California’s Santa Monica Pier Is Getting a ‘Stranger Things’ Makeover

Travel and Leisure - 0 sec ago
<p>The third season of <em>Stranger Things</em> promises to transport audiences to the summer of 1985 when it premieres on July 4. But for fans who just can’t wait — or those who want to see first-hand what the setting of the coming season could be like — there’s a solution. And it doesn’t require time travel or a visit to Indiana.</p><img alt="Santa Monica Pier "src=""><p>In anticipation of the new season, Los Angeles’ <a href="" target="_blank">Santa Monica Pier</a> is hosting a <em>Stranger Things</em> season 3-themed fair that promises to deliver an <a href="" target="_blank">imagined glimpse</a> into Hawkins, Indiana in the summer of 1985. The two-day fair kicks off Saturday, June 29 and runs until Sunday, June 30 — giving <em>Stranger Things</em>’ biggest fans four days to recuperate before the new season drops on Netflix.</p><p>Like any good fair, the <em>Stranger Things 3 </em>Fun Fair will be packed with carnival games, a slime-filled dunk tank, and a Demogorgon-filled Curiosity House. At the center of the event, guests can watch '80s cover bands, magicians, and the Hawkins High School Cheerleaders, while those who visit Hawkins Bike Shop will have the chance to win a Max-inspired BMX bike.</p><p>The <em>Stranger Things</em>-driven fair doesn’t stop there. Expect to find the <a href="" target="_blank">Santa Monica’s</a> iconic Pacific Wheel transformed into the Hawkins Wheel, while the Playland Arcade will become Hawkins’ Palace Arcade.</p><p>For a full '80s fair experience, come hungry. There will be eating contests and an old-school Scoops Ahoy ice cream truck that’s slated to be featured in season 3. The fair runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. both days and will be located at the Pier Deck parking lot at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier. Admission is free.</p><p>The following weekend, the <em>Stranger Things</em> theme will takeover Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park in Brooklyn’s Coney Island. The East Coast event kicks off on Thursday, July 4 — the same day <em>Stranger Things 3</em> premieres — and runs through Sunday, July 7.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Limited-edition Allbirds Colors Are Perfect for Summer — Shop Now Before They’re Gone Forever

Travel and Leisure - 2 hours 22 min ago
<p>As you begin checking off your shopping list before your summer adventures, there’s no doubt that <a href="">carry-on backpacks</a>, <a href="">comfy travel outfits</a>, and <a href="">new sunglasses</a> are at the top of your list. But there’s one more essential you don’t want to forget that’s totally worth upgrading this year: comfortable sneakers.</p><p>There’s nothing worse than walking around a new city in shoes that are too tight or give you blisters. So when <a href="">selecting a comfortable walking shoe</a>, fabric and weight are key to ensure it’s light enough for all-day wear and will allow your feet to breathe. And that’s why <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Allbirds’ $95 wool runner</a> is one of our favorites for traveling. The machine-washable shoe is made with breathable merino sheep’s wool for an insanely comfortable fit — it’s even <a href="">beloved by former President Barack Obama</a>.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="">17 Comfortable Sneakers for Women That Amazon Reviewers Can’t Stop Raving About</a></p><p>Recently <a href="">Allbirds released its first-ever pair of flats</a> to its collection, but we’re crushing on the brand’s <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">limited-edition colors</a> that are bold, bright, and made for summer. Available for both men and women, each of these six Allbirds styles (Wool Runners, Tree Runners, Wool Loungers, Tree Loungers, Tree Skippers, and Tree Toppers) are sold in newly added colors that are quickly selling out. And because they are limited edition, there’s no telling how long they will be available to shop.</p><p>While each one of Allbirds’ shoes comes in traditional colorways like black, gray, and white, these new colors, which include quirky-named hues like Honey, Tide Pool, Sunkissed, and Dolphin, are a fun twist on the company’s original vision. So before you say yes to that safe, all-white or black sneaker you always buy before your next trip, check out Allbirds’ pretty colors for each style below.</p><h2>Allbirds Wool Runners</h2><img alt="Allbirds Wool Runners "src=""><p>Available in 10 limited-edition colors.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $95</p><h2>Allbirds Wool Loungers</h2><img alt="Allbirds Wool Loungers "src=""><p>Available in three limited-edition colors.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $95</p><h2>Allbirds Tree Runners</h2><img alt="Allbirds Tree Runners "src=""><p>Available in two limited-edition colors.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $95</p><h2>Allbirds Tree Toppers</h2><img alt="Allbirds Tree Toppers "src=""><p>Available in seven limited-edition colors.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $115</p><h2>Allbirds Tree Loungers</h2><img alt="Allbirds Tree Loungers "src=""><p>Available in six limited-edition colors.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $95</p><h2>Allbirds Tree Skippers</h2><img alt="Allbirds Tree Skippers "src=""><p>Available in seven limited-edition colors.</p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $95</p>
Categories: Travel

These Stretchy Crepe Pants From Nordstrom Make Travel a Breeze

Travel and Leisure - 2 hours 37 min ago
<p>While <a href="" target="_blank">comfort</a> is my absolute top requirement for getting on a plane, I don’t necessarily want to look as comfortable as I actually feel. That’s where these <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Stretch Crepe Slim Ankle Pants from Eileen Fisher</a> come in: They’re like wearing your favorite pair of sweatpants — while looking like you could step off the plane and into a meeting or head off for a day of <a href="" target="_blank">vintage shopping in Milan</a>.</p><p>I bought these pants several months ago and started wearing them so often — both for travel and at home — that I had to buy a second pair. At $168 they’re not the cheapest option, but trust me, they’re worth the splurge.</p><p>The super-stretchy crepe material looks understated-professional and doesn’t wrinkle terribly, making them perfect for squeezing into a <a href="" target="_blank">carry-on suitcase</a> as well as allowing you to step off a red-eye flight and right into a day of sightseeing. They’re slim-cut, but not skin-tight so they breathe (because there’s nothing worse than having a tight pair of leggings stick to you as you’re trying to sleep in a small airplane seat). And the elastic waist is very forgiving.</p><p>While you’ll feel as cozy as if you were binge watching TV on your couch, you really will look the epitome of chic. I wore these pants to meet family one recent weekend at a neighborhood playground and someone asked if I was coming home from work — that’s how impeccably put together I looked. And the stretch allowed me to get down on the ground with my two-year-old nephew.</p><p>One of the best features is these pants come in both regular and petite sizes, which is music to my ears as someone who is so short she has to get every single pair of pants altered (but not these). They also come in a variety of colors, including black, graphite gray, white, and midnight blue, ensuring they will go with any outfit you choose.</p><p>I would walk around in oversized sweatpants every day if it was socially acceptable — to work, to brunch, and yes, on a plane. But unfortunately that’s frowned upon. With these pants, however, I can channel that golden age of flying without having to be uncomfortable — at least as comfortable as is possible crammed into a narrow middle seat on a transatlantic flight.</p><img alt="Eileen Fisher pants "src=""><p>Buy these Eileen Fisher travel pants on <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a> for $168.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Obamas’ Latest Stop on Their European Vacation Is the Clooneys’ Lake Como Villa

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 17:33
<p>Over the weekend, the Obama family partook in the fairly typical tradition of staying with friends at their home. But because it’s the Obamas, the friends in question are George and Amal Clooney and the house is a villa on the coast of Lake Como.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha arrived at Villa Oleandra</a> (the name of the Clooney household) on June 21, ahead of their appearance at the Clooney Foundation for Justice dinner on June 22.</p><img alt="Obama Family Vacation with George Clooney in Lake Como and Avignon, France "src=""><p>During the Obamas’ visit, the mayor of Laglio — the town where Clooney is an honorary citizen — has imposed a 300-foot exclusion zone around the villa. Any unauthorized person who passes within the zone will be subject to a fine of approximately $565, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>The Daily Mail</em>.</a></p><img alt="Obama Family Vacation with George Clooney in Lake Como and Avignon, France "src=""><p>Numerous other security measures were put in place ahead of the former first family’s visit. The car park was closed off from public access. A nearby beach is also closed and pedestrians are banned from even walking past (typically the villa’s surrounding area is open to the public). Restrictions remained in place through Monday morning.</p><p>Clooney owns a total of four homes in the Lake Como region. On a normal day, Villa Oleandra is easy for the public to see — <a href=";adults=22&amp;sl_alternate_dates_exclusion=true" target="_blank">it’s even available to rent from $568 per night</a>.</p><p>The Clooneys have hosted several other famous friends at the villa, including <a href="" target="_blank">Prince Harry and Meghan Markle</a>, Brad Pitt and Bono — although none of those other famous visitors has necessitated such a high-profile security move.</p><img alt="Obama Family Vacation with George Clooney in Lake Como and Avignon, France "src=""><p>The Obamas drove to Lake Como from Milan, where they landed after a flight from Provence. While the family was in the South of France, they were rumored to have <a href="" target="_blank">stayed at a farmhouse that runs with a pricetag of about $62,000 per week</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

Here’s How to Take a Bauhaus-themed Road Trip Through Germany

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 16:52
<p dir="ltr">The Bauhaus, the influential German school of Modernist design founded by Walter Gropius, whose members included architects such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer, existed for only 14 years before the Nazi regime shut it down and its founders fled Germany. Yet the school's ethos — a clean aesthetic and a philosophy that prized both form and function — has become ubiquitous across the globe. Now, with the April debut of the Bauhaus Museum Weimar, two more museums on their way, and a calendar full of celebratory exhibitions and events all year long, Germany has Bauhaus on the brain. Here's how to take a pilgrimage to the country's most notable Bauhaus sites.</p><h2>Frankfurt</h2><p>Fly in to <a href="" target="_blank">Frankfurt</a> and rent a car. Before you skip town, stop at the <a href="" target="_blank">German Architecture Museum</a>, where scale models trace the evolution of architecture, from prehistory to the present. One current exhibition, "New Human, New Housing," explores how Modernism shaped the city of Frankfurt’s urban design.</p><h2>Weimar</h2><p dir="ltr">Drive northeast to the <a href="" target="_blank">Bauhaus Museum Weimar</a>, in the city where the group was founded. It shows how the Bauhaus approach was expressed in everything from lounge chairs to children's toys. Buy an all-access card that gets you in to four other sites, including the 1923 Haus am Horn, one of the first Bauhaus model homes, which reopens in mid-May. Stay the night at the newly renovated, 1920s-inspired <a href="" target="_blank">Hotel Elephant Weimar</a>.</p><h2>Dessau</h2><p dir="ltr">On your way to Berlin, stop in Dessau, where Gropius and his cohort moved after the Bauhaus’s Weimar location was closed down. Spend the day at the <a href="" target="_blank">Bauhaus Building</a>, site of the school itself, and the <a href="" target="_blank">Masters' Houses</a>, faculty residences that were once home to luminaries such as Kandinsky and Klee.</p><h2>Berlin</h2><p dir="ltr">Check in to the centrally located <a href="" target="_blank">Das Stue</a>, then swing by the Gropius-designed <a href="" target="_blank">Bauhaus Archive</a>. It’s in the midst of a major expansion, so you can’t go inside, but it’s worth a stop nonetheless. For a taste of the museum’s offerings, visit the temporary location in Charlottenburg. At the adjoining <a href="" target="_blank">Bauhaus-Shop</a>, you can buy a set of clean-lined Josef Hartwig chess pieces, or perfectly formed teacups designed by Gropius himself. Book a tour with <a href="" target="_blank">Art:Berlin</a> to see several notable Bauhaus sites or get an in-depth look at just one, such as Gropiusstadt, Walter Gropius's model city on the outskirts of <a href="" target="_blank">Berlin</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Best Places to Sip an Aperol Spritz in the U.S.

