Kontiki Expeditions Inaugural Sailings to Seldom-Visited Ecuadorian Coast

Kontiki Expeditions is introducing two itineraries on the luxury yacht, M/Y Kontiki Wayra, to five provinces of the seldom-visited Ecuadorian coast.

(Manta, ECUADOR) At a time when traveling to uncrowded areas is more desirable than ever, Kontiki Expeditions is introducing two itineraries on the luxury yacht, M/Y Kontiki Wayra, to five provinces of the seldom-visited Ecuadorian coast. Kontiki’s small  size, only 198 feet long, allows visits to off-the-beaten-track areas to one of the most biodiverse places in the world. With only nine staterooms carrying a maximum of 18 guests, Kontiki Expeditions offers “NEO Luxury” both above and beneath sea level. Sailings begin this summer.

The yacht sails two seven-night routes along the Ecuadorian coast, Toquilla and Spondylus, and takes full advantage of the country’s wealth of birds, animals, flora, fauna, indigenous foods and cultural traditions while adhering to a NEO luxury philosophy of sustainability and giving back to communities.

Kontiki’s 10 crew members and two local experts including wellness professionals, naturalist guides and a local chef – a nearly 1:1 crew to guest ratio – add to the distinctive Kontiki experience.  Gastronomic experiences feature local chocolate, seafood and produce; nature-loving guests can expect to see the country’s blue-footed boobies, sea lions and howler monkeys… without the crowds.

The M/Y Kontiki Wayra yacht offers luxury with a sundeck, gourmet salon, two outdoor lounges, bar, Jacuzzi, and a gym and fitness area. Staterooms are well appointed and include WiFi, on-demand entertainment and sustainable local amenities.

Pricing begins at $7245 per person per week, based on double occupancy, and includes all activities, meals, transfers to and from ports, park entrance fees, guided expeditions and more. Private charters and solo rates are available.

Health and safety precautions are paramount with all protocols prior to boarding, on ship and on land strictly maintained and updated as required. Sailings have met The Safe Travels accreditation by WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council). Sanitization and wellness protocols are summarized at https://kontikiexpeditions.com/en/health-policy/

For more information, visit www.kontikiexpeditions.com/en, call +5933984364149; email info@kontikiexpeditions.com.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

PONANT Announces World Affairs Cruise in the Baltic

The 184-passenger PONANT explorer yacht,  Le Jacques-Cartier (StudioPONANT-Laure Patricot)

PONANT, a world leader in luxury expeditions and itineraries to ports of call that only small ships can navigate, has announced a compelling World Affairs Cruise in the Baltic​. Scheduled for July 17 to 25, 2021, the eight-night cruise is an offering within PONANT’s Quintessential Collection, a series of cruises that delve deeply into a subject and destination. The cruise, aboard the newly launched PONANT EXPLORER yacht, Le Jacques-Cartier, will travel to six countries, beginning in Stockholm, Sweden and ending in Copenhagen, Denmark. Fares start at $7,070 per person (inclusive of 20% PONANT Bonus Savings). 

The itinerary will be matched by an equally captivating on-board experience with an opportunity to interact with leading thinkers and policy makers about the current state of U.S. relations with the rest of the world. The timely program will feature lectures and discussions by four distinguished speakers among which include:

Robin Wright is a foreign affairs analyst, author and highly decorated journalist who is noted for her coverage of wars, revolutions and uprisings. She has served as contributing editor to The New Yorker since 1988 and was previously a diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and CBS News. During her 40-year career, she has reported from more than 140 countries. 

Ambassador Douglas Lute served as the U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 2013-2017. In 2007, President George W. Bush named him Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan. The New York Times referred to him as the “War Czar,” due to his senior advisory position overseeing the wars. Lute served six years in the White House having also worked under the Obama administration. 

Jane Holl Lute is the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations where she has held several positions in peacekeeping. Lute also acted as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013. She was responsible for the U.S. department’s efforts to prevent terrorism, enhance security and manage the nation’s borders.

