Stephanie Abrams' Travel Blog
Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams Blog – Nationally Synidcated Radio Show Host
Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams Decrees November “Curacao Month!”
November 10th, 2019

Under the sea through the windows at Ocean Lens at the Curaçao Sea Aquarium in Willemstad, Capital and UNESCO Heritage Site

Home office of Curaçao Tourist Board, Willemstad, Curaçao

We’ve just returned from twelve days in Curaçao. Regrettably, it just wasn’t enough time to do everything and see everything that needed our attention! Boredom is not one of the things you’ll find in Curaçao! If you have a special interest, you’ll find paths, lanes, country roads and smooth as silk roads that lead you in your pursuit of whatever it is that beckons you! Since we’ve returned from Curaçao with seventy-five (75) recorded audio segments and discs filled with video and still shots that we produced on location with chefs, hoteliers, restaurateurs, artists, storytellers, historians, shop owners, tour guides, and distillers of the sea-blue liqueur, now available in a variety of colors, named for the island it represents: Curaçao. The gorgeous landscapes, and seascapes with coves and gorgeous beaches, are endless and there are over seven hundred (700) artists and artisans on the island so if you are looking for a unique gift to take home with you, there’s no lack of fabulous hand-crafted one-of-a-kind practical and decorative items, including handcrafted linens and fashion accessories and decorative items waiting to take a flight home with you. In order to do justice to Curaçao in helping you get the information you need to plan your visit there and focusing on making your travel plans now, we are declaring November as “Curaçao Month.”

Weather Station at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort in Curacao. The attached coconut tells all! Just note that Curaçao is not in the ‘hurricane belt’ & earthquakes are not expected!

This is perfect timing for travelers to immerse themselves in what Curaçao has to offer in order to take advantage of the run-up period to the holidays which I always refer to as “Smart-Season Travel” when you get the best of the destination at the sharpest pricing for air transportation, hotels and everything you need at the destination due to the Law of Supply & Demand. Once the holiday season and winter rates kick in, you’ll get excellent value in Curaçao but, with more interest in the destination by holiday-makers predominantly from North Americans and Europeans looking for sunny breakaways, more demand always results in increased pricing. You’ll still find that value for dollars invested in your travels to Curaçao give you the return that will exceed your expectations but if budget is a concern, pack your travels in before mid-December, after Easter, and around the summer season when Europeans target the island during school breaks.  You can still find, at any time of year, vacation accommodations that meet every lifestyle and budget so for the determined traveler, even on a budget, Curaçao is can still be a good fit .

One of many sorbet colored unique buildings in Curaçao

If you’re interest is history, architecture, marine life, water sports, outdoor adventure, fabulous food, photography, music, dance, arts and crafts of every variety including inspiration for your own arts, crafts, culinary interest, unique museums like the Anne Frank Museum (remember this is a Dutch destination) where you’ll find the reproduction of the bookcase and exhibit behind the bookcase similar to the experience of visiting the Anne Frank Haus in Amsterdam, the Maritime Museum, a visit to an ostrich farm and an aloe plantation or find a palm tree and a good book at Mensing Caminada and catch up on  literature. . . reading it or writing it based on your experiences in Curaçao, you will have no lack of places to dive into. . . as well as diving, itself,  into the crystal clear waters that surround this amazing island for snorkeling and fabulous SCUBA experiences!

Works of art by Curaçao artist Francis Sling,  as well as other local artists, on display on buildings throughout Curaçao. Walking around Willemstad is a daily outdoor art-walk festival!

And now, with twenty-three (23) non-stop flights weekly from New York’s JFK (JetBlue & American Airlines), North Carolina’s Charlotte Douglas International Airport (American Airlines), Miami International Airport (American Airlines & Aruba Airlines) and Newark, NJ’s Liberty International Airport (United Airlines)  to Willemstad, the UNESCO Heritage Site capital city of Curaçao, and connecting routes from all over the US  to JFK, CLT, MIA and EWR, it’s never been easier to get to Curaçao and home again.                                                                                                                       

The stage at BLUES, a unique dining-with-great-music venue, is above the bar area in its over-the-sea building at Avila Beach Hotel in Willemstad (and the place rocks!)

Poolside at Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort offers relaxed luxury.

You’ll find  show notes at with links to archived audio of guests interviewed in Curaçao and, at, you’ll find photo galleries, podcasts of every  interview after it broadcasts nationally, a Directory for every guest and more information in FORUMS.

Take a fun sightseeing tour  around Willemstad!

Join us  on Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams and Travelers411 On Air and Online for Curaçao Month! You’ll enjoy the educational ramp-up and the tips that will help you maximize your visit to Curaçao! And check back here at for updated stories and photos celebrating Curaçao! Month What fun!

Adventures Begin with Friends Met When Traveling Including Capers in History
November 8th, 2019

Stephanie Abrams in the doorway of Castle Leslie, Co. Monaghan, Ireland

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams talks with Mark Leslie

at Glasnevin Cemetery, Co. Dublin

This is a most unexpected story of “fake news.” It’s not about the 21st century variety of fake news but of the World War II variety, when the British government created fake radio stations on frequencies available to German citizens and Nazi soldiers. One of the featured celebrity broadcasters used the codename “Vicky.” She was Vicky of the Three Kisses as she would pucker up and send smooching sounds of three kisses to her radio audience with monologues in German. In essence, Vicky was the Tokyo Rose of Europe aimed at Nazi soldiers.

Vicky was, in fact, Agnes Bernelle, a beautiful German woman of Jewish heritage whose family left Germany and who became a talented actress and singer. As circumstances would have it, Agnes had the opportunity to use her unique talents on fake radio stations to influence the outcome of the war. In addition to that legacy, she also presented the world with my good friend, her son, Christopher Mark Leslie, better known just  as “Mark.”

Today, Mark Leslie sent me an email with a link to a BBC radio interview with his mother, Agnes Bernelle, in which she gave insights into WWII fake radio and fake news. This link will take you to that radio broadcast audio. Watch the homepage of for notification of when Mark will next be on the air with me so you can hear a live broadcast discussing this amazing find after which you’ll find the broadcast conversation with Mark podcast for  a year at and archived indefinitely at  Start with listening to this bit of WWII history!  Listening to Mark’s mother tell us, in her words, her unique story of her contribution to overcoming Nazi proliferation is powerful, touching, and remarkable in that so many of you have heard Mark on the air with me dozens, if not hundreds, of times over the last 2 decades so you’ll grasp the inside link between the Mark Leslie you know from my radio shows and his mother on British fake radio stations!

