Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Review of Splendid Taxi Cab Company in White Plains, New York

I have been using Splendid Taxi in White Plains, New York for over a month now. I am so glad that I found this company. They have been my source of getting to work each day. Due to a medical condition, I am not able to drive all the way to work. I drive myself for about 10 minutes in the morning. Then I call this company to take me to work the rest of the way which is about another 10 minutes.

Before I discovered Splendid, I was using another local company and I was spending $47 for one way from my house to where I work. That adds up to $94 a day, $470 a week and $1880 a month. I realized that I will go broke and not have a lot of money left over from my paychecks, if I do not think of something else fast. I had a feeling when this medical condition started, that it may last for a few months or more.

I called a few cab companies to get some prices and I found that Splendid had the best prices. I had also heard that from someone else. If I were to take a cab from my house to where I work, it would cost me about $30 one way. That is a $17 difference from the other company. I am able to drive myself half way to work so I am saving even more money. I am paying $17 one way including tip. That adds up to about $34 a day and $170 a week as compared to $470 a week.

I also like this company for other reasons. Every time I call, they send someone within 10 minutes. I never have to wait a long time. They are very reliable. I find that the drivers are very nice, friendly and sociable people. I feel very comfortable driving with them. They are all good drivers and they always follow the traffic laws. All the cars are very well kept. I do not fear that one of them will break down and that I will be late for work.

I highly recommend this company for the reasons stated above. Definitely check them out if you are in need of a cab service. Their number is 914-682-2222. I am sure that you will be very satisfied.

Labels: A Review of Splendid Taxi Cab Company in White Plains, New York

A Taste of Dry Cereal

The lady in the supermarket handed me a sample of a chocolate-flavored cereal and as I walked along munching it, I thought, “This is really good. I could eat this right out of the box as is!”

Dry cereals really haven’t been around very long. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg ( yes, he of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Raisin Bran, etc.) made the first ready-to-eat flaked cereal in 1894.

It all started when Kellogg prescribed Zwieback(super-hard) toast for an elderly lady, who sequentially broke her false teeth from attempting to eat it. She then demanded $10 in damages.

Acting upon an idea that came to him in a dream, (The doctor fell asleep thinking about how to introduce more of his cereals to his patients without any further tooth damage.) Dr. Kellogg boiled some wheat until it was soft, then used a doughnut-rolling machine, rolling the wheat mixture into a thin film, scraped the flakes off with a knife, and then baked them in the oven. That was the first of the modern-day breakfast cereal; Dr. Kellogg later went on to invent 60 more.

Since then, there have been countless refinements of this method used. Cereal has been shredded, shot from guns, toasted, puffed, dressed up with fruit, nuts, and/or marshmallows, and sweetened (And it’s much more expensive, of course.)

Cereal is the favorite breakfast (This word actually means to “break the fast”, referring to the late evening to very early morning hours, when one normally wouldn’t be eating. But times have changed; often, “having breakfast”is at the whim of your schedule!) of many Americans and is often eaten for dinner or as a snack. Many a childhood memory has involved cereal eating. You often gulped down some cereal (usually with orange juice) before walking to school or taking the school bus.

During weekends, holidays, and summers, one could leisurely sit and relax, bowl in hand, and enjoy the Saturday cartoons, holiday specials, or summer shows while chomping away to your heart’s content. Cereal never filled you up (by noon you were ravenous with hunger!), but it was always fun to contemplate the unique shapes, textures, colors, tastes, and sometimes, sounds (You can actually hear Rice Krispies “snap, crackle, and pop”) of whatever brand you were eating.

As you get older, your concerns run more to “how much fiber is in this?” Cereal does contain some fiber and is enriched with vitamins and minerals. And it has hardly any fat, except for granola. But many cereals are a poor value for the money. (When you were a kid, it didn’t matter, did it?) Several of its ingredients, such as sugar, salt, grains, and vitamins are fairly cheap in themselves; consumers are paying for gimmicks and advertising. And some cereals have given children a sugar dependency (which can lead to obesity and other health issues).

For those who need or wish to limit their sugar or sodium intake, two classic cereals contain neither-Nabisco Shredded Wheat and Quaker Puffed Wheat. Another cereal, Cherrios, is light on sugar content, but has a high sodium level (nearly 300 mg per serving).

