Rural resort draws visitors by offering exotic, lap-of-luxury experience

Farmington is a rural town in western Pennsylvania with lush, rolling hills. It’s an hour south of Pittsburgh, its closest city. It is dotted with sparse ranches and miles of empty, desolate fields. But tucked in this town in rural America is an extravagant resort that draws at least 80,000 visitors a year – to … Continue reading “Rural resort draws visitors by offering exotic, lap-of-luxury experience”

Farmington is a rural town in western Pennsylvania with lush, rolling hills. It’s an hour south of Pittsburgh, its closest city. It is dotted with sparse ranches and miles of empty, desolate fields.

But tucked in this town in rural America is an extravagant resort that draws at least 80,000 visitors a year – to this place in the middle of nowhere.

The Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington is a luxury resort that rivals five-star experiences in major cities like New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, with a high-end French restaurant and a Roll Royce escorting guests to their “estates.” Ornate Tiffany lamps, valued at up to $1 million, adorn a large library.

Guests can have a butler available 24-7 and be escorted via Rolls Royce around the property.  (Fox News)

This resort embraces its rustic habitat: There are bear, zebra and lion encounters in its wildlife area and a high rope and zip line course. For a more lavish fare, guests can have a personal butler and there is a private airfield where they can be picked in a luxury car.

Rural towns are hoping to draw visitors and cash in on tourist dollars by building extravagant – sometimes even over-the-top – resorts with all-inclusive experiences.

“We are actually seeing a trend across large and small resorts where they’re actually competing for the same type of traveler — they want experiences over any other amenities,” said family travel trend expert Jade Broadus, “so these lavish experiences, and offering something for the whole family, are going to win in the long run.”

But expect to shell out money.

At the Pennsylvania resort, rooms can cost up to $3,000 a night.

The property includes the state’s largest working wine cellar, where guests can splurge on a bottle of 1961 Château Latour for $14,305. There are 15 restaurants and lounges and a golf course considered one of the best in the state.

Nemacolin hosts 15 restaurants and lounges, including Lautrec, a Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant experience. (Fox News)

“The resort is known regionally, nationally, and even internationally as the resort for everyone,” said CEO Jeff Kemick, “We want people who stay here to have a comfortable place to visit and make memories with their families, generation after generation.”

The resort makes an effort to be outlandish – there is artwork and chairs worth several million dollars.

The resort was once a hunter’s lodge. But owner Maggie Hardy Magerko and father and founder Joseph Hardy wanted to turn it into a luxury-filled, personalized get-away.

They also wanted to give back to the community.

“We make sure all of the culinary staff work with the local farmers, butchers, artisans, and beer markers to showcase everything the region has to offer,” said Kemick.

Broadus said places that can accommodate multiple generations is the new trend in travel – so resorts that offer amenities for everyone can expect to see their popularity grow.

“One of 2018’s major travel trends was multigenerational travel, and we are definitely going to see that expand in 2019,” Broadus said. “So families are going to load up the kids, grandparents, maybe even aunts, uncles, and cousins – so resorts that can accommodate and offer a variety of age group experiences are really going to thrive and grow.”

Broadus said the resort’s ability to infuse luxury, convenience, and personalization into one grand experience could become the new standard for resorts and hotels of the future.

Talia Kirkland is a multimedia reporter based in Philadelphia, Pa.

70-year-old might have to cancel vacation after accidentally labeling himself a terrorist on visa form

A grandfather’s dreams of spending Christmas in the Big Apple are in tatters after he accidentally branded himself a terrorist on a visa form.

John Stevenson, 70, and wife Marion, 71, planned to fly from Scotland to the U.S. on December 3, and paid over $2,500 on flights and accommodation. But John mistakenly clicked the wrong box on the ‘Esta’ visa form, and now the couple fear they may have to cancel the trip.

In a bid to rectify the situation, John called U.S. officials to convince them he was not a criminal and the only time he has been in court was on jury service.

