Allee Sangiolo

A Boston native and Washington, DC, resident, Allee has been growing her bucket list since she began working as an Interactive Producer for TravelChannel.com. When not playing with her Frenchie named Pearl, Allee can be found inputting destinations into Kayak.com in the hopes of finding a deal on a flight to visit friends or family -- she’s lucky enough to have couches to crash on in Boston, New Orleans, Miami, New York and more. No matter how far she goes or what incredible trips she takes, her favorite place on Earth will always be a little island off the coast of Massachusetts: Nantucket.

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Tonight at 9|8c, Don Wildman scours the country in search of artifacts that reveal some of America’s most bizarre, confounding and often shocking mysteries.

Visit Washington, DC’s Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to see the taxidermied body of one of the first mammals to survive a trip to space. If you’re in New Orleans, stop by the National Museum of the American cocktail to learn about all the terrifying myths that surround the beverage known as the “Green Fairy:” absinthe. Then, journey to Missouri to see a stack of manuscripts supposedly dictated to a St. Louis housewife from beyond the grave. Watch tonight’s episode and then let us know, do you think Patience Worth was real?

Plus, Don examines the strange circumstances surrounding the death of the legendary Grace Kelly, gets a look at the rusty bike ridden by kidnapper “Bicycle Pete,” and finds the desperate diary written by a man who crash-landed on the island of Papua New Guinea during World War II.

Check out all the museums visited in tonight’s episode, and get ready with exclusive behind-the-scenes photos.

Tonight at 9|8c on an all-new episode of Mysteries at the Museum, Don Wildman reveals the shocking stories behind artifacts in museums across the country.

Don examines a dress worn by the star of Howard Hughes’ Hollywood flop The Conqueror. Why did so many members of the cast and crew on this infamous film die young of cancer? Mysteries at the Museum then travels to the Strong National Museum of Play, home to an unassuming lump of gray clay that spawned one of America’s most iconic toys. Then, learn the story of a faded brown document from a murder case that inspired a chilling literary classic by Edgar Allan Poe. Plus, watch as Don unveils the stories of a deceitful art forgery, a devastating cruise ship fire, and an encounter with an otherworldly being.

Get ready for tonight’s episode with behind-the-scenes photos, and check out our travel guide to see all the museums featured in the show.

Until then, tell us – which is your favorite UFO or alien mystery? Vote now!

Edge of Arkansas

Watch Geoff visit the Edge of Arkansas on Sat, Feb. 16 @ 2|1c.

Is there a state with as bad a rap as Arkansas? Childhood obesity. Poverty. Gennifer Flowers.  A cultural backwater like no other, right?

This is why Arkansas is such a perfect place to prove one of Edge of America’s central points. That instead of judging the Earth from the snooty, big city, New York/Chicago/Los Angeles perspective, we should approach every state, every small town, every hamlet with an open mind and an open heart. You never know what you’ll find.

In Arkansas, I found one of the most beautiful states in the country, a place with mountain vistas, rolling meadows, ice cream shops, ranches and old time musicians gathering to play outside, for free.

If salaries are lower than they are in Boston, so is the cost of living. At one point, we drove by a charming country house — all wood, big windows, wrap-around front porch — with a for sale sign outside. I looked it up. $89,500. Now I get it. The reality is that you are not going to see ‘Melo jaw with KG at the Garden, and Bruno Mars ain’t coming to town. But you’re also not going to throw down $650,000 for a 2-room walkup in Chelsea with a brick wall outside your bedroom window and a cranky woman living below you who can’t stand the fact that you have a friend with a baby staying over and “Damn, does the kid have to walk across the floor at 7:30 in the morning?”

Fact is, these Arkansans might have things figured out better than we. They’ve got beautiful homes, family and friends all around, and instead of generic entertainment, they know how to make their own fun.

Tommy Rand taught me to tackle a cow. I have a hunch I’ll never use that skill again. But you get to see it in our episode. A pair of local Arkansans gave me the honor of pushing their outhouse. Don’t ask. You’ll just have to see it. And I found myself in the woods with a kinder, gentler version of Roger Clemens, who let me get behind the wheel of his jeep to rock crawl, which is basically climbing up the side of a mountain in a monster truck. Blue sky. Clean air. Smiles all around.

Out there, in my rock crawler, the last thing I was thinking of was crowding into an arena to catch Neil Young for the umpteenth time.

