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The 2019 New York Times Travel Show

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  • January 22, 2019
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Padma Lakshmi


Spotlight on India

Padma Lakshmi
Padma Lakshmi, award-winning food writer and television host, will headline the annual travel industry event. Photo credit: Inez & Vinoodh

Food Expert and ‘Top Chef’ Host Padma Lakshmi to Headline Show

(content courtesy of The New York Times)

The New York Times Travel Show has announced that award-winning food writer and television host Padma Lakshmi will be headlining its annual travel industry event,  discussing travel, food, and her best-selling book, Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir.

Ms. Lakshmi established herself as a food expert early in her career, having hosted two successful cooking shows and writing the best-selling Easy Exotic, which won the “Best First Book” award at the 1999 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards; and later, her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot, and Sweet. For the Food Network, Lakshmi hosted “Padma’s Passport,” where she cooked diverse cuisine from around the world and later, “Planet Food,” a documentary series on the Food Network and broadcasted worldwide on the Discovery Channel. Ms. Lakshmi has been the host of Bravo’s television competition series “Top Chef” since 2006 and was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role as host and judge for the program in 2009.

Ms. Lakshmi will be in conversation with Emily Weinstein, deputy food editor at The New York Times, and the editor of NYT Cooking on Sunday, January 27 from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. The session is sponsored by Presenting Sponsor Incredible India.

Following the program, Ms. Lakshmi will be signing copies of her books “Love, Loss and What We Ate: A Memoir” and “The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs” from 2:30-3:30 p.m.

The 2019 New York Times Travel Show–now in its 16th year–will take place Jan. 25-27, 2019, opening with a Trade Day exclusively for over 10,000 travel industry professionals and media; Saturday, Jan. 26, and Sunday, Jan. 27. will be open to over 22,000 consumer travelers, as well as to travel professionals and media. The three-day showcase will feature global cuisine tastings, cultural performances, travel book signings, one-on-one conversations with travel experts and special discounts and offers for consumers of all ages from over 600 exhibitors. The Show will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Additional Programming

This year, the Travel Show will also feature other program highlights including a Trade Day keynote panel on the state of the travel industry, moderated by James Shillinglaw; along with expanded Travel Product, LGBTQ and Family Fun pavilions. For the first time in New York Times Travel Show history, a passport acceptance event, hosted by the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, will also be held.

Cultural Stages lineup

Taste of the World

Meet the Experts Pavilion

Travel Seminars

On-site book signings

For exhibition opportunities at the New York Times Travel Show, email nytts@mse-management.com.

For speaking opportunities, email ccanderson@mse-management.com.

For sponsorship opportunities, email Brad Kolodny at kolodbi@nytimes.com.

2019 New York Times Travel Show Sponsors

Incredible India is the Presenting Sponsor of the 2019 New York Times Travel Show.

South African Tourism and Visit California are Gold sponsors of the 2019 Travel Show; Allianz Global Assistance, Greek National Tourism Organization, MSC Cruises, Visit Florida, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and Hungarian Tourism Agency are Silver sponsors; I Love New York, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Puglia Promozione and the Georgian National Tourism Administration are Bronze sponsors.

Israel Ministry of Tourism is the Taste of the World Sponsor.

Girls LOVE Travel, GoNomad, Healthy Aging Magazine, Insider Travel Report, ManAboutWorld, Passport Magazine, TA Connect, TravAlliancemedia, and Travel Market Report are media sponsors for The 2019 New York Times Travel Show.

About The New York Times Travel Show (www.NYTimes.com/TravelShow)                 

The Travel Show is the largest and longest-running trade and consumer travel show in North America, featuring the Travel Industry Conference, Consumer Seminars, Meet The Experts Pavilion and an interactive Exhibition including more than 600 exhibitors representing travel to all seven continents, positioned within 16 pavilions (including Adventure, Africa, Asia, Australia/South Pacific, Canada, Caribbean, Cruise, Europe, Family, Global, Latin America, L.G.B.T.Q., Mexico, River Cruise, Travel Products, and U.S.A. Pavilions). In addition to discounts and special offers, the show provides educational seminars and live entertainment for families, individuals and couples and seniors. Join the conversation and follow @NYTTravelShow for the latest Travel Show news.

About The New York Times Company

The New York Times Company is a global media organization dedicated to enhancing society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news and information. The Company includes The New York Times, NYTimes.com and related properties. It is known globally for excellence in its journalism, and innovation in its print and digital storytelling and its business model. Follow news about the company at @NYTimesPR.

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Lifestyle Northeastern Pennsylvania Jewish Communities Pocono Mountain Places to Worship Pocono Mountain synogogues

Multi-Talented Rabbi Band Frontman

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  • January 21, 2019
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Rabbi Baruch Melman

Members, Stroudsburg Temple Israel Celebrate Chanukah

Rabbi Baruch Melman, Temple Israel, Stroudsburg, PA, took the lead as band frontman during the final service of the eight-day 2018 Chanukah season.

