Cities to Visit for Art’s Sake

If you’ve ever wanted to see famous paintings in person but have not, why not? Especially since domestic and international cities and their museums have never been so accessible. Whether you’re a seasoned art traveler or merely considering getting your feet wet, these destinations and their art will stir your imagination.

Seattle/Tacoma, USA

The Seattle Art Museum exhibits works by famous artists such as Renoir, Monet, Cézanne, van Gogh, and Degas. They boast a permanent home to the iconic “The Great Wave,” however, a famous Japanese woodblock print by artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849). Most know the print on sight if they cannot immediately name it. They house a permanent collection of other exceptional Asian art. Dale Chihuly fans will also swoon at these city’s extensive and amazing collections of his blown glass.

New York City

Any art lover is missing out if they never take a pilgrimage to the Capital of the World and its world-class museums. Whether it’s a tour of the Guggenheim, the Met, the MoMA, the Whitney or any other art house, a visitor to New York’s bastions of culture will be thrilled to see some of the world’s favorite and most famous paintings, sculptures, photographs, and architecture. For just one famous example, van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” is a permanent resident of The Met.

Florence/Rome

If Italy is your destination, visiting Florence and Rome is a must for art lovers. Roman highlights include Michelangelo’s masterpieces Moses, and the Sistine Chapel frescoes (Vatican City), the Pietà, among many others. His masterful sculpture David is located in Florence, as are his former resident Casa Buonarotti (also painted by the master) and Bacchus, a statue of the drunken god of wine, complete with grapes and a chalice.

Santa Fe

If you want to stay in North America but still experience an aura of old world charm and mysticism, Santa Fe is a magical place. The epitome of art culture, this little big city full of its own painters boasts an excellent museum dedicated solely to Georgia O’Keefe and her art. It is the largest collection of her work. There are well more than 275 other galleries, however, with local and foreign art to admire. No matter your taste, you’ll find it here.

Toronto

Of course, if you want to stay in Canada, Toronto’s art is a must-see, and The Art Gallery of Ontario should be at the top of your places to visit. It includes Métis art from Christi Belcourt, including “The Wisdom of the Universe,” a colorful and iconic painting that world treasures along with Canada. Also in Toronto is more Chihuly glass throughout the city.

Paris

What art travel would be complete without a Parisian trip? The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay for the French impressionist masters, Centre Pompidou, and the Palace of Versailles are all within a short trip. You could see the legendary “Mona Lisa,” Monet’s water lilies, and “The Thinker,” among countless other famous works.

So what are you waiting for? Book tickets! Plan trips! But, if circumstances simply prohibit that for the time being, visit allposters coupon for your art viewing needs. Bring a famous painting print home!

 

 

 

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5 Travel Tips For a Stress-Free Vacation

We go on vacations to relax, especially when we are under stress. If you want to leave all your worries at home, make sure you follow the tips given below. These tips will also help you make your vacations stress-free and memorable. Read on to know more.

Get rid of the stress

Do you have limited vacation days? Of course, you can’t spend the rest of your life on your trip. So, you may use that limited time and get the most out of it. This way all the stress will be gone and you will have a lot fun.

Plan your events

Keep in mind that you will waste a lot of your precious time if you don’t plan your events before the vacation. After all, you don’t want a slight snooze, a delayed flight or a cancelled tour. It’s a good idea to plan for some activities for certain days. With careful planning, you will be able to get the most out of your trip without wasting a lot of your time.

Set a collective goal

At times, it becomes stressful to travel with others as everyone has different preferences. During your trip, your partner may not want to go to see an attraction that you want to see. How can you deal with such situations or conflicts? Actually, what you need to do is plan your vacation after having discussions with your companions. And you may want to decide on a collective goal. What is your aim? Do you want to go on a vacation for adventure, relaxation, celebration or romance? If you do this, you will be able to avoid the awkward situations during your stay at your favorite destinations.

Do your research

You may want to do as much research as possible about the place you want to visit. What you need to do is read up on visa requirements, cab estimates, restaurant options and public transport, just to name a few.

