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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Two years ago, on Marathon Monday, I was sitting on the sun-drenched front steps of a house party in Boston’s Kenmore neighborhood, when someone stole my boyfriend’s brand-new Canon camera right from under my nose. At the time, we were particularly horrified that someone would have the audacity to do something so mean and so brazen on Marathon Monday! Call me naive, but we thought that was just about the worst thing that someone could ever do on such a celebratory day.

Boy, were we wrong. On Monday at 2:50 p.m., 2 bombs exploded within seconds of each other as runners made their way across the finish line. That act of violence claimed 3 lives, injured dozens more and forever changed how the world viewed my hometown’s very best holiday. For the first time in the race’s 117-year history, Bostonians have to adjust to hearing words like “explosion,” “bombing” and “tragedy” uttered alongside “Boston Marathon.”

It’s just not how Marathon Monday was supposed to be.

What many out-of-towners may not realize is that the Boston Marathon is not just a race, it’s so much more. It’s a day of city pride, a day typically filled with stories of love and support and incredible accomplishment, all celebrated against a backdrop of Patriots’ Day, a state holiday commemorating the opening battles of the American Revolutionary War. School kids and government workers enjoy the day off, Sox fans flock to Fenway Park to see our team host the only morning game on the entire Major League Baseball schedule, and more than 20,000 people from dozens of countries come to compete in the marathon.

It’s a day that runners work toward for months, even years, forgoing hungover brunches with friends to spend their Sunday mornings on 14-mile runs, dreaming of making it over Heartbreak Hill.

On what seems to always be the first sunny, spring day in the city, thousands of spectators head out for the event. Moms and dads pack picnics, grandpas plop down in foldy chairs, and the city’s droves of college kids embark on a marathon of their own — typically, a day-long booze-filled party, all in good fun. Thousands line the 26.2-mile route, at times 10 to 15 people deep, and spend hours rooting and cheering on friends, family and total strangers. Among them this year was 8-year-old Martin Richard, watching from the sidelines in Copley Square as runners made their final strides across the finish line. By Martin’s side were his parents, his 11-year-old brother and 5-year-old sister.

While a few run to compete, many more Boston marathoners run to raise money for charity. Some even run for those who no longer can. The runners write their names on their T-shirts, arms and legs, ensuring 26.2 miles of feeling like a rockstar as adoring Bostonians shout out personalized words of encouragement.

That’s how it’s supposed to be.

This time was different. This time, the spectators weren’t cheering words of encouragement, they were yelling at the runners. They were telling them to stop, to turn around, to run away from the finish line that they’d spent months training to run toward.

This time, Bostonians at marathon-watch parties shied away from their balconies overlooking Beacon Street and instead sat silently around TVs, watching in shock as Copley Square erupted in smoke and horrified screams.

And now we have learned the cost in lives. On Monday, we lost 3 of our own: Martin Richard, the 8-year-old Dorchester boy; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old woman from Arlington, MA, who had been waiting on Boylston Street for a friend to cross the finish line; and a Boston University graduate student from China, watching the race with 2 friends.

Now comes the investigation and the questions of who and why? But here’s the hardest question of all: Will Marathon Monday ever be our very best day again? Anyone who knows Boston knows the answer. The city of Boston is a city of fighters, from its earliest patriots up until today. Next year, make it a point to experience the Boston Marathon the way that it was supposed to be celebrated this year, the way that it’s been celebrated all of my life — as a joyous, loving and supportive celebration of incredible strength, determination and will.

To help those most affected by Monday’s bombings, please visit The One Fund Boston.

Travel Channel’s office is in Washington, DC, where springtime means one thing: cherry blossoms. For weeks leading up to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, speculation about when the thousands of trees would erupt in pale pink blooms lead all the local newscasts. Would it be the last week of March? The first week of April? Would unseasonably warm weather cause them to bloom early and then fall when a cold snap hit? They are, literally, the talk of the town. We’re well aware, however, that these gorgeous trees aren’t only in DC, so last week we asked our Instagram followers to send us their cherry blossom photos. Check out this explosion of spring! Here are some of our favorites:

Cherry Blossom Instagrams

Top Row, Left to Right: love2travel, fromaway, tinarima
Second Row, Left to Right: maydaymays, juleigh2000, nortonandco
Third Row, Left to Right: Toeinoi, kaostheory206, absolutetraveladdict
Fourth Row, Left to Right: Dercarler, bowtiesrfancy, ray2thero
Bottom Row, Left to Right: Dayangheimy, laura_1over, christinassi

 

Cherry Blossom Instagram

Nothing says Spring Fling like cherry blossoms in bloom! If you don’t believe us, check out this timelapse video, created by Smithsonian.com, of last year’s pale-pink blooms.

Are you traveling to Washington, DC, for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival? Do you have cherry trees in your hometown? Instagram your photos using the hashtag #TCSpringFling and we’ll feature our favorites on the blog.

