Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show Shownotes for August 29 2010
Travel with Stephanie Abrams! - August 29, 2010 - Shownotes & Audio Archive

Summer Getaways to Tanglewood and Saratoga, New York With Jeff Weber of Business TalkRadio; The Most Up-to-Date Insurance Rates from InsureMyTrip; The Spirit and History of the Game, National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York; French Cuisine and Art de Vivre, Everest Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois; September 2010 Airfare and Hotel Deals from CheapOAir and CheapOStay.

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Hour 1

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Jeff Weber, Executive Vice President, Business TalkRadio Network, Stamford, Connecticut, USA.
www.businesstalkradio.net

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show welcome Jeff Weber, Executive Vice President at Business TalkRadio. The Business TalkRadio network broadcasts "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" coast to coast. Jeff recently visited Tanglewood in western Massachusetts and used to live near Saratoga, New York. He's here to give his perspective on these two destinations.

James Taylor performing at Tanglewood.
James Taylor performing at Tanglewood.

"When I lived in the Albany area, I went to Saratoga all the time," Jeff says. "It's one of my favorite places to be—and not just the track, but the incredible restaurants and B&Bs." There are two racetracks in Saratoga: the harness track, which is open for most of the year, and the Thoroughbred track, which opens for a six-week meet each summer. The Thoroughbred season usually runs from the third week of July through Labor Day and the track is dark on Tuesdays, according to Jeff.

John Williams conducting at Tanglewood.
John Williams conducting at Tanglewood.

In addition to horse racing, Saratoga is known for its historic architecture, which Stephanie describes as 'gingerbread houses.' "A lot of the old mansions have been converted into restaurants, bed & breakfasts, offices, and private homes," Jeff explains. "There's a lot of money that comes into Saratoga, especially during the Thoroughbred meet." He adds that many local families supplement their income by renting out their homes for those six weeks or by allowing visitors to park on their lawns.

Lawn at Tanglewood, Lenox, Massachusetts.
Lawn at Tanglewood, Lenox, Massachusetts.

If you haven't been to Saratoga, Jeff highly recommends making the trip. "Whether you go during the Thoroughbred meet or not, there's an incredible atmosphere and it's beautiful there," he says. "I just brought a friend for the first time and we walked all over the racetrack. It was cool to see the horses getting ready to race. And if you like people-watching, Saratoga is the place." Stephanie agrees, saying that she particularly enjoyed seeing everyone dressed up in "wonderful hats and beautiful summer frocks."

Saratoga, New York.
Saratoga, New York.

Jeff visited Tanglewood for the first time this summer and was very impressed. "It was phenomenal," he says. "I've been to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center many times, but I really enjoyed Tanglewood a lot more. I just loved the atmosphere; it's more pristine, more picturesque. And to be able to listen to John Williams and the Boston Pops just made it an incredible night. You could clearly hear everything and they have big screen TVs so you can see everything, too." Summer 2010 marks the 30th year that John Williams has appeared at Tanglewood. "People always ask me why I go to Tanglewood again—didn't I just do that last year?" Stephanie says. "I say, 'well, you have Thanksgiving dinner every year, don't you?' Tanglewood is always fresh, new, and spectacular."

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For more information visit www.businesstalkradio.net


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Dennis Carroll, Manager of Information Technology Quality Control, InsureMyTrip, Warwick, Rhode Island, USA.
www.insuremytrip.com
www.insuremygroup.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show check in with Dennis Carroll, Manager of Information Technology at InsureMyTrip. Dennis oversees the quality assurance team at InsureMyTrip. "We make sure that when the customer hits our website, he or she gets accurate information, presented in a way that's easy for them to use," Dennis explains.

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Tropical Weather.

The quality assurance team includes a group of testers who constantly check the website to make sure every link works and leads to the correct insurance information. "The most important process is making sure the rates are right," Dennis says. "Insurance rates change pretty frequently and depend on the cost of your trip, length of the trip, and number of travelers. We get the information from insurance companies and constantly check to make sure you're getting accurate rates; we don't want to overcharge customers. As things change in the world, whether it's hurricanes or volcanoes or whatever, we do our best to get the updated information to the site as quickly as we can."