TINDER USER CALLS OUT 'CREEPY' MAN WHO HARASSED HER FOR A DATE AFTER SHE REJECTED HIM

"I even called border control in the U.S. and gave them my passport details. They looked up my Esta number and said 'you're a terrorist.' I told them that I was 70 years old and I don't even recognize what that means. It the biggest nightmare I've ever had. My phone could be getting tapped, I don't know."

Marion added: "We were meant to be going away on December 3. It's terrible, it's shocking and so stupid. I don't know why that question is on the form in the first place."

In order to rectify the situation, the couple would have to email the embassy in London to arrange an appointment, costing $100, before John would be quizzed by officials. They booked the holiday through United Airlines, which told them there was a possibility of a refund for accommodation and transfers, but not the cost of the flights.

"We were filling out the visa form and it kept timing out before we could tick all the boxes, then it crashed and when it came back up, you start where you finish off. My wife's form came back and it was fine but I was told the visa had been refused because I was a terrorist. One of the questions asks if you are a terrorist and it must have jumped from 'No' to' Yes' without me knowing," John said.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

"I'm devastated. I've never been in trouble in my life. The only time I've been in court was for jury service and now I've been treated like a criminal. Marion is sick about it. We can't even reschedule because I don't know if I'll ever get back into America."

5 awesome apps for family road trips

Nothing says summer like piling your kids, your dog, and 300 pounds of luggage into the family car and heading out on an inadvisably long road trip. And yet millions of us do it every year. Unfortunately, all too often the euphoria lasts about as long as it takes to get out of our driveways.

If you’ll be road tripping this summer, consider downloading a few new iPhone and iPad apps to help the miles fly by.  Here are five tried-and-tested apps guaranteed to keep everyone busy and happy.

1. Mad Libs, Ages: 4 and up, free

If your kid likes silly sentences—and really, what kid doesn't?—then this app is a slam dunk.  Even very young kids can get in on the action with a little help.  The app itself is free, but the books (which contain 21 stories each) cost $1.99 as in-app purchases.  Just so you know, the funniest noun in the English language is “hamster” and the funniest adjective is “hairy.”  You’re welcome.

2. State Plate Bingo!, Ages: 6 and up, $0.99

Can you find all 50 states in a single road trip?  There’s only one way to find out. This app is an ongoing quest for the entire family.  Note: The iPhone version works on an iPad, but isn’t optimized for it.

3. Road Trip Bingo, Ages: 4 and up, $0.99/1.99

Got two kids?  Download the only travel-themed bingo app that lets two players compete head to head, not to mention side by side.  Your kids can scour the landscape for everything from white cars and road signs to snow-topped mountains and airplanes.

4. StoryLines, Ages: 8 and up, free

This creative multi-player game lets everyone but the driver get in on the fun.  Player One types a well known phrase, such as “The early bird gets the worm.”  Player Two illustrates the phrase with a fingertip drawing.  Player Three captions Player Two’s drawing without seeing the original phrase.  And so on.  It’s a lot like the telephone game we all played when we were young, and absolutely hilarious.

5. Geography Drive USA, Ages: 8 and up, $3.99

Despite the fact that only one child can play at a time, this very polished educational app is well worth the relatively high price tag. Players road trip around country, earning fuel and money for correctly answering state trivia questions.  Between rounds, they can return to the garage to get a new paint job, upgrade their car, or just admire their trophies.  And if all that driving gets to be too much?  They can cash in their chips for an airline ticket instead!

Jamie Pearson of TravelSavvyMom.com and BestKidsApps.com contributed this to MiniTime.com.

More from Minitime

5 Awesome Apps for Family Road Trips

7 Tips for Flying with an Autistic Child

Checking Out the New LEGOLAND Hotel

5 Lighthouses Worth a Climb This Summer

6 Great National Parks You've Never Visited

Japan has world’s most powerful passport, report finds; USA’s is bumped to fifth

Japan’s passport has just become the most powerful in the world, according to a new report from the Henley & Partners Passport Index.

A press release issued by Henley & Partners earlier this week announced that Japan, which was tied with Singapore for having the strongest passport in the third quarter of the year, had pulled ahead after having obtained ‘visa-free’ access to Myanmar earlier this month.

