Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Travelers411 Travel Radio Shownotes - November 19, 2011
"Travelers411" Radio Show - November 19, 2011
Travelex ATM Machine at the Airport Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams' Personal Choices for the Seven Wonders of the Modern World; Discover What's New in and Around the Hotel Phillips in Kansas City, Missouri; Enticing New Developments at the Hotel Fairmont San Francisco; Important International Travel Information from Jon Dario of Travelex Currency Services; Exciting Holiday Concerts and Events from the Boston Symphony Orchestra and More About Their Summer 2012 Tanglewood Schedule.

Listen to the show in Windows Media Format:      hour1      hour2      hour3

Listen to the show in MP3 Format:      hour1      hour2      hour3

Click here to subscribe to the podcast for this broadast.

Hour 1

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

News and Updates from Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams

Radio Show Host and Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams welcomes listeners to post any questions in the Ask Stephanie forum on travelers411.com. If Stephanie herself can't answer your question, it will be directed towards an expert in your field of inquiry and an answer found for you! Listeners should also know that forums exist for just about any regional destination in the world, so if you've been there and would like to share your story or any tips, make your way to the forums at travelers411.com and please do so!

This hour Stephanie wants to talk about a recent competition to determine the seven wonders of the modern world, the results of which Stephanie finds somewhat disappointing. The competition took place online and went on for two years. In general she says she "wasn't overwhelmed" by the final list, and she would like to share with listeners her own personal picks for seven places (with a few extras!) that are "awe-inspiring". The list with her commentary is also available on her blog. But first, she wants to make sure listeners are familiar with the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

To review, the ancient wonders are the Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (a personal favorite of Stephanie's as she last year received the Euro American Women's Council Goddess Artemis Award and was inducted into the EAWC Hall of Fame), the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

First up is the Bay of Fundy, in New Brunswick, Canada. The tide change is an impressive forty feet. Stephanie says that worth noting is Mont St. Michel on the west coast of France. She cautions to be careful because you can drive there when the tide is out, but if you don't plan your timing well, the water will cover the road when you try to leave. She advises an overnight stay as the best option.

Next are the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland tied with Slieve League, cliffs in County Donegal. Slieve League are the tallest cliffs in western Europe. Stephanie has visited Slieve League herself and vouches for the experience, saying that you can drive up the hill and enjoy an incredible view across the ocean - "On a clear day, you can see Boston," she jokes. She also advises putting some bricks in your pocket if you want to hike around because it's so high up that the winds are very powerful. The cliffs are extremely rural with no gift shops or other modern intrusions. At the Cliffs of Moher, Stephanie says it's great to see the puffins that live there. These cliffs have a visitor's center and a lovely cafe/restaurant. There are also paths for easier exploring and the area is a bit more developed than Slieve League. She adds that if you're driving to Slieve League, you'll pass by Connemara in western Ireland, another spectacular sight to see.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams' next choice is Giant's Causeway. She says there are frequently PGA golfing events taking place about two miles away at the Royal Portrush golf course. Stephanie likens the appearance of Giant's Causeway to the room full of crystals from the beginning of the first Superman movie. The land is covered with giant, geometric shaped stones and the surf comes right up to them. She says you can sit and face the sun and enjoy a peaceful, serene experience. The water splashing on the stones creates sea foam of a minty green color. Stephanie says that although she'd seen things identified with that color before, she had never seen actual sea foam and it was fascinating to see a white wave come in and leave behind frothy green bubbles. She says you'll also pass Dunloe Castle in Killarney on the Antrim Coast, if you drive to Giant's Causeway via coastal route. Also on this coast is the area where Marconi sent the first radio signals across the English Channel to France.

Number four on Stephanie's list is the Grand Canyon in Arizona, which needs little explanation but must be seen. Then it's off to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. This is the world's largest living organism, and Stephanie has been told that it's possible that the Reef will not last throughout our lifetimes due to current natural factors such as climate change. The reef is more than just a stretch of sea, and features thriving towns, communities, businesses, hotels, and resorts, making it a breathtaking and also highly visitor friendly place to visit.

