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December 07, 2012

Make It a Bowl Game Vacation

Aerial view of Downtown Miami, Florida (Ingram Publishing) 122564103
Aerial view of Downtown Miami, Florida (Ingram Publishing)

Whether you're a fanatic who shaves your college team's logo into your back hair or just someone who likes a little football incorporated into your vacation, here's a look into the top bowl games this season and some other things to do while you visit the host cities.

Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO
January 1, Pasadena, California, 5:00 p.m. EST
Wisconsin vs Stanford
2012 Winner: Oregon Ducks
The Rose Bowl has been a New Year's Day tradition since the early 1900s, which is why it's nicknamed "The Granddaddy of them All." Many Heisman trophy winners and national champions have showcased their talent at these games. This year, fans should expect an exciting game as the Big 10 Wisconsin Badgers take on the Pac-12 Stanford Cardinals in Pasadena, California, for the 99th playing of the Rose Bowl. Be sure to arrive in Pasadena a few days early, as there are many other events such as Bandfest on December 29 and 30, which features performances from all the bands in the 2013 Rose Parade; the Equesfest on December 29, which showcases many of the equestrians seen in the parade New Year's Day; and, of course, The Rose Parade held before the game-day kickoff. Also, while in the City of Roses, take note of the historic buildings filled with local shops and eateries along Colorado Boulevard and the prominent architecture throughout the area. And if you like culture, check out the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens... but most of all, if you do just one thing, stop and smell the roses.

Continue reading "Make It a Bowl Game Vacation" »

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

December 06, 2012

Plan a Warm-Weather Holiday Getaway to Arizona

By Guest Blogger

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Phoenix, Arizona at dusk (iStockphoto) 118267678
Phoenix, Arizona at dusk (iStockphoto)

December is here, and like many people I'm already dreaming of warm weather. Luckily for me, my family lives in Phoenix, Arizona, so I get to escape the cold for a week and visit a warm weather destination during my holiday vacation. With average winter temperatures in the 60s, the Phoenix metro area has so much to offer. I'm already planning my week of activities, so I thought I would share some of my favorite things to do while in Arizona.'s Phoenix Travel Guide

Shop 'til You Drop
If you enjoy shopping, Phoenix and Scottsdale are some of the best vacation spots in Arizona. Be prepared to drop some coin because Scottsdale and Phoenix are home to a number of great indoor and outdoor shopping promenades. In Phoenix, your best bet is Biltmore Fashion Park, a luxury outdoor retail and dining plaza located in the upscale Biltmore area of Phoenix. In Scottsdale you have a number of options. Kierland Commons is an upscale sidewalk shopping center located on the border of North Scottsdale that offers fabulous restaurants and a bustling bar scene. If you head south to downtown Scottsdale you'll find one of the Southwest's premier shopping destinations, Scottsdale Fashion Square, which houses many luxury retailers. If high-end designers aren't your thing, there is a little something for everyone along the 5th Avenue shopping district. You'll find a mix of trendy boutiques, art galleries, jewelry stores, and Native American gifts. With all the options, you might need to bring an extra suitcase to bring home all of your loot from your Arizona vacation.

Continue reading "Plan a Warm-Weather Holiday Getaway to Arizona" »

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

December 05, 2012

Skiing Alberta: An Avalanche of Winter Wonders

BIG IT UP: Skiing Banff's Mount Norquay (Ski Banff)

One of my favorite places to ski, the Rocky Mountain slopes of Alberta, Canada, are open for the 2012-2013 ski season and packed with some great new developments. Here's a sampling.

Banff's Mt. Norquay has been open since October 25, so it has had plenty of time to work out any pre-season kinks. Current snowfall is reported at more that 30 inches, with 30 runs open. This is a really fun little resort with an edgy vibe, though note trails can be quite steep and icy in the upper areas of the mountain. They have night skiing here, as well as lift tickets by the hour, so a good one if you want to get in a half-day on the slopes along with some additional Banff National Park sightseeing.

