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12 Tips To Keep You Safe in the Water

  • By
  • May 8, 2018
Water Safety Month National Park Service
Wear it water safety month campaign
This father and son team are preparing for a kayak adventure on the Delaware River. May is “Water Safety Month” and a time to assess your equipment and replace worn out life jackets. Learn more about what you can do to protect your friends and family while enjoying a day of water fun. 

Water Safety Month: Is your equipment river-ready? 

Chances are when you’re paddling down a river surrounded by family, friends, and spectacular scenery, the last thing on your mind is the inherent danger water activities can ensue.

If canoeing, kayaking, swimming, and fishing are part of your plans to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, you should double check to be sure your equipment is ready for your opening day on the water.

May is “Water Safety Month” set up by organizations throughout the United States as a reminder that drowning is the number one leading cause of unintentional death in the national parks, according to  Susie Kaspar, National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River ranger and Division of Interpretation educator. Kaspar is one of the organizers of WEAR IT!” Swimming, Fishing, Boating, Floating, an iconic local water safety campaign established in 2011 in response to five drowning fatalities that year along the Upper Delaware River on property managed by the National Park Service. WEAR IT is a collaboration between multiple organizations including Upper Delaware’s Water Safety Committee, the  www.upperdelawarecouncil.org based in Narrowsburg, New York, the National Canoe Safety Patrol, and many other local canoe liveries and businesses in the Upper Delaware River Valley. 

Who’s most at risk?

Statistics gathered by the National Park Service reveal that males between the age of 18 and 64  were among the majority of victims who drowned on the park service land in 2011

Kaspar said, “National parks can be a dangerous environment and that drowning is one of those tragedies that can happen when you’re having a great time and not paying attention to your friends.”

 She also noted the majority of those drowning deaths did not occur while the victims were boating but rather while swimming in the unpredictable waters of the Delaware River, where levels can fluctuate from a foot of water to a ten-foot hole in just a couple of steps. Park visitors should use their common sense and judgment while utilizing the 73.4 miles of water and wild terrain along the Upper Delaware, Kaspar advises. 

“They may have been canoeing but they pulled off the river to take a break and they wanted to jump in to swim. We said we needed to focus on people swimming without a life jacket. Any death in a national park is a concern, but moving water is dangerous even when the conditions appear calm and placid in certain areas.”  

 

 

 

 

A life jacket is the single-most important piece of equipment you should have with you in the water at all times but not the ratty, old jacket you’ve used for years. Life jackets that have been altered in any way or have holes or tears won’t go the extra mile to save your life if your boat tips. Nor will stashing it out of reach in your vessel or raft. Children 12 and younger must wear them but adults are only required to have a life jacket with them and it must accessible.

River users, including anglers, are required to wear a properly-fitted life jacket from Nov. 1 to April 30 but anglers are also encouraged to wear one anytime they’re wading. Kaspar explained one of the hazards river users face is “Foot Entrapment,” a phenomenon the park service notes occurs when one’s foot becomes wedged in between a rock and the force of the water results in thousands of pounds of pressure that can actually push them face down in the water. Kaspar said the best way to avoid foot entrapment is to never stand up in moving water above your knee, float on your back feet first to fend off rocks, and steer yourself towards shore with your arms.

“The Delaware River offers one of the best world-class trout waters in the United States and people come to experience this river from all over the country. They know we’re one of the best trout waters in the country,” she said.

If upon your arrival at Upper Delaware you discover you’ve forgotten your life jacket or it’s not up to standards,  rangers will provide you with a loaner (during peak summer months) at four different river access points deemed most busy along the river. The Loaner Life Jacket Program is based on availability and should not be relied on but thanks to grant money awarded since the formation of the Water Safety Campaign in 2011, the loaner program has significantly expanded. 

