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Spooky New Tours in South Carolina

Two of our latest partners are chilling guests to the bone with their otherworldly explorations in the Palmetto State!

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In Charleston, Beyond the Light, owned by a medium and clairvoyant, leads guests on a “Frightseeing Seer Tour” to haunted houses, graveyards and other sites. As the oldest city in South Carolina, Charleston has more than its share of stories that are shrouded in the mists of time, and on this tour you’ll encounter some of the oldest parts of the city to confront their eerie past.

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In Columbia, Capital City Haunts offers an intimate, small-group exploration of haunted sites downtown. On this guided tour, you are encouraged to bring a camera, because past guests have captured strange images as they learned the lore of the state capital’s past. A great way to go sightseeing, get a history lesson and experience a thrill all in one!

Celebrate Confucius Day in a Chinatown Near You!

The birthday of the great Chinese philosopher Confucius is observed on September 28th. Throughout China, the day is celebrated with music, dancing, traditional dress and delicious food. But if you can’t be in China for the occasion, Chinatown is the next best thing! You’ll find one in each of these cities:

Manhattan

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This neighborhood south of Little Italy might be the best place in New York for excellent food at low prices. Dumpling and dim sum joints abound, and as you venture from one to another, you’ll pass groceries and markets with produce and other goods. The streets here abandon the familiar grid layout of parts north and get a bit angular and confusing, so it’s a good idea to opt for a food tour. Otherwise, have a map handy! Recommended spots include the legendary Nom Wah Tea Parlor (established 1920!) and Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles, just a few doors down.

San Francisco

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Don’t miss the stately Dragon Gate, made from authentic materials provided by Taiwan, on Grant Avenue at Bush Street. And there’s some great people-watching to be had at Portsmouth Square, where you may see elderly people playing xiangqi, a Chinese variant of chess. There are also tours available here to hip you to all the eating options and the other little secrets of the area; your guide might point out filming locations from classic movies like The Maltese Falcon.

Boston

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Beach Street is the main drag of Boston’s Chinatown, complete with a large, green-roofed paifang (gate) at Surface Road. Hot pot, dumplings, cafés and more, you’ll find them all along Beach Street, and there are scattered Vietnamese establishments mixed in as well. As you stroll west, Chinatown fades into the Washington Street Theatre District — a great thing to keep in mind if you’re planning dinner and a show.

3 Places to Take a Food Tour This Autumn

Any veteran traveler will tell you that local food is a huge part of visiting any new location. Check out some of the cities where we’ve recently found delectable food tours that offer a tasty introduction to town. Even if you live there, you’ll probably find that these experiences will show you a new side of the place you call home!

1. Wichita, Kansas

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The Old Town Historic District in Wichita is one of the best places to enjoy the bounty of the American prairie. Wichita Food Tours brings you to several of the area’s top restaurants to sample beef, sausage, cheese and more in the course of a 2.5-hour walking tour. Local food mingles with local history as you learn the story of the city!

2. Durango, Colorado

Did you know that Durango has more restaurants per capita than San Francisco? Taste their fine, fresh fare with Discover Durango Tours, and don’t forget the craft beer — you’ll discover why this town is called “The City of Brewerly Love”! It’s an adventure that will really boost your foodie knowledge.

3. Tampa, Florida

Ybor City Food Tours (that’s “EE-bore”) knows that food is the best way to get to know this neighborhood, which has long been populated by Cuban, Spanish and Italian immigrants, among others. Specialized tours focus on dessert, Cuban sandwiches, local history… there’s even a tour designed for you to take with your dog!

Keep Summer Alive with Dolphin Sightings!

Some people love the autumn, but others have a hard time coming to grips with summer slipping away. The perfect solution? Find a warm place, get out there on the water and enjoy the wildlife for a last summery hurrah!

Tarpon Springs, Florida: Odyssey Cruises. As you wind your way down the Anclote River to the Gulf of Mexico, dolphins aren’t the only creatures to see: keep an eye out for manatees, sea turtles, cranes, alligators and much more. You’ll also have a chance to hop off at an island preserve to check out a historic lighthouse and do some shelling.

Big Island, Hawaii: Wild Dolphin Swims. Roberta Goodman is a true dolphin expert with decades of experience. Join her along the Kona Coast to actually swim with them in the open ocean! After she uses her finely tuned intuition to find the dolphins, you can slip on snorkel gear and embark on an interspecies adventure.

Bonus: Cast Off Sailing in San Diego, CA. Dolphins aren’t the main focus of this sail, but many guests spot them in the course of their oceangoing experience. Captain Aaron encourages you to take an active role in operating the 38-foot yacht, even if you’ve never sailed before. Here’s your chance to learn something new as you enjoy the ocean breezes and marine life!