The cruise will visit the great cities that edge the Baltic Sea, a fascinating comingling of metropolitan life with centuries of rich history dating back to the Vikings. The ship will first dock in Helsinki, internationally recognized for its striking modern architecture, followed by two full days in St. Petersburg, where virtually the entire city is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During a stop in Tallinn, Estonia, explore the 13th-century Dome Cathedral and see the “My Free Country” exhibit at Maarjamäe Palace, which takes visitors on a 100-year journey through the Liberation War, Soviet occupation and restoration of independence.

Ports-of-call also include Gotland, Sweden, the largest island in the Baltic Sea to tour the preserved medieval town of Visby with its 12th century defense wall – the oldest surviving non-religious building in the Nordic countries. The final stop is Szczecin, a city in Poland nearly destroyed during World War II, which has since been completely rebuilt. Here, guests will meet with the first democratically elected President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize-winner, Lech Walęsa, for an exclusive discussion onboard the ship. Walęsa is known for leading the effort in 1989 to end the communist rule in Poland and ushering in the conclusion of the Cold War.  

The 184-passenger Le Jacques-Cartier debuted in July 2020 offering a sleek, super-yacht feel with each of the 92 staterooms and suites outfitted with balconies or private terraces. The ship also offers an industry first: The Blue Eye – a multi-sensory lounge that allows guests to experience the sub-aquatic world through sight, sound and feel. Evocative of cetaceans and jellyfish with rounded furniture directed toward two large, eye-shaped portholes in the shape of whale eyes, the lounge features digital screens displaying feeds from three underwater cameras along with a collection of Body Listening Sofas that vibrate in unison to the sounds of the ocean. Guests enjoy attentive service, gourmet French-inspired cuisine under the direction of Ducasse Conseil, and a relaxed, congenial ambiance.

The ship is certified as a “CLEANSHIP” and meets the highest environmental standards for energy conservation and resource management. 

In collaboration with the IHU (Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire) Méditerranée Infection of Marseilles, one of the world’s leading centers in the field of infectious diseases, and Bureau Veritas, PONANT has developed a “Covid-Safe” protocol based on health standards that exceed international regulations. Discover PONANT health protocol.

Created in 1988, by officers of the French Merchant Navy, PONANT offers worldwide itineraries to the Arctic, Antarctica as well as in the Atlantic and North Europe, Asia, Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, Eastern Asia, Oceania, Central and South America, visit www.ponant.com, call1-844-747-2873 or contact your travel advisor.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

USTOA Member Tour Companies Offer Wildlife Encounters Around the World

Sri Lanka is one of the destinations where intrepid travelers and animal lovers can join small group trips that contribute to conservation and protection of species © Sarah Falter/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK –Observing animals in their habitats around the world can be a life changing experience for not just animal lovers but intrepid travelers of any age. Tour operator members of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) are committed to offering wildlife-focused itineraries and small group trips that contribute to the conservation and protection of species, while offering access for travelers to learn from nature. 

“Explorers who are searching for enriching nature-based experiences need to look no further than our tour operator members, who offer sustainable wildlife experiences and open-air excursions from Thailand and Norway to Tanzania and Russia, and many more destinations around the globe,”said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. 

Wildlife itineraries offered by USTOA tour operators include:

  • Birdwatching in Costa Rica – The tailor-made 13-day itinerary from Audley Travel showcases Costa Rica’s pristine tropical forest trails and the tranquil cloud forest of San Gerardo de Dota. Home to 448 species of birds, the trip offers a naturalist guide and a stay at the renowned birding lodge, Rancho Naturalista. Rates start at $5,410 per person. Find information on departures at www.audleytravel.com.
  • The Great Migration + Gorillas in the Wild – On a Gorilla Trek with Alexander + Roberts, guests will observe gorilla families living in the forested mountains of Rwanda. A hot air balloon adventure is available to watch zebra, gazelle, and more from above at the 5,700 square mile Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The twin lakes of Buerra and Ruhondo offer a variety of birdlife. Departure is available on September 20, 2021 starting at $12,499 per person. www.alexanderroberts.com
  • Exploring Russia’s Far East & Wrangel Island – A 13-day exploration with Lindblad Expeditions of the remote Siberian coastline reveals bird cliffs teeming with puffins and landscapes that are home to walrus and polar bears. Even grey whales can be spotted in their feeding grounds while cruising through the Chukchi and Bering Seas. Departures are available on August 3 and August 15, 2021, and August 7, 2022 starting at $17,830 per person. www.expeditions.com
  • Sri Lanka Expedition: Wilderness & Wildlife – AAA Club Adventures offers 12-days of nature in Sri Lanka. Guests will visit Project Orange Elephant, dedicated to sustainable farming practices and wildlife conservation, and stay at an eco-lodge in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve to see monkeys, big cats, and more in their tropical habitat. Departure is available on September 3, 2021 starting at $1,890. www.clubadventures.com
  • Intro to Spitsbergen: Fjords, Glaciers and Wildlife of Svalbard – Quark Expeditions’ 10-day journey through Spitsbergen, also known as the wildlife capital of the Arctic, showcases walruses, reindeer, polar bears, and more in their natural habitat. Guests will learn the history and geology of this remote land while traveling by ship. Departure is available June 12, 2021 starting at $7,495 per person. www.quarkexpeditions.com

