Posts Tagged ‘North’

A Golfers ++ Holiday Diary: – North Portugal Tour

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Introduction:-

Last year was our first trip to Oporto in North Portugal, via a week’s cruise down the Douro River, brilliantly organised by PortGolf. At the end of that week, Peter Evens, who runs PortGolf, suggested we should return for the festival of S. Joao and perhaps play some golf. This seemed a good idea so on our return to the UK we organised a dinner for two other couples, one of whom (Gerry and Catriona) had played golf around Oporto and Jim and Margery. We discussed the idea and it was agreed that eight would be a good number. Shortly after we had supper with another couple, John and Marion who volunteered to join us. None of us had ever holidayed together before so it would be a test of friendship. Due to other commitments Gerry and Catriona and John and Marion would stay for a week whilst we and Jim and Margery would stay for twelve days.

There follows a Journal of that Trip:-

 

Thursday 21st June:-

We decided to catch the first Porto flight out of Gatwick at 6.30am whilst the others were catching the 1.30pm flight. We were met at Oporto Airport at 9am by Peter Evens who whisked us off to the four star Hotel Fenix, conveniently placed close to the Boa Vista area. The weather was bright with a light shower around midday. Having unpacked in our spacious room on the 9th Floor with splendid views of a truly magnificent cemetery and the city we set off on our first adventure to walk to the city centre and explore the area. We had a pasta and wine lunch at the Simbiose Restaurant (€30) overlooking the river and watched the Port wine boats ferrying people to and fro. Walked back uphill to the hotel calling in at the local supermarket for gin and whisky for nightcaps. The rest of the gang arrived at 6.15pm somewhat late due to delays. Having checked in we all got into the lift to travel to the 9th floor. Now this lift has a notice that says it is for 10 persons – unfortunately, they mean 10 Portuguese persons who happen to be somewhat smaller in stature than 8 Brits for the lift decided to descend to -5 floors before coming to a halt with a resounding bang. Not exactly the start we were looking for, but we managed to extract ourselves and walk back to the ground floor we proceeded to travel in the 2nd lift and the service lift – time for a drink! Peter found us in the bar at 8pm when we were taken in two vehicles to the Maria Moita, a local Porto restaurant for dinner. Peter stayed on to interpret as not much English is spoken and take photographs of the evening. Fun food with an interesting menu and carafes of wine. Bed by 11.30 somewhat exhausted.

 

Friday 22nd June:-

 

Up at 8.15am, dry, but grey with a smattering of blue. Breakfast, then a quick look round the local shops. Peter and Paolo collected us at 12.30 for our first game of golf at Estela.

The course lies about an hour from the centre of Oporto on the Atlantic coast. The drive was pleasant and informative and the entrance guarded by two automatic gates. A drink and a toasted sandwich started the event which was a four ball better ball with husbands partnering wives. Typically for a links course, the wind blew like hell and was a contributing factor to the round taking 4½ hours. Gerry and Catriona were the winners and copious amounts of gin & tonic and beer was consumed. Showered and change before whisked off to Casa do Frango in a nearby town – problem was our driver dropped us at the wrong place which held up proceedings, but didn’t stop the wine flowing before the chicken and chips arrived – turned out to be a fun night and tested some people’s ability of alcohol consumption. On our return to the hotel John and Marion joined us in our room for a nightcap and left at 1.30am.

Saturday 23rd June:-

 

Up at 8.30 am and a glorious summer day. Everyone into city centre to sightsee, but for us it was to shop for prizes meeting up with the gang at Majestic café – the ‘in place’ to be seen – coffee and brandy was the order of the day. Off to lunch to Foz at Praia da Luz, a super restaurant on the beach which we had sampled last year – great food and wine with a variety of local dishes, ridiculously cheap at €30 per couple. Back to the hotel at 4pm to rest before the night’s activities. At Midnight Oporto celebrates the S. Joao festival.

 

Peter and cab collected us at 9.10pm and we are taken to Taylor’s Port Wine Lodge where the atmosphere is electric – a couple of hundred people are seated at round tables for a set menu of Kale & Potato Soup; breads; sardines; Roast Kid & Vegetables followed by Almond tart and ice cream. The best wines are served and we tried a couple of bottles of 20 year old vintage Port. The lodge is situated at Gaia on the southside of the Douro River and at 12.05am we adjourn to the terrace to watch a firework display over Porto which was out of this world – we are all stunned by the magnificence of the scene. John & Marion have to leave by cab due to John’s bruised Achilles heel while the rest of us have to walk as no vehicles are allowed in the area other than for medical reasons. The crush is worse than a cup final at Wembley, but everyone is in such great humour and it seems the whole of Oporto’s inhabitants are bashing you over the head with a plastic hammer or a long garlic plant (both old traditions) – we eventually stagger across the bridge, which had been closed at one point due to too many people on it causing it to sway. Street parties, dancing and singing all the way back to the hotel and so to bed at 3am having survived a most enjoyable adventure.

