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National Comedy Center in Lucille Ball’s Hometown Close to Being Officially Designated by United States

February 23, 2019
NYS-Natl Comedy Ctr Jamestown

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York – iconic comedian Lucille Ball’s hometown – is close to being designated the official “National Comedy Center” of the United States.

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York – iconic comedian Lucille Ball’s hometown – is close to being designated the official “National Comedy Center” of the United States.

US Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer included a provision in the 2019 Lands Package that called on The Comedy Center, located in downtown Jamestown and built in-part to honor the massive national impact of Jamestown native Lucille Ball, to serve as America’s official center of comedy and its rich history in our nation. Schumer said this official congressional designation will help solidify the facility as a civic landmark and cultural institution, and the premiere “National Comedy Center” of the United States, and called on his colleagues in Congress to pass the Lands Package as soon as possible.

“Comedy is an art form, and it’s a part of our rich cultural history in America. I am proud to stand here today, in front of the revolutionary National Comedy Center, to continue my push to pass legislation that will officially designate it as the National Comedy Center of the United States,” Schumer said. “As the birthplace of the iconic Lucille Ball, and home to the Annual Comedy Festival, Jamestown has rapidly become an epicenter for comedy in the nation, and is the perfect home for the National Comedy Center. This organization is becoming a cultural institution, attracting visitors from far and wide, creating jobs, and injecting millions of tourism dollars into the region. I vow to do everything in my power to shuttle this legislation through Congress and on to the president’s desk, because I know that this institution has become a national attraction and a smash hit!”

The 2019 Lands Package includes legislation from Senator Schumer that will formally designate the National Comedy Center as the ‘national’ comedy center. Schumer noted that this designation will allow the center to build on the success of other Upstate New York tourist attractions like the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY. The National Comedy Center employs 38 people and has created nearly 200 spin-off jobs and is projected to have a $23 million impact on the region. Currently, the annual comedy festival hosts about 20,000 people and has been visited by famous comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Joan Rivers, Jay Leno, and Nick Offerman. Schumer said this designation is vital to the center’s continued growth, and pointed out that Jamestown’s National Comedy Center is the only museum of its kind with the mission of preserving, protecting, and showcasing the art of American comedy and its role in our culture.

“The Jamestown Comedy Center is a celebration of talent and has quickly become a must-see location in New York. When I toured the museum, I was amazed by the incredible job done to transform an old train station into a state-of-the-art center dedicated to preserving the history of comedy in our nation,” said Senator  Kirsten Gillibrand. “This museum is a destination for families, tourists, and comedy lovers from all over the country, and it has played in important role in Jamestown’s revitalization. That’s why I fought to make sure that this year’s Land’s Package would designate the museum as the National Comedy Center, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill.”

“The National Comedy Center is committed to Lucille Ball’s vision for her hometown of Jamestown, New York to honor comedy’s great minds and unique voices in ways that educate, engage and inspire future generations. With visitors who’ve already come from all 50 states since our opening last August, we truly are the nation’s museum for the celebration of comedy. We thank Senator Schumer for everything he’s done to make the National Comedy Center a reality, and welcome this official Congressional designation in 2019,” said Tom Benson, Chairman, National Comedy Center.

“As the country’s first national-scale museum and cultural institution dedicated to presenting, preserving and celebrating the art form of comedy, the National Comedy Center — and Comedy — is deserving of this important recognition by Congress. We are grateful to Senator Schumer for his tremendous support and look forward to the bill’s passage in both the Senate and the House in the coming weeks,” said Journey Gunderson, Executive Director of the National Comedy Center.

The National Comedy Center, located at 203-217 West Second Street in Jamestown, New York, pays tribute to the art of American comedy through all eras, mediums, and genres. The 37,000 square foot, $50 million facility tells the story of comedy from its origins through the present, with more than 50 immersive, interactive exhibits. As of January 2019, the National Comedy Center has already attracted visitors from all fifty states and nine countries total. It was also recently named the second “Best New Attraction in America,” by USA Today.

Each visitor experiences a personalized trip through the Center as exhibits reflect one’s personal comedic sensibilities via use of a bracelet fitted with an RFID chip worn throughout the stay. Highlights of the collection include George Carlin’s massive personal archives that provide a glimpse into one of comedy’s most prolific minds, a hologram theater that presents performances of some of comedy’s most notable figures, and experiences that allow visitors to step into the shoes of a stand-up comedian. Additionally, the National Comedy Center features rare artifacts from some of comedy’s greatest names. In 2018, Senator Schumer helped deliver one such artifact, as a customs snag threatened to delay the arrival of a vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was donated to the NCC by Dan Aykroyd.

Design of the museum and the repurposing of Jamestown’s original 1930 art-deco Gateway Train Station was provided by some of the most prominent cultural and interactive design firms in the world, whose portfolios collectively include the award-winning 9/11 Memorial Museum, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the College Football Hall of Fame, Saturday Night Live: The Experience, Universal Studios, and more. The Center celebrates comedy in all of its forms, educating and engendering in visitors an appreciation for the art form and its artists.

The National Comedy Center opened in 2018, and ground was first broken on the project in 2015. Schumer noted he pushed a resolution in March of 2018 to formally recognize the National Comedy Center. Schumer also noted his successful push for $1.7 million from the Economic Development Administration, and $5M in net benefit due to New Market Tax Credits. In addition to this federal funding, the National Comedy Center has also received $10M from NYS, and private donations from the Gebbie Foundation, the John R. Oishei Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, the Lenna Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, the Johnson Foundation, and the Jessie Smith Darrah Fund. Schumer said the National Comedy Center shines a spotlight on Jamestown as a global comedy destination.  