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:50
<p>This is the summer of the Aperol Spritz.</p><p>Thanks to a certain controversial article in <em><a href="" target="_blank">The New York Times</a></em>, the bitter and fizzy cocktail has been on everyone’s minds. And according to a new <a href="" target="_blank">Yelp survey</a>, mentions of the Italian drink are up by 94 percent compared to last year — that’s especially true in cities like <a href="" target="_blank">New York</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Boston</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Washington D.C.</a></p><p>And we can’t blame Yelp reviewers: the drink’s bright orange color and fizzy bubbles make it as fun to look at as it is refreshing to drink. Incidentally, it’s also the best way to pretend you’re lounging on the shores of the <a href="" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast</a> without a care in the world.</p><p>To pinpoint which drinks are having a moment, Yelp looked at reviews in restaurant and nightlife categories that mentioned dozens of different drinks and flavors. They then pulled the top places to sip a coveted Aperol Spritz in different cities throughout the country by looking for reviews with relevant keywords and ranking them by several factors like total number of reviews.</p><p>But the Aperol Spritz isn’t the only drink Yelp reviewers want to <a href="" target="_blank">sip this summer</a>: spiked seltzer (especially White Claw), palomas, and negronis are also growing in popularity, according to the survey. Watermelon is the most common ingredient on menus and in drinks this summer, closely followed by berry and peach.</p><p>And while rosé peaked in popularity last year, frosé still remains one of the most popular drinks of the season as mentions of the slushy drink go up 117 percent during the summer compared to the rest of the year (especially in cities like <a href="" target="_blank">Nashville</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">New Orleans</a>). If you’re in <a href="" target="_blank">Pittsburgh</a>, Nashville, or <a href="" target="_blank">Cleveland</a>, however, you’re more likely to find rosé cider being passed around.</p><p>But if you’re intent on sticking with a fresh Aperol Spritz, here are the top 15 places in the U.S. to get your hands on one:</p>New York NY: <a href="" target="_blank">Olio e Piú</a>Austin, TX: <a href="" target="_blank">Juliet Italian Kitchen</a>Washington, DC: <a href="" target="_blank">Little Coco's</a>Boston, MA: <a href="" target="_blank">Coppa Enoteca</a>Los Angeles, CA: <a href="" target="_blank">Kettle Black</a>San Diego, CA: <a href="" target="_blank">Davanti Enoteca</a>Philadelphia, PA: <a href="" target="_blank">Harper's Garden</a>Miami, FL: <a href="" target="_blank">Via Verdi Miami</a>San Francisco, CA: <a href="" target="_blank">Waterbar</a>Chicago, IL: <a href="" target="_blank">Eataly</a>Houston, TX: <a href="" target="_blank">Miss Carousel</a>Phoenix, AZ: <a href="" target="_blank">KOVO Modern Mediterranean</a>Seattle, WA: <a href="" target="_blank">Bar Cotto</a>Nashville, TN: <a href="" target="_blank">Henrietta Red</a>New Orleans, LA: <a href="" target="_blank">Sofia Nola</a>
Categories: Travel

This Luxury Camp in Namibia Is Surrounded by One of the Most Stunning Desert Landscapes on Earth

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:01
<p>Namibia has some of the <a href="" target="_blank">most stunning desert landscapes in the world</a>, and was already one of the <a href="" target="_blank">best places to travel this year</a> even before the upcoming opening of <a href="" target="_blank">Sonop Lodge</a>.</a><p>Sonop Lodge, which opens July 1, is the latest in the <a href="" target="_blank">growing luxury safari lodge industry</a> in Africa. Located in <a href=",+Namibia/@-28.444466,18.8865343,67207m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x1c3c8d3dc847c43f:0xc83ec5acb0055977!8m2!3d-28.45!4d18.966667?hl=en-US" target="_blank">Namibia's southeastern corner</a>, the lodge is the sister property of the luxury Omaanda Lodge located in the center of the country.</p><img alt="Sonop Lodge, Namibia "src=""><p>Sonop has 10 lavish tents, where guests can “<a href="" target="_blank">live the life of yesteryear’s wealthy explorers</a> from the early 20th century.”</p><p>Each tent takes on a British colonial design that harkens back to the 1920s, and sits on top of boulders to overlook the sandy landscape. The tents are furnished with antiques, ornate rugs, solid wood, and comfortable furniture.</p><img alt="Sonop Lodge, Namibia "src=""><img alt="Sonop Lodge, Namibia "src=""><p>The property also offers a separate cocktail &amp; cigar lounge, a spa with two double treatment rooms, a fitness center, heated outdoor infinity pool, a gastronomic restaurant, communal area, stables, an open-air cinema, and a private airstrip. In addition, guests can enjoy morning yoga, electric bike tours, hikes, and stargazing using the lodge’s many telescopes.</p><p>Of course, the true appeal of Namibia has little to do with hotel amenities. Sonop Lodge is on a 13,800-acre property offering guests views of Africa's amazing wildlife, including leopards, brown hyenas, jackals, foxes, and rabbits.</p><p>And, far away from city lights and the hustle of bustle of most people's every day life, there's even more to see at night — just look up.</p><img alt="Sonop Lodge, Namibia "src=""><p>Sonop Lodge opens on July 1, and is now taking reservations. According to <a href="" target="_blank">Luxury Travel Magazine</a>, the lodge’s parent company, <a href="" target="_blank">Zannier Hotels</a>, is offering special discounted rates through August 31 in honor of the grand opening. In addition, the company is offering a year-round 10-percent discount all bookings that combine stays at Sonop and Omaanda, plus an additional 50-percent off for every third night at each lodge.</p><p>Opening rates for one-bedroom tents at Sonop Lodge start at $645. Prices are per person, per night, and include accommodation, beverages (except premium brands and Champagne), and a daily scenic sunrise drive.</p>
Categories: Travel

Angkor Wat Is Famously Crowded — Here's How to Get a ‘Jungle Temple’ All to Yourself

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 11:30
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Angkor Wat</a> can be hard work. In the heat and humidity of Cambodia, many a visitor has confidently planned a full-day tour of the <a href="" target="_blank">9th-15th century ancient cities and temples</a> only to escape back to their hotel by midday.</p><p>However, it's not the 95°F heat that can be difficult to manage when touring Angkor Wat, but the hordes of visitors. Coaches packed with tourists roll up by the minute in front of most of the bigger temples, causing queues to take <a href="" target="_blank">awkwardly-posed selfies.</a></p><p>If you want to come to Angkor Wat to find your own jungle infested ancient ruin, first understand that it’s a vast complex of dozens of big and small temples that tour operators cherry-pick from. Now ignore their itineraries and go slightly off the beaten track. Instagram will thank you.</p><img alt="Angkor Wat Temple "src=""><h2>Skip Angkor Wat at Sunrise</h2><p>Everyone goes at the break of dawn, and it makes no sense. There is not a single tour group itinerary that does not visit Angkor Wat — the biggest of all the temples in the <a href="">Angkor Archaeological Park</a> — for sunrise. It means getting up at 4:00 a.m. to stand beside a small lake to watch the sun coming up behind the building's five towers. As well as having to jostle with thousands of other tourists for the same photograph, a relatively uninspiring silhouette shot, the pond it’s reflected in is very often in an unphotogenic state. If you want to photograph the warm, orangey sunlight on Angkor Wat itself, you actually need to stand on the eastern side, where almost no-one goes.</p><p>However, the real problem with this mass-gathering at sunrise is its knock-on effect. After sun-up, every single tourist heads to the second most visited temple at Angkor, Ta Prohm, also known as "The 'Tomb Raider' temple." This late 12th- and early 13th-century temple is exquisite, and most famous for being used in Angelina Jolie's 2001 movie. The wild-looking creeper vines and trees growing out of it give it an iconic look. Cue a huge line-up for a selfie with the best-looking, most dramatic tree.</p><p>The solution? Tear-up the itinerary and do it differently because if it’s tree-infested temples you want, there are alternatives.</p><img alt="Banteay Kdei "src=""><h2>Where to Actually Go for Sunrise</h2><p>The simplest way of avoiding the sunrise crush at Angkor Wat is to forgo the cliche photo that you probably won't be happy with and head somewhere else. Tell your tuk-tuk driver (who charge about $15 for a full day tour from nearby Siem Reap) to take you to the obvious candidate, Ta Prohm, and they will tell you that it opens at 7:30 a.m. That's true, and actually the perfect time to photograph it. Not only is it at its quietest, but it's also when the early morning sun is beginning to light it up delicately.</p><p>If you want a solitary sunrise, visit nearby Banteay Kdei next to the peaceful Srah Srang lake. It has a smiling, serene face on its outer gates as iconic as anything at Angkor. It also faces the sunrise. Then head to Ta Prohm for its opening.</p><img alt="Preah Khan "src=""><h2>Where to Find Deserted Jungle Temples</h2><p>Some people will tell you to go to Beng Mealea, an early 12th-century temple about 25 miles east of the main group of temples at Angkor, to get the real "undiscovered" experience. However, that takes time you probably won't have, and costs an extra $5 on top of the $62 it costs to tour the central temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park for three days.</p><p>Instead, head to two 12th-century temples left alone by tourists, Ta Nei and Ta Som. Ta Nei is accessed via a narrow track through dense jungle about a mile past the bigger Ta Keo, though it can be navigated easily in a tuk-tuk. Why Ta Nei? It's small, it's ruined, and it's quiet. It looks rough, with trees growing through it. It's what you always thought Angkor Wat was like.</p><p>The bigger Ta Som is not far away, and though it's part of a five temple-strong "grand tour" that’s a popular "day two" itinerary, it's also relatively quiet.</p><img alt="Ta Nei "src=""><h2>Where to Go for Sunset</h2><p>You've got two choices: Preah Khan or Bayon. If you've already visited Ta Nei and Ta Som, you will have driven straight past Preah Khan. It’s a rather shambolic, labyrinthine ruin that’s also on the "grand tour" route, and it has a genuine feel of an abandoned city. There's even a building at Preah Khan that uses Roman-esque columns unlike anything else at Angkor. It's a fine place for sunset.</p><p>But so is Bayon, a short drive from Preah Khan. It’s perhaps the most iconic place in the Angkor Archaeological Park, and the most important temple within the incredible Angkor Thom complex. Bayon places third on tour operators' must-see list after Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm, but really, it should be top of that list. Bayon’s upper level is home to dozens of serene faces where you can get eyes-on. In the last 90 minutes or so of sunlight, these faces appear golden. Don't expect to be all on your own, though it's not particularly busy, largely because the tour companies seem to take their guests to watch the sunset from a hilltop temple nearby called Phnom Bakheng</p><img alt="Bayon temple faces "src=""><p>Go to the main Angkor Wat temple, of course. Its size is awesome, and so are its huge bas-reliefs. Just don't bother in the early morning, which is too precious a time to waste on a relatively uninspiring location teeming with tourists. Skip the cliche sunrise photo and instead prioritize memorable moments and relative solitude at Banteay Kdei, Ta Prohm, Ta Nei, Ta Som and Preah Khan.</p>
Categories: Travel

