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Barbie Arrives at Ellis Island

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You won't find Barbie lounging around her Dream House this summer. Instead, the famous blonde will be making her debut at Ellis Island, a far cry from Malibu. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Barbie Dolls of the World collection, Barbie gathered a group of the collection's most iconic dolls, representing more than 40 nations, in a special exhibit at the former immigration station in New York Harbor, which begins June 16.

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Contest Watch: $15K Nantucket Vaca, Kenya, Los Cabos, More

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Skyrocketing temperatures might have melted some travel companies’ brains! They’re giving away a $15,000 Nantucket vacation, a six-month trip around the world; a six-month New York City hotel stay and $5,000 in cash, plus oodles more. This Contest Watch is all about thinking B-I-G.

“Flip Out on Nantucket”, Nantucket Island Resorts, Nantucket, MA
Now – September 6, 2010
Need a reason to take a Nantucket vacation? How does a $15,000 getaway sound? This summer, Nantucket visitors who make a 1-minute video montage about their trip and submit it to www.nuntucketislandresorts.com/flip-out-nantucket-submission.php or email nantucketvideos@gmail.com might just win the return-trip of a lifetime. Video submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges with the finalists put up to a public vote.  The ultimate Nantucket itinerary includes a five-night stay at any Nantucket Island Resort property (including T+L favorites The Wauwinet and the White Elephant), dinner for two at Brant Point Grill and Topper’s, two hour-long massages at both the White Elephant and the Spa by the Sea, Nantucket Harbor Cruise, and more. Flip out indeed.

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Giveaway: The Keys to NYC

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What do the Dalai Lama, A-Rod, Nelson Mandela, Placido Domingo, and countless tourists have in common? They all have keys to New York City. Well, kind of.

From now through June 27th, anyone can get a “Key to the City” in Times Square as part of Paul Ramirez Jonas’ public arts project. The free keys, handed out at a kiosk between 43rd and 44th streets, open 25 gates, doors, and cabinets throughout the five boroughs.

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Spirit Airlines Cancels Flights

USA TodaySpirit Airlines is canceling all of its flights through Tuesday, stranding thousands more passengers as a pilot's strike continues into its second day.

The discount carrier said on its website Sunday that all Spirit Airlines flights have been cancelled through June 15. Spirit pilots walked off the job Saturday amid an ongoing contract dispute with the airline that has lasted for more than three years. Spirit pilots have said their pay lags behind competitors such as AirTran Airways and JetBlue.

"None of the planes are moving and none of our pilots have crossed the picket line," Paul Hopkins, strike committee chairman of Spirit's unit of The Air Line Pilots Association, said Sunday.

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T+L Photo Contest: Enter to Win!

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Are you a serious shutterbug when you travel? Submit your best shots to T+L's Photo Contest that just kicked-off last week to win a series of monthly prizes, including a Flip Video Camera and an Amazon Kindle. Monthly winners will also have a chance at being published in Travel + Leisure magazine—and be entered to win a Grand Prize trip for two to Hawaii!

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Vacationist: Southwest and Amalfi Coast!

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There's nothing sweeter than nabbing a good travel deal—especially in summer, when getting away for a much-needed break is not optional, it's a must! And right now is a smart time to start your search. Why? Because vacationist has some terrific offerings this week!

Currently on sale:

SOUTHWEST
Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa in Lajitas, Texas — 30% off
Southwestern swagger meets the rugged life (no roughing-it necessary) where Pancho Villa once led raids along the Rio Grande.

AMALFI COAST
Furore Inn Resort in Furore, Italy — 38% off
One of the most gorgeous places on the planet. Really.

There are just six days left to take advantage of these great values, so what are you waiting for? Head to vacationist.com and book your next trip!

Photo courtesy of Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa

Treats & Tweets from the Bahamas

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If your (lack of) winter break wasn’t exactly beachy, have no fear.  A piece of the tropics may be pulling up to a New York City corner near you—and it’s free! 

This week only, the Islands of the Bahamas is steering their Treats & Tweets from the Bahamas food truck around the grid, offering traditional Bahamian Mac & Cheese and Junkanoo Chicken Drumsticks alongside virgin Bahama Mammas drinks (okay, so it’s almost like being on vacation—but hey, you have to work). 

Need help capturing this little ray of sun?  The truck’s location is viewable on Twitter (@VisitTheBahamas) or Facebook (facebook.com/bahamas).  On Friday, June 11th, truck patrons can enter to win a trip to the real McCoy, Club Peace & Plenty in the Bahamas.  (Hint: Friday the truck will be located near Bryant Park, but you didn’t hear it from us). 

Now that’s island hospitality. 

Nina Fedrizzi is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of the Islands of the Bahamas

What to Do When You Can’t Get Into Noma? (and You Won’t)

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When Noma, the shrine to New Scandinavian cuisine in Copenhagen, was named the world’s “Best Restaurant” in April—beating El Bulli of Spain—its reservations site was flooded with more than 100,000 requests. Would-be diners managed to book every slot through May, June and July. When reservations opened for August, every table was gone within an hour.

So I knew that dining at Noma on a recent trip to Copenhagen was going to be a challenge. Not just Herculean, it turns out, but Sisyphean. After an ordeal of emails, hours of dialing to a perpetually busy phone line, and a humbling encounter with a boorish maitre d’ when I decided to show up and try to get on the waiting list, I failed. But in failure found the next best thing—a gem of a restaurant called Godt, located downtown near King's Garden.

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VIDEO: Travel Has Never Been This Bad

A few weeks ago, we told you about a new book put out by the creator of the Titanic Awards, which celebrates Travel's most dubious achievements. This week comes a video. Click play for the worst baggage handlers, roughest cruise, most insane intersection, and seriously questionable tourist attraction. You may just want to stay home!

God of Death Arrives at Denver Airport

Remember that Bruce Willis/Ben Affleck ‘90s film Armageddon?  About heroic and crusty oil rig workers charged with blowing up an asteroid before it crashed to earth?  Cruelly, it was shown on a particularly turbulent flight I took across the Atlantic.  As my stomach lurched with every sudden drop in altitude and I watched actors struggle to land on a Texas-sized asteroid hurtling through space, I wondered just who had thought that film was a good fit with air travel.

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Such thoughts occurred again today as I read that the Denver Airport (DIA) has erected a 26-foot statue of Anubis, the jackal-headed god of death and the afterlife, outside the terminal.  The sculpture was erected last Wednesday to promote an exhibit on Egypt’s King Tut, Tutankhamun: The Golden King & the Great Pharaohs, which opens June 29 at the Denver Art Museum.

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D.C. Travel: Dangerously Delicious Pies

As a child, many a muggy, summer evening was spent on the porch of my upstate New York home, sharing a piece of warm cherry pie with my dad while watching bright zigzags of heat lightening flicker across the sky.

It’s no surprise, then, that on a recent trip to Washington D.C., I found myself sliding onto a barstool at Dangerously Delicious Pies D.C., the second outpost of the Baltimore-based creation by pie man/rocker Rodney Henry.

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The shop, which opened on H-Street in early April, is a worthwhile addition to a casual weekend getaway or a serious, food-focused road trip—look for the bright red rocking chair outside the unassuming DDPDC and rock n’ roll photos on the two-toned red and black walls, and two tall pie safes stand like sentries flanking the counter, inside.

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Interest Grows in Trans-Atlantic Travel to Europe

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Despite the ash cloud that closed European airports and stranded passengers in April, more Americans intend to travel to Europe this year. Yet many would-be vacationers are considering traveling by ship instead—and reliving the glory days of trans-oceanic travel.

“There’s definitely an upsurge in interest, which is terrific,” says Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Cruise Line which operates the Queen Mary 2’s six-night crossing between New York and Southampton, England. “There’s a feel-good factor about trans-Atlantic travel. It’s back on people’s radar.”

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What’s Your June Travel Horoscope?

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“What’s your sign,” may be the oldest (and cheesiest) pick-up line in the book, but according to travel website Tripbase.com, the stars can offer more than just a love match. The site, which uses artificial intelligence to match travelers with their ideal trip, is now applying its algorithms to the stars and “offering celestial guidance to travelers who know they need a vacation”—from Aquarius (go hiking and get physical this month!) to Sags (put on your party shoes and glam it up in another city!). Check out Tripbase.com/travelhoroscope for your on-the-go monthly chart.

June Tripbase Horoscopes

Gemini: Techie Geminis hate to part with their gadgets...even while on vacation. Hold off on that camping trip for another month. This June, head to a bustling metropolis where you post photos and blog about your adventure right from your mobile phone.

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Bienvenue Chez Ralph’s

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The new Ralph Lauren boutique in Paris is awe-inspiring by any measure: its combination of French artistocratic setting and American marketing savvy makes it a must-see. Not least of its accomplishments is the unveiling of a restaurant, right in the shadow of the Lipp, Flore and Deux Magots, that manages the dual feat of raising the bar on American cuisine in Paris and blossoming as a quintessentially French place to be—not unlike Harry’s Bar on the rue Daunou, or Joe Allen’s near the rue Montorgueil, but on a distinctly more fashionable plane.

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easyJet Unveils Infrared Ash Detectors

Chicago Tribune (AP) |  Low-cost airline easyJet PLC unveiled plans Friday to test infrared technology's ability to detect volcanic ash clouds and urged other airlines to help map the ash risk across Europe's skies.

The company said the devices—which are placed on an aircraft's tail fin and can detect ash clouds within 60 miles (100 kilometers)—are the first of their kind, calling them "essentially a weather radar for ash."

The airline is spending 1 million pounds ($1.46 million) developing and testing the technology with aircraft manufacturer Airbus and hopes to roll out the devices in a dozen planes by the end of the year. The devices aim to prevent a repeat of the five-day shutdown of European airspace in April caused by an erupting Icelandic volcano that affected 10 million passengers worldwide.

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Cute Overload: Hello Kitty Airport Gate

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On my way home from a recent trip to Taiwan, I found myself with a little bit of time to kill before boarding my plane at Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport. Knowing I had more than 14 hours to sit in a cramped airplane seat ahead of me, I did some exploring.

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Vacationist: Costa Rica, Morocco, Antigua!

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Summer is officially here, so if you haven’t started planning a vacation yet, we ask, what are you waiting for? This week, hotel offers from Vacationist, a venture between Travel + Leisure and LuxuryLink.com, include a little something for everyone—island, jungle, and far-flung.

Spotlight sales this week:

St. James’s Club & Villas in St. Paul Antigua and Barbuda: From $244/night – 55% off
Riad Fes in Fes, Morocco: From $149/night – 34% off
Rancho Pacifico in Uvita, Costa Rica: From $178/night – 30% off

Our advice? Act now—there are only 6 days left to take advantage of these great prices. And in case you want to keep things closer to home, vacationist is offering rooms at the Gansevoort Miami Beach for just $141/night at (over 40% off standard rates!) until June 7.

Photo courtesy of Rancho Pacifico

Why We Envy "The Lost Girls"

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Here at T+L, we’re fortunate enough to have the world’s most fascinating destinations on our radar at all times—but we still have to come back to reality, and our desks, eventually. So when I received a copy of The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents, One Conventional Detour Around the World recently, it felt a little eerie. Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, and Amanda Pressner were three twentysomething Manhattan media types—including two magazine editors, just like me!—who plotted to leave their fast-paced careers and relationships to backpack around the world for a year. Were these girls really going to live my dream, then shove it in my face in an epic 591-page tome?

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Maine Sleepaway Camp for Wannabe Furniture Makers

201005_moserchairjpgThos. Moser, the furniture-making firm, many of whose handmade pieces have achieved American icon status, runs a Customer-in-Residence program that could make the perfect Father’s Day gift for the would-be woodworker in your family.   Never mind bringing home an ashtray or lanyard from camp—graduates of this weeklong program come home with a piece of furniture that they’ve built under the tutelage of a master woodworker.

The lucky five carpenters accepted into each session (applications are considered and previous Moser customers are given preference on the waiting list) are put up at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, Maine, land of the outdoorsy outlet shop.

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Airlines to Cough Up More to Bumped Passengers

CBS/AP | Giving up your airline seat may become a little less painful.

Federal officials are expected to announce this week a plan to raise the maximum amount that airlines must pay passengers who get bumped off an oversold flight, currently at $400 or $800 depending on how long a trip is delayed.

Bumpings rose in three of the past four years and jumped 10 percent to 762,422 in 2009, the highest total since 2002. They soared 17 percent in this year's first quarter.

The potential inconvenience is greater now, too. Airlines have cut back on flights and planes are more crowded, so bumped passengers could wait hours or even days to find alternate arrangements.

"It might not be hours, but days before you get to where you're going," Pauline Frommer, creator of Pauline Frommer Guidebooks, told CBS News correspondent White Johnson. "There simply aren't enough airplane seats out there for the number of people who want to fly."

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2010 Hurricane Season Begins Today

The Sun Sentinel |  They are nature's most powerful storms, able to wrench off roofs, blow out windows, rip down trees and otherwise ravage a large metropolitan area.

Major hurricanes—Categories 3, 4 and 5—produce sustained winds from 110 mph to as much as 185 mph and can generate storm surges more than 20 feet above normal tide levels.

With the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season starting today, experts say there is a significant chance one or more of these monsters will strike the U.S. coast over the next six months. The reason: It could be an extremely active year with up to 14 hurricanes, seven major, forecasters said.

"In general, more active seasons have more landfalling hurricanes.Therefore, the odds of a major hurricane making U.S. landfall increases," said Phil Klotzbach, the Colorado State University climatologist who develops seasonal outlooks with William Gray.

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Grass Roots Revival: Saving Louisiana's Wetland

201006-b-oil-tshirtjpg"When oil washes ashore on a beach, you can always clean up the sand or truck in more," says George Barisich of the United Commercial Fisherman's Association, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of Louisiana's fishing industry. "But it's impossible to extract from the mud in our marshes." When oil from the BP rig explosion seeps into the wetlands along the Gulf Coast, it can kill the roots of fragile marsh grasses that literally bind together a natural floodwater barrier that has already been ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. In New Orleans, people are wearing their environmental conscience on their sleeves. You can order a "Protect Our Coast" T-shirt from Dirty Coast or donate XXL to America's Wetland.

Shane Mitchell is a special correspondent for Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Shane Mitchell.

4 Great NYC Running Routes

As a runner living in New York City, you might think it's challenging for me to find decent places for nice run. But the truth of the matter is that there are a ton of hot spots, whether it's in/around one of the city's many parks, or along one of the many waterfront sidewalks.

josh-racejpgFor about a year, I was a slave to the treadmill, but when I signed up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon, I knew I had to start running on uneven, outdoor ground again. (P.S. - Once I started running outdoors again, I was reminded of how infinitely more enjoyable it is this way!)

The half marathon was last weekend—I ran with a few friends/colleagues from our sister mag, Food & Wine—but now I'm craving more. That being said, I want to share a few of my favorite running routes in the city. (And, since I'm an outer-borough guy, they are not all based in Manhattan!)

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Oil and Water: How to Help Louisiana's Fishermen

john-beshjpg Let's put it this way: oil and water don't mix. Especially when it impacts the livelihood of fishermen still struggling to make a comeback after Hurricane Katrina devastated the fragile wetlands of Southeast Louisiana. Oil from the BP rig explosion has started to wash ashore in the Mississippi Delta, leaving the men and women of St. Bernard Parish high-and-dry. These are the hard-working people who traditionally harvest the crab, shrimp, oysters and redfish that land on the plate at New Orleans restaurants such as August, owned by chef John Besh (pictured). "Life in the extreme Southeast revolves around the water," says the Louisiana native. "This culture dates back 300 years. When I saw the oil rig collapse, it just crushed me. I can always source seafood elsewhere but it's the local shrimpers and fishermen who are affected most by this spill."

Along with 90210 actress AnnaLynne McCord, Besh donates to the St. Bernard Project, which supports fishermen and their families in the greater New Orleans community.

Here's how you can help too. Donate to www.stbernardproject.org.

Shane Mitchell is a special correspondent for Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Shane Mitchell.

Vacationist: Nevis and Stowe, VT

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Looking to save a few dollars on your next vacation? (Really though, who isn't?) As we announced in this blog last week, Travel + Leisure has teamed up with Luxury Link to create the exclusive, by-invite-only vacationist. The site offers members tremendous value on top hotels from around the world.

Today, two new sales started:

Montpelier Plantation in St. John's Parish, Nevis: From $160/night (50% off)
Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont: From $149/night (35% off)

These two sales—which are available for about seven more days—are accompanied by Las Brisas Ixtapa in Mexico. Available for about four more days, rates for this hotel start at a whopping $88/night (23% off).

As these sales end, more will be coming in, so if you haven't already, be sure to request an invitation to become a vacationist, and keep checking back for the trip that best suits you!

Joshua Pramis is an online associate editor at Travel + Leisure.

Image courtesy of vacationist.

Summer School: Become a BBQ Judge

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Summer: the season of corn on the cob, fresh dripping watermelon, beach bonfires, and all-important barbecue. No matter what style of BBQ you prefer (Texas at the Salt Lick, North Carolina at The Pit (pictured)), now you have the opportunity to foist your brisket preferences on others.

The Kansas City Barbecue Society offers laymen like you and me courses and certifications to judge professional barbecue competitions. The society hosts 300 contests across America and has confirmed a veritable army of licensed connoisseurs. These competitions aren't small potatoes either - the state championship in Washington, DC on June 26th boasts a grand prize of $20,500.

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Get Amped for the World Cup With Local Music

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South Africa is on the radar these days as the countdown to the World Cup begins. Curious about the country but don't have the time or money to fly half way around the world? Try traveling through music.

Putumayo's latest country-themed release, "South Africa" is—in the classic fuzzy-wuzzy style of America's most ubiquitous world-music label—a "celebration of the diversity" of the destination. Admittedly, I have mixed feelings about Putumayo. While I enjoy the company's intentions (introducing people to music they might otherwise never know, giving charitably to the countries whose music it publishes, etc.), I'm not always the biggest fan of its sampler-style take on breaking international acts, or on the insistently feel-good focus, or on, well, of the commoditization of countries-as-musical-products.

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Wimco Announces 48-Hour Villa Sale

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Everyone loves a bargain, and these days, it seems like there’s a smart way to score all kinds of high-end goods—even travel. (Oh, by the way, have you seen Vacationist?)

Luxury villa rental agency, Wimco, is having a 48-hour villa sale featuring properties in Tuscany and Mykonos. From 10 am Wednesday, June 26th to 10 am May 28th, savvy travelers can find deals between 20–50% off low season pricing.

To book, visit wimco.com and do it quickly for goodness’ sake!

Charlotte Savino is the online listings editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Wimco.

Yelp Yack: Humorous Illustrations of Real Reviews

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This weekend in San Francisco I met an illustrator named Jessica Wassil who has an amazing new project: creating illustrations based on anonymous reviews on Yelp. She takes the characters in the reviews, both the narrators and the subjects, and brings them to life in her drawings, with hilarious results. My favorite begins:

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Just in Time for Father’s Day: A Private Jet With Viewing Platform

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The latest mod con in luxury private jets? An open-air viewing platform, perfect for watching wildlife, engaging in full-contact Parcheesi, or simply lounging with a postprandial sherry while the aircraft is parked overnight. (You didn’t really think you could stand on it while the plane was in flight, did you?!)

Here’s how it works: While the aircraft is on the ground, a massive side door opens up and serves as an awning. The platform, hidden in the fuselage, extends out to create a balcony for the deluxe living space within the plane.

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