Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Best Way to Spread Holiday Cheer

With the holiday season upon us, LDPR staffers took the time to reflect and share their favorite holiday memories, yearly traditions, and any holiday disasters! With a love for travel, it’s no wonder our staffers have spent the holidays around the globe. From family feasts to excitement abroad, LDPR knows how to celebrate the season!

Laura Davidson and her family chop down the perfect pine
The Davidson-Bill holiday tradition is to go to the Maple Grove Tree Farm in Easton, CT and chop down our own Christmas tree!  Tobey and Jake get to use the saw, Andy shows his machismo by carrying the tree to the car, and I just look forward to apple cider donuts and hot chocolate.  It’s a great family outing”

Michaelann Millrood celebrates a “Joyeux Noël” in Annecy
“For four years each winter I spent the holidays in Annecy, France with my boyfriend's family. The traditional Savoyard Christmas dinner, snowboarding in the French Alps, and shopping the holiday markets along the canals (Annecy is the "Venice of France"), will always be my fondest memories of France.”

Tricia Lanigan recounts snowy slopeside holidays
“I’ve spent almost every holiday skiing with my extended family in Sunday River, Maine or Park City, Utah. While the skiing out West is always beautiful, the travel can be a bit of a nightmare. One year we made the mistake of flying into Salt Lake City on Christmas Day with twelve people, twelve ski bags, boots, and the token rental car disaster (my sister forgetting her wallet on the plane did not help either). But on the mountain the next day all is forgotten – there’s nothing a sunny, brisk ski day and steaming hot cups of cocoa can’t fix!”

Dana Curatolo digs into the "Feast of the Seven Fishes"
“My family and I spend Christmas Eve every year cozied up around my parent's dining room table, just a few feet away from our Christmas tree. We've participated in the "Feast of the Seven Fishes" for as long as I can remember and it's certainly become my favorite holiday tradition. We make homemade pasta with stewed tomatoes, sherry and calamari (squid), baked filet of fish (typically tilapia or flounder), lobster tails, mussels and clams with white wine and butter, and fried butterflied shrimp. Before we dive into all that seafood, and we ALWAYS, always crack open a bottle of Asti Spumanti sparkling wine before dinner. “

(Wouldn’t you love to spend Christmas Eve at the Curatolo’s house?)

Sara Geen Hill celebrates the holiday Scottish style
“Since meeting my husband Dan - a Scotsman - we've begun the tradition of heading to the UK each holiday season to visit his family. During our first trip three years ago, we headed to Edinburgh for my first authentic fish & chips experience, and the Hogmanay street party - what a fun celebration! Then over to London for sightseeing. This year's visit will surely be more low-key when we bring our baby boy for his first visit.”

Chandra Dillon on safari!
“My family trip to South Africa is my favorite holiday travel story--three weeks of visiting family, traveling the country and of course, going on safari.”

Kelly Brewer gets festive with family and football!
“Christmas Eve is all about the Seven Fishes with my fiance and his family (I'm with you, Dana!) In between courses of pasta and every other seafood imaginable, we will have the Giants/Jets football game on. We are divided between support for the two teams, but I'll be rooting for Big Blue! Christmas Day we spend with my family and despite being adults, my parents love to make my sisters and me feel like kids again. Cookies are still put out for Santa - that's right, I said it!"
Meredith Phares’ holiday (disaster) in the English countryside
“The Phares family has taken some interesting vacations over the years, but the holiday trip that really takes the cake was definitely when we flew to the south of England for a "genealogical adventure" to trace the roots of my grandmother's family. Somehow, the region experienced its first hurricane in seven years during our travels and we had to cover ourselves from golf-ball-sized hail as we explored the English countryside. I'm grateful to this day that my brother was a college lacrosse player, as we got stuck in a historic stone church with only candlelight - until he powered the heavy doors open after 30 minutes of panic. Happy holidays, indeed!”

Stephanie Preston trims the tree with care
“My favorite holiday tradition is hanging ornaments on the tree with my mom. My favorite is a beautiful, hand-painted ball that I brought back from Germany. That or the little robin perched on a clothespin that I made in kindergarten (how the Elmer's glue has held up for 20 years is beyond me)! “

Seasons Greetings to all and best wishes for wherever your travel takes you in the New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Just back from...Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island!

LDPR's Laura Davidson, Sara Geen Hill, Meredith Phares and Chandra Dillon are just back from an exciting new client - the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Meredith shares the team's experience during the trip.

Just 2.5 hours after departing New York City, we arrived at the stunning Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a festive winter wonderland setting including a dazzling Swarovsky decorated Christmas tree in the living room, and a buffet of candy jars filled with holiday goodies. When I entered my ocean view guest room, I was greeted with two freshly-baked pumpkin muffins alongside an apple and a pot of caramel (how fabulous is that, for a welcome amenity?). After a quick sample and a bit of unpacking, I met the group for lunch in the resort's Club Room, where they serve a classic American bistro menu amidst wood-paneled walls, red leather chairs and a roaring fireplace.

