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The Crane Hotel: The Jewel of Caribbean Luxury Hotels


By Ann-Marie Adams I The Hartford Guardian

St. Philip, BARBADOS — Perched on the seaside bluff on the southeast coast of Barbados is The Crane, one of the many jewels of the Caribbean.
Crane  ResortThis luxury hotel is the centerpiece of a 40-acre villa complex with historic buildings and landscape gardens overlooking the Atlantic Sea.

This ocean touches the marine-blue sea of the Crane Beach that is accessible by a glass-front elevator. Arguably, it is the island’s oldest hotel in operation and the number one resort hotel in the Caribbean.
From this simple but elegant setting, you can be quite content while taking in the view from the comfort of a private plunged pool below over-sized terraces or elegant gardens.
Some bedrooms boasts four-poster mahogany, king sized beds, bathrooms with multi-jet showers and a two-person Jacuzzis emoting English charm and luxury.

Through the wooden louvre doors that open inward is an over-sized terrace above the private plunged pool, which offers a different ambiance than the garden-view rooms with old Caribbean-styled resort living suites.

The hotel, built in 1887, boasts several restaurants, including the Italian Restaurant, Donofrio’s. It offers casual dining that with a wide variety of cuisine from Old World Italy.

The seafood restaurant, L’Azure, serves up fresh seafood with a gorgeous view of the blue and marine ocean with the trade winds swirling above the cliff.

The Zen Restaurant, surrounded by glass walls above the pink-hued Crane Beach, serves up authentic Asian inspired cuisines and offer patrons.

This is understated elegance and sophistication tucked away in the lesser Antilles. And it’s only a four-hour trip from the United States.
With an understated elegance and sophistication, this storied hotel on a dramatic Cliffside location is what some call a resolutely British resort on a resolutely British island.

The Crane
St. Philip, Barbados
246-423-6220
www.thecrane.com

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New Hampshire Unveils Pumpkin Festival Line Up


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

NEW HAMPSHIRE — New Hampshire is gearing up for its 25th  this fall.

As pumpkin plants around the northeast are just beginning to bloom, the organizers —  Let it Shine, Inc., and Sterling Design & Communications — will collaborate  with the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce to provide  programming for Pumpkin Festival 2015. The 2015 Pumpkin Festival runs from 10am-8:30pm on Saturday, Oct. 24 in the heart of NH, downtown Laconia.

Presented by ZIPPO, this is the first year it will take place in downtown Laconia. Following are the schedule for what officials say is a program that may vie for  Guinness World Record for the most lit jack-o-lanterns in one place–record recaptured from Boston by Keene in 2013. A total of 30,581 jack-o-lanterns were reported.

The Runaway Pumpkin 10k & 5k Run/Walk 9 a.m.
Location: Laconia Athletic & Swim Club, 827 North Main Street, Laconia
Before the festival, first thing in the morning, a choice of distances, welcoming walkers as well as serious runners to this scenic course which includes the WOW Trail WOW is an acronym for the three lakes along the rail trail, Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam and Opechee.

Pumpkin-festival-2015-thehartfordguardianPronounced “Pumpkin Alley,” it’s Pump-Canal(y) Street for Kids
If renowned area artist Larry Frates achieves his vision, Laconia’s Canal Street will be orange from one end to the other with activities for kids and creative types of all ages. Shops on the street have their own special pumpkin plans, so do not miss this street in your explorations of Pumpkin Festival 2015.

Haunted Attractions for that Special Thrill
The Belknap Mill, the oldest, unaltered brick textile mill in the United States, has plenty of history to draw from for its planned haunted mill attraction. Stay tuned for details! And across town, the UCC/Congregational Church plans to send chills up many a visitor’s spine too.

ZIPPO, Official Lighter of Pumpkin Festival
In addition to hosting the Welcome Center near the Railroad Station, ZIPPO will be offering their official candle lighters for sale at their booth and at the Pumpkin Shop/s where festival logo souvenir t-shirts and other experience extenders can also be purchased.

