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Sharing Ties Through Fly Fishing

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  • October 24, 2018
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Women's Fly Fishing Retreat Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s Women’s Initiative Leadership Retreat

 

Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited
“Sharing Ties – PA Women’s Initiative Leadership Retreat” brought women from Trout Unlimited chapters throughout Pennsylvania for the first annual retreat. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission partnered with PA Council of Trout Unlimited to organize the inaugural retreat held at GodSpeed Hostel, Port Matilda, PA on April 20, 21, and 22. PA Council of Trout Unlimited financed the event.

The “Sharing Ties – PA Women’s Initiative Leadership Retreat” resulted in such positive reviews from participants that plans are underway for the second annual retreat, says Amidea Daniel, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Youth and Women’s Program coordinator and Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited Women and Diversity Initiative Committee co-chair.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission partnered with PA Council of Trout Unlimited to organize the inaugural retreat held at GodSpeed Hostel, Port Matilda, PA on April 20, 21, and 22. PA Council of Trout Unlimited financed the event. 

Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited Women's Initiative
The retreat was so successful, plans are underway for the 2019 retreat.

Daniel said, among the participants’ comments she heard throughout the weekend were, “Loved seeing more women connecting and working together to get more diverse audiences on the water,”  “Enjoyed connecting with Heather Hodson from WA via Skype – her ideas and enthusiasm are contagious,” and “Looking forward to next year’s retreat to see what everyone implemented in 2018.” 

Daniel and Kelly Williams planned the retreat with the assistance of a steering committee made up of “energetic, passionate, and determined women” according to Daniel.

Trout Fly Fishing
Amidea Daniel hands out door prizes at an evening event held in conjunction with the retreat.

 

Together, they set the stage for 25 women from 13 TU chapters and 16 counties and other organizations across Pennsylvania to network, share ideas, and work together on ways to help connect more ladies to PA’s waterways through conservation projects, fishing and outreach programs. Participants identified and shared resources and ideas for new programs and events aimed at increasing future engagement among members.

“Icebreakers;” break-out sessions; the Costa SLAM Film Event; art; project and idea sharing; fishing; casting; discussing barriers and solutions to implement programs; and a guest appearance by Washington State’s Women’s Initiative Ambassador, Heather Hodson, via Skype were among the activities offered throughout the weekend.  

Daniel said she was impressed by the enthusiasm and excitement she witnessed during the introductions during the opening session.

PA Women Anglers
Leadership is one of the goals of the Pennsylvania (PA) Trout Unlimited Women’s initiative and a topic that was discussed in details at the large and small-group breakout sessions.

“Many of the women expressed excitement when they saw so many other ladies interested in connecting to Pennsylvania resources through fishing or conservation programs,” Daniel noted. “When they introduced themselves each person began to realize they are not alone in trying to get more diverse audiences interested not only in fishing but also protecting the resources we all enjoy.”

The less experienced and beginner anglers soon found mentors among the group members. Daniel said, “The few that were new to fly fishing were quickly taken under the wings of women who had experience. Lots of ideas and experiences were shared.”

Women Fly Fishing
Rachel Grube is new to fly fishing and enjoyed the camaraderie. The fly-fishing skill level ranged from beginner to advanced.

Rachael E. Grube, a Watershed/GIS specialist with the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation and a beginner fly angler, was inspired by the passion so many of the women she met had for fishing and aquatic ecosystem conservation.

“Every woman there had a different story about how she became interested in Trout Unlimited or conservation in general, and I think knowing the reasons why a woman might decide to get involved is a key factor when targeting women as new members or volunteers,” Grube said via an email interview. “Everyone had new ideas about how to get even more women involved in fishing and aquatic conservation. Sometimes working in conservation can be discouraging, but hearing details about successful programs and events will allow me to plan future conservation programs more strategically.”

Check water temperature
Conservation and responsible fishing practices were on the agenda. During one of the breaks, members had a chance to fish in the nearby stream.
Trout Water Best Temperature
Before fishing, a simple test revealed the water was at the perfect temperature.
Trout Fly Fishing
Door prizes brought smiles to the participants’ faces.           
Fly-Fishing Retreat Door Prizes
Door prizes ranged from hats to gift certificates for guided fly-fishing trips.

Joan Mead-Matsui is an award-winning freelance journalist; travel writer, photographer, and fly-angler from Clarks Summit, PA. She discovered her love for fly fishing five years ago and covers her adventures on her website joanmatsuitravelwriter.com and several publications.  

