Shermanstravel Blog

Arts & Culture

Newcastle

Tommy Burson

First stop London. Second stop Edinburgh. Is there even a third stop on a typical UK vacation?

Of course there is, even if London and Edinburgh tend to get the most attention. London alone attracts about 15 million more visitors than the second closest English city. But the next time you’re there, we suggest getting out of the city and spending the weekend in Newcastle, northern England’s capital. Much discovery awaits there, considering its struggle for visitor numbers to approach anything near the one-million mark — somewhat surprising, considering that the readers of The Guardian consider it the UK’s best city. Here’s how to join the cool kids club and experience this Geordie center for yourself.

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view of glasgow in scotland (uk)

Tommy Burson

Not long ago, Glasgow resembled Detroit — once proud city in the midst of a depression that was characterized by liquor, drugs, and crime. Today, Glasgow is possibly the trendiest city in the UK, catering a booming arts scene and a musical surge reminiscent of Motown in Detroit. Despite the Scottish hotspot’s growing popularity (and the all-mighty pound), there are still lots of free or nearly free ways to enjoy all the culture to be found here. These are some of our favorites.

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Bosnia Above

Tommy Burson

We know Croatia’s beautiful. Who finds sunny beaches or marble, Roman towns perched above the Adriatic Sea hideous? Not many. And that’s why the destination has become so loaded with toursits over the past year.

For those who want to avoid the crowds, we have a suggestion that might surprise travelers: Bosnia. Yes, this country — just a bit smaller than West Virginia in size — had once witnessed one of the worst forms of genocide in the past twenty years. But, these days, there’s a ton of beauty hiding there too. Here’s what we love:

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South Carolina Historical Society in the Fireproof Building, by Charleston's Washington Park

Walk up and down King Street in Charleston and it’s easy to see that money flirts with charm. So many cobblestoned paths lead to high-end hotels, wine bars, antique stores, restaurants, and apparel boutiques. But no worries, you can still carve out a quality weekend at this Southern hotspot without blowing a lot of cash.

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montreal street art tour - Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

With non-stop festivals and foodie delights at every turn, Montreal attracts hordes of tourists eager to sample the culture and style of this sophisticated metropolis. But after you’ve viewed a Cirque Du Soleil performance and munched on a St. Viateur bagel, it’s time to dig into Montreal’s more unexpected experiences. Here are some alternatives to the big-ticket attractions.

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Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina

Kim Button

The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina could be America’s closest example of a real-life castle. The 250-room French Renaissance chateau is still the largest private home in the country. Built by George Vanderbilt in 1895, the current 8,000-acre estate and grounds are just a small fraction of what the Vanderbilts originally had to call their home. Thankfully, you don’t need a trust fund to be able to indulge in the high life at Biltmore Estate today, especially when you use these tips and tricks to make a visit more feasible and affordable.

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SouthIndia

Charu Suri

Practically its own sub-country with several vernaculars, South India is flanked by the natural bookends of the Eastern and Western Ghat mountains. Within this plateau heartland lies a nexus of rivers, dialects, and manmade wonders in the form of more than 30,000 temples. All in all, the peninsula encompasses the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala — as well as the often forgotten islands of Andaman and Lakshadweep.

It’s easy to see why the Tropic of Capricorn needs its own in-depth guidebook. But to start, for those who might be ambivalent about skipping South India in favor of more well-known gems in the north like the Taj Mahal, here are just three reasons to pause and reconsider.

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Rajasthan Farm Life - farm stay - I Like Local

i-likelocal.com

These days, travel is more and more about immersive experiences that help you truly connect with the destination’s culture. For those who love meeting the locals, here’s the latest resource to catch our attention: I Like Local, a website that offers local-led tours and activities in developing countries to help you head down the path less traveled. We like that the site gives 100 percent of the fees to the most important people involved — the expert guides — without charging them a service fee. For a taste of what’s offered, here are five adventures we’d love to embark on for glimpsing how another part of the world lives:

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Cabaret the Musical on broadway nyc

Cabaret the Musical

This post is sponsored by NewYork.com.

Planning a visit to the Big Apple? You’ve picked the perfect time to visit. After a long winter, things are kicking back into high gear all over the city. And for those who are looking for a single, easy way to organize the trip, NewYork.com is a one-stop shop where travelers can book a number of tours, shows, hotels, cruises, and more. If you’re already in the city or in the know? Score high on NewYork.com’s series of four New York IQ quizzes, running now through April 3, and be entered to win up to $2,000 worth of gift certificates good for any tickets and services on their site.

