Archive

Archive for July, 2010

Jul
16

This summer heat has me thinking all about road trips: top down, music blaring and quirky roadside attractions. Route 66 passes through many U.S. cities and even has its own song, “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66.” Next time you’re flying down this legendary highway, be sure to stop off at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum. Thanks to karrie amelia for posting this photo.

Photo: karrie amelia

Photo: karrie amelia

Plan your road trip on TravelMuse. To check out a great example of a road trip planned on TravelMuse, check out this fantastic example.

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Jul
15

I’m taking a mini road trip to Los Angeles with my younger brother next weekend. Between gas money, hotel costs and feeding ourselves, I was worried that we were going to be stuck with no money to see any of the the City of Angels’ infamous attractions. But Los Angeles is not just for the rich and the famous to enjoy. There are many incredible free activities to partake, much to my relief. Vacation saved! Here are five free top attractions that I plan to check out on my trip. What are you favorite things to do in Los Angeles for free?

The Getty Villa. Photo: brewbooks

The Getty Villa. Photo: brewbooks

1. Home of the Oscars

If you’re a movie buff (or even if you’re not), be sure to check out the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Grand Lobby and Fourth Floor Galleries. The Academy’s headquarters is located in the heart of Beverly Hills and its galleries feature impressive exhibitions that highlight the best of Hollywood’s movie magic and history. 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Tel. 310-247-3000. www.oscars.org

2. The Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Trust is one of the largest supporters of visual arts in the world, and its two Los Angeles locations, the Getty Center Los Angeles and the Getty Villa Malibu, feature an incredible collection of European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illustrated manuscripts and photography, all housed in breathtaking indoor and outdoor settings. Although reservations aren’t needed at the Getty Center, visitors to the Getty Villa Malibu must have advance, timed tickets to gain entry, and only a limited number of tickets are offered daily. Getty Center. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. Getty Villa Malibu, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades. Tel. 310-440-7300. www.getty.edu

3. South Bay Bicycle Path

Taking a ride or stroll down the South Bay Bicycle Path is probably the best way to sample Los Angeles’ beaches. Despite its name, this 22-mile bike path is frequented by movers of all types and passes through must-see beach community highlights such as the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach’s ever-present alternative culture and Redondo Beach’s Pier Avenue. To get the most out of your coastal stroll start at the bike path’s northernmost point, Will Rogers State Beach, where Temescal Canyon Road meets Pacific Coast Highway. www.santamonicapier.org, www.venicechamber.net, www.redondo.org

4. Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park

Located within Los Angeles’ famous Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory has been a highlight of Los Angeles for nearly 75 years. After recently undergoing an extensive six-year renovation and expansion, the observatory offers visitors a state-of-the-art planetarium, presentation theatre, public telescopes and multiple indoor and outdoor exhibits. Griffith Park is packed with attractions aside from the observatory, so consider spending a day on the park’s grounds. Griffith Park. 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles. Tel. 323-913-4688. www.lacity.org/rap/dos/parks/griffithpk. Griffith Observatory. 2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles. Tel. 213-473-0800. www.griffithobs.org

5. The Grove and Farmers Market

Looking for a true L.A. shopping experience without the fuss of Rodeo Drive? Then head to The Grove and Farmers Market located in Los Angeles’ Fairfax District. This outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex is riddled with SoCal ambiance, which means you’ll love it whether you splurge on souvenirs or just window shop. For an “organic” experience spend your time at the historic Farmers Market, where you’ll find fresh fruits, vegetables and meats, as well as restaurants and a wide variety of clothing, gadgets and other service vendors. 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles. Tel. 323-900-8080, www.thegrovela.com. Farmers Market. 6333 West 3rd St. Tel. 323-933-9211, www.farmersmarketla.com.

Plan your trip to Los Angeles on TravelMuse.

Post derived from “5 Free Los Angeles Attractions” by Teresa Basich.

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Jul
13

Laurie K. from N.J., is our newest winner of Trip of the Week and recipient of a Frommer’s day by day guide to Ireland.

Laurie built this ye olde trip to the Renaissance Faire on TravelMuse to introduce her children to the countryside and experience times of yore.

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Why are you taking this Trip?
My sister asked me to come along to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, and since I was meaning to get out to Lancaster with the kids, I used your cool website to make a trip of it!

What are you most excited about seeing/doing?
I am excited to show the kids the countryside via horse-covered wagon and also to take them to Dutch Wonderland. I hear it is a really fun place for young children.

Any other interesting facts/ considerations about the trip?
I haven’t been to a Renaissance Faire in years so I am excited to see how the kids will react to it. I plan on enjoying it myself as well!

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Tell us about your Trips and you could be featured in Trip of the Week–win one of the new Frommer’s Day by Day Guide Books and be entered to win a FREE, luxury Trip for 2 to Waikiki!

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Jul
09

The Door to Hell is certainly a fitting name for this underground cavern in Derweze, Turkmenistan, which is filled with natural gas. In 1971, the ground under the drilling rig collapsed, which resulted in a very large hole in the ground. In order to avoid poisonous gas emissions, the gas was burned. Geologists hoped the fire would subside in a few days, but it has been burning ever since. Thanks to flydime for posting jaw-dropping photo.

Photo: flydime

Photo: flydime

Plan your trip to Turkmenistan on TravelMuse.

Want to share your recent trip photos and have them featured on TravelMusings? Add your photos to our TravelMuse Flickr group or TravelMuse Facebook page, and we’ll publish our favorites.

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Jul
08

If you’re looking for a sweet spot on a Caribbean island with plenty of fun, sun and bathtub-warm water in which to float, Aruba more than meets your requirements.

First off, the small island nation is easy to navigate and everyone is extremely helpful and friendly. Not friendly just because you’re a tourist, but genuinely friendly as in, “Your car broke down? Come wait in my house to get out of the sun. Would you like a cold beverage?” The local language, Papiamento, includes the word dushi (sweetheart). It’s featured in everything from hot-dog stands to menu items to boat tours, and the word’s prevalence and simplicity serve as a soothing influence.

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Photo courtesy of Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

My home base was the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, right on Palm Beach. The hotel finished a $50-million renovation last year, and the room décor is modern and luxe, while retaining a feeling of island simplicity. The eight-story complex includes 411 rooms (including 23 oceanfront suites), a pool with cascading waterfalls, seven bars and restaurants (such as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, La Vista, Simply Fish and Waves Beach Bar), the Stellaris Casino and Mandara Spa.

Room rates start at $279 per night, and depend on season and type of room. I had a pool ocean view room, with ample space to lounge and also get work done. If you must work on your Aruba vacation, it’s easy to do so with the hotel’s Jack Pack—a device allowing guests to plug in laptops or iPods to 37 inch-wide TVs in each room. My room’s refrigerator kept my drinks cold, and the in-room coffee maker gave me hot java each day, until the thing fell apart in my hands. (It didn’t take long to get another one, though.)

Harnessing the wind in Aruba. Photo: Jill Robinson

Harnessing the wind in Aruba. Photo: Jill Robinson

If you want an exclusive feel to your island getaway, stay in the Tradewinds Club, on the eighth floor of the Marriott. The upscale amenity includes a private lounge with breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and cocktails. In addition, you’ll have a secluded beach area to camp out under an umbrella and forget all about the stresses back home. Room rates for Tradewinds Club guests start at $504 per night.

On Palm Beach, home to high-rise hotels, I never found it too crowded. It was easy to get around the sun-worshipers when I wanted to hoof it down the beach. In the water, even though the kiteboarders zip by with speeds that make your jaw drop, it was never close enough for me to worry. Easy to relax? Check.

Just lounging on the beach not for you? Take a class at the nearby Dare2Fly kiteboarding center. For three lessons (kite mastery, “body dragging” and board lesson), the cost is $375. The Aruba Marriott also offers a special “Surf in to Luxury” package that includes accommodations at the Tradewinds Club and a free windsurfing or intro kiteboarding class.

Even kids enjoy beach tennis. Photo: Jill Robinson

Even kids enjoy beach tennis. Photo: Jill Robinson

If you’re looking for something in between, play beach tennis at the Moomba Beach Bar, right next to the Marriott. As instructor Sjoerd de Vries told me, “it’s a relaxed sport; you can play with a beer in your hand.”

Adventure seekers can take a tour of the island with De Palm Tours. The Natural Pool Jeep Adventure ($92) is a half-day trip covering such sites as the California Lighthouse, a natural bridge, the ruins of an old gold mill and a natural pool that’s perfect to swim and snorkel in. In fact, I didn’t want to leave the pool at all. I guess I’ll have to put it on my list for my next Aruban adventure.

I was in Aruba as a guest of the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, but the opinions in this article are my own.

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