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“What Is There To Do Around Here?” Here’s Your Answer!

There are always new things to do, and we love finding them for you! Here are some of our favorite new activities around the USA!

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Did You Know? Charleston

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The earliest female artist in America, that we know of, was Henrietta Johnston. The daughter of French Huguenots, she lived in London and Ireland before settling in Charleston in the early 1700s with her husband, who was appointed rector of a church there. She used pastels to create striking portraits, several of which survive in local museums, and her remains rest in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.

Things to do in Charleston

Did You Know? Washington, D.C.

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When you visit Arlington National Cemetery (actually located in Virginia, not D.C.) you’re getting more history than you bargained for: the grounds were once the estate of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and it was chosen as the site of the cemetery in part to make sure that he could never return home after the war.

Things to do in Washington, D.C.

Walking Tours with Personality in Boston and San Francisco!

When it comes to walking tours, an excellent guide is just as important as the city he’s showing you! We’ve found a couple of the nation’s most shining personalities in tourism to share with you today. Pay a visit and experience a tour with charisma to spare!

Boston, MA: Politically Incorrect North End Tour

This isn’t just any food tour. Your guide, Anthony Gesualdi, is a lifelong resident and an opinionated former restaurateur. This, plus his pride in his Italian heritage, makes him an especially qualified guide to Boston’s Little Italy, and he’s not afraid to tell you what he really thinks of the restaurants in the neighborhood. Are you ready to get real?

San Francisco, CA: SK Morton’s Lousy San Francisco Walking Tour

The hilarious SK Morton is at work on a book called I Left My Heart In San Francisco and All I Got Was This Lousy Rash, and he brings the same information and offbeat sense of humor to his walking history tours of the City by the Bay. From Downtown to Chinatown and beyond, SK is your go-to guy for a laugh and some local knowledge.

Three New NYC Walking Tours

It’s the most popular time of year to visit New York, so we’re happy to bring you three fantastic new options for seeing the city. Hit the streets and get ready to experience the Big Apple in a way you’ll never forget!

1. NY Custom Tours

Manhattan isn’t just “Manhattan” — you have to break it into chunks to really make sense of it. This is where NY Custom Tours shines! Choose Greenwich Village, Harlem, or the Financial District, to name a few, and then go beyond the surface with an expert guide to learn the secrets and history of the neighborhood. There’s nothing like a good story to bring life to a place, and New York has millions of them!

2. NYC Bites and Sites Food Tours

There’s no better way to fuel a walk through NYC than by snacking on local fare along the way, so a food tour is a no-brainer! With Bites and Sites, you might find yourself walking the High Line, where the view is just as good as Chelsea’s choice food, or checking out all the diverse eats in the East Village. Talk about a tasty tour!

3. Critic’s Choice Tours

Want someone really qualified to give you a tour of the Great White Way? David Sheward is a drama critic, Tony voter and author with a list of credentials and media appearances a mile long, and he’s ready to lead you on a one-of-a-kind tour of Broadway. Good luck finding another person who knows this much about the past and present of theater in New York!

Four Fantastic Ferris Wheels to Check Out

June 21st marks the 121st anniversary of the date when the world’s first Ferris wheel opened to the public during the Chicago World’s Fair. We’d like to celebrate by taking a quick tour of some of America’s greatest Ferris wheels!

Las Vegas, Nevada: The High Roller

The newest wheel on the list is also the tallest… in the world! Step into one of the cabins on this mammoth machine and you’ll soon be 550 feet above the Las Vegas lightscape. There’s no beating that view!

Seattle, Washington: the Great Wheel

You’ll find this big boy on Pier 57, among a carousel, an arcade, and a selection of shops and restaurants. Climate-controlled cabins will keep you comfy in that sometimes-ugly Seattle weather as you enjoy the view of Elliott Bay.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: SkyWheel

In one of the most popular beach towns on the East Coast, the SkyWheel stands out as the most scenic experience. No tracking sand into the gondolas, please!

NYC: The New York Wheel

This one’s something of a cheat, since it is not slated to be finished until 2016 — but when it is, it’ll be the tallest Ferris wheel in the world at 630 feet! It is being built on Staten Island, where it is hoped that it will bring millions of tourists to the underappreciated borough.

Did You Know? Washington, D.C.