Continue reading "Skiing Alberta: An Avalanche of Winter Wonders" »

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Related Topics: Skiing & Snowboarding

December 03, 2012

Hotel Spotlight: Craddock Terry Hotel

By awayblog

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View of the Deluxe King Suite (Craddock Terry)

Housed in a former shoe factory—which you'll see nods to almost everywhere—Lynchburg, Virginia's Craddock Terry hotel is as good of a homecoming you can get without having ever gone home. Each guest is greeted at the door by Buster Brown, the hotel's resident wirehaired fox terrier—he's also available for guests to take on walks/runs on trails through the surrounding historic district. Mixing turn-of-the-century architecture with stylish, and a bit eclectic, décor, Craddock Terry is a tranquil escape at the front door of the Blue Ridge Parkway and some of the most idyllic countryside a city-weary heart can think up.

Continue reading "Hotel Spotlight: Craddock Terry Hotel " »

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Related Topics: Places to Stay · US Travel

November 29, 2012

Why I Hate Patchouli

The lovely scents of Macau, before the patchouli invaded (Nathan Borchelt)

It’s impossible to over-exaggerate how much I despise the smell of patchouli. I would think the fact that it was used in the 19th century to repel moths and termites would be enough to keep people from spraying themselves with the stuff. Or that it smells like an ungodly mixture of wet earth and decaying flesh. Sure, it may cover the smell of marijuana smoke, but with medicinal use spreading (and Seattle and Colorado legalizing pot across the board), this seems like a fringe application. And yet, travelers still wear it.

My hatred of the stuff dates back to high school days, when a “hippy chick” (as the clique was called) poured some patchouli on a friend’s aviator flight jacket, the acceptable uniform of the hardcore music-lovers. The noxious smell never left (this is as low as a punk can get).

Continue reading "Why I Hate Patchouli" »

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Related Topics: Asia Travel · Travel Rants

November 20, 2012

Your Guide to the 2012-2013 Ski Season Opening Day in North American Resorts

By Lacy Morris

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Skiing at Steamboat Springs Resort, Colorado (Colorado Ski Country)

Some say that fall isn't over until every ski resort has opened their doors. The last leaves have yet to fall, but if you're a snow junkie, we're sure you've monitored your favorite resort's snowfall. To make it easier on those who don't live and breathe opening day, here are some of the most popular resorts in North America and the festivities they've planned for the first day of their 2012-2013 winter season.  

Marmot Basin Ski Resort
November 9, 2012
Marmot's official opening day was November 9. However, the resort opened two more lifts on November 15.

Breckenridge Ski Resort
November 10, 2012
Breck celebrated opening day with 2,000 free cinnamon rolls and free parking after a storm brought 7" to the mountainside.

Vail Ski Resort
November 16, 2012
Vail opened for the 2012-2013 season on November 16. The resort's 50th winter season was marked with the unveiling of a new state-of-the-art gondola at Mountain Plaza in Vail Village.

Continue reading "Your Guide to the 2012-2013 Ski Season Opening Day in North American Resorts" »

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Related Topics: Skiing & Snowboarding

November 19, 2012

Get In On Cyber Monday Travel Deals

By Kate Chandler

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Aruba is just one of the many destinations on sale for Cyber Monday (Digital Vision)

Everyone knows about Black Friday. How could you not, with sales being advertised as soon as Halloween is put to bed? But Cyber Monday (November 26, this year) is nearly a household name, too, with online deals on everything from toys to blenders to shoes. And you can now add travel deals to that list, as hotels have jumped on the Cyber Monday bandwagon. Here are a few good deals we found.

Orbitz: Use the code CYBERORBITZ when you book a hotel through this online agency and receive 15 percent off through January 5, 2013.

Howard Johnson Hotels: HoJo’s message is to forget about both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and to say hello to Orange Wednesday, November 28. On that day, you can book at any of the 50 participating hotels in the U.S. and Canada for 50 percent off. You have to call the hotel directly on Orange Wednesday to book the rate.

New York City
The Maritime Hotel in West Chelsea is offering a 26 percent discount on room rates if you book between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. (Get it? Because Cyber Monday’s on the 26th…)

Continue reading "Get In On Cyber Monday Travel Deals" »

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November 14, 2012

October Photo Contest Winner Announced!

By awayblog

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During October, and readers submitted their most inspirational Fall Destination photos. Seven finalists were selected from the entries and then our readers rated the photos to select the winner. With a final average rating of 4.33, the winning photo captures a beautiful fall day on a deerted road in Wisconsin, which was sent in by Nathan Mork. Nathan won a newly released Flip Switch Wheeled Backpack from Eagle Creek (retail value of $300), courtesy of and Congratulations to our winner and, as always, we look forward to seeing your photos for our next month's photo contest.  

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November 13, 2012

New and Notable Direct Airline Routes

By Kate Chandler

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Dublin, Ireland (Digital Vision)

I’ll admit that living in the D.C. area, with its three major airports, has me a bit spoiled when it comes to flying. And if I wasn’t picky about taking only direct flights before, I now have a toddler and another baby on the way, making it even more important. Luckily, airlines continue to offer new direct routes to some fabulous places. Plus, this time of year, they really up their game on seasonal routes to the best ski and beach parts of the world. Here’s a short recap of some new and notable direct flights.

Filed under “Life List”: American Airlines began taking reservations for four new international routes on November 4. If these destinations aren’t on your travel list, get ‘em there quick!

Dallas, Texas (DFW) to Seoul, South Korea (ICN): travel begins May 9, 2013
Chicago, Illinois (ORD) to Dusseldorf, Germany (DUS): travel begins June 12, 2013
New York, New York (JFK) to Dublin, Ireland (DUB): travel begins April 2, 2013
Dallas, Texas (DFW) to Lima, Peru (LIM): travel begins April 11, 2013

Continue reading "New and Notable Direct Airline Routes" »

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November 09, 2012

Hot Spots and Highlights of Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk, Virginia (iStockphoto) 134180933
Norfolk, Virginia skyline (iStockphoto)

Norfolk, Virginia, is home to the largest naval base in the world, so you might assume it is just a regular ol' military town, but after a weekend visit I was surprised to find that this area just off the Chesapeake Bay is beautiful, historic, and a great destination for a quick escape. The area is a mix of corporate headquarters like General Dynamics and non-profits like PETA, home to five colleges like Old Dominion University, and, of course, full of sailors. And somehow this random mix seems to work just fine.

The area is becoming known for its festivals and conferences, so if you're in town for one of those, or are just there for a weekend getaway, here are some ideas on things to do and see in Norfolk.'s Norfolk Travel Guide

Chrysler Museum of Art
Don't be fooled, this is not a car museum. This museum opened in 1933 as the Norfolk Academy of Arts and Science. Today, the 7,000 square foot facility has 32,000 pieces of art including 8,000 pieces of glasswork. Walker P. Chrysler Jr. collected fine art for seven decades, and then, in 1971, he donated nearly 10,000 pieces to the museum, which was later renamed the Chrysler Museum. The museum is set to temporarily close for renovations during 2013, but in the meantime, you can find the artwork at the Moses Myers House, the Norfolk History Museum, and at other museums and galleries in the Hampton Roads area.

Chrysler Museum of Art's Glass Studio
Just across the parking lot from the museum is a state-of-the-art glass-making facility that is one of a kind in the Mid-Atlantic region. Daily visitors can see free demonstrations, and the studio also offers classes for glassmakers of all levels.

Nauticus & U.S.S. Wisconsin
Take time to discover Nauticus, an interactive science and technology center located on the waterfront. It's also the home of the retired battleship U.S.S. Wisconsin, which you can explore first-hand. 

Continue reading "Hot Spots and Highlights of Norfolk, Virginia" »

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