Pack light

How do you pack your stuff? Do you do this in haste? Do you pack all of your stuff for your vacation or you pack only what is required? Keep in mind that too much stuff will make it harder for you travel. After all, moving heavy bags to and fro the bus station or airport is a lot of hassle. What you need to do is pack the things that you really need during your stay at a certain destination. For instance, you don’t need to take a blowdryer with you. In the same way, you should not take the heels with you if you don’t need them. Instead, you should pack your sandals.

So, if you have been trying to find a way to get the most out of your vacation and remain stress-free, we suggest that you follow the tips given in this article. These tips are helpful for people who are going to plan for their vacation for the first time. So, this article can help you as well.

9 Most Beautiful Places To Visit

If you want to travel the world, you may have so many places to visit. In this article, we are going to discuss 9 most beautiful places that you may want to visit at least once in your life. Read on to know more.

Whitehaven Beach (Australia)

If you love white sands, Whitehaven Beach is the place you should visit. You can go to this island on a boat that you can get from the ports of Hamilton Island, Shute Harbor, and Airlie Beach. CNN called this beach Eco Friendly Beach. On this beach, cigarette smoking and dogs are not allowed. So, you had better not take your pets with you on the beach.

Spa Hawaii and Westin Maui Resort

This resort has a great lobby with pools and waterfalls. Apart from this, you can see a spa, a swimming pool and a lot of other great attractions. Both of the places are located near along the Ka’anapali Beach.

The Fairy Pools (Scotland)

If you are going to leave for the Isle of Skye, we suggest that you get ready to see the Fairy Pools, which is located in Isle of Skye, Scotland. The place is a series of waterfalls and cold pools.

Marble Caverns of Carrere Lake (Chile)

This natural wonder can be put on the list of most beautiful network of caves in the world. This network walls shows the magnificence of our planet’s geography. This is a must place to visit whenever you plan a tour of Chile.

The Shahara Bridge (Yemen)

Built in 17th century, this bridge connects the towns located on top of mountains in Yemen. As a matter of fact, Shahara Bridge was constructed for fighting Turkish invaders. This bridge is one of the best tourist attractions in the world.

Havasu Falls (Grand Canyon National Park)

If you want to see the paradise on Earth, go and visit Havasu Falls. This waterfall is located in Arizona. Actually, the fascinating waterfalls attract tons of visitors from around the world each year. This blue-green water is an important attraction of the Havasupai.

Fjaorarglijufur Canyon (Iceland)

Fjaorarglijufur canyon is located in the southeast Iceland. According to experts, it is around 100 meters deep and around 2km long. The Fjaora River flows through it and is located close to the Ring Road, which is also close to the Kirkjubajarklaustur village.

Arang Kel, Neelum Valley (Pakistan)

This is a beautiful village in Neelum Valley, Kashmir. This village is teaming with fascinating sceneries. This beauty can be found in Kashmir. If you really want to pay a visit to Neelum Valley, we suggest that you leave for Arang Kel.

The Dark Hedges (Northern Ireland)

Located in the Northern Ireland, the Dark Hedges is the most photographed place in Northern Ireland. Aside from this, this is a popular tourist attraction.

So, if you have been searching for the most amazing places to visit in the world, we suggest that you check out the destinations described in this article. Believe us; you won’t regret your decision of visiting these places.

Five Things You Need To Do In Washington County, Texas

Washington County, Texas is nestled in the central east part of Texas. Now, the county itself is relatively small (population is about 35,000 residents), but if there were ever a quintessential Texas county, this little guy would certainly be in the discussion.

The best part, and perhaps one of the most Texas characteristics of the county, is that Washington County is tucked inside of a triangle made up of I-35, I-45, and I-10. In essence, no matter where you are in Texas, you can easily drive to Washington County.

There happens to be a lot of Texas history wrapped up in this area of the state, and as such, it’s worth a trip out there. If you’re still on the fence about it, here are five things you need to do in Washington County, Texas:

Washington County Memorial Plaza in Brenham, TX – Texas has a long history when it comes to serving the county in armed conflict around the globe. In 2002, this memorial was erected & dedicated to honor more than 2,000 veterans of Washington County serving in all wars and serves as a lasting tribute to the men and women of Washington County who have worn the uniforms of the United States military.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, TX – On the campus of Texas A&M University, this museum tells the life and times of our nation’s 41st president (hence the nickname “41”). You can check out replicas of the White House Situation room, the White House Press room and an Oval Office.