That is my handsome,  creative, visionary friend, Mark Leslie pictured herein. While Mark has been cameoed in episodes of Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams, we are in production of an episode focused on ‘Characters with Characters’ I have met in my  travels. Mark will be featured in the episode.

Mark,  lives in Dún Laoghaire, pronounced Dun Leary, a residential and business region abutting Dublin City Centre where his business, Martello Media, is based. Mark’s leadership has led to Martello  Media creating and installing amazing experiences for visitors at attractions in Ireland, Malta, New York City, and Japan among others. In Ireland, you can visit Glasnevin Cemetery Visitors Centre, a place where so many political leaders of Ireland, poets, musicians, literary figures and others important to Irish history and culture including Eamon De Velera, Michael Collins, Brendan Behan, and so many more, are laid to rest; Blackrock Observatory in Cork; Dublin’s General Post Office exhibit commemorating the Easter Rising of 1916 massacre; and the Yeats exhibit at Dublin’s National Library, shown below. Clearly, he is responsible  for  spearheading some incredible exhibits that touch the lives, hearts and minds of so many through interactive educational experiences for  visitors.

Stephanie Abrams with Mark Leslie at Yeats Exhibit at National Library, Dublin.

I know Mark for  many years  now as we seem to  have been adopted by the Leslie family when they embraced us after getting to know us  when I organized our daughter’s wedding at their ancestral family home, Castle Leslie in County Monaghan. We reciprocated and adopted Mark as well! Over the years since 2003, I’ve learned so many stories directly from Mark’s amazing, and now deceased, Uncle Jack, Sir John Leslie, from Mark and his sister, Sammy, who undertook the responsibility to enhance and maintain the castle and its equestrian center as a full-time occupation on behalf of the family, providing  unique offerings for travelers and visitors. The family is a treasure chest of fascinating characters, not the least of which was Agnes Bernelle, Mark’s mother who married his father, Desmond Leslie. When you see photos of Agnes, you’ll understand where Mark got his good looks.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams (left) celebrating Uncle Jack’s (Sir John Leslie) 90th birthday at Castle Leslie with his cousin, Elizabeth, from Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Start with listening to this bit of WWII history!  It’s going to blow  your mind!

Dear Lord: How Do You Fathom Attacking & Murdering Babies, Women, Families Driving in Mexico?
November 5th, 2019

Café des Artistes, Punta Mita, Mexico

What is there to say? The pain that caring people feel at this moment of horrible tragedy after the massacre in Mexico today defies words and description.

But there is no surprise here.

I wrote the rest of this blog, all the way to the very end, and then decided to go  to the US Department of State website portion that is devoted to info on travel advisories to see, after having written my remarks, what the State Department is advising. You will find frequently updated advisories referring to many countries worldwide which are updated with some regularity. I should feel quite validated that what I wrote  to share with you today is backed up by what the US government advisory, related to Mexico and a number of other global destinations, states, especially as it relates to being out in dark places, taking random taxis instead of arranging for transportation where  there is a driver assigned, look and waiting for you specifically, meandering about after dark, and being concerned about kidnapping. I touched  on every one of  those points herein before finding that (1) the US State Department has a new category of advisory for which they have assigned the letter “K” for Kidnapping so when you see that letter, like you might see an image of a dog to let you know a place is pet-friendly, the  letter K associated with info on a country at will alert you that kidnapping is an all-t00-frequent event at the destination you are researching. You should read the government’s remarks about the safety rules for US Embassy employees stationed in Mexico by clicking on the link above . . . but my blog pretty much covers it all, so here it is:

For  years, the drug cartels made it clear that they would wreak havoc on international visitors to Mexico in order to disrupt tourism to the  destination as an method of interrupting travel to Mexico and decrease funding coming into Mexico from the power of tourism as an economic driver for the country. The idea was that the drug lords wanted the Mexican government to “lay off!” Their threat/promise was to impress upon that government that there should  be a “live and let live” relationship between the Federales and the drug lords with the offer made clear to the Mexican government that if they looked the other way and allowed them to profit from their nefarious drug dealings, the drug lords would leave the tourists in peace.  If the government was diligent in raiding the drug lords’ compounds, they would do whatever they could to frighten tourists away  which would result in a downturn in the economy and the associated taxes and fees generated by tourism.  This unimaginable, heinous crime against humanity by heartless criminals will, undoubtedly, put a damper on tourism to Mexico as it is logical that people seeing this awful tragedy and the associated graphic images and word pictures provided by journalists that are heart-wrenching on the news will think twice. . . or more. . . about whether Mexico should be in their plans.

This creates an even bigger challenge for those involved in tourism in Mexico because, this year, the President of Mexico closed down the Mexico Tourism Board. Forgive my bluntness, but it’s never a good idea  to shut down a tourism board. Tourism plays a key role in the economy of most destinations but in Mexico it is a major industry. The funding not going to running a robust tourism agency to support tourism is being invested in  building a train in Mexico that will make travel easier within Mexico. While I’m being frank, let me share with you that Mexico, now more than ever, needs a strong tourism agency to be there for ‘damage control’ to assure travelers, as we enter peak-season travel for Mexico and other warm weather destinations, that Mexico is a huge country and that they  need not be  frightened away from travel to Mexico’s unique tourism destinations. Going to  Los Cabos, Puerta Vallarta, Riviera Maya, Cancun and Cozumel have not changed a wink. Renting  a car and driving from Cancun to Mexico City has  never been a good idea. This grotesque act of evil and cowardice perpetrated on innocent people, children and babies, as horrible as it is, doesn’t surprise me as the remote areas of Mexico, even  the smooth-as-silk highways that join major areas through mountainous and rural areas, are not places that tourists and travelers should ever be.  It’s your worst nightmare of walking down a dark alley anywhere in the world.

