BEST SLOPES FOR FAMILY SKIING
WI N T E R 2018
PACK YOUR BAGS!
WINTER INDULGE IN EUROPE SANTA FE’S SPICY CHARM LAKE SUPERIOR’S CHILLY THRILLS ENJOY LAID-BACK LOWCOUNTRY
Beach near Algarve, Portugal
Irresistibly adventurous. Download our free app, now with virtual reality. Be transported to unusual destinations, must-see landmarks, and the hidden gems for your inner world-traveler.
28 CRUISINâ€™ CUBA
Discover the charm, nostalgia and culture of Havana.
n NORTHEAST 58 60 64
Lee Daniels’ Philadelphia Year-round Lush Greenery at Longwood Gardens Explore New Hampshire’s Rustic Wonderland
n SOUTHEAST 68 70 76 82
24 UP FRONT 10
KEEP YOUR IDENTITY SAFE WHILE TRAVELING
TIPS TO ROAM ALONE
ROCK CLIMBING WALLS
GRAND CANYON’S WINTRY BENEFITS
Keri Hilson’s Atlanta The Tastes and Traditions of Louisiana’s Acadiana Dive into Florida’s Cold Springs Mississippi’s Foodie Gem Oxford Entices All Appetites
n MIDWEST 88 90 96
Garrison Keillor’s St. Paul Surf Lake Superior Laugh Out Loud in Chicago’s Comedy Clubs
FEATURES ROAD LESS TRAVELED 36 THE Three great European destinations
100 Ally Brooke’s San Antonio 102 Wyoming Winter
LOWCOUNTRY 40 LAID-BACK Visit this subtropical slice of America
108 Texas Beach Life Beckons
FAMILY FRIENDLY SKIING 48 Endless fun, sun and snow
106 New Mexico’s
in These Coastal Cities
112 Santa Fe’s Green Chiles Add Spice to Your Life
116 Austin Musical Festivals
n PACIFIC 118 Criss Angel’s Las Vegas 120 What’s New in Napa 122 The Burgeoning Beer Scene in Anchorage
126 Hawaiian Guides Teach
DESTINATIONS n CANADA 130 Ice Fishing in Banff 132 Tourism Options Abound
n CARIBBEAN 134 Sports in Barbados
n MEXICO 140 Tulum’s Food Scene
ON THE COVER: Algarve, Portugal PHOTO BY: Getty Images
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n ONE FOR THE ROAD 144 Searching for Penguins in Antarctica
All prices and availability are subject to change.
ALAN SCHINDLER PHOTOGRAPHY/BROOKLYN BOULDERS; ERIN AUSTEN ABBOTT
PREMIUM PUBLICATION EDITORIAL
DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes email@example.com
Allison Entrekin While on assignment, Entrekin has scaled boulders, taken up heli-skiing and gone scuba diving with sharks. But nothing has scared the Atlantabased writer more than taking her 4-year-old son skiing. “He hates the cold, and it was eight below. I thought I was in for the tantrum of the century.” But her son had a blast — and inspired her to write about the best places for family ski vacations (page 48). She also ate her way through Oxford, Miss., (page 82). Find her on Twitter @aweissentrekin.
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Based in Chicago, Cummings-Yeates writes about culture, travel and the arts. A fan of spice, art and adobe, she found herself in Sante Fe, downing a lot of green chiles (page 112) and she has several ristras hanging in her home as a reminder to always live a spicy life. Her work has appeared in ES, Midwest Living, Brides, Relish, Chicago Magazine and Miami Herald, among other publications. Follow her zesty adventures on Instagram and Twitter @farsightedgirl.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council firstname.lastname@example.org MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington email@example.com ISSUE EDITOR Sara Schwartz EDITORS Amy Sinatra Ayres Tracy Scott Forson Patricia Kime Debbie Williams ISSUE DESIGNER Lisa M. Zilka DESIGNERS Amira Martin Miranda Pellicano Gina Toole Saunders CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Matt Alderton, Karen Asp, Brian Barth, Sam Boykin, Jennifer Bradley Franklin, Linda Childers, Ana Connery, Rosalind Cummings-Yeates, Allison Entrekin, Zach Freeman, Lisa Marie Hart, Cinnamon Janzer, Adrienne Jordan, Melanie D.G. Kaplan, Flash Parker, Cheryl Rodewig, Sarah Sekula, Susan Shain, Kristi Valentini
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Cheryl Rodewig An award-winning feature writer who got her start in journalism shadowing soldiers, Rodewig today specializes in destination travel with a particular fondness for photographing spectacular gardens. In this issue, she reveals the best one she’s seen yet: a year-round Pennsylvania retreat that rivals one of European royalty (page 60). She lives in Atlanta, where she has easy access to the world’s largest airport for her next assignment. Find her on Twitter @CherylRodewig.
Flash Parker Parker has spent more than a decade working as an author, photographer and journalist. His work has been published by Afar, Outside Magazine, USA TODAY, Lonely Planet and more. Originally from Toronto, Parker escapes to his adopted home in the Wyoming wilderness as often as he can. For this issue, he spent wintry nights backpacking through Bighorn National Forest (page 102). Find more of his adventures at flashparker.com.
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Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
HOT AND HIP 50 STATES OF FUN
FLY FROM A TO B AS PAINLESS AS POSSIBLE
• The winter “dead zone” from January to early March is perhaps the most inexpensive time to purchase domestic tickets. After early March, many schools, universities and colleges go on break, so airfares increases. • If you’re prone to air sickness, book a seat over the wings. It’s like sitting on the fulcrum of a seesaw: there’s less up-and-down motion. • A four-wheeled rolling suitcase is less likely to get tossed around by airline baggage handlers. They actually throw bags down the belly of smaller planes, but they’ll roll them if they glide on four wheels. • Even if you buy a ticket on a U.S.-based airline, choose a flight operated by a European-based partner airline (such as buying on American but flying on British Airways). You’ll get better monetary compensation if there’s a delay or cancellation.
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TO MARKET, TO MARKET GET A TRUE TASTE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES
Markets are often a foodie’s first stop in a new city, offering an opportunity to sample many makers at once and become acquainted with the flavors, people and vibe of a destination. Many indoor markets preserve and showcase historic buildings, while outdoor farmers markets are frequently hosted in landmark squares or significant areas of a city. uusat.ly/2udo21V
MUST-SEE VIDEO TEST OUT TRENDY TINY HOUSES
Not sure that you and your loved ones could survive a week in a tiny home? Try one on vacation at WeeCasa, America’s largest tiny-house resort, located in the quintessential small town of Lyons, Colo. uusat.ly/2uGWBxi
BEN MUTZABAUGH; TRIP ADVISOR; WEECASA
What’s the most popular tourist attraction in every state? What small towns should you visit on your next road trip? Our 50-state roundups will help you explore a nation of fun, food and scenic beauty wherever you live or travel. uusatoday.com/travel
Join us in Memphis for a yearlong commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. MemphisTravel.com/MLK50
Memphis - Where Music Moves your Soul Visit MemphisTravel.com/music to learn more
PLEASE TOUCH Experience the world’s most amazing animals in one app. WWF TOGETHER — the free app from World Wildlife Fund. Download it today. worldwildlife.org/together
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UP FRONT I N T H E N O W, I N T H E K N O W
AIRPORT NEWS 10
GETTING AROUND 18
THE BIG EASY’S BIG BIRTHDAY
In 2018, New Orleans will honor its 300th anniversary of rich history and resilience with a host of events, concerts and completion of major infrastructure projects. “The anniversary celebrates our past and how it is shaping our future,” says Mark Romig, president and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. To learn more, visit 2018nola.com.
UP FRONT | AIRPORT NEWS
First Class Looking for a distraction? These top airports have what you need.
BEST AIRPORT SHOP FOR LOCAL MERCHANDISE
Gallery Eppley at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield (OMA) features works by more than 50 notable artists from throughout the Midwest. Travelers can purchase local art, such as paintings, sculptures and photography, or watch a live art demonstration. North Terminal
BEST AIRPORT BAR
Whisky River was created in partnership with Dale Earnhardt Jr., and features an extensive food
menu and bar offerings for travelers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT). Those with a layover should try the signature drink Moonshine Mule, made with Midnight Moon original moonshine, ginger beer and lime juice. Concourse E; 704-359-4219
BEST AIRPORT NEWSSTAND
In addition to selling convenience store items, snacks and beverages, North Loop Market at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) also carries
Minnesota merchandise and souvenirs. Terminal 1; 952-270-9504
BEST AIRPORT SHOPPING
Whether travelers are looking to relax, pick up a gift for a loved one or invest in a new travel gadget, the retail options at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) have it covered. Highlights include 10 Minute Manicure, Burberry, Gucci, iStore, MAC Cosmetics, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and The Body Shop. And don’t forget to stop by the duty-free retailers for wine, jewelry and more.
Airport Revenue News (ARN) worked with industry experts to vet and nominate finalists in 10 airport categories, and USA TODAY 10Best readers voted for their favorites over a three-week period. View the whole list at 10best.com.
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PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES; GREATER TORONTO AIRPORTS AUTHORITY
WHETHER YOU’VE GOT last-minute gate changes or long layovers, killing time at the airport is a lot more pleasant with a drink in hand, a good restaurant nearby and fun stores around. USA TODAY 10Best readers voted recently on the best places to get a bite, shop and relax while you’re waiting to board.
DON’T LEAVE YOUR SEAT
Mobile app delivery service could be a game-changer for airports BY HARRIET BASKAS
WANT A SANDWICH but don’t want to leave your gate? Now, you don’t have to. App-powered services — one at Baltimore/ Washington International Airport (BWI) and the other at San Diego International Airport (SAN) — allow passengers to order food, drinks and products from inside the airport and have the items delivered to them at the gate. If the trend catches on, it could be a game-changer for the passenger experience and a big boost for the bottom line at airports. The developers of Airport Sherpa (now at BWI) and At Your Gate (soon at SAN) found that American fliers are verified “gate huggers”: Once through the airport security checkpoint, a majority of travelers head for their gate, grab a seat and stay put. It doesn’t matter if their flight is leaving in an hour — or three. For travelers, gate-hugging can be an inconvenience because passengers who don’t stray from their gates miss out on the dining and shopping now offered at many airports. Gate-hugging also means these outlets lose potential sales. And it is rents and fees generated from those sales that make up an increasing percentage of the operating budgets at airports. Bringing mobile carts stocked with snacks, sodas, magazines
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At Your Gate Delivery fee: $6.99; atyourgate.com
Airport Sherpa Delivery fee: $3.99 to $7.99; airportsherpa.io
and other items into gate areas is one solution: HMSHost, a company that operates dining establishments at more than 100 airports worldwide, does this in Honolulu, Maui, Chicago (O’Hare) and Memphis. Another strategy, first introduced in 2009 at JetBlue’s JFK Terminal 5 and now available in almost a dozen other airport terminals in North America, is iPad-enhanced seating areas near gates where passengers can order food, drinks and products from nearby restaurants and shops. But in an age when people use their mobile phones to get pretty much anything delivered to their doorstep, being able to order something from the other side of the terminal, or from a restaurant or shop in a completely different terminal, is a welcome “Why hasn’t this already happened?” next step. At Your Gate is partnering with Grab, a mobile-ordering app that currently lets travelers preorder food for pickup at 150 concessions in 18 airports. Airport Sherpa has partnered with airport retail and food concession operator Airmall to introduce on-demand gatedelivery service at BWI. The company plans to expand the service to other airports. These services will “give travelers access to hundreds of stores,” says Patrick DellaValle, CEO of Airport Sherpa. For passengers, it will mean even more choices, says Brett Kelly, vice president of Airmall Maryland. “Now someone traveling out of the D Concourse at BWI can order sushi from the A Concourse, and someone on the B Concourse can get a burger from the D Concourse, whereas before, they did not have access between those concourses to go get it themselves.”
GETTY IMAGES; AT YOUR GATE; AIRPORT SHERPA
UP FRONT | AIRPORT NEWS
UP FRONT | GEAR
Cabin Comfort Travel products that will make any trip more pleasurable BY TRACY SCOTT FORSON
Drown out your fellow travelers and listen in style with the Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones. $329.95, bose. com
Cool cabin air can frost your feet. Keep your toes warm and toasty with the Thermacell original heated insoles. A wireless remote controls the temperature. $134.99, heat. thermacell.com
The Airhook allows you to affix beverages or devices to the tray table in front of you. Available in three colors. $24.95, theairhook.com
Reading in dark plane cabins can strain your eyes. The Kindle Paperwhite e-reader has a high-resolution display with built-in adjustable light. $119.99, amazon.com
Support your neck during naps with the Travelrest All-In-One Ultimate travel pillow. It crosses the body like a messenger bag to offer cozy comfort. $44.95, travelrest.net Slide through security check with this Carry On Cocktail Kit, which includes every ingredient youâ€™ll need to mix your favorite drink â€” just add the alcohol once you board. Moscow mule, bloody mary, margarita and other concoctions available. $20 to $24, wandpdesign. com
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When soaring above the clouds, doze off in darkness with the Travelrest Eclipse Tranquility sleep mask kit, which includes earplugs and a satin travel pouch. $9.95, travelrest.net
PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES
UP FRONT | GEAR
Working for the Weekend(er) Whether you’re jetting off to NYC for a quick jaunt or heading to the great outdoors to commune with nature, you need a solid overnight bag to get you there and back. BY SARA SCHWARTZ
Perfect for short getaways, the lightweight Catalina Deluxe by Lo & Sons is made with sturdy organic prewashed canvas, and a separate zippered compartment on the bottom holds shoes, toiletries or dirty clothes. An adjustable sleeve keeps it connected to a carry-on. $128 to $158, loandsons.com
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Under Armour’s On the Run Tote goes to the gym and beyond. The large zippered bag repels water, protecting contents from the elements, while the removable shoulder strap and handles provide multiple carrying options. Comes in black, or three bright colors for easy spotting at the baggage carousel. $54.99, underarmour.com
Herschel Supply Company’s Strand Duffle is a classic carryall, featuring a snap-down design with easy access to the main compartment. An external center storage sleeve keeps phones and necessities quickly accessible. Choose from 10 colors to show off your personality. $64.99, herschel.com
Dagne Dover’s large Landon Carryall snaps at the side and is chock-full of interior pockets so everything stays organized. The strong but lightweight bag also includes a padded laptop sleeve, air mesh pouch and water bottle pocket. The durable neoprene exterior dries quickly. $185, dagnedover.com
Perfect for both the urban jungle and actual jungle, Filson’s Excursion Bag is water-repellant and includes an exterior mesh pocket for storing wet and muddy gear. Fully lined, the stylish bag has leather handles and a shoulder strap for carrying comfort. $425, filson.com
PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES
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UP FRONT | GETTING AROUND
Safe & Secure Keep your identity protected while traveling
ADMIT IT. WHEN you’re on the road and need to access your bank information or place that last-minute bid on eBay, it's easier to hop on public Wi-Fi rather than wait for a secure Internet connection. You’re not alone. According to a national survey by Experian, 53 percent of people use public Wi-Fi while traveling. We think nothing of it because having our identity stolen isn’t something that would happen to us, right? But traveling with your guard down leaves you more vulnerable to identity theft than you might
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expect. In 2016, more than 15 million Americans were victims of identity theft, and this number is expected to increase with time. All it takes is one moment, one transaction, one piece of your personal information to fall into the wrong hands, and you could be spending much of your time and resources trying to track down all the fraudulent credit cards and bank transactions that someone else made in your name. To keep your identity safe, here are a few habits you might want to pick up while you’re on the road:
B Y K A E LA N I K E N N E D Y
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR ONLINE IDENTITY
Do not use public Wi-Fi to access financial information or make online purchases Imagine going to Starbucks and instead of giving your name, you gave them your Social Security number. You wouldn’t do it, especially knowing that when your grande latte is ready, the barista would yell out that number for the entire cafe to hear. That’s akin to accessing your financial information or shopping on a public Wi-Fi network. A public network is like being in public — act accordingly. It’s not difficult for a hacker to sit in a cafe and monitor the activity of every device connected to the Wi-Fi, so don’t let that Amazon order cost more than you bargained for.
Monitor your bank accounts periodically Sign up for online banking or use the bank’s app. Monitoring your bank account will help you catch fraudulent charges early. That way, you can work with your bank to quickly change whatever information you need before too much damage is done.
Use the hotel safe The hotel safe is the most underrated hotel amenity. Hotels may want you to make yourself at home, but remember, you’re still staying in a space that hotel staff have access to. According to Experian’s survey, only 38 percent of hotel guests take advantage of the hotel safe. So, when you leave your hotel room, lock up any sensitive information.
Change your passwords often Changing your passwords regularly is good practice in general but is especially important after a trip. Think of it as a preventive measure that you can take to ensure that identity thieves won’t be able to access your data.
Password-protect your phone Make sure your cellphone is password-protected. If your phone is stolen while you’re on the road, an unprotected cellphone will give an identity thief quick access to any of your banking apps, email accounts and anything else you want to keep private.
Check your credit report for accuracy Running a credit report isn’t just to keep track of your credit score. A credit report will show you what accounts are open in your name, including any fraudulent accounts that might have been opened using your identity.
Be careful what you post on social media Going on a trip can be an exciting experience to share with your social network. But posting a photo of your passport or even your boarding pass — no matter how great the Instagram filter makes it — might give savvy hackers just enough information to track down more sensitive data and assume your identity. Consider posting vacation photos online after you return home It may be tempting to post a picture of that cocktail on the beach for all of your colleagues stuck at the office to see. But if the wrong person catches wind that you’re away on vacation and not returning any time soon, you may be opening yourself up to someone breaking in and not just stealing your stuff, but important documents pertaining to sensitive identifying information.
Consider an identity protection program Products like Experian IdentityWorks or Lifelock can provide dark web monitoring and credit reports while keeping track of your financial accounts on your behalf so you can enjoy your travels without worrying about your sensitive information. These programs will alert you to any suspicious activity and some provide up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.
53% OF PEOPLE will use public Wi-Fi while traveling
MILLION Americans were victims of identity theft in 2016
43% use a public Wi-Fi connection when shopping online, according to an Experian survey
Use only bank ATMs The ATM in the hotel lobby may be more convenient, but these machines are most vulnerable to scams involving card readers that skim information. Bank ATMs are safer, more maintained and less likely to be compromised.
UP FRONT | GETTING AROUND
Going Solo Interest in traveling alone has skyrocketed for women
YOU’VE GOT THE time and money to travel, but your friends and family may not. Or maybe, you just want to go it alone. Turns out, more and more women, for a variety of reasons, are interested in traveling on their own. Janice Waugh, who runs the Solo Traveler website (solotravelerworld. com), has seen a steady uptick in her subscriber base, which is 75 percent women. She thinks it’s because traveling alone has become more socially acceptable. “It’s moved from being a little strange to relatively mainstream,” she says. So what’s the appeal? For starters, you may discover who you really are. “Women are often defined by who’s around them, which can keep (their personalities) constrained,” Waugh says. Plus, whether you have a partner at home or not, when you’re traveling on your own, you have the freedom to do what you want.
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Solo travel can even be a time of renewal, especially if family and career demands have left you feeling bogged down. You may also be thrust into situations — getting lost in an unfamiliar city, missing a connection with a friend — where you’re forced to overcome obstacles, such as not
speaking the language or not having a phone that works in that country. Without a support system, and getting through these trials on your own, can build character. “You come home a stronger, more confident woman,” says Beth Whitman, founder of WanderlustAndLipstick.com and
BY KAREN ASP
WanderTours, which leads women-only tours. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be challenging, which is why you should first evaluate your past travel experiences. “If you haven’t traveled much, take it easy and stay within your own culture,” Waugh says. Also, choose a short trip, perhaps four to five days, just to get the feel for traveling. You don’t have to be totally alone; there are tour operators who run trips for solo travelers, including those specifically for women, like Whitman’s. “That might sound counterintuitive to your intentions, but because you’re leaving behind everybody who defines you, it still counts as solo travel,” Waugh says. The bonus? You might connect with likeminded souls, which could be particularly helpful if you’ve recently gone through a life-changing event such as a divorce or death of a spouse. Follow commonsense rules to stay safe when you do travel. Waugh’s top suggestion
Tips Here’s how to make your solo venture a successful one: u Step out of your comfort zone u Choose a short trip your first time u Research tour operators who run trips for solo travelers u Always stay in public places when hanging out with new people u Pack light so you’re not loaded down u Don’t let the fears of others discourage you
is to stay in public places when hanging out with people you’ve just met. If you are concerned about your safety, be rude if necessary. “Women are taught not to be rude, but if somebody’s hassling you, make noise and people will notice,” Waugh says. Also, remember to pack light so you’re not loaded down with items, which makes you a target for thieves, Whitman says. She also always packs a rubber doorstop and places it under her hotel or cruise ship door to keep it from opening easily. Many doors open inward, after all, and in some countries, doors don’t have deadbolts. That can make it easier for somebody to break in, especially when you’re showering or sleeping. Most important, don’t let others talk you out of going it alone. “Ignore the news about how unsafe the world is, because it’s safer than you think,” Whitman says. “Once you start exploring, you realize that, and you get hooked on going alone.”
UP FRONT | GETTING AROUND
Explore, Indoors Five new exhibits to spark your curiosity and keep it burning BY SARAH MAIELLANO
TIMES SQUARE, NEW YORK CITY PERMANENT
This delightful exhibit, which opened in May, contains a miniature world in 50,000 square feet. Model makers across the globe were called on to build countries or regions, featuring iconic landmarks such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Grand Central Station. The space, which spans a city block, contains more than 1,000 trains, 12,000 wagons, 10,000 cars and trucks and 100,000 people — all in miniature. Visitors get keys to launch interactive displays, such as an Adele concert in the U.K., and have the opportunity to scan and 3-D print their own likeness as a souvenir.
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KIERAN JASON HACKETT/BRIER KATAMA; GULLIVER’S GATE
WHETHER YOU’RE A fan of Jim Henson or have always been fascinated with Burning Man, these recently opened exhibits should sate your curiosity or spark a new interest.
FROGS: DAZZLING AND DISAPPEARING
AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC, LONG BEACH, CALIF. THROUGH MARCH 31, 2018
The Aquarium of the Pacific’s fall exhibit brings attention to an important issue: Amphibians are the fastest-disappearing group of animals on Earth. Visitors will learn about frogs and other amphibians, with two dozen on display, including colorful poison dart frogs, Pacific tree frogs known for their “ribbit” sounds and giant aquatic salamanders from the Ozarks called hellbenders. The exhibit addresses the life cycle of amphibians, the threats to their continued existence and steps visitors can take to save them.
CITY OF DUST
NEVADA MUSEUM OF ART, RENO THROUGH JAN. 7, 2018
What started as a small gathering of friends in 1986 in San Francisco to burn a wooden figure (the “Man”) in effigy has morphed into a massive counterculture gathering held annually in the Nevada desert. Fittingly, the Nevada Museum of Art tells the story of Burning Man in an exhibit that opened in the spring. Since the event relies on creating a temporary city (dedicated to art, self-expression and self-reliance) and leaving no trace, other museums haven’t attempted to unravel its mysteries. Luckily for curators at the museum, they have the support of Burning Man’s founders and have been able to tell the story through photographs, artifacts, journals and sketches.
AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC; NEVADA MUSEUM OF ART; THE JIM HENSON COMPANY/MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE; BILL DAMBROVA
THE JIM HENSON EXHIBITION
MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE, NEW YORK CITY PERMANENT
New York’s museum dedicated to film and television pays tribute to Jim Henson’s groundbreaking work in a permanent exhibit that opened in July. From early in his career to his success with The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, Henson’s story is told through more than 300 artifacts, film and television clips and behind-the-scenes footage. The exhibit features 47 puppets (including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, The Swedish Chef, Big Bird, Elmo and Cantus Fraggle), character sketches, storyboards, scripts, photographs and iconic costumes, plus interactive components that let visitors create their own character and practice puppeteering.
CANVAS OF CLAY
MUSEUM OF THE WEST, SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. PERMANENT
With vast swaths of tribal lands stretching across northern Arizona, the region is internationally recognized for the centuries-old ceramics traditions kept by the Hopis. Scottsdale’s Museum of the West showcases more than 65 pottery masterworks from one of the country’s finest private collections of Hopi art. The ceramics — which have not been exhibited before — include 18 works by Nampeyo of Hano, the most famous Hopi potter, and 22 master potters, including Nampeyo’s daughters. Spanning seven centuries, the collection is considered a national treasure and a source of pride for Arizona.
UP FRONT | ADVENTURE
Awesome Ascents Indoor climbing walls are a fun and challenging way to stay active year-round BY MATT ALDERTON
I’M AT FIRST Ascent Climbing and Fitness, a climbing gym on Chicago’s Northwest Side. My host, co-founder Dan Bartz, secures a rope to my harness with a knot and carabiner, then sets me loose on my first climb: a three-story route I complete with surprising speed. It’s easier than I imagined, but challenging in ways I didn’t expect. I can see why people get into the sport. “Climbing generally appeals to people who are active and adventurous and who want a great workout that doesn’t feel like a workout,” Bartz says. “Also, climbing is really social. Instead of slogging away on a treadmill ... you get to commune with people as you enjoy the sport.”
Los Angeles; 213-279-2000; senderoneclimbing.com
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CRYSTAL TAN PHOTOGRAPHY
SENDER ONE CLIMBING Sender One’s Los Angeles gym (the other is in Santa Ana., Calif.) spans more than 35,000 square feet, with walls up to 60 feet tall. It offers climbing and yoga classes, personal training, saunas and an entire mezzanine dedicated to athletic training for climbers, with special equipment like “hangboards” to help climbers build finger strength. Parents will love “Sender City,” an interactive climbing area with themed climbs for kids. Cost: $24 day pass, $7 gear rental. 11220 Hindry Ave.,
FIRST ASCENT CLIMBING AND FITNESS First Ascent’s original gym (there are two other Chicago locations) has 26,000 square feet of climbing surface, with walls up to 60 feet high. Highlights include a 15-meter speed wall, climbing and yoga classes, a full gym and Kids Rock Blocks — instructor-led climbing sessions for kids. Cost: $18 day pass, $10 gear rental.
3516 N. Spaulding Ave., Chicago; 773-564-9815; firstascentclimbing.com
CHATTANOOGA, TENN. HIGH POINT CLIMBING AND FITNESS At its location in downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., High Point Climbing and Fitness offers approximately 30,000 square feet of climbing surface, including indoor climbing walls with heights of up to 40 feet and — its showpiece — a back-lit outdoor climbing wall with elevations up to 60 feet. Amenities include climbing and yoga classes, a full gym and a 3,000-square-foot Kid Zone for children ages 3 and up. Other locations can be found in Riverside, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala., with plans to open in Memphis and Huntsville, Ala., soon. Cost: $16 day pass, $5 gear rental.
FIRST ASCENT; ZEKE SMITH/BROOKLYN BOULDERS; HIGH POINT CLIMBING
BROOKLYN BOULDERS Brooklyn Boulders’ second location in Somerville, Mass., totals 42,000 square feet with walls up to 50 feet tall. It offers a gym, personal training, climbing and yoga classes, saunas and youth programs. Its “active co-working space,” perched atop a 22-foot-high bouldering wall, combines work and exercise with balance ball “chairs,” communal tables and standing desks with built-in pull-up bars. This location joins the original one in Brooklyn, another in Long Island City, N.Y. and one in Chicago. Cost: $29 day pass, $11 gear rental.
12A Tyler St., Somerville, Mass.; 617-623-6700; brooklynboulders.com
219 Broad St., Chattanooga, Tenn.; 423-602-7625; highpointclimbing.com
UP FRONT | ADVENTURE
Visitors gather at Mather Point on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park after a winter storm.
VISIT THE GRAND Canyon National Park in the wintertime and you’ll find that not only is there more availability in the park’s lodges, but rates are lower, too. Because of its climatic conditions, the higher North Rim is closed to vehicle traffic in the winter, but the South Rim remains open all year. The temperatures may be colder at night, but the days are still warm; the park is less crowded, and the pace is much slower. For photographers, some of the best shooting opportunities are in the winter with clear air and storms creating interesting and vibrant light patterns.
— Susan B. Barnes
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MICHAEL QUINN/U.S. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
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Havana R e l i v i n g
H i s t o r y
Discover the charm, nostalgia and culture of Cuba’s capital city frozen in time BY KRISTI VALENTINI
alsa music permeates the cafe patio at the Hotel Inglaterra in Havana, where my husband, Bryan, and I are sipping mojitos and watching the crayon-colored, classic American cars drive by. We’re able to spend time in Cuba because after more than a 50-year tumultuous relationship with the country, the U.S. now allows Americans to once again visit the nearby island nation. The catch? Most have to visit with a tour group or on a cruise. And once you dock, you’re required to participate in activities that help you interact with the locals, such as humanitarian projects, and learn about Cuban culture — lolling around on the beach isn’t an option. But a trip to Havana, which was considered the Las Vegas of the Caribbean during the 1950s, isn’t a hard sell for those who are eager to experience this communist city just 105 miles from Key West. Multiple major cruise lines now sail into Havana, including Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Holland America. We chose the five-day Carnival >
ANDY NEWMAN/CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE
speak. The massive square is home to many government buildings and features one of the most iconic images in Cuba — a giant mural of revolutionary Che Guevara — on the Ministerio del Interior building. As a part of our tour, we have a three-course lunch at the Élite Restaurante, a former residence-turned-restaurant in the Miramar neighborhood of Havana. And, in between our tour stops, Sotomayor talks to us about Cuban life. He tells us about the country’s frequent food shortages, free education and health care, and how things are starting to change in Cuba. “We used to only have two television channels. Now we have five,” Sotomayor boasts. “How many do you have in the United States?” Embarrassed, we all hang our heads down a bit until someone says, “hundreds.” While Netflix and HGTV won’t be in Cuba anytime soon, what the country does have en masse are cigars, rum and talented >
The likeness of revolutionary Che Guevara graces Cuban banknotes, murals and memorials 30 GO ESCAPE | WINTER 2018
Getting Here Closest airport Fly into Tampa International Airport (TPA) and reserve a shuttle through the cruise line, or use a taxi, to get to the Port of Tampa. Cruise cost Carnival cruise prices start at $569 per person, which covers all your meals while onboard. Cruise frequency Carnival has six cruises scheduled to stop in Havana between February and September 2018. For more information, visit carnival.com. Currency You’ll need to use the Cuban convertible peso (CUCs) because American credit and debit cards are not commonly accepted in the country. The most convenient place to exchange currency is at the
ANDY NEWMAN/CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE
cruise on its Paradise ship, departing from Tampa with stops in Key West and Havana. It’s an amazing value, has a fun atmosphere onboard and most importantly, it docks overnight in Havana (experiencing Cuban nightlife is essential). “I’m excited to see Havana while it still feels raw and authentic and isn’t overrun by tourism,” says Amber Garcia, a first-time cruiser from Key West. “I came to Key West seven years ago, and even in that time it’s changed a lot and gotten more commercial and touristy. I can’t imagine what Cuba will be like a decade from now.” During the day, we boarded a bus for a four-hour “Local Flavors & Traditions” excursion booked through Carnival that turned into a six-hour jaunt around town with local Milton Sotomayor, our beaming tour guide. First, we visited the Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square). Here, crowds once gathered to hear Cuba’s former leader, Fidel Castro,
Havana port after you pass through immigration. Note: The port’s currency exchange is only open until a certain time (ask for hours upon arrival). After that time, you won’t be able to exchange your CUCs for dollars. Exchanges are not possible in the U.S. Getting around It’s best to bring a street map of Havana. The ship doesn’t have them and there are no visitor centers in the city. The ship docks in Old Havana, and the area is easily walkable. To go farther out, you can hail a taxi, but agree to a rate before getting in.
Language Cubans speak Spanish, but many who work with tourists, such as guides and waiters, speak English as well. How to pack During the winter months, Key West and Havana temperatures are usually in the mid to high 70s.
musicians. Sotomayor takes us to a sun-dappled courtyard to learn the proper way to smoke cigars and sip rum — lighting our Montecristo No. 2 cigars with thin, cedar sticks and waiting until the tips turn ashy to smoke them. After a puff, the rum tastes sweeter and smoother. Then we head to the Muraleando, a community arts mural project started by two artists more than a decade ago. The open-air art school turned a blighted neighborhood into a hub for paintings and sculptures, and became a gathering place for kids wanting to learn art, dance and music. Sotomayor happily takes us off itinerary in search of more rum and cigars, books and baseball caps. (Cubans picked up the American version of baseball in the 1800s.) When Sotomayor
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realizes we’ve been touring longer than intended, he urges us all back into the bus with a big smile. “My boss is going to be mad!” Later, Bryan and I are smiling, too, when we ride a classic-car taxi to the historic Hotel Nacional de Cuba. While it’s a special treat to us, driving a car that predates the 1960s is common in Cuba — during the 1959 revolution, Castro banned foreign vehicle imports for most Cubans. (Today, citizens can buy and sell cars under reform passed by President Raul Castro.) When we arrive at the hotel, we’re escorted to our perfectview seats at the Parisien Cabaret to enjoy this glitzy, choreographed dance show that is the runner-up to the more-famous Tropicana Cabaret.
The lights dim, the curtains roll back and we’re treated to something seemingly out of the 1950s: a crooning singer and dancing showgirls with enormous headdresses and elaborate costumes. Back at home this might feel like forced nostalgia. But in a country that seems untouched by time, the retro show feels perfectly appropriate. Back at sea the next day, we swap stories with our shipmates about our Havana experiences. Matt Clay, a high school teacher from Charlottesville, Va., sums up how many of us felt about our time in this grand but decaying city: “What struck me most — more than the grand buildings or faded patina of the city — was how pleasant everyone was. You could just tell they had this incredible sense of community.” l
Go to Cuba for the classic cars, the crumbling colonial architecture and the bragging rights. If you take the Carnival Paradise cruise route, consider this your must-do guide:
ANDY NEWMAN/CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE; GETTY IMAGES
Set sail Get to know the 12-deck cruise ship. Near the bar and hamburger grill, the main pool with a waterslide and a hot tub is social central (with fun contests and live bands), while the pool area on deck 11, one deck up, is a better place to relax with a good book.
At sea Sleep in and take advantage of free room service or brunch served until 1 p.m. in Elation Restaurant. Can’t decide between the huevos rancheros and the loaded mac and cheese? You don’t have to — order as many items as you want, it's all included. Later, be sure to attend the presentations on Cuba. The more you know, the more fascinating the country becomes.
Key West Sign up for the morning nature kayak excursion and paddle your way through warm, clear water and backcountry mangroves to spy small sharks, stingrays and iguanas. To refuel, order the avocado salad with the wild-caught Key West pink shrimp — it’s the best shrimp you’ll ever have — at El Meson de Pepe. Then visit the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum to hear stories about the famous author. Before you leave, shop for souvenirs. Buy a bottle of key lime juice to make pies at home (it’s so easy) from Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. Stop by Kino Sandals, a local shoemaker, where leather sandals are made on-site.
At sea Unwind with a massage at Spa Carnival or hit up the blackjack tables in the casino. In the afternoon, catch the hilarious Love & Marriage game show where couples are pulled from the audience to participate. Later, the Normandie Lounge features big 1980s hair, rockers and music by Queen and Eric Clapton.
Havana Take the Local Flavors & Traditions excursion, or another morning tour, to fulfill your people-to-people visa. It requires you to spend most of the day learning about Cuba and engaging with the people. In the afternoon, walk down Calle Obispo (Obispo Street) and past El Floridita, a tiny bar that claims to have made the first daiquiri. Don’t stop until you arrive in Parque Central (Central Park). The plaza has a white Carrara marble statue of Jose Marti, a national hero who inspired the people to become independent of Spain, and is surrounded by historic hotels and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Grab a seat and a mojito at Hotel Inglaterra’s outdoor cafe and watch the classic cars drive by. In the evening, see a cabaret show. The most popular is the Tropicana Cabaret, an elaborate, outdoor show which dates back to 1939 and costs about $160 per person booked through the cruise ship. The Parisien Cabaret is a cheaper pick, especially if you buy tickets directly through the Hotel Nacional website ($35). The show takes place inside a small theater, and the costumes, singing and dancing are amazing.
Heading home Grab breakfast onboard before exiting the ship in Tampa to catch your flight home.
d e l e v a r
s s e l d a ro
BY SUSAN SHAIN
Often overlooked, these three European destinations prove they are just as alluring as their next-door neighbors
TAKE A SEAT Drink in the atmosphere at Rossio Square, a lively area in Lisbon where people stop to sit and relax.
PORTUGAL Seeking mild weather this winter? Portugal is a fantastic choice. Start in the romantic city of Lisbon — and if you don’t mind hills, stay in the enchanting Alfama neighborhood, which has been inhabited since the fifth century. Because of its relatively warm temperatures (in the 50s) and small crowds, Paula Oliveira, executive director of Turismo de Lisboa, calls winter “a perfect period to come for a short break.” She recommends visiting at Christmas or New Year’s, when you can sample specialty pastries and witness the city’s sparkling and festive city lights. You could probably spend an entire week simply wandering Lisbon by foot or streetcar, but I recommend a food and wine walk with the tour group Inside Lisbon (insidelisbon.com). On our three-hour excursion, we sampled pastel de nata and espresso, cheese and port, and bacalhau (salted cod) and green (referring to its age, not its color) wine, learning about the city’s culture and history with each bite. For more yummy eats, check out restaurant Ze da Mouraria and the Time Out Market. When you’d like to escape the city, travel an hour northwest by train to Sintra. This small town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is filled with castles. Among the most notable are the National Palace of Pena, a colorful 19th-century building that looks like it’s straight out of a Disney movie; the Castle of the Moors, a hilltop fortress with gorgeous views of the surrounding valley; and the Quinta de Regaleira, a Gothic mansion with expansive gardens.
For a different vibe, you could then head 186 miles south to the Algarve region, breathtaking with its craggy bays, steep cliffs and sandy beaches. “Start the day with a long walk on the beach, followed by a seafood lunch on any sunny deck by the shore and then a cycle along the Vicentina route,” recommends Helga Cruz of the Algarve Tourism Bureau. As a spectacular finale, she suggests catching the sunset at Cape St. Vincent, the southwestern-most point in Europe. For something more remote, take a 2.5-hour flight to the Azores, a collection of nine islands off Portugal’s western coast. João Barbosa, a market manager for the Azores Promotion Board, recommends geothermal baths like Termas da Ferraria on São Miguel and Termas do Carapacho on Graciosa. >
Cape St. Vincent
uWhen to go Portugal is blessed with mild weather year-round. Avoid the peak summer months, when cities and beaches get crowded. uCurrency Euro uLanguage Portuguese, but English is widely spoken. uGetting around Trains are quite convenient, although renting a car can be nice, too. To get to the Azores, you’ll need to fly. uGetting there Lisbon (LIS) is the main international airport. You can also fly directly from the U.S. to the Algarve (FAO) or the Azores (PDL).
I admit that when I first decided to visit Georgia, I wasn’t sure exactly where it was. Turns out, this small country is sandwiched between the Black and Caspian seas, bordering Russia to the north and Turkey to the south — and well worth a visit. First, spend some time in the capital city of Tbilisi (which never gets easier to spell). Its narrow alleys and crumbling buildings are all part of the city’s charm. When the weather gets cold, warm up with some Georgian comfort food. The tastiest treat I recommend trying is khachapuri, an oven-baked boat of dough filled with creamy cheese and topped with an egg. I probably ate four in my weeklong trip and don’t regret a single bite. To try this specialty, visit Ezo, an organic restaurant that serves up tasty food in a picturesque courtyard. Don’t forget the wine. Georgia lays claim to being one of its birthplaces, as people have been making wine here for 8,000 years. You won’t be able to see how grapes grow during the winter, but you can still enjoy the end result by visiting one of the country’s many wineries.
Robert Cooper, owner of the Tbilisi bar DiveXFabrika, suggests Pheasant’s Tears winery in Sighnaghi, a 70-mile drive from the capital. “During the winter, it’s magical,” he says. “You’re looking out over the fertile Khahetian valley, with snow-capped mountains in the backdrop, imagining all the historical events that took place there.” And, of course, a trip to Georgia wouldn’t be complete without a foray into those mountains, namely the Caucasus range. “Its beauty is peerless,” says Cooper. “There are few tourists, unlimited wine, the ski infrastructure is sufficient and the prices are comically low.” That’s not to mention the locals. “You can stop into any village, knock on any door, and expect a generosity and hospitality you would never find in the world’s premier ski destinations,” Cooper adds. Stay at the Rooms Hotels Kazbegi — one of my favorite hotels in the world — for panoramic views and polished décor. Or, head down the road to Gudauri, a popular ski resort that has 22 runs — and lift tickets that cost less than $20.
"ITS BEAUTY IS PEERLESS." — ROBERT COOPER ON THE CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS
THE DETAILS uWhen to go Any time of year, depending on your travel preferences. Visit in spring for temperate weather; summer for hiking and beaches; autumn for the wine harvest and winter for mountain sports. uCurrency Georgian Lari uLanguage Georgian (which has its own alphabet). English is spoken in the tourist hubs. uGetting around Renting a car is the best option; buses and trains are also available. uGetting there Tbilisi (TBS) is the biggest airport, with connections to many European cities.
LISA LINTZEN; GETTY IMAGES
TRY THIS! Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread.
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Although many think of Romania as the setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, exploring the country feels more like traipsing through one of Grimms’ fairy tales. It has everything a visitor to Europe is seeking: cobblestone streets, majestic castles and quaint cafes, all in a spectacular alpine setting. You’ll likely start your trip in Bucharest, and should give the city a few days. Learning about its complicated history will provide an important base for understanding the rest of the country. Take the fascinating Tour of Communism (tourofcommunism.com), run by guides who openly share what their lives were like under communism. Each city stop is full of historical tidbits and personal anecdotes, revealing a side to Bucharest visitors might never discover on their own. Once you’ve tired of the city, take a train into Transylvania and explore the surrounding Carpathian Mountains via snowmobile, dogsled or skis. “Slopes are easily accessible, lift tickets are a fraction of the cost in North America or Western Europe and there’s no danger of avalanches,” says Simion Alb, founder of RomaniaTourism.com, a nonprofit that encourages travel to the area. He notes the runs are less difficult, and not as plentiful, as in other countries — nonetheless, there’s more to do than just skiing. There are a number of castles to explore in this part of the country. You’ll be able to visit the modern and decadent PeleȘ Castle, as well as take a day trip to Bran Castle. Just don’t put too much stock in the latter’s “Dracula’s Castle” moniker; although the famous Vlad Dracul may have slept here for a night or two, his real castle lies in ruins on the other side of the country. Next, head to the historic towns of BraȘov, SighiȘoara and Sibiu, where you’ll find cozy hotels like the Hotel Bella Muzica. You’ll also find tasty traditional food at places like Restaurant Mărginimea Sibiului outside Sibiu and Gasthaus Alte Post in SighiȘoara, where you can enjoy a lovely dinner for two — with wine — for $15. Finish your trip with some relaxation. Romania is home to more than one-third
uWhen to go Spring and fall have the best weather, but try winter for skiing or snowmobiling. uCurrency Romanian leu
uLanguage Romanian, but English is spoken in tourist areas.
of Europe’s natural spas, says Alb. Choose from 70 facilities, like Sovata, that promise relief. Located in the forested region of Transylvania, the spa boasts it can soothe multiple afflictions. For a unique experience, visit the vast underground caverns of the Turda Salt Mine, an incredible museum and salt mine that is expertly preserved and a big draw in Transylvania. While there, visitors can also enjoy spa treatments. If you have some time before your flight out of Bucharest, head over to Therme, a massive complex that’s home to 10 wet and dry saunas, 10 pools, hundreds of palm trees — and $2 glasses of wine.
uGetting around You can rent a car, although driving in Bucharest is not for the faint of heart. Throughout Transylvania, trains are convenient. uGetting there Bucharest (OTP) is the main international airport. You can also fly into Sibiu (SBZ) from other European cities; discount airline Wizz Air flies direct from London and Madrid.
laid-back Lowcountry GET OFF THE BEATEN PATH IN THIS SUBTROPICAL SLICE OF AMERICA BY BRIAN BARTH
Charleston, S.C., wetlands
he 100-mile coastal strand of the Atlantic from Charleston, S.C., to Savannah, Ga., is a paradise lost in time, where dolphins, giant loggerhead turtles and prehistoric-looking palmettos abound. But if you want to unravel the regionâ€™s mysteries, youâ€™ll have to venture beyond Hilton Head, the South Carolina tourist mecca partway between the two cities.
LAID-BACK LOWCOUNTRY XXXXX
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Along country lanes lined with ancient oaks and behind veils of Spanish moss, you might encounter a shrimp shack, where you can experience the culinary pleasures of an authentic Lowcountry “boil,” or a roadside stand where the Gullah — Creole-speaking African Americans who have lived here for centuries — sell their traditional sweetgrass basketry. Winter is a prime time to visit this subtropical wonderland. My wife and I spent New Year’s weekend in the Lowcountry, wearing T-shirts as we toasted our good health while our
friends and family elsewhere shivered through their champagne. From March through September, the beaches here are crowded, and the inland areas are stiflingly hot. But the rest of the year reveals nearly vacant beaches (the water isn’t quite warm enough to take more than a brief dip) and balmy temperatures. Our approach to the trip was to find a dreamy, inexpensive destination in a warm location and book it. We purposely didn’t know much about the region ahead of time, which turned out to be part of the appeal.
