New and now: Salem Greeters; L.L. Bean classes; photo event

AP News
Posted: Apr 06, 2015 9:16 AM


Visitors to Salem, Oregon, can now sign up for a free, informal walk with local volunteers to see the sights as part of the new Salem Greeters Program.

Travel Salem says this is the first Greeters Program in the state. It's part of the Global Greeters Network, which began in New York City, where local volunteers are known as Big Apple Greeters.

In Salem, volunteers will be taking individual tourists and small groups of six or fewer to see the city's downtown core, home to interesting shops, cafes, galleries and other cultural and historic sites. Visitors with special interests can also ask for a customized itinerary. The greets will last an hour or two.

The greeters are not professional tour guides, but are more like destination ambassadors who share a personal perspective on their cities while offering advice on what to see and do.

To sign up for a greet in Salem, fill out a request form at least seven days before your visit at

More than 90 cities worldwide participate in the Global Greeters Network. The complete list is at



L.L. Bean doesn't just sell boots, flannel shirts and fishing poles. The retailer also hosts thousands of programs each year themed on outdoor activities, from fly-fishing clinics to a stand-up paddleboard and yoga weekend. Some of the classes are free, while others range in price from $25 to a few hundred dollars for multi-day adventures.

Many programs are based in Freeport, Maine, where L.L. Bean's flagship store is located. The company owns a paddling center on the ocean near Freeport where activities like kayaking and paddleboarding take place. Introductory courses also offer beginners the chance to get a lesson and try out sports like archery and clay shooting without a major commitment of time or money.

L.L. Bean also holds how-to classes, hikes and other activities in parks, museums and other sites around the country, from New Jersey to Minnesota. Course listings can be found online at .

In 2014, more than 130,000 people took part in L.L. Bean-sponsored activities. One tip: The classes fill up, so register in advance whenever possible. And if you're just planning to be in Freeport for a day of shopping at the town's many outlet stores, stop by L.L. Bean first thing in the morning to see what classes might have openings that day.



Are you an avid outdoor photographer? A three-day conference will bring together experts in photography and new media offering tips, techniques and equipment for taking better pictures outdoors.

Called OPTIC 2015, the conference will take place in New York City. It's free and open to anyone, though pre-registration is required. If you can't make it in person, the first day will be streamed live online, free.

The event opens May 3 at Manhattan's New Yorker Hotel, continues May 4 on the top level of the AMC Loews 34th Street and finishes up May 5 at the nearby B&H Super Store. Speakers include National Geographic photographers Ralph Lee Hopkins, Michael Melford, Bob Krist, Susan Seubert and Dan Westergren, along with outdoor photographer Art Wolfe.

There will be lectures, slide shows, technique critiques and a trade show featuring the latest imaging technology from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Sigma, Tamron, Lexar and more.

To register to attend or to be notified about the live stream, visit .

The event is sponsored by B&H Photo and Lindblad Expeditions.