Here’s How I Traveled in Bali on $25 a Day

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 11:16
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Bali</a> is often perceived as a beyond-bourgeois destination — a land of expansive resorts and expensive bills, a place where only the rich can enjoy the beaches and beautiful temples.</p><p>But I’m here to tell you that Bali can be <a href="" target="_blank">done on a budget</a> — and a budget of just $25 per day.</p><p>Allow me to explain: when my husband and I decided to visit Bali, we set a strict $50-a-day spending limit, which breaks down to just $25 per person. With a little discipline and a lot of research, we were able to stick to it, averaging just $43.67 per day between the two of us.</p><p>We visited Ubud, known for its lush rain forest and rice paddies, and Nusa Penida, an island with stunning beaches and cliff-side sights. We indulged in animal parks, massages, private tours, and more. In other words, our trip didn’t feel like a sacrifice — it just felt like a steal.</p><p>How did we do it? Here’s a peak into our spending for our six-day vacation through Bali.</p><h2>Day 1: Ubud — $31.11</h2><img alt="Campuhan ridge walk - Ubud - Bali- Indonesia "src=""><p>We arrived in Ubud in the evening, just in time for dinner and to check into our guesthouse.</p><p><strong>$3.61</strong>: We’d heard that warungs — the Indonesian equivalent of a café — could be cheap, but we were delighted to find we could nosh on nasi goreng (a fried rice dish), vegetable stir-fry, and a bottle of mineral water for less than the price of a children’s-sized McDonald’s meal.</p><p><strong>$27.50</strong>: We read a lot of reviews before we chose our guesthouse, just off one of Ubud’s main roads. Our room was air-conditioned with a private bathroom and queen-sized bed, but the best part was that it was just steps from a pool. The price included free breakfast, which meant we could save moolah each day by eating fresh fruit, eggs, and sausage there.</p><h2>Day 2: Ubud, $36.80</h2><p>In the morning, we walked the Campuhan Ridge while snacking on trail mix we’d brought with us. By 10:30 a.m. we were back at our guesthouse to scarf down our free breakfast.</p><img alt="Two long tailed Balinese Macaque and babies at in Bali "src=""><p><strong>$6.94</strong>: A trip to Ubud wouldn’t be complete without a vist to its <a href="" target="_blank">infamous Monkey Forest</a>, a 12.5-hectare sanctuary for more than 700 long-tailed, cheeky, devilish, but adorable monkeys.</p><p><strong>$13.49</strong>: We hadn’t planned to stay in Ubud a second night, but we weren’t ready to leave yet, so we reserved ourselves a room at a different guesthouse. (The one we stayed at the previous evening was booked up.) This room also included a private bathroom, and had its own balcony overlooking a courtyard. For $14 less, though, this place did not have a pool.</p><p><strong>$11.79</strong>: With time to kill before dinner, we “splurged” on one-hour Balinese massages. Spas are as common in Ubud as Starbucks are in New York, so it was easy to find a spot that combined a tranquil atmosphere with cleanliness, comfort, and the right prices for our slim budget.</p><p><strong>$4.58</strong>: At a different warung, we order two fried-rice entrees and spring rolls for an affordable dinner.</p><h2>Day 3: Nusa Penida, $49.65</h2><p>Ubud was beautiful but it was time to hit the beach. We went south to Padang Bai’s harbor.</p><p><strong>$4.16</strong>: We took an air-conditioned shuttle bus, which we shared with others, to Padang Bai.</p><p><strong>$4.30</strong>: The ferry, what the Indonesians call the “slow boat,” takes about an hour-and-a-half to reach Nusa Penida. The private “fast boats,” on the other hand, take just 45 minutes to go from coast to coast, but they come with a price tag of about $13.87 per person, at minimum. SWe opted to take the ferry and save the cash for a tour we knew we’d take the next day.</p><p><strong>$1.73</strong>: As we waited for the ferry, we split a huge plate of banana and chocolate pancakes.</p><p><strong>$1.39</strong>: It’s important to stay hydrated in Bali’s heat; we grabbed four water bottles to-go.</p><p><strong>$5.55</strong>: Safely in Nusa Penida’s harbor, we hailed two taxi motorbikes to take us to our hotel, located just steps from the beach.</p><p><strong>$26</strong>: Our hotel, which featured a dive school and dive tours, was on the expensive side — at least for our budget. But the hosts were warm and helpful, which more than made up for it.</p><p><strong>$6.52</strong>: The hotel’s restaurant had an impressive menu that included a burger. We couldn’t help ourselves: we ordered burgers along with fries to satiate our American cravings. That afternoon, we soaked up the warm sun and put a dent in our books at the local beach.</p><p><strong>$5.06</strong>: Back at our hotel, we shifted back to Indonesian food, ordering mie goreng — a fried noodle and vegetable dish — and chicken satay served with peanut sauce and steamed rice.</p><h2>Day 4: Nusa Penida, $58.32</h2><p><strong>$0.69</strong>: After eating the breakfast included in the price of our hotel, we grabbed a 1,000-ML bottle of water to take on the road. It was time to explore the southern tip of the island.</p><p><strong>$20.81</strong>: We split the cost of a private driver with a pair of women who were also staying at our hotel. The deal was this: the driver would take us anywhere on the island from morning until sunset. We booked him for two days so that we could spend ample time at each place.</p><img alt="Atuh Beach, Bali "src=""><p><strong>$1.39</strong>: At Atuh Beach, our first stop, we paid an entrance fee. But free bean bags awaited us after we hiked down from the hilltop. (You could also rent lounge chairs for $3.47 each.)</p><p><strong>$1.39</strong>: Sarongs are required to visit Peguyangan Waterfall, where a Hindu temple is carved into the cliffside. Luckily, they were available to rent for about $0.70 per person.</p><p>Admittedly, we skipped lunch this day. It could have been the heat, which was intense, or simply that we were very busy; we’re not sure. But we promise we didn’t starve ourselves.</p><p><strong>$7.35</strong>: The food was so yummy at the hotel that we ate there again, and we didn’t regret it.</p><p><strong>$0.69</strong>: We also purchased two small bottles of water to re-hydrate after a day in the sun.</p><p><strong>$26</strong>: We relaxed on our hotel room’s front porch before winding down in some ice-cold AC.</p><h2>Day 5: Nusa Penida, $58.87</h2><p><strong>$0.69</strong>: Another day, another big bottle of water to battle the heat.</p><p><strong>$20.81</strong>: We asked our driver to make four stops this day: Kelingking Beach, Broken Beach, Angel’s Billabong, and Crystal Bay, all free, natural attractions on the west side of the island.</p><p><strong>$1.04</strong>: After hiking down to Kelingking Beach, we were parched and needed another water.</p><p><strong>$1.39</strong>: Toes in the sand at Crystal Bay, we split a heaping pile of mie goreng for our lunch.</p><p><strong>$8.74</strong>: We were beat — and we also couldn’t beat the hotel’s menu (and prices), where we ate yet again.</p><p><strong>$26</strong>: Our last night at this hotel, we enjoyed the front porch again before heading to bed.</p><h2>Day 6: Nusa Penida, $27.75</h2><p>We had an afternoon flight to Flores, so we rose early to take a boat back to mainland Bali.</p><p><strong>$20.81</strong>: When booked through our hotel, tickets for the “fast boat” were discounted, so we took advantage of the deal, saving $7 in ticket costs and 45 minutes of travel time.</p><p><strong>$6.94</strong>: We met a nice couple on the ferry who, also headed to the airport, agreed to split the cost of a cab. It took some negotiating, but we got the price down to 200,000 Rupiah or about $14.</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Maximize Your Wyndham Rewards for Free Stays and Elite Status

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 11:00
<p>Hotel points can be just as important as <a href="" target="_blank">airline miles</a> or <a href="" target="_blank">credit card points</a> when it comes to mapping out your travel rewards strategy. Not only can travelers earn and redeem hotel points for stays all over the world, but they can often also convert points into airline miles or exchange them for unique experiences like concerts and private dinners.</p><p>Wyndham Rewards is one of the largest hotel loyalty programs in the world. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of it.</p><h2>What is Wyndham Rewards?</h2><p>Wyndham Rewards is the loyalty program of Wyndham Hotels &amp; Resorts, which comprises a whopping <a href="" target="_blank">19 distinct hotel brands</a> with over 9,000 properties in more than 80 countries plus vacation rentals and club resorts like Shell Vacations Club and</p><p>There are some you’ve likely heard of or even stayed at before, including Ramada by Wyndham, Days Inn by Wyndham, La Quinta by Wyndham, Travelodge by Wyndham and Howard Johnson by Wyndham. Most of these properties are geared toward value-seeking travelers on a budget.</p><p>Brands with higher-end hotels include TRYP by Wyndham, Wyndham Grand, and Dolce Hotels and Resorts by Wyndham, the last of which counts the tony Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa and the Aspen Meadows Resort in Colorado among its properties.</p><p>Wyndham Rewards has also partnered with Caesars Rewards so that members can enjoy benefits at Las Vegas and Atlantic City hotels and casinos such as Caesars, Harrah’s, The LINQ, Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace, and Planet Hollywood.</p><img alt="Wyndham Hotels "src=""><h2>How to Earn Wyndham Rewards Points</h2><p>Wyndham Rewards members can earn points a few different ways. The first is by actually staying at Wyndham properties, for which members earn 10 points per dollar spent on room rates, or 1,000 points per stay, whichever is greater. You can earn 10 points per dollar when booking activities like architectural tours, wine tastings, and live performances through the brand’s <a href="" target="_blank">destination portal</a>, too.</p><p>Wyndham Rewards fields an <a href="" target="_blank">online shopping portal</a> where members can earn multiple points per dollar spent at various partner retailers’ sites. Simply log in with your membership number, click on the merchant you want to shop at, and you will be redirected to their site. After making your purchases, you should see bonus points hit your account within a few weeks. Some recent deals included two points per dollar at Bloomingdale’s, three points per dollar at Apple, and four points per dollar at Macy’s.</p><p>Wyndham Rewards also has <a href="" target="_blank">two co-branded credit cards</a> issued by Barclays. The Wyndham Rewards Visa with no annual fee usually offers sign-up bonuses of around 15,000 points upon first use. It earns three points per dollar on Wyndham purchases, two points per dollar at gas stations and grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart), and on utilities, and one point per dollar everywhere else. Cardholders receive automatic Gold status with Wyndham Rewards.</p><p>The Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature with an annual fee of $75 usually offers a sign-up bonus of 30,000 points – 15,000 after your first purchase and an additional 15,000 once you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. It earns five points per dollar on Wyndham purchases, and then two points per dollar in the same categories as the no-fee card, and one point per dollar on everything else. Those with this credit card enjoy Platinum elite status.</p><p>Just note that points expire after 18 months of account inactivity, so you must earn or redeem within that period to keep your points alive. All points expire four years after being earned, regardless of account activity, so use them or lose them.</p><img alt="Wyndham Hotels "src=""><h2>How to Redeem Wyndham Rewards Points</h2><p>Wyndham Rewards recently changed its award structure. It offers <em>go free</em> awards, which are simply free nights for which you redeem points, and <em>go fast</em> awards that require a mix of points and cash to book. Both are broken down into three categories.</p><p>The three <em>go free</em> award categories cost 7,500 points, 15,000 points, or 30,000 points each, depending on the hotel. If you want to book a <em>go fast</em> award, it will cost you 1,500 points, 3,000 points, or 6,000 points plus cash co-pays.</p><p>For example, a night at <a href=";checkInDate=5/15/2019&amp;checkOutDate=5/16/2019&amp;useWRPoints=false&amp;children=0&amp;adults=1&amp;rooms=1&amp;radius=25&amp;sessionId=1556323045&amp;referringBrand=WR" target="_blank">The New Yorker, a Wyndham Hotel</a>, costs $360, 30,000 points, or $265 plus 6,000 points. On the other hand, a night at the <a href="" target="_blank">Ramada by Wyndham Phoenix Midtown</a> costs $110, 15,000 points, or $77 plus 3,000 points. In general, you should get around 1 – 1.5 cents per point in value if you redeem for an award night.</p><p>Apart from hotel stays, members can redeem their points for experiences through the brand’s <a href="" target="_blank">activities portal</a> instead of paying cash. They can redeem points for merchandise like electronics and clothes or for gift cards through Wyndham’s <a href="" target="_blank">online catalog</a>. It is also possible to redeem points for <a href="" target="_blank">charitable donations</a>. However, the value you get for your points with all these methods tends to be abysmal, so avoid these options unless you have tens of thousands of points to burn.</p><h2>Wyndham Rewards Partners</h2><p>Wyndham Rewards has a few other partners where you can earn and redeem points. Members receive 100 points per day on qualifying car rentals with <a href="" target="_blank">Avis</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Budget</a> and 250 points for every <a href="" target="_blank">DoorDash food order</a>.</p><p>The program partners with 13 airlines including American Airlines, Air Canada, Hawaiian Airlines, and United, as well as Amtrak, so that members can earn miles on their hotel stays instead of Wyndham Rewards points. With most of those partners, regular and Gold elite members earn one mile per dollar spent on stays, and Platinum and Diamond elites earn two miles per dollar spent. On the redemption side, you can convert 6,000 Wyndham Rewards points into 1,200 airline miles (with 11 partners) or Amtrak points, which is a terrible return on your earning, so skip this option.</p><h2>Elite Status Tiers and Benefits</h2><p>Wyndham Rewards members can achieve elite status by staying a certain number of nights in their hotels each year. Paid stays with an average rate of $25 or more and award nights count toward status.</p><p>The program currently has <a href="" target="_blank">three tiers</a> of elite status, starting with Gold for completing five nights. At this level, members earn 10% more points on stays, have access to preferred rooms, late check-out and a dedicated customer service line.</p><p>Those who stay 15 nights or more qualify for Platinum, which includes additional benefits such as earning 15% bonus points, early check-in times, a status match to the Caesar Rewards program, and rental upgrades with Avis and Budget.</p><p>The top tier of Wyndham Rewards status is Diamond, which is earned after 40 nights. The additional perks at this tier include earning 20% bonus points, eligibility for suite upgrades, a welcome amenity at check-in, and the ability to confer Gold status on another member.</p><p>All members, regardless of elite tier, enjoy free Wi-Fi, and can redeem their points for awards. Any elite nights you earn above and beyond the tier you achieve in the current year can be rolled over toward qualification in the following year, which is a nice feature.</p><img alt="Wyndham Hotels "src=""><h2>Pros and Cons of Wyndham Rewards</h2><p>With 9,000 hotels across the world, there are plenty of places where you can earn and redeem Wyndham Rewards points. Hotel award redemptions tend to be a pretty good deal, and the co-branded credit cards earn bonus points in several different categories.</p><p>On the downside, Wyndham does not have very many luxury properties, so if you want to use your points for aspirational or once-in-a-lifetime stays, this is not the program for you. Earning elite status is easy, but perhaps not worth it given the few perks you will actually enjoy. The program also recently changed its award redemption structure, so it might do so again with little notice.</p><h2>How to Sign Up</h2><p>It’s free to join Wyndham Rewards, and doing so will get you complimentary internet when staying at Wyndham properties, so you might as well <a href="" target="_blank">sign up here</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

This Portable, Lightweight Safe Will Keep Your Belongings Secure Wherever You Go — and It’s Only $15

