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Thursday, September 30, 2010


Free Wi-Fi in Airports
Many Airport authorities are adding Free Wi-Fi high speed internet access as an amenity for travelers. Some offer access in the entire airport while others may limit access to specified terminal or waiting areas. In addition, many airline club lounges may have their own free access available.
United States
American Airlines Admirals Clubs - must enter a valid club card number to get access.
United Airlines - Service in the airline's 27 Red Carpet Clubs and 5 International First Class lounges is free for members.
Continental Airlines offers Free wireless high speed internet access to members in 22 Presidents Club locations in major airports around the USA.
US Airways Club lounges, with a free Dividend Miles account or an access code card.
Northwest WorldClubs
Alaska Airlines Clubs
FBO's (Fixed Base Operators - the service stations for corporate aircraft) are located at almost all airports large and small and many are offering unrestricted Wi-Fi service in their facilities.

Birmingham International Airport - Birmingham
Huntsville Airport - Huntsville
Madison County Executive Airport - Huntsville
Mobile Regional Airport - Mobile
Montgomery Regional Airport (Dannelly Field) - Montgomery
Northwest Alabama Regional Airport - Muscle Shoals
Anchorage Airport - Anchorage
Ketchikan International Airport - Ketchikan
Valdez Municipal Arpt - Valdez
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport - Phoenix
Tucson International Airport - Tucson
Valle Airport - Valle
Yuma International - Yuma
Fort Smith Regional Airport - Fort Smith
Little Rock National Airport - must accept terms of use for access - Little Rock
Texarkana Airport - Texarkana
Meadows Field, WM Thomas Terminal - Bakersfield
Chico Municipal Airport - Chico
Arcata/Eureka Airport - Eureka
Fresno Yosemite International Airport - Fresno
Hayward Airport - Hayward
Livermore Airport - Livermore
Long Beach Airport - Long Beach
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge - LAX
Modesto City-County Airport - Modesto
Oakland Int. Airport - Oakland
Palm Springs International Airport - Palm Springs
Redding Municipal Airport - Redding
BSAir at the Reedley Muni Airport - Reedley
Sacramento International Airport - Sacramento
Lindberg Field - San Diego
San Diego International Airport - San Diego
Mineta San Jose International Airport - San Jose
Santa Barbara Airport - Santa Barbara
Santa Maria Airport - Santa Maria
Sonoma County Airport - Santa Rosa
Santa Ynez Airport - Santa Ynez
Sardy Field - Aspen
Centennial Airport - Centennial
Colorado Springs Airport - Colorado Springs
Cortez Municipal Airport - Cortez
Denver International Airport - Denver
Grand Junction Regional Airport - Grand Junction
Eagle (Vail) Airport
Tweed Airport - New Haven
Bradley International Airport - Windsor Locks
Daytona Beach Airport - signal availability reported in Ticketing Area - Daytona Beach
Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport - all terminals - Ft. Lauderdale
Southwest Florida International Airport - Ft.Myers
Okaloosa Regional Airport - Fort Walton Beach
Gainesville Regional Airport - Gainesville
Jacksonville Airport - Jacksonville
Key West International - Key West
LaBelle Municipal Airport - LaBelle
Melbourne International Airport - Melbourne
Orlando International Airport - all public areas and the "Cell Phone" parking lot - Orlando
Palm Beach International - Palm Beach
Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport - Pensacola
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport - Sarasota
Tallahassee Airport - Tallahassee
Tampa International - main building and both satellite terminals - Tampa
Palm Beach International Airport - West Palm Beach
Ben Epps Airport - Athens
Augusta Regional Airport - Augusta
Brunswick Golden Isle Airport - Brunswick
Columbus Airport - Columbus
Fulton County Airport (FTY) - Raytheon Aircraft Services Terminal
Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport - Savannah
Valdosta Regional Airport - Valdosta
Honolulu Airport-Gate 13 - Honolulu
BOI Aiport - Boise
Idaho Falls Airport - Idaho Falls
Nez Perce County Regional Airport - Lewiston
Central Illinois Regional Airport - Bloomington/Normal
University of Illinois Willard Airport - Champaign/Urbana
Quad City International Airport - Moline
Peoria Regional Airport - Peoria
Rockford Airport - Rockford
Capital Airport - Springfield
Evansville Regional Airport - Evansville
Fort Wayne International Airport - Fort Wayne (free Cat5/RJ45 access too)
Smith Field Airport - Fort Wayne
Indianapolis International Airport - new terminal area - Indianapolis
Montgomery Aviation - Indianapolis Executive Airport - Zionsville
CY Aviation, Boone Airport - Boone
Eastern Iowa Regional Airport - Cedar Rapids
Dubuque Regional Airport - Dubuque
Sioux City Airport - business center and JetSun Aviation facility - Sioux City
Waterloo Airport - Waterloo
Hays Regional Airport - Hays
Wichita Mid-Continent Airport - Wichita
CVG Airport - Hebron
Bluegrass Airport - Lexington
Lafayette Regional Airport - Lafayette
Lake Charles Airport - Lake Charles
Louis Armstong International - New Orleans
Shreveport Regional Airport - Shreveport
Bangor International Airport - Bangor
Hagerstown Municipal Airport - Hagerstown
Logan International Airport - Boston
Bishop International Airport - Flint
Gerald R. Ford International Airport- Grand Rapids
Ford Airport - Kingsford/Iron Mountain
Capital City Airport - Lansing
Sawyer International Airport - Marquette
Muskegon County Airport - Muskegon
Pellston Regional Airport - Pellston
Beltrami County Airport - Bemidji
Duluth Int. Airport - Duluth
