Joan Mead-Matsui

Guest Travel Writers and Bloggers

Avon Old Farms Hotel

Signature New England Style

 

Avon Old Farms Hotel

 

A mid-winter view of the entrance to the “Annex” building. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui, travel writer and photographer

Travelers en route through Connecticut will find the Avon Old Farms Hotel only a 10 to 30-minute drive (traffic permitting) to bustling Hartford, CT businesses, shopping, and nightlife. The hotel epitomizes classic New England style and charm but for the itinerant traveler, Avon Old Farms Hotel is also an ideal base camp for sightseers. Convenient access to I-84 is a vital link to all New England states and attractions.

Avon Old Farms Hotel

Avon Old Farms Hotel lobby

Imagine a 160-unit hotel situated on 20 acres of beautifully manicured greenery in suburban Hartford. Although I was a guest in mid-winter, come spring, you’ll find annuals and perennials brimming in planter boxes.

Avon Old Farms Hotel began as a 24-unit motel in 1955 and is part of the Brighenti family’s Classic Hotels of Connecticut line of luxury lodging that also includes the Farmington Inn, The Simsbury 1820 House, and The Simsbury Inn.

Getting there is also a treat. You’ll travel along tree-lined streets that showcase some of the region’s finest architecture on your way to and from the Avon Old Farms Hotel.

Avon Old Farms Hotel epitomizes classic New England architecture and tree-lined streets.

Awards

 

Among its awards are “Best of the Best” by Yankee Magazine, a Mobil Three-Star Award and the AAA Three Diamond Award.

Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism described Avon Old Farms Hotel as one of the gems of the Farmington River Valley area. He also noted,

“It has old-country charm in a modern setting and is close to nature and outdoor activities, as well as downtown Hartford. It’s a prime location for exploring all central and western Connecticut have to offer.” 

(Above) The winding staircase leads to guest rooms in the “Annex.” Country furnishings, antiques, and both original art and prints line the hallways and reflect New England patriotism and the United State’s rich cultural and political histories.

Comfortable armchairs, couches, fresh flowers, plants and the presence of coffee table guides are reminders that you’re at home in Avon. The lobby area in the Annex building is set up to offer guests a place to read, text, and plan their sightseeing adventures.

A staircase leads guests on a pictorial tour of New England and American histories, with photographs depicting events of great historical significance. 

 Quiet Time for Reading and Relaxing

 

(Below) A reading or quiet room gives guests an opportunity to take a breather from activities. A variety of non-fiction or fiction books is housed in this cozy library. Sometimes, all you need is a little encouragement to take time for yourself.


Accommodations

 

At the end of a busy day, you’ll appreciate the complimentary high-speed wireless Internet, luxurious linens, feather beds and down comforters. Brew a cup of coffee or heat a pot of water to steep your favorite tea. All rooms have bottled water and a coffee maker.

Looking for PET-friendly accommodations?

 

If boarding your pampered pet isn’t an option for you, pets are welcome at Avon Old Farms Hotel. Contact the hotel’s reservations’ office to reserve your room and learn more about pet policies.

Dining 

 

I was thrilled to find an on-site restaurant after a day of business-related travel. Seasons Restaurant is adjacent to The Tap Room, a popular eatery known throughout Connecticut. The Tap Room’s casual atmosphere was the perfect dining option and I can definitely recommend the “Three Blend Burger” with french fries if you’re in the mood for traditional American fare. You’ll find the atmosphere is “homestead” relaxed and casual.

You can find sample menus for Seasons and the Tap Room here.

Room Service

Go ahead! Indulge and order room service. Sometimes we all want to hang out in our pajamas and have a leisurely breakfast. That’s what I did and my meal was delivered piping hot as I watched my favorite morning show.


With almost 25 years of New England travel under my belt, Avon Old Farms Hotel was a reminder I’ve been away too long. The hotel is a delightful property with outstanding service.


Although my stay was comped, my opinions are genuine and heartfelt.

