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From peerless parks to hands-on-museums and refreshingly affordable food, these major European cities all say “welcome!” to families with children.
If your motto is “Have family, will travel,” you’ll be glad to know that Europe is within your reach; in fact, these 10 cities will greet you with open arms. To save on sightseeing, book in advance and consider buying the multi-attraction discount passes most cities offer. If a traditional hotel room is too pricey (or small) for your brood, or leaves you wanting for the comforts of home, rent an apartment through Airbnb; owners typically leave their “must-see” list and restaurant recommendations so you’ll have a truly local experience – especially if you download a few local apps before departure. Ready? Set? Go!
There’s more – a lot more – to Amsterdam than the red light district. In fact, with paddle boats and bike paths galore, you can – and should – give it the green light for your next family adventure. Eating is easy and photo ops abound in this walkable, bikeable, boat-able city. Patat met (French fries with mayo) will keep hunger at bay as you take in the sights, possibly stopping to smile in an oversize Dutch clog – or perhaps with the pair you plan to bring home.
What to do
Everything is more fun when you arrive on a boat or a bike, and in Amsterdam, that’s the way to go. Be sure to swing by the NEMO Science Museum for hands-on exhibits that include a chemistry lab with experiments for young scientists and a bubble display for those that can’t resist getting their hands wet. Older kids will appreciate the history of the Anne Frank Museum while kids of all ages will find something of interest at the Van Gogh Museum; just be sure to buy your tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. If you visit in the spring, a day trip toKeukenhof to see the tulips in bloom – hundreds of thousands of them – should top your list. Consider a Holland Pass to save time and entry frees to major attractions. And don’t miss Amsterdam’s legendary singing tour guide.
Where to stay
The Radisson Blu in the city is centrally located and offers a great breakfast buffet. The hotel itself is not too big and not too small and with croissants and Nutella for breakfast, everything seems just right.
Where to eat
Have a steak with the locals at Café Loetje in the Museum Quarter neighborhood. They don’t take reservations (or cash!) but it’s well worth the wait – especially if you can get a table on the patio.
It’s not just the Irish eyes that will be smiling when you touch down in Dublin; the welcoming locals will have everyone smiling from the top ‘o the morning ’til the rise of the moon. With relatively short direct flights and no language barrier, Dublin is the perfect starter-city for a family of aspiring adventurers.
What to do
Admire the “doors of Dublin” as you stroll over to St. Stephen’s Green. Pack a picnic lunch, romp at the playground and feed the ducks before you depart to see ducks of a different sort at the National Museum of Ireland – Natural History. A taxidermy tribute to Ireland’s wildlife is artfully displayed over two manageable floors. Assuming you have some animal lovers in your midst, they’ll be pleased to know they can see the real thing at the delightful Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park. For a bit of (dark) Irish history, plan a visit to Kilmainham Goal; Gaol is Gaelic for jail and this one housed almost every notable Irish rebel.
If day trips are your thing, consider taking the train south to Bray to visit the aquarium, stroll along the sea or hike up to Brayhead; you might even pick some blueberries along the way, depending on the season. If mountains are more your style, head to County Wicklow where you’ll be dazzled by the gardens at Powerscourt and awed by the scenery and history at Glendalough.
Where to stay
The modern Mespil Hotel is well-located on the Grand Canal in the heart of Dublin. The renovated 1960s office building has retained a bit of the biz-casual atmosphere, but the rooms provide good value for families.
Where to eat
Just a short walk from the hotel you’ll find Milano, equally equipped with high chairs and a post-work crowd and just loud enough to drown the din of your overtired tots.
Croissants, baguettes and crepes, mon dieu! Paris isn’t just for romantics in the spring; it’s for everyone, all year long. Kids will love the boulangeries on every corner; you’ll love how easy it is to navigate the Metro and catching a view of the Eiffel Tower from vistas around the city.
What to do
Leave the Louvre for your next trip. When traveling en famille, take in Paris’ plentiful parks. You could spend the whole day at Jardin Luxembourg, which in addition to a stunning palace built in 1612 by Marie de Medici boasts modern-day delights like peddle cars for racing and toy boats for sailing – not to mention a playground with zip lines and an Eiffel Tower bungee for your pint-size thrill seekers.
If the weather drives you indoors (the kids may not see the romance in the rain), visit the Musee de Cluny and go for a treasure hunt among the tapestries. Should your tots be avid climbers, Paris will not disappoint. If your brood is physically fit, the 1,600+ stairs to the top of the Eiffel Tower will suffice for a workout with a view. For a more gentile ascent, climb the 300 steps to the top of Sacre Coeur for a view of the city that is magnifique.
Where to stay
Citadine in the Bastille/Marais neighborhood includes a galley kitchen and is walking distance to a great open-air market
Where to eat
Anywhere and everywhere; it’s hard to go wrong in Paris! Pick a local café in the morning and neighborhood bistro at night. If you want an atypical but memorable experience, visit the quirky Le Refuge des Fondue after climbing those steps to Sacre Coeur.
How could you go wrong in the city that gave us Paddington Bear, Peter Rabbit, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and Harry Potter? And then there’s real life princesses and castles to die for (as more than a few did!).
What to do
You have to see the sights memorialized by Chevy Chase in European Vacation (“Look kids, Big Ben! Parliament!”) but your tweens will love posing with One Direction at Madame Tussaud’s. And while you have to pay to see the Crown Jewels (and Torture Tower) at the Tower of London, there are some great (free!) museums and lesser-known attractions you won’t want to miss.
Ever wonder how they developed the symbol for the pound or how it feels to hold a bar of gold? Find out at the Bank of England Museum. If your pint-size flyers are also fans of buses and trains, you won’t want to miss the interactive London Transport Museum, with more than 80 vehicles including a double decker bus and the world’s first Underground train. To get your fill of history, visit the Museum of London and time travel from the days when lions roamed Trafalgar Square to today’s thriving city center. Last but not least, if J.K. Rowlings is a family fave, you won’t want to miss the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studios Tour.
When the royal sun is shining, plan a day at St. James Park. Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and then stroll down Horse Guards Parade and Mall to the lake; watch the pelicans get fed daily at 2:30 or settle into a deckchair while the kids frolic on the playground.
Where to stay
The Park Plaza offers several locations with spacious rooms to accommodate a family of four and easy access to sights and public transport.
Where to eat
Don’t miss the Sunday roast or anyday fare at a local pub like The Marksman or The Engineer. If you need a taste of home (but better), GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen) has several locations where you can get your burger on any way you like – from buffalo to veggie and everything in between.
Gladiators meet gelato in this city of ancient history and modern cuisine. The locals love kids, and they love food. Need we say more?
What to do
No family trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the Colosseum and the pious will want to pop in on the Pope and visit the Vatican. Keep your shoulders covered and hold onto your hat as you look up at Michelangelo’s masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Splash in the Trevi Fountain, climb the Spanish Steps, and enjoy a gelato in one of the city’s many central piazzas.
Pizza is plentiful but if you want an insider’s look at the Rome’s food scene, take one of Elizabeth Minchilli’s food tours. In case one gelato just isn’t enough, she offers a two-hour all-gelato tour that’s a favorite with the junior set.
