What's New? July 2022
Death Valley gets an Ice Cream Shop
Perhaps the nation’s most remote and coolest old fashioned ice cream parlor just opened at the Oasis at Death Valley in the middle of Death Valley National Park. The largest national park in the lower 48 states and one of the hottest places on earth during the summer.
Just off of a $150 million renaissance, The Oasis at Death Valley encompasses two hotels — The AAA Four-Diamond historic Inn at Death Valley with 66 completely renovated rooms and 22 private casitas (outfitted with a personal golf cart) and the family-friendly Ranch at Death Valley with 80 new bungalow-style, stand-alone cottages just steps away from the revitalized Town Square, including new retail shops, a restored saloon, and the resort’s newest and seemingly favorite attraction: a real ice cream/soda fountain shop.
The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama
This week The World Games begin in Birmingham, Alabama (opening ceremony July 7th). This is the first time they have been held in the US since the games began in 1981 in Santa Clara, California.
What are the world games?
The World Games are an international multi-sport event comprising sports and sporting disciplines that are not contested in the Olympic Games. They are usually held every four years, one year after a Summer Olympic Games, over the course of 11 days.
In the most recent games, between 25 and 30 sports have been included in the "official" program. Some of these sports are Air sports, life saving, lacrosse, flag football, dance, body building and tug of war just to name a few. Around 3500 participants from around 100 nations take part.
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival is Back
The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival — returns for the first time in three years — illuminates Franklin Square with dozens of massive, intricate, handcrafted lanterns constructed by artisans from China. Each night during the festival, the square comes alive with thousands of LED lights strewn across different displays. All 30-plus lantern designs are brand-new for 2022. Expect a walk-through bamboo forest, a giant whale (that swims!), plenty of mythological creatures and interactive installations like a kaleidoscope selfie spot. Also on the docket at this uber-popular ticketed event: live cultural performances, shopping, dining, the Dragon Beer Garden and more. The festival runs now thru August 7th. Click here to read more and purchase tickets.
Join Budget Travel as we continue our new series Discover USA. Discover USA explores states, counties, cities, and everything in between. Each week we will explore a new US destination to help you find things to do, itinerary ideas, and plan where to go next. This week, we invite you to Discover what Natchez, Mississippi has to offer. Natchez may be most famous today for its annual pilgrimage. In 1932, the tour of grand antebellum homes and their gardens became an annual event. Thousands of visitors tour Rosalie Mansion, Longwood, Stanton Hall, Melrose and other former estates in spring and fall. Culinary Many come to the South with one thing on their mind: FOOD. It’s a fact; no place on earth loves its food quite as sincerely or as indulgently as the South. Even if you’ve never enjoyed a meal below the Mason-Dixon Line, you’ve probably got a good idea of what one looks like, because in the South, each meal is an event and is cooked and served with pride. From casual to elegant, Natchez culinary offerings will offer you a dining experience you won't soon forget. Little Easy The Little Easy café, located just a block from Bluff Park on High Street in an area known as the "Gateway of the Mississippi Blues Trail," serves up signature Boozy Brunch items, delicious sandwiches and salads, signature cocktails and more, all in a cozy, inviting atmosphere. Fat Mama’s Tamales Courtesy of Fat Mama's Tamales Fat Mama's Tamales is a local favorite with an atmosphere that is as festive as the food. Fat Mama's offers an exciting selection of signature dishes, including tamales, links of boudin, fire and ice pickles, and more eclectic, flavor-packed dishes. The restaurant has a large interior dining room, but guests can dine on the outdoor deck if the weather is nice. Magnolia Grill Overlooking the mighty Mississippi at Natchez Under-the-Hill, Magnolia Grill not only has one of the best views of the river, but also a wide array of entrées to satisfy every palate from succulent steaks and seafood to highly acclaimed burgers and more. Guests can enjoy both lunch and dinner on the sun porch that offers spectacular views of the sun setting over the Mississippi. Pearl Street Pasta Pearl Street Pasta is a local favorite downtown that serves up an incredible