9 amazing beaches you have probably never heard of

May 29th, 2017 by Mariah

We’ve all been there: Beaches so packed with bodies it’s impossible to take a decent picture without forty random photobombers in the background.

But there’s good news. About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface area is water, so there are plenty of empty, albeit scenic stretches of sand silently waiting to become your next cover photo. And what they lack in crowds, boardwalks, surf shops and ice cream trucks, they more than make up for in Mother Nature.

Below are nine lesser-known beaches worth knowing, along with tips for getting your toes in their sand.

 

1. Secret Beach, Dominica

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Dominica is a far cry from the Dominican Republic people often confuse it with. Pronounced “doe-min-EE-ka,” it’s a Caribbean island relatively untouched by resorts. Known as the “Nature Island” because, appropriately, nature has been left alone to do its thing– Secret Beach is a wonderful example of that. This private cove near Dominica’s Secret Bay boasts unique rock features like a natural bridge and a sea-cliff cave filled with rich marine life. So even if the thought of putting on a snorkeling mask and breathing through a plastic pipe scares you, you’ll definitely want to snorkel here.

Getting there: Guests staying at Secret Bay can take complimentary kayaks or paddle boards to Secret Beach. Otherwise, go to Portsmouth to charter a fishing boat from the Indian River Visitor Center or rent a kayak or sailboat from WaveDancer Water Sports & Park at Coconut Beach.

 

2. Benijo Beach, Tenerife

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When it comes to beaches, Tenerife isn’t really on the tip of most Americans’ tongues. But this Canary Island off the coast of North Africa boasts 70 beaches including Benijo beach, something Sergio Barros of Quest Travel Adventures likens to a natural experience at its purest. “It has fabulous views of the Roques de Anaga rock formations and its sunsets are magical. Especially when the glimmering sea contrasts with the red horizon and the dark outline of the volcanic rocks rising from the ocean depths.” Note: This beach is popular among naturists, so you may see a naked beachgoer or two.

Getting there: Tenerife is a four-hour non-stop flight from London. WOW air also offers Newark to Tenerife fares starting at $239. From Tenerife, drive the winding mountain roads to the village of Taganana where you’ll find a path of steep stairs down to the beach.

 

3. Kennedy Island, Solomon Islands

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Although it’s named for one of the most beloved U.S. presidents, Kennedy Island receives only a handful of American visitors each year. (It has just six reviews on TripAdvisor.) While the uninhabited island has great snorkeling, most visitors come for the historical significance. “JFK, who would be 100 years old this May, was stationed nearby when his patrol boat was struck by a torpedo and he swam to this island,” says recent visitor Lisa Niver of We Said Go Travel.

Getting there: From Fiji, fly Solomon Airlines to Gizo where you can pay a tour operator about $30 to take a half-day boat trip to Kennedy Island. You can also stay at Fat Boys, a budget-friendly resort that takes guests to the island.

 

4. No Name Cay, Bahamas

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The only inhabitants of this aptly named beach are Bahamian swimming pigs. Although these feral pigs are friendly (yes, you can doggie-paddle with them), they don’t appear on Instagram nearly as often as Exuma’s aquatic swine. In other words, No Name Cay is not yet an international swimming pig sensation. Still, it’s only a matter of time before the beach, which locals have deemed “Piggyville,” becomes a major tourist trap.

Getting there: The most direct way to get to No Name Cay is to fly into Marsh Harbour from Nassau or select cities in Florida. From there, head to Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina to rent a boat or book an eco-tour. It’s just a 30-minute scenic ride from the marina.

 

5. Praia Formosa, Santa Maria Island, Azores, Portugal

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Praia Formosa on the island of Santa Maria was once home to a 16th century fort built to deter pirates. Today, visitors who navigate the winding cliffside road down to the beach can walk among the remaining ruins. They can also search for sea life in the pollution-free tidal pools. In fact, Praia Formosa was awarded Blue Flag status — indicating it meets the most stringent international water quality standards set by the Foundation for Environmental Education.

