Monthly Archives: May 2016

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UNESCO / Durmitor National Park

Many will be familiar with destinations from the UNESCO World Heritage List such as the Taj Mahal in India, Machu Picchu in Peru, the Pyramids in Egypt, Stonehenge in England, the Grand Canyon in Colorado and Lake Bled in Slovenia.  But did you know that also on UNESCO’s list of world natural and cultural heritage sites is Montenegro’s biggest national park, Durmitor? Durmitor National Park encompasses the Durmitor chain of mountains and the canyons of the Tara river with their 1,500 plant species and 130 bird species. The Tara River Canyon has been declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, and there are also the Draga and Sušica canyons, the Komarnica canyon valley and a great many mountain-tops – 48 of them exceeding 2,000 metres above sea-level. There are also 18 glacial lakes that have been dubbed the Gorske Oči – the Eyes of the Mountain. Along with hundreds of other destinations the world over, this park has been specially selected for protection by the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO). The park is of inestimable value to all of humanity as a centre for the development of Balkan flora, with features of both alpine and arctic and, on the southern slopes, in the canyon valleys, thriving sub-Mediterranean and even Mediterranean vegetation, while the lakes are a focal point for plant life more typical of the Siberian taiga. The mountain meadows and pastures, the deep fissures, rock gardens, scree slopes, melt waters, peat bogs and freshwater habitats are what makes this part of south-eastern Europe so valuable, and incomparable to anywhere else in the world.

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Durmitor National Park extends over 39,000 hectares, with 20,000 hectares under UNESCO protection after its inscription in the World Heritage list in 1980. Durmitor also comprises the highest-altitude town in the Balkans – Žabljak, located at 1,456m above sea-level and surrounded by no less than twenty-three peaks more than 2,300m in height.
German geographer Kurt Hassert said,
“Among the mountain giants of the south-Slavic countries, the most powerful and most magnificent is Durmitor”.

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Photography lovers will attest to the fact that the combination of mountains and lakes makes for some of the most beautiful, natural subject matter. Durmitor National Park is an inexhaustible source of inspiration from which some of the most beautiful works of art have sprung, and the very name Durmitor has some interesting stories associated with it. It is told that the word Durmitor is of Romanic origin, from the Latin word dormitorium – it was from this word that the Italian word dormitorio came, or dormire, meaning to sleep.  When they were advancing into this territory the Roman legionaries are said to have asked themselves whether perhaps the mountain was sleeping. Another etymology of the name Durmitor dates back to the time of the Celts. According to this version the name is derived from the Celtic “water from the mountain” – dru-mi-tor, which many find a more likely explanation.

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Some notable peaks dominate, setting the rhythm for all the others. The most striking are: Bobotov Kuk – 2,523m, Bezimeni Vrh – 2,487m, Minin Bogaz – 2,387m, Međed – 2,287m, Savin Kuk – 2,313m, Ljeme – 2,455m, Planinica – 2,330m, Crvena Greda – 2,175m and Pruta – 2,393m. The Austrian explorer Oscar Baumann was the first to scale the highest peak of Durmitor – Botovo Kuk – at a height of 2,523m, and his thoughts, written in “First Steps in Ciro’s Cave”, are still quoted today: “To our east stretched a deserted valley in the karst, full of rocky debris and snow drifts … while on the other side we were greeted by the green landscape … [A]ll was glistening beside Lakes Skrcko and Malo, which looked like two dark blue eyes”.

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In its unbelievably deep and picturesque valleys, beneath the mountain slopes, surrounded by rich plant life, Durmitor conceals eighteen glacial lakes or, as the locals calls them, the Eyes of the Mountain. Mentioning just a few of them, there are Modro, Zminje, Vražje, Riblje and, certainly the best known, Crno Jezero (the Black Lake) which is frozen over in winter but in July and August reaches water temperatures of twenty celsius or more.
This mountain range offers ideal conditions for active holidaying all the year round – hiking, biking, angling, mountaineering and snowshoeing – but Durmitor also offers opportunities to get to know its cultural and historical heritage with visits to sites preserving prehistoric remains dating back to the time of the Illyrians, as well as the Romans. A variety of cultural influences have left their mark in the form of various characteristic structures. The Illyrians left tumuli, or burial mounds, while characteristic of the Roman period are stone bridges, standing stones and caravan trails that can be found in this region. Necropolises with their stylised tombstones, the ruins of Turkish bridges and watchtowers along the old Montenegrin-Turkish border, the remains of the ancient fortification of Pirlitor above Lever and the three monasteries in the Tara valley, at Dobrilovina, Dovolja and Đurđevića Tara, raised between the 15th and 17th centuries – all bear witness to a thriving mediaeval world here.

