Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Travelers411 Travel Radio Shownotes - MM DD, 20xx
"Travelers411" Radio Show - August 20, 2011
Derek Warfield Young, Wolftones Permormer at the 2011 Irish Fest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Irish Fest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Storytelling in European Grandeur at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Renewing the Message of Saint Patrick with the Saint Patrick Centre; Discover County Clare, Ireland; Get the Best Prices with CheapOAir.com.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Joe Kurth, General Manager, The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
www.thepfisterhotel.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411 Radio Show" make their fourth annual pilgrimage to The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Stephanie's trip to Milwaukee is in conjunction with Irish Fest, the largest Irish festival in the world.  Irish Fest draws over one hundred thousand Irish-Americans, Irish nationals, and people of Irish descent from all over the world to celebrate Ireland's culture, music, and legacy.  Irish Fest is only one of multiple ethnic festivals in Milwaukee. Summerfest, the world's largest music festival, which spans eleven days and seventeen stages and will be celebrating its forty fifth anniversary in 2012.

Live from the lobby of the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Stephanie is joined by Joe Kurth, the general manager of the Pfister Hotel.  Stephanie describes the locale as "a European-style, grand luxurious gem that feels very much like home."  Though she is missing a Boston Pops performance back in Massachusetts, Stephanie deems her trip to Milwaukee entirely worth it because it means staying at the gorgeous Pfister Hotel and soaking up a bit of Irish culture.  Irish Fest is located only blocks from the Pfister Hotel, and is a quick walk downhill in the morning.  In the evening, Stephanie enjoys the hotel shuttle or cab back to the Pfister.

From the front door of the Pfister Hotel, one can see not only Irishfest, but also Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee Art Museum, which Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams deems well worth a visit.  The Pfister itself aims to pamper all of its guests, on both two legs and four: Joe says that the Pfister has been "casually pet-friendly over the years, but now more and more people are traveling with their pets as a member of the family."  The Pfister now officially advertises as a pet-friendly locale, and goes above and beyond to make their canine and feline friends comfortable.  Stephanie shares that when her Creative Director joined her at the Pfister with his springer spaniel, there was a gift basket of dog toys waiting in the room.

The Pfister Hotel is a part of the Marcus Hotels group.  Marcus Hotels' flagship hotel, the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, sports golf courses and a well spa, as well as a recent renovation.  Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams makes it her business to seek out these gems of the Midwest, contending that the "middle" sections of most countries are under appreciated. 

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Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=12969

For more information visit www.thepfisterhotel.com


Link to this segment

Stacie Michelle Williams, The Pfister Narrator, Writer in Residence, The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
blog.thepfisterhotel.com
www.thepfisterhotel.com/pfister-narrator/narrators/stacie-williams.asp

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411 Radio Show" join Stacie Michelle Williams, the Pfister Narrator at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.  The role of the Pfister Narrator, Stacie explains, is that of a storyteller: from May through November 2011, she sits in the lobby, chatting with the guests and sharing the history of the hotel.  She then posts some of the guests' stories on the Pfister Hotel blog.  As she puts it, her job is to record "all those fun things that go on that you don't get to see unless you're here."

The Pfister Narrator, or Writer-in-Residence, is part of the Artist-in-Residence program at the Pfister Hotel.  Every six months, a new artist rotates in, and makes use of the hotel's gallery space located on the ground floor, which hotel guests are free to visit.  The Pfister Hotel hosts the largest collection of Victorian art of a hotel of its kind, and the Artist-in-Residence program is an attempt to extend the hotel's appreciation of art to contemporary as well as Victorian work.  Thanks to the program, which is associated with the Alliance of Artists Communities, the Pfister Hotel is a truly special destination of art connoisseurs. 

Some of Stacie's recent subjects include the coachmen who organize carriage rides outside the Pfister, a Norwegian businessman who loves the Scandinavian spirit of Milwaukee, and a trio of Texan gentlemen with whom she played a long game of Jenga in the hotel bar.  Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams considers the Pfister Hotel bar a "very inspirational" place, with its antique grandfather clock and original brick fireplace.  Stacie points out that in addition to the fireplace, the marble floors are also original to the building, and date back to 1893.

Travelers411 Directory Listing:
Be sure to visit the Pfister Directory LIsting at Travelers411.com for more links to related content and commercial free interviews.

