Pro tip from the Greenbrier’s interior designer: Embrace color and shun beige


Since taking over Dorothy Draper and Company, Varney has designed and refurbished countless hotels, buildings, homes and even a presidential yacht, the USS Sequoia. However, the Greenbrier occupies a special place in his heart; as the hotel’s official curator, the 83-year-old maintains an office there. His hardcover valentine, “Romance & Rhododendrons: My Love Affair with America’s Resort — The Greenbrier,” comes out Dec. 5. We spoke with Varney in his Palm Beach office, before he traveled to Washington for a meeting with the National Council of the White House Historical Association. (He’s an appointed member.) He planned to spend Thanksgiving at the Greenbrier, where gravy is a condiment, not a palette. Here are his insights into design and the fabled hotel, plus how color (optimistic orange? positive purple?) can lift our spirits during these gloomy-gray times.

The power of color: I have spent 54 years trying to open the windows and doors of America to color. I believe color has a total effect on people’s heads, minds and attitudes. A beautiful sunny room makes people happy. I think children who grow up in rooms that are pretty and colorful and magical are better people.

Colorful bedfellows: The White House has a bright red room and a green room and a blue room and a gold room. When the Jefferson dining room was done at Monticello, it was a bright gold. They finally returned it to that color.

A beige experience: I once went to a hotel on my way back from Bora Bora, and the carpet was a knobby gray, and the walls were beige with white trim, and the curtains were gray-beige. Even the art was beige. I went into the travertine bathroom, and when I came out, I thought I was naked in a bowl of oatmeal.

Before the beige era: When I came to the office in the early ’60s, hotels were not beige and gray. They were colorful. They were pretty. William Pahlmann used to do wonderful hotels. Ellen McCluskey did great hotels. Tom Lee did great hotels. When Mrs. Draper did the Mayflower in Washington, D.C., the rooms were beautiful.

Never change: We’ve never changed. We’ve become interesting and special. People come to us because we do color. Our business is the oldest established decorating and design company in America, and we survived the muted [trend].

The Greenbrier is not . . . the Ritz-Carlton. You can tell what they are. They have the panel walls, the matching sconces, the Aubusson-style rug, the round table in the middle, the flowers on the round table, the winged chairs in light blue in the corner. It’s all uniform.

The Greenbrier is . . . special. If you go to a great house in Europe, you don’t want to see beige. You want see how one generation added onto the [designs of the] next generation, but they didn’t eliminate the previous generation. So the houses are interesting. They’re fun to go into, to see the series of people who have lived there. In the Greenbrier, that beautiful Princess Grace portrait I hung in the north parlor . . . you don’t have to be a pre-Revolutionary-war person to be hung on the wall there. We honor our past as well as we accept the future.

Beyond rooms: We did a new chapel. Then I did a casino and a sports center. There’s always something happening. Gov. [Jim] Justice [the resort’s owner] trusts me, and they don’t interfere with what we do. It’s like my own house.

Just like home: I have been there for so many years, I feel like I know what is in the bottom drawer of Room 1029. That’s the room I always stay in. And, of course, they did a suite several years ago, the Carleton Varney Suite, which is on the north end. It looks over the mountains. There are a lot of people who think it should be a convention hotel. They don’t understand that it’s a country house hotel. I want you to feel as if you are the owner and you invited your friends to stay over. You offer them the yellow bedroom or the pink bedroom or the striped bedroom. But you don’t offer them oatmeal.

The White House of West Virginia: It’s much like the White House in many ways. It has the columns. The emir of Qatar came here, and when the wife arrived, she said to her husband, “I never knew the White House had a golf course.” She thought it looked so much like the White House.

Banana leaf copycats: We did the big banana leaf design for a hotel in Brazil, and then they used it for the Beverly Hills Hotel. It’s our pattern, and everybody is using it. It’s on bed trays, women’s clothes — it’s on everything.

Shades of blue: Mrs. Draper believed that Jefferson painted the ceilings at Monticello that light aqua blue to deflect the insects and mosquitoes. Dorothy was very unhappy when Tiffany came out with those boxes in blue because she said it was her color.

