Archive for February, 2012

In honor of Leap Day (and after seeing those motivating Honda CR-V commercials), we’re inspired to make our own “leap list.” We find it more optimistic to think of taking a leap, rather than to think of our dwindling lifespan, aka The Bucket List. Here are 10 ideas to get you started — take a chance, take the plunge, or take a trip:

Cliff Jumping

1.) Dare to Bare It All.
Toss the cover-up AND the bathing suit for the bravest walk of your life on one these nude beaches.

2.) Learn New Dance Moves.
Try the tango in Argentina. The booty-shaking Samba in Brazil.  Or learn Capoiera without leaving your city.

3.) Say “I Love You” (or Put a Ring on It).
Find the perfect moment and the best place to say “I love you” or propose.

4.)  Sleep in a Tree House.
Forget about free Wi-Fi and continental breakfasts. Pretend you’re a kid again and take refuge in the trees. If you’re lucky, you might just get up close and personal with the monkeys.

5.)  Tap into Your Spiritual Side.
Or at least find some peace and quiet. Taking yoga at the gym just doesn’t cut it. Unplug and escape from the daily grind to see the best spots to renew the spirit. No matter what you do (or don’t) believe in, the beauty of these places will leave you speechless.

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by Amanda DiGiondomenico

To celebrate that extra day we’ve been granted this leap year, many travel destinations — from Orlando to South Africa – are trying to make those extra 24 hours worth your while. Instead of wasting away your leap day, let these 5 travel ideas inspire you to make the day something to remember.

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One More Disney Day
For starters, Disney wants your leap day to be extra magical, so they are officially calling leap day, “One More Disney Day.” To commemorate the day, Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando’s Disney World and Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, will be open 24 hours straight. Once the gates open at 6 a.m. on Feb. 29, Mickey fans can have the run of the park until the rides shut down at 6 a.m. on March 1. The lines will probably be short in the wee hours of the morning, offering maximum opportunities to ride.

Leap at Martha’s Vineyard
If peace and quiet are more your speed, then head to Martha’s Vineyard for a little rest and relaxation. But don’t take yourself too seriously there; at the Vineyard Square Hotel you can score a free bottle of wine if you bring a photograph of yourself leaping over something. So let loose, find the closest leap-able object and bring someone who has a camera.

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by Troy Petenbrink

In the beginning, New Mexico didn’t get much respect; early opponents of statehood said New Mexico’s cultural diversity and rural territory were actually liabilities. Today, those same reasons are what make America’s 47th state worth visiting.

New Mexico Pueblo House

This year, New Mexico celebrates its 100th year of statehood, making it the perfect time to discover (or rediscover) the state’s rich past and promising future. Here are 6 ideas to make a New Mexico trip memorable:

6) Explore History From the Pueblos to the Atomic Age
History lovers can explore the 2,000-year-old Acoma Pueblo atop a towering sandstone mesa; its responsible for the state’s nickname, “Sky City.” The 19 pueblos across New Mexico allow visitors to learn more about its native people.

Fast-forward to the 1940s: New Mexico’s vital role in ending World War II can be explored at Los Alamos, one of the primary locations for the Manhattan Project and home to the Bradbury Science Museum, which documents the history of the famed nuclear weapons project. Also tour Trinity Site, the location of the first atomic bomb explosion (it’s open for public visits twice a year); and The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, located outside of Albuquerque, NM.

5) Stroll a Mile-Long Stretch of Galleries
Art and culture encompass nearly every aspect of New Mexico. There’s Native American pottery and jewelry made throughout the pueblos; Santa Fe’s mile-long stretch of galleries on Canyon Road; and the many museums in Taos, NM.

You can also learn about one of New Mexico’s most famous artists, Georgia O’Keeffe. Walk among the inspiring majestic landscapes that surround her two homes — Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu– where she lived until 1984. View the largest single repository of her work at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in downtown Santa Fe.

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Rendering of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture

The National Museum of African American History and Culture, the 19th Smithsonian  museum,  is set to open in Washington, DC, in 2015. At Wednesday’s ground-breaking ceremony on the National Mall, President Obama said the museum will rose on ground where “lives were once traded, where hundreds of thousands once marched for jobs and for freedom. It was here that the pillars of democracy were built often by black hands.”

The museum, a 7-level structure with much of its exhibit space below ground, will sit between the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History. According to the new museum’s director, Lonnie Bunch, it will be the new home for more than 30,000 artifacts, including Harriet Tubman’s shawl, a Jim Crow-era segregated railroad car and Emmett Till’s casket, as well as galleries devoted to military, sports and entertainment history.

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The Descendants

With the Oscars this Sunday, we’ve pulled together our own awards list: 2011′s Most Travel-Worthy Flicks. The Descendants is a no-brainer. Who doesn’t daydream about walking barefoot on a beach in Hawaii (and with George Clooney)?

