Traditional Scottish Music At A Pub In Kirkwall, Orkney


I always feel like a trip isn’t over until I’ve stopped writing about it. My wife feels the same way. So we were a bit down when I finished my series on our visit to the Orkney Islands.

To cheer ourselves up, I decided to share a video with all of you of an excellent cafe/pub/music venue in Kirkwall called The Reel. In summers they have three or more concerts a week of traditional Scottish music. While it’s certainly not the only such place in Orkney, The Reel has become justly famous for its atmosphere and the talent it attracts.

When I trolled Youtube for a video to share, I discovered this one. The concert looked familiar, and when the camera panned to the left, lo and behold there I was in my yellow sweatshirt with a pint of Orkney beer! I don’t remember anyone filming that concert, not that I was paying much attention to the crowd.

My wife isn’t in this shot. She was nice enough to take our son back to our rental apartment and put him to bed while I stayed until the end. Yep, despite the light streaming through the windows it’s actually nighttime, at least 9 p.m. Orkney summer days are wonderfully long!

Boulder’s Chautauqua Park: more than just hiking and climbing

Chatauqua Park, boulderThe Chautauqua Movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries provided millions of Americans with cultural, educational, and entertainment experiences that included concerts, classes, lectures, and exhibitions. It was, to quote Teddy Roosevelt, “The most American thing in America.” Ask most Americans today what a Chautauqua is, and odds are, you’ll get a blank stare.

Until recently, I too would have had that deer-in-the-headlights expression. I’m ashamed to say that although I lived in Boulder for nearly two years, I had no idea that Chautauqua Park was anything more than just an exceptional place to hike, with some cool historic buildings thrown in. Thankfully, while in Boulder on business last month, I displayed the instinctive intellectual curiosity I possess when I’m in travel mode. Thus, I discovered that the city’s–and my–favorite recreational spot is far greater than the sum of its parts.

The first “Mother” Chautauqua was organized by a Methodist minister, at a campsite on New York’s Chautauqua Lake in 1874. By the end of the first World War, 12,000 Chautauquas were in the U.S.. Many had religious leanings, but Chautauquas were primarily educational adult or family summer camps, fostering a sense of community and culture.

The 40-acre Colorado Chautauqua in Boulder opened on July 4, 1898 as a summer retreat. Today, according to the website, it’s one of three remaining Chautauquas in the U.S., and the only site west of the Mississippi River in continuous operation, with its original structures intact. It became a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

%Gallery-129131%Chautauqua Park, boulderThe Colorado Chautauqua (locals just call it “Chautauqua”) includes 60 guest cottages and two lodges for nightly or long term rental; a dining hall and auditorium; 48 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails; climbing routes and bouldering spots, and 8000 acres of open space. The “Green” located at the entrance was Boulder’s first city park.

In 2008, the Colorado Chautauqua Association vowed to make the grounds the country’s “greenest” National Historic Landmark. Changes in operation include water and energy conservation, and expanding methods of diverting waste from landfills. Even the (adorable) cottages have recycling bins, water-saving shower heads, faucets, and toilets, eco-friendly soaps and hair products, and alternative cooling systems.
Chautauqua Park, boulder
Chautauqua hosts public events at reasonable fees year-round, including music, theater, dance, film, forums on everything from global warming to sustainable farming, outdoor “active” plays for children and family, and the Colorado Music Festival. It’s also immensely popular for weddings and other outdoor gatherings (which must be booked through the Chautauqua).

Even if you skip the events, I recommend a pre-hike, al fresco breakfast or brunch, or a post-hike (local, craft-brewed) beer at the Dining Hall, which has been in existence since 1898. It’s not where you’ll find the best meal in town, but the wrap-around porch offers stellar views, and it’s an ideal place to absorb the essence of Boulder life. The Dining Hall offers classic American cuisine, and is also open for lunch and dinner; reservations strongly recommended.

Sadly, the Chautauqua Movement lost its mojo as we became a more urbanized and technologically advanced society. Why go to the Chautauqua when you can play “Angry Birds” or see what those crazy Kardashians are up to? And that’s exactly why I was so affected by what I learned in Boulder last month. I used to live less than two miles from this remarkable monument to American history. Yet I was too self-absorbed and distracted at the time to be curious about its roots, despite hiking there on a weekly basis.Chautauqua Park, boulder Sometimes, we need to put down the toys, be in the moment, and really take note of our surroundings. And that’s what the Chautauqua Movement was all about. May it one day thrive again.

