Long Island’s Cradle of Aviation Brings Museum Online to Help Families, Educators & Community Stay Connected

Among the ongoing virtual experiences that Cradle of Aviation Museum is offering are replays via Facebook Watch Parties of some of its favorite encounters with astronauts, pilots, authors, and STEM leaders including the Apollo 50th Anniversary Dinner Panel in July featuring five Apollo Astronauts and two Mission Control directors. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Garden City, NY — The world-class Cradle of Aviation Museum continues its primary mission to collect, preserve and interpret Long Island’s rich aerospace heritage of discovery and inspire future generations through science and technology. Though shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic, Cradle of Aviation is staying connected to the community by bringing the museum experience online with 360°  view gallery tours and through sharing helpful, fun, and inspirational content and programming. All resources are available at www.cradleofaviation.org/virtualmuseum and via social media channels.

Online Educational Services

LEARN with #Educator Tom, the museum’s latest TikTok sensation (with over 1.5m views in under a week) as he brings edutainment online through over 50 videos on the history of ingenuity and innovation in aerospace. Did you know that rotary engines spun along with propellers to cool it down? https://www.tiktok.com/@cradleofaviation/

MAKE an At Home Activity with video instruction from Cradle’s Education Team. Like “Make A Mission Patch” asking students to use their imagination on their own personal mission. If there were a mission to stop a virus, what would the patch look like? YouTube https://youtu.be/OShJVmPPJ8A

ASK an Educator those challenging STEM related homework questions and assignments and get some help from the Education team, like which layer of the Earth is located closer to the crust? Send questions to education@cradleofaviation.org.

Virtual Museum – We Bring the Museum to Your Screen

EXPERIENCE the museum galleries in 360° via Google Street View and visit Cradle’s many exhibit pages with links to further resources from The Dream of Wings to the Future of Space. Virtual Tours https://www.cradleofaviation.org/plan_your_visit/virtual-museum/galleries-exhibits.html

BE INSPIRED with evening lectures as the museum replays via Facebook Watch Parties some of its favorite encounters with astronauts, pilots, authors, and STEM leaders including the Apollo 50th Anniversary Dinner Panel featuring five Apollo Astronauts and two Mission Control directors (Thursday, March 26th at 8pm) presentation and an intimate look at life and art of Apollo Astronaut Alan Bean with Leslie Bean and Shuttle Astronaut and Bestselling Author Mike Massimino (Tuesday, March 24th at 8pm.  www.facebook.com/cradleofaviation 

PERUSE thousands of inspirational photos of the heroes of air and space in our NY Heritage Digital Collection including rarely seen photos of Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, the F-14 and Lunar Module. https://nyheritage.org/contributors/cradle-aviation-museum

WATCH our playlists on our YouTube channel www.youtube.com/cradleofaviation including recommended picks from our curator, Josh Stoff, as well as inspirational interviews with astronauts who recently visited the museum.

FOLLOW US on social media as we continue to highlight inspirational stories of triumph over tragedy and celebrate teamwork in overcoming odds as well as recommended helpful resources on Facebook, InstagramTikTokTwitterLinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest.

“The Education Department is fortunate to have the opportunity to continue collaborating with educators and families across our region. Learning takes place beyond the four walls of a classroom. It can be fun and exciting in any environment from our museum floor to your living room to right outside your window! During this time, when families are learning at home, we’ll be sharing content from astronauts talking about their time in outer space, to how to build paper airplanes for a family flight contest, to homework help with the Cradle’s Education Department. We look forward to being a free resource for our community and to bring STEM to everyone,” said Catherine Gonzalez, Director of Education, Cradle of Aviation Museum.

“During these difficult times we salute the efforts of our superhero scientists and all health care professionals. At the Cradle we continue to serve as a STEM resource for the thousands of students who are operating in the current distant learning environment,” said Andrew Parton, President, Cradle of Aviation Museum.

Additionally, the Cradle of Aviation Museum is working on offering bilingual content including at home activities and a bilingual presentation from NASA Engineer Scarlin Hernandez.

The Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center is home to over 75 planes and spacecraft representing over 100 years of aviation history and Long Island’s only Giant Screen Dome Theater. The museum is located on Museum Row, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., in East Garden City. For more information call (516) 572-4111 or visit www.cradleofaviation.org 

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Club Med Introduces Club Med at Home Virtual Travel Experience

Club Med Yucatan. The pioneer of the all-inclusive resort concept has launched Club Med at Home virtual travel experiences.

