Posts tagged with "hiking"

Kaelen Felix illustrates Elkhart Lake for 360 magazine

Elkhart Lake WI

By Elle Grant x Vaughn Lowery

As summer winds down and fall arrives, many find themselves itching for one last summer getaway, or rather, that first autumn weekend away. 360 Magazine was able to take advantage of such a trip, visiting Wisconsin’s Elkhart Lake this past September. Located in the heart of Moraine State Forest, Elkhart Lake is the ideal natural getaway, being home to lake activities as well as canopied hiking and biking trails.

Elkhart Lake, located on the East side of Wisconsin, is both a stunning sojourn into nature and also a historical destination. With a population just under one thousand, the village maintains a cozy quality, with local shops, restaurants, and activities maintaining a small-town, yet polished feel. Yet during the summertime, the town swells and comes to life. First inhabited by the Potawatomi Indians, the name Elkhart stems from the description Native people had of the area, that the lake resembled the shape of an elk’s heart. Native American culture can easily be explored in the area through local tours and at the Henschel’s Indian Museum. Elkhart is also a significant historical definition in terms of its relationship to racing, reaching its peak in the mid 1950s.

Our stay at the Shore Club was nothing short of superb. The new owners, Tom and Kristin Pagel, have done an incredible job renovating the hotel. Renovations including adding updated technology to enhance guest stays: Netflix, Alexa, a digital concierge through the Whisper app, Peloton bikes will soon be available, and luxury motor sports for those interested. Furthermore, the site also boasts an indoor pool, a game room with ping pong tables and vintage arcade games, and a gym. For those interested in seeing Elkhart on two wheels, free bikes are available for guest use at the front desk. The restaurant on site, the Cottonwood Social, offered consistently well-done meals, including the perfect weekend brunch.

We began our lake escape with a pontoon cruise on the namesake of the area, Elkhart Lake. Before departing, we sipped and snacked on the Osthoff’s signature cocktails and hors oeuvres. On the pontoon boat, we were able to view the lake’s crystal-clear lake waters and receive a tour that included information of the area’s history, legends, and folklore. The evening air aboard the boat made this the perfect way to begin a stay. Following the pontoon ride, dinner at the Osthoff Resort’s newest restaurant, Concourse Restaurant and Lounge, proved to be a unique culinary experience. With specialties such as the honey balsamic trout, seared scallops with sweet pea risotto, and the veal schnitzel with pickled cucumber relish, there was a delicious and refined option forevery set of tastebuds. The restaurant’s décor, a tribute the area and Osthoff’s vintage racing roots, also deserves special note.

Elkhart lake is famed for its historic roots as a racing circuit in the 1950s. During this decade, the village of Elkhart Lake transformed into an open-road race circuit where top sports car drivers traveled from all around the world to take on the unique terrain. Likewise, thousands of fans were drawn to the area, eager to see the athletes and vehicles alike. The racing today is focused at Road America,but the historic circuit is marked with signs denoting Wacker’s Wend, Kimberly’s Korner, and Dicken’s Ditch. This auto focused tour of the area isn’t to be missed. Road America also offers an opportunity to join in on the fun with options such as go-karting and ATVs at this world-acclaimed facility.

Road America and Elkhart Lake are famous as one of the oldest, largest, and most iconic tracks in the world. Currently, its original course is registered on the National Register of Historical Places, emphasizing its significance. Gaining popularity in the 1940s and 1950s, the post-World War II economy spurred on the influx of sporting luxury automobiles. For Elkhart specifically, the notable Sports Car Club of America were the main organizer of their races. Incredibly popular races such as the RoadAmerica 500, SCCA National Sports Car Championship, the United States Road Racing Championship and the IMSAGT Championship. Today, it continues to host luxury races and draw motorsports fans and can even be found in numerous racing video games!

Following a wild time racing, time winding down at the Aspira Spa was well-needed. Inspired by local Native American practices and traditions, but fused with modern technology and science, the spa offers the ideal treatment for any interest party. The inside space of the Aspira is thoughtfully designed and embraces the concept of Feng Shui as well as the natural elements. Personally, we enjoyed the Element Facial; this facial is a mask focused in traditional Chinese medicine representing the five elements. These five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Harmony can be restored through the combination of colored light and essential oils inspired by these elements. By exalting the healing practices of indigenous cultures around the world, Aspira is able to provide a holistic, organic, and thorough approach to healing and relaxation.

Traveling back in time once again, visiting the Carriage Museum at Wade House transported us even further back – back to the 1860s stagecoach era located within this Wisconsin Historical Site. To get a full experience of the period, we were able to travel in that manner: horse-drawn carriage! The museum also features Wisconsin’s most diverse collection of transportation of this manner with over 100 horse-and-hand drawn vehicles. For the transportation enthusiasts, this isn’t to be missed.

When one thinks of wine country, Wisconsin might not exactly spring to mine. Yet award-winning sommelier Jaclyn Stuart operates Vintage Elkhart Lake, a charming shop where she hand-selects all wines available. The tasting at her bar came paired with cheese plates, potato chip flights, and other delectable pairing bites. The shop, beyond wine unique to the area, also sells other local delicacies for those interested in bringing home a taste of Wisconsin.

