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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Posts by Allee Sangiolo

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is most famous for its stunning red rocks, which are particularly beautiful in the glow of sunrise and sunset, and have formed the backdrop for many a western film. The temperatures here are cooler than other Arizona destinations, thanks to the higher elevation, and Ponderosa Pines surround the city. It’s a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, with excellent biking, horseback riding and especially hiking. Some of the most popular hiking spots include Cathedral Rock, Bear Mountain, Bell Rock and Courthouse Rock.

The stunning desert-meets-forest scenery has, unsurprisingly, attracted many artists, and Sedona has become known for its numerous art galleries and craft shops. The inspiring setting has also drawn a New Age crowd; in the 1980s, the discovery of Sedona’s “vortexes” — concentrations of spiritual energy — caused alternative medicine peddlers, psychics, and vortex tour companies to make shop here.

L’Auberge de Sedona has one of the most stunning natural settings in not just the Southwest, but the country, with the picturesque Oak Creek running underneath shady trees, and Sedona’s soaring red rocks suspended in the background. Most of the luxe guest rooms and woodsy cottages come with fireplaces and private decks. It’s a popular spot for corporate retreats and romantic getaways. Families may want to check out the Village of Oak Creek — at the southernmost tip of Sedona — which offers restaurants, shops, hiking trails and Sedona’s only 18-hole public golf course. Las Posadas of Sedona is a quaint B&B in the area, with massive suites and freebies such as daily appetizers and cookies.

- Oyster.com Staff

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

Ghost Adventures in Snug Harbor

On an all-new episode of Ghost Adventures, Zak, Nick and Aaron are joined by ABC’s Nightline crew to investigate a historic collection of buildings that were once used as a sanctuary for retired sailors. Any man that had served on a naval vessel under the US flag was welcome to live out his remaining years at Staten Island’s Snug Harbor, and at its peak, the campus was home to almost 1,000 retired seamen.

Sailors’ Snug Harbor has since been deemed a National Historic Landmark District, and is currently under the care of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. But the impressive architecture and gorgeous gardens obscure the community’s dark past. Tales of gruesome murders at Snug Harbor arise from both urban legends and factual history. In the 1860s, a reverend and a resident sailor were involved in a gruesome murder-suicide, right on the steps of one of Snug Harbor’s buildings.

And rumor has it that a woman was stabbed to death in the Matron’s house by her mentally-challenged son … with a pair of scissors. Did this really happen? And does the spirit of the woman still haunt her former home? Find out tonight, Jan. 18 at 9|8c.

“You’ll only gain 1 pound, rather than 20.” Those were my final words when I appeared on NBC Miami as the resident travel expert last month with InterContinental Miami’s Toro Toro executive chef Rodolfo Cuadros. Together, we introduced a dish that we created specifically for Intercontinental’s Kitchen Cookbook iPad app, an interactive app created in 2011 by the executive chefs of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and filled with delicious recipes from around the world.

To create fresh content for the app, the hotel chain appointed 4 travel personalities to accompany 4 top chefs in select InterContinental hotels in the US (Miami, Atlanta-Buckhead, San Francisco and Boston). The individual “tastemakers” spent time with the chefs in their kitchen to create and cook these new recipes that paid tribute to their respective destinations. I was honored to be chosen and truly overjoyed to spend a few days in sunny Miami.

As soon as I arrived, I partnered up with chef Rodolfo Cuadros to create turkey pastelon, a new spin on the traditional Puerto Rico entree. Instead of ground beef, we used a leaner turkey. We also dropped the pasta layers and replaced it with sweet plantains. Thousands of viewers watched on NBC as we explained the innovative dish that will appear exclusively on InterContinental’s Kitchen Cookbook iPad app. And if I – even though I haven’t cooked in 10 years — can make the dishes, you can too!

But that’s not all that I whipped up in the kitchen. I had the privilege to prepare other innovative dishes with Rodolfo, including Pork Belly Skewers Al Pastor, served as an appetizer, and Churros con Dulce de Leche, a Latin dessert representing the holiday season (and one of my personal favorite desserts!). I was surprised to learn it was a super easy dish to make, and you can watch us prepare it in this short clip on InterContinental’s YouTube page. As per my request, I also had the opportunity to team up with head bartender of Toro Toro to create a Red Sangria cocktail, using Malbec, Cava, Beefeater Gin and Cointreau, as well as cinnamon, spices and a colorful assortment of fruits. Needless to say, I indulged.

But indulging is an understatement regarding the entire experience. My hosts exceeded expectations and checked me into the 2-story, 3,300-square-foot Royal Palm Presidential Suite, recently redesigned by tennis icon Venus Williams. I had breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay, not to mention a stand-alone soaking tub, private dining area and a bevy of turndown amenities that included everything from fresh-fruit sangria to chocolates.

InterContinental Miami wanted to make sure my stay wasn’t just all about the hotel (even though I was perfectly fine never leaving!). They set me up on an “Insider Experience” with Chef Concierge Eduardo Rosello to explore Miami through the eyes of a local. Rosello, who’s served as concierge at the hotel for 20 years, knows the city like the back of his hand and, quite frankly, knows everyone you need to know. He introduced me to institutions like Joe’s Stone Crab, La Gloria Cubana Cigar Company (where I learned how to roll a cigar) and even a private tour of the wine cellar at the high-brow restaurant, The Forge. This turned out to be my favorite, considering the hearty dishes and Enomatic wine dispenser.