 

Sunday 24th June:-

 

Up for breakfast, lots of orange and black coffee seemed to the order of the day. Later collected to go to Amarante Golf Course another hour drive away. Seems we had the course to ourselves. Said to be hilly, true, difficult to find your way round at times; some spectacular holes accompanied by bangs all afternoon as S. Joao continued to be celebrated. Men versus Ladies this time, the men had no chance. Showered and changed off to a restaurant in Amarante – problem was our driver seemed to have forgotten until he was informed by Peter via mobile phone then he proceeded to drive at 120 kph to get back on track. No English spoken at all at the restaurant which made life a tad difficult. Food quite nice, but we appeared to be in a quieter mood – at our age very late nights can play havoc with some people’s constitution.

 

Monday 25th June:-

 

Today we are moving to the Oporto Cricket & Lawn Tennis Club, so its bag packing time as six of us are off on an adventure – a day trip on a boat up the Douro. Gerry & Catriona have done this trip before so they go back to Estela for golf. Superb weather and the trip is just fine with breakfast and lunch provided and the river is so peaceful. We make friends with Lourdes who is the tour guide. Later she is surprised to find us drinking champagne – she asks what we are celebrating, we tell her a birthday, she asks whose birthday it is and we tell her we don’t know, but we are pretty sure it’s someone’s birthday somewhere. We arrive at Reguá at 4.15pm and are taken by coach for about 200 yards to the railway station where we are to continue our adventure by train back to Oporto a journey of about 2 hours. Peter meets us at the station and takes us to our new quarters at the O.C. & L.T.C. a little oasis in the middle of Oporto. Very colonial style and every one is so friendly. Shower and change and meet for drinks in the lounge before walking a couple of hundred yards up the road to Capa Négra 2 a local restaurant where we are served by Olivetti who speaks good English and advises on the local dishes. Plenty of wine and a fun evening all for the princely sum of €30 per couple. John and Marion insist on having a nightcap in our room – another late night.

 

Tuesday 26th June:-

 

Breakfast at 9am then walked around the grounds of the club and inspected the tennis courts, cricket pitch (thought we would bat first) and the swimming pool. We got ready for golf and soon we were on our way to Ponte de Lima on a lovely sunny day. Again about an hour drive to the golf course, but very scenic and somewhat mountainous – buggies a necessity. Drinks and a sandwich first, but you never need to be in a hurry in these places which was a good job as the round took over five hours, something we are just not used to, but we’re on holiday so what the heck. A quick shower and drink before setting off to Restaurant Acude. A limited menu and quite expensive for the region, but we enjoyed it. Drove back to the club and home by 12.30am – a long day.

 

Wednesday 27th June:-

 

Up at 8.15am nice shower and a leisurely breakfast. Today is a relaxing day where we all do our own thing. A day by the pool for some, shopping for some of the ladies and bridge for others. We all meet in the bar at 8pm for tonight we are eating in the club’s superb dining room and prize giving. It worked out that everybody got a prize of sorts and Margery and Jim won Peter Evens “PortGolf” prize for the best score on the Stroke Index 1 holes on all the courses we played. Food, wines, service and atmosphere could not be bettered a fantastic end for those departing the next day. Somewhat late to bed!

 

Thursday 28th June:-

 

Missed our farewells to Catriona and Gerry, but managed them for Marion and John who were catching a later flight. Today Peter is taking Margery and Jim and us for a road trip up the Douro Valley Tour. We set off at 9.45pm again with glorious sunshine. Our first stop is at the winery of Quinta de Aveleda.

A guided tour including tastings with cheese. We wandered round the grounds which have beautiful gardens including resident peacocks. In the shop, a loud mouthed American, who was buying a six pack of wine, was boasting to the young lady at the counter that back home he had a thousand bottles of wine – to which she replied, “And now you have a thousand and six, sir.” – priceless!

 

Our next stop was at Amarante to see the famous bridge and a quick walk round the town, very pretty. On through rolling hills filled with vines to Regua and stopped for lunch at the Pousada. Sat outside in the glorious sun and admired the views across the valley. We moved on to Quinta do Panascal – Fonseca winery/ port lodge, had a guided tour through the grape terraces with the aid of an audio tape and earphones giving a history and the workings of the company. Back to the lodge for more tastings then a return journey via Vila Real through mile after mile of hills laden with vines from top to bottom. Back to the club for a shower and change before Peter dropped us off at the Oporto Restaurant. We were all intrigued to see Jim’s starter as he had ordered ‘fish soup in pastry’. (the pastry was on the top!)

 

Friday 29th June:-

 

Breakfast at 9am – today we are back to Estela golf course, but what a difference, loads of sunshine and no wind. Girls versus the Boys (yes, of course the Girls won, but only at the 18th) – back to the club for a rest and shower.

 

A special evening as we meet Peter’s wife, Anabela, for the first time and we go to Praia de Luz for dinner. A great meal with lively conversation and a beautiful sunset, of which we have several photos if anyone wants a copy. Home to bed another long day.

 

Saturday 30th June:-

 

Despite last night’s sunset, we wake to a grey sky and much cooler temperatures. The girls, (I use the term loosely), go off shopping to Vila Nova de Gaia, “Corte Ingles”. Us chaps do our own thing reading and watching the members who are barbequing for lunch – Jim tries the sardines. Lorna and Margery arrive back at 2.15pm and after hearing of their adventures we have tea and scones – how civilized.