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:46
<p>I’ve traveled abroad numerous times over the years, always staying in hotels, but while planning an <a href="" target="_blank">upcoming trip to Europe</a>, my friends and I decided to <a href="" target="_blank">stay in Airbnbs</a> this time around. While I am excited to live as the locals do (not to mention actually be able to cook my own meals), I soon realized that I would no longer have the added security of hotel safes this time around.</p><p>I tend not to pack valuable items like expensive jewelry or electronics, but every time I travel outside the country I always make use of the hotel’s safe to store my passport and extra cash. Now that we’ll be renting out homes, I wasn’t sure where I would keep these important items. With a little over a week to go until my flight departs, I naturally started frantically searching on Amazon and quickly found a solution to my problem.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Best Messenger Bags to Travel With, According to Thousands of Customer Reviews</a></p><p>After reading the rave reviews for <a href=";linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=tlmasterlockportablesafercarhart0619-20&amp;linkId=a06a9bfb8833bf96aa9405a7376dd5e4&amp;language=en_US" target="_blank">The Master Lock 5900D Portable Safe</a>, I knew I had to give it a try. Weighing less than two pounds, the lightweight, hardshell safe will barely add any weight to my suitcase. Plus, it is so compact I can even carry it in my purse if I need to. The water-resistant safe is also padded with shock-absorbing foam that keeps your belongings safe and dry at all times.</p><p>Not only did it arrive the day after I ordered it (<a href=";linkCode=ll2&amp;tag=tlmasterlockportablesafercarhart0619-20&amp;linkId=cba5e8c2d5c74d4e82a8bcebbe5a017f&amp;language=en_US" target="_blank">thank you, Amazon Prime</a>!) but setting my own personalized four-digit code was a breeze and the integrated cable was easy to maneuver around to securely attach it to a fixed object. While its small travel-ready size is super easy to pack, the interior of the safe was large enough to hold my passport, Euros, and phone, with plenty of space left over for additional small items.</p><p>With details like that, it’s no wonder why Amazon customers are just as obsessed with the portable safe as I am. Besides boasting an <a href=";linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=tlmasterlockportablesafercarhart0619-20&amp;linkId=a06a9bfb8833bf96aa9405a7376dd5e4&amp;language=en_US" target="_blank">impressive 3.9-star rating</a>, the travel accessory also has over 2,000 rave reviews. “Easy to follow on changing the combo. We used it for our honeymoon as an extra safe, it fit a lot of stuff in there like passports, credit cards, phones, and keys. The handle can also wrap around something if you wanted to. Good buy,” raved one shopper.</p><p>“My boyfriend and I each ended up getting one for our six-month trip to South America,” said another. “We felt so much safer (pun intended) carrying cash and passports to various locations with the Master Lock. It's small, light-weight and easy to use, but adds just enough protection to be worth it. It also helped me keep track of my various credit cards, cell phone, and other valuables. I could fit everything in this safe and bury it in my backpack.”</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">The compact travel accessory</a> comes in three different colorways: gunmetal grey, bright pink, and stark white, and prices range from $15 to $20, depending on which color you choose — which means that, for the price of a fancy cocktail, I’ll be able to enjoy my upcoming trip knowing my valuables are safe and sound inside this handy gadget.</p><img alt="The Master Lock 5900D Portable Safe "src=""><p>To buy: <a href=";linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=tlmasterlockportablesafercarhart0619-20&amp;linkId=a06a9bfb8833bf96aa9405a7376dd5e4&amp;language=en_US" target="_blank"></a>; from $15</p>
Categories: Travel

Amazon's Best-selling Umbrella Is Nearly Indestructible — and It Has Over 5,000 Perfect Reviews to Prove It

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:30
<p>Never have we ever gotten this excited about an umbrella before. But it’s not just any old umbrella, you see. <a href=";tag=tlgiftsunder50-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0160HYB8S&amp;linkId=4762df7e4bddc238fc0bd291d73ce069" target="_blank">It’s an Amazon best-selling umbrella</a> with waterproof Teflon coating and a wind-defying, fiberglass rib design that can withstand heavy gusts of wind without breakage. Oh, and it has a lifetime replacement guarantee. Yeah.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">This Leather Wallet Has Thousands of 5-star Amazon Reviews — and It's Only $37</a></p><p>We’re not the only ones impressed by <a href=";tag=tlgiftsunder50-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0160HYB8S&amp;linkId=4762df7e4bddc238fc0bd291d73ce069" target="_blank">this Repel travel umbrella</a>. Over 5,000 Amazon shoppers have given this umbrella a perfect five-star rating, waxing poetic about the umbrella’s easy automatic design (not only does this umbrella instantly open with just a push of a button, it also closes automatically with the same button, making for easy, one-handed handling) and fast-drying canopy.</p><img alt="Best Travel Umbrella on Amazon "src=""><p>To buy: <a href=";tag=tlgiftsunder50-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0160HYB8S&amp;linkId=4762df7e4bddc238fc0bd291d73ce069" target="_blank"></a>, $23</p><p>Amazon user Valley Girl brought it on their trip to rainy Ireland and England, sharing in their five-star review, “I was really impressed with the Teflon coating, as the canopy did not get soaked through. The droplets stayed pooled on top of the fabric and I was able to easily shake them off.” The umbrella’s compact also design makes it perfect for travel.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">This $24 Cross-body Is the Key to Keeping Your Bag Organized — and It Has 1,200 Reviews to Prove It</a></p><p>Amazon user K deems this umbrella perfect for work commutes too, writing in their five-star review, “If you are in need of a small, lightweight umbrella for daily commuting to and from work, I highly recommend this umbrella. It repels water and dries quickly, which is a great benefit when walking into the office on a soggy morning.”</p><p>But you should really try it out for yourself. Head to <a href=";tag=tlgiftsunder50-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0160HYB8S&amp;linkId=4762df7e4bddc238fc0bd291d73ce069" target="_blank"></a>, where you’ll find <a href=";tag=tlgiftsunder50-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B0160HYB8S&amp;linkId=4762df7e4bddc238fc0bd291d73ce069" target="_blank">the Repel Travel Umbrella</a> for $23.</p>
Categories: Travel

These 11 Shoe Brands Make the Most Comfortable Sneakers Around

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:15
<p>Whether you’re using them to hit the gym, go for a run, or walk around sightseeing, a <a href="" target="_blank">comfortable pair of sneakers</a> is a must-have travel essential. While all sneakers are designed to be comfier than other shoes, there are a few brands that truly set themselves apart, producing options that provide the comfort and support needed to spend an entire day on your feet.</p><p>Some newer brands like <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Allbirds</a> and <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Native Shoes</a> have quickly developed a cult status for producing insanely comfortable sneakers that are also environmentally friendly. Along with boasting plush cushioned insoles, these trendsetting kicks are known for being super lightweight and boasting modern-day upgrades (think odor-fighting and machine-washable capabilities).</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">These Are the 15 Most Comfortable Men’s Sneakers You Can Get on Amazon</a></p><p>Or if you prefer to stick with tried-and-true classics, you can never go wrong with a pair of <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Nike</a> or <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">New Balance</a> sneakers. These athletic brands have stayed ahead of the curve thanks to their fashion-forward designs and high-tech features like breathable fabrics and highly responsive foam soles.</p><p>From sporty silhouettes to cool slip-on options, no matter what style of sneaker you prefer, there’s a cute and comfy pair on this list. Keep reading to see which 11 shoe brands are producing the most comfortable sneakers around, then shop our top picks for both men and women.</p><h2>New Balance</h2><img alt="New Balance "src=""><p><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">New Balance</a> has been turning out comfortable and supportive shoes since the company was founded in 1906. The classic sneakers have always been popular among dads, but have become more mainstream thanks to the company’s new, modern-looking releases that are just as comfortable as the originals. And it helps that the brand’s sneakers are also <a href="">royally approved and have graced the feet of Kate Middleton</a>. </p><p>Shop Our Men’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $175</p><p>Shop Our Women’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $80</p><h2>Vionic</h2><img alt="Vionic Shoes "src=""><p>Every shoe released by <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Vionic</a> has been designed by a team of podiatrists, which means each pair will provide the comfort and support you need for a full day on your feet. Many of the brand’s shoes are so good for your feet they have earned themselves a Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (including both sneakers featured here). Besides boasting a durable rubber sole that offers excellent traction, Vionic’s sneakers also feature breathable mesh uppers and plush padded insoles.</p><p>Shop Our Men’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $100</p><p>Shop Our Women’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $140</p><h2>Dr. Scholl’s</h2><img alt="Dr. Scholls "src=""><p><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Dr. Scholl’s</a> has been a go-to source for comfortable sneakers since the 1960s, and it’s easy to see why. Each pair of shoes were designed with your foot’s health in mind (based on the company’s extensive <a href="" target="_blank">line of comfort insoles</a>, this shouldn’t be shocking either). Most of Dr. Scholl’s sneakers feature memory foam insoles, lightweight construction, and simple, classic designs that will never go out of style. With details like that, it makes sense that nearly <a href="" target="_blank">half a million pairs of the above women's sneakers were sold</a> last year alone.</p><p>Shop Our Men’s Pick: <a href=";linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=tlcomfortablesneakerbrandsrcarhart0619-20&amp;linkId=bc859815a0a6eb9f175d916cb5217b7e&amp;language=en_US" target="_blank"></a>, from $36</p><p>Shop Our Women’s Pick: <a href=";linkCode=ll1&amp;tag=tlcomfortablesneakerbrandsrcarhart0619-20&amp;linkId=d6635d15f1e490d32f1d874a4aef1ea0&amp;language=en_US" target="_blank"></a>, from $30 </p><h2>Superga</h2><img alt="Superga "src=""><p><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Superga</a> has been designing cool and supportive sneakers since its launch in 1911. Since then, the Italian shoe brand has become a cult-favorite after being spotted on the likes of <a href="" target="_blank">Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, and many more fashion-forward celebs</a>. Along with a classic design, the cute kicks are also known for being incredibly durable and comfortable enough to walk around in all day long. Plus, they are versatile enough to easily transition from a museum tour to dinner out in a snap.</p><p>Shop Our Men’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $65</p><p>Shop Our Women’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $65</p><h2>Allbirds</h2><img alt="Allbirds "src=""><p>Direct-to-consumer company <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Allbirds</a> has developed a cult status among shoppers and celebrities alike, thanks to its sustainable practices, minimalist silhouettes, and comfy designs. <a href="" target="_blank">Stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Barack Obama</a> have been spotted in the brand's kicks — and for good reason. Along with their incredibly light weight, these shoes are known for their soft wool or tree uppers and super cozy padded insoles. In fact, the company believes in its sneakers’ comfort level so much, it offers a 30-day trial period, where they will take the shoes back for a full refund if you aren’t fully satisfied with your order.</p><p>Shop Our Men’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $95</p><p>Shop Our Women’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $95</p><h2>Nike</h2><img alt="Nike "src=""><p><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Nike</a> sneakers are <a href="" target="_blank">beloved by frequent flyers</a> for a reason. Sure, they’re lightweight, cushioned, and versatile, but the brand also produces some of the most trendsetting sneaker designs around. You can choose between classic athletic styles or more fashion-forward options from designer collaborations with <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Off-White by Virgil Abloh</a>, <a data-ecommerce="true" href=";termUsed=nike+%2B+sacai" target="_blank">Sacai</a>, and <a data-ecommerce="true" href=";termUsed=nike+%2B+undercover" target="_blank">Undercover</a>.</p><p>Shop Our Men’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $110 </p><p>Shop Our Women’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $120</p><h2>Cole Haan</h2><img alt="Cole Haan "src=""><p><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Cole Haan</a> is well known for its high-quality dress shoes, but did you know that the beloved shoe brand also makes <a href="" target="_blank">ridiculously comfortable sneakers too</a>? The brand’s sneakers all feature its signature Grand.ØS technology, which supplies all-day comfort, responsive cushioning, and a anatomically supportive insole. The best part? All the sneakers are sleek enough to pair perfectly with just about everything else in your closet.</p><p>Shop Our Men’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $150</p><p>Shop Our Women’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $130</p><h2>Adidas</h2><img alt="Adidas "src=""><p><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Adidas</a> first launched in Germany back in 1924 but rose to worldwide popularity in the 1980s — largely thanks to rap group Run DMC. Nowadays you can barely go anywhere without seeing someone sporting the brand’s comfy designs. While it produces everything from apparel to accessories, its sneakers still remain one of the company’s most beloved products. Choose between comfortable classics like their iconic Stan Smith sneakers or opt for a sportier supportive pair of running shoes.</p><p>Shop Our Men’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $80</p><p>Shop Our Women’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $85</p><h2>Vans</h2><img alt="Vans "src=""><p>In the past, <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Vans</a> were only seen on skateboarders and surfers, but they have since become beloved by virtually everyone <a href="" target="_blank">including fashionable celebs like Kylie Jenner</a>. It’s no surprise they’re so popular — the brand’s cute kicks boast a durable rubber sole and comfortable padded insoles. Plus, it helps that their comfy slip-on styles make getting through TSA checkpoints a breeze.</p><p>Shop Our Men’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, from $50</p><p>Shop Our Women’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, from $55</p><h2>Asics</h2><img alt="Asics "src=""><p>There’s a reason why <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Asics</a> is a preferred sneaker brand among runners. The company’s signature gel cushioning makes its shoes comfortable and supportive enough to pound the pavement for long periods of time, while its patented High Abrasion Rubber soles offer excellent traction and shock absorption. If a pair of sneakers can help elite runners last through long-distance marathons, they are definitely comfortable enough to get you through long travel days.</p><p>Shop Our Men’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $160</p><p>Shop Our Women’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $120</p><h2>Native Shoes</h2><img alt="Native Shoes "src=""><p><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Native Shoes</a>' story began back in 2009, when the company was founded with the goal of producing innovative, sustainable, and comfortable footwear. Its lightweight, waterproof sneakers have quickly become popular with eco-conscious shoppers because they’re made from an odor-resistant, cushioned EVA material that can easily be recycled. What’s more? Customers rave that the cute kicks are super sturdy, too.</p><p>Shop Our Men’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $45</p><p>Shop Our Women’s Pick: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $45</p>
Categories: Travel

