Category Archives: travel

Norman Rockwell Museum Celebrates 40th Anniversary

The Norman Rockwell Museum has been open for the past 40 years. This summer they have lined up exhibitions, programs and events through July to celebrate the works of Norman Rockwell.
Founded in 1969 with the help of Norman and Molly Rockwell the museum has been a large part of the culture scene in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Rockwell resided in the Massachusetts town for the last quarter of his life.

The museum has two new shows, “American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell” and “The Fantastical Faces of Peter Rockwell: A Sculptor’s Retrospective.” The latter is showcasing the works of Rockwell’s son Peter.

On July 4, the museum is free for everyone under the age of 18 for a celebration of the nation’s birthday. There will be a barbecue, hands on red,white and blue art projects and more.

On July 5, the 40th Anniversary Party will take place honouring the founding leaders Norma Ogden, Lila Berle, and Jane Fitzpatrick. The night will feature music, a silent auction, activities for all ages and a cocktail party.

On July 11 Peter Rockwell will be at the museum for the day explaining his approach to his work in clay, stone, ceramic and bronze. The day will feature Rockwell guiding an exhibition walk and talk and a book signing.

The museum is open throughout the year except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Photography is not permitted inside the galleries. Visitors are not allowed to carry backpacks or large packages into the museum.

6 Canadian hostages released after plane hijacked in Jamaica

A gunman boarded a CanJet Airlines plane at Montego Bay demanding to be flown to Cuba.The drama started late Sunday night when what has been described as an “mentally challenged” 20-year-old Jamaican took the plane hostage.
Jamaican authorities stormed the plane and rescued the six crew members taken hostage after negotiations with the gunman were unsuccessful. The crew was not injured.

The New York Post reports:

“We are relieved that all the passengers involved in this incident are safe,” CanJet Vice President Kent Woodside said.

Passengers were debriefed by the police after they were released. The released passengers were taken to a hotel and CanJet is planning on flying those passengers home on another aircraft.

The incident started around 10 p.m. Sunday, local time.

As the AP reports:

“It’s a most unfortunate situation, but I can say the passengers are happy to be alive,” Jamaican Information Minister Daryl Vaz said. “This whole experience has been very traumatic for them.”

CanJet Flight 918 was a Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

CNN reported:

“The hijacking is that from a mentally challenged youngster and not anything that would be of concern in terms of an international incident,” said Jamaica’s Information Minister Daryl Vaz.. “His demand was to go to Cuba,” he said.

All of the passengers are Canadian. There were 174 passengers scheduled to be on the flight but some had not boarded by the time of the hijacking.

The flight originated in Halifax, Canada. When it landed on a scheduled stop in Montego Bay, the gunman fired a shot on the boarding bridge as he entered the plane. He got on board as airport workers were loading luggage onto the aircraft. Passengers are reporting that the man asked passengers for all of their money.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Jamaica for a one-day visit. He was monitoring the story and offered his plane up to Canadians who wanted to get back home.

Flying Your Pet in Style, Pet Airlines

Pet Airlines has opened for business serving New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Instead of putting your pet in the cargo hold the airline places the animals in the seat free plane into carrying cases.
The animals may be without their owners on the flight but they have “pet attendants” who are with them at all times. Before they board their plane they get to hang out in a special animal lounge.

The pet owners drop their pets off at a smaller airport on the way to their own flights. Animal flights are made to coincide with their owner’s flight schedules. After the owner has gone through their flight they pick up Fido or Spot from a lounge.

Zoo Too reports:

“You don’t have to worry about missed flights or connections,” Binder said. “Someone will be with your pet at all times, until you are there to collect them.

“This is about the safety and comfort of your pet. We can’t stress that enough. We are pet lovers, we are our own audience.”

The planes can carry as many as 50 pets at a time.

While the company is just starting down the runaway it’s been in the works since 2005.

Pet Airlines is working in conjunction with Suburban Air flight, Inc. using Beechcraft 1900’s. The planes are climate-controlled.

Zoo Too reports:

“Within the last 20 years, there has been a great deal of concern and care over the welfare of pets, and airlines are now very restricted for where they can keep the animals, the temperature of the environment, the length of the flight, and things like that,” said Greg Hammer, DVM, of Dover, Del.

“I think they do a very nice job of taking care of the animals — they have to.”

The $150 flight costs are comparable with other airlines. American Airlines charges $150 for pets in the cargo area and $100 for the pet to travel in the main cabin. Continental is a lot cheaper for cargoed pets at $55. If you want your pet with you on Continental is will cost you $125. Delta is more expensive at $150 for an animal flying beside you or $275 in cargo. Some airlines like Southwest Airlines refuse to allow any animal on its planes.

Putting a pet in the cargo hold comes with risk. Of the two million pets that traveled that way last year about 5,000 were injured on route.

At this time the Pet Airlines site has had too much travel and is off-line.

According to one comment on their Facebook page the company is hoping to cater to the show dog crowd as they grow.

