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FlyORH: Worcester Airport Does Not Need an Access Road

Thursday, February 13, 2014

 

The last thing ORH should do is to focus resources where they're not needed.

We are now three months into our JetBlue experience, and I have not heard one complaint about not having an access road to Worcester Regional Airport. Seriously—not one! Who doesn’t have some type of car navigation system in their car today?

Think about how much time has been wasted on the access road discussion. Remember the whole Hope Ave access road discussion/fiasco? In case you forgot, check out this YouTube video. Imagine if we had taken that time and energy and discussed what was really needed at ORH: the CAT III Landing System.

The good news is that we are no longer talking about an access road and Massport has made CAT III priority #1, which will enable flights to land and take off with virtually no visibility. Although this will take time to be completed (with the latest estimates being 2018), ORH is focused and on the right track…finally. Massport has even been able to lower the FAA minimums at ORH, which will greatly reduce the number of cancellations that we saw the first two months.

More important issues

We do, however, need to do a better job telling people how to access ORH. Lincoln Square, Kelly Square, and Cambridge Street are not the best routes to the airport, but Exit 9 off Route 290 in Auburn is. Last summer, my daughter and I filmed a video that we have uploaded to YouTube. In less then 15 minutes you can get from Route 290, park your car, and being inside ORH checking in with no lines. No tunnels, no traffic, and no tolls.

Name me any airport where you are 15 minutes from a major highway to the ticket counter checking in. Is that not great access already? It takes at least that long from the time you enter Logan or Providence airport until you are checked in.

Imagine if we spent $50 million that we don’t have on an access road; how much time you would save starting with a baseline of 15 minutes? It’d be a complete waste of time, money, and effort with little return on investment. The CAT III landing system, more amenities at ORH, and additional airlines with more destinations are the priority and will yield huge returns for Worcester Airport.

Let’s work with what we have and establish Exit 9 off Route 290 as the access road to ORH, with appropriate signage. Lastly, check out the Chamber of Commerce and Destination Travel Show on March 13; it’s really starting to take shape.

 

Bill Randell is the President of Advantage Benefits, an insurance brokerage house specializing in employee benefits with an emphasis on health insurance, based in Worcester since 1992. He can be contacted at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter (@FlyORH).

 

Related Slideshow: February Getaways in New England

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Northeast Kingdom

What better way to celebrate the beauty of winter than to head up north for the week? Simple answer: there is none! Head up to the gorgeous mountains of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom to enjoy all that the region has to offer. Try out Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Jeffersonville—one of the most well regarded family ski resorts in the entire country. Kids will enjoy full day programs and ski/board lessons, crafted specifically for them. Special needs programs are also available.

When you’re not hitting the slopes, enjoy a factory tour of Ben & Jerry’s flagship store, and even check out the flavor graveyard! And if beer and barbecue is more your style, be sure to check out Prohibition Pig in Waterbury!

Smuggler’s Notch: 4323 Vermont 108 South, Jeffersonville, Vermont. (802) 644-8851.

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Mystic Aquarium

Make the trip to Connecticut for an adult treat at the Mystic Aquarium! On Saturday, February 15, the Saturday before February vacation, the aquarium will be hosting a South African wine dinner. Attendees will enjoy South African wines, hors d’oeuvres, and a 4-course dinner amongst African penguins and other beautiful marine life exhibits.

Later in the week, take the kids back to the Aquarium for a great day trip. Explore the exhibits and learn all about life under and near the sea!

55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, CT. (860) 572-5955.

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The White Mountains

The mountains of New England are a magical place to be any time of year—but they have a little something extra to offer when they are blanketed with snow. Head up to New Hampshire’s White Mountains region to see the beauty of winter in the mountains for yourself!

If you are traveling to the area with kids, look no farther than Lincoln’s Loon Mountain. Learners always get special savings with Loon’s Learner’s Passport. Even better, on select nights during February vacation week Loon will be hosting Fluorescent Nights, a special opportunity to ski or board after the sun goes down.

60 Loon Mountain Road, Lincoln, NH. (603) 745-8111.

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Cape Cod

While people flock to the beaches of the Cape during the summer months, there is something special about being there off-season. Couples and families alike will enjoy quiet walks on the beach and memories that are made without the noise of thousands of tourists in the background.

What’s more is that it is much cheaper to stay on Cape Cod during the winter. If you want a resort, check out Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis. There’s an indoor wave pool, a spa, and more at the resort, and its proximity to beaches and shopping makes it super convenient.

1225 Iyannough Road, Hyannis, MA. (855) 861-4370.

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Coastal Maine

The Coastal Maine region is another gem of New England summers, but the truth is that it is also gorgeous during the winter months. Take advantage of off-season rates in towns like Wells and Ogunquit and explore all that the area has to offer.

Take in world-famous scenery as you climb the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, enjoy a fresh hot lobster in Perkin’s Cove, and walk along Well’s Beach for a quiet retreat from the rest of the world.

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Roger Williams Park Zoo

Believe it or not, Providence’s Roger Williams Park Zoo is open 12 months a year! Plan a trip to the Zoo with the little ones to help get rid of some of that pent up energy—and learn something while doing it!

Roger Williams Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the country and is home to a bounty of animals—many of which enjoy the cold. Animals you may see outdoors during the winter include Bald Eagles, Moon Bears, bison, camels, and many others. There is no better time to enjoy the Zoo than February vacation—admission is half priced throughout the month!

1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, RI. (401) 941-4998.

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Essex Steam Train

The first weekend of February vacation head to Essex, Connecticut for the adventure of a lifetime. February 15 & 16, Essex Steam Train & Riverboat will be having its annual Eagle Flyer event.

Attendees will take a 2 1/2 hour-long eco-excursion aboard the Eagle Flyer out of Essex Station in Essex...pulled by a vintage diesel train. During the ride, naturalists will share information regarding the Bald Eagle’s migration through the region. Make sure to pack your binoculars so you can spot the majestic creatures in the wild!

1 Railroad Avenue, Essex, CT. (860) 767-0103.

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Jiminy Peak

Head to the Berkshires for a snowy getaway during the week of February vacation. Check out Jiminy Peak in the quaint Western Massachusetts town of Hancock—it’s perfect for families!

Enjoy a day on the slopes, but be sure to leave time to explore all that the Berkshires have to offer as well! Local favorites include the Norman Rockwell Museum, Berkshire Museum, Hancock Shaker Village, and more!

37 Corey Road, Hancock, MA. (413) 738-5500.

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Burlington, VT

For a getaway that will offer the best of shopping, winter sports, culture and food, be sure to check out the Northern Vermont city of Burlington. Nestled against Lake Champlain, Burlington is home to world class colleges, delicious eateries, and a pristine natural setting.

While you’re in the area, there is one place that you should absolutely experience: Church Street. Church Street is a cobblestone street not open to traffic in the heart of the city. It is home to gorgeous little boutiques, warm and inviting restaurants, and a great cultural atmosphere. Other highlights of the area include the waterfront, Dobra Tea, and Higher Ground.

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Block Island

Enjoy a retreat from the rest of the world on Rhode Island’s Block Island! Enjoy the sights and sounds of the island—from calm walks on the beach to sightseeing in the interior region. Bring bicycles to get through town, and be ready to enjoy the beautiful natural setting that will surround you.

Block Island is not home to an amusement park, nor is there a fast food joint in sight. Block Island is a place to go to make your own memories—and have fun doing it!

 
 

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