To bring the Club Med spirit to all staying inside during these unprecedented times, the pioneer of the all-inclusive concept has launched Club Med at Home

The weekly series of activities designed to inspire and engage families features downloadable coloring book pages, exclusive recipes, playlists, streaming workout classes, virtual resort tours and more. New content will be added weekly to www.clubmed.us/clubmedathome and announced via newsletter. 

Knowing multi-gen households are spending more time inside together than ever before, there’s never been a more relevant time for resort brands to launch at-home and virtual travel experiences. 

  • Start the day with destination workout videos like yoga in Italy or HIIT exercises in the Maldives led by Club Med staff
  • Download coloring pages of beachscapes and family fun for kids (and kids at heart!)
  • Indulge in fan favorite Club Med recipes, like the legendary White Chocolate Bread
  • Have a virtual dance party jamming to Club Med’s “Crazy Signs” Spotify playlist – bonus points for showing off dance moves on social and tagging @clubmed #ClubMedAtHome
  • From Bali to the French Alps, transport to over 30 Club Med resorts around the globe on 360-degree virtual resort tours
  • Activity suggestions for kids and parents designed to replicate Club Med’s popular kids club activities, such as music time with babies, family game night (with downloadable game sheets), and creating your own eco-friendly modeling clay to design a sculpture

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Southampton Inn on Long Island’s East End Remains Open to Provide Needed Respite

Southampton Inn Bedroom, Cooper’s Beach, Benday Sophia @Ceravolo, 

Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and the declaration of a national emergency, the Southampton Inn on the East end of Long Island, remains open to care for guests and the wider community. While larger gatherings are currently not possible, people still need somewhere safe to stay, whether construction workers supporting emergency infrastructure projects or families trying to visit loved ones. Housekeeping protocols at the Inn meet the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  
 
The Southampton Inn wants to first reassure guests that they can book with confidence. They understand that people are concerned about the evolving situation and, specifically, scheduled overnight stays and future travel plans. To accommodate guests during this time of uncertainty, the Inn will cancel any reservations through April 15, 2020 or will credit your reservations to any available date through March 31, 2021. They are also taking the following steps to accommodate guests:  

The Inn is offering a room rate of $149/night (plus taxes and fees) for their available rooms. Sixteen of the rooms are pet-friendly.

Claude’s Restaurant is offering take-out breakfast options daily between 7:00am and 10:00am. The restaurant is currently closed for dinner and Sunday brunch through March 31, 2020, and management is monitoring the evolving guidelines.

Guests are welcome to reserve an extended stay in June, July or August. Prices range from $11,000 – $15,000 per month (subject to change and availability).

Despite the underlying tensions surrounding the outbreak, spring hasarrived and a welcome breath of fresh air and relaxation awaits at the Southampton Inn. Located in the heart of Long Island’s historic Southampton Village, the Inn is just one mile from gorgeous nationally recognized ocean beaches, hiking and cycling trails.
 
New this 2020, Claude’s Gallery inaugural exhibition features artwork by Ceravolo & Candice CMC, Charles Ford, Robin Morris and Nickol Renae. Guests can stop by for a tour or call for information about the artists.  A well-stocked library provides an ideal place to relax with a book or board game.
 
Looking ahead, the Southampton Inn currently has a number of events planned starting in May 2020 including:
 
May 1 – 3      – 2020 May Day Celebration
May 8 – 10   – Mother’s Day Weekend getaway and brunch
May 9              – The USA Women’s Half Marathon in Southampton Village (pre-race dinner)
May 14-17    – What’s New, Southampton Village? (featuring exciting and diverse promotions and events that focus on family fun, history, the arts and recreation – all designed to showcase the Village’s many offerings during one of the most beautiful times of the year).
May 24            – Memorial Day Weekend Summer Kickoff Barbecue
June 12 -14  – Croquet and Rosé starts June 12-14 and continues every Sunday through the summer: $50/couple includes bottle of selected rosé, croquet on the Inn’s lawn and live music.

The Southampton Inn is classic, unassuming and utterly charming. The Inn, on five acres, offers the personal attention of a bed & breakfast with the services of a hotel. The 90 guest rooms, all with slightly different decor, offer individual temperature control, sparkling tiled bathrooms, refrigerators, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The grounds consist of several acres of manicured lawns and gardens, with amenities that everyone can enjoy: 50-foot heated outdoor pool, All-weather tennis court, croquet and volleyball, Game Room for all ages, and Claude’s Restaurant.

