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.

What to Do on Your Family Vacation When it Rains

What to Do on Your Family Vacation When it Rains Blog Entry Image

You’ve spent months and months planning the perfect family vacation and then it happens. Rain.  Unfortunately, you can’t control Mother Nature, but you can control whether or not your family vacation is a fun time or a flop.

Visit a Museum
Museums provide a great indoor option that helps focus young minds on something other than the rain. In The Woodlands, we have a fabulous Children’s Museum that encourages learning through fun activities like hands-on science experiments and Mad Hatter tea parties. The resort is also only a short 30-minute drive to one of the most diverse cultural centers in the nation, Houston’s Museum District.

Family Game Time
Believe it or not, rain does not mean you are forced to stay in your room. Many hotel front desks have board games you can borrow. And why not play your games in one of the hotel libraries, lounge areas or lobby? At the Woodlands Resort we have a game room complete with Foosball table. Take advantage of the rain to spend some fun quality family time together.

Go to the Theater
Movies are a good way to pass the time when it rains, but think about asking the hotel about live performances in the area as well. You may be surprised about the entertainment offerings available to your family. Class Act Productions and Stage Right Productions offer year-round entertainment for The Woodlands and surrounding areas.

Play In the Rain
If you can’t beat them, join them.  Obviously, if there is lightning or severe weather conditions this one’s out. But if not, go have some fun. Gear up. Splash around. Explore. There is nothing more fun for a kid then having permission to get messy. So, let your inner child out and go enjoy the rain!

Reasons to Travel in the Fall

Reasons to Travel in the Fall Blog Entry Image

The majority of us tend to equate summer with vacation and fall as back to business. But why should the end of summer mean the end of your travel adventures? Let us offer a few reasons to reconsider this line of thinking.

Great Deals
The travel world, like most businesses, runs on supply and demand.  Fall sits between the peak summer season and the busier winter seasons. This means many airlines; hotels and attractions charge lower prices or offer special packages in an effort to attract business. Take advantage of the savings.

Fewer Crowds
With school back in session, Fall means a relief from the summer crowds. Lines are shorter at attractions and won’t be overcrowded. Airplanes are not oversold, so you may have access to better seats. In short, you more than likely will experience a more relaxed vacation experience in the Fall.

Fall Festivals
Fall Festivals have become a major drawing power in many places around the world. The cooler weather and harvest customs offer the perfect reason to celebrate.  Oktoberfest. Apple Celebrations. Pumpkin Chunking. The list of fun and unusual happenings is limitless – there is something from everyone. Here is a link to a list of festivals throughout the state of Texas.

Wonderful Weather
Here in Texas Fall means one very important thing – relief from the summer heat. Just because the calendar says autumn doesn't mean the weather automatically turns frosty. Warm, sunny weather lasts well beyond the end of September for many parts of the Northern Hemisphere.  It makes you want to get out and travel.

Healthy Road Trip Snacks

Healthy Road Trip Snacks Blog Entry Image

Whether you are traveling across the country or across the state, convenience stores and drive thru pit stops can challenge those trying to stick to a healthy diet.  However, you may be surprised by the fresh and light snacks that are now available.  Here are some ideas for eating smart when on the road:

Trail Mix: Trail mix is a great road trip snack as it provides a quick energy boost from the carbohydrates in the dried fruit or granola, and sustained energy from fats in nuts. If given an option, always choose the mix with “raw nuts” or “dry-roasted nuts” rather than “oil-roasted nuts.”

Yogurt: Yogurt is a great way to curb that sweet tooth. With a variety of delectable flavors, such as strawberry cheesecake and key-lime pie, it’s hard to believe this road-trip snack is so good for you.

Energy Bars: Energy bars can be a great source of protein. However, tread lightly and be sure to check the ingredients, as some are just glorified candy bars. Look for a bar that lists whey or casein protein as the first or second ingredient.

Bananas: The great thing about bananas, besides the health benefits, is the fact that they have a peel. There is no need to wash them, so you can dive right into consuming that yummy potassium goodness that will keep you powered up for the long drive ahead.

It’s always smart to pack your own cooler when heading out on long trips as that gives you complete control, but when a pit stop is necessary, keep these options in mind. Be sure to check the expiration date on all purchases.  Here’s to a happy, healthy road trip!

Planning a Last-Minute Weekend Getaway on a Budget

Planning a Last-Minute Weekend Getaway on a Budget Blog Entry Image

What’s life without a little spontaneity? And what’s more spontaneous than planning a last-minute getaway? To some this thought is preposterous, especially when trying to stick to a budget. However, if you follow a few of these tips, you can be on your way to a memorable trip in no time.

1.) Be flexible. Remember you are being spontaneous. This means that you need to be more flexible in your destination and travel time choices to make the most of your greenbacks. There are tons of last-minute travel sites that are looking to fill seats and rooms, but you may be limited on the where and when. Checking out these sites may give you some great destination ideas.  This can also help in the airfare department. Most travel sites now have the option to view +/- a day or two to find better deals. Take advantage of this. Google Flights is a great site to help you out with this.

2.) Booking close to home can be a serious advantage. If it’s simply a change of scenery you are looking for, consider a staycation destination.  This eliminates the need for airline travel, but still enables you to getaway. Call your local resort or hotel to find out if they are running any specials, or last minute deals. When planning last minute, you are better off to call the hotel or resort directly as they have instant access to availability and the inside deals.  At the Woodlands Resort, we always welcome last minute reservations when space is available.

3.) Just do it.  Often its no one but ourselves keeping us from a last-minute vacation. We feel we will be remiss for not taking care of certain responsibilities. We promise you that those responsibilities will still be there when you return. And don’t let pre-planning worries get in the way. Packing is always one of those tasks that seem to stress travelers out.  That’s the fun of a weekend getaway – you won’t be gone that long, so there’s not much to pack. Remember, you deserve to take off and enjoy life every now and then. After all, you only live once, so make the most of it!

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