Archive for November, 2012

Kuala Lumpur ranked among top 10 cities for shopping by CNN; Malaysia Year-End Sale goes to Jan 1

November 29, 2012

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) ranked fourth in CNN’s survey on the top 10 best shopping cities in the world, ahead of well-established shopping hubs such as Paris, Hong Kong and Dubai. The top three best shopping cities in the world were New York, London and Tokyo, respectively.

The judging was based on four categories comprised of ease of getting around, value, variety, and experience. Kuala Lumpur scored a total of 30 out of a maximum 40 points: 6 points for getting around, 10 points for value, 8 points for variety, and 6 points for experience. According to CNN International’s travel website, CNNgo, Kuala Lumpur’s impressive score came from its winning combination of high quality shopping, affordable prices and reliable sales, which can stretch for several months, citing 1Malaysia Year-End Sale as an example.

The Malaysia Year-End Sale held this year from November 10, 2012 to January 1, 2013, aims to encourage shoppers from all over the world to come to Malaysia to celebrate the last two months of the year with a fabulous shopping experience. Shoppers have 55 days to take advantage of great discounts and special offers put together by various shopping malls nationwide.

Shopping is a lucrative sector of Malaysia’s tourism industry. It holds the second biggest share of tourist expenditure after accommodation. Last year, tourists spent RM17.5 billion on shopping which constituted 30% of the total receipts of RM58.3 billion. Its important contribution to the economy has led the Government to focus on developing the shopping sector as one of the main tourism drivers. Efforts include positioning the country as a duty-free shopping destination for tourist goods, designating KLCC-Bukit Bintang as a vibrant shopping precinct and establishing three new premium outlets in Malaysia.

The country has more than 320 shopping malls and the top 10 largest shopping malls are bigger in size than the top 10 shopping malls in the UK.

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Family Travel Experts offer list of 52 Best of America’s Christmas Lights and Holiday Festivals

November 29, 2012

The popular family travel sites (created by Kim Orlando), (created by Eileen Ogintz) and (created by Kyle McCarthy) present 52 Holiday Light Delights — a Holiday E-Zine filled with suggestions for catching the Holiday Spirit and seeing some of the best Christmas light displays in the country.

Holiday festivals are bigger, better, and starting earlier than ever — by Thanksgiving weekend in many places. And you don’t only need to be in big cities to transform even the most Bah Humbug among us into wide-eyed participants in the Holiday Season.

Want to know the absolute best places to take the kids and grandkids to see the most decked out balls of holly this year?

The popular family travel sites (created by Kim Orlando), (created by Eileen Ogintz) and (created by Kyle McCarthy) present 52 Holiday Light Delights — a Holiday E-Zine filled with suggestions for catching the Holiday Spirit and seeing some of the best Christmas light displays in the country.

Readers can flip through this Holiday E-Zine on a smartphone or tablet and begin planning immediately. The light shows and festivities range from Niagara Falls, New York to San Diego, California, and are organized by region — Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, South and West — so you can turn even a staycation into a glittering night out.

Among the 52 very best Christmas Lights and Holiday Festivals are:

#9. Syracuse’s Lights on the Lake, a two-mile drive through one of the largest and most colorful light shows in the Northeast;

#15. Winterfest in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with five million holiday lights and huge displays;

#44. Sedona, Arizona’s Red Rock Fantasy, a festival of nearly one million lights providing a man-made marvel set against the majestic beauty of the Arizona mountainscape; and

#52. San Diego’s Garden of Lights, a dazzling winter wonderland with over 100,000 sparkling lights illuminating the Garden for a magical holiday experience.

Leading national family travel expert Eileen Ogintz, author of the syndicated column TakingtheKids, and her team of experts researched and wrote the E-Zine. “The hard part was limiting ourselves to only 52 locations around the country. One thing we learned – communities all over the U.S. go all out for the Holidays!” said Cindy Richards, editor of Traveling Mom.

The Holiday Light Delights E-Zine is sponsored by Flight Center USA, and the company’s websites for travel by air (, land (, and sea ( offer the guaranteed best service and lowest prices on flights, Caribbean vacations and Holiday and year-round cruising.

