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Travel Feature

Travel Suggestions for Father's Day

Hamilton Bermuda

Everyone needs a change of scenery from time to time so why not dad -- especially with Father's Day pending? If he likes to golf, then he will enjoy a long weekend on the island of Bermuda off the coast of North Carolina.

If fishing is pop’s passion then he’ll love a weekend in Maine. While in Freeport, Maine he can hit the LL Bean Outlet Store for his fishing and clothing needs. Long Island City-based JetBlue serves both Hamilton, Bermuda, and Portland, Maine.

Since casinos are now in most municipalities including as close to Manhattan as one in South Ozone Park, Queens, out-of-town casinos are offering great deals to get your business.

The Mohegan Sun in UncasvilleConnecticut, offers some of New England’s best dining and there is name entertainment nearly every weekend. The WNBA’s Connecticut Sun play there home games there.

Atlantic City, New Jersey, has been facing stiff casino competition from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a mere 50 miles away from its famed boardwalk. They are answering back with a huge “Do AC” ad campaign and nearly all of its hotels are offering deals even during their high summer season.


The Taj Mahal, located at the north end of the boardwalk has great restaurants, spas, and nightlife. Even the chic Borgata is feeling some heat from the new kid on the boardwalk, Revel, and is offering great packages. The Borgata generally gets the best in name entertainment of all the AC hotels.

If you are a Mets fan, then there is a very high probability that your father helped shape your baseball allegiance. San Diego, California, is a great place to escape the August heat andhumidity of New York and the 

Mets will be at beautiful Petco Park, located in the city’s downtown, from August 3 - 5, 2012.

You can’t go wrong staying at the La Jolla Hyatt Regency or the historic Grade Colonial Hotel located in La Jolla Village one block from the PacificJetBlue has two daily flights to San Diego.

Of course you can’t enjoy a vacation unless you have decent luggage. Lands End’s Flight Time is perfect for long trips as is Briggs & Riley’s (they were the first company to put wheels on a suitcase back in 1970) Expandable Uprights and Spinners.

Water4 Brings Aid to Ethiopia -- And A Unique Travel Experience

ethiopia-workerThere are many ways to experience other countries, especially ones such as the east African country of Ethiopia. But one of the best ways to have a fascinating and meaningful travel experience is to go somewhere and do good as well as interact with the people -- and not just the agents to promote tourism.

Since 2008, the Oklahoma-based charity organization, Water4, has traversed the globe to bring water to at-risk, impoverished areas, and to teach and provide employment opportunities through inexpensive pumps and drilling methods. 

One country Water4 has traveled to in recent years has been Ethiopia.

Read more: Water4 Brings Aid to Ethiopia --...

Chef's Tables at the Festival de Cannes

chef prepares langoustinesFor years, the official festival dinners for films in the competition at the Cannes Film Festival have been held in the major hotels (the Carlton, the Majestic) or in makeshifts restaurants in the Palais itself.

But since 2011, in partnership with Electrolux, a restaurant pavilion has been created on the Croisette in Cannes. It was the site of the Opening Night dinner, where festival heads Gilles Jacob and Thierry Fremaux dined along with Wes Anderson, director of the opening film, Moonrise Kingdom, and 650 of their closest friends.

The Agora, as the restaurant is called, will host many other official dinners for films in competition, as well as lunches for the juries, since they will need sustenance to contemplate the awards to be handed out on May 27th.

Read more: Chef's Tables at the Festival de...

The Legendary Restaurant in Châteauneuf du Pape - La Mère Germaine


The medieval village of Châteauneuf du Pape in western Provence, France, reigns above the most productive wine appellation in the southern Rhone Valley. The wine by the same name, created by the Avignon Popes in the 14th century, has been prized by generations of wine lovers and is recognized as one of the leading legendary wine regions in the world.

“Châteauneuf du Pape,” roughly translated as "The Pope's new castle," refers to the building (now a ruin) on top of the hill overlooking the village that the Popes built and used as a summer palace during period of the Avignon Papacy (1309 to 1376) and the “Great Schism,” when there were two competing Popes (1376 – 1417).

Forced to flee the political turmoil of Rome, Pope Clement V, a Frenchman, and his French successor, John XXII, created this legendary wine by planting vines around their château and producing some of the medieval world's most famous wines.

