Posted on October 30, 2015
How much do most people travel in the US? According to a recent poll by SPGAmex, it’s only 12 days a year on average. But at the TBEX conference, hands were raised and it was confirmed that in this room, we travel about 88 days a year. But then again, most of the people here are traveling on press trips, writing stories about destinations, so we’re not very representative of the general public.
Only two hands went up among the audience of 800 when asked how many refused to take free trips offered by destinations. “If that’s true you’re at the wrong conference,” said Johnny Jet, a well-known travel blogger from the stage. But free trips are a misnomer, as anyone who has gone on a press trip would say, because it’s a working trip, and there is little time for relaxing. Cue the violins here.
The top destinations for Americans in 2015 are California, (30%), New Orleans Louisiana (24%), New York (21%), National Parks (21%) and Portland (16%). For international destinations, Iceland is number one (13%) and China (11%), Japan (10%), New Zealand (10%) and Cuba (9%).
Why is Iceland number one? Johnny talked about Wow Air, an ultra low-cost carrier with incredible deals…and it’s like a totally different world, in just five hours. It was a poignant moment during the presentation when Johnny talked about how important it is to use miles, and to gift miles you can’t use. He recalled taking his mom to Europe using miles, and teared up thinking of that wonderful memory. I did the same back in 2005, when we took my mom and dad to a rented villa in Tuscany for a glorious week. I’ll never forget doing that and to anyone with miles to spare, I’d tell them that it’s one of the most fulfilling things you can do in a lifetime.
Posted on October 29, 2015
I enjoyed a few seminars this morning from experts in travel promotion and how to use social media. Frederic Gonzalo from Quebec City showed off some interesting tidbits about innovations he has seen in this space.
Marriott, for example, is providing Go Pro cameras to their guests to use while they visit their Caribbean properties. No strings, no obligation to shoot video of their bellmen or lobbies–just a chance to grab the video camera and create new content about their Caribbean vacation. It’s a brilliant idea–and so far they’ve compiled hours and hours of high quality content and made their guests terrifically happy.
Other hotels offer free stays to anyone with a proven 50,000 or more Instagram followers. This makes sense because truly, anyone with that many followers is probably posting like crazy. Talk about win-win, and the hotel room was most likely empty anyway.
In Denmark, the VisitDenmark people have created ‘shareable places.’ They designated many places like the statue of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, and put up red signs with a specific hashtag to encourage people to share the site on social media. In Montreal, a campaign called MtL Moments, encouraging people to use that hashtag when they shoot and post photos from the city. In other words, provide people with hashtags and they will post about your destination!
Royal Caribbean has a new campaign that utilizes the latest social media phenomenon, Periscope, to promote their cruises. This platform offers people a chance to stream live video to people who follow them on Twitter. It’s easy to draw a crowd using Periscope. The cruise company will then stream the live video on billboards around New York State. Wow. That’s a fantastic motivator, especially if it’s snowing.
Frederic also provided some guidance about hashtags. They should be short and simple, easy to remember, work in several languages, be intuitive and significant. But most of all, they should be logical and pretty much be the first thing you think of when you quickly think of that topic.
Posted on October 24, 2015
This is the kind of weekend I really love. A houseful of guests, in particular, my three sisters from New Jersey, and lots of home improvement, cleaning, fixing up and especially, cooking for a big gathering here on Saturday night.
I am of a mind that we don’t have enough parties–I think Mary would disagree–but I always want to invite people over, and cook great food for them…I want to make a fire in the firepit, and bring people who I love together.
We were trying to think of when we began this fall tradition. For as long as I can remember we’ve always had a fall visit from these three lovely ladies, and it usually has included the same local characters who add so much to the mix. Bill, cousins Steve and Paul, friends like Charlie and Jen, and usually, Mary’s brother and sister in law John and Toni. Ed and Ineke have often been a part of the party, along with Joe and Susan. Paul Shoul and my daughter Kate round out the wonderful assortment.
When we have guests we always have a great reason to clean up the house–and this year we even painted the entryway to make it look brighter and cleaner. This is the season of my birthday, and I must say that so far, Number 57 is turning out to be pretty sweet!
Posted on October 21, 2015
I wish I could remember when I bought the stove that I just had removed from the house here in Deerfield. It must be the 1990s…could it be?
At any rate, I shed no tears when I said goodbye to my reliable and scary-noise making old white Hotpoint, and welcomed the latest and greatest from Manny’s into the kitchen.
The new stove is–well, let’s just say that it’s not a Viking or a Wolf, but sure ain’t no Hotpoint either. After months of kitchen appliance research and the requisite temporary sign up for Consumer Reports, we found a model we wanted.
