The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings. Got questions? Email

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Last weeks visit to Cleveland's Home & Garden show

Here are my views on Cleveland’s Home and Garden show that I visited last weekend. The display gardens were wonderful and I came away with some new twists for my summer landscape. The vendors were hawking the normal stuff so the credit card stayed firmly lodged in my wallet.

The wonderful Germany theme was well very disappointing. The Oktoberfest hall was basically a school cafeteria with blue and white checkered table clothes and some cardboard and plywood cutouts scattered around the room. This venue was a topic of conversation with a group of friends and we best described it as cheesy!

Even more disappointing was the daily smorgasbord of authentic German cuisine. The only traditional items were grilled bratwursts and strudel. Italian sausages and Hungarian chicken paprikash were dished up in an area reminiscent of a concession stand at a local craft fare. Sorry gang this experience was nowhere near what the press releases had hyped.

Was the show alone worth the drive? No. But when you add other regional activities to your itinerary then yes it did make a great diversion from the snow and ice outside.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday's Fare: Oberammergau Passion Play

Once every ten years the Oberammergau Passion Play draws travelers from all over the world. It is no surprise that the tickets for the 2010 performances have sold at a record pace. And with less than 100 days until the curtain rises, Collette Vacations is one of the only tour operators still offering tickets. Choose from 8 Collette tours to Europe featuring the Passion Play. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-decade event.

Got travel? Email

Thursday, January 28, 2010

English King Henry VIII dies

Henry VIII the second Tudor King consolidated power in the monarchy in a manner that made him perhaps the most powerful of British kings. Famously married six times, Henry's love life landed him cross-ways with the Roman Church - a circumstance that he chose to deal with by declaring himself head of the Church of England, launching the English Reformation. His search for a male heir led him to have his first wife, Anne Boleyn, beheaded and he went on to marry Jane Seymour who died in childbirth, giving Henry the male heir apparent he desired. He annexed Wales into the United Kingdom and increased the might of the British Navy, setting the stage for the kingdom's future colonial empire. He died on 28 January 1547 at the Palace of Whitehall with the mysterious utterance "Monks, Monks, Monks!"

A history tour of the Kings and Queens of England is a great way to see the wealth, palaces and castles of the English aristocracy.

Happy travels!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Founding of the National Geographic Society

On January 13, 1888, a small gathering of explorer and scientists, 33 in all, gathered at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC. They proposed to organize a society "to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world's cultural, historical, and natural resources." Two weeks later on January 27th 1888 they incorporated the National Geographic Society.

Alexander Graham Bell, the Society's second president, proposed a magazine, sales of which would help fund the Society's activities. And as the saying goes the rest is history!

Got travel? Email

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cruise News

The $62 million Mahogany Bay Cruise Center at Roatan in the Bay Islands of Honduras officially opened in November and began welcoming cruise ships. Reaction from cruise guests to the new facility has been outstanding!

The Mahogany Bay Cruise Center offers a welcome center along with a variety of retail outlets, including two themed bars, a restaurant and several shops.

Unique to Mahogany Bay is a new chair lift system that takes cruise ship guests from the welcome center to beautiful Mahogany Beach, a 10-acre private island featuring an 825-foot-long white-sand beach with a beach volleyball court and a myriad of water sports opportunities. Eight exclusive cabanas are also available for rent.

The “Magical Flying Beach Chair” takes guests on a six-minute ride across nearly 1,200 feet of suspended cables, providing not only convenient beach access but views of the lush countryside as well. All-day passes for the beach chair lift are $5 per person. An elevated path is also available for those who prefer to walk.

I’m planning on personally checking this out on my December cruise.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Foreign travel

Every time I travel aboard I'm reminded of this quote from American writer and humorist Dave Barry.

“Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages”

Here we are in Rome or Paris food capitols of the world and I see my group travelers flocking to McDonald's or Pizza Hut on the 1st day.

Why travel if you're not going to try something new?

Have a great weekend! I'm hitting the road and may be unplugged for a few days. But trust me I'll being doing some travel related research.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cruise lines return to Haiti

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has resumed their port calls in Haiti. The ship stops at a fairly remote peninsula that is isolated and exclusively for the cruise travelers. Other than interaction with locals that work in the resort area the cruise tourists are not near nor traveling through the damaged areas.

Should they be back here so soon? Email your thoughts to

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Aloha Disney!

Disney has named their new Hawaiian resort “Aulani” pronounced “ow–lonee,” means “the place that speaks for the great ones” or “the place that speaks with deep messages.” The Aulani will be located on 21-acres of oceanfront property in the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development.

