JTB Wins Coveted International Award

first_imgJTB Wins Coveted International Award TourismFebruary 28, 2014Written by: Derrick Scott, Information Attache (Jamaican Embassy, USA) Photo: JIS PhotographerDeputy Director of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) Sandra Scott, shares a moment with Senior Managing Partner, Finn Partners, Richard Funess, after accepting the gold award presented by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), at the annual HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala, held recently, at the New York Marriott Marquis. Advertisements Story HighlightsJTB has won the coveted Gold Adrian Award for public relations excellence, presented by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).The agency was recognised for its entry in the television category titled: ‘Revisiting Our Roots’.The agency worked with The TODAY Show producers on a special feature in which co-anchors Jenna Wolfe and Lester Holt traveled to the island to explore their roots. RelatedMinister says Tourism Product Must Be Improved The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has won the coveted Gold Adrian Award for public relations excellence, presented by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).The agency was recognised for its entry in the television category titled: ‘Revisiting Our Roots’ featuring NBC TODAY Show co-hosts Jenna Wolfe and Lester Holt.JTB’s Deputy Director in charge of Marketing, Sandra Scott, was on hand to accept the prestigious award, during the annual HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala, held on Monday, February 24, at the New York Marriott Marquis.The agency worked with The TODAY Show producers on a special feature in which co-anchors Jenna Wolfe and Lester Holt traveled to the island to explore their roots as part of destination’s year long 50th anniversary celebrations in 2012.“We are very pleased to receive this esteemed award for our work in targeting the Diaspora and African American markets,” said Director of Tourism, John Lynch.“It’s an honor to be recognised by industry colleagues and we are excited at the prospect of continuing to build on this strong market segment moving forward,” he added.Executive Vice President of HSMAI, Fran Brasseux, said that the judges were highly impressed by many of this year’s entrants and made special note of the overall trend of fully integrated campaigns that span across multiple channels.“Marketing campaigns now rarely exist in silos with the proliferation in the array of channels available. This upsurge has only benefited the industry as a whole and is reflected in the excellent strategy and creativity exhibited by this year’s award winners,” she added.center_img JTB Wins Coveted International AwardJIS News | Presented by: PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQualityundefinedSpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreenPlay RelatedJamaica Choice Destination at Washington Travel Show RelatedRunaway Bay HEART Hotel Renamed FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail last_img read more

Silverstein’s lending biz could get a boost from the weak luxury condo market

first_imgLarry Silverstein (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)Silverstein Properties is looking to double its lending business next year to more than $1 billion.The firm is focusing on inventory loans in the luxury condo market at neighborhoods such as Tribeca, Gramercy and Midtown East, according to Bloomberg. The firm is in negotiations for roughly $700 million worth of such loans, which are generally used as temporary lifelines for developers looking to pay off construction debt without lowering prices while dealing with slow sales. It can let them remove equity from projects earlier as well.Luxury developers in New York are now facing strong loan repayment projections in a market that is slowing down.ADVERTISEMENTSilverstein formed its lending unit last fall and debuted with $240 million of mezzanine financing for JDS Development Group’s project at 9 Dekalb Avenue in Brooklyn. It has completed about $500 million in financing so far.“Our goal is not to lend to projects that fail: We’re in a position where if a project has a problem, we believe that we could execute the business plan and we could finish the construction,” Silverstein president Michael May told Bloomberg. “We think that there’s still demand for units that are priced well, but in many cases, the owners of these projects have not adjusted their expectations to where the price would sell in the market yet.” [Bloomberg] — Eddie Small This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Nowlast_img read more

