Carter was born in suburban Mt. Kisco, New York, the thirteenth great-grandson of Governor William Bradford who came over on the Mayflower and became the first governor of the colonies (and who “created” Thanksgiving Day).
In his youth, Carter's family divided most of their time between their Westchester home (he's on the far left, above) and the family's summer residence in the Adirondacks Mountains. Carter attended Hotchkiss, one of America's most prestigious prep schools, but, putting photography ahead of his studies, he was kicked out and returned home to graduate from Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua. He then joined the Army, and ended up serving much of his tour of duty on the island of Okinawa, Japan. He stayed in Okinawa after his military stint to produce what became the first (and last) Okinawa Grand Prix, which boasted over 60 competitors and 250,000 spectators.
The Grand Prix caught the eye of mutual funds guru Bernie Cornfeld who quickly recruited Carter into the ranks of Investors Overseas Services (I.O.S.). Carter went on to break all company records for selling New York's Dreyfus Fund, and soon found himself setting up shop for I.O.S. in places like Malta, Ireland and London, where he helped create and led International Life Insurance (U.K.), Ltd., the inventor of what is today known as Universal Life Insurance.
Robert and Mrs. Nagler, Bernie, and Edward (Ted) Carter on the far right.
While in London, Carter received a B.S. in Photography and later went on to earn a M.S. and a Ph.D. (summa cum laude) in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
After the collapse of I.O.S. in 1970, Carter turned his sights to shipping container leasing and within three years, his Carter Containers, S.A. would become the fastest-growing company in the industry.
All told, Carter lived in and worked in dozens of countries.
But it was in 1978 that Carter made a seemingly offhanded purchase that would forever change his life. He bought William Avery Rockefeller's Camp Wonundra, the last of the privately owned “Great Camps of the Adirondacks.” Re-christening it The Point, Carter transformed the run-down estate into one of the most celebrated resorts in the world. Its honors have been numerous - four years in a row it was The Hideaway Report's “Hideaway of the Year,” one of Rene Lecler's 300 Best Hotels in the World, and one of the first American members of France's prestigious Relais et Châteaux. Carter became the head of Relais et Châteaux for much of the Western Hemisphere.
In 1986, after selling The Point, Carter re-established his home in Europe. There, he consulted to international hotels and airlines, and, traveling 250,000 miles a year to visit hotels, resorts, and restaurants, published his much-lauded private monthly, “Edward Carter's TRAVELS©.”
In 1995, Carter created and launched the top-rated travel website, Interactive TravelVision Network©. This was the beginning of the Internet revolution and TravelVision© was the only single-author, interactive, photographic database of more than 2000 hotels, inns, and resorts in 120 countries that could be searched by more than 90 personal criteria.
TravelVision brought Carter to the attention of a new Internet company staffed by ex-American Express executives, biztravel.com. biztravel asked Carter to move to New York and create an online magazine for frequent business travelers. He pioneered biztraveler; it won many awards.
Throughout the years and achievements, Carter continued to nurture his first love - the making and collecting of fine art photography (he is one of the world’s experts on the great, late American photographer, Ansel Adams. So when the dot.com bubble burst and the financiers of biztravel.com ran out of money, Carter was free to follow his muse, and, in 1999, created what were universally regarded as the most beautiful galleries for fine art photography in the world - The Edward Carter Galleries.
Two years later, Carter was living across the street from the World Trade Center when, on September 11, 2001, life in America changed forever. In 2003, closing his galleries, Carter left the troubles behind him to build another new life, this time in Bangkok.
The World Trade Center site ("Ground Zero")
from the top of Carter's building on January 3, 2002
Today, while Carter is known internationally as a fine art photographer and travel and hospitality guru, he continues to be better appreciated for his usually funny, sometimes bitchy, but always fair, descriptions of his experiences traveling around the world.
He is building a stunning home - The White Elephant - in the wilds of Thailand and always adding chapters to his memoirs found here in this site – go to Introduction - Home.
Here’s what other people say about him:
ROBERT CARRIER, International cookbook author, Television star, and hotelier and restaurateur extraordinaire:
“As an old friend of Edward Carter, I happily answer the obvious question - Who is he? Known sometimes as Ted; American and older than he looks, he’s an international socialite and businessman who paused for a moment in his busy career and “retired” to The Point, his wilderness estate on Upper Saranac Lake, New York in the spring of 1979.
“He invited me to a houseparty and, staggered by the magnificence of the place, I lightheartedly suggested, “Why don’t you take paying guests?.”
“That was the beginning. Carter picked up on the idea and for the next seven years, he ran one continuous, brilliantly choreographed, houseparty 365 days a year, personally hosting every lunch and dinner.
“So from my off-hand suggestion, The Point became one of the most famous special hotels in the world, Ted was featured in nearly every major magazine including a Forbes cover story and was elected as International Delegate for the United States, Bermuda, Mexico, and the Caribbean for Relais et Châteaux! His responsibilities? To seek out and vet those establishments aspiring to belong to this august association of the world’s finest hotels and restaurants.
