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China Travel Tips

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  • January 21, 2019
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China: The Great Wall

How To Travel To China Without Speaking Chinese

Selena Chen says, “That’s okay.”

Tips for Safe Travels from Selena Chen

China Travel Tips help take the fear out of traveling to China when you don’t speak Chinese.

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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Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex

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  • December 3, 2018
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Preserving Artistic and Historical Treasures

Rotunda Exterior Image PA State Capitol Complex
At the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building complex, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the 272-foot, 52 million-pound capitol dome glistens with Vermont granite. It’s 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
What makes the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building an architectural masterpiece?
You need to schedule a tour of Harrisburg and while you’re in town, 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.

Until my recent Harrisburg travel assignment, I only recall seeing this stately icon from a distance. That’s nothing to brag about considering I’m a life-long Pennsylvania resident. The day I visited couldn’t have been more beautiful as the sunbeam illuminated the dome.

As the traffic whizzed by me on one of Harrisburg’s busiest streets, I took a moment to admire the dome from the sidewalk in front of the complex before I made the climb up the exterior stairs to the entrance. I also realized I had no idea what entrance to use.

While rushing up and down two flights of exterior steps not once but twice on my way to my private tour appointment, I checked my watch and realized I was five minutes late before I entered the building. Blame it on the sprawling complex and multiple sets of doors that confused me.

Fortunately, a bystander pointed me in the right direction in the vicinity of the main entrance and a security guard mapped out my trek to the information desk in the lobby. Minutes later I met my guide who was surrounded by several large groups of visitors who were ready to embark on their tours.

Travel assignments offer many perks and Rick Dunlap, of the Visit Hershey and Harrisburg office, Harrisburg’s official tourism board, 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 tours are so organized and effortless.

While Harrisburg has remained Pennsylvania’s capital since October 1812, my tour guide, Jill Fetter is a storyteller who in a comparatively short time, learned the full history and stories to keep you entertained throughout your tour. She knows the building inside and out. Jill is 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.

As we strolled through the first area, she began by pointing out many of the materials used throughout the complex. In case you didn’t know, 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. Before you go, download the PA Capitol Self-Guided Tour Mobile app to learn about the self-guided tour stops and how a bill becomes law in PA. You’ll find 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.

Fill your head with Pennsylvania history and 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. 

Looking for more Harrisburg articles, check out https://joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/wildwood-park-nature-abounds.

Planning content after a media trip can be daunting but you can simplify your life with the Content Creators Planner, a tool I use to organize my life.

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Saluting Carbondale’s History

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  • November 5, 2018
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Hotel Anthracite outdoor dining

Hotel Anthracite: Every Detail Tells a Story

Settlers Hospitality Group Hails Carbondale’s History 

Saluting Carbondale’s vast history is no easy task. This Pioneer City was founded on March 15, 1851, and is the fourth oldest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Settlers Hospitality Group chose to honor Carbondale’s coal-mining and railroading history when it refurbished the Hotel Anthracite.

Every piece of art that adorns the walls throughout the hotel tells a story. Consequently, you won’t find a stock photo in the lobby, restaurant, hallways, or guest rooms and each piece, whether it’s a framed photograph or another medium, is in some way related to the city’s rich anthracite and cultural history.

Hotel Anthracite - Kol Steakhouse
You won’t find stock photos on any of the walls at the Hotel Anthracite, Carbondale’s newest hotel. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Unwavering Service

Settlers Hospitality Group is an award-winning hospitality company based in Hawley, PA, one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s most endearing historic towns. The group owns and manages The Hotel Anthracite, along with the Settlers Inn, Ledges Hotel, Silver Birches Resort, and Sayre Mansion.

Settlers’ goal is to provide their guests with a one-of-a-kind tribute to the heritage that surrounds each of its properties. Equally as important to guests are the exceptional accommodations and cuisine and unwavering service.

“The key operating philosophy of the hotel arm of the Settlers Hospitality Group is to provide an independent and authentic lodging experience that is guest-focused, locally flavored, and pet-friendly,” Chris Simpler, Hotel Anthracite general manger, explained.

Simpler commented in detail about the hotel’s history during our lunch at KOL Steakhouse, the hotel’s signature restaurant. He delved into the features as I sampled the OUTSTANDING Baby Greens and Quinoa Salad, topped with grilled chicken and drizzled with a Champagne Blood Orange Vinaigrette. Suffice to say, the hotel has covered all the bases with style, creativity, and artistry.

Hotel Anthracite outdoor dining
Take your romantic dinner or gathering outdoors on the patio. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Born and raised in the Hudson Valley, Simpler found himself back in Northeastern Pennsylvania to partner with Settler’s Hospitality. His wife Jenna (Simpler) runs the resort side of the Silver Birches Resort, a Settlers property that celebrates the history of the Lake Wallenpaupack region.

Indoor-Outdoor Connection

Jeanne Genzlinger, the matriarch of the Settlers Hospitality Group, served as the main designer. She selected a neutral color palette, which is an ideal backdrop for the history and outdoors’ themes. Jeff George, (artistic design), S. Robert Powell (Carbondale historian) and Juan H. Espino (artist: The Looking Glass Gallery) all played significant roles in the historical detailing within the walls of the Hotel Anthracite. Altogether, the decor is the best of all worlds. As you enter the Hotel Anthracite, you’ll find historical charm effortlessly blended with modern amenities guests expect.

Large chunks of official anthracite coal are displayed in the Hotel Anthracite lobby surrounded by photos of the Gravity Railroad and its first locomotive, “The Stourbridge Lion.” They’re your cue the decor is intended to educate, enlighten, and motivate you to discover more about Carbondale’s past.