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Flies for Fly Fishing fly fishing equipment Lifestyle Nairobi Fly Fishing and Tying

NAIROBI CITY FLY TIER

  • By
  • August 15, 2018
Nairobi City Fly Tier Fred Kangai
Nairobi City Fly Tyer
Fred Kangai began his fly-tying career in Nairobi City, Kenya’s capital city. He currently owns his own business selling his flies around the world.

NAIROBI CITY FLY-TIER:

CUSTOMER SERVICE: MEETING CUSTOMER NEEDS

Nairobi City is Kenya’s capital and a hub of activities embraced by people from all over the country. Fred Kangai Luyali’s life in Nairobi began years ago. He arrived there and accepted a position as a fly-tier at a fly-tying company. Fred trained for six months and ultimately, resigned to start his own fly-tying business.

Joan Matsui Receives Fly Samples
Fred contacted me via email and offered to send fly samples to me. Once the rain is replaced by sun and the water level in our rivers and streams drops, I’ll be sure to try each and every one.

According to Fred, his employees consist of experienced men and women who source his orders from local firms.

“Here we tie according to the client’s sample and then ship directly to clients abroad,” Fred said via an email interview.

Mandated Company Training

Before a person can achieve the status as a fly tier, he or she must undergo a special training of not less than six months. To qualify, the individual must take the company’s mandated training program that’s only done inside the company.

Fred explained many companies in Kenya rely mostly on clients outside the country and he and his team work round the clock to meet their international clients’ needs. The proceeds, he says, help to improve their living standard.

While supplying flies is his business, Fred hasn’t followed what we might consider a natural progression – learning to fly fish before taking on tying. Fred said, “I know nothing as fly fishing is concerned. I only know how to tie flies.”

Nymphs, dry, wet, streamers, saltwater, salmon patterns, bass bugs, and poppers are among the files he and his team of fly-tying specialists craft. He noted he gets the flies from local factories as sub-contracts and then they are returned and to his company to make the finished product. He incorporates many materials commonly used by tiers around the world: deerskin, hackle feathers, tippet peacock herls and his favorite pattern and most productive fly is the Goddard Caddis, a classic high-floating dry fly imitation that’s known for its large and bushy appearance.

Fred said special care is taken to be sure the flies he sells are tied tightly to the hook to avoid loose ends. His flies have a neat finish and are a hit with his customers because he uses the exact materials and hooks they request.

“they (my tiers) tie and deliver on time, and our flies are packed so they reach our clients undamaged. my flies need a lot of attention to avoid mistakes made by tiers in order to satisfy my client,” he said.

Does he plan to learn to fly fish? Fred said he hopes to learn in the future. “I need to learn more as far as fishing is concerned.”

You can contact Fred or request a brochure here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fishing Fishing Destinations

The Tailwater Lodge is a fly angler’s haven

  • By
  • July 24, 2018

As many of us on the East Coast are experiencing heavy rain and flooding, we can turn our thoughts to upcoming fly fishing opportunities, once the water levels have dropped. The Tailwater Lodge is an ideal base camp while you spend days fishing along the famed Salmon River. Plan your summer or fall trip now. 

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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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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8 Hotel Packages in Oahu all-inclusive resorts Art and Culture beach getaways Events Family Travel Hawaii Travel Lifestyle Plan a bike trip abroad plan your wedding shop Valentine's Day Packages in Oahu

8 hotel packages with sun-drenched activities to discover in OAHU

  • By
  • January 25, 2018
8 reasons to visit an Oahu Beach
Reasons to visit an Oahu Beach Vacation
Beach lovers rejoice this Oahu beach. Photo courtesy of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Explore OAHU!

 

Find out what’s happening in Oahu from January to March 2018. 
(INFORMATION PROVIDED COURTESY OF www.visit-oahu.com

 

OAHU – The Island of Oahu, known as the Heart of Hawaii, sets the rhythm of the islands with exciting, new improvements, changes and additions on an ongoing basis. Below is a glimpse of new and dynamic updates with Oahu’s hotels & resorts, activities & entertainment, restaurants and cuisine, shopping, and festivals and events.

Hotels & Resorts

The Island of Oahu caters to travelers of all ages and budgets. A variety of hotels and resorts offer a multitude of packages to make any trip unforgettable.

Find the perfect deal and escape to Oahu.

