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July 2011

July 28, 2011

Ten Places Every Kid Should See Before They Leave For College

By Lacy Morris

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Gettysburg National Military Park(Tetra Images,Getty)
Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania (Tetra Images)

When you have little ones, a vacation isn't really a vacation. Consider these ten landmarks, locales, events as an investment in your child's future, for is a life really complete without realizing just how small you are while standing under the canopy of a 300-foot tree or feeling true American pride while watching a grand slam at Fenway Park? If you approach it right, they might not even realize that it's educational. Here are our top ten places every kid should see before they leave for college.

10. New York City
Yeah, we know, it's crowded and expensive, but imagine the awe radiating from your child as they stand amidst the lights of Times Square. Buy a sandwich from the deli across the street from the Ed Sullivan Theatre, rent bikes in Central Park, and let them try to figure out the subway map in Grand Central Station. During the holidays, skate at Rockefeller Center or crowd the streets for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.    '

New York City Family Travel Guide

9. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
It's a bit "heavy" but kids slacking in history class will find a new appreciation for one of the most important events in America's history. Hit up the National Riding Stables to saddle up for a ride along the battlefield. Make sure to stop at Gettysburg National Cemetery where more than 3,500 Union soldiers are buried.     

Pennsylvania Family Travel Guide

8. Alcatraz, San Francisco, California
The land that was once home to the toughest prison in America doesn't sound very kid-friendly, but we guarantee nothing but good can come from a child learning that there are consequences for crimes, even if it's a bit extreme. Depart via ferry from San Francisco's Pier 33 to stroll the dark, musty, and cramped quarters of Alcatraz. To really get a feel for what life was like for hardcore criminals in the 40s and 50s, purchase the audio tour narrated by former inmates and guards who spent time in the prison.

San Francisco Family Travel Guide

Continue reading "Ten Places Every Kid Should See Before They Leave For College" »

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Related Topics: Family Vacation

July 22, 2011

Dream Big at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas


As befits a place that has built its brand around a legendary submerged kingdom first chronicled by Plato around 360 BC, the Atlantis, Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas is upping the fantasy quotient for its younger guests this summer. For the next several weeks, guests can join themed camps that include a Fashion and Fitness Camp hosted by the editors of Seventeen magazine, an Atlantis Marine Adventure Camp that takes campers behind the scenes of Atlantis' impressive marine-habitat operation, and a Second City Fantasy Camp to learn from the same improv outfit that launched the careers of comedians like Tina Fey and Mike Myers. The Seventeen magazine Fantasy Camp runs July 25-28; the Marine Adventure and Second City Fantasy camps will occur August 1-4. To book, visit

Of course, even if you don't join one of these camps, Atlantis is one serious bucket of fun (a 20-million-gallon bucket if you take into account all its fresh and saltwater pools and lagoons, waterslides, waterfalls, and marine habitat). Atlantis guests have full access to all these amenities, as well as 35 restaurants, well-regarded kids' programs and activities, plus casino, spa, and shopping for the grownups to join in all that holiday dreaming.

Click here to read a review of Atlantis, one of's top-rated family resorts.

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Related Topics: Family Vacation · Places to Stay

July 20, 2011

Tips for Traveling Stress-Free

By Erika Lloyd

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(Allan Ferguson/Wikipedia)

Most of us have faced stressful situations while traveling—from dealing with delayed or canceled flights to jet lag, traffic, or sitting in a cramped seat for hours. Whether you're exploring a far-off destination for the first time, or just getting some new scenery on a business trip, travel is exciting and fun, but it also has the potential to wreak havoc on our emotional and physical wellbeing. A recent article on looks at the causes of travel stress and offers some insightful tips on how to make your next journey more enjoyable. Here are the highlights:

A healthy mindset
It’s easy to get agitated when the person in front of you at security thinks they can convince the TSA agent to let them through with their family-size containers of shower gel, perfume, and duty-free rum. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that this is an expected part of travel. Arrive at the airport early and free yourself of expectations that everything will be on schedule.

Nonstop flights
They may empty the wallet a bit more, but nonstop flights will alleviate a lot of the stress surrounding travel. Decreasing your chances of a delayed or cancelled flight is worth the extra cost. Also try to avoid peak travel hours: 7:00-9:00 a.m. and 4:00-7:00 p.m.

Avoid jet lag
Help your body overcome jet lag by trying to adapt to the sleeping schedule of your travel destination as soon as possible. Natural sleep aids will help you sleep at night and don’t have the side effects of pharmaceuticals. Try a supplement like Rest Easy or Melatonin that will help your body adjust to the new sleeping schedule.

Stay physically healthy
A cold, flu, or even allergies can put a huge damper on your travel plans. Pack a pocket-size container of sanitizer and wash your hands often. Don’t forget your regular allergy meds, and try taking a multivitamin or a natural supplement that will strengthen your immune system, such as Echinacea or Olive Leaf Extract.

