Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show Shownotes for November 14 2010
Travel with Stephanie Abrams! - November 14, 2010 - Shownotes & Audio Archive

Advice from Homeaway on Recouping Losses from Gulf Coast Oil Spill; Experience the American West in Luxury at Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana; Tales of Ghouls, Ghosts, and the Undead from Diz White, Author of "Haunted Cotswolds"; Sail the Rivers of Europe, Russia, and Vietnam in Casual Elegance With AMAWaterways; Have a Western Adventure at Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Christine Karpinski, Director of Owner Community - Homeaway, Homeaway.com.
www.homeaway.com/info/ownercommunity

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show talk with Christine Karpinski, Director of Owner Community for Homeaway, about filing claims for damage due to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Homeaway is a website where travelers can search for vacation homes to rent. Christine is responsible for educating homeowners on all aspects of the renting process.

Florida beach.
Florida beach.

The deadline for filing emergency claims for Gulf Coast oil spill damages is November 23, 2010. Initially, BP made all payments on claims, so home and business owners went directly through BP. In mid-August 2010, the government-run Gulf Coast Claims Facility, run by Ken Fienberg, (GCCF) took over. Home and business owners who previously filed claims with BP must refile their claim with the GCCF.

Atrractions in Florida.
Atrractions in Florida.

"It's confusing because people think they did it once and it's done, but it's not," Christine cautions, adding that resubmitting paperwork is not too bad. "All your paperwork transfers. You don't have to resubmit all the documents; you just have to re-register. All they need is your old claims number and a few other pieces of information, like your name and Social Security number." Customers who are uneasy about entering their SSN on a website can submit claims by mail.

Georgia.
Georgia.

The November 23 deadline is for emergency claims, which are slightly different from claims in general. "If you want to get money quickly to recoup your costs, you should file an emergency claim," Christine explains. "For example, if you're a homeowner who didn't have any renters because of the oil spill and are having a hard time paying the mortgage, you can get compensation right away." Those who miss the deadline can file a general claim, but the GCCF has not yet set a timeline for payments on those claims.

St. Augustine, Florida.
St. Augustine, Florida.

Emergency claims can be made on losses for a six month period. Stephanie points out that claims usually require records of what was earned during the same period in previous years. A homeowner with a vacation rental property could simply look at the 2009 records to establish damages, for example. "Last year may or may not have been a good year for people, though," Christine says. "I understand that if you can prove your past rental history, they will take more of an average, rather than only considering your 2009 income."

Florida
Florida.

Anyone who lost money because of the oil spill is eligible to file a claim. This includes vacation rental owners, hoteliers, fishermen, waitresses, housekeepers, and even local organizations like tourist development boards or municipalities. "There are so many people who rely on tourism money or tips, and they just didn't see that this summer," Stephanie says. She points out that damages doesn't mean that the oil actually flooded a house, just that expected income fell through because renters canceled travel plans. "This could be due to news reports that made people think that there wasn't a habitable inch of shoreline along the whole Gulf of Mexico," she adds.

Hawaii.
Hawaii.

"The media has left the Gulf because there is no more news to over-sensationalize," Stephanie continues. "But remnants of the oil spill linger." Christine agrees, saying that businesses suffered during the media coverage and continue to suffer even after the news cameras departed. She points out that the general claims process will remain open for three years, meaning that those who miss the November 23 deadline will still have a chance to recoup their losses.

Hawaii.
Hawaii.

Homeaway has over 465,000 vacation homes across six continents. "Anywhere you want to go – Tuscany, Paris, Hawaii, Florida, Arizona, California, Tahiti, Bali – we have a property," says Christine. "It's just fun to go and look at the website and dream, even if you're not planning a vacation. The only place we don't have any houses is on Antarctica!" She encourages travelers and homeowners alike to visit the Homeaway website to browse rental options and learn more about the oil spill claims process.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1758

Related Radio Broadcasts:
July 4, 2010, hour 1 of "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" radio show

Related Links:
www.gulfcoastclaimsfacility.com

For more information visit www.homeaway.com/info/ownercommunity


Link to this segment

Bill McConnell, General Manager,  Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.
www.triplecreekranch.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show saddle up with Bill McConnell, General Manager of the Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana. Triple Creek Ranch is a member of Relais & Chateaux and, according to Stephanie, is "not your typical downtown high-rise hotel." Indeed, as visitors approach, they drive past fields with horses and are met by the ranch's small herd of bison.

Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.
Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.

"When you come into the lodge, you're then greeted by art from some very famous American West genre artists," Bill says. "We have a collection of exclusive art from Frederic Remington and Sam Russell, both of whom were masters of Western art." Triple Creek frequently hosts artists' weekends, and each of its 23 cabins is decorated with original, Western-themed art. The decor in the Nez Perce cabin, for example, is inspired by art from that Native American tribe.

Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.
Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.

The Castle Rock cabin, named after a local mountain, is the property's honeymoon suite and has an indoor hot tub in addition to its original art. "All of our luxury cabins come with private hot tubs and fully stocked wet bars and fridges," Bill explains. "We can also provide anything guests might need when they come in, like a late night snack. Of course, that's an understatement, given the amount of food we provide, but so is calling the accommodations 'cabins.'"

Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.
Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.

The average stay at Triple Creek is four or five days. Nearly 40% of visitors are repeat guests. "When someone visits for the first time, they realize that there's so much to do and see," Bill explains. "It takes time and time again to do it. We just had a woman check out from her twenty-first visit!" Stephanie is impressed and adds that the ranch's popularity with return visitors shows that Triple Creek is really a success.

Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.
Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.

Triple Creek is on the west bank of the Bitterroot River in the Bitterroot Valley of the Bitterroot Mountains. Contrary to popular impressions of Montana, Bill says that the weather is fairly mild. "We're considered the banana belt of Montana," he explains. "We're right in the midst of the mountains, so we're sheltered from most of the weather that hits the rest of the state. We get plenty of sunshine and relatively mild winters. We don't really grow bananas, though." Most visitors fly to Missoula, a town of 60,000, then drive 70 miles south on Interstate 93 to reach the ranch in Darby.

Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.
Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.

Bill and his wife, Leslie, have lived in Montana for two years. Before that, the couple owned and operated a rug importing and wholesaling business in western Pennsylvania. What brought them to Montana? "The owners of Triple Creek are Craig and Barbara Barrett – my sister and brother-in-law," Bill says. "Our daughter graduated from high school, so Leslie and I were going home to an empty house. At the same time, the managers of the ranch were retiring, so Barbara and Craig invited us to apply our business skills to the property."

Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.
Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.

The goal of Triple Creek Ranch is rustic elegance. "We want the accommodations to be overwhelmingly comfortable and polished," Bill explains. "At the same time, guests should be overwhelmed by scenery, horseback riding, skiing, and fly fishing. They can go onto CB Ranch – our sister ranch, which has 26,000 acres – and drive over the ridges to look for elk herds, golden eagles, bald eagles, and wolves. We try to immerse everyone in what Montana has to offer as a vast wilderness. And then we top that off with luxury accommodations, gourmet food, and a soak in a hot tub that's pre-heated to 104 degrees."

Additional Audio for this interview:
November 14, 2010 hour 3

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1331

For more information visit www.triplecreekranch.com


Guests Include:

Christine Karpinski, Director of Owner Community - Homeaway, Homeaway.com.
www.homeaway.com/info/ownercommunity

Bill McConnell, General Manager,  Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.
www.triplecreekranch.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Diz White, Actress, Producer, Author of "HAUNTED COTSWOLDS ," Los Angeles, California, USA.
www.dizwhite.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show hear some spine-tingling stories from Diz White, Actress, Producer, and Author of "Haunted Cotswolds." Diz is based in Los Angeles, California, but has summered in England's Cotswolds region for years. She describes it as "a beautiful area with an amazing history: 2,000 years of murder and mayhem. It started with the Roman settlers torturing the poor Brits, then the kings who fought tribal wars, and then there was Reformation, the British civil war, and the War of the Roses."

Diz White, Actress, Producer, Author of "HAUNTED COTSWOLDS".
Diz White, Actress, Producer, Author of "HAUNTED COTSWOLDS".

Diz started as an actress and writer. With her comedy troupe, she wrote "El Grande de Coca Cola," which won a New York Critics Drama Desk Award and went on to become an HBO comedy special. The troupe also wrote "Bullshot Crummond," a spoof of the Bulldog Drummond mysteries from the 1930s that became a Showtime special and major motion picture. After making guest appearances and cameos in everything from television comedies to "Star Trek: The Next Generation," Diz wrote a memoir about trying to buy a cottage in the Cotswolds.

"HAUNTED COTSWOLDS" book cover.
"HAUNTED COTSWOLDS" book cover.

She sent the book to History Press, but learned that the company does not publish memoirs. Instead, the publisher asked Diz to write "Haunted Cotswolds" and later, "Haunted Cheltenham." "I was delighted because it gave me the chance to visit the most beautiful place in the world – according to me – and to do research for true-life ghost stories," Diz says. "I started out as a skeptic, not believing in ghosts, but that didn't matter. I wanted to weave the history and architecture of the Cotswolds into these ghost stories, so that the book can also be used as a tour guide for people who want to visit the region."

Adderbury Gargoyle.
Adderbury Gargoyle.

