European Christmas Markets – Awesome Way to Christmas Shop!

European Christmas Markets – Awesome Way to Christmas Shop!

Christmas MarketsChristmas Markets in Europe are street markets associated with the Christmas season.  They generally open in early November and last until the first week of January; and are usually located in the town’s main square.

Christmas Markets, also known as  Christkindlmarkt, Marché de Noël, Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindlmarket, Christkindlimarkt, and Weihnachtsmarkt orginated in Germany, but are now held in many European countries.  Its history dates back to the late Middle Ages in the German speaking areas of Europe and many parts of the Holy Roman Empire including the eastern regions of France.  The Christmas markets of Bautzen were first held in 1384. While Vienna’s “December market” can be considered a forerunner of Christmas markets and dates back to 1298.

So what exactly are Christmas Markets?  In my opinion they’re a delightful way to get some Christmas shopping done while having a great time!  These open air markets are more like  lively festivals where the squares are decorated for the holidays, nativity displays are set up, musicians play lively holiday tunes, and stalls are brimming with handmade handicrafts, all sorts of food and drinks; some for gift giving of course, but mostly to enjoy while you’re shopping!

If you’re lucky enough to live in Europe or are planning on a European winter getaway don’t miss the chance to visit a Christmas Market or two!  Most of the larger towns have them, but some of the best ones are in Germany, Austria, France, and Belgium.

Here are 5 of the Best Christmas Markets in Europe!  Maybe you’ll be close enough to visit one, believe me it’s a great way to spend the day.

Christmas MarketsItaly

Since Italy is one of my favorite countries I’ll start there.  There are many Christmas Markets around Italy, including the Nuremburg Christmas Market in Verona’s central square.  There are markets in Milan, Bolsano, and other cities.  But Rome is where many tourists go when they visit Italy.

There are several Christmas Markets in the Eternal City, but the most popular one is at Piazza Navona.  Already a popular piazza year round it transforms into a Christmas Market during Advent. You’ll find stalls selling nativity scenes, decorations, and sweets. There are street artists and arcobats to entertain kids of all ages.

Don’t forget to visit the wonderful toy store Al Sogno at one end of the square!  It’s one of our favorite shops in Rome, the kids go in every time we’re in town!  For more things to do with kids in Rome Click Here!

Christmas marketsEstonia

The walled old town of Tallinn, Estonia in my opinion is literally a fairy tale town.  It’s quaint town square surrounded by colorful houses and steepled churches evoke images of princesses and their prince charmings.

Well during the Christmas season the square truly lives up to its fairy tale image.  Little wooden stalls circled with twinkling lights sell everything from handicrafts to sweets; don’t forget to sample the mulled wine!

There are merry-go-rounds and Santa Claus to keep the kids entertained.  And on the main stage singers and dancers perform.  It really is a Winter Wonderland!

christmas marketDenmark

Denmark is filled with Christmas Markets from Mid-November til late December.  They are all wonderful!

But my favorite one is held in Tivoli Gardens where four miles of lights are hung in patterns designed by Tiffany’s head designer and more are draped on the lakeside willow trees.

Tivoli Gardens is a year round amusement park in the middle of Copenhagen.  It’s a great place to visit any time of year.  During the holidays it’s transformed into a light filled extravaganza!  Enjoy seasonal treats such as æbleskiver (iced doughnuts with black currant jam) and glogg, a steaming hot mulled red wine with schnapps steeped raisins, almonds, cinnamon sticks, and cloves.

Handicraft stalls join the regular rides and attractions during the holiday season.  There will be something for everyone at Tivoli Gardens!

Christmas MarketsBelgium

Every year for 5 weeks the Grand-Place in Brussels hosts the Winter Wonders.  It’s now a legendary event in Belgium’s capital city filled with lights, sounds, rides, and otherattractions.

Enjoy a day of browsing the handicraft stalls and sampling some seasonal specialties such as mulled wine and  ‘Kerststronk’ or ‘la bûche de Noël’a chocolate Christmas Log made of sponge roll layered with cream.  Delicious!  [spacer height=”-20px”]

 

christmas marketsGermany

I can’t write this article without including a Christmas Market in Germany, after all that’s where it all started.

I think every city in Germany hosts a Christmas Market. You won’t have trouble locating one.

Here’s the market in Munich which sets up for the season on the on the Marienplatz.  Craft stalls surround the 85 ft. tall Christmas tree.

Wander around and munch on sausages, potato pancakes, and Lebkuchen (gingerbread); then wash it all down with a steaming cup of mulled wine called glühwein.  By the way mulled wine wards off the cold, so feel free to indulge on a cold winter’s day!

Ready to plan your winter getaway?  Call Savvy Nana Travel for all your travel needs!  We specialize in custom itineraries for families, couples, and groups.

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America’s Most Haunted Hotels

America’s Most Haunted Hotels

My cousin recently told me that the only thing his 7 year old daughter wanted for her birthday was to stay at a haunted hotel.  Ever the indulgent father and avid fan of the paranormal,  he and his wife packed up and took their only child for a stay at the Jerome Grand Hotel.