Cast & Blast at Pocono Manor

Learn new skills at Pocono Manor

 

Trap Shooting and Fishing

 

When you meet Mike Possinger, you’ll understand why the Pocono Manor Resort & Spa  “Cast & Blast” package is so much fun.

Mike Possinger, Manor Sports’ Director, Pocono Manor Resort & Spa, teaches guests to trap shoot. All lessons are centered on gun safety.

Pocono Manor Resort & Spa’s consummate manager of Manor Sports delights in introducing folks to trap shooting and fishing. They happen to be two of Possinger’s specialties, but the package can be tailored to beginners or more experienced folks who want to fine-tune their skills.

Cast & Blast is one of an assortment of “Stay & Play” packages available at Pocono Manor, a historic inn located in Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania.

According to Possinger, the original plan was to offer Cast & Blast as a Father’s Day promotion but his idea soon evolved into an all-day event that’s perfect for families, couples, and groups.

“It took off,” Possinger said. “The opportunity is right here. You’re going to shoot right here and go a half-mile away and fish in another.”

Creating moments that result in smiles and laughter are among his goals and this year marks the first time Pocono Manor formally marketed this “Stay & Play” package to guests and non-guests. Overnight lodging, breakfast, three hours of fishing, and an Intro to Trapshooting rates start at $199 per night. A resort fee and tax are not included and reservations are required.

Pocono Manor Packages

I learned the essentials of trap shooting during my recent stay at Pocono Manor. Photo by Mike Possinger. 

Here’s what Kelly Shannon, Pocono Mountains Visitor Bureau PR and social media manager said via email about Pocono Manor’s contributions to the Pocono Mountains’ tourism industry.

“Pocono Manor Resort & Spa is a huge draw to visitors, positively contributing to the tourism in the Pocono Mountains. With so many catered packages and onsite activities like fishing, horseback riding, archery, biking, seasonal events, and in the winter even horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowmobiling, and ice skating, Pocono Manor has so much to offer for all tastes. The resort’s renowned golf course and its serene spa provide even more entertainment to guests. With so much to do, we find visitors returning to indulge in their other activities season-to-season.”

I recently sampled the trap shooting and fly fishing package during a two-day assignment sponsored by Pocono Manor Resort & Spa. Cast & Blast includes about an hour of trap shooting and two to three hours of fishing, but experienced anglers who want to spend more time on the water can fish at the on-site streams for hours.

Possinger is certified through the National Rifle Association (NRA) for shotgun and pistol handling and will devote as much time as needed to be sure participants are comfortable handling a gun. He provides full instruction, covering topics such as gun safety and proper ways to hold, aim and shoot and he’ll tailor a package to meet the needs of families, small groups or corporate clients. Prices will vary, depending on how much casting and blasting you want to do.

“It’s one of those things you don’t experience every day of your life in your own backyard, so we try to make everyone comfortable. People want to learn how to handle a gun,” Possinger said. 

Participants must be 12 years and older to participate in that particular package, but Possinger said he’ll be happy to “dream up all sorts of games and activities that will keep everyone happy.”

“If that’s all it takes to make them (people) smile, why not do it? I’ve been at Pocono Manor for a long time and I want you to have fun. I’m the ‘bartender” or ‘beauty salon’ out here.”

Possinger joined the Manor in the mid-1970s as a snow-maker when the manor’s ski program was in operation. Following college and years in politics, Possinger learned the Manor Sports director’s position was available.That was 12 years ago.

“I don’t complain about getting up in the morning and going to work. I go and it’s one of those things that happens when you find a once-in-a-lifetime job.”

Since then, he has catered to guests, including countless individuals with special needs and circumstances.

“Years ago, a guest (a lady) had a bucket list. She was terminally ill and in a wheelchair. I built a tripod and made it so I could set it across her wheelchair. I made a holder that set on her wheelchair and she could turn the tripod and just pull the trigger. She told me, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this. Situations like that are very special to me.”

I spent my second day at Pocono Manor fly fishing in a stream on the property, along pristine “catch and release” water. The on-site stream is only available to registered Pocono Manor guests. A valid Pennsylvania fishing license is required for anyone who plans to take fish from the property.