With most Holiday exhibits flicking the “on” switch in November and closing in late January, the Holiday Season is a great time to see the sights and the lights.
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Limited Space Left on Explore Bhutan Trip with G Adventures & David Suzuki; Proceeds to benefit Planeterra & David Suzuki Foundation

November 27, 2012

Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan

G Adventures, a leading small-group adventure tour operator based in Toronto, Ontario, is hosting an exclusive tour to the Kingdom of Bhutan with award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster David Suzuki. Departing March 23, 2013, travelers on the 12-day journey will have the unique opportunity to celebrate the spiritual festival of Tsechu, putting them face-to-face with the colorful mask dances and religious art forms of the country.

Led by a local CEO (Chief Experience Officer), guests on the Bhutan Festival with David Suzuki adventure will explore Paro, Thimpu and Punakha, learn about Buddhism, visit ancient monasteries and shrines, and stroll through valleys, forests and mountains trails in the pristine and peaceful landscapes of the Himalayan kingdom. Nature lovers, photographers and cultural junkies will uncover a purity of culture, traditions and kindness.

“Bhutan remains at the top of many bucket lists with its majestic natural beauty and fascinating culture. We’re excited to be partnering with David Suzuki to host the once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Bruce Poon Tip, G Adventures founder. “Proceeds from the trip that’s sure to be memorable and life-changing will benefit Planeterra and the David Suzuki Foundation.”

“Bhutan is playing a huge role in changing the traditional notion of how to measure a country’s wealth and prosperity. The Bhutanese reject the idea that governments should simply measure national wealth through metrics like GDP, income and consumption. Instead they insist that the role of leaders should be to ensure the well-being and happiness of people,” says Suzuki. “I think this trip will offer a fascinating view of the global leadership role the tiny nation is playing.”

Twenty spaces for the limited departure are available for auction with a starting bid of $6,000 CAD per person. Proceeds will benefit Planeterra and the David Suzuki Foundation. Interested travellers may place their bid by emailing their full name, contact info, number of desired seats and their bid to Auction closes midnight EST on November 16, 2012.

For more information,  visit

G Adventures is an adventure travel pioneer offering the widest selection of affordable small group tours, safaris and expeditions to more than 100 countries on all continents. It is the only adventure travel company to offer 100% guaranteed departures in 2013. Powered by an international team of passionate travelers, the award-winning trips embrace authentic accommodation, exotic cuisine and local transport to put travelers on a first-name basis with the planet’s people, cultures, landscapes and wildlife. The intimate, authentic and sustainable approach to small-group travel introduces travelers to the highlights of a destination while offering the freedom to explore it on their own. Whatever age, interest, ability or budget, G Adventures has a genuine life-changing experience. For more information please visit

Established in 2003 by adventure travel tour operator G Adventures, Planeterra Foundation is a non‐profit organization that supports social and environmental solutions in destinations around the world via its global network of travllers. The foundation focuses on local education and health, small-business development, emergency relief and conservation work. For more information please visit

The David Suzuki Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to finding solutions for living within the limits of nature and mobilizing Canadians to make their communities healthy and green.
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Death Valley Tours From Las Vegas offered by TourGuy, Eco-Touring Company

November 27, 2012

Las Vegas adventure and eco touring company, LLC is now offering a special one day Death Valley Tours From Las Vegas featuring complimentary hotel pick up and return. The tour features several famous Death Valley locations including the infamous Ghost Town of Rhyolite and panoramic vista known as Hell’s Gate. All guests are picked up at their respective hotels starting at 7:00 am with the tour ending at 5:30 that evening. Guests tour Death Valley in a luxury 4×4 or custom VIP touring class mini coach. The tour includes a full lunch and complimentary snacks.

James Hoke, Founder and President of, LLC says, “This is the perfect time of year to visit Death Valley. The weather is mild making it a great day visiting all of the sights and locations Death Valley has to offer. All of our tour guides are extremely knowledgeable about the history and topography of Death Valley.”

The one-day sightseeing tour features stops at:
• Historical Rhyolite, one of the most photographed Ghost Towns in the American “Old West” and featured in several films and documentaries
• Furnace Creek Museum – the main visitor center of the park
• Artists Pallet, formed during one of Death Valley’s most explosive volcanic periods
• Zabriskie’s Point, an elevated overlook located at the edge of the Funeral Mountains
• Badwater, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere at 282 ft. below sea level
• Devil’s Golf Course, a large salt pan with a rough surface formed of large salt crystals
• Hell’s Gate, a panoramic vista point along the eastern edge of central Death Valley

The tour runs Monday’s and Wednesday’s only or by reservation for parties of 4 or more. The tour is being offered at a discounted price of $179 per adult and $159 for children 12 and under. Prices are all inclusive with no extra fees.