But we were equally inspired to pack our bags for the City of Lights to find the “Lost Generation” in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Even the dark thriller Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had us eying Stockholm to see where the stories took place.

Postcard-perfect scenes in movies we saw years ago still influence our travel plans.  Even though it’s been years since we saw The Beach, we still have Maya Bay in Thailand on our bucket list. And its cinematic merits aside, Twilight couldn’t help but make us want to see the town of Forks, WA, for some of them most stunning scenery on the Olympic Peninsula.

Has a movie ever inspired one of your vacations?

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Humpback whales at Virginia Beach

We’ve loved them ever since we saw them burst onto the scene in those cheesy insurance commercials. And heard their cool underwater vocals. Now it’s your chance to get up close and personal with the whale family’s most beloved member: the humpback.

This winter, Virginia Beach has reported double the sightings of humpback whales over last year. More than 30 have been spotted since late December, as little as 2 miles off the coast. Local marine biologists have been naming the frequent visitors — Woodpecker, Batcave and Literal, among them – who are typically too young to head south to the West Indies for the calving and mating season. Instead, they’ve been arriving from the northern Bay of Fundy (between Maine and Nova Scotia) – and sticking around in larger-than-usual numbers.

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Patti LaBelle

Looking for a fun, theme cruises? Then pay tribute to the TV show The Soul Train and its creator Don Cornelius. Book your room on the Soul Train cruise, scheduled for February 17-24, 2013. Holland America’s Westerdam will host the festive cruise that will feature multiple shows and activities simultaneously.

According to Huffington Post, 12 acts have already signed up to keep the patrons shaking their groove thing. Patti LaBelle, The O’Jays, Kool & The Gang, The Spinners, War, Gerald Alston, George Duke, War and several other artists will help keep things lively with nightly shows held in the Vista Lounge.

The cruise line will stop in Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. Book now! Cabins run from $1,800 to $7,500 for early reservation, which end on April 31, 2012. Get more information about the hippest trip at sea.

Travel Channel has more cruise information to help you plan your next voyage.

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by Holly Corbett

Paris may be the city of love, but New York is the city of sexiness. There’s enough food porn, chic wine bars and anonymity to put most couples in the mood to let their inhibitions go. If you’re looking to take your sweetheart to New York for Valentine’s Day, check out these hotels that are offering special packages to help electrify your romance.

For Couples Who Want … a Hot Night Out
Try the… The Room Mate Grace Hotel

The Room Mate Grace Hotel

The boutique hotel boasts NYC’s only indoor swim-up bar, which has a sexy club atmosphere with an extensive cocktail menu and a DJ who spins 5 nights a week. (If you also like to rock out together to live music, bands play regularly next door at Connolly’s Pub). The Room Mate Grace Hotel’s central location on one of the less busy avenues off Times Square is ideal for exploring some of NYC’s more iconic destinations, such as Broadway, Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park.

Ask for the “Month of Love” specials any time in February and you’ll receive all of the Valentine’s Day necessities: a double room; 30-minute massage for 2; box of chocolates; bottle of champagne; use of the sauna and steam room; and — of course — rose petals on your table. The price without tax and tip is $425, and the regular price would be $810. (If you want only the above features and use of the aqua lounge minus the overnight stay, you can buy the package for $275). Email or call (212) 702-1643.

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Hotel Housekeeper making up bed

Hotels in New York City will provide housekeepers with personal panic buttons. This decision comes after a hotel maid’s charge, last May, that she was sexually assaulted by former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Now housekeepers at all of the top hotels in the city will be equipped with the devices.

The new panic buttons, a 29-percent salary increase and health insurance for workers, are all part of a contract proposal presented on Tuesday to the city’s hotel union. The Hotel Association of New York approved the devices last week, which requires employers to give panic buttons to any hotel worker entering an occupied guest room.

In a recent Reuters interview, association spokeswoman Lisa Linden said, “They can quickly and easily activate these devices to effectively summon prompt assistance to their locations.”

So while we’re talking New York City hotels, check out a few of these Oyster.com hotel recommendations in the Big Apple.

Oyster.com’s NYC Hotel Recommendations
NYC Luxury Hotels
Best New York Wedding Hotels
Best Hotel Pools in NYC
Top NYC Hotel Cocktails
Romantic Places in New York City
New York City’s Best Business Hotels

Super Bowl XLVI at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium

Are you ready for some football? Well, specifically are you ready for Super Bowl XLVI, and the matchup between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Football fans have already converged on Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Stadium for a few days of fun festivities.  And we’re sure there are several fans anxious to see Madonna’s half-time show and Kelly Clarkson perform “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Betting pools have already started to see if Clarkson will forget the words to the national anthem, at the biggest sports event of the year.

Well, in preparation for the big day, TravelChannel.com has a few fun articles and slideshows you should definitely take a look at, including our Super Travel Bowl 2012 slideshow. Compare Boston with NYC and decide which city should walk away with a travel trophy.

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