Lake Somerville Marina and Campground in Somerville, TX – Boasting an astonishing 168 acres, at Lake Somerville Campground and Marina, enjoy a beach area, two playgrounds, marina fishing, a pavilion for family gatherings and more. Campsites include electricity and water, picnic tables and fire rings for roasting marshmallows, and telling stories around the fire. Don’t forget about available cabin rentals that overlook Lake Somerville.

The Gallery at Round Top in Round Top, TX- You may not have expected an art scene in this part of the world, but The Gallery at Round Top specializes on high quality original artwork by nationally renowned artists. The Gallery’s sister store, Comforts, also boasts handcrafted items designed for gift giving and for the home. It’s worthy of their tag-line: “Art Designed for Living.”

#Adventure290 – If you can’t make up your mind as to where in Washington County you want to visit, why not travel the entire county? Drive along Highway 290 between Austin, TX & Houston, TX & join #Adventure290 to help you discover the hidden gems in eight different communities along Highway 290. Using a county “passport”, you can become part of a scavenger hunt to help you see cool things along the way. Once you’ve completed the adventure, mail in your Passport for a fun bag of goodies!

It should be no surprise that an area as unassuming and quaint as Washington County, Texas would have a plethora of things to offer the traveler seeking new adventures within driving distance. Why not join the fun?

Seven Reasons Make Oman a Favourite Destination

If you looking for opportunities in the Middle East, Oman should be first on your list. You will feel at home here, since there is a large community of well established Indians present. The seven reasons which make Oman a favourite destination are described below:-

1. Beautiful landscape
Oman is an exquisitely beautiful country with a huge coastline containing spectacular beaches. It has the most beautiful landscape among all Gulf countries. The landscape is very diversified with deserts, beautiful coastlines, mountains and forests areas which is very unique. If you have a passion for adventure or water sports like scuba diving, sailing etc, then Oman could be ideal for you.

2. Simple visa process
As compared to Dubai or Saudi, Oman has a much simpler visa process for Indian nationals. If you have Indian qualifications, then you have to get your documents attested as per Certificate Attestation for Oman norms, which are very straightforward. You can take the assistance of the Oman Embassy authorities in India for attesting your birth, degree, experience etc certificates in this regard. They will help you willingly.

3. Tax free salaries
You are not liable to pay any income tax on your earnings in Oman. So, your stay in Oman will result in substantial savings.

4. Affordable cost of living
The cost of living in Oman is among the lowest in the Middle East. As compared to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, accommodation, health, schooling and transport facilities are much cheaper. One thing to note is that landlords usually charge two to three months advance unlike Dubai, where advance go upto one year. You will find all the shopping malls and international brands in Oman.

5. Alcohol consumption is allowed
Non Muslims are permitted to consume alcohol in licensed bars and restaurants with a valid license. This is a big advantage over countries like Saudi, where alcohol consumption is forbidden.

6. Education and Health facilities
If you are coming with your family, then you can be comfortably assured of excellent schooling facilities in Oman. The capital city Muscat has excellent Indian international schools which are following the same pattern of education like CBSE, ICSE as those in India. Also, unlike UAE, school admissions are easier to get due to less rush of expatriates. You will find many Indian teachers and other educational staff in schools. The other big advantage is that tuition fees are much lower, compared with Dubai. Oman has an excellent healthcare system for both its citizens and expatriates. There are outstanding hospitals equipped with the latest equipment. Many Indian doctors, nurses and healthcare personnel also work. Majority of employers in Oman provide mandatory health insurance to their expatriate staff.

7. Very safe environment
Generally, the crime rate in Oman is low due to the relative affluence of the native population, specially for women. Women can venture freely outside in the night. The law enforcement agencies are very efficient in Oman.

Enjoy Your Costa Rica Honeymoon or Romantic Trip

Could the fact that Costa Rica is the happiest place in the world according to the Happy Planet Index be the reason that so many people begin their married lives with honeymoons in this country? Or does this entice all couples who want to experience the best of romance in a natural setting? Both Money magazines and the New York Times highly recommend Costa Rica as the place to go. And the country has all the amenities to accommodate love: adults-only hotels and romantic or honeymoon packages proliferate but there are many activities available that are tailor-made for two people who only eyes for each other.

