Tag Archives: IPW

THE SMALLEST POST OFFICE IN AMERICA IN OCHOPEE, FLORIDA 

On a recent trip to Florida, I had the pleasure of discovering the smallest Post Office in the United States.

The Ochopee Post Office is just 56 square feet and fits only one postal worker. This post office has been in continuous use since 1953, after it was quickly put into service when the existing post office and general store burned down in a fire.

The building used to be an irrigation pipe shed on the adjacent tomato farm, which no longer exists, but the post office hasn’t changed in nearly seventy years. There’s a phone but no internet, so money orders are created manually on a vintage-looking machine. It’s the old-fashioned away of doing it that nobody really does anymore.

Even during the pandemic, this tiny post office was open, serving local residents and businesses in three counties and is now a famous landmark.

If you are ever passing through this rural part of south Florida, it’s worth a stop to get a photo of this unique historical tiny Post Office in Ochopee

In Florida, I stepped out of a plane 5.5 kilometers up – Silvija Travel Tips 

I like adventure, and the opportunity to experience the World’s Highest Tandem Skydive from an aircraft at 18,000 feet/ 5,486m, almost five and a half kilometers, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I could not miss out on. 

On a recent road trip to the sunshine state, I had the opportunity to visit Titusville on the Space Coast, close to Kennedy Space Center. The Skydive Space Center specialises in high-altitude sky diving. It was exciting and scary as I thought about what lay ahead. What would it be like for one and a half minutes of free fall? What if the parachute didn’t open?

The Skydives usually occur in the morning as the sky is clear, with few clouds and less wind to blow you off course. I checked into the Skydive Space Center. After signing my life away in pages of medical, danger warnings, and indemnity paperwork, I was instructed and trained in the safety of parachute jumps, body position, hand signals, and what to expect.

Next, it was time to get kitted out in a harness to attach me to my tandem skydive instructor. Mick? was Italian and had jumped many times and assured me I was in safe hands. Eye goggles on, I made my way to the King Air aircraft with my instructor, wearing double belts to keep us attached during the jump.

In a matter of minutes, we were up and away with four other crazy jumpers. A 7-minute flight brought up to a height of 18,000 feet. There was no turning back as we moved through the aircraft on our bums toward the door. In seconds, it was my turn to jump. I was sitting at the door over five and a half kilometers up, looking out at the beautiful clear blue sky. 

GO – we were out and falling at 120mile an hour. I imagined it was like a movie screen from MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. It was incredible, face felt like the skin as been pushed around the side of the face and behind my ears. One and a half minutes of freefall straight down. The gound was coming up very fast.

Then the moment the parachute opens. It caught me by surprise as the parachute deployed and slowed our descent. It felt like I was getting pulled softly upwards as I transitioned from the horizontal on my belly free fall position to sitting vertically in my harness. Once the parachute opened fully, I enjoyed the breathtaking scenery, and it was time to enjoy a 7-minute parachute flight.

The landscape of Florida was scenic, spectacularly beautiful, and unbelievably fantastic. In the distance was Orlando, and under my feet were breathtaking views of the Indian River and Kennedy Space Center.

The touchdown was so soft, gentle landing. An EPIC experience of pure adrenaline. I would do it again. 

VIDEO

Skydive Space Center website: info@skydivespacecenter.com

Skydive Space Center
476 N. Williams Ave.
Titusville, Florida 32796, USA

Global Air Travel Set to Bounce Back 65% in Third Quarter 

The summer travel outlook report, produced for the World Travel Market (WTM) by ForwardKeys, reveals that in the third quarter of the year, July, August and September, global air travel is set to reach 65% of where it was before the pandemic in 2019. 

However, the revival is patchy, with some parts of the world doing much better than others and some types of travel, particularly beach holidays, being much more popular than urban city visits and sightseeing.

The region of the world that is on course to recover most strongly is Africa & the Middle East; its arrivals in Q3 are expected to reach 83% of 2019 levels. It is followed by the Americas, where summer arrivals are expected to reach 76%, and then by Europe, 71%, and Asia Pacific, just 35%.

The current preference for beach holidays is well illustrated by a comparison of the top ten beach and urban destinations in Europe, ranked by Q3 flight bookings compared to 2019. All those in the beach list, which is led by Antalya, 81% ahead, Tirana, 36% ahead and Mykonos, 29% ahead, are showing extremely healthy demand, whereas, in the urban list, only Naples is ahead. 

Furthermore, the four leading urban destinations, Naples, 5% ahead, Istanbul, flat, Athens, 5% behind, and Lisbon, 8% behind, are all also gateways to beach resorts too.

A similar trend is exhibited in the Americas, where Q3 bookings for air travel to the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico are 5% ahead of 2019 levels, whereas flight bookings to South America and to the US and Canada are, respectively, 25% and 31% behind. The destinations which are set to perform most strongly are Costa Rica, 24% ahead, Jamaica, 17% ahead and the Dominican Republic, 13% ahead.

Enthusiasm to travel again internationally is so strong that a rise in air fares has done relatively little to dampen demand. For example, the average fare from the US to Europe climbed by over 35% between January and May with no noticeable slowing in booking rates. 

And these fares were nearly 60% above the previous year. Fares for shorter haul, intraregional travel (ie: within the Americas) also increased substantially, by 47%, which is less than for long haul. However, the demand for those tickets peaked in March.

Helpfully for the travel industry and for many destinations, American travelers are planning to stay longer and spend more than they did in 2019 but not as much as they did during the pandemic. 