Chanukah is a Jewish celebration that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C., where Jews rose up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.

The party at Temple Israel on Sun., Dec. 9 featured a candle-lighting ceremony, blessings, the singing of Hatikvah (translated to “the hope”), Jewish holiday music, dancing and singing, traditional fare, and a visit by “Zoe the Clown.”

All photos by Ken Schurman, VIP Studios, Inc., Mount Pocono

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China Chinese culture Lifestyle Places to see in China Tips for Safe Travels to China Travel to Asia World Travel

Don’t speak Chinese?

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  • January 21, 2019
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China: The Great Wall

Selena Chen says, “That’s okay.”

How To Travel To China Without Speaking Chinese

Tips for Safe Travels from Selena Chen

It can be scary traveling to a foreign country and being unable to communicate with the locals. Finding your way through busy city streets can be intimidating. English, French or Spanish is often spoken in many countries, but when you go to China, Mandarin is the language of choice. Some Chinese cities like Beijing and Hong Kong – due to their cosmopolitan nature – have more English speaking people than others.

Due to China’s vast size and population, it’s often very overwhelming for foreign tourists visiting for the first time. Culture shock can often be something many will experience. In this article, we are going to offer you some amazing tips that will show you how to travel in China without speaking Chinese.

How to travel to China
Traveling to China can be scary but Selena Chen tells you what you need to know to get around in her country.


Crowded Hongqiao Railway Station In Shanghai

Carry around your Hotel Card

The most frustrating thing when traveling in a foreign country is getting lost in the streets and not knowing your hotel name. Most of the hotels across the globe have business cards with their contact address. You will find these cards at the front desk or in your hotel room. You can give the hotel card to the taxi driver without uttering a word, and they will drop you to your hotel. If you are traveling to China for business, have a guide to direct you.

Order food by pointing at stuff

Chinese cities have an array of delicious street foods. It will take time when taking a Tour in China to learn all the food names in the city. A simple way to order food is to just point at what you want to eat. Food vendors will easily notice that you are not a local and will make every effort to understand you through visuals.

Order Chinese Food while you're in China, without knowing the language
Pointing to the food you want to order from a menu is one way to order Chinese food when you don’t speak Chinese.


Chinese Food Menu With Photos

Research on Historical sites     

If you are still wondering what to do in China, then you need to consider touring the multiple historical sites that China has to offer. China has a rich heritage with ancient temples and palaces. If you are planning on visiting the Great Wall or Forbidden city, do your research on the historical sites. This preparation will help you relate what the tour guide is speaking – even though you do not understand what they are saying. Google should be your friend for this.

China: The Great Wall
Tourists flock to The Great Wall of China

Take advantage of hostel tours

If you are traveling on a budget take advantage of the various hostel tours. These tours are convenient because you get to see what the city has to offer and get dropped at your hotel room in the afternoon. They are also budget friendly. Ensure that you are familiar with the local laws in China for tourists. This includes respect of the local cultures and habits. The Chinese economy has been on an upward trajectory, and this has made the cities relatively safe. Hostel tours reduce the complications associated with learning local languages and laws.

Using Phone Apps

With today’s modern technology, using your cell phone is a tremendous advantage when it comes to translation and traveling in general. There are many apps you can download before coming to China. The most important one, in this case, would be Google Translate app. You can simply type or speak any words into the app and a quick Chinese translation appears and comes in handy when you need to communicate with a local who doesn’t understand your language. Make sure you install a VPN before using. You can only access Google services by using a VPN connection while in China.

China Map
Guest blogger, Selena Chen helps you to navigate in China.
MAP OF CHINA PROVINCES
COURTESY OF SELENA CHEN

Conclusion

While you can travel and navigate the Chinese cities without learning Mandarin, it’s still important to learn a few words like help, thank you, please, hotel room or hospital. This comes in handy when you absolutely need to communicate with someone or are lost. You can also request the hotel staff to write what you need on a piece of paper. When shopping you can show the attendant the paper. Business has become one of the key reasons for visiting China.

Guest Blogger Bio

Selena Chen is a Chinese tour guide and business assistant in China. She majored in English and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in 2008. Foreigners who visit China from all over the world hire her to help with translation and interpreting services. You can find out more about her services at her website www.mychinainterpreter.com before you travel to China.

Photo sources: (Creative commons – licensed for reuse)

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:China_administrative.png

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benefits for trout unlimited fisheries restoration fly fishing Fly Fishing Destinations Lifestyle places to fly fish

Celebrate 25 Years of Japanese Art at Chigirie.com

  • By
  • January 17, 2019
"The Trout" Print

Buy “The Trout” and I’ll donate 10% of the proceeds to two well-known and deserving organizations.

