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Editor Finds for Your Summer Reading List

 

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Attention summer travelers, these titles will put your extra free time—on the road, in the air, or poolside—to good use.

If you’reCraving a Beach Read (but don’t want it to be so embarrassing that you have to hide it on an e-reader).

ReadSeating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead (Knopf, $25.95)

BecauseForget Fifty Shades of Gray—Shipstead’s tale feels salacious enough to satisfy while still allowing you to maintain your literary standards. Shipstead, a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, chronicles a family’s retreat to a fancy New England beach town amidst their daughter’s fast-approaching wedding day. You know it’s a WASP satire when the characters names are Winn, Daphne, Livia, Greyson, and Biddy. 

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TODAY Show: Family Travel Tips for Summer

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

Traveling with kids doesn’t always feel like a vacation, but these tips for summer flights and road trips will make things easier for your family.

Plane Travel

When/What To Book: To pick the best seats for your family consult a site like SeatGuru.com. Planes will be more full this summer than before, so book your flight early—six weeks or more is a good rule of thumb—to improve your odds of getting seats together. If you use social media, follow @airfarewatchdog and @smartertravel on Twitter to learn about last-minute deals. Both carefully vet price drops and unadvertised sales. As for flying, Saturday mornings at airports are more quiet and flights can often be cheaper. Plus, the first flight out in the morning usually takes off on time.

Related: America's Best and Worst Airports

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Sleep Under the Stars in NYC

20120606_akablogjpgOpportunities to sleep outside in NYC, safely removed from traffic and filth, are few: The Bronx Zoo offers summer overnight family safaris with a sea lion wake-up call. On select summer nights, families can sleep out in the city parks, watched over by rangers. But for the most part, unless you drag a mattress onto your fire escape like the Kramdens, you’ll probably be sleeping inside.

Except if you go five-star. AKA Central Park, a luxury residence/hotel combo, is offering a night out on the 1,000-square-foot wrap-around terrace of its 17th-floor penthouse suite. You’ll get cocktails, s’mores (ingredients from Jacques Torres) to toast in front of the fireplace, champagne, a Nook e-reader loaded with campfire stories, a telescope, a TV (really?), and a bed under the stars.

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Mom, Are We There Yet? 135+ New Theme Park Attractions Coming This Summer

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Huffington Post  |  At least 135 new attractions are coming to America's theme parks this summer, a trade industry group says, with new roller coasters, water rides and a Legoland among the highlights.

The thrill rides and attractions will touch 24 states and more than 50 theme parks, museums and other destinations represented by the IAAPA, an industry group representing more than 4,000 members.

Disney, for its part, announced plans to expand its offerings at Disney World this spring, while over in California, Disney Land plans to open "Cars Land" in June.

Here's a small sampling of the attractions to come, and where you can check them out this summer... READ MORE.

Photo courtesy of whomanbc

Related:
Coolest New Disney Vacations
World's Strangest Theme Parks
Coolest Disney Rides
Scariest Thrill Rides on the Planet

Just Back: Chasing Summer on New York's Fire Island

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Its either unchecked hedonism or outright denial that led me to New Yorks Fire Island the weekend after summers unofficial demise. While most vacationers packed up their share-houses and kissed farewell to the spit of sand off Long Islands south coast over Labor Day, I was still dreaming of bike rides, summer ales, and one last coat of sun. It doesnt hurt that hotel prices fall off a cliff once beachgoers pack up their white (I paid $225 per night at Clegg's Hotel, while rates during summers apex can be double that). So I found myself at the Island Mermaid pulling on a straw filled with its signature Rocket Fuel (a dark rum piña colada with a Cruzan 151 sinker at the bottom and a pond of Amaretto floating on top) and stretching summer out as long as possible before the looming cold throws its death grip around New York City. I wasnt ready for fall, not yet.

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Just Back: The New and the Old of Newport, Rhode Island

201108-b-newport-black-pearl-smalljpgOkay okay, I ate at the Black Pearl Restaurant...again.  You can stamp “tourist” onto my forehead, but their New England clam chowder is too amazing to pass up.  I stumbled out satisfied and wandered into the colorful gallery/art studio, Art on the Wharf. Perhaps it was this tourist-guilt that compelled me to ask artist-owner, Tony Gill (pictured below), for some locals’ suggestions, but it was well worth the inquiry.  He had heard the question before and quickly handed me a sheet of paper titled “Tony’s Best Bets.”  I now had my work cut out for me.

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Great Artisanal Ice Cream Parlors

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Artisanal ice cream parlors across the country are whipping up innovative flavors to satisfy our ever-evolving palates. Here, four sweet spots.

Seattle: Molly Moon’s has gone mobile with a just-launched dessert truck that serves house-made flavors and ice cream sandwiches. Favorite flavor: Hibiscus sorbet. 1622 N. 45th St.; 206/547-5105.

New York City: Manhattanites can’t get enough of Italian import Il Laboratorio del Gelato—its new Lower East Side branch is five times the size of the original location on Orchard Street. Favorite flavor: Tarragon-pink peppercorn.

New Orleans: The cherry- and chocolate-walled La Divina Gelateria is known for its decidedly down-home ingredients. Favorite flavor: Peach Creole cream cheese. 3005 Magazine St.; 504/342-2634.

San Francisco: Owners Jake Godby and Sean Vahey have such a cult following at their retro-mod Humphry Slocombe that they’re currently penning a recipe book about their frozen treats. Favorite flavor: Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee.

Photo by Davies + Starr

Gliding Around Chicago on a Segway

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I know that as an editor at a travel magazine I really should have more refined tastes. But secretly, I’ve always wanted to ride a Segway around a city. Whenever happy tourists have whizzed past me in D.C. or San Francisco, I’ve been a little jealous, but my travel companions are generally of the type who would rather walk barefoot on burning asphalt than be caught dead on the funny-looking two-wheeled contraptions.

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Editor Find: North Fork Fish Market

201107-b-southhold-1jpgThe North Fork of Long Island has been my family’s beach spot for over 30 years. Still, the suddenly chic spit of land 100 miles east of New York City still has a few surprises. The Southold Fish Market is very much a family shop slinging fresh scallops, flounder, and clams. But if you want some really local shellfish, don’t even bother driving home to cook your catch. This seafood shop has a take-out menu (and dockside seating) to die for.

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Jules Reid’s Summer Shirt

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Our freshest summer find: this hand-embroidered cotton-and-silk voile top by Virginia-based designer Jules Reid ($295). With its vibrant kiwi print, it works at the beach or out on the town.

Photo by Lars Klove

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