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Fall getaway: Ohio

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Ohio should be on your bucket list for Autumn leaf trips. This photo, courtesy of Ohio State University, shows how history and nature make a beautiful scene.
fall getaways: ohio
Fall is the perfect time to plan a getaway to Ohio. Enjoy all this state has to offer in natural autumn scenes. Photo courtesy of Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Few places can compete with the beauty of a fall getaway during an Ohio autumn.

From the heart of Amish country to the southern hills, Ohio’s fall scenery makes the perfect setting to de-stress. Discounts and budget-friendly travel packages provide extra incentive. Take a few days to enjoy the fall colors and travel to one of the state’s many relaxing destinations.

fall getaways: ohio
Surrounded by nature, the Inn at Honey Run allows you to enjoy a bird walk followed by a spa treatment. Photo courtesy of the Inn at Honey Run.

Inn & Spa at Honey Run

Set high in the hills of Ohio’s Amish country, the Inn & Spa at Honey Run combines all the luxury of a fine hotel, gourmet dining and spa service within a natural retreat.

Wildlife lovers will enjoy the Inn’s 70 peaceful acres, breathtaking views, bird watching, garden deck and peaceful nature trails. You may, however, decide to spend your time reading in front of the fire or enjoying a deep massage.

Guests may stay in one of the main lodge’s 43 rooms and suites or choose a private cottage. Children over 12 are welcome with the exception of the cottages and Honeycomb rooms. Rates begin at $129 for double occupancy.

Inn & Spa at Honey Run
6920 County Road 203
Millersburg, Ohio 44654-9018
800-708-9394
330-674-0011

Fall getaways: Ohio
Tucked away in Loudonville, OH, the Blackfork Inn is a snug place to enjoy the Ohio leaf season. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor.com

Blackfork Inn

Romance and history flood the Blackfork Inn’s two Victorian buildings set in the small town of Loudonville, Ohio.

The Blackfork Inn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has four guest rooms and two suites, all with private baths. Each room has antique furniture and Victorian decor.

Rates begin at $75 and include a complimentary breakfast including Amish cheeses, meats and pies. Though the Blackfork doesn’t encourage children and pets, arrangements can be made with prior notice.

Guests will enjoy the shops and restaurants within walking distance, on-call masseuse, and nearby Mohican State Park and Malabar Farm State Park (scene of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart’s wedding).

Blackfork Inn
303 North Water Street
Loudonville, Ohio 44842-0149
419-994-3252

fall getaways: ohio
Outdoorsy types will love Lake Hope State Park and autumn is a terrific time to beat the summer crowds. Photo courtesy of Lake Hope State Park.

Lake Hope State Park

Resting within the more than 26,000-acre Zaleski State Forest, Lake Hope State Park makes a great inexpensive and beautiful fall getaway. Southeastern Ohio’s Big Sandy Run provides the scenic views and fall colors in an area known for steep gorges, thick forests, narrow ridges. More than 60 cottages are available and include linens, towels, complete kitchens, microwave ovens, heat, air conditioning, outdoor grills and fire rings. Cottage rates start at $75 for two bedrooms. The 120-acre Lake Hope offers swimming, kayak and canoe rentals, fishing, plus miles of biking trails and hiking paths.

Lake Hope State Park
27331 State Route 278
McArthur, OH 45651
866-644-6727
ohiodnr.com

References:

Family car trips: Oregon Trail guide

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Car trips: Oregon Trail
Map from the Old Oregon Trail 1852–1906, by Ezra Meeker.

Combining history and travel has never been easier. Follow these three travel destinations for a beginning, middle and end to your easy family car trip on the Oregon Trail.

Using Internet resources, you can bring the kids on an epic recreation of the Oregon Trail, celebrating its 175th anniversary, minus the fear of leaving your furniture on the side of the trail.

Oregon Trail history in a nutshell

Travel along the Oregon Trail and experience history by following U.S. Route 20 from Nebraska to Oregon.