Safety Tips You Should Follow 

  1. Wear your life jacket. If you don’t wear it, sit on it. Always keep your life jacket within arm’s reach. They can’t be tied down to your boat.
  2. If your vessel tips, make sure you are floating on your back and keep your feet pointed straight up in the air to avoid foot entrapment.  
  3. Wear appropriate footwear, sandals or flip-flops are not sufficient. Old sneakers or river shoes are the most appropriate.
  4. Be sure your life jacket fits snuggly. What size should I wear? The United States Coast Guard answers your questions about life jackets here but each approved life jacket has a clearly marked label describing who it fits. 
  5. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  6. Don’t go out alone. (Let your family know where you’ll be and when to expect your return home). 
  7. Wear sunscreen. The sun reflects up from the water and will cause sunburned even if you’re out for a few short hours.
  8. Make sure you have your medication with you before leaving for your trip. A brief boating trip can turn into a much longer time depending on water levels and conditions. Be sure you have what you need to get through those times.
  9. Check your equipment to be sure your raft and boat are free of holes. 
  10. If your boat flips over, (and hopefully, you’re wearing that life preserver) don’t worry about any of your equipment. Save yourself and whoever you’re with first.
  11. Stay away from your boat if it tips. A canoe filled with water is equivalent to thousands of pounds of pressure in front of the boat. If you’re stuck between the boat and a rock, for example, you will be crushed.
  12. Stash your cell phone, keys, and other important belongings in a Waterproof Gear Bags

Once you’re ready to embark on your boating adventure,  Kaspar says, “Go out there and have fun but really use your common sense, People tip over all the time and it’s very easy to get in trouble, especially if you’re not wearing a life jacket.”

 

Water Safety Month National Park Service
May is “Water Safety Month” and reminder to be sure your boating and fishing equipment includes a life jacket.

Follow the link to watch Susie Kaspar on PA live: http://www.pahomepage.com/lifestyle/pa-live/pa-live-life-jacket-safety-may-18-2018/1190580773

Fact: The Delaware River is the most paddled stretch of river in the world based on the National Park Service’s visitation statistics.

DISCLOSURE:

A link on this page is an affiliate link. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with this company 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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A River Trilogy book review Adventures Authors book Book Review book reviews Fishing Fishing Destinations Fly Fishing Books Fly Fishing Stories and Tales Lifestyle Travel Product Links W.D. Wetherell Author

Outright Fishing Tales: A River Trilogy

  • By
  • May 3, 2018
New England Fishing
New England Fishing
A naturalist’s account of the Vermont River, One River More, and Upland Stream

 

“Vermont River,” “Upland Stream,” and “One River More” are all books by acclaimed author W.D. Wetherell. He combined those three classics into entertaining and descriptive reflections of his most endearing fly fishing moments. A “Word at the Start,” hooks you and then reels you in as you read one tale after another.

“I had fallen in love with fly fishing as a teenager, thanks to my parents buying a summer house on a bassy Connecticut lake,” Wetherell wrote. “This led me to fly-fishing, and then a passionate reader as a kid-to the literature fly-fishing boasts of, the ‘fishing in print.”

Wetherell is an award-winning novelist with more than 20 books to his credit. A few of his other titles are “The Writing on the Wall,” “North of Now,” “Soccer Dad,” and “Summer of the Bass.” Vermont River is the first book in his fishing collection and a requiem to his love for fly fishing in Vermont. Trout Magazine deemed this selection as one of the 30 finest works about fly fishing. You won’t be disappointed, even if you’re not an angler – each of these works are indicative of Wetherell’s love of nature and family.

A River Trilogy is a fluid, gentle, and entertaining literary work that will leave you yearning for more stories. It’s truly a work of literary art. I encourage you to travel along on his journeys through New England, Montana, and Scotland’s most treasured waterways.

You can purchase the book here by clicking on this link. .

Learn more about W.D. Wetherell at wdwetherell.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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50 Places to Fly Fish Before You Die Family Destinations Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die Fishing Fishing Destinations Fly Fishing Destinations Fly Fishing Domestic and International Destinations Lifestyle Travel Product Links World Travel

50 Places to Fly Fish Before You Die

  • By
  • April 29, 2018
Fly Fishing Destinations
Fly Fishing Destinations
If you’re yearning to fly fish, author Chris Santella has suggestions for you.

Fly Fishing Destinations You Won’t Want to Miss

Are you dreaming of landing that trout, bass, or other fish species?  

“Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die” is full of breathtaking photography and detailed information about 50 of the world’s most spectacular fly fishing destinations. Author Chris Santella is a skilled freelance writer and storyteller who offers his readers a collection of 50 essays created by master fly anglers. The in-depth interviews feature extensive background information for each of the destinations with advice and fishing anecdotes that you’ll find enticing even on the coldest winter day.  Santella’s work is one you’ll commit to memory and refer to as a resource guide when you’re planning your next fly fishing getaway.

I received a copy as a Christmas present in 2018 and although I receive hundreds of book review requests (on a variety of topics) each month, I’d never run across this gem. Santella’s guide covers all of the details and history fly anglers looking for premium places to fish need to know. The “IF YOU GO” that follows each essay: “Prime Time,” “Getting There,” “Accommodations,” and “Equipment,”is invaluable.

