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Making sure the kids (and adults) are entertained while on a summer road trip can really make or break your vacation. The new book What’s Great About . . . I-95 by road trip expert Barbara Barnes offers a fun and educational way to pass the time while cruising down one of the U.S.’s most-traveled stretches of highway.
“It really does make [the ride] go faster,” says Barnes of the book. “It keeps the driver alert, and it makes the drive more fun.”
With sections broken down by state and points of interest designated by mile marker, Barnes maps out all 1,925 miles of I-95 from Houlton, Maine to Miami. The book highlights sights to look out for from the highway (like the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Pennsylvania and the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia) while providing little-known facts about notable people and places (The first woman to run for president? Victoria Woodhull, in 1872).
Now that you’ve got the car ride entertainment covered, we asked Barnes for her advice on planning the rest of your vacation. Here are five tips for the perfect I-95 road trip:
Forget Sex in the City; Hudson Valley-based wilderness training outfit Mountain Scout Survival School is bringing survival to the city, and setting up camp right in the heart of NYC’s Central Park. Their timing couldn’t be better: With enough headline-making worldwide turmoil and natural disasters to scare the bejesus out of most of us – not to mention doomsayers citing the Mayan calendar’s end date later this year as a harbinger of apocalyptic times – it seems that it’s high time to prepare to meet your doom.
Heck, even if the Earth still manages to keep spinning on its axis for a wee while longer, knowing a thing or two about living off the land and surviving in the wild isn’t such a bad thing to have in your bag of tricks. And, at the very least, when swapping stories of the day’s exploits at the bar later that night, your tale of survival training in the thicket of Central Park will hands-down trumps your friends’ accounts of their own humdrum afternoon there, spent merely picnicking or running around the reservoir (yawn).
Around this time last year I suggested a family vacation to Rochester’s Strong National Museum of Play, “the best kids’ museum you never heard of” (to quote myself) and also noted briefly that the Finger Lakes region packed plenty of appeal for outdoorsy families.
It’s the latter idea that gets our attention this week, as New York State’s Ontario county – zestily rebranding its nine thousand square miles of goodness as “Nature’s Health Club”– is suggesting families try out a fitness trail studded with several local points of interest.
The trail in this case can be framed more realistically as a loose driving tour. The sites on the route – an historic site, creperie, sailboarding shop, water park, and apple orchard – lie south of U.S. 90, spanning a 25 mile area that bridges the Canandaigua and Seneca lakes. So the way I’d approach this trip is first spending a day or two in Rochester and then driving the 20 miles southeast to Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor, NY, in whose vicinity you’ll find more than half a dozen inns and chain hotels hugging the south side of US 90 if you want to add an overnight or two to this tour. Read more
Millions of people will be indoors watching the Super Bowl this Sunday, but Liftopia is offering exclusive lift ticket deals to get you out on the slopes – be quick, though, because the offers are limited. Currently, savings range from 20 to 76 percent and you can find deals at over 80 resorts, from Alaska to New England, organized by location.
Liftopia is an online lift ticket retailer that offers deals throughout the year and around the world, from small ski resorts in the Midwest, to big names like Sun Valley and Mammoth. The Game Day sale is Liftopia’s biggest sale yet, but be sure to check out the site (or use their iPhone app!) for great deals on lift tickets throughout the ski season.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, vacation packages, and other travel deals.
Were you to plot family camping on a spectrum, on one end there would be traditional camping, with cookware, pitched tents, sleeping bags, and the hard, cold ground. Way over on the other end of the spectrum would be The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe’s Indoor Campout Package, where for a hundred bucks per child, hotel staffers will pitch a 3’ x 5’ tent – equipped with a feather bed and Ritz-Carlton linens, of course – inside your room. Read more
Two hip hotels in Vancouver and New York City are offering guests special access to romance-dedicated staff this February. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, look to OPUS Vancouver’s Cupid Concierge, who’s tasked with bringing customized romantic experiences to guests on request – primed for those who could use a little help ramping up the romance department. Or, bunk down in NYC’s 70 park avenue, where an on-site Romance Sommelier is encouraging ladies to borrow from the British tradition of proposing to their fellas on Leap Day (February 29), with special month-long planning services available to help women pop the question in style. Read more
When a friend suggested dinner in Manhattan’s Tribeca, the first thing I thought was that it would be a relatively long taxi ride downtown. The second thing I thought was that a Tribeca dining spot would be a somewhat pretentious, loud, trendy restaurant with so-so food (and high prices). Well, I could not have been further off the mark than with Scalini Fedeli on Duane Street. This super charming, refined, but not too formal, restaurant wins on all counts.
Scalini Fedeli’s entrance has baskets of fresh fruit, which help set the tone that, while upscale, this is a quite approachable restaurant with maybe 15 tables. The main dining room is elegant and relaxed, with burning candles tableside (rare in Manhattan). The vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows reminded me a bit of a church and I wondered if it may have been one in days past. Be that as it may, the ambiance was entirely warm and comfortable; it’s not as formal as Bouley just down the street and the food is every bit as good.
Restaurant Week is one of the best ways to dine in style, noshing at incredible, well-known restaurants that are otherwise out of the normal price range. Not only does it provide a great excuse for a date night, Restaurant Week is an exhibition of local culture and cuisine. Check out a few of the upcoming winter Restaurant Weeks below, and be sure to check back at OpenTable to make a reservation – and fast, some restaurants book up quicker than a Justin Beiber concert (cough, Le Cirque).
January 15 – 28, 2012; three-course, prix-fixe lunches and dinners ($15 and $30, respectively)
New York City
January 16 – February 10, 2012; three-course, prix-fixe lunches and dinners during the week ($24 and $35, respectively)
The sport of climbing has gained remarkable momentum as of late, with young stars like Chris Sharma and Alex Honnold sparking unprecedented participation, especially among wide-eyed newbies. If you’re among them (I sure am, after being mesmerized watching climbers scale Yosemite’s world-renowned El Capitan), then why not take your next trip to new heights by visiting one of these great climbing towns?
The following destinations are great picks for climbing enthusiasts of all levels, whether you’re an aspiring novice or expert rock hound.
I am not into “sceney” restaurants – that is, eateries where the crowd appears to be trying too hard to be fashionable, is usually too loud and young (with a hefty helping of bankers), and is always reaching for a new trendy martini a la Sex and the City. The food, décor, and service are my priorities when eating out. What I care most about when eating out is the food, the décor, and service.
Given that disclaimer, if those criteria are met, I am happy to patronize an establishment that also happens to be chic, trendy, and full of celebrities. Few restaurants manage this, but The Lion, which opened in New York’s Greenwich Village about a year ago, certainly does.
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