Fat Bear Week Is a Thing in Alaska — and This Park Needs Your Help Finding the Fattest of Them All (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/09/2018 - 09:40
<p>In Brooks River, the biggest bear is the best bear.</p><p>That’s why <a href="" target="_blank">Katmai National Park and Preserve</a> in King Salmon, Alaska pays tribute to its voluptuous bear residents by hosting its annual Fat Bear Week to determine the fattest (read: <em>best</em>) bear in the reserve.</p><p>The competition is styled kind of like March Madness. The public votes on commonly seen brown bears on the park’s <a href="" target="_blank">Bear Cam</a>, pitting them against one another on a bracket until one bear reigns supreme.</p><p>Just in case you feel sorry for the bears, don’t be. Since brown bears require stores of fat to help them survive the winter during hibernation, being the “fattest bear” is a sign of good health. The park’s website notes that this is actually the time when bears start to eat non-stop in order to prepare for the winter, so a fat bear is a happy and healthy bear.</p><p>According to the <a href="" target="_blank">park’s website</a>, some notable competitors include Bear 747, whose “belly barely makes clearance with the ground,” Bear 435 Holly who is a “mother of two cubs,” and the previous year’s champion Bear 480 Otis.</p><p>This year’s competition kicked off on October 3 and will continue until October 9. </p><p>For more information, or to vote, head to the <a href="" target="_blank">Katmai National Park and Preserve website</a> or <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook page</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Hurricane Michael Is Gaining Strength on Its Way to Florida — Here's What You Need to Know (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/09/2018 - 08:27
<p>Tropical Storm Michael rapidly gained strength while moving through the Gulf of Mexico Monday, growing into a category 1 hurricane as it makes its way toward the Florida Panhandle, <a href="" target="_blank">the National Hurricane Center</a> announced. Hurricane Michael is expected to <a href="" target="_blank">strengthen into a category 3</a> by time it hits land. Here’s everything you need to know about the <a href="" target="_blank">storm</a>, its path, and how to stay safe. </p><h2>How strong will Hurricane Michael get?</h2><p>According to the National Hurricane Center, "Michael is forecast to be near or at major hurricane strength when it reaches the northeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night and Wednesday." The storm could become a category 3 hurricane before making landfall, according to <a href="" target="_blank">The Weather Channel</a>, with winds in excess of 100 mph. </p><h2>Who is in Hurricane Michael’s path?</h2><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning</a> for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio and a hurricane watch for the Alabama-Florida border to the Suwannee River. It issued a tropical storm warning for Cuba's Isle of Youth and the coast of Mexico from Tulum to Cabo Catoche, including Cozumel, and a tropical storm watch for the Suwannee River to Anna Maria Island, Florida, including Tampa Bay, and the Alabama-Florida border to the Mississippi-Alabama border. A storm surge watch is in effect for Navarre, Florida to Anna Maria Island. </p><p>Florida Gov. Rick Scott isn’t taking any chances and has already declared a <a href="" target="_blank">state of emergency</a> for 26 counties.</p><img alt="NOAA gif of Hurricane Michael "src=""><p>"This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous," Scott said at a <a href="" target="_blank">press briefing</a>. "This storm has the potential to bring devastating impacts to communities across the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared."</p><p>He added, "Everybody's got to get ready. Don't take a chance. We're going to get storm surge, we have wind, we have a chance of flooding, we have a significant chance of tornadoes."</p><h2>How to prepare for Hurricane Michael:</h2><p>The most important thing you can to do get prepared for a storm is to stay tuned to local radio and television news channels to stay up to date on the latest information. From there, make sure to heed any warnings and evacuate when told to do so.</p><p>Next, take care of your home and personal belongings by cleaning up your yard and storing any outdoor furniture that could become a projectile during high winds.</p><p>Close off all doors and windows by boarding them up and ensure your gutters are cleaned before a storm.</p><p>Prepare the interior of your home by stocking up on bottled water and nonperishable food items. Lastly, ensure all your important documents are stored in a safe place, or even on a hard drive so you can take them with you if you need to evacuate. Check out all of <i>Travel + Leisure</i>’s advice on <a href="" target="_blank">how to prepare for a hurricane here</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Watch Princess Eugenie's Royal Wedding Live in the U.S. (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 10/09/2018 - 07:22
<p>It’s official: You will be able to watch Princess Eugenie marry Jack Brooksbank in the second royal wedding of the year.</p><p>TLC announced last week that it will <a href="" target="_blank">broadcast the wedding</a> starting at 4:25 a.m. EST on Friday, Oct. 12. But in case you don’t want to get up that early, the network will also re-play the broadcast starting at 7:25 a.m. ET.</p><p>“Weddings are an essential part of our programming DNA, and having two royal weddings is cause for celebration on TLC,” Howard Lee, president and general manager of TLC, <a href="" target="_blank">said in a statement</a>. “In May, we were thrilled to provide live coverage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Now it’s Princess Eugenie’s turn, and U.S. fans of the royal family will get to witness all the flourishes of this big day only on TLC.”</p><p>Surely, the royal family is thankful that the network is picking up the wedding. After all, just a few short weeks ago, news broke that the <a href="" target="_blank">BBC refused to pick up Eugenie’s ceremony</a> because it feared it wouldn’t result in good enough ratings.</p><p>“From the outset, the instruction from the very top was that Eugenie’s wedding must be televised,” a royal inside source shared with <em>Daily Mail.</em> “The BBC was approached because they have a special relationship with Buckingham Palace and a formula that works. But they turned it down because they don’t think enough people will tune in and that there isn’t enough support for the Yorks.”</p><p>While watching Eugenie’s wedding, things may feel a little familiar as her plans closely mimic those of <a href="" target="_blank">Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials</a>, which took place in May.</p><p>According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">Harper’s Bazaar</a></em>, Eugenie’s wedding will take place on the grounds of Windsor Castle, which, <a href="" target="_blank">like Harry and Meghan’s event</a>, will also be opened to the public. Eugenie, like her cousin, also invited several charitable groups that are close to her heart.</p><p>Next, the pair will reportedly say their vows inside St George’s Chapel, where Harry and Meghan wed, in front of a few crossover guests including George and Amal Clooney and David and Victoria Beckham. But, surely, Eugenie’s wedding will be a unique event that’s well worth tuning into.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why You Should Always Alert a Flight Attendant If You Lose Your Phone on a Plane