Hues with benefits: I like to be in a green room because I feel like I am in the mountains of Montana or the jungles of St. Croix. I have always painted small rooms dark colors — garnet red, royal blue, sable brown — because they become more intimate. Mrs. Draper never did a ballroom unless it was pink because pink flatters faces. I worked with Dorothy for seven years. I remember working on a hotel in D.C. called the Sutton House. Dorothy would look at the fabric we were working with and say, “Show me nothing that looks like gravy.” Nothing that looked it was going to be on a turkey or a piece of meat. It had to be happy.

Executive decorating: I was Jimmy Carter’s decorator when he was in the White House. The Carters had the most wonderful style — down home. I would do tuzzy muzzies on the tables when [then-U.K. Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher came to a state dinner. And then I did their cottage and log cabin in Ellijay [Georgia]. I helped them at the Carter Center [in Atlanta]. I redid the house in The Plains. Speaking of Washington, I was also the Quayles’ decorator when they did the Naval Observatory, and it was very colorful. Marilyn [Quayle] didn’t want any roses like Barbara Bush had. I did a china service for the vice president’s house — light blue and gold. I wanted to find out if Tipper Gore [the subsequent resident] ever used it. I got a letter back that it was in the basement.

Book timing: I’m not getting younger. I felt I owed it to the Greenbrier to write this story so that future generations would know about the color and spirit of the place. There is a whole thing called the Greenbrier style, which I hope the world never loses.

Shop Draper: People like to walk out of the Greenbrier with something that looks likes the Greenbrier. We have all these things that we call Dorothy Draper Home. We have pillows, trays and lamps. We opened the store [at the Greenbrier] last July. It is the only one now. We are going to have a couple in other places.

Garden variety: I like the colors that come up in the garden and the colors that come from below the earth — the emeralds and beautiful rubies.

Foreign influence: I love Portugal, and I have a house in Ireland. I live in Ireland half the year. I love the Irish green, the countryside. I planted daffodil and tulip bulbs. I plant a thousand every year, so my fields are all yellow. People who plant a garden believe in a tomorrow.

Insta-Greenbrier: The Greenbrier used to be a Kodak moment, but now it’s an Instagram moment.

Greenbrier is home: I think people like to go back to the Greenbrier because it doesn’t change. They know they’re home.



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5 unique golf courses around the world you can travel to


Malaysia has much to offer golfers. Many courses here often make their way into annual “best of” lists, with enthusiasts commending their high quality green and beautiful driving ranges.

In Kuala Lumpur alone, there are over 40 golf courses available. For some venues, one would need to be invited by a club member or stay at an associated hotel before they can play there.

But while Malaysia is a top golfing destination, it’s also worth travelling abroad to experience other courses. More than just the chance to play at different courses, a “golf holiday” also lets you explore new destinations.

With so many breathtaking courses all over the world, it can be difficult to choose where to go. A tip is to narrow down the location according to your budget, as well as the kind of weather you’d like to play in.

If you’re dreaming of a golf holiday, here are some unique courses around the world to tee off.

Extreme 19th at Legend Golf & Safari Resort, South Africa

The iconic Extreme 19th at Legend Golf & Safari Resort located in Limpopo, South Africa, is famed for its world’s longest and highest Par 3 hole.

Treat yourself to an astonishing view – miles of African savannah stretching as far as the eye can see – when you play here. The tee shot is accessible only by helicopter and is 400m high on Hanglip Mountain.

Look out for the patch of greenery shaped like the African continent at the course.

Apart from being in the middle of a wildlife preserve, the venue is known for its “world-in-one” Signature Course where each of the 18 holes is designed by a different golfing legend.

Camp Bonifas, Between North and South Korea

Dare to play golf in a war zone? Touted as “the most dangerous course on the planet”, the Camp Bonifas course is located in the Korean Demilitarised Zone, which is on the border of North and South Korea.

   Dubbed the ‘most dangerous golf course in the world’, Camp Bonifas is located in the Korean Demilitarised Zone. — EDWARD N. JOHNSON/US ArmyDubbed the ‘most dangerous golf course in the world’, Camp Bonifas is located in the Korean Demilitarised Zone. — EDWARD N. JOHNSON/US Army

This single-hole course sits beside one of the most fortified borders in the world. The green is surrounded on three sides by live minefields!

This Par 3 hole is said to be challenging as the green is hard as a rock.

Uummannaq, Greenland

Hate the heat? Then consider playing on a giant iceberg. Located about 800km north of the Arctic Circle, Uummannaq in Greenland hosts the World Ice Golf Cham-pionships, where people all around the world come to play below freezing temperatures. The rules are pretty much the same as your standard game of golf, except that the holes are a little shorter, the cups are larger, and everything is frozen.