Santella is a regular contributor to The New York Times, Forbes.com, and other fly fishing publications.

Buy Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die. 

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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all-inclusive resorts Catskill lodging Catskill resorts Fly Fishing in New York State Lifestyle New York State resorts and lodging skiing in the Catskills timeshare in the Catskills

“Hail Caesar” at Villa Roma

  • By
  • September 19, 2017
Villa Roma by Joan Matsui Travel Writer

 Old-World European Charm 

 

Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center

 

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Villa Roma Resort, 356 Villa Roma Road, Callicoon, NY is a hot spot for Catskill entertainment and lodging. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui, travel writer, photographer, and videographer

Getaway from city life and EXPLORE 

 

Have you arrived at a destination knowing from the get-go you’ll have an extraordinary stay?

My first impression of Villa Roma Resort & Conference Center was “lively.” That’s a characteristic I look for when I first step foot on a resort property.

Upon my arrival, vehicles were lined up, as guests loaded and unloaded their luggage. Even in late winter, a time of the year many resorts refer to as the “slow season,” the lobby was bustling with activity.

Caesar Night – a sight to behold and cherish

 

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
A group of senior citizens found plenty of time to catch up at “Caesar Night,” an evening dedicated to fine Italian cuisine and culture.

After spending an afternoon reminiscing in the lobby, the seniors reconvened for Caesar Night that evening. As I entered the main dining room, the maitre d’ was leading the crowd in a celebration of Italian cuisine and ancient culture. They chanted, “Hail Caesar,” as I discovered a most of the crowd was decked out in garb straight out of the Roman Empire.

Caesar Night is a Thursday night ritual at Villa Roma, marked by a seven-course feast prepared by Chef Peter Selthafner. An appetizer, choices of soup or pasta, salad, selections of entrée and a variety of scrumptious desserts are extremely popular among guests who want to take the time to relax and truly savor each course. When is the last time you devoted 90 minutes to casual dining and conversation?

The Regal Dining Room (located on the third floor of the resort’s new main building) is a perfect setting for Caesar Night and unhurried meals. You’ll find the decor – shades of rich blue and gold, decorative hand painted wall murals and large ceiling fixtures are the ideal backdrop for an Italian-themed meal.

Breakfast IS a BIG DEAL 

 

Begin your day with breakfast prepared YOUR way. A bowl of fresh fruit arrived at my table, along with a cup of decaf coffee, shortly after I was seated at a table by the window. Service was consistently top-notch during my 24-hour visit to Villa Roma.

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Fresh fruit was a sweet beginning to my breakfast.

Villa Roma is ideally situated in New York State’s Catskills’ region. The mountains and countless acres of greenery that surround the resort are a draw for the thousands of guests who visit the Catskills each year in pursuit of hiking, fishing, and skiing opportunities. Abundant activities and a friendly atmosphere keep guests coming back year after year for nearly six decades.

Dining options:

The Main Dining Room, The Beechwoods Restaurant, Beechwoods Grill, Roman Garden Cafe, Dolce’s Ice Cream Parlor, Coffee Bar (new) and Pool Grill

Villa Roma by Joan Matsui Travel Writer
The decor is vibrant, with plenty of space in the common areas for guests to meet.

History 

 

In the fall of 1969, Martin Passante became the sole owner and by 1973, construction of the lobby and “Future” wing was underway. Prior to 1977, the resort was largely still a seasonal escape for guests but by the 1970s, the focus had shifted to year-round activities. Guests could still count on personalized service and made-to-order food but golf and planned activities were an added draw.

You can get your hands on a copy of the entertainment schedule, brochures highlighting upcoming events and special deals when you check in at the registration desk. Additional information is available when you download the “Good Times Newsletter.”

Always plenty to do

 

The Villa Roma guests see today has grown from an old-fashioned guest hotel with 46 rooms, 10 cottages, a pool, and two bocce courts to 24 timeshare buildings and 139 hotel rooms. Yet, the attention to details and outstanding customer service have not been sacrificed to accommodate more than 200,000 guests each year.

Recreational opportunities are plentiful. Golf enthusiasts can play a round at the resort’s 18-Hole PGA Championship golf course or get their tennis fix on the indoor and outdoor tennis courts. You’ll also find racquetball, volleyball, bocce, shuffleboard, basketball, indoor and outdoor heated pools, a fun park, fishing pond, Go-Carts, bumper boats, an arcade room, bowling alley, and fitness center. Villa Roma also offers nightly entertainment and three year-round dining outlets.