My audiences know that I am the biggest “chicken” on the face of the earth. I won’t go ANYWHERE that I think I might not come back the same or better. But this tragic event in Mexico today would not stop me from getting on a plane to any of the tourism destinations in Mexico tomorrow. Only  a solid travel advisory from the US State Department that presented a travel warning recommending no  travel to Mexico would stop me from going there.

That being said, I have NEVER recommended that people drive in Mexico, even on their modern highways. The mountainous areas of Mexico and the remote villages have long been the strongholds of the drug cartels and banditos. These acts of terrorism do not, as a matter of course, take place in key tourism regions in Mexico where there is no place for the evil-doers to hide and no reason for them to be there. I have long advised my  audiences on radio and online and at public appearances that you can go to Mexico safely if you do the following:

Fly into a key airport city. Fly from one destination to the next within Mexico so if you are in Cancan and you want to go somewhere else in Mexico, DO NOT DRIVE THERE. Fly to your next destination.

Have a pre-arranged car transfer or reputable ground service pick you up at the airport.  Be met by a representative of a company that acknowledges that you are the person they are meeting.  If this is new for you, consider using the local representative of a global limo service you trust at home or use a travel agent to plan you air, airport transfers, hotel reservations, and sightseeing and touring so you are not randomly getting in someone’s car who may not be a professional in travel. This is so easy to do and, in Mexico, is less expensive than engaging such services in places like Monaco or other top-of-the-line expensive destinations. Mexico is still a bargain so enjoying luxury you might find unaffordable elsewhere will probably be well within your budget.

This is particularly important if you are going to a major city in Mexico and you are a key employee of a major company. You only want to get into a car where there’s someone waiting for you with a sign with your name on it. Getting into just any car or taxi has been known to end badly in the past with everything from kidnappings to robberies or worse. But, please note that I  have personal experience with less that joyful episodes in such lovely places as Milan and Rome.  “Stuff” happens, can happen, anywhere. Your job as an experienced traveler, is to pay attention to your surroundings no matter where you are, educate yourself on a destination before you go there so you know what is considered safe and what is not, and don’t check your brains at the door because you are on vacation. Note  that in the case of these women, they had, regrettably, been lulled into a comfort level because they were living in Mexico.  Regrettably, as tourists, they probably wouldn’t have been driving on that highway but now they were in Mexico living there long enough to feel like locals so safety was clearly not a matter for conscious concern today.  Worse than that, these were nice people who could never imagine that something as savage as what happened to them and their children could have descended upon them today.  No one could imagine anything like this could happen to such innocents.  Nonetheless, it is truly unthinkable.

If you don’t know a reputable car transfer service, ask your hotel to arrange for that transportation. Many have their own “hotel cars” and send a hotel-car with driver who is a hotel employee whose purpose is to transport you. You can charge the fee for this transportation directly to your hotel bill, even if the hotel has arranged for a third-party ground service or limo company, so you don’t have to arrive with a fist full of pesos or currency of whatever country you are visiting. With some services, you can pay online in advance but I prefer to pay after the service is delivered so the procedure above  is your best bet. The hotel will pay the company and you reimburse the hotel when you check out paying by credit card. I have done this often flying to Mexico on business and traveling alone as I was never comfortable getting into a taxi in a country where such rides have not always turned out well  and where my communications skills are limited if the driver doesn’t speak English or French! One of my favorite places to stay in Mexico City is the Sheraton Maria Isabel. The staff is fabulous and they have always provided safe airport-to-hotel-to-airport transportation with a comfortable luxury car and driver and all it took was one call to the hotel to sort that out! They also made arrangements for transportation for me roundtrip-hotel to my business appointments or dining plans. And because it was Mexico, the cost was a fraction of what you would pay elsewhere in the world.

If you are flying into Cancun, you might want to learn  from my personal experience.  I have always had confidence in a company owned by Javier Gonzalez who founded and heads up Agi Tours. His email address is His company operates clean, well maintained transportation from cars to vans and, since I’ve seen him last, I understand he has added a yacht to his fleet! Agi Tours provides airport transfers at Cancun International Airport and individually planned itineraries to meet your sightseeing needs. This link will take you to the results of a search for Agi Tours and you’ll note links on the first page of results you’ll find several links to our websites at and where you’ll find stories and archived audio of radio interviews about the company. You’ll note that the first two photos  that shows up are of Javier and are from our website. And if you scroll along you’ll find that photo #6 is of me with Javier! To have our websites show up on Page 1 of results at Google indicates that a significant number of travelers have visited our sites to learn more about Agi Tours as a result of our having Javier on as a guest!

Also note  that Mexicans have acquired, over decades, a reputation for never being on time for appointments. I was once told  by my business appointment that he would meet me at my hotel,  the Sheraton Maria Isabel in Mexico Cit,y at 8:30am. Because morning rush hour traffic in Mexico City is impossible, I did not want to keep him waiting so I was finished breakfast early and was waiting outside of the hotel waiting for the arrival of my appointment by  8:15am so there was no way I would be  inconveniencing him if he had arrived early as there was no “standing” area for cars picking people up and he would have had to circle about in the traffic until he came by at a time I was there awaiting him. Prepare yourself! He arrived at 11:45am! Don’t ask! And this was a client so it’s even more awkward to react normally to this kind of cultural rudeness that, not long ago, was quite normal in Mexico. Thankfully, times have changed and Mexican people have made a serious effort to operate according to the clock’s demands!

Because you can’t afford to be late to meet an arriving flight or to check-in for a departing flight, I have ALWAYS been impressed with Javier Gonzalez and Agi Tours’ employees who, in my experience, have ALWAYS been waiting fot me, always  arriving much earlier than the appointed time so that, even when I was early arriving at the meeting point in the lobby of a hotel, office building or airport arrival, the Agi Tours folks were waiting for me every single time and I didn’t have to look for  them or wait for them or be late for any plans I had in motion. Given the longevity of this company, I can’t be the only traveler whose expectations have been exceeded by Javier and Agi Tours!

The world is not a perfect place. That should not be the reason we use to stay at home and hide under our beds avoiding things we want to do. But we need to do our due diligence, keep our wits about us and use our common sense. While the angels are crying today over the terrible tragedy that took place in Mexico, please take a look at a map of Mexico. It is a huge country.  I think I  have more chance of getting struck by lightning than I have of interacting with a bandito in Mexico because of the caution I  take in how I travel. This episode today would not stop me from taking the kind of trip I would take were I going to Mexico.  But you’ll never catch me in a rental car driving around the hinterlands of Mexico. That’s never been a good idea!

