Discovering Discovery Map

The Evolution of a Discovery Map

I hope you’ve had a chance to read my story Touring Country Stores in Stowe, Vermont with Mom. I think the photos are pretty nice, too. I give most of the credit to the subject matter–everywhere you turn there’s another photogenic scene in this endearing New England state.

Actually my main reason for heading up to northern Vermont was to meet the folks at Discovery Map. You can tell from my Touring Country Stores story, however, that mom and I were a bit sidetracked. Oops! Shopping and touring can do that to you, especially when it involves mothers and daughters in Vermont country stores.

Discovery Map

But just about forty minutes south of Stowe, on our drive home, we pulled into Waitsfield, Vermont, a charming town in the heart of the Green Mountains that serves as home to Discovery Map International. Whether the name is familiar to you or not, I’m sure you would recognize the cheery, hand-drawn maps that you pick up in travel destinations all over the U.S. You know–the colorful ones full of whimsy that highlight restaurants, shops, places of lodging, cultural sites and a flourish of other attractions?

A Veritable Library of Discovery Maps

Checking Out a Map

Looking in the Map Drawers

People might never imagine that most aspects of the production of these maps take place in a sleepy little town in rural Vermont. Yay! Their origins are as heartfelt and homespun as the maps themselves. With well more than a hundred maps throughout the country and beyond, it’s hard to believe that they are all born here. But it’s true and I hope you will enjoy meeting the team behind them through the photos in this post.

Since I started to write content for Discovery Map’s website, I’ve had a lot of email contact with Susan Klein, the oh-so efficient Operations Administrator who is clearly a multitasker extraordinaire. So, of course, I wanted to put a face to a name, even if it was just a brief encounter.

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Basic Stupidity from United Airlines

The Supervisor and the Checkin Agent at United

With all the traveling I’ve been doing these past eighteen months–mostly going back and forth between upstate New York and Colorado–I guess I was due for a bad airline experience. Sure, I’ve had upsets this past year and a half, at least two that forced me to stay over at a connecting city because of a flight cancelled due to supposed mechanical problems. (I’m told that’s what airlines say and do these days when a plane isn’t packed to the gills.) But yesterday, I felt the full brunt of lousy customer service.

I arrived with some trepidation at the airport to check in at United for my Albany to Chicago to Denver travel itinerary. I had already received a few updates stating that my flight was delayed due to thunderstorms in Chicago. OK, that’s acceptable, that’s an act of nature that has forced me to be grounded in Chicago several times before. That’s not the fault of the airlines. These storms goofed up the arrival of the inbound flight to Albany, so I just had to take a deep breath and hope for the best.

But the real trouble began when the checkin agent told me I had to check my rolling carryon at checkin. “Are you serious?” I exclaimed. “That’s not at all what I was told.”

United’s Basic Economy

“You have a Basic Economy ticket and that’s what you have to do,” the agent replied without a hint of an apology.

I proceeded to explain to him that I knew I had a Basic Economy ticket and that’s why I packed the way I did. I booked it two months ago and checked the restrictions four times over with the agent I spoke with on the phone. (I always do check, double check to practically ad nauseam. My father was in WWII and he said that was the rule of the land–no one could afford any mistakes. And I learned well from Dad.) Since this is a new reduced fare that United recently launched, I questioned the agent up and down and then planned my strategy accordingly.

It was my understanding that I was not allowed to check a bag although I could check a carryon at the gate at the cost of $50. each way ($25. for the bag; $25. for the handling fee). I thought it odd that I’d be paying for anything at the gate but the agent I spoke with was insistent upon that. (She did have a thick accent, so in retrospect, I can only think something was lost in our ability to understand each other.)

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Travel, Grief and Reunions

Mom’s Ratatouille: the Best Kind of Comfort Food

As many Americans hit the road this holiday weekend, it’s good to remember that not everyone you encounter is traveling for pleasure. Despite the sea of shorts, flip flops and skimpy T-shirts, not everyone is headed for summertime fun. Travel encompasses a flood of circumstances and situations, complexities that compound the stress of hitting the road in a multitude of ways.

This is fresh in my mind because just a week ago I scrambled to move up an established departure date to the east coast (from Colorado) by four days. Within twenty-four hours, I had to make the changes to my travel arrangements, which included rescheduling the flight (for me and my cat), my ride to the airport–a one-and-a-half-hour drive–as well as my pick up, my hotel stay the night before and packing and organizing for a three-and-a-half-week stay, all of which needed to be accomplished while under a certain amount of duress. Phew! It was hectic. I even had to work in a veterinary visit in order for my kitty to obtain a current health certificate for his travels.

It was worth it though, since this change allowed me to be home in time for the funeral of my uncle.

Oops, did I catch you off guard?

I often say that if you want to create an awkward moment in a conversation, bring up death and dying.