Although seal dens and crevasses are potential hazards, the biggest threat is frostbite, which players are taught how to spot before they tee off.

Himalayan Golf Club, Nepal

Few courses around the world give that “wow factor” like the Himalayan Golf Club. Located 7km away from Pokhara, Nepal, the course is situated in a vast canyon created by melted snow from the Bijayapur river.

Golfers here get a spectacular view of the Fishtail and Annapurna mountain ranges. The venue is home to the only natural river island hole in the world. Don’t be surprised to find wild cattle and buffaloes roaming freely while playing.

Arikikapakapa Rotorua Golf Club, New Zealand

The geographical layout of the Arikikapakapa Rotorua Golf Club is a favourite feature among many golfers across the globe.

   The Rotorua Golf Club was built around the Arikikapakapa reserve in Whakarewarewa, an active geothermal area in New Zealand. — Rotorua Golf Club websiteThe Rotorua Golf Club was built around the Arikikapakapa reserve in Whakarewarewa, an active geothermal area in New Zealand. — Rotorua Golf Club website

This unique 18-hole thermal golf course is located in the middle of a sulfur and brimstone thermal zone.

There are hot geothermal lakes, bubbling thermal mud pools, creeks with warm water running through and a geyser erupting every so often in the distance, making a golf game here a truly incomparable experience.





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First and Finest: Holiday travel; Vernon hit and run


Foley said there were more than 4,000 calls for service as of Saturday night.

HARTFORD, Conn — In FOX61’s latest segment of First and Finest, Brian Foley with Connecticut’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection discussed how state police stepped up enforcement and patrols over the long holiday weekend.

Foley said there were more than 4,000 calls for service as of Saturday night. He said state police issued about 330 tickets on Connecticut highways, there were 11 DUIs, and state police assisted 264 drivers on the roadside.

“That being said, the big news out the weekend was that there were six fatalities and five accidents, fatal motor accidents, so it was sadly a deadly weekend on highways in Connecticut,” said Foley.

Foley also discussed deadly crashes involving wrong-way drivers. He said a vast majority of those accidents are caused by impaired drivers.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation has been putting together counter-measures to help prevent the issue, like implementing new technology.

Foley also provided new insight as the investigation into a deadly hit-and-run in Vernon continues.

Police say 44-year-old Andrew Aggarwala was walking his puppy this past Tuesday along Phoenix St. when he was hit and killed by a car that drove away.

Aggarwala was a father and very involved in youth sports in the community.

Vernon Police say they have seized a vehicle of interest in this case that was found near the area of Phoenix Street.

However, police say no one has been taken into custody yet.

Foley said these investigations always take time and urged patience.

“There’s some steps to be taken here. The car will likely have a computer in it. They can analyze that. They’ll do some search warrants for cell phone records for anyone that may have been a possible driver. These things take time. We have to wait for the cell phone and different results to come back,” said Foley.

Aggarwala’s dog Ollie ran off after that crash and has been missing for the past few days.

However, the dog was found safe Saturday morning and was reunited with its family.



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Here’s a roundup of top-notch travel deals, whether you’d rather staycation in Alaska or venture abroad


We’re in between the two tallest pillars of the retail universe: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And many travelers are itching to go somewhere.

It’s a delicate balance for travel companies offering deals, though. Coaxing travelers to fly, to sail or to stay somewhere when COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in many communities is challenging for companies. After all, there’s still no vaccine to fight the coronavirus and preventive measures — masks, physical distancing and hand-washing — can be difficult to enforce.

Also, each state or country has its own protocols for entry, which may include advance testing, quarantine on arrival, or both. And those entry requirements change all the time.

So this week, travelers who are shopping for deals are betting on a vaccine and for improved testing and mitigation conditions in 2021. Feeling lucky?

The Alaska Collection by Pursuit is offering a 40% off sale for 2021 adventures here in Alaska. This includes Kenai Fjords Tours in Seward, Denali Backcountry Adventures and the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge.

My favorite boat ride in Seward is the six-hour “National Park Cruise,” which departs Seward’s small boat harbor, heads out Resurrection Bay and rounds the corner to visit Aialik Bay. Regular price for the cruise is $169, plus tax, and lunch on board is included. Cruises start on May 1, 2021. The sale price using the code CYBER40 is $112, and there’s no discount on the taxes.

