This Saturday, outdoor lovers have a chance to give back to some of the United States’ treasured nature reserves for National Public Lands Day. It’s the largest single-day volunteer effort in the country, and over 170,000 volunteers are expected to help plant trees, remove trash, restore habitats and beautify their public gardens, beaches and parks. This day is set aside annually to promote the importance of protecting our environment and conserving nature. If you love hands-on activities and don’t mind getting a little messy, this is a great way to connect with nature and help our environment.
And to celebrate, the National Park Service is waiving the entry fees to all national parks, so If you don’t plan on volunteering this weekend, be sure to get outdoors and take advantage of this great opportunity to explore some of America’s treasures.
By Kate Hards
“There’s a guy here wearing a PETA shirt,” wrote my confused co-worker in a text message. Liz met me at the 35th Street East River ferry landing for a quick boat ride to Meatopia on Randall’s Island. We were about to attend a one-day food festival featuring meat-centric dishes prepared by chefs from around the world … and there were vegans about to board?
At the dock, I inspected said t-shirt. In this case, PETA didn’t stand for the animal activist group, but rather “People Eating Tasty Animals,” a theme that was evident throughout Meatopia. Hoards of hungry carnivores descended upon the park and lined up to taste small plates and bites of tasty, tasty animals. The event was organized into Meat-themed neighborhoods in a large grassy field on the island: The Deckle District, Offalwood, Beaktown, Embassy Row, Meatopia Heights, Carcass Hill, The Quarter and the Game Reserve each had tents serving unique dishes prepared with humanely and naturally-raised meats. READ MORE
Photograph by Oliver Cox
Think you need a VIP ticket to enjoy Charlotte during DNC week? Not really. In democratic style, travelers can see and be seen in the company of major politicos and media celebrities, all in town for the week. You just need to know where to go. Check out these prime spots in uptown Charlotte during DNC week. READ MORE
Photograph by Ali Kaukas
Need another reason to love September? In addition to Indian summer weather, back to school (shopping) and fall weekend getaways, September is National Yoga Month. Celebrate by visiting one of the thousands of studios and organizations all over the country that are offering free yoga classes and events, many of which are outdoors (so you can enjoy the Indian summer while you’re saluting the sun).
Don’t worry if you aren’t a Vinyasa veteran, these events are open to all levels and are the perfect introduction for newbies to experience all the mind and body benefits of yoga, including bringing people together all over the world. READ MORE
Photo by Getty Images
La Tomatina Festival — the world’s largest tomato fight – begins each year on the last Wednesday in August and continues for a week in Buñol, Spain. Each year, over 40,000 people descend on the small town outside of Valencia to throw 100 tons of rotten and over-ripe tomatoes in the streets. The first event is marked by the firing of water hoses and lasts for approximately an hour. It may look like a free-for-all, but apparently there is some method to the madness – follow these 5 simple rules, and you may just survive the food fight:
- Photo by Dave Vann
Once in a while, a music festival can inspire a road trip. Sure, it’s super-convenient when your favorite bands happen to stop somewhere close to home, but sometimes it’s fun to make the journey to partake in one of the biggest gatherings of music lovers around. So why not take that to a new level? Book a cruise.
Concert cruises aren’t a new idea — there have been the Rock Boat, Jam Cruise and even John Mayer’s Mayercraft — but if you follow travel news like we have, there’s reason to believe that this trend is going to take off.
In fact, the world’s largest passenger ship will set sail for a Beatles tribute cruise next year. Royal Caribbean’s 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas will host the 7-night Cruise for Beatles Fans 2013.A Beatles tribute band will be onboard along with other musicians — all with a Beatles connection — such as Mark Hudson, a producer for the Beatles’ Ringo Starr; Billy J. Kramer, who has recorded songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney; Joey Molland, a singer from Badfinger, a band signed by the Beatles’ label.
Today, Julia Child would have turned 100. It’s not just her recipes we savor, it’s her life story. She was one of those unlikely heroes, a towering 6-foot-2 cooking sensation who started out barely knowing how to boil water — yet went on to discover the joys of French cuisine and share that passion with a larger American audience: first through her massive 2-volume Mastering the Art of French Cooking and later, her TV show The French Chef, which premiered in 1963. On the 100th anniversary of Julia Child’s birth, what better way to celebrate her extraordinary life than by visiting the many places that shaped her culinary passions — and awakened in so many of us the simple joys of a good meal shared with friends. Check out these top spots for Julia Child fans.
1. Dine in Rouen, France
Want to know where Julia Child experienced “the most exciting meal of [her] life”? Head to Rouen, a city in northern France by the Seine River. The place it happened was La Couronne restaurant: Ask for the green salad, sole meuniere, briny portugaises oysters, fromage blanc (with berries and coffee, c’est sur!), alongside a bottle of Pouilly Frume — the same spread that Julia and her diplomat husband Paul Child ordered when they first visited this auberge in 1948. READ MORE
- Photography by Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival
This weekend, Los Angeles has been taken over by foodies from around the world. Chefs come from near and far to show off their skills in cooking demos, offer their expertise at roundtable discussions and serve their delicious creations to the gourmands who were smart enough to buy a ticket to the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival.
This is only the second year of this festival –with venues in Santa Monica, downtown LA, Hollywood and Beverly Hills — and it’s already a big deal. Last year’s festival featured more than 30 restaurants and 200 vineyards, and this year’s tops that with chefs such as Giada de Laurentiis, the Voltaggio brothers and even our own Andrew Zimmern serving the 15,000 people who are expected to attend.
Need another opportunity to fill your stomach with the best food and wine around? Check out our photos of the Best Food & Wine Festivals in the US, see The Lost Girls’ picks for the best destinations for a food and wine-themed girls’ getaway or grab your significant other and take a Wine Tour Weekend.
- Photograph by Ian Shive / Aurora Photos
As always, we’re bringing you our favorite travel posts from the blogosphere this past week. Learn an alternative way to save money while traveling the world, where the most remote places exist and how you can find the best sustainable wines.
The Cultureist offers a tour of the best “green” wineries from France to Greece and beyond. Never heard of biodynamic wine? Neither had we.
It’s that time of year again! Summer music festival season is in full swing, and festivalgoers are flooding the streets of Chicago for one of the most highly-anticipated concerts of the year: Lollapalooza. Some of this year’s headliners include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, Florence + the Machine and Passion Pit … but that’s just the start. If you attend the show, make sure you don’t accidentally miss one of the bands you wanted to see — create a custom schedule online. READ MORE