It would hardly be a trip to the lake without time spent on the lake fishing. Elkhart Lake is 119 feet deep and 292 acres wide, providing the perfect home to a variety of fish species: musky, walleye, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill and crappie all inhabit the lake. Going with a licensed guide like Jay Brickner will aide in explaining all those numerous species. Below the surface isn’t the only place to find remarkable species – a variety of endangered bird call this estuary home including bald eagles. Whether or not fishing is an interest, time spent on this beautiful, blue lake is worth taking a boat out for. A little closer to shore also boasts the best of the lake’s charms. From the time when Native Americans lived along its banks, Elkhart’s pristine quality has been appreciated. Taking advantage of more advanced activities like a hydrobike or other watersports can be a more adventurous way to embrace lake life. Other options including standup paddleboard, jet skis, and speedboats. Even taking a walk in the sand along the shoreline is another greatway to take advantage of all the lake has to offer.

The natural beauty of Elkhart Lake region is its most obvious draw, but the culinary seen isn’t to be underestimated. Lake Street Café, serving California Bistro style fare, also offers Wisconsin’s third largest wine list ensuring the perfect pairing for any dish. Quit Qui Clubhouse features classic pub and grill fair with a Wisconsin twist, including homemade soups, chili, sandwiches, burgers, and more. Siebkens Resort and 67 Saloon are also phenomenal dinner options reflecting inspiration from the area.

Elkhart Lake proved to be a much-needed September getaway. The natural beauty paired with the historical aspects of the Native American culture in the area as well as the history of luxury racing makes this an incredibly well-rounded destination.

Kicking a Soccer Ball illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

CVB Virtual GO 92.0 

The Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau has created a virtual race called GO 92.0.  The CVB is inviting outdoor enthusiasts to join this virtual 92.0-mile run, walk or bike challenge that begins September 1, 2020 and ends September 30, 2020. Participants choose how to trek the 92.0 miles, while keeping tabs on progress using a favorite tracker app. For every 9.20 miles completed, participants will earn a virtual “badge” to celebrate their accomplishment. The CVB’s “virtual road team” plans to keep motivating those participating in the GO 92.0 by highlighting fun facts about Green Bay landmarks and tourist attractions.

“Many people have become active in the outdoors. Whether you’re biking a trail, walking your dog or hiking a path to see a waterfall, you’re challenging yourself to get out into nature,” says Toni Jaeckles, CVB Partnerships Director. “This virtual challenge can be done anywhere, whether you are at home or on the road,” she added.

“We’ve even created a version for our youngest athletes. There’s a 9.20 Kids Movement Challenge. We hope everyone in the family will participate,” says Jaeckles.

Proceeds for the virtual event go back to support Green Bay area tourism.

Follow Go 92.0: Facebook

360 MAGAZINE, VACATION, HOLIDAY, ILLUSTRATIONS

Puerto Vallarta Re-opening

VENTURE OFF THE BEATEN PATH IN PUERTO VALLARTA

Mexico is known for its outstanding beach towns, which pull hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. But just because a destination is popular with tourists does not mean that there are no local, under-the-radar secrets to be discovered. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico’s west coast beach capital, is a destination that is very much on the tourist trail, yet still provides adventures off the beaten path for those who are willing to look.

Puerto Vallarta is the jewel of Mexico’s west coast, strategically located on the Bay of Banderas. The city itself has a fabulous marina, hotel zone, and historic downtown, and is also within driving distance from some of the smaller beach communities that sit along the bay. It is a haven for luxury, fine dining, all-inclusive resorts, local culture, art, history, adventure travel, and more.

Of course there is plenty to see and do in the resort areas and on tours, but travelers looking to venture off the beaten path will find so much to discover. Adventure enthusiasts will love the many hiking opportunities available in and around Puerto Vallarta. One of the best is a coast-hugging hike that runs from the small village of Boca de Tomatlan to Las Animas beach. The hike is relatively unknown to tourists and is mostly a local activity, but those who make the journey are rewarded with dramatic views over turquoise-colored water, private beaches and coves, and even a secret beach club that acts like a private party hideaway on its own stretch of sand. To access the hike, hire a taxi or take a local bus south to Boca de Tomatlan to find the trailhead. To return travelers can hire a water taxi back from Las Animas to Boca de Tomatlan.

Speaking of beaches, visitors can discover a small beach community only accessible by boat. The small fishing village of Yelapa is surrounded by jungle-blanketed mountains, offering a quiet beach escape far from the activity of Puerto Vallarta’s more central beaches. A handful of restaurants dot the shore, and there are a few basic hotel accommodations for those who wish to spend the night. One of the best things to do in Yelapa is to take the hike back into the jungle to find the beautiful waterfall.

Get your cameras ready for one of Puerto Vallarta’s ‘wow’ factors: its sunsets. Epic almost any night of the year, the skies over Puerto Vallarta explode with fiery colors. While most visitors will pick their perches down along the shore, those in the know will be high above the city taking in the sunset and views below from the Mirador Cerro de la Cruz. This hilltop vantage point has sweeping views over the entire city, Zona Romantica, and the bay. It’s beautiful at any time of day, but for those truly Instagrammable photos, sunset is unbeatable.