Please remember that I was on a plane on September 11, 2001 with two ‘bad guys’ who were  supposed to take over the plane and crash it but because their 2 other side-kicks missed the flight from Newark International Airport to St. Louis, MO connecting to San  Antonio, TX, when the airports of America closed shortly after 9am and they had to disembark in St. Louis, they left two of  their box cutters on the floor of the plane and took Amtrak toward San Antonio. This link will take you to the story at CNN but do note that the account is not completely accurate as the first stop on this flight was my destination and TWA’s hub. When airports closed across the US that morning, my flight didn’t go onward to San Antonio taking the terrorists with it. Instead, they had to leave the airport with everyone else and I left to meet my business appointment.  Happily, I was alive to mourn the tragedy of 9/11 but could easily, so easily, have been part of the disaster. This close call did not stop me, “Chicken Little,” from flying  then or flying now. Sometimes you need to cross the street and heavy traffic can’t stop you. Just be sure to wait for a safe moment to get to the other side, use your common sense to avoid danger and don’t run in front of any oncoming 18-wheelers. One cannot plan for every eventuality but you can evaluate what dangers exist and how you can best protect yourself from them.

I offer this last tale as a prime example for those making decisions about going to Mexico. Use your common sense. Do not drive to the tourism destination you want to visit in Mexico or go exploring into the wilds of Mexico. It’s a huge  country and there are plenty of spots designed just for tourists where normal safety precautions suffice. Don’t take walks on any beach in the world at night. Even thieves take vacations! Remember Mother’s warnings about dark, narrow, unpopulated  streets and neighborhoods. These tales  of woe are the reasons that “All-Inclusive” resorts came into being so you could arrive, be in a gated community, in essence, and have everything you need from water sports to dining options to gorgeous beaches and evening entertainment so you never have to leave the resort! All-inclusives started to safeguard the lives of the visitors when locals in some destinations declared open-season on visitors. Mexico isn’t the only destination where exploring should only be done with bus loads of people in the care of local tour guides who know what is safe  and what is not!

Now reread the info at the very top of this blog and consider what is best for you!  Making yourself a prisoner-self-inflicted is not a solution.  Travel smart and travel richly!

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams Dubbed “Queen of the Northway” & “Ambassador for NYS 49th Sentate District” at Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
October 16th, 2019

From left to right: Linda Tepper  and  Louis A. Dahoda, Chamber members; NYS Senator James N. Tedisco, 49th Senate District, Queen of the Northway & Ambassador for the region travel expert Stephanie Abrams, james Lofrumento,  Chamber member, and Peter Bardunias, President & CEO of the Southern Saratoga Chamber at the Northway Rest Stop between Exits 9 and 10 on I-87

At the rest stop visitors center located between exits 9 and 10 on I-87, also known as the Adirondack Northway, in New York State, a great respite for travelers en route to NYS destinations and all points north in Canada, on October 14, 2019, those on hand and invited  NYS dignitaries in government, business and tourism witnessed a ribbon cutting and ceremony at which travel expert Stephanie Abrams was recognized for her support of this region’s tourism and was dubbed both, “Queen of the Northway” and “Ambassador for the region. The two titles were bestowed by Peter Bardunias, President & CEO of the Southern Saratoga Chamber and NYS Senator James N. Tedisco from the 49th Senate District, respectively.

New York State 49th Senate District Senator James N. Tedisco presenting Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams with NYS Senate Citation                                                                                    recognizing her support and promotion of tourism for the region.

The group was assembled to debut, at the Northway Visitors Center Rest Stop located near Clifton Park and Malta, NY,   Episode 22 of Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams which features ten destinations that Abrams designates as ‘awesome’ and leads off with insights into the features and benefits of a visit to Saratoga Springs.  An ongoing video reminder of Abrams’ TV shows was running on a continual loop at the Northway Rest Stop location as well as a promotional video highlighting Abrams TV shows and websites devoted to travel and her critically acclaimed novel, RUMORS, a book that Abrams notes is a “great read while you are traveling!”

NYS Senator James Tedisco signing the ribbon after the ceremonial ribbon cutting as Stephanie Abrams looks on.

This Northway Visitors Center acts as a major distribution center for tourism information for the region where travelers can access a wide variety of brochures and pamphlets to enhance their travel experience. “And the place is spanky-new and immaculate in a beautiful setting so it’s the kind of place you want to stop on your way north or south on I-87. It was the perfect location for this wonderful day of recognition that I so appreciated regarding what we have been doing at Abrams Hospitality Marketing to support this gorgeous region of New York State.  It  was a joy meeting and greeting those who expressed sincere appreciation for the quality and quantity of what we have done to raise awareness of this glorious region of New York State, its attractions, features and  benefits for visitors, “ Abrams concludes.

Plaque marking historic Northway trail at the Northway Visitors Center Rest Stop on I-87 between exits 9 and 10.

Turners Falls Massachusetts’ Fashion Passion Exploded with Innovative Design at Discovery Center
September 23rd, 2019

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams with Word Master and Moderator of Fashion Passion Bob McNeil

Last night, the Discovery Center in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, burst forth with creative design, fabulous fabrics, flamboyant movement, marvelous rhythms, entertaining models and Caribbean ingenuity held together with the witty banter and insightfully descriptive verbal interpretations of stunning Caribbean designer  outfits provided by fashion show moderator and word master, Bob McNeil. Fashion Passion paraded outfits that created audible oohs, ahs, and lust for scrumptious designs paraded for men and women that flowed through the hall on waves of percussion instruments  as Bob McNeil kept the program cohesive between designer fashion changes.

A visit from two Caribbean folkloric characters. . .

and an interpretive dance performance from one of the models. . . .

plus a marvelous rendition of a, “Me and Mrs. Jones,” by a special singer on the program rounded out an inspirational and entertaining evening.  Watch for calendar for the appearance of Fashion Passion in Turners Falls next year! You won’t want to miss it!