The Top 5 most romantic experiences in Costa Rica are:

1) Romantic dinner on the beach-Many hotels along the coast, from the super elegant Four Seasons in Papagayo Peninsula to Punta Islita and others offer secluded, catered dinners right at the oceanfront. Lovers dine on a specially created meal as the sea does its best serenade.

2) Couples massage-Certainly a lot of hotels offer massages for two, but nothing compares to Altos de Eros in Cañafistula, Guanacaste. High above the dry forest of Guanacaste, enjoy a dual massage in the open-air room looking out to the ocean. Afterwards, champagne and fresh fruit is served while indulging in the heated hydrotherapy pool and catching the sunset. A private dinner follows.

3) Hot Springs-In La Fortuna, the mineral springs are naturally heated by the famous Arenal Volcano. Hotels such as The Springs, Arenal Kioro, Tabacon, Arenal Springs and Los Lagos have these springs right on their property, and Nayara Springs gives its guests private pools with this healing water pumped in. Couples gaze into each other’s eyes as the hot water does its job of healing the skin and balancing the nervous system.

4) Boat ride-It may be a little pricey, but isn’t love worth it? Enjoy a private charted catamaran boat ride to a secluded beach, with onboard catering. Marlin Del Rey in Tamarindo and Papagayo offers this option. Or go even bigger and charter a yacht that explores all the Costa Rican shores. Yacht Charter Fleet offers a week in luxury with private crew to cater to all your needs from $150,000 to over $1 million.

5) Sunsets-Of course, there’s always the free romantic option available every day around 6 p.m. Arguably, the most beautiful sunsets in the world are found in Costa Rica. From the orange glow of cloudless skies, to the colorful palate displayed when it gets a little cloudy, no two sunsets are ever the same. In reality, this epitomizes the best of Costa Rica, and the blessing of nature inspires love and romance in every couple.

Creating Cuisine in Sayulita on the Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

What is it about Sayulita on the Riviera Nayarit in Mexico that keeps drawing us back? Located just north of Puerto Vallarta it’s a world removed from the “typical” tourist destination.

Is it because it’s a sleepy little fishing village with a laid back, surfer vibe that caters to our inner child of just being free to explore the ocean, the beach, and the Mexican culture of years gone by?

Is it that it’s a village that defies the temptation of becoming overly commercialized which in turn would destroy the warmth and charm of a hidden gem?

Is it the sandy beachfront with a long, gentle surf break with warm, clear water?

We believe it is all of the above and the “Sayulita Good Vibes” is really a state of mind that all visitors experience… and we are continually drawn back.

Establish a Base Camp

This article focuses on eating… plain and simple… since most everything you eat here is fresh, locally sourced, and reasonably priced.

Sayulita is an epicurean delight with exceptional dining options from “street food” to full gourmet restaurants.

We usually select the road-less-traveled and find vacation rentals that boast a well-equipped chef’s kitchen.

Once again Sayulita Life (sayulitalife.com) becomes the go-to site. They represent over 400 vacation rental options and we usually find the “perfect” place.

We love to cook and on this trip we lured two other couples with like minds to join us. Looking for a place for three couples to share brings the price point for the more expensive properties into a much more reasonable price range, too.

A Cornucopia of Fresh Ingredients

Sayulita and other surrounding villages have organized and scheduled many fresh air farmers markets that stress organic options, offering local fruits and vegetables.

One of our favorite markets was a short drive south of Sayulita in the La Cruz Marina Fish Market on Banderas Bay where you can purchase freshly caught fish, shrimp, lobsters, oysters and other assorted seafood all for great prices.

Fish markets have been a staple in Banderas Bay for generations, in fact many of the restaurants, personal chefs and caterers in the area shop here daily for their seafood.

In addition, the Sunday market features handmade items by locals as well as from the indigenous tribes in the area… each vendor can only sell what they personally made… now that is local pride.

Eating IN… The Personal Chef Option

For a special treat we hired three professional chefs on three different evenings to share their talent and treat us to their regional cooking from their respective heritages.

Justifying the decision to hire a personal chef for three couples that love to cook themselves was not difficult considering the alternatives.