When things return to normal, The Inn and Claude’s Restaurant are also popular, established settings for corporate retreats, meetings, reunions, destination weddings and other gatherings, combining the natural beauty of the East End of Long Island with seasonal amenities, all in one convenient location.

Southampton Inn & Claude’s Restaurant, 91 Hill Street, Southampton, NY 11968, 631-283-6500, reservations@southamptoninn.com, https://southamptoninn.com/

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11 Wellness Holidays to Reboot Life

Shikoku is the smallest of Japan’s major islands. It’s encircled by a 1,200 km, 88-temple Buddhist pilgrimage route honoring the 9th-century monk Kukai. Cycling these ancient Samurai roads, trekking sacred Pilgrim routes, soaking in historic hot springs, and enjoying a unique culture and gastronomy make this Ride & Seek vacation the perfect wellness retreat for active travelers

Here’s something to look forward to, after the coronavirus pandemic passes: Wellness holidays to reboot life.

Wellness tourism is growing twice as fast as the tourism industry overall. In fact, by 2022 some predict it will be a $919 billion industry. Wellness tourism allows travelers to maintain, enhance or kick-start a healthy lifestyle and support or increase their sense of well-being. Whether it’s cycling across Italy with a famous chef, meditating with monks in Tibet, or cooking farm-to-table cuisine with cowboys on a Wyoming ranch, here are 11 dreamy wellness vacations to relax, reboot and establish a sense of inner balance. 

1. Soaking & Cycling Shikoku  Shikoku is the smallest of Japan’s major islands. It’s encircled by a 1,200 km, 88-temple Buddhist pilgrimage route honoring the 9th-century monk Kukai. Cycling these ancient Samurai roads, trekking sacred Pilgrim routes, soaking in historic hot springs, and enjoying a unique culture and gastronomy make this Ride & Seek vacation the perfect wellness retreat for active travelers. https://www.rideandseek.com/tour/samurai-shikoku-island-japan/

2. Tiny House Ski Retreat  Just minutes from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Fireside Resort capitalizes on the tiny house craze and the classic appeal of rustic cottages by offering 25 pint-size, luxuriously outfitted units designed by Wheelhaus. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers 133 runs and 12 lifts across more than 2,500 acres. Well-groomed Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing trails are also available. https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com/ContactUs/

3. Fly Fishing + Diving in Belize  Turneffe Flats has been one of the world’s top flats fishing and diving resorts for close to four decades. Frontiers International Travel guests enjoy a myriad of other activities such as unique marine eco-adventures, birding, and wildlife watching. https://www.frontierstravel.com/turneffe-flats-lodge-april-may-2020 

4. Meditating with Monks  On this MIR Corporation adventure, guests visit Dunhuang’s UNESCO-listed Mogao Caves and explore the Tibetan Plateau on a splendid route that embraces the sacred cities of Gyantse, Shigatse and Lhasa, “City of the Sun.” https://www.mircorp.com/trip/chinas-silk-road-tibet-route-of-monks-merchants/

5. Cycling w/ Chef in Italy  Tourissimo offers cycling vacations that focus on the best food and wine Italy has to offer. On each departure, they invite a well-known chef whose role is to facilitate the understanding of local gastronomy. The tours all happen around carefully selected cycling routes. https://www.tourissimo.travel/chef-tours 

6. Cowboy Cooking & Horseback Riding   In addition to hiking, fly fishing, cattle wrangling, horseback riding, yoga and luxury accommodations, guests at Red Reflet Ranch in Ten Sleep, WY have an opportunity to learn culinary techniques and skills by joining the ranch’s executive chef for cooking classes. Much of the meat and produce consumed at Red Reflet Ranch comes from its butcher shop and gardens. http://redrefletranch.com/    

7. Biking Across Colorado  Cycle of Life Adventures has created a four-week-long “Epic Colorado” cycling expedition covering 1,258 miles with an elevation gain of 89,502 feet. In addition to cycling, there are three rest days built in so guests can enjoy fly fishing, kayaking, rafting, hiking, golf or spa experiences. https://cycleoflifeadventures.com/epic-colorado 

8. Northern Lights, Dog Sledding & Curling – Get a dose of local culture by day and view the Aurora Borealis by night. Visit a local homesteader, walk with reindeer, go dogsledding, learn the sport of curling, and relax in the outdoor hot springs on this quintessential wellness vacation offered by Gondwana Ecotours. https://www.gondwanaecotours.com/tour/fairbanks-northern-lights-trips-alaska/