International Falls Airport - International Falls
Rochester International Airport - Rochester
South St Paul Airport - South St Paul
Golden Triangle Regional Airport - Columbus
Gulfport/Biloxi International Airport
Hattiesburg-Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport - no commercial flights - Hattiesburg
Jackson Airport - Jackson
Tupelo Regional Airport - Tupelo
Taney County Airport - Branson
Columbia Regional Airport - Columbia
Joplin Regional Airport - ask ticket agent for access location - Joplin
Kansas City International Airport - Kansas City
Springfield-Branson Airport - Springfield
Bozeman Gallatin Airport - Bozeman
Great Falls International Airport - Great Falls
Helena Regional Airport - Helena
Glacier International Airport - after security area - Kalispell
Missoula International Airport - Missoula
Central Nebraska Regional Airport - Grand Island
Amigo's King's Airpark - Lincoln
Eppley Field - Omaha
Henderson Executive Airport - Henderson
McCarran Airport - Las Vegas
North Las Vegas Airport
Reno-Tahoe International Airport - Reno
New Hampshire
Manchester, Boston Regional Airport - Manchester
New Jersey
Atlantic City Airport - Atlantic City
New Mexico
Albuquerque International Sunport/Airport - Albuquerque
Los Alamos County Airport - Los Alamos
Taos Municipal Airport - Taos
New York
Albany International Airport - Albany
Binghamton Airport - Binghamton
Elmira-Corning Regional Airport - Elmira
JetBlue Airways - Terminal 6 - JFK Airport - Jamaica, Queens
Long Island MacArthur Airport - Islip
Tompkins County Regional Airport - Ithaca
Rochester Airport - Rochester
Syracuse International - Syracuse
North Carolina
Charlotte Douglas International Airport - ask at Info Desk for access area info - Charlotte
Asheville Regional Airport - Fletcher
Albert J. Ellis Airport - Jacksonville
Kinston Airport - Kinston
New Bern Airport - New Bern
Wilmington International Airport - Wilmington
North Dakota
Bismarck Municipal Airport - general aviation lounge - Bismarck
Hector International Airport - Fargo
Grand Forks Airport - Grand Forks
Minot Airport - Minot
Akron Airport - Akron
Cleveland Hopkins Int. Airport - Cleveland
Ohio State University Airport - Columbus
Port Columbus International Airport - Columbus
Dayton International Airport - Dayton
Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport - Vienna
Tulsa Int. Airport - Tulsa
Eugene Airport - Eugene
Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport - Medford
Southwest Oregon Regional Airport - North Bend
Portland International Airport - Main Level - Portland
Redmond Airport - Redmond
Lehigh Valley International Airport - Allentown
Erie International Airport - Erie
Harrisburg International Airport - Harrisburg
Arnold Palmer Regional Airport - Latrobe
Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport - Mt Pocono
Philadelphia International Airport - free for college students with ID, must obtain code at Information Counter - Philadelphia
Pittsburgh Airport - Pittsburgh
Brandywine Airport - West Chester
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
North Carolina
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport - Charlotte
Fayetteville Regional Airport - Fayetteville
South Carolina
Columbia Metropolitan Airport - Columbia
Horry County Airport - Conway
Florence Regional Airport - Florence
Greenville/Spartanburg Airport
Myrtle Beach Airport - Myrtle Beach
South Dakota
Aberdeen Regional Airport - Aberdeen
Rapid City Airport - Rapid City
Sioux Falls Regional Airport - Sioux Falls
Chan Gurney Airport - Yankton
Tri-Cities Regional Airport - Blountville
Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport - Chattanooga
Collegedale Airport - Collegedale
Tricities Airport - Kingsport
KnoxAir at TYS - McGee-Tyson Airport and DKX - Island Home Airport - Knoxville
Abilene Regional Airport - Abilene
Rick Husband Inernational Airport - Amarillo
Harrison Aviation - Arlington Municipal Airport - Arlington
Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport - Brownsville
Easterwood Airport - College Station
Corpus Christi International Airport - Corpus Christi
Admiral's Clubs - members only - DFW - Dallas/Ft.Worth
Valley International Airport - Harlingen
Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport - Killeen
East Texas Regional Airport - Longview
Lubbock International Airport - Lubbock
McAllen-Miller International Airport - McAllen
San Angelo Municipal Airport - San Angelo
San Antonio International Airport - San Antonio
Tyler Pounds Regional Airport - Tyler
Salt Lake City Airport - Salt Lake City
Burlington International Airport - South Burlington
Tri-Cities Airport - Bristol
Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport - terminal area
Leesburg Executive Airport - Leesburg
Lynchburg Regional Airport - Lynchburg
Newport News/Williamsburg Airport - Newport News
Richmond Airport - Richmond
Roanoke Airport - Roanoke
Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport - Weyers Cave
Bellingham International Airport - Bellingham
Pangborn Field Airport - East Wenatchee
Grant County Airport - Moses Lake
Tri-Cities Airport - Pasco
Pullman Moscow Airport- Pullman
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport - Seattle
Walla`Walla Regional Airport - Walla Walla
West Virginia
Yeager Airport - Charleston
Tri-State Airport - Huntington
Outagamie County Regional Airport - Appleton
Austin Straubel Airport - in terminal, beyond security point - Green Bay
KOEO FBO's - Top Dog Aviation (Northeast Hangar Base), Ward Aviation (Northeast Hangar Base), Terminal Building (South West Side) - Osceola
Rhinelander/Oneida County Airport
Natrona County International Airport - Casper
Cheyenne Regional Airport - Cheyenne