13 Affordable Family Vacations to Take This Summer

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 09:41
<p>Summer is right around the corner, and for <a href="" target="_blank">families</a> thinking of where to plan their next getaway, there are plenty of destinations that won't break the bank.</p><p>Picking the right location to travel to during the busy summer season can make all the difference when it comes to saving money. (There are also <a href="" target="_blank">many ways to save</a> while on your trip, like pre-packing snacks and making a stop at a local grocery store so you can make some of your own meals.)</p><p>We've rounded up destinations where you can have a great vacation at a great price, whether you want a relaxing beach vacation, a bustling city excursion, or a trip that combines both. There are domestic and international options, so you're sure to find something right for your family whether you want a long weekend away or an all-out adventure. As for what makes these <a href="" target="_blank">family vacation destinations</a> so great, the key is having great free and cheap attractions, while also having properties that welcome kids with complimentary amenities, from unlimited water park access to mermaid lessons right on the beach.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">How to Have a Great Summer Vacation</a></p><h2>San Diego, California</h2><img alt="san diego "src=""><p>California’s sunny <a href="" target="_blank">San Diego</a> has tons of activities for families, with theme parks, water parks, kid-friendly museums, and 70 miles of beaches. The <a href=";allInc=true" target="_blank">Go San Diego Card</a> can be used for top attractions like the <a href="" target="_blank">San Diego Zoo Safari Park</a>, the nearby <a href="" target="_blank">Legoland California</a>, harbor cruises, and museums in <a href="" target="_blank">Balboa Park</a> at a discount of up to 50 percent. Passes, which range from one to seven days, also include unlimited access to SeaWorld San Diego.</p><p>Hotels in the area are also known to provide activities and amenities specifically for kids. The Hotel Del Coronado has a <a href="" target="_blank">kids program</a> where children can take part in art and crafts, mermaid lessons, and treasure hunts on the beach.</p><h2>Bar Harbor, Maine</h2><img alt="bar harbor maine "src=""><p>Bar Harbor offers swimming, like the freshwater beach at Echo Lake (with calm waves good for kids). Follow the signs labeled “Museum in the Streets” to take your own walking tour, and you can also find trails for hiking, walking, and cycling. At nearby Acadia National Park, enjoy hiking, camping, and coastline views.</p><p>From July 11 through August 15, you can also enjoy free popcorn and kid-friendly movie viewings at <a href="" target="_blank">Agamont Park</a>.</p><h2>Winter Park, Colorado</h2><img alt="winter park colorado "src=""><p>While you might think of Colorado's resort town of Winter Park as a winter destination, it's also great in the summer. Rates start at <a href="" target="_blank">$89 per night</a> at the Winter Park Resort, and families can enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, rafting, zip lining, and <a href="" target="_blank">Colorado’s longest alpine slide</a>.</p><p>The nearby <a href="" target="_blank">Snow Mountain Ranch</a> has one of only three summer tubing hills in the United States, as well as miniature golf, swimming, and indoor and outdoor climbing walls. Every Thursday in the summer from June 14 through August 13, there are free concerts at Hideaway Park.</p><h2>Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania</h2><img alt="pittsburgh pennsylvania "src=""><p>“<a href="" target="_blank">Kidsburgh</a>” has tons of great activities for families, from the <a href="" target="_blank">Pittsburgh Zoo</a> to the <a href="" target="_blank">Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh</a>. In the summer, there's a <a href="" target="_blank">10-day Grand Prix</a> with vintage cars, and <a href="" target="_blank">walking tours</a> for enjoying the city and getting some exercise. You’ll also find <a href="" target="_blank">lunch spots that run for under $10</a>, and the subway line offers free rides along the Golden Triangle, taking you around downtown.</p><p>If you're looking to spend some time outdoors, consider biking along the <a href="" target="_blank">Great Allegheny Passage</a>, which provides a scenic way to explore the city's many bridges and tunnels along a 150-mile-trail.</p><h2>Myrtle Beach, South Carolina</h2><img alt="myrtle beach "src=""><p>If you and your kids love the beach, head to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. At properties like <a data-auth="NotApplicable" href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">The Breakers</a>, guests can enjoy five new water slides, several on-property pools, and one of the longest lazy rivers in Myrtle Beach. There’s also shuffleboard, life-size chess, cornhole, and a Sno-Cone stand on the pool deck. Families can also have snacks and drinks delivered poolside from the Rusty Reel Bar and Grill. Upon check in, guests receive one complimentary ticket to either Myrtle Waves or Wild Water &amp; Wheel, and one complimentary round at Paradise Adventure Mini Golf. And, if your family is into mini golf, look no further than this seaside town, which boasts more than 50 miniature courses.</p><p>This summer, the property is offering a 25-percent Summer Sale discount. Depending on when you’re planning to go, The Breakers also offers Summer Value Weeks promotion, which saves you 35-percent off and also provides two free breakfast vouchers for each day of your stay. If you arrive on a Sunday — the day with the most availability — there’s an additional discount.</p><h2>St. Louis, Missouri</h2><img alt="st. louis missouri "src=""><p>Free attractions in St. Louis include <a href="" target="_blank">Purina Farms</a>, where children can enjoy dog agility shows and animal barnyards, and the <a href="" target="_blank">Saint Louis Art Museum</a>, where there are art activities and free 30-minute tours. Admission to the City Museum, with its 10-story slide, huge ball bit, and 30-foot high Ferris wheel, is $14 for ages three and up. Afterwards, stop by at <a href="" target="_blank">Ted Drewes Frozen Custard</a>, which its popular custard shakes that are so thick, they can be served upside down.</p><h2>Gatlinburg, Tennessee</h2><img alt="gatlinburg "src=""><p>Right by <a href="" target="_blank">Great Smoky Mountains National Park</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Gatlinburg</a> is for the adventurous outdoor lover, with whitewater rafting, 900 miles of hiking trails, biking, and horseback riding. Visit the <a href="" target="_blank">Ripley’s Mirror Maze</a> to get lost in a sea of kaleidoscopic mirrors (admission: $9), or wander through Gatlinburg’s Arts and Crafts community, which features handmade goods from local artisans.</p><p>There are a variety of lodging options to choose from here, from resorts to <a href="" target="_blank">cabins</a>. Some accommodations are offering <a href="" target="_blank">free nights and discounts</a> for this year.</p><h2>Lisbon, Portugal</h2><img alt="lisbon portugal "src=""><p>Ready to explore the world with your kids? In <a href="" target="_blank">Lisbon</a>, families can enjoy and a city and beach vacation in one. Explore the different neighborhoods, castles, and palaces, or hop onboard a funicular to climb the city's steep hills. The trams cost less than $4, giving you a cheap and scenic tour of the city.</p><h2>Vienna, Austria</h2><img alt="vienna-austria "src=""><p>The walkability of Austria’s capital city is part of what makes it an affordable stop for families, and there are many free <a href="" target="_blank">walking</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">cycling</a> tours. Through the <a href="" target="_blank">Vienna Pass</a>, travelers can get free access to more than 60 of the city’s top attractions, including museums, a giant Ferris wheel, and attractions like Madame Tussauds and the world's oldest zoo, <a href="" target="_blank">Tiergarten Schoenbrunn</a><i>,</i> which dates back to 1752. The pass comes with multi-day options, from single day (about $72 for adults and $27 for kids) to six-day passes ($189 for adults and $95 for kids).</p><h2>The Domincan Republic</h2><img alt="dominican republic "src=""><p>The Dominican Republic is an ideal beach getaway, with <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">resorts</a> and <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">all-inclusive properties</a> starting as cheap as $100 a night. Punta Cana is a popular destination for beach and golf lovers, and its airport is also the <a href="" target="_blank">best connected</a> in the Caribbean, with flights to and from 26 countries. </p><h2>Bali, Indonesia</h2><img alt="bali "src=""><p>If you can <a href="" target="_blank">find a cheap flight</a>, Bali is a budget-friendly destination. Summer is one of the best times to visit, as it is in the island’s dry season, which runs from April through October. Visiting during this time means you’ll avoid regular thunderstorms, and can enjoy the beaches and outdoor activities like whitewater rafting, snorkeling, glass bottom boat rides, and rice paddy walks.</p><p>The island is home to attractions like the Waterbom Bali, voted the <a href="" target="_blank">best water park in Asia</a> , while some of the <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">area’s top family hotels start</a> as low as $23 per night.</p><h2>Taipei, Taiwan</h2><img alt="taipei taiwan "src=""><p>The city’s numerous streets make for attractions all in their own, from the restaurants and shops that line Yongkang Street to the night markets that provide an open-air buffet to explore. <a href="" target="_blank">Free walking tours</a> make them all the easier to explore. The <a href=";view=featured&amp;gp=0&amp;Itemid=104" target="_blank">Yangmingshan National Park</a> offers a relaxing escape to soak in natural hot springs. In Maokong, families heading to the Taipei Zoo can hop aboard a gondola ride from the zoo up into the hills to enjoy the gorgeous views.</p><p>There are plenty of affordable hotels in the area, with rates starting at <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">$44 per night</a>.</p><h2>Phuket, Thailand</h2><img alt="phuket thailand "src=""><p>As the biggest island in Thailand, <a href="" target="_blank">Phuket</a> offers tons of great beaches. Besides its clear waters and prime snorkeling stops, Phuket is also home to attractions like the <a href="" target="_blank">Anthem Wakepark</a>, a cable wakeboarding water park. Family-friendly accommodations can be found for <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">under $100 per night</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

10-year-old Girl Becomes Youngest Person to Climb Yosemite’s El Capitan

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 08:34
<p>A 10-year-old girl has become the youngest person on record to climb to the top of Yosemite’s 3,000-foot El Capitan summit.</p><p>Selah Schneiter is 10 years old and from Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Last week, she and her father Mike Schneiter, along with family friend Mark Regier, spent five days climbing to the top of Yosemite’s vertiginous peak.</p><img alt="Youngest person to climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park "src=""><p>“Our big motto was ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ Small bites,” <a href="" target="_blank">Selah told local ABC News 30</a>. “One pitch at a move at a day at a time.”</p><p>The trio went up the 3,000-foot route called “The Nose,” which is famous for its steep and challenging ascent.</p><img alt="Youngest person to climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park "src=""><p>This is not the Schneiter family’s first ascent up El Cap. Mike, a climbing instructor, and his wife Joy fell in love while climbing the mountain 15 years ago and they’ve made it an annual tradition to visit.</p><img alt="Youngest person to climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park "src=""><p>Selah has been on mountains since she was three days old. Shortly after her birth, <a href="" target="_blank">Mike posted a photo of his newborn daughter at Hanging Lake Boulder in Colorado</a>, writing, “getting her first taste of the rock, crimping down hard on the crux moves.” Selah is the oldest of their children — and she already plans to bring her seven-year-old brother to the mountain next year.</p><p>“Once she topped out, she was the first one to go up to this tree, that is a symbolic thing for climbers, and she just broke down in tears,” <a href="" target="_blank">Mike told ABC News</a>. “She said it was her first happy tears she's ever had.”</p><p>Selah spent about one year before the climb researching and training. “It was her energy and her idea," <a href="" target="_blank">Mike told <em>Alpinist</em></a>. Selah said she wanted to inspire other kids, particularly other girls, to get out and be active.</p><p>In 2001, <a href="" target="_blank">an 11-year-old named Scott Cory</a> became the youngest person to climb the mountain and held the record up until Schneiter’s ascent.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Location of the 2026 Winter Olympics Has Been Announced (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 07:08
<p>The 2026 Olympics will be held in Milan.</p><p>The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted in Switzerland on Monday to bring the winter games back to Milan. Italy last hosted the Winter Games in Torino in 2006, and the games have not been held in the capital region since 1956.</p><img alt="The International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland, will elect in a final vote on June 24, 2019 the host city for the 2026 Winter Olympics. The two remaining host cities in the election process are Stockholm-Are, Sweden, and MilanCortina d "src=""><p>The competition will be held between Milan, the alpine town of Cortina d’Ampezzo (about 250 miles away) and several other smaller towns between the two. The spread-out nature of Italy’s plan reflects the trend of a region rather than a city hosting the Olympics. <a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>The Washington Post</em></a>, this trend is meant to better manage the rising cost of hosting the games.</p><p>Going into the selection process, Milan’s only competition to host the 2026 games was Stockholm. (The Swedish bid proposed a bobsled track in neighboring Latvia.) Previous contenders — including Calgary, Canada; Sapporo, Japan and Graz, Austria — pulled out of the competition due to fears over the cost and size of hosting the Olympics.</p><p>In order to keep both Milan and Stockholm bidding, the IOC relaxed “previously strict rules that demanded financial guarantees and government support earlier in the process,” <a href="" target="_blank">according to the Associated Press</a>.</p><p>This is the second time since 2014 (when Russia spent more than $51 billion on the Sochi Olympics) that only two candidates have gone to Olympic vote.</p><p>Italy is <a href="" target="_blank">expected to spend more than $1.7 billion</a> to operate the Olympics.</p><p>The games will take place from February 6–22, 2026.</p><p>The next Winter Olympics will take place in Beijing in 2022. Tokyo will host the next summer Olympics in 2020. Paris will host the summer games in 2024 and Los Angeles will host in 2028.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Best Ice Cream Shop in Every State