  • The former Pacific Beach Hotel recently debuted as the all-new Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach following an extensive $115 million transformation. As Oahu’s sophisticated, new resort in the heart of Waikiki, Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach will offer a stylish new way to stay and play in Waikiki, which is transforming with new cultural, culinary and shopping offerings. The resort will feature star-studded collaborations with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, acclaimed New York architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, which designed the resort’s lobby, restaurant, pool deck, guestrooms and suites; and architectural firms WATG and Pacific Asia Design Group. The 839-room modern resort will feature five new culinary concepts and a destination pool deck, along with authentic design touches inspired by Oahu’s lush landscape and rich cultural heritage. AlohilaniResort.com
  • As one of Hawaii’s largest hotel management companies, Aqua-Aston Hospitality is proud to offer guests some of the best value in the islands. For new bookings arriving Jan. 1, 2018, Aqua-Aston is pleased to announce the expansion of its guest amenity program. Varied by hotel, the new amenity program will include valuable additions, such as exclusive discounts for Aqua-Aston guests at select Oahu eateries and attractions; discounted or free entry for Aqua-Aston guests to Bishop Museum, Honolulu Museum of Art, and Waikiki Aquarium; improvements to our popular Waikiki-to-Ala Moana shuttle service; a curated roster of live, onsite entertainment; and newly-added Hawaiian cultural programs. Aqua-Aston.com
  • Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina is re-defining the luxury spa experience with the debut of Naupaka Spa & Wellness Centre. The island’s newest spa haven combines innovative health and wellness practices with traditional Hawaiian healing. On five floors, Naupaka features fourteen indoor treatment rooms, indoor hot and cold plunge pools, steam room, sauna, needle shower, two Himalayan salt chambers, relaxation areas and change rooms, and the resort’s fifth pool – a private sanctuary featuring an outdoor lap pool and whirlpool surrounded by foliage and swaying palms, overlooking the hotel’s porte cochère. A barbershop (serving local craft beer) and a feng shui-inspired Billy Yamaguchi Salon complement spa offerings. Outdoor treatments are offered in tranquil muliwai massage hales overlooking the Pacific and the resort’s lush gardens. FourSeasons.com/Oahu
  • Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach continues Hilton’s “Another Day in Paradise” into 2018. Guests can book five nights and get the fifth night free, opening the way for visitors to experience the stylish and modern amenities of the largest Hilton Garden Inn in the world. HGIWaikikiBeach.com
  • The new Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach now features a full garden of kalo (taro) plants that line the full length of the pool deck. Once a month, a Hawaiian cultural advisor will give a hands-on lesson on how to harvest kalo while sharing the history and importance of this staple to the Native Hawaiian culture. After harvesting their own kalo, participants will prepare their own lau lau (steamed pork and/or fish wrapped in taro or luau leaves) for cooking and tasting. The kalo is a “living exhibit” at Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach allowing guests to nurture this plant through its normal life cycle. HyattCentricWaikikiBeach.com
  • In addition to the recent Hawaiian Music & Dance Hall of Fame Historical Exhibit, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach will launch a special walking tour centered around the cultural history of the area. This tour, “E hoala e” (Revive, Renew, Restore), will be held once a week to provide guests an in-depth look at the history and culture of the island, culminating in a visit to the onsite Historical Exhibit. In the warm spirit of Hawaiian hospitality, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach will be offering a special group offer for select dates in 2018. Groups can have easy access to entertainment, shopping, dining, spa, and cultural immersion, with rooms starting at just $215 per night. The reservation must include a minimum of 10 paid rooms to take advantage of this limited time offer. Waikiki.Regency.Hyatt.com
  • For families visiting Oahu, the Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head provides an assortment of goodies for children of all age groups. Infants receive a new Infant Amenity Package complete with infant-safe sunscreen, fragrance-free, all-natural baby bath products, and a squeezable baby whale. Children ages 12 and under receive a complimentary box of crayons and cultural activity book of fun and educational activities celebrating all things Hawaii. Once the book is completed, children can exchange it for a souvenir gift. The property also offers complimentary souvenir boxes decorated with the child’s choice of anthurium flowers or Hawaiian fish. Onsite or at the beach, kids can choose from a selection of grab-and-go inflatable fish toys, beach balls and slippers for water play, and complimentary beach bags with a pair of children’s sunglasses. LotusHonoluluHotel.com
  • Waikiki Parc is offering an extensive Valentine’s Day package entitled LOVE at the Parc. The limited-time offer includes one two-hour surf lesson for two, a romantic chef’s special dinner for two at Leahi Concept Kitchen, a romantic Dive-In movie, complimentary parking and access to the Valentine’s Day Weekly Mingle, a special holiday-themed gathering with mini red velvet cupcakes, cheese and fruit platters, champagne with strawberries, and the hotel’s private-label Parc Chic wines. WaikikiParc.com

 

Activities & Entertainment

The Island of Oahu is brimming with fun-filled activities for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can explore Hawaii’s special culture and iconic history, or choose from a wide variety of outdoor and indoor activities to energize the spirit.