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Seven areas of the Durmitor National Park are subject to special protection schemes, each with their own specific characteristics: the old-growth spruce and fir forest in the Mlinski Potok valley, the stands of black pine at Crni Podi in the Tara canyon, the Black Lake with its nearby forest, the Skrčka lakes valley and the immediate area of the Sušica canyon, the Barno Jezero lake with its immediate surroundings, the Zabojsko Jezero lake with surroundings and the area along the Tara river canyon.
Do you want to discover and enjoy the beauty of world heritage? Durmitor National Park is a destination you should not miss – just look at how magical the Black Lake is in winter.

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Top Foods to Try in London [infographic]

This post was originally published on IHG’s blog on May 9, 2016.

Planning a visit to London? After booking your flight and picking the perfect London hotel, the next item on the list is figuring out where to dine in this British metropolis. London is packed with everything from expensive, swanky restaurants to ultra-affordable, no-frills street vendors. The great thing about this city is that whether you dine in luxury or while just lounging on a park bench, you can enjoy some truly delicious food.

But what should you eat while you’re there? You’ll be bombarded with international cuisine options and hearty English dishes everywhere you turn. Tantalizing smells will waft from street carts, cafes and restaurants alike, all of which make it more difficult to decide what to eat. But on a limited jaunt in this city, you’ll want to make your menu selections carefully. It’s important to enjoy the traditional flavors this city serves up without missing out on some of the more exotic offerings.

To help travelers make the most of every meal in London, we’ve put together this hassle-free guide to the city’s best dishes. Use this menu to make sure you don’t miss out on the incredible flavors that London has to offer during your visit.

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5 Destinations That you Should not Miss in Montenegro

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1. Perast – a unique town, guarded by UNESCO and by the affection of all those who have spent time there. It is thought to be the oldest human settlement in the Bay of Kotor – the remains of a Neolithic culture (3500 BC) and archaeological finds are evidence that the site where the town stands has been settled since Illyrian, Roman and early Christian times, right up to the present day. Perast is best depicted by its numerous important buildings – fortresses, churches, residences and museums testify to the turbulent history of this region, and to the rule here of Napoleon, the French, the Austrians and other conquering nations. Two small islands, called Our Lady of Škrpelj and Saint George’s, face Perast in the bay, lending the town a special charm and authenticity.

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2. Mirišta and Plava Špilja – the former, an island close to Herceg Novi, on which the 14th-century Presentation of the Most Holy Mother of God monastery is situated (some even say it dates from the 11th century), the latter the “Blue Cave”, a unique natural feature on the Luštica peninsula. Two exceptional tourist attractions of this town which are well worth visiting. The entrance to the Blue Cave is guarded by cliffs reaching up to 40 metres above sea level. The deep blue emanating from the waters in the cave leaves visitors speechless.

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3. Porto Montenegro Tivat – the most luxurious marina in the Adriatic. It has been built to receive mega yachts but also smaller sailing boats. This modern tourist complex was built to the highest architectural and engineering standards, whilst retaining Mediterranean charm and warmth. The marina is designed to provide fun and relaxation, with everything you could ever need all in one place, from numerous international restaurants, cafes, organic food shops, clothes shops offering top international fashions, pools, galleries and museums – everything you need for a quality holiday. The combination of quality service and the magical setting will afford you an experience that rivals any of the elite European tourist centres.

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4. Sveti Stefan – the islet and the town sitting atop it. Once a fishing village situated on a rock just off the shore, connected to it by a narrow isthmus, in the seventies and eighties Sveti Stefan (Saint Stefan) became a famous resort for the world’s rich and famous. Famous actors, artists, kings and princes from all over the world have come to holiday in this magical seaside village, including, notably, Sophia Loren, who has been a frequent guest.