The Pump(kin) Dump Derby 8:30pm
A race to clean up Pumpkin Festival involving competing teams, lottery-assigned territories and a grand prize $1000 to the team’s charity of choice. All teams who complete their territory win $100 for the charity of their choice. Sponsored by Shipyard Brewing.

Spectacular Pumpkin Tower Plus Thousands of Jack-o’-Lanterns on Street-level Displays
10am-8:30pm

The signature tower is the centerpiece of Pumpkin Festival 2015. Streets will be lined with pumpkins and pumpkin spectators, for smooth strolling and the best viewing, unfettered by vendor booths and queues. Families and seniors will feel very welcome and handicap parking in excellent locations makes access easy. Live musical entertainment will add to the atmosphere on the bandstand and at other selected locations but the sights will carry the day!

More information will be posted as available online at pumpkinfestival.org

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French Tall Ship Hermione To Dock in Newport, Rhode Island


By Liz Kelly, Contributor

NEWPORT, R.I. — The largest and most authentically built Tall Ship in 150 years, Hermione, an exact replica of General Lafayette’s Frigate of Freedom, is due to arrive at Fort Adams in Newport.

The ship, docking on July 8 for a two-day stay, is reenacting the return of 22 year-old General Lafayette to the shores of Colonial America 235 years ago, heralding France’s critical support of the Colonies’ War of Independence.

In celebration of this beautifully reconstructed Tall Ship’s arrival and the important journey it commemorates, numerous events are planned throughout Newport July 8-9, including tours of the Hermione, dedications, lectures, Colonial military drills and Colonial theme dinners, demonstrations, and even lunch with Lafayette’s friend and commander, General George Washington.

The voyage of the Hermione is in part to symbolize and rekindle through the Hermione the intimate ties between France and the United States, and the spirit of liberty that sustains them, and to demonstrate the inestimable value of history and show that it can be a living force in increasing our understanding of the world.

Able to hold a crew of 242, 72 volunteers, one-third women, are on this journey, most of whom gave up their ‘real life’ to become steeped in the history of the vessel that changed the course of America’s War of Independence.

Events begin July 8 at 9:30 a.m. with a dedication ceremony and end July 9 at 10:00 p.m. with a Farewell Ceremony as Hermione departs.

The public is welcome to join French and American dignitaries for the festivities honoring this historic occasion as Tall Ship Hermione docks at Fort Adams in full splendor

For more information, visit: http://www.hermione2015.com and  www.mysticseaport.org.

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Cayucos Sea Glass Festival Offers Flavor and Ocean View


Cayucos, California –  You can now set your calendar for the 5th annual Cayucos Sea Glass Festival at the Cayuncos Vet’s Hall, which overlooks one of the best beaches on the Central Coast.

Festival officials have slated this eclectic event for March 14 and 15, a popular hobby along coastal regions worldwide. This year, festival goers will enjoy live music from local bands such as Thunder Canyon String Band, Back Bay Betty and the Mystery Brothers.

The festival has gained international attention from world renowned sea glass aficionados since it first began five years ago with sea glass enthusiasts and craftspeople from around the world. They will all converge again on this quaint beach to sell and showcase their sea glass creations, jewelry, keepsakes and treasures.

Sea glass pieces are affectionately known as “Mermaid Tears” and mermaids have become an integral addition to the festival. New this year is “Mermaid March” and through the month of March, Cayucos businesses will be displaying their own individual artistic creations of mermaids.

Visitors are invited to stroll through town to admire the creative art forms ranging from stained glass and paper Mache mermaids to metal and wooden mermaid sculptures. Festival officials said the Mermaid March is sure to delight all who find joy in these maidens (and mermen) from the sea.

Tickets for the event are available for $5 per day at the door. Preview tickets are available for $15 at the door and allow early entrance (one hour) into the event on Saturday.

Event runs Saturday, March 14 from 10:00 am to  5:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 15 from 11:00 am to 4:00 p.m. Preview tickets are available at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 14.

–Ann-Marie Mesquita

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Amtrak Goes to Knowledge Corridor


WASHINGTON — The Amtrak Vermonter service to the Knowledge Corridor will begin after Christmas day.

