HomeEventsDiscover New England Trade Lunch in Ely Wine Bar

Discover New England Trade Lunch in Ely Wine Bar

ITTN’s Shane Cullen joined Irish trade and media for an event at Ely Wine Bar hosted by Tony Lane and Kerrie Tripp, Discover New England. The event forms part of the Discover New England UK & Ireland sales mission which takes place between 23 and 29 June 2024.

Discover New England

Discover New England (DNE) is dedicated to promoting travel to and within the member states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

At the lunch, participating partners included: the Connecticut Tourism Office, Visit New Hampshire, Discover Newport, Yale University, Go Providence, See Plymouth and Visit Western Connecticut.

Tony Lane & Kerrie Tripp

Tony Lane thanked attendees and welcomed Kerrie Tripp from Discover New England to Ireland. She has been with DNE for just over a year and has focused on addressing key points raised by the travel industry on how to better promote the region.

Kerrie Tripp explained, “It’s really a wonderful, magical place to come and visit yourself, to send your clients, to write about as Shane so lovingly did…” [thanks for the ITTN shout-out!]

More Inventory – Hotel Properties & Tour Operators

“One of the things that we’ve been hearing a lot from folks in the industry is the need for some more inventory. That has been a big component for us. Discovery New England, this past year has really put a lot of time and effort into working with hotel properties and getting them engaged again in this process and talking with more receptive operators and more tour operators so that way, we can offer a better experience and offer more inventory to all of you folks within the industry.”

14 Separate 14-Day Inspirational Itineraries

Kerrie expanded on the offering tailored for the travel trade, “We heard was there’s a need for inspirational itineraries. Discover New England has launched 14, 14-day itineraries.”

These itineraries range from culinary, to adventure, to romance, to luxury, to winter escapes and more. The itineraries expand across all the seasons and give opportunities to discover all of the states within the New England region.

She explained “In every one of those itineraries, every state is touched with multiple activities. These are really meant to be inspirational. So you can pull things together from different ones to create a really great client experience.”

Capture the Moment – Photo Library

Finally, Kerrie highlighted “The last thing that we heard that we took very seriously was photos – the need for a photo library that people can access… and so we have worked with each of the states and partners within Discovery New England to create a photo library that is open for all of you to use.”

“Those were the highlights of the points we’ve heard over the last 12 to 18 months that I’ve been with Discover New England. We really want to make sure that we’re hitting those points.”

Susan Henrique, Visit Connecticut

Well-known to the trade, Susan Henrique needed no introduction but took the opportunity to highlight what Connecticut has to offer, in particular, developments over the last year or so.

Top Ranking for Best Place to Go, Best Outdoor Destination & Hiking in the US

Susan indicated that Connecticut received several high-profile accolades including:

  • Mystic Seaport – #2 Best Outdoor Destination in the US – The New York Times
  • New Haven – #4 Best Places to Go by USA Today
  • Connecticut – #1 For Hiking Tails by Your Wallet

Susan expanded, “We have 2,000 hiking trails throughout the state. We’re the third smallest state in the United States… We have about 180 state parks/forests so plenty of outdoor activity”.

Connecticut offers hiking biking, kayaking, and paddle boating. Given they are on a still body of water, sharing the Long Island Sound with Long Island, it makes it a great place to bring children.

Pizza Capital of the United States

Having visited Connecticut and tried the pizza, it’s easy to understand that the US Congress has named the city of New Haven, “the Pizza Capital of the United States”.

Susan highlighted that they have a sizeable 75 pizza restaurants within the city as well as pizza classes. Private and public classes teach students how to make the dough, how to toss it and dress it. I’ll happily eat it.

With a fascinating backstory, Susan shared that there is a place in Litchfield Hills called The Hunt Hill Farm, a culinary school and arts centre. Previously owned by Stitch Henderson (band leader for Johnny Carson’s show), this farm has a silo which was converted into a cooking school called The Silo. It has changed hands since COVID and The Silo is now reopening for cooking classes. Chefs such as Jacques Pepin, Julia Child and James Beard have cooked on the very stoves insitu!

