Lisa Singh

Lisa Singh is an Interactive Producer at TravelChannel.com. Her multimedia career has spanned print and online publications. One of her first stories involved following a convicted felon into the Mexican desert in search of gold; she’s been hooked on travel (and gold) ever since. While Lisa has spent time in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, her big love is all things America, especially road trips. Her favorite places include Montana, where she’s gone horseback riding, and San Diego, where she placed in a tandem-surfing competition.

Posts by Lisa Singh

Plains Indian Museum Powwow

Plains Indian Powwow (Photo: L. Singh)

We love Wyoming. On July 10, 1890, the Cowboy State entered the Union, and with it a million travelers’ dreams were made. Including this one’s. Standing on Mirror Lake Highway, under the massive “Forever West” sign, puts it all in perspective: This is a place where you can roam free. And you’ll do a lot of roaming here. With just over 500,000 people — in a state roughly the size of the United Kingdom — Wyoming is the least populous of all the states.

Your first stop in this great expanse of the American Wild West is Cody, WY. Granted, this is a tourist hub, as the western-wear-and-trinket shops along Sheridan Avenue attest. But you sort of expect that: The town’s namesake, after all, was the late-great western showman Buffalo Bill Cody, who helped found this rugged stretch of northern Wyoming in 1895. See his apparition at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, a complex of 5 museums that tells the story of the American west through western art, firearms exhibits and stories of the Plains Indians.

The world of Native American culture comes to life every summer, just beyond the museum’s doors. For more than 30 years, the Plains Indian Museum Powwow has showcased dancers and drum groups from Northern Plains tribes. Members of Native American tribes come from neighboring states, such as Idaho and Nevada, and in addition to performing, they sell Indian jewelry, bead and quillwork, clothing and more. Try the fry bread, hand-made by Arizona native Mary Sounding Sides. She’s been making fry bread at the powwow for the past 10 decades. What’s her cooking secret? “No secret,” she says, “just something I learned as a girl.” Make sure you stay for the grand finale: Flanked by American and Native American flags, dancers march away; they may wave to you and invite you to join the march as well.

Hotel Irma’s Gunfight (Photo: L. Singh)

More western lore comes to life at the town’s landmark, Hotel Irma. Buffalo Bill built this hotel in 1902, and named it after his daughter. The afternoon I swung by, I pulled a seat up to the cherry-wood bar that was given to Buffalo Bill by Queen Victoria — complete with an antique cash register from the early 1900s. You never know who you’ll meet as you sip a beer or lemonade; my bar buddy for the afternoon was a local Native American man named Oliver who told me about an upcoming powwow at nearby Wind River Reservation.

Stay ‘till the evening. It’s a little cheesy, but you’ll want to stay for Hotel Irma’s free gunfight show. Be patient with the sound system — this is live theater, folks, and sometimes the mics cut in and out. But you’ll get the basic gist, especially once you see “Wyatt Earp” shoot up outlaw cowboys Billy Clayton, and Tom and Frank McLaury.

Your next step: breathtaking Yellowstone. But you’ll need a full day for that. Check back later this week; we’ll give you the lowdown.

It’s time to get real — really, really real.

Nude Recreation Week kicks off this week, and with it so should your clothes. Just imagine letting it all go, and embracing your true, natural self. You’ll be living out loud Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway” like never before … and joining a revered American tradition while you’re at it.

Bear with us …

Turns out, for the past 82 years, nude recreation has been celebrated nationwide by the premier, uh, outfit of its kind — the American Association for Nude Recreation, whose annual membership costs less than the price of a bathing suit. Thank AANR’s advocacy and its 35,000 members: The US is now home to more than 250 campgrounds, beaches and resorts nationwide for nude recreation, says AANR president Susan Weaver.

Goodbye, Tan Lines!

If all of this is a little new to you, relax: We’ve got you, um, covered, with a little advice from AANR prez Weaver herself. Her first tip: Check out AANR’s Nude Resort Locator — it lists all the nude recreation venues nationwide where you, in all your natural best, are welcome. Also be sure to check out TravelChannel’s roundup of best nude beaches. Plus, our scoop on Jamaica’s nude beaches and where to go au naturel in the Caribbean.