“We have utilized that foundation to bring photography and recreated historical elements to Hotel Anthracite,” said Simpler.

Carbondale Anthracite Coal History
Towering Anthracite Coal immediately shines a light on Carbondale’s anthracite history. Photo courtesy of Hotel Anthracite.

Finishing Touches

Hotel Anthracite Carbondale
One of my favorite guest room features is the view overlooking one of Carbondale’s neighborhoods.

“The feeling we were going for was to bring the hotel back to emphasize what’s out the windows. The neutral palette is great to work with because you have a lot of flexibility. It’s a clean and modern look but it also fits well with the historical theme we have,” he said.

Hotel Anthracite Renovation
All rooms were recently redesigned to provide guests with all new furnishings and linens.
Hotel Anthracite business traveler
Business travelers can count on high-speed internet and an efficient work area.
Hotel Anthracite lodging
If the rest is at the top of your list after sightseeing and other outdoor activities, the beds are dressed in super-soft sheets and a down-alternative comforter.

Formerly known as the Carbondale Grand Hotel and operated as a Best Western until the Settler’s group purchased and renovated the building, the Hotel Anthracite averages 15,000 stays a year in their newly-appointed rooms. The management is in tune with their guests’ needs and expectations and delivers a high-quality package.

In the guest rooms, new beds are topped with standard and king-sized pillows. What’s more, towels, linens, curtains, and the sofas are also new.   Certified botanical organic bath products are provided in dispensers rather than single-use throw-away bottles to reflect Settlers Hospitality’s commitment to conservation.

YES to Pets

Pets and their families stay in comfort with the pet program in place. Yes, the hotel has pet-assigned rooms to protect guests with allergies. But Simpler said, “We always do something personal to welcome the dogs to our property.” Be sure to inquire about the pet policy when you reserve your room.

Simpler’s way of thinking about The Hotel Anthracite is, “Why not make it a great experience that people talk about.”

 

KoL Steakhouse Dining: A Natural, Easy Fit

Hotel Anthracite menu
Add a slice or two of protein to your Baby Greens and Quinoa salad and you’re good to go.

What thoughts does the name “Kōl” evoke? If your guess is a “play on words” reflecting Carbondale’s anthracite legacy, you’re correct, according to Simpler.

“It (the name) is a natural, easy fit,” he said. “It aligns with our history.”

Kōl Steakhouse is for diners who want a dining experience that’s different – fine dining in a casual steakhouse setting. Renowned Executive Chef Michael Bodner begins with locally sourced aged beef and then adds his own creative flair to the regional fare and daily specials.

My choice was the mouth-watering Chicken Milanese Anthracite, a moderately priced entree ($19) from the Chef’s Plates’ section of the menu. The savory breaded free bird farm chicken breast, seasoned with aromatic basil and arranged with tomatoes, harmonizes with the balsamic dressing, asparagus, and creamy risotto. I said “NO” to dessert because my palette was content. My meal was a perfect-sized portion and a combination of flavors.

The wine menu offers more than 100 different bottles of wine in a full range of styles and prices. A handful of local wines are available, thanks to the hotel’s sommelier who put the wine list together for all of the Settler’s Hospitality Group’s properties.  Looking for a fresh, local beer on tap or in the bottle? Come to Kōl Steakhouse and quench your thirst.  The bartender will accommodate your hankering with a variety of liquor and mixed drink concoctions.

“You need to deliver something more – a new experience,” is Simpler’s philosophy.

View sample menus here.

“What will you do in Carbondale?”

Hotel Anthracite Carbondale
Once the weather in Carbondale turns chilly, you’ll find lodging guests and diners relaxing near the fireplace in Hotel Anthracite’s lobby. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

Simpler noted, “In the months I’ve been here (as manager), I’ve come to know the untapped opportunity and potential here in Carbondale is huge. Settlers Hospitality management and staff have proven that folks will drive from hours away to dine at their hotels because the experience and food are so fantastic.”

Community Partnerships = Endless Opportunities

Once you’ve taken an architectural and historical tour of Carbondale, venture into local communities and set your sights on Northeastern Pennsylvania’s four seasons. The Settlers Hospitality Group partners with local businesses in each of their hotels’ locations so guests have access to a variety of activities that range from skiing, cycling, hiking, to world-class fishing that will get your heart pumping.

Travel Tip: Hotel Anthracite is a mere 25 minutes from historic sites in downtown Scranton and less than 35 minutes from Honesdale and Hawley. Allow at least a half-day to explore each town. 

The Lackawanna Heritage Trail, a popular multi-use trail system. exemplifies how a partnership is a win-win for all businesses and visitors. You’ll find the Carbondale Trailhead literally across the street and less than a half-block away from Hotel Anthracite. Simpler says guests can borrow a bike through the BikeShare program at the hotel and The Carbondale YMCA and ride to the New York border on a bicycle.  The trail opened less than a week before my visit and you’ll find the link to my companion story here.  Spend some time at the newly-built Riverfront Park along the Lackawanna River and stop in at The Chamber Gallery and view the latest exhibit.

Travel Tip: Buy your Pennsylvania fishing license and bring your fishing gear. The Lackawanna River awaits you with an assortment of cold-water and warm-water fish species. Depending on where you fish, the river is home to trout, bullhead, bass, perch, and bluegills. 

History buffs should plan a self-guided walking tour and take in the architecture. Carbondale’s array of historic buildings has helped put the city on the map. Don’t miss the historic Memorial Square, City Hall, and the Trinity Episcopal Church and its extraordinary tiffany-windows. Similarly, guests who love snow sports like skiing will have no problems finding the perfect ski conditions at Elk Mountain Ski Resort. Inquire at the hotel about individual and family ski and rental packages. If you’re like me, combining business and pleasure does involve some advanced planning but your trips can be exceptional and memorable.