Nancy Franco, Yale University Visitor Center

Yale University is nestled in New Haven, Connecticut. Those of us who are unlikely to ever grace its halls as students can enjoy the Visitor Center at Yale, partake in a campus tour, soak up over three centuries of history and enjoy the magnificent campus architecture. An Ivy League college dating back to 1701, it is even home to a Gutenberg Bible, one of the first books ever printed, within its Beinecke Library.

Nancy Franco (Director of Yale Visitor Center) explained “We give private tours. We see about 90,000 people a year and we can customise those private tours for our guests and your travellers as well. We also have three world-class museums on campus, they are spectacular.”

One of which is the Peabody Museum of Natural History. This has just completed a 3-year renovation. Nancy highlighted “It includes dinosaur bones, mummies and minerals and anything you would expect to see in a beautiful natural history museum. We have two art museums as well.”

Nancy concluded with an invite to all, “We will roll out the blue Yale carpet for you and make you feel as welcome as possible.”

She is true to her word, having visited the campus last year, she orchestrated a meet and greet with a very important Yale celebrity – Handsome Dan XIX, the official mascot for Yale University and a gorgeous bulldog.

Terry Macary, Western Connecticut

Terry Macary spoke to the audience about her home of Western Connecticut, “In a lot of ways, we are the gateway to New England. If you’re coming in through the New York airports, my part of Connecticut is the first part you would see. We have a quiet luxury in my area because of its proximity to New York. Artists, actors, folks like that enjoy their weekends in Connecticut, so we have a higher elevation of service at not necessarily a higher elevation of price.”

She added, “A lot of times we do have access from New York with Amtrak, all the way up the coastline. So if your Travellers or readers, don’t want to drive that is absolutely wonderful and they continue up the coastline to Yale and then into Rhode Island [by rail].”

“We also have wonderful areas up in the hills. We have some wonderful properties – everything from a small boutique property that has cabins that are certainly well-appointed. My personal favourite is the library, Sue’s is the tree house. But the one that gets the most attention visually is the one that is the helicopter. Connecticut is the home of Sikorsky aircraft so there’s the cockpit of a helicopter inside the cabin that becomes your living room”. Check these out here, they are wonderful, fanciful and high-end.

Connectivity with New England

Kerrie Tripp detailed the connectivity between New England and Ireland, “We have Airports within New England that are a direct service for Dublin and that is Boston’s Logan Airport and Bradley in Connecticut with Aer Lingus and they are both non-stop flights”. Alongside this is Delta and jetBlue.

She highlighted the two feeder markets for New England, namely New York to the South and Montreal to the North both serviced by direct flights to Ireland.

New England by rail is easily navigated with Amtrak stretching up the East Coast from New York all the way past Portland in Maine.

Lori Harnois, Visit New Hampshire

Lori Harnois from Visit New Hampshire was the sole representative from Northern New England, also covering neighbouring states of Maine and Vermont. She is also Chair of the Board of Directors for Discover New England.

Lori stated, “If you’re thinking of Maine, think of lighthouses, lobster and moose”. She adds that Vermont is home to Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, the maple syrup capital of the U.S. and Burton Snowboards originated here so it’s a great ski destination.

Let’s Live Free or Die

Lori explains, “All of Northern New England – we are where you go for outdoor recreation. New Hampshire and Maine are the two most forested states in the United States so we have lots of trees and lots of wildlife up there. You can go on moose tours um specifically in New Hampshire. We have probably the best state motto – let’s live free or die. We value our independence very much. We don’t we don’t like taxes so we’re a great place to go and to go shopping.”

She highlighted the boutique shops, handmade crafts and outlet shopping including premium outlets as well as the seacoast, lakes and mountains. New Hampshire ticks all the boxes.

New Hampshire boasts the highest peaks in the Northeast. It’s home to Mount Washington with Canada visible on a clear day at its peak.