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 15:00
<p>With all the ice cream shops scattered around the United States, it can often be rather painful to narrow down where exactly to go. Thanks to Yelp, that decision can now be a little less laborious. The crowd-sourced review platform took a look at all businesses in the ice cream, frozen yogurt and gelato categories and using an algorithm, determined the best in each state based on the highest number of reviews and star rating.</p><p>After all, nothing delights and divides like a humble scoop of ice cream. Here, you’ll find a creamery milking cows down the street, a 50-year-old frozen custard institution, and a roving tricycle handing out strawberry cheesecake ice cream sandwiches.</p><p>These are the best ice cream shops in every state. </p><h2>Alabama: Chocolate Corner &amp; Ice Cream, Gulf Shores</h2><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Chocolate Corner &amp; Ice Cream</a> shop is Gulf Shores’ favorite institution for a reason: chocolates made in-house are sold alongside scoops of ice cream. Nibble on buckeyes and chocolate-dipped pretzels while you wait to carve into a Brownie a la Yumm sundae: scoops of vanilla ice cream drenched in chocolate syrup and whipped cream and finished off with a warm brownie and cherry.</p><h2>Alaska: Wild Scoops, Anchorage</h2><img alt="Best Ice Cream in Every State "src=""><p><a href="" target="_blank">Wild Scoops</a>, a small-batch microcreamery, crafts flavors out of local ingredients and Alaskan products. Since launching in 2015, the team has dreamt up over 100 flavors: some seasonal and avant-garde (Jamberwocky comes from sweet cream and mango ghost pepper jam from VooDoo Jam), while others are more traditional (Sitka Swirl is salted caramel spun with Alaskan sea salt). The creamery boasts both a scoop shop and a test kitchen, complete with ice cream sandwiches.</p><h2>Arizona: Novel Ice Cream, Phoenix</h2><p><a href="" target="_blank">This teeny scoop shop</a> doesn’t <em>just</em> plop ice cream onto cones — they also submerge the 12 rotating flavors into ice cream floats and jam spheres into warm glazed donuts. The flavors here aren’t your run-of-the-mill choices: there might be Fat Elvis (peanut butter ice cream studded with bananas and bacon) or bourbon caramel toffee crunch, infused with bourbon, housemade caramel and chunks of chocolate-covered toffee. Each cone is crowned with a Dutch stroopwafel, flown in from the Netherlands.</p><h2>Arkansas: Tacker’s Shake Shack, Marion</h2><p>Loyalists flock to <a href="" target="_blank">Tacker’s Shake Shack</a> for a cup of ice cream, charmingly sunk into white Styrofoam cups. There are over 35 flavors — from black walnut to Oreo and papaya — with a nostalgic twist: scoops can be served simply on their own, whirred into a milkshake or malt or blitzed with toppings for a “shiver” (also known as a concrete).</p><h2>California: Bobboi Natural Gelato, La Jolla</h2><p>The gelato at <a href="" target="_blank">Bobboi Natural Gelato</a> blends the heart of Italy with a California soul: Flavors are born out of California ingredients but painstakingly made with Italian technique. Here, spoon into espresso strewn with chocolate chips, rosewater &amp; honey, and Meyer lemon and mint. Upon the final crunch of cone and gelato, you’ll find yourself unapologetically full of <em>bobboi</em> (an Italian expression for joy).</p><h2>Colorado: Sweet Cow, Denver</h2><img alt="Best Ice Cream in Every State "src=""><p>All the ice cream at <a href="" target="_blank">Sweet Cow</a> is made from local ingredients. Flavors are a mix of the nostalgia-inducing ones you adored as a kid — cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, and s’mores — plus some novelty, funky flavors, too: Fruity Pebbles, banana Nutella, and sweet cream peppered with oatmeal cookies. Dive in to just a pure scoop, or walk away with a cup drizzled with housemade fudge, caramel and whipped cream.</p><h2>Connecticut: Ferris Acres Creamery, Newtown</h2><p>It’s thanks to three generations of the Ferris family that <a href="" target="_blank">this farm</a> produces ice cream. As you pull up to the quaint red barn, you’ll pass the very cows whose milk has been swirled into a slew of nearly 70 flavors, along with a couple of sorbets. Some are always available, like creamy black raspberry and Ali-Oop, a mix of chocolate with fudge swirls and brownie pies; others are seasonal, like blueberry cheesecake and peppermint stick. On your way out, grab one (or two) ice cream cookie sandwiches for the road.</p><h2>Delaware: Vanderwende Farm Creamery, Bridgeville</h2><p>What started out has a simple family farm has since morphed into an extensive ice cream operation. The <a href="" target="_blank">family-run dairy farm and creamery</a> in Bridgeville has 225 milking cows who churn out milk for the likes of red velvet, pumpkin pie, caramel apple, cotton candy, rocky road and lemon chiffon ice cream, along with sugar- and dairy-free offerings.</p><h2>Florida: Matty’s Gelato Factory, Juno Beach</h2><p>After studying under an Italian gelato master, Matthew Cairo decided to bring his love of gelato back to his home state. Here in South Florida, <a href="" target="_blank">his gelato</a> highlights both Italian and American flavor profiles: there’s stracciatella and tiramisu, cake batter and Butterfinger, rum raisin and lavender. Each is scooped from a silver tin and into a plastic cup, ready to be spooned by the beach.</p><h2>Georgia: Voga Italian Gelato, Atlanta</h2><p>Ingredients are shipped in from Italy to <a href="" target="_blank">Voga Italian Gelato</a>, where the gelato maestros craft the warm-weather dessert in house. Tubs of the stuff are jammed into a glass case, waiting to be scooped. Expect pink strawberry, creamy ricotta, rich dark chocolate orange and <a href="" target="_blank">zabaglione</a>, flush with Sicilian wine.</p><h2>Hawaii: Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice, Kihei</h2><p>Owner Ululani and her husband David were so infatuated with the shave ice they grew up eating that they decided to open up <a href="" target="_blank">their own business</a>. Here, ice is shaved into a flurry of paper-thin shards, then pressed together into a cool, white cloud. Colorful, flavored syrups — like lychee, sour lemon, cotton candy and watermelon — are poured on top. You can also get a combination of a couple of different flavors, like the Haleakala: a mix of coconut and sweetened condensed milk.</p><h2>Idaho: The STIL, Boise</h2><img alt="Best Ice Cream in Every State "src=""><p>At <a href="" target="_blank">The STIL</a> (short for the sweetest things in life), life certainly <em>is</em> sweet. The downtown establishment doesn’t merely sling ice cream — the shop offers booze-infused flavors, affogatos, ice cream sandwiches and even beer and wine pairings. Grab a table and a flight of a few half scoops (like mascarpone and balsamic fig and butterscotch spiked with amber ale and Cracker Jacks) with a flight of beers.</p><h2>Illinois: Covered Bridge Creamery, Long Grove</h2><p>Just north of Chicago is <a href="" target="_blank">a charming ice cream shop</a> operating out of a tiny house. Inside, there are wood-paneled walls and a large assortment of coffee and tea, but the main attraction is the ice cream case, overflowing with Madison, Wisconsin’s Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream. Expect classic flavors like butter pecan and peanut butter cup. When it’s warm, join the locals outside under the many umbrella-shielded tables, cone in hand.</p><h2>Indiana: Nicey Treat, Indianapolis</h2><p>Little distracts from the popsicles at <a href="" target="_blank">Nicey Treat</a>, a brick-and-mortar shop with a separate blue roving truck. The colorful popsicles come in both vegan and dairy varieties — think pink lemonade, banana cream and cookie butter — speared onto wooden popsicle sticks. For an added bonus, each popsicle can be dunked in quick-hardening chocolate.</p><h2>Iowa: Yotopia Frozen Yogurt, Iowa City</h2><p>Iowa City’s original frozen yogurt shop, <a href="" target="_blank">Yotopia</a> specializes in probiotic-packed frozen yogurt. Here, prop yourself in front of the self-service machines and mix swirls of wild blackberry, cake batter and taro root into green paper cups. It’s DIY heaven, complete with customizable toppings.</p><h2>Kansas: Sylas &amp; Maddy's Homemade Ice Cream, Olathe</h2><p>Upon entering <a href="" target="_blank">Sylas &amp; Maddy’s Homemade Ice Cream</a>, you’re quickly barraged with wafts of fresh waffle cones. The rolled cones are jammed with scoops of housemade ice cream: bright orange peaches &amp; cream, banana cream pie and English toffee. At any time, the case houses a rotating selection of 40 different flavors, but over 150 have been dreamt up since the place opened in 1997.</p><h2>Kentucky: Crank &amp; Boom Ice Cream Lounge, Lexington</h2><p>Before there was <a href="" target="_blank">Crank &amp; Boom</a>, there was Thai Orchid Café, a restaurant that served one kind of ice cream: coconut. People flocked to the place just for ice cream — without any Thai food. Its growing popularity led the owners to open an ice cream shop, dishing up creative and funky flavors: strawberry balsamic sorbet blended with berries from Eckert’s Boyd Orchard, bourbon &amp; honey swirled with Hosey’s Honey, and the same beloved coconut. The upstairs lounge sees ice cream lovers diving into sundaes, scoops spiked with a shot of liquor, and ice cream cocktails.</p><h2>Louisiana: Sweet Handkraft, Metairie</h2><img alt="Best Ice Cream in Every State "src=""><p>Asian flavors rule <a href="" target="_blank">this cute, friendly establishment</a>: neon green pandam, lychee raspberry, purple ube, and mango coconut Thai basil. The rainbow of scoops can be simply sunk into cups, or pressed into soft donuts, propped atop Hong Kong-style waffles showered with sprinkles and puffs of whipped cream, or squeezed between colorful macaron shells.</p><h2>Maine: The Gelato Fiasco, Brunswick</h2><p>Two recent college grads founded <a href="" target="_blank">The Gelato Fiasco</a> in 2007, both frustrated they couldn’t find <em>good</em> gelato in Maine. Since opening, the Gelato Fiasco has morphed from a humble shop to a burgeoning company shipping cartons of gelato to over 6,000 grocery stores in the country. At the Brunswick shop, creamy gelato is swirled on cones and cups; there are plenty of fruit flavors (Blood orange! Maine wild blueberry crisp! Passionfruit!), and ones overflowing with add-ins: mint gelato studded with brownies and cookies; vanilla freckled Maine cranberries and truffles; and milky gelato bursting with cream-filled chocolate cookies.</p><h2>Maryland: Daily Scoop, Pasadena</h2><p>Pick from 32 homemade flavors at this <a href="" target="_blank">postage stamp-sized parlor</a>. The no-frills shop, complete with blue and white tiles and a blackboard scrawled with a list of flavors, is known for generous scoops of cherry vanilla, cannoli and birthday cake ice cream. Scoops can also be whirled into milkshakes or prepped for banana splits. There’s not much seating inside, but there are a couple of benches just outside.</p><h2>Massachusetts: Dolce Freddo Gelato, Methuen</h2><p>Just off Merrimack Street, <a href="" target="_blank">Dolce Freddo Gelato</a> is stationed in an unassuming white house. Inside, glass cases house over 120 gelato and sorbet flavors — from caramel brownie and vanilla fig to orange creamsicle and cantaloupe. A few tables and chairs line one wall, and in the summer months the place quickly fills up with sticky handed-children toting plastic cups of gelato, flanked by parents cupping mugs of espresso.</p><h2>Michigan: Pekadill’s, Whitehall</h2><p><a href="" target="_blank">This picturesque diner</a> doubles as an ice cream parlor, slinging both sandwiches and hot fudge sundaes. Ice cream comes from Ashby’s and Hudsonville Ice Cream (a Michigan-based purveyor), plopped on cones and hugged between halved bananas. The ice cream storefront is up front (the restaurant is in the back), dotted with red wooden booths and red-and-white striped walls.</p><h2>Minnesota: Flapdoodles Homemade Ice Cream, Rochester</h2><p><a href="" target="_blank">Flapdoodles</a> is marked by a nautical theme, thanks to the owner’s father’s penchant for sailing. Scoops arrive sunken in a long dish, mini sugar cones propped on top like sails waving in the breeze. Flavors run the gamut from malted milk ball and carrot cake to banana nut chunk and pumpkin spice latte, which can also be spun into a milkshake or malt.</p><h2>Mississippi: Area 51 Ice Cream, Hernando</h2><p>Tucked into a tiny strip mall on a quiet street, <a href="" target="_blank">Area 51 Ice Cream</a> is a local institution. All the ice cream here is made daily, buoyed by in-season produce from the Hernando Farmers Market and ingredients from small local businesses. Flavors change often, but expect funky varieties like lemon icebox, Saigon cinnamon snickerdoodle and blackberry goat cheese, dished up in simple white paper cups.</p><h2>Missouri: Betty Rae’s Ice Cream, Kansas City</h2><p>Founders David and Mary Friesen can’t stop themselves from fantasizing about ice cream flavors. The pair got their start working at Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, improvising flavors on the fly. Their love of ice cream prompted them to open <a href="" target="_blank">their own shop</a> — named after David’s grandmother — where their adoration for the unusual is the main attraction: expect things like lavender honey, root beer, and avocado with a cardamom fudge swirl. $3 gets you a single scoop, or have it fastened between two cookies, or fused with liquor in a boozy float.</p><h2>Montana: Sweet Peaks, Whitefish</h2><img alt="Best Ice Cream in Every State "src=""><p>Now boasting four locations in Montana, <a href="" target="_blank">Sweet Peaks</a> showcases 16-18 flavors daily, all born out of Montana dairy. The classic flavors are worth seeking out — salty caramel and honey cinnamon — but it’s the speciality flavors that really show the team’s creativity. Cozy up in front of a fire by noshing on Cabin Fever (dark chocolate-spiked brandy tossed with candied pralines, chocolate chips and marshmallows) or sip tea with Inversion: Earl Grey tea steeped in milk, then plunked with house-made lemon curd and vanilla biscuits.</p><h2>Nebraska: Coneflower Creamery, Omaha</h2><p>The ice cream wizards at <a href="" target="_blank">Coneflower Creamery</a> practice the art of farm to cone: using the highest quality ingredients from local farmers and changing what’s available based on what’s in season. The menu is split up into classics (cookies and cream and dark chocolate) and signatures, like saffron and caramelized white chocolate and sweet corn. But the shop doesn’t just employ ice cream connoisseurs: there’s also an in-house pastry chef tasked at making all the mix-ins, sauces, toppings and waffle cones.</p><h2>Nevada: Gelato di Milano, Las Vegas</h2><p>Franco Pati followed his son Jean Luca to Vegas, where the two succeeded in making the Italian tradition of father and son working together a reality. The duo runs this <a href="" target="_blank">gelateria</a>, churning out some 60 flavors, nearly 25 of which are fruit-based sorbets. Treasures like Sicilian cannoli, pistachio and Nutella might be found in the case, before scooped and twirled onto skinny wafer cones.</p><h2>New Hampshire: Morano Gelato, Hanover</h2><p>After learning to craft gelato in Italy, Morgan Morano brought her skills — and a gelato machine from Northern Italy — <a href="" target="_blank">back to Hanover</a>, where she churns 12-16 rotating flavors every morning. The full list of flavors is divided into five categories: There are the classics (fior di latte, stracciatella), the chocolates (dark chocolate hazelnut, chocolate and red pepper), the fruits (banana, kiwi, mango), the nuts (almond, walnut) and the traditional (olive oil, saffron).</p><h2>New Jersey: Gelato Dolceria, Haddonfield</h2><p>Longtime friends John Caiola and Miguel Paletta turned their love of Italian dessert into <a href="" target="_blank">a tangible — and very edible — shop</a>. The pair craft a slew of gelatos in wonderfully bright colors — blood orange, pistachio, Meyer lemon — overflowing in cups and finished off with a sliver of a waffle cone shaped like a disk. In addition to gelato, Caiola bakes a host of Italian pastries: sfogliatelle, cannoli, Napoleons and pizzelle (an Italian waffle cookie).</p><h2>New Mexico: The Paleta Bar, Albuquerque</h2><p>Open the door to <a href="" target="_blank">The Paleta Bar </a>and you’ll be greeted with a glass case, brimming with a rainbow of paletas. The paletas — Spanish for ice pops — here are a combination of fruit and milk, making them far more creamy than your average ice cream truck popsicle. Choose from both fruit (mango, lime, strawberry) and non-fruit flavors (hazelnut crunch, avocado, Oreo), which can be dunked in chocolate and sprinkled with coconut, chili powder and sprinkles.</p><h2>New York: Snowflake Ice Cream Shoppe, Riverhead</h2><img alt="Best Ice Cream in Every State "src=""><p>Nothing much has changed since Herb and Joan Kunitz introduced <a href="" target="_blank">their ice cream parlor</a> to Riverhead in 1953. The neon blue building still stands, with an ice cream cone proudly hanging off the roof. Wonderfully retro, the shop serves hard ice cream created by the Kunitzes, along with pillows of soft serve. Flavors run the gamut from maple walnut to cookie monster — a wonder as blue as the walls — and local favorite Peconic Swamp Thing (chocolate ice cream tossed with fudge, brownies and raspberry purée).</p><h2>North Carolina: Surfin' Spoon, Nags Head</h2><p>Make yourself at home at <a href="" target="_blank">Surfin’ Spoon</a>, a Nags Head favorite for frozen yogurt. Prop yourself at any (or all) of the self-serve machines, pumping out puffs of blueberry, watermelon and chocolate frozen yogurt. Toppings are also self service, prepped with spoons in bowls of sliced fruit, cereal, cookie chunks and chocolate and caramel syrups.</p><h2>North Dakota: Scoop N Dough Candy Co, Fargo</h2><p>Although the ice cream at <a href="" target="_blank">Scoop N Dough Candy Co</a> isn’t made on-site, owner Josh Ulrich tasks a local ice cream maker to churn tubs of the stuff in flavors that you loved as a kid: rainbow sherbet, mint chocolate chip, and bubblegum. Scoops are baseball-sized rounds, planted on waffle cones. There’s also buckets of cheese and caramel popcorn, plus safe-to-eat cookie dough, laced with peanut butter and sprinkles, which double as ice cream toppings.</p><h2>Ohio: Mitchell's Homemade Ice Cream, Cleveland</h2><p>Brothers Mike and Pete Mitchell adapted <a href="" target="_blank">their creamery</a> from a wholesale business to eight brick-and-mortar shops in Ohio. Most of the ingredients — from the free-range eggs to the organic berries and grass-fed berries — are all locally sourced. They’re the base of over three dozen flavors; expect the classics (creamy strawberry, vanilla strewn with housemade cookie dough, Rocky Road peppered with roasted almonds), and some experiments (blue cotton candy freckled with marshmallow, pralines and cream, and maple walnut).</p><h2>Oklahoma: Rose Rock Microcreamery, Tulsa</h2><img alt="Best Ice Cream in Every State "src=""><p>For owners Jason Decker and Scott Edwards, it was imperative their microcreamery-made ice cream have a high milk-fat content, low-air content, all-natural ingredients and made out of small batches. That’s certainly the case here, where 18 flavors of exceptionally dense yet creamy ice cream are <a href="" target="_blank">available every day</a>. There might be salted crack caramel, blood orange and cardamom, or the eponymous Rose Rock rife with strawberries, chocolate and candied pecans.</p><h2>Oregon: Sea Star Gelato, Seaside</h2><p>You can learn all about gelato at <a href="" target="_blank">Sea Star Gelato</a>, thanks to an informative gelato facts sign hanging in a corner (It’s lower in fat! Has a higher density! And is served fresh!). Now that you’re educated, it’s time to eat: coils of chocolate nougat, confetti cake and bubblegum are swiped into green cups, or stuffed into donuts for a sweet Italian panini.</p><h2>Pennsylvania: D'Ascenzo's Gelato, West Chester</h2><p>After sampling gelato in Rome, Glen and Kristen D’Ascenzo decided to fashion their own in Philadelphia, operating out of farmers markets and roaming carts. A few years later, they moved the business to West Chester, launching a <a href="" target="_blank">brick-and-mortar store</a> serving 24 flavors each day. Grab a few scoops, like mascarpone, mocha espresso and limoncello sorbet, tucked into multi-colored cups, then snag a seat on the patio out back.</p><h2>Rhode Island: Tricycle Ice Cream, Providence</h2><p><a href="" target="_blank">Tricycle Ice Cream</a> got its start hawking ice cream sandwiches out of a traveling tricycle-cart. It’s only recently that the owners expanded with a store and a larger menu: there are the beloved ice cream sandwiches in funky varieties like brioche French toast, plus ice cream tacos stamped with Fruity Pebbles, ice cream drumsticks, and sorbet push-pops, some spiked with alcohol.</p><h2>South Carolina: Melt, North Myrtle Beach</h2><p>Just a block from the beach, <a href="" target="_blank">Melt</a> sees lines curving out the door during the summer months. The shop encourages guests to never settle for just one scoop, especially when there are so many thrilling flavors to choose from: honey-roasted peanut butter, bananas foster, double-stuffed Oreo, and white peach. Plus, for the dairy-averse, there are plenty of vegan options available too.</p><h2>South Dakota: Stensland Family Farms, Sioux Falls</h2><p><a href="" target="_blank">The Stensland family</a> has been milking cows in Iowa for over 100 years, so they certainly know a thing or two when it comes to dreaming up dairy products. Let the scooper load up a chocolate waffle cone with scoops of honey lemon lavender and How Now Brown Cow (milky chocolate), then grab a handful of cheese curds and salted sweet cream butter on your way out.</p><h2>Tennessee: Las Paletas Gourmet Popsicles, Nashville</h2><img alt="Best Ice Cream in Every State "src=""><p><a href="" target="_blank">Sisters Norma and Irma Paz</a> bring their childhood to Nashville through Mexican paletas. The fruit-only and creamy paletas are all richly colored, thanks to the inclusion of fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, herbs and flowers plucked from community gardens. Freezers house classic Mexican flavors (avocado, lime, pineapple with chili peppers), flavors buoyed by customer requests (chocolate banana, Nutella) and seasonal ones (corn, pumpkin, basil).</p><h2>Texas: Manolis Ice Cream, Pastries, &amp; Cakes, Austin</h2><p>As the name suggests, <a href="" target="_blank">this family-run business</a> — operated out of a white trailer — does everything: housemade cakes, pastries, ice pops and ice cream. Just order at the window for a scoop of ice cream, done up in traditional flavors: smooth strawberry speckled with berries, cookie dough, mint chocolate chip. The trailer also lodges a case of paletas — in both water and cream form — along with mounds of Italian ice and sorbet.</p><h2>Utah: Sweetaly Gelato, Salt Lake City</h2><p>Two Italian natives are at the helm of <a href="" target="_blank">Sweetaly Gelato</a>, whose love of gelato propelled them to study the art in Italy. After coming to the states, the husband-and-wife team set up shop in Salt Lake City, a pink-accented place complete with smooth Italian gelato. Pick from panna cotta, lemon biscotti, marzipan and chocolate orange gelato, or cool off with a handful of fruit sorbets: strawberry banana, pink guava and cantaloupe.</p><h2>Vermont: Shy Guy Gelato, Burlington</h2><p>The two founders of <a href="" target="_blank">Shy Guy Gelato</a> have some serious cred to their name — one apprenticed in restaurants in Italy and the other is a leader in the Vermont farm-to-table movement — so it only makes sense that the two of them partnered up to satisfy the Burlington community with gelato. Here, a freezer is filled with only a few flavors a day: there might be brown butter and amarena cherry chocolate or Thai coffee. The blue shop is teeny, but gelato can also be purchased from their cart on Church Street.</p><h2>Virgina: La Flor Michoacana, Charlottesville</h2><p>Having seen so many paleta shops in Mexico, Birzayith “Jimmy” Polania hardly saw any in the United States. So he changed that by opening <a href="" target="_blank">his own place</a> in Charlottesville, handing out Mexican popsicles studded with hunks of fruit and housemade ice cream. The mangoneada is especially popular: a plastic cup teeming with mango sorbet and mango wedges, topped with Chamoy sauce, chili powder and a tamarind stick.</p><h2>Washington: Medzo Gelato Bar &amp; Travel Cafe, Burien</h2><p><a href="" target="_blank">This Burien favorite</a> is rather unassuming — a tiny shop outfitted with a few tables and funky trinkets — but the lines that creep out the door say otherwise. Everyone’s here for the gelato: wonderfully sweet adaptations of tiramisu, yogurt and berries, passionfruit and grapefruit. On cooler nights, diners can often be spotted spooning affogatos: espresso poured over vanilla gelato.</p><h2>Washington, D.C.: Bon Matcha</h2><p>A miniscule shop, <a href="" target="_blank">Bon Matcha</a> is a mere carryout window for puffy clouds of matcha soft serve. Matcha is imported from Uji, Kyoto — the birthplace of the beloved green powder. A second, rotating seasonal flavor graces the menu — it could be pink sakura (cherry blossom) or milk — swirled on its own or paired with matcha.</p><h2>West Virginia: Caffe Romeo, Charleston</h2><p>Naples native Mario Sommella flies in ingredients from his home country and uses only Italian equipment to churn his milky gelato. Found in a squat red-and-white house, <a href="" target="_blank">the shop</a> is a hybrid of an espresso bar and gelateria — a meeting place for the community to try toasted marshmallow and red velvet cake gelato while nursing cups of coffee.</p><h2>Wisconsin: Kopp's Frozen Custard, Greenfield</h2><p>What started out as a humble custard stand in 1950 grew into an adored business with several locations in Wisconsin. <a href="" target="_blank">Kopp’s Frozen Custard</a> boasts smooth custard in a slew of flavors — think butterscotch, cherry and banana – plus rotating flavors of the day, which in the past have included Bavarian wedding cake and German apple streusel. Have it straight, blitzed into a thick shake, or plopped into a sundae, like the chocolate banana cream pie: vanilla custard showered with sliced bananas, chocolate and banana cream, chocolate flakes and hunks of French pastry.</p><h2>Wyoming: Big Dipper Ice Cream, Laramie</h2><p>A mom-and-pop shop, <a href="" target="_blank">Big Dipper Ice Cream</a> feels like a vintage ice cream parlor, complete with blue swiveling stools and a wooden bar prepped for sundaes and to slurp milkshakes. All the ice cream, gelato and sorbet is made on site, in flavors like chocolate marshmallow, coconut fudge swirl, and red orange. The ice cream changes quite frequently, but it’s always primed to be loaded into polka-dotted cups, dunked in floats and tossed in banana splits. </p>
Categories: Travel