Related Photo Galleries:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=62

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=12970

For more information visit www.thepfisterhotel.com, blog.thepfisterhotel.com and
www.thepfisterhotel.com/pfister-narrator/narrators/stacie-williams.asp


Link to this segment

Dr. Tim Campbell, Director, Saint Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, UK.
www.saintpatrickcentre.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411 Radio Show" enjoy the company of Dr. Tim Campbell, Director of the Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, UK.  Together, they enjoy the atmosphere at Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Irish fest, which Stephanie says "defies description" and exists to "exhibit, introduce, and reinforce Irish culture."  Stephanie encourages all of her listeners to fully explore Ireland itself, contending that "you can't go to Ireland once, unless you go once and stay a year, because there is just so much to see in every nook and cranny.  There's a basic Irish philosophy that runs through people's life that just bubbles through their pores and reaches out to everyone who comes and visits.  It is this wonderful warmth and hospitality that comes naturally to the Irish people." 

Tim traces some of this spirit back to the message of Saint Patrick, which he says "transcends religion and geographical separation, and brings an uplifting message for all people."  The Saint Patrick Centre exists to memorialize the character and message of Saint Patrick, which is one of reconciliation.  Tim muses that "Saint Patrick is particularly relevant to me in the Northern part of Ireland, because he represents both [English and Irish] traditions.  He's someone from Britain who became the Patron Saint of Ireland.  You can't get any more cross-community than that."  On the origin of "Irish niceness," Tim also notes that "in our part of the world, we've got time.  Of all the people that come to Ireland, very few of them actually go North because there's this perception that somehow it's a dangerous place.  But recently, Belfast was voted the second safest city in the world.  From our side of it, we're amazed that people want to come, and we'd like to spend the time with them.  There's a gentleness about the whole experience."

The Saint Patrick Centre is located in what Tim calls "the most beautiful part, I think, of Ireland."  It is host to the grave of not only Saint Patrick, but also Saints Bridget and Colombkille.  A brief poem illustrates the presence of this iconic trio: "In Down, one grave three Saints do fill / Patrick, Bridget, and Colombkille."  The Centre is a mere half hour out of Belfast, and only two hours North of Dublin, and is easily accessible by Irish public transport.  Tim notes that Downpatrick, County Down is extremely close to a number of iconic sites in Ireland beyond the Saint Patrick Centre.  In April, Belfast will be celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the Titanic's voyage; the ship was built in Belfast, though the Irish are quick to point out that it was in excellent condition when it left its berth.  "It took an Englishman to sink it, is what people say," Tim quips.

Downpatrick is also close to Saint Patrick's Trail, a ninety two mile path beginning in Armagh, which Tim calls "the Ecclesiastical Capital of Ireland," and continuing through sites associated with Saint Patrick's story.  This includes Saul, the first church built by Saint Patrick in Ireland.  A few miles from Downpatrick, Saul is a necessary stop: "the general consensus is that in certain parts of the world, there's a certain thinness between heaven and earth, and the gap seems to be very thin at Saul," Tim says.  "It's a very beautiful place.  It's exactly what you’d think a church should look like from Patrick's time.  It's been reupholstered over the last sixteen hundred years of course, but there's a stillness about the place, and people who go there always fall in love with it."  Stephanie points out that the serenity of Saul is due in part to the fact that it doesn't feel like a tourist facility; it does not have a gift shop, a giant parking lot, or public restrooms.

The Saint Patrick Centre has a number of outreach programs that foster the spirit of Saint Patrick.  The first is a series of honorees, called "Friends of Saint Patrick."  On March 16, 2007, Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams was named an Honorary Friend of Saint Patrick, along with Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, UK.  The Centre also has "friends organizations," which are partner centers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Minnesota; Toronto, Canada; Phoenix, Arizona and a new chapter in Chicago, Illinois.  In particular, these chapters bring Saint Patrick's message to bear on annual Saint Patrick's Day celebrations.  Tim recognizes that on Saint Patrick's Day, some revelers simply want to celebrate their Irish heritage, which is a perfectly respectable pastime.  But Saint Patrick's Day is about more than snakes, shamrocks, and green beer; according to Tim, it is also an opportunity to learn more about Saint Patrick, his message, and Ireland as a whole.  In Milwaukee, the local Saint Patrick Centre chapter works with an organization called the Hunger Task Force.  They lead a truck and a convoy of volunteers with shopping carts through the Saint Patrick's Day Parade, collecting money and food for the homeless and hungry.

