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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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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 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.

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

mall_of_america_nickelodeon_universe_family_vacationNo matter how cold it gets in Minnesota, it’s always 72 degrees in the Mall of America. The Bloomington behemoth maintains its internal temperature not with a heating system, but with solar energy flowing through its eight acres of skylights, the light from its more than 520 stores and 50 restaurants, and the body heat radiating from the 40 million people who visit those stores and restaurants every year.

Iron-fisted shopping amid many heated bodies may not be a draw for all families, but seen through a different lens, Mall of America (MOA) may pack appeal as an off-the-beaten-path theme park destination. MOA’s centerpiece, Nickelodeon Universe, is the biggest indoor amusement park in the United States. As a bonus, the mall is only about 10 miles south of the best city you’re not visiting, Minneapolis.

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Frontier AirlinesThe first few weeks of May, before Memorial Day kicks off the summer travel season, present a sweet spot for domestic travel. You’ll find pleasant spring weather in most of the country, without the crowds and heat that can plague July and August vacations. Take advantage with Frontier’s nationwide fare sale, which is slashing rates on routes between popular destinations, including New York, Los Angeles, Denver, and San Antonio. Tickets drop to as little as $44 each way, including most taxes and fees.

Sample Fares (O/W):

Albuquerque – Denver: $ 44+
Denver – Tucson: $ 49+
Denver – Phoenix: $54+
Des Moines – Milwaukee: $59+
Spokane – Denver: $69+
Los Angeles – Denver: $74+
New York (LGA) – Milwaukee: $84+
Madison – Denver:  $99+
Minneapolis/St. Paul – Kansas City: $109+
San Antonio – Milwaukee: $114+

THE VALUE: One week after the sale, fares on the Albuquerque to Denver route jump to $99 each way – more than double the current price.

THE CATCH: You’ll have to act fast: Tickets must be booked by May 18 for travel through May 25.

WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on hotels and other travel deals.

Ecocafe Pledge BoardRealistically, Earth Day can be celebrated any day when dining out. It’s easy to find eco-friendly eateries around the country that serve sustainable food and embrace environmental business practices – online directories like the Green Restaurant Association ( even provide state-by-state listings.

But many of these restaurants and cafés step it up a notch on Earth Day itself by offering special menu items and discounts, and producing special events and entertainment. On April 22, dine out and do good at these eight locations nationwide.

Red Stag Supper Club: Start the day with breakfast at Minneapolis’ Red Stag Supperclub (, where all money raised from 8am to 12pm benefits the Land Stewardship Project ( Minnesota’s first LEED-certified restaurant will serve up locally-produced and organic ingredients, while the LSP will give brief presentations.

Eco-Cafe: Write your pledge to go green on the chalkboard in front of New Orleans’ Eco-Café ( and you’ll get a free cup of organic coffee. That Friday, featured menu items – like the soup and salad combo – will be made exclusively with ingredients from Holly Grove Farm, just three miles away.

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