Conclusion: Whatever your reason for traveling, Hotel Anthracite is a first-rate lodging choice. Experience a small-town treasure in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the ideal base camp to explore a revitalized region alive with history and culture.

My visit was comped but my opinions are my own and based on my personal experience.

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Georgia tourism Lifestyle Travel Advice Visit Georgia Where is Georgia located? World Travel World Travel Trends

7 Reasons You Should Visit Georgia (the country)

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  • September 4, 2018
7 Reasons You Should Visit Georgia
7 Reasons You Should Visit Georgia
What have you heard about Georgia, a country at the intersection of Asia and Europe? Wondering what to expect? Read on and get the details from guest blogger, Natalie Young.
Text by Natalie Young

Edited by Joan Mead-Matsui, Publisher 

What have you heard about Georgia, a country at the intersection of Asia and Europe? We went there, and have some advice for you – the culture, landscapes, food, wine, the people are so incredible, you might be overwhelmed. To help you transition into vacation mode, check out our 7 Reasons you should visit Georgia.

Anyone who wants too much of a good thing Read on…

  1. Its cuisine will make you feel bad… 

… about overeating so much. Traditional dishes such as khinkali, khachapuri or pschali are made from locally sourced ingredients and usually cooked in wood-fired ovens. You will soon notice that Georgians enjoy long feast-like dinners and are happy to share them with visitors of their country.

  1. The landscapes are a bit too much 

Georgian landscapes may cause you problems when you will be telling your friends back home of what you’ve seen during the trip. In an area smaller than 70 thousand square km, you will see terrains of all kinds: snowy mountains, sandy beaches, desert-like flatlands, rocky hills and lush forests.

  1. Georgians won’t let you relax… 

..or get lost. Due to the long history of wars, the Georgian nation is known for its hot temper, yet this goes together with extreme hospitality. Once you enter Georgia, you will feel as if you’re visiting your old friends – Georgians will greet you, make you feel at home and will bathe you in recommendations. You do not need to worry about getting lost in the country either- and even if you do end up lost on your road trip, you will eventually find yourself having dinner with Georgian families in the countryside. Of course, if you prefer to get stressed during your vacation and don’t want to make new friends, you should not go to Georgia.

  1. The weather 

If you’re planning to make a trip around Georgia, you will have to prepare for surprises. In one trip you can visit the Red Sea coast and spend the whole day sunbathing, and on the next day climb the snowy peak of Kazbek, later returning to sunny Tbilisi or heading for a refreshing stay in Borjomi. On the other hand, if you are a fan of dull, rainy afternoons, Georgia might not be the place for you.

  1. Wine 

Sorry to disappoint you, but you won’t find French wine in Georgia. That’s because Georgians take pride in their vineries that are some of the oldest in the world. Georgian winemaking traditions that date back to Neolithic period are internationally recognized and appreciated: Georgian winemaking method using clay pots is even included in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

  1. Urban culture 

You are probably visiting Georgia for its amazing nature, right? If you are not into the art scene and are not a fan of discovering peculiar cultural things, don’t go to Tbilisi. Yet, we believe it’s almost impossible to skip the country’s capital with a population over 1 million of people and a forward-looking scene of arts and culture. Visit Bassiani club, Fabrika or Tbilisi flea market, and you will soon notice that the city is much more than the beautiful architecture and fancy restaurants.

  1. Georgia is unpredictable 

Things you don’t expect to see while visiting Georgia: waterfall in the middle of Tbilisi old town, the remains of Soviet military bases, a funicular in the inner yard of a building on one of the main streets of the capital, a monastery on a tall rock (The Katskhi Pillar monastery in Chiatura), moving statues (on the boulevard in Batumi)… yet, you’re most likely to see most of these and even more.


For more advice about Georgia, visit this site. Planning your travel itinerary? Here’s an article about New Zealand.

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Pat Boone

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  • March 26, 2018
Pat Boone Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

The Boy on Roanoke Road

Pat Boone iconic pop star bio
Pat Boone’s career has evolved for more than 50 years. From an iconic pop star to an outspoken spokesman, Pat’s Christian values are deeply rooted. All photos courtesy of patboone.com. 

God, Family, Career, and Israel

An Exclusive Interview with Pat Boone

Singer, actor, TV host, producer, songwriter, author, motivational speaker, TV pitchman, radio personality, record company head, TV station and sports team owner, family man, and humanitarian are all titles attached to the legendary and iconic Pat Boone whose career has spanned more than five decades.

Pat Boone was the first child born to Archie Boone, a building contractor, and his wife, Margaret, in Jacksonville, FL on June 1, 1934. He described his life growing up in Nashville with his parents and siblings – a brother and two sisters, as “wonderful” and “idyllic.”

Although no one in his family was a musician by trade, his mother played some ukelele and taught Pat and his brother to play some chords. Pat became known as “the Boy on Roanoke Rd” – “the kid who knows all the pop songs of the day and will come to sing for you with no strings attached.”

“We entertained our family at all our gatherings as we were headed toward our teen years.   So in the midst of my athletics and school and other activities, I became an amateur singer, a little dreaming that might lead to a career.” ~Pat Boone (via an email interview)

Indeed, a professional career followed – one that has endured more than 50 years. Pat is 83-years-old with a long list of accolades and recordings to his name; a record company, “The Gold Label” that’s dedicated to legendary and accomplished artists, (who incidentally, all come with million-selling gold records to their credit);  and he is regarded as the #10 all-time top recording artist, according to the music industry magazine, “Billboard.” His career has spanned more than five decades. Read a full list of his accomplishments at patboone.com.

