Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Travelers411 Travel Radio Shownotes
"Travelers411" Radio Show - February 20, 2010 - Show Archive

Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, Algonquin Tribes, New England History, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition; Hard Rock Café Music Memorabilia; Craftsteak Restaurant at Foxwoods and Locally Sourced food.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

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The “Travelers411” Radio Show with Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams is broadcasting live from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Stephanie welcomes Michael Speller, President of Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprises, which encompasses Foxwoods and the MGM Grand Hotel.

Michael Speller, President of Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprises
Michael Speller, President of Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise.

“Foxwoods is a fantastic property,” says Michael, “and the largest full-service resort and casino in the U. S.” The property has four hotels, two of which are 4-diamond and one of which has 23 exclusive private villas. There are seven casinos, including the private Stargazer Casino, with a total of 350,000 square feet of gaming space. This includes about 460 table games, 7,200 slots, and the biggest bingo hall in the U.S., according to Michael. The bingo hall serves up to 8,000 customers daily.

Foxwoods Theater District
Foxwoods Theater District.

Nearly 50,000 people visit Foxwoods each day, so the resort has 34 restaurants, 26 retail shops, and 2 spas. Michael can't say enough about the 10,000 team members who keep Foxwoods' 7 million square feet of resort and casino space running smoothly.

Foxwoods is located on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation in southeastern Connecticut, which totals about 2,000 acres. It's an “absolutely gorgeous setting,” says Stephanie, with views over Cedar Swamp, which “definitely doesn't look like a swamp.” Indoors, the scenery is just as stunning; the concourse is designed to look like a cobblestone street lined with houses and there's stained glass everywhere, which Stephanie finds “really incredible” and inspiring.

Foxwoods Promenade
Foxwoods Promenade.

In warmer weather, guests can play on two Rees Jones golf courses. The signature holes are “magnificent, the best in Connecticut,” albeit challenging, says Michael, because they look down over the water.

Foxwoods also has two theatres, including the brand new MGM, which has 4,000 seats and “lots of great entertainment” according to Michael. What sets Foxwoods apart, he says, is the commitment to service. “Every casino sells the same product,” he admits. “What we do is sell service, and every team member here does a fantastic job of making that happen.”

Gaming Tables
Gaming Tables.

Even if you're a gambler with a $20 limit, like Stephanie, there's plenty to do at Foxwoods. “It's like they've built a resort that has fabulous casino opportunities as opposed to building a casino and nothing else,” she says.

Michael agrees that it's not just about the casino. Foxwoods has retail, fine dining, and one of the finest Native American museums on the East Coast, he says, adding that people can come just to relax and enjoy themselves.

Foxwoods Areal View
Foxwoods Areal View.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1360

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


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“If you take yourself over to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, you will be having fun,” says Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams on the “Travelers411” Radio Show. She talks to Joe Jimenez, Senior Vice President of Casino Marketing at Foxwoods, who says he has a dream job.

Foxwoods Grounds
Foxwoods Grounds.

“Foxwoods is a social center for New England,” says Joe. It's more than a casino, it's a resort. Whether you're spending four hours or four days at Foxwoods, Joe is certain they'll have something for you. He encourages guests to visit, see a show, have dinner, sip a latte while people-watching, try their luck, stay overnight, try the spas, play golf, and enjoy world-class entertainment and exhibitions. (And yes, you can do all of that at Foxwoods.)

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1361

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


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Host and travel expert Stephanie Abrams welcomes Bernard Lee to the “Travelers411” Radio Show. Bernard is Spokesman for the World Poker Tour (WPT) Poker Room at Foxwoods.

Gaming Tables
Gaming Tables.

The World Poker Tour chose Foxwoods as the site of one of its poker rooms because Foxwoods is a “solid brand” and its room is “one of the best in the world,” says Bernard. The WPT Poker Room at Foxwoods has almost 100 tables and attracts people from across New England and around the world. There are tables set aside for cash games and tournaments, and games happen 24/7 to fit poker players' notorious night owl schedules.

Gaming Tables
Gaming Tables.

What makes poker different from other casino games? You're not playing against the house, says Bernard. Instead, you have to watch other players and be able to read the competition.