GETTY IMAGES; SC LOWCOUNTRY TOURISM
Beaufort, S.C., part of the state’s Lowcountry
Paddleboarding in Bluffton
HILTON HEAD ISLAND TOURISM
Our delightful abode was a renovated sharecropper’s cabin on a large antebellum estate on the outskirts of Bluffton, S.C., a tiny town on the wide, meandering May River, a sanctuary for bottlenose dolphins, oysters and bald eagles. After lolling about on the porch swing — hand-painted in funky colors and emblazoned with the verse, “Swing, swing, here’s my throne, I am king,” — we ambled the few blocks into town to find dinner, or as the locals would say, supper. We found hip bistros, like The Pearl Kitchen and Bar, whose menu
includes free-range chicken and waffles and kimchi lettuce wraps filled with crispy pork belly, drizzled in ponzu sauce. Bluffton, we soon learned, had recently been “discovered” — I recommend visiting sooner rather than later before it becomes too “discovered.” After dinner, and a bit more lolling on one of the restaurant’s porch swings, we were drawn across the street by the glow of candelabra lights in the trees. Here, we saw Cedarstacker (formerly the Gallery Without Walls), an assemblage of rustic trinkets and fine art that looks as though
it more or less exploded out of a small shack hidden in the foliage. Adding to the eclectic vibe was that the gallery appeared abandoned, inhabited only by the ghostly portraits that hung from the trees. We later learned this was the work of D. Pierce Giltner, a local carpenter-turnedartist, who had apparently been across the street having a beer at the restaurant we’d just left. When I caught up with him later, Giltner explained that he sometimes relies on the honor system for sales and has an arrangement where people who wanted a painting can purchase it from the store next door. (The store next door, by the way, is called The Store; it sells a variety of antiques and eccentricities, and is well worth a visit.) The self-trained artist paints on scraps of tin roofing and old planks scavenged from
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“EVERYBODY KNEW EACH OTHER AND EVERYBODY LOOKED OUT FOR EACH OTHER.” — SALLIE ANN ROBINSON, GULLAH TOUR GUIDE of what’s important. There are beaches galore in the Lowcountry, not to mention golf-course resorts, and Savannah and Charleston are each a short drive (from Bluffton, a half hour to the south and two hours to the north, respectively). For the outdoor adventurists, kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, guided hikes and boat trips, fishing charters and horseback riding are readily accessible. You could easily book a busy itinerary of diversions through any number of websites. Or, you could just show up and ask local folks what they recommend — you shouldn’t need advance reservations if you come in the off-season. Giltner’s top recom-
mendation? A boat ride on the May River to Daufuskie Island, home of the Gullah. South of Hilton Head, Daufuskie Island (pop. 648), has no bridge, and the boat-only access has made its vacation homes that much more exclusive. But this also has helped prevent the historic island community from being overrun with development. The Gullah are descended from slaves who lived in isolated coastal communities throughout the Lowcountry, where their language, crafts, religious practices and culinary traditions were, to varying extents, preserved. Daufuskie, because of its extreme isolation, is one of the last bastions of the this culture.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND TOURISM; SC LOWCOUNTRY TOURISM
job sites — typically former sharecroppers’ cabins that are undergoing renovation in what has become a minor real-estate boom around Bluffton. He had little money for supplies when he started, so leftover quarts of Gullah storyteller house paint became his medium of choice. He soon acquired an agent and is now a fixture on the South Carolina art scene. Bluffton has many galleries and artists’ studios, but none has a personality quite like Giltner (he recently relocated next to Cahill’s Market — look for his shack next to the chicken coop). He is known for his heartfelt depiction of AfricanAmerican culture. “My art is about preserving the past and bringing it into the present,” says Giltner. That about sums up how I’d begun to feel about the area: moving slowly enough to not lose sight
SAVOR THE SEASONS
inUpcountry South Carolina |
S PA R TA N B U R G
Conway, South Carolina’s vibrant culture, rich heritage and breathtaking natural beauty are what make our town Just Right. Come and savor Conway, where there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
E SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism 1205 Pendleton Street Columbia, SC 29201
njoy the blooming Dogwoods and Azaleas in Spring. In Summer, explore waterfalls, rivers and lakes.Take a drive along scenic byways for the fabulous Fall foliage. Spend a weekend in a cozy cabin during Winter. Whenever you choose to visit, the Upcountry will be Perfectly Seasoned for you!
A source of hospitality for generations of families and vacationers, Hardeeville is proud to be the gateway to the Lowcountry and the connection to the islands. No matter what you’ll be doing on your next Lowcountry adventure, you’ll want to stay in the center of the action. A place that’s within 30 minutes of Savannah, Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, and Beaufort. A place that has unique discoveries and treasures of its own. We are Historic Hardeeville and New River. We are southern charm. We are Hardeeville, South Carolina. Where your adventure awaits.
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Daufuskie Island Rum
May River Excursions in downtown Bluffton offers a water taxi to the public wharf on Daufuskie (about a 30-minute ride; reservations required; mayriverexcursions. com), where you can rent a golf cart — the preferred mode of transportation for navigating the island’s dirt tracks. If you arrive hungry, refuel on shrimp and grits or Lowcountry gumbo at Marshside Mama’s, a charming down-home eatery next to the Bluffton shrimp boat wharf. You can easily fill a day, or several, on the 8-acre island, motoring around to the handful of artists’ studios, historic sites and the Daufuskie
Community Farm and Artisan Village, where you can meet the resident Jersey cows, Bagel and Muffin, hang out with a flock of Nubian goats and purchase the wares of local craftspeople (the food, alas, is for community members and is not for sale). Daufuskie Island Beach is 3 miles long and uncrowded even in summer. Be sure to stop by for a tasting and tour at Daufuskie Island Rum, an artisanal distillery. Sallie Ann Robinson, a sixth-
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generation Gullah resident with a never-ending well of laughter, gives tours every Tuesday and Saturday (thegullahdiva.com). Her testimonial to the Gullah way of life is filled with anecdotes about what it was like to grow up in a traditional culture. “I grew up never knowing a stranger, everybody knew each other and everybody looked out for each other,” she says. “We were so connected to this place — farming, living off the land. We never missed what we never had.” The novel The Water is Wide, by the late Pat Conroy, is based on the literary icon’s experiences living on Daufuskie in the 1960s, when he taught in a one-room schoolhouse. Yamacraw Island is Conroy’s fictionalized version of Daufuskie, and Ethel, one of the main characters, is Sallie Ann Robinson. She’ll happily tell you all about it.
Established in 1733, Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia. Its founders, including James Oglethorpe, sought to build a Utopian colony, based on several rules, including no slaves, no lawyers and no booze. Obviously, it didn’t work out as intended, but this left another legacy: a cobble-stoned colonial town that is renowned for its architecture and charm. Savannah was the first city in the U.S. to incorporate a formal street grid, and 22 of the 24 public squares that Oglethorpe planned are still in existence, creating distinct gathering spaces. Savannah’s historic district is a treasure trove for history buffs and an idyllic place to stroll. Beyond the shady parks and plazas with public fountains and palm trees, the district is overflowing with boutiques, cafes and juke joints. City Market, a four-block pedestrian-only shopping and entertainment district surrounding the intersection of Jefferson and West Saint Julian streets, is a great place to start exploring. Here, you can catch a horse and buggy or trolley tour of the rest of this majestic Southern city. — Brian Barth
HILTON HEAD ISLAND TOURISM; GETTY IMAGES
â€œWe found ours!â€? FOR YOU
Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail www.nps.gov/ovvi * 864.936.3477 Kings Mountain National Military Park www.nps.gov/kimo * 864.936.7921 Cowpens National Battlefield www.nps.gov/cowp * 864.461.2828 Gaffney Visitors Center & Art Gallery 210 W. Frederick Street, Gaffney, SC 29341 864-487-6244 www.getintogaffney.com #GetN2GaffneySC
Our National Parks The National Mall welcomes millions every year, but what they see is hardly welcoming.
It welcomes the world to our most significant monuments and memorials. But like many national parks, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., desperately needs our help, including $350 million in federal funding for maintenance, repairs, and preservation. You can help with a simple letter. Visit NPCA.org/mall. Or call 1-800-NAT PARK.
KENE SPERRY/BIG SKY RESORT
Big Sky Resort, Montana
AMAZING DESTINATIONS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY BY ALLISON ENTREKIN
IT’S NO SECRET that family ski trips take a lot of work. There are lift tickets to purchase and poles to carry, chair lifts to navigate and trail maps to argue over. And if you’ve ever tried to help a bundled-up child rush to the bathroom, you know skiing with kids has its challenges. So why do families do it?
F UN F OR FRUG AL FA MILIES A trip to the mountains obviously comes with a price tag, but some ski resorts won’t leave you with a credit-card bill that rivals your mortgage. At Keystone Resort (keystoneresort.com) in Keystone, Colo., children 12 and under ski and ride free if they’re staying two nights or more. That’s a pretty great deal, especially when you consider that Keystone offers Colorado’s longest day of skiing (8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout much of the season). Keystone is known for hosting Kidtopia, a winter-long series of family-friendly activities such as cookie decorating, snow tubing and snowball launching. Be sure to take a family photo at the world’s largest snow fort. Big Sky Resort (bigskyresort. com) in Big Sky, Mont., also offers free skiing for kids (10 and under)
staying at the resort. And if you’re traveling with newbie skiers, you’ll be glad to know a whopping 40 percent of Big Sky’s terrain is beginner- or intermediate-level. After a full day on the mountain, drop your kids (must be 4 or older) at the resort’s Kids Club from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at no charge. You can then head out for an après ski cocktail while the younger set makes crafts and plays board games. For some off-mountain fun, hop on a snowcoach for a tour of nearby Yellowstone National Park (nps.gov/ yell), where lucky adventurers just might spy a wolf or two. If you really want to pinch some serious pennies on your family ski trip, consider skipping the resort towns altogether. Lummis says Salt Lake City (visitsaltlake.com), Utah, is a great option. “If you’re really concerned with saving money, that’s where I recommend going,” Lummis says. You’ll find some 16,000 hotel rooms, a quarter of them budget, and four ski areas — Alta (alta.com), Snowbird (snowbird. com), Brighton (brightonresort.com) and Solitude (solitudemountain. com) — within a 40-minute drive. (Bonus: At Brighton, kids 10 and under ski free with a paying adult.) Plus, many city attractions such as the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (utahmoca.org) offer free admission.
P ICKS F OR THE PA MP ER ED SE T
Keystone Resort, Colorado
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Some families approach ski trips with a different guiding philosophy: Go big, or stay home. They’ll find plenty of ways to do the former in Aspen Snowmass (aspensnowmass. com), Colo., often referred to as “Glitter Gulch.” The town’s newly renovated five-star hotel, The Little Nell (thelittlenell.com), offers over-the-top amenities for families, including children’s robes
VAIL RESORTS; PROVIDED BY SUN VALLEY RESORT
“Bonding. It’s as simple as that,” says Lois Friedland, co-author of Frommer’s 500 Adrenaline Adventures and a grandparent of 6-year-old twins. “It’s a type of togetherness you don’t find on other trips.” That’s because on a ski vacation, you’re not merely seeing something exciting; you’re actually doing something exciting together. And few activities are as accessible to people of all ages and abilities as skiing and snowboarding. “It’s a true multigenerational experience with options for everyone,” says Kristen Lummis, author of adventure blog braveskimom.com and a mother of two. Whether you’re on a budget or ready to splurge, traveling with intrepid skiers or bringing a crew of adrenaline seekers, there’s a ski resort for you. And if goggles and gondolas just aren’t your thing, these destinations also offer plenty of activities off the slopes.
Sun Valley HE AD TO
FOR A LI T TLE FAM I LY- FR I EN DLY COMP ETI T I O N .
Sun Valley Resort, Idaho
Haute Chocolate After a long day on the slopes, warm up with a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming
and slippers, a room-service menu for kids and even play teepees that can be delivered to your suite. When you’re ready to ski, there are four distinct areas to explore, including Buttermilk and Snowmass, both of which have excellent ski schools and plenty of beginner terrain. Off the slopes, check out the stunning Aspen Art Museum (aspenartmuseum. org), whose Shigeru Ban–designed building is itself a work of art. For the ultimate in upscale convenience, head to Deer Valley Resort (deervalley.com) in Park City, Utah. A 40-minute drive from the Salt Lake City airport, it features three ski-in, ski-out luxury hotels. (Note: Deer Valley is a ski-only resort.) The resort is also famous for its cuisine; Fireside Dining (deervalley.com/dining) at Empire Canyon Lodge is legendary. “It’s so fun to sit with your family by the stone fireplace, melt Swiss Raclette cheese and talk about the day’s adventures,” Lummis says.
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Over in Beaver Creek (beavercreek. com), Colo., you’ll quickly understand why the town’s tagline is “not exactly roughing it.” Each morning, early birds are greeted at the mountain’s base with steaming hot cocoa; in the afternoon, they’re offered warm chocolate chip cookies. In between, they find a beginner-friendly mountain with a dedicated gondola for ski-school attendees, plus plenty of green (beginner) and blue (intermediate) runs at the top. “We recently chose Beaver Creek because we had both adults and children who needed to learn to ski,” says Emilie Robinson, a mother of three from Charlotte. “It was just what we were looking for.” After a long day on the slopes, relax in the heart of luxury at The Osprey at Beaver Creek (ospreyatbeavercreek.rockresorts.com). Situated a mere 26 feet from the Strawberry Park Express Ski Lift, it’s the closest resort hotel to a chairlift in North America.
Drinking Chocolate at L.A. Burdick Nestled among New Hampshire’s quaint ski resorts, this charming chocolate shop serves hot cocoa made with shaved chocolate in your choice of flavors: dark, milk or white. It’s topped with foam and grated spices, including nutmeg and cinnamon. uburdickchocolate.com Hot Chocolate at The Little Nell Made with half-and-half, a pinch of salt and Valrhona single-origin dark chocolate and cocoa powder, this rich creation is served in a curved mug that doubles as a piece of art. Drop a few homemade marshmallows into your cocoa or nibble them alone. uthelittlenell.com Toltec Hot Chocolat at Camp 4 Coffee If you like your cocoa with a kick, try this creation inspired by Central America’s ancient Toltecs. Ground Ghirardelli cocoa is mixed with cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon and whisked into warm milk for a subtle yet spicy effect. ucamp4coffee.com
JACKSON HOLE MOUNTAIN RESORT (2); TOM MOORE/L.A. BURDICK; PROVIDED BY SUN VALLEY RESORT; PROVIDED BY AKIEVA JACOBS; VAIL RESORTS; KENE SPERRY/BIG SKY RESORT
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Deer Valley Resort,Utah
H I T TH E S LOPES F O R A FUN A ND
EX C I T ING
WI TH YOUR FA M ILY. Sun Valley Resort
Big Sky Resort
If plain ol’ skiing isn’t exciting enough for your crew, choose a resort that understands your need for speed. At Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (jacksonhole.com) in Jackson Hole, Wyo., you’ll find guided backcountry skiing, night skiing on nearby Snow King Mountain (snowkingmountain. com) and Corbet’s Couloir — a cliffstart chute some call the scariest in America. “If you have hotshot teen skiers, Jackson Hole is the coolest place in the world,” Friedland says. Off-mountain adventures also abound: Ride a horse-drawn sleigh among thousands of elk at the National Elk Refuge (fws.gov/ nationalelkrefuge); take a snowmobile into Yellowstone; or hike the trails at Grand Teton National Park (nps.gov/ grte). At day’s end, unwind in a Wild West–style restaurant such as the Silver Dollar Grill in the historic Wort Hotel (worthotel.com). If your family enjoys a little friendly competition, head to Sun Valley Resort (sunvalley.com), Idaho, home to a moderately challenging,
all-ages cross course. On multiple skiing and snowboarding terrain parks, the whole family can zip around obstacles. Afterward, try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing at the Nordic Center, then soothe your sore muscles at the Sun Valley Lodge, featuring a year-round outdoor heated pool and hot tub with cocktail service. In Whistler (whistlerblackcomb. com), Canada, skip the lift lines and make your own tracks. The advanced skiers in your group will never forget a heli-skiing or cat-skiing adventure in which you access backcountry terrain via a helicopter or snowcat grooming machine. You can also try zip lining (yes, even during the winter), bungee jumping, ice fishing and dog sledding. And don’t forget the helicopter tour of the local ice caves. “Whistler has so many incredible options for adventure,” says Iseult Devlin, skiing columnist at The Record in Woodland Park, N.J. After you work up an appetite, head to Dusty’s Bar & BBQ, a Whistler institution known for its friendly service and mouthwatering ribs. If your kids are 19, buy ’em a beer — it’s legal in Canada. l
Après for All After a day of skiing, kick back with the kids in tow.
S’mores Happy Hour at the Montage Deer Valley Jennie Iverson, author of Ski Town Après Ski, suggests letting the kids roast complimentary s’mores at this luxury hotel from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. while you enjoy a libation and stunning views. You might want to indulge in a s’more, too: There are five marshmallow varieties, plus two kinds of Hershey’s chocolate. u9100 Marsac Ave.; Park City, Utah.; 435-604-1300; montagehotels.com/deervalley Afternoon Tea at the Trapp Valley Lodge Warming tea, freshly baked cookies and a lodge owned and operated by the legendary von Trapp family (of Sound of Music fame): These are a few of your favorite things! u700 Trapp Hill Rd.; Stowe, Vt.; 800-826-7000; trappfamily.com
Aspen Snowmass, Colorado
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Dinner Sleigh Ride at Keystone Resort Jingle all the way! Hop on a horse-drawn sleigh and ride through the woods until you reach a historic log cabin. You’ll be greeted with toasty drinks, a home-cooked meal and live music by the fire. u1202 Jones Gulch Rd.; Keystone, Colo.; 855-6030049; keystoneresort.com
JEREMY SWANSON/ASPEN SKIING COMPANY; MONTAGE DEER VALLEY
A MU SEMENT F OR A DR EN ALINE JUNK IES
Ski, eat, sleep…. Do it again
Alta’s finest ski-in/ski-out location, unparalleled personal attention and our tradition of excellence distinguish the Rustler Lodge from the rest. Enjoy our amenities, including an outdoor heated pool, indoor/outdoor Jacuzzis, sauna, eucalyptus steam room, spa facilities, full-service ski shop, and the Eagle’s Nest Lounge. Our 85 rooms, all including “heavenly comphy” linens, range from modest to luxury accommodations. Daily rates include a full breakfast and four course, gourmet dinner.
Come join us and see why we are ranked #1 in Alta on TripAdvisor!
801.742.4200 | www.rustlerlodge.com
Say hello to your brand new, bigger, better Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), arriving in 2020. The new SLC will replace the three existing terminals with one large, modern terminal that has the capacity to meet the ever-growing demands of a major air transportation hub. To learn more, visit SLCairport.com
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118 112 82
MAP ILLUSTRATION BY MIRANDA PELLICANO
NORTHEAST 58 My Town: Philadelphia
SOUTHEAST 68 My Town: Atlanta
MIDWEST 88 My Town: St. Paul
WEST 100 My Town: San Antonio
PACIFIC 118 My Town: Las Vegas
60 Longwood Gardens Greenery
70 Louisiana’s Cajun Charms
90 Surfing Lake Superior
102 Backpacking Bighorn Mountains
120 What’s New in Napa Valley
64 New Hampshire’s Rustic, Winter Wonderland
76 Florida’s Cold Springs Beckon
96 Chicago’s Comedy Central
106 New Mexico’s National Parks
122 Anchorage’s Beer Scene
108 The Call of Coastal Cities
126 Throw-Net Fishing in Hawaii
82 Satisfy Your Appetite in Oxford, Miss.
112 Santa Fe Spice 116 Austin Rocks
NORTHEAST | M Y TOW N
Philadelphia He gave the world two of TV’s most irresistible characters — Lucious and Cookie Lyon — on the Emmy-nominated Empire, co-created Star, produced Monster’s Ball, directed Precious and The Butler, and has two Academy Award nominations. His inspiration? The people he grew up watching in his hometown of Philly. “It’s the reason I went into entertainment.” — ANA CONNERY
MUSEUM “The Philadelphia Art Museum is one of the best in the country! There is always a cool exhibit here, but it also has permanent collections that cover every era of art. ... Plus, no visit is complete without a run up the famous steps from the movie Rocky!” 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway; 215-763-8100; philamuseum.org
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One of the greatest things to do in the city is ride around Fairmount Park. ... It’s a green oasis in the middle of this big, beautiful city.” — LEE DANIELS
1 Boathouse Row; 215-683-0200; myphillypark.org
400 South St.; 215-9281911; jimssouthstreet. com
BEST PLACE TO
EAT LOCAL “Reading Terminal Market is a massive food hall with cuisine to satisfy every craving. It’s the best place to meet up with friends, especially when you’re all in the mood to eat something different.” 51 N. 12th St.; 215-9222317; readingterminal market.org
BEST PLACE TO
TAKE OUT OF TOWNERS “All of Old City is bursting with rich history about the founding of this nation, but the Betsy Ross House is particularly fun. It has a workshop where the first American flag was made and an actress who plays the role of Betsy Ross. Across the street, Humphrys Flag Company has flags from every country and era.” 239 Arch St.; 215-629-5801; historicphiladelphia. org/betsy-ross-house
BARBARA LAKE; G. WIDMAN; READING TERMINAL MARKET; CONSTANCE MENSH FOR THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART
“I dream about the Philly cheesesteak sandwiches at Jim’s Steaks. It’s the kind of place with a dirty/ fun vibe, where you’re guaranteed not to have a dull moment.”
Kent Narrows Waterfront
e ’ n s n C A o n unty e e u Q
Small Towns & Historic Sites
t & Coun t ry s ide n o r f r e t a W
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Outlet Stores & Local Shops All waiting for YOU in
Queen Anne’s County Maryland visitqueenannes.com
You’re going to
Maryland’s Upper Eastern Shore on the Chesapeake Bay kentcounty.com
Chestertown • Rock Hall • Galena • Betterton • Millington
LONGWOOD GARDENS; CHERYL RODEWIG
NORTHEAST | PEN NSY LVA N I A
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Longing for Longwood Pennsylvania botanical garden showcases floral beauty — even in the dead of winter
An impressive green wall made of 47,000 plants beckons visitors to Longwood Gardens, along with more than 1,000 acres of beauty, including blue poppies, ancientlooking Woods cycad and hibiscus.
