Archive for September, 2011

Cape May holds 39th annual Victorian Weekend Oct. 7-11

September 30, 2011
Emlen Physick House, Cape May, New Jersey

During Cape May's 39th annual Victorian Weekend, visit Cape May’s original haunted house, the Emlen Physick Estate, for a guided tour with a discussion of Victorian spiritualism and today’s paranormal investigators © 2011 Karen Rubin/

Become Immersed in Victoriana this fall during Cape May’s 39th annual Victorian Weekend, Oct. 7-11. Tour historic homes, taste the local flavors and celebrate Cape May’s special history as the nation’s first seaside resort.

Sponsored by Cape May’s leader in historic preservation,the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC),  the event captures the feeling of the City’s “gilded age” with charming tree-lined and gas-lit streets, hundreds of Victorian era landmarks, and a week of special events and tours including historic house tours, ghost tours, food and wine events, living history programs and more from Friday, Oct. 7 through Tuesday, Oct. 11.

The Chocolate Championship Tour & Tasting. Saturday, Oct. 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., will have you sampling the best chocolate desserts from Cape May’s historic properties, Inns and B&Bs. Taste, tour and vote! Will it be the chocolate torte, fudge bars or mousse? Only you can decide! Those who turn in completed evaluation cards will get recipes by email. Limited to 200 tickets. Admission is $25 and $15 for children (ages 3-12).

Many of Cape May’s regal Victorian residences are reputed to host more than the living. Experience the “other side” of Cape May on the Historic Haunts Combo Tour on Friday, Oct. 7, Saturday, Oct. 8 and Sunday, Oct. 9 at 7:15 p.m. Get into the spirit of things on a trolley tour down Cape May’s gas-lit streets, past some of Cape May’s haunted Victorian homes and then visit Cape May’s original haunted house, the Emlen Physick Estate, for a guided tour with a discussion of Victorian spiritualism and today’s paranormal investigators. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children (ages 3-12). The Historic Haunts House Tour portion of the tour can be purchased separately from the Combo tour. The house tour is offered on Friday, Oct. 7, Saturday, Oct. 8 and Sunday, Oct. 9 at 7:45 p.m. and costs $10 for adults and $7 for children (ages 3-12).

Waltz your way back in time during the Vintage Dance Weekend on Saturday, Oct. 8 and Sunday, Oct. 9. Vintage Dance Instructor Martha Griffith will have you kicking-up your heels like they did in Cape May’s Victorian heyday as she teaches you the popular ballroom dances of the mid- and late-19th Century at a Vintage Dance Workshop at the Franklin Street School, Franklin and Lafayette Streets, on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Then, put your newfound expertise to good use at a costumed Vintage Ball at the Cape May Elementary School, Lafayette Street at Madison Avenue, with live music of the period by Spare Parts on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. On Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m. enjoy an elegant Tea Dance, also with live music by Spare Parts, at Cape Island Baptist Church Hall, 115 Gurney St. Refreshments are included at the Ball and Tea Dance and Victorian costume is highly encouraged (but not required). An all-inclusive package is available or you can purchase events individually. Dance Weekend Package $95; Ball $35; Tea Dance $25; three Workshops $45.

New this year is the Fudge Fantasy with the famous Fudge Kitchen. On Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2 p.m., the original Fudge Kitchen will be displaying its hand-whipped creamy fudge in an array of flavors at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St. Sample the famous fudge flavors, learn how they make the fudge and much more. Admission is $15 per person.

Discover  Cape May’s seventh annual Designer Show House, a harbor-side homeowner’s dream. This $2.2 million four-story luxury townhome at Osprey Landing at Cape May Marine, overlooks the harbor and wetlands and is open daily for tours through Oct. 30. Self-guided tours are offered daily from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and guided evening tours are offered at 7 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday. Each visitor receives a full-color program book with information about the designers, products and vendors. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children (ages 3-12). Osprey Landing is conveniently located at 109 Rosemans Lane at the end of the Garden State Parkway. There is free off-street parking available and an elevator with access to all four floors. Tours of the Designer Show House can also be combined with daily luncheon, dinner (Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays) and Happy Hour packages (Mondays through Fridays).