Between 1836 and 1869, more than 500,000 people used the Oregon Trail to start a new life out west. The route was the best means, at the time, for reaching the states of Oregon, Washington and California by covered wagon. Use of the trail ended in 1869, when the transcontinental railroad gave Americans an easier and safer journey west.

Family car trips: Oregon trail
Make campsite reservations at the Nebraska State Park website for your Oregon Trail trip. Photo courtesy of Nebraska State Parks.

Where to start: Rock Station

Start your journey as if you were a pioneer gathering supplies before heading west. The Rock Creek Station, located in Fairbury, Nebraska, was a stagecoach stop and Pony Express relay station built in the 1850s by David McCanless.

The stop offered trail supplies to pioneer families. McCanless built a toll bridge and charged between .10 to .15 for passage across the creek.

Rock Creek Station is owned today by the National Park Service and the camp buildings have been reconstructed along with a museum. A little to the north of the station you will find more than 1500 feet of old wagon wheel ruts, considered some of the best ruts left by the trail.

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park
57426 710 Rd.
Fairbury, NE 68352
(402) 729-5777

Family car trips: Oregon Trail
Learn about Independence Rock before ever setting foot on it thanks to information on the Wyoming State Parks website. Photo courtesy of the Wyoming State Parks.

First stop: Independence Rock

Stop at Independence Rock in Natrona, Wyoming, just as many pioneers did on their western journey. Some believe the rock, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, was named because pioneers needed to reach this point by July 4 in order to avoid the harsh winter in the mountains.

In truth, a group of fur trappers camped on the rock on July 4, 1824, and gave the location the name. Families, trappers and traders stopped and camped on Independence Rock throughout the year and carved names and inscriptions into the impressive formation. Modern families can read thousands of names carved or painted into the stone. Wagon wheel ruts are also preserved next to the rock. A large granite outcropping, Independence Rock is 1,900 feet long and 700 feet wide, and rises 128 feet. Just off U.S. Route 20, this Oregon Trail site is easily accessible with a nearby rest area and foot path.

Independence Rock
Wyoming State Parks
P.O. Box 1596
Evansville, WY 82636
(307) 577-5150

Family car trips: Oregon Trail
Watch demonstrations and join in pioneer fun at the Oregon City End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive and Visitor Information Center. Photo courtesy of Historic Oregon City: End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive & Visitor Information Center.

Final stop: Oregon City

Complete your Oregon Trail journey with a visit to Oregon City. For many pioneers, this was the last stop after 2,000 miles of trail. Pioneers spread, from this point, into different directions as they staked claims and started a new life.

James Miller, a pioneer on the original Oregon Trail, wrote, “On our arrival in Oregon City, I found everything quite different from what I expected. There were three small churches, three stores, two blacksmiths shops, two flour mills and one weekly newspaper, the Oregon Spectator.”

The Visitor Center at the End of the Oregon Trail offers historical demonstrations, exhibits and artifacts from the trail.

SEO: Understanding keywords

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SEO: Understanding Keywords
As a highly-successful business owner in the dog-grooming industry, Midge often feels overwhelmed by all the marketing lingo like long-tail keywords and SEO keywords. Photo courtesy of Louisa Berry.

Important Keyword Definitions:

SEO Keyword – Hubspot, in this “Keyword PowerPoint Presentation,” defines a keyword as a topic of importance. This topic is used in Internet searches to track down specific information. For a business, the topic might be a solution, problem, product or service customer/lead/visitor wants to learn.

Longtail Keyword – According to this Hubspot article, “The Definition of a Long-tail Keyword (in 100 words or less),” a longtail keyword is a keyword phrase containing at least three words. Ex. Cleaning retriever ears, How to clean lab ears, Treating dog ears, etc.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds

These days, the words “SEO, Keyword, Long-tail Keyword,” bring fear into the faces of any business owner.

  • How do I compete?
  • What’s SEO anyway?
  • How do I research the best keywords?
  • What’s a long-tail keyword?