Celebrate with me! I’m commemorating my 25th art anniversary at chigirie.com. You can purchase “The Trout” in three sizes at joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/shop.

Friends and acquaintances who know me well understand why I love to fly-fish but they’re also aware I’m an advocate for responsible fishing, land and water preservation, and the healing effects nature provides. Much of my time on the road is spent fly fishing and appreciating our waterways that Trout Unlimited (TU) has worked so hard to preserve. TU and Casting for Recovery (CfR) will each receive 5 percent of the proceeds from the sale of “The Trout” prints.

TU is a national organization that’s at the forefront of fisheries restoration work at the local, state and national levels. Its 300,000 members and supporters are organized into 400 chapters and councils from Maine to Montana to Alaska with approximately 30 offices nationwide. Over the years, I’ve assisted with TU fly fishing education programs and I’m one of the founding members of my local TU Women’s Initiative.

Casting for Recovery (CfR) is a non-profit organization that provides phenomenal healing outdoor retreats for women with breast cancer and at no cost to the participants. Their retreats offer inspiration, connections with other women and of course, one of the greatest healing powers known to mankind, nature. CfR retreats are open to women with breast cancer of all ages and in all stages of treatment and recovery. Women from all walks of life have benefited from CfR’s inspiring program model for more than 20 years with 60 retreats across the country that serve 800+ women each year. CfR partners with volunteers in Canada, UK/Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Italy and its volunteer teams are made up of medical and psychosocial professionals, fly fishing instructors and alumnae. Click here to learn more about CfR.

“The Trout” original was a commissioned piece I created around the same time I took my first fly fishing lesson with my local Trout Unlimited chapter and the PA Fish and Boat Commission. The original trout collage was used to create trail art at a neighborhood community park and I donated the original to the park as an auction item.

The unveiling of “The Trout” trail art at a community park.
“The Trout” is permanently displayed as trail art on a walking trail in Pennsylvania.

If you’re not familiar with Chigirie, the Japanese art of tearing paper to create a collage (or painting with paper), glance at The Trout and you’ll see 50 or more tiny pieces of pre-dyed torn paper I blended (without paint) to create a layered effect.

The Trout is my one and only fishing-related art project and I’m thrilled to be able to offer prints and support TU and CfR.

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Active and Healthy Living America travel destinations Apple-related products Art and Culture Art Exhibits Art in America Arts and Entertainment Central Pennsylvania Attractions Central Pennsylvania dining Central Pennsylvania Seasonal Events Harrisburg events Lifestyle Pennsylvania Agriculture Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center Pennsylvania Farming Pennsylvania State Fair

Pennsylvania Farm Show Rooted in History

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  • January 17, 2019
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Pennsylvania Farm Show Exhibits

A State Fair You Shouldn’t Miss

What are Pennsylvania’s key crops?

PA AG FACT: Kennett Square, a Chester County borough (United States), is known as the “Mushroom Capital of the World.”

More than one million mushrooms a day are harvested in Kennett Square and that number is half of the United States’ mushroom crop. Yes, the delightful, flavorful fungi you add to your omelets, soups, and favorite dishes could have its origins in Pennsylvania. That’s one of the PA AG FACTS I learned during the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, Harrisburg, Jan. 5 to 12.

I covered two days of the event on behalf of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg and I returned home knowing so much more about my home state’s agricultural history. The story is fascinating and the farm show has been a vehicle for the Department of Agriculture to showcase Pennsylvania’s abundant agricultural accomplishments through exhibits and demonstrations.

I hope you enjoy the “PA AG FACTS” and videos I’ve shared in this article.

PA AG FACT: Pennsylvania’s prime vegetable crops are sweet corn, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, and beans.

Did you miss the 2019 show?

Take a moment to watch highlights and don’t forget to subscribe to my new YouTube Travel Channel.

If you couldn’t attend the 2019 PA Farm Show, watch this video to see highlights.

PA AG FACT: Other important crops are wheat, tobacco, and oats.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture is appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania and oversees the department of agriculture. The department has hosted the farm show for 103 years and during my video interview with Secretary Russell Redding in the farmers’ market area of the farm show, he described how agriculture shows up in our lives. Take a moment to watch this brief clip with photo highlights from the show.

Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui and Kento Matsui

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding describes why the Pennsylvania Farm Show is a must-see.
Video by Joan Mead-Matsui/Travel With Me Productions

PA AG FACT: Apples, grapes, peaches, and strawberries are important fruit crops grown in Pennsylvania.

The state’s many agricultural achievements are showcased at the farm show during seven days of exhibits and events featuring livestock, products, and food, and combined with a variety of vendors; demonstrations; a farmers’ market and information booths. It’s both educational, entertaining, and all-encompassing for your entire family.