variety of traditional and regionally inspired Italian dishes, as well as classics like the filet of beef with a rich wine sauce and sauteed mushrooms. Pearl Street Pasta also boasts a talented team of mixologists shaking up signature house specials and smooth bar favorites. Rolling River Reloaded Rolling River Reloaded offers a variety of simply southern classic dishes with a creative twist to give guests a truly "Soulful Southern Experience." Packed with flavor, each dish is prepared with care and inspired by rich, generational history. The Camp Courtesy of The Camp Like sports? Love good food? The Camp Restaurant is the best place to share a cocktail with friends and family while enjoying the best of view of the Mississippi River. The Camp makes homemade bread in-house, hand-forms burger patties and fries up French fried potatoes to deliver fresh, quality food for every plate. The Camp Restaurant also boasts the best selection of draft beer in the city. The Carriage House Located on the grounds of Stanton Hall, this elegant dining establishment specializes in southern food with famous staples including fried chicken, fresh Gulf seafood specials and buttery silver dollar-sized biscuits. The Carriage House is owned and operated by the Pilgrimage Garden Club. The Castle Restaurant and Pub The Castle Restaurant & Pub is in Dunleith's 18th-century carriage house and stable. This architectural gem, built to resemble a castle, provides an incredible dining experience. The Castle serves a range of delectable southern cuisines prepared by acclaimed chefs while also boasting the most extensive wine list of any restaurant in the state. Natchez Brewing Company The Natchez Brewing Company, the first brewery in this historic city, is run by husband-and-wife duo Lisa and Patrick Miller. England-native Lisa is the owner and founder, while Natchez-native Patrick creates the recipes for their unique, southern-inspired craft beers including the Bluff City Blonde Ale, the Natchez Light Lager and more. Their taproom also serves freshly made brick oven pizzas. The Donut Shop Courtesy of The Donut Shop The Donut Shop is a city staple serving up sugary sensations, including the Maple Bacon Donut, the Triple Chocolate Donut, cinnamon rolls and many more sweet creations that are sure to please donut lovers of all ages. Missed breakfast? Indulge in an order of succulent tamales. The Donut Shop makes their tamale shucks from scratch and is one of Natchez's best-kept secrets. The Malt Shop When asked where to find the best B.B.Q. beef sandwich, catfish plate or chili cheeseburger, many locals will cite the Malt Shop. For more than 60 years, Natchez locals and visitors alike have sat at the old picnic tables in front of this local favorite and indulged in the hearty southern food served up at the Malt Shop. With an extensive menu full of generous helpings and traditional favorites, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the Malt Shop Steampunk Coffee Steampunk Coffee is a traditional espresso bar, specialty coffee retailer and micro-coffee roaster. This beloved coffee shop also sells Papi y Papi's premium cigars and fine chocolates for an eclectic, small-town coffee shop experience like no other. Arts and Culture Kate Lee Laird art After one visit to Natchez, it is easy to see why artists such as John James Audubon were influenced by the natural beauty of the rolling Mississippi landscape. Today, you can still see the influence of the city on local artists in our downtown art galleries. You can even take a piece of art home to remember your trip to one of America’s oldest towns. Conde Contemporary Conde Contemporary is a fine art gallery established in 2013 and located in Natchez, MS. They specialize in representational works, with a concentration on narrative realism, photorealistic portraiture, and surrealism. ArtsNatchez ArtsNatchez is appropriately named as the broker for several works by various Natchez artists and craftsmen. The art gallery is situated in the heart of downtown Natchez on Main Street. If you spend a few minutes browsing through the local artwork, you'll know why each artist has a deep love for Natchez and expresses it in their work. They offer jewelry, paintings, sculptures, pottery, and more.Kate Lee Laird Art Studio + Gallery Kate Lee, a Natchez native, has been painting since she could hold a brush. She thrives off of the happiness her artwork brings her clients. Her bold and creative approach to life can be seen through the colorful artworks she creates. When she isn't live painting weddings and events, she is painting pet portraits, murals and large commission artwork. Magnolia Hall - Courtesy of natchezgardenclub.org Few American cities offer an in-depth look at the lives of southerners