Reportedly a haunted hotel in Jerome, Arizona, a historic artist community that really plays up the “haunted town” theme as reflected in area businesses such as The Haunted Hamburger, Asylum Restaurant, and the Spirit Room Bar.

They didn’t have a ghostly experience but had a great time exploring the town, browsing the art galleries, and dining at the various restaurants.

There are many “haunted” hotels across the country.  Here’s a list of the top haunted hotels in America according to the Travel Channel and Haunted America Tours.   Are you brave enough to book a stay at one of them this Halloween? Let Savvy Nana Travel help you book your spooky vacation this year!

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was built in 1926 and is located on Hollywood Boulevard.

Over the years many Hollywood greats stayed there.  Its Blossom Ballroom was the venue for the first Academy Awards Ceremony and many movies and TV shows were filmed in various areas of the hotel.

And Marilyn Monroe is said to haunt this famous Hollywood hotel.

 

 

Located in Estes Park, haunted hotelsColorado’s Stanley Hotel inspired Stephen King to write his novel “The Shinning”.  The hotel offers a 5 hour ghost hunt as one of their activities.

New York’s Hotel Chelsea is rumored to have many famous ghosts, including that of Dylan Thomas who fell into a fatal coma there in 1953.

Unfortunately it’s currently closed for renovation.  The new owners hope to open in 2018.

 

 

haunted hotels

Old West spirits are said to hang out at Santa Fe’s La Fonda Hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

Guests staying in room 6, Emily’s Room,  of the Logan Inn in New Hope, Pennsylvania reported hear the soft crying and smell the lavender scent of Emily, the former owner of the building.

 

 haunted hotelsMary Todd Lincoln is said to haunt Vermont’s
Equinox Resort.

haunted hotelsDocked in Long Beach, California the Queen Mary is touted as the “haunted ship”.  They have various ghost hunting tours and also offer accommodations.

Guests report strange occurrences and sightings at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs. AR.

The Myrtles Plantation, located in the heart of Louisiana’s Voodoo land, is said to be one of America’s most haunted houses.

The most famous haunt is Chloe, a green turbaned former slave.  She joins over a dozen more ghosts rumored to haunt this plantation.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

A former Confederate hospital in New Orleans in now Hotel Provincial.

Guests have reported ghostly sightings and blood stains mysteriously appearing and disappearing on the linens in some rooms.

Located on Coronado Island in San Diego the Hotel del Coronado is a historic luxury hotel.

It said to be haunted by a lonely jilted lady, Kate Morgan, who checked in to the hotel in 1892.  She was there to meet her estranged husband who never showed up.  She was found dead on the beach from a gunshot wound.

Le Pavilion Hotel in New Orleans is said be the hotel with “real” ghosts.

Employees and guests have reported many strange happenings, voices, and sightings.

Room 703 in The Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon,  is said to be a hotspot for paranormal activity.

The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC.

Paranormal investigators, guests, and staff report many strange happenings in a particular room on the second floor.

The Sagamore Hotel in Bolton Landing, NY is very haunted.

Golfers report that a ghost steals their golf balls and flings it at them.

Rumor has it that it’s owner Walter Schoreder was murdered in the Ramada Plaza Hotel.  He is said to haunt this Fond du Lac, Wisconsin hotel.

Still looking for more haunted hotels?  Listverse.com has a list of the top 10 Haunted Hotels in the world.  Or check out The Telegraph’s list of 30 of the most haunted hotels.

 

 

Ready to book your Spooky Vacation yet?  Let Savvy Nana Travel help you plan your dream vacation.  We specialize in custom itineraries for everyone!  And we love, love, love Halloween!

 

For more Halloween fun check out Savvy Nana’s Corner or follow my You’ve Been Booed board on Pinterest.

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6 Most Haunted Castles in Europe

6 Most Haunted Castles in Europe

haunted castles in EuropeEurope is steeped in history, many times violent and bloody.  What with ancient wars and feudes, palace intrigues, and domestic abuses it’s no wonder that many of its ancient castles are said to be haunted.  In fact it would be even more amazing if there were no haunted castles in Europe.

Every Halloween I like to share with you haunted places around the world.  Some of them I’ve been to, others are still on my bucket list.  I’ve shared my experiences in Tombstone’s Bird Cage Theater and have written about haunted hotels and other haunted places around the country.  But haunted places are definitely not exclusive to the United States, every country around the globe has its own spooky places that have stories of hauntings attached to them.  This Halloween I’d like to share 6 of the most haunted castles in Europe.

So buckle your seat belts as we fly across the Atlantic and have a quick peek at 6 of the most haunted castles in Europe.  Believe me there are so many haunted places on that continent it’s hard to pick just 6!

haunted castles in EuropeThe Tower of London

It doesn’t take much imagination to decide that London has many haunted places, specially on chilly nights when the fog swirls thick around  you as you walk down the narrow streets of the city.  After all London was home to Jack the Ripper one of history’s first recorded serial killers.  The streets of Whitechapel were known to be his hunting grounds.

