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

May 22, 2017
12th Annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, Long Island, Memor

The US Air Force Thunderbirds return to Jones Beach to headline the Bethpage Air Show over Memorial Day Weekend, demonstrating precision flying skills © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

The US Air Force Thunderbirds will headline the annual Memorial Day weekend Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, Long Island, flying the thrilling red, white and blue F-16s. the event takes place at Jones Beach State Park, Saturday May 27 and Sunday May 28, noon to 5 pm (get there early to get parking).

This year’s air show marks the return of the American Airpower Museum Warbirds, which present historic aircraft in a moving display.

A personal favorite is the GEICO Skytypers Airshow Team, a flight squadron of six vintage WWII era U.S. Navy SNJ-2 trainers . The team performs a thrilling, low-altitude, precision-formation flying demonstration filling the sky and coming from all directions (even right at each other) to provide spectators a unique viewing experience while showcasing the tactics and maneuvers utilized during training during WWII.

10th Annual Air Show at Jones Beach, Long Island

Geico Skytypers demonstrate thrilling military maneuvers, including coming at each other from opposite directions and crossing so perilously close they look like they are entangled © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The airshow traditionally kicks off with a ceremonial parachute drop by a representative of the US Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights (who return later in the show for a full program), delivering the American flag to a tiny target on Jones Beach, parachuting from an altitude of 12,500 ft, at speed of 120 mph. The whole team then returns for a demonstration performance.

The line-up also includes many returning favorites, as well as some new entries:

John Klatt Airshows and Jack Link’s Beef Jerky teamed up to create a one of a kind plane, the Screamin Sasquatch, which is powered by two different engines. The plane style is a Jet Waco, first introduced by Jimmy Franklin in 1999, and is now one-of-a-kind on the air show circuit.

A perennial favorite at Jones Beach is Sean Tucker, who performs impossible feats in a specially built, one-of-a-kind, most high-performance aerobatic aircraft in the world, the Oracle Bi-Plane. It is a fire-breathing monster with over 400 horsepower, weighs just over 1200 pounds, has a revolutionary set of wings that use 8 ailerons instead of 4, and responds to the slightest pressure on the control stick even at 300 mph. Sean flies the aircraft backwards, straight-down, tail-first at more than 100 mph. More than half of Sean’s maneuvers are original and have never been duplicated by another aerobatic pilot. 

10th Annual Air Show at Jones Beach, Long Island

A perennial favorite at the Bethpage Air show at Jones Beach is Sean Tucker, who performs impossible feats in a specially built, one-of-a-kind, most high-performance aerobatic aircraft in the world, the Oracle Bi-Plane © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

David Windmiller, Long Island’s hometown hero (from Melville), thrills spectators in his Zivko Edge 540 aircraft, built especially for aerobatics, with seemingly impossible feats at speeds of up to 220 mph that keep his peers and his fans in awe. 

Matt Chapman, flying for Embry Riddle, performs maneuvers in which he experiences as much as 9 positive Gs and 6 negative Gs. His Eagle 180 plane has parts from 3 countries. He’s also an American Airlines captain.

SUNY Farmingdale Aerospace’s Flying Rams will fly seven of their 22 college-owned aircraft in a fly-by piloted by their top academic Professional Pilot performers. The State University of New York (SUNY) Flight Center is a crown jewel of the SUNY system. 

106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing deploys worldwide to provide combat search and rescue coverage for U.S. and allied forces. They are a World-Class Team of diverse, adaptable personnel recovery focused war fighters with a mission to provide worldwide Personnel Recovery, Combat Search and Rescue Capability, Expeditionary Combat Support, and Civil Search and Rescue Support to Federal and State authorities. The 106th Air National Guard Rescue Wing provides Personnel Recovery to the state of New York. 

The Bayport Aerodrome Society, formed in 1972 is composed of aviation professionals, recreational pilots, and people interested in preserving aviation history. ​As a “living museum” they have a variety of antique aircraft flying on the field including Bi-Planes, Champs, and Cubs.

The Warrior Flight Team is a 501(c)(3) charity comprised of a team of all volunteers and assets assembled to bring rewarding career opportunities to those who have served their country and sacrificed tremendously in the process, yet still strive to give even more of themselves. 

Hint: Head down to Jones Beach on Friday May 26th from noon to– 5 pm for a full practice. It’s a great chance to catch the show with fewer crowds. (In 2016, there was near record attendance of 405,012 for the two days and some years, they have shut down the highways when the park reached capacity.)

The Bethpage Air Show takes place at Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh, NY; $10 vehicle use fee.

More information at bethpageairshow.com.

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Gatsby-esque Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island is One of NYC’s Best Events

May 15, 2017
Jazz Age Lawn Party, NYC

Charleston lesson at 11th Annual Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Dave E. Leiberman & Laini Miranda

Don your best Gatsby-era duds, picnic basket, grab the ferry to Governors Island, and be prepared to be transported back to the 1920s: the 12th annual Jazz Age Lawn Party is set for four dates: Saturday, June 10 and Sunday June 11; and Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27.

There, conductor, composer, musician and crooner Michael Arenella presents a personally transcribed, one-of-a-kind songbook for your listening and dancing pleasure by his Dreamland Orchestra, playing the Hot Jazz of the 1920s.

