I love visiting zoos. Especially when it's someone's personal Wildlife sanctuary. Hovatter's Wildlife Zoo, located in Kingswood on Herring Road, is run by Brian Hovatter. I didn't have time to get the whole story but will speak with him when I interview him on my internet radio show.
There are two cute colorful parrots sitting in a cage that would probably greet you if they said something. The entrance house has a great view of one of many groups of primates. Sometimes I think that they know we're there to watch, so that act out. This one included a scene of a mother picking out the bugs (or whatever they pick out) of he offspring. On the counter are various food items to purchase for you to feed the residents. Carrots are suggested for the giraffe, some kind of hard chunks are for any, candy bars (of the healthy genre) go to the bears. At some areas, like at one primate cage, there is a machine to get a handful of "Cherrios". Long white tubes are places in most of the cages so that you can simply place the food in the tube and the animal will be waiting for it. Easier than trying to throw it into the cage. Some primates hang on the bars waiting for you to toss and they will catch it.
Lions, tigers, bears, primates, donkeys, along with a petting zoo area will certainly occupy your time and kids adore it because they are probably more up close than a regular zoo. Zack, the giraffe, is one of the newest tenants. This 18 and a half foot tall darling was featured in the movie, Evan Almighty, as well as a number of commercials. At first glance, Zack looked as if his photo was part of the side of the "barn" as he stood really still. I think he was sleeping with his eyes open. Holding out the carrot, I keep calling to him and showing the goodie. He slowly approached. As I fed him, I was able to pet him above the nose and alongside of his face. I even touched his tongue a few times. One little girl had to wait until I completed my experience. I made sure of it. For me it's a one on one.
Coopers Rock State Forest, 13 miles East of Morgantown, was the first attraction on our list. The weather was fabulous and the leaves were multi-colored at this time. The drive alone gave us a glimpse of the oxygenated outdoors. I'm not sure as to whether we were viewing a growth a the bottom of a tree or a set up for Halloween next to the parking lot. Although there are hiking trails it was the overlook that we had heard so much about. Rockcliffs line the Cheat River Gorge furnishing a panorama as well as distant horizons.
We wanted to see something called Henry Clay Furnace just nearby but the hike would have been a few miles. Instead we just took photos of more of the state forest.
Morgantown Theatre Company has a usual focus of "teaching" as it functions as a community theatre for elementary, middle and high school students.. Our timing was perfect as the cast were mainly composed of alumni and performing Ragtime The Musical at the Metropolitan Theatre, located in the downtown area. Trevor Dion Nicholas an alumni who has gone on to a much more professional career had the leading role of "Coalhouse Walker, Jr.". I was quite impressed by the performance, far beyond any community theatre. I guess you have to thank Director Hillary Phillips, Choreographer General McArthur Hambrik, and Music Director Ken Godwin (you'd a thunk there were an orchestra).
No matter what state you travel in there always seems to be wineries. Forks of Cheat Winery is nestled in the Appalachian Mountains with a tasting room that could keep you there for the afternoon. Owned by Jerry and Eric Deal, the view alone is worth the ride. There is no charge for the wine tastings of which you can taste them all. White wines are my thing, reds are Laurie's. Then there are fruit wines and dessert wines. All can even be tasted on the decks. Did I tell you that they also have a distillery? Moonshine anyone?
We arrived early at the Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa and weren't able to check in as they were still cleaning the unit. One thing about being at a timeshare is the ability to trade. If you do this on a bit of the off-season, you can still get the area attractions and in many cases a larger unit than the one you trade. Our unit had two bedrooms and two and half bathrooms. Each of the bedrooms upstairs (Oy, the climb) had a full bathroom and tv. The bathroom downstairs was perfectly placed at the entrance. Full kitchen with dishwasher, dining area and living room with a tv and couch. Washer and dryer. What more can you want? At no extra charge you can get the cleaning folks to tidy the place the whole week. I only asked for it once.