“Ted made his point with The Point, sold it and now his days are filled with new discoveries around the world. Ted’s spent most of his life traveling and as one of the most particular people I know, he sees just what makes a hotel extra special or a restaurant simply wonderful.”
“Carter’s a suave, Europeanised American.”
“Featured in the cover story about three talented entrepreneurs, Carter was highlighted as being wildly successful with guts, imagination and ability.”
THE 300 BEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD:
“The Point is not a hotel, heaven forbid, and not even a guest house since the only guests there are people whom the owner, Ted Carter, actually likes. It’s really like being invited to a houseparty by a man who insists on keeping Armagnac in his boathouse and Vuitton suitcases in the closets. The Point is absolutely, but absolutely lovely, a place in which everything you see is total perfection. All you see is total perfection of taste with priceless pieces scattered about in glorious extravagance...and the whole place sparkles with wit and charm.”
BRITISH TOURIST AUTHORITY:
“I just finished perusing your latest “Letters From Abroad,” and felt I should drop you a note to tell you how much I enjoy them. You really do have a knack for the written word and you have obviously hit upon a formula that works. It’s a little like getting a letter from a rich uncle and vicariously sharing his travels, adventures, friends and experiences. What’s more, the style is breezy and sophisticated so it’s fun to read. I really don’t know another newsletter like it.”
Regards, Bedford (Pace)
“A Hotel Site with Vision
“One of the great joys of surfing the Internet is blindly entering a word you might think is a web site address. Of course, half the time you'll end up at a porn site. Sometimes, though, you'll stumble onto amazing gems like TravelVision.
“TravelVision has quirky, intensely personal, funny, insightful and profusely illustrated reviews of about 1,800 hotels and resorts around the world. Some reviews are outdated, and some rave about once-fabulous places that have gone to seed, but most are dead on target and excellent guideposts for sophisticated travelers.
“Weirdest of all, however, is the fact that TravelVision is also the personal web site of Edward (Ted) Carter, international bon vivant and business wiz who these days just happens to be editor-in-chief of bizTraveler.
“He's never mentioned TravelVision around here, though, and I think I know why. If you go to the "Carter on Carter" feature of TravelVision, you'll come across Carter's putative bio. In fact, however, it's an illustrated diary of how business travel used to be: elegant, fun, a lifestyle worth pursuing. For those of us children of deregulation who have never experienced business travel as anything but a dreary chore, reading about how life on the road used to be is really depressing.”
Joe Brancatelli, biztravelife.com
JAMES MYHRE (Carter's partner at The Point):
“San Francisco, July 4, 1995
“When Edward Carter first began what was then known as his “Letters from Abroad” back in the Docklands of London in 1986, he had unwittingly entered what was to become for him a year-long identity crisis.
“At first, the notion seemed quite innocent. Having “retired” from international business for the third time, Ted found it quite natural to combine his life-long passion for travel with his instinctual knack for entrepreneurship. The idea of a series of “travel correspondences” certainly seemed like the perfect sideline for Ted’s retirement; something that he could almost do with his eyes shut.
“Yet when the first issue of “Letters from Abroad” was released to a tiny audience of friends, family, and associates, Ted was wracked with anxiety. Then and for the next eleven issues, he asked himself, “Why would anyone listen to me?”
“Mind you, when Ted first began to rifle through a handful of sketchy notes and dog-eared maps, I doubt he gave a moment’s thought to whom his audience was. Certainly much of his motivation was egoistic - Ted is rarely characterized by his reserve - but through it emerged “letters” that were, by turns, insightful and idiosyncratic, witty and wicked. “Letters from Abroad” developed a true sense of personality, a perspective that spoke more of impressions than of standards. We as readers, could vicariously share Ted’s vision of the world and, though we sometimes disagreed, we always understood from where he was coming.
“By the second year, Ted became more comfortable with his “Letters,” constantly refining them to his own aesthetic ideal. He changed its name to “TRAVELS” (“Letters from Abroad,” he felt, sounded too “twee.” “TRAVELS,” like him, was more direct, solid, to-the-point). But still, even as praise and subscriptions soared, he never really knew how to respond to the question, “Why you?” Rare and utter silence would ensue.
“I met Ted fifteen years ago when he bought Camp Wonundra, a tired Rockefeller estate in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Soon after, he would embark on the second of his early retirements, this time from a prospering financial business in London, to dedicating himself to rediscovering his roots in the wilds of upstate New York. Wonundra was soon renamed The Point and, as a rational sideline to his retirement, he decided to take in paying guests. After all, Ted would declare, "it’s no fun having an empty house." The Point became a huge success and the idea of “retirement” was again something more sought than enjoyed.
“I watched Ted over the course of seven years finessing The Point, molding it almost invisibly to his mind’s ideal. For example, I would often cajole him about the way he would walk to a tree, mark an errant branch for removal, walk back to the house to check the view from several rooms, and then (after doing this for two or ten times), chop it off. As the years passed, however, no one could ignore how, as if by magic, vistas were opened; how one could feel cradled by the coniferous boughs yet sense an air of expansiveness, uncharacteristic to the tangled Adirondacks.