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InsureMyTrip.com's President and CEO, Jim Grace (Right) and Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams (Left) at the NOAA Hurricane Center in Miami Florida.

Stephanie asks whether insurance rates vary by season. For example, is travel insurance for Florida more expensive during hurricane season? In short, no. "I don't think you'd see big swings in seasonality, because insurance is a very competitive market," Dennis explains. "If you have a company that has seasonally high rates, it will probably end up pricing itself out of a particular market." Since InsureMyTrip offers plans from over 20 different insurance companies, Stephanie surmises that the competition keeps everyone honest.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
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Travelers411 Directory Listing:
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For more information visit www.insuremytrip.com and www.insuremygroup.com


Guests Include:

Jeff Weber, Executive Vice President, Business TalkRadio Network, Stamford, Connecticut, USA.
www.businesstalkradio.net

Dennis Carroll, Manager of Information Technology Quality Control, InsureMyTrip, Warwick, Rhode Island, USA.
www.insuremytrip.com
www.insuremygroup.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Bradford Horn, Senior Director of Communications, National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York, USA.
www.baseballhalloffame.org

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams takes the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show out to the ball game to talk with Bradford Horn, Senior Director of Communications at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The visit to Cooperstown is part of Stephanie's recent focus on small towns and road trip destinations. "You don't have to spend a lot of money to live well; you just have to choose the right experiences that make you happy," she says. "Small towns have wonderful places to stay and eat that generally cost much less than what you'll find in big cities."

T-Shirt caption: "A drinking town with a baseball problem." Seen in Cooperstown, NY, USA.
T-Shirt caption: "A drinking town with a baseball problem." Seen in Cooperstown, NY, USA.

Why should travelers head to Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame? "We're a timeless destination—every fan's field of dreams and the official repository of baseball history," Bradford says. "The Hall of Fame is the Holy Grail of a baseball career, and we use compelling exhibits, original photos, and artifacts to celebrate and honor the game's greatest players, umpires, managers, and executives. We're a place for the fan who hasn't been in 30 years or the fan who is just being introduced to the history of the game. We invite people to come and enjoy what the game has meant to our national culture for over 150 years."

Baseball fans lining up outside the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, USA.
Baseball fans lining up outside the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, USA.

The museum currently has over 35,000 artifacts and is constantly adding to its collection. "All of our artifacts have been donated, and we're very proactive about acquiring them," Bradford explains. "The objects range from the routine—a jersey, a bat, a pair of spikes—to the glove used by Willie Mays to make his over-the-shoulder catch in the 1954 World Series, the bat used by Babe Ruth for his 60th home run, and a jersey worn by Jackie Mitchell, a female pitcher who once struck out Babe Ruth. Whatever the moment in baseball history, the Hall of Fame somehow has it covered."

Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, USA.
Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, USA.

A walk through the museum is a historical and emotional experience. "Baseball is a fans' game, driven by the memories that each of us has," says Bradford. "What we see in Hall of Fame visitors is a journey back through history and back through their emotions. Baseball players are not just athletes, but American icons." Thanks to these uniting experiences, he adds, the Hall of Fame is perhaps the only place on Earth where Red Sox and Yankees fans can peacefully coexist.

Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, USA.
Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, USA.

The Baseball Hall of Fame makes a point of acknowledging women's and minorities' contributions to the game. "There is so much memorabilia about women playing from the college level up, and the areas devoted to the discrimination faced by African American players are enlightening, inspiring, and educational," says Stephanie. Bradford believes that the story of baseball's integration is one of the museum's most important messages. "People know about Jackie Robinson crossing the color barrier in 1947," he says. "But so many great stars of the Negro League's era and earlier were huge heroes. Black baseball is a story that should never be forgotten."

Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, USA.
Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, USA.

