Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Travelers411 Travel Radio Shownotes - March 26, 2011
"Travelers411" Radio Show - March 26, 2011
img Weddings at the Clarion Hotel Carrickfergus, Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland; Nearly 100 Years of Aviation History at British Airways Heritage Collection, Waterside, London Heathrow Airport, London, England; Airline Memorabilia in a Restored Control Tower at Croydon Airport, London, England; Personal Service at Cannizaro House, Wimbledon, England.

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Hour 1

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Stephen Carson, General Manager, Clarion Carrickfergus Hotel, Carrickfergus; Causeway Coast & Glens Tourism Partnership, Northern Ireland.
www.clarioncarrick.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show explore the coastal route with Stephen Carson, General Manager of the Clarion Hotel Carrickfergus in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The hotel opened in 1986 but has just undergone a renovation. "Especially during the recession, people were afraid to spend money, so we're lucky that the owners were willing to do that," says Stephen. "Now we're ready to get right back into things."

Portrush Beach.
Portrush Beach.

The Clarion Hotel Carrickfergus is located right on the shoreline – the first hotel on the Causeway Coastal Route. "You can't miss it," says Stephanie. "You'd have to have your eyes closed." The hotel welcomes many corporate travelers during the week and plenty of leisure visitors and wedding guests during the weekend. "We do mountains of weddings: 370 this year," says Stephen. "We have people from Cork, Limerick, Dublin, so some distance away."

From the grounds of President Andrew Jackson's Ancestral Home Museum Center in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland.
From the grounds of President Andrew Jackson's Ancestral Home Museum Center in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland.

Many couples take advantage of the hotel's Under a Grand Wedding Package. For less than 1,000 pounds sterling (about $1500), wedding parties get a bridal suite, a room for the ceremony, a room for the reception, and a sit-down, 4-course dinner for 100 people. "It's a great value package for people getting married," says Stephen. "You can make it a 2 to 3 day event, like a destination wedding. You arrive on Friday, have a buffet, do the wedding on Saturday, and then stay around on Sunday. We launched the package in November 2009 when the recession kicked in and have had a lot of people renew their vows, too."

Stephen Carson, General Manager, Clarion Carrickfergus Hotel, Carrickfergus; Causeway Coast & Glens Tourism Partnership, Northern Ireland.
Stephen Carson, General Manager, Clarion Carrickfergus Hotel, Carrickfergus; Causeway Coast & Glens Tourism Partnership, Northern Ireland.

Guests arriving for the wedding package will be met with a red carpet and champagne for the bride and groom. The couple stays in the honeymoon suite, and guests enjoy a 4-course meal during the reception that includes soup, meat, dessert, and tea or coffee courses. The Under a Grand Wedding Package is available from Monday through Thursday. "It's great for people who want to get married and are on a budget," explains Stephen. "You can usually get deals on the cake, suits, and cars, because it's mid-week."

Bedroom at the Clarion Carrickfergus Hotel, Carrickfergus, Ireland.
Bedroom at the Clarion Carrickfergus Hotel, Carrickfergus, Ireland.

The package is designed to attract guests. "We want to encourage people to come, even from far away," Stephen adds. "The idea is that if you come, you're going to rent some bedrooms." Stephanie points out that for couples coming from the U.S., getting married during the week is not a problem. "It doesn't matter what day you get married because it's part of a longer stay," she says. "Plus, you're already here for the honeymoon." Stephen encourages couples to book fast; the hotel has only one midweek date still available in 2011.

Lobby at the Clarion Carrickfergus Hotel, Carrickfergus, Ireland.
Lobby at the Clarion Carrickfergus Hotel, Carrickfergus, Ireland.

The Clarion Hotel Carrickfergus is on the east coast of Northern Ireland, about a 2 hour drive from Dublin. Although the hotel is in Northern Ireland, it's close to the border with the Republic of Ireland. Stephanie suggests a visit to the St. Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, County Down, which is nearby. "It's the only permanent exhibit memorializing Patrick, his life, his work, his legacy, and his message," she says. "His message is wrapped around the concept of reconciliation. Ireland, as an island, is a region that other places have taken a lesson from in what it means to put aside differences."