BY CHERYL RODEWIG
othing says spring Each indoor conservatory garden like the first blush offers something different. The of flowers ushering Orangery is elegant and formal, in the season, but showing off broad leaves, bright colors winter or not, they’re and symmetrical plantings flanking already blooming at manicured lawns. The Silver Garden Longwood Gardens. Once a wealthy is more subtle, dealing in shades of industrialist’s summer estate, dusky blues and rock-studded greens. and before that, a Quaker farm, Some of Longwood’s treasures here this Kennett Square, Pa., retreat are unexpected, such as Wood's cycad has grown over centuries into the — the rare, palmlike Encephalartos showplace we see today: more woodii, whose ancestors fed the than 1,000 acres of trees, topiaries, dinosaurs in the Jurassic period. Or fountains and flowers. the largest green wall “Longwood Gardens is on the continent, which unique in so many difcontains 47,000 plants and ferent ways,” says Sharon was designed to mimic Richardson, a Chester a jungle. And don’t skip Longwood Gardens County master gardener. the whimsical fountains also offers tours “I’ve been to (botanical) of the Children’s Garden. and classes. Check website for up-togardens in Germany and Give yourself at least three date seasonal hours England and Australia hours to see it all. and ticket prices. and Morocco, and this one Richardson says home 1001 Longwood Rd.; stands above the rest. It’s gardeners sometimes 610-388-1000; breathtaking.” wonder how everything longwoodgardens.org She’s not alone in her looks so flawless. She admiration. Longwood is confesses there’s a secret: the most visited public garden in the “Attention to detail, and enough U.S., welcoming more than a million staff and volunteers to maintain it. guests a year, says its president and If something’s not perfect, they will CEO Paul Redman: “Every day is simply take it out and replace it. They a good day to visit Longwood, but pride themselves on being the best.” visiting in the winter is unique. The Most of the plants are grown in chill of winter vanishes as you stroll production greenhouses on-site and through our heated 4-acre conservarange from roses, carnations, tulips tory, transporting you to a warm oasis and lilies to varieties that Longwood of beautiful blooms.” horticulturalists have perfected over Even in dour weather, Longwood years. She points out the “exotic and recreates Eden in its 20 indoor very expensive” trumpet-shaped clivia gardens. From room to room, climates and carnivorous plants like the Venus vary from tropical South American flytrap and Himalayan poppy are to arid Mediterranean, sometimes cultivated at Longwood. with sharp juxtaposition that lends a “If you’ve never seen a blue poppy, touch of fantasy. Sounds of water and it’s just exquisite,” she says. “They distant cathedral notes from the ballbring them out into the conservaroom organ mingle with the scents, a tory just before they open in March. backdrop to the visual pageant. They’re not a long-lasting flower, >
NORTHEAST | PEN NSY LVA N I A
IF YOU GO The Whip Tavern serves up authentic British pub fare like Welsh rarebit, bangers and mash and more than 50 beers and ciders in the heart of the Brandywine Valley’s equestrian countryside. 1383 North Chatham Rd., Coatesville; 610-3830600; thewhiptavern.com
Dine alfresco on inventive New American cuisine made with seasonal local ingredients at The Gables at Chadds Ford, a preRevolutionary property on the National Register of Historic Places. 423 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford; 610-388-7700; thegablesatchaddsford. com
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Poinsettias, leading up to it hydrangea and is the busiest, winterberry with the spruce up winter. fiercely popular A Longwood Christmas. The spectacle spreads yuletide cheer with more than 50 extravagantly decked Christmas trees, indoors and out. Though most of Longwood’s outdoor fountains remain closed October through April, the water curtain at the Open Air Theatre dances to sound and light throughout the season. Flower lovers won’t be disappointed, either. Richardson suggests visiting closer to Thanksgiving to avoid the thickest crowds. “And if you really want to have the place to yourself,” she says, “go after New Year’s weekend. It’s so serene, especially after a new snowfall. You can just enjoy the quietness of your own thoughts.” And that’s the true charm of a winter garden — the still beauty that restores the soul. l
Popular with brides, the award-winning Mendenhall Inn features two ballrooms, an upscale French American restaurant, romantic hot tub suites and a small courtyard garden. 323 Kennett Pike, Mendenhall; 610-3882100; brandywinehotels. com/mendenhall-inn
A 1700s farmhouse turned bed-and-breakfast, the Inn at Whitewing Farm charms with country chic guest rooms, complimentary chef-made breakfast, a wine cellar, tennis court and fishing pond on 12 landscaped acres. 370 Valley Rd., West Chester; 610-388-2013; innatwhitewingfarm.com
JUDITH R. CZEINER/LONGWOOD GARDENS
but they’re beautiful.” And, of course, the orchids: Longwood has around 6,200, with a few hundred of the best on display. That changes each March during Orchid Extravaganza when the facility imports thousands of orchids from around the world. “There are hanging baskets dripping with orchids,” Richardson says. “There are towers with orchids. They fill two ponds in the East Conservatory so they’re like orchid meadows. It’s magnificent.” Outdoors, witch hazel and winterberry add color to the stark winter scenery, but the stripped-down landscape lets you glimpse the bones of the garden, which lays claim to the most champion trees in Pennsylvania. Early blossoms start showing themselves in March, including purple crocuses, yellow winter aconites, blue squill and glory-of-the-snow. While late January through March is a peaceful time of year, the season
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It’s Our Nature
NORTHEAST | N EW H A MPSHIR E
WHITE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL FOREST
NEW HAMPSHIRE CONCORD
High Above the Clouds This winter, strap on your snowshoes and hike in New Hampshire’s winter wonderland the huts many winters and worked for magine taking your first AMC as a caretaker in the 1980s. “The step into a silent winter woods are entirely different — not wonderland. You’re heading to just the cold and snow cover, but the a rustic escape, carrying food sunrises and sunsets. There are not and clothing on your back. nearly as many people, and no bugs — Trees have shed their leaves, a real highlight for me.” and sometimes it’s difficult to know The backcountry huts are whether it’s the cold or the a good introduction to winviews that have taken your ter camping because they breath away. provide protection from In the winter, the the elements. But huts field truly adventurous head to Appalachian Appalachian Mountain Club supervisor Whitney Brown Mountain Club (AMC) huts in New Hampsays first-timers sometimes Get detailed shire’s White Mountains. make the mistake of information about Guests hike, snowshoe skimping on indoor layers hut reservations and or cross-country ski to and warm slippers, which snowshoe trips. 603-466-2727; the shelters, bringing and are essential. She notes outdoors.org preparing their own meals that the compost toilets and sleeping in bunkrooms. are outside (but close by), Each of the three huts has a caretaker and the bunkhouses, separate from the who lights a wood stove fire at the common area, are not heated. end of the day. Open to members and While each of the three huts has non-members, winter rates start as low its own personality, trails and views, as $32 a night for self-service stays. all are off the grid, without showers, “There are many plus sides to being lights or electrical outlets. Each there in the winter,” says Santa Fe accommodates 36 to 48 guests in coed resident Ira Jones, who has camped in bunkrooms or bunkhouses. Mattresses
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and pillows are provided, but make sure to bring an appropriately rated sleeping bag. Lonesome Lake Hut in Franconia Notch State Park is considered the best for winter camping newbies. With spectacular views of Franconia Ridge across a glacial lake, the hut sits at 2,760 feet and is just 1.6 miles from the trailhead. It’s the shortest hike, but it can be steep at times, with a 950-foot elevation gain. Campers can hike Cannon Mountain, the Cannon Balls and North and South Kinsman, or step out for a more relaxed snowshoe walk around the lake. Join other revelers for an organized New Year’s Eve potluck at Lonesome Lake.
MAP ILLUSTRATION BY MIRANDA PELLICANO
BY MELANIE D.G. KAPLAN
Hiking the Rampart rocks near Carter Notch Hut
The hut sleeps 48 in two detached bunkhouses. Carter Notch Hut, built in 1914, is a moderate 3.8-mile hike along the 19 Mile Brook Trail, with an elevation gain of 1,900 feet. The hut elevation is the highest of the three, at 3,288 feet, making it the most remote — and striking — setting, with towering cliffs, rock jumbles and tranquil mountain lakes. During the day, find quiet trails for hiking and snowshoeing and maneuver around the Ramparts, the jumble of giant rocks that fill the notch. The hut sleeps 40 in two detached bunkhouses. Zealand Falls Hut is a 6-mile hike or ski on Zealand Road (closed to cars >
If you’re flying into the region, head to ManchesterBoston Regional Airport in New Hampshire, or Portland International Jetport in Maine and rent a car. Both airports are about two-anda-half to three hours from the trailhead parking lots where you’ll leave your vehicle. For Zealand Falls and Carter Notch, you’ll be parking in the White Mountain National Forest, where you’ll need to display a parking pass. Passes are $5 for up to seven days.
Lonesome Lake Hut
NORTHEAST | N EW H A MPSHIR E
Backcountry view from Zealand Falls Hut
CAMP CUISINE One of the joys of the winter hut experience is cooking your own meals. Each hut kitchen has a gas stove, oven, refrigerator, pots and pans and dinnerware. Remember, you’re burning more energy to stay warm, so it’s OK to splurge on calories. Get the most out of your winter camping experience with these tips: uAMC’s winter gear checklist includes a resealable, insulated mug for hot drinks, water bottles, 2 quarts of water per person (for hiking in) and highenergy food and snacks.
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uStock up on provisions en route, because once you’re at the huts, it’s too late for a grocery run. uBring appetizers such as cheese, crackers, salami and jerky to snack one while waiting your turn in the kitchen. uNo matter the age of the winter camper, hot chocolate is a perennial favorite. Not only is it an easy recipe for a warm, sweet boost, it’s a good way to replenish calories.
mid-November to mid-May) adds that snowshoes are a good and Zealand Trail, but it’s an backup; storms can blow in at easier and flatter grade than the any time and you don’t want to Pinkham Notch other hikes. Hike about a mile be “post-holing,” or sinking into Visitor Center to the Zeacliff lookout and soak a foot or two of new snow. You Important weather inup views of the Pemigewasset can rent snowshoes at Pinkham formation, snowshoe Wilderness to the south and Notch Visitor Center. There, you rentals, advice on Willey Range to the east. With can also get advice from winter hikes and information an elevation of 2,630 feet, it’s camping experts about trails on the free activities the only hut that contains all and hikes. is available at the the bunkrooms within the Perhaps the best part of visitors center. White Mountain main building, rather than in winter camping is après-hike, National Forest; 603detached bunkhouses, which when everyone gathers in the 466-2721; outdoors. means everyone benefits from hut’s common area at day’s org/lodging-camping/ the communal fire and sleeps a end. Wet outdoor gear dries lodges/pinkham little toastier. The hut sleeps 36 from the rafters; one camper in two bunkrooms. talks about a moose sighting, Before you head out, check the forecast on and another shares a bottle of wine with AMC’s current conditions page. new friends. People play board games in the “Weather is the wild card in the White dining room or read a book from the hut’s Mountains,” says Rob Burbank, AMC’s library. director of media and public affairs. “Get a “One of the things that attracts people weather report, heed the weather report, to AMC is the camaraderie,” Burbank says. and consider making other plans if the “These are like-minded people who are weather is forecast to be dangerous.” He enjoying the outdoors.” l
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SOUTHEAST | M Y TOW N
Atlanta If you’ve ever sung along to Britney’s Gimme More, Timbaland’s The Way I Are or Ludacris’ Runaway Love, you can thank co-writer and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Keri Hilson. When she’s not writing or pursuing film projects, the 34-year-old always finds her way back to her home city. — JENNIFER BRADLEY FRANKLIN
241 Memorial Dr. S.E.; 404521-3737; riasbluebird.com
“ BEST PLACE TO
UNWIND “I like the deep tissue massage at the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta. I’m always looking for privacy, and they don’t let it get crowded.” 3376 Peachtree Rd. N.E.; 404-9957526; mandarinoriental.com/atlanta
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My favorite boutique is Envy Clothing & Shoes in Little Five Points. The owner, Jilene Coggins, is amazing, and she’s my stylist as well. It’s the only place I shop.” — KERI HILSON
1143 Euclid Ave.; 404-525-3689
BEST AREA TO
COMMUNE WITH NATURE “The Atlanta BeltLine has become my new favorite outdoor excursion. You can stop and eat at Ponce City Market. There’s even a place to rack your bike.” beltline.org
BEST PLACE FOR
HEALTHY CRAVINGS “I love Kale Me Crazy. I have their acai bowl every morning and buy their juices by the sixes.” Multiple Atlanta locations; kalemecrazy.net
DEWAYNE ROGERS; RIA'S BLUEBIRD; SARA HANNA PHOTOGRAPHY; GENE PHILIPS/PROVIDED BY ATLANTA CVB & ATLANTAPHOTOS.COM; MANDARIN ORIENTAL
“One of my favorites is Ria’s Bluebird. ... It’s hands down my favorite brunch spot.”
Richmond, founded in 1798, is full of history from the pioneer settlers, to the Civil War and beyond. With such a rich history, and thriving restaurant and retail scene, Richmond has long been a magnet for visitors.
WHERE GEORGIA COMES TOGETHER Sit down & relax at our casual restaurants, where the only thing you have to worry about is enjoying the food!
Richmond Visitor Center 345 Lancaster Avenue Richmond, Kentucky 40475 FREE GUIDE 1-800-866-3705 www.richmondkytourism.com
www.perryga.com • 478-988-8000
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SOUTHEAST | LOU ISI A NA
L ’Auberge Casino Resort
Cajun Charm Louisiana’s Acadiana bursts with decadent cuisine and eclectic accommodations BY SAM BOYKIN
ACCOMMODATIONS Gaming is one of the top industries in Lake Charles, and L’Auberge Casino Resort (llakecharles.com) is the ideal place to let the good times roll while enjoying luxurious lodging. The AAA four-diamond property is situated on 242 acres along
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scenic Contraband Bayou. With roughly 1,000 rooms — including renovated luxury garden suites — the 26-story hotel boasts a 70,000-square-foot casino with 80 table games and 1,600 slots. After you’re done flirting with Lady Luck, enjoy a delectable fireside meal at the resort’s Ember Grille & Wine Bar, a modern steakhouse that boasts a 240-bottle wine selection. Afterward, indulge in a massage or lounge in the whirlpool at the Spa Du Lac. The cozy over-water cabins at
Fontainebleau State Park (fontainebleaustatepark.com) in St. Tammany Parish provide expansive views of the 630-square-mile Lake Pontchartrain, an estuary connected to the Gulf of Mexico. The cabins accommodate four to eight and have spacious dining areas, screened-in porches and landings for fishing or boating. They’re also a great base for exploring >
BATON ROUGE LAKE CHARLES NEW ORLEANS
L'AUBERGE CASINO RESORT; MAP ILLUSTRATION BY MIRANDA PELLICANO
ike many, I associated Louisiana with New Orleans and its famed Mardi Gras. But I discovered a whole new side of the state recently when our family explored the area southwest of The Big Easy along the Gulf Coast. Here, amid expansive lakes, wildlife preserves and fascinating historical sites is true Cajun country. Known as Acadiana, the region covers 22 southern Louisiana parishes. Many residents are direct descendants of French colonists who settled in Louisiana after they were exiled from present-day Nova Scotia by the British in the 1700s. There’s a strong sense of pride and tradition among the people, and it shows in their food, love of the outdoors and friendly, welcoming nature. Lake Charles, the fifth-largest city in the state, is a great base for exploring this vibrant area. During our visit, we traveled east from Lake Charles toward New Orleans and experienced top-notch cuisine, eclectic accommodations and a bounty of natural wonders. And because Louisiana is a subtropical environment, the weather is pleasant and comfortable during the winter. As you road-trip your way through Cajun country, consider these top attractions and activities.
Our Forefathers’ aim in visiting what would become America was at first mere curiosity. But now it feels right to sacrifice for a cause as noble as the hills here are beautiful. They stopped because of abundant water and fertile soil. They stayed to build upon the nation’s great ideals. As you visit, make sure to explore the treasures of a community that embodies service and sacrifice at every turn. Contact us to start planning your visit at 1-888-98-HEROES or VisitFayettevilleNC.com.
MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME. Greensboro offers the perfect combination of small town charm and big city appeal. See what’s new in Greensboro! You will be surprised by all it has to offer.
SOUTHEAST | LOUSI A NA
the 2,800-acre park, which boasts hiking and biking paths through bayous and wildlife preserves, as well as the brick ruins of an 1829 sugar mill. The Southern Hotel (southernhotel.com) in the quaint town of Covington oozes Louisiana charm and history. Located across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, the hotel opened in 1907 and for decades was a popular community gathering place. The hotel was shuttered in the 1960s and sat dormant until 2014, when it reopened after an $8 million renovation that preserved its historic character while adding modern amenities. Today, the 42-room hotel has an upscale restaurant and bar, pool, spa and regional art collection.
NATURE We saw loads of wildlife, including alligators, shorebirds and monarch butterflies during our adventure at
Grosse Savanne Eco-Tours (grossesavanne-ecotours.com), situated on 50,000 diverse,
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Creole Nature Trail egret
rugged acres in Cameron Parish. Bobby Jorden, a native of Lafayette, La., piloted the boat during the two-hour tour through secluded marshes. With a degree in natural resource conservation management — and numerous prizes for state duck-calling contests — Jorden can point out and describe the area’s abundant wildlife, which includes 28 species of mammals, 35 species of amphibians and reptiles, 132 species of fish and 300 species of birds. The 180-mile Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is known as the “Louisiana Outback” and runs through the
heart of Grosse Savanne’s vast property, across both Cameron and Calcasieu parishes. The road spans a richly diverse landscape and has dozens of outlooks and walkways where you can explore freshwater and saltwater marshes, cypress swamps, native coastal prairies and pine forest plantations — all of which are bursting with fauna. “In the winter, it’s astounding to see some of the rice fields completely covered in white,” says Will Precht, a spokesman for the Lake Charles/ Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It looks like they’re blanketed with snow, but it’s actually snow geese.” Abbeville’s 1,299-acre
Palmetto Island State Park (louisianatravel.com), located on the Vermilion River, opened in 2010 and offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including hiking through coastal bottomland hardwood forests. Park manager Marcelle Guidry suggests renting a canoe and paddling along the 70-mile river, which flows through cypress >
YVETTE CARDOZO; LINDSEY JANIES PHOTOGRAPHY; GETTY IMAGES
Visitors can watch multiple species of birds, including roseate spoonbills, during an outing with Grosse Savanne Eco-Tours.
A Community Built These Memorials Home to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River, Jacksonville, NC embraces the Lejeune Memorial Gardens began when the community was devastated by the Beirut Bomb Blast of October 23, 1983. 241 Marines and others were killed in what is now believed to be the opening salvo in the war on terror. The Beirut Memorial was entirely constructed with private donations willingly given to remember those killed. A sprawling Vietnam Veterans Memorial World Trade Center constructed as a memorial to 9/11 are also featured in the Gardens located on Lejeune Boulevard at Montford Landing Road. The Garden’s most recent memorial serves to remember Montford Point Marine Memorial documents the hardships of segregation within the Marine Corps. The Carolinas Museum of the Marine plaza features memorials to individual units and complements the peaceful nature of this refuge along US17 and NC-24. More than 82,000 names are recorded on
Visit Franklin, NC
Nature ’s Paradise Nantahala, NC
Think Spring for your Outdoor Adventures Voted Blue Ridge Outdoors’ 2015 & 2016 Top Small Outdoor Town • Hiking • Biking • Canoeing • Ziplining
• Waterfalls • Gem Mining • Sightseeing • Motorcycling
• Luxury Accommodations • Camping • Hiking • White Water Rafting • Boating • Fishing
SOUTHEAST | LOUSI A NA
Blue crabs at the Seafood Palace
TRIP TIPS u After your adventure at Grosse Savanne EcoTours, drive about 30 miles south to Creole. At the town’s only traffic light is T’Boys Cajun Grill, where you can nosh on local favorites like alligator and fried green beans.
Seared tuna at Ember Gri lle
DINING Enjoy award-winning gumbo and rub elbows with the locals at Seafood Palace (facebook.com/seafoodpalace), a popular spot for traditional Cajun food in Lake Charles. In addition to the gumbo (served with chicken, sausage and dark roux with rice on the side), we also sampled a mammoth platter of delectable blue crabs. Owner David Papania is the man behind the scenes, while his childhood friend, chef Scott Landry, who hosts comedy cooking shows all over the country, chats up guests and oversees the restaurant’s catering business. “We get our crabs and shrimp fresh every day from the Gulf,” says Landry. “People come from all over to try our gumbo. It will change your life.” Situated along the Bogue Falaya River, a go-to spot for kayaking and fishing, The Chimes (thechimes.com) is an expansive restaurant in Covington that specializes in Louisianacentric comfort food. Popular options include chargrilled oysters, poboys and jumbo shrimp served in a spicy butter on a fried tasso grit cake. The casual eatery also has nearly 80 beers on tap. A trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting Vermilion Parish, which bills itself as “The Most Cajun Place on Earth.” The towns in Vermilion date to the 1800s, including the parish seat, Abbeville, about 80 miles east of Lake Charles. Located in Abbeville’s historic downtown is Shucks (shucksrestaurant.com), an authentic seafood house founded in 1995. “Everyone here — our cooks, servers, managers — (is) Cajun,” says co-owner David Bertrand. “We’re the real deal.” Be sure to head back to the kitchen where you can watch workers expertly shuck oysters, which are served charbroiled with six different toppings. “When you eat here, it’s layer upon layer of flavors,” says Bertrand. “It’s something you want to savor.” Indeed, we do.
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u While winter weather in Louisiana is typically mild and comfortable, temperatures sometimes dip into the 40s and 50s, so pack appropriately. rs Fresh oyste ks uc at Sh
uLake Charles, known as the “Festival Capital of Louisiana,” hosts special events throughout the year, including the Fur & Wildlife Festival (Jan. 12-13, 2018) in downtown Cameron. A southwest Louisiana favorite since 1955, the event highlights the local natural resources in the area with parades, pageants, dances, Cajun music, exhibits and a carnival.
LINDSEY JANIES PHOTOGRAPHY; L'AUBERGE CASINO RESORT; SHUCKS; GETTY IMAGES
forests and past Lafayette and Abbeville. “The river is a great place for fishing and viewing wildlife,” Guidry says. “You’ll see beavers, otters, birds and alligators.”
uDuring your stay at Fontainebleau State Park, rent kayaks from Bayou Adventure (which will deliver and pick-up the kayaks) and paddle from your cabin to the nearby park pavilion, where you can play on a sandy beach and stroll along the boardwalk.
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Earl Scruggs Center, Music & Stories from the American South
1634 N. MAIN ST., SUITE 102 HIGH POINT, NC 27262 336.884.5255 HIGHPOINT.ORG
Don Gibson Theatre hosts award winning acts year round
(704) 487-8521 Located in the Chamber of Commerce, 200 S. Lafayette Street, Shelby, NC
SOUTHEAST | FLOR IDA
GINNIE SPRINGS HIGH SPRINGS
Forget the crowded beaches — cold springs are where Florida’s locals go
BY SUSAN SHAIN
hen I asked my boyfriend why we were going to one of Florida's cold springs instead of a sandy beach, his response was all the convincing I needed: “Because it's like swimming in a water bottle.” The state has approximately 1,000 natural cold springs — more than any other state — that discharge 19 billion gallons of fresh water each day. And the water does look like it could be sold in stores. It’s crystal clear and a cool 68 to 70 degrees, year-round. Add in the fact that many springs are surrounded by lush vegetation and are home to abundant wildlife, and
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visiting them quickly became my favorite way to absorb the state’s natural beauty. “Florida’s springs are unique ecosystems that are connected to the Floridan aquifer, which supplies most of the state’s drinking water,” says Heather Obara, associate director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute. “Visit one of Florida’s majestic springs and you will fall in love instantly.” Chris Anastasiou, chief environmental scientist for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, echoes that sentiment: “Florida’s springs are the windows into our collective soul.” Whether you want to kayak, see manatees or just relax, one of these six springs might be just what you’re looking for.