Grace Cottage’s McDevitt publishes book for clinicians

first_imgGrace Cottage Hospital,Vermont Business Magazine Grace Cottage Hospital (Townshend) Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Louise McDevitt is the author of a new book for clinical practitioners. Orthopedic Physical Assessment, published by Fitzgerald Health Education Associates and co-authored by McDevitt and FNP Monica Tombasco, is a reference guide to help Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Physician Assistants, medical students, and seasoned clinicians alike with orthopedic diagnosis and treatment.The guide is a spiral-bound book in cue-card format, making it easy to find information quickly. It provides a comprehensive compendium, with diagrams, glossary, and references for further information.McDevitt has been a certified Nurse Practitioner since 1989. She is triple certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner, a Family Nurse Practitioner, and an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) in 2012. She has practiced at Grace Cottage Hospital since 2003.In addition to seeing patients at Grace Cottage, McDevitt is a Senior Lecturer for Fitzgerald Health Education Associates, a leader in NP licensing preparation and continuing education. She has created and presented orthopedic and other clinical skills workshops, including suturing, advanced suturing, and common office procedures, at numerous national NP conferences. She is also assistant clinical instructor at the University of Vermont Medical School and its Graduate School of Nursing FNP Program.“We are quite proud of Louise’s professional accomplishments,” says Elaine Swift, Grace Cottage Family Health Practice Director. “Her patients are fortunate to have her level of expertise.”last_img read more

All around the houses

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Ishikawa victorious at ANA Open

first_imgSAPPORO – U.S. tour regular Ryo Ishikawa captured the ANA Open on Sunday by two strokes to win his 12th title on Japan’s domestic JGTO tour.Ishikawa, who began the final day in the lead, carded five birdies against two bogeys for a 3-under-par 69 to finish at 16-under-par 272 and defeat Yusaku Miyazato by two strokes. KEYWORDS GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES Ryo Ishikawa, ANA Open center_img “I didn’t think I’d be able to play as well as I did, and even so my game wasn’t all that good,” said Ishikawa, who celebrated his 24th birthday on the tournament’s opening day.“It was just a matter of being able to prevail by playing my kind of golf.” IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5last_img

‘Tin-can-do’ connects rural areas

first_img20 February 2006“I can’t believe I’m surfing the net from my own home,” Agnes Mdluli’s teenage daughter exclaimed shortly after a tin can and a bicycle spoke connected their computer to the internet.The can-antenna, dubbed the “cantenna”, is made from a metal can, such as a coffee tin, and a section of bicycle spoke soldered into a special connector which can connect to another point with a similar antenna up to five kilometres away.“We’re excited about this,” says David Johnson, research leader at the Meraka Institute, a new body set up to boost social and economic growth through training, research and development in information and communications technology.“We’re excited for the community. Imagine the difference this will make in terms of accessing information and gaining knowledge.”Internet research and VoIPMduli’s house in Peebles Valley near White River in Mpumalanga was the site of the first cantenna installation in July 2005.Peebles Valley, also known as the Masoyi tribal area, is a poor community of some 220 000 people where it is estimated that up to 33% of the sexually active population is HIV-positive.Mdluli was given priority on the premise that she works at the Aids care training and support clinic in Peebles Valley. The clinic cares mostly for HIV/Aids patients from that area and surrounding villages and townships.The cantenna will allow Mdluli to do internet-based research on HIV/Aids and other health matters. She will also be able to make Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls to health workers across the country.Cantennas – small, self-constructed antennas made from locally available material – are connected to a low-cost WiFi card plugged into a computer. A small wireless router is placed in a weatherproof casing on a pole to which several community members can connect to form a community mesh network.The mesh networking technology allows the wireless installations to automatically configure themselves to find the optimal routes through the network, and very little configuration is needed to set them up.The technology has also enabled the local high school, which uses a more costly omni-direction antenna, to gain internet access through its computer centre.Training will also be carried out to teach the community how to construct their own cantennas, set up wireless routers and connect them to computers.First Mile, First InchThe cantenna project in Peebles Valley is one of 10 sub-projects in the Meraka Institute’s First Mile, First Inch network of projects, set up to explore the technological and social consequences of low-cost telecommunications implemented in remote schools, clinics, and telecentres.According to the International Development Research Centre, which is funding First Mile, First Inch, the end point of telecommunications distribution networks – often referred to as the “last mile” – is usually the most expensive and difficult mile to deploy and manage in rural areas.First Mile, First Inch is thus attempting a paradigm shift towards user-centered “first mile” (the starting point of a network) and “first inch” (the immediate experience of the end user) solutions.Project leaders seek to demonstrate how the “first mile” in poorly served rural communities – the gap between a PC and established telecoms infrastructure – can be bridged using technologies such as WiFi, wired Ethernet, powerline technologies or Bluetooth.To allow users to interact with their computers – to get past the “first inch” – the project aims to develop open source, easy-to-use applications in local languages.The key goal is sustainability: helping local communities build their own neighbourhood networks and cultivate the skills required to manage and ultimately replicate these networks elsewhere.Source: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Sowetan Dialogues: ‘Excellence must start in our communities’

