Dreaming of travelling

Dreaming of travelling

During the pandemic, I’m trying to combat the mundane nature of self-isolation. So, thoughts turn to travel. While we can’t physically visit our favourite places, we can dream about them. Here are some of mine:

Five Islands lobsterFive Islands Lobster Co., Georgetown Island, Maine: Eat local, very fresh lobster. We really enjoyed seeing the lobster fishermen (and women) pulling up the traps and taking out the lobster, right in the harbour where we ate! You can’t get any fresher than that. The young man at the counter explained the difference between hard-shell and soft-shell lobsters, and weighed up the ones we were going to eat. They were so good! The outdoor dining area allowed us to take in the whole experience. TripAdvisor Review

Kueka Brewing Co., Hammondsport, N.Y.: We loved the atmosphere of this place — so many beers to try, free popcorn, friendly staff. Also, the outdoor patio on the day we visited was empty, while the inside was packed! Staff were very good about recommendations. On a previous visit, I enjoyed the watermelon beer, but since it was June, they said it was best to wait till watermelon season later in the summer. I tried the beer anyway, but it was not as good as I remembered. So, we will return again to try it at the right time. Highly recommended. TripAdvisory Review

Foxy John'sFoxy John’s, Ireland: Foxy John’s Pub and hardware store is a must-see stop in Dingle. At one time, pubs often had dual purpose: pub and grocery, pub and fabric shop … and Foxy John’s is part-pub, part-hardware store. There are still lots of items for sale in the hardware side of the pub, from butane cylinders and T-shirts to drill bits, paint brushes and rat poison. The barman was very friendly and poured a great pint of Guinness. The locally made Creans cider was enjoyable. If in Dingle – go here! TripAdvisor Review

Spa Nordic Station, Magog, Quebec: We enjoyed 2 to 3 hours of relaxation. The sauna by the creek was a favourite spot, because you could wade right into the stream afterward. For the small price of admission, it afforded us a very Zen day. Facilities were clean, and staff very friendly. All the small touches here were well thought out. If you’re in the Magog area, definitely come here. TripAdvisor Review

Boca SlagbaaiBoca Slagbaai, Bonaire: It’s a long, bumpy drive into the park and to this spot, but it was worth it. Jumping off the cliff into the warm ocean water was fantastic. There are not many people around, and there were no services there that day, apart from clean washrooms. Snorkeling and swimming off the beach was fun. Bring a cooler full of food and drink for a picnic, and take your trash with you. Lots of great photo opportunities here. TripAdvisor Review

Coki Beach, St. Thomas: Coki Beach is probably the most memorable experience in our 10-day cruise of the Caribbean. The beach and water are pristine and clear. Snorkelling was great. The service by Keesh Lorraine on the beach was fantastic. And we saw a beautiful rainbow. Loved it. TripAdvisor Review

BerriesJean Talon Market, Montreal: Amazing late-summer super fresh food — Everything you would ever hope for in a farmers market, plus more! Very friendly vendors, bilingual and cheery. Lots and lots and lots of produce, flowers, meat and cheese from Quebec. Don’t miss this place.  TripAdvisor Review

Balm Beach Bar & Smokehouse, Tiny, Ontario: Loved the view, and Jerk Chicken — On a warm evening, we enjoyed dinner at Balm Beach Tavern, especially the view from the second floor outdoor patio. Jerk Chicken was excellent and the beer was cold. Our group enjoyed this place. TripAdvisor Review

Liberty Distillery

The Liberty Distillery, Granville Island, Vancouver: We were so happy to find this distillery while visiting Granville Island Market. It’s practically right next door. We had the whiskey flight and the gin flight, enjoyed both, picked our favourite – the Wit Gin – and bought it. The two Irish lads running the distillery were very friendly and engaging. Highly recommended! TripAdvisor Review

These are just a few of my favourite spots. I’ll post more soon. Where are you dreaming of travelling?



You gotta go, to know: COVID-19 response

You gotta go, to know: COVID-19 response

Try and fail. Try again, but course-correct. Ditherers are not respected among economic development and tourism professionals.

Some simple advice shared during Blane Canada’s BR|E COVID-19 Response Network webinar on April 2, 2020. Blane CanadaSince mid March, the network (blanecanada.com/bre-covid-19) has grown beyond 300 economic development organizations. Formed voluntarily to determine the business and human impact of COVID-19 in communities, business impact surveys were created for local economic developers to gather solid business and worker impact data to inform local leadership’s response to COVID-19.

But even as the surveying continues, economic development professionals cannot wait.

“You have to act,” said Joe Raso, President and CEO of Greater Fargo Moorehead Economic Development (gfmedc.com).

“You gotta go to know, and just try things and not wait for permission from the governor or the mayor, or anybody else, because people are really looking for organizations that are being leaders and trying things and course correcting.”

Regional business task force

GFMEDC brought together over 40 partners to create a regional business task force, including businesses, non-profits, utilities, government administrators and politicians.

The task force is divided into five sections: on data, communications, business engagement , financial support, and workforce. Teams of people with expertise — not just interest in each of those areas — meet constantly and then as a group every Friday morning.

Joe Raso

“You gotta go to know”: Joe Raso, Greater Fargo Moorehead EDC

“Instead of saying ‘hey wash your hands and distance yourselves’, I think we all already know that,” Raso said. “How can we really be helping our businesses at this  critical juncture who are looking for people who want to lead. So it’s I think partly our role to lead in these kinds of situations.”

Dangers of over-communication

One of the first things Fargo learned was that communicating too much information and over-surveying businesses can be unhelpful.

“We’re all receiving a million emails and texts on things that are happening … but one thing we’ve already learned is that the business community is really not set to deal with all the changes of the programming that are coming out at the federal and state levels.”

Being able to parse the data and find gaps in business needs quickly and effectively is essential.

In the case of Fargo, survey data showed at least half the companies haven’t talked to their lender, which can become a problem. Understanding that reality and brainstorming solutions can help address the issue.

Leadership is essential

Unfortunately, economic development professionals can be pulled away from their regular duties into emergency response initiatives. It makes sense, since these professionals are great communicators and problem-solvers.

But now is the time for economic development and tourism officials to harness the expertise of their businesses and other agencies to execute a plan to address the impact of COVID-19 on your local economy.

(By the way, Blane Canada is looking for a Canadian organization to help populate business impact data. Contact them for more info.)

Other examples of those who are acting

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains Take-Out Map

Virginia Takeout Map

Perth County Tourism: 19 Days & 19 Ways to support Local Business

Perth County

City of Berlin Emergency Aid for Entrepreneurs

City Berlin grants