 

Peter collects us at 6.45pm as we are to have drinks at his house at Senhora da Hora. We meet up with Anabela again and also later with Jacquay one of his twin daughters who entertains us on the piano. Then we are off to a fish restaurant, O Manel in Matosinhos – no English spoken and we struggle with the menu, not the best place to eat in our opinion, also quite expensive. An early night for all.

 

Sunday 1st July:-

 

A free day – weather a bit grey and not very hopeful. Margery and Jim decide to tour the city by open-top bus whilst we decide to walk to the Palacio de Cristal a spacious park which houses a circular building for concerts; there are also some nice views of the river and across the city. We continue our walk through to S. Bento Metro Station where we attempt to purchase from a machine two day tickets – we fail miserably despite the help of a couple of locals, but were rescued by a station security guard who helped us to purchase the correct tickets. The Metro is very modern and is a cross between a tram, a trolley bus and an underground train – very clean and quiet. Out first journey takes us across the very top of the Ponte do Luis and up to the terminus outside “Corte Ingles”. We return back down, but alight at Jardim do Morro where we have been advised there are some good photo opportunities across the river. We then decide to walk over the top of the bridge rather than ride. In hindsight this was not a good idea as we reckon that the bridge is similar in construction and height to the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia – we wouldn’t walk across that even if they do chain you to the railing so what on earth are we doing here? So being English, we put our heads down and just keep walking until, somewhat relieved, we get to the other side – phew! I have to add that the Metro trains are passing by you just inches away which tends to add to the excitement. We did get some nice pictures of the trains crossing the bridge and entering the tunnel below us. With shaking legs we descended hundreds of steps and through winding alleys to get to the riverside where we had a bottle of wine and lunch and watched the world go by. We returned to the station and went as far as the Estadio do Dragáo, a recently completed stadium before returning back down to our nearest station to home, the “Casa da Musica”. The weather had much improved by this time so we walked back to the club in sunshine.

We met with Margery and Jim by the pool and exchanged stories and adventures, then snoozed for a while before getting ready to embark for our last night to the “Cafeina” Restaurant. A very smart establishment and nice food, but again would not be in our top five. Peter collected us and returned us safely back to the club.

 

Monday 2nd July:-

 

One wonderful attribute of the club is that clients are not required to vacate their rooms until midday. We took advantage of this by having time to pack in a leisurely manner and having stored our bags we were collected by Peter to take us for lunch at “Ar de Rio”, a modern riverside restaurant in Cais da Gaia. We sat inside by an open wall looking out across the Douro River in glorious sunshine. Peter collected us and took us to Crofts Port Wine Lodge for a tour and tasting – a lovely way to end a holiday in Oporto.

We collected our baggage from the club, said our goodbyes to the staff and Peter dropped us off at the Airport in good time for the flight which was delayed for fifty minutes.

 

All in all a most enjoyable holiday, well organized by PortGolf in the shape of Peter Evens whose care and attention of his clients is second to none.

Without a doubt we shall return once again to this most interesting of cities.

 

Mike & Lorna Gizzy

June

Mike Gizzy and friends joined Peter Evens for this holiday, who is a specialist in Tourism in Northern Portugal : For information on your Holidays throughout Portugal email portgolf@portugo.com or look at the website http://www.portugo.com/

Luxury Homes at Davidson County, North Carolina

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Let us look at the history of Davison County. For hundreds of years the location was a hunting route for Native Indians and later for Europeans. Before 1700 Sapona Indians lived on the banks of the Yadkin River that is now the western border of the county. The region was then settled by the Germans and the English. The settlers were attracted by the land, the forests and the streams. Davidson County as it is today was created from the Rowan County in 1822. It is named after the Revolutionary War general William Davidson. In the mid 1800’s gold and silver were mined in the county. Originally the county had only two villages, Lexington and Clemmonsville. The settlement developed later. The 522 square mile county is now a modern and progressive society. You could easilt find and buy a luxury home at Davidson County, North Carolina.

Davidson County has something for everybody. For those interested in art, there are art galleries. The Childress Vineyards is a good destination for those who like wines. There is a Richard Childress Racing museum for speed lovers. The region features the Boone’s Cave Park, an ideal destination for a trek or for a picnic. There are two museums that depict the history of this region. The High Rock Lake is an excellent spot for water sports. There are many places to shop at. The region is known for its handcrafted furniture. And the best attraction fir foodies could be the Lexington type of barbeque.

All these factors should have you feeling very comfortable while buying a
luxury home at the Davidson County in the center of North Carolina. The county also has a few large employers for people in search of local jobs and good school and college facilities for those concerned with educational facilities for their children.

When you look for a house in
Davidson County, you might compare floor plans, photographs and prices available from the agents. You have the option of buying new home or of looking for a resale. There are many planned communities to choose from. Your luxury home could have a country club or a golf club kind of setting, according to your preferences.

When you look for a luxury home, you will probably find a club neighborhood to be the right choice. A luxury home at Davidson County will have access to a golf course and to a pleasant social life. Other than security, the landscape is impressive. The locations have proximity to stores. Elders can go to the nearby church and schools for the kids are accessible. It also has safe playgrounds, swimming pools and, indoor and outdoor sports facilities.

For the given price, a luxury home at the Davidson County, North Carolina is definitely a dream buy.