New in 2011! Murder at the Physick Estate presents “Doorway to Darkness,” a newplayby John K. Alvarez. Is there life after death? Do spirits wander on an ethereal plane? Are there ghosts roaming Cape May? Tonight, with the Physick Estate as a backdrop, a psychic and a scientist plan to address these questions once and for all. Plans go awry when a seemingly innocent children’s nursery rhyme turns the evening upside down. A visit to the Physick Estate becomes much more than a look into the past for one of them. Afterwards, meet your evening’s performers over coffee and dessert in the Carriage House Tearoom & Café. Performances are offered on Friday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 8 at 6:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Admission is $25 for adults and $20 for children (ages 3-12).

Celebrate Oktoberfest at the Mad Batter Beer Dinner on Friday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. The famous Mad Batter restaurant, 19 Jackson St., is serving a four course Oktoberfest dinner featuring German beers. Admission is $65 and seating is limited to 60.

Celebrate the fall season at the Scarecrow Workshop on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Gather your scarecrow-making materials and visit the Emlen Physick Estate with friends, family and co-workers where you and your team can receive straw and stakes to create a scarecrow for the Estate’s Scarecrow Alley, a highlight of the Estate’s Halloween decorations. All creations will be entered into the Scarecrow Alley competition. Registration is required. Please call 609-884-5404 ext. 111 to register. Rain date is Sunday, Oct. 9.

Go beyond the doors of a selection of charming private cottages in the Cape May area that are not normally open to the public during the Private Homes Tour on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The tour is limited to 300 tickets. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children (ages 3-12).

Discover the fun and follies of Cape May’s history on the Cape MayUnzipped Trolley Ride. Cape May celebrity Tom Carroll takes you on a narrated ride through the streets of Cape May, giving a “tongue in cheek” look at the fun and follies of life in a resort town. Tours are offered on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 2:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. and on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children (ages 3-12).

On Saturday, Oct. 8 at 3 p.m., spend the afternoon touring the award-winning Cape May Winery in North Cape May. The Winery Cellar Tour & Tasting features a tour of the vineyard to see how the grapes are grown and then a visit to the winery, where you’ll be introduced to the winemaker’s art and enjoy a barrel tasting accompanied by cheese and fruit. Admission is $20 and includes a complimentary tasting glass.

Did you know there was once a “South Cape May?” On Saturday, Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Advent, Washington and Franklin streets, co-authors of “Remembering South Cape May: The Jersey Shore Town That Vanished Into the Sea,” Robert Kenselaar and Joseph Bucher will present a free lecture. Kenselaar is the guest curator of this new exhibit at the Carriage House Gallery that examines the rise and fall of the community that once stood west of Cape May’s beachfront on land that today is the Nature Conservancy’s Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge. In its heyday, the town of South Cape May had more than 40 homes and hundreds of summer residents. The exhibit in the Carriage House Gallery located on the grounds of the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., is open daily through Nov. 6. Admission is free. This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

Murder is on the menu during the Murder Mystery Dinners. The Impromptu Players invade the dining room at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., where they set the scene for a new mystery that will surely be a barrel of fun. The new mystery, “A Very Noir Pinot,” creates an atmosphere of foul bouquet, intrigue and deceit. Interact with the cast of likely suspects and try to solve the mystery as you enjoy a three-course dinner or luncheon. Dinners are offered on Saturday, Oct. 8, Sunday, Oct. 9 and Monday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. and admission is $45. Limited event; reservations are necessary.

If you have a taste for history, take the Champagne Brunch Walk on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 10 a.m. First, build up your appetite with a walking tour of Cape May’s Historic District, and then enjoy a Southern-style breakfast buffet with mimosas at the historic Chalfonte Hotel, 301 Howard St. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children (ages 3-12).

Open daily from 11:30 a.m., the Carriage House Tearoom & Café located on the beautiful grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St, is a great way to enjoy an English tradition in Victorian Cape May. The Tea Luncheon features sandwiches, salads, soups, breads, pastries and beverages, and the Elegant Afternoon Tea includes finger sandwiches, pastries, scones and beverages. The café menu also offers heartier fare with a selection of entrée salads, soups, sandwiches and wraps. To make reservations call 609-884-5111.

 “The Doctor is in”on Sunday, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Meet Dr. Emlen Physick as he greets and banters with visitors on his Estate’s grounds at 1048 Washington St. Enjoy an Emlen Physick Estate tour with its new theme in 2011: “Victorian Health & Fitness.” As your tour guide leads you through each room in the Estate, you’ll hear about Victorian exercises, diets, food preservation methods, medical beliefs and practices, fitness attire and much more. The Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian House Museum, is open daily. Tours of the Estate cost $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 3-12).