Los Angeles - Morbid Tour

When in Los Angeles, you will of course take the obligatory sight-seeing path.  But for a gruesome view into the seedy underbelly of the entertainment capital of the world a guided tour by Dearly Departed Tours maybe just the ticket.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Prague - Hit the Ground Running

Prague, Czech Republic Travel Guide:

Hit the ground running.  Check in with and find the cheapest flights.  Here are some examples from today:
  • Shanghai to Prague - $1,535 USD  ($1,083 if you are willing to fly Aeroflot)
  • New York to Prague - $730
  • Paris to Prague - $164
Once you land, take the Airport Express bus shuttle to the Prague Main Railway Station.

Main Railway Station
Cafe Slavia
Check in at the Hotel Adante.  The rate is approximately $70.  One of the least expensive in the center of Prague.  Everything in the Stare Mesto (Old Town) is in walking distance.  Then walk over to the Cafe Slavia for top quality Eastern European Cuisine.  It is a cafe with a somewhat limited menu, but great food. 

Then get a good night's sleep.  You are taking the walking tour in the morning.

If you go to bed between 10 and 11pm you should be able to break the jet lag.  Wake up around 7 am and take the First Visit to Prague Walking Tour.  You will really feel like an Insider, because the Cafe Slavia is on the cafe tour.  Impress the other guests with your review and menu suggestions. 

Once you get an idea where everything is, you can start planning other things to see.  Be sure to take time to just relax and people watch.

Also a must see is the Prague Castle, the Hrad.  

Prague Castle tours continue to the Royal Palace, the historic home of the royal family. The palace is home to a permanent exhibition detailing the history of Prague Castle and is still used for special state events. Entrance to the museum is included in the price of a Prague Castle tours ticket or can be purchased separately for about $6 each.

Scary Bridges - Caution - Don't View if you Fear Heights


Many courageous (or foolhardy) travelers seek out hair-raising bridges just for the thrill. The bridges along the route to Colombia’s National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro are a good example. Though there are safer routes via bus from La Plata, some thrill-seekers choose to ride motorcycles over slippery bamboo crossings deep in the mountains, where one wrong move could mean plunging into a turbulent river.

So get ready to face your fears—or maybe find your next adventure—with a list of the world’s most petrifying bridges.

Suspension Bridge - North Vancouver

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Originally built in 1889, this simple suspension footbridge surrounded by an evergreen forest is very high, fairly narrow, and extremely shaky—the cedar planks bounce on their steel cables as you walk across them. If the bridge doesn’t scare you, wait until the spring of 2011; the Cliffhanger attraction will allow visitors to climb across a series of suspended walkways attached to a cliff.

Where: British Columbia, across the Capilano River.

Stats: 450 feet long; 230 feet high.

Vietnam - Monkey Bridge

Monkey Bridges

It may seem that only monkeys could make it across traditional monkey bridges—after all, they’re typically made of a single bamboo log and one handrail. However, the name comes from the stooped monkey-like posture you have to maintain when crossing, so as not to plunge into the river below.

Where: Various points across the Mekong Delta at the southern tip of Vietnam.

Stats: These bridges are built by hand by local residents and vary from town to town. Newer ones are made of concrete.

North Carolina Beaches - Brunswick County

Bald Head Island:

Light House on Bald Head Island
Once a hideout for notorious pirates like Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet, Bald Head Island offers a different kind of refuge for those seeking asylum from the everyday. This no-cars-allowed island can be your family’s vacation hideaway secluded from commercialism and touristy distractions. Reachable only by ferry, Bald Head is Brunswick’s most resort-styled island. Here, as you explore the island by bike, boat or golf cart you’ll be treated to varied natural landscapes, including pristine sand dunes, beaches, maritime forests, and salt marshes. Bald Head Island is an eco-lovers paradise, so preserved and conservation friendly that 50% of North Carolina’s sea-turtle nesting takes place on its shores. Slightly up-scale, and always inviting, Bald Head Island is as unspoiled as it is charming.


Seafood Capital
First thing you’ll notice as you arrive in Calabash is its vast variety of seafood restaurants. In fact, the town proudly holds the title of “Seafood Capital of the World” due to the town’s national famed signature seafood preparation—Calabash style. Shrimp, clams, fish and oysters are coated in a light batter and quickly fried to lock in their freshness. Which of the family restaurants in Calabash holds the original recipe? No one truly knows—but all taste equally authentic and delicious. If you prefer, reel in your own catch on a deep-sea fishing adventure, or simply watch the fishing boats come to dock. An abundance of unique shops—including a Christmas Shop—golf courses, close proximity to Myrtle Beach and a charming small-town feel complete the picture for a vacation that’s full of savory experiences.