The Resort is planned to have 360 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas. Among the recreational highlights planned for the resort are pools and sunset-facing hot tubs, a snorkeling lagoon, a variety of Kids Club programs for children, and a river, suitable for tube floating, running through a specially created volcanic outcropping. The resort will also include an 18,000-square-foot spa, a golf course and marina for adults. The Resort, built adjacent to a blue lagoon and a white-sand beach, will also have two restaurants as well as ballroom, meeting space and event lawns.

The Travel Professor needs to schedule some aloha time to check this place out!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Edgar Allen Poe was born on 19 January, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of theatrical actors. Both parents died before he was three years old, events which very likely colored his young sensibilities and provided an almost neurotic obsession with death. He attended the University of Virginia, but accumulated gambling debts there and was forced to leave, enlisting in the Army where he served for two years. He married his cousin Virginia when she was only 13 years old. In 1845 he published his poem "The Raven" which was an instant success and launched his literary career. However, his wife died only two years later. His writing increasingly reflected dark, psychological themes and a sense of the macabre. Poe began to drink heavily and died at the age of 40 of unknown causes, found unconscious in the streets of Baltimore, Maryland.

"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary," came plenty of links to EAP. When in Baltimore MD check out these
Poe connections. Another interesting tour stop in Richmond VA is the Poe Museum.

BTW Happy birthday Edgar Allen.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cleveland Home and Garden show

The other one sure sign that spring is drawing near is when home, flower and garden shows starting be announced. Sorry gang boating, RV, hunting & fishing shows just don’t do it for me. I’d rather invest my time strolling through display gardens browsing the vendors ware perhaps some new supplies or trinkets. Another favorite is sitting in on classes offered by horticulture experts with the hope of improving my own garden.

Show season is generally March, April & May but a friend recently informed me that the Cleveland Home and Garden show Northeastern Ohio’s original and longest running show will mark its 67th year of providing springtime inspirations to homeowners with a 10-day January engagement in a new suburban venue as it will debut at the Great Lakes Expo Center in Euclid, Ohio, January 22-31, 2010.

What really captured my attention was this year’s theme of Wonderful Germany. I’m being told that guests can celebrate the wonderful Germany heritage in the Oktoberfest Dining Hall. This is described as festive gathering place that will capture the culture and traditions of Northeast Ohio’s influential German-American population. I’m told that I’ll be served up a daily smorgasbord of authentic German cuisine so that I will take away the unforgettable “taste” of Germany.

Having been to the real deal in Munich and with plenty of firsthand experience with bratwurst, kraut and bier I’m looking forward to this opportunity.

I'll report my finding and discoveries next week.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spring baseball & home, flower & garden shows

To me one of the sure signs that spring is drawing near when the hype for major league baseball’s spring training starts ratcheting up. News that the Cincinnati Reds Winter Press Caravan was arriving at the Huntington, WV Mall on Thursday Jan 28th at 5:30 gets me thinking that were on the downside of winter’s slope.

The other one sure sign that spring is drawing near is when home, flower and garden shows starting be announced. Sorry gang boating, RV, hunting & fishing shows just don’t do it for me. I’d rather invest my time strolling through display gardens browsing the vendors ware perhaps some new supplies or trinkets. Another favorite is sitting in on classes offered by horticulture experts with the hope of improving my own garden.

Check back & I'll share some updates on the upcoming spring home, flower & garden shows.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Slow down & see the country

Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything. ~Charles Kuralt, On the Road With Charles Kuralt.

So jump off the Interstate and enjoy a slice of Americana. Try the byways and backroads of our country. I do every chance I get.

Happy travels!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Here’s a picture of a car magnet I saw on one of my journeys. I admit it is somewhat irreverent and demeaning but you got to love this car magnet. What a way to get someone talking and thinking about the fight against breast cancer!

Ta-tas® Brand Products cares about women and their families. And they’re committed to making a significant contribution to the fight against cancer. Ta-tas® does this by giving 5% of their gross sales to carefully researched cancer fighting organizations. Since 2004, they have donated almost $125,000 to the fight against cancer.

The Travel Professor is going to look into a creative way to raise funds for this worthwhile project. Maybe a fund raising cruise or tour? Any suggestions out there in cyberspace land? Email the

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Destination Weddings & Honeymoon talk

The Travel Professor talks about destination weddings and honeymoons Tuesday Jan 19th evening at 6:00pm at Ironton’s Briggs Public Library. Talks on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands that were cancelled due to inclement weather will be rescheduled in February.

Got travel? Email

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Panoramic room view

Reader Judy just emailed this” Hey Travel Prof I’ve been searching the web for hotel prices & came across this term: panoramic view. I’ve never heard this. What is it?”

