Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Traveling Feet Shownotes
Traveling Feet - July 04, 2009 - Shownotes & Audio Archive

“Traveling Feet's” 199th Episode; Shakespeare and Company's Summer Lineup in Lenox Massachusetts; Air Ambulance Card Provides Emergency Medical Evacuations; The Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau; The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas.

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Hour 1

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Stephanie wishes everyone a happy July 4th. “Traveling Feet!” is one broadcast away from celebrating its 200th episode. “Travel with Stephanie Abrams!” also has an upcoming anniversary as it begins its 8th year on Sunday, July 5, 2009. Listeners of either “Travel with Stephanie Abrams!” or “Traveling Feet!” have the opportunity to win prizes online in celebration of the show's 7th anniversary. Click on “register to win” at the top right of the page on the navigation bar and choose from various land travel packages that are listed. Send an email to Stephanie and in 50 words or less explain why the prize you specify should be yours. Include your name and phone number. Prize winners must pay for the airfare that is needed to get to the destinations.

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Stephanie in Studio
Stephanie Broadcasting from Berkshire County, Massachusetts

Berkshire County in Massachusetts is a great place to practice an active lifestyle year round with many areas great for hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing and of course skiing. The highest mountain in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Mount Greylock has now reopened its main road (after years of renovation work) so that visitors can drive up the mountain. In addition to the many outdoor recreational opportunities Berkshire County also has a thriving arts community.

Many museums in the area have works and exhibitions comparable to the MET and Louvre but without the overwhelming crowds. There is also an abundance of summer theater. Stephanie recently saw two stage productions. She saw Carousel on the Barrington Stage and also Hamlet performed at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Shakespeare and Company recently began its 31st season and has a total of 18 productions through summer 2009, five of which are Shakespeare plays. Hamlet opened June 26, 2009. It was originally produced in the 2006 season and received such acclaim that it was brought back for a limited run. The company's production of Othello (which opened July 3rd) was also reintroduced due to its immense popularity last year. The star of the play in both runs, John Douglas Thompson, was in another Othello production Off-Broadway that garnered him many awards.

Shakespeare and Company offers a variety of other theater offerings. There is currently a collection of three one act plays by critically acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter called Pinter's Mirror. British actors were cast for characters to lend an air of authenticity to the roles which the director felt required “honest to goodness Brits”. The British cast members represent the accent as well as an innate understanding of dry British humor. The company is also producing free programming such as the Toad of Toad Hall, a distillation of the storylines from the classic children's series the Wind and the Willows.

There are also several new plays being produced in the company's new theater the Elayne P. Berstein Theatre. This includes Devils Advocate, a play that depicts ManuelAntonio Noriega, former dictator of Panama, having a conversation with a Vatican Ambassador in the Vatican Embassy on Christmas Eve 1989. This was the night before Noriega turned himself over to American officials. Also in the Bernstein Theatre is John Patrick Shanley's “The Dreamer Examines his Pillow”. Shanley is author of the play “Doubt” which he also adapted for the screen. The film version of the play was nominated for several Oscars in 2009. The production of “The Dreamer Examines his Pillow” features Othello actor, John Douglas Thompson.

Summer 2009 will also host the first Main Stage production of Twelfth Night. Shakespeare and Company was founded on the idea of making Shakespeare accessible and is known for its clarity of the language. The company believes in making a sincere connection to the text and having the words come alive. Many audience members have discovered they like Shakespeare after seeing a production at the Founders' Theatre.

A personal favorite production of Stephanie's is Shirley Valentine. It is also beloved by Shakespeare and Company's Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer, who will perform the one-character play for a brief run in September 2009.

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Iguanas at Coral World in St. Thomas, USVI.
Iguana at Coral World in St. Thomas, USVI (An Upcoming Topic in Hour 2)

Air Ambulance Card is a yearly membership program that provides a transport service for travelers in need of medical evacuation when they are farther than 150 miles from home. PR Director of the company, Atticus Rominger, recently faced a personal situation where he was close to needing the service. His daughter had an allergic reaction while his family was vacationing. They were able to take her to a pediatric emergency room and treat her with antibiotics. However, Rominger felt better just knowing the option for a transport service was there. The company offers unlimited transports world wide so that you can be moved home or to a place that gives specialty care. Rominger also realized that emergency care may be needed at any place and at any time. Fifty percent of Air Ambulance Card's transports are within the continental United States.

In order to be eligible for transport service you have to be in a hospital receiving treatment. Air Ambulance Card does not have a medical necessity clause or a “nearest appropriate facility” restriction. People often enroll when they plan international travel but emergencies often happen domestically. Members who purchase the insurance for one particular trip will still have that coverage for an entire year. If an unexpected emergency were to happen 150 miles from home at any time they could call upon the service.

It is rare for this kind of coverage to be included in any health insurance. Annual coverage from Air Ambulance Card costs $295 USD for a family and $195 USD for an individual. A family constitutes a husband and wife and children up to the age of 19 or college students up to the age of 23. The insurance offers peace of mind for parents that have college age children living far away from home, either domestically or studying abroad. Emergency evacuation from Europe could cost as much as $50,000 USD. Emergency transport insurance is one of those things you can't afford not to have.

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Fun Facts:

In 1992 Manuel Noriega was tried on eight counts of drug trafficking, racketeering and money laundering by US courts. Though his US prison sentence ended in September 2007 he remains in prison as of today pending the outcome of extradition requests made by Panama and France.

Guests Include:

Jeremy Goodwin, Associate Director of Publicity, Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, Massachusetts.

Stan Bradley, Managing Director, Air Ambulance Card.

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Want to know about a destination? Stephanie says that the first place to look to is the local convention and visitors bureau. Steve Genovesi, Vice President of Sales & Marketing of the Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau, joins “Traveling Feet!” to discuss the city he knows best. Stephanie became interested in Chattanooga, Tennessee recently after discovering the Buttonwillow Church Civil War Dinner Theater, which produces a unique two person play that portrays relations between the North and the South during the Civil War.

Buttonwillow Church Civil War Dinner Theater
Buttonwillow Church Civil War Dinner Theater in Whitwall, Tennessee

Chattanooga is two hours east of Nashville and is situated on the borders of Georgia and Alabama. It offers countless attractions. Its Tennessee Aquarium is rated one of the top aquariums in the world and is located directly on the riverfront. Downtown Chattanooga offers diversity in hotels and restaurants and is also only 15 minutes from Lookout Mountain which offers one of the area's most spectacular views. On the mountain top is Rock City, several miles of walking trails and gardens that overlook seven states.

There is an abundance of Civil War history in the area including Chickamauga battlefield as well as many festivals and events on the riverfront. The arts community is thriving and was voted one of the top 25 art destinations for a mid-sized city by American Style magazine. There are sculptures and glasswork throughout the city as well as the largest American art museum in the south eastern United States, the Hunter Museum of American Art. Other popular activities include Hang gliding off of Lookout Mountain and white water rafting in nearby areas. Visitors can also attend lantern tours at Ruby Falls, a series of caves which contain America's highest underground waterfall. Also of interest is the Incline Railways one of the world's steepest incline railways in the country.

Chattanooga is home of the first tow truck and the first bottled Coca-Cola. Its rich history is found in all facets of the city. The Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel is transitioning from a Holiday Inn to a Historic Hotels of America. The hotel is a restored train depot and has train cars on property that guests can sleep on. There are also five restaurants on site some which include shows and concert events and one that has singing waiters. The hotel's rose gardens have received national awards.

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Stephanie has a special affinity for the US Virgin Islands. It is where she and her husband spent their honeymoon and also renewed their wedding vows. Stephanie says that the islands are the perfect place to “get away and recharge batteries”. The tranquil environment encourages travelers to enjoy moments of quiet surrounded by natural beauty.

Emerlad Beach Vow Renewals
Stephanie's Wedding Vows Renewals on Emerald Beach

The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas is located on the far east side of the island adjacent to Red Hook Beach and facing St. John.  It is only 25 minutes from Charlotte Amalie a large city where cruise ships dock. The Great Bay area (where the hotel is situated) is more private and gives the sense of an intimate Caribbean experience as well as protection from the elements. There are two pristine beaches on the property with no surrounding housing. Both the hotel's Infinity pool and Spa overlook the ocean. There are 55 ocean view rooms in the Club Suites.

The Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas is a small property for a Ritz-Carlton hotel with only 180 guestrooms on site. The hotel was not originally designed under the brand but has been under its management for the last 14 years. The hotel possesses a strong sense of character and a strong sense of the Caribbean destination. The hotel consists of a series of small three-floor buildings wrapping around the bay. There are many ocean activities provided at the hotel including a sailing camp for the kids. On site dining includes the beach and pool side restaurant Sails, which has beautiful open architecture and a relaxing atmosphere.

USVI Drake's Seat
Drakes Seat and Meghan's Bay, USVI.

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Guests Include:

Steve Genovesi, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Marc Langevin, General Manager, Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas, USVI.

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