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5 Things I Learned at the New York Times Travel Show 2014

Matt Long's epic sandcastle at the Atlantic City exhibition at New York Times Travel Show.

If you don’t learn anything new about travel from the 1,000-plus booths at the New York Times Travel Show, then you aren’t trying very hard. This year, I had the honor of being a Family Travel Expert at the show, but luckily my 45-minute shift left me plenty of time to visit with the countries, cities and regions in attendance. Although there weren’t any sloths this year (see Scenes from the New York Times Travel Show 2013), there was still plenty to see.

Here are the five new things that I learned at the New York Times Travel Show in 2014:

1. Wildwoood Crest, NJ, has great sand for sculpting. I gleaned this sandy tidbit from “Sand Master” Matt Long, who spent eight hours sculpting the sandcastle (pictured above) for Atlantic City. Matt brought his own sand with him from a quarry in Tuckahoe, NJ, and he’s used this batch for about 30 sculptures. He says that the qualities that make sand good for sculpting are “very fine texture, good clay content and a lot of silt” and that Wildwood Crest, NJ, has excellent sand.

Wouldn't you like a super-fast train in the US? Central Japan Railway Company is trying to make it happen!

Wouldn’t you like a super-fast train in the US? Central Japan Railway Company is trying to make it happen!

2. Central Japan Railway Company is trying to bring SCMAGLEV to the US. Would you like to travel between New York City and Washington, DC, in just one hour? Of course! The guys at the Central Japan Railway Company had me fill out a questionnaire with all sort of leading questions like that — as if I needed convincing that we would benefit from super-fast, superconductor trains! I hope they are successful in their quest to bring the electro-magnetic, 361-mph train to the US. A levitating train would just be too cool.

3. Croatia wants more American visitors. For the past few years, Europe has had a small presence at the New York Times Travel Show. This year, it seemed like the European countries had even fewer booths. The exception to this was Croatia, which had six booths! Zagreb even had its own booth. Istria had two booths and I enjoyed learning about the Italian influences on the region. It seems like Croatia wants more American visitors — Americans only make up approximately 3-5% of Istria’s tourism, but other areas of Croatia get more through cruise ships.  Well, Croatia can have my family and me — we’d love to visit!

Hotel Chocolat's Boucan is set on a cocoa plantation in St. Lucia. A hotel that's all about chocolate? Yes, please!

Hotel Chocolat’s Boucan is set on a cocoa plantation in St. Lucia. A hotel that’s all about chocolate? Yes, please!

4. There is a hotel all about chocolate in St. Lucia. Hotel Chocolat’s Boucan Hotel recently had its closeup on The Bachelor, but I didn’t really watch it. Too bad, as a hotel that’s all about chocolate sounds pretty amazing to me! Located on  a cocoa plantation, the Boucan Hotel is a luxurious, chocolate-filled experience in the West Indies. The company also has two cocoa-centric restaurants in England: Roast & Conch in Leeds and Roast 1745 in London. Yum!

5. Nazare, Portugal, would be the perfect beach destination if you’re visiting Lisbon. On Friday, I attended a presentation about Portugal that included a speech by the mayor of Nazare. Nazare is no secret if you’re part of the surfing set, but alas I am not so I didn’t know much about it. Famous for its massive waves, Nazare’s beach also offers tamer sections for families. It would be the perfect beach destination if you were visiting Lisbon and didn’t want to travel all the way to the Algarve as it’s less than one hour’s drive south. And the mayor is really nice, in keeping with Portuguese tradition.

Wondering what the show was like last year? Check out Scenes from the New York Times Travel Show 2013

11 Responses to 5 Things I Learned at the New York Times Travel Show 2014

  1. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas
    Twitter: sunshinesiestas
    March 3, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    Croatia, yes! Before it gets too expensive!
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted..Spotlight on Spanish Autonomous Regions: Andalucía

  2. Penny Sadler March 3, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Liz I want that train too! and Croatia. I went to the Travel Adventures Show in LA and Dallas last year and I have to say it’s always fun and enlightening!

  3. jessie voigts
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    March 3, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Sadly, my sand castles do not look anything like that. I’d love to go to Croatia!
    jessie voigts recently posted..Beehive Fireworks Festival: Taiwan’s Most Dangerous Event

  4. Val-Travel Scamming March 3, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    Croatia is on my list too! They shouldn’t have a problem getting visitors….
    Val-Travel Scamming recently posted..5 Of My Best Travel Tips

  5. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    Twitter: flashpackerfam
    March 3, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    How amazing would a high-speed rail network be in the US!?!
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Sponsored Video: The New Air New Zealand Safety Video #airnzsafetyvideo

  6. Vanessa March 4, 2014 at 3:10 am #

    Thanks for the great round-up! I’ve wanted to go the NY Times Travel show for a few years, but never seem to get around to it. I love that chocolate hotel. Wish they could build a location in the Hudson Valley!
    Vanessa recently posted..The Valley Restaurant at The Garrison in Garrison: Delicious brunch in country chic setting & nice views

  7. Lillie - @WorldLillie
    Twitter: WorldLillie
    March 4, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    Love this recap! Hope to make it to the show someday.
    Lillie – @WorldLillie recently posted..Can You Believe the Size of This Hole in the Ground?

  8. Bridget @ GreenGlobalTravel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    March 5, 2014 at 12:34 am #

    I would love to visit Croatia! Such an amazing place. Great list- thanks for sharing!
    Bridget @ GreenGlobalTravel recently posted..Are Backpackers Destroying the World? Q&A With Gringo Trails Director Pegi Vail

  9. Gran Canaria Local March 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    Wot, no Canary Islands? However, Croatia is, indeed, a beautiful country to visit. As is Portugal. Enjoyed a press trip to the amazing Alentejo region.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted..La Garita

  10. Terry at Overnight New York March 9, 2014 at 12:01 am #

    Sign me up for the chocolate hotel in St. Lucia. I’ll take Croatia, too!
    Terry at Overnight New York recently posted..Hotel Americano: Feeding VIPs at the Armory Show

  11. Katie March 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    I had dinner at Hotel Chocolat in St. Lucia last year, and was truly divine. We stayed in an amazing, affordable villa just above the Hotel Chocolat (walking distance) with a beautiful view of the Pitons. It would be a great place to add to your bucket list!
    http://tipsforfamilytrips.com/caribbean/hermitage-terrace-st-lucia/

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