But of course, when you actually drive to the store to buy such a model, they have other models that quickly find favor in your heart and you forget your due diligence. This new
stainless steel stove has some unique features that made me want it. First, I like to use the broiler quite a lot when I cook. I put veggies, fish, and chicken underneath the flame in the oven often. But what I didn’t like was that the broiling area was pretty narrow. This new stove features a typical gas strip broiler plus another electric coil that goes around the strip, creating a much larger boiling area.
Another aspect of the stove that sold us is the small oven in the bottom. This is an electric oven that can be used to cook small items or as a warming tray. Finally, although we did look longingly at a more ‘professional’ looking chef style range, it was so basic that it lacked the timer and the other electronics. Which although pro cooks might not use them, I rely heavily on the oven timer just about every time I cook.
I also realized that when you search for a stove, there are three categories of price. For $900 or below you’ll get the basic Hotpoint, with dinky stove rings and regular oven. For $6000 you can buy a Viking, which is really cool looking and blows out 15,000 BTUs on the top, but has no electronics and gets bad reliability reviews. Or you can spend just a little more than $3000 for this Jenn-Air, which Manny’s shows off in their high-end area but is not as expensive as a Wolf or a Viking. We hope we made the right choice!
Posted on October 15, 2015
Linda McInerney is up to her wonderfully clever old tricks once again! Formerly Old Deerfield Productions, her company is now Eggtooth Productions, but this is the fifth year of a most exciting and creative idea–bring together eight short plays, find unusual places to produce them, and then let it rip! If you love surprises, being outdoors (between venues) in the crisp October air, and want to support Linda’s generous vision of vibrant local arts, then GET TICKETS! Only $20 for eight unique plays, happening within walking distance in downtown Greenfield, this Friday and Saturday.
DOUBLE TAKE FRINGE FESTIVAL LINE UP:
1. A staged reading of Breastless by Laurel Turk directed by Melissa Redwin. One woman’s determinedly truthful exploration of body image and sexuality after double mastectomy. Intimate monologues are juxtaposed with wry humor and satirical songs. Anyone with a body will find something to relate to in this piece. (Not recommended for children under 13.) 9 Mill Street (6 and 8 pm)
2. Genuine Cousin of Pearl by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt directed by John Bruner. A slightly surreal, more than silly new one-act comedy featuring eccentric cousins, a hereditary ticket booth, and a thoroughly Grouchoesque family lawyer. When the death of an ancient grandmother reunites Pearl with her cousins the family absurdity comes into full flower. 345 Main Street (7 and 9 pm)
3. Innocent Kind of Love by Rachel F. Hirsch, directed by Kathryn B. McNall. A dark story that explores the expectations and standards we put on love in today’s society. Do we choose love or does love choose us? Wheelhouse, 289 Main Street (6 and 8 pm)
4. I’m Herbert, directed by Chris Rohmann. You walk into a room and can’t remember what you came for, right? In Robert Anderson’s funny, sweet one-act, an old – very old – married couple have trouble even remembering each other’s names. In their rockers (but not quite off them) they reminisce about the past, arguing over their hilariously unreliable versions of it. GCTV, 393 Main Street (7 and 9 pm)
5. John Reese is directing The Sand Box by Edward Albee, Shel Silverstein’s The Best Daddy, and The Tarantino Variation, playwright Seth Kramer’s tribute to the disturbing spirit of Quentin Tarantino’s artistry under the collective title, Laughter in the Dark. Often dark, always funny, and perpetually witty examinations of the human condition performed by nine of the Valley’s most talented local actors. 4th Floor Artsblock, 289 Main Street (6 and 8 pm)
6. Silverthorne Theater offers two related one-act plays by Jane Anderson. Lynette Has Beautiful Skin and Lynette At 3 A.M. Two dramedies that explore the emotional needs and frustrations, from the title character’s perspective, of a contemporary young couple in a romantic relationship. Studio Seven 229-231 Main Street (7 and 9 pm)
7. The Water Project by Emma Ayres, a staged reading with live music. A curious writer with a tape recorder finds an old woman and preserves her memories of a small town gone, as if in amber. While The Water Project is written about the Quabbin Valley, 1920’s-1949’s, water has always been a currency used by the rich to control the poor. Artsblock Mainstage. 289 Main Street (6 and 8 pm)
8. Another Chance, Name Tag, and Attention Is Inevitable. Three short one-act plays written, directed and performed by graduates of the Greenfield Center School co-directed by Bob Strachota. Cast and crew includes: Tai Coppinger, Margot Schocket-Greene, Lydia Anderson, Edwin Anderson, Emma Worth, and Cassidy McDonough-Penson These teens have created a sophisticated and exciting night of theater that are suitable for all audiences. Hope and Olive Upstairs, 44 Hope Street (7 and 9 pm)
More at www.double-take.org.