Fewer crowds, mild weather and budget-friendly options attract fall travelers
COLUMBUS – Summer’s over and kids are back in school, but many people are making plans for a fall getaway, before the arrival of another busy holiday season. According to a new survey from AAA, more than one in four Americans (28 percent) expect to take a vacation this year between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
“We have seen strong demand for travel throughout the course of the year, and Americans are discovering that traveling during the fall season is a best kept secret,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing.
Americans say the top benefits of taking a fall trip include:
- Fewer crowds and children (68 percent)
- Weather that is more favorable (63 percent)
- The opportunity to find better value for the cost of their trip (55 percent)
“Savvy travelers can often find lower prices on everything from airfare and hotels to cruises and vacation packages, as travel companies offer incentives to fill their vacancies during the fall,” said Sutherland.
Top Fall Trips:
Road trips are the preferred activity for fall travelers, with 62 percent of those planning a vacation intending to pack up their car and hit the road. Thanks to milder weather, outdoor events such as fall festivals and visits to national and state parks are particularly popular during the fall.
More than a quarter (26 percent) of fall travelers will be taking a trip to view fall foliage. Top fall foliage hot spots for Ohio travelers include Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.
Ohio also has several options to view the fall foliage, including Hocking Hills, Amish Country, and the Ohio State Parks. Scenic byways run through many of these destinations and can be found on AAA maps.
With smaller crowds this time of year, big city trips to Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago and Nashville are also popular for Ohio travelers.
Nationally, about one-third of all fall travelers are planning an international vacation, with European destinations, including Rome and London, topping the list.
AAA’s National travel findings are from a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,011 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted Aug. 3-6, 2017. Ohio travel data is based on destination searches through AAA.com.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel-, insurance-, financial- and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at AAA.com.
Friday Night Floaters
Posted on August 25, 2017 | The Metro Parks Blog
The sun shone brightly on Sharon Woods’ 11-acre Schrock Lake as its recent Friday Night Float program began. Eager canoeists, many of them first-timers, signed-on for a 20-minute float around the tree-lined lake.
Park staff and volunteers helped canoeists into life jackets, guided them into their canoes and pushed them from the launching dock and out onto the lake. One of the first set of people to go out were Doug and Rebecca Smith, from Worthington, with 7-year-old Felicity and 2-year-old Xavier. Although Doug had canoed before, it was a new adventure for Rebecca and the kids, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy the ride. Doug said, “I’m so glad we could enjoy this family experience here at our local park.” The Smiths are regular visitors at both Sharon Woods and Highbanks.
The largest group of canoeists was fronted by Adnan Sharif, who pointed out a number of his friends and family, waiting on the docks ready for their turn. “My cousin Hashim found out about the program from social media. We thought it would be fun for everyone. There are sixteen of us.”
The group of 16, made up of family and friends, are all Sharon Woods regulars, but none of them had canoed before. Some got the hang of it sooner than others. One set of three, to the hilarity of others in the group, found themselves and their canoe turning around in circles. Some friendly advice shouted from the dock had them using their paddles to better effect. Straight-line (or almost straight-line) canoeing quickly followed.
Harvey Austin canoed with his daughters Aja and Casey as the sun began to lower in the sky. Aja and Casey were new to canoeing and very excited to get out on the lake, but they couldn’t persuade their mother Kimberly to join them. Kimberly watched from the shore and took photos. She conceded that it did seem fun, and not at all dangerous, and said she might give it a try next time.
Sylvia and Nitya Neidner with their paddles. Sylvia’s was made more than 40 years ago by her father. (Virginia Gordon)
One couple brought their own paddles. Sylvia Neidner’s paddle, of polished wood and bearing a diamond icon and Sylvia’s name, was made for her by her father more than 40 years ago. Both of her parents were canoeists and Sylvia caught the canoeing bug from them. She has paddled our 4-hour canoe trips on Big Darby Creek before, but isn’t able to get outside and get active as often or as easily as she once did. Discovering that she could canoe so much closer to home, the Westerville resident was delighted to be at Schrock Lake. Her partner Nitya, also with his own paddle, saw the program in Parkscope. Nitya is also a member of Friends of Metro Parks.