Their first flight is due to take off on July 14th.

The Pod and The Jane In NYC Offers Small Rooms At A Discount

Finding lodging in New York City can cost an arm and a leg for out of town guest. visitors are now getting a break with The Pod where small rooms can be had for $89 or less if you share a bunk room.
The average cost of a hotel room in the heart of New York City is about $300. That price can be a little too much for the pocketbook these days. Enter in The Pod in the center of midtown.

The Pod has the look of other boutique hotels with much steeper costs. It has it’s own cafe, a terrace and a concierge just like the high price inns.

David Bernstein is the managing director of The Pod. The building used to be a single-room occupancy hotel. When the owners came in they decided to leave the room sizes small and create a place for young travelers that was hip and less expensive.

That must have been a good move as their occupancy rates range from 85 to 90 percent.

The tiny rooms have bunk beds, a TV at each bed, an iPod docking station and a light. The bathroom is just down the hall.

NPR reports:

“The room is comfortable,” says Ingrid Roseborough, a Pod guest who was visiting from Iowa. “And like everything so far, I feel like all my needs are taken care of.” Those needs include getting advice on where she can get her eyebrows done: In response to Roseborough’s inquiry, Pod concierge Kara Klueber whips out not one, but three different business cards.

If the $89 is too much for your budget then you could check out The Jane in Greenwich Village. The rooms used to go to sailors for just a quarter a night. Times have changed bringing the price up to $75 a night or for the 60 long term guests a mere $700 a month.

At The Jane there are bellhops, huge keys, flat-screen televisions and iPod docking stations. There is also a backward clock.

NPR reports:

“I call it the hotel at the end of the world,” says Samuel Gaedke, who has lived at The Jane for four years. “If you want to disappear off the face of the Earth for a little while, it is a good place to come to.”

The rooms are the size of a train cabin but it’s not size but price that some are after in the city that doesn’t sleep.

Sean McPherson is one of the owners of The Jane. He calls the rooms micro-chic. The hotel in McPherson’s words harkens back to the 1980’s when New York City was grittier, more exotic and more adventurous. As he says The Pod is “a place for travelers with more dash than cash.”

Long time tenants of the hotel have feared that they will be pushed out but the management insists that they will remain part of the guest list.

Lady Liberty’s Crown May Reopen By July 4th

On 9/11 the crown of the Statue of Liberty was sealed away from the public. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Tuesday that Lady Liberty may be welcoming visitors back to her crown by July 4th.
The statue was closed after the 9/11 attacks in New York because of safety concerns. In 2004 the base of the Statue of Liberty was reopened along with the museum gallery and observation deck on the base. That was as far as the public was allowed to venture.

Reuters reports:

“We will endeavor to do everything we can,” Salazar told Reuters in an interview of the likelihood of reopening the crown at the top by July 4. “We may have it opened up to a smaller group of people.”

Since the attacks in New York visits to the Statue of Liberty have fallen off. Now years later the numbers are beginning to climb along. In 2000 3.6 million people ventured the ferry to the island to get up close and personal with Lady Liberty. In 2006 only 2.5 million people crossed the waterway but by 2007 3.2 million people went to Liberty Island in New York Harbor to tour the statue.

Lady Liberty was given to the United States in 1886 by the French. The Lady’s formal name is Liberty Enlightening the World sculpted by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

Salazar has to wait until an April 15 security assessment before final plans will be announced. One of the safety concerns has been that if an emergency were to happen there is no quick means of escape.

TVNZ quotes Salazar:

“If you put several hundred people in there and there is some kind of event, lots of people could be killed very quickly,” Salazar said.

To visit the Statue of Liberty there is no fee. However to get to Lady Liberty you must take a ferry to either Liberty Island or Ellis Island.

The fees for the Ellis Island Ferry system are:

$12.00 – Ages 13+ – Day
$10.00- Seniors 62 and over – Day
$5.00- Children 4-12. – Day

The statue is part of the National Parks. Both Liberty and Ellis Island are open very day except for Christmas. The current hours are from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. The first ferry leaves for the islands at 8:30 AM. It is suggested that if you want to tour both islands to leave the mainland by 1PM.

A FedEx plane has crashed in Tokyo

The plane crashed at the main Narita International Airport Monday morning local time. There is no word on survivors. High winds are a factor.
There has yet to be word on any fatalities. The cargo plane bounced twice before bursting into flames.

News reports say that high winds may have been a factor in the crash. It was a MD 11 plane.

One person believed to be a pilot has been taken from the plane. Two people were on plane have been confirmed on the plane, a pilot and a co-pilot. It is not clear if anyone else was on board. The flight originated in China.

The runaway at the airport has been closed.

Information coming live from CNN television.

17 dead in Butte, Montana plane crash

Emergency crews were called at 3 p.m. to a Butte, Montana airport as a plane missed the runaway and burst into flames. CNN is reporting that there were 7 fatalities.
The turboprop plane left Orville, California at 11 A.M. and had a flight plan for a final destination of Bozeman, Montana. There are additional reports that 17 have died as a result of the crash. The FAA has confirmed that there are no survivors.