Next is Mauna Kea, which Stephanie visited recently on a trip to Hawaii. It's the tallest mountain in the world when the measurement begins underwater from the base of the mountain.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams includes Niagara Falls in New York next on her list. Stephanie says the part of the Falls that is most exciting is actually on the American side, but you have to cross Rainbow Bridge and go to the Canadian side in order to see it. She cites the scene of the Falls as being very powerful, and encourages visitors to take a ride on the Maid of the Mist boat, put on raincoat and boots and have some fun getting drenched by the waterfalls' spray. She recommends doing all there is to do at Niagara Falls, and especially if you have never visited before, she insists that you absolutely must do so!

Taroko National Park is next, located on the island of Taiwan. She thoroughly recommends visiting here, as it has wonderful people, great food, and great shopping. Taipei is a "bustling city" and she recommends taking a tour if you go outside of Taipei where English is not widely spoken. Taroko National Park is located in the eastern portion of Taiwan. Parts of the park are in Hualien, Taichung, and Nantou counties. The park features 15,000 foot high mountains and a gorge created by rushing water. The tour driver will drop you off and you can safely walk alongside the gorge and look down into the water. As you look over the edge you can see marble carved by erosion. The nearby mountainsides have been terraced for protection against mudslides. Stephanie calls it "a remarkable thing". The park also has a hotel so you can spend the night, which Stephanie did on her visit and happily recommends.

If you can't get to Taiwan, Stephanie recommends a visit to North Adams in her own Berkshire County, Massachusetts, home to Natural Bridge. Natural Bridge is also the result of erosion similar to that found in Taroko National Park. Similarly, visitors can walk around and explore a marble-lined mini gorge. If Taiwan isn't realistically in your travel plans, then make sure that Natural Bridge is!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10360


Fun Facts:

Giant's Causeway is also an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Dunloe Castle is the castle seen in the "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" movie.

The Great Barrier Reef is 1,300 miles long.


Travel Tips:

Make a visit to Australia's Great Barrier Reef soon. Scientists predict that it may not last very much longer, with serious negative changes occurring to the life there due to global climate change.

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Dan Bergmann, General Manager, Hotel Phillips, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
www.hotelphillips.com

First up is a visit to Kansas City, Missouri to see what's new and cooking at the Hotel Phillips with Dan Bergmann, General Manager. Stephanie gives the hotel a glowing review, stating that in addition to its great history and charm, it fits into her "personal philosophy of bringing to you those destinations and suppliers in the travel industry that I believe you'll return home from enriched, enhanced, inspired, and uplifted, and somehow know that you are a better person, whether traveling for business or pleasure, for the experience that you just had." She notes that she's actually not too familiar with Kansas City itself as a destination, but she lets Dan know that she's recently learned that Alaska Airlines will soon be flying from Seattle to Kansas City, and she thinks this will bring some West Coast listeners to Kansas City for a visit. Dan hopes so, saying that he enjoys Seattle and hopes they'll reciprocally enjoy a visit to Kansas City.

Dan tells that the hotel began undergoing renovations in June, and last week they were completed. All 217 rooms have been completely renovated, and finishing touches were put on the elaborate lighting on the exterior and interior of the Art Deco lobby. High definition TVs are now in the rooms and four different murals of an Art Deco vision now appear on the floors. Stephanie comments that she loves this period. Dan likens it to similar building decorations in New York City. Stephanie adds that business travelers should know about the Hotel Phillips because it offers a lot of pampering to get your mind off the day's work. But she thinks that vacation travelers need to be aware of the city as a destination as well, and asks for Dan's thoughts on what it has to offer. He explains that Kansas City has a thriving artistic community and entertainment venues that people unfamiliar with the Midwest may not know about.

Additionally, a few miles southwest of the Hotel Phillips is an area called the Country Club Plaza, where each year on Thanksgiving night and running throughout the next month has a fantastic display of Christmas lights. The area was designed in the 1920s by J.C. Nichols, who created it as one of the country's first shopping centers. Dan calls it an "outdoor museum, if you will, of Spanish architecture and European art" and features one hundred and fifty shops and a dozen restaurants. Each year the city hosts a lighting celebration on Thanksgiving night similar to that in New York City's Rockefeller Center. He cites it as a safe area to walk around, and a favorite event of locals.