Imagine if you will dining in the comfort of your vacation rental, and the only thing you have to do is to enjoy the cooking demonstration (if you want to), savor a refreshing beverage and anticipate the fabulous cuisine being made expressly for you and your taste preferences.

There is no shopping for the ingredients, no prepping, no plating, and best of all… no cleaning up. Everything takes place like magic… and for less than the cost of a similar meal at an outside restaurant.

You owe it to yourself to try it at least once for a special date or event and besides you are all on vacation… so create a memory!

The following are three unique chefs with their own style and specialties… all waiting for your call.

Chef Laura

We were introduced to Laura as our housekeeper at “Villa Sol Blau” and were told she is an excellent cook having prepared meals for numerous guests.

What we discovered is that Laura uses family recipes matched with local fresh ingredients and treats her dining patrons like “family” as she lavishes the warmth and grace of her heritage… we enjoyed a traditional meal and Laura’s charming personality… “Mom” was in the kitchen!

Laura prepared an authentic regional meal consisting of Green Chile Enchiladas and traditional slow cooked black beans followed with Chile Relleno with a poblano sauce and Mexican rice all based on a family recipe. Her Flan dessert was of course homemade and was delicate as well as creamy.

Chef Sofia Silva Sanchez

We “found” Chef Sofia on the Sayulita Life site and she also has her own webpage (sayulitachef.com). After reading the glowing reviews as well as her extensive menu options we made a date for dinner.

Sofia is a vibrant, effervescent, and a very personable individual and as a chef her wide range of cooking skills extend from traditional Mexican cuisine to menus offering Italian, Indian, Moroccan, Vegetarian and Vegan options.

Her excellent dessert reputation is definitely understated!

The meal began with Cucumber cups stuffed with Shrimp Ceviche, followed by an
salad of organic greens topped with chipotle dressing. The main entree consisted of tender pieces of baked chicken in a poblano sauce with Mexican rice and her dessert was homemade Key Lime Pie topped with strawberries and mint.

Chef Daniel Murillo

Chef Daniel is the consummate professional and performs his cooking with a flair… literally he lights up the room! Can you say… Flambe!

Daniel owns the restaurant “Mexotix” in the neighboring town of San Pancho which is a short drive north of Sayulita. He offers his catering and cooking services in Sayulita and we have enjoyed his exceptional “Mexican-Fusion with an Asian Twist” style on numerous occasions. (sayulitalife.com/mexotik)

Chef Daniel works with his Sous Chef Juan to create amazing food. He started with Seared Tuna with sesame crust served over tostini with cucumber noodles & alfalfa sprouts dressed with balsamic reduction.

Followed with handmade from scratch Empanadas stuffed with shrimp sautéed in citrus Mexican salsa & melted panela cheese.

With a bit of flash and fire Daniel sauteed an Octopus in orange reduction with hibiscus & chipotle served with grilled veggies & coconut rice… tender and delicious.

Eating IN… Prepare a Dining Experience Yourself

The three couples set up a friendly competition and over the course of three nights it was game-on! But our first stop was a trip to La Cruz Fish Market followed by visiting a variety of in-town markets and one more stop at the excellent fish market just over the bridge into town.

We started with the Team Challenge: Jumbo Blue Shrimp cooked three ways.

One Team prepared Seared Mahi-Mahi with organic greens and avocados.

One Team grilled two very large Spiny Lobsters with a lot of melted butter on the side.

One Team grilled two Sushi Grade Yellow Tail Tuna Steaks about two pounds each.

We all showed off our cooking skills, sampled exceptional wines from Chile and Mexico, and most of all enjoyed the experience.

Summary

Creating cuisine in a village with a cadre of personal chefs, fresh seafood, organic farmers markets and local vendors offering all of the ingredients that you need to make unforgettable gastronomical experiences… all set in a semi-tropical locale… is simply very special.

The “Sayulita Good Vibes” is really a state of mind that all visitors experience… and we are continually drawn back!

Viva Mexico… Viva Sayulita!

After all, what is the hurry… be inspired…

Fun Activities You Can Do by Booking Hotels Near Northlands Park

If you are visiting Edmonton, you are in for one exciting trip. This is referred to as Canada’s festival capital because throughout the year, there is something always happening. One of the focal points of your visit should be Northlands Park because it is the epicenter of fun in the city. There’s so much happening around and to get the best out of your visit, it is advisable to book accommodation around here.