On Sunday, Oct. 9, the Victorian Weekend Crafts & Antiques Show sets up on the lawn of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Crafters and antiques dealers from throughout the region will display and sell their unique and hand-made wares from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

To drink or not to drink, that is the question at the Tea Luncheon & Temperance Debate on Tuesday, October 11 at 12:30 p.m. at the Carriage House Tearoom & Café located on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Saloonkeeper Patrick Collins and Jennie Wales, staunch advocate of the temperance movement, debate this most important topic. Join Dr. Physick as he attempts to maintain decorum during this spirited debate. Admission is $25 and includes an Elegant Tea Luncheon. The event is limited to 50 guests. Advance reservations are highly recommended.

The Cherry House, a beautiful private home built in 1849 in the Federal style, situated on one of Cape May’s oldest residential streets, Hughes Street, will opens its doors for tours daily at 2 p.m. during Victorian Weekend. Tickets cost $10 per person ($8 for children ages 3-12) and are available at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth.

Spend an afternoon during Victorian Weekend touring the wineries of Cape May County at your own pace during the Self-Guided Wine Trail. Visit Natali Vineyards and Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery and taste wines at each. Admission is $8 and includes a map with the wineries listed, tastings at both wineries and a complimentary tasting glass. The Self-Guided Wine Trail is offered daily from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Attend world-class theater productions in Cape May with Cape May Stage and East Lynne Theater Company or check out a film at the Cape May Film Society.

Cape MayStage presents “The Woolgatherer” on Friday, Oct. 7, Saturday, Oct. 8 and Sunday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. Rose, a shy cashier prone to daydreaming, and Cliff, a rough-edge trucker with a solitary life, are an unlikely couple both looking for love in a world gone mad. Despite their mutual fear of commitment, these two lonely souls are drawn to each other and somehow manage to find comfort in each others’ uniqueness. Can a candy counter girl and foul-mouthed truck driver find love in South Philly? Funny and poignant, this gripping play answers the question with humor, humanity, and just a touch of crazy. Performances take place at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse, corner of Bank & Lafayette streets. General admission is $35, $30 for seniors (62+) and $15 for students.

East Lynne Theater Company presents “Dulcy” on Friday, Oct. 7 and Saturday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Dulcy is a comedy by Pulitzer Prize-winners George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly. In trying to help her husband, Dulcy alienates his boss and complicates matters with her other weekend guests. The original 1921 production not only established the reputations of Kaufman and Connelly but made a star of Lynn Fontanne who played Dulcy. Performances take place at the First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St. General admission is $30, $25 for seniors, $15 for students and ages 12 and under are free.

The Cape May Film Society presents “Tospy-Turvy” on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. In this zany 1999 comedy set during the Victorian Era, Gilbert and Sullivan threaten to disband after their latest play is critically panned—that is until the two are inspired to write the masterpiece “The Mikado.” Location TBA. Tickets are $10.

Cape May’s Victorian Weekend is sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC), a multifaceted not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the preservation, interpretation, and cultural enrichment of the Cape May region for its residents and visitors. MAC membership is open to all. For information about MAC’s year-round schedule of tours, festivals, and special events, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278, or visit MAC’s Web site at For information about restaurants, accommodations and shopping, call the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May at 609-884-5508.

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BikeToursDirect expands bike and boat tour offerings to 60 tours in 16 countries for 2012

September 30, 2011

The magnificent scene where the Danube River turns, is one of the wonderful sights on the Danube Bike Trail, between Passau and Vienna. © 2011 Karen Rubin/

Providing unbeatable scenery on land and water, bike and boat tours have become a popular choice for couples, families and groups of friends looking for enriching vacation options in Europe and beyond. BikeToursDirect will expand its bike and boat tour offerings to more than 60 tours in 16 countries for the 2012 season to accommodate growing demand for this unique travel experience.

“Bike and boat tours have become increasingly popular, especially for cycle tourists and families who enjoy the option of rest days and experiencing the ambiance of the boat,” says Jim Johnson, president of BikeToursDirect. “Travelers who aren’t up for cycling each day can participate in a side excursion or choose to enjoy scenery from the deck of the boat. It really is the best of both worlds—and the local cuisine available on board is an added bonus.”

BikeToursDirect offers bike and boat tours in 14 European countries, Vietnam, and the islands of Seychelles, and each tour presents a unique boat experience, ranging from small vessels holding fewer than 25 people (barges, schooners, yachts or converted fishing boats) to small passenger boats holding up to 150 people.