The entertainment abounds: Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society from Philadelphia, presents wry, spry, and certifiably Hot Jazz; The Dreamland Follies evoke Ziegfeld-esque grand dance routines; Roddy Caravella and the Canarsie Wobblers is a fun-loving dance troupe that conjures the rebellious and exuberant spirit of Roaring ‘20s youth; Gelber & Manning Band, feuding vaudevillian lovebirds quarrel, coo and make beautiful music together; Queen Esther pays tribute to jazz royalty of yore and Peter Mintun is “world’s greatest piano man.”

There are fun activities as well which you can join: Charleston Dance Contest to determine who is the Bee’s Knees; Bathing Beauties and Beaus Promenade, wearing vintage swimming outfits of the age (for entry email: bluevoon@aol.com), The High Court of Pie Contest (categories include “Mom’s Best” “Best Savory ”, “Most Original” and “Hobo’s Choice”; for entry email: govislandpie@gmail.com)

Start off with dance lessons teach you the hottest dance steps of the time, like the Charleston; immortalize the day in your own Vintage Portraits-You Ought To Be In Pictures, perched on a Paper Moons; the ultimate family-friendly event also features Kidland carnival games and prizes for junior Gents and Flapperettes. There’s also a 1920s MotorCar Exhibition, where you can get up close and personal with flivvers and Tin Lizzies, and Antique Gramophones that reanimate original recordings from the 1920s.

And what would a Prohibition-era, speakeasy event be without booze?  VieVité, Côtes de Provence Rosé is the official wine sponsor of the Jazz Age Lawn Party. In addition, refreshing summer cocktails feature Lejay, the official liqueur sponsor, which created crème de cassis in 1841, as well as Bootlegger 21 NY Distilleries, the official gin and vodka of Jazz Age Lawn Party, crafted in Roscoe, NY. Libations available also include ice cold beer, lemonade and soft drinks.  (Take note: you can’t bring in your own alcoholic beverages.)

New for 2017, Dreamland Gourmet Picnic Totes, featuring freshly prepared, custom ordered lunches that you receive when you enter,  complete with a chilled bottle of VieVité Rosé, and other treats! (included in all “Bee’s Knees and “Bonnie & Clyde” ticket packages).

Also available: Gourmet Picnic Market featuring fancy picnicking fare and gourmet food along with treats and snacks including ice cream, cotton candy, hot popped corn and more; the Dreamland General Store, offering picnic blankets, parasols, hand fans and assorted sundries. Plus, vintage clothing vendors and artisans, a veritable village of timeless treasures and inspired creations to take home.

This event sells out and for the first time, tickets are only available for purchase in advance. For tickets and information visit, http://jazzagelawnparty.com/. Purchase tickets at http://jazzagelawnparty.ticketfly.com/.

See photos and coverage from last year’s Jazz Age Lawn Party: 

11th Annual Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island Finishes Off With Really Hot Jazz

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Kiawah Island, Roy Emerson Head List of Top 100 Tennis Resorts & Camps

May 11, 2017

Kiawah Sanctuary Aerial OceanFront B

Tennis Resorts Online has just published its annual rankings of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts and CampsKiawah Island Golf Resort on Kiawah Island in South Carolina remains in the top position among resorts, edging out a former No. 1 Rancho Valencia Resort in Rancho Santa Fe, California. Kiawah took top honors partly on the strength of its “Tennis Instruction and Programming,” both for adults and juniors. The top camp was once again the Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks program at the Gstaad Palace in Gstaad, Switzerland, which also drew raves and the No. 1 slot for “Tennis Staff”.
As in years past, these results are based on the critiques submitted over the past year by vacationers themselves. Reviewers were asked to evaluate each resort or camp in more than 20 different categories. These ranged from the quality of the tennis staff, programs, instruction, and game matching to such amenities as accommodations, cuisine, overall recreation, spa and fitness facilities, children’s programs, and more.
With all the reviews in, results are tabulated using a formula that gives added weight to tennis elements. To ensure that the final results are statistically meaningful, we require a minimum of 25 reviews to qualify for a ranking among the Top 10 resorts or Top 5 camps. We then award Gold Medals to the Top 25 Resorts and Top 10 Camps, listing them in ranking order, and Silver and Bronze medals to the remaining finalists.
Our goal is to reward the resorts and camps that truly do provide an exceptional experience for tennis players. Our formula, which emphasizes the tennis experience, ensures that the list as a whole contains a broad spectrum of vacation properties, from large, multi-dimensional resorts to intimate retreats, both in the U.S. and beyond. After all, tennis players have different tastes in tennis vacations, so any list of great resorts and camps has to reflect those differences. By making those players the arbiters of excellence, this one does.
To see the complete list, as well as the best in various categories, visit Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps (http://www.tennisresortsonline.com/trofiles/top-100-tennis-resorts-and-camps.cfm)

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Introduces Wellness Program on Mediterranean Sailings for 2018

May 11, 2017

Regent7Seas2

MIAMI – Experience the Mediterranean with a different perspective, and renew the spirit; clear the mind; and recharge the body on new Seven Seas Wellness shore and spa pairings. Announced in March 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new holistic wellness program is now available for Seven Seas Voyager guests to reserve on this summer’s Mediterranean voyages. Seven Seas Wellness combines a refreshing, low-impact activity in 10 Mediterranean destinations with one of five revitalizing treatments in the onboard Canyon Ranch SpaClub.

