3 Golf Courses to Visit Before the Summer Heat
A round of golf can be a welcome respite on a business trip. At the same time, finding a golf course on the road can even improve business relationships, turning a meeting in the boardroom into a whole new game. The summer heat tends to squash those games in the later months of the season, but before the sun takes over your business schedule, play the links at these esteemed golf courses across the country.
Escena Golf Club in Palm Springs, CA
In terms of golf course destinations, Palm Springs is synonymous with golfing. The southern California city houses a number of prestigious golf courses including Escena Golf Club. The course at Escena lends a championship golf experience in a classic Palm Springs setting. Golfers appreciate a round framed by the San Jacinto Mountains and desert skies. Escena Golf Club also presents its challenges for golfers with its strong design and strategically placed bunkers. Back tees on the course stretch nearly 7,200 yards. PGATour.com has even named the course the sixth best public course in California. And after playing a round at Escena, you can score a great deal on a hotel in town.
TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Verda Beach, Florida
Just 12 miles from Jacksonville, Florida and 20 miles north of St. Augustine, TPC Sawgrass presents yet another legendary golf course experience. The area boasts two championship golf courses open to the public, the Players Stadium Course and Dye’s Valley Course. TPC has been honored as the ninth ranked resort golf course in the United States and a top ranked golf course in Florida. Both courses are the work of master architect Pete Dye. Opened in the 1980s, you might want to shoot the links on the Stadium Course merely to play its 17th hole with an unusual island green.
Bandon Dunes Golf Course in Bandon, Oregon
If you want to do business but also still play golf into the heat of summer, Bandon Dunes makes that possible with a summer vacation golf experience unlike any other. Set on a bluff high above the Pacific Ocean, Bandon Dunes presents a course in a truly organic setting in Oregon. Easy to reach from Portland, a 10-minute drive from the town of Bandon and 35 minutes from North Bend, the course is the design of Scotsman David McLay Kidd. Constructed in 1999, Bandon Dunes is a completely natural course with indigenous vegetation. Its natural design makes it a thinker’s course, where the winds are always on the table, changing the difficulty of the course each time you play. In addition to the course, golfers can appreciate a 60-acre Practice Center and a massive putting course called the Punchbowl.
There is nothing quite like walking the links on the greenest of green golf courses, tying up a business deal or merely enjoying some free time on a business trip. These golf courses are not only known the world over for their beauty, design and difficulty but they also invite golfers away from home to hone their skills while on the road.
There's Still Time to Have a Memorial Day Adventure!
Memorial Day weekend often sneaks up on the calendar. With school winding down and summer on the horizon, you might not have had time to plan a getaway. On the other hand, you could be one of the unlucky, stuck traveling for business over the three-day weekend. No matter your scenario, planning a Memorial Day weekend getaway doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few cities where you can find a number of Memorial Day on-goings that just might be a short drive from home or right in your business trip destination.
Chicago pulls out the stops for Memorial Day weekend. Travelers in need of a budget-friendly Memorial Day destination will find Chicago delivers with several free activities and events. In terms of Memorial Day travel ideas in the Windy City, the Chicago Memorial Day Parade is one of those freebies. The parade honors men and women who have given their service to the country. A tradition since 1870, the Chicago Memorial Day Parade is one of the largest in the nation. In addition to the parade, Chicago also boasts fireworks off Navy Pier for Memorial Day, another free event. And if the long winter in the Midwest has you yearning for some beach time, Chicago supplies with roughly 26 miles of lakefront beaches to enjoy for the weekend. To sweeten the deal, Chicago can be great for those last minute travelers with its wealth of hotel options, especially if you score a hot deal with Extended Stay America.
Down south in Atlanta, the weather has just reached an ideal temperature, making it a fine spot to spend Memorial Day weekend. Even if you are in town on business, Atlanta hosts one of its most celebrated jazz festivals in the country throughout the month of May. Visitors in town during the holiday weekend can catch the Atlanta Jazz Festival, one of the country’s largest free jazz festivals. While it takes place throughout the entire month of May, the festival culminates on Memorial Day weekend with performances in Piedmont Park. Aside from a little jazz, if you’re in Atlanta for the holiday weekend, you can head to Stone Mountain Park for the city’s largest three-day Memorial weekend event. The event features a Lasershow Spectacular and fireworks on all three nights. Kids can also partake in SkyHike throughout the weekend, the nation’s largest adventure course.
