United States Travel Guide
Sriracha and Major League Baseball don't have a whole lot to do with one another. Well, aside from the fact that they both boast some serious hotness. (How we’d love to run the bases with Cole Hamels!)
If you happen to follow American Airlines on any of its social media channels, you may have noticed the ubiquitous hashtag #NewAmerican — usually accompanied by a picture of a smiling cabin crew or snaps of a flashy new Dreamliner. The slogan came about with the merger of AA and US Airways, to suggest a united company soaring toward new horizons. Still, the term is now tossed around like a rag doll — and this contributor wondered what it truly meant in real-life terms. That is, until I flew a simple domestic leg from Las Vegas to Chicago, one that opened my eyes to a brand new experience that supersedes any new lounge, refreshed inflight menu or brand-spanking new aircraft. This experience captured the heart of any personal interaction: The Care Factor. It's something intangible — you can't carry it off the plane — but it's what makes me really think an airline can get us excited about flying again.
Here's what happened.
Memorial Day weekend is on the horizon, and you know what that means, New Englanders: Summer trips to Cape Cod are now officially underway. In fact, on Friday, May 22, seasonal service begins again for CapeFLYER, a Boston-to-Cape passenger train that only launched in 2013. Long weekenders can grab the train at Boston's South Station (or several suburban depots along the route) and hop off in Hyannis. From there, it's up to you to rent a car if you want to explore the lower half of the Cape — or to arrange for a ferry to join the fancy folks on the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
Heads up: When you arrive in Hyannis, you'll probably need a nosh — and be underwhelmed by most of the surrounding dining options. The Hyannis Transportation Center Station, where your train arrives, isn't exactly surrounded by Cape quaintness. It's mostly fast food joints around here. But take heed, hungry traveler, because just down the road is one lone spot that stands out: Pain D'Avignon, an adorable French bakery and cafe that you need to know about. Founded in 1992, the bakery supplies European breads and other treats for some of the region's best restaurants — and it even spawned a sister location in NYC. But the Hyannis original has its own sit-down restaurant on premises. You can quickly snatch some gourmet grab-and-go eats, or pull up a seat in the Parisian boulangerie-style environs — or on the adorable patio out front — for a full-service dining experience. Dive face first into amazing baked breads and croissants, plus an impressive selection of salads, soups, hearty mains (slow-braised short ribs, anyone?) and apps. Baked oysters sound like a fine way to set the tone for your Cape escape.
Airport Lounges / Airline Lounges / ORD / American Airlines / Chicago Travel / American Eagle / → All Tags
It's not often that we find ourselves saying that we actually enjoy a U.S. air carrier's choices for an airport lounge. But our tune might be changing after experiencing first-hand how American Airlines is taking their #NewAmerican mantra seriously. On a recent flight out of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, we were pretty impressed by the fresh design and approach behind the sliding door of American's Admirals Club. It's all part of the carrier's larger rebranding strategy, which has also included overhauled menus, refreshed cabins, a plan for new uniforms, and now some lounges that are comfy enough for any frequent flier.
Cue the “Weekend Update” music, because we have some breaking news to report: “Saturday Night Live” is about to open a museum-style exhibition, and it’s going to rock your (Wayne’s) world.
Opening on May 30 at New York City's Premier Exhibition 5th Avenue — a fancy new state-of-the-art events space — and coinciding with the iconic TV series’ 40th anniversary, “Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition” basically sounds like a mini-Smithsonian dedicated to all things related to the show. And honestly, SNL kind of deserves that. The show is basically an American institution at this point. We forgive the lackluster seasons because every week, it plugs our finger into a socket of kinetic NYC energy. (“Saturday Night Live” might be the most successful accidental tourism campaign, like, ever.) And even the lame episodes become entertaining as reruns, when they take on the air of nostalgia – like televised yearbooks reminding us of the news events, pop culture chatter, and god-awful hairstyles of bygone eras.