Sure the pubs around Whitechapel are said to be haunted, remember many of them have been there since well before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree.  But since we’re talking castles lets start with the Tower of London.  It’s not exactly a castle, it’s actually a prison.  A 900+ year old prison that  housed some of histories most famous nobility, many of whom are now said to be haunting the place.

With its long history of torture, murder, and executions it’s no wonder this castle like building is haunted by a long litany of specters.  Arguably the most famous haunt is Anne Boleyn the unfortunate second wife of Henry VIII.  Her only crime was her inability to produce a male heir to the throne and her fickle husband grew tired of her and divorced her.  The king then charged the poor woman with treason and had her beheaded 1536.  Her headless ghost is said to roam the tower’s corridors.

Other famous ghosts include the two princes who were deemed illegitimate by Parliament and imprisoned in the tower.  It is believed they were murdered, actually smothered, by their uncle the Duke of Gloucester.  Today it’s said they’ve been spotted in the tower holding hands and looking afraid.

haunted castles in europeBran Castle

Believed to be the castle in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, Bran Castle in the Romanian town of Bran is said to be haunted by a variety of its previous occupants.

It is said the Stoker never actually visited this 13th. century stone castle , but used pictures of  it as his model for the home of  his famous vampire Count Dracula.

But somehow fact and fiction mingled to form the basis of legends about this picturesque castle.  Legend has it that some of Bran’s citizens are actually strigoi, people whose souls leave their bodies at night to terrorize the village.  This definitely encourages the areas vampire lore.  Who knows perhaps rumors of these legends reached Stoker’s ears in Ireland and encouraged him to write his classic novel.

haunted castles in europe

Leap Castle

Leap Castle (pronounced Lep) in Coolderry, County Offaly, Ireland is notoriously the most haunted castle in Ireland if not the world.  This ancient castle has been featured in several TV shows about the paranormal including Ghost Hunters and TV’s Most Haunted.

It’s not surprising that the world’s most haunted castle would be located in Ireland, a land that’s steeped in legends and mystery.  And it’s not at all surprising that Leap Castle is haunted given its bloody history and ambiguous origins.

It’s unclear exactly when the castle was constructed, some say 12th. century and others 15th.  But whatever the year of it’s construction was one thing everyone seems to agree on is the site on which it was built.  Leap Castle is build over a site that was previously occupied by druids who used it for initiation ceremonies.  It was originally named Leim Ui Bhanain meaning Leap of the O’Bannons.

As the legend goes the O’Bannons were an affluent clan from County Tipperary.  Two O’Bannon brothers vying to become chieftain is said to have entered into a contest where they would leap off the rock where the castle was to be built.  The brother who survived would be chief and be responsible for building the castle.  Thus began the castles bloody history and hauntings.

However O’Bannons did not control the castle for long, the castle was seized by the O’Carroll clan, a ruthless and greedy bunch who left a legacy of carnage within the castle walls.  The years of O’Carroll reign over the castle are said to be cruel and bloody.  Many of their victims are said to haunt the castle including the lady in red.

The lady is said to be seen wandering the castle dressed in a fluttering red gown carrying a sharp blade.  The lady is said to have been imprisoned and repeatedly raped by the O’Carrolls.  She became pregnant and her child was murdered by the same men.  Overwhelmed by the murder of her baby it is said that she used the blade that she now carries to end her tormented life.

And then there’s the Bloody Chapel.  At one point the O’Carroll chieftain died without a clear heir.  Of course this resulted in a fight between his sons Thaddeus and Teighe.  Thaddeus was a priest and is said to have been in the middle of a mass when his brother rushed in and slaughtered him.  His ghost is said to wander in and around the chapel.

There are many more bloody tales about this castle as it seems that the O’Carrolls were a bloodthirsty and sadistic clan.  It’s really no wonder that their many victims haunt this castle.

haunted castles in europeEdinburgh Castle

Perched atop a hill overlooking Scotland’s most haunted city of Edinburgh sits Scotland’s most haunted castle.  Edinburgh Castle has seen its share of violent deaths.  With over 900 years of history behind it the castle has been the scene of surprise attacks, executions, and even a brief capture by the English.

It should come as no surprise that Edinburgh Castle is said to be haunted, it would be more surprising if it wasn’t.

The castle is home to a variety of specters including the ghost Lady Janet Douglas of Glamis who was imprisoned for witchcraft and burned at the stake.  Then there’s the unseen drummer who many have claimed to hear but never seen.  The castle dungeons were filled with notorious thugs and cutthroats many are said to be heard moaning and groaning down there.

haunted castles in europeMoosham Castle

Moosham Castle also known as Witches Castle is a 13th. century castle in Unternberg, Austria.  It was the location for the bloodiest and most gruesome witch trials in Europe.

In the 17th. century the archbishop of Unternberg tried, tortured, and executed thousands of women here.  The women were accused of witchcraft.  Here those women were beaten, tortured, hanged, and some even drawn and quartered (their bodies tied to horses and were torn apart when the horses ran in different directions.)  It’s no wonder the place is haunted by those tortured souls who are said to roam the halls in search of justice to this day.