 

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News Ways to Sip, Savor and Sightsee by the Sea in Nova Scotia

February 23, 2019
Nova Scotia e2

Nova Scotia offers a multitude of diverse signature culinary experiences along its 4,500 miles of coastline.

NOVA SCOTIA  – Nova Scotia, which produces a quarter of Canada’s seafood and boasting a billion-plus dollar fish and seafood export industry annually, offers a multitude of diverse signature culinary experiences along its 4,500 miles of coastline. And, Nova Scotia is now closer to more U.S. travelers with new non-stop service to the capital city of Halifax from Chicago and Philadelphia beginning in June 2019, adding to the direct flights currently offered out of New York City and Boston.

Often a first stop for visitors, Halifax is home to the oldest farmers market in North America and has the notable distinction of having more pubs per capita than any other province in Canada among its many culinary charms.

New opportunities to “sip, savor, and sightsee” in 2019 incorporate experiences for active and adventurous travelers throughout Nova Scotia.

Here are a few highlights:

A Distillery Tour on Foot and by Boat 

Old Town Lunenburg UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to artisan distilleries with award-winning rum, colorful architecture, and traditional foods. Here, on foot and by boat travelers can explore the waterfront of the historic town with their taste buds. The Lunenburg Distilled: Culinary Adventure takes guests on a walking tour with an eighth generation Lunenburger to Ironworks Distillery, the first artisan distillery in the province. Listeners will gain insight on creating spirits and liqueurs from scratch. Afterwards, a boat tour with Heritage Fishing Tours drops visitors at an exclusive Dory Shop to sample traditional foods from the region. The tour ends with a seafood dinner onboard the Teresea D. Conner, a historic schooner from the Lunenburg waterfront. Price is $395 CAD per person. Dates available: June 19, July 14, August 21, and September 25.

Wine Blending on the Bay

A reflection of the region that’s shaped by the sea, Avondale Sky Winery’s crisp Tidal Bay was the first appellation wine of Nova Scotia. This year, guests can be a winemaker for the day with the Avondale Sky Wine Lab AdventureA tour of the vineyard reveals rolling hills situated on the St. Croix River as it meets the Bay of Fundy, home to the highest tides in the world. Samplings are done in the tasting room and experimenting begins in the wine lab, where guests ultimately create their own Tidal Bay blend with a signature custom-made label. Award-winning winemaker, Ben Swetnam, will lead a blind tasting competition of the blends to crown the next master winemaker. The chosen wine is served at a gourmet, chef-prepared dinner for the group to enjoy. Price is $295 CAD per person. Dates available: June 22, July 6, July 20, and August 24. 

Hike, Eat, Repeat 

Active travelers work up their appetite for seafood by hiking, kayaking, and swimming during the Seaside Adventure & Beachside Feast. The day starts with a hike to the Kejimkujik National Park Seaside with Parks Canada interpreters, followed by a two-hour kayak tour through this unique and protected coastal estuary. Participants will fuel up with a lobster roll picnic and cool off by enjoying a swim on the white sand beaches. A final seafood feast will be served at the Quarterdeck Beachside Villas, and a night in a new studio loft at this luxurious beachside resort is included in the experience. The one day and one-night starts at $849 CAD per person or $1,600 CAD per couple. Dates available: July 3, July 22, August 24, August 28, September 7, September 18, and October 5.  

Coastal Helicopter Ride and Picnic 

For a birds-eye view of the stunning Nova Scotia coastline, travelers can journey by helicopter to a sommelier-led picnic on a private island. The Heli-Picnic Island Escape, a two-hour tour over Halifax to Sambro Island, is an opportunity to view the wildlife and coastline from a new perspective. After landing on a private beach, guests will indulge in Nova Scotia bubbly while exploring the hidden coves. The sommelier in attendance will lead a tasting picnic of local wines, smoked salmon, cheese, and chocolate at a lighthouse. Price is $575 CAD per person. Dates to be announced. 

Sunsets and Stargazing 

Storytelling, sunsets, seafood, and stargazing make up the Lightkeeper’s SeaFeastThe tour begins on a Cape Islander’s fishing boat that sets sail from the Yarmouth waterfront. The boat comes equipped with oysters, Nova Scotia wine, and stories with Tusket Island Tours. After landing at the Cape Forchu lighthouse, a chef prepares a lobster feast on the beach, and guests watch the sunset over the water while being entertained by Acadian songs. The tour goes on after the sun sets, with a dark-sky expert leading stargazers through a certified Starlight Tourist Destination. This experience is available on Thursday nights throughout July, August, and September. Price to be announced.

For more information about the province, visit Nova Scotia or call 1-800-565-0000.

For more information on the four provinces, visit these websites or follow on social media: 

New Brunswick

Web: www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca

Instagram: @DestinationNB

Twitter: @SeeNewBrunswick

Facebook: @DestinationNB

 

Nova Scotia

Web: www.novascotia.com

Instagram: @VisitNovaScotia

Twitter: @VisitNovaScotia

Facebook: @NovaScotia

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

Web: www.newfoundlandlabrador.com

Instagram:  @newfoundlandlabrador

Twitter: @NLtweets

Facebook:  @NewfoundlandLabradorTourism

 

Prince Edward Island

Web: www.tourismpei.com

Instagram: @tourismpei

Twitter: @tourismpei

Facebook: @tourismpei

 

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Luxury ADLER Lodge Ritten to Open in Italy’s South Tyrol

February 22, 2019
Italy-ADLER Lodge Ritten e2

Set on a perfect perch overlooking some of the Dolomites’ most majestic mountain peaks, ADLER Lodge Ritten will be an ideal holiday for those looking for laid-back luxury.

