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Minneapolis

Wisconsin1CynthiaL Drake

Cynthia L. Drake

Traveling along the Wisconsin portion of the Great River Road, a 250-mile stretch that runs along the western border of state, is chock-full of rolling hills and rushing rivers. This quintessential Midwest Americana experience, that for the unhurried traveler, can include leisurely stops at pizza farms, wineries, and even the former stomping grounds of author Laura Ingalls Wilder.

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RadissonBlu1_Downtown_KingRoom1

Radisson Blu

With just under half a million residents, Minneapolis is a rare example of an urban landscape that straddles city and country — chock-full of art museums, bar-lined streets, lakes, and bicycle paths. And bumping up against all of the fun is the nearly year-old, 17-story Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown. Still one of only a few Radisson Blu properties stateside (besides Philadelphia, Chicago, and Mall of America in nearby Bloomington, Minnesota), the others are in far-flung cities like Sydney, Australia; and countries that include Egypt and Belgium. We checked in for the scoop on the hip downtown property.

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humphrey slocome

We may have missed National Ice Cream Day (it was on July 20), but National Ice Cream Month continues. Why not celebrate with a couple of scoops of something more adventurous than vanilla? Read more

minneapolis - ron riering - 620

The “Mini Apple” is what the  locals call Minneapolis, Minnesota’s largest city. No one will mistake it for NYC, of course, but it’s also a fun and cultural destination in its own right, with a vibrant arts scene, passionate local food movement, and natural escapes galore. A recent hotel opening earlier this month has only further upped the city’s game. Best of all, a trip here won’t blow your budget — many of these offerings can be enjoyed for very little, if anything at all.

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Dr Pepper Museum - Waco - Matt Howry - 620

The movies we watch, the toys we play with, the fun foods we eat — these elements of every day life and entertainment define every society’s culture. To celebrate the American way of life this summer, take a day trip to one of these seven pop culture museums worth the drive.

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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

Facebook/DeltaEvery week, Delta publishes its Weekly Web Fare Specials. This week, we spotted flights between select cities for $80-160, each way – a great-sounding deal. If it seems too good to be true, consider that availability is very limited: departures are permitted on February 1 only, and return flights on February 3 or 4 only.

If you’re looking for a last-minute weekend getaway, and the cities match your needs, you’re in luck. Here are a few examples of available routes. See the rest on Delta’s website. Read more

Polar VortexIt’s been less than two weeks since the Polar Vortex first drove us, shivering, indoors like frightened rabbits. Regardless, the unpleasant cold snap is due to make an encore appearance in the U.S. this week, with Weather.com reporting that highs in Minneapolis will be in the single digits. Yikes. The very thought of it just makes us want to curl up by the fire with a good book and not go outside until it’s summer. If you’re having the same reaction, here are a few ways to stay warm on your travels as you brave the cold spell… Read more

Hotel BurnhamThe nose-biting cold that tore through the midwest and east coast this week may have you in hibernation mode, but winter doesn’t have to be all about blustery morning commutes and stocking up on cold medicine.

In Minneapolis, for example, where temperatures are down to -4 degrees, a good deed could warm your heart and save you money on your next hotel stay. The Grand Hotel‘s “Kick Start The New Year” package (from $109 per night) gives guests 20 percent off any stay if they donate to the hotel’s January shoe drive. Located at the Front Desk, the month-long initiative is accepting used running shoes (any size, color, or style will do) to be donated to the global non-profit Soles for Souls, which provides shoes to those in need. (Valid for stays through March, 2014.)

Over in Chicago, Hotel Burnham‘s “Whiskey Lover’s Package” (from $179 per night) is another surefire way to stay toasty in one of the country’s most frigid locales this season. Known for its beautifully preserved architecture, salvaged marble floors, and mahogany-accented lobby, the hotel was practically built for quiet evenings sitting by the fire with a glass of whiskey in hand. Book any stay Thursday-Sunday until January 31, 2014, and receive a tour for two at the Koval Distillery (a 20-minute drive north of the hotel), a 200mL bottle of Koval upon arrival, and late check-out.

