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"Sharknado" Who? Baltimore's National Aquarium Wows with $12.5 Million Shark Exhibit

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Baltimore has a new fish in town. Twenty blacktip reef sharks will be setting up residence at the National Aquarium by early August.

The 260,000-gallon enclosure (which opened last week) contains the newly-designed Blacktip Reef exhibit, which sustains a delicate coral reef ecosystem reflective of the real deal in the Indo-Pacific environment. Visitors can observe the marine life through a 27-foot window that curves out into the exhibit—providing a 160-degree panoramic underwater view that would even impress Jacque Cousteau. “It’s a heck-of-a room with a view,” says Jack Cover, general curator at the National Aquarium. “The custom-made acrylic panel is clearer than glass. It’s the closest thing to snorkeling off the Fiji islands.”

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Santa Fe International Folk Market Showcases 170 Artists from 50 Countries

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Santa Fe, New Mexico is known and loved for many reasons: as a hiking and ski destination, for its cultural scene, from galleries to the acclaimed Santa Fe Opera, and a range of delicious cuisines. Less well-known—but not for long—is the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this weekend and is extraordinary in its breadth and mission.  Why?  It brings 170 artists and artisans of fine craft from more than 50 countries to New Mexico to display their creations:carved horn jewelry from Peru, felt and muslin shawls from Kyrgyzstan, paper kites from Japan, embellished leather saddles from the Republic of Tuva (Russia), woven silk scarves from Madagascar, embroidered clothing, textiles, jewelry, pottery and ceramics from every continent, except Antarctica.

In addition to being the largest folk art market in the world, it provides the opportunity for artists to sell their work (they retain 90% of the proceeds), which in many cases provides the primary support for families at home and even sustains entire communities.  What’s more, as a showcase for artisans and their work, the Folk Art Market has become a catalyst for the preservation of creative tradition, some of which would surely have been lost without exposure and economic incentive.  The world is a more beautiful place because of it.


Mario R. Mercado is arts editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo © Marcella Echavarria. All rights reserved.

 

Vintage French Carnival Opens on Governors Island in Time for Bastille Day

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New York’s Governors Island is already one of America’s coolest city parks, and this weekend it gets even better. Fête Paradiso, a festival of vintage French carnival rides and carousels opens tomorrow, July 13, on the island just in time for Bastille Day celebrations (July 14th).

After taking a spin on a carousel or two (some date back to 1850), head to the repurposed 1900 bumper car pavilion to enjoy classic French food including croque monsieur and sweet crepes from New York’s popular French bistro Le Gamin. There will also be a beer and wine garden.
 
Fête Paradiso is open every weekend from 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. until September 29. Admission is free and rides and games cost $3 each. For more pictures and how to get there, click through.

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Meet the Château that Inspired Versailles

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Nearly six million people traipse through the gardens and Hall of Mirrors at Versailles annually, braving lines and elbowing through crowds.

Let us tip you off to an alternative: before Versailles, there was Vaux le Vicomte, a lesser-known château that makes an easy day trip from Paris and offers a more blissful, intimate experience. It’s been cared for by the same family for five generations.

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Festival degli Scrittori Kicks Off in Florence

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The much-anticipated Festival degli Scrittori (Festival of Writers) begins tomorrow in Florence, Italy. Now in its third year, the highly praised literary event is the city’s hot ticket this week—and arguably this year.

From June 12–14, 2013, the international culturatti and the intellectually curious will mingle in the heart of old Firenze with some of today’s top authors, translators, critics, and boldface names—all with the high-minded ghosts of the Rennaissance, fittingly, looking on.

Dreamed up by Baronessa Beatrice Monti della Corte, widow of the writer Gregor von Rezzori and founder of the Santa Maddalena Foundation writers’ retreat, the Festival aims to promote and celebrate international literature and the nuanced talents of translation. And this year's line-up promises to be animated—Pulitzer prize-winners Jennifer Egan and Michael Cunningham in conversation; lectures with titles like “Reading and Translating Virgil in the era of Facebook”; even a recital by Jeremy Irons.

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Rite of Spring Redux: 100 Years of a Stravinsky Masterpiece

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One hundred years ago on May 29, 1913, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring exploded onto the European scene in a celebrated, riotous premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Ever since, dance companies have taken up the challenge to stage a work that captures the power and the sweep of Stravinsky’s revolutionary masterpiece. 

On the day of the centennial anniversary, May 29, 2013, the Richmond Ballet, as part of the Virginia Arts Festival, presents the Rite, in Salvatore Aiello’s sensual staging. While in Paris, the Mariinsky Ballet returns to the scene of the crime, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, with a reconstruction of the imagined, original production, choreography and décor newly realized by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer.

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Last-Minute New York Weekend Idea: Tribeca Film Festival

If you're in New York City this weekend, be sure to check out the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs through April 28th in various locations throughout Lower Manhattan. (The festival is sponsored by American Express, T+L's parent company.)

In the video above, T+L's Nilou Motamed talks about Tribeca, one of the city's most beloved neighborhoods.

Grand Central Celebrates 100th Birthday

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On February 1, 1913 Grand Central’s stationmaster received the first set of keys to the Terminal. One-hundred years later, New York will celebrate the beloved landmark (and one of the world's most beautiful train stations) with a full day of activities including a rededication ceremony in the morning and the opening of “Grand by Design,” a multimedia exhibit of the terminal’s history by the New York Transit Museum that runs through March 15, 2013.


Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

Top French Toques Collaborate at Les Crayeres

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Of the stately chateaux-hotel-restaurants in France—venerable provincial destinations where one gambols among historic gardens and tucks in for a serious dinner—Reims's Les Crayères is the platonic ideal.

The first chef to put the turn of the century house's restaurant on the map was Gerard Boyer, who was at the time of his retirement in 2003, among the longest-running holders of three Michelin stars in the country. His kitchen at Les Crayères trained such future heavyweights as L'Arpège's Alain Passard, Le Pré Catelan's Frédéric Anton and Tom Aikens. "Among the many things Boyer taught me," says Passard, himself the holder of three stars, "is that there should be art in every gesture."

To salute the chef emeritus, Les Crayères gathered Passard, Anton, their current chef, Meilleur Ouvrier de France Philippe Mille, and Boyer himself, to put together a combo-menu, called Transmission et Partage (Inheritance and Sharing), which is on offer at Les Crayères until December 23, after three months of planning.

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PhoCusWright "Young Leaders" Q+A Series: Tristan Gatsby Mace of Want Me Get Me

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At this month’s 2012 PhoCusWright Conference, the travel tech industry’s much-anticipated annual event, many in attendance agreed that the Travel Innovation Summit, held on Day One, was, always, a highlight. (Read our conference dispatches here and here.)

It comes as no surprise that some of the most exciting, buzz-worthy attendees and presenters were the wunderkinds behind travel start-ups and high-profile online products. At the conference, they breakfasted together behind closed doors, networked, and schmoozed investors. Travel + Leisure sat down with select Millennial entrepreneurs—or maybe a better moniker is disruptors?—shaping the next generation of Travel.

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