Baltimore, Maryland: Beacon of Hospitality
September 14th, 2019

If you know anything about Ireland, you know that it is in the DNA of the culture to be incredibly hospitable and you’ll, of course, find that in the tiny town of Baltimore in County Cork, Ireland where, every year, there is a great tournament of firemen who come together in this seaside town just east of Kinsale to see what fire department teams an run up ladders and row boats and perform other search and rescue tasks the fastest. But, while Baltimore, County Cork, Ireland shares the same name with Baltimore, Maryland, the derivation of the Irish town’s name is actually Baile an Tí Mhóir, which Town of the Big House, while Baltimore, Maryland is named for Lord Baltimore, the 1st Baron Baltimore, who was the visionary, George Calvert, who worked to establish Maryland as a haven for Catholics where they could practice their faith and worship without persecution.  Interestingly, while Baltimore, County Cork, and Baltimore, Maryland are at opposite ends of the spectrum from tiny town to busting metropolis, both share a history of Catholic residents, snuggle up to strategic harbors that lead to the Atlantic Ocean, and exude the level of hospitality that live up to the Irish motto that continues to be clearly evident in both destinations: “Cead Mile Failte,” Irish for “A Hundred Thousand Welcomes.”

While you’ll find people in Baltimore, Maryland whose Irish family roots go back to the days  of  the First Lord Baltimore, the city, over the  last four hundred years, reflects a spicy blend of peoples and the cultures they brought with them from wherever they emigrated from who have embraced Baltimore as their home, from recent moves to arrivals  over four centuries,  and have chosen this unique city that bubbles over with southern charm in its unique positioning between northern and southern states strategically located in the Middle Atlantic States region. What you find in twenty-first century Baltimore is a marvelous blend of Colonial American history, a rich array of cultural offerings from art to literature, music, dance and events that rejoice in all of the above, set in geographically lovely setting in Baltimore that is propelled by individuals, organizations and agencies that work diligently, persistently  and passionately to bring to residents and visitors valuable experiences that represent the best souvenirs one can take away from a visit to this unique destination.

Baltimore Inner Harbor

As a world traveler, I can tell you that there isn’t a city in the world, with the exceptions of Vatican City and Monte Carlo, Monaco, an independent principality abutting the French Riviera, where the Prince’s regulations make administration of what happens in every nook and cranny a matter of decree, that doesn’t have streets or neighborhoods that need to be the focus of improvement and that are in evidence in the most visited and praised cultural capitals on the planet. Just take a drive from the airport to an upscale island resort almost anywhere and you’ll quickly identify where a destination needs to focus on improvement. Happily, while agencies of governments who care about their constituencies work on making those improvements, there is, in general, no negative effect on visitors coming to those destinations as it is rare when travelers and tourists leave the historic, cultural, entertainment, culinary self-rejuvenating trails which busily absorb them.

We arrived in Baltimore two days ago. In that short time, I have had the amazing pleasure of meeting people, total strangers who had no idea who I am, where I come from, what I do professionally, what I care about personally.  I am breathless from gasping in awe at the warmth of the people I have met, not only the humanity, spirit, naturalness and soul of those working at a hospitality venue we have visited, who were amazing at places like aboard the yacht cruise of Baltimore Harbor aboard Entertainment Cruises, “Spirit of Baltimore,” and the incredible staff at  the Renaissance Baltimore Harbor Hotel that jumped through hoops in minutes to meet my unique needs on the spur  of a moment, (NOTE:  both stories will be shared in upcoming blogs so please watch for them!) but also includes my brief interaction with local folks and employees I briefly met while shopping in a local Wal-Mart to pick up a few items needed for  our travels.

Mark and Stephanie Abrams aboard Entertainment Cruises “Spirit of Baltimore”

The level of warmth and friendliness I’ve encountered since our arrival  seems to come naturally to the residents of Baltimore, Maryland, comparable to the level of warmth and friendliness I expect to receive when traveling in Ireland, offered by people of every color, ethnic origin, ancestral lineage has created a colorful tapestry in Baltimore of the descendants of people who had the strength, vision and fortitude to leave wherever they came from because, like the line in the film,  “Network,” they were “. . . mad as hell  and I’m not going to take this anymore!” America is a country made up of descendants of people who were ‘not going to take this anymore,’ and meet so many people today, especially in Baltimore, who are the product of that strength and that vision that things can be so much better, people can be so much better, and it all can be NOW. . .  and you’ll find that spirit alive and well in the joyful atmosphere that welcomes the stranger in the most delightful way and that is Baltimore!

What’s a trip to Baltimore without a great crab cake!?!

Try a lump crab meat crab cake at  Renaissance Baltimore Harbor Hotel. Scrumptious!

We’re off  to Fort McHenry, closely associated with the birth of our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” written by Francis Scott Key, moved by the “dawn’s early light” when he knew that America had emerged victorious in battle because, “our flag was still there” flying over Fort McHenry. Today is Defenders Day at Fort McHenry honoring America’s military and veterans. I’ll do my best to represent my grandfather, Adolph Statter, a Baltimorean of Austrian immigrant parents who settled in Baltimore in 1870, who, in 1898, fought in the Spanish-American War, and my father, Jacob Leonard Beber, a highly decorated WWII veteran who was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, having been injured in action in France, Sharp Shooters Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, the French Fougere, and a slew of other decorations honoring his bravery, heroism and bravery. Would that he were here today to attend this wonderful tribute to veterans in his home town of Baltimore, the place, by the way, where I was born.

Medals Awarded to PFC Jacob Leonard Beber, US Army Infantry

Grandfather Philip Beber (L) in front of his furniture store in Baltimore, MD with

Grandfather Adolph Statter, Baltimorean US Army Veteran of the Spanish-American War of 1898.

More to follow. . .

Go Baltimore! You rock!

