Month: August 2015

Fall, Farmer’s Markets, and Festivals

The Gully Hubbards playing at Hoboken's Garden Street Farmer's Market

After traveling for almost weeks on end since mid-May, Phil and I were feeling a bit bored this morning, with nothing more to look forward to than the leftovers of a delicious roast I made the night before. The only thing we figured that could make our anticipated meal and outlook better was the addition of warm, locally grown tomatoes.

Yes, our neighborhood grocery store sells locally grown tomatoes, but this is the season for farmer’s markets, which we tend forget about existing in our densely populated, East Coast neighborhood. Happily, a quick web search turned up nearby locations of farmer’s markets open on Saturdays, with one in Hoboken, New Jersey, tucked almost invisibly between hi-rise buildings.

150829_HobokenFarmersMkt_1

Frankly, we’ve driven by this area numerous times, but towering buildings shield whatever might be going on in the sliver of a block that holds the Saturday Garden Street Farmer’s Market (marked by a red rectangle, below). For those of you who follow us on www.LetsKickScoot.com, you might recognize the edge of the blue area on the map as being a prime kick scooting, biking, and strolling path along the Hudson River.

150829_HobokenFarmersMkt_3

When we turned into the area, we were very surprised to find a nicely staged farmer’s market, complete with fresh produce, homemade meals, bread, bakery, pickled products, and good entertainment.

150829_HobokenFarmersMkt_2

While eating food stand kielbasa (rather than the roast I had planned), spicy olives, sauerkraut, and roasted red peppers, we were entertained by the Gully Hubbards, an easy-going, professional bluegrass group. After sampling entertainment and food like this, we plan on becoming regulars!

Travel Tip!

Do not hesitate to find farmer’s markets when visiting big cities, even though those markets might not appear like the roadside stands you know from back “home.” You’ll be surprised at the “small town feel” big city folk can provide in unexpected places, such as under the shadows of towering apartment buildings.

LINKS

  • Garden Street Farmer’s Market: 14th & Garden Street, Hoboken, NJ.  June 6 thru November 28th on Saturdays, 9AM to 2PM.
  • Hudson County Farmer’s Markets: Hudson County, which includes Weehawken, Hoboken, and Jersey City, is directly across the Hudson River from New York City. You can reach it by car, subway, and NYWaterways ferry.
  • New Jersey Farmer’s Markets: This state-sponsored site lists farm produce that includes micro breweries, roadside stands, community markets, pick-your-own fields, and tourist tips.
  • New York City Farmer’s Markets: This site provides everything you need to know about finding fresh produce in the big city and its boroughs. Enter an address and this site will help you locate a nearby market.
  • www.GullyHubbards.com: Check out their sound!

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Article and photos by Karen Little. Posted August 29, 2015 on www.Littleviews.com. Request permission to copy any part or all of this article from Karen at Karen@Littleviews.com.

Visit Racine, Wisconsin – boating, fishing, biking, and kick scooting

View of the Racine harbor in August 2015

I left Racine, Wisconsin, for the “big city” of Milwaukee when I was 26. Frankly, I never thought of my birth-town as a tourist destination until having spent time in Brittany, France, where we stayed on its stimulating, water-recreational coast.

Like many of the cities in Brittany, Racine (population around 80,000) is small, and is surrounded by even smaller communities. It was once famous for manufacturing, but by the 1970s, most companies folded or moved away. What continues to thrive at a high level, however, thanks to Racine’s city planners, is its Lake Michigan coastline. Today, Racine is a prime recreational area for people who love lakes, rivers, and water-related sports.

View of the Racine harbor in August 2015

Salmon-A-Rama, for example, is a nationally popular fishing contest based in Racine, and in support of it, the charter fishing industry is well established. Further, at river and lake access points around the city, crafts of all sizes and types can be seen, with ramps for canoes, kayaks, and trailable boats.

Partial map of the Racine, WI coastal area on Lake Michigan

Frankly, if you seek old city centers, fine dining, and architecturally unique areas, Racine is not a place to visit. If, however, you want a world-class coastal experience without famous area crowds and prices, Racine is the place for you.

Not only is its coast beautiful, but stunning Milwaukee (with its own parks, coast, and lots of interesting architecture) is just 45 minutes north. Heading south a half hour, coastal Kenosha is there to enjoy, and if you seek even more lake-related things to do, Chicago is an hour further. Racine offers many budget options within a region filled with world-class activities.

View of the Racine harbor in August 2015 looking at the Chancery and the Racine Harbourwalk Hotel

During our last visit, we stayed at The Harbourwalk Hotel. This is a “big city” hotel situated in a small community. Prices are higher here than in other suburban Racine inns, but its location is spot-on perfect for a vacation. Want to bike, stroll, kick scoot, or access your boat or a charter? Just step outside of the hotel’s harbor-facing doors.