If you’d like to support the revival of the Chautauqua Movement, go to this new site launched by the Chautauqua Network: Chautauqua Trail.

Malibu Rum contest launches search for traveling radio correspondent

summer contests 2011Tune in, Radio Maliboom Boom.

Malibu, the coconutty rum that’s like summer in a bottle, is looking for one outgoing, creative, beach-bum-lifestyle-loving man or woman for their nationwide radio correspondent search.
The chosen one will travel across the country attending concerts, reporting from the road, interviewing celebrities, and “celebrating the season of the sun.”

The Correspondent position was developed to find the emcee for the Station Invasion Concert Tour–a 10-city musical series–which will “bring the spirit of the Caribbean from coast to coast.
As the Radio Maliboom Boom Correspondent, you’ll introduce the tour and musical acts, do video and blog posts, Facebook updates, and tweets. You’ll also represent Malibu by conducting and participating in video, radio, and media interviews across the nation.

Applications are being accepted online through May 15, 2011. You must be 25 and over, fill out an application, and submit a video “reel” that creatively showcases why you should be chosen, incorporating three key messages about Malibu (the rum, not the city). Three finalists will attend training in Malibu’s homeland of Barbados from June 20-23. The summer stipend for the Correspondent will be $15,000-and all the dancing (and, presumably, rum, sunscreen, and hair of the dog) you can handle. Cheers to summer!

Dolder Grand revives the artists of 80s at Live at Sunset

dolder grand

You can run, but you run far enough to get the music of the 1980s out of your head. True 1980s music fans wouldn’t even try and there’s good news for them: your favorite artists of the 80s (and a few who started in the 1970s) are taking the stage at the annual Live at Sunset concert at Dolder Grand in Switzerland.

This year’s concert takes place from July 13 – 24 and features John Mellencamp, TOTO, Chicago, Joe Cocker, Tom Jones and others. While you try to get “Rosana” out of your head, here’s a breakdown of the Dolder Grand‘s special package for the event:

  • 1 night stay including Garden Restaurant breakfast
  • 3-course pre-concert dinner in the Garden Restaurant (beverages excluded)
  • Premium seat concert tickets
  • Late checkout until 4:00pm (for those music lovers who go overboard)

The price to relive those precious moments of the 1980s starts at approximately $804 for a single occupancy room and $1,146 for double occupancy. Lighters, acid-washed jeans and aerosol hairspray not included.

Vail: Eight free ways to rock snowless slopes

Your skis are jammed in the closet, and you’re more concerned about traffic en route to the beach than you are about getting out to the Rockies. Well, it’s time to change your thinking. Dash off to Colorado this summer, and you can escape the heat and find some exciting ways to recharge away from home. Oh, and you won’t have to pull out your wallet when you get there.

Check out these free ways to have a blast in Vail this summer without dropping a dime:

1. Music: Enjoy the Hot Summer Nights Tuesday Free Concert series

2. More Music: Tuesday isn’t enough? Get greedy and hang out until Thurday for jazz concerts outside the Arrabelle at Vail Square. If you can’t get enough jazz, linger at the Vail Farmer’s Market on Sunday, too.

3. Ride: Stick your kids on a gondola. It won’t cost you a thing, and you can get them out of your hair for a bit.

4. Play: Try your hand at horseshoes or bocce (among others) at Adventure Ridge.5. Hike: Walk the trails of Vail Mountain with a guide.

6. Serve and volley: Are you into tennis? Pick up a match at the Golden Peak Tennis Courts.

7. Learn: Take advantage of free admission to the Colorado Ski Museum.

8. Park: Yeah, it doesn’t sound like much, but anyone who lives in a city, especially, will appreciate this one. Vail Village and Lionshead offer free parking all summer long.

And if this isn’t enough for you, there are some deals to be had. Both the Arrabelle at Vail Square and The Lodge at Vail are kicking in solid discounts, with rates at the former starting at $199 a night and the latter at $149 a night.