Getting there: The fastest way to get to the Azores from the U.S. is to fly nonstop on Azores Airlines. It’s a four-hour flight from Boston. From the Azores, take a 20-minute flight to Santa Maria where you can rent a car or take a 20-minute taxi ride to Praia Formosa.

 

To read the rest of the original article, click here.

Worst airports for summer flight delays

May 29th, 2017 by Mariah

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Even without the snow and inclimate weather, summertime is no picnic for busy travelers. Some delays are inevitable but it turns out several airports perform a lot worse than others during this busy travel season.

MileCards.com recently analyzed on-time arrival data from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the past 10 years dating back to 2007, uncovering the best and worst airports for summer flight delays. The comparison service examined the 50 busiest airports in the U.S.

Three of the four worst airports for on-time summer arrivals are located in or around New York: Newark Liberty International (66.5 percent), LaGuardia (66.9 percent) and John F. Kennedy International (69.2 percent) ranked first, second and fourth in worst on-time arrival percentage between 2007 and 2016, respectively.

San Francisco International and Boston’s Logan International round out the top five worst airports for on-time arrivals in the summer, according to MileCards.com’s 2017 Summer Flight Delay Study.

While undoubtedly better, Chicago’s O’Hare, Philadelphia International, Miami International, Ronald Reagan Washington National and John Glenn Columbus International Airport also cracked the list of the top 10 worst for summer travel with average on-time arrival percentages ranging from 72.3 percent to 73.9 percent.

Hawaii dominates the list of the best airports for on-time arrivals during the summer. Kahului Airport and Honolulu International Airport rank Nos. 1 and 2 at 88 percent and 86.5 percent, respectively.

The West also reigns supreme when it comes to the top-performing airports in the mainland U.S.

Salt Lake City International, Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International, Portland International, Seattle-Tacoma International, San Jose International, Minneapolis-St. Paul International and Las Vegas’ McCarran International are among the best U.S. airports for summer travel, boasting an on-time percentage of 79.5 percent or better.

MileCards.com’s research also found that 40 percent of the top 50 U.S. airports have more summer than winter delays and that June is the worst month for summer delays—with more than three-quarters of the 50 busiest airports experiencing more frequent delays in June compared to July or August.

The website declared that Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport is the best United Airlines hub for on-time summer arrivals while Phoenix is the top-performing American Airlines hub this time of year. Delta Air Lines’ best hub for summer travel is Salt Lake City.

To combat summer flight delays, MileCards.com recommends air travelers check for waived change fees before they check in, take advantage of in-flight Wi-Fi to rebook on their way to their destination and choose their airports and departure times carefully.

Read the original story from Fox News here.

New Hampshire inn sees surge of business as Navy yard expands

May 29th, 2017 by Mariah

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PORTSMOUTH, N.H. –  It’s a familiar sight: employees of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the staff at The Port Inn palling around on a first-name basis in the lobby of the hotel. They catch up, crack jokes and discuss the day’s events.

Located about four miles from the sprawling PNSY in Kittery, Maine, the Port Inn has become a surrogate home and family for contractors and employees of the nearby shipyard.

This year, inn owner Mark Bouzianis says up to 30 percent of his business will come from the PNSY. Currently, about 20 of the 56 rooms at the boutique hotel are rented by government employees.

“Over the years, the shipyard been a very big component of our business,” he told Fox News – but added that this year the demand is higher than normal. “It’s not like this every year.”

Part of this year’s success can be attributed to a wave of new hires at the PNSY.

Virtually every town and city within a 50-mile radius of the naval base has benefitted from the success of the naval yard. When PNSY does well, business owners like Bouzianis do well.

New Hampshire Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen told Fox News that the shipyard is “not only critical to our national security, but is also a vital economic engine for New Hampshire’s Seacoast.”

“The caliber of people they hire is really high,” Bouzianis said.

Valerie Rochon, president of the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, told Fox News, the impact of the shipyard has had a “wonderfully positive effect on the community.”