About Author: Planning to buy Luxury Homes in Davidson County, Winston Salem area, Lewisville, Clemmons, Buena Vista, Advance, Pfafftown, Rural Hall or either in Forsyth County, Davie County, Surry County, Stokes County or Rockingham County of North Carolina, contact Arshi Paul. You can reach Arshi at (336) 287 7193 or by visiting our website:
http://www.nc-homes-search.com/.

North Carolina Mountains Offer Buyers More for Their Money

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

With the real estate market currently in a slump, those who are in a position to invest in land purchases are able to get more for their money. For the price of a condominium in hurricane-prone Florida, land buyers could instead purchase ten acres in a gated mountain enclave with elevations close to 4,000 feet. The North Carolina Mountain regions also offers achingly beautiful layered views of the Blue Ridge, four distinctly spectacular seasons, and nearby amenities and attractions of Asheville and the university town of Boone, North Carolina.

Since it’s a little off the beaten path, and the winding mountain roads have slowed the sprawl of suburbia, this area of the North Carolina mountains, fondly referred to as The High Country, is a relatively undiscovered gem in the rough. Although the area has been attracting those escaping the summer heat for decades, with its world class lodges, golf & restaurants, this is not a pretentious place. What’s been drawing folks to this area for generations, in addition to the weather and scenery, is a pace and quality of life reminiscent of simpler times.

 If you have fond memories of the lazy pleasures of life—dipping a line in a pristine mountain steam, hiking on a breezy mountain peak, motoring scenic parkways that bombard you with spectacular views, and want to invest in a place that evokes the charms of the past, and will still hold the same appeal for generations to come, come to the North Carolina mountains.

Four Special Seasons

Spring emerges with a wellspring of activity both natural and cultural. The creeks & falls are gushing with life, wildflowers & ramps are burgeoning, and a profusion of native dogwoods, laurels & rhododendrons tint the mountainsides as the outdoors beckons & brings an end to cabin fever. Art festivals featuring local crafts, Blue Grass music, & pig-picking barbecues abound. It’s a great time of year to try white water rafting, rock climbing or for the less adventurous, a day of fishing. Grandfather Trout Farms not only rents equipment, but will clean and smoke your catch for you.

The ranks begin to swell in the glory that is summer in the mountains. For years the cool nights & mild days have been attracting families. Kids will enjoy trips to the Tweetsie Railroad, Mystery Hill, & Emerald Village, where you can try your hand at gem mining. Every year, North Carolina hosts the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in mid-July. Replete with Celtic culture and competitions, this event is the largest annual gathering of Scottish clans in the world.

There is no place or time more magnificent than autumn on the Blue Ridge parkway. Whether you’re hiking, biking or driving, it’s a veritable feast for the eyes. The farm markets are bursting with mouth watering produce, pumpkins, cider & homemade delights. Catch an Appalachian State football game, the team that made history when they knocked off Michigan last year. Tee it up at the many golf courses, ranging from the exclusive Eseeola and Hound Ears Clubs, accessible to lodge guests, to the hilly Sugar Mountain Golf Club, championship Boone and Mountain Glen courses, and the 9-hole Willow Creek.

Start planning a family getaway for the upcoming holidays. What could be cozier than renting a log cabin, curling up in front a fire? Get out to one of the many Christmas tree farms and bring one home or stay & enjoy the Blowing Rock Winterfest and Chetola Festival of Lights. Four of the South’s best ski resorts – Hawksnest, Beech Mountain, Appalachian, & Sugar Mountain — are located in the vicinity and offer all manner of winter recreation. Get some holiday shopping done at Tanger Outlet Mall in Blowing Rock.

Don’t come to retire, come to the North Carolina Mountains to regenerate and stimulate the senses. Reconnect with family & friends in one of the few places left that values the preservation of the natural environment and unique cultures that have thrived there for centuries.

Written by Mary McCormick with Prospect Venture Group, LLC, a sister company of Architectural Construction, LLC, a highly renowned custom homebuilder and developer in the greater Washington , D.C. metropolitan area for the past 30 years. Prospect Venture Group, LLC specializes in the turnkey development of private gated resort ccommunities and exclusive retreat estate properties.

North Carolina Lake Living in the Blue Ridge Mountains at W. Kerr Scott Lake, NC

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

You’ve found your peaceful Shangri-La by the water. Take a leisurely walk through the woods. Stop for a picnic by the waves. Load up the skis and head into the wake zone. You’ll wish you’d moved here sooner.

Serenity Bay amenity package includes:

Landscaped Entrance
Paved Roads
Electronic Security Gate
Community Boat Slips
Underground Utilities

Kerr Scott Lake Highlights:

1475 Acres in Size
55 Miles of Shoreline
Regulated by Army Corp of Engineers.
Over 20 miles of shoreline designated as Natural Areas
Fully Recreational Lake (Boating, Sailing, Jet Ski’s, Water Skiing, Swimming, etc.)
7 boat launches
Skyline Marina
Fishing tournaments, since the lake abounds with many species of fish
Constant water level, clear water clarity

Serenity Bay is located about 8 miles West of Wilkesboro about 1/2 mile North of Highway 268. It is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains located between Asheville, Greensboro, Boone, and Charlotte, with quick access to Highway 421 & I-77.