And once you show up, don’t be afraid to tell people you’re new.

“If you say it’s your first time, people are overwhelmingly cordial and put you at ease,” says Weaver, speaking to us from her home in Annandale, VA. Weaver, personally, loves all the resorts she’s been to – including her home club, Avalon Resort in West Virginia, as well as recent visits to Star Ranch Nudist Club in McDade, TX; Squaw Mountain Ranch, a family nudist campground in Estacada, OR; and DeAnza Springs Resort in Jacumba, CA.

“There are no end to places to visit and wonderful people to meet,” says Weaver.

Since the mid-1980s, Weaver has embraced the nude recreational lifestyle herself. “It’s such a joyous and freeing experience,” says Weaver. “You feel more one with nature … you don’t have to worry if your tan lines will be even … you can simply enjoy the sun, wind and water … and you won’t get sand in your bathing suit, which is most uncomfortable, we’d all agree.”

Americans Want to Get Naked

Turns out, some 53 million Americans agree. That was the finding of a recent survey conducted by MMGY Global, a travel and hospitality marketing firm: Roughly 15% of the American population would spend their recreational dollars on nude leisurely fun like skinny dipping (an activity Weaver calls the “wave of the future”).

Doing the math here: That means that in an office of 100 people, about 15 of your coworkers would be game for a nude recreational outing. And lucky for you guys, the big one is coming up next Saturday.

World Record Skinny-Dip: Make History Next Saturday!

In 2009, history was made, when more than 13,500 nudists skinny dipped simultaneously at the same time – a feat captured by Guinness World Records. This year, AANR, and North America’s other premier association of its kind, the Naturist Society, will gather members to make history once again.

On Saturday, July 13, at 1 p.m. LNT (Local Nudist Time) nudists throughout North America will take the plunge in lakes, rivers, resorts and waters off beaches from coast to coast. Get all the World Record Skinny Dip details, then plan ahead.

Wherever you take the plunge, keep in mind these tips, says Weaver: Leave cameras at home, bring sunscreen (“we take skin safety very seriously,” she says), and be open to meeting new people.

And once you do: We want to hear from you – tell us your story below!

Photo: Lisa Singh

You need to visit Gettysburg this Sunday.

While the past week has already seen dozens of events at Gettysburg coinciding with the battle’s 150th anniversary, the real epic event — the must-see attraction — is Sunday, July 7. That’s when upwards of 40,000 reenactors from all over America, and as far away as Canada, will descend on the fields of Redding Farm, near the historic 6,000-acre battlefield in southern Pennsylvania, to recreate what many historians call the turning point in the Civil War: Pickett’s Charge.

Just imagine: It’s July 1863, the country is already 2 years into the war, with casualties mounting on both sides, when Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee makes a calculated risk: to head into the heart of Union territory, near the town of Gettysburg, PA. Battles have been raging for 2 days, and by the third, Confederate victory is within reach. Lee orders an infantry assault against Union positions on Cemetery Ridge, and 12,500 men soon advance over wide-open fields for 3/4 of a mile. They don’t stand a chance: Heavy Union artillery and rifle fire burst forth, and within 1 hour some 5,000 Confederate men lay dead. While the Civil War will rage on for another 2.5 years, the Confederacy never fully recovers from the ill-fated Pickett’s Charge.

This watershed moment in the Civil War will be reenacted Sunday at 3:30 p.m. — just punch “1085 Table Rock Road, Gettysburg” into your GPS, and hit go. Plenty of parking spaces can be found on the edge of the wide-open field. (Visit GettysburgReenactment.com for more details.) Bring water, bring sunscreen, bring plenty of earplugs for the kids — because with 40,000 reenactors firing off Springfield rifles and cannons, you’ll need ’em!

