SNODEO IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
Are you ready for New Hampshire's annual snodeo? And no, it's not about riding horses in the snow. It's about snowmobiling.
The Swift Diamond Riders Snodeo takes place March 6 and 7 in Coleman State Park, in Stewartstown, New Hampshire. The event gives snowmobilers a chance to see and even try out new models on actual trails. The equipment is brought in by four major snowmobile manufacturers — Skidoo, Polaris, Arctic Cat and Yamaha — and typically several thousand people attend. Many attendees bring their own snowmobiles as well.
"It allows the snowmobilers and other interested purchasers to get a look and demo ride at the new machines," said Swift Diamond spokesman Kevin Drew. "It's such a unique opportunity to meet the factory representatives, engineers, lead designers and marketers."
Admission is $5 and goes to support the Swift Diamond Riders, which subcontracts with the state of New Hampshire to maintain about 120 miles of trails.
The schedule includes a show by Rave X Performance, a group of extreme snowmobilers who can do tricks with their machines similar to what you see in the X Games in other extreme sports. And there'll be a race on Little Diamond Pond if the ice is thick enough.
Along with test-riding new snowmobiles, many attendees come for end-of-season bargains from vendors.
SPRING IN TEXAS
Winter weather hit parts of Texas with freezing rain and sleet in late February, but travelers heading to the state this spring can look forward to festivals, flowers and more.
Texas Hill Country is known for wildflowers from mid-March on. The region also is home to a number of wineries along Highway 290, sometimes called the Wine Road.
The Rio Grande Valley offers nine locations of the World Birding Center, a network of sites along a 120-mile route from South Padre Island west to Roma. The National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, is a 100-acre wildlife center and educational facility.
West Texas offers Big Bend National Park, Balmorhea State Park and the town of Marfa, known as a center for contemporary art and where the Hollywood classic "Giant" was filmed.
Dallas Blooms, the largest floral festival in the Southwest, runs Feb. 28-April 12, at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, with Texas-themed topiaries and more than 500,000 blooming bulbs. The garden's 3,000 azaleas bloom through the end of April.
Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site in Washington, Texas, marks the spot where delegates met in 1836 to formally declare Texas independent of Mexico. In addition to the Star of the Republic Museum and Barrington Living History Farm, the site offers natural attractions like bird-watching and wildflowers.
Austin's annual SXSW festival takes place March 13-22, with music, film and tech lineups. While you're in town, visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Traditional spring breakers looking for sand and sun typically head to Port Aransus, Corpus Christi, Galveston and South Padre Island.
And for those interested in decorative arts and Japanese culture, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston presents "Unfolding Worlds," an exhibition of Japanese screens and contemporary ceramics, March 1-May 10.
You don't need to know a lot about architecture and history to enjoy a stroll through Grand Central Terminal. The soaring cathedral windows, marble-floored concourse, sweeping staircases, sparkling chandeliers, classical sculpture and ceiling painted like a night sky are beautiful in their own right.
You can also shop or dine. Check out the onsite Apple store, the famous Oyster Bar and Shake Shack.
But there are also options for a more in-depth visit. The terminal's official Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour is available in one-hour and 30-minute versions from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily from windows in the concourse for $9, or you can download it any time as a mobile app from myorpheo.com for $4.99. There's also an official 75-minute guided tour at 12:30 p.m. daily, $20. Details at http://docentour.com/gct/ .