What if I told you the content you created with your ideal audience/customer in mind is already optimized for search engines?

Easy Keywords: Midge’s Dog Grooming

Let’s start with a hypothetical business; Midge’s Dog Grooming.

Consider for a moment, before writing anything, what keywords Midge’s customers would Google or search in Bing.

Chances are slim someone would simply Google the word, “Dog.” It’s too broad, right? You may get a search result including: Dog Breeds, Dog Behavior, Dog Toys, Dog Kennels, etc.

So, Midge asks herself, what’s a problem my customers deal with frequently? The answer: Problems with dog ears.

Maybe she has a large number of Golden Retrievers, Labs and other floppy-eared dogs with specific ear-related issues like yeast infections. Many of her customers aren’t sure of the products to use, frequency of cleanings or how to clean ears.

Brilliant blog posts: Always relevant

Midge creates a super-informative blog post about cleaning your dog’s ears. She titles it, “How to keep your dog’s ears healthy.”

Midge doesn’t know anything about content marketing or inbound marketing or long-tail keywords, except she has a pretty long tail being a Chocolate Labrador.

She has, however, as a dedicated business owner, who knows her customers, created an excellent, informative blog post about healthy dog ears.

While it wasn’t always true, these days, Google is able to look at the title of Midge’s dog blog post and see it’s about healthy dog ears. The “How To” in the title only solidifies this.

Throughout Midge’s blog post, she uses words like “healthy ears,” or “clean ears weekly.” Google picks up on these ear cleaning words and synonyms. In this way, search engines are able to sort Midge’s latest blog post with other dog ear-related content and sites.

Without even knowing it, Midge has created a decent keyword phrase for her blog post. Easy-Peasy.

Email Drip Campaign: Mortage Company

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This is a series of emails scheduled to subscribers interested in home buying. The client requested three topics: first-time home buying, second home buying and relocation. Content, no graphics, were contracted.

April 16, 2018

  1. WELCOME EMAIL

Subject Line: First-time homebuying: Break it down into steps

Welcome ________!

Buying your first home is intimidating, overwhelming and exciting, all at once.

You don’t get much more grown up than signing your name on a mortgage’s dotted line.

So, where do you start?

How do you avoid the costly mistakes made by even experienced homebuyers?

You’ve come to the right place.

You start by breaking the process down into manageable steps and reaching out to real estate and mortgage professionals for guidance.

-Saving for the down payment

-How much can you afford?

-Deciding on a realtor

First-time homebuying is intimidating, but you don’t have to go it alone.

In this series of emails, we will focus on one step in the homebuying process. Each email will lead you a step further down the road to home ownership. Along the way, we will provide tips, outside resources and real-person contacts for one-on-one help.

First-time homebuying is intimidating, but you don’t have to go it alone.

We’re here to help you reach your destination; a perfect home to make your own.

Signature:

Contact Info:

  1. DOWN PAYMENT

Subject Line: First-time homebuying: How much down?

NAME,

According to information from the National Association of Realtors, more than 60 percent of all homebuyers in the past five years have put down less than 6 percent for a home down payment.

In previous generations, a 10 to 20-percent down payment on a new home was the norm. Today, however, this isn’t the case. As home prices increased, down payments decreased.

Since the 1980s, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has backed home loans with 5 percent or less down.

The idea of 20-percent down payment isn’t the only myth common among first-time homebuyers. The idea that grants, gifts and loans cannot be used for a house down payment also lingers.

There are a variety of programs available to help first-time homebuyers with a down payment when credit scores or income level is an issue.

The bottom line: Ask for help when it comes to a down payment. Be up front with your lender and realtor. Even if you plan on putting a large down payment on a new home, it’s always good to know what options are available.

First-time homebuying is intimidating, but you don’t have to go it alone.

We’re here to help you reach your destination; a perfect home to make your own.

Signature:

Contact Info:

  1. SURVEY: Where do YOU need help?

Subject Line: First-time homebuying: What’s intimidating?