For more information in the Death Valley tour visit:, LLC is an adventure and ecotourism company featuring all types of excursions including helicopter, airplane, jeep, bus, horseback, All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), kayak and raft tours at discounted prices. Tours include Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Death Valley and more.

Contact Name: James Hoke
Contact Phone: 702-664-2599

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Jalousie Plantation completes multi-million dollar renovation to become Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort

November 27, 2012

The Jalousie Plantation, on the scenic Eastern Caribbean island of St Lucia, has completed a three year, multi-million dollar transformation and is marking the occasion by renaming the property Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort on November 30.

The Jalousie Plantation, on the scenic Eastern Caribbean island of St Lucia, has completed a three year, multi-million dollar transformation and is marking the occasion by renaming the property Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort on November 30.

The Viceroy Hotel Group, which has managed the Jalousie Plantation since 2008, played a key role in the multi-million dollar upgrading of the property which, apart from its stunning location and timeless French Caribbean charm, bears little resemblance to the original hotel. The property will be branded under the Viceroy Hotels and Resorts portfolio.

Set within more than 100 acres of lush rainforest and embraced by the island’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Pitons, the following have been either added or enhanced in the three-year project that has cost in excess of $100 million:

  • · 59 brand new Luxury Villas
  • · Eight brand new Luxury Beachfront Bungalows
  • · 11 Luxury Sugar Mill Rooms have been completely revamped
  • · 9427 square foot Rainforest Spa has opened, featuring a range of international luxury product lines and locally inspired signature treatments, 7 tree house treatment cabanas and a temascal heat experience.
  • · Several sophisticated new restaurants and bars are now open:

-The Great Room for elegant dining and Caribbean inspired fare

– Bayside Bar and Restaurant for more relaxed dining just steps from the water’s edge

– The Cane Bar and Late Night Bar complete with rummelier to guide guests through their choices

– The Palm Court with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea and lush gardens of Sugar Beach

– The Terrace breakfast restaurant with views across the lily pond and sugar mill ruins (coming December)

  • · A chic new lobby and reception area to welcome guests
  • · New Kids Club featuring murals by British children’s book illustrator Lucy Loveheart
  • · New Cybernook with desktop computers and printers to keep guests connected
  • · New boutique offering high quality linens, logo wear and gift items (coming December)
  • · Kabe Prive, private garden cabanas for day use and evening dining
  • · Updated PADI dive facility featuring new dive classes, snorkeling excurions and SNUBA (a cross between snorkeling and scuba)
  • · And a beautiful new contemporary design swimming pool completes the project.

A new website has been launched ( and the resort continues to create packages and special offers that have generated solid interest and sales. Winter season rates start at $640 per night, room only, based on double occupancy and excluding VAT and service charge.

According to Jalousie’s owner, Roger Myers, the decision to become a Viceroy Resort is a logical step that will bring enhanced benefits as the property puts the final touches to this expansive renovation project.

“With this completion, it makes perfect sense for The Jalousie Plantation to be officially branded and named Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, capitalizing on the excellent reputation of the Viceroy Hotel Group within the luxury hotel market and bolstering the group’s efforts to focus on the expansion of the Viceroy brand,” Mr Myers said. “Branding as a Viceroy Resort will allow us to tap into the established market base of the Viceroy Hotel Group and to continue to attract guests at the very top end of the luxury travel market.”

The resort has already been accepted for membership in the US’s leading consortia while in the United Kingdom, Sugar Beach now features in the brochures of top tier tour operators.

Myers’ confidence in this new direction has been echoed by General Manager Andre Boersma, who added: “I am excited that this iconic property has had the attention and investment it deserves and that we are moving into another chapter of its history as Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort—in time for the up-coming winter season.

“All of the eagerly anticipated offerings and services that we have been talking about and promising our travel partners over the past three years have all come to fruition and we look forward to delighting new and past guests with an entirely new Sugar Beach product capitalizing on the solid reputation of the Viceroy Hotels and Resorts brand, and the continued commitment of ownership to provide quality facilities, accommodations and unparalleled experiences.”

