Witness the Start of the American Revolution

America's independence began 231 years ago when a bunch of unseasoned Massachusetts militiamen fired "the shot heard round the world" at the British King's Regulars on the road to Lexington.

Just like Paul Revere had warned late the night before, the British soldiers were part of the forces sent to quell the colonies' smoldering discontent under English Parliament rule.

The hostilities erupted with a quick skirmish at Lexington Green, then expanded into a day-long series of fights along a stretch of country road, involving over 3,500 provincial militiamen and over 1,500 of His Majesty's redcoats.

The Battle of Lexington reenactment


What started as a local action between Britain and her recalcitrant colony of Massachusetts spread throughout the original 13 colonies into Canada and an international war ending in America's Independence.

Each Patriot's Day in Massachusetts (April 17 this year), the "Battle of Lexington" is reenacted by the Lexington Minute Men and local British Revolutionary War reenactors. On that April day in 1775, the American Revolution began when militia captain John Parker told his troops: ""Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."

"For the reenactment, spectators begin to arrive at Lexington Green at 3:30 in the morning in order to get a prime spot for the events," according to Lexington Minute Man Chief of Staff Jim Roberts. "There are usually 8,000 to 10,000 spectators lining the Green by 5:30 when the confrontation begins."

That's pretty early to get up to watch a war, but if you want to cop out for a more reasonable time, just show up for the battle's rehearsal on Sunday, April 2 at 2:00 pm (rain date April 9 at 2 pm) on Lexington Green, Massachusetts Avenue in Lexington. The rehearsal "is a great opportunity to witness our American heritage up close," says Henry Liu, current Captain of the Lexington Minute Men, "and get to ask questions of the 77 Lexington Minute Men and their families portraying the colonists, plus more than 150 'British' portraying the 'red coats' of 1775."

But for the real thing, plan to be in Lexington at midnight on April 16, at the Hancock-Clarke House (36 Hancock St.) right near Lexington Green. It's then that Paul Revere gallops up and shouts the warning: "The British are coming!" Captain Parker sounds the alarm, musters his force of local militiamen and prepares to meet the Redcoats later that morning.

Then get some sleep and come back to the Green for the 5:30 AM skirmish. And stay for the Sunrise Youth Parade at 7:30 (with the Minute Men, of course) plus special ceremonies at 8:15 and 10:15. Grab some lunch downtown then join the celebrants and Minute Men for the Patriots' Day Parade at 2 PM.

For more information on the Lexington Minute Men visit www.lexingtonminutemen.com/.

- Rich Steck & Judi Janofsky

THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2006

accommodations

2006 is the perfect time to re-discover Nassau's Cable Beach, and with so many direct flights available from the U.S., it is easier than ever.

Millennium & Copthorne (M&C) Hotels plc's first hotel in China, the Millennium Hongqiao Shanghai opens this summer. The five-star rated property is located in Hongqiao, Shanghai's, commercial and residential district which is also located nearby the Shanghai Exhibition and Convention Centre, approximately ten minutes away from Hongqiao Airport.

cruises/tours

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) will welcome American Cruise Lines as its newest member effective March 15, said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA, the cruise industry's chief marketing organization.

The leisure cruise industry's dynamic passenger growth continued in 2005, according to statistics compiled by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Based on full-year statistics from CLIA's member-line fleets, the cruise lines carried a record 11.18 million worldwide passengers in 2005, a 6.9 percent increase over passenger totals for 2004.

"Rembrandt and his World" and "Vineyards of Burgundy & Delights of Provence" are two of the escorted cruise tours Peter Deilmann Cruises is introducing this year on it European river ships that sail the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Rhône, Saône, Seine, Elbe, Vltava and other rivers.

destinations

Whether divers are heading to Cozumel for the first or tenth time next year, all will be able to explore exciting new underwater scenes due to the recent shifting of sand beds from Hurricane Wilma. For those planning to visit Cozumel in 2006, the island's hotel and resorts are offering a variety of special value-added packages for dive enthusiasts to enjoy.

Panama City Beach bids travelers a warm welcome this spring with packages and savings on accommodations of up to 25 percent.

Vacation.com - North America's largest vacation selling network - has moved beyond basic database marketing by applying advanced segmentation data to its database of more than five million known leisure travelers. Previously, Vacation.com appended its Engagement database to include primarily demographic information and limited lifestyle data.

Travelers can experience Argentina's sophisticated culture with United Vacations' five-night air-inclusive package from Chicago to Buenos Aires, priced from $1,439 per person for travel Mar. 1-31, 2006. Vacationers can also choose to travel Apr. 17 - Dec. 7, 2006 for an additional $75 per person.

events

Taste and judge the area's "Best Seafood Chowder" at the 10th Annual Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-off on Saturday, April 22nd. "Chowder experts" from Southeast North Carolina's finest restaurants will prepare the region's best seafood chowder recipes between the hours of 11:30am and 5:00pm.


briefly

Baha Mar Development Company Ltd. has appointed John Pagano as President, it was announced by Sarkis Izmirlian, CEO, Baha Mar Resorts Ltd.

Allegiance Hospitality Corporation of Charlotte, North Carolina will complete a $12 million renovation of two Fort Worth, Texas hotels in April 2006.

This June, Breezes Runaway Bay Resort & Golf Club ushers in the summer wedding season with its "Beautiful Beginnings" promotion, that starts newlyweds down the aisle in style.

The Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau, Inc. announces that Great Bear Golf and Country Club in East Stroudsburg has been named Pennsylvania's No. 4 course in Golfweek's 11th annual, state-by-state ranking of "America's Best Courses."

Hotel Sanur Beach is pleased to announce that it will be implementing the online Globekey Reservation System effective as of 1st March 2006.


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