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Off to Tampa to meet the people and watch the Rays

I am flying to Tampa Florida this morning, four days in a city I've never seen, and a chance to schmooze and sit on a panel. I will be joining members of the Public Relations Society of America, at their annual travel conference. The group is made up of PR pros and representatives from destinations around the US and the world.  I always look forward to a trip to a new place. I've got time to hang out by the pool today, go to a big 0

In Deerfield, perhaps the best idea is to hire an assistant to Kayce Warren

I must admit, I sympathize with the Deerfield Selectboard in their quest to find a new Town Administrator. I attended a meeting a month back and they had three candidates to be interviewed. To me, it was clear that one guy stood above the rest, but after deliberating, the board felt completely differently. They are limited in how much conversation and meetings they are allowed to have between them because of open meeting laws, so they hadn't really gotten that much time to talk about 0

Riding the Lisbon waterfront: no room for cars

Didier Mimoso remembers a time back in 2008 when the monthly revenues from his bike rental service in Lisbon totalled what they now make in one day. He told his manager, Tania Galda, to hang in there--things would get better...and six years later, both Didier and Tania have lots of reasons to smile. Bikeiberia now owns hundreds of bikes and rents to dozens of companies all over Spain and Portugal, and they blazed the bike trail back before biking was such a popular way to 1

How much do things cost in Portugal?

 I joined our guide Paulo and Gilberto, the manager of the Hotel Quinta das Lagrimas here in Coimbra for dinner last night in the very ornate formal dining room of their Arcadas restaurant. There, as courses were paired with local wines, I asked them about how much things cost in Portugal and how they thought the economy was doing. That's one topic that is freely discussed with foreigners here and the general tone is that things are terrible--but they used to be even worse.   Young 0

Asparagus Fest in Hadley this Saturday: Music and spears in the Valley's 'grass capital!

When I am traveling, sometimes I tell people about the part of the USA where I live. If I’m traveling in May or June, I often explain that I come from the part of the world where the finest asparagus on Earth is grown. That’s one of the best ways to describe our Happy Valley, we’re where Hadley Grass makes us all famous. If you, like me, love asparagus and all that it symbolizes as a rite of summer-a-coming, and even love that first whiff 0

Armagnac is the lifeblood of Le Gers, Southwest France

Throughout my visit here in Le Gers, Midi-Pyrenees, there has been one consistent element that has bound together every person we met, every place we saw, and even what we ate. That has been the ancient, sacred drink of Armagnac, which we have sniffed, sipped and quaffed in elegant salons, mold-covered barns, dark ancient cellars and in elegant tasting rooms. Even the little railroad track machines we rode in Nogaro are named for this 40-47% alcohol distilled beverage. It's as much a part of the 0

She’s bluer than blue at Bleu de Lectoure in Le Gers, France

Denise Simeon-Lambert has a blue Jaguar parked outside her blue shop which is called Bleu de Lectoure. Her house is blue and she wears a lovely blue scarf on top of a shirt that's stained with blue dye. Behind her sit vats of dye and every imaginable thing you can think of is colored this dusty color blue. [caption id="attachment_7978" align="alignleft" width="300"] Denise Simeon-Lambert in her dye shop in Lectoure, France.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7981" align="alignleft" width="300"] But depending on what the dyes is applied to the 0

Midi-Pyrenees: France’s largest region and home of Armagnac

I"ll be blogging for the next six days from the Midi-Pyrenees region of France, located in the central southern part of the country just above the Pyrenees, with the center being the big capital city of Toulouse. I learned that this is France's largest region by geography, but that there aren't a lot of people here. I'm one of eight bloggers who are fanning out across the entire country to spend the week blogging, tweeting and paying a lot of media attention on the many 0

Running in Toulouse, before the city wakes up

Today I took advantage of a time zone difference to rise and shine at 4:45 am. It was the perfect time to go running here in downtown Toulouse, and when I hit the streets at 5:15 am, there was no one to be seen. Years ago, a resident told me, Toulouse was a dirty city. Now the mayor insists on sweepers and washers like this who clean up every morning making the streets shine. Canal du Midi, the famous watery highway that you can navigate 0

Three men vie for Deerfield town manager job, one clearly is the right choice

Zimmerman, Bissonette and Golas I joined my neighbors at Deerfield Town Hall last night to meet the three candidates for town administrator. After meeting each one in person, and then listening to their extensive answers, I've created a Zagat-style summary of each man, and some of their mannerisms and quotes. Then I'll tell you which one, by far and away, is the rightperson for this job. Andrew Golas Andrew Golas, executive assistant for town of Palmer Appears to be less than half the age of 0