Reenactor pauses before the start of battle. (Photo: Lisa Singh)

Now, granted, Civil War reenactors have a reputation for being a little … intense. But this isn’t some Dungeons and Dragons dork fest. (Check out this must-read from the NYT, Why the Civil War Still Matters — if that doesn’t fire you up for the Civil War, nothing will.) You owe it to yourself to spend time with some of these guys — I did and learned a ton! For one thing, I learned what soldiers actually ate. Heading back to Confederate camp with one reenactor offered that view. (Turns out, these guys and gals don’t usually stay in nearby hotels, but in tents, for days on end … with no showers!)

Cooking up johnnycakes, a staple of Civil War soldiers’ food. (Photo: Lisa Singh)

The evening I swung by the camp, one Civil War reenactor, John Hollinrake of New Hampshire, was firing up some johnnycakes on an open skillet — that’s 3 parts cornmeal, 1 part flour and 1 1/2 parts brown sugar. All cooked in bacon grease, leftover from the cured bacon that Hollinrake had fried up.

Hungry for more? Take a tour of historic Gettysburg, and see our roundup of more Civil War battlefields.

Photo by Reuters

Can he do it? This coming Sunday, the world will find out as Nik Wallenda attempts his latest daredevil feat: a walk across the Grand Canyon while suspended a stomach-churning 1,500 feet — more than 4 football fields — above the Little Colorado River.

Wallenda is no stranger to mind-boggling stunts. A year ago, this seventh-generation American acrobat made headlines when he successfully walked across Niagara Falls — a total of 1,800 feet — becoming the first person to do so.

Now Wallenda has his eye on the Grand Canyon, without the tether he wore last year (something Wallenda reportedly wasn’t happy about wearing, but which he did in compliance with the Niagara Falls Commission’s stipulations). This go-round, Wallenda’s Grand Canyon walk, on land owned by the Navajo Nation, will occur without a harness, before a live audience (10-second delay notwithstanding). Two wireless point-of-view cameras will also be affixed to Wallenda’s vest.

Don’t think you’d want to duplicate Wallenda’s Grand Canyon walk? You can still score bragging rights with your own dramatic adventure. Take a South Rim mule ride through the Grand Canyon, but plan ahead — trips may be booked 13 months in advance. North Rim mule trips are offered from mid-May to mid-October.

If views of deep chasms and astonishingly old geologic formations spread across 1.2 million acres are all the drama you need, hike the Grand Canyon. Or enjoy the dazzling, dizzying view of the canyon from the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass-bridge walkway that offers a 4,000-foot-high view of the canyon’s floor. Come night, crash at one of the 10 best luxe hotels near the Grand Canyon.

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Photo by Thinkstock

 
She’s helped Jennifer Aniston keep her enviable shape. Now Mandy Ingber, yoga teacher to the stars, can help you — she’s just asking for 28 days. In her new book, Yogalosophy, Ingber — whose other celebrity clients have included Helen Hunt, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Beckinsale — walks readers through a day-by-day journey toward greater health, fitness and overall wellness and renewal.

But what happens if you’ll be traveling over the next 28 days? Few things can put a crimp in a traveler’s fitness-training style quite like a hectic travel schedule, especially over the long Memorial Day weekend. Don’t worry, says Ingber — she’s been there, too.

Recently, Ingber sat down with TravelChannel.com to offer her tips on staying fit while on the road … or in the air. Ever wondered what you can eat (guilt-free) between flights at an airport? Or what exercises you can easily do in your hotel room? Read on for Ingber’s tips.
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With spring in the air, are you feeling a little romantic? Here’s an idea: Think of someone you’d like to get to know a little better and plan an outdoor spring fling – this week you’ll have plenty of options for exploring a national park near you, and at no cost for admission.

Today through Friday, April 26, admission is free to all 401 national parks from coast to coast in celebration of National Park Week. With so many parks to choose from, and with at least 1 national park in every state, chances are good you’re 100 miles or fewer from an outdoor wonderland.

Your spring fling will have (almost) limitless possibilities: America’s national parks comprise 84 million acres of land; along with 43,000 miles of shoreline, 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures, 12,000 campsites, 100 million museum items and countless natural wonders such as Utah’s Delicate Arch (pictured). The tough part will be deciding which national park to see first.

Start by checking out this directory to Find a Park.