Well, I hope you’ll read on because death and dying are a part of life. And as I become older, it seems as though I have to face this more and more. And no matter how old someone is, the loss of this person still brings up a heap of emotions. Since I have learned of the passing of a loved one from afar numerous times and then have had to pull it together for a long flight home, I’d like to share with you some tips that might help to console you or a loved one during such tender times. more »

Adventure Travel Love for You and KOTO

Hiking Mt. Wilson:  Adventure Travel at Its Best in Colorado

Hiking Mt. Wilson, a 14er: Adventure Travel at Its Best in Colorado

I think it’s so cool that we have some of the best adventure specialists based right here in Telluride, Colorado. It makes sense, since Telluride and the outlying region provide the perfect terrain for heading out and exploring the great outdoors whether you’re cycling, hiking, skiing, fishing, climbing or jeeping. Some of these guiding greats have done so well in the region that they also conduct tours beyond southwestern Colorado, as far away as the other side of the globe, in fact.

A few of these companies have generously offered tours to KOTO’s current fundraising campaign. I’ll be chatting more about these adventure specialists on tomorrow night’s Travel Fun, a special live edition of my talk show on travel, which airs Thursday, September 17, A LITTLE EARLIER THAN USUAL at 6:20 pm mountain time.

I have been doing this show for almost eleven years and you can find many of my interviews posted on my blog as podcasts. If you have enjoyed Travel Fun, I encourage you to contact me to make a pledge or a donation. You can also show your love by snatching up one of the below tours at a deeply-discounted price. Thanks to Lizard Head Cycling Guides, Telluride Mountain Guides, Telluride Adventures/San Juan Outdoor Adventures and Telluride Offroad, here’s what I have to offer:

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FlipKey and Me

Ski In/Ski Out in Telluride Where Your Instructor Meets You at Your Rental

Ski In/Ski Out in Telluride Where Your Instructor Meets You at Your Rental

Biarritz Beauty

Biarritz Beauty

Vacation rentals have been experiencing tremendous growth from Telluride to Tokyo–the key is to make sure you land one that delights you. That means it’s a good idea to consider verified guest reviews for the properties you’re considering and FlipKey, a vacation rental service largely owned by TripAdvisor, provides that and more.

Paris Rental

Paris Rental

The “more” includes terrific photos and descriptions about each destination along with expert input. Voilà, that’s where I come in, since I’m now one of FlipKey’s experts for Telluride, Colorado.

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The Thrill of a Bike Race

The Start of the USA Pro Challenge in Aspen

The Start of the USA Pro Challenge in Aspen

Sexy Cyclists

Sexy Cyclists

More Good-Looking Guys

More Good-Looking Guys

I’m here at my desk amid piles and piles of papers, cards, brochures and miscellaneous other remnants from an action-packed trip to the USA Pro Challenge, which took place here in Colorado last week. I also just spent a couple of hours going through a slew of images from time spent at this exciting bike race. I met cyclists and bystanders, travel suppliers and promoters, journalists and commentators, fans of all ages, shapes and sizes, avid cycling enthusiasts, amateur bike riders and tons of folks just out for a good time.

There’s nothing like a big sporting event to bring people together, especially when it’s on wheels and it travels to different locations along the way. Many people followed the seven days of racing–an extraordinary route that began in Aspen and finished in Denver as it traversed some of the world’s highest mountain passes, most scenic valleys and most beloved Colorado destinations. I hit the USA Pro Challenge in Aspen, Crested Butte and Gunnison and boy, did I soak up every minute of fun I could find within that four-day period.

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6 Aug 2014, 1:15pm
Colorado Denver Hotels & Lodging Podcasts Restaurants Shopping Travel:
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Comments Off on Dana Crawford Chats About the Opening of Denver’s Restored Union Station and The Crawford Hotel

Dana Crawford Chats About the Opening of Denver’s Restored Union Station and The Crawford Hotel

Denver's Union Station

Denver’s Union Station

I rarely write about a place without having visited it, however, in this case, I can do it with the utmost confidence. I’m talking about the newly restored Union Station in Denver and a splendid hotel housed within:  The Crawford. Both have been a labor of love of for Dana Crawford and Sage Hospitality, and Colorado is abuzz about the reopening of this landmark station and the unveiling of this unique hotel. Listen to what Ms. Crawford has to say about this enormous project, her passion for restoration and future plans in the works in my Travel Fun interview below.

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10 Jul 2014, 11:14am
Arizona Restaurants The Southwest Travel:
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Comments Off on My Mom: A True Original

My Mom: A True Original

My Mom:  Mary Ellen Trigger Rogers Clemente

My Mom: Mary Ellen Trigger Rogers Clemente

“I was great for telling stories,” my mom, née Mary Ellen Rogers, told me as we sipped frosty beers and munched on chips and salsa in an old cowboy bar in Scottsdale, Arizona. “When I was a  young girl, my neighbor had a beautiful horse called Suntan,” she continued. “I dreamed of having a horse, so I started telling the story that Roy Rogers was my uncle. It was a plausible story, since my father was from Wyoming and, of course, my last name was Rogers.”

As I listened to my mom recount this tale—one that I had heard before but was relishing even more beneath the sweltering summer heat of Arizona here in this beloved watering hole where so many had come before–I sensed that she had lived this story so much that she almost believed it to be true. “When I was in the sixth grade, I had a leather belt with letters that hung down, spelling out TRIG. You know, as in Trigger, Roy Rogers’s horse. I was tall with long, bushy, blond hair, so I did sort of look like a horse.”

“I remember people calling you Trig,” I said.

“Yes, a few people—those that are still alive—still do,” my mom added as she scooped up the chunky salsa with her tortilla chip.

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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