Experience Cape Hatteras National Seashore

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore, established in 1937, was the first National Seashore in the United States. It extends along the beautiful Outer Banks of the North Carolina coast from Nags Head to Ocracoke Inlet and most of the area is protected from development by the United States Park Service. Even though it is a National Seashore, you will find charming towns and villages across seventy miles of barrier islands. The three islands that make up the Cape Hatteras National Seashore are Hatteras Island, Bodie Island, and Ocracoke Island. NC Highway 12, which links the islands together, is the only major route to access the park. It is among the “Top 10 Most Scenic Drives” in the United States. You will have a wonderful picturesque drive past sand dunes, marshes, and rare wildlife as you travel along the flat and narrow Highway 12. The northern entrance to the park is located at Nags Head, NC at the junction of US 64 and NC 12. The southern entrance is north of Ocracoke Island on NC Highway 12. Please note that Ocracoke Island is only accessible by the North Carolina ferry system.

The nation’s busiest national park is also home to three lighthouses, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Ocracoke Lighthouse, and Bodie Island Lighthouse. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest in the United States and visitors are welcome to climb to the top for a spectacular view of the National Seashore! It is the most photographed and recognized lighthouse in the country. They also have a great museum, gift shop, and picnic area right next to the lighthouse. On Ocracoke Island, once the home of Blackbeard the Pirate, you will find the oldest operating lighthouse in North Carolina. The Ocracoke Lighthouse was built in 1823, but is not open to the public for climbing. With its recognizable black and white horizontal stripes, the Bodie Island Lighthouse is visible from miles away. Currently the lighthouse is undergoing an eighteen month restoration, but the visitor center and bookstore will be open during the restoration. For a peaceful getaway off the beaten path, include a visit to the lighthouses along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

All along these Carolina islands lie more shipwrecks than any other place in the country. This area gained national attention and became known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”. Since the 16th century, over 600 shipwrecks have been recorded along the Outer Banks. If you are a history enthusiast, this area is full of great historic places and museums to explore. The fascinating Graveyard of the Atlantic museum is located in Hatteras Village and displays many artifacts recovered from shipwrecks in this area. Are you into diving? This area is a divers dream come true! You will be able to explore Civil War ships and wrecks dating back to the 1500’s! Never been diving, but always wanted to give it a whirl? There are many diving shops along the coast that offer diving courses to get you started! What a memorable vacation that would be!

There are many family activities along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and this includes windsurfing and kiteboarding. Windsurfing has been a way of life here for twenty-five years. If you are an outdoor adventurer, you should try your hand at kiteboarding. Because Hatteras Island has some of the best wind and waves on the East Coast, kiteboarding has become very popular here within the last ten years. What is kiteboarding? Well, you attach a specially designed kite to a kiteboard (much like a surf or paddle board), and hold on as it pushes you across the water. With the steady southeasterly winds and shallow waters, Cape Hatteras is known around the world for great windsurfing and kiteboarding. If you want to experience one of the most exciting and thrilling adventures of a lifetime, you should plan to give it a try!

Everything from water sports to museums and lighthouses! Ready to escape to the coast? With so much to see and do, and if you love the great outdoors, you will absolutely love your visit to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in the Outer Banks of North Carolina!

Team National MLM Business – Opportunity Or Scam?

Recently, Team National (or National Companies, aka “Big N”) has emerged as a very popular home based business opportunity. As the idea of having a successful home-based business has grown in popularity, Team National has positioned itself as a very popular (and somewhat controversial) leader in the network marketing arena.

There are also some very real concerns about starting or participating in a Team National business. I’m about to go through and give an unbiased review of the pros and cons of developing a business and see if we can find out whether Team National is a great opportunity…or a great scam.

Team National – The Good

National Companies is a company developed and chaired by Dick Loehr. At its heart, Team National provides savings benefits packages that allow clients to access discounts to furniture, jewelry, travel, insurance, communications, and more. Located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Team National offers people the chance to save money, and also to recruit other people to build a business helping people save money.

The best that Team National has going is the compensation plan. With its binary matrix, it allows distributors the potential to earn a sizable commission off of each benefits package sold. It can pay high, and motivated distributors definitely have the potential to earn decent money.

Team National – The Bad

The first big strike against Team National is the cost of the packages. For a 2 year membership, it costs over $899.00. For a lifetime membership, the package costs a cool $2,199.00. If you buy a lot of jewelry and insurance, then it might be a great deal. However, most people joining a business opportunity are not looking to spend that kind of money just to get into business, especially with no guarantee of profit.

Another concern is regarding the true savings that are offered in the benefits package. In an interview with a Team National representative, I was told that the package did offer some savings, but he found that he could always find a better deal just by shopping around. So if you don’t like to shop and compare, then the benefits package is probable a great investment. But if you’re truly looking to get the best bang for your buck, there might be some question as to how much you can truly save.

