Boston in Bloom and more...

Boston in Bloom

What a long, cold winter this has been. If you live in or near Boston (or, let’s be honest, anywhere in the upper half of the continent), chances are that you’re really, REALLY ready for springtime weather. Now that it’s finally warming up, what better way to celebrate the change of season in Boston than with some plein air activities?

Boston Common/ Public Garden/ Swan Boats

First stop: Boston Common, the oldest public park in the country and the home of the city’s Public Garden, with its iconic Swan Boats. Comprised of 48 acres of greenspace in the heart of the city, the Common is perfect for a stroll down the paths, a picnic in the grass, or a game of Frisbee. The beautifully cultivated flowers and plants of the more formal Public Garden are stunning in the springtime. Take a ride on the elegant Swan Boats – a 130-year old tradition, having ferried famous passengers such as Shirley Temple and John F. Kennedy – to complete the experience.

Swan Boat at Boston's Public Garden. Photo credit: Captain Tucker.

Public Art Walk

The history of Boston comes alive through its numerous public art works. Officially compiled through the Public Art Walk,...

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A Perfect Weekend in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

There’s a reason San Francisco often appears on the list of most expensive cities in the nation. It’s because so many people want to be there.

San Francisco has some of the world’s best chefs, city parks, sports teams, iconic views and landmarks, shopping districts, and waterfronts. It has a modern transportation system and old-school, world-famous cable cars. Plus, SF residents have a live-and-let-live attitude about quirky interests, alternative lifestyles and unabashed eccentricities. In other words, it’s just a fun city to be in.

But a first, money-saving step for any visitor is to buy a San Francisco CityPASS ticket booklet. It includes a 7-day Muni and Cable Car Passport, as well as discounted, prepaid admission to the California Academy of Sciences, a Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise, and a choice between Aquarium of the Bay or Monterey Bay Aquarium, and either the de Young and Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museums or the Exploratorium. The city is your oyster with that in your hand.

Having visited San Francisco on a regular basis for as long as I can recall, with each trip, I wrestle between seeking new experiences and going back to old favorites....

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Atlanta for Romantics

Sugar Magnolia Bed & Breakfast. Photo credit: Debi Starnes

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, Atlanta is a wonderful place to go. As a large city, it offers a multitude of world-class accommodations, cultural events and sights, yet it’s diverse and quirky enough to allow for a truly unique experience. What you and your partner choose to do depends, of course, on who you are as a couple, what you most enjoy together, and what your ideal date would be. Atlanta is a delightful setting for your romantic experience, whether you opt for cozy and intimate, lavish and luxurious, or simple and inexpensive.

ACCOMMODATIONS

The first decision you need to make is where to stay, and for most, it boils down to two options: midtown or Buckhead. Midtown’s advantage is that you’ll be in the heart of the city, and as a result, you’re more likely to experience what it has to offer. For the ultimate in luxury and service, The Four Seasons (75 Fourteenth St.) is unbeatable, and it’s situated near Woodruff Arts Center and not far from Piedmont Park. The High Museum of Art (which is included in Atlanta CityPASS), is also close to Piedmont Park and Woodruff Arts Center.

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5 Places to See Spring Bloom

While it can be wonderful to head to your local public park or enjoy the flowers and freshly cut grass in your own backyard, winter-induced cabin fever may have left you itching for a road trip. Right now, there is no better time to hit the road and see spring burst into bloom! Here are some of our picks for places that will put the “spring” back in your step and bring you in-tune with nature and the new cycle of warmer weather.

A Cherry Blossom Festival for Both Coasts

Whether you live on the East coast or the West coast -- or if you crave an adventure far from home -- both Washington state and Washington D.C. play host to their own springtime celebrations centered around cherry blossoms. These fragile, fleeting blooms are at their most beautiful in the early part of April. When in bloom, their soft pink-and-white petals fill out the branches of trees, creating a lovely pastel landscape in their wake.

Washington D.C. hosts its annual National Cherry Blossom Festival from March 20th through April 13th, 2014. The event celebrates the gift of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, D.C. from Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, in 1912. The...

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Toronto's Ethnic Buffet

New York Times travel story written by Francine Prose.

When I tell my friends in Toronto how much I love their city, they often say, “Really?” I always assume they imagine I’m just trying to be gracious, or perhaps — with characteristic Canadian modesty — they’re reluctant to acknowledge how easy their city is to love. But they also have a great deal of justifiable civic pride, and a clear sense of why Toronto is such a special and unusual place to live and visit. There’s more to this understated city than many people might realize.

The Toronto skyline. Credit Ian Willms for The New York Times

It’s a great walking town, and part of what makes it so much fun to explore is the range and variety of the neighborhoods in which the city takes pride, and which have resisted the homogenization that has occurred throughout so much of New York City — from Yorkville, with its fashionable shops and department stores, to Old Town, where you can find the St. Lawrence Market, an immense covered structure offering a huge selection of foods and crafts, and where, on Saturdays, local farmers sell their produce. Some of the neighborhoods are known for their architectural...

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