Wilkes County has a population of about 65,000 people, with the town of Wilkesboro & North Wilkesboro having a combined population of about 8,000. From Wilkesboro, you can take day trips to the beach or go snow skiing in the mountains. With an average temperature of 77 degrees in July, it’s no wonder this region has become so popular.

Entertainment – Movie theater screens, Shopping Malls, walking and fitness trails at parks on Kerr Scott Lake, health clubs, museums, live theater, local college sporting events, and of course boating activities on the lake.

Medical Facilities – Wilkesboro Regional Medical Center is just a few miles away, as well as a variety of local clinics in the North Wilkesboro & Wilkesboro area.

Golf Courses – Many public and private golf courses, such as Stone Mountain Golf Club, Olde Beau Golf Club, Oakwoods County Club, and Rock Creek Country Club.

Dining – Over 40 Local and Nationwide Chain Restaurants in Wilkesboro, including local fine dining at 6th and Main Restaurant and Applewood Bistro.

From breathtaking sunsets to relaxing boat rides with pristine shoreline and other wonders of nature, Serenity Bay is a place of beauty. It is not just a place to live, but lifestyle! A lifestyle that has the very best life has to offer.

Wilkesboro – “Fun for the Whole Family” Activities

Bo’s Bodacious Family Entertainment – Bo’s is a 45,000 square foot entertainment facility that was designed to give our guests the finest in family entertainment. We offer a full service restaurant, catering, banquet rooms, lounge, billiards, a large arcade, a 24 lane bowling center, private birthday rooms and soft play for younger children. We are in the entertainment business and we take FUN seriously!

White Oak Stables – Wilkes Therapeutic Riding Program is a compassionate organization founded with the purpose of building character and confidence in challenged individuals of all ages.

Wilkes Family YMCA – From top-notch facilities to fun-filled events to character-building programs, we’ve got something for everyone. From toddlers to seniors and everywhere in between, you’ll find plenty to do at your neighborhood YMCA.

Brushy Mountain Cyclist Club – The Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club is the club for all cyclists in Northwest North Carolina. We’re mountain bikers and road riders of all ages and abilities who love the challenge posed by the rugged and scenic terrain of the Blue Ridge foothills.

Leatherwood Mountain Resort – Kids Activities – For our younger guests who haven’t discovered the value in an idle afternoon, there are many different activities located inside the gates of Leatherwood Mountains to fill the void. Encourage your children to explore the meadow. Catch minnows and crawdads in the creek, or hunt animal tracks along the bank. Whether on foot or by bicycle, Leatherwood’s meadow provides a safe environment for children to explore on their own. Older children might enjoy taking a hike into the foothills of the blue ridge. A leatherwood trail map can provide days of the most beautiful hiking one could ask for. Kids can also play tennis, swim in the pool, ride horses, fish and play basketball all within our resort! For fun outside the gates Elk Creek is a fun little float trip in a tube, or try your hand at catching some fish of the local variety.

Leatherwood Mountain Resort – Adult Activities – Leatherwood Mountains is an exceptional area for a Blue Ridge Mountain vacation full of fun outdoor activities such as NC hiking and fishing. NC hiking along Brownie’s Branch, fishing or fly fishing North Carolina’s area creeks for rainbow trout or small-mouth bass, take a horseback riding lesson, wade in the small creek in the meadow, go for a picnic, take a dip in the pool or the big creek, smack a tennis ball, visit with the folks hanging out at the stables, stroll in the meadow, sit in a rocking chair on the porch and enjoy the fantastic view of the mountains fading into the distance. Come here to Relax and unwind.

Roaring River Canoe Rentals – Many exciting canoeing trips. No matter what trip you take, you will enjoy the abundance of wildlife and scenery. If you are a fisherman, small mouth, large mouth, red eyes and catfish are a few of the fish you may catch.

Stone Mountain State Park – Stone Mountain is not immediately visible upon entering the park that bears its name, but this magnificent 600-foot granite dome is well worth the wait. Sunlight and shadows dance across a broad tapestry of stone. White-tailed deer emerge from the security of the forest to graze on meadow grasses at the mountain’s base. The scenery is only one attraction of the park. Test your fly-fishing techniques in more than 17 miles of designated trout waters. Or, with more than 16 miles of trails, take a hike in the park. Designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1975, Stone Mountain is bounded on the north by the Blue Ridge Parkway and on the west by the Thurmond Chatham Game Lands. More than 13,747 acres of mountain beauty offer opportunities for outdoor activities of all kinds.

Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest – Welcome to Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest, a unique outdoors experience! Located in the rugged Blue Ridge Mountains this forest showcases magnificent mountain hardwoods in one of North Carolina’s most scenic settings. Its features are accessible by a series of well-marked trails, accented by exhibits and displays depicting the ecology of the managed forest. At Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest, visitors can listen to the wind in the trees; or they can listen to the trees tell a story. The Talking Tree Trail features “talking trees,” each with a recorded message about itself, its site, and the forest history. Also, actual forestry practices are explained on the Forest Demonstration Trail. Close to the start of the trail, a natural amphitheater is available for special sessions or groups.

Wilderness Lodge Canoe, Kayak, and Mountain Biking – Canoes, kayaks and mountain bikes are available to meet your recreation needs.