If you are planning a trip to the city, booking a hotel near Northlands Park gives you a wide range of activities and attractions to visit. You will never endure a dull moment because of the many fun activities you can participate in just a short distance from your hotel. Take a look:

  1. Segway Tours of the River Valley

There is nothing as thrilling as a Segway tour of the popular River Valley. You will go through a short training session on handling the bike. It is an ideal family activity and you will enjoy the fresh air as you savour the scenery and learn new things about the history of the area.

  1. See a performance at the at the Winspear Centre

This is without doubt one of the most amazing experiences you will have in Edmonton whether you love theatre or not. The Francis Winspear Centre for Music is majestic and the concerts are fantastic. The sound quality is pristine and performers including the great symphony orchestra are terrific. It is a first class experience from the door to your seat.

  1. Rexall Place

From The Who at 50, Bruno Mars, Cold Play to Chris Stapleton, Lionel Richie, Rise Against, Boney M, Nickelback, Steve Earle and the Dukes to The Weekend, there is no dearth of great performances at the Rexall Place. Thisremains one of the top attractions around here. There is also hockey action for most of the year and it is a good place to wind up the evening.

  1. High Level Bridge Streetcar

This is a creative way to see a big part of the area and it is always a thrill when you have your family. The streetcar runs from Old Strathcona to downtown and back. It is only $6 and the forty minutes are worth it especially when crossing the high level bridge.Other incredible fun activities you will enjoy when staying at a hotel near Northlands Park include watching the game or show at Commonwealth Stadium, learning some history at the Alberta Legislature Building, discovering nature at the Muttart Conservatory, exploring beautiful art at the Art Gallery of Alberta, marvelling at aviation history at the Aviation Museum and much more.

Go on and find the best accommodation in the area during your stay and start exploring this exciting destination.

10 Things to Do in Atlanta on a Budget

If you’re visiting Atlanta in the summer, the very first thing you’ll feel is the great humidity, but that’s no reason to stay inside. There are hundreds of activities and places to explore outdoors, including the Atlanta Beltline. It’s one of the newest outdoor amenities in Atlanta, featuring 22 miles of reclaimed abandoned railroad tracks and connecting people and communities throughout the city’s neighborhoods. If New York’s High Line Park impressed you, Beltline will absolutely leave you, and it’s 1.3 million visitors, breathless. Not only is it a great, pet and family-friendly outdoor spaces, but there’s also public art installations, restaurants, and cafes right along the Belt

Looking for a park with even more nature? Head to Stone Mountain Park, a 3,200-acre park built around the world’s largest slab of exposed granite. There, you can take a panoramic ride to the top of the rock, view the Atlanta cityscape, ride their Scenic Railroad, hike the numerous trails, or have a picnic by one of the park’s lakes. It’s a full day adventure, but feel free to spread it over two days so you won’t feel rushed.

Still want to experience nature, but also need to spend some time inside? Grab tickets for the Atlanta Movie Tours, where tour guides will tell you behind-the-scenes stories about the over 700 movies and dozens of television shows filmed in Atlanta over the decades. Whether you’re a film buff or only see the summer blockbusters, you’ll walk away from the tours with new insight into the area’s rich film history and why the city’s a beloved filming location.

What about wildlife? Well you don’t need to leave Atlanta to see some amazing animals. Not only is Zoo Atlanta one of the four zoos in the United States who have giant pandas, but Zoo Atlanta is home to America’s only twin giant pandas, Ya Lun and Xi Lun!

Atlanta, despite being landlocked, also isn’t lacking fish and sea creatures. With over 10 million gallons of water and about 120,000 sea animals, including whale sharks, bottlenose dolphins, and beluga whales, the 12-year old Georgia Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Best of all, it’s only a 13-minute drive away from Zoo Atlanta, so you can visit both in one perfect day visit.

Still in the mood for nature and animals? The perfect stop to round out your visit is the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Not only will you be able to explore the state’s geologic history played out in exhibitions (including NatureQuest, an award-winning immersive experience) on limestone tiles which feature Jurassic-era fossils, a 900-gallon saltwater aquarium and a rich rose garden, you’ll see the world’s largest dinosaur fossil, Argentinosaurus, which weighs over 100 tons and measures 123-feet long.

