Archive for January, 2013

Photography by One & Only Reethi Rah

As with other One&Only properties, Reethi Rah challenges amenity and service status quos. More »

Photography by Getty Images

South Africa has over 600 parks and reserves, the largest of which is Kruger National Park. More »

Think you know burgers? Then you don’t know George. This past weekend, our burger aficionado, George Motz, was in Miami filming new episodes of Burger Land, returning to Travel Channel this spring. We got a sneak peek of some of the burgers George got to taste for us — all part of the job…

Clockwise from top left: The half-pound Latin Macho; a classic “frita”; fried plantains instead of a bun; a frita and a cup of Guarapo (sugar cane juice).

Get the story behind Burger Land, and to hold you over until the new episodes premiere, check out George’s picks for Great Burger Joints in the Middle of Nowhere, or make your own Smashed Motz Burger. And don’t forget to spice up your homemade burgers with George’s hot sauce recipes.

Edge of America premieres tonight, Jan. 22 at 9|8c, followed by another all-new episode at 9:30|8:30c. Watch as Geoff rounds up rattlesnakes and gets his first taste of calf fries in Oklahoma, and tries his hand at tall bike jousting in Oregon

Meet Geoff Edgers

In this first blog entry, let me introduce myself. I’m a writer who usually reports on other people. I’ve written for magazines, I’ve written children’s books and, for the last 11 years, I’ve been an arts and entertainment reporter on the staff of the Boston Globe newspaper.

I confess, the concept for Edge of America emerged out of my midlife crisis. It wasn’t the kind of crisis that makes some men buy red Mustangs or proclaim their loyalty to Maker’s Mark. I had a creative crisis. How do I truly embrace the sense of adventure that I’d been so focused on when I was getting out of college so many years ago? How do I square my desire to be a family man, to mow the lawn and sit by the fire, with my need to do the unexpected? That crisis led me to make my first foray onto the screen, the 2010 documentary, Do It Again, about my irrational attempt to reunite the ‘60s rock band, the Kinks. The film led to Edge of America.

So what are the rules on this show? I must do what I report on. And I must share that experience with you, my viewing friend, as it happens. Do I always want to do what I’m doing? Intellectually, yes. But when you’re standing in a steamy room with a decapitated snake and its bloody, still-beating heart sits on the table in front of you, it’s easy to forget the mission. Would it be easier to sit at my desk and file my story? Sure. But trust me. You wouldn’t want to watch. 


The Edge of Oklahoma

Here’s an idea for the first day you’ve ever hosted a TV show: Do something uncomfortable. I’m not talking Jackass uncomfortable. I mean, to those guys, letting an alligator snap at the family jewels is as big whoop as my daughter asking for another American Girl doll. I’m talking something so outside your realm of behavior that the act is impossible to explain to anyone who actually knows you. They just have to see it.

That’s how I ended up in a field in Oklahoma holding a bloody clamp over a bull. I came to Stillwater to chow down on some calf fries at a wildly popular festival. Sounds innocent enough, until, that is, you realize what calf fries are: sliced bull testicles that have been battered and cooked in oil. And then you consider an important element of Edge of America: the doing. This show doesn’t just find the unexpected things people do for fun. It requires me to dig into the scene more deeply.

Some TV shows might mention calf fries and cut to the host grimacing and reluctantly taking a chew. Edge of America is about taking that great leap into the unknown. That’s why I spent the day 1 of my TV career performing a castration and entering a calf fry contest. Will you cringe? Perhaps. Cover your eyes? Probably. But I have a feeling you’ll be back.

The Edge of Oregon

I know somebody, somewhere is faking it on TV. But don’t tell that to my right shoulder. Because it’s been wrecked for months, ever since I decided to partake in a bike toss in Portland. That’s right. You take a bike and try to throw it as far as it’ll go. I went into the competition like I do every contest: to win. You’ll have to watch our Oregon episode to know how I did. But as Frank, my physical therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital can attest, the toss didn’t do wonders for my right shoulder. I’ve been trying to rehabilitate it ever since.

What can you say about Oregon? It’s the perfect state for Edge of America. Portland, the most famous city, has all those food trucks, micro-breweries and bicycles. But it’s also got a will to be weird.

As my friend Peter, a longtime Oregonian, wrote when I told him I was coming to town: “When you find yourself driving down the street behind a guy on a triple-high unicycle who rides while juggling — during a morning commute on a rainy spring morning, no parades/circuses/events/anything out of the ordinary in sight … and you’re not even surprised, then you’ve really arrived.”

Finding bike jousters took a little hustle, but I’d seen clips of these guys on YouTube and had to experience it first hand. You couldn’t cast a scene better. This was no Hollywood set. The street had been shut down for punk rock bands. A group of homeless people — a few with that meth-head quality — were lying around on mattresses. Brian, my guide, gave me his bike to ride. It wasn’t until I was up and holding the heavy pipe joust under my right arm that I realized that the left brake was busted.

My mentor on this escapade? Reverend Phil. He kept telling me to search out his work in the world of bike porn. I did. I regret it every day.

The beauty is that was just one side of Oregon. As if one some rambling, surrealist, adventure orchestrated by Fellini and Joyce Kilmer’s love child, I also found myself at a tree climbing competition, in an artist’s shop holding a chainsaw and at a track in Tillamook County. In the latter, I held a squealing pig under my arm as I tried to crank to life a Model T. Need to understand why people tell me I’ve got the best job in the world? Just watch this segment.

