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August 2012

August 22, 2012

July Photo Contest Winner: Marc Bernstein with Jones Beach on Long Island, NY

By awayblog

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32281_Jones Beach, Long Island, NY-20126883s_Marc Bernstein
Jones Beach, Long Island, New York (Marc Bernstein)

Throughout July, our readers and travelers submitted their inspirational photos of beach destinations throughout the world. Marc Bernstein’s winning photo of Jones Beach in Long Island, New York seems to tell a story of its own—the desolate beach that has closed for the season waiting for the next spell of warm days and children’s laughter in the air. Jones Beach State Park is comprised of 2, 413 acres and 6.5 miles of ocean front terrain. It is 33 miles from Manhattan and accessible by public transportation during the summer months. An estimated eight million visitors come to Jones Beach each year, but in the off-season, it takes on a whole different charm. Congratulations to Marc for capturing the character of a place, and for winning a $100 VISA gift card.

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August 20, 2012

Relay Runs: The Race of the Future

Woman running-93367000(iStockphoto,Thinkstock)

Running is typically not a team sport, but the latest fad of "relay races" is changing this. The distance and time can vary, but a relay race usually involves eight to 12 team members, two vans, and 24+ hours of running a few hundred miles from one point to another. Many running buddies are signing up for events like this and planning their yearly vacations around them. The largest relay race in the world, Hood-to-Coast has been held for more than 30 years. Today this Oregon race hosts 1,050 teams that all start their race 6,000 feet above sea level on Mt. Hood, then wind through Portland, and finish 200 miles later on the beaches of Seaside. This particular race consists of 36 legs, and each runner completes three, which range from around 3.5 miles to eight miles each.

If your team doesn't get a spot in Hood-to-Coast or you want something closer to home, here are some alternatives to get you pounding the pavement in no time.

The Bourbon Chase, Kentucky
Every year people joke they run for food; well, these participants run for bourbon. This chase is a 200-mile overnight relay along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail that was first organized in 2010. Runners journey through Kentucky's famous rolling hills, past championship horse stables, and historic towns of the Bluegrass State.

Blue Ridge Relay, Virginia and North Carolina
This race is one of the longest running relays in the United States. It starts near Mt. Rogers in Virginia and finishes 208 miles later in Asheville, North Carolina. The route takes runners past some of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi and through the Blue Ridge and Black mountains.

Continue reading "Relay Runs: The Race of the Future " »

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August 16, 2012

Travel to War-Stricken Countries: Thinking Outside the Tourist Box

By Guest Blogger

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When it's time to plan a vacation, most travelers tend to start with the usual, played-out suspects. You know what I'm talking about. Maybe your friend just got back from Italy, and she raved about the wine. Or your parents went to Australia and said it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

France. Germany. Spain. These are the types of places that pop into most people's heads when they imagine where they want to spend their precious time off. But if you think outside the box, your next trip could truly be the adventure of a lifetime. For an escape that you'll never forget, look into some amazing countries that have fallen off the tourism map due to some sort of past turmoil.

In a lot of cases, war-stricken countries are relatively safe for tourists, have many incredible things to see and do, and can provide you with insight into unique and rich cultures that will astound you. And as a bonus, these countries tend to be much more affordable than those that are trampled by the masses.

Akakus (Acacus) Mountains, Sahara, Libya-120355687(iStockphoto,Thinkstock)
Sahara, Libya (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

If archeology is your thing, Libya might be the perfect destination for you. You can visit this unique country via an organized tour, which will help keep you on the right track and out of harm's way.

Though tourism in Libya is in its infancy, new hotels are being built all the time, and tourism is sure to ramp up. But for now, one of Libya's biggest draws is that you will be able to visit some of the country's great ruins before they turn into tourist traps.

Continue reading "Travel to War-Stricken Countries: Thinking Outside the Tourist Box" »

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August 13, 2012

The Idiot's Guide to Taking Your Kids to an Outdoor Music Festival

Main stage at FloydFest 2012 (Roger Gupta)

I recently took my kids camping to FloydFest, a four-day music festival located off Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in southwestern Virginia. This was my first outdoor music festival, so I went with some trepidation given it was just me, my budding young rockers, and a stack of gear to supply our camping foray amid a crowd of dyed-to-the-core hippies, teenage flower-power wannabes, yoga-loving urbanites, and plenty of other families. The good news is we had a great time, enjoying an eclectic lineup of artists ranging from alt-rock to bluegrass to American folk. And between the acts, we literally never had to make a plan, drifting from jugglers to trapeze school to climbing wall and back to magicians. So don't be shy about taking your kids to a music festival in your neck of the woods. But if (or when) you do, here are some tips to help you make the most of the mayhem.

Love Thy Neighbors
Forget the primordial instinct to be the sole provider of food and shelter to your offspring. If you, like me, have only one pair of hands to erect a tent while your kids roam the campground, then just strike up a conversation with your fellow campers. There's something to be said for the communal aspect of driving into the woods to listen to music and howl at the moon for a few days. We didn't meet an unfriendly soul, and all were happy to lend a hand stretching out a rainfly or chat with the kids while I fussed around. (OK, I confess, maybe the friendly vibe occasionally had something to do with the exotic scents filling the air.)

Read's guide to the best summer music festivals

Continue reading "The Idiot's Guide to Taking Your Kids to an Outdoor Music Festival" »

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

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