But nothing topped the inventive dishes I created at Toro Toro with Chef Rodolfo. I even learned—as a virgin to the kitchen—that cooking isn’t an impossible feat. Who knows? You may see me again wearing an apron, making my own version of Chef Rodolfo’s version of turkey pastelon.

The Kitchen Cookbook iPad app has been a culinary hit, and it can be downloaded for free on iTunes. Check it out to experience some amazing dishes, and watch Chef Redolfo and me in the NBC Miami clip here.

- Jimmy Im

Jimmy Im is NYC-based travel writer, TV host and instructor, as well as the cofounder of OutEscapes.com

Have you downloaded Travel Channel’s Layover App yet? If not, what are you waiting for? The app is now free, and was recently chosen by Apple as one of the App Store’s Best of 2012 in the “Hidden Gems” category. Plus, new cities are being added each week!

Tonight at 9|8c, watch as Anthony Bourdain makes the most of a layover in Atlanta — he browses a farmer’s market with Top Chef’s Richard Blais, and visits a famous strip club with Food Network’s Alton Brown (yes … you read that right … see the pictures here). Then, use the Layover App to replicate his trip (perhaps minus the strip club?) — learn his do’s and don’ts, watch exclusive video and use the app’s practical tools to map out the places you want to visit. Want to learn more? Check out our Layover App video, and download the app for free today!

This week on an all-new episode of Mysteries at the Museum, host Don Wildman reveals the stories behind a hunk of cement tied to one of the deadliest man-made disasters of all time, a faro table that strikes fear in the hearts of many, and a taxidermied dog that saved the lives of American soldiers during World War I.  Plus, learn about the murder of a blood-thirsty mobster, a TV scandal that almost put an end to American quiz shows, and the tragic death of Carole Lombard – a gorgeous 1930s Hollywood icon and Clark Gable’s blushing bride.

Intrigued? We thought you might be. Tune in tonight, Jan. 10, at 9|8c to see these artifacts found in museums across the United States, and learn  the historic and often dumbfounding stories they tell.

These are just a few of the countless artifacts housed in our nation’s museums. For more, check out Don Wildman’s favorite museums, or learn about the Top 10 Free Museums in the US.

Melbourne may be Australia’s second largest city, but it’s number one as the country’s culture capital. Situated on Port Phillip Bay, it’s packed with Victorian buildings, museums, galleries, large parks and gardens. The tree-lined streets and green spaces create a clean, eco-friendly vibe, which is probably part of the reason Melbourne has consistently been dubbed as one of the world’s most livable cities.

The city’s roots can be traced back to the mid-1800s, when British settlers colonized the city after finding gold in the surrounding hills. Now, burgundy-colored (and free!) City Circle trams zig-zag across the metropolis, making it easy for visitors to explore the city at a relaxed pace within a few days. Business travelers will likely want to stay within the City Centre -– the Central Business District. As the city’s heart, the City Centre is also great option for those looking to be within walking distance of all the major sights. The 59-room Hotel Lindrum is a modern boutique hotel located just a short walk from sights such as Federation Square and Melbourne Park. It lacks a fitness center and spa, but the features it does have are done well: The restaurant serves a nice breakfast buffet, and the cozy bar features a fireplace and a billiards table. Round-the-clock room service is also available, and Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel. Though its slightly south of the City Centre, St. Kilda Road Parkview Hotel offers a solid value, with contemporary rooms and a rooftop plunge pool.

- Oyster.com Staff

Buenos Aires

The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is home to many Argentine traditions and trademarks; the streets are lined by parrallias, or steakhouses, that serve up Argentina’s famous beef, luxury boutiques sell leather clothing and pieces by high-end designers, the nightlife is dominated by the tango and Evita’s “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” balcony overlooks the central square, Plaza de Mayo.

Though there are plenty of museums to visit in the city, Buenos Aires is a great place to explore by foot and simply wander around (the streets’ grid system makes it easy to explore). Known for its stunning architecture (gorgeous marble and bronze buildings line Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest boulevard in the world), Buenos Aires also boasts beautiful parks, particularly those in Palermo that include a museum, a planetarium and rose gardens. Outdoor markets are frequent occurences during the weekends and the cafe culture is a popular pastime — Portenos (as locals call themselves) can be seen sipping coffee with friends until the wee hours of the morning. So if you’re heading to Buenos Aires, be prepared to not get much sleep. Often referred to as the “Paris of South America,” the city has a lively nightlife that doesn’t get started until midnight, after locals and tourists have finished their late-night dinners.

Palermo is a popular area to stay in, as it boasts some of the city’s best restaurants, shops, and parks. A tranquil, minimalist vibe pervades the Awwa Suites & Spa. Its 60 large, bright rooms feature fully equipped kitchenettes, and the spa is comprised of a gorgeous indoor pool area, sauna and massage room. The nearby Livian Guest House is a funkier alternative, with just 8 artsy rooms in a French-inspired 1920s building Recoleta, a beautiful historic area, is also a nice spot to stay. Loi Suites Recoleta offer a solid value and convenient location, as well as a small pool, fitness center and full-service spa.

- Oyster.com Staff

 

London

Photography by Getty Images

What better place to spend New Year’s than in the city that had the greatest year? The Olympics, Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and the announcement of a new royal baby made 2012 the year of the Brits. More »

Where will you be ushering in 2013? Show us by Instagramming your photos with the hashtag #TCNewYear. Whether it’s the ball dropping in Times Square or fireworks illuminating the River Thames — we want to see! We’ll feature our favorites on our blog.

New Year's Photo Contest

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