Pat Boone Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Entertainer Pat Boone on Stage

As much as music has been an integral part of his life from an early age, Pat says reading the Bible and attending church services are the backbone of his life, then and now.

I learned that the whole Bible from the first words in Genesis, “In the beginning…” to the last words from the book of Revelation in the New Testament…all the Bible was written by Jews about Jews and for Jews, and focused on Israel and God’s chosen people.

While attending a Christian high school in Nashville, he met his wife, Shirley, whom he lovingly refers to as his high school sweetheart. They were married when Pat was nineteen and by the time he had graduated from Columbia University (Magna Cum Laude), Pat quips, he had four girls, only three-and-a-half years apart.

I should have been neutered or perhaps jailed – but my wife did become a great mother as well as a wonderful wife and having those responsibilities kept my feet on the ground when my career took off like a whirlwind, luckily 11 months ahead of Elvis and “Heartbreak Hotel”.   

Pat Boone Iconic Legendary Singer Songwriter
Pat Boone, family man and devout Christian shown with his four daughters and wife, Shirley, his high school sweetheart

His affinity for music continued through his teens and adulthood. In late 1959, a love affair with the Ernest Gold melody to the movie Exodus and the theme song led Pat to put his faith and songwriting skills to work when he subsequently wrote the words “This Land is Mine,” the lyrics behind the esteemed show tune.  The song is referred to by many as “the second Jewish national anthem.” 

How do his Christian beliefs tie in with his connection with Israel?

He explained, “We knew then, and I know now, that we Gentiles get in on this exquisite and unique relationship with God through our acceptance of Jesus the Jewish Messiah, the one who fulfilled all the prophesies of Isaiah about the One who would come to lead his people out of captivity and bless them more then all the people in the world.”

He further explained Christianity, properly understood is a direct outgrowth of historic Judaism and it’s clear that God wants every believer to understand our “Jewishness” as well as our Christianity and the word. Christ, he noted, is a Greek translation of the word “Messiah” or God’s anointed one.

“When I’ve spoken to groups of Rabbis in the past, I tell them I’m representing the 4th branch of Judaism; there is Orthodox, Reformed, Conservative and Messianic.  Everything we believers in Jesus hold sacred and true is a direct outgrowth of the Bible which deals ‘explicitly with Jews and God’s promises to the people of Israel.”

Pat Boone Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Tour departs New York May 9 2018
Pat has been a long-time friend to Israel.

According to Pat, Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a longtime friend, has said on many occasions, “Evangelical Christians are Israel’s best friends in the world – we know that.” He and the Israel Prime Minister got to know one another during an Israeli water function at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

“He (Benjamin Netanyahu) became of fan of mine when he was at M.I.T. in his college days, and loved my record of ‘Speedy Gonzales.’  We’ve been good friends ever since,” Pat remarked. 

Although the prime minister was not able to attend Pat’s Tel Aviv concert three years ago for security reasons, Pat met with him privately, “just the two of us at his request, the night before in his office in Jerusalem,”  he says. When Pat walked into his office they shook hands and Netanyahu said, “Hello Speedy, come on in!”

“And the beaming smile on his face made some of my Israeli friends jealous.  Our friendship is real, deep, and based on our understanding of God’s expressed intentions for his chosen people…,” says Pat. 

HISTORIC PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND PLANNED

Pat has joined forces with Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, an Israeli American Rabbi, and the founder and current president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews headquartered in Chicago and Jerusalem, as they host a most memorable “Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land,” a 10-day journey that will depart North America on May 9, 2018.  In addition to sightseeing opportunities at some of Israel’s most cherished sites, the tour coincides with the actual 70th birthday of the modern state of Israel and the dedication of the U.S. Embassy on May 14. As part of the celebration, Pat will film a TV special in the Roman amphitheater in Caesarea for national and international distribution. 

Pat Boone Roman amphitheater in Caesarea
Pat will film a TV special in the Roman amphitheater in Caesarea for national and international distribution during the “Historic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land” scheduled to depart from North America on May 9, 2018

He referred to the tour as “a loving seminar in the things that we hold in common, much more than things that might divide us in understandings or beliefs.” The trip is a historic pilgrimage designed for Christians and Jews, with sites selected that are of particular interest to the Fellowship of Christians and Jews and “we” the believers in Jesus as the Messiah.

“We believe that everyone who comes back from this tour, whether invited by Rabbi Eckstein or me or a couple of other co-hosts, will have a lasting and permanent sense of identification to Israel, the Jews, the one God of the Bible and the sense of destiny that unites us.”  

Together,  he and Rabbi Eckstein’s collaborations have helped to fulfill God’s prophecy by paving the way for tens of thousands of poor and persecuted Jews from all over the world to return to and settle permanently in the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their efforts, particularly a television special Rabbi Eckstein and Pat co-hosted, prompted the Christian community to donate tens of millions of dollars to relocate and care for the displaced Jews in modern Israel.

Pat said, “I’m proud of that.”

From his days as a budding entertainer on Roanoke Rd. to his humanitarian work in Israel, Pat believes God will continue to bless his efforts if they’re good and ensure the happiest life he could possibly live.

“I’m convinced God won’t let horrible things happen to me. If all young people today could have that kind of assurance we would have a better society.  And most psychiatrists would be out of work.” ~Pat Boone

For details about the historic pilgrimage, visit http://patbooneisraeltour.com. Registration is limited to 200 to 300 tour members.

Read a companion article about Temple Israel of the Poconos Chanukah celebration lead by Rabbi Baruch Melman. https://joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/multi-talented-rabbi-band-frontman.