Pocono Manor Sports

Anglers will find stocked and native trout in streams located on Pocono Manor’s property.

On July 20, 2017, Erin Caulfield, a Pocono Manor spokesperson announced Pocono Manor Resort & Spa has received certification from the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA), the largest clay target shooting organization in the world. She also noted the resort has installed five state-of-the-art Pat-Trap machines.

Pocono Manor Resort & Spa is now the only resort in the Pocono region with the ability to host ATA-member only sanctioned registered shoots.

Caufield said Pocono Manor will host its second registered shoot on September 30, 2017. Participants are eligible for discounted overnight rates.

Save the date

 

Spend Oct. 14 outdoors at Pocono Manor’s Family Field Day with Dunkelberger’s Sports Outfitters. The day’s activities will include Instruction in shooting .22 rifles, airsoft rifles, shotguns, compound bows and crossbows, fishing, fly-fishing demos, children’s games, and a barbecue menu.  Visit https://www.PoconoManor.com/Events for more information.

You can reach out to Possinger and find additional Cast & Blast information at poconomanor.com/manor-sports. 

To learn more about Pocono Manor, see my companion story joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/inn-pocono-manor-splendor. 

Manor Sports is open Mon. to Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


 

 

 

 

 

 

AhhSoles: the traditional flip-flop has evolved

“AhhSoles” 

Treat your feet to an exhilarating massage

My pair of “Pink Ripple” AhhSoles

When my feet ache, I am cranky.

 

“Woo hoo” was my initial reaction when I slipped on a pair of AhhSoles. I’m not sure if the samples arrived on a day when I had been on my feet all day, but the textures on the beds of the flip-flops were a welcome relief for my traumatized feet.

AhhSoles: Evolution of the traditional flip-flop

Photo courtesy of AhhSoles.com

When your feet need soothing…

 

Women, in particular, probably have at least one pair of heels in their closets that qualify as a foot enemy. You probably know the styles I’m referring to that wage war on our toes, soles, and heels. If you’re looking to comfort and rejuvenate your feet, AhhSoles live up to the company’s slogan, “Offensively Comfortable.” They’re also therapeutic.

Better yet, they’re available in colors and styles that should be worn in public. AhhSoles are a redesign of the traditional flip-flop and available in “The Blue Coral,” “The Green Coral,” “The Green Ripple,” “Pink Ripple” and “The Sea Grass.” Each of the rubber wild foot-bed textures offers a distinctive feel and I love the comfort and style so much, I wear AhhSoles as an accessory with shorts and breezy summer dresses. The Blue Coral reminds me of walking barefoot on a cool turf field and the texture in Pink Ripple’s bed is invigorating and rejuvenating.

Arthur Grymes is the man behind AhhSoles. After playing a round of 36-holes of golf, Grymes returned home with weary feet. A “phenomenal tingling sensation of brand new funky textured bath mat underfoot” was the model for AhhSoles, according to Grymes.

The fabric strap is also a welcome departure from the material used in other flip-flops that can leave painful blisters between your toes.

AhhSoles are $30 and available in men’s and women’s sizes. They also come with a 100% money-back guarantee.

You can buy a pair (or two) at https://ahhsoles.com.

 

 

 

Food on Foot: Travel Book Review

Travel Book Review

 

“FOOD ON FOOT”

A History of Eating on TRAILS and in the Wild

by Demet Guzey

Freelance food and wine writer and Author Demet Güzey, Ph.D., has climbed some rather high mountains in her lifetime.

“Food on Foot” is a captivating look at famous expeditions and unknown explorers who have demonstrated their ability or lack thereof to carry or forage food.

Guzey is a consummate hiker and food enthusiast with many published articles to her credit and Food on Foot (April 8, 2017; ISBN: 978-1-4422-5506-7) is the next installment in the “Food on the Go” series.