- Geoff Edgers

Spring Break Destinations

College students knee-deep in papers, projects — and, in some places, snow — can take solace in the knowledge that spring break is just around the corner. But before you end up spending your precious vacation in a hotel room updating your Facebook status with rainy-day laments, you’d better check the weather forecast. Never fear,  weathertrends360 to the rescue! Start packing your sunglasses, sunblock and lax pinnies, because the experts in long-term forecasting have selected the best spring break destinations for the month of March:

FIRST WEEK OF MARCH

Cancun, Mexico: If you want to visit this popular spring break destination, you’d better do it sooner rather than later. The first week of March will be warm and sunny, while the end of the month is expected to be cloudy and rainy. Check out our video to see what makes Cancun an infamous spring break spot.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: 2013 is great year to spend your spring break in the Dominican Republic – the temperatures will be the warmest in 3 years. The first week of the month will have the best weather, but you may also get a sun-filled trip during the last week of the month.

Barbados: Like the Dominican Republic, temperatures in March will be the warmest in 3 years, and the first week will be the driest of the month.

FIRST HALF OF MARCH

South Padre Island, Texas: The first half of March will have the best and driest weather in this south Texas town. Book your trip today and you’ll be partying on South Padre Island before you know it.

Miami Beach, Florida: March is a great time to visit Florida — the temperatures are comfortable, and hurricane season is still several months away. The first half of March 2013 will be the best time to visit, as it will be driest part of the month.

Montego Bay, Jamaica: The warm and dry weather during the first half of March will make it a great time to visit the small island nation of Jamaica. It’s expected to be the warmest March in 6 years.

SECOND HALF OF MARCH

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: Book your trip later in March for the warmest and driest weather.

Las Vegas, Nevada: Sure, Las Vegas is in the desert, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that means it’s bikini weather all the time! If you’re headed to Sin City for your spring break, book your trip later in March for the warmest weather.

ANYTIME

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico:  There really isn’t a bad time to visit Puerto Vallarta in March. It’s expected to be warm and sunny throughout the month.

Acapulco, Mexico: Travel a bit farther south to Acapulco, where sunshine and warmth await all month long.

 

For even more great weather spots, check out weathertrends360′s Sunniest Spots Around the World.

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Photography by Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa

 

Love is in the air, and we’re celebrating all things Valentines Day here at Travel Channel. Whether you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate with your sweetie, or all this talk of Cupid has inspired you to pop the question – we’ve got you covered.

Valentine's Day

1) Forget the red roses and prix fixe dinners – this Valentine’s Day, celebrate with an adrenaline-filled adventure.

2) Nothing says romance quite like a rich, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth artisan chocolate. Get a taste with our picks for the World’s Most Decadent Chocolate Tours.

3) Relax by your private outdoor plunge pool, or fall asleep to the sound of water lapping below your overwater bungalow – splurge on a trip to one of our picks for 2013’s Most Romantic Honeymoon Destinations.

4) It’s a story you’ll tell for the rest of the life, so you’d better make it a good one! Consider popping the question at one of these Most Memorable Places to Propose.

5) Need to spice things up a little?  Get out of town with a Sexy Weekend Getaway.

6) Imagine you’re Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary, and exchange vows with your own Matthew Crawley in a Romantic Castle Wedding.

7) Cuddle close to your sweetheart, and watch the sky bloom with reds, yellows and purples at one of the world’s Most Romantic Places to Watch the Sunset.

8) Hiding the ring in a slice of cake is so last year … or, a few years ago, actually. Get inspired with these new Proposal-Popping Trends.

Our Favorite Valentine's Day Products

There’s just 1 day left until Cupid’s favorite holiday is upon us, and we’ve scoured the web for some of the very best gifts for your globetrotting valentine. Whether it’s love, lust, or just a case of wanderlust, get even more gift ideas with our Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Traveler or our Valentine’s Day Travel Gift Guide.

Valentines Day Travel Products

1)   Remember the romance with a few snaps from this (pink!) Lomography Honeysuckle Camera.

2)   Let your sweetie cycle in style with the foldable TOKYO Citizen Bike.

3)   Share the love … and music … with this heart-shaped headphone splitter.

4)   Harken back to that romantic weekend in Charleston, or reminisce about that jaunt in Tuscany with an Excursion Candle Tin.