NAME,

What is the most intimidating about first-time homebuying?

-Saving the down payment

-Finding a lender to work with you

-Selecting a neighborhood

-Calculating what you can afford

-Choosing a realtor

First-time homebuying is intimidating, but you don’t have to go it alone.

We’re here to help you reach your destination; a perfect home to make your own.
Signature:

Contact Info:

  1. AFFORDABILITY

Subject Line: First-time homebuying: What can you afford?

NAME,

There are a ton of home buying calculators out there, so coming up with the bare bones idea of what you can afford based on your income isn’t rocket science. There’s more than your salary, however, when looking at the finer points of home affordability. Other points to consider include: annual income, current monthly expenses, new expenses incurred with homeownership, credit rating, debt ratio, interest rate and planned down payment.

Don’t let this discourage you. It sounds overwhelming, but help is everywhere.

Many lenders and government organizations offer free classes/workshops when it comes to sizing up a realistic spending plan for first-time homebuyers. Fannie Mae has an eligibility quiz for low- to moderate income homebuyers. Visit: fanniemae.com

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers guidance with credit rating/repair, budgeting and home affordability formulas. HUD also offers free counseling to individuals. Visit: www.hud.gov

Regardless of whether you calculate your homebuying budget with the help of a lender, realtor, or online calculator, make sure to take your time and factor in everything.

If you aren’t sure what “EVERYTHING” entails, ask for help.

First-time homebuying is intimidating, but you don’t have to go it alone.

We’re here to help you reach your destination; a perfect home to make your own.

Signature:

Contact Info:

  1. SURVEY: WHY BUY?

Subject Line: First-time homebuying: Why buy?

NAME,

What is driving you to own a home?

-You’ve outgrown your current situation

-Job relocation

-Investment potential

-Renting is too expensive

First-time homebuying is intimidating, but you don’t have to go it alone.

We’re here to help you reach your destination; a perfect home to make your own.

Signature:

Contact Info:

  1. SURVEY: IDENTIFY STAGE OF BUYER’S JOURNEY

Subject Line: First-time homebuying: What homebuying stage fits you?

NAME,

What homebuying stage fits you?

-Just exploring the idea of buying a home

-Preapproved for a housing loan

-Have a property in mind

-Down payment ready, time to make an offer

First-time homebuying is intimidating, but you don’t have to go it alone.

We’re here to help you reach your destination; a perfect home to make your own.

Signature:

Contact Info:

  1. How to Shop for a House

Subject Line: First-time homebuying: House shopping: Part 1

Name,

Narrowing down a housing choice with constantly changing housing options is daunting. The answer, however, is actually pretty simple; Get back to basics.

When my grandparents needed a bigger house for their family of six back in the 1950s, they talked to family members. In the small Midwestern town where I grew up, house swapping was fairly common. In the end, my grandparents swapped houses with my great-aunt and uncle who were ready to retire and downsize.

It’s not 1950: Surrender to the idea you will have way too many choices

Chances are, when you started to think about shopping for a new home, you grabbed your smartphone on a coffee break at work. And, the idea of raising a family the same area where you, yourself, grew up, isn’t the norm any longer.

Maybe, you are researching communities in a different part of the country, or even world. And, research is easier than ever. According to an article at Time.com: Money 101, titled, “How to shop for a house,” (http://time.com/money/collection-post/2792051/how-do-i-shop-for-a-house/)

Realtor.com updates 80 percent of its online listings every 15 minutes. You could, literally, find your new home 1,000 miles away within minutes after the listing becomes live.

The trick, however, is to avoid information overload in a world where we have so many choices and so many choices updating every 15 minutes. The key to staying focused is starting with the basics.

In the next email, we will give you the step-by-step secret to narrowing your choices and simplifying the search.

First-time homebuying is intimidating, but you don’t have to go it alone.

We’re here to help you reach your destination; a perfect home to make your own.

