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The Best-Travel-Jacket Wars (Cont.)

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That’s me and Harley, just back from a stroll around Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I’m wearing the Rebound jacket from Nau, which I plan on taking everywhere I go because it’s the best travel jacket I’ve ever worn. The main reason it’s so great? Packablity.

With all due respect to T+L's International Editor Mark Orwoll and his Quantum Jacket from ScotteVest, I have found the best travel jacket for me: the Rebound by Nau.

Nau, a sustainable urban and outdoor apparel brand based in Portland, Oregon seems to be on the path to fulfilling of one of my life-long desires. I have always wanted a jacket made of a material no thicker than a quarter inch that changes its insulation factor depending on whether it is 62 degrees or minus two (space-age dream, I know, but someone will do it).

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Cool (Creepy) Find: Abandoned Catskills Hotel

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Earlier this year, a friend stumbled upon a set of photos of the derelict Overlook Mountain House outside of Woodstock in New York's Catskill Mountains. When TravelandLeisure.com published the World's Eeriest Abandoned Places last month, I was reminded of my desire to explore these ruins. So on a recent weekend getaway to the nearby town of Saugerties, a short two-hour drive north of New York City, I insisted we find the abandoned hotel, which in its prime hosted such esteemed guests as President Ulysses S. Grant, as described in a New York Times article from 1873.

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Grand New Park Planned for New York City

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Though I haven’t seen any solid poll numbers, I’d wager that the vast majority of New Yorkers have never been to Roosevelt Island. Let alone the vast majority of tourists visiting the city. This spit of land, snugly situated in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, is probably best known as the backdrop of a climactic battle in the first Spider-Man movie, with the webbed wonder striving to rescue commuters trapped in the Roosevelt Island tram (Spidey and the Green Goblin also do battle in the island’s abandoned smallpox hospital).

But those who don’t live on the island (or don’t travel to play tennis on the nice indoor courts there) will soon have a very good reason to make the trek. Plans are moving ahead to build Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the island’s southern tip (currently off-limits to the public), adding a dramatic new public space to the city.

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Rebecca Rusch’s Top 5 Spots for Mountain Biking

200910-b-bike-1jpg 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.

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Brave or Crazy? Swimming in The Devil's Pool at Victoria Falls

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:

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Gay Ski Weeks Inspire Pride On the Slopes

200910-b-gayskiweekjpg 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

A Shoe-In: Fairmont’s Sneaker Program

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We globetrotters (and footwear lovers) know one of the great packing challenges is trying to squeeze that last pair of shoes—the sneakers—into a full suitcase next to the three pairs of heels we swear we can’t leave behind.

Fairmont is stepping up to the challenge, having acquired more than 5,000 pairs of sneakers across all 56 hotels from Boston to Bermuda, as part of its increasingly popular "Fairmont Fit" program.

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National Parks Come to Manhattan

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If you didn’t get your national park fix this summer—and live in, or are planning to visit NYC soon—worry not; the parks are coming to you. Thanks to the National Parks Conservation Association and PBS, the week of September 19—27 is now devoted to celebrating these wild tracts of land with a series of (mostly free) events throughout the city. Here, five of the week’s highlights:

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Off the Grid in Zion National Park

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Zion National Park in Southern Utah, is a spectacular place to hike. If you are considering a vacation there, and being completely immersed in the quiet, scrubby, gold and green desert with otherworldly red rock domes towering above sounds appealing, I recommend renting Los Gatos Cabin (below).

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Sail New York Harbor on a Yacht

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Some of the best views of New York City are from the water. The Staten Island Ferry is the time-honored cheap method of getting out on the waves, and it’s worth the ride at least once—but you’re on a big, loud boat that, um, ends up at Staten Island. A more sublime experience is had onboard a sailboat, using nothing but the harbor wind for power. If you don’t happen to have your own schooner, that’s where the Shearwater comes in.

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