Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show Shownotes for MM DD 2010
Travel with Stephanie Abrams! - April 18, 2010 - Shownotes & Audio Archive

Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont; U. S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.; Edna St. Vincent Millay Society; InsureMyTrip.com; Adelphi Portrush, Portrush, Northern Ireland; Beech Hill Country House, Derry, Northern Ireland.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

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Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!” Radio Show are off to Vermont to talk with Sam von Trapp, Vice President of the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe.

The film "The Sound of Music” tells the von Trapp family's story. Sam's role in the family business began when he was 8 years old and put in charge of cleaning the ski lodge coffee bar with his sister.

The Trapp Family Lodge can be reached by route 89, route 93 from Boston, or route 91 from western Massachusetts. The Lodge is a 40 minute drive from the Burlington airport, which Sam calls "one of the friendliest, most easygoing airports in the world.” Rest areas on Vermont highways feature free coffee from Green Mountain Roasters, too.

Trapp Family Lodge
Trapp Family Lodge.

For visitors from north of the border, Sam notes that Burlington is only 1.5 hours from Montreal (which is actually closer than Boston). Travelers coming by air have the choice between arriving at the Burlington airport and Montreal's Trudeau Airport.

Visitors to the Lodge will enjoy "a little bit of Austria and a lot of Vermont,” as the welcome sign says. Thanks to Sam's father's foresight in buying land, the Trapp Family Lodge now sits on 2400 acres (and abuts more undeveloped state land). Having that much land affords guests a "tremendous sense of serenity,” Sam says.

Trapp Family Lodge
Trapp Family Lodge.

Sam's father also started the first cross-country ski resort in North America, according to Sam and several major ski publications. Sam himself taught skiing at Portillo in Chile for several years. The difference between skiing in Vermont and skiing in South America, he says, is that "Vermont doesn't have nearly as many deaths from falling rocks and avalanches, but still has great skiing!”

The von Trapp family settled in Vermont because it reminded them of Austria. Sam's father was born in 1939, moved to Stowe in 1942, and started singing with the family in 1943, when he was just 4 years old. A few of Sam's cousins still perform as the von Trapp Children, but are taking time off for college and other pursuits.

Trapp Family Lodge
Trapp Family Lodge.

The Trapp Family Lodge has 96 guest rooms in its main hotel, including many deluxe rooms, several different suites, and large family rooms. Guests can also rent 3-bedroom villas or guest houses.

What are the rooms like? "Beautiful,” says Sam, explaining that every room has a mountain view and is within 200 feet of a door to the outside. "Wherever you are, you can step outside for a hike,” he says, adding that cross-country skiers can ski right up to the lodge during the winter.

Trapp Family Lodge
Trapp Family Lodge.

The original hotel was destroyed by fire and completely rebuilt with a "real European look,” according to Sam. He explains that his father chose an architect who came from Vermont and did graduate work in Austria. The result was a building that has a "real connection with nature,” which for Sam is the lodge's defining characteristic.

Once outdoors, guests can go bird watching, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, or take history tours led by Sam or his sister, which tell the von Trapp family story. Sam and his father hope to develop a family museum in the future.

Trapp Family Lodge
Trapp Family Lodge.

Sam's father is currently working on the family brewery, which just opened in spring 2010. The brewery will be making Austrian-style lagers, including a light golden Helles and an amber Vienna. The Trapp family also has plans for darker lagers and seasonal beers, especially in conjunction with its sugaring operation.

"We have great water that's chemically very similar to Austrian water and a fantastic brew master,” Sam explains. "We're also using a step called decoction, in which we heat the water gradually to draw out different flavors and give the beer a more complex and enjoyable flavor profile.”

Trapp Family Lodge
Trapp Family Lodge.

Like many breweries, including the Jameson distillery in Ireland, the von Trapp operation will feed the spent grain to its herd of Scotch Highland cattle. "They're usually grass-fed, so we checked with agriculture professors at the University of Vermont,” Sam says. "We're also looking into using the grain to bake bread, energy bars, and even dog treats in our on-site bakery.” Other recycling efforts at the Trapp Family Lodge include a composting program, which turns 200,000 pounds of waste material into "amazing” topsoil.

The Trapp Family Lodge has been pet-friendly since early 2010. "Our fantastic new resident manager was able to convince the housekeeping department to allow pets,” says Sam. "We haven't had a single negative experience with dogs so far.”

Trapp Family Lodge
Trapp Family Lodge.

Dogs and their masters alike may enjoy bird watching during the spring and summer. The lodge's staff naturalist has identified 92 species on the property, and Sam is sure that the list will continue to grow, since many birds' migration paths take them right over the resort. The Trapp Family Lodge also offers fly fishing classes and private ponds, so guests can reserve a time and have a whole pond to themselves.