Regardless of the season or temperature, fishing and fly fishing are year-round sports enjoyed throughout the Catskills, but if fishing isn’t for you, follow this link to find a complete list of activities to pursue near Villa Roma.

Fishing news and the best locations to fish can be found here at dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/pfrnbcalicon.pdf

Accommodations

 

The two-bedroom efficiency can accommodate up to six guests, with plenty of room to move around.

In addition to two large bedrooms, one with a king bed and the second with one queen bed, the living area also offers a pull-out double sofa bed, which is a definite plus for night owls who want to channel surf the flat screen television.

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Villa Roma Two-Bedroom guest suites offer a kitchen for guests who choose to dine in their rooms. This suite is ideal for family travel.

A kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, stovetop and oven, microwave, and a dishwasher is located adjacent to the living room. The bathroom in this unit is equipped with a separate bathtub and a shower stall, so guests can enjoy a long soak or shower.

Villa Roma also offers a one-bedroom efficiency, one-bedroom suite, deluxe rooms with a private balcony that’s perfect for stargazing or daydreaming; traditional rooms, and lodge rooms located only a short distance from the main building.

Nightlife – Dinner and a show

 

When you’ve finished dinner, where will you find nightlife in the Catskills?

Marty’s Lounge is one of the Villa Roma venues where you can enjoy a late night cocktail, sporting event or a movie on a large screen TV.

Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Hand-clapping or toe-tapping entertainment at Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center
Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Dance the night away with your sweetheart at Villa Roma.
Villa Roma by Joan Mead-matsui
Musician and entertainer Tommy Walker’s evening show at Villa Roma is the icing on the cake. His repertoire includes famous Sinatra and Elvis tunes. Be prepared to sing along with Tommy. 
Villa Roma by Joan Mead-Matsui
Musician and entertainer Tommy Walker is a favorite for guests of all ages.

Upcoming Events You Won’t Want to Miss

 

You can count on being busy when you book your getaway at Villa Roma. Take a look at the following themed weekends planned for September, October, and November.

 

Murder Mystery Weekend

Fri., Sept. 29 to Sun., Oct. 1, 2017

October 27,28, 29, 2017

November 3-5, 2017

Bethel Woods Special

Book your accommodations at Villa Roma and slip away to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for a concert.

 

For more information, visit Villa Roma’s website or call 1-800-533-6767. 


My stay was comped but my opinions are my own.

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Fishing Fishing Destinations

The Tailwater Lodge is a fly angler’s haven

  • By
  • March 14, 2016

Woodbine Group breeds new life into orphaned buildings

The Tailwater Lodge, Altmar, NY 

Only steps away from The Tailwater Lodge is a lush, green shoreline along the Salmon River.

Tom Fernandez was traveling to fish in the lower fly zone of the Salmon River when he saw a “for sale” sign on the former Altmar Elementary School.

Fernandez said, “The rest is history.”

He’s an avid fly angler and a representative of The Woodbine Group, a privately-held, family-run commercial real estate holding, and development company based in Syracuse, NY. The school was built in 1935 as the Altmar Elementary School and was vacant for approximately six years when The Woodbine Group purchased the two-story, 32,000 square foot structure from the school district in March 2013. Following an eight-month construction process, the Tailwater Lodge opened with a project cost close to seven million dollars.

The design team included Edwin I Harrington Architects; Charity Buchika, interior design; Lan Co., site work; and interior hardwood and case goods by Artistry in Wood and Cab Fab.

Fernandez’s step-father, Norman Swanson founded the business in 1978. The Woodbine Group breathes new life into abandoned buildings like elementary schools, abandoned Jewish temples and former medical arts’ buildings through adaptive reuse projects.

“As my step-father says he finds ‘orphans’ and then breathes new life into them,” Fernandez explained. “That’s our business model. We are very sustainable. We have a very environmentally centric way of developing…”

Rather than tear down old buildings and start from the ground up, Fernandez said his family feels it’s necessary to revitalize this area of the country to bring new growth.

“There are some amaTailwater 3zing buildings that have been abandoned and we choose to embrace that history and show what the northeast has to offer.”

The renovation of the building was more of a facelift with changes and updates made to the façade and the reappointment of space. Contractors were also able to utilize the majority of the windows and interior doors. Reclaimed timber conjures a “lodgey” feel, but don’t let the word “lodge” fool you. The Tailwater offers 42 guest rooms with unparalleled comfort and style and is one of two Orvis endorsed lodges in New York State.