TIP: Wear comfortable shoes and plan to spend a full day exploring the farm show. Bring your entire family and a stroller for younger children. The arena consists of more than one million square feet, with 11 halls, three arenas, and parking for 9,000 vehicles.

103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show
This horse and his owner graciously greeted children at the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Do you love an old-fashioned state fair?

What makes the farm show a sensational state-wide event?

FOOD – I can’t say enough about the selection of food at the show. Attendees could satisfy their tastebuds with AG products ranging from OUTSTANDING mushroom BURGERS to the FAMOUS MILKSHAKE. Did you sample The Cyclone, a cone made with PA Preferred® brioche bread (using organic flour) and filled with a choice of organic chicken, or pasture-raised pork smoked on-site, topped with chow-chow, a North American pickled relish. Expect to satisfy your hunger and reap your share of vegetables from the condiment. Read more about other culinary adventures online at PENN LIVE.

Furry Friends on the bunny trail – Angorapalooza and a Celebrity Rabbit Hop featured seven new bunny varieties at the 2019 Perennial Farm Show favorite Rabbit Competition. I guarantee your entire family will adore all the animals from the chickens to goats .

PA Farm Show
Was this bunny the “unofficial” emcee of the rabbit competition? Your guess is as good as mine but nonetheless, he/she was a hit with children and adults. Photo by Kento Matsui.

Beverage Tasting – Did you have a chance to sample the fruity hard cider at Pennsylvania’s Cider Guild’s booth? The Cider Sippin’ Story made a return to the show with a Cider Competition.

Beer, Beer, who’s got craft beer?

Craft Beer Lovers’ Delight: The first-ever state-wide Craft Beer Competition brought craft brewers from Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties and beyond with more than 150 varieties ranging from Hefeweizens to Schwarzbiers. Awards were given to the Best in Class, Best of Show and the PA Preferred® Legacy Award.

World champion robotics and STEM agricultural demonstrations are examples of mobile classrooms The Lancaster Farming Stage organizers presented to show how Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) applied in agriculture improves our lives with better food; healthier animals, plants and soil, and even climate challenges.

Ware’s the AG?

At the show’s Farmers’ Market – Were you one of the shoppers who bought wares like cheese, honey, maple products (sinfully delicious maple syrup), vegetables, apples, and potatoes at the Farmers Market?

Artisan’s Alley was a new addition to the 2019 farm show. Crafters and fine artists demonstrated their artistry and sold their hand-crafted goods. Horse-hair braiders, lace and bead makers, spinners, wheat weavers, potters, chair caners, and painters were among the craftspeople who entertained the crowds.

What Makes a Great Egg? ─ Even the white and brown eggs competed in a farm show competition.

Grow your own crops! Not sure how to get started? The information booths were manned by experts from local universities and organizations who ARE happy to extend their expertise to YOU.

Experts from The Penn State Extension offered practical advice for gardeners who had A to Z farming questions?

Hop on the organic wagon. The Organic Boom was a new feature at the 2019 show. If you were in the Expo Hall, chances are you discovered the latest news in composting, vermiculture,  and conservation.

Where are the photos you took at the show? Follow farm show coverage
@PAFarmShow and upload your images on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture encourages you to be a social media star.

PA AG FACT: How BIG is Pennsylvania farming? Learn state-wide county AG history at http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/portal/communities/agriculture/history/index.html

The farm show complex is the “place to be” throughout the year for a variety of events. Promoters and meeting and event planners utilize the complex for livestock and trade shows, corporate meetings, trade shows, and black-tie events.

Additional coverage is available on my YouTube travel channel, where you’ll find videos with in-depth comments from Sharon S. Altland, Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center executive director, Mary Klaus, farm show historian, and Gerald Reichart, farm show floor manager.

Disclaimer: I covered the event on behalf of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg but my views are my own and based on my experience. Click on this link to following happenings in Harrisburg, Hershey, and surrounding towns.

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Lifestyle

Hilton at the Heart of Downtown Harrisburg

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  • January 3, 2019

Rooms with a View

Day or night, you're within walking distance to the best-of-the-best Harrisburg downtown attractions and nightlife.
Do you love bright city lights and the faster-paced “downtown” scene? Day or night, you’re within walking distance to the best-of-the-best of Harrisburg’s downtown attractions, entertainment, or a walk along the Susquehanna River.

Do you have travel plans that include Pennsylvania’s state capital?

When you’re looking for outstanding lodging in Pennsylvania’s historic capital city, the Hilton Harrisburg is at the center of “downtown” activity, making it the perfect setting for a business trip, getaway, and sight-seeing adventure. You’ll find all the services you’ll ever need to make the most of your visit and the Hilton is in close proximity to many historical sites, shopping, dining, and a plethora of other attractions.