like Natchez. Walk in the footsteps of Southern belles, cotton barons, enslaved people, Civil War soldiers, and Civil Rights pioneers. Explore fascinating homes and historical landmarks for a glimpse at American history. Delve into modern museums for surprising historical tidbits about the Natchez Indians, the slave market at Forks of the Road, or daily life in pre-Civil War Natchez. Forks of the Road Slave Market Prior to the Civil War, Natchez was the most active slave trading city in Mississippi and the Forks of the Road site eclipsed all other markets in the number of slave sales. This historic site features slave chains and shackles laid in concrete and information panels discussing the slave trade in Natchez and the history of slavery in the South.Grand Village of the Natchez Indians The Grand Village is a 128-acre site featuring three prehistoric Native American mounds, a reconstructed Natchez Indian house and an on-site museum to tell the story of the Natchez Indians who inhabited these lands centuries ago. Two of these hallowed mounds, the Great Sun's Mound and the Temple Mound, have been excavated and rebuilt to their original sizes and shapes. A third mound, called the Abandoned Mound, has been only partially excavated and the remaining unexcavated areas of the site will be preserved intact, representing a "time capsule" of sorts from the Natchez Indians' past. This historic site also includes a nature trail, child-friendly activities, a visitor center and gift shop featuring Native American crafts.Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture African American related historic sites, important citizens and events are all recognized within the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum contains an exhibit on the Rhythm Nightclub fire, where over 200 African American Natchez citizens were killed as well as additional information on the Forks of the Road monument. It also features literary works from Natchez native and critically acclaimed author Richard Nathaniel Wright.The Dr. John Banks House Dr John's house - Courtesy of natchez.org The Dr. John Banks House, which is technically known as The Dr. John Bowman Banks Museum, was built around 1892 and belonged to Dr. John Banks, Natchez's first African American doctor. He graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee and received his Mississippi medical license in 1885 before relocating in 1889 to practice medicine in Natchez. Dr. Banks recruited the city's second African American doctor, Albert Woods Dumas. Dr. Banks and Dr. Dumas founded the Bluff City Savings Bank, the only African American-owned bank in the city. Booker T. Washington often stayed with Dr. Banks' family during his trips to Natchez. During the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the Banks House served as the headquarters for the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Tours of Longwood – Circa 1860 - Construction of this grand, octagonal edifice began in 1860 but was halted in 1861 due to rising tensions over the Civil War. While the exterior of the Villa was largely complete, the home's interior was left unfinished except for the lowest level until the twentieth century. Colloquially known as "Nutt's Folly," the property was deeded to the Pilgrimage Garden Club in 1970 by the McAdams Foundation and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971. Longwood remains the largest octagonal house in the U.S and was featured in HBO's True Blood. Tours of Magnolia Hall – Circa 1858 - Construction on Magnolia Hall is believed to have begun in 1858 and is the last great mansion built downtown before the Civil War. The name of the house was inspired by the plaster magnolia blossoms incorporated into the design of the parlor ceiling centerpieces. It was restored by the Natchez Garden Club as a house museum and is operated by the club today. Stanton Hall - Courtesy of Natchez Pilgrimage Tours Tours of Stanton Hall – Circa 1857 - This opulent Greek Revival-style mansion occupies an entire city block. The house is noted for its scale, outstanding marble mantles and large pier mirrors that give the double parlors infinite appeal. For a brief time, the house was home to Stanton College for young ladies and the name was then changed to Stanton Hall. Today the house is owned and maintained by the Pilgrimage Garden Club. Tours of Monmouth – Circa 1818 - Set on 26 acres of manicured gardens, this National Historic Landmark reflects all that is charming about the South. Rooms located in the main house or any of the seven outbuildings have period furnishings dating back to the Quitman family, the original owners of Monmouth. Outdoors The namesake for the Natchez Trace, the centuries-old, 444-mile path from Natchez to Nashville, long