“The large doors into the foyer, bar, birch walls, front desk pods were all reclaimed timber,” Fernandez says. “I think the restaurant and bar really stand out. Walking in and seeing the painting by Bob Ripley across the wall really brings the ‘lodginess” of the Tailwater out.”

Pulaski 2015 Rosangela Freitas
Rosangela Freitas, Trout Unlimited member, casts into the frigid water of the Salmon River in Altmar, NY.

Following an afternoon of fly fishing in the Salmon River, or any year-round outdoor activity, the Tailwater’s rustic décor, superb gut-pleasing meals served in the former gymnasium, over-the-top comfortable mattresses, custom-made in upstate New York, and bathrooms with large shower units and plentiful hot water will beckon you to come inside.

A refrigerator, free high-speed wireless internet, flat-screen cable TV, and a hearty, complimentary hot breakfast will prepare you for a day of searching for fish in the surrounding waterways or snowmobiling on the C5A Trail groomed trail system. Guests can don their gear and find onsite direct access to the Salmon River only footsteps away and upon their return to the lodge, can rinse their gear in the wader wash area and then store them in the facility’s locker area.

Fernandez noted, “The Tailwater Lodge caters to individuals and groups looking to tailor their experience.”

For more information, visit tailwaterlodge.com.

Read about my fishing guide blog here.

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Fishing

Salmon River fishing with Rosangela Freitas

  • By
  • December 20, 2015
fishing

Fly Girls’ Fishing Adventure

Why would anyone want to wade knee-deep in frigid water on a cold November day?

Salmon River Fishing with Rosangela Freitas 

As my friend and fellow Lackawanna Valley Trout Unlimited fishing buddy, Rosangela Freitas said, fly fishing is a year round sport. You can fly fish somewhere in the world throughout the year. It’s also an opportunity to reconnect with the outdoors. The world can seem a lot less stressful when you’re listening to the splash of the rifles and contemplating where a trout might be hiding.

In late November 2015, Rosangela and I traveled to Altmar in upstate New York to try our hands at steelhead fishing in the Salmon River. We enjoyed two eventful days of fly fishing. Anglers flock to the river, which stretches for 17 miles through Oswego County, New York, in pursuit of the coveted steelhead, an anadromous strain of rainbow trout that migrates from salt water to spawn in fresh water. Chinook salmon are king in the fall, but by October, the Steelhead also begin to enter the rivers and streams to feed on the salmon eggs from the spawning salmon.

Rosangela made the arrangements for our overnight stay at the Tailwater Lodge and also booked two half-day guided sessions with Mike DeRosa, owner of Zero Limit Adventures, Tailwater Orvis-endorsed river guide concierge, and head guide for corporate events at the Douglaston Salmon Run. Mike is a graduate of the Wulff School of Fly Fishing and Fly Casting Instructors Course and has fished extensively throughout the United States, parts of Canada and many other destinations throughout the world.

Mike has built his business on his love for the outdoors and an affinity for fly fishing. Read his website and you’ll find his pledge to do everything to the best of his ability to put you in front of fish and ensure you have the adventure of a lifetime.

That’s his motto and he delivers.

On our first day, Mike arrived at the Tailwater ready and eager to fish. He provided transportation to the Douglaston Salmon Run, a two-and-a-half-mile stretch of private, world-class catch and release sports fishing at the lower end of the Salmon River. His vehicle was well-stocked with top-notch fly fishing equipment, a variety of flies, snacks, and beverages, and with advanced notice, he’ll also provide lunch for his customers, which is something folks planning a trip to the Tailwater should keep in mind.

fishing
Rosangela Freitas practices two-handed casting during a November 2015 trip to Altmar, NY.

Despite a drop in temperature to around 30 degrees, Rosangela and I managed to remain in the cold water long enough for Mike to teach us the fundamentals of two-handed casting. Selecting flies the fish were taking was a priority for Mike and he changed them often. Silver and black Raider Buggers, a variety of smaller egg patterns and some stoneflies were among the flies he had on hand.

We began our second session mid-morning on Monday on a stretch in the Lower Fly Zone near the bridge in Altmar. We fished from the shore into swift moving water and saw steelhead and salmon drift by. Unfortunately, reeling in a steelhead was not in the cards for us during that trip, but the skills Mike taught set the stage for future adventures on the Salmon River.

To learn more about guide services available through the Tailwater Lodge, click here.

 

Pulaski 2015

 

 

 

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