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 13:00
<p>On Sept. 26, a man traveling in business class on Qantas Airways <a href="" target="_blank">dropped his phone in his seat</a>. The flight was about two hours from landing in Melbourne, Australia.</p><p>While he was trying to fish the phone out from his seat, it got crushed and began smoldering, smelling like burning rubber. Flight crew considered making an emergency diversion to Sydney, but before the situation escalated flight attendants used fire extinguishers to put out the flames.</p><p>The flight landed in Melbourne without any further problems, but the incident highlights an important safety issue not many passengers consider.</p><p>In safety announcements, airlines now advise passengers to alert a flight attendant if they lose their phone in the seat. While some may believe the precaution is so passengers don’t mess up the reclining mechanisms built into the seat, it’s actually a fire safety issue.</p><p>Lithium batteries can quickly overheat and, if damaged, can start a fire. <a href="" target="_blank">According to the Federal Aviation Administration</a> (FAA), there were 46 lithium-ion battery fires on flights around the world in 2017.</p><p>If you lose your phone in your seat during a flight, alert a flight attendant immediately. If the phone starts a fire or overheats, they are equipped to extinguish the flames. A flight attendant may take your overheating phone and submerge it in liquid or lock it in a fireproof box until landing.</p><p>If you’re packing spare batteries in your carry-on, keep them “protected from short circuiting with terminal caps or tape and never pocketed where they could come into contact with change, keys and other conductors,” <a href="" target="_blank">says <em>Aviation Week</em></a>.</p><p>And one final note of warning: don’t pack spare lithium-ion batteries in your checked luggage. The FAA has banned lithium batteries from flying as passenger cargo and airlines will only allow them in <a href="" target="_blank">carry-on luggage</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Major Money-saving Hack You Need to Know If You're Going to Universal Orlando

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 12:30
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Universal Orlando Resort</a> is now offering up to six months free with the purchase of an annual pass. And that means you may want to plan now to get the best value.</p><p>Theme park insiders know that you can save loads if you purchase an annual pass instead of a gate ticket, especially if you plan on visiting more than once. With Universal’s <a href="" target="_blank">current promotion</a>, which can cover admission from now until 2020 with one payment, you can essentially pay for this year’s visit and get your next two visits for free.</p><p>Even if you only plan to visit <a href="" target="_blank">Orlando</a> once, you’re likely to save money. 2-Park annual passes, which grant admission to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure, start at $304 per person (before tax) and top out at $559 (before tax) to visit any day of the year. Compared to a five-day ticket — which costs $314.99 (before tax) per adult — you’ll save just by approaching your vacation differently.</p><p>Planning a trip for this winter or spring break? You’re in luck. To activate the promotion, annual passes need to be used before April 4, 2019 — meaning this year’s visit to see the towering Macy’s Holiday Parade floats and awe-inspiring Christmastime decor at <a href="" target="_blank">Wizarding World of Harry Potter</a> will set up your summer vacation to cost much less.</p><p>Even the most expensive option, a 3-Park Premier Pass, sounds expensive at $734 (before tax), but it’ll get you on Island of Adventure’s sky-high Hulk coaster, Universal Studios Florida’s cinematic attractions and Volcano Bay’s <a href="" target="_blank">mind-bending water coaster</a> as many times as you want, any day of the year, from now through Spring 2020.</p><p>Universal Orlando Resort is offering the promotion on <a href="" target="_blank">all four tiers of annual pass admission</a>, with Seasonal and Power passes offering three free months and Preferred and Premier passes offering six months on both 2-Park and 3-Park passes. The free months of admission are added to the end of your annual pass, extending year-long admission from the first date of use to 15 or 18 months of access to Gringotts, Hogwarts, and beyond.</p><p>If you prefer visiting Universal for its world-renowned spooks, you’re also in luck. <a href="" target="_blank">Halloween Horror Nights</a> fans should take note that Premier Passes even include a free ticket to select nights of the spine-chilling event, essentially saving another $60.</p><p>Not sure if it’s a good fit for your travel plans, or just scared to commit? Consider having just one family member sign up. With benefits like hotel room discounts and higher-tier passes offering free parking and discounts on <a href="" target="_blank">food and merchandise</a>, you’re likely to save in the long run.</p><p>Be sure to check the blackout calendar before taking the plunge. If you plan on visiting the parks in mid-to-late April or during July, you’ll have to have a higher-tier pass to enter the front gate at Volcano Bay, Islands of Adventure, and Universal Studios Florida.</p><p>Buying an annual pass instead of admission is a weird trick theme park fans know well, but Universal’s unprecedented promotion makes the deal even sweeter. With a new Harry Potter-themed roller coaster <a href="" target="_blank">coming next year</a> and plenty more on the way, the best thing you can do for next year’s vacation might very well be to visit this year, too.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Surprising Trick to Saving Money When You Shop

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 12:00
<p>You know the drill.</p><p>You walk into Target looking for one thing — like a new pair of gloves or a package of toilet paper — and you walk out with a cartload of items. Were you planning on getting them? No. But as soon as you saw those salt and pepper shakers you couldn't resist picking them up.</p><p>As you dump your glorious, new purchases in the trunk of your car, you are probably wondering how you even wound up in the kitchen goods section in the first place. Blame the <a href="" target="_blank">Target Effect</a>.</p><p>You see, the store's aesthetic is designed to make you spend. "You have good people in the marketing department at Target, and they have really good designers who have created such an ambient atmosphere for people," <a href="" target="_blank">psychologist Dr. Kevin Chapman told <em>Refinery 29</em></a>. “It's really well lit at Target, right? There's a lot of color at Target. It's pretty consistent throughout the store and generally that's going to make people happier. And what do people do in happy-feeling environments? Why, spend money, of course!”</p><p>Creating this happy-inducing atmosphere goes beyond the look, though. According to <a href="" target="_blank">Chad Grills, CEO of The Mission</a>, studies show that listening to music can boost your productivity as well as your mood. Target knows this, and up until recently, <a href="" target="_blank">the store used to forego playing background music</a> at its stores to limit distractions and keep you focused on shopping (which could explain why we spend so much time slowly meandering through the aisles).</p><p>Over the past few years, however, music has been slowly introduced to at least 245 Target stores in the country, <a href="" target="_blank">reported the <em>Minneapolis Business Journal</em></a>. A Target spokesperson said the playlists would be “<a href="" target="_blank">upbeat, positive and [have] a playful personality</a>.”</p><p>But whether or not your local Target has a soundtrack, you can take steps ahead of time to work a little psychology on yourself. If you'd like a little help saving money the next time you're heading to Target, bring some headphones. Listen to faster music to keep yourself moving more quickly and spending less — and make sure you're not listening to <a href="" target="_blank">slow</a> or <a href="" target="_blank">classical music</a> while you're running errands — you may find yourself moving more slowly through the store and buying more expensive items.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Airplane Seat Covers Might Be Embarrassing, but They're the Best Way to Avoid Germs on a Flight