Darkness began to envelop the lake before Sylvia and Nitya made their way back to shore. Other canoeists were still going out and everyone who signed up got their turn on the lake.
Almost 200 people canoed on the night. We would like to offer our thanks to everyone who came out for one of this year’s canoe programs at Sharon Woods, now in their third year.
We’re Buckeyes because…
Posted on August 30, 2017 | The Metro Parks Blog
By CODY BERKEBILE
Blacklick Woods Naturalist
Now that football season is here, Ohioans turn their focus to The Ohio State Buckeyes. Living in Columbus, it is impossible to ignore the barrage of buckeyes across all media. Fans are familiar with the buckeye nut, as it is the basis for the team’s mascot, Brutus Buckeye. This iconic mascot did not debut until the fall of 1965. Up until that time, OSU had no mascot.
The leaves of the Ohio buckeye tree are also familiar to Ohio State football fans. The five leaflets appear on helmets in the form of stickers, which are awarded to players based on individual and team accomplishments.
This imagery of buckeye trees is deeply engrained in Ohioans, whether they are football fans or not, but less well-known is how Ohio received its nickname. Buckeye trees grow throughout the eastern United States, but only Ohio is affectionately referred to as the Buckeye State.
One logical explanation for Ohio’s nickname is simply the abundance of Ohio buckeye trees in the state. They are common understory trees throughout Ohio, usually found along streams and in fertile bottom lands. They prefer moist, but well-drained soils and grow readily under the shade of larger trees. Historically, the wood from buckeye trees was used for building furniture and crates. The lightweight wood also made it appealing for carving, whittling and the making of fine utensils.
Perhaps the first time the term Buckeye was used to describe an Ohioan occurred in the late 18th century. Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, a large, imposing man, proceeded through the state to establish the first court in the Northwest Territory. His great stature deeply impressed the indigenous people of the area, who affectionately referred to him as “Hetuch,” their word for the eye of the buck deer. As frequently happens, nicknames stick and evolve. Colonel Sproat was henceforth known as “Big Buckeye” and this nickname eventually transferred to all Ohioans and the state as well.
William Harrison’s emblem of a log cabin and hard cider for the 1840 Presidential election helped spread the word about Ohioans as Buckeyes.
Another story behind Ohioans being referred to as buckeyes nationwide dates from 1840, when General William Henry Harrison was elected president of the United States. Harrison, an older and more rustic candidate than the incumbent, President Martin Van Buren, was ridiculed by his opponents, who claimed he was “better suited to sit in a log cabin and drink hard cider.” Harrison’s supporters took this attempted dig at their candidate and spun it into a positive by naming him the “log cabin candidate.”
As his campaign emblem, Harrison used an image of a log cabin made of buckeye wood with a long string of buckeyes decorating the walls. His supporters would carry buckeye walking sticks in parades. Continually embracing this log cabin persona, supporters even penned lyrics to be sung to popular melodies.
Oh where, tell me where, was your Buckeye cabin made?
Oh where, tell me where, was your Buckeye cabin made?
T’was built among the merry boys
That wield the plow and spade,
Where the Log Cabins stand in the bonnie Buckeye shade.
While the origins of the Buckeye nickname may date all the way back to Colonel Sproat in 1788, it wasn’t until 1953 that the Ohio State Legislature made the Ohio buckeye the official state tree. Today, you won’t see many buckeye log cabins or walking sticks across the state, but you can’t miss the buckeye leaves and nuts come football season.
They’re taking away your public lands and waters
Theresa Pierno, NPCA
America’s public lands and waters are in the crosshairs once again.
A memo leaked to the Washington Post  shows that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that President Trump slash the size and protections for at least 10 of our national monuments — including Bears Ears and Katahdin Woods and Waters. He’s recommending sweeping changes like allowing logging, mining, drilling and commercial fishing — changes that will cause irreparable harm to some of America’s most important public lands and waters. This is completely unacceptable.