If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, take a day trip to Ostia Antica. Once Rome’s harbor city, it’s now a maze of ruins that evokes Pompeii, providing ample wandering of ancient alleys and passageways. Spend an afternoon exploring the remnant rooftops, storefronts and latrines – which kids of all ages always get a kick out of.
Where to stay
The Roma Resort Trevi has spacious rooms by Roman standards and is walking distance to many attractions including the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.
WHERE TO EAT
For the best carbonara in town, go where the locals go: Perilli in the Testaccioa neighborhood. For a great lunch after a morning of sightseeing, go to Nerone and try to nab an outdoor table with a view of the Colosseum. (Via delle Terme di Tito, 96, 011/39-06 481 7952)
Munich’s motto is München mag dich (“Munich loves you”) and indeed it does. There’s something for everyone in this Bavarian capital where handcrafted toys are as plentiful as hand-crafted beers.
What to do
Start your day at Marienplatz, the central square in Munich’s Old Town. Secure a spot in front of Neues Rathaus, the New Town Hall, to see the 100+ year-old Glockenspiel chime daily at 11:00 and 12:00. After that, visit the Toy Museum in the other clock tower, the Old Town Hall. For a more hands-on experience, walk over to Munich’s biggest toy store, Obletter Spielwarne in Karlsplatz square or visit Kids Kingdom in Deutsches Museum; one of the biggest, oldest science and technology museums in the world, it offers over 1,000 kid-friendly activities.
The Munich zoo, Tierpark Hellabrunn, is spread over 89 sprawling acres and offers kid-pleasing pony and camel rides in the summer and a penguin parade in winter. If you believe in “happily ever after,” don’t miss the German “fairy tale route”, especially Neuschwanstein Castle, said to be the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
Where to stay
The well-located Louis Hotel maintains an atmosphere of German sophistication, with wood furnishings and rooms equipped with the latest tech to keep the kiddos entertained.
Where to eat
When in Munich… bring the kids to the beer garden! At Viktualienmarkt, Munich’s farmer’s market, you can sample sausages and more before settling in at the central beer garden to wash it all down. For the true beer garden experience, head to Hirschgarten for the best of Bavarian beers, sausages, potato salad, pretzels, and strudel.
With the works of Gaudí around every corner, you’ll be in a state of architectural bliss while the kids will think they’ve landed in the land of Seuss. If that’s not enough, you can amble along Las Ramblas or stroll by the sea in the city that gave the world tapas. Bueno!
What to do
Barcelona’s Boqueria is a market like no other with flowers, fruit, and local fare to dazzle all five senses. Grab some goods to go and then get your Gaudí on at the famous Sagrada Familla. From there, hike uphill to Parc Güell where you’ll be greeted by “el drac,” a multicolored mosaic salamander perfect for photo ops.
For a sweet treat, visit The Chocolate Museum, featuring chocolate monument replicas and tasty souvenirs. CosmoCaixa is an interactive science museum with a mini rainforest and crowd-pleasing planetarium. If you have a little inventor along for the ride, don’t miss the Museum of Ideas and Inventions, which will spark their imagination and yours too.
If you’re feeling adventurous, go shark cave diving in the Oceanarium at the aquarium near the Marina in Port Vell. Afterward, enjoy the view of the Mediterranean while nibbling on prawns and jamon at Martina’s Brasserie & Cocteleria. As the sun sets, stroll over to the Fountain of Montjuic for an unforgettable display of illuminated dancing “magic” fountains.
Where to stay
The Petit Palace Hotel Opera Garden is well situated near Las Ramblas and offers an inclusive breakfast buffet.
What to eat
Tapas, tapas, and more tapas. Barcelona’s kid-friendly specialties include fresh fish, fried potatoes, and bread rubbed with garlic, oil and tomatoes. Try them all at El Jardi Terrace & Tapas Bar, nestled away from the noise of the city in a courtyard surrounded by olive trees.
8. Halkidiki, Greece
Okay, Halkidiki is not a city but a region of Greece. Why is it on our list? Because not every family vacation needs history and sightseeing; sometimes you just want to soak up the sun. Here, you can actually do both and go home boasting that you’ve been to the birthplace of Aristotle and bathed in the clear blue Aegean Sea.
What to do
Situated in northern Greece, the Halkidiki region is comprised of three peninsulas, known as the “three fingers of Halkidiki.” The first and most populated is Kassandra, the second, with fewer resorts and more secluded coves, is Sithonia, and the third is Mount Athos, a monastic community closed to the masses.
Begin your journey in Kassandra and avoid the crowds with a hillside hike. Try the Koutsoupia-Sivri trail; as you walk the sea cliff from Sani Resort to Sivri village, you’ll pass by Roman ruins including a villa and early Christian temple. Spend an afternoon in Athitos, a picturesque village dating from 3000 BC. Stop for coffee and take in the old stone houses, cobblestone alleys, and breathtaking views of the Toroneos Gulf. If you need a break from the sun, visit Petralona Cave at the foot of Mount Katsika, famous for its stalactites and stalagmites.
In Sithonia, the luscious green landscape meets the cerulean water of Aegean Sea; settle in on a secluded beach and then go explore the fish tavernas in Vourvourou where you can watch the fisherman bring in their bounty.
To see the only monastic republic in Europe, take a boat from Ormos Panagias in Athonia and head toward Mount Athos. No tourists (or women) are allowed, but you won’t want to miss the view of the 20 monastaries dotting the coast or the abundant sea life that surrounds you.
Where to stay
Stay at the Hotel Vergos in Vourvourou. Family-friendly features include a kiddie pool and rooms equipped with a mini-fridge.
Where to eat
Fresh fish and local wines are the way to go in Greece. Try Paris in Vourvourou, an open restaurant overlooking the ocean that serves local fare or Aristos in Ornos Panagias, where wooden tables and chairs dot the beach and you can dine by the light of the moon.
Sunflowers, fresh honey and chianti await in a city that offers fine dining and fine art that are equally accessible to travelers of all ages.
What to do
Even the little ones will realize what a treasure trove the Uffizi Gallery Museum is when you turn your tour into a treasure hunt for the masters: Raphael, Rubens, Caravaggio, and Michelangelo. Il Duomo di Firenze, more formally known as the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, is worth the visit for many reasons, not the least of which is the incredible view from the top of this orange-tiled cathedral.
At Palazzo Vecchio, the kids can live like a Medici for a day; sign them up for a guided tour and some fresco painting while you take a tour of your own through the palace’s secret passages.
After souvenir shopping on the Ponte Vecchio, stroll over to Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens that rise up behind it. The Giardino di Boboli are famous for the fountains and grottos designed by the Medici family; one of the earliest Italian gardens, it’s also a great place to enjoy a picnic from Ino you can pick up on the way.
It you want to get a taste of Tuscany and its rolling hills, take the No. 7 bus up to Fiesole. Just 20 minutes north of the city, you’ll have an awe-inspiring view of Florence on one side and a stunning set of Etruscan and Roman ruins on the other.