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 10/08/2018 - 10:30
<p>You may have to fact check us, but germs are pretty gross. So it’s unfortunate for us traveling folk that airplanes and <a href="" target="_blank">airports are filled with them</a>. <a href="" target="_blank">A 2015 study</a> found that airplane tray tables have the most bacteria of any surface in the plane’s cabin. How much bacteria, you hesitantly ask? An average of 2,155 colony-forming units per square inch — excuse us while we puke.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Meghan Markle’s Trick for Avoiding Germs on a Flight Is Kind of Genius</a></p><p>Now with flu season upon us, we’re thinking it would be wise to take extra precautions to avoid such nasty germs. So, enter <a href=";tag=tlseatsittersseatcoverkit-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0774WWQ4P&amp;linkId=1717f87eaf95f3109dae26e8b60d5e09" target="_blank">Seat Sitters</a>, a glorious $15 kit on Amazon that comes with both a reusable seat and tray table cover, sanitary wipes, and even an allergy mask for next-level protection. Maybe it’s a little embarrassing, but think about the alternative (coming into direct contact with 2,155 colony-forming units of bacteria per square inch). Maybe it’s worth it.</p><img alt="Seat Sitter Airplane Seat Cover "src=""><p>To buy: <a href=";tag=tlseatsittersseatcoverkit-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0774WWQ4P&amp;linkId=1717f87eaf95f3109dae26e8b60d5e09" target="_blank"></a>, $15</p><p>Just slip the lightweight cover over your airplane, bus, or even movie theater seat and then wash or recycle when you’re done. Simple as that. Just ask the Amazon reviewers. Amazon customer Catherine Prall gave the kit a five-star review, writing, “This is perfect for the plane and bus! The durable material provided a nice barrier and was still comfortable for my daughter to sit on with shorts.” Several other reviewers praised the $15 product for its protection against peanut and tree nut allergies.</p><p>You can shop the Seat Sitters Airplane &amp; Theater Seat Cover and Tray Table Kit on <a href=";tag=tlseatsittersseatcoverkit-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0774WWQ4P&amp;linkId=1717f87eaf95f3109dae26e8b60d5e09" target="_blank"></a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

New Mexico's Sky Will Be Filled With Colorful Hot Air Balloons This Weekend — Here's What It's Like to Take a Ride

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 10/07/2018 - 13:32
<p>Up before the sun and bleary-eyed, I walk through the dim parking lot at Red Rock Park near Gallup, New Mexico to meet my pilot, Bill Lee, for today’s adventure: a <a href="" target="_blank">hot air balloon ride</a> over desert and Navajo Indian territory. All of Lee’s flights are scheduled at sunrise for optimal weather, but before even attempting to launch the balloon, Lee assesses the elements, which must be just right: fairly calm winds at the surface and above, no rain or storm activity, and no moisture, which can ruin the balloon fabric.</p><p>He’s also checking wind direction, as the balloon travels with the wind and the chase crew must be able to secure a safe spot to retrieve passengers and the balloon upon landing. Bad weather would mean no balloon ride. My fingers are crossed that my early wake-up isn’t a waste. After wind and weather tests, Lee gives his verdict that Mother Nature is cooperating today, and we get to work setting up for launch.</p><p>It’s all hands on deck as we unload the 901-pound balloon named True-Lee New Mexico. It doesn’t look like much more than a gigantic, crumpled wad of fabric right now, but after laying down a massive tarp, we unroll the deflated balloon from all sides and I see its gorgeous design: purple, blue, and pink squares against a black background with a large, vibrant sugar skull in the center. After securing the flat balloon to the tipped-over basket, Lee’s assistants grab a big fan from the trailer, and we start the process of adding air.</p><p>First, we use the fan for cold inflation to get some air into the balloon. As I stand next to the basket helping hold back the cables attaching basket to balloon, I turn away a bit as the powerful cold air blasts through my hair. Next comes the hot inflation, when the burner that’s attached to the top of the basket blasts hot air into the balloon. Lee gives a warning of “loud and hot” as the flames from the burner roar past my arms. As I hold the cables and ties open and away from the flame, a smile spreads across my face as I see the balloon slowly rising from the ground.</p><p>Once the balloon has enough air in it, we tip the basket upright and I see the sheer size of it: 66 feet tall and 63 feet wide. The balloon is fighting to get off the ground now as I help the crew hold it down until Lee tells me to climb on board. Suddenly, I see a crew member below waving up at me, and I realize we’re airborne, slowly climbing up as Lee uses the burner to send in more hot air.</p><img alt="Hot Air balloons with Church Rock in background; Red Rock Balloon Rally at Red Rock State Park, Gallup, New Mexico "src=""><p>As we soar 1,500 feet above limestone and sandstone canyons, a hawk glides past us on his way to a perch. I peek below the basket at the landscape as Lee points out natural landmarks like Church Rock in the distance. In Navajo territory, a horse and her foal stride through an open pasture as we admire from above. At one point, Lee guides us 400 feet deep into Padre Canyon — named for the rocks' structure resembling a robed priest — where he gently lowers the basket onto a canyon rock, allowing us to reach out and touch it before flying away again.</p><p>After a relaxing ride, a smooth landing (thanks, Mother Nature), and a team effort to get the balloon unassembled, Lee greets me, champagne bottle in hand, for the traditional balloonist’s ceremony for first-time fliers. He tells the story of how hot air ballooning came to be, pins a brooch representing True-Lee New Mexico to my shirt, and instructs me to drink my glass of champagne without using my hands, for comedic effect. As we toast the glorious flight, I’m already wishing I were back in the sky, flying with the hawks and gazing down at the beautiful desert scene below.</p><img alt=" Hot air balloons fly near the red rock cliffs during the 23nd Annual Red Rock Balloon Rally at Red Rock State Park December 6, 2003 "src=""><h2>Take Flight</h2><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta</a> runs from Oct. 6-14, but rides are often sold out, as more than 800,000 people attend. Skip the crowds and take a private ride where you get to help set the balloon up with<a href="" target="_blank"> X-Treme-Lee Fun Balloon Adventures</a>. For those wanting to see a balloon-filled sky, the <a href="" target="_blank">Red Rock Balloon Rally</a> from Nov. 30–Dec. 2 is a great alternative to the <a href="" target="_blank">Albuquerque</a> festival, with 200 balloons.</p>
Categories: Travel