Upcoming events include the Kauffman Theater's production of "The Nutcracker." Productions are in both afternoons and evenings starting December 3 and running through Christmas. The Hotel Phillips offers a Nutcracker package for the evening shows. Stephanie says that it's a show to see again and again since every production company does it differently. Stephanie is excited to visit Kansas City and the hotel and can't wait to do so next year.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams says that she loves visiting a city and getting a recommendation for a "best kept secret" in the area. She had it happen recently during her trip to Milwaukee with a recommendation to visit a town called Genesee Depot where visitors can see Ten Chimneys, the home of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontane. Stephanie understands that Dan has just such a secret, and he names the nearby town of Weston, Missouri. It was a town developed along the Missouri River in the mid nineteenth century. It used to be a steamboat port but the river has since shifted slightly. It's a Civil War environment in the town, and Dan says it features shops and restaurants and looks "totally untouched by time". It's closer to the Kansas City airport than it is to downtown - about twenty-five to thirty miles outside of Kansas City. The drive through the countryside of rolling hills and woods is beautiful. They offer candlelight homes tours on December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. There is an hors d'ouerves and wine buffet served at six PM. Information can be found online at westonmo.com. He feels that visitors will really enjoy the walking tours and shopping district.

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=14232

For more information visit www.hotelphillips.com


Link to this segment

Thomas Klein, Regional Vice President, Fairmont Hotels, General Manager, Fairmont San Francisco, California, USA.
www.fairmont.com

Now it's off to California to speak with Thomas Klein, the Regional Vice President of Fairmont Hotels, as well as the General Manager of the Fairmont San Francisco in San Francisco, California, USA. Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams says that regarding Fairmont Hotels, "there is a level of expectation that even the most sophisticated traveler will be pleased with." Of her own experiences, she says that they have exceeded her expectations every time. Thomas has lived all over the world, but made the transition from Chicago to San Francisco. He calls the Fairmont San Francisco "iconic" and "very much a part of the fabric of San Francisco." It's also the Fairmont flagship hotel, with other properties throughout the state of California including in Sonoma and Newport Beach, Santa Monica, San Jose, and Ghirardelli Square. The Ghirardelli Square property is more of a residential, full service hotel with fifty-two rooms sold as both residences and hotel rooms. Stephanie notes that this great for people in the process of relocation or in town for a project.

Asked about distinguishing features of Fairmont Hotels, Thomas mentions that some of the properties such as the Fairmont San Francisco are iconic and part of the city's history.  The Sonoma hotel is ninety years old and has a fantastic location in wine country. He says that their motto is "We turn moments into memories" and thus their excellent service sets them apart. He adds that there are stories that go around all of the hotels telling the history of the properties and locations. They try to exemplify all the properties as "a home away from home" for guests. The hotels are all endowed with personal touches.

The Fairmont San Francisco is located atop Nob Hill, a classy address as Stephanie notes. They are currently building a gingerbread house in the lobby composed of 7,500 bricks of gingerbread, over 1,000 pounds of frosting, and 650 pounds of candy. It takes three weeks to build and is ready for viewing on November 26th. Stephanie calls this feature "magical" and plans to attend the opening personally. Thomas says he assisted in the making of the gingerbread himself and enjoyed giving out samples to guests as the house was being assembled. He enjoys sharing the season with guests this way. Stephanie says that Thomas reminds her of an octopus - whenever something needs doing, he grows another arm to do it!

A new lounge and club have opened at the Fairmont San Francisco. The lounge is called the Intersect Media Lounge and is located one level down from the lobby. It's a fully integrated events and media center. They offer show screenings and it's also open to the guests for equipment use, and since they've partnered with Bang and Olufsen, so the equipment is top notch. Due to the large number of diplomats representing countries through consulates in San Francisco, the hotel has also converted a former restaurant into a Diplomat Club bar and lounge. It's for private use and small groups, and will have an international flare and some representation of all the diplomatically represented countries. The Diplomat Club officially opens in December.

The hotel is very environmentally sensitive and develops green initiatives, and in this area they've created their own flourishing herb garden on the roof deck and begun producing their own honey for use in the restaurants and drinks. Stephanie encourages listeners to explore the website, fairmont.com, where under the listing for the Fairmont San Francisco you can learn about the holiday dining options as well as something called Take the Elevator Home, a girls' getaway package.

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=14233

For more information visit www.fairmont.com


Travel Tips:

The Hotel Phillips in Kansas City is the sister hotel of the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Guests Include:

Dan Bergmann, General Manager, Hotel Phillips, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
www.hotelphillips.com

Thomas Klein, Regional Vice President, Fairmont Hotels, General Manager, Fairmont San Francisco, California, USA.
www.fairmont.com

Hour 3

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Jon Dario, President, Travelex Currency Services, New York City, New York, USA.
www.us.travelex.com

Click here to listen to Jon Dario, President, Travelex Currency Services interviewed by Stephanie Abrams without commercials.
Listen to this segment, commercial-free featuring: Jon Dario from Travelex Currency Services.

Visit the Travelex Directory Listing at Travelers411 for more commercial free interviews about Travelex and the EU Cash Passport Chip and Pin Credit Card for US Travelers in Eurozone and UK countries.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams recounts her last visit to Europe when she encountered some difficulties using valid U.S. credit cards that were not compatible with different security technology used in Europe. She discovered Travelex through trying to find a solution to this problem. She now welcomes Jon Dario, President of Travelex Currency Services based in New York City, New York to this hour of the show. Stephanie says that her experience has been to take care of everything before you go on a trip so you don't face frustrations as soon as you need to make a purchase abroad. Jon says that too often American travelers tend to not think about foreign currency until arriving at their destination, and this creates significant problems when dealing with foreign languages and immediate airport expenses and necessities. All of this can make an arrival in a foreign country frustrating. Stephanie adds that waking up from a long haul flight and dealing with immigration and customs is overwhelming and often your first thought upon getting into the airport is wanting to get a drink since flying is dehydrating and the last thing you'll want to do is get in another line to get currency, even if a Travelex office exists in the airport.

Travelex has offices in thirty-six airports in North America and one hundred nine worldwide. Stephanie found their office in the San Francisco airport and was delighted at the discovery. You can purchase currency at their retail locations, or order any of the world's tradeable currencies (more than ninety are available from every continent except Antarctica!) online through the Travelex website at www.us.travelex.com.  On the front page you'll see the exchange rate and get the Travelex promise that you'll get the best deal on the rate. They offer next day delivery or anytime before your trip. You can also arrange for a pickup from whichever airport you're departing from. Customers can simply pay online and then pick up hassle-free at the airport, or at a Travelex shop located in a shopping mall. Talking to employees in the stores offers the benefit of their expertise as well.

The only place that they don't handle currency is Cuba due to travel restrictions and the fact that the Cuban peso is not tradeable outside of Cuba. In Jamaica, Jon recommends just using U.S. dollars. Stephanie mentions seeing more and more flyers and online offers promoting travel to Cuba, and takes the opportunity to emphasize that it is not a readily available destination yet for U.S. travelers. It is more open to Canadian travelers.

Stephanie wants to get one of Travelex's passport cards that can be used with the Chip and Pin technology that is widely used in Europe and the UK as opposed to the magnetic strip used in US credit cards. Travelers run a great risk of getting stuck without being prepared for this. There are also not transaction or additional fees such as those associated with using traditional credit cards. Even money left over at the end of a trip can be converted back to American currency without any other fees. Jon recommends getting everything done easily online before your trip.

Travelers411 Directory Listing:
Visit the Travelex Directory Listing at Travelers411 for more commercial free interviews about Travelex and the EU Cash Passport Chip and Pin Credit Card for US Travelers in Eurozone and UK countries.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=14235

For more information visit www.us.travelex.com


Link to this segment

Kim Noltemy, Chief Marketing Officer, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
www.bso.org
www.tanglewood.org
www.bostonpops.org

Travel Expert Stephanie welcomes Kim Noltemy, Chief Marketing Officer, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston, Massachusetts, USA to talk about what's coming up both at Symphony Hall and already next summer's schedule at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony. Stephanie personally is a big fan of the summer Tanglewood shows and attends regularly. Summer 2012 will be the seventy-fifth anniversary season and they'll have a lot of programs to commemorate this special occasion.

The opening night of the season will feature a program replicating the first program at Tanglewood from 1937. The show is all Beethoven. They will also have an all Wagner program on July 21, 2012, remembering a similar show which didn't finish due to the tent falling apart in a storm. This precipitated the opening of the pavilion that seats guests today. There will also be gala concerts such as on July 14, 2012, with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Peter Serkin, and vocalist James Taylor all on the same night. Stephanie is very excited for this program and plans to attend. August 18th will feature the John Williams 80th birthday celebration. Stephanie shares that she had the privilege of being there for his 70th birthday celebration. The night will feature many special guests that are not currently being announced, along with Yo-Yo Ma and other favorites.

Joshua Bell, Diana Krall, Bernadette Peters, Maureen McGovern, and Keith Lockhart will all be performing at various shows and dates, along with three James Taylor concerts and many more special events, with more details on the shows available at  tanglewood.org or by calling 888-266-1200 to receive a brochure. "Whenever you have this star studded season it's great to be able to study it in a brochure," Kim explains. Stephanie says looking through the brochure has a sense of opening presents on Christmas morning, and her summer vacation is staying home and being in Berkshire County to enjoy the Boston Pops shows. She often opts to have dinner on the grounds at Tanglewood to enjoy the entire atmosphere of the place. Other websites are bso.org and bostonpops.org, and Stephanie assures that all of the websites are connected and easily navigable.

Back in Boston, on December 3rd at noon at the Christian Science Plaza across the street from Symphony Hall, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops, conductor Keith Lockhart, and other visiting musicians and school choruses will perform outdoors to sing Christmas carols. Everyone is invited, and Kim promises that you don't have to be a good singer to join in! A number of musicians will perform around the mall at the Prudential Center, there will be a demonstration for children, Keith will do a book signing, and the whole thing will be an exciting Christmas festival following the performance. Stephanie says that "if you're feeling a little down, you need a  dose of the Boston Pops for sure, because that'll get your heart to singing." Kim guarantees a good time for everyone at this show, complete with lots of promotional goodies.

Related Photo Galleries:
Coming Soon!

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?p=14237

For more information visit www.bso.org and www.tanglewood.org and www.bostonpops.org


Travel Tips:

The Berkshires are a gorgeous two hour drive west from Boston. Stephanie recommends listeners visit, saying that they have "something magical" in Berkshire County. It's also an easy two and a half hour drive north of New York City.

The Holiday Pops shows will be performed from December 7 - 24th, 2011.

May 5, 2012 is the last BSO concert at Symphony Hall, which will be Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, traditionally only used to close the summer season. Stephanie sees this show every year when it closes at Tanglewood and calls it "spiritually uplifting".


Guests Include:

Jon Dario, President, Travelex Currency Services, New York City, New York, USA.
www.us.travelex.com

Kim Noltemy, Chief Marketing Officer, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
www.bso.org
www.tanglewood.org
www.bostonpops.org

Travel Info on Air Quick Links Travelers411 Featured Links Travelers411 Featured Content
Travelers411 Mini Sites
Featured Content

Visit the Travelers411 Directory for
US Department of State, Department of Consular Affairs

Click here to visit the Travelers411 Directory for US Department of State, Department of Consular Affairs

There are over 8000 locations where you can apply for a US passport. Your US passport is the key for international travel and proof of citizenship while traveling. Standard and expedited passport applications are available.

Travelers411 - Travel PR Sidebar Widget

Travel PR from
UK National Trust

UK National Trust

Travel PR From: UK National Trust. Click here to listen now.

You are invited to Northern Ireland's north coast where dazzling landscapes and seascapes inspire filmmakers to stage their works. Take a walk in the mythical footsteps of giant Finn McCool at Giant's Causeway and trek across Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Start planning your trip now at nationaltrust.org.uk and search for Northern Ireland North Coast.

Travel Deal for
The Betsy - South Beach

Escape to The Betsy for some much needed winter sun with our special offer - stay two nights or more and receive 15% off and a $50 Dining Credit.

Click here for details

sabrams.com Quick Links
Click here to visit the Travelers411 Directory for US Department of State, Department of Consular Affairs

There are over 8000 locations where you can apply for a US passport. Your US passport is the key for international travel and proof of citizenship while traveling. Standard and expedited passport applications are available.

The Travelers411 Family of Brands:   Travelers411.com     sAbrams.com     Travelingfeet.com     Jetset411.com

© 2016 Travelers411. All Rights Reserved. Travelers411 and Persistent Visions are Registered Trademarks. "Your Travel Community" TM. "Explore Your World" TM. Travelers411 and all subpages and sub domains are protected by US Copyright law. We also strive to respect the copyrights of others. Please do not post material to this site for which you do not have proper permission from the copyright holder. To request use or report abuse please contact us.

| Sponsored Link |
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  U.S. Department of Commerce.  Get up to date information on weather, climate, oceans and coasts, fisheries.  Click here to visit www.noaa.gov