The average planned length of stay in Q3 is 12 days, up from 11 days in 2019. Last year, it was 16 days, but fewer people, with a more affluent profile, were traveling then. The proportion of people flying in premium cabin classes in Q3 is also set to rise, from 12% in 2019 to 15% this year. The relatively promising outlook for summer travel to Africa and the Middle East is due to a combination of factors. Several Middle Eastern airports act as hubs for travel between Asia Pacific and Europe, which has led to the Middle East benefiting from the revival of intercontinental travel, particularly driven by people returning to Asian countries to visit friends and relatives. The closure of Russian airspace has also contributed to the uplift in hub traffic. Cairo, 23% ahead, has increased connectivity to European markets. Nigeria, 14% ahead, Ghana, 8% ahead, and Ivory Coast, 1% ahead, with large diasporas in Europe and the US, are seeing expats return to visit friends and family. Tanzania, 3% ahead, Cape Verde, flat and the Seychelles, just 2% behind, are successfully attracting long haul visitors from Europe

NEW YORK CITY IS BACK: NYC & COMPANY PRESENTS WHAT’S NEW ACROSS THE FIVE BOROUGHS DURING IPW 2022 

—NYC’s Tourism Organization Spotlights Recent and Upcoming Developments Across Infrastructure, Hotels, Museums, Attractions, Broadway, Dining, Retail, Big Events, Summer Activities, and More—

—Additional Highlights Include New “Manhattan Like a New Yorker” Resource, Multicultural Content,

Halal Travel Guide and the 30th Anniversary of NYC Restaurant Week—

Orlando, FL (June 7, 2022)—At a press conference today during IPW—a leading generator of US inbound international travel—in Orlando, Florida, NYC & Company announced new and future destination updates and initiatives, underscoring New York City’s unparalleled vibrancy, diversity, and welcoming spirit. Fred Dixon, NYC & Company’s president, and CEO predicted that by year’s end, the City would recapture over 80 percent of its record 2019 visitation levels as the tourism industry recovers and as New York City once again proves its resilience and indomitable spirit.

“New York City is experiencing an extraordinary revival, with the iconic sites visitors know and love, plus many dynamic, new developments across all five boroughs,” said Fred Dixon, President, and CEO of NYC & Company. “From our world-class attractions, hotels, and Broadway shows to the authentic small businesses, and diverse experiences found across neighborhoods citywide, NYC is back in a big way and already welcoming visitors from around the globe.”

In addition to highlights of What’s New in New York City, Dixon presented NYC & Company initiatives, including the new Get Local NYC campaign, recently-launched multicultural content hubs on NYCGO.com, and a new Halal Travel Guide and the upcoming 30th Anniversary of NYC Restaurant Week.

Destination highlights include 12,000 new hotel rooms coming online in the next three years with new properties such as Aman New York and NYC’s second Ritz-Carlton debuting this summer; more than 20 new Broadway shows from classic revivals to innovative debuts; and upcoming developments and openings across infrastructure and transportation, with upgrades across the region’s three major airports; arts and culture including the brand-new Museum of BroadwayThe Louis Armstrong Center and the American Museum of Natural History’s Gilder Center opening this year, with The American LGBTQ+ Museum and the Universal Hip Hop Museum coming soon; performing arts venues such as Lincoln Center’s reimagined David Geffen Hall debuting in October and the iconic Apollo Theater expansion next year; culinary highlights from new fine dining establishments to unique food halls across the five boroughs; retail including the renovated Tiffany & Co. Flagship on Fifth Avenue and the return of Century 21; big events including NYC Pride, the New York City E-Prix, the US Open Tennis Championships and summer programming across five boroughs this summer; and more. 

During IPW, NYC & Company issued an updated press resource on 22 Reasons to Visit New York City in 2022 and a brand-new “What’s New + Trending in NYC” video for the media and trade.

The organization also announced the latest iteration of its neighborhood-centric Get Local NYC campaign, inspiring visitors to explore Manhattan Like a New Yorker. Originally launched in March, the new five-borough initiative encourages visitors to support small businesses citywide. Guides to Brooklyn Like a New Yorker and Bronx Like a New Yorker have already been released, with features on Staten Island and Queens set to launch this summer. 

This summer also marks the 30th Anniversary of NYC Restaurant Week, from July 18-August 21. To commemorate this historic milestone, NYC & Company plans to launch a “Year of Culinary” in New York City.

Recently-launched multicultural platforms on NYCGO.com include The Black Experience in NYCThe Latino Experience in NYC, and the latest addition, The Asian Experience in NYC.NYC & Company is also the first US tourism organization to produce a Halal Travel Guide for Muslim visitors and continues to update visitor information on LGBTQ+ NYC and Accessible NYC.

NYC & Company is joined at IPW by more than 10 industry partners, including Academy BusAlliance for Downtown New YorkBroadway PlusCarnegie HallCircle Line Sightseeing CruisesFotografiskaHyatt Grand Central New YorkThe Metropolitan Museum of ArtMuseum of BroadwayRockefeller Center and Times Square Alliance. Visit the New York City delegation at Booth 2800

Additionally, NYC & Company and Broadway Inbound will once again host IPW’s NYC Center Stage luncheon today. The program will be emcee’d by Michael James Scott, currently starring as Genie in Aladdin, and will feature musical numbers from Aladdin, Chicago, The Lion King, and Moulin Rouge! The Musical, The Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked.

For more on all, there is to see and do in New York City’s five boroughs, visit NYCGO.com

Universal Studios Hollywood Reveals Details of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD’s Signature Ride,“Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge”

Inspired by the Popular MARIO KART Video Game Series
and Featuring Cutting-Edge Augmented Reality, this All-New Technologically-Advanced Ride
Raises the Bar on Interactive Theme Park Attractions

Click 
Here for a Sneak Peek of the “Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge” Ride

Universal City, California, June 2, 2022 – When “Mario Kart™: Bowser’s Challenge” opens in SUPER NINTENDO WORLD™ at Universal Studios Hollywood in early 2023, guests and fans will find themselves immersed in one of the world’s largest, most interactive rides they have ever experienced. It seamlessly fuses augmented reality with projection mapping technology and actual set pieces along a moving ride track to debut a ride that’s unparalleled anywhere within the theme park industry.

The highly-anticipated opening of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD at Universal Studios Hollywood represents the first SUPER NINTENDO WORLD to debut in the United States, designed to transport theme park guests and Nintendo® fans into the world of Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach to be part of the Mushroom Kingdom.

