Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Travelers411 Travel Radio Shownotes - October 29, 2011
"Travelers411" Radio Show - October 29, 2011
Sir Humphry Wakefield, English Baronet and Lord of the Manor of Chillingham, of Chillingham Castle, Chillingham, Northumberland, Great Britain. Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams Shares Important Travel Tips to Make Your Traveling Experiences Much Easier and Hassle-Free; Talking Haunted Ancient Castles and Halloween Celebrations with Sir Humphrey Wakefield of Chillingham Castle in Northumberland, England; A Wild and Spooky Vacation Story from the South Pacific with Mark Leslie of Martello Media; Improving Your New York Hotel Experience with John Williams of New York Guest; and a Luxurious Hotel Stay at Ink 48 in Midtown Manhattan.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

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News and Updates from Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams: Saratoga Raceway Broadcasts, Euro-American Women's Concil and Back at the Crowne Plaza Pittsfield.

Travel Expert and Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams broadcasts following a recent illness, which leads her to surmise that had she been unable to make it to the studio, they probably could have broadcasted from her home similar to how the show can adapt to traveling on location. She says they've even broadcasted from the finish line at Saratoga Raceway so its possible. Speaking of Saratoga, Stephanie attended a race this and last year and says it's an incredible experience, and "everybody looks like Easter Sunday". She says she's even been prepared to broadcast from her dining room table if unable to get out of her home after a bad Massachusetts snowstorm. 

Stephanie got sick while en route to the 15th Annual Euro-American Women's Council where women are honored with the Goddess Artemis Award for their unique signature and legacy. Stephanie was honored last year in Athens, Greece, and this year was the first time the event has taken place outside of Greece. The event took place in the Zappeion Megaron, the historically important building in Athens where the first Olympics took place. This year the event took place in Washington, D.C., where Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney was being honored and the event's location was changed in consideration of her schedule.  She emphasizes how sick she was, saying "Can you imagine me deciding to abort a trip, especially one like this?" Luckily, she's better now and happy to be back to work.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams describes the region from which she broadcasts in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, near the Berkshire Crowne Plaza Hotel as a touristic one with lots of sites of historical interest as well as shopping and other activities within an hour and a half drive of the city itself. Because of so many interesting destinations in the area, Stephanie tries to invite local businesses and accommodations onto the show to discuss their properties and services when possible.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
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News and Updates from Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams: Travel Tips to Make Your Hotel Stay, Airplane Security Checkpoint and Airport Parking Easier.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams shares that lately she's been thinking about some of the difficulties that people have related about their travels. She has some "rapid-fire tips" on how to make your actual travel experience "an easier story". She states that a traveler's best bet is to make an airline reservation with a travel agent who will take care of all details. But if you absolutely decide to do everything yourself, she has the following tips. Make your hotel reservation before your airline reservation, since there's no point in having a hotel reserved and then not being able to arrive at that time. She adds, "chances are if air is available, hotels are available."

Make a note for yourself immediately upon making the reservation of when the airline allows you to check in. Most allow you to do so 24 hours before the flight. She recommends that you go online and check in as soon as this time window is open to you. It's important to know what the airline's luggage policy is for the class of service you're flying. If you're making connections to other airlines, you have to consider the lowest allowance you'll encounter. So if you're flying in first class on your initial flight but changing to a budget airline that doesn't offer free checked luggage later, you're facing some potentially very high charges for the additional baggage. Figure out restrictions on how many bags you can take and the associated costs.

Many times you can get seating when checking in online as well as be able to print your boarding pass. Stephanie recommends doing this, or sending a link to the pass to a web based email address (not a work related or server specific one) so that it's possible and easy to access anywhere in the world. "It's easier than trying to figure out how to make your laptop compatible with the printer in the business center" of a public place, she advises, and allows you to avoid potential technology compatibility problems. Sometimes airlines don't allow you to get your seats online, so you should go to the airport early on the day of your flight if you have a request. Stephanie recommends arriving three hours early for international flights and two for domestic, at the minimum.

Wear shoes that are easy to slip off for going through airport security. Keep in mind that shoes are usually the heaviest thing in your suitcase. If possible, put some heavy items in your carry on to lighten up the load of your checked baggage. Put all liquids in a Ziploc bag and into your checked luggage, and make sure any liquids you carry on are actually under three ounces, as airline security is extremely strict about this rule.

If driving to the airport, you can visit longtermparking.com, click on the state you're flying from, then select the airport you'll be flying from, and you'll see the available options for that area. You can also print out coupons for special deals that may add up to big savings, including free days and lower daily parking rates. Don't forget to check if a particular parking place has a frequent user program if you fly frequently from the airport in the area.

