Monthly Archives: March 2012

Cameron’s Descent Reminds All That Earth Remains Largely Unexplored

Want to know what the surface of the moon looks like? There’s a map for that. What about Mars’ topography? There’s a map for that too.  Want to know about our own planet’s surface? Good luck, because our maps are missing roughly three quarters of the necessary information.

Even in a 21st century world where we can instantly pinpoint and view any given spot on the globe with Google Earth, 95 percent of the 71 percent of Earth covered by ocean remains unexplored.  That means 68 percent of our own planet remains a complete unknown.

Cameron’s historic craft

Thanks to National Geographic Explorer and blockbuster movie director James Cameron’s historic descent to the deepest place on earth this week, discussions of the ocean’s mysteries are resurfacing.  On Tuesday, Cameron descended 6.8 miles beneath the Pacific’s surface into Marianas Trench via his custom designed DEEPSEA CHALLENGER, and experienced a world unlike any seen before.

 While this expedition received worldwide attention, influenced at least partially by Cameron’s Hollywood success with films such as Avatar and Titanic, ocean exploration remains an understudied area. Thanks to (not to oversimplify) water coverage, the Earth’s greatest mountain ranges, deepest valleys and tens of thousands of active volcanoes remain unvisited and unexplored.

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Prince Edward Island: Where Anne of Green Gables Lives On

Iconic image of Anne Shirley of Green GablesAt 10 years old I had never stepped foot on Prince Edward Island, but I felt I had skittered through the shadows in the Haunted Woods, dipped my fingers in the cool Lake of Shining Waters and bumped along in a buggy beneath the pink-blossomed trees lining Lover’s Lane.

Anyone familiar with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s work will recognize these as the imaginatively named stomping grounds of the mischievous carrot-red-headed heroine in Anne of Green Gables.  As a young girl immersing myself in the coming-of-age story of a curious and imaginative orphan, I drifted back 100 years to a remote Canadian island province that most elementary students had never heard of and fell in love with the landscape that defined Anne’s adventures.

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“Maddie On Things” Shows America In a New Perspective

John Steinbeck's poodle and travel companion, Charley

In 1960, writer John Steinbeck set out on a cross-country trip with his dog in hopes of experiencing America on a more personal level.  In 2012, photographer Theron Humphrey did the same thing.

John Steinbeck took his findings and wrote his book Travels With Charley: In Search of America. Theron Humphrey took his and created a blog.

Just as Travels With Charley, my favorite book, has been a go to pick-me-up ever since I first raced through its pages years ago, Humphrey’s Maddie On Things is my new favorite place to find a smile when I need it most.

Humphrey’s blog, subtitled a super serious project about dogs and physics, consists of photographs of his coonhound (Maddie, of course) perched on various, for lack of a more specific category, things.  While that may sound straightforward, Humphrey’s creativity combined with Maddie’s agility, balance and patience, result in pictures that are not only entertaining and telling, but just plain impressive.

Maddie on a cow in Belmont, WI

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March Madness Means More When You’re a Bonnie

 Most basketball fans understand March Madness. Sixty-eight teams from 31 conferences competing in 67 total games.  It’s the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four and ultimately one National Champion.

The Bona Wolf leads cheers at the Bonnies Big Dance send-off

To be a Bonnie means March Madness is a whole lot crazier this year.  It’s 707 miles and nearly 12 hours of travel each way. It’s two days of skipped classes and $63 for a game ticket. It’s five people packed in a tiny car and eight into a low-rent hotel room and innumerable bank accounts drained, all for one game.

Many people probably think that is a little dramatic. But most people don’t know what it means to be a Bonnie.

For most basketball fans, St. Bonaventure is a Catholic university in Western New York.  It’s a liberal arts school with around 2,000 students. It’s cold, snowy and in the middle of nowhere.  It had a good basketball program in the ‘70s and a huge scandal in the 2000s.  It’s a team that hasn’t done much in a while.

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Three Top Treetop Destination Hotels

Maybe it’s because of my infatuation with Tolkien’s tree-dwelling elves or my nostalgic remembrances of the elevated fortress in my grandparents’ backyard. Or maybe just the experience of looking around and seeing twisted branches begging for climbers rather than solid ground.

Whatever the reason may be, I love tree houses. In fact, a high-priority item on my bucket list is to spend the night in a home nestled in branches far from the ground. Luckily for me and other tree house lovers, these residences traditionally reserved for eight-year-olds on summer afternoons, are sprouting up as hotels in canopies around the world.  Three resorts in particular have caught my eye for being unlike any constructions I’ve seen before, in or out of trees. Far beyond the few two-by-fours supporting pieces of particle board my Grandpa constructed, these architectural wonders provide lodging that makes the Swiss Family Robinson’s home look boring.

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Sandy’s Bakery Could Be a Roadside Surprise

Most days, if you wind your way down the very rural Humphrey Road in Great Valley, NY, you probably wouldn’t

Sandy’s could easily be missed if you don’t know what to look for

even notice Sandy’s Bakery.  The old milk house looks more like a shack along the side of a country road.  But drive by on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday morning and the largest concentration of parked cars for miles will grab your attention.

Between short hours (7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the select days) and a small space (seating for approximately 20), Sandy’s might be the only place in Western New York with a wait for a table at 10 a.m. on a weekday.  However, the delay is guaranteed to be worth the reward.

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