ALL POSTS IN [Spring Fling]

Courtesy of LEGOLand Hotel

Think you can make an impressive LEGO home? Try building a hotel made of LEGOs. Now that the Ice Hotel has melted, take a spring fling with the family to America’s first LEGOLAND Hotel that just opened this month. Located right at the main entrance of LEGOLAND California Resort, guests can stay and play a LEGO’s throw away from the park’s attractions designed for the young and the young at heart.

Now, we should mention that the entire hotel isn’t made of LEGOs (this is earthquake-plagued California, after all), but the iconic plastic-building block is imaginatively integrated throughout this kiddie hotel heaven. Children and parents alike will be wowed by this novel hotel: approximately 3,422 LEGO models have been built throughout the hotel out of more than 3 million LEGO bricks (don’t worry, parents, you won’t have to clean up any of this). Everything comes to life here with 7 large-scale LEGO models that are animated, like a bubble-blowing LEGO dragon taking a bath on the patio that speaks to children passing by.

Guests can choose between 3 themed-rooms modeled after the most popular LEGOLAND areas: Pirate, Kingdom and Adventure. There’s plenty of room for the entire family, with 2 separate sleeping areas — a queen-size bed for grown-ups, and a separate area for up to 3 little ones, complete with a bunk bed, pull-out trundle bed and their very own TV. And each room has LEGO blocks ready for you to build your own architectural wonders.

Designed with imagination in every detail, the hotel’s fun features include secret whoopee cushions, disco-themed elevators, treasure trails and exploding toy boxes.  Dining is even kid-focused at LEGOLAND Hotel. Bricks Family Restaurant serves a breakfast and dinner buffet with a station specifically designed for kids at a height they can reach, while the Skyline Café features a LEGO city skyline with 35 kid-pleasing scenes.

With a fun place to rest and exclusive early-morning access to select rides and attractions at the park, families will be on a 24-hour fun-filled ride. While this is the only LEGOLAND where you can spend a night, there are LEGOLAND theme parks all over the world — from Florida to Germany to Malaysia. And while the parks will amaze any age, they are designed specifically for children 2 to 12.

 

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Travel Channel’s office is in Washington, DC, where springtime means one thing: cherry blossoms. For weeks leading up to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, speculation about when the thousands of trees would erupt in pale pink blooms lead all the local newscasts. Would it be the last week of March? The first week of April? Would unseasonably warm weather cause them to bloom early and then fall when a cold snap hit? They are, literally, the talk of the town. We’re well aware, however, that these gorgeous trees aren’t only in DC, so last week we asked our Instagram followers to send us their cherry blossom photos. Check out this explosion of spring! Here are some of our favorites:

Cherry Blossom Instagrams

Top Row, Left to Right: love2travel, fromaway, tinarima
Second Row, Left to Right: maydaymays, juleigh2000, nortonandco
Third Row, Left to Right: Toeinoi, kaostheory206, absolutetraveladdict
Fourth Row, Left to Right: Dercarler, bowtiesrfancy, ray2thero
Bottom Row, Left to Right: Dayangheimy, laura_1over, christinassi

 

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.

Allergy-Free Spring Fling

Ah, springtime: The blooms, the fresh air … the allergies. If springtime spells “Achoo!” for you and your family, you’ll want to take note of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation’s annual list of the worst cities for allergy sufferers. Released this week, the annual list tallies the most sneeze-inducing cities nationwide, based on pollen levels, allergy medications and the number of board-certified allergists in the area.

And the cities topping the allergy list this spring? Jackson, MI, leads the pack, followed by Knoxville, TN, and then Chattanooga, TN. Rounding out the top 5 are McAllen, TX, Louisville, KY, and Wichita, KS.

If popping Claritin or Zyrtec on a trip this spring isn’t your idea of fun, consider a vacation to one of the cities ranked lower on the list – like Daytona Beach, Denver and San Diego. For the full list, check out this interactive map of Spring Allergy Capitals.

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See the top things to do in relatively allergy-free San Diego!

And consider a spring fling in another low-allergy city — “Golden” Sacramento.