The WPT Poker Room at Foxwoods will be host to the Foxwoods Poker Classic March 12-28, 2010.

If you don't want to play, you're welcome to watch from the sidelines. Bernard warns, though, that unlike on TV, you won't be able to see what cards the players are holding.

Gaming Tables
Gaming Tables.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1362

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


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Ernie DiGregorio, Celebrity Host at Foxwoods Resort Casino, stops by the “Travelers411” Radio Show to talk with travel expert Stephanie Abrams. A former NBA player, Ernie left the Celtics and has been at Foxwoods for fifteen years. He's not a member of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, but he feels like it, since “they've been so good to him and his family.”

Travelers411 Radio Show Guest Ernie Digregori; Celebrity Host Former NBA Player.
Travelers411 Radio Show Guest Ernie Digregori; Celebrity Host Former NBA Player.

Hospitality is Ernie's top priority at Foxwoods. He wants people to “come in and have the best day of their lives.” Ernie also does corporate and charity events, from golf tournaments to working with tribal children in reservation schools. Kids love seeing him in his old Celtics uniform, he says.

“If you haven't been to Foxwoods, you really need to come by,” says Stephanie.

Foxwoods Lounge
Foxwoods Lounge.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1363

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


Lori Potter, Director of Public Relations, Foxwoods Resort Casinoexplains the origin of the tribe's name. The Algonquin word Pequot means “shallow waters,” because the tribe lives along the coastline of Long Island Sound. Mashatucket means “wooded land,” and indeed, the tribe's reservation is in a dense forest inland.

Lori Potter, Director of Public Relations for Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise
Lori Potter, Director of Public Relations for Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise.

You can learn more about the tribe's history at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center at Foxwoods. It's a “wonderful immersion” into the experience of what New England was like 10,000 years ago, says Lori. The progressive journey starts with a recreated glacier that shows how the land was formed. Visitors pass through interactive dioramas to a recreated 400-year-old Pequot village, then learn how life changed with the Europeans' arrival. “You're immersed in the experience, and the village is incredible,” says Lori.

Statue
Statue.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1364

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


Guests Include:

Michael Speller, President, Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise.
www.foxwoods.com

Joe Jimenez, Senior Vice President, Casino Marketing, Foxwoods Resort Casino.
www.foxwoods.com

Bernard Lee, Spokesperson for WPT Poker Room, Foxwoods Resort Casino.
www.foxwoods.com

Ernie DiGregorio, Celebrity Host, Former NBA Basketball Player, Foxwoods Resort Casino.
www.foxwoods.com

Lori Potter, Director of Public Relations, Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprises, Mashantucket, Connecticut.
www.foxwoods.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the “Travelers411” Radio Show are broadcasting live from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. “It's the most delightful place I've been lately,” says Stephanie. “What makes it really special is that it's this amusement park for all ages.”

Win A Car Slots at Foxwoods
Win A Car Slots at Foxwoods.

Stephanie's advice to would-be gamblers is to set a limit before walking into the casino and to recognize when you've hit the jackpot. (At five years old, Stephanie won the jackpot on a nickel slot machine, but did not realize what had happened and so failed to claim her prize.)


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Stephanie talks with Lori Potter, Director of Public Relations at Foxwoods. One of the reasons the Mashatucket Pequot tribe developed Foxwoods was so they could open a tribal museum and research center, according to Lori. The museum tells the story of the Algonquin tribes and the history of New England, and visitors could spend several hours going through the exhibits.

Great Cedar Casino
Great Cedar Casino.

Visitors can also see Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, which opened at Foxwoods on Valentine's weekend, 2010 in the Great Cedar Exhibition Hall (lobby level of the Great Cedar Hotel). Lori adds that Premiere Exhibitions has put on a “wonderful exhibition” that's “doing phenomenally.”

Lori Potter, Director of Public Relations for Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise
Lori Potter, Director of Public Relations for Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprise.

Foxwoods (and the museum and exhibition) are a short drive from New York, Boston, or Pennsylvania. If you're in the area on business, Stephanie encourages you to rent a car, or a limo if you're a high roller.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1364

For more information visit http://www.foxwoods.com or http://www.pequotmuseum.org


Link to this segment

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams welcomes Rachel Sumner to the “Travelers411” Radio Show. Rachel is Sales & Marketing Coordinator at the Hard Rock Café at Foxwoods.

