On the Fly™ - Editorial Commentary by Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams

Monday, June 05, 2006: "Of travels and the Bergs" - To the Editor of THE EAGLE.
--by Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams

Cheerio from Scotland! Delightful to catch up with hometown news at The Eagle's Web site. Thank you for the outstanding coverage of my projects and unique ministry! I did want to provide you with some insights into two items I noted in reading the article about "Stephanie Abrams Travel Fairy Godmother" (May 30) and about the Lenox Athenaeum (June 1).

When I don my tiara and wave my magic wand, the recipient is someone who will greatly benefit from the trip I provide but, in general, is not in the "down and out" segment of society. Frequently, the priorities of living and planning for the future stand in the way of special trips these individuals should be taking but aren't for the foreseeable future.

In the case of Nathan Warmack, his family's focus is on supporting him for the next four years while he attends college. This trip to Scotland would probably have happened years from now after his graduation. I'm always concerned that life will find a way of getting in the way, making this family trip not possible so I believe in seizing the moment, packing and going! While I have sent a dozen homeless children on a 12-day trip from Tucson to California with their four chaperones from the Giving Tree Outreach Program, which rescues homeless kids from the streets of Pima County, and sponsor three teenagers from that group at the Maine Teen Camp each summer, other awardees of travel from the Travel Fairy Godmother are often quite comfortable but with obligations that make it impossible for the fairy tale trip to occur sooner rather than later. I wouldn't want your readers to think that only the indigent stand in line to be noticed!

Because the Lenox Athenaeum is built on a unique concept in the travel industry, Ethan Berg caught my attention over a year ago. I have watched, with great interest, the loving care, sparing no expense, that the Bergs have put into this unique cultural venue that is in keeping with the theme of making a valuable contribution to America's Premier Cultural Resort.

Having done extensive restoration and construction in this county, I can tell you that the Bergs could live quite well for multiple lifetimes on the investment they have made into bringing the Lenox Athenaeum to the level of a luxury resort with a cultural purpose. The remark of the Lenox resident who thought the Bergs need to have paying visitors in order to support the place is both mean-spirited and absurd!

The cost of restoration of that fine, old, previously ailing "cottage," is a clear indication that the Bergs' interest lies in establishing a unique learning center for adults and that they were willing and prepared to make a serious investment to bring the place in line with the expectations of the most sophisticated traveler used to 5-star luxury accommodations and services.

The guests who will stay at the Lenox Athenaeum are the kind who will support the local jewelry and antique shops and restaurants and become a Friend of Tanglewood with their donations. This venue will be viewed as a valued contributor to the Berkshire economy. Cheers to the Bergs for their insight and confidence in making such a huge investment in the future of the Berkshires.

(This letter was e-mailed from Scotland)

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