Where to stay
Villa Tolomei, about 10 minutes outside the city, offers adjoining rooms for families in addition to a beautiful pool and gardens.
Where to eat
Families are welcome everywhere, but two of our faves that come with a local’s stamp of approval include Trattoria La Casalinga and Cinghiale Bianco; be sure to wash down your homemade pasta with truffles with some vin santo and biscotti while the kids enjoy an extra scoop of gelato.
Where to begin? There’s the opera, the architecture, and the food – from schnitzel and ratatouille to the famous Sacher torte, you’ll be waltzing your way through Vienna from morning ’til night.
What to do
Channel your inner Mozart or virtually conduct your own Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at Haus der Musik. If you haven’t had your fill of the classics, the Vienna State Opera offers hour-long children’s operas all year with the exception of July and August; these popular programs sell out months in advance, so be sure to book your tickets when you book your flights.
Schonbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the imperial Habsburg family, is a palace, children’s museum and world’s oldest zoo all in one.
Belvedere consists of two Baroque palaces, the Oranger and Palace Stables; at Upper Belvedere budding detectives find sport in spotting the mistakes in the paintings.
When you’ve had your fill of palaces and fine art, visit the Zoom Children’s Museum and then go to the Dschungel for an afternoon snack; there’s a play corner for the kids and comfy couches for you.
Finally, take the elevator to the top of the North Tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral for a view of the city you’ll remember forever.
Where to stay
Pertschy, a B&B in an 18th century palace, offers a full Viennese breakfast buffet and kid-loving staff. Best of all, it’s walking distance to the Opera, cathedral and more.
Where to eat
Naschmarkt has been a meeting place since the 16th century and today offers over 120 stands and restaurants featuring both Viennese specialties and international delicacies; grab some takeaway and have a picnic in Rathauspark.
September usually signals the close of summer, but the off-season fall deals are just getting started. Here are our favorite off-season getaways you should book now.
September signifies a new start to the year for some; the kids are in school, back to the grind at work and the summer is over. But is it really? The official end of summer is September 21st, so squeeze every last drop out of summer 2019 by taking advantage of these travel deals where the prices drop drastically post Labor Day and run through the rest of fall.
Whether you’re looking to enjoy a long weekend (I’ve got my eye on you, Columbus Day) or you’ve saved up a week of your vacay to take advantage of quiet beaches and resort towns. Here are a few to consider this fall for an endless summer quest.
Ocean City, MD
While Ocean City is energetic, loud, and busy during the summer, it’s open, quiet, and gorgeous in the fall (mid-September through late November) and September is commonly known as the “Locals Summer.”
Around then, visitors can take advantage of discounted rates and lots of valuable seasonal perks at the Dunes Manor. They can also enjoy sunny days and beautiful breezes as they stroll on the Atlantic Avenue boardwalk, which stretches for 2.5 miles and begins at the edge of the Dunes Manor’s property.
Ocean City has many exciting events that take place from September through autumn, like Island Wine Fest, O.C.Toberfest and Sunfest, where you can expect four days filled with music, food and activities for all.
Just ninety minutes from Denver, Breckenridge, Colorado, is an excellent example of a destination where there deals are to be had after the kids are back in school. That paired with cooler temperatures and fall leaf-peeping colors make it a desirable budget destination during off-peak season.
The lodging is less expensive post-summer and before ski season gets into swing. For example, the LOGE Breckenridge has 38 rooms with deals for as low as 100 bucks per night. They also have fire pits right outside next to some of the best trails access outside of Breckenridge, including the famed Colorado Trail.
Located at 9,600 ft. above sea level, this charming and historic town is one of the first in Colorado to say hello to fall. Miners came to Breckenridge in search of gold, and much of the town’s Gold Rush history can be experienced on the town’s 60+ miles of interconnected trails. Perfect for post-Labor Day hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Block Island, RI
A quick ferry ride from mainland Rhode Island or from the tip of Montauk, New York, Block Island has a charming old-timey feel where small, family-run businesses reign supreme. Though many visitors flock to Block Island in the summer, local insider intel has long advised that September through October is prime time.
There’s more availability with the same quintessential summertime New England feel. The island is significantly less crowded in the fall, pushing the hotel prices down significantly.
The Harborside Inn offers prices under $200 through the weekend, but they also offer a “Discover Block Island” Midweek Package for two nights at $369 in September. This deal includes two round-trip ferry tickets with beverages, a welcome gift bag and dining vouchers worth $100 at Mohegan Cafe & Brewery in Old Harbor. You’ll also have access to bikes and beach chairs for your entire stay. More than 43% of Block Island is preserved in perpetuity as open space, making it the perfect beach destination to explore by bike!
Sag Harbor, NY
It’s well known that the Hamptons are the playground of the rich and famous. And while that contributes to higher prices during the summer, why not just skip the crowds and high price tags and head to Sag Harbor during shoulder season for a quiet retreat in this beach haven?
Relish in local wineries, shopping, museums, clamming, boating, and local year-round restaurants. Book a weekend at Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor; prices drop in the fall to under $200 per night. Get major nautical vibes from the sweeping views of the majestic marina from your hotel room or from the on-property restaurant. They even have a pet-friendly program, so you can bring Fido to run on the beach. Don’t worry; they supply the bowls, bed and treats!
Cape May, NJ
Cape May is a charming seaside getaway offering the perfect beach-town trip in the fall. Explore this Victorian town by foot or bike and enjoy mouth-watering, farm-to-table dining, family-friendly fun and shopping (hey, the best sales are in the off-season!). Hotel pricing plummets in September to around $125 per night or less depending on your location.
For one, the Beach Shack (cutest name ever?) has affordable rates at this whimsical hotel with a Hawaiian-themed atmosphere. The property is also home to the Rusty Nail, Cape May’s legendary hangout for lifeguards, surfers and other beachgoers. Get ready to relax, the hardest decision you’ll be making is if you should swim in the pool or ocean. Am I right?
Hello, Minnesota! Crunching leaves, crisp air, trickling rivers and beautiful overlooks: there’s no denying that Minnesota is one of the best places to experience fall. And many resorts in Minnesota drop their rates this time of year, making it easier on the pocketbooks to experience all the season has to offer.
Madden’s Resort on Gull Lake offers visitors a chance to soak up the remaining days of summer with prices as low as $119 per night. Pass your time on the lake with boating, fishing or paddle boarding and pretty much any water activity you can imagine. Outside of lake attractions, you can go zip lining, visit local breweries or go biking and hiking through the many trails in the Brainerd Lakes Area.
James Kirkikis | Dreamstime.com
We asked Lexington, Kentucky’s, top chef where to eat. Here’s what he said.
Cole Arimes opened his first restaurant Coles 735 Main in 2012, and he’s been pushing Lexington’s culinary reputation into the national spotlight ever since. His second new restaurant, Epping’s On Eastside, is a stylish, lively eatery in a historic building specializing in elevated pub grub and wait-worthy brunches.
Cole Arimes knows a thing or two about Lexington’s food and drink scene © Erica Lee Photography
This all comes as Lexington neighborhoods up their cool quotient. The Distillery District, for one, anchored by the newly refurbished historic James E. Pepper Distillery, draws revelers with bars (including one in the distillery), restaurants, an arcade, a brewery, and plenty more. We checked in with Cole to get his tips on dining around this dynamic town.