9. Big Sky Spring – Visit Big Sky, Montana, and make the new Wilson Hotel your base for active spring adventures. End ski season on hundreds of exhilarating runs spread across 5,850 acres of terrain at Big Sky Resort, or venture into Yellowstone National Park on foot or bike to see natural wonders and wildlife waking from the quiet of winter. https://thewilsonhotel.com/

10. Ride the Roof of the World – Join H+I Adventures on a mountain bike trip in the Himalayas of Nepal for breathtaking climbs and fast descents in the Kathmandu Valley and among the highest peaks in the world. Along the way, share tea with local farmers on their rooftops in the mountains. https://www.mountainbikeworldwide.com/mtb-tours/nepal

11. Sri Lanka Safari – Visit the national parks of Sri Lanka with Adventure Life to see wildlife like colorful peacocks, giant crocodiles, majestic herds of elephants during jungle hikes, game drives and boat rides. Also find four centuries of Arab, Portuguese and Dutch cultural influences on a walking tour through the cobbled streets of Galle. https://www.adventure-life.com/sri-lanka/tours/14369/sri-lanka-wildlife

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St. Kitts Music Festival 2020 Postponed; Ticket Purchases Protected

St Kitts, where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and sandy beaches combine to make St. Kitts one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean. (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Basseterre, St. Kitts – St. Kitts is postponing the 24th St. Kitts Music Festival, originally scheduled to be held June 24-28, 2020, to June 23-27, 2021 in light of the current global situation to protect its citizens, residents, visitors and the integrity of the Music Festival.

“The St. Kitts Music Festival is now achieving the goals that were established for the event to drive and support ‘heads in beds’ for our tourism industry in June,” said the Hon. Mr. Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs. “The Music Festival has allowed us to promote our St. Kitts brand over the summer months and we are confident that it will remain a cornerstone of our annual marketing and branding activities in the years to come. It brings significant direct economic benefit that provides for our people year after year. However, after careful consideration we chose to postpone it until 2021.”

CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Ms. Racquel Brown added, “2019 was the second year in a row we saw a significant increase in air arrivals and attendance with systemwide air arrivals increasing 7% for June 2019 (15,499) as compared to June 2018 (14,490) and recording nearly 30,000 attendees over the 3-night event. Looking forward, we will ensure the marketing and promotion for the St. Kitts Music Festival 2021 produces an increase in air arrivals and increase brand awareness for St. Kitts for Summer 2021.”

“While it was a difficult decision to make, we have postponed the St. Kitts Music Festival to protect the health and safety of all visitors, citizens and residents as well as the integrity of the St. Kitts Music Festival brand,” said Damion Hobson, Chairman of the St. Kitts Music Festival. “We look forward to delivering another epic 3-nights of performances in 2021 and an ‘Experience like no other’.”

Anyone who has already purchased tickets online will be protected and their purchases will either remain valid or can be refunded. Originally scheduled to perform as part of the star-studded line-up for 2020 were renowned artists including Gladys Knight, Jimmy Cliff, Beres Hammond, Wizkid, Koffee and Chronixx, among others. For more information about the St. Kitts Music Festival, visit http://www.stkittsmusicfestival.com/.

Intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and sandy beaches combine to make St. Kitts one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean. Located in the northern Leeward Islands, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, and touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the more traditional vacation pastimes available are water sports including catamaran cruises, golf, shopping, tennis, dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on the beach.  For more information about St. Kitts, visit www.stkittstourism.kn.

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From Travel to Wellness: Recipe for Immune-Boosting Comfort Soup

Anne Dimon, founder/editor of Travel to Wellness offers this recipe for immune-boosting Sweet Potato, Coconut, Ginger Soup

Anne Dimon, the founder/editor of Travel To Wellness and the co-founder/president of the Wellness Tourism Association, offered this marvelous recipe for an immune-boosting soup that comes from her friends at Grail Springs Retreat for Wellbeing in Bancroft, Ontario – just what we need while sequestered at home to keep healthy with comfort food that evokes the tastes and pleasures of travel. She writes:

It’s been a while since we reached out to you with wellness travel news and updates, and we sincerely hope all is good with you and your family in this time of global stress and disruption. While we are all going thru our own challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to keep positive that it will be contained, hopefully sooner rather than later. I have no doubt that you have been inundated with things you need to do to keep yourself and others safe and healthy, so we won’t bore you by reiterating the things you probably already know. Just one quick suggestion: there is a lot of misinformation out there. Take the advice of those you trust, like public health professionals.