used by American Indians before becoming a U.S. thoroughfare. Today the Natchez Trace Parkway provides beautiful picnic areas, the rare Emerald Mound ceremonial mound, and the historic Mount Locust Inn, all just a few minutes’ drive from downtown Natchez. The Natchez Trace Parkway Natchez Trace Parkway - Courtesy of nps.gov The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway begins in Natchez and extends through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, ending in Nashville. Once used by Native Americans, European settlers and soldiers, the trace is now maintained by the National Park Service and used by many for outdoor recreational use. The route is lined with historical lookouts and trails, which are great for biking, hiking or even a scenic drive. Natchez State Park Natchez State Park is located at 40 Wickcliff Road on Hwy. 61 North, which is 10 miles north of downtown Natchez. Its amenities include cabins, boat launching, fishing, hiking/nature trail, picnic area/shelter, playground and RV and tent campgrounds with restroom/shower facilities. Whether visitors consider themselves outdoorsy or “indoorsy,” Natchez State Park is a great experience for anyone in the camping caravan.Potkopinu Trail Potkopinu trail - Courtesy of nps.gov Potkopinu (Pot-cop-i-new), the southernmost section of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, is only three miles long, but it is the longest stretch of "sunken" historic Trace remaining. It is no wonder it was named for the Natchez word meaning "little valley." This trail has some embankments over 20 feet high.Bluff Park The greatest natural attraction that Natchez has to offer is the Mississippi River, and the best vantage point from which to take in her beauty and splendor is the bluff. The best time to be on the bluff overlooking the river is at sunset and is a spectacular sight to behold.Homochitto National Forest The Homochitto National Forest was named for the Homochitto River, a Native American name for the "Big Red River." Natchez derived its name from this Native American tribe formerly located on the lower Mississippi River. There are numerous recreational activities available to pursue on the Homochitto National Forest like hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and biking. Camping facilities are also available to rent. CARD WIDGET HERE
6 of the Best Restaurants You Can Boat To
After a day spent cruising on the water, it’s time to tie up your boat, find a bite to eat, and relax. There are several great waterfront restaurants around the country that let you dock, dine out with delicious food, and take in a nice view. Boatline is breaking down six of the best restaurants that you can get to by boat. 1. Cannery Seafood on the Pacific – Newport Beach, California Courtesy Cannery Seafood It’s hard to beat Southern California boating when you combine plenty of sunshine, breezes floating along the water, and wildlife-watching with the excellent dining found at Cannery Seafood on the Pacific. Casual yet elegant, this Newport Beach favorite has a welcoming atmosphere and focuses on dock-to-table seafood with finely plated calamari, shrimp, and tuna. They also offer dock space and slips you can reserve for your boat when you’re ready to dine out. 2. LuLu’s Gulf Shores – Gulf Shore, Alabama Courtesy of LuLu's Wildly popular with a local crowd of boaters on the Gulf Coast, LuLu’s Gulf Shores is an Intracoastal Waterway dining destination and a hangout for family and friends. Eat outdoors along the water from menu items like Po’ boys, crab claws, and burgers, and have fun on the sand with their rope climbing and volleyball setups. LuLu’s is conveniently situated next to a marina and docks, which gives you easy access by the water. 3. Belle’s Cafe – Newport, Rhode Island Courtesy of Bell's Cafe A fitting place to pull up your yacht and dine out, Belle’s Cafe at Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard is a breakfast and lunch spot alongside the water. Bright, open, and airy inside and with outdoor lounging alongside a lightship, they offer everything from Benedicts to New England clam chowder and lobster rolls. You’ll have plenty of room for your boat next to the restaurant, with over 3,000 feet of dock length that accommodates boats up to 350 feet long. 4. Schooner Wharf – Key West, Florida Courtesy of Schooner Wharf Located along the historic harbor, Schooner Wharf is one more reason why Key West is an epic bucket list marina. Tropical and lively, Schooner Wharf serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is big on oysters, conch, and—for dessert—Key lime pie. Be sure to check out their docks and boat slips with daily and monthly availability so you can grab a spot for your boat. 5. Shorty Pants