The Best Burger: Wallace Station Deli
Ouita Michel’s Kentucky bona fides run deep. She opened her first restaurant in 2001, and since then she’s opened seven more in the area, written cookbooks, appeared as a judge on Top Chef, garnered several James Beard Award nominations, and made very high-profile initiatives to support Kentucky farmers. But she hasn’t forgotten about simple pleasures, like a mighty fine burger.
Cole heads to Wallace Station Deli, her farmhouse-style deli in Midway, about 30 minutes from Coles 735 Main, for his burger fix. And if his young son and daughter come along, not only do they appreciate the restaurant’s kid-friendly vibe, but the ride along the grassy landscape where thoroughbred horses roam captivates their attention during the trip.
Best Latin Food: Corto Lima
Cole has a hard time coming up with an answer when asked about his favorite dishes at Corto Lima. “Everything,” he replies. “The chicharonnes are awesome and the black bean and pork dish is excellent.”
Run by Jonathan Lundy, James Beard Award semi-finalist and cookbook author, this Latin-inspired restaurant’s small-plate style lends itself to not having to choose favorites. Of course, few things go with this kind of food than a margarita. Cole considers their tequila and mezcal selection the best in the area. And while he’s more of a bourbon guy, “good margaritas aren’t all that bad now and then,” he admits.
Best Ice Cream:
Crank and Boom Craft Ice Cream Lounge
Cole let’s his kids call the shots on this one. Their vote is for the industrial-chic Crank and Boom Craft Ice Cream Lounge. Yes, lounge. It’s known for eccentric flavors like coffee stout and dark chocolate truffle, and it’s all made in-house using as many local ingredients as possible. Ice cream cocktails are also on the menu.
“The sundaes are all carefully composed and the ice cream dishes are just all-around fantastic,” he swears. He and his family are hardly the only ones who think that. She started about seven and a half years ago and has blown up in terms of the restaurants that carry her product. She was also one of the first to businesses to open in the Distillery District.
Best Specialty Drinks Spot: Wise Bird Cider Company
In late August, Cole went to Wise Bird Cider Company for the first time, an airy industrial-chic spot with long tables, outdoor seating, and charcuterie on the menu. Never much of a cider guy, he wasn’t sure what to expect, but he ended up liking it so much that now he’s carrying it at both his restaurants. As an added bonus, the space is kid-friendly. “You can let them loose to run around and not fear that they’re gonna tear the place up.”
Best Fine Dining: Dudley’s on Short or Heirloom
Cole sees his fellow chefs and restaurateurs as partners, not competitors. “We’re all in it together,” he insists. He tries to visit other restaurants when he’s not busy running his own two places of spending time with his kids.
Dudley’s on Short, he says, is a longstanding local favorite, much respected for being in business since 1981. Located in a 19th century bank building, he describes it simply as “the tried and true.”
He gushes over Heirloom. Its minimalist décor ensures there are no distractions from what Cole describes as seasonally driven meals that play on Californian cuisine. The team puts a premium on local ingredients, though a menu always includes a few staple dishes, like fried chicken livers and an excellent burger, by Cole’s estimation. But it’s the seasonal dishes that lend the place some excitement. “You never know what you’re gonna get every time you go in,” he says.
If you want to get in touch with nature but aren’t into pitching a tent or setting up a mosquito net, these stylish glamping sites have got you covered.
If you’re keen to enjoy the great outdoors but not interested in roughing it, then glamping is for you. Thanks to upgraded accommodations and actual beds, glamping is a more luxurious experience, with amenities that may include running water, electricity, personal chefs, fine linens, and en suite bathrooms. Plus, you don’t have to worry about packing toiletries, bedding,and towels – it’s all part of the package. From deluxe safari tents to small cabins and bungalows, this classy getaway not only lets you gently commune with nature, it also allows you to participate in activities you may have missed if you were staying at a hotel. Ready to upgrade? Here are six top picks for when tents and sleeping bags just won’t do.
1. Wild Lotus Camp, Antigua
This family-owned glamping business offers large, sturdy upscale tents on Valley Church Beach, just steps from the Caribbean Sea and protected rainforests. The tents, located in a private garden surrounded by exotic flowers and plants, feature a double bed, a seating area, and solar-heated shower and lighting. The secluded Deluxe tent comes with a rum-stocked minibar, a Bluetooth speaker, fold-away bikes, and snorkel gear. But the real draw here is wild turtle season. At its height from July to October, you can watch turtles hatch on the beach outside your tent, then swim with them in the clear turquoise water. Or take in the landscape with a climb to the peak of Mount Obama (named after the 44th US president), the island’s highest point in the Shekerley Mountains. The Nest Beach bar, located on the shoreline, serves meals and cocktails, and a short walk takes you to Sheer Rocks and Dennis’s Cocktail Bar for romantic dinners, especially during sunset.wildlotuscamp.com
2. Sandy Pines Campground: Kennebunkport, ME
Located near Goose Rocks Beach and Dock Square, this seaside campground is the epitome of high-low accommodations. Meant to evoke an old-school tableau of New England communal camping, Sandy Pines is a family-friendly destination teetering on the Atlantic. For true glamping, 16 luxe safari tents are available; each has a different design theme and includes a king-size bed, deck, mini-fridge and beverage cooler, and a combination heater/fan. For something more low-key, check out one of the 12 wooden A-frame Hideaway Huts, each equipped with a full-size bed and fire pit. This year, Sandy Pines unveiled six unique retreat options, including a decked-out Airstream, a glass house, and a Conestoga wagon. Entertainment, like bocce and badminton, movie nights, and even a Kid’s Kamp, ensures that everyone keeps busy. Resort-style amenities like the heated saltwater pool and laundry facilities add to the sense of luxury. The property’s Grand Lodge is a hub for the glamping community, while the General Store sells groceries and essentials like bug spray, sunscreen, charcoal, and propane. Make your way to the snack bar for freshly baked goods and sandwiches, plus local beer and wine. sandypinescamping.com
3. Eastwind Hotel & Bar: Windham, NY
(Courtesy Eastwind Hotel & Bar)
A lively and welcome addition to New York’s Catskill Mountains, Eastwind deftly straddles luxury and nature with design-forward glamping accommodations alongside a boutique hotel. The three Scandinavian-inspired Lushna wood cabins are standalone A-frame units with insulation and a glass window for panoramic views. Built on stilts, these tiny cabins include a queen-sized bed, private bathroom with sauna, posh Frette linens, and Wi-Fi. A BBQ kit is available on request to use at the fire pit on the property. Glampers also have access to all the hotel’s amenities, such as the Salon, a cocktail and coffee bar set in a sprawling living room–like space with huge windows, couches, a dining area, and an expansive outdoor deck. Seasonal prix-fixe Saturday Evening Suppers and a bar menu with small plates are available. Eastwind also has a year-round calendar of programs and activities, like concerts and foraging walks. To explore the surrounding Catskills, take a refreshing hike to Kaaterskill falls and Saugerties Lighthouse, or hang out at one of the plentiful water holes like Woodstock’s Big Deepa. eastwindny.com
4. Leanto Orcas Island: Washington
Orcas Island’s modest glamping grounds are situated near the south-end loop of Moran State Park. An ferry ride from the port city of Anacortes lands you on the 5000-acre island, which boasts five freshwater lakes and more than 30 miles of hiking trails. Sunrise Rock and Cascade Falls are walking distance from each other, but if you want to catch a panoramic view, the summit of Mount Constitution is about five miles away. There are five glamping sites to choose from, the smallest featuring one tent with a queen-size bed and the largest offering two tents, one with a queen-size bed and the other with two twin daybeds. All accommodations also come with a table and chairs, dresser, and luggage rack. Outside there are Adirondack chairs, a grill and fire pit, a picnic table, and tents are equipped with flashlights and lanterns. There is no running water on the site, so you’ll be sharing the grounds’ toilets and coin-operated showers with the visitors on the old-school camping grounds. Meals are not included, though grilling utensils are available for loan, and you can add the “morning coffee” option when you book if you need that initial shot of caffeine. There are plenty of restaurants and markets on the island if you want a night out or need to replenish supplies.stayleanto.com.
