Category Archives: Things to Do

4 Can’t-Miss Autumn Adventures in Spokane

Spokane, Washington is absolutely stunning in the fall.  

Though I’m a Seattleite now, the “Lilac City” will always be a second home for me, after living there for several years.  I loved being so close to nature, feeling the stark seasonal changes, and seeing new restaurants and shops open up as downtown grew. 

Every year when the days begin to shorten, I always get a bit nostalgic about my time there.   The heat loses its bite and the city is transformed into a canvas of bright colors as the trees prepare to drop their leaves.  For those of us not lucky enough to live there, it’s a beautiful place for a peaceful weekend away.

Here are some of my favorite autumn adventures to enjoy in Spokane.

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Pavillion By Night by Matt Reinbold is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Marvel over the Victorian houses and bright colors of Browne’s Addition

If you’re visiting Spokane for a short trip, you’ll probably be staying in one of the downtown hotels.  Once you’ve dropped off your bags, a good place to stretch your legs is by walking to Browne’s Addition, which is widely known as one of the best neighborhoods in Spokane, and is just west of downtown.  Spend an hour or an afternoon strolling through its quiet streets, enjoying the stately homes and marveling at the bright colors of the trees lining the roads.  The sugar maples, which blaze in bright reds and oranges throughout the fall, are particularly vibrant.

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EJ Roberts Mansion by Tracy Hunter is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

If you have extra time, stop by the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture on 1st avenue (which is having a Halloween party this year!), or lengthen your walk by heading north, crossing the Spokane River on a footbridge.  From there, head East on the Centennial Trial to loop through Riverfront Park, where you’ll see more dazzling colors, before heading back to downtown Spokane.

Go apple picking at Green Bluff

A fantastic way to spend one of Spokane’s brisk, sunny autumn days is a visit to the orchards.  Greenbluff excursions are a strong tradition in Spokane, and it was always the day trip I looked forward to the most in the fall.  After your morning coffee, pile into the car with friends and family to make the short drive out of town to the north.  After about 30 minutes you’ll find yourself on a plateau, surrounded by a collection of orchards and farms.  Reserve an afternoon to stroll through the trees, filling a bucket with crisp, bright apples.  There’s a reason Washington is famous for this fruit! In fact, more than 100 million boxes of apples (at 40 pounds each) are produced in the state each year. 

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Apples by Shinya Suzuki is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Several Green Bluff orchards also have small presses where you can make a jug of sweet apple cider.  It doesn’t get any fresher than that! Just make sure to enjoy it over the next day or two, since there are no preservatives.  One way to use up that cider is to  try your hand at making a fancy fall cocktail

Taste seasonal beer from award-winning breweries

Though apples are Washington State’s most famous crop, did you know the Evergreen State also dominates the hop industry, producing around 70% of all hops grown in North America?

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Beer Sampler by Quinn Dombrowski is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Though cities like Seattle and Denver are well-known as craft beer havens, Spokane has been quietly been producing award-winning breweries.   There are plenty of good breweries around town, but No-Li Brewhouse on the river in the Logan Neighborhood, and Steam Plant Brewing downtown are great places to start. This time of year is particularly special, because “fresh hop” beers are in season, which is a must-try if you’ve never tasted them before.  

If beer’s not your thing, taste a “farm to table” craft liquor from DryFly Distilling or take a distilling class at Tinbender Craft Distillery

Take a scenic drive to Schweitzer and Lake Pend Orielle

When you think of the Rocky Mountains, what do you imagine?  It’s likely you thought of the wilds of Colorado, or perhaps Wyoming or Montana.  You might be surprised at how close Spokane is to the northern Rockies, which spill over into the narrow neck of neighboring Idaho.  Schweitzer Mountain Resort is a favorite skiing destination in the winter, but it’s also a gorgeous place to visit in the fall, and only about a 2-hour scenic drive.

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Lake Pend Orielle at Sunset by Bjorn is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Pack a picnic and make a detour to Farragut State Park, where you can explore Lake Pend Orielle or go on a hike.  Or, stop for lunch and window shopping in the quaint town of Sandpoint, located at the north end of the lake.  Shortly after leaving Sandpoint, you’ll begin the zig-zagging journey up the mountain, feeling the temperature cool as you climb.  When you reach the resort, stunning views of the mountain range reward you.  For adventurers who’d like an even better view, grab a chairlift ticket to the top of the mountain, where 360-degree views will take your breath away.  