Hotels Where You Can Rock Out Like Britney, Aerosmith, and Drake

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 10/07/2018 - 13:00
<p>When it comes to the crème de la crème of recording studios, music lovers will recognize names like Abbey Road, Electric Lady, and Motown as places where The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross, and the Supremes left their musical marks. Though you can tour some of those soundproof walls, if you want a truly immersive experience, you’ll want to book a stay at one of these hotels — all of which feature built-in recording studios and rooms for writing, jamming, and mixing.</p><h2>Geejam Hotel in Jamaica</h2><p>Your first clue that this tropical hideaway was made for music lovers? Its deluxe cabins and suites — along with three hilltop villas — are all named for musical genres (i.e., Ska, Rocksteady, and Drum &amp; Bass). As tempting as it might be to spend your time wandering amid the avocado groves and decades-old fig trees or lounging by one of several pristine swimming holes like Frenchman’s Cove or Geejam Beach, the true draw here is the large, modern studio complex. (Drake, Katy Perry, and Gwen Stefani have been among the artists to lay down tracks here over the past ten years.) Guests can take advantage of the customizable workspaces and showcase suite, as well as an entire team of talent, including an A&amp;R admin, in-house engineer, session musicians, and local performers. One of the most notable resources at your disposal: piano and keyboard aficionado Jonny O’Brien, who has collaborated with legends such as Frank Sinatra, Fats Domino, and Nina Simone.</p><p><strong>To book: </strong><a href="" target="_blank"></a>; doubles from $425, recording studios rates available upon request</p><h2>NightBird Recording Studios at the Sunset Marquis in Los Angeles</h2><img alt="Nightbird Studio at Sunset Marquis "src=""><p>In a town known for big acts (and sometimes even bigger egos), this West Hollywood icon comes from relatively humble beginnings. When writer/producer Jed Leiber and guitarist Jeff Beck were holed up in a room and making a bit too much noise working on new material, the hotel manager offered them a laundry chamber in the basement so they could riff in peace. Since then, an impressive list of rock, pop, country, and reggae artists — Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Keith Urban, and Damian Marley to name a few — have followed suit.</p><p><strong>To book:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank"></a>; doubles from $415, Nightbird Studios rates start at $1,500-2,000 for a 12-hour period</p><h2>nhow in Berlin</h2><img alt="nhow Berlin "src=""><p>As the only hotel in Berlin devoted to the musically inclined traveler, this sleek Friedrichshain property provides two standout amenities: a pair of professional recording studios for mixing, producing, and post-production, and a one-of-a-kind room service concept that lets you borrow a guitar or keyboard, delivered straight to your quarters free of charge. Throughout the property, you’ll spot various shades of pink — it’s the hue hotel designer Karim Rashid favors for creative inspiration.</p><p><strong>To book:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank"></a>; doubles from $112; recording studio rates start at $763 for the day</p><h2>Hutton Hotel in Nashville</h2><img alt="Hutton Hotel, Nashville "src=""><p>Opening any new music project in a city that’s home to such iconic country venues as the Grand Ole Opry and the Bluebird Café requires careful thought and killer features. This West End boutique hotel nods to Music City U.S.A.’s rich legacy with its Analog music venue and cocktail lounge (housed in the hotel’s former parking garage) and Writers Studios, two spaces that provide access to top-of-the-line equipment, instruments (both modern and throwback), and vocal booths. Country star Dierks Bentley and OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder helped give the rooms a homey feel by weighing in on design touches (think: Saltillo-tile floors, layered Navajo area rugs, and vintage tchtotchkes). Another fun fact? “The Middle” by Zedd and Maren Morris was recorded here.</p><p><strong>To book:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank"></a>; doubles from $249, Writers Studios rates available upon request</p><h2>Hotel El Ganzo in Los Cabos, Mexico</h2><img alt="Hotel El Ganzo "src=""><p>Since its renovation and reopening in 2015, this artsy Baja hotel has always drawn a cool crowd: Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine and supermodel Behati Prinsloo rented out the entire place for their nuptials, and Guns N' Roses lead guitarist Slash once showed up and played an impromptu concert. Countless singer/songwriters and composers have also called the arts-and-music haven home while recording in The Underground, a soundproof studio that can be accessed via a trap door in the lobby floor. Regularly used for recording El Ganzo Sessions — the performances are streamed in all rooms, around the property, and on their YouTube channel — this recording lair has the appeal of quality equipment brands like Fender and Gibson. The 70-room hotel’s rooftop also boosts a stage setup for acts and their artist-in-residence free performances.</p><p><strong>To book: </strong><a href="" target="_blank"></a>; doubles from $250, recording studio bookings by invitation only</p><h2>W Sound Suite in Hollywood, Bali, Barcelona, and Seattle</h2><img alt="W Sound Suite "src=""><p>With their Wet Deck dance parties, Wake Up Call festivals, and clubby, destination-specific soundtracks, W Hotels have more than earned their reputation as high-energy getaways. At the Seattle, Barcelona, Bali, and Hollywood locations, the chain’s Eat. Sleep. Record. Repeat. sound suites take the nightlife vibe to the next level. Functioning as both private recording studios and creative chambers, the spaces include a lounge, live room, and a main mixing area. And though you may not have a tour rider, you can take advantage of the W’s signature Whatever/Whenever services in the form of a late-night munchies room service menu, premiere dry-cleaning concierge, and portable snacks for your departing plane ride.</p><p><strong>To book: </strong><a href="" target="_blank"></a>; doubles from $332, Sound Suite rates available upon request</p><h2>Gold Diggers in Los Angeles</h2><img alt="Gold Diggers, Los Angeles "src=""><p>The erstwhile Gold Diggers Bar has been transformed from a dilapidated watering hole into this chic, music-inspired boutique hotel. Eleven well-appointed rooms are styled with graphic wallpaper and painted brick, velvet couches, curated rare books, and bluetooth Audio Technica turntables, plus upscale comforts such as 2920 Sleep Mattresses and Malin+Goetz bath products. A transformed warehouse, tucked behind the development, houses nine recording studios and a main stage that hosts its fair share events and disco parties. Even if you choose not to book a session or hit the dance floor, you’ll leave with a special musical memory: a limited-edition, seasonally-released vinyl record left on your pillow, given as a welcome gift.</p><p><strong>To book: </strong><a href="" target="_blank"></a>; doubles from $159, Gold-Diggers Sound Studios rates available upon request</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Rent a Private Pool Wherever You Are With This New Site