Major Marine Tours also is offering a 40% off sale for its cruises in Seward to Kenai Fjords National Park.

If you want to stay overnight in Seward, which is a good idea, stay at the Seward Windsong Lodge. The hotel opens May 14 and the sale pricing brings the cost down from $179 to $107 per night. Use the discount code CYBER40.

Up in Talkeetna, the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge is opening for spring break starting on March 6, 2021. The rooms are much cheaper, and the snow will be ideal for skiing, cycling or snowmachining. The regular price is $129 per night, but the sale price is $77 per night. When the lodge reopens for the summer season on May 15, 2021, the rates go up to $229 per night. Using that same discount code brings that down to $137 per night, plus tax.

At Denali National Park, the company Pursuit offers a daily tour from the park entrance all the way back to Kantishna, at the end of the 92-mile park road. The Denali Backcountry Adventure tour includes a meal at the end of the road at Denali Backcountry Lodge. Very few travelers get this far back in the park. It’s a great opportunity to get the perfect shot of Denali, with Wonder Lake in the foreground.

Denali is reflected in a small pond just east of Wonder Lake in Denali National Park on August 23, 2006. (Bob Hallinen / ADN archive)

Usually, the bus tour is $199 per person, but the sale price — including the $15 Denali National Park fee — is $134.40. The discount code is a little different: CYBER40DBA. The tour leaves from Denali Cabins, located 8 miles south of the park entrance. However, the bus will pick you up at other hotels or campsites.

Denali Cabins consists of 46 individual cedar cabins. Usually, the summertime rate is $169 per night, plus tax. But using the CYBER40 discount code, the cost comes down to $101 per night.

There are other Black Friday sales for hotels, but none caught my eye like Fairmont Hotels. I got on their mailing list after staying at their beautiful hotel Chateau Lake Louise in Canada’s Banff National Park.

This is a big hotel in a spectacular setting. The rate when we stayed there was more than $500 per night. I used some credit card points there, as well as at the Fairmont Jasper Lodge farther north on the Icefield Parkway in the Canadian Rockies.

Of course, both of these hotels are off-limits to us right now, since the Canadians don’t want visiting Americans to potentially spread COVID-19.

But Fairmont has some beautiful hotels around the world, including the Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle. I checked the sale price for a stay in January: $185 per night. The Kea Lani resort in Maui also is a Fairmont resort, but I could not find a date where the Black Friday discount would work. The rack rates started at more than $500 per night.

It’s worth surfing around the Fairmont site to see if there’s a property that works for you in Chicago, California’s Sonoma County or Scottsdale, Arizona.

A view of the Hurtigruten’s vessel MS Roald Amundsen, docked in Tromso, Norway, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (Terje Pedersen/NTB scanpix via AP)

One cruise company that stood out, though, is Hurtigruten. This Norwegian company has the craziest itineraries: around Iceland, to Antarctica and to Greenland. They also offer some itineraries around the coast of South America, in the Caribbean and in Alaska.

There were a few airfare specials on various airlines, but none here in Alaska. Sometimes, when there are no super-specials from Alaska, you have to cobble together a ticket to San Francisco or Los Angeles, along with a ticket to your final destination.

Cathay Pacific has some good Black Friday deals for travel starting in April. So, clearly, they’re banking that travelers will be allowed to visit by then. Here are some of the best rates:

• San Francisco-Taipei: $475 round trip

• Los Angeles/San Francisco-Ho Chi Minh City: $480 round trip

• Los Angeles-Manila: $469 round trip

• Los Angeles-Denpasar, Bali: $474 round trip

Other destinations also are available, including Tokyo and Singapore. But at this time, American citizens are not allowed to visit. Travelers on Cathay Pacific can earn Alaska Airlines miles.



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Fauci warns Thanksgiving travel could make current Covid surge worse


WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert, warned that the travel-heavy Thanksgiving holiday could make the current surge in Covid-19 cases even worse as the nation heads into December.

Appearing on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday, Fauci said that public health officials “tried to get the word out for people, as difficult as it is, to really not have large gatherings” during the holiday due to concerns that the celebrations could exacerbate the coronavirus spread.

“What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in,” he said.

“I don’t want to frighten people except to say it’s not too late at all for us to do something about this,” he added, urging Americans to be careful when they travel back home and upon arriving, and to take proven steps like social distancing and wearing masks.