In total, Japan now has access — either visa-free or visa-upon-arrival — to 190 countries, just narrowly beating out Singapore (189), according to the report.

BRITISH COUPLE GETS DRUNK AT SRI LANKAN HOTEL, ENDS UP BUYING THE PLACE

France, Germany and South Korea all tied for the third spot (with passports granting access to 188 countries) in the Passport Index’s quarterly ranking, while Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain and Sweden tied for fourth (187).

The U.S., meanwhile, was bumped from fourth place to fifth (186), sharing the spot with Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the U.K.

The U.S. had previously ranked as fifth at the beginning of 2018 and also throughout 2017. (Henley & Partners did not release quarterly data prior to 2018.) The last time the firm ranked the U.S. passport as being most powerful was in 2014.

The U.S. passport fell a notch when Japan took the No. 1 spot. (iStock)

PARENTS, BABY, TRAVELING TO ALL 50 STATES FOR SHOT AT WORLD RECORD

“The Henley Passport Index, which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), is an important tool for measuring not only the relative strength of the world’s passports but also the extraordinary results that states can achieve when they work hand in hand with their global peers to build a more interconnected and collaborative world,” Henley & Partners’ chairman Dr. Christian H Kälin, per the press release.

The London-based Henley & Partners arrives at a country’s Passport Index score based on the number of countries and territories its citizens are permitted to enter visa-free. As of 2017, the firm counted 219 countries and territories in total, with 218 being a perfect score (a citizen needs no passport within their own country), MarketWatch reported following the 2017 Index results.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

Nebraska’s new tourism campaign takes ‘honest’ approach: ‘There’s nothing to do here’

Nebraska’s new tourism campaign is being met with mixed reactions on social media, as the Cornhusker State’s fiercely self-deprecating campaign sarcastically highlights the very virtues it is often mocked for.

Released by the Nebraska Tourism Commission on Oct. 17, the searing slogans aim to catch consumers’ attention in a “disruptive” way and shatter perceived notions while keeping in mind the unique “marketing challenges” that the state faces, the official press release states.

“Lucky for you, there’s nothing to do here,” reads one ad featuring a group of people floating down a river.

“To make people listen, you have to hook them somehow." (Nebraska Tourism Commission)

AMSTERDAM OFFICIALS CRACK DOWN ON EXCESSIVE, 'NAUGHTY DISNEYLAND' STYLE PARTYING

“Famous for our flat, boring landscape,” reads an ad with a photo of people hiking – and jumping – across tall rocks.

“Another day on the dusty plains” captions a billboard of boy hopping through a waterfall. Each ad is also accompanied by the outline of the state and a slogan reading, "Honestly, it's not for everyone."

<br>​​"This campaign speaks to their sense of adventure and discovering what we as Nebraskans are all about." (Nebraska Tourism Commission)

The campaign itself was produced by Colorado advertising agency Vladimir Jones, which ran test groups with out-of-state visitors likely to visit Nebraska, Omaha World-Herald reports.

According to the outlet, the old slogan and campaign touting “Nebraska Nice” proved to be a flop with many.

“It was important to the Nebraska Tourism staff, marketing committee and Commissioners to be true to who we are and honest about what we are not.  Along each step of the way we were heavily involved in discovering ourselves and what those outside of our borders thought and felt,” Deb Loseke, Nebraska Tourism Commission chair, said in the statement. “So we discovered that we can't offer something to everyone — but to those that we can, this campaign speaks to their sense of adventure and discovering what we as Nebraskans are all about.”

“To make people listen, you have to hook them somehow,” state tourism director John Ricks similarly told the World-Herald. “We had to shake people up.”

Meanwhile, in the hours since the campaign went public, Twitter users both in Nebraska and beyond have had a whole lot to say.

“Honestly, it's not for me. By leading with the negative stereotypes it's only drawing more attention to them. There's a lot to be proud of in Nebraska. Self-deprication feels lazy here,” one critic clapped.

“Wasted money,” another agreed.

Others yearned for the return of slogans of days past, while others described the new stunt as “awesome.”

