United States Travel Guide
Okay, w're going to let you in on a little secret. If you’re in San Francisco and need a spa day, there’s no better place to get your Zen on than at Kabuki Springs & Spa. The Japantown retreat offers a slew of spa services, but it’s the communal baths that made it a Friday ritual when this contributor lived in S.F.; it's still a must-stop whenever I’m in town.
You know what? Bellingham, Washington is pretty darn cute. Until a few weekends ago, this contributor had only passed through – via Amtrak, the Bolt Bus or while boarding at the town's Alaska Marine Highway Ferry. Oh, and I think I may be stopped once for gas while heading south from Vancouver.
A recent weekend changed all of that — and charmed the pants off of me. If you have 24 hours to kill in Bellingham, here’s what you'll want to do:
Virgin America / Airlines / Airline News / In-Flight WiFi / WiFi / In-Flight Entertainment / → All Tags
Great news for travelers aboard Virgin America: The carrier has given the go-ahead to introduce better, faster, stronger Wi-Fi throughout the cabin. Now your emails and sites will load speedier than ever — and even more importantly, the bandwidth will now allow for you to stream video from 35,000-feet.
The airline is updating around ten Airbus A320s through a partnership with ViaSat, a provider of satellite broadband. According to Fortune, the upgrade will rely on "the use of ViaSat-1, a high capacity Ka-band satellite service that offers speeds of up to 140 gigabits-per-second, [which] could make Virgin’s Wi-Fi eight to ten times faster than your garden variety inflight networks." (Virgin America seems to take pride in its in-flight Wi-Fi access; they're still the only carrier providing access on each and every flights.)
When will the enhanced speeds hit the seats? Expect faster Wi-Fi service to go live as soon as September. Let the YouTube cat videos commence!
This summer there's a way to get even farther off the beaten path in New York's Adirondack Mountains.
For the first time since the 1980s, visitors to the ADK Park will be able to explore the region between Saranac Lake and Lake Clear via newly restored railroad tracks. But, this isn't just another touristy train ride, they'll also be able to tour the area on the only Railbikes in the U.S.
Rail Explorers USA is currently offering daily tours on 12 Railbikes that can accommodate either two or four riders for the six-mile journey. The rail is an easy ride, with flat terrain, making it suitable for just about anyone.
The 120 minute tours start at the train station in Downtown Saranac Lake, with returning rides from Charlie’s Inn at Lake Clear four times a day. Two seat Railbike tours are $50, while the four seaters are $100.
To book a tour, visit railexplorers.rezdy.com.
Comic-Cons / SDCC / Uber / Lyft / San Diego Travel / → All Tags
One of the many challenges of attending San Diego Comic-Con is getting around town. Parking can be hard to come by, the streets are overcrowded and there always seems to be an endless line for the shuttles.
Luckily, this year's SDCC attendees have a few, free options.
As thousands of pop culture fans descend on Comic-Con this week, the networks and movie studios are going above and beyond to get their attention — which means there are plenty of fun, free experiences to take part in throughout San Diego. And the best part? You don't even need a Comic-Con badge to enjoy many of them.
This weekend Comedy Central hits the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center with 9-hole mini-golf, “Drunk History” 360 Photo Booth Experience, celeb appearances and giveaways. The event is completely free and open to the public on Friday, July 9 and Saturday, July 10 from 11 AM to 8 PM.
A new distraction has arrived at Denver International Airport, so if you find yourself waiting for a flight with a dead smartphone battery, cheer up: Here's something that will occupy your interest while you're in a social media blackout. (Shudder.)
The folks over at Airport World report that DEN just debuted this week one of the world’s newest television channels — its very own. The airport now has 30 screens dedicated to its own TV channel, which beams programming chockfull of Colorado-related news and information across the terminals and concourses. (Plus it includes some programming from the major networks too.)
Airport Restaurants / Airports / IAD / DCA / Airport Dining / → All Tags
Your layover in DC just got better, as some new dining options area headed to the airports that serve America's capital. (Yes, we bring you this exciting news just in time for July Fourth. Cue the fireworks!)