Martha Burwell

Hola, Bonjour, Sabaidee! Having traveled the world, Martha Burwell is a writer and consultant based in Seattle who loves sharing stories about places she’s been. But her heart will always be in the Pacific Northwest, where she explores the nearby mountains on foot, by mountain bike, and by snowboard. Martha regularly writes for www.StreetAdvisor.com, and also consults on gender equity via www.MarthaBurwell.com and blogs about intersectional gender equity at www.EqualiSea.org.

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An Insider’s Guide to Visiting San Diego

San Diego is a picturesque beach town located in southern California. With warm weather year-round, surfers can be found out trying to catch a wave any day of the week. If you’re headed there for your next vacation, here’s an insider’s guide to visiting San Diego.

San Diego California

Image via Flickr

Visit La Jolla Cove

If you want to see seals, this is the place to come. Dozens of these creatures can be spotted daily lying out on the rocks, catching some rays. If you head down to the water, seal pups can be seen playing with each other in the water and trying to ride the waves. For a few dollars, you can visit the Cave, where a long set of wooden stairs takes you down a dark tunnel right into a hidden cave where the water comes in.

Spend the Day at Pacific Beach

San Diego has some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. From Pacific Beach to La Jolla, there’s no shortage of places to lie on the beach or swim out in the ocean. Pacific Beach not only has sandy beaches, but is lined with restaurants and bars for when you need to refuel. Local attorney David Hiden elaborates on this, stating:

My favorite thing to do in San Diego is to go to the beach and enjoy the fine sand and the great water because San Diego is such a beautiful city and the beaches are well known to be clean and wonderful.

Walk Through Balboa Park

When you’ve had enough of the ocean, head over to this urban park to get in some exercise. At almost 2 square miles, it’s a green oasis perfect for jogging. There’s plenty to stop at along the way, including the famous San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Natural History Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Art.

Visit a Lighthouse

If you like lighthouses, you’ll love visiting the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. This beautiful lighthouse was first in operation in 1855 to help ships navigate through the fog to the shores of San Diego. While it stopped being used in 1891 in lieu of a new lighthouse in a different location, the building has been very well-preserved. You can go inside the lighthouse, as well as see the old living quarters from the 1800s.

Marissa Pedersen

Marissa is a freelance writer, travel blogger, and social media marketing manager from Seattle. She runs the travel blog Postcards to Seattle, which captures all her journeys from around the world. She likes to stay active wherever she goes, from kayaking in Italy to snowboarding in the Alps.

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Great Food to Eat When Visiting Chicago (That Aren’t Pizza)

Chicago may be synonymous with “deep dish,” but there’s more to this city than thick crusts and mounds of cheese. In addition to striking architecture and gorgeous sunsets, the Windy City boasts a smorgasbord of good eats.

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1. Chicago-style Hot Dog

What cheesesteaks are to Philly, the Chicago-style hot dog is to the Windy City. The best versions start with a Vienna Beef Natural Casing dog, lay it down in a steamed poppy-seed bun, and top it with yellow mustard, diced white onion, relish, thin tomato wedges, a layer of crunchy dill pickles, and a couple of sport peppers. You’ll be able to find them all over the city, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the choices, head to Jimmy’s Red Hots near Humboldt Park. Or go to Allium (located in Chicago’s Four Seasons Hotel) for an upscale take on the classic dog.

2. Vegetarian Diner Food

The Chicago Diner has earned a national reputation for its classic diner fare with a twist: All of the dishes are vegan or vegetarian. Even the most dedicated carnivores will find something to like here, where the menu sports a Radical Reuben (in which seitan replaces corned beef), vegan milkshakes, and truffle mushroom lentil loaf. The restaurant offers locations in both Halstead and Logan Square.

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3. Paczkis

Chicagoans line up for hours on Paczki Day each year, when dozens of vendors around the city sell the hole-less Polish donuts to signal the arrival of Lent. Order them filled with jams, creams, or chocolate, or keep it simple and stick with an iced or powdered sugar variety. Consult this map to find where to score yours.  

4. The Jibarito

Reportedly invented in Chicago, this Puerto Rican dish consists of a sandwich made with fried green plantains instead of bread. The plantains cradle meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a garlic-flavored mayonnaise. Enjoy one at Borinquen in Humboldt Park—the home of the original jibarito.

