Winter on Ice

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinback

Winter Solstice is a month from tomorrow! With this time of the year, comes colder weather! Many people enjoy this season and look for winter festivities to take part in.

One of the most popular activities of the season, is to go ice skating!

Ice skating is actually one of my favorite wintertime traditions! See below for some pictures that I took from my freshman year in college (Winter 2009) when I went ice skating at Galleria Dallas:)

Now, just because we don’t always get winter weather across the great state of Texas, doesn’t mean that we don’t like a little wintertime adventure!

Check out some other popular Texas ice skating rinks!

ICE Dr Pepper StarCenter
Farmers Branch, TX
ICE Polar Ice House
Grapevine, TX
ICE Arctic Wolf Ice Center
College Station, TX
ICE Ice At The Park
Arlington, TX
ICE Space City Ice Station
Friendswood, TX
ICE Mcm Ice Rink
Odessa, TX
ICE Northwoods Ice Llc
Hill Country Village, TX
ICE Nytex Sports Centre
North Richland Hills, TX


To learn more about these, visit “
Ice Skating Rinks In Texas.”

Do you have a favorite ice skating rink? Share with us the best ice skating rink in your state or the best one you’ve visited elsewhere for the chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! Just add #ExploreAmerica to your photos on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Click the picture below for more details!

Have fun and enjoy the winter! Use Hertz NeverLost and the Hertz NeverLost Companion mobile travel application for iPhone and Android to guide you!
I can’t wait to go ice skating this season!
-Melissa Woodring :)
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Orlando Holiday Events

“May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility.” - Mary Anne Radmacher

Holidays are a time for celebration! People come together to catch up, relax, and have a great time!

One great place to partake in holiday festivities, is Orlando, Florida! Since Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party was held this past Friday at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World has transformed into full holiday mode! Check out some great upcoming events!

“Frozen” characters

Characters from the very popular movie, “Frozen,” have now been incorporated into the Christmas celebrations at Magic Kingdom! “Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf (in his first-ever park appearance) ask the crowd to help the Queen of Arendelle frost the castle in thousands of shimmering lights.” The castle lighting show will take place twice per night, so make sure you get a peek!

“Oldies but goodies like the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and the Holiday Wishes fireworks show are back this year, but new additions make the event feel fresh for 2014.” Learn more about what’s offered by reading, “Frozen, Jack Skellington lead new festive fun in Mickey’s Very Merry Christmaas Party 2014 at Walt Disney World.” You can also check out other events by referencing our blog, “Holidays in Orlando” from 2013 too!

Macy’s Parade and more

Universal Studios Florida comes alive during the holidays with balloons and floats beyond your imagination, marching bands, Santa, and seasonal sing-alongs for the little ones.”  While the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a TV tradtion for most people, Universal Studios can provide a great replica of the occasion because many of the spectacular sights actually get sent to Florida so you can experience it for yourself!

Check out a video from last year!

There are many more events that you can find your way to, just by using Hertz NeverLost and the Hertz NeverLost Companion mobile application for iPhone and Android. Download the app and use download code ORLH in your NeverLost device. After you find your favorite, sign up to win a holiday treat from us! Just click below to enter!

Use some of these events as a chance to find joy this holiday season!

Best wishes!

-Melissa Woodring :)

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Small Town Charm

“Wouldn’t trade one single day here in small town USA.” – Justin Moore

Growing up in a small town, I learned first-hand what all of the perks are! For example, my hometown of Sweeny, Texas, has the best hometownstaple food! Every time I go back home, there are 3 places I have to visit – Taco Loco, Dairy Mart, and Simple Simon’s. Now, while I definitely look forward to eating well when I’m home, there are many other great aspects about my small hometown of Sweeny!

In fact, each small town has it’s own charm! I missed mine so much when I was in college, that I skipped out on a spring break vacation so that I could go home for that week instead! Check out the pictures below for a bit of Sweeny scenery from 2010 :)

Now, share your favorite small town adventure with us for the chance to win a prize!