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5. Biogradska Gora National Park
Between the rivers Lim and Tara, in the middle of the Bjelasica mountain range, is the Biogradska Gora National Park, and within it, one of the last three European old-growth forests.This area has been protected since 1878, when it was encompassed by the so-called King’s Reserve – a gift to the then-king, Nikola. In the very heart of the forest, at 1094m above sea-level, is the Biogradsko Jezero lake. Its unique turquoise colour comes from the dense forest reflected in its waters. The woods are home to 86 tree species, many of them protected (incidentally, the Biogradska Gora National Park harbors 20% of all species endemic to the Balkan Peninsula). Nature-lovers can enjoy walksamong spruce, firs, beech, elm, oak and linden, while bird-watchers will want to look out for eagles and kites in flight. Large mammals include deer, chamois, bears and wolves. No less than 80 species of butterfly can be seen here too – 40% of all the species present in Montenegro.

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Art Through Ages – Montenegro / Museum of Herceg-Novi

The post below was originally written by Mila Bozic and published on May 13, 2016.

Pre-historical period to antiquity period – Boka region, Herceg Novi Montenegro

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In order to appreciate Montenegro’s artistic culture, one cannot refer merely to a few well-known monuments, rather, one should consider all works of art of this region and the circumstances in which they were produced and later discovered, to truly appreciate the tale of this place. At times, it is also important to consider allegorical documentation favored by the ancient Greeks when we speak about the art of this small region.

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Montenegro, is a small country, but the place has ‘old bones’ and it is one of the oldest regions known to early civilizations. If one thinks of its history, it is very difficult to define Montenegro’s geography in different historical periods since this very little region has been of interest of many imperialist powers though ages. Between many wars, Montenegro has been hit by natural disasters. As in neighboring Greece, earthquakes periodically destroyed many man maid objects of historical importance but there are still  many worth of mentioning.

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For example Locality of Malo Rose which dates from 6th to 10th century represents the beginning of the Christianity. From the church of the St. Toma in the village of Kuti and the churh in the village of Suscepan have been preserved stone decorative plastics, from 9th to 11th century, and altar stone partition – parapet plate.

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Most of Montenegro’s land is made up of Karst formations, but it is also rich in white marble, especially near places of the ancient Doclea. The second Roman manicipium is found here, which showed dedication and artistic spirit of the people that ones lived here since the grain of Montenegro’s marble is not fine and compact and it was very difficult to work with it die to its hardness, far greater that that of Pentelic or Carrera marbles that are somewhat soft and more approachable material.
For centuries, Montenegro was considered as a place that lacks material and modern riches, inaccessible for travelers, with a rigid terrain and very raw and untouched wild beauty. Its simplicity dates back in the ancient times, and has been maintained for generations and centuries. Testament to this are pure forms of several works (that people of northern villages still use) such as antique Cup with a handle and high cylindrical neck of backed clay, decorated with broad bands and orientation, displayed at the museum. This reminded me of my grandmother’s credenza full of very old backed clay dishes. However, this particular work of art found in the museum dates back to 2100-1900 B.C.

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Additionally two bowls, that have been discovered in the region, have small particles of metal, which introduces us already the next period – the early stages of the antiquity times. Objects such as small metal sharp harpoons and broken spears are seen on the dusty shelves of this tiny museum, and they have small faded Cyrillic writings below them. The alphabet itself is ancient, and even though Latin alphabet is commonly used in this region, many schools teach Cyrillic as a second alphabet to encourage new generations to stay true to its ancient roots.

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In Montenegro, the Neolithic Age, with all of its three phases such as lower, middle and upper phase, are represented by ceramic artifacts used for every day life. However, there are many more traces of Eneolithic cultures than of Neolithic ones, and this makes the evaluation of style and artistic trends more difficult.

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Some scholars believe that the decorations on Eneolithic bowls constitute of some sort of prehistoric sign system serving to identify particular races, each having their own group of symbols. One the other hand, some believe that these decorations form a part of figurative and and aesthetic language. One of the most important facts is that despite the small size of our country, one can forget to mention an enormous variety of folkloric traditions.

