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Marianela in Florida

Does winter storm Janus have you holed up inside for the foreseeable future? Are you dreaming of sunshine, a glass of chilled white wine and an idyllic countryside? Get inspired for your next trip by escaping to Florida’s beaches, California’s wine country and Nashville’s local haunts with some of Travel Channel’s best new video.

Soak up the sun on Florida’s beaches with Marianela Pereyra.

 

Take a bike tour of California’s wineries with Ryan Van Duzer.

 

Explore Nashville like the locals with Shane-O.

 

 

Nissan Sport Sedan Concept (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

The 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) has kicked into high gear this week, previewing some of the hottest cars of the new year, including the Nissan Sports Sedan, Cadillac ATS Coupe and the Lexus RC F. More than 5,000 journalists from 60 countries are attending the annual auto show at Detroit’s Cobo Center all week long.

The show started off Monday, giving media outlets a preview of all the bright, shiny and new automobiles before the show opens to the public Saturday, Jan. 18.

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The day has finally come. Almost a decade after the release of the first Anchorman film, Ron Burgundy and the KVWN San Diaaaaago news team are back. Yesterday marked the highly anticipated (and cameo-packed) release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, where anchorman (NOT anchorlady) Ron Burgundy and his news team take their … er… talents … to “GNN,” the very first 24-hour cable news network. READ MORE

Where is everyone dreaming of getting hitched and starting their happily-ever-after? Today Google released their year-in-review Zeitgeist list for 2013, which included the top searched destination wedding locations and honeymoon destinations for 2013.

It’s clear from Google’s data that couples are definitely dreaming of beach “I do’s,” in places such as Jamaica, Bahamas and Bermuda. While Hawaii has always been a desired destination wedding, we like seeing that the less-developed Kauai island is getting more love in 2013. We do wonder though, how many brides and grooms book these destination weddings or are they just dreaming of them?

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Getty Images

Ready for the busiest travel day of the year?  Ready or not, it’s inevitable that the day before Thanksgiving will include record-long lines at the airport and headache-inducing traffic. We checked in with Foursquare to get their insights on Thanksgiving travel patterns. Looking at more than 4.5 billion check-ins from last year, Foursquare determined the busiest airports, busiest rest stops and even the busiest restaurants (see full list below for busiest hours). Hint: You’ll definitely want to avoid Atlanta’s airport, ATL, at 6pm the day before Thanksgiving!

Bad news? It’s not likely this year will be any less busy for travel. Good news? There are heaping amounts of comfort food waiting for you on the other side.

Some interesting overall Thanksgiving check-in trends to note:

Turkey Pickin’
A 48% increase in farm check-ins suggests people are heading out to pick their own turkey. Get your gobble on at these turkey farms.

Small Town Pride
Travelers returning to small towns are much more likely to check-in and show off their hometown pride than those from the big cities. The most popular hometown destination in the nation for Thanksgiving? Detroit (based on largest percentage increase of check-ins).

Pit Stops
There is a 53% increase in rest stop check-ins during travel season. Nothing like a bit of caffeine and sugar to fuel a long drive.

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Photography by Paul Giamou / Aurora Photos

The rugged abandon of California’s Central Coast has been given the cinematic treatment in Sundance darling and newly released Big Sur, starring Kate Bosworth. Based on Jack Kerouac’s eponymous novel, the film highlights the haunting beauty and isolated wilderness that drew the Beat writer to retreat here in the first place.

Relive it for yourself, or discover the splendor of the serpentine coast for the first time, on one of America’s most beloved road trips.

Nowhere is the Pacific Coast Highway’s winding roads more magnificent than along Big Sur’s craggy cliffs and crashing surf some 30 miles south of Carmel, CA.

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With Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second installment in the The Hunger Games trilogy coming out this month in theatres, Hunger Games tourism is … well, catching fire again.  From tree hotels to bubble dome rooms, Booking.com shared with us the most Hunger Games-inspired hotels around the world. Whether you are a super fan or just have a taste for truly one-of-a-kind places to stay, you won’t believe these 5 spectacular hotels.

May the odds (of getting a room in these super hot hotels) be ever in your favor!

Treehotel

Treehotel – Harads, Sweden
While you might not need to hide from your fellow Hunger Games rivals, an escape to Treehotel, the world’s largest treehouse hotel, still will be a welcome reprieve.  Spending a night perched in the trees in Sweden’s Harads forest, you’ll feel on top of the world.  The tree rooms are all uniquely designed and suspended 13 to 19 feet above ground. We bet you’ll sleep better in the trees here than Katniss Everdeen ever did. After all, there are no distractions like flying arrows and tracker jackers impeding quality shut-eye.