It can sometimes take two weeks for infected people to develop symptoms, and asymptomatic people can spread the virus without knowing they have it. So Fauci said the “dynamics of an outbreak” show a three-to-five-week lag between serious mitigation efforts and the actual curbing of infection rates.

While the first wave of vaccinations could start in America within a matter of weeks, Fauci said that, for now, “we are going to have to make decisions as a nation, state, city and family that we are in a very difficult time, and we’re going to have to do the kinds of restrictions of things we would have liked to have done, particularly in this holiday season, because we’re entering into what’s really a precarious situation.”

Covid-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. have been accelerating in recent weeks. There have been more than 4 million cases and 35,000 deaths attributed to the virus in the month of November alone. Overall, America has had 13.3 million coronavirus cases and 267,000 deaths attributable to the virus, according to an NBC News analysis.

Despite a mid-November warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging Americans not to travel during Thanksgiving, air travel broke pandemic records, with 6.8 million people traveling through airports in the seven days ahead of the holiday.

The already accelerating caseload, combined with the potential for another surge of cases, comes as hospitals across the country are sounding the alarm about overloading the system’s capacity.

Fauci said that he is concerned about the nation’s hospitals, noting that he received calls last night from colleagues across the country “pleading for advice” amid the “significant stresses on the hospital and health care delivery systems.”

While he explicitly said he was not calling for a national lockdown, Fauci said at the local level, Americans could “blunt” the surge’s effects on the hospital system by taking mitigation steps “short of locking down so we don’t precipitate the necessity of locking down.”

The surge in cases comes amid promising news about a coronavirus vaccine, with both public health officials and the federal government planning to begin the first wave of vaccinations in December. Fauci said that while the “exact” recommendations for scheduling groups to receive vaccinations have not been finalized, “health care workers are going to be among” those first in line for the vaccines.

He pointed to the country’s success in distributing annual flu vaccines as “the reason we should feel more confident” about the ability to send the needed vaccine across America.

“The part about 300 million doses getting shipped is going to get taken care of by people who know how to do that,” he said. “The part at the distal end, namely, getting it into people’s arms, is going to be more challenging than a regular flu season, it would be foolish to deny that. But I think it’s going to be able to get done because the local people have done that in the past. Hopefully, they’ll get the resources to help them to do that.”



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Bring it on home: Spain | Travel


Who and where From left: Jim and Irene Hirschfield of St. Louis and Paula and Jerry Kaye of Wilmette, Illinois, at the General Life Gardens at the Alhambra, palace and fortress of the Moorish monarchs in Granada, Spain.

The trip • They traveled throughout Spain last year with private guides starting in Madrid, and traveling to Granada, Sevilla and Barcelona.

Travel tip • Purchase tickets in advance for the Alhambra; don’t miss Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid.

Contribute • Email your photo to [email protected]. Include the full names of everyone in the photo, including where they are from and where you are standing in the photo. Also include your address and phone number. Please also tell us a little about the trip and a travel tip. We’re looking for interesting, well-composed, well-lighted photos.



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Authorities reminding you to be careful when traveling in the backcountry


Stock image

The following is a news release from Fremont County Search and Rescue.

ST. ANTHONY – On four separate occasions during the past two weeks, Fremont County Search and Rescue has been dispatched to assist stranded drivers on impassable roads due to heavy snowfall.

Authorities are reminding you to use common sense when traveling on a non-plowed road. The farther you travel away from the plowed road, the deeper the snow may become, and the more difficult it will be to turn around.

Typically, the farther away you are from a highway, the less likely you are to have adequate cell service or the ability to call for help. Even if you drive a 4-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle, it does not mean you are able to travel everywhere. Know your equipment and its limitations.

Too many people go a little too far, and instead of being able to turn around and get themselves out, they end up getting stuck in the deep snow. Consequently, they have to rely on others to help them get unstuck or brought back out. Search and Rescue’s responsibility is to rescue individuals. They are not required to retrieve vehicles, and sometimes it necessitates leaving a vehicle in the back country.

If you become stuck on a road during winter, please do not attempt to walk out. Your vehicle will shelter you from the elements. Make sure you carry a winter survival kit with dry clothing, blankets, or a way to get warm if your vehicle will not start.