One of the Saint Patrick Centre's larger community focuses is the fight against hunger.  Tim says, "the Irish experience [in the United States] has been people who have been dislocated from their roots, and many people are here because of hunger, so how can it be right on Saint Patrick's day to walk past people who are hungry or homeless?  We should bring the charity of Saint Patrick back into the day."  Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams agrees that hunger crises should not be forgotten when considering the history of Irish culture, and suggests that interested travelers visit the Irish Hunger Memorial in Manhattan, New York.  Located off Vesey Street on the Hudson River in the Battery Park City neighborhood, the memorial consists of a ruined cottage imported from Ireland.  In its bricks, quotes about hunger are engraved.  Stephanie considers it to be "quite impactful."

Today, the Saint Patrick Centre has recently been remodeled to keep up with the times.  The facility now includes a one hundred twenty seat IMAX theater with narration in multiple languages, as well as what Tim calls "disco lights" leading to Saint Patrick's grave.  The result is a breathtaking spectacle at night.  The Centre has grown so popular that the Irish President, Mary McAleese, chose it as her Saint Patrick's Day destination in 2011.  At the time, the Centre was hosting a peace and reconciliation conference, which Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams attended. 

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=12971

For more information visit www.saintpatrickcentre.com


Fun Facts:

In Ireland, all senior citizens ride buses and trains for free, regardless of their citizenship.


Guests Include:

Joe Kurth, General Manager, The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
www.thepfisterhotel.com

Stacie Michelle Williams, The Pfister Narrator, Writer in Residence, The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
blog.thepfisterhotel.com
www.thepfisterhotel.com/pfister-narrator/narrators/stacie-williams.asp

Dr. Tim Campbell, Director, Saint Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, UK.
www.saintpatrickcentre.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Siobhan Garvey, Marketing & Development Officer, Clare County Council, County Clare, Ireland.
www.clare.ie
www.kilrush.ie

Flan Garvey, Founder, Clare Tourism Conference, County Clare, Ireland.
www.clarecoco.ie

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411 Radio Show" reunite with Siobhan Garvey, Marketing and Development Officer of Clare County Council, and Flan Garvey, Founder of the Clare Tourism Conference, both of County Clare, Ireland.  In Milwaukee for Flan's ninth visit to Irish Fest, Siobhan and Flan have a number of important dates to share for those interested in traveling to County Clare.

On the rugged West coast of Ireland, County Clare is home to one of the most spectacular vistas the country has to offer: the Cliffs of Moher.  The Cliffs are one of twenty eight finalists in the Seven Wonders Campaign, which will name the "new" seven wonders of the natural world on November 11, 2011.  Other finalists include the Grand Canyon in the United States, the Bay of Fundy in Canada, the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, and Mount Vesuvius in Italy.  Siobhan encourages everyone to vote for the Cliffs of Moher online, and join multiple Irish celebrities, including Lord of the Dance's Michael Flatley, in doing so.

Michael Flatley's appreciation for the Cliffs of Moher does not stop at his endorsement for their presence on the list of the new Seven Wonders.  On September 1 and 2, 2011, Flatley hosts the Edge of the World Concert at the Cliffs of Moher, which is a production of his troupe Lord of the Dance.  Priced at seventy five Euros per person, this concert is a steal for an outdoor venue at one of the future Seven Wonders of the Natural World.  It is particularly special because of Flatley's upcoming retirement; according to Siobhan, he recently invited the media to Castle Hyde, his home in County Cork, to announce his retirement.

In addition to the goings on at the Cliffs of Moher, Siobhan reminds Stephanie that the Loop Head Lighthouse, another gem on County Clare's coast, is now open to the public.  Set between the Shannon River Estuary to the South and Galway Bay to the North, and with views all the way to Kerry head and Dingle down the coast, the Loop Head Lighthouse is a County Clare must-see.  On July 18, 2011, Loop Head opened to tourists for the first time, and Siobhan says it has "gone beyond our expectations as to how successful it has been."  At the opening, six staff had been hired; another four people had to be hired as the season went on.  Local businesses also had to hire more employees to handle the influx of tourists, an estimated five hundred a day to the lighthouse.  A visit to Loop Head includes guided tours to the top of the eighteenth-century working lighthouse.  "It's been an extra addition to the area," Siobhan says.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams counters most tourists' assumption that May through November is the only time to visit Ireland.  On the contrary, she names the Christmas and New Year's season as a "glorious time" to visit the country, because Ireland has "such a mild climate."  She also suggests a visit in March, when the spring flowers and palm trees (an unlikely but common sight in Ireland) are just beginning to bloom.  In addition, it is possible to play golf all year round in Ireland, which Flan points out is uncommon in their part of the world.