Travel and Leisure - Sun, 10/07/2018 - 11:01
<p>Sure, a private Airbnb is nice, but what about something for those days when you just want to lounge by the pool?</p><p>Well, there’s a site for that, too.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Swimply,</a> also known as “the Airbnb of pools,” is an online marketplace where you can search for privately owned swimming spots for you and your friends to chill and work on your tans.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">25 Rooftop Pools to Dream About While You Sit in the Office</a></p><img alt="Swimply Pools Available "src=""><p>Even though the warm summer weather is over for many people, there are still plenty of perpetually hot places where staying poolside is pleasant all year round. Or, you can always look for an indoor pool.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">19 Hotel Pools Around the World With Incredible Views</a></p><p>Just like Airbnb, a pool owner lists their pool with images and price per hour (sometimes the price varies based on the day), and notes details about their space. Customers can leave and read reviews as well as book directly on the site.</p><p>Swimply founder Bunim Laskin told <em><a href="" target="_blank">Lonely Planet</a></em> that “owning a pool can be expensive, enjoying one doesn’t have to be.”</p><p>The idea for the start-up came to him when he decided to ask a neighbor to use their pool and pay them to cover costs. Soon, other kids in the neighborhood started doing the same thing.</p><img alt="Diving into a pool "src=""><p>“When my neighbor expressed gratitude for introducing the concept, Swimply was born,” Laskin said.</p><p>Swimply lists all kinds of pools, including ones that have hot tubs, grills, cabanas, and other activities available with them. The company has listings in 20 states and Canada, but availability can be sparse, since the company is still new.</p><img alt="Swimply Pools Available "src=""><p>According to <em>Lonely Planet</em>, listings in New York City and Los Angeles can range between $50 and $200 per hour. The only pool listings in New York City are currently in Brooklyn, but Swimply also has an option to contact them if you don’t see your location.</p><p>More information on booking a pool can be found on the <a href="" target="_blank">Swimply website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Lake Tahoe Has a New Underwater Trail That Lets You Explore Over 100 Years of History

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 17:23
<p>A new underwater trail lets explorers discover <a href="" target="_blank">Lake Tahoe’s</a> marine past.</p><p>Starting Oct. 1, visitors to California’s <a href="" target="_blank">Emerald Bay State Park</a> will be able to explore an underwater world filled with historic features dating back to the early 20th century. </p><p>While divers could previously explore two large barges in the Historic Barge Dive Site located on the bay, the new <a href="" target="_blank">Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail</a><strong> </strong>will allow them to explore three new additional sites and an array of ships that rest under the bay’s surface.</p><p>These include a wooden fishing boat dating back to the early 20th century at a depth of 35 feet and an early 20th-century hard chine skiff located at a depth of 60 feet.</p><img alt="Historic vessels sit on the newly opened Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail. "src=""><p>The new trail also includes the earliest and largest vessel that was part of the fleet of recreational ships used at the Emerald Bay Resort, a simple family resort in the park that was a popular vacation destination before being removed in the 1950s to make way for campgrounds.</p><p>The 27-foot-long vessel, known as Florence M, was built in 1915 and used for excursions around the lake. Traces of its paint are still visible on its hull.</p><p>Visitors will also find several historic small vessels that were likely sunk at their moorings some 30 to 60 feet deep. These vessels include a metal kayak, a day sailor, wooden fishing boats, rowboats, and motorboats.</p><p>The creation of the new attraction marks the first time <a href="" target="_blank">California State Parks</a> have opened an underwater maritime heritage cultural trail to the public, inviting history buffs to dive through recreational watercraft and barges used in the park’s past. The collection is also the nation's largest and most diverse group of sunken small craft known to exist in their original location, according to park representatives.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">These Underwater Scooters Are Basically Like Being In Your Own Submarine</a></p><p>Part of what makes exploring the underwater terrain so memorable is how well preserved these vessels are, in some cases after more than 100 years.</p><p>This is due to the water's cold temperature, which can average from 43 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the deepest parts of the bay and from the mid-60s to below freezing during the winter and early spring in the top 12 feet, park representatives told <em>Travel + Leisure</em>. </p><p>Divers and snorkelers will find underwater interpretive panels placed at the dive sites to give context about each location, and waterproof interpretive cards can also be found at the park’s visitor centers, local dive shops, <a href="" target="_blank">on the park’s website</a>, or on the <a href="" target="_blank">Sierra State Parks Foundation’s website</a>.</p><p>Park representatives recommend fall as the best time for diving thanks to warm temperatures and calmer waters in comparison to the summer, when recreational boats are in the area. </p>
Categories: Travel

Hersheypark Is Adding a 'Hypercoaster' As Part of a $150-million Expansion

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 13:59
<p>If the two things you can't get enough of in life are chocolate and roller coasters, make plans to visit Hersheypark.</p><p>On Wednesday, the park made its “biggest announcement ever”: It will undergo a $150-million renovation to open a new 23-acre expansion called “Chocolate Town” within the next two years.</p><p>“Chocolate Town” will include Hersheypark’s 15th roller coaster, which the park calls its "longest, tallest, and fastest to date." Details about the new coaster are expected to be released in the summer. From what we know so far, the ride will be a “hypercoaster” because <a href="" target="_blank">it will stand more than 200 feet tall</a>.</p><p>Chocolate Town will also include a flagship Hershey’s store, ice cream parlor, kettle corn stand, and the parks’ largest restaurant, bar and patio.</p><p>“We are incredibly excited to enter this next chapter in the rich history of Hersheypark,” John Lawn, president and CEO of Hershey Entertainment &amp; Resorts, <a href="" target="_blank">said</a> in a statement. “This will be a definitive project for Hersheypark, HE&amp;R and our destination.”</p><p>Construction on the new plaza will begin in January 2019. Next summer, the park will re-introduce the Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge as the Reese’s Cupfusion. In the game, riders must protect the Reese’s factory as the League of Misfit Candy tries to take over.</p><p>It may defy conventional wisdom to marry (literal) tons of chocolate and an epic roller coaster. But it sure looks fun.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Have Your Face Carved on a Pumpkin While Sipping Champagne at This NYC Hotel

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 13:02
<p>Table service has never looked this spooky.</p><p>In honor of the Halloween season, The High Line Hotel in New York City is offering exclusive <a href="" target="_blank">Pumpkin Service plus Bottle Service</a> every Thursday and Friday in October, starting October 4.</p><p>Guests in the hotel’s front garden are treated to a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label NV and get their own pumpkin, carved to order, by master carver in residence Brent Heuser.</p><p>And by “carved to order,” they literally mean carved to order. You can get any design you wish. A portrait of yourself, your loved one, your pet, or perhaps your favorite cartoon character, your business logo, or even a perfect likeness of the Mona Lisa. You name it.</p><p>In addition, <a href="" target="_blank">The Bar at the High Line Hotel</a> has tons of seasonal cocktails, beer, wine and exclusive Pinhook small-batch bourbons to celebrate the fall season. The hotel also hosts a Halloween Dog Costume Parade on Sunday, October 28, so you might say this place has the holiday on lock.</p><p>Each pumpkin and bottle service reservation lasts for 45 minutes and costs $125 per session. Reservations are available from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays in October.</p><p>For more information on how to get your own boo-tiful pumpkin, visit the <a href="" target="_blank">High Line Hotel website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Where to Shop in Auckland, According to the City’s Hottest Fashion Designer