5. Collective Governors Island, a New York City Retreat: New York, NY
(Courtesy Collective Retreats)
Just a few minutes by ferry from both Manhattan and Brooklyn, Collective Governors Island, a New York City Retreat, lets you escape the bustle of the city and sleep under the stars – albeit in a luxury tent inspired by Scandinavian minimalism. Governors Island, a former military base that opened to the public in 2004, is filled with historical buildings, pop-up art and cultural exhibits, and green space like the Hills, which feature four giant slides and British artist Rachel Whiteread’s permanent installation of a New England-style concrete cabin, not to mention dazzling skyline vistas. The Collective is nestled on the western side of the island, and its accommodations are contained on a central lawn. All tents include plush beds, electricity, WiFi, and a French press for coffee; Journey tents are the basic option, but you can upgrade to the higher-end Summit tents, which come with 1,500-thread-count sheets, private decks, and en-suite bathrooms. At the highest end are the Outlook Shelters, non-tent shelters that feature larger floorplans and stunning views of the NYC skyline. Have dinner at the quaint Three Peaks Lodge, a restaurant offering a farm-to-table cornucopia, or opt for something more casual and grab the BBQ-in-a-Box or a wrap, salad, and juice from Magic Mix Juicery. Nighttime brings campfires, s’mores, and the knowledge that you’re safe from run-ins with bears or moose in this urban enclave. collectiveretreats.com.
6. Under Canvas Grand Canyon: Valle, AZ
(Courtesy West Elm)
A 25-minute drive into the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, Under Canvas is the perfect way to get up close and personal with one of the Seven Wonders of the World. An extravagant campsite with nearly 100 safari tents offers access to varied activities, like horseback riding and hiking through the campgrounds, which cover 160 acres of juniper forest. The two main tent styles – the Deluxe and the Stargazer – are furnished with a king-size bed and feature ensuite bathrooms, wood stoves, and private decks, but the Stargazer stands out for its groovy viewing window. A third option, the Suite Tent, has an additional lounge area with a queen-size sofa bed for a family or group. Package options include guided tours by foot, bike, helicopter, and jeep, plus meals served at the camp’s fast-casual restaurant. (Boxed lunches are available for those planning to spend the day out and about.) The communal firepit offers gratis s’mores and a prime view of the stars. undercanvas.com.
A cheap and simple way to enjoy the outdoors and see the majesty of the country, leaf peeping is a time-honored tradition from coast to coast. Here are our six favorite places to do it.
Don’t mourn the end of summer. Swap out that bathing suit for a sweater, ice cream for apples, and make a date with mother nature to ponder the stunning colors of America’s fall foliage.
Given the overwhelming number of parks, mountains and forests to choose from, finding the right time and place to see these vibrant displays may seem overwhelming. To get you started, we’ve rounded up six of the best places to enjoy fall’s impressive hues. And though there is an estimated time for peak viewing, it’s all about the weather, so you may want to check the Farmer’s Almanac and The Weather Channel for a quick update before you head out.
New York is one of the most popular states to get a full glimpse of seasonal colors. And this mountain range in the state’s southeast corner is close enough to New York City to drive, train or bus to in just a few short hours.
The optimal viewing time in the Catskills is the end of September through October and though you can’t miss the breathtaking changes wherever you end up, we suggest a drive to the Kaaterskill Clove Experience, a hike to Mount Utsayantha or a trip aboard the Catskill Mountain Railroad. Weekend events, like the Hunter Mountain Oktoberfest and the Taste of the Catskills, are a great way to extend your foliage excursion and mix it up with both locals and tourists.
Combine your autumn viewing with some American history this season and head to Gettysburg around the third week of October until mid-November to enjoy peak foliage. The Gettysburg National Military Park and the top of the battlefield Little Round Top affords flamboyant views all the way to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
You can also choose to see the changing leaves on horseback from the National Riding Stables Horse Rescue or Hickory Hollow Farm, take a drive through Pennsylvania’s Apple Country or visit the Hauser Estate Winery for a taste of wine and hard cider, as well as a view from one of the region’s highest points. The National Apple Harvest Festival runs through the first two weekends of October and will give you a good reason to stay and enjoy the food, crafts, entertainment and, you know, all those apples.
Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, NM
The mountains of northern New Mexico are a highlight for leaf gazing aficionados during the first few weeks of October, and this dreamily named route provides an 83-mile loop of what the southwest autumn has to offer. The drive is approximately three hours, though you’ll want to factor in time for stops along the way. The byway begins and ends in the artists’ colony Taos and makes its way through Questa, Red River, Eagle’s Nest and Angel Fire.
The sundry scenery includes Taos Pueblo, which houses the country’s first memorial to Vietnam vets, as well as Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s tallest point, and Taos Ski Valley where you can enjoy the vivid views on a hike, bike or ski lift.
Lake of the Ozarks, MS
Mid- to late-October is the best tome to see the Ozarks hardwood forests and rolling hills burn with scarlet, ginger and gold on this vast shoreline – though it could easily stretch into November with an abundance of cool sunny days. Unfolding across four counties, this summer getaway comes alive in the fall, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy the brilliant scenery in the surrounding Ozark Hills.
Take a drive through the Sylamore District of the Ozark National Forest, stop at the Ameren Scenic Overlook, survey the surroundings with a round of golf at the Margaritaville Lake Resort or hop on a boat at Celebration Cruises to see the sites from the water.
Columbia River Gorge, OR
With over 80 miles of brightly tinted forests to gawk at, this scenic area located along Interstate 84 is at its peak for fall foliage from mid-September to mid-October. The drive is parallel to the Columbia River, but be sure to stop at the Crown Point Vista House for more expansive views of the Cascade Mountains or consider a hike on the popular Dog Mountain Loop.
Take a cheeky break for a beverage and panoramic vistas at one of the Gorge wineries or breweries or book a white water rafting trip down the Columbia River to liven things up.