For many, being on a small boat is the biggest appeal of a bike and boat tour because, unlike large cruise ships, they don’t have to worry about crowds or making a connection. Cycle tourists also enjoy meeting people from several countries and seeing a variety of landscapes and places: countryside, islands, mountains, villages and towns.

“Our clients really enjoy the camaraderie they develop with the boat crew and other passengers,” says Johnson. “They also enjoy having a ‘floating hotel’ to return to each evening because they don’t have to pack and unpack every day.”

Another big draw to these tours is the price: over half of the bike and boat tours offered by BikeToursDirect are under $1,200 (with most being one-week, nearly all-inclusive tours). A few of the most popular bike and boat tour destinations include:

  • · Loire Valley (France), which spotlights the most peaceful part of the Loire Valley, passing through vineyards, chateaux, quiet villages and medieval towns.
  • · Venice to Mantua (Italy), which winds along the Mincio and Po rivers through rural, pristine areas of the Italian countryside, ending in the Venetian Lagoon with a full day to explore Venice.
  • · Holland, Northern Tour, which follows the North Sea coast and several canals through marshland, picturesque villages and historic harbor towns.
  • · National Parks of Dalmatia (Croatia), which highlights romantic ruins, charming hills, countless natural phenomena, two national parks and the islands of Central Dalmatia.
  • · Danube Bike Path (Germany and Austria), which runs along well-signed, dedicated, nearly flat bike paths through vineyards and medieval towns, taking travelers from Passau, Germany, to Vienna.

BikeToursDirect Adds Four Continents in 2012 Season

Based on nearly a decade of success with European bicycle tour offerings, U.S.-based BikeToursDirect will add tours in at least 10 new countries on four continents for the 2012 season, including tours in New Zealand, South Africa, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico and Jordan. BikeToursDirect currently represents over 50 local bicycle tour companies, primarily in Europe, and offers more than 200 tours on its website,

“Europe has long been a top destination for value-oriented bicycle tourists, but local tour companies in other regions of the world also offer unique cycling experiences for riders of varying levels and budgets,” says BikeToursDirect president Jim Johnson. “We decided to expand our tour offerings based on client input and the increasing number of tours available in some of the most exotic and breathtaking locations in the world. We started offering a few tours outside Europe in 2011, and client response has been quite positive.”

Some “test” tours offered in 2011 that will continue and expand in 2012 include “South African Cycle Safari,” which travels along the Cape peninsula through private game reserves, where cyclists can see lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and other wildlife; bicycle tours in New Zealand, which explore rainforests, glaciers, mountains, islands and more; and four tours in Vietnam, including a two-week bike and boat adventure that explores bustling cities and rural districts. Soon to be added: a Riviera Maya Bike Adventure in Mexico that takes cyclists across the Yucatan peninsula from the jungle to the Caribbean.

Some of these new tours are offered year-round, providing greater flexibility for travel planning.

Unlike many companies, BikeToursDirect doesn’t operate tours but instead represents overseas companies.

“Some of the benefits of working with locally-based tour companies include their knowledge of the local culture and unique sights, frequent tour departures, and ability to tailor tours to fit a client’s specific interests,” says Johnson. “In some developing destinations, it’s also very helpful to have as much of the tour costs stay local.”

Local tour companies can keep their tour prices down due to the lower cost of doing business close to home and to spreading their expenses over a large client base. Clients book tours and make all payments through BikeToursDirect, usually at the same prices charged by the tour companies.

The full roster of new tours for 2012 will be unveiled in November when BikeToursDirect launches a new website. Although 2012 information on existing tours won’t be added until the new site launches, BikeToursDirect already has details on many tours. If you’re eager to book a tour now—or just want to start planning—feel free to contact one of BikeToursDirect’s tour experts about 2012 tours. Visit to complete an inquiry form or call 1-877-462-2423 (toll-free) or 1-423-756-8907 (local and international).

About BikeToursDirect

BikeToursDirect, now in its eighth season, serves as a central resource for bicycle tours in Europe, representing more than 50 tour companies that offer more than 200 tours in 35 European countries and is currently expanding to Asia, Africa and Australia. BikeToursDirect offers a variety of resources to help travelers choose tours and handles the entire booking and payment process. Learn more at Telephone: 1-877-462-2423 or 1-423-756-8907. Email:

Look for coming  features covering the Passau-Danube Bike Tour:


September 30, 2011

Mynatour ecotourism community sponsored by is launching the first-ever ecotourism travel blog contest. This innovative competition invites travelers to share their travel blog in order to promote green travel and ecotourism best practices.