5)   Get in a foodie fight with this trivia game for food lovers – then make up afterwards.

6)   Pen a love letter on this Air-Mail Stationery Set, and seal it with a kiss.

7)   Never pass up the opportunity to pop a bottle – take your favorite bottles of wine on the go with this neoprene tote.

8)   Warm her heart … and her hands … with this rechargeable hand warmer.

Last week we asked our Instagram followers to show us the most #bizarrefoods they’ve ever eaten — and let me tell you, they did not disappoint. Bizarre Foods fans, you have certainly proven that you do, in fact, have the guts. While combing through all the photos of frogs’ legs, insects (lots of worms) and animal intestines — we even came upon a few images that left us feeling slightly … queasy (think: a severed, uncooked sheep’s head wrapped in cellophane). Here are a few of our favorites. Warning: They are not for the faint of heart.

Bizarre Foods Instagrams

Top Row, Left to Right

1) “#bizarrefoods Buah Keluah. Indonesian black nut pulp. Poisonous if it isn’t soaked properly for a couple days.” –  chubbychinesegirl

2) “Look at the buns on those guys.” - sarahcuiksa

3) “Homemade chicharon na bituka or deepfried pork intestine.” - jonathankano09

Second Row, Left to Right

1) “Tripe with ginger and scallion #offal #foodie” - thehungrydudes

2) “What the heck are my parents cooking for me to eat, tongue attached and everything #bizarrefoods #sundayfamilytime” - juliejaejung

3) “@travelchannel @andrewzimmern I ate Casu Marzu, the Sardinian cheese filled with live maggots! #BizarreFoods” - annaward14

Third Row, Left to Right

1) “Goooood Morning! Diet-mode Breakfast time… No Fried Rice but Tuyong Bisugo (dried salted fish) and Eggs for me ツ Yummmmy!” - xoxogrusha

2) “Tarantulas for tea! #cambodia #travel” - travelbugjac

3) ”Someone tried #balut tonight and it wasn’t me! The husband said it tasted like liver which doesn’t sound appealing at all… For those who don’t know what “balut” is, google it at your own risk! Needless to say we won’t be making out for a few days… Blehhh.” - taliastudio

Bottom Row, Left to Right

1) “Boiled sheep head for dinner.” - trekker_heck

2) “This is probably the last time I will ever eat rotting #shark fermented in urine again. #hakarl #lokicafe #reykjavik #iceland” - trekker_heck

3) “Most bizarre thing I’ve ever eaten? A whole piranha out of Lake Nicaragua#BizarreFoods” - jessicaarmour

And for even more of the bizarre, follow Andrew Zimmern’s “Organ” Trail.

Croatia

Last week, it looks like many of our Pinterest followers were daydreaming about frolicking through cascading water, surrounded by terraced waterfalls and lush green hills. We know because this scene, from Krka National Park in Dalmatia, Croatia, was last week’s most popular pin. We certainly can’t blame you — why do you think Croatia is featured in our ultimate Trip of a Lifetime giveaway? Keep entering – everyday – for a chance to win this $100,000 trip to the Adriatic, and your fantasy pinboard could become a reality.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Each February, the City of Saints is decked out in green, purple and yellow, wild parades roll through town, and countless strands of colorful beads dangle from trees, power lines, balconies … and attractive women. If you’re lucky enough to be in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, Travel Channel’s got you covered.

Mardi Gras

The Big Easy is one big party during Mardi Gras. Check out photos from past celebrations, and get tips from locals on how to navigate the boisterous crowds.

The French Quarter

Work your way down NOLA’s infamous Bourbon Street and admire the flashing neon signs urging you to slurp down a daiquiri, a “grenade,” or a “huge-ass beer” – all served in to-go cups, of course. The Quarter is Mardi Gras mecca, but if you can’t make it there for the year’s most debaucherous day, visit in spirit with a (virtual) stroll through the city.

The Music Scene

Sure, Bourbon Street is a must-visit. But there is much more to the Crescent City than the cluster of bachelor-party-filled bars that line the city’s most lively (and touristy) street. Locals flock to nearby Frenchmen Street, where you can take your pick from a number of great live music clubs. For more, check out our article on New Orleans’ Coolest Live Music Venues, and be sure to check out who’s playing at Tipitinas and the Maple Leaf during your visit.