Find all the wildlife itineraries offered by USTOA tour operators at www.ustoa.travelstride.com/trip-list/wildlife

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

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Lindblad Expeditions Acquires Duvine Cycling, Off the Beaten Path Adventure Travel Companies

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, a global provider of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences has acquired majority stakes in DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co., a leading luxury cycling and adventure travel company, and Off the Beaten Path LLC, a leading active travel operator with a specialization in U.S. national parks. 

NEW YORK– Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc, a global provider of expedition cruises and adventure travel experiences today announced that it has acquired majority stakes in DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co., a leading luxury cycling and adventure travel company, and Off the Beaten Path LLC, a leading active travel operator with a specialization in U.S. National Parks.  These acquisitions further broaden and deepen Lindblad’s platform of high-quality experiential product offerings in robust adventure travel sectors, including the rapidly growing cycling tourism and domestic expedition market.

Similar to the acquisition of Natural Habitat, Inc., Lindblad will leverage its experience and resources to accelerate the growth of these unique and profitable businesses and capitalize on the growing demand for authentic and immersive adventure travel. These best-in-class companies are also united by a focus on nature and sustainability, and will benefit from Lindblad’s and Natural Habitat’s scale, resources, marketing experience and conservation leadership. 

DuVine is an award-winning international luxury cycling and adventure company based in Somerville, Massachusetts focused on providing immersive cultural experiences across the globe through thoughtfully designed itineraries led by expert local guides.  DuVine’s trips include top-quality gear and support and are tailored to riders of all abilities with emphasis on exceptional food and wine experiences, along with boutique accommodations.  DuVine also currently runs a variety of extraordinary trips that combine sail and biking experiences, which will be further expanded as part of Lindblad.  Founded in 1996 by Andy Levine, DuVine’s diverse tour offerings include small group and private custom trips to destinations across Europe, the United States, Latin America, Asia and Africa.  Mr. Levine will retain an ownership interest in DuVine and will continue as President and Chief Executive Officer of the new Lindblad subsidiary.

Off the Beaten Path, based in Bozeman, Montana, offers active small-group and private custom journeys around the world, with a long-standing focus on U.S. National Parks and connecting the heart of the traveler with the soul of the place through localized, authentic experiences.  Founded in 1986, Off the Beaten Path’s small group product offerings include unique expeditions throughout the U.S, as well as trips across Europe, Africa, Australia, Central and South America and the South Pacific.  Cory Lawrence, Off the Beaten Path’s President and Chief Executive Officer, will retain an ownership interest in Off the Beaten Path and continue in this role for the new Lindblad subsidiary.

“Bringing DuVine and Off the Beaten Path into our portfolio of brands will allow us to better serve a broader based clientele that has a diverse set of travel interests”, stated Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions.  “The high level of quality and integrity of both these companies makes them perfect partners in our strategy of expanding our platform of experiential offerings.  Our proven ability to leverage our platform and effectively cross market creates the opportunity to accelerate growth across our entire portfolio, and we will continue to look for additional opportunities to broaden and deepen our adventure travel offerings, both organically and through acquisitions, to aggregate larger audiences and generate greater lifetime value from our loyal guests.” 

