5 Great Tourist Spots in Virginia

If you are looking for a residential community with rural beauty and a metropolitan atmosphere, look no further than Arlington, VA. You’ll find some of the best neighborhoods in the D.C area here. Arlington real estate tends to be a bit pricey but comes down to location, location, location. As home buyers get farther and farther away from Washington, D.C., the square foot housing prices drop dramatically. Below are 5 great tourist spots in Virginia. 

  1. Williamsburg

Williamsburg is a curious mix of a living museum and a lively, historic college town that is a delight to visit. Hop on a Segway and glide along for a one- or two-hour adventure covering the waterfront and historic Main Street in Yorktown with stories of the city’s Revolutionary and Civil War battles. You will have the pleasure of seeing the Great Hopes Plantation, the Courthouse, the Goal, and many other fascinating sites with this exciting activity.

  1. Arlington

Located on the Potomac River across from Washington D.C., Arlington, Virginia is home to some of the most beautiful memorials and parks in the United States. Visit Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, and many other important monuments. 

  1. Richmond

While Richmond doesn’t sit on the Atlantic, there’s a ton of water fun to be found, in fact, Richmond is the only place in the country where extensive whitewater conditions exist within sight of skyscrapers. You will have the opportunity to Kayak and whitewater rafting through town. Kids will also enjoy a host of activities built just for them including the Children’s Museum of Richmond, the Science Museum of Virginia, and a section in the world-class Virginia Museum of Fine Arts just for the cute set.

  1. Chincoteague

Chincoteague Island is a serene, yet fun-filled, tourist destination, and is Virginia`s only resort Island. Located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, we are within easy reach from all major cities on the mid-Atlantic seaboard. If you’re looking for a place to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with those who matter most, our little Island is the place for you. 

  1. Virginia Beach

Located on Virginia’s southeastern border where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean,  Virginia Beach is Virginia’s largest coastal city, combining delicious food, outdoor adventures, and plenty of award-winning craft beer, wine, and spirits within its borders. Spend a long weekend exploring Virginia Beach, where you’ll find fun in the sun, exciting nightlife, and world-class cuisine within a few blocks of each other. 

Top 5 Perks to Living in Canada

When it comes to North American countries, Canada is often in the shadow of the United States. People that visit North America tend to gravitate towards the United States, and often leave Canada as an afterthought. However, these people are making a grave mistake, as Canada has many things about it that make it just as good if not better than their southern neighbors. So why should you look for Calgary houses for sale and become a Canadian resident? Here are the top five perks of living in Canada. 

Diversity

America is often hailed as a melting pot of different cultures, but Canada is equally diverse. In fact, cities like Toronto are among some of the most diverse cities in the world. Canada attracts thousands of immigrants every year, successfully integrating them into their culture and accommodating them. There are obvious advantages to being so diverse, as you are exposed to all different sorts of experiences, cultures, and cuisine. If diversity is something that you strongly value, then Canada may just be the place for you. 

Health Insurance

In the recent Democratic Primary, one of the hot button issues that were discussed was the idea of Medicare for All. In America, there is no single-payer option that provides coverage for everybody. However, in Canada, everyone is covered by government insurance, much like in the Medicare for All proposals. Having health insurance that encompasses everyone has obvious advantages, as it means citizens will always be covered by insurance even if they lose their job or can’t pay for it out of pocket.

Education

Education is an extremely important part of our society. It is during education that the future generations will be prepared for what’s ahead of them, setting them up for great success. The difference between a good education and a bad education is stark, and failings in education could put our children behind to the point where they’ll never recover. Thankfully, Canada has an amazing public education system and spends more per capita on education than any other country in the world. As a result, if you move to Canada you’ll know that your children will receive a great education and will be well prepared for the future ahead. 

Crime Rates

Crime is an extremely scary thought and something that everyone hopes to avoid. Not only can crime cause massive financial damage in the form of damages or stolen goods, but it can also come with various mental costs as well. After being a victim of crime, you may no longer feel safe, even in your own home. Thankfully, Canada has some of the lowest crime rates in the western world. Break-ins and other crimes are relatively rare in Canada compared to other parts of the world, meaning that you can sleep much easier at night. 