Another ghost said to linger in this castle is Anton the resident caretaker during the witch trials.  He roamed the halls then guarding his prisoners and is said to roam the halls still.

Frankenstein Castle

Yes there really is a Frankenstein Castle, its ruinhaunted castles in europes are located in Darmstadt, Germany.  And yes this is the castle and the legend immortalized by Mary Shelly in her classic novel Frankenstein.

The original castle that sits atop a hill overlooking the town dates back to 948 B. C.  Obviously it underwent many additions and renovations since it was originally constructed.

In the 1600’s the sole remaining member of the original Frankenstein family died instantly in a chariot accident.  He was on his way to see his one true love, Anne Marie.  Clearly he never saw her and as legend has it she stayed in the castle waiting for him until she eventually died of a broken heart.  Today it is said that both Knight Frankenstein and Anne Marie are wandering around the darkened castle searching for each other.  Now this is not the basis for Shelly’s novel, that one’s about monsters and body parts.  So how did that come about?

After the original Frankenstein family died out a man named  Konrad Dipple von Frankenstein moved into the castle.  He was an alchemist and grave robber.  As the story goes he was experimenting with human and animal body parts and the blood of virgins, he was trying to resurrect the dead.  His greatest creation was his monster made of body parts and reanimated in his laboratory in the castle.  The town folk were afraid and stormed the castle whilst the alchemist was locked in his lab.  He supposedly drank one of his potions and thus ended up committing suicide.  However his monstrous creation escaped and roams the forest to this day in search of virgins whose blood he needs to stay alive.

The brothers Grimm actually recounted this tale to Mary Shelly’s stepmother.  Mary Shelly later visited the castle and used the story as her basis for her world famous novel Frankenstein.

Well there you have it, 6 of the most haunted castles in Europe.  Visit them this Halloween or any time of year, if you dare!

Ready to plan your ghost chasing adventure in Europe?  Let Savvy Nana Travel help you plan!  We specialize in helping families plan memorable vacations around the globe.  Call me at 808-372-7734 and we’ll start planning your adventure today!


Haunted Places in the 50 States

Haunted Places in the 50 States

Haunted

England’s Tower of London is said to be one of the most famous haunted places in the world; not surprising given it’s bloody history.  The Tower counts among it’s prisoners Anne Boleyn, Henry the VIII’s second wife, and Lady Jane Grey who was Queen of England for just over a week.
Both ladies were subsequently executed on the Tower’s grounds.

England boasts many more haunted places from castles and churches to parks and cemeteries.  But haunted places aren’t limited to England, or for that matter Europe.  Just about every continent, country, city, and town has at least a ghost story or two which is inevitably linked to a specific location.

America is no different, from coast to coast and from north to south our country has hundreds if not thousands of reportedly haunted places.   Some, like the Queen Mary in California, are world famous, others local legends famous only to the town’s inhabitants and serious ghost hunters.

In the fall, specially closer to Halloween,  many of us like to experience a little thrill and go on a ghost tour or drive by places that look spooky.  There’s definitely no lack of haunted places in each state. Here’s a list of haunted places, one from each state, some famous, others not so.   Perhaps one or two of them will be close enough for you to visit this year.

HauntedThe Sweetwater Mansion in Florence, Alabama has seen plenty of history.

Construction began in 1828, it was here that Union and Confederate officers stayed during their respective occupation of the city during the Civil War.  It is said that many of its former residents reside here still.  Children’s laughter is said to be heard and  items that  mysteriously move.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

HauntedScary Mary is said to have checked into the Golden North Hotel in Skagway, Alaska during the Gold Rush and has never checked out.

Filled with  hopes for a bright future she came to Alaska as the fiancee of prospector Klondike Ike. Mary locked herself in the couple’s hotel room to await her beloved who went off in search of gold, he never returned.

When concerned hotelkeepers finally gained entrance to her room they found her dead, dressed in the wedding gown she was to wear on her wedding day.

Today  guests have been spooked by a pale ghostly figure looking out the window still awaiting her lover’s return or by a figure standing over their bed checking to see who’s in it.

 

 

 

hauntedThere is no shortage of haunted places in the state of Arizona, but one of the most famous is the town of Jerome, a quaint community in northern Arizona.  All sorts of specters are said to haunt many of the town’s historic buildings.  The most haunted is thought to be the vintage Jerome Grand Hotel.

It opened as the United Verde Hospital in 1927.  Miners from the nearby copper mine were treated here for serious injuries many of which proved fatal; insane people were also treated here for their mental illness.  The hospital closed in 1950 and re-opened as the hotel in the late 1990s.

Today ghost enthusiaists, including my cousin and his family, book rooms here hoping to catch a phantom nurse or hear a scream or two during their stay.  My cousin and his family have stayed here twice and have never had a paranormal experience, but the town has many nice shops and restaurants making it a nice place to spend the weekend.

