Shermanstravel Blog

Weekend Getaways

little rock - allen brewer

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

omniamelia

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.

glacier national park - dhinal chheda - 620 - 2

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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harvard university  620 - 2

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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bigcedarlodge

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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AC-Beach

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

kansas city - allen brewer - 620

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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Cleveland 1

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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portland - stuart seeger - 620

Looking to plan your next vacation but don’t want to spend a fortune? For an enriching getaway that doesn’t break the bank, Portland’s utopia of sustainability, cycling, good eats, and natural beauty has you covered.

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Home in Marigny, New OrleansIt’s impossible to see all of New Orleans in a weekend. With award-winning restaurants, endless nightlife, and picture-perfect neighborhoods, it seems like you could spend a lifetime of weekends exploring the city. But many people venture here for just a short time, whether they turn up to hear incredible music, tour lavish historic homes, or just party until dawn. Here’s a quick glimpse at the Crescent City as seen over one summer weekend — strictly a beginner’s tour. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and plan on repeat visits to this incredible destination.

See the slideshow.

ProvinsTravelers looking to experience one of France’s medieval towns often head to Chartres or, even further afield, Orleans in the Loire Valley. But for those visiting Paris, there’s a more convenient option that’s just an hour away by train: Provins. Once a center of commerce, this is a prime choice if you’re looking for a picture of rural life and French history while still being able to get back to Paris for an evening out.  Read more

havasupai - will mcgough

The Grand Canyon made headlines recently for a series of proposed development projects that, while aimed at helping the non-adventurous explore the South Rim, would also threaten its natural beauty. These include a variety of hotels, shops, and a gondola. As the debate continues, one important takeaway for all travelers is that if the Grand Canyon is on your travel list, you should act now — not later — to experience what is probably out nation’s most dramatic landscape in unspoiled form.

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