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5. Saganaki

Another dish that has its origin story in Chicago, saganaki consists of breaded or floured cheese that’s fried and served piping hot. Find it all over GreekTown.

6. Charcuterie

Chicago is well known for its butcher shops and high-quality meat (Perhaps that’s why the Italian beef sandwich is another Chicagoan favorite). Carl Sandburg even declared Chicago the “hog butcher for the world” in a poem about the city. Whether you’re looking for fresh-cut ribs, cured sausages, or heritage breeds, Chicago’s butchers have you covered. Popular shops include The Butcher and Larder (in West Town), Publican Quality Meats (in West Loop), and Paulina Meat Market (in Lakeview).

From carnivorous meals to fried cheese, donuts, and vegan fare, don’t miss a delicious bite on your next trip to Chicago. If by some unlikely chance you’re not satisfied, you can always order a pizza upon arriving back home.

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CityLove: Granada, Spain

Granada has established itself as one of Spain’s youngest, hippest, and most energetic cities while simultaneously boasting some of the country’s most historic architecture. Plan to explore this city in true Spanish style, by setting out after a relaxing siesta and staying up late into the night.

Start the afternoon with tapas at the renowned Bar Los Diamantes, which has been serving up remarkable food since 1942. If you’re still hungry, try the seafood or aubergine slices. Snap a pic of the meal and earn bragging rights by tweeting it our way.  

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Take an after-lunch stroll to the historic Corral del Carbon, the city’s oldest Arab monument. Built in the 14th century as a coal yard and converted into a space for stage performances in the 16th century, the site now consists of a pavilion, center square, and courtyard encircled by galleries and craft rooms. It’s also home to a bookstore and tourist information office, so remember this spot if you have questions later in the trip.

Climb (or take a cab or bus) toward the famous Alhambra, but don’t get caught up in the tourist crowds. Instead, head to the southern portion of the hill (below the Alhambra) and the beautiful Carmen de los Mártires, a secluded park and historic house featuring Islamic architecture, ornate gardens, an ornamental duck pond, and free-roaming peacocks. 

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Head back downtown for an evening you won’t forget. Le Chien Andalou (aka The Andalusian Dog) is center city’s only Flamenco Cave. Take in the art of Andalusian dance and music in an intimate setting that also features a tasting menu, wines, and beers. 

Tuck in for the night at El Ladrón de Agua, a 16th century noble house that’s since been restored into a modern and beautiful hotel in the heart of Granada. The hotel’s amenities include a café, Wi-fi, library, air conditioning, and monthly art exhibitions featuring regional painters and sculptors. Tweet us your favorite part of the day from the comfort of your hotel room!

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6 Intensely Thrilling Haunted Houses

Aside from candy corn, Jack-o’-lanterns, black cats, and ghosts, there’s nothing that screams Halloween more than a haunted house. During the month of October, thousands of small-scale haunted houses crop up around the States, many at local festivals, churches, or schools. However, for those brave souls, there are some truly terrifying worlds out there to explore. Check out our list below for some of the most impressive (and horrifying) haunted houses to see this Halloween!

That is, of course, if you dare.

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1. Escape the Great Room at Headless Horseman

Spanning 65 acres of farmland in Ulster Park, NY, the Headless Horseman complex of terrors is a favorite amongst haunted-house-enthusiasts looking for an all outdoor experience. With naturally landscaped forbidden forests, eerie ponds, and darkly expansive cornfields, visitors are never quite sure what’s lurking in the shadows. Plus, they’ve got ten separate attractions, including a dizzying corn maze, a spooky hayride, 7 haunted houses, and the newly curated experience “The Great Room Escape,” in which visitors have to figure out how to escape a room of bolted doors and locked windows.

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2. Check Into the Pennhurst Asylum

Housed in an abandoned asylum in Spring City, PA, the Pennhurst Asylum is a wildly popular Halloween attraction. Fitted with high-tech animatronics, digital sound, artifacts recovered from the original asylum, and a bevy of realistic actors, a walk-through this dilapidated hospital is no joke. For those bold (or crazy) enough to make it through the narrow hallways of the hospital, the asylum offers two more haunted experiences in the Dungeon of Lost Souls or the Tunnel of Terror.

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3. Explore the Dent Schoolhouse

Touted as Cincinnati’s scariest schoolhouse, the Dent Schoolhouse is the perfect haunted pick for those interested not only in shocks and thrills, but also in a compelling story. As legend goes, the very real schoolhouse opened in 1894 and was celebrated for decades as a top-notch school. That is, at least until 1942, when several students mysteriously disappeared. To find out what happened to those kiddoes, grab a group of friends and spend an evening exploring the spooky nooks and crannies of Dent. 