first_imgDo you own a spaza shop? Are you a community worker, a teacher or an ordinary worker? Are you the best that you can be?All of us are part of building a competitive South Africa. We are responsible for bringing international investment into our country. We are part of building South Africa’s reputation.Join Brand South Africa on Thursday 8 October in Langa, Cape Town, for the next edition of the Sowetan Dialogues, to discuss how to make South Africa a competitive country for ourselves as citizens, investors, and tourists.The conversation will revolve around the theme, “Are we really the worst in the world? Excellence must start in our communities.” It will be hosted by Shado Twala, South African radio DJ, journalist, entrepreneur, public relations expert and broadcast producer.The panellists are:• Luvuyo Rani, an entrepreneur, founder of Silulo Ulutho Technologies and a Play Your Part ambassador• Gerry Elsdon, the CEO Cinnamon Communications• Vangile Makwakwa, the author of Heart, Mind & Money: Using Emotional Intelligence with Money• Dr Laurine Platzky, the deputy director-general for strategic programmes in the office of the Western Cape premierFurther details:• Date: 9 October 2014• Venue: Langa Hall (Johnson Nguvela), Washington Street, Langa Township, Cape Town• Time: 6 for 6.30 pmRefreshments will be servedAttendance is free. To secure a seat SMS the keyword DIALOGUES with your name and surname to 48470. SMSs are charged at R1.50, and free minutes do not apply.Bookings will close on 9 October at 12 noon. Confirmation will be sent via SMS.For more information or to RSVP, email [email protected]last_img read more

