Sunday, March 9, 2014
On Saturday, March 8th we were with Miss Georgetown Fair Queen Danielle Brown at the 2014 Princess Luncheon. We heard there were about 250 tickets sold this year and they even added more tables to make sure every princess in Georgetown had a seat at the luncheon. The princesses were greeted with tables covered in white linen and lunch served on real china, but most of our queens-in-training went right for the cupcakes.
This year's princess luncheon featured a special performance with a ballerina, story time and several dances with the queen. As the official photographers of the Georgetown Fair Queen, we were especially pleased to do all the individual princess pictures with the queen, which were all printed and put in cards with a handwritten note from Queen Danielle. And Queen Danielle visited with the princesses at every table during lunch.
The princess luncheon is one of our favorite events with the Georgetown Fair Queen, and it is truly magical to see the banquet center transformed into a princess wonderland. Think you've got what it takes to the do the job of the busiest local fair queen in Illinois? Keep watching our blog for contestant information or get in touch with directors Karen and Jill. Contestant orientation will take place this summer, but not before Queen Danielle makes more appearances than we can count. So keep watching for new pictures of the Georgetown Fair Queen right here at Josh and Joe Travels!
Monday, March 3, 2014
South Florida and the Florida Keys: In the Swamp at Big Cypress with Florida Panthers and Alligators
Big Cypress National Preserve is over 700,000 acres of freshwater swamp, and it is also home to about 30 of Florida's 120 or so Florida Panthers. Along with the occasional panther crossing the road, a trip through Big Cypress puts you on a path to see real alligators and lots of other Florida wildlife in its natural habitat. Big Cypress was established in 1974, and we loved our stop at the Oasis Visitors Center. The Oasis Center has a lot of education going on inside, so if you have kids or are curious kids at heart, be sure to go inside to learn the real facts about the swamp and the wildlife that calls South Florida home. Driving through Big Cypress you will see panther crossing signs on the road, and at the center you'll learn how vehicle strikes are still a leading cause of panther death. We really don't have enough panthers to be running them over at night with our cars, and they are pretty cool and an important part of the swamp, so slow down and observe night time speed limits while your out cruising.
The big star of the show at Oasis Visitors Center are the alligators. These guys are hard to miss, and even harder not to marvel how you can get so close to them from the observation deck. As the official photographers of the Georgetown Fair Queen you often see us with big cameras and long telephoto lenses, so we wanted you to know we snapped these pictures with our compact camera which doesn't have much of a built-in zoom. And he best part - it doesn't cost anything to stop at Oasis. They'll load you up with maps and information, tell you the best stories and give you the best tips. Even the visitor center itself has a really cool story. So when you go out into Big Cypress looking for an adventure, be sure to spend some time at the Oasis Visitors Center, and be sure to look around, because lurking between the alligators and panthers you might just spot Josh and Joe Travels!
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Even though you can follow highway 41 most of the way through Big Cypress to get to Chokoloskee, getting there really is quite a little adventure. From 41 you go south to get to Everglades City, and from there out on the causeway to Chokoloskee, which at that point, has you out on the southernmost tip of the mainland looking out into the Gulf. And right there is where you'll find Smallwood Store.
Smallwood Store is still standing today as a museum and historic attraction, but in Smallwood's day it was the hub of activity, even functioning as the post office. Down in the 10,000 islands, Smallwood Store is a historic site and one of the last standing examples of Florida pioneer history. The Smallwood Store is up on stilts, and you'll notice on the way there that most people still put their houses up on stilts to protect from floods and storms. For a few dollars you can go inside and check things out for yourself, and they are generally open 7 days a week. After checking out the pictures we're betting you'll be curious to go inside and take a look for yourself, just like Josh and Joe Travels!
Friday, February 28, 2014
We've spent a lot of time in the Florida Keys, and recently we got a chance to go out into the Big Cypress Preserve. Joe has been studying his family history and discovered that some of his relatives lived in this area so we spent a day exploring South Florida and eventually found our way to Chokoloskee. Along the way we found one of the smallest post offices in the country in Ochopee.
The Ochopee Post Office is downright tiny and looked like a single room We bought a couple post cards and you don't actually go inside: there is a big sliding window that opens to the service counter when you walk up. The place is a bit of a tourist attraction and we actually had to wait our turn to take a few pictures in front of the building, but it was worth the wait. How often do you see the smallest post office, even if you do ride with Josh and Joe Travels?
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
No Name Pub is a nice place - if you can find it. This place is off the beaten path to say the least and if you don't wonder much past what you see on US 1 you'll never get to No Name Pub. We like to go to the flea market in Big Pine so we went looking for No Name on a weekend afternoon. We used google maps to find the place, but once we got there we realized it isn't exactly hidden.
Food at No Name is good. They have a lot on their menu and the place is surprisingly family friendly. The day we visited there was a very large family with young children seated inside. And the silver dollar potatoes are a nice touch. If you really like No Name you can even buy a t-shirt. But if you want to see what covers the ceiling and walls inside, you'll have to go off the beaten path just like Josh and Joe Travels!
Monday, February 24, 2014
We do a lot of driving in the Florida Keys, and we are always especially careful when driving through Big Pine, home of the Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge. You are most likely to see Key Deer around dusk - but be careful - we've seen them wonder right up to the street on US 1 even south of the traffic light. If you go during the day you'll need to turn at the light to visit the center in Big Pine Key Plaza. If you are willing to go a bit further you'll find a peaceful refuge, but don't expect to see many deer in the afternoon.
Speed kills Key Deer. You'll see lots of signs warning you to slow down for the habitat if you travel in the Lower Keys. The habitat actually has a lower night time speed limit but you can still come up on a tiny Key Deer pretty fast even at 35mph when it is dark. So the next time to come to the other side of seven mile slow down on Big Pine and take a side trip to look for Key Deer, and try to find the nature path you see in the pictures so you can walk in the footsteps of Josh and Joe Travels!
Saturday, February 22, 2014
The Georgetown Fair Queen is one of the busiest local fair queens in Illinois, and a few years ago the Georgetown Fair Queen Pageant created an annual princess luncheon with the queen held in the spring. This year's princess luncheon will be held on Saturday, March 8th at the Georgetown Fairgrounds banquet center where over 250 people will gather for a great day with 2013 Miss Georgetown Fair Danielle Brown.
The princess luncheon is one of the most magical moments at the fairgrounds as the banquet center is transformed into a princess wonderland. Princesses get their picture taken with the queen before they are seated for a lunch plated on real fine china. Queen Danielle will read a story and all the princesses will come up front to learn a dance. We've seen a few princesses come to the luncheon more than once, but if you are new to this event check out our pictures of the event with former Georgetown Fair Queens Alexandria Hannan and Danielle Sacre.
Some of you might have already seen a few of the pictures from this year's princess luncheon photoshoot, but we couldn't help post a few more to get everyone excited about the event. And remember the princess luncheon is just the start of a very busy spring appearance schedule for the Georgetown Fair Queen, so keep checking back to see pictures of her community appearances. Think you've got what it takes to do Queen Danielle's job? Young women interested in becoming a contestant need to keep their eyes on the official Georgetown Fair Queen webpage, connect with directors Karen or Jill on Facebook, and watch for us to tip you off about the informational contestant tea which will be held in July. We can't wait to see you at the princess luncheon, because we love sharing magical moments at Josh and Joe Travels!