Friday, September 24, 2010

Best Locations for an Autumn Getaway

FallFall is approaching fast. The leaves are turning, the weather is cooling and one thing people love to do in Autumn is take a weekend vacation to a beautiful, small town to escape the hectic day-to-day. But finding the perfect spot that is also affordable can be tricky, so here is a short list of the best and most affordable Autumn getaways.

Petersham, Massachusetts
Petersham is a quiet, quaint town in Central Massachusetts that comes equipped with all the essential features of a traditional New England town. Petersham has everything from a central green and a main street with 19th-century clapboard houses to a white-steepled church and a general store. The one thing it doesn't have is large tour buses and high prices. Visitors to Petersham can enjoy the Inn at Clamber Hill, a five-room bed and breakfast where a double room will run you a reasonable $169 per night in fall high season.

Middlesboro, Kentucky
Middlesboro has a historic downtown area and is widely known as the gateway to the Cumberland Gap. Beautiful trees like sugar maples, beech, birch and basswood trees all hit their blooming peak in mid to late October making one beautiful view. Guests can reside at the Cumberland Manor Bed and Breakfast, a grand Victorian home that dates back to the 1890's and has double rooms that start at $99.

Alpine, Arizona
Many of you probably don't think of Arizona, with its desert climate, to be a hotspot for fall. However the small town of Alpine is considered to be the Switzerland of Arizona. The town's beautifully colored aspen and oak trees draw in many visitors each fall. You can hide away at the Hannagan Meadow Lodge, which is quietly nestled at 9,100 feet in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest where double rooms start at $65.

Now there are many ways you could enjoy the beautiful scenes in all of these towns. Most people would typically just drive their cars around. But where's the fun in that? Why not try powering your own journey. Many of these towns have beautiful hiking trails and bike trails. Many of them even offer untrafficked roads, allowing you to take a road bike out for a spin.

If you want to find the best time to go, then check out the state's tourism boards' websites for all the info on the color progression for that area. Finding the peak season isn't as easy as some may think. And the best thing to do if you truly want seclusion is to book now and go midweek.

Fall is definitely one of the most beautiful times of the year so don't miss out on these perfect and affordable fall getaways.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Top Things To Do In Munich At Oktoberfest 2010

Oktoberfest 2010Fall is coming fast and so is one of the most beloved international festivals of all time, Oktoberfest. Each and every fall millions of people from around the world travel to Munich, Germany to enjoy all the festivities celebrating that drink of fermented barley and yeast that everybody loves.

If you are one of the many people out there in the world who hasn't had the opportunity to experience their first Oktoberfest, then you may be at a loss as to what to do when you get there. That is why a list has been compiled of the top things to do at this year's Oktoberfest.

1.) Check out the most popular tents.
If you are planning on checking things out at the main area (otherwise known as the Wiesn), then you have to visit the tents of all the major brewers. Brewers like Lwenbru and Winzerer Fhndl can't be missed.

2.) Learn the Language
Obviously if you are going to another country, then you have to know how to talk the talk. Learning a few key German phrases could help you mingle with locals a little better. Words like Biddscheen (Please), Heisl (Toilet), Bierdimpfe (Notorious Beer Drinker), Ma (One liter of beer), and Ozapfa (To tap a beer barrel) are all useful phrases for navigating Oktoberfest.

3.) Take the Bus
Parking is damn near impossible at the tents and all experts on the matter suggest using any means of public transportation that you can find.

4.) Ride a Bike
There is a lot more to do in Germany than go to Oktoberfest and since the festival is 12 days long, you may need something else to do. Munich is probably one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. That is why you should check out a bike tour to get a real taste of Munich.

5.) Explore Marienplatz
The center of the city is a 12th-century wonder and is widely known as the "heart of Munich". There are many great places for sightseeing, shopping and dining making Marienplatz a perfect starting point for any Oktoberfest.

6.) Shop in Viktualienmarkt
After spending the day in Marienplatz, you could hop on over to Viktualienmarkt, a daily farmer's market where you can find a huge variety of fresh and regional delights. There are over 140 booths offering products from local florists, bakers and restaurants.

7.) Take a hike
Hike on up the staggering 306 steps of Munich's oldest church, St. Peter's (also known as Alter Peter). The summit holds some of the most memorable and beautiful views of the city. Inside the cathedral you can witness five Gothic paintings by Jan Polack, alters by Ignaz Gunther and a ceiling fresco by Johann Baptist Zimmerman.

8.) Have a Beer at Hofbruhaus
There is nothing like getting a taste of authentic Munich beer and there is no place better to do it than Hofbruhaus, the most famous beer hall in the world. Built in 1589, Hofbruhaus is filled with old, long wooden tables with engravings from people a hundred years ago. All beer is served in one liter steins and Bavarian bands play live all day everyday.

So there you have it, a list of the top things to do in Munich when visiting Oktoberfest 2010. So if you are planning on traveling to the biggest beer festival in the world, you now have a few ideas on how to pass the time.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Five Underrated Travel Destinations for 2010

The word vacation brings to mind many destinations, most of them at the forefront of everyone's mind. Places like Disneyland and Paris are considered must-sees in the travel world, but as travel becomes more and more affordable, popular destinations are getting crowded and overrun with tourists. While it may be beautiful and romantic to lean over the railing at Niagara Falls or ride a donkey down the Grand Canyon, there are destinations that are completely unheard of as mainstream vacations, and these are the most spectacular and fulfilling places to visit. Below are five travel destinations that may sound unfamiliar, but are glorious in their own right.

Zao, Japan.

Currently skiing in Japan is all the rage among Australians. The most popular place to partake in Japan's fantastic slopes is the city of Niseko. While Niseko is indeed beautiful, a more underrated destination, Zao, has more to offer with less tourist traffic. While Niesko is overrun by Australians and has gentle slopes for everyone, Zao is secluded with dramatic mountains and the added bonus of sulfur hot springs. Guests staying at the Zao Hot Springs Ski Resort can spend the day racing down the mountainside and return to soak in the hot springs. Anyone looking for a unique Japanese experience should definitely consider Zao.

Norfolk Island, Australia.

Located off of the shore of Australia, Norfolk Island is a tiny, quiet island with a fascinating history and slow leisurely living pace. While other tourists flock to Lord Howe island or Tasmania, travelers can opt to take a boat from mainland Australia to quiet Norfolk Island and lounge uninhibited at its beautiful beaches and fish in its abundant oceans. A popular spot to visit is Anson Bay.

Asturias and Cantabria Coasts, Spain.

Located on the coast of Spain these two cities offer experiences unheard of anywhere else. They are famous for their cider houses and cheese, but the most astonishing attraction of these beautiful coasts are the prehistoric painted caves. Located here is the famous Altimira painted cave, but dozens more litter the coastline. All known caves are marked on maps and are free for the public to explore.

Hue, Vietnam.

When people think of Vietnam, names that come to mind are Hanoi and Saigon, but a little off of the beaten path is Hue. Almost unknown to tourists, Hue is a fascinating city with a lot of insight into Vietnamese history and culture. Hue housed the Citadel, home to the royal family for generations, which was almost destroyed in 1968. Travelers can also travel by boat down the Perfume River and visit the complex tombs that each emperor had built.

Doubtful Sound, New Zealand.

The most visited sound in New Zealand is Milford sound, but by now Milford is overly crowded and a veritable tourist attraction. A better, less visited destination would be Doubtful Sound. Despite its melancholy name Doubtful Sound is a secluded location where travelers can spot bottlenose dolphins and seals. Although it is harder to reach than Milford Sound, the extra effort is worth the beautiful serenity Doubtful Sound harbors.

This holiday season it may be time to give up on overcrowded and overpriced must see destinations. Instead, travelers should do some computer research and visit one of the beautiful destinations above or discover something completely new. An adventure somewhere new will certainly be more exhilarating than the same old same old.

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