  • In partnership with Honolulu’s newest transportation system Biki by Bikeshare Hawaii, Aqua-Aston Hospitality now offers the “Discover Oahu” package to guests who book direct. The package is inclusive of two Biki Free Spirit bike rentals (featuring multiple trips up to 300 min.). With 100 convenient Biki bike stops from Downtown to Diamond Head, guests staying at an Aqua-Aston-managed property will be able to use Biki to discover Oahu’s varied eateries, shops and activities at their own pace and in a sustainable way. Aqua-Aston.com
  • Guests can marvel at Hawaii’s amazing humpback whales aboard Atlantis Cruises’ Majestic. With its sleek, modern design, the Majestic hosts three different levels for guests’ viewing pleasure. Its top level, open air deck offers 360-degree views, ideal for spotting exciting whale activity and other marine life. AtlantisAdventures.com
  • The “Holo Moana: Generations of Voyaging” exhibition at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum celebrates the resurgence of the centuries-old, ancestral practice of long-distance ocean voyaging. Closely following the Hawaiian sailing canoe, Hokulea, and its return to Hawaiian waters, the exhibit is based on a collaboration between Bishop Museum and the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and is on display in the J. M. Long Gallery through June 24, 2018. Cultural objects from Hokulea’s voyages are on display along with a variety of interactive stations. Visitors can step into a wind-based immersive experience that uses digital sensors and electronics to bring to life the winds used by voyagers and told of in Hawaiian cultural stories. Visitors can also enter a full-dome projection theater with audio narrated by PVS president Nainoa Thompson, master of the traditional Polynesian art of non-instrument navigation. BishopMuseum.org
  • Live entertainment is featured on Saturdays at Haleiwa Store Lots in the Kamehamalu Courtyard from 2-4 p.m. Visitors can enjoy performances from local artists at the plantation-style gathering place in the heart of Haleiwa town. HaleiwaStoreLots.com
  • Hawaiian Ocean Adventures (HOA) will begin operating a second location on the windward side of Oahu beginning January 2018. Activities will include adventures onboard a Hawaiian sailing canoe, kayak and SUP adventures. HOA is a locally-owned and operated family eco-tour business offering true authentic ocean activities out of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. HawaiianOceanAdventures.com
  • Pacific Historic Parks is happy to announce several new tours in 2018 including a 2018 USS Arizona Memorial Tours, Pearl Harbor Visitor Center Tours, Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Tours, Diamond Head State Monument tours, as well as a tour of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park that includes lunch. Group, military and travel agent discounts are available. In addition, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor has added a new F-16A Fighting Falcon to its extensive collection of modern jet fighters. A new “B-17E Swamp Ghost Tour” has been added and can be booked at the front desk upon arrival. PacificHistoricParks.org or PacificAviationMuseum.org or Bowfin.org
  • Paradise Helicopters, a leading Hawaii helicopter tour company, is launching an adventure-packed tour of Oahu’s most historic WWII sites and iconic movie settings. In the Kualoa Expedition Tour, guests depart from Kalaeloa Airport near the Ko Olina resort area. After flying over some of Oahu’s most iconic locations, guests touch down at Kualoa Ranch where they have the option of three ground adventures: A horseback tour, ATV tour, or Kaaawa Valley zipline tour. The Kualoa Expedition Tour starts at $719 per person for an experience of up to 6.5 hours, including luxury ground transportation back to Kalaeloa Airport. The zipline experience is an additional $30 per person. ParadiseCopters.com
  • Roberts Hawai‘i and Hawaiian Crown have joined forces to offer a convenient new pineapple delivery service – available exclusively for domestic travelers using Roberts Hawaii’s Airport Shuttle Service on Oahu. Guests can now preorder boxes of locally grown Hawaiian Crown and Sweet Gold pineapple – picked to order, pre-inspected, packed, sealed and delivered to the airport in time for departing domestic travelers to pick up and take home. AirportShuttleHawaii.com/SweetGold
  • Several new events are included in the line-up at Our Kakaako for 2018. Scheduled the third Friday and Saturday of the month, Paakai Marketplace showcases unique local products and Hawaiian culture at SALT at Our Kakaako. The monthly event, held in in collaboration with PAI Foundation features live music and is a free, family and pet-friendly event starting at 5 p.m. In addition, the popular SALT Bar Crawl occurs on the third Saturday of every month starting at 5 p.m. Village Bottle Shop and Tasting Room, Moku Kitchen, and Bevy Bar at SALT at Our Kakaako feature different breweries each month. SaltAtKakaako.com
  • The Star of Honolulu is splashing into humpback whale season with daily whale watching cruises. From Dec. 23, 2017-April 5, 2018, kids ages three-11 can cruise aboard the Premier Whale Watch cruise for free with each paying adult. StarofHonolulu.com
  • Twogood Kayak’s Hawaii has announced the launch of a new kayak tour created specifically for those who enjoy being outdoors in Oahu’s exotic and tropical ocean environment. For this excursion, guests will have the option to choose the tour area from a list of options that offer the best of kayaking on Oahu. TwoGoodKayaks.com