Lichtenstern, Italy – On a sunny plateau known as Renon, a popular weekend getaway for city dwellers, a new hideaway from the ADLER Hotel Group is taking shape: ADLER Lodge Ritten. Some destinations simply cast a spell, touching your spirit and staying in your heart, and ADLER Ritten promises to do just that.

The intimate lodge will be a sister to celebrated hotels like ADLER Spa Resort Thermae in Tuscany and Dolomite properties ADLER Lodge AlpeADLER Spa Resort Dolomiti and ADLER Spa Resort Balance. Set on a perfect perch overlooking some of the Dolomites’ most majestic mountain peaks (such as the Rosengarten and the Latemar), ADLER Lodge Ritten will be an ideal holiday for those looking for laid-back luxury. Set in a remote glade in Lichtenstern between Oberbozen and Klobenstein, the owners have designed the lodge as “a place of peace and deceleration.” Reachable only by a single limited-access road, the hotel is surrounded by forest, with incredible mountain views that make guests feel like they’ve entered another world.

Visitors won’t need a car to get around, as Renon’s historic narrow-gauge railway, the Rittnerbahn, stops just 200 meters from the hotel at the Stella station. When they’re ready to explore the thriving city of Bolzano, it’s just a 12-minute ride away via cable car. Activities are designed to highlight the distinctive beauty of each season and might include skiing, snowshoeing, Nordic walking, wine tasting or cycling (the hotel offers complimentary electric-bike rentals). Bolzano’s worthy cultural sites include the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, the 13th-century Mareccio Castle, and the Duomo di Bolzano cathedral.

ADLER Lodge Ritten will consist of a spacious main building with reception area, lobby, bar, restaurant and spa. There will be two additional structures for guest accommodations, each with ten junior suites. Also scattered throughout the property will be 20 one- and two-story chalets, some set around a small natural lake. All rooms will have private bio saunas and either balconies or terraces, and chalets will also feature wood-burning fireplaces.

All meals, soft drinks, wines and spirits will be included in the room rate, and chef Hannes Pignater is planning to spoil guests throughout the day with menus that focus on regional and local products. There will be breakfast featuring local farm specialties; a lunch buffet of snacks and typical South Tyrolean dishes; and exquisite, multi-course dinners in the restaurant, which will have a panoramic view of the evening sky.

The spa will face the impressive Schlern peak and offer incredible Dolomite views, through large glass windows. Customized face and body treatments will incorporate extracts, oils and other products from the ADLER care line, which combines natural cosmetics and the latest technology. Guests will be able to choose among three saunas: One classic steam sauna in the main building, as well as two saunas located deep in the forest, giving visitors a chance to truly immerse themselves in nature. The heated infinity pool will be open year-round.

The Sanoner family has been in the hotel business since 1810, when they opened their first small inn, and the five Adler hotels are currently managed by the family’s seventh generation Along with ADLER Lodge Ritten, there are three spa resorts in Italy’s Dolomites mountain region and one in Tuscany. All ADLER Spa Resorts are renowned for providing not only relaxation and beauty services, but also modern western medicine and alternative healing methods. For guests wishing to delve deeper into improving their health, there are also two ADLER MED medical competence centers, one at ADLER Thermae in Tuscany and the other at ADLER Balance in the Dolomites. Each has its own team of doctors from disciplines like general medicine, laboratory medicine, aesthetic medicine, modern Mayr medicine, homeopathy, herbal medicine and nutrition.

For more information visit  https://www.adler-resorts.com/en/spa-hotel/1-0.html
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St. Lucia’s Jade Mountain, Anse Chastanet Lauded as Top Luxury Resorts

February 22, 2019
St Lucia-Jade Mountain e2

Jade Mountain’s high-rise vistas of The Pitons are breathtaking.

Naming St. Lucia’s iconic Jade Mountain the number one “Best Hotel in the Caribbean”, U.S. News & World Report rhapsodized about the resort’s high-rise vistas of The Pitons, with architecture that draws on St. Lucia’s natural beauty, and referenced the varied list of island sports, including snorkeling in its sister resort, Anse Chastanet’s clear waters, sunset sailing on the resort yacht and scuba diving with experts from the on-site PADI dive center.

With its rankings based on analyses of industry awards, hotel star and user ratings, U.S. News & World Report praised the resort’s ambiance: “As the site of the finale of the 14th season of ‘The Bachelor’, Jade Mountain knows how to create a romantic atmosphere. Couples can arrange for an in-room massage with the Kai en Ciel Spa or a private dinner on the Celestial Terrace. For other meals, there’s the Jade Mountain Club helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Allen Susser.”

Turning to Jade Mountain’s sister resort, U.S. News & World Report reported that Anse Chastanet, spread across 600 tropical acres, is flanked by two sandy beaches. The resort’s 49 rooms are either perched on the verdant hillside or nestled beach level within a tropical garden.” The resort was rated number 49 in the world.

