The Biggest and Best Breast Cancer Awareness Events Across the US

October 8, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

For survivors, loved ones lost and for women as a whole, October represents the time to acknowledge Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month of October, you can find breast cancer awareness events across the country and worldwide. The annual campaign aims to increase awareness of the second most common type of cancer in women. In addition, these events are targeted at encouraging women to learn the early stages of detection. If you want to show your support, here are three of the biggest and best events taking place in October across the US.

Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure 

In terms of breast cancer awareness events, the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure is the world’s largest and most successful education and fundraising event for breast cancer. Across the country and the world, groups and individuals take part in the series of 5K runs and fitness walks. What started in 1983 as one race with 800 people in Dallas has now grown to a global series of races featuring over a million participants. You can attend the original Race For the Cure in Dallas on October 17th in Northpark Center. 

Making Strides of Boston

Making Strides of Boston is one of the many breast cancer awareness walks in October and part of the largest network of events in the nation, connecting nearly 300 communities. If you’re visiting Boston and have snagged an amazing hotel group rate for you and your friends, you can sign up to participate in the walk. The event celebrates survivorship and honors those who have lost their fight with breast cancer. The 2 to 5 mile walk takes place in central Boston and features live entertainment on the stage of the Hatch. Making Strides of Boston kicks off on October 4th at 8AM.

Treasure Chests 5K — Tampa, Florida

Held in Tampa, Florida, football fans will find a breast cancer awareness event right up their alley, or field rather. Organized by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, the Treasure Chests 5K takes place on October 11th at the Raymond James Stadium. The event benefits breast cancer research and patient services, but this is not your average 5K. The first 500 to register for the event are invited to take part in an actual NFL game! The early birds will be invited onto the field as part of the halftime show, a once-in-a-lifetime experience for both football fans and those looking to raising awareness for the disease.

Partaking in a breast cancer awareness event can be a powerful experience for survivors, supporters and for those honoring loved ones who have lost their battle. All across the nation in October, you won’t be hard pressed to find an event dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Any of these three events are reason enough for you to travel to be a part of them and stand with others looking to raise awareness.

Stop at These Deals Malls for Black Friday Deals

November 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Massive lines, midnight deals and a little elbowing seem to be the vision dancing through a Black Friday shopper’s head. The bargain hungry go through the madness for one reason and one reason only, the thrill of the deal. If you find yourself on the road for Thanksgiving, or if you merely just want to seek out the best spots for your own slice of Black Friday madness, don’t miss these six malls across the country for Black Friday deals.

1. Mall of America (Bloomington, Minnesota)

If you are truly going to do Black Friday, you may as well begin at the mall of all malls, the Mall of America. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Mall of America sets up in Bloomington. While the mall boasts your traditional department stores and small boutiques, it also packs in the attractions with an aquarium and a theme park. For Black Friday shoppers, the Mall of America kicks off the frenzy early with a 6PM opening on Thanksgiving Day and a Friday closing of 10PM.

2. The Country Club Plaza (Kansas City, Missouri)

Kansas City might be known for its barbecue, but the Country Club Plaza is equally worth the trip to Middle America. The famous shopping, dining and entertainment district spans roughly 15 blocks and is full of impressive grand Italian-style buildings. If you want to do Black Friday under a blanket of twinkling Christmas lights, Country Club Plaza is the right spot. On Thanksgiving Day, the outdoor mall hosts the Plaza Lighting Ceremony, where many of the mall’s buildings are decked out in holiday lights. For Black Friday, a number of shops give away freebies and chances to win prizes.

3. Macy’s at Herald Square (New York, New York)

While not technically a mall, the Macy’s at Herald Square in New York City is an icon in its own right. Most people link Macy’s to the Thanksgiving Day Parade on television, but the largest department store chain in the world actually kicks off the holidays at its New York City location in style. Generally opening on Thanksgiving evening, Macy’s rolls out the deals on many of its top brands for Black Friday. Your miracle on 34th Street might just be snagging a Black Friday special - if you don’t mind the hordes of people joining you.