Yadkin River Greenway – The Yadkin River Greenway is an off-road and on-road greenway system that will establish a network of linear open spaces to protect and link together valuable community resources throughout the Yadkin River Valley in North Wilkesboro, Wilkesboro, and Wilkes County. By using designated bicycle and pedestrian trails along the river, its tributaries, and the Historical Overmountain Victory Trail, Wilkes County citizens and visitors will enjoy this area’s many natural, cultural, and recreational resources. There are many historic sites along the Reddies and Yadkin River that are not marked but are a significant part of the Wilkes County history. As part of the greenway development, several of the most famous historic and ecological kiosks, located along the trail will explain the significance of these sites.

Matt Lahtela – Director of Sales and Marketing at NClakefront.com Realty. NClakefront.com Realty is one of the largest sales and marketing companies focusing on North Carolina Lake Properties, and continues to grow everyday. http://www.nclakefront.com/pages/Active-Rain.cfm

2007 Acura MDX #100160A in North Haven Hamden, CT 06473 SOLD

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010


SOLD – www.acurabyexecutive.com Ifyou are looking for real value on a great used car, Acura by Executive invites you to come in and test drive this 2007 Acura MDX, stock# 100160A. We are conveniently located near North Haven Hamden, CT and known for our great selection, reliability and quality. Come take a look at this 2007 Acura MDX today. Acura by Executive 527 Washington Ave North Haven Hamden CT, 06473 888-277-2364 Acura by Executive is a premiere Acura Dealer featuring a great selection of New, Used, and Certified Pre-Owned Acura Cars, Trucks, and SUVs. Acura by Executive is conveniently located in New Haven, CT and services the surrounding Connecticut communities, such as; Hamden, Waterbury, Wallingford, Central Manchester, Bridgeport, Woodbridge, Cheshire Village, and Hartford. Acura by Executive prides itself on excellent customer service and upholds the long standing reputation of the Executive Group. Whether you are taking advantage of a great APR Rate, Lease Special, Purchase Price, this New Haven, Connecticut Acura Dealer will assist with your next purchase all while assuring a hassle free car buying experience. Perfect for kids!!!! Acura by Executive is honored to offer this outstanding 2007 Acura MDX for you and your family. Picture yourself, your kids and your golf clubs in this fantastic MDX. It’s equipped with tons of great options, but won’t break the family’s transportation budget. The centerpiece of the Technology Package, the Acura Navigation System

North Portugal Golf and Regional Holiday Tour ….. We Will Return ….. a 12 Day Holiday Journal, Following our First Hand Experiences

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Introduction:-

Last year was our first trip to Porto via a week’s cruise down the Douro River, brilliantly organised by PortGolf. At the end of that week, Peter Evens, who runs PortGolf, suggested we should return for the festival of S. Joao and perhaps play some golf. This seemed a good idea so on our return to the UK we organised a dinner for two other couples, one of whom (Gerry and Catriona) had played golf around Porto and Jim and Margery. We discussed the idea and it was agreed that eight would be a good number. Shortly after we had supper with another couple, John and Marion who volunteered to join us. None of us had ever holidayed together before so it would be a test of friendship. Due to other commitments Gerry and Catriona and John and Marion would stay for a week whilst we and Jim and Margery would stay for twelve days.

There follows a Journal of that Trip:-

Thursday 21st June 2007

We decided to catch the first Porto flight out of Gatwick at 6.30am whilst the others were catching the 1.30pm flight. We were met at Porto Airport at 9am by Peter Evens who whisked us off to the four star Hotel Fenix, conveniently placed close to the Boa Vista area. The weather was bright with a light shower around midday. Having unpacked in our spacious room on the 9th Floor with splendid views of a truly magnificent cemetery and the city we set off on our first adventure to walk to the city centre and explore the area. We had a pasta and wine lunch at the Simbiose Restaurant (€30) overlooking the river and watched the Port wine boats ferrying people to and fro. Walked back uphill to the hotel calling in at the local supermarket for gin and whisky for nightcaps. The rest of the gang arrived at 6.15pm somewhat late due to delays. Having checked in we all got into the lift to travel to the 9th floor. Now this lift has a notice that says it is for 10 persons – unfortunately, they mean 10 Portuguese persons who happen to be somewhat smaller in stature than 8 Brits for the lift decided to descend to -5 floors before coming to a halt with a resounding bang. Not exactly the start we were looking for, but we managed to extract ourselves and walk back to the ground floor we proceeded to travel in the 2nd lift and the service lift – time for a drink! Peter found us in the bar at 8pm when we were taken in two vehicles to the Maria Moita, a local Porto restaurant for dinner. Peter stayed on to interpret as not much English is spoken and take photographs of the evening. Fun food with an interesting menu and carafes of wine. Bed by 11.30 somewhat exhausted.

Friday 22nd June 2007

Up at 8.15am, dry, but grey with a smattering of blue. Breakfast, then a quick look round the local shops. Peter and Paolo collected us at 12.30 for our first game of golf at Estela.

