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July 2017

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Take your bike on your next travel adventure

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  • July 31, 2017

How to travel with your bike 

on an adventure (to a location of your choice)


Tips to get you on your way


by Sam Nolan

Sam is an avid cyclist and blogger. He has traveled to more than 10 countries with his bike and writes a lot about bikes and biking at his blog. When he’s not attending to his blog, he’s biking in the neighborhood.

Scope out new trails before you leave for your trip abroad.

One of Sam’s rules is “Don’t leave home without your bike.”

Has this statement been in your new year goals many times but you haven’t executed it yet? You have always wanted to travel abroad for a cycling vacation or to explore one of the world’s top cycling routes or to take part in one of the international cycling races. However, the dream seems to become elusive and you are beginning to think it will never happen. Don’t give up on that dream yet, you still have a chance to make it happen. This article will guide you on how to plan for your travel with your bike on an adventure.

  • Decide on your dream destination

Make a list of the cycling destinations you are interested in visiting. Go ahead and note down as many as you can possibly think of, both local and international. Out of all the destinations listed, identify your top three that you would want to travel to in the next 6-12 months.

  • Research your top three destinations

Find out when is the best time of the year to visit, weather patterns, requirements to travel to the destination and the local language of the country. Also consider whether to bring your own bike or rent, whether you will need to hire a cycling guide, the kind of terrains and trails in the country and regulations on cycling in the country.

Do extensive research of your destinations to identify possible trails, places to visit, activities to undertake and accommodation options. Read reviews given by people who have already visited the destinations to have a perspective of what to expect on your trip.

Consider whether you will be traveling alone or with your friends. It can be scary to travel alone to a foreign country. If you feel hesitant, consult a travel company to help you with planning your trip. Consider taking a guided biking trip for your first adventure bike trip in a foreign destination.

  • Create a budget

To travel with your bike on an adventure is costly. It will cost you travel fees, luggage charges, tourist charges, food, and accommodations, among other expenditures. The extent of the cost will depend on your destination, activities you will undertake and the amount of time you will spend on the trip.

Be realistic about much it will cost you to take your dream bike trip. Do you already have a bike to take on your trip? If not, you can get the best mountain bike under $1000 dollars or a mountain bike under $500 to fit your budget.

Compare the destination country’s currency with your home country’s currency as exchange rates will affect your budget. Determine your daily travel budget in regards to accommodations, activities, food, and entertainment. Your largest costs will be travel and travel insurance costs.

Once you have come up with a budget estimate, set up a dedicated account to raise the amount of money you require to take up the trip. You can give your bank standing orders to deposit a given amount to the travel account, take an extra job to raise money or commit to saving a given amount every month towards your bike trip expenditure. Besides the estimated budget, ensure you set up an emergency travel fund in case of emergencies that could emerge while on your trip.

  • Create a realistic timeline


Determine when you will travel and for how long. This will help you work around your work schedule and deadlines and family events. Look at your calendar to see what’s scheduled for the rest of the year and block a given time for your trip. The timeline should be realistic enough to help you raise the money you will need for the trip as well as to be able to achieve your other goals. Consider weather conditions in your destination and plan accordingly. If traveling in a group with family, friends or other cyclists, consult with each other to come up with a convenient time for the trip.

  1. Commit


Once you have done your research, identified a location, come up with a plan for your trip, you will need to commit and follow through with your plan. Save as you planned and organize your activities throughout the year so that you free up the time you blocked out for your trip.

While you enjoy the thrill of just jumping on your bike and getting out to explore trails in your locality, traveling for an adventure to a new destination will be an experience of a lifetime. It will feed your mind, your body and your soul. While traveling with your bike on an adventure abroad can be stressful and expensive, the tips above will help you plan for a successful bike adventure to a location of your choice. Plan thoroughly and follow through with your plan. Soon you will have knocked off “Travel on a bike adventure to (a location of your choice)” from you bucket list.

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Avon hotels Avon Inns Classic New England lodging Connecticut Inns Connecticut lodging Lifestyle New England hotels New England Tourism Pet-Friendly Connecticut hotels Visit New England

Avon Old Farms Hotel

  • By
  • July 6, 2017

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.



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.



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.



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.

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Cast & Blast at Pocono Manor

  • By
  • July 5, 2017
Pocono Manor Sports

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 for more information.

You can reach out to Possinger and find additional Cast & Blast information at 

To learn more about Pocono Manor, see my companion story 

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







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AhhSoles: the traditional flip-flop has evolved

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  • July 1, 2017
AhhSoles flip flops evolved


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

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




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