Jim Cohn's Blog - Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine
Thursday, 04 March 2010 14:38
The 2010 Red Ball Press Preview Party
The 2010 Red Ball Press Preview Party was held at The Chestnut Club in Philadelphia on February 18th. The Chestnut Club has undergone several renovations to expand the bathrooms and also a new elevator entrance. There were hundreds of white candlesticks lit with several uplighting fixtures that made for a unique atmosphere. Max & Me catered the event with wonderful food served at several stations for guests to try. A pianist played classical music for ambiance as Professional Tarot Card Reader Marilyn Sukonick-Zeff entertained guests. The Red Cross Philadelphia speaker enlightened guests on the current tragedy in Haiti and encouraged everyone to make an effort to donate blood to save lives. Proceeds for the Red Ball will benefit the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Red Cross and the operations of Red Cross House. Red Cross House is a unique facility for local victims of disaster, a place where lives are rebuilt, hope is restored, and families are empowered to get back to their everyday lives on their own terms. Located in West Philadelphia, Red Cross House is a stable and supportive environment designed to help families recover from a disaster by supporting their emotional, spiritual, and physical needs.
Come join us for The Red Ball on March 6 at the Please Touch Museum in support of this great cause.
Photo Credit : Brett Silver
Monday, 01 March 2010 21:09
Destination: Palm Island, FL by Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt
It was time to escape Snowmageddon.
After enduring the second major blizzard in a week in southern New Jersey, my kids and I were elated to wake up to brilliant sunshine gleaming through our windows. With more than two feet of snow piled up on our front lawn, the day was especially bright, and the thought of escaping the worst winter in history tantalized our inner beach-loving souls – we were leaving our iceberg filled beaches for palm tree-lined shores – for a place in sunny Florida aptly named Palm Island.
We knew the temperature forecast for the island probably wouldn’t be hitting 70 degrees, but it didn’t matter, just as long as we could feel warm sunshine on our faces and see grass again. So we gathered our overstuffed luggage together (my rollerblades were crammed one in each of the kids’ suitcases) and headed to the car. The kids, ages 11 and 8, were already tightly buckled in the back seat – their anticipation growing.
Luckily, we hit the street without getting stuck in the snowy driveway – and our escape finally looked like it would become a reality. We flew from Atlantic City International into Tampa International Airport, although Fort Myers (also known as Southwest Florida International Airport) was another nearby choice. After a short drive south we stopped at Tarpon Real Estate, located in Placida, to pick up our keys and load up on groceries at a store located right next door. (Placida features everything you could possibly need on your vacation – restaurants, stores, you name it.)
We then took a five-minute ride on a car ferry to gain access to Palm Island.
If you‘re a kid from the 70’s, then you may remember watching Gilligan’s Island – this iconic TV show was filmed on an enchantingly remote and tropical island filled with palm trees. Palm Island has a similar feel, but in place of straw huts from the TV show are multi-million-dollar, beautifully designed homes. These homes are not like the “McMansions” disproportionately situated on a spit of land like we often see at the Jersey Shore; rather, these are lavish, gracefully styled dwellings surrounded by natural greenery and of course, the majestic beauty of all types of different palm trees.
Ahh… we had finally reached Palmageddon.
Palm Island sits on the Intracoastal Waterway on Florida’s southwest Gulf Coast, midway between Sarasota and Fort Myers. Connected to Don Pedro and Little Gasparilla, it features seven miles of beach and is 700 yards at its widest point.
In the 1960’s the Army Corps of Engineers dismantled the single wooden bridge connecting the island to the mainland. Since then, the island has been accessible only via water transportation. Luckily for those of us who do not own a private boat, the island is accessible via a public car ferry operated by Palm Island Transit and keeps a daily year-round schedule.