Guests will access SUPER NINTENDO WORLD via the iconic Warp Pipe to enter the land where they will find the “Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge” ride located within Bowser’s Castle.

This innovative achievement will propel guests into a multi-dimensional experience that recreates iconic environments from the Mario Kart games and where no two races are alike. “Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge” is also one of the most complex rides ever built within the entertainment industry.

The sophisticated ride is a multi-sensory cornucopia of color, sound and movement that invites guests to navigate familiar environs through the creative use and integration of head mounted augmented reality (AR) goggles—a key point of differentiation that distinguishes this ride from other theme park attractions.

From the depths of the dungeon within Bowser’s Castle, guests will climb aboard stadium-style, four-seat Mario Kart vehicles inspired by the video game, put on their AR goggles …and then with a 3-2-1 GO! signal from Lakitu, they will be off to the races.

The premise is simple but equally inspiring and challenging and will appeal to guests of all ages regardless of gaming experience. As part of Team Mario, guests will steer through courses underwater and in the clouds to compete for the Golden Cup while collecting coins to defeat Team Bowser and win.

“Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge” raises the stakes for guests as an intriguing and repeatable ride with a variety of outcomes.

SUPER NINTENDO WORLD is conceived in partnership with Nintendo and the visionaries at Universal Creative to deliver exhilarating entertainment with innovative technological achievements inspired by characters and video games that have appealed to Nintendo fans for generations.

The immersive land will be a visual spectacle of vibrant colors and architectural ingenuity located within a newly expanded area of Universal Studios Hollywood that will feature the groundbreaking ride, “Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge,” and interactive areas, to be enjoyed by the whole family, along with themed shopping and dining to enhance the entire experience.

Universal Studios Hollywood and guests continue the countdown to the land’s early 2023 opening with the Feature Presentation retail store, well stocked with SUPER NINTENDO WORLD merchandise such as Mario and Luigi themed apparel and iconic character hats and a selection of plush characters, including Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Bowser.

More information and details will be shared soon. In the meantime, guests can visitwww.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com for theme park updates. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.

What’s New In Greater Miami & Miami Beach 

What’s New In Greater Miami & Miami Beach 

Greater Miami and Miami Beach are back in full swing this year, and visitors have more reason than ever before to celebrate life with a trip to experience the city’s culture, dining, beaches, and more. From new ways to get here to new things to do, this cheat sheet recaps some of the most recent highlights making headlines in Miami’s tourism sector.

Miami remains a top destination booked according to Q1 reports, but the city and region are only just getting started. 

New Hotels

CitzenM Miami World Center opens fall 2022, bringing an affordable luxury approach to hotel stays with 351 app-controlled bedrooms, a rooftop bar and fitness center. It joins the almost opened CitizenM Brickell Hotel (June 21) that includes 252 smart bedrooms with a rooftop open exclusively to hotel guests, with a pool, bar, and fitness area.

Among boutique hotels that opened recently, Gabriel South Beach is a newcomer powered by renewable energy. The Balfour brings Art Deco details and a dining scene worth checking out. Meanwhile, the Goodtime Hotel was ranked the 14th best new hotel according to TripAdvisor. Klimpton launched its boutique Palomar Hoteland Marriott did the same with Moxy Hotel, bringing more intimate properties to South Beach. 

AC Hotel Miami Dadeland, South Miami’s newly opened hotel that’s connected to Dadeland Mall, features contactless robot food delivery service in partnership with Cartken and FanFood. Upon check-in at AC Hotel Miami Dadeland, all guests will now be provided with a QR code that directs them to FanFood’s website where they will be able to choose and order from participating restaurants within Dadeland Mall’s Dining Pavilion.

Looking forward, Atwell Suites, a new hotel brand for IHG will open its first location in Downtown Miami in November 2022,  Treehouse Brickell has been announced for a 2025 opening. 

New Routes

It’s all about resuming previous service and starting new routes this year. For example, Sky Airline Peru launched a new flight from Lima earlier this year while Red Air now features a twice daily flight from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

In the U.S., getting to Miami has never been easier. Spirit Airlines rolled out 30 routes to Miami this year. Alaska Airlines also boasts a forthcoming daily flight to Miami this June. American Airlines has seasonal flights between November and April connecting Miami to cities across the country, including Albany, Burlington, Madison, and Tulsa.  

American Airlines also has new international services from Paris, Toronto, Martinique, Chetumal in Mexico, and San Andreas Island in Colombia.

Beyond the U.S., Frontier Airlines recently started a new service from Aruba. Air Transat also launched three weekly services from Montreal. WestJet returned recently with four weekly flights from Toronto and Air Canada resumed its service from Montreal and Toronto, ensuring Canadians have ample access to Miami.

SAS has seasonal service from Nordic cities including Copehnagen, Stockholm and Oslo. Finnair also maintains seasonal service from Helsinki and Stokcholm, while LOT is bringing Polish visitors in three times weekly. Lufthansa resumed its service from Munich. And for North African travelers, Royal Air Maroc brought back its service from Casablanca.

New Transport Options

Getting around Miami is convenient as ever with new services across the destination. The new transportation hub MiamiCentral allows for maximum connectivity with public transit options including the Metromover®, Metrorail®, Metrobus®, and City of Miami Trolley Systems. It will also link with the upcoming Tri-Rail Downtown Miami Link Service, a project through the South Florida Regional Transportation (SFRTA) and partners to extend the Tri-Rail commuter rail service to Downtown Miami. 

Miami Central also links South Florida’s Brightline express train which recently returned to regular service. Brightline rail service is also taking the next step to begin rail service linking Miami and Orlando in early 2023 by running trains without passengers between West Palm Beach and Cocoa starting next week and continuing throughout 2022. The trains in that new 130-mile stretch will be training engineers and conductors on the territory, going round trip once daily. 

On the water, Poseidon Ferry, Miami’s long-awaited waterborne commuter service, resumed hourly trips between Miami and Miami Beach. There are also two anticipated new routes that will be announced in 2022 including Miami/Miami Beach/Coconut Grove and Miami/Bimini/Nassau. 