Cereals made from whole grains will contain trace minerals that are not added when they are fortified. Look for the words “whole wheat” or “whole grain” (they will have more fiber). Wheat flour isn’t the same as the former two nutritionally; some of the fiber and nutrients have been refined out. Overall, fiber is an important part of the diet at any age.

Read the side of the box carefully when selecting cereals. For example, the phrase “all natural” has no nutritional meaning. “No cholesterol” is often advertising for products that are already cholesterol-free by their nature.

By law, ingredients must be listed in the order of their quantity in the product. A grain is usually listed first, but sugar is nearly always second and may also be present in other forms, such as honey, corn syrups, or anything ending in “ose.”

Don’t choose a cereal just because it contains all of the recommended daily servings of minerals and vitamins.

You don’t need to consume your daily serving allowance at one sitting; strive for eating a well-balanced diet throughout the day. (And take multi-vitamins.)


Labels: A Taste of Dry Cereal

A Taste of Fair Appalachia in Ripley, West Virginia

To say that Ripley, West Virginia is off the beaten path is to assume that path is the road not taken by Robert Frost. With a grand total of five traffic lights and a population of just over 3,200, New York City it ain’t. But don’t let the small size of this place fool you – when it’s time to celebrate the birth of our country, Ripley can “put on the dog” like nobody’s business.

The Fourth of July festivities in Ripley are legendary locally and surprisingly well known nationally. The Mountain State Arts and Crafts Fair that takes place the first week in July just outside of the city limits at Cedar Lakes Conference center attracts not only vendors but visitors from all over the United States. Featuring handmade items proudly displaying Appalachian craftsmanship, tasty Appalachian food, lively music and tons of other exhibits and activities, the Mountain State Arts and Crafts Fair allows you to take a welcome step back in time and experience a taste of life in Appalachia, with all its rich flavors and history. Speaking of flavors, I highly recommend you forget the diet while you’re here and enjoy some of the finest food that Appalachia has ever produced. From homemade jams and jellies to buckwheat cakes and fried green tomatoes, you can literally take a bite out of Appalachian history. And what a bite it is! Growing up in Ripley, and being a lifelong devotee of the Arts and Crafts fair, I can tell you from experience that your taste buds will love you forever, and your hips will forgive you.

As a local, the thing that has always most impressed me about the Mountain State Arts and Crafts Fair is the feeling it evokes. While the crowds are large, there is a prevailing thread of fellowship that seems to envelope you and carries you back to a time when things were simpler, and people weren’t so harried. I suppose it’s hard to be grumpy when you’re surrounded by friendly people with your belly full of fine food and the sound of rich Appalachian music in your ears.

The Mountain State Arts and Crafts Fair, which started in 1963, is ranked in the top five Arts and Crafts Fairs in America, and is also listed in Travel Guide as one of the Mid Atlantic Region’s Best Festivals. It has been written about in the Miami Herald, and is probably the best kept secret you and your family will love. And, according to Bob Wines, who is both Vice President of Marketing and Publicity for the Mountain State Arts and Crafts Fair as well as a member of the Division of National Resources, this year’s celebration will be even bigger and better than before, with more vendors and artisans than ever.

With handicapped access and free golf cart transport around the grounds for those that are mobility impaired, the people at the fair have made it easy for the entire family to come out and have a good time. And pets are welcome on the grounds as well, for those of you that want to include Fido in your travels.

The 2009 Mountain State Arts and Crafts Fair begins on Thursday, July 2nd, and runs through Sunday, July 4th. It opens at 9:00am and closes at 7:00pm daily. For lodging, maps, photos or more detailed information please visit the website at

In addition to the fair, Ripley also boasts a carnival downtown during the week-long Fourth of July Celebrations. With rides and games and live performances from local as well as nationally acclaimed artists, it’s just another part of this wonderful week in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia that you won’t want to miss.

So come one, come all! Stay a while, “set a spell” and make a few friends. After all, you’ll be seeing them again when you come back next year.