Apparently, cuddling has many benefits. According to Women’s Health, cuddling releases dopamine and serotonin – two hormones that help make you happy. (It also does a host of other good stuff, which you can read about here.) But would we pay for a cuddling service? West Seattle resident Lashanna Williams sure hopes so. She recently opened Seattle’s first Cuddle Club, a place to be “held” and “benefit from more meaningful human contact,” according to her site.
Here’s Williams' official announcement:
Theme Parks / Theme Park Travel / Disney / Walt Disney World / Downtown Disney / Movie Travel / → All Tags
It’s been a while since we discussed the changes to Downtown Disney over at Walt Disney World. Fast-forward two years later, and plenty of developments have been made. But this latest announcement may be the most exciting one of all: Get ready for an Indiana Jones-themed bar.
All together now: "YES!"
Per IGN, this awesome-sounding place will be known as Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar. Apparently that dude — Jock Lindsey — was the pilot (and snake owner) from Raiders of the Lost Ark. And no, we didn’t remember that either.
Hey, you guys! It's road trip season, and no trip through America's heartland is complete without snacking your way from state to state. So when we hit the road in Wisconsin with a full gas tank, we wanted to make sure our bellies were just as full — with delicious treats that are synonymous with Dairy-land.
Naturally, the majority of our snacks featured homegrown dairy from any number of farms that call the state home. This is Wisconsin: Don't forget the cheese, glorious cheese! But we'd also recommend treating your taste buds to other special fare like tasty fruit, fresh fish and local beef. Here were some of our favorite bites, and where to find them.
The ATX Television Festival is only in its fourth year, but it has already become a must-attend event for TV fans — with more panels and special events than you can shake a script at. But some of the real highlights are the cast reunions for which the fest has quickly become known. So far ATX has reunited favorite actors from shows like Friday Night Lights, Boy Meets World — and this year's main attraction, Gilmore Girls.
Conan O'Brien loves going where no late night talk show host has gone before. He's taken his TBS show, Conan, on the road each year since the series launched in 2010, traveling to Chicago, New York City, Atlanta, Dallas, and, most recently, Cuba.
So, what's next for this traveling talk show? Conan recently announced his show will be the first to broadcast live from San Diego Comic-Con from July 8-12, 2015. Conan has booked the Spreckels Theater in downtown San Diego where, for the first time, the show will tape and air new episodes on Friday and Saturday.
For the most part, you know what you’re getting when it comes to theme park technology. Roller coasters and rides in the dark are par for course, and occasionally you might find a slightly different, dazzling attraction thrown your way. ("Ooh, lasers!") However, what one park has planned for Utah might just be the next big thing in high-tech amusement park atmosphere, and it’s kind of creeping us out a bit.
Slated to open in 2016 is The Void, a virtual reality theme park where visitors will wear headsets that immerse them in convincingly rendered other worlds — when in actuality, guests are moving about in mostly-empty, reconfigurable 60x60-foot rooms. (We guess there’s a little bit of reality—the rooms—to the virtual reality.)
Sad and scary news out of Philadelphia last night, where an Amtrak train derailed while en route from Washington, DC to New York. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter declared it a “level-3 mass casualty event,” and late-night reports from sources like CNN and NBC10 Philadelphia state that at least five are dead and 65 injured. The train was carrying 243 people, including five crewmembers. Over 100 were transported to area hospitals.
Emergency responders remained on the scene well into the night, rescuing passengers from seven overturned cars — described as “mangled” by witnesses — that went off the tracks in the city’s Port Richmond section. (Slate.com, citing a Philadelphia Daily News editor, notes that the derailment occurred on the same bend of tracks as a 1943 crash that was among America’s worst.) Following the crash, Amtrak suspended all train service in the Northeast Corridor. The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a team to determine the cause of the crash, and has promised a briefing this morning. Updates from Amtrak on the situation can be found here.
Note: Those trying to contact passengers on the train should call the Amtrak Hotline at 1-800-523-9101.
[Image: Joseph Kaczmarek/AP]