Stephanie Abrams' Travel Blog
Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams Blog – Nationally Synidcated Radio Show Host
When You Announce a Sponsor’s Name, You Should Probably Get It Right: “Daniel Chester, French Sculptor” is Incorrect!!!”
August 13th, 2018

I live in Berkshire County, in western Massachusetts, where we are blessed with a myriad of World Class museums, historic homes, theaters, and attractions of all kinds, plus places that foodies would love and fabulous places to stay like Blantyre in Lenox, MA, a Cinderella castle-like experience that generally requires a trip to Europe to experience!  One of the places that gets much less attention that it deserves is Chesterwood.

Chesterwood was the summer home of Daniel Chester French who was the sculptor behind the  creation of the statue  of Lincoln in the Chair found inside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. You can visit Chesterwood, the historic Victorian mansion, his sculpting studio and walk the paths and trails through flowers and woods in Stockbridge, MA. Chesterwood is about  a quarter of a mile down the road from the Norman Rockwell Museum and a hop-and-a-jump from The Mount, the summer home of author Edith Wharton. Clearly, you could plan to visit all  three in one day if you get an early start and it will be a day you will long remember.

This morning, I was listening to WAMC, the NPR radio station out  of Albany, NY, while I was doing some mindless tasks that didn’t require my full attention. A young woman’s voice came on the air to read their “endowment” information 12-second spots that are positioned as “non-commercials” but do exude the information related to delivering the donors messaging. No matter.

But what does matter is that Albany is about an hour away from Stockbridge and you’d think that someone there would know something about Chesterwood as this is what listeners were  directed to. . . .

“. . .visit Chesterwood, home of Daniel Chester, French sculptor. . . ”

What we learned from that phrase is that Daniel Chester, a sculptor who is French. . . . etc., etc.

No. We should have heard:

“. . . visit Chesterwood, home of Daniel Chester French.”   DANIEL CHESTER FRENCH. . . THAT’S  THE MAN’S NAME. AMERICAN DANIEL CHESTER FRENCH WHO SUMMERED IN STOCKBRIDGE FOR OVER 30 YEARS AND PLACE WHERE HE CONCEIVED/CREATED THE STATUE OF THE SEATED LINCOLN SEEN AT THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL!

NO. DANIEL IS  NOT FRENCH. If  anything, he is a member of the French family which makes me wonder if he was a member of the Ffrench (two f’s) of western Ireland. There is a roundabout in Galway called the “Ffrench Roundabout.” I really have to know more about Daniel Chester French’s family history. Clearly, he was not Native American so his family emigrated from somewhere across the Atlantic. Could well have been Ireland even though he’s a “French,” and not a Frenchman!

Last year, we were treated to an announcement on that same station that told us that an all “CHOP-in” program of piano etudes would be performed at Tanglewood by an acclaimed pianist.  No, it’s not  CHOP-in. . .It’s pronounced “SHOW-PAN” even though it’s spelled “Chopin.”

Somebody needs to educate those they assign the responsibility of delivering “endowment” messages. I cringe when I hear items like the above as they both fall into  the realm of why people travel to the Berkshires and, when it comes to all things travel related, I am truly an expert. . . even on the pronunciation of Chopin and knowing what Chesterwood  and Daniel Chester French  are all about!

Just wanted to set the record straight  on behalf of a yet another valuable tourism location in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts. Come see us, y’all!


TripAdvisor Requests Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams to Reply to Questions on Clontarf Castle
August 13th, 2018

TripAdvisor, in its mission to provide you with accurate and up-to-date information to answer your very good questions, reached out to me to provide  credible travel information.  You can find the question at TripAdvisor with my answer but for your convenience, the valuable and accurate info is presented here. You can also view a video of Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams Episode 8: "Castle Hopping" if you click here in which I interview the castle's general manager and give you a visual overview of this Dublin property.

With pleasure, I offer you the following:
Firstly, you are making such a marvelous choice for your  Dublin stay. Clontarf Castle, while modern and comfortable in every way, will celebrate its 1000th anniversary of the first castle on that site in 1172 and the current castle is in its third century of existence. . . but you'd never feel inconvenienced as a guest in this fairytale hotel that offers every amenity and courtesy from a wonderful staff.
As for your  questions:

1. Clontarf Castle is located on its own estate in the midst of a residential neighborhood "suburb" of Dublin. You have the quietude of being in the countryside once you drive through the majestic gates and past the stone gatehouse that I could easily make into a livable cottage for me to move in to! That cottage is the guardian of the main street just  outside of the gates and from there it's a healthy walk of about 50 minutes to an hour on foot. A taxi ride is about 10 to 15 minutes.

2. There is a bus that  runs from Clontarf to Dublin Town and it's the only bus into Dublin on that route. The bus number is 130.  The bus trip is 20 to to 25 minutes. The bus stop is a 5 minute walk from Clontarf Castle and the staff will set you in the right direction to pick up the bus. The cost of the bus is 2.85 euros each way per person and, very importantly, you MUST HAVE EXACT CHANGE.  Since it's going to cost you 5.70 euros one way for 2, you might want to splurge and take a taxi, maybe at least one way, and have door to door service. Also, if  you are a small group of three or four people, taking a taxi becomes cost-effective.

