Shermans Travel » Blog » Weekend Getaways
Most travelers to Philly know that they can experience lots of the city’s history and the arts for free or on the cheap, but what else is there to do in the City of Brotherly Love without burning up your budget? On a recent visit, we came across a wide-variety of inexpensive activities that will help you spice up your next trip: Read more
Coffee, one of the world’s most universally beloved drinks, offers a taste of local culture with every sip, in whatever form it’s served (small but strong, organic and Fair Trade Certified, topped with whipped cream, or spiked with whiskey). Inspired by cool fall temperatures and a recent #TTOT (that’s Travel Talk on Twitter, a hashtag travelers should definitely check out if they’re not familiar with it), here we spill the beans on five destinations where caffeine-craving travelers can get their fix.
Vienna: The coffeehouse, or Kaffeehaus, is as much a staple of Viennese culture as the waltz and opera. In recent years, the number of traditional coffeehouses has dwindled as owners face competition from modern chains (yes, Starbucks has several locations here) and increasing real estate costs, but enjoying a cup is still a must-do during a visit. From decades-old institutions with soaring ceilings and immaculately dressed waiters to boho-hip joints that draw a young crowd, you can find the perfect spot for any sipping style.
Can’t-miss spots include Café Sperl, a gorgeous architectural gem that has been around since 1880; Café Sacher, known for its decadent Sacher-Torte; and Café Landtmann, with live music, a celebrity clientele, and live music.
Looking for an easy budget getaway? Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains offer a mix of inexpensive activities and attractions that work for all kinds of travelers, from thrill-seekers and hiking nuts to kids and foodies. Here’s just a sampling of our favorites, broken down by the type of traveler… Read more
Following some recent legislation, it’ll be at least seven years before developers are allowed to build a casino in New York City (though we’d happily wait another 50). Until then, New Yorkers craving the sounds of ringing slot machines and clacking poker chips will continue trekking to the same ocean-sprayed resort town they’ve been visiting since the early 1900s: Atlantic City.
And why shouldn’t they? Situated just 130 miles south of Manhattan, Atlantic City is an easy day trip that’s both cheap and entertaining. Don’t believe us? Allow the facts to speak for themselves: Read more
One fun thing about the holidays? There’s always something to do. Whether you’re waving to Santa from the front row of a crowded parade, or ice skating around a 50 foot tall Christmas tree, the list of seasonal traditions is endless. For those looking to get away this year, here are a few traditions worth getting acquainted with; and, naturally, a hotel deal to make the magic happen.
It’s not hard to understand why someone, on their first visit to New York, would be reluctant to venture outside of New York City. It’s where the action is. It offers an incredibly rich culture. It’s iconic. But just north of the city lies a whole state, waiting to be explored: Hudson Valley, Saratoga, Finger Lakes, Catskills, to name a few. And those are the parts that Governor Cuomo is hoping to draw attention to in a new online tourism guide.
The “Sustainable Tourism” guide will be web-only, and will promote eco-friendly activities in all regions of New York, like exploring Buffalo’s sustainably-built Burchfield Penney Arts Center, or hiking Mount Marcy, near Lake Placid. Whatever your interest, the comprehensive guide aims to (re-)acquaint even the most fresh-air-averse traveler with New York’s stunning mountains, lakes, and villages. Below, a few of the choicest places to visit:
Time to dust off the skis and snowboards: the 2013-14 ski season is already underway, with several resorts already open and plenty more set to do so in coming weeks – which is a promising sign for the season to come. This year, some enticing deals and passes, as well as more direct flights to resort destinations, are a great excuse for a winter weekend getaway. Here are some of the best (and budget-friendly) offers.
Alta and Snowbird, Utah: Known for epic powder and deliciously long runs, these Utah resorts are also offering out-of-state visitors a killer deal this year: half off lift tickets within 24 hours of arrival at Salt Lake City International Airport. The offer is good throughout the 2013-14 ski season, Monday through Friday, and saves $39.50. Read more
One and a half hours by car (or bus) from Boston, the city of Newport, RI is a laid-back, quintessential New England coastal town that’s a good alternative to more toursity destinations like Cape Cod and Nantucket. Its cultural associations call to mind images of wealthy heiresses swinging polo clubs in private country clubs, and in many ways, that’s half right. The Vanderbilts, the Astors, the Tennis Hall of Fame, the Newport Jazz Festival, the famous mansions along Belleveue Avenue: all of these point to Newport’s rich heritage of outdoor sports, architecture, and the high life. But for first-timers to the Northeast, a visit to Newport’s historic downtown is a must. Read more
There’s no denying that Santa Barbara, one of the most beautiful towns on California’s central coast (and perhaps the entire United States), comes at a cost. But while you might not be able to stay in Montecito, or dine at San Ysidro Ranch, it’s still possible to experience the charm of this Pacific Ocean coastal town without depleting your travel budget in a single day. Of course, beaches are always a good option to while away an afternoon, but here are five other cheap activities to help you stay in motion: Read more
Travelers across the US are starting to dust off their ski poles and practice their knee bends, as resorts in the northeast, midwest, southwest – anywhere, really, where there’s fresh powder to be had – prepare to open for the season. But for most of us, skiing is only half the fun. The rest of the trip (finding cozy lodges to sip hot chocolate, visiting local shops and galleries, or maybe even stopping in at a ‘cowboy bar’) should be every bit as memorable as the time you spend on the trails. Below, a few recommendations for towns that provide a quiet setting for your alpine getaway, and with lower prices to boot, could be a better deal than larger resorts in better-known areas.