Stephanie suggests that it's a safe bet for travelers to spend the night before at the airport to take the hassle out of getting up early and worrying about travel. Some airport hotels, including Sheraton, have programs that cater to the needs of travelers and include airport shuttles.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
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Travel Tips:

Stephanie mentions the possibility of trying out Pet Airways to take her springer spaniel to California. The airline allows dogs to fly like passengers instead of in cargo.

Hour 2

Radio Show Host and Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams says she's "feeling quite spunky" and is happy to be back in the studio and talking to her listeners. This hour we're off to do some ghostly stalking in an old, haunted English castle. But before we go, Stephanie reminds listeners to check her blog regularly for travel tips to help you enjoy your vacation and avoid hassle and complaints about simple situations that are easily fixed. "You're just doing it wrong, people. Let me help you make it right and more enjoyable," she offers.


Topics Include:

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Sir Humphry Wakefield, English Baronet and Lord of the Manor of Chillingham, of Chillingham Castle, Chillingham, Northumberland, Great Britain.
www.chillingham-castle.com

Stephanie welcomes Sir Humphry Wakefield, English Baronet and Lord of the Manor of Chillingham, of Chillingham Castle, Chillingham, Northumberland, England, United Kingdom to the Travelers411 Radio Show. Boasting a long and very rich history, from the very time that the castle began as only a hole in the ground around which walls began to be built up due to the presence of an underground cavern. The castle has been owned in the past by the family of Earl Grey, who were given three castles by William the Conqueror, although not Chillingham itself. In 1246, the family took Chillingham Castle by storm. The Grey family moved out in the eighteenth century.

Sir Humphry describes the chilly Halloween scene at the castle, decorated with pumpkins with candles inside and roaring fires in fireplaces. He says that the ghosts of the castle love this annual feast and festival and they often come to enjoy it. Outside the castle at the edge of the park, there is a huge bonfire scheduled to be lit the next day, along with a fireworks display for Halloween. Stephanie comments how exciting it is to see fireworks from a castle settling, and describes the scene at her daughter's wedding at Castle Leslie in Ireland's County Monaghan. She says the displays become memorable events added to the experience. Sir Humphrey insists that ghosts can "literally move heaven and earth" and have powerful effects on the mists and weather, as may have been evidenced at Stephanie's daughter's wedding when the heavy mists cleared and they were able to celebrate with fireworks.

Reaching the castle can be done  by driving from one of three airports in the region. Chillingham is only a half hour's drive from Newcastle Airport, one hour's drive from Edinburgh Airport, and one and a half hours from Glasgow Airport. If coming by train, Alnmouth train station is the nearest. It's near historic Alnwick Castle, which Sir Humphrey says is also worth a visit - 48 million pounds sterling were recently spent on the castle gardens. At Chillingham Castle, the distance from city centers means there's no pollution to block the countryside view of the stars, moon, and night sky. Self-catering apartments in the castle are available to let out to guests who'd like an extended stay or are coming from a great distance.

Chillingham Castle is located on the border of Scotland and is near to both sea and mountains, making it a beautiful vacation getaway on several fronts. When Stephanie asks how many rooms are in the castle, Sir Humphrey responds that he wishes he knew! He can say that the castle has eighty four chimneys, but he invites Stephanie to come and take inventory of the rooms. Historically, the castle was a fortified fortress originally built to keep the Scotch out of England and Sir Humphrey jokes that for a time, it did its job very well.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams mentions an impending snowstorm at her location in Massachusetts, and is inspired by the description of the castle to go home and light candles and a fire and watch some films. Sir Humphrey suggests viewing a film featuring Chillingham Castle, of which there are several. Perhaps the most famous featuring scenes of the castle is "Elizabeth". The BBC has had several films in which Chillingham appears, such as "The Curious House Guest" and "Meet the Natives" which showcased the visit of a group of Africans who spoke no English and came to stay at the castle for a week.

Regarding the ghosts, Sir Humphrey says there are many in Chillingham and it's difficult to gauge the exact number. The Castle offers guided ghost tours for visitors, and Sir Humphrey describes one amusing encounter during which a paranormal specialist visited and took the tour. She said she had never seen such cheerful ghosts who laughed so much; they very much enjoyed watching the tour and got quite a few laughs out of it!

