By Jack - Sandy Lish's Son | Age 12
Over February vacation I had a hockey tournament in Pembroke, Massachusetts. It was a lot of fun. The first game I had was on Wednesday the 22nd. The team that I played (Weymouth) scored first. But then we came back and scored ten unanswered goals, one of which was mine (I also had two assists). Then the next day we had two games: one was at 10:00 and another at 2:00. The first game (Framingham), we shut them out eight to nothing. After our game, the whole team went out to brunch. After brunch I went with a couple of friends on my team to a baseball park just to run around. But it started to rain, so we went back to the rink to watch the games before ours. At our next game, we played a dirty team (Taunton), and we beat them 4-0. I got an assist. The next game was the next day--the finals. We were playing Weymouth. The game was harder than we expected, but we won 4-1. (During the game I got punched and the player got a major penalty and a game misconduct!) We all got trophies and shirts after the game. After that we took pictures and a man came in and interviewed us all. The tournament was a great way to spend the vacation. It was great because I got to spend a lot of time with my friends and family. It was also good because we won the tournament and I got a lot of goals and assists.
By Jackson - Deborah Spencer's Son | Age 13
The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA for short, is a law created as a means to stop copyright infringement and other acts of piracy on the internet. The U.S. government has been trying to pass this law for a few months now, but they have recently postponed the decision of whether or not to pass the law due to many acts of disapproval, including a petition run by Google. It also turns out that this might have been a scheme that has been set up since years before. I’ve never been affected by this, and I probably never will be. But right now, I’m not speaking for myself, I’m speaking for the people that will be affected by this greatly, and for the few that have already been affected by this ridiculous act. I don’t care if I can’t watch those funny videos and listen to those song parodies on the internet; I care about the people who make those videos, who write those parodies. I care about those people having their rights infringed upon; anyone having their rights violated in any setting; and this is why that is happening right now.
No doubt the majority of supporters for this law are major corporations and the officials inside. Most people will agree, as do I, that if someone makes money off of a product that was trademarked by someone, anyone, that person deserves immediate compensation. However, what this new law is also stating is that anyone who uses anything copyrighted in any way, direct or indirect on the Internet, could be considered a felon and be prosecuted. Ladies and gentlemen, this means if you are taking a video of your child playing on the playground, you play a copyrighted song in the background, and you post it on the internet, you are a criminal. If you don’t think that’s excessive, what about this: a 23-year old computer student in the U.K. was arrested for linking to copyrighted material on his website. That’s right, he didn’t even put the material on HIS site, he only linked to it! And the reason why someone in the U.K. could be affected by a U.S. law? That’s because quite a few, if not most, major corporations and networks are run by people in the U.S. and have firmly planted roots in other countries. This means that not only Americans will be affected by this law, it is a global issue.
This new law is going to give corporations a lot of power, more power than they already have. The government is already shining companies’ boots in exchange for small portions of the large sums of money they make, and now they want more influence in people’s lives? And here’s the best part: The same companies that are now supporting anti-piracy are the exact same people that distributed the file-sharing software in the first place. The C|net division of CBS television promoted multiple and even distributed a few major file-sharing sites and software like Limewire, BitTorrent and a few other major ones. C|net would even host the software on its own sites after supposedly testing it for effectiveness. C|net isn’t the only one. ESPN, AOL especially, Disney’s Go.com, Microsoft, and many more also co-branded and distributed the file-sharing sites/software. In fact, AOL, the group that is leading the charge for SOPA, solely distributed file-sharing devices like Kazaa and BitTorrent. All these companies that went crawling to congressmen’s desks begged to stop the piracy that was happening when they were the sole distributors themselves. Is it because they feel bad about starting this gleaming ball of piracy on the internet? No, it’s because they wanted to start it so they could turn it around and sue people like you for hundreds of thousands of dollars for maybe downloading just a handful of songs while not even knowing they were stolen.
Another major factor in this situation is the group known as Anonymous. Anonymous has a staggering amount of people and an extremely wide reach, and SOPA did not make them happy. A few years back, the church of Scientology arose. They were supposedly, not that I personally believe it, “corruptly acting in the shadow of their religious innocence.” In response, Anonymous conducted multiple protests at scientologist churches, made death threats and even bomb threats to the church, and performed multiple DDoS (Distributed Denial of Services) attacks on scientologists’ sites, meaning they flood the system with multiple users at one time to force it to crash. In response to SOPA, Anonymous performed multiple DDoS attacks on major government sites, including the FBI and CIA. Prior to this, Anonymous members had made threats to the U.S. government, saying that they should have expected Anonymous to act under these circumstances. I can’t say I support everything that Anonymous does or has done, but they have my personal support in this matter.
