176th Long Island Fair at Old Bethpage Village Restoration

September 21, 2018
oldbethpage-LIFair-100906 158e2 (c) Karen Rubin

The Long Island Fair is unique among New York State county fairs in that it maintains much of the historical ambiance of the 19th century. At the 176th Long Island Fair, you can watch blacksmithing, among other historical demonstrations including music and dance © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Old Bethpage, NY – Old Bethpage Village Restoration (OBVR) will host the 176th Annual Long Island Fair this weekend: September 22 and 23.

Enjoy magic shows, a petting zoo, and historical entertainment. Stilt walkers traverse the grounds, and entertainers delight families with puppets, juggling and storytelling. All of these festivities continue a 176-year tradition. Attractions such as livestock shows, the Timberworks Lumberjack Show, tractor rides, Civil War reenactments, and Rough Rider demonstrations whisk riders back to another era.

Visitors will also find:

  • Historical demonstrations: tin-smithing, pottery, blacksmithing, weaving, and candle-making;
  • Dance opportunities: brass bands, a fiddler, bluegrass band Buddy Merriam & Backroads, Homegrown String Band, and kids’ singer-songwriter Patricia Shih;
  • Tests of skill: sawing, corn-husking, and scarecrow-building contests; guessing the weight of a giant pumpkin;
  • Tickets required: rides on camels, ponies, horse-drawn wagons, a hot-air balloon, and a 19th-century carousel; bounce houses;
  • Eats for sale: candied apples, pumpkins, organic veggies, fresh-made candy, giant turkey legs, and funnel cakes.

Meanwhile, baseball fans can enjoy the end-of-season matches of OBVR’s Old Time Baseball League, which recreates “baseball” as it was played in the latter half of the 19th century, with teams competing in authentic uniforms and playing under the names of Long Island clubs of that era.

The Long Island Fair is the New York State-recognized county fair for Queens, Nassau and Suffolk, and involves the cooperation of the Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums and the Agricultural Society of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Thousands of exhibits are entered every year in friendly competition, with blue ribbon categories including livestock, flowers and vegetables from farms and home gardens, culinary, needlework, hobbies, and a junior division for those 13 and younger. This year’s competitions will also include an “Advanced” category for new professionals, novices and students who are serious about their craft. Entries in this category will require a fee, with generous first, second and third place prizes; and the judges will be required to submit credentials in the specific classes.

The fair is unique among New York State County Fairs in that it maintains much of the historical ambiance of the 19th century. The fair was founded in 1842 and became known as the Queens County Agricultural Fair, but soon after was called the Mineola Fair when it moved to a permanent location in Mineola in 1866. The fair moved to Roosevelt Raceway in 1953 and to the newly opened Old Bethpage Village Restoration in 1970, where it is held on a 12-acre recreation of the original Mineola Fairgrounds.

The Long Island Fair hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Entrance fees are: $15 for adults, $13 for children (5 to 12) and seniors 60 & up. Children 5 and under and Active Military Personnel: Free.

Old Bethpage Village Restoration provides visitors with a unique and wonderful opportunity to step back in time and experience life in a recreated mid-19th Century American village set on more than 200 acres. Old Bethpage Village is located at 1303 Round Swamp Road in Old Bethpage; for more information, call (516) 572-8401.

For more information about the Long Island Fair, visit www.lifair.org.

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Historic Lord Baltimore Hotel to Participate in World’s Largest Ghost Hunt: National Ghost Hunt Day on Sept 29

September 17, 2018

Over the years, guests and hotel staff of the historic Lord Baltimore Hotel, built in 1928, have reported sightings and supernatural activity, and on September 29, 2018, the hotel, along with R.E.A.P. Investigations and Spirit Flows Studios, will kick off the Halloween season by taking part in the world’s largest ghost hunt as part of National Ghost Hunt Day © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

(Baltimore, Md.) – Over the years, guests and hotel staff of the historic Lord Baltimore Hotel, built in 1928, have reported sightings and supernatural activity. On September 29, 2018, the hotel, along with R.E.A.P. Investigations and Spirit Flows Studios, will kick off the Halloween season by taking part in the world’s largest ghost hunt as part of National Ghost Hunt Day. 