“The response to the initial program announcement has been so great that we’ve decided also to offer the Seven Seas Wellness program in 2018,” said Jason Montague, president and CEO of the cruise line. “Regent Seven Seas Cruises is delighted to present a holistic wellness program that anyone can join in and provide a new way to take in the Mediterranean’s beauty and heritage. Throughout, Seven Seas Voyager’s exceptional staff and crew will take care of everything so guests can continue to bask in the glow of their Seven Seas Wellness experience.”

Seven Seas Voyager guests can choose among 11 Seven Seas Wellness excursions, ranging from Tai Chi to Yoga, hydrothermal therapy to aromatherapy, and hiking and laughter, on their summer 2017 Mediterranean voyage:

Tai Chi

  • Provence (Marseille), France – De-stress and unwind with the ancient Chinese martial arts in a 19th century palace on Tai Chi in the Imperial Garden.
  • Palma De Mallorca, Spain – Enjoy fresh sea air and breathtaking scenery as guests center their chi from either the Illuetta Bay or Can Antoni Pere Beach on Mallorca Meditation in Motion.

Yoga

  • Corfu, Greece – Experience Corfiot filoxenia, a concept not adequately defined by the word “hospitality,” and learn about local culture, before practicing yoga and deep meditation in one of Greece’s most beautiful estates on The Generosity of Spirit.
  • Monte Carlo, Monaco – Guests will calm the mind, increase focus, strength, and stamina, in the fast-paced, dance-like style of yoga that synchronizes breathing, while enjoying  the spectacular Mediterranean panorama on Vinyasa Yoga on Monte Carlo.
  • Taormina, Sicily – Guests take in the dramatic and contrasting coastlines, cliffs, and Mount Etna, as they practice poses from a high perch overlooking the charming seaside town on Taormina Terrace Yoga.

Hydrothermal Therapy

  • Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy – Soak in the restorative mineral-rich, thermal springs, which has been visited by Popes and Kings throughout its thousand-year-old history on Thermal Baths of Popes.
  • Sorrento, Italy – Enjoy a sprawling spa complex built on the site of an ancient Roman prototype, consisting of warm and cold thermal springs with rock grottos, mineral baths, pools and genuine Roman sauna rooms on Roman Baths and the Burning Fields.

Aromatherapy

  • Venice, Italy – Visit the exhibition at the palace-turned-museum, where one room recreates a 16th century perfumer’s laboratory and guests can learn how to create their own perfume to take home on Venetian Scents at Palazzo Mocenigo.
  • Amalfi/Positano, Italy– Be inspired and invigorated by the island’s calming presence, inherent spirit, and many natural gifts on a highlights tour, before visiting Carthusia, the famous and exclusive perfume laboratory on this full-day Capri for all Senses.

Walking and Laughing

  • Palma De Mallorca, Spain – Enjoy the benefits of lower-impact, body-toning Nordic walk up the hill to the 14th century Bellver Castle on Nordic Morning Walk.
  • Palamos, Spain – Unlock the many health benefits of this atypical Laughter Therapy session, where guests giggle and laugh for a full-scale workout to release stress-busting endorphins on the Wellness of Laughter.

With each Seven Seas Wellness excursion, guests can choose one of five rejuvenating and included treatments by Canyon Ranch SpaClub for a complete body and soul experience:

  • Ocean Scrub – A wonderfully restorative, exfoliating body treatment that cools skin on contact, while antibacterial essence of laurel opens the airways and spirulina intensely hydrates.
  • World of Relief Body Buff – Organic essential oils from around the world combined with organic Dead Sea salts that stimulates and exfoliates, and is finished with an application of biodynamic honey and essential oils that hydrates and nourishes.
  • Vitamin Infusion Facial – This superb treatment delivers nutrients to the skin to reduce the signs of environmental damage from the sun, pollution and stress.
  • Sole Rejuvenation – This deliciously relaxing foot scrub and massage relieves tension, soothes aches and puts the spring back in your step.
  • Tangle Me Up Organic Body Wrap – Powerful antioxidant compounds found in Laminaria digitata algae work to firm and tone the skin, alleviating the appearance of cellulite and signs of aging, while helping to protect against cell damage from environmental toxins.

The new Seven Seas Wellness program on Regent’s Seven Seas Voyager is available on seven- to 10-night Mediterranean itineraries departing May 22 through September 28, 2017, except aboard the July 25, 2017 voyage, and select 2018 sailings. There is a supplemental charge of US$299 per guest per wellness experience and spa service pairing.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is an inclusive luxury cruise line with a four-ship fleet that visits more than 425 destinations around the world. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is currently undergoing a $125 million fleetwide refurbishment that will elevate the level of elegance found throughout the fleet to the standard set by Seven Seas Explorer, which entered service on July 20, 2016, and has since been recognized as the one of the most luxurious ships ever built. A leader in luxury cruising, the line’s fares include all-suite accommodations, round-trip air, highly personalized service, exquisite cuisine, fine wines and spirits, unlimited internet access, sightseeing excursions in every port, gratuities, ground transfers and a pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in concierge-level suites and higher. Beginning in summer 2017, Regent Seven Seas Cruises also will include Business Class air for all intercontinental flights.

For more information about Seven Seas Wellness, Seven Seas Voyager and Regent Seven Seas Cruises or to make a reservation, contact a professional travel agent, visit www.RSSC.com, or call 1-844-4REGENT (1-844-473-4368).

