Shermanstravel Blog

Arts & Culture

roanoakVA1

Shelley Seale

Picture a vibrant town square lined with red brick buildings, a main historic market, hip boutiques, and art galleries galore — all beneath a backdrop of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. That’s Roanoke, a southern Virginia city known for its natural beauty, quality of life, and thriving central core. Here’s an art-filled itinerary for enjoying this charming town, all without breaking the bank.

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Floating Market Willemstad Curacao

Christine Wei

The Caribbean is a classic destination for an affordable, short getaway during the summer. Prices have dropped, flights are aplenty, and the islands are close enough for an extended weekend trip. But as we get into July and especially August, rains get heavier and heavier — unless you’re outside the hurricane belt, of course.

Of the ABC islands — Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao — Curacao arguably has the best mix between rugged adventure and urban offerings, so you can feel like you’ve truly escaped without the risk of getting bored.  It’s the biggest of the three islands in geographic size, and sun-seeking travelers visit for the diving, hiking, and nice touch of sophistication. The Dutch influence here is strong, so you’ll rub elbows with European visitors and find colonial architecture among the humbler residences.

With JetBlue’s new twice weekly direct flights from New York’s JFK Airport, launched just this past December, there’s never been a smarter, more convenient time to plan a trip. Here’s a neighborhood overview.

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new Blues Hall of Fame Museum memphis

blues.org

Memphis — birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll and iconic destination for blues — is also home to a whopping 50-plus museums. And not one but three are brand new: the Blues Hall of Fame Museum, the Ducks Unlimited National Waterfowling Heritage Center at the Bass Pro Shops, and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame Museum opening at the end of this month.

These new attractions join institutions like the turn-of-the-century firehouse at the Fire Museum; Sun Studio where Elvis became a star; Pink Palace, a science and history playground with a planetarium; the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art;  and the Belz Museum of Asian & Judaic Art.

Here, the scoop on the new kids on the museum block, plus a few more that we think are worth a visit.

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main canal in Suzhou, China

Our CEO David Steward recently visited China on a 14-day adventure, journeying for the most part with Gate1 Travel to hotspots like Shanghai, the Yangtze River, Xi’an, and Beijing. While there, the tourism board of Suzhou — a canal city west of Shanghai — graciously took Shermans on a whirlwind tour of the city’s best spots. Join us:

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Exterior Anno Domini1

San Jose is synonymous with technology and startups, but it’s much more than an IT hub. While the Californian city is nicknamed Silicon Valley for a reason, it offers unexpected culinary and cultural gems — as well as a fascinating multi-ethnic history — beyond the headquarters of tech giants like Facebook, Cisco, and Apple. And that’s not to mention its all-around affordability, especially compared to neighboring San Francisco (who often, and we think unfairly, steals the spotlight). Here’s how to explore San Jose on less than $75 a day.

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buy spices at mellah market, Marrakech, morocco

Elena Sonnino/Mellah Market

Marrakech lures travelers with promises of spices, vibrant colors, and evocative sounds like the repetitive adhān — the call to prayer — broadcast from minarets five times daily. With so much to see and do, planning a trip to this Moroccan city can be as confusing as navigating the chaotic souks. Here’s how to find luxury in Marrakech without breaking the bank.

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terracotta pottery at Chichicastenango Market Guatemala

Guatemala is famous for the vividly colored handwoven textiles that locals expertly craft into everything from hammocks to purses. And there’s no better place to shop for these fashion finds than at Central America’s largest indigenous market in Chichicastenango, a highland community two hours north of Guatemala City. Rivaling the most extensive of malls and unfolding on the cobblestone streets of the central plaza Thursdays and Sundays, the market draws more than 300 vendors from all over the country. A vast array of wares — including handcrafted instruments, baskets, ceramics, blankets, and produce — fill the stalls from every angle. But what to buy? For those shoppers keen on souvenirs that reflect Guatemala’s rich Mayan heritage, here are our five key picks.

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View from Nevis Peak

Nevis Tourism Authority

When you think of Nevis, one word quickly comes to mind: relaxation.

From the soft West Indies ocean breeze, to the white sandy beaches and crystal clear teal waters, Nevis is all about rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

Nevis is the oldest British Colony in the Caribbean, and the small, untouched island of just 12,000 residents and 36 square miles boosts a different kind of island vibe. With a mountainous volcanic landscape, vacationers can choose to spend their time in the mountains, by the sea, or an exotic combination of both.

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Galveston 1

Keith Hajovsky

Galveston Island is a unique coastal destination: An historic Victorian-era downtown surrounded by beaches that offer classic seaside fun. Whether you’re on a day trip from Houston or stopping over to or from a cruise, here’s how to make the most of it.

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Newborn monument

Wikimedia.org

“Broke but sexy” is arguably the title pursued by any city attempting to recover from near-collapse. And Pristina — the tiny Kosovan capital brimming with gritty, post-communism blocks — seems just about ready to cross over from broke and war-torn to trendy and lively.

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Quinoa, Peru

Connie Lee

For many travelers to Peru, visiting ancient ruins offers one of the best reasons for venturing into the wild. After all, the fact that these sites are usually off-beat and well-protected — often to serve out their former purposes as spiritual centers, military strongholds, and imperial homes — is part of the joy. But what else is there to see and do if you start to feel “ruin-ed” out?

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Rock Hall Induction 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio

Laura Motta

When this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction airs on HBO on May 30, you’ll see a taped version of the ceremony that took place on April 18 at Cleveland’s Public Hall. Why do they tape it? The answer is simple: The actual ceremony is five hours long. That’s what’s great about it. And if you want to attend a ceremony in the future – and have your own Cleveland rock-themed weekend — you can. Here’s how to do it.

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Flickr/Maurizio Costanzo

Flickr Maurizio Constanzo

Being able to speak the language in a foreign country allows you to interact with locals and experience their culture on a deeper level. If you’re looking to beef up your espanol, try turning your next vacation into a learning experience by enrolling in a full-immersion program at one of these Spanish-speaking countries around the world.

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Greenwich Village, New York City, NY - Christine Wei

Christine Wei

Greenwich Village is one of New York City’s most beloved neighborhoods for good reason. Not only is it the home to a slew of celebrities and other trendy Manhattanites — or the setting of the hit ’90s sitcom Friends – the boho-chic neighborhood is also where you’ll find a whole host of hip restaurants, chic boutiques, and lively music venues. Here’s how to sink your teeth into what locals call “The Village.”

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Cable Car to Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town Tourism

Summer in Cape Town may mean beach weather and festival season, but winter — spanning the end of May through August — is when you’ll find the city at its greenest. While this means prime weather for adventuring through the Cape’s natural wonders, travelers can also indulge in the city’s thriving food and wine scene or soak up some of the cultural hotspots. To jumpstart your research, here are just four ways to take on cosmopolitan Cape Town on your next South Africa trip.

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