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Welcome to Transylvania

Transylvania

We were haring across the countryside, to swipe a phrase from Renata Adler’s novel Pitch Dark, traveling cross-country along back roads threaded through rows of sentinel beech trees, past dromedary hillsides and fields whose freshly furrowed soil was so deliciously black and loamy you were tempted to leap out of the car and scoop up a bowl. Some friends and I were headed into Transylvania, a little-visited swath of continental Europe in the shadow of the Carpathian Mountains, terra incognita except, of course, as a fantasy place familiar to the legions of readers and moviegoers who make the obvious instant association with the invincible Prince of Darkness and box-office ka-ching!: Dracula.

Talk about the undead! Not garlic or holy water or well-aimed stake can stop this revenant’s franchises—Twilight, True Blood, the eroto-gothic Vampire Lestat. But forget Dracula. The residents of Transylvania certainly have. Except at his alleged birthplace and an unimpressive castle where the Muntenian prince who provided a historical armature for Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel occasionally sojourned, hardly anyone there spares much thought for the midnight creeper. It’s no cinch even finding the kitsch souvenir mugs depicting him with blood dripping from his ceramic fangs. I tried.

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Frank Gehry's Fondation Louis Vuitton Opens in Paris

Fondation Louis Vuitton

The latest must-see attraction in Paris floats like a cloud of glass above the treetops of the Bois de Boulogne. The Fondation Louis Vuitton, devoted to contemporary arts and culture from France and beyond and supported by the luxury fashion conglomerate LVMH, opens on October 27. The building, designed by Frank Gehry, has galleries for its art collection (Daniel Buren; Rineke Dijkstra; Ellsworth Kelly), spaces for site-specific works, and an auditorium for music and dance.

Gehry, who was inspired by the greenhouses and pavilions of the Haussmann era, created a dozen curved glass canopies, comprising 3,600 panes. “I imagined Albertine and Proust playing there,” Gehry says, a nod to the neighboring Jardin d’Acclimatation’s past as a 19th-century children’s park. It’s that exuberance that makes the foundation one of the architect’s most magnificent designs since the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Photo courtesy of Todd Eberle for Fondation Louis Vuitton, 2014

Las Vegas’s New SLS Hotel, By the Numbers

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Las Vegas’s old Sahara Resort is being reborn as the SLS, a three-tower, Gensler-designed property on the north part of the Strip. Like its Miami counterpart, hotelier Sam Nazarian tasked Philippe Starck with creating a vision for the interiors, giving each of the buildings a distinctive look and feel.

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Southern Living’s Idea House in South Carolina is Open for Inspiration

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If you're passing through Savannah, Georgia or Charleston, South Carolina, you’ll find a pristine wildlife area, with meandering marches, palm trees and lowcountry landscape. You’ll also find Bluffton, where Southern Living’s newest idea house, has all the trimmings of modern luxury and comfort, set on the picturesque sea island.

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Philadelphia's Franklin Institute Debuts Biggest Expansion in its History

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On June 14, Philadelphia's Franklin Institute debuts the $41 million Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion—the largest expansion in the science museum’s history. The centerpiece of the new 53,000-square-foot space is the permanent Your Brain exhibit; through more than 70 interactive experiences, visitors will come away with a better understanding of the body’s most complex vital organ—from learning how we react to fear to seeing how the mind can be tricked through sounds, images, and other stimuli.

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Daily Transporter: Frank Lloyd Wright Walking Tour

flw architect

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, a National Historic Landmark. To celebrate, the FLW Trust’s annual walking tour of Chicago’s Oak Park suburb—usually a multi-architect survey—has become ALL WRIGHT. The sold-out weekend event features interior tours of private and public works of the influential architect and designer.

See Oak Park in America’s Most Beautiful Neighborhoods

Editor’s Picks: Arts + Culture
America’s Coolest Houses
World’s Most Beautiful Museums
World’s Most Beautiful Universities

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the NYC World's Fair

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More than two thousand visitors, near and far made the trek to Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York last month for a special, limited public viewing of the New York State Pavilion’s interior. 

The rusting monument, designed by acclaimed architect Philip Johnson for the World’s Fair, was recently recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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Daily Transporter: Washington Monument Reopens

washington monument

Washington goes Wonka—twelve lucky followers of the Department of the Interior's Instagram feed have been chosen as winners. The prize? To be among the first to the top of the Washington Monument on May 12, its reopening day, so they can document the festivities on their own feeds.

See the Washington Monument in America’s Most Beautiful Landmarks

Editor’s Picks: Washington, D.C.
Best Indian Restaurants in the U.S.
America’s Best Spring Drives
America’s Best Margaritas

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

SC Johnson’s Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Headquarters Open For Tours

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For the first time in company history, SC Johnson—maker of Ziploc, Windex, and Raid, to name a few—is opening up its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin, to the public.

Free tours will be offered on Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 27. On the Landmarks Tour, visitors will see the 15-story cantilevered Research Tower and the Administration Building—known for its lily pad-shaped columns—as well as the Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall.

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San Francisco's Painted Ladies Have New Competition in Santa Clara

A Victorian residence painted to look like the house in the Pixar movie "Up" is angering neighbors, but perhaps it'll be a new attraction for the city of Santa Clara, California, best known for its university and the 1777 Mission Santa Clara de Asis.

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