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The ethnological study of the dance, needlework, decorative art, costumes, jewelry, engravings, colors of the designs on terracotta bowls and, the local folk art of nearly every town, explains the large wave of migration from the north coast of the Black Sea (the Indo-European migration) which had tremendeous influence on this area. Although scientific proofs of many migrations are evident, sceentists are unable to identify a single Eneolithic “race” in Montenegro. On the basis of various facts and evidence found in the region, that there were several races. This is why historians still call Montenegro’s Eneolithic people by the generic name of “Indo-Europeans”. With that in mid, please refer to the following works of art which is a testimony of the first dwelling traces of human communities:

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One of those dwellings were discovered in the cave Vranjaj, under the peak Radostak near Herceg-Novi. They date from the Neolithic period (5000- 4000 BC).  More intensive populating became in Eneolith (2000 – 1700BC) and also during Bronze Age. The Bronze Age goblet with ornament from the cave Vranjaj. During the Bronze and Iron Age, burring under tumuluses was intensive – Glogovik, Vranjaj, and Djevojacke Grede.

In 1953, a home of Mirko Komnenic, is turned in the National Museum of Herceg-Novi.  It is a beautiful structure designed in the late-baroque style, and it was built in the late 18th century. Pseudo-baroque expansions and attached additions had altered the original appearance of the museum, making it look grand.

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Etched / engraved names with bayonets of the Russian soldiers, dating 1807 during the war with Napoleon, are decorating the authentic door on the ground floor. Later, this building gained the official title of the Regional Museum of Herceg Novi. Partial restorations of the museum occurred in 1979, 1994, 1996. and 2001.
In front of the Regional Museum there is an amazing Mediterranean and subtropical botanic garden, with more than a hundred selected plants, which are decorating park space of 1000 square meters. Many very exotic and extravagantly unique plants found its space here in this beautiful garden. Many kinds of palm trees, Agave plants, cactuses, aloes and many other plants grow in very unusual shapes and colors. During the blooming season, the blooms refine the ambiance. Here, we can find different sorts of climbing plants like Pitosporums, also the coastal Pine trees, Mimosas flower trees, Camellias, Magnolias and the fragrant and medicinal Mediterranean herbs.

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Mirko Komnenic donated his home as a foundation to the town of Herceg-Novi. In his Living Will and Testament, he wanted this building to be used in a form of town’s museum.
Mirko Komnenovic was active during the Balkan wars, he worked with propaganda and intelligence services against Austro-Hungary. Also, he was a prisoner of the Mamula Tower during the First World War. He was elected for the ambassador of Boka Kotorska in the National Parliament of the Monarchy of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians in 1923. and 1925. Also , he held the president position of the community of Herceg-Novi in 1930. He became the Minister of Social Politics and the National Health in 1935.
He was honored with many medals. These are one of many: White Eagle with swords, St. Sava’s of the first and the third degree; Russian: St.Vladimir’s 4th class, St. Stanislav`s 5th class, St. Ana’s 2nd degree; with French Legion of Honor, and Czechoslovakian officer Revolutionaries` cross.
Another interesting fact that demonstrates how great this man really was is his wish that his entire earnings and proceeds should be donated to the local orphanage home to help the orphans of Herceg-Novi, regardless of their religion or ethnic background.
This Museum houses a historical, archaeological, ethnological and icon collection of art.

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Kite Surfing Ada Bojana

The Ada Bojana island is surely a rare gift of nature, surrounded by the deep blue of the Adriatic Sea on one side and the Bojana river on its two other sides, forming a triangular shape.
Its sandy beach, famed for its beautiful sunsets and fine grainy sand is three kilometres long and faces the sea. Favourable winds create waves perfect for all kinds of extreme water sports, especially windsurfing and kitesurfing, and this is one of the best locations for these types of sport in the Adriatic. Advanced surfers will love the strong maestral wind which blows in from the sea in the afternoons, while amateurs can take lessons at the windsurfing school here.

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Kitesurfing is a fairly new extreme sport, combining elements of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing and paragliding, together with elements of gymnastics, and is a very dynamic sport. There are a number of styles of kiteboarding, which is why it has been likened to  “horse-riding on water”. Kiteboarding is done using small (7 to 15m2) specially-designed kite or wings. According to the ISAF and IKA, there were 1.5 million kitesurfers worldwide in 2012. We aim to popularize this attractive sport in the region and in Montenegro, where there is huge potential for its development.