There is a hotel on the premises and quite common for groups to come in and book events. You park in front of your unit but may not be as easy if you're stopping at the hotel. That's where the computer is that gave me access to my email at no charge. I did not bring my laptop. Otherwise there is free wi-fi.
An 18-hole golf course tees off just at the hotel near the entrance to one of their two restaurants, Legends, a sports bar with casual dining. The other restaurant, Fusions, has an entrance in the hotel or across the way from Legends. Fusions is all about the buffet. Weekends offers an all you can eat with a pasta and prime rib station for about $25. Pick a pasta, sauce and various items for the chef to cook up. On one weekday night a buffet minus the stations was about $15.
Continuing on with the resort, there is a Fitness Center. How perfect that you cannot drive to it as the walk (not that far) will get your heart rate going. I'm told (Laurie made use of the place) that there are various machines and a pool.
Spa Roma, where you can park your car, is on the premises but not owned by the resort. It was there that I had my hair cut and styled as well as having a facial. I looked good and felt great! Laurie had a most relaxing massage. Oh...we didn't do all of this that first day!!!
Needless to say, being at a timeshare, you have the option to cook your own meals. The nearest and best place to shop? Kroger. Had it all! Organic produce, prepared food. For me it was a cross between Fairway Market and Stop & Shop.
I am told that they are going to be doing much renovations to the resort. Great spot to hold a convention and perhaps a golf championship. As for location, I think that the nearest airport is in Pittsburgh, PA which is about 50 miles away. Well worth it as there is much to do in Morgantown.
Each time we left the unit, this is the view that we got. Not sure what the company was that had the plant but It helped in navigating our trip.
My friend Laurie and I set off on a road trip to Morgantown, West Virginia. Wanting an extra day from our check in at a timeshare week, we stayed at the nearby Lake Manor Bed & Breakfast. Arriving in the mid afternoon we were told that the last room available was given to us, which was where the owner Kathleen (Katie) Crumbaker and her mother usually stayed. The room was large, had two queen beds and beautifully decorated, as were all of the rooms.
We popped into the kitchen as it was just off the parking lot and easier to get our luggage in. There was a group of folks pulling apart what appeared to be a roasted pig. Augie and his wife Rosemary, two of the guests, brought the pig as well as a roaster doing the job in the parking lot. All who were present in the kitchen were tasting it as we participate in pulling the pork with forks, placing it into a large pan. A pot of Cuban Beans were cooking alongside of another pot of rice. Augie brought some special BBQ sauce. Someone else was making a salad and Katie had prepared what turned out to be one of the most delicious potato salads going.
Needless to say nobody went out for dinner. We loaded a potato roll with the pork that was mixed with the BBQ sauce and plated the rest. How good was it? The pork was so good that Tricia, a vegan, had more than a mouth full. She was munching with the rest of us. This might have been one of the best meals all week. What a way to mingle with the guests!!
The weekend was all about Parents Weekend at West Virginia University. Parents were there with their family although I'm not sure that the students stayed over. We heard that although the football team, The Mountaineers, won a game in Texas the "celebration" was creating a riot at the school. They were burning bean bag chairs and more. Not the best thing for Parent's Weekend!
Tricia and Ken were into juicing. Having already spoken with Michelle Jaffe from P'Town, I inquired even more. They brought their juicer and organic produce with them renting a room that lead to it's own patio and jacuzzi. Breakfast included a sample of the produce that combined vegetables with an apple for the sweetness. I was inspired.
About the pig thing. Let's see....he couldn't find a pig sitter. No room for the pig. Better yet...the pig was West Virginia University's mascot and Augie stole it. Riots broke out and we needed to dispose of the evidence!!!
There at times that owning a timeshare works well. Trading is one option that certainly allows you to travel all over the country, if not the world. What's important when you buy is that "worst comes to worst" you want to actually spend a week at the venue that you purchased.
