Archive for May, 2013

Nicaragua

Nicaragua is still a diamond in the rough, but it offers many of the same splendors that draw travelers to its neighbor to the south, Costa Rica — lush rainforest, beautiful white-sand beaches, volcanoes, and rich wildlife. Other draws? The great surfing, charming Spanish Colonial towns, enormous lakes, low crime rates, and friendly locals. With the opening of the rustic-luxe Aqua Wellness Resort in 2011 and the uber-luxuriousMukul earlier this year, the country is poised to become the next tourism hot spot. The country is already popular with the backpacker and adventure travel crowd, just as Costa Rica was before it saw an explosion of resort development.

Those planning a getaway to Central America should note that there are a few advantages to traveling to Nicaragua over Costa Rica. Nicaragua has much more Spanish Colonial history and charm, with historic churches and plazas in the towns of Granada and Leon. Because it is relatively undiscovered compared to Costa Rica, it also offers a more authentic experience — visitors might see locals riding horses and carts through the streets, fruit stands selling unripe mangoes and jocotes (tart snacks popular among the Nicaraguans), and one of the country’s many lively street festivals. Plus, prices for just about everything, including food and transportation, tend to be far cheaper.

- Oyster.com Staff



Rain on your wedding day isn’t ironic, despite what Alanis Morrisette says. It’s just plain gloomy.

You can plan everything for your Big Day — the location, the food, the guests, the music — but you can’t plan the weather. June is the biggest month for weddings, and with that in mind, the meteorologists at weathertrends360 have gathered the best — and worst — places around the country to exchange vows this month.

And if the skies aren’t sunny on the Big Day, don’t worry — we hear rain on your wedding day is good luck.

Top 5 June 2013 Wedding Spots:

Bar Harbor, ME:  Scenic Bar Harbor will be an excellent location for a wedding this June, with the warmest temperatures in 5 years. Last year, June was on the wet side, but this year the rainfall should be much lower.
Best Time: June 21-30

Orlando, FL (Disneyworld):  Sunnier and warmer weather this June will grace the grounds that Mickey and Minnie call home. Last year, 2 tropical systems brought flooding to Florida, but luckily, this year will see less tropical activity — making it a great time to get hitched in the Magic Kingdom.
Best Time: June 1-8

New York City, NY:  For city-dwellers looking to the tie the knot or for those who want to add a little chic to their ceremony, what better place to get married than the Big Apple? The weather is an added bonus this year, it’s predicted to be the warmest June in 3 years.
Best Time: June 21-30

Napa Valley, CA:  If vino is your passion, Napa Valley is the perfect setting for a wedding ceremony. The picturesque rolling hills of the valley add a romantic touch to any ceremony, and this year, the weather forecast is also something to love! Temperatures are expected to be warmer than last year with very little rain predicted.
Best Time: June 9-16

San Francisco, CA:  The City By the Bay offers brides and grooms-to-be endless options for romantic venues. June 2013 will be the warmest and driest in 3 years offering couples a better chance for the perfect outdoor wedding.
Best Time: June 10-17

Worst 5 June 2013 Wedding Spots:

Smoky Mountains, TN: You’ll run the risk of a rained-out wedding ceremony or reception if you book an outdoor wedding in the Great Smoky Mountains this June. Rainfall is expected to be the highest in at least 4 years.

Ozarks, AR: Wetter and colder weather than previous years will make this a dreary place for a wedding in June 2013. But if your heart is set on an outdoor Ozarks wedding, plan on ponying up the dough for a tent to keep you and your guests dry and comfortable.

Yellowstone National Park, WY: Last year’s dry weather made it a great time to get hitched among some of the most amazing scenery the United States has to offer. Unfortunately, this year there’s a greater chance of a gloomy-day wedding with much wetter weather.

Santa Fe, NM: A much cooler June this year means there’s an increased risk of a less-than-fairytale Santa Fe wedding day. Although it doesn’t rain all that much in Santa Fe in June, don’t be surprised if you run across a stray shower, especially if you plan a wedding during the second half of the month.

New Orleans, LA: This June is expected to be the coolest in 5 years, and rainfall will be the highest in 3 years. So what does that mean? Renting a tent for an outdoor wedding is definitely a wise investment. Although there isn’t expected to be any tropical activity this month, if a system does develop, the Gulf Coast is the likely target … just another reason to avoid getting married in the Big Easy.

For more short and long-term weather forecasts, use weathertrends360′s forecast tool.

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World’s Sunniest Spots

Few things in life are free, particularly when it comes to leisure. But this summer travelers interested in outdoors and adventure can enjoy one of the most popular outdoor activities while taking part in a weeklong celebration of a fun sport free of charge.

This coming weekend marks the start of National Fishing & Boating Week (NFBW). Across the country, state agencies will roll out free fishing days in which no license is required to fish in area lakes, streams and rivers. Also on tap will be special events such as fishing derbies and boating shows, and plenty of kid-focused events.

And with 90% of Americans living within an hour of navigable water, enjoying these events and fishing in general is easy and accessible. It is also affordable, with the average-annual license going for around $15. Best of all, these funds go toward conservation and sustainability efforts such as fish stocking and habitat management.

As we hit the lull between Memorial Day and July 4, this is an ideal way to enjoy summer weather and perhaps do something different. Folks can visit TakeMeFishing.org to plan their NFBW adventure, as well as access how-to-fish and where-to-fish information.

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 “It scares me. There is something in this house that I can’t see.” – Amy Allan

If Amy is having a hard time seeing the entities, you know the hotel guests and employees are having an even harder time figuring out why bad things keep happening to them.