The spirit of this historic past continues within the walls of La Mère Germaine, as it celebrates “all things wine.” It is a legendary restaurant where the tales, folklore and history of an incredible wine live on. Although it is called just a restaurant-hotel, it is a lot more than that. It is the soul of this place.

The Popes drank these wines hundreds of years ago -- and the passion for them is even stronger today. So it is fitting that this is the place where today's local aristocracy -- the winemakers of Châteauneuf du Pape and other renowned Rhone appellations -- can meet on any afternoon or evening to eat, drink, talk, argue and wheel and deal.


It is the place where families come to socialize, where wine critics and wine journalists from all over the world, as well as local Rhone Valley characters and globetrotting tourists, come to celebrate the wines of Châteauneuf du Pape.

And they just don't come to La Mère Germaine for the excellent gastronomic fare. They come for a warm atmosphere and a Châteauneuf du Pape/Rhone Valley wine education through tasting some of over 100 different great wines from the region on the wine list.

La Mère Germaine is a wine lover’s dream. Yet, sadly, it almost didn't survive.

First opened in 1922 by Madame Germaine Vion, the chef at the Élysée Palace (the French presidential palace) at the beginning of the 20th century, it was the center of village life from then on.

But in 2010 the place closed down. The owner had financial difficulties, the quality of the food and service was low, and staff morale was glum. André Mazy, its general manager for many years, had quit. It was a “ship without a rudder.”

Born November 5th, 1964, in Toulouse, Mazy (Dédé to his friends) has survived various hardships and has struggled throughout his life. But it never stopped him from living it. He never knew his birth parents, and lost a best friend at a young age. These traumas, devastating as they would be to anybody, perhaps also set him on his life path.

Things got better: he was able to attend the Sorbonne in Paris and finish his studies at the University in Aix-en-Provence. Then there were adventures traveling throughout the world – in the United States, Australia, Thailand and beyond. He had some lucky breaks along the way; meeting the right people at the right time... it was clear that André was going to be successful.

Owning a restaurant, however, was not at the top of his list or even on his mind. He originally wanted to be a police commissioner or a priest, as he felt that his mission in life was to bring justice to the world. Yet he always found work in restaurants, whether as a waiter at a three-star restaurant in Paris, managing a restaurant in the Pyrenees, or food and beverage manager at a top hotel in Bangkok.

In late 2005 André found a position as manager of La Mère Germaine. It soon became clear this was his calling. He became passionate about the village, the wines and the restaurant.

But the place shut down after the owner suffered financial difficulties. In early 2011, the former owner had completely gutted the restaurant and kitchen and it remained shuttered for over a year. André, however, did not want La Mère to sink. He knew he had to save this most important home-away-from-home to so many in Châteauneuf... and beyond.

After intensive legal wrangling, he finally realized his dream -- and bought the place. The story of its resurrection went something like this.

After months of planning renovation and hiring, La Mère Germaine began to come back to life. By May 2011 the doors were reopened, to the relief of the Châteauneuf wine industry. 

Today La Mère Germaine once again shines as the “soul of Châteauneuf du Pape.”

When you arrive there, the first person you meet is André. With a big smile, easy laugh and insightful, André (in French, English, Spanish or Italian) will bring an aperitif. Perhaps it will be a small new wine discovery or a local liqueur.

After you settle in to the beautiful dining room or, in warmer weather, the sumptuous terrace overlooking the vineyards of Châteauneuf du Pape, you will be filled in on the latest wine gossip and, of course, tell you about the menu and “André’s Special Wine Selections of the Month,” a special list of excellent but lesser known wine from the region at moderate prices. From there on you will have an afternoon or evening of culinary bliss.

Should you happen to be thinking about going to France for your next vacation, schedule a trip to Châteauneuf du Pape. But you most definitely need to make a reservation for lunch or dinner at La Mère Germaine.

And if you love it so much, you will want to book a room overnight or for a few days. Whatever you decide, André will be there waiting for you.

For more info go to:

Restaurant La Mère Germaine
3 rue de Commandant Lemaitre
Châteauneuf du PapeFrance
Tel/Fax +33-0-4 90 22 78 34

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