Click here for details on how to enter.

Click here for details on how to enter.

Check out some other great small towns that you should visit this year!

  • Chautauqua, New York
  • Healdsburg, California
  • Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Steamboat Springs, Colorado
  • Woods Hole, Massachusetts
  • Marietta, Ohio
  • Beaufort, South Carolina
  • Sedona, Arizona
  • Nebraska City, Nebraska
  • Lanesboro, Minnesota
  • Spring Green, Wisconsin
  • Havre de Grace, Maryland
  • Columbia, Pennsylvania
  • Mount Dora, Florida
  • Ketchum, Idaho
  • Montpelier, Vermont
  • Harrodsburg, Kentucky
  • Silver City, New Mexico
  • Decorah, Iowa
  • The Dalles, Oregon

Learn why these towns are so great by reading “The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2014.”

Photo credit: Smithsonian.com

Photo credit: Smithsonian.com

 

After you’ve chosen the ones you want to see for yourself, you can use Hertz NeverLost and the Hertz NeverLost Companion application for iPhone and Android to plan your trip and explore!

My coworker and I just used both products to visit McKinney, Texas, which was recently voted as #1 in MONEY’s “Best Places to Live in America.”

McKinney has a very charming and historic downtown and I was very pleased that I got the chance to see it!

McKinney

It was a beautiful day to explore! Click here to learn about things to do.

 

While I don’t live in a small town anymore, I love that I grew up in one and I’m always excited for a new small town adventure!

When you plan your next vacation, don’t overlook the small town charm!

Have a great weekend!

-Melissa Woodring :)

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Happy Halloween – 2014

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam; May luck be yours on Halloween. – Author Unknown

Halloween is tomorrow, October 31st, 2014! Some people have already been celebrating this occasion, while others are looking forward to tomorrow and a weekend full of festivities!

We want to know what your favorite Halloween activities are! Just share them with us in our Inspiation by Pinterest contest for the chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Halloween_Final

Click here for details on how to enter!

Now, we would like to provide a few fun celebration ideas!

Check out some of 2014′s top attractions:

 

Check out “Travel’s Best Halloween Attractions 2014” to learn more about these! You can also watch a video about these attractions!

If you’ll be traveling to any of these locations, but sure to use Hertz NeverLost and the HertzNeverLost Companion mobile application in order to find your way! You can also discover more events and must-see attractions in those areas.

Now, if you’ll be hosting any of your own Halloween gatherings, check out this great video for tips on DIY Halloween Treats that you can make!

Enjoy the holiday! Happy Halloween :)

-Melissa Woodring

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2014 World Series

Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.” - Bob Feller

The game of baseball is still often considered as America’s pasttime. The sport is well liked and for many reasons! Each game is different and each team has their own set of fans.

This year, the Kansas City Royals and the San Franciso Giants are facing off in the 2014 World Series, the annual championship games that are played by Major League Baseball teams.

Since it has been about 29 years since the Royals have made it to the World Series, and the Giants are often one of the teams rotating in and out of this championship, we’re going to focus a little bit on “new school” vs. “old school” and inform you on the cool things there are to do in these host cities! Keep up with the game schedule and learn a bit about the fun that can be had in both of these team’s towns!

2014 World Series Schedule

2014 World Series Schedule

Kansas City – “New School”

So, it’s not technically the 1st time that the Kansas City Royals have made it to the World Series, but it has been quite a while! Because of this, visiting fans might be a little unaware of how great this team’s city really is!

To start with, Kansas City has beautiful architecture (especially their fountains) and I’ve heard the BBQ is really good too!

According to the City of Fountains Foundation, the “flowing treasures” help define the city and also “honor and celebrate generations of Kansas Citians.”

There are a ton of outdoor sculptures that complement Kansas City and make for great tourist locations! Check out the video below for an overview of these treasures!

