Look up to see the green comet

 

C/2022 E3 ZTF taken on Dec. 26, 2022 in Payson, Arizona by Chris Schur. (Image credit: Chris Schur)
A photo of comet C/2022 E3 ZTF taken on Dec. 26, 2022 in Payson, Arizona by Chris Schur. (Image credit: Chris Schur)

 

Binoculars will help but will not be necessary Feb. 1-2 in the northern hemisphere if tracking CometC/2022.

 The green comet, technically known as C/2022 E3 (ZTF), has been in the news for more than a week. But to watch for it look up or grab the binoculars. It will be closest to Earth Feb. 1 and 2.

Or go online to watch with the Virtual Telescope Project or visit YouTube.

The Virtual Telescope Project will livestream the comet’s presence on Feb. 1, 2023 beginning at 10 p.m. CT and continue Feb. 2. 

Discovered a year ago March inside the orbit of Jupiter by astronomers Frank Masci and Bryce Bolin, the comet has not been visible from Earth in 50 years

Masci and Bolin were using the Zwicky Transient Facility at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory in the Cleveland National Forest on Palomar Mountain. (North San Diego County), CA,

Space, a popular sky information site that has been tracking the comet via Skywatch, recommends looking north after sunset for the comet’s glowing green tail.  

Another time to watch is when the comet will be near Mars on Feb. 10. So even though it’s not at its perigee (closest to Earth) it likely can be found.

A good place to get more information and see photos is Space, a popular sky information site. 

Snow Moon or Groundhog Moon may forecast February weather

 

Full Moon taken in October ((J Jacobs photo)
Full Moon taken in October ((J Jacobs photo)

It may be hard to believe our calendar page is about to say February. Given the popular name for February’s full moon, the Snow Moon, and the cold weather forecasted for the end of January, we may want to turn to another name for the month’s full moon, the Groundhog Moon.

Maybe that creature whose appearance sometimes forecasts an early Spring for farmers will bring good news on Feb. 2, this year. That date is just before the moon has full illuminations on Feb. 5 at 12:28 p.m. CT in 2023. 

Because it technically becomes full in the afternoon when below the horizon, sky wsatchers might consider it seems quite full Feb. 4 and definitely, Feb. 6.

However, even full it will appear smaller than usual because, as with January’s full moon, February’s is a Micromoon. The opposite of a Supermoon that appears large because its orbit is close to Earth, the Micromoon’s orbit takes it farthest from Earth when full. 

 Time and Date has an excellent discussion on February full moon names, where the snowiest place is in the US. It quotes Climatologist Brian Brettschneider who says Valdez, Alaska is snowiest incorporated city and that east of the Rockies the area is at New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Observatory.

Time and Date also has an excellent explanation of  Micromoons.  

Besides snow, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says Native American tribes often name the February full moon for animals. I like that some Algonquins call it the Groundhog Moon.

Other tribal names include the Bald Eagle Moon or Eagle Moon named by the Cree and the Bear Moon so named by Ojibwe.

 

For a getaway think spring (training that is)

Wrigleyville West aka Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ for Spring Training (J Jacobs photo)
Visitors to Wrigleyville West aka Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ for Spring Training (J Jacobs photo)

 if seeking something beyond sitting by a pool for a balmy weather getaway in late February and most of March consider watching your fav baseball team warming up in Arizona or Florida.

Game tickets are less expensive, you can see teams play in their spring home and, particularly in AZ where the parks are a mere 40 minutes away, play against rival teams nearby.

In addition, players are good about autographs and the atmosphere is fun and casual. 

First the Cactus League. Well, actually, first is getting past Super Bowl LVII which is played Feb. 12 at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ. 

 Go to Visit Phoenix/Things to do where you can scroll down to a map titled “Explore Greater Phoenix.” You can find the town where your team plays and tap on it for places to stay, restaurants and what to do.

As an example, when clicking on Mesa, which is in greater Phoenix’ s Southeast Valley, you see it has the Cub’s spring training base of Sloan Park. BTW the Cubs begin at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ begins Feb  25 against the San Francisco Giants.

Mesa is also is home to Hohokum, the Oakland Athletics Stadium, several art galleries and such fun restaurants as Worth Takeaway and Jalapeño Bucks (known for its brisket).