Frankly, I do not believe that another waterfront hotel exists between Racine and Milwaukee. Rooms in Chicago hotels with a Lake Michigan view do exist, but there are none with direct access to the lake and their rates are at least twice as much.

The photo above looks east at The Harbourwalk Hotel, with a very popular regional chain restaurant, the Chancery, at its corner. (Note: Dining in Racine is primarily casual, with specialities in pub grub and Italian. Beer flows. Do not, however, expect fine dining. Do expect a good time.)

Where you will find gourmet food is in the city’s Danish-European bakeries. Founded by Danes, among Racine’s first wave of immigrants  after 1865, these are the only bakeries of this type in the world outside of Denmark. Ask for “Kringle.”
View of the boat launch area in the Racine, WI, harbor

There is a long biking/kick scooting/strolling path accessible from the location of the red arrow on the map placed earlier in this article. Some areas require traveling on city roads, but commonly, traffic should not be a problem.

Kick scooting along the Racine, WI, harbor

Although Lake Michigan’s water is chilly,  along it, you can access miles of sandy beach, a large playground or two, a nicely kept zoo, and a beautiful botanical garden. Musical events and other entertainment are regularly held in the area.

The picture below is of a portion of Racine’s long North Beach. To the right is a parking area and playground. To the left, miles of beachy coast leading to the city’s zoo area.

View of North Beach in Racine, WI

Wind Point, at the far north end of coastal Racine County, is home to the famous Wind Point lighthouse and park.  Sign up for the “lighthouse climb” tours, plus roam the property, with its museum and garden, at any time. Somewhat nearby is Wingspread, which is the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed conference center of the Johnsons Wax Foundation. In Racine proper, visit the very popular SC Johnson Corporate Center, home to Wright’s famous SC Johnson Research Tower and related architecture.

Windpoint, WI Lighthouse

Links

A little bit of research will easily reveal the wonders of Wisconsin’s coastal areas, including its shores from Milwaukee, to Racine, to Kenosha. These links will help you along.

Nearby destinations:

Kringle and Danish Bakeries (listed in order of our preference, but all are good):

 

Return to Littleviews’ INDEX and search for “Racine” or “Milwaukee” to find related articles on Littleviews.com and LetsKickScoot.com. Also browse through the articles here for other interesting topics.

This article and photos are by Karen Little. Posted August 27, 2015 on www.Littleviews.com. Request permission to copy any part or all of this article from Karen at Karen@Littleviews.com.

Use a Rollator and Other Devices If You Are Mobility Challenged

Kids like playing with rollator.

I was pretty healthy until very suddenly, walking became difficult. Yes, I can walk, but not for long distances. That said, this article I is not about me, but what it is like to suddenly lose a physical ability that I took for granted all my life and how I addressed the issue, and suggest you do the same.

Walking with a rollator

The sudden onset of any mobility issue related to your feet, knees, bones, joints, etc. reorganizes your life completely, even when you have full control over the upper part of your body. Little things, like grocery shopping, become impossible. Using public restrooms without grab rails are almost impossible (if you can actually get out to use one). And active living becomes “sitting in your favorite chair for hours on end.”

When first hit with an affliction like this, you might hesitate to invest in mobility devices because, frankly, you don’t want to spend the money. Perhaps  you believe that you are too young to use them (devices like these are for gramps and grannies), or you believe you’ll return to health within a defined number of months, so why bother. Very possibly, however, hesitating to invest in suitable mobility devices could cost you emotionally and physically as your muscles deteriorate.

Bear Moutain State Park, NY

The loss of mobility affects activities such as just being out with family and friends, something we all assume we can maintain. The resulting radical change of activities and isolation, of course, leads to depression. Who wants that?

another way to relax on a Rollator

My own mobility problem, for example,  “occurred” three weeks before a planned, six-week vacation in France. I went anyway, using every possible  resource to stay active, although those activities were greatly restricted. Yes, I wanted to stroll through France’s markets and city centers, but I just could not. Instead, I “made do,” which is far more interesting than not doing anything.

Here are some of the things I did (or plan on doing) to stay mobile. Should you find yourself in this predicamen, I hope this list is useful to you and it leads to finding even better solutions.

