Shermanstravel Blog

Weekend Getaways

j.n. ding darling national wildlife refuge, sanibel, florida

Flickr/cletch

As winter maintains an icy grip on the East Coast for a few more weeks, we like the idea of following the birds south to sunny Sanibel. Just off the coast of Fort Myers in Florida, Sanibel has seen a resurgence in national and international tourism in recent years, thanks to its year-round sun and white, sandy Gulf beaches. It’s a quieter, more relaxing, and very affordable scene here compared to the hubbub along the state’s eastern coast — ideal for those seeking to stay active but low-key, all the while enjoying fine dining and great shopping. Here’s how to make the most of the area’s expansive nature and golden warmth.

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620 - Hotel Exterior high-res

The Charles

Pi Day, which falls on March 14, is not just for math nerds anymore. (As you might remember from math class, the mathematical constant π approximately equals 3.14, hence the date of the holiday.) It’s now being embraced by the hotel industry — specifically by The Charles in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the form of a Pi Day flash sale.

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Las Cruces, New Mexico

Flickr / BLM New Mexico

Toss the snow shovel and grab the sunscreen! While most of the nation faces bitter cold and mounds of fluffy white stuff, these small town destinations offer moderate temperatures, plenty of sunshine, and a whole lot of fun.

Las Cruces, New Mexico: From wide open spaces to space exploration, Las Cruces has something for just about anyone. Sled down a hill of warm sand at White Sands National Monument, sample wines along the Rio Grande River, or get schooled Scovilles at the Chile Pepper Institute. Or, tour nearby Spaceport America, where the nation’s first space tourists will soon blast off. On your way, stop at Hatch –the birthplace of New Mexico’s infamous green chiles.

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Bottomless Lakes, Roswell, New Mexico

New Mexico Tourism

Perhaps you’re just passing through en route from Albuquerque to one of southern New Mexico’s must-hit natural wonders (like the superlative Carlsbad Caverns). Or maybe you’re caught up in the company of one of the many UFO hunters who descend upon this legendary little city in droves. But if little green men aren’t tops on your own personal agenda for visiting Roswell, New Mexico, there’s happily more to this city than just alien kitsch (though, thanks to the purported 1947 UFO crash here, there’s plenty of that, too). Art and nature lovers will find diversions worthy enough to deem Roswell a destination in its own right, while some memorable local dining and night spots will get you up-close-and-personal with some down-home New Mexican hospitality and chile-infused cooking. Here’s the scoop on what to see and do — and where best to eat, drink, and sleep — in Roswell.

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The 1940 Air Terminal Museum

Flickr / Michael Bludworth

The next time you have a day off, head to the airport. These seven airport museums dedicated to aviation are destinations in their own right — and also make for great entertainment if you’re ever stranded with delays.

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum (William P. Hobby Airport, Houston)
Housed in the Art Deco building that served as Houston’s original airport, the 1940 Air Terminal Museum ($5) explores Houston and Southeast Texas’ role in aviation. The focus is mainly on civil aviation, including commercial flight. Expect to see uniforms for pilots and stewardesses, dinnerware, playing cards, and other airline memorabilia. The museum’s hangar has a small collection of business and commercial planes. Tip: After you’ve visited the museum, find a seat on the benches out back and watch aircraft take off from Hobby Airport. Or, pick a spot in the museum parking lot and watch for free. (Just let museum staff know what you are doing and how long you plan to be there.)

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budget travel: nature in Ithaca, NY

Facebook.com/VisitIthaca

A cultural hub of the Finger Lakes region, Ithaca, NY, has always marched to the beat of its own drum. Independent businesses flourish alongside the two nationally renowned colleges (Cornell University and Ithaca College) that populate the town with over 20,000 students September through May, providing a young, hip vibe. Paired with the region’s beautiful gorges and acclaimed vineyards, a weekend relaxing in the cool Ithaca vibe is the perfect tonic to anyone’s big city blues. Read more

Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar Lodge is situated in the Ozark Mountains — Ridgedale, Missouri, to be precise. The area is a nature lover’s paradise, replete with swaths of dense forest, overlooking 43,000-acres of Table Rock Lake’s blue-green waters. It’s is billed as “a wilderness resort,” founded by Johnny Morris, the owner of Bass Pro Shops. It makes perfect sense that this would be a haven for the outdoor aficionados. We checked in at Big Cedar Lodge, and here’s what we loved most.  Read more

Bowen'sIsland

Caroline Eubanks

Charleston, South Carolina, is known for its rich culinary history and dozens of award-winning restaurants. But if you don’t want to spend all of your time with other tourists and can’t score a reservation at Husk, there are plenty of under-the-radar and local restaurants to enjoy. You don’t need to call ahead to these casual spots or worry about breaking the bank for a good meal. Read more

Showstoppers, one of the best shows to see in Vegas!

Facebook/Showstoppers Vegas

As one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, no other place knows how to stage a spectacle like Sin City. Get comfortable in the plush banquets at one of these five shows you must see in Vegas this year. From living legends to thrilling stage stunts, they’ll be some of the grandest productions you’ll ever see.

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sunset in kauai, a romantic destination that's great for solo travelers

Flickr/Nicki Dugan Pogue

Traveling by yourself? One great thing to note about some romantic travel destinations is that they can also be fantastic places for solo travelers. And just think — nobody will be harping on you about whether you got him or her something for Valentine’s Day. Here are some sweet destinations where it doesn’t matter if you have a plus-one:

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5 Great Gondola Rides with Incredible Views

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

There’s no skiing required to enjoy the ascents of these five picturesque gondola tours. You’ll reach new heights and be rewarded with sky top restaurants, nature exhibits, and hiking trails. Don’t forget the camera!

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Beyond Belfast: Northern Ireland on a Budget

Steve Larese

Northern Ireland teems with castles, ancient sites, and natural beauty. After you’ve explored Belfast, set off to see the stunning landscape and history of the rest of this beautiful land. Here are just a few Northern Ireland attractions that are as inexpensive as they are impressive.

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winter getaway at white barn inn grace, kennebunkport

facebook.com/GraceHotelsGroup

The charms of historic New England make the perfect backdrop for a romantic weekend getaway. Just in time for the most romantic month of the year, seek out comfort and luxury await at inns along the coast, going out of their way to surprise and delight their guests. Whether you want to spend $175 or $600, let warm fireplaces and soothing bottles of wine cure your winter blues at these five cozy retreats.

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TEST

www.monsoursphotography.net

The parades are just as colorful, the costumes just as lavish, and the music and food are just as non-stop. But Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, Louisiana is more civilized (and more suitable for all-ages fun) than the bigger and more famous one in New Orleans, just 90 minutes away. Here are the highlights of the celebration, plus the multitude of things to do, eat, and drink beyond the festivities.

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Rail Europe

Rail Europe

Popping over to Milan this year — perhaps for the World Expo 2015 or Fashion Week — is easier and less expensive than ever with Rail Europe’s new high-speed Thello train route from Marseille, France.

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