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Photo by Getty

Much like the hit show Breaking Bad caused an influx of visitors to Albuquerque, NM, this year, the newest take on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, that premiered on Fox last month, is leading flocks of curious visitors to vacation to the tiny New York town of the same name.

Sleepy Hollow village administrators have noticed a significant increase in the number of visitors wandering around Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and the Headless Horseman Bridge with several tours of the area selling out as early as September – something that just doesn’t happen.

Sleepy Hollow, which was just picked up for a second season, is loosely based on the 1820 legend, but with a modern twist: Protagonist Ichabod Crane has been resurrected centuries after his death to save the town of Sleepy Hollow, and of course the world, from forces of evil.

The village, located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, is home to “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” author Washington Irving’s gravesite and served as inspiration for the made-up town where Irving’s story of the legendary “headless horseman” took place.

The town of Sleep Hollow is embracing its new-found fame and record website traffic, creating a spooky commercial encouraging visitors to trek to the area featuring ghosts, ghouls and the headless horseman himself shopping for groceries and going about normal everyday activities.

And the attention might only gain more steam. Rumors from the show’s production company are that the cast itself will visit the town and are looking for possible storylines from the iconic area to bring to prime time television.

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Halloween Destinations
Ghoulish Ghost Tours
Top 5 Halloween Screams

Haunted houses, costume parties, and trick-or-treating are often seen as the “traditional” Halloween events that many Americans participate in each year. But one of the increasingly popular attractions taking over fall includes a stroll through real creepy crawlies, bats and “unnatural mysteries” at one of the nation’s zoos.

Coined as a “boo at the zoo,” the events attract people of all ages and offer a twist to the standard neighborhood trick-or-treating. As you prepare to make your Halloween plans, take a look at these 5 popular October zoo events:

1. Oakland Zoo  (Oct. 26 and 27)
Children get a free ride on the “spooky boo train” as well as access to exclusive trick-or-treating among the animals at this zoo-wide event at the Oakland Zoo in California. The event is included with admission and offers participants a chance to make treats for the zoo’s animals and explore monster myths through educational stations.

2. Smithsonian National Zoo (Oct. 25, 26 and 27)
Collect candy while visiting the animals and Halloween decorations at the Nation’s historic zoo in DC. While it’s not exactly cheap (tickets are $30 for non-members), the event sells out and benefits the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) foundation.

3. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Oct. 25, 26, 27 and 31)
Watch hippos play with pumpkins, rhinos explore ghosts and birds fly above your head at the Cheyenne Mountain “Boo at the Zoo” event. The “creatures” of the zoo are “let out” at this annual event as zoo keepers put on multiple educational Halloween-themed shows.

4. Bronx Zoo (Now through Nov. 3)
Encounter a dinosaur safari and creepy craft workshops at the Bronx Zoo’s annual Halloween bash. Visit the “winged icons” of Halloween, including bats, owls and vultures, before embarking on a trip back in time through a dinosaur safari during the annual New York tradition.

5. Tampa’s Lowry Park (Oct. 24 through 27)
The Halloween zoo event at Tampa’s Lowry Park is so frightening that there are “skull ratings” for the attractions. Features include “Pharoh’s Tomb of Revenge” where artifacts come alive and the scariest ranked attraction of all, “Tangled Terror,” which features a “failed experiment” with carnivorous plants.

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Halloween Destinations
Ghoulish Ghost Tours
Top 5 Halloween Screams

Photo courtesy Disney

More than 2 years after the announcement of an Avatar-themed land at Animal Kingdom Park, Disney has released much anticipated details of the plans to idolize James Cameron’s blockbuster movie through rides and attractions.

The new “land” is expected to open to the public in 2017 and will transport visitors to the mythical world of Pandora featuring floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and soaring Banshees. The expansion will be the largest in Animal Kingdom history.

The detailed plans were released at the first ever D23 Disney fan expo in Japan, with Cameron appearing in a video filmed on the Avatar performance capture stage to talk about the inspiration for the new park.

Photo courtesy Disney

“In my wildest imagination growing up I don’t think I could have ever envisioned a day when something that I created would live inside a Disney theme park,” Cameron said.

Features of the new attraction include chances to “fly” across the planet on the wings of giant creatures as well as explore the scenery of the mythical planet.

“The land comes to life when you interact with it and seems to be a living creature itself,” said Joe Rhode, a veteran executive at Walt Disney Imagineering. “All of the beauty, the wonder, the scale, the grandeur that you remember from that film, that’s going to be yours.”

Even though the announcement comes more than 8 years after the release of Avatar, the hype of the “blue people” will continue through the opening of the new attraction with the premiere of Avatar 2 in 2016, Avatar 3 in 2017 and Avatar 4 in 2018.

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