No one should have to live in fear of being prosecuted for something as innocent as drinking a brand-name soda in a video of themselves, slandering or promoting a product, or playing a song in a video of your child. Governments should fear their people, not the other way around, and corporations should not be held above governments, ever. The overall point is, as reasonable as stopping piracy sounds, this new law will infringe upon free speech rights and is too excessive to consider anywhere near reasonable. It’s time to put the common people up top.
By Lila - Sandy Lish's Daughter | Age 9
When I get up in the morning I have two and a half hours to get ready for school. I like having so much time in the morning because I don’t have to worry that I won’t be ready for school when the bus comes. I wake up at 6:15am and then get ready for half an hour. I finish getting ready at about 6:45am and then I watch TV until 8:20am and wait for my bus to come. My bus comes at about 8:30am. That is why I like having so much time in the morning so I don’t have to rush and I get to watch TV.
My brother can get ready fast and doesn’t worry that he won’t be ready. He has to get ready faster because he is in middle school and he needs to be there earlier. I can’t get ready fast though I have to take my time when I get ready. In two years, I will have to get ready fast and go to school earlier because I will be in middle school. It is interesting how different strategies work for different people and a simple thing like getting ready can show how people are different.
I like having that much time in the morning and I just wanted to share it. I hope you enjoyed my blog post.
By Clio V Rourke
You’re probably familiar with the thought experiment “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The experiment deals with the problem of whether existence requires perception, whether reality is conditioned by sensation. The Scientific American’s prosaic solution to the problem reads, “Sound is vibration, transmitted to our senses through the mechanism of the ear, and recognized as sound only at our nerve centers. The falling of the tree or any other disturbance will produce vibration of the air. If there be no ears to hear, there will be no sound.”
Now, what if there are ears (in this case, yours), but the sound to be heard has yet to be “translated” into existence, from words you have written? What if this were possible, and what if the words you’ve written could further be translated into movement, into images? “How would it be if you could not only read Twitter, but also experience it sensually? If you could hear, see, feel, what is happening right now?” Finally, how would these additional sensations change your perception of Twitter and tweets?
The developers of #tweetscapes wanted to know and have added “a sensual element” to Twitter by transforming tweets into sounds and images -- in real-time. The scientific experiment/art project from Germany gathers tweets and their information, such as topic and location, which are then translated by an algorithm developed for this task. Locations and topics (created through hashtags), for instance, each produce characteristic sounds; the location of a tweet is visualized by a light flaring up on a map, with the light’s size depending on how trending the topic is. Retweets are indicated by a line connecting the location of tweet and retweet. The number of followers impacts a sound’s quality. All these components blend into an intriguing Twitter symphony accompanied by celestial imagery.
#tweetscapes currently only analyzes German tweets; which shouldn’t stop you from listening in. If you don’t, does Twitter still make sounds?
By Colleen Regan
One year ago today, Lance Armstrong announced his retirement (again), the Grammys were nominated for 5 Emmy awards and I made my first authentic Greek salad. How do I know this? I recently discovered Timehop, a new social media site that allows users to walk down memory lane.
Timehop is a brilliant service, launched by two Foursquare hackers who originally created 4SquareAnd7YearsAgo as a joke. The joke caught on and after several trial periods, Benny Wong and Jonathan Wegner officially launched Timehop. The concept is simple. Users receive a daily email with a limited selection of status updates, photos, tweets, anything the user may have posted on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and/or Instagram exactly one year ago to date – along with a couple of interesting pop culture facts.
Although it may seem like another useless social media site, Timehop raises a good question: why do we tweet/update/snap our life and post it online for the world to view and ultimately judge? If it’s not to share with others, remember a moment and reminisce on a great memory, then what is it all for?
According to TechCrunch.com, Timehop recently received $1.1 million in funding from OATV and Spark Capital (not to mention public support from Foursqaure founders), but critics are already beginning to surface. One good point: “What if Timehop reminds us of that one moment that really makes me cringe? Or that moment we just want to forget?”
For those opponents I have this to say: How can you learn from your mistakes if you’re not willing to look back, even reflect on them? Whether they’re painful memories or happy moments, it’s all important because they’re moments that you chose to document. So bring it on Timehop. I’m ready to learn.