Throughout the afternoon, we met with various members of the Ocean House staff, from Food Forager Jan Faust Dane to Spa Director Renee Gwaltney, whose OH! Spa just received the coveted Five Star ranking from Forbes Travel Guide. For dinner, the LDPR team gathered in Seasons restaurant to experience the restaurant's highly-acclaimed farm-to-table cuisine. The menu in Seasons changes daily and is based on the chef's inspiration from what's local and fresh each day at the nearby farms and farmers' markets. That evening, we feasted on a medley of butternut squash soup, seasonal greens, scallops and steak and tried samples of the resort's signature "Ocean House" and "Snow Day" cocktails. 

After a restful sleep in my inviting feather top bed enveloped in sumptuous Frette linens, it was time to depart for New York City. Til next time, Watch Hill!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Smartphones aren't just for Facebook status or Foursquare check-in.  Great deals rest in the palm of your hand!  A recent USA Today article by Roger Yu takes a closer look at how mobile technology feeds last-minute travelers appetite for savings. Click here to view.

Speaking of mobile, this article poses another question about empowered impuse travelers. Are they more likely to be on the lookout for QR (quick response) codes?  In early 2011, answered FAQs about QR and highlighted, which offers a Quick Find Reader tool.  Definitely a page worth bookmarking.

Ever wonder what QR is all about? Click here and you'll find out!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

LDPR Named the PR Agency for the Ocean House, Watch Hill, Rhode Island

 LDPR announces the newest, exciting addition to our client roster: Ocean House, a luxury Victorian-era seaside resort in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. An ideal locale for romantic escapes, close-to-home family vacations, destination weddings and mid-week business retreats, the Ocean House offers 49 guest rooms and 23 private residences. The resort re-opened in 2010 after a $140 million rebuild and restoration, and currently boasts such amenities as OH! Spa, which recently joined Forbes Travel Guide's prestigious Five-Star spa list, and an outstanding culinary program that is immersed in the farm-to-table lifestyle. At the center of the F&B team, dedicated Food Forager Jan Faust Dane travels to regional farms and farmer's markets year-round to ensure that guests are experiencing the highest quality, freshest ingredients possible.  

Additionally, LDPR will represent the Ocean House's nearby sister property, The Weekapaug Inn, when it opens in fall 2012. For more information about the Ocean House visit or call LDPR at 212-696-0660.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Just Back From...New Zealand!

The green beauty of New Zealand 

LDPR's executive vice president Leslie Cohen just returned from an amazing trip to the youngest country on earth -- New Zealand -- and shares some highlights.

I was fortunate to represent LDPR at the 56th annual convention of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) held in Wellington, New Zealand in November 2011.  Realizing what a tremendous opportunity it would be, I added time before and after the business meetings to tour with my husband Rich. 

Me and the famous Kiwi bird (full disclosure: it's not real since they are nocturnal animals)
We started the journey on the  food & wine trail of the Hawke's Bay region, located on the east coast of the North Island.  From the moment we landed we were greeted with Kia Ora which means welcome in the native Maori culture. Hawke's Bay is known for its culinary innovation and cultural diversity. We were in awe of the natural beauty which was only matched by the friendliness of the locals. I want to give a special "shout out" to our New Zealand tourism guide, Vicky Roebuck, who was an outstanding ambassador.  We visited Napier, which has a unique Art Deco heritage, and spent an amazing overnight at the Farm at Cape Kidnappers, a luxury lodge set within a real working farm.  Rich and I agreed it was one of the most special places we have ever stayed at.

Then it was on to Wellington, the site of the SATW convention, where I reunited with many friends and colleagues. I think it was one of the largest attended conferences, with more than 400 participants including writers, editors, bloggers, photographers, PR people like me, and spouses. It was a wonderful five days of professional development, networking, sightseeing and attending the media marketplace session for one-on-one meetings with the press.  I have to commend the SATW leadership for organizing such a professional and memorable program!  Since Rich is a big fan of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, I signed us up for a half-day tour of "Middle Earth" lead by an actor who was in all three films. He showed some of the locations and provided behind-the-scenes stories. Many people were talking about the "Hobbit," which is currently filming in the country. It seems that director Peter Jackson is quite the local celebrity and has done a lot to develop the film-making industry in New Zealand.

Some call Wellington, "Wellywood" for its movie-making magic
Then we flew to Tauranga to the Coromandel/Bay of Plenty coastline region, also on the North Island This part of the trip was more active (thank goodness since we had been eating nonstop!).  Here we enjoyed an evening kayak trip to view glow worms, hiked in the bush with Kiwi Dundee, relaxed in the salt water pools by Mount Maunganui and paddled a sea kayak to Cathedral Cove.  

Rich and me at Cathedral Cove
Rich and I thoroughly enjoyed our New Zealand trip and highly recomend friends add it to their own "bucket list."


My photo
For over 20 years LDPR has guided some of the world’s most prestigious travel brands through an evolving media landscape with creativity, professionalism and enthusiasm. We are a highly driven and innovative travel and lifestyle public relations agency based in New York City with a global roster of clients from destinations and tour companies to exclusive private islands, hotels and resorts. Our unique culture is defined by our collaborative and strategic approach to working with clients, media and our staff, leading to a strong partnership with measurable results.