Sustainable Tourism Grows in California 

According to recent statistics, 87% of vacationers care about sustainability when they travel. In California, destinations from North to South have embraced regenerative tourism, offering visitors a host of feel-good travel options.PLAY

Redwood Wonder

The Redwood Forest area in Del Norte County is a natural wonder worth seeing and preserving. With Redwood Rides Adventure Outfitters, visitors can tread lightly with their “leave no trace” wilderness ethics whether mountain biking through the forest, running the rapids on the Smith River or casting a line from an ocean kayak.

Bridge of Hope
The Sundial Footbridge on the Sacramento River in Redding is the first bridge that famed architect Santiago Calatrava designed in the U.S. The bridge links the Turtle Bay Museum to a 200-acre Arboretum. The bridge was designed to not harm the native habitat, with no columns in the river and translucent materials on the footpath to avoid casting shadows on the spawning ponds of the river’s salmon.

Cultural Connections
Learn more about the land and history of the Palisades Tahoe region on a cultural tour led by a member of the local Washoe Tribe. Visitors will learn about natural landmarks, native plants and animals and the Washoe way of life.

Giving Back
Travelers in Visalia that want to really connect to preserving nature can take part in conservation and stewardship volunteer activities with Sequoia Riverlands Trust, dedicated to preserving the nature of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley. Visitors can help out in the Dry Creek Preserve plant nursery propagating native grasses and drought tolerant plants, or trail maintenance and tree planting crews at Kaweah Oaks Preserve.

EAT

Adkins Family Vineyards

Located in California’s Gold Country, Adkins Family Vineyards is a 100% solar powered winery that is on the path to also becoming a certified organic winery. The boutique winery has 35 acres of vineyards and is known for its Viognier wines.

Go Fish
You’ll know you’ve found Fish when you find the line running out the door. The popular Sausalito seafood spot is known for its fresh, sustainably sourced seafood at both its restaurant and market. In fact, they were awarded the Sustainable North Bay Award to honor their commitment to protecting wild fish populations and helping the local economy by supporting local fishermen.

Sustainable Sips
You’ll feel good about tasting your way through Temecula’s Ponte Winery portfolio knowing that the winery has been committed to sustainable farming and winemaking practices since the mid 1980s. Ponte uses composting, reduced water practices and natural pest controls in the winemaking process and is committed to energy reduction and recycling in all its facilities. The winery was the first in Temecula to achieve the Certified California Sustainable Winegrower (CCSW) designation.

Plotting the Future
The Plot in Oceanside is a plant-based restaurant that has cut its produce and dry goods waste to under 1%, an unheard-of number in the restaurant industry. The Plot focuses on whole vegetables, many of which come from the garden behind the restaurant. Don’t miss the Chicken & Waffles, whole grain waffles, smoky maple syrup, habanero shallot sauce, house cashew butter and crispy-coated fried tofu cakes.

STAY

Iconic and Sustainable

Known for amazing golf, luxury car shows and stunning ocean views, Pebble Beach Resorts are now also making a name for themselves as eco-friendly. Over 75% of the hotels’ energy comes from renewable sources and water conservation efforts include using the high-tech Rain Bird Cirrus irrigation system to water the famous golf courses more sparingly and sustainably. The resort also works diligently with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and others to address incidental golf ball accumulation in the marine waters off Pebble Beach.

For Shore
Located just steps from the iconic Santa Monica Pier and with each room boasting ocean views, Shore Hotel is an eco-friendly hotel that doesn’t sacrifice luxury for sustainability. It was Santa Monica’s first LEED Gold Certified hotel. The pool is heated through solar energy and guest rooms are designed with energy reducing climate systems, low-flow shower heads and enough natural light to eliminate the need for using lots of lighting.

What’s Old is New
Two Bunch Palms might be one of the oldest resorts in Coachella Valley, but it’s one of the most modern when it comes to sustainability. The wellness resort was the first solar-operated hotel in the Coachella Valley and is the only carbon-neutral wellness resort in the nation. In fact, it has a 3.5-acre solar farm on property that not only saves energy, but also reduces the resort’s water consumption by 21 million gallons a year.

Go Green
The Ranch at Laguna Beach recently was rewarded with the highest level of certification in California’s Green Lodging Program. The resort employs a wide variety of eco-friendly practices including grinding used glass bottles into sand for its golf course bunkers and irrigating with reclaimed water, which saves 20 million gallons of water annually. The just-launched OC Tree Collective is helping plant trees throughout the area’s communities, while a new program encourages employees to collect organic waste for composting.  For more about how sustainable travel matters to California visit travelmattersca.com, and for more story ideas and inspirtation visit media.visitcalifornia.com

What’s New in Philadelphia 

PHILADELPHIA (May 2022) – Discover what’s new or coming soon to Philadelphia, including top awards and accolades, new hotels, restaurants, museums and exhibits and more.

Awards and Accolades
Top publications regard Philadelphia as a must-visit destination

Condé Nast Traveler selected Philadelphia for its 2021 Gold List, joining only seven other destinations around the world. Condé Nast editor Betsy Blumenthal remarks that, “there’s really something special about Philadelphia,” citing the sprawling Fairmount Park and the city’s “Italian Market and its small world of vendors, about the mosaics glinting in the sun, the digestible chaos of Chinatown,” as a few of the characteristics that elevate Philadelphia to a destination worthy of the world’s attention. Philadelphia also landed on TIME’s World’s Greatest Places list for 2021, which spotlights the new experiences on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a diverse culinary scene that is “vibrant as ever.” Travel + Leisure also named Philadelphia as one of 11 cities for Must-see Pieces of Public Art Around the World, citing iconic sculptures such as LOVE and Rocky, as well as the work done by Mural Arts Philadelphia and the Association for Public Art.

