Shermanstravel Blog

Arts & Culture

BeerMonthWith nearly 100 breweries and brewpubs, and more craft breweries than any other Southern state, North Carolina is quickly emerging as a marquee destination for beer lovers. This month, there’s even more reason to raise a toast, as North Carolina is currently hosting its second annual Beer Month. Read more

Koh LantaWhether it’s a packed cruise ship unloading throngs of boisterous passengers, or a mob of thirty college students tearing through town, an excess of tourists can make a destination go from in-demand to insufferable, just like that. Consider avoiding these played-out locales and shift your attention to nearby spots that are lesser-known, and more worthy of the term “vacation.”

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Musee MechaniqueTuck your wallet back into your pocket, because these San Francisco experiences are either completely free, or are nearly so. If you’ve already seen the city’s tourist icons on your San Francisco vacation, check out these six offbeat budget attractions for a different take on the city: Read more

Bogota Skyline 620x400Biking is big in Colombia. So big that its capital city’s weekly Ciclovía event is now attended by up to three million people — or more than a third of the Bogotá’s population, — who come out to enjoy a car-free Sunday on many of the city’s major roads. While in Bogotá last month, we of course had to join local agency Bogotravel Tours for one of their cycling sightseeing tours to find out what all the buzz was about. Read more

Park SlopeAs we showed in an earlier post this week, New York is pulling out all the stops for National Walking Day, which is today, April 2. And that’s as it should be: with a relatively compact land area, Manhattan remains one of the densest, most pedestrian-friendly cities in the world. Plus, Central Park and the well-maintained green spaces along the East River and Hudson River make the city ideal for travelers who like a little nature with their urban trekking.

And speaking of the East River, we can’t recommend highly enough the pleasures of exploring – on foot, of course – the quieter, more neighborly environs of Manhattan’s little sister across the river, Brooklyn.

Below, we offer a ready-to-go walking guide to one of the borough’s most iconic (and culturally rich) neighborhoods, Park Slope. Read more

620x400_ViceroyNYCSure, the locals may roll their eyes at the mention of Midtown Manhattan. The concrete jungle in and around Times Square doesn’t have Greenwich Village’s cozy charm, or the sleek nightclubs of the downtown Meatpacking District. But some new developments in this area, especially north of Times Square near Central Park, have given Midtown a new-found sense of cool. For visitors who are willing to seek it out – and painstakingly avoid the area’s inevitable tourist traps – it can provide the ultimate glimpse at New York’s beautiful public spaces, exemplary accommodation, and endless nightlife. Here’s a sample itinerary to try on your next visit to the Big Apple…

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DCAlthough some of the biggest news from Washington, D.C. is the long-awaited reopening of the Washington Monument on May 12, there’s much more than history and politics to tempt you to visit the nation’s capital this year.

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bordeaux quay - 620(Cruising to Bordeaux on Viking’s New Longship: See the Slideshow)

I’ve always been a bit of a Francophile with my eyes set on Paris. It never crossed my mind that I might one day leave a little bit of myself in Bordeaux. But that’s what I’ve been telling friends, family, co-workers, strangers on the subway, and puppies in the park for the past week since my return from this southern French city.

In a way, the attraction makes sense. Bordeaux boasts a similar architectural style as the City of Lights, with its limestone columns and wrought iron balconies galore. One of its most well-known landmarks, Place de la Bourse, was even designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, a celebrated architect who worked extensively in and around Paris. But what really ensnared me in the end? The fact that all of this historic grandness actually lends itself to a very accessible, very attractive way of life. Read more

KatzLESWalks of New York, a small-group tour experience, is officially launching next week and, to celebrate, it is offering its tours free of charge. Timed to coincide with National Walking Day on Wednesday, April 2, the free tours will be available from April 1-7. (While tours are free, a $5 donation to the American Heart Association is mandatory.)

These new small-group tours are limited to 12 people and aims to offer a personalized experience with offerings for history and architecture buffs, as well as behind-the-scenes access to local culture, and “skip the line” access to venues and institutions.
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Elvis Diner JerusalemStuck forever in the era of boat-sized convertibles, Elvis memorabilia, and red-checkered tablecloths, these American-themed diners offer a nostalgic ride into ‘50s Americana while satisfying rumbling tummies. Although commonplace throughout the fifty states, you don’t tend to come across these neon-lit, chrome-plated structures anywhere else in the world. So if you happen to be abroad and craving a burger and a milkshake, here are twelve diners around the world that’ll transport you back home.

Visit the full slideshow here.

mauis winery ulupalakua vineyards-620Headed to Maui – perhaps for one of these fantastic hotel deals we highlighted this month? This beautiful island might be famous for its wealthy residents and spendy accommodation, but springtime offers a wide range of distractions for less. From marine fun, to golf, to happy hour, here are five ideas for a more affordable Hawaiian vacation:

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Los AngelesAnyone who’s familiar with Los Angeles knows there are a few major restrictions when it comes to exploring the U.S.’s second most populous city: traffic, for starters. But also, LA’s disorienting urban sprawl can leave some travelers scratching their heads as to where to find – in the midst of so many desolate strip malls, sketchy bus stations, and disconnected, pseudo-suburban residential areas – a sense of the “real” LA. When it comes to exploring by foot, dining, and finding decent accommodation without getting sucked into the black hole of Hollywood, we suggest starting in Downtown LA. Here are a few reasons why: Read more

BristolCiting its “great shopping, great scenery and great social scene,” the Sunday Times last week declared the Southwest English city of Bristol the “best place to live in Britain.” Bristol’s creativity (it’s the birthplace of Massive Attack and Banksy) and independent spirit (the city has its own currency, the Bristol Pound) is fairly well documented, but its affordability is another good reason to make the trip from London.

Trains from London’s Paddington Station take around one hour and 45 minutes and start at £30 ($50) round-trip. If you decide to spend the night, April rates at the boutique Berkeley Square Hotel start at £30 ($89) a night and includes access to the Square Private Members Club cocktail bar and restaurant. The upscale Radisson Blu is a little pricier at  £99 ($163) but presents good value when compared to the brand’s London properties, which are mostly priced in the £140 to £280 ($199 to $464).

To tempt you further, Bristol has a selection of truly unique (and free or affordable) events scheduled for this year: Read more

charreada san antonio charros - 620Chances are, you’ve heard of that little landmark called the Alamo in San Antonio, the city that’s also home to the beautiful five-mile Riverwalk. Here are some affordable ways to enjoy the city’s history, nature, and cuisine, right in time for the April Fiesta – a celebration that feels a lot like a slightly less debauched Mardi Gras.

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Mexico Riviera MayaAll-inclusive resorts are great at keeping their guests busy. Included yoga classes and dance lessons are a fun way to spend a less-than-sunny day, and free-to-use kayaks and snorkeling gear can get you away from the pool and into the ocean. But many resorts also offer additional activities and day-trips that aren’t covered by the basic all-inclusive rate. (Usually the division between included and not lies with the type of activity. If the activity is “non-motorized,” it’s probably included. If it requires a ride off the property or a heavy piece of equipment, it probably requires an additional fee.) The good news? In many cases, that additional fee is worth it.

The eight itineraries listed below will give you a sense of what’s available, and how much these day-trips cost. And keep in mind that these are just examples to show you the breadth of resort offerings. There are many other resorts that offer similar excursions.

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