History on the Go

 

She introduces readers to the history of the human expedition, from the Incan pilgrimages at Machu Picchu to what we’ve come to know today as street vendors and food trucks. She guides her readers through the Arctic, across barren deserts, and over mountains to give firsthand accounts through “the lens of food.” In addition to her thought-provoking writing, you’ll also find photographs, expert opinions, and recipes.

Humanity is limited by the food we can find along the way and her book is dedicated to examining the ways we have approached the problem. Her book is also an invaluable educational guide with an extensive bibliography that can be used for follow-up learning. Pages and pages of sources illustrate Guzey’s thirst for knowledge and her commitment to providing accurate and compelling information.

Follow this link www.demetguzey.com to learn more about Guzey.

 

An Organized Traveler: “5 Tips”

Travel tips that go beyond what to pack in a suitcase

courtesy of Larry Schessel, Clakit Founder

What you pack in your bag isn’t the only important travel information to know

 

Besides the holiday season, summer is an ideal time to travel and go on vacation. The weather tends to be beautiful, kids are on break from school and there seem to be more activities available to do. While picking out the perfect destination and making a list of must visit sight-seeing spots is fun and exciting, on the other hand, packing can be a nightmare and cause you to rip your hair out. We all know to roll our clothes instead of folding them or to wrap liquids in bags and plastic wrap to prevent them leaking everywhere, but here are a few tips that go beyond what to pack in a bag.

  • Try to organize your bag so the items you need the most are easily accessible and can be grabbed without digging through it. Searching for items is a hassle and stressful, to begin with, but when you’re pulling all your items out to find whatever it is you’re looking for everyone around you can see what else you have in your bag. This exposure can make you even more vulnerable to theft.
  • If you have a medical condition, such as asthma, diabetes or a severe allergy, you should keep your medication and anything else you may need in one specific spot and let your travel companions know where it is so that they don’t have to waste time digging through your items if an emergency occurs.
  • Try not to put anything in your pockets while traveling, even while going through an airport. Not only can your items easily fall out, but it leaves you susceptible to pickpockets especially at check-in areas and security lines where there tend to be a lot of people. Attach ClakIt’s StrapPack pouches to the straps of your backpack and keep items such as passport, wallet, smartphone and any other item you need to have readily available secure from wandering fingers.
  • If you can, make copies of your important documents that you are bringing along on your trip and keep one set with you and the other in your checked bag just in case your bag is stolen or you get pickpocketed.
  • Luggage theft will always be an issue for airports. Make sure to mark your bags with a bright and distinguishable tag, ribbon or luggage belt that can help you identify your bag. It is also suggested to use Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved locks for your bags, including carry-ons. Passengers have had their bags that were stored in an overhead compartment rummaged through and items stolen while they slept or weren’t paying attention.

 

 About ClakIt

 

The ClakIt Clip and StrapPacks were conceived when the founder, Larry Schessel, was hiking in the California mountains and realized how irritating it was to have to stop and remove his backpack every time he needed to take a picture, drink water or eat a snack. ClakIt StrapPacks provide on-demand storage on the front of the body where items can be safe from theft, easily accessible yet hands-free. They securely clip onto any strap in seconds creating comfortable non-slip storage that can be interchanged and moved based on specific activities and needs.

 

“Clakit” and keep moving: Backpack Debunked

Clakit, Inc. pouches 

The possibilities are endless

Two of my favorite outdoor recreational activities are hiking and fly fishing. Some days, I don’t want to lug a heavy backpack or fishing vest. The Clakit strap and pouch are extremely comfortable and convenient for both applications.  

Are you tired of rummaging through your backpack in search of that one item you need?

Larry Schessel, Clakit founder, isn’t downplaying the importance of backpacks. He’s an avid hiker and traveler and while knapsacks serve a purpose, Schessel says, 
“They (backpacks) are great for carrying things on your back. But they are inconvenient for accessing gear you often need, like your smartphone for pictures, water and snacks.”

Carry your cell phone and other important items “under your nose.” ClakIt travel pouch will securely hold your smartphone, money, passport, etc.

The idea for Clakit was born while Schessel was hiking in the California mountains. Getting his hands on items he needed from his backpack was a laborious task.