Finally, foodies will delight at the off the beaten path dining that packs the city. While the restaurant gastronomy scene is absolutely worthwhile, it’s the local spots that truly set Puerto Vallarta dining apart. Roam the taco trucks in the 5 de Diciembre neighborhood, or sink your teeth into delicious fish tacos and ceviche at El Solar Beach Club.

Tip: Remain at El Solar after sunset for live music and a local party almost every night of the week.

From isolated beaches to the next undiscovered taco experience, adventures in nature, and everything in between, Puerto Vallarta might be one of the most popular destinations in Mexico but it offers a world waiting to be experienced off the beaten path.

About the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board

The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board is responsible for promoting the destination in national and international markets. Nestled between the rugged, tropical Sierra Madre Mountains and Banderas Bay – Mexico’s largest natural bay and second largest on the American continent – on Mexico’s balmy Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta is easily accessible from the U.S. and Canada. The city enjoys a warm tropical climate year-round, with average daytime temperatures of 80°F and cooler evening temperatures in winter months. Located four miles from downtown Puerto Vallarta, Gustavo Diaz International Airport receives more than four million visitors annually. The destination is home to 300,000 residents and offers an estimated 12,400 hotel rooms, with more than half in 4-star-plus properties.

Door County, Wisconsin, Travel, Food, Geiger PR, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

Outdoor Adventures for Your Next Vacation

There’s nothing like quality vacation time to help you recharge and enjoy the important things in life. While it’s the perfect chance to disconnect and catch up on your rest, it’s also a great opportunity to add some adventure to your life. The truth is, most people long for exciting and meaningful experiences, but it can be difficult to find them in the day to day. If you’re preparing for an upcoming trip, take advantage of the journey and try something new and exhilarating. Whether it’s a family getaway or adults only, there are plenty of outdoor adventures you can choose from to broaden your horizons.

White Water Rafting

If you’re looking for an exciting activity that’s great for exploring nature while working as a team, white water rafting can be a great choice. It works well for groups of practically every size, whether you’re going alone or want to bring several friends or family members along for the ride. While most people assume you need to be a good swimmer to stay safe with this kind of activity, there are actually several levels of intensity to choose from. As long as you work with a company of highly trained professionals who provide quality safety gear, being a strong swimmer isn’t necessary to enjoy the adventure. However, many locations offer more relaxed options for those who are looking to float over gentler waters so they can take in the sights.

Ziplining

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush with a bird’s eye view, Denver ziplining is a unique and exciting experience for adventure lovers. A series of cables are suspended, usually over scenic locations, from forests and rivers to mountains and cliffs. Participants travel along the cable through the air from one base to the next while experiencing the beauty of the outdoors from an entirely new perspective. Some locations even offer nighttime packages so you can explore under the stars. Most trips usually last between two and three hours and some courses are open to children as young as four or five. However, the age requirements and duration will vary based on location and company, so be sure to check ahead before you book a package.

Camping and Hiking

For a more accessible approach to trying something new, camping and hiking are great options for the entire family and virtually every age. To keep things exciting, find parks and campgrounds with unique options, like treehouse cabins, beach grounds or even dark-sky zones for the best view of the stars. While you can plan your own hiking trip, consider hiring a guide to take you off the beaten path for a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you choose a location with historic significance or scenic waterfalls, a professional can help you get the best views while pointing out unique flora and fauna along the way. If you do desire to plan your own itinerary, be sure you research the local guidelines and make the necessary safety precautions, especially when traveling alone or in small groups.

Water Sports

Whether you’re traveling to the coast or visiting a lakefront destination, water sports are a great way to add some extra fun to your vacation. From kayaking and paddleboarding to jet skis and sailboats, playing on the water is a rare treat for most people, so take advantage of it if you’re vacationing nearby. If you want to relax, enjoy a casual lunch and take a swim, renting a pontoon boat is a great option. However, if you’re looking for an extra adrenaline rush, give parasailing a try. 

As you plan your next vacation, why not add an outdoor adventure to your itinerary? There’s something for every age, interest and group size out there, so give something new a try. You can enjoy a unique experience while creating life-long memories.

California Poison Control Offers Rattlesnake Bite Prevention Tips  

By Dr. Rais Vohra

At California Poison Control System (CPCS), we want to remind residents that with warmer spring weather, rattlesnakes are more likely to be found on hiking trails and sunning in rural areas. Most bites occur between the months of April and October. Even baby rattlesnakes possess dangerous venom as soon as they hatch. 

This weekend, we received three calls about rattlesnake bites, a higher number per weekend than usual. About 300 cases are reported to CPCS annually in California, with additional other cases managed by physicians and hospitals. 

While the odds of being bitten by a rattlesnake are small compared to other environmental injuries, residents can follow precautions outdoors that can minimize the chance of being bitten. For example, children are naturally curious and may look into open pipes or under rocks, or kick loose brush and bushes where snakes may sometimes lie quietly. Children need to be carefully supervised outside, especially in wooded and desert areas where snakes tend to live.  Rattlesnakes do not always make a rattling sound, so someone can be standing next to a rattlesnake and not even know it. 

Some rattlesnake bite prevention tips include: 

  • Wear boots and long pants when hiking.
  • Stay on trails when hiking, away from underbrush and tall weeds.
  • Do not touch or disturb a snake, even if it appears dead. 
  • Carefully inspect logs or rocks before sitting on them.
  • Never hike alone in remote areas. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency. Calling for help if alone is not an option, as cellphones do not always work in remote areas.
  • Teach children to respect snakes and to leave them alone.