She recommends that first-time visitors start in the medieval town of Burford, just an hour and a half from London by car. "The town is just as it was 500 years ago, with cobblestone streets, romantic cottages, and wonderful inns," Diz says. "From there, you can radiate out and visit other places." The Cotswolds encompass five counties and stretch roughly from Stratford-on-Avon in the north to Bath in the south.

Winchombe Gargoyle.
Winchombe Gargoyle.

One popular tourist destination is Warwick Castle, a thousand-year-old building that was ordered built by William the Conqueror. "You can't get much more historically interesting than that," says Diz, "plus it's haunted by a previous owner whose ghost comes out of his portrait in the great hall. He had a very violent death – he was murdered by a servant – and now haunts both the portrait and one of the towers." Diz did not see the ghost at Warwick Castle, but had a very frightening experience while researching a different location.

Fairford Gargoyle.
Fairford Gargoyle.

"The Ram Inn is a fourteenth-century coaching inn that's well-documented as the most haunted house in Great Britain," she explains. "It's near Wotton-under-Edge, a very tiny village. It was built on the site of a pagan burial ground, which may be why it's so haunted. The inn is now privately owned by a rather eccentric man, but if you contact him, he'll give you a tour. So I went in to visit with my husband, who took all of the photos for 'Haunted Cotswolds.'

Chavenage House.
Chavenage House.

"We were being shown around by the owner, Mr. Humphries, and as soon as we got into one room, I felt as if someone was strangling me," Diz continues. "There was this feeling of icy cold hands on my throat. I didn't see anything, but I felt the presence of evil. I said to my husband, 'I'm now going to run out screaming,' so I did. I screamed once I got outside and left my poor husband in there to continue photographing all by himself."

Ram Inn's Demon.
Ram Inn's Demon.

Another story in "Haunted Cotswolds" deals with the Crown and Cushion Inn in Chipping Norton, England. "In the 1600s, a man called Guy Fawkes made a plan to blow up Parliament but failed," Diz explains. "Now we celebrate Guy Fawkes Day in England on November 5, when children take an effigy of Guy and people throw money in their cups. Apparently, Guy and his gang still make appearances at the Crown and Cushion Inn, where they've been seen a number of times by hotel guests, still plotting to blow up Parliament."

Eastleach.
Eastleach.

Travelers looking to be spooked can also visit Room Seven at the Weston Manor Hotel in Weston-on-the-Green. In medieval times, a young monk and nun from that village fell in love, met for secret rendezvous, and were eventually discovered. Since the nun had broken her vows of chastity, she was punished by being burned at the stake. "Today, her ghost continues to haunt Room Seven," says Diz. "Guests who encounter her experience terrible dreams for years." "Haunted Cotswolds" is available through Amazon, History Press, or Trafalgar Square Press.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2293

For more information visit www.dizwhite.com


Fun Facts:

Castle Leslie in County Monaghan, Ireland is haunted by a young woman and a member of the family. "Apparently there was a young woman who came to the castle in a terrible rainstorm," Stephanie says. "She was pregnant and had been turned out of the house where she had been working. She knocked at Castle Leslie, but was turned away. Now, she haunts the driveway and porch." A Leslie ancestor, Norman, also makes appearances in the castle bedroom – complete with black walnut four-poster bed – that once belonged to him.

Castle Leslie, Ireland.
Castle Leslie, Ireland.

Castle Leslie, Ireland.
Castle Leslie, Ireland.

Guests Include:

Diz White, Actress, Producer, Author of "HAUNTED COTSWOLDS ," Los Angeles, California, USA.
www.dizwhite.com

Hour 3

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Ron Santangelo, Vice President Business Development, AMAwaterways.
www.amawaterways.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travel With Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show set sail with Ron Santangelo, Vice President of Sales with AMAWaterways. Ron and Stephanie are planning a cruise from Budapest to Munich in November 2010. Stephanie will fly to Budapest and then board the AmaLyra for the cruise. She asks Ron for a few packing tips.

Hungary.
Hungary.

"Life on board is casual elegance," Ron replies. "During the day we'll be sightseeing, so bring comfortable clothes and shoes. You'll need to be prepared for inclement weather; I always pack a tote umbrella. I suggest bringing a sweater, cool weather jacket, and rain gear, too. In the evening, everyone looks good – there are no shorts or sneakers in the dining room. But it's not overly formal, either; most men wear a jacket without a tie for dinner."

AMA Waterways MS Amacello.
AMA Waterways MS Amacello.

Passengers board the ship in the afternoon and have plenty of time to get settled in their staterooms and explore the vessel. "We usually have a 'welcome on board' talk, then people go to the lounge to have a drink before dinner and to get to know their shipmates," Ron says. "Dinner starts around seven or seven-thirty and takes about two hours. Again, though, it's not overly formal. When it's your first day on board, people know you haven't unpacked yet."