Rachel Sumner(R) and Stephanie Abrams(L)
Rachel Sumner(R) and Stephanie Abrams(L).

The Hard Rock Café franchise started in 1971 in London. Pete Townshend, guitarist for The Who, kicked off the restaurant's tradition of collecting memorabilia when he hung his guitar on the wall to save the seat below it. Today, the Hard Rock Café buys celebrity memorabilia at private auctions or off eBay. Everything is “100% authentic,” says Rachel, who adds that the Hard Rock at Foxwoods has a shirt from Rod Stewart, Elton John's tailcoat, and clothing from members of Fleetwood Mac.

Hardrock Cafe at Foxwoods
Hardrock Cafe at Foxwoods.

“I had a wonderful time just standing in the doorway,” says Stephanie. “I didn't even have one of your wonderful hamburgers.”

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1365

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


Link to this segment

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams welcomes Shuichi Kameyama, who is Executive Director of the Japan National Tourism Organization in New York, and who will be representing Japan at the New York Times Travel Show on February 26, 27, and 28, 2010.

Japan Downtown area at dusk
Japan Downtown area at dusk.

Although any visit to Japan is a “life-altering experience” according to Stephanie, 2010 is a particularly good year to make the trip. The National Tourism Organization is promoting several events and discounts in 2010 as part of Visit Japan Year. This year, the traditional city of Heijokyo, in Nara Prefecture, will celebrate its 1300th anniversary. A former capital of Japan, Heijokyo was built in 710 and has already started celebrating. It's close to Kyoto and easy to reach.

Japan
Japan.

Even Kyoto is easy to navigate; Stephanie visited in 2006 and “just fell in love with it.” Though the city is smaller than Boston, Kyoto has 400 temples, 600 shrines, and 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. “Everywhere you look, there's something wonderful,” she says.

Japan
Japan.

From July to October, there's the Setouchi International Art Festival. Based in the city of Takamatsu, the festival will spread out over several islands. It's a great opportunity for art lovers to see both modern art and the avant garde buildings housing the exhibitions, explains Shuichi.

Japan
Japan.

Stephanie recommends staying at a ryokan, or traditional Japanese inn. Shuichi agrees, saying that ryokan guests can choose from a high-end hotel or a simple family-style bed and breakfast. Visitors sleep on futons, enjoy traditional meals, and relax in onsen, hot spring baths that can be indoors or outdoors.

Japan
Japan.

Stephanie and Shuichi agree to chat at the New York Times Travel Show, where Stephanie will be in booth #1000 and Japan in booth # 157. After hearing about all the “phenomenal” events Japan has to offer in 2010, Stephanie observes that “clearly [she needs] to go back again.”

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1366

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


Link to this segment

On a Saturday night at Foxwoods, there are over 30 choices for eating and dining (and yes, there is a difference). Tonight, Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams plans to dine at Craftsteak Steak House. She's called on Thomas Timmons, General Manager of Craftsteak, to introduce the menu.

Travelers411 Radio Show Guest Ernie Digregori; Celebrity Host Former NBA Player
Thomas Timmons, General Manager of Craftsteak.

Craftsteak changes its menu each day, since chefs ask suppliers for their freshest meat and produce. They make a special effort to work directly with sources so they can have confidence in what they serve. Though some food comes from as far as Oregon and Prince Edward Island, Craftsteak serves New England seafood and local beef from Four Mile River Farm in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Desert Offering
Desert Offering.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1367

For more information visit
http://www.mgmgrand.com/restaurants/craftsteak-steak-house.aspx



Guests Include:

Lori Potter, Director of Public Relations, Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprises, Mashantucket,Connecticut.
www.foxwoods.com

Rachel Sumner, Sales & Marketing Coordinator, Hard Rock Café at Foxwoods.
www.hardrock.com

Shuichi Kameyama, Executive Director, Japan National Tourism Organization, NYC.
www.japantravelinfo.com

Thomas Timmons, General Manager, Craftsteak, MGM Grand at Foxwoods, Mashantucket, Connecticut.
www.foxwoods.com

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