Hello from the Travel Hag

Hello from the Travel Hag
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Mindie Burgoyne - the Travel HagHello my traveling friends. 

I've been lazy with my newsletter in these past few months. But I'm committed this year to reaching out more and connecting with you to share new insights on places to travel to that feed the mind, heart, body and spirit. 

Don't be put off by the name Travel Hag. "Hag" in the old pagan tradition meant goddess or wise woman. That's the meaning we're going with. Wise women with goddess attributes who love to travel. If you're a man (25% of my readers are), you're very welcome in this space, and every man has a kinder side to him - a softer side, and that's the side that we speak to. 

This newsletter has a video (just below here) that tells about Thin Places and our May tour to Ireland that we're calling "Places of Resurrection." It's a tour that follows in the footsteps of St. Gobnait who traveled from the Aran Islands to west Cork to find the place where her spirit was most at home - here "Place of Resurrection." We'll start the tour in the Aran Islands and spend 10 days traveling to more than 30 sites in Counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare and Galway. We go to many hidden places that are rarely on the commercial tours and hard to find for the independent traveler. 

My Travel Hag Featured Destination is the Hay Adams Hotel in Washington DC. We had a Travel Hag Adventure (girlfriends tour) there just before Christmas. What an amazing place. I also did a review of Susan Branch's new book which I love... but I do love the English Countryside, so that's no surprise. Great book!

And then we've got a recap of our haunted tours for the winter. We're doing bus tours and showing guests sites that are in the far reaches of the Chesapeake region - sites most people don't know about. And you can spend your 4 hours of touring time in the comfort of a warm motorcoach. The tours are heavy in history and mystery. If you love the Eastern Shore, you'll love these tours.  There are only three bus tours left before we start the ghost walks up again. See the schedule below.

And finally, we have event at the Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City - A Haunted Repast - an evening that includes a 3 course dinner and multi-media presentation of the Haunted Eastern Shore - highighting in particular the Ocean City and Berlin area. It's basically, a virtual ghost tour from the comfort of your seats in one of the most beautiful ocean-front hotels in Ocean City .... which is haunted, by the way. 

It's all in the writing below. Thanks for all of your kind words, emails, Facebook posts, Twitter retweet and the sharing of your favorite places to travel.  I welcome every exchange. 

Dan and I wish each of you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2015 and we hope to see you in on the road. 



Travel Hag Definition:  Wise woman with goddess attributes who loves to travel.

Have You Every Wanted to Go to Ireland?Like Hello from the Travel Hag on Facebook share on Twitter

Have you ever dreamed of going to Ireland?  I was that way for a long time and I never thought I'd get there. We never had enough money. It was never the right time. I was worried about leaving my job for that long.  But dreaming of travel is the first step in the travel experience.  There is a reason that you dream of traveling to particular place. There's something about the journey to that place that your soul needs. You will learn something there or gain something. So it's best to let go of your fears and go.

Rudyard Kipling in his poem, The Explorer says this so eloquently ...

Till a voice, as bad as Conscience, rang interminable changes
  On one everlasting Whisper day and night repeated -- so:
"Something hidden.  Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges --
  "Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and wating for you. Go!"

Twenty-four years after my first trip to Ireland, I'm still going back. I'll go three times this year to lead tours for guests who - like me - have something to learn or find in Ireland. If you've got a hunger to go there, and you love mystical places,
then think about joining one of our tours. If you can't go this year, then think about next year. 

And if it's not Ireland you're dreaming about ... what place is it?  Whatever destination is coming into your dreams, whatever distant you yearn to travel to... listen to heart. There's something waiting for you there. See yourself traveling there and the resources will come. 

Destination: Hay Adams, Washington DC

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The Hay Adams Hotel at 16th & H Streets in NW Washington DC has as its motto, "Where nothing is overlooked except the White House." It's noted for its fine dining, superior accommodations and the spirit of Clover Adams who committed suicide and now leaves the faint scent of almonds behind.

We had Travel Hag Adventure to DC just before Christmas and a fellow Travel Hag (my cousin Pat Granados) who lives Washington recommended breakfast at the Hay Adams. The hotel has 145 rooms, all very high end and the likes of Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are repeat guests where, according the Hay Adams website, the hotel provides "exceptional service in a discrete atmosphere."