By Kate McCaw
Our family and life experiences are integral parts of our development. The skills and values we learn help shape how our leadership styles develop. A successful leader will be able to recognize individual differences and manage to that diversity within a team. In today’s society, where labels have been used to describe different age groups in the workforce (i.e. Baby Boomers, GenXers, Millenials), it is essential that good leaders understand the differences - not the stereotypes - and manage to them effectively.
While some may conclude that managing to these differences is a waste of time or unimportant, workplace unity is just good business sense. Developing each person’s growth and making the most of individual differences can actually strengthen the overall team’s outcomes.
Baby Boomers – Born 1946 to 1964
This generation was the one for activism. They can be overly optimistic and generally burn the candle at both ends. Their need for regular feedback can result in them changing jobs frequently unless they feel valued by their manager or team. It was the first generation to experience mass unemployment and competition for work as the rule. While computers did not play an early role in boomers education or early work years, don’t mis-read this as them not being technically proficient. Their use of the internet is immense. They also tend to be extremely loyal and work to a very high standard.
How to work with Boomers:
Respect them. Acknowledge their experience and be willing to learn from them. Try to understand their competitive ethos – they may feel at risk and unwilling to share information. Learn politics – Boomers are brilliant at working the politics of an organization. Watch them and learn.
Generation X’ers – Born 1965-1980
Gen X’ers have a very large life outside of work and generally have multiple careers throughout their lifetime. This group was raised surrounded by computer games and have lived in blended families. Sometimes known as IKEA babies, they tend to seek out fashion in their clothing and lifestyle.
Working with Gen X’ers
Social media is their preferred means of communication. Keep it short and to the point. Whenever possible use bullets! Give them a long leash rather than micro-managing them. Make it clear who is responsible for each outcome and agree to work plans. Respect their life outside work.
Gen Y (Millennials) – Born 1981-1999
This inquisitive group has been exposed to technology throughout their lives. They are pursuing advanced degrees at a higher rate than the previous generation. Their love of teamwork knows no bounds. Socially skilled, they are seekers of knowledge about how decisions and policies are made.
Making the most of Y Gen
Technology, technology, technology. Give them meaningful tasks and keep them focused on outcomes. Provide regular feedback…but only by email please. Listen to them and respect them. They have a very different outlook and are eager to make a difference. Ask them to keep you updated on the latest e-communications. They require lots of stimulation to stay engaged and committed to the company’s goals.
Use these models wisely and work hard not to develop stereotypes within your company. Continually develop your team and understand each others’ values, tendencies and preferred working styles. Not everyone desires to be the President of the company or shares your obsession with You Tube. Patience and respect are the keys to building a highly effective and well-rounded team.
By Ashley Albano
Like many fellow New England sports fans, I am still suffering from the Patriots Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants, especially because it brought back horrific memories from 2008. As I begin to look through sports media outlets again, I see things are looking up for us New England fans.
Pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers in less than a week. New Englanders heading south will be able to enjoy some warm(er) weather and familiar amenities in the new JetBlue ballpark, including a Green Monster and park dimensions almost identical to Fenway’s.
This year, fans will also have the opportunity for a more personal experience with players. Salem Five Bank recently announced its Spring Up With Dustin event series in Fort Myers, where baseball fans will have three opportunities to interact with Dustin Pedroia during spring training.
Spring Up with Dustin includes three events with Pedroia in the Fort Myers area on March 10, 16 and 19. Spring Up locations will remain undisclosed until 8:00 a.m. on the morning of the events, when Salem Five will issue official announcements through their Facebook and Twitter pages. Social media followers are encouraged to stay-tuned through the coming weeks.
Those of us stuck up north will have to rely on the media for our updates; unless, of course, you win a trip. In additions to these events, Salem Five will also be sending one Massachusetts family down to spring training for a private meet-and-greet with Dustin prior to the March 10 event. The grand prize includes airfare for four, three nights in a hotel and tickets to a game. Interested families from Massachusetts are encouraged to “like” Salem Five’s Facebook page and enter their information as well as a question for Dustin to win. Submissions end on February 29.
By Keri McIntosh
A colleague of mine recently informed me about the launch of KLM Airlines’ Meet and Seat program. The airline allows passengers to share their social media profile (LinkedIn or Facebook) to see and select who they would like to sit by. My first response: “Are you kidding?!?”