In 2016, the shipyard made 650 new hires and accounted for $756.1 million in total economic activity, according to an annual report from Seacoast Shipyard Association.

There were 6,914 civilian jobs with a payroll of about $496.2 million – an increase of more than $14 million from 2015.

In New Hampshire, 2,535 civilian workers from 58 communities were paid $177.7 million.

Click here to read the original story from Fox News.

Maine Bed and Breakfast Is Being Given Away In Contest!

August 23rd, 2016 by Mariah

Calling all dreamers, writers and entrepreneurs. Want to build a new life sparked by creativity and fueled by a burning desire to be your own boss? Imagine what you can do. Imagine who you can become, if you take that leap of faith.

“The opportunity of a lifetime is only achieved…..if you act within the lifetime of the opportunity.”

 

FreedomHouse

 

WELCOME TO FREEDOM HOUSE B and B ESSAY CONTEST.

A modest entry fee of $150.00 (US Funds) and an Essay of 200 words or less can win you this beautiful farmhouse style bed and breakfast located in the center of Dover-Foxcroft, ME, walking distance to shops, theater, restaurants, banks, courthouse and many more. Just think you can fulfill a dream for the cost of a nights stay in a beautiful bed and breakfast. Simply click on the ENTRY, adhere to the RULES, download and away you go.

A little history about the innkeepers.

Empty nesters Dennis & Chris Aplanalp originally from the West Coast, have owned and operated Freedom House B and B for nearly 13 years. They purchased this 1880’s farmhouse in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine wanting to own and operate a Bed and Breakfast. After a year and a half of renovations they opened for business. Owning a bed and breakfast was everything they dreamed it would be and MORE! In its 13 years, Freedom House B and B is well established with a strong following of guests. After the birth of their ninth grandchild, Chris and Dennis are wanting to spend more quality time with their children and grandchildren and have decided to retire. This essay contest is a unique way to share a dream of theirs with someone else. Freedom House B and B has become “the place to stay” in the area.

VISIT THE OFFICIAL CONTEST WEBSITE HERE!

Rugged, remote, otherworldly Utah

August 10th, 2016 by Mariah

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CNN - Sure, you can go on a week’s safari in Africa or spend seven days cycling in New Zealand, but one of the world’s most spectacular spots is closer than you think.

Frequently and unfairly overlooked, Utah is a “state of mind … sculpted by wind, water and time,” its tourism slogans tout.
utah
That apt description only hints at the natural force and geological artistry shaping southern Utah’s jaw-dropping national park landscapes.
Last year, the area’s five national park headliners — Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches — collectively drew about 7 million visitors from around the world.
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From ancient petroglyphs and shooting stars to hiking, kayaking, biking, backpacking, mule riding and river rafting, there’s no lack of intriguing pursuits in southern Utah.

Skiers tackle Colorado park’s highest peaks

August 10th, 2016 by Mariah

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado (CNN) - When wintertime hits rugged Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, roads close and fair-weather hikers and campers go home.

But for a couple of adventurous backcountry skiers, the adrenaline-filled fun is just beginning.
A year and a half ago, skiers Austin Porzak and Dan Sohner set out to ski and photograph the 50 highest peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park, an adventure they describe as surreal and religious. To be clear, we’re not talking resort skiing with convenient high-speed chairlifts zipping to the summits with long, groomed ski runs down.
Many of these peaks have never been skied before.
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These adventure addicts are climbing peaks sometimes topping 14,000 feet with ice axes and ropes.
Expeditions that involve staying overnight on the slopes require them to carry 50-pound packs on their backs filled with food and tents in addition to climbing and avalanche safety equipment, skis, boots and camera gear.
You “must be 100% in the moment” because of all the unknowns and the constantly changing conditions, said Sohner, 28, who’s a professional photographer when he’s not tackling mountains.
Fear is essential to this risk-taking pursuit, Sohner said. ”If you aren’t scared about something every single day, you’re probably not being safe.”
After reaching the summit, Sohner and Porzak strap on their skis and head down, making their own fresh paths through unpredictable terrain that often involves deep snow, ice and jagged rocks.
The climb up takes anywhere from 10 to 22 hours, and the ski down can be as fast as 30 minutes.