Front entrance at the Clarion Carrickfergus Hotel, Carrickfergus, Ireland.
Front entrance at the Clarion Carrickfergus Hotel, Carrickfergus, Ireland.

Although Northern Ireland has a troubled past, Stephanie reminds travelers that the whole island of Ireland is a wonderful destination. "Some people have lingering concerns about safety in Northern Ireland," she says. "But if you have it in the back of your mind that you'd like to see Ireland, now is the time to go. You can explore the entire island with confidence because you'll come away enriched, enhanced, inspired, and uplifted. And it's on sale, too."

Guide dogs donation box at the Clarion.
Guide dogs donation box at the Clarion.

Visitors to Carrickfergus can explore the area's rich history. "As you roam about Ireland, you're confronted with the real deal: thousand-year-old buildings and real castles," says Stephanie. "You can go to the ruins and walk around – there's no admission fee." Carrickfergus is home to the longest-standing Norman castle in the UK, which is just 5 minutes' walk from the Clarion Hotel.

Andrew Jackson Centre.
Andrew Jackson Centre.

"The castle is right on the marina, so it's in a gorgeous setting," says Stephen. "You can bring the kids to see the castle, boats, water – and there's pizza and a cinema right there, too." Another nearby attraction is a cottage that belonged to U.S. president Andrew Jackson's family. Although Jackson himself was born in the U.S., his family had Irish roots. The cottage is also 5 minutes from the hotel and has since been restored.

Main structure at the Presdient Andrew Jackson Home Heritage Centre Museum.
Main structure at the Presdient Andrew Jackson Home Heritage Centre Museum.

The Clarion Hotel Carrickfergus has 68 guest rooms featuring modern touches like blond wood, rounded walls, and flat-screen TVs. It's listed as a 3-star property, but Stephanie classifies it as a "superior" 3-star. "It's the right size to take over if you're having an event," she says, "and everything is very modern – the beds are super comfortable and the bathrooms are very nice. It's a marvelous place in a great location." Stephen adds that the hotel's management spent a great deal of time on research, so the hotel is set up to accommodate groups, whether families, sports teams, or student or corporate groups.

Royal Portrush golf course.
Royal Portrush golf course.

Stephanie ends the hour by sharing a joke that she heard from Irish talk radio show host Bob Grant. "A gentleman dies and the family is grief-stricken," she begins. "They lay the corpse out on the dining room table and call for the priest. The word goes out in the neighborhood and people begin arriving as it spreads. The house is stuffed with neighbors and friends when the priest arrives. The priest approaches the widow and gives his condolences. He says he'll need to dress the corpse and will need 3 chairs.

Grounds at the Downhill Demesdne and Hazlett House on the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland.
Grounds at the Downhill Demesdne and Hazlett House on the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland.

"A young man standing there offers to take care of that," she continues. "He goes into the kitchen, where there are 6 men from the community. Each has a pint in hand and they're commiserating over the loss of their friend. The young man enters to say that the priest needs 3 chairs for the corpse. The men raise their pints and say, 'Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!'" Stephen replies that there are plenty of chairs at the Clarion Hotel Carrickfergus for everyone.

Related Photo Galleries:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=538

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3222

For more information visit www.clarioncarrick.com


Guests Include:

Stephen Carson, General Manager, Clarion Carrickfergus Hotel, Carrickfergus; Causeway Coast & Glens Tourism Partnership, Northern Ireland.
www.clarioncarrick.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

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Paul Jarvis, Manager, British Airways Heritage Collection, Waterside at London Heathrow Airport, London, England, UK.
www.ba.com/heritage

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show learn about British aviation history with Paul Jarvis, Manager of the British Airways Heritage Collection at Waterside, London Heathrow Airport in London, England. The Heritage Collection includes everything from aircraft flown under the British Airways name and costumes worn by air hostesses to linens, china, and on-board service items.

