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July 2010

July 30, 2010

Rosewood Celebrates 30 Years by Giving Back

By Lacy Morris

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Rosewood Mayakobá, Riviera Maya, Mexico (Rosewood Hotels)

To celebrate its 30-year anniversary, Rosewood Hotels is giving back to the 20-somethings who have made a difference. The 30 Under 30 competition will choose 30 finalists who exhibit the values that the company strives to uphold:

-Mindful of the community
-Leadership with integrity
-Passion of conviction
-Dedication to preserving our natural environment
-Strong sense of life balance

On December 1, 2010, Rosewood will announce its finalists, who will receive a $100 donation to the charity of their choice and a dinner for two at any Rosewood property. The judges (Peter Greenberg, CBS News Travel Editor, Jason Binn, CEO of Niche Media, and Pamela Fiori, Editor-at-Large of Town & Country) will then choose a final winner who will receive a $1,000 donation to their chosen charity and a free three-night stay at any of the Rosewood hotels or resorts in the world. Rosewood has property in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Middle East.   

Do you know a young person who has strong moral values and wisdom like an owl? Nominate them here.

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July 29, 2010

Free Itineraries from Lonely Planet: How to Get Your Kicks on Route 66

By Guest Blogger

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Route 66 (Jeremy Woodhouse)

Snaking across the nation's belly, this fragile ribbon of concrete was the USA's original road trip, connecting Chicago with Los Angeles in 1926. Neon signs, motor courts, pie-filled diners, and drive-in theaters sprouted along the way. Many remain, and tracing Route 66 today is a time-warped journey through small town America.

Nostalgia and kitsch are your constant companions on the old thoroughfare. Nicknamed the "Mother Road" and "Main Street USA," Route 66 became popular during the Depression, when Dust Bowl migrants drove west in beat-up jalopies. After WWII, middle-class motorists hit the road for fun in their Chevys. Eventually bypassed by interstates, Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985. Driving it nowadays means seeking out blue-line highways and gravel frontage roads.

Continue reading "Free Itineraries from Lonely Planet: How to Get Your Kicks on Route 66" »

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Related Topics: Road Trips · US Travel

July 28, 2010

The Perfect Summer Shorts

Karl Hiking, cycling, or just stomping down a dirt road in Southeast Asia, the Karl from Fjall Raven should be your go-to option for shorts. Constructed from proprietary G-1000 fabric, an ultra-durable mix of cotton and poly that the company founder first discovered when he fashioned a climbing jacket out of tent fabric, the Karl offers a heady mix of all the right features: wind resistance, water repellency, superior breathability, and UV-protection in a slightly stiff, lightweight package.  In addition to the four traditional pockets (two up front, two in the back), the Karl has a snap-closure cargo pocket on the right; a narrow, open tool slot; and a hidden zippered cargo hold on the left leg. And if you anticipate truly extreme weather, the shorts also come with a small cube of Greenland Wax, a combo of paraffin and bees wax the stalwart Swedish company has used to strengthen their garments since 1966. The application is simple (rub on a thin layer, then melt the wax into the fabric with a hair dryer), and its durability has been proven for decades—so they’ll definitely get you through the dog days of summer.

The shorts are available in Fjall Raven's NYC store (262 Mott Street;  open Monday-Sunday, 11 to 8) or by calling 212-226-7846

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July 27, 2010

Inside World Festivals: The Race of the Candles

By WorldNomads

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Gubbio_Corsa_Ceri_Festival_Gubbio,Italy(Wikipedia) If you're a traveler that is looking for adventure mixed with rich history, then the Race of the Candles is the perfect festival destination for you. It's a tradition that has been carried on since 1242, and perhaps the most amazing part is that little about the festival has changed over the centuries.

Corsa dei Ceri, or the Race of the Candles, is one of the most popular festivals worldwide as well as one of the most exciting. And contrary to popular belief, it's got nothing to do with actual candles. The ancient festivity is held each year in Gubbio, Italy, beginning on May 3rd and culminating on May 15th. It consists of teams of young men carrying three "Ceri," enormous wooden biers each weighing nearly half a ton and topped with the statue of a different saint, through the steep streets of Gubbio and up Mount Ingino to the Basilica of St. Ubaldo. The winner of the "race" is determined not by which group finishes first, but by the team that exhibits the most skill. It is an experience not to be missed.