Labels: A Taste of Fair Appalachia in Ripley, West Virginia

A Day Trip to Kandy, Sri Lanka During Esala Perahera

At first I thought it was a joke. An ancient “tooth” relic in “Kandy”? “I’ll bet it’s got one heck of a cavity!” I laughed heartily.

Rukman’s facial expression did not concur. In his almost perfect English he stated, “We will go to the Esala Perahera today. It is your last chance before you go back to the States. We are having reservations on the express train.” I silently pondered the sentence. Using “are having” in reference to reservations started to seem logical since we were still having them until they were used. His accent reminded me of my friend Mody from Pakistan.

“Esala Perahera?” I asked.

“It’s like Mardi Gras Sri Lankan style.” he smiled calmly. “It goes on a few weeks every year in July or August. Depends on the moon. Supposedly the tooth is Buddah’s canine smuggled into Sri Lanka by a princess. I don’t particularly ascribe to that version but it is quite an event anyway.”

“Sure,” I shrugged my shoulders. Still chuckling to myself about the irony of the worship of an ancient tooth in a town called Kandy. Rukman was quiet and I wondered if perhaps I had gone to far with my careless joke.

The train from Colombo to Kandy took a little less than three hours. Then just a short albeit packed bus ride to the temple from the train station.”So what religion do they follow here? Muslim?” I asked.

“There are a few Muslims and Christians. Some Hindus…but most of us are Buddhist. Buddhism is not really a religion though. It is more a code of life. You have to do the work in your head.” I recalled where I had heard about Buddhism before. My mind wandered to the movie about Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” There is a scene where she is chanting and somehow that gave her the power to take on her abusive husband and the strength to eventually leave him. Rukman continued, “It’s philosophy with a twist of Do-it-Yourself. You Americans like DIY don’t you?” He smiled.

After walking through the temple we wandered through the city then went to the parade route for the Esala Perahera. I wanted to get there early so I could be right up in front against the barrier. The crowd grew around us within the next hour until Rukman and I were pressed in against the barrier, which was nothing but a string of bicycle racks lined up along the curb. As the day darkened into evening we could hear drums approaching. The crowd began to bustle and we could see twirling flames nearing us from down the street. The flames turned out to be men twirling fire on the ends of sticks, followed by stilt walkers, dancers in elaborate costumes and elephants draped in luxurious fabrics, jewels and lights.

I began to feel cramped and nauseous, the drums were becoming too loud for me.”There is the tooth!” called Rukman in an excited tone.The procession came to a standstill while the deafening beat of drums continued. We turned to look at the elephant just in front of us shaking his head up and down, trunk in the air. I wondered if he was dancing to the rhythmic beating of drums but then immediately recalled mad elephant footage I had seen once on the nightly news where an elephant killed its trainer – using its front legs to pin the poor man and then headbutting him into the pavement. The sensation of my hair standing up felt strange in the warm humidity of the evening and my legs stiffened, ready to bolt through the crowd. I backed up and stepped on someone’s foot “Uh…sorry.” I turned back, to look at the elephant again, his head was still bobbing. I desperately searched for a quick way out of the crowd but I was trapped against the barricade. The only quick way out would be to climb the barricade which would only put me closer to the bobbing elephant. Just before panic overtook me completely, a man on stilts walked over to the elephant and patted his head. The procession began to move again.

Rukman had noticed my discomfort and was amused. “Those rich adornments usually blind tourists to the elephants’ plight.” He said. “They are not always as happy and tame as they look. There is a shortage of tame elephants but the Esala Perahera is becoming a great tourist attraction. So elephants are illegally poached or bought on the black market, many times by those inexperienced and unqualified to care for them. There are certainly a few half-wild ones in there.” He laughed.