The symptoms of a rattlesnake bite may include extreme pain and swelling at the location of the bite; excessive bleeding; nausea; swelling in the mouth and throat making it difficult to breathe; lightheadedness; drooling; and even collapse, shock and death in rare cases.  If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, immediate medical attention is critical. Severe or even life-threatening symptoms may occur within minutes after the bite, or in other cases may begin after couple of hours. In either event, your best bet is to get to a hospital as soon as you can.  

The following steps are important for any rattlesnake bite:   

  • Get immediate medical attention.
  • Do not apply ice, do not use a tourniquet or constricting band, do not try to suck out the venom, and do not use any device to cut or slice the bite site.
  • Keep calm, do not run and keep the affected extremity elevated during transport to a medical facility.
  • Do not call the local hospitals to see if they have anti-venom, just go ASAP.

By the way, many veterinarians now carry rattlesnake anti-venom and rattlesnake vaccines for dogs and other pets that are bitten. Contact a veterinarian for more information.

Dr. Rais Vohra is Medical Director for the Fresno/Madera Division of CPCS.

Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 (number is the same in all states) for questions about poison encounters. Trained pharmacists, nurses and other providers are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free, confidential and interpreters are available. Get weekly tips about safety by texting TIPS to 20121 for English or texting PUNTOS to 20121 for Spanish. Follow CPCS on Facebook and on Twitter @poisoninfo. CPCS is part of the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy and is responsible to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.

Canyon Of The Eagles

Looking for an unconventional getaway in the splendor of the Great American Wilderness? The Canyon of The Eagles in Burnet County, Texas, can provide you with that experience, and more.

The Canyon Of The Eagles property is located on the scenic shores of Lake Buchanan, the largest body of water in Texas’s Highland Lakes Region. It is also conveniently accessible by car, just 90 minutes outside of Austin, Texas, and 25 minutes from the town of Burnet.

The big draw to this location? Its breathtaking natural beauty and the chance to escape the everyday and immerse yourself in a peaceful and recharging environment. Guests will enjoy quiet accommodations in cozy cabins on the property, styled with a rustic Texas Southwestern charm. While the cabins are equipped with modern amenities, including wi-fi, the only television access exists at the Eagles Nest Lounge, it’s Hospitality Suite. This encourages conversation and quality time with loved ones and at the same time, inspires communal engagement in ways often lost to the digital age.

On the property, guests can also start the morning off with a rejuvenating Yoga session, or a relaxing lake pontoon ride. If you’re looking to add some more adventure to your stay, there are many opportunities to get out of your room and explore the scenery. You might find yourself mountain biking on Burnet County Trails. Catch breathtaking views on one of the hiking trails. Rent a kayak, and go on a Guided Tour or a solo paddle out on the beautiful Lake Buchanan. Book a spot on one of the Canyon Cruises, a 2 hour sightseeing and wildlife watching journey with the chance to see intricate naturally-weathered rock formations and waterfalls.

Some of the most incredible parts of Canyon of the Eagles comes out when the sun goes down and the night comes alive. The remote location of the resort and lack of light pollution opens up the night sky in ways one could never imagine. Stargazing is a popular nighttime activity, and the activity can be elevated by attending the Eagle Eye Observatory, where an on-site scientist and astronomer can explain to you the constellations. Fireside chats are another evening activity, covering topics such as local snakes and other wildlife to watch out for.

Food and drink options are also plentiful on the property and nearby. Experience authentic barbeque delights from Opie’s BBQ such as mesquite smoked brisket and pork chops or make your way to the best breakfast you’ll find at Bluebonnet Café where you can enjoy 14 varieties of fresh baked pies — including lemon, coconut, fudge and more. The walking tour of downtown Marble Falls features a snack at Choccolatte’s, where you can enjoy premium gelato or if you would like to get a drink and relax, you could head over to Bear King Brewery. Whatever your tastes are, you can be satisfied in the Highland Lakes Region.

Canyon of the Eagles is a family-friendly resort and vacation option for anyone looking to change up the fast-paced routine of modern life and sink into a simpler time. This location allows for great opportunities for families to get back together and enjoy each others company. The resort also offers options for corporate events and retreats, and would provide an excellent backdrop for a wedding or any other celebration. Whatever you make out of your stay, you won’t forget it when staying at the Canyon of the Eagles in the magnificent Texas Highland Lakes. For more information on what Canyon of Eagle’s could provide at your luxury stay, please check out their amenities and book your stay here.

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Surfing x Morro Bay

SURF’S UP TODAY IN MORRO BAY!

First-Ever World Surf League’s SLO Cal Open at Morro Rock Qualifying Series Event Starts Today Though March 1, 2020

Some of the biggest names in surfing are at Morro Rock Beach today through March 1, 2020 to compete in the first ever men’s and women’s qualifying series event SLO Cal Open at Morro Bay. Competitors include Conner Coffin from Santa Barbara, currently rated # 20 on the World Surf League’s Championship, along with the next biggest name in the sport, 24 year old Kevin Shulz from San Clemente. Shulz, pictured here, just won the SLO CAL Open at Pismo Beach last week and placed 2nd the year before. Cory Arrambide is also competing. He won the Pismo Beach title in 2017. Locally there are have two really good central coast boys competing: Austin Neuman and Braden Jones both from Pismo Beach.