Caswell Beach:

Oak Island - Holiday Weekend
This section of Oak Island is a place you can truly unwind in classic beach-vacationing style. Spend a day visiting the lighthouse—one of the brightest in the United States with a beacon that reaches about 24 nautical miles offshore. Do some surf-casting and reel in a fresh catch for dinner, or simply relax on the beach and stroll at low tide to search out fine shell specimens. You and your family may find yourselves with the beach all your own as Caswell is the least populated of all our Island beaches. In fact, the only commercial establishment here is the Oak Island Golf Country Club. But as remote as Caswell may sound, it’s really only a mile or so from all the shops and restaurants of Oak Island. So, if your perfect vacation is a quiet, secluded beach that’s only a minute or two from all the conveniences, Caswell Beach is calling your name.

Holden Beach:

Holden Beach Sunset
Named one of the best family beaches in the country by National Geographic Traveler magazine, Holden Beach offers small-town charm and unspoiled beauty. Navigate a kayak or canoe along the picturesque Intracoastal Waterway, and keep watch, for you may glimpse endangered loggerhead sea turtles as they surface for air. In this naturalist’s—and wildlife—haven, you’re sure to find something to delight your whole family— from spotting dolphins in the surf to playfully chasing ghost crabs with flashlights during an evening stroll. Have lunch on-the-deck at one of several restaurants that sit beside the Intracoastal Waterway. Here, you can watch shrimp boats cruise by as they make their way to and from the ocean. And, don’t miss the North Carolina Festival by the Sea, a celebration with arts, crafts and seafood that draws people from all over.

Ocean Isle Beach:

Ocean Reef at Museum of Coastal Carolina
Ocean Isle combines low-key relaxation and family adventures at every turn. Venture along the shore, and scan for signs of sea turtles and hatchlings journeying to the ocean. Or catch a wave just beyond the pier—one of Brunswick surfer’s favorite spots. Visit The Museum of Coastal Carolina to experience more sea life, with a life-size diorama and touch tanks. Around town, you’ll find lots of things that make a beach vacation great, such as restaurants and hangouts with outdoor decks. If you time your visit right, take part in the North Carolina Oyster Festival, where you can shuck a bucket or two and take part in judging the Oyster Stew Cook-Off. Enjoy the award-winning Silver Coast winery, specialty shops, and more. Bring your family for a refreshing vacation, and discover what awaits on Ocean Isle Beach.

Sunset Beach:

Sunrise at Sunset Beach
At the tail end of the Brunswick Island chain, Sunset Beach has the distinction of being the Southern-most surf in North Carolina. But while it may be last in geography, many find it a the top-of-the-list for a quiet, old-fashioned, retro, beach vacation. A walk to Bird Island is always a family favorite. For almost a mile, the beach houses give way to one of the most untouched shorelines in Brunswick where all that separates you from the surf and marsh is a wide stretch of beach and dunes. Discover sun, moon and stars at the Ingram Planetarium, or by simply taking in the sunrise or sunset, both of which can be seen over the water several months of the year due to the island’s unique positioning. Come to Sunset Beach to reconnect with nature— and with your family as well.

Autumn Colors - Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway

Discover the haven of rolling hills and wildflowers that is Appalachia along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which stretches 469 miles from Virginia to North Carolina.  Drive the entire length if you have time, but for a shorter trip, start in Asheville, North Carolina, and follow the Parkway north.  Instead of gas stations and strip malls, the road is dotted by dogwood, tulip trees, and red maples with the soaring Appalachians standing in the background.

Grandfather Mountain
Must-sees include Grandfather Mountain and the Gardens of the Biltmore Estate, a 19th-Century Vanderbilt mansion near Asheville.

Grandfather Mountain has an amazing swinging bridge that offers an amazing view.  Grandfather Mountain also has environmental habitats for black bears, river otters, cougars, bald eagles, golden eagles and white tailed deer.

The Biltmore Estate, is a historical landmark in Asheville.  The estate is America's largest home.  The celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt modeled the house on three châteaux built in 16th-century France. It would feature 4 acres of floor space, 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The basement alone would house a swimming pool, gymnasium and changing rooms, bowling alley, servants' quarters, kitchens, and more.

The Biltmore Estate

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CONTRABAND - The Stuff Seized at Customs becomes an Art Show

A bird corpse, the active ingredient found in Botox, counterfeit clothes and accessories (including designer hand bags), heroin, jewelry, over-proof Jamaican rum, items made from endangered species, pharmaceuticals, Cuban cigars, animal parts, pirated DVDs, gold dust, potatoes, GBL (a date rape drug concealed as house cleaner), cow manure tooth powder, and illegal steroids.

All the images in the show, "Contraband," are of items seized from passengers or express mail entering the U.S. by photographer, Taryn Simon.

Bird Corpse - Prohibited Item
For five days in November 2009, Simon remained on site at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which processes more international passengers than any other airport in the United States. The exhaustive pace at which she photographed paralleled the twenty-four hour rhythm by which goods move across borders and time zones. CONTRABAND includes 1075 photographs of items detained or seized from passengers and express mail entering the U.S. from abroad.

The renowned photographer tells CNN she spent several months getting permission to do the project from airport authorities, before showing up with her air mattress and team.

"Myself and my team got very little sleep under the blinding fluorescent lights. It was torturous. I could barely stand on the last day," says Simon.

There are 1,075 photographs in the series, which will also be exhibited in New York and featured in a 500-page book due out soon.

The show is up at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills through Nov. 6 2010.

Gagosian Gallery - Beverly Hills
456 North Camden Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Fall Beach Trip - Outer Banks North Carolina

If you are planning a beach trip in the fall, go to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  First check in with the National Weather Service and find out if there are any imminent hurricanes.