St Lucia-AnseChastenet_1157e2 (c) Laini Miranda

Both Jade Mountain and its sister resort Anse Chastanet on St. Lucia have been lauded as top luxury resorts © Laini Miranda/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The media outlet reported recent guests loved the relaxing, natural setting and their access to a host of activities, from yoga to jungle biking, and scuba diving in a marine reserve offshore. “To round out this nature-inspired retreat, travelers have their pick of five dining options, including one inside a treehouse,” they noted.

Meanwhile, Islands magazine declared Jade Mountain winner of its Readers’ Choice in its list of the top luxury all-inclusive resorts of the world, while Big 7 Travel, the global travel site, listed the resort among the world’s “50 Most Romantic Hotels in the World.” Big 7’s Top 50 list positioned Jade Mountain as number six in the world.

Karolin Troubetzkoy, Executive Director of both properties, was delighted by the latest of many accolades bestowed on her two resorts: “It’s heartening to see how these media houses noted the complementality of the adjoining sister resorts because that is precisely the sort of harmony with nature and each other which my husband Nick Troubetzkoy (the owner/architect) was aiming for.”

Islands magazine wrote about Jade Mountain: “There’s nothing quite like it. Even though there are other resorts with a similar concept – a nonexistent fourth wall, so your room is open to the sea and sky – we can honestly say that Jade Mountain guarantees you a one-of-a-kind luxury experience.”

Noting its editors and writers scoured the globe to find the best all-inclusive resorts based on “standout offerings, from top-notch dining options and cool bars to over-the-top suites and white-glove butler service,” Islands magazine reported on the “mesmerizing” rooms, called sanctuaries, “designed in a stunning blend of wood and stone elements. They’re massive (1,400 to 2,000 square feet) and layered atop each other, each with its own equally large (450 to 900 square feet) infinity pool offering unobstructed views of St. Lucia’s twin Piton peaks and the sapphire-blue sea.”

Troubetzkoy credited resort staff for their commitment to the sustainable aspects of the sister resorts: “We could not have achieved such mixing of luxury and conservation without the priceless contributions of our dedicated staff and their deep knowledge of the area.”

With only 78 rooms in total between the two sister resorts, the company employs more than 550 team members, 97 percent of whom are from the surrounding communities.

Anse Chastanet is set amid a lush 600-acre estate with two soft-sand beaches and breathtaking views of St. Lucia’s twin Pitons mountains, the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Amidst St. Lucia’s lush tropical beauty, activities range from jungle biking, hiking and bird watching to snorkeling on the reef within swimming distance of the beach. The environmentally friendly, award-winning resort comprises 49 individually designed rooms, 37 of which are scattered about a lush hillside, and 12 that are nestled within a tropical garden at beach level. It offers innovative menus, one entirely vegetarian, in four different locations and features fresh produce served up from the resort’s organic farm. Guests can take in interactive chocolate-making classes in the resort’s chocolate laboratory and a variety of water sports are also on offer. For more information, visit www.ansechastanet.com.

Rising majestically above the 600-acre beachfront resort of Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain Resort on St. Lucia’s south-western Caribbean coastline is a cornucopia of organic architecture celebrating St. Lucia’s stunning scenic beauty. Architect owner Nick Troubetzkoy has expanded upon his philosophy of building in harmony with Caribbean nature in his creation of Jade Mountain St. Lucia. The bold architectural design – individual bridges leading to exceptional infinity pool sanctuaries and rugged stoned-faced columns reaching towards the sky – makes Jade Mountain one of the Caribbean’s most mesmerizing resort experiences. For more information, visit www.jademountain.com.

See: Honeymoon in Paradise: Anse Chastanet in Saint Lucia

 

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National Comedy Center in Jamestown NY Hosts 2019 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival Aug 7-11

February 22, 2019
NYS-Natl Comedy Ctr Jamestown

The National Comedy Center opened August 1, 2018 in Jamestown, New York as the nation’s first state-of-the-art museum dedicated to sharing the vital story of comedy in America. Based on the vision of Jamestown native Lucille Ball for her hometown to become a destination for the celebration of comedy, the National Comedy Center showcases comedy’s great minds and unique voices, from Charlie Chaplin to David Chappelle.

Jamestown, New York –The National Comedy Center, the nation’s first museum and visitor experience dedicated to the comedic arts, announced today that Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney will headline the 2019 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, August 7-11. Tickets for their performances are now on sale at www.ComedyCenter.org.

Many festival events have yet to be announced, in a lineup that will celebrate comedy’s contemporary stars, rising voices, and historic legacies.

Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney are two of the most popular and acclaimed comedians in the country in 2019 — Maniscalco breaking several comedy box office records over the past year, and Mulaney named “one of the best stand-up comics alive” by Entertainment Weekly.

John Mulaney will be performing on Friday, August 9 and Sebastian Maniscalco will be performing on Saturday, August 10 in Jamestown’s Northwest Arena, adjacent to the National Comedy Center, a $50 million museum experience dedicated to comedy.

“We could not be more pleased to announce that two of the most in-demand stand-up comedians touring today — Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney — will be performing as we mark the first anniversary of the National Comedy Center this August,” said Journey Gunderson, National Comedy Center Executive Director. “This is a great opportunity to experience the best of live comedy by night, after experiencing the story of comedy –- across all eras and genres –- by day, with a trip to the National Comedy Center and the Festival.”

Comedian, actor and best-selling author Sebastian Maniscalco has been called “one of the funniest comedians working stand-up today,” by Esquire Magazine, “one of the hottest comics,” by Newsday and “the comedian’s comedian” by People Magazine.