The idea of the contest is to promote ecotourism and responsible tourism through a travel blog competition where the audience is involved in electing the best ecotourism story.

“Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me and I’ll understand” – Rabindranath Tagore

Users will be able to upload their holiday experience, evaluate how they have been eco-friendly on their holiday or how to improve their experience towards a more sustainable level in the future.

How the ecotourism travel blog contest works:

Participants will be required to join the Mynatour ecotourism community to take part in the contest. To allow everyone to express his/her best way the travel blog will include the possibility to enter a text of max 1000 words, 1 main photo and max 4 additional images. A specific area of the travel blog (250 words) will be dedicated to evaluate their best ecotourism practices “on the road”.

Furthermore if they have been on a normal tour competitors will be able to provide in the same section tips or thoughts about how the destination or they can improve with eco friendly practices.

Most importantly the contest will allow participants to vote for their favorite travel blog. In fact players will have the opportunity and tools to share their travel blog on their social media platforms. Visitors and friends will be able to vote to their favorite travel blogs via facebook.

The top ten voted travel blog will be review by an expert panel and 3 of them will be choose for the grand prizes. The 3 winners will be able to choose out of 6 amazing ecotourism holidays for 2 persons courtesy of The winner will be able to choose first and so till the 3rd.

Timing and the prizes will be the following:

• Join the local village house trekking with Outdoor Albania (5 days)
• Wilderness ecotourism experience in Estonia with (5 days)
• An absolute ecotourism immersion in the Ecuadorian Amazon at the Yachana Ecolodge (4 days)
• Explore Laos -Treetop Explorer – Wat Phou Cruise with Teamworkz (7 days)
• Discover Yemen – Misterious Sana’a and the Magic of Soqotra with Eternal Yemen (9 days)
• Learn about the biodiversity paradise of the Galapagos with Yacu Amu Experiences (5 days)

The only foot print you leave is your story! Ecotourism Travel Blog Contest will run through October, 2011. Online registration is already open. Travel blog uploads will be from the 19st of September to the 23rd of October. Voting period will be from the 24th of October to the 7th of November. Winner will be announced Friday 11th November from the World Travel Market in London.

To subscribe to the contest and for more information visit Mynatour

Watch the video at –

About Mynatour.
Mynatour is a social network aimed specifically at responsible travelers who are as passionate about ecotourism. offers its online community of like-minded individuals the chance to learn and share in the excitement of their personal experiences of sustainable travel. Furthermore Mynatour’s platform provides an easy way for ecotourism services to promote their activities and accommodation an online marketplace that bringing together eco friendly tour operators and travelers.

About is a wholly owned business unit of the WHL Group. The company is committed to promoting and supporting the development of sustainable tourism. The Vision of is to be the e-marketplace of choice for independent travelers and travel service providers globally. The Company is offering a unique online booking service to both travelers and travel service providers by marrying the best of what can be done locally (local knowledge, local relationships, respect for local environment) with best practices in global marketing, technology and information systems that are appropriate for use in all countries.

Spain Transforms Unused Railroads into 1100 Miles of Stunning Greenway Trails for Biking, Walking

September 15, 2011

Spain's environmentally-friendly ‘Vías Verdes’ Trails take you on a spectacular journey through the countryside. Here, the Via Verde de la Sierra (Cadiz-Sevilla).

A recognized leader in eco-tourism and sustainable development, Spain continues its efforts to promote ‘greener’ ways to travel with the help of the Vías Verdes Program. The program, translated literally as greenways, encompasses re-purposing and redesign of unused railway lines into trails for walkers, joggers and cyclists. Similar to Manhattan’s High Line or the Illinois Prairie Path, Spain’s Vías Verdes added over 1,110 miles of trail passages to those existing in Spain naturally.

The trails, located throughout the country, vary in length, providing an option for travelers in search of an active outdoor challenge or those looking for a leisurely stroll. From the 1-mile long Paseo Itsaslur Greenway in Bizkaia that offers breathtaking views of the Basque Country shoreline, to the 46-mile long Sierra de Alcaraz Greenway in Albacete (Castilla La Mancha region,) that will take you through parts of the Don Quixote Route and the meadows of the rivers Jardín and Cubillo. The flat and even surface of Vías Verdes assures seamless travel for those on foot or a bike.