Additional Philadelphia praise comes from travel guide Frommer’s, which includes Independence Hall as one of their top places to visit, remarking on the tales shared by national park rangers that reveal mistakes, goals, and debates of the Framers and their ability to compromise for the sake of the founding of the nation. Fodor’s Travel likens Philadelphia’s history, culture, and food (and the city’s many pubs) to experiences found in London, perfect for U.S. travelers seeking a global experience in 2022 without leaving the country. Travel + Leisure highlighted Philadelphia’s many diverse neighborhoods and cultural experiences they offer. As voted on by USA Today 10Best readers, the Schuylkill River Trail was named one of the top riverwalks in the nation and the historic Reading Terminal Market was named the best public market in the United States.

Philadelphia’s food scene also continues to receive high honors, with Eeva being named one of Eater’s 11 Best New Restaurants in America. Two other restaurants in Philadelphia – Little Nonna’s and Vetri Cucina – made it on Thrillist’s list of 34 Best Italian Restaurants in America. Local chef, poet, and historian Omar Tate and his pop-up, Honeysuckle, received Esquire’s Chef of the Year and Pop-Up of the Year honors in 2020. Chef Tate was also recognized on Time Magazine’s Time100 Next List for 2021. Condé Nast Traveler has included Laser Wolf — an Israeli grill from the team behind the acclaimed Zahav — on their 2021 Hot List, naming the Fishtown eatery as one of the best new restaurants in the world.

Hotels
New hotels are open in Philadelphia, with other properties undergoing renovations

Philadelphia welcomed several new hotels over the past couple of years, including Hyatt CentricCanopy by Hilton, and Guild House Hotel – which was named one of The Best New Hotels in the World by Travel + Leisure for 2022. Several existing properties also received high honors. The Four Seasons (and its spa program) received Forbes’ prestigious Five-Star ranking, as well as a AAA Five Diamond Hotel Designation. Meanwhile, The Rittenhouse was named the top hotel in the mid-Atlantic by Condé Nast Traveler. Other hotels underwent renovations to deliver guests an updated experience, including the Sheraton Philadelphia DowntownWindsor Suites PhiladelphiaCourtyard Philadelphia South at Navy Yard, and Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.

Travelers can also enjoy new hotel options that debuted in 2021, including the Live! Casino & Hotel in the South Philadelphia Stadium District. In Center City, the new Element Philadelphia and luxurious W Philadelphia are now open, sharing a building and 45,000-square-feet of meeting and event space along Chestnut Street, just steps from popular downtown attractions. For more updates on Philadelphia’s hotel community, click here.

Dining
Liberty Point (pictured), Philadelphia’s largest restaurant in modern history, now open on the waterfront

Liberty Point made its debut as the largest restaurant in Philadelphia on the Delaware River waterfront on May 3, 2022. The 28,000 square foot restaurant (25,000 square feet of space outside and 3,000 square feet of space inside) is adjacent to and wrapped around the waterfront side of the Independence Seaport Museum. The giant indoor-outdoor space is able to host up to 1,400 people at a time. The design includes three main levels for food, drinks, and live entertainment, along with smaller sub-levels, a stage for live music, five bars and breathtaking views of the water. Liberty Point is the latest endeavor of FCM Hospitality, who also owns Craft Hall on Columbus Boulevard.

Museums & Attractions
The first major exhibition devoted to Matisse in the 1930s is set to open at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

A visit to Philadelphia in 1930 inspired Henri Matisse to develop a new creative approach and outlook that he would showcase in his work in the later part of his career. Matisse in the 1930s is the first exhibit to ever be dedicated to that pivotal decade in Matisse’s art. The special exhibition was made possible by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris and the Musée Matisse Nice. Opening at the Philadelphia Museum of Art – the only venue in the United States to host this exhibit – Matisse in the 1930s will be on view from October 19, 2022 through January 29, 2023 before traveling to Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris and then the Musée Matisse Nice. The exhibition will invite guests to immerse themselves in Matisse’s work. More than 100 of the artist’s works will be on display, including renowned and rarely seen paintings and sculptures, drawings, prints, and illustrated books.

Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
This spring, the work of Sean Scully, one of the leading abstract artists of our time, will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas will highlight the artist’s unique contributions to contemporary art through his signature stripes and bold experimentation with scale and composition. The exhibition has been expanded to include additional paintings throughout several galleries, totaling more than 100 of Scully’s works. Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas opened April 11 and will be on view through July 31, 2022.

World premiere exhibitions at The Franklin Institute
Harry Potter: The Exhibition invites wizards, witches and muggles of all ages to explore a collection of authentic film props at The Franklin Institute. The groundbreaking exhibition spans thousands of square feet and features 10 distinct areas. Guests can choose their house and wand at the beginning of the magical experience — decisions which will deliver a personalized journey as they encounter the characters, moments, beasts and settings from the Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, and expanded Wizarding World franchises. The magical exhibition debuted in February and will be on view through September 2022. Another world premiere exhibition set to open at The Franklin Institute in February 2023 will celebrate 100 Years of the Walt Disney Company. The anniversary exhibit will celebrate a century of innovation and imagination from the creative empire, while also honoring its founder Walt Disney’s legacy. Galleries and hundreds of Disney artifacts – some never seen outside of the company’s vaults – will be on display. The characters and stories that the Walt Disney Company has brought to life from 1923 to 2023 will also be incorporated into the exhibit.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Franklin Institute are just two of Philadelphia’s vast collection of museums. There are so many more museums to explore throughout the city. For a list of museums that are now open in Philadelphia, click here and be sure to also check out our top can’t miss exhibits.

The Clay Studio opens state-of-the-art facility in South Kensington
The Clay Studio‘s new state-of-the-art, 34,000-square-foot, four-story home in South Kensington is the first-of-its-kind ceramic arts facility built from the ground up in the United States. Established in 1974, The Clay Studio is a non-profit arts institution dedicated to promoting and creating ceramic arts through artistic, educational, and community programs. Visitors to the building at 1425 North American Street will be greeted by The Clay Studio’s Inaugural Exhibition Making Place Matter. The exhibit features work by Peruvian-born artist Kukuli Velarde, American-born, Massachusetts-based artist Molly Hatch, and Egyptian American artist Ibrahim Said, now based in North Carolina. Through the use of clay, each artist explores the idea of place with regard to personal history, cultural heritage, and social justice. Making Place Matter will be on view through October 2, 2022. Also on view, artist Nitza Walesca’s Mi Herencia, Mis Raices… My Heritage, My Roots.. is inspired by the artist’s indigenous Puerto Rican, Taino heritage. A South Kensington resident herself, she creates innovative vessels based on traditional forms and adorns them with Taino symbols. Mi Herencia, Mis Raices… My Heritage, My Roots.. will be on view through May 29, 2022.