 

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‘Stars in the Alley’ Free Outdoor Concert to Feature Performances from 20 Shows, June 2

May 11, 2017

United Airlines and The Broadway League Present "STARS IN THE ALLEY" Free Outdoor Concert

New York, NY – May 11, 2017 – This year’s Stars in the Alley will take place on Friday, June 2nd at 1 pm in Broadway’s legendary Shubert Alley, west of Seventh Avenue between 44th & 45th streets, rain or shine.

Stars in the Alley is a free outdoor concert with live music, produced by the Broadway League and sponsored by United Airlines, that celebrates the end of the 2016-2017 Broadway season and adds to the festivities leading up to the 2017 Tony Awards.® The event will consist of performances from 21 musicals, including shows from this season as well as numbers from current long-running shows.

“We’re counting down to the 71st Annual Tony Awards and this season Broadway has served up a buffet of fun, entertaining and magical productions,” says Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, which produces the event. “Stars in the Alley welcomes everybody to join in the celebration and enjoy a little bit of all that Broadway has to offer, proving that there really is a show for everyone!”

“For 20 years, United Airlines has proudly partnered with New York’s iconic Broadway League and we look forward to marking this milestone with our customers and our employees many of whom are Broadway fans,” said Mark Krolick, Vice President of Marketing at United.“

“Stars in the Alley showcases the excitement of musical theater and the vibrancy of Times Square all at once.  The opportunity to help bring great live music that is free to the public is the primary goal of the MPTF,” says Dan Beck Trustee, Music Performance Trust Fund.

PARTICIPATING MUSICALS INCLUDE*:

Aladdin

Anastasia

Bandstand

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

A Bronx Tale

Cats

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Chicago

Come From Away

Dear Evan Hansen

Groundhog Day the Musical

Kinky Boots

Miss Saigon

Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan

The Phantom of the Opera

School of Rock the Musical

Sunset Boulevard

Waitress

War Paint

Wicked

 

WITH ADDITIONAL APPEARANCES FROM*:

Falsettos

Jitney

The Little Foxes

The Play That Goes Wrong

Six Degrees of Separation

Sweat

 

*subject to change

 

More details about Stars in the Alley to be announced soon! For Broadway information in NYC as well as for shows on tour across North America and internationally, visit Broadway.org.

The concert will come just nine days before the American Theatre Wing’s 71st Annual Tony Awards®. The ceremony will air on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 11, 2017 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT) live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Tony Awards, which honor theatre professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway, have been broadcast on CBS since 1978. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.  For more information on the Tony Awards, visit TonyAwards.com and Facebook.com/TheTonyAwards and follow @TheTonyAwards on Instagram and Twitter.

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Hilton Hotels Revitalize the California Road Trip

April 20, 2017
CA-SF-SummOfLove_041217_306e2(c) Karen Rubin-DeYoungMuseum

Take advantage of Hilton’s California Road Trip program at Hilton hotels in San Francisco and join in the 50th anniversary celebration of the Summer of Love, with special tours of Haight-Ashbury and the Summer of Love Experience at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

ANAHEIM, SAN DIEGO, SAN FRANCISCO and SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. ––Summer travel is already underway In California and travelers from around the globe this summer can enjoy the ultimate Golden State adventure with Hilton’s “California Road Trip,” a destination package that inspires thrill-seekers and value-minded explorers. Discover an array of adventures and authentic experiences with rates starting at $149 per night.  The package highlights premier destination cities such as San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Anaheim and San Diego with special rates available through Labor Day Weekend 2017. To book, visit California Road Trip Package  and take a Virtual California Road Trip on Hilton’s YouTube channel.

Participating properties include: Parc 55 San Francisco—A Hilton Hotel, Hilton San Francisco Union Square, The Fess Parker—A DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara, Hilton Anaheim, Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines and Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

With the California Road Trip package, Hilton aims to provide guests added value inside the hotel with a variety of inclusions to make your trip memorable while highlighting California as a premier destination for family fun, exploration and adventure, and exceptional hospitality through a unique partnership with its local conventions and visitors bureaus.   

“With some of the best Hilton properties on the map, ‘California Road Trip’ is the ultimate vacation package for families and friends who want to create memorable experiences on the road with spectacular scenery, fun and adventure along the way,” said Steve Cowan, general manager of Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 San Francisco.

The California Road Trip package, featuring exclusive rates and added value inside and outside the hotel, will be available for purchase beginning now until Labor Day at Hilton.com as well as on the Special Offers page of each of the participating hotels’ property websites.

The California Road Trip package features savings of more than $125 per night, with exclusive discount of up to 15 percent on Enterprise/Alamo and National Car Rentals, $25 food and beverage credit (available in MIX Restaurant only), complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, unlimited access to the hotel’s Health Club & Spa and a California Road Trip Road Kit featuring exclusive discounts on local entertainment and attractions. Room rates start at $149 per night, tax not included.

