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about Traveltizers™ and our other travel stories....


Traveltizers
trav • el • tiz • ers (träv' el ti' zerz) n., pl.
                          1. travel appetizers
                          2. stories that whet the appetite for travel

WINNER OF EXCELLENCE AWARD — NAMPA — 2013
[North America Mature Publishers Association]

We started Traveltizers™ in December 2009 as a way to reach people who are eager to explore the world beyond Disney. We now have agreements with more than a dozen magazines and newspapers that focus on subjects that interest active, engaged adults.

Many of our stories feature domestic locations. Our story on an intergenerational visit to a Wyoming ranch appeared in eight publications and was a cover story for three of them. Ditto our story on swamps in Georgia and Florida. Both reached more than 1.4 million folks.

Our readers also enjoy learning about international destinations. An article on a cost-effective way to see China ran in nine publications and reached nearly 1.5 million people. A subsequent one on a Viking River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest was featured in ten publications and reached just shy of 1.6 million readers.

We figure we're doing something right because we get the nicest letters from both editors and readers. John D., a fan from Michigan, put it nicely. "Your pen is like a bus that zips me out of our sometimes way-too-penned-in lives to places that sound a lot more exciting. That, to me, is what a good travel piece ought to do."

Thanks, John D. We have a lot more places to zip you to.

 Other Travel Stories
Newspapers • Magazines
Trade Journals • On-line sites

NORTHERN LIGHTS AWARD — 2012  
CANADA TOURISM COMMISSION

Writing about travel not only lets us explore different places; it also lets us explore different topics

Sometimes our articles highlight festivals, like a sunrise purification ceremony on a Hawaiian beach. Sometimes they have a historical bent, such as the one that took readers to a "Secret City" in Tennessee that played a major role in the Allied victory in World War II. Yet other stories focus on outdoor activities, culinary spots, wine and, often—such as our many articles on crafting—they focus on art.

"Crafting," a word we coined more than 15 years ago, is best defined as "the art of getting to know a place—its history, its traditions, and its people—through its handmade objects.” 

We’ve explored the world of crafting in the United States as well as abroad and written about it for numerous publications. We even did a book, Handcrafted in the Blue Ridge, on the crafts and craftspeople of western North Carolina.

While we revel in foreign travel—and have traveled to places as little known as Bhutan and Tonga—we also like to see how the infusion of many different cultures has made the United States such a wonderfully diverse country. To that end, we’ve written many, many articles on “domestic travel with
 international flavor,” stories that focus on the many small towns and urban enclaves where visitors can taste the food, hear the music and see the art of distant lands, all without leaving the United States.

All told, we’ve visited all but three states and nearly fifty countries and given our readers a glimpse of most of them. We’ve a long way to go and hope that you’ll join us in our future travels.

Here, a glimpse of several stories. 


England's Storied Countryside

Appeared in seven publications and reached 1.35 million readers as part of our Traveltizers program that targets "boomers and beyond"



It's the fourth day of my English countryside tour, and I'm finally becoming fluent in English expressions. For example, I now know that the plug in my 

hotel room must be “earthed,” the reflector in the middle of the road is a “cat's eye,” and that when the coach pulls off the motorway, I'll have time to "nip to the loo" or—my personal favorite—"go for a tea and a wee."


I'm also becoming more familiar with English extremes—the grand castles and manor houses of the aristocracy and the small villages of the common folks. Their lifestyles are, as our guide from Insight Vacations would say, as different as "chalk and cheese."


We spend eleven days weaving along two-lane roads 

bordered by fields of barley in the south and pastures of Blackface sheep in the north. While modern homes surround some of the mid-size cities, the small towns are filled with buildings that often date back hundreds of years. Some are made of hand-hewn brick, others of stacked stone. Some, especially in the Cotswolds, are tawny gold while those in the north are industrial gray. But all have narrow streets, roofs rippled with age and bright-hued flowers that scramble up the walls. In short, they’re all picture-postcard perfect. 

We stop in several of the villages, especially those with literary connections....         

 [Please let
 us know if you'd like to see the entire article.] 


Crafting Across Canada

Won Canadian Tourism Commission's Northern Lights Award for one of the best articles on Canada



Sarah Beck is painting glaze on one of her whimsical sculpted puffins and chatting with us at the same time. "I'm a fiddler as well as a potter," she tells us. She turns to her husband, Paul Cranford, who's sitting next to her, working on his computer. "Why don't you play something for them?" she suggests.
    
And that's how my husband and I find ourselves enjoying an impromptu ceilidh [pronounced kay-lee], a Scottish fiddling party. We're crafting the roads of Canada, talking to craftspeople, learning about their crafts, their life and the communities of which they're a part.
 
Sarah and Paul live in a Scottish area of Cape Breton, an island on the northeastern tip of Nova Scotia. "I'm part Scottish, but I'm also French, Irish and English," says Paul. "That just another way of saying I'm Canadian!"

He then reveals that he spends alternate months as a keeper on the last manned lighthouse in the Maritimes, Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy. The Island, he tells us, is part of a border dispute between the U.S. and Canada, has been since 1830. There are big stakes—fishing rights and potentially offshore oil rights. Who knew?