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 12:01
<p><a href="" target="_blank">New Zealand</a>’s gateway to North Island <a href="" target="_blank">adventures</a> is a destination in its own right, with great food, a bevy of museums and galleries, and chic shops that showcase homegrown talent. We turned to wunderkind Maggie Hewitt — the designer behind women’s clothing brand <a href="" target="_blank">Maggie Marilyn</a> and the first Kiwi ever short-listed for the LVMH Prize — to get the lowdown on the best stops for style-minded travelers.</p><img alt="Muse boutique, in Auckland, New Zealand "src=""><img alt="Shopping in Auckland, New Zealand "src=""><p>"One of my favorite places to shop is Ponsonby, a neighborhood with plenty of boutiques and concept stores. Muse (264 Ponsonby Rd.; 64-9-378-8850) is a multi-brand shop from owner Olivia Vincent. She stocks international labels like Stella McCartney along with local names like Georgia Alice, who is known for her impeccably cut, easy-to-wear designs. From there, I’ll pop in to the flagship of <a href="" target="_blank">Harman Grubiša</a><i>,</i> a brand that specializes in minimalist silhouettes with feminine details.</p><p>"Nearby concept store the <a href="" target="_blank">Shelter</a> holds a special place in my heart, as it was the first to carry my line. I’ll browse the racks of new and established labels like Wynn Hamlyn and MM6 Maison Margiela, then grab a juice at its café. If I want to treat myself, I’ll pick up a candle or fragrance at <a href="" target="_blank">Curionoir</a>, a small-batch Kiwi perfumery that produces only a handful of scents at a time.</p><img alt="Curionoir perfumery in Auckland, New Zealand "src=""><p>"For a more laid-back retail experience, I’ll head to Takapuna, on the North Shore. The area is known for its beach, so it makes for a scenic shopping trip—especially on a sunny day. <a href="" target="_blank">The Department Store</a> was a collaboration between legendary New Zealand designer Karen Walker and local fashion entrepreneur Dan Gosling. The multilevel space has a beauty counter, a hair salon, a café, and an impressive array of Aussie and Kiwi clothiers like Georgia Jay and Deadly Ponies. After, I’ll drop in to the Takapuna outpost of <a href="" target="_blank">Superette</a>, a long-standing New Zealand retailer. This location has a fun, quirky vibe and offers a crowd-pleasing selection of wardrobe staples<i>."</i></p><img alt="Watches at Superette, in Auckland, New Zealand "src="">
Categories: Travel

Can You Pronounce the Name of This European City? — Research Says Most People Can’t

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 11:31
<p>Most travelers know that learning a new language can be tough, but there are some words out there that can really throw you for a loop.</p><p>Especially when they’re the names of places that you’re trying to get to.</p><p>Research conducted by cruise agent <a href="" target="_blank">Bolsover Cruise Club</a> found that the Slovenian city Ptuj is the world’s hardest city to pronounce, with 92% failing to know the correct pronunciation.</p><p>For the record, no, it’s not pronounced “pooj” or “put-ooj.” It’s actually pronounced “<a href="" target="_blank">p-too-ee</a>,” according to the cruise company website. We get it. It’s a little confusing if you don’t speak the language.</p><p>People also struggled to pronounce the names of <a href="" target="_blank">Guimarães</a> (88%), <a href="" target="_blank">Rijeka</a> (84%), <a href="" target="_blank">Skopje</a> (80%) and <a href="" target="_blank">Oaxaca</a> (76%).</p><p>In addition, the research studied different tourist destinations, landmarks and foods that non-native speakers have difficulty pronouncing. One particularly tricky landmark is <a href="" target="_blank">Eyjafjallajökull volcano</a> in Iceland, which 98% of non-Icelanders simply cannot wrap their heads around.</p><p>It’s pronounced: “<a href="" target="_blank">Ay-yah-fyad-layer-kuh-tel</a>.” Clear as day.</p><p>Michael Wilson, Managing Director at Bolsover Cruise Club, commented on the research in a press release, “Mastering the national language when heading abroad is always a great way to impress the locals, however, it seems many of us don’t always get it right.”</p><p>But with a name like Eyjafjallajökull, can you blame us? </p><p>Learning the language is all part of the world travel experience. Ff you are having trouble, it’s always good to have a handy translation dictionary in your bag.</p><p>More information on the study can be found on the <a href="" target="_blank">Bolsover Cruise Club website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

A New Study Says Taking a Vacation Can Help You Live Longer (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 11:00
<p>It turns out taking a vacation can be as important to your physical health as exercising and eating your fruits and veggies.</p><p>In a 40-year study that will be <a href="" target="_blank">published by the <em>Journal of Nutrition, Heath &amp; Aging</em></a>, the University of Helsinki, Finland had recruited over 1,200 businessmen between the ages of 40 and 55 in 1974 and 1975. Each participant was at risk for cardiovascular disease, the risk factors including smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight.</p><p>Participants were randomly placed in one of two groups: an intervention group and a control group. In the intervention group, the investigators advised the men every four months for five years to exercise, eat healthy foods, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and to quit smoking. Some of the participants in this group were also given drugs to lower blood pressure and lipid levels.</p><p>The men in the control group, on the other hand, did not receive advice from the investigators, but were provided their usual healthcare.</p><p>As one would expect, the men in the intervention group reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by 46 percent after five years. When the researchers followed up with the participants 15 years later, however, they found that more men from the intervention group had died than those in the control group.</p><p>These findings led the investigators to follow up with the participants again in 2014, at which point they examined national death registers and what had been "previously unreported baseline data on amounts of work, sleep, and vacation."</p><p>The results from the research showed that up until 2004, the intervention group had a higher death rate than the control group. From 2004 to 2015, the death rates in both groups were the same.</p><p>After studying the baseline data on work, sleep, and vacation, the researchers noted one significant piece of information that could explain these findings: participants in the intervention group had a 37 percent higher risk of dying if they took three weeks or less annual vacation compared to those who took more than three weeks between 1974 and 2004.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">9 Signs You Need a Vacation</a></p><p>"In our study, men with shorter vacations worked more and slept less than those who took longer vacations. This stressful lifestyle may have overruled any benefit of the intervention," said professor Timo Strandberg. "Don't think having an otherwise healthy lifestyle will compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays. Vacations can be a good way to relieve stress."</p><p>While the amount of vacation that participants in the control group took did not affect their risk of death, Strandberg believes that "the intervention itself may also have had an adverse psychological effect on [men in the intervention group] by adding stress to their lives."</p><p>Strandberg emphasized that the results from this study do by no means suggest that health education is "harmful" to one's health. "Rather, they suggest that stress reduction is an essential part of programs aimed at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle advice should be wisely combined with modern drug treatment to prevent cardiovascular events in high-risk individuals."</p><p>Now go ahead and book that much-needed vacation. Your life could be at risk.</p>
Categories: Travel