A New Crop of Bed and Breakfasts

August 10th, 2016 by Mariah

Healthy Demand for Intimate Lodging Is Spurring a New Generation of Investor-Innkeepers

The term “bed-and-breakfast” is no longer code for teddy bears, floral bedspreads and doilies.

Karen Lynch, a 49-year-old former stay-at-home mom, and her husband Dan, a 56-year-old IT specialist at Chevron, recently invested nine months and $600,000 gutting an 1860 Victorian home, purchased for $1.5 million. They kept the historic wainscoting and hardwood floors, but replaced the old-fashioned décor with more modern equivalents. Named the Inn on Randolph, the B&B opened in May 2012 and costs $225 to $425 a night. The couple live next door in a restored, 1,600-square-foot bungalow that backs up to the property.

Camden Harbour Inn

In February 2007, Raymond Brunyanszki and his partner Oscar Verest bought what was originally a carpenter’s home in the 1870s for $2.8 million. They then spent an additional $2 million on renovations, which included adding a restaurant, reconfiguring the layout and shipping furniture from Italy, Belgium and Spain. Called the Camden Harbour Inn in Maine, the inn’s priciest rooms run around $1,500 a night during high season and are decorated with all-white walls accented by pops of color like purple and orange. “People will change their entire itinerary if these rooms are booked,” says Mr. Brunyanszki, a 44-year old former hospitality consultant, who adds that guests have included members of Boyz II Men.

The fresh look reflects the vitality of the bed-and-breakfast industry, which is attracting a new breed of innkeepers who, instead of being hobbyists, are looking for sustainable businesses. Today there are 15,000 B&Bs in the U.S., up from estimates of between 5,000 and 8,000 in the 1980s and early 1990s, says Jay Karen, CEO of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), a B&B trade group.

Bed-and-breakfasts, which grew in popularity in the 1800s as mainstays for travelers, usually were family-run enterprises offering a handful of rooms. They cropped up in rural areas too remote to support larger hotels and often distinguished themselves with homey vibes. “People liked the idea of welcoming the weary traveler and showing off their cooking skills or the antiques they collected over the years,” Mr. Karen says.

Click here to read the full story.

Check Out Our New YouTube Channel!

September 28th, 2015 by Mariah

booth

TheInnkeeper.com is excited to announce the launch of our new YouTube Channel!
Our first video is of a trip to Maine we took back in August, with our two little boys, Dylan and Jacob.
Watch out for more of our adventures, coming soon.
We hope you enjoy it :)
Sincerely,
Mariah and Denee
www.TheInnkeeper.com

Click here to check out some of our favorite places to stay while in the beautiful state of Maine.

Message from our CEO

June 26th, 2013 by Mariah

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theinnkeeperlogo

TheInnkeeper.com is pleased to announce the launch of our redesigned website!

We are confident that the changes in place will make the overall experience of the site better for both members, and their potential guests.

Some exciting changes include:

  • Complete redesign of the site, with a bold, eye-catching, yet user-friendly new look.
  • New search functions, making it easier for guests to find the perfect property.
  • Choose between two tiers of membership, Basic and Platinum.
  • Members have the ability to upload their own photos.
  • Interactive map features, and Google maps.
  • Links to TripAdvisor for property reviews.
  • Mobile version of the site compatible with all major devices.
  • Extended social media marketing.
  • Updated blog look and content.

 

Thank you again for your membership and support, and we look forward to a great year!

Mariah Morris CEO of TheInnkeeper.com

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING THEINNKEEPER.COM

March 12th, 2013 by Mariah

TheInnkeeper.com is pleased to announce the upcomimg launch of our redesigned website!

We are confident that the changes in place will make the overall experience of the site better for both members, and their potential guests.