The crash took place in Butte’s Holy Cross Cemetery.

The pilot changed his plan at some point heading to Butte. The plane crashed just 500 feet short of the airport as it attempted to land at Burt Moony Airport. At the time of the crash weather conditions were not that bad even though a storm front was coming through. At the time it is now being said that weather conditions were clear.

There are reports that many of the victims were young children. They were on a ski vacation.

The Pilatus PC-12 plane was registered to Eagle Cap Leasing Inc. in Enterprise, Oregon. It was manufactured in 2000. The plane is designed to carry a total of 17 people.

This is a developing story. More news will be added as it becomes available.

An eye witness said that the plane made a nose dive into the ground. Other witnesses thought that the plane was a stunt plane because of the motions.

Martha Guidoni, an eye witness at the scene said that it was impossible to help any of the victims. She was a quarter mile away from the cemetery when the crash happened. Her husband said that there was nothing left from the crash scene.

Steve Guidoni said that the crash was in the cemetery. He said that everything was on fire and a pit had formed from the plane. He was told by the police to leave the scene because it is now considered a crime scene.

Former NTSB Vice President Bob Francis said that as far as he is aware there has never been this type of crash with the Pilatus PC-12.

TB Alert for some on last Tuesday’s Northwest Airlines Flight 51

A passenger on a flight from Germany to Detroit last Tuesday has tested positive for tuberculosis according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The passenger is being treated at hospital after customs officials discovered that the passenger was ill upon arrival.

Seventeen passengers on the Northwest Airlines Flight 51 are being notified that they have been exposed to the lung disease. The flight was to Detroit Metropolitan Airport from Frankfurt.

The passengers being notified sat within two rows of the sick passenger in every direction. They will be contacted by state and local health department officials. As a precautionary move those passengers should be tested.

Today Show To Be Close To Home For Lauer’s Yearly Vacation Series

The recession is grounding Matt Lauer’s annual world tour for the Today show. Every year Lauer goes on a mystery trip in May to promote tourism. This year the trip will be close to home.
The producers felt sending their head news man out on an exotic adventure would be sending the wrong message to their viewers.

This year’s version will still give Lauer a chance to explore in May. He will be hitting hot spots in the United States to give viewers a more economical vacation idea.

Lauer will not be alone this time around either as Meredith Vieira, Al Roker and Ann Curry pack their bags to join the vacation fun.

The decision to change the format this year comes from the viewers. Over the past few weeks viewers have been asked where to send Lauer for his yearly action packed trip. The viewers loudly made it known that staying in the country during the recession would be a more practical choice. From the viewers reaction will come May’s “TODAY Takes a Vacation.”

This will be the third time the four anchors have taken a trip together. In 2008 they wend on a winter break to Sugarbush, Vermont, and Miami Beach. Later last year they all hit Beijing to cover the Olympic Games. will sponsor this year’s trip. MSNBC reports

“We are proud to sponsor the ‘TODAY’ show’s all-American trip and hope their travels to some of America’s most beautiful destinations will inspire viewers as they plan their own trips this year. is helping make travel even more affordable this spring by waiving booking fees on all flights and offering free nights at hundreds of hotels across America,” said VP of Brand Marketing Paul Leonard.

Next Added Fee At Ryanair- Coin Slots On The Loo

One airline is considering charging its customers to use the loo during a flight. Ryanair has suggested that passengers hand over £1 to have a sky high potty break.

Ryanair is Europe’s biggest discount airline.

Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary says that the airline is investigating putting a coin slot on the doors of its fleets lavatory doors.

Times Online reports:

“One thing we have looked at in the past and are looking at again is the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door so that people might actually have to spend a pound to spend a penny in future,” he told BBC Breakfast this morning.

“We are always at Ryanair looking at ways of constantly lowering the cost of air travel to make it affordable and easier for all passengers to fly with us.”

This idea is angering consumer groups and airline crew members. Already this week the airline has announced that it is closing check-in desks and raising the fees for baggage.

CNN reports:

“It seems Ryanair is prepared to plumb any depth to make a fast buck and, once again, is putting profit before the comfort of its customer,” said Rochelle Turner, Head of Research at Which? Holiday.

Consumer groups note that passengers may forego their expensive drinks in order to avoid having to use the washroom on flights.

Still if Ryanair chooses to go this route it’s in accordance with the Civil Aviation Authority.

Mr. O’Leary’s team is trying to save some face and stop the anger.

“Michael makes a lot of this stuff up as he goes along and while this has been discussed internally there are no immediate plans to introduce it.

“Ancillary revenues, all of which are avoidable, help to reduce the cost of flying Ryanair and passengers using train and bus stations are already accustomed to paying to use the toilet so why not on airplanes?

“Not everyone uses the toilet on board one of our flights but those that do could help to reduce airfares for all passengers. Then again, maybe O’Leary was just taking the p*** this morning.”