In Tulum, 'Ecstatic Dance' Is a Lesson in Letting Go

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 14:00
<p>I learned of “ecstatic dance” after a balmy yoga class overlooking the morning waves on Tulum Beach, where two local dogs wove between our legs and the air smelled of salt and peppermint oil. “Let’s do it,” I said to my friend, soon to discover a new form of movement-meditation that would sink me even deeper into an already relaxing Mexican vacation.</p><p>That Monday evening we arrived at <a href="" target="_blank">Alaya</a>, an eco-conscious hotel that calls itself a “mecca” for artists and musicians. Ecstatic dance was set to begin at 6:30 p.m. We paid $15 at reception, though locals are invited to attend by donation only, and huddled around the hut’s staircase. Soon the instructor informed us it would take 10 more minutes to set up and shooed us out to enjoy the sand and sunset.</p><p>Twenty minutes later, she gathered us up the stairs. Our sandals made a pile at the top. Inside, several people had spread out blankets. Some lay on their backs like insects, hands and feet pawing at the air. Others crouched and gently swayed their hips. We were to begin on the floor, the instructor murmured, and warm the body in whatever way felt good.</p><p>The class began tinted with the light of a fading sunset. The DJ spun soft, earthy beats so as not to drown out the tumble of the ocean.</p><p>After 10 minutes or so, no one instructed us to stand up — it just happened. The music grew louder. Although it was dusk, attendees began to look at one another — curious but respectful, open. A couple wore bikini tops; a long-haired, shirtless man chose stretchy athletic pants. One woman twirled two small children on the edge of the circle. As it darkened, they curled into blankets and fell asleep to the sounds of sticky, swishing feet on the floor.</p><p>I felt awkward at first. I am not a dancer and people’s limbs were doing things I’d never attempted before. Not advanced, but different. They thrust their arms and curled their hands down like waterfalls. They straddled the air and bounded invisible boulders in silence.</p><p>The guide asked us to partner up. To my brief horror, she was already standing next to my friend, so I sidled next to the woman at my right, who consented with a nod and a smile. One of us was to play puppet while the other followed their movements with our hands, said the instructor before falling into my friend’s arms, limp as a doll. My own partner simply slumped toward her feet, her long hair nearly touching her toes below. As she swayed, I laid my hands lightly on her lower back, hoping she felt reassured and safe. After several minutes, we stood and gazed in each other’s eyes (no easy feat) and massaged our own faces. I watched as she pushed her skin and her cheeks wrinkled around her nose and eyelids.</p><p>We dispersed as the beats of the music quickened. Some people found new partners, for minutes or a mere moment, as if stepping into spheres of individual energy. Eventually I left the edge of the circle and moved through the dark air to another position across the room. I swayed my arms and bounced, I twirled and stretched against the tree bark. Four or five dancers in the middle whooped and cooed. Many were smiling with their eyes closed. I let go.</p><p>We danced for over an hour. At various moments I felt what amounted to flow, like the feeling after a long run or a float in the ocean. It wasn’t sustained, as needles of self-consciousness continued to poke through my first ecstatic dance experience. But as the music softened and slowed, I somehow felt spent and lighter at once. I finally connected with the others in the room, without ever speaking to them.</p><p>Ecstatic dance is practiced <a href="" target="_blank">around the world</a> as a form of therapeutic movement, and has roots in sacred and ceremonial dance practiced by ancient cultures. The approach gained footing in <a href="" target="_blank">Hawaii</a> around the millennium, infused by the musical culture of the West Coast festival circuit and Burning Man. It forms one spoke of the wider “conscious dance” umbrella, which includes other interpretations, such as <a href="" target="_blank">Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms</a>, a more guided exploration of meditative healing through movement. Most disciplines in the genre specify a substance- and fragrance-free environment, and are almost always barefoot. Otherwise, in ecstatic dance there are few rules other than inclusivity and freedom. One California blog calls the approach pure “<a href="" target="_blank">blisschief</a>.”</p><p>In Tulum, the experience emptied my ego. Walking along the beach with my friend afterward, I was physically loosened and open to what experiences lay ahead. In our case, it was fish tacos and laughter on the beach, and later, the sweetest night sleep of the entire trip.</p>
Categories: Travel

Inside the Cinderella Castle Suite at Disney World

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 13:00
<p>No matter how many times you've been to <a href="" target="_blank">Walt Disney World</a>, there is one magical place in the park you've likely never seen.</p><p>The Cinderella Castle Suite might just be Disney's most exclusive spot — and there is only one way you can win the proverbial lottery and spend the night in the magical bedchamber.</p><h2>How much does the Cinderella Suite cost?</h2><p>Unfortunately, this suite cannot be bought. Disney has allegedly declined <a href="">bribes of up to $40,000</a> for just one night in the exclusive suite, so no amount of money will allow you to make Cinderella Castle Suite reservations.</p><img alt="Walt Disney World Resort "src=""><p>In fact, the suite was never intended to be seen by the public: It was supposed to be Walt Disney's apartment when he and his family visited <a href="" target="_blank">Orlando</a>, but he died before it was completed. For the next few decades, the suite became a storage space, and Disney World phone operators even briefly used it as a workspace. It officially opened as the Cinderella Suite in 2006 for the <a href="" target="_blank">“Year of a Million Dreams”</a> promotional campaign, during which Disney gave away a limited number of one-night stays.</p><h2>How to stay in Cinderella’s Castle Suite</h2><p>In the past, you could spend the night in the royal bedchamber by invitation (celebrities like Tom and Suri Cruise, Mariah Carey, and Kevin Jonas are known to have been given the honor). These days, however, the room is rarely used, and a stay can only be won through a few special promotions. Most recently, a one-night stay in the suite was the winning prize in a <a href="">charity contest</a> benefiting the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF).</p><h2>Can I tour the Cinderella Castle Suite?</h2><img alt="Cinderella Suite at Magic Kingdom "src=""><p>The general public has not been able to tour the suite since 2007, but we've included photos of the magical accommodation to sate your curiosity. The 650-square-foot suite was inspired by a 17th-century French chateau, complete with coffered ceilings and stained glass windows. To get there, guests must pass a grandfather clock with the minute and second hands forever stuck on “11:59 a.m.” before hopping on an elevator to the fourth floor.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Every Single Ride at Walt Disney World, Ranked</a></p><p>The elevator takes guests to a gorgeous foyer, which has a mosaic tile floor featuring Cinderella's pumpkin coach. Her glass slipper can even be found on display.</p><img alt="Cinderella Suite at Magic Kingdom "src=""><p>In the parlor, there's a Victorian-style rotary phone, a 17th-century Dutch desk, books "borrowed from Belle," and six stained glass windows that face Fantasyland. If you are ever lucky enough to peer out of these windows, don't expect to see a great view of the Park: the windows are more decorative than anything else.</p><p>The bathroom has a luxurious spa tub for relaxing. Those who stay here can sit back and admire the surrounding mosaic scenes from <em>Cinderella</em>, or switch off the lights and gaze upon the starry night ceiling.</p><p>The bedchamber has two queen canopy beds (with Cinderella's royal crest on the headboards) and an antique fireplace. A portrait of Cinderella hanging above the fireplace also doubles as a flat-screen HDTV.</p><p>Although your chances of winning a night in the Cinderella Suite are slim, there are other ways you can get a glimpse inside Cinderella Castle. If you have children between the ages of three and 12, you can bring them to <a href="" target="_blank">Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique</a> for a fairy-tale makeover. Or, you can reserve a table at <a href="" target="_blank">Cinderella's Royal Table</a> and dine with Cinderella and the other Disney Princesses. Just be sure to reserve your spot well in advance so you don't miss out on this incredible experience.</p>
Categories: Travel

Taste One of the World’s Oldest Beers and See an Original Pirate Flag in This Scandinavian Archipelago

Travel and Leisure - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 12:00
<p>Between Sweden and Finland is an archipelago consisting of 6,700 islands that lie low in the water, their coppery granite shores surrounded by the ink-blue waters of the Baltic Sea. These are the Åland Islands, <a href="" target="_blank">an autonomous region within Finland</a>, and despite being popular with Scandinavian travelers, they’re rarely visited by foreign tourists. You may never have heard of the area, but there are plenty of reasons to head over there. </p><img alt="Scandinavian Archipelago "src=""><h2>An Intriguing Nautical Past</h2><p>Most visitors start their journey in Mariehamn, the islands’ capital. Visit the <a href="" target="_blank">Maritime Museum</a> for an immersive experience into Mariehamn’s nautical past. Look out for the skull and crossbones flag — one of only two real pirate flags in the world — then climb on board Pommern, a four-masted windjammer which now doubles as a museum</p><p>When the weather’s warm, take a dip at Lila Holmen, a picturesque beach south of the maritime quarter. You’ll walk through a small wooded park — where peacocks strut their stuff in the woodland and across the sand — to get there.</p><p>Stay at <a href="" target="_blank">Hotel Park Alandia</a>, a centrally-located hotel that’s been recently refurbished. It boasts sophisticated rooms decorated in shades inspired by the archipelago, a sauna and a traditional wood-panelled pub.</p><img alt="Scandinavian Archipelago "src=""><h2>Try the World’s Oldest Preserved Beer</h2><p>Head to <a href="" target="_blank">Stallhagen</a>, a gastropub and micro-brewery half an hour outside Mariehamn to taste the <a href="" target="_blank">Historic Beer 1843</a>, which was developed from a beer recovered from a shipwreck in the Åland archipelago. Despite being one of the oldest preserved beers in the world, it has a light, refined flavor as it was fermented without hops. Stallhagen also offers tastings, pairing their beer with tapas made from locally sourced ingredients.</p><h2>Relax in a Floating Sauna</h2><p>Several guesthouses and campsites on the islands have floating saunas, built on jetties that extend over the water. After you’ve warmed up inside the wood-fired sauna cabin, cool yourself down with a dip in the ocean — particularly bracing during the colder months. <a href="" target="_blank">Sandosund camping</a> and Långviken both have saunas for private hire by guests and non-guests, just be sure to book a few days in advance.</p><h2>Stay on Your Own Private Island</h2><p>If you’ve ever dreamed of having an entire island to yourself, this is your chance to do it. There are several hermit cabins located on private islets in the archipelago, which can be rented during the summer months. One of the most well-maintained is the hermit cabin on Sviskär. Spend your days foraging for wild berries and mushrooms or relaxing on the beach or in the sauna. There’s no electricity here, so you really can get away from it all. If this sounds a little too rustic for your tastes, the sister island of Silverskär has several four-star cottages and a gourmet restaurant serving fresh caught fish, locally-butchered meat and foraged greens. Both islands can be <a href="" target="_blank">rented privately</a>.</p><img alt="Scandinavian Archipelago "src=""><h2>Visit a Remote Sculpture Garden</h2><p>The archipelago’s largest islands are all connected by public ferry, which is free of charge for foot passengers. Sail to rugged Kökar, where you can take a boat trip to the even more remote Källskär, one of the archipelago’s most unusual islands. In 1965 it was bought by an eccentric baron, who built a cottage and a vast landscaped garden filled with Greek sculptures. Artist <a href="" target="_blank">Tove Jansson</a> painted the picture that hangs over the fireplace. <a href="" target="_blank">Brudhäll</a>, the only hotel in Kökar, runs daily boat trips and guided tours there during the summer.</p><img alt="Scandinavian Archipelago "src="">
Categories: Travel