By tapping Glendale, an area northwest of downtown Phoenix, you find Camelback Ranch, the spring home of the Chicago White Sox and the LA Dodgers.

Glendale has historic Main Street, an area of turn-of-century homes and lots of restaurants.   Visit Cactus League at Camelback Ranch for good ideas on where to stay and what to do.

Which brings us to when and where to go: the Spring Training teams and schedule. MLB has 15 teams that play in the Cactus League from Feb. 24 to March 28, 2023. 

Roger Dean Stadium on Jupiter Island, FL (Photo courtesy of the RD Stadium).
Roger Dean Stadium on Jupiter Island, FL (Photo courtesy of the RD Stadium)

Now for Florida and the Grapefruit League. Here you find such teams in the Palm Beach area as the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals who play at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on Jupiter Island.

And just as Sloan Park is Wrigleyville West, the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway South in JetBlue Park on Fenway South Drive in Fort Myers. 

For more places and teams in the Grapefruit League see Grapefruit League Map | Spring Training | MLB.com

*Warning: When looking for info and tickets for your team the websites that appear are primarily resale and other sites. Be safe by going to an official MLB site for tickets. Type in your team and MLB.com.

As an example, White Sox fans can find info at Official Information | Chicago White Sox (mlb.com) and the schedule at Chicago White Sox Schedule | Chicago White Sox (mlb.com) or at Official Chicago White Sox Website | MLB.com

So, plan now to get away from gray skies and freezing temps. 

 

Winter Solstice Remedy

Bus tour during Modernism Week (JJacobs photo)
Bus tour during Modernism Week (JJacobs photo)

Just knowing that the Winter Solstice is Dec. 21 with only nine hours and nine minutes of daylight is enough to shiver the bones, not counting predictions of single digit temps. 

 Cheer up by planning a warm weather trip. 

Visit the Phoenix area

Go in time for Superbowl LVII Feb. 12, 2023. It’s at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ, home to the Arizona Cardinals. The Phoenix area, particularly Glendale and Scottsdale, are filled with more good restaurants than can be visited in one trip. 

Visit the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area

Go in time for Modernism Week Feb.  16-26, 2023 to see where the stars lived between takes in Hollywood. This is an annual event that attracts hundreds of mid-last-century architecture and furniture aficionados from the US and Canada.

For a quick, warm weather fix right

Watch a bowl game on TV the Jan. 2. Most traditional New Year’s Day Bowl games will be Monday, Jan. 2 because they don’t play on Sunday.

Toast your favorite team in the 109th Rose Bowl in Pasadena when Utah plays Penn State, but also catch the 134th Rose Parade earlier. It’s great what can be done on floats with nature’s bounty.Started in 1902 with Stanford taking on Michigan, it’s the “Granddaddy” of bowl games. They don’t hold it on Sunday, so it will be Jan. 2. Rose Parade Guide | Visit Pasadena

Or watch the Citrus Bowl when Purdue plays LSU at the Camping world Stadium in Orlando, FL

Or see the Reliaquest Bowl for the University of Illinois vs Mississippi State at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fl.

Or the Cotton Bowl when USC vs. Tulane.at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Stay Warm

 

Where to find vacation ideas

 

 

Travel and Adventure Show Chicago (Photo courtesy of the TaA Show)
Travel and Adventure Show Chicago (Photo courtesy of the TaA Show)

 

Two Travel and Adventure Shows, one virtual and the other in Rosemont, IL, offer ideas and experts to help you plan your next trip.

The show includes experts, travel tips, itinerary and budget options and private tour suggestions.

 Go Online Dec. 7, 2022 from 5 to 10 p.m. ET. Arranged through Eventbrite and Unicomm, you can find it at Eventbrite/virtual and Unicomm/events.

Travel and Adventure Show Chicago (Photo courtesy of the TaA Show)
Travel and Adventure Show Chicago (Photo courtesy of the TaA Show)

 The other show is in Chicago Jan. 14-15, 2023, at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (Hall F) at 5555 N. River Rd., Rosemont, IL (847) 692-2220). Jan 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Jan 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT.

It’s a fun show with entertainment, food, expert speakers and lots of handouts.

