Shermanstravel Blog

Weekend Getaways

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If there’s one responsible thing you do over Labor Day weekend, let it be solidifying your Thanksgiving plans. We know it’s difficult to think ahead to the next big holiday while you’re still working on taking advantage of the current one, but we hear from our friends at Hipmunk that airfare is expected to rise significantly after the holiday. If you don’t already have a destination in mind, consider some of our favorites for Thanksgiving.

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The Kimpton Hotel Group pioneered the boutique hotel concept in the U.S. when it opened its first property in San Francisco in 1981. Since then, its stylish hotels have popped up in 29 cities across the country. And there’s more on the way: Properties will open in Pittsburgh, Austin, Chicago, and even the Cayman Islands, to name a few, within the next two years.

With two hotels welcoming visitors in the “City of Brotherly Love,” we took the opportunity to check in at the Palomar, Kimpton’s first Philadelphia hotel, which which debuted in the Rittenhouse Square area in 2009.

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It’s fair time! As we mourn the end of summer, the nation’s great state fairs give us something to look forward to in the fall. And we suggest getting out your calendars, because some of the best fairs are either under way right now or coming up soon. Here are the eight we feel deserve blue ribbons.

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dr franks vinifera wine cellars - christine wei - 620In upstate New York, there’s a 2.6 million-acre region characterized by rolling green valleys and sprawling open space, and it’s just four hours from Manhattan. Yet, Finger Lakes wine country doesn’t receive nearly the attention it deserves as a breezy summer escape or a fall foliage getaway — or an excellent anytime jaunt for wine lovers.

While sweet Rieslings and Cabernet Francs are the hallmarks of the region — the climate is nearly identical to that of Germany’s Mosel region — more refined reds are also starting to take hold. This quirky destination draws a savvy crowd of visitors with an appreciation for natural beauty and laid-back hospitality. Those who prefer a more personal experience, and a slower pace, will find few highly commercialized experiences in its 11,000 acres of vineyards. Instead, small estates, run by multi-generational families, each boast their own flair and character. A wealth of independent museums, state parks, and other attractions round out any trip.

Wine country is divided into three distinct trails, along Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga Lakes. Like the individual wineries, each of these lakes have a vibe and history of their own. Here’s a guide to finding your ideal trail, plus some of our favorite spots along each lake.

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Long known for its political prowess as Arkansas’ capital, the riverfront city of Little Rock is now showing off a softer side, with an eclectic mix of history and nature that appeals to travelers. Surprisingly, some of the biggest attractions at this offbeat destination are also the free ones. Here are 10 of them to add to your itinerary:

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MondrianSoBe1The Morgans Hotel Group, which offers a spate of stylish, upscale properties around the world, is in the midst of some major expansion. The Mondrian London at Sea Containers is set to open September 30, followed by the Mondrian Doha, and the Mondrian Istanbul. The hotel group is also preparing to open their Delano brand in Las Vegas this fall, followed by Cesme, Turkey; Moscow; and Cartagena; then another in Karaköy, Istanbul. With all this new activity in mind, we took a step back to see how their second Mondrian property, in South Beach, Miami, which opened way back in 2008, is holding up.

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adirondackslakegeorgeAs the largest state-run nature reserve in the continental United States, Adirondack Park offers plenty of opportunity for outdoor activities, from hiking and fishing in the summer months, to wintertime skiing. Even if you find yourself near one of the park’s most popular resorts, Gore Mountain, outside of prime ski season, you’ll find plenty of other attractions to keep you busy. Here’s a sampling…  Read more

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The Omni Hotels and Resorts brand launched a 72-hour sale this morning, which means the clock is ticking if you want to take advantage it. Until midnight on Thursday, August 21, the brand’s Labor Day Special is offering rooms for $99, $119, $139, $169, $199, and $229 in select cities for stays from August 24 through September 7. Just in time for a last-minute Labor Day weekend getaway.

Sample rates include $199 at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, which, with its paddle boarding, golfing, island hoppers, and Segways, makes for a great family getaway;  $119 at Omni Rancho Palmas in Palm Springs, and $159 at Omni New Haven at Yale – handy for parents dropping their children off for the start of the school year. To get that attractive $99 rate, you can head south to steamy Texas where, at Omni Fort Worth Hotel, you can cool off in their rooftop pool.

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The National Park Service, which turns 98 this August 25, will be celebrating by waiving admission to its parks across the country on its birthday. Tagged as “America’s Best Idea” in a PBS series for its part in preserving our natural landscape, the NPS now protects 84 million acres in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

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Colleges and universities aren’t just institutions of higher learning. Some of them are itinerary-worth destinations, even for those who haven’t stepped foot into a classroom for a long time, thanks to stunning architecture, fragrant gardens, impressive museums, and great history. Here are 10 schools that get an A+ on all these fronts.

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The Ozark mountain range is so vast that it not only covers the southern half of Missouri, it also extends to Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. And even though it’s referred to as mountains, the area is actually a plateau. Covering 47,000 square miles, the rugged Ozarks are filled with forests, and hiking trails, and beautiful views. Here are some ideas for exploring:

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clambake - Flickr-joyosity - 620Picture a summer evening on the beach with a bonfire. Add to that steaming clams, fresh lobster, live music, and maybe even s’mores, and you have a traditional New England-style clambake. These are typically in full swing across the U.S. during August and into September. Here are five ways to enjoy one:

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Atlantic City has long been popular with visitors looking to try their luck at the casinos. But a couple of years ago, hotels like Revel started the non-gaming trend, when it brought Beyoncé in and set a new tone to the gambling destination. Suddenly there were more bars, nightclubs, restaurants by famous chefs, and even an outlet mall. Unfortunately, almost just as quickly as it opened, Revel and two other casinos are facing closure by this summer’s end. The Atlantic Club has already shut its doors, and the Trump Plaza and Showboat are next on the chopping block if a windfall doesn’t come.

Luckily, the fate of Atlantic City doesn’t have to depend on its casinos, and it remains affordable for those who know where to look. Here are your options for both accommodations and entertainment:  Read more

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While vacationers often gravitate toward coastal paradises, America’s heartland is often missed as a vacation — except for those on the Kerouacian road-trip. But Kansas City is ripe for exploration, firstly because it’s a mere three-hour flight from either coast. It’s also one of the cheapest Midwest destinations to fly into — airfare is competitive because no airline has a hub and major claim there. Secondly, KC has tons to offer on countless cultural fronts, from its historic jazz foundation to epic barbecue spots to trendy boutiques galore. If you need proof, consider this: Both Google and Lego love the city enough to use it as fertile testing grounds (Google Fiber and Legoland, respectively). The cherry on top? All of the below adventures will hardly dent your wallet.

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Who vacations in Cleveland?

Surely, not enough people. Like many Rust Belt cities, Cleveland’s associated with joblessness, dilapidation, and general unsavoriness. But contrary to these common views, the city’s been slowly transforming into an affordable enclave for the trendy, the foodies, and cost-conscious travelers of all kinds. The Tremont district, for example, is filling up with boutiques and quality restaurants — even Iron Chefs love the famous West Side Market. The next time you have a weekend to spare, here’s what you should include on your Cleveland itinerary:

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