Beginning Dec. 29, Amtrak will also make stops in Greenfield and Northampton, Mass.  Tickets are now available for purchase.

The Vermonter operates daily between Washington and St. Albans, Vt., with service to Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, Conn., Springfield, Mass. and Essex Junction, Vt., and other intermediate stops.  In Fiscal Year 2014.

Officials said that ridership on this route increased 6.6 percent, providing service to more than 89,000 passengers.

The Vermonter will also add a stop in Holyoke, Mass. later in 2015 when station work is complete. The added stops due to the reroute will replace service provided to the Amherst station, which will end on Dec. 28.

The restoration of train service to the Knowledge Corridor has been a goal of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Governor Patrick’s Administration, who have been leading the effort to improve the Pan Am Southern tracks and shorten trip times within the Commonwealth., officials said.

Funding for the project was provided through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Passengers may book travel via Amtrak.com, mobile apps, or by calling 800-USA-RAIL for any station along the route between Washington and St. Albans, Vt.

–Ann-Marie Adams

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President Obama Lifts Bans on Cuba


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — In a move that has been hailed as historic, President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed an executive order to “re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba.”

The move to thaw the relationship with this communist country comes after months of secret talks between the Obama administration and Cuban officials in Canada and the Vatican. Talks culminated with a 45-minute conversation on Tuesday between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro, which detailed ways the United States would end 53 years of enmity that has caused disagreement in Latin America and the Caribbean. Fidel Castro was not involved in these discussions, officials said.

Obama had to forgo Congress. Only Congress, which imposed sanctions on Cuba in 1961, can dismantle them completely. So the president’s move was mostly a symbolic but powerful one, according to a White House official on background call before Obama’s live speech. This move represents the most significant changes to America’s Cuba policy in more than 50 years, including the  Helms-Burton Act enacted in 1996. The Act strengthened the America’s embargo against Cuba.

White House officials believe this is a “step in the right direction.”

“These are the steps that I can take to change these policies,” Obama said in his televised speech from the East Room, emphasizing the limits of his unilateral move to help the U.S. “normalize relations” with Cuba.

Unresolved disputes remain, however. Cubans urged for an end of the U.S. pro-democracy programs in Cuba, which they see as a subversive attempt to overthrow Castro. The White House stood firm on those demands, refusing to disrupt that policy.

Obama’s executive order bodes well for Cuba’s economy because Cuba agreed to release political prisoners, including “a very frail” Alan Gross, a USAID subcontractor who U.S. officials said was wrongfully imprisoned. The order now allows travel, commerce, and the flow of information to and from Cuba.

Former Florida Governor and potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, challenged Obama’s move toward Cuba, saying to USA Today: “I don’t think we should be negotiating with a repressive regime to make changes in our relationship.”

Bush has  favorable ratings in  large Cuban-American constituencies in Florida.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a Cuban American, said he would do all he can as the incoming chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to block Obama’s plan. More specifically, Rubio said he would block anyone Obama nominates to serve as ambassador to Cuba.

While politicos plan to make moves in Congress, most Americans will now be able to travel to Cuba. Previously, there was a ban on all travel to Cuba. Now, government officials and academicians can travel there for research purposes.

“With the changes I’m announcing today, it will be easier for Americans to travel to Cuba, and Americans will be able to use American credit and debit cards on the island,”  Obama said.

Other benefits to Americans in this move also allow Cuban Americans to send remittances to their family, U.S. embassies can now be in Cuba, and more businesses can have easier trade relations.

Travel for tourist activities are still banned.

According to Sen. Rand Paul, (R-KY) on a West Virginia radio station the embargo on Cuba just hasn’t worked.

“If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn’t seem to be working,” Paul said.

Photo Credit: President Barack Obama delivers a statement on Cuba and the release of American Alan Gross, in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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Vermont Spot Offers Affordable Skiing Packages


BOLTON VALLEY — While seemingly easy to accomplish, a simple crimson hat won’t suffice. So just go all out and wear the full Santa Claus outfit–and win a free ski resort lift for a day.