Now, on to the barbecue! According to the article, “Postcard from Kansas City: Blue, barbecue everywhere you turn,” the city is renowned for its barbecue! Apparently, the “most touristy place in town is Arthur Bryant’s.” However, “Bay Area foodies might want to check out Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ, acknowledged as the successor to the throne, according to the locals.”

Royals fans gathered in the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City on Monday. (Photo: Al Saracevic/The Chronicle via SF Gate)

Royals fans gathered in the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City on Monday. (Photo: Al Saracevic/The Chronicle via SF Gate)

Whether you’re a local, or a visiting fan, check out Things to Do – Kansas City for information on entertainment, shopping, arts and culture, attractions, and more!

San Francisco – “Old School”

The Giants have played in the World Series 20 times, and 6 of those times were actually in the city! So, the people of San Francisco are no strangers to this celebration! However, visiting fans can always use a little more knowledge about what to do and where to go!

First of all, there’s always an option to partipate in classic activities like riding in cable cars and visiting Fisherman’s Wharf (San Francisco’s Historic Waterfront District)!

A couple of things to keep in mind about these activities:

  • “A ride on San Francisco’s cable cars may be the most iconic and memorable of your entire trip to California.”
  • “Whether planning a visit or seeking information, you’ll find a wealth of knowledge on how a historic era still influences the present-day culture, events, sights, sounds, and food of San Francisco’s most famous waterfront community.”

Check out San Francisco Cable Cars – The Guide and Fisherman’s Wharf – Plan a Visit, to learn more!

Check out the video below, “90 Seconds In: San Francisco” to learn about other fun things you can do!

Also, if you’re a Giants fan, or you’re visting the city during this time of year, read the article “27 Things Only San Francisco Giants Fans Understand” in order to show a better sense of support and undestanding for this city and their baseball team!

Baseball Battle

Now that you know a little bit about both of the 2014 World Series host cities, vote for your favorite for the chance to win a prize!

As these MLB teams battle it out, you’ll have the chance to win a prize! Just click the picture below for more details.

Also, you can use download codes in your Hertz NeverLost device to route you to the games!

  • World Series games in Kansas City – KRBA
  • World Series games in San Francisco – SFGB

Additionally, you can download the free Hertz NeverLost Companion mobile app on iPhone and Android to check out must-see events, tours, attractions, trendy restaurants, and more that exist in these cities! Just use our “city guides” feature and you’ll be ready to explore!

Enjoy the games!

-Melissa Woodring :)

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Follow the Foliage

“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.” – Elizabeth Lawrence

Fall is a great time of the year to take scenic road trips. But, how do you decide where to go?

Hertz NeverLost and the Hertz NeverLost Companion mobile application both offer an outlet for searching and discovering new places for autumn travel.

One popular route that you should consider taking for great fall foliage scenery, is actually celebrating its 100th anniversary this month! Learn more about it!

Mohawk Trail

“The Mohawk Trail celebrates 100 years of history this month. The scenic highway extends from Athol to Williamstown and is commonly known as Route 2. For many, driving along the Mohawk Trail is a long-time tradition.”

More Than a Trail…A Journey

This trail goes through the mountains, runs by historic towns, and is near five major rivers! This “highway of history” provides travelers with over 100 attractions throughout the gorgeous, 60-mile route. Visit http://www.mohawktrail.com/ to discover more!

 

Click here to read "Mohawk Trail Turns 100" and watch a quick video!

Click here to read “Mohawk Trail Turns 100″ and watch a quick video!

What’s even better about this trail, is that you can easily discover the attractions offered by using the “search” feature in the Companion app. While the application does provide guides for larger cities, what most people don’t know, is that the information is not limited – small towns are included too! Just type in the search bar which town you are looking for, and you can find hotels, parks, restaurants, tourist attractions, and more!