Gazala Anver; “The Hunt for a Stolen Elephant” The Sunday Leader; September 25, 2011
Ruwini Jayawardana and Asela Kuruluwansa; “Finding Elephants for Perahera a Jumbo Issue” Sri Lankan News; August 2, 2011
Rathindra Kuruwita; “Elephants not Mated; now for Illegal Logging” Lakbima News; January 22, 2012
Jayantha Jayewardene; “The Care and Management of Domesticated Asian Elephants in Sri Lanka” Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations; 2002
Ravi Nessman; “Buddhist Festival Parades are Sri Lanka’s Answer to Mardi Gras” USA Today, July 25, 2008
Sri Dalada Maligawa Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic Website; copyright 2012

Labels: A Day Trip to Kandy, Sri Lanka During Esala Perahera

A Day Trip into Amish Country in Middlefield, Ohio (Geauga County)

The tough economy has made it impossible for many of us to afford away-from-home vacations like in years past. But don’t let that be a negative, there are many things to do right in your own back yard. If you live near Middlefield, Ohio in beautiful Geauga County (a little more than 30 miles east of Cleveland and 76 miles west of Erie, PA) there are many things to see and do. Our family planned this “day-cation” as part of our “stay-cation” and wanted to explore other worlds just outside our front doors.

According to the Geauga County’s 2009 Visitor’s Guide, “Geauga County is home to the 2nd largest Amish population in the state and the 4th largest in the world!” This Visitor’s Guide and website are full of ideas for lodging, dining, shopping, and much more. Be sure to stop at for more information, maps and ideas.

We started our journey in the heart of Middlefield at Routes 608 and 87. We headed north on 608 (past the Geauga County Tourism office…I hear they are very friendly and helpful) to our first stop with a picnic lunch at Eagle Creek park and their new “Sprayground Park” located on North Springdale Avenue just east from 608. This place is really cool, and I mean really cool. It has two splash pad areas, a playground area, paths and gazebo. There are picnic tables all over. The “Sprayground Park” is open from 10 am until 8 pm during good weather. There is no lifeguard, so please watch the children closely.

Once we were full to capacity and dried off it was onto our next stop – back to 608 and heading north, the Middlefield Cheese House at 15864 Nauvoo Road. We enjoyed the museum and the film about the history of cheese-making. We really enjoyed the free samples.

Right behind the Cheese House on Nauvoo is Settler’s Village. This lovely group of shops includes a craft shop, a quilt/fabric store, a couple of antique shops and an art gallery. We noticed that they have many different activities throughout the year; we will have to come back for a special event and meet the Ole Western Marshal (I hear he is just great and full of fun stories).

Continuing east on Nauvoo, we passed a few more unique shops (jewelry and more antiques) and the Middlefield Market at 15848 Nauvoo Road. Every Monday (8 am to 3 pm) and Saturday (9 am to 3 pm) they have live auctions and a flea market. We missed that the day we went exploring, but that could be another whole trip in and of itself.

Driving down Nauvoo, you are in the heart of an Amish community. The white houses, the curtains drawn to the side, the gardens, children playing, the horses and the buggies are all so different from our lives, but beautiful in their differences. Driving among the Amish takes patience, but when you think of how hard it must to be stay so strong to one’s convictions during these modern times, I found it a breath of fresh air to be patient and to slow down.

When we reached Route 528, we headed south again and turned back onto Route 87 heading east. Our next stop was the Amish Home Craft Shop at 16860 Kinsman Road (Rt. 87). There we found quilts, wall hangings, many handmade items, baskets, herbs, jams and jellies, toys and more. Most days you can find homemade baked goods too. As with all Amish businesses, they are closed on Sundays.

Back to 87 and continuing east just a little further, we stopped at the Middlefield Original Cheese Co-op. You can see how the cheese is made through the big windows inside their store. They offer many different kinds of cheeses and other predominately Amish food items.

On Route 87 again and still heading East, our next adventure is at Ridgeview Farm (about 3.5 miles east of Middlefield). Here we toured the farm, visited their Amish Cultural Center, enjoyed their petting farm and much more. They, too, have many activities planned throughout the year. Strawberry picking in June, Fall Fun Weekends, corn maze and pumpkin patches.

Next stop was the End of the Commons General Store (6 miles east of Middlefield). The End of the Commons in Mesopotamia is Ohio’s oldest general store and it is full of great items from your childhood. Everything can be had from penny candy, soda pop in bottles, bulk food items, popcorns and so much more. They even have delicious hand-dipped ice cream.

Heading back to Middlefield, it is dinner time and time for Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen. Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen at 14743 North State Street (Rt. 608 again, just about where we started the day). The food was awesome, home-style and there was lots of it. My only piece of advice: Save room for pie!! Their gift shop was fun to go through also.

