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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"Dinner in the Dining Car", May 23-25, with Railroad Author/Historian James D. Porterfield

Please click on the blue link below and check out our new video on The Elkhorn Inn's 
"Dinner in the Dining Car" Weekend, May 23-25, 2014,  with railroad author/historian James D. Porterfield!

Please share the video and help us get the word out about this unique event!

Elkhorn Inn & Theatre, Landgraff, WV
Toll-Free USA: 1-800-708-2040
Tel: 304-862-2031

"Dinner in the Dining Car", May 23-25, with Railroad Author/Historian James D. Porterfield

"Dinner in the Dining Car" Weekend at the Elkhorn Inn

The Elkhorn Inn, Landgraff, WV 
Chef Dan & Guest Chef James Porterfield

NS "Pocahontas" going by the Elkhorn Inn
(c)Sean Hoyden 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why I want to go on an eight-day Emerald Waterways river cruise through Europe

Why do I want to go on an eight-day Emerald Waterways river cruise through Europe?
Art, music, food, wine, finding my "roots"- Lots of reasons! 
My husband is a chef, and I’m his resident “foodie”, and we are both history buffs and “culture vultures” of the first stripe, so a river cruise through Europe, with the opportunity to see and learn about the culture and history of our ports, as well as enjoy fine food and wine, has long been on our “bucket list” of dream trips! The eight-day “Danube Delights” cruise offered by Emerald Waterways  is incredibly appealing to both of us, for while we both spent time studying, living, and working in Europe many years ago, the ports on this cruise, especially Bratislava and Budapest, are places we haven’t been to and have always wanted to visit, especially as my father’s family is Hungarian, and the town his family was from is in Slovakia! (The one Hungarian expression he taught me is Eg├ęszs├ęgedre! (Papa pronounced it “Eggesheggereh!”) which means Cheers! or To Your Health!, and hopefully I’d get to use it a lot on this cruise!) I am Jewish, and my father’s family was from Michalovce; Nagymihaly in Hungarian, which my father pronounced “Nutmehi”. It is in eastern Slovakia, about 200 miles from Bratislava, and it would be amazing to finally see where I’m from! My father’s immediate family immigrated to the USA many years before WWII, but family members who remained there were murdered by the Nazis; the deportations of Jews from Michalovce to the extermination camps began in 1942, and in 1944, 3500 Jews of Michalovce were deported. The fact that this cruise includes both a home-hosted tea with a Slovakian family, and the time to go to the Holocaust Memorial and Museum of Jewish Culture in Bratislava would be deeply precious to me. The other reason we’d love so much to do this cruise is for the music: the Bavarian Oompah Band and Hungarian folk music evenings both sound delightful to us, and the chance to attend a concert in Vienna sounds totally wonderful! A very personal reason for so wanting to do this cruise is because I’m a pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrator, and it would be grand if I could do some sketches in the towns we visit, like I did when I studied painting in Italy “way back when”… My fondest memories of Europe are the hours I spent simply sitting in cafes, drinking endless cups of coffee, watching life go on around me, and sketching. I think the chance to do that again would be, perhaps, the best part of this cruise…
My European travel illustrations... would SO love to do this again!

My husband and I first cruised a few years ago, almost convinced by friends not to, as they were sure we wouldn't like it- and we discovered we LOVED it! They said cruising was for “old folks” (not adrenaline-junkies of 67 and 55 like us, LOL). Wrong!  They said the food wouldn't meet our expectations. Wrong! They said we’d be bored. Wrong! Although we highly enjoy the ports and excursions, I think what we love most about cruising is the romantic time we have to reconnect with each other, getting “dressed up” to enjoy lovely, elegant dinners (reminding each other of just how good we can really look!), sitting and talking over a glass of wine and taking pleasure in each other’s company, and just relaxing- being far away from the rushed “reality” of everyday life, and getting to see and enjoy new things… And we both truly like the fact, that, on this cruise, all the cabins have a river view (inside cabins are depressing!), and that it’s a smaller, more intimate cruise experience, with less people than on a huge ship. I think one of the things that would make this cruise so enjoyable is that Emerald includes so many “little” things that aren't so little: complimentary wine with lunch and dinner, coffee, tea, and bottled water, WiFi, port charges, shore excursions, and tips- as so many cruise lines “nickel-and-dime you to death” with hundreds of little charges for these things! While we've taken several Caribbean cruises, we've never had the pleasure of a river cruise, where we’d get to literally travel through Europe by boat, seeing the picturesque, historic towns “up close and personal”, and docking right “downtown”, as it were, with no tenders to wait for, and no choppy seas to deal with! So yes, this European river cruise looms large in our dreams for Many reasons!