Continue reading "Inside World Festivals: The Race of the Candles" »

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Related Topics: Holidays, Events, & Festivals

July 26, 2010

Great City Parks & Playgrounds for Kids

Kids enjoying the fun at the Crown Fountain in Chicago's Millennium Park (ashleighb77/Flickr)

If there's one thing that parents learn quickly, it's the cardboard-box rule. As in, the packaging for a new toy can be as entertaining as the toy itself. I find that traveling with young kids follows a similar logic. You can do all the museums, monuments, churches, and castles in the world, but what kids really want is a place in which to run around like they do at home. So to aid in that quest, here are my recommendations for small-people spaces in big-city places—namely, adventuresome playgrounds that will stand in for that well-worn play area at your neighborhood school or park.

Meeting the ducks on Boston Common (rawheadrex/Flickr)

The Obvious Outdoor Icon: One of America's cherished outdoor spaces, 50-acre Boston Common has been used for everything from cattle grazing to public hangings. Beyond its Freedom Trail history, the Common includes a wading and ice-skating area at Frog Pond and the ever-popular Tadpole Playground nearby.

The Insider Pick: More than just a patch of trees and grass, Southwest Corridor Park stretches almost five miles from Back Bay to Forest Hills, connecting the neighborhoods of South End, Back Bay, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain. Within its 52-acre bounds you'll find a string of seven playgrounds geared toward different ages and abilities. As a Boston friend notes, "You can do a playground crawl instead of a pub crawl."

Continue reading "Great City Parks & Playgrounds for Kids" »

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Related Topics: Budget Travel · Family Vacation · Outdoor Adventures

July 23, 2010

An Ode to Boat Shoes

Clipping from the original 1968 ad for the PF Flyers Windjammer boat shoe.

Maybe it’s rote to say preppy culture is coming back into vogue in America. Maybe I’m way behind my Big Apple peers in pointing out the influence of Vampire Weekend and its Cape & Islands blueblood rock. Maybe I just spent too much time in Colorado, where the term “boat shoes” refers to Crocs and/or kayaking booties. But it seems to me that the tried-and-true boat shoe is experiencing a renaissance like never before.

Continue reading "An Ode to Boat Shoes" »

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Related Topics: Sailing · Travel Gear

July 22, 2010

Eco-Friendly Adventure in Puerto Rico

By Guest Blogger

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Ty - The Beast Zipline
The Beat Zipline (Ty Stevens)

Welcome to the Toro Verde Adventure Park & Eco Resort, a 100-acre jungle oasis located in the heart of Puerto Rico. It's the ultimate playground, offering hours of mountain biking, rock climbing, and zip-line adventures with lush jungle landscapes as the backdrop.

Adrenaline junkies can fly on more than 20 canopy zip-lines (with more to come) that range from 100 to 3,000-plus feet in length, and are up to 800 meters high. My favorite fix is "The Beast," touted as the second longest zip-line in the world with average break neck speeds of 50-plus mph. Imagine ripping through the sky in a prone "superman"-style harness. Below on the forest floor is a network of world-class mountain-bike trails linking miles of varied jungle terrain.

The park itself is being developed in three phases, with a projected 316 acres at completion. With phase one complete, phase two promises "more fully sustainable, and primarily natural-surface mountain-bike trails," says seven-time world champion mountain biker and trail designer Marla Streb of Streb Trail Productions. Marla has turned her passion for trails, mountain biking, and land preservation into a full-time pursuit and is responsible for many sustainable development and education projects in several regions of Central America. Her philosophy is to "use, not abuse," expressing the importance of enjoying and interacting with these natural wonders without leaving behind our mark. The idea behind this project, she says, is to work with world-class athletes to design world-class trails, with a variety of options that appeal to beginner and advanced riders and hikers alike.

Continue reading "Eco-Friendly Adventure in Puerto Rico" »

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Related Topics: Caribbean Travel · Eco-Tourism · Exotic Escapes

July 21, 2010

An Introduction to the Masai Mara

By Guest Blogger

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Sunrise on Masai Mara National Reserve
A Masai Mara Sunrise (Ziara Safaris)

A lot has been said about the Masai Mara before, and for good reason. Tucked away in southwest Kenya, it's the country's most popular national park, and if you take in the small size of the reserve in comparison with some of the giants like Amboseli or Tsavo West, you can immediately glean that there must be something truly special about this park.

