Archive for the ‘Southeastern Travel’ Category

Spring Break three different ways

By Keith Still

Spring Break. From the earliest days of kindergarten, we are conditioned to anticipate the annual spring holiday. We look forward to it. We count down the bleak mid-winter days until that breath of fresh Spring Break air arrives. It’s our reward for all of those mornings standing out at the bus stop in the cold and the dark.

Then we go off to college, and Spring Break takes on a whole new meaning. It’s no longer a few days off with the chance for a small vacation. It’s a weeklong party designed to blow off the collective steam of thousands of collegians at once. It’s an American bacchanalia, held wherever they will let us get away with this kind of behavior – but preferably with a warm beach nearby.

Obviously, not every college student rushes off to MTV-style Spring Break locations, but you would be hard-pressed to find a single student who isn’t looking forward to a few days away from the books – especially right now, in mid-February.

Given those …

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Hot Coffee and Two Egg for your next getaway?

By Keith Still

When you have the chance to get away unexpectedly, how do you decide where to go? It’s not a vacation. You don’t have time to really plan. Nor is it a romantic getaway, where the agenda pretty much sets itself. A lucky few can take those unexpected days and whisk off to exotic locales, but most of us take our last-minute travels to places that are more affordable and much closer to home.

So how do you choose a quick getaway destination that provides a little rest, a little relaxation and a good story to share with your friends and colleagues when you get home?

The prospect of a couple of days away has recently come up for me – right in the dead of winter. It’s unexpected, so my travel budget is pretty small. (Read, no paying through the nose for last-minute airfare.) It’s just a couple of days, so any trip must fall within an easy drive of Atlanta. And it’s February, meaning as much as I adore the ocean, I’m not likely to brave the brisk waters at …

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Waterfront Christmas Traditions

While Thanksgiving has been the traditional starting gun for the race to Christmas, it seems the retailers haven’t waited this year to put up Christmas decorations or start “Black Friday” sales.  Christmas in my mind is a Bing Crosby “Winter Wonderland,” but in the southeast, snow and sledding are less likely than rain and mud-bogging.  In that tradition, southerners have all kinds of options for getting in a coastal Christmas spirit.

This weekend, travelers to North Myrtle Beach can enjoy the Intracoastal Christmas Regatta.  Since 1984, the Regatta has kicked off the Christmas season in grand fashion.  This year, the parade will begin at the Little River Inlet at 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 27, and will end at the Dock Holidays Marina at 7 p.m.  Spectators and participants donate cash or unwrapped toys for local needy children and enjoy the sights of brightly lit boats floating down the Intracoastal Waterway.   

Also on Saturday, the city of Savannah will …

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Fall for autumn in the Ozarks

When I think of taking a trip to see the beautiful colors of changing autumn leaves, my mind naturally wanders to the usual spots. The north Georgia mountains (or just a bit up the mountain roads into North Carolina or Tennessee) are the closest big-color destinations, and a first getaway for many Atlantans looking for leaves at their fall peak. Those roads are also often crowded during the peak leaf-viewing weekends.

Quite a bit farther up the Eastern seaboard, are the traditional, red-hued landscapes of New England, offset by quiet, little towns and quaint, steepled churches.  A visit to Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire or Maine this time of year is like walking around an old set of Newhart with a jug of maple syrup in your hand. New England just oozes quintessential Americana from every autumn leaf clinging to the tree branches.

Some people prefer the more rugged, western landscapes with their different, but still exquisite, changing leaves …

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Wanted: Last-minute ideas for Labor Day getaway

With Labor Day weekend only 10 days away, the summer travel season is quickly coming to a close. And what a summer it has been. A heat wave greeted travelers all along the eastern seaboard, while threats of tar balls and oil slicks left many scrambling for alternative destinations or wondering if their Gulf vacations would be ruined.

Now that the oil is under control and the heat has begun to abate just a little, a getaway over this last long weekend of summer seems especially tempting. If you haven’t already made travel plans for Labor Day weekend, here are a few ideas to consider before it’s too late.

Orbitz has listed its top ten travel destinations for the 2010 Labor Day holiday, based on air, hotel and hotel-plus-air bookings made through Orbitz.com for travel between September 3 and September 6.  Metropolitan areas throughout the United States, including the southeast’s Orlando and Atlanta, dominate the list in large part because average hotel rates in these top …

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Are you on board for a birthday vacation?

I was reading recently about movie director James Cameron’s desire to spend his 56th birthday in the depths of the world’s oldest and deepest lake. Weather-permitting, he was to submerge nearly a mile below the surface of Russia’s Lake Baikal, located in southern Siberia. (Weather-not permitting, it sounds like he will do what many adults do to ease the transition of crossing the threshold of another year. He’ll toss back a few strong drinks and enjoy the scenery.) 

If all goes well, Cameron’s underwater voyage should make for quite the memorable birthday trip.

It’s not exploring the deep, dark waters of a remote lake, but even average Atlantans like us can often do with a little birthday getaway. We are, in fact, traveling a short distance this weekend to help a friend celebrate her 40th on Lake Lanier. Similar to destination weddings, these getaways are something like “destination birthdays”.               

In the past few months, many of our …

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A different state of mind in the old state of Franklin

The other day in the car, my daughters and I were passing the time playing the state capitals’ game. I would call out “Alaska”; they would yell “Juneau!”

“Nebraska?”  “Lincoln!”

“Maine?”  “Augusta!”

How about “Franklin?”  “Huh?”

Haven’t been there? Actually, there’s a good chance that you have if you’ve traveled much around our region. But don’t worry; you didn’t sleep through class the day your teacher covered Franklin.

Historically speaking, Franklin was the first state to organize after the original thirteen. It just never received the two-thirds vote necessary to be admitted into the Union (only seven states voted to add it). As a result, Franklin lived a very short life. The state was born in what is now Jonesborough, Tenn. in 1784, when residents of the area seceded from North Carolina over fears that they were being left unprotected by their leaders to the east of the mountains. After troubles with Indian nations in the …

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Feeling free to travel for the Fourth?

The Fourth of July is almost upon us, and many Americans will celebrate the 234th anniversary of our independence by traveling freely throughout the country. Auto club AAA is predicting 35 million Americans will take a trip for the holiday, an increase of 17 percent over last year.

So where are we all going? There are many choices from which to choose. Some will seek out a good (oil-free) beach to relax in the sun by day and watch a brilliant display of fireworks over the water by night.

Others will be heading to classic 4th of July destinations to indulge in a little early-American history, a la Philadelphia, DC, Boston, or New York. Still others will be chasing down the best fireworks show they can find.

We were originally heading to West Virginia to meet up with a group of college friends and their families over the Fourth, but that trip was put off because some friends are in the process of moving and/or adding members to said families this summer. So instead of a big …

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Hot, sticky cities worth getting away to this summer

Travel and Leisure magazine has released its list of Best American Cities for Summer Travel, and not surprisingly, few southern cities rank highly due to their heat and humidity during the summer months. Those that did make the top 20 – Charleston (12), Nashville (13), Orlando (15) and Washington, DC (18) – offered visitors outdoor spaces or family attractions enough to brave the hot, sticky environment during a southern June, July and August.

Atlanta came in at number 28 on the list. Travel and Leisure said “Hotlanta” can often feel “too hot for people to stomach this time of year without the incentive of better parks, farmers’ markets or something for the kids to do.”  (A strong market for farmers’ markets really seemed to be a big attraction for summer travelers in this list.)

While our region may not draw many outsiders to visit our cities in during the hottest parts of the year, those of us in Atlanta are used to the heat and we’re not afraid of …

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Harry Potter’s theme park in Orlando opens Friday…are you going?

While filming for the final installment in the popular Harry Potter movies may have wrapped last week, fans of the books and films can keep the magic alive starting Friday when Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter officially opens to the public in Orlando, Fla.    

Harry Potter’s world is one of two theme parks located at the Universal Orlando Resort. Visitors can purchase park-to-park tickets, which allow access to both Harry Potter and the Islands of Adventure theme park throughout the day; or choose a one-park pass for about $30 less per day.  A one-day, park-to-park pass runs about $109 for adults and $99 for children between the ages of three and nine years old (booked online).  

Once inside the park’s gates, guests can stroll the streets of Hogsmeade village, explore Hogwarts Castle, shop at famous Potterworld stores like Zonko’s and Dervish and Banges, or dine on pub fare at the Three Broomsticks. The Dragon Challenge, Flight of the Hippogriff and …

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