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Category: Eastern USA

#4 Branson Missouri; Guest-Lynn Berry; Blackwater Kayaking; Stonington Maine

Podcast Release Date: May 11, 2015

Subscribe to the Travel Hag Podcast in iTunes


Branson, Missouri has 50 theaters with 100 live shows every week. Lynn Berry, Director of the Branson, MO CVB discusses live entertainment, theme parks, museums, spas, outdoor trails for hiking, biking and equestrians and the gorgeous land of the Ozarks.  Mindie talks about the blackwater kayaking trails on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as well as kayaking trails in Stonington, Maine


Lynn Berry, Director of Communications for the Branson, MO CVB
Lynn joined the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau as the Director of Public Relations in 2007 and was recently named Director of Communications. Working with staff, consultants and community committees, Lynn oversees the CVB’s public relations, publicity and media relations team.


Lynn explains that the Branson became a tourism hub was because of the novel that Harold Bell Wright wrote in 1907 called Shepherd of the Hills – Wright was a minister and was in Branson for 4 years. He wrote about the authentic Ozark hospitality.People came to have the similar experience. Shepherd of the Hills was the 1st Best Seller on the NYT list.

Highlights of Travel to Branson MO are:

  • 1. Shows – Live shows – 50 theaters and 100 live shows performed each week.
    Lennon sisters, Osmonds, Jimmy Osmond recently purchased Andy Williams’ Moon River Theater
    Acrobat Troops – New Shanghai Circus
    Adventures of Marco Polo and the White House Theater
  • Silver Dollar City – 55 year old theme park started as a place to continue to show the history of the craftsmen and artisans in the Ozarks. Barrel builders, coppersmith, glass blowers. 120 demonstrating craftsmen. Sits on 100 acres.. rated one of the top ten theme parks in the world. 30 roller coaster rides and 6 shows. Williamsburg of the Ozarks.
  • Titanic Museum – built by people who were on the missions that found the Titanic. Purchased artifacts from the survivors families. Half scale 1/2 half size replica of the Titanic. Very interactive and Disneyesk.
  • Fishing – draft boats on the White River, Only 3 rivers in the US that flow north and they are all in the Ozarks.
  • Boat tours – showboat tours – Showboat Branson Bell (show and cruise on Table Rock Lake – dining experience)
  •  Hiking and Biking trail
  • Dogwood Canyons – 10,000 acre paradise. Gaylene is doing a zipline adventure
  • College of the Ozarks – Students can attend while working and graduate debt free. One of about 5 in the country. Offer a little over 30 degrees.
  • 82 miles for hiking and biking, separate equestrian trails as well.

Eureka springs AK – a lot of energy in Eureka Springs.  Old hotel there is very nice – 1886 Crescent Hotel 

The Difference between a cemetery and a graveyard  – graveyard is in the yard of a church, cemetery is a detached burial site
Charleston ghost tours (Bull Dog Tours) 


Places to flatwater kayak
Maryland flatwater kayaking trails
Stonington, Maine – the largest archipelago on the East Coast of the USA

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge  – in Dorchester County, Maryland 250 species of birds, 35,000 geese fly over Blackwater in the Fall. It’s in the Atlantic flyway. undeveloped landscape, miles and miles of salt marsh, wildlife and trails. Little Blackwater River, Transquaking River. Stop at Visitor Center and talk with one of the rangers. Also at the visitor center they have a live Osprey Cam and live Eagle Cam where a web cams show live shots of the osprey and eagle nests. This is especially interesting when the birds are hatching eggs.

Show the pics of the blackwater

Pocomoke River – blackwater – Town of Snow Hill, Maryland half hour drive to the Atlantic Beaches. Do the Porters Crossing kayaking trail. Get the assistance at the Pocomoke River Canoe Company  in Snow Hill. *Correction – Snow Hill is one half hour from the beach, not one half mile as Mindie incorrectly mentioned. 

Janes Island in Crisfield Maryland – Wide open marsh, water is faster, private beach as well as a campground.

Stonington, Maine is an exciting kayaking destination. Launch from Old Quarry Ocean Adventures. They have kayak rentals, guides, launch sites and even offer lessons.



Gaylene mentioned TripIt, a travel itinerary planner and Mindie gave an Instagram tip for using hashtags to meet other travelers in a destination.