3. About a month ago, Clontarf Castle added a new and wonderful service for guests! they will offer you a smartphone that they call 'Handyphone' that you can use to call home, use the internet to find shops, restaurants and anything else you'd use the web for. This service is FREE to guests while in residents. Be sure to return the phone when you check out!!

4. Re: bottled water. There is a little fridge in each accommodation and awaiting you on top of the fridge are a couple of bottles of complimentary water. There are ice buckets and you can take advantage of that for your
'cool drink' needs. Your bellman will be happy to fill your ice bucket on arrival.

5. As mentioned, Clontarf Castle is in a residential neighborhood and once you enter the grounds you'd never know there's a busy street at the gatehouse entrance but with busy streets comes the pathway to shops and restaurants. While you will want to dine at least one night  at the hotel (maybe more once you experience the cuisine!) in the second floor dining room and in the bar lounge which is an experience in the romance of  the era of knights  and damsels, you will find small and boutique shops and restaurants a 15 minute walk from Clontarf Castle.

6. There is great advantage in booking directly with the hotel. Having a direct relationship with the hotel helps  to assure that there are no missteps  in the reservation process and no negative surprises when you show up! Most hotel rates in Ireland are inclusive of a  full Irish-breakfast, service and taxes. Some hotels, especially in bigger cities, have taken to offering 'room only' rates. If you're a person who wants/needs to have breakfast before facing the day, especially a day  filled with physical challenges imposed by sightseeing and shopping and maybe a round of golf, you want to take the B&B room rate because it's VERY DIFFICULT, to find a place for breakfast in Ireland. In some of the bigger cities, you can seek out a café open for breakfast but that's not part of Irish culture so, for the most part the only place you will find breakfast is in a hotel or by going to a grocery story and buying milk, cereal, cheese, crackers, fruits, whatever, and finding a place to chow down! If you eat a full Irish breakfast, you may want a piece of fruits, stop for an ice cream cone or scone and tea or a bowl of soup at around 4pm and that will take you to dinner! Or you may not need a thing after that high-protein breakfast at your  hotel. Check out "deals/packages" at their website at www.clontarfcastle.ie. You can book online there as well and you'll find contact info. If you have questions, you will find Vijay, their Head Concierge, extremely helpful.

7. There was a time when the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus did a pick-up at Clontarf Castle but the company, since it came under new management, no longer does that. You have to go to Dublin City Centre (O'Connell Street next to the Gresham Hotel) to connect with the spot where you should start. When you get there, ask for the management and tell them that they'd have more business if they made a pick-up at Clontarf Castle as their guests expect a bit more pampering than the Average Bear!

8. Now here a couple of items you didn't ask but you should know:
a. Clontarf Castle is on the north side of Dublin which puts it close to Dublin Airport making for a quick getaway on your departure day and a quick check-in on your arrival day when you really  want to get to your hotel to freshen-up!
b.  If  you decide to rent a car, parking is just outside of the front entrance to the castle and parking is free. This also gives you  the flexibility do  some regional sightseeing to places like Malahide  Castle, Newgrange (older than the pyramids) and take a bit longer drive to Co. Cavan to the town of Ballyjamesduff to visit the Cavan Co. Museum which is an amazing place complete with a reproduction of the trenches of WWI in France where many men and women of Cavan served!
Say hello to Savina Donohoe for me!
c. You might want to watch the video of my interview with the GM of Contarf Castle at Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams. Have a look at  Episode 7: Castle Hopping which is archived at YouTube. That will give you personal insights into the guest's experience at Clontarf Castle.

I'd wish you a wonderful visit at Clontarf Castle but I know in advance that that  its exactly what you will have!

Gotta Fly Now! sm
Stephanie Abrams

Global Travel Expert


Great News! Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams Now Reaches 90 Million Subscribers to iHeart Radio
June 17th, 2018

BizTalkRadio Network’s Executive Vice President,  Scott Miller, and VP of Programming, Kelly  Kantz, have announced that Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams and the programming of BizTalkRadio Network are now available to the 90 million subscribers to iHeart Radio and iHeart Media carrying the programming live! Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams, which debuted on BizTalkRadio’s predecessor BusinessTalkRadio Network, on July 7, 2002, starts its 17th year on the air coast-to-coast on terrestrial radio July 1, 2018 broadcasting live in the 6-9pm ET  time slot in all time zones through affiliate radio stations  and simulcast online at sAbrams.com BizTV.com and, now iHeart Radio!

Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams is exclusively about travel of all kinds including leisure, pleasure, groups, special interest travel, sports travel, family travel, business travel including incentive trips, conferences, conventions and meetings and focuses on travel domestically and globally, has grown from “one-show-one-hour” to two (2) shows, since the debut of Traveling Feet in 2005 which underwent a name change in 2010 to ‘Travelers411,’ with each show presenting 3 hours of new programming each weekend that are podcast for a year and archived with show notes, Directory features, Forums features and more “forever” at sAbrams.com and Travelers411.com.

In February, 2018, Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams debuted across America on TV. Episodes of Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams are archived online at BizTV.com with commercials and at a YouTube Channel commercial-free.


Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams Broadcasts 10th Episode to 40 Million Households on BizTV Network!