Outdoors
Recreational updates continue along the Delaware River waterfront

The central section of the Delaware River Trail was completed in Spring 2022 and offers a protected lane for biking, walking, jogging, and running along the eastern side of Columbus Boulevard. Stretching from Spring Garden Street to the north all the way to Washington Avenue to the south, this section of the trail now connects and adds to the accessibility of top waterfront destinations including Race Street Pier, Cherry Street Pier, Spruce Street Harbor Park, and Penn’s Landing. The trail is just one part of a larger project being undertaken by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, which will eventually include a new park spanning interstate 95 at Penn’s Landing as well as the transformation of “Graffiti Pier” in Port Richmond into a recreational park.

10 New Orlando Experiences for Summer 2022 

ORLANDO, Fla. – As one of the most sought-after destinations in the U.S., Orlando maintains its popularity as one of the top places for summer vacationers and promises an array of new experiences for visitors planning their next trip to the Theme Park Capital of the World. In addition to new attractions at Orlando’s theme parks, the destination is offering up even more new adventures ranging from a new golf entertainment venue from Tiger Woods to an alcohol-free speakeasy concept.

“Orlando is ready to welcome summer travelers with unforgettable new experiences,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO for Visit Orlando. “Whether you’re a theme park expert or a first-time visitor, there’s always something new to discover in Orlando with a variety of new hotels, unique restaurants and one-of-a-kind attractions to explore and create new vacation memories.”

Continuous updates on what’s new in Orlando can be found at VisitOrlando.com, the official visitor information source for the destination. On the website, visitors can also make an appointment for a complimentary, personalized one-on-one Vacation Planning Service with one of Visit Orlando’s vacation planning experts for advice and guidance on building the perfect itinerary.  

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic RewindEPCOT‘s first “other-world” showcase pavilion opens May 27, featuring a new storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees to focus on the action, including the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.
  2. Ice BreakerSeaWorld Orlando‘s first launch coaster features four launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch with a 93-foot-tall spike with 100-degree angle, the steepest vertical drop in Florida.
  3. Aquatica Orlando‘s newest water slide, Reef Plunge, offers eye-catching translucent cutouts and rings with twists and turn though 330 feet of fiberglass. A vibrant array of marine life, Commerson’s dolphins, leopard sharks and a variety of other cold-water fish are also part of the new dynamic habitat.
  4. PopStroke, a golf entertainment venue created in partnership with Tiger Woods, will offer a menu of handhelds and pizzas to enjoy from the indoor-outdoor dining room overlooking two 18-hole miniature golf courses. PopStroke even has an app to automatically keep track of scores on the course and is set to open in May at Waterford Lakes Town Center.
  5. Take a short drive to explore Orlando’s local neighborhoods and experience The BANDBOX – Orlando, Central Florida’s first alcohol-free speakeasy cocktail tasting lounge and vintage shop, will open this summer at Ivanhoe Village in Downtown Orlando.
  6. Immersion at London House, a new boutique restaurant by Chef Rikku Ó’Donnchü, features a tasting menu-only concept with a sensorial dining experience focused on science, climate change, sustainable farming and zero waste, where texture, scents and sounds are as important as taste.
  7. The New York Beer Project, set to open this summer in Winter Garden, will resemble an indoor beer garden complete with a gastropub, sidewalk bistro and up to 20 craft beers on tap.
  8. Three-time James Beard Award semifinalist and “Top Chef” contestant Chef John Tesar has brought his concept Knife Burger to the JW Marriott Orlando. Featuring a slightly more expanded menu than the original Texas location, the poolside restaurant offers classic, high-quality burgers as well as seafood burgers and salads, all made with the finest ingredients.
  9. The Tuscan-inspired, 126-room ette Hotel Orlandoopens in June near Disney World. Focusing on wellness as an alcohol-free property, the hotel offers culinary experiences in partnership with Michelin Star Chef Akira Back, along with The Spa at ette, with services for everyone from the modern minimalist to the unruly naturalist.
  10. AC Hotel by Marriott Orlando Lake Buena Vista will offer a state-of-the-art, 24-hour fitness facility, inventive chef-tailored dining and signature cocktail service. The property is set to open June 2022.

About Visit Orlando

Visit Orlando is The Official Tourism Association® for Orlando, the most visited destination in the United States and Theme Park Capital of the World®. Visit Orlando connects consumers with every segment of Central Florida’s travel community, whether for a vacation or meeting. Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks — as well as refreshing water parks, outdoor thrill rides, activities to connect with nature, and a dynamic dining and entertainment scene — Orlando is welcoming to travelers of all ages. With 450 hotels, visitors have choices that span multi-acre resorts to themed boutique hotels. Orlando’s trusted theme parks, attractions, hotels and businesses have developed comprehensive safety measures and worked closely with medical experts to create safe travel experiences. Find more information at VisitOrlando.com.

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Editor’s Note: For additional press information or high-resolution downloadable images, 
please visit VisitOrlando.com/media.

Game Changer: Bell Bank Park Powered by Legacy Sports Usa Opens in Mesa, Arizona 

Bell Bank Park created a new sports universe when it opened in Mesa, Arizona this past January, hosting youth sports clinics, college showcases and professional athletics – including Olympic development teams. The indoor-outdoor facility features a 5,000 seat Outdoor Stadium, 2,800 seat Indoor Arena, (35) Soccer/Lacrosse/Football Fields, (57) Indoor Volleyball Courts, (8) Baseball and Softball fields, (20) Basketball Courts, (41) Pickleball Courts, (12) Beach Volleyball Courts, Obstacle Course Racing Park, (22) Futsal Courts, Gymnastics Center, Dance Studio, Cheer Center, Sports Performance Center, Family Fitness Center, Wellness Center, and Kids Play Center.