Economic Conditions

Canada has one of the best economies in the world, making it a major player in the global market. As mentioned before, Canada has a great education system, leading to a well-educated and well-prepared workforce. Such a great workforce is obviously extremely attractive for companies, so many top countries call Canada home. As a result, there are plenty of job opportunities for people in Canada, and many people in the country reap the rewards of such a strong and stable economy. 

10 Tips to Deciding What Kind of Entertainment to Book For Your Event

Your event deserves the best, and your guests are hopefully already expecting it from you.  From circus clowns to rising stars, there are infinite choices for entertainment- but which performer suits your party best?  Here are ten things to consider for your next event.

1 Guests

Consider your guests!  Characters, or cosplayers, may be perfect for a child’s birthday party, but not quite right for your uncle’s retirement party.  Think about who your guests are, what they’re expecting, and how you can provide that.

2 Theme

Although not every party needs to have a theme, it seems like most of them have one these days.  If your party has an era-specific idea, don’t go for something that has nothing to do with that era.

3 Purpose

Do you want someone to play music for your guests, or someone to interact and entertain?  You can give your guests a little of both with Irish dancers to hire or decide to go one strict route instead.

4 Location

Are you renting out a huge auditorium, or is the party in your small office space?  Consider how many people are attending and if there’s a designated space for the performer.  You shouldn’t hire a heavy metal group for a small space, but in the same breath, a single character performer may get lost in a party with hundreds of people.

5 Activity Expected

Do you think your guests are expecting to dance, or do you think they’d rather sit back and watch a performer instead?  Consider what type of energy you want the event to have.

6 Venue Rules

Some venues won’t allow you to use a live performer of which they don’t approve.  Look into the rules for your space, and check if what you’re wanting is acceptable.  Most of the time, within reason, there aren’t any problems- but it’s always better to check ahead of time.

7 Budget

This tip is paramount when hiring a performer.  If you can’t afford a band of acrobats, don’t try to recruit or plan for one.  Keep within a budget and plan how much you’re willing to pay before you decide to hire a performer.

8 Timing

Are the holidays coming up?  Is it closer to Valentine’s day, or prom?  Some entertainers will be less available at times like these because they’ll get booked months prior.  If you want a specific performer, and you know it will probably be a busy time for them, put in a down payment as early as possible.

9 Alcohol

If your party has drinking involved, you need to let the entertainers know ahead of time.  Some performers, like cosplayers or party clowns, may refuse to perform where there are open bottles of wine or beer, while others may be more enticed by it.

10 How Long Is Your Event

For most events one performer may be enough.  If your event spans longer than four hours, it may be time to look into finding one or two more performers.  No singer, or dancer, can keep it up for more than a handful of hours before exhaustion ruins their performance.

The Ins and Outs of Foundation Repair

Rural living is challenging in its own right, but invigorating, too. After all, you have to build up a support system around your property to ensure that, should something go wrong, you have all the supplies you need to get you through.

What are you supposed to do, though, if the foundation of your home starts to leak?

The good news is that no matter where you are, professional foundation repair contractors will be able to help you restore your home. Where, though, do you start?

What Causes a Foundation Leak?

It often feels like your foundation starts to leak for no reason at all. This, however, is not the case. Most foundation leaks form after weeks or months of exposure to extreme stress. Hydrostatic pressure, specifically, is a kind of pressure that builds up outside of your home when you’ve taken on heavy rain. This pressure erodes the materials making up your foundation while also causing those materials to rapidly change in temperature. To try and compensate for the changes in temperature, your foundation will expand and contract. If this happens too many times, cracks will start to form.

That said, large trees can also have a negative impact on your foundation’s stability. If you’ve planted trees with invasive root systems near your home, those roots may start to break through your foundation in their search for groundwater.

Signs to Look Out For

Foundation leaks and basement leaks are going to look similar to the untrained eye. However, foundation leaks tend to have the biggest impact on the structural supports inside of your home. With that in mind, you’re going to want to keep an eye on your internal supports for signs of damage. The most common signs of a foundation leak that you’ll find inside of your home include:

● Bowing walls

● Shifting floors

● Gaps at the joints of your foundation

● Sticking doors

● Foggy windows

● Water-damaged belongings or furniture

● Mold

Some homeowners want to believe that if they let a leak go, it’ll eventually disappear. While the symptoms of a leak may leave you alone for a little while, especially if the rain dries up, the crack in your foundation is going to remain. If you let a foundation leak go for too long, you may find yourself dealing with:

● Vertical cracks in your walls

● A cracked chimney

● Cracks running horizontally across your foundation

● Home sinking

Fixing a Foundation Leak

Once you’ve determined whether or not your foundation is leaking, it’s time to fix it up. Some of the most common foundation repair solutions include:

● Piering

● Underpinning

● Leveling and slabjacking

● Sealing

● Subfloor drainage

Reaching Out for Professional Guidance

If you’re concerned about saving money, or if you’re looking to save time, you may consider trying to fix up your foundation yourself. While this is a good idea in theory, you may actually end up causing more harm than good. It requires a specific education and experience to successfully fix a leaking foundation. Without those credentials, you could not only make your leak worse but rack up a higher bill with the professional you do eventually have to call.

When in doubt, ask for guidance. The foundation repair professionals working in your area will be able to provide you with a free inspection and quote, after which you’ll be able to select the foundation repair solution that suits your home best.

Above all else, don’t wait. Take back your home ASAP with a personalized foundation repair solution.

Can Algae Be the Fuel of the Future?

Sustainable energy is gaining more and more interest among consumers and the media. As the traditional sources of energy are limited and detrimental to the environment, researchers are trying to find other ways to cater to the needs of future generations. Among others, renewable fuel based on algae is one of the most promising sources of energy.

Algal fuels hold a tremendous potential as an effective replacement for fossil fuels. However, a smooth transition from petroleum to such new generation alternative fuels involves a variety of challenges, from technical to commercial aspects.

Algae for a Healthier Environment

Various environmentally-aware organizations get excited with algal fuels especially because they’re carbon neutral, which means that the amount of carbon dioxide released by the fuel exhaust is the same as the algae required to synthesize it. This might not reverse the damage already caused but it can prevent further deterioration of the environment.

Algae is abundant in supply which makes it a viable source of energy. It isn’t extremely demanding to grow and its treatment can deliver useful hydrocarbons as by-products.

Long-Term Benefits

As prices of petroleum and fossil fuels on the international markets are skyrocketing, we can see a boost in the study of eco-friendly biofuels. Next to the algae-based oils, other renewable resources like solar and wind energy can accommodate the need for energy to some extent but they require a massive infrastructure development.

While the automotive and other industries that rely on fuel grow rapidly, algae-based biofuel can come as a solution to prevent power shortage. Its similar chemical composition allows to power the same engines instead of requiring an especially designed vehicle for its consumption. This is an advantage which can help consumers shift their preferences to biofuels with little effort and in a cost-effective manner.

For entrepreneurs and industrialists, algal biofuels are commercially valuable as they can provide multiple opportunities from a single product. Additionally, in many cases algae can be cultivated on barren waste lands that are unsuitable for agriculture.

Major Market Challenges

While there are many benefits, algal biofuels have also received negative reviews because they uphold the demands that were promised in terms of their biosynthesis.

Mainstream media claimed that the algal biofuel industry would manufacture 1 billion gallons by 2014, and that its prices would be competitive with the prices of fossil fuels. However, the goal turned out to be too difficult to meet. The pressure of achieving the desired amount with minimum expenses affected the advancement of this biofuel, which led to severe doubts among stakeholders whether it can realistically become available. These financial and commercial constraints hindered the growth of algal biofuels. Some companies, which have already invested a lot in it, shifted their business and started using algal biomass to produce other items such as fertilizers, cleaning products, etc.

Despite this severe backlash, scientists are still working on technical solutions to make algal biofuels more efficient for vehicles. If they can achieve the desired purification and make the algal oil run smoothly through engines, it will pave a whole new way for the transportation industry and may even extend to the aerospace industry in the future.

Algae farming is another challenge which should be addressed. Algae isn’t extracted from the underground land or sea reserves, complaints have surfaced. Many algae cultivators claim that to grow the type of algae that will best serve as fuel, the adequate amounts of sunlight, water, and high quantity of fertilizers rich in phosphorus are needed. That may consume the resources required by the agricultural lands and livestock.

Summing Up

Weighing the balance between the positives and negatives of algal biofuels, the question arises: what does the future hold? If scientists are able to tackle the technical and manufacturing issues soon then algal biofuels sound promising and might topple the current petroleum based industry.