Kancamagus Highway, NH
This 34-mile drive, nicknamed the Kanc by locals, provides an explosion of brilliant colored leaves come mid-September and lasting through early October. Because this highway cuts through the White Mountain National Forest, there are plenty of points to pull off and enjoy the breathtaking views.
The Sabbaday Falls includes a 45ft drop and perfect picnicking options and you can stop at the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves to wander off on a hike. Or hop on the 80-passenger cable car at the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway to see the spectacular foliage from the air – all the way to Maine, Vermont and Canada.
North Carolina is known for its destination-worthy beaches and dynastic college basketball teams, among other things, but its capital is often overshadowed by flashier locales around the state – which is a pity, because Sir Walter Raleigh’s namesake has plenty to recommend it. Home to North Carolina State University, not to mention world-class cuisine, standout arts organizations, and all the fun and games you’d hope to find in a college community, the easternmost point in the state’s famed Triangle deserves a deeper look. Here are a few highlights to hit when you’re in town.
1. Experience art
CAM Raleigh is North Carolina’s only non-collecting contemporary art museum. (Maya Stanton)
The arts scene in Raleigh doesn’t garner the same plaudits as, say, the one in Asheville, but when it comes to creative pursuits, North Carolina’s capital measures up. With an extensive permanent collection that includes Italian renaissance paintings, Egyptian funerary art, Jewish ceremonial objects – one of just two permanent Jewish art displays in a US art museum – and modern pieces from the likes of Ellsworth Kelly and Ursula von Rydingsvard, not to mention a Rodin sculpture garden with pieces from different phases of the artist’s stories career, the sprawling North Carolina Museum of Art is a great place to start.
There are natural-history and state-history museums too, but for something au courant, head to the Warehouse District, a former industrial area that now plays host to an array of galleries, shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s also home to CAM Raleigh, a contemporary art museum that features a rotating series of original exhibitions starring artists from around the world. The air conditioning was out the weekend we visited, but even that didn’t impede our enjoyment – the minimalist space (think: concrete floors, hangar-style ceilings, and white walls) was full of attention-grabbers, from mixed-media collages to card-stock sculptures to laser-cut plywood pieces to one particularly eye-catching octopus, rendered in wine corks and epoxy clay.
2. Eat your heart out
The macaroni and cheese at Ashley Christensen’s Poole’s Diner is highly craveable, served bubbling hot and browned on top. (visitRaleigh.com)
It wouldn’t be a proper Southern experience without sampling the local delicacies, and the highly decorated Ashley Christensen is perhaps the city’s best-known chef. Any restaurant in the James Beard winner’s mini-empire is worth a visit: Downtown, Poole’s Diner is justifiably famous for its comfort food (the rich, gooey mac ‘n’ cheese deserves an honorable mention), while Death & Taxes puts a contemporary, wood-fired spin on regional produce, and Beasley’s Chicken + Honey slings down-home favorites like chicken and waffles, biscuits, and raging-hot wings. (The newest member of the family, a Neapolitan pizza parlor called Poole’side Pies, just opened this month.)
Boulted Bakery is a must-stop for carb-lovers. (Maya Stanton)
For stellar seafood with Cajun flair, head downtown to St. Roch, a New Orleans-inspired oyster bar with a can’t-go-wrong menu. Try the bivalves, of course, raw or roasted, but don’t sleep on the crab claws, drenched in black garlic and chili; the hush puppies, studded with crawfish and plated with creole cane butter for dipping; and the peel-n-eat shrimp, smothered in a coconut, cilantro, and lime-inflected BBQ sauce. (Save room for the beignets, if you can manage it – hot out of the fryer and served with bourbon caramel on the side, they’re the perfect way to end the meal.)
Also downtown is Brewery Bhavana, a combination flower shop, bookstore, dim sum joint, and brewery that’s garnered national plaudits since it opened in 2017. Order a cocktail like the Chinese old-fashioned, spiked with oolong and five-spice, or a glass of cucumber sangria to have alongside turnip cakes festooned with thin-sliced scallions, seafood dumplings in a garlicky mushroom broth, chicken- and pork-stuffed bao, and Sichuan cucumber salad.
St. Roch serves up stellar seafood, from peel-n-eat shrimp and po’boys to oysters roasted and raw. (Maya Stanton)
Finally, a must for carb-lovers is Boulted Bread. Located southwest of downtown, on the outskirts of the Boylan Heights neighborhood, it’s an artisanal affair that takes baking extremely seriously, with an onsite stone mill that processes the heirloom grains used in loaves of emmer wheat and Nordic rye, and in the pastries too – if the potato-cheddar quiche, Benton’s ham–filled bialy, or the cinnamon-sugar-speckled morning bun are available, grab one of each. The same team recently opened Benchwarmers Bagels in Transfer Co. Food Hall, and though this New Yorker was highly skeptical, it hit the mark, especially the sesame-bagel sandwich with smoked fish, potato chips, pickled green tomatoes, and salmon roe.
3. Have some fun
Boxcar Bar + Arcade has more than 200 games, from pinball to air hockey. (Maya Stanton)
After all that grub, you’ll need to blow off some steam, and Raleigh offers plenty of ways to tap your inner child. For old-school action, look to Boxcar Bar + Arcade, a gaming den with more than 200 options for play, from classic arcade cabinets to pinball machines to consoles. When we stopped in on a Saturday afternoon, it was full of revelers, so be prepared to show ID at the door and jockey for both the bartender’s attention and time in front of the game of your choice. If sports are more your speed, the Carolina Hurricanes are in town from September to April, playing home hockey games at the same stadium as the North Carolina State University men’s basketball team. There are professional men’s and women’s soccer teams too, and just half an hour outside of town, you can catch the Carolina Mudcats, a minor-league baseball team with arguably the best logo in the game.
For minor league baseball, head to the ‘burbs. The Carolina Mudcats play at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, North Carolina. (Ted Richardson/visitRaleigh.com)
For a nightcap with high entertainment value, Plus Dueling Piano Bar is a hoot and a half. Under the flashing neon lights, two piano players and one drummer take to the rotating stage, belting out special requests to a packed house. Lean into the cheese factor and submit a request – Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” was a real crowd-pleaser on the Saturday night we visited – or sit on the sidelines and nurse a drink; either way, be sure to have cash on hand to tip the musicians and the waitstaff. (If you’re staying across the street at the Hampton Inn & Suites, this is an especially convenient outing.)
If that scene sounds like too much to handle, perhaps one of the city’s lower-key drinking dens would do. The Guinness World Record holder for most beer brands and most varieties of beer on draft, the Raleigh Beer Garden is a tri-level behemoth with rooftop tables, a spacious patio, and a dizzying 369 brews on tap. There’s no hard copy of the tap list, just a digital screen over the bar that cycles through the options, so do yourself a favor and pull up the menu online to make your decision.