The 2010 season is the second year of mountain biking at the Trapp Family Lodge. The resort offers rental bikes and instructors. This year, the lodge is working with Girls Move Mountains to offer women-only mountain biking instruction.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1314

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http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=291

For more information visit http://www.trappfamily.com


Fun Facts:

The Bariloche ski resort in Argentina also has a casino.

Ski resorts do not always have the same grooming standards or trail markings, especially outside the U. S. Stephanie and Sam advise listeners to be careful, informed skiers.


Guests Include:

Sam von Trapp, Vice President, Trapp Family Lodge, Vermont, USA.
www.trappfamily.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

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Terrie Rouse, CEO of Visitor Services for the U.S. Capitol, talks with Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!” Radio Show about visiting Washington, D. C.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1547

Click here to listen to Terrie's interview for details.


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Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!” Radio Show talk poetry with Peter Bergman, Executive Director of the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society.

Edna St. Vincent Millay's home in the Berkshires is "a very unusual experience, not your run-of-the-mill museum,” says Stephanie, who first visited in 2009. "It's a living, breathing establishment that reflects [Edna's] life when she lived on the estate.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay grew up in coastal Camden, Maine and began publishing poetry as a child. At 19, she entered a poetry contest, but the editors believed her entry had been written by a 40-year-old man. To prove her authorship, Edna flirted with the contest's publisher, who fell in love with her. Lest the contest seem rigged, the editors awarded 4th prize to Edna, even though her poem was the best entry. "She became nationally famous at age 20 for losing a poetry contest,” says Peter. "It was a great way to begin a career!”

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) in 1933. Picture by Carl Van Vechten

Millay's unusual name came from St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City. Edna's uncle had been trapped in the hold of a ship. Though nearly dead on arrival in New York, the nuns of St. Vincent's saved his life. In gratitude, the man's sister (Edna's mother) named her daughter after the hospital.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1548

For more information visit http://www.millay.org


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Click here to listen to Jim Grace, President & CEO, InsureMyTrip.com. www.insureMyTrip.com interviewed by Stephanie Abrams without commercials.
Listen to this segment, commercial-free featuring: Jim Grace from InsureMyTrip.com. Visit the Travelers411 InsureMyTrip Directory Listing.

Jim Grace, President and CEO of InsureMyTrip.com, visits Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!” Radio Show once again. Jim was recently elected 2010 president of the U. S. Travel Insurance Association.

Greek Ruins.
Greek Ruins.

The U. S. Travel Insurance Association has 80 member companies who work to promote travel insurance to consumers. The organization's goals include making sure everyone has affordable access to travel protection, setting ethical standards for members, and working with government on insurance issues. "The association brings awareness to consumers, who really need to know about the product and the protections provided,” says Jim.

Mykonos Greece
Mykonos Greece.

As president of the U. S. Travel Insurance Association, Jim is developing an advocacy program to educate consumers on the importance of travel insurance as a trip planning tool. "We have a number of websites to direct people on how to plan their trips and protect themselves,” he explains. "Insurance is a wise choice, a wise investment, and we want people to know that the USTIA is here to help in guiding your purchase.”

Jim adds that the average cost of travel insurance is between 4% and 8% of the total trip cost. "It's not an expensive investment and something everyone should think about before traveling,” he says.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1549

For more information visit http://www.insuremytrip.com


Travel Tips:

If you forget to pack something, it's not the end of the world, says Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams. All you really need is a passport and a credit card.

Many airlines now charge for checked luggage. Stephanie suggests that travelers check airline fees for first and second checked bags and weight limits, which often vary by carrier or class. First class passengers, for example, are often allowed heavier bags. "If you're only traveling first class in one direction, though, you had better pack for the economy flight,” Stephanie warns.

She also suggests that travelers think about what is going in the suitcase. Sneakers, for example, tend to be heavy and unwieldy. "Think about how old the sneakers are and what they're worth,” Stephanie says. "Is it cheaper to just buy a new pair when you get there?”

Passengers should always bring medication in a carry-on bag and travel with prescriptions in case they need to refill unexpectedly, says Stephanie.


Fun Facts:

Scout troops and other organizations who routinely have flag ceremonies can request flags that have flown over the U. S. Capitol. Contact your representative's office.


Guests Include:

Terrie S. Rouse, CEO for Visitor Services, U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
www.visitthecapitol.gov

Peter Bergman, Executive Director, Edna St.Vincent Millay Society.
www.millay.org

Jim Grace, President and CEO, insureMyTrip.com.
www.insuremytrip.com

Hour 3

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!” Radio Show welcome Mark Holmes, Proprietor of the Adelphi Portrush in Portrush, Northern Ireland.

