Hot New Places to Visit

There are a number of new places popping up around the world that are quickly becoming travel hot spots.

Jose Ignacio, Uruguay for example.  This is a tiny beach pueblo on the southern coast of Uruguay.  This just may become the next Punta del Este.

What about Trieste, Italy – Many Italia aficionados have been looking for new places to explore.  Trieste has been popular for a long time with the arts crowd, but now it’s found favor with a new generation of travelers looking for a Northern port city to visit.

Hangzhou, China – Yes, the 21st century is the century of China.  About 100 miles southwest of Shanghai, visitors to this ancient city can see Buddhist temples and pagodas.


Top Destinations for 2010 and the Decade to Come

Travel has become more economical than in recent years.  So, if you’re planning to see the world, now may be the best time.  In fact, in 2010 and much of the rest of the new decade here are some of the best places you may want to consider:

Concierge.com’s It List:

Marrakesh, Kyrgyzstan, Vancouver, Burma, Venice, Antaractica, Cuba, Sri Lanka, Colombia, South Africa

Yahoo Travel’s most popular cities:

Las Vegas, Miami, Cancun, San Diego, Cabo San Lucas, New York, San Francisco, Orlando, Honolulu, Paris

Frommer’s Top Destinations:

Santiago de Cuba, Florida Panhandle beaches, Hawaii (the Big Island), Salta Province Argentina, Mexico City, Melbourne Australia, Hanoi Vietnam, Kerala India, Abu Dhabi UAE, Tunisia, Copenhagen Denmark, Isles of Scilly England

And the Frommer’s reader favorite for 2010:  Paris, France


Best Travel Spots in the South

Southern Living Magazine recently published a list of the best travel destinations in the South of the USA.  Here are some of the best:

Best Live Music Venue in Louisiana – House of Blues, New Orleans

Best Crab Cake in Maryland – The Crab Claw Restaurant, St. Michaels

Best Drive in West Virginia – New River Gorge, Fayette County

Best Lake in Alabama – Lake Guntersville

Best Literary Stop in Mississippi – Rowan Oak, Oxford

Best Live Music in Tennessee – Grand Ole Opry, Nashville

Best Attraction in Arkansas – Hot Springs National Park

Best Historic Site in Virginia – Colonial Williamsburg

Best Attraction in Georgia – Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta

Best Dance Hall in Texas – Gruene Hall, Gruene


Salvador Carnival 2010 – The World’s biggest Party

Salvador Carnival has entered the guiness records as the biggest street party in the planet. To welcome visitors from all over the world the artists at the Open House Barra.

Onice accommodations together with great parties with shows and free drinks (shows include Capoeira, Pro Dancers, and more).

Besides, there are funny contests where winners get free Abadas (Carnival passes) every Carnival day. For newbies, Salvador Carnival goes from Thursday (Feb11) to Wednesday noon (Feb 17). 

VIDEO – Carnival Parties at the Open House


Visiting Avoca, in Wicklow County Ireland

Avoca is a small village near Arklow in County Wicklow, Ireland, where Avoca Handweavers, the well known clothing manufacturing and retail business, first started out. The picturesque village of Avoca itself is the fictional home of the BBC’s Ballykissangel.

The Avoca brand has fast become a real success story and the company now employs around 600 people. The old mill at Avoca was originally established in 1723 as a farmers’ cooperative for grinding corn and spinning and weaving sheep’s wool.

In the 1920s three sisters, the Wynnes, inherited the mill which had become run down. They injected new life into the enterprise, introducing color from natural dyes and soon they were selling their famous Avoca Handweavers tweeds all over the world, designing cloth for the Parisdesigner Elsa Schiaparelli, a waistcoat for King George VI and baby blankets for the children of Queen Elizabeth II. But, as with many family run businesses, when the sisters passed away the mill became neglected and faced closure.

Then in 1974, Donald Pratt, a solicitor engaged to handle the sale of the mill decided to buy it himself. Along with his wife, he set about getting Avoca Handweavers back on its feet. The mill at Avoca Villagewas soon humming again, as the Pratts began exporting hand-woven rugs and throws first to the UK and then beyond.

The old mill at Avoca village is open for visiting seven days a week. You can tour the mill and see the whole weaving process first hand for free. Plus, there’s an Avoca shop and cafe onsite too.

The Avoca Company has now developed nine large retail outlets around Ireland and has opened one in Annapolis, Maryland. Many of these also have large food halls and cafes attached.

For accommodations, try the Ritz-Carlton, Powerscourt, County Wicklow, which follows the tradition of an elegant hotel fashioned with the latest amenities. In other words, this classical setting is a classic Ritz-Carlton. Expect the formal, but not stuffy entranceway, high ceilings, dark wood trim, velvety, oversized sofas, heavy drapes and courteous staff so familiar to visitors to the Naples, Bostonor most other Ritz Carltons.


Top 10 Eco-Friendly Travel Landmarks in the USA

Interested in Eco-Friendly Travel? Here are some of the top green tourist destinations in the USA, courtesy of “Travel – Leisure Magazine”. These landmarks were chosen because they implement a variety of eco-friendly strategies, such as photovoltaic panels, green roofs and wind turbines.

1. San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences, which has a living roof with plantings that attract birds and butterflies.

2. Nationals Park, Washington, which has a green roof and a site that’s friendly to pedestrians, bikers and subway riders.

3. The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant, Pocantico Hills, N.Y., a historic farm and gourmet restaurant that aims to teach people about food.

4. The 5.4.7 Arts Center, Greensburg, Kan., a new energy-efficient attraction in a town that was devastated by a tornado.

5. New York City’s High Line, a park being created on an abandoned elevated rail line in Manhattan.

6. World Birding Center, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission, Texas, a green building amid the park’s nine protected habitats on the Mexican border.

7. The Santa Monica Civic Center Parking Structure, which the magazine says is the first garage certified as environmentally efficient by the U.S: Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design program.

8. Sears Tower, Chicago, which the magazine says is exploring how it can become more energy efficient.

9. Cavallo Point, The Lodge at the Golden Gate, a luxury lodge complex on a former military site at Fort Baker, Calif., along the coast.

10. The Cor Tower in Miami’s Design District, described by the magazine as “glamorous” and “chic” yet environmentally conscious.


Visiting Boston on a Budget

Boston is the cradle of patriotism, the site of Paul Revere’s historic ride and home to the USS Constitution. The combination of old and new, historic and trendy, gives Boston its personality – and provides limitless opportunities for a visit that doesn’t require help from one of the city’s leaders in venture capital.

For more information on Boston, check the Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, www.bostonusa.com. If you plan to stay in Boston, there’s no need to rent a car. The city’s public transit – known locally as “the T”, is an easy to follow color-coded system that is safe and inexpensive, just $2 per ride, with children riding free.

In good weather, the most affordable and efficient way to navigate Boston is on foot. And the best way to see the most historic sites – for free – is along the Freedom Trail.

One of the newest ways to enjoy Boston is with a stroll along the Rose Kennedy Greenway (www.rosekennedygreenway.org), which was officially dedicated in October. This string of parks and fountains replaces a giant eyesore of an elevated highway, which was taken down and buried beneath the city in the nation’s largest public works project known as the Big Dig.

Grab an ice cream, burger or fried foods at Sullivan’s on Castle Island in South Boston. From there, you can watch the boats heading in and out of Boston Harbor, feel the rumble of planes flying remarkably close overhead, and allow the children to let off some steam running around the playground.

Next best thing to Broadway? Get half-price sameday tickets to shows in Boston’s theater district at the BosTix booth at Copley Plaza or Faneuil Hall. The tickets also are listed online at www.artsboston.com.

Cheap Eats? If you can’t decide between Italian, Chinese, seafood, steak or virtually anything else, take a walk through Faneuil Hall Marketplace, where nearly every food or drink craving can be sati9fied. To save some dough, grab your food-to-go at one of the more than 40 restaurants and enjoy some people-watching instead of eating at a sit-down restaurant. There is seating available inside the hall (www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com).


Haunted Boston

Visit Haunted Boston. Some of the most intriguing figures in the nation are spending their eternal rest in the Boston area. Just one free visit to the Old Granary Burying

Ground provides a history lesson for the thousands who come each year to see the graves of noted patriots John Hancock, John Adams and Robert Treat Paine – who all signed the Declaration of Independence. Also buried here are Paul Revere and victims of the Boston Massacre. Established in 1660 in what used to be the southernmost portion of the city, the burial grounds are now in the heart of the downtown bustle, just steps from the Boston Common and the Park Street subway station. It’s one of three cemeteries on the Freedom Trail (www.thefreedomtrail.org).


Cool Off in Florida’s Natural Spring Waters

There’s nothing more invigorating than a dip in a cool, blue spring on a sultry summer day. And there’s no shortage of springs in north Florida, which has one of the highest concentrations of first-magnitude freshwater springs in the world. Why not combine a trip to one of Florida’s natural springs with your stay in a Florida Hostel.

IchetuCknee Springs, just north of Fort White in Columbia County, is always a winner. Information: (386) 497-4690; www.floridastateparks.org/ichetuckneesprings/. But if you don’t like crowds or want to try something new, check out these hidden gems:

In the depths of Troy Springs just outside of Branford, you will find the remains of the Civil War-era steamboat Madison, which was scuttled in the spring run in 1863 to keep it from being captured. Swim, snorkel or scuba dive in the crystalline blue, 70-foot-deep spring waters, or paddle a canoe or kayak across the spring mouth to get a glimpse of the wreckage. The park has picnic tables, restrooms, a walkway and a riverside dock for canoeists and boaters on the Suwannee River. Located off County Road 425, 1.3 miles north of U.S. Highway 27. 674 N.E. Troy Springs Road, Branford. Information: (386) 935-4835, www.floridastateparks.org/troyspring.

Hart Springs outside of Bell in Gilchrist County is one of the largest spring-fed swimming areas in the state. The county-owned park features a half-mile boardwalk through the pristine cypress hammock, a volleyball court, boat rentals, RV and tent camping, covered picnic areas, and two air-conditioned pavilions for family gatherings. 4240 S.W. 86th Ave., Bell. Information: (352) 463-3444, www.hartsprings.com

Juniper Springs, with its clear blue waters and generous swimming area, is one of the hidden gems of the Ocala National Forest. Visitors can camp, swim and canoe at the site, which also offers canoe rentals, restrooms, concessions, a visitor center, museum, picnic facilities and showers. Juniper Springs is five miles west of the junction of State Roads 19 and 40 on the north side of State Road 40. Information: (352) 625-0546; www.floridaparks.com/floridafederalpark.

Rainbow Springs State Park, the state’s fourth largest spring, is southwest of Ocala and feeds into the scenic Rainbow River. You can swim or paddle in the cool spring waters, picnic in the park, take a hike or go birding along the nature trails. Information: (352) 465-8555, www.floridastateparks.org/rainbowsprings.