4. The Beverly Center (Los Angeles, California)

If you’re looking to do some holiday shopping in Los Angeles and you want to throw in some star sightings too, any local will tell you to head to the Beverly Center. The premium shopping mall boasts all the major retailers like Bloomingdales, Macy’s and Banana Republic. Sprinkled into the mix are also designer shops where you could spot a celebrity if you’re lucky. For Black Friday, the Beverly Center typically offers special deals and holiday events.

5. King of Prussia Mall (King of Prussia, Pennsylvania)

The largest mall on the East Coast opens up for Black Friday at 8PM on Thanksgiving evening. King of Prussia Mall kicks off the mega-shopping day with extended hours. And with over 400 stores, you are sure to find a deal for all of those people on your gift list this year. King of Prussia Mall sits just 25 miles from Philadelphia.

6. Sawgrass Mills Mall (Sunrise, Florida)

If it’s 27 hours of Black Friday shopping you want, it’s 27 hours of Black Friday shopping you’ll get at Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, Florida. With over 350 stores, Sawgrass Mills Mall is  the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in the United States. And as the mall values outlet shopping, the deals pile up for Black Friday. Sawgrass Mills Mall will be opening at 6PM on Thanksgiving, staying busy with shoppers for a straight 27 hours, well into Friday night.

 

When you need a spot to rest up from all of that Black Friday shopping from New York to Los Angeles, Extended Stay America is right where you want to be. Locations cover the country, offering amenity packed suites for the entire family. 

Explore Native American Heritage in Plymouth, Massachusetts

November 4, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Since 1990, November has been Native American Heritage Month. There is no better time to get in touch with this continent’s first inhabitants than right now. Native American history is a rich bedrock of culture that is not acknowledged frequently enough. Poet, novelist, and short story writer Sherman Alexie has complained that Native Americans just don’t have the significant national influence that they deserve. One of his cases in point is that there are still major American sports teams that use Native Americans as their mascots (which many people find insulting). Since the president signaled recently that he feels a name change for the Washington Redskins would be appropriate, that debate might finally get somewhere.

Not all discussions of Native Americans are so politicized, though. There are many museums in the country that focus primarily on the richness of Native American life, art, and culture. Plimoth Plantation is one such museum. Plimoth Plantation is an exciting museum that attempts to portray the Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoag Indian village next to it as they actually were in the seventeenth century.     

Plimoth Plantation: Plymouth, Massachusetts

The Wampanoag Homesite is the first exhibition you will encounter in this open-air museum. It is appropriate that this is first, as it represents a settlement of one of America’s first peoples. Actors playing period Wampanoag go about their lives—fishing, hunting, gathering, farming, and basket weaving. You will also encounter the sight and smell of food being cooked over an open flame. Everything is as historically accurate as possible. The food being roasted was all available to the Wampanoag in the seventeenth century. So you’re really seeing all the sights and smelling all the smells that a Wampanoag Indian would have seen and smelled at home. You will also see recreations of the two main Wampanoag structures: a wetu (a basic house) and a nush wetu, a longhouse that is covered with bark.

The most interesting aspects of the Wampanoag Homesite at Plimoth Plantation, though, are the actors. They are different from the actors playing the Pilgrims. While the Pilgrims are all just actors, the people portraying seventeenth century Wampanoag are Native Americans—many of them Wampanoag. They are dressed in period clothing, and they portray work and recreation in historically accurate ways. (Ask to be shown how to play the Wampanoag game of hubbub, a game that was played at the first Thanksgiving. You will be glad you did.) These period actors, though, will gladly discuss Wampanoag history with you from their own point of view as modern Native people. Thus, you will learn a lot about both an ancient Native American culture and modern Native American points of view.

After a day at Plimoth Plantation, you will be ready to come back to modern times and take advantage of modern conveniences. Be on the lookout for all the amenities you are used to having at home—a full kitchen, free Wi-Fi, a flatscreen TV and a washer and dryer. 