Ben Bressler, Founder and President of Natural Habitat is enthusiastic about the joining of forces. “DuVine offers invigorating experiences in nature for our more active guests, and Off the Beaten Path’s exceptional depth in creating custom U.S. national park adventures will appeal to Nat Hab travelers,” Bressler stated.  “These two companies provide Lindblad and Nat Hab guests a depth of choice for premium life-enhancing travel experiences within a family of complementary brands – all driven by protecting our planet and inspiring travelers.” 

Andy Levine, DuVine’s Founder and President, stated  “I have long admired Lindblad for their exceptional expeditions and commitment to responsible travel, a core value that has also guided DuVine’s philosophy. Our companies share not only a desire to sustain the world’s most compelling cultures and communities, but also the belief that authentic, deeply rooted experiences make travel more fulfilling. DuVine’s journeys offer a new perspective grounded in active travel, local flavor, and an appreciation of nature from the seat of a bicycle. I can’t wait to introduce the transformative power of bike travel to a greater audience of adventure seekers.”

Cory Lawrence, Off the Beaten Path’s President, stated “We couldn’t be more excited to join Lindblad Expeditions and Natural Habitat Adventures to further our mission to change peoples’ lives through exceptional travel experiences. With our unique style of travel, strong domestic presence, and small group and bespoke travel design offerings, we are well-positioned to have immediate impact on the newly expanded family of companies. Expanding awareness of Off the Beaten Path and its unique offerings by leveraging the reach and expertise of both Lindblad and Natural Habitat is a major opportunity for our company in its 35th year of operation. We are thrilled!”

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. is an expedition travel company that focuses on ship-based voyages through its Lindblad Expeditions brand and on land-based travel through its subsidiaries, Natural Habitat Adventures, Off the Beaten Path and DuVine Cycling and Adventure.

Lindblad Expeditions works in partnership with National Geographic to inspire people to explore and care about the planet. The organizations work in tandem to produce innovative marine expedition programs and to promote conservation and sustainable tourism around the world. The partnership’s educationally oriented voyages allow guests to interact with and learn from leading scientists, naturalists and researchers while discovering stunning natural environments, above and below the sea, through state-of-the-art exploration tools.

Natural Habitat Adventures partners with the World Wildlife Fund to offer and promote conservation and sustainable travel that directly protects nature. Natural Habitat’s adventures include polar bear tours in Churchill, Canada, Alaskan grizzly bear adventures and African safaris.

DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. designs and leads luxury bike tours in the world’s most amazing destinations, from Italy’s sun-bleached villages and the medieval towns of Provence to Portugal’s Douro Valley and the vineyards of Napa, California. Guests bike, eat, drink, and sleep their way through these regions and many more while sampling the finest cuisine, hotels, and wine. 

Off the Beaten Path is an outdoor, active travel company offering guided small group adventures and private custom journeys that connect travelers with the wild nature and authentic culture of their destinations.  Off the Beaten Path’s trips extend across the globe, with a focus on exceptional national park experiences in the Rocky Mountains, Desert Southwest, and Alaska.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

THRILLING BETHPAGE AIR SHOW RETURNS TO JONES BEACH STATE PARK THIS MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND; PRE-PURCHASED TICKETS REQUIRED

US Air Force Thunderbirds display their precision flying at Bethpage Air Show, Jones Beach, Long Island, for Memorial Day weekend © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The enormously popular, immensely thrilling, intensely patriotic Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park will return this Memorial Day weekend after a one-year absence. The outdoor show, sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, features a range of military and civilian aerial performers including the famed US Air Force Thunderbirds. This year’s show will be a ticketed event, with reduced capacity and social distancing measures in place to ensure a safe return of the patriotic Long Island beachfront tradition.

In addition to the headlining United States Air Force Thunderbirds, this year’s show features the United States Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt (Warthog), United States Army Golden Knights U.S. Army parachute team, and United States Coast Guard Search and Rescue team, as well as many other world-class civilian performers. The Bethpage Air Show will take place Friday, May 28, (Practice show); Saturday, May 29, and Sunday, May 30, 2021 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day.

Visitors must purchase a ticket in advance to park at Jones Beach during the show. Details on purchasing a ticket will be announced at a later date. Parking capacity will be reduced by 50 percent, and only those with a ticket will be allowed to enter. State Parks will have additional staff on hand to enforce all health and safety requirements, including face covering requirements and social distancing. State Park Police will be supplemented by assistance from New York State Police. Individuals with appointments at the Jones Beach Covid-19 testing or vaccine sites will not be impacted, and will be able to enter through dedicated traffic lanes.