I can’t talk about Arizona ghost towns without mentioning the town of Tombstone.  During my last visit the lady at the fudge shop told me the whole town is filled with spirits.  She claimed their their presence could be felt as you wander the towns streets and buildings.  I’m not sure about the streets, but whenever we’re in town we usually stop for drinks at the Crystal Palace Saloon, and I hate going to the restrooms located in the back of the building.  Walking down the hallway to the restrooms always gives me the creeps and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  Haunted or imagination?
I’m never quite sure.  We did the Bird Cage Theater ghost tour, it was fun, but we didn’t really have a ghostly experience.

hauntedDriving along Arkansas 365 just south of Little Rock can turn into a paranormal experience.

Motorists driving this road on dark rainy nights have claimed to have encountered a young girl on the roadside.  They give her a lift, she tells them where she must go, but when they get to the destination the girl has vanished.

I think just about every town has a similar story, here in Hawaii it’s said that Madame Pele, the volcano goddess, has been seen asking for rides along many of our roads.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

HauntedCalifornia has many haunted places including Alcatraz in San Francisco and the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, but I would never had thought of Disneyland as a haunted place.

It is said that the “Happiest Place on Earth” is truly haunted.  The Space Mountain Ride and the women’s employee locker room is said to be haunted by a man who died on the ride in the 1970s and The Christmas Shop on Main Street, Tom Sawyer’s Island, and Tomorrowland all house a spook or two.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

Haunted

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado is hands down the most famous haunted hotel in the Rockies.  This sprawling luxury hotel that opened in 1909 is a favorite with dignitaries and ghost hunters.

This hotel inspired author Stephen King to write his bestselling book “The Shining”. Today there are many stories of paranormal activity, particularly in room 217.

 

Union Cemetery in Easton, Connecticut is said to be the most haunted spot in the state and possibly the most haunted cemetery in the country.

The famed “White Lady” is said to wander this 400 year old cemetery.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

Haunted

Photo courtesy of Haunted Houses.com

Fort Delaware sits on Pea Patch Island just off Delaware City.

Built in 1848 and decommissioned in 1943 this fort was never attacked.  It did house has many as 16,000 prisoners at one time.

Reached only by ferry today Fort Delaware is part of the Delaware Park System.  No one lives there anymore, just the ghosts of past inhabitants.

The park services offers ghost hunting tours on the island.  Click here for more info![spacer height=”-20px”]

 

HauntedThis particular bend of the St. John’s River in Seminole County, Florida with a cluster of cypress trees, is known as Round Cypress Head.

Many have said they have witnessed paranormal activities in this dark dank area of cypress woods.  It is said that the woods is home to demons and/or witches.  Folks are warned to not venture there for fear of being eaten by these monsters.  Locals claim that fishermen have gone missing in this river and many claim the woods are most definitely haunted.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

HauntedThe quaint southern city of Savannah is arguably the most haunted city in Georgia.

Known for its southern charm and hospitality along with its antebellum architecture many of it’s historic buildings and spaces are said to host a specter or two.

Madison Square was the site of a Revolutionary Battle and British soldiers were buried there.  Shadowy figures are said to be lingering in the park.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

hauntedSteeped in legends and lore from ancient Hawaiian days to missionary days and beyond the 50th. State has its own host of haunted places.

Night Marchers are said to walk the land at night and Madame Pele the volcano goddess can be frightening or almost playful.

The islands are filled with many haunted places including schools, bridges, libraries, drive-in movie lots, and hotels.

The luxurious Hilton Hawaiian Village is said to be one such place. Folks have reportedly seen the Lady in Red wandering the halls or even the beach.  It’s said she could have been a guest who tragically died at the hotel or Madame Pele herself.

Haunted

The Idaho State Penitentiary in Boise is supposedly the most haunted prison in the state.

Constructed in 1870 and added to over the years this prison has seen more than its fair share of violence.  It is said the hauntings began soon after the riots that started to erupt within the prison walls in 1935.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

Haunted

The Nellie Dunton Home in Belvidere, Illinois is said to be haunted by this broken hearted woman who lived here before the Civil War.

Folks claim to see her in the house and around the neighborhood.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

hauntedFrench Lick Springs Hotel is a historic resort in the town of French Lick, Indiana.

Among the paranormal activities here it is said that its former owner lingers in the service elevator.[spacer height=”-20px”]

Haunted

Originally known as Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts when it was founded in 1858, Iowa State University (it was renamed in 1959) is known for its agriculture, engineering, and science programs.

It is also home to the ghost of Frederika Shattuck who was said to haunt the theater named after her for her contributions to the theater department.  Shattuck Theater was torn down hence this other worldly being has moved to the Fisher Theater on campus.

 

HauntedThe Hutchinson Public Library in Hutchinson, Kansas is said to be haunted by its former librarian named Ida Day.

Locals say she wanders the building sometimes sorting or looking thru books.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

HauntedThe Waverly Hills Sanitarium in Louisville, Kentucky opened in 1910 to house victims of the Tuberculosis Epidemic.