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Montenegro Wine Tour

If you love wine and want a unique holiday  then you should not miss going on one of  the wine tours on offer in Montenegro.
It is not widely known that Montenegro, apart from its beautiful seaside and mountain villages, also boasts regions that are famed for producing exceptional and world-renowned wine varieties. France, Italy and Portugal have for many years been building credibility as top tourist destinations thanks to wine tourism. The many scenic regions of our country are perfect for enjoying this type of tourism. The mild Mediterranean climate, the composition of the soil and the favorable location provide ideal conditions for cultivating vineyards and growing grapes. The best-known grape-growing areas are Crmnica, Nahije, Komani, Bjelopavlici and other wine-producing villages around Lake Skadar. Montenegrin wines are produced from various types of grape, including Krstač, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Vranac.

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In 2010 and 2011, signage was put up and the “Wine Roads” of Montenegro were fully marked out. A tourist map of the wine tours can be picked up in local tourist offices in any town in Montenegro, at hotel receptions and in travel agencies. If you like an active holiday, the Wine Roads offer you a chance to visit wine cellars, taste wines, walk through the vineyards and even take part in grape-picking. Wine can be tested, tried and purchased in wine cellars, while some wineries also offer accommodation, so visitors can get the complete experience, learn about the history of the winery, see wine being made and of course enjoy the finished product.

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The Most Expensive Resort in Europe

Kumbor is a quiet and secluded coastal village close to the town of Herceg Novi, between Meljine and Bijela. It is currently the site of the largest tourist investment in Europe – called Portonovi. The first guests are scheduled to arrive at this, the first One and Only resort in Europe, in May 2016. The company Socar owns eight other exclusive holiday complexes around the world, in the Bahamas, South Africa, Dubai, the Maldives and Mauritius. All of them are found in the most beautiful locations around the world, each of them permeated by a unique authenticity which reflects the styles and features of the local culture.

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The company Azmont Investments will invest €500 million in the construction of the luxury Portonovi complex, which will be around 190,000 square metres in area. Construction is planned in this beautiful Mediterranean village of a five-star hotel, two sandy beaches, a spa and wellness resort, a conference centre able to receive 1,200, 100 luxury villas on the beach itself, villas with mountain and sea views, the Portonovi marina with 250 moorings for megayachts, the Portonovi beach club, the Portonovi VIP yachting club, a tennis club and a helipad. Small squares and streets will be lined with over 100 shops, clothes boutiques, bars, restaurants and cafes. There will also be botanical gardens and a public park with a children’s playground and an array of monuments, and the 16th-century Saint Neđelja chapel will also be preserved. There will also be two open-air pools and two kilometres of the Lungomare  promenade which will be open to the public. A fish and organic produce market is also planned, where fresh fish and locally-grown seasonal fruit and vegetables will be sold. There will be police and fire stations, as well as a sea rescue service. A water taxi will also be available. Work on this project began on 15th August 2013, with more than 3,500 workers employed on it.

Hipmunk Hotels: Budget-Friendly Adventures in the American West

The post below was originally published on Xpatmatt on April 14, 2016.

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Not every trip “out west” needs to empty your wallet and your savings account. In fact, there are plenty of adventurous destinations in the west that are affordable, uncrowded, and full of awesome outdoor activities for you and your traveling family. These five budget-friendly destinations offer everything you need to make the most of your adventure-based getaway.

Discover the Wild West in Missoula

Missoula is one of Montana’s most underrated cities. This hip town and its active residents are fueled by its surrounding scenery, littered with mountain peaks, rivers, and forests. Visitors can stay in the heart of downtown — minutes from some of the world’s best mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, rafting, hiking, horseback riding and more — for an affordable price any time of year. Opt for the budget-friendly Holiday Inn Downtown for gorgeous river views and a location that’s within walking distance of some of the city’s favorite sights.

Make Memories in Rapid City

Rapid City, S.D., is known as the home of Mt. Rushmore, but adventures extend far beyond the historic monument. Adventurers will find endless fun mountain biking, fishing, hiking, geocaching, horseback riding, and kayaking among the gorgeous scenery of the Great Plains and the Black Hills. Even better, you can stay in the center of town or inside the famed Black Hills National Forest on any budget.