4. Step into history
The Capitol building is a National Historic Landmark and a well-preserved example of Greek Revival-style architecture. (visitRaleigh)
Established as the seat of state government in 1792, Raleigh has seen its share of action. For an extensive overview in manageable form, pencil in a visit to the City of Raleigh Museum, a few rooms in the historic Briggs Hardware building that cram quite a bit of local lore into such a small space. The main exhibit details the city’s roots, from culture and heritage to education and business, and a timeline, striking in its simplicity, traces the civil rights struggle by contrasting what was happening in town with national goings-on. Current displays include an exhibit devoted to the late political cartoonist Dwane Powell, one that tells the story of Dix Hill, a plantation turned psychiatric institution turned city park, and another that delves into the history of barbecue in North Carolina.
The circa-1756 Yates Mill is the county’s only remaining gristmill. (Maya Stanton)
Yates Mill is water-powered, thanks to a creek-fed 24-acre pond. (Maya Stanton)
Originally home to the governor’s office and all state government, the Capitol building was completed in 1840 to the tune of $532,682.34—more than $13.5 million by current standards. Construction relied upon enslaved labor throughout the seven-year build, and even given all those workers who went unpaid, the bill came to more than three times the state’s yearly income at the time. Today, it’s a National Historic Landmark, and, the city says, “one of the best-preserved examples of a civic building in Greek Revival-style architecture.” The building is undergoing restoration as of September 2019, but it’s still open to the public, with tours available on a limited basis.
A less-expected option for the historically inclined is Yates Mill, the last gristmill standing in Raleigh and the surrounding county. Situated in a 174-acre wildlife park with hiking trails, a creek, and a 24-acre pond that powers the mill, this 18th-century marvel is still going strong. Peek inside at the original equipment, watch a costumed corn-grinding demonstration, or scope out the building from top to bottom—tours are available from March through November and cost as little as $5 for adults and $3 for kids. Plus, you can pick up a bag of cornmeal, stone-ground on the premises, to take home as a souvenir.
5. Get outside
Pullen Park is the fifth-oldest operating amusement park in the country, with an original 1911 carousel that’s still in working order. (visitRaleigh.com)
On average, temps here don’t dip below 50 degrees, and the mercury only rises during the summer, so get outside to take full advantage. The JC Raulston Arboretum comprises 18 gardens of varying sizes and specialties, including a serene Japanese garden, a rose garden overflowing with old and new cultivars, and a butterfly garden stocked with herbaceous and woody plants that act as bait for the winged insects. Behind the television station’s studios, WRAL’s Azalea Gardens are a hidden gem, even when the titular flowers aren’t in bloom, with wooded paths, vibrant blossoms – camellias, hydrangeas, and a huge array of perennials, shrubs, succulents, and vines – and lighthearted sculptures throughout.
JC Raulston Arboretum is made up of 18 individual gardens. (Chris Glenn/visitRaleigh.com)
Within the city limits are a handful of public greenspaces worth a visit. West of downtown is Pullen Park, the fifth-oldest operating amusement park in the country, established in 1887, where you can take a spin on the original 1911 carousel, rent a paddleboat and take to the lake, catch a concert, or hit the tennis courts for a workout. Further west, back at NCMA, there’s the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, the largest of its kind in the country, with 164-acre grounds juxtaposing more than a dozen large-scale installations with nature trails, sustainable landscapes, and contemporary gardens. Moore Square recently reopened after a $12 million renovation, and the four-acre park now boasts an outdoor café, a treehouse-style place space, a splash pad, and public art installations.
Outside of town, you’ll find the highly popular William B. Umstead State Park, a lush, green oasis with 22 miles of forested hiking trails, 13 miles of horseback and mountain-bike trails, and three man-made lakes with canoe and rowboat rentals. Seek out the chainsaw art, a 25-foot-long fallen red oak tree intricately carved by artists Jerry Redi and Randy Boni to reveal regal herons, fluffy owls, squirrels perched on leafy branches, and rabbits hiding in their dens. There’s also Falls Lake State Recreation Area, which boasts seven access points across an undeveloped 12,000-acre reservoir, with beaches for swimming, boating put-ins, and campsites galore.
Why choosing the right kind of travel insurance coverage before traveling internationally is one of the smartest investments a traveler can make.
It’s every traveler’s worst nightmare: A good vacation gone suddenly bad.
You may be hiking a beautiful trail in a national park, or practicing your rock-climbing skills, or learning to surf on a gorgeous beach. Then the unthinkable happens: A fall, a head injury, broken bones, or worse. You require a medical evacuation, hospital stay, and, after surviving the ordeal, you are presented with a medical bill for $100,000 – or maybe even a lot more. And the medical insurance you have in your home country? It’s not accepted in your current destination.
Sure, we said that accident was “unthinkable,” but the fact is, huge unexpected expenses can be avoided by travelers who do think ahead. The world of travel insurance can feel complex, expensive, and unnecessary, but not having the right kind of insurance, especially when traveling internationally, can be the most expensive travel mistake you can make. Here’s how to prepare in advance.
Why travel insurance is worth the investment
Why do we think of travel insurance as an “investment” rather than an “expense”? Because when you travel internationally, there is a strong likelihood that the medical insurance you have in your home country will not be accepted in the country you are visiting. In some respects, you are paying for peace of mind, of course: Knowing that, in the event that you are seriously injured or ill, you’ll be prepared with a health insurance policy that local medical practitioners and hospitals accept and are familiar with. In some cases, additional travel insurance can also deliver 24/7 emergency service, coverage against theft or loss of travel documents, and even language-translation services.
Travel medical insurance
For international travelers, “travel medical insurance” is the coverage that ensures that, in the event of a medical emergency in a foreign country, you are not liable for high out-of-pocket fees. It is a short-term, temporary policy covering health, injury, and emergencies. For example, if you are an international traveler planning to visit the US, it is recommended that you obtain a US-based travel medical insurance plan, which will be recognized by more doctors and hospitals in the United States, leading to an easier experience in the event that you seek medical care, customer service, or need to file a claim. (Note: Most of the better-known US-based insurance companies do not offer coverage to international visitors – coverage is offered by smaller US-based companies that specialize in international travelers.)
What is covered by travel medical insurance
In general, you can expect a travel medical insurance plan to cover any new illness, accident or injury, medical evacuation, and, in the regrettable event of a death abroad, the return home of the deceased’s remains. Generally not covered are pre-existing medical conditions, routine doctor check-ups, immunizations, pregnancy and childbirth, major dental work, or eye exams.
Other travel insurance options
In addition to medical insurance when traveling internationally, “trip insurance” can be appealing to some travelers. This kind of policy allows you to recoup some or all of your expenses in the event that you have to cancel or interrupt your trip, your trip is delayed, you miss a connection, lose baggage, car rental, and other specific instances itemized in your policy. A “cancel for any reason” policy, just as its name suggests, is more comprehensive and allows you to recoup some or all of your expenses if you decide for any reason at all that you need to cancel or postpone a trip. Cruise insurance works in a similar way, giving travelers a measure of security when they book a cruise that ends up being threatened by a significant weather event.
Come next June, New Yorkers and Parisians alike could be crossing the Atlantic in comfort and at a bargain rate if they play their cards right.