Call me crazy or even antisocial but does the world of social media really need to invade our air space, too? Yes…okay, it was cool when Jet Blue allowed us to play games with our fellow cabin mates on their in flight entertainment system. But Meet and Seat takes things to a whole new level.
For the business traveler I suppose Meet and Seat does present great networking opportunities (i.e. you are heading to the same conference and can talk shop!) However, I suspect the program will be used more often in the hopes of finding a soul mate or at least a flirt mate. Next Animation Media in Taiwan creates a pretty vivid interpretation of the service. Yikes.
But is this whole thing bordering on creepy? Or at the very least, disappointing? KLM allows you to change your seat as many times as you like 48 hours prior to departure. What happens if you select your “perfect” seat mate and immediately following they change their seat for another? When you actually see that person on board next to a more cosmopolitan, attractive hipster this can lead to a pretty depressing flight.
Side note: if you do miss that connection, there’s a cure. Here’s a web service – wemetonaplane.com – that reunites passengers who traveled aboard the same flight.
The interesting part about Meet and Seat is that unlike LinkedIn or Facebook, you can’t hide behind your computer screen. You are now sitting next to the person engaging in live communication…and for a looong time (currently this service is only offered on KLM flights between Amsterdam and New York and San Francisco to Sao Paulo). Enter another potential pitfall: your profiles seemed so compatible initially but after discussing your mutual affection for Xbox and classic Nirvana songs the passion runs dry after only 30 minutes. What then? 6 more hours until wheels down. Ugh.
So I wonder if I am alone in wanting the last vestige of peace from the world of social media, cell phone calls, texts and tweets when I fly, left to enjoy my ever diminishing leg room and lack of on board food service in privacy? Does anyone else send a secret cry of joy when the one or (bliss!) two seats next to you are empty? I admit I probably have become hardened traveling so frequently on Southwest Airlines which, in a way, can be dubbed the original Meet and Seat program. The open seating forces you to trump friends and family members for strangers with available seats. You hope for a friendly face to offer a seat, but instead everyone avoids eye contact and strategically places awkward shaped packages around them to not Meet and Seat…until of course the flight attendants eventually force you into it.
Maybe I should just get used to new ways of traveling. It seems other carriers such as Virgin Airlines will soon be following suit with similar programs. And since their sister company Virgin Galactic is now booking seats for space travel, I wonder if we will eventually be able to select who we’d like to be weightless next to. Now that’s something I might sign up for!
Let us know what you think….Would you use it?
By Jessica Ciccone
Oh Valentine’s Day...definitely one of my least favorite holidays, right up there with New Year’s Eve. It could be because I found it confusing in high school, distressing in college, and irritating as an adult. Instead of focusing this post on the countless shameless marketing ploys or the over-priced prix fix menus, I thought Valentine’s Day would be a great time to take a look at how Facebook has impacted our romantic relationships.
While doing some research I came across an infograph posted on Social Media Times that does a great job of breaking it down. Here are some highlights that I found interesting:
While 30 million adults have friends who found their spouses online, many people credit Facebook for changing dating for the worse. Nobody likes seeing what their ex is doing, especially if they are having fun right?
There are new guidebooks designed specifically to help Facebook-proof your marriage. This one scares me. If you need a book for that you should probably not be on Facebook, but that is for another post.
Forget the post-it; breaking up online is even more common than ever. 21% of people surveyed say they would simply change their relationship status. Now that is harsh even for Carrie Bradshaw’s standards.
When a marriage fails divorce attorneys are looking to Facebook to find evidence for proceedings. These people should have clearly invested in the aforementioned guidebook.
While I can’t say my research made me a fan of Valentine’s; it definitely made me excited to share a nice dinner with my husband...non prix fix of course. Happy Valentine’s Day to all!
By Clio V. Rourke
For Valentine’s Day, the humane organization ASPCA has created an extra-sweet social media campaign. Via Facebook and the organization’s website, everyone can share free virtual Valentine’s Day cards displaying adorable pups and cats asking the question of the day: Will you be mine? Facebook users can post the cards on the wall of their love interest or significant other; they can also post the cards to their own profile and share them via Twitter, Google+, etc. – the more, the better: With the tagline “Will you be mine?,” the ASPCA Valentine’s Cards are promoting pet adoption. And since two (2) is the number of the day, ASPCA’s Valentine’s Day social media campaign includes a 2012 Cutest Couples Contest. “In honor of Valentine’s Day,” pet owners are currently (until 2/29) invited to submit a photo of them and their laughable, but not unphotographable pet, or of pet couples, through an app on ASPCA’s Facebook page. Facebook users can then vote for the cutest couple from March 1, 2012 through March 9, 2012.
