Shermanstravel Blog

Food & Wine

Atlantic CityOn the first of this month, United Airlines gave Atlantic City a leg up by launching daily service out of Atlantic City Airport to Houston and Chicago. The airport, which was previously only served by Spirit Airlines, lies just six miles from the Boardwalk. This makes it even easier for people from the Midwest and the south to get a first-hand glimpse of the waterfront casino town. Here’s how to do this city on a budget this summer: Read more

Seoul, South KoreaIn the hit K-pop song, Gangnam Style, Psy describes the trendy scene of Seoul’s Gangnam district, where your clothes, and how much money you have, matter most. It’s a tongue-in-cheek look at a neighborhood known for luxury and wealth in a country where people have acquired wealth so recently it’s still somewhat of a novelty.

South Korea’s newfound prosperity is most evident in Seoul, where the shopping malls are some of the biggest in the world and the pursuit of beauty has become an obsession. But not everyone in Seoul rolls “Gangnam style” and you don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy a visit. For every luxury hotel, you’ll find a much more affordable option. For dinner, you can sit down to a pricey gourmet meal in a restaurant, or grab some equally delicious fare from a street vendor. Here are some ways to enjoy Seoul on both ends of the spectrum. Read more

OjaiOften lost in the shadow of coastal spots like Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, and Los Angeles, the inland orchard town of Ojai is a remote hideaway popular with spa-happy travelers with their hearts set on real R&R. The name means “Valley of the Moon” in the Ventureno Native American language, and the land is considered by many to have powerful healing properties. Despite the small-town feel, the experience of staying there doesn’t necessarily come at a discount, partially because it’s become a favorite among Hollywood stars. Here are a few ways to experience Ojai without breaking the bank:

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CaribbeanIf there’s one thing the Caribbean has plenty of, it’s beaches. And when you consider that every beach has a multitude of enticing bars all clamoring for your attention, choosing the best one can become a nearly impossible task. Everyone you meet will wax on about their favorite drinking spot, but there are a few standouts that demand a secure place on every Caribbean traveler’s to-do list. These five are legendary. Bottoms up!

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AbruzzoDriving through endless sweeping hills in Italy, there’s nothing for miles, except for the occasional religious relic on the side of the road.  It was hard to believe that we’d just come from bustling Rome, which is about 120 miles away.

The region of Abruzzo, the least populated of Italy’s 20 regions, is also its greenest, with one third of its territory preserved in national parks. It’s also one of the few areas in the world where you can ski in the mountains in the morning and surf (on the Adriatic Sea) in the afternoon. Read more

SilverseaA few beads of moisture had collected on a marble tabletop at the outdoor Panorama Lounge aboard Silversea CruisesSilver Spirit. Seconds later, a waiter appeared out of nowhere with a white rag. “Here, madam. Let me just take care of that,” he said, wiping away the droplets. That’s one example of the service level passengers can expect on a luxury ship like this. On the Silver Spirit, there is one crew member for every 1.4 passengers – that’s half the ratio offered by most premium-category ships.

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bordeaux-fromagerie-deruelle-christine-wei-3Wine. Cheese. Seafood. These are the hallmarks of local cuisine in Bordeaux. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend a year’s savings to eat and drink well. Here are the best, affordable places to tuck in, plus some additional advice on where to stay and what to do when you’re in town.

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Hotel VintageWe always keep an eye out for offers at recently renovated or redesigned hotels. Why? Offering the same perks as a newly opened hotel (think new beds, bath tubs, and pools), you can also expect the same level of service as a property that’s been open for years, without all the growing pains. As an additional perk, you will often find special offers and discounts around the re-opening.

Case in point, Kimpton’s former Hotel Vintage Park in downtown Seattle has just undergone a $6 million transformation, reopening as Hotel Vintage last week. In keeping with their Washington wine theme, the stylish boutique hotel is offering an “Uncork the New Vintage” re-opening special, with rates starting at $209 per night for a queen room. Plus, guests can choose one of the following perks:

ManchesterIf quaint cobbled streets, green pastures, and historic buildings are the first things that come to mind when you think of the UK, then perhaps you ought to consider flying directly to Manchester, rather than London, on your next visit. Among Brits, word is that 8 million-strong, immense London is too packed with tourists, international brands and absent landlords – so much so that it is losing its quintessential “British-ness.” Even Prince Charles recently noted the capital’s focus was on “faceless, poorly conceived” developments over “mansion blocks” and “garden squares.”

So where to go if you want a city that better represents life in the UK?

Manchester. Why? Here’s just a short list:

It’s home to the Industrial Revolution that changed the world. It’s known as the first truly modern city. It’s the home-base of the world’s most famous football team. And, last but not least, it’s the setting of the world’s longest running soap opera: Coronation Street. Here are just a few more reasons to make for Manchester rather than London: Read more

Denver BeerIt’s no secret that Denver brews good beer, and lots of it. From Great Divide, to Oskar Blues, to New Belgium, the front range of the Rockies is calling itself the “Napa Valley of beer” these days. And given that it hosts one of the world’s largest beer events every year in October, we’d have a hard time disagreeing. Hitting a few pubs should be on the list of every traveler to the Mile High City, and these lesser-known city breweries taste something you can’t get elsewhere. Plus, you’ll earn bonus points with the locals. Read more

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

 MofongoWhen visiting the Caribbean islands, odds are the restaurants, food stalls, and street vendors are peddling snacks and dishes you’ve never heard of, let alone eaten. But don’t avoid them because you’re nervous. After all, exploring the local cuisine could become the highlight of your trip. Here are the items you’re most likely to encounter, plus info on how much they typically cost, and how to order like a local. Now, dig in!

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river cruise - jim thorne - 620

Deciding whether to book a river cruise? If you’ve already read our primer on what it’s all about and why we love it from a value standpoint, these tips and tidbits that we’ve gleaned firsthand give you a deeper glimpse into the experience:

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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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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

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