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Checking In: Summer's Best Hotel Openings

New and renovated hotels are opening across the country, from quintessential Northeast towns like Nantucket, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island, to Lake Tahoe, California—just in time for your last summer getaway.

Summer Hotel Openings: Chapman House

Chapman House

Nantucket, Massachusetts
After a head-to-toe transformation, this 1717 building is now a charming, 11-room boutique hotel (and sister property to nearby The Veranda House). The self-described “retro-chic” rooms feature splashes of turquoise and red, and amusing needlepoint pillows (adorned with “lust,” “gluttony,” and other deadly sins).

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Hit the Runway at San Francisco’s de Young Museum

201207-b-jean-paul-gaultierjpgRemember Madonna’s infamous cone bra that turned Jean Paul Gaultier into household name? Relive that iconic fashion moment with “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk,” a new exhibition at the de Young Museum that runs through August 19.

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Billions of Reasons We're Fascinated by the 2012 Summer Olympics

London Olympic Stadium

The Olympics are here! To celebrate, T+L rounds up 22 fascinating facts and figures relating to everything London 2012. Behold our smashing pyramid of zany Olympic numbers.

1 Life-size inflatable replica of Stonehenge erected in London for the Games
4 Skeletons removed from the site under the Zaha Hadid–designed Aquatics Centre
37 Languages that the Bard’s plays will be performed in during the World Shakespeare Festival
71 Age of Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu, the oldest Olympian competing this summer
150 Bat boxes and artificial otter holts installed in the 500-acre Olympic Park
351 Average rate (in USD) of a hotel room in central London during the games
1,500 Seats in London's temporary McDonald's outpost, which will serve 50,000 Big Macs
4,000 Brand new BMWs ordered to escort dignities and officials to events
10,500 Olympic athletes from 205 participating countries
22,000 Pillows made available in Athletes Village
150,000 Condoms made available in Athletes Village (that's 30 per...couple)
203,000 Pieces of luggage to be handled at Heathrow on August 13, the busiest game day
1,000,000 Pieces of sporting equipment used during the Games
5,000,000 Brits who now regret signing up to receive Games-related emails
10,000,000 Free tickets available across thousands of events in the London 2012 Festival
14,000,000 Meals served during the Games across 40 different London locations
200,000,000 Viewers NBC expects to tune into the broadcasts (not counting Ann Curry)
777,000,000 Cost (in USD) of Olympic security for taxpayers...this covers only the venues
1,000,000,000 Expected visitors to London2012.com
4,000,000,000 Original expected cost (in USD) of the London 2012 Games
14,500,000,000 Current expected cost (in USD) of the London 2012 Games
40,000,000,000 Cost (in USD) of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing—the most expensive to date

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Briana Fasone is a New York City–based freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @brifasone.

 

Photo courtesy of London 2012 Organising Committee

Twin Farms Extends Family Weeks

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Darling cottages decorated with private art collections, bicycle trails through wildflow-strewn meadows, farm-to-table dinners of grilled halibut and prawn gnocchi in saffron broth are all part of the experience at Twin Farms, a luxury resort and spa in Barnard, Vermont.

Though this all-inclusive retreat has traditionally only opened its doors to families for select days throughout the year, they're now expanding their dates so that families can enjoy all the resort has to offer (2012 family days include July 29-August 3, August 31-September 4, November 19-25, December 7-10, and December 14-19). After all, Twin Farms has 300 acres of forests, streams, and fields—who else has enough energy to take advantage of it all besides kids? 

Corinne White is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure. 

Photo courtesy of Twin Farms 

The Arts Invade Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence Festival exterior

Few places are as evocative as Provence in the summer and among its many festivals, two claim special distinction: Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Les Rencontres d’Arles Photographie.

The Aix-en-Provence Festival, which runs through the end of July, presents new opera productions of established repertoire, neglected works, and premieres—all within the span of a month.

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National Ice Cream Day: Go Blue

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Want a more tweet-worthy way to spend National Ice Cream Day (which is this Sunday, July 15) than curled up with two dudes named Jerry and Ben? Head south—way south—to Venezuela for a hit of Viagra ice cream in the city of Merida. Ok, ok, it’s not even the real stuff; it’s made of honey and pollen. But we still can’t believe this hasn’t yet come to the U.S.

For a more traditional way to celebrate the day (actually, the entire month is National Ice Cream Month, as decreed by Ronald Reagan (?!) in 1984), everyone from Viceroy Hotels to Six Flags is recognizing the occasion.

And to help you celebrate, we’ve rounded up some of our stories on great and weird ice cream. Enjoy!

•    America’s Best Ice Cream Shops
•    World’s Strangest Ice Cream
•    Great Artisanal Ice Cream Parlors

What’s your favorite ice cream shop or flavor? Tell us!

Rich Beattie is the digital executive editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Hanan Cohen

London Pop-Up Offers Stylish Olympic Spectating

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For months T+L has been counting down to this summer in London, a city already pulsating with game-changing events and pioneering cultural festivals. Now, we’re adding another spot to your London itinerary: The Fringe 2012, a new pop-up members club that will offer ticket-holders some respite from all the Olympic buzz. Just a hundred yards from Olympic Stadium, The Fringe is housed in a converted Victorian stable house at Swan Wharf and will provide some of London’s finest food and drink (with Sweet&Chilli bringing their unique brand of creative cocktails to the experience). Olympic fans shouldn’t fret about missing any of the actionlarge LCD screens will broadcast all the main events.

The Fringe 2012 will officially pop-up on July 20th, a week before the Opening Ceremony, and operate through the Olympic and Paralympic Games until September 9th. Individual tickets start at $112 per day.

2012-hs-briana-fasone.jpg Briana Fasone is a digital editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow her on Twitter @brifasone.



Photo courtesy of Nylon Communications Limited.

TODAY Show: Five Fun Facts About America

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 
Did you know that the world’s tallest roller coaster is right here in the U.S.? Read on to find out which state it’s in, plus more fun facts about America.

Fun Fact #1: The world's tallest roller coaster is in New Jersey
At 45 stories, Kingda Ka, at Six Flags Great Adventure in N.J., is the tallest roller coaster in the world, plummeting 456 feet and reaching speeds up to 126 mph. The highest roller coaster recently opened in Colorado at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet.
Source: The Rollercoaster Database and News.com.au

Related: See the World’s Scariest Roller Coasters

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Grateful Dead Archive Opens in Santa Cruz

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The world’s most famous peripatetic band has finally set down some roots. Today, the complete Grateful Dead archive opens at the legendarily laid-back UC Santa Cruz. The collection—housed in the newly renovated McHenry Library and free to the public—includes coffee-stained contracts, original lyric manuscripts, fan mail, and Stanley Mouse poster art.

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Newly-opened Lycian Ruins Connect Turkey and America

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Instead of your standard fare of hot dogs and fireworks this 4th of July, we suggest you visit Patara, an ancient city off the coast of Turkey. Why in the world would I think about Turkey for the most American of holidays, you ask? Turns out our Constitution has roots in the ancient Lycian League, whose federation-style government had so much influence on our Founding Fathers that James Madison and Alexander Hamilton even mention them in the Federalist Papers. Check out the beautiful beachside town of Patara, Turkey for the recently opened excavaction of Lycian ruins, which includes their parliament building, a large necropolis, Roman baths, and a Byzantine basilica. You may have to trade hot dogs for veal kebabs, but just think: you’ll have a leg-up on your high school US history teacher who didn’t give you an A. 

Corinne White is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure. 

Photo courtesy of Equinox Travel Antalya 

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