Another recent addition to County Clare is the Celtic Mist, a fifty two foot yacht donated by the Haughey family to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.  The yacht will be used as a training facility and research center to assist in the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's conservation efforts.  The Shannon River Estuary is home to one hundred twenty eight bottle-nose dolphins, an uncommon number for the region.  The Celtic Mist is docked at the Kilrush Marina in County Clare.

Flan enthuses that 2011 has been an "exceptional" year for tourism in County Clare.  This was largely in part to United States President Barack Obama's visit: "the Irish people were very fond of himself and his wife Michelle, and their entourage.  And we have reaped the benefits, because more Americans are coming to see us as a result of that."  In keeping with the recent influx of tourists, 2012 also promises to be a good year.  April will mark the centennial of the Belfast-built Titanic's voyage; Flan says that "we do like to support our Northern neighbors as best we can."

Looking forward to 2014, Clare will be hosting celebrations of the historic victory of Clontarf, a battle in 1014 that secured the power of Brian Boru, a County Clare man and the High King of Ireland.  The victory over separatist Leinster Kings out of Dublin and their Viking mercenary allies helped to secure a mostly unified Ireland.  Brian Boru was a member of the O'Brien clan, and as such County Clare is expecting a huge congregation of the O'Brien clan in 2014 to celebrate the High King's victory.  The festivities are likely to be shared with the Northern Ireland County Armagh, which is where Brian Boru is buried.

In addition to the upcoming milestones, Flan points out that "prices have never been lower in Ireland."  Hotels, bed and breakfasts, and tourist attractions that might typically be out of budget for the average traveler are now available.  He strongly encourages everyone to visit in the next few years, contending that "if you have never been to Ireland, you have not lived yet."

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=12972

For more information visit www.clarecoco.ie and www.kilrush.ie


Link to this segment

Dr. Tim Campbell, Director, Saint Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, UK.
www.saintpatrickcentre.com

See hour 1 for shownotes on this segment.


Link to this segment

Bill Miller, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, CheapOAir.
www.cheapoair.com
www.cheapostay.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411 Radio Show" take a peek at airfare to Milwaukee and Ireland with Bill Miller, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at CheapOAir.  Bill suggests that when traveling domestically or internationally, one should book thirty to forty days out.  Autumn is one of the best times to travel, he says, because airlines typically have extra seats that they are trying to fill, so prices drop. 

Traveling to Milwaukee in the fall is particularly affordable.  CheapOAir quotes a flight from Washington DC to Milwaukee at one hundred forty-five dollars round trip.  For the traveler looking to save even more money, Bill and Stephanie suggest flying into Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and driving or taking Amtrak to Milwaukee from there, only a ninety minute trip.  On CheapOAir, a flight from New York to Chicago costs only one hundred twelve dollars round trip.

After taking a number of trips to Milwaukee for Irish Fest, Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams highly suggests a trip to the city.  "Downtown Milwaukee is like a mini Paris," she says, adding that "anybody who hasn't been to Milwaukee, you are in for the best surprise."  Bill agrees, encouraging travelers to use CheapOAir to discover the beauty of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and any other locale they have in mind.  The best part about CheapOAir, he says, is that quoted prices already include fees, so what you see is what you get.

In keeping with the spirit of Irish Fest, Stephanie and Bill take a look at prices of flights to Ireland.  CheapOAir quotes a round trip flight from Washington DC to Shannon Airport on the West Coast of Ireland at five hundred and three dollars, and a flight from Boston to Dublin at seven hundred thirty-four dollars round trip.  In general, Bill says, flights from the East Coast of the United States to Ireland land in the five to seven hundred dollar range.  Flights from the American South and West are around eight hundred dollars round trip.

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=12973

For more information visit www.cheapoair.com and www.cheapostay.com


Guests Include:

Siobhan Garvey, Marketing & Development Officer, Clare County Council, County Clare, Ireland.
www.clare.ie
www.kilrush.ie

Flan Garvey, Founder, Clare Tourism Conference, County Clare, Ireland.
www.clarecoco.ie

Dr. Tim Campbell, Director, Saint Patrick Centre, Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, UK.
www.saintpatrickcentre.com

Bill Miller, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, CheapOAir.
www.cheapoair.com
www.cheapostay.com

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