“Every time we needed something we had to stop, take off our backpacks, search for the item and repack – whether water, smartphone, map, wallet, snack or permits,” Schessel noted.

Backpack storage problems Solved

Schessel designed The StrapPackTM by Clakit to solve his backpack storage problems by allowing easy access to valuables. Secure yet accessible pouches easily clip to your backpack’s front shoulder straps, so you can safely stash your belongings within sight and reduce the risk of theft. For folks who don’t want to wear a backpack, Schessel offers the Clakit Strap System ($14.95). Patented nylon clips secure the pouches to the strap system for a lightweight alternative to a pack.
Accessories available are the Smartphone Pouch Bundle ($19.95), Pocket Pouch Bundle ($14.95), Water Bottle Pouch Bundle ($14.95), Adjustable Utility Pouch Bundle ($19.95) and Two-Zipper Pouch and Clip Bundle ($19.95) and the Water Bottle Pouch Bundle ($19.95). The options are endless and the price is very reasonable and affordable.
I’ve sampled the Clakit strap system, clip and the Smartphone Pouch Bundle while walking our recently rescued Alaskan Malamute/German Shepherd pup. We take one to two-mile walks almost every day and as you can well imagine, he’s very energetic and strong. I was at a loss for a safe, convenient pouch or fanny pack to carry my cell phone and keys. The Smartphone Pouch saved the day.

Ideal for your commute and travel adventures 

Keep your valuables “under your nose” while commuting or traveling. StrapPackTM pouches allow you to have eyes on your belongings and help to prevent theft.

Schessel says, “Storing gear on the front pack straps just makes more sense.”

 
Clakit is available on Amazon or at clakit.com.

PigaOne: Your feet’s “best friend.”

Innovative footwear to stabilize and strengthen your feet for better performance.

PigaOne: Stabilize and Strengthen

Innovative Fitness Footwear

Balance and performance are essential to dancers, Yogis, martial artists and other athletes who often practice barefoot, but are shoe and sock-less always the way to go? That depends.

Personally, I find dance movements on a hot, sticky, cold or slick floor are a hazard and injury waiting to happen.

PigaOne is innovative footwear that’s suitable for all low-to-medium impact activities that are done barefoot, thanks to fitness enthusiast Sandra Tremblay, president and founder of PIGA, Inc., a Montreal-based company that’s making its mark in the fitness and wellness worlds.

I’ve spent my life practicing ballet, dance, yoga, pilates and fitness routines both at home and in studios and I currently own three pairs of traditional dance shoes that are well-suited for jazz and Latin-style dance moves. But for bar routines, yoga and strength building exercises, I have been searching for a product that’s a comfortable and practical alternative to barefoot. That’s when I received an email with an opportunity to sample a pair of PigaOne.

PigaOne Slippers offer a “barefoot” feeling, whether you’re practicing at the barre or balancing in your favorite yoga pose.

“Our objective was to create minimalist footwear sporting an attractive design that met the unique needs of barefoot sports enthusiasts for whom support and balance are essential,” says Tremblay.

PigaOne is the result of two years of research, development, and experimentation with a team of experts. Tremblay explained, “the dual-action PostureForceTM plantar arch support patent-pending technology stimulates the plantar arch’s nervous endings responsible for transferring the information received to the brain.”

The slippers offer a non-slip sole for added control but with a minimalist design and sensation that until now, I could only experience barefoot. Technologically-advanced fabrics are ultra-light and breathable. Tuck them in your suitcase or bag before your next travel adventure and you’ll be prepared for an impromptu class or workout while on the road.

To help this great product and take advantages of the early birds special, back it on Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2137413200/pigaone-experience-the-best-balance-activation-footwear. 

You can read more about PigaOne and purchase a pair at GETPIGA.COM.

 

 

 

Traveling Families’ Safety Checklist 

Traveling Families' Safety Checklist

Wherever you travel this summer, Krav Maga Worldwide wants you and your family to be safe.