If you’re fresh out of Memorial Day weekend ideas, New York can be the answer. The city comes loaded with parks, rooftop bars and even nearby beaches that prove ideal for the holiday weekend. Travelers can also honor veterans by visiting memorial sites in and around New York such as the American Veterans Memorial Pier, Ulysses S. Grant National Memorial Park and the U.S.S. Intrepid. For Memorial Day weekend in the city, you will no doubt stumble upon street fairs and parades throughout the five boroughs.
If you find yourself suddenly realizing that Memorial Day weekend is just over a week away and you don’t have plans, there’s no need for panic. By snagging a last minute flight deal or merely hopping in the car and driving a few hours, you could be in these cities, keeping busy and enjoying all the Memorial Day events and festivals.
4 Ways to Enjoy Memorial Day in Atlanta
From a business trip to a family vacation, Atlanta packs in the punch with a wealth of museums, attractions, acclaimed restaurants and cute neighborhoods to explore. It is no wonder many decide to spend Memorial Day weekend in Atlanta, as there’s always something to do during the tourist-packed holiday weekend. If you’re headed to Atlanta for the long weekend, here’s what's on the schedule for Memorial Day.
#1. Brew at the Zoo
If you’re traveling for business in Atlanta and you need a night out, the city supplies with its Brew at the Zoo event. Only for those over 21, adults get to enjoy the zoo kid-free with a cold beer in hand. This year’s Brew at the Zoo will take place on May 23rd from 5PM to 9:30PM. Quickly becoming a favorite Memorial Day weekend tradition, the event features brews, bands and the zoo. As you sip on a cold beer, you can see close to 1,400 animals from around the world. The event costs $38 for zoo members and $43 for non-members.
#2. Memorial Day Weekend Salute to the Troops
For travelers who’ve scored a last minute hot deal from Extended Stay America to Atlanta, you can take advantage of the long weekend in town at Stone Mountain Park. The three-day celebration, called the Memorial Day Weekend Salute to the Troops, honors the men and women and their families who have served our country. Atlanta’s largest Memorial Day weekend celebration features live music and a laser show with fireworks for three nights. In addition to the choreographed musical tribute each night, families can enjoy Stone Mountain Park’s attractions like Sky Hike, Summit Skyride and Geyser Towers.
#3. The Braves at Turner Field
Memorial Day in Atlanta is extra special this year as the Braves will be in town through Sunday. Visitors can catch the home team take on the Brewers throughout the weekend at Turner Field. Turner Field has become an Atlanta landmark since it opened in 1997. It was designed to have that old time baseball feel and nostalgia. If you’re staying beyond Sunday, you can always tour Turner Field instead of catching a game. Tours begin at the Braves Museum and Hall of Fame and take attendees to the broadcast booth, press box, dugout and clubhouse.
If you have decided to spend a few extra days in Atlanta when most of the Memorial Day events have ended, never fear. The city supplies with a legendary convention, MomoCon. One of the fastest growing conventions in the U.S. for all ages brings in fans of Japanese Anime, American animation, comics, video games and tabletop games to celebrate their passion. Attendees of the four-day event will experience a huge exhibitors hall and the presence of celebrity voice talent, designers and writers from their favorite games. MomoCon stretches from May 28th through May 31st at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
Spending Memorial Day in Atlanta proves fun-packed for those who want to keep busy. From zoo dates that involve sipping a cold one, to a good old-fashioned baseball game, Atlanta has you covered for the whole holiday weekend.
5 Tips for Taking Better Travel Photos
We live in a digital age, where virtually an unlimited numbers of photos can be snapped without a single thought or care of running out of film. It’s easy to literally point and shoot without really thinking about the shots you’re getting. Knowing that you can go home, download and delete unworthy snapshots can alleviate a lot of the stress and pressure to “get that perfect shot,” but with a few pro tips, you can increase your chances of actually getting a shot you want to keep. Travel photography can be fun and rewarding, given a good digital camera and just a little forethought.
TRAVEL PIC TIP #1: THE NOUN ADVANTAGE
That old rule for determining what makes a noun can be a key element in snapping that frame-worthy shot. Combining all three subjects, a person or people, a place or landmark and a thing such as the weather or a boat floating by can create a perfect shot.
TRAVEL PIC TIP #2: DON’T LINE THEM UP
Leave the “more bars in more places” line up strategy to the cell phone commercials. More often than not, it’s the unplanned shots that turn out the best. Random, candid snaps of kids, friends or family members will make a much better picture. There’s something to be said for the unscripted images to recall memories.