Maniscalco can currently be seen with Viggo Mortensen in the Oscar-nominated “Green Book,” winner of three Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Last November, Maniscalco won Billboard’s inaugural Comedian of the Year award. In 2019, Maniscalco will be starring in Martin Scorsese’s new film “The Irishman,” with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.

Before Emmy Award-winning comedian and writer John Mulaney was called “one of the best stand-up comics alive” by Entertainment Weekly, he began writing for “Saturday Night Live” in 2008, where he also appeared as a “Weekend Update“ correspondent and co-created memorable characters such as “Stefon” with Bill Hader. He has spent the past year touring the United States with his most recent show, “Kid Gorgeous,” which was released as a Netflix original special last year and won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Variety Special.

Mulaney has starred three previous stand-up specials. He has performed stand-up on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “Comedy Central Presents.” In 2016, Mulaney starred in the Broadway hit “Oh, Hello” on Broadway alongside Nick Kroll. He can also be heard in the 2018 film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which recently won the Golden Globe for best Animated Feature Film and has just been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Additional Lucille Ball Comedy Festival events, including more than five comedy showcases, Late Night Comedy events, National Comedy Center Dialogues, and Lucy legacy events will also be announced atwww.ComedyCenter.org in the coming months.

“This festival is a celebration of all things comedy” says Malachi Livermore, the National Comedy Center’s Director of Programming and Guest Experiences. “It offers something for everyone – from a free kids’ comedy show and a series of discussions about the comedic arts, to some of the best stand-up comedians that the nation has to offer, and the opening of an Ernie Kovacs Centennial exhibit featuring never-before-seen archives.  And there is still more to come.”

As an enhancement to this year’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, the National Comedy Center is once again partnering with the world-renowned Chautauqua Institution, located on nearby Chautauqua Lake, New York, for a comedy-themed week during the Institution’s summer season, which will run prior to the festival: July 29 through August 3. Events and speakers will explore how comedy changes us and, in turn, society, and the potential of comedy to change minds and influence decision-making. Programming details will be released in the coming months. For more information and reservations, visit CHQ.org.

Last year’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival featured the grand opening of the National Comedy Center and featured Amy Schumer, Lily Tomlin and a panel of original “Saturday Night Live” performers and writers including Dan Aykroyd, Laraine Newman and Alan Zweibel.

The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival is presented by the National Comedy Center and embodies Lucille Ball’s vision for her hometown — Jamestown, New York, to be a destination for the celebration of the comedic arts and to showcase new comedic talent from around the country. The festival attracts over 15,000 attendees annually from nearly every state in the country, who come together to share laughter while honoring the craft and contributors on stage at dozens of venues throughout Jamestown, including the National Comedy Center and the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.

Now in its 28th year, the festival has featured comedy’s greatest stars and rising young comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Trevor Noah, Lily Tomlin, Jay Leno, Amy Schumer, Brian Regan, Lewis Black, W. Kamau Bell, Jim Gaffigan, Paula Poundstone, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, the Smothers Brothers and more than one hundred other comedic artists.

National Comedy Center Named a ‘Best New Attraction’

The National Comedy Center recently took second out of twenty “Best New Attractions” in the country, in USA TodayCondé Nast Traveler called the National Comedy Center “One of the best museums in the country,” while comedy website The Interrobang named the design team of the National Comedy Center second on its list of “Innovators Who Changed Comedy” in 2018. Visitors from all 50 states and nine countries have given the Center a rare 5/5 rating on TripAdvisor in just its first six months of operation.

The National Comedy Center opened August 1, 2018 in Jamestown, New York as the nation’s first state-of-the-art museum dedicated to sharing the vital story of comedy in America. Based on the vision of Jamestown native Lucille Ball for her hometown to become a destination for the celebration of comedy, the National Comedy Center showcases comedy’s great minds and unique voices, from Charlie Chaplin to David Chappelle. As a non-profit cultural institution, the National Comedy Center was created with a $50 million investment, funded by a mix of federal, state and private philanthropic support, including partnership with I LOVE NEW YORK ™, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State’s Empire State Development.

The National Comedy Center features exclusive collections and world-class exhibits that give comedy fans an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at the time-honed creative processes that have elevated comedy entertainment to an art form. Over 50 innovative exhibitions across 37,000 square feet of space enable visitors to take an interactive journey through comedy history, from early vaudeville to the latest viral memes. Cutting-edge personalization technology makes the entire experience unique. Throughout the experience, visitors gain a profound appreciation for comedy icons and innovators, as well as for the tremendous influence of humor on how we think, live and laugh.

Design for the National Comedy Center was led by the most prominent cultural and interactive design firms in the world, whose portfolios collectively include the award-winning 9/11 Memorial Museum, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, The College Football Hall of Fame, SNL: The Experience, and more.

The National Comedy Center also operates the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, which explores the lives, careers and legacy of the “First Couple of Comedy,” and the incredible impact they had on the world.

Stay connected to the National Comedy Center:

Website: www.comedycenter.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nationalcomedycenter/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LucilleBallComedyFestival/

Follow on Twitter and Instagram at @ntlcomedycenter

 

National Comedy Center, 203 W. 2nd Street, Jamestown, NY, 716-484-2222, www.ComedyCenter.org.