Also be sure to check out the National Park Service’s Download Center – yes, you will be prompted to enter your name and email address … but it will be worth it. In return, you’ll get ideas for crafting a national park adventure uniquely your own, courtesy of downloadable guides to 25 unforgettable national hikes; 35 national park adventures for kids of all ages and more.

Plus, check out this Event Calendar – it will keep you informed of national park events taking place throughout the week, from Junior Ranger days to bicycle tours of national battlefields. Just imagine, you and someone special taking a bike tour along a wide open green field — the setting for a memorable spring fling, right?

And with Earth Day today, combine your love of the outdoors with protecting America’s natural and historical legacy. Consider a donation to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks — donations go to support projects such as park ranger-led nature walks and preservation of history-rich acreage and monuments at places like national Civil War battlefields.

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Test your knowledge — take our US National Parks Quiz.

Enjoy a family outing at one of these Top 5 National Park Family Programs.

Photo by Reuters/Mike Segar

Finally! In a victory that previous Aussie golfers Jim Ferrier, Bruce Crampton, Jack Newton and 3-time runner-up Greg Norman could only dream of, Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters Tournament this past Sunday and cast a renewed spotlight on golf Down Under.

For travelers looking to combine their love of faraway places with their love of the sport, Australia offers enticing options: golf courses spread across inland settings, some at really affordable prices. Among them is the recently opened Barnbougle Dunes resort. Located on Tasmania’s shores, the 200-acre resort offers all-day unlimited to its 36-hole course for around $130.

For a world-class golf experience, head to Royal Melbourne Golf Club, a 36-hole course near Melbourne that routinely makes US Golf Digest’s list of the world’s top golf courses. Since its founding in 1891, Royal Melbourne has gone on to become the oldest continually operating golf club in Australia — and if the media buzz is correct, Adam Scott will play at the club from Nov. 14-17 to defend the title he won last November at Kingston Heath.

This other premier golf club, located in Melbourne’s southeast suburbs, is the No. 2 course in Australia, and has hosted the Australian Golf Open 7 times. Several years ago, Kingston Heath also hosted the Australian Masters tournament. Looking to hit the green? Visiting golfers must be members of interstate or overseas golf clubs in order to arrange a booking.

For more memorable golf moments Down Under, head to Australia’s Dent Island. There you’ll find Hamilton Island Golf Club, home to the country’s only 18-hole championship course on an island. Designed by British Open championship golfer Peter Thompson, the par-71 course of broad fairways and steep valleys offers 360-degree views of the Coral Sea off Australia’s northeast coast.

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Photo by Reuters

Fans attending the Masters Tournament face 2 very big questions this weekend: Will this be the year of Tiger Woods’ return (do you think his relationship with Lindsey Vonn will last?), and where can we get some good food around here, anyway?

(Guess that was 3.)

With the 77th Masters in Augusta, GA, now in full swing, thousands of fans will find there’s plenty to do this weekend in addition to watching great golfers vie for the coveted green jacket — so long as you venture off the main strip of Washington Road, located just beyond the gates of Augusta National Golf Club.

Turns out, this is one fun town — for golf, of course, and so much more. Located along the Savannah River, Augusta is Georgia’s second-oldest (and second-largest) city, behind Atlanta. As home to nearly 200,000 people, Augusta offers visitors no shortage of attractions, from shopping and nightlife to sports and museums. I mean, you can hardly go wrong in a town where the godfather of soul, James Brown, once lived and where Hulk Hogan was born, right?

But first thing’s first: Getting a good burger. Once you leave the gates of Augusta National Golf Club, make it your personal mission this weekend to try something a little off the beaten path … it’ll be so worth the effort. Your first stop: Farmhaus Burger. This restaurant supports local farms, which means the burgers that come to your table are sourced from nearby Southeastern Angus beef.

If that doesn’t sate your appetite – or you’re ready for a binge weekend — there’s more eclectic farm-to-table fare to be had elsewhere: Head to Frog Hollow Tavern for a menu that features local and regionally-grown seasonal ingredients like savory greens in dishes such as grilled boneless quail. Another locally-minded kitchen, Rooster’s Beak also showcases regional ingredients and beers. Or for an interesting take on Spanish tapas, head to Bee’s Knees Tapas, a restaurant that puts an international spin on tapas with dishes like the “Sesame Leaf Roll.”