“As we continue to see progress in our fight against COVID and cautiously reopen our state, we can look forward to enjoying more and more outdoor adventures this summer – including the annual Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “With safety measures in place, New Yorkers and visitors can get back to enjoying all that Jones Beach and Long Island State Parks have to offer, and this annual festival is a great way to get outdoors and support the regional Long Island economy.”

The Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, one of the most popular events on Long Island, was canceled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Its return this year brings back a Memorial Day weekend tradition that celebrates the beginning of summer at Long Island’s beaches, and honors military families and those who serve our country.

“We are thrilled the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach in 2021 is back!” Bethpage Federal Credit Union CEO Wayne Grosse said. “After a challenging year, Bethpage is proud to work with State Parks to ensure air show fans of all ages can enjoy a beautiful day at the beach and honor our nation’s military this Memorial Day weekend. While this year’s show will look a little different with reduced capacity, we are glad New Yorker’s will still be able to enjoy the fun, high-energy Air Show that all the fans have come to expect.”  

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 78 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit www.parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518-474-0456. Also, connect on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

See photo gallery of Jones Beach Air Shows:

16TH ANNUAL BETHPAGE AIR SHOW AT JONES BEACH, LONG ISLAND, HONORS SPIRIT OF MEMORIAL DAY

PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS FROM 15TH ANNUAL MEMORIAL DAY BETHPAGE AIR SHOW AT JONES BEACH, LONG ISLAND

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

NY PopsUp Festival Ushers Return of Performing Arts to NYC With 300 Events Throughout City, State in 100 Days

Tap Dancer Ayodele Casel at the NY PopsUp performance at the Queens Museum.

NY PopsUp, an unprecedented and expansive festival featuring hundreds of pop-up performances, many of which are free of charge and all open to the public, is now running in various locations through Labor Day. The series – some 300 events across New York City and state in the next 100 days – is intended to revitalize the spirit and emotional well-being of New York citizens with the energy of live performance while jumpstarting New York’s struggling live entertainment sector.

The Festival, a private/public partnership overseen by producers Scott Rudin and Jane Rosenthal, in coordination with the New York State Council on the Arts and Empire State Development,  serves as a “pilot program,” creating the state’s first large-scale model for how to bring live performance back safely after this prolonged COVID-related shutdown.

The programming for NY PopsUp is curated by the interdisciplinary artist Zack Winokur, in partnership with a council of artistic advisors who represent the diversity of New York’s dynamic performing arts scene. NY PopsUp is running through Labor Day. The Festival will reach its climax with the 20th Anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival and The Festival at Little Island at Pier 55, bringing the total number of performances to more than 1,000. NY PopsUp is being coordinated in lock step with state public health officials and will strictly adhere to Department of Health COVID-19 protocols.

“Cities have taken a real blow during COVID, and the economy will not come back fast enough on its own – we must bring it back,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said.”Creative synergies are vital for cities to survive, and our arts and cultural industries have been shut down all across the country, taking a terrible toll on workers and the economy. We want to be aggressive with reopening the State and getting our economy back on track, and NY PopsUp will be an important bridge to the broader reopening of our world-class performance venues and institutions. New York has been a leader throughout this entire pandemic, and we will lead once again with bringing back the arts.”

The events produced by NY PopsUp, in addition to being free of charge, will be staged across every type of neighborhood and district in all five boroughs of New York City, throughout Long Island and Upstate New York, and in all regions of the state. As the current realities of COVID-19 make mass gatherings and large, destination-style events impossible, NY PopsUp will meet New York City and State residents where they are, infusing their daily lives with the surprise and joy of live performance. The hundreds of free, pop-up events that constitute NY PopsUp will make stages out of New York’s existing landscapes, including iconic transit stations, parks, subway platforms, museums, skate parks, street corners, fire escapes, parking lots, storefronts, and upstate venues, transforming everyday commutes, local communities, and locations never used for performances into canvases of awe and exhilaration. Instead of there being masses of audience members at a handful of events, this Festival is a mass of events, each for a safe and secure ‘handful’ of audience members.