Weapons In The Fight Against Spam

first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#communication#email#Spam Top 5 Areas Where Companies Want IoT Solutions nathaniel borenstein 6 Best Video Conferencing Services for Small Bu…center_img With This One Question, You’ll Never Need an Ic… Guest author Nathaniel Borenstein is Mimecast’s chief scientist and the inventor of the MIME email protocol.Spam represents profound things about the limits of productivity, communication and wisdom. As electronic junk mail, it’s the electronic static that limits collective thought.Spam is not a simple problem, and it is not likely to ever go away. Unfortunately, spammers have only begun to explore the range of options and techniques open to them, and this digital detritus is inevitable in any open system of communication. See also: How To Protect Yourself From InstaspamAlthough spam cannot be completely eliminated, an intelligent and deep program of spam control—made up of both technical measures and user education—has been able to limit it to the level of a minor but costly nuisance. At least, so far. The Moore’s Law Of Our Email WastelandThink of spam’s prevalence in the context of Moore’s Law—except in this case, Moore’s Law is on the side of the “bad guys.”A team of researchers could work for two years and cut the “false negative” rate (or the rate at which spam gets through to users) in half. But at the end of the same two-year period, the spammers, who need do no research at all, have the ability to send twice as much spam for the same cost. See also: New Security Flaw Allows Attackers to Hijack WordPress SitesIn that scenario, the net amount reaching users is unchanged. That’s an oversimplification of a complex problem, but it illustrates how the bad guys start out with a significant structural advantage. Techniques for creating a world with less spam fall under both technical and non-technical categories. While each approach has its benefits, no method is a fool-proof catch-all, which means we must empower and educate users to enlist their own spam defenses. FilteringUsing content filters on messages is the first and most widely used approach in spam fighting. It protects is used for outbound messages, to make sure a company doesn’t become a vector for anti-social messages, and for incoming messages, to protect users from malicious junk. The filtering can take place on one’s own mail servers, on servers belonging to a third party such as a cloud provider, on intermediate relays, or even on an email client. Spammers constantly vary their messages, so successful filtering depends on regular and timely updates to filtering rules. (Most filtering systems get their rules from a relatively small set of well-known providers.) But even so, it’s not as effective as it used to be. Spammers watch and respond to trends in filtering, so they can continually innovate their approaches to get around it, as well as simply send more messages.Authenticating IdentityIf spammers would only identify themselves clearly, it would be easy to block spam. This observation has led to a plethora of whitelists and blacklists, but unfortunately, it’s not nearly that straightforward. For better and for worse, the fundamental design of the Internet enables anonymity. It connects millions of machines, each of which is controlled and authenticated relatively independently. This means that it is generally impossible for a recipient server to confirm any authentication claimed by the sending server, which it has no reason to trust. There are ways to fix this problem, but they face strong opposition, which makes them unlikely to be deployed. The Internet community has been working for more than 20 years to develop person-to-person authentication in email, resulting in email encryption systems known as S/MIME and PGP. These systems have seen stunningly low adoption rates, in part because of their perceived complexity, and because people don’t seem to want strong authentication most of the time. In recent years, domain-based authentication has emerged, using standards like DKIM and DMARC, whereby cooperating sites can authenticate messages based on where they originate. This allows sites to make informed judgements about the mail that comes from another given site and how likely it is to be spam. Domain-based authentication has tremendous potential, and it’s becoming an important new technology in the fight against spam. And, because DKIM allows only the sender’s domain to be authenticated, users can combat spam while preserving the privacy of the human sender. The down side: This method substantially complicates the work of running an email service. But although it could help distinguish genuine messages from spam, as long as a sizable portion of the Internet isn’t cooperating in this scheme, the Internet’s infrastructure will continue to permit that junk mail. Payment Models for EmailWith traditional postal mail, the quantity of junk mail is limited by the cost of postage. Such incentives clearly don’t exist for email. Imposing a payment model would be a way to change that.This tactic has been widely discussed, but rarely implemented. First, there is widespread resistance to the idea of paying for “good’ email. The fact that email is essentially free to send is widely seen as a major benefit, so many would be unwilling to give it up—even to eliminate the junk. A variation on this theme poses an interesting scenario: linking money and authentication practices. The only charge the sender gets is when that authentication fails. Companies like Yahoo tried “charity stamps,” in which senders link their email to charitable donations. For each message sent, the sender had to demonstrate that money was donated to a charity. For many companies, that would be less than what they give to charity anyway, so the mail would be incrementally free. To date, none of these systems has found widespread adoption, but such concepts could find renewed interest in an age when email-based attacks and annoyances continue to escalate.EducationUltimately, the best hope for beating spam and other malware is to train users not to be fooled.Most malware depends on tricking users into clicking on a link, opening an attachment or otherwise following some set of instructions. The better-educated users are, the less vulnerable they are to falling for the con. Both organizations and email providers should provide clear information and examples of what not to do. Short, clear and varied messages—that aren’t too frequent—work best, so users don’t tune them out. Ideally, safe email habits will eventually seem like common sense to most users—like locking their front door before leaving the house. While none of the above methods can stand up against spam on its own, when coupled with user education, there’s a fighting chance. Photo by spinster cardigan How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi…last_img read more