And if the Valentine’s Card doesn’t bring the desired result, pet-loving singles can sniff out potential mates using the app DoggyDatez, a “location-based mobile platform that makes it easier to find new friends and have more fun while walking your dog.” With a furry friend, each day is Valentine’s Day.
By Nicole Gandia
We all know that blogging is good for business, but how much so? According to a study conducted by HubSpot’s inbound marketing team “the average company that blogs has 55% more visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages.” (To learn more, download this helpful Ebook!) Yet, whether you are an avid blogger or a newbie, you may be falling victim to common blogging faux pas that may be placing an unwarranted cap on your desired exposure level.
Here are five tips to help you increase your exposure and maximize the return on invested time:
(1) Amalgamate – Publish your blog on your company’s website (as opposed to platforms like WordPress) to add to your company’s branding and decrease your bounce rate. Your goal should be to attract visitors through your blog and to facilitate their navigation of your other web pages. But integration shouldn’t stop here – include proper links to your social media accounts and to key pages and forms on your site!
(2) Innovate – Create thought-provoking, diverse and timely content that will be read and shared by others. Try having an internal blogging competition to get your employees’ creative juices flowing (ours is currently on its way!) or invite guest bloggers that can append content variety as well as new perspectives.
(3) Follow Through – Be consistent with your follow-ups. If visitors comment, reply to them. If questions are asked, take a few minutes to answer them. Demonstrate your engagement and take it another step further – ask employees to share their favorite blogs with their personal networks. This will help you expand your reach and exposure.
(4) Engage – Don’t just write and deliver, ask and be an active receiver. Ask questions, allow readers to share their opinions, welcome comments and keep your content and reader feedback alive by tracking your presence’s pulse and starting your own paper, like Castle Connect, to repurpose your cloud of ideas!
(5) Optimize – This is often overlooked (but crucial from an optimization standpoint!). Visit Google’s AdWords to research which keywords you should be using, publicize strong, keyword-rich titles that will draw your target audience, write fitting meta descriptions, and don’t forget to include a photo or video. Then, study your analytics and tweak your blogging strategy to achieve desired results.
What has worked well for you? What are you doing to improve your blog’s exposure? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And in the spirit of innovation, if you are interested in being one of future guest bloggers, click on “Submit your blog” below and tell us more about your blog!
By Hilary Allard
It’s great that you loved your lunch at that new restaurant. And I’m sorry that you’re upset over the Pats (who isn’t?).
And I’m happy to hear about those things – just not on LinkedIn.
Lately when I’m on LinkedIn, I am inevitably greeted with an endless series of tweets by the same four or five people.
I like these people, a lot. But I don’t want to see this information from them on LinkedIn. Just as people unfollow others who “hog the feed” on Twitter, the effect is even more pronounced on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn and Twitter are two distinct platforms and they shouldn’t be treated the same way. See the reference to “adding a new dimension to professional conversation” in the original announcement.
As with all channel management, the content and approach should vary. Just because LinkedIn offers the option of linking in your Twitter feed doesn’t mean you should do it. (Chris Brogan agrees so, hey, I must be on to something!
Here’s what I’m looking for on LinkedIn:
Interesting professional content shared by contacts and colleagues
The latest on contacts’ professional news
Relevant industry information from the groups I belong to
If you tweet only in those three “buckets,” then, sure, link away. But if, like most people, you are tweeting about a wide variety of topics, please keep it out of LinkedIn.
Do you agree or disagree? What are you looking for on LinkedIn?
By Whitney Dow Ferguson
Last Monday, Mayor Menino launched the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program, a decades-old initiative that connects students with local companies. In the days that followed, unrelated but significant reports were released regarding the state of the technology and start-up industries in Boston. The Globe reported a survey that placed Boston behind New York and San Francisco, respectively, in volume digital companies per city. Larry Weber from BostInno responded with an insightful piece on the value of Boston companies and the unique position we’re in to change the face of business. Weber wrote, “We have a real opportunity to solidify ourselves as an epicenter for the next generation of life-altering technology brands...” This perspective is integral for companies reviewing their long-term strategy. It’s also inspiring for the future workforce, particularly those participating in the Mayor’s Program.