If you have time, you may want to start out at the virtual show to pick up some ideas in December and then attend the in-person show in January. 

 For tickets and more information on the January show visit Chicago Travel and Adventure Show | Event Information – Travel Shows.

Cheer marathon runners this weekend

Bank of America Chicago Marathon (Photo courtesy of Bank of America)
Bank of America Chicago Marathon (Photo courtesy of Bank of America)

Come to Chicago this weekend to cheer runners on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022. it’s an annual happening.

The official Bank of America Chicago Marathon website describes the event as the 44th running of this marathon. Articles refer to it as the 45th Chicago Marathon.

Well, the current format was OK’d by Mayor Richard J Daley but did start with Michael Bilandic as the city’s mayor Sept. 25, 1977 and was called the Mayor Daley Marathon.

That would make it a 45th anniversary in 2022, but COVID interfered. The race was canceled in 2020. So yes, 2022 is the 44th running of the Chicago Marathon as the official website says.

Come but don’t drive downtown. Go to a show at the Lyric Opera or a downtown theater while in town but take public transportation.

The field is estimated at 40,000 runners going through 29 Chicago neighborhoods. Roads around the marathon’s start and finish at Grant Park have already closed while many more will be blocked later this week and then along the route on Sunday, the day of the marathon.

A basically flat, fast route, its 26.2 miles is considered prime for runners hoping to qualify for such marathons as Boston. It’s also known as crowd friendly with good cheering stations.

If you haven’t asked a participant where to cheer, go to one already set up. Cheering participants helps them get through the marathon.

The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle Cheer Zone will be in Lincoln Park at the 8K mark.   Then, the Bank of America Chicago 13.1 Cheer Zone will be half-way through the race. This stop reminds folks there will be a Bank of America Chicago 13.1 on June 4, 2023 through the parks and boulevards of Garfield Park, Humboldt Park and Douglass Park. 

At Mile 15 is a block party to recognize that participants often run for causes. The Charity Block Party will be at Adams and Loomis Streets near Whitney Young High School.

Finally, cheer with noisemakers at the Bank of America Cheer Zone near Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road.

The race starts at 7:20 a.m. with many participants finishing more than four hours later and some through at five hours.

Also, watch Sunday at NBC-5 from 7-11 a.m. Live stream is on nbcchicago.com. or listen at WSCR-AM 670 from 6-10 a.m.

For CTA bus ‘L’ and Metra info visit Navigating the Course.

Find more information at 2022 FAQS Bank of America Chicago Marathon and at Spectator information – Bank of America Chicago Marathon

A Michigan Art Coast Getaway

 

 

Saugatuck, MI is made for strolling, popping into shops and taking a break for coffee, tea and ice cream. Photos by Jodie Jacobs)
Downtown Saugatuck, MI is made for strolling, popping into shops and taking a break for coffee, tea and ice cream. Photos by Jodie Jacobs)

Autumn officially began Sept. 22, 2022, in the Northern Hemisphere.  Which is a good excuse to take to the road. You get warm days and cool nights so leaves are changing color.

If looking for high color, try to go the second week of October. But if looking for a relaxing getaway with good art galleries, good food, good wine and fun shops, consider the Saugatuck/Douglas, and by extension, the Fennvillee/orchard/winery area.

A popular summer and fall destination, the towns are on the State of Michigan’s vacation/harbor/dunes coast about 130 plus miles if going east and then north from Chicago around  Lake Michigan.

Douglas is basically on the south side of the Kalamazoo Rive and Saugatuck lies on the river’s north side, closer to the area’s dunes. Fennville is a short distance south and east.

 

Wickwood Inn, a B n B in Saugatuck, MI.
Wickwood Inn, a B n B in Saugatuck, MI.

Where to stay

Saugatuck has several B and Bs and inns. We stayed at the Wickwood Inn which actually is a B ‘n’ B. It is within easy walking distance of the downtown, serves wine and light appetizers in its bar/library late afternoons, sweets all the time next to the kitchen and breakfast nook and breakfast options every morning in the dining room.

The 1937, colonial-style home of former Saugatuck Mayor Frank Wicks, the house was bought by the Louis family in 1981 and turned into an inn. It became famous for its breakfasts when neighbors, Bill Miller and Silver Palate Cookbook co-author Julee Rosso bought it about ten years later.