For example, if you search for “Shelburne Falls” – You’ll quickly find the Massachusetts town (which is on the Mohawk Trail) and then be able to search for various nearby attractions and destinations!

Shelburne Falls
One of the attractions listed in this search, was the Bridge of Flowers. This 400-foot-long attraction spans over the Deerfield River and displays wonderful seasonal sights! Once you find the attraction that interests you, you can get a download code to use in your NeverLost device, and be on your way!

Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls (photo credit: Reader's Digest)

Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls (photo credit: Reader’s Digest)

Other great spots that can be found on the Mohawk Trail, include:

  • Northfield Mountain
  • Turners Falls
  • Charlemont
  • Mohawk Trail State Forest
  • Whitcomb Summit
  • Hairpin Turn
  • Mt. Greylock
  • Williamstown

and more! Check out “Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts: View Stunning Fall Foliage,” for more infomation on these locations.

Now, if you have already seen great autumn sights or think you will by the end of this weekend, be sure to enter our photo contest! Click the below for details :)

FallFoliage-06
You can also read the article, “10 Best Fall Foliage Trips in the U.S” for more inspiration on where to go for your scenic road trip!

Follow the foliage and enjoy the ride!

-Melissa Woodring

 

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Autumn at the Arboretum

“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

September 20th, 2014 marked the beginning of Autumn at the Arboretum at Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. During this time, “thousands of fall florals” transform and there is also a very neat exhibit known as Pumpkin Village.

I got the chance to see all of this for myself yesterday, and it was amazing! And guess what?! You have until November 26th, 2014 to see if for yourself!

Check out my experience below to see why you should make time to visit this amazing seasonal event!

 Dallas Pumpkin Patch

Dave Forehand, the Vice President of the Gardens, said that “Fall is really our most colorful time of year. Many of the summer flowers like zinnias, impatiens, salvia and coleus respond to cooler nights with blazing bursts of color. Our thousands of pumpkins bring out the color in banks of chrysanthemums that are layered with ornamental grasses, copper plants and firebush.”

As I strolled through the gardens on my way to “Pumpkin Village,” I got to see all of the beautiful flowers bursting with colors. Additionally, I got to see the migrating Monarch butterflies!


Once I got to “Pumpkin Village,” I reazlied why people thought it was so spectactular! This Dallas pumpkin patch is so popular, that I even saw on Instagram where one lady traveled 1,300 miles to see it!

Walking through this village of pumpkins was very relaxing and for those of us who enjoy fall weather, it was a prime autumn experience! The sights were beautiful and everyone knew it. There were a ton of families and couples using the exhibit as wonderful photo shoot location, and it was very cute to see all of the pictures being taken and people working together to make sure everyone got the photos they wanted!

The village features the following activities:

  • Storybook houses
  • Hay bale maze
  • Cinderella’s Carriage
  • Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch (pumpkins available for purchase)

According to the website, “Children can explore these amazing houses made out of pumpkins while parents seize the opportunity to capture photos filled with beautiful backdrops of spectacular color. Each house features a popular children’s storybook including “Pumpkin Jack,” “Too Many Pumpkins,” “Strega Nona’s Harvest,” “Pumpkin Town!,” “Scarecrow” and the classic story of “Cinderella.””

Now, along with the spirit of this particular autumn activity, we invite you to share what you like to do in the fall for the chance to win a prize! Just click below for details!

Autumn-01
Use Hertz NeverLost to guide you to your own fall foliage experience and find a pumpkin patch near you! Or maybe even to travel to one!

Have fun and don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience Autumn at the Arboretum! It was amazing :)

-Melissa Woodring

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Fall is for the Fair

“The county fair is a hundred things
All to see and do . . .
A daring act, a flower show.
It’s cotton candy, too.” – Laurie Dawson

If you think a county fair is fun, just imagine how great a state fair can be!

It’s that time of year again…time for fall weather, time for pumpkin spice, and time for the State Fair of Texas! Back for its annual 24-day run, the State Fair of Texas offers “live entertainment, activities, and fun for the entire family.”