Speaking of eclectic, you’ll want to check out the James Brown Exhibit at the Augusta Museum of History. And don’t forget to celebrate what brought you to Augusta in the first place — the grand tradition of golf – at this museum, where you’ll also find life-size bronze statues of golf greats like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

Reaching the museum in downtown Augusta is easy – just take the Saturday trolley tour, which departs from the Augusta Visitor Center (that’s about a 7-minute ride from the Augusta Golf Club). Also worth checking out on Saturday – in case, for some reason, all the Masters action leaves you needing time to decompress — is the Augusta Market for local crafts and foods and a Moonlight Music Cruise along the Augusta Canal.

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Margaret Thatcher

Photo By Reuters

The death of the UK’s iconic former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher marks the end of an era. As one of the dominant figures of the 20th century, Thatcher was the UK’s first female party leader and first female prime minister. But it was Thatcher’s role in leading Britain through victory in the Falkland Islands that cemented her standing as “The Iron Lady,” and secured her landslide victory in her third reelection campaign in 1983.

The memory of the Falklands’ victory still looms large. It was this month, 31 years and 6 days ago, that Argentine forces invaded the Falklands, claiming authority over the archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean. Within days, Thatcher ordered 2 aircraft carriers, dozens of warships and thousands of troops to the islands and – in a move that showcased Thatcher’s strident style that would earn her the “Iron Lady” nickname – Thatcher gave permission for a nuclear sub to sink an Argentine cruiser – a moment that moviegoers will recall so compellingly reenacted last year by Meryl Streep: “Sink it!”

Less than 3 months later, on June 14, 1983, Argentina formally surrendered, and in the months that followed Thatcher dedicated money to rebuilding the Falklands. In the decades since, the Falklands have emerged from the shadow of a conflict that, in all, claimed nearly 1,000 lives on both sides, and the land has settled into a tranquil outdoor wonderland, home to sites such as Christ Church Cathedral (the southernmost Anglican cathedral in the world, dedicated in 1892) and Gypsy Cove (a pair of small bays in the islands).

So what’s life like on the Falklands now? Recently, TravelChannel.com spoke with 2 documentary filmmakers about their work on the Falklands: 51 Degrees South, which explores the people and places who make the islands so unique.

For a look at what visitors will find upon a Falklands visit, be sure to check out our Q&A with the filmmakers, Jamie Gallant and Vern Cummins – and explore the world that the Iron Lady fought to ensure under the British crown just 3 decades ago.

Photography by Getty Images

With the Season 6 premiere of Mad Men this Sunday, why not plan a spring fling with the debonair Don Draper of Madison Avenue? Yes, that’s right: Imagine you, Don, a candlelit dinner overlooking the Manhattan skyline … then the moment … the look in his eyes … he leans in … and …

OK, we can dream. But while Don (and Jon Hamm) may be off-limits — for now, anyway, as he sorts things out with Megan — Mad Men fans can still live vicariously through the glamorously gritty world of Madison Avenue advertising. And crash some pretty glamorous hotel rooms while they’re at it.

Who can forget the time Don checked into NYC’s luxe Roosevelt Hotel after Betty gave him the boot? Or when Peggy had a little tryst with Duck Phillips at the Pierre Hotel? There’s no accounting for Peggy’s taste in men but she definitely knows how to pick a hotel.

Whip up your own steamy show at one of these Mad Men-caliber hotels, then hit the town exploring some of the restaurants and neighborhood bars made famous by the groundbreaking AMC series since its 2007 premiere. Enjoy a drink at Sardi’s, a 3-martini lunch at the Oyster Bar, plus head to Manhattan’s PJ Clarke’s where you can ponder the age-old Mad Men question: “Should we drink before the meeting, after the meeting or both?”

Still lusting for more Mad Men locations? We can’t blame you, so be sure to check out more of the show’s filming locations sites in our Travel Like Mad Men photo gallery.

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