Featured Post

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Getaways for Beating the Winter Blues

Let it snow. And when it does, where better to weather a storm than at a cozy resort?

In light of Snowmageddon, WTOP Radio in Washington, DC asked me how to select the perfect mid-winter getaway. Here's  the reporter's write-up of our chat.

WASHINGTON — By now you’ve seen the signs:  frigid air, salty sidewalks, cracked skin. We’re officially smack dab in the middle of winter — a time of year when the sun seems to hibernate and warm weather is a distant memory.

If you’re looking for a way to beat the winter blues but don’t have the time or cash to fly to the Caribbean, plenty of local destinations and activities can take your mind off the seasonal grind.
The D.C. area is home to several famous luxury resorts — from The Inn at Perry Cabin to the Salamander Resort and Spa, but travel expert and blogger Laura Powell says you don’t need to go all-out to escape and recharge.

“I sometimes like to go to some of these resorts that are not necessarily off the beaten track, but they’re certainly not as well-known as [some of the others],” she says.

Regardless of which destination you choose, Powell offers one important tip:  Book a place that has a fireplace, an indoor pool or a spa.

“If you can find one with all three of the above, you’re going to be assured that you’re going to have a nice, relaxing winter weekend,” she says.

One of Powell’s favorite winter destinations is the Omni Bedford Springs in Bedford, Pennsylvania. The destination is only two hours from the Washington area and checks off all three boxes on Powell’s winter wish list.

“It’s a beautiful, historic property, so you’ve got your fireplaces, you’ve got a fabulous spa,. , and it's one of the few spas in the country that utilizes natural spring water for all of their treatments.”
And guests don’t have to worry about getting bored, as the resort offers a variety of amenities and activities to keep them entertained, including an indoor pool and tours of the historic property. When it’s warm enough, guests can cook s’mores over an open fire or take a hike in the surrounding mountains.

Powell also recommends Poplar Springs Inn and Spa, in Warrenton, Virginia, just one hour outside the city. The hotel went through bankruptcy about a year ago, but the property, which sits on about 100 acres, is open for business again. Powell says the hotel’s restaurant, Manor House, is one of the resort’s highlights. And every Thursday night during the winter, Poplar Springs offers free tastings of local beers and wines.

Poplar Springs Inn is also close to several wineries: “If you go into Virginia wine country, a lot of the wineries are still open, even though they’re not necessarily in production, so you could do wine tasting.”

Can’t make it out of town for the weekend, but still want to relax and recharge? The spa at The Four Seasons in Georgetown offers a variety of services, including massages, aromatherapy and facials. And for $50 extra, you can use the spa’s gym, pool, sauna, steam room and more for the entire day. After you’re done being pampered, slip outside the spa to the patio at Bourbon Steak. Grab a seat by one of their fire pits and enjoy a glass of wine and a bite to eat.

Similarly, the spa at the Mandarin Oriental makes its heat and water facilities (showers, a steam room and a vitality pool) and its relaxation room available to spa guests for the whole day, with a service appointment.   ---By Rachel Nania

Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

More Airport Developments

Following up on my coverage of international airport trends for CNN (see post below), here's this week's Let's Talk Live segment. I discuss worldwide and Washington, DC airport trends.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Story for CNN on Airport Developments 2015

Many moons ago, I helped develop CNN's very first travel program. I produced the original edition of CNN Travel Guide, and was responsible for doing that show, plus ten daily segments a week, for several years. Sounds dreamy, no?  However, with no budget to actually travel beyond the outskirts of Atlanta, the job had its challenges. Even so, working for CNN was the launching point for my travel journalism career. 

I also was one of the original producers for CNN International. So, it's particularly gratifying that my return to CNN is marked by a travel story in the international edition of the website. Here it is. 

To read the entire story, please click on 

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Laura Powell
(202) 415-6455
Career Summary To Date: 25 years covering travel and lifestyle topics for a range of media outlets. Work has included television and video management and production, writing for print and online outlets, custom content development, strategic consulting, and spokesperson and media training work.
Current Positions:

Executive Producer, LP Productions/Daily Suitcase Chicago, Illinois
Produce, host and write travel-related programming and videos. Write freelance travel articles for national and international outlets. Appear on television and radio programs as a guest travel expert.

Luxury and Special Correspondent, Skift, New York, New York
Report on luxury, wellness and trends for the premier outlet covering the business of travel.

Contributor: CNN.com, ShermansTravel; Orbitz Blog, Travelocity

Travel Correspondent, Around the World Radio Santa Barbara, CA
Professional Journalism Experience:

Contributing Travel Expert, WUSA and NewsChannel 8, Washington, DC

Special Sections Writer, The Washington Post
Write special sections on travel, lifestyle, shopping and the environment.
Contributing Editor, Hotel F and B

Writer, Travel Supplements, USA Today

Contributing Editor, Lodging, Washington, DC

Contributing Writer, Good Housekeeping New York, New York

1998-2002; 2007-2009
And Before That:
Producer, CNN TravelGuide Atlanta, Georgia
·        Created and produced CNN TravelGuide.
·        Provided management direction to production of CNN's travel coverage, including daily segments on business and leisure travel.
·        Coordinated and planned field production at domestic and international locations, and wrote and produced daily packages and weekly programs.
Selected Television and Radio Appearances:
ABC World News This Morning, ABC News Now, CNBC, CNN Headline News, CNN Airport, WUSA (Washington, DC), NewsChannel 8 (Washington, DC), WTTG (Washington, DC), Fox News Channel, Good Day New York, Today Show/New York, WABC (Los Angeles), CBS 2 News This Morning (Los Angeles), AM-Philadelphia, WTOP-AM (Washington, DC), WOR-AM (New York), WGN-AM (Chicago), NPR, Martha Stewart/Sirius Radio.
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York B.S., Broadcast Journalism
Distinction: Summa Cum Laude and Class Marshal-Newhouse School of Public Communications
University of Essex, Colchester, England M.A. International Relations
Distinction: Rotary Foundation Scholar
European University Institute, Fiesole, Italy