Adelphi Portrush
Street View from Adelphi Portrush in Portrush, Northern Ireland.

Why come up north to Portrush? It's Northern Ireland's number one tourist destination, says Mark, with beautiful scenery, a natural coastline, and accommodation that's second to none.

The Adelphi Portrush has a clear view of the sea, which Stephanie calls "lovely, charming, and spectacular.” On a clear day, says Mark, you can see Giant's Causeway, Rathlin Island, and even a few Scottish landmarks: the Isle of Mull, Islay, and the Twin Pups mountains on Jura.

Adelphi Portrush
Adelphi Portrush.

The Adelphi Portrush has 31 guest rooms, each with unique furnishings and décor. When Mark and his wife, Amanda, purchased the hotel in 1996, the building had two sections: one from 1840 and another from the 1920s. When renovating the hotel, the couple kept the 1840 section, tore down the 1920s section, and built an energy-efficient extension.

Mark and Amanda did extensive research in Europe and America before upgrading the Adelphi Portrush. "We wanted to see what kind of quality was available, and we actually noticed many mistakes in high-quality hotels,” says Mark. "One thing we noticed in particular was that the standard air conditioning unit is quite noisy.” To solve that problem, they installed a heat recovery and ventilation unit in each Adelphi Portrush room. The units maintain a constant air flow and temperature, no matter where you set the thermostat, all while conserving energy.

Adelphi Portrush Lobby
Adelphi Portrush Lobby.

Another eco-friendly feature at the Adelphi Portrush is the insulation, which is so efficient that the hotel is "almost heated by body heat itself.” Guest rooms have key card activated lighting, which prevents people from leaving lights on if they've left the room for the day. Mark adds that the switch doesn't affect power outlets, so visitors can leave a laptop charging. Lighting in public areas is with LEDs or compact fluorescent bulbs, which can even be dimmed like traditional incandescent bulbs.

Mark Holmes Owner Adelphi Portrush, Northern Ireland
Mark Holmes Owner Adelphi Portrush, Northern Ireland.

Portrush is a short drive from Belfast: 2 hours by the coastal route, or 1 hour 10 minutes by the direct route, according to Mark. The town is close to other attractions like Giant's Causeway, the Bushmills distillery, golf courses, and the beach.

Guests returning from the golf course or the beach can relax and invigorate tired muscles in the Adelphi Portrush's health suite, which includes a sauna, spa, and steam room. The hotel also offers an in-house beauty salon and massages.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1551

For more information visit http://www.adelphiportrush.com


Link to this segment

Patsy O'Kane, Owner of the Beech Hill Country House in Derry, Northern Ireland, welcomes Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!” Radio Show back to Beech Hill.

Beech HIll Hotel in Derry
Beech HIll Hotel in Derry, Northern Ireland. Exterior view of front entrance.

The Beech Hill Country House is 15 minutes from Inishowen, Stephanie notes, and would be a good base from which to explore County Donegal, Ireland. What's more, the hotel actually was a U. S. Marine base from 1942 to 1945.

The Marines arrived in Derry on May 12, 1942 and used the Beech Hill estate as their headquarters. For over three years, the Marines stationed in Derry were charged with protecting the North Sea and Atlantic from German U-boats.

Image Placeholder
Lounge at The Beech Hill Hotel.

When Patsy discovered this part of Beech Hill's history, she decided to dedicate a room to Marine memorabilia to bring the story to life. "The more memorabilia we can gather up, the better the project,” she says. "We're really trying to make Beech Hill into a research center for people whose family members were stationed in Northern Ireland during World War II.” Patsy hopes to have the center up and running within the next few years.

Image Placeholder
One of the lakes on the parklike grounds of the Beech Hill House Hotel in its rural setting in Derry, Northern Ireland.

The current Beech Hill collection features pictures, plaques, and the uniform worn by Major General Dugan, the Irish-American who commanded the Marines in Derry and started a pipe and drum band.

Each year, the Beech Hill Country House holds a ceremony to commemorate U. S. Marines who lost their lives. This year, the ceremony will be held on May 5, 2010. Several Marine Corps generals, veterans, and family members and Mary Pat Kelly, author of "Galway Bay,” will attend.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1550

For more information visit http://www.beech-hill.com


Fun Facts:

A castle used in the film "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” is not in the Caribbean, but in fact located in Portrush, Northern Ireland.

Marconi sent some of the first radio signals from Ballycastle and Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland.


Guests Include:

Mark Holmes, Proprietor, Adelphi Portrush, Portrush, Northern Ireland.
www.adelphiportrush.com

Patsy O'Kane, Owner, Beech Hill Country House, Derry, Northern Ireland.
www.beech-hill.com

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