Activities will include three different supernatural settings including an intuitive development class with Spirit Flow’s Amanda Jackiewicz at 5:00 p.m., which will teach participants how to strengthen their intuition and heighten their awareness and conscientiousness. Following the workshop, Jackiewicz will conduct a limited amount of individual mediumship sessions from 6:00-7:30 p.m. During these sessions, guests will work one-on-one with Jackiewicz to communicate with loved ones that are living in the afterlife. For the final portion of the supernatural event, attendees will participate in a ghost hunt with the R.E.A.P. Investigation team led by Bill Reap beginning at 8:00 p.m. R.E.A.P. Investigations will hunt for ghostly activities throughout four areas of the hotel, including the Calvert Ballroom and the 19th floor, which are said to have heightened supernatural activities. At 10:00 p.m., the Lord Baltimore Hotel will join a live feed with more than 100 other locations as each conduct a ghost hunt at the same time.

All event proceeds will be donated to Back on my Feet, an organization that helps to combat homelessness through the power of running and community support.

Pricing for the National Ghost Hunt Day activities range from $20-50 per person. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrate-national-ghost-hunting-day-at-the-lord-baltimore-hotel-tickets-49226293168.

Lord Baltimore Hotel is also offering a discounted guest room rate for National Ghost Hunt Day participants. Reservations can be made online through: https://reservations.travelclick.com/85390?groupID=2360767#/guestsandrooms.

Held on the last Saturday of each September, National Ghost Hunt Day serves to enthusiastically commence the start of each new Halloween season.  Its noble intention is to globally observe the most haunted properties in the world while recognizing the novice, curious, experts and professionals that investigate paranormal activity in these iconic locations!  For more information, visit http://nationalghosthuntingday.com.

The Lord Baltimore Hotel is located at 20 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD, 21201 in the heart of downtown Baltimore and within walking distance to many local attractions. Recognized by the Historic Hotels of America as the “Best City Center Historic Hotel” in 2014 and one of the “10 Best Historic Hotels” by USA Today in 2015, the hotel towers over the Baltimore skyline at 23 stories and offers 440 new guest rooms and suites, more than 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space, and dining options including The French Kitchen, LB Tavern, LB Bakery, LB Skybar and LB Speakeasy. Additionally, art plays a major role in the hotel design with more than 2,500 pieces of artwork displayed throughout the building. Originally built in 1928, the hotel was purchased in 2013 and completely renovated by Rubell Hotels.

The Lord Baltimore Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America (historichotels.org), the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

More information on the Lord Baltimore Hotel can be found at www.lordbaltimorehotel.com.

 

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Molly Branch Opens Gates to See Fireflies Spectacle in Knoxville, Tennessee, June 16-28

June 6, 2018

Molly Branch Fireflies_20180521_184620957

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The private preserve of Molly Branch is inviting the public to join what only a few friends and family have experienced over the years:  a spectacular light show created by thousands of fireflies filling the air and blinking in unison which takes place over a two-week period. This year, nature’s display takes place June 16-28.

“Over the years, we have enjoyed this beauty of nature with family and friends,” says property owner Kenneth Bennett. “As I have advanced in age, I have been wanting to share my find with the world. As you can imagine, there have been some reservations about this. My hope is the public will treat these resources with the dignity that they deserve. I am happy to announce that this year, 2018, I will be opening the gate to allow you and your friends to share in this natural delight.”

Spectators can observe a whole forest of fireflies’ blink in unison.

According to firefly.org, there are over 1800 species of fireflies, also called lightning bugs.  Of all of these species, there are only three that are synchronous.  The most published is the Photinus carolinus found near Elkmont in the Great Smokey National Park.

A second specie of synchronous fireflies is Photinus frontailis also known as Snappy Syncs.  Documented locations for this species are in the Oakridge Wildlife Management Area which unfortunately is restricted from public viewing because of security reasons.