Best getaway options from Pune

first_imgIs the big city life getting to you? Can’t wait to get away from it all? Simply Pune has caught the travel bug too this month so give in to temptation before the good weather runs out and take the first road out. Get set and read on as we,Is the big city life getting to you? Can’t wait to get away from it all? Simply Pune has caught the travel bug too this month so give in to temptation before the good weather runs out and take the first road out.Get set and read on as we scrounge through popular travel hubs and adventure hotspots as well as carefully hidden secrets to bring you the best weekend getaway options. Ride the tideKundalika: If an adrenaline rush is what you are looking for, white water rafting on the Kundalika river might be just the perfect getaway for you. Only 100 km from the city, the river offers as many rafting options as its more famous counterparts in the Himalayas and makes for an exciting, action-filled weekend. Along its 14 km long stretch there are a total of 11 rapids-a mix of Grade 2 and 3 rapids, which take around two-three hours to cover.Nestled within the lush Sahyadri Mountains, the rafting camp site is picturesque and offers non-rafters numerous trekking and bird spotting opportunities as well. The river is fed by the excess waters of the neighbouring dams and hydroelectric projects, making it ideal for rafting even in hot summer months. The ride starts at 8:45 am everyday, 30 minutes after the dam gates are opened and the excess water is released. Rafters need to assemble at the starting point at 8:00 am for an orientation session. Kundalika is also a hotspot for other water sports with the Kundalika Rafting Camp facilitating activities such as kayaking and flying fox.advertisement Fact fileGetting there: Take the Chandani Chowk roadDistance: 100 km.Stay: Kundalika Rafting Camp.Contact: 09372016005; kundalikarafting.inCost: Rs 2,500 per day on twin sharing basiIn the lap of luxuryAamby Valley: A perfect romantic getaway-woo your significant other with a chopper ride to the hill township, Swedish massage, water sports or a candle-lit dinner for two on a decorated traditional boat.Aamby Valley City, spread over 10,600 acres near Lonavala is for the luxury traveller, with high-end timber chalets and villas, multiple restaurants to suit every palate, spas, water sports, lakes, sprawling gardens and a variety of activities including a PGA-certified golf course all available within their premises.Unique attractions which are sure to keep you busy through the day are the artificial beach, ice hockey facilities, a plush bar and jet skiing. Another section you shouldn’t miss if you are of an adventurous mould is the one with ATV bikes, remote car racing and a jungle safari.The accommodation is plush and comfortable, with the rooms overlooking the historic Koraigad Fort or intimate cabanas facing the clear lake waters. Fact fileGetting there: Take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.Distance: 90 km.Contact: 022-39807444; aambyvalleycity.comCost: Romantic getaway package costs Rs 61,000 plus taxesValley of flowersKaas Plateau: To get away from it all, head to the scenic Kaas plateau, Maharashtra’s very own Valley of Flowers. With multi-hued flowers carpeting the hillocks as far as the eye can see, the plateau is an example of nature in all its glory. An amazing experience is to observe the expanse of flowers through the course of the day as they change colours, reflecting different shades at different times of the day.Accounts by botanists reveal that there are over 1,500 types of plants here including a few endangered species and medicinal plants. The flower fiesta starts blooming by August once the monsoon recedes and lasts for a little over a month. Some of the rare varieties of flowers you can spot here are the Smithia Hirsuta, Senecio Grahami and Utricularia Purpurascens.The plateau surrounded by the lofty hills is a haven for bird watching as well-with the Malabar Crested Lark and Crested Bunting being only few of the birds that have been spotted here. Even though no formal guided tour of the region is in place, bring out the nature enthusiast in you by exploring not only the flora but also the extensive fauna that the region supports.However, the region has been affected by increased tourist traffic, with many flowers being trampled upon, plucked or damaged, raising concerns about the need to conserve this natural heritage. Stay the night at a hotel in Satara and leave for Kaas at dawn