Some exciting changes include:

  • Complete redesign of the site, with a bold, eye-catching, yet user-friendly new look.
  • New search functions, making it easier for guests to find the perfect property.
  • Members will have the ability to upload their own photos.
  • Interactive map features, and Google maps.
  • Links to TripAdvisor for property reviews.
  • Mobile version of the site compatible with all major devices.
  • Extended social media marketing.
  • Updated blog look and content.

In addition, your member log in information will not change, and your renewal rate will not increase. As we do not currently have a set launch date, each member will receive an email letting them know when they can expect these exciting changes to occur. It will be within the next month or so.

Thank you again for your membership and support, and we look forward to a great 2014!

Mariah Morris
CEO of TheInnkeeper.com

BLOG

March 12th, 2013 by Mariah

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(CNN) — U.S. gasoline prices broke a nearly three-month upward spiral in early March, and motorists can expect a bit more relief in the coming weeks, according to the latest Lundberg Survey.

The average price of regular across the continental United States stood at $3.74 on Friday, a 5½-cent drop from the last Lundberg report on February 22, survey publisher Trilby Lundberg said. That comes after an increase of nearly 54 cents since late December, she said.

Crude oil, which makes up about 70% of the price at the pump, went down slightly in the past two weeks, Lundberg said. Most refineries have finished their seasonal maintenance and are gearing up for spring and summer driving demand, meaning fuel supplies are “more than adequate.”

“More pump-price declines seem to be on their way, maybe more than a dime,” she said.

The Lundberg Survey canvasses about 2,500 filling stations every two weeks. The most expensive gasoline in the latest survey was in Los Angeles, where fuel averaged $4.23 per gallon; the cheapest was in Billings, Montana, at $3.31.

Average per-gallon prices in other cities:

Atlanta: $3.71

Boston: $3.78

Chicago: $4.00

Denver: $3.52

Houston: $3.56

Long Island, New York: $3.97

Miami: $3.83

Minneapolis: $3.68

Norfolk, Virginia: $3.59

Portland, Oregon: $3.77

Tulsa, Oklahoma: $3.50

TSA partners are opposing plan to allow some small knives on planes

March 12th, 2013 by Mariah

Washington (CNN) — When the nation’s top transportation security official announced a plan to allow some small knives on planes, he spoke to a group receptive to his message: international aviation folks that already allow knives.

It may be the only receptive group.

In the week since Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole made his announcement, a parade of groups has stepped up to voice opposition or concern.

The list is a virtual who’s who of what the TSA typically calls its partners or stakeholders in aviation security.

Among them:

– The American Federation of Government Employees, a union that represents the nation’s 50,000 airport screeners.

– The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, a nonprofit group that represents an undisclosed number of federal air marshals.

– The Flight Attendants Union Coalition, a group of five unions representing 90,000 flight attendants.

– The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations, which represents pilots.

– U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the senior Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee.

– Major airlines, represented by their trade association, have expressed concern with the policy as a group. But individually, three of the five biggest carriers — Delta, American and US Airways — have come out against it.

Supporters of the initiative are more difficult to find.

None of the groups that the TSA labels “stakeholders” has publicly endorsed the small-knife policy, and only a handful of policymakers, lawmakers and security experts have lent it their support.

The Air Line Pilots Association International, the nation’s largest pilots union, has neither supported nor opposed the knife rule directly, saying only that it supports initiatives such as Pre-Check that “focus on the real security threats instead of objects.”

Despite opposition, TSA sticks with decision on knives

Pistole’s predecessor, former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley, supports the move.

“In retrospect, I should have done the same thing,” Hawley told CNN.

“The air marshals and the flight attendants have legitimate concerns, certainly, for their own safety. But the threat of taking over a plane with a small, sharp instrument is zero. And I think with locked cockpit doors, the air marshals themselves, the pilots, the passengers, the screening that goes in … you cannot necessarily prevent violence on an airplane, but that is not the TSA’s mission. TSA’s mission is to prevent a successful, catastrophic terrorist attack, and you cannot get a successful, catastrophic terrorist attack with a small knife or a whiffle ball bat,” Hawley said.