Viceroy Hotel Group includes hotels and resorts in Abu Dhabi, Anguilla, Beverly Hills, Maldives, Miami, New York, Palm Springs, Riviera Maya, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Snowmass, St. Lucia and Zihuatanejo with forthcoming openings in Istanbul and Bodrum, Turkey.

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Broadway Dims Lights in Memory of Legendary Producer Martin Richards

November 27, 2012

The Broadway theater community pays the highest tribute by dimming the lights of Broadway to honor the memory of legendary producer Martin Richards.

The Broadway community will pay the highest honor to  celebrated producer Martin Richards, who passed away yesterday at age 80. The marquees of Broadway theaters in New York will be dimmed in his memory tonight, Tuesday, November 27th, at exactly 7 p.m. for one minute.

Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League, said, “For over 50 years, Marty Richards has been transferring his passion for theatre to the stage. The popularity of his shows has brought many generations to Broadway. He was an admirer of talent, and we were an admirer of his. His love for the arts was matched only by his generosity and philanthropic causes. He will be greatly missed, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Mr. Richards produced such Broadway hits as ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, SWEENEY TODD, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (original and 1st revival), GRAND HOTEL, THE LIFE, WILL ROGERS FOLLIES amongst many others. His shows have won over 40 Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards® as well as numerous Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. In addition, his production of CRIMES OF THE HEART garnered a Pulitzer Prize. Richards was the producer of the original CHICAGO on Broadway and went on to win an Academy Award for producing the film version in 2003. His other films include THE SHINING, BOYS FROM BRAZIL, and FORT APACHE, THE BRONX.

Richards was also a generous philanthropist. He, along with his late wife Mary Lea Johnson Richards, was instrumental in founding Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Meals on Wheels. Richards went on to establish the liver and kidney transplant unit at the NYU Medical Center that bears his wife’s name. Richards also created the New York Center for Children to care for abused children and their families.


Martin Richards was the head of the film and theatrical production company, The Producer Circle, which he founded with his late wife Mary Lea Johnson in 1976. Their first musical, On The Twentieth Century, directed by Harold Prince, won five Tony Awards. Their next, Sweeney Todd, also directed by Mr. Prince, won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. They co-produced the Pulitzer Prize winning Crimes Of The Heart, Foxfire, for which Jessica Tandy received the Best Actress Tony Award, Grand Hotel, directed and choreographed by Tommy Tune, which won five Tony Awards, and the hit Off Broadway musicals, March Of The Falsettos and Mayor.


Mr. Richards has also co-produced the Obie Award winning Dylan, which starred Rue McClanahan, Bob Fosse’s Chicago, which was nominated for eleven Tonys and won Best Musical in London and Los Angeles, The Norman Conquests, which received the Outer Critics Circle Award, La Cage aux Folles, which won six Tonys, including Best Musical, and The Will Rogers Follies, again with Tommy Tune directing and choreographing, which won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, The Best Of Friends, starring Diana Douglas, which he produced with Michael Douglas, Sally Marr …and her escorts, which starred Joan Rivers, who received a Best Actress Tony Nomination, the Cy Coleman musical The Life, which received Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Awards for Best Musical, and Sweet Smell Of Success, directed by Nicholas Hytner, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, adapted from the film by John Guare, with music and lyrics by Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carnelia.


He also co-produced the Tony Award winning revival of La Cage aux Folles, which starred Gary Beach and Robert Goulet, and was directed by Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, and Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, starring the legendary Chita Rivera, with book by Terrance McNally, directed & choreographed by Graciela Daniele. Mr. Richards’ stage productions have received thirty-six Tony Awards, The Pulitzer Prize, seven Outer Critic Circle Awards, and two New York Drama Critics Awards.

Mr. Richards’ film productions include The Boys From Brazil, which was directed by Franklin Schaffner and starred Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, which starred Jack Nicholson, Fort Apache, The Bronx, which starred Paul Newman, and the musical Chicago, directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall, starring Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta Jones and Richard Gere, which received three Broadcast Critic’s Choice Awards, including Best Picture, three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture, The Producers Guild of America Darryl F. Zanuck Award as Best Producer of 2002, the Directors Guild of America Award for Rob Marshall’s direction, and six Academy Awards, including Best Picture of 2002.

Mr. Richards was a member of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and served on the Board of Governors of the League of American Theaters and Producers. In 1997, Mayor Giuliani appointed him to a six-year term as a member of The Trust for Cultural Resources of the City of New York. He was also a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Council for Theatre.

