Tag: Souvenirs

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What Everyone's Buying in Santa Fe: Chile Ristas

December 11, 2014 at 12:50 PM | by | Comment (1)

Everyone across the country is busy buying decor as the holiday season sets in, including wreaths, trees, and lights. Residents of Santa Fe are no different, except what they're buying brings a whole new meaning to the idea of heating up the holiday season.

At markets around town, you'll see signs for "Chili Ristas," arrangements of hanging, dried chiles. They are typically all red, but sometimes include green chiles for a Christmas contrast. Traditionally and today, ristas are used as a way to preserve the peppers. But during the holiday season especially, they serve as a decorative item representing New Mexican culture and its relationship with the chile pepper. As you drive around town, you will see them hung up outside homes.

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Why Hard Rock Cafes are Completely Disappearing from Mexico

August 25, 2014 at 1:56 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's a rite of travel passage, regardless of the merit; everyone just has to have a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt sporting the name of a desirable vacation destination, from Las Vegas to Nadi, Fiji.

Judging from our own observations at state fairs and gas stations around the USA over the years, it seems like the locations doing the briskest business of selling branded T-shirts are those in Mexico. Nonetheless, a glimpse at the Hard Rock Cafe official locator map reveals that there are none at all, other than a few Hard Rock Hotels (Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Riviera Maya).

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What Everyone's Buying in Maine: Do-Not-Disturb Lobsters

August 14, 2014 at 3:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

Some hotels have a simple "Do Not Disturb" sign. But the Inn By the Sea in Crescent Beach, Maine, has cute red metal lobsters that you can hang on your door when you want to be left alone.

Good news if you're not staying at the hotel, though: these little guys are for sale in the lobby and spa, so if you're stopping in for a meal at the Sea Glass Restaurant, coming in for a massage, or just making a pit stop en route to the Portland Head Light, you can pick up one of these little guys on the way.

It's the perfect gift for the WASPy relative who already has lobster-print clothes, towels, and bed linens, non? We're going to name ours Homer, in honor of Maine artist Winslow.

[Photo: Lilit M.]

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Airlines Haven't Put Away the Decks of Playing Cards Just Yet

May 7, 2014 at 3:01 PM | by | Comments (0)

Service on airplanes these days barely includes a soft drink or a bag of pretzels, much less any other little perks to improve comfort. One such perk to nearly bite the dust are branded playing cards, a method of passing the hours before iPads and in-flight movies existed.

There are a few airlines that stock decks of cards for passengers, although generally only available to their big spenders in the first and business class cabins or "by request."

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Greetings from Boston Library's Collection of 25,000 Vintage Postcards

April 25, 2014 at 5:11 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last winter, the Museum of Fine Art in Boston mounted one of our favorite travel art exhibitions ever, "The Postcard Age."

While that has sadly ended, Boston continues the postcard fascination this year with the release of the Boston Public Library's extensive collection of US state tourist cards from the 1940s-50s, all onto Flickr. The collection includes 894 from Texas, a staggering 3,000 from Florida, and a hometown variety of 808 from Boston itself. Almost all states are represented, each with their own Flickr gallery and Creative Commons permissions to allow for greater sharing.

[Images: Boston Public Library]

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What Everyone's Buying in Tasmania: Single Malt Whisky

April 17, 2014 at 10:34 AM | by | Comment (1)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

Open the duty-free catalog in your seatback pocket. Flip past the cosmetics, watches and cigarettes, and what's left? Booze, and lots of it.

Alcohol and travel have gone hand-in-hand throughout history, from rum runners in the West Indies to the Highland Malt Whisky which was, at times, the only thing keeping Ernest Shackleton's men sane during their expeditions in the Antarctic.

Speaking of Antarctica, Tasmania's location at 42° S latitude puts it into a last-stop-before-Antarctica position, and the climate and terrain is reminiscent of the Scottish highlands. In other words, it's ideal for the production of what's become a Tasmanian mainstay: cask-aged, single malt whisky. Tassie whisky even took the top spot in the World Whiskies Awards 2014, which didn't come as much of a surprise to Tasmanians who've always known they're drinking the highest quality.