Want to get in on the Spring Fling action, but having a hard time since you’re … you know … single? Then grab a buddy, and fling about the nation’s ballparks!

Baseball season is in full swing, which means you’ve got one more thing to add to your sightseeing list while on vacation: rooting for the home team. While there are plenty of people who have “visit all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums in the country” on their bucket list, you don’t have to be quite so ambitious to make your trip ballin’.

Tips for Navigating the Wilds of Baseball Travel:

1.     Download the MLB’s At The Ballpark app. With it, you have access to every team’s full schedule, the ability to buy tickets and find promotions, as well as a map and a full A to Z guide of anything and everything you could need while at the park.

2.    Call the team’s front office ahead of time.  On the team’s website, search for an employee directory and contact the person who has something “community”-related in their title. They’ll be able to tell you if tours are offered or they might be able to hook you up with a special experience of some kind. (One-on-one time with the mascot, maybe?) Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask! Just let them know how big of a fan you are.

3.     Explore the city! Keep a few days available, just in case your game gets rained out. But while you’re there, check out the landmarks, search for an awesome restaurant, find a baseball museum (chances are pretty good there’s one nearby).

4.     Don’t make a beeline to the first hotdog stand you see. Walk the entire perimeter of the park and survey all your options. In fact, ballpark food is more varied now than ever. At Camden Yards in Baltimore, keep an eye out for the Jack Daniel’s Grill and their slab of whiskey-glazed, thick-cut bacon on a stick. Or how about some frozen custard from the Shake Shack at Citi Field in New York? You never know what you might find!

5.     Speaking of things you never knew you’d find, a few parks have unexpected perks. A pool and Jacuzzi at Chase Field in Phoenix? Sure, why not? An aquarium at Tropicana Park in Tampa Bay? Lead the way!

If you’re having trouble narrowing down your list of must-see ballparks, let our picks for Baseball’s Greatest Stadiums help you out!

If you haven’t noticed, we’re in full Spring Fling mode here at Travel Channel. Whether you’re looking for a fun, carefree vacation, a romantic weekend away or somewhere to let your hair down — you’ve come to the right place. And check back every day for even more eye candy!

Spring Fling

1)   Explore Your Inner Wanderlust: The sun has emerged, the temperature is rising and everything feels renewed. Celebrate spring’s natural beauty with these 7 wonders.

2)   Experience Southern Charm: There’s a reason everyone is migrating to Charleston, SC, right now. It has picture-perfect wedding venues, a restaurant scene fit for foodies, top-notch golf courses and stunning ocean views. While you’re there, stay at one of our favorite hotels in its historic downtown.

3)   See Beautiful Blooms: While a freak snowstorm has delayed DC’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival, be patient and you’ll see them in full bloom soon. If you can’t make it to the nation’s capital, here are our picks for cherry blossoms around the country. Wherever you spot them, make sure to snap a picture and share it with us on Instagram.

4)   Say “I Do”: What would a spring fling be without a little romance? Check out the top 5 ways people are popping the question. While fiancés get creativity points for flash mob proposals, we think any of these ideas would be met with a resounding “Yes!”

5)   Take the Plunge: From Havasu Falls in Supai, AZ, one of the most visited waterfalls in the Grand Canyon, to Skógafoss in Skógar, Iceland, a 200-foot drop shrouded in folklore, take in the most awe-inspiring waterfalls around the world.

6)   Get Your Feet Wet: Why do we love the Grand Cayman? Let us count the ways. Seeing marine life up close on a submarine tour, snorkeling in Stingray City, and relaxing on the beautiful Seven Mile Beach all add up to an unforgettable vacation.

Spring Fling

Tulips in Amsterdam

Amsterdam may be famous for its red light district and its friendly stance on marijuana, but the capital of the Netherlands has much more to offer. A city steeped in history, Amsterdam is home to beautiful historic buildings, numerous parks, fields of tulips that bloom in the spring, about 40 museums, and a system of canals and bridges that rivals (and in fact, is larger than) the one in Venice.