Paul Jarvis, Manager, British Airways Heritage Collection, Waterside at London Heathrow Airport, London, England, UK.
Paul Jarvis, Manager, British Airways Heritage Collection, Waterside at London Heathrow Airport, London, England, UK.

Paul has been at the collection for 10 years, but has been with British Airways for 45 years. Although he is technically retired, he's still part of the company through his work at the collection. "I've always had an interest in aviation history," he says. "I was the company secretary for quite some years. We used to have the British Airways Museum, which was a group of artifacts put together in the late 1960s."

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams at the British Airways Heritage Collection, Waterside at London Heathrow Airport, London, England, UK.
Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams at the British Airways Heritage Collection, Waterside at London Heathrow Airport, London, England, UK.

The artifacts in the original British Airways Museum came from the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways. In 1974, the two companies merged to form British Airways. "Several farsighted directors of those companies thought that when they merged, they would lose their history," Paul explains. "The artifacts ended up under the control of the company secretary, which was eventually myself."

Plane model at the British Airways Heritage Collection.
Plane model at the British Airways Heritage Collection.

Paul stresses the importance of saving records and artifacts from the past. "We're going to the paperless office now," he says. "So much is digitized, which means fewer documents are produced. But those documents are the seed corn of any archive. People trying to research in even 10 years' time are going to have trouble, because so much of our communication is emails that aren't printed or kept. Or it's stored on a system that becomes obsolete and gets ditched. And people pride themselves on the paperless system, too."

Plane model and replica steward uniforms at the British Airways Heritage Collection.
Plane model and replica steward uniforms at the British Airways Heritage Collection.

What's in the British Airways Heritage Collection? "It's the history of the company," Paul explains. "If you want to know the history of British civil aviation, come here. I'm not just bound to say it as an old company man – most matters of importance in the development of civil aviation were done by our predecessors. Why? It's because we were the nationalized airline. You would expect trailblazing routes to India; that was one of the reasons we were set up by the UK government in 1924."

Model airplane at the British Airways Heritage Collection.
Model airplane at the British Airways Heritage Collection.

The UK's national airline has been known by several brand names since 1924. "You might recognize the British Overseas Airways Corporation, which operated to many places in the U.S.," says Paul. "British European Airways was its sister company that did European routes. These were the 2 nationalized state companies from the end of World War II up to their merger in 1974. Prior to that, there was Imperial Airways, which was the first nationalized UK airline, formed in 1924. In 1940, Imperial was merged by the UK government with a private UK airline called British Airways to form BOAC."

Model airplane at the British Airways Heritage Collection.
Model airplane at the British Airways Heritage Collection.

Travelers can request to visit the Heritage Collection on the British Airways website. The center is open to individuals who want to do research and groups with an interest in the history of civil aviation. During Stephanie's visit, she noticed everyone from a man looking for information about his father's work at British Airways to a group from a volunteer ambulance organization. "The group heard about us, read about us somewhere, emailed, and here they are," says Paul. "You just go to our website, click through, and tell us when you'd like to visit."

Archival Hostess uniform at the British Airways Heritage Collection.
Archival Hostess uniform at the British Airways Heritage Collection.

Given the company's long history, there are too many artifacts to display in the collection. "We're not quite the Smithsonian, but we do have things below stairs," Paul explains. "What you won't see is the 2,500 archive boxes in deep storage that represent the company history going back to 1919. Other deep storage facilities are full of large model aircraft, a collection of 450 uniforms, and umpteen other things." Upstairs, there are nearly 2 dozen uniforms on display, including a paper dress. "That one didn't last very long," Paul adds. "People used to try to set fire to them. But then, they smoked on board in those days."

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3223

For more information visit www.ba.com/heritage


Link to this segment

Peter Marson, Researcher and Member, Croydon Airport Society, Croydon, England, UK.
www.croydonairportsociety.co.uk

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show talk with Peter Marson of the Croydon Airport Society, based in London, England. Croydon Airport was the main airport serving London until World War II and the opening of Heathrow Airport. It's 8 miles due south of London and lies just off the main London-Brighton railway line and the main London-Brighton road. Visitors going by public transit can take the Overground from Victoria Station to East Croydon, then catch the 119 bus that runs every 10 minutes.