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Global Data: International arrivals to Spain increased by 4.8 percent

  • By
  • March 18, 2018
total tourist expenditure in Spain Projected all-time high tourism expenditure
US Travel News Data
GlobalData reports new travel statistics.

For immediate release: 16 March 2018

Information provided courtesy of GlobalData

‘Trump Slump’ leads Spain to overtake US in Global Tourism; says GlobalData

Total Tourist Expenditure in Spain Projected All-Time High

Spain is expected to become the second most popular tourist destination in the world, overtaking the US, as the so-called ‘Trump Slump’ caused a dip in the US tourism industry; says GlobalData a leading data and analytics company.

Rapidly growing tourism flows herald a strong 2018 for the industry however as Konstantina Boutsioukou Consumer Analyst at GlobalData explains “As Spain overtakes the US in the list of the most visited countries in the world, the global tourist community has sent a strong message that divisive and discriminatory policies can greatly hamper sector growth”.

Despite the recent political uncertainty following the Catalan independence referendum and the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils last August, the Spanish tourism industry has proved to be very robust and has experienced strong growth in the last 12 months.

According to figures from GlobalData, international arrivals to Spain increased by * 4.8%; from 75.6 million tourists in 2016 to 79.3 million in 2017. The UK, followed by France and Germany are the three largest source markets for Spain, making up 53% of total arrivals to the country. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has also confirmed that early projections reveal that the total tourist expenditure in Spain recorded an all-time high, reaching £77 billion in 2017.

Official statistics by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), have not been released, however current projections from the organization reveal that arrivals to the US are down from 75.9 million in 2016, to 72.9 in 2017. The decline of tourism is estimated to cost the US economy £140 million a week, equivalent to £7.3 billion a year. However, New York City and Los Angeles have fared better than most US cities. Arrivals to Los Angeles have increased by 2.2%, mainly due to a growth in domestic arrivals and Chinese visitors. New York arrivals have increased by 2.1% mainly due to a surge in US visitors.  

Boutsioukou adds, “The travel restrictions are seen by many tourists as state-sponsored Islamophobia, and are putting off many travelers from visiting the US. The ban has given rise to a general wave of withdrawals particularly among Middle Eastern, African and European tourists. Flows from Mexico have also registered a decline, as Mexican citizens seek to boycott the construction of the ‘Trump Wall’ at the border between Mexico and the US.’’

‘*’   source: GlobalData Consumer Intelligence Centre – 2017 estimates
‘**’ source: United Nations World Tourism Organisation – 2017 estimates

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Airplane Travel With Children?

  • By
  • September 9, 2017

Soar with your children

 

Rise Above Your Fear

 

Are you overwhelmed by the thought of traveling by plane with your children?

 

More than likely, there’ll come a time when you’ll contemplate a trip abroad or a visit with family. If traveling by plane with your kids evokes fear and anxiety and doubts about whether you have the parenting skills to pull off family travel, you’ll want to read Super Flyers: A Parent Guidebook for Airplane Travel With Children” by Dr. Lori Baudino, PsyD, BC-DMT, a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified dance/movement therapist.

If you’re like Dr. Baudino and you love to travel, why shy away from what could be a memorable journey with your children and a valuable learning experience for children and adults?

Super Flyers is a parent’s manual that’s jam-packed with strategies you can utilize when you need support to handle those trying and awkward moments.

Dr. Baudino shares her tips to handle those fleeting moments of upset and chaos that can occur during travel when children are overtired, overstimulated or restless. She outlines skills parents can employ that will set the stage for a more joyous time.

“If you are a parent then you will eventually come across traveling with your children,” says Dr. Baudino.

Whether your child is an infant, toddler, pre-teen, or teenager, or you’ll have more than one of your brood traveling with you, Dr. Baudino’s suggestions will get you on your way. In 127 pages, she offers tips and delightful progress updates from her children, Aiden and Lyla.

Why should you buy a copy of her book?

Dr. Baudino explains, “With all that we know about parenting and helping our children succeed – I can empower parents to use these skills and take children to new heights exploring cultures, change and travel in the sky.The analogies of flying and parenting are vast- it’s a journey so we might as well share and model enjoyment for and with our children.”

Buy your copy at Amazon.com.

You can learn more about Dr. Baudino and Super Flyers at drloribaudino.com.


DISCLOSURE:

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Venture to the “Land of the Long White Cloud”

  • By
  • September 4, 2017

Top 5 Places in New Zealand

The Land of the Long White Cloud

 

by Sahiba Sadana

 

Non-copyrighted Image Source

No matter where you go in New Zealand, you’ll come across various pubs with excellent beer, fine wine and wonderful food with pleasant service and a charm that’s all their own. All one needs is to make a stopover, soak up the ambiance and have a great time. Those not from the native country can always look up locations online and find the perfect, most suitable place to stay and enjoy the culture. One can compare the costs, desirability, ratings, and locations of various places and choose the most suitable option to gain maximum utility out of one’s visit. Some of my all-time favorite themed pubs include the following:

1) The Green Dragon

 

The Green Dragon is a pub that takes its inspiration from the beloved “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” series. It offers followers a “True Hobbit Experience.” Art director and venture manager, Brian Massey headed the construction of the Green Dragon Pub, with a team of 80 laborers in adding the themed attraction to the beautiful Hobbiton. The Green Dragon is decorated with precise details to recreates the look and feel of the same drinking establishment as in The Lord of the Rings films.

Hobbit village, located near Matamata, was built in 1998 as a set of the films; by Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema. WingNut Films art director and Green Dragon project manager Brian Massey supervised the construction and meticulous decoration.

