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Where to Go with Your Tax Refund: Tasmania, for More Than a Few Days

April 21, 2014 at 3:22 PM | by | Comments (0)


Above: Par Avion's remote airstrip in the Southwest National Park

Tax day is here, and you're probably excited...but not because you love sifting through receipts and credit card statements. You're excited because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" trip—a Tax Refund Vacation.

Learn from our mistakes. Two days in Tasmania did nothing to dampen our desire to visit this southernmost bit of Australia; on the contrary, as it only whet our appetite and now Tasmania is all we can think about.

The "Island of Inspiration" is also one of picturesque bays, wilderness walking tracks, incredible contemporary art (MONA!), and what happens to be the the world's best whiskies.

Tasmania is only 35,000 square miles, 45% of which is completely given over to national park and nature reserves. Arriving to Hobart from Sydney means overflying areas that tempt thoughts of "what if I just never leave?" To sum up the style of its capital, Hobart, we'd peg it as a mix of Vancouver and Nantucket. So, in other words, it's nearly perfection for fans of good air, good eats, good views, and good value for money.

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Strip Off the Winter Coat for a Frolick in These California Flower Fields

April 16, 2014 at 10:54 AM | by | Comments (0)

Just the other day we shared a great place to tiptoe through the tulips, and now we’ve got another recommendation on where to check out all the glory that is the spring season. Pack your favorite allergy medicine—we’d recommend at least a Claritin or two—and head to Carlsbad, California, as The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch are now in the business of blooming until May 11.

Not too far north from San Diego sit over fifty acres of blossoms, as Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers take over the rolling hills and fields. The Fields are open to the public each and every day of the week and, judging from the picture, it’s well worth the cost of admission. It’ll set you back $12 for the adults in your group, and the kids will be just $6—with those under two scooting in for free. If you like what you see, opt for a season pass that'll set you back $25.

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Where to Go with Your Tax Refund: 'Off the Grid' at Brazil's Juma Amazon Lodge

Where: Manaus, Brazil
April 14, 2014 at 6:18 PM | by | Comments (0)

Tax day is here, and you're probably excited...but not because you love sifting through receipts and credit card statements. You're excited because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" trip—a Tax Refund Vacation.

The best recommendation we can make for you in 2014 is to go "off the grid." Venture to a place without 3G/4G data, without a WiFi network, and perhaps even without TVs for what some would call "digital detox," but what we now simply call "necessary."

To be specific, we've been off the grid three times already in 2014: in Borneo's rainforest, in Tasmania's Southwest National Park, and at Juma Amazon Lodge in Brazil's verdant stretch of the Amazon.

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London's Olympic Park is Now Open and Welcoming the Public to Play

April 8, 2014 at 8:54 AM | by | Comments (0)

Good news for those who have always dreamed of living out Olympic fantasies, as some of the goodies from the 2012 Olympics in London are now open to the public. You might not be able to score a gold medal, but you certainly can score some decent snapshots of yourself enjoying the equipment.

A bunch of stuff over at the brand new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was dedicated and opened up to the public last week, so go ahead and add this latest addition to your tourist to-do list when over in London.

Pictures in front of the Olympic rings are certainly an option—and a great idea—however, there’s even more included in a potential visit. Jump into the pool, take a dive off a platform, or just enjoy some of the other first-class facilities.

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April's Most Instagrammable Festival is Found in Washington State

April 4, 2014 at 10:52 AM | by | Comments (0)

When it comes to fields of tulips and the scent of spring, your mind may first go to the Netherlands. However, if an international journey isn’t in the cards this time of the year there’s always tulips to be seen here at home in the nifty fifty, as Washington state is pretty good at showing off their green thumb.

The Skagit Tulip Festival runs all month long around Mount Vernon, Washington, but obviously a lot of the blossoms and what not depend on how Mother Nature is feeling. Things are a little bit different than most festivals, as there’s not really just one location or thing to see—you visit to kind of see everything. Drive through the area and the different fields and farms, and enjoy the tulips as they make their debut after a long winter. There’s hundreds of acres of fields and flowers, so we don’t think you’ll be disappointed that there’s no food court.

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As Cherry Blossom Season Appoaches, Don't Sleep on Atlanta's Dogwood Festival

March 28, 2014 at 9:56 AM | by | Comments (0)

When spring rolls around it’s clear that those cherry blossoms are the center of attention, as they’re featured in festivals from Washington, DC, to Japan. However, we’ve got to say that there’s other flowering flora that deserves a little attention, so we’d like to put in a plug for the goings on over in Atlanta in just a couple of weeks.

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There are 9 National Park Free Entry Days for 2014

January 7, 2014 at 9:29 AM | by | Comments (0)

It’s a new year and that means an entire set of new freebies when it comes to visiting national parks in and around the United States. Uncle Sam is once again throwing open the gates on certain days during 2014, so now’s the time to start planning on when to skip out of work.