 

Restaurants, Cuisine & Chefs

Oahu is known for its diverse culture, which is exhibited by the assortment of cuisine found throughout the island. With wonderful choices and an array of culinary options, there’s a restaurant fit for everyone.

  • Baku, Waikiki’s modern robatayaki restaurant, has introduced weekday lunch pairing specials. Each special features one of Baku’s robata-inspired or signature lunch dishes paired with a signature cocktail, craft draught beer, sake tasting flight, artisanal shochu, or wine from the restaurant’s extensive list of imported beverages, all for less than $20. Options include the robata-grilled Baku Burger, a sushi combination lunch, robata skewer platter, and more. baku-waikiki.com 
  • After 29 years of featuring set menus, Chef Mavro has divided the restaurant into two venues and now offers a small plates menu in the main dining room and his famous Grand Tasting Menu in the upper tier. The iconic restaurant will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2018. ChefMavro.com
  • Located in Aqua Ohia Waikiki’s newly refreshed lobby is the local’s favorite tiki bar and lounge, Da Big Kahuna Waikiki – an ideal venue to grab a bite in-between daytime excursions or to sip a drink before heading out for evening adventures. In a casual restaurant setting, sample a tasty menu of contemporary Hawaiian and American plates. Da Big Kahuna’s menu includes juicy burgers, pub-style appetizers, and salads. Known for its iconic Fish Bowl Cocktails, Da Big Kahuna features a full bar and now offers food and beverage room service up to Aqua Ohia Waikiki’s 12th floor where guests can imbibe on their lanai (balcony) gazing out to the energizing city below. Da Big Kahuna Waikiki is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. OhiaHotel.com
  • Known throughout Oahu for his Poke Stop restaurants, Maui-born Chef Elmer Guzman brings his specialty to the Luana Waikiki Hotel & Suites with his latest concept, Fish Hook Café. Serving breakfast and lunch, Fish Hook Café offers an assortment of locally and sustainably-sourced grab-and-go items including salads, sandwiches, pastries, and gourmet coffee, as well as Chef Guzman’s delicacy: poke bowls, built-to-order. With the opening of Fish Hook Café guests have an additional dining option called Fish Bowl, the property’s breakfast buffet, where Chef Guzman also selects the rotating Hawaiian-style staples such as meats, cereals, pastries, and Oahu-grown fruits. Fish Hook Café is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. while Fish Bowl’s buffet is served daily from 7 to 11 a.m. FishHook.Cafe
  • Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina is thrilled to announce a new partnership with award-winning chef and restauranteur Michael Mina. Fish House, the resort’s signature line-to-table restaurant will become Mina’s Fish House. Some architectural and décor changes are planned for Four Seasons’ iconic beachside dining experience, including an outdoor bread oven and private dining room. Guests can expect an exciting new menu featuring locally-caught fish and locally-sourced produce for a unique dining experience. FourSeasons.com/Oahu
  • The world’s largest open-air shopping center recently unveiled a new foodie destination. Lanai @ Ala Moana Center now features local favorites and eateries new to Hawaii, including Ahi & Vegetable, BRUG, Mahaloha Burger and Sobaya. The remaining eateries, including Agave & Vine, Da Spot, HiTEA Café, Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, Musubi Cafe Iyasume, Teppanyaki Farmer and Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha are opening soon.  Lanai @ Ala Moana Center is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. The contemporary food hall offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and grab-and-go options, and features indoor and outdoor seating for up to 450 customers. AlaMoanaCenter.com
  • Locals and visitors will now be able to catch some poolside rays with a mimosa in-hand at Mahina Brunch, the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club’s new musically-inclined Sunday dining experience. Centered around celebrated chef Ed Kenney’s elevated home-cooking style using locally sourced foods, Mahina & Sun’s executive chef Erik Leong incorporates seasonal ingredients into the new Mahina Brunch menu available poolside or inside the restaurant, every Sunday from 6:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Diners can also groove to rotating sets curated by Aloha Got Soul. MahinaandSuns.com

 Shopping

Oahu is home to hundreds of high-end designer stores, as well as local boutiques carrying locally-made products.