In 2021 it was sold to Shea Soucie and Martin Horner, partners of the Chicago-based Soucie Horner Ltd, a luxury design company who added their stamp to the house with new décor and furnishings.

Possibly because of COVID, the breakfast we had no longer a buffet. Choices served at your table in the dining room included but were not limited to eggs done your way, smoked salmon, good bread for toast and excellent jam.

The rooms had received a luxury make-over with really comfortable bedding, good showers and relaxing color tones. 

We liked that the house became our late afternoon refuge from sightseeing. Its garden porch was perfect for reading and its parlor with fireplace had comfortable sitting for chatting and relaxing.

When we rang the bell, Jeff West, our Wickwood, host for the weekend, said our room would be ready early and we could park in the Inn’s lot before checking in. Parking is challenging in downtown Saugatuck, so we were happy to leave our car at the inn. Note, a guest card must be in the car window. 

One of many rooms in the J Petter Galleries, Douglas, MI
One of many rooms in the J Petter Galleries, Douglas, MI

Galleries

Because check-in wasn’t until 4 p.m. ET and we were still operating on CT we stopped at J. Petter Galleries, a large, meandering two-level structure on the Blue Coast Highway. It’s in Douglas just before the bridge and the turn into Saugatuck.

J Petter Galleries is a fine art gallery in the classical definition. Going there is like spending time at an art museum where you don’t hurry.

Operating the gallery since 2013, Julianne Petter has been building a wine section and wine-tasting bar that deserves a visit along with the art exhibit rooms. Juli, as she’s known, referred to the appreciation of fine wine on our recent visit as “the art of wine.” 

To connect its artists to its wines, the gallery is running a label design contest for a “Beaujolais nouveau” style of wine developed for them here in the United States.

 Water Street Gallery, our next stop, is a short drive south on the Blue Coast Hwy from Petter’s in downtown Douglas. Water Street is much smaller than Petter’s but still nice. It has interesting sculptures outside in front and down a few steps in back that is accessible around the street corner through its driveway. 

Button Art Gallery, our third stop, is across the street and down a block from Water Street Gallery. Button is a fun place with creative pieces inside and in the garden outside. 

Saugatuck is known as Michigan’s Art Coast going back to when the Art Institute of Chicago set up classes there as the Ox-Bow School of Art in 1910. Ox-Bow School of Art still exists, offering credited and non-credited classes.

 Artists still live and vacation in the area. Plus, there are individual artist galleries and studios downtown Saugatuck. The three galleries mentioned here that are in Douglas carry several artists’ work and were open when we visited on a Sunday and Monday (leaving Tuesday morning).  Best is to check their hours and days open.  

Fenn Valley Vineyards is an old, established winery in Fennville, south of Saugatuck-Douglas
Fenn Valley Vineyards is an old, established winery in Fennville, south of Saugatuck-Douglas

Wineries

We saved visits to wineries located in Fennville for our second day so as not to rush tastings and exploration of the area.

The oldest is Fenn Valley Vineyards developed, owned and operated by the Welsch family since 1973. Its site was specifically chosen in an area that has been good for orchards. 

Located five miles from Lake Michigan, Fenn Valley is a 240-acre farm on top of a large sand ridge between the Black River and the Kalamazoo River valleys that benefits from Lake Michigan’s temperature moderating conditions and a well-drained soil.

Everyone’s taste is different. I prefer full bodied, dry reds but everything tried during our wine tasting was very drinkable and good for serving guests. My faves were the Classic Chardonnay fermented in French oak and the Meritage, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. To learn more about these wines see Fenn Valley Wines

The wines served to us at Wickwood were from Fenn Vally.

Bree does the wine-pours at Magalas, a new winery in Fennville , MI
Bree does the wine-pours at Modales, a new winery in Fennville, MI

Newish in the valley is Modales. Formed in 2016, Modales consists of two farms, a 75-acre farm at the winery about 3.5 miles from Lake Michigan that had been a stone fruit farm and a 37-acre farm closer to the lake.

Until more of the vines planted are ready for harvest, Bree noted they have bought grapes from the Leelanau region of Michigan (which I found in the past to have become some remarkable wines) and then process them according to Modales tastes and standards.

