Press Pass Logo - September 2019

Volume 38, Issue 03, March 2020


In this Issue:


Letter from the Editor

Chris Cutler, Pretty blond sitting behind her computer desk with blurred bookshelves in backgroundBy the time this issue of Press Pass publishes, we will be just a few days from spring. I’m sure most of you are as glad as I am to have longer and brighter days to enjoy the things we love most—food, wine, and travel. For many of us, this time of year will bring an increase in travel, although I know the coronavirus is probably in the back of everyone’s mind. The head of TSA says travel restrictions are in our future. You can read about it here.

On a brighter note, be sure to check out the convention news we have to share with you—keynote speaker, tentative panels and workshops, hints at pre- and post-trips, and more. Betsi Hill starts a new column in which she highlights our associate members. Thanks to her and Noreen Kompanik for contributing articles this month

Finally, please note that we are working on the conference, but we can use your help! Please let me know if you are willing to help with getting sponsors or in some other way.

And, check out our ad below. We’re proud to announce our keynote speaker, Chef Dean Max. Thanks to Andy Harris for arranging this for us. And, note that we are adding a photo contest to the conference. Details will follow in the next few months.

Happy Spring, everyone.

Write on,

Chris signature 




IFWTWA Conference 2020 Ad with beach umbrella



Promoting your Published Article

By Noreen Kompanik

Publishing a great article is exciting in itself, but there’s another step many writers forget about — promoting that article.

Sharing a published story makes a venue or destination happy and helps promote our own website, or the magazine we’re writing for. However, if we’re not out there promoting our articles, how will anyone know that story’s even been written?

Sharing graphic

The more widely circulated the article, the more we get to know and be known among the travel industry of writers, editors, publications and destinations. It’s like turning a laser beam into a spotlight when you promote the right way. I have a tried-and-method to ensure my articles get as much coverage as possible in as many forums as possible.

Social Media
Engagement is perhaps the most important aspect of social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or others, every writer should harness these platforms to share their stories. It’s the reason IFWTWA promotes “Travel Tuesday,” “Wine Wednesday,” Instagram Thursday,” and “Foodie Friday.” Remember to always tag the venue/ destination in your post.

Link to the Destinations
Once an article has been published, I email a link to the venue or destination covered in that article. They not only appreciate it, but rest assured they’ll be sharing that story as well.

TravMedia
TravMedia, the industry’s global media network is one of the most effective sharing platforms around. Your uploaded profile and published stories can be viewed and shared by thousands of members within the travel industry. It’s a literal goldmine of exposure and opportunity!



FWT ABCs Ad

 



Spotlight on Travel Costa Mesa

By Betsi Hill

The heart of Southern California is Orange County, and Costa Mesa, the City of the Arts and the Mecca for arts and theater, is tucked away in Orange County. Costa Mesa boasts loads of high-end shopping and restaurants.

Lovely young woman pointing to restaurant seafood dish

Costa Mesa makes a perfect destination for an "Eatcation," allowing visitors to experience a multitude of cultural dining choices. For the beach lover, some of Southern California's best beaches are just a short distance away.

Six distinct neighborhoods make up Costa Mesa: Eastside, Westside, SoBeCa District, Central, South Coast Metro, and Mesa Verde.

  • Eastside is known for its culinary innovations and is home to Hi-Time Wine Cellars.

  • Westside is the former industrial area for the city and has undergone a transformation into an area bursting with restaurants, art studios, and other small businesses.

  • The SoBeCa District is home to The LAB, a shopping center for creatives and small business. You'll also find lots of exciting restaurants sprinkled throughout SoBeCa.

Travel Costa Mesa Logo

  • Central District is all about fun! Here you'll find events year-round, including concerts and the OC Fair.

  • South Coast Metro is ground zero for the arts, with Broadway shows, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and more.

  • Mesa Verde is a home decorators paradise with a large variety of cutting-edge home furnishing shops and interior decor businesses. It's also home to the OC MIX, a wildly popular food hall.

Jennie Wedge AvatarAssociate member, Travel Costa Mesa hosts monthly press trips primarily aimed at individuals. Each tour is personalized, and you will work with Jennie Wedge.

