Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Shownotes
Travel with Stephanie Abrams! - November 23, 2008 - Shownotes & Audio Archive

The Treasures of Ireland; New York City Theater; Broadway and London Shows; Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, CA.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

The Treasures of Ireland Trip in March, 2009 includes itinerary personally designed by Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams. 23 nights are divided into 5 and 7 night modules so that travelers can select appropriate dates and length of stay. The trip includes visits to abbeys, castles, historic locations with stops along the way for shopping and golf.

Packages start at $1299 USD per person and include breakfast, an automatic four door car, stays at 4 and 5 star manors and all services and taxes. There is roundtrip airfare from JFK to Dublin available from Air France for under $400 USD including tax. Discount rates are subject to dates and availability and end March 31, 2009.

For more information on the Treasures of Ireland packages click here. To find more information on great deals from AirFraince to Dublin click here.

To book your Treasures of Ireland Package Vacation Call Dooley Vacations for reservations at 877-331-9301.

Discover the Treasures of Ireland with Radio Show Host

Winter is a great season to visit NYC though it can be difficult to find rooms. Many people come in from all over the world to do their holiday shopping as NYC is truly one of the best retail cities. Other great things to do in the winter while in Manhattan include ice skating at Rockefeller plaza, catching Broadway shows and taking advantage of all the great restaurants in New York. Incidentally, there is currently a revival of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, a perfect Broadway show to experience during the holiday season.

Visit Keith Prowse for your Broadway ticketing needs. Keith Prowse is a great provider for many different entertainment venues in NYC as well as worldwide. The company offers ticketing services throughout Europe including London, Paris, Prague, Rome, Ireland and in Canada and Australia as well. You can book online for shows and events all over the world. Personalized recommendations based on the needs of your travel group are available.

Keith Prowse helped Stephanie to find tickets to “Billy Elliot” in London while on a recent trip. Billy Elliot features original music by Elton John. Stephanie has seen many Broadway shows such as “Blood Brothers”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Les Miserables” in London and New York and felt the London productions were superior. Tracy Schiller says it goes both ways and that she felt “Mary Poppins” on Broadway was funnier than the London production.

Long running favorites that are currently available are “Mama Mia”, “Mary Poppins”, “The Lion King”, “The Little Mermaid”, “Chicago the Musical”, “Jersey Boys” and “Wicked”. “Shrek the Musical” will open December 14, 2008 and there are other brand new productions of old favorites such as “Westside Story” and “Guys and Dolls” also opening.
For more information visit or call 1-800-669-8687

Travel Tip
Plan your holiday trip or business event in conjunction with the performance dates of a concert you are interested in seeing.

Stephanie recommends the Grand Hotel in Malahide, Ireland, not far from Malahide Castle. Malahide Castle is now used as a concert venue that hosts many popular performers including Eric Clapton and Neil Young.

For more information visit

Guests Include:

Tracy Schiler, Managing Director, Keith Prowse Entertainment Travel.

Hour 2

Topics Include:

San Francisco offers elegant lodging and boutique-hotels clustered around the Union Square District of the city. The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco provides the kind of hotel experience that rivals luxury accommodations found in Paris and Milan. The hotel is located across from Union Square near an area of some of the city's best shops and restaurants.

Westin Sugar Castle Created by Executive Pastry Chef Jean-François Houdré
Photo credit: Carmen Holt. Created by Westin St. Francis Executive Pastry Chef Jean-François Houdré, this 12-foot rotating holiday Sugar Castle was originally created in 2005, and continually grows larger and more spectacular each year. Resembling a French Chateau, the nearly100% edible castle weighs over 1200 pounds and features more than 20 grand circular towers, approximately 30 rooms, illuminated windows and is surrounded by a quaint village and a running train. On display at The Westin St. Francis through Jan 2, 2009. 335 Powell Street, San Francisco.

The Westin St. Francis has 1,195 guest rooms. The main building opened in 1904 and survived several earthquakes and fires. A tower edition, built in 1972, gives spectacular views of the entire city. The Westin St. Francis is the most historic of Westin hotels with all the expected Westin amenities including marble pillars, granite floors, as well as comfortable bedding and bathrobes. The hotel is situated across from an ice-rink and offers a package for two that includes a one night room rate and skating for $169 USD. There is an afternoon tradition of tea at the Westin's Oak Room Restaurant & Lounge and a holiday tradition of building a large gingerbread castle that is displayed in the hotel's lobby.

Every year Westin St. Francis Executive Chef Jean Francois Houdre creates a “Sugar Castle”. The tradition started as a challenge from Houdre's children after the family visited some amazing structures in southern France. The first castle was made in 2005. It was only two levels and the chef has made it progressively larger each year. The gingerbread castle made in 2008 was 14 feet high. The pieces are baked separately and then assembled afterwards.

For more information visit

Personality Hotels currently manages seven properties in the Union Square area of San Francisco. It is the largest privately owned boutique-hotel collection in the city. $5 million USD was recently invested in the Hotel Union Square which sits adjacent to the cable car line. $2.5 million USD was put into the Kensington Park property. Hotel Diva has new salon floors which offer lit vanity mirrors, specialty bathrobes and complimentary continental breakfast. The Hotel Metropolis is in walking distance of Westfield Shopping Center and the Farmer Brown restaurant. The Steinhart is an apartment complex designed for people who are in the process of relocating.

One the of the newest Personality properties is the Hotel Vertigo. It opened in honor of the 50th year anniversary of the Alfred Hitchcock classic, “Vertigo”. “Vertigo” was filmed at the hotel when it was known as the Empire Hotel. Hotel Vertigo's second claim to fame is its Tyler Florence Restaurant. Florence is a renowned Food Network chef.

The Hotel Frank will open in March 2009 at the center of Union Square. The building was formerly the Raphael Hotel and has been standing for 100 years.  In honor of its history hotel developers have tried to keep a traditional San Francisco design alongside modern elements. Founder of personality hotels, Yvonne Lembi-Detert recommends the newly opened Peruvian restaurant La Mar Cevicheria Peruana situated at the nearby waterfront at Pier 1 and a half.

For more information visit

Guests Include:

Gena Egelston, Marketing Manager, Westin St. Francis.

Richard Hill, Hotel Manager, Westin St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco,.

Jean Francois Houdre, Executive Pastry Chef, Westin St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco.

Yvonne Lembi Detert, CEO, Personality Hotels, San Francisco.

Hour 3

Topics Include:

Stephanie is creating itinerary for a June, 2009 trip to Ireland that is similar to the upcoming Treasures of Ireland trip in March, 2009.

For more information visit  

Stephanie recently attended an event at Edna St. Vincent Millay's home estate outside Austerlitz, New York. “The Murder at Lidice, a Poem and Political Statement by Edna St. Vincent Millay” was a show sponsored by the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society and Spencertown Academy. It included live readings of propaganda pieces Millay wrote between 1934 and 1942. “Murder at Lidice”, a radio play in poetic verse, is about Lidice, a Czechoslovakian town destroyed by Nazi forces.

After the performances, the society screened Douglas Sirk's first American movie “Hitler's Madmen”. This 1943 political drama is about a family that suffers under the Nazi regime. It is based in part on a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay who received a full-screen credit. Towards the film's end it becomes pure propaganda with the obvious intention of getting America involved in the Second World War.

Millay lived at Steepletop, a farmhouse estate near Austerlitz, until her death in 1950. Edna's sister, Norma Millay inherited the property and preserved the home thereafter. In 1978, Norma sponsored the creation of the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society. Edna Vincent Millay's garage, located across the street from the house, was converted to the Ellis-Studio Gallery where the “The Murder at Lidice” exhibition continues through November 26, 2008. The exhibition is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts.

For more information visit or call 518-392- EDNA

The Berkshire Theater Festival is currently in its 80th season. It is the oldest professional theater in the state of Massachusetts and the 3rd oldest in the country. The theater was originally a casino that fell into disrepair. The mission of the Berkshire Theater Festival is to promote theater for the community and to present plays that are from a distinctly American-viewpoint. The theater performs many of the classics but also strives to make sure that there is a home for the next generation of theater artists. They have just started rehearsals for the 3rd season of “A Christmas Carol” which begins December 11, 2008 and runs until December 30, 2008. Each season begins Memorial Day and continues through the 30th of December.

For more information visit or call 413-298-5576

Fun Facts:
Author Edith Wharton's estate in Lenox, Massachusetts, the Mount, became a school after her death.

Guests Include:

Peter Bergman, Executive Director, Edna St.Vincent Millay Society, Austerlitz, NY.

Kate Maguire, Artistic Director, Berkshire Theatre Festival.

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