Lori shared that at the turn of the century, the wealthy from New York travelled to New Hampshire for their summers in the White Mountains. They took the trains to New Hampshire and spent their summers in the White Mountains. At the time, these grand hotels were built. Originally totalling 19, a number of these structures have been lost over the years. There are a handful still available to book with spectacular views of the White Mountains as a backdrop.

A Hallmark Movie Experience

Kerrie Tripp admitted her love of Hallmark movies, “All of those kind of winter, romantic scenes that you see in those movies, those are re-creatable in New England. So the romance in the winter and the fall foliage… it really does make such a great opportunity to experience those things that you are seeing in the movies.”

Rob Kluin – See Plymouth, Massachusetts

Rob Kluin represents See Plymouth in Massachusetts. He is also the mayor of his neighbourhood. How American! Plymouth is known as America’s Hometown of the USA. Plymouth earned its place in history with the home of Plymouth Rock, a universal symbol of America. It is where the Mayflower came ashore in 1620, bringing 102 English pilgrims as well as animals onboard despite stretching a mere 106 feet in length. These pilgrims helped found the US nation.

Rich History & Culture

Rob explained that the pilgrims interacted with the native people of the region, the Wampanoag, who had lived there for over 12,000 years. When visiting Plymouth, visit the museums, experience the history and learn much more about this very ancient culture. From this culture, traditions are still being carried on today.

Rob highlighted Plimoth Patuxet Museum which earned #1 Best Open Air Museum by USA Today along with a multitude of other awards. Plimoth Patuxet Museums brings to life the history of Plymouth Colony and the Indigenous homeland. Major exhibits include the Historic Patuxet Homesite, 17th-Century English Village, Mayflower II and Plimoth Grist Mill.

Wine & Dine – Plymouth, Cape Cod & Martha’s Vineyard

Proximate to Plymouth is Cape Cod with some 560 miles of beautiful shoreline plus historic lighthouses, award-winning seafood and a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, an island of Massachusetts famed for fine wine.

Rob shared “Plymouth is a really good hub because it’s very close to Boston and all the states that we’ve been talking about here today. Plymouth offers a rich variety of experiences, places to explore and do, history and wonderful outdoor adventures, food, fishing and whale watching.”

He highlighted the connection with Ocean Spray, a brand synonymous with Cranberry juice. In fact, the region is awash with cranberry farmers and, given its coastal location, it boasts a very rich aquaculture and fishing community along with acres of open space.

Kristen Adamo, CEO of Go Providence

Kristen Adamo (CEO of Go Providence) and Tim Walsh (Discover Newport) between them cover Rhode Island.

Kristen can boast that Vogue magazine has just published a full travel guide to Providence. Last week, CNN named Providence as one of the top cities to visit in the United States. This year they are #2 and Kristen shares they’re aiming for #1. They are also #2 for Most Walkable City in the United States.

Family Guy & Rhode Island School of Design

Kristen shared “What Providence is, is a college town and that really lets us amp up our game. We don’t have Hallmark but I’ve got a Family Guy and it is because the creator, Seth MacFarlane, went to school in the Rhode Island School of Design and that makes us what we call the creative capital. We’re a very artistic city – you’ll find murals and sculptures all over the city.

WaterFire in Providence

Kristen explained, “Our biggest claim to fame, artistically, is an event called WaterFire, which is an outdoor art installation. The rivers in Providence form a Y and there are bonfires throughout those rivers. And so what we do is we light the city on fire between May and December about twice a week and we attract tens of thousands of people. It’s really fun if you have tours as you can rent a Riverboat and go on the wine cruise through the fires or if you want to volunteer, you can stoke the fires. You can rent Venetian gondolas and sail through them. It’s just a really lovely time. And the best part is it’s free.”

Brown University & Johnson Wales University

Providence is also home to Brown University, an Ivy League university in Rhode Island that dates back to 1764. Alongside this in Rhode Island is Johnson Wales Univerity, the largest culinary hospitality educator in the United States. Kristen explains “that means we have a lot of really great chefs who fell and loved the city and never left. So you can get really great food from all over the world.”

