Shermanstravel Blog

Weekend Getaways

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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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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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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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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

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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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From murals to music to roast pork, there’s plenty for the budget-conscious traveler to enjoy in Philadelphia. But in case you’re in town for an extended visit, we encourage you to hop on a train or get behind the wheel for a some nearby exploration. Here are three great day trips under a two-hour drive, whether you love art or history, tapas or beer:

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BellevilleFirst-time visitors to Paris should definitely visit the Marais for art galleries and falafel shops, and Bastille for modern art and antique records, but these areas are just too “bobo“ to impress your Parisian friends. Instead, head for these lesser-known neighborhoods for a rendezvous that will show the world that you’re very chic. We’ve offered tips on a couple of places to visit in each neighborhood, but be sure to explore on your own to see what other surprises you can find.

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The David Bowie Is exhibit, the first retrospective of the musician’s career, showed to sold-out crowds at its inaugural run last year at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibition brought together more than 300 objects, including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, photography, set designs, album artwork, and rare performance material from the past five decades, and it’s headed for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (its only U.S. stop) from September 23 through January 4. Tickets  for the show are $25 and go on sale July 31, but demand has been so high that they museum has already released a limited number of advance tickets at a premium price ($100). Those tickets are no longer available, but this deal from the Thompson Chicago is.

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afternoontea

Last month The Langham, Chicago launched a monthly Nickel and Dime Anniversary Tea to commemorate the 149th birthday of the original London hotel. The tea service sold out within 10 minutes. Why? Because the price is the same as it was when the hotel first opened its doors in 1865 — one shilling and six pence, or 15 cents. Read more

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