From the hottest restaurants to the best in Broadway, here are 10 great reasons for you to book a ticket to NYC right now.

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Traveling to Myanmar What’s Cheap and What’s Not

Flickr/Gzooh

Myanmar is officially the fastest-growing tourism segment in the world. Just consider these numbers: In 2007, Myanmar had 300,000 tourists. This year, the country is preparing to accommodate more than 5 million. That’s a remarkable jump in such a short amount of time — and one that’s already changing the way the country presents itself to the world. Southeast Asia is a traditionally very affordable destination across the board, and Myanmar still falls under the budget category compared to many other destinations. But on a recent trip, I discovered some surprises between what’s cheap and what’s not for the region in the country. Here’s a look at what you can expect:

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Coleman's Leprechaun phone booth in syracuse, finger lakes

Wainwright Photography/Coleman’s Irish Pub

Looking for a way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day that goes beyond a parade and green beer? These four Irish communities draw on their Irish heritage to infuse some meaningful fun in their celebrations.

Syracuse, New York
Many of the Irish immigrants who worked on the Erie Canal eventually settled in Syracuse and established their own Tipperary Hill neighborhood. Their descendants are so fiercely proud of their heritage that, in the 1920s, they threw stones at a traffic light because they couldn’t stand to see “British red” over “Irish green.” Fun fact: Today, the traffic light at Tompkins Street and Milton Avenue is upside down, green over red.

That Irish pride continues today in even more ways. After a traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade, revelers celebrate at an Irish Hooley — a party with music, song, and dance — sponsored by Coleman’s Irish Pub, known for its wee leprechaun entrances (and, yes, green beer during this time of the year). Or, they head to other authentic pubs like Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub, Nibsy’s, The Blarney Stone, and Ballybay Pub. As part of the festivities, you can also try your hand at Irish road bowling, an Irish game where teams hurl a small cannonball towards a target.

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belgrade communism

Flickr[St Stev]

On a recent trip to Southeast Europe, we discovered something fascinating: The former Yugoslavia, to Serbians, was the perfect example of communism. But chat with some locals and chances are they’ll mention that it was really “Titoism,” named after President Josip Broz Tito, that propelled the country to be the socialist, independent nation that it had become. Even today, after Yugoslavia’s collapse, many are proud of their former leader and his lax communist approach. For your own glimpse of Yugo-nostalgia, here’s a communist tour of Belgrade that covers the rise and fall of Tito.

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Corn Cob Towers -- Marina City -- In Chicago

Laura Motta

Why would you visit Chicago in the winter? Before you balk, or proclaim that the city is simply too cold for sightseeing before June, hear us out. The windy city lives up to the moniker in February or March, but a visit in the coldest months can reveal the friendliest, least crowded, and most affordable sides of America’s second city. We visited in January, courtesy of Hilton Hotels and their incredibly affordable Chillcation package, and experienced it firsthand. So bundle up and follow our advice for a stimulating, brisk walk around downtown Chicago…

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Chihuly Garden and Glass Seattle museum month

Facebook.com/chihulygg

It’s not uncommon to pay between $20 and $25 for a museum entrance fee. And for travelers already plunking down cash for a hotel, restaurants, and attractions, the cost adds up quickly. Fortunately, we’ve been noticing a trend of month-long promotions in certain cities. From Seattle to Miami, here are deals fit for all types of art fans — happy art hopping!

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Bottomless Lakes, Roswell, New Mexico

New Mexico Tourism

Perhaps you’re just passing through en route from Albuquerque to one of southern New Mexico’s must-hit natural wonders (like the superlative Carlsbad Caverns). Or maybe you’re caught up in the company of one of the many UFO hunters who descend upon this legendary little city in droves. But if little green men aren’t tops on your own personal agenda for visiting Roswell, New Mexico, there’s happily more to this city than just alien kitsch (though, thanks to the purported 1947 UFO crash here, there’s plenty of that, too). Art and nature lovers will find diversions worthy enough to deem Roswell a destination in its own right, while some memorable local dining and night spots will get you up-close-and-personal with some down-home New Mexican hospitality and chile-infused cooking. Here’s the scoop on what to see and do — and where best to eat, drink, and sleep — in Roswell.

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