Spring Fling

Savor spring in style with the help of TravelChannel.com’s first-ever Spring Fling! From now until Memorial Day, we’ll be packing our site with sexy new spring travel ideas – whether you’re looking for the best places to visit in April and May,  romantic getaway ideas, over-the-top resorts, sexy beaches, jaw-dropping pools, places to pop the question, destination weddings, honeymoon hotspots … and even the country’s best male revues and gentlemen’s clubs.

And who says you need to have a significant other? Spice things up with a girls’ weekend or guys’ getaway, or discover the best places to find love.

Check our blog daily for new ideas and visit our new hub for all things spring.

What are you waiting for? The weather’s heating up, along with our desire for a little romance, so take a break and have a fling with Travel Channel!

Glen Tavern Inn

Tonight at 9|8c, join the Ghost Adventures crew — along with special guests Brit Morgan from HBO’s True Blood and recording artist Mimi Page — on a heart-pounding investigation of the Glen Tavern Inn in Santa Paula, CA. Built in 1911, the hotel fell on hard times during Prohibition, and its third floor was converted into a brothel, speakeasy and gambling house — leaving behind some dark energy.

Before the guys even begin their investigation, they learn about 2 different sightings of seemingly solid, full-body apparitions, and hear a number of EVPs that have been captured in the hotel.

The owners of the inn have also heard some gruesome legends about the building’s eerie third floor, but are those stories just local lore? Did a cowboy really die over a poker dispute? Was a prostitute really murdered, decapitated and stuffed in a  closet at the inn?

The guys are on a mission to find out.

Learn more about tonight’s episode with behind-the-scenes photos from the investigation and get inside Aaron’s head with a look at this week’s vlog.

Trip of a Lifetime Venice Canal

Wish you were here? Yeah, we thought so. Turn your fantasy into a reality by entering to win a $100,000 trip (with 3 of your favorite people!) to the Adriatic.

First, check out the full list of possible prizes – including a shopping spree in Venice, a hot air balloon ride over the city’s famous canals, and palatial accommodations at Hotel Vestibul Palace. Then, design a custom trip or pick from one of our hosts’ hand-picked itineraries. But hurry – voting ends at the stroke of midnight on Sunday, March 24. You can enter once everyday, so you’ve got 3 chances left! Vote now!

With St. Patrick’s Day falling over a weekend this year, parades, festivals and celebrations are planned across the US. Here are 5 cities with uniquely Irish-themed soirees in the works.

Boston

If pretty much everyone you walk by is wearing a scally cap or a Dropkick Murphys shirt, then you must be in Boston. More than 600,000 people line the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade route as it winds through South Boston – (but call it Southie if you want to sound like a local). Plus, scores of the political and politically-connected will gather for the infamous St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast at the Boston Convention Center (a chance to roast one another in the spirit of the day).

Best Craic: The World Championships of Irish Dancing at the Hynes Convention Center, March 23-31.

Chicago

Each year, 40 pounds of green dye are added to the Chicago River, turning it a bright emerald green – head to the east side of the Michigan Avenue bridge for the best viewing. Hundreds of thousands of people also show up at the parades that wind through Chicago’s streets, including the Southside Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 10, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 16. This year, city leaders are working to have the Windy City named as the US headquarters of St. Patrick’s Day as part of its ShamROCK Chicago campaign.

Best Craic: Celtic punk by the Tossers at Metro, Saturday, March 16.

New York City

Plenty of cities claim to have the best, but there’s no question as to whose parade is the largest. New York City’s annual procession up Fifth Avenue, started in 1762 by Irish soldiers in the British army, will draw nearly 2 million spectators. Step inside Molly’s Shebeen (287 Third Ave) after for some renowned lamb stew or shepherd’s pie. A white stucco exterior topped with shingles, sawdust floors and a warm fireplace make this watering hole one of New York’s most authentic.

Best Craic: McSorley’s Old Ale House at the 8 a.m. opening – everyone is still sober, friendly and excited about the day at this point.

Washington, DC

The Shamrock Festival is a massive celebration of all things Irish. On Saturday, March 16, visitors will jam the RFK Stadium Festival Grounds in Washington, DC, to experience more than 40 bands across 9 stages, beer trucks spanning the length of 2 football fields, a pub row and strolling entertainers. The Irish Village will provide step dancers, pipers and games. The city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off the next day and will make its way up Constitution Avenue at noon.

Best Craic: Legendary traditional Irish group The Chieftains at the Kennedy Center, March 14-16.

San Diego

Swarms of revelers are expected to squeeze into San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter on St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate the 18th annual shamROCK. Live Irish bands will perform on the main stage – including this year’s headliners the Young Dubliners – and a 150-foot Irish pub will be accessible streetside on F Street between 5th  and 7th avenues. Plus, there’ll be 80,000 square feet of green turf covering the streets of San Diego.

Best Craic: The Smiling Irishman contest at the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Balboa Park on Saturday, March 16. The winner takes home a special hat and a Blackthorn walking stick.

- Bill Burke 

You May Also Like:
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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

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