Signature:

Contact Info:

  1. How to Shop for a House: Part 2

Subject Line: First-time homebuying: House shopping: Part 2

We’ve acknowledged the Internet and flood of information in today’s housing market can make first-time homebuyers walk away with a nervous twitch. There are some simple steps, however, to reign in the choices.

Ironically, the answer to information overload is simple. Get back to the basics your parents and grandparents considered when buying their first home.

Let’s take for granted you’ve already done the bit around how much house you can afford. You know your budget and maybe even have a preapproved home loan waiting. Now what?

This is the part where you map out what you want. Time to create the list of non-negotiables. Keep it simple.

Do you need hardwood floors because of a child with allergies?

Do you want a short commute to work of less than 15 minutes?

Maybe you would even like to cut out transportation costs by living close to public transportation or walking distance to work?

Consider ways to simplify life in a complicated world. If having a fenced-in yard will save you the daily stress of managing an energetic dog, then, add it to the list.

Ultimately, you want a list of 10-15 points you will not budge away from, while choosing your next home. In this way, you will weed out every home that doesn’t fit the criteria.

When you get overwhelmed, step away, take a breath, and look at your non-negotiable list. It will bring the focus back to your search.

First-time homebuying is intimidating, but you don’t have to go it alone.

We’re here to help you reach your destination; a perfect home to make your own.

Signature:

Contact Info:

Current Events Blog Post

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Alaina Petty, age 14, was one of 17 killed in Wednesday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Please visit: Broward Education Foundation’s GoFundMe-page (https://www.gofundme.com/stonemandouglasvictimsfund) for information on ways to help the Parkland community recover from this tragedy.

A client of mine lives in the Parkland, FL, area. She asked me to use my experience as a journalist and columnist to create a tasteful blog post/social media post showing the company’s support of the local community, without exploiting the tragedy.

Broward County Public Schools’ website

She also wanted to link the post to legitimate donation sites (above). We also added photos of victims linked to donation sites.

HEADLINE: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy met with Parkland community heroism, unity and acts of kindness

HEADING TWO: ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ Romans 12:21

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy has left those of us living and working in-and-around Parkland, Fla. with feelings of disbelief, overwhelming sorrow and anger. While the senselessness of this event is impossible to digest, we have found some comfort in the heroic acts of teachers, students, parents, emergency responders and more.

The loss of lives came to 17, while 15 more were wounded. It’s impossible to name all the heroes and the tremendous loss to our community. We in Parkland have a responsibility, however, to honor these losses as more than statistics, more than a political debate, more than another tragic headline.

Broward County and our nation has lost future leaders, future families, continued acts of kindness, acts of charity, acts of dedication and time and future acts of commitment to our children.

HEADING TWO: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy shows nation how to move forward

Thirty-five-year-old Scott Beigel, a geography teacher and cross-country coach, was one of the heroes. He lost his own life protecting the lives of students. Beigel was ushering students into his classroom and attempting to lock the classroom door when he was killed.

Aaron Feis, age 37, an assistant football coach for the Eagle’s, was seen running towards the sound of gunshots. Coach Feis died after throwing himself in the path of gunfire to protect students.

Nicholas Dworet, age 17, was recently accepted to the University of Indianapolis on a swimming scholarship. Had he survived the shooting, he would have been headed to his future this fall.

Click here for a full list of the victims.

While some heroes have been identified and honored for their actions, many others will never get the recognition and honor they deserve. Please take a moment to remember these lost lives and the lives forever touched by this tragedy. To help with donations, please visit the GoFundMe site established for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by the Broward Education Foundation.

Other GoFundMe.com sites have been established for individual victims and families.

Let’s move forward with hope and show the rest of the nation how to push forward when things feel hopeless. Let us honor those most closely impacted by responding with our own acts of kindness and compassion, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

To remain updated on grief counseling, victim funds and other ways to help, visit the Broward County Public Schools’ website.

Contact Information:

Heather Berry heatherberrycopywriter@gmail.com

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