The good news comes via Eater, which reports that later this year two DC-serving airports will say "bon appétit" to some new options. In the heart of the city Reagan National airport's Terminal B/C will score some fast casual Thai and Chinese courtesy of Big Bowl, plus Georgetown Gourmet Market, which will serve salads, soups, and sammies will all do their thing at Terminal C.
Meanwhile, Dulles International airport (just over the Virginia border) will add a Five Guys and Subway location to take care of your chain burgers-and-subs cravings. However, if you’re looking for something a little substantial, ubiquitous celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck will be welcoming his 10,000th restaurant — that's our latest estimate — called The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck.
Flight delayed? At least now you'll have some more spots to feed.
[Photo of another Big Bowl via Facebook]
San Francisco might possibly be one of the best cities to nosh on delicious farm-to-table bites while sipping boutique wines — especially in the bay city's charming gems of neighborhoods. The Embarcadero is a great place to get a one-stop-shopping experience without exhausting your legs sore from countless hills and steps.
Although guidebook recommendations make it popular with tourists, the Ferry Building is actually a hot spot for locals as well. The 117-year old building is a great place to score some snaps of the Bay Bridge and breathe in the salty air, plus its food hall is a cool place to discover homegrown (and hipster-inflected) tastes of the region. Saturday mornings are special, with a farmers market dominating the sidewalk in front — but everyday is an event to be experienced, and here are some of our favorite food purveyors to check out.
JetBlue / JetBue Mint / JetBlue Mosaic / JFK / Airline Perks / → All Tags
The day before our flight from JFK to LAX, we received an email from JetBlue saying we were eligible for a "dedicated check-in experience” on the arrivals level of Terminal 5, separate from the usual check-in spots. This type of "private" check-in is usually only seen for first class or business class on international airlines. So to have it here on a domestic flight sounded intriguing.
Sleep away camp is way more fun as an adult — at least that's what Camp No Counselors is counting on.
This series of adult getaways, which temporarily takes over campgrounds near Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville and in New York's Adirondack Mountains, invites adults to spend the weekend doing old-school activities — like water skiing, slip n' slide, archery, dodge ball, ping pong, and talent shows — only this time around, each is infused with plenty of booze.
Just like a kids' camp, guests sleep in bunks and eat meals cafeteria style. But unlike the summer camp most people remember from their childhood, this one encourages mingling between the sexes, offers co-ed bunk beds, serves breakfast with a Bloody Mary, and even throws nightly happy hours and dance parties that last until 2 AM.
The concept is so popular that most of this summer's camps are already sold out. But you can still snag a spot at for the Los Angeles camp (October 1-4) and one of the New York camp sessions, the weekend of September 17-20.
Prices start at $475.00 including accommodations, meals, snacks, an open bar and activities. To make a reservation, visit campnocounselors.com.
Alcatraz / San Francisco Travel / History Travel / National Park Travel / California Travel / → All Tags
For 30 years, from 1933 to 1963, this tiny island 1.5-miles off the coast of San Francisco was a place that people never wanted to go. (Some even attempted to flee from it, albeit allegedly unsuccessfully.) Yet now the former island-prison is a tourist attraction that brings people from all corners of the earth to see where infamous criminals were incarcerated. Yes, the half-day trip is touristy — but it's well worth the cost and time to visit the abandoned penitentiary.
The trip will set you back about $30 per visitor, depending on the time of day; this includes the round-trip boat ride across San Francisco Bay. But don't be fooled by the multiple cruise companies offering trips to "The Rock," as Alcatraz Cruises is the only biz allowed to dock its boats at the National Park to bring visitors. (Yes, Alcatraz Island is now managed by the National Park Service.) The boat schedules include several trips per day; the early morning cruises are less crowded, but the evening trips offers some stunning views of the city as the sun sets. (Hence their higher price tag of $37.)