Bonus Info

Doug MacKenzie, Media Relations Director at VisitPhoenix dropped in on our interview and gave a quick suggestion for the top 3 things to do in Phoenix

1. 200 golf courses – golf carts have air conditioning
2. Trails for adventure – hiking, mountain biking
3. 400K square feet of spa space (hot golf-ball massage), caviar facials, Native American treatments..

#3 The Oregon Coast, Assateague Island, Chincoteague Island, travel writer – Janna Graber

Podcast Release Date: May 6, 2015

Subscribe to the Travel Hag Podcast in iTunes


This week Gaylene talks about Canon Beach, Manzanita and Yachats on the Oregon Coast. Mindie talks about the wild ponies in Assateague National Seashore in Maryland and Virginia, Chincoteague and the Trimper Carousel in Ocean City, Maryland and guest Janna Graber talks about her two new travel anthologies, Chance Encounters and Adventures of a Lifetime. Also reviews … Eagle Creek Packing Cubes, and neckwallets.


Janna Graber – is a Colorado-based journalist, editor and producer. She has written for more than 40 publications. She’s also the author of two travel anthology books published by World Traveler Press. Find Janna on Twitter – @acoloradogirl

Chance Encounters collection of stories about how the people we meet when traveling can change our day or even change our life.

Adventures of a Lifetime: Travel Tales from Around the World

Janna is also the managing editor of an online travel magazine Go World Travel


Cannon Beach – Beaches are known for the haystack rocks. Three state parks around the beach. Each offers something unique.
Art Galleries, opened up the Cannon Beach distillery.

Manzanita – Much more quiet and reflective. Also home of the Bread and Ocean Bakery,
Yoga on the beach

Yachats – Overlea lodge and spa – best granola in the morning


Assateague is barrier island off the Maryland and Virginia Atlantic coastline. It has sweeping sand and almost no development and it also has a herd of wild ponies that descend from the Colonial settlers (or before).

Chincoteague is the gateway city of the Virginia side of the Assateague National Seashore.


Eagle Creek Packing Cubes

Ghost Story

The spirit of Trimper’s Carousel

Related Links

Assateague National Seashore

Assateague – National Park Foundation

Photo of Cannon Beach By Postdlf, CC-BY-SA-3.0 Wikimedia commons

For larger views of these pics, scroll through the slide show at the top of the page.

#2 The Eastern Shore, Nebraska Junk Jaunt, Oxford MD with Guest Cheryl Lewis

Podcast Release Date: April 28, 2015

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Mindie talks about the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia (also known as Delmarva Peninsula) mentioning kayaking, mansions, dining, beaches, historic towns and 73 museums. Gaylene tells about the annual Nebraska Junk Jaunt that covers 300 miles of registered vendors selling all kinds of great antiques and used wares along two of Nebraska’s most beautiful scenic byways. Gaylene also reviews Snap Kayaks, and guest, Cheryl Lewis, who is Town Manager of Oxford, Maryland tells about the unique opportunities for visitors to her historic Eastern Shore town.


Cheryl Lewis, Town Manager of Oxford, Maryland

The Eastern Shore

The “Eastern Shore” refers to a 200 mile-long peninsula on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay bordered on its opposite side by the Atlantic Ocean. The peninsula includes Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Also known as the Delmarva Peninsula.

Huge for fishing, boating, kayaking, hunting, canoeing, wine trails, 73 museums in the Maryland portion alone and there are numerous regional festivals most to do with food or history. Over 100 small historic towns area spread across the peninsula.

Things to do between the Bridge and the Beach

The Eastern Shore is famous for the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab.

The Town of Oxford is one of the Eastern Shore’s oldest communities. It was founded in 1693, and was one of two ports in Maryland when it began as a colony – Oxford and Annapolis. Still very much a Colonial town. Oxford Museum just celebrated 50 year anniversary http://www.oxfordmuseum.org/

Oxford History

Still has wooden boat builders – Cutts and Case just celebrated 50 years.
Working waterman’s community – people still work on the water. Oxford Belleview Ferry, one of the oldest privately owned Ferry in America – walk on, bike on, drive on. Goes to Belleview near St. Michaels.