Travel Tip: Wallow in city life and plan your day around a visit to the State Capitol Complex, only three minutes by car or a whopping eight minutes by foot. Take advantage of the Hilton’s valet parking and begin your stay with lunch. Plot your route using this map courtesy of Google. Who knows? Is a leisurely stroll in order?
Use this map to navigate to the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex where you’ll find history in the making and magnificent architecture. Map courtesy of Google.

Hilton Brand = Exemplary Service

The Hilton over-delivers in every way – from location and hospitality to the decor and business services. Use my suggestions below to make the most of your stay.

Order a bottle of wine from room service and celebrate your overnight or weekend get-away with your partner.
Take a leisurely nap or continue to plan for your Harrisburg visit while lounging on the ultra-comfortable furniture. My “mini-suite” was the epitome of comfort and style you’d expect at a Hilton property.
The Hilton Harrisburg "Junior Suite" sitting room and bedroom are spacious with plenty of room to set up your laptop and ease into the relaxation mode after a busy day.
My spacious “1 KING BED MINI SUITE” included a sitting room and bedroom with plenty of room to set up my laptop and ease into a “relaxation mode” after a busy day covering Harrisburg dining, hiking, and fishing on the Susquehanna River.
Get in touch with local happenings in and around the Harrisburg area. Elevate your feet and read a copy of The Burg, the Greater Harrisburg’s Community Magazine.

Don’t Skip Breakfast!


The motto is “old favorites ‘turned on their side.”

Are you an early-riser breakfast-type who can’t wait to rise and shine to a full breakfast? AD LIB was my first stop on my second and third day in Harrisburg. You should allow time for the buffet, which is lovingly prepared and attended to by the staff to be sure the breakfast items are piping hot. Special requests for eggs cooked your way are honored by the gracious staff.

Travel Tip:
While you’re enjoying your breakfast, schedule some FREE outdoor time. Explore fresh- air options at Wildwood Park where you’ll find a Nature Center (perfect for families with children) and plenty of trails and boardwalks geared for exercise and nature enthusiasts.

Hilton Dining

The Hilton’s fashionable decor is also home to The 1700 Steakhouse open daily for dinner. Small plate options, 30 varieties of wines by the glass, and more than 60 selections of beer, and “edible cocktails” will round out your meal. Hours of operation and other details are available by following this link.

Many thanks to Visit Hershey-Harrisburg, my sponsor, for the opportunity to spend three glorious days exploring Harrisburg during my second media trip. This week, I’ll return to Harrisburg to cover the PA Farm Show, an annual event that focuses on education and family fun.

Be sure to navigate to Visit Hershey-Harrisburg to learn more about year-round and seasonal attractions and activities.

Disclaimer:

My trip was sponsored but my opinions are my own.
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Arts and Entertainment Lifestyle Pocono Mountain history Pocono Mountain history Pocono Mountain lodging Pocono Mountain resorts Skytop Lodge

Review: Images of America

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  • December 23, 2018
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Skytop Lodge

Skytop Lodge
Skytop Lodge is a legendary vacation destination located in the Pocono Mountains. Skytop opened its doors on June 16, 1928. Photo courtesy of Lucille May and Kendric Packer. This image appears on the cover of “Images of America: Skytop Lodge by Claire Gierwatowski.

You would recognize Skytop Lodge today if you were to compare the grand opening day photo in Claire Gierwatowski’s “Images of America: Skytop Lodge” with the lodge and grounds you see today. Additions and modifications since opening day on June 16, 1928, have only enhanced Skytop’s magnificent, stately appeal.

Images of America: Skytop Lodge covers more than 90 years of lodge history from the Roaring Twenties through The Great Depression, World War II, and other significant world events that could have led to its demise. The truth is Skytop has continued to grow and thrive through those ups and downs.

Whether you’ve visited Skytop Lodge, you’re planning a visit, or you want to learn more about Skytop’s history, Gierwatowski spent years researching and compiling the information and photographs contained in Images of America in order to preserve the memories and moments that have shaped the Skytop we know today.

The Dutch Colonial Revival lodge is surrounded by natural beauty with exceptional gardens, lakes, streams, and cascading waterfalls and set on 5,500 pristine acres in the heart of the Poconos that has beckoned guests to return year after year to relax and play. Images of America: Skytop Lodge is a must-see historical overview available at Arcadia Publishing and The History Press. 

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Central Pennsylvania dining Harrisburg Italian Restaurants Lifestyle places to eat in Harrisburg restaurant reviews and information

Mangia Qui

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  • December 19, 2018
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Mouthwatering Risotto Mangia Qui Harrisburg

RISOTTO at it’s finest

Primi (first course): Risotto Quattro Formaggio Aquarella rice, sautéed greens, taleggio, parmigiano, romana and leonora cheeses, fried baby artichoke

Want to try the most uncomplicated, melt-in-your-mouth risotto you’ll find anywhere on our planet?