Explore the Red Rock Landscapes of Moab

Moab is a place that adventure lovers dream about. Staying seconds from what are known as the greatest mountain biking trails in the world doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg despite Moab’s standing as an outdoorsy “resort town.” Stay close to the downtown museums, restaurants, and outdoors stores or walking distance to the area’s best parks and trails; you can always find an affordable place to rest your head at the end of a day filled with adventure.

Venture Into the Mountains in Vail

Escape the hustle and bustle of Denver to discover the White River National Forest and all of the adventures available at the Vail Ski Resort. You don’t have to pay outrageous resort prices to enjoy all of the mountain biking, hiking, golfing, and whitewater rafting adventures Vail offers in spring and summer. Instead, opt for one of many more affordable options, like the Evergreen Lodge, to stay minutes from the mountain town’s best features for an unbelievably affordable price.

Adventure Inland in Roseville

Roseville is just 30 minutes from Sacramento, but it’s one of the best places to escape the stresses of city life in California. The area is known for its pristine golf courses, artsy downtown area, abundance of museums, and parks and trails that make for pleasant bike rides, runs, and hikes. Your budget-friendly hotel in the heart of Roseville will also place you minutes from the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, where you can boat, swim, kayak, and fish on hot, dry summer days in California. Opt for a stay at the Extended Stay America or Residence Inn by Marriott Roseville for easy access to downtown and the outdoors.

Airlines Are (Finally) Offering High-End Food

The post below was originally published on Hipmunk’s  Tailwind blog on January 21, 2016.

While some airlines have distinguished themselves with awesome in-flight entertainment options or stellar amenities in first, business, and economy class, for the most part airline food has failed to keep up with these new high-end innovations. Until now.

That’s right: Airlines are officially improving their menus, especially on domestic flights. From using fresh ingredients, to offering healthier options, to recruiting talented chefs to revamp their menus, airlines are going out of their way to make their food better, reports USA Today.

It’s hard to say exactly why airlines have suddenly started to up their food game, but odds are good that the increasing presence of higher-end eateries in airports and consumer pressure are big factors. Airlines are finding that better food options result in higher online ratings and can offer a competitive edge in a review-happy marketplace. Here’s how that translates into better options for you.

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The Arrival of Better Food

Who benefits the most from improvements to airline food? Travelers, of course, in the form of fresher, more diverse, and more flavorful fare. Here’s an airline-by-airline preview of what hungry travelers can expect.

American Airlines

In an effort to provide healthier food options to passengers, American Airlines has added seasonal vegetables to its food options on several domestic, first-class flights. (The new dishes are inspired by restaurateur Sam Choy.) The airline is also in the process of revamping its first-class menus on other domestic flights by adding options like beef filet, shrimp and grits, and mac ‘n cheese. To top things off, American is featuring snacks from gourmet grocer Dean & Deluca—think raw almonds and spicy Cajun snack mix.

Alaska Airlines

In order to reflect and celebrate the airline’s home city of Seattle, Alaska Airlines now invites economy passengers to purchase Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches or other multi-ethnic offerings during their flights. The airline has also recruited acclaimed chef Tom Douglas to develop its hot meals (which are available for sale on any flight longer than 2 ½ hours), and works to source local ingredients from its many destinations.

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Delta Airlines

In November, Delta doubled the number of menu items offered to its first-class passengers on domestic flights. Entrée choices now include restaurant-worthy dishes such as grilled shrimp with roasted corn and tomato salad and lemongrass chicken with a Japanese Cobb salad. Delta is also upgrading its fare on transoceanic flights by introducing a seasonal rotation of menus influenced by various regions.

JetBlue

JetBlue is taking fresh in-flight food to a whole new level. The airline has gone so far as to open its own farm and garden at JFK’s Terminal Five, dubbed T5 Farm. The farm has been developed in partnership with GrowNYC, an NYC-based nonprofit that works to support the development of gardens and farmers markets throughout the city. The goal is for the farm to provide food that’s ultimately incorporated into the airline’s in-flight meal options, such as potato chips made from the farm’s own blue potatoes. In addition to potatoes, the farm will also grow herbs, leafy greens, carrots, and beets. If all goes according to plan, these items will make their way into JetBlue’s edible fare over the next few years.