I liked the 2018 Lamastus Red which was a blend and full-bodied. I also tasted a wine from grapes just harvested in 2022 on the property that was young but showed considerable promise.

Good wine is worth waiting for so I expect Modales to become better known as it develops its specialties and plants more vines. Though young, the winery is worth a visit and then a return in a few years to taste again.

 

Coast 236 Scallops in Saugatuck, MI
Coast 236 Scallops in Saugatuck, MI

Where to Dine

Coast 236, a downtown Saugatuck restaurant and bar, is known for its wine flights, cocktails and recognition in Wine Spectator. But it also has excellent cuisine.

Many of the diners were doing the day’s featured multi-course dinner with matching wines. However, since we had just spent the day tasting wines I chose a main-course option of New Bedford Diver Scallops with Foie Gras from Labelle Farms. They were accompanied by citrus semolina gnocchi and broccolini. The sauce was a sauternes beurre blanc. Wow!

I often use scallops as a restaurant test and these passed with an A plus. They were perfectly prepared and the dish was so loaded with flavor that I used the toast we ordered to accompany our meal as a way to sop up the sauce.

My dinner companion wasn’t hungry so chose the tapas-sized dish of New Zealand Lamb Lollipops.

Note: Chef Rick Bower and the restaurant have been recognized by the James Beard Foundation for commitment to sustainable seafood sourcing.

Pennyroyal Cafe in Saugatuck, MI
Pennyroyal Cafe in Saugatuck, MI

Pennyroyal Café & Provisions is a small dine-in and take-out spot on the Blue Coast Highway in Saugatuck. Sitting inside is not about atmosphere but about getting a table. The outdoor patio is nice but the wait is long. However, Pennyroyal is so innovative and the food so delicious that people are willing to be crowded inside or put up with the long wait outdoors.

Part of the problem is that Condé Nast Traveler has more than once noted that Pennyroyal was a restaurant destination. Also, Executive Chef Melissa Corey had worked for James Beard award-winning chefs and she won when appearing on Food Network’s “Chopped.”  

We chose to try the restaurant for lunch because it was a Monday and closed about 3 p.m. that day. The all-day menu was different from the dinner one.

Even though we came what we thought was after the busy brunch crowd, yes, we had to wait for a table outside for about 45 minutes.

Imagine a BLT that includes delicious Gruyere cheese, Nueske’s bacon from Wisconsin and San Francisco-style sourdough bread from a Grand Rapids, MI baking company that was nicely grilled.

Definitely gourmet, what came was a cross between a BLT and a grilled cheese sandwich. Reading about Nueske’s, a long-time family business, is a clue to how important the chef considers individual ingredients.  Yum. It was worth the wait. 

There are no reservations for lunch but reservations can be made for dinner. So, if in the area, try to get a dinner reservation.

 

Crane's Bakery Restaurant Winery in Fennville,MI
Crane’s Bakery Restaurant Winery in Fennville,MI

Shopping 

The Saugatuck/Douglas/Fennville area has good breweries and antiques which will give you more places to taste, look or wander but if time is short you might want to put these three stops on your itinerary.

Crane’s, a triple threat of bakery, restaurant and small-batch winery, sits among the fields and vineyards of Fennville. This is the place to pick up a pumpkin or fruit pie. We brought home one of the best pumpkin pies and cinnamon sugar dusted, apple-cider donuts we’ve ever tasted.

We did not stay for lunch because we were going to Pennyroyal and we didn’t try the wines so if in the area, go for them and add them to your list or add a comment on this website.

 

Mazwi is an African shop whose imports fit in well with the arts in Saugatuck, MI
Mazwi is an African shop whose imports fit in well with the arts in Saugatuck, MI

Mazwi is across the street from Coast 236. Its owners travel to Africa to import items for their Saugatuck shop. My problem is limiting purchases to gifts for family because there are so many interesting and artistic items.

Kilwins, a chocolate and ice cream shop on Butler St, downtown Saugatuck can be found in other fun, Midwest travel destinations but that doesn’t make it less of a shopping stop when chocolate ior a caramel-coated apple is on the mind.

