Get Away With Fran

July 10, 2009

Renting on Cape Cod

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:35 pm



So you haven’t made your summer vacation plans yet, and you’re thinking you don’t want to wander too far from home. It’s not to late to rent a house or cottage on Cape Cod. But don’t delay.

I did an informal survey of realtors and discovered that a lot of people who usually grab the best of the Cape Cod rentals in the wintertime didn’t do it this year. Blame the economy. We’re all hesitant to make financial commitments too far in advance (perhaps worried whether or not we’ll have a job a few months out).

But what that means is there’s still a lot of availability and even some deals. The folk at WeNeedaVacation, a Cape rental site, track such things and say advance bookings for summer rentals were down 20% in January and 24% in February.  But then a stabilization trend began and for June they are predicting up 55% over last year. The clear message? Book now (more…)

The Importance of Being Ernest

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ernesthemingwayI have been carefully searching photos of my friends (including on Facebook) to see if anyone remotely looks like Ernest Hemingway. The reason: Pamplona and the Navarre region of Spain have decided to mark the 50th anniversay of Hemingway’s last visit with an International Hemingway Look-alike and Impersonators Contest.

Participants get a free trip to Pamplona in early July, and the winner goes home with a prize of 1,500 euros, plus a return trip to Navarre.

I have concluded most of my friends are too thin, and/or have too little hair. But if you think you have a physical resemblance to the writer, fill out a registration form and send photos or a 25-second video. The deadline is June 15, so act fast.

Hemingway first came to Pamplona in 1923, when the Fiesta of San Fermin – with its now legendary Running of the (more…)

Get Away on Fox, and advice on group tours

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:31 pm

Get Away was on Fox TV-25 today talking about group tours. These tours have come a long way since the old, “If It’s Tuesday it Must be Belgium.” Though you can still do the crazy bus tour of Europe – and it’s not a bad introduction to the continent, as well as being an affordable option – look at companies like Trafalgar and Globus for ideas.

I took my son Eli on a tour of Italy – nine days and nine cities – when he was 13 (nine years ago). What he remembers – there were too many churches on the itinerary. But he also has fond memories of Venice.

Now there are tours all over the world, including to such destinations as China, India and South America. in fact, if you’re an inexperienced traveler heading to an exotic locale, I recommend you book a group tour and let the tour operator do the planning.

For the well-heeled, companies like Abercrombie & Kent will even help you put together your own private group tour for family and friends. Firms like Tauck offer tours around the world, and even in New England.

Some tours are of general interest and others that focus on culture (art, music, architecture), history, food, adventure (biking, hiking, kayaking) and even fashion – really something for everyone. There are even group tours (more…)

Cleveland Rocks!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:29 pm


cleveland_blog1As you can see by the above photo which appeared yesterday in The Plain Dealer, I had a rockin’ good time on my visit this week to Cleveland. And how can you not in the city that’s home to the truly fantastic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

I was in town to speak at a meeting of the North American Travel Journalists Association, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a little time to play (including a party at the Hall of Fame). And Cleveland is a surprisingly good playground.

The city really does rock (as comedienDrew Carey says). But it’s cultural attractions also go way beyond rock ‘n’ roll (a term, by the way, first coined by Cleveland DJ Alan Freed to describe a type of music; earlier the term just referred to sex).

Head to the hip entertainment/dining area known as E. 4th Street and you get the idea that this is no ordinary rust belt city. The attractions include Cleveland’s own Iron Chef, Michael Symon, and his Lola, featuring fancified (more…)

Russian ballet a la Disney Cruise Line

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:09 pm


When Disney Cruise Line does its Baltics cruises next summer it will of course offer a chance for cruisers to see Russian ballet. Next to the Hermitage museum it’s a top attraction that people visiting St. Petersburg, Russia, want to see.

But Disney has a couple of things to figure out, especially how to make classic ballet – like a three-hour version of “Swan Lake” at the Palace Theatre – interesting for kids. Disney reps might ask for a trimmed down version, but I’d like to see the Palace Theatre’s chief administrator Ludmilla’s response to (more…)

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