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

“Love it! It is humor, it bold, it is attention getting and it is honest! We are an amazing state inside [and] out! We also are aware we are not hustle and bustle… glitz and glamour. We are simple, We are who we are… and that is pretty good!! #NebraskaProud” one fan said.

Whether or not the controversial new ads spur tourism remains to be determined.

Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter at @JaninePuhak

5 awesome apps for family road trips

Nothing says summer like piling your kids, your dog, and 300 pounds of luggage into the family car and heading out on an inadvisably long road trip. And yet millions of us do it every year. Unfortunately, all too often the euphoria lasts about as long as it takes to get out of our driveways.

If you’ll be road tripping this summer, consider downloading a few new iPhone and iPad apps to help the miles fly by.  Here are five tried-and-tested apps guaranteed to keep everyone busy and happy.

1. Mad Libs, Ages: 4 and up, free

If your kid likes silly sentences—and really, what kid doesn't?—then this app is a slam dunk.  Even very young kids can get in on the action with a little help.  The app itself is free, but the books (which contain 21 stories each) cost $1.99 as in-app purchases.  Just so you know, the funniest noun in the English language is “hamster” and the funniest adjective is “hairy.”  You’re welcome.

2. State Plate Bingo!, Ages: 6 and up, $0.99

Can you find all 50 states in a single road trip?  There’s only one way to find out. This app is an ongoing quest for the entire family.  Note: The iPhone version works on an iPad, but isn’t optimized for it.

3. Road Trip Bingo, Ages: 4 and up, $0.99/1.99

Got two kids?  Download the only travel-themed bingo app that lets two players compete head to head, not to mention side by side.  Your kids can scour the landscape for everything from white cars and road signs to snow-topped mountains and airplanes.

4. StoryLines, Ages: 8 and up, free

This creative multi-player game lets everyone but the driver get in on the fun.  Player One types a well known phrase, such as “The early bird gets the worm.”  Player Two illustrates the phrase with a fingertip drawing.  Player Three captions Player Two’s drawing without seeing the original phrase.  And so on.  It’s a lot like the telephone game we all played when we were young, and absolutely hilarious.

5. Geography Drive USA, Ages: 8 and up, $3.99

Despite the fact that only one child can play at a time, this very polished educational app is well worth the relatively high price tag. Players road trip around country, earning fuel and money for correctly answering state trivia questions.  Between rounds, they can return to the garage to get a new paint job, upgrade their car, or just admire their trophies.  And if all that driving gets to be too much?  They can cash in their chips for an airline ticket instead!

Jamie Pearson of TravelSavvyMom.com and BestKidsApps.com contributed this to MiniTime.com.

More from Minitime

5 Awesome Apps for Family Road Trips

7 Tips for Flying with an Autistic Child

Checking Out the New LEGOLAND Hotel

5 Lighthouses Worth a Climb This Summer

6 Great National Parks You've Never Visited

Japan has world’s most powerful passport, report finds; USA’s is bumped to fifth

Japan’s passport has just become the most powerful in the world, according to a new report from the Henley & Partners Passport Index.

A press release issued by Henley & Partners earlier this week announced that Japan, which was tied with Singapore for having the strongest passport in the third quarter of the year, had pulled ahead after having obtained ‘visa-free’ access to Myanmar earlier this month.

In total, Japan now has access — either visa-free or visa-upon-arrival — to 190 countries, just narrowly beating out Singapore (189), according to the report.

BRITISH COUPLE GETS DRUNK AT SRI LANKAN HOTEL, ENDS UP BUYING THE PLACE

France, Germany and South Korea all tied for the third spot (with passports granting access to 188 countries) in the Passport Index’s quarterly ranking, while Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain and Sweden tied for fourth (187).

The U.S., meanwhile, was bumped from fourth place to fifth (186), sharing the spot with Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the U.K.

The U.S. had previously ranked as fifth at the beginning of 2018 and also throughout 2017. (Henley & Partners did not release quarterly data prior to 2018.) The last time the firm ranked the U.S. passport as being most powerful was in 2014.

