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Upcoming garden shows can chase winter blues

To me one of the sure signs that spring is drawing near is when the hype for major league baseball’s spring training starts ratcheting up. News that the Cincinnati Reds Winter Press Caravan is arriving at the Huntington, W.Va. Mall on Thursday Jan. 28 at 5:30 gets me thinking that we are on the downside of winter’s slope.

The other one sure sign that spring is almost here is when home, flower and garden shows start being announced. Sorry gang, boating, RV, hunting and fishing shows just don’t do it for me.

I’d rather invest my time strolling through display gardens and browsing what new trinkets and gadgets the vendors are offering for the summer season.

Another favorite is sitting in on classes offered by horticulture experts with the hope of improving my own garden and gardening skills.

Show season generally runs March, April and May but a friend recently informed me that the Cleveland Home and Garden Show have changed their dates to Jan. 22-31.

Northeastern Ohio’s original and longest running show will mark its 67th year of providing springtime inspirations to homeowners with a 10 day January engagement in a new suburban venue as it will debut at the Great Lakes Expo Center in Euclid, Ohio.

What really captured my attention was this year’s theme of Wonderful Germany. I’m being told that guests can celebrate the wonderful Germany heritage in the Oktoberfest Dining Hall. This is being described as a festive gathering place that will capture the culture and traditions of Northeast Ohio’s influential German-American population. Here they will serve up a daily smorgasbord of authentic German cuisine which I plan to sample.

Having been to the real deal as in Munich’s Oktoberfest and with plenty of firsthand experience with bratwurst, kraut and bier I’m looking forward to this opportunity.

I’ve attended this show in the past and am always amazed at how the garden and landscape artists can transform a large box area into a maze of blooms and greenery. I’m also looking forward to visiting this new venue as I’ve only attended the show at the I-X Center.

This show information was a major break for me. I was already planning on a road trip to Ohio’s frozen north coast for the weekend and have now modified my travel itinerary to include the home and garden show.

It will be an excellent mix of Lake Erie Monsters hockey, the home and garden show and a shopping trip to resupply my stock of Bertram’s authentic stadium mustard.

On a more local scope save the dates of March 12, 13 and 14 and make plans to attend the 2010 Huntington W.Va. Home & Garden Show being held at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena. Due to past scheduling conflicts I have been unable to personally attend but I have received nothing but positive and glowing reports about Huntington’s event.

Another regional horticultural highlight is Cincinnati’s 21st annual flower show at Symmes Township Park. Held April 17 through 25 the show organizers state that a visit the 2010 Cincinnati Flower Show will allow you to join in the 21th Anniversary Celebration.

Once you arrive you will discover displays of unparalleled beauty, extraordinary markets and gardening advice from the expert.

Staying with the Germanic theme I’m planning on paying a visit to Newport, Ky.’s Hofbruhaus.

This is the first authentic Hofbruhaus to be built in America and it is modeled after the legendary 400+ year-old Hofbruhaus in Munich, Germany!

After strolling through the displays and gardens my group will head over here where I hope that they enjoy many of the traditions from Germany that have made Hofbruhaus famous. From the traditionally decorated rooms to the beer that is brewed on-site and the excellent German fare I expect that the Hofbruhaus Newport will be a memorable experience for everyone.

My calendar for the March and April dates is currently open so I’ve penciled in both the Huntington and Cincinnati events. Hopefully I will see you at one of the venues.

The Travel Professor talks about destination weddings and honeymoons Tuesday Jan. 26 evening at 6:00pm at the Chesapeake public library location. Talks on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that were cancelled due to inclement weather will be rescheduled in February.

Got travel? Email the travelprofessor@gmail.com or dial 740.550.9540.