Stay at the Robert Morris Inn – sits out on the water, has a tavern, fireplace and crab soup. 5 restaurants that operate in the summer. Nightly entertainment. Fabulous food from the kitchen of Chef Mark Salter
Haunted Robert Morris Inn –Lots of parks for a small town and public spaces, including small beaches. Gift shop, Mystery Loves Company Book Store 
You can contact the Oxford Town Office before you come and they’ll send a brochure and get you started once you come into town. Everything is in miniature and it’s very old and very friendly.
Scottish Creamery
Oxford Ghost Story – The Death Chant of the Indians at Bachelor Point

Cheryl’s top 3 recommendations for things to do on the Eastern Shore
Blackwater Wildlife Refuge – pleasant drive
St. Michaels 
Motorcycle riding – on all the country roads

Nebraska Junk Jaunt

The Nebraska Junk Jaunt covers 300 miles with 500 registered vendors. Travel through 2 of Nebraska’s most beautiful Scenic Byways. The Sandhills journey Byway and the Loup Rivers Scenic Byway. Pre-order the 2015 shopper guide for $10 to determine where you want to go.

Calamus State Recreation Area ( Campground)

GEAR REVIEW – Snap Kayaks

Snap Kayaks snap apart and can be reassembled in seconds. No need for roof rack or lifting, small enough to fit in the back of a Prius Notes – easy to carry, store and hauls Use modulars for on top solo, tandem or triple Extraordinary stable Manufactured in Syracuse, NY

For larger views of these pics, scroll through the slide show at the top of the page.

#1 Rocky Mountain National Park; Seboomook, ME, Sisters on the Fly, Book Reviews

Podcast Release Date: April 19, 2015

Subscribe to the Travel Hag Podcast in iTunes


Gaylene talks about Rocky Mountain National Park‘s 100th birthday. Mindie talks about camping in Maine’s remote north woods in a small town called Seboomook on the north shore of Moosehead Lake.  Gaylene tells about the Sisters on the Fly travel adventure group for women, and Mindie gives some unusual tips for using selfie-sticks. Both Mindie and Gaylene review three books that compelled them to travel – Susan Branch’s A Fine Romance, Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. 

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park  celebrated its 100th anniversary as a national park in 2015. It was founded in January of 1915. It is about 90 miles east of Denver. There are two bordering towns – Estes Park on the east side which is more touristy and home to the Stanley Hotel,  and Grand Lake  is on the west side and it is much quieter, rustic and less touristy.

Prior to the establishment of RMNP, the area was well known as the Dude Ranch capital.

Popular sites in Grand Lake are the Grand Lake Lodge, and there is an actual lake named “Grand Lake” and it is Colorado’s largest natural lake – also called “Spirit Lake” named for the Indian spirits who still linger after a great tragedy many years ago.

The RMNP offers great hunting, hiking and fishing and Grand Lake has the highest incorporated yacht club. It’s known for sailing.

Trail Ridge Road runs across the park from Estes Park to Grand Lake. It is the highest paved road in the USA 12,000 feet. Not open for traffic in the winter.

Sisters on the Fly

SISTERS ON THE FLY  is a women’s adventure group- Women on the Fly  – liked fly fishing.  Group is 5000 women. The group has the USA broken up into regions.  The offer Regional get-togethers and an annual meeting of about 100 at a campground. Many group activities, some rules, earn badges. Being at an adult girl scout badge. Don’t have a camper to join.

Seboomook, Maine

Seboomook Wilderness Campground on the northwest shores of Moosehead Lake. Open April – December.

Moosehead Lake  fishing, kayaking, canoeing with waterside camping sites that have lean-tos and hookups. Range from $20-$30 per night. Cabins also available.
Was once a Prisoner of War Camp
Henry David Thoreau used the Northeast Carey connector twice during his Maine Explorations

The Golden Road runs from Canada to Millinocket and is privately owned by logging and paper mill companies. Can travel on it, but must pay at the entry gates. Northwoods wilderness at its wildest.

Pittston Farm – near Seboomook – year round lodging and nice restaurant.

Selfie Stick – Tips and Uses

Selfie Stick – Perfect for digital cameras, camcorder, go pro and most cell phones. Makes a great tool for short travel videos and commentary. See how it’s used in this short video on a haunted bridge.


Under the Tuscan Sun – by Frances Mayes

A Fine Romance – Susan Branch

Susan Branch’s website 

Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert


Related Links

Grand Lake, Colorado by Train – California Zephyr Hits Granby Station 
Bear Lake in the Colorado Rocky Mountains – Step Into a Higher Existence
Stanley Hotel, Most Haunted Place in America 
Estes Park, Colorado – A Great Intro to the Rocky Mountains 


Mentioned in this podcast…… (for larger views of these images, scroll through the slideshow at the top of the page.


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