In hotel speak it probably means that your room will have a dumpster (unattractive) view. This is why you’re also getting a lower rate. Location of the room and the view are a couple of factors that impact the rate.

The cruise lines used to sell what they termed “night owl” cabins. These were located above & below the disco that boomed until 4:00am. So just imagine the racket you’d here in those cabins.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

1st female US Senator elected on January 12th

On January 12, 1932, the state of Arkansas elected Hattie Ophelia Wyatt Caraway in a special election to the United States Senate, making her the first woman elected to the Senate. She succeeded her husband, Thaddeus H. Caraway, who died in office. The governor appointed Ms. Caraway after which the special election was held and she won and retained her seat. A Democrat, she served for fourteen years.

The Capitol Visitor Center, the new main entrance to the U.S. Capitol, is located below the East Plaza of the Capitol between Constitution and Independence Avenues. The Visitor Center is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. It is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Inauguration Day.

There are way too many free places to visit here!

Spring training is right around the corner!

The Cleveland Indians pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear AZ on Feb. 21st. This is also the new spring home of the Cincinnati Reds and will be the 1st year that they are in Arizona.

The training complex is located about ½ hour drive west of downtown Phoenix. Great golf, scenery, Mexican food and baseball are some of the attractions.

Play ball!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thank You Day

It’s “International Thank You” day so thanks for reading my posts.

How many languages can you say “thank you” in? It's only 5 or 6 for me. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Travel Trivia

On a snowy Sunday afternoon here's some travel trivia:

Which state is the most northern, western and eastern state in the U.S?

Happy travels!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Travel tag line & literature

It was the title of his final book. If you remember, it goes like this: "Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!"

Who is the author? Better yet what is his pen name & real name? 

This is a great tag line for a travel agent as we get paid to tell people where to go & how to get there!

Got travel questions? Email

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Learning Tower of Pisa closed on January 7th 1990

The cathedral in Pisa Itay has a free-standing bell tower on which construction began August 9, 1173 and took 117 years to complete. Built on a small foundation in soft soil, however, the massive tower soon began to tilt and over the centuries came to be known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Through the centuries many plans were devised to correct the tilt, but none were ever determined to be feasible given the size of the massive structure.

By 1990, however, engineers determined that the increasing tilt was a danger to visitors and on January 7, 1990 the Leaning Tower of Pisa was closed to the public. Engineers removed the bells from the tower to decrease the weight and stress on the building. By removing soil from the raised side of the Tower, a correction of 18 inches was achieved.

The tower was re-opened to the public on December 15, 2001.

A Valentine's Day thought

The sweetest place on earth Hershey PA kicks off “Chocolate-Covered February”. This is a month-long festival and a town-wide celebration of everything chocolate. There are plenty of events and activities designed for all ages and tastes. This February’s menu of options is even more decadent than past celebrations. A sweet new addition for 2010 is “The Great Hershey Quest,” on which guests grab their Hershey passports and take off for a spectacular journey around Chocolate Town, U.S.A. They’ll encounter sweet cupcakes, admission to area attractions, and chocolate-themed adventures during their tour. Passports can be purchased at The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue. Then, guests simply collect stamps at Hershey’s Chocolate World, ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, and The Hotel Hershey for a chance to win the "Ultimate Chocolate Getaway," which includes VIP access in Hershey and a year's supply of chocolate. Also new for 2010 is the introduction of Chocolate-Covered February packages that sweeten a stay at The Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge on any date during the month of February.

Surprise your sweetie with a romantic "chocolate" getaway. For reservations contact your travel agent. 

Got travel questions? Email

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Teddy Roosevelt & Mount Rushmore

On this day in 1919, the 26th President of the United States died. Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was a larger than life figure whose accomplishments spanned exploration, conservation, science, sports, the military and politics. During the Spanish American war in 1898, Roosevelt organized the Rough Riders, the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, and became a war hero, being awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his famous charge up San Juan Hill. He was elected as Governor of the state of New York and then vice-president under President McKinley. Upon McKinley's assassination in 1901, Roosevelt became the youngest president to ever hold office at the age of 42. Consistently ranked as one of the United States' great presidents, Roosevelt's image appears on Mount Rushmore next to Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln.

A trip here to the Dakota “Badlands” gives you glimpse of the old West. Many folks package a trip here when they are traveling to the western US. The Dakotas and the states of Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado have spectacular scenery and interesting national parks.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to reality

I went unplugged for about the 10 days as I traveled to Charleston SC, Savannah GA and the surrounding countryside. It was a great trip packed with plenty of sightseeing and good low country food. I even found a Cleveland Browns Backers bar and caught part of a game.

There's plenty to share but now it is back to school time.