If you run your vehicle for warmth, be sure you roll your window down half an inch to an inch for fresh air and to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. If you decide to leave your vehicle to get better cell service, walk only within eyesight so you can easily return.

Be sure you let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return, and help will be on its way shortly after you’re reported overdue.

After Thanksgiving, wheeled vehicles are no longer allowed on roads that are designated for snowmobile trails.
These are typically groomed trails, not made for wheeled vehicles. This includes the Mesa Falls Trail from Bear Gulch to U.S. Highway 20 near Harriman State Park, per Fremont County Ordinance 2004-02.

It is unlawful for any person to drive, operate, or be in physical control of any self-propelled vehicle other than a snowmobile on groomed snow trails in Fremont County. Any person who violates this ordinance is guilty of a
misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of no less than $50 nor more than $300, or by imprisonment for not
more than 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Click here for more information.

Click here for a trail map.

A reminder to anyone traveling backcountry areas whether skiing, snowmobiling hunting, fishing, camping, boating, using ATVs, trail riding, biking, or hiking:

  • Remember the time of year, exercising all backcountry cautions.
  • Take necessary equipment and survival gear when venturing into the backcountry. If you have a GPS and cell phone, be sure to take them with you, but do not rely on them entirely for a safe rescue if you find yourself in trouble or stranded. Avalanche Transceivers and equipment, knowing what the avalanche conditions are, and knowing skills to save lives are a must for everyone entering backcountry riding or traveling.
  • Plan ahead. Make sure you know the area you are heading into before heading into it.
  • If you find yourself in trouble, stop, take a look around you, and do not go any farther. The farther you go, the more complicated and dangerous it is to get yourself to safety, also making rescue efforts more difficult and dangerous. Make mental notes in relation to any physical features or landmarks that would assist in your rescue.
  • Make a plan, stick to your plan, narrow the riding area, and most of all let someone know WHERE you are planning to go and WHEN you are to return!

To check avalanche conditions, visit the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center website or the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center website.



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Women’s Basketball Travels to Quinnipiac Sunday Afternoon


Villanova will hit the road for the first time this season on Sunday afternoon, when the Wildcats travel to Quinnipiac for a non-conference contest. Tip-off in Hamden, Conn., is set for 3 p.m. The game can be seen live on ESPN+.
 
Sunday’s game between Villanova and Quinnipiac will be just the third all-time meeting between the two schools. The last time the Wildcats and Bobcats met was during the first round of the 2014 WNIT when Villanova earned a 74-66 win.
 
Villanova is coming off a 70-37 home win over the visiting Rider Broncs on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Maddy Siegrist led the way in the win with a double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds. She was 13-of-19 from the field and 2-of-5 from three-point range. Freshman Lior Garzon was the second Wildcat to reach double figures with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting (3-of-4 from long distance). Brianna Herlihy added eight points and eight rebounds, while Raven James dished out a game-high six assists.
 
Quinnipiac earned a 71-65 victory against the visiting Providence College Friars in  its season opener. Rose Caverly led the Bobcats in the win with 20 points, while Mikala Morris had 17 points.   
 
The first Villanova double-double of the 2020-21 season was credited to Siegrist who had 28 points and 10 rebounds against Rider. Siegrist has now tallied a double-double in 12 of her 32 collegiate games.
 
Villanova was very efficient on the offensive end of the floor in Wednesday’s win over Rider. The Cats finished the game shooting 52.6 percent from the field (30-of-57) and 40.0 percent from three-point range (8-of-20). The Wildcats also played outstanding team basketball in the win, as they were credited with 24 assists on 30 made field goals.
 
The Wildcats got a solid contribution from the bench in the season opening win.  Of the 70 points scored, the Wildcat bench scored 20 of the 70 points. The bench play was highlighted by Garzon who had 11 points in her collegiate debut.
 
 





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Positive news on Covid vaccine fuels new enthusiasm for travel: Travel Weekly


Good news about Covid-19 vaccines has been on the uptick this month, and with it, a bump in inquiries to travel agencies about what these medical advances might mean for travel in 2021.

The calls don’t always lead to bookings, advisors said, and although the good news is tempered in part by spiking cases around the country, consumer response to the vaccine news appears to both reflect high levels of pent-up demand and herald the nascent return of broad consumer confidence to travel.

On Nov. 9, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that preliminary data indicates their vaccine is more than 90% effective. A week later, Moderna on Nov. 16 said preliminary analysis found its vaccine was more than 94.5% effective. And just before Thanksgiving, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford said preliminary data found their vaccine up to 90% effective.

