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Forget Orlando—Escape To Vero Beach

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Going to Disney World but want a break from overflowing Orlando? The comparatively crowdless seaside town of Vero Beach is a two hours’ drive from O-Town’s attractions and offers up clean beaches and affordable places to stay. One, the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa was recently purchased by Kimpton, which means all those perks we love about the punchy hotel brand (kid-sized bathrobes, goodie bags, in-room goldfish)—along with a cocktail hour for adults and a pet-friendly policy—are now in effect.

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Infant Travel Made Easy

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Consider it Fresh Direct for the still-in-diapers set. Since 2004, Babies Travel Lite, an e-tailor of  baby supplies, has been delivering goods to home addresses as well as hotels worldwide—taking the excess baggage out of traveling with an infant in tow.

The site has already partnered with Hyatt, giving guests who stay at a property within the brand a reduced service fee discount and streamlined ordering process. Disney Cruise Line recently joined the club—which means travel potties, bottle warmers, diapers, formula, and more can be shipped right to your stateroom on any of DCL’s liners.

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Walt Disney Family Museum Opens in San Francisco

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At the new Walt Disney Family Museum, opening in San Francisco on October 1, you can catch a glimpse of Walt Disney, the man, before there was an empire. Before his animation career took off, Walt spent his childhood in rural Missouri and Kansas City, and worked a newspaper route and drove an ambulance in World War I.

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Waldorf Astoria and New Hilton to Open in Orlando

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On October 1, the first Waldorf Astoria outside New York City will open in Bonnet Creek, a development area adjacent to Walt Disney World. Alongside it (and opening the same day) is the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.

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New Presidential Exhibit at St. Louis Children’s Museum

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Earlier this year St. Louis’s Magic House children’s museum unveiled a 25,000-square-foot expansion. A major part of the new space—which nearly doubled the museum’s size—is the Star-Spangled Center, an interactive exhibit that schools youngsters in presidential practices.

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When Travel Plans Change Course—Hang On for the Ride

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Back in May, my fiancé and I were all geared up for a trip to St. Martin—until, 24 hours before our flight—Dan realized his passport had expired. After spending a good hour researching expedited passport fees, and realizing there was no way we were leaving the country, I called Jet Blue and priced out fares for all of its beachy destinations—from Long Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Turns out sunny Orlando was the cheapest to fly to (by hundreds of dollars). We reserved a rental car, and the next morning we were off—with no hotel rooms reserved, much less an idea of where we’d end up.

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Cooperstown: A Father’s Day Itinerary / A Weekend Getaway

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Weekend getaways are more popular than ever—and why not? You get an overnight and two days of vacation without missing a beat. I recently spent time in Cooperstown, New York. It’s a 4-hour drive from New York City–but well worth the ride. Here, some suggested stops (and Father’s Day freebies):

The Otesaga Resort Hotel (above)
2009 marks the Federal-style grand dame’s 100th year. To celebrate, the hotel is putting its 1909 menu back in service, which means Rob Roys and Old-Fashioneds in the lobby bar; and crab Louie and crepes Suzette in the main dining room. The perfect reward for a round of golf at the meticulously kept Leatherstocking course (below) is an al fresco lunch at the Hawkeye Bar & Grill overlooking Otesego Lake (and the 18th hole).

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Kids Skateboard with the Pros on Grand Cayman

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Last week I checked in with Shaun White (above), the red-headed snowboarder of winter Olympic fame. The 22-year-old athlete, who also happens to be a pro skateboarder, has signed on to make appearances at Skate Cayman, a summer-long skateboarding camp on Grand Cayman (a fine locale for the world’s second largest skatepark).

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An SF Exhibit Your Kids Will Love

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Ever think your kids would be more interested in a museum if they weren’t confined to its walls and rules?So does San Francisco’s Exploratorium. Now open along the Fort Mason waterfront (between the Marina District and Aquatic Park) is series of free outdoor interactive exhibits that put existing structures like pier pilings and parking lots to scientific use.

Each one will “explore the natural phenomena of the immediate environment. Water, wind, sound, and light, in all their complex behaviors, will be foci of investigation.” Translation: the Golden Gate Bridge is now a thermometer, and flags placed at different heights along the city skyline serve as a wind observatory. Kids can also measure the salinity of bay’s water and track tides. How cool is that?

Photo courtesy of The Exploratorium


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