Tuesday, August 30, 2011

WellsWorld on First Coast Connects: Wild West, Fishy Festivals and Hurricane Havens

Cody, Wyoming - Has a LOT to offer for a town of 9,000: Wild mustang tours, rodeo every night, rafting down the Shoshone River, the heartbreaking Interpretive Learning Center at the Heart Mountain Internment Center where 10,000 + West Coast Japanese-Americans were herded behind barbed wire during World War II and the world-class Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

Within those 9,000 residents are experts on guns, battles for the West, Native Americans from across the country, geology, jewelry and wild horses. Their knowledge and enthusiasm rivals those of PhDs.

During a stop at the Historical Center I met the great grandson of Sitting Bull,
saw the world's largest and  most important collection of arms dating from the 1500s to the present ...

learned about then life, teepees and artistic skills of the Plains Indians as well as the evolution of the landscapes and wildlife of the West....

Enjoyed the Whitney Collectionn of Western Art with its Bierstadts, Morans, Remingtons, Russells, Fritz Scholders, NC Wyeths, Catlans - even the studio of Frederick Remington...

learned how to make delicious Cowboy beans...

saw the camp of Prince Albert I of Monaco, the first crowned head of Europe to visit the American West, including the paw print of the bear shot by the Prince thanks to the guiding of Buffalo Bill Cody....

and learned the fascinating history and accomplishments of that unique visionary who, by the age of 30, had ridden for the Pony Express, scouted for the U. S. Cavalry, hunted buffalo to feed railroad workers, won the Congressional Medal of Honor and starred on the American stage.Then he really got going!

If that isn't enough to tempt you to Cody, it is the perfect starting point for Yellowstone National Park,with access to two stunning routes into the park.

Find out more at

The town founded by and named for Wild West showman Buffalo Bill Cody, adds  events in the fall.

Game on! There are several hunting seasons in the fall – for pronghorn, deer, elk, moose and bighorn sheep. Dates for each season vary, so check online for this year’s at http://gf.state.wy.us/admin/Regs/. You will find all the rules and regulations there, too.

Just Looking? See wildlife with help from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s online wildlife watching guide at http://gf.state.wy.us/services/education/wtw/index.asp.

Hit the road. Scenic doesn’t begin to describe the drive between Cody and the east entrance of Yellowstone. This 50-mile Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway through the Wapiti Valley and Shoshone National Forest may result in some of that wildlife-watching. Look for grizzly and black bears, pronghorn, big horn sheep, deer, elk and moose. Keep a camera handy. There also are some amazing rock formations and, if the timing is right, fall colors. For complete information about viewing wildlife in the area visit www.yellowstonecountry.org/things-to-do/wildlife/wildlife-viewing. 

Indoor fun. The Cody Wild West Show Concert Series brings a bit of Nashville to the West with such noted artists as “Whispering” Bill Anderson, Mel Tillis, Suzy Boguss and Asleep at the Wheel gracing the stage of the historic and intimate Cody Theater downtown. Three times larger, with 900 seats, is the newer Wynona Thompson Auditorium where some acts also appear. For a current schedule of shows, go online to www.yellowstonecountry.org/cody-wild-west-show/.

Special events. The Rendezvous Royale happens the fourth week of September, and is one of Cody’s biggest and most prestigious events. There’s the nationally rated Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, with Western-themed art from every genre: oils, watercolors, pastels, ceramics, sculpture and mixed media. There’s a quick-draw contest (between artists, not gunfighters), an auction, a Western fashion show, seminars, studio tours and a fancy-dress ball to top it all off.  For more about the rendezvous, go online to www.rendezvousroyale.org/.

Labor Day Catfish Festival, Sept. 3-5, U.S. 17 and Hwy 40, Kingsland, GA. Catfish, parade, catfish, entertainment, catfish, crafts and catfish.

Rock Shrimp Festival & Parade, St. Marys, GA, Saturday, Oct. 1.
7:30 a.m. Pancake breakfast
10 a.m. Parade
11 a.m.-6 p.m. Rock Shrimp dinners
9 a.m.-6 p.m. Arts & Crafts
11:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Entertainment and demonstrations.

For details, 9122-882-4000.

Hurricane Getaways

What: Rosen Hotels & Resorts offers special rates to Florida hurricane evacuees for the 2011 season. Only $49.99 a day ($10 per day for pets) at Quality Inn International, Rosen Inn, Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando and Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista. Another $10 gets you two adult breakfasts (order at time of booking). 

To book: 866-337-6737 or www.orlandohotels4less.com/hurricane.

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