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4. Get Lost on the 13th Floor

Based around the mythology of the oft-missing thirteenth floor, Denver’s largest haunted house, 13th Floor, brings together spooks and thrills for an experience visitors aren’t soon to forget. New attractions for this year include Hallow House, a skin-tingling walk-through featuring manic clowns, Undead: What Lies Beneath, an exploration through an abandoned research facility complete with empty labs and shattered test tubes, and Feral Moon, which winds participants through a large and creepy cemetery.

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5. Join the Cult of The Summoning

Based out of the Scarehouse in Pittsburgh, The Summoning is about as thrilling as any haunted house walkthrough could be. The experience takes you all the way back to 1932, to a time where secrets, mysteries, and betrayal were rife in the 100-year-old house where The Summoning is set. Visitors will find themselves twisting through darkened hallways, all while the chants of ancient ritual pulse in the background. The question is, are those who visit this house the initiates of some new order or are they instead, the sacrifices?   

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6. Commune with Freaks at the House of Shock

With live music and a full service bar, this New Orleans horror staple is the perfect pick for the those looking for something rollicking. Occupying over 25,000 square feet, the House of Shock boasts an impressive array of skin-tingling attractions for its 2015 line-up: Bordello of Freaks, Laff in the Dark, and the traditional House of Shock haunted house. No matter the attraction, the special effects at House of Shock are infamously realistic and will leave the fearless quaking in their boots and reaching for a strong cocktail.

 

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Anthony Bourdain Says Go to Marseilles. Why?

In advance of a recent episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown,” CNN released a video in which Bourdain is asked for the most underrated travel destination in the world. His answer is Marseille, where the episode is filmed. He calls the city a “glorious stew of Mediterranean madness, easily the most interesting, under-visited, underexploited place I’ve been in a really long time.”

In the episode itself, he declares his love even more openly: “I could retire here. That’s sort of the measure of a place, for me, if you start thinking thoughts like that.” These are strong words coming from the notoriously cynical Bourdain. What is so special about Marseille that it makes even Anthony Bourdain lose his edge? And why has it been under appreciated?

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A Cultural Melting Pot

Marseille is the second largest city in France and was settled by the ancient Greeks, who named is Massalia. As a port city, it has long been home to a wide variety of immigrants, including large groups of North Africans, Italians, Corsicans, and Armenians. Its religious diversity also contributes to reputation as a cultural intersection point. While a majority of the population identify as Roman Catholics, about 30% are Muslim, and there is a large Jewish community as well. This blend of influences with colliding cultures makes Marseille feel more like a diverse international seaport than a resort town in Provence.

But as Bourdain also notes in the CNN video, Marseille is a “victim of bad reputation.” Many in France associate Marseille with the drug trade and gang violence, a perception that is heightened by the city’s relative poverty and high unemployment rate. But violent crime has taken a sharp downturn in recent years, and the people of Marseille take great pride in their city and their sense of community. They are fiercely devoted to their club soccer team, Olympique de Marseille, and to their own flourishing local rap scene, which has produced popular groups such as IAM and Le 3ème Oeil.

Historic Sights and Natural Beauty

Marseille is known for its sunny beaches, such as the Catalans and Pointe-Rouge, and its relaxed seaside atmosphere. Many of the shopping streets in the city center have been blocked off as pedestrian zones, making leisurely strolling the ideal means of transportation. For the perfect rambling tour, start at entrance to the Old Port, which is flanked by two forts constructed in 1660 by Louis XIV, and continue up La Canebière, the city’s most famous historic shopping street. From there, head to the stunning Palais Longchamp, which houses a museum of fine arts and a natural history museum. Then turn south to see Notre-Dame de la Garde, a basilica in the Roman-Byzantine style. It’s built on the highest elevation in the city, and from the top it offers a panoramic view of Marseille and the sea.

For a taste of Marseille’s multiculturalism, head to the Noailles market, where Algerian couscous and Corsican cheese are sold side by side. And for the traditional Marseille culinary experience, bouillabaisse is essential. It’s served first as a broth with grilled bread and a rouille of saffron and garlic, and followed by a large platter of fish. The best in town may be from Gérald Passédat at Le Petit Nice, who holds three Michelin stars.