We did Crane’s with the wineries but went there to pick up a pie to take home. As to shopping, we finally got around to checking out the shops after lunch and picking up fudge to take from Kilwins. The fun of travel destinations is to pace stops so the break really is a vacation and not something that needs downtime for recovery.

 Enjoy! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labor Day weekend fly or drive tips

 

Yes, Labor Day weekend around Chicago will find busy highways and both airports filled with coming and going passengers. So whether flying or driving, leaving a day early and or returning a day later may improve mood and impatience quota.

Driving tips

Check the department of transportation in the states where you might be driving for construction updates. In Illinois find travel information at IDOT for roadway news, recreation information and passenger services. 

You just think you have to be somewhere at a certain time or on a set day but breaking up the drive with a meal or overnight stop at a scenic or interesting town makes the vacation (or visit) easier on the back or sitting time.  

What to bring: an extra cell phone charger. because people lose them or forget them, a temperature (cold or hot bag) that closes for drinks and snacks and the Mapquest guide  you printed off ahead of time because you have learned that the G”PS system doesn’t always choose the best way or where to divert to avoid a bad backup.

 

O'Hare Airport. (Photo courtesy of CDA and O'Hare Airport))
O’Hare Airport. (Photo courtesy of CDA and O’Hare Airport))

 

Tips and information flying in and out of Chicago airports from the Chicago Department of Aviation

The bad news: Airline carriers are projecting about 1.6 million travelers to O’Hare and Midway International Airports between Thursday, Sept. 1 and Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. 

ADA says that compared to the same Labor Day period of 2021, O’Hare expects to see a passenger increase of 7.3% and its airlines project Monday, Sept. 5, will be the busiest day.  At Miday, airlines project there will be an increase of passengers of approximately 49.9%, with Friday, Sept. 2 being the busiest day. 

The good news:  Both airports have upgraded their dining and shopping options.

In addition, flyers to the Chicago area will find the arrival sections of O’Hare’s main terminals free of construction for the first time in more than a year. Also, for the first time in two years, the 9,300-space O’Hare Main Parking Garage is completely open and ready for travelers. 

A $48.8 million project was completed to maintain the pedestrian connections between the terminal facilities, elevated parking structure, and transportation infrastructure to and from the city. Additionally, the reconstruction of roadways and sidewalks includes Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant crosswalks and handrails. 

Even with the improvements, the CDA recommends people take the CTA Blue Line to O’Hare and CTA Orange Line to Midway. Metra’s North Central Service offers weekday service from downtown Chicago’s Union Station to the O’Hare transfer station next to the Multi-Modal Facility, with access to the Airport Transit System (ATS). 

Also recommended is using the Kiss n’ Fly drop-offs at both airports. At Midway, passengers can be dropped off at West 59th Street and South Kilpatrick Avenue and take a short walk into the terminals. At O’Hare, passengers can be dropped off at the Multi-Modal Facility, 10255 W. Zemke Blvd., and board the ATS for a short ride to Terminals 1, 2 3 and 5. 

Cell Phone Lots where pick-ups wait are free at both airports. The O’Hare Cell Phone Lot is at 560 N. Bessie Coleman Drive. The Midway Cell Phone Lot is at West 61st Street and South Cicero Avenue. 

Because people may have longer than usual wait times at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoints during the weekend, the CDA suggests arriving early.  Real-time updates for O’Hare checkpoints are available at FlyChicago.com

If considering the economy lots check the status of available parking before leaving for O’Hare at flychicago.com/ORDParking

Bring a mask. Some areas may require them.

 

Meteors and Supermoon compete for attention

 

Meteor shower (Photo courtesy of NASA)
Meteor shower (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Circle Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022 on the calendar or make a note on the smart phone for a double sky phenomenon. But one sky event may make it hard to see the other.

The Perseids, arguably the best meteor shower of the year, already started July 17 but continues through Aug. 24. It peaks Aug. 12-13 with from 50 to 100 meteors zooming across the sky per hour.

The meteors are debris from parent comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle whose radiant is the Perseus constellation in the northeastern sky. The greatest number of meteors will be visible after the radiant rises, according to Earth SkyThe radiant rises around 11 p.m. CT, nearly due northeast in Perseus so the Perseids are best viewed from midnight to sunrise. 