Upon arrival, guests approach Miller Lite Way which features a 400-foot Vegas-style zip line. The shaded corridor then leads guests out to the 2.7-acre TIXR Great Lawn which is open to the public year-round. The park is even home to a new e-Sports Center and arcade with 70-plus games on display. The Gaming Center at Bell Bank Park features everything from traditional skeeball, air hockey and cranes, to immersive VR experience rides, multiplayer cooperative and competitive titles, and more. Soon, the area will have a full concession area, private rooms and facility booking, as well as the long-awaited esports programming, including leagues, camps, and tournaments. 

“It is hard to fathom such an all-encompassing facility, but we have it. Mesa now boasts 3 million square feet of turfed fields and more multi-sport courts than you can count,” said Visit Mesa Sports Director Lance Fite. “As a family traveling with young athletes, Mesa checks all boxes.”

Not to be missed is The G.O.A.T. restaurant and bar, creating a fresh focal point of the dining experience at the park. The restaurant provides a gastro pub experience through its elevated, made-from-scratch pub fare, with more than 40 beers and a full spirits menu. Size is everything at Bell Bank Park, and The G.O.A.T. is now one of the biggest restaurant-bars in the Phoenix area with over 100 TVs making it an excellent spot to catch a game while enjoying a cold beverage with friends and family and indulging in delicious food. 

Bell Bank Park will also be creating festivals and signature experiences for residents and visitors alike. Already host to national touring acts, most recently, the park became the official event site of Arizona Craft Brewer’s Guild beer festivals bringing even more excitement for the legions of craft beer fans in the region.

For more information or to explore the park online, visit www.BellBankPark.com.

MEDIA CONTACT: 

Michelle Streeter, Chief Communications Officer, Visit Mesa 
Direct: 480-682-3638 Toll-free: 800-283-6372 x345 E-mail: Michelle@VisitMesa.com

Travel Nevada Identifies Best Places to View 2022’s Astrological Events in the Silver State 

Against a backdrop of International Astronomy Day on May 7, Travel Nevada has mapped out the five biggest astrological events of 2022 and the best places to see them in Nevada so that stargazers and explorers can plan their next sky-viewing trip. International Astronomy Day is a day dedicated to natural science and viewing the wonders in the night sky, something that is especially enjoyable in Nevada thanks to its significantly low light pollution. The state is home to some of the last true dark skies in America and one of only seven Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world.

There are several stargazing hotspots in the Silver State, so professional and amateur astrologers really can’t go wrong wherever they set up their telescopes. However, to help travelers get a truly stellar experience (pun intended), Travel Nevada has paired this year’s major events with some of the state’s most awe-inspiring locations: 

  • Total Lunar Eclipse & Strawberry Moon at Great Basin National Park – Two of this year’s lunar events, the Total Lunar Eclipse on May 15-16 and the Strawberry Moon on June 14, offer out-of-this-world viewing experiences for aspiring astrologers. Travelers can view both events at Great Basin National Park, designated as one of the darkest places in the Lower 48 by the International Dark Sky Association. This National Park is also considered one of the quietest parks in the U.S. with the lack of big crowds, low light pollution, and Nevada’s second tallest hike-able peak.
  • Five Planets for the Viewing Eye at Massacre Rim Dark Sky Sanctuary – From June 18 through June 27, travelers can view Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn assemble a perfect line through the night sky. To view the line of planets in the best way possible, visitors can travel to the Massacre Rim Dark Sky Sanctuary. This sanctuary is one of seven in the entire world, receiving its Dark Sky title in 2019 by the International Dark Sky Association, and is located on the northwestern edge of the Silver State. Locals say during a moonless night, even the stars can cast shadows at this epic stargazing spot.
  • Perseid Meteor Shower on the Sunset, Stars & Champagne Train – Have you ever wondered what 150-200 meteors per hour looks like in the dark, clear sky? Then look no further than the Silver State, as the entire state of dark skies will have the Perseid Meteor Shower on full display. This celestial event, starting on July 17 and going through August 24, also aligns with Nevada’s prime-time Milky Way viewing season, where the cloudy, silvery streak across the sky is clear to see. Travelers can relax and enjoy these otherworldly events in the open-aired, interstellar constellation locomotive known as the Nevada Northern Railway’s Sunset, Stars & Champagne Train. Each ticket includes a glass of champagne and a variety of viewing pleasures from East Ely Depot in eastern Nevada to the Steptoe Valley.
  • Great Basin Astronomy Festival at Great Basin National Park – Stargazers can make plans now for this 3-day festival, Sept. 22-24, at Great Basin National Park. By day, travelers can explore the park’s alpine lakes, peak-bagging trails, ancient pine coves, and extensive cave system. Then by night, they can learn why locals say, “Half the Park is After Dark,” as Dark Sky Rangers lead presentations and guests can gaze up at the Milky Way with telescopes and learn from the region’s astronomical experts.

Whether visitors experience the glittering skies during one of these dark sky events or all of them, they’ll depart Nevada with an appreciation for perhaps the other reason it’s called the “Silver State.” 

To further plan your stargazing experience under the darkest skies in the Lower 48, visit Travel Nevada’s newly designed Stargazing page, where you can check moon phases during your trip and even download the perfect playlist to accompany your starry excursion.

EDITORS: for high-resolution images of Nevada’s best stargazing locations, visit here.

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Travel Nevada (the Nevada Division of Tourism) is part of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. It is responsible for promoting and marketing Nevada as a travel destination. Operating within a performance-based budget structure, Travel Nevada is funded solely by a percentage of lodging tax paid by overnight guests throughout the state. For more, visitTravelNevada.biz

Get Outside in California’s Gold Country 

Hiking, biking, golf, rock climbing, water sports, skiing, snowboarding, camping. When it comes to outdoor adventure, the Gold Country has it all! Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or a nature lover, the region has something for everyone.