California Road Trip packages at a glance:

Parc 55 San Francisco—A Hilton Hotel and Hilton San Francisco Union Square package includes (Rates starting at $265):

  • The San Francisco CityPASS®program which covers unlimited cable car rides, admission to four top attractions, priced 42 percent less than the same tickets purchased separately.  CityPASS® ticket book contains helpful information, including insider tips, an attraction location map, attraction and transportation details, directions and money-saving coupons. Books are valid for nine consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use. Includes:

o   3-Day Muni Cable Car and Bus Passport

o   California Academy of Sciences tickets

o   Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure tickets

o   Aquarium of the Bay tickets

o   Option Ticket: Exploratorium OR de Young Museum + Legion of Honor tickets

The Fess Parker—A DoubleTree by Hilton Resort package includes (Rates starting at $249):

  • Tote bag, Visitors Guide, Vintners Association and Urban Wine Trail Maps, Downtown Organization Map of Shopping and Cultural Attractions, Waterfront Map, Two for One Santa Barbara Sightseeing Trolley Passes, a Santa Barbara Organic Granola Bar and bag of Santa Barbara Pistachio Co. organic pistachios.

Hilton Anaheim package includes (Rates starting at $149):

  • Tote bag, bottled water, granola bars, $10 Starbucks gift card, Visit Anaheim drawstring bag, visitors guide and map, Visit Anaheim postcard with exclusive deals and discounts on local attractions and dining.

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines and Hilton San Diego Bayfront packages includes (Rates starting at $249):

  • Branded bag, San Diego Magazine Spring Visitors Guide w/ coupons, Where Map, Brewers Guild map, sunglasses and mints.

Located in the heart of San Francisco’s bustling Union Square, Hilton San Francisco Union Square is a high-energy, world-class hotel that features stunning views and international sophistication.  The hotel is steps from world-class shopping and under-the-radar locales rich with the history of theatre and jazz. Additionally, the hotel is convenient to the Powell Street cable car line, Moscone Convention Center, Chinatown, the Financial District, City Hall and the Civic Center. Featuring 1,919 guest rooms and 151 suites with city views, the hotel is home to a contemporary fitness center, one of the city’s only outdoor heated swimming pools and an array of food and beverage outlets with artisanal flare and modern atmospheres. Dining options include the grab-and-go marketplace, Herb N’ Kitchen, The Lobby Bar with signature hand crafted cocktails, gastropub Urban Tavern with international offerings and the 46th floor Cityscape Lounge with 360-degree panoramic views of the Bay Area and San Francisco’s most popular landmarks. As the West Coast’s largest hotel, the property boasts 134,500-square-feet of meeting and event space, including a 30,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, for scalable meetings from startups to Fortune 500 companies. For more information, please visit www.hiltonsanfranciscohotel.com. 

Located in the heart of San Francisco’s bustling Union Square, Hilton Parc 55 San Francisco is a boutique-style business-class hotel that features stunning views and universal sophistication. The hotel is steps from world-class shopping and under-the-radar locales rich with the history of theatre and jazz. Additionally, the hotel is convenient to the Powell Street cable car line, Moscone Convention Center, Chinatown, the Financial District, City Hall and the Civic Center. Featuring 1,024 guest rooms and 54 suites, with city views, the hotel is home to a contemporary fitness center, an array of food and beverage outlets and shared campus resources with neighboring Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Dining options include Cable 55, Michelin-rated Kin Khao Thai restaurant and Barbary Coast. As the third largest hotel in San Francisco, the property boasts 30,000-square-feet of meeting and event space. For more information, please visit www.parc55hotel.com.

The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort in Santa Barbara, an AAA Four Diamond property, is located at 633 East Cabrillo Boulevard, steps from the beach and within ½ mile of downtown in one of the world’s most perfect climates. The 360 room guest rooms, with their own balcony or patio, overlook the Santa Ynez mountains, 24 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens or the Pacific Ocean.  Over 44,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including the Parker Family Wine Experience and unique outdoor Plaza del Sol make this a quintessential California destination for weddings and events. 

Hilton Anaheim is located in the heart of Anaheim’s revitalized Resort District and conveniently situated in the center of Southern California. Hilton Anaheim is just a short distance away from world-class beaches, sports stadiums and concert venues, ultra-trendy boutiques, action sports, lifestyle and tony shopping centers. Hilton Anaheim is approximately a one hour drive to downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica and South Orange County and an hour and a half drive to San Diego.

The Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines offers a unique San Diego experience with a setting unlike any other in southern California. A coastal retreat situated atop the bluffs of La Jolla and overlooking the legendary Torrey Pines Golf Course and the majestic Pacific Ocean, sits the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. With each of the spacious 394 guest rooms featuring a private balcony or patio with magnificent views of the golf course, ocean or beautiful hotel gardens, the resort offers a genuine San Diego experience. Minutes from the beautiful beach communities of La Jolla and Del Mar and 12 miles from the San Diego International Airport, the resort offers a feeling of seclusion, yet remains close to everything San Diego has to offer. Located at 10950 North Torrey Pines Road La Jolla, CA 92037. For additional information, please visit: www.hiltonlajollatorreypines.com.

Hilton San Diego Bayfront, a 30-story, 1,190 room hotel, is located on the edge of the bay in downtown San Diego and situated on 12.79 acres of Bayfront land. The hotel boasts 165,000 square feet of meeting and event space, four restaurants, a 7,300 square foot health club and spa, 3,000 square feet of retail space, a 2,400 square foot business center along with San Diego’s first heated saltwater hotel swimming pool and nearly $2 million of commissioned public art. Hilton San Diego Bayfront is adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center and PETCO Park, located at One Park Boulevard, San Diego, 92101. For additional information, please visit www.hiltonsandiegobayfront.com. 