I bought timeshare at Eastwood at Provincetown in the early 1980's. The amenities itself consists of having tennis courts, an outdoor pool, two hot tubs (one is above ground), a washer and dryer on the premises, a place to BBQ and a clubhouse. All of the units are fully furnished with a full kitchen. That means you can stock up at Stop & Shop and do your own cooking. That doesn't mean that you won't want to dine out.
I went to some of the newest dining spots in town as well as some with new locations. Dining al fresco can't get better when at the Aquarium Mall. There was an aquarium there in the 1970's and although gone for many years, the name is kept and it's sort of a "food court" with a few other stores. If you go back toward the water, there is a deck with tables and chairs and the most fabulous view of the Provincetown Harbor.
Native Cape Cod Seafood has Jason Ken to thank for the cooking. I sampled a mussel-leek-saffron soup that was so delish. Best lunch deal is the Native Fish Pockets. A grilled tortilla was filled with a decent size piece of cod (the fish changes by what is fresh caught), roasted corn salsa, cabbage, and a cilantro-lime aioli. You get two of them for $9.95 and....wait for it...it comes with french fries. The company has a bar on the deck.
Two great places for dessert. My favorite, of course is I Dream of Gelato, directly across from Native. Connie's Provincetown Bakery moved to the mall. Cakes, cookies, pastries and breads. Brown Bag Lunch for $10 gets you either sandwich, coleslaw and cookie or street pie, green salad and cookie.
Pick a Wednesday for lunch and dinner here. Make sure you go down to 260 Commercial St. and visit the Rose Dorothea Schooner Library for five reasons. 1. You can use their computers to go online at no cost. Half an hour or longer is no one is waiting. 2. They show a movie in the early evening at no cost. 3. Enjoy the view of the harbor of P'Town. 4. Sculpture of The Tourists by Chaim Gross in front. 5.There is a replica of the Rose Dorothea Schooner built in the middle of the library!
This should remind you that there are several boat trips that leave out of MacMillan Pier, including a few via the Viking Princess. The boat is US Coast Guard certified for 49 passengers and 2 crew, so you won't get a crowd of people. Rather than doing a "whale watch" as some of the other vessels at the pier do, opt for their Critter Cruise or historic Harbor Tour. As they travel around the harbor, critters lurking towards the bottom of the bay are scooped up and brought aboard for both kids and adults to examine under lenses. A lobster trap is hauled up to check out not just lobsters but various types of crabs as well. 508-487-7323.
MacMillan Pier has been renovated these past five years. Entering from town you can see the new sign and garden. As you continue along the walkway, you will easily spot many shacks the closest of which are being used for artists. It not only allows for the artists to pay less than a gallery but for tourists to make purchases coming to and from the ferry at the end of the pier.
A new restaurant opened on Commercial Street, a few blocks West of Sips and Lix. Far from the idea of "juicing", Local 186 focuses on burgers and just beef. You can get them made with sushi grade tuna, turkey, veggies and lamb. I opened with a salad called The Lobster (being in P'Town) with local greens, lobster, avocado, bacon, green beans, and tomatoes. This was proceeded by a Build Your Own starting with an 8 oz. Snake River Farms Kobe burger, smoked Gruyere, sauteed wild mushrooms and fried egg. Had a side of fried grilled pickles.
Talk of the town was Sage Inn and Lounge, located a few spots away from the
library.The former Pilgrim House of
years ago is now a lounge, with a back room for events and rooms upstairs.It may be the only hotel open year round as
well as having an elevator.An herb wall
lies just near the entrance of the inn used by the chef in drinks and tapas. The
lounge is set with a living room atmosphere to chat, drink and enjoy small
bites of savory food.Some of the items
that I sampled were: a deconstructed clam chowder; oysters on the half shell
atop a cloud of lemon mousse; crab cake crusted with panko and avocado mousse; pork
belly with a sweet onion jam and cracklins. Comfy place. Then again all of P'Town seems comfy!