ALL POSTS IN [Holidays]

Thanksgiving meal

Thanksgiving is right around the corner — only 4 days away! Are you ready? If you’re still racking your brain for what to cook or how to prepare the ever-popular sides of stuffing, mac ‘n’ cheese or the main event: the bird, here are a few tips and recipes from chef and host of Bizarre Foods America, Andrew Zimmern, and chef and host of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain.

 Thanksgiving turkeyAnthony Bourdain’s Thanksgiving Tips

“The breast takes more time to cook than the legs. Take off the legs, and place them in a separate pan. Butter under the skin, and add salt and crushed pepper. No garlic!”

“Make the stuffing on the side, and don’t include it in the cavity of the turkey. Do this to avoid bacteria (salmonella), which will drain off the bird and into the stuffing.”

Get Recipes from Anthony Bourdain

Macaroni and Cheese Andrew Zimmern’s Alternative Thanksgiving Recipes

Andrew Zimmern definitely knows his way around a kitchen, so we wouldn’t steer you wrong by suggesting that you try his divine recipe for mac ‘n’ cheese, a great side dish for Thanksgiving Day. But if eating turkey isn’t your “thing,” then try Andrew’s braised rabbit or something spicy, like Asopao de Pollo y Mariscos, a chicken, shrimp and rice stew!

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about the second most important meal of the day: dessert. Keep it traditional with Andrew’s recipe for pumpkin pie.

Try all of Andrew Zimmern’s Recipes

Head over to our sister site, FoodNetwork.com for even more Thanksgiving Day tips and tricks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year — for the first time in 95 years — Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will be celebrated on the same day … and it wont happen again until 2070.

As if navigating the airport around Thanksgiving wasn’t enough of a nightmare … this year Hanukkah falls into the mix, adding to the travel headache. But fret not; we’ve got you covered with our best tips to help you fly through the airport this holiday season. And if you’re looking for a way to avoid a Thanksgiving-float-sized meltdown, don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Survival Tips for Holiday Travel.

So whether you’re sitting around the table with your family enjoying turkey and cranberry sauce, or standing around the menorah lighting the Hanukkah candles,  remember that there is plenty to be thankful for this holiday season … and that you’ll have to wait another 57 years until the next Thanksgivukkah!

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Happy Holidays From Our Hosts

Travel's Best Travel Gifts 2013
It’s the most wonderful time of the year — wherever you are in the world! And if we do say so ourselves, this year we’ve outdone ourselves, with an amazing sweepstakes giveaway, high-tech gadget prizes and awesome travel gift ideas, handpicked by leading travel experts. How can you get in on the celebration? Let us count the ways …

Gift of Travel Sweepstakes

1. Gift of Travel: $10,000 Sweepstakes
That’s right, Santa’s elves can rest easy in the case of one lucky winner, because he or she will find $10,000 under their tree. And that’s just the grand prize! Every day between now and Dec. 31, we’re also giving away awesome travel gifts, including a Fujifilm waterproof camera, Nintendo 3DS, GoPro Hero 3, Apex HD Video Snow Goggles and a Kindle Fire HD! For more chances to win, make sure to enter on Travel Channel and again on our Facebook page!

2. Travel’s Best Travel Gifts 2013
Stumped on what to get friends and family for the holidays? Consider this roundup your holiday shopping made easy. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for the adventurer, techie or jetsetter in your life, you’ll find no shortage of ideas here. Travel Channel has assembled an expert panel of advisors — including adventure traveler Matthew Karsten, aka the Expert Vagabond, and our own gadget guru, Rob Pralgo — to put the “Travel’s Best” stamp of approval on the year’s top 10 travel gifts.

3. All-New Travel Channel Shows
On Sundays this December, tune in for all-new holiday specials, including Xtreme Xmas and Jingle Brawls, as well as day-long marathons featuring amazing escapes that will be sure to make any recipient shout with glee. Downside? Your travel “wish list” may grow by a mile.

Just remember, it’s better to give than to receive — but this season it’s best to win it all for free. So enter to win our Gift of Travel giveaway now!

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Photography by John Moore/Getty Images

Think the only way to avoid an airport meltdown during the holidays is to stay home? Fear not, it is possible to snag a cheap flight during the holidays, breeze through long airport lines, keep the kids happy during the entire flight, and not lose your cool (or dignity) in security.

We asked an air travel expert, Mark Drusch, Chief Supplier Relations Officer for CheapOair.com, to reveal his secrets for flying through the airport during the holidays. With over 20 years of experience in executive airline roles, Drusch shared with us his forecast for the holiday travel season, how to glide through security lines, and what he never gets on a plane without.