Mr. Richards served on the President’s Council for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and is on the Board of Directors of Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS. In 1994, in memory of his wife, he established the Mary Lea Johnson Richards Institute at New York University Medical Center for organ transplantation and research, and in 1995, also in memory of his wife, he co-founded the Children’s Advocacy Center of Manhattan, New York City’s only non-profit center for abused children. For the past eight years he produced the annual Red Ball, one of New York’s premiere charitable events, which benefits both the Institute and the Advocacy Center.

Mr. Richards most recently produced the new musical, Big Maybelle: Soul of the Blues starring Lillias White at The Bay Street Theatre this August.


Marty was the beloved son of the late Sidney and Shirley Klein and is survived by his brother Bruce Klein, his niece Lisa Kirschner and nephew Sean Klein. Other family survivors include Mrs. Elaine Johnson Wold, Diana Johnson Firestone, and J. Seward Johnson, Jr. Mr. Richards was a man of the world and will be greatly missed by many.

Funeral services will be held at Frank Campbell Funeral Chapel at 1076 Madison Avenue. Visitation hours will be Wednesday, November 28 from 7-9pm and Thursday, November 29 from 2-4pm and 7-9pm.

Donations may be made in Richards’ name to either the New York Center for Children or the Mary Lea Johnson Richards Research Institute.

75,000 Passes for 46th Annual Festival d’été de Québec to Go on Sale Dec. 1

November 23, 2012

Look for 75,000 passes for the 46th Festival d’été de Québec to go on sale starting at noon on Saturday, December 1. This early-bird sale will be held exclusively online and by phone, ending December 31 or when passes are sold out. The price is $66, taxes and service fee included. Starting February 23, 2013, an additional 75,000 passes will go on sale at the regular price of $76, taxes and service fee included.

The 46th edition of the Festival d’été de Québec will be held from July 4 to 14, 2013 in Quebec City.

“First, we took into account the criticism and comments we’ve been hearing in the past few years. Then we looked at what was being done elsewhere, by the other big festivals drawing tens of thousands of participants, like us. We settled on what seems to be the fairest and easiest solution for everyone and the most widely-used. Plus, by extending the purchasing period, we hope to avoid overloading the system,” explained the general manager of the Festival d’été de Québec, Daniel Gélinas.

So take note:

– 2 dates: December 1, 2012 and February 23, 2013
– 2 prices: $66 and $76
– 2 ways to buy: Internet and telephone

“By concentrating sales online or by phone, we’ll be able to get contact information for all our buyers and build a genuine community that we can communicate with from now on,” pointed out Festival chair of the board, Nancy Savard.

The Festival pass includes a Bell RFID wristband and a flashing badge, and is good for all 11 days of Festival shows, at all the outdoor and indoor venues. As in past years, you can buy up to 4 passes per transaction with a choice of delivery by mail or pick-up in person at the Laurier Québec shopping mall.

“Laurier Québec has agreed to work with us to make it easier for people to pick up their passes locally, and we really appreciate their collaboration,” Gélinas added.

For full details on this special sale go to

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Historic Lake Quinault Lodge offering Holiday Celebrations, Winter Specials

November 23, 2012

Historic Lake Quinault Lodge is offering holiday getaways with rates as low as $101.50 a night and celebrations for Christmas.

“The holidays are a time to enjoy the people you love, not to worry about details,” says general manager Hiedi Olson, “Lake Quinault Lodge’s expansive dining room, cozy guest rooms and warm lobby with a roaring fire can host any size party while still feeling like home. And just like home, we’ll be watching holiday movies but on our 14-foot projection screen.”

Frequently covered by a blanket of soft snow, Lake Quinault Lodge is the ideal winter retreat for Western Washington, whether for a holiday getaway, or for an escape from the day-to-day grind. For rates and reservations visit and use the promo code LQFALL13 or call 888-896-3818. To stay up-to-date of all events and activities, like us on Facebook.