TRAVEL PIC TIP #3: NATURAL LIGHT IS YOUR FRIEND
During the day, try to turn off the flash for a more natural look. When indoors, try shooting by a window where you can take advantage of using natural light which will create a better image than the often over-exposure of a flash. If you’re in a darker or nighttime environment and think you need to use a flash, check out this quick video for some great tips.
TRAVEL PIC TIP #4: GET THE CLOSE UP
Try to zoom in and really focus on your target. Panoramics are great for landscape shots, but when trying to capture a specific image, get close, focus and really feature that great shot. Don’t let a ton of background noise distract your viewer.
TRAVEL PIC TIP #5: SHOOT THE LOCALS
Capture the vibe of your subject and surroundings. Let the locals and their culture resonate through your image. Clothing, food and how people travel and move through their homeland are all great subjects to shoot.
Perhaps the biggest trick to capturing great images when traveling is simple: Don’t over think it. Trust your instinct, don’t try to get it all in one frame. Really think about the message you’re trying to convey through your shot. Taking a second or two to evaluate your subject before clicking can go a long way. Think outside the box to get a great photo that will evoke emotion. And when you’re done sightseeing for the day, head back to your comfy Extended Stay America room, download your shots from the day and scroll through the amazing pictures you snapped.
Check out Two Festivals to Attend in May
Music festivals go hand in hand with the start of summer. May in particular kicks up the volume to start the summer music festival season with several standout events. Traveling for a music festival can be a fun way to experience some of your favorite music and also see a new destination in the process. If you are considering traveling this May, these music festivals will be music to your ears.
Joshua Tree Music Festival - Joshua Tree, California
Not all festivals in the desert are family friendly. However, the Joshua Tree Music Festival prides itself on being a family oriented event where kids under the age of 10 get in for free. Located at the Joshua Tree Lake Campground in Joshua Tree National Park, the family friendly music festival draws around 4,000 people for a different kind of music festival. The festival presents a collection of performers that aren’t necessarily big names or well known. Independently produced, the art and music event is held in a place of nature that has inspired musicians, poets and artists throughout time. Taking place from May 15th through the 17th, the Joshua Tree Music Festival also sweetens the appeal for families with a Kid Zone for groups camping with children. Of course, if you would rather just come for the music, you can always snag a special offer at a not-too-far Extended Stay America in Palm Springs.
Sasquatch Festival - Quincy, Washington
Roughly three hours from Seattle, you’ll find the Sasquatch Festival. Located at the Gorge Amphitheater, an outdoor venue near the Columbia River in Washington, the festival features quite the lineup for 2015. Held from May 22nd through May 25th, attendees can expect to hear major acts such as Lana del Rey, Ryan Adams, Modest Mouse, Of Monsters and Men and The Decemberists just to name a few. The Sasquatch Festival boasts a history in the Northwest since 2002.
All throughout the month of May, the country seems to get a little louder. While you can find a music festival in May in practically any city, these three are sure to be crowd pleasers.
4 Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day on the Road
For many people across the country, Mother’s Day entails snagging mom some flowers and candy and maybe taking her out to dinner. Being at home for Mother’s Day tends to be a no brainer in terms of what you can do to celebrate. Families can honor the person who makes your household function through simple acts of kindness at home. However, if your family happens to be on the road for Mother’s Day or if you have a globetrotting mother, honoring mom can be a bit more challenging. At the same time, being away from the house can in turn be the greatest Mother’s Day gift of all. If you are traveling for the holiday, here are a few ideas to help you celebrate your mom while on the road.
#1. Visit Local Gardens Instead of Gifting Bouquets
Getting flowers for Mother’s Day can be difficult on the road. If you are driving or flying, that gifted bouquet might not last as long as it would at home. Rather than giving mom flowers for the holiday while traveling, consider finding local gardens and parks to bring mom directly to the bouquets. She can appreciate seeing something new, all while being surrounding by more flowers than one bouquet at home could possibly hold. Botanical gardens can be found in most cities, lending an effortless Mother’s day activity.