300,000 people have visited Hobbiton over the past decade, and the number has increased drastically after the release of “Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey.” The pub was opened to the public in late November 2012 after New Zealand Prime Minister John Key conducted the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Hobbiton Board director and New Zealand Tourism Supervisor George Hickton have stated that the establishment may be converted to allow for overnight stays to attract more tourists and provide them with convenience to enjoy the Hobbit lifestyle.

2) Leamington Tavern (Five Stags)

 

Leamington Tavern was established in 2012. It offers TAB dining, SKY TV, outdoor areas and a lovely open fire. It is rightly nicknamed the ‘FIVE STAGS’ as it features five impressive stag heads on the wall right above the bar that steadily view the scene below. The Leamington tavern has a hunting lodge theme that makes one want to sit by the fire and relish a hearty meal. It offers a broad range of menu items from wild boar to venison burgers and a separate children’s menu. Distinctive features of the new concept pub include columns which are exposed and integrated into life-like trees, a detached hunter’s cabin and full-sized duck shooter’s Mai Mai.

3) The Patriot

 

The Patriot is located in the heart of the village and is the only British-themed pub in Devonport. It is situated in the historic building of the Bank of New Zealand with its original safe vault still in place. One can soak up the ambiance while sipping a pint or drinking a fine glass of wine. The Patriot also provides a wide variety of beers, spirits, wines and soft drinks which one can be enjoyed by the warm fire during winters or in the expansive beer garden or covered verandas in the summer; guaranteeing a memorable experience all year round. It plays Live Music on Thursdays and Saturdays, has a Pub Quiz on Tuesdays and displays all big sporting events Live on their big screens for visitors to enjoy their time at the Patriot.

4) Four Kings

 

Four Kings are Wellington’s biggest sports pub, with 32 LCD projection screens and three enclosed booths. Four Kings is a multi-level casual eatery as well as a brew house situated in the heart of Wellington’s CBD. With over 70 plasma and LCD projection screens, Four Kings specializes in providing an excellent standard to deliver the experience, high quality, and services. The Four Kings is everybody’s dream sports pub with state-of-the-art TAB and gaming facilities which complement the particular 32 projection screens. The bar is built for comfort and ease with 15 Lazy-boy recliners that one can settle back in and check out a match or race. There usually are three surrounded booths (each consists of its LCD screen) that one can tuck oneself away along with some friends and enjoy. There are lots of different TV sets and ‘Sound Zones’ so you can choose what you want to watch. The 4 Kings Lounge could be the ultimate sports bar for sports fans. Four Kings is also a major sponsor of the “Wellington Century City Saints” basketball team, and throughout the season one can run into players when they dine in at Four Kings after home games.

5) The Riverhead

 

The Riverhead, 153 years of age, can be considered as New Zealand’s oldest riverside tavern in addition to having New Zealand’s second oldest liquor license. The Riverhead has been home to refreshments and conviviality. Having been recently renovated, the focus has been shed upon providing the local community a meeting place and welcoming the tourists and local families to dwell in the fresh New Zealand food with a knack, local wines, great beer, and coffee. It can be seen as a venue for a distinct and attractive destination for different interest groups. The vast lawn under a historic oak tree overlooks a creek and has been a desired place for weddings and gatherings for over a century. The Riverhead along with its history and traditions has been restored recently by owners Paula and Stephen who have reinstated this iconic establishment with a remarkable fashion. The pubs mentioned above are not just merely pubs, they are a unique experience that one must NOT miss out on while they visit New Zealand.

Author Bio – Sahiba Sadana is a content writer, well-versed in SEO writing. Her works have appeared on Business Town, The Business Woman Media and other leading dailies. The English post graduate is a Sherlock Holmes fangirl. You can read a recent article by her on drones at The Absolute Reviews.

 

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Historic Philadelphia in 24 hours

  • By
  • April 4, 2017

The City of Brotherly Love: 

Experience historic Philly in 24 hours

Do your plans include an overnight stay in The City of Brotherly Love?

historic Philadelphia
historic Philadelphia’s skyline is a mix of architectural elements and styles.

Why historic Philadelphia? 

By far, Philadelphia is one of my favorites cities to visit.

“The City of Brotherly Love” tugs at my heart.

Whether you choose to take in the sights on foot or perched on a streetcar, be sure to detach from your electronic devices long enough to appreciate the modern and historic buildings that line Philadelphia’s wide streets. Keep your camera close by because there’s something for everyone, whether you’re tuned into people watching or architecture. Philadelphia offers an array of stunningly beautiful architectural gems.

You’ll find a list and descriptions of Philly’s treasures here and a rundown of the Top 10 Historical Buildings in Philly.

A thriving birthplace 

Are you aware Philadelphia’s history dates back to 1682? I also learned something new while researching the city’s rich history. Philly and I share a birthday. William Penn founded Philly on October 27 to serve as the capital of his Pennsylvania Colony. According to http://www.ushistory.org/us/4c.asp, Penn aimed to draft a plan for the city that left the horrors of crowded European urban life behind.

Learn more about historic Philadelphia here.

 

What makes Philly unique from other metropolitan hubs? History abounds on the streets of Philadelphia, with miles of historic and cultural icons you won’t want to miss. Don’t forget to bring along your camera (and selfie stick) so you can capture every photo op. All photos by Joan Mead-Matsui.

Whenever possible, take your cue from residents and guests – a walking tour of Philadelphia is one way to see the sights. You’ll be tempted to pause often to glance into storefronts, read menus or stop for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. According to tripadvisor.com,  Philly offers 3,698 restaurants. That’s foodie heaven. You can find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Get your dose of Philly here.

The extra wide streets are a breeze to navigate.