  • Ala Moana Center recently unveiled Hula With Aloha, an authentic Hawaiian cultural experience where kamaaina (locals) and visitors can network, practice and learn the art of hula from award winning kumu hula (hula teachers). Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Hula With Aloha is located on Level 3, Ewa Wing in the Bloomingdale’s Court and features beginning, intermediate and advanced hula classes, lei making and more. AlaMoanaCenter.com
  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort recently expanded its retail offerings within the 22-acre resort. Among the most notable openings is the return of DFS to Hilton Hawaiian Village. The luxury retailer, known for its duty free airport shops and destination luxury galleries, will open an approximately 2,000-square-foot space at the resort in December 2017. Among the expanded options is the resort’s logo shop, Anuenue, which sells curated items of the cherished Rainbow Mural, Hilton Hawaiian Village logo memorabilia, and the resort’s own exclusive coconut papaya skin and hair care line. HiltonHawaiianVillage.com
  • Located in the heart of Waikiki, International Market Place is Oahu’s premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination. Guests can ring in Chinese New Year with festivities throughout February, enjoy “O Na Lani Sunset Stories,” the center’s free daily hula and storytelling performance, and snap a selfie with legendary Hawaii musician Don Ho’s one-of-a-kind bronze statue in the Banyan Court. Visitors can then finish the day at one of eight chef-driven restaurants on the Grand Lanai. ShopInternationalMarketPlace.com

 

Festivals & Events

Oahu is home to the largest number of festivals and events throughout Hawaii. Visitors can connect with the local community and experience renowned events showcasing the island’s rich arts and culture, the world’s top amateur and professional sporting competitions, and the many ethnic celebrations exclusive to Oahu.

  • Jan. 8 – 14, 2018, the Sony Open in Hawaii kicks off the PGA Tour by bringing 144 of the world’s best professional golfers to Oahu’s exclusive Waialae Country Club. Past participants include notable golfers including 2017 winner, Justin Thomas. Thomas also became the first to open the year with back-to-back wins in Hawaii since Ernie Els in 2003. The seven-day event is one of the largest charity events in the state of Hawaii. SonyOpenInHawaii.com
  • The Volcom Pipe Pro, a World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000-rated event, returns Jan. 29 – Feb. 7, 2018 to cap Hawaii’s winter season of surf at one of the most iconic waves in the world, the Banzai Pipeline. The Volcom Pipe Pro’s track record of epic, barreling surf draws major talent year after year, making it a true mix of aspiring professionals and the sport’s greatest names, including 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater and Hawaii’s own John John Florence. The event is free and open to the public and also produces a world-class broadcast that is available to stream via WorldSurfLeague.com and the WSL app. WorldSurfLeague.com
  • The 10th Annual Ukulele Picnic in Hawaii will be stringing together a day of exciting events in celebration of Hawaii’s most beloved instrument. The festivities are being held at the Kakaako Gateway Park on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 with performances by famous musicians from Hawaii and Japan, vendor booths, or you might take the opportunity to study professional Ukulele players’ techniques! All events and entertainment are free and open to the public. UkulelePicnicInHawaii.org/en/
  • Feb. 10 – 17, 2018, local and global artists will showcase their work in Honolulu during a widespread beautification and education of street art during POW! WOW! Hawaii. The event will include gallery shows, live panel discussions, mural projects, concerts, live art installations and more. PowWowHawaii.com
  • Taking place on Feb. 19, 2018, the Great Aloha Run is an 8.15-mile foot race that starts at Aloha Tower in Honolulu and ends at Aloha Stadium in Halawa. A three-day sports, health and fitness expo occurs during the weekend of the race and includes an array of exhibition booths offering unique products and services, entertainment, workshops and more. GreatAlohaRun.com
  • Wanderlust, the producers of the largest yoga lifestyle events in the world, is returning to Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s fabled North Shore in 2018 for Wanderlust Oahu that will unfold over Mar. 1 – 4, 2018. This beach yoga and wellness retreat at Turtle Bay Resort will kick off Wanderlust’s 2018 festival season and offer awe-inspiring experiences and settings for yoga enthusiasts, music lovers, foodies, surfers and seekers. TurtleBayResort.com 
  • The 24th Annual Honolulu Festival is one of Hawaii’s premier cultural events, promoting understanding, economic cooperation and ethnic harmony between the people of Hawaii and the Pacific Rim region. Taking place Mar. 9 – 11, 2018 the festival draws thousands of new and returning spectators. Through educational programs and activities, the festival continues to successfully share the rich and vibrant blend of Asia, Pacific and Hawaiian cultures with the rest of the world. HonoluluFestival.com
  • The Prince Kuhio Festival is a series of events, ceremonies and activities organized by The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs to celebrate the birthday of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole who founded the first Hawaiian Civic Club on Dec. 7, 1918. These celebrations began in the early 1970s and have grown to include month-long activities including a commemorative parade, choral concert, “Hoolaulea” or “Hoikeike” (celebration), and more. This year’s festival will take place on Mar. 25, 2018.