  • Acquire a Disability Car Tag: Talk to your doctor to find out whether your injury qualifies you for a state handicapped permit. You might still be in shock that you cannot walk without an aid, so want to put this request off for a while, but I recommend that you acquire the tag as soon as possible, especially if you can hobble under your own power, but not all that well. (Disability tags issued in America also are valid in many other countries.)
  • Lose Weight: Unless you are naturally thin, immediately start losing weight. Yes, less weight on your hips and limbs is beneficial. More important, however, is if you need to lean on (or be carried by) others and they can’t bear your weight, you will stay immobile.
  • Elbow Crutches, Canes, and Walkers:  Elbow crutches provide more stability than canes or trekking poles. Note that if you must bear a lot of weight on these aids, you can hurt wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints within a relatively short period. The use of these devices is another reason why losing weight is important!
  • Rolling Devices:  These devices include rollators (like you see me using in the first pictures), light-weight, foldable wheelchairs, and battery-operated scooters with seats. You might need to select one version for home and another when traveling. Rollators are relatively inexpensive. My “Hugo Elite Rollator Walker with 8-inch Wheels, Seat, Backrest and Saddle Bag”  cost approximately $130 on Amazon, its cost is covered by various insurance policies, AND it is handy enough to carry art supplies, picnic food, and beach towels, among many things.
  • Wheels on Rolling Devices: Bigger diameter wheels are best for outside. Little ones for around a carpet-free house. A good rollator will have 8-inch or larger wheels.
  • Straight Posture: Keep your chin up and back straight. Curving forward can, within a short time, cause injuries to other parts of your body. To evaluate your posture, have someone take pictures and/or videos of you as you stand up from a sitting position and walk. (Avoid the Groucho Marx Walk.)
  • Physical Therapy: Many exercise and strength-building machines can be used when you are partially or fully mobility challenged (although probably not a treadmill). Videos and web articles abound with tips on how to rebuild injured body areas without requiring whole-body participation.
  • Chair Fitness Aerobics: Keeping your heart pumping strongly contributes to faster, better healing. Google the phrase “Chair Cardio Aerobics” for ideas and links to videos on how to use common household chairs to build your aerobic strength.
  • Involvement with People: If you can’t get outside easily, check out all the activities on the web that involve groups of people, from crafts to playing cards. Contribute to these groups, post selfies, and stay involved!
  • Carts and Wagons: Carry things around the house or to your car in a cart or wagon. Carrying things in your arms puts extra pressure on your extremities.
  • Stair Lifts: These stair lifts look expensive, but you can build one for under $1,000 from a kit. I have not yet done this, but am thinking about it.
  • Possibly, Hire a Periodic Assistant: If you do not live with family or friends, evaluate your desire to be out and about and hire an assistant to aid your transportation needs. It is money well spent.
  • And Keep an Eye Out for Kids Having Fun With Your Devices!  Kids love anything with wheels as well as sticks that can be used as swords. Either give them some time to play with them, or instruct them to never touch your things. (Instructing them to never touch your stuff tends to not work as the urge to play with fun looking stuff is an overwhelmingly attractive activity.)

Kids like playing with rollator said

A lot of information on this subject can be found through “image searches” in Google or Bing. To build the picture gallery below, for example, I searched on the following topics:”ultra light weight wheelchairs,” “foldable wheelchairs,” “trekking poles, “electric sitting scooters,” “canes,” “elbow crutches,” “cane stools,” and “walking sticks.”

Mobility chairs and canes

Note: The  folding, battery-operated scooter seen on the left, middle line above is a Shoprider – Luggie – Foldable Mobility Scooter, model R35000.

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Other articles related to mobility can be found on www.LetsKickScoot.com.

This article is written by Karen Little. Most photos are by Karen and Philip Little. Posted August 22, 2015 on www.Littleviews.com. Request permission to copy any part or all of this article from Karen at Karen@Littleviews.com.

Family Kick Scooting in Ontario, Canada – a Video

We are very happy to have “found” kick scooting as an outdoor activity that we can all share as a family. We biked for a few years, but the hassle of loading 4 bikes on and off meant that many times we found an excuse not to go. The video below is how our group gets around today.

Our kids had the small razor scooters so many times that we were used to trailing them on foot.

One day I saw the bigger Razor A5 and bought it to replace one of the totally beat up little razors. That got the whole thing started.

 

Soon I bought another A5 for my other daughter and started searching the net for adult scooters. That’s when I found the ” Let’s kick scoot” website and found out to my delight that there were several adult scooters available.

After researching and reading many reviews, we bought two Xootrs, followed by a bigger Amish scooter, so we could carry a picnic and have an extra scooter for when family and friends visit. A vintage BMX scooter bought cheaply on Kijiji and then customized by lowering the deck completed our stable.

We go out almost on a daily basis and have logged many miles already. Our usual ride is 5 km to the gazebo you see in the video and 5 km back.

Kick scooting is so versatile and practical for a family. We can quickly stop to observe nature,take a break, or drink water and we can be closer together while riding as compared to our bikes. Please note that in some our earlier clips in the video, we were not using helmets. We all are now wearing them, plus have the kids wear volleyball knee pads which are comfortable and flexible for scootering.

Article and video by Daniel Perrone.

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Article and video by Daniel Perrone of Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, who is a member of our Let’s Kick Scoot Forums.

Posted August 16, 2015 on www.LetsKickScoot.com. Request permission to copy any part or all of this article from Karen at Karen@LetsKickScoot.com.