MANGIA QUI – CAN THERE BE ONLY ONE PERFECT RISOTTO?
All photos by Joan Mead-Matsui unless otherwise noted. 

I’m certain there’s only one perfect risotto and I found it at Mangia Qui, an immensely popular Harrisburg Italian restaurant across the street from the Pennsylvania State Capitol. Don’t be alarmed by the green tint. The sauteed greens were harmoniously balanced with perfectly cooked (al dente) arborio rice, artichokes, and a medley of cheese and garnished with pansies and flower foliage from co-owner Staci Basore’s garden. 

Before I tell you more about my experience at Mangia Qui, you should know I was raised in a predominately Italian family. My father was of mostly German lineage but he couldn’t have cared less about German food. My maternal grandmother’s meals (i.e. homemade pasta and meatballs, roast chicken, and pork butt layered between a crusty cornmeal “sandwich”) set the tone for most gatherings. She labeled many of her native Southern Italian dishes as “peasant food.” What exactly is peasant food? Simply stated, they’re dishes that are specific to a particular culture or region and made from accessible and inexpensive ingredients. Sadly, Risotto was not in her repertoire but years later after she died, I tried my hand at preparing Arborio with a variety of seasonings and aged cheeses. The result was a gooey and lumpy blob and probably the reason my youngest son turns his nose up when I mention “Risotto.”

When Rick Dunlap, Visit Hershey-Harrisburg, and I set up my travel itinerary, he asked if I’d like to dine at Mangia Qui on day two of my three-day solo media trip. I said, “Of course.” I arrived at the restaurant around 5 p.m. after a jam-packed day filled with outdoor activities. Throughout the afternoon, my stomach growled non stop and perhaps because
(as many Italians do) immediately after one meal (lunch, for example) my thoughts shift to dinner. By 1 p.m., I had already begun to contemplate what I’d find on the menu

Not long after I arrived, I was in the process of unpacking my gear when my server brought to my table a small stainless steel bowl brimming with olives, a bottle of water, a water goblet, and the menu.

Mangia Qui Olives Appetizer
The server brought a stainless steel bowl brimming with olives to nibble on while I was settling in at my table.

He discussed the daily specials as I perused the menu a second time. Half-way down the page, the words Risotto Quattro Formaggio popped out. I would have been satisfied with my appetizers and Risotto but my server asked what I’d like for my entree. Do you mean there’s more (food), I thought. The Branzino Seared a la plancha, olive oil poached sweet onion, Kentucky flats, Yukons and squash, and lemon caper brown butter was one of the “Secondi” that appealed to me so I ordered it. Sadly, I had no room or need for dessert afterward. 

Branzino with a delightful citrus flavor. 

Basore is part of the team that owns and operates Mangia Qui and two sister restaurants, Rubicon and Suba.  Mangia Qui offers a fresh, locally sourced, and artisanal approach to dining that’s as much about meeting friends and family for a relaxed dining experience as it “the food,” which was superb. Without hesitation, I recommend Mangia Qui to anyone who is seeking a first-rate Italian restaurant for a date night, family gathering, friends’ night-out, special occasion, or business-related dinner. 

Deep-fried squash blossom appetizer
Mid-way through my meal, Staci Basore, co-owner, stopped by my table to say hello. She came to my table bearing another appetizer – a squash blossom (she picked from her garden) that was deep-fried and crispy. 
Mangia Qui - Stacy Basore, co-owner and chef, prepared the best risotto I've ever tasted.

Mangia Qui: Casual dining and
phenomenal Italian cuisine. 

272 North Street
Harrisburg, PA — 17102
717.233.7358

Complimentary valet parking on Friday and Saturday evenings, 5 -11 p,m. 

Join the staff for a New Year’s Eve celebration

For more information about Hershey and Harrisburg lodging and attractions, visit www.VisitHersheyHarrisburg.org.

My trip was hosted and comped by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg but my opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences. 

This father and son duo prepare to cast a fishing line into the Susquehanna River. Plan a Harrisburg family fishing trip or water activity and enjoy the outdoors TOGETHER.    

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A French Bakery and The Barnes

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  • December 17, 2018
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The Barnes Foundation

CLASSIC PHILADELPHIA ART AND CULTURE

PHILADELPHIA MEDIA TRIP NOVEMBER 2018

Philadelphia Art Culture The Barnes Foundation
Begin your Philadelphia art and culture tour at Le Pain Quotidien, (translated from French to English, “the daily bread”), a Belgium bakery and restaurant close by to The Barnes Foundation. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui unless otherwise noted. 

My most recent Philadelphia media trip began at Le Pain Quotidien, (translated from French to English, “the daily bread”), a Belgium bakery and restaurant at The Granary, 1937 Callowhill St., Philadelphia, PA. Le Pain Quotidien is a franchised eatery founded by Alain Coumont. I chose Le Pain because I was in Philadelphia to cover The Barnes Foundation and the online menu reflected my hankerings that day. 