#2. Pamper Mom with Nice Accommodations
While your family might normally select hotels that are economical and basic, Mother’s Day presents an ideal time to splurge on accommodations with loads of amenities for mom to enjoy. For example, Extended Stay America lends plenty of specials and promotions so you can treat mom with luxurious accommodations without breaking the bank. Spacious suites, premium television channels and even a nice pool will all end up being a treat for mom. By resting up in a nice hotel, mom doesn’t have to worry about the laundry, cleaning and chaos generally found at home.
#3. Head to a Major League Baseball Game
If you are searching for Mother’s day ideas, Mother’s Day just happens to fall at the start of baseball season in the U.S. If you are treating mom to a getaway for Mother’s Day, check out if your destination boasts a Major League baseball stadium where you can catch a game. Not only can you see a major landmark, but you’re also giving mom the great gift of simply doing a whole lot of nothing while relaxing and watching a game.
#4. Seek Out The Highest Point
Since mothers tend to be the high points of the family, the glue that keeps everyone together, seeking out gorgeous views for Mother’s Day is easy to do no matter where you may be for the holiday. In terms of Mother’s day activities, the whole family can take a hike to a local high point or head to the top of the highest skyscraper in town. Appreciating views from such great heights provides a peaceful and relaxing activity for any mom on Mother’s Day.
Three of the Best Stadiums to Visit This Season
With whiffs of peanuts and hot dogs in the air, it’s the sound many long for all winter, the whip of the baseball as it meets the glove. With Major League Baseball well underway, now is one of the best times to visit a ballpark. Even if you aren't a baseball fan, these stadiums provide an ideal space to soak up the local culture and root root root for the home team. And due to the history of baseball as America’s pastime, there are a number of ballparks across the country that evoke the past, spaces that shouldn't be missed when you are in town.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards - Baltimore, MD
In terms of best baseball stadium in the country, Oriole Park at Camden Yards tends to always make the list. Built over an old railroad station, the park was revolutionary when it opened in 1992 as it ushered in a new wave of ballparks. Setting the trend for future stadiums, Oriole Park at Camden Yards blends the old with the new in a decidedly retro feel. Visiting Oriole Park at Camden Yards presents not just a chance to see a game but to also experience baseball history. The birthplace of baseball great Babe Ruth is just two blocks from the stadium.
Fenway Park - Boston, MA
The oldest ballpark in the majors needs no introduction. Fenway Park is not just home to the Boston Red Sox, but it is also a venue showcasing the rich history of the game. Its first structure is still in existence today, albeit some modifications have been made. Smaller than modern major league ballparks, Fenway Park doesn’t necessarily lend the most comfortable perch to watch a game, but the historic value more than makes up for it. Some major icons of the ballpark include the scoreboard, which is still hand operated, and the 37-foot high left field wall known as the Green Monster. If the Red Sox aren’t in town but you are visiting Fenway Park, you can always take a tour for an inside look at the press box, Red Sox Hall of Fame and even a walk on the warning track. Post Fenway Park visit, travelers can get a hotel in Boston to experience more of the city’s historic offerings.
Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
While not technically the oldest ballpark in the majors, Wrigley Field is very much a museum to baseball. Built in 1914, the second oldest ball park in the majors was constructed on grounds once occupied by a seminary. Today it acts as the home of the Chicago Cubs. While currently experiencing renovations, visitors can still marvel at the historic touches like an original scoreboard from 1937 and the famous ivy covered outfield wall. If you can’t catch a game, Wrigley Field also offers tours of the ballpark on both game days and non-game days. On non-game days, the sky is the limit for tours where you’ll head to the seating bowl, press box, bleachers, visitors and Cub’s clubhouse, the Cubs dugout and the field. While you’re visiting Wrigley Field you can also stay awhile in Chicago as the city crawls with museums, attractions and delicious cuisine.
Traveling for the love of the game is always a good idea. If you tire of your home ballpark and want to see something different, perhaps a park with some history, these major league ballparks are a home run.
4 Family-Friendly State Fairs to Attend
In the New Year, families often begin plotting their adventures for the next 12 months. If you want to vacation with your family, you can keep all ages entertained by having festivals and fairs dictate where you will go. At the same time, not all festivals across the country are appropriate for families. To make the vacation decision process easier, consider traveling to these top 5 festivals and fairs across the country that are met with a family-friendly stamp of approval.
State Fair of Texas
Frequently touted as the largest fair in the U.S., the State Fair of Texas proves that everything, including the fairs, is in fact bigger in the Lone Star State. Held in Fair Park in the Dallas area from September 25 - October 18, 2015, the State Fair of Texas has been a tradition since 1886. With countless thrill rides, food and entertainment, the whole family can have a Texas-sized time for hours on end.