Interested? 

Head to Travel Costa Mesa and complete the press trip form

 


Destinations and Writers Meet One-On-One to Discuss Travel in 2020!

By Deirdre Michalski & Linda Milks

As we mentioned last month, exhibitors and sponsors had the pleasure of meeting with enthusiastic travel writers during the Santa Fe conference to discuss plans for 2020. This was an excellent opportunity for various destinations across the county to share with our writers information about their town, what makes it special, what they want to be promoting this year, and collaborate on possible introductions and future press trips.

Two business women at table in collaboration

IFWTWA is very grateful for the support of our exhibitors and sponsors at our annual conferences. We encourage you to consider these spots to explore, write about, and enjoy.

This month we’ll look at Celina’s Biscochitos (Albuquerque, NM); Kansas City, KS; and Flagstaff, AZ.

Stay tuned over the next several months as we look at Memphis, TN; Whidbey and Camano Islands, WA; Vivac Winery; Phoenix, AZ; and Paso Robles, CA.


Celina's Biscochitos Logo 

The Official Cookie of New Mexico

I was curious what was inside the little white take out box with a label from Celina’s Biscochitos. Much to my surprise the box had delicious cookies with the most beautiful design. The cookies are the official cookie of New Mexico and the design on top of the cookies reflects the heritage of the Southwest state.

Since I tasted a bit of anise seed and cinnamon, I did some research for the recipe and found out this cookie is very special. It’s been made for generations and recipes are passed down to family members. They are made for special occasions and holidays, and a favorite traditional treat. I’ll be trying my hand at making them for this holiday season.

By M’Liss Hinshaw


Visit Kansas City Logo

Kansas City, here I come!

Kansas City has never been in the top ten of my must-see list. I think it was because I didn’t know much about this Midwest town other than its reputation for barbecue and sports. Then at the recent IFWTWA conference, I met Toni Alexander from Visit KC, and everything changed. She proceeded to regale me with the multitude of attractions and experiences that exist in this vibrant locale and suddenly, Kansas City sounded like one of the country’s coolest cities.

I learned that when it comes to culture, KC boasts plenty of options. There are museums to appeal to a wide variety of interests, from contemporary art and WWI history to science, jazz music and even antique toys. And speaking of music, the city is a major mecca for jazz, with roots that date back to the Roaring ‘20s. After all, this is the home of Charlie Parker and Count Basie, and you have your pick of some forty clubs around town to catch a live performance.

I was surprised to hear of all the famous people associated with the city, including such icons as Amelia Earhart, Walt Disney and Walter Cronkite, as well as President Harry Truman, the outlaw Jesse James, Satchel Paige, and actors Ed Asner, Paul Rudd and Ginger Rogers, among others. Plenty of history was made here, as this was the site of Walt Disney’s first animation company and where Joyce C. Hall created Hallmark, the largest greeting card maker in the world. And who knew that the Rival crockpot, Wishbone salad dressing and the bumper sticker of all things, were invented in this town!

Toni got my taste buds primed for the city’s sizzling hot culinary scene. Yes, barbecue reigns supreme with over one hundred establishments serving up the city’s signature food. And, of course, I can’t wait to dig into some finger-licking dishes, accompanied by a cold brew, especially after I heard that KC is one of the fastest-growing craft beer destinations. But, I’m also eager to explore all the other food options, as the town showcases a wide variety of cuisine, from ethnic specialties to farm-to-table and innovative takes on the classics.

As someone who enjoys the outdoors, I was delighted to learn that the town appreciates nature and touts hundreds of parks, miles of trails and bike paths, and dozens of lakes. My interest was further ignited when Toni told me that KC has more than two hundred fountains – more than any other city in the world except Rome. I’m sure there’s a map of them and I’d love to go on a fountain hunt.

I’m packed and ready to head to the heartland! Anyone want to join me?