Skiers and riders who arrive at Bolton Valley dressed head-to-toe as Santa Claus will receive the lift ticket for the day as part of the annual Santa Sunday event on Dec 21.

Guests must don a full Kris Kringle suit and bring their most jolly of spirits to Guest Services to claim their prize.

Anyone participating in the event is asked to arrive at Guest Services before 10 a.m. to pick up their lift ticket. Then, promptly at 10 a.m. all Santas will gather in the main base area next to the Vista Quad for a group photo. Once everyone is loaded on the lift, Bolton officials will lead the group down the mountain for some action photos.

After two feet of snow last week and 61 total inches so far this season, Bolton Valley is enjoying some of its best early season conditions in recent memory.

Bolton Valley is Vermont’s most convenient and affordable big mountain skiing. Less than 10 minutes from I-89 and less than 30 minutes from Burlington, the family-friendly mountain offers skiers and riders of all abilities three mountain peaks with 71 trails and 6 lifts, plus 3 terrain parks.

Bolton Valley was the first in Vermont and the second in the U.S. to implement wind power as an energy source and is the recipient of the National Ski Areas Association’s 2010 Silver Eagle Award for environmental initiatives. A

All-inclusive, true ski-to-your-door lodging packages are from $59 personnight.

For more information visit www.boltonvalley.com or call 877-9BOLTON.

–Josh Arenson

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AAA Racks Up Calls in 2014 Winter Storm


HARTFORD –  Although weather and road conditions are expected to improve Thursday, AAA expects its already heavy volume of emergency calls to increase with more drivers venturing out.

For those who take to the road, AAA  advises extra care to avoid adding to the more than 43,000 call it has received this winter.

On Wednesday, AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team received 572 calls for emergency road service by  late afternoon in Greater Hartford and eastern Connecticut. Many calls were for towing and to extricate vehicles who went off the road into the snow.

AAA Travel agents have also been busy assisting clients whose travel plans have been affected by the weather.

AAA offers the following tips to drivers who must venture out:

  • See and be seen. Clear any snow and ice from your vehicle and keep headlights on at all times.
  • Always wear your safety belt.
  • Avoid distractions. Don’t talk on your cell phone while driving.
  • Keep a safe distance. If you are driving in wet or snowy conditions, give yourself at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding, and use low gears to avoid losing traction. Gentle pressure on the accelerator when starting is the best way to retain traction and avoid skids.  If your wheels start to spin, let up on the accelerator until traction returns.
  • Avoid passing plows, unless necessary.
  • Use major routes that have been cleared and salted whenever possible.
  • Do not engage your vehicle’s cruise control. Using cruise control on slick roads can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • If you are involved in a crash, either stay in your vehicle, or get far away from traffic.

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Go Ahead. It’s the New Year So Indulge Yourself at Flemings


HARTFORD — You’ve worked hard all year in 2013. So if you’re looking for a way to indulge yourself  in the New Year, you might want to stop by Fleming’s Steak and Bar Restaurant to do just that. The dining experience is worth it.

The ambiance at Flemings is only part of the course. And this New Years day, it’s only fitting to celebrate you with the succulent steak and seafood from Fleming’s.

Nationally acclaimed Fleming’s offers the best in steakhouse dining – Prime meats and chops, fresh fish and poultry, generous salads and side orders — with a unique wine list known as the Fleming’s 100®, which features more than 100 wines served by the glass.

Recommended: The prime steak rib special for New Year’s Eve or the 8-0z filet mignon with King Crab meat and caviar—all a part of Fleming’s “Three Ways to Celebrate.” The enticing three-course New Year’s Eve menu is for $69.96 per person.

And it’s worth every penny for the foodie in you. Enjoy.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

44 S Main St, West Hartford, CT 06107

Phone:(860) 676-9463

Photo Courtesy of Fleming's

Photo Courtesy of Fleming’s

 

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Connecticut Silent on International Migrants Day, Needs Statewide Commission for Immigrant Rights


Apparently it was International Migrants Day on Dec. 18.

That day was designated in 1990 when the United Nations adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families in an effort to bring awareness to the plight of migrant workers, regardless of legal status.