The Summer Jobs Program has lofty goals and an exacting strategy - it fosters good work habits and lasting professional relationships. The immediate effects of the Program are more tangible, though not more important. The internships teach a practical skill set, especially for students who work at tech and start-up companies. Beyond teaching how to do something, these jobs nurture a specific way of thinking. Working in Boston’s “collaborative ecosystem allows for a great deal of creativity, diversity, [and] discovery,” writes Weber. Participants learn to make intellectual connections, form big-picture perspectives, and get a feel for emerging industries and the geographic marketplace.
These lessons are inarguably beneficial to our city and our country. More importantly, they’ll ensure Boston students have a real shot at successful and fulfilling futures. It’s my bet that the confluence of Bostonian industries – digital, start-up, and VC firms - will prove to be a defining moment as the city builds a reevaluated brand for itself in the 21st century.
By Clio V. Rourke
Not to bring back painful memories, but the final minutes of this year’s Super Bowl were a real nail biter. Figuratively, not literally -- America’s hands were way too busy posting on social networks. Super Bowl XLVI broke records on Twitter.
According to Twitter, the maximum TPS (Tweets per second) during the 2008 Super Bowl was just 27, this year’s TPS peaked at 12,233. The game’s nerve-wrecking final three minutes triggered the most Tweets, with an average of 10,000 TPS, “an all-time peak for a sporting event.”
Madonna’s halftime show came in second, inspiring “an average of 8,000 TPS sustained during her performance” that “peaked at 10,245 TPS, which is also a [new] record for live entertainment.” (Sorry, Beyonce.)
The total of Super Bowl-related Tweets – between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET – was 13.7 million.
In addition, or maybe contributing to, TPS records, the 2012 Super Bowl also marked “the year of the hashtag.” Instead of asking viewers to follow them on Facebook and Twitter, the 2012 Super Bowl commercials “simply listed a hashtag like #GameDayPolarBears (Coca-Cola) and #thatsalotofpizza (Pizza Hut).”
The Tweets during the Super Bowl currently claim number two and three on Twitter’s TPS record list. Number one is the 2011 televised broadcast of the anime movie Castle in the Sky, when Japanese viewers at one point sent 25,088 TPS “to symbolically help the movie's characters cast a spell.”
That’s team spirit.
By Erika Kuzmicz
Two weeks ago, Facebook and NBC joined together to host a Republican debate, this one augmented by a social media element. While the show aired on NBC and MSNBC.com, it also was available on Facebook where users were able to directly ask the candidates questions via a widget.
Not only are social networks, like Twitter and Facebook, getting their hands dirty in the debate process but they are also directly linked to the candidates’ success rate.
According to PCMag, “The number of Twitter followers or Facebook fans a candidate has is not nearly as important as their social media interactions with supporters, how many people share the candidate's message with their own network, and how much attention beyond social media (in outlets like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN) those actions receive.” Twitter conversations (@ mentions and retweets) relating to President Obama, the GOP candidates and Congress can be tracked and monitored on 2012twit.com.
Does this mean that we will be able to predict who will win the GOP nomination or the 2012 presidential election just using social media alone? Pretty unlikely but the new tools and platforms do allow us to be more involved in the overall process and help us understand what direction things may be heading.
By Callie Ziobro
Although exciting getaways to tropical destinations are always fun, you can never go wrong with a quick weekend escape to somewhere that you can drive to from home, just to getaway… a staycation.
From the Boston area in winter, whether you are a skier or not, a weekend trip to Stowe is the perfect retreat for a group of friends, couples or families. From delicious restaurants and bars, fabulous boutique shopping, and exciting local attractions to world-class skiing, snowshoeing and horse-drawn sleigh rides; Stowe is the place to be. You can choose from charming Inns to luxury resorts with options from standard guest rooms to multi-bedroom, and fully equipped town homes. This unique New England town offers a different getaway experience for each person or group experiencing it.
Plan your staycation to Stowe with this sample itinerary to get you started or check out Stowe’s website for more ideas to add your own flair:
9:00am: Pack the car and head up early for the scenic drive to Vermont.
12:00pm: Once you get off the highway in Waterbury, stop at the Cabot Annex to sample 20 flavors of Cabot cheeses, sip on 6 varietals of wine with a tasting from Snow Farm Vineyard and mull over a selection of hundreds of Lake Champlain chocolates. Pick up a bit of cheese, wine and chocolate to bring to your hotel for the weekend.