I got the chance to go to the fair this week and I have to say, it was a blast! Between the food, the rides, and the games, there were so many fun things to choose from! I even got to see Big Tex in his new “Texified” outfit! (see below)

Hanging out with Big Tex

Hanging out with Big Tex

Fair Festivities

One of the things that people look forward to the most about the State Fair, is the Fair Food!

Referred to as the “Fried Food Capital of Texas®,” this time of the year brings opportunity to get creative and competitive! Texans like to be inventive when it comes to food. so there are always a lot of new surprises!

“Each year, State Fair concessionaires fry up tasty and unique foods for a chance to become a finalist in the Big Tex Choice Awards. Everything from Fried Beer to Fried Peaches and Cream have made the cut to become a part of an exclusive club.”

Pictured below from 2014 Big Tex Choice Awards, see this year’s finalists.

Click here for the delicious descriptions!

 

Now, a lot of people choose to eat more traditional fair food, such as Fletcher’s Corny Dogs, and I certainly don’t blame them!

However, this year I personally chose to listen to my sweet tooth! So, I tried the Deep Fried Texas Bluebonnet (which is basically a deep fried blueberry muffin, with cream cheese and white chocolate on top), and let me tell you, it was AMAZING!

deep fried blueberry muffin with cream cheese and white choclate - yumm
After I finished devouring that delicious muffin, it was time to explore the fairgrounds a little bit more!

If you’re planning your trip ahead of time, keep in mind that you can check out the Daily Schedule as well as the Top Ten To-Do list, in order to help you find the activities that you would enjoy the most!

I didn’t do that ahead of time, but I still found a lot of activities that interested me! I saw live bands and pig races, got to do some shopping, and rode on a few carnival rides!

Also, I got the chance to stop by the Errol McKoy Greenhouse on the Midway, which was a great spot to relax, enjoy the views, and even get some air!


All in all, I definitely had a great time at the fair! There is something for everyone and it’s a great place to go with friends and family!

Use download code TXSF in your Hertz NeverLost device to guide you there and download the Hertz NeverLost Companion mobile app to help you explore Dallas!

Also, enter your State Fair of Texas pictures into our photo contest by adding “#ExploreAmerica” to your pictures!

Have fun at the fair! The fall season is the perfect time to go!

-Melissa Woodring :)

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Oktoberfest Celebrations

O’zapft is! - “It’s tapped!” in German.

Oktoberfest, a 16-day festival held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, that runs from late September to the first weekend in October, is traditionally kicked off with a twelve gun salute and the tapping of the first keg.  More than 6 million people from around the world attend this event every year!

For those that don’t, they find ways to celebrate locally! There are so many Oktoberfest celebrations around the United States that replicate the fun traditions of the festival! From amusement rides, games, and competitions, to unique and conventional food, there are so many ways to take part Oktoberfest activities.

Another way you can celebrate, is to enter our Oktoberfest themed Sign Up contest! Click below for details.

Learn more about other Oktoberfest events!

The following cities in the U.S. have Oktoberfest celebrations:

  • Addison, TX
  • Big Bear Lake, CA 
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cincinnati, OH 
  • Denver, CO 
  • Frankenmuth, MI 
  • Fredericksburg, TX 
  • Helen, GA
  • Irondequoit, NY
  • La Crosse, WI
  • Leavenworth, WA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Mount Angel, OR
  • Newark, DE
  • New Ulm, MN
  • New York, NY
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Soulard, MO
  • Southwest Harbor, ME
  • Torrance, CA
  • Tulsa, OK

While some of these festivals have already taken place, a good number of them are still to come! Check out “Top 2014 U.S. Oktoberfest Celebrations” to learn more about each festival and find out when they are happening!

I’ve only been to an Oktoberfest celebration twice, both times being at Addison Oktoberfest, but I had a blast!