break. Carry insect repellent when visiting.Fact fileGetting there: Take the Pune-Satara Road.Distance: 125 km.Stay: The Mahendra Executive hotel, Satara.Tel: 2162-245100.Contact: The Green carpet(facebook.com/groups/greencarpet/) for nature tours.Cost: Rs 1,300 per day per person.On a heritage trailRaigad: An ever popular destination for both Puneites and Mumbaikars, trekkers, history enthusiasts and pilgrims head to Raigad all year round. The Raigad fort, built over 350 years ago during the glory days of the Maratha Empire was once the residence of the royal family and has seen many a battle fought in its name.Walk up the 1,450 steps that take you to the fort and if unable to climb the steep steps, take a ride on the ropeway which will take you to the fort gates in a few minutes time. Once there, you can explore the Mena Darwaza, the erstwhile ladies quarters, the royal granaries, the Raj Bhavan where Shivaji held court, the Raj Sabha where the throne once stood and the Nagarkhana where the royal band played.Near the fort is a museum which houses photographs of various forts in Shivaji’s empire, as well as a collection of artefacts, farmans and weapons from the era. Be sure to check out the numerous temples in the region and if in the mood for longer treks, head up to the nearby Lingana and Torana Forts.advertisement Fact fileGetting there: Take the Mumbai-Goa highway.Distance: 150 km.Contact: 02145-274831; raigadropeway.comCheck out: Package tours of Raigad.Cost: Ropeway ticket is Rs 170. Discounted for students andsenior citizens.Nature at its bestMatheran: Get away for a whiff of clean air with no honking cars or traffic lights at Matheran. The state’s only hill station which prohibits the entry of vehicles, is all about enjoying nature’s vast beauties. With mist-soaked valleys and a grandiose landscape stretching out as far as the eye can see, explore Matheran on horseback or simply walk around. The highlight here is the 100 year old toy train that crawls through the hills ferrying passengers from the base to the 803 meter high hill station.What’s charming about Matheran, which was discovered by Sir Mallet in 1860, is that despite modern amenities and hotels, the holiday spot still retains its colonial aura. While here, enjoy the local treats like coalroasted maize or freshly churned candy floss. Another relic is the 100 year old Lords Hotel known for its grand colonial architecture. Stop by at the placid Charlotte Lake, watch the sunrise at Panorama Point or trek up to the One Tree Hill. Fact fileGetting there: Take the train to Neral and change to the toy train to Matheran.Distance: 120 Km.Best time to visit: October to May.Stay: Lord’s Central Hotel.Tel: 02148-230228.Cost: Rs 4,500 per night for two.High on chaiCha Hut Tea Bar: A cup of steaming hot tea in the company of cool, mist-soaked hills can work wonders to cleanse your mind and soul. At Cha Hut in Girivan, a onehour drive from the city, you can sift through their extensive travelogue collection or play one of the traditional folk games available like aadu puli attam (an ancient Tamil two player board game) while gazing at the sheer beauty of the lush Kolvan Valley. All this while Devika Nadig, whose venture it is, pours out her exotic brews. Located in Girivan, a self-styled enclave in the hills, the tea bar has been set up in Nadig’s enormous verandah, overlooking the Sahyadri Mountains.Get ready to sample exotic tea concoctions served with freshly baked scones and doughnuts all day long. Here, tea takes on different characters-herb-infused brews, fruitflavoured drinks with mango or apple extract and iced tea flavours are all available. It is not only the tea that’s on offer here; an amphitheatre located right next door also hosts cultural events such as poetry readings and music gigs on a regular basis. For now, the tea bar is open only on weekends but if you decide to stay on for a day or two, Girivan offers a variety of bed and breakfast options.advertisement Fact fileGetting there: Take Paud road from Pune to Girivan.Stay: Castle farm and Hill Top Home.Distance: 40 Km.Tel: 09763688361.Check out: Pawana and Mulshi dams.Cost: Rs 500-700 per day for accommodation.Resort to the hillsLavasa: The newest and yet unfinished hill city, Lavasa is where you can unwind in a resort of your choice, water ski, participate in occasional wine festivals and car rallies or simply relax and enjoy the company of the mist and trees. It stands amidst seven hills and a 60 km lake front offering picturesque views of the Sahyadri