NOLA Food

Sip chicory coffee and give in to your craving for those world-famous beignets doused in powdered sugar … but certainly don’t stop there! You’d be remiss if you didn’t have at least one awesome po’ boy, a cup of gumbo, a plate of Willie Mae’s fried chicken and a bite of King Cake! To stir up your appetite, get a Taste of New Orleans and or browse restaurant suggestions from our editors in our New Orleans Travel Guide.

Voodoo Magic

What’s New Orleans without a little dose of Voodoo? On your Weekend Trip to New Orleans, take a Cemetery Voodoo Tour through St. Louis Cemetery Number 1 and leave an offering at the grave of Marie Laveau – NOLA’s “Voodoo Queen.” She’s rumored to have powers even in death, so you’d better not get on her bad side.

The Garden District

Get a glimpse of some of the best-preserved Southern mansions in the US as you explore the Garden District. You may even recognize some residents – Sandra Bullock, Peyton Manning and Nicolas Cage all have homes here. Plus, keep an eye out for the house where The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was filmed. For more suggestions for things to do, be sure to check out our New Orleans Travel Guide.

Layover App

As soon as I got off the elevator at baggage claim, I knew I was in New Orleans and I knew it had to be Super Bowl week. Immediately, I saw 200 limo drivers holding up signs for corporate types and A-list celebs and heard the background music provided by a Second Line band. All this was set to the staccato backbeat of a hundred pairs of 6-inch Loubs scooting across the linoleum floor as the out-of-town party girls made their way to the cars picking them up at the curb.

Super Bowl week is something else. When I got to the hotel at 6 p.m., I saw hundreds of famous faces in the lobby, including my old pal, middle-line-backing legend, Dhani Jones. I got to my room just in time to see the fireworks show over the river. The display is so impressive here in NOLA and as the entire weekend proved, NO ONE does the Super Bowl better than the City of New Orleans. Everything worked —  the proximity of the events to each other, the great food and drink, the gracious hosts. Riding elevators with guys like Dr. Harry Edwards, George Seifert, and hundreds of players and former players gave me a swivel-neck ache like no other. I have tons of pics on my Instagram account (@chefaz) and at www.andrewzimmern.com, so go check it out.

Andrew's Instagrams

Night one was all about eating. I went to August, and John Besh, Michael and Emily and their entire team cooked a meal for the record books: Three hours of insane chow celebrating all the flavors of NOLA, with a stunning array of oysters, crawfish and pastas crushed under the weight of sliced truffles and game meats. Plus, watching Aaron Sanchez get mobbed by fans, Packers great Clay Matthews have a Jerry Maguire-style dinner with his agent and Jeremy Piven work the room was a lot of the fun for sure. My pals swore they spotted reclusive super-agent and entertainment mogul Andrew Chason. Not sure I buy it.

Friday was all about the Let’s Kick Hunger Campaign for Taste of the NFL (make your reservations now for next year in New York City!). I spoke on hunger relief awareness issues at the Earl Morrall breakfast in a room filled with a hundred Hall of Famers, including most of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins team that Morral helped lead to Super Bowl glory. Mallory Hagan, our new Miss America, was my co-host for many Taste events all weekend … I have a pretty good job most days! I broke off for an hour to do the Dan Patrick show on Direct TV and make some etouffee, then Miss America and I took a slew of press and corporate execs out to Second Harvest food bank for a walkthrough and awareness-raising event, which couldn’t have been better. I spent a few hours in the NFL Media Center doing interviews and then got to spend some time with Patrick Warburton and Dhani Jones before rushing off to the Friday Night Huddle for Taste of the NFL and then to the Artie Lange show. Artie is a great guy, and hanging out with him and Joe Buck talking baseball was way cool. I cooked some Asian street food and then hit the showers before heading over to the first party of the night, the Playboy event at the old Jax Brewery.

Andrew and Dhani

A word about the scene here. The weekend can be divided into several layers: first there are the fans — they get tons of access depending on what they choose to buy into. I wanted to hit the NFL Experience but couldn’t get in … that’s a fan event. Then there are the celebs, tiered in A, B and C lists. We get invited to parties, to host events, do media interviews and participate in sponsor activations. Like restaurant health department grades, the better your letter, the better your fun quotient and … most importantly … the better your access at events. Then there are the players and the NFL execs. They attend anything they damn well please. It’s the Super Bowl! It’s their celebration. Then there are the sponsors. They run everything and make the rules. It’s always good to know the law of the jungle before you put on your pith helmet. The sponsors here create mega events: Questlove spinning with Jay Z and Justin Timberlake at the Direct TV SuperSaturdayNight, Stevie Wonder at the Bud Party, Lil Wayne at GQ, Cee-lo helmed the ESPN event, and so on.

