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While October might not scream “beach season,” many parts of the U.S. are still enjoying weather that calls for shorts and a lounge chair. Sure, you can go to Florida or Southern California pretty much year-round for sun and sand, but what about beach destinations that get cooler as fall sets in? For now, many of them are still prime for a late-season visit, with great deals, fewer crowds, and comfortable temperatures. Okay, so you might not get a sunburn (Who wants that, anyway?), but you’ll still find plenty to do in these seven locales: Read more
If you’re the type to travel for golf (or just golf while you travel), check out our top ten list of the best golf resorts around the world. Get ready to tee off in some seriously amazing destinations.
1. PGA National Resort and Spa Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
It’s the stuff of legends. Home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, the PGA National Resort and Spa is steeped in golf history. Boasting signature courses like “The Palmer” and “The Squire” (designed and named after Arnold Palmer and Gene Sarazen, respectively), an on-site Golf Academy offering lessons from certified PGA pros, and a newly renovated golf complex, it’s easy to see why this resort is a favorite among golf buffs. Treat dad to the Gold Golf Package, which includes resort accommodation, daily breakfast at the Palm Terrace restaurant, one round of golf daily on selected courses, and unlimited balls and bag storage. Room rates start from $129 per room per night. Read more
Director Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” – starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire – brings to life the lavish, decadent Jazz Age. Although those days are long gone, you can still step into Jay Gatsby’s world with these seven destinations and experiences. Read more
Oh, the difference a month makes. Even at the tail-end of March, most of the contiguous United States were still far too frosty for anyone to utter “spring” without sarcasm in their voice. But now, temperatures are rapidly rising, mountainous towns are finally thawing out, and roadways that have been closed for the winter are opening back up. Here are three of my favorite springtime road trips – they’re certainly worth a spin before summer swoops in, and if you’re looking to avoid the crowds. Read more
If Raleigh pops up on your list of places that are soon to be traveled to, you’re in luck. For one, the capital of North Carolina is a gorgeous place to be in the spring, and moreover, yours truly has spent the vast majority of his life calling The Tar Heel State home. In an effort to get you outside the boardroom and into the best parts of central NC, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings. Read more
College basketball fans are in a frenzy as March Madness returns to dominate the nation’s attention until early April. Sixty-eight teams will square off in the annual tournament to determine the best of the best. While there are plenty of college campuses bustling with activities, you don’t have to be a hoops fan to enjoy the sights and sounds these college towns have to offer. With tons going on this spring, we picked seven of our favorite college campuses that offer a plethora of activities. From the quiet southern comfort of Duke, to the electric energy of the University of Miami, we’ve got quite a selection. Whether your bracketology involves months of meticulous stat tracking and research, or arbitrarily picking the team with the silliest mascot, we’ve scoped out some of the must-see attractions at the top schools.
North Carolina’s Queen City has both a distinct uptown and downtown, and regardless of whether you’re coming in for a financial powwow or one of the many events held at the Charlotte Convention Center, there’s plenty to enjoy. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of Carolina, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.
Despite being home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte is an undeniably cosmopolitan city. The good news, however, is that you can’t shake the south out of Charlotte, at least when it comes to grub and greetings. For those looking to set up a pricey, albeit unforgettable meal just a few blocks from the convention hall, there’s Mimosa Grill. Yes, half of the bill can be attributed to the view, but the food is pretty endearing. It’s described as “global cuisine with a southern twist,” and it’s that southern twist that really shines. Read more
North Carolina’s edges tend to be full of adventure. On the western side, there are plenty of peaks to climb, the Blue Ridge Parkway to traverse, and the single most visited National Park in the entire U.S. system. (Yes, that’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park – thanks for sharing, Tennessee!) Most tourists set on visiting the state during this time of year focus on that sector, and for good reason, but here’s a little-known secret: right now is a perfect time to go against the grain and head to the beach.
The Outer Banks region is iconic in its own right, swelling in the summer with locals and visitors alike. But the powdery white sands and miles of seashore remain accessible throughout the year, and the dawn of fall means fewer frustrations, cheaper rates, and more wide open spaces. The weather this time of year actually isn’t as bad as many would think. Often, highs reach into the mid-70s, and the waterways are still warm enough for swimming. Unlike many summer destinations, the Outer Banks never truly shuts down. A great many people live in this region full-time, meaning that most stores, activities, and restaurants will still be alive and well as autumn crests. Read more
My father moved to Memphis while I was in college. An upstate New York native, I was a bit of a stranger to this brave new world below the Mason-Dixon line. Of course, one of the first things that I had to learn about was Memphis barbecue. They take it very seriously there, arguing about which place is supreme. I’m a fan of Payne’s, simply for the down home feel, but you’ll find advocates for Neely’s, the Rendezvous, Cozy Corner, and Central BBQ in different parts of the city. What was impressed upon me most was that I was having Memphis barbecue. The fact it was theirs, a product of the history and the people that lived there, and that they had opinions about it — very strong opinions, in fact — was an essential component.