“Within an hour of Pfizer announcing their vaccine, we started getting calls,” said Helen Papa, owner of TBH Travel in Dix Hills, N.Y. “Within an hour. It was amazing.”

Cruise lines also saw some positive effects attributable to vaccine news. During Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ most recent financial earnings call, the day after Pfizer’s news, president and CEO Frank Del Rio said bookings in the previous 24 hours were “pretty good; better than the previous four or five Mondays.”

“And that’s, I think, attributable to the vaccine news,” he said. “We did not have any particular promotion or did any outsized marketing.”

Similarly, Royal Caribbean Group chairman Richard Fain addressed the question of positive news about vaccines during Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld, which was held virtually earlier this month.

“I don’t think it will surprise anybody that when the news is scary, people tend to go back into their cocoons,” Fain said. “As the news gets to be more positive they come out. What’s encouraging is how quickly it responds.”

After both the Pfizer and Moderna news broke, Skyscanner found that searches for travel from the U.S. to Mexico surpassed their weekly volume from last year, up 10%. Skyscanner attributed that increase to the vaccine news, as well.

Helen Papa

Helen Papa

For Papa, some of the inquiries she received at TBH have turned into bookings. Clients are “cautiously optimistic,” she said.

On the other side of the country from Papa, Coastline Travel Advisors in Garden Grove, Calif., also received a number of emails and calls from clients following vaccine announcements, according to president Jay Johnson. 

While there has been a general sense of optimism and more confidence in travel’s return by next summer, he said, the influx of inquiries has not yet resulted in new business.

“There is without a doubt a huge amount of pent-up demand to travel in 2021,” Johnson said. “All we need now is confirmation that the vaccines work and a lowering of cases. Then, we’ll be off and running.”

Joshua Bush

Joshua Bush

Avenue Two Travel in Villanova, Pa., saw an uptick in both calls and bookings as a result of the positive vaccine news, but that was tempered by the rising number of cases around the country, said CEO Joshua Bush.

Avenue Two has seen steady, week-over-week increases in travel since mid-August, thanks to domestic travel and clients dreaming about 2021 travel, Bush said. In addition to closer-in domestic bookings, Avenue Two has even been booking things like world cruise segments and expedition trips. Overall, business is down about 70% year over year, but better than the 95 to 97% it was down when the pandemic first hit.

The week before Pfizer had announced its vaccine’s effectiveness, business was “absolutely dead,” which Bush attributed to the unsettled U.S. presidential election. 

But the week of Nov. 16, Bush said, “with the election result [more widely accepted] and the vaccine … we are on track for our best week this year since Covid.” Those bookings were for both the holiday season and 2021 as travelers are getting more optimistic about a vaccine.

At the same time, the good news is offset by the surge in cases and deaths around the world, especially in the U.S.

“We’re hitting milestone death numbers,” Bush said. “We’re hitting milestone cases on individual days. That is really kind of tamping down the news that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We’re definitely in this still.”

In some places, though, travelers have shown less concern about traveling during the pandemic, and the news of the vaccines was akin to a nonevent. Jeanne Polocheck, owner of Well Traveled Texan in Houston, said her Texas-based clients largely kept traveling during the pandemic. Things had initially slowed early this year, but by Memorial Day clients were out and about again, a trend that has continued. Domestic spots and Mexico have been popular.

She didn’t even get one phone call from a client about vaccines.

A potential stumbling block to the recovery of travel is the resistance among some people to being vaccinated. A Gallup poll conducted between Oct. 19 and Nov. 1, before the vaccine trial results were announced, indicated 58% of adult respondents were willing to get a vaccination, a rise from 50% in September.

Lingering and significant reluctance to be vaccinated will likely present hurdles to overcome with regard to travel in the future, said Ensemble Travel Group CEO David Harris.

He pointed to the flu vaccine: It’s been available for decades, but a portion of the population skips it each year.

However, he is more hopeful about a Covid vaccine, given how serious the impact of the virus has been. While a vaccine will never be 100% effective, it could go a long way to the resumption of travel, he said, by giving confidence to governments to relax requirements for quarantines and other deterrents to travel.

“Those should, in theory, be relaxed if you get traction from an effective vaccine,” he said.

Johanna Jainchill contributed to this report.



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