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April 17, 2012

Puerto Rico's Ultimate Culinary Festival

Saborea logo 2012Foodies now have another reason to welcome spring. In addition to an influx of warmer-weather produce, the season also triggers the start of food-festival season. Ironically, one of the country's best foodie events is staged in a place where it's always warm. This April 21 and 22, Puerto Rico's famed Escambron Beach will host Saborea, the island's premier culinary event.

The word Saborea derives from the Spanish word sabor, which means "taste," a perfect term to encapsulate the diverse flavors found throughout the 3,515-square-mile Caribbean island. Guests will enjoy samples from Puerto Rico's best restaurants, attend classes and get tips on the best ways to prepare the island cuisine at eight demo kitchens, and hop between such events as a decadent exhibit of desserts paired with Puerto Rico's world-renowned coffee, the Libation Station (which should need no explanation), and The Next Culinary Wave, where the island's best chefs link up with students of local culinary schools for an exclusive, hands-on knowledge exchange.

A daily pass, which is good from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., runs you $99. Escambron Beach lies within the Puerta de Tierra neighborhood of San Juan.

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April 12, 2012

Spring Skiing, Perfected at Mount Bachelor

The back porch of Mount Bachelor in November 2011… and the snow kept on coming (Mount Bachelor Resort)

The only evidence of winter we saw in our Washington, D.C., HQ this season was exactly three snow flurries (and one of those happened in October!). Otherwise, the winter of 2011-2012 has been more a prolonged foreplay into spring, and much of the country has witnessed the same, sad fate.

Except for places like Mount Bachelor.

While many of the country's ski resorts were quietly plotting ways to truck in snow (like Whistler/Blackcomb did for the 2010 Winter Olympics), this resort outside of Bend, Oregon, has seen near-steady snowfall throughout the season--so much so that the mountain now boasts a seasonal total of 447 inches...and counting, with three inches falling within the last 24 hours, and a 15-foot-deep base.

Continue reading "Spring Skiing, Perfected at Mount Bachelor" »

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March 30, 2012

Timing is Everything: Getting Flight Deals

By BootsnAll

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Online flight booking(iStockphoto,Thinkstock)
It might seem to the outsider that the prices on airline tickets are as capricious as teenagers in love. There seems to be little rhyme or reason to how much tickets cost, and you may have read about the enormous difference between the ticket prices paid by passengers seated next to one another on the same flight. It's particularly notable with international airfare, where the disparities in ticket prices can be several hundred dollars.

What appears to be entirely random, however, actually has some method to the madness. You may not be able to pinpoint the exact nanosecond when a given flight will be at its lowest fare, but there are enough patterns to the pricing of airline tickets that you can get much closer to the lowest prices just by knowing a few simple rules about timing.

Continue reading "Timing is Everything: Getting Flight Deals" »

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January 31, 2012

Deal Alert: Northeast Sales on Amtrak

By Kate Chandler

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Trains are surely the most civil, relaxing way to travel these days. But, let's be honest, sometimes airfare to a destination is cheaper than a train ticket (especially in the Northeast corridor). Amtrak does occasionally post some good deals, though, and now is one of those times for people in the DC and NYC areas.

The Deal: Travel Between DC and NYC for $40 One-Way.
The Rules: Book online now through February 2, 2012, for travel March 13 through April 4, 2012.
The fine print (on Amtrak's website)

The Deal: Travel between NYC and Montreal for $89 Round-Trip (yep, that's right, round-trip).
The Rules: Book online now through April 23, 2012, for travel now through April 26, 2012.
The fine print (on Amtrak's website)

So go ahead and plan your next escape. Here are a few travel guides to get you started:'s NYC Travel Guide's DC Travel Guide's Montreal Travel Guide

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January 26, 2012

Winter Has (Finally) Arrived! And So Have the Ski Deals.