As our day came to a close, we laughed and talked about hour adventures. We reflected on the different culture we saw and how a little understanding goes a long way. We also realized that there is much more to see in this area. Lots to do in Burton, Chardon, alpacas to visit, stores to shop at and much more, but it will have to wait for another day.

We did not need lodging options, but Geauga County offers some of the best lodging around. Be sure to look at the Punderson Manor House, the Red Maple Inn and the Bass Lake Inn if your travel requires lodging.

Labels: A Day Trip into Amish Country in Middlefield, Ohio (Geauga County)

7 Tips to Stay Healthy During Flu And Cold Season

It’s that time of year again parents, the dreaded flu and cold season. Many thousands of Americans will be affected by the flu or flu-like symptoms. If you or any family member has suffered with the flu you know exactly how taxing it can be on the victim and the loved ones around them. It’s our jobs as parents to protect our children from any harm and danger if possible. During this time of year our children come into contact with many types of germs that can harm them and our whole family if they bring them back into the home. So this year let us be proactive in protecting our families. Here are 7 tips to protect your child from sickness and disease this season:

Tip 1

Encourage your children to wash their hands frequently. Remind them to slow down, use soap and warm water to kill the germs. Many stores also carry the mini bottles of hand sanitizer, so get one for your child to carry in their backpack to have at school when needed.

Tip 2

Be mindful to feed your children a well balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. This will help their bodies remain strong to ward off germs and disease.

Tip 3

If you are not already doing it, give your child a daily multivitamin. Pick one that is all natural and free of preservatives, this will help the body with needed vitamins and minerals.

Tip 4

Assure that your children received 8 to 10 hours of sleep anight. A well rested body can better fight disease.

Tip 5

Keep plenty of liquids available for consumption. Your children will need to remain well hydrated during the flu and cold season. Avoid caffenated drinks which only aide in dehydration.

Tip 6

Keep cans of chicken soup handy, or cook a big pot and freeze some. The contents of this soup along with the broth aid in assisting the body to get well.

Tip 7

If your child complains of an itchy or sore throat, threat it immedicately with honey and lemon mixed with warm water. This will soothe the itchy throat.

Above I have explained 7 tips to help you keep your children healthy this flu and cold season. If you will practice these tips along with common sense, you child may be able to avoid the perils assoicated with the flu and colds. A sick, unhappy child is an unpleasant sight for a parent. So teach your children to take a part in keeping themselves well. Consult your physican in determining if the flu vacine is appropriate for you and your family members.

Labels: 7 Tips to Stay Healthy During Flu And Cold Season

A Basic Guide to Setting Up a Paludarium

A paludarium is a tank consisting of land, water, and air elements. Often paludaria contain live plants and animals. It is an attempt to put an ecosystem in a container. Paludaria are ideal, fairly low maintenance projects that can satisfy adults and children alike. They can be especially fun for home schooled children or those who have an interest in ecology and biology.

The Idea

What you plan to include in your paludarium most dictates the materials you will need. Do you plan to use it for a snake or anole? Would you like fish or amphibians? Would you like a “community tank” with several different types of animals? Do you want to focus on a particular geographic region?

The internet is a good place to gather information regarding various types of fish, amphibians, and reptiles. By researching as much as you can to begin with, you can develop a balanced community plan. Try to choose plants and animals that have the same requirements, that way they can all coexist with minimal stress.

The Tank

The tank is the most basic, and probably the most important, piece of equipment. Within it you will have a small world. For this reason, you need to choose the tank that best corresponds to your needs. For instance, if you plan to have tree frogs or other animals that prefer to climb you will want a tank that is taller than it is wide. If instead you wish to have a ground dwelling reptile or large fish, you will want a large bottom surface area to give it maximum space.

While acrylic tanks are increasing in popularity, they can wear down fairly quickly. Glass tanks are much sturdier in the long run, although the extra weight is certainly a downside. In addition to the tank, you will want a stand that has been designed to support your tank’s weight and style.