The government usually just doesn’t give stuff away, so when they do it’s a good idea to take advantage of it. This year there are nine days in which you can leave the admission fee back at your house, and the very first of them is just about a week away. Things start on January 20, as 
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the first free one of the year.

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When in Vermont, Take a Walk Around the 'Sixth Great Lake'

December 6, 2013 at 1:26 PM | by | Comments (0)

It’s not quite the wide-open ocean, but it sure feels pretty big when you can barely see New York State and the Adirondacks in the distance. They call Lake Champlain the sixth great lake—and according to Wikipedia it actually was for a bit in 1998—and it sure feels that way when you’re standing along its shores. A visit now probably isn’t quite the same as it is in the summer, but strolling or riding along its shore on the bike path is certainly a welcome distraction.

Be sure to bundle up, as the wind off the lake isn’t the warmest of welcomes. However, once you’re basically numb you can no longer notice the chill, and you’re just able to focus on the waves, the rocks, and the water—the ducks seem to downright enjoy it. Heading south out of town is the best option as it points you in a more scenic direction, and it eventually leads you all the way over to one of Burlington’s hidden attraction—the earth clock.

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Ski Season Starts NOW in Colorado, Vermont, and California

November 6, 2013 at 10:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

We hope you’re enjoying the time change in your area, as we can’t help but smile—we’re kidding—as we see the sunset a whole hour earlier. It definitely feels like winter is just around the corner now more than ever, but at least there’s one thing to which we can look forward and that’s ski season. The cool weather is already just enough to get things open, as resorts, mountains, and the bunny slopes across the country are just starting to do their thing.

Out in Colorado it’s not just the manmade stuff, as a couple resorts have had already had snowfall and are open for business. If you want to brag to your friends that you’ve already hit the slopes this season check out spots like Copper Mountain and Keystone Resort—in Frisco and Keystone, respectively. Other spots out in the Centennial State include Loveland, Wolf Creek, and Arapahoe Basin, so if you’ve been waiting since the spring to get back on the mountain now’s the time to do so.

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The Government's Still Shutdown, But States Are Opening National Parks

October 14, 2013 at 9:12 AM | by | Comments (0)

Here in the nifty fifty, we enter another week in which our government is out of order and services, departments, and centers continue to be closed. Last week we mentioned that one state was getting sick and tired of things, and now it looks like they’re not the only ones. Regardless of the bickering in the government , some states are taking the high road, as they’re working to open national parks, monuments, and other tourist hotspots.

Up first is the state of Utah, which plans to fund the opening of its five national parks. Utah has agreed to shell out around $165,000 per day to the National Park Service for the next ten days or so to open up Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion parks.

In New York City it’s the Statue of Liberty that’s reopening this week, as the state is coughing up roughly $60,000 per day to keep the torch lit. Arizona is opening up the Grand Canyon to visitors, and again, they’re doing it through private donations and state funding.

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The Three Craziest Corn Mazes in the US for Autumn 2013

October 10, 2013 at 10:48 AM | by | Comments (0)

So far we have celebrated the season with pumpkins, apples, and we’re still looking for you to show off your best snapshots of the fall foliage. However, as we enter the middle of all the fine fall weather we’ve got one more autumn activity for you to enjoy—corn mazes! Here’s three that will keep you busy and potentially frustrated:

Happy Day Farm – Manalapan, New Jersey

Just about an hour south of New York City sits Happy Day Farm in Manalapan, New Jersey, and when it comes to building and maintaining a corn maze they certainly know what they’re doing. This year they’re celebrating next year’s Super Bowl—which will be played in New Jersey of course—as their maze features a picture of the New York City skyline as well as an image of the trophy from the big game. The 10-acre maze opened a few weeks ago towards the end of September, but it should be going strong through October 27. It’s $13 for adults and kids—those under the age of two are free—and admission includes access to the corn stalk tunnel, pig races, and even a hayride as well.

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Arizona's Attempt to Reopen the Grand Canyon Has Been Rejected By the Federal Government

October 7, 2013 at 9:06 AM | by | Comments (0)

The state of Arizona is already sick and tired of this government shutdown bologna, and it's not going to sit around and watch its biggest assets lay dormant. The state isn't sending men in black suits to Washington, DC or anything like that, but it is trying to open up some of its natural attractions—and is prepared to foot the bill that comes along with it.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has offered up some cash and funding to the feds—state money, not her own—to keep the Grand Canyon up and running during the pesky government disagreement. Sounds like a reason for permit holders to celebrate, but unfortunately the federal government couldn’t care less. Apparently the National Park Service has rejected the state’s offer to help open the Canyon for business. Some local businesses also offered to pitch in, however, once again no means no.

Two Senators from the state are now getting involved, so stay tuned if you’re headed to the Grand Canyon anytime soon. We’re kind of thinking that the outside funding requests will eventually get their way, and that big hole in the ground will once again be up and running. Until then, you'll have to find something else to do in Flagstaff.

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