To the right is everything US and to the left, Europe and Asia await! The world all in one spot with thousands of enticing brochures, raffles for free trips and expert advice. This is definitely worth the price of admission! I decided to go to the right, feeling the need to explore further what is in my backyard. The Civil War remains a defining moment in our nation’s history. Many consider the Battle of Gettysburg to be the turning point because the Union victory placed the Confederacy on the defensive and ended Gen. Lee’s most ambitious attempt to invade the Union territory. The people at the Gettysburg Foundation booth were more than happy to help me plan my future trip to a part of Pa. that sad to say, I have never been to. Summer is approaching and I can just hear the laughing, shouting and splashing as the Whitewater Challengers take people on their wild and scenic rides through the rapids of the Lehigh River Gorge, the Hudson River and the Black River for a day, a weekend or a week. Then why wait for Halloween, I want to explore the Haunted History Trail of New York. “On a quiet, meandering creek one may be joined by ghosts of Native Americans.” The trail caters to the paranormal-curious at one of 60 locations. If ghostly themed events don’t strike you, there is always a cruise on the Chesapeake Bay right as the sun is setting. Cruise Annapolis had representatives discussing their half day and full day sails. This show presents inspiration and destinations for all those who whose spirits follow that wanderlust path.
CBS is not the only place Peter Greenberg can be seen. His no nonsense approach to travel was shared with a packed house. Surprisingly, he shared that only 37% of Americans and only 42% of the House of Representatives have passports. His sage advice is as follows:
-Search on line for the best price airline ticket but then book it on another computer. Twice he wanted to book passage and within an hour of checking around, the price increased…”Big brother is watching! – or at least the internet programing!
-When booking a hotel, have a conversation. Call and ask to speak to the MOD (manager on duty) since they are the most aware of what is available. This presents the opportunity to ask questions..”Is there free wifi?” “Is there free parking?” One time, Peter was told there would be free parking and when he was checking out, he heard everyone else being charged. He had taken down the manager’s name and was free to go!
-This is the first time in 40 years that the US dollar is strong and he tried to attenuate fear stating that in 28 years, 707 US citizens have been killed by terrorists and yet as he put it, we are living in a culture of fear and worry.
– Now seems to be the best time to visit Cuba. The infrastructure in Cuba may not be able to handle all the US tourists that will be arriving in the next few months.
– Always buy travel insurance from a third party and Medical evacuation and repatriation is a must. Travel Guard was a group he recommended.
– There are two types of luggage: check in and lost! He suggests using Fed Ex and shipping your items down several days before travel.
– www.petergreenberg.com is updated every 18 hours and offers many other tips.
The author of “1,000 Places to See Before You Die”, Patricia Schultz spoke next. Her words and images were captivating as she took us all on a world tour. I have 983 places to go…happily! I had the opportunity to speak with her after and I loved the sparkle in her eyes and the kindness in her heart. She embraces the world and every individual who crosses her path.
I wanted to end with a statement from Peter Greenberg. When asked what place he enjoys the most, he responded with “The place I sleep the best because when I sleep well, I can think the best, process the best and learn the best!” Oh so true! Pleasant dreams!
The Reading Terminal Market, located in the center of Philadelphia, was just recognized as one of the “10 Great Public Spaces in America”. With over 6 1/2 million visitors a year to this historic and diverse landmark, The American Planning Association felt it worthy of this honor. There are 76 independently owned retailers all under one roof. This would be the epitome of “one stop shopping”! One can buy homemade cannolis, taste cheeses from around the world, dine on the culinary delights of the Amish, buy a good book and take home a beautiful bouquet of flowers to name just a few of the offerings. It is a feast for the senses and this was home for me and where I grew up!
My great grandfather (pictured second from left) was one of the first vendors at the Reading Terminal Market when it opened in 1892. My grandfather (on the left) and great uncle worked side by side with him. When my grandfather died suddenly during the depression, my grandmother had no money to bury him so the vendors took up a collection and came to her aid. This story was passed down from generation to generation so that we would realize the importance of working together and giving back. My grandmother was eternally grateful to all those around her. My father was only 13 at the time and had to drop out of school to take over the business with his older brother and of course, it doesn’t end there…when the cousins all turned 14, going to work at the market was our right of passage! My one older cousin and I drooled over Mr. Bassett’s son (the ice cream king) who worked directly across from us. Pearl had the very best fried chicken and I would always wonder how the Amish women dressed using only pins and hook and eye closures, thinking zippers and buttons would be so much easier! As a teenager, getting up at 5 o’clock on a Saturday and going to the slaughter house to pick up the meat for the day and not getting home until 9 was not my idea of fun to say the least. My mother would try to extol all the life lessons I would learn which I would of course appreciate when I got older… one being that I would meet so many many different people, personalities and cultures. (I will always remember the gaunt man who always wanted a quart of sauerkraut juice without the sauerkraut, only to find out later that it was a potent laxative…great for dinner party conversations but I digress!) Even though I didn’t want to hear it then, I have to say that she was right! One of the 10 top public spaces in America was the nucleus for my family. The place I grew up working side by side with siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles. The Reading Terminal Market was also the spot that first stoked my curiosity about people and my love for travel. It was my spot of “Roots and Wings”.
Over the past few years, some leaders of the Philadelphia Archdiocese have become known for very grevious offenses. However, this past week, I was able to witness what the spirit of the real church looks like. St. Thomas Acquinas is a multi-cultural parish located in South Philadelphia. Members are from the Indonesian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Hispanic, African American, Italian and Irish communities. This parish is microcosm of the world. Although struggling financially, all are committed to being a beacon of hope for the neighborhood and the vibrancy of support and welcome is so palpable.
Five centuries ago on a hill in Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe appreared to the poor and abandoned. Speaking their language she promised protection and inspired hope. On a small hillside in the freezing cold, roses bloomed. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather the flowers in his peasant cloak (tilma). When the flowers were laid out in front of the Bishop, there appeared the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe which was miraculously imprinted on the fabric. This cloak of a poor man touched by grace can still be viewed to this day. Over time, she was declared the patroness of the Americas and has endeared the largest number of pilgrimages in the world. On December 11th, in the cold night air, the people of St Thomas Acquinas processed over an hour and a half to the cathedral to join thousands of others filled with the same heartfelt faith,belief and joy. It was so inspiring for me to see the strength and faith of the men, women, children, old and young from all different cultural backgrounds sharing in this celebration. These are the acts that should not go unnoticed. Hopefully the video provided will give an small insight into the tremendous spirit!