So before you take off this holiday season, take in Drusch’s expert travel advice:
Traveling Type: What’s your forecast for this holiday travel season? What trends are you seeing?
Mark Drusch:  Higher traffic than last year, however the peak days (Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday and Monday after) may be marginally less full because the other days around the holiday are seeing very strong traffic. But planes will still be very full. We see an increase in customers celebrating their Thanksgiving in vacation spots, particularly the Caribbean, Mexico and Costa Rica.

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Why is the National WWII Museum in The Big Easy? (All photos: National WWII Museum)

Between Pearl Harbor and the end of the Second World War, railroads provided more than 40 million rides to Americans on active military service.

With that statistic in mind, the National World War II Museum will mark Veterans Day Nov. 11 with the opening of a stationary railroad car of 1940s vintage.

According to Clem Goldberger, a vice president at the museum, visitors on the Pullman car will feel like they’re actually moving — thanks to modern computer wizardry.

National WWII Museum railway

WWII train depot, recreated at WWII Museum.

“Everyone went off to war by train,” says Clem Goldberger, “and those who came back returned home the same way. Our train car will feature a video scrapbook and have vintage music. It’s going to really feel like it did during the war. Our guests will see 1940s America going by.” About the only thing missing will be the soot from the steam engine, she adds.

Now that you’re intrigued, you’re probably wondering: Just why is the National World War II Museum located in New Orleans in the first place?

The massive National World War II Museum, officially recognized by Congress, is located in New Orleans because founding historian Stephen Ambrose of Band of Brothers fame wanted to pay tribute to Andrew Jackson Higgins, the New Orleans-based designer of the amphibious landing craft that proved so decisive on D-Day, the day the Allies invaded Nazi-occupied Europe.

Pullman car at WWII Museum in New Orleans

Inside the Pullman car at the WWII Museum.

The boats were manufactured in The Big Easy.

Called the D-Day Museum before its enormous expansion, the National World War II Museum features several films, USO shows, 40s-style restaurants, and hundreds of exhibits and artifacts as well as a gift shop. A special Veterans Day program is planned for today.

A newly created website, www.myveteransday.org, is hoping to collect a million thank-yous for veterans who served in the American armed forces.

Learn more about the National WWII Museum at www.nationalww2museum.org.

 

About the Author: Former AP newsman Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ, is travel editor of Sirius XM’s Maggie Linton Show and New Jersey Lifestyle Magazine. He is also the author of 36 baseball books.


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The “Day of the Dead,” or Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, is often compared to Halloween due to its celebration the day trick-or-treaters hit the streets. But it has a much different purpose. The occasion is a national holiday on Nov. 1 and 2 in Mexico and centers on the gathering of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is held in connection with the Catholic All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

If it seems to you like the holiday often goes uncelebrated in the United States, you might just not be in the right place. Below are 5 “Day of the Dead” events that honor those who have died. Find a complete list of the nation’s events here.

1. Dia de Los Muertos in Los Angeles, CA 
When: Nov. 2 from noon to midnight
The celebration is held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and is the largest of its kind in California. The festival features an altar-decorating competition as well as live music and costume contests for the best Calaca (skull or skeleton) costume.

2. Bare Hands Dia de Los Muertos, Numero Once Festival in Birmingham, AL 
When: Nov. 2 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Bring a small altar or memento of remembrance and dress up in bones for this energetic cultural celebration. The festival attracts thousands of visitors and is sponsored by Bare Hands, a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for community involvement and promotes cultural dialogue.

3. All Souls Procession in Tucson, AZ 
When: Nov. 3 at 4 p.m.
The All Souls Procession brings more than 35,000 people together to the streets of downtown Tucson for a 2-mile-long walk that culminates with the burning of a large urn filled with hopes and offerings from the public for those who have passed. The procession is organized by non-profit arts collective Many Mouths One Stomach.

4. Dia de Los Muertos Street Festival in Corpus Christi, Texas
When: Nov. 1 and 2
This festival brings a large art exhibition, artist workshops, and entire day-long dancing and concert events to celebrate the “Day of the Dead.” The event promotes cultural tourism by drawing artists, musicians and vendors to the area each year.

5. Dia de Los Muertos 2013 in Albuquerque, New Mexico 
When: Nov. 1 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
This annual celebration is held at San Jose de Armijo Cemetery and features sugar skull painting, costumes and music organized by the Atrisco Heritage Foundation. The foundation works through the event to promote and preserve the ancestral and cultural heritage of Albuquerque.