So, to get to the point, one thing we all need to do is keep our immune systems strong. Yesterday, I whipped up a batch of this immune-boosting soup courtesy of our friends at Grail Springs Retreat for Wellbeing in Bancroft, Ontario. Once you have all the ingredients purchased, It takes about an hour to make. Double the recipe, freeze a batch for later, or share it with a family member, friend or neighbor.

Wherever you may be in the world today, know that we are all in this together. On a personal note, my husband is in the category of the most vulnerable so we, too, are being extra careful. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Stay strong. We shall overcome.

Sweet Potato, Coconut, Ginger Soup

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tsp salt

1 red onion chopped

3 celery stalks chopped

1 carrot peeled and chopped

1 inch of ginger root peeled and sliced

1 Tsp apple cider vinegar

2 small sweet potatoes peeled and chopped

1 can of coconut milk

Sauté onion in oil until softened. Add celery, carrot, ginger and salt and saute until they have softened about 5 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar and stir to de-glaze pan. Add sweet potato and coconut milk. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are soft.

Blend in a blender until smooth. Add water, coconut milk or almond milk to get desired consistency.

Launched in 2004, TravelToWellness.com was one of the first editorially-driven online resources for the wellness-minded traveler.  

The Wellness Tourism Association  www.wellnesstourismassociation.org is a not-for-profit with a mission to bring definitions and standards to the industry for the global good. 

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Poseidon Expeditions Suspends March and April 2020 Cruises; Revises Re-Booking, Final Payment and Deposit Policies

Poseidon Expeditions announced that it is suspending cruise operations aboard its 114-passenger expedition vessel Sea Spirit for the balance of March and April 2020. The expeditionary cruise company is rebooking Arctic cruises for 2021.

PROVIDENCE, RI — Poseidon Expeditions announced that it is suspending cruise operations aboard its 114-passenger expedition vessel Sea Spirit for the balance of March and April 2020.
 
Postponed until 2021 are a sub-charter in the mid-Atlantic and a cruise along the coastline of Portugal, Spain and France. All sales and reservation offices are available to provide assistance to booked and prospective passengers and to answer questions about upcoming Spring and Summer 2020 cruises and future cruises.
 
“We certainly understand the COVID-19 related concerns and questions from our travel partners and the travelers booked on our upcoming cruises. There’s no question about it: things are changing daily. We are looking at each cruise on the calendar’s horizon, and will factor into our decision-making all issues pertaining to Coronavirus-related bans, travel advisories, flight availability and any other matters that potentially might affect the health and safety of our guests, staff and crew,” said Steve Wellmeier, managing director of the company’s US office.
 
Following the successful completion of the company’s 2019-20 Antarctic season this past week, the Sea Spirit is currently heading north from Montevideo, Uruguay, where it disembarked passengers March 19.
 
“At the present time, Poseidon remains committed to its schedule of cruises in the Arctic this season. But we are giving our booked passengers and travel partners the benefit of the doubt in rescheduling their summer cruises. Those passengers with existing reservations for the upcoming season may re-book or transfer their booking to a 2021 Arctic departure, beginning from 60 days and up to seven days prior to the 2020 scheduled departure date. Final payment for 2020 Arctic voyages is pushed back from 90 days to 60 days prior to departure, and deposits on new bookings for 2020 Arctic programs are reduced from 20% to 10% of the cruise fare,” said Wellmeier.
 
For the next 2020-21 Antarctic season, final payment is due 60 days prior to departure rather than the customary 90 days, and deposits on new Antarctica business are also reduced from 20% to 10% of the cruise fare.
 
While the Russian Federation recently announced that its borders are closed to all foreign travelers until May 1, the company’s three voyages to the North Pole aboard the nuclear-powered icebreaker 50 Years of Victory remain scheduled for operation, beginning with the July 12-24, program from Murmansk, Russia. Final payment conditions are changed from 90 days to 60 days prior to the departure date.
 
The company recently updated its Coronavirus Travel Policy, and will continue to do so as the situation warrants.
 
For inquires and questions, travelers and their agents can contact the company’s North American sales and reservation office at SalesUSA@poseidonexpeditions.com or by telephone at 347-801-2610.
 