The public will encounter a range of artists representing all areas of performance – from theater to dance, from poetry to comedy, from pop music to opera, and so much more. Among the confirmed artists are Hugh Jackman, Renée Fleming, Amy Schumer, Alec Baldwin, Chris Rock, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Isabel Leonard, Nico Muhly, Joyce DiDonato, John Early and Kate Berlant, Patti Smith, Mandy Patinkin, Raja Feather Kelly, J’Nai Bridges, Kenan Thompson, Gavin Creel, Garth Fagan, Larry Owens, Q-Tip, Billy Porter, Conrad Tao, Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber, Tina Landau, Rhiannon Giddens, Aparna Nancherla, Anthony Rodriguez, Jonathan Groff, Savion Glover, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Chris Celiz, Christine Goerke, Kelli O’Hara, Dev Hynes, Phoebe Robinson, Sara Mearns, George Saunders, Caleb Teicher, Danielle Brooks, Jeremy Denk, Idina Menzel, Sondra Radvanovsky, Gaby Moreno, Davóne Tines, Jerrod Carmichael, Taylor Mac, Sutton Foster, Jessie Mueller, and Courtney ToPanga Washington, among many others. The events themselves will ignite imaginative collisions of different artforms.

Rudin and Rosenthal said, in a joint statement“As two lifelong New Yorkers, it has been utterly devastating to see our creative community brought to an absolute standstill for a year. It’s inconceivable. We both spend our lives generating opportunities for artists, so we were both thrilled to be asked by Governor Cuomo to try to ignite a spark to bring art and performance back to life for the State. The passionate enthusiasm of every person we asked to join us in this incentive is going to make this a labor of both love and invention. We’re honored to be spearheading this campaign. Frankly, our most profound hope is that by the time NY PopsUp culminates on Labor Day, New York will be fully on the way to being reopened and revitalized and that this initiative, having served its purpose, will no longer be necessary. It’s the spark, not the fire — the fire is the complete return of all the arts, in their full glory, standing as they always have for the rich, emotional life of the city and state in which we both live.”

During the run of the festival, NY PopsUp will grow in its scale, volume of performances, and geographical footprint, with events throughout New York State, from the Bronx to Staten Island, from Buffalo to Suffolk County, from the Hudson Valley to the Capitol.

NY PopsUp will reach its apex over the summer, celebrating both the 20th Anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival (June 9 through 20) and the opening of one of New York’s most highly anticipated projects: Little Island (June).

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded by Rosenthal and Robert DeNiro in the aftermath of 9/11 to revitalize Lower Manhattan. Tribeca has come to symbolize the resilience of New Yorkers, the importance of our artistic communities, and their impact on the economic activity of our city. This year’s 20th event will be the first in-person film festival in the entirety of North America since the pandemic began to host its filmmakers and their premieres in front of a live audience. With over 300 ticketed and non-ticketed events, the film festival will have screenings, panel discussions, concerts, and more, in parks, on piers, on buildings, and on barges. Tribeca will reach all five boroughs in celebration of the spirit of New York with a closing night celebration of Juneteenth.

The idea for Little Island, a soon-to-open, first-of-its-kind public park on the Hudson River that merges nature and art, was dreamt up as a solution to repair and reinvigorate New York’s West Side after the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy. A Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation project, this is yet another example of the unique power of the arts to revitalize New York in the aftermath of crisis. Little Island, which will begin hosting performances in June, will serve as a permanent, year-round home for easily accessible, multidisciplinary programming, and it will continue bringing artists and audiences together long after NY PopsUp hosts its final performance. Little Island will host its own festival, The Festival at Little Island, in conjunction with the final weeks of NY PopsUp. The Festival at Little Island, which kicks off August 11, 2021 and runs through September 5, will host an average of 16 events per day, for a total of 325 performances by approximately 500 artists.

More details about NY PopsUp will be announced soon. Please note that, given the impromptu nature and surprise element of the pop-up format, not all performances will be announced in advance. Please follow @NYPopsUp on Twitter and Instagram for the latest.