By Debbie Stone


Discover Flagstaff Logo

Arizona's destination for all seasons

I was thrilled to meet Meg Roederer from Discover Flagstaff and sit with her during the IFWTWA dinner and cooking demonstration at the Santa Fe Cooking School, which was both informative and delicious by the way! I have yearned to return to Flagstaff since "discovering" what a unique town it is when my family, with dog in tow, spent one night at the DoubleTree on a road trip from California to Northwest Arkansas. Besides talking about the many opportunities for outdoor, art, music, and culinary enthusiasts that Flagstaff offers, Meg and I found we had much in common on a personal level as well. Since my focus is culinary travel, Meg and I decided that a visit in May to check out the culinary scene, explore Flagstaff's beer trail, and promote the Flagstaff Blues & Brews Festival in June is definitely in order.

By Priscilla Willis


I haven't been there in a few years and heard about a couple of restaurants that sound yummy. I also have never visited the sites where the astronauts trained and am interested to go see those. As Meg mentioned, they have weather that is quite a bit cooler than Tucson, so a summer trip may be a very good idea.

By Joeann Fossland


It was so exciting to meet with Meg Roederer from Discover Flagstaff and find out what makes Flagstaff an ideal four-season destination. I was impressed with Meg’s in-depth knowledge of the region, covering all perspectives- history, opportunities for numerous activities and outdoor recreation, along with its food, wine, spirits.

My biggest surprise however was learning about its lunar legacy and role in the Apollo Moon Missions and that astronauts actually trained in Flagstaff on lunar mapping and mission simulations to name a few.

By Noreen Kompanik


Hertz Car Rental Logo

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IFWTWA globe logo

 


Association Recognitions

It’s an honor to give recognition to members having anniversaries. We thank each of you for including IFWTWA on your pathway to success. Your choice to work hard, think positive, network, and use your member benefits bring you to a whole new level of achievement. Way to go!

Clapping Hands


10 YEARS

Stacey Wittig avatarStacey Wittig
UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Travel
Munds Park Arizona 86017 

Adventurous me left Minnesota with the Midwestern work ethic, a rock-solid university education and a curiosity of spiritual things. In pursuit of mountain living, I followed my dreams of backpacking and skiing in the Colorado high country.

At the same time that I was slaloming downhill, I was climbing up Corporate America's ladder of success with equal gusto. But after reaching the top rungs, I found that the fulfillment I'd hoped for was not there. 

It was over ten years ago, in Flagstaff, Arizona, when I leveraged my quest for adventure (I'd raced Hobie Cat sailboats and small foreign sports cars in addition to my alpine exploits) with my love of travel to launch a new career as travel journalist.

Today I can't stop exploring the world (I blame it on my father's Viking blood) and write about my adventures – many as a solo woman traveler. Life isn't always rosy; I lost my firecracker reasoning skill to head injury in a horrific rollover accident that should have taken my life. Brain injury hasn't stopped me from traveling, although sometimes it makes for amusing travel antidotes.

Since I find joy in – and have written books about – spiritual travel and pilgrimage, I've earned the title "spiritual adventurer." My books are available on Amazon here

AAA Arizona Highroads, AAA Via magazine, Arizona Vines and Wines magazine, AZ Wine Lifestyles, Forbes, Lake Erie Lifestyles magazine, the London Telegraph, Sedona Monthly magazine, Travel + Escape, TravelWorld, USA Today Travel and others have published my travel pieces. 

National Geographic Traveler online, Arizona Daily Sun, QWEST Dex Travel Section and others have published my photos of off-the-beaten-path destinations.

5 YEARS

Dynie Sanderson avatarDynie Sanderson
Napa Food Gal Travels
Napa, California

Dynie is the creator of NapaFoodGalTravels and has been a food, wine, and travel journalist living and indulging in life in the Napa Valley and around the world for over 25 years. She was founder, publisher, and editor of GuestWest Magazine, Napa Valley’s first luxury lifestyle magazine; Food and Flavor Editor for Napa Valley Life Magazine and contributor to a variety of food and wine publications. Always seeking out the next wine re

I have lived in the Napa Valley for 30 years and we have been producing our own label of boutique wine, Tadpole Vineyards for over 15 years. We also live part-time in Whitefish, Montana near Glacier National Park. Raised 5 amazing and adventurous daughters who have also caught the travel bug.

Food and Flavor Editor for Napa Valley Life Magazine with over 18 years as a contributor. Editorial features focus on food, wine and travel and all things amazing.

