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FAA Plans to Ease Thanksgiving Air Travel Delays

Air traffic may be a little less congested this Thanksgiving holiday period as the FAA, in cooperation with the Defense Department, said it will allow commercial flights in otherwise restricted military airspace beginning at 6 a.m. Tuesday, November 23, a day earlier than last year.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced this morning that the Defense Department will open airspace over such highly congested areas as the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Southwest. Normal inland routes can continue to be used, according to the FAA.

The busiest Thanksgiving travel days are expected to be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday. Normal airspace restrictions will go back into effect at 6 a.m. Monday, November 29.

The announcement comes on the heels of new security procedures at the nation's airports. Passengers are routinely being required to pass through a controversial backscatter full body scanner or to undergo a thorough, some say invasive, pat down by a TSA agent. Whether the FAA's plan to ease air congestion this holiday period is enough to ease any passenger anxiety over the enhanced security methods is still up in the air.

Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure.

45-Pound Marshmallow Chick to Herald the New Year

PEEPS Fest

Don’t forget the PEEPS™ when planning this year's New Year’s Eve celebration. That’s right—they’re not just for Easter any more.

From December 29-31, PEEPS Fest will be held in the center of historic Bethlehem, PA. Surely destined to rival Burning Man, this celebration of the age-resistant marshmallow treats will feature live music, art, performances, a recipe competition, a 5K run, ice-sculpting, glass-blowing, and a PEEPS diorama competition (with scholastic and corporate divisions!).

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Contest Watch: Win a Trip to Fiji, or Spice Up Your Holiday Plans

Fiji Giveaway

Whether you're looking to skip town this winter or just skip some holiday stress, this month's Contest Watch has you covered.

Teva, "Teva House 2011 Fiji Giveaway," Enter Now - January 15

If you need something to look forward to, how about a 10-day trip to Fiji from April 1-11, 2011? Enter at tevahouse.com and you could win a $14,000 trip for two to Fiji, complete with round-trip airfare, seven-day Tui Tai expedition cruise, river tour, and Teva sandals (lest you step on a sea urchin while exploring). The winner will be contacted January 30 when the winter blues are at their worst.

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It's No Yolk: Giant Easter Eggs Invade German Park

Okay, so they're a little too big to include in a traditional Easter egg hunt, but c'mon, would you even want to hide these beauties?

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Valentine's Day: Love Potions

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Whether you're happily single or madly in love, there appears to be a bartender in each corner of the country ready to lubricate your weekend's activities (with alcohol, of course!). Take a sip of the "Skinny Dip" Cocktail in Denver, knock back a vile of Love Potion #299 in New York, or fit in a few MO'Kisses in Boston. Keep reading to find out what's in each of these love-inducing drinks, and more.

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Holiday Must-Sees: "The Nutcracker" on Both Coasts

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The holidays have become the traditional time for productions of the Nutcracker.  The ballet, through Tchaikovsky’s evocative score, depicts a child’s inner life and imagination—a world transformed by dancing snowflakes and exotic lands of sweets and fantasy. What better time to indulge a bit of fantasy? Here are two, not-to-miss stagings, from the classic to modern interpretations.

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Smart Power Rovers to Light Up New Year's Eve in Times Square

A couple weeks ago in Times Square, Duracell marked the opening of their Smart Power Lab by unveiling the newest design for their Power Rovers.

At this point, you might be wondering: What is a Smart Power Lab? And what are these Power Rovers? Well, as most people know, one of the biggest celebrations to happen in New York City is the dropping of the New Year’s Eve ball. No doubt a tremendous amount of electricity is used for this iconic event.

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Strange Traditions: St. Nicholas's Day in Prague

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As a kid, I always looked forward to celebrating St. Nicholas’s Day in early December, when one of the older men at my church would dress up as St. Nicholas in traditional bishop’s robes and pass out delicious gingerbread cookies the size of my head.

Czechs also celebrate St. Nicholas’s Day (Mikuláš in Czech), but they do it with a sinister twist.

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Ramadan Celebrations Abound from Cairo to IHOP

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The holy month of Ramadan began Aug. 22, and over 1 billion Muslims around the globe will be observing it by fasting from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. They’ll be waking up early for a hearty suhoor meal before dawn and an iftar dinner after sunset. Sound hard? Well, it is, but different cultures have found unique ways to celebrate this sacred time.

-The first day of Ramadan is greeted with fireworks and celebrations in the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

-In Dubai, a loud canon booms when it’s time to stop eating in the morning and to break fast at sunset.

Muslims in Cairo keep things festive at night, reveling by staying up late after evening prayers to eat and smoke sheesha till the early hours of the morning.

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Cooperstown: A Father’s Day Itinerary / A Weekend Getaway

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Weekend getaways are more popular than ever—and why not? You get an overnight and two days of vacation without missing a beat. I recently spent time in Cooperstown, New York. It’s a 4-hour drive from New York City–but well worth the ride. Here, some suggested stops (and Father’s Day freebies):

The Otesaga Resort Hotel (above)
2009 marks the Federal-style grand dame’s 100th year. To celebrate, the hotel is putting its 1909 menu back in service, which means Rob Roys and Old-Fashioneds in the lobby bar; and crab Louie and crepes Suzette in the main dining room. The perfect reward for a round of golf at the meticulously kept Leatherstocking course (below) is an al fresco lunch at the Hawkeye Bar & Grill overlooking Otesego Lake (and the 18th hole).

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