The area around Marseille offers stunning natural beauty as well as historic architecture. The Frioul archipelago off the coast is home to the Château d’If, where Edmond Dantès is imprisoned in Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo.” The beautifully isolated limestone structure is accessible by boat from Marseille. And for a sunny day adventure, head to the Calanque de Sugiton, one of the stone inlets that dots the Mediterranean coast. This one is accessible by boat or by hike and offers a lovely sea view.

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New Developments

Marseille served as the European Capital of Culture in 2013, which boosted the city’s profile and helped to improve its reputation. The city spent millions of dollars to revamp the port area, fix up old buildings, and make the city center greener and more inviting. The most notable addition is the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, which opened in 2013 as part of the festivities. The stunning modern building sits right on the waterfront, contrasting and complementing its neighbor, the 17th century Fort Saint-Jean. The building was designed by Algerian-born French architect Rudy Ricciotti, who trained in Marseille.

Marseille’s unique charm comes from the blending of disparate elements: Africa and Europe, nature and architecture, old and new. Those influences fuse into a strong identity and sense of place for its inhabitants. And if travelers can look past the city’s reputation, they will find a truly singular experience in Marseille’s intersection of cultures. With Bourdain’s recommendation, the city may not be underrated for much longer, so now is the best time to plan a trip. Marseille will defy expectations, offering a surprise at every turn.

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Finding The One in Paris, the City of Love

Poet Arthur Rimbaud— who used a one-way ticket to get to Paris— once compared the sensation of love to the feeling of late night walks “beneath the green lime trees of the Promenade” after filling up on beer and lemonade in “rowdy cafes and their dazzling lights.” One-way tickets litter the streets of Paris, where young lovers meet like living symbolist poems, walking, kissing, and perspiring upon weathered cobblestones and beneath delicate corinthian cornices. Young romantics can count on feeling overwhelmed with options when it comes to the task of planning the perfect day in athe City of Love. To mitigate your planning anxieties, we’ve gone ahead and planned the day for you. Je vous en prie, mon amour!

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Les Buttes Chaumont

Located in the northeast of the city in the 19th arrondissement, the park offers visitors a wide variety of features: including a breath-taking grotto with cascading waterfalls, a suspension bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel, and the breathtaking Temple de la Sibylle, which sits on the top of tall cliffs, high above the the manmade lake at the park’s center. Purchase an inexpensive bottle of red wine, a fresh block chevre cheese, a baguette, some tupelo honey, and some salumi at a nearby grocery store and head to the park’s center. Ask an attractive stranger to join you for a picnic, and admire blue skies and puffy white clouds as a gentle breeze brushes your cheek. When was the last time you partook in a summersault competition? Have you ever stood on your head for an extended period of time? Les Buttes Chaumont welcomes youthful spirits, warm (and occasionally inebriated) conversations, and contented silence. Two minds, one Les Buttes Chaumont.

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La Filmothèque du Quartier Latin

On 9 rue Champollion in Paris’ Latin Quarter, just a few blocks from La Sorbonne, La Filmothèque du Quartier Latin greets every evening with its brightly lit marquee. Featuring retrospective masterworks, films by Godard, Kubrick, Allen, Antonioni, Fellini, Cassavetes regularly hit the screen. The screening rooms are small and cozy; the vibes are hospitable and warm. Take your new friend’s hand in your own and get lost in the illustrious and timeless world of the silver screen.     

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10 Bar in Saint-Germain des Prés

Saint-Germain des Prés— an area in the 6th arrondissement of Paris— was once the home of existentialist movement. Coincidentally, the area is now home to one of the best bars in Paris: 10 Bar. Founded in 1955, 10 Bar claims to attract a “record crowd every night” as the “only sangria bar in the capital.” Go early and queue up some choice tunes on the bar’s classic jukebox. Grab a seat next to the massive organ-shaped mahogany mirror in the back and tell the person sitting next to you at the bar about the strangest dream that you’ve ever had, then take a few spins on the dance floor. When you’ve had your share of libations and wildness, take a short cab ride to the luxurious Hotel Bel Ami. Just a short walk away from the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Pont Neuf, and Musee d’Orsay, Hotel Bel Ami will help to keep the romance alive!

 

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The Hottest New Destination for American Craft Beer

Move over, Wisconsin: Another state is making a name for itself as the destination for beer lovers. The craft beer industry in upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region has been undergoing explosive growth over the past several years, and there’s no better time to visit than now. Peak foliage and locally sourced brewskies? Don’t mind if we do.

