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June 2008

June 26, 2008

Top 10 Fourth of July Fireworks Viewpoints in Washington, D.C.


Dcfireworksmap

Influential lobbyists, political consultants, and patrons of the arts are no doubt sitting pretty this week having already firmed up plans for the impressive Independence Day fireworks in Washington, D.C. next week. Choice invitation-only venues may include the Kennedy Center rooftop, private balconies in the National Gallery of Art, hallowed chambers in the U.S. Capitol building, and, yes, for the chosen few, a spot on the White House lawn. For the rest of us unconnected mortals, the choice can range from dropping a hefty cover on the best hotel and restaurant rooftops, or sweating it out with the masses in any number of public spaces around town. Happily, though, this city of open green spaces and low-level buildings proffers many choice (and free) spots to enjoy the show. Here, we guide you through ten of the best (with options for getting there by Metro, which, along with walking and biking, is your best mode of transport on the night).

Click on the map above to search an interactive Google Map, or click the links below to read more about each of our selections.

1. U.S. National Mall, Washington, D.C.
Ground Zero for the big show, there is nominally lots of green space here for watching the Fourth of July fireworks, although you'll need to arrive early to claim the best spots. The Smithsonian's annual Folklife Festival—this year featuring Bhutan, Texas, and NASA—offers events and exhibits to while away the pre-display hours. The fireworks go up over the Reflecting Pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial, so the prime spots are on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and points east along the U.S. National Mall from 14th Street toward the U.S. Capitol. The White House Ellipse is also a good spot that usually has a few open patches of ground a little closer to the kickoff just after 9 p.m. Plan on walking down to the Mall from Metro Center or Farragut West to avoid the crush of Metro riders getting off at the Smithsonian. The NPS' National Mall website offers some useful planning tips, including info about a free bike-valet service and advice for staying hydrated in the area's often-fierce summer heat.
Nearest Metro Access: Smithsonian (orange/blue lines), Federal Triangle (orange/blue lines), Metro Center (orange/blue/red lines), L'Enfant Plaza (orange/blue/yellow/green lines), Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter (yellow/green lines), Farragut West (orange/blue lines)

2. George Washington Memorial Parkway, Arlington
Fireworks-viewing real estate doesn't come much more prime than here, with the Arlington stretch of the George Washington Memorial Parkway offering the best riverside views of the D.C. monuments and skyline. You won't miss a single explosion, though, of course, this place is no secret. Pack a picnic and get there early; limited public parking is available at various points along the roadway, though a much safer bet is to ride your bicycle along the scenic bike trail (an option that will also offer a swifter mode of escape once the fireworks end at around 9:30 p.m.).
Nearest Metro Access: Rosslyn (orange/blue lines), Arlington National Cemetery (blue/yellow lines), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (blue/yellow lines)

3. Gravely Point, Arlington, Virginia
Technically part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Gravely Point merits special mention for two reasons: access to a limited amount of public parking (if you get there early enough) and the fact that it's within walking distance of the Washington National Airport Metro stop (OK, you'll need to do some exploring to get out of the airport complex and onto the bike trail, but trust us, there's a way). A grassy field beneath the airport flight path offers near-unobstructed views of the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol.
Nearest Metro Access: Arlington National Cemetery (blue/yellow lines), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (blue/yellow lines)

Continue reading "Top 10 Fourth of July Fireworks Viewpoints in Washington, D.C." »


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Related Topics: Top 10 Lists

June 25, 2008

Two Cool New York City Digs


Nycpodhotel
FUNK & BUNK: Outdoor garden and Bunk Pod at New York City's Pod Hotel

Although I've lived in Colorado for years, I'm an East Side girl, born and bred. Two of my children were born on Manhattan's East Side, too, and we always love to go back and visit the New York City Motherland.

New York City is a great town for a family vacation... except that hotels are exorbitant or not child-friendly, and the few affordable options are often in sketchy neighborhoods. But on a recent trip I discovered two fab family-friendly hotels—and now I'm a fan of both.

Continue reading "Two Cool New York City Digs" »


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Related Topics: Family Vacation · Places to Stay

Adventure Finder: Wild & Wonderful Yellowstone National Park



By awayblog
06/25/2008

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Yellowstone
NO BULL: Bison in Yellowstone National Park (Photodisc)

GORPtravel logothe country's ten most popular national parks (for the record, it places fifth). The majority of those eager visitors arrive over the summer months, coming to enjoy the spectacular vistas, abundant wildlife, and famous spewing geysers. Most of them stay on the main roads through the park, too, even though some of the most impressive scenery is just a short hike, bike ride, or paddle away. So this summer, discover your own slice of Yellowstone solitude by signing up for an outfitted trip that will give you all the highlights—and then some.

Continue reading "Adventure Finder: Wild & Wonderful Yellowstone National Park" »


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Related Topics: Outdoor Adventures · Trip Ideas

June 24, 2008

New on the Network: Tango, Chocolate, and High Culture on Two Continents



By awayblog
06/24/2008

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Chocsculpture
LABOR OF LOVE: A sculptor carves into a chocolate rock (courtesy, eurochocolate.com)

This week, Away.com's cultural radar hones in on Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Perugia, Italy, with two sensuous new articles about tango in the Argentinean capital and Italy's annual Chocolate Festival.

Get in step with one of the world's most passionate dances as writer Natalia Mironova discovers Buenos Aires' hottest milongas, not to mention its most exclusive shoe salons. Over in Europe, writer John Henderson profiles the orgy of chocolate that is the Eurochocolate Festival, held for nine days each November.

Know when you can go but don't know where to start? Away.com's month-to-month travel calendars—filtered by interest but unrestrained by borders—will put you on the path to the world's best events, attractions, and vacation hot spots.


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Vintage Florida


Morikamimuseum
EAST COAST ZEN: Morikami Museum, Delray, Florida (courtesy, Palm Beach County CVB)

Florida's Delray Beach, the so-called "village-by-the-sea," has few pretensions. It's neither glitzy like Palm Beach to the north, nor painfully hip like Miami to the south. Delray has successfully preserved some of its great 1920s architecture, in addition to a burgeoning restaurant scene and three miles of fine white beach. Many of the restaurants and shops can be found on Atlantic Avenue, which runs down to the sea. If you want to give the beach a break, visit Delray's Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens or take a lazy, scenic drive up the coast to ogle the many mansions in wealthy Palm Beach. Stay right on Atlantic Avenue, six blocks from the beach, at the circa 1926 Colony Hotel. Have breakfast outside on the veranda, and then hop in the hotel van for a five-minute drive to the hotel's own private beach cabana.

Need more Florida beach inspiration? Look no further than Away.com's comprehensive Florida Beach Vacations Guide.


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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Family Vacation

June 20, 2008

New on the Network: Spotlight Washington, D.C.



By awayblog
06/20/2008

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Just in time for Washington, D.C.'s big July 4th celebrations, Away.com gives you the inside scoop on the city with the newly published Family Travel Survival Guide to Washington, D.C. Join local writer Linda Samuel as she provides a family-centric overview of the city and highlights the best ways to get around, the best places to visit with kids in tow, and perhaps most importantly, the restaurants and eateries where kids will feel right at home. For yet more D.C. inspiration, also peruse Away.com's new Washington, D.C., photo gallery, brimming with illuminating images and tips from the authors of the recently published Great Destinations: Washington, DC (Countryman Press, 2008).

In town for the July 4th fireworks in Washington, D.C.? Join us next week here on "Where Next?" as we unveil the Away.com staff's picks for the best places to enjoy the show.


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Related Topics: Away.com News · Family Vacation

Top 10 Isolated Caribbean Beaches



By Gary Chandler
06/20/2008

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Top10caribbbeaches

It's the subject of countless postcards: A long stretch of powdery, white sand backed by a thick band of palm trees, and an azure seascape extending to the horizon. There's not a soul in sight—no high-rise hotels, no cruise ship piers, no vendors peddling statuettes and shell necklaces, no mobs of tourists sunburned and giddy on margaritas. Sure, deserted beaches aren't for everyone, as many prefer the energy of a crowded beach, the chance encounters, and impromptu soccer games. But for those of us who can't read Robinson Crusoe without a passing wistfulness, here are ten of the best isolated beaches in the Caribbean, where you can escape the crowds and enjoy that ever-elusive treasure, the perfect beach.

Click on the map above to search an interactive Google Map, or click the links below to read more about each of our selections.

1. Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla
2. North Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands
3. Canouan, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
4. Mayreau, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
5. Owen Island, Little Cayman, Cayman Islands
6. Las Galeras, Dominican Republic
7. Harbour Island, Eleuthera, Bahamas
8. Half Moon Bay, Antigua
9. La Sagesse Bay, Grenada
10. St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

Map graphic courtesy Google Maps

Don't agree with the destinations on our list? Have your own favorite beach stashes that you're willing to share? Have your say in the comments section below.


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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Caribbean Travel · Top 10 Lists

Top 10 Family Vacation Spots in North America and Mexico


Top10namericafamily

As a travel writer, I'm often asked to come up with my favorite spot on the planet. It's a difficult question, like asking a kid to name their favorite candy. So, I usually evade the question. Having been persuaded to reveal my top ten destinations for families in North America and Mexico, I'm yet again feeling a bit uneasy. There are so many places that deserve to be on this list, but just didn't make the final cut, like Sanibel Island, Amish Country, Bryce and Zion national parks, the Oregon coast, Chicago, and Lake George in New York's Adirondack Mountains.

I hate to sound cliché, but every one of the following trips was memorable for my family of four and often my extended family. Whether it's a child's first jaunt to Disney, whale watching along the majestic Alaskan coast, biking down a volcano at sunrise in Maui, or finding your own quiet beach on the dunes of Cape Cod, you won't be disappointed with any of these selections. So pack those bags and start checking these dream vacations off the list.

Click on the map above to search an interactive Google Map, or click the links below to read more about each of our selections.

1. Yellowstone National Park
2. Cruising Alaska
3. Maui, Hawaii
4. Orlando, Florida
5. San Diego, California
6. Canadian Rockies
7. New York, New York
8. Prince Edward Island, Canada
9. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
10. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Map graphic courtesy Google Maps

Don't agree with the destinations on our list? Have your own family favorites? Have your say in the comments section below.


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Related Topics: Family Vacation · Top 10 Lists

June 19, 2008

Orbitz Makes Sense of New Baggage Fees Mess



By awayblog
06/19/2008

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Just about every other day it seems another airline is unveiling a new fee for checked bags (not to mention drinks, snacks, etc.), and it's getting a little hard to keep them all straight.

Luckily, our friends at Orbitz.com have put together a simple, easy-to-read chart to help make it easier to figure out which airlines charge what, and when.

The chart will be updated regularly. But given how quickly these policies are changing, it's a good idea to double-check at the airline's website. And remember, these fees are not included in airfares.

Visit the Orbitz Travel Blog for other breaking travel news and updates.


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Related Topics: Air Travel

June 18, 2008

Curious About Curacao


Curacaowillemstad
DOUBLE DUTCH: Harborside in Willemstad, Curaçao (Digital Vision)

Take Amsterdam, plop it down in the Caribbean, fill it with colorful homes of pastel colors and red roofs—and you have Willemstad, Curaçao. Arguably, the most European of any island in the West Indies, Curaçao is the cultural core of the Netherlands Antilles. Visit the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere, built in 1732, and then head to the Floating Market for its collection of tropical fruit, vegetables, and tapestries. Children will enjoy the Curaçao Seaquarium and the opportunity to take an hour-long journey into the deep on the Seaworld Explorer, a semi-submersible submarine. The all-inclusive Breezes Curaçao lies next door to the Seaquarium and has the best children's programs of any resort on the island. An added bonus is that it's located on the island's finest beach.

Discover other family-friendly beach getaways in Away.com's Caribbean Family Vacations Guide.


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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Family Vacation
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