Creator/editor of NapaFoodGalTravels - a blog/website featuring Dynie's Delicious Destinations. I have been a food, wine, and travel writer for over 25 years and have written for a variety of regional lifestyle and travel publications including being the founding Publisher/Editor of Napa Valley's GuestWest Magazine for over 6 years and Associate Publisher for the Wine Country Region of TravelHost Magazine. Co-proprietor of Tadpole Vineyards in Napa Valley.

I have a love of travel, international cuisine, cooking at home, dining out, hiking, golf, soft adventure, seeking out new destinations, meeting new people along the way, filling my bucket list.

Also, an active member of SATW, International Food Wine, Travel Writers Association, Bay Area Travel Writers, Professional Travel Bloggers Association, North American Travel Journalists Association

 

San Juan Islands LogoSan Juan Islands Visitors Bureau – Barbara Marrett
Visit San Juans
Friday Harbor, Washington

There are 172 named islands and reefs in San Juan County. Three ferry served Islands, San Juan Island (with the county seat Friday Harbor), Orcas Island, and Lopez Island are the most populous and host the vast majority of lodging and dining options and tourism activities. Shaw Island is also accessible by ferry but has limited camping and visitor amenities.

Say farewell to worry and stress and say hello to the mellow islands vibe, a temperate year-round climate, and long, lazy hours of doing just what you want. Count on temperatures around 70° in the summer and 40° in the winter. A happy confluence of weather systems also accounts for the high level of air quality you’ll appreciate across the San Juans.


Barbara Marrett avatarBarbara Marrett
San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau

Members of the media and film industry may reach Communications Manager Barbara Marrett at (888) 468-3701 ext. 6 or by emailing her at [email protected].

Interested in filming in the San Juans? Permits may be required. Contact Barbara Marrett to find out more. Sorry, we don't offer press trips July 1 through Labor Day due to our high season.

 



Board Notes

by Linda Kissam, President

Pen in hand taking notes

There was no formal meeting in February as the Board has decided to try an every-other-month format with the caveat that if there are important issues to discuss, a meeting will be called.

Board members still submit their monthly report, and the Board still communicates weekly on non-urgent matters.


Treasurer's Report

The Board has approved the establishment of an IFWTWA investment account for approximately one half of our cash reserve, leaving the other half liquid for approved projects and emergencies. We have a very healthy cash reserve that needs to do more for us then sit in a low-interest account. This is a strategy well known to nonprofits and was brought to the board for consideration by our newest director, David Nershi. In line with the board approval of a conservative approach to an IFWTWA investment fund, two board members are in the process of gathering information on different fund options including one or more conservative plans.


Media Trips Committee

The Media Trips Committee (Linda Kissam, Linda Milks, Judi Cohen) is about to wrap up their outreach for the 2020 season. This is a very good thing as each trip coordination takes about 20 hours start to finish plus our administrative and website contractor time. We have been working on these trips since last summer.

Here is the current PROPOSED schedule if everything stays on track and no hosts back out.

  • June 8-11: Salem, MA (Linda K, Coordinator) – Open for registration
  • July 23-26: Bellingham, WA (Linda K Coordinator) – Open for registration
  • August 17-22: Cody, WY (Linda Kissam, Coordinator) – Closed, five participants chosen
  • September 24-27: Louisville, KY (Linda M, Coordinator) – Pending
  • October 3-10: Newfoundland/Labrador, CA (Judi Cohen) (International) – Pending
  • Individual Press Trips to Halkidiki in 2020 are limited but still available – check the info here.

We would love to see if we could squeeze one more trip in the December slot. If you have a lead, or would like to plan it, email [email protected]

If you would like to join this committee, your commitment would be a minimum of coordinating one trip–domestic or international–in 2021. Each trip takes approximately 20 hours, start to finish, to plan. You will receive training and a mentor to work with. If you’ve been wanting to learn how to approach destination hosts or you would like to coordinate a press trip in your area or beyond, this would be the committee to join. Or, if you have the destination contacts, are willing to the initial outreach and then hand it over to the committee that works out as well. (Past VP Allen Cox is a master at this, just sayin'.) Contact [email protected] for additional info.