Secretary Zinke is undermining the places he is charged to protect. What’s more, he’s completely ignoring the more than 2.8 million voices who called on him to preserve and protect ALL of our national monuments.
America won’t stand for this.
Take action right now by telling Congress to stand up and defend ALL of our national monuments and public lands from these attacks.
Here are just a few of the monuments where Secretary Zinke has asked President Trump to make changes:
- Bears Ears National Monument in Utah — revise the boundary to re-define which “objects” and places deserve protection
- Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine — allow logging within the national park
- Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico — prioritize grazing and vehicle use
- Rose Atoll Marine National Monument in American Samoa — increase commercial fishing
To attack our national monuments is unthinkable. And there could be more on the horizon.
We don’t know when or how President Trump will act on these recommendations, so every second counts. All Americans — including our elected leaders — must defend these public lands before it’s too late.
Speak up for our national monuments. Tell your members of Congress to stand up to the Zinke memo and defend the places that belong to all of us!
Thank you for continuing to help us defend our national parks and monuments. It is clear that America’s public lands need you more than ever. Together we will make a difference.
Truck Safety Technology Can Prevent 63,000 Crashes Each Year
AAA Foundation Study Reveals Benefits of Adding Safety Technology to Large Trucks
COLUMBUS – Equipping large trucks with advanced safety technologies has the potential to prevent up to 63,000 truck related crashes each year, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
In 2015, large trucks were involved in more than 400,000 crashes that resulted in more than 4,000 deaths and 116,000 injuries. In Ohio, large trucks were involved in 186 fatal crashes, which accounted for 11.3 percent of Ohio’s fatal crashes that year.
The report, Leveraging Large Truck Technology and Engineering to Realize Safety Gains, examined the safety benefits and costs of installing four advanced safety technologies in both existing and new large trucks:
- Lane departure warning systems: warns the driver when the vehicle drifts out of its lane
- Automatic emergency braking: detects when the truck is in danger of striking a vehicle in front of it and brake if needed
- Air disc brakes: provides maintenance and performance advantages
- Video-based onboard safety monitoring systems: monitors the driver’s behavior and performance
Researchers found that the societal safety benefits (i.e., economic value of lives saved, injuries prevented, etc.) of equipping all new and existing large trucks with lane departure warning and video-based onboard safety monitoring systems far outweigh the costs:
Lane departure warning systems can prevent up to 6,372 crashes, 1,342 injuries and 115 deaths each year.
Video-based onboard safety monitoring systems can prevent as many as 63,000 crashes, 17,733 injuries and 293 deaths each year.
In addition, the societal safety benefits of equipping all new trucks with automatic braking or air disc brakes could outweigh costs:
Automatic emergency braking can prevent up to 5,294 crashes, 2,638 injuries and 55 deaths each year.
Air disc brakes can prevent up to 2,411 crashes, 1,381 injuries and 37 deaths each year.
“There’s no question that truck safety technology saves lives,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “This new research shows that the benefits of adding many of these technologies to trucks clearly outweigh the cost.”
Consumers Weigh-in on Large Trucks:
A recent AAA survey conducted in parallel with the AAA Foundation’s research found that six out of ten (61 percent) U.S. adults feel less safe driving past large commercial trucks than driving past passenger cars. The top three reasons are:
Trucks’ large size and length (28 percent)
Trucks have greater blind spots/less visibility (18 percent)
Trucks can drift or swerve out of their lane (14 percent)
More than one in four (26 percent) U.S. adults say adding safety technology to large trucks would help them feel better about sharing the road.
“It’s understandable that many motorists are fearful and feel vulnerable when traveling near large trucks,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research. “Adding these safety technologies to the trucking fleet is not only cost effective, but doing so helps to alleviate driver concerns and prevents crashes. In the long run, it’s a win-win for industry and drivers nationwide.”
Cars and Trucks Share the Road:
Professional truck drivers and motorists have a mutual responsibility to safely share the road by being attentive to changing road factors and driving conditions. When traveling near a large truck, drivers should:
- Be aware that trucks have large blind spots or “no-zones.” As a rule of thumb, if you cannot see the driver in the truck’s side view mirror, they cannot see you.
- Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and a truck when coming to a stop on a hill. Trucks may roll back as the driver takes his or her foot off the brake.
- Avoid speeding up when a truck is passing. Slow down and give the truck driver plenty of room to pass.
- Follow trucks at a safe distance.
- Allow plenty of space for a truck driver who is signaling to change lanes.
AAA works closely with the trucking industry, government agencies and safety organizations to help keep all drivers safe behind the wheel. Many large commercial fleets have begun equipping trucks with these advanced safety technologies. AAA urges others to consider investing in cost effective technologies that can help save lives.
About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit AAAFoundation.org.
“Children of The Morgue” At America’s Most Haunted Hotel
(EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS) — Many people know of the most of famous “guests who check out but never leave” at the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, a mountaintop resort in the Arkansas Ozarks. They include Michael, the Irish stonemason who helped build the hotel in 1885; Theodora, a patient of Baker’s Cancer Curing Hospital in the late 1930s; and “the lady in the Victorian nightgown”, who likes to stand at the foot of the bed in Room 3500 and stare at guests while they sleep. And these are only three of the dozens upon dozens of spirits that guests and visitors have reported encountering in this five-story Historic Hotel of America.
Each night, the year ‘round, the hotel conducts ghost tours. It was during one of these tours this summer when several paranormal entities -at one time- mesmerized a tour patron. The tour was led that night by Dame Diane, her nom de guide. She explains it here in her own words:
” A woman, I’ll call her Sally (not her real name), who was on my tour one night in late July, told me as the tour was beginning that she was very sensitive to the paranormal realm. She even told me a brief story of a ghost she had seen and spoken to years before on a regular basis.
“At the start of each of my tours, I usually ask a guest to carry a ghost EMF (electromagnetic field) meter. Sally methodically walked forward to receive it without the usual embarrassment or nervous smile that I normally see. I handed it to Sally, then proceeded with my presentation.
“During the tour, Sally carried the meter behind her back much of the time. It ‘chirped’ quite often according to a woman who stood and walked behind her. Sally was not at all interested in the meter, it was as though she was not really there. She had a fretted and worried look frozen on her face and never spoke up, even though I got the feeling she really wanted to do so many times. Her look was a little unsettling, especially when we reached the third floor. I was too focused making my presentation to pay attention to her the whole time, but wish I could have.
“For it was as our tour was exiting the morgue (the rooms in the lowest level of the hotel where Norman Baker conducted autopsies as well as storing cadavers and body parts in a huge walk-in cooler when he owned and operated the hotel as a cancer curing hospital) where Sally stood frozen, wide-eyed in the middle of the autopsy room facing the doorway. She wouldn’t move or speak.
“Realizing that she was now separated from the tour, I moved from the head of the tour back to where she was standing to encourage her to leave this, the final stop on the tour. Neither I nor her husband could move her. She was totally stiff and unresponsive.
“It was at that time, I took the EMF meter from her hand and took her arm to gently encourage her to move in the direction of the door. She gasped and mumbled a bit then stood dead still after only one step. It was at that time her voice became quite clear and vehement uttering, ‘Oh, please… they need help… I need to help them!’
“Her husband and I kept leading her down the hallway toward the exit, during which time she kept crying and pleading, ‘The children need my help!’.
“These exclamations continued all the way up to the lobby. She was very upset and kept trying to return to the morgue. Even while her husband was basically pulling her toward the hotel’s front door exit, she kept saying that ‘the children’ were calling her, pleading for her help.
“Once outside the hotel, Sally turned toward me with a still, wan expression telling me not to return to the third floor. She said she saw a red hand on my throat while the tour was up there, sensing that someone or something didn’t like me or was out to get me. She approached me wanting to demonstrate what she saw. I declined.