Friday night at 11 I showed up at the Playboy party. Wow. Yes it was what you would expect: music thumping, booty-bumping, crab-cake-lumping … crazy crazy. Food by Besh, lots of great music and hanging out in small roped-off areas shouting at your friends who are 4 inches from you. Lots of networking, and fending off the Playmates … the girls all try to collect as many middle-aged, devilishly cherubic food dudes as they can. Just sayin’. By 3 a.m., I was sipping Café au Lait and eating beignets at Café du Monde with drunk street urchins, shifty grifters, cops, Lorena Garcia and crazy fans leaving bars in the French Quarter. By 4 a.m. I was in bed … wondering what the heck the next day would look like and if I would survive it.

Saturday morning I did some press and the concert at the Beach Bowl. It was amazing. Direct TV built the coolest super-tent and created a campus of buildings for all their parties and events. I went to the tailgate, then to the blue carpet. I am a mid-level B-list cable TV guy … I am so lucky, no complaints here. Any other day of year I am a “someone,” but not today. I felt about 2 inches tall as I had to explain who I am to hundreds of media gathered to talk to Snoop, Neil Patrick Harris, Neon Deion, Strahan, Toomer, Menounos, Palmer, Moon, Lolo Jones and the dozens of big deals assembled for this event. Getting taken down a peg is good for your spiritual development, and it puts things in perspective — I feel more grateful than I have in months. My agents and managers looked crushed that I got so little love, but I was thrilled — I got to walk the carpet with my idols!

I spent all afternoon and evening at Taste of the NFL, bussing it over to the Convention Center with 40 Hall of Famers and a dozen active players, which was the best hour of the weekend. We hit the floor and I checked in with one of my mentors, Wayne Kostroski — the Taste founder and a James Beard Humanitarian Award winner. I adore this man. What he has done to fight hunger in this country is epic. We raised tons of dough and as a topper, we get a $125,000 check from Party City. That will multiply 8 to 1 in the food bank world and create a million meals. I cried a little. In the middle of the fundraiser, we learned that several attendees got nominated to the Hall of Fame. Greatness. Lem Barney just kept saying the word “LOVE” over and over all night long. The greatest generation for sure.

By 10 I had to head to the Direct TV party zone for the concert. I was not prepared for what was inside. They took out the Beach Bowl field –including all the sand and bleachers — and created a nightclub in its place … in just 4 hours. There were erotic dancers, oysters and champagne, an A+ list crowd and Questlove killed it. Timberlake came out with a 20-piece orchestra after a 5-year performance hiatus and wowed the crowd … his cover of Michael Jackson’s “Shake” was EPIC. Jay Z appeared and all hell broke loose. Will Ferrell was in the parking lot as I left and took time to sign an autograph for our driver and make us laugh with some signature ribaldry. We checked out the GQ party with Lil’ Wayne and the Stevie Wonder party that Bud Light threw, then went off to the Ogden Museum for the final stop of the night. It was 4 a.m. before I got back home.

On Sunday morning I was up and at ‘em for a series of conference calls and then off to the game. Alicia Keys had a 6-car entourage leaving our hotel and 8 motorcycle cops in escort as she whipped her way down Poydras Street. The game was amazing: Beyonce amazed at halftime, Destiny’s Child had their reunion,  the game came down to the wire and we raced out after Baltimore cemented the victory. CONGRATS BALTIMORE! We hit the private party that John Besh threw at Borgne and scarfed down some of the best chow of the weekend, complete with superb shrimp and grits and a crawfish boil.

What did I learn? Well, one thing is for sure: New Orleans is a city with the biggest heart, the most gracious hospitality and unforgettable, soulful food, and they know how to throw a party. The Crescent City never felt better. As I walked into Loews Hotel, the doorman asked me how my weekend was. I told him, and he said, “If you liked Super Bowl week, you ‘oughta check out Mardi Gras next weekend … it’s even better.” And having been here for that celebration, he’s right. That’s the kind of city this is: without peer.

- Andrew Zimmern, Host of Bizarre Foods America

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