An eatery that features gluten-free, vegetarian-style fare is consistently my first choice for lunch and Le Pain Quotidien Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai was outstanding. The menu and decor are ideal for the diner who is looking for French-inspired pastries, soups, and savory lunch options and an assortment of healthy, plant-based selections. 

Le Pain emanates European culture with the comforting aroma of bread baking in the kitchen and a casual French-country charm. It’s a perfect prelude to an afternoon at The Barnes. 

Call ahead to be sure seating is available during peak times.1 215 789 9870

Philadelphia Art and Culture The Barnes Foundation and Le Pain Quotidien
Are you feeling “cultural” and hungry for artisan food? If you’re looking for a French-inspired meal that will set the stage for your visit to The Barnes Foundation, Le Pain Quotidien is close by and the aroma of bread baking is only the beginning of your romance with European culture in Philadelphia. 

AFTERNOON WITH THE MASTERS

Why are we so fascinated with museums? 

I’ll tell you why I can’t stay away from them or better yet, I’ll show you why you should set aside time to visit The Barnes Foundation. (See my gallery below). Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui unless otherwise noted. 

Museums are my go-to place for inspiration for my own art (https://chigirie.com) and an opportunity to tune into my creative side and tune out the noise and chatter around me. Too much time had passed since my last visit to a metropolitan museum and upon reading more about The Barnes (as it’s often called), I knew I had to set aside an afternoon to experience this Philadelphia treasure. The Barnes Foundation houses a must-see collection of art by the world’s greatest master painters, sculptors, and designers. 

As I made my way around the first-floor galleries, I came across paintings by my all-time favorite Impressionist painters: Renoir and Monet. And then, gallery upon gallery, the genre expanded to Matisse, Van Gogh, Picasso, Cezanne, Seurat, and Modigliani. 

I was so enthralled by the selection of paintings that I didn’t allow enough time to visit the second-floor exhibits but that’s all the reason I’ll need to plan a follow-up trip to Philadelphia. 

The Barnes, (as it’s known to many) is a non-profit Philadelphia cultural and educational institution recognized for its exceptional art collections, programming, and special exhibitions.    

Thanks to Dr. Albert C. Barnes for his vision and the foundation that honors his name for maintaining this collection of priceless treasures by impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modernist artists. 


Dr. Albert C. Barnes assembled a collection of African art, Native American pottery and jewelry, Pennsylvania German furniture, American avant-garde painting, and wrought-iron metalwork that are interspersed with the paintings throughout the galleries. Image courtesy of The Barnes Foundation

TIP: Allow ample time (three to four hours) to explore the galleries. 
African art, Native American pottery and jewelry, Pennsylvania German furniture, American avant-garde painting, and wrought-iron metalwork are arranged throughout the galleries in a manner that encourages time to view, study, and reflect on each object in the ensembles. 

Watch this video clip and visit https://chigirie.com for additional insights. 

Learn how to plan a solo media trip here

FROM THE BARNES FOUNDATION: 

The ensembles, each one meticulously crafted by Dr. Barnes himself, are meant to draw out visual similarities between objects we don’t normally think of together. Created as teaching tools, they were essential to the educational program Dr. Barnes developed back in the 1920s.

Directions: The Barnes Foundation is conveniently located along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA. No need to worry about parking. Visitors are invited to park in the lot adjacent to the foundation. 

For additional information, call 215.278.7000. 

Disclaimer: 

My visit to The Barnes Foundation was comped but my opinions are my own. 

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Artistic Treasure: PA State Capitol Complex

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  • December 3, 2018
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Rotunda Exterior Image PA State Capitol Complex
The Pennsylvania State Capitol Building complex, Harrisburg, PA.The 272-foot, 52 million-pound capitol dome glistens with Vermont granite and is topped with a green-glazed terra cotta tile roof and inspired by Michelangelo’s design for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Photo courtesy of Visit Hershey-Harrisburg

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building

An Architectural Masterpiece

Plan a visit to Harrisburg and add this National Historic Landmark to your itinerary.

Imagine you’re standing in front of the Pennsylvania State Capitol building around the time of its dedication on Oct. 4, 1906. Close your eyes and envision you’re looking skyward at what was considered to be the tallest structure between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The capitol building held that record for 80 years. That must have been quite a sight to behold.

As a life-long Pennsylvania resident, I’m sorry to note I had only seen my state’s capitol building from a distance until earlier this year on a sunny late September day. As the traffic whizzed by me, I took a moment to admire the dome from the sidewalk in front of the complex. I realized I had no idea what entrance to use. As I walked up and down two flights of exterior steps twice, I checked my watch and realized I was five minutes late for my scheduled tour. I stopped briefly to ask a bystander to point to the main entrance that would lead me to the main lobby and the man directed me to two sets of double doors. A security guard mapped out my trek to the lobby where I found the information desk surrounded by several large groups of visitors who were ready to embark on their tours. There, I met my tour guide.