With offices in the US, UK, Germany, Russia, Cyprus and China, Poseidon Expeditions is a leading provider of polar expeditions in the cruise industry. The company is committed to safe and environmentally responsible polar travel. It is a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO).

Follow Poseidon Expeditions on Social Media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/poseidonexpeditions
Twitter:      https://twitter.com/poseidonexp
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/pxpeditions
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/poseidonexpeditions/
Website     http://poseidonexpeditions.com/

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New Brunswick, Canada, Caters to the “Slow Travel” Mindset with New Experiences for 2020

The border to Canada may be temporarily closed to nonessential travel because of the coronavirus pandemic, but soon enough, people will be looking to escape. The Atlantic Province of New Brunswick, Canada want Americans to know about new experiences available that enable connections to nature, just north of the Maine border.

NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA – Rather than a vacation filled with manic sightseeing and stressful to-do lists, more and more travelers today are slowing down to immerse themselves in a destination. The Atlantic Canada province of New Brunswick, located just north of the Maine border, offers several new experiences that allow travelers to connect with the food, community, and environment at their own relaxed pace.

Here’s what’s new in 2020:

Wilderness Dining

Savour the Caves – On the ocean floor at low tide, a local chef will prepare seasonal cuisine while telling stories about the culture and history of the area. The experience takes place at St. Martins Sea Caves, a section of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark. Available July 6 and 7, August 3 and 4, 2020, starting at $425 CAD per person.

Cielo Oyster Experiences – In an eco-friendly exploration of Bay Saint-Simon located on the northeastern Acadian peninsula, guests will maneuver standup paddleboards to harvest, shuck, and cook oysters, while learning how to pair them with local products. The experience is available from June 21 through September 25, starting at $85 per person. 

Explore By Foot

Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail – The newly designated park offers a 90-mile hiking trail that follows the Nepisiguit River from the mountains of Mount Carleton Provincial Park in central New Brunswick to the ocean at Daly Point Nature Reserve in Bathurst, and is based on an ancient First Nations travel route. The park is open year-round, but ideal hiking conditions are available between June and October.

Wabanaki Tree Spirit Tour – Embark on a medicine walk through the old growth forest of Odell Park, joining Wabanaki medicine keepers to learn about the history of local plants and trees along with their use as Indigenous medicines, food and in ceremony. The tour is available year-round starting at $200 for four people. A lunch of Three Sisters Soup and Acorn Corn Bread, made with leached acorns and locally grown ancient flint corn, is available for an additional $25 per person after the tour.

Moncton Street Art Mural Walking Tour – The city of Moncton boasts over 32 large-scale contemporary murals from local and international artists, creating an outdoor gallery of street art. Travelers are guided by a curator to learn about these hidden gems on a 1.5-hour walking tour. Available on Saturdays and Sundays starting at $25 CAD per person.

Immersive History

Le Pays de la Sagouine – In a theatrical glimpse into Acadian history, actors and bilingual staff work and live in a 19th century town, allowing guests to visit and explore the music and food of the French settlers’ descendants that occupied the northeastern region of North America. Performances are available throughout 2020; find a full calendar at https://www.sagouine.com/en/.

Tours and Tea with Abigail – At the Historic McAdam Railway Station, guests step into the setting of the beloved children’s book Abigail Massey at McAdam Station, and sip tea with book series characters that are brought to life by costumed staff. Experience available by appointment, starting at $15 per person.

For more information on New Brunswick, visit https://www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca/

This project has been made possible through funding provided by the Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT). ACAT is a nine-member pan-Atlantic initiative comprising the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the four Atlantic Canada Tourism Industry Associations, and the four Provincial Departments responsible for tourism.

For more information on the four provinces, visit these websites or follow New Brunswick on social media:

Web: www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca

Instagram: @DestinationNB

Twitter: @SeeNewBrunswick

Facebook: @DestinationNB

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Keep Calm & Travel On: Virtuoso Counselors Offer Advice on Traveling Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Hiking in Yosemite National Park, Calif.

Many travel suppliers – from tour companies to airlines to hotel companies and travel agents – are responding to the coronavirus to best assist travelers. Many tour companies for example, are waiving cancellation fees or allowing rebooking to a different destination or a future departure; many airlines are waiving cancellation and change fees.  Among the different strategies to continue to travel are to look to outdoors adventures – national and state parks, dude ranches, cottages on the beach, bike tours, camping (koa.com)/glamping (glampinghub.com), hiking, rafting. Travel counselors can help you choose destinations, styles of travel and organize the logistics.