Banjo and Ukulele Festivals for the Whole Family

August 27, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The banjo and the ukulele, two musical instruments long considered just for novelty or just for old people, are lately making a resurgence. Riding on the fame of banjo-playing bands like The Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons and ukulele-playing groups like Beirut and The Magnetic Fields, the banjo and ukulele are more popular now than they have been since their heyday in the 1920s. If banjos and ukuleles are more than hipster accouterments to you—if you’re really serious about these ascendant old-time instruments—then you’ll be interested in all the banjo and ukulele action taking place around the country. Just like in the early ‘60s, when kids discovered folk music, all sorts of festivals, conventions, and workshops are sprouting up dedicated to these wonderful instruments. 

49th Annual Midwest Banjo Jamboree: La Crosse, Wisconsin 

When you think banjo, you may think of bluegrass, or you may think of the weird banjo kid in Deliverance. The banjo pickers at the Midwest Banjo Jamboree (September 20th- 22nd) will change your mind about all of that. The banjo is a very versatile instrument. And these pickers, who play mostly jazz—from Dixieland to a Django Reinhardt-inflected modern jazz—will show you just how versatile it is. This is a venerable old festival, appropriate for such a venerable old instrument. The oldest banjo festival in the country, the Midwest Banjo Jamboree got started during the early ‘60s, when folk music and what was called “trad jazz” (ragtime and Dixieland) were enjoying popularity among the young people in America and Britain. Today, the Midwest Banjo Jamboree proudly represents the jazz branch of the banjo-pickers family tree.

The Midwest Banjo Jamboree takes place in the charming small town of La Crosse, and the festival has a real small-town community feel. This is no big-time, worship-the-stars-from-afar affair. This festival is all about getting to know the music and the players up close. And if you’re a banjo picker yourself, it’s all about getting into the action during one of the festival’s open jams—such as that on the La Crosse Queen riverboat. The paddleboat cruise up the Mississippi River is a real treat. Nothing feels more American than playing a banjo on a riverboat on the Mississippi. You expect to see Mark Twain walk down the deck chatting with the captain at any moment. La Crosse is a college town, so there is no shortage of spots to eat and drink. And there is a thriving microbrew scene in La Crosse. So prepare for some great tunes, great food, and great brews!

2013 Wine Country Ukulele Festival: St. Helena, California

Taking place in St. Helena, in northern California’s picture-perfect Napa Valley, the Wine Country Ukulele Festival (September 6th-8th) combines fine wine and ukuleles—both of which will supply you with beautiful notes. There is nothing more satisfying than sitting under the California stars listening to Hawaiian-influenced music and drinking the finest wine in the world only feet from where it was produced. If you play the uke, bring it along. You will have ample chances to play it with other ukulele aficionados. There will be an open mic, jam sessions, and workshops. This is a family-friendly event. Sunday, September 8th, is Kids’ Day at the festival—a day when kids can get ukulele-playing instructions and perform for their parents. This festival will make you fall in love with California and with the ukulele (if by some chance you’re not in love with them already).

After a day of enjoying the joyful music and maybe making some, too, you’ll be ready to head back to a hotel that keeps the fun going. What you need is a suite with a kitchen where you can hang out with your family like you do at home. 

Warm Summer Nights, Hot Summer Jams

July 31, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

While you’re out on the road this summer, why not spice up your nights with some awesome music? This is shaping up to be one of the best years to catch live shows. Since artists and bands can’t make their living just selling albums anymore (thank the Internet), touring is their bread and butter. They’ve got to get on the road and come into real contact with their fans in order to keep on living the rock-star dream. Now you can sing along in person with all your favorites. No musician can stay at a distance from his fans anymore if he wants to continue living the life.

Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z: Legends of the Summer Tour

JT, America’s sweetheart crooner, and Jay-Z, the CEO of the hip-hop game, join forces this summer for a tour with the gravitational pull of a supernova. Timberlake is promoting The 20/20 Experience—an album that has made him the undisputed American king of blue-eyed soul. Jay-Z is promoting his new joint, Magna Carta Holy Grail. Jay, always the game changer, prompted the Recording Industry Association of America to alter the way it’s been charting album sales for the past fifty-plus years with his innovative, cross-marketing release of his new record. We can, of course, expect the stage show that Jay-Z and Timberlake put on to be just as innovative, charming, and classy (yes, classy—they wear tuxes when they perform together) as their records.   

Bob Dylan, Wilco, and My Morning Jacket: Americanarama Tour

The Americanarama tour is all about classic American sounds and innovative songwriting. Bob Dylan pretty much created the folk-rock genre that made alt-country-rock outfits like Wilco and My Morning Jacket possible. This could be called the Fathers and Sons Tour—if that title wasn’t already taken by a Muddy Waters record. Dylan, whose voice has aged into a raspy, declarative instrument, has a new album out—Tempest—that shows he’s just as deft at writing great narrative, propulsive songs as ever. And Wilco continues to evolve, just like Bob. Jeff Tweedy, the heart of the group, just produced a record by the legendary Mavis Staples, which is guaranteed to add some soul to Wilco’s set. Wilco, gloriously showing off its folk-rock bona fides, has just released (with Billy Bragg) their third album of adaptations of Woody Guthrie lyrics he never set to music—Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III.

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James just released a solo album called Regions of Light and Sound of God—spiritual rock songs that are an indication of how seriously James takes his role as a rock musician. All three of these acts take their roles as bearers and innovators of the flame of classic American music quite seriously. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a good time doing it, though.

When the show is over, that doesn’t mean your night has to end. If you’ve got a deluxe hotel suite to return to, you can make dinner and have some quality time back at the hotel. If you’re looking for this sort of luxury for a very reasonable price (and, really, who isn’t?) I recommend Extended Stay Hotels

Explore the Apollo 11 Mission on an Out-of-This-World Vacation

July 19, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 20th marks Moon Landing Day, in commemoration of the day in 1969 when the Apollo 11 mission touched down on the Earth’s rocky, luminous neighbor. Moon Landing Day is not yet an official holiday, but there is a concerted effort afoot to make it so. The reason that Americans are so intent to commemorate this event officially is that the landing changed our idea of ourselves—of who we are as Americans and who we are as humans in the universe. We are all familiar with Neil Armstrong’s iconic words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” These words, both humble and lofty, will live on for a long time to come, along with the words of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other inspiring public figures, because they express the American spirit—in all of its elevatedness and groundedness.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Washington, DC

The National Air and Space Museum houses many artifacts from the Apollo missions. By seeing the objects that rocketed into space with the astronauts, you get the feeling of what it was like in that small capsule zooming toward a region of space never before reached by humans. In the museum’s collection of Apollo 11 objects is quite a lot of gear dedicated to documentation. This mission of exploration was quite a bit different from those of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries undertaken by ship. The space explorers were looking for information, while the earlier explorers were looking for property. In addition to collecting many moon rocks to be studied, the astronauts photographed and filmed the surface of the moon—serving to inform and inspire us back home. The mission continues to inspire. Whenever I visit the Apollo 11 artifacts, I feel like the sky’s not even the limit. I feel like there is no limit to what we can do when we band together and give it a try.

The Cold War Museum: Vint Hill, Virginia

The Cold War Museum has a different, equally informative slant on the Apollo 11 mission. The Cold War Museum looks at the mission in the context of the space race with the Soviet Union, which was sparked when the Soviets successfully launched the first man-made satellite, called Sputnik 1, in 1957. America was ahead in the realm of weaponry. But Sputnik meant that America was behind in the realm of space travel and exploration. There was a mad dash to catch up with the Soviets, which eventually resulted in the manned missions to the moon—the first of which was Apollo 11. When JFK declared early in the ‘60s that we would land a man on the moon by the decade’s close, it was a pep talk for fellow Americans and a challenge to the Soviets. He was saying that the Soviets may have gotten to space first, but Americans would be the first to land on the moon. When Apollo 11 launched from what was appropriately known during the decade 1963-1973 as Cape Kennedy (now known as Cape Canaveral), the United States was trying to be its best, but it was also trying to best an adversary. That is the story told at the Cold War Museum.

