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For some positive antidotes to that depressing and inaccurate, yet still pervasive, stat about American travelers – that a mere 20 percent of U.S. residents hold passports – consider these figures from the U.S. Travel Association:
- U.S. residents logged 1.6 billion trips for leisure purposes in 2012
- 1 out of every 8 jobs in the U.S. depends on travel and tourism, an industry that generated $200.9 billion in payroll for those directly employed in U.S. travel
- Direct spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. averaged $2.3 billion a day, $97.7 million an hour, $1.6 million a minute, and $27,125 a second!
The bottom line: Traveling is a powerful force that’s good for everybody, which is the underlying message of National Travel & Tourism Week, starting May 4 and running through May 12. Currently, more than 60 locations across the country, including state and local tourism boards and travel businesses, are hosting some pretty nifty events. Here, a quick rundown of highlights sure to bring out the travel bug in you. Read more
When you think Tennessee, you think Nashville. And when you think Nashville, you might also think of the city’s blooming convention scene (OK, after you think of the music, of course). In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the heart of Music City, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.
When it comes to fresh, fine eats that don’t require a lot of walking from the halls of the Nashville Convention Center, Merchants is an excellent bet. It’s an upscale southern eatery that serves up delicacies like friend green tomatoes, sweet potato fries, and shrimp ‘n grits. It’ll work well for lunch or dinner, but be aware that the fabled “second floor” only opens after 5:00PM. 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
As the kids start counting down the days to summer vacation, America’s theme parks are counting down to the newest, biggest, most scream-worthy rides and attractions (so far, anyway). Here, a handy primer on where you’ll be taking the family this year.
The biggest news, of course, is the opening of Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure. This 12-acre attraction based on the Disney-Pixar Cars movies incorporates three new rides – including the thrilling coaster Radiator Springs Racers (pictured) – a trio of restaurants, and other themed shopping and entertainment venues. Watch out for Lightning McQueen, Mater, and other Cars favorites starting June 15.
Almost as fast as you can say sesquicentennial, April 12 will be here. The date will mark 150 years since Confederate soldiers fired on Union ones at Fort Sumpter in Charleston, South Carolina, effectively beginning the Civil War. And even if you don’t have Civil War buffs in your midst, there is something about this anniversary and the pageantry surrounding it that could translate to a nice learning vacation this spring.
Many celebrations will be planned around battlefields, and “they’re all over the east,” observes Lonely Planet U.S. travel editor Robert Reid, and “battlefields from Charleston to Bull’s Run are planning particularly ambitious events.”
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