This week, low-cost long-haul airline French bee announced its latest route: beginning June 10, 2020, one flight will operate daily between Paris-Orly and Newark Liberty International. Prices won’t be announced until tickets go on sale on September 18, but fares for the carrier’s other routes start at US$189 (€212) for basic economy and US$239 (€268) for economy with extra amenities. (The airline only has a few destinations; it currently offers connections between Paris and Punta Cana, Réunion Island, Tahiti, and San Francisco, and between San Francisco and Paris and Tahiti.)
When the EWR – ORY route launches next year, it will be with a fleet of Airbus A350 XWBs, a fuel-efficient aircraft that reportedly reduces CO² emissions by 25%. French bee says the planes were specifically designed with the comfort of long-haul passengers in mind, with air exchange every three minutes, serious sound insulation for four times less noise than the Boeing 787, and all-around LED lighting that makes it easier to nod off and wake up.
That’s a good thing, too, because the only flight heading east to west is a red-eye, departing from Newark at 6:15 p.m. and arriving in Orly at 7:30 the next morning. On the return leg, it leaves Orly at 2:00 p.m. and lands at Newark at 4:15 p.m.
“With our A350s, passengers are only experiencing pressure equivalent to a stay at an altitude of 1800 metres, creating a much more comfortable atmosphere,” says sales director Sophie Hocquez, adding that the inclination of the walls creates more space. “Our customers…have said they experience less fatigue, and are ready to enjoy their stay as soon as they step on the ground.”
Yekophotostudio | Dreamstime.com
This is not a drill: A conveyor-belt restaurant is winding its way into London’s West End, and it comes bearing British cheese of all kinds.
Billed as the world’s first cheese conveyor-belt restaurant, Pick & Cheese comes courtesy of the Cheese Bar team and opens its doors on 7 September in Seven Dials Market, a new food hall in Covent Garden. “We’ve been looking for the perfect spot in the West End for a while now,” says founder Matthew Carver. “We think this style of cheese and wine bar will work so well here – it’s the perfect stop for a pre-theater snack or to refuel after a hard days’ shopping.”
Dairy-lovers can belly up to the bar, where spots are first-come, first-served, and spend an hour choosing from cheddar, Stilton, Gouda, and more as they whizz around the 40-metre belt. (“Cheese should always be served at room temperature,” says Carver.) Plates are color-coded by price, so you barely have to think before you grab, say, a £2.95 Mayfield cheese from East Sussex’s Alsop & Walker or a £6.10 bresaola made in Tottenham.
With more than 25 varieties sourced from all over the UK, you might be tempted to try one of each. Carver recommends the Kingham, a brand new cheese released this summer that’s served with walnut fudge for a classic salty-sweet combination; Londonshire, from Wildes Cheese just up the road in Tottenham, that’s being paired with honeyed garlic; and Beauvale, “a blue for people who ‘don’t like blue cheese,’” with house-made sticky pear jam.
“Over the years, we’ve built up a repertoire of our favorites, and have been waiting for the perfect chance to put them on our menu,” Carver says. “We’ve tried to cater to the more well-known flavor profiles, as well as trying to push people out of their comfort zone to try something new.”
As for the conveyor belt itself, it’s been a few years in the making, but it was always part of the plan. “In our Camden restaurant, our customers always want to pick different cheeses from our house list, and create their own bespoke cheeseboard,” Carver says. “We wanted to come up with a way to offer this, whilst showcasing the cheeses at their very best.”
Anyaberkut | Dreamstime.com
These eight common travel scams can dupe even the savviest of travelers. Read our tips on how to avoid them.
Even experienced travelers can become victims of crooks that prey on tourists – and we’re not just talking about pickpockets. Perpetrators use a number of ploys to dupe tourists.
The good news? There are steps you can take to avoid these eight common travel scams and swindles.
Fake booking websites
Fraud can occur before you even pack your bags. Fake travel reservation websites are common culprits. In fact, a whopping 15 million online hotel reservations are made on bogus third-party sites every year, the American Hotel & Lodging Association reports.
How to avoid it: The easiest way to protect yourself is by going to the official website of the hotel, airline, or rental car agency to book reservations. If you’re considering using a third-party booking website, though, look up the business on the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints lodged against the company for fraud. Also, make sure the booking site’s URL starts with https:// – this ensures it’s a secure website.
The broken taxi meter
Sadly, some taxi drivers take advantage of tourists by telling them that their meter is broken and then charge them significantly more money than the fare should have cost.
How to avoid it: If a taxi driver refuses to turn on the meter, get out and opt for another driver. Don’t have another taxi to choose from? Negotiate the rate ahead of time.
Phony Wi-Fi hotspots
Connecting your computer, smartphone, or other electric device to an unsecured Wi-Fi network can put your personal data at risk, since the perpetrator can gain access to what’s on your device, including sensitive information like credit card account numbers.
How to avoid it: Instead of using public Wi-Fi, create a mobile hotspot from your smartphone. This entails sharing your phone’s mobile data connection wirelessly with the other device you’re using. If you don’t have a large or unlimited data plan, though, creating a mobile hotspot may not be a financially feasible option. If you must use a public Wi-Fi connection, use a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, which is “a private network that only you can access, hiding your important data from potential hackers,” says Hailey Benton of Global Travel Academy.
Your hotel accommodation or attraction is “closed”
We’re not trying to give taxi drivers a bad rap – most cabdrivers are honest providers – but some drivers mislead travelers by telling them that their desired hotel or attraction is closed, even though it’s open. The driver will then try to pressure you to stay at a different hotel or visit a different attraction, which offers the driver a kickback for bringing the company business.
How to avoid it: This one is pretty simple: if a cabbie tells you that your hotel or attraction is closed, call directly to see whether it’s truly open or closed.
Renting a car? You need to have your guard up. A fraudster may tell you to pull over because there’s a problem with your vehicle, like a broken taillight or a flat tire. Instead of inspecting your car, the person robs you at gun- or knife-point.
How to avoid it: Don’t pull over. If there’s a genuine problem, you’ll likely hear a noise or see an emergency light pop on, at which point you should find a repair shop.
The bag slash
A purse may seem like a good place to store cash and other valuables. However, crooks target tourists by riding on a bicycle past the person while slicing the strap of a bag, then pedaling away with its contents.
How to avoid it: Though some people think they look silly, storing your valuables – money, passport, and credit cards – in a money belt that you tuck into your pants is the safest way to stroll the streets.
The shell game
It’s an age-old scam: a game operator on the street places a ball under one of three shells or cups, shuffles them around, and you place a bet on where you think the ball is. The trick? Associates acting as tourists guess correctly, leading you to think you can win. The perpetrator has removed the ball using sleight of hand, or you win and the person pays you with counterfeit money.
How to avoid it: Don’t play. Don’t even stop to watch – you could get pickpocketed by a conspirator while you’re distracted by the game.
The souvenir switcheroo
You stop at a stall to buy a keepsake. You find the item you want to purchase and pay the vendor, who then goes to wrap up your purchase. When you get home, though, you unwrap your souvenir to discover it’s not the item you purchased – it’s actually a cheaper trinket.
How to avoid it: Don’t buy souvenirs on the street. Instead, go to a brick-and-mortar store that can be held accountable.