Fly Round-trip to Europe Starting at $272 If You Book This Weekend

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 08:30
<p>Despite the seasons just recently changing to fall, there are already signs of winter coming. To everyone’s chagrin, the department stores have already started displays with signs of Thanksgiving. In the most egregious cases, Christmas candy canes are popping up.</p><p>Although it may seem too early to think about the end of the year, if you want to book a European holiday getaway, now is the time to book. Round-trip flights to major European cities are now available starting in the high $200s.</p><p>Fly from New York City to Paris for <a href="*/m/05qtj./m/02_286.2018-12-12;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$272 round-trip</a> or to Amsterdam for <a href="*/m/0k3p./m/02_286.2018-11-15;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$320</a>. If you’re flying out of Denver, you could hop to Brussels and back <a href="*/m/02rnbv.DEN.2018-10-24;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">for only $382</a> if you book for November. Flights from Detroit to Amsterdam are available <a href="*/m/0k3p./m/02dtg.2018-10-24;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">for $340 round-trip</a>.</p><p>While it's unlikely you'll find cheap flights right around Christmas or New Year's, there are several cheap travel dates available throughout November and December, all the way to March 2019.</p><p>More European destinations to consider include Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, Munich, Rome, Vienna and Zurich. Travelers out of New York, Minnesota, Alaska, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Nebraska, California, Florida and more can all find cheap flights to Europe (as long as they're a little flexible on travel dates).</p><p>Spend some time <a href="" target="_blank">searching around</a> — there are even better deals to be found.</p><p>Note restrictions on fares, and if your preferred flight is on a budget airline (WOW Air, Norwegian, Level), be sure to check on any additional fees for seat assignments or baggage. There's no need to be surprised at the airport.</p><p>If you need motivation to book, just consider it an early holiday present to yourself. After all, travel is the gift that keeps on giving.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why New York Is Becoming One of America’s Best States for Wine Lovers

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 08:20
<p>There are days when life makes you feel as though you’ve been poured into a blender and whizzed into a froth of nervous exhaustion. As a resident of New York City, I find this happens to me with disconcerting frequency. But when it does, I have a solution: hightail it 200 miles northwest, to the <a href="http://The Perfect Three-day Weekend in the Finger Lakes" target="_blank">Finger Lakes</a>.</p><p>A patchwork of vineyards, <a href="" target="_blank">apple orchards</a>, hiking trails, and small, thriving towns, this <a href="" target="_blank">bucolic region of New York State</a> takes its name from 11 narrow glacial lakes between the cities of Rochester and Syracuse that run north to south, like the fingers of an extremely unusual hand. The five largest lakes, where you’ll spend most of your time in the region, are Seneca, Cayuga, Skaneateles, Canandaigua, and Keuka. They are quite deep (more than 600 feet, at some points), and because water warms and cools more slowly than air, their immense volume helps moderate the surrounding temperatures. Grape varieties like Riesling and Pinot Noir in turn can flourish, despite the bitter winters.</p><p>Add the region’s rocky soil and a new generation of ambitious winemakers to the mix, and you’ve got the ingredients for truly exciting wine. While there are still a fair number of uninspiring bottles produced for the bus-tour crowds, several top-flight wineries have opened over the past decade or so. (Note: when winery hopping, consider bringing along a designated driver or, if you’re going solo, enlisting the <a href="" target="_blank">help of Uber</a>.) Most are open year-round, but fall is the ideal time to visit. It’s harvest season, and the weather is cool and breezy. Here’s how to spend three perfect days exploring the region.</p><h2>Friday</h2><p>A 1½-hour flight from LaGuardia brought me to Rochester, the easiest entry point to the Finger Lakes. I headed 35 miles southeast to the town of Canandaigua for a quick lunch at <a href="" target="_blank">New York Kitchen</a> <em>(entrées $12–$21)</em>, a nonprofit culinary center that highlights the work of Empire State farmers, brewers, and vintners. I tried a few Pinots in the tasting room, then dug in to a decadent “Adirondack” — a pizza named for the mountains to the east, with wild mushrooms, grilled ham, Gruyère, and fresh pea shoots.</p><p>I decided to kick off my wine tasting in the place where quality bottlings in the Finger Lakes got started — <a href="" target="_blank">Dr. Konstantin Frank</a>, on the western shore of Keuka Lake. In the 1950s, this winery’s eponymous founder proved that the region could grow classic grape varieties such as Riesling and Pinot Noir. I skipped the main tasting room and headed down the road to my reservation at the serene 1886 Reserve Room, which offers a more personal experience, as well as older vintages and food pairings.</p><img alt="Scenes from New York's Finger Lakes region "src=""><p>A quick swing around the southern tip of Keuka Lake took me to <a href="" target="_blank">Domaine LeSeurre</a>, part of a new wave of ambitious wineries driven by young vintners convinced of the region’s potential. Here, French expats Céline and Sébastien LeSeurre fashion dry, elegant wines that hover between old and new world in their sensibility — case in point, their thrillingly precise, Chablis-like 2015 unoaked Chardonnay.</p><p>I next checked in to <a href="" target="_blank">Geneva on the Lake</a> <em>(doubles from $245)</em>, a grand resort in the lively burg of Geneva. It’s an excellent home base, since Geneva’s downtown has become the region’s restaurant and bar nexus thanks to places like the <a href="" target="_blank">Linden Social Club</a> <em>(small plates $5–$7)</em>, which is renowned for its cocktails. Despite my abiding love of wine, I couldn’t resist the Prescription Julep (Cognac, rye, Jamaican rum, and mint). Was it the perfect pairing for the “farmers’ market tostada,” made of marinated and grilled zucchini and yellow squash? No idea, but the duo seemed like an ideal balance of indulgence and health.</p><h2>Saturday</h2><p>To navigate around the lakes and avoid endless north-south shuttling, it’s best to concentrate on one body of water a day. For Saturday, I chose Seneca. Stretching for 35 miles between Geneva and Watkins Glen, it’s the largest of the five main lakes and is ringed with a number of good wineries. A to-go cappuccino from <a href="" target="_blank">Monaco’s Coffee</a> fueled my drive down Route 14 to my first stop, <a href="" target="_blank">Forge Cellars</a>. A partnership between local talents Rick Rainey and Justin Boyette and acclaimed Rhône vintner Louis Barruol, Forge focuses on terroir-expressive Pinot Noir and Riesling. Their wines could go head-to-head with those from anywhere in the world. I stocked up on the smoky 2016 Forge Leidenfrost Vineyard Dry Riesling.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">How to Have a European Wine Bar Experience Without Leaving the U.S.</a></p><p>After Forge, it was time for lunch at <a href="" target="_blank">F.L.X. Wienery</a> <em>(entrées $3–$18)</em>, a roadside shack serving excellent house-made hot dogs and brats. There’s also a surprisingly extensive wine list that features everything from the house Riesling at $5 a glass to a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche for $2,500 a bottle — a classic pairing with a chili dog, right?</p><p>Dozens of wineries line Route 14, so it’s important to choose wisely. One of my favorites is <a href="" target="_blank">Ravines Wine Cellar</a>, just south of Geneva. Winemaker Morten Hallgren’s stony Argetsinger Vineyard Riesling is not to be missed, nor is the winery’s Ravinous Table wine-pairing experience. This season’s dishes might include a 2008 Blanc de Blanc with a tart of potato and hazelnuts or a 2016 Cabernet Franc with pork loin and plums smoked over grapevine trimmings.</p><img alt="FLX Table restaurant in Geneva, New York "src=""><p>I drove back to Geneva for dinner, as I had scored a much-coveted reservation at <a href="" target="_blank">F.L.X. Table</a> <em>(tasting menu $59)</em>, arguably the region’s best restaurant. Owned by the couple behind F.L.X. Wienery — Master Sommelier and chef Christopher Bates and his wife, Isabel Bogadtke — the restaurant has only 14 seats at one long dining table. In addition to sampling dishes such as wild salmon with a red-pepper-and-olive panzanella, you can’t help getting into a lively conversation with your fellow diners.</p><h2>Sunday</h2><p>I started my day with a two-mile hike through the rock gorges at <a href="" target="_blank">Watkins Glen State Park</a>, where the leaves on the trees were at their scarlet-and-gold peak. Afterward, I nipped around the southern end of Seneca and over to tiny Bellwether Wine Cellars (bellwetherwine​, on the western shore of Cayuga Lake. Winemaker Kris Matthewson is one of the region’s up-and-coming stars, and bottles like his violet-scented Sawmill Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir make it clear why.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">This Secret Corner of California Is a Paradise for Lovers of Great Food and Top-notch Wines</a></p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca</a> <em>(entrées $9–$26)</em>, a short drive west, is modeled on a classic Austrian wine tavern and probably the only place on the planet where you’ll find a “Viennese bento box” on the lunch menu. And yet the combination of classic Austrian sausages, spaetzle, and tapenade served Japanese-style somehow makes perfect sense.</p><p>On the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake, <a href="" target="_blank">Heart &amp; Hands Wine Co.</a> is another cult, boutique producer. Husband-and-wife team Tom and Susan Higgins make a tiny amount of Pinot Noir and Riesling from their own estate vineyard. The wines come and go as they sell out, but if their fragrant, top-of-the-line Mo Chuisle (pronounced ma-<em>cush</em>-la) Pinot is there, grab a few bottles to take home.</p><img alt="Inns of Aurora EB Morgan House, in the Finger Lakes region "src=""><p>For my final night, I checked in to the <a href="" target="_blank">Inns of Aurora</a> <em>(doubles from $165)</em>, on the eastern side of Cayuga Lake. Owned by Pleasant Rowland, the creator of American Girl dolls, this quartet of historic buildings has been stunningly restored in recent years. Which of the inns you choose is a matter of personal taste — the furnishings in the Aurora Inn itself are classic, while Rowland House has a more contemporary feel. But no matter which you pick, be sure to sit by the lakefront firepit and have a glass of wine at sunset. Any last vestiges of stress you might feel, from a life anywhere in the world, will soon dissipate.</p>
Categories: Travel