I went this past weekend (9/18-9/21) and just being in the environment is exciting. It’s fun to see people in their own element, enjoying life, and dancing to Polka music as if they actually know what they’re doing!

My friends and I enjoying Addison Oktoberfest. The picture is a little blurry because the guy taking it, wanted to run off and go do the chicken dance, which is a popular Oktoberfest tradition!

My friends and I enjoying Addison Oktoberfest. The picture is a little blurry because the guy taking it, wanted to run off and go do the chicken dance, which is a popular Oktoberfest tradition!

Take a look at some of the Addison Oktoberfest activities that took place, so you can get an idea of what to expect next year:

Remember, while we want you to have a good time enjoying these festival events – DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.

Use your Hertz NeverLost equipped car or your Hertz NeverLost Companion application to See More. Do More. Discover More.

Have a great time learning about this event and celebrating the occasion!

-Melissa Woodring :)

 

 

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Cruisin’ Route 66 Reunion

“Known by several names throughout the years including the “Mother Road,” “Main Street of America,” and the “Will Rogers Highway,” Route 66 has served travelers for some 50 years…” – Legends of America

Some of those travelers happen to include the Kiwis on Tour, a New Zealand tour company that guides visitors on road trips around the USA. As mentioned in our previous blog post, “Route 66 – the Ultimate Road Trip,” written by my coworker, Elizabeth, Hertz and Navigation Solutions had the chance to work very closely with the group as they embarked on their August/September Route 66 trip.

Kiwis on Tour

To learn how you can participate in their next tour, click here!

Route 66 Car Show

The group’s road trip recently came to a conclusion when they attended the Cruisin’ Route 66 Reunion, Ontario California’s Classic Car Show, and got to show off their Hertz convertible Mustangs!

The Kiwis on Tour went on a Route 66 adventure in these vehicles!

Linda Senigaglia, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Navigation Solutions, (who met with the group before they left for their journey), was also in attendance the day of the car show.

When Linda first met with the Kiwis on Tour before they departed in Los Angeles, she passed out giveaways, provided iPhones to the group so they could sync up the free Hertz NeverLost Companion app with the NeverLost device, and explained how they could use the technology in order to find their current city, discover attractions, and receive directions more easily.

Upon reconnecting with the Kiwis at the Cruisin’ Route 66 Reunion, Linda was able to get some great feedback about their trip, learn more about the travelers, and even make some new friends!

According to information that Linda got from Noddy Watts (the Tour Leader), the cost of the tour is $9200 per person. This price includes the rental cars, airfare, and hotel stay for 27 nights. Additionally, each person on tour also incurred costs for gas, food, and entertainment.

Noddy's personal ambition is to "ensure that every person on the tour is happy and has the trip of a life time."

Noddy’s personal ambition is to “ensure that every person on the tour is happy and has the trip of a life time.”

The Kiwis drove close to 6000 miles in each Hertz rental car!

Furthermore, 7 couples actually bought an American hot rod/sports car during their trip and had the vehicles shipped back to New Zealand!

Technology Testimonies

As mentioned earlier, the Kiwis on Tour were provided with the opportunities to use the Hertz NeverLost Companion mobile application and the Hertz NeverLost device. These are some testimonies from the trip:

  • Juedie – “This fabulous trip would not have been possible without your help. NL is really easy to use!
  • Simon – “We would never have gotten around, The USB stick was fabulous!
  • Sue - “We used the app quite a bit, it was really quite good.
  • Juedie & Sue – “For all these miles it was great – could never have done this with maps.”
  • Sue – “The USB was really nice.

From hearing Linda’s stories, and seeing photos from the Kiwis on Route 66 Tours Facebook Page, it seems like both the Route 66 Trip & Reunion, were successful!

If you haven’t had your own road trip adventure like the Kiwis, it just might be time to “Get your kicks on Route 66!”

-Melissa Woodring :)

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