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October is Family History Month, and with it there’s ample opportunity to dig deeper into your family roots. An estimated 80 million Americans are following that interest, making genealogy one of the most popular hobbies in America. For travelers, a focus on genealogy can also translate into a deeper travel experience — check out these tips from genealogist D. Joshua Taylor of FindMyPast.com for uncovering your family history while traveling:

• Contact the local genealogical society in advance of your visit, they might have evening hours or be willing to open their doors for you to help with your research. Local volunteers often know cemeteries, historic sites and other key areas.

• Use old city directories at the public library to find the address where your relatives might have lived. Go visit (but be sure to check older maps in case street names have changed).

• Search for local newspaper indexes – or the newspapers themselves – at local libraries.

• Take some crayons and large paper along to make rubbings from gravestones. Preserving symbols and inscriptions can be a wonderful “keepsake” when you return home.

• When visiting capital cities, visit the state archives or historical society to conduct research. Always, always, always check the family files at local archives and societies. They often contain one-of-a-kind resources not found online.

• It never hurts to schedule a few moments with distant relatives – who knows what letters or diaries they might have!

• Keep coins nearby – many local libraries and other repositories require payment for copies in change.

Every October, normally family-friendly amusement parks transform into terrifying Halloween-themed attractions. Get your adrenaline pumping by taking a trip on an already-hair-raising ride – but in complete darkness. Then, try not to scream like a 14-year-old girl when a “scareactor” attempts to freak you out.

Scarywood

At Silverwood Theme Park’s Scarywood, parents are not encouraged to bring their children during the month of October because it’s … scary. Real scary. Watch out for the ghouls and other “scareactors” that roam the grounds, looking to frighten unsuspecting park-goers. For a particularly harrowing experience, hop aboard the Zombiewood Express, and watch as a group of “zombie killers” picks off the freaky creatures trying to attack the train.

Here’s what you can expect:

Howl-O-Scream

What’s freakier than a super-freaky haunted house? Going through it completely and utterly alone. Start your tour of Busch Gardens Tampa’s Howl-O-Scream with a terrifying tour of the Alone House. After the approximately 20 minutes of horror, you’ll be properly primed for your creepy experience at the Halloween-ified amusement park.

Check out the other thrills Howl-O-Scream offers:

For even more amusement parks-turned-Halloween-playgrounds, be sure to tune in for Halloween Night Frights, premiering tonight at 10|9c.

Start your moon gazing. Sept. 19 marks this year’s Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, which commemorates the end of summer … and the advent of a new season, similar to the American Thanksgiving. According to Chinese tradition, this annual harvest celebration occurs on the 15th day of the eighth month, on Chinese calendars, typically in September or early October, around the autumnal equinox.

That timing spells a good reason to hit up NYC’s diverse neighborhoods: In NYC’s Chinatown, you’ll want to try to the sweet tasty mooncakes, which have been flying off pastry-store shelves over the past few days in anticipation of the holiday. The round cakes are a symbol of the full moon and good fortune. And who wouldn’t want to eat to that?

On the West Coast, LA Chinatown will host its 75th annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival on Saturday, Sept. 21. The festival, which will take place in Chinatown’s Central and West Plaza, will include hands-on cultural workshops and cultural performances, as well as a busy Asian night market.

Can’t make it to LA or NYC? Check out these other top things to do in September to round out the month. One way or another, look out your window tonight: There’s bound to be a bad moon rising.

See how some of the Travel Channel editors spent their Independence Day. Then, show us how you spent yours! Instagram your photos with the hashtag #TCJuly4th and we’ll feature our favorites on the blog!

Fourth of July

Top Row, Left to Right:

“Happy July 4th from Kensington, MD!” - Jessica Menk, Digital Editorial Designer

“Sitting on the steps of Department of Labor, waiting for fireworks to begin on the National Mall.” - Vanessa Mack, Photo Editor

“Here’s a shot of Mike Espenshade resting before the start of Civil War reenactments. He’s been a re-enactor for the past 30 years, and this week he’s joined 40,000 compatriots to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and a “new birth of freedom” – the Fourth rocked in Gettysburg!” - Lisa Singh, Interactive Producer

Bottom Row, Left to Right:

“There’s no better way to celebrate America’s birthday than by watching America’s favorite pastime! Cold beer, a great game and a cone of soft-serve vanilla ice cream made for the perfect Independence Day.” – Allee Sangiolo, Interactive Producer

“Even under repairs, the Washington Monument glows in anticipation of 4th of July fireworks on the National Mall.” – Robin Bennefield, Managing Producer

“No cookout would be complete without a patriotic blueberry pie! But the credit goes to a friend — I’m a terrible baker.” - Sara Gilliam, Senior Interactive Producer

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