1:30pm: Just down the road make a pit stop at Ben & Jerry’s for a factory tour and tastings of America’s favorite ice cream.
3:00pm: Check-in at your hotel and spend the afternoon getting settled, relaxing in front of the fireplace or enjoying the hotels amenities and dining options for lunch. Some of my favorite Stowe hotels include Topnotch Resort & Spa offering magnificent luxury accommodations including guest rooms, suites and resort homes, unsurpassed service at every turn and fabulous amenities including a heated outdoor pool that can be used in the dead of winter. Stowe Mountain Resort is the luxury resort at the base of Mount Mansfield, winner of a number of accolades. Try the Trapp Family Lodge for a bit of history from the famous family featured in the “Sound of Music,” breathtaking mountain views and a wide array of activity options. The Green Mountain Inn with a variety of accommodation types in an ideal downtown location close to shops and restaurants, featuring classic elegance and modern amenities.
6:30pm: Head out on the town and indulge in one of the multitude of dining options found throughout Stowe for dinner tonight, from casual to fine dining, Hibachi to burgers. Browse the options here.
8:00pm: Schedule a sleigh ride for after dinner. Bundle up to stay warm, sit back and enjoy the scenery. There are a few different companies/hotels in Stowe that offer sleigh rides even to guests not staying at the hotel.
9:00am: Skiing at Mount Mansfield. All of the lifts are open by 9:00am so this is the perfect time to get there. Enjoy the views from around the mountain as you hit the slopes on a large selection of trails ranging from beginner to experienced. Take a break in the lodge for a fantastic lunch in the Great Room at Spruce Camp Base Lodge (this is not your typical ski lodge food). Many hotels offer complimentary shuttles to/from the mountain and drop you off right at the base so that you don’t have to worry about parking and lugging your gear from the car.
3:00pm: Back at your hotel, relax after a tiring day of skiing. Take advantage of the hotel’s spa and hot tubs to rest your muscles or just stay in your room for some R&R while napping, reading a book or watching TV.
6:00pm: Take advantage of one of your hotel’s dining establishments for dinner or stay in and cook in comfortable if you chose a resort home for your accommodations.
9:00am: Sleep in, take your time packing up and get ready for checkout.
11:00am: Checkout of your hotel and head back through town towards home. Stop at a couple of the local shops along Stowe Mountain Road for art, jewelry, crafts, specialty foods, locally produced goods, clothes and more. Pick up some cider donuts and fresh warm apple cider at Cold Hollow Cider Mill for breakfast on the ride home.
4:00pm: Arrive back home and get ready for the work week ahead as you daydream of your next staycation…
By Danielle Doyle
America’s premier sporting event is upon us again. While many dream of the opportunity to attend the big game in person, recent hotel research leaves me questioning who can really afford to go? I suppose that I will not argue the price of the tickets, the markup on airfare or the obscene price of memorabilia/paraphernalia because it IS a once in a lifetime experience; however, I simply cannot help but question our friends in the hotel business.
According to PwC US, spending by the National Football League (NFL), businesses, visitors, and media on area lodging, transportation, meals, entertainment, business services, and other hospitality and tourism activities is expected to total approximately $150 million. The average hotel rate at a 2 ½ – 3 star hotel inIndianapolis is currently going for $800/night on average for leisure travelers. Not only have hotels hiked their rates by at least 500% but they have also tacked on a minimum of a three to four night stay in order to make a reservation.
The bottom line is that even if you are able to spring for the Super Bowl tickets there really is no affordable way to sleep—and certainly not at a “nice” hotel. Your best bet may be to spend that extra cash on good seats, rent an SUV, find a great parking spot and camp out! Maybe if you park early enough you can not only secure a nice place to rest your head but also a great tailgating spot… sweet dreams!
I leave you with a few fun facts about the typical Super Bowl attendee as provided by the Super Bowl Host Committee:
85% of attendees are from another state
The average fan spends $1,500 - $2,000 during his/her stay
60% classify their occupation as managerial or professional
53% earn at least $75,000 per year
38% earn more than $100,000 per year
65% are key decision-makers in their company
The average Super Bowl attendee spends four nights in a hotel (Side Note: because they have no choice!)
Still want to give it a last-minute shot? The Super Bowl Host Committee suggests fans go through the official Super Bowl housing website. Happy hunting!