The Masai Mara, totalling 938 square miles, is essentially the northern continuation of the Serengeti of Tanzania. Though dwarfed by its southern sister, the richness and concentration of wildlife in the Masai Mara is second-to-none. It is undoubtedly considered the best place in Kenya for spotting each of the "Big Five”—lion, elephant, leopard, cape buffalo, and black rhino—due partly to the sheer diversity of landscape and vegetation in this corner of Kenya.

Wildebeest migration
Wildebeest migration, Masai Mara, Kenya (Ziara Safaris)

Start with the image that's immediately conjured upon hearing the word "safari”—that of the open, rolling savannah. The Masai Mara offers plenty of this quintessentially African landscape. You will gaze from your safari vehicle, or if you're lucky from your lodge or tented camp, and be faced with open plains, a washed-out greenish-gold in the dawn hours, and a deeper orange-gold under the blaze of the sunset. Open lands such as this are often favoured by cheetahs, which can sprint unhampered across the landscape in pursuit of an unlucky gazelle or ungainly wildebeest.

Continue reading "An Introduction to the Masai Mara" »

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Exotic Escapes

July 20, 2010

Inside World Festivals: Buon Don Elephant Races

By WorldNomads

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Halong_Bay(Chad Riley,OJO Images,Getty)
Halong Bay, Vietnam (Chad Riley)

Few travel adventures offer the excitement and uniqueness of Vietnam's Buon Don Elephant Races, held each year around March in the forests near the Sevepoi River. Nothing quite compares to watching ten magnificent elephants racing along a one-mile stretch of racetrack set amidst the beautiful landscape of the Central Highlands. The next set of races takes place April 12, 2011, or yearly around the third lunar month.

The area has long been renowned for its highly skilled M'Nong wild elephant trainers, with their amazing ability to tame some of the earth's largest, most magnificent beasts, and this annual race allows these proud people a chance to celebrate their unique heritage.

The event begins with the sounding of tu va, musical instruments made from animal horns. Then the elephants are lined up at the starting line to prepare for the race. Each enormous creature is controlled by two jockeys; one to steer and the other to manage the speed, which can reach an incredible 25 miles per hour. Another blow from the tu va and the race begins, set to the sounds of chanting spectators. The winning elephant receives a laurel wreath, sugar cane, and bananas, and all ten contestants are rewarded with a refreshing swim across the Serepok River. For festival-goers the event is a spectacle of incredible sights, with the locals turning out wearing brilliantly colored clothing and fantastic costumes to support their villages. The sounds of beating gongs and resounding cries from the crowd fill the air as the elephants are cheered on during the race. The atmosphere is nothing less than electric. Spectators can even get involved in the festivities by offering treats to the elephants after the race. There is no cost to attend the event, other than food, drink, and treats to feed to the elephants. Those planning to travel to the race are advised to bring a video camera because the experience just can't be captured with a traditional camera. After the race, visitors are encouraged to stick around and enjoy the incredible beauty that the Central Highlands has to offer, mingle with the friendly locals, and even take their own elephant ride.

Continue reading "Inside World Festivals: Buon Don Elephant Races" »

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Related Topics: Holidays, Events, & Festivals

July 19, 2010

See the Stars at Natural Bridges National Monument

Sipapu Bridge, Natural Bridges N.M.(Wikipedia)
Sipapu Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah (Wikipedia)

I recently wrote in The Boston Globe about my favorite place to spend the longest day of the year in America, Natural Bridges National Monument in southeast Utah. People who venture here can’t wait for the sun to finally set. Designated the world’s first International Dark Sky Park, the night skies above the park are considered the darkest in the country due to lack of light pollution. Under the guidance of an astronomy ranger, you’ll see a gazillion stars light up the Milky Way and find constellations you never knew existed. The bright night sky shines an ethereal light on the canyon walls and rock bridges to create a magical lunar-like landscape.

Steve Jermanok is the publisher of, a site that offers expert advice to travelers, not tourists, on connecting with nature, people, and wildlife around the world while working up a sweat.

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