The best-known area for public viewing of Snappys has been Congaree National Park in Hopkins, SC.  No chairs are allowed as the viewing is on a boardwalk over a swamp.

A large population of Snappys has been found on private property in Knox County, TN.  This site has been documented by Lynn Foust the author of “Fireflies, Glow Worms, and Lightning Bugs.”

For more information, visit: www.mollybranchfireflies.com; tickets available at https://mollybranchfireflies.com/shop/

 

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150th Running of Belmont Stakes, Featuring Triple Crown Contender Justify, Kicks off With 3-Day Festival

June 5, 2018

The 150th running of the Belmont Stakes in Nassau County features a Triple Crown contender, Justify. The race is the climax of a three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival taking place at Belmont Park from Thursday, June 7 through Saturday, June 9, when there will be 33 races, including 18 stakes, offering $9.4 million in purses © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Belmont Stakes Week was kicked off by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran at Belmont Park. She was joined by New York Racing Association (NYRA) CEO Chris Kay, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) President Phillip Eng and Nassau County Industrial Development Chairman Richard Kessel.

“The Belmont Stakes has existed for 150 years and it is one of the largest sporting events in the world,” said County Executive Curran. “Every year, it provides a major economic boost to Nassau County.”

The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival taking place at Belmont Park from Thursday, June 7 through Saturday, June 9, has quickly become an exciting way for sports fans to kick off the summer season in New York. The festival includes the very best in thoroughbred racing alongside world-class entertainment and premium hospitality options, said Kay. Attendance is expected to reach 90,000.

And for the first time since 2015, Belmont Park will play host to a Triple Crown contender with Justify looking to achieve racing immortality and a newly-designed award.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran poses with the new Belmont Stakes trophy designed by sculptor Roberto Santo and created by silversmith Ubaldo Vitali.

The spectacular new Triple Crown trophy, designed by sculptor Roberto Santo and created by silversmith Ubaldo Vitali, was unveiled at the press conference. The trophy stands 36 inches high and weighs about 45 pounds.

During the course of the three-day festival, there will be 33 races, including 18 stakes, offering $9.4 million in purses, according to Kay.

Entertainment will be top notch this year. Third Eye Blind will headline the performance lineup for the 2018 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival with trackside pre- and post-race concerts on June 9. Belmont Stakes Day will include a performance from the hit Broadway musical A Bronx Tale. On Friday, June 8, fans can enjoy a performance from the acclaimed Billy Joel tribute band Mike DelGuidice and Big Shot at the end of live racing.

The Nassau County Police Department outlined traffic and security issues and the LIRR outlined its operations for the day.

“The security of all spectators at the Belmont Stakes is the main priority of the Nassau County Police Department,” said Commissioner Ryder. “Numerous resources have been assigned and our Intelligence Unit is working with Federal, State and local authorities to ensure a safe environment.  Visitors are reminded to pack food items in clear plastic bags only and that alcohol, coolers, backpacks and duffel bags are prohibited to be brought onto the grounds. Visitors should expect traffic delays, especially after the main race and mass transit is recommended as a form of transportation.”  (Train schedule at

http://web.mta.info/lirr/getaways/belmontpark/BelmontStakes-2018.pdf)

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No Roads, No Towns, No Connectivity: Families Focus on Nature and Whitewater Rafting the Green River in Utah’s Desolation Canyon

May 31, 2018
Western River Raft-family1e

Western River Expeditions’ offers a 5 Day Desolation Canyon family rafting vacation on the Green River.

SALT LAKE CITY –  Utah’s Desolation Canyon, carved over millennia by the 730-mile Green River that is spawned by glacial melts on the Continental Divide in the wilds of northern Wyoming, is one of the most remote (no roads, no towns, no cell or data service) destinations in the continental United States. It also tops the list when it comes to family rafting vacations.

From June 1 through Aug. 8, a small plane transports guests from Moab, Utah, on a scenic, 40-minute flight to a desert plateau overlooking the Green River where after a short hike, Western River Expeditions’ 5 Day Desolation Canyon family rafting vacation begins.

The Green is less strident than the Grand Canyon’s rollicking Colorado River. Instead of the world-class rapids on the Colorado, whitewater on the Green is playful, marked by over 60 warm-water Class I-III rapids, packed with more than enough splash to elicit excitement for ages 5 and up.

While paddling on the Green, guests typically surrender their senses to twisted mountains, dramatic cliffs, and towering plateaus carved by an ancient inland sea. Rates are $1,645 for ages 16 and up and $1,025 for ages 5-15 including…

  • exploring 88 river miles
  • the option to paddle two-person inflatable kayaks
  • or, relax in a guide-powered oar boat
  • witnessing 40 million years of geologic history
  • maneuvering 60+ fun-filled Class I-III rapids. One of the greatest features of this expedition is that the rapids are spread fairly evenly throughout the length of the trip so the action keeps it exciting all journey long.
  • visiting famous Wild West outlaw hideouts. Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch found that the rugged terrain here offered a perfect hideaway.
  • wondering about the past at now-derelict homesteads built of native materials
  • getting to know an ancient culture that both foraged and planted corn from the 7th to the 13th centuries, leaving behind Fremont Native American petroglyphs
  • hiking off-river with a seasoned guide well-versed in the region’s history and geology
  • deluxe camping on broad, sandy beaches along the river bank
  • enjoying host-prepared adult and children’s meals sourced from local farmers and producers
  • sunbathing on and off the water shaded by ancient cottonwoods
  • watching a Trip Jester entertain the children so parents have some down time

On its journey south through Utah towards the confluence with the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park, the Green has created such an unforgettable universe that Desolation Canyon has been singled out as a National Register of Historic Places.

Calling this “the ultimate, back-country family river trip,” Jason Taylor, an operations manager who oversees all of Western River Expeditions’ trips in Utah, noted that the five-day program is appropriate for children as young as 5. It’s also a great river trip for extended families and first-time rafters. Five guides are assigned to trips that accommodate up to 25.

One plus that families come to love is the fact that in this remote environment cell and data service are non-existent. Instead of connecting to electronic devices, the connection is with family, guides and other guests. Children focus on the designated Trip Jester who, in a fun and informative way, shares insights with kids of all ages into this world of wonder. Creative games, swimming, arts and crafts are all part of the fun.

While some time- and career-stressed parents may have difficulty connecting with their own children, Taylor said that by trip’s end, they’re melding with their families and creating stronger family bonds and memories.

“We see children transform from being needy and whiney to independent and happy. Everybody grows on this trip. In fact, this truly is the perfect family vacation. Some families come back every couple of years,” he said.

For more details on this trip see https://www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2018 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit http://www.westernriver.com/.

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. From March through October, the operatort escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its Moab Adventure Center division (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).

Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for fourteen consecutive years (2004-2017).

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Schumer, Tomlin, Original SNL Cast Headline National Comedy Center Opening in Lucille Ball’s Hometown, Jamestown, NY

May 31, 2018
NYS-Natl Comedy Ctr Jamestown

The National Comedy Center, an interactive and immersive museum with 50 exhibits, opens in Jamestown, NY, Lucille Ball’s hometown, in August.

Jamestown, NY –The National Comedy Center will celebrate its grand opening in Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown, New York,  with appearances by Amy Schumer, Lily Tomlin, Saturday Night Live original season alumni including Dan Aykroyd and more, coinciding with the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, August 1-5.

Featuring more than 50 immersive and interactive exhibits designed by leading museum design firms in the world, the 37,000 square foot National Comedy Center visitor experience tells the story of comedy from its origins through the present and is the first non-profit cultural institution and national-scale attraction dedicated to the art of comedy.

The opening celebration will feature more than 50 events and 40 artists that include the innovators, creators, and legends of comedy.

Emmy Award-Winning Comedian Amy Schumer will perform Friday, August 3rd with her show “Amy Schumer and Friends” at the Northwest Arena, while comedy legend Lily Tomlin brings “An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin” center stage at Reg Lenna Center for the Arts on August 4th.

