Politicians Will Do Just About Anything To Promote Tourism

bloomberg and cuomo in the adirondacksWhy would New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a 71-year-old with a net worth of at least $27 billion, agree to compete in a whitewater-rafting race against the governor of New York? Andrew Cuomo and Bloomberg haven’t always seen eye-to-eye but tourism promotion can make for strange bedfellows. The pair found themselves squaring off in six-man rafts in a race down the Indian River on Monday in an effort to boost tourism in New York state’s Adirondack region. Cuomo’s team smoked the New York City mayor and his crew by 18 seconds but the PR for the Adirondacks was unbeatable.

Bloomberg and Cuomo aren’t the first politicians to take part in a publicity stunt to promote tourism and they surely won’t be the last. President Obama took a swim in the Gulf of Mexico with daughter Sasha, then 9, in the wake of the BP oil spill in 2010 and got whipped by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in an arcade football game while on a post-Hurricane Sandy visit to the Jersey Shore designed to promote tourism in May. Arnold Schwarzenegger traveled all over the world to promote California as a tourist destination, even posing for hokey photos with clusters of grapes or with his mouth stuffed with oranges.

Other tourism promotion efforts haven’t been as successful. For example, in 2010, Virginia’s Governor, Bob McDonnell, had to apologize after declaring October “Confederate History Month” to promote tourism while failing to mention slavery in the proclamation.

Local and national tourism boards and private companies have also used peculiar promotions to boost destinations: South Korea is using pop star Psy of Gangnam style fame as an unofficial tourism ambassador, Chinese authorities had dozens of bikini clad beauties square off in a Gangnam style dance competition for the honor of promoting Chinese tourism, regional tourism boards in Australia have used “best job in the world” contests to promote tourism and the hotel chain Travelodge offered a free Christmas time stay to married couples named Mary and Joseph. By comparison, the brief race river race in the Adirondacks seems downright old school.

#OnTheRoad On Instagram: Lake Placid, New York

When driving from New York City to Lake Placid in the Adirondack Mountains, it’s hard not to be struck by how green everything is compared to the urban jungle of Manhattan. And now, this corner of the Adirondacks is promoting another kind of greenness in its quest to earn the title of America’s most environmentally friendly travel destination. This Earth Day and week, I’m exploring this fascinating region, as well as the components of an eco-conscious vacation. It’s not just about hanging up your towels if you don’t want them washed; it’s a whole state of mind. Feel free to follow my #OnTheRoad adventure on Instagram at @GadlingTravel.[Photo Credit: Jessica Marati]

10 Surprising Facts About The Adirondacks In New York

adirondacksMost people think of the Adirondack region in New York for its great hiking opportunities, but the area also holds a lot of records and history that many people don’t know about, locals included. To provide some information on the uniqueness of the Adirondacks, here is a list of 10 fun facts you probably didn’t know. Additionally, if you’d like a more visual tour of the area, check out the gallery below.

1. The Adirondack Chair was created in Westport, New York, on the Adirondack Coast of Lake Champlain.

2. The source of the Hudson River is located on the highest lake in New York State – Lake Tear of the Clouds on Mount Marcy – at 5,344 feet.

3. In 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as President of the United States at North Creek Station. This was after learning that President William McKinley – who had been shot a few weeks earlier – had died.

4. The Adirondack Mountains are growing faster than the Himalayas, at a rate of one foot every 100 years.

5. Lake Placid, located in the northern Adirondack Park, is one of three places in the world to host the Winter Olympic Games twice, once in 1932 and 1980. The village was the first place in North America to host the event twice.

6. The term “vacation” is said to have originated in the Adirondacks. Wealthy New Yorkers would “vacate” the city during the sticky summer months and head for the cool northern woods.

7. The Adirondack Park spans 6.1 million acres and is larger than the state of Massachusetts. In fact, several National Parks could fit inside the Blue Line (the line on a map that designates the outline of the park), including Glacier, Yosemite, the Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

8. The Adirondack Park is the largest park in the continental United States.

9. The Prospect House, built in Blue Mountain Lake, was the first hotel in the United States to have electric lights.

10. Painted Pony Rodeo in Lake Luzerne – five miles west of Lake George – is the oldest weekly rodeo in the United States.

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REI Adventures offers winter weekend getaways

Rei Adventures offers up some great winter escapesLooking to add a little activity and adventure back into your weekends now that the football season is officially over? Then REI Adventures may have exactly what you need. The company, which is the travel arm of the REI gear stores, has introduced several new winter weekend getaways that will get you out playing in the snow this February and March.

These excursions are short – most are just three or four days in length – but pack plenty of activity into the itinerary. Local guides lead groups of active outdoor enthusiasts into some of the more remote, and beautiful winter playgrounds in the U.S., giving them the opportunity to visit those locations at a time when crowds are non-existent.

Amongst the new trips for 2012 is a three day snowshoeing excursion into the Adirondack Mountains, where travelers will stay in a rustic log-cabin while spending a long weekend hiking some of the more scenic trails in the region. Similarly, REI offers a four day snowshoeing trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during which visitors will trek past frozen waterfalls and visit caves along the shores of Lake Superior. And for those looking for something even more adventurous and active, there is a three day escape to the Catskills to do some ice climbing.

These short, but active trips are proof positive that we don’t have to stay inside all winter waiting for the warm weather to arrive. REI Adventures will give you a reason to dig out your warm clothes and boots and head outside for some much-needed winter fun.

Young climber falls to his death in the Adirondacks

Climbing in the Adirondacks turned deadly last weekA young climber by the name of Matthew Potel was leading a group of college classmates on a hike through the Adirondacks last week when he slipped and fell to his death. Potel, who was the co-president of his university’s outdoors club, was assisting two other hikers past a waterfall when he lost his footing on slick rocks.

The seven-person group, all from Binghamton University in New York, were climbing up Trap Dike, a popular route on Mount Colden, when the accident occurred. That approach is a steep and challenging, non-technical, climb to the top of the 4715-foot peak that can present some challenges to inexperienced hikers. Potel reportedly helped one of his classmates negotiate a particularly tricky section, then turned to assist another when he lost his footing and fell 25-feet. The 22-year old, who was not wearing a helmet, died from an injury to his head.

Potel was an experienced outdoorsman who loved the Adirondack Mountains. In fact, he had recently become a member of the “46ers,” a term given to anyone who has climbed all 46 of the mountains in that range that are at least 4000 feet in height. He had also served as a camp counselor and was majoring in environmental studies.

This is a sad story that underscores the importance of safety in all of our outdoor endeavors. Matthew wasn’t climbing an especially tall or dangerous mountain, and yet he still lost his life while on the trail. According to his father however, this is exactly how the young man would have wanted to go – doing something he loved.

Our condolences to his friends and family.