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RSS Feed Posts by Kathryn O'Shea-Evans

Lessons I Learned at the Boston Marathon

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Call me a 25-year-old crybaby, but I feel the only thing more exhausting than running a marathon is watching one. I just returned from the 114th-annual Boston Marathon, where my best friend in the world zipped along the requisite 26.2 miles (past the Ashland Clock Tower, Lake Cochituate, and Wellesley College girls offering runners smooches) at record speed. (That's three hours, 41 minutes, 13 seconds. Go Rachel Go!) And I got so tired searching for her gorgeous face among all those rolling past me in varying stages of elation and pain that I thought, “Never again! Never again will I sit on these sidelines without a box of Mike’s Pastry napoleons to keep me going!!”

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Ultimate Challenge: Paddleboarding

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I gave up all hope of being a decent surfer long ago, but think I might regain some “Endless Summer”-cred on the paddleboard: apparently, if you can stand up, you can do it (even three-year-olds give it a go). But for professionals Jenny Kalmbach and Morgan Hoesterey, it’s not just fun and games—it's a mission.

Starting this month, Kalmbach and Hoesterey are boarding-their-way across Hawaii’s nine legendary open-ocean channels (some 250 miles) to raise funds for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, a Long Beach–based nonprofit. They’ll be trailed by two boats as a safety measure, but the journey won’t be easy: Kalmbach and Hoesterey will pass through the Alalakeiki Channel (a.k.a. the “Screaming Child”) and even end their trip with a moonlit crossing of the 85-mile-wide Kaieiewaho Channel (a leg that could take up to 20 grueling hours to finish).

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Cavewoman Tells All: Spelunking for Beginners

200910-b-cave-2jpg I’ve always loved spelunking (a.k.a. cave exploring)—and not just because it’s a fun word to say (spe-lun-king!). Some of the coolest caves on earth happen to be in the U.S. (just check out Kentucky’s 367-mile-long Mammoth Cave National Park, or the stalagmite-rich Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico).

This summer, at a friends’ wedding in Central Oregon, my man-friend and I decided to take a break from the non-stop nuptial activities and do what we really wanted to do: crawl into a hole.

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My Holy Rail: Training Through the Great American West

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There are plenty of reasons to avoid Amtrak like a bout of indigestion: the frequent delays, the diner food, you get the idea. (No wonder sales have dwindled; only five billion passenger miles were logged in 2000, compared to 17 in 1960.) Still, I’ve always wanted to take a long-distance train trip.

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Trash or Treasure? A Second Life for Hotel Furniture

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I love hotel remodels—the gleaming bathroom fixtures, the springy pillow-top mattresses that feel improbably cushier than any I’ve owned. But as someone who gets guilty throwing out a paperclip when it could be reused, I've always wondered: What happens to the original (perfectly good) furniture when a property decides to revamp?Are the superfluous fittings recycled, or tossed in a landfill where they’ll form en suite mounds of trash?

According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, there are nearly five million hotel rooms in the U.S., and most have their mattresses and couches updated every 6-8 years (it’s every 12-13 years for less worn-and-torn “casegoods,” like headboards and dressers). When they do get replaced, the majority of hoteliers sell their old furniture to liquidators, who then hawk it to the general public (In the market?Try Hotel Surplus Outlet near Los Angeles for glass-paneled armoires from the Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows, and Chicago’s Fort Pitt Hotel Furniture Liquidators for Four Seasons headboards).

Thankfully, though, more and more properties are combining décor overhauls with philanthropy. Recently the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa in Groton, Connecticut, remodeled and gave holdover furniture to local charities. They donated over 300 beds, 285 sofas and chairs, and 500 floor and table lamps to people living without them. Now, doesn’t that help everybody rest easy?

Kathryn O'Shea-Evans is a freelance editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Sasha Panasik

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