From Central Location to Centre Forward – FIFA 2026 Host

Providence is in the heart of everything Kristen shares: 45 minutes to Newport, an hour from Boston and about three hours by train from New York City.

Providence will also be one of the hosts of the FIFA World Cup in 2026 – Providence is just 30 minutes from the stadium where matches, including a quarterfinal, will be played. There will also be a direct rail service right into the stadium.

Tim Walsh, Discover Newport, Rhode Island

Rhode Island will host the 2025 Discover New England Summit event, a fantastic opportunity to meet with suppliers throughout the New England region including their hotels and attractions. The summit will be in a property on an island just beyond Newport, an island itself. The Closing Gala will be in Rose Cliff Mansion which featured in The Great Gatsby with Robert Redford.

The Cliff Walk Overlooking the Atlantic

Tim Walsh highlights that Newport is most well-known for its mansions. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the wealthiest families in America built their summer homes in Newport and they called them summer cottages. These are extremely impressive, massive properties. They are open for tours and private events. Located on the cliff walk that stretches three and a half miles, this has private mansions on one side and cliffs going down to the Atlantic Ocean on the other. This is the number one attraction in Newport and it is free.

Sailing Capital of the World & All Kinds of Festivals

Tim explains, “We’re also the sailing capital of the world. From late April to early November, we tell everybody to get out on the water and as every kind of vessel you can imagine… It’s a really spectacular place with festivals, and special events all year long. There’s a food and wine festival, an oyster festival, a seafood festival, an Irish heritage festival, an Italian heritage festival, a classical festival, a jazz festival, a folk festival and it’s just non-stop. It is through all the year, it’s every season.”

Tim details, every Thursday night, a different venue will be another free event, which is the Newport Film Festival.

Lodgings for Every Taste & Budget

Tim shares, “We have everything from full-service hotels with spas, pools and restaurants to boutique properties ranging from the biggest one which is 87 rooms and I know one with six rooms. So these are just fantastic properties.”

There are also the likes of a Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites, Marriott Residence and many mom-and-pop inns and boutique properties.

Something for Everyone – Surfing, Glass Blowing, Vineyards, Festivals

Finally, Tim added, “There’s something for everybody in Newport is kind of selling it short because there really is. You can come and you can learn how to sail, take surfing lessons, take a glass blowing lesson, learn how to build a stone wall, take a walking tour, a horror tour, or a helicopter tour. Stop and visit our two Vineyards, a microbrewery. This all takes place in a small seaport city – it’s about three miles in circumference. You just park your car and you just go and enjoy the city.”

New Irish Heritage Trail,

Kerrie Tripp promoted three final points. First, the New Irish Heritage Trail. This is based on family and how they migrated to the United States and established communities from Boston, through the Plymouth area and out into the cape.

LGBTQ Friendly

She added that New England is “very, very, very LGBTQ friendly. All of our states have really been active in the LGBTQ lifestyle and commitment to the community for a very long time. In fact, we don’t really think about it anymore because it’s just part of the culture.”

Mobility Adaptive

Finally, with a special emphasis on Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, Karrie explained “that adaptive opportunities have really become something that is important to all of us. So when I say adaptive, it really is sensory adaption, it is mobility adaptive all the way up to completely wheelchair-bound. There are opportunities to go hiking, biking and skiing. The equipment that folks need in order to enjoy that is readily available and the majority of time is readily available for free.”

“We really feel, no matter what your ability, you should have access to The Great Outdoors. That is New England. There really has been this great movement towards that. I think those are just three really interesting points that everybody should know about our communities. We are very welcoming and we really take pride in who we are.”

For More on New England

For more from Discover New England and ITTN, check out our video series filmed at the New England Summit last year.

Shane Cullen
Shane Cullen
Shane Cullen has been managing director of a media production studio for nearly 20 years working on projects for a global clientele. He has worked in the travel industry for over a decade and as a travel journalist since 2015. He is passionate about travel, film & photography. He also has a keen interest in emerging technology.

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