7300 N.E. Ginnie Springs Rd.; 386-454-7188; ginniesprings outdoors.com
Fancy a cocktail with your float? Steer your rental car north to Ginnie Springs. Unlike the other springs on this list, it’s private, which means alcohol is allowed. The property's seven springs are all connected by the Santa Fe River. You can travel via tube, drink in hand, or you can rent canoes, kayaks or stand-up paddleboards. It’s also a popular spot for scuba diving, thanks to its extensive cave system and incredible visibility. Cost: $14.02 per adult; $3.73 per child ages 6-12
Cape Coral is the largest city in Southwest Floridaâ€”and one of the most unique. With more than 400 miles of canals, and surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, Caloosahatchee River and Matlacha Pass, Cape Coral is a naturally enchanting destination where play begins the moment the workday ends. Both the metro area population and employment growth rank among the fastest-growing in the nation. Come see for yourself why Cape Coral continues to draw visitors and businesses from around the globe with its unique balance of economic growth and unparalleled natural resources. Contact us to learn why your business is a natural fit in this rapidly growing city.
Cape Coral Economic Development Office (239) 574-0444 â€˘ (866) 573-3089 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bizcapecoral.com
SOUTHEAST | FLOR IDA
SILVER SPRINGS STATE PARK OCALA
An old Florida attraction, visitors have been coming to Silver Springs for centuries. It’s still offering the glass-bottom boat rides that made it famous — you might spot fish, turtles or even an alligator. Tours run every day, every half hour and cost $11 per person. Don’t be surprised if you get déjà vu when visiting; this spring was the setting for numerous movies and TV shows, including six Tarzan films and Creature From the Black Lagoon. Cost: $8 per vehicle 1425 N.E. 58th Ave.; 352-2367148; floridastateparks.org/park/ silver-springs
When I polled friends on which spring was their favorite, Blue Spring came up again and again. The likely reason: From mid-November through March, several hundred manatees live here, migrating from rivers and coastal areas to the spring’s relatively warm waters. Although you won’t be able to get in the water until they’ve left for the season, you’ll be able to observe them from wooden boardwalks around the park. You can even make a weekend out of it by camping ($24 per night) or staying in one of the park’s six two-bedroom cabins ($95 per night). Cost: $6 per vehicle 2100 W. French Ave.; 386775-3663; floridastateparks. org/park/blue-spring
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ST. JOHN'S RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT; FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
BLUE SPRING STATE PARK
EXHIBITIONS ANN WEAVER NORTON: GATEWAYS TO MODERNISM 9/14 – 11/26, 2017 SCULPTURE IN MOTION: THE ART OF PRE- AND POST-WAR AUTOMOBILES SATURDAY, 11/18, 2017 GORDON CHEUNG: NEW ORDER “VANITAS” 12/9 – 2/4, 2018 CELEBRATING BOAZ VAADIA (1951-2017) 1/11 – 4/29, 2018 BEHOLD, A NEW EDEN: LAURA WOODWARD AND THE CREATION OF PALM BEACH 2/10 – 5/6, 2018
HISTORIC HOME, ARTIST STUDIO AND RARE PALM GARDENS OF ANN WEAVER NORTON 2051 S. Flagler Drive • West Palm Beach, FL 33401 561-832-5328 • www.ansg.org • Gallery Hours: Wed-Sun, 10 am - 4 pm
Visit Madison County, Flor
Camp and enjoy outdoor recreation at our campgrounds. Stay in our local bed and breakfasts or hotels. Fish, canoe or kayak in Cherry Lake or the Withlacoochee River. Hunting opportunities are available through private and public land owners. Shop in beautiful downtown Madison. Hike or bike our rustic trails. You may just decide to stay!
M ADISONC OUNTY F
Our attraction is only natural
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Want to see a Florida spring but don’t have much time between visiting Universal, Epcot and the Magic Kingdom? Use one of your down days to take a quick trip to Wekiwa Springs, which is less than an hour from the theme parks. It has a sandy, shallow bottom that makes it perfect for families and the park’s playground and easy biking trails please, too. Cost: $6 per vehicle 1800 Wekiwa Circle; 407-8842009; floridastateparks.org/park/ wekiwa-springs
ALEXANDER SPRINGS RECREATION AREA ALTOONA
One of my most laid-back camping trips ever was to Alexander Springs in the southern end of the Ocala National Forest. The water, is sparkling shades of tropical blue, abuts a small beach and picnic area. The campground is particularly nice: 67 shady and private spots with grills, picnic tables and fire pits. If you get bored of all that relaxing, you can walk one of the many nearby forest paths or bring a mountain bike (there aren’t rentals nearby) and ride the 22-mile Paisley Woods Bicycle Trail. Cost: $5.50 per person 49525 County Rd. 445; 352-669-3522; fs.usda.gov
WEEKI WACHEE SPRINGS STATE PARK SPRING HILL
If you want both natural beauty and classic Florida kitsch, make your way to Weeki Wachee. This park is most famous for a live mermaid show that’s been running since 1947. It’s my favorite spring for a different reason, though: for the serene kayaking route along the adjoining river. After renting a boat from a private outfitter like Weeki Wachee Kayaking, you can enjoy a few hours of downstream paddling. On your journey, you’ll find rope swings, tree jumps — and, in winter, maybe even some manatees. Cost: $13 per adult; $8 per child ages 6-12 6131 Commercial Way; 352-592-5656; floridastateparks.org/park/ weeki-wachee
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MAKING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR VISIT Arrive early. Many springs fill up — especially on weekends and holidays — and when they reach capacity, no one else is allowed in. So arrive as early as you can: The springs in state parks are open from 8 a.m. to sunset, every day of the year. Bring a picnic. The food selection at most springs is limited to snacks and drinks. So if you have dietary restrictions or want something healthier, stock up at a grocery store or a farm stand en route. Exceptions include Silver Springs and Ginnie Springs, which both have restaurants on-site. Don’t forget sunblock and a hat. No matter the time of year, Florida’s sun is strong. If you plan on swimming, bring towels and extra layers — and, for extra fun, a snorkeling mask, flippers and pool noodles.
WEKIWA SPRINGS STATE PARK
PLAN YOUR NEXT GETAWAY! VISIT: ExploreSmokies.com
SOUTHEAST | MISSISSIPPI
Oxford Entices OXFORD
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Mississippi’s foodie gem lures scores of hungry visitors
BY ALLISON ENTREKIN
town of 10 square miles, Oxford, Miss., is home to the state’s flagship university, an old-fashioned courthouse square and the former residence of William
Faulkner. But this place is no time capsule: Oxford’s food scene is wowing today’s critics. Saint Leo, an Italian restaurant on the square, was a 2017 James Beard Award semifinalist for the nation’s Best New Restaurant, and John Currence, chef/owner at nearby City Grocery, is a six-time James Beard Award nominee and one-time winner. Saint Leo and City Grocery are joined by a growing number of Oxford restaurants offering unexpected twists on Southern fare, plus a local butcher shop grinding beef for what Thrillist calls the “Best Burger in America.”
“In Oxford, we surprise people with all we have going on in our food scene,” says John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, headquartered in Oxford. “Now is a very exciting time.” So drop your preconceptions about small-town dining and bring your appetite (plus any Ole Miss gear you can find). It’s time to take a delicious trip through this northern Mississippi town.
CURRENCE CREATIONS When Currence opened City Grocery on the town square 25 years ago, the food scene was, in his words, “non-existent.” He didn’t try to lure diners with cute >
ERIN AUSTEN ABBOTT; MAP ILLUSTRATION BY MIRANDA PELLICANO
VISITORS & PAST RESIDENTS...Join us in 2018 as we celebrate our vibrant heritage, modern-day culture, and bright future during the yearlong Fort Smith Bicentennial!
SOUTHEAST | MISSISSIPPI
MAKE A TRIP OF IT City Grocery 152 Courthouse Square; 662232-8080; citygroceryonline. com/city-grocery
For the ultimate in convenience, stay at The Inn at Ole Miss, located on the University of Mississippi campus with suites overlooking the football stadium and tailgating area. 120 Alumni Dr.; 662-234-2331; theinnatolemiss.com
At Rowan Oak, see the home where William Faulkner lived and wrote for more than 40 years; on the walls of his study, read the outline he scribbled for his Pulitzer Prize–winning novel A Fable. 916 Old Taylor Rd.; 662-2343284; rowanoak.com
THE NEW CLASS
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Following in Currence’s footsteps, an emerging generation of restaurateurs is expanding Oxford’s food scene — and earning national acclaim. At Saint Leo, owner Emily Blount developed the restaurant’s menu with James Beard–nominated chef Dan Latham, a well-known Oxford restaurateur. Together, they devised dishes that incorporate regionally sourced ingredients, such as pizza bianca baked with brie from Sweetgrass Dairy in Thomasville, Ga. Drawing inspiration from Blount’s New York background (she was an offBroadway actress), the restaurant has a lively, big-city feel. The hottest seats in the house are the ones at the bar, >
The granddaddy of Oxford’s independent bookstores, Square Books opened on the square in 1979 and houses a large collection of titles about the American South. Don’t miss its sister stores, Off Square Books and Square Books Jr., also on the square. 160 Courthouse Square; 662236-2262; squarebooks.com
Thursdays at 6 p.m., stop by Off Square Books for a recording of The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour, a live radio show with musical performances and author readings. 129 Courthouse Square; thackermountain.com
You don’t have to have kids to appreciate Avent Park, with a playground modeled after Oxford’s Courthouse Square. 104 Park Dr.; visitoxfordms.com
culinary tricks; instead, he set out to make locally inspired food that tasted exceptionally good. His plan worked. The shrimp-and-grits entrée he featured on the menu in 1992 is still one of his most popular dishes, prepared with coarsely ground Original Grit Girl cheese grits and Gulf shrimp. Mississippian Morgan Freeman is a regular at the white-tablecloth restaurant, as well as its upstairs lounge, Grocery Bar. Capitalizing on City Grocery’s success, Currence opened three other Oxford restaurants: Bouré, Big Bad Breakfast and Snackbar. Bouré serves casual Creole cuisine in the bones of an old drugstore, while Big Bad Breakfast not only offers a large menu of day-starters but a killer lunch selection as well. (Edge recommends the Coca-Cola–brined fried chicken.) Next door to Big Bad Breakfast, Snackbar is a cozy French brasserie known for its Alabama-plucked Murder Point oysters and top-shelf whiskeys. Snackbar chef and James Beard nominee Vishwesh Bhatt showcases his Indian heritage in fusion dishes like okra chaat, made with fried okra and chaat masala. Currence says he’s not only proud of his own restaurants’ success; he’s thrilled with the state of Oxford’s dining scene. “I have prayed every day for the last 25 years for cool places with engaged and ambitious owners to open here,” Currence says. “And we’re seeing that.”
Experience E Ex xperience Life… N Naturally!!! Na aturally!!! Lake Barkley and water sports, antique and specialty p y shops, p food for all tastes. Enjoy Land Between the Lakes and walk the shorelines for miles. Come to relax and recharge. Cadiz-Trigg County Tourism GoCadiz.com 888.446.6402
The airport accommodates an array of general-aviation interests with a full-service, ﬁxed-based operator (FBO) and other important services, including:
• • • • •
Aircraft Hangars & Tiedowns Fuel-Avgas & Jet A Meeting Space • Rental Cars Pilot's Lounge & Showers Fixed Wing & Helicopter Traiiniing & Maiintenance • Flighht-PPlanniing & Weathher Serviice
SOUTHEAST | MISSISSIPPI
Ajax Diner 118 Courthouse Square; 662-232-8880; ajaxdiner.net
Asian-influenced noodles and street food. This fall, it moves into a rehabbed gas station and will serve classics from both eras, such as beef-brisket grilled cheese with Sriracha mayo and cheesy chicken ramen topped with a fried egg. “In Southern towns like Oxford, you’re starting to see progressive, forward-thinking food that reflects new immigrants and loses nothing in the process,” Edge says. “In fact, it gains a lot.”
where Joe Stinchcomb expertly creates drinks like the Starting Pistol, made with bourbon, fresh grapefruit juice, lemon, honey syrup and egg whites. “Joe is the next big talent to emerge from Oxford,” Edge says. Although Saint Leo has been packed since it opened, Blount says she was totally unprepared for the restaurant’s James Beard nomination earlier this year. A friend texted her when the news broke, and Blount thought it was a joke. “I had no idea they knew who we were!” she says. Not long after, Bon Appétit named the restaurant one of the top 50 in America, and Blount is still catching her breath. “It’s been a wild ride,” she says. Fifteen minutes south of Oxford in Taylor, two City Grocery veterans are blazing new trails at Grit. The name is a bit of a word play: Owners Nick Reppond and Angie Sicurezza offer excellent grit corn cakes on their contemporary Southern menu, but they also needed a different kind of grit to set out on their own in 2016. “They are part of a new generation taking flight,” Edge says. Locals flock to Grit for its
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buttermilk fried chicken with salsa verde, charred squash and fried onions, all served in a rustic dining room with brick walls and rough-hewn wood beams. The cozy bar has 10 signature cocktails for $10 each, including the Oxford American, made with Four Roses bourbon, kola nut syrup and CocaCola ice cubes.
THE RULE BREAKERS A stone’s throw from Snackbar’s refined brasserie, there’s a hipster spot that can’t decide whether it’s a butcher shop, a gourmet grocery store or a cafe. And really, does it matter? The line for a grilled smash burger at Neon Pig often extends into the parking lot; everyone, it seems, wants to try one of the best burgers in America. Made with aged filet, sirloin, New York strip and ribeye with Benton’s bacon, it’s served with cheddar cheese and pickled onions, plus an extra sprinkle of bacon bits. Besides burgers, you’ll find vegetables from Native Son Farm in Tupelo, Miss., cheeses from Sequatchie Cove Creamery in Sequatchie, Tenn., and chicken from Zion Farms in Pontotoc, Miss. Crack open a locally brewed Yalobusha farmhouse ale and have fun browsing the aisles. Like Neon Pig, Oxford Canteen defies easy description. It began as a Southern food truck (without wheels) in an alleyway off the square, then morphed into Canoodle, beloved for its
Of course, there are still plenty of Oxford institutions serving straightforward Southern fare. On the square, Ajax Diner has been cooking up chicken and dumplings since 1997, luring huge crowds and a nod from hometown hero Eli Manning, who calls it one of his favorite restaurants. Low-key and kitschy, the restaurant’s Big Easy Sandwich (made with countryfried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy and butter beans) was just named one of Sports Illustrated’s Best College Town Meals. At Taylor Grocery just outside Oxford, they don’t take reservations and they don’t serve alcohol (it’s a BYOB joint). What they do — and do well — is fry up some seriously tender catfish and serve it whole or filleted. Other house specialties include fried okra and the restaurant’s famous chocolate cobbler, a rich creation that’s a meal in itself. (It was recently featured on Food Network’s Super Southern Eats.) After eating your way through Oxford, your waistband may be tighter, but your mind may have expanded just a bit. Yes, the tiny town is a home for Southern staples, but it’s also an incubator for genre-defying restaurants and cuisines. Oxford may look like a postcard from yesteryear, but it’s marching boldly into the future. l
Share Curiosity. Read Together. w w w. r e a d . g o v
MIDWEST | M Y TOW N
As one of the most brilliant radio personalities, writers and storytellers, Garrison Keillor is inseparable from his home state. He created the A Prairie Home Companion show for Minnesota Public Radio in 1974 and hosted it until 2016. His comedic tales of Midwestern values, joys and woes set in fictional Lake Wobegon, Minn., have made millions curious to visit St. Paul. — LISA MARIE HART
FEEL INTELLECTUAL “The beans (at Dunn Bros Coffee) are roasted on the premises and better yet, you’re surrounded by people who give you the impression they are serious writers and are hard at work on their memoir.” 1569 Grand Ave.; 651-698-0618; dunnbrosgrand.com
The High Bridge over the Mississippi gives a magnificent view downriver and if a tow of six barges is heading that way, you can watch the pilot maneuver around the bend past downtown.” — GARRISON KEILLOR
STEP BACK IN TIME “Mickey’s Diner is a classic rail-car diner right out of Edward Hopper, with a long counter and some booths in the corner. (It’s) open 24 hours and so the late-night diner will get to meet a broad cross-section of St. Paulites.” 36 W. 7th St.; 651-698-0259; mickeysdiningcar.com
BEST PLACE TO BEST PLACE TO
INDULGE “Candyland is the A-No.1-classic candy store with jellybeans, orange slices, licorice, plus the best and freshest popcorn. Buy the large box, open, buttered, and you’ll be happy for hours.” 435 N. Wabasha St.; 651-2921191; candylandstore.com
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EAT At The St. Paul Grill (in The Saint Paul Hotel), “there’s wild rice soup and a nice relish plate and walleye, and it feels like you’re in a small town except the people are friendlier.” 350 Market St.; 651-224-7455; stpaulgrill.com
PRAIRIE HOME PRODUCTIONS; DAN ANDERSON; CANDYLAND; DUNN BROS COFFEE
BEST PLACE TO
BEST PLACE TO
Eagan Minnesota! H World-class attractions including Minnesota Zoo and Nickelodeon Universe®
H Spectacular shopping including Twin Cities Premium Outlets® and Mall of America®
H Complimentary breakfast and shuttle service from most of Eagan’s 16 hotels (verify upon making reservations) Nickelodeon Universe®
Eagan Convention and Visitors Bureau
866-324-2620 • eaganmn.com @EaganMinnesota
MIDWEST | MIN N ESOTA
Jimmy Callian, Lake Superior
Hang 10 Hardcore wave chasers can find thrills — and chills — surfing Lake Superior
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across the 350-mile length of the lake, creating surfable swells that consistently reach overhead to double overhead heights. Late October to early April is the best time to surf, says Alex Copp, operations manager at Surf the Greats, a surf shop in Toronto. I had learned to surf in Nicaragua’s warm waters, so when I relocated to Minneapolis, I thought my surfing days were over — until I met a group of paddleboarders who told me that surfing Lake Superior at a spot near Duluth, Minn., was possible. So, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, two friends and I hoisted our boards onto the roof of a car and headed there. The industrial-looking city situated on the western-most
DULUTH ST. PAUL
edge of Lake Superior is nestled halfway between the Twin Cities and Canada, surrounded by an almost mountainous terrain that includes the beginning of the 300-mile Superior Hiking Trail. We arrived at Stoney Point around 9 a.m. — the wind tends to shift and degrade the waves as the day warms up, so the
DAVE ROSTVOLD; MAP ILLUSTRATION BY MIRANDA PELLICANO
o be sure, surfing the Great Lakes in the dead of winter isn’t for the faint of heart. Unlike oceans, which produce endless waves, lakes simply don’t have enough room to allow a proper swell to form. That is, except for the Greats, a group of five lakes that lie on the Canadian border and stretch from New York to Minnesota. And if you’re both a surfer and a Minnesotan, like me, Lake Superior is your best bet. The best time to surf in Minnesota is during the winter, when storms descend, moving across Lake Superior to the southeast and pushing water
BY CINNAMON JANZER
F R E E D O M ’ S H E R O E S H A V E A S T O R Y. D I S C O V E R YO U R S.
THIS AIN’T OUR FIRST RODEO …OR CAR SHOW, OR PARTY, OR SNOWMOBILE RACE, OR PARTY. DID WE MENTION PARTY?
Since 1876, Deadwood has built its reputation on wild times and frontier fun. And each year, we make sure we earn that reputation. Deadwood’s Days of ’76 Event Complex, is available as a venue for concerts, car shows, family reunions, year-round racing and much more. The complex seats more than 5,000 people with plenty of parking, and Deadwood’s 1,800 hotel rooms are just a walk or trolley ride away. After your event, enjoy a night on the town in Historic Deadwood. Call to book your next event!
1-800-999-1876 DEADWOOD.COM DAYSOF76COMPLEX.COM
MIDWEST | MIN N ESOTA
Mathias Gorden earlier the better — and we joined a crowd of about 20 people and about half as many cars and campers. We added a fresh layer of cold-water wax to our boards, pulled our wet suits over our arms, sank our feet into neoprene booties and gloved our hands. Taking a deep breath, we made our way across the road, down the rocks and into the 39-degree water filled with the perfect waves that surfers love, A-frames — waves that peak perfectly in the middle and break on both sides, allowing surfers to simultaneously ride them in each direction. Paddling out offered increasingly distant views of the vast, snow-covered
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shore, nothing short of a winter wonderland. It was cold — as cold as I’ve ever been on purpose — but it paled in comparison with the beauty outside and the adrenaline inside. I was extremely thankful that I ended up splurging on the more expensive, thicker booties. The right equipment is absolutely necessary, says Mathias Gorden, a 24-year-old Superior surfer. “Some people (come out here with) too thin of a wet suit, and they get cold,” he notes, adding that the water temperature can literally take surfers’ breath away. “(People) kind of underestimate (surfing Superior) because it’s a lake, and they think it can’t be big, but it can be. The wind and cold just make things more intense.” While the number of surfers in the water at Stoney is sparse compared with places like California, there are still locals who surf it every chance they get, sailing through the waves with ease. We surfed down waves that many don’t know exist; rides
concluding with familiar falls in uncharacteristically saline-free water. Eventually, I noticed that my toes had become numb. Once we reached the point when we could no longer move our mouths enough to form coherent words, we paddled back to shore. After fumbling up the rocks with frozen feet, we got into the car, peeling the layers of neoprene away and cranking the heat. While recapping our adventure, I surmised that we couldn’t possibly have been in the water for more than 20 minutes, but I was corrected: In reality, we had been out for an hour and a half. We made our way to another spot, Park Point — roughly a 10-minute drive from Stoney Point into Duluth proper. As we made our way to the water with our boards in tow, a mother and her son passed us, as did an older couple, both pairs exclaiming that my friends and I must be crazy and how they could never do it. I wasn’t sure that I could until this morning either, I thought to myself.
LUCAS MURNAGHAN/SURF THE GREATS; DAVE ROSTVOLD
Experie ity the c
s east minute ies! 0 3 t s Ju win Cit of the T
ni e Kin on th
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Call 888-417-4040 for a Waupaca Area Visitor Guide www.WaupacaMemories.com
MIDWEST | MIN N ESOTA
SURF’S UP, SUPERIOR
— MATHIAS GORDEN, LAKE SUPERIOR SURFER
While it might seem like the conditions on Superior are too extreme for newbies, the opposite is true. “Beginners can definitely do it. (At Surf the Greats), we conduct beginnerspecific courses,” says Copp. “Of course, depending on the size, every day isn’t beginner-friendly, but that’s the same in the ocean.” For more experienced surfers who want to try the Great Lakes, one thing that’s noticeable is the closeness of the periods (the time between individual waves). Copp notes that going from a typical ocean period of around eight to 10 seconds between waves to as few as four seconds on the Greats can make getting out to the lineup — the sweet spot where surfers wait to catch rideable waves — a challenge. The difference also increases the chance of drowning. And, just like with ocean surfing, it’s important to note what’s below you (there’s discarded construction material in the water near Toronto, for example) and to be aware of rip currents because they can happen on the lake, too. “Be aware of how to manage yourself when you get caught in a rip,” Copp stresses. “Don’t fight it: just go with it — it’ll swirl back into shore.”