After a day exploring space exploration, you’ll probably want to take it easy and just enjoy the simpler things in life—like good food, good company, and good entertainment. That’s why you’ll want to stay at a hotel where every out-of-this-world suite has a fully equipped kitchen, free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen television.

Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World!

May 23, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In one wonderful respect, the United States is becoming much more European. The summertime music festival, a mainstay of European culture for quite some time, is spreading across the US. There are now a bunch of festivals where you can see your favorite bands under an open sky. Seeing a concert in a hall is great for powerful acoustics and light shows, but it’s not so great for hanging out. Outdoor festivals are perfect for both—seeing music and spending quality time connecting with your friends. Because you feel a greater connection with the crowd, you feel a greater connection with the musicians, too. And since the musicians have a ton of fellow performers to hang out with, they feel more connected, as well. An outdoor festival is conducive to overall community in ways that a concert at an indoor venue can never be.

 The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival: Manchester, Tennessee

 This festival is imbued the spirit of the 1960s and the sounds of now. In fact, the spirit of the ‘60s at Bonnaroo is even better than it was in the actual ‘60s. Stephen Stills, who famously left the Woodstock Festival in 1969 after playing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, in order to jet off to the Dick Cavett Show and talk about how great the festival was, declared from the Bonnaroo stage in 2011, in between Buffalo Springfield songs, that had Woodstock ’69 been as good as Bonnaroo ’11, he would have blown off the Cavett Show and stayed for the whole festival. Every year, the folks at Bonnaroo improve on an already great thing. This year’s festival, which takes place from June 13th-16th, features a startling line-up of legends who are as relevant now as they ever were: Paul McCartney, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Swans among them. There is also, of course, a whole slew of innovative contemporary acts: Mumford and Sons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Matt & Kim among them. Then there’s the comedy stage, where you can laugh like a rock star to the jokes of David Cross, Bob Saget, Eric Andre, and others.

 Lollapalooza: Chicago, Illinois

During the ‘90s, Lollapalooza brought indie music to the people in a manic, sometimes carnival-esque roadshow. Started by Perry Farrell in 1991 as an epic, rolling swansong for his band Jane’s Addiction, the festival introduced many teenagers to such essential ‘90s acts as Pavement, Beck, and Nine Inch Nails. Just like the people in those bands and their fans, the Lollapalooza festival has grown up. Like many grown-ups, Lollapalooza has settled down. No longer going from town to town to spread its rock-n-roll fairy dust, Lollapalooza now calls the city of Chicago home—taking place in spacious, green Grant Park, which commands a great view of Chi-Town’s skyline. Despite being older and settled, Lollapalooza is as hip as ever—if a little less hyperactive than it was in its younger years. This year’s festival features mope-core legends The Cure, Afro-pop influenced songsters Vampire Weekend, and full-on rockers Band of Horses. And since this is a late-starting festival, you can explore Chicago during the daytime. Rock on!

 

When the rocking-out day is done, nothing is more satisfying than laying your head on a comfy pillow and calling it a night. The perfect place to unwind and recharge is a hotel with the feel of home but none of the chores—like an Extended Stay Hotel.      

Take a Hollywood Blockbuster-Inspired Vacation

May 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Get ready for the season of blockbuster movies. This year, Hollywood is pulling out some really special stuff. A lot of people get down on Hollywood for working with stories that have already been told—like Spiderman, King Kong, and Arthur. But I think it’s really interesting seeing new spins on old tales. The same way that no two people will tell a story the same way (different people will emphasize different details, tell different jokes, etc.), no two directors will tell a story on film the same way. Directors are like snowflakes—all very different from one another. The movies they make, despite family resemblance, are like snowflakes, as well. This year, there’s a veritable snowstorm of great films to see. Two that I’m really looking forward to are Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby (starring Leonardo DiCaprio) and Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger (starring Johnny Depp). In celebration of these two exciting films, I’m going to discuss vacation possibilities inspired by them.