landscape and pleasant weather through the year.Even as the city awaits its theme parks, it already has a spa, cruises, nature trails and bike rides. Viewing galleries dot the area offering panoramic views of the valley and lake. Cafes and restaurants offer a range of international cuisines. The drive to Lavasa is picturesque with narrow hilly roads and villages on either side, setting the mood for a peaceful holiday even before you enter the imposing gates of the hill city. Prominent signboards help you manoeuvre through the winding roads within. And there is a lot for kids to do here too-there is a playground, as well as a trampoline and pontoon rides in the lake. As far as accommodation goes, there’s something to suit every pocket ranging from serviced apartments and Swiss style tents to cheaper hotels. Fact fileGetting there: Take the Chandani Chowk road.Distance: 50 km.Stay: Ekaant-The Retreat, Mercure Lavasa or air conditioned tents.Contact: 020-25234460; lavasa.comCost: Holiday packages range from Rs 4,500 to Rs 7,500 per day.Take to the waterKoyna Backwaters: If you are looking for an exciting summer adventure, the Koyna backwaters are the place to head to. Situated 25 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar, the Koyna Dam creates a large fresh water lake, perfect for water sports. Windsurfing and kayaking are among the list of exciting activities here with the serene Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary acting as a backdrop. The placid waters of the lake make motor boat rides and water scooters trips safe, yet exciting.The surrounding hills and forests offer campers several fun activities like mountain biking and valley crossing. Stroll through the Koyna wildlife sanctuary and you might just spot a bison or deer. Treks up to the Vasota Fort or the nearby Nageshwar caves are recommended as well.Fact fileGetting there: Take the Pune-Satara road towards MahabaleshwarDistance: 200 Km.Stay: Nature Trails.Contact: 022-66557777; naturetrails.inCost: Rs 2,500.View from the topThe Machan: There’s nothing like a quiet secluded tree house in the middle of a forest, to make you forget about blaring horns and constantly ringing mobile phones. The Machan offers just that with a secluded tree house set up in Jambulne village in the Western Ghats. Cradled in the branches of a huge tree at the edge of a precipice 45 feet above the ground, the luxurious structure overlooks acres and acres of lush forest land. Climb up to the loft, aptly called the Crow’s Nest and the stunning aerial view from there is bound to take your breath away.For those who want the thrill of camping out, the Machan has also introduced three well-furnished tents atop raised platforms. With little to do here except soak in the natural beauty or explore the village, this is a perfect place to get your much needed dose of peace and tranquility . With the tree house able to accommodate six people, we suggest you rope in some friends and head away to hide in the trees. Fact fileGetting there: Take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.Distance: 80 Km.Check out: Koraigad and Tungi forts.Contact: 09594053113; themachan.comCost: Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 per day for two.Return to the rootsBaramati Agro Tourism: Have you ever wondered how it would be like to live as a farmer? Far away from the hustle-bustle of the city, just tending to your land and cattle?The Baramati Agro Tourism Centre was set up to provide an experience just like this. Spread over 20 acres of lush farm land, the centre gives city folk a peek into the rural life with cattle farms, fruit orchards, bullock carts, tractor rides and traditional games like gotya, surparanbhya and vittidandu. If you want to experience the rustic way of life, begin the day by milking a cow and feeding cattle. Learn the basics of jaggery making at a neighbouring sugar factory, watch silk being spun, plough the fields or simply laze around.The centre provides a holistic farm experience as the food provided is a staple farmer’s diet, including bhakri, pithla, and kurdya. Accommodation and amenities are basic but clean with 12 rooms and one large hall where people can stay the night. The centre, managed by local entrepreneur Pandurang Taware provides other amenities like solar-energy fuelled water heaters and an in-house doctor, in case of any emergencies. Fact fileGetting there: Take Hadapsar-Saswad road.Distance: 75 Km.Contact: 09226432980; agritourism.inCost: Rs 500 per person per day.last_img read more