The American Federation of Government Employees, the screener representative, voiced this concern:

“TSA has created a situation where TSOs (transportation security officers) will be required to discern the length and width of a knife blade in a very short period of time. Disagreements over the TSOs’ determination as to whether the knife will be allowed through checkpoints may result in a confrontation,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement.

“Far too often, TSOs are threatened and even assaulted by irate passengers at the checkpoint; this ambiguous new policy will only escalate those incidents. In addition, TSOs face possible discipline from an increasing number of checkpoint disputes surrounding the new policy.”

The TSA said this week that Pistole will stick with the policy and implement it, as announced, on April 25. In the meantime, he will advocate for the change Wednesday in a meeting with flight attendants and Thursday at a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee.

No New Pope Selected

March 12th, 2013 by Mariah

Rome (CNN) — Black smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel Tuesday night, indicating that cardinals gathered at the Vatican to elect a new pope had not chosen one in the first ballot of their conclave.

The start of the secret election got underway earlier in the day, as the heavy wooden doors to the chapel swung closed on the 115 Roman Catholic cardinals charged with selecting the next pontiff.

The next round of voting will begin Wednesday morning. Results will be revealed by puffs of smoke from the chimney following each ballot.

Black smoke, no pope. White smoke, success.

On a day rich with symbolism, the scarlet-clad cardinals entered the Sistine Chapel in solemn procession, chanting prayers and watched over by the paintings of Renaissance artist Michelangelo.

Led by the conclave’s senior cardinal, Giovanni Battista Re, each of the cardinal-electors — those under age 80 who are eligible to vote — then swore an oath of secrecy.

A designated official then gave the order, in Latin, to those not authorized to remain, “Extra omnes” — that is, “Everyone out.”

With all those not taking part in the conclave gone, the cardinals will remain locked in isolation until one candidate garners two-thirds of their votes.

That man will emerge from the process as the new spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

Selecting a pope

Huddled under umbrellas as rain came down, crowds of onlookers watched on big screens set up in St. Peter’s Square until the doors to the Sistine Chapel were shut.

‘Noble mission’

Earlier, the cardinals celebrated a morning Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, where they prayed for guidance in making a choice that could be crucial to the direction of a church rocked by scandal in recent years.

Applause echoed around St. Peter’s as Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, offered thanks for the “brilliant pontificate” of Benedict XVI, whose unexpected resignation precipitated the selection of a new pope.

Sodano’s homily focused on a message of love and unity, calling on all to cooperate with the new pontiff in the service of the church.

“My brothers, let us pray that the Lord will grant us a pontiff who will embrace this noble mission with a generous heart,” he concluded.

Members of the public had waited in long lines Tuesday morning to join the Mass. As the service began, the morning sunshine came to an abrupt end, with the skies letting loose thunder, lightning and a torrential downpour.

Before the service, the cardinal-electors had moved into Casa Santa Marta, their residence at the Vatican for the duration of the conclave.

Jamming devices have been put in place to stop them from communicating with the outside world via mobile phones or other electronic means as they make their decision.

Rome is abuzz

Rome was abuzz Monday with preparations for the conclave, from the 5,600 journalists the Vatican said had been accredited to cover the event to the red curtains unfurled from the central balcony at St. Peter’s, the spot where the world will meet the new pope once he is elected.

Tailors have completed sets of clothes for the new pope to wear as soon as he is elected, in three sizes.

Video released by the Vatican over the weekend showed the installation of a pair of stoves inside the chapel. One is used to burn the cardinals’ ballots after they are cast and the other to send up the smoke signal — the one that alerts the world that a vote has been taken and whether there’s a new pope.

Workers scaled the roof of the chapel Saturday to install the chimneys.

Possible papal contenders

When cardinals elected Benedict in 2005, the white smoke signaling the decision came about six hours after an earlier, inconclusive vote, Lombardi said.

