ITHF - Rotary's Best-Kept Secret
At least it was to me until this past year. A Rotarian for 35 years, if I heard about this amazing fellowship in the past, it didn’t register until this summer at the 5080 District Conference. Visiting the display booths my wife Barb and I were introduced to the ITHF Fellowship and decided to join.
The timing was perfect as we had been invited by friends to spend 5 days with them in New York (the BIG APPLE) in October 2017.
Committed to that arrangement we explored expanding our trip to include touring Civil War museums and sites, as well as other items on my bucket list, like Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame, Madison Square Gardens and so on.
As new members to ITHF we had no idea what the responses to our requests might be, but proceeded to send out 5 requests to the areas we intended to visit. The response was amazing, we received 4 responses with invitations to stay. Even better was the reception we received when arriving at the Rotarian homes
Our itinerary prior to New York City included stops in Newark, Cooperstown, Sarasota Springs and Albany.
In New York - first time visit for us, we immersed ourselves in a large list of must dos, which included, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Times Square, Broadway (attending the Musical Come from Away – highly recommend), Ground Zero and the 911 Museum, several Cultural & Historical tours, walked the Brooklyn Bridge and the High Line and the list goes on & on. – An amazing time.
After leaving New York we travelled by train to Washington DC where we rented a car and began our exploration of Civil war sites and museums, beginning in Fredrick MD, then on to Winchester then Lexington, VA where we were hosted by Rotarians, Chip & Mary Honsinger.Chip had a full itinerary for us and spent the better part of a day & a half guiding us through the city of Lexington and its highlights. Also, attending a meeting with the Lexington Sunrise Rotary Club
Mary, Chip and my wife Barb in front of the Honsinger’s home in Lexington
Next stop was Glen Allen VA, a suburb of Richmond VA, with hosts Lee and Tracy Muckey. With their guidance and company we spent a day in Richmond VA, touring the Monument Drive (statues of Virginia Civil War participants, the Tredegar Foundry (now a Civil War Museum), walked across the James River on a foot bridge, toured the Black History Museum.
Lee and Tracy Muckey
Next stop was Barhamsville VA to the home of Collen Bonadonna and husband Dan. They treated us to a Sunset Cruise on Chesapeake Bay on a 3-masted schooner from Yorktown. With their guidance we spent the following day touring Wiiliamsburg and Jamestown, ending our day with a visit to the Berkley Plantation, home of 2 US Presidents (Harrison), returning to our hosts home late afternoon.
Collen’s son Chad, his Fiancée Cory, Colleen and husband Dan on the schooner Alliance.
To our immense surprise and delight Colleen had prepared a gourmet dinner for us and invited the Muckey’s our last host family to join with us. After enjoying our feast, banners and pins were exchanged, with all exclaiming what a great organization Rotary is and what special people Rotarians are.
If you haven’t signed on to the International Travel and Hosting Fellowship, Barb & I highly recommend it. We had an outstanding time, met some great new Rotarian friends and look forward to future travels and adventures.
We invite Rotarians to visit us in Nelson or Victoria, we would love to host you.
Dave and Barb Douglas
Lee Muckey, Dave Douglas & Colleen Bonadonna