For more information about Hilton’s California Road Trip package, visit HiltonAnaheimRoadTrip.com 

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Record Visits to National Parks Generates $34.9 Billion, 318,000 Jobs for US Economy in 2016

April 19, 2017
CA-Yosemite-Tena_041517_505e2(c) Karen Rubin-MistTrail

Hiking up the Mist Trail alongside Vernal Falls in Yosemite Park during National Parks Week 2017. In 2016, America’s 417 National Park Service sites drew 331 million visitors and contributed $34.9 billion to the US economy © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, during National Park Week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that 2016’s record visitation of 331 million visitors at America’s 417 National Park Service sites contributed $34.9 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016 – a $2.9 billion increase from 2015. Zinke made his announcement while visiting the historic Presidio of San Francisco at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Zinke marked National Park Week by also visiting Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, and Channel Islands national parks.

According to the annual peer-reviewed economics report, 2016 National Park Visitor Spending Effects, the strong economic output is attributed to record visitation and visitor spending in “gateway” communities near national park entrances. The report also found visitor spending supported 318,000 jobs in 2016, with the vast majority of them defined as local jobs, including those in the hospitality, retail, transportation, and recreation industries.

“National Parks are America’s treasure which provide magnificent outdoor recreation opportunities and serve as economic engines for local communities. In my own hometown of Whitefish, Montana, I saw how the popularity of Glacier National Park led to growth of the local outdoor rec and eco-tourism industry. And while traveling to Sequoia and Kings Canyon last week it was exciting to see tourism towns dotting the road to the park,” Zinke said. “This report is a testament to the tangible economic benefits our parks bring to communities across the nation. Visitation numbers continue to rise because people want to experience these majestic public lands.”

Zinke continued, “With continued record visitation it’s time to start thinking about accessibility and infrastructure. Last week, it was great to see the team at Yosemite opening up areas with new wheelchair accessible trails. In the coming years, we will look at ways to make innovative investments in our parks to enhance visitor experiences and improve our aging infrastructure. To ensure visitors continue to have great experiences, we will remain focused on increasing access and addressing the maintenance backlog to ensure we are on the right track for generations to come.”

More than 270,000 of the jobs supported by visitor spending in 2016 exist in the communities that lie within 60 miles of a park. These range from big parks like Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, which attracted 11.3 million people and supported more than 14,600 jobs, to smaller parks like Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in New Hampshire that attracted more than 42,000 visitors and supported 34 jobs.

CA-SF-MuirWoods_041317_755e2(c) Karen Rubin

A view of San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge from the ruins of battlements of historic Presidio of San Francisco at Golden Gate National Recration Area.. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visited there to announce that 2016’s record visitation of 331 million visitors at America’s 417 National Park Service sites and a $2.9 billion gain in the contribution to the US economy from 2015. © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

“National parks like Yellowstone, Zion, and Gettysburg connect us with nature and help tell America’s story,” said Michael T. Reynolds, acting director of the National Park Service. “They are also a vital part of our nation’s economy, drawing hundreds of millions of visitors every year who fill the hotels and restaurants, hire the outfitters and rely on other local businesses that help drive a vibrant tourism and outdoor recreation industry.”

Visitor spending in 2016 supported 318,000 jobs, provided $12.0 billion in labor income, $19.9 billion in value added, and $34.9 billion in economic output to the U.S. economy. The lodging sector provided the highest direct contributions with $5.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 56,000 jobs. The restaurants and bars sector provided the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 71,000 jobs.

According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).

The report was prepared by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. It includes information by park and by state on visitor spending, the number of jobs supported by visitor spending and other statistics.

Report authors also produced an interactive tool to present data in full color circle and bar graphs. Users can explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

National Park visitation grew by 7.7 percent from 2015 to 2016, the centennial year of the National Park Service celebrated with the Find Your Park campaign and promoted visits with such programs as admitting families with fourth graders for free.

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Park City’s Grand Summit Hotel to Undergo $15 Million Renovation and Join RockResorts

March 27, 2017
Park City UT_20170324_421e2 (c) Karen Rubin

A view of Park City’s Canyons Village in spring. Vail Resorts, which owns Park City resort plans a $15 million renovation of the Grand Summit Hotel at Canyons Village and to flag it as a RockResorts property © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Grand Summit Hotel at Canyons Village in Vail Resorts’ Park City mountain resort in Utah, will undergo an extensive $15 million renovation this spring and subsequent flagging as a RockResorts property. The renovations will bring the hotel up to par with both its unrivaled location at the base of the largest ski resort in the United States and the modern luxury its guests expect in a travel experience. The property will temporarily close from April 17, 2017 – in conjunction with the close of Park City Mountain’s ski and snowboard season – through mid-summer.

“We couldn’t be more excited to bring the interior of the Grand Summit Hotel up to the same caliber as the world-class resort that’s just steps away from the property,” said Jim Dullanty, president of the Grand Summit Homeowner’s Association. “This transformation will undoubtedly elevate the experience for all of Grand Summit Hotel’s guests as well as the unit owners themselves.”

The renovation will include a complete overhaul of all 212 suites, including new interior finishes, furnishings, soft goods, appliances, artwork and technology. The property’s communal spaces will also be incorporated into the renovation, including the lobby and front desk, full remodel of the on-site spa, café and general store, and refresh of the conference and meeting spaces.