The U.S. passport fell a notch when Japan took the No. 1 spot. (iStock)

PARENTS, BABY, TRAVELING TO ALL 50 STATES FOR SHOT AT WORLD RECORD

“The Henley Passport Index, which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), is an important tool for measuring not only the relative strength of the world’s passports but also the extraordinary results that states can achieve when they work hand in hand with their global peers to build a more interconnected and collaborative world,” Henley & Partners’ chairman Dr. Christian H Kälin, per the press release.

The London-based Henley & Partners arrives at a country’s Passport Index score based on the number of countries and territories its citizens are permitted to enter visa-free. As of 2017, the firm counted 219 countries and territories in total, with 218 being a perfect score (a citizen needs no passport within their own country), MarketWatch reported following the 2017 Index results.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

Nebraska’s new tourism campaign takes ‘honest’ approach: ‘There’s nothing to do here’

Nebraska’s new tourism campaign is being met with mixed reactions on social media, as the Cornhusker State’s fiercely self-deprecating campaign sarcastically highlights the very virtues it is often mocked for.

Released by the Nebraska Tourism Commission on Oct. 17, the searing slogans aim to catch consumers’ attention in a “disruptive” way and shatter perceived notions while keeping in mind the unique “marketing challenges” that the state faces, the official press release states.

“Lucky for you, there’s nothing to do here,” reads one ad featuring a group of people floating down a river.

“To make people listen, you have to hook them somehow." (Nebraska Tourism Commission)

AMSTERDAM OFFICIALS CRACK DOWN ON EXCESSIVE, 'NAUGHTY DISNEYLAND' STYLE PARTYING

“Famous for our flat, boring landscape,” reads an ad with a photo of people hiking – and jumping – across tall rocks.

“Another day on the dusty plains” captions a billboard of boy hopping through a waterfall. Each ad is also accompanied by the outline of the state and a slogan reading, "Honestly, it's not for everyone."

<br>​​"This campaign speaks to their sense of adventure and discovering what we as Nebraskans are all about." (Nebraska Tourism Commission)

The campaign itself was produced by Colorado advertising agency Vladimir Jones, which ran test groups with out-of-state visitors likely to visit Nebraska, Omaha World-Herald reports.

According to the outlet, the old slogan and campaign touting “Nebraska Nice” proved to be a flop with many.

“It was important to the Nebraska Tourism staff, marketing committee and Commissioners to be true to who we are and honest about what we are not.  Along each step of the way we were heavily involved in discovering ourselves and what those outside of our borders thought and felt,” Deb Loseke, Nebraska Tourism Commission chair, said in the statement. “So we discovered that we can't offer something to everyone — but to those that we can, this campaign speaks to their sense of adventure and discovering what we as Nebraskans are all about.”

“To make people listen, you have to hook them somehow,” state tourism director John Ricks similarly told the World-Herald. “We had to shake people up.”

Meanwhile, in the hours since the campaign went public, Twitter users both in Nebraska and beyond have had a whole lot to say.

“Honestly, it's not for me. By leading with the negative stereotypes it's only drawing more attention to them. There's a lot to be proud of in Nebraska. Self-deprication feels lazy here,” one critic clapped.

“Wasted money,” another agreed.

Others yearned for the return of slogans of days past, while others described the new stunt as “awesome.”

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

“Love it! It is humor, it bold, it is attention getting and it is honest! We are an amazing state inside [and] out! We also are aware we are not hustle and bustle… glitz and glamour. We are simple, We are who we are… and that is pretty good!! #NebraskaProud” one fan said.

Whether or not the controversial new ads spur tourism remains to be determined.

Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter at @JaninePuhak

5 awesome apps for family road trips

Nothing says summer like piling your kids, your dog, and 300 pounds of luggage into the family car and heading out on an inadvisably long road trip. And yet millions of us do it every year. Unfortunately, all too often the euphoria lasts about as long as it takes to get out of our driveways.

If you’ll be road tripping this summer, consider downloading a few new iPhone and iPad apps to help the miles fly by.  Here are five tried-and-tested apps guaranteed to keep everyone busy and happy.