The first performances include, among others still to be announced, the following:

The series began on Saturday, February 20 with members of the artists council leading a performance at the Javits Center as a special tribute to our healthcare workers. The performance featured Jon Batiste, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Ayodele Casel, and additional special guests joining forces for a one-of-a-kind live performance. 

Throughout the day, the performers traveled around New York City, meeting audiences at various locations throughout all five boroughs in courtyards, workplaces, parks, and street corners, at the footsteps of locations such as, Flushing Post Office, Elmhurst Hospital, and St. Barnabas Hospital. Saturday will conclude with one of Jon Batiste’s signature Love Riots beginning at Walt Whitman Park and ending at Golconda Playground in Brooklyn.

On Sunday, February 21, legendary choreographer Garth Fagan’s company lead a special performance at the MAGIC Spell Studios at the Rochester Institute of Technology as a tribute for the staff who have made it possible for RIT to stay open and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also:

Patti Smith performing at the Brooklyn Museum in remembrance of the passing of Robert Mapplethorpe.

Partnership with “Works & Process” at the Guggenheim, that will take brilliant new performances beyond the famed Rotunda to locations around the boroughs. These collaborations include George Gershwin’s anthem to New York City, Rhapsody in Blue, performed by New York’s own pianist and composer, Conrad Tao, with new choreography by Caleb Teicher; The Missing Element, a beatbox and street dance collaboration, featuring Chris Celiz and Anthony Rodriguez’s “Invertebrate”; and Masterz at Work Dance Family performing a brand-new dance by choreographer Courtney ToPanga Washington.

A series of performances in storefront windows, amplified out onto the street, from artists Gavin Creel, J’Nai Bridges, Davóne Tines, Bobbi Jene Smith, Or Schraiber, and more.

A new live radio show hosted by Chris Thile, broadcast from stoops all over New York State, from Brooklyn and the East Village to the steps of Albany’s Empire State Plaza across from the Capitol building.

A series of dynamic and participatory performances created by Ayodele Casel taking place in the lobbies of free museums throughout the City of New York, including the Brooklyn Museum and Queens Museum.

NY PopsUp, the Tribeca Film Festival, and The Festival at Little Island will together bring a total of more than 1,000 performances to New York State, signaling an event unmatched in scale and unrivaled in scope.

As COVID restrictions begin to loosen, the model that NY PopsUp builds for holding safe live events will pave the way for the reopening of multidisciplinary flexible venues (“flex venues”) throughout New York State to open and participate in the Festival. These will be the very first indoor performances since the pandemic began and will mark a major moment in New York’s recovery efforts. Not only will these indoor events be a symbol to the entire world that New York is back, they will also be a key step in the long process of getting tens-of-thousands of arts professionals around New York State back to work; and a bridge to getting Broadway and all of the New York cultural world open. These Flex Venues are established performance spaces without fixed seating and are thus able to be adapted for social distancing. Examples of these venues would include The SHED, The Apollo, Harlem Stage, La MaMa, and The Glimmerglass Festival’s Alice Busch Opera Theater. All indoor events will strictly follow Department of Health public health and safety guidance.

“Having artists call on other artists as a means to build this festival’s giant creative community will spur opportunities for wild, bold, and intimate collaborations that would never otherwise have been possible. As a result, the work presented will represent a near limitless range, colliding disparate styles, disciplines, and points-of-view to infiltrate the daily lives of New Yorkers in genuinely surprising and unprecedented ways,” Zack Winokur said.”Ultimately, this Festival is about using art as a means of reestablishing human connection. With NY PopsUp, there is no mediating force between artist and artist, or artist and audience. It’s humans in direct contact with each other, and the context of this particular moment will make that connection all the more profound.”

The council of artistic advisors, who are all collaborating and co-curating NY PopsUp, is comprised of New York’s premier artistic visionaries, all hailing from different disciplinary backgrounds and each a leader in their own field. These advisors are charged with inviting other artists to join the NY PopsUp community. The artists they engage will, in turn, engage their own networks, ultimately populating the festival with the broadest, most diverse coalition of performers ever united around a single mission. In short, NY PopsUp is being built by artists asking artists to participate.