“Her husband and I finally got her to sit down in one of the chairs outside in the hotel’s front veranda. Once seated, she more calmly yet pointedly started to explain that, ‘There is a mean man with fuzzy salt and pepper hair in a white coat that is abusing those children of the morgue, trying to push them down underneath autopsy table.’ She entreated me to return with her to the morgue in order to stop the man and to free these children ‘sending them into the light’. The husband, in hushed tones, told me he had never see her like this during their seven years of marriage.
“Eventually, Sally and her husband left the hotel property leaving me standing alone in the shadows of this castle-like, nineteenth century, limestone structure. I was shaken, bewildered, and musing as to what would I do when I returned to the morgue the next night. I went home emotionally exhausted.
“I did return the next night and have been back every night since. However, each night, as I stand near the autopsy table, I do not so much feel fearful as concerned and somewhat heartbroken for those poor children, the ‘children of the morgue’.”
The Crescent Hotel gears up each year for the bewitching month of October and 2017 is no exception. Added this year are “Spooky Bedtime Stories” and “Ghost Tour Guides: Their Inside Stories”. Both will be late-night events exclusively for hotel guests.
On Halloween, the stars of Eureka Springs’ Intrigue Theater, Sean-Paul and Juliana Fay, return to the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom for one late-night dinner show and sÃ©ance. This ticketed event is open to hotel guests and visitors.
Bill Ott, hotel communications director, noted, “The hotel guests and patrons who experience our nightly ghost tours and who see, hear, and/or feel something unexplainable while in the hotel, are encouraged to send us their stories and any captured digital images for placement on our paranormal website americasmosthauntedhotel.com. These numerous, published accounts are why so many return in January for one of our ESP (Eureka Springs Paranormal) Weekends. In 2018, January 5-6 and January 12-13 have been set aside for amateur ghost hunters or those simply interested in the paranormal. ESP participants will have the run of the hotel -so to speak- to do their own private, personal search for available apparitions.”
In addition to their website, some haunted aspects of the hotel can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/crescenthotelghosttours/ and on Instagram at #americashosthauntedhotel.
BREAKING: Big cuts to ten national monuments
Theresa Pierno, NPCA
URGENT: Zinke recommends big cuts to national monuments
This is exactly what we were all afraid of.
A new memo from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that President Trump make sweeping changes to 10 of our national monuments. In fact, he is explicitly recommending more roads, timber harvesting, grazing, mining, and drilling in these special places.
It’s the worst possible news for public lands and park advocates — and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
These special places were set aside for ALL Americans. But if Secretary Zinke’s recommendations are implemented, that would mean that unique and cherished parts of America’s history, culture and natural heritage won’t survive for future generations to experience.
Join the fight now by making an emergency donation to our legal defense and park protection work. Every square inch of our national monuments belongs to ALL Americans, and NPCA is going to fight to protect them — from Capitol Hill to the courthouse.
The memo Americans saw in the news today makes recommendations on 10 of the 27 national monuments Secretary Zinke has been “reviewing” since April, including:
• Bears Ears National Monument: Change monument boundaries, potentially dramatically reducing its size
• Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument: Change monument boundaries to allow access for mining, drilling, and road building
• Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument: Allow logging within the national park
Also on Secretary Zinke’s hit list are Cascade-Siskiyou, Gold Butte, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, Rio Grande Del Norte, Rose Atoll and Pacific Remote Islands.
With this first set of recommendations, Secretary Zinke has now officially undercut the places he is charged to protect. What’s more, he’s completely ignoring the more than 2.8 million American voices who called for him to preserve and protect ALL our national monuments.
Make your emergency donation right now to protect all our national monuments. America won’t stand for this attack on OUR public lands, and your gift today will make sure that we go into this fight ready to stand up for every single monument.
Even with the sweeping recommendations in this memo, the fate of 11 national monuments is still in limbo which means more cuts could be on the horizon. That’s why it’s so important to mount a strong, thorough and vocal defense of these 10 monuments right away.
It’s beyond disappointing to see Secretary Zinke go this far by ignoring the public and undoing protections for some of our nation’s most important cultural, historic and natural sites.
As always, thank you for defending our national parks and monuments. It is quite clear that America’s public lands need you more than ever. Together we will make a difference.