Places to experience:

Wild Horse on Corolla Beach
Currituck Outer Banks:    Corolla Beach is beautiful.  The beach is clean and serene.  Wild horses and majestic lighthouses are in the background.  There is shopping close by as well.

With its flat, shallow waters, Currituck Sound is an ideal setting for novice kayakers to learn how to paddle. More experienced paddlers will want to explore the many marshes and islands of the sound. Numerous paths and easy hiking trails border the shoreline inviting the whole family to explore the maritime forest that is unique to the Outer Banks.

Call their tourist hotline for more questions:  877-287-7488.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New York - Museum Guide

NEW YORK:  Museums and Galleries

No visit to New York City would be complete without visiting the museums, and New York has some of the finest museums in the world. All the public museums (notably including the Metropolitan Museum), which are run by the city, accept donations for an entrance fee, but private museums (especially the Museum of Modern Art) can be very expensive. In addition to the major museums, hundreds of small galleries are spread throughout the city, notably in neighborhoods like Chelsea and Williamsburg. Many galleries and museums in New York close on Mondays, so be sure to check hours before visiting. The following is just a list of highlights.  

    Arts and Culture

Brooklyn Museum of Art
Brooklyn Museum of Art on Eastern Parkway (Eastern Parkway stop on the 2 or 3 train) is a large museum which contains excellent collections of Egyptian art, Assyrian reliefs, 19th-century American art, and art from Africa and Oceania, among other things. Right past the museum are the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (separate admission charge), so you can easily visit both in one pleasant afternoon. 

Cloisters Located on four acres overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park, the building incorporates elements from five medieval French cloisters—quadrangles enclosed by a roofed or vaulted passageway, or arcade—and from other monastic sites in southern France. Its gardens are a great way to spend a nice afternoon. Pay for the Cloisters or the Metropolitan Museum and see both for the price of one (although note that payment at both places is by donation, in any case). (Take the A to Inwood-207th Street for the M4 bus)

Guggenheim The architecture is more interesting than the collection it hosts, although the spiraling galleries are ideal for exhibiting art works. It was designed by the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and was built in 1959. TIP: Take the elevator to the top and view the exhibits by walking down hill.

International Center of Photography 1133 Sixth Avenue (at 43rd Street). Devoted solely to photography, this museum a block from Times Square always has interesting exhibits running. Take the B, D, F or V trains to Bryant Park-42nd Street.

Museum of Sex 233 Fifth Avenue (at 27th Street), A museum which relates to the evolution of sex. It features images, films, and sex devices being used. They also sell some adult collections. Take the N (weekends only), R, or W (weekdays only) to 28th Street.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), 11 West 53 St (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Subway: E or V to Fifth Ave/53 St; B, D, or F to 47–50 Streets/Rockefeller Center), This is the most comprehensive collection of modern art in the world, and is so large as to require multiple visits to see all of the works on display. If you are in a hurry and want to see only the crowd-pleasers, head to the fifth floor, where you'll find works like Van Gogh's Starry Night and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Also make sure to take time to visit the extensive (and sometimes whimsical) industrial design collection.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum is in New York City's Central Park along Fifth Avenue. The Museum's two-million-square-foot building has vast holdings that represent a series of collections, each of which ranks in its category among the finest in the world. The American Wing, for example, houses the world's most comprehensive collection of American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts, presently including 24 period rooms that offer an unparalleled view of American history and domestic life. The Museum's approximately 2,500 European paintings form one of the greatest such collections in the world's Rembrandts and Vermeers alone are among the choicest, not to mention the collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist canvases. Virtually all of the 36,000 objects constituting the greatest collection of Egyptian art outside Cairo are on display, while the Islamic art collection is one of the world's finest. Other major collections belonging to the Museum include arms and armor, Asian art, costumes, European sculpture and decorative arts, medieval and Renaissance art, musical instruments, drawings, prints, antiquities from around the ancient world, photography, and modern art.

Madame Tussauds New York City's branch of the famous London wax museum. Features over 200 detailed life-like wax models of celebrities, politicians, athletes and historical icons in the heart of Times Square.

PS1 Contemporary Art Center, 22–25 Jackson Avenue (Queens). An affiliate of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Whitney Museum of American Art Contemporary American art, permanent collection and rotating exhibitions. The Whitney is associated with Fisher-Landau Center in Queens, and the Whitney Museum at Altria, a smaller exhibition space in midtown.

The New Museum of Contemporary Art Contemporary art exhibitions with no permanent collection.

Science and Technology

Hayden Planetarium
American Museum of Natural History in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Contains the Hayden Planetarium, immediately to its north on 81st St. Take the B (weekdays only) or C train to 81st Street-
Museum of Natural History or the 1 train to 79th Street (a few blocks further away than the B or C)

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, 12th Ave & 46th St, Subway: A, B, C, D, E, F, N, Q, R, W, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 to 42nd Street (either Port Authority Bus terminal, Times Square, Bryant Park, or Grand Central, depending on the line you take) and then take a westbound M42 bus. (Times Square and Port Authority Bus Terminal are the closest stops to the museum, if you plan on walking directly from the train to avoid waiting for the bus.

Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (Museum at FIT), 7th Avenue at 27th St. Subway: 1 train to 28th Street.

New York Hall of Science 47-01 111th Street in Queens located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, On the grounds of the former World's Fair, and incorporates one of the buildings of the Fair, now known as the Great Hall. Subway: 7 train to 111th Street

Road Trip - Planning

As reported earlier, airfare is on the rise.  You still need to take a vacation, so why not road trip.

Use GasBuddy and this really cool road trip planner, Mile by Mile

Road Trip advice, from RoadTrip America is also a good resource. 

If you are traveling with a diverse group:

Don't commit to a trip until you are sure you are going. Be sure you can get/have the time off work, have enough money, etc. If your plans change after a carpool has been put together, let people know right away.
You should not take a trip solely because someone else wants you to.  The drive to your vacation can ruin the vacation.

You should not accept people in your carpool that you do not trust or you know you do not like just because someone else can't live without them.  Do your packing well before your pickup time or time to meet at a designated place.  There is no excuse for passengers who don't bring money and/or a credit card for their share of gas, park entrance fees, toll fees, chain rentals, etc. Driving chores do not have to be shared evenly, but gas costs etc. do.

You will probably leave town later than you think because it will take longer to pack up than you think, especially with a big group. This means you might arrive after dark even if you were certain you would not. Have your flashlight, jacket where you can get to them, not packed away.

Decisions to make BEFORE the trip:
Decide on the full trip length in advance, and not just as you are starting out. If someone needs to be back at work, or ... by a deadline then people need to agree to that return time or not travel together.
Decide in advance if you will drive straight through or make many stops at specific sightseeing places or unspecific we've-got-to-see-that routes suggested by billboards.

Be sure you are all in agreement about short or long stops. Sometimes this can be up to the driver, sometimes it's a group decision. The drive from the SF Bay area to Yosemite, for example, can take 4 plus hours if you don't make many stops, aren't behind slow drivers and do the speed limit. Or it can take 5-6 or more hours if you have a lot of passengers who want fast food or photo taking stops, or you have to put on chains and drive slowly.

On a longer cross country or regional road trip, if you have a destination with a certain time, at least plan for some stops. Maybe each person can have one half-hour spontaneous we've-got-to-check-this-out event.

Be sure you agree on food spending as well. If some of the carpool are on a budget, they probably want to eat the food they packed, or fast food, not stop for sit-down restaurant meals. Those who are feeling rich can get fast food on the drive and save their expensive meals for at the destination itself.
Other people in the vehicle will appreciate it if you wear freshly laundered clothing without perfume or cologne and have recently washed yourself and brushed your teeth.

Everyone in the vehicle should agree as to the music being played or they should plan to bring headphone players. Some groups say the driver gets to decide. Some say that others have some veto power.

AIRLINES - Budget Travel and Price Shopping

Discount airlines maybe pricing some destinations higher this year, the WALL STREET JOURNAL reports.
Virgin America, jetBlue Airways and AirTran Airways are pricing some markets significantly higher than their bigger, typically more-expensive competitors, expecting robust demand and limited airline capacity will lead to full planes at full fares. Despite the struggling economy, airline executives seem to think that travelers will buy tickets regardless of price.
Demand for air travel has increased recently, and airlines haven't added much capacity back after the recession.
Some tips on finding affordable fares this holiday season:
  1. Buy early: Demand will likely be stronger than supply this year, so prices will rise as seats sell. There are still some good prices out there.
  2. Be flexible: Avoiding peak days can save you hundreds of dollars. Consider the Saturday before or Tuesday after Thanksgiving, for example. And the cheapest days of all can be the holiday days.
  3. Shop around: Check websites that search fares across multiple airlines, like Travelocity, Expedia and Orbitz, and sites that search more aggressively, like Kayak. Don't forget that Southwest fares are only available from the airline.
  4.  Find a cheaper beach: If it's a vacation you want, look at multiple destinations. The Caribbean may be selling stronger than Florida or Mexico, for example.

Budget Travel - Save while Seeing the Sights

Budget Tips -

Water Bottles - Bring your own.  Take along refillable water bottles for each member of your group.  Fill up the bottles at hotel, park or attraction water fountains.  By doing so, you could save a group of 4 $20 a day. 

Pack a Lunch - Plan on eating at least one meal a day in your room, cabin, tent or picnic in park.  Pack a simple lunch, sandwich, fresh fruit and chips.

See the Alternate Sights - Pick a day and stay out of the tourist traps, amusement parks and other expensive outings.  Chart your own course and save.

Save at the Pit Stop - Find the best gas prices on the way, use GasBuddy.  This site is a user reported gas price site.  You can chart the cheapest fuel along the way.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Philippines - Boracay - The Party Island


Located in the Philippines, Boracay is reknown for fun and sun.  Nowhere can you find a 24 hour party as affordable as this.

Boracay Station 2 from the Beach Walk
The telephone area code is (32) and the Philippine Peso trades at approximately - PHP1 = US $0.02

Trivia:  The Sea Wind Resort on White Beach on Boracay island houses a museum filled with native Boracay artifacts, unique sea shells from surrounding beaches and art pieces made by local artists.

When you Land:  Most visitors come in from Caticlan or Kalibo.  If you arrive at Kalibo, prepare yourself for a three hour van ride.  Bring snacks and water.  Some of the larger jets were diverting to Kalibo due to runway restrictions at Caticlan.  Check with Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines before booking.  Both airlines are competitive on pricing, check which has the best "promo fare."

Banana Saging - Kiteboarding at Boracay
Daytime:  Go to Bolabog Beach.  Kiteboarding is very popular and absolutely thrilling.  There are several schools that will have you up in no time.  Also, there are hostels for enthusiasts.  Banana Saging Guesthouse is as little as $6.75 per day.

Wear sunscreen, and don't let the cool breeze play tricks.  Seek shade between 12 and 3 p.m.  The tropical sun will burn.

Night Life:  Boracay rivals all if you are seeking food, music drinks and romance.  Boracay is for lovers but not recommended to meet the love of your life there, better to bring him or her with you already.  The Beach Walk at Station 2 is an endless pathway of restaurants, music, bars and fun.  Check out the Bombom Bar for top quality live music. 

Reader Recommended:  Summer Place for a special drink called the Shark Attack.  Station 2 Boracay Island PH +63 36 2883144

Food:  Ti Braz has an amazing menu, otherwise it is hard to go wrong with any of the restaurants along the Beach Walk.  Most seafood is local and fresh, and very delicious.

Insider Tips:  English is widely spoken and understood.  Ultimate party times are Halloween, New Year's or Easter.

Hong Kong - Festivals

Chinese (Lunar) New Year. Although this may seem like an ideal time to go to Hong Kong, many shops and restaurants close down during the Chinese New Year. However, unlike Christmas in Europe where you can hardly find shops open on this big day, you can still get food and daily products easily during the Lunar New Year period. The week or two leading up to the Chinese New Year as well as the period just after the third day up to the fifteenth day are good times to soak up the festive mood and listen to Chinese New Year songs being played in the shops.
Spring Lantern Festival (元宵節). If you go to Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, you will be able to experience this traditional Chinese festival. A number of beautiful lanterns can be found in the park at this time.
Ching Ming Festival (清明節). This festival in Spring is also known as grave sweeping day. To show respect to the deceased, family members go to the grave of their ancestors to sweep away leaves and remove weeds around the grave area. Paper offerings are also burned, such as fake money.
Cheung Chau Bun Festival (長洲太平清醮). This is takes place on the tiny island of Cheung Chau. In the past the festival has involved competitions with people climbing bun towers to snatch buns. After the unfortunate collapse of a bun tower in 1978, due to an overload of people, the competition was abandoned. It was resumed again in 2005 with better safety measures.
Tuen Ng Festival (端午節). This is a festival in memory of a national hero from the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese history. Dragon boat races are typically held during this festival and glutinous rice dumplings, usually with pork fillings, are eaten by many.
 Lion dancing: a dramatic spectacle at Chinese New Year.
Hungry Ghost Festival (中元節). This festival runs throughout the seventh month of the Chinese calendar. It is believed that the gates of hell open during this period and hungry ghosts are allowed to roam freely into our world. Though not a public holiday, this is the time where one can see many people perform various rites to appease the wandering ghosts, such as offering food and burning joss paper. One can also see traditional performances such as Chinese opera which are held to appease these ghosts.
Mid Autumn Festival / Moon Festival (中秋節). This festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month. Moon cakes which contain lotus seed paste and duck egg yolks are a popular delicacy. Many Western people will find the traditional mooncake hard to appreciate, so you might like to try the ice-cream version as well. The festival is also known as the lantern festival and various parts of Hong Kong will be festooned with decorative lanterns which set the night scene ablaze with colour.
Chung Yeung Festival (重陽節). Is a day also known as Autumn Remembrance, which is similar to Ching Ming in spring, where families visit the graves of their ancestors to perform cleansing rites and pay their respects. As the weather cools down during this part of the year, hiking is a good activity to do during this holiday.
Halloween (萬聖節). Halloween has grown rapidly in popularity and many people dress up to party till late. Trick or treat is not common but most restaurants and shopping centres are decorated and have special programmes. For young adults and teenagers, Ocean Park is the place to be for Halloween fun. It is not a public holiday.
Christmas (聖誕節). Christmas is celebrated Hong Kong style. The city is adorned using traditional Western Christmas decorations. Many shopping centres, such as Pacific Place, offer ample opportunities for children to meet Santa. Most shops and restaurants remain open throughout Christmas. You should expect large crowds out shopping for the Christmas sales.
New Year's Eve (元旦除夕). New Year's Eve in Hong Kong is something to check out if you are seeking a carnival experience. Hundreds of thousands of people out on the streets to celebrate the New Year is truly an unforgettable time. There are all-night services on the MTR, night-buses, and of course, many taxis. Fireworks go off on the harbour front, which a lot of people attend to watch on both sides of the harbour: Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon side) and Central (Hong Kong Island). The young adults and older adults decide to party with the rest of Hong Kong at the hot-spots such as Causeway Bay, Lan Kwai Fong and Tsim Sha Tsui. Many people dress up and attend private parties and others flock to the streets to enjoy the atmosphere. Police patrol around popular areas to make sure the city is a safe party-zone. Hong Kong people are not great drinkers and most of them stay dry for the night. Drinking alcohol on the street is uncommon. So visitors who drink should moderate their behaviour or risk being screened out by the police as the only drunks in the crowd.