Read more helpful tips about how to avoid travel stress at

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Related Topics: Air Travel · Travel Tips · US Travel

July 15, 2011

The Mural Project: San Francisco's Balmy Alley

Oscar Romero by Juana Alicia

The Mission in San Francisco is arguably one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods, its narrow sidewalks densely populated with taco joints, head shops, dive bars, and street vendors cooking bacon-wrapped hot dogs on makeshift grills propped next to a station wagon. Even the alleyways compete for your attention—and none more so than Balmy, a block-long stretch off 24th Street. Mural painting has a decades-long history in the Mission, and Balmy boasts some of the city’s best urban art, with pieces that range from classical visages of the Virgin Mary to contemporary pieces that address the ‘hood’s struggles to retain its identity in the face of burgeoning gentrification. Here's a preview of just a few of the sights in Balmy Alley.'s San Francisco Travel Guide

Continue reading "The Mural Project: San Francisco's Balmy Alley" »

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Related Topics: Travel Photography · US Travel

July 14, 2011

Courtyard Marriott Bids Adieu to the Waffle Iron

The new look of Courtyard Marriott's breakfast space (courtesy Courtyard Marriott)

Travelers staying at Courtyard Marriott are getting a healthy (and delicious) kick in the pants when it comes to the breakfast buffet. The old standards found in hotels and motels across the country (stale cereal, carb-loaded muffins, and yes, the ubiquitous waffle maker) are giving way to egg white sandwiches with havarti cheese and heart-healthy apple-cranberry oatmeal. The move is part of Courtyard's Bistro concept, which aims to give weary business travelers an excuse to stay in when on the road.

The project, being rolled out to Courtyard's 700+ hotels through 2012, brings comfortable, modern accents to once staid hotel lobbies. "Media pods" (small booths where groups of two to four can have a multimedia meeting) and communal tables allow solo travelers to chit-chat with others while checking email or having a glass of wine.

Courtyard-salad But the big change is the food menu. Open for breakfast, lunch, and light entrees, "The Bistro" has a menu crafted by chefs at the test kitchen in Marriott's D.C. headquarters, combining seasonal dishes with tried and true favorites. We recently got a sneak peak at the menu items, and though there were hits and misses, the food was a significant step above your typical chain hotel fare. A falafel sandwich surprised and impressed this reviewer, both for the fact that it was light and tasty and that Courtyard, whom I know from my days on the road to healthcare marketing conferences, would risk such niche item. The roast beef sandwich sources bread from California's well-known LaBrea bread company, and the Asian noodle salad would have made a perfect fill for that state of hunger that only six hours of airline travel can bring.

Now only if they could work on airline food.

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Related Topics: Food and Drink · From Around the Web · Places to Stay · Travel Deals

July 01, 2011

Five Summer Beer Fest Options—And Their Nearest Campgrounds

By Lacy Morris

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Oregon Brewers Festival(Phillie Casablanca,Flickr)
Tasters at Oregon Brewers' Festival (Phillie Casablanca/Flickr)

A sure sign that the sun is here to stay a while? The desire/need to cool off with beer and road trips—though not at the same time. Also known as a rich excuse to revert back to your 20-somethings, where the best option of breaking the heat that is retaliating against the cool spring days of yore involves a cooler and a full tank of gas. Whether you're a fan of the light lager or rich dark ale, lining up for the keg stand or just imbibing a night cap before bed, summer beer festivals are prime time to taste the unknown or to discover your new favorite vice. So pack up your Pinto, clear the front seat for a buddy, and take a beer run; let's make it a sudsy summer. Here are six summer beer fests and options of beds to stumble to.

Sunfest Summer Beer Festival
July 9
The Midwest has a lot to offer: farmers' daughters, a huge percentage of astronauts, and Omaha, Nebraska, where one Sunfest ticket gets you five hours with more than 170 different varieties of beer. Camping: Glenn Cunningham Lake

Nebraska Travel Guide

Vermont Brewers' Festival
July 15 & 16
Vermont may have been the last continental state to welcome a Wal-Mart (they did so in 1996), but they aren't losing in the race that really matters. With the largest amount of breweries per capita, the Green Mountain State has one brew pub for every 32,698 people. To celebrate, Vermont is in its 19th year of pouring, one of the longest-running festivals in the East. Highlights? It's dog-friendly, uses no plastic bottles, and offers as much free water as you can drink. Camping: North Beach Campground

Burlington, Vermont Travel Guide

Continue reading "Five Summer Beer Fest Options—And Their Nearest Campgrounds" »

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Related Topics: Holidays, Events, & Festivals · Trip Ideas · US Travel

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