The council includes renowned choreographer and MacArthur Fellow, Kyle Abraham; three-time Grammy Award nominated jazz musician, Jon Batiste; choreographer and Hoofer Award-winning tap dancer Ayodele Casel; Grammy Award nominated singer, actor, and international opera star, Anthony Roth Costanzo; the playwright of Slave Play, the most Tony Award nominated play in history, Jeremy O. Harris; Tony Award-winning set designer Mimi Lien; the legendary nine-time Grammy Award-winning musician, Wynton Marsalis; two-time National Book Critics Circle Award-winning poet, essayist, and playwright, Claudia Rankine; Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist, Cécile McLorin Salvant; leading member of the Punch Brothers and four-time Grammy Award winner, Chris Thile; acclaimed “Saturday Night Live” writer, comedian, and actor, Julio Torres; and acclaimed director and musician, Whitney White. 

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

With Demand for RV Vacations Surging, Tracks & Trails to Start Taking 2022 Bookings in April

Driving through the wintery scenery in Zion National Park. With demand for RV vacations surging, Tracks & Trails, which specializes in packaged RV vacations in national parks such as Zion, is opening reservations for 2022 © Sarah Falter/goingplacesfarandnear.com

GRAND JUNCTION, CO – It is no mystery why RV vacations are the hottest thing going in travel today. They offer the freedom and flexibility of touring the country in a fully-equipped and self-contained unit that has everything needed for a perfect vacation. Picture it as your personal cabin on wheels going to scenic places where lodges or hotels often don’t exist.

This is the allure of RV travel, which is especially appealing during a pandemic, reports Dan Wulfman, founder and president of Tracks & Trails, whose specialty is packaging RV vacations to National Parks in the Western U.S. and Canada – not just renting the RV.

RV travel allows friends and families to be autonomous and as private as they please while enjoying the freedom of America’s open roads. Time for lunch? Just pull off at the next scenic turnout and open the fridge. Potty stop? Easy. End the day in the natural beauty of national park campsites chosen especially for Tracks & Trails travelers. 

Wulfman notes that the pandemic is turning millions of non-campers into aspiring RVers, and the trend is exploding. The RV Industry Association found that 20% of US residents surveyed are more interested in RV travel than in flying, tent camping, cruises, or rental stays amid coronavirus concerns.

“But getting in an RV and setting off without a plan can be daunting for a first-timer,” says Wulfman. That’s where the sage advice, travel tips, and insider knowledge of experts can make or break the experience. Thanks to COVID, choosing your dates 6 to 12 months in advance is now essential. Due to the growing popularity of RV vacations, Tracks & Trails is sold out for July and August of 2021, but trips in September and October are still available. 

Due to unprecedented demand, the company will begin accepting reservations for 2022 trips on April 1, 2021. 

For those savvy enough to lock in their dates early, the hard part is done. The company’s team of expert planners handles all the arrangements that make it so challenging to organize a worry-free 7-14 day, multi-destination RV trip on your own. Travelers work with their T&T Trip Wizard to select one of the 20 carefully-crafted itineraries, decide on the right RV, and pick optional excursions that suit their tastes. The company takes care of the rest: reserving prime campsites, booking guided excursions with trusted outfitters, and preparing comprehensive documentation that ensures things go smoothly on the road.

FEATURED ITINERARY:

Mighty 5: Utah & the Grand Canyon is a 13-night itinerary beginning and ending in Las Vegas that visits all 5 of Utah’s national parks – Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches – as well as the Grand Canyon. Each of these parks features fascinating geological formations and extensive hiking trails. Optional excursions include canyoneering, rafting, ATV riding, horseback riding, and Jeep tours. The base trip cost, which includes up to 4 people, ranges from $8,000 to $10,000 and is available from May 15 to October 15 (sold out July-August 2021).

Tracks & Trails created the concept of packaged national park RV vacations in 1996, providing personalized, self-drive RV trips to active couples and families from across the U.S. They help people spend quality time together outdoors while exploring North America’s iconic National Parks and other natural wonders.

For information on availability, pricing, and itineraries please visit the website at www.tracks-trails.com, email: inquiries@tracks-trails.com, or call 1-800-247-0970.

For more travel features, visit:

goingplacesfarandnear.com

goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com

moralcompasstravel.info

www.huffingtonpost.com/author/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate/

goingplacesfarandnear.tumblr.com/

instagram.com/going_places_far_and_near/

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures