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September 2009

September 30, 2009

Free Photowalk With Award-Winning Outdoor Photographers in Sante Fe

By Karen Chen

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Clay pots in Santa Fe (Corbis)

Mark your calendars (if you're going to be in or anywhere near Santa Fe)!  On October 7, renowned outdoor photographers Andy Biggs and Michael Clark will lead a free photowalk through Santa Fe, New Mexico. They'll meet at 4 p.m. at the gazebo in Sante Fe's historic Plaza in the middle of the city, and head out from there. But they don't have a predetermined path yet, so don't be late!  Photographers of all skill levels and ages can attend. Just bring a camera (digital or film), comfortable walking shoes, and whatever else makes sense (water, sunscreen, hat, bag). This is a great opportunity to learn tips and tricks from professional photographers, and to ask questions about how to take better pictures.  Plus, you'll likely get a better appreciation for the beauty of Santa Fe—or at least see things through a different lens!

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Related Topics: Travel Photography

September 29, 2009 Adds Yelp Ratings for Bus Lines


In April, we wrote about a new player in online bus-travel ticketing, The site has since gained positive reviews from publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post for its utility in navigating the profusion of budget bus providers, particularly for popular routes up and down the East Coast. Last week, launched a new feature on its website enabling travelers to view star ratings from Yelp users about the listed bus companies, taking some of the guesswork out of the travel experience once you hop onboard. Think of it as TripAdvisor product reviews for the new generation of bus-goers.

Have you used to book a bus trip? Have any stories to tell about bus journeys you have taken? Tell us in the comments section.

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Related Topics: Budget Travel · Travel Websites

September 28, 2009

America's Best Idea

By Karen Chen

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The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park (Photodisc)

Master documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' most recent project, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, premiered on PBS last night. Like each of Burns' hugely popular documentaries—including Baseball, Jazz, and most recently, The War, about World War II—National Parks promises to be yet another epic, in-depth look at an important part of our country's history, focusing on the people who helped to pioneer and shape the creation of these important public spaces, something that was a uniquely American idea. We encourage you to watch at least some of the six-part series (although if his other films are any indication, you'll probably find yourself glued to the TV night after night). But of course, the best way to appreciate the national parks isn't just to watch pictures of them scrolling across your TV screen. Get out and visit them! Gaze up at soaring mountain peaks, hike through enormous canyons, raft roaring rivers, climb over sand dunes, and experience for yourself the natural beauty of our country.

If you've visited any of the national parks already, and have some great photos to share, don't forget that this is the last week to submit a photo to our National Parks Photo Contest!  You could win more than $200 in hiking gear from KEEN, and have your photos featured on!  We've already gotten tons of great submissions—see them all at our Facebook page.

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Related Topics: News · National Parks · Outdoor Adventures · Travel Gear · Travel Photography

September 25, 2009

New Program Pairs Bike Rentals With Local Rail-Trails

Washington-dc-bikeBIKE THE SITES: National Mall and U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. (Nathan Borchelt)

Isn't it great when the dots connect? Particularly when it comes to putting more bums on bike seats and getting them onto the tens of thousands of miles of bike-friendly trails around the country., which debuted to consumers at the beginning of 2009, and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy have just announced a partnership that pairs the ability to find bike rentals around the United States (and Canada) with over 15,000 miles of rail-trails and other bike-friendly paths. As a regular bike commuter in the Washington, D.C., area, I can attest that there's no better way to explore your surroundings (not to mention, escape the nation's fourth-worst case of urban gridlock).

In other bike-related news, The Washington Post Travel section just published a bumper Biking Issue that offers a slew of great two-wheeled touring options from L.A. to Cuba to Kilimanjaro.

Got the biking bug? Browse our Top 10 Rail-Trails for Fall, brought to you in association with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

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Related Topics: Outdoor Adventures · Travel News · Travel Websites

Photo of the Day: Coarsegold Tarantula Festival

By awayblog

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Tarantula!, originally uploaded by photo_kenji.

The town of Coarsegold, California, originally started as a mining town in 1849, when large nuggets were found in a nearby stream. Since then, the city has made its living by ranching and, thanks to the numerous tourists who pass through on Highway 41 on their way to Yosemite National Park, tourism. Each October, however, Coarsegold holds its own on the tourist radar as the small town pays homage to its resident arachnids, tarantulas.

The annual Coarsegold Tarantula Festival is a favorite event among locals and visitors alike, as they take part in numerous events to honor this eight-legged denizen of the region. This year's event, now in its 11th year, will take place October 24 and will include tarantula races, a screaming contest, and children's Halloween costume parade.

Browse more cool photos, plus contribute your own favorites, at's Photostream on!