National Apple Harvest Festival
If you’re looking to take the family to a fall festival, the National Apple Harvest Festival appeals to families with its craft dealers, demonstrations, contests, food stands and entertainment. Held during the first two full weekends each October, the event celebrates Pennsylvanian apple country. Located in Biglerville and held at the South Mountain Fairgrounds, the festival’s location makes it easy to reach. The National Apple Harvest Festival is just a couple hours from Washington D.C., Baltimore and Harrisburg, making it easy to find an Extended Stay America to rest up in a variety of East Coast locations.
Out of the many fairs and festivals that take place across the country each year, LEAF Festival certainly caters to those kids who love the arts. LEAF Festival, also known as the Lake Eden Arts Festival fills with parades, storytellers, face painters and puppets for the little ones to enjoy. Held next year on May 7th - 10th and October 15th - 18th, it’s just 20 minutes from Asheville in Black Mountain, North Carolina. The event even features interactive villages for children including an old world crafts village and an adventure-themed village.
Minnesota State Fair
Located in between Minneapolis and St. Paul at the 320 acres Minnesota State Fairground, the Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest family fair events in the country. 2015’s fair will take place from August 27th - September 7th. The fair’s roots stem back to 1854, when the now annual event began as a territorial fair in what would later become downtown Minneapolis. Families can appreciate the wealth of agricultural and animal exhibits along with the family oriented contests.
Now is the time to start mapping out your trips for 2015, and even hitting just one of these family-friendly fairs or festivals will ensure a road trip for the 2015 year is one to put in the books!
5 Cities Worth Visiting During Cinco de Mayo
For many across the world, the 5th of May provides an excuse to partake in Mexican food, culture, music and the arts. Even if you aren't in Mexico for the big day, travelers have the chance to experience lively celebrations across the United States. On May 5, 1862, Mexican forces defended the town of Puebla, Mexico from French forces. While not the official day of Mexico’s independence, Cinco de Mayo lends the opportunity to partake in parades, street fairs and cultural experiences all across the country. However, some cities truly pull out the stops for Cinco de Mayo. Here are a few cities worth visiting on Cinco de Mayo.
City #1: San Antonio, Texas
Home to a large Mexican-American population, San Antonio hosts an annual festival to the holiday in its historic Market Square. Drawing between 30,000 and 50,000 visitors, the event features Mariachis, dancing, arts and crafts, concerts and food. San Antonio’s Market Square provides the venue as the downtown’s outdoor center for Mexican culture.
City #2: Los Angeles, California
Sunny Los Angeles hosts one of, if not the, largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the country. The multi-day festival called Fiesta Broadway usually takes place the weekend before Cinco de Mayo. If you can score a hot hotel deal in Los Angeles with Extended Stay America, you can head to the massive street fair and block party and get back to your room in no time for a relaxing home away from home after you've celebrated. Fiesta Broadway occupies downtown Los Angeles and is now in its 26th year.
City #3: Washington D.C.
It is perhaps most appropriate that the nation’s capital hosts the annual National Cinco de Mayo Festival. The celebration features plenty of live music, dance, arts and crafts, food, games and activities for the whole family to enjoy. Held on the National Mall, the event is free and open to all. The National Cinco de Mayo Festival honors the history, culture and ethnic diversity of Mexicans in the U.S. The celebration in Washington D.C. is put on by the Maru Montero Dance Company.
City #4: San Francisco, California
Located in the heart of the Mission District, San Francisco presents why the city is one of the favorite Cinco de Mayo destinations in the country. The long-standing tradition of the San Francisco Cinco de Mayo Festival presents an alcohol free, family friendly event across Valencia Street. Attendees can expect to sample some of the best Mexican and Latin American cuisine along with music, dance and the arts.
City #5: Denver, Colorado
Aside from Los Angeles, Denver hosts another large Cinco de Mayo celebration right downtown. The Cinco de Mayo Celebrate Culture Festival in the Mile High City brings in large crowds and tons of fun. As far as Cinco de Mayo events go, the Denver celebration takes the cake and is held annually in Civic Center Park. In its 28th year, this fun-packed weekend will have plenty of food, fun, culture and family friendly activities. The 2015 event will have three large stages with live entertainment along with Mexican folk art and more than 350 vendors dishing up Colorado Mexican cuisine.