A much-needed powder day at Snowbird (Matt Crawley/Snowbird Resort)

After returning last week from a trip to most of the ski resorts of Park City and Salt Lake, I was ready to write about how Utah’s snow-making skills have managed to turn a year of dismal snowfall into a surprisingly robust ski experience of groomed runs and bluebird skies. But then, three days after I got home, the snow came. Four feet of Utah’s famed powdery, light snow fell across the state’s resorts between January 18 and 22. Terrain that had been closed all season (both on- and off-piste) was suddenly ready to accept the first tracks of 2012. Snowbasin now reports a robust 73-inch base, while Alta and Snowbird rank highest for the SLC-area resorts, boasting 71- and 67-inch bases (respectively). Park City has also seen its fair share of much-needed snow (just in time to clog the streets during Sundance), with a base depth that starts at 43 inches.

Continue reading "Winter Has (Finally) Arrived! And So Have the Ski Deals." »

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August 29, 2011

See Migrating Whale Sharks—At a Discount

The big migration: A whale shark as it passes through the waters off Cancun (Villa del Parmar)

Villa del Palmar Cancun just announced a $500 reduction in their annual Whale Shark Adventure Package, which runs through this September.  For $1,598, you get five days and four nights at this plush resort, along with easy access to the migrating whale sharks. Personally, we think swimming with those massive fish is reason enough to drop everything and head south. But the resort sweetens the deal with a cache of other options, like two 50-minute massages, round-trip airport transfers, use of all non-motorized water and land toys, and more. All meals, snacks, and premium-brand alcoholic beverages are covered, and up to two children under 12 stay and eat for free when with their parents.

Editor's Note: An earlier draft referred to whale sharks as "mammals". They are, in fact, fish; their name refers to their massive size.  Thanks to ND Buffington

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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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April 15, 2011

National Park Week 2011—April16-24

By awayblog

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Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming(Drew Rush,Nat Geo,Getty)
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Drew Rush)

Beginning this Saturday, people everywhere are invited to experience America’s nearly 400 national parks which will be fee FREE all week. Celebrating the theme “Healthy Parks, Healthy People,” national parks across the country are encouraging people to come visit, get outdoors, and embrace a healthy lifestyle, while also embracing the importance of keeping our parks protected and preserved. 

For more information on National Park Week, and a full listing of events, including details on park-specific Earth Day events (April 22), Junior Ranger Day activities (April 23), and ways to lend a hand in local parks on Volunteer Day (April 16), visit

On top of that, now is the time to get the app you've been eyeing. All national park apps will be free during National Park Week—April 16-24.

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December 23, 2010

Photo Spotlight: Heli-Skiing in British Columbia

(Nathan Borchelt)

Just in time to inspire a New Year's Resolution you really want to keep, we present a virtual tour of British Columbia's seldom-seen ski resorts, cat-skiing operations, and heli-skiing—all rolled into one convenient and tempting package present by Snowwater.

The Kootenay Sampler offers seven days of serious skiing or riding, including a day at Red Resort, two days of cat-skiing with Valhalla Powdercats, a down day at Ainsworth Hot Springs, and three days of heli-skiing in 150,000 acres of the snow-choked Selkirk Mountains.  Peak season (Jan 15-March 15) packages run $5,400 (Canadian), and shoulder-season (Before Jan 15 and after March 15, conditions permitting) packages cost $4,400 for a seven-day trip, and $3,350 for six days. Prices include all food and lodging at the company's plush backcountry digs (gourmet cuisine, hot tubs, expertly-prepped cocktails).

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November 18, 2010

The Inside Track on Aspen/Snowmass

Ripping it up in Aspen (Limelight Lodge)

Starting early January, Aspen’s Limelight Lodge launches a new complimentary ski/snowboard guided service that should appeal to seasoned skiers and riders.  Offered two days per week starting in early January, guests of the 126-room lodge are paired with a ski professional from the Ski and Snowboard School for a guided tour of the resort. This is not a lesson; you might get tips from the experts to make your day easier, but this program is geared toward winter sport enthusiasts who want to really see the best that Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Snowmass has to offer (as well as a special tour of Buttermilk during the Winter X Games, which takes place January 27-30). Only eight skiers or riders are permitted per day—and the package is open (and free) only to guests of the Limelight.

In case you needed additional incentive, the hotel—which boasts such amenities as spacious suites with full kitchens, a heated outdoor pool and two hot tubs, and complimentary breakfast—recently announced its 2010-11 winter packages.  Our favorite? Stay three nights and get four free lift tickets for $915, part of their Ski Package deal.

Additional information on Limelight's seasonal deals.

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