Shermanstravel Blog

Boston

iStock/Lake Tahoe in AutumnReady to drive? America in fall is marvel: cooler weather and colorful foliage spread across the northeast; comfortably sunny days are the norm from Vegas to Miami; and there’s perfect hiking weather in the west. Over the past few months, we’ve highlighted dozens of destinations that are perfect for a road trip, whether you’re looking to discover a new beach in Florida, visit a winery in upstate New York, sail on Lake Tahoe, or delve into an American classic — the Grand Canyon. Here are some ideas that we hope will inspire you — and persuade you to fill up the tank and go.

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We’re a fan of pay-as-you wish restaurants, both as a way to avoid marked-up prices and as a chance to give back to the destinations on our travels. Here’s how it works: nonprofit restaurants encourage customers to pay for their meal based on what they’re able to afford, and/or give free meals in exchange for volunteer work at the restaurant. For travelers who do have a meal budget, it’s nice to know that our dollars are going toward establishments that provide resources and job training for the local community, and you can always take it a step further by volunteering as well has making monetary donations if you have the time and desire (free meals are meant for those who really can’t afford to pay). A number of establishments in the U.S. have successfully adopted this model. Here are four across the country to check out the next time you hit the road.

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Sandito Mojito, Cuba Libre OrlandoWe’re game to celebrate nearly every food- or drink-focused holiday (National Margarita Day, anyone?), so we’re excited that August is Rum Month. Rum is the elixir of both swash-buckling pirates and bleary-eyed Caribbean travelers alike. But some folks have rum misconceptions: They think only of umbrella-topped super-sweet frozen drinks or unimaginative soda mixes from their young-adult years. We’re here to open your eyes to a brave new world of this sugar cane-based liquid miracle. Beyond plain Bacardi, there are hundreds of varieties of rum — some as premium as any top-shelf cognac.

These 21 bars from coast-to-coast (and points in between) are serving up choice cocktails this month using rums you may not have heard of before. And don’t forget that Saturday, August 16 is officially National Rum Day. So raise a glass and say, “Aaar!”

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In Europe, when temperatures drop, so do the prices. Traveling to Europe outside of the summer season almost always guarantees savings — but this year you can get an even earlier start by jumping on this special offer from Lufthansa. The respected airline, a member of the Star Alliance, is offering low rates starting at $532 round-trip between the United States and a number of European cities, including Istanbul, Vienna, Berlin, Warsaw, Prague, and even Moscow. Read more

GreatWolfWith kids getting out of school for the summer, it’s a great time to book a stay at the just-opened Great Wolf Lodge New England. It’s the latest opening for the family-friendly chain of resorts and indoor water parks, located one hour from Boston. To celebrate the resort’s opening, you can save 30 percent when you stay through December 18. Nightly rates with the special offer start at $154 for a suite that sleeps up to six people, and $230 for a Grand KidCabin Suite that sleeps up to 10 people. That’s about a $50 savings on regular rates. Read more

boston seaport - may wong - 620For many visitors, Boston is all about the Freedom Trail, the diverse architecture, and the nation’s colonial beginnings. But it’s by no means a city stuck in the past – in recent years, Beantown has seen a handful of 21st century updates that make a trip there all the more worthwhile.

Among the neighborhoods on the rise, we’re currently loving the somewhat secluded Seaport, sandwiched between downtown Boston and Logan International Airport. It’s perfect for those who like to get away from the crowds, precisely because it requires a little effort to get there. Don’t let the neighborhood’s sparse appearance fool you; plenty of world-class eats, artsy diversions, and boutique hotels await.

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amtraknortheasternSummer travel season is upon us … and so are all the airport delays and traffic jams that go along with it. Bypass the pain of summer travel by hopping on a train to your next destination. On Amtrak’s busy Northeast Regional service between Boston and Virginia Beach,  you can save 25 percent or more on the lowest available fares when you book 14 days in advance. Plus, children between the ages of two and 12 are eligible for a 50 percent discount. Read more

vinyls - steve snodgrass - 620A big part of the travel experience is bringing a piece of it home, so you can remember where you’ve been long after you’ve returned. We recommend skipping the chintzy souvenir shops and loading up on genuine local goods instead. Here, four ways to find items that really represent the destination, wherever you are.

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portsmouth - new hampshire - boston - weekend trips - christine wei - 620Before the summer crowds descend, May is prime time for weekend trips, like the memorable two-day jaunt we recently made to Portsmouth, NH. The quintessential New England harbor town is centered around a downtown dotted with grand Victorian architecture and a host of former industrial spaces – a nod to the city’s shipbuilding and Revolutionary past. But in recent years, cozy new restaurants and indie shops have also popped up to lend the city a lively but communal feel. For the perfect mix between enjoyable and relaxed, here’s what to include on your itinerary:

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portland head lighthouse 1Before defined ports and shipyards, mariners guided their ships to, well, any visible land. Eventually, to help these men see at night, cities built fires on hilltops to guide the ships and to alert sailors to dangers at sea. Centuries passed, and we slowly perfected the lighthouse.

Though lighthouses now are no longer lit by candlelight, and lighthouse-keeping has become an antiquated profession, there’s still something about these marvelous towers that bring a sense of adventure and nostalgia. So in the spirit of exploration, we’ve rounded up 13 still-standing structures that once guided sailors home, and remain amazingly scenic today. See them here.

BaseballGoing to the ballpark isn’t what it used to be: ticket, concession, and parking costs all combine to put a major strain on your wallet, hindering the enjoyment of the game itself. Going with a family of four? You’re looking at a $200 night, at least, just to watch two teams hit a ball around. Savvy travelers can still find ways to do it on a budget, though. Here are a few tips to help you beat the system:

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OmniBostonLooking for a last-minute getaway? Omni Hotels & Resorts invites you to “Spring into Action” with its 72-hour flash sale. From April 1-4, rooms at the brand’s Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Boston properties will be available for less than $200 per night. Read more

FlightCarOne of the best things about boarding a plane to…well, anywhere, and getting away from it all, is leaving behind the nagging concerns of daily life. But a new peer-to-peer website is offering a way for travelers to make a little extra cash while they’re on the road by renting out one of their most basic domestic necessities: their car. Read more

riverpark-nyc-restaurant-week-2014-winter-620At first glance, Restaurant Week might seem like a great way for travelers to try their destinations’ most beloved restaurants for less. The annual or biannual discount dining program typically offers three-course, prix fixe dinner in the $20-$40 range – and sometimes lunch for even less – at establishments that could typically set you back by more than $100 a meal. Alas, some restaurants will cut corners during this time, and the specials aren’t always all that special. Here are some Restaurant Week pitfalls to watch for, and how to avoid them: Read more

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We’re all huge fans of turning to social media for savvy travel tips, and Twitter is the first place we go for breaking news or obscure knowledge. But who knew that Quora is also rife with brilliant travel hacks? When this social media network first launched in 2009, it was poised to be the anti-Facebook. Today, it’s not so much that as it is an intellectual, knowledge-focused forum, and one apparently filled with wanderlusters. This past week, we discovered this thread with creative tips that will save time, save money, and even help you figure out where the locals go, nestled in Quora’s travel section. Below, some of the true gems from the conversation – no “bring an empty water bottle to the airport” here.

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