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United Airlines

United has decided to offer fancier menu items, such as roasted duck and flatiron steak, in its first-class cabins. The airline is also using cage-free eggs in its economy-class entrees on domestic flights (as well as on international flights that depart from airports in the U.S.), and it’s attempting to add more flavor to its lunch and dinner options for first- and business class customers by infusing dishes with spices and aromatic herbs. To top things off, the airline has started to serve food in first-class cabins on a larger number of flights (even those that don’t take place over traditional meal times).

In addition to their custom initiatives, many of these airlines have also begun offering a healthier paid food option to passengers in the form of snack boxes. Delta’s Eat Tapas, JetBlue’s Pump Up box, and United’s Tapas Snackbox all contain hummus, crackers, olives, and perhaps some nuts. The airlines then put their own twist on the tapas concept by adding in supplements like pepper and artichoke dip (Delta) or roasted fava beans (JetBlue).

It’s not only U.S. carriers that are getting in on the action. Take just two international examples: Aer Lingus allows its passengers to pre-order traditional foods and meals, including Irish Breakfast. And British Airways is committed to offering a fresh snack or meal on every flight within Europe.

So rest easy, travelers: Your plane ride is likely to come with better food options in the (very) near future.

Nashville’s Not-to-Miss Attractions

The post below was originally written by Mila Bozic and published on May 10, 2016.

Nashville is the second-largest music recording and production center in the United States. Music is a crucial reason why this city became one of Americans’ favorite travel destinations. In addition, historical events and buildings related to the Civil War period urge visitors to dive deeper into the heart of this city. Besides excellent dining places where you can savor local specialties, Nashville has cozy and comfortable hotels. Check out some of the best attractions you shouldn’t miss in Nashville, and where to stay to see them, below.

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Image via Flickr by cliff1066™

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Many distinguished names in country music find their places in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which was founded in 1967. If you are interested to find out about the origins of country music, this is the place to be. Country music has always been an important part of the U.S. national identity, so one of the best ways to check out Nashville is to understand its history. Indeed, Nashville represents the Southern spirit in the best way.

Located in the heart of downtown Nashville’s arts and entertainment district, choose hotel accommodations in downtown Nashville.

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Image via Flickr by kla4067

General Jackson Showboat Lunch & Dinner Cruises

You’ll have the best time that can be had in Nashville if you join the General Jackson Showboat in a one-of-a-kind 300-foot-long paddlewheel riverboat — the largest showboat in the world. This incredible boat will show you all the secrets of Nashville’s marvelous Cumberland River and local flora and fauna. Visiting the General Jackson Showboat will give you an unforgettable time.

Located northeast of downtown Nashville, choose hotel accommodations near the Opry Mills Mall.

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Image via Flickr by rexhammock

Belle Meade Plantation Tour

Romantically wandering through magnolia trees and enjoying beautifully restored mansion is what the Belle Meade Plantation Tour is all about. The house has irresistible antebellum charm, and its interior is elegantly decorated. Explore the Harding family plantation’s stables, renowned for the breeding value of the thoroughbred horses they produced: Many famous horses, including Secretariat, Seabiscuit, Funny Cide, and Smarty Jones, have originated from this property. Also, don’t miss seeing the decorative antique carriage collection.

Located southwest of downtown Nashville’s arts and entertainment district, choose hotel accommodations in the Belle Meade community of Nashville.

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Image via Flickr by Zooey_

The Johnny Cash Museum

World-famous artist Johnny Cash flourished during the 20th century, becoming one of the best-selling musical artists of all time. Nashville is home to the Johnny Cash Museum, where visitors can see stage costumes, instruments, personal letters, artwork, and handwritten lyrics that belonged to this international icon. If you are traveling with children, this family-friendly museum suits visitors of all ages. Your family will forever remember this interesting journey, especially if you purchase souvenirs and collectibles to commemorate your trip.

All these outstanding experiences can be part of your next journey to Nashville. Why wait when you can start planning your trip to see these wonderful sights now?

Located in the heart of downtown Nashville off of Broadway, choose hotel accommodations in downtown Nashville.