 

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Apple Vacations Offers Kids-Stay Free Deals at 50 All-Inclusives in Caribbean, Mexico & Central America

February 22, 2019
mex-rivieramaya-052908 223e2 (c) Karen Rubin-xcaret-dancer

Families will delight in a visit to Xcaret archeological themepark to learn about Mexican heritage during a stay on the Riviera Maya, Mexico. Apple Vacations is offering kids-stay free deals at all-inclusives in Mexico, Caribbean and Central America © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Newtown Square, PA–With bookings surging for spring and summer family travel, Apple Vacations is offering kids-stay-free offers at more than 50 all-inclusive properties throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. Sample promotional offers include:

Caribbean

  • Two kids stay free at Dreams Dominicus La Romana*in the Dominican Republic
  • Up to two kids 12 and under stay free at Melia Caribe Tropical Resort**and The Level at Melia Caribe Tropical** in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  • Kids and teens aged 4 – 17 stay free at Moon Palace Jamaica*** in Ocho Rios
  • Two kids stay free at Now Larimar Punta Cana*and Now Onyx Punta Cana* in the Dominican Republic
  • Up to two kids 12 and under stay free at Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort**and The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana** in the Dominican Republic
  • Kids stay free at Riu Negril****or Riu Ocho Rios**** in Jamaica
  • Two kids stay free at Sunscape Cove Montego Bay*and Sunscape Splash Montego Bay* in Jamaica
  • Two kids stay free at Sunscape Puerto Plata*in the Dominican Republic

 Mexico

  • Kids and teens aged 4 – 17 stay free at Cozumel Palace***
  • Two kids stay free at Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa*
  • Two kids stay free at Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta*
  • Kids and teens aged 4 – 17 stay free at Moon Palace Cancun***and The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun***
  • Two kids stay free at Now Amber Puerto Vallarta*
  • Two kids stay free at Reflect Krystal Grand Los Cabos*
  • Two kids stay free at Reflect Krystal Grand Nuevo Vallarta*in Riviera Nayarit
  • Two kids stay free at Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa*

 Central America

  • Two kids stay free at Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica*
  • Two kids stay free at Dreams Playa Bonita Panama*
  • Kids stay free at Riu Guanacaste**** in Costa Rica
  • Kids stay free at Riu Playa Blanca****in Panama

* Valid for select travel dates Aug. 18 – Dec. 22, 2019 on bookings received anytime

** Valid for select travel dates May 1 – Dec. 21, 2019 on bookings received by Feb. 15, 2019

*** Valid for bookings and travel on select dates now through Dec. 23, 2019

**** Valid for bookings and travel on select dates May 1 – Dec. 23, 2019

Visit www.AppleVacations.com for a full list of participating resorts and other enticing offers designed to create lasting memories for the entire family without breaking the bank.

 

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Where to Go in 2019: USTOA Reveals Top Destinations, Travel Trends

February 7, 2019
Venice_082518_576e2(c) Karen Rubin

Venice, Italy. USTOA named Italy as the top destination for 2019, but also raised concern about the impact of overtourism in the most popular places, like Venice. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Tour operator members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) named Italy the most popular or “hot” destination for travelers in 2019, in a recent survey conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

The top 10 “hot” destinations for the coming year also included Iceland, which ranked second, followed by Japan, Vietnam, Australia, France, Spain, Colombia, Cambodia and Portugal.

USTOA tour operator members also identified their top 10 off-the-beaten path or emerging destinations that they see gaining popularity in 2019: Iceland ranked first, Cambodia ranked second, followed by Croatia, Colombia, Vietnam, Portugal, Bhutan, Bolivia, Myanmar, and Ethiopia.

“It’s interesting see five destinations – Iceland, Cambodia, Colombia, Vietnam and Portugal – appear on both the hot destinations and emerging destinations lists,” added Terry Dale, President and CEO of USTOA. “This tells us that off-the-beaten path travel experiences continue to grow in popularity among travelers.”

Demand for immersive, culturally rich travel programs continue to remain high. Roughly 82% of members offer art and culture travel experiences. The art and culture category was also the highest ranked experiential program for travelers in 2017, based on volume of sales. Two thirds of membership offer honeymoon and romance programs, 63% of members offer adventure programs, and more than half (56%) offer multi-generational family programs.

Economic Impact and Growth Ahead

According to the study, the tour operator members of USTOA project to close out 2018 with sales reaching $18.7 billion dollars, representing 9.8 million individual travelers.

Furthermore, member operators are extremely confident about business in the year ahead: 100% of responding tour operator members anticipate growth in sales in 2019.

“Since the first PwC study was commissioned in 2012, it’s the first time we’ve seen such a bullish response with our entire membership projecting growth ahead,” said Dale. “It’s even more encouraging that more than half of members (56%) forecast growth of sales ranging from seven to 10% or more in 2019, indicating a potential boom year.”

While the Active Members of USTOA view the upcoming year with optimism, they also addressed the global risks that could impact the industry over the next three years. Terrorism topped the list with 17% of members responding they are “extremely concerned.”  However, this level of concern is a considerable drop compared to the 2016 PwC study when more than half of member (59%) were “extremely concerned.”

Political instability and overtourism, a new category this year, were the next two global risks that members were “extremely concerned” about, as named by 13% of survey respondents.

In addition, tour operator members projected that roughly 63% of total packages sold in 2018 were through travel agencies, “Reinforcing the critical role of travel advisors in the continued success of members’ businesses,” Dale cited.

When asked whose traveling, tour operator members responded that about half (48%) of their customer base are 51 to 70 years of age. The next largest category was age 36 to 50 years representing 20% of customers. Gender is split evenly with 51% female and 49% male.  Within the escorted/guided and custom tour category, female passengers were represented slightly higher at 59%.