Samantha Brown

Samantha Brown has one of the best jobs in the world. She’s been tasked with traveling around the country to find the best hotels and she’s explored Europe and Asia (to start) to learn about their unique cultures, foods, and sights. From South America to Southeast Asia, we’ve been following her ever since she started hosting shows on the Travel Channel, 13 years ago. 

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Bi-Rite Creamery

Fact: Food tastes better during the summer. (Okay, maybe that’s just our opinion.) Whether it’s a hot dog piled high with chili, a cold scoop of your favorite flavor of ice cream, or a juicy lobster roll, there’s something so delicious about summer food. The key, though, is knowing where to get the best of the best. That’s where we come in. For Our Ultimate Summer Food Series, we’re showing you exactly where to go AND what to get there. We know you’re already hungry, so let’s get started.

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Cocktails for National Rum DayJust a few weeks ago, we were celebrating National Tequila Day. But that isn’t stopping bars from charging head-on into yet another booze-filled national holiday: National Rum Day falls on August 16 (a Friday, in case you were wondering), in honor of…well, no one’s exactly sure. But who cares? It’s an entire day of sanctioned drinking – and we’re OK with that. So don your pirate hat and grab a sprig of fresh mint. Here are our picks for the best rum cocktails around. Read more

Last-Minute Travel DealsItching to get away before the summer crowds flock to the nation’s most popular destinations? We’ve rounded up the best last-minute deals to urban centers across the U.S. and Canada, so you can explore the continent’s most popular cities while saving big bucks this spring. Read more

kim-marie-evans-turks-caicosIf you don’t know what Bulgaria, London, Milwaukee, Montana, and New Zealand have in common, it’s my pleasure to remind you that they’re all places some of my well-traveled colleagues identified as worthy family vacation destinations for 2012.

Given that a new year is upon us and my friends are still well traveled, I called on them again to identify destinations that family travelers might want to add to their short lists in 2013.

Kangaroo Island: Yes, Things Are Hopping There

If Hobbit tourism catches on the way John E. DiScala (aka the very frequent flier better known as Johnny Jet) predicted last year, the New Zealand town of Matamata will still be a destination to watch for 2013. If Tolkien travel is not your family’s thing, but you’re still intrigued by the Southern Hemisphere, DiScala has another nomination for you: Kangaroo Island. “It’s in south Australia, just a 15 minute flight from Adelaide,” he points out, “and it’s known as Australia’s ‘zoo without fences.’” As you might expect, you’ll get an eyeful of kangaroos and wallabies there, as well as koalas, seals, and the whimsical-looking echidnas (spiny anteaters). DiScala also says the island’s Southern Ocean Lodge is one of the world’s best places to stay.

Perhaps the best news is that Kangaroo Island is not yet on the radar of U.S. family travelers. “I was there in October, so no U.S. families were traveling,” DiScala says, “but they will be there, as it’s just now getting known. It’s the new Tasmania.” Read more

Hosting the Olympic Games is a prestigious honor that cities around the world compete for with as much stamina and finesse as any world-class athlete. But just as with the sporting events they hope to celebrate, there can only be one winner, and when it comes to choosing a host city there is no silver medal. Since the birth of the modern Games in 1896, several cities have submitted Olympic bid after Olympic bid, only to see their dreams of glory continuously dashed. Detroit alone has been rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) a whopping seven times! We here at ShermansTravel headquarters are still mourning the loss of the 2012 Games for our hometown, New York City, so we understand these cities’ frustrations – and know there’s so much more to these locales than their failed Olympic bids. Our top 10 snubbed Olympic cities may be some of the losing-est destinations, but they still offer plenty of ways to get your sports fix, not to mention new and noteworthy gold-medal attractions that keep visitors coming back for more. While some cities last attempted a bid in the ‘50s or ‘60s, two of our picks – Istanbul and Madrid – are finalists to host the 2020 Games. Here’s hoping one of our rejects can finally get its chance at Olympic history!
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