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Somewhere between the liver shared by history’s most famous set of conjoined twins and the wall of eye abnormalities, I learned that not all museums are created equal. I was in my late teens when I first visited the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia and had already developed a pretty opinion of museums as being stuffy and dull. The museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, however, showed me how wrong I was. Ever since that visit, it has remained one of my favorite venues for science, history, and, well, weirdness. I revisited the museum last fall and marveled once again at the collection that amazes, flabbergasts, and often disgusts many visitors. Part science museum, part history museum, with a dash of carnival slideshow thrown in, the Mütter Museum is far from your average place of learning. That’s part of it’s charm, though. Beyond that, it’s also a tribute to how much doctors and scientists have learned about the human body over the centuries. Read more
Heading to Philadelphia requires thick skin and an even thicker coat (this time of year), but as 2013 hits its stride and the holiday hangover subsides, we’re here to prepare you for any upcoming conventions and business trips to this historic and energetic city. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the warm embrace of The City of Brotherly Love, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.
For a fine, fine night out on the town, Butcher and Singer is a must-do. It’s a fabulous place to eat your cares away, but we’ll confess that the atmosphere steals the show. It’s a high-class steakhouse at heart, but it’s dressed up in low-light Hollywood garb in order to make those dining feel as if they’ve shifted back a few decades. Fair warning: a mobster may very well join your table.
Some people would have you believe that hiking is a 3-season activity. Assuming a concerned tone, they’ll warn you about frigid temperatures, park closures, and impassable trails. And, to a certain extent, they might be right. In the United States, winter is a season for skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. Or gathering around a fireplace with a few friends and a mug of hot cocoa or mulled wine.
Hikers should know however, that they don’t have to put off their kind of fun until the spring thaw, even if the snowdrifts outside continue to grow. They simply need to pick up a new piece of gear: snowshoes. A basic pair will only cost a little more than the waterproof, Gore-Tex boots you probably already own. Once you’ve chosen your snowshoes, all you need to do next is dress in layers, pack plenty of snacks and water (and maybe a few hand warmer packets just in case), and select a trail. To get you started, here’s a short list of state parks in the Northeast with winter trails and on-site rental facilities. Read more
Even without snow and ice in the forecast, December and January temperatures have a way of keeping otherwise outgoing people indoors. So if skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing aren’t exactly your cup of hot cocoa, you might be scratching your head wondering what to do with a few spare vacation days or a long weekend this winter. One idea is to hit the road with a wine tote, journal, and a designated driver. In the United States, star-studded California tends to be the biggest magnet for oenophiles, but the East Coast has dozens of its own wine trails too, many of which are a short drive from New York, Philadelphia, or Baltimore. Plus, by visiting some of these small wineries in the off-season, you’ll avoid the crowds that can choke parking lots on warmer spring and summer weekends. Read more
Across the country, fall is in full swing. Pumpkin beers crowd the shelves of bottle shops, trees have begun to shed their colorful leaves, and Halloween is two short weeks away. Which means that cold weather is already creeping south from the Canadian interior and the year’s first frost isn’t far off. Before winter arrives, make the most of October and plan a short road trip around two outdoor activities that are perfectly suited to autumn: hiking and pumpkin or apple picking.
Apple season is over for the handful of orchards between Boston and Providence, but plenty of pumpkins remain to be chosen and carved, and fresh-pressed cider is still available for thirsty pickers. C. N. Smith Farm in East Bridgewater, Mass. is one such place where you can buy a big orange gourd for the front porch. Purchase a ticket for a hayride and you’ll be carried out to a pumpkin field where acres of future jack-o’-lanterns are priced by the pound. On your way to C. N. Smith (or before making the return trip), stop at Blue Hills Reservation, a chain of 22 hills that aren’t particularly steep individually, but add up to a respectable hiking challenge when attempted in succession. Make the short climb to Eliot Tower from the Trailside Museum in Milton, or test your hiking mettle on the nine-mile Skyline Trail. 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:
Looking for a weekend break with lots to do and within driving distance from the Northeast? Take a look at a recent AAA Four Diamond award winner, Mount Airy Casino Resort in Pennsylvania. Located about an hour west of New York City by car, this recently renovated resort has a lot to offer, including a full casino with 72 table games, an 18-hole golf course, five restaurants (two of which are fine dining), and a full service spa.
A perfect spot for couples, adults groups, or those just looking to get away, Mount Airy Casino is set in the secluded Pocono Mountains that make it easy for guests to escape from their busy schedules. Guests can try their luck at the full service casino, which includes video poker, blackjack, and roulette games. For the poker lovers, there’s a completely separate Poker Room, overlooking the lake and the entire casino floor below.
For diehard skiers and boarders, this year’s February 29 means an extra day on the slopes. Resorts across the country will offer lift tickets for just $29 tomorrow to take full advantage of Leap Day – with some full-day prices slashed by over 60 percent.
- Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadow: Book online by midnight tonight to score savings of 65 percent at these California sister resorts north of Lake Tahoe.
- Sunday River: Lift tickets at this resort near Bethel, Me., are discounted 64 percent.
- Diamond Peak: Save 46 percent at these slopes north of Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side.
- Sno Mountain: Skiing at Scranton, Pa.’s local mountain will save you 43 percent.
If you can’t make it to the slopes tomorrow but want to plan a ski getaway for March, Big Bear Lake in southern California will be offering a flash sale on lodging and lift tickets from 6am February 29 to 6am March 1. Book any weeknight in March to receive 29 percent off lodging, up to two $29 lift tickets per day, and 29 percent off ski and snowboard rentals.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on hotels, flights, vacation packages, and other travel deals.
Cocktails are all the rage these days, so it was just a matter of time before happy hour moved from the tavern to the spa. We found three treatments to savor the next time you’re craving a tipple, but aren’t quite ready to belly up to the bar.
Hot Spiced Rum Stone Massage at Vegas’ Bathhouse Spa
A treatment room scented with sweet winter spices sets the stage for this soothing rubdown, which begins with an application of warm cinnamon, clove, and arnica oils, which rev circulation, even out skin tone, ease inflammation and, thanks to the arnica’s potent curative powers, deliver a dose of rum-like heat to the heart of your sore muscles. And whether they’re strategically placed to untie knots – or gliding over your oiled form – the hot, smooth stones let the work go deeper, doubling the benefit. Steaming towels wrapped around your hands and feet cocoon you in coziness. Bathhouse Spa, THEhotel, Las Vegas; 50 minutes, $165, $80 minutes, $215.
Reassure the kids that the Easter Bunny will still find them in a hotel, and grab the whole family for this sweet getaway to Hershey, PA. This package deal starts at only $374 per room per night for a family of four! Spend some quality time exploring Hershey Gardens and the Hershey Story Museum. Then get your thrill fix on Hershey Park’s many fun rides, for an unforgettable Easter weekend.
This Easter package includes:
- Saturday breakfast at Hershey Lodge’s restaurant Lebbie Lebkicher’s
- One-day admission to Springtime in the Park
- Easter Sunday breakfast
- Admission to Hershey Gardens
- Admission to the Hershey Story Museum
THE VALUE: Tickets to Hershey Park for a family of four start at over $110, and this deal gets you admission to the park (and more) plus deluxe accommodation and meals! And, the deal is valid for Easter weekend, when hotels often charge a premium.
THE CATCH: There’s a two-night minimum stay.
THE DETAILS: Click here to book the Easter Package or call 1-800-HERSHEY
WE’VE GOT MORE: Need a flight to Pennsylvania? Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the best rates!
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