The research was released at USTOA’s 40th Annual Conference & Marketplace, held at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge in Phoenix AZ, November 26-30, 2018.

U.S. Tour Operators Association members, representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.

For more information on USTOA, visit www.ustoa.com, call 212-599-6599, or email information@ustoa.com.

 

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NYC Must-See Week Jan. 21-Feb. 10 Features 2-For-1 Admissions to 57 Experiences

January 16, 2019
nyc-museummile_20170613_154e2 (c) karen rubin-guggenheim

Take advantage of NYC Must-See Week, offering 2-for-1 admission to 57 experiences including iconic NYC attractions like the architectural gem, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Frank Lloyd Wright building, celebrating its 60th anniversary © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

Tickets are on sale for NYC Must-See Week. Now in its third year, the program has expanded greatly and offers 2-for-1 admission to 57 unique experiences including iconic NYC attractions, popular and lesser-known sites, historic locations, culturally diverse museums, unexpected tours, sightseeing cruises, varied performances and more. A complete list of participants can be reviewed and tickets—valid from January 21 through February 10—can be purchased by visiting nycgo.com/mustseeweek.

“NYC Must-See Week gives locals and visitors inspiration and motivation to get out and explore the City’s leading attractions, cultural organizations, performing arts and more,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. “Fifty-seven 2-for-1 deals across the five boroughs provide world-class offerings at an unbelievable value.”

During NYC Must-See Week, there are options for everyone, including:

  • Immersive, one-of-a-kind experiences: Go underwater without ever getting wet at National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey in Times Square or test your espionage skills at Spyscape: Interactive Spy Museum, also in Midtown Manhattan.
  • Observation decks: Travel to the top of the Empire State Building Experience or book the One World Observatory for stunning cityscape views from Midtown Manhattan or Lower Manhattan.
  • Tranquil retreats: Seek reprieve in the greenest borough, the Bronx, at The New York Botanical Garden or enjoy serenity at antebellum Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden in Lenox Hill, Manhattan.
  • Architectural gems: Discover authentic and groundbreaking Himalayan architecture at Staten Island’s Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art or visit the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Frank Lloyd Wright building, celebrating its 60th anniversary.
  • Museum Mile mainstays: Visit the aptly themed Museum of the City of New York or Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum*.
  • World-class museums beyond Fifth Avenue: Consider options such as Intrepid Sea, Air & Space MuseumMuseum of Modern Art (MoMA), Rubin Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum.
  • Cultural heritage museums: Uncover lesser-known cultural organizations Museum of Chinese in America and the Museum at Eldridge Street Synagogue.
  • Family-friendly activities: Enjoy Poppy’s Best Day Ever at DreamWorks Trolls the Experience, zipline at the Bronx Zoo or catch the winter production Odd Day Rain at Tada! Youth Theater.
  • Waterfront wonder: Embark on Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises and Hornblower Cruises & Events, two established musts, or board upscale Bateaux New York to elevate the experience with bubbly.
  • Historical enrichment: Step back in time at Revolutionary War–era Fraunces Tavern Museum or take a fact-filled Lower Manhattan Tours walk, followed by a visit to the 9/11 Tribute Museum.
  • Behind-the-scenes diversions: Partake in the magic and significance of Carnegie Hall Tours, Madison Square Garden All Access Tour or tradition of a famed sports franchise with Yankee Stadium Tours.
  • Pop culture: Reserve On Location ToursThe Tour at NBC Studios or a spot with the stars at Madame Tussauds New York.
  • Music and performing arts: Attend the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln CenterNew York City Ballet, Inc. or Dance Entropy.
  • Global connections in NYC: Tour United Nations headquarters or enjoy the melodic Distinguished Concerts International New York.

*Editor’s note at time of publishing: due to the ongoing federal government shutdown, this museum’s participation is pending until further notice.

NYC Must-See Week is produced in partnership with AARP. It will be promoted through out-of-home media across the five boroughs, print and digital advertising, NYC taxicab commercials, content on NYCgo.com and social media posts across regional travel and lifestyle influencer accounts and the organization’s verified handle @nycgo with the hashtag #NYCMustSeeWeek.

Last month, NYC & Company announced the alignment of three signature programs with a new initiative, NYC Winter OutingSM. From January 21 through February 10, NYC Must-See WeekNYC Restaurant Week® (concludes February 8) and NYC Broadway WeekSM will create an irresistible draw for domestic and international travelers as well as NYC residents looking to experience a curated selection of the best of New York City activities, dining and entertainment on a dime. For additional information, interested consumers can visit nycgo.com/winterouting.

 

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2-For-1 Broadway Tickets During NYC Broadway Week, Jan. 21-Feb. 8

January 16, 2019
nyc-broadway theater_111918_228e2(c) karen rubin

NYC Broadway Week, January 21 through February 10, 2019, is when theater goers have the opportunity to purchase 2-for-1 tickets to 24 acclaimed Broadway shows © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

NYC Broadway Week tickets are now on sale. The popular biannual program, now in its ninth year, will run January 21 through February 10, 2019, offering visitors and New Yorkers the opportunity to purchase 2-for-1 tickets to 24 acclaimed Broadway shows. Of the productions, 11 are new program participants, including: Tony Award® –Winning Best Musical The Book of Mormon; critically acclaimed drama The Ferryman; modern, LGBTQ+ comedy The Prom; and star-studded production True West, among other highly sought-after shows. Tickets for NYC Broadway Week can be purchased now at nycgo.com/broadwayweek.