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Height isn’t everything. The Pentagon, though it may not look like much from the ground, is one of the largest office buildings in the world, with three times as much floor space as the Empire State Building.

Things to do in Washington, D.C.

Wayback Machine: America’s World Cup

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World Cup fever has gripped the — ahem — world! And with that fever comes nostalgia. Younger Americans may not remember it, but the U.S. of A. hosted the World Cup twenty years ago — the best-attended Cup in history, at that! So we’d like to take a moment to give a quick nod to some of the cities that shone brightly in 1994:

Pasadena, CA – Rose Bowl

This was the venue that saw the most matches, including the dramatic Brazil-Italy final that was decided on penalties and made Brazil the first nation to win its fourth World Cup. One tragic fact: Colombian defender Andres Escobar scored a disastrous own goal here and, possibly as retaliation, was shot dead when he returned to his home country.

Chicago – Soldier Field

Diana Ross sang her way down the field during the Opening Ceremony and missed a gimmick penalty kick. Bulgaria, who had theretofore never won a World Cup match, stunned the world by humiliating Greece 4-0. Okay, maybe the things that happened here in ’94 were mainly embarrassing.

Washington, D.C. – RFK Stadium

In 1994, RFK was mostly notable for Spain’s brilliant 3-0 win over Switzerland, thanks in no small part to goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta’s three astonishing saves. But today, the stadium is one of the most important to U.S. soccer, having held the majority of international matches (as well as playing home to the D.C. United).

Your Summer Reading List for U.S. Travel!

1. Islands in the Stream, by Ernest Hemingway

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If you’re headed to Key West, it’s natural to want to read some Hemingway to get in the mood for a visit to the writer’s home. But most of his best-known books are set in Europe; for more of a Key West feel, dive into his first posthumously published novel, set in nearby Bimini and Cuba. There’s booze and fishing aplenty, and even a Nazi submarine hunt. You’re pretty likely to encounter two out of those three yourself while in the Keys.

 

2. Our Band Could Be Your Life, by Michael Azzerad

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Seattle will forever be associated with Nirvana, but that bracing, punk-influenced sound didn’t come out of thin air. Azzerad’s lauded book documents Mission of Burma, Husker Du, and 11 other bands that laid the foundations of the underground alternative music world that Cobain and company finally brought out into the light of day. Definitely worth a read before you visit the Experience Music Project!

 

3. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

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It might be time to revisit this classic, especially if you’re on your way to Atlanta! It adds a great historical component to any visit to this significant Civil War city, and lends a human dimension to the cemeteries and monuments you can see. There’s even a special Gone with the Wind tour that brings you an intimate look into Margaret Mitchell’s life.

 

4. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett

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The Humphrey Bogart film is far better known than the book at this point — a shame, since it’s arguably the most important novel in the private eye genre! Spend some time in San Francisco while reading this classic and you’ll be hoping for dark, foggy nights in which to explore the city streets. You might even feel the urge to pick up a trench coat and fedora.

 

5. Brooklyn, Burning, by Steve Brezenoff

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New York is a city of a million stories, and this young adult novel zooms in on Greenpoint, Brooklyn to tell one that unfolds among real streets and bars. You can practically use the book as a map to stroll around the neighborhood! Intriguingly, it is not clear what gender either of the main characters of this love story is — and it doesn’t even matter.

Belmont Stakes Inspiration: Try Horseback Riding!

The fate of the Belmont Stakes is up in the air. Will California Chrome claim the Triple Crown? Will Commanding Curve or one of his cronies cruise to an upset? One thing is for certain: the drama of this high-stakes event always makes us dream about galloping around the track on the back of one of those swift steeds.

We recently highlighted a few great places around the country to try your hand at horseback riding, and here are a few more excellent ways to take the reins. HYAH!

1. Confederate Trails in Gettysburg, PA

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Trot through a Civil War battlefield to learn all about the fascinating and dreadful history of this conflict from a licensed guide.

 

2. Spur Cross Stables in Cave Creek, AZ

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Get a true taste of the Old West by riding from the site of an 1870s gold mine into the Sonoran Desert!

 

3. Chaparral Corporation in Milpitas, CA

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Learn the basics of Western riding and go for a canter in the beautiful and gentle hills of Ed Levin park. All ages welcome — there are ponies for the little ones!

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