On the Women’s side, it is a very young field with 34 confirmed surfers including 14 year old Sawyer Lindblad. She’s from San Clemente and just won the SLO CAL Open at Pismo Beach, her first professional surf contest. She is competing in Morro Bay along with local Sydney Beckett, who is a standout surfer from the MB High School Surf Team. More information about the event can be found here. More info about Morro Bay can be found here, www.morrobay.org.

About Morro Bay
A true #outdoorgoals destination, this active seaside fishing village with bustling waterfront offers a fun and funky getaway for travelers who seek great wine, seafood and outdoor adventures filled with wildlife. Located along coastal Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County just south of Big Sur, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay offers year-round activities in an unspoiled slice of California. From ocean-side golf, kayaking, sailing, hiking, fishing, surfing, biking, and bird watching, to kite flying, shopping, dining, wine bars, local craft brews and miles of unspoiled beaches, there is something for everyone. Sitting majestically between the beach and the harbor lays the iconic and historic landmark Morro Rock, welcoming travelers from miles away as they approach Morro Bay. Located just minutes from world-renowned Hearst Castle, historic missions, breathtaking Montana de Oro State Park, and surrounded by vineyards from Paso Robles to Edna Valley, Morro Bay is a destination designed to fit any style and budget for families, couples or groups. Morro Bay also offers a myriad of year-round events including food, wine and music festivals, art fairs and car shows unique to the town. For more travel information visit www.morrobay.org or follow Morro Bay on Facebook, Instagram, twitter and Pinterest.

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IRONMAN 2020 Course Announced

THE 2020 CARILION CLINIC IRONMAN 70.3 VIRGINIA’S BLUE RIDGE TRIATHLON ANNOUNCES COURSE DETAILS WITH A MAJOR PORTION OF THE BIKE COURSE SET TO TAKE PLACE ON THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

Swim to take place in Carvins Cove Reservoir; bike portion from Roanoke County to Botetourt County and along the Blue Ridge Parkway into the Town of Vinton ending in Roanoke City and run portion along the Roanoke River Greenway

The IRONMAN Group, a Wanda Sports Group company (Nasdaq: WSG), announced today course details for the inaugural Carilion Clinic IRONMAN® 70.3® Virginia’s Blue Ridge triathlon taking place on Sunday, June 7, 2020. The center piece for the 70.3-mile route includes the bike course that will roll along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a unit of the National Park Service filled with scenic views of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

“Adding to the long history of endurance events throughout Virginia’s Blue Ridge region, this year’s Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia’s Blue Ridge triathlon will feature epic locations for the swim, bike and run portions of the first year event,” said Keats McGonigal, Head of Operations, North America for The IRONMAN Group. “Specifically, for the bike portion of the event, the scenic byway will offer athletes a picturesque view like no other along America’s Favorite Drive. This event presents a unique opportunity for recreational access to the park and invites participants to share in the stewardship of this special place — the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of our nation’s treasured landscapes. We are excited about the course that athletes will have the chance to experience as they achieve their dreams of crossing the finish line at the Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia’s Blue Ridge. We are also grateful to everyone who responded in support of the Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia’s Blue Ridge triathlon, realizing the overall economic benefit of the competition and recognizing the limited access of motor vehicles ensuring a safer experience for bikers.”

The 2020 Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia’s Blue Ridge triathlon, taking place on Sunday, June 7, 2020, will begin with a rolling start format. The 1.2-mile swim will take place in the clear waters of Carvins Cove Reservoir. After careful consideration, the Western Virginia Water Authority is partnering with IRONMAN to hold its swimming event in Carvins Cove Reservoir because of the extraordinary opportunity this event will have to showcase the entire region to a worldwide audience. The Authority worked closely with IRONMAN to make sure that the water quality and beauty of Carvins Cove will be preserved for the benefit of all residents.

Once out of the water, athletes will take on the 56-mile bike course that is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Athletes will depart from Carvins Cove in Roanoke County and continue east into beautiful Botetourt County towards the Town of Buchanan, a quaint, walkable town with antique shops and a great view of the James River. It is the starting point for an epic four-mile climb on Route 43 to the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance. The Blue Ridge Parkway’s 469-miles links Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Athletes will experience breathtaking views of the valley, as they ride and descend 21-miles of completely closed roads to the Town of Vinton at Route 24; Vinton is a gateway community to the Blue Ridge Parkway with small town charm and is adjacent to the City of Roanoke. The ride will end at the beautiful River’s Edge Park, next to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, in the heart of Roanoke, Va.

“On behalf of the National Park Service, we are delighted to welcome triathlon participants to the Blue Ridge Parkway as part of their experience this June,” said J.D. Lee, Superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway. “Organizers and sponsors have embraced a shared stewardship ethic in their planning approach, and we are excited to be part of this exceptional regional event.”

After transitioning to the run at River’s Edge Park, athletes will experience the Roanoke River Greenway, a paved trail alongside the Roanoke River Blueway for the run course, providing athletes shade while running through several parks along the course. The finish is conveniently located on the streets adjacent to River’s Edge Park.