I'd also heard that the Hay Adams was haunted by a woman - Clover Adams, wife of Henry Adams - who committed suicide after falling into deep depression over the death of her dear father. Clover is sometimes seen by staff and guests, but commonly manifests herself to the living world with the fragrance of almonds. Clover was an accomplished photographer with her own dark room, and her husband Henry found her lifeless body in front of their bedroom fireplace after she ingested the darkroom chemical, potassium cyanide - which smells like almonds.  She was only 42 and never got to live in their dream house.
  .....continue reading....and see photos

Review: A Fine Romance, by Susan Branch

Susan Branch: A Fine RomanceIf you love Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Beatrix Potter, Tasha Tudor and high tea, you will love A Fine Romance by Susan Branch. A non-fiction writer specializing in Home and Garden genres, Susan Branch makes her home on Martha's Vinyard and recently went on a cruise across the Atlantic to England where she and her husband spent two months touring the English Countryside.

It's part travel journal and part travel guide, which is what I love about this book. Branch's writing voice is always personal. She's has a relationship with the reader like that of an old friend. So when she discusses the ups and downs of cruising, the specifics she mentions (making the most of a cramped cabin), the romance of cruising, the food, dining partners - it's all personal. I hate cruises and she had me almost wanting to book myself on one. 

The best of the book is in the description of sites in England. The personal tour of Beatrix Potter's house, going into some detail about her life, imparting some wonderful facts about how she purchased a farm and in doing so, saved an entire village. She became a farmer (in her day that was rare) and ended up leaving the entire farm to the National Trust so others could visit the place where she lived and wrote. Every page leads the reader on that day's journey with Susan.

Other areas she highlighted were the Yorkshire Dales, the Cotswolds, Aylesbury and Lacock (the village where Cranford was filmed. Also included were her descriptions of what it was like to visit the gardens at Sissinghurst and Jane Austen's House – Chawton.

Apart from the travelogue there are some great tidbits on English culture, local venues like the Gifford Circus and Royal Ascott and commentary on simple elements of the English countryside like hedgerows, gardens, public footpaths and pubs. My favorite entries were the ones where Susan wove in the history of the place and stories linked to it.

The added bonus to all of this is that Susan's artwork decorates every page. All pages are illustrated in that exceptional country style Susan Branch is so well known for. The book is super easy to read through and if you're a fan of romance, of Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter, movies like Cranford and the appeal of the English countryside, this book will be one you'll turn to over and over again.  And if you love books -- the feel of books -- holding a book --looking at a book on the shelf, you'll love this one. It has a colorful dust jacket on both sides, color pictures on heavy bond paper and even a red ribbon bookmark. 

Read more about this book and / or  Order you copy - $20.31

Haunted Tours & Events

Ghost & Graveyard Bus Tours

This winter we've offered bus tours of places not normally covered on our Ghost Walks.There are three tours scheduled between now and April 1st. Tours last about 4 hours and cover over 100 miles of some of the most beautiful countryside in Maryland. They're chocked full of history but focused on places that have some kind of unexplained event or paranormal presence. 

THIS SATURDAY 2/7 - Bus Tour: Lower Dorchester 4 Tickets left - Enjoy a ride through the swamps of Blackwater, woodlands of Crapo, shorelines of Hoopers Island and Harriet Tubman country, where the bones of the old plantations are still visible. Sites & stories - Decoursey Bridge, Big Lizz, Wild Men of Andrews, Old Salty's, 7 Gates of Hell, Old Trinity Cemetery, Cow Man of Crochern, Cal's Light (UFO), Harriet Tubman and the Bucktown Store. 

REGISTER: Tickets are $29 an must be purchased in advance

SAT 3/14 Bus Tour:  Upper Worcester Enjoy this ghost and graveyard tour of Maryland's seaside county that includes over 20 sites and 3 graveyards. See haunted sites in Ocean City, Berlin including the Atlantic Hotel, Assateague Indian, Rackliffe House, Dunes Manor Hotel, and other seaside haunts. Stay warm in a luxury motorcoach (w/ restroom) for this 4 hour  tour. REGISTER: Tickets are $29 advanced purchase required.