Conveniently located near major cities or in close proximity to train stations, the greenways present an opportunity to discover Spain’s hidden corners, admire the pristine beauty of its landscape as well as interact with the country’s habitat.

Recently, the Spanish Railway Foundation in collaboration with the Biodiversity Foundation and Ferrovial, one of the world’s leading developers of transport infrastructure, launched a campaign titled “Greenways, Zero CO2” to emphasize the environmentally-friendly facet of such programs as the Vías Verdes. The campaign, set to finish at the end of October, 2011, stresses the need for the development of alternative, non-motorized infrastructure options to reduce CO2 emissions, promote sustainable patterns of mobility and preserve biodiversity.

With over 80 itineraries available on the program’s website, every traveler will find a greenway to best suit their interest.

For more information on the Vías Verdes Program, please visit For more information or questions on travel to Spain, visit or contact the Tourist Office of Spain in New York at

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Be Prepared for Hurricanes and other Unforeseen Events, advises US Travel Insurance Association

September 15, 2011

As the nation recovers from Hurricanes Irene and and Lee, and braces for the possibility of other potential storms in the final weeks of the 2011 hurricane season, the US Travel Insurance Association offers advice to help travelers avoid financial loss and be prepared for developing weather emergencies.

As with Hurricane Irene and other storms, the following situations can occur:

  • You miss your pre-paid cruise, tour or hotel stay because air travel or other transportation has come to a standstill.
  •  You must cancel, reroute or reschedule your trip because your destination is affected and hotels are non-operational.
  • Your return home is delayed by hours or days and you must pay for additional hotel accommodations at your destination until the storm or flooding abates and your flight can be rescheduled.
  • You’re stranded at a destination in the path of a hurricane and need to be evacuated or to have alternate travel arrangements made.

In each of these real-life hurricane and storm situations travel insurance can make a positive difference.

  • Financial: Travel insurance can reimburse you for nonrefundable payments if you have to cancel or interrupt your trip due to a hurricane or other weather-related event. Most comprehensive travel insurance policies will also reimburse up to a set amount for hotel accommodations, meals and incidentals if your travel is delayed beyond a certain period of time (usually 6 hours or more).
  • Assistance: Most travel insurance providers include a 24-hour hotline for travel and travel medical assistance services. These services can include emergency travel arrangements to help evacuate you from an area that is in the path of a hurricane or other natural disaster, help make alternative plans such as finding and booking a hotel, rescheduling flights, and accessing other needed assistance.
  • Medical: In case you become ill or are injured during your trip, a comprehensive travel insurance policy will help reimburse medical expenses, locate and arrange appropriate medical care, plus arrange and pay for needed medical transportation including private air ambulance evacuation, if needed.

Be Prepared

To gain the most benefit from travel insurance, UStiA advises travelers:

  •  Purchase your travel insurance policy when you pay for your trip. Travel insurance plans exclude coverage once a hurricane or tropical storm becomes a named event. Most travel insurance policies will also waive the exclusion for pre-existing medical conditions if the policy is purchased within a specified period of time (usually 14 – 21 days) after initial trip payment.
  • Keep all receipts and a copy of your itinerary in the event you need to file a claim.
  • Read your travel insurance policy and be sure you understand what is and what is not covered. If you feel the policy does not meet your needs, the premium cost is usually refunded within a defined grace period.

For more information and a list of UStiA member companies, visit UStiA also sponsors TRIP (Travel Responsibly, Informed, and Protected), a consumer advocacy web site with helpful information including timely tips on travel, health, safety, and security. Visit

About UStiA

UStiA promotes fairness, integrity, and a commitment to excellence in the travel insurance industry. With a mission to educate the public on travel insurance while maintaining high industry standards, UStiA is a non-profit association of insurance carriers and allied businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and assistance. Travel insurance and assistance services are available from travel agencies, airlines, tour operators, hotels and resorts, and insurance brokers, as well as through the Internet.


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London Walking Tour Company Launches New Jewish Heritage Walk

September 15, 2011

London, September 15, 2011 — Context Travel has launched a new walking seminar of London’s historic Jewish neighborhood, led by historians from its network of experts and scholars. The walk looks at the history of Jewish communities in London from 1066, when William the Conqueror encouraged Jewish merchants and artisans from northern France to move to England. Traversing the centuries to the still vibrant community of modern times, the walk is offered both privately on request and as a group walk every day of the week except Saturdays.