Located in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke is the largest metropolitan area in Virginia’s beautiful mountain region. It is a hub for outdoor recreation, arts and culture, and business west of Richmond. Roanoke is best known for the iconic Roanoke Star, which sits atop Mill Mountain and is adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway. For outdoor lovers, Roanoke offers a bevy of hiking and biking trails convenient to downtown and was designated a Silver-Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Virginia’s Blue Ridge has staked its claim as America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital and is the perfect setting for an IRONMAN 70.3-branded event.

“Virginia’s Blue Ridge (VBR) is poised to welcome IRONMAN athletes and fans as the host destination,” said Lee Wilhelm, Chair of Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge. “The outpouring of support from athletes, longtime residents and community stakeholders who took the time to contact the NPS was truly remarkable. We are grateful to live in a region where the people are passionate about tourism. Visit VBR is committed to working collaboratively with our regional partners and IRONMAN to ensure the race is a success.”

Headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, Carilion Clinic, a not-for-profit health care provider that serves more than one million people in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and Southwest Virginia regions, has been named title partner of the Carilion Clinic IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia’s Blue Ridge triathlon.

“Carilion Clinic is excited about collaborating to sponsor the IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia’s Blue Ridge,” said Dr. Thomas K. “TK” Miller, vice chair of orthopaedics and chief of sports medicine at Carilion Clinic and Chairman of the IRONMAN Global Medical Advisory Board. “Inclusion of the Blue Ridge Parkway on the bike route completes a trio of scenic natural settings for the triathlon course with unparalleled beauty at every turn. Carilion is looking forward to this unique opportunity to team with IRONMAN to promote the benefits of exercise and fitness and advance our mission of improving the health of the communities we serve.”

For more information on the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia’s Blue Ridge triathlon, visit www.ironman.com/im703-virginia-blue-ridge. For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com. Athlete inquiries can be directed to virginia70.3@ironman.com.

The course maps will be available here.

About the IRONMAN Group:
As part of Wanda Sports Group, The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, IRONKIDS®, ITU World Triathlon Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf® presented by Westpac, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with more than 235 events across 55+ countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.

About Wanda Sports Group:
Wanda Sports Group (Nasdaq: WSG) is a leading global sports events, media and marketing platform with a mission to unite people in sports and enable athletes and fans to live their passions and dreams. Through our businesses, including Infront and The IRONMAN Group, we have significant intellectual property rights, long-term relationships and broad execution capabilities, enabling us to deliver unrivalled sports event experiences, creating access to engaging content and building inclusive communities. We offer a comprehensive array of events, marketing and media services through three primary segments: Mass Participation, Spectator Sports and Digital, Production, Sports Solutions (DPSS). Our full-service platform creates value for our partners and clients as well as other stakeholders in the sports ecosystem, from rights owners, to brands and advertisers, and to fans and athletes. Headquartered in Beijing, China, Wanda Sports Group has more than 60 offices and 1,600 employees around the world.

About Carilion Clinic:
Carilion Clinic is a not-for-profit health care organization serving more than one million people in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and Southwest Virginia regions. Headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, Carilion’s comprehensive network of hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices, and other complementary services deliver high quality, patient-centered care close to home. Carilion has a robust partnership with Virginia Tech through its creation of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, both located in Roanoke. Carilion’s commitment to advance care through education and research elements in partnership with Virginia Tech and Radford University improves the health of the communities we serve. From leadership in electronic health records and investments in and applications of digital health to developing new and innovative methods to promote health and wellness, Carilion Clinic leads advances in health care that continue to transform the regions we serve and help deliver better patient care, better community health, and lower costs. For more information, visit www.carilionclinic.org

About Virginia’s Blue Ridge:
Virginia’s Blue Ridge (VBR) is located on the East Coast of the United States in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Known as America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital, Roanoke has a wide array of metro-mountain adventures. Along with our hundreds of miles of thrilling mountain bike trails, Virginia’s Blue Ridge is best known for the adjacent Blue Ridge Parkway, one of America’s most visited national park systems and memorable scenic drives. The region also offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails, which includes the world-famous Appalachian Trail. The running scene in VBR has an expansive greenway trails system along the panoramic routes of rivers and creeks. VBR offers a multitude of water sports activities including kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding on the Upper James River Water Trail, Roanoke River, Philpott Lake, Carvins Cove and Smith Mountain Lake. Roam the region’s many farmer’s markets or sample the craft beverage scene while exploring the VBR Cheers Trail. After a fun day of adventuring in the great outdoors, visitors can enjoy a farm-to-table experience at one of our many local restaurants. To cap off an adventurous day, catch the sunset from the scenic overlook at the iconic Roanoke Star atop Mill Mountain. Come be a #Trailsetter in Virginia’s Blue Ridge: www.visitvbr.com/ironman

Szemui Ho, camping, hiking, illustration, 360 MAGAZINE

How to Go Back to Nature with a Fun Camping Trip

With our lives increasingly being led in fast-paced urban environments, with digital communications and social media being a large part of our lives, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many people are choosing to log-off, switch off, and head into nature for some peace and tranquility. It’s on these trips that you can rediscover yourself, find peace, and reset for the weeks ahead. As such, this guide is concerned with your wellbeing and enjoyment on such trips into the unknown – pushing you to the camping trip of your dreams. 