Visit Hershey-Harrisburg arranged my tour as part of a three-day media trip to Hershey and Harrisburg. I left Central Pennsylvania with a significantly greater understanding of why Harrisburg has remained Pennsylvania’s capital since October 1812 thanks to my tour guide, Jill Fetter. She’s the Capitol Visitor Services director and The Pennsylvania Capitol Shop manager in the Main Rotunda and an expert in both the building’s history and design.

Philadelphia architect Joseph Huston (1866-1940), designed the massive capital structure based on his vision of a “Palace of Art” and that’s exactly what you’ll find. The building and furnishings cost $13 billion.

Aside from its obvious grandeur and size, the exterior of the building is a gateway to the splendor you’ll find inside – classic American Renaissance style architecture that’s combined with artistic details that are unspeakably magnificent and illuminated by approximately 4,000 lights and 48 portholes in the dome.

Suffice to say, the building lives up to its reputation as the most beautiful capitol building in our nation. In fact, history has it that President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the capital as “the handsomest building” he ever saw when he attended the dedication of the building.

PA State Capitol Building Architecture Art
A visitor stops for a moment to gaze at the statues and ornamentation as he descended the grand staircase in the main building. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

The interior focal point is the grand staircase – an ideal vantage point for visitors to view eight large murals by Philadelphia artists, Edwin Austin Abbey, and the famous Barnard  Statues by George Grey Barnard, and 17-foot bronze doors that each weighs a ton. Keeping your eyes fixed on one element at a time might be difficult for even the most disciplined spectator as your tour guide describes each of the massive installations of stained glass, murals, and paintings crafted by the most talented artisans of that era.

Pennsylvania historical exhibits
Love art? The capitol building is as much a series of exhibits as it is a hub for lawmakers and lobbyists. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Some of the largest rooms feature a European influence with distinctive Renaissance elements – Italian in the House Chamber, French in the Senate Chamber, and English in the Governor’s Reception Room. Add to that mix Greek, Roman and Victorian installations of exquisite art and ornamentation displayed throughout the building.

PA Senate and House Chambers Tours
When the legislature is not in session, you’ll have a chance to gaze at the murals, gold embellishments, custom-crafted lighting fixtures, and exquisite woodwork in the chambers. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex Tours
What will you learn during a tour of the PA State Capitol Complex? This massive structure is an ideal opportunity for students of all ages to learn local, state, and national histories, law and politics, and art and architecture. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Historians, politicians, teachers, students, architects, travelers, and anyone with an appreciation for history and art and a fascination with politics and lawmaking, should visit the Pennsylvania State Capitol complex. Architectural students will want to study how Huston, the architect-of-record, incorporated motifs that embody Pennsylvania’s achievements in history, animals, industries, occupations, and modes of transportation into his design. Whether your glance is towards the dome, straight ahead, or under your feet, you’ll find examples of Huston’s affinity for art. One example is the Moravian tiles you’ll see intermingled on the lobby floor. They were designed and manufactured by Henry Chapman Mercer of Doylestown, PA as a way to illustrate and incorporate the talents and wares of local craftsman.

Henry Chapman Mercer Moravian Tiles
As many as 400 tile mosaics by Henry Chapman Mercer, a Doylestown, PA craftsman, are interspersed throughout the first floor of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building Rotunda and nearby corridors. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

William B. Van Ingen 24 Stained Glass windows
The “Militia” is one of 24 stained glass windows in the Senate and House Chambers crafted by Philadelphia native William B. Van Ingen. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

There’s so much to see and take in at the State Capitol Building.  Take the time to download the PA Capitol Self-Guided Tour Mobile app to learn about the self-guided tour stops, how a bill becomes law in PA, and research additional information in five languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German.

Tours are free and offered every half hour Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or on weekends and most holidays at 9 and 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. You won’t be able to tour the capitol building on New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving and Christmas day but you’ll have plenty of other options before or after those holidays. I encourage you to register for a tour so won’t miss a detail along the way. A Capitol Tour Guide will fill your head with architectural, artistic, and political highlights that will make this building’s incomparable beauty come alive for you. If you decide to wait to schedule your tour until you arrive in Harrisburg, be sure to check the schedule before arriving at the capitol complex.

PA State Capitol Complex Tour Guides
Allow Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex tour guides, Jill Fetter and her staff, to show you around one of Pennsylvania’s most extraordinary buildings.

For help planning your trip to Pennsylvania, visit www.VisitHersheyHarrisburg.org.

My trip was hosted and comped by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg but my opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences. 

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