The Hardware

The other hardware you need for your tank is dictated by your preferences and your animal’s needs. If you have a reptile, you will need a heat lamp or warming pad to provide a basking area. Any water element should have a small filter to prevent fouling. If you have any tropical amphibians or fish it would be wise to buy a small heater as well. Just for fun, you can buy a small water pump and some airline tubing to create a small waterfall or river. Waterfall kits can also be purchased from online suppliers.

Basic Décor

Try to keep your paludarium as natural looking as possible. Use rocks and driftwood to arrange a setting where there is land emerging from the water. You can either use natural stones and driftwood, or you can purchase the extremely life-like resin replicas made by aquarium companies. Either will be appealing to the eye.

Substrate will be dictated by the needs of your animals. If you plan to plant live plants, use a plant substrate such as Flourite. Naturally colored gravel is also an ideal bottom for you water element.

Setting up

If you have an animal that requires a land area and separate water area, such as a reptile, you can divide your aquarium with a Plexiglas or acrylic divider epoxied in place. Make sure the epoxy or sealant used is aquarium safe. One side can be water and the other land, with no mixing between them.

An easier method is the emergent land method as mentioned above. The rocks and driftwood can be stacked so that there are islands of land coming out of the water. This is ideal for small amphibians such as salamanders, newts, or frogs.

After putting down your gravel substrate, stack your rocks and wood in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Also put your tank hardware in place at this time. Play with several designs until you find one you like. Also, make sure everything is either well balanced or well secured so that nothing collapses on your animals. When this is done, you may add your water.

Adding Greenery

Greenery can either be live aquatic plants or the skillfully made silk variety. Either way, you are striving for a natural look so avoid the cheap hard plastic plants. If you are obtaining live plants, make sure that they are meant to be aquatic or in high humidity environments. Plants sold at some nurseries are not truly tropical and will die and decay rapidly in your paludarium.

Arrange your plants at the bottom of the tank as well as on the driftwood and rocks. If you have climbing vines you can place them on the sides of your tank so that they give an appearance of a plant covered cliff or wall. If you have critters that like to climb, you may need extra fastenings as opposed to just the suction cups supplied. Apparently, fishing line does well although I have not used it myself.

Adding Critters

Now that you have a habitat set up for your animals you can move them in. So as not to overload your filter, only introduce a small number at a time. Additionally do not overstock your tank. If you crowd too many animals into too small an area you will struggle with cleanliness, parasites, and illness.

My Paludarium

As an example, I will explain my own set up. I am using a twenty gallon glass tank to contain my paludarium. The back wall is made of natural cork bark attached with liberal amounts of aquarium sealant. My method was the emergent land technique, which can be seen with the stacking of the rocks, as well as the cork bark island. This paludarium has been functioning well for one month.

The aquatic plants, which are slowly establishing themselves, are in a substrate of Flourite. You can see Anacharis in the back, dwarf hairgrass in the front and Anubias on the driftwood. There is also Java Moss under the rock.

Land plants include Pilea cadieri at the top of the rocks and lemon button fern in a planter on the back wall. Hopefully, both plants will fill out to increase the amount of greenery on the land. I also have some mosses that I gathered from my pasture, which are filling out nicely on the rock.

For hardware I have a small filter, heater, and submersible pump to power a waterfall. The waterfall also acts to aerate the water for the fish.

Residents are a black mystery snail, six rosy red minnows, and two fire belly toads.

Some Advice

There were some things no one mentioned when I was doing my research. Here is what I have discovered.

Make your hardware accessible: If you construct a cave over your pump, you will not be able to reach the pump to clean it or adjust the setting. It seems obvious now, but apparently not when I was in the construction phase.

Bugs happen: I had to pull my fish out of the tank to treat them for itch. When they were gone there was no one to eat the mosquito larvae. (This was prior to adding the toads.) I was breeding mosquitoes until I was able to re-introduce the fish into the system. Some visitors will move in on their own, you can solve those problems according to your inclinations.

Labels: A Basic Guide to Setting Up a Paludarium

A Visit to the Doctor in Colonial Times

Does your health plan include wig powdering? A visit to the restored Hugh Mercer Apothecary on Caroline Street in Fredericksburg, Virginia is a step back to times when doctors used blood letting, purging, and amputations to cure their patients.