The course lies about an hour from the centre of Porto on the Atlantic coast. The drive was pleasant and informative and the entrance guarded by two automatic gates. A drink and a toasted sandwich started the event which was a four ball better ball with husbands partnering wives. Typically for a links course, the wind blew like hell and was a contributing factor to the round taking 4½ hours. Gerry and Catriona were the winners and copious amounts of gin & tonic and beer was consumed. Showered and change before whisked off to Casa do Frango in a nearby town – problem was our driver dropped us at the wrong place which held up proceedings, but didn’t stop the wine flowing before the chicken and chips arrived – turned out to be a fun night and tested some people’s ability of alcohol consumption. On our return to the hotel John and Marion joined us in our room for a nightcap and left at 1.30am.

Saturday 23rd June 2007

Up at 8.30 am and a glorious summer day. Everyone into city centre to sightsee, but for us it was to shop for prizes meeting up with the gang at Majestic café – the In Place to be seen – coffee and brandy was the order of the day. Off to lunch to Foz at Praia da Luz, a super restaurant on the beach which we had sampled last year – great food and wine with a variety of local dishes, ridiculously cheap at €30 per couple. Back to the hotel at 4pm to rest before the night’s activities. At Midnight Porto celebrates the Festival of S. Joao!

Peter and cab collect us at 9.10pm and we are taken to Taylor’s Port Wine Lodge where the atmosphere is electric – a couple of hundred people are seated at round tables for a set menu of Kale & Potato Soup; breads; sardines; Roast Kid & Vegetables followed by Almond tart and ice cream. The best wines are served and we try a couple of bottles of 20 year old vintage Port. The lodge is situated at Gaia on the southside of the Douro River and at 12.05am we adjourn to the terrace to watch a firework display over Porto which was out of this world – we are all stunned by the magnificence of the scene. John & Marion have to leave by cab due to John’s bruised Achilles heel while the rest of us have to walk as no vehicles are allowed in the area other than for medical reasons. The crush is worse than a cup final at Wembley, but everyone is in such great humour and it seems the whole of Porto’s inhabitants are bashing you over the head with a plastic hammer or a long garlic plant (both old traditions) – we eventually stagger across the bridge, which had been closed at one point due to too many people on it causing it to sway. Street parties, dancing and singing all the way back to the hotel and so to bed at 3am having survived a most enjoyable adventure.

Sunday 24th June 2007

Up for breakfast, lots of orange and black coffee seemed to the order of the day. Later collected to go to Amarante Golf Course another hour drive away. Seems we had the course to ourselves. Said to be hilly, true, difficult to find your way round at times; some spectacular holes accompanied by bangs all afternoon as S. Joao continued to be celebrated. Men versus Ladies this time, the men had no chance. Showered and changed off to a restaurant in Amarante – problem was our driver seemed to have forgotten until he was informed by Peter via mobile phone then he proceeded to drive at 120 kph to get back on track. No English spoken at all at the restaurant which made life a tad difficult. Food quite nice, but we appeared to be in a quieter mood – at our age very late nights can play havoc with some people’s constitution.

Monday 25th June 2007

Today we are moving to the Oporto Cricket & Lawn Tennis Club, so its bag packing time as six of us are off on an adventure – a day trip on a boat up the Douro. Gerry & Catriona have done this trip before so they go back to Estela for golf. Superb weather and the trip is just fine with breakfast and lunch provided and the river is so peaceful. We make friends with Lourdes who is the tour guide. Later she is surprised to find us drinking champagne – she asks what we are celebrating, we tell her a birthday, she asks whose birthday it is and we tell her we don’t know, but we are pretty sure it’s someone’s birthday somewhere. We arrive at Reguá at 4.15pm and are taken by coach for about 200 yards to the railway station where we are to continue our adventure by train back to Porto a journey of about 2 hours. Peter meets us at the station and takes us to our new quarters at the O.C. & L.T.C. a little oasis in the middle of Porto. Very colonial style and every one is so friendly. Shower and change and meet for drinks in the lounge before walking a couple of hundred yards up the road to Capa Négra 2 a local restaurant where we are served by Olivetti who speaks good English and advises on the local dishes. Plenty of wine and a fun evening all for the princely sum of €30 per couple. John and Marion insist on having a nightcap in our room – another late night.

Tuesday 26th June 2007

Breakfast at 9am then walked around the grounds of the club and inspected the tennis courts, cricket pitch (thought we would bat first) and the swimming pool. We got ready for golf and soon we were on our way to Ponte de Lima on a lovely sunny day. Again about an hour drive to the golf course, but very scenic and somewhat mountainous – buggies a necessity. Drinks and a sandwich first, but you never need to be in a hurry in these places which was a good job as the round took over five hours, something we are just not used to, but we’re on holiday so what the heck. A quick shower and drink before setting off to Restaurant Acude. A limited menu and quite expensive for the region, but we enjoyed it. Drove back to the club and home by 12.30am – a long day.

Wednesday 27th June 2007

Up at 8.15am nice shower and a leisurely breakfast. Today is a relaxing day where we all do our own thing. A day by the pool for some, shopping for some of the ladies and bridge for others. We all meet in the bar at 8pm for tonight we are eating in the club’s superb dining room and prize giving. It worked out that everybody got a prize of sorts and Margery and Jim won Peter Evens “PortGolf” prize for the best score on the Stroke Index 1 holes on all the courses we played. Food, wines, service and atmosphere could not be bettered a fantastic end for those departing the next day. Somewhat late to bed!

