Watch As Endangered Sea Turtle Lays Nest on Beach @harbourvillageb #Travel

Humans aren’t the only ones drawn to Harbour Village Beach Club’ serene, sandy shore. The resort recently welcomed what scientists believe is a repeat guest: a critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtle, who laid a nest of about 100 eggs near where it likely hatched 17 years ago.

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The hatchlings are expected to emerge from the eggs and scramble through the sand and into the sea between September 5 – 15. To capture the moment and help educate people about these magnificent creatures, Harbour Village is working with Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire to set up a live web cam and nightly watches near the nest beginning the week of August 18. Updates will be posted at http://www.harbourvillage.com/turtlecam.html

"This is something we want to share not only with our guests but with everyone interested in learning about sea turtles and how we can help protect them," said Jean-Marc Petin, General Manager of Harbour Village Beach Club. "We will catch the hatching live on camera, and Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire will provide volunteers to sit with the nest each evening around hatching time to document the event and notify guests when to come and watch the turtles come out of the nest."

Harbour Village Beach Club is located on a four-acre private peninsula on Bonaire’s mainland. The nest, currently marked and roped off so as not to be disturbed, is located near the resort’s dive shop.

Bonaire is home to three of the seven species of sea turtles in the world: hawksbills, green turtles and loggerheads. Hawksbill turtles weigh up to 185 pounds and prefer calm, tropical waters near coral reefs. They come ashore only to nest. The turtle who laid the nest at Harbour Village came onto the beach on July 12. A Hawksbill turtle laid her eggs near the same spot in 1997. Since sea turtles usually return to next where they hatched to nest, local scientists believe the turtle was likely one of those hatchlings.

In addition to sea turtles, the Caribbean waters surrounding Bonaire teems with a wide variety of marine life. The island is designated as having the most pristine coral reef environment and most species of fish in the Caribbean by the NOAA and is consistently named Best Overall Dive Destination by Scuba Diving Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards. Due to the island’s leeward location outside of the hurricane belt, and its consistently pleasant climate, crystal-clear visibility prevails at any depth and gives an enthralling view of the undersea landscape. On land, Bonaire is also home to the world’s largest pink flamingo nesting grounds.

Dive sites just off Harbour Village’s shore include the shipwreck of the 60-foot "Our Confidence," located just 50 yards out, while another popular dive site, "Something Special," is also a short swim away. The resort also offers florescence night diving, allowing guests to use special UV lights to see the astounding array of florescent colors emitted by underwater animals and corals.

For more information on Bonaire and Harbour Village Beach Club, visit the luxury hotel’s website at http://www.harbourvillage.com/ or call 1-800-424-0004. To access the resort’s Turtlecam, visit : http://www.harbourvillage.com/turtlecam.html.

Crystal Cruises Luxury Line Offering Infants Children’s & Teens Programs

For grandparents and families that want luxury travel with children or grandchildren, Crystal Cruises has made it an easy choice to cruise together in luxury, according to Ross Spalding, President-Crown Cruise Vacations.  Crystal offers one of the most comprehensive children’s programs at sea with outstanding offerings that exceed even the highest expectations.

Sophisticated cruise specialists at Crown Cruise Vacations provide exclusive offers, exceptional value & unparalleled service and can assist with any cruise information and booking.

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Overview of the Children’s Program

Crystal Cruises’ extraordinary commitment to excellence and quality of experience applies to guests of all ages. Space dedicated to children is rare on luxury ships, yet Crystal has designed its ships to accommodate multiple generations. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity offer spacious staterooms in a range of categories as well as suites, third berths, and connecting staterooms, child-friendly cuisine, highly acclaimed children’s programs on select sailings with activities for children ages 3-17, a Fantasia playroom, and a video arcade for teens. During holiday cruises, summer sailings and other selected itineraries, additional children’s activities are offered under the supervision of experienced Junior Activities Directors. For parents longing for some time on their own, all vessels offer in-stateroom babysitting.

The Facilities for Families
Many facilities on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity were designed with young guests in mind. Fantasia has supervised activities, tables and chairs for board games, arts and crafts, giant padded cubes, puzzles, and large-screen televisions with kid-sized stadium seating. Teenagers enjoy the Waves video arcade, which has Sony PlayStation® 2, Nintendo Wii™ and Xbox 360TM kiosks. The Library offers a selection of children’s books and videos for in-room viewing; children can also see recently released films in The Hollywood Theatre.