Thirsty for Adventure? Cruise Around Town on a Pedal Pub!

Perhaps you've seen them — half-machine, half human saloons on wheels. What are these many-headed monster vehicles that have been popping up all around the world lately?

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Did You Know? New York City

 

CentralPark82-600x489In the photo above, you’re looking at Central Park. Those shacks occupy what is now the Great Lawn. The 35-acre Lower Reservoir was filled in to create the Lawn, but plans stalled during the height of the Great Depression, and people who lost their homes created a shanty town here (also known as a “Hooverville,” after the president widely blamed for the Depression).

The Great Lawn today:

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Things to do in New York City

Did You Know? Philadelphia

Eniac

The world’s first fully functional computer was the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), invented at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon its completion in 1946, the massive machine weighed over 30 tons, and it burned through several of its vacuum tubes each day, resulting in lots of downtime. And it didn’t even have Minesweeper, so be grateful for the computer you have today!

Things to do in Philadelphia

4 Pairs of Famous Streets with the Same Name

The USA is a creative country, but creativity has limits! We’ve had to reuse names here and there. Let’s take a trip through America and compare a few of these sister streets that share names.

Canal Street

In Manhattan, Canal Street is a broad thoroughfare that divides SoHo from Little Italy. It’s infamous as a marketplace full of street vendors selling DVDs and “designer” merchandise of, shall we say, questionable provenance. Bring cash!

There’s also a famous Canal Street in New Orleans, itself a boundary street that separates the French Quarter from the Central Business District. Streetcar tracks run through the center of the street, providing a public transportation route between City Park and the Mississippi River.

Embarcadero

Little-heard on the East Coast, this name meaning “wharf” in Spanish is an important part of some California cities. In San Francisco, it runs along the waterfront of Telegraph Hill and South Beach.

In San Diego, the Embarcadero is the area along the harbor where some noteworthy nautical sights can be seen. The ships in the collection of the Maritime Museum of San Diego are docked here, including the majestic Star of India, and the long-serving USS Midway is currently serving out its retirement here as a museum ship.

Ocean Drive

To some, Ocean Drive will forever be the stretch of Miami Beach that is packed with buildings made in the Art Deco architectural style. Tours of the area are popular among architectural buffs, and the nightlife and shopping found there are a brilliant bonus!

In New Jersey, Ocean Drive has a different meaning: it’s a chain of smaller roads that run along the coast from Cape May up to Atlantic City. Crossing over several bridges along the way, this is a drive with pleasant seaside views aplenty.

Market Street

Philadelphia‘s Market Street is awash in history: Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence here, and the street was also home to Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and John Adams. Go for the history, stay for the shopping mall and convention center!

Market Street in San Francisco is a wide artery that stretches from Twin Peaks to the waterfront. It used to be swimming with cable cars; today, faux streetcars above and a subway line below keep it a humming and vital part of the city’s everyday life.

Four Hotels Worth a Visit (Even If You Can’t Afford to Stay There!)

Seeing a city’s notable buildings is often at the top of a tourist’s list: the skyscrapers, the museums, the galleries… And yet, even when they’re just as famous as any other building, hotels are often forgotten on the itinerary. It doesn’t matter if a room there is too posh for your pocketbook: most great hotels offer other experiences that are easier on the wallet, but still let you soak in the grand surroundings.

1. Chicago: The Drake

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The prime lakeside location of the Drake ensures great views, but when you enter the Palm Court for high tea, you won’t care to look anywhere but the interior. The all-white décor is elegance itself, and on Wednesdays through Sundays there’s live harp music to add another layer of atmosphere.

More things to do in Chicago

2. New York: The Plaza

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Gatsby and company could afford to rent a room at the Plaza and drink the afternoon away. Maybe you can’t, but you could probably treat yourself to a $23 cocktail at its Champagne Bar. It’s the Plaza, after all – go a little nuts!

More things to do in New York City

3. San Francisco: The Fairmont

This historic Nob Hill hotel boasts a stately exterior and lobby, but inside awaits a bold contrast in style: the Tonga Room is a Polynesian-themed bar and restaurant that skirts the line between kitsch and class, and it exemplifies the post-World War II tiki craze.

More things to do in San Francisco

4. Miami: Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Decadence, Miami-style, is a big reason why this hotel has been featured in several films like Goldfinger and Scarface. After lingering in the lobby, go for an Italian dinner at Scarpetta, which was famous among local gourmands even before chef Nina Compton became a finalist on Top Chef.

More things to do in Miami

Did You Know? Boston

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The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston is the site of the largest art theft in history. It happened on March 18, 1990: two thieves posing as police officers stole 12 paintings worth a total of $500 million, including works by Rembrandt and Degas. The case remains unsolved to this day.

Things to do in Boston

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