“The history of the Jewish communities of London is extremely rich and complex,” says Ruth Shlovsky, a scholar of Judaism and Context docent. “Along the streets of the City and the East End we can trace the stories of these communities from their inception in 1066 and subsequent flourishing in the 17th century, through their trials during WWII and triumphs in modern London.”

Context’s Jewish London walk starts by Jewry Street, with a brief tutorial on the history and development of the area as the first port of call for Jewish families in 1066. Using maps and copies of documents, Context docents chronicle the development of the Sephardic and Ashkenazy communities in London and draw participants’ attention to visual clues to help them understand the social and economic context of the communities. The walk moves east includig such sites as the first purpose built Sephardi Synagogue in London, Bevis Marks.

The itinerary continues touching on themes such as the importance of the rag trade (selling second hand clothes), and the role of “The Jewish welfare board,” established in the 19th cent. Visitors come away from the walk with a deeper understanding of how these communities developed and helped shape the history of London as we know it today.

Jewish London is limited to 6 participants at a time. Group walks are priced at £60 per person, private walks are available at £250 per party.

The walk is a the latest addition to the Jewish History and Heritage series offered by Context to travelers in Italy, Paris, New York, Berlin, Istanbul, and Madrid.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and graphic designer Lani Bevacqua, Context is
a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects
and gastronomes, who organize and lead walking seminars in fifteen world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, and Athens. Travel + Leisure has named Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. A Conde Nast Traveler “Top Travel Specialist,” Context is listed on Inc magazine’s list of fastest growing companies in America.

To learn more about Context, visit its website at:


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Vermont Fall Foliage Lodging Packages Give You Time to Immerse in Changing Colors, Outdoor Activities

September 15, 2011

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The ideal Vermont foliage experience involves total immersion. Take time to meander back roads and find the perfect resort or historic inn; grab a warm blanket and stay a while.

Lodging packages offer up all the state’s finest amenities, many paired with foliage season activities to get up close and appreciate the changing colors. Choose from canoe trips, mountainside yoga, biking, golf, ziplining, food festivals or spa retreats; plus there’s more than 50 midweek packages at

Best Western Canoe & Stay, Mendon

Killington Resort’s Fall Foliage & Gondola Package, Killington

Latchis Hotel & Theatre: Hollywood, Dine, and Recline, Brattleboro

Mountain Top Inn & Resort Autumn Midweek 50% Off, Chittenden

Okemo Foliage Package Includes Third Night Free, Ludlow

Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa’s Best of Package, Stowe

Smugglers’ Notch Resort Canoe, Zip Line or Food & Wine Packages, Jeffersonville

Sugarbush Bed & Breakfast Foliage Package, Warren

Stratton Mountain Savor the Seasons Foliage Package, Stratton

Trapp Family Lodge History Package or Three Day Yoga Retreats, Stowe

Wildflower Inn Northern Woods Pedal and Paddle Package, Lyndonville

Visitors can complete their calendars with more Vermont Fall Foliage Events or review comprehensive Fall Foliage information at

For more travel features, visit promotes ‘Hardly Strictly Bluegrass’ Festival in San Francisco

September 15, 2011 is promoting the popular Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco from September 30 to October 2 with tough-to-beat rates and a wider choice of hotels around the city than ever before. Chief Marketing Officer Tom Racette said the festival has expanded to embrace a wide selection of musical genres since he last attended the event in 2004.

“That was the final year it was called ‘Strictly Bluegrass,’ now it covers a wider range of musical tastes. Not only is it free, but most visitors staying in San Francisco don’t realize they can enjoy the warmest weather of the year in late September and early October.

“And there is never a shortage of things to do between shows. San Francisco is well known for its multiple attractions, including Fisherman’s Wharf, which offers stunning views across the bay to both Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge,” he added.

For an event overview, read through’s travel article: “Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Fest: Fusion in Frisco.” It covers the program of musical acts and offers helpful tips on how to travel to and from the city’s Golden Gate Park where the festival is held.

Kicking off the weekend after the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, is the 30th annual San Francisco Fleet Week (October 6 to 11), which coincides with the centennial anniversary of United States Naval Aviation. (See’s travel event article “Frisco’s Fleet Week Pipes the Public Aboard.”)

For discounts on accommodation in San Francisco for either of these events, check out’s San Francisco hotel promotion page featuring rates starting from as low as US$45 per night. has set the global standard for worldwide hotel bookings since 1999, constantly updating its multi-lingual website published in eight languages: English, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Korean. Its 24-hour service center is staffed by highly-trained professional native speakers in each language. is privately owned and operated, employing over 300 staff in its offices in Thailand, Malaysia, and China.