Other Hall of Fame exhibits include an area devoted to Hollywood's love affair with baseball and a rules quiz. "Baseball can be either a film's subject matter or a lens through which to tell a story," Bradford explains. "For example, 'For Love of the Game' is about an aging pitcher struggling with relationships. 'Major League' is another film like that, where baseball is the topic but the actual film is about something far deeper." The museum has several costumes and props from popular baseball movies.

Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, USA.
Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, USA.

The baseball rules quiz was one of Stephanie's favorite exhibits. "You're shown a film that appears as though it was shot in the 1800s," she says. "You see a situation and then take a multiple choice quiz on what happened—is the runner in? Out? It's fun to see people who really know baseball give the wrong answer." What makes the quiz so hard is that it's based on baseball rules from the 19th century, before the game was really codified. "When baseball was in its formative stages, the game looked and felt much different from today's game," says Bradford. "Our role is not just to entertain, but to educate and help visitors see how baseball has evolved."

Barrel of balls at the gift shop.
Barrel of balls at the gift shop.

Cooperstown has long been known as the town where baseball was invented in 1839. A 2004 discovery in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, however, called this into question. Pittsfield uncovered a document from 1791 prohibiting baseball within 80 yards of the courthouse. "We know from this that baseball was not founded in Cooperstown in 1839," Bradford says. "Obviously, it was already being played at such a high level in Pittsfield that it required a law." He believes that the discovery does not threaten Cooperstown's status as the spiritual home of baseball; rather, it opens up 50 years of possible baseball research.

Bradford Horn, Senior Director of Communications, National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York, USA.
Bradford Horn, Senior Director of Communications, National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York, USA.

Another connection to western Massachusetts comes from Stephen Clark, who founded the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. "Stephen and Sterling Clark were two brothers with different interests," Bradford explains. "Sterling went to Williamstown, Massachusetts, and Stephen came to Cooperstown. He had a modest collection of baseball treasures and on June 12, 1939 opened a one-room museum featuring that collection. Seventy years later, we have over 35,000 items." Meanwhile, Sterling used his collection to start his own museum: the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown.

Downtown Cooperstown, New York, Triple Play Cafe.
Downtown Cooperstown, New York, Triple Play Cafe.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame is constantly adding to its collection and celebrating baseball. On August 16, 2010, the Hall of Fame commemorated the 62nd anniversary of the passing of Babe Ruth. "He put baseball on the map in a way that no sports figure had," Bradford says. "He went from being just a star in the game to an American icon." On the same day, the Hall of Fame welcomed one of baseball's rising stars—13-year-old Chelsea Baker, a pitcher from Plant City, Florida. In her most recent Little League season, she pitched two perfect games and hit .700. She visited the Hall of Fame to donate her #13 jersey.

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Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
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For more information visit www.baseballhalloffame.org


Travel Tips:

Other halls of fame that may be of interest include the Golf Hall of Fame in the St. Augustine, Florida area; the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts; and the Tennis Museum in Wimbledon, UK.

Stephanie and Bradford have a few recommendations for a baseball movie marathon:

Rhubarb, It Happens Every Spring, Soul of the Game, Rookie of the Year, The Natural, A League of Their Own, Bull Durham, 61*, For Love of the Game, Major League, Wonder Boy.


Fun Facts:

Why would Pittsfield want to ban baseball? Stephanie surmises that the town government was worried about its windows. In the 18th century, glass was expensive, so sports involving balls were banned within 80 yards of the courthouse lest players break its windows.


Guests Include:

Bradford Horn, Senior Director of Communications, National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York, USA.
www.baseballhalloffame.org

Hour 3

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Jean Joho, Grand Chef, Everest Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
www.everestrestaurant.com
www.relaischateaux.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show scale the culinary heights with Jean Joho, Executive Chef of the Everest Restaurant in Chicago. The Everest is a member of Grand Chefs Relais & Chateaux and is located on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange, downtown in The Loop. "It doesn't matter what you eat here—it's going to be fantastic," promises Stephanie.