Simple Self-Defense Skills

Traveling Families’ Safety Checklist

Personal safety experts share tips that can help protect stressed out travelers

A Traveling Families’ Safety Checklist can help to prepare you and your children for a season of family fun. If you have family travel plans this summer, more than likely you’ve thought about ways to lessen the stress and safety concerns associated with summer vacations.

Krav Maga Worldwide offers a Traveling Families’ Safety Checklist to ease your concerns as you venture out this summer. Founded in 1997, the company promotes more than 150 authorized Krav Maga locations known throughout the United States and around the world. Krav Maga develops, promotes and implements self-defense and fitness programs. You can find more information at kravmaga.com.

Traveling Families' Safety Checklist

Tips you should know before you travel

1. Traveling can frazzle your brain

Between trying to remember if you locked up the house or packed enough clothes for the kids, thinking about personal safety in airport parking lots is the last thing on most parents’ minds. However, poorly lit parking garages, arms full of luggage, confusing parking signs, forgetting where you parked and children trailing behind can make families easy targets for predators. To help families stay safe while traveling, Krav Maga Worldwide, the industry leader in self-defense and fitness, has put together a list of personal safety tips to keep in mind when at the airport, train station or in an unfamiliar city.

2. Prepare Your Kids For Travel

It is very important to prepare your children for travel. The conversation should begin prior to the trip and be reiterated in the car on the way to airport or train station. In some instances, if the importance of staying together and being prepared is not taught children can wander around potentially hurting themselves or getting lost. Airports and train stations are very large and can potentially contain different dangers.

3. Park in well-lit areas 

If you are renting a car while traveling, when you park avoid spots next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows. You want to keep your car and family as visible to as many people as possible and as such you should also avoid parking next to tall shrubs or plants that could block views of your vehicle.

4. Stay Organized 

If you are traveling with a family the best thing you can do is to stay organized. Know where objects are in your bags so you are not presenting all of your items to potential dangers. Make sure your kids know where their items are as well. If you and your family have to stop and look through a huge bag of luggage, pulling item after item out is not ideal instead know where your items are, grab what you need and go.

5. Always keep one arm and hand free of luggage and other gear

Many people travel with multiple bags, purses, laptop cases and other paraphernalia. But, if your arms and hands are tied up with bags you have no means of defending yourself from an attacker. Luggage that can stack together securely and be pulled by one handle is a safer choice than wearing and carrying numerous bags on your person. This goes to say that your kids should also be hands-free and in close proximity to you.

6. Stay Together

Even though it can be frustrating to travel in a large group, stay together. Airports and train stations are incredibly busy and it is very easy to get lost. Make sure you always have a head count on all members and inform your kids that this is extremely important.

 

 

Abington Heights Civic League, Inc. AHCL Wine Festival

Time for Wine?

Abington Heights Civic League presents,

“Cheers to Spring” Wine Festival

 

Celebrate spring at a “vintage” festival. A “Cheers to Spring” wine festival scheduled for May 6, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at South Abington Township Park, is one of the Abington Heights Civic League, Inc.’s (AHCL) biggest fundraisers. Proceeds from the event will enable the AHCL to continue to provide a myriad of services to the community. All proceeds raised benefit the community, according to Cathy Plishka, AHCL member.

“All money raised from these events is given back to the community at the end of the year,” Plishka says.

The AHCL was founded in 1931 as a means to introduce young women to the “workings” of the Federated Women’s Club and began working its magic in the community with its first kindergarten class in 1945. AHCL also opened the first library with a total of 750 books.

Plishka says, “Look at it (the library) now.” 

“The AHCL Dance Academy,” scholarships awarded annually to high school students, vision screening for registering kindergarten children, and Christmas trees for all the grade schools in our area are a few more examples of the benefits the organization provides.

 

Wine Festival

The Abington Heights Civic League “Cheers to Spring” Wine Festival will be held May 6, 2017, at South Abington Township Park, South Abington Township, PA.

While this is the first year for the AHCL wine celebration, supporters might also recall the Roaring 20’s Gala, two sell-out events in 2015 and 2016 that were sponsored by the civic league.