1. Mad Libs, Ages: 4 and up, free

If your kid likes silly sentences—and really, what kid doesn't?—then this app is a slam dunk.  Even very young kids can get in on the action with a little help.  The app itself is free, but the books (which contain 21 stories each) cost $1.99 as in-app purchases.  Just so you know, the funniest noun in the English language is “hamster” and the funniest adjective is “hairy.”  You’re welcome.

2. State Plate Bingo!, Ages: 6 and up, $0.99

Can you find all 50 states in a single road trip?  There’s only one way to find out. This app is an ongoing quest for the entire family.  Note: The iPhone version works on an iPad, but isn’t optimized for it.

3. Road Trip Bingo, Ages: 4 and up, $0.99/1.99

Got two kids?  Download the only travel-themed bingo app that lets two players compete head to head, not to mention side by side.  Your kids can scour the landscape for everything from white cars and road signs to snow-topped mountains and airplanes.

4. StoryLines, Ages: 8 and up, free

This creative multi-player game lets everyone but the driver get in on the fun.  Player One types a well known phrase, such as “The early bird gets the worm.”  Player Two illustrates the phrase with a fingertip drawing.  Player Three captions Player Two’s drawing without seeing the original phrase.  And so on.  It’s a lot like the telephone game we all played when we were young, and absolutely hilarious.

5. Geography Drive USA, Ages: 8 and up, $3.99

Despite the fact that only one child can play at a time, this very polished educational app is well worth the relatively high price tag. Players road trip around country, earning fuel and money for correctly answering state trivia questions.  Between rounds, they can return to the garage to get a new paint job, upgrade their car, or just admire their trophies.  And if all that driving gets to be too much?  They can cash in their chips for an airline ticket instead!

Jamie Pearson of TravelSavvyMom.com and BestKidsApps.com contributed this to MiniTime.com.

More from Minitime

5 Awesome Apps for Family Road Trips

7 Tips for Flying with an Autistic Child

Checking Out the New LEGOLAND Hotel

5 Lighthouses Worth a Climb This Summer

6 Great National Parks You've Never Visited

Japan has world’s most powerful passport, report finds; USA’s is bumped to fifth

Japan’s passport has just become the most powerful in the world, according to a new report from the Henley & Partners Passport Index.

A press release issued by Henley & Partners earlier this week announced that Japan, which was tied with Singapore for having the strongest passport in the third quarter of the year, had pulled ahead after having obtained ‘visa-free’ access to Myanmar earlier this month.

In total, Japan now has access — either visa-free or visa-upon-arrival — to 190 countries, just narrowly beating out Singapore (189), according to the report.

BRITISH COUPLE GETS DRUNK AT SRI LANKAN HOTEL, ENDS UP BUYING THE PLACE

France, Germany and South Korea all tied for the third spot (with passports granting access to 188 countries) in the Passport Index’s quarterly ranking, while Denmark, Finland, Italy, Spain and Sweden tied for fourth (187).

The U.S., meanwhile, was bumped from fourth place to fifth (186), sharing the spot with Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the U.K.

The U.S. had previously ranked as fifth at the beginning of 2018 and also throughout 2017. (Henley & Partners did not release quarterly data prior to 2018.) The last time the firm ranked the U.S. passport as being most powerful was in 2014.

The U.S. passport fell a notch when Japan took the No. 1 spot. (iStock)

PARENTS, BABY, TRAVELING TO ALL 50 STATES FOR SHOT AT WORLD RECORD

“The Henley Passport Index, which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), is an important tool for measuring not only the relative strength of the world’s passports but also the extraordinary results that states can achieve when they work hand in hand with their global peers to build a more interconnected and collaborative world,” Henley & Partners’ chairman Dr. Christian H Kälin, per the press release.

The London-based Henley & Partners arrives at a country’s Passport Index score based on the number of countries and territories its citizens are permitted to enter visa-free. As of 2017, the firm counted 219 countries and territories in total, with 218 being a perfect score (a citizen needs no passport within their own country), MarketWatch reported following the 2017 Index results.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS