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Secrets of the National Parks: Yosemite

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As someone who has lived and worked in three national parks, I know there are some things most tourists will never visit—from hidden hikes and waterfalls to the best happy hours. I turned to ranger Scott Gediman to find insider secrets about California’s Yosemite National Park, an Ansel Adams photograph sprung-to-life.


Q: What’s a surprisingly little-known hike in the park?

A: Yosemite Valley gets a bad rap for being so crowded, but on the 13-mile Valley Floor Loop Trail, you’ll stroll past Yosemite Falls, the base of El Capitan, and Bridal Veil Falls—all with nobody in sight. It’s an old bridle path for horses, so very flat and easy to get to.

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Guess Where? Man on White Horse

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This picture of a horse and its rider were carved into a hill in the early 19th century in a seaside town. Do you have any idea where this is? Bonus points if you can guess which king is was created in honor of!

Log in and leave your guesses below and be sure to check back on Monday for the correct answer.

UPDATE 5/02/11: Way to go T+L community member BrendaWeatherhead! You guessed correctly that this hillside carving is the Osmington White Horse monument in Dorset, near Weymouth Bay. This 260 ft. figure was carved into the hills in 1808 by locals in honor of King George III who frequently visited the town.

Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Travel + Leisure's Photography Contest

A Fashion Photog Goes Rogue in Paris

201104-b-paris-5jpgRead the first part of guest blogger-photographer Elizabeth Lippman’s special series about departing from the fashion flock here.

In the beginning: disaster. ALL my luggage is lost. I have my cameras and my computer, but no clothing. Let me repeat: NO. CLOTHES. For PARIS FASHION WEEK. I have only what I am wearing, my traveling-at-4am-clothes, and a toothbrush.

Happily, my husband Jac is meeting me at CDG, and we take the RER together right to the neighborhood of our first Paris apartment—"Le Studio de St. Paul" from Airbnb.com, which I've booked for three nights for $359. It's a TINY studio with a loft bed, RIGHT on Rivoli/St. Antoine in the heart of Le Marais, and packed with the clothing and personal items of the owner, a young actress. She greets us, and gives us the keys.

201104-b-paris-6jpgThe apartment is above a French chocolate store, the L'Atelier du Chocolat, and the scent of bittersweet chocolate wafts thru the open windows. Not bad. My husband has only been to Paris once, and I am eager to show him “my Paris,” my bars and cafes and, most importantly, now that I have no luggage, my favorite boutiques, all in the Marias—Blancs Manteaux, Les Petits, and Maje. BHV, where I stocked up on Princess Tam Tam and Etam undies. We make our way to Rue Charonne. Luckily for my bank account, the Isabel Marant boutique at no. 16 is closed.

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Ooh La La! Philly Arts Festival Channels France

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, has long shared a bond with the City of Light (statesmen, inventor, composer, and proud Philadelphian Benjamin Franklin served as ambassador to France). The period of especially fervent artistic creativity that characterized Paris between 1910 to 1920 is the inspiration for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, taking place through this weekend, April 29-May 1, and which offers 30 commissioned, new works of music, drama, art, and flash mob dancing!

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Ralph Lauren Exhibits Car Collection in Paris

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Growing up, Ralph Lauren recalls, his family did not really have the means to buy a car. But that was a world, a lifetime and a storied empire ago.

This week, the crème de la crème of the designer’s car collection—roughly a third of the total—bows in the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs, a final highlight in a year marked by the opening of the designer’s flagship and restaurant on the boulevard Saint Germain and his reception of the Legion d’Honneur from President Sarkozy.

The Art of the Automobile: Masterpieces from the Ralph Lauren Collection is a variation on the successful Boston car event five years ago. A showcase of 17 exceptional cars that marked the history of auto-making for their design and technical prowess, it opens with the mysterious and stunning 1938 Bugatti Atlantic, one of only a handful ever created. There follows the massive 1929 Bentley Blower painted with the Union Jack; a separate enclave to the right houses the most modern icon in the exhibit, an orange 1996 McLaren F1 LM  supercar.

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T+L's Best of Europe for iPad!

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All this Royal Wedding chatter got you thinking about your next trip to London? Or maybe it’s the weather forecast in Santorini you’re after (high 60s, scattered showers and possible T-storms until Saturday….) Check out Best of Europe, Travel + Leisure’s latest digital edition for iPad ($1.99), now at TravelandLeisure.com/iPad or on the App Store. The editors of T+L have put together an essential compendium of where to go right now from the Azores to Istanbul, just in time for your summer holiday planning.

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Kate Betts on First Lady Fashion—and (Yes) the Royal Wedding Dress

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Wonder what Kate Middleton’s going to wear down the Westminster Abbey aisle this Friday? Or what Michelle Obama’s going to wear on just about any given day of the week? Recently, I chatted with T+L contributing editor and style guru Kate Betts—hot off the heels of publishing her new book, Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style (Clarkson Potter, $35)—about the fashion sensibilities of first ladies around the globe.

201104-b-first-lady-michelle-obamajpgQ: People the world over have been enraptured by Michelle Obama’s sense of style. Considering her presence on the international stage, what sort of statement is she making about herself—and America—through what she wears?

A: She is making a statement about the power of confidence. The idea of wearing young, unknown American designers perfectly mirrors many of the ideas her husband campaigned on: new faces, new ideas, change. And at the recent state dinner for the President of China, she made a very bold statement by not wearing a dress designed by an American. A lot of people were upset about that—particularly the American fashion industry. But to my mind her self-possession and confidence define American style better than any label in her dress ever would.

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Vacationist: Ode To Greece

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The recent turn of weather reminded us that summer actually is right around the corner. Where else would we rather be than the Greek Isles this summer? Thanks to Vacationist, you can now book a trip there for less. We have options for all types of travelers, from a couples-only resort onthe southeastern coast of Mykonos to large family-friendly villas on Nikiti's pristine coast. Since the summer season is popular in Greece, be sure to book a room now.

Still not a member? Click here to join.

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Sardinia’s New Lighthouse Hotel

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Nine days in the Sardinian town of Cagliari in 1921 was all it took to inspire D. H. Lawrence to write one of the last century’s great travel narratives, Sea and Sardinia. Spend a night at the Lighthouse Capo-Spartivento, on the southernmost tip of Sardinia, and you may be inclined to pen a classic of your own. Set on an isolated promontory 350 feet above the Mediterranean, Italy’s first and only lighthouse hotel was built in 1856 by the Italian Navy, which still operates its third-story lantern. As for the floors below, owner Alessio Raggio has spent 20 years perfecting the place, filling the four barrel-vaulted guest rooms with Murano-glass chandeliers and enormous circular beds facing the sea. You can book one suite or take over the entire property (including two “apartments,” with ceilings made of glass, for better constellation viewing). Also on hand: three chefs preparing just-caught fish to order, a cistern turned cellar brimming with Sardinian wines, and untamed private beaches. Chia; farocapospartivento.com; doubles from $550, including breakfast.

Photo by Roberto Patti/Courtesy of Faro di Capo-Spartivento

LUCKYRICE: Get Your Asian Food On in NYC!

201104-b-luckyricelogojpgWhen I was growing up in the white-bread hinterlands of Maine, a pu-pu platter at the Golden Fan (a Chinese restaurant) at our local Holiday Inn was as exotic as food got. But, it gave me taste for something more than bologna sandwiches.

Today, my world is a much bigger—and tastier—place, one filled with bánh mì, congee, unagi maki, and bibimbap. I now keep a bottle of Sriracha sauce in my desk drawer, and am pretty sure Momofuku’s Berkshire pork buns are the secret to happiness.

I know I am not alone in this ever-expanding obsession/love/appreciation of Asian cuisines. In the words of Danielle Chang, the savvy founder of the LUCKYRICE Festival: “Asian food is having a moment. But when isn’t it?!”

201104-b-luckyricemktjpgIn its second year, the ultra-popular Asian food festival, LUCKYRICE, runs from May 2-8 in NYC, and includes another exciting tongue-tickling line-up of culinary events—from an Omakase Dinner with Iron Chef Morimoto to a buzzy Night Market in Brooklyn featuring over 50 restaurants serving Asia's best street food. Will I be there? Pho-getaboutit.

You can purchase tickets here. (They’re going fast, but there's still availability for the Grand Feast at the Mandarin Oriental; Opening Cocktails hosted by Opening Ceremony; and the Talk + Taste events with cooking demos.)

And check out my video Q&A with LUCKYRICE Festival visionary Danielle Chang:

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Trend Alert: Hotels Implementing Mobile Concierges

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It’s no secret that the introduction of iPads into the market, just over a year ago, has resulted in the reshaping of how just about every industry imaginable does business. And as I’ve reported before, hotels are no exception to this.

A relatively new trend that I’m seeing on the rise is the use of iPads as personal, portable concierges.

InterContinental’s new Concierge Insider Guides app features more than 120 destinations around the world—all in which one of the hotel chain’s properties can be found, of course.

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Jamaica’s Top New Albums

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Thanks in large part to the reopening of Goldeneye (doubles from $672), this Caribbean isle has been making waves, but you can experience its rich flavor without hopping on a plane. Now on iPods everywhere: the Jolly Boys, whose shuffling mento rhythm and twangy banjo evoke Jamaica’s movie-star days—after all, the band did entertain Errol Flynn there in the 1950’s. The septuagenarians are back this month with Great Expectation (Geejam Recordings), an album of covers (Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”; Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”) recorded at the Geejam Hotel, near Port Antonio. Listen to their tracks over slow-grilled jerk chicken and ginger beer at Miss Lily’s (132 W. Houston St.; 646/588-5375; dinner for two $76), in New York City; the restaurant was just opened by Paul Salmon, co-owner of Negril’s Rockhouse hotel.

Photo by Anousha Hutton

Rent an Entire Country?

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When it comes to vacation rentals, we’re all familiar with hotels, resorts, villas, yurts, and boats. But what if you had the chance (and budget) to take it to the next level, and rent an entire country? (No, there’s no typo there. And yes, you read that right.)

Airbnb.com, a vacation rental site that lets people rent out their own properties to travelers looking to stray from the typical hotel stay, is really stepping up its game with this offer, which (literally) puts the key to the small country of Liechtenstein (which rests on Austria’s western border) in your hands. But you’ll need to be a high-roller (or at least have a ton of friends willing to pool resources) if you want take advantage; the cost is $70,000 per night.

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Guess Where? City Greenery

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This bucolic scene is in an unexpected location. Can you guess where this is? Let us know if you need a clue.

Log in and leave your guesses below and be sure to check back on Monday for the correct answer.

UPDATE 4/25/11: We thought this one would stump you guys, but T+L community member sherrylachelle actually got this one! This image is of the Washington Mews in New York. This house, which looks like it belongs in the Tuscan countryside, is located right in the middle of Greenwich Village on a privated gated street a few blocks north of Washington Square Park. Originally built as stables, these buildings now house offices and residences for New York University.

Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Travel + Leisure's Photography Contest

100 Places to Go Before They Disappear

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100 Places to Go Before They Disappear, a gorgeous new book of photos which comes out May 1, is dedicated to 100 places around the world that are already on their way or in danger of disappearing forever. In honor of Earth Day, which began as an environmental teach-in in response to an oil spill off of California's coast in 1970, we’re highlighting a few excerpts from some of the most fascinating destinations featured in the book, available from Abrams Publishing on May 1 for $24.95.

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A Fashion Photog Goes Rogue in Milan


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Read the first part of guest blogger-photographer Elizabeth Lippman’s special series about departing from the fashion flock here.

After flying into the new airport in Milan, I hop on the Malpensa Express into the city, as guided by my super-helpful host from AirBnB.com, Fabrizio, who sent me emails with PDFs of maps, directions, his cell number, email addresses, etc.

But my cabbie drops me off with all my camera equipment (I am in town to shoot the fashion shows) on a street corner nowhere near where I’m going. Two panicked phone calls and another 12 Euro cab ride later, I find Fabrizio waiting for me nervously in Piazza 24 Maggio.

I get a tour of the apartment where I'll be living WITH Fabrizio and his wife, Asia, for the next four days. Only I, the lone American, seem to find this arrangement incredibly weird and awkward. All my other accommodations on this trip have required borrowing someone's personal space, but not actually sharing it. Here I will be sharing an apartment, and a bathroom, with this married couple.

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Hotel Opening: Oberoi's Delhi Alternative

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If you find yourself heading to Delhi in the future, but are overwhelmed by the populous metropolis that it is, consider staying at the newly opened Oberoi, Gurgaon, located just outside of the city in a self-described “urban oasis.”

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For Love and Lobster: Chef Migration Continues in Maine


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Ridiculously fresh seafood. Check. Farms and farmers markets galore. Yup. Great scenery. You bet. Real estate deals. Indeed. Locals and visitors who are serious about good food. Definitely. For these reasons and more, a growing number of chefs are decamping Downeast.

Geoffroy Deconinck is latest chef to trade in his fancy toque for a new start in Maine. Having worked side by side with Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, and Alain Ducasse, the 38-year-old Belgian is the newly named executive chef at Natalie’s restaurant at the Camden Harbour Inn.

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DOT Enacts Sweeping New Air-Passenger Protections

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It has been 12 years since the air-passenger rights movement first got off the ground, but now it's positively soaring, thanks to a new set of consumer protections announced today by the Department of Transportation. Among other things, provisions in the new rule would close a loophole that exempted international flights from the tarmac delay limits enacted last year; require airlines to prominently list all fees a passenger might face on a flight; increase maximum compensation paid to involuntarily bumped passengers from a range of $400-$800 to $650-$1,300; allow passengers to cancel or change a reservation within 24 hours with no penalty (if the reservation is made at least a week before departure); and force airlines to refund baggage fees when they lose a customer's luggage. Most of the provisions will go into effect 120 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Easy Escapes from U.S. Cities

201104-v-plumpjackjpgMay is just around the corner, so we’re thinking about easy weekend getaways that are perfect for the warm weather months. First up is PlumpJack, a mountainside retreat at the base of Squaw Valley, well-situated for hikers and cyclists looking for outdoor adventure a few hours outside San Francisco. Sybarites will love the Riviera Palm Springs, a newly-renovated resort 100 miles from L.A. with a grand spa and expansive gardens.

Still not a member? Click here to join.

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Best Espadrilles for Spring

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For a shoe traditionally made out of canvas and esparto grass, the espadrille has logged a lot of miles over the years. First worn by Catalan peasants in the 1200’s, by the mid 1900’s they were all over Europe, slipping on and off the feet of Salvador Dalí, Coco Chanel, and Brigitte Bardot. In 1970 the look went high fashion when Yves Saint Laurent sent a high-heeled, gold-ribboned pair down his runway. Since then the shoe has been reimagined season after season, appearing on travelers from Malibu to Marrakesh—and no wonder. Whether a graphic Tory Burch flat or a wedge sandal by Coach, the espadrille is the tunic of footwear: easily tucked into a weekender, it can go for a stroll along the beach or a night out on the town.

Photo by Charles Masters

New App Helps NYC Drivers Find Parking

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New York City drivers (and visitors to the Big Apple) flustered with the elaborate maze of parking regulations, shifting street-sweeping schedules, and frivolous no-parking hours can rejoice. A new app for iPhone and iPad untangles Gotham’s parking knot by illuminating the city’s rules and regulations with a tap of a finger. Building on previous parking apps, ParkPal ($3, Apple) delivers an easy-to-operate and accurate—the information comes from the New York City Department of Transportation database—interface with parking ordinances from all five boroughs.

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The Early Show: Best U.S. Landmarks

Travel + Leisure editor Sarah Spagnolo discusses America's best (and most beautiful) landmarks, including the Washington Monument and New Orleans' Garden District.  Read the complete article here, and let us know if you agree with our list.

Q & A with a Tech Whiz Kid

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Tom Samiljan, the technology-guru who wrote our “Best Travel Gadgets 2011/T+L Tech Awards” (in our May 2011 issue), has some pretty interesting things to say about the future of gadgets. I asked him a few of my most burning questions:

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Two for the Road To Celebrate Bike Month

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This is me with my first bike. Just kidding. It's my second bike. But my favorite bike of all was a lime-green metal-flake Schwinn Stingray with gooseneck handlebars, a white banana seat, sissy bar with red reflector, and a treadless rear tire that let you lay a brodie 10 feet long. Unfortunately, it belonged to my sister. That's the memory that stirs in me as we approach all the events set for Bike Month in May.

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Grand (Re-)Opening: SFO's Terminal 2!

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SFO's long-awaited Terminal 2 opened last week after a $383 million upgrade and renovation. Designed by global architecture powerhouse Gensler, the new terminal is home to American Airlines and Virgin America and is remarkable for its strong public art program and commitment to sustainability (it's anticipated to achieve LEED Gold Certification). It's also the first airport dining program in the country to have a 'slow food' food court: they recruited and prioritized vendors, like the Plant Cafe Organic, Pinkberry, and Lark Creek Grill, that offer healthy food from local, organic sources. Find more info here.

Jaime Gross is Travel + Leisure's San Francisco correspondent.

Image courtesy of Gensler. Photographer: Bruce Damonte

Guess Where: Geometric Architecture

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This geometric structure was built for a World Expo. Do you know where this is?

Log in and leave your guesses below and be sure to check back on Monday for the correct answer.

UPDATE 4/18/11: T+L community members AAO, silviasantoyo, and MarcoNorth all guessed correctly—this is a photo of the Oriente Station in Lisbon, Portugal.  Architect Santiago Calatrava designed this structure, which houses a train station, a subway station, and a bus terminal, to accommodate the influx of visitors to the city during the 1998 World Expo. It is located in the Parque das Nações, the site of the Expo.

Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Travel + Leisure's Photography Contest

Style Hunter's Find: Viva Zapata

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Viva Zapata is a sturdy collection of funky bags made by Argentinian expat Tania Carole Lugones. Each weekend for 7 years she would set up a table in New York City's Soho neighborhood outside of the Camper boutique selling her designs hand sewn out of vinyl remnants from bus seats in Buenos Aires. To date Tania has sold more than 8,000 of them. That’s a lot of seat covers! Up until last year she had to work as a nanny to support herself. This is the first year she can focus solely on design.

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Denver Deals via Text

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By now, most cities in the States have developed a mobile app or two to help visitors navigate via their smart phone or iPad. But Visit Denver, the official CVB of the Mile High City, has something even cooler up their sleeve. While many web-savvy travelers are familiar with online deal sites, like Groupon, Visit Denver developed the “Denver Deals” program to deliver deals from area businesses via text message.

While I’m glued to my desk in New York for the moment, I tested out this new program—the first of its kind—to see what they had to offer.

I texted “Denver Deals” to 63638 and within a few seconds my inbox had two new messages:

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A Fashion Photog Goes Rogue in London

201104-b-fashion-1jpgI am backstage at the Michael Van Der Ham fashion show in London, in an ancient-looking building on the Thames. In the midst of the crush of models, dressers, other photographers and frantic hair and makeup teams, I am trying to get a great "beauty" photo for my client, a top fashion magazine. A makeup artist I know from New York, hands buried in a hunk of hair extensions, asks, "Are you going to Milan, too? Where are you staying?" So I tell her the truth—in an apartment with a Milanese couple.

"Oh, how do you know them?"

I don't. I found them on the Internet.

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