Pack Light

The impressive thing about serial campers is just how little they take. They know that the secret to a warm night’s sleep is as much about the quality of the fire they make as the quality of the sleeping bag they pack – and that thermals are a lot more efficient at keeping you warm than your biggest, fluffiest jumper. So, the tip here is to pack efficiently, and to pack light. Take only what you know you’ll need. Don’t lug lots of heavy things into the woods, only to lug them back the next day. Enjoy being free of possessions and stripping your life back to its essential elements – it’s all part of the fun. 

The Gear

Still, you will need some gear to truly appreciate the natural world and to make your experience of nature magical and enduringly memorable. One of the key elements of this is your fire-lighting equipment, and here you should consider using Ferro Rods: an old-school way to light a fire. Meanwhile, a small knife can be useful for sharpening sticks and helping to curate your wilderness home, and some simple cooking equipment – like a mug for tea and coffee, and a plate for the sausages and marshmallows you hold over the fire – are other great additions to you camping gear. 

Camping Spots

If you’re new to camping, you may not be well aware of the kinds of spots that are best for camping. Being by a water source can be romantic, but it’s also where flies, mosquitos and other creepy crawlies are most likely to gather. If you’re by the sea, bear in mind the changing tide and how it can raise the water level to flood your tent, even if you’re set far back from the shore. In fact, there general tip here is to camp on high ground, and under a tree for shelter from the worst of the rain – it’s the best way to stay safe and comfortable. 

Enjoy Freedom

This is your trip to reconnect with nature: don’t ruin it by constantly updating your social media, by taking a tablet to watch a film in bed, or by worrying about the world you’ve left behind. Instead, enjoy the freedom that a brief stay in nature can present in your life: dance around the campfire, or go running through a forest, along a beach, or into hills in giddy glee. It’s a wonderful experience – and one you should maximize in your time in nature.

There you have it: your guide to a ‘back-to-nature’ camping trip. 

Portugal’s Paradise: Madeira

Welcome to Madeira- a wonderful destination that has a warm year-round climate, dramatic volcanic landscapes, world-class wines, incredible hiking, a wide mix of lodging and so much more. Now closer than ever to the United States – is a the prefect warm weather winter/spring destination. All the wonders of Europe, the landscapes of a semi-tropical volcanic island, and as close as the Caribbean.

The Madeira Islands, an archipelago 750 miles southwest of Lisbon in the Atlantic Ocean, have a nearly perfect climate—warm in winter and never too hot in summer.

Ancient volcanic cliffs that rise dramatically from the sea dominate Madeira’s fascinating landscape. When Portuguese explorers came upon the Island of Madeira in 1420, they thought its dark cliffs signaled the gates of hell. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The steep rise creates six unique climate zones, each with its own beautiful flora and fauna that contribute to comparisons of Madeira with Hawaii.

The US and Madeira have long had strong bonds. Back in 1665, the British said all goods sold to its American colonies had to be shipped on British vessels from British ports, except products from Madeira. So, Madeira became the wine of America. America soon imported one-fourth of Madeira’s production of wine. George Washington supposedly drank a bottle a day. His inauguration was toasted with it, as was the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the launching of the USS Constitution. And, it became a popular destination for wealthy Americans, including US President Franklin Pierce, who spent three months on Madeira after leaving office in 1857.

Today, visitors come for the natural beauty, and they stay to experience the climate, cuisine, hiking, fishing, surf, and the old world charm of its cities and small towns. Madeira is the authentic jewel of European charm, where a visitor can experience fine wines, mountain hiking, or city culture—or easily all three in one day. Madeira has more than 200 years of hospitality traditions, famous visitors in the past included George Bernard Shaw and Winston Churchill. And, let me add that Madeira is a real value too, especially on the high end – with affordable lodging options, a wide range of dining, and overall very fairly priced.

American travelers are looking for a new destination. One that has a warm climate, history, wines, sun, great food, and a mix of the cosmopolitan with nature – that is Madeira. Please let me know if we can get you any additional information, or news about Madeira.

The Madeira Promotion Bureau promotes Madeira as a unique travel destination, with a focus on the travel trade. The Madeira Promotion Bureau is a non-profit association founded in August 2004 by a public entity and a private entity – the Regional Tourism Board and the Funchal Chamber of Commerce and Industry. www.apmadeira.pt/en

Getting to Madeira

Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic on the 32nd parallel north. It lies southwest of Lisbon, and several hundred miles west of the coast of Morocco. It is made up of the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo, as well as the Desertas and the Selvagem Islands.

Madeira has never been easier to get to. TAP Portugal offers easy connections from Lisbon – and with non-stop service to Portugal from 9 US cities on five airlines, getting a connection is easy. TAP now has a 1 stop from Boston, DC, New york and Newark, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco. It is a 1.5-hour flight from Lisbon, Porto or the Azores and it takes about 15 minutes to fly between the two islands in the group—Madeira and Porto Santo. Madeira’s Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport and the Porto Santo Airport serve the archipelago. The airport on Madeira is about a 30-minute drive to Funchal, the archipelago’s capital. Madeira has also become a major stop for cruise ships.

