Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bookmark These Travel Sites

The New York Post calls it a "Facebook for Travelers." I call it an excellent transition for a travel writer using the online media industry to create a much more powerful tool than Trip Advisor to create interest and relationship driven travel idea sharing and trip planning. The travel writer being Ed Wetschler and the website he founded that has created the buzz is Tripatini.
Check it out! www.tripatini.com

And another travel writer who has grasped new media with a terrific force is Kaleel Sakakeeny with a corporation simply entitled New Media Travel. The crux of his creation is all in the video with Travel Video Postcards - an ingenious way to combine the integrity of travel reporting with the necessity of advertising to pay the bills for a valuable travel industry service.
Chck it out too! www.travelvideopostcard.com

I am short today because I am really on a mission to really accomplish my life mission by not just being a slave to my computer and because I need to practice shorter posts to meed the demand of today's attention spans.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Hampton Inn

I love the Hampton Inn. I know I am supposed to support small business, but I also support well run business. And the Hampton Inn folks have done it right. Whenever they went through their last renovation, they didn't just focus on the amenities and decor, but the entire way they do business. And I'll tell you one thing - they own the hippie tour market - and we are a target market that spends money. Plus, we're older than we used to be and prefer the comforts of one couple per room rather than stuffing as many people as we can into a space.

I have stayed at the Hampton Inn Albany repeatedly for shows and one of my favorite experiences there is how cool the parking attendants are. They enjoy the hippie party that comes to town and make the process of parking in a chained hotel lot safe and fun for everyone. At the Hampton Inn Boston I recall enjoying the late night after show celebrating and instead of getting a knock on the door and being yelled at for the noise, getting a call at 1 am and politely being asked if we'd like to move to a more comfortable room - on a floor with all the other show peeps.

Most recently I stayed at the Hampton Inn Rutland for snoe.down and was blown away. The Mitch and I had booked one of the suites months before along with the additional adjoining room so we could enjoy a fun space for ourselves and other friends staying at the Hampton Inn. The room was sweet - and we enjoyed putting our personal touch on the room as we often do when traveling for shows. The beds are amazing and can be bought through their ingenious Hampton Inn Home Collection. I found this link to other marketing and amenity improvements they have made - http://marketinggenius.blogspot.com/2005/05/hampton-inn.html - as my interest is much more on their customer service than anything else.

So, the jam band music scene is comprised of hippies and music loving folks who travel around to see their favorite band. Many have been doing this for years and so as we age, we have come to expect certain things and in our own right, are discerning travelers. The Hampton Inn's fantastic breakfast, 24 hour coffee and tea, complimentary WiFi, awesome bathrooms and beds, and decor that is white, silver, and clean looking instead of creepy all lead to a very pleasant experience. Considering the fact that traveling for shows is indeed that, we spend more time at the hotel than other pockets of guests. Yes, we enjoy good restaurants and when there is one attached to the hotel, we would much rather eat there than waste the time leaving when we have such a short amount of time to spend with our closest friends who often don't live in the same area. And so we pre-party and post-party in the hotel which could be of concern in some establishments, but the Hampton Inn seems to cater to it.

The staff at every Hampton Inn I have been to is professional and friendly and never, ever are condescending or judgmental to the interesting cast of characters who take over their hotel for the weekend. And what prompted me to even write this getting-too-long post was a man named Dave Searles, the Manager on Duty at the Hampton Inn Rutland. The first night he patrolled the halls all night long and was the friendliest "night watchman" I have ever seen. He smiled at everyone and was very polite if he had to knock on a door. He spent time talking to anyone who wanted to chat and many did - we're a chatty bunch! Because he was so kind, everyone respected him and there was only one complaint all night.

How do I know this? Because the next morning, everyone had a note under their door stating things such as, "We were pleased to welcome a good number of guests who went to the concert last night. Understandably some of the positive feelings generated at the concert made their way back to the hotel, and some of our guests took that opportunity to continue them with their guests. Some well into the wee hours."