It took another 50 minutes for Benedict to dress, pray and finally appear on the balcony of St. Peter’s, he said.

The longest conclave held since the turn of the 20th century lasted five days.

On Monday, cardinals held the last of several days of meetings, known as General Congregations, to discuss church affairs and get acquainted. Lombardi said 152 cardinals were on hand for the final meeting.

As well as getting to know their counterparts from around the world, the cardinals discussed the major issues facing the church, including its handling of allegations of child sex abuse by priests and a scandal over leaks from the Vatican last year that revealed claims of corruption, as well as the church’s future direction.

Church rules prevent cardinals over the age of 80 from participating in the conclave but allow them to attend the meetings that precede the vote.

Who will be chosen?

Meanwhile, the Italian news media are full of speculation about which cardinal may win enough support from his counterparts to be elected, and what regional alliances are being formed.

According to CNN Vatican analyst John Allen, also a correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, the race was wide open as the cardinals entered the conclave.

Unlike in 2005, when Benedict XVI was believed to be the favorite going into the election, no one has emerged as a clear frontrunner this time around, Allen said.

Some names have cropped up in media reports as possible contenders, however. They include Italy’s Cardinal Angelo Scola; Brazil’s Odilo Scherer; Marc Ouellet of Quebec, Canada; U.S. cardinals Sean O’Malley of Boston and Timothy Dolan of New York; and Ghana’s Peter Turkson.

More than 80% of Africans believe their continent is ready for an African pope, but only 61% believe the world is, an exclusive survey for CNN has found.

A mobile phone survey of 20,000 Africans from 11 nations, conducted by CNN in conjunction with crowd sourcing company Jana, found that 86% thought an African pope would increase support for Catholicism in Africa.

Italy potentially wields the most power within the conclave, with 28 of the 115 votes, making it the largest bloc in the College of Cardinals. The United States is second with 11. Altogether, 48 countries are represented among the cardinal-electors.

“Many would say it’s all about politics at this point,” Monsignor Rick Hilgartner, head of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat on Divine Worship, told CNN, “but I think it’s important to remember that they also recognize that this is a very spiritual moment.”

Once the doors close and the conclave begins, he says, it’s less about politicking and “more about prayer as they each in silence write their votes.”

Sixty-seven of the cardinal-electors were appointed by Benedict, who stepped down at the end of last month, becoming the first pontiff to do so in six centuries.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING THEINNKEEPER.COM

February 27th, 2013 by Mariah

TheInnkeeper.com is pleased to announce the upcomimg launch of our redesigned website!

We are confident that the changes in place will make the overall experience of the site better for both members, and their potential guests.

Some exciting changes include:

  • Complete redesign of the site, with a bold, eye-catching, yet user-friendly new look.
  • New search functions, making it easier for guests to find the perfect property.
  • Members will have the ability to upload their own photos.
  • Interactive map features, and Google maps.
  • Links to TripAdvisor for property reviews.
  • Mobile version of the site compatible with all major devices.
  • Extended social media marketing.
  • Updated blog look and content.



In addition, your member log in information will not change, and your renewal rate will not increase. As we do not currently have a set launch date, each member will receive an email letting them know when they can expect these exciting changes to occur. It will be within the next month or so.

Thank you again for your membership and support, and we look forward to a great 2013!

Mariah Walters
CEO of TheInnkeeper.com

10 signs you are a bad traveler

February 27th, 2013 by Mariah

You know the guy who’s always holding up the plane by trying to cram five bags, a jacket, and a pillow into the overhead compartment? Don’t be that guy. Read on to discover 10 warning signs that you may be a terrible traveler.

You Have an Expired Passport and You Don’t Even Know It

Some countries require that your passport be valid for at least six months after the completion of your trip just in order to enter. You may think you’re in the clear if your passport expires in 2014, but if you’ve got a trip planned for November 2013, you’d better get it renewed before then. Always research entry requirements, including visas and vaccines, and be sure your passport is up-to-date. (If you find out the night before that your passport is expired, read this simple solution to a last-minute passport snafu to learn what you can do to save your trip.)