The recovery rooms upstairs allowed patients to rest and rearrange their clothing so they were ready to walk out onto the street. The men who needed their wigs powdered so they were respectable enough to be seen in public could lean their heads through a hole in a door and have the servant on the other side powder away without mussing the gentleman’s clothing.

The sick person in Colonial times had some of the same difficulties as people have now when choosing care. The poor and rural residents had fewer options, and often could not find or afford adequate care. Those red striped poles outside the local barber shop were a sign that the barber would also provide dental services and take care of cuts and injuries. The rich and powerful had better access to trained doctors, such as Hugh Mercer, a Scottish medical school graduate and military doctor. Dr. Mercer was the physician for Fredericksburg home town of George Washington’s mother, Mary Washington, and his sister.

Tours of the restored shop are conducted by ladies in colonial dress, right down to their hair tucked into mob caps. The ladies laugh when they explain that these wealthy people could even have their pills coated with elegant silver, which sometimes made them “reusable” pills. Not all of the old treatments have been discarded, however. Even modern hospitals stock leeches like the fat black ones swimming in Dr. Mercer’s jar, and the chemical in ground willow bark is still used today, although we call it aspirin. There is an herb garden next to the Apothecary Shop where some of these useful remedies are still grown. At the beginning of the tour, small samples of herbs and medicines are passed around for visitors to see and smell. The large stone water filter was used to filter river water in several stages so it was clean for concocting medicines.

Perhaps these remedies worked, because after a blood letting or purging, some people would say, “I’m fine now, thank you!” rather than submit to more treatments.

Dr. Mercer served in the Revolutionary Army with George Washington. The story of his life and illustrious military service is told in the museum in the Apothecary Shop. Visiting Fredericksburg today is simple, and hotels and bed and breakfast places abound, but for more about travel and life in Colonial times, wander along the Caroline Street a few blocks to the Rising Sun Tavern.

Labels: A Visit to the Doctor in Colonial Times

Amusement Parks: Best Places for Summer, Family and Affordable Fun

Amusement Parks are a great place for summer, family, and affordable fun. Well known amusement parks such as: Disney World, often seem expensive. In actuality, those well-known amusement parks have a lot of great deals to help off-set the cost.

Disney World, for example, is offering free admission on your birthday in 2009. Did you go to Disney World a few years ago, but did not use all of your passes? If so, I would check and see if they are lifetime passes. Of course, lifetime passes mean that you can come back in another year and use them. For more information go to:

Disney, of course, is not the only amusement park out there. There are countless amusement parks in the U.S. Some of the best values at Amusement Parks are right in your backyard.

I live somewhere in the tri-state of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. Holiday World, Kings Island and Six Flag Kentucky Kingdom are three amusement parks in that tri-state. All of which have great values.

At Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, guest that buy their tickets online will pay the kid price of $24.99. Anyone with a season pass can bring a friend for free. Besides access to rides, guest can also enjoy concerts for free with their passes. Raven Symone and Jesse McCartney will both be at Kentucky Kingdom during the month of July. Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom is located in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information go to:

At Kings Island, guest that buy tickets online will save fifteen dollars off general admission. General admission is $47.99; online admission will be $32.99. Kings Island also has a special for the 2009 season. Guest that pay the regular admission price of $47.99 will be able to come back on another day for free. Kings Island also has the “starlight” discount. After 5pm, guest can go to the park and pay a discounted general admission fee of $24.99. Kings Island is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information go to:

Holiday world is home to the new Pilgrims Plunge. The Pilgrim Plunge is thought to be the World’s tallest water ride at 131 feet. It is also home the roller coaster, The Voyage. General admission is $39.95. Tickets for guest under 54″ and seniors that are 60 years or older cost $29.95. If you come one day and decide you want to come back the next, you can buy a next-day ticket for $20.00. Holiday World also gives out a lot of freebies. The freebies include: sunscreen, parking, inner tubes (for the water park), and unlimited soft drinks. For more information go to:

Amusement Parks are number four (4) on the list of the best places for summer, family and affordable fun. Be sure to read about the #5 best place for summer, family and affordable fun. Make sure to come back for the top three best places for summer, family and affordable fun!

Labels: Amusement Parks: Best Places for Summer, Family and Affordable Fun

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