News Media Wake-Up Call: “The Bahamas” is NOT Destroyed! Do You Know What “The Bahamas” Even Means?
September 11th, 2019

As your personal travel expert, you can expect to hear much, much more from me and the REAL EXPERTS on TRAVEL IN THE BAHAMAS; those who live and work in the Bahama Islands and are involved in travel, tourism and the  hospitality industry and who know what is really going on there in the weeks and months to come because the stories you are seeing in vivid color on TV news are terribly, horribly skewed.  While there is no doubt that those who live, work and have been accustomed to enjoying what Abaco and Grand Bahama Island have had to offer the visitor, they have undergone a great natural assault from which we hope they all quickly recover. But you probably have the impression from recent days of reporting that “The Bahamas” is one massive place and that The Bahamas is a place that is now uninhabitable and not fit to visit. That could not be further from the reality that, while Abaco and Grand Bahama Island took the brunt of the damage of awful Hurricane Dorian, where we can only hope helpful people and supplies pour in to rebuild spirits and structures,  there are at least 14 individual islands and island groups that range over a 600 mile distance in the Atlantic that are ALL  part of the untouched Bahamas that are in perfect condition and doing  business as usual unharmed by this storm!

If anything, now is the time to visit Nassau, Paradise Island and all of the other individual island destinations and groups of islands that are part of  what is referred to as “The Bahamas” and this catchphrase name has resulted in so many knowing so little about the vastness of what each of the islands of The Bahamas unique offers visitors to the massive area that stretches over a 100,000 square mile region in the Atlantic Ocean. It is this travel expert’s plan and vision to work with the tourism leaders of The Bahamas to help my US audience and global fans on radio, on TV, on the internet, on iHeart Radio, TuneIn Radio and iTunes and those who watch my TV shows nationally in the US and on ROKU to learn the names of each of the islands of The Bahamas  and to know what each distinctly has to offer the visitor with real understandings of the individuality of each destination within The Bahamas with a goal of making the names of the islands and elevate the knowledge for travelers of where to stay, what to do, where to eat and dine, and to get to know this massive expanse of tourism paradise   the way each knows his/her own neighborhood.  While most travelers are familiar with, minimally, the names Nassau and Paradise Island, even most sophisticated travelers can’t name more than a total of four or five of the islands of The Bahamas that make the in-the-know-traveler visit and return frequently. It’s time we dive into that educational process especially given that these islands did not interface with Hurricane Dorian and would love the opportunity to show off what makes their unique destination within The Bahamas special, welcoming, hospitable and ready to share the reasons for their pride in their island with visitors.

Given the news coverage of the destinations of Abaco and Grand Bahama Island as it relates to The Bahamas, I expect that, if there were a fire in Botswana, the news media would report that, “Africa is on fire!” The pounding copy across TV screens trumpeting, “Bahamas Destroyed by Dorian,” delivers, once again, a skewed and unbalanced story. While the losses of life and property on Abaco and Grand Bahama Island are, without doubt, horrific to absorb, as it relates to the impression one gets in seeing and hearing the news delivered in this fashion gives the viewer the idea that tourism to The Bahamas is at the end of its road. The fact is that those losses, while taking a terrible toll on our hearts as caring people and on the families who are suffering extreme losses from that direct hit by Dorian, it is disturbing to see tourism to The Bahamas thrown aside with repeated news indicating that, in essence, you can cross The Bahamas off your list of places to visit anytime soon!  That is just not the case and it is for that reason that I need to don my “Super Travel Girl” cape and fly in to use our powerful set of communications tools in broadcasting and online to help get the real story of what is available in perfect condition, with perfect places in a paradise called The Bahamas that is the umbrella name of a nation made up of wonderful islands, many of which  you are unaware of but which are just waiting to welcome you to experience their exquisite tourism offerings.

In the coming weeks and months, we plan to talk with leaders in tourism in every nook and cranny on the islands we refer to as if it were one mass: The Bahamas.  I suspect that my audiences will have a long list of MUST VISIT destinations in The Bahamas that grows as we explore more and more islands and learn what makes each uniquely special and different and discover unique ways to make those visits by air and boat.

Visiting The Bahamas now is also a wonderful way to help Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands to rebuild by supporting the government of The Bahamas who can then support the rebuilding process more robustly.  The friendly Bahamian people on every island in The Bahamas are waiting to greet  you with open arms in beautiful surroundings offering every travel experience from Beachcomber’s Delights to Pampered Luxury!  You’ll find exactly what you are looking for from your vacation experience and you won’t be disappointed!

Now is the time to pounce on making your plans to travel to The Bahamas. By the laws of human nature and the laws of Supply  & Demand, there’s a very good chance that you’ll find some amazing promotions and bargains to add to the enticement to get over the stories you’ve seen and heard and see for yourself that The Bahamas are alive and well and waiting for you. So what are you waiting for?

What Would Irish People in Ireland Say About a Tall, African-American Leprechaun Mascot for Notre Dame?
September 7th, 2019

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams with Derek Warfield, founder of The Wolfe Tones & The Young Wolfe Tones

Musician, Composer, Musicologist, Historian, Wit, and Amazing Performer

The concepts of height and ethnicity have come under scrutiny related to the newest mascot of Notre Dame who is both tall and African-American.  The school, associated with the phrase, “The Fighting Irish,” has been brought into the backlash, or is it ‘blacklash,’ by ‘purists’ who believe that the school’s mascot should be a white redhead whose size is diminutive.

It’s funny that the much loved Irish-American, who played an over-six-feet tall elf in the film, “Elf,” broadcast about 1000 times on TV during the Christmas holiday season, is totally accepted and beloved as a huge elf, a word, by its definition, connotes a very small being. I have never heard anyone challenge Farrell’s judgment besmirching efldom by being ‘too damn tall!’

I often find that people who do not, and never have, lived in Ireland and, maybe, have never even visited or spent more than a week or two at that destination, have opinions related to Irish issues and Irish thought that are diametrically opposed to what the born-bred-lived-in-Ireland-all-their-lives folks believe.

Which brings me to the open-mindedness of Irish people: I’m sure you’ve heard tell in the recent past, from very high places in US government, that Frederick Douglass is “an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more.” If you have read the first part of the autobiographic trilogy by Frederick Douglass, as I have, you learn that he was doing for slaves in America what Daniel O’Connell was doing for the Irish who were, in essence, enslaved by the Brits. And after a pen pal relationship developed, the abolitionist Douglass went to Ireland to meet O’Connell. Douglass remarks that his arrival in Ireland in 1845 was unique or him because it was the first time he felt he was greeted as a man, and not as a black man.