“I watched as The Point slowly took on Ted’s personality in minute detail - his brashness and his razor-sharp wit, his understanding of time and place, his love of both theatrics and home-spun simplicity. Maybe The Point wasn’t perfect (many would argue with me) but it was “right.” It had so strong an identity that few guests ever felt they were in an hotel.
“Now interactive and on-line, “TRAVELS” has come-of-age. Ted has grown comfortably into the role of its founder, no longer shying from his reputation as a unique travel connoisseur. Nowadays, however, he tends to glide over the tales of multi-national corporations, book-thick passports, the millions that he has earned and spent, and the famous and infamous who have helped define his sense of style and appreciation of the absurd. “TRAVELS,” indeed, speaks for itself.
“But if this is your first introduction to Ted, you still might ask, “Why him?” Is it enough to say that he’s one of the most fascinating, erudite, and insightful men I’ve ever met? Forget his “qualifications” which, believe me, are impeccable. Simply proceed and enjoy - I think you’ll know “why” in no time.”
SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF CARTER'S LIFE
Produced the first Okinawa Grand Prix and Soapbox Derby.
Established the EGLC Racing Team in Paris.
Set up administration procedures and sales training programs for Investors Overseas Services that operated in 184 countries with annual sales in excess of $3 billion in its 12th year. Personally developed sales operations in Belfast, Cairo, Geneva, Hong Kong, Libya, London, Malta, Northern Ireland, and Okinawa, and Scotland.
Formed the International Life Insurance Company (Malta) Ltd..
Established the International Life Insurance Company (UK) Ltd. in Northern Ireland.
Earned a Private Pilot’s License.
Was a key member of the team that created the “Universal” life insurance concept and set up 17 offices in the U.K. with 3600 employees, and recruited and trained 45,000 sales people who sold $25 million sums assured per month in the company’s 7th year.
Established Brains Trust Management Company (U.K.) Ltd., Home Shoppers Plan Ltd., and Community Projects Ltd. in London.
Created Discovery Bay Development Company (Turks and Caicos) Ltd. that acquired nearly one-half of the island of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands (an independent Crown colony in the Caribbean) for the development of a 285-room resort, and then sold the property to Club Med.
Appointed International Sales Director for ITT’s Palm Coast, Florida properties.
Appointed Director of Sales for Stewart Granger Properties in Spain.
Developed the industry of individually-owned, capital-equipment leasing in Europe and the Middle East. In its 7th year, Carter Containers, S.A., with offices in Amsterdam, Beirut, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Paris, Rome, the United States, and Zurich, was the second largest shipping container sales and leasing company in the world. Carter gave the company to his employees (the story of which put Dr. Carter on the cover of Forbes magazine).
Created The Point, usually ranked as the No. 1 USA resort hotel, and in the top 25 of all resorts in the world. The Point was the fourth hotel property in the United States to become a member of Relais et Châteaux of which Dr. Carter was the first delegate for the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Bermuda.
Traveled three weeks every month, approximately 250,000 miles per year, to visit people, places, hotels, resorts, restaurants, shops, and services to author and publish “Letters from Abroad©” which was carried on all British Airways first class sections and lounges.
Traveled 55,000 miles in 55 days – around the world from north to south and east to west – to pick his favorite 37 hotels and resorts on British Airways routes to write “British Airways First Class Hotel Selection©" which was also carried on all British Airways first class sections and lounges.
Authored and published Edward Carter’s TRAVELS©, a subscription monthly, and created and managed The Inside Fax as part of the subscription package.
Earned a Ph.D. (Summa cum Laude) in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Stafford University, London.
Advised British Airways on the relaunch of First Class facilities and services, and was a management consultant to U.K. country house hotel companies, advertising companies, and travel companies.
Created the ROM TravelVision Network© on CD-ROM, the only single-author, interactive photographic database of more than 2000 hotels, inns, and resorts in 120 countries that could be searched by more than 90 personal criteria.
Created Interactive TravelVision Network©, the Internet’s only graphic database of more than 2000 hotels, inns, and resorts in 120 countries that could be searched by more than 90 personal criteria. TravelVision was named as the Number One Travel/Lodging Site on the Internet by Point Communications who gave it the "Best Site Award."
Created and was Editor-in-Chief of bizTRAVELER, the largest e-zine on the Internet designed for frequent business travelers.
Established The Edward Carter Gallery in Manhattan’s SoHo with the largest private collection of Ansel Adams photographs as its core.
Elected to the Board of The Vanderbilt YMCA in New York City.
Named Volunteer of the Year for Outstanding and Dedicated Service by the YMCA of Greater New York.
Established Edward Carter Galleries LTD PTE. Corporately based in Singapore, the gallery curated exhibitions throughout the world.
Appointed as Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Bangkok University International College in Thailand. (Now retired.)
Now writing the story of his amazing life and times on this website; check back often.
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