This weekend: Nantucket's refurbished Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum
Nantucket, an island in the Atlantic lying 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., has a remarkable maritime heritage. There have been more than 700 shipwrecks off of its shores (earning the island the dour nickname "a graveyard of the Atlantic.")
Just off a $3 million renovation and expansion, the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum will reopen this weekend. The museum's collection houses more than 5,000 objects—vintage photographs, period lifesaving and boating equipment, and the only surviving Beach Cart (think of it as a modern-day ambulance). Plus the museum posts on its walls harrowing tales of some of the area's most famous shipwrecks—like the Great Gale of 1879, when 68 vessels wound up wrecked on the shore.
New this season is a retrospective exhibit on Madaket Millie, a local heroine who performed patrols of Madaket Harbor so faithfully that she was named an honorary officer in the U.S. Coast Guard for her life-saving efforts.
Open through Oct. 12, 2009. Admission is $5. Call 508/228-1885 for more details.
The Vatican stays open to help Abruzzo earthquake victims
This Sunday, the Vatican Museums are opening their doors and donating all admission fees to families left homeless by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that rocked Abruzzo, a region northeast of Rome, on April 6. Museum staff will donate their salaries for the day and admit visitors from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. close. Admission is €14 ($18.60) for adults. The museums are typically closed on Sundays, except for the final Sunday of each month when they're free. Pope Benedict XVI visited Abruzzo at end of April. His stops included a shattered medieval basilica near L'Aquila and the tents that have sprung up around the devastated town of Onna, where he offered hugs, prayers, and promises.
Worth reading: Destination weddings in Mexico are jilted at the altar
Some interesting items around the Internet. Some wedding couples have jilted their destination weddings in Mexico out of fear of swine flu. [The New York Times] The latest place for literary ex-pats? Berlin. [World Hum] The National Trust for Historic Preservation named its 11 most endangered sites in the U.S. last week, including a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed temple in Illinois. [Intelligent Travel] Some favorite Aussie abbreviations—a little more voddy, anyone? [Carry On (welcome to the blogosphere!)] Three customer-service policies that should be revived. [MSNBC] Mind that waistline: European chain Concorde is offering an 800-calorie, three-course meal. [HotelChatter] For more travel blogs, go to Alltop.com.
This weekend: Fly high in Branson, Mo., with a new airport and air show
Branson, Mo., receives 8 million visitors a year, who are drawn to its more than 50 theaters and 100 live shows. But getting there isn't easy. Located in southern Missouri, Branson's closest airport has been Springfield, Mo.—about an hour away. Thankfully, on Monday, a $155-million airport opens in Branson. (Fun fact: It's the first commercial airport in the country to be financed, built, and operated privately.) To celebrate, Branson is hosting its first-ever air show, with performances by the elite U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, a collection of F-16s whose pilots execute 30 high-flying maneuvers in one show—including a six-plane formation that's so close you'll hold your breath. The US Army Golden Knights and the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, among many others, will also perform. The show starts Friday night, with events scheduled through Sunday. Besides fantastic displays of aerial wizardry in the sky, there will also be historic aircraft on display. The Branson Airport officially opens on Monday, with a 7,140-foot runway and a terminal with four gates. AirTran and Sun Country will provide service from cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Milwaukee (Airfarewatchdog.com spotted a $129 round-trip flight between Dallas and Branson). Read more about the airport on msnbc.com. For more info on all of Branson's year-round shows and activities, visit its official website. Tickets to the air show are $18 for adults at the gate and $6 for kids 6-12 (kids under 6 free).
Cheap shopping in Paris--isn't it bromantic?
Springtime in Paris is the season of bromance. With apologies to Paul Rudd, however, the local version isn't about platonic male bonding. The 'bro' that sets Parisian hearts a flutter is a secondhand sale—the brocante. French love for the brocante is blooming now as dealers begin to organize their spring and summer sales. You'll find them popping up all over town and selling a mix of antique furniture, charming old posters, and obscure collectables. These sales, organized by professional brocanteurs, are temporary and mobile but offer the same sort of goods that you'd find at one of the city's more permanent flea markets (marchés aux puces) on the outskirts of town. To learn which brocantes will be operating during your visit, consult this website. Brocantes are joined in good weather by the equally romantic vide-greniers—neighborhood sidewalk sales that invite residents to "empty the attic." These tag sales are a fascinating mix of junk and treasure and offer a unique window into the lives of the local population. They're also a great source for funny and inexpensive gifts—what friend back at home wouldn't love a French action figure or an old Johnny Hallyday calendar? This website provides a list of vide-greniers by arrondissment, and also lists the city's brocantes and marchés aux puces. To get you in the mood for bromance, here's a list of some of the sales that are scheduled in May: Brocantes • May 10 in the 18th arrondissement • May 10 in the 20th arrondissement • May 29 in the 3rd arrondissement • May 30 in the 3rd arrondissement • May 31 in the 3rd arrondissement Vide-Greniers • May 2 in the 13th arrondissement • May 2 in the 14th arrondissement • May 3 in the 18th arrondissement • May 8 in the 14th arrondissement • May 10 in the 11th arrondissement • May 16 in the 13th arrondissement • May 16 in the 13th arrondissement • May 17 in the 2nd arrondissement • May 17 in the 13th arrondissement • May 17 in the 13th arrondissement • May 17 in the 13th arrondissement • May 17 in the 14th arrondissement • May 17 in the 17th arrondissement • May 17 in the 17th arrondissement • May 17 in the 18th arrondissement • May 17 in the 20th arrondissement • May 24 in the 14th arrondissement • May 24 in the 14th arrondissement • May 24 in the 15th arrondissement • May 24 in the 15th arrondissement • May 29 in the 3rd arrondissement • May 30 in the 3rd arrondissement • May 31 in the 3rd arrondissement