Steve and Amy head to Clovis, CA, to investigate a hotel owner’s claims of threatening paranormal activity. Their client, Todd, bought the property in hopes of turning it into a comfortable hotel, but one thing has been holding him back — the mansion is haunted.

After going on separate disturbing investigations, Steve discovers that the property was once the site of a mental hospital where severely ill patients were abused, while Amy encounters numerous tortured spirits, including psychopathic entities hell-bent on destroying the living.

Will Amy and Steve be able to help Todd get his property back on track or will the hotel be forced to shut their doors due to safety concerns? Find out on an all-new episode, tonight at 10|9c.

Plus, check out these exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos from Hotel Nowhere.

Grand Canyon Sweepstakes

Today is your last chance to enter our Ultimate Grand Canyon RV Adventure Sweepstakes! While you’re waiting to see if you’re the lucky winner, get inspired by some of our favorite RV bloggers. From wineries to manatees, check out why they chose to ditch their neighborhoods and hit the road.

Planning to taste a few new wines?  Don’t have your trip end at the Napa Valley. These two Geeky Explorers explored not only the sights but also the wineries of Walla Walla.

Get a little taste of the Grand Canyon from Fab Grandma. See firsthand adventures of driving to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, hiking the Cape Final Trail, and seeing a herd of bull bison.

Want to take a trip up North? You won’t be disappointed with the picturesque views that Canada has to offer. But first learn a thing or two about our northern neighbor from Travels With Miranda.

The excursions don’t stop at RVs — Roads Less Traveled gives you the inside scoop on resorts and tips for RV and sailboat vacations.

If you’ve ever dreamed of snorkeling with seals, swimming with manatees, or encountering crocodiles, NeverEndingRvTrip has a few things to add to your bucket list.

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Photography by Nigel Pavitt / JWL / Aurora Photos

Rhino sightings are exceedingly rare — the total population in Masai Mara National Reserve is thought to total 50. More »

We asked our Instagram followers to send us photos of their Memorial Day weekend trips, and after browsing all your awesome shots … we have a serious case of wanderlust! Our fans did everything from participating in a Color Run to visiting the USS Constitution Museum to exploring the island of Oahu. We’re impressed! Check out some of our favorite photos, and follow us on Instagram for more chances to be featured on our blog.

Top Row, Left to Right
USS Constitution Museum- Jordanraynor; Tampa Color Run- cheryllwebb; Stamford, CT-mdonuk

Second Row, Left to Right
Colombia- bb_heartbeat; Portland Head Light- Jordanraynor; Solelydefined

Third Row, Left to Right
Santa Barbara- dcg; Old Mission Santa Barbara- ckmercier; Pipes Beach- hedder02

Fourth Row, Left to Right
Ocean City, MD- Teddyburr; Oahu, Hawaii- mskabukimono; Pat’s King of Steaks in Philly- rachel_haan

Last Row, Left to Right
Galenaonthefly; Cape Hatteras- fofagacademy; Mt. Shasta- natsten

Grand Central

Grand Central Station in New York City is one of the country’s best-loved landmarks. Covering an area of 48 acres, it has the most platforms of any train station in the world: 44. But the station is most famed for the epic grandeur of its main concourse, crowned by the arching splendor of an enormous astronomical mural painted in gold leaf and cerulean blue on the towering ceiling. The mural depicts the star signs of the zodiac, and it’s the largest diagram of its kind in the modern world.

But, upon closer inspection, the mural is not all it seems. One morning after the station’s grand opening in 1913, a commuter makes a surprising discovery: the constellations in the mural are backwards.

So, is the distortion of the celestial sphere by mistake or by design? Is there sinister symbolism hidden in the grand mural, as many suspect? Find out tonight at 9|8c on an all-new episode of Monumental Mysteries!

Plus, learn the mysteries behind Arizona’s London Bridge, a majestic mansion in California’s Death Valley and elephant statues in Illinois’ Woodlawn Cemetery. Don also investigates the stories of a notorious beauty who spent her last days in the Old Charleston Jail and a heroic surfer who saved the lives of 8 victims of a boat wreck.

Gear up for tonight’s mysteries with our behind-the-scenes photos and our Monuments Travel Guide.

Plus, test your Mysteries at the Museum knowledge with our brand-new trivia game!

Photography by Ruth Tomlinson / Robert Harding Picture Library / Aurora Photos

For many hikers, the Bright Angel Trail, which cuts through ribbed-red cliffs along narrow and often-steep pathways, is the entry point to the Grand Canyon. More »

“It’s the most WonderCon time of the year…”

Wait, what’s WonderCon? It’s only one of the largest comic conventions in the country, located at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. And not only will Jordan be there, but he’s also set an unbelievably high goal of selling $25,000 in merchandise.

But before Jordan goes to WonderCon, there’s one line of toys that he has yet to find – a line that he knows will be a huge hit if he can track them down: vintage GI Joe collectibles.

Jordan is in toy heaven at his first stop when he checks out Tim’s garage that’s filled to the brim with vintage GI Joe, Bucky O’Hare and Thundercats toys. Jordan quickly snatches up a few GI Joe play sets, a GI Joe Mobile Command Center and a GI Joe Tomahawk. After spending a large amount of money in Tim’s garage, Jordan finally feels like he’s ready to head to WonderCon.

Will Jordan be able to hit his goal of $25,000 in sales, or will he fall short and be forced to keep some of the GI Joe toys for himself? Find out on an all-new episode, tonight at 9|8c.

Plus, don’t forget to check out these exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos from GI Jackpot.

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