Over 63,000 people including patients, doctors, and nurses died there.  The death toll in this building is comparable to a battle field, it’s no wonder it is said to be haunted.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

HauntedFrom haunted bayous to voodoo queens, Louisiana is host to many ghosts, and goblins, and other things that go bump in the night.

The historic city of New Orleans is home to the blues and filled with many quaint shops and restaurants, it’s also steeped in mystery.  Walking down the streets of the French Quarter on a foggy night can be very creepy.  I know we were creeped out one dark and foggy February night as we walked down Decatur Street.

But did you know that it was in this state where the infamous duo Bonnie and Clyde met their end?
This lone stone in Gibsland, Louisiana marks the ambush site.  Legend has it that on nights when the moon is full you can still hear the gunfire.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

hauntedEllis Pond, also known as Roxbury Pond in serene East Andover, Maine is said to be haunted.

Visitors walking along the shores have reported hearing or feeling a presence.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

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Haunted

There are hundreds of haunted places in the small state of Maryland, but the Antietam Battlefield is possibly the most haunted.

Over 23,000 souls lost their lives here making it the site of America’s bloodiest single day battle.

It’s no wonder those poor souls still wander the field and battle sounds can reportedly still be heard[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

HauntedSite of one of the most infamous double ax murders in American History, the Lizzie Borden House in Falls River, Massachusetts is now a Bed and Breakfast.

I would be surprised if it wasn’t haunted.  It is reported that guests have seen apparitions in the house.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

HauntedFamed pilot Amelia Earhart was a guest at The Landmark Inn, located in Marquette, Michigan before she mysteriously disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.

They say that she sometimes shows up in room 502.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

HauntedStaff and diners claim this St. Paul, Minnesota restaurant is haunted by the building’s former owner and his mistress who committed suicide here in 1892.

Back then it was the home to Joseph Forepaugh, today it is Forepaugh’s Restaurant.[spacer height=”-20px”]

Haunted

Stucky’s Bridge in Enterprise, Mississippi is said to be haunted by the inn-keeper named Stucky.

He supposedly robbed and murdered guests who stayed at his inn.  He was caught and hanged on this bridge.

hauntedThis 14 room Victorian mansion in Independence, Missouri is now a museum.

It was the home of President Truman, and of course it is said to be haunted by the President himself.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

HauntedThe scene of the historic battle known commonly as Custer’s Last Stand the Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana is home to many spirits.

Apparitions and Native American war cries have been reported here.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

HauntedBrother Sebastian’s, a restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska is said to be haunted by Bill Walden, a regular patron who passed away but still frequents the joint.[spacer height=”-20px”]

Haunted

The Riviera is one of the oldest casinos on the Las Vegas strip in Nevada.

Many mob-related murders took place here and staff reports strange happenings in the hotel, specially on the 9th. floor.  [spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

HauntedBuilt in 1926 at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire this college dorm called Huntress Hall is said to be haunted by its namesake Harriet Hunter.[spacer height=”-20px”]

Haunted

One fateful evening, May 6, 1937, the airship Hindenburg caught fire and crashed killing 36people.

Today it is said that screams can still be heard at the crash site in Lakehurst, New Jersey.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

HauntedChaco Canyon National Historic Park in New Mexico is an eerie place.

It’s haunting beauty and great stone work is a testament to past ages.  Folks claim to have the eerie feeling of being followed while visiting this park.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

 

Haunted

Built in 1884 the Dakota is one of the most sought out residences in New York City.

This landmark building built in gothic style architecture was where the horror movie “Rosemarie’s Baby” was filmed.  But it’s most known as the building where former Beatle John Lennon lived and was shot and killed on December 8, 1980.

It is said that the famous musician sometimes appears to the building’s residents, although he is not this building’s most famous ghost.  That honor belongs to the two children dressed in late 19th. century style  who have been seen since the 1960’s.  It’s not sure who the children are, but it is assumed that they were once residents of the building, more likely around the time it was constructed.

HauntedBuilt in 1924 Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, North Carolina is said to be haunted by no fewer than 20 ghosts.

The most famous one is that of Dr. William Jacocks.  He lived in room 256.  He pulls pranks and locks guests out of his former room, even after it was renovated in 1990.  The room was partitioned to become part of 4 other rooms and electronic locks were installed to prevent such pranks.  No go, he still manages to jam the new locks.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

HauntedApple Creek Country Club in Bismarck, North Dakota is reportedly haunted by a former chef.[spacer height=”-20px”]

Haunted

The Big Four Train Depot in Galion, Ohio is said to be the most haunted building in town.

It’s seen its share of tragedies and historic events of the town.  Folks claim that at times the building shakes as if a train is passing by.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

HauntedGuests at the Skirvin Hilton in Oklahoma City, Okalhoma claim to hear infant cries and female voices during their stay.

It is thought it’s the ghost of  a former maid who killed herself and her illegitimate child by jumping out of one of the windows of the hotel.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

HauntedBuilt by Universal Studios in 1927 the Bagdad Theater in Portland, Oregon housed both vaudeville type shows and moving pictures, today it’s a cinema and pub, it also is home to 2 haunts.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HauntedStraight out of history books is Valley Forge.

