70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack

In the early morning hours of December 7, 1941, Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor Hawaii. Before the day was over, the Unites States lost airplanes, battleship and many lives in this surprise attack.

This week, we remember the 70th anniversary of this World War II milestone with events at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. The brand new visitor center was opened on Pearl Harbor day of 2010 as part of the final reunion of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. Members of this group are in their 90’s and many find it hard to travel long distances to these gatherings.

We are fortunate to have met several of these heroes and are touched by  their stories.

A visit Ford Island and Pearl Harbor is moving. Sites include the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Oklahoma Memorial, USS Bowfin, USS Missouri and Pacific Aviation Museum. Nearby Punchbowl National Cemetery is nestled in a volcanic crater and narrates the war time timeline through mosaics.

In honor of Pearl Harbor Day, we share stories of service men who were at Pearl Harbor during the bombings and we were fortunate to meet these Pearl Harbor survivors. The personal stories they tell are much more powerful than reading history in books. These gentlemen in their 80s and 90s have plenty of spunk and courage. Read their stories, see picture and watch video of our heroes. Click on the links below to hear their testimonials.

Arizona Memorail in Pearl Harbor Honolulu Hawaii

Travel Haiti for Spring Break

This weekend we attended the in Rosemont, Illinois. We talked to vendors from Senegal, Haiti, Mexico, Australia, Turkey and Panama about travel offering in their countries.

We especially liked learning about countries we are less familiar with. In January 2010, Port-au-Prince, Haiti was destroyed by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Over a year later, the city is still battered and residents are living in tent cities. The media focus on destruction overlooks the undamaged areas of the country.

We talked with Gregory Jesus Luc from Spring Break in Haiti about their tours. Guided vacations available include the traditional “sun & fun” beach vacations, cultural excursions or humanitarian working vacations. Trips are customized based in the type of vacation desired.

Photos courtesy Spring Break in Haiti.

Haiti Beaches

Haiti Beaches

Haiti Horseback Riding On The Trail

Haiti Horseback Riding On The Trail

Spring Break in Haiti Poster

Spring Break in Haiti Poster

 

Lonely Planet: Dominican Republic and Haiti

Lonely Planet: Dominican Republic and Haiti

Globe Trekker: Cuba and Haiti

Globe Trekker: Cuba and Haiti

Steelheart Ltd Harvard McHenry County Illinois

Our McHenry County business tour continues with a stop at Steelheart Ltd. in Harvard, McHenry County, Illinois.  You can find whimsical and practical garden and home furniture in this large, airy showroom. While most of their business comes from wholesale customers, their showroom is open to the public.

Owners Jacek and Gretchen Peczkowski opened the business in 1997 as a way to spend more time together. Jacek’s experience in a blacksmith shop, robotics and the automotive industry provided the background to build furniture and garden products. Jacek was raised in Poland and escaped the communist regime fleeing to Austria. While at a refugee camp he met Gretchen who taught English and Bible studies at the camp.

Steelheart Ltd Harvard McHenry County Illinois

Steelheart Ltd Harvard McHenry County Illinois

Jacek designs a majority of the items himself though they now outsource manufacturing of the items with Cut My Plastic. Jacek oversees production which sometimes requires international travel. The items are shipped to and stored at the Steelheart warehouse until they are sold.

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We enjoyed walking through the flock of colorful birds, relaxing on inviting benches and listening to restful waterfalls during our visit. So along with some high-quality Tools Around The House, these kind of items are also making one’s lawn/garden look really great, I assume.

The Peczkowski’s purchased nearby historic House of Seven Gables and plan to move their showroom and offices there during 2011. The House of Seven Gables was a link in the Underground Railroad, safely harboring slaves on their travels to freedom.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”


Steel Heart, Ltd.
208 W. Front St.
Harvard, IL 60033
Phone: 815.943.3465
Email: steelhrt@mc.net

Our trip was sponsored by the McHenry County Visitors Bureau and Steelheart Ltd.

Hawaii Destination Wedding

Does your dream destination wedding include Hawaii? Friends recently asked me to recommend Hawaiian tours, resorts, destinations and wedding event planners for their upcoming Hawaiian wedding. We frequently visit the islands and have ideas we can suggest. For our trips, we design our own itinerary then reservations accordingly.

Since we are not familiar with wedding planning, Hawaiian tour planning, resorts and destination weddings, we offered to ask for recommendations.

The couple has a flexible schedule and is looking to tie the knot this fall or winter. The wedding could be in Hawaii or Hawaii may be their honeymoon destination. They would like to have an outdoor wedding. The couple is Catholic though a non-denominational ceremony is acceptable.

The group would like to visit one or two islands during their stay. Several friends and family members will accompany them on their trip. Four star hotels would be appropriate. During their stay, they are interested in activities though like to enjoy relaxing down time too. ATV rides or helicopters sound like fun. An all day hike into Haleakala is more active than they like. Pools and beaches are not a big draw.

They would like someone to arrange the wedding: license, photographer, official, meal, etc.

If you were married in Hawaii: What locations do you recommend? Any words of wisdom to share? I have a photographer lined up for their wedding for Shine Pics, but I’m a little lost on the rest of their requests.

If you are a Hawaii business: What services can you offer or recommend? Resorts, hotels, photographers with large portfolios of stock photos, activities, etc?

Sunrise over Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach, Oahu

Sunrise over Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach, Oahu

Another Perspective of Diamond Head Honolulu Hawaii

There is more than one way to experience Diamond Head, an extinct volcano in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.

Anyone who is around me for longer than a few minutes knows I love to travel and my favorite spot is Hawaii. We are frequent visitors and even write for the 808talk travel website. You can read my latest post about a scenic walk here. There are links to photos of sites you might see on this walk.

Lighthouse on Diamond Head Road Honolulu, Hawaii

Lighthouse on Diamond Head Road Honolulu, Hawaii

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