Related Photo Galleries:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=668

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13503

For more information visit www.chillingham-castle.com


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Mark Leslie, Managing Director, Martello Media, Dublin, Ireland.
www.martellomedia.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams wants to introduce Sir Humphrey to Mark Leslie, Managing Director of Martello Media in Dublin, Ireland. He had been working on the Churchill exhibit at the J.P. Morgan Library in New York City. Knowing that Sir Humphrey is a Fellow at the Library, she wants the two to connect. Mark tells a story of visiting tribes on the island of Malekula, in the nation of Vanuatu in the Pacific region of Melanesia. After telling some amusing and joking stories about his experience interacting with the natives on the island,  Mark and Sir Humphrey exchange stories about mutual acquaintances. "Clearly, you two have a great deal to say with each other!" Stephanie describes their "wonderful connection", and hopes that they can all rendezvous and make a visit to Chillingham Castle sometime in the future.

Radio Show Host and Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams asks about Mark's visit to the Vanuatu Islands, and he says that he has a very adventurous girlfriend who planned the vacation to the island and he says she doesn't consider it a holiday unless there's excitement and danger involved. She signed them on as deck hands on a rigger through the South Pacific's Vanuatu Islands where the book "South Pacific" was based. He assures that the reality of the islands far exceeds the Hollywood fantasy. There are still thirty different stone age tribes still living there and "wearing not much more than banana leaves", he says. He calls the experience a massive and hugely exciting adventure. He fulfills Stephanie's earlier request that he tell a spooky story by relating an observation from the cooking area of the kitchen at a large dinner on the island. He and other guests noticed there were quite recent human skulls in the kitchen. He explains that cannibalism is entirely legal on the island, but they only eat family members who they greatly respect, so he felt they were safe during the trip.

Related Photo Galleries:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=665

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13504

For more information visit www.martellomedia.com


Travel Tips:

Stephanie invites listeners traveling in the Berkshire County, Massachusetts area to visit the studio, near the Berkshire Crowne Plaza Hotel.


Fun Facts:

Alnwick Castle was used as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.

The King of France in 1832 gave the residents of Chillingham Castle several royal garden urns from Versailles, which still decorate the castle grounds today.

The Earl Grey family who once resided in Chillingham Castle are the same family that developed Earl Grey tea, with the help of a visiting Chinese dignitary.

Chillingham Castle boasts the only herd of wild cattle in the world, originally enclosed there by the Romans.


Guests Include:

Sir Humphry Wakefield, English Baronet and Lord of the Manor of Chillingham, of Chillingham Castle, Chillingham, Northumberland, Great Britain.
www.chillingham-castle.com

Mark Leslie, Managing Director, Martello Media, Dublin, Ireland.
www.martellomedia.com

Hour 3

Topics Include:

Radio Show Host and Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams begins this hour by clarifiying a bit of information from the previous hour, when Sir Humphrey Wakefield mentioned the availability of self catering apartments in Chillingham Castle. She explains that self catering is similar to renting a condo. Guests organize their own food and similar personal needs after renting the property. She shares some more information from conversation with previous guest Mark Leslie, including his family's history with properties in Galway, Ireland with connections to Merv Griffin and John and Anjelica Huston.


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John Williams, Founder and CEO, New York Guest, New York City, New York, USA.
www.newyorkguest.com

Now it's off to New York to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the gift of the Statue of Liberty from France to the United States with John Williams, Founder and CEO of New York Guest in New York City, New York. The two reminisce about early winter storms since both New York and Massachusetts are experiencing snow in October. John's company New York Guest provides concierge service to hotels throughout New York. Stephanie says that you always know that a hotel cares a lot about its guests when it provides a concierge who can really help guests, share best kept secrets, and make local suggestions, and this kind of assistance can make or break a trip.

In terms of using a concierge, John says that first and foremost you should get to know the concierge for your trip. He recommends making a call to the concierge before your arrival, so that the hotel knows when to expect you and has some idea of your needs and can be ready to meet them. They can possibly get your room available prior to regular check-in time, or depending on your situation can provide you with some small amenities specific to your location, like tickets to a non-touristy restaurant. Give them some to get things ready for your visit, so make sure to call ahead. He reminds that the concierge has access to similar facilities as the hotel's front desk, so they can help guests in similar ways.

If you haven't got New York in your upcoming travel plans, Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams suggests it's time to rethink and move New York to the top of your list! New York has a lot to offer and even if your main reason to travel there is business related, consider extending your stay to take in all that New York has available. Stephanie calls New York "the crossroads of the world" and asks John for his opinion on what's going on in the city currently to make it such a worthwhile destination. From an insider's perspective, John informs of a new ice skating rink that's opened up in Bryant Park, which formerly hosted the annual fashion shows, on 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue overlooking the New York Public Library. The Christmas shops are open in the same park, so you can add shopping and a holiday dinner to your ice skating experience. It's a more local ice skating experience than the very tourist popular Rockefeller Center location.