 

 

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Eagles Mere Innkeepers Preserve the Past

  • By
  • January 15, 2018
Richard Lobach Eagles Mere Inn innkeeper

Hospitality at its Finest

Innkeepers Geniality Abound

culinary Eagles Mere Inn
Richard and Tammy Lobach have brought their years of culinary and hospitality experience to their positions as innkeepers at The Eagles Mere Inn. Photos and text by Joan Mead-Matsui, journalist, travel writer, and photographer.

When you walk in the doors of the Eagles Mere Inn, you’ll likely smell a sweet aroma coming from the kitchen. Shortbread cookies, warm cider, and aromatic teas are seasonal treats in the works throughout the year that is available for guests to sample. Consider your first whiff of delightful sweets as an indication of what’s to come during your stay at the inn.

Eagles Mere Inn country retreat
Innkeeper, Tammy Lobach isn’t shy about asking guests to taste test new recipes. In the meantime, while you wait for your “small plate” or entree to arrive, you can dream of what’s cooking in the kitchen. 

Creating a Favorable Experience Is Key

 

Staging allows innkeepers Richard and Tammy Lobach to create an ideal atmosphere for their guests.

“We’re all about the experience. We’re trying to make our guests’ experiences a bit more current. But the house has a history. We’re giving the inn a fresh facelift. We love the history of Eagles Mere and we are incorporating that into this building.” ~ Richard Lobach, Eagles Mere Inn innkeeper

 

Richard Lobach Eagles Mere Inn innkeeper
Richard Lobach embraces Eagles Mere history and the inn’s collection of memorabilia displayed throughout the inn. The medal he’s shown holding will hang in the Water Carnival Room to represent happenings at Eagles Mere water carnivals held in the 1920s. 

Be Prepared to Embrace History

 

What are guests looking for in a bed and breakfast experience? One guest reserved a room for one night and stayed a week. Richard attributes her change of heart to an abundance of peacefulness and a slowed pace that visitors seek when they choose The Eagles Mere Inn.

Eagles Mere is quiet during the winter months and Richard is candid with guests who seem disappointed to learn the borough doesn’t offer shopping outlets and nightlife.

“I tell prospective guests, If you’re looking to be entertained, you won’t find that in Eagles Mere,” Richard says. 

 

What you will find are an inn and a village brimming with history and activities centered on family.

“We’re bringing the history of the town into the inn,” Richard explained.

He found his way into the hospitality industry as a bellhop right out of high school and has worked for several large hospitality corporations. His positions entailed taking over bankrupted, foreclosed, and underperforming hotels. But the hours were demanding and five years ago, Richard required surgery to repair a back problem and realized he had to change his lifestyle.

“I got a job at a bed & breakfast in New Hope, PA and when the position was eliminated, I (answered an ad and) came to the Eagles Mere Inn.”

Richard and Tammy, Allentown, PA natives, have been married for 32 and have two daughters.

“We went from seeing each other 30 hours a week to seeing, living and working together 24/7. I think with 32 years of marriage, we got that part. We learn from each other and sometimes we are able to listen to each other. Sometimes not,” he quipped.

Richard’s extensive background in hospitality management and Tammy’s many years in food preparation have enabled them to run the inn and stay on top of their evolving business as innkeepers.

Eagles Mere Inn culinary
Tammy has worked on and off in the hospitality industry for years. 