“Each of these artists has played a significant role in shaping and redefining comedy as we know it today.  From sketch to stand-up to TV to film, the landscape has been forever changed due to the creativity and, frankly, bravery, of Lily Tomlin and Amy Schumer. Laraine Newman, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris and Alan Zweibel challenged the nation’s sensibilities about comedy in what they brought to air in 1975, introducing what became one of the very few cultural phenomena to endure more than four decades,” said National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson.

On August 2nd, Saturday Night Live cast members Dan Aykroyd, Laraine Newman and Garrett Morris, along with original writer, Alan Zweibel, will come together at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts to share stories and laughs in a conversation about the show’s early years.

“Offering four brilliant minds from the show that broke the late night television mold is not only a glimpse into the creation of Saturday Night Live but also a sampling of the National Comedy Center‘s core mission to share the story of comedy,” notes Malachi Livermore, Director of Operations and Programming for the National Comedy Center.

Continuing an annual series of National Comedy Center dialogues, Violet Ramis Stiel will offer a stage conversation about her new book, “Ghostbuster’s Daughter: Life with My Dad, Harold Ramis.”

Festival partner COZI TV will present a very special “Conversation with Fran Drescher” as part of the opening week events. The Nanny star will share insights on her storied life and career influences, including Lucille Ball, on August 3rd.

Additional programming includes five comedy showcases featuring comedians with credits including appearances on ColbertConan, and Last Comic Standing. The weekend will also feature National Comedy Center dialogues, exhibit unveilings, block parties, free kids’ comedy shows featuring the critically-acclaimed Story Pirates and tribute events honoring the influential careers of the “First Couple of Comedy”, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Additional events will be added to the lineup in the coming months.

The National Comedy Center embodies Lucille Ball’s vision for her hometown of Jamestown, New York to become a destination for the celebration of comedy in a way that educates, fosters and inspires. Design has been led by the most prominent cultural and interactive design firms in the world whose portfolios collectively include the award-winning 9/11 Memorial Museum, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, The College Football Hall of Fame, and SNL: The Experience. The $50 million endeavor was made possible by state, federal and private philanthropic support including partnership with I LOVE NEW YORK™, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State’s Empire State Development.

In a special press briefing at the site on March 30, United States Senator Charles Schumer (who is comedien Amy Schumer’s actual cousin) announced his push for a congressional designation for the Center. The new designation would officially make the National Comedy Center the nation’s cultural institution dedicated to the art of comedy, recognizing it as the only institution of its kind with the mission of preserving, protecting, and showcasing the art of comedy and its role in our culture.

The National Comedy Center also operates the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, and for the last 25 years has produced the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival with performers including Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Lewis Black, Trevor Noah, Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, Paula Poundstone, Nick Offerman, Ray Romano, Bob Newhart, The Smothers Brothers and more than 100 other comedic artists.

Located in Jamestown, a city in Chautauqua County and Western New York, the National Comedy Center is in the region of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Toronto.

Tickets may be purchased by visiting NationalComedyCenter.org. by calling 716-484-0800 or visiting the festival box office located at 2 W. 3rd Street, Jamestown, NY 14701.

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Hawaii Governor David Ige Insists ‘Travel is Safe to Hawaiian Islands’ Despite Kilauea Eruption on Big Island; Provides Contact Info for Travelers

May 31, 2018

Hawaii-map

HONOLULU – As dramatic video footage is shown daily from the island of Hawaii of lava flowing, new fissures opening and ash plumes, Hawaii Governor David Ige is reassuring people worldwide that Kilauea volcano is being closely monitored and stated emphatically: “Travel is safe to the Hawaiian Islands.”

Governor Ige noted, “We have a skilled contingent of scientists, geologists, meteorologists, and health experts whose work is being supported around the clock by emergency officials and law enforcement personnel from federal, state and county agencies. They are continuously scrutinizing the activity within Kilauea volcano and providing clear, carefully thought-out advice with the purpose of keeping the public safe and informed.

