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4 Historic Haunts in the Hudson Valley, New York

Mohonk Mountain House in New York

But there’s another aspect of the Hudson Valley that’s worthy of intrigue. The colonial activity along the Hudson River valley dates back to the early 1600s; the area is steeped in history. Many original buildings still stand, dotting the Hudson River Valley with locations of intrigue, battle, history, and haunting.
Next time you visit the Big Apple, take the less-than-2-hour trip to the Hudson Valley to immerse yourself in some historic haunts in the Hudson Valley:

1. Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, NY

The small college town of New Paltz, NY, has a laid-back vibe, a prominent arts scene, and one of the earliest colonial streets in America. It’s a strange feeling to leave the hustle and bustle of Main Street and walk a few blocks down to Huguenot Street, where majestic old sycamore and pine trees and old stone houses radiate history.
According to the Huguenot Historical Society, the settlement along this simple street in a small town actually had its roots in the early 1500s. During that time The Protestant Reformation, sparked by Martin Luther’s act of opposition to the Roman Catholic Church, had spread rapidly throughout Europe.
By the 17th century, French Huguenots were being mercilessly killed due to their religious beliefs. When Catholic King Louis XIII took the throne in 1610, the violence escalated. A group of Huguenots (including the Hasbroucks, LeFevres, and Deyos, many of whose descendants still live in New Paltz) decided to strike off to the New World to escape persecution.
By 1678, after a long journey overseas, the Huguenots took up residence along the Wallkill River, where seven of the original stone houses still stand. Every October, tours take place to highlight some of the historical (and reportedly haunted) features of the street. From Maria Deyo’s infamous murder spree to the apparent ghostly sightings of a young Huguenot woman who died of tuberculosis, Huguenot Street is rife with history, myth, and legend.

2. Bannerman’s Island in Beacon, NY

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Bannerman Island Castle

People who take river cruises on the Hudson are often mystified by the crumbling ruins of what appears to be a Scottish Castle on a small, uninhabited island near Beacon, NY. Created by Frank Bannerman in the early 1900s, the building was built as a staggering homage to his cultural origins in Scotland.
Frank Bannerman, a former Union soldier in the American Civil War, was born in Scotland in 1851. When he eventually purchased the property on what’s now known as Bannerman Island, he designed the Scottish-style fortress as a way to store his huge collection of munitions. According to an article in Historic Hudson River Towns, Bannerman worked on the fortress for seventeen years, doing most of the architectural and engineering work himself. He made the fortress incredibly elaborate, which made it all the more tragic when a mysterious fire destroyed the buildings in 1969.
According to Jane Bannerman, the granddaughter-in-law of the fortress’s builder, Bannerman island used to be known as Pollepel Island and was considered haunted by local tribes. Most recently, the fortress was devastated by a fire that has made the historic site inaccessible to visitors except by boat. Seven years before the fire, Frank Bannerman’s grandson Charles issued a prophetic statement:
Time, the elements, and maybe even the goblins of the island will take their toll of some of the turrets and towers, and perhaps eventually the castle itself…
Also, visitors can’t set foot on the grounds, you can take an informative and scenic river cruise to pass by the crumbling Scottish castle on Bannerman Island.

3. Hoffman House, Kingston NY

Before Albany, the Hudson Valley town of Kingston held the distinction of the capital of New York. During the American Revolutionary War, Kingston became the prime target of a British attack, a fact in the biennial Burning of Kingston event.
After capturing New York City in October 1777, the British sailed up the Hudson River to target the prosperous colony at Kingston, landing at Kingston Point. The British marched along the Rondout River, burning houses as they went along. Though some locals fought back, the British quickly set the entire city alight, burning over 300 buildings to the ground.
Incredibly, the resilient city of Kingston soon bounced back and rebuilt. Now, visitors can visit the Stockade District where British soldiers indiscriminately burnt down houses. One of these is the Hoffman House, which along with the rest of the city was severely burnt in 1777.
Built in 1679, the Hoffman House is a typical example of Dutch colonial architecture. When it was restored in 1976, the new owners took care to use traditional materials—even using the house’s old nails in the restoration process. Now, it’s a restored tavern and restaurant where visitors can enjoy a pleasant meal inside one of the oldest houses in the third oldest settlement in New York.

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Mohok Mountain House

4. Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz NY

Fifteen minutes outside of the same town that holds the stone houses of Historical Huguenot Street, the famous Mohonk Mountain House is nestled into the beautiful Shawangunk Ridge. In person, the hotel is incredible and eclectic. Built at different times with different architectural styles, you can feel the history on each floor of the hotel.
Originally built around Stokes Tavern, purchased by Albert K. Smiley in 1869, the Mountain House officially opened in 1870. Since then, it’s seen several rounds of renovation, growing from a ten-room inn on a lakefront to a sprawling—yet isolated—265-room resort in the Shawangunks. With towers, an ice skating rink, a massive pure-blue lake, and all the raw wonder of the surrounding forest and ridge, Mohonk is both a historical and natural retreat. To this day, it remains in the Smiley family through six generations of ownership.
Its age along with the castle-like feel have contributed to speculation that Mohonk is haunted. It is believed by some to be the inspiration for the massively haunted Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s novel The Shining. Mohonk Mountain house does indeed feel like something out of a storybook with its Victorian castle-like appearance, its giant hedge maze, and the now-unused carriage roads that used to bring horse-and-buggy travelers up to the mountain lodge on the lake.
Upstate New York is steeped in history and culture going back hundreds of years. From strange Scottish simulations to giant Victorian mountainside resorts, the gem of the Hudson Valley exists only 90 miles north of NYC. And it’s worth the trip.

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The World’s Top 5 Waterfalls for Adventurers and Romantics

Victoria Falls

Take waterfalls for example. These wonders are pure nature, but can also have the same emotional impact as the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s busiest cities. Depending on the nature surrounding it, they can attract adventurers and romantics alike.
Whether you’re looking for a thrilling adventure or serene natural beauty, here are the world’s top five waterfalls for you to visit.

1) Niagara Falls, Canada

This fall is famous for a reason. As the world’s second largest waterfall by volume, 7,000 cubic meters per second make their way from the top to the bottom. But the reason it ranks top on this list is a different one: sheer accessibility.
The Niagara Falls is right on the border between the United States and Canada. By most measures, the Canadian side is more impressive. But between the two of them, both sides offer a wide range of ways to experience the falling water masses.
Most visitors enjoy a boat trip on the famous Maid of the Mist, right to the bottom of the fall. The U.S. side offers the Cave of the Winds, a way to get close to the water by foot. Finally, a number of walkways on the Canadian side offer almost direct access to the falls that allow you to get close with this spectacular natural wonder.

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Victoria Falls

2) Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Here, we have the only waterfall in the world even more massive than Niagara Falls. It is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Every second, up to 40,000 cubic meters of water fall down a height of more than 300 feet. Even more impressive, the entirety of the fall line is a full mile long. “Impressive” doesn’t even begin to describe this sheer display of natural power.
While the official name comes from a British explorer, its native name The Smoke that Thunders perhaps describes it even better. The gorges are especially beautiful to visit during dusk and dawn when the rising and falling sun shines onto the falling water in gorgeous tones.

3) Sutherland Falls, New Zealand

That New Zealand is widely considered one of the world’s most beautiful countries in terms of nature should come as no surprise. Neither should the fact that it also happens to be home to one of earth’s most famous and beautiful waterfalls.
The Sutherland Falls are nothing like Niagara or Victoria. Only a thin strip of water falls down a large mountain amidst lush vegetation surrounding it. At more than 1,000 feet, it is one of the world’s highest waterfalls.
Make no mistake: Sutherland Falls is not easy to access. It’s a destination for adventurers, rather than romantics. But if you can brace the remote and challenging Milford hiking track, you will be rewarded with one of the most beautiful waterfalls you can imagine.

4) Angel Falls, Venezuela

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Angel Falls

What can go wrong when visiting a natural attraction named after a heavenly creature? If Angel Falls is any indication, not much. As it turns out, visiting this destination is nothing short of supernatural.
If you thought 1,000 feet was impressive, how do you feel about the 3,200 feet uninterrupted fall in Venezuela? That number makes it the highest waterfall in the world. And the supernatural element doesn’t stop there.
Angel Falls is a waterfall that does not originate from a stream or river, but simply the water accumulated at the plateau of the mystical Auyán-tepui mountain from which it falls. Its local nickname, Mundo Perdido (Lost World), certainly rings true.

5) Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

We end the post with not just one, but a collection of waterfalls that form one of the most stunning lake districts in the world. The Plitvice National Park is home to no less than 16 individual lakes, all connected with waterfalls that are nothing short of gorgeous.
The tallest of the falls is ‘only’ 230 feet tall, and none of the is particularly wide. What makes this area so unique is how all of them work together to form a park that seems like it came straight out of a mystical fantasy novel.
In winter, the waterfalls accomplish a rare feat: they freeze and become even more beautiful. But the same mystical element remains throughout the year, as well. For the fans of nature and romantics among us, Plitvice National Park is a bucket list item to visit.
Each of these waterfalls is well worth a visit, for a variety of reasons. All offer exceptional natural beauty. While some impress through their sheer power, others almost seem delicate. Regardless of which you choose to visit, it will be a journey that you won’t soon forget.

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Top 8 Summer Music Festivals in the World

A music festival is a timeless way to see new places, spend time with your favorite people, and hear some great live music. A good festival, of course, is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a chaotic meshing of sounds, socializing, food, unique fashion statements, creative art forms, and merchandise. Ever since Woodstock, music festivals have become a rite of passage for young people and, increasingly, people of all ages. Best of all, there are amazing festivals in all corners of the globe. Let’s look at some of the top summer music festivals in the world.

1. Lollapalooza

Grant Park, Chicago, USA

Right in the heart of downtown, Chicago, Lollapalooza is an amazing festival that’s been running since 1991. It features eight stages and more than 170 bands, covering a wide range of styles. A festival in an urban setting can either be a perk or a drawback, depending on your point of view. On the one hand, you don’t have to drive into the wilderness and set up your campsite. You have all the city amenities within walking distance. Chicago is famous for its great food (especially pizza), bars, museums, and impressive skyline. On the other hand, escaping civilization is one of the features that draws you to festivals, you have plenty of other choices.
In addition to music, Lollapalooza has a mini-festival for kids, an art market, and plenty of merch. You can buy 4-day tickets for the entire festival or single-day tickets. There are also hotel packages. Children under 10 with an adult are admitted free (up to two kids per adult).

2. FYF Fest

Los Angeles, CA, USA

This annual 3-day festival is held at Exposition Park in Los Angeles. FYF Fest has been popular on the West Coast since 2004 and is known for its edgy atmosphere and diverse selection of music, including pop, rock, rap, electronic, hip-hop, and indie. It’s a good festival choice for those with eclectic tastes.

3. Tomorrowland

Boom, Belgium

Tomorrowland is a two-weekend festival that combines electronic music and the arts with a vision for a more peaceful and environmentally sustainable future. This festival began in 2005 and attracts an enthusiastic audience from all over the world. In some ways reminiscent of Burning Man in the U.S., Tomorrowland is full of futuristic visions, art installations, and its own “city,” DreamVille.
There are several options for accommodations, from As with most festivals, there are many tiers for ticket prices, depending on when you buy tickets, what you want to experience, and how long you stay. There are quite a few creative options, at various prices for lodging, including simple tents, tiny home-like structures to luxury “mansions.”

4. Hideout

Zrce Beach, Croatia

Hideout is a good choice if you want to get an early start to celebrating the summer. Set in a remote and pristine location on the Adriatic Sea with a view of mountains, this festival is famous for its boat rides, beach parties, and a wide selection of electronic music. As the name suggests, Hideout is a place where you can escape the everyday rut and experience an idyllic world for a few days.
This is also a great festival for adventurous travelers who enjoy water sports such as jet skiing, boating, and quad biking. Festival goers have a chance to island hop and explore beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park.

5. Electric Zoo

 New York City, USA

Electric Zoo is an end-of-summer Labor Day festival held at Randall’s Island Park, a 480-acre urban park on the border of Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx. Established in 2009, Electric Zoo has been held all over the world. The original location, however, is New York. The 2018 theme is The 6th Boro, which reveals the ambitious attempt to make the festival a permanent part of the New York City (which has five official boroughs or counties) cultural scene.
Their past lineup included DJ Snake, Above & Beyond, Galantis, and Sasha & John Digweed. Check the website for early bird tickets.

6. Wireless Festival

London, UK

If you want to visit London this summer, you may want to schedule your trip to coincide with this festival, held at Finsbury Park. Now in its 13th year, Wireless has become one of the most popular music festivals in the UK. Since Wireless is an urban festival, you have to find your own accommodations. London, however, is an easy city to navigate. If you don’t want to spring for a costly hotel, there are plenty of hostels and reasonable Airbnb options.

7. Arise

 Loveland, Colorado, USA

The Arise Music Festival, approaching its 6th year, is a diverse event held at Sunset Ranch, a 350-acre organic farm in a scenic valley. In addition to music, Arise gives participants the chance to explore a variety of classes, workshops, and art installations. Many attendees are active in political and environmental causes. One of the requirements is that you “leave no trace” –i.e. clean up and leave the grounds as you found them.
Tickets for the 3-day festival include camping. Car camping is another option. There are also camping upgrades available if you want additional amenities.

8. Montreux Jazz Festival

Montreux, Switzerland

The Montreux Jazz Festival, founded in 1967, is one of the most glamorous and popular jazz festivals in the world. The program typically includes rock, soul, and blues musicians as well as jazz greats. On the scenic shores of Lake Geneva, the setting is perfect for relaxation and boat rides as well as great music, parties, and socializing.
Montreux has a variety of venues to enjoy music and special events, such as the Auditorium Stravinski, known for its outstanding acoustics and the Montreux Jazz Club, where you can enjoy intimate performances by contemporary artists. Visit the website to find out program details. Past participants have included B.B. King, David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Radiohead, and scores of other household names as well as new performers.
You can buy an all-music pass or attend one of the festival’s many free events such as jam sessions, concerts, and film screenings.

Music Festivals Make the Summer More Fun

A music festival can be the highlight of summer vacation. If it’s close to home, it can make for an awesome road trip. The above are some of the most exciting summer festivals in the world. Some festivals don’t announce their lineups until fairly late in the season. However, keep in mind that tickets often sell out fast. So, if you want to attend one of these festivals, it’s best to buy your tickets early!
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6 Spectacular American Cities to Spend the Holidays

The enchanting sights, sounds, and aromatic smells of the holiday season come alive at these six cities across the United States that provide you with a fun and fabulous wintertime adventure that you’re sure to remember for a lifetime. Take a look at the breathtaking displays, spectacular shopping, and unique cultural events that make these locations a mecca for those who love to experience the season’s best celebrations.

‘Christmas town USA’: Best City for Holiday Lights

McAdenville, North Carolina epitomizes the giving spirit of the holidays with its spectacular month-long holiday lights display that showcases 160 festive homes, a fabulous downtown commons display, 265 evergreens featuring 500,000 lights, and spectacular lakeside scenery surrounded by beautifully-brightened spruce trees. The entire month-long extravaganza is free to the public, and the official lighting ceremony takes place on November 30th. The town is lit up every Monday through Friday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and weekends from 5:30 to 11:00 p.m. through December 26th.
This small village just outside of Charlotte doesn’t stop there. Townsfolk also gifts the first 1,000 visitors to the Annual Christmas Town Festival with free cider and kettle corn to help usher in some holiday cheer. This fun family event takes place on December 13th and features a charming holiday parade, a stopover by Santa, a traditional yule log ceremony, and musical entertainment that captures the magic of the season.

New York City, New York: Best Center for Magical Ice Skating

New York’s Rockefeller Square is a cultural icon that stays true to its reputation for excellence with a whole host of holiday activities for yuletide-lovers who are both young and young-at-heart. The lighting of the iconic 75-foot tree takes place on the evening of November 28th and brightens the square every evening through January 7th with its 30,000 lights and Swarovski crystal star. The gigantic live spruce overlooks an intimate ice rink that gives skaters the impression of sliding through a mythical urban landscape dotted with giant forests, celebrated artwork, and twinkling lights. Visitors can also enjoy magical horse and buggy rides that take you on a tour of the area’s most famous attractions, such as Radio City Music Hall. Here you can enjoy all the pomp and spectacle of the Radio City Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular. 

Branson, Missouri: Best Place to Catch the Polar Express Train

Best known as the Live Music Capital of the World, this quaint mountain town of about 10,000 people sits against the spectacular backdrop of the pine-covered Ozark Mountains. Every holiday season it lights up the region with a wide array of events that have collectively come to be known as the Ozark Mountain Christmas Festival. By far the unique and eagerly anticipated of these experiences is the Branson Scenic Railway’s Polar Express Ride that showcases the natural wonders along the area’s snow-capped peaks. Just outside the train’s windows visitors can witness amazing scenes recreated from the enchanting film ‘The Polar Express.’
For more great seasonal entertainment, check out the city’s world-renowned live holiday shows featuring many talented musical legends. You can also enjoy some antique and holiday gift shopping in the historic downtown district, or take a driving tour of the holiday lights at the Promised Land Zoo and Gift of Lights Trail. The fun-filled Silver Dollar City Amusement Park’s Old Time Christmas festival runs from November 3rd through December 30th. It has an astounding 6.5 million sparkling lights–and some of the season’s best children’s plays and sing-a-longs.

Frankenmuth, Michigan: Best Town for an Authentic European Christkindlmarkt

Popularly known as “Little Bavaria” because of its historic German heritage, this town of 5,000 residents in central Michigan boasts 2 million annual visitors, a breathtaking Christmas Lane filled with 100,000 lights, and the quaint Old Christmas Station Restaurant that sits on sight of a former 1920’s train station. Perhaps its most beloved tradition is the European-style ‘Christkindlmarkt‘ featuring mouthwatering delights such as their fresh, locally sourced apple cider, open-fire roasted chestnuts, and delectable holiday pastries.
This enticing European-style market isn’t the only big draw for holiday lovers. Frankenmuth holds bragging rights to the world’s largest store dedicated exclusively to all things Christmas. The family owned and operated Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland was opened in 1945 and features 100,000 twinkling lights, 2.2 acres of indoor displays, 27 acres of outdoor landscapes, and 50,000 unique gifts and trims. It even has a replica of Salzburg, Austria’s Silent Night Memorial Chapel complete with a breathtaking walking path and quaint educational signposts. For dedicated Christmas fans who like to start the season early and extend the holiday spirit into the warmer months, you’re in luck. The store is open 365 days a year!

Taos, New Mexico: Best Locale to Experience Cultural Unity

This vibrant desert city offers a unique holiday experience that blends different cultural practices to showcase a beautiful pageantry of unity. On Christmas Eve, the Christian and Native American communities come together at the 1,000-year-old Taos Pueblos adobe settlement for the Procession of the Virgin. This unique event is open to the public and includes the lighting of ‘farolitos’ or paper lanterns, massive bonfires that are part of a blended Catholic and Native ceremony, and celebratory gunfire salutes along the parade route at this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Within the architecturally unique city limits, you’ll find a vibrant artistic community that plays host to the annual Yuletide Arts and Crafts Fair from November 23rd through the 25th. There is also a one-of-a-kind ‘pop-up, pop-down’ Taos Folk Store which appears at the Stables Gallery every November 25th through December 24th, and includes an incredible array of locally crafted items, from jewelry and journals to tea sets and totem poles. Here you’ll find unforgettable gifts for even the most discerning people on your holiday list, and beautiful items for yourself as well!

Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii: Best City for an Eco-Holiday in Paradise

The small island hamlet of Lihue hosts an awe-inspiring December-long Festival of Lights that takes place at the Historic 1913 County Building located on Hawaii’s ‘Garden Isle.’ Its grand scope belies its humble beginnings as a recycling project by a local artist who decided to turn other people’s trash into gifted treasures at her home, which came to be known as ‘The Christmas House.’
In 1997 her treasured creations came into the hands of her niece, also an artist, who chose to donate them to the county. The mayor asked her to create a fun-filled holiday display from them that has since transformed into a colorful celebration which draws international visitors and community members alike. Here you’ll find magical indoor and outdoor light displays, interactive installations featuring out-of-this-world artist-designed recyclables, and fun photos with Santa set against a panorama of eco-inspired design.
If you’re ready to raise a glass of cheer to a new adventure filled with time-honored traditions, head on out to one of these lively yuletide destinations this holiday season!
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How to Eat Like a New Yorker in New York City

Feast Through New York City

Let’s take a look at some of the best places in the city to relax and enjoy the delicious foods that New York City is known for.

Start the Day Deliciously

You definitely need to fuel up for a day in New York City. It all starts with breakfast. Whether you are craving an egg dish, or you prefer something from the griddle, this city has it all. Diners and cafes are plentiful, so no matter which neighborhood you are in, there will be somewhere great where you can eat.

Sarabeth’s

1295 Madison Avenue (and more locations) 

This upscale restaurant is one of the trendiest eateries in Manhattan. At Sarabeth’s, you’ll find a modern vibe that goes along with the excellent food and service. With locations on the Upper East Side, Central Park South, Park Avenue South, Tribeca, and the Upper East Side, it is easy to enjoy everything that this restaurant has to offer. Come in and be greeted by the comforting aroma of mouthwatering dishes that you won’t find anywhere else. Try the Lemon and Ricotta Pancakes, Salmon Eggs Benedict, a Spinach and Goat Cheese Omelet and much more. The amazing food will keep you full and satisfied until lunch!

Clinton Street Baking Company

4 Clinton Street

This cozy restaurant is known as one of the premier spots in the city. Clinton Street Baking Company got its beginnings as a small storefront establishment and continued to grow. The eatery serves dishes such as pancakes with warm maple butter, Brioche French Toast, and Fried Chicken and Waffles. You’ll savor every bite!

The Midday Meal

When afternoon comes, you’ll need to take a break from the fun of New York City and enjoy a delicious lunch. Here in the Big Apple, there are places that delectable lunch dishes that you won’t soon forget.

Bleecker Street Pizza

69 7th Avenue South

The pies at Bleecker Street Pizza are like nothing you’ve ever tasted. Prepared with the freshest ingredients available, the pizza here is sure to please everyone. Try the Nonna Maria Pizza, Chipotle Chicken Pizza, the White Pie, and many others. Bleecker Street Pizza will be on your list of favorites with just one bite.

Brooklyn Diner

212 West 57th Street

At the Brooklyn Diner, you’ll get an authentic taste of New York with dishes that no one can resist. With an old-school vibe, customers receive friendly service and can choose from many different menu items. Try their award-winning comfort foods such as chicken pot pie, the Old-Fashioned Brooklyn Burger, or perhaps the fish tacos. Whatever you choose, it will truly be one of the best meals you’ve ever had.

At the End of the Day

Whether you’ve spent the day sightseeing, shopping, or taking in a show on Broadway, you are sure to be hungry for dinner come early evening. New York City is just the place to enjoy some excellent cuisine, so head over to one of the restaurants, and prepare to be delighted.

Tony’s Di Napoli

147 West 43rd Street

When Italian is what you are craving, look no further than Tony’s Di Napoli. Since 1959, this restaurant has been serving excellent food and making memories. The food is Southern Neapolitan style, and the service and atmosphere are unbeatable. Try the Veal Piccata, Twin Lobsters, Shrimp Scampi, or many other selections and see what made this restaurant all that it is.

Royal 35 Steakhouse

2 East 35th Street

This restaurant is one of the most delicious that you will find in New York City. At Royal 35 Steakhouse, you’ll find an atmosphere like no other, with high ceilings, wood walls, and elegant seating. On the menu, you can choose from selections such as a Grilled Norwegian Salmon Fillet, Prime New York Strip Steak, and the Royal 35 Seafood Tower. Come and see why the Royal 35 Steakhouse is a New York City favorite!

A Sweet Ending

When you choose to end the day with something sweet, you may be wondering what the best selections are. New York has it all, from cake to ice cream, so head out and get that treat that you deserve!

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream

2 Rivington Street

When you are looking for the tastiest, creamiest ice cream in the city, Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream is where you need to be. Unique flavors are what this establishment is known for, so get ready for something delicious. Enjoy ice cream in flavors such as Salt and Pepper Pinenut, Burnt Sage, Banana Curry, and much more. With ice cream this good, the only problem will be deciding what you should have!

Two Little Red Hens

1652 2nd Avenue

At Two Little Red Hens, you can sit back and enjoy the sweet treat of your choice. This bake shop is cozy and relaxed, and you’ll feel right at home every time you come in. Choose from creations that include the Brooklyn Blackout Cake, Lemon Gingerbread Cake, and the Pumpkin Harvest Cake. Of course, you must try cheesecake when you are in New York, and at Two Little Red Hens, you’ll find selections that include Classic New York Cheesecake, Cherry, or Pumpkin Flavors. This bake shop is also known for cupcakes, so make sure to pick up some Peanut Butter Fudge Swirl, Boston Cream, or Key Lime while you are there.
There you have it! Some of the most incredible places to enjoy a meal or dessert while in New York City. There are so many fun things to do in this incredible city, and visiting the best restaurants in the city should be a priority for anyone who visits.

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Skip the Hotel: 7 Lodging Options That are Anything but Boring

hotel alternatives treehouse

It’s time to mix things up. Whether you choose a house, a castle, or even a converted jail, thinking outside the box will reward you with a trip you’ll be talking about long after you return home. Take a look at some of our picks for unique places to stay on your next vacation.

Live like the locals and rent a house

It should be clear by now that we think that one of the best ways to experience a new location is to live like the locals. To really experience the local life, skip the hotel and rent a house or apartment outside of town. It may be convenient to stay at a hotel on Main Street, close to the popular attractions, but staying in town often limits you to seeing the area as a tourist. When you stay in the residential areas, you will have the opportunity to chat with your neighbors, visit the local grocery store, and explore the quaint little cafes that only the locals know about. From your standard 3-bedroom house in the suburbs to a penthouse apartment in Asia, there’s something to please everyone. Head to Airbnb or VRBO to get started.

Camp in style in a Yurt

If you want to be outdoors but aren’t sold on the idea of sleeping in the standard tent, consider a yurt. The yurt has been around for thousands of years, originally used in Mongolia. The structure has many key features including portability, a cloth roof, and circular shape. If you want peace and seclusion in the Colorado mountains, consider a yurt where you’ll have a fireplace, kitchen, and the ability to ski and hike to your heart’s desire. Looking to try a yurt but still have some of the luxuries you would find at a hotel? Try the Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls where you will have a private bathroom, hardwood floors, and of course access to a luxurious spa.

Embrace your inner child in a treehouse

Sleeping in a treehouse is no longer just a childhood dream, it’s an adult reality. But unlike the treehouse of your childhood, these treehouses are not small constructions nestled in the backyard oak tree. Instead, some of the most luxurious treehouses feature amenities like jetted tubs, king size beds, balconies, and fireplaces.
If you want to relax and immerse yourself in nature check out this remote treehouse on the Big Island of Hawaii. The floor to ceiling windows will surround you with the lush greens of the island. If you are looking for something with more of a funky vibe, head to Canada and rent a tree sphere. Free Spirit Spheres offers the tree house experience with a more sophisticated touch. These houses feature a unique spherical design and are suspended by heavy duty cables. Choose one of the three designs and fall asleep to the sound of the outdoors.

Live like royalty in an ancient castle

If you’re traveling abroad, consider staying in a castle, because let’s be honest, who hasn’t dreamt of living like royalty at least once in their life? If you are looking for a truly magical experience, visit the Ashford Castle. Located in Ireland, this 800-year-old castle was once the home to the Guinness family. It now features 83 rooms, a world-class spa, and dining in its 16th-century wine cellars. Guests can enjoy a wide range of activities on the 350-acre estate. Take in a movie at The Cinema, enjoy a round of golf, or go ziplining.

Choose a lighthouse and fall asleep to the crashing waves

Is there really any more soothing sound to fall asleep to than crashing waves? Sure you can rent a hotel room that is kind of close to the beach and vaguely hear the waves in the distance, but if you really want to experience the coast, look into renting a lighthouse.
There are many options available. Stay at a bed and breakfast in renovated keepers quarters or be the keeper and take on duties like raising the flag, doing minor maintenance, and keeping a log. From atop the lighthouse, you will experience breathtaking panoramic views and see the ocean in a way many others do not. From Oregon to New York, it’s easy to find a lighthouse that will welcome you as a guest. Just be sure to plan ahead as room is limited and the experience is in high demand.

Spend the night behind bars

Did you know that prison hotels are a thing? In fact, you can find these unique renovations all across the globe. But these upgraded clinks are far from dingy cells, hard mattress, and questionable food. On the contrary. Take the Lawyer Suite at the Het Arresthuis just outside of Amsterdam. Chic decor, top of the line amenities, and onsite world-class dining will make you forget that this hotel once housed dangerous criminals.
Traveling down under? Do some time at The Old Mount Gambier Gaol in Australia. The high brick walls and bars throughout the building will give you a more authentic experience. Most rooms have been converted from actual jail cells. The rooms are small, as the original cells were, but they do come with additional amenities like electric blankets and private bathrooms. If you are looking for more space, book The Cottage or The Lodge, former homes to the warden and his staff. Don’t worry, this visit won’t stay on your record.

Experience tiny living in a capsule hotel

If you’ve ever seen the movie, Ready Player One, the look of a capsule hotel will be somewhat reminiscent to “the stacks.” Rooms are lined up, one next to another, one on top of the other. The capsule hotel is not your typical hotel room. It’s not really a room at all. Instead, guests stay in small pods, or capsules. Each capsule typically contains a bed, electrical outlets, and possibly a tv or alarm clock. There is usually a communal bathroom area and often a shared kitchen, living space, and sauna. The design is minimalistic, providing a simple, affordable option for travelers.
Capsule hotels originated in Japan. Today the hotels are found most prominently throughout Asia, but locations are beginning to show up in areas like the US and Russia. Though the same basic design stays consistent throughout most hotels, many capsules are being decked out in unique and fun designs. Book and Bed in Tokyo will make you feel like you are sleeping in the middle of a bookstore with each capsule situated behind shelves of books. The books are available for guests to purchase and each pod has its own reading light. The City Hub in Amsterdam goes for the futuristic feel with sleek colors, high speed internet, touch screens throughout, and it’s very own app to help users check in.
Keep in mind, a capsule may not be the best choice if you are claustrophobic, are traveling with a large group, or are carrying a lot of luggage. However, these hotels are great for solo travelers, business travelers, or lodgers looking for a quick, cheap place to stay.
Shake things up on your next stay. Choose an adventure above or find something of your own. Bundle up in an igloo, or resist the temptation to eat a house made out of chocolate. Get creative and have fun. Adventure can be had inside the lodging you choose, just as much as it can be outside your accommodations.

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The Best Halloween Events in The U.S.

From haunted hikes to terrifying hay-rides, here are some of the best halloween events across the U.S. sure to give you a scare.

Sleepy Hollow, New York

Sleepy Hollow commemorates Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with scary events occurring year round. But during October, the legend rises to its spookiest heights. Hear a dramatic reading of the tale of the Headless Horseman accompanied by eerie organ music in the Old Dutch Church or grab a seat on the “hair raising” Haunted Hayride. The wagon rolls through forests filled with spooky sights and a frighteningly close encounter with the Headless Horseman. A block party lets revelers gear up to be spooked or wind down from being terrified. The premiere haunted town and house attraction is so realistically portrayed that you may want to leave the kids at home. Costumes are encouraged, and screams are heard nonstop all over town.

 The Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze, New York

Billed as the tristate’s largest Halloween event, the Blaze features 7,000 intricately hand-carved pumpkins in amazing configurations that form incredible displays in an 18th Century landscape. The grandfather clock and windmill actually work, and T-Rex is poised to attack.
Wander around new medieval castle guarded by jack o’ lantern owls, see the pumpkin carousel twirl, thrill at the sight of a giant sea serpent. With synchronized lighting and soundtrack, the color-changing star show and the all-pumpkin Statue of Liberty come alive.
There’s plenty of snacks and drinks including seasonal favorites such as pumpkin beer, cider, candy apples, and pumpkin spice treats.

Terror on Tillson Street, Michigan

Romeo is a small, quaint village of historic homes dating back to the mid-1800s in and around Tillson street. Homeowners decorate for Halloween as if their frightening decorations and elaborate graveyard displays will keep their demons away.
The trick or treating takes place Halloween evening from 6 to 8 is so popular that the 30 participating homes usually distribute 60,000 pieces of candy in two hours. It is safe with the Romeo High School football team patrolling the streets with flashlights and on the lookout for troublemakers and lost little witches and vampires. But Tillson Street becomes frightening on Halloween night with elaborately decorated homes trying to outdo each other on the scary scale. Many people avoid the Halloween crowds by viewing the decorations after dark before the big night.

Erebus, Michigan

This half-mile horror hike goes up and down a four-story parking garage and is in the Guinness World Records as the largest walk-through haunted attraction. In Erebus, walls move in to crush you, lasers and mirrors disorient you, demonic monkeys and a T-Rex attempt to make you their dinner. The bottomless pit, spike spindle, and buried-alive rooms may make your life flash before your eyes. The screams are real and the creatures know how to evoke them. The 100 actors on fright duty each night have all graduated from boo school. But who knows where the corpse of Uncle Freddy learned to lurch.
The experience takes under an hour and may shave a decade off your life, but be assured no human will touch you. Erebus’s policy demands that visitors can be touched only with props. Roaming spooks that may be in the area cannot be made to honor the policy.

Screams Halloween Theme Park, Texas

Just 30 miles south of Dallas in the town of Waxahachie, the world’s largest Halloween theme park is a delightful, frightful place with five seriously haunted houses. The witches of Terra Mythica Castle lead you on a terrifying trip through the scariest medieval myths. A cursed pirate village spills gallons of blood during looting, murder, and magic. At Hotel D’Feers, meet the creepy creatures who are sticking around for eternity and want you to know it. The Zombie Apocalypse will test your ability to muffle your screams. Creepy people only will want this circus to dance through children’s dreams.
Roaming characters frighten at random and face painters will give you the most gruesome look you can imagine. Shiver through horror movies and sing your worst at the Scary-oke. The main stage hosts live music and entertainment, and the food court serves traditional trade fair food with slices of worry: do the zombies eat here, too?

The House of The Occult at Lemp Brewery, Missouri

The basement of the 1864 Lemp Brewery becomes a terrifying abyss for the Halloween season. With just a candle, find your way through tunnels that are five stories underground and filled with mutilated bodies and real-life spirits.
Paranormal investigators have discovered authentic signs of hauntings by members of the disturbed Lemp family and even Indians cursed these caves centuries ago. The spook you encounter may not be rehearsed. Will you be in the tunnel on the one night in the history of the Abyss when not one person screams the safe word?

C – K Autumn Fest, West Virginia

If pumpkins are more your style than ghosts, don’t miss the Ultimate Pumpkin Experience in the quaint West Virginia communities of Ceredo and Kenova. The Pumpkin House is a Victorian mansion displaying 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins for what is known as the Ultimate Pumpkin Experience. The Great Scarecrow hunt is fun for kids without being too scary, and the tractor show draws a crowd. An arts and crafts show, bake-offs, canning competitions, and food vendors make this a full day of seasonal fun and discovery. The festival’s “Introduction to the Paranormal” will pique your Halloween spirit.

Cool Patch Pumpkins Corn Maze, California

The Cool Patch corn maze is the world’s largest according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Each year the maze design is unique and it just keeps growing. After dark maze explorers are welcome (as rescued as needed), and a smaller maze is just the right size for kids. Hayrides and pumpkin splatting opportunities add to the fun. Concession stands open October 6 on Friday nights and weekends.
While you are there, pick out your pumpkins and decorative gourds.
However you plan to celebrate Halloween, there are several frightening events that take place each year throughout the country. Just look up your city and see what events tickle your interest.

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How to Eat Well in the United Kingdom

Feast Through the United Kingdom

The fact is that it’s quite possible to eat well in the United Kingdom. You just need to know where to go and what to look for. Here are some suggestions:

Go Indian

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Beef Tiki Masala

It’s been said that you can get better Indian food in London than you can in Delhi. Of course, you’re most likely to hear that from Indian restaurants in London. The truth is, though, that Britain imported a lot of people from the Indian subcontinent in the 1950s – and a disproportionate number of them started restaurants. As long as you can handle spice, you can find good to great Indian food almost anywhere, including small towns in North Wales and the Midlands. Mediocre Indian restaurants just don’t survive very long. Just remember – Vindaloo is not for the faint-hearted. Try Maharaja, near Kensington Park.

Pasties, No, Not That Kind

In the US, the word “pasty” often means something associated with strip clubs. In the UK, it always means a fold over pie. Pasties became popular during the mining era (hence “Cornish” pasties, because of the amount of mining there). A “Cornish” pasty is specifically a pasty filled with beef, potato, swede, and onion. As they have Protected Geographical Indication, they can only be called that if made in Cornwall. Stores outside Cornwall get around it by calling them “traditional” pasties, and everyone knows what they mean. You can also get pasties full of chicken and bacon, ham and cheese, you name it. Pasties are often still good cold and make a tasty picnic lunch. Get your pasties at a traditional pastry shop. The Proper Pasty Company sells some of the best in a variety of locations, or ask a local where to go.

Chinatown

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Chinatown London

If you’re in London, then London’s Chinatown, while quite a bit smaller than New York’s or San Francisco’s is worth a visit (especially if you’re taking in a show in the West End, as they’re right next to each other). It’s more like San Francisco both in feel and in the kind of food than New York. British Chinese food, dominated by Hong Kong cuisine, is not quite the same as American Chinese. Don’t expect to be able to get General Tso’s, but do expect to get excellent sweet and sour. Seafood lovers will be particularly satisfied. But look for an established joint such as Joy King Lau, serving Cantonese food on three stories.

Fish and Chips

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Fish and Chips

It’s a British staple to the point of being a stereotype, but good fish and chips (hard, although no longer quite impossible, to find in the United States) is something every visitor should try at least once. Fish and chips is fast food, and best eaten out of paper on the street. Sadly, it’s no longer legal to wrap it in newspaper, although some chip shops will put a sheet of newsprint around it outside the food safe paper just for old times sake. Yes, vinegar is a condiment here. You can get fish and chips in restaurants, but if you happen to be in Haxby, York, you can visit this year’s National Fish & Chip Award winner, Miller’s Fish and Chips. Yes, that is how seriously British people take fish and chips!

Pie Day

If you’re in Britain on 3.14, or even on any other date, you can seldom go wrong with savory pies. The most common are steak and kidney, steak and ale or chicken and mushroom, but cold pork pie is a picnic favorite and many pubs now sell pies with some very interesting fillings such as smoked cheddar, coronation chicken, leek and cheese, etc. Cottage pie, in which the upper crust is replaced with mashed potato, is another pub favorite (note that it is only shepherd’s pie is made with lamb). The best pies are often found at specialized pie houses such as Battersea Pie Station in London, but almost any pub will sell you a decent pie. “Fast food” pies are a good alternative at chip shops if you have somebody who utterly hates fish.

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding

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Yorkshire Pudding

British people use the word “pudding” in three different senses that sometimes have to be worked out from context. “Black” pudding is blood sausage. “Pudding” on its own often means any kind of dessert. “Yorkshire pudding” is a kind of dumpling that is traditionally served as a side with roast beef and filled with gravy. A variant is the “giant Yorkshire pudding” where the entire entree is put inside the pudding. This is another good thing to order in a classic English pub, if you can find it – not as many places have it on the menu anymore, and it is often only on Sundays, but I was recently able to find beef inside a Yorkshire pudding at The Parsonage near Wigan – so look for a Hungry Horse pub.

Treacle Pud

For dessert? Go for “treacle pud.” It’s sponge cake made with light molasses and served with a thin custard (trust us on the custard, it’s better than it sounds). It’s on the heavy side, so make sure you save room. Equally delicious is “toffee pud” or the disturbingly-named “spotted dick.” The spots are raisins and “dick” in this context is slang for “dough.” For the very best, you’ll need to go to a place called Upton upon Severn, where you’ll find The Pudding Shop’s cafe – but be careful, they sell them to go.

Cheese

To finish up, it’s worth talking a bit about cheese. It can seem that every single little town in England has its own cheese. If you want to try actual cheddar, not the stuff generically called cheddar, look for West Country Farmhouse Cheddar and get the extra sharp. But it’s also worth trying a few more. Stilton, which comes in white or blue, is worth sneaking a bit of. Cheshire and Wensleydale are delicious crumbling white cheeses which are hard to get in the United States. If you really want to be adventurous, try Stinking Bishop. Which lives up to its name.
So, a few things to try to help you realize that Britain isn’t the hideous “food desert” a lot of people claim. Just a few caveats, though:

  • In a “restaurant,” things work the same as they do in restaurants everywhere. If you are eating in a pub, however, then you are expected to seat yourself. You should then send somebody to the bar to order drinks and food (two people if it’s a large party, as they’ll be bringing the drinks back). Make a note of the number on your table so the waiter knows where to bring the food.
  • Britain is an optional-tipping society. Tipping is not required, but it is appreciated. 10-15% is customary in restaurants, but it is completely acceptable to stiff the waiter if service is poor. Larger groups may be charged an automatic tip. Generally, you don’t tip in pubs and some bartenders will actually take it as an insult.
  • Marmite is every bit as vile as you have heard. Other foods that can be acquired tastes include rollmops (pickled herrings) and, of course, haggis.

Enjoy your trip…and appreciate the fact that you really can get food that is not completely bland and over-cooked.
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