5 must-see Philly attractions 

History: everywhere you turn

1. Penn Museum

(also known as University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology)

After a particularly long week, my husband and I took two days off to rediscover Philly’s cuisine and culture. We began our glorious 24-hour whirlwind tour at Penn Museum, 3260 South St.,
on the University of Pennsylvania campus, with Pam Kosty, public relations director, as our guide.

You’ll be captivated by the artifacts and art from around the world. Kunihiko Matsui, AIA, marveled at the distinctive architectural elements throughout the museum. Of course, the Japan gallery was a must-see for this Kyoto native.

Stroll the University of Pennsylvania campus and you’ll soon discover why this Ivy League school is regarded as one of the world’s most respected research and teaching institutions. Penn Museum, located on the campus, was our first stop upon our arrival in Philly. Both the interior and exterior of the building are enchanting and representative of an enlightened society eager to promote the arts and sciences. The museum in College Hall was formally opened to the public January 2, 1890.

Create your own signature learning experience as you celebrate the incredibly diverse artifacts and art displayed and intermingled with hands-on learning tools. If you’re fast-tracking your way through Philly and you’re short on time, you can view each of the exhibits in two to three hours. You can also expect to find many objects on display that originated from university-led archaeological excavations and anthropological expeditions. Stone tools, household items, monuments and yes, fine art, are among the treasures you’ll see.

When you think of archaeology and anthropology, what comes to mind? Truly, both disciplines are a celebration of mankind and our world’s diverse cultures.

Take your Pick or see them all

The interior space houses 11 signature exhibitions: Egypt (Sphinx), Egypt (Mummies) Gallery, Africa, Canaan and Israel, China, Etruscan Italy, Greece, Rome, Japan, Mexico and Central America galleries; space dedicated to special exhibitions, and a cafe that features tasty, authentic food from around the world. I chose an Indian dish that was delicious.

Click here for an updated list of special exhibitions or to purchase tickets to the museum.

Museum hours are Tues to Sun., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.

Admission is $15/general adult, $13/senior citizens (65 and above), and $10/children 6 to 17 and full-time students with college ID. Museum members, active U.S. military personnel, children 5 and under and PennCard holders (Penn faculty, staff and students) receive free admission.

 

Flanked by a lovely courtyard, koi pond and seating area, the lawn is a respite where students, staff and museum guests can take a coffee or lunch break, amidst the soothing sounds of trickling water.

 

2. Sonesta Philadelphia Lobby Art Exhibit 

Our next stop was check-in at the incredibly hip Sonesta Downtown Philadelphia. View the original art of Philadelphia’s fine artists and craftsmen in Sonesta’s lobby. The exhibit is updated every six months. Hotel guests in need of information should consult with the concierge. 

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor.

 

Contemporary decor
Art created by Philadelphia artists and craftsmen is the focal point in the lobby of Sonesta Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square.

Read more about Sonesta’s accommodations and services at my companion post: http://wp.me/p7Pqe9-uy

3. Reading Terminal Market 

Sonesta Rittenhouse Square is centrally located downtown at 18th and Market Streets in Center City, and only a short distance from a multitude of attractions. Whether you and your spouse are on an overnight getaway or you’re traveling with children, I guarantee you won’t want to miss the historic Reading Terminal Market. Whatever taste bud you hope to satisfy, you’ll find a selection of baked goods, meats, poultry, seafood, and produce. Other vendors also carry flowers and cookware. The Reading Terminal Market has been open to the public since 1892.

4. The Butcher Bar

What’s your hankering? As 5 p.m. rolls around, and particularly after hours of sightseeing and walking, why not try one one of historic Philadelphia’s newest restaurants?

As we approached the restaurant around dusk, the large shutters on the second-floor windows were wide open. I could see diners engrossed in conversation and candles gently flickering. The entrance-way was bursting with activity as guests sipped cocktails, wine and beer. Happy hour was in the works.

The Butcher Bar, 2034 Chestnut St, offers a lunch, brunch and dinner menu that will leave the meat lover’s mouth watering. I can still recall my reaction to one of our appetizers, a slab of bacon. “Oh, this is incredible – tender and juicy.” Words cannot describe this delectable creation. Kunihiko Matsui and I sampled a variety of menu items.

The bar features 16 beers on tap, 6 draft wines, and a whiskey-based cocktail program. You should absolutely make reservations. View the menus here.

5. The Eastern State Penitentiary 

Before leaving Philly, The Eastern State Penitentiary was our final stop as we prepared to leave the city. Over the years, I’ve heard rave reviews about the Eastern State Penitentiary, but since most of my trips to Philadelphia have been brief, I’ve never found the time to visit.

Regarded as “one of the most famous and expensive prisons in the world” and the world’s first true “penitentiary,” the ruins are bone-chilling and captivating. My overall opinion is the crumbling walls, empty prison yards and dimly lit hallways all speak of the lives of the inmates who called the Eastern State Penitentiary home. They are haunting as much as they are thought-provoking.

Notable residents were “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone, who were among some of America’s most famous criminals.

A masterfully created one-hour hands-on audio tour, history exhibits, artists’ installations, and a vivid imagination are all you’ll need to feel the history that emanates from the walls. A very knowledgeable tour guide also led us through portions of the building.

Stay tuned for video clips from Eastern State Penitentiary. 

Are you looking for a more in-depth history of the penitentiary? Visit http://www.easternstate.org/history-eastern-state.

The penitentiary is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last entry at 4 p.m. Don’t plan to visit on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, when the facility is closed.

Adults: $14
Seniors: $12
Students & Kids: $10 (not recommended for children under seven-years-old) 
Members: FREE


Granted, you won’t have a full 24 hours to tour historic Philadelphia, when you factor in time while you’re sleeping, but in a brief period of time, you will get a taste and feel what makes Philly so interesting. Allow some time to relax and catch your breath. There’s no need to rush, and realistically, who can say how many days, weeks or perhaps even months you’d need to see everything Philly offers? Move at your own pace.