If you want to unplug from everyday life, Palm Island is the place to do it. The locals say the months of May, September and October are especially peaceful here. Imagine vacationing in a big sandcastle surrounded by a moat. There are no billboards,high-rises, fast food restaurants or traffic lights; only one small store and restaurant. You’ll rarely even see a car drive by, as golf carts are a favorite way to cruise around the island. A local company, Hick’s Golf Carts, will even deliver a cart right to your front door. You’ll see plenty of strollers, joggers and even an occasional roller blader (that would be me, since I tote my blades everywhere I travel). I did enjoy a smooth and picturesque blade down the island’s main thoroughfare while the kids rode bikes.
Palm Island’s beach features silky, flow-through-your-toes sand and beautiful, undamaged shells of every shape, color and size. “Shelling” is a favorite pastime here. We found more shells than we could possibly carry during our leisurely beach stroll, and took the best ones home as prized souvenirs.
Many of the island’s homes have tropical themed names – ours was called No Particular Harbor – yes, the Jimmy Buffett song title spin-off perfectly captures the essence of a paradise like this. This spectacular four-bedroom home was custom built for families to chill out and relax – complete with flat-screen satellite TVs, a fully-equipped kitchen, large master suite, screened porches, outdoor pool (and pool toys), adults’ and kids’ bikes, washer and dryer, and a 30-foot private deepwater dock with fish-cleaning station.
Fishing is fabulous here – saltwater trophies like tarpon, redfish and snook ply the waters of the gulf. Fishing charters, kayaking, water skiing and boat rentals are all located nearby and are the best way to get a close-up look at the region’s dolphins, manatees and sea birds.
Captain Dick James operates the nearby Scenic Tours & Water Taxi featuring “custom” tours he designs off the top of his head. Originally from Tampa, he moved to the area over a decade ago and bought a boat with his wife. This guy really knows his stuff, as we found as we took one of our own custom tours. Along the way, he pointed out the various birds - including osprey, egrets and pelicans. He shared his considerable knowledge about the indigenous water species, wildlife, tides/currents and weather, but his talent for persuading dolphins to swim in our wake impressed us the most.
He smartly got a cue from a fellow fisherman passing by as to where the dolphins might be congregating that day and quickly took us to them. It was fun to watch as they played hide and seek with us… but Captain Dick knew exactly what to do to get them to frolic and follow our boat. He slowly crept up ahead of them and then gently drove away, knowing that dolphins love to swim in a boat’s cascading wake. Captain Dick did an expert job - we actually had three dolphins follow us for more than 10 minutes. What a thrill for the kids – the dolphins were so close you could almost touch them. He told us that the summer brings the manatees out, too, and spotting one of the sea cows in their natural habitat is definitely a site to behold. You can take a ride with Captain Dick by stopping by Eldred’s Marina (located on the Boca Grande Causeway before the toll) or he’ll pick you up right at your dock. If you have your own boat, he’ll hop aboard to give you a guided tour.
After our boating adventure, we made the short ride over to Gasparilla Island’s lovely village of Boca Grande. Its charming, traditional downtown features two square blocks of cute boutique shops, art galleries and family-owned restaurants. We heard that the Loose Caboose, located in an historic train depot, was a good place for family dining and it didn’t disappoint. Their creamy homemade ice cream with luscious flavors like Chocolate Overload, Rum Raisin and Mango Apricot was the perfect ending to a great meal. We also made a quick stop at the Boca Grande Historic Lighthouse, which is located right at the beach and offered another great shelling spot and a great way to cap off of our trip.
Now that we’ve returned to the Garden State (that moniker seems ironic with the mountains of snow all around), there are already reports of an impending snow storm. But the next time we’re shoveling, we can warm ourselves by daydreaming about our Palm Island escape and humming a lyric from Jimmy Buffett’s One Particular Harbor tune: “It's a magic kind of medicine that no doctor could prescribe.”