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What Everybody's Buying in Melbourne: Wine!

March 7, 2014 at 10:41 AM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

In a country almost the size of the U.S., Australia has plenty of things to see, do, and bring home to your friends and family as little memento of your travels. One thing which Aussies take seriously is their wine, and this is doubly true in the Melbourne area. With vineyards around the country churning out award-winning bottles, bringing home a super special sip is often on the list.

Melbourne is located around 90 minutes away from some of the more popular wineries, (like Chandon and de Bortoli) for tasting, wining, dining, and best of all, purchasing favorite bottles. And if you'd rather follow a path less trodden, lots of smaller, boutique wineries dot the landscape in the Yarra, Goulburn, Rutherglen, and Alpine Valleys.

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What Everybody's Buying in Queensland, Australia: Lucas' Papaw Ointment

January 31, 2014 at 12:25 PM | by | Comment (1)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

Okay, we know that Australia has some once-in-a-lifetime things to see, do and experience, but friends at home only really care about what you're bringing back for them. No, we're not talking about baby koalas or even a few boomerangs to trial in your own skies, as we've got a gift recommendation that's multipurpose and a good reminder of a great time down under: Lucas' Papaw Ointment.

Who would have thought that so much joy would have been had from a little red tube of mashed up tropical fruit? Take it from us that this stuff is the real deal.

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What Everyone's Buying in New Mexico: 'Taos Lightning' Homemade Liquor

December 18, 2013 at 12:37 PM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

There's no shortage of awesome local foods in New Mexico, from blue corn tacos to posole. Just don't forget to wash down all that spicy nosh with products from two incredible local liquor brands. Santa Fe Spirits was launched by a British expat who found his way to the Land of Enchantment and never left. His company makes five liquors from local ingredients. You can check out their distillery just outside of town, but you can also sample the booze at their tasting room on Read Street in downtown Santa Fe.

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What Everyone's Buying in Cornwall: A Calendar of Naked Farmers

October 15, 2013 at 2:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

We've already told you about the popularity of the priest pin-up calendars in Rome, and those of gondoliers in Venice, but it turns out that the UK is keen to get in on the action with their own mildly scandalous calendar.

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The Little Things: Tiny Delft Blue Houses for KLM Business Class

October 9, 2013 at 1:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

In the midst of the bustle of travel, it's all too easy to overlook the details. We're talking about special touches others have stressed over just so you can enjoy a unique experience, whether you know it or not. Every so often we'll highlight The Little Things like this, so now you will know.

The Little Thing: Business Class passengers on KLM are given collectible miniature Delft blue houses.

It used to be that taking an international flight meant receiving gifts of complimentary playing cards, stationery (for composing all those mid-flight telegrams), and other niceties to pass the time. These days, even passengers paying top dollar to fly in First Class are lucky to enjoy a minimal amenity kit and an extra flute of champagne. One exception is KLM, who continue a 60+ year tradition of handing out special ceramic mini Delft houses to their Business Class passengers.

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What Everybody's Buying on Martha's Vineyard: Wampum Beads

June 27, 2013 at 5:56 PM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

The sunset is a serious moment on Martha's Vineyard. Every evening, tourists and locals alike make plans for where they'll be to watch the sun sink below the horizon, and not just because the display of vibrant colors beats anything you'll see on land, but because Martha's Vineyard is the last place where one can watch the sun set into an ocean, until you reach the west coast.

The spot for a sundowner picnic is definitely in the town of Aquinnah, at the westernmost tip of the island, which is also where you'll find Wampum jewelry for sale. Wampum is essentially the shell of a quahog, unique for its patterns of milky white and deep purple. Each shell is a harvested, hand-formed and turned into one-of-a-kind jewelry art, all by members of the island's Wampanoag tribe.

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