Every American knows or should know about the hardships the Continental army suffered here during the Revolution.

Today it’s a National  Historical Park in Pennsylvania.  Visitors claim to have seen men dressed in period army dress.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

 

HauntedThough Belcourt Castle in Newport, Rhode Island is not really haunted, some of the furnishings and decor is reportedly so.

The objects here have a haunted history including chairs and a suit of armor.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

HauntedHolley House or the Hotel Aiken in Aiken, South Carolina was built in 1878.

It is reportedly haunted specially on the second floor.[spacer height=”-20px”]

Haunted

The 1880 Train in Hill City, South Dakota was the first locomotive steam engine brought to the area.

Today the Highliner Eatery is located within the train.  Employees report seeing a spectral in a brown suit.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

HauntedThe Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennesee is more famously known as the Grand Ole Opry House  because it was the site for the show, was built in 1892.

It is reportedly haunted by none other than Hank Williams, Sr. whose voice has been heard within singing his songs.[spacer height=”-20px”]

Haunted

I’m sure just about everyone’s heard of the Alamo located in San Antonio, Texas.

Many American folk heroes including James Bowie and Davy Crockett died here defending the Alamo against the forces of General Santa Ana during the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.  During that battle over 2000 lives were lost.  It’s not a stretch to hear reports of restless spirits wandering here.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

HauntedReports claim that the Mormon Militia massacred a group of settlers at this site in Central, Utah in 1857.  Today visitors to the Mountain Meadows Massacre Site report hearing screams in the wind.[spacer height=”-20px”]

Haunted

Legend has it that Glastenbury Mountain in Shaftsbury, Vermont is believed to be cursed by Native Americans, they used it as a burial ground.

There have been several unsolved disappearances on the hiking trails.  All the trails stop partway up the mountain as if forbidding hikers to continue.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

Haunted

The beloved home of Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, located outside of Charlotteville, Virginia is said to be haunted by the famous former owner himself.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

HauntedThis inn located in Tacoma, Washington is where Stephen King’s movie “Red Rose” was shot.  It’s called the Thornewood Castle Inn and guests and staff have reported seeing strange apparitions and lights.[spacer height=”-20px”]

Haunted

Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia is on the site known for its battles during the Civil War.

Many apparitions including a marching army have been reported here.

 

 

 

HauntedBuilt in the 1800s and rumored to have been owned by Al Capone the Maribel Hotel in Maribel, Wisconsin burned down in the 1920s.

It’s rumored that it’s haunted.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

HauntedBig Horn Medicine Wheel in Big Horn, Wyoming is said to be at least 12,000 years old.

It’s not known who built it.  Legend has it that if you fast within the circle for 4 days ancient spirits will come to you.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

 

HauntedAlthough it’s not a state this post wouldn’t be complete without a haunted place in Washington D.C.

Our Nation’s Capital is not lacking for haunted places, many of them famous, or more appropriately infamous.

At the top of the list would be Ford’s Theater where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.  It is said his footsteps can still be heard echoing up the back stairs to the President’s Box.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

I’ve taken you thru the states from A-W and the District of Columbia.  Each state has many more haunted places, let me know if  you’ve visited any of them!  Better yet contact me to book your haunted adventure at one of these spooky places!

Market  Day In Italian Towns

Market Day In Italian Towns

Europe is famous for Market Day.  It’s one of my favorite things about Europe!  I love wandering thru open markets where ever they may be.

market dayLike all the other European countries Italy has Market Day in just about every little town.  In fact some towns like Vicenza have a schedule of Market Days where different vendors rotate through out the week.  For instance Thursdays are usually a Market Day for food vendors to sell fresh fruits and veggies not to mention cheeses, deli meats, seafood, and more.  These vendors set up in the smaller piazzas around town leaving the main piazza for vendors selling clothes, carpets, and other household goods.  Tuesdays are usually a Market Day for clothing vendors who set up in the main square.  Then every last Sunday of the month  is strictly for antique vendors.

 

 

 

market day

 

Other towns like Camisano and Bolzano have a Market Days where pretty much everything is sold including produce, prepared food, clothing, toys, and house hold goods.  Venice has a fish market at the Rialto from Tuesdays to Saturdays, and Naples has one pretty much daily.

 

 

 

 

market day market day

market day

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love these markets! You’ll find fresh breads and pasties, seasonal fruits and veggies, rotisserie chicken, cheeses, and deli meats. In my opinion it’s a great place to buy a picnic lunch to take to the beach or park.

It’s hard to compile a list of all Market Days through out Italy, there are so many.  Again it seems like every little town has one or two.  Your best bet is to check out the local scene once you get to town.  Or better yet serendipitously wander into one!

Of course if you find yourself in Italy in late October or early November to the first week of January you’ll find plenty of Christmas Markets, now those are super awesome!  Hint hint there’s a big one in Verona!