As I traveled more and more across the United States, I learned that each and every city with a vibrant ‘cue culture is very proud of each and every one of their regional differences. America is homogenized in most things; most of these cities with lots of ‘cue also have exurbs with big box stores and the like that are the same in each and every city. Barbecue is where these cities get to cut loose and show off what their respective culinary traditions have to offer. Read more
When it comes to summertime fun, not every town is satisfied with state fairs and carnivals. These intrepid communities celebrate quirky bits of history and time-honored traditions that make simple petting zoos seem boring. While some of these festivals might look bizarre at first glance, they serve the same purpose as the more run-of-the-mill gatherings: Get a bunch of people together to have fun. Read more
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:
Fans who were inspired by the survival skills, archery, and action in the blockbuster hit can tap into their inner Katniss Everdeen or Peeta Mellark with several recently announced tours in North Carolina, where much of the movie was filmed. On select weekends throughout the summer, Hunger Games Fan Tours is offering both day trips and weekend outings that teach guests fundamental survival skills like orienteering, archery, and shelter building, based in DuPont State Recreational Forest – a.k.a, the Arena where the Games took place.
In addition, North Carolina’s official tourism and travel website has outlined two self-guided tours that highlight filming locations and attractions where the cast stayed, ate, and dined throughout the state.
Callaway Gardens, a resort about 60 miles south of Atlanta, markets itself as a place where families can enjoy quality time together while getting back to nature. That’s all good, but its wholesome reputation had me slightly skeptical that the property’s new TreeTop Adventure, a combination ropes course and zip line nestled high in the trees that opened in mid-May, would be, well, bland enough for Mom, Dad, Junior, and maybe even Grandma.
So, just a few minutes into the experience, my inner adventure snob is more than impressed. Guides call these 24 aerial challenges, some of which are about 30 feet high, “games” – but then, so would Jason Bourne. For mere mortals, they’re no joke: suspended logs, bridges, and even a series of more than a dozen narrow swings to navigate, one by one, the latter of which was so tricky for me I prayed mightily for the security of my safety clips and harness.
While one-off organic spas with fastidiously natural skin-care treatments have always existed, now a number of high-end hotel spas are adding all-natural, non-toxic spa treatments to their menus. These hotels spas are catering to a customer who’s concerned about chemicals in her cosmetics and wants beauty treatments to be as carefully sourced and crafted as her dinner at ABC Kitchen (or groceries at Whole Foods). Here are five hotel spas offering luxurious all-natural facials:
1. The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
The South Florida spa just debuted eco-luxe treatments with Amala, which means “most pure” in Sanskrit. It contains no synthetic ingredients and whole plant ingredients (and is one of the most popular product lines at Barneys New York). Its pioneering founder, Ute Leube, sources a majority of the ingredients from organic farmers around the world.
Treatment to try: Amala Worth Avenue Firming Facial. www.fourseasons.com
2. The Sahra Spa & Hammam at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Treatments at this brand-new spa use Kahina Giving Beauty, a high-end natural skin-care line based on the benefits of argan oil. This nourishing ingredient is sourced from Berber women’s cooperatives in Morocco, and every facial gives 10 percent back to them.
Treatment to try: Kahina Giving Beauty Facial. www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com Read more
No parabens, no synthetics, no glamour? No way. Get with the program: Some of the most chic spas are the so-called “green” ones, meaning the architecture, health of the environment, and selection of products used in the spa all reflect a do-good philosophy. Here are some of the ground-breakers in the green-is-gorgeous spa movement.
Six Senses Destination Spa — Phuket, Thailand
This spa is like a green Canyon Ranch. Everyone participate in the well-being programs—and the “no shoes, no news” philosophy. The design is rigorously eco, from building materials to plants on the property. And the spa treatments by Sodashi, an organic Australian brand, are incredibly luxe. Both the choreography of the spa treatments—with dry brushing, warm crystals, and loads of massage—and the composition of the lush beauty products prove just how gorgeous green can be.
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