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September 24, 2009

Top Five Tips From a Five-Month Family Road Trip

By Guest Blogger

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A family of five stuck together in an RV for five months?  Most people shake their heads and have one question: "Why on earth would you want to do that?" When the economy started to falter, my husband's real-estate development company began to follow suit. Hard as it might be to believe, a feeling of excitement is what I felt, followed by a sharp stab of guilt. I quickly realized that the excitement was really just a feeling of overwhelming opportunity. With change, good or bad, comes opportunity if you look for it. Time is a precious commodity and we found ourselves in a rare moment where we actually had time, and we knew it may never come again. The moment seemed even more perfect because of the ages of our three children (11, 8, and 6). After eager thoughts of moving to another country were shot down by my husband, we arrived at a shared enthusiasm for hitting the road to explore all that this great country has to offer. An RV was our chosen method of travel. We created a website to help communicate about the experience at

After five months in an RV with a family of five, here are five tips that I'm sure can help any family road trip.

Continue reading "Top Five Tips From a Five-Month Family Road Trip " »

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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road · Family Vacation · Outdoor Adventures · Road Trips · Travel Tips

September 23, 2009

Photo of the Day: Apachet Pass in the Andes, Peru

By awayblog

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Apachet Pass in the Andes, Peru, originally uploaded by awaydotcom.

Trek the Peruvian Andes on the "new" Inca Tail with Mountain Lodges of Peru.

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Video: Desert Dust Storm Blankets Sydney

By awayblog

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Residents of Sydney awoke this morning to an eerie scene as a massive dust storm, the city's worst in 70 years, blew in clouds of fine red sand over Australia's largest city. Check out the video below:

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September 22, 2009

Ideas for Fall Travel

By Karen Chen

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FallCountryRoadTuckerCo,WV-Fall foliage on a country road (courtesy, West Virginia Tourism)

Happy first day of fall! Here at we lament the fact that summer often gets all the attention, what with its abundance of festivals, concerts, fairs, summer holidays and vacations—and that little thing called warm weather.  But fall has its own seasonal perks. Along with the spectacular reds, yellows, and oranges that color the landscape each fall, you can look forward to apple picking, pumpkin festivals, Oktoberfest homages to beer, and even hot-air balloon festivals.  Cooler temps also provide a respite from the heat in areas of the South and Southwest, as well as a break from the crowds that flock to popular vacation spots during the summer months. So throw on a jacket and head for trails, forests, farms, and small towns to enjoy the best the season has to offer.  To get you inspired, check out some of's resources for autumn travel.

- Fall Foliage Guide: Find tons of fall travel ideas by region, and a state-by-state guide for prime leaf-peeping times.

- Top Ten Rail-Trails for Fall Foliage: We teamed up with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to pinpoint ten perfect rail-trails for experiencing fall’s changing colors.

- Top Ten Autumn Escapes: Fall's Best Forests: Where better to absorb the stunning beauty of fall's foliage than in our national forests?

- Top Fall Hikes: Hiking Expert Karen Berger shares her picks for the best fall hikes in the country.

- Scenic Drives Guide: Scope the autumn scene from the comfort of your car. Get the best roadside views on these itineraries for drives around the country and all over the world.

- Fall Foliage Photo Gallery and Screensaver: Discover some extra motivation to get out and witness the colors of the season.

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Related Topics: Outdoor Adventures · Road Trips · Top 10 Lists · Trip Ideas

September 21, 2009

Nagasaki Insider's Guide: The Perfect Bowl of Noodles

A bowl of champon noodles, a Nagasaki specialty (courtesy, Wikimedia Commons)

The city of Nagasaki in southwestern Japan is one of the country's most, well, un-Japanese cities. Given its proximity to the facing shores of both China and the Korean peninsula, many elements of its history, architecture, cuisine, and culture can be traced back to regional trade connections with the Asian mainland. More recently, relatively speaking, the arrival of Portuguese missionaries and Dutch traders during the 16th and 17th centuries exposed this corner of Japan to western-influenced religion, fads, and goods while the rest of the country was essentially in a 200-year cultural lockdown under the Tokugawa shogunate's strict policy of isolation.

When I lived in Japan, I would ride a ferry and bus for over two hours just to get a taste of one of Nagasaki's distinctly cosmopolitan flavorings, champon, a ramen-noodle broth that originated in China and which is made by frying pork, seafood, and vegetables with lard. In the local dialect, champon literally means "hodgepodge," so the dish can take many forms. You can order a bowl of this delicious local staple at any number of izakayas (bars) and noodle stands. Other must-do ideas for Nagasaki include a visit to the quirky Dutch trading enclave of Dejima, tours of Glover Garden (home of the European trader behind Kirin lager!), and the Nagasaki heiwa koen ("peace park"), epicenter of the devastating August 1945 atomic bomb blast that brought World War II to its tragic end.

Continue reading "Nagasaki Insider's Guide: The Perfect Bowl of Noodles" »

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Related Topics: Asia Travel · Food and Drink · Trip Ideas

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