Team National – The Ugly

The truly painful thing about starting or growing a Team National business is their marketing plan. Like many network marketing companies, Team National advocates that you chase your “warm market”, friends and family. They teach their distributors to use a “baseball” marketing plan that goes like this:

  • 1st Base – Call up a friend or family member, and send them to the 10 minute “Sizzle Call”, where they can hear a bunch of hype about making millions of dollars marketing the benefits package.
  • 2nd Base – See if your poor prospect is still interested. If so, 3-way them into a phone conversation with your upline, where you prospect can hear another testimonial about how they can get rich.
  • 3rd Base – If you prospect is still taking your phone calls, then you can schedule a home-viewing, where you can go over to their house, show them a DVD presentation, and do another 3-way call to your upline for extra “validation”.
  • Home Base – Closing time! This is where the deal is done.

Growing a Team National business can be a great opportunity. They have a decent (not great but decent) product, but there are plenty of companies that have great products, and many people that market good products never make a dime. There are also plenty of terrible products that generate millions of dollars in revenue (anyone remember the pet rock?) The difference is the marketer, and their ability to target their market effectively.

In closing, I would say that starting and developing a Team National business is lucrative if someone knows how to effectively use the telephone, the Internet, and other effective marketing tools. It is not a scam, but like any business, success will be determined by the skill-set of the marketer. Team National is definitely not a lottery ticket or a stock option – meaning, you do not just buy in and wait for a payout.

If someone does not have the first clue on how to market effectively, then I would suggest they either learn how to be an effective marketer, or else just use the benefit package to save a few bucks.

Coupon Shopping 101

In this tough economic time, Americans have become more frugal when shopping for groceries. While we continue to be concerned about high unemployment, the foreclosure crisis, the rising cost of food and living in general, consumers are seeking more bang for the buck. As such, consumers are clipping more coupons and saving more dollars.

September is National Coupon Month and a reminder that clipping coupons is an easy and fun way to save. Whether you shop at Albertsons, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Food Lion, Publix, Save-a-Lot, Sedanos, Sweetbay, Walmart or Winn-Dixie, each week this month I will provide advice on how to save 40 percent or more on your grocery bill.

Clipping coupons and seeking deals remains commonplace as consumers brace for National Coupon Month for a 13th consecutive year. Both coupon distribution and use have increased significantly over the past 12 months. A recent study shows that 89 percent of Americans have regularly used coupons when shopping for groceries, household and healthcare items.

The coupon itself dates back to a handwritten one for a popular soda product in 1886. While retailers continue to allocate the largest share (85 percent) of coupons to the free-standing insert cooperative coupon booklet, Internet distribution continues to grow at a pace faster than all other media distribution. Among the most popular online coupon services is coupons.com and redplum.com.

According to an NCH Coupon Facts Report, shoppers saved nearly $2 billion with coupons in the first-half of 2010 as redemption increased 7.9 percent during that period. “While the coupon has long been a mainstay of marketing campaigns to build brand loyalty and attract new buyers, it has evolved over the course of time to reach fragmented consumers in innovative and creative ways,” said Charlie Brown, NCH vice president of marketing and member of Promotion Marketing Association’s board. “It is a core tool of today’s and tomorrow’s consumer who will continue to demand savings and value.”

Approximately 164 billion consumer packaged goods (CPG) coupons were offered by retailers in the first half of 2010, an increase of 11.4 percent from a year ago. This growth builds on record-breaking trends in 2009 when 311 billion coupons were distributed in the marketplace. In 2009, coupon redemption increased 23 percent – the second highest year-over-year rate ever recorded. The average consumer reported a reduction of eight percent on their grocery bill with a $3.5 billion savings nationwide.

There was a different mindset when the PMA launched its first National Coupon Month campaign in 1998. Aimed at heightening awareness and increasing coupon usage, the majority of coupons were in print. Today they are available from a variety of sources – in print from free-standing inserts, from the retailer, directly attached to the product, on the Internet via printable coupons or coupon codes, as well as mobile devices for point-of-sale scanning.

Not only have the delivery methods exploded, but the categories have expanded greatly from grocery stores to restaurants, clothing, home improvement and everything in between. In fact, I now find myself bargaining on everything from food and clothes, to household goods and vehicles, to my children’s private school tuition.

“Today’s shopper doesn’t leave home without coupons and actively seeks out savings,” said Bonnie Carlson, PMA president. “While the state of the economy has spurred this new shopping behavior, marketers are taking note and answering the consumers’ call by putting more coupons in the marketplace. Today’s informed and strategic shopper is here to stay as lessons learned during the recession have transformed the way they spend and save their hard-earned money.”

In celebration of the 13th annual savings campaign, RedPlum.com, is offering high-value deals each day throughout September. As one of the fastest growing online coupon and value lifestyle Internet sites, they are offering a “Dash for Deals” campaign whereby an exclusive page featuring printable coupons, coupon codes, samples or free offerings can be found at redplum.com/dash. As coupon quantities are limited, visitors must “dash” to download that day’s offer. Advertisers range from restaurants to retailers, grocery, health and beauty care, drugstores and much more.

To learn more about the Promotion Marketing Association and National Coupon Month, please visit http://www.nationalcouponmonth.com.

Source: The Credit Report with Bill Lewis – Highlands Today, an edition of the Tampa Tribune (Media General Group). http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2010/sep/05/coupon-shopping-101/columns-welewisjr/