 Great Gatsby Vacations

 Have you ever dreamed of visiting East Egg and West Egg, the rich towns on Long Island (the island that juts out eastward from New York City) where the action of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby takes place? Well, you can’t—not exactly. Fitzgerald made those cute town names up. But they are based on actual places. East Egg is based on the village of Sands Point, and West Egg is based on the village of Kings Point. If you want to get up close and personal with this area and its relation to the novel, I recommend the Great Gatsby Boat Tour, given seasonally by Great Gatsby and western Long Island expert Eleanor Cox. Cox will point out all the mansions and the yacht clubs on shore that date from the Jazz Age days of Prohibition, when The Great Gatsby is set.      

The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, in Montgomery, Alabama, is housed in the only residence in Montgomery where F. Scott and his wife Zelda lived that is still standing. All the others have been demolished. This museum honors their life together as well as the writing of both (Zelda was as novelist as well) though photographs, paintings, letters, and excerpts from their writing.   

Lone Ranger Vacations

A lot of the filming of The Lone Ranger took place in Cimarron Canyon State Park and in the town of Angel Fire—both in New Mexico. The film is the story of the Lone Ranger told through the eyes of Tonto, his companion. As Tonto is a Native American, the film tries to communicate a Native American point of view. In the town of Taos, only twenty-four miles from Angel Fire, there is a magnificent collection of Native American art at the Millicent Rogers Museum. Expressing the ways of life and outlooks of the tribes of the southwest, the beautiful objects in the collection were both practically and spiritually useful for the tribes who owned them. On view are a variety of baskets, clothing, jewelry, and pottery.

 After a day of living the movies, you’ll be ready to kick back at a cozy hotel and maybe watch some movies. That’s why you want a hotel with a TV, a kitchen to pop some popcorn, and free Wi-Fi. That way, you can watch exactly what you want.       

Take a Tasty Vacation for National Hamburger Month

May 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May is National Hamburger Month. What a tasty idea! The hamburger, while it may have originated in Germany, like the hot dog (or frankfurter), is as American as apple pie. We eat hamburgers on every occasion and in many forms. They charm kids in their Happy Meals, and they are a welcome reward to adults for a hard day’s work. The burger has the unique distinction of being both extremely efficient and extremely satisfying. You don’t need silverware to eat one, or even a plate; and they can be eaten very quickly. Eating a great burger can make you feel like you just spent the day at a beach resort being pampered. You get that kind of endorphin rush. A great burger experience that nearly all Americans have shared is the fast-food burger experience.

 McDonald’s First Store Museum: Des Plaines, Illinois

 In 1955, Ray Kroc opened a little restaurant called McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois. This was not the very first McDonald’s. That distinction belongs to a long-gone hamburger stand in San Bernardino, California, opened by the McDonald brothers, Dick and Mac, in 1940. It’s not even the oldest McDonald’s still open for business. That McDonald’s is in Downey, California—and I will tell you about it shortly. The McDonald’s First Store Museum is a re-creation (as the original restaurant was demolished in 1984) of the first McDonald’s to open after Kroc, who took the company global and made it what it is today, took over. McDonald’s represented a streamlining of the popular drive-in restaurant theme when it opened. The difference at a McDonald’s was that you carried your food to your car yourself, and you got it much faster. This waiter-less form of fast-food restaurant thrived, and the traditional drive-in faded away. The McDonald’s First Store Museum has the original sign, adorned with the “Speedee” mascot, which represented the company’s game-changing assembly-line process of food preparation. All the original food-prep tools are inside, tended to by mannequins wearing 1955 uniforms. If you find yourself hungry after checking out the museum (a definite possibility), just head across the street to an operating McDonald’s and enjoy a burger or two—or three or four.