It's conversations like this, plus, of course, the opportunity to see (and purchase!) top quality crafts, that make crafting such a pleasure. My husband and I coined the word twenty years ago; it's since become our favorite way to travel.

We buy a raku puffin, as much for the story as for the sculpture, and head down the road to visit with Gordon Kennedy....

 [Please let
 us know if you'd like to see the entire article.] 
 

New Colorado Dude Ranch


Appeared on Just Luxe, a website for the affluent that reaches 400,000 viewers every month. A similar story appeared in a lead position on LA Splash, a site that has 30+ million hits and over a million unique viewers every month. 



To say that High Lonesome Ranch, located in the high mesas of northwestern Colorado, is immense is an understatement. With 300 square miles of leased and permitted land, it’s bigger than 25 of the nation’s 58 national parks.                     

To say that it’s lonesome requires some elaboration. It’s not lonesome in the sense of barren, although vegetation is sparse due to the high altitude (5,000 to 9,000 feet) and dry climate. But the endless vistas are interspersed with valleys of green, thus creating a landscape that is both open and welcoming. 

It's also not lonesome in the sense of empty. There are animals aplenty—deer, elk, bear, moose, antelope, mountain lion, Big Horn Sheep and, since 2010, wolves, which returned to the state after a seventy-year hiatus.                         

     


But the ranch is lonesome in the luxurious sense of secluded. Although it's only a few miles from Interstate 70, the main route across the Rockies, stars shine undisturbed by passing lights, and the night silence is broken only by the rustle of a tree or the distant sound of an animal....


 [Please let
 us know if you'd like to see the entire article.] 

St. Louis' Italian Hill

Appeared as part of our column for Home & Away, an AAA (American Automobile Association) publication. The column, International USA, focused on "domestic travel with international flavor" and ran twice monthly for two years.


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Church bells that ring every hour on the hour, outdoor dining venues, mom-and-pop shops and not a chain store in sight... "That's amore," as Dean Martin used to sing. 
That's also The Hill in St. Louis, one of the country's most vibrant Italian-American communities. 

Only eight miles from downtown St. Louis, The Hill is approximately one-and-a-half square miles and immediately recognizable by fire hydrants painted the red, white and green of the Italian flag. Informal surveys show that about 60 percent of the 3,800 residents are of Italian ancestry, and approximately 15 percent were born in Italy. This means Italian is often spoken and backslapping Italiano greetings are commonplace.

The first Italians to settle on The Hill came from northern Italy in the 1880s to work in the clay mines. Later the southern Italians, especially the Sicilians, moved into the area. Traditionally less reserved than their northern compatriots, they enlivened the mix, and today there's a palpable warmth to the neighborhood.

Food, Food and More Food

To visit The Hill is to eat and eat well. The best strategy is to supper-snak: eating an appetizer at one restaurant, a salad at another, a main course at a third and, if you can manage it, dessert at a fourth....  
 

[Please let us know if you'd like to see the entire article.] 


Christmas at America's Castles

Appeared in publications in nine states as part of our Traveltizers program for "boomers and beyond"




I have a hard time imagining what I'd do with a 175,000 square foot home—or even with a relatively small 60,645 square foot home. (For comparison's sake, the average new home in the United States is 2,500 square feet.) But then, I'm not a Vanderbilt or Hearst.

Their homes—The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC and the aptly named Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA—are among the largest homes in the United States, and at Christmas they are opulent, outrageous and—in these recessionary times—over-the-top. 


The Biltmore Estate


It’s not easy to impress relatives, especially when their last name is Vanderbilt. But young George III—grandson of Cornelius, the great railroad tycoon—managed to do just that when he invited his family to Christmas Eve dinner back in 1895.

His relatives traveled by private railway from New York to the then-small town of Asheville, North Carolina. There amid the mountains of southern Appalachia, George welcomed them to his new home, a luxurious estate that rivaled the grandest French chateaux. 


His niece, Gertrude, was appropriately awed. “I have seldom enjoyed a place so much,” she reportedly exclaimed.

Of course, even without Christmas glitter, the estate is statistically and artistically staggering....

         


[Please let us know if you'd like to see the entire article.] 


Blow Your Worries Away — Literally

Appeared in publications in the United States, Canada, Australia and Singapore




The first night I crack my head when I sit up in bed. No headroom. The second day I strain my back when I help hoist the sails. No know-how. By the third day I've caught the rhythm. I'm  sea-steady if not sea-savvy, acclimated if not accomplished and totally, completely relaxed.  


"Wicked nice, isn't it?" says Frank Hollis, a born-and-bred New Englander who's been sailing all his life. I start to answer but the wind whips my words and I can only nod happily. We're doing twelve knots, the deck is pitched at 45 degrees and the sky is cloudless blue. 

Wicked nice? You bet!

My husband and I are aboard the American Eagle, an authentic Maine windjammer and National Historic Landmark. Seventy-five years ago she was hauling fish off the shores of Gloucester; today, having been lovingly and expertly refurbished by owner/captain John Foss, she carries passengers on four- to six-day cruises around Penobscot Bay, which is in the mid-coast of Maine about 90 miles north of Portland....


[Please let us know if you'd like to see the entire article.]