Airline Customer Service Numbers

Airlines Based in North America
  • Aero California 800-237-6225
  • Aero Mexico 800-237-6639
  • Air Canada 888-247-2262
  • Air Creebec 800-567-6567
  • Air Inuit 800-361-5933
  • Air Tindi 888-545-6794
  • Air Transat 866-847-1112
  • Alaska Airlines 800-426-0333, 866-516-1685
  • American Airlines 800-433-7300
  • Bearskin Airlines 800-465-2327
  • Continental Airlines 800-525-0280
  • Delta Airlines 800-221-1212
  • First Air 800-267-1247
  • Frontier Airlines 800-432-1359
  • Hawaiian Airlines 800-367-5320
  • Horizon Air 800-547-9308
  • JetAmerica 727-451-3970
  • JetBlue 800-538-2583
  • Mexicana Airlines 800-531-7921
  • Northwest Airlines 800-225-2525
  • Porter Airlines (Canada) 888-619-8622
  • Southwest Airlines 800-435-9792
  • Spirit Airlines 800-772-7117
  • United Airlines 800-241-6522
  • US Airways 800-428-4322
  • Virgin America 877-359-8474
  • WestJet Airlines 800-538-5696

Travel Tips - Postponing or Canceling

If your flight gets canceled or postponed, see if it can be rescheduled.  Getting a new date may be better than hanging around the airport for an indefinate period.

  • If you decide to travel at a later date, call your travel agent or your airline as soon as possible for details on how to reuse your ticket.  Generally, tickets must be used no later than one year from the date of purchase.  Some changes may require a fee and/or an additional fare payment.

  • If you originally scheduled flight was canceled and you decide not to travel, you can receive a full refund.  To arrange for a refund, call your travel agent or call your airline customer service.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Things to do in Wilmington, NC - USS North Carolina

The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA's heritage can be traced to a more recent event. In 1906 the British Admiralty commissioned a totally new design, DREADNOUGHT. With an increased number of larger guns in her main battery, a more capable secondary battery, larger designed displacement, better armor and increased speed, DREADNOUGHT became the prototype for subsequent battleships built by other nations, including the United States.
USS North Carolina Battleship

Great to visit to get off the hot beach or if you are in Wilmington, North Carolina during the colder months.

Shell Island Resort - Wrightsville Beach

Shell Island Resort - Wrightsville Beach -

Nestled on the northern tip of Wrightsville Beach, Shell Island Resort is surrounded by a sprawling expanse of sand and unparalleled views of the Atlantic Ocean, Mason’s Inlet, and Figure Eight Island. This family-friendly resort and hotel boasts a front row seat to the beckoning sea and a beach that seems to stretch endlessly, making it feel like it is yours alone.
Shell Island Resort from the Beach
Enhanced by a recent $10 million renovation, Shell Island Resort is better than ever and looking forward to welcoming you to your most relaxing getaway yet. With the surf and sand just a few steps outside our doors, you’ll find Shell Island Resort where Lumina Road ends and the beach begins.

This is where we took our honeymoon in September, we stole the last few days of summer.  The water was warm and the price was right.  Not alot of crowds.  The sand was white and clean and the water was clear.  There are some cool sandbars by the inlet.  Very fun to walk out to.

The swimming pool was very nice and clean.  There was both an indoor and an outdoor.

Shell Island Resort Outdoor Swimming Pool
We booked the room on priceline.  I bid $100 and it was accepted.  During the season, they get $300 plus.  Guests that called the hotel the day we were there were being quoted $160 a night.

The room was well furnished and conveniently had refrigerator, microwave, and stove top.  All rooms overlook the beach and ocean.  There were hundreds of channels of cable, not that we watched a lot of TV.

Shell Island Resort Hotel Room

For $25 we rented umbrella and chairs and enjoyed the beach without getting sunburn. 

Shell Island Resort Umbrella and Chairs

The breakfast buffet was pricey at $9, the eggs were cooked to order, as long as you wanted only an omelette.  The bacon and sausage was greasy and the coffee was just ok.  My advice would be to pack some foods and skip the hotel food.  Or go cold buffet only for $6, the juice and bagels were adequate.

Shell Island Resort Breakfast Buffet

Scenic Smokey Mountains -

There is so much to see and do while you stay at Cabins of the Smokies. Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge attractions offer something for visitors of all ages. In any season, experience the character of the mountains in its natural beauty. Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge attractions make your vacation options endless. Hike Mount LeConte, raft the Pigeon River, zipline through the trees, and get all your outdoor gear at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Observe the pristine water creatures at the award winning Ripley’s Aquarium, or strange two headed creatures at Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. Experience an Earthquake, hurricane, or just take a rest on a bed of nails at Wonder Work’s, the areas indoor amusement park for the mind. Here are links to coupons.

Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge attractions allow you to; shop at the name brand outlets of your choice, or at the quaint one-of-a-kind Arts and Crafts Stores, like Alewine Pottery. There you don’t only get to buy the pottery you have the chance to make your own. If all the running makes you hungry; take in a live show at Hoot-N’Holler dinner theater, while you dine on some of the finest food in the area.

Or catch the game and while you satisfy your craving at TGIFriday’s. Maybe you want to play every second of your trip. If so, choose Mr. Gatti’s endless pizza and salad buffet. Plan your next vacation and fill you itinerary with Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge attractions. It’s the perfect combination of hospitality, nature, and attractions that leaves you wanting more.

Autumn Leaves - Optimal Viewing

No season is more glorious in colorful road trips than the fall.  Autumn is a sight to see from New England to the West Coast.

In North Carolina, visit the always Romantic, Asheville.  From the Biltmore Estate to the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is well worth the trip.

The hot and sticky summer blows away on cool and crisp Autumn breezes.  As the leaves scatter, hit the road and take in the sights.

In the next few posts, we will reveal the scenic, the festive and the beautiful

Monday, September 20, 2010


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