“Broadway is synonymous with New York City and NYC Broadway Week is the perfect way to discover and experience the world’s best theater at an extraordinary value,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company.

The 24 shows participating in NYC Broadway Week Winter 2019 are:

  • Aladdin
  • Anastasia
  • The Band’s Visit
  • Beautiful – The Carole King Musical
  • The Book of Mormon**
  • The Cher Show**
  • Chicago The Musical
  • Choir Boy**
  • Come From Away
  • Dear Evan Hansen**
  • The Ferryman**
  • Frozen
  • King Kong**
  • Kinky Boots
  • The Lion King
  • Mean Girls**
  • My Fair Lady
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Pretty Woman**
  • The Prom**
  • True West**
  • Waitress
  • The Waverly Gallery**
  • Wicked

(*Subject to availability. Blackout dates may apply. **New participants in NYC Broadway Week.)

“We are so proud to again partner with NYC & Company for NYC Broadway Week, which is such a celebrated program,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League. “With nearly three weeks of 2-for-1 tickets and a wide variety of productions including family friendly shows, creative revivals and exciting new works, it’s a great time to go to the theatre.”

NYC Broadway Week is produced by NYC & Company in partnership with AARP, Audience Rewards, The Broadway League, Telecharge and Ticketmaster.

Since its launch in January 2011, NYC Broadway Week has cumulatively sold more than 1,225,000 tickets, generating nearly $84 million in revenue for Broadway. The program, now in its ninth year, welcomes travelers and locals to experience globally renowned, only-in-NYC theater at a value, benefiting the 87,000 strong local Broadway community and bolstering the greater NYC tourism industry. According to The Broadway League, 7.6 million visitors purchased tickets to one or more Broadway shows in the 2017–2018 season.

Last month, NYC & Company announced the alignment of three signature programs with a new initiative, NYC Winter Outing. From January 21 through February 10, NYC Broadway Week, NYC Restaurant Week (concludes February 8), and NYC Must-See Week will create an irresistible draw for domestic and international travelers as well as NYC residents looking to experience a curated selection of the best of New York City entertainment, dining and activities on a dime. For additional information, visit nycgo.com/winterouting.

Tickets for NYC Broadway Week can be purchased now at nycgo.com/broadwayweek.

 

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Reservations Now Open for NYC Restaurant Week Jan. 21-Feb. 8

January 16, 2019
Shalom Japan Restaurant, Brooklyn

Dining at Shalom Japan, one of the uniquely Brooklyn restaurants that combines traditional Jewish and Japanese cuisine. Locals and visitors alike can take advantage of NYC Restaurant Week, Jan. 21-Feb. 8 © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NYC & Company has launched reservations for NYC Restaurant Week and ticket sales for NYC Broadway Week and NYC Must-See Week. This is the first year that the programs have all launched reservations and ticket sales at the same time, and will also go live at the same time on January 21, under a new umbrella program titled, NYC Winter Outing.

NYC Restaurant Week reservations are now open at nycgo.com. Now in its 27th year, the highly anticipated program provides the opportunity to:

  • Dine 17 daysJanuary 21 through February 8, 2019*
  • Enjoy two-course prix-fixe lunches and brunches for $26 and three-course prix-fixe dinners for $42**
  • Explore nearly 400 restaurants among 41 distinct neighborhoods, across all five boroughs
  • Discover 33 individual cuisines
  • View a full list of participants, browse menus and collections, and book reservations now at nycgo.com/restaurantweek

(*Saturdays excluded, Sundays optional; **Beverages, gratuities and taxes not included; brunch optional)

This season’s program features 26 new restaurant participants: 10 Corso Como Restaurant & Café, Bistro Pierre Lapin, Bluebird London, Brooklyn Chop House, Cafe Clover, Fine&Rare, Freemans, Harold’s, Henry at Life Hotel, Il Mulino New York – Tribeca, La Goulue Restaurant, La Sirene UWS, L’Adresse, Ladurée, Le Rivage, Merakia, Morandi, Nonna Beppa, Petite Boucherie, Rahi, STK Rooftop, Tarallucci e Vino East Village, The Eddy, The Loyal, Wallflower, Woo SoHo.

Visitors can browse restaurants based on NYC & Company–created collections, available at nycgo.com, including NYC Classics, Fireside Feasts, Raise the Steaks, Best-Kept Secrets, Squad Goals, Dinner Is the Show, Expense It, Sunday Brunch.

NYC Restaurant Week brand partnerships include booking partner OpenTable and Wine Spectator. For the benefit of wine lovers, NYC & Company has partnered with Wine Spectator to identify participating restaurants that have been honored by Wine Spectator’s prestigious Restaurant Awards program. Wine Spectator wineglass icons on nycgo.com will indicate the level of award the restaurant earned in 2018.

Diners can follow @nycgo and @nycrestaurantweek on Instagram and @nycgo on Facebook and Twitter for NYC Restaurant Week content.

Furthermore, locals and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of NYC & Company’s newest program, NYC Winter OutingSM, January 21 through February 10, when three of NYC & Company’s signature programs will align for the first time: NYC Restaurant Week (concludes February 8), NYC Broadway WeekSM and NYC Must-See WeekSM. Unique NYC Winter Outing mini-itineraries and sales for all three programs are now live at nycgo.com. Hotel savings are also available as the winter season offers the most attractive rates of the year. For details on NYC Winter Outing and to book experiences, visit nycgo.com/nycwinterouting.

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