The interior design work will be conducted by Boulder, Colo.-based TRH Interior Design, which has also designed and transformed other Vail Resorts properties such as Crystal Peak Lodge in Breckenridge, Colo., as well as other luxury mountain properties such as the Westin Snowmass Resort and the Lumiere Hotel in Telluride.

Following the extensive renovation, the Grand Summit Hotel will be flagged as a RockResort.

RockResorts, a division of Vail Resorts, owns and operates a collection of premium properties, lavish RockResorts Spas and distinctive dining options in iconic mountain locations.

“We are thrilled to add Grand Summit to the RockResorts collection,” said Ron Neville, Vail Resorts’ vice president of hospitality. “The RockResorts brand represents the hallmark of casually elegant properties with exceptional service in our mountain resort locations. We’re looking forward to continuing to deliver extraordinary service and experiences to our guests at the Grand Summit.”

The Grand Summit Hotel sits majestically in the heart of Canyons Village at Park City. Its 212 lock-off suites provide guests with more than 290 lodging options, including hotel rooms, studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom suites and expansive luxury penthouses. Many rooms have balconies, fireplaces, double showers and full kitchens with service for eight guests. The Grand Summit’s heated outdoor swimming pool is an ideal place to relax after an adventurous day of exploring the outdoors year round. More information about Grand Summit Hotel can be found here.

RockResorts, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vail Resorts, owns and operates luxury resorts that offer casually elegant accommodations, lavish RockResorts Spas, renowned golf courses, award-winning dining and a variety of exciting outdoor adventures. The RockResorts collection includes The Arrabelle at Vail Square and The Lodge at Vail in Vail, Colo.; The Osprey at Beaver Creek and The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colo.; and One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge, Colo.

Vail Resorts, Inc subsidiaries operate 10 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Perisher in Australia; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; Afton Alps in Minnesota, Mt. Brighton in Michigan and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin. The Company owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is www.vailresorts.com and consumer website is www.snow.com.
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Vail Resorts to Acquire Stowe Mountain Resort Vermont, Add to Epic Pass

March 27, 2017

Stowe Mountain Resort Vt

Vail Resorts is moving to complete the acquisition of Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont, which would be the company’s first resort on the East Coast, and would give East Coast skiers more of a reason to buy the Epic Pass.

Vail Resorts, Inc. in February entered an agreement to acquire Stowe Mountain Resort from Mt. Mansfield Company, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), for a purchase price of $50 million, subject to certain adjustments. Stowe Mountain Resort will be Vail Resorts’ first mountain resort on the East Coast and complements the Company’s network of 10 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas.

This acquisition brings together Vail Resorts, a leading mountain resort operator, with AIG Global Real Estate (AIGGRE), a major real estate developer, which share a common vision for the long-term success of Stowe Mountain Resort as a premier, high-end resort for skiers and snowboarders on the East Coast. Vail Resorts is acquiring all of the assets related to the mountain operations of the resort, including base area skier services (food and beverage, retail and rental, lift ticket offices and ski and snowboard school facilities) at Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. Other facilities such as the Stowe Mountain Lodge, Stowe Mountain Club, Stowe Country Club and certain real estate owned and held for potential future development will be retained by MMC.

“We’re thrilled to add Stowe Mountain Resort to our family of world-class mountain resorts. With the investments in both mountain infrastructure and base area facilities that AIG has made over the years, Stowe Mountain Resort has become the premier, high-end resort for East Coast skiers and snowboarders. We look forward to working with AIG to continue enhancing the guest experience and to ensure the resort’s long-term success,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.

Douglas Tymins, president and chief executive officer of AIG Global Real Estate, said, “Under Vail Resorts’ management, Stowe’s reputation as a premier ski destination with a commitment to excellent service will continue to grow. AIGGRE is looking forward to combining Vail Resorts’ tremendous mountain operations capabilities with our continued commitment to the development of the Spruce Peak community.”

Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe, Vt., has undergone major capital and facilities improvements including the Spruce Peak Adventure Center, the new Meadows Quad on Spruce Peak, Evolution Stowe’s RFID tickets, passes and gates and the new Shops at Spruce Peak. Spruce Peak also has new high-speed lifts, new base facilities and gourmet restaurants. MMC will retain ownership of the renowned Stowe Mountain Lodge at Stowe Mountain Resort, a 312-room hotel and spa that has already been recognized as one of the greenest and most luxurious mountainside hotels in the world, and additional slopeside real estate opportunities.

This transaction is subject to Vermont administrative review. At closing, the purchase price will be adjusted for certain agreed upon terms, including a reduction (or increase) in the price by the amount that the resort’s EBITDA exceeds capital expenditures for the period from Nov. 1, 2016, through closing. Stowe Mountain Resort is expected to generate incremental annual EBITDA in excess of $5 million in Vail Resorts’ fiscal year ending July 31, 2018.

Vail Resorts plans to integrate Stowe Mountain Resort into its Epic Pass and other season pass products for the 2017-18 winter season, subject to the acquisition closing. With the Epic Pass, Vermont skiers and snowboarders will have unlimited access locally at Stowe at an attractive price as well as the best of the West at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe; and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada.