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Any Great Lakes surfer will say that gear matters. Having the right equipment will make or break your experience. 1. A 9-foot Catchsurf Odysea Plank board from Surf the Greats is a great beginner board and one that will allow you to catch a variety of waves on the lake. $549.95, surfthegreats.org
2. This 2mm Furnace Carbon hood from Billabong will keep you warm and dry without getting in the way of your performance. $32.95, us.billabong.com
3. The 7mm Evoke women’s wetsuit by Bare is crafted by women for women, reflects current athleisure-aesthetic trends and uses infrared technology to trap heat and reflect it back to your body to keep you cozy in the waves. $459.95, baresports.com
4. Since 1972, Mr. Zog’s Sexwax Quick Humps formula has been keeping surfers on their boards and has become a brand that some swear by. Get the extreme soft, x-cold to cold version. $1.84 per bar, sexwax.com
5. Rip Curl’s 7mm Flash Bomb surf booties are designed with quick-drying capabilities, something you’ll appreciate when driving between breaks. $74.99, ripcurl.com
ROSS YOUNG; PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES
(People) kind of underestimate (surfing Superior) because it’s a lake, and they think it can’t be big, but ... wind and cold just make things more intense.”
Nationally -Acclaimed Daum Museum of Contemporary Art
Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival May 31 - June 2, 2018
Queen of the Prairies Festival of the Arts June 2, 2018
Visit SedaliaMO.com 800-827-5295
MO State Fair Aug. 9 - 19, 2018
Katy Depot Railroad Heritage Site & Sedaliaâ€™s Welcome Center
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Cold Weather, Cool Comedy Step into these Windy City comedy haunts to really laugh out loud
BY ZACH FREEMAN
isiting Chicago in the winter might sound crazy to some people. But just because temperatures drop below freezing doesn’t mean you should give the Windy City the cold shoulder. The chilly weather just means creative Chicagoans are driven to produce even better indoor activities to keep each other sane. And nowhere is this more evident than in the city's booming comedy scene. Top-tier Chicago comedians T.J. Miller, Hannibal Buress, Cameron Esposito, Kyle Kinane and Lil Rel Howery are just a few who honed their craft here at dozens of open mics, showcases and TV specials before relocating to Los Angeles or New York. Here are five places to catch touring superstars or future national headliners:
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With shows every night, this twoitem minimum Chicago stalwart has been in Old Town for nearly four decades and is the ultimate experience for fans of stand-up. The walls are covered in photos of comedians who have graced its wellworn stage, and the low ceilings amplify the laughter. Catch a tour by low-key legends and rising stars. Comedian Azhar Usman, who opened for Buress when he did a 2015 pop-up show there, calls Zanies “the grittiest and most intimate stand-up venue in Chicago. It’s a room in a league of its own.” 1548 N. Wells St.; 312-337-4027; chicago.zanies.com
THALIA HALL Granted landmark status in 1985, this storied performance space in the Pilsen neighborhood closed in the 1960s and reopened in 2013. Today, it now hosts a steady stream of alternative and niche comedians. The solid wood stage and interior are visually stunning, and the soaring ceiling allows for a clear view of the stage from any seat in the house (including the balcony). Cameron Esposito returned to Chicago at the end of 2015 to film her first special there. “It’s gorgeous,” she says. “Thalia Hall mixes the raw, gray brick, classic Chicago vibe with an updated stage, food and drink.” 1807 S. Allport St.; 312-526-3851; thaliahallchicago.com
BROOKLYN MAGAZINE; ZACH FREEMAN; THALIA HALL (2); COMEDY DYNAMICS
Sandwiched between a supermarket and a hair salon in Logan Square, this unassuming dive bar is not only a place to get drinks at decent prices, it’s also where patrons can savor comedy like a local. Every Wednesday night, the free open mic features dozens of stand-ups ranging from newbies to national headliners. “Probably 40 comedians perform every Wednesday, which is way too many but so be it,” says Chicago native Buress. “You get to see comedians of all levels try out new stuff or old stuff. Some people just yell things that are not jokes into the microphone because they’re dealing with some real (stuff). You get to watch people bomb terribly, which can be enjoyable depending on your level of sobriety.” 2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-276-5802; coleschicago.com
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THE CHICAGO THEATRE With an iconic marquee displaying the name of the city (and the theater) in bright lights on State Street, this 3,600-seat classy downtown hotspot is where you’ll see the biggest names delivering their much-hyped latest sets. Louis C.K., Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock have all taken the stage here. Chicagoland native (and one of the country’s highest-paid comedians) Sebastian Maniscalco has headlined here for years. “The classic baroque architecture creates a beautiful environment for fans to enjoy a special night out,” he says. “And of course Sinatra performed there.” These are the kinds of shows that sell out, so plan accordingly. 175 N. State St.; 312-462-6300; thechicagotheatre.com
Want to scope out the comedians all your friends will be talking about in a few years? Head over to the East Lakeview neighborhood, where since 2012, this branch of one of the most well-known stand-up brands in the country has been hopping, with shows every night of the week. Most shows at Laugh Factory have a two-drink minimum and a laser focus on showcasing locals. “I credit the club with helping me make the leap from being a person who did comedy in their spare time to a person who currently does comedy for a living,” says Chicagoan Rebecca O’Neal, a mainstay on the Chicago scene who has hosted shows at Cole’s, Lincoln Lodge and on local television. Catch her at Laugh Factory hosting Saturday’s “Chicago’s Best Stand Up” to see up-and-comers who’ll soon be on marquees. 3175 N. Broadway St.; 773-327-3175; laughfactory.com/clubs/ chicago
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KYLE BUCKLAND; CURTIS SHAW FLAGG; JAVIER AYALA/MSG PHOTOS (2); TODD ROSENBERG
Follow Albion online and Facebook
Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau 517-629-5533 310 South Superior Street, Albion, Michigan
BIG things happening in a little
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San Antonio As part of the singing group Fifth Harmony, Ally Brooke, 24, frequently travels the world. Yet, when she’s on the road, a part of her heart remains in her hometown of San Antonio. — LINDA CHILDERS
BEST PLACE TO
At the River Walk, “you can take a river taxi and explore the history of the Alamo and then see the latest releases at the new AMC movie theater.”
“I literally dream about The Original Blanco Cafe when I’m on the road. All of the food is homemade and reminds me of the kinds of dishes my grandma used to make.”
849 E. Commerce St.; 210227-4262; thesanantonio riverwalk.com
1720 Blanco Rd.; 210-732-6480; blancocafe.net
BEST PLACE TO
TAKE IN THE CITY
SHOPPING “The flavors, decorations, music and works of art at Market Square are (inspired by Mexico) and a favorite of mine. My very first time performing, at the age of 9, was at the Market Square.” 514 W. Commerce St.; 210-2078600; getcreativesanantonio.com
King William Cultural Arts District is a great place to experience the city’s culture (a combination of Mexican, German, Southern and African-American influences).” — ALLY BROOKE
210-227-8786; kingwilliam culturalartsdistrict.com
BEST PLACE TO
CATCH A PERFORMANCE “The walls and roof at Majestic Theatre are decorated with ornate, Mediterranean-influenced, colorful designs. I watched Wicked for the very first time with my dad about 10 years ago, and it was magical.” 224 E. Houston St.; 210-226-5700; majesticempire.com
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MEENO; JOHN CHIDGEY; JOHN DYER; TRACEY MAURER
GRAB A BITE
Collection and Gardens Discover Houston’s home for American art and antiques, featuring 14 acres of incredible Southern gardens. For updated information to plan your visit: mfah.org/bayoubend 6003 Memorial Drive, Houston • 713.639.7750
You might call it “Real America,” or “Real Texas.”
WE CALL IT
Seguin is home to real cowboys with grit on their boots, authentic smiles from mom & pop merchants greeting their neighbors, and a history steeped in Texas pride. Experience Texas the way its meant to be with a visit to Seguin.
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Wild Wyoming Backpack in the winter through the Bighorn National Forest
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY FLASH PARKER
inter in Wyoming always seems wilder than it does in other places. Deep in the backcountry of the Bighorn Mountains, lost someplace in the Bighorn National Forest, I spy lodgepole pine wearing garlands of ice, while a bull moose struts by. Great rock monoliths like Black Tooth Mountain, Hallelujah Peak and The Innominate rise more than 12,000 feet, lording over thousands of acres of raw wild known as the Cloud Peak Wilderness. Mountains cast in flint, pewter and slate buttress valleys troughed by ancient glaciers, while coyotes bound through meadows hunting for game. I traverse high-country lakes capped with thick blankets of snow and rivers raging through deep canyons patrolled by mountain lions of considerable territorial nature. In this cold, monochrome place, I find the solitude I relish.
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From May through November, the Bighorns draw recreation enthusiasts from across the nation, many eager to fish, hike, hunt, camp, bike and run. But when winter comes, the Bighorns are transformed into a kingdom of ice and snow, a frosty playground that rewards the intrepid traveler with untrammeled hiking, skiing and snowshoe trails, epic vistas, unparalleled wildlife viewing and a glimpse at parts otherwise unknown. I’ve lived in Sheridan, Wyo., at the base of the Bighorns, since 2012, and spent considerable time hiking, camping and backpacking in the mountains. But this past year, I made a concerted effort to get out — and stay out — in the winter. I braved the elements on a pair of overnight backpacking trips, which served as the perfect introduction to the frosty world of the Bighorn Mountains. Before embarking on my first overnight, I spent a few days acclimating to Wyoming’s altitude and harsh winter conditions. Sheridan
sits at 3,743 feet above sea level, which means few people are affected by altitude in town. At higher altitudes, however, air becomes thinner, making it difficult for lungs to absorb oxygen. Breathing becomes labored, muscles fatigue faster and more serious symptoms can develop. It’s important to acclimatize properly and be able to recognize altitude sickness before attempting any high-altitude exercise. A few miles from the cozy hamlet of Dayton, Wyo., down a dirt track called County Road 92, the Amsden Creek Wildlife Habitat Management Area serves as a gateway to the Northeast Bighorns. The Tongue River has carved a deep canyon through the limestone landscape. In the heart of winter, the 9.1 miles of the Tongue River Canyon Trail offer me a crash-course in subzero survival. My winter backpacking pilgrimage begins here for practical reasons. The trailhead sits at 4,375 feet above sea level, and the trail itself spends several miles winding through the sheltered canyon. Even when snow falls heavy on the rest of the mountains, accumulation here is mostly mild. This is a relatively safe introduction to winter in the mountains — and my snowshoes help me cling to the trail. Just shy of 8,000 feet, I summit Horse Creek Ridge; the countryside is an otherworldly realm of silence and snow, and although I am only 5 miles from the trailhead, I feel completely removed from the Wyoming I know. I tuck in
Falcon Guides publishes Hiking Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains by Ken Keffer, a thorough resource for backpacking. Pair this with the National Geographic Cloud Peak Wilderness Topographic Map 720 and the 2016 version of the Bighorn National Forest map. www.fs.usda.gov/ main/bighorn/ maps-pubs
among the pines and make camp, digging out a bit of space for my tent, and before I realize it, the sun is gone and the stars are out. The night is long and quiet, and snow falls intermittently. I eat a hearty freeze-dried meal (cooked quickly on my liquid-fueled stove, an essential winter backpacking companion) and keep cozy in my down sleeping bag and wool undies, managing not to lose any fingers or toes. I am tempted to start a fire to stay warm, but I recognize that the physical effort is not worth the result — instead, I warm up with a cup of hot cocoa and layer on clothes as I watch the stars overhead. Buoyed by my first successful expedition into the wild, I plan a trip deeper into the backcountry for my next night. But conditions on the mountain change quickly, and the first day of my second outing has proved to be a far more arduous experience. I’m tackling the Black Mountain Lookout Trail, an iconic hike known for offering sweeping panoramic views of the Bighorns, towering granite titans and ferocious wind. I begrudgingly exit my warm sleeping bag and tent, break camp at 6 a.m. and set off in the dark to take the summit of Black Mountain in time for sunrise. I leave the bulk of my gear at the Black >
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GET IN GEAR A pair of highquality snowshoes will help you “float” across snow-covered terrain. Consider your weight and your pack weight; the heavier you are, or the softer the snow, the more surface area required to distribute your weight. The Atlas Aspect is light enough to carry on your pack when not needed. $289.95, atlassnowshoe.com Pack a bag rated for 10 degrees lower than the coldest temperature you expect to experience. I swear by my Nemo Disco 15 down sleeping bag. $319.95, nemoequipment.com Choose a four-season tent that features a dome shape, solid fabric construction (not mesh), a large vestibule (for cooking and storage space) and dual doors, like the Mountain Hardwear EV2. $700, rei.com Lightweight stoves, like the MSR XGK EX stove, are fueled by white gas, burn clean and are reliable in freezing conditions. $159.95, msrgear.com
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Carry it all in your Gregory Denali 100 backpack. This harsh weather champion has plenty of space for all your winter essentials and can hold 80 pounds of gear. $399.95, gregory packs.com
PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES
ticket back down the Mountain Lookout mountain. I find shelter Trailhead, opting to at the tower itself and travel light and fast on The Bighorn take in a sunrise that my snowshoes. The trail National Forest illuminates the rocky is only 2.4 miles out-andincludes 30 face of the intimidating back, but gains some campgrounds, 1,300 feet along the way, Steamboat Point and the eight lodges and which meant plenty of faraway peaks of the wilmore. switchbacking between derness. Snow comes at 2013 Eastside 2nd lodgepole pines on the me from below, whipped St.; 307-674-2600; way to the summit (at up the mountain by the www.fs.usda.gov/ 9,489 feet). Fortunately wind, and suddenly I’m bighorn for me, most of the snow at the center of a Black has clung to the trees and the early Mountain snow globe. The moungoing is easy. tain is all mine for as long as I can I scramble over one bare boulder stand the cold, which is just long after the next as I close in on the enough to feel content in complethistoric lookout tower, the wind ing the summit before I return to threatening to punch my express the safety of the trees. l
Pack high-calorie freeze-dried foods to save on weight and cooking supplies. Good To-Go’s Mexican quinoa bowl puts a fresh spin on spaceman grub. $12.50, goodto-go.com
Our complex includes a world-class museum with over 30 mounted skeletons, hundreds of displays and dioramas, active dig sites, preparation lab with visitor viewing and an incredible gift shop.
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Land of Enchantment New Mexico’s endless beauty abounds t’s by no mistake “Each park I’ve visited in that New Mexico’s my nearly 30 years of federal state bird is the service offers something roadrunner. The special, (but) I think what desert creature is makes our sites in New a fitting symbol Mexico stand out is a variety for the place it represents: of park experiences and With the ability to run up abundance of culturally to 20 mph, the bird roams significant sites that tell through large swaths of its the story of our American homeland, enjoying groundhistory,” she says. level views of the It’s also a endless vistas in relaxing experievery direction. ence without the Likewise, throngs of people humans who commonly asWhite Sands grow up amid sociated with the National Monument the same country’s most Glistening dunes of expanse of visited public gypsum sand cover plains, plateaus, spaces. “A lot of 275 square miles of desert — the largest mountains the parks in New gypsum dunefield and grasslands Mexico receive in the world. fondly recall fewer visitors nps.gov/whsa family road than some of the trips across the more popular state, traveling from one destinations in places like staggering sight to the next. Utah and Wyoming,” Masica “I get chills down my spine says. “As a result, they offer thinking about the almost a great alternative for those otherworldly beauty of New wanting to avoid entrance Mexico’s national parks,” lines and large crowds.” Lesssays Trevor Wolfe, who grew crowded outdoor spaces, up in Corrales, N.M. “My she notes, can allow more childhood memories are dotopportunities for wonder. ted with the lunar landscape of White Sands, the remote UNDERGROUND AWE beauty and bigness of Valles One exception to that Caldera and the anxious rule can be found near the excitement of venturing into Texas-New Mexico border Carlsbad Caverns.” in the nothern Chihuahuan As the numbers show, the Desert. There, Carlsbad experience is by no means Caverns National Park limited to locals. More than attracts the masses — more 1.7 million people visited than 300,000 visitors a year, the state’s 15 U.S. National including President Obama Park Service sites last year, in 2016 — to its famed caves, according to Sue Masica, trails and springs. With more the service's intermountain than 100 caves on-site, the regional director. UNESCO World Heritage
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Site’s main attraction is its Big Room route, leading through majestic caverns of stalactites, stalagmites, totem pole formations and cave pools. Carlsbad “draws crowds for a reason,” says Kelly Eidson, who has traveled the state with her family throughout her childhood in Albuquerque. “There’s nothing quite like the experience of being underground, taking in the awe-inspiring structures in the Hall of Giants and exploring all the rooms. It’s been a long time since I’ve visited, but I’ll never forget it.”
ANOTHER WORLD It’s possible to experience something akin to another planet while in New Mexico. To do so, head to White Sands National Monument, where a tremendous patch of bright white gypsum sand creates a breathtaking landscape, the sand rippled into hypnotic patterns by the wind. So popular are the dunes among sun-seeking picnickers and day-trippers that the park’s visitor center rents discs on which to sit and slide down. While White Sands carries great visual impact at ground level, the same is true from afar. “The snowwhite gypsum dunefield covers 275 square miles,” says Rebecca Wiles Burghart, the monument’s chief of interpretation. “It is so big that astronauts can see it from space.”
REBECCA WILES BURGHART; NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
BY AMY LYNCH
Alkali Flat Trail, White Sands National Monument
With 15 sites under the U.S. National Park Serviceâ€™s care, New Mexico offers many ways to engage with its natural wonders and culture. Curious souls can explore the volcanic shadow of Valles Caldera National Preserve, learn about the ceremonies and civilizations of lava country in El Malpais National Monument and pay respect to Pueblo Indian ancestors through a quiet visit to Bandelier National Monument. Further horizonbroadening experiences can be found in 27 state parks, at dozens of museums and through countless captivating opportunities â€” from turquoise mines and wildlife refuges to rock formations and cultural celebrations. This enchanted land enriches all who visit.
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Coastal Calm Serenity of beach life beckons
exas is known for a lot of things — cowboys, barbecue and football, just to name a few — but its 600 miles of sparkling coastline are often overlooked. Birdwatchers and nature lovers flock to Galveston Island, a haven for migratory birds and wildlife such as raccoons, marsh rabbits and lumbering armadillos. The bar scene of South Padre Island draws the spring break crowd without fail, and active types will like that the beach is prime for kiteboarders, windsurfers, parasailers and jet skiers. Families love walking along the seawall in Corpus Christi for a visit to the Texas State Aquarium. Although Hurricane Harvey set its sights on Texas in late August, much of the area’s beaches and quaint Southern towns just south of Houston were welcoming visitors not long after the storms passed. Visiting the region would help the tourism industry, as well as support local businesses along the shore.
The Pleasure Pier
SWING BY Willie G’s is an institution in and unto itself and is recognized not only in Galveston but also across the U.S. as a top destination for seafood. Choose spicy blackened snapper for a real treat or go with an expertly prepared favorite like grilled flounder, Gulf shrimp or a grilled tuna sandwich. 2100 Harborside; 409-762-3030; williegs. com
Explore the beauty and historic charm of The San Luis Resort.
TEXAS AUSTIN GALVESTON CORPUS CHRISTI SOUTH PADRE ISLAND
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With 32 miles of smooth-sand shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston’s beaches range from bustling summertime hotspots to secluded stretches off the beaten path, featuring picnic areas, campsites and hiking trails. About an hour’s drive from
Houston, Galveston is a quick escape for city dwellers, who are lured not only by the island’s beaches, but also by its assortment of restaurants and classic fish houses, resort hotels, antique stores and museums. Take a stroll through the quiet neighborhoods dotted with Victorian homes.
The Pleasure Pier has 16 amusement rides for all ages, concessions, shops and lots of shady places to rest. A wristband gets you in and out of the park for the entire day. Make sure to experience the double-decker carousel and the Texas Star Flyer, a 200-foot swingset over the ocean. At night, the pier is transformed with lights, and oftentimes live music. The view of the island from the carousel is a perfect end to a day of fun. 2501 Seawall Blvd.; 409-766-4950; pleasurepier.com
GALVESTON ISLAND CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU; MAP ILLUSTRATION BY MIRANDA PELLICANO
5222 Seawall Blvd.; 409-744-1500; sanluisresort.com
Welcome to your own tropical island. The ideal fall and winter escape, Padre Island has 34 miles of beautiful white sand and clear emerald water. Along with 5,000 places to stay and countless ways to enjoy this exquisite, and only, tropical island in Texas. Itâ€™s all yours. Dive into it at sopadre.com.
Make it yours.
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Bob Hall Pier
The best restaurant to watch the sun set while you’re munching on the catch of the day is Snoopy’s Pier, a family-owned island mainstay. 13313 S. Padre Island Dr.; 361-9498815; snoopyspier.com
CORPUS CHRISTI A haven for nature lovers and birdwatchers, Corpus Christi serves as both a gateway to Padre Island and a beach-filled destination in its own right. When you combine warm Gulf waters and sunny skies throughout most of the year, you get a perfect fall or winter getaway. The city is the largest Texas beach town and offers plenty of attractions for all ages. A portion of Corpus is located on the mainland (the main metro area), while the remaining part is located across Corpus Christi Bay on Padre Island. Those staying on the island have easy access to Padre Island National Seashore and myriad outdoor recreational activities. Fishing, surfing, swimming, beachcombing and windsurfing are among the most popular activities.
Omni Corpus Christi Hotel is in the center of the city’s beachfront area and has all the amenities required for vacation respite. 900 N. Shoreline Blvd.; 361-887-1600; omnihotels.com/hotels/corpus-christi
Pack your rods and reels and spend lazy days fishing on-shore or waters of semitropical Corpus Christi Bay. visitcorpuschristitx.org
SWING BY The Palm Street Pier’s seafood, relaxed vibe and seaside views are a welcome end to a busy beach day. 204 Palm St.; 956-772-7256; palmstreetpier.com
South Padre Island Birding Center
Have fun and stay at the Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark and Resort.
Take the whole family to the Sea Turtle, Inc. to learn about all the species of sea turtles found in the area. 6617 Padre Blvd.; 956-761-4511; seaturtleinc.org
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SOUTH PADRE ISLAND This barrier island is particularly well known for its spring break crowds peaking in March, but the emerald- and aquamarine-hued waters also lure families and RVers year-round, including retirees in winter. Thirty-four miles long and a half-mile wide along the Gulf of Mexico, South Padre Island is a key destination for birders who flock to see herons, egrets and yellow-billed loons, to name a few of the area’s more than 300 bird species. And nature lovers hit parks like the Laguna Madre Nature Trail, with its 1,500-foot boardwalk across 4 acres of marsh. South Padre’s largely undeveloped 110 miles of beaches also attract water sport enthusiasts eager for jet skiing, kite-surfing, windsurfing, parasailing and dolphin watching.