Plishka say, “For the last two years, we did a Roaring Twenties event at the Country Club of Scranton, which was very successful.”

What will you find at the festival?

For $20, Plishka says attendees can expect 11 wine vendors (and more could sign on), food, and musical entertainment by “Mace in Dickson” and “The Tisburys.” Raffles and baskets will also be available at an extra charge and 35 vendors are expected to offer their wares. Designated drivers can join in on the fun for $10.

Wineries already registered are Capra Collina, Antler Ridge Hidden Creek, Hidden Creek, Lucchi, Mucchilo Family Winery, Deep Roots Hard Cider, Iron Hart Brewery, Case Quattro Winery, Winterland Winery, and OneHope Wine.

To purchase a ticket online, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1145188532243026.

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Orvis Media Trip a commitment to quality products and environmental preservation

A warm welcome to Orvis 

One of the reasons I chose to apply for The Orvis Company affiliate program is the company’s commitment to protect and preserve our natural resources.

You’ll learn more about my recent media trip to Orvis, Manchester, VT, in upcoming posts, but for now, you should know that individuals, organizations and companies that foster a love and respect for the environment are at the top of my list. Orvis does both.

I am certainly not a master fly angler by any means, but after spending so much time wading in streams and rivers in the Northeast, with trout and other fish species swimming beside me, I understand and fully appreciate the great strides conservationists like Orvis have made in their efforts to clean up our waterways and protect them from future contamination.

Orvis donates five percent of pre-tax profits every year to protecting nature, supporting communities, and advancing canine health and well-being to the tune of $14 million in more than 25 years.

The Orvis Company is not only America’s oldest mail-order outfitter and longest continually-operating fly-fishing business. It’s an international, multi-channel retailer with a wide assortment of products and services ranging from sportswear for men and women, fine gifts and home furnishings, luggage, travel accessories, a wide assortment of pet items, and gear and technical apparel used for wing shooting and sporting clays. Orvis was founded by Charles F. Orvis in Manchester, VT in 1856.

In order to appreciate the steps already taken, you need to venture outdoors. Each hour I spend fishing, walking with my dog, Bear; and hiking is 60 or more minutes of free-time from worry or stress. It’s a therapy session for whatever ails me.

Four years ago, I participated in my first fly fishing class, sponsored by the Lackawanna Valley Trout Unlimited Chapter and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. As time went by, I realized I needed my own equipment to fully appreciate my new hobby.

Fly fishing is a sport that takes years to master through continuous trial and error. That means hours and hours on the water and getting comfortable with your equipment.

I purchased my first Orvis fly rod and reel combo in 2012 at an Orvis-endorsed retail store, A & G Outfitters, located along the banks of the Lackawanna River in Dickson City, PA. In fact, I visit the store often during peak trout season in Northeastern Pennsylvania. A year later, I thought my youngest son, Yoshi had an interest in fly fishing so I bought an Encounter combo for him. He wasn’t overly enthusiastic about learning to fish, but I believe it’s my duty as a parent to be sure my kids get their share of the outdoors. My husband was the next recipient of an Encounter rod and reel. And yes, occasionally, we fish together.

Orvis’ guarantee is incredible. You can read more about guarantees here.

Learn fly fishing basics at a free Orvis Fly Fishing 101 course and locate a store near you by following this link. http://www.orvis.com/s/free-fly-fishing-lessons/8249?dir_id=22592&group_id=27370&cat_id=50215 

You’re also one step closer to catching a trophy trout, bass or panfish when you fish with the pros. Check out Orvis’ fly fishing and hosted trips. http://www.orvis.com/s/orvis-group-trips/9672?dir_id=22592&group_id=22958&cat_id=14007

Along with the thrill of catching a native brook trout on the fly or whatever your catch will be, take the time to appreciate the efforts of environmental groups that have labored to clean up and preserve our waterways.

Do you want to learn more about Orvis’ products and services, which run the gamut from fly fishing to outdoor gear? Follow this link to shop Orvis’ Clearance Room.

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