Endurance athlete and mountain biking champ Rebecca Rusch was in New York City last week, greeting fans at the special showing of Race Across the Sky, a documentary film about the 2009 Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race, in Colorado.
Just in time for Caribbean travel season, JetBlue today kicked off service between New York’s JFK and St. Lucia. We’re big fans of the blue airline, so it’s exciting to see their destinations expanding. It’s even more exciting to see the kickoff deal: only $129 each way. Sure, there are strings attached: you have to act fast (book by this Friday) and travel between November 2 and February 8, 2010 (yeah, Valentine’s Day is going to cost more).
I already know that Virgin America is a favorite airline of our readers—it scored No. 1 in the domestic airline category of T+L’s 2009 World’s Best Awards—but I’m happy to report that Richard Branson’s company is continuing to impress with new deals and fun in-flight amenities.
Here's a selection of some of its latest low fares:
$109 one-way from San Francisco to Virgin’s newest destination, Ft. Lauderdale
$100 one-way from Los Angeles to Boston
$40 one-way from San Diego to San Francisco (cheaper than a tank of gas!)
Where did author Jack Kerouac go to escape the legend that came with his life "on the road?" Big Sur. He holed up in a cabin along this vast stretch of California coast for over a month in 1960, desperate to find some inner peace while struggling with fame and alcohol addiction. He chronicled the experience in his novel Big Sur, one of his lesser known autobiographical works that now—40 years after Kerouac passed away on October 21, 1969—is coming to life in a new documentary film.
If you ask any of my closest friends, they'll tell you that, while I may be a spontaneous, even adventurous, person, I'm not much of an extreme thrill seeker. You won't catch me on any of the frightening rides we reported on last summer. Think you can convince me to jump out of a plane? Not a chance. And tethering myself to a bridge and hurtling myself off? You can't be serious.
That being said, I'm a little shocked by my intense fascination with a certain natural attraction: "The Devil's Pool" in Zambia. You can't even begin to fathom the magnitude of scariness/awesomeness that comes from this naturally formed pool of water. Enter YouTube:
In arts and culture circles, Dallas and Fort Worth have long been highly regarded. Fort Worth has remarkable museums and later this month Dallas adds to its luster when it opens a new performing arts center, touted as the most significant since Lincoln Center. But for anyone who grew up in Dallas-Fort Worth, as I did, amid the symphony orchestras, opera and ballet companies, and distinguished architecture, sports loomed large, and amid the professional sports teams the Dallas Cowboys loomed the largest.
Recently, the Cowboys unveiled a new $ 1.15 billion stadium (above) before a national television audience during the first, regular-season game against the New York Giants (for the record, the New York Giants won). But it may come as a surprise that in addition to the stadium's state-of-the art this and that, including the world's largest HDTV video board, is an art collection. And not kitschy “sports” art but the real thing.
If you happen to be in Aspen, Whistler, or Mammoth Lakes this winter, you may notice some well-dressed skiers around. For a week during the season in each of these ski towns, thousands of gay (and gay-friendly) skiers will converge for camaraderie, fabulous après-ski, and even the occasional drag show on the slopes (you know who you are, Aspen). It’s a little early to be thinking about skiing, but interested parties should book now—space goes faster than front-row Cher tickets.
Aspen Gay Ski Week
For 33 years, gays and lesbians have been heading to Aspen for this event. Highlights: an opening party, complete with a fashion show, a film series, comedy night, drag show on the slopes. Oh, and world-class skiing and snowboarding. January 17-24, 2010
Winter Pride in Whistler, British Columbia
Come here for the Winter Olympics, stay for the gays. The 18-year-old event immediately follows the Olympics and attracts almost 3,000 visitors every year. Guests have access to free ski and snowboarding guides, cooking and yoga classes, as well as martini mixers, and—of course—huge dance parties. March 1-8, 2010
Elevation Mammoth in Mammoth, California
A large L.A. contingent has headed here since 2003 for a low-key week at a very high elevation (over 11,000 feet). The event’s mission statement sums it up: “2,000 riders. 7 major parties. 0 attitude.” March 17-21, 2010
Clark Mitchell is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of GayWhistler.com, Andy Dittrich
This is the final week of Berlin's Festival of Lights. As the city hunkers down for the dark winter months ahead, some of the city’s major monuments, including the Brandenburg Gate, the TV Tower and the Berlin Cathedral are illuminated in a rainbow of colors by a frenzy of glowing projections and fireworks. The festival, now in its fifth year, began on October 14 and culminates this Sunday.
Click here for an colorful slideshow of the recent festivities.
In T+L’s November issue I railed against the creep of background music into every corner of the traveler’s world, from airplane cabins to hotel lobbies to spa waiting rooms. I may have been, I now realize, a little harsh. True, most piped-in music functions like sonic novocaine: a fitting sound track for getting your teeth bleached. But there are bright spots. More businesses are realizing that background music need not be anodyne or obvious; that, in fact, a compelling sound track can elevate (pardon the pun) one’s experience of a place as effectively as smooth service or flattering lighting.
So maybe background music is improving. We’d better hope so. Given the sorry state of radio and the recording industry, hotel lobbies and day spas and the like are often the only places people hear new music nowadays. Bebel Gilberto sold a million-odd copies of Tanto Tempo, but how often was she played on commercial radio or MTV? Ditto Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Madeleine Peyroux, and Nouvelle Vague: many if not most listeners were introduced to these artists, consciously or unconsciously, at their favorite sushi bar or Sephora store. (Or, in the case of Feist, via an iPod ad.)
I love golf! More importantly, I love a great golf deal. So it pains me to have to leave some of our best deals by the wayside as booking dates near and expirations loom. From sunny Mexico to (uh, also sunny?) Florida, I’ve salvaged some deals that didn’t make the newsletter but shouldn’t go unnoticed.
+ Los Cabos: 3-night all-inclusive resort/golf deal for $743
+ Los Cabos: Hotel + unlimited golf for $320/night
+ Los Cabos: Marquis Los Cabos + 4 rounds of golf for $670/night
+ Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida: Hotel + golf + lessons + credit= $170/night
+ St. Augustine, Florida: World Golf Hall of Fame gala event packages from $359
+ Orlando, Florida: Unlimited golf + hotel for $139/night
Charlotte Savino is online listings editor (and resident golfer) at Travel + Leisure.