Social Media

Wendy VanHatten volunteered to manage the Pinterest site, so that is great news. It has been dormant for quite some time, and she is very proficient with the platform. We expect a dramatic increase in “likes” and “follows” as Wendy assumes responsibility. We thank her for her time and talent. We hope you will visit our Pinterest account soon.

The numbers across our social media sites remained steady with no significant gains or losses. The positive from this is that the push in the last quarter of 2019 to gain followers/likes is holding steady, meaning that people who liked our social media sites as a result of the ads are choosing to stick around. The key now will be to increase their engagement.

Tom Westerhof chairs this committee and spends about 20 hours a month making sure we are seen and heard. If you have social media skills to share, contact Tom immediately.


Membership

Membership is on the uptick under Chair Cori Solomon. We are so grateful for her focus and enthusiasm. She is using many new approaches to obtain and keep members.

The Membership Committee has launched a new IFWTWA Associate Member benefit with Big Blend Radio. We already have a hugely popular and successful one for our Regular members. This newest topical plan quarterly invites up to three IFWTWA Associate members to come on the air in a casual panel format to discuss their upcoming events. Our first Spring Destinations show was taped and aired February 28th. The Summer Destinations show will be taped in April. The Fall and Winter Destinations shows dates are in development. Associate members are encouraged to contact chair, Cori Solomon to book their destination.

The 2020 membership drive kicked off in late February. We are using Facebook utilizing pretty much the same successful ad as last year with an updated image. Remember, if you refer someone to become a member, you will receive $25 off your next renewal fee. Cori could use your help to do a variety of small projects. Contact Cori for more information.


Professional Development

We hear you! You want more professional development to be offered beyond the annual conference. Chair David Nershi has taken on the task. This is a huge step forward for us in providing the professional tools IFWTWA members need to thrive in today’s writer markets. Thank you to David for taking on these projects.

Here’s an update from David on his progress:

Pro Perspectives video series.
This will be our two-minute professional tips YouTube video series. I've prepared an information sheet about the series which includes suggestions for those who wish to submit videos. It states that IFWTWA has the right to accept or reject any video. The next step will be to identify a can't-miss topic and presenter and get work underway on the first video.

IFWTWA Certificate Program
At the suggestion of President Linda, I'll develop a proposal for an online program for consideration at the March board meeting. Upon completion, the participant will receive (or be able to print out) a certificate. There are a number of models out there, like the Napa Rocks program by Napa Valley Vintners. This is not to be confused with a certification program, which would include a more intense, comprehensive effort. However, we should be able to put something together that will raise our visibility, share expertise, and increase affinity with members. 


Get to Know Our New Members

By Cori Solomon, Membership Chair

Row of wine glasses with various colored wine

REGULAR MEMBERS: 

Gail Clifford avatarGail Clifford
ABLE Travel and Photo
Deerwood, Minnesota

As an actively practicing physician, I traveled the world with my family, for conferences and for fun. As I work towards retirement, I've made the move to actively pursue actually getting paid for all the stories I happily share about the places we visit. I've submitted about 100 articles for publication (one 6-article series scheduled to be published over the course of this year, for example). My favorite things to cover are destinations, including Dublin where we've purchased an apartment as my daughter attends school there, history, little known facts, and places the locals may love but tourists rarely see on quick trips. I like going beyond GO-SEE-DO to live in a community as a local whenever possible. My challenge with food - drink writing is significant allergies / food intolerance - including a rare and complete, life threatening allergy to alcohol. I look forward to finding my niche with non-drinking celiacs (gluten free folks) within the IFWTWA.

Jennifer Coleman avatarJennifer Coleman
Coleman Concierge—Amazing Adventures for Ordinary People
Huntsville, Alabama

Born and bred in Colorado, Jennifer spent much of her professional career in the adventure travel industry. She taught skiing and pro-patrolled at many of the premier mountains in the western US for 20 years. In addition, she guided white water rafting for 7 years, and spent many years working as a rope course facilitator. Jennifer is also highly experienced in the service industry with over 20 years of resort and spa experience, including being part of the opening team as the Spa Lead/ Brand Standards Learning Coach with Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain and a Concierge at Hilton Torrey Pines.