100 Padre Blvd.; 877-574-5280; schlitterbahn.com/south-padre-island/ resort
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Santa Fe Spice Warm up during the winter with New Mexico’s green chile
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notes Cheryl Alters Jamison, author of Tasting New Mexico: Recipes Celebrating 100 Years of Distinctive Home Cooking. “It has a natural sweetness and a vegetal quality, with a moderate level of heat.” The heat level of the New Mexico green chile may be low-key, but its popularity as a signature Santa Fe ingredient is massive. This little pepper makes appearances in everything from margaritas to cheeseburgers, in menus and kitchens across the city. “I eat green chile four times a week, easily. I have green chile in my refrigerator right now,” says Cynthia Delgado, a 12th-generation Santa Fe native and director of marketing for Tourism Santa Fe. “If I make a sandwich, I’ll put green chiles on it. I’ll mix it in chicken casserole,
GETTY IMAGES; MAP ILLUSTRATION BY MIRANDA PELLICANO
anta Fe’s golden canyon vistas and distinctive adobe buildings charm every visitor, beckoning with eclectic art galleries, vibrant museums and street art. But all that beauty overshadows the fact that “The City Different” also has a burgeoning foodie scene. And while Santa Fe serves every type of cuisine, there’s no local taste more singular than the New Mexico green chile. Although available year-round, this deeply flavorful pepper is in season during the fall, and the spicy aroma of roasting green chiles seems to hover over the city for months. “The New Mexico green chile has a different flavor profile than any other chile,”
BY ROSALIND CUMMINGS-YEATES
HUNGRY YET? If you're looking to add a little more spice to your life, head to any of these Sante Fe restaurants. Spice levels indicated for those who are wary.
GETTY IMAGES; TOURISM SANTA FE; DOUGLAS MERRIAM
WOOD-FIRED PIZZA WITH GREEN CHILE The innovative Dr. Field Goods restaurant offers up a dazzling array of green chile choices, from a green chile-rubbed pulled pork New Mexican sandwich to onion rings smothered in green chile. But it’s the wood-fired cheese pizza that’s a must: The cracker-crisp dough is covered with house-made mozzarella and perfectly chopped and charred green chiles. u2860 Cerrillos Rd.; 505-471-0043; drfieldgoods.com
SPECIES of chile pepper are known to man, five of which are domesticated, according to the Chile Pepper Institute
GREEN CHILE CHEESEBURGER Arguably the most famous non-traditional Santa Fe green chile dish, Santa Fe Bite serves up a whopping 10-ounce burger topped with green chiles and white American cheese that creates an immediate beef, cheese and green chile flavor addiction. Cheryl Alters Jamison lists the “roasted, chopped green chiles with the beefiness of the burger and gooiness of the cheese” as one of her favorite chile combinations. u311 Old Santa Fe Trail; 505-982-0544; santafebite.com
WEST | N EW ME X ICO
You haven’t really been to Santa Fe if you’ve never enjoyed the special flavor of New Mexico green chiles.
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ENCHILADAS WITH GREEN CHILE The ultimate classic green chile dish is best sampled at Tomasita’s, the ultimate Santa Fe family-owned restaurant. A local favorite for more than 40 years, Tomasita’s serves rolled enchiladas smothered in a mild green chile sauce. Cynthia Delgado counts the dish with blue corn tortillas as one of her faves. “Green chile chicken enchiladas come together in such a rich way because chicken has a lower flavor profile, and the green chile really shines,” she says. Wash it down with The Swirl, a refreshing mix of frozen margarita and sangria, and you will be in Santa Fe heaven. u500 S. Guadalupe St.; 505-983-5721; tomasitas.com
GREEN CHILE CLAM CHOWDER Head into the historic adobe walls of La Choza to sample home-style Santa Fe cooking, including its spicy green chile clam chowder, which is a local staple. The green chile stew, brimming with chunks of pork shoulder and fingerling potatoes, is another favorite, although the heat index is anything but subtle. To offset the spice, Alters Jamison recommends biting into the sopapillas and honey served at most Santa Fe restaurants. “The combo of sweet and doughiness is the typical way to absorb the heat, although dairy works, too,” she advises. u905 Alarid St.; 505-982-0909; lachozasf.com
GETTY IMAGES; TOURISM SANTA FE
mac n’ cheese; I’ll even have it in a poached egg in the morning. Green chile makes everything better.” So why are New Mexico green chiles such an important feature in Santa Fe dishes? According to the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University, the peppers have played a part in regional cuisine since Pueblo Indians started growing them centuries ago. These smooth, long pods are the green version of the red ristras hanging in every Santa Fe doorway. There are many varieties, but according to the Chile Pepper Institute, they usually display a medium level of heat. The chiles are grown primarily in the north central and southern part of the state, most notably in the Hatch Valley (chile capital of the world and home to the Hatch Chile Festival), and depend on specific New Mexico environmental factors to produce their distinctive, smoky flavor. “The Santa Fe altitude is high; the days are warm, and the nights are cool. The soil is really lean. These are the ideal conditions to grow chiles,” says Alters Jamison. Growing and eating these green pods is woven into Santa Fe life as completely as the city’s Sangre de Cristo mountain backdrop. You haven’t really been to Santa Fe if you’ve never enjoyed the special flavor of New Mexico green chiles.
he com for t s o f thi s fe s t i ve borde r t ow n . U n c ove d e n j oy t ra p.. . an U or ic al cu l ture , ni g h t li fe , s hop pi ng , a nd s i e h dl ce in t f i n e d g r a nd S ad e x p e r i e n o t t e h m e o o ini ng h n e l y h t c a n s o i n e o c n h w a o h t e el in . n a nd c
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WEST | T E X A S
Sound on Sound Fest
Keeping the Beat Medley of music fests always on tap in Austin
nown as much for its warm, weird hippie ethos as for its recent popularity among tech start-ups looking for a place to launch, Austin is a melting pot of sights, sounds and creative inspiration.
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Nicknamed the “Live Music Capital of the World,” the city's many bars, clubs and outdoor venues pulse to the beat of live bands nearly every day of the week. Just a stone’s throw from the laid-back campus of the University of Texas at Austin sits the bustling downtown music district along Red River Street, where
music-makers test their tunes in front of appreciative crowds. Zilker Park and Auditorium Shores, just a few blocks south of City Center, host large lakeside music festivals throughout the year, covering every genre on the sonic spectrum and keeping the heart of Texas humming along to every melody.
BY AMY LYNCH
SOUND ON SOUND FEST An informal successor to the nowdefunct Fun Fun Fun Fest, this event is seen as the slightly edgier sibling to the more mainstream Austin City Limits Music Festival. Held 35 miles east of Austin in the Sherwood Forest, this three-day experience draws weekend campers and nightby-night visitors to its cornucopia of acts that include rockers, rappers and stand-up comedians. This year, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Iggy Pop and The Shins lead the pack of performers. usoundonsoundfest.com
CHAD WADSWORTH; CHRIS SHERMAN; ROGER HO/PROVIDED BY DO512; GETTY IMAGES; BRYCE WILLIAMS; MERRICK ALES
AUSTIN’S NEW YEAR While there’s no shortage of New Year’s Eve parties taking place in the heart of the Lone Star State, crowds bundle up and flock to Auditorium Shores for an afternoon and evening of live music on several stages. The evening culminates at 10 p.m. in an extravagant display of fireworks against the downtown skyline towering above Lady Bird Lake. To keep things family-friendly (and in compliance with local sound ordinances), the big show ends at 10:30 p.m., allowing celebrants to ring in the actual new year wherever they choose. u austinsnewyear.com
FREE WEEK The name “Free Week” is a misnomer because the local celebration of all things musical often spans a full two weeks. As each new year unfolds, raucous bands rock the mic at an array of live music venues around town, giving revelers free access to scores of bands. Spaces like Barracuda, Mohawk Austin, Cheer Up Charlies and Empire Control Room melt away the winter blues with the sounds of cult favorites and up-andcomers alike. ufreeweek.do512.com
CARNAVAL BRASILEIRO Called the “best public bash” in the state by Texas Monthly, one of the largest Carnaval celebrations outside Brazil takes place in Austin each winter. Bringing the spirit and samba of Brazil to the massive Palmer Events Center, Carnaval Brasileiro keeps the beat going with Brazilian and Brazilianinspired performers. Perennial favorite Austin Samba, a local ensemble with more than 100 drummers performing in the style of traditional escolas de samba, helps guests pack the dance floor late into the night. Tickets go on sale in December. u sambaparty.com
SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST What began as a simple music festival has since ballooned into an international event of epic proportions, celebrating music, film, interactive technology and more. South By Southwest (SXSW) takes over Austin each March, with its music portion attracting thousands of acts from all points of the globe looking to make their mark. Spilling out of the convention center and into a variety of venues throughout the city, all official SXSW events require a badge for entry. Registration for the March 9-18 festivals opened in August. usxsw.com
MUSIC FESTIVALS year-round. Find out more at austintexas. org/visit/music-scene
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Las Vegas Thirteen years ago, superstar magician and New York native Criss Angel, 49, moved to Vegas. He now entertains at the Luxor Hotel with his popular Cirque du Soleil Mindfreak show. — LINDA CHILDERS
DAY TRIP “Visiting Nelson Ghost Town offers a glimpse into what life was like in Las Vegas over 100 years ago. There’s vintage cars, antique signs and an abandoned gold mine that offers private tours.” 16880 State Highway 165, Searchlight; 702-291-0026; eldoradocanyonminetours.com
SKI “(Lee Canyon) mountain is located 35 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. Since it’s within driving distance, I usually go skiing three to four times a year.” 6725 Lee Canyon Rd.; 702-3852754; leecanyonlv.com
Las Vegas is so much more than just a gambling destination. It’s the entertainment capital of the world and offers so many unique and incredible experiences for all ages.” — CRISS ANGEL
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CRISS ANGEL/APWI; RUSTY NELSON; LEE CANYON
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PACIFIC | C A L IFOR N I A
The French Laundry
FRENCH LAUNDRY 2.0
Drink in the Experience Napa Valley is about more than wine
The best restaurant in wine country got even better this year when The French Laundry, helmed by chef Thomas Keller, debuted a brand-new kitchen. The improved digs were part of a $10 million upgrade that included an annex, a wine cellar and a host of additional food prep areas. Keller says that after 23 years, he felt it was time to double-down on his commitment to excellence with a state-ofthe-art facility: “To be able to give my team the space they need is very exciting.”6640 Washington St., Yountville; 707-944-2380; thomaskeller.com/tfl
BY MATT VILLANO
RIVER YOGA One of the best ways to experience Napa proper: atop a stand-up paddleboard on the Napa River. Napa Valley Paddle offers two-hour guided tours. The Downtown Oxbow tour traverses under four bridges and by the restored Oxbow Preserve before ending in the Oak Knoll appellation, a specially designated growing section in the central part of the county. 707-666-1628; napavalleypaddle.com
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ike a fine wine, the Napa Valley gets better with age. With new outdoor diversions, restaurants and hotels, the wine capital of California has had much to celebrate in recent months. Here’s a rundown on the best of what’s new:
LAS ALCOBAS The first U.S. outpost of a Mexico City-based boutique hotel, Las Alcobas Napa Valley, opened in late March. The 68room hotel blends old and new with 2016 buildings that overlook Beringer’s estate vineyards and a 1907 main building that is home to Acacia House, the latest restaurant from offal expert and chef Chris Cosentino. 1915 Main St., St. Helena; 707-963-7000; lasalcobasnapavalley.com
TRY A TASTE OF NAPA WINE
With roughly 475 wineries in the Napa Valley, there’s no shortage of places to swirl and sip. Three in particular are worth a closer look.
VINE TRAIL OPENS Bicycle mavens have dreamed for years about a paved trail from southern Napa Valley to Calistoga, in the north of the county. This spring, the first part of that dream came true in the form of the Napa Valley Vine Trail. The kickoff 12.5-mile section (the finished trail will stretch 47 miles) extends from John F. Kennedy Park, south of downtown Napa, to Yountville. Along the way, the trail passes more than a dozen wineries — all of which welcome cyclists with open arms. 707-252-3547; vinetrail.org
Trefethen Family Vineyards: The circa-1886 winery building at this down-valley property was nearly destroyed in a 2014 earthquake, but the Trefethen family spent three years rebuilding it, and the new facility reopened in May. Tastings, which overlook the estate vineyard, are by appointment. 1160 W. Oak Knoll Ave.; 866-895-7696; trefethen.com
LAS ALCOBAS NAPA VALLEY HOTEL; NAPA VALLEY VINE TRAIL; BOB MCCLENAHAN
Covert Estate: This exquisite winery gets its name from its location, tucked away in the hills of Coombsville, one of the region’s newest growing appellations. Rock-star winemaker Julien Fayard uses estate-grown fruit to make a cult cabernet that’s second to none. By-appointment tastings are offered in a speciality room in the wine cave. 15 Chateau Lane; 707-2241959; covertestate.com
The CIA at Copia
CIA’S NEW DIGS The California arm of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has expanded from St. Helena to downtown Napa with the opening of The CIA at Copia. The new food and wine center offers cooking classes, wine tastings and a restaurant. It will also become home to the first culinary arts museum in the country, featuring the 2,000-piece collection of Chuck Williams, founder of Williams-Sonoma. 500 First St., Napa; 707-967-2500; ciaatcopia.com
JaM Cellars: You won’t break the bank by drinking JaM Cellars, which has made a splash by selling chardonnay and cabernet for less than $25 per bottle. The winery’s tasting room in downtown Napa has a noticeably “loungey” feel; on Friday nights there’s live music and hors d’oeuvres. 1460 First St.; 707-265-7577; jamcellars.com
PACIFIC | A L A SK A
ALASKA TALKEETNA ANCHORAGE
Pints Up When the weather dips in Anchorage, make your way to the city’s booming breweries
BY KAREN ASP
laska may not top your list as a winter getaway. The darkness, coupled with the sheer cold, might make it sound as inviting as visiting Death Valley in summer — for the opposite reason, of course. But there is a good reason to visit Anchorage, namely its burgeoning beer scene. During my visit in March, when the days are starting to get longer, I visited 12 of the state’s more than 30 breweries. The beer scene is hot here in winter, because, unlike bears, folks in Anchorage aren’t into hibernating. Instead, they prefer to head to social establishments in droves. Be it a Wednesday or Saturday, places are packed and lively as can be, locals seeking camaraderie. And what better way to do that than with a pint?
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Denali Brewing Company
IF YOU GO
With roughly 1,600 eateries, including trucks and carts, you won’t go hungry in Anchorage. Three not to miss: Snow City Cafe for its award-winning breakfasts. 1034 W. 4th Ave.; 907-272-2489; snowcitycafe.com
South Restaurant and Coffeehouse for the hip vibe. 11124 Old Seward Highway; 907-7709200; southak.com
MAP ILLUSTRATION BY MIRANDA PELLICANO; ASHLEY HEIMBIGNER; JACK BONNEY
HIP SIPS The easiest and safest way to visit multiple breweries is through a designated bus tour. I’ve done many of these tours around the country but never one that starts on a train — until now. I’ve signed up for Hops on the Rail through Big Swig Tours, and my journey starts with a three-hour train ride from Anchorage to Talkeetna, a small hamlet north of Anchorage. During that time, I do little but stare out the windows, catching a glimpse of Denali and several moose. Once in Talkeetna, I’m greeted by Bryan Caenepeel, owner and founder of Big Swig Tours, who hands me a boxed lunch from the Roadhouse, a beloved local bakery where climbers often fill their bellies before tackling Denali. We then pile into a van and make our first stop at Denali Brewing Company, Alaska’s second largest brewery. As Caenepeel
explains, brewing beer isn’t easy in Alaska, because all equipment and ingredients, hops included, have to be shipped in. Despite this hurdle, “As soon (as) a brewery opens its doors, it’s ready to expand,” he says. “It’s hard for breweries to keep up with production.” That was the case for Denali Brewing Company, which has grown to a 30-barrel brewery that makes beer, mead and spirits. I take a tour with a Twisted Creek IPA in hand, and while it earns my best-of vote, there’s not one beer among the many I sample that I don’t like. From Talkeetna, we head by van to Palmer to tour Arkose Brewery. A husband-wife team runs this small brewery situated in a valley, affording visitors 360-degree views of the Chugach and Talkeetna mountains. At the next stop, Odd Man Rush Brewing in Eagle River, >
Simon & Seafort’s Saloon & Grill where you can’t beat the happy hour prices and sunset views of Cook Inlet and Mount Susitna. 420 L St.; 907-2743502; simonand seaforts.com
Kincaid Park, a free park in Anchorage with nearly 40 miles of groomed trails, is a must for crosscountry skiers. 9401 Raspberry Rd.; 907-343-4355; anchorage parkfoundation.org/ directory/kincaid
For a bigger adventure, book a guided tour in Palmer through Lifetime Adventures to
cross-country ski at Hatcher Pass, a recreational playground for locals where Olympians often train. 800-952-8624; lifetime adventure.net
Cozy accommodations await at Copper Whale Inn, where you’ll be within walking distance of local hot spots. Bonus? Views of Cook Inlet and the mountains. 440 L St.; 907-258-7999; copperwhale.com
Renting a car is best, especially if you want to extend your trip and ski (crosscountry as well as downhill) at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, about 40 minutes southeast of Anchorage. The journey takes you along the Seward Highway, one of the most beautiful drives in the country, with picturesque scenes of the shoreline of the Turnagain Arm and peaks of the Chugach Mountains. 1000 Arlberg Ave.; 800-880-3880; alyeskaresort.com
PACIFIC | A L A SK A
Beers on tap at Uncle Joe’s Pizzeria in Anchorage
Midnight Sun Brewing Company
Anchorage Brewing Company 148 W. 91st Ave.; 907-677-2739; anchorage brewing company.com
ice fans will feel at home in a hockey-themed brewery that was designed using reclaimed materials and includes walls of cassette tapes where, depending on your age, you might find your favorites from younger years. Our last stop deposits us back in Anchorage for the day’s smallest brewery, Resolution Brewing Company. It’s only a three-barrel operation, but it’s kicking out Belgian-inspired ales like nobody’s business.
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THIRSTY FOR MORE? Four breweries is a good start, but I’m thirsting for more. Fortunately, eight breweries have set up shop in Anchorage so I don’t have far to go. One of my favorites is the Anchorage Brewing Company, which has a Zenlike tasting room with wood accents everywhere, including walnut tables. A waist-high wall made of concrete and Japanese cedar separates the room from 13 9-foot oak barrels
called foudres, making them feel part of the atmosphere. While the tasting room is pleasing to the eyes, the beer is more than pleasing to the palate. Most on the lineup use Brettanomyces, a complex wild yeast, giving beers like the Mosaic saison a deliciously funky flavor. Another highlight is Midnight Sun Brewing Company, where I catch a free brewery tour, which happens every Thursday at 6 p.m. Midnight Sun is Anchorage’s oldest brewery, and it churns out creative beers using ingredients like carrots and tangelos, the likes of which I saw being hand-peeled. Given how challenging the logistics are for brewing beer in Alaska, I walk away with a new appreciation for the many brews I’ve sipped here, not to mention a suitcase full of bottles and crowlers — machine-filled, aluminum cans that are filled upon request. Now if only I could persuade Alaska to build a beer pipeline that goes straight to my house in the Lower 48. l
JODY OVERSTREET; ANCHORAGE BREWING COMPANY
8111 Dimond Hook Dr.; 907-344-1179; midnightsun brewing.com
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PACIFIC | H AWA II
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Catch of the Day Try your hand at throw-net fishing in Hawaii
BY SARAH SEKULA
ith the stealth out, Miguel is willing and able to assist. of a ninja and As a first-generation islander, born balance of a yogi, and raised on Kauai, he is proud to he tiptoes over show off the sights. He’ll lead you on the craggy rocks a traditional sailing excursion around dotting Kauai’s the island, trek with you through lush South Shore. Clutching a net, he’s in jungles, teach you to carve up some hot pursuit of fish like kala, uhu and waves and tell stories about throw-net awa. After carefully hopping from one fishing, a technique Hawaiians have uneven lava rock to the next, he casts. used for hundreds of years. Throw-net fishing The cool thing about guide Robert Miguel learning this fishing makes it look easy. As he tradition from a local should. He’s got decades is that you don’t just of experience catching learn technique, you also dinner for the family learn about the history alongside his dad, uncle of the islands and how and grandpa. He was so connected Hawaiians young when he learned, are to the sea and their in fact, he could barely surroundings. Even the hold the net in his hands; nets have a story; they are made from monofilament very intricate, handwoven with little weights around and tend to become the edges, a traditional family heirlooms. net can weigh up to 10 But if you think pounds. capturing fish with a Today, Miguel’s sharing net is easy, think again. these skills with those Miguel says it takes a who visit the island. As whole lot of practice to a manager at Huaka'i become even halfway Outfitters at Kukui’ula, he decent at it. First you must teaches throw-net fishing master “loading” the net, — ROBERT MIGUEL, FISHING GUIDE to anyone who’s willing holding it in three parts to learn. to allow it to open at a Known as one of the most wide angle. This involves looping part exclusive places to stay on the island, of the net over your shoulder, lunging according to travel experts, Kukui’ula and placing another part of the net over resort pampers guests with luxe your leg like a hula skirt. accommodations, offering stunning All very awkward for a newbie. ocean views and plunge pools. When you do catch something, Formerly a sugar plantation, it now your job is to quickly leap into the has an 18,000-square-foot spa, upscale crashing waves and gather the dining and even a farm where you net, making sure not to let it can handpick fresh fruits, veggies and tangle on the rocks or let flowers. In other words, you could any fish escape. certainly be happy never leaving the While the net can property. hold nearly 100 fish, But when guests are ready to venture Hawaiians are >
MIKE COOTS; GETTY IMAGES
It’s not as much the quantity but more so the quality of the fish you catch. The more sought-after fish are, of course, the most difficult to catch."
PACIFIC | H AWA II
Coastline biking at Kukui’ula
FISH LIKE A HAWAIIAN Throw-net fishing lessons are offered year-round at the following locations: The Club at Kukuiula Other activities include stand-up paddleboarding lessons, hiking, kayaking and mountain biking. 2700 Ke Alaula St., Koloa, Kauai; 808-742-8000; theclubatkukuiula.com Halawa Valley Falls Cultural Hike Here, throw-net fishing is by special request only. Book your lesson at least a month in advance. Molokai; 808-542-1855; halawavalleymolokai.com
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Kaanapali Beach Hotel Other activities include bracelet making, bamboo printing and hula lessons. 2525 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina, Maui; 800-262-8450; kbhmaui.com Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Other activities include lei making, yoga and art tours. 62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Dr., Kohala Coast, Hawaii; 808-8827222; princeresortshawaii.com Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club Lessons are free for guests. 92-161 Waipahe Place, Kapolei, Oahu; 808-679-4700; marriott.com Travaasa Hana Other activities include horseback rides, glider excursions, cocktail classes, guided meditation and yoga sessions. 5031 Hana Highway, Hana, Maui; 808-248-8211; travaasa.com/hana
MIKE COOTS; GETTY IMAGES
thoughtful about only taking what they need: “Just enough to feed the family and provide some pupus (appetizers),” Miguel says. “It’s not as much the quantity but more so the quality of the fish you catch. The more sought-after fish are, of course, the most difficult to catch.” Most inexperienced fish stalkers, like me, will end up catching only seaweed at first. If you’re lucky to snag something worth keeping and eating, however, the chef at Kukui'ula will cook it up for you. If it’s a moi, known for its tasty, flaky white meat, you will surely gain bragging rights. “In ancient Hawaii, when the monarchy controlled the islands, the moi was reserved for royalty only,” Miguel notes. Another spot to try your hand at throw-net fishing is on Maui’s east coast, famous for the Road to Hana. Known as one of the world’s most scenic drives, the legendary road shuttles you around 620 curves and 59 bridges. Your end goal: the remote town of Hana, where you’ll find Travaasa Hana, an impressive resort of expansive sea-ranch cottages. Here, there’s no television and no clock in your cottage — just the sound of crashing waves and the occasional cow mooing in the distance. It’s touted as an experiential travel destination, which means guests learn things like lei-making and how to maneuver an outrigger canoe. For throw-net lessons, your guide will take you over to Hana Bay and explain the basics. With all the complexities involved, many visitors have been known to try to rush things along. However, your guide will quickly remind you to slow down. After all, in Hana, rushing just isn’t the point. Likewise, another way to boost your fish-catching chances is to stay away from bananas. Hawaiian watermen repeat the superstition that if you chow down on a banana that morning you won’t catch a thing. And then you’ll only have a fish tale to tell.
