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Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Mardi Gras in New Orleans (Photo: Getty Images)

“Fat Tuesday” is observed around the world, but only in New Orleans can you celebrate with the true flair of a party-ragin’ Cajun. There’s plenty to do during one of the biggest annual celebrations in America. And in a multilingual city with a rich French colonial history, there are myriad options for Carnival fun. It’s no coincidence that The Big Easy is sometimes referred to as the “most unique in the United States,” and this annual bead-begging bash shows exactly why.

A direct flight from New York to New Orleans is about 3 hours. From Los Angeles it’s just 1 hour more. And from Washington, DC, it’s only a 2 1/2 -hour jaunt, all of which makes it easy to jump right into the Mardi Gras mix. Once you arrive in New Orleans you’ll want a comfy place to rest up and energize from the day’s travels. Here are a few suggestions for enjoying Mardi Gras in New Orleans that will fit almost any budget. READ MORE

Photography by Walter Bibkow / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Cuba has long been the holy grail of travel destinations for many American passport holders, tempting them with the difficulty — or, for many, the near impossibility — of ever traveling there. For decades, US citizens who wanted to visit the island had to apply for special licenses, justify their travel to government agencies, or avoid the law altogether by entering Cuba via other countries.

But starting Friday, things get a whole lot easier. Under the new standards, travelers can visit Cuba without applying for a license if they qualify under one of 12 categories of authorized travel, which include family visits, research, education, public performances and humanitarian projects.
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Last night on the 2-hour season premiere of the all-new Travel Channel series Expedition Unknown, host Josh Gates embarked on an expedition to investigate what might be the most iconic unsolved case in history, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

Josh began his exploration in Papua New Guinea, the last takeoff point for Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan’s plane. Before heading off to Fiji, Josh connected with a remote tribe, which helped lead him through the jungle in an attempt to recover potential pieces of evidence.

Once he arrived in Fiji, the real adventure began. Tracking down the latest and most shocking piece of evidence to date, Josh turned his attention to a small piece of aluminum that washed up on the remote island of Nikumaroro in 1991. Historians believe this could be a unique piece of sheeting installed on Earhart’s plane before her ill-fated flight.

Could Josh’s find, which led to a new article in this month’s issue of Smithsonian magazine, be the key to determining what happened to Earhart?

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Photography by Emmanuel Brunner

As host of the Mysteries at the Museum franchise, it’s no surprise that Don Wildman has seen some of the creepiest and oddest places around the globe. But which one of those eerie places left the host with the biggest chill? We asked him that very question, and his answers may surprise you.
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Japanese Torii Gate

Japanese Torii Gate

by: Brian Leonard, Executive Producer

In July, I was lucky enough to travel to Hiroshima, Japan, from the Washington, DC, area for a shoot. I was working on an exciting new pilot for Travel Channel that looks at places where something big once occurred — either manmade or natural — that changed the place forever, and we find out what makes it different today. It’s a very inspiring project, and I wanted to feature cities that are not the “normal” vacation and tourist destinations. So Hiroshima was a great place to start. READ MORE

Mercedes House (Photo Courtesy of Neil R)

Overwhelmed by New York’s neon canyons? Wary of running with the tourist hordes? If you’re “Times Squared-out,” you can visit an authentic part of New York City just a short distance away. Explore Hell’s Kitchen, the area roughly bordered by Port Authority and 57th Street to the north and south, and 8th Avenue and the Hudson River to the east and west.

This once-raffish neighborhood was home to bad-boy Travel Channel host Anthony Bourdain. Today, it thrives with restaurants, bars and opinionated, demanding locals. Parts of Hell’s Kitchen also offer peace and quiet — something visitors may think is unattainable in New York. Here are a few rough and refined recommendations on what not to miss in this hood: READ MORE

Fort McHenry

Photography By National Park Service

As Francis Scott Key watched the smoke clear and the sun rise above Baltimore’s Fort McHenry after witnessing its bombardment by British naval ships during the final months of the War of 1812, he had every expectation of seeing a white flag of surrender. To his surprise, he saw the tattered, but still flying, remains of an oversized American flag that had been commissioned just months earlier by the fort’s commander Major George Armistead.

Key was so moved by the by sight of the flag and by the Americans’ protection of their fort that he penned the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” That poem, eventually set to music and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” became the national anthem of the United States of America. READ MORE

Photo Courtesy of Steve Gardner

The 9/11 Memorial Museum will finally open its doors to the general public tomorrow (Wed., May 21) after more than 10 years of debate on how to best remember the collapse of the World Trade Center and the thousands of lives lost on September 11, 2001.
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Photo Courtesy of AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of locals and visitors — from as far as China — converged on Washington, DC, to be the first to take a tour of the newly-reopened Washington Monument. The National Park Service closed the 130-year-old monument for almost 3 years to make repairs after damage caused by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the East Coast on August 23, 2011. Since then, the historic site has been closed to the public.
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Dock Street Theater in Charleston South Carolina

Historic Charleston offers a rich history around every corner. From Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor where the first shots of the Civil War rang out to Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, a former prison and one of the locations where the Declaration of Independence was read, and with over a hundred hotels, they too hold a rich history, steeped in secrets from the past.

Last night’s Hotel Secrets & Legends featured a story about 2 escaped slaves from Georgia – Ellen and William Craft – who stayed at the then Planter’s Hotel (now the Dock Street Theatre) for one night. READ MORE

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