NEW YORK (March 6, 2020) Leading luxury and experiential travel network Virtuoso® has been closely monitoring the impact of coronavirus, collaborating and consulting with its travel agency members across the world as well as its preferred partners. Since COVID-19 first surfaced late last year in Wuhan, China, the virus has become a global epidemic and a disruption to the travel industry as well as the global economy. To date, people have tested positive for the virus in 73 countries, including the United States; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new Travel Health Notices to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea; and travel plans for many are in disarray.

For those who have a vacation booked in the coming days, weeks or months, it’s valid to feel some trepidation. Fears of contracting the virus, or even being quarantined, are valid. Virtuoso agency owner Josh Bush agrees and says the biggest concern his clients express is not getting sick, it’s getting stuck.

Ultimately, choosing to go forward with your travel plans is a personal call. But how do you sort through the information to make the right decision? These really are the moments when having a travel advisor is key. Seamless trip planning and travel perks aside, an advisor is a traveler’s number-one advocate. Through years, if not decades, of personal relationships, advisors have access to real-time information and can arm their clients with the facts needed to make confident decisions, provide informed answers to any “What would you do?” concerns, and handle the logistics that sometimes can’t be avoided, from last-minute flight changes to spring break contingency plans.

Virtuoso took the opportunity to consult with some of its 22,000 affiliated travel advisors worldwide to get their insights into what travelers should know as they assess their options.

“Right now, we’re letting travelers know we’re here to support them in making the best decision for their family and giving them the facts to help make that decision,” says Virtuoso agency owner Cristina Buaas.

Here’s what Virtuoso advisors are doing: They are not panicking. They’re staying positive, because this too shall pass. They’re carrying on with their own travel plans – responsibly, of course, by heeding CDC warnings and being extra diligent about hygiene (wash those hands!). Most importantly, they are dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak by taking care of their clients. Here is what they want you to know:

Protect your travel investment as you would any other – by seeking professional advice.

“It’s important to give my clients all of the facts about their trip, their destination, and the policies of their travel supplier,” says Virtuoso agency executive Amanda Klimak. “I then help them make a decision about travel based on the facts. I also recommend they speak to their personal physician to discuss the risks based on their medical history. Then I let them know I’m here to help, no matter what they decide.”

A travel advisor knows if or when airlines, hotels, cruise lines and tour operators have waived change and cancellation fees (many have): “The entire travel industry is in uncharted territory now due to coronavirus,” says Virtuoso agency executive Mary Kleen. “As travel advisors, our current role is to listen to travelers’ concerns and provide the most up-to-date options so they can make informed decisions at a minimal cost.”

It’s still OK to travel.

While advisors have seen an increase in postponed or cancelled trips to Italy and Asia, travel has not come to a screeching halt. Travelers are choosing closer-to-home locations, including the CaribbeanCosta Rica, and Mexico. “I do have some clients switching from Northern Italy to Spain, but other than that, if it’s not on the Department of State list, they’re going,” says Virtuoso agency executive Tania Swasbrook.

“One couple exchanged a tour to Italy for a great one in New Orleans,” Virtuoso agency executive Ange Wallace says. “My recommendations include a Natural Habitat Adventures polar-bear expedition in Churchill, Canada, this fall; the national parks; a healthy stay at Canyon RanchMiraval, or another wellness resort; a Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain combo trip; or somewhere in South America – the Galápagos IslandsColombia and Peru are all fun places to explore with lots of outside time and low crowds.”

Base decisions on timelines, not headlines.

Buaas recently suggested the wait-and-see approach for a traveler planning to take her children to Greece this summer. The situation is evolving rapidly – if you’re traveling to Europe in June and your tour, cruise, or hotel has a 30-day cancellation policy, for example, you don’t have to make a decision until May.

“Our advisors have spent 60 percent of their time in the past week fielding questions about COVID-19,” says Bush. “Very few of those conversations result in cancellations, and that’s because the situation is so fluid and not definite. We are advising travelers to wait and see, especially if there is little or no financial risk to do so.”

Plan now, travel later.

“Traveling is meant to be fun and educational,” says Wallace. “If you’re going to be worried and anxious about your trip, find something that you’ll be comfortable with and enjoy. If that means you sit out travel in the short term, that’s fine. But while you’re waiting, look forward to the recovery, because it will come, and you’ll need to be ready to jump on that trip you’ve been drooling over.”