Jennifer is a chronic non-repeater (illustrated by my many professional hats) who really enjoys the diversity of life. This led her to launching Coleman Concierge in 2016 with her partner in life and business Ed. In a nutshell, they are an Huntsville-based Gen X couple sharing their stories of amazing adventures through activity driven transformational and experiential travel. They advocate for sustainable and ethical tourism and truly believe in the power of travel to transform both ourselves as well as the world around us. Our tagline is amazing adventures for ordinary people because we contend that you don't have to be super-rich, super-fit or super-anything to have an amazing adventure. Expanding your comfort zone and trying new things will pay huge dividends in both health and happiness.

George (Ed) ColemanGeorge (Ed) Coleman
Coleman Concierge—Amazing Adventures for Ordinary People
Huntsville, Alabama

Ed is a physicist in aerospace by day, crazy adventurist by night. He drives the tech train around here and applies his industry knowledge to build, not just another blog, but a detailed content management system. He knows the importance of travel and adventure to recharge the soul from the rigors of corporate America and family life. He was the consummate weekend warrior, going on many crazy adventures like caving expeditions in Belize, hiking the Grand Canyon Rim-Rim-Rim day hike (albeit a long day), climbing Baboquivari peak for his 30th birthday and racing in the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo mountain bike race. Ed was not your ordinary rocket scientist or suburban dad.

Now he is an empty nester looking to start the next chapter in his life. That chapter is Coleman Concierge, the website I run with my partner in life and business, Jenn. In a nutshell, we are an Huntsville-based Gen X couple sharing our stories of amazing adventures through activity driven transformational and experiential travel. We advocate for sustainable and ethical tourism and truly believe in the power of travel to transform both ourselves as well as the world around us. Our tagline is "Amazing adventures for ordinary people" because we contend that you don't have to be super rich, super fit, or super anything to have an amazing adventure. Expanding your comfort zone and trying new things will pay huge dividends in both health and happiness.

Annette Solomon avatarAnnette Solomon
AnnetteSolomon.com
Los Angeles, California

Annette’s comprehensive knowledge of wine and the wine industry is a result of her all encompassing, first hand experience in every aspect of wine production from viticulture through bottle sales. After completing her Certificate in Enology and Viticulture from Oregon’s Northwest Viticulture Center in 2004, she was selected to work as an understudy to Mark Vlossak of the world renowned St. Innocent’s Winery. Subsequently, she worked as a lab technician for one of the Willamette Valley’s largest production wineries as well as working harvest for several smaller, boutique wineries and even producing several cases of her own wine. She further developed her knowledge of wines from around the world through her course work and subsequent Certification as a Sommelier by the International Sommelier Guild. Through her association with the Oregon wine industry, Annette was brought in to help organize the wine competition for the Oregon State Fair and was invited to be a judge for wine competitions.

When the Statesman Journal introduced “The Vinofiles,” a wine blog, they asked Annette to be one of their original writers; later inviting her to publish her own thrice-a-week wine column, a monthly winery profile and numerous ad-hoc articles for their holiday supplements. Her contributions were a fixture in the paper for 5 years. Annette gained direct sales experience at several retail establishments and leveraged her Masters of Business Administration from Westminster College and experience as a Senior Pricing Analyst for United Health Care to increase the volume of sales through improving the quality and value of their offerings and finding efficiencies. Annette has a special interest in the detection of wine defects and identifying their causative agents, which led her to the development of a wine defect wheel in consultation with Ann Noble. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of both the wine and business arena with consumers as well as wine makers.


IFWTWA Resources: Connect with our members and experts 

Wine Toast

Connect with fellow IFWTWA experts. Meet virtually in our social community forums; create your own Social Circles. Make connections from your profile. Plan a live meetup. Keep up-to-date by joining our private Facebook Members Group—participate in weekly social media campaigns for likes, follows & retweets. Attend the conference. Volunteer on committees and work with our Board of Directors.

Reach out today! It's fun and mutually beneficial to network with your colleagues. Learn from each other and grow your own and fellow member's career goals and online presence. We know you are busy, on-the-move professionals, so your participation in IFWTWA is very much appreciated.


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