Monday, 01 February 2010 16:57
Five Benchmark Hospitality International Chefs Featured at
New York’s Renowned James Beard House
Benchmark Holiday Dinner Honors Bob Zappatelli
New York, January 2010 … Five executive chefs from Benchmark Hospitality International, one of the nation’s leading independent hospitality management companies, cooked the fifth annual Benchmark Holiday Dinner recently at the storied James Beard House in New York City. The dinner honored the memory of Bob Zappatelli, Benchmark’s beloved first vice president of food & beverage, who passed away unexpectedly last May. Mr. Zappatelli was instrumental in Benchmark’s active involvement with the James Beard House over the years and together with the five chefs had planned the evening’s menu.
The culinary event featured Benchmark Hospitality chefs Hector J. Morales, Jr., executive chef for the landmark Turtle Bay Resort and its signature restaurant 21 Degrees North, North Shore, Oahu; Peter Csikos, executive chef, The Heldrich Hotel & Spa and its signature restaurant, Christopher’s, New Brunswick, New Jersey and David Rodriguez, executive chef at Costa d'Este Beach Resort and the property’s acclaimed restaurant, Oriente, Vero Beach, Florida.
Also featured were John Billings, executive chef for Eaglewood Resort and its restaurant Burnham’s, Chicago, Illinois; and Francisco Aceves, executive chef of Stonewall Resort and Stillwaters Restaurant, Weston, West Virginia. Mary Watson, Benchmark Hospitality’s Chief Wine Officer, paired each course with fine wines, including her Signature Blend, “Mary’s Cuvée,” produced by the award-winning Corcoran Vineyards, located in Loudoun County, Virginia.
The James Beard Dinner also introduced Giorgi Di Lemis, who joined Benchmark Hospitality International last October as the company’s new vice president food & beverage.
The Benchmark chefs cooked for a full house of over 80 guests, including James Beard Foundation members, several members of the national press, executives from leading New York-New Jersey-Connecticut corporations, and Benchmark Hospitality International's invited guests, which included Mr. Zappetelli’s family. Last June, Benchmark established the Bob Zappatelli Culinary Arts Scholarship in partnership with The James Beard Foundation http://www.benchmarkhospitality.com/media_center/bobz.asp
Benchmark Hospitality International chef in James Beard’s kitchen, James Beard House (L to R): Francisco Aceves, David Rodriguez, Hector J. Morales, Jr., John Billings, Peter Csikos.
Not pictured, Mary Watson, Chief Wine Officer, Giorgi Di Lemis, Vice President Food & Beverage. Photo credit, Eileen Miller.
Tuesday, 19 January 2010 15:59
Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine Office Space Open for Partnership
If you need part-time office space for sales calls or storage space for business documents or files, contact us. We have 200+ square feet of office space with additional support space available, some meeting space and possible sharing of equipment (copier, fax, computers, phones, internet, etc.). Hours could be worked out. We are located in Huntingdon Valley, PA in an office complex with plenty of free parking space. Bonus: Friendly faces to share an office with!
Monday, 18 January 2010 21:29
Our MAR/APR 2010 issue will feature "Creative & Unique Events," and we invite you to submit your photos and editorial for consideration in this issue.
Despite being faced with economic challenges and smaller budgets in 2009, planners throughout the region continued to use a great deal of ingenuity and creativity to come up with bigger and better events for their companies and clients. We would like to showcase some of these great events in our upcoming issue!
We invite you to share with us your Hospitality Industry Events, Trade Shows, Catered Affairs, Grand Openings, Product Launches, Conferences, Client Parties, Banquets, Galas, Fund Raisers, Celebrity Events, as well as any Promotional Events that you were involved with, created or produced.
For your event to be featured in Mid-Atlantic Events Magazine, we must receive several high-resolution photos along with a brief description of the event. (Please include captions for all photos. Acknowledgment of all partnering organizations in putting together the event is key also). The more selection and creativity of photos you are able to submit, the better.
There is no cost to be included in our "Creative & Unique Events" photo section. The deadline is February 5th.
If you have an event you would like to submit for consideration, mail photo CDs or DVDs to:
Creative & Unique Events
Share your creativity with our readers! We look forward to showcasing all of the events that shined in 2009!
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