Internet station onboard AMA Waterways.
Internet station onboard AMA Waterways.

The AmaLyra has 75 staterooms and can accommodate 148 passengers. The ship offers single-seating dining, so everyone can come together in the dining room at once. There is also an open dining policy, which means that guests are not assigned seats. "As you arrive, the maitre d' will seat you at a table for two, four, six, or eight," Ron explains. "People tend to gravitate to like-minded people. So if you sit somewhere and don't like it, you can sit somewhere else the next day."

Stateroom aboard AMA Waterways.
Stateroom aboard AMA Waterways.

Most of the actual sailing takes place at night. Around 7 p.m., the ship sets sail, and docks twelve hours later. This gives passengers the opportunity to spend the entire day ashore, but the itinerary varies according to location. "We don't always stay in port for the full ten or twelve hours; sometimes we leave small villages after just four hours," Ron says. "In a place like Vienna, you'll stay overnight, because people want to see theater. There, we arrive in the afternoon, so at night people can go ashore and experience the local culture. It's the complete opposite of a four-hour stop in a small village."

Trams in Hungary.
Trams in Hungary.

Before the ship starts sailing for the evening, AMA brings local entertainers on board. On the rare afternoons when the ship sails during the day, passengers are given time to relax. "We don't sail during the day very often, but when we do, the real pleasure is to be on deck and watch the scenery unfold in front of you," Ron says. "That's why we don't plan activities for those times."

Hungary.
Hungary.

AMAWaterways has twelve ships in total: six on the Rhine and Danube, one on the Rhone in France, one in Russia, and one on the Mekong River in Vietnam. "The Rhine and Danube are connected by a canal, so vessels can start in Amsterdam, head down into Germany, cross over to the Danube, and go through Austria, towards the Black Sea," Ron explains. "Because of the canal, we can use those six ships for several different itineraries. We like to change things up so that our cruises are not the same thing every week."

Hungary.
Hungary.

In France, the ship sails from Lyon to Arles; in Russia, passengers travel from Moscow to St. Petersburg. On the Mekong River, AMA ships leave from Hanoi and end up in Saigon. The vessels are quite similar to each other, and all offer the highly inclusive AMA experience. "On our European ships, we include wine with dinner, bottled water to take off the vessel, Internet in the cabins, WiFi in the lounges, and at least one excursion every day," Ron says. "We don't include tips or alcohol besides the wine with dinner. But we're able to offer a high level of consistency between vessels."

Hungary.
Hungary.

Each ship has only four levels, including a sundeck. There are two levels of passenger accommodations, plus one public level. All levels, except the lowest and the sundeck, are accessible by elevator. "It's a very simple layout," Ron promises. "There are only 75 cabins, so you won't get lost on board." On her last cruise, Stephanie says, she was ready to break out the roller skates just to get around the ship. She's looking forward to walking around destinations from Budapest to Munich and really exploring them.

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1840

Related Radio Broadcasts:
August, 15, 2010's "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" radio show.

For more information visit www.amawaterways.com


Link to this segment

Bill McConnell, General Manager,  Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.
www.triplecreekranch.com

All shownotes for this interview appear in the hour 1 section. Click here to go there now.


Travel Tips:

Stephanie recommends a trip to the Boston Pops this holiday season. "They replace the seats in Symphony Hall with cocktail tables and chairs," she says. "It feels like a cabaret, something from those 1930s Fred Astaire kinds of movies where they all sashay in tuxedoes and satin gowns and dance to live bands at nightclubs." The audience is invited to do the same at many Boston Pops performances.

When not dancing, audience members can order light fare from a menu. "There are lots of beverage choices, too, including champagne," Stephanie adds. "For New Year's Pops, there are traditional party hats, noisemakers, and big screens that count down and show fireworks." The Pops performances are fun for the whole family, though Stephanie suggests leaving the littlest ones at home.

Elsewhere in Boston, Stephanie also recommends a stay at the Charles Street Inn. "Charles Street is a wonderful place with gas-lit lanterns," she says. "The inn has only nine rooms and you can slide in and out unnoticed. Each room is named after someone from Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood, like Edith Wharton, and the decor reflects that person. The rooms all have working fireplaces with marble mantels, too. And if you have a car, the inn has parking for about five cars right behind the building, so get there early." She adds that the neighborhood has several great restaurants and is convenient to the T, Boston's subway system.


Guests Include:

Ron Santangelo, Vice President Business Development, AMAwaterways.
www.amawaterways.com

Bill McConnell, General Manager,  Relais & Chateaux Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA.
www.triplecreekranch.com

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