There is something about the Irish, who have been, prior to the creation of the Republic of Ireland barely 100 years ago, suppressed, oppressed, repressed, starved, chased from their ancestral lands and homes. . .and castles. . . by people whose skin was the same color as their own, who have learned to judge people by their actions, their values, their skills and talents, their human virtues and not by the color of their skin!

While the question of whether Samuel B. Jackson, tall African –American leprechaun mascot for Notre Dame, is worthy of being the school’s mascot because may be more about the color of his skin than his size, given what I know about the very core and nature of “real” Irish people, the ones born and raised and still living in Ireland, I can’t think of a person I know anywhere on the island that is Ireland from Malin Head to Bushmills, to Belfast to Kinsale, who would object to Samuel B. Jackson being the leprechaun mascot for the school.  I can think of quite a number of transplants from Ireland living in the US  promoting tourism to Ireland who find the whole concept of connecting Ireland with leprechauns “diddle-didle-dee” music an “embarrassment,”  to them and hope that no one in tourism promotes “that sort of  thing,” and for that I say, “Shame on you!  You have so missed the point and the value of leprechauns and faeries, fiddlers’ tunes that make you smile, laugh, want to find the end of the rainbows, dance with the faeries, and drift into the magic and the mystical that is truly Irish and gets those who indulge through the worst of times!”

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams with Malachy McCourt moments after the unveiling of the bust of his brother, Frank McCourt, at the entry of what was the Leamy National School in Limerick where the McCourt children went to school. Today, it is the site of the Frank McCourt Museum.

My very dear, and very unusual, friend, actor, author, wit and all around very goofy fellow, Malachy McCourt often refers to the illnesses that befall specific ethnic groups resulting from centuries of intra-group breeding. Among those illnesses Malachy refers to are Cooley’s Anemia which afflicts Greeks, Sickle Cell Anemia which afflicts  African descendants, and Tay Sachs Disease which a afflicts the Jewish population. But he’s always quick to add that there is a disease that afflicts the Irish and that, as he explains, is, “Respectability!”

Clearly, that remark also reflects another inbred trait of the Irish and that is a sense of humor! My audiences on radio and TV and those who follow my blogs, stories and public appearances are well aware of my unique need to visit Ireland with some regularity as a place to replenish my spirit and draw on the resilience of the people, their passion for everything they do, the creativity and genius that they bring to every art  form and their persistence, perseverance in the face of obstacles, prejudice, persecution, and demons of all kinds which they have overcome and blown though with humor, faith, and unswerving focus to attain whatever goals they set for themselves.

But one of the things I find, which may be linked to the concept of the “Disease of Respectability,” is that many Irish, particularly Irish-Americans, and particularly those Irish living in the US promoting tourism to Ireland, project themselves as a bit embarrassed, even annoyed, that Americans find leprechauns and music they describe as “Diddle-dee-dee, Didle-dee-dah” tunes charming, alluring, and part of the magnetism of the mystique of Irish lore.

You Rock, Samuel B. Jackson! Lad, you make a fine leprechaun! Exude enthusiasm and stay on the One Road. And while  you’re at it, sing the chorus of Celtic Symphony with emphasis on “Ooh, ah, up der Arse; ooh, ah, up de RA.” (Be sure  to click on the link to hear Celtic Symphony and notice in the first seconds, and throughout, the black-white-Irish-connection. . .and check out the visual of the Queen! Bravo to my great friend Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones!).

Slan Agus Beannacht


Your Personal Travel Expert,

Learning Language thru Travels. . . Give the Sisters a Big Bowl of Bullets. . . or Ireland: a Big Bowl of Us
May 19th, 2019

Sister Camille D’Arienzo (left) with 1998 Nobel Peace Prize Winner John Hume and Sister Kathleen Quinn, both members of the

Mid-Atlantic Order of the Sisters of visiting  Northern Ireland on a trip to Ireland hosted by Stephanie Abrams Travel Fairy Godmother


Sister Catherine Markey of the Benedictine Sisters Convent,  Fort Smith, Arkansas on a trip to Ireland at Clonmacnoise

provided by Stephanie Abrams Travel Fairy Godmother

Sister Camille D’Arienzo and Sister Camille D’Arienzo came to mind this week because I was invited to attend the last. . . WHY THE LAST??. . . Evening of Mercy fundraising event that the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Order of the Sisters of Mercy run each year. In 2008, I was one of the 2 lay people that are honored, along with two members of the clergy, that are presented because of their unique contribution to the world in keeping with the mission of the Sisters of Mercy.  If you’ve read my facebook page, you know that for the last few weeks I have been upside down in balancing my professional life that was sent off-kilter by unexpected moves by companies that syndicate my radio shows, Travelers411 and Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams. One Hundred Percent of my attention has been focused on sorting out the loose threads and weaving them back into a vibrantly colorful tapestry which took all of my time and attention. So being at this historic event was, regrettably not in the cards.  The good news, the best news, is that I thought out and followed a plan to keep everything on track and, with the help and support of more people in the broadcast industry than I had any idea cared about me and the radio shows we produce, we are rolling along even faster than we have ever before in the 17 years we have been on the air! But placing all the moving parts where they needed to be, as it relates to Sister Camille and Sister Kathleen Quinn whom I sent on a 10 day trip all over Ireland staying at the finest hotels and experiencing Ireland at its best, it was the answer to the Zen question, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”  My thinking of the good sisters was, “Thought without action,” as I just couldn’t be at the event in the midst of a tornado of activity swirling around us.

And when I think of Sisters Camille and Kathleen, I also think of another Stephanie Abrams Travel Fairy Godmother recipient of a 10  day trip to Ireland and that is Sister Catherine Markey, Archivist for the Benedictine Monastery in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  I hosted Sister Catherine and her traveling companion, Kathleen Jarvis, as well and, when the chauffeur I had organized to drive them all over Ireland fell apart, my husband and I flew to Ireland and, to their surprise we were waiting for them in the lobby of the hotel on the grounds of Knock Shrine in Co. Mayo the morning that their driver and guide were scheduled to be unavailable to them.  We became and ‘driver and guide’ for them and spent a week traveling around with these two people I’d never met before on the eve of the 80th birthday of Sister Catherine! And I must tell you that that was on of the very best and most memorable weeks of my life!