An overview

Madeira is a semi-tropical island rising from sea level to over 6,000 feet. Its steep pitch gives the island six distinct climate zones. The ancient Laurissilva cloud forest at the highest elevations is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, 2/3rds of Madeira is conservation land. It has mountain plains, valleys, high peaks, streams, rocky coastlines, and tidal pools. The island has a unique landscape accessed by a modern roadway system of new tunnels, and the older mountain roads they replaced that wind along the hillsides.

The south coast is sunny, and home to the cultivation of bananas, sugar cane, and grapes. Quaint fishing towns rise off the coast, where small hotels and villas welcome guests. The east coast is home to the historic towns of Caniçal, Machico and Santa Cruz. The wild Ponta de São Lourenço reserve snakes out into the ocean with great hiking and impressive views. The north coast is rugged, and features small towns and great surf. Santana is known for its straw roofed homes and great hiking and Sao Vincente has a series of lava caves. Inland, the massive peaks of Pico Ruivo and Areiro make for wild valleys and cliffs, with lots of grazing sheep and sweeping views. To the west lies the massive flat mountain plain of Paul da Serra, which feels like the surface of Mars, and the crater valley of Curral das Freiras. The sunny west coast runs from the tidal pools of Porto Moniz to the cliffs on the point at Cabo Girão.

Some 30 miles from Madeira is the smaller island of Porto Santo, famed for its long sandy beach, dunes, and vineyards. Porto Santo was where Portuguese ships first landed in 1419. Today, it earns the nickname the “Golden Island” from its undeveloped beaches and features a handful of hotels. Porto Santo’s beach is said to be one of the best in Europe, and its golden magnetized sands are famous for healing sore aches and pains. A new set of spas has recently opened to feature the sands, joined by a new golf course. Dry and sunny Porto Santo gets very little rain, perfect for a relaxing beach getaway any time of the year.

The uninhabited Desertas and Selvagens Islands are southwest and south of Madeira. The Desertas Islands’ three small, volcanic islands are a nature reserve. They serve as the last refuge of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), the rarest seal in the world. Another 180 miles south of Madeira are the Selvagens Islands, two groups of small islands also serving as a rich nature reserve for some of the rarest plants on the planet. Ideal nesting conditions make the islands a perfect bird sanctuary. Boat trips can be arranged, but environmental laws limit visitor numbers.

The City of Funchal

“The sea on one side, the mountains on the other, and between these two majestic splendors, the city smiles like a child sleeping, safe and warm, between its parents.” – Júlio Dinis

Funchal is a bustling city that rises from the Atlantic like an amphitheatre. It boasts forts, an historic old town, well-preserved churches, inviting museums, and regionally crafted wines. It is a walkable city with a pleasant harbor and a medieval cathedral more than 500 years old. Funchal is also perpetually sunny, but when the sun goes down, it’s easy to find entertainment, fine cuisine and music in its nightclubs, restaurants, and casino. The black cliffs surrounding Funchal are dotted with world-class hotels. There is an art museum, wicker toboggan rides, wineries, an open market, seaside parks… and so much more. The Lavradores Market features the colors, aromas, flowers, fruit and fish of Madeira. On the Rua de Santa Maria, a Painted Door Project has highlighted the oldest part of the city and its historic streets. Santiago Fort is the home to the Museum of Contemporary Art. And the Madeira Story Centre offers an interactive look at the archipelago.

According to Condé Nast Traveler, the Monte Palace high above the city, is one the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. Alongside the flowers inspired by them, the island is known for its embroidery. Unique, handmade pieces come form a team effort that includes designers, perforators and skilled embroiderers.

Wines and Hiking

Madeira is famous for the wine that bears its name and, today, is produced in a number of varieties. Funchal is the center of wine production. Madeira can be a dry table wine, a sweeter dessert wine, or a classic after-dinner drink. Its production is part of the social and economic life of the island. Each September, festivals celebrate the grape harvest. Along the warm south coast, grapes are grown on tiered terraces.

From its earliest days as a producer of wine, the island built a system of water channels, called Levadas that brought water to the vineyards. Today, they also serve as a vast network of hiking paths that run passed waterfalls and spectacular views.

Declared World Heritage in 1999, the Levadas lead to amazing scenery that includes valleys, mountains and ocean views. The most famous include: Caldeirão Verde, 25 Fontes, Risco, Balcões, and the one that goes to Pico do Arieiro from Pico Ruivo, the highest point on the island, which rises to 6,100 feet.

If you go..

Madeira is an Autonomous Region of Portugal. The archipelago has two main inhabited islands, Madeira and Porto Santo, and two groups of uninhabited islands, Desertas and Selvagens. With a total area of 310 square miles, its capital is Funchal.

Madeira has a population of 255,650, which represents 2.5% of the total Portuguese population (10.5 million). The majority of the islanders live in and around Funchal. Santa Cruz, Câmara de Lobos, and Santana are the next biggest cities.

From the United States, direct (1-stop) flights are available out of cities including Boston, New York, Newark, Providence, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, and Atlanta. Azores Airlines and TAP are the main Portuguese operators flying directly and at the best rates. United, American, Delta, Norwegian or British Airways also fly to the island via connections.

Traveling from the mainland, Porto, Lisbon and Ponta Delgada airports all have non-stop flights to Funchal. And, the low-cost airlines Easyjet and Transavia also offer good deals and service.