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February 2010

February 26, 2010

Insider's Guide to Washington, D.C.'s Cherry Blossom Festival

Jefferson Memorial and cherry blossoms, Washington, D.C. (Eric Brodnax)

Editor's Note: Click here for our cherry blossoms and National Cherry Blossom Festival update for spring 2011

I managed to convince myself I was seeing the first green shoots of spring yesterday (that was before we got blasted today by frigid Arctic squalls here in Washington, D.C.). The fleeting spring-like weather did get me thinking about this year's cherry blossoms and the unofficial kickoff to peak tourist season in the nation's capital. The National Park Service is not currently forecasting peak bloom date, though the 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees around Washington's Tidal Basin typically flower in late March to early April. With this year's crazy weather patterns, however, it's impossible to predict exactly the best time to visit, but here are some quick insider tips for enjoying the capital during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Continue reading "Insider's Guide to Washington, D.C.'s Cherry Blossom Festival" »

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Related Topics: Family Vacation · Holidays, Events, & Festivals · Travel Tips

Top Ten Ways to Survive Winter's Last Blast

By awayblog

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Bourbon St, Richard Nowitz_New Orleans CVB
Sample Seafood Gumbo on New Orleans' Bourbon Street (Richard Nowitz/New Orleans CVB)

Here, our survival tips and perfect trips for riding out the remaining winter season in style.

10. Hit the Hot Springs

9. Take a Cold Water Dip

8. Head for the Red

7. Get Festive

6. Engage in a Little Light Therapy

5. Cave in and Get Pampered

4. Feed a Cold

3. Get Outta Dodge and Go Urban

2. Go Green

1. If You Can't Beat 'Em...

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Climb Europe's Highest Glacier

The tallest glacier, with program participants standing at the top (North 66)

What better way to fully grasp the environmental impacts of global warming than by literally witnessing its impacts by ascending Iceland’s 9,920-foot Hvannadalshnukur Glacier. Reach the Top with 66 North, now in its third year, a joint partnership between apparel company 66° North and Icelandic Mountain Guides that offers 14 climbs that marry an epic outdoor adventure with lectures and workshops about nutrition, alpine safety, gear preparation, and environmental responsibility. Training has already begun, and the event concludes with ascents at the end of May. Participants will get first-hand exposure to the sobering fact that Iceland’s glaciers have been retreating at an alarming rate for the last 15 years, as much as seven to nine square miles each year—that’s nearly the same size as Central Park. But the trip ain’t all doom and gloom. You’ll learn the ins and outs of glacier hiking from some of the best guides in the industry, and the 12- to 15-hour ascent through variable terrain, culminating in the snow-covered summit. Follow Reach the Top’s efforts—and try to hook up for a future climb—on their website.

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Related Topics: Eco-Tourism · European Travel · Outdoor Adventures

February 25, 2010

The BC Powder Highway: Day 8

A young skier masters the moguls at Whitewater Resort (Nathan Borchelt)

Where do you go when you’ve been air-lifted via helicopter to the top of a snow-covered mountain with nothing but virgin powder stretching out in every direction? If you’re heli-skiing with Snowwater, likely to Nelson, BC, a charming hamlet positioned on scenic Kootenay Lake about 20 minutes from Snowwater HQ. From there, you’ll likely wake before dawn for the three-hour drive south to Spokane, WA, for your flight back to the real world of pet feeding, bill paying, and conventional resort skiing.

But I had one…more…stop on my vagabond tour of British Columbia’s famed Powder Highway.  Whitewater Winter Ski Resort.

From the parking lot, Whitewater doesn’t look like much. As with Red Mountain outside of Rossland, the resort itself doesn’t boast much in the way of megaresort infrastructure—or lifts. Exit the main lodge and you stand at the V of the valley, with the Silver King double climbing the hill to your left, and the other double—Summit—carving up the mountain to your right. Directly before you, 7,874-foot Ymir Peak. Or so I was told. The day I arrived the conditions were too cloudy to actually see the peak itself. Instead, a pittance of snow scattered through the cold air like confetti.

Continue reading "The BC Powder Highway: Day 8" »

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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road · Skiing & Snowboarding

February 24, 2010

Sites We Like:


I met Scott Dunn and his wife, Jill Richards, on a press trip to Phoenix, Arizona, last November. Scott, a mellow, no-nonsense Tennessean, was the PR guy for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau; his West Coast wife was a photographer for the Arizona Republic. At the time they were planning a 12-month road trip hiatus to celebrate their first year of marriage, a dream that you can now follow at 12LegsTravel after they packed their few possessions, two mutts, and a handful of Scott's favorite books into their truck on New Year's Eve 2009. Enjoy stunning vistas of the American Southwest—more states to come as they head toward Mississippi and Louisiana, where Jill worked as a photojournalist after Katrina—as well as Scott's finely crafted insights about life out on the open road. And I'm not just shilling for a couple whose company I happened to enjoy over several days in and around Phoenix. In an online world saturated with travel opinions, information, and self-reflective narratives, shines an intimate light on what it means to travel through landscapes you cherish with the people (and animals) you love. Join them for the adventure.