Arriving in the spring? You’re just in time for baseball. Catch an Atlanta Braves game in their new SunTrust Park stadium, take a tour of Turner Field, or just relax in the stands and enjoy watching one of the most popular major league teams engage in America’s favorite pastime. If you’re not a fan of baseball, you can also watch a WNBA or NBA game at the Philips Arena, or see the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome for some live football. Racing and auto fans are also in for a treat with the Atlanta Motor Speedway and Road Atlanta.

And smack-dab in the heart of downtown Atlanta, you have the urban oasis that is Centennial Olympic Park. In addition to being near many of the other locations on this list, Centennial plays host to annual festivals and music events, a child-friendly interactive fountain, and an audio walking tour for anyone interested in the wealth of architectural and general history of the space.

In the mood for something unusual? Try the Center for Puppetry Arts It’s one of the world’s few puppet museums and featuring a behind-the-scenes tour and a glimpse of puppets from throughout the world and human history. You’ll also find an interactive exhibit specifically highlighting Jim Henson’s work and collection.

Finally, what would a trip to Atlanta be without the obligatory visit to the World of Soda? With a variety of special ticket offers and a low-cost general admission, there aren’t many reasons you should miss this, whether you’re a Soda fan or not. The dozen multimedia exhibits, hundreds of artifacts, and 100+ beverages will fill your trip with red-and-white splashed memories.

Alleppey – Where the Backwaters Stare Down the Arabian Sea

As you gaze around standing on the quaint wharfs of Alleppey, you see this as a sleepy small town to shed your city-slick poses and refurbish in the lap of brackish lagoons. But Alleppey begins to gesticulate wildly & springs awake to a whirlpool of activities when the boat race season and the fascinating Ambalappuzha Temple Fest knock at the door. And the sweetness of the legendary Ambalappuzha Palpayasam permeates a touch of it to everything in Alleppey.

Waves of holidaymakers and soul searchers are being drawn to Alleppey by its promise of tremendous greenery and the embrace of eco-tourism. Home to a hundred shades of green and a thousand sounds of tranquility, Alleppey spills with fairytale creation of stone-walled brasseries and expansive carpets of lush green paddy fields juxtaposed against confusing crisscross of water highways. Slumbering ‘Kettuvalloms’ (houseboats) are tethered to the shores and bob serenely in rhythm. Little hamlets thatched with coconut leaf are dotted here and there. Everything there seems to compete for the attention of palm-flanked backwaters.

A houseboat cruise is must. Sailing along the pristine backwaters it gives an otherworldly impression of Alleppey’s dizzying mix of farm life, trading & the general hustle. Listen… the Chinese fishing nets fastened on the shore glisten lazily in the sun as if to relate the story of how it reached here. Flocks of multihued ducks swimming close to the banks nearly deafen you with their quacking in chorus.

If your houseboat captain asks if you’d like to try fresh seafood prepared on board, jump at the chance to experience the magic of alfresco dining in the boat. Every ingredient like spices, fish, prawns etc can be purchased from the fishermen canoeing around. Wait till the appetizing aroma fills the air and soon you’ll be gorging on a typical Alleppey lunch seasoned with Kerala spices to the core! Perhaps one of these local fishermen may arrange a trip to Pathiramanal Island for you. Bang in the middle of the beautiful Vembanad Lake near Kumarakom, this isle on the backwaters is a pet haven of thousands of rare migrant birds from all over the world.

Hit the scenic beach of Alleppey complete with a sprawling shore-garden. The crowds at the century-old pier including magicians, fortune tellers, peanut sellers and many more can spark your interest and keep it lit till the end of the day. Vijaya Park and Sea View Park adjacent to the beach have enough rides and amusements to keep the crankiest child occupied for hours.

Alleppey hopping during the harvest time will present you an intrinsic experience of witnessing lines of ladies yanking up the paddies by hand and bashing them in a funny way, humming to some long-ago formed folk song. Heading back to your resort at sunset, the red-tile roofed houses seem to emit a fiery crimson against the backdrop of the pearly waters and palm groves. As the sun sinks down the horizon, the breeze freshens slightly as other people too hurry home to join the evening prayers.