See: Vail Resorts Plans to Add Stowe Vermont to 2017-18 Epic Pass Giving Northeastern Skiers New Reason to Buy

Vail Resorts, Inc subsidiaries operate 10 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Perisher in Australia; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; Afton Alps in Minnesota, Mt. Brighton in Michigan and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin. The Company owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is www.vailresorts.com and consumer website is www.snow.com.
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Lambert, Manfredi Advance in Gold Coast Arts Center’s ‘Your Big Break’ Talent Competition

February 12, 2017
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Julia Lambert is a finalist in the 5th Annual Gold Coast Arts Center’s Your Big Break Talent Competition © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

Singer-songwriters Julia Lambert, Jaclyn Manfredi and the band Barely Know Her were winners of Knockout Round of the Gold Coast Arts Center’s 5th annual Your Big Break talent competition. Lambert and Manfredi, who won the judges’ tally, and Barely Know Her who won the audience vote, will go on to the finals on Saturday April 1.

The next round will take place on Saturday, March 11 at the Gold Coast Arts Center, 113 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, Long Island.

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Jaclyn Manfredi advances to the finals of the Your Big Break Talent competition April 1 © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Jaclyn Manfredi, 17, brings a sultry style reflecting jazz, blues and R&B influences, and has performed at the Apollo Theater. She was a finalist at the 2016 Your Big Break. Julia Lambert who used to perform with the band Nexus, is now solo and performed an original song, “Closer.”

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The band Barely Know Her was the audience favorite at the first round of Gold Coast Arts Center’s Your Big Break Talent Competition © 2017 Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Barely Knew Her is a five-piece band from the South Shore with a solid horn section and an amazing drummer.

The other performers included Kayla Muro, a 17-year old who describes her music as “Alt Pop”; Sabrina Ali, 22, who has performed at the Bitter End and was a contestant at 16 years old on American Idol and The Voice (her grandfather was a Bollywood legend and her mother is an actress); Sydney Perruzza who did a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Speechless,” E.J. Carey who is a powerhouse who packs punch; Samantha Daniels, who has been performing since she was 16; Alex Mendes, who brings her classical training in opera and musical theater to a rich and impassioned performance that evoked in my mind Tina Turner.

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EJ Carey performs at Gold Coast Arts Center’s Your Big Break Talent Competition© 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The “Big Break” is not just a clever title. The young performers are competing for prizes that could well launch their career.

Winners are up for prizes including the chance to open for national acts at major venues like The Paramount, recording time at DCITY Studios and Online TV streaming opportunities, a feature on Reverbnation.com, musical equipment from All Music Inc. and ZOOM North America, a PR and social media campaign including management, booking and label services consultation with Rick Eberle Agency.

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Alex Mendes performs at Gold Coast Arts Center’s Your Big Break Talent Competition© 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Mentors assigned to the finalists also work to help them hone their craft before performing at the finals. 2017 mentors are still to be announced but last year’s included singer/songwriter Ryan Star, John Hampson of Nine Days, and songwriter/producer Ido Zmishlany.

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Sabrina Ali performs at Gold Coast Arts Center’s Your Big Break Talent Competition© 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Judges are major players in the music industry including: ReverbNation.com’s Lou Plaia, All Music Inc.’s Guy Brogna, Songwriter Tara Eberle Drouin and Label Executives Stephen Marcuccio, Jerry Lembo, Linda Ingrisano, Mark Ambrosino.

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Headline duo of Katie & Lennon were both contestants in earlier editions of Your Big Break Talent Competition. Lennon still performs with his band, Youth Be Told, and Katie Zimmer performing on her own © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The evening was capped with a headlining performance by Lennon & Katie, a duo formed from past finalists, Lennon from the band Youth Be Told and Katie Zimmer who is now the lead singer in Youth Be Told.

Your Big Break is hosted by the Gold Coast Arts Center’s Acoustic Café and Love Revolution Org.

The contestants for Your Big Break were selected out of 1000 submissions in response to an open call for musicians age 15 to 25 who do not currently have a recording or publishing contract. The artists have to perform with a band or solo with an acoustic guitar or sing to a backing music track. There is no fee to submit.

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Judges for the 5th Annual Gold Coast Arts Center Your Big Break Talent Competition © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Arts Center is transformed into the Gold Coast Acoustic Cafe once a month, a music venue that showcases local up-and-coming talent as well as established music acts. With its black box theater performance space and a lounge in the art gallery, the Gold Coast Acoustic Cafe is one of the few small music venues around which makes for a special and intimate atmosphere for artists and audience alike, especially during Your Big Break. Other past artists who have performed in the headline slots have included: Iridesense, John Hampson of Nine Days, The Brady Brothers, and Sir Cadian Rhythm – all of whom are local musicians who have had major success in the industry, with hopes to further inspire the next generation of New York stars presented each year.

The next round takes place Saturday March 11 at the Gold Coast Arts Center. On deck to perform are Alex Norwood, Julia Hayden, Monique Thompson, Tessa field, Paris Ray, Taylor Hogan, Lydia Von Hof and Pocketphuzz. The headliner is Lem Payne Jr.

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Judges and performers at the 5th Annual Gold Coast Arts Center Your Big Break Talent Competition © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Doors open at 7:30pm for general seating and the first act will perform starting at 8:00pm each night. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults. Snacks are available for purchase.

Gold Coast Arts Center, 113 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck NY. Call 516-829-2570 or go to www.goldcoastarts.org.

 

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