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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road · National Parks · Outdoor Adventures · Road Trips · Travel Websites

Snowwater Heli-Skiing in Pictures

Landing on top of the world: Day 2 with Snowwater Heli-Ski in British Columbia

View from the summit. The red flag on the black stake marks the heli landing pad

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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road · Skiing & Snowboarding

February 23, 2010

Au Pair Adventures: Mushing the Alps

By Guest Blogger

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Dog Sled-Caitlin
IT'S A DOG'S LIFE: Sled teams rest before hitting the trail (Caitlin Byrnes)

Between skiing fresh powder, sightseeing from gondolas, and tubing at lightning speeds, most ski resorts have more than enough to occupy your time. But for those who want a more unique experience in their winter vacation, dogsled racing offers the perfect opportunity. I checked out a five-day race through the Alps that began in my small town of Leysin last week, and it was one of the more interesting things I've ever done in the snow.

The sport's relative obscurity combined with rural meet locations means dogsled races, also called mushing, have an atmosphere unlike most other sporting events. Yes, plenty of people in the village gather. And yes, there were competitors from all over the world. However, it was free of the pompous, ritzy atmosphere found at more popular sporting events. It was really nice to walk up to the teams before they raced—a luxury I have never experienced before. (Can you imagine walking up to the Saints right before a playoff game and asking to touch the football?) All of the teams allowed you to pet and play with their dogs, and I even climbed onto a sled.

Continue reading "Au Pair Adventures: Mushing the Alps" »

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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road

February 22, 2010

It's 5 o'clock somewhere...

By Lacy Morris

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Somebody, somewhere decided that today, February 22, is National Margarita Day. And I'm not complaining. So tip your sombreros, break the pinata, and dance to the Mariachi is tequila's day. Though the famed drink receives plenty of adoration year-round (it regularly tops the list of the most popular U.S. alcoholic drinks,) today is the 'ritas shining moment as fans congregate in bars, restaurants, clubs, and living rooms to give much deserved accolades to the tasty blend. I'm assuming tomorrow will unofficially be National Tylenol Day as we all recoup from our festive night. To get you going, here are a few establishments that have chosen to give praise where praise is due... 

-Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Bar is celebrating National Margarita Day with all-day margarita specials. Those lucky enough to be rockin' the name Marguerite, Margarita, or Rita, get to go home with a free bottle of Margaritaville Margarita Mix. Is today your birthday? Those introduced to the world on this blessed day are entitled to a Margaritaville gift certificate.  Bring ID for proof.  

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Related Topics: Food and Drink

February 19, 2010

American Skiers and Boarders Deliver Olympic Medals

Cypress Mountain, Olympic venue for the freestyle skiing and snowboard events (© VANOC/COVAN)

Shaun White’s gold in the men’s halfpipe and Lindsey Vonn’s gold in the women’s downhill were worth all the nervous delays caused by British Columbia’s fickle coastal weather. Add Bode Miller’s bronze medal in the men’s downhill (he was .09 seconds off the winning time) and you’ve got something to write home about. And let’s not forget American women Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark, who took silver and bronze in the women’s halfpipe.

And there are likely more medals to come from the U.S. Ski and Snowboarding Team. Watch for Ted Ligety in the giant slalom and slalom next week.

White, 23, pulled off his new trick, Double McTwist 1260, a two-flip, three-and-a-half-spin wonder that he perfected on a remote halfpipe in Colorado, built by his sponsor Red Bull. Vonn, 25, did what she’s been doing all winter. She beat the fastest women in the world for the most daring and dramatic gold medal of the games, so far. Her American roommate, Julia Mancuso, who seemingly skied a perfect run, won silver. Mancuso was a gold medalist in giant slalom four years ago.

Continue reading "American Skiers and Boarders Deliver Olympic Medals" »

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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road · Skiing & Snowboarding

The BC Powder Highway: Days 5-7

The first day of heli, in variable conditions (Nathan Borchelt)

As much as I’d love to boost my adventure cred by boasting that heli-skiing was as hardcore as you’d imagine, only more EXTREME, I’d be doing Snowwater a disservice. Which isn’t to say the experience is pedestrian. Quite the opposite, in fact. But it's hardly an arena reserved for super-elite daredevils. Three days under the transport of their helicopter delivered me unto the best skiing experience of my life, which says as much about the Snowwater operation itself as it speaks to the easy access to over 150,000 acres in the Bonnington Mountains wherein their terrain tenure resides. Because while the skiing is truly epic, the time spent on the mountain only takes into account a fraction of the Snowwater experience.

Continue reading "The BC Powder Highway: Days 5-7" »

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Related Topics: Dispatches from the Road · Skiing & Snowboarding

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