To avoid losing out on future travel opportunities, Wallace reminds her clients to start planning now. “Book 2021-2022 trips now, because everyone else is and you will have trouble finding space. Many travel companies have relaxed deposits, cancellation penalties and cancel for any reason waivers to encourage those willing to start thinking about the next window of opportunity.”

Travel insurance is always a good idea.

While “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) travel insurance policies may partially cover trip cancellations and adjustments related to the coronavirus outbreak, there are some restrictions, and the policy has to be purchased within 21 days of making an initial trip deposit. (Ask your travel advisor to check with your travel insurance provider to confirm.) If you want to book a trip for later this summer, advisors recommend that CFAR policy. But for those who already have the trip on the books and are outside of the policy’s 21-day window, it’s not too late to at least add some travel insurance: “For those who are still planning on traveling, make sure you have travel insurance that will cover medical expenses should you become ill while traveling,” Klimak advises.

Practice good travel hygiene.

Wash your hands! As soon as you get through security at the airport, make a beeline to the restroom to scrub, Swasbrook advises. Cash frequently changes hands, so she also recommends using credit cards that you can wipe down with a sanitizing cloth. While at it, wipe down airplane surfaces and wash your hands before and after using the restroom on the plane.

As a rule, Wallace recommends taking veranda accommodations on any cruise and requesting hotel rooms with a balcony or outside terrace so that you have access to fresh air.

Be prepared.

Buaas refers travelers to the CDC and U.S. Department of State websites for the latest information, and Klimak tells her travelers to sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which shares your contact information with the nearest U.S. embassy and sends travel alert notifications. The STEP app is worth downloading prior to traveling – and while you’re at it, you can swipe that phone with an antibacterial wipe. 

For more information or to find a Virtuoso travel advisor, go to www.virtuoso.com/travel-advisors.

Virtuoso® is a leading international travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 1,100 travel agency locations with more than 22,000 elite travel advisors in over 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing upon preferred relationships with more than 2,000 of the world’s best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, the network provides its upscale clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. $30 billion in annual travel sales make Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry. For more information, visit www.virtuoso.com.

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Women Travel the World With USTOA Tour Operators

smarTours’ seven-day, women-only tour through Iceland takes travelers through Reykjavik and Vik, with opportunities to see the Northern Lights and Iceland’s famous waterfalls
© Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK –In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) is highlighting women-focused itineraries offered by its tour operator members. Spanning the globe from Iceland to Ireland, Japan to Chile, each program offers small group, immersive experiences that allow guests to pursue a passion or check a box on their bucket list.

“USTOA tour operators have a collection of itineraries created by women, for women, that are packed with hands-on adventures and singular experiences. Each vacation provides much more than a traditional getaway, with opportunities to explore a new destination with like-minded travelers,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA.

The collection of small group, women-only trips in 2020 include:

Incredible Iceland with Northern Lights – smarTours’ seven-day, women-only tour through Iceland takes travelers through Reykjavik and Vik, with opportunities to see the Northern Lights, Seljalandsfoss & Skogafoss Waterfalls, and more. Departure is available on October 29 starting at $2,399 per person.

Authentic Ladies Tee Time – Authentic Vacations offers a nine-day tour of Ireland’s five-star golf courses, designed for a private group of women who are interested in golfing the Emerald Isle’s lush landscape, experiencing fine dining, and relaxing at spas. Private group tours are available starting at $3,248 per person.

Japan Zen – The Art of Simple Living – Perillo’s Learning Journeys’ 11-day women’s journey  explores Japanese culture in Tokyo and Kyoto, where guests will attend meditation sessions, stay in a traditional ryokan inn, and participate in sake tastings and cooking classes.Departure is available on May 31 starting at $5,475 per person.

Chile with Patagonia – SITA World Tours’ six-day, women-only adventure through Chile and Patagonia takes guests to Chile’s wine country in Casablanca and Curacavi and a day in Torres del Paine National Park, with trip extensions available to Easter Island and Buenos Aires. Departure is available on November 12 starting at 3,810 per person.

In addition to better access to attractions, activities and lodgings, a benefit of traveling with a well-established tour operator is the additional layer of safety and security and ability to respond to changing situations at the destination.

Find all the itineraries offered by USTOA tour operators at https://ustoa.stridetravel.com/

Representing nearly $19 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow 9.8 million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.  As a voice for the tour operator industry for more than 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.

For more information on USTOA, visit www.ustoa.com, call 212-599-6599, or email information@ustoa.com.

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