Your Bags are Overweight (and You’re Surprised)

If you’re at the counter frantically repacking your checked bags to get under your airline’s weight limit, you might be a terrible traveler. Invest in a luggage scale (or a bag with a built-in weighing system, like the Delsey Helium Ultimate 25-Inch Expandable Spinner Trolley suitcase) and never be socked with an overweight fee again. Always double-check your airline’s weight allowances and make sure the limits apply to connections, especially if you’re going from an international to a domestic flight.

You Haven’t Done Your Research

Will things be open this time of year? What currency does your destination use? What language is spoken there? If you don’t know (and you don’t care), you might not be the greatest traveler. There’s a difference between being spontaneous and adventurous and being foolishly unprepared—the former leads to exciting stories and fun possibilities, and the latter leaves you in tears and stranded without a hotel during a major festival.

You’re Cutting It Too Close

Years ago, maybe you could have rolled into the airport a half hour before takeoff, but not these days. Always leave a little bit earlier than you think you need to for the airport, train station, or bus stop—you never know if security or check-in lines will be long, or if you’ll need extra time due to getting lost, roadwork, etc. Better to kill a few extra minutes at the gate than to miss your transportation.

You Don’t Know the Carry-on Rules

The TSA may overlook knives and other weapons on a fairly regular basis, but they’ll always find that 4-oz. bottle of shampoo you’ve stashed in your carry-on. Moral of the story: Know your 3-1-1 rules. Triggering a search of your carry-on bag really clogs up the line behind you.

You Spend All Your Time on the Computer

“Joe Schmo has checked in at a deserted beach (with Wi-Fi!).” ” Joe Schmo is living the dream in paradise.” “Joe Schmo has Instagrammed 500 new pictures.”When you see hundreds of real-time social-media updates from the same person on your feeds, don’t you wonder if he’s really making the most out of his trip? Don’t view your vacation from behind a screen. Uploading pictures and editing your Facebook status can wait until you get back, so put down the smartphone and step away from the computer!

You Don’t Check In Online

Did your flight time change? If you didn’t check in online, you might not know. Waiting to check in at the airport also makes you more likely to be bumped if the flight’s full—or even worse, stuck in the dreaded middle seat of the last row. If you want to snag the best seats and get updates on your trip, check in online as soon as you’re allowed to. You don’t need to be near a printer, either. Many airlines let you check in and display your boarding pass on your smartphone, and most airports offer kiosks (usually with much shorter lines) so you can print your pass when you arrive at the airport.

You Didn’t Make a Packing List

Don’t be the traveler begging the front desk to borrow a power converter or the guy who doesn’t know how to reach an English-speaking doctor to prescribe the medicine he forgot. Consult this ultimate packing list, use an app, or simply make your own checklist. You’ll be able to pack everything you need (and nothing more) for your trip, even at a moment’s notice.

You Brought Too Many Carry-ons

If you’re trying to circumvent the rules by bringing on an oversized suitcase plus multiple personal items, please stop. When you’re blocking the aisle, trying to shove your laptop under the seat or filling your entire row’s overhead compartment with your giant puffy jacket, full-sized pillow, and yoga mat, just know that everyone else on the plane hates you, you terrible traveler.

You Yell at People

The ultimate sign that you’re a terrible traveler is yelling at or otherwise being rude to travel staff or fellow tourists. Don’t take out your anger about a canceled flight on a helpless gate agent who is just trying to do his or her job. Likewise, it’s not your fellow passenger’s fault that you’re stuck in a middle seat, so stop passive-aggressively sighing and trying to invade her personal space. By all means, stand up for yourself—but be polite. And if you’re not getting any results, try a different approach or contact a different provider to help. Just don’t stand at the hotel’s front desk screaming at someone and holding up the line behind you.

– By Caroline Morse