“This is a time to listen to the experts on-site and to trust what they are reporting and recommending. The experts are telling us there is no danger from the eruptions to anyone outside the areas that have been evacuated. There is no threat of a tsunami. Air quality is being closely studied and is of most concern in the immediate area inside where the volcanic activity is taking place.

“Our foremost concern is for the residents in the affected communities. They are receiving all available support from government agencies and officials to cope with the volcano activity and carry on with their lives as best as possible.

“Visitors to Hawaii can be assured that the volcanic activity is having no effect whatsoever on the other islands, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kauai. Visitors can book their trips comfortable in the knowledge that their vacation experience will provide all the enjoyment they expect when coming to our beautiful islands.

“All of Hawaii is open for business and welcoming visitors with the hospitality, aloha, warmth and picturesque settings visitors seek in our islands. This includes Hilo, Pahoa and the Kona and Kohala coasts on the island of Hawaii. The one area that people need to avoid is lower Puna where the eruption is ongoing.”

George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, added that travel to and within the Hawaiian Islands is unimpeded by Kilauea volcano. “Summer is just a couple of weeks away and there is no reason for travelers to delay in booking their vacation plans. The number of flights serving Hawaii has never been greater and there is an abundance of choices for travelers to select in choosing the accommodations and activities they want to enjoy in the Hawaiian Islands.”

Kilauea has been an active volcano since 1983 and is one of Hawaii’s most popular attractions. Over the years residents and visitors have been drawn to the wonder of seeing nature at work in the creation of new land via tours or visits to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Most of the park is currently closed until further notice.

For the latest updates on Kilauea volcano, check these websites:

Hawaii County Civil Defense: http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts

Hawaii County Eruption Map: https://goo.gl/i7RbrB

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory / USGS: https://on.doi.gov/2FEPVBm
Volcano Watch Updates: https://on.doi.gov/2r8G4zE

SO2 Measurement Map: Department of Health: http://www.hiso2index.info

General Air Quality / Air Now: https://bit.ly/2I33ixd

State of Hawaii Interagency Vog Information Dashboard: http://www.ivhhn.org/vog/

Tourism Updates: HTA Special Alerts: http://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/news/special-alert/

Travelers planning a trip to the Hawaiian Islands who have questions can contact the Hawaii Tourism United States Call Center at 1-800-GOHAWAII (1-800-464-2924).

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New York State’s 524-Mile Canal System Reopens for Navigation; Tolls Waived for Second Year

May 15, 2018
Erie Canal

Explore the Erie Canal on a Mid-Navigation Lakes Lockmaster canalboat. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Navigation has reopened for the 2018 season along the 524-mile New York State Canal System, as it celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The eastern Erie Canal, stretching from Brewerton to Waterford, opens today. The remainder of the system, including the Erie Canal, from Brewerton to Lockport, and the Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca canals, opens on May 18.

For the second straight year, the Canal Corporation has waived tolls for recreational vessels to encourage more boaters to visit. The canals will remain open to recreational boaters through Oct. 10.

“New York’s canal system helped build the Empire State and it remains a key economic and tourism driver,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “I encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to come and experience this great New York resource for themselves.”

This is the 194th year vessels have traversed the Erie Canal. The first boats of the year began their journey on the system following a ceremony this morning in Waterford, the Erie Canal’s eastern terminus.

“The Erie Canal is an integral part of New York history and has always been one of my favorite summertime destinations,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “For many years the Canal System was an essential part of our transportation economy and today is a significant driver of tourism across upstate, supporting jobs and small businesses. I look forward to another great season on the canal.”

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “This is always a special time of year because we once again get to show off our great New York State canals, which have become an increasingly important economic engine as more tourism and recreational assets become available.”

A study commissioned by the Canal Corporation found there is nearly $400 million annually of direct tourism and recreational spending tied to the canals and Erie Canalway Trail. The Canal System also has an estimated $6.3 billion economic impact from non-tourism spending tied to hydropower, irrigation, providing water to golf courses and factory operations as well as commercial traffic.