Visitphilly.com graciously arranged my visit and also provided me with information that helped immensely when we were mapping our 24-hour visit. Feel free to reach out to the staff as you are planning your trip to Philadelphia. 

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The Tailwater Lodge: stylish traditional fishing lodge

  • By
  • March 14, 2017

A Stylish Traditional Fishing Lodge

stylish traditional fishing lodge
The Tailwater Lodge – Photo courtesy of the Tailwater Lodge

In the heart of Altmar, NY, only a stone’s throw away from the banks of the Salmon River, is the Tailwater Lodge, one of The Woodbine Group’s signature properties. The Woodbine Group is a privately-held family-run commercial real estate holding and development company based in Syracuse, NY, with strong ties to fly fishing.

stylish traditional fishing lodge
The former gymnasium houses the restaurant and bar. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

While the Tailwater Lodge has already received rave reviews from anglers who flock to the region for world-class fishing, Phase I, completed in 2014, was only the beginning.

Robert Bijess, Tailwater Lodge resort manager said management realized the current lodge needed additional space to offer other activities and events that compliment a great fishing experience.

“Our goal (from the beginning) is to be a resort property that appeals to everyone,” Bijess said. “We’ve done that quickly and I think we are at a point where the fishing community knows us and now we’re reaching out to others outside of the height of angling in this area.”

Phase I architectural firm, Edwin I Harrington Architects, was back on the scene to lead the design team for Phase II that was completed in 2016. Charity Buchika, interior designer also returned. One of the hallmarks of The Woodbine Group properties is the company’s commitment to the preservation of under-utilized properties. The former Altmar School is a prime example of well-thought-out design and the use of repurposed materials.

“We are working with the same architects and interior designers who worked on the existing lodge,” said Bijess in 2016.

Among the many notable must-see elements of the new addition are repurposed timbers that have been incorporated into the overall design. Six exposed beams that weigh 1,000 pounds each were used, according to Bijess.

“They are beautiful solid pieces of lumber that are exposed. So again, the addition will have the same feeling as the rest of the building,” he said.

Guests will undoubtedly find the Tailwater’s decor to be a mix of astounding comfort with that “lodge” feeling you would expect.

stylish traditional fishing lodge
After spending a full day fishing in the Salmon River, Kunihiko Matsui, RA, had an opportunity to tour the Tailwater Lodge and experience an array of expertly prepared food. Lunch and dinner are served in the on-site restaurant, the former school gymnasium. The atmosphere is rustic charm combined with a big city feel. Photo by Joan Mead-Matsui

What’s new at the Tailwater Lodge?

With Phase II completed in 2016, the Tailwater Lodge can now offer its guests “The Barn” as a setting for their upcoming events. Weddings and rehearsal dinners, anniversary parties, family reunions, corporate meetings, and gatherings are among the opportunities you’ll have to experience in the Tailwater Lodge’s newest space. Event specialists are also available to help you create a signature afternoon or evening party. One of the highlights is a ceiling constructed using rough-hewn beams, which further enhances the open, airy setting.

On-site catering, full bar service, silverware, crisp linens and of course, the Tailwater’s mouth-watering meals can be tailored to meet your needs.

Follow this link to learn more about the barn. 

Photo courtesy of the Tailwater Lodge

The Tasting Room

Experience 24 beers on tap, an extensive wine list and gourmet meats and cheeses in the Tailwater Lodge’s premier tasting room. Large and small groups, ranging from 350 to 400 guests, as well as couples and traveling folks, will find The Tasting Room a welcome offering before or after a day of outdoor activities.

 

Simply, yet extraordinarily comfortable accommodations Photo courtesy of the Tailwater Lodge

 

Accommodations

Out-of-town guests will truly delight in the overnight accommodations. The furnishings in each guest room are crisp, clean and extraordinarily gracious. Find a moment to relax in the light-filled rooms. To help you feel at home, guest rooms feature a refrigerator, free high-speed wireless internet, flat-screen cable TV, and a hearty, complimentary hot breakfast. The glass-enclosed shower stall is one of my favorite features. Upon my return to the lodge after a day fishing in the Salmon River, I also found the locker room and wader wash area to be extremely convenient.

Management has crafted a lodge with its customers’ needs in mind.

Romantic Getaways

This 75-year-old fully-renovated school is an ideal setting for a romantic getaway. Whether you’re a couple who longs for an afternoon fishing together, hiking, birdwatching, or whatever interests you share, the Tailwater Lodge has been revamped with romance in mind.

Arrive on a Friday night and usher in your weekend with a meal in the lodge’s restaurant. Awaken Saturday and Sunday morning to a full breakfast. Order a picnic lunch upon your arrival and you’ll have a meal to take with you on your travels. Altmar and Pulaski, NY offer many scenic spots where you can create new memories. Request travel-related information here.

“The Tailwater Lodge is a very unique experience,” Bijess said. “We are seeing an increase in couples who come here for a getaway. They come by themselves or bring another couple along.”

Non-anglers can also enjoy all the Salmon River offers. Try tubing or a canoe or kayak trip.

Bijese commented, “We have a very diverse property and we are excited to see the number of calls we’ve received from people interested in summer, our off-season.”

To view additional photos of the Tailwater Lodge, visit tailwaterlodge.com/dining. 

Read what other travelers have to say about the Tailwater Lodge at TripAdvisor. You can also book online. 

Disclosure:

My stay was comped but my opinions are my own.


 

52 Pulaski Street Altmar NY 13302 | (855) 895-6343

info@tailwaterlodge.com

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