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Fish on Ice Heading to Banff for skiing? Slip away for a day of ice fishing. BY BRIAN BARTH
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apow!” numbingly cold for just about everyone). That’s how Banff fishing But ice-fishing enthusiasts go to elaborate lengths guide Jim Dykstra describes to make it a merry, and reasonably comfortable, a big trout snagging your adventure. Banff guides provide extra layers of warm lure 100 feet below an clothes, insulated ice-fishing boots and even heaters. ice-covered lake high in the Ice fishing “shacks” — Dykstra prefers to call his a Canadian Rockies. “Then you ‘kapow!’ “lodge” — are a beloved tradition in them back with a quick jerk on the rod to the Great White North, where they set the hook — and then the battle is on,” dot the frozen lakes all winter, giving he adds. Canadians a venue to get out and Banff Fishing Guides Needless to say, ice fishing is a little celebrate the season. Most are modest, Resident ice-fishing different than quietly fly-fishing along a built of plywood and two-by-fours, and guide Jim Dykstra is lazy river in the summer sun. outfitted with propane heaters, benches as knowledgeable in For starters, fishing lines have to and a camp stove. In some parts of the art of ice fishing as reach deep because that’s where the Canada, entire ice shack villages spring he is entertaining to fish are — 3 feet of ice on a lake pushes up in winter, some even with electric spend the day with. the oxygen lower. It takes patience generators and satellite TV. 403-760-2446; banffice and determination to reel them up, But in Banff, you won’t find anything fishingguides.com especially when it’s a 10-pound, 30-inch quite that elaborate. (Ice fishing is not bull trout thrashing on the other end of permitted at Lake Louise, the iconic the line. The weather can also make the experience centerpiece of Banff National Park.) All the local guides intense. Big Jim, as Dykstra is known locally, says he fish at Spray Lake, a world-class trout fishery 13 miles sometimes takes clients out in weather that can dip long and more than 250 feet deep in the center. to 40 below zero (the temperature that is the same in Although Spray Lake is just a half-hour drive both Fahrenheit and Celsius — in other words, mindfrom Canmore, the mountain town just outside the
BANFF ICE FISHING GUIDES
BUNDLE UP, WE’RE GOING ICE FISHING
Ice-fishing guides park gates, “it’s way off the pavement in a help to ensure that mountain pass, and there is no cell reception,” any foray onto Spray says Dykstra. “It’s a true Canadian wilderness Lake nets you a freshly experience.” In this pristine location, it’s caught lunch, or a forbidden to use trucks or snowmobiles to trophy to show off. haul ice shacks onto the ice, as is common elsewhere. Dykstra hauls his out in pieces on a sled, hammers it together on-site and then leaves it up for the season, mid-December to mid-April. “There aren’t snowmobiles whizzing around, so it’s really quiet out there,” he says. Doug Massig, another local guide and owner of Bow River Fly Fishing Adventures (bowriverflyfishing.com), says the rustic conditions don’t mean the fishing isn’t high-tech. He drills several 10-inch holes in the ice for each person with a gas-powered auger, including one for an underwater camera to watch what the fish are up to. “The water is amazingly clear up there, you can see about 50 feet,” says Massig. Sonar also is employed to track fish movements throughout the lake. Massig’s strategy involves moving in and out of the warmth of the ice shack to try fishing from different holes throughout the day, using pop-up ice fishing tents for wind protection or sitting in special fishing chairs with high backs positioned against the gale-forced winds. “That way you can get out and enjoy the scenery,” he says. The mountains surrounding Spray Lake are breathtaking, but eventually the cold drives you back to the ice shack, says Dykstra, where, on his excursions, lunch awaits. Assuming someone in your party was successful, lunch means fresh trout. (Dykstra says he didn’t have one day on the ice in the winter of 2017 without a good catch). “I like to sizzle it up with garlic butter and my secret fish crisp-coating,” says the grizzled fishing guide and camp cook extraordinaire. After a good meal, “you’re sure to be roasty toasty,” he adds — and ready to get back out on the ice.
One of the great things about booking an ice-fishing trip in Banff is that the guides provide everything you need for a successful outing. Well, almost. Let’s start with what you don’t need: neither fishing gear nor experience. The few things you do need aren’t difficult to muster with a little advance planning. Most guides provide an extra outer layer — snowsuit and snow boots — but you’ll need warm clothing underneath. Start with what you’d wear for skiing (long underwear, ski pants, gloves, toque, down jacket and sunglasses). While you might luck out and find a guide who can take you out on short notice, most prefer that you book online at least a few weeks in advance. Rates for a oneday guided trip are around $400 for one person, or $950 for a party of four, and typically include all gear, lunch and transportation from either Canmore or Banff. Guides expect you will have purchased a one-day Alberta provincial fishing license ahead (available at albertarelm.com for $27). Don’t worry if you’re not an accomplished fisherman. As long as you’re reasonably fit and not afraid of a little cold, any reputable guide will ensure you have a safe, fun adventure. It’s a 15- to 20-minute hike out to the ice hut where the guide will crank the heater. For lunch, you are almost sure to dine on fresh-caught fish. Spray Lake is known for its trophy size lake trout, although you may also catch rainbow trout, bull trout or grayling. And guides always have a back-up meal just in case. — Brian Barth
Banff National Park
Canada’s wintertime tourism is hot, hot, hot BY DANIELLE HILL
Banff National Park
Carnaval de Québec
OUTDOORS AND ACTIVE A visit to Canada during its colder months is a great way to take advantage of the country’s wide offerings of winter sports. To see the Canadian wilderness up close, go snowshoeing through one of the national parks. Banff National Park opens its hiking trails to snowshoeing during the winter. Cross-country skiing is another activity offered throughout the country; at Banff, cross-country skiers can follow specially groomed trails. For something more intense, head to the ski slopes or learn to snowboard; most ski lodges are centered around the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, British Columbia, or the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec.
URBAN EXPLORATION During the country’s dramatic winters, the comforts of the big city provide a haven. In Montreal, visitors can avoid the chill by sightseeing at the many churches, including the neogothic landmarks Christ Church Cathedral and Église Saint-Pierre-Apôtre or Église du Gesù, now linked to a cultural arts center. Culture buffs can pick up a Museums Pass to see 38 museums for a flat rate, over the course of three days or three weeks. Visitors to Vancouver needn’t choose between urban attractions and pristine slopes; the Grouse Mountain and Cypress slopes are just 15 to 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver.
WINTER FESTIVALS AND EVENTS Winters are also studded with festivals that embrace the ice and snow. The Carnaval de Québec (carnaval.qc.ca), in Quebec City, runs from late January through early February and involves a night parade, a canoe race, concerts and the creation of giant snow sculptures. In Montreal, Igloofest (igloofest.ca) brings electronic music outdoors in late January. On the other end of the spectrum and the continent, Whitehorse’s Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous (yukonrendezvous.com) celebrates the season in February with fireworks, winter sports competitions and the nomination of a festival queen.
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PAUL ZIZKA/BANFF & LAKE LOUISE TOURISM; FREDERIC LAVOIE; GETTY IMAGES; NOEL HENDRICKSON/BANFF & LAKE LOUISE TOURISM
inters in Canada can be very, very cold. But if your idea of a good time involves snow, ice and the accompanying scenery and activities, the country’s wintertime offerings might be a good match for your next vacation. Whether you prefer to take in the country’s vast and pristine natural spaces or soak up the culture of its cities, Canada offers plenty to do.
For your guide to the experience of a lifetime: 1-855-657-3319 | INUITADVENTURES.COM
CARIBBEAN | BA R BA DOS
Garrison Savannah racetrack
Game Changers Head to Barbados for sun, fun and sports
BY ADRIENNE JORDAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREA WALKER
arbados offers beautiful beaches, picturesque sunsets and friendly locals, but for those who also want an adrenaline rush on vacation, there’s no shortage of options. In fact, 2017 was deemed Barbados’ “Year of Sports,” with special attention given to activities and events held year-round. And there’s something for everyone. Travelers can take their pick — including golf, cricket, skateboarding, horse racing and diving — to experience part of island life in Barbados.
RACING To get your blood pumping, head to the Bushy Park racetrack in the parish of St. Philip: a 2.2 km FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) grade 3 Formula One track and a 1.2 km CIK (Commission Internationale de Karting) grade A Supercart course. Founder and Barbadian (or Bajan) Ralph “Bizzy” Williams was drinking rum in his house one day and decided to create a racetrack. It was built in 1971; renovations began in 2013, and in 2014, it was reopened to become the most developed track in the Caribbean. The island’s first circuit event was the 2014 Top Gear >
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Cricket at Dover sports complex
LADERA is an eco-luxe resort situated on a rainforest ridge 1,000 feet above the Caribbean Sea, the only resort on St. Lucia overlooking the iconic Pitons, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ladera stands today as St. Lucia’s most unique and luxurious resort with each of its 37 suites purposely missing the fourth wall rendering an over indulgence of the breathtaking views ahead in complete privacy and safety.
A Luxury Haven for Couples and Adults
Constructed with tropical hardwoods, cut stone and tile, the sanctuaries feature distinctly aesthetic décor of locally woven textiles and custom crafted furniture made on site. Private swimming pools form part of every suite, accentuating the romance of the sanctuary with their own awe-inspiring view of the pitons and Caribbean Sea below. Paradise Ridge, is the ultimate romantic hideaway with Ladera’s most lavish and spacious accommodations complete with butler service. Its Dasheene restaurant serves an eclectic, stylish interpretation of St. Lucian cuisine and offers a daily farm to table type of cuisine. Guests can enjoy cocktails by the infinity pool or a relaxing couples massage in their Suite. A vast range of excursions are also available on and off site. Our concierge will organize all activities such as the piton hike and zip lining, scuba diving and island tours in beautiful St. Lucia.
1.866.290.0978 W W W. L A D E R A . C O M RESERVATIONS@LADERA.COM
LADERA RESORT RABOT ESTATE | SOUFRIERE | LC 09 101 | SAINT LUCIA | WEST INDIES
CARIBBEAN | BA R BA DOS
Golfing at the Barbados Golf Club
Festival featuring the Global Rallycross Championship. International racers such as David Coulthard, Pascal Wehrlein and Jamie Whincup have competed on the track. “There is a lot more technical cornering aspect of this track compared to the speed of U.S. tracks,” says Amy Willis, operations manager of Bushy Park. Another year-round attraction at Bushy Park is go-karting. Children as young as 5 can take part. (The go-karts have shutdown transponders attached so operators can remotely stop any kart on track if needed.) Kids can also get their racing driver’s license at age 5 and zoom at speeds up to 20 mph.
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DIVING Dubbed the “shipwreck capital of the Caribbean,” Barbados offers amazing diving attractions. Reefers and Wreckers, a familyowned dive shop located in the north part of the island called Speightstown, frequently hosts guests for morning excursions. Aboard a small sailboat, divers descend onto Bright Ledge Reef, where a plethora of giant barrel sponges, puffer fish, barracuda, mackerels and other tropical fish meander through corals. Divers can also explore Pamir, a ship sunk in the 1980s for recreational purposes and reef creation. The wreck is an apt beginners dive, having a multitude of wide windows and crevices
Bushy Park racetrack
to swim through. Reefers and Wreckers also offers courses, which range from openwater to divemaster, from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. In November, divers can take part in the Lionfish Derby, a spearing competition that takes aim at the invasive lionfish. >
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THE DETAILS When to go With a tropical climate year-round, Barbados is a great place to visit any time.
Currency 2 Barbadian dollars to 1 U.S. dollar
The F Spot
SKATEBOARDING For those who like to get their roll on, skateboarding competitions take place throughout the year. The main competition, the One Movement Invitational (onemovementcontest.com), occurs in March and August and will be held at Dover Beach, the island’s original skate park. The only DIY park, The F Spot, was demolished in May but plans for an official skate park are in the works.
CRICKET Cricket was introduced on the island in the 1700s during colonization and today is played at all levels, with top regional matches held from
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January through March. “The second division plays from May until November, and if a tourist wants to watch a match, they can come from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. to the Dover sports complex,” says Georgie Thomas, Dover Cricket Club’s secretary treasurer.
GOLF Catch the sunrise during a game of early morning golf. Barbados has five courses, including the Barbados Golf Club. Because the island was cleared of many of its fig trees for development, the Barbados Golf Club offers a chance to see one of the magnificent trees overlooking a 130-foot pond on the
15th hole. “We built the hole around the prized fig tree because it is the best tree we have,” says club director Roddy Carr, who helped build the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus course in 1971.
HORSE RACING History and sports meet at the Garrison Savannah, near the capital of Bridgetown. The winter racing season takes place from October to December, where you can take in the excitement of the jockeys racing beautiful horses at speeds of 30 mph. The Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup, one of the biggest sporting events on the island, is held in March.
Flying there There is one airport in Barbados, the Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI). Airlines include JetBlue, American Airlines, British Airways, Air Canada and Caribbean Airlines.
Getting around You can rent a car (but remember motorists drive on the other side of the road), hire a driver or take the bus.
Grab a bite The classic French, Bajan and Thai cuisine at Juma's Restaurant pair perfectly with ocean-front dining. 246-432-0232; jumasrestaurant.com
Tantalizing Tulum This tucked-away jewel has become Mexico’s hottest culinary destination
BY BRAD COHEN
hen chef René Redzepi created a seven-week pop-up restaurant in the middle of the jungle in Tulum, Mexico, in spring, he did so to much fanfare. Any time the chef of Noma — a Copenhagen restaurant consistently ranked as one of the world’s best — does anything, it gets a lot of attention, but this time was different. For the harshest critics, the $600-a-head tasting menu was a gross example of cultural appropriation; for the hippies who’d been coming to Tulum “since before it was cool,” it was the final death rattle of the once sleepy paradise; for foodies everywhere, it was a sign that Tulum had finally arrived as a juggernaut of a culinary destination. Of course, Tulum’s restaurant scene — extremely impressive for a relatively small beach town
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— has been steadily growing and improving for years. When New York native Eric Werner macheted his way through the jungle to build his restaurant Hartwood — a temple of locally sourced seafood — there wasn’t much like it that existed. Now seven years later, what was once a quiet town has become a boho-chic fantasyland. And beyond the raw juices, yoga retreats and herbal medicine, there is a burgeoning food culture that rivals just about any beach town on Earth (though, there are plenty of retreats and traditional medicine ceremonies if that’s what you’re looking for). The standard that Werner is largely credited for establishing at Hartwood — a fierce dedication to local produce and seafood, wood-fired everything (largely because of the lack of electricity on the jungle side of the street) and Yucatecan ingredients used in Mexicaninspired cuisine — has spread to create a food culture specific to this tiny corner of the map.
CAN’T WAIT TO GET TO TULUM? Bring the wild flavors from the edge of the Yucatán to your own kitchen with Hartwood by Eric Werner and Mya Henry. $40, workman.com
MAP ILLUSTRATION BY MIRANDA PELLICANO; GENTL & HYERS
Hartwood is still the place to eat in Tulum. Not much else has changed since it first opened in 2010. Not the menu prices, the quality, the complete lack of pretension — or the difficulty getting a table during high season. The atmosphere here is decidedly rustic. Everything is cooked by fire in the beautiful open kitchen. Décor is pretty much limited to the produce thoughtfully set in front of the kitchen, and copal smoke wafts through the restaurant to create a romantic setting. Hartwood depends completely on local (or semi-local) seafood and produce, which means a menu that rotates daily, but it does have quite a few staples. Hartwood’s ceviches are always excellent; the pork ribs are a local favorite — and the octopus is nothing short of perfect. ▶ hartwoodtulum.com
LET'S GET TO TULUM! When to go: December through April Currency: Pesos, but American dollars are typically accepted in most places. Language: Spanish, Mayan and English Getting there: Because there’s no airport in Tulum, Cancún International Airport (CUN) is your best bet. Tulum is about an hour and half drive from there. Getting around: Renting cars is not recommended because of reported auto crimes, so take taxis to get around. Tips: While Mexico has dominated headlines concerning safety, Tulum remains relatively safe, but travelers should still exercise common sense. Keep illness at bay by avoiding tap water in Tulum — stick to bottled water. Hartwood
GITANO Gitano makes some of the best cocktails in Tulum, but you come here as much for the scene of beautiful people getting their night started as you do for a beverage. Complete with a disco ball among the palms and a dance floor that fills up on Friday nights (as well as live music on Sundays), Gitano is exactly how you’d dream up a cocktail lounge in the jungle. The cocktails, nearly all mezcal-based, are excellent. We recommend the Jungle Fever (mezcal, chili, lime, cilantro) and Kisses in the Car (mezcal, passion fruit, tangerine, habanero). The food here is simple and high quality, including tostadas, ceviches and roasted proteins. ▶ gitanotulum.com
CASA JAGUAR The boho-chic bar and restaurant Casa Jaguar serves up wood-fired entrees, veggies and tropical ceviches and is a great place to sit and grab a fresh-fruit cocktail pre- or post-dinner. For those who like to dine and dance, there is often fun music playing in the spacious surroundings, with Thursdays set aside for Jungle Parties. Order the catch of the day and appreciate the lush vegetation and good vibes enveloping your surroundings. ▶ casajaguartulum.com
CASA BANANA The relatively longstanding grill house Casa Banana has been open since 2009, when Daniel Navazzotti, a native of Argentina, opened a restaurant based on what made his homeland famous: grilled meat. Yes, you can get grilled seafood here, but you come here for steak — quite possibly the best in town — and homemade chorizo cooked on the Argentinian-style asado grill. Best of all, no reservations are needed. ▶ casabananatulum.com
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La Popular is a beachside fish shack — a small bunker for a kitchen and a few tables right in front of the sea — that focuses on serving a wide variety of sustainable seafood, grilled or cooked in a wood oven. The appeal extends well beyond the food itself. Here, you can embody the simple life of sitting on a pillow at a low table, staring at the ocean and listening to the waves crash on the shore while eating fish, fresh from the sea. We recommend the catch of the day cooked in any of three marinades or rubs, like the verde citrica with parsley, lemon, garlic, olive oil and peperoncino, or the especiado, with coriander, paprika, cumin and celery salt. ▶ nomadetulum.com/hotel/ la-popular
GITANO; CASA JAGUAR; CASA BANANA
WILD From the entrance, WILD looks almost like an abandoned and rediscovered Mayan city, given its large concrete pillars with tops cut into the shape of leaves poised above the tables and bar. The menu is decidedly Mediterranean (homemade flatbread served with baba ganoush and hummus; lamb marinated in Lebanese zaatar, artichoke and yogurt sauce; and grilled octopus with squid ink risotto and sauteed mushrooms), but it’s also got a local flair. Make sure to order a cocktail designed by Nicolas Baptiste, formerly of the celebrated London bar Experimental Cocktail Club. As the name might suggest, things here do tend to get wild at the occasional “secret” parties in its deep jungle setting (you can find out about them via social media or word-of-mouth). ▶ wildtulum.com
CENZONTLE Cenzontle calls itself a secret garden (jardin secreto), and that’s pretty much how it feels. With antique lamps and light fixtures, candlelit tables and funky furniture and décor, it feels a little bit like your grandma’s house meets Alice in Wonderland — all set in a little jungle garden. Unlike many of the restaurants in Tulum, which are either Mexican-inspired or simply use local ingredients, Cenzontle serves more traditional Mexican cuisine, but with a modern twist. Think duck carnitas slow cooked in orange juice, tuna al pastor and piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese and jocoque on avocado mousse and arugula pesto. ▶ cenzontletulum.com
GARY JAMES; SAFARI; KITCHEN TABLE
KITCHEN TABLE Toward the edge of the hotel zone, Kitchen Table is simple in both aesthetic and cuisine. Housed in a big palapa (a palm thatched roof) with a few small tables, this little solar-powered restaurant is totally integrated within its jungle surroundings. The menu here is small — a few appetizers and a selection of meat and fish cooked in the flames — and pretty much everything is made on a wood-fired grill. The steak, octopus and ribs are all great here, as are the seasonal fruit-forward cocktails. ▶ kitchentabletulum.com
SAFARI Luis Aguilar opened Safari in 2015 after departing New York, where he held the reins of the kitchen at celebrated Manhattan taco joint Tacombi. The chef took his taco expertise to the beach and swapped out the taco truck from which he served food at Tacombi for a more aesthetically fitting 1970s Airstream to serve tacos at Safari. He cooks most of the food on a small fire pit right next to the silver camper. This place serves five different kinds of tacos that are easily some of the best in town — just make sure you don’t skip the yucca truffle fries. ▶ safaritulum.com.mx
ONE FOR THE ROAD
Searching for penguins in Antarctica
BY SARAH SEKULA
t’s 10:30 a.m. on Danco Island in Antarctica, and it’s clearly time for the penguins to make the daily trek to the icy water. As they waddle down the snow-covered mountain on this late November morning, a group of visitors is perched on rocks at the end of the penguin highway, a well-worn trail allowing for a single-file parade.
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aren’t the only draw. Antarctica’s chilly waters are filled with crabeater seals, orcas and humpback whales. On an afternoon excursion to Hannah Point peninsula, we also meet gregarious elephant seals and their pups, or weaners, as they are called. Hannah Lawson, our expedition leader, encourages us to get closer. We zero in on a group of seal pups. With oversized almondshaped eyes they stare inquisitively as we sit down. And just a few minutes later, one pup caterpillars its way toward my sister, lays its head on her boot and makes a sneezing noise. My sister imitates the sneeze, and the pup takes that as a cue
They are choosing to interact with you. And that is pretty special.” — HANNAH LAWSON, EXPEDITION LEADER
to inch closer until it ultimately snuggles right next to her. Later onboard the Hebridean Sky, Lawson reminds us there are rules against approaching the wildlife. However, there is no rule against wildlife approaching you: “They are choosing to interact with you. And that is pretty special.”
Minutes later, the first gentoo shows up. Close behind are about four dozen of its web-footed cohorts. Step after clumsy step, they reach the highway’s end, which gives way to pebbles, boulders and glassy water. One by one, they take unsteady hops from rock to rock. One plunges into the water like a torpedo. Another gentoo stands just beyond the shoreline and squawks. “There’s no landbased predators, so these penguins are really curious of us,” says Martin Garwood, a penguinologist with Polar Latitudes, the expedition company that shuttled us. “They just go about their day, and you get to be a part of it.” Of course, penguins
Mid November 2017 – Early January 2018 • • • • • • • •
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USA Today's winter travel magazine