Due to the city’s climate, most tourists descend upon Amsterdam in the spring and summer months. But while winter can be cold, no season in Amsterdam is unbearable, and many locals travel by bicycle all year long. Navigating the city can be tricky; it is divided into 9 districts that are divided further into neighborhoods — Jordaan offers funky boutiques and markets, Rembrandtplein is home to the nightlife, Leidseplein has all kinds of international cuisine, and De Wallen’s streets are lined with quaint bookshops (and in its famous red light district, brothels).

The Canal House is a gorgeous boutique overlooking the canals. A popular choice among couples, rooms feature rich décor and open floor plans. If you’re searching for something a bit more understated – and green – the Conscious Hotel Vondelpark is a solid value option. It’s a bit removed from Amsterdam’s main attractions, but rooms are cozy, bathrooms are sleek and up-to-date, and the breakfast bar serves a daily breakfast of organic goodies.

- Oyster.com Staff

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photo courtesy of Viceroy Riviera Maya

Sparky could use a Spring Fling, too. Now that the weather is warming up, it’s the perfect time to take your BFF on the road. Need some inspiration? Here are pet-friendly vacation ideas that will put a spring in your pet’s step.

For the ultimate petcation, treat your pet to a luxury retreat at the chic Viceroy Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen. The resort’s PetVacay program offers pets the same pampered indulgence that their owners enjoy. At arrival, your pet will receive a Mayan blessing by a real shaman from the local village to release any worries he brought with him on the trip over (and a doggie treat will help ease those travel woes, too).  The hotel also provides your pet with his own personal “palapa” so he can lounge in shady comfort during his stay. This thatched-roof doggie home is also conveniently portable so he can travel in style with you throughout the resort, from poolside to bar-side. Plus, the resort’s chefs will prepare your canine companion will his favorite foods. Sounds like doggie heaven, right?

You don’t have to leave the country to enjoy pet-friendly beach bliss. Pack your pooch and head to Doris Day’s iconic 1928 Cypress Inn, “just a bone’s toss” from California’s leash-free Carmel Beach. This retro Hollywood inn caters to canines along with 22 other Carmel-by-the-Sea hotels, making this one pet-loving beach town.

Cypress Inn was one of California’s first hotels to welcome pets in the mid-1980s, well before the pet-friendly hotel trend took off. Since then it has opened its doors to all creatures, including parrots and even pot-bellied pigs. April marks the debut of the inn’s new Culinary Canine Menu, served daily during Yappy Hour. While you mingle with fellow animal lovers, your 4-legged friend can indulge in Muttloaf, Chowhound Chicken and, yes, even Muttinis.

Looking for a cityscape for you and your pet? Dallas’ Hotel Palomar takes pet-friendly to a new level. It’s not all about the dogs here: the hotel accepts any number of pets, without size or weight restrictions, and at no extra charge. So, yes, that means you can bring your pet monkey or pet ferret. Some of their fetching amenities include pet sitting, grooming and walking. If you’re looking for a quieter travel companion, Hotel Palomar shares the (guppy) love by offering a complimentary goldfish to keep you company during your stay. And you don’t have to worry about feeding the fish – the staff will take care of that!

 

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Cherry Blossom Instagram

Nothing says Spring Fling like cherry blossoms in bloom! If you don’t believe us, check out this timelapse video, created by Smithsonian.com, of last year’s pale-pink blooms.

Are you traveling to Washington, DC, for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival? Do you have cherry trees in your hometown? Instagram your photos using the hashtag #TCSpringFling and we’ll feature our favorites on the blog.

Spring Fling

Savor spring in style with the help of TravelChannel.com’s first-ever Spring Fling! From now until Memorial Day, we’ll be packing our site with sexy new spring travel ideas – whether you’re looking for the best places to visit in April and May,  romantic getaway ideas, over-the-top resorts, sexy beaches, jaw-dropping pools, places to pop the question, destination weddings, honeymoon hotspots … and even the country’s best male revues and gentlemen’s clubs.

And who says you need to have a significant other? Spice things up with a girls’ weekend or guys’ getaway, or discover the best places to find love.

Check our blog daily for new ideas and visit our new hub for all things spring.

What are you waiting for? The weather’s heating up, along with our desire for a little romance, so take a break and have a fling with Travel Channel!

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