Although they use seasonal chefs, during the off-season, Richard and Tammy assume a variety of roles. Tammy is shown in the recently renovated kitchen at The Eagles Mere Inn. Her day typically begins around 5 a.m.

“I started out in the J.C. Penney restaurant and I cooked my way through college,” Tammy noted.

Breakfast is available bright and early for “first on the scene” guests who are eager to begin their day. Featured breakfasts range from sweet or savory options to a buffet when visitors total 10 or more.

“What kind of things do you like for breakfast?” was one of the first questions Tammy asked upon my arrival at the inn, followed by “Do you prefer sweet or savory?”

Eagles Mere Inn breakfast
“Made to order to your liking” is one of the extraordinary aspects of dining at The Eagles Mere Inn. A fried egg served over strips of crispy bacon and greens is a delightful mix of savory and healthy. Baked peach oatmeal, eggs, and a “Country Bake,” (everybody’s favorite) a gluten-free selection that’s prepared with eggs, potatoes, and cheese are among the breakfast options. 

In addition to her breakfast and dessert contributions, Tammy makes several treks each week to markets to buy fresh produce and other staples.

“I do all of the shopping and I try to buy fresh produce whenever possible. Whatever is in the store that looks really great, that’s what I serve,” Tammy says. “It’s great to have that flexibility because we are not a corporate property. I can go to a farmers’ market and buy vegetables and put them into a dish.”

The Eagles Mere Inn can accommodate up to 140 patrons in its three dining venues: A.C. Little Drinkery, On the Rocks patio and the 1887 Chop House, a more formal dining space.

“The inn is a continuously growing and product improvement plan. Take-outs, eat-in…you can do it all at The Eagles Mere Inn,” ~ Richard Lobach

More interesting facts about The Eagles Mere Inn:

(courtesy of Richard and Tammy Labach)

  • The guest rooms (17) were numbered when they first arrived at the inn but researching historical Eagles Mere documents helped them to assign a name to each room and the dining options.
  • In the Raymond room, they have “Raymond” memorabilia, a teacup that’s stored in a shadow box and pictures to go along with the former Raymond Hotel.
  • Some of the renovations have included new carpeting in 80 percent of the rooms, all new mattresses, water filtration systems, water softeners, air conditioning, remodeled tavern and front porch, and a fresh coat of paint.

 

Don’t miss my companion story joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/eagles-mere-inn
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Celebrate National Public Lands Day

  • By
  • September 27, 2017
National Public Lands Day
National Public Lands Day 2016 volunteers show their support by helping park rangers maintain precious land along the Delaware River. Photos courtesy of the National Park Service.

Celebrate the Public Lands You Love

 

One of the best ways to show your appreciation for the rivers and trails you enjoy year-round is to join more than 200,000 volunteers around the country on Sat., Sept. 30, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., as they celebrate National Public Lands Day.  

What is National Public Lands Day?

 

National Public Lands Day is an event organized by the National Environmental Education Foundation to promote enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands in the United States. The signature event is held on a Saturday in late September.

2016 National Public Lands Day volunteers lend a hand.

How can you help?

You can get involved and pitch in locally in Northeastern Pennsylvania at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. Volunteers are needed to help park rangers with three projects.

  1. Clean up trash from the river while paddling from Narrowsburg, NY to the Ten Mile River Access, NY.
  2. Maintain the Tusten Mountain Trail near the Ten Mile River Access by helping to widen the trail and vista, install trail markers, and remove hazards from the hiking path.
  3. Clear mile-a-minute and other invasive plant species from around the Zane Grey Museum and Lackawaxen Access.

 

National Public Lands Day by Joan Mead-Matsui
Be one of the 200,000 volunteers who pitch in to help maintain U.S. national parks.

National Public Lands Day will kick off at 9 a.m. at the Ten Mile River Access located on Crawford Road, Narrowsburg, NY. Following the kick-off reception, volunteers will be assigned to groups and move to their designated location to begin the projects.

The maintenance sessions will wrap up on a rolling basis as projects conclude.

To register, call 570-729-7134 ext. 220 or email kelleen_lanagan@partner.nps.gov. Additional information can be also be found online at nps.gov/upde.

 

 

 

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“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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Cast & Blast at Pocono Manor

  • By
  • July 5, 2017
Pocono Manor Sports

Learn new skills at Pocono Manor

 

Trap Shooting and Fishing

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Save the date

 

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

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

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

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


 

 

 

 

 

 

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