National & State Parks

California is home to nine national parks and close to 300 state parks. The gem of the National Park System, Yosemite National Park, is situated in the Gold Country with entrances from three counties: Madera, Mariposa, and Tuolumne. Yosemite may be best known for its magnificent waterfalls and breathtaking granite peaks, but the park is full of dramatic valleys, lush meadows, giant sequoias, and a vast wilderness. Visitors can hike, camp, bike, rock climb, raft or  just look up at El Capitan in awe. The state park system offers dozens of options for outdoor recreation including the Auburn State Recreation Area, Marshall Gold State Historic Park, Emerald Bay State Park, D.L. Bliss State Park, Donner Memorial State Park, and Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The terrain of Prairie City State Vehicle Recreation Area varies from flat grasslands to rolling hills to cobbled mine tailings – evidence of the search for gold in the 1800s – which creates exciting trails for motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Hiking & Biking

Yosemite National Park is home to many legendary hikes, whether you have your eye on conquering the summit of Half Dome or are looking for an experienced guide to take you on a multi-day hike through the High Sierra. The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is a spectacular site and hikers can take a five mile hike to Wapama Falls. Submit trails completed in Tuolumne County to earn a virtual badge through Visit Tuolumne County’s Trail Heads Program. On the southern side, the Wawona Meadow Loop Trailtraverses one of the largest meadows in Yosemite National Park. The trail is horse-friendly, dog-friendly, and bike-friendly, too. Hikers and bikers on the Arnold Rim Trail will see breathtaking vistas with panoramic views stretching from Mt. Diablo in the Bay Area to snowy Mt. Lyell on the high eastern slopes of the Sierras near Yosemite. El Dorado County is home to arguably some of the most scenic hiking in the United States. At Sly Parkriders can roll through the Sierra foothills’ diverse woodlands with rewarding downhills on the 6.5-mile loop south of the lake or take the loop around the lake with a flat, double-wide trail suited for beginner and intermediate riders. The Lake Clementine Trail is a gorgeous panoramic hike along the North Fork of the American River that passes underneath the Foresthill Bridge, the tallest bridge in California, and leads to the cascading waterfall of the North Fork Dam at Lake Clementine. Several other hiking and biking trails are located throughout the Auburn State Recreation Area, including sections of the famed Western States Trail that traverses 100 miles from Squaw Valley to Auburn. Hidden Falls Regional Park in Auburn offers 30 miles of multi-use trails with great views for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

The Tahoe Rim Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail are just two of the of the region’s vast trail networks boasting unimaginably gorgeous vistas. You’ll find beautiful hiking throughout the foothills with its rolling hills, diverse vegetation, and wildlife. Just east of Sierra City, the Pacific Crest Trail winds itself across Haypress Creek, then emerges at the Yuba River at Loves Falls creating spectacular waterfalls. The sleepy Gold Rush town of Downieville transforms into a mountain bike mecca with world-class downhill and cross-country trails. Downieville has become synonymous with seemingly endless single-track trails running through heavily forested ridgelines, canyons, and mountain streams and rivers and is the home of the 14-mile, 4000-foot descent of the world-famous Downieville Downhill.

“Down the hill” in Sacramento, bikers flock to the 32-mile paved American River Parkway Trail,  which follows the river from Sacramento through Rancho Cordova to Folsom. For more leisurely exploration, hop on tandem and four-some bikes that are big enough for the whole family in Old Sacramento. Rent a road or mountain bike to explore the trails around Lake Natoma in Folsom or just cruise on an e-bike around town. 

Water Sports

The American River through El Dorado County offers an unforgettable experience for water lovers. Made famous by the 1849 Gold Rush, this is the river where James Marshall first discovered gold. Today, the South Fork is California’s most famous whitewater river. Both the upper and lower sections of the American River promise great rapids and gorgeous scenery. The upper section of the American River quickly becomes a rollicking ride over countless rapids such as Meat-grinder, Racehorse, Triple Threat, and the infamous Troublemaker. The South Fork is an intermediate Class III adventure that’s appreciated by rafters of any age and skill level. The North Fork and Middle Fork of the American River in Placer County offer intermediate-advanced Class III-IV+ adventure with spectacular scenery. In Sierra County, the Yuba River provides great Class 4 and 5 whitewater rafting nearly all summer long. Bass Lake is a year-round vacation spot just 19 miles from Yosemite National Park’s south entrance. Bass Lake offers plenty of activities including swimming, water sports, and boating.

The Sac State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma, home to world class rowing championships, offers an assortment of watercraft rentals from boats and kayaks to stand up paddle boards and windsurfers. If you don’t have your own, SUPs and kayaks can be rented at many points along the river. Families can enjoy California’s 4th largest reservoir, New Melones Lake –located off Highway 49. This beautiful environment offers endless gorgeous days of swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing, camping, hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. The Folsom Aquatic Center, open year-round, offers aquatic fitness activities including lap swim, lessons, aqua aerobics, and a water slide and kids pool activity area.

Rock Climbing 

Rock climbing is having a moment. Between films like “The Dawn Wall” and “Free Solo” and its inaugural spot in the Tokyo Olympics, it seems like everyone is getting into the sport—or at least watching! Gold Country is home to some of the best rock climbing in the west. Why not take a lesson from the Yosemite Mountaineering School? Guides will get you on the highest—or tamest—peaks of Yosemite National Park. While in the area, a stop at the Mariposa Museum and History Center to check out its newest exhibit that traces the history of rock climbing in the Yosemite Valley. Nearby, Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides provides outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels the opportunity to experience rock climbing in Yosemite National Park, and the surrounding wilderness. Revered for their “Backcountry Gourmet” menus and signature “Alpine Start” coffee, this outfitter offers a first-rate approach to spending time in the backcountry.

In Placer County, Donner Summit is a must-do for climbers looking for quality and variety. This destination features trad, multi-pitch trad, sport climbing, and bouldering. Or head into the Auburn Quarry and scale the limestone cliffs of Cave Valley.