- Geoff Edgers

Photography by Getty Images

Thanks to its Caribbean curb appeal, bronzed residents, and haute hotels and restaurants, Cartagena strikes the right balance between sexy and sophisticated. More »

Photography by Geoff Livingston, flickr

Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope. These singular words inform the design of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. More »

Photography by Esencia

Once the beach retreat of a savvy Italian duchess, Esencia still exudes a certain Euro chic. More »

Photography by Getty Images

Can you imagine anything worse: You’re in the middle of a crowd of people lined up along Pennsylvania Avenue — eager to see President Obama walk a portion of the inaugural route — when, all of a sudden, Little Johnny starts tugging at your sleeve, because … he’s REALLY GOTTA GO! Sure, every president since Thomas Jefferson has walked a portion of this inaugural route, but right now you’ve got something more important to think about – the nearest port-a-potty.

First, relax — we at the Travel Channel have got you covered. While Monday’s Inauguration isn’t expected to reel in the nearly 2 million people who descended on the nation’s capital 4 years ago, it will still be pretty darn packed. Streets will be closed off. Metros are running at special hours. And, well, when nature calls, the nearest museum or store may not be open. Here’s the lowdown on what you need to know.

Know Before You Go

First thing’s first – bathrooms. Yes, several media outlets have reported a shortage of port-a-potties about town for Monday’s inauguration. None other than Charmin is encouraging attendees to download the SitOrSquat app to find clean public restrooms.

But phones die, and apps can still be unreliable. So it never hurts to mentally catalogue places you know will be open. Many of the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall will open early come Monday, Jan. 21 – specifically, the Freer and Sackler galleries, and African Art and Hirshhorn museums will all open at 8 a.m. and stay open until 5:30 p.m. The Smithsonian Castle will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. However, all of these museums, as well as the Air and Space Museum, will close all Mall-side entrances – the only way to access them will be via Independence Avenue. Plan accordingly.

Not all museums will be open, however. These include the American Indian Museum, which will be closed all day (due to its proximity to the swearing-in ceremony on the Capitol steps). The National Gallery of Art will close its East Building Monday but keep its West Building open – this means there will be no handicapped entrance. The Renwick Gallery will be closed all day Monday.

Looking for Food?

All the political festivities got you hungry? If you’re looking for something quick – plus a chance to warm up – these museum concessions will be open: Air and Space (McDonald’s McCafe, Boston Market, Donato’s Pizza); Natural History (Atrium Café, Café Natural, Fossil Café); American History (Stars and Stripes Café, Constitution Cafe); Smithsonian Castle (Cafe and Coffee Bar).

Getting Around Town

If, for some odd reason, you’ve decided to drive into town — keep in mind areas with vehicle restrictions. Check out this full map of vehicle restrictions, courtesy of the US Secret Service. And if you plan on hoofing it on foot, print out this map of pedestrian walking routes.

For a full look at public transportation options over Inauguration Weekend, check out our Escape DC’s Inauguration Crowds — scroll to the bottom, where you’ll find everything you need to know!

Things to See

So you couldn’t land a front-row seat to the swearing-in ceremony — big deal! You’ve still got plenty of options. Swing by the American History Museum at 11:30 a.m. Monday – they’ll broadcast the ceremony in the Flag Hall. (However, if you were lucky enough to score tickets – be sure to check out the official Inaugural app that will guide ticket-holders to their seats.) Afterward, be sure to check out the ever-popular “First Ladies” exhibition on the museum’s third floor – you’ll see 2 dozen gowns worn by First Ladies of eras past, including Jackie Kennedy and Laura Bush.

Be sure to check out the National Portrait Gallery’s new display – a collaged portrait of President Obama by American contemporary graphic designer and illustrator Shepard Fairey, as well as Chuck Close’s sprawling 2012 tapestries of the president’s likeness. And don’t miss these presidential hangouts in DC.

Additional Inauguration Resources:

http://www.wtop.com/1220/3184000/WTOPs-Inauguration-Day-survival-guide
http://inauguration.dc.gov/
http://godcgo.com/inauguration-2013.aspx
http://washington.org/topics/inauguration
http://www.secretservice.gov/presidential_inaugural.shtml

Samantha Brown had her twins! She announced on Facebook, “The babies are here! Please welcome Ellis James, 6 lb. 10 oz. and Elizabeth Mae, 5 lb. 12 oz. Everyone is healthy and doing great! Pics soon!”

Our girl-meets-world sweetheart, Samantha Brown has been hosting shows on Travel Channel for the last 13 years. And now she’s embarking on her biggest adventure yet – motherhood!

When she first announced her pregnancy, we asked our globe-trotting gal — who’s traveled to dozens of countries, hundreds of cities and countless hotels around the world — how life on the road will change with the new additions.

“One thing’s for sure, these 2 will be the most well-traveled babies. We already have on schedule in May a 9-day trip planned through Germany. So one of the first things on our to-do list after they are born is to get baby passports,” says Samantha.

While we know motherhood is going to change Sam’s life, we’re sure she’ll be taking fans along for the ride.  Stay tuned for more from Sam (and babies!)…

And be sure to catch Sam when she hosts Travel Channel’s first-ever “Trip of a Lifetime” special premiering on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 8|7c. 

It’s January, which means it’s time to put our New Year’s resolutions into action. Whether you are planning to travel more, hoping for a fresh start, or wanting to get away on your own, we’ve found some travel blogs that will help you achieve your travel goals.

The new year is a time to start off new and refreshed, so Fodor’s lists their top picks for the best places to get some quality R&R. Soak up the sun, relax in a blue lagoon, take in the stunning views, and you’ll be ready to face whatever 2013 throws at you.

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