Downey, California’s, McDonald’s looks just like the First Store Museum from the outside, except it’s a still-operating McDonald’s. The reason for the old-time look at this location is that this restaurant was a rebel of sorts. It did not affiliate with the mother corporation until 1990, by which time it had already established its retro identity. It has been said that the burgers at this location just taste better and more authentic. And I don’t doubt it. True to tradition, they only serve burgers, fries, shakes, and sodas here.

 Kansas Museum of History (Fast Food Exhibit): Topeka, Kansas

 Kansas is responsible for a fair amount of hamburger history. The very first chain to specialize in this wonderful food, White Castle, began in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921. The fast-food ball got rolling with White Castle (which had uniform restaurants and cooking methods 20 years before McDonald’s was the dream of the McDonald brothers). You’ll learn quite a lot at this exhibit about Kansas’ outsized role in the fast-food revolution and work up quite an appetite.

 After investigating the hamburger (and eating one or two, of course!) and the interesting history of fast food in the US, you’ll be ready to experience another modern innovation—the convenient, amenity-rich, inexpensive hotel. The best example of this American innovation is Extended Stay Hotels.   

Skateboarding, USA—Places You Need to Know

November 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Are you a skateboarder or the parent of skateboarders? If you are, then you know to what lengths serious skaters will go to to get to top-notch skating locations. They will travel great distances and even break rules in order to get access to spaces where they can take serious shots at skating glory.

In the days before skate parks, skaters in Southern California would sneak into neighbors’ empty pools to do their new, mind-blowing tricks. Luckily for them, there was a drought at the time.

Skateboarders are not any more or less into breaking the rules than the average teenager. If you give a skateboarder a legitimate place to do his or her thing (a skate park), he or she will gladly use it. If you don’t have an awesome skate park in your town, you owe it to yourself or your kids to visit one. There’s something great about skating among a community of fellow skaters. They help one another out and cheer one another on, giving each other the feeling of family and camaraderie found in team sports.

SkateLab: Atlantic Beach, Florida

SkateLab is an indoor/outdoor park. The park has everything you need for a full skating experience both inside and outside—vert half pipes, ramps and more rails than you can shake a skateboard at. This insures that, when the weather is good, neither the indoor park nor the outdoor park is too crowded. You’ve got plenty of room around you to get fancy and do your best Rodney Mullen impersonation if the spirit grabs you.

Another benefit to this indoor/outdoor design is that your skating day is not dampened (pun intended) by rain. If it starts raining (something that generally happens in intense but brief bursts in Florida), just head inside for a while and work on your kickflips, railslides and vert tricks in there.

Louisville Extreme Park: Louisville, Kentucky

This park isn’t messing around. It goes the extra distance (literally) with not just half pipes but a twenty-four foot whole pipe. At the Louisville Extreme Park, you break the right kind of laws. You are skating law-abidingly, since you are in a city-sanctioned park, but you get to break the law of gravity in this amazing pipe.

Located in the Bluegrass State, this is the New York City of skate parks. It never closes. It’s got lights, and it’s open 24/7. Do you want a skating fix at 11:30 on Christmas Eve? No problem, just head down to the Louisville Extreme Park. It’ll be a little chilly at first, but as every skater knows, one of the best things about skating in the winter is that after you get going, you warm up. You can strip down to a t-shirt in the sort of weather that makes your breath visible.

This park offers a great mix of street-skating, ramp skating and a fusion of the two. Located close to Louisville’s beautiful Waterfront Park and RiverWalk, you don’t have to go far if you are looking to drop your kids off there. Plus, when you’re done doing some world-class skateboarding, you’ll be ready for some world-class rest and relaxation.

There’s one place where you can always count on finding just that. At Extended Stay Hotels, you get a relaxing atmosphere, plus plentiful amenities, at a relaxing price.