Peter Marson, Researcher and Member, Croydon Airport Society, Croydon, England, UK.
Peter Marson, Researcher and Member, Croydon Airport Society, Croydon, England, UK.

Peter became involved with the Croydon Airport Society because of his interest in airline history. "Imperial Airways, the predecessor of British Airways Overseas Corporation, operated throughout the world in the 1930s from Croydon Airport," he says. "It was the main airport for London until World War II and until aircraft got too big for the grass field." The Croydon Airport Society operates a museum at the airport that is open the first Sunday of each month or by prior arrangement for groups.

Archival crew uniform on display at the British Airways Heritage Museum.
Archival crew uniform on display at the British Airways Heritage Museum.

The Croydon Airport museum holds Imperial Airways memorabilia, model airplanes, timetables, uniforms, cutlery, pilots' logbooks, plenty of photos, and items from famous British pilots. Most items are donated by people who used to fly for the airline or their families. "We get donations monthly – one thing or another," says Peter. "We got logbooks from a famous KLM pilot and a photo album from a man who was the London manager in the pre-war days. We have thousands of photos that are catalogued and digitized."

Hostess uniforms archived at the British Airways Heritage Museum.
Hostess uniforms archived at the British Airways Heritage Museum.

The artifacts and memorabilia are displayed on the floors of the old Croydon control tower. At the top, visitors can explore the control room, which has been restored with vintage equipment from the 1930s and 1940s. Travelers can arrange a visit and tour through the airport society's website. Many of the volunteer tour guides have been at Croydon for nearly 20 years. "Some of the people showing you around actually worked at the airport," says Peter. "We have a lot of people in their 70s and 80s and a few younger people who are sort of learning the ropes."

Archived paper dress uniform worn by flight attendants on the British Airways Hawaii route on display at the British Airways Hertiage Collection in Waterside England.
Archived paper dress uniform worn by flight attendants on the British Airways Hawaii route on display at the British Airways Hertiage Collection in Waterside England.

Peter himself is researching charter flights from the propeller era in the 1960s. "I found that there were an amazing number of groups that flew between the Americas and London, particularly in the summer," he says. "That was when you actually had to be a member of a group to get a charter flight. These were mainly university students, school groups, teachers, council workers, and sports clubs."

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3224

For more information www.croydonairportsociety.co.uk


Link to this segment

Jeffrey Ward, General Manager, Cannizaro House, Wimbledon, England, UK.
www.cannizarohouse.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show pop in to Cannizaro House in Wimbledon, England, to talk with General Manager Jeffrey Ward. Cannizaro House is 8 miles out of London in the village – and tennis mecca – of Wimbledon. "The area is just replete with the most beautiful architecture, historic homes, boutique shops, and charming cafes and restaurants," says Stephanie. "You have the advantage of London at your doorstep, but in an area that feels like the countryside."

Cannizaro House, Wimbledon, England, UK.
Cannizaro House, Wimbledon, England, UK.

Cannizaro House also offers guests the advantage of personalized service. When Stephanie arrived, she had her heart set on a haircut. "I just couldn't wait another minute, but I needed some guidance," she says. "Jeffrey made it happen in less than an hour." On a previous visit, hotel staff arranged for Stephanie to visit the Wimbledon tennis courts, where she watched workers laying down the white lines. How did they do it? "I think the recipe is that you have to have a can-do attitude," says Jeffrey.  

Related Photo Galleries:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=302
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=301

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3225

For more information visit www.cannizarohouse.com


Guests Include:

Paul Jarvis, Manager, British Airways Heritage Collection, Waterside at London Heathrow Airport, London, England, UK.
www.ba.com/heritage

Peter Marson, Researcher, Member, Croydon Airport Society, Croydon, England, UK.
www.croydonairportsociety.co.uk

Jeffrey Ward, General Manager, Cannizaro House, Wimbledon, England, UK.
www.cannizarohouse.com

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