Thursday 28th June 2007

Missed our farewells to Catriona and Gerry, but managed them for Marion and John who were catching a later flight. Today Peter is taking Margery and Jim and us for a road trip up the Douro Valley. We set off at 9.45pm again with glorious sunshine. Our first stop is at the winery of Quinta de Aveleda.

A guided tour including tastings with cheese. We wandered round the grounds which have beautiful gardens including resident peacocks. In the shop, a loud mouthed American, who was buying a six pack of wine, was boasting to the young lady at the counter that back home he had a thousand bottles of wine – to which she replied, And now you have a thousand and six, sir. – priceless!

Our next stop was at Amarante to see the famous bridge and a quick walk round the town, very pretty. On through rolling hills filled with vines to Regua and stopped for lunch at the Pousada. Sat outside in the glorious sun and admired the views across the valley. We moved on to Quinta do Panascal – Fonseca winery/ port lodge, had a guided tour through the grape terraces with the aid of an audio tape and earphones giving a history and the workings of the company. Back to the lodge for more tastings then a return journey via Vila Real through mile after mile of hills laden with vines from top to bottom. Back to the club for a shower and change before Peter dropped us off at the Oporto Restaurant. We were all intrigued to see Jim’s starter as he had ordered Fish Soup in Pastry. (the pastry was on the top!)

Friday 29th June 2007

Breakfast at 9am – today we are back to Estela golf course, but what a difference, loads of sunshine and no wind. Girls versus the Boys (yes, of course the Girls won, but only at the 18th) – back to the club for a rest and shower.

A special evening as we meet Peter’s wife, Anabela, for the first time and we go to Praia de Luz for dinner. A great meal with lively conversation and a beautiful sunset, of which we have several photos if anyone wants a copy. Home to bed another long day.

Saturday 30th June 2007

Despite last night’s sunset, we wake to a grey sky and much cooler temperatures. The girls, (I use the term loosely), go off shopping to Vila Nova de Gaia, Corte Ingles. Us chaps do our own thing reading and watching the members who are barbequing for lunch – Jim tries the sardines. Lorna and Margery arrive back at 2.15pm and after hearing of their adventures we have tea and scones – how civilized.

Peter collects us at 6.45pm as we are to have drinks at his house at Senhora da Hora. We meet up with Anabela again and also later with Jacquay one of his twin daughters who entertains us on the piano. Then we are off to a fish restaurant, O Manel in Matosinhos – no English spoken and we struggle with the menu, not the best place to eat in our opinion, also quite expensive. An early night for all.

Sunday 1st July 2007

A free day – weather a bit grey and not very hopeful. Margery and Jim decide to tour the city by open-top bus whilst we decide to walk to the Palacio de Cristal a spacious park which houses a circular building for concerts; there are also some nice views of the river and across the city. We continue our walk through to S. Bento Metro Station where we attempt to purchase from a machine two day tickets – we fail miserably despite the help of a couple of locals, but were rescued by a station security guard who helped us to purchase the correct tickets. The Metro is very modern and is a cross between a tram, a trolley bus and an underground train – very clean and quiet. Out first journey takes us across the very top of the Ponte do Luis and up to the terminus outside “Corte Ingles”. We return back down, but alight at Jardim do Morro where we have been advised there are some good photo opportunities across the river. We then decide to walk over the top of the bridge rather than ride. In hindsight this was not a good idea as we reckon that the bridge is similar in construction and height to the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia – we wouldn’t walk across that even if they do chain you to the railing so what on earth are we doing here? So being English, we put our heads down and just keep walking until, somewhat relieved, we get to the other side – phew! I have to add that the Metro trains are passing by you just inches away which tends to add to the excitement. We did get some nice pictures of the trains crossing the bridge and entering the tunnel below us. With shaking legs we descended hundreds of steps and through winding alleys to get to the riverside where we had a bottle of wine and lunch and watched the world go by. We returned to the station and went as far as the Estadio do Dragáo, a recently completed stadium before returning back down to our nearest station to home, the Casa da Musica. The weather had much improved by this time so we walked back to the club in sunshine.

We met with Margery and Jim by the pool and exchanged stories and adventures, then snoozed for a while before getting ready to embark for our last night to the Cafeina Restaurant. A very smart establishment and nice food, but again would not be in our top five. Peter collected us and returned us safely back to the club.

Monday 2nd July 2007

One wonderful attribute of the club is that clients are not required to vacate their rooms until midday. We took advantage of this by having time to pack in a leisurely manner and having stored our bags we were collected by Peter to take us for lunch at Ar de Rio, a modern riverside restaurant in Cais da Gaia. We sat inside by an open wall looking out across the Douro River in glorious sunshine. Peter collected us and took us to Crofts Port Wine Lodge for a tour and tasting – a lovely way to end a holiday in Porto.

We collected our baggage from the club, said our goodbyes to the staff and Peter dropped us off at the Airport in good time for the flight which was delayed for fifty minutes.

All in all a most enjoyable holiday, well organized by PortGolf in the shape of

Peter Evens whose care and attention of his clients is second to none.

Without a doubt we shall return once again to this most interesting of cities.

Mike & Lorna Gizzy

June 2007

As specialists in Tourism in North Portugal you can contact Peter Evens (00351) 966618332 and he will Call you back, email portgolf@netcabo.pt or look at the website http://www.portgolf.com/cervyferias.htm