Upcoming events include:

Culinary & Wine Weekend

When: Friday Nov. 30 – Sunday Dec. 2
What: Culinary weekend featuring Maryhill Winery, 2009 Washington Winery of the Year. Includes cooking demonstrations, recipe cards, a four course dinner with wine pairings and two nights lodging
Price: Package starts at $499 per person. Promo code: CULINARY

Christmas Dinner:

When: Tuesday Dec. 25, 2-7p.m.
What: Christmas dinner served in the Roosevelt Dining Room including the traditional holiday dishes of ham and pecan sweet potatoes as well as local favorites such as bakes salmon and marrionberry cobbler.
Price: Three options priced between $26-$37 for adults, $12-$15 for children
Reservations required, call (360) 288-2900

New Year’s Eve Ball:

When: Monday, Dec.31, 2012
What: The evening includes dancing, party favors, light appetizers and a champagne toast at midnight. It is a blast from the past – we will be ringing in the New Year in good old 1920s fashion, so dress accordingly. Guest can enjoy a night stay on the package listed here or just come for the party.
Price: $30 for single admission, $50 per couple. Rooms start at $209 a night

Lake Quinault Lodge has long been a gathering place for Pacific Northwest vacationers. The lakeside lodge is located in the heart of one of only three temperate rainforests in the world and offers hiking, biking, fishing, boat rentals and tours of the lake and rainforest. Lake Quinault Lodge is also home to the Roosevelt Dining Hall, where Franklin D. Roosevelt dined during a trip that would later result in Olympic being named a national park.

Located on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park is 922,651 acres of preserved coastal, mountain and rainforest terrain. It is the fifth most visited national park in the United States, drawing 3.3 million visitors in 2010 and is located near Seattle, Wash., Vancouver British Columbia, and other Northwestern population centers. Declared a national park in 1938, the region is also a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Preserve and 95 percent is declared wilderness, a further protection above national park status.

ARAMARK Parks and Destinations, a division of ARAMARK, delivers authentic and memorable experiences at national and state parks, national forests, specialty hotels, museums and other tourist destinations throughout the United States. In partnership with its clients, ARAMARK Parks and Destinations seek to enhance the guest experience by offering industry-leading hospitality, environmental stewardship, recreational and interpretive programs. For more information on ARAMARK Parks and Destinations and its properties visit For up-to-the-minute news and information on this, and other ARAMARK Parks and Destinations locations follow on Twitter @ARAMARKParks.

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Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine Adds Six-Night Culinary Ski Vacation in Dolomites for March

November 23, 2012

Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine has added a second six-night ski and snowboarding experience to its 2013 line-up of active culinary vacations in the Dolomites region of Northwestern Italy.

Offered March 10-16 and March 17-23, 2013 and priced $3995 per person, based on double occupancy, the programs invite winter sports enthusiasts to explore the snow-capped Alto Adige region of Italy, where they can ski and snowboard the majestic Dolomites and immerse themselves in the rich Austro-Hungarian history, cuisine and culture of Sudtirol. The small-group tours are led by ski and snowboard instructor and mountain guide Vernon McClure, and PSIA-certified ski instructor, cooking instructor and chef Kathy Bechtel. Together, they offer two decades of experience in the region.

Trips include accommodations, guided ski tours, meals, daily wine tastings and activities; equipment rental and air are additional. Daily routes include shorter trails and groomed terrain for novice and intermediate athletes as well as off-piste explorations for the advanced skier, allowing groups of mixed interests and abilities to enjoy the region’s offerings. At the end of each day, Chef Bechtel introduces participants to locally produced wines from the regions of Trentino and Alto Adige including Schiava, Lagrein, and Vino Santo. Dinners are enjoyed in charming osterias and more refined ristorantes.

Additionally, tours of five days or longer can be customized for groups of four or more. Set at a variety of price points, these private tours includes daily wine tastings and activities tailored to all ski levels, and offer bespoke alternatives for families, groups of friends and ski clubs.

For all programs, Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine crafts a custom itinerary providing a balance of activity, rest and relaxation. A maximum of 12 persons per group allows daily itinerary refinement, based on participants’ interests, pacing, and real-time “finds.” In any given tour, novice or intermediate skiers can enjoy daily lessons while expert skiers can enjoy steeper slopes and ungroomed terrain. Other outdoor activities can include snowboarding, cross-country skiing, winter hiking, or snowshoeing. For those interested in non-slope activities, day excursions to Verona, Innsbruck and other cities can be arranged for shopping, museum visits, guided walking tours and other cultural activities.

Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine is an owner-operated private guide service, creating and guiding active culinary tours in Northeastern Italy. Unique in their ability to combine active biking, skiing and hiking adventures with world-class culinary programs, Italiaoutdoors customizes vacations for groups of 4 to 12 people. Italiaoutdoors has more than 15 years of recreational programming experience in the region, plus formal culinary and wine training. Programs also include cooking classes, wine tastings, and restaurant dining which explore the best in local regional cuisine and undiscovered wines. Itineraries are rounded out with city visits, shopping, cultural excursions or just relaxing. The owners — experts in fitness, food, and the region — personally lead each tour.

For more information or to receive Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine newsletter, recipes and wine information, visit or Chef Bechtel’s blog at 1-978-270-5774. Twitter: @italiaoutdoors Facebook: Discounts are available for ski clubs and other groups.

13th Annual Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival Announces 67 Participating Breweries, Importers

November 23, 2012

The Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival, held in Vail January 10th–13th, has released the much-anticipated list of attending breweries. This year’s initial line-up from around the world lists 67 representing breweries and four importers, including seventeen first-time attendees, keeping the selections ever-fresh. The festival is unique because attendees get to speak with the actual brewers or top brewery representatives in a very intimate environment during the course of the three day event.

The announcement of offerings from event organizers includes:

AC Golden Brewing Co. (Colorado)
Alaskan Brewing Co. (Alaska)

Allagash Brewing Co. (Maine)
Altitude Chophouse (Wyoming)

Anchor Brewing Co. (California)

Anheuser-Busch Brewing Co. (Belgium)

Artisanal Imports (International Selection)

Aspen Brewing Co. (Colorado)
Avery Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Backcountry Brewery (Colorado)
Belukus Imports (International Selection)

Bell’s Brewing Co. (Michigan)
Big Choice Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Bonfire Brewing Co. (Vail, Colorado)

Bootstrap Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Boston Beer Co. (Massachusetts)

Boulder Beer Co. (Colorado)

Boulevard Brewing Co. (Missouri)

Breckenridge Brewery (Colorado)
Bristol Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Butcherknife Brewing Co. (Colorado)

C2 Imports (International selection)

Coronado Brewing Co. (California)

Crazy Mountain Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project (Colorado)
Denver Beer Co. (Colorado)

Deschutes Brewing Co. (Oregon)

Dillon Dam Brewing Co. (Colorado)
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Delaware)

Dry Dock Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Elevation Beer Co. (Colorado)

Epic Brewing Co. (Utah)

Fate Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (California)

Flying Dog Brewery (California)

Funkwerks Brewing Co. (Colorado)
Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Goose Island (Illinois)

Grand Teton Brewing Co. (Wyoming)
Gravity Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Great Divide Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse (Colorado)

Lagunitas Brewing Co. (California)

Lakewood Brewing Co. (Texas)
Left Hand Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Lost Abbey Brewing Co. (California)

Loveland Aleworks (Colorado)

Merchant du Vin (International Selection)

Moylan’s Brewing Co. (California)

New Belgium Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Odell Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Oskar Blues Brewery (Colorado)

Papago Brewing Co. (Arizona)

Pug Ryan’s Brewery (Colorado)

Renegade Brewing Co. (Colorado)

River North Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Roadhouse Brewing Co. (Wyoming)

Rockyard Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Shmaltz Brewing Co. (California and New York)

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (California)

Ska Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Stone Brewing Co. (California)

Strange Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Surly Brewing Co (Minnesota)

Tenth & Blake Co. (Colorado and Illinois)

Three Barrel Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Tommyknocker Brewery (Colorado)

Uinta Brewing Co. (Utah)

Upslope Brewing Co (Colorado)

Widmer Brewing Co. (Oregon)

Wit’s End Brewing Co. (Colorado)

Programming for the three day educational and extremely fun Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival includes returning favorites, and usually sold out/standing-room only programs such as the opening Calibration Dinner, the Traditional Brewmaster’s Dinner, the experimental brewing seminar: “Brewers Gone Wild,” and’s Beer & Food Pairing Taste-off. Both dinners are five-course white tablecloth ‘double’ beer pairing dinners with commentary from the brewmasters and chefs. Many more programs are listed on the event website; special guests and seminars will be updated on the event website, as details are finalized.

Designed to welcome the beer connoisseur, the innovative homebrewer, and the novice taster, participants will find events appropriate for all levels of interest. Throughout the course of the entire festival, breweries from around the world participate, offering literally hundreds of choices of elite brews. For more information, contact Kirsten Texler, Key Link PR, at and visit the event website at