Let me help you plan your Italian holiday!  Call me at 808-372-7734, Savvy Nana Travel.

Una Hotels and Resorts, accommodation, travel


Infographic

Grape Harvest Festivals in Italy

Grape Harvest Festivals in Italy

grape harvestWhen I hear grape stomping and grape harvest this picture of Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball of the I Love Lucy show) always comes to mind.  Of course I grew up watching re-runs of this famous  1950’s TV sitcom.  I don’t recall the story line but I do remember Lucy stomping grapes in Italy and getting into a food fight with the Italian lady.  Whatever it was probably one of the reasons Italy was on my bucket list.

Of course many of us don’t exactly travel to Italy to stomp grapes, but if you find yourself in Italy during the fall then you’re in for a treat!  Fall is grape harvest time in Italy.  Now I don’t have to tell you that Italy has a ton of vineyards and everyone one of them has a grape harvest or vendemmia every fall.

There are 20 Italian wine regions, basically every region in the country has vineyards and produce wine.  Of course the most popular regions are Tuscany, Veneto, and Piedmont.  Tuscany is where the Chianti Region is located, the Veneto is famous for its Valpolicella wines, and Piedmont known for its Barolo and Moscato d’Asti.  The other regions have their own specialties including Lambruscos, Pinot Grigio, and sparkling wines that rival the best Champagnes of France.  Whatever your wine preference I’m sure you’ll find a grape harvest to suit you.

grape harvestNow when I say grape harvest I don’t just mean picking grapes off the vine and stomping them in a huge vat, you can of course do that if you want to.  But grape harvest means grape festivals and festas!  And that means wine tastings and pairings.  Yup lots and lots of delicious food and wine!

Our family recently went to a grape harvest festival at the Fattoria dell’Eremo not far from Vicenza in north east Italy.  But before I tell you about it let me first give you some general information about Italy’s grape harvest and festivals.

The vendemmia season is generally in the fall, but times vary depending on the region and the summer weather. When the summer is very hot the harvest season starts early, harvest season is later in the north part of the country.  So harvest season is sometime as early as late August and lasts until early to mid November.  But it’s safe to say that you’ll more than likely find a harvest festival somewhere between early September to mid October for sure.

Having said that let me tell you about our grape harvest adventure.  First off be prepared, this is run on Italian time, meaning it turns into a day long affair starting around noon and ending sometime after sunset.

Before you go you must book in advance.  The cost is €25 for adults who will drink wine, €15 for adults who will not drink wine (that’s your designated driver, trust me you will need one!), and €10 for children.  The price includes beverages (4 glasses of wine if you paid for the wine ticket), food (antipasti, pasta, meat dish, dessert), music, and grape picking and stomping.  There are also horses to ride for those who want to ride around the vineyard, there’s no extra charge for the ride.

grape harvestYou’re asked to bring your own scissors, a pair for everyone who wants to pick grapes.  You don’t have to pick grapes if you don’t want to.  You could just admire them or enjoy the views.

grape harvest grape harvestgrape harvest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

grape harvest

You put the grapes you picked into a crate which is the combined with the grapes everyone else picked.

grape harvestgrape harvest

When all the grapes have been piled into the big vats it’s grape stomping time.  To keep it organized the kids are allowed to stomp the grapes first, followed by the ladies, then the men, then ladies and men.

grape harvest

grape harvest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

grape harvestNow mind you while all this is going on they’re bringing out food course by course.  Large plates of antipasti that included a huge wheel of cheese you could help yourself to.  Pizzas, pastas, and roast meats.  Then there’s dessert!  And of course the wine is flowing.  If you need more wine other than the 4 glasses included in your ticket there’s a bar where you can buy wine by the bottle to enjoy during the harvest or to take home.

It’s a long day but definitely lots of fun for the entire family!

This vineyard also has a restaurant so if you can’t make the vendemmia or harvest you can always come for a wine tasting event.  They do pizza and wine pairings all year long.

grape harvestAnother winery in the Vicenza area is Cantine Enomas Muraro in the little town of Longare.  They don’t offer a grape harvest event but you’re always welcome to a DIY wine tasting.

If you bring a picnic lunch or dinner they have tables and benches outside where you can hang out and drink wine purchased from the winery store.

 

 

 

 

grape harvestIf you’re not sure which wine you like you can grab a wine glass and taste different wines for €1.  You can pour your own wine to taste and buy from the taps.  And while you’re there check out the huge wine vats!

grape harvestgrape harvest

grape harvestOnce you decide you can buy one of their pre-bottled wines starting at €3 a bottle.  Or you can purchase a large plastic or glass bottle and fill it up yourself.  By the way don’t toss the bottle you bought, you can bring it in next time for a refill!

One of the great things about Italy is the wine!  Even if you’re not a big wine drinker trust me you’ll find it hard to resist a glass or two.  In fact buying wine at a restaurant is much cheaper than buying a soda!  Really!

Ready to book your autumn in Italy?  Let me help you plan your great adventure!  Contact me 808-372-7734,  Savvy Nana Travel!


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