He went on to let us know how appreciative he and the hotel was at the peaceful manner in which everyone was able to communicate and that everyone "was very understanding and cooperative" with his efforts at "maintaining the peace." He then went on to say, "I want you all to know what a good time that I had throughout the shift speaking with many of you, sharing stories and comments back and forth, etc." He then wished us all safe travels and hoped we would consider the Hampton Inn again.

Dave - you betcha!

Friday, April 2, 2010

New Farmstead Dairy Equipment Company Opens in South Royalton, Vermont

Bob-White Systems Offers Micro-Dairy Technology, Equipment, & Service

Local, safe, organic, pasteurized, farm fresh milk can now be produced locally on Vermont farmsteads, homesteads, and micro-dairy farms using the technology, equipment, and services provided by Bob-White Systems.

Bob-White Systems is bringing the cows back home in Vermont and beyond by creating the equipment and technology for micro-dairy operations to produce locally pasteurized milk that can be sustained by the communities in which the micro-dairy farmer lives. Localvore homesteaders and small scale slow food producers can now milk two to four cows making safe, delicious milk that can be sold at local farmer’s markets, stores, restaurants, and throughout the community – keeping Vermont milk close to home while generating a viable mix to the growing localvore and slow food community and economy in Vermont with farm fresh milk!

In 2006, innovative Vermont dairy farmer, Steven Judge, started a micro-dairy farm on a hillside pasture in Royalton in a barn he built for four Jersey cows.

“Pasteurization equipment is expensive and very difficult to support with only a few cows. This is one reason why the local, micro-dairy milk produced in Vermont is raw, non-pasteurized milk,” Judge explains. “For small farms to be able to choose to pasteurize their milk, they must have it picked up by tanker trucks and shipped to large milk processing facilities – with only one actually being in Vermont. There it is mixed with the milk from many other farms making it challenging to really know where your milk comes from. And this is why folks say to produce milk in Vermont if you have one cow, you may as well have a hundred - the labor and costs are the same...”

…Until now that is.

Judge and his company, Bob-White Systems, are offering farmstead dairies the opportunity to “craft” local milk and for the past four years have been developing “micro” low impact pasteurizers and bulk tanks that provide the gentle pumping and minimal heat necessary to produce safe milk without compromising milk’s delicate flavor and nutritional value. From this technology, additional equipment, such as portable milking machines and vacuum pumps, and other farmstead dairy related equipment (including technology for small batch cheese production) has been created.

The Bob-White Systems farmstead dairy vision does not conclude with the technology and equipment…

“We also offer the service and consulting necessary for customers to learn how to use the equipment and also on how to bring the milk to market,” comments Judge. “As the Vermont micro-dairy supplier, one of the most inspiring elements of this work is to help farmstead and homestead farmers generate a business opportunity in their local communities. Soon farmer’s markets, country stores, and restaurants will have the opportunity to offer local milk along with eggs, produce, meats, and other Vermont products.”

Bob-White Systems is located at 228 Chelsea Street in South Royalton which opened in March with a small showroom of the equipment and online at www.bobwhitesystems.com.

Why the name Bob-White Systems? “We’re the John Deere of the farmstead dairy industry,” grins Judge. “You can find Bob-White Systems on Facebook and Twitter by searching for FarmsteadDairy and help us spread the word!”

About Bob-White Systems

Bob-White Systems is bringing the cows back home by creating the technology, manufacturing the equipment, and generating the knowledge for the local, farmstead, and homestead production of pure, farm fresh milk. Located in South Royalton, Vermont, Bob-White Systems is committed to making it possible for every small or rural community to enjoy safe, fresh, and delicious milk produced by local, micro dairy farms. By designing, equipping, and helping to manage small micro dairy operations, Bob-White Systems reduces dairy start-up and operating costs, helps farmers enjoy more profits, and enables communities to produce and purchase their own local milk. More information is available at www.bobwhitesystems.com and at www.facebook.com/FarmsteadDairy and www.twitter.com/FarmsteadDairy.