The Activities for Children

Crystal Cruises offers children a broad choice of organized activities and entertainment options. A daily Surf Runner newsletter provides details on the following day’s activity schedule, tailored by age group, available on cruises that typically have many children (summer cruises, shorter itineraries and holiday sailings):

  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Hide and Seek
  • Story Times / Ice cream / Pajama Parties
  • Stretch-ercise / Dress-up Playtime
  • Bridge / Galley tours
  • Cookie Baking / Pizza making
  • Fashion Shows / Coke-tails / card games
  • Karaoke / Special Artists’ Performances
  • Mask Parade / Trivia
  • Movies / Dancing
  • Mini Olympics / Relay Races
  • Pool Games / Paddle tennis
  • Water Polo / Swimming
  • Shuffleboard / Volleyball
  • Late Night Pool Parties / Teen disco
  • Trivial Pursuit Teen karaoke
  • Twister Popcorn Parties
  • Pizza Parties Computer University@Sea®
  • E-mail Services

The Children’s Dining

Crystal’s executive chefs and other culinary staff can prepare custom dishes and items comparable to those found on shoreside kids’ menus. Baby food, high chairs and booster seats are available on request. In addition to meals in the Crystal Dining Room and specialty restaurants, the Trident Grill & Ice Cream Bar serves complimentary hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, and sandwiches as well as ice cream, non-fat yogurt and cookies throughout the afternoon.

Babysitting Services
All vessels offer in-stateroom babysitting for children over the age of 1. Arrangements can easily be made by contacting the concierge at least 24 hours in advance. Fees are $10 per hour for one child, $15 per hour for two children and $20 per hour for three children. To satisfy safety concerns, the maximum number of children/babies watched by one babysitter is three.

Family Savings

Children 11 and younger occupying the third berth pay 50 percent of the minimum fare when accompanied by two full-fare paying adults. Throughout the year, the line occasionally sets special promotions in which children can sail free when sharing a room with two adults.

Family Accommodations
Crystal Symphony offers ten connecting staterooms and 89 staterooms with a third berth available. On Crystal Serenity, there are 50 connecting staterooms and 154 staterooms with a third berth available.

Please note: Crystal Cruises is unable to accommodate children less than 6 months of age and reserves the right to restrict the number of those less than 3 years of age aboard the ships

Tweens/Teens

Teen Program (ages 13 – 17)

Daytime Activities

  • Sony Playstation® 2, Nintendo® Xbox 360 and Wii Tournaments
  • Afternoon Games in the Bridge Lounge
  • Afternoon Movie in the Hollywood Theatre
  • CU@Sea classes in the computer lab
  • Golf Pro Educational Classes
  • Clue Hunt
  • Paddle Tennis
  • Table Tennis
  • Shuffle Board
  • Golfing Range
  • Fitness Classes with the Fitness Director (ages 16+) Library
  • Lectures – Destination and Special Guest
  • Backstage Tour
  • Galley Tour
  • Teen Trivia
  • Teen Bingo

Night Time Activities and Theme Nights

  • Poker Night
  • Texas Hold Em Tournament
  • Karaoke Night
  • Movie Night – in Fantasia or the Hollywood Theatre
  • Disco Night
  • Pictionary Night
  • Game Night in the Bridge Lounge
  • “Coke”tails – meet and greet for teens
  • Liar’s Club – hosted by the Cruise Director, for all guests on board. Check Reflections for time and location.
  • Liar’s Club – teen version hosted by the Junior Activities Director.
  • Pool and Hot Tub Party Hangout
  • Paddle Tennis Tournament
  • Casual Dining with Friends in the Lido
  • Toga Party
  • Destination Party – with themes planned according to where the ship is sailing
  • “What if” Conversation Starters
  • Five Minute Mysteries
  • Murder Mystery Night
  • Sail-away Party

Infant/Toddler

  • Crystal Cruises is unable to accommodate children less than 6 months of age and reserves the right to restrict the number of those less than 3 years of age aboard the ships. There are no formal programs for children under 3.

Travel Work Play & Fun Chevrolet Built In Wi-Fi #Chevy4G

Do you know how many times I’ve been on a road trip and worked while my husband was driving? It’s awesome to be able to work while being on the road. The thing is, I have to have my hotspot with me or use my cell phone, and well that eats my data pretty quickly. One thing that I’ve really been wishing was that my car was the hotspot, well guess what, it’s happening. Chevrolet did it and is the first and only car company to bring built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi to cars, trucks and crossovers. Now passengers can work and play on their devices while being on the go.

The hotspot is OnStar. The 4G LTE Wi-Fi is the ultimate Wi-Fi hotspot. It offers great signal quality and bandwidth for up to seven devices. My phone wouldn’t let that many people on it and my phone is limited in service through the mountains. The available OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot provides a better in-vehicle experience than your smartphone. The stronger signal delivers a fast, reliable connection. It’s automatically on after initial setup and ready to connect to your mobile devices. It’s super exciting news to me.

Whenever your car is on, the Wi-Fi hotspot is on. Think of the possibilities. You’re lost and you need to find something and your phone signal doesn’t work. Or what if you’re camping and it’s pouring down rain? Everyone can play on a device. Kids won’t drive you crazy on the road trip if they can stream their movies while you drive. I love being disconnected sometimes; it’s a great way to connect as a family, but it’s also nice after driving for hours to give the kids a movie. Sometimes after a few hours, a mom needs a little silence and the best way to get it is to put on a movie. I’m so in love with this technology advancement that it puts me in the mood to go on another road trip. LA here we come!

Chevrolet is merging the physical freedom of the car with the virtual freedom of Wi-Fi to become the first and only car company to bring built in 4G LTE Wi-Fi to the largest vehicle line-up. Visit http://s.chevy.com/TBX to learn more.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chevrolet. The opinions and text are all mine.

Safety 1st Keep The Road Trip Car Organized #OurSummerJourney @Safety_1st

This is a partnered post and opinions are our own.

Unless you just started reading MomStart today, you already know I am a huge fan of road trips. I’m not afraid to just load up the family on a whim and travel somewhere. This year we’ve driving to San Francisco, The red wood forest, The Oregon Coast, LA, and Disneyland. We love road trips.

One thing I can say is that when we get back from road trips the car is a disaster. So we’ve recently teamed up with Safety 1st. to keep our car in better shape during our latest travels. We received a few organizational products, the Car Door Sanitation Station , the Just-in-Case Storage Station , and the Incognito™ Kid-Positioning Seat – Gray for review. They have helped so much. Not even ten minutes into our car ride today did my daughter start yelling eww grose Miles. I popped my head around and he had his protein bar melted in his hand playing with his truck at the same time. I was just thinking to myself, come on kid you know better than that. Really? I was grateful though that I had the Car Door Sanitation loaded up so I was easily able to grab some baby wipes and pass them back.

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The kids love to color and draw and play with toys. Plus it’s nice to have snacks within their reach, the Just in Case Storage case has five different sections with pockets in a few of the sections allowing you to keep the car organized and the kids happy.

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See Miles coloring:

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We’re about to head off to Florida to finish off our summer vacations because school doesn’t start until September. If you are in the same boat as us, don’t be afraid to take a road trip and use Safety 1St to help you along the way.

Safety 1st would like to know your summer journey stories too. Let us know where you have been.

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And Visit and like Safety 1St on Facebook to win a grand prize travel kit.

Three Portugal Beach Destinations That You Shouldn’t Miss

Tourists looking to avoid the conventional trips to Spain should look to the west and towards Portugal, a charming little country with a fantastic Atlantic coastline. Package holidays to Portugal that are organized by tried and tested tour operators are favorable summer options for those who want to unwind and relax in a place that is known for its beautiful sunshine and pristine beaches.

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The Algarve
The Algarve is situated in the southern reaches of Portugal and consists of a large region of the country. It’s a popular hotspot for tourists and features a number of sun-stained cities and towns such as Faro (the capital), Praia da Luz and Lagos. It’s a relatively inexpensive area as well, populated with clean beaches and beautiful waters, making it an ideal holiday experience for all the family. As well as beach-fun, Lagos offers an inner look at the old remnants of the country’s rich history and is a charming, quaint town, adding a little extra incentive to visit.

Madeira & Porto Santo
Madeira is part of Portugal but sits in the Atlantic Ocean and is classified as an archipelago. The ‘Pearl of the Atlantic’ is a fascinating visit, full of rich, tropical wildlife and unmatched in terms of climate (in Europe, anyway). Its vast, mountainous terrain makes it perfect for hiking and those that decide to rent a car won’t be disappointed either. Porto Santo is an island in the north part of Madeira and features over nine-kilometers of beaches with tourism at the heart of the island’s income. The beaches here are the best in the entire archipelago and are said to have extreme healing properties as well.

Porto
Porto is a renowned city in Portugal and sits on the coast so those interested in visiting beach-bars and restaurants with exquisite views should head here on their holidays. Visitors should take a cruise up the river and a stroll through the beautiful, cultural city as well as ordering an exotic drink in one of the many laid-back beach-bars.

Portugal gives it all when it comes to tourism and with much of the country surrounded by coast, it’s a very attractive and enticing offer. Visitors should be sure to consider the islands off the coast, such as Madeira, as they offer a little extra alongside the city-breaks, emphasized by the likes of Porto and the capital city, Lisbon.

Dick’s Last Resort Gatlinburg Tennessee

Gatlinburg Tennessee is a great place to take your family and have a great time. There are so many different places to eat, drink, and be merry. Even Dick’s Last Resort can be a lot of fun if you’re willing to be insulted.

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At Dick’s it’s all about having a good time, even for the waiters. They make jokes, insult you and tell you to go get your food yourself. Of course they are kidding and it’s all in good fun plus they have some really great southern bites to choose from.

Officially because everything is so official at Dick’s Dick is the ornery, politically incorrect curmudgeon who inspires his waiters to be outrageous, and surly. They dish out good grub, cold booze and heaping helpings of sarcasm. This is the place you actually get to spit straws at each other and get away with it. It’s a child’s dream location, even the grown up kind of child.

  • Eat, Drink And Be Wary!
  • Smart-Alec Funny Staff
  • Live Rock N’ Roll
  • Controlled Chaos!
  • All In Fun And Fun For All…Who Dare To Enter!
  • Located In Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler

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I went here with my friends, my traveling buddies and had fried gator with japs.

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Fried pickles with amazing dip

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A moonshine drink called a trash can, and yes I was sort of trashed.

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And I finished my meal with some salmon because I was trying to have something healthy with all that fried food. Then when it came to dessert I told the waiter to just bring one of each. And somehow I didn’t get a picture of any of them I just ate it all.

At Dick’s you really have to be prepared for the insults and be prepared to dish them right back at your server. They more you do the more fun you’ll have. It’s not a place for the uptight that can’t take a joke. It’s meant to be fun. And they do tone it down at your table if you have kids.

Exclusive Travel Coupon: Save in Gatlinburg Westgate River Terrace & Ripley’s Aquarium

As part of the trip I took to Gatlinburg a few months ago with Westgate Resorts I have a huge savings to share with you guys at the Westgate River Terrace. This is an exclusive special blogger savings on a Gatlinburg Getaway. The package includes:

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  • Luxury stay at Westgate River Terrace

The 205-room River Terrace Resort & Convention Center is conveniently located in downtown Gatlinburg. The River Terrace lies next door to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and features majestic views of the Smokies and easy access to Gatlinburg’s wide variety of family attractions, specialty shops and fine dining.

  • Gatlin-Burger Grill
  • Duck Blind Lounge
  • Two heated outdoor pools
  • Trolley to Wild Bear Falls Water Park
  • Located minutes from the downtown Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge
  • 4 Days and 3 Nights in Gatlinburg
  • 2 tickets to Ripley’s Aquarium
  • As low as $119
  • Additional Nights and Attraction Tickets Available

 

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This special offer also includes two tickets to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies! A favorite attraction in the Gatlinburg area, Ripley’s Aquarium features 10,000 sea creatures representing more than 350 individual species. Explore a tropical rain forest, the gallery of the seas, shark lagoon, penguin playhouse, a coral reef, sting ray bay and much more.

 

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I spent a few hours in the aquarium and liked it a lot better than I thought I would. There are so many different kinds of sea creatures that I’ve never seen before. I found huge crabs that made me think twice about ever eating crab again. I saw amazing fish and different species of sea horses, I never even knew existed. One of them looked like a dragon, so maybe dragons were real once upon a time.

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In an attempt to ward off predators, schooling fish swim in groups or schools (pictured above), as a way to look bigger than just one fish. In the wild, schools of fish may contain billions of fish and stretch for many miles. The disadvantage of the schooling behavior is that the fish are easily caught in nets.


About 30,000 species of living fishes exist.

They represent 50% of all vertebrate species, outnumbering all mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians combined!

I also saw the WEEDY SCORPIONFISH This fish is a master of camouflage and its frilly appendages help it to blend in with its surroundings. Their dorsal spines are venomous and can be painful if stepped on. It’s a lot of fun and a great package offered here. It’s a great way to have a good vacation with your family because there is more than enough to do in Gatlinburg.

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Book your Gatlinburg Vacation Today! Call 1-877-288-7422
Join Westgate Resorts for your Gatlinburg Vacation.
Call Today to save up to 20% when you book by Phone!
1-877-288-7422

This official Westgate Gatlinburg Offer is exclusive to our Website Blog Visitors. Only eligible by phone!

Wyndham Vacation Rentals & National Vacation Rental Month #VRMonth

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Wyndham Vacation Rentals.

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Going on a vacation is one of my favorite things to do. I love to travel so much and I love to take my family and choosing a place to stay can be challenging and expensive but it doesn’t have to be. It’s National Vacation Rental Month in July and that reminds me of how amazing it is to stay in rentals verses hotels. My favorite reason for staying in a rental property is because I can get the laundry done with the in-unit washers/dryers before I go home. I LOVE when we actually end up at home from a week long vacation and all our clothes are clean. My other reasons are because we save money with the kitchen by actually cooking meals instead of eating out for the entire vacation. And the price is usually cheaper than a hotel anyway and you all end up having your own rooms. This summer you can experience those benefits with savings of up to 35 percent off at WyndhamVacationRentals.com.

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Wyndham Vacation Rentals have locations in many different popular destinations. They have a property in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains, a place I just visited with my friends and they have homes in other popular destinations such as Myrtle Beach, the islands of Charleston, the Emerald Coast and Hilton Head Island.

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Celebrated during the most popular month to stay in a vacation rental, National Vacation Rental Month honors a better way to get away. And with a Wyndham, you get the added bonus of hotel-like amenities at many of its properties such as shuttle service, a concierge desk, and housekeeping. It’s the best of both worlds! You get the benefits of a hotel and of a house. Have the maids clean the house so all you do is enjoy yourself. I mean it’s up to you if you want to get your laundry done or not. And you have some protection with your vacation. With Wyndham Vacation Rentals, you can book knowing your vacation is backed by the Vacation Rental Bill of Rights, an industry-first service pledge that says you’re stay will be covered from start to finish.

 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Wyndham Vacation Rentals.

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Where to Stay In The Tennessee Smoky Mountains: Westgate Resort Spa & Water Park

Tennessee was never really thought of as a vacation place for me but I had never been to Gatlinburg before either. Gatlinburg is a family city set up in the Smoky Mountains and is full of things to do. You could do a different thing every day and still not see everything in a two weeks time span. And while you’re in Tennessee enjoying all the things to do you need a place to stay. Why not stay at The Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort Spa and Water Park?

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I had an amazing view from my room. I could see the mountains and noticed how smoky they were. I never realized they got their name by the clouds that just rest against them like smoke. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa sits on approximately 255 acres, with 55 acres developed, adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the largest national park East of the Rockies.

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We had a tour of all the room options and it’s quite impressive how many of the rooms connect. Not all rooms connect but you can have quite a large group as even one room can sleep up to eight and then think of all those people you could add to your room by combining rooms. Plus they are nice rooms. I turned on the fireplace and enjoyed my Jacuzzi bathtub that I somehow didn’t get a photo of.

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This photo is of one of the rooms we toured. This room has a smaller bathtub than my room had. My room had a bathtub and a separate shower and my shower had like three different places that water came out of. As you can see in this tub there are two. It’s fun taking a shower with water coming out of different directions. Plus the water pressure is amazing. That’s important to me when I travel, I really love it when I have water pressure.

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Westgate’s Wild Bear Falls is the latest expansion to Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This mountain-themed world-class family indoor water park features a state-of-the-art retractable roof, taking Mother Nature out of the equation! It’s really large and made for families. I wish I had my kids with me on this trip they would have had a blast at the water park every day.

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Even if my kids spent the whole day in the lazy river or going around under the water dump structures they would have had a blast. I think they might have even found of of the smaller slides to ride on with dad.

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The room is warm as the water is kept warm and the roof is retractable to let in a little air.

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And I did visit the spa too but let’s just say that deserves a post of it’s own. Overall it’s a great place to stay. You can get 3 days and 2 nights starting at $149. One thing that Westgate specializes in is events. Book an event with them and your stay is included in the price of the event. It’s a fantastic deal. You don’t have to be an owner to book an event just visit Westgate Events and or Westgate Resorts for your stay!

B&O Railroad Museum to Edgar Allan Poe’s

The Poe House, A National Landmark where Poe once lived from 1833-1835 with his aunt, grandmother and two cousins, will be re-opening to the general public on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., May 24 through December 28, 2014. statue

Visitors will experience the re-installed exhibits that share Edgar Allan Poe’s life and death story in Baltimore. During the self-guided tour, visitors will also stumble upon significant artifacts including china and glassware that Poe used when living with the Allan family in Richmond, Virginia and also Poe’s portable writing desk, chair and telescope. telescope

 

Admission for adults is $5 and $4 for seniors, active military and students (ages 13-21). Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available at the door or can be purchased in advance by the following link:  http://reservations.baltimore.org/6691_attraction-tickets_a1385.html.

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For more information on the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, visit www.poeinbaltimore.org