The state Canal System, formerly known as the Barge Canal, was first championed at the end of the 19th century by then-Governor Theodore Roosevelt, who wanted to enlarge New York’s canals and make them more competitive with railroads to attract freight shipments. The Erie Canal had first opened in 1825, but it had lost traffic because it was deemed too narrow and shallow to accommodate large shipments.

Instead of relying exclusively on manmade channels, as the first two versions of the canals did, engineers “canalized” large lakes and rivers and installed locks, movable dams and guard gates to regulate water flow and enable safe navigation channels.

The Barge Canal was built starting in 1905 and officially opened in Waterford on May 15, 1918.

Compared to the Panama Canal, which was built in roughly the same time frame, the Barge Canal is 10 times longer, has nearly 10 times as many locks, and yet was built for one-third the cost using only state money.

Major events on the Canal System this year include a four-month journey by the Corning Museum of Glass GlassBarge, to mark the 150th anniversary of when the Flint Glass Company moved its operations from Brooklyn to Corning and shipped its equipment on the Erie Canal. The GlassBarge, which will have a mobile glass-blowing theatre with 150 seats, will open to the public in Brooklyn on May 17 and make 28 public stops through September.

This is also the 20th year of the Cycle the Erie Ride run by Parks and Trails New York. The eight-day sojourn from Buffalo to Albany starts July 8. Last year, the event attracted more than 750 cyclists. (See: Cycle the Erie: 400 Miles & 400 Years of History Flow By on Canalway Bike Tour Across New York State)

Don’t have your own boat? You can rent a houseboat and travel along the canals wherever whimsy takes you, tying up and using the facilities that are all along the canals, having the delight of going through the locks and under the lift bridges.

Mid-Lakes Navigation, a family-owned company operating out of Skaneateles, New York, offers its specially designed lockmaster canalboats which are easy to maneuver, delightful to stay (galley, shower and toilet facilities), operating when the Erie Canal is open. They provide bikes (but you would do well to bring or rent your own) so you can spend the day riding on the Canalway and exploring the canaltowns. (Mid-Lakes Navigation, 11 Jordan St., PO Box 61, Skaneateles, NY 13152, 315-685-8500, toll-free: 800-545-4318, info@midlakesnav.com, https://midlakesnav.com/).

(See: Journey by boat and bike along the Erie Canal)

For a list of events on the canals, go to https://eriecanalway.org/explore/events. For more information on the Canal System, including hours when locks are open, go to www.canals.ny.gov.

 

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US Navy Blue Angels, Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds Highlight Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, Long Island

May 12, 2018
JonesBchAirShow_052816_809e2(c) Karen Rubin-USN BlueAngels

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, last at Jones Beach in 2016, are returning to the Bethpage Air Show for their eighth performance during their 72nd anniversary season and will provide the climatic final performance of the show © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The world-renowned United States Navy Blue Angels and the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds will headline the 15th Annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, taking place Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The heart-stopping event is presented by Bethpage Federal Credit Union and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, last at Jones Beach in 2016, are returning to the Bethpage Air Show for their eighth performance during their 72nd anniversary season and will provide the climatic final performance of the show at approximately 2 p.m. The Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds will be making their fourth performance at the Bethpage Air Show, where they will thrill fans with more than 50 different formations and maneuvers.

The F-22 Raptor, the United States Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft, which performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, will also make an appearance at the 15th anniversary show.  The F-22 was designed to project air dominance, rapidly and at great distances, and defeat threats attempting to deny access to our nation’s Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft. The F-22 will perform for crowds with its own remarkable demonstration, as well as alongside the United States Air Force Heritage Flight Team for a special aerial performance.

Other thrilling performers at this year’s show include the United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team, performing in their 13th Bethpage Air Show; legendary air show pilot Sean Tucker performing in his custom-built Oracle Challenger II biplane; extraordinary aerobatic pilot Matt Chapman; the John Klatt Airshows — Jack Links’ Screamin’ Sasquatch Jet Waco Aerobatic Team; the world famous GEICO Skytypers and their flight squadron of six vintage WWII aircraft; the American Airpower Museum Warbirds; Long Island’s own David Windmiller; the Yankee Lady B17, our hometown, 106th Air Rescue Wing will show their support by performing  a HC-130 and HH-60 fly-by demonstration; and new for their third air show performance, the SUNY Farmingdale State College Flying Rams, who will fly seven of their 22 college-owned aircraft in a fly-by piloted by their top academic professional pilot performers.

“This year we have a remarkable lineup of world-class performers, and are very pleased to welcome back the United States Navy Blue Angels to Long Island. We are also especially excited to be included in the Grunt Style Air Show Majors Tour, which unites the most prestigious air shows in the country,” said George Gorman, deputy regional director, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.   “The tour was developed to help increase awareness for the air show industry, so we look forward to welcoming many new guests to Jones Beach for our amazing show.”

“The Bethpage Air Show is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, due in large part to the endless enthusiasm and passion of our audience,” said Linda Armyn, senior vice president of corporate affairs, Bethpage. “We are all privileged to be able to continue to honor our nation’s military by bringing many of the world’s best military and civilian performers together for a show of this magnitude. The Bethpage Air Show has become a celebrated Long Island tradition, and we looking forward to another wonderful show.”

Two years ago, when the Blue Angels last headlined the show, the Bethpage Air Show had record-breaking attendance with 453,000 spectators.  Last year, over 347,000 fans attended the Bethpage Air Show when the United States Air Force Thunderbirds headlined the show.

In addition to Bethpage Federal Credit Union and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach is sponsored by Newsday, WABC-TV Channel 7, PSEG Long Island, Natural Heritage Trust, the U.S. Army, Loacker, New York Islanders and Connoisseur Media Long Island. The show can be heard in its entirety on WHLI 1100 and 1370 AM. Bethpage Air Show announcers will lead air show activities from the Jones Beach State Park Central Mall Boardwalk area where food, beverages and ground activities will be available for fans.

The Bethpage Air Show is free to the public, but the standard $10 vehicle use fee will be collected each day upon entry to the State Park. For the 2018 NYS Empire Passport holders, there is no vehicle use fee charge.

For $80, the Empire Passport card provides unlimited vehicle access to most facilities operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Empire Passports are available for purchase at any Long Island State Park and can be utilized immediately to enjoy the forests, the seashores and the lakefronts of New York State’s parks through all of New York’s beautiful seasons.

For more information about this year’s show, visit http://www.bethpageairshow.com or contact the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Regional Office, Recreation Department at 631-321-3510.

See photos from 2017 Bethpage Memorial Day Air Show at Jones Beach:

USAF Thunderbirds Headline Memorial Day Weekend Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, Long Island

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WalletHub: Best Credit Cards for Foreign Travel

May 12, 2018
JF Kennedy International Airport, NY

WalletHub released a study of the best credit cards for foreign travel © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

With 72 million Americans planning a foreign trip this year, credit cards providing up to 13 international travel benefits and 86% of people not fully understanding how foreign fees work, WalletHub released a report identifying the best cards to use.

WalletHub also released the results of its 2018 Foreign Transaction Fee Survey, which provides insights into people’s attitudes toward and understanding of foreign fees. You can find highlights from both below.

  • 96% of credit cards offer rental car insurance, while 86% offer travel accident insurance and 37% offer a form of luggage insurance.
  • The best credit cards for international travelers are the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card, Bank of America Travel Rewards and Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard.
  • 86% of people don’t fully understand when credit cards can charge foreign transaction fees. 82% think foreign transaction fees are unfair.
  • 51% of Americans worry more about foreign transaction fees on credit cards than tariffs on Chinese imports.
  • Two-thirds of people think credit cards should charge lower foreign transaction fees in countries allied with the U.S.
  • Capital One, Discover, USAA and Barclays are the only major issuers that exclusively offer no foreign transaction fee credit cards. Getting such a card, along with a no foreign fee debit card, enables international travelers to minimize the cost of currency conversion.

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