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Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13505

For more information visit www.newyorkguest.com


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Linda Chin, General Manager, Ink 48 Hotel, New York City, New York, USA.
www.kimptonhotels.com
www.ink48.com

Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams welcomes Linda Chin, General Manager of Ink 48 Hotel in New York City, New York to the show. Ink 48 is a property that uses the concierge service provided by John Williams' New York Guest company. Linda has been with Kimpton Hotels for twelve years, and before that was with the Onyx Hotel in Boston. Ink 48 opened recently in 2009, in a Hell's Kitchen building that first opened in 1930 as a printing house. "Ergo, we get the name ink," Stephanie finishes. On the sixteenth floor of Ink 48 is a rooftop lounge, called Press Lounge. She says it's a great spot to have a drink or a cocktail and enjoy the spectacular views. Most buildings nearby the hotel are much shorter, so the unobstructed views are an amazing commodity.

Stephanie asks if it was a challenge converting a printing factory into a hotel. Linda explains that Ink 48 belongs to the Kimpton Hotels group, who pride themselves on taking existing buildings from churches to offices or the printing factory and converting them into hotel properties. Ink 48 has 222 rooms, all with floor to ceiling windows and sweeping views, which Linda identifies as her favorite aspect of the hotel. You can have a view of the Hudson River, or of the New York City skyline. Linda points out what a unique experience this is, as she hasn't seen another property able to offer skyline views from within the city itself.

Stephanie asks what about the Ink 48 sets it apart from other hotels and makes it a good choice for New York City. Linda explains that the location on 48th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenue in the Hell's Kitchen area is close to Times Square and the theater district as well as New York's business district. At the same time it is still a few blocks outside of the main hustle and bustle and "frazzle of it all", which equates to more square footage in the rooms, high ceilings, and the sweeping views. A block and a half away on Ninth Avenue are the rows and rows of restaurants and ethnic eateries. "Eating through New York City is probably one of my favorite pastimes," she admits. It's also close to the Hudson River which is lined with bike paths and jogging trails, which she calls a wonderful way to explore the outskirts of the city. The recently completed Highline Park is also "a beautiful way to get a second story look at Manhattan." Linda mentions another beautiful sight for visitors in the neighborhood are the community gardens that can be found throughout.

Stephanie wonders if anyone listening is frightened off by the name of the "Hell's Kitchen" and wonders if Linda can explain anything about the neighborhood. Linda reveals that it's a well developed, hip neighborhood and the scary name is a remnant of the neighborhood of the past during its developmental period. The "rough and tumble past has really developed into a beautiful neighborhood," she assures. There are many studios in the area, including that of Jon Stewart's Daily Show and several acting studios. They are within walking distance of Madison Square Garden and the Javits Center. Also nearby is one of Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams' favorite New York City sights - the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex. Linda agrees that it's a great spot for history buffs. The Intrepid was a World War II aircraft carrier and is now docked in the river and open for tours.

Linda says that "Sleep, first and foremost is obviously what Kimpton is selling," so in answer to Stephanie's inquiry about the type of bedding at Ink 48, she assures that they provide a very comfortable experience. Kimpton partnered with Sealy to create a Posturepedic bed for their hotels, and Linda describes the result as "just luxurious". Kimpton also put their own fun spin on the bedding, which is white on white colored, 100% Egyptian cotton with a zebra sateen image. Linda adds that this luxurious and fun quality inherent with Kimpton extends to leopard print bathrobes and plush lounge socks with zebra treads on the bottom, from Karen Neuburger.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams concludes by saying it is a common fact that the occupation of hotel general managers is male dominated worldwide. Due to this fact, you know that when you meet a woman who's working in this position, you know that her work is going to be outstandingly professional, superior and fabulous because she would have been otherwise "eaten alive by the industry." A worthy sentiment to end the show!

Related Photo Galleries:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/album.php?albumid=664

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13506

For more information visit www.kimptonhotels.com and www.ink48.com


Fun Facts:

The Hell's Kitchen neighborhood was the inspiration location for West Side Story.


Travel Tips:

The Intrepid is docked on Manhattan's West side on Pier 86 at 12th Avenue and 46th Street.

The average square footage for a room at Ink 48 is 300 square feet, which both Host Stephanie Abrams and General Manager Linda Chin describe as very generous for a standard room in New York City. Upgrades into premiere rooms or suites sees room space at 400 square feet and up.


Guests Include:

John Williams, Founder and CEO, New York Guest, New York City, New York, USA.
www.newyorkguest.com

Linda Chin, General Manager, Ink 48 Hotel, New York City, New York, USA.
www.kimptonhotels.com
www.ink48.com

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