.  A general rule of thumb is the more parties between you and the service provider, the more difficult it is to resolve an issue. Booking directly with the resort will enable you to easily speak directly to a person in charge to help facilitate any changes.

Houston Ghost Hauntings

Houston Ghost Hauntings Blog Entry Image

For those seeking out a good scare, the Houston area is the perfect place to visit. Believers and nonbelievers alike will want to check out some of these local haunts identified by the Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau and Haunted Places:

National Museum of Funeral History - 415 Barren Springs Drive, Houston
Arguably Houston's most direct line to the afterlife, the museum has the country's largest collection of funeral service artifacts, from hearses through the ages to an extensive collection of memorabilia from U.S. presidents' funerals.

Wunsche Brothers Cafe and Saloon - 103 Midway St, Old Town Spring
Visit a ghost while enjoying a hamburger at this cafe in Spring, Texas. The ghost is believed to be the original owner Charlie Wunsche. Although the ghost appears more inclined to mischievous pranks – holding doors closed, hiding items and messing with electronics- he has been sighted by employees on occasion. Those who work there believe that Charlie is still looking out for his investment and his staff.

Puffabelly's Old Depot Restaurant100 Main Street, Old Town Spring
This 1900-era train depot building was moved to 100 Main Street in Old Town Spring from its original location in Lovelady, Texas in 1985. Shortly after it was constructed in 1902, a railroad yard switchman was involved in a tragic accident as he was attempting to flag down an engineer whose train was headed down the wrong tracks. As the switchman ran toward the oncoming train, waving his lantern and yelling frantically, he suddenly tripped on the rails and fell underneath the train. For years, people in Lovelady reported strange apparitions near the terminal. Several said they could make out a headless man waving a lantern and moving up

Jefferson Davis Hospital  - 1101 Elder St., Houston
Named after the President of the Confederacy, the hospital was erected in 1924 atop what was once a Confederate cemetery and before that, a burial site for plague victims. Several human bones were uncovered during excavation. Throughout its history, the building served as a hospital, a psychiatric ward, juvenile detention center and food stamp distribution venue. The hospital sat abandoned for decades. Screams and howls throughout the building have been reported and shadowy figures and unusual sightings have been caught on film. The building has since been renovated into The Elder Street Artists Lofts.

Julia Ideson Building - 500 McKinney St., Houston
In the early 1900s, library caretaker Jacob Frank Cramer used to roam the premises of the Julia Ideson Building, now across from downtown Houston's Main Branch Library. He spent his leisure time strolling through the halls, playing violin and playing with his dog. In 1936, he died alone in his room, located in the basement. The ghosts of Cramer and his dog, Petey, are said to haunt the library to this day. Employees report eerie strains of violin music, especially on gloomy days, and the clicking of Petey's toenails on the marble floors heard throughout the halls.

Best Apps for Business Travelers

Best Apps for Business Travelers Blog Entry Image

You’re a highly-experienced business traveler. You have your security screening prep down to an exact science. You know insider secrets, like the best place to get a beer or relax during a layover. But no matter how many miles you’ve logged, you’re always looking for ways to maximize your travel time. Here are some apps to help.

SeatGuru
Find low airfares, pick your ideal seat on the plane, and get real-time flight alerts with the free SeatGuru® app. Read seat comfort reviews from other travelers and view photos. Each seat is color-coded, with green being a "good seat", red being a "poor seat", and yellow being a "be aware" seat, meaning that there is some information that you should know about the seat (less legroom, etc.).

GateGuru
A door-to-door solution for a traveler on their day-of travel. The app keeps you posted in real-time on any updates to your itinerary such as security wait times, flight delays, gate changes or layover time adjustments.  It also provides gate-by-gate listings of restaurants, bookstores, ATMs and other services at 120 airports worldwide.

TaxiMagic
Book a taxi to your location in three taps of your mobile device. Use the app to track a nearby cab as it arrives. Register a credit card and pay for the ride straight from your phone - a receipt will be emailed once the ride is over.

XE Currency
Convert 180+ currencies on-the-go with the XE Currency App. It features up-to-the-minute exchange rates, historical charts, and even stores the last updated rates, so it works offline.

Card Munch
Take a picture with the app and a business card is converted to a contact automatically. You can also connect to your new contact via LinkedIn with just one tap.

Expensify
Expensify makes capturing receipts, tracking time or mileage, business travel and creating expense reports quick and easy. Use Expensify to take a picture of your receipt. Select which report that expense goes on. The apps SmartScan technology reads the receipt and creates the expense, eliminating any manual entry and saving you precious time and energy.

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