Perseus was the Greek mythological hero who stopped (beheaded) Medusa the Gorgon (Maybe you’ve seen the TV ad where Medusa enters a bar and turns guys to stone).

The problem: August’s full moon, glowing in the sky Aug. 11-13 is the fourth and last supermoon of 2022. As a supermoon whose orbit brings it closer to earth than most moons come the rest of the year, it looks larger and brighter than usual. That large illumination makes it harder to spot meteors.

July's full moon was a supermoon because its orbit brought it so close to Earth. (J Jacobs photo)
July’s full moon was a supermoon because its orbit brought it so close to Earth. (J Jacobs photo)

“Sadly, this year’s Perseids peak will see the worst possible circumstances for spotters,” said NASA astronomer Bill Cooke, who leads the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

“Most of us in North America would normally see 50 or 60 meteors per hour,” he said, “but this year, during the normal peak, the full Moon will reduce that to 10-20 per hour at best,” said Cooke.

Aptly named, at least for 2022’s August Supermoon, this full moon is called the Sturgeon Moon after the giant fish found in the Great Lakes that is often caught the last month of summer.  A good source for full moon names is The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The sturgeon is considered a “living fossil” for its beginnings about 136 million years ago.

(For information on when to watch for the Perseids in your area visit Time and Date.)

 

Go for a wine festival Stay to do a wine trail

Vintage Ohio wine festival (Photo courtesy of Ohio Wine Producers Assoc.)
Vintage Ohio wine festival (Photo courtesy of Ohio Wine Producers Assoc.)

Among the best rewards of being a travel writer is discovering that an area known as a scenic destination is also a food and/or wine destination.

When getting off I90 in northeastern Ohio to check out some Lake Erie marinas for a boating magazine and follow a covered bridge trail near Geneva and Ashtabula as a bonus “while in the area” side feature I found myself driving back roads lined with grape vines.

I love covered bridges but on the fertile lands south of Lake Erie and along the valley cut by the Grand River east of Cleveland, one vineyard bumped into another, and another.

The area turned out to be one of seven Ohio wine regions. According to the Ohio Wine Producers Association (ohiowines.org), the one I luckily stumbled across is called Vines and Wines.

Do the vines and Wine trail for lunch while in northeastern Ohio (J Jacobs photo)
Do the Vines and Wines trail for lunch while in northeastern Ohio (J Jacobs photo)

Never one to pass up a tasting or two or more, I found Harpersfield, a family-operated winery just south of I90 at the southern edge of Geneva, had an amazing chardonnay and has since expanded its offerings.

Don’t worry about town locations. The Grand River’s valley is along the south side of I90. So, when looking for Debonné Vineyards with a Madison address remember you are at a Grand River winery at the southern edge of Madison.  Debonné is a European-style estate-bottled winery in operation since1916 that is known for its Reisling, Pinot Gris and ice wine.

While near Madison, look for the St. Joseph Vineyard and its award-winning pinot noirs.

My timing couldn’t have been better because the vineyards I visited were talking up Vintage Ohio, an annual wine festival the first week of August that coincided with my assignment.

That visit was in 2013. Now, nine years later, I learned that Vintage Ohio, is still going on and is back after a short COVID hiatus with 18 wineries, some from the Vines and Wines Trail but others from other Ohio regions.

Some of them, such Buccia from Conneaut, are new to the festival. Others, such as Gervasi from Canton, are Vintage Ohio veterans. There will be 18 vineyards at the festival, plus some breweries, bands and craft venders, cooking demonstrations and wine seminars plus food trucks.

Formed in 1997 to familiarize the public with Ohio wines, the festival is also a good excuse to visit an interesting area, do the Vines and Wines Trail, explore the towns along Lake Erie east of Cleveland, and yes, see some covered bridges.

Vintage Ohio is at Metroparks Farmpark in Kirkland, OH. The festival runs Aug 5 and 6 in 2022 from noon to 9 p.m. For tickets and other information visit  Vintage Ohio

For Ohio Wine Trails visit Ohio Wine Producers Association. Also visit Grand River WineriesAnd for a vacation place on Lake Erie check out The Lodge at Geneva on the Lake.