Hanover, New Hampshire (above)
On your way to or from the Dartmouth Skiway, set aside some time to enjoy the cultural offerings of the college town of Hanover, 20 minutes to the south. Visit the Hood Museum contemporary art center where interning Dartmouth students help to curate the frequently changing exhibits – current exhibits feature Picasso and Fan Tchunpi. The Hanover Inn, which occupies a building dating from 1780 and overlooks Dartmouth Green, is connected to the Hood Museum via a passageway and is home to a farm-to-table restaurant named PINE, created by celebrity Boston chef, (and James Beard award winner) Michael Schlow.
Across the green, in the college’s Baker library, is the Epic of American Civilization, one Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco’s three grand frescoes in the United States (the others are in California and New York City.) Read more
Every year, the hype surrounding Halloween seems to get bigger and bigger, but in many Mexican cultures, one of the season’s liveliest celebrations falls on November 1 and 2. Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, blends indigenous and Catholic influences, with the most traditional celebrations taking place in cemeteries in central Mexico. There, families gather at gravestones to honor deceased loved ones, but the tradition has become more popular in the U.S. as well, especially in places with thriving Latin American populations.
At the heart of the celebrations are ofrendas – altars or offerings of food, drink, and alcohol – which are believed to guide the spirits of the deceased back to Earth to spend time with their family and loved ones. Día de Los Muertos celebrations also include processions, musical performances, and tons of great, skeleton- and skull-inspired art – and, a refreshing break from the over-the-top commercialism of Halloween. What’s more, they’re almost always free, too. Here, five great places to get into the spirit of the Day of the Dead.
San Francisco is arguably one of the world’s most enchanting cities – but it’s also one of the most expensive, too (weekend rates for a mid-range hotel will set you back around $250 a night, on average). But a trip to the City by the Bay doesn’t have to be a budget-buster. Here, five ways for visitors to get an affordable, yet authentic SF experience – in other words, while you’re saving money, you’ll be mingling with the locals too. Need further incentive? October is a beautiful month to visit, with fewer crowds than summer and still-warm days. Read more
Saratoga Springs is best-known for its thoroughbred horse racing track; the oldest in the country. But what if you find yourself in this small upstate New York City outside of racing season? Well, we think you’ll be in for a treat: the crowds will be gone, the prices will be lower, and all of Saratoga Springs’ lesser-known attractions will all still be available.
Before the thoroughbreds arrived in town, Saratoga Springs drew visitors who wanted to reap the benefits of the town’s naturally carbonated spring waters. “Taking the waters” is still believed to have a number of healing benefits: stress reduction and an increased red cell blood count, to name just two.
You can pick up a brochure that maps out each of the springs’ locations and healing properties from the Saratoga Springs Visitors Center (or print it out from here). Trent Millet, who calls himself the Saratoga Water Witch, offers independent tours of the eight springs located in the 2,300-acre Spa State Natural Park. The tour leaves from the Roosevelt Spa, a WPA-era bathhouse in the park, on Saturdays at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and on Sundays at 10 a.m, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. The tour is donation based, meaning you give what you can. There’s usually a $6 vehicle entrance fee for the state park but, if you say you’re coming in to collect water, the fee is often waived.
When you think of Texas, funky beach towns probably aren’t the first things that come to mind; it’s more likely that you’ll think of cowboys and barbecue. But with 300 miles of coastline, “Texas” and “beach” are a great match (and Texas has a quite a few beach surprises up its sleeve). Galveston, which is actually an island, has an offbeat, oceanside vibe, making it the perfect place to change the way you think about southern beach towns. And when it comes to exploring the island, you can see the best of it without spending a fortune.
From a pier with a Ferris wheel, to incredible gumbo, an awesome Mardi Gras scene, and a beachfront strip with enough unusual bars and restaurants to quench anyone’s thirst, the town has a lot to offer. It’s also full of gorgeous Victorian architecture that was meticulously preserved after the devastating Great Storm of 1900, and there are enough museums and history tours to keep any culture buff busy for weeks. Plus, with summer humidity on its way out, it’s easier than ever to save money and enjoy all the eccentricity that makes Galveston feel worlds away from the nearest mainland super-city, Houston. Here are my top choices for getting to know the culture of Galveston, for less. Read more
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
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