Book a Flight to Turks and Caicos This Winter for As Little As $224 Round-trip

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 07:10
<p>Dreaming of a beach getaway? If you’re looking to escape the changing seasons or the idea of the upcoming cold is sending a chill down your spine, you’ll be happy to know you can get a cheap flight to Turks and Caicos between now and next spring.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank"><em>Scott’s Cheap Flights</em></a> found great deals on flights to the islands — on <a href="" target="_blank">American Airlines</a>, Delta, and Jetblue — with airfares from major U.S. cities from $200 to $400 round-trip. In some cases, it's half of the typical price.</p><p>And, if you aren’t already convinced, some routes are available close to holiday weekends including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.</p><p>Flights are starting at <a href="*PLS./m/02_286.2019-01-11;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$312 round-trip</a> from New York City, <a href="*PLS.MIA.2019-03-19;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$224 from Miami</a> and Fort Lauderdale, <a href="*PLS.ABQ.2018-11-17;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$351 from Albuquerque</a>, <a href="*PLS.LAX.2019-01-14;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$416 from Los Angeles</a>, <a href="*PLS.MSP.2018-12-13;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$434 from Minneapolis</a> — and on and on. <a href="" target="_blank">Check your home airport</a> to see what fares are available to you this fall and winter.</p><p>As is always true with cheap flights in this day and age, additional fees may apply for assigned seats, baggage and in-flight amenities. Check the airline's policies and fees before booking to make sure you're happy with the deal.</p><p>And if you are ready to look for a low cost winter vacation, you should act fast. Cheap flights to white sand beaches and clear blue waters don't last long when the temperatures cool down in the northern hemisphere.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Hotels Are Making Guests VIPs If They Agree to Put Away Their Phones

Travel and Leisure - Sat, 10/06/2018 - 06:01
<p>Wyndham Grand wants you to <a href="" target="_blank">stop using your phone on vacation</a> — and they’re going to start holding you accountable.</p><p>At select locations throughout the country, the hotel brand will implement “phone-free zones” at pools and restaurants.</p><p>But before your fingers start shaking from phone withdrawal, consider the stats. According to the hotel, at the Mills House Wyndham Grand in Charleston, 87 percent of poolside guests were on their phones and not in the water over the weekend. "Today, adults and kids are so glued to their devices that we've had to add more pool chairs to accommodate all the poolside swiping,” Lisa Checchio, chief marketing officer for Wyndham, said in a statement.</p><p>Reps for the hotel pointed out that, on average, we check our phones once every 12 minutes while we’re on vacation, according to a <a href="" target="_blank">recent survey of 2,000 U.S. adults</a>. And, according to the same survey, more than half of all travelers use their phone the exact same amount when they’re on vacation as when they’re in their working lives.</p><p>The phone ban is not mandatory (don’t worry) but there are several incentives for opting in. In addition to being more present and mindful while on vacation, those who opt in could have the opportunity to win prizes.</p><p>Yondr provides guests with a locking phone case so they won’t be tempted to check their technology. Those who use the lock boxes will be eligible to partake in VIP area treats (special off-menu items, exclusive pool floats or books) and have the chance to win 75,000 Wyndham Rewards Points (enough for a five-night vacation).</p><p>The phone-free zones will be at five Wyndham Grand Hotels — including the Wydham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort, Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach Resort, Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront, The Mills House, and the Hotel Galvez &amp; Spa — through Nov.12.<br /><br />The brand’s commitment to <a href="" target="_blank">digital detoxing</a> runs deep. Earlier this year, select Wyndham hotels offered <a href="" target="_blank">a five-percent discount to guests</a> who agreed to keep their phones locked away during their stay.</p>
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