SAT 3/28 Bus TourDenton, Preston, Woodland DE - Enjoy this 4 hour haunted tour of Caroline County in the comfort of a warm, luxury motorcoach (w/bathroom). Sites on this tour include 8 sites not on any of our other tours including Maggies Bridge, Sallie Dean's murder site, Cannon Hall, Patty Cannon's Farm, Linchester Mill, Denton Cemetery and the home of Annie Bell Carter. 20 sites and 3 graveyards.
REGISTER:Tickets are $29 an must be purchased in advance

NEW! "A Haunted Repast" at the Dunes Manor

And new for 2015 is the "Haunted Respast" events we'll be doing in partnership with the Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City (a very haunted hotel). The first of these events is Feb 20th at the Dunes. It will feature a 3-course dinner prepared by the chefs at Dunes Manor and during the dinner I will present a multi media presentation of the haunted Eastern Shore - with special highlights of haunted Ocean City. While guest are enjoying delicious food, I'll be entertaining them with stories and images of haunted sites nearby.  The Dunes Manor is handling the booking so contact them for more info. 800.523.2888


 A Haunted Repast - Storytelling & Dinner

NEW! Fri. Feb. 20: Haunted Repast at the Dunes Manor - Ocean City, MD:  Part of the Dunes at Dark series. Enjoy a three course dinner prepared by the chefs at the Dunes Manor Hotel in Ocean City, while listening to Storyteller, Mindie Burgoyne share stories about haunted Ocean City, Berlin, and other Eastern Shore towns. Talk will be accompanied by slides of properties and ghostly images - some captured on the ghost tours. A night of fine food and scary stories in this gorgeous ocean front setting.  6:30 pm, 2.5 hours.  View Menu  

Advance registration required. Call Dunes at 800.523.2888 or email tours@chesapeakeghostwalks.com

Ireland Tours

Our first group tour to Ireland is in May. There are still a few spots available. We've also added a Yoga Retreat Tour of Thin Place, so check out the details. 

May 15 - 25: Places of Resurrection (southwest)
9 days – 34 sites – 18 group excursions including  3 islands - Walk in the footsteps of St. Gobnait of Ballyvourney (Co. Cork) and search for your "place of resurrection" where your spirit feels most at home. Explore the southwestern region including Holy Island, The Burren, Inis Mor (Aran Island), Dingle, the Beara Peninsula, stone circles, a castle and an enchanted lake. $2249 + air

Sept. 11-20:  Images in the Landscape - The West
9 days – 31 sites – 21 group excursions including  the Burren, Connemara, Carrowkeel, Keshcorran, Hill of Uisneagh & Clonmacnoise (plus 2 islands).  Experience Ireland's wild west, and visiting the most scenic and high-energy sites in the country. And you will see them at a leisurely pace, interacting with local experts who will share information on Ireland's archaeology, history and mystical connections.   $2249 + air

Sept. 21-30:  Yoga Retreat - (southeast) - Meditation and energy healing
Enjoy Hatha Yoga and Meditation daily with Melanie Rimkay, a certified Hatha Yoga instructor. And during the tour of Ireland's mystical sites, each guests will receive a Spiritual Healing Session with Ashley O'Connell, hypnotist, practical nurse and Reiki Master.


Want to tour without a group?  Now doing private itineraries

We get so many requests for private itineraries outside of group touring. If you're interested in touring on your own, check out our ITINERARIES page and scan the possibilities we've crafted for groups. That will give you an idea of some of the Thin Places (mystical sites) that are scattered all around Ireland. Then email us with your interests. We'll put together a package that will suit you that can include your rental cars, hotel or b&b accommodations, admissions to attractions and even private tours with the guides we work with who know the thin places, history, and archaeology. NOTE: we do not do airfare. 

Latest Blog Posts

Travel Hag blog


Thin Places Mystical Tours blog


Chesapeake Ghost Walks Blog

Where's Mindie?

Mindie BurgoyneHere's where I'll be in the coming weeks:

Feb 7: Ghost & Graveyard Bus Tour - Dorchester

Feb 20: The Dunes at Dark: A Haunted Repast

Feb 28: Bay to Ocean Writers Conference (presenter)

March 14:  Ghost & Graveyard Bus Tour - Ocean City, Berlin, Delaware

March 28: Ghost & Graveyard Bus Tour - Denton, Preston & Woodland DE.

Call 301.648.2010 for more information on any of these events. 
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