Jean Joho, Grand Chef, Everest Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Jean Joho, Grand Chef, Everest Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

"We only use fresh American ingredients and the menus are easy reading," Jean adds. "There are never more than 7 or 8 words and they tell you exactly what the dish is going to be." The Everest Restaurant has 50 tables in the main dining room and private rooms perfect for events with 8 to 40 guests. The main dining room is open 5 nights a week, but the private rooms can be reserved anytime. Thanks to its lofty location, Everest has panoramic city views to the west, south, and north.

Everest Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Everest Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Jean has been running Everest for 25 years but says he is always working to improve the restaurant. "Relais & Chateaux looks at quality, great service, and consistency," he explains. "You can't open a restaurant and join your first year; you have to build a reputation. That's the reason we're a small family; we're all colleagues, working together to make the customer happy. With Relais & Chateaux, people have the security of high standards—that's why they like to come back again and again."

Everest Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Everest Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Food has been a crucial part of Jean's life since his childhood in Barr, Alsace, France. "My father was a successful businessman who always entertained at home—you never took customers to restaurants," he explains. "Food was always very important; we always had lunch and dinner scheduled and all sat at the table together. Meals were something really important, a time for the whole family to be together." As a teenager, Jean spent his summers working in kitchens and as an apprentice. "I've learned to be a pastry chef, I've done cheesemaking, winemaking, business school, and never stopped," he says. "I want to learn more and more every day. What's good enough for me today isn't good enough for me tomorrow."

Everest Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Everest Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Stephanie has a particular affinity for Alsace thanks to her father, who served with distinction in France during World War II and had fond memories of the village of Rupt-sur-Moselle. "As I child, I heard stories of how kind and generous the French people were to American soldiers," she says. "My father always talked about how he was welcomed into people's homes and given wonderful meals. When you mention you're from the U.S. in Alsace, people open the door and want to give you the best welcome, and it's just wonderful to see that."

Chicago Skyline.
Chicago Skyline.

"There are people with complete misconceptions about France, who are of the opinion that the French don't appreciate or like Americans," she continues. "When I've spoken with people from France and mention that my father was there, the conversation stops, I'm hugged and kissed, and people have gotten tears in their eyes as they tell me stories about how soldiers saved their family members. If all you've done is get in a taxi, go to Paris, and meet a guard in a museum, you haven't met French people!" Jean agrees, adding that many people in his hometown flew both the French flag and the American flag on Liberation Day. "I don't think I need to say anything more," he says.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1818

For more information visit www.everestrestaurant.com and www.relaischateaux.com


Link to this segment

Bill Miller, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, CheapOAir, USA.
www.cheapOair.com
www.cheapOstay.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show discover low fall 2010 airfares to international destinations with Bill Miller, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for CheapOAir. All airfares quoted are round-trip for September 2010 travel, taxes and fees not included. Listeners can find the same fares by going to the CheapOAir website or by calling toll-free 866.592.9685.

The Forbidden City, China.
The Forbidden City, China.

Bill has airfares to several destinations: Washington, D.C. to Guatemala City for $273; Los Angeles to San Jose, Costa Rica for $343; New York City to London for $472; New York City to Vienna for $496; San Francisco to Auckland for $652; Los Angeles to Tokyo for $670; and New York City to Sao Paulo for $687. Bill also has a hotel deal: $144 per night in September at the 4-star Quality Crown Kensington in London, UK. "Start booking your fall travel now, because there are going to be some great deals there!" Bill suggests.

Airport Check-In.
Airport Check-In.

Listeners can enter RADIO 20 in the promo code box to receive $20 off their purchase at CheapOAir or CheapOStay.

Travelers411 Directory Listing:
Visit the Travelers411 CheapOAir.com Directory Listing

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
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For more information visit www.cheapOair.com and www.cheapOstay.com


Guests Include:

Jean Joho, Grand Chef, Everest Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
www.everestrestaurant.com
www.relaischateaux.com

Bill Miller, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, CheapOAir, USA.
www.cheapOair.com
www.cheapOstay.com

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