But, alas, there was not a peep about it in Connecticut. Or if there were events that celebrated the tradition of a state—and country—that proudly boasts of its pilgrims who migrated to this soil, The Hartford Guardian missed that memo.

A creolization of the peoples who pupolated the North American continent before the twentieth century is only highlighted on Thanksgiving Day, albeit reluctantly by some, including Native Americans.

editorialbannerthumbIn fact, a cursory search on the Internet revealed an outdated website for the volunteer-run Connecticut Immigration and Refugee Coalition that is seemingly inactive. Or maybe some of us are just left out of the loop.

That’s why The Guardian is calling for a Governor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs. This proposed statewide entity would serve as a point of cultural exchange and economic global partnerships between this state and the host countries of two of the most marginalized migrant communities in the world. This Commission would also include Afro-Latinos, who are not as visible as their white counterparts nor protected by the Commissions already in place.

For the uninitiated, the African continent and the Caribbean region are poised for economic growth. Ghana now has one of the fastest gross domestic product in the world. And the Caribbean has demonstrated its talent and brain power.  China has no hang-ups with “the Dark Continent” and the Caribbean. And so they have taken notice. In this case, money and geopolitics trump foolishness.

If this state wants to really expand its economic base and produce more jobs, as it has professed, it would behoove Gov. Dannel Malloy to take heed and look to the Mother Continent and the Caribbean, just like he has looked to Israel and other European countries.

But in the meanwhile, we have a crisis on our hand. And it needs Malloy’s full attention.

Immigrants of African descent are facing a most vile form of persecution. Indeed, Africans are the most vulnerable population in the Americas, according to historical and contemporary reports.

Earlier this year, a boat with Ethiopians and Ghanaians capsized near Lampedusa, an island off the coast of Italy. The tragic event took the lives of about 500 people and conjured up images of ships sailing across the ocean with black bodies during the height of the Atlantic Slave Trade. But these Africans were searching for a better way out of neo-colonial and economic conditions, which makes their move an act of resistance.

Not long after, we learned about a boat full of Haitian men, women and children whose boat capsized in waters near the Bahamas Islands.

But the Dominican Republican went a bit further with its brand of evil. The government invalidated the birthright of f Dominicans of Haitian descent, stripping them of citizenship.

Afro-Latinos don’t fare well either. According to a recent report by the Center for Immigrant Rights, migrants in Veracruz, Mexico are fighting for fair work and fair wages.

In Connecticut, some immigrants say that the hostility can be felt by African and Caribbean immigrants and their children in school, work and church. The fights are largely ignored or treated as a nonissue.

The migrants of today may not face religious persecution. But they definitely face the same kind of intolerance that prompted it during the Reformation in Europe, which has taught us that hate breed hate.

And hate in any form or shade is corrosive to the soul. Across America, African and Caribbean immigrants are brutally attacked by native-born blacks.  This kind of nativism—historically seen in whites who formed the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1800s, is often dismissed as inconsequential and disturbingly justified with illogical and pernicious arguments. This ought to stop. Today’s immigrants should not be criminalized or serve as scapegoats for frustrated working-class Americans.

The UN’s resolution that guarantees migrant workers protection from abuses should be bandied about widely, especially to inform those who fear or oppose the presence of migrants. They should learn that migration is as old as civilization itself. And that their brand of hate cannot, and will not, stop migration. It never has, and it never will.

So perhaps it’s time to revisit the origins of America’s founding and its economic and social progress as a nation: forced and voluntary immigrants. If not, we should  join the Republican-led House of Representatives who left Congress without voting on immigration reform and consider plans to erase these words off the Statute of Liberty: “give me your tired and your poor.” And then we should deem ourselves hypocrites for not honoring the UN’s resolution to protect the rights of all migrants, especially as workers.

And here in Connecticut and across the nation, African and Caribbean migrants are most in need of that kind of protection.

Related:

Residents Say Beatings Fit Wide-spread Animosity Between Native-Born Immigrants and African Immigrants

African and Caribbean Immigrants Are Often Forgotten in the Debate in Washington

Israel Grapple With North African Immigrants

 

 

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