Staying in San Francisco

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Fest: Fusion in Frisco

Golden Gate Park

Frisco’s Fleet Week Pipes the Public Aboard

San Francisco hotel promotion page


For more travel features, visit

Design Hotels Offers Second Helping of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ Deals, through Oct. 31

September 13, 2011

The hype has subsided, but for those who didn’t get enough eating, praying, and loving in last time around, Design Hotels™ has prepared a second helping of all three! We may not have the looks of Julia Roberts and be able to jet off on an around-the-world jaunt, but Design Hotels’ ‘Eat, Pray, Love Part Two’ promotion gives travelers a good place to start. These hotels offer not only culinary delights, intense spiritual offerings and extraordinary romance, but also a special discounted room rate valid through October 31.

For foodies, Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez, a glamorous resort on the French Riviera, offers Provencal dishes from Chef Pierre Gagnaire. The team’s culinary offerings also include a specially prepared picnic basket which can be taken to the nearby beach to enjoy. Alternatively, Vigilius Mountain Resort, a secluded sanctuary nestled in the Italian Alps, serves fresh, locally sourced, and expertly prepared cuisine.

Those looking for spiritual offerings to restore body and soul need look no further than Mamilla Hotel from world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie that is located directly at the old town in Jerusalem – the birthplace to three of the world’s most important religions. As well as having a jaw-dropping location, this urban sanctuary houses a 1,000-square-meter Holistic Wellbeing Retreat with a gym, spa, yoga, meditation rooms and an organic bar.

To spruce up one’s love life The Met Hotel Thessaloniki, with its acclaimed modern art collection and spectacular rooftop pool with 360 degree city view, is certain to seduce. In contrast, Copperhill Mountain Lodge in Sweden, with its remote location near Mount Åreskutan, invites couples to bathe in its outdoor hot spring while taking in stunning views of the surrounding snowscapes.

Participating hotels:

Hotel Lone, Rovinj, Croatia
Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez, Côte d’Azur, France
The Mandala, Berlin, Germany
The Weinmeister Berlin-Mitte, Berlin, Germany
Lux 11, Berlin, Germany
The Met, Thessaloniki, Greece
New Hotel, Athens, Greece
Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem, Israel
Vigilius Mountain Resort, South Tyrol, Italy
The Cambrian, Adelboden, Switzerland

Design Hotels™ Eat Pray Love Part Two
For stays through October 31

For more travel features, visit

Chattanooga Named Outside Magazine’s ‘Best Town Ever’

September 13, 2011

Chattanooga, TN as the winner in its search to determine the best Outside town in America. No doubt, the reclamation of the Tennessee River had something to do with it. Chattanooga not that long ago was America's most polluted city, now a model of sustainability © 2011 Karen Rubin/

Outside magazine, America’s leading active-lifestyle publication, has selected Chattanooga, TN as the winner in its search to determine the best Outside town in America, following a three week competition held on Facebook.

Outside scoured the nation to find dream cities that offered a balance of great culture, perfect scenery, stress-free and reasonable cost of living, and, of course, easy access to the outdoors. Chattanooga came out on top, receiving the official honor of Outside’s “Best Towns Ever” and is featured on the October 2011 magazine cover which hits newsstands TODAY and Outside Online. Chattanooga will be also be featured in an exclusive segment on Outside Television.

Chattanooga was selected from a list of ten finalists, and competed for the top honor against Charleston, SC; Madison, WI; Portland, OR; Portland, ME; Santa Fe, NM; Ashland, OR; Boulder, CO; Burlington, VT; Tucson, AZ.

“Putting this issue together is always a tough process when choosing between a number of truly great places. This year we tried something new and allowed the Outside community to help us in the decision making process,” said Outside Editor Chris Keyes. “In addition to possessing all of the great qualities that we look for in determining the quality of life, Chattanooga was a town that everyone rallied to support.”

In addition to featuring the “Best Town Ever” and the towns selected as finalists, Outside’s October 2011 issue highlights a number of cities classified as the “next-big-things,” including: Issaquah, WA; Missoula, MT; Wilmington, NC; Durango, CO; Traverse City, MI; Flagstaff, AZ; Chico, CA; Hardwick, VT and Ithaca, NY.

See also:

Chattanooga’s top 10 summer attractions make great family getaway and slideshow

Chattanooga is key stop on Tennessee’s Civil War Heritage Trail and slideshow