I thought of both of them again today as I was reviewing Episode 21 of Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams: Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day & Marconi Day in Ireland. The St. Patrick’s Day portion shares the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Lanesborough, County Longford, Ireland with my audiences on radio, TV and online. The moderator of the parade is a TD, Minister of Irish Government, Mr. Eugene Murphy.  I was reading the closed captioning to be certain that words like “Cirque du Soleil and Enniskillen were all spelled correctly and other words that would be a challenge for an automated closed captioning system.

And then I cam across two expressions embedded into the transcription of the monologue of the moderator. I don’t know when I’ve had such a good laugh! The first one announced in the closed captioning: ” Sisters of Big Bullets” and the second said, “A big bowl of us.”

This presents us with a bit of an opportunity to learn a bit of Irish!

The moderator first spoke about the women in costume in the parade who were promoting a theater production of, “Sister Act” and the closed captioning said, ‘ Let’s give the sisters a big bowl of bullets.”

A bit later, the moderator’s comments were interpreted in the closed captioning as a float passed across the screen, “Let’s give them a big bowl of us!”

While neither, I am sure, makes any sense at all to you, that’s because the now corrected closed captioning say we should give the sisters a “big bualadh bos” as does the translation for the float going by. Pronounced “BOOL-UH-BUS,” this bit of Irish means “Applause” so a giving someone a big bualadh bos is the equivalent of the moderator asking the crowd to ‘give them a big hand’ or ‘give them a big round of applause.’

I have left a message for my very dear, and controversial friend, Malachy McCourt, that I have the title for his next book! And, instead of calling my travel guide to Ireland which I am determined to finish by September, “1001 Reasons to Visit Ireland,” I think I will title it, ” Ireland: A Big Bowl of Us!” or maybe, “Ireland: A Big Bowl of Bullets,” although, with what’s been going on in Derry and Belfast lately, that might be too literal a  title for the guide.

And now that I’ve finished reading, amending and approving the closed captioning for Episode 21, I have to admit that that’s the most fun I’ve had in the last three weeks. I needed that laugh!

This Was a Week that Needed an Infusion of Inhaling from My Rose Petal Box!
May 11th, 2019

I have had a Rose Petal Box on at shelf in a curio cabinet for decades.

It is filled with rose petals from roses that have long since withered and died.

Removal of the lid releases the most amazing perfumed fragrance into the air.

Each petal represents a wonderful experience in my life.

Many petals represent the celebration of a wonderful event or occasion.

Included herein are some visuals and a couple of audio clips of memories that are concentrated within rose petals in my Rose Petal Box. While I’m confident you will enjoy these moments created around the world even though you weren’t there, know that each rose petal represented by a photo herein conjures up volumes of images, conversations, people, places and vision of glorious destinations around the globe.

Have a listen to my NarcyCalamattaRosePetal that wafts from a very special rose petal collected in Malta, a place you must visit!

Most of the petals were gathered at unique and extraordinary destinations around North America and around the globe.Even more amazing about my Rose Petal Box and its contents is that both the box and the rose petals are imaginary and live in my mind, my heart, and my senses shelved in a curio cabinet in my brain. There’s no way to misplace, break or lose it as it is firmly lodged in the fabric of my being.



The diversity of the cultures, destinations and venues within those destinations that are represented with rose petals that exude spicy to sweet aromas is enormous and spans the globe.



Like a photo album, a musical CD or a video that you open to entertain yourself and uplift your spirits, a challenging day will send me to find, in the corners of my mind, my Rose Petal Box, unscrew the lid and place my nose over its wide mouth to deeply inhale the fragrance of marvelous experiences past.


One day I may share with you the challenges that the past few weeks have presented, perhaps fictionalized in my next novel, SECRET, a sequel to RUMORS, which, if you haven’t read it, put it on your MUST DO list as you will love it! In the meantime, I am focused all of the obstacles the need to be surmounted and to attain our goals in all aspects of what we do to bring the world to our audiences in the most informative and entertaining way. And taking a deep whiff from my Rose Petal Jar was a daily prescription this week to getting past the kinds of aggravations that I know that each of you are confronted with at some points in time in your personal and professional lives. The key to success is finding all the solutions necessary to surmount the unexpected and unforeseen redwood trees that fall across the road you are traveling on.

Rose Petal Memory:  Hanging out with Uncle Jack, Sir John Leslie, Castle Leslie, Monaghan, Ireland

For some, for too many, I have met in my life, identifying obstacles is the excuse for why a good idea cannot come to fruition. For others, like me, whose philosophy is, “Failure is not an option,” finding paths over, under, around and through the obstacle is the reason one needs to identify that the obstacles are there.  That process is kindred to Winston Churchill’s reminder, “Never give up!”



From the theory that, “When it rains, it pours,” such was the feeling of the week past.  Happily, last week is past and the trees are being cleared away so that the path will continue to be an open roadway on the journey to new and continuing travels and adventures. But there’s no question that I relied on my Rose Petal Box and its wafting perfumed scent to infuse my being with wonderful memories of people, places, experiences, incidents and events that create an uplifting cloud pervading the atmosphere and whirling around me like a tornado of positive energy.

Rose Petal Memory: HUGGIN’ Up BUGS BUNNY at the NYTimes Travel Show

I highly recommend having a Rose Petal Box of unique memories to inhale during a challenging time. I hope you create one for yourself and maybe create a tangible form for the person in your life that you celebrate with on Mothers’ Day , Fathers’ Day or other special occasion by conjuring up a decorate container that you fill with photos, mementos, and even key words on a little card that bring back a flood of happy memories and good times with just a quick glance.



So for this Mothers’ Day, if you don’t have the time or even know where to start to share this gift of a Rose Petal Box with the person in your life you celebrate tomorrow, share this blog with her and wish her shelves and shelves of Rose Petal Boxes from you. . .and from me too! And, if you are going to create a Roses Petal Box, maybe you’ll want to include among the contents a gift certificate for a hotel stay or other travel experience. The prescription for all that ails you, take it from Dr. Abrams, is, “Take 2 trips and call me in the morning!” Go make some Rose Petal Box memories!

Rose Petal Memory: CEANOTHUS SHRUB



Happy Mothers Day  celebrate someone in their lives from all of us at &

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