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The Rise of Beer Country

In the past four years alone, the Finger Lakes have become home to an additional 54 breweries, bringing the region’s total to 70. The Finger Lakes Beer Trail, a local trade group, expects another twelve breweries to open in the coming months.

The region attracts beer lovers from all walks of life and boasts unique brews thanks to its ability to source most ingredients locally, reports the New York Times. Clean water, hops, malted barley, and other ingredients for beer-making are all available from the region’s farms and natural resources. Wannabe brewers have an extra incentive to take advantage of this local bounty: New York’s Farm Brewery law (signed into effect in 2012) gives breweries tax breaks and lets them serve beer on site in exchange for utilizing local ingredients.

Among the many breweries cashing in on these ideal conditions are:

  • Abandon Brewing Company, a farm brewery that includes a functioning fruit farm. The brewers source locally grown hops, barley, fruits, herbs, and honey for their beers.
  • The Brewery of Broken Dreams, which offers a variety of American-style beers including India Pale Ales, porters, and pilsners.
  • The Boathouse Beer Garden, a family-owned establishment that features views of Cayuga Lake and is a favorite among locals.
  • Cider Creek Hard Cider, which boasts award-winning, gluten-free craft ciders derived exclusively from New York state apples.
  • Grist Iron Brewery, a new brewery on the block (it opened in the spring of 2015) that provides a high-quality dining and sipping experience with views of Seneca Lake.
  • The Syracuse Suds Factory, a microbrewery established in 1991 that credits itself with “[bringing] locally brewed beer back to the City of Syracuse.”  

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With 70 local breweries and counting, the region offers something for virtually every palate.

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Planning Your Trip

Overwhelmed by all the choices? Your best bet is to concentrate on a particular segment of the Finger Lakes region, such as Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, the Southern Tier, the Western Finger Lakes, or Ithaca.

Ithaca makes for a particularly great home base thanks to its lively downtown, variety of budget-friendly hotels, and proximity to several of the region’s local breweries. Check in at the Hotel Ithaca, the Homewood Suites by Hilton Ithaca, or the Courtyard Marriott Ithaca, all of which offer pleasant accommodations and convenient locations at reasonable rates.

After settling into Ithaca, it will be easy to visit some of the area’s best breweries, including Bandwagon Beer, Scale House Brewery and Pub, Ithaca Beer Company, and Stouthearted Brewing. Visit them over the course of a few days, or if you’re feeling industrious, head to all four breweries in the same day and use the rest of your trip to visit breweries that are within a few hours’ drive of Ithaca. Find a full list of the Finger Lakes’ breweries here.

No matter which breweries you choose to visit, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Most breweries with tasting rooms will charge a nominal fee for tastings, typically in the range of $3 to $5.
  • Many of the area’s brew pubs will offer tasting flights, but some serve only pints.
  • Some breweries require advance reservations for groups of more than six people. If you’re not sure whether a reservation is necessary, check with the brewery before arriving.
  • Remember to always drive responsibly; it’s a great idea to choose a designated driver for each day of the trip. In more metropolitan areas (including Ithaca), you may be able to enlist taxi services to shuttle you between breweries.

Craft beer and brewing may just be one of the best things to ever happen to the Finger Lakes. Not only is the practice allowing small-scale brewers and brew pubs to thrive, but it’s supporting local farmers and economies. When you head to upstate New York and sample their brews, you join with the brewers in celebrating all that the region has to offer.

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Making Romantic Moves in Nashville, The Music City

Nashville is the city that provides visitors and inhabitants with an unparalleled world of access to America’s greenest parks, freshest eats, and twangiest, tune-blaring venues. Dress to impress and call that friendly passenger you met on the plane, the fellow traveler who accepted your card at baggage claim, or the bright-eyed receptionist in the lobby of your fashionable hotel. Invite that kindred spirit to join you for the a date night to remember. Nashville awaits, y’all, and we’ve rounded up the best spots to kindle new romance (or re-spark old flames).

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Warner Parks

Treat your date to an afternoon at Warner Parks. Located 9 miles south of downtown Nashville, Warner Parks — comprised of Edwin and Percy Warner Parks, both historic sites divided by Old Hickory Boulevard — includes 2684 acres of deciduous forest and green meadows. Enjoy a romantic hike on Warner Woods Trail or on Mossy Ridge Trail, and savor breathtaking views of rolling hills, winding wood streams, and old limestone walls and staircases. Stretch out on a blanket next to Willow Pond, and bask in the golden rays of a Nashville sun. Feed your date sweet spoonfuls of pomegranate seeds and liberal chunks of dark chocolate at the Indian Springs Picnic Area. Play a competitive game of hide-and-go-seek in Basswood Hollow, and belly laugh as confused passersby — perhaps skeptical of blissful young lovers and their whimsical ways — quicken their pace and avoid eye contact. Whisper sweet nothings into the wind: Bonus points if you can make ‘em rhyme! Go in for the kiss on Flag Pole Hill at sunset.

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Bella Napoli

Nestled in a cozy, unassuming back alley off Music Row in Edgehill Village, Bella Napoli boasts the “Best Pizza in Nashville,” thanks to the the restaurant’s pizza-making virtuoso, chef/owner Paolo Tramontano. Like a perfectly orchestrated piece of music, the composition of each pie includes ingredients good enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand tall: dough imported directly from the Caputo Mill in Italy, beautiful, ripe tomatoes from the majestic San Marzano region, and flavorful and refreshing Mozzarella di Bufala. Start the night off with a couple fresh caprese salads (dressed with a delicious homemade balsamic vinaigrette!) and a bottle of 11 Albini Armani Organic Chardonnay. For the main course, order a Parma Pizza (fresh mozzarella, diced tomatoes, arugula topped with Parma prosciutto and parmigiano), and for dessert, indulge your tastebuds in the sublime sweetness of tiramisu. Pretend to go to the restroom and intercept the waiter on the way. Pay the whole bill, but not before ordering two double espressos. The night is young!

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Mercy Lounge

Half a mile from downtown Nashville, on the second story of an old and rickety brick building, the city’s hippest music lovers shuffle into the beloved Mercy Lounge. Equipped with the most state-of-the-art sound system on Cannery Row, Mercy Lounge has attracted a diverse array of acts since its founding in 2003, including The White Stripes, Beach House, Dr. Dog, and She & Him (Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward). Between sets, shoot a competitive game of pool in the cozy back bar area, or sink into some booth seating with a couple sizeable beers. Invite your date to go with you to the dance floor for a whirl. When your feet start to hurt, take a short cab ride to the nearby Courtyard By Marriott Nashville Downtown. Bid each other a good night (or perhaps a good morning) and show some gratitude to the music city for keeping the dream alive!

 

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A Stone’s Throw From Stonehenge Lies a Massive New Mystery

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Located in Wittshire, England, Stonehenge is one of the world’s most iconic man-made landmarks. Tourists flock to the raised stones to ponder their origins and meaning. Are these the marks of an alien burial site? Were ancient sacrificial rituals conducted here? How were these stones raised before the advent of modern technology? Stonehenge baffles tourists (and historians) to this day as it sits isolated in the middle of the English countryside.

Recently, a group of archaeologists from the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project uncovered the extensive remains of a 90-stone structure less than two miles from Stonehenge. Using remote sensing technologies, the archaeologists were able to detect the presence of the massive stone monument, which is currently buried under a bank of grass. Though the archaeologists aren’t entirely sure when the monument was built, they are able to place its construction as contemporary to Stonehenge itself, some time between 2,000 and 3,000 BC.

This new discovery means Stonehenge is not isolated and may in fact be relatively small in comparison to its newfound neighbor. Scientists and archaeologists alike are scrambling to figure out the significance of the new monument and where it figures into the history of the area.

Luckily for them, the new monument is surprisingly well-preserved, and excavation of the stones could lead to specimens more easily researchable than Stonehenge. If full excavation occurs, the monument would form a half moon that dwarfs its sister site. Preemptive hypotheses suggest the new stones might’ve been used for ancient calendar purposes, as a sacred space for religious acts, or as the wall of an arena.

In a statement released to the press by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, Paul Garwood, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, reflected on the project’s game-changing discovery, “The extraordinary scale, detail and novelty of the evidence produced by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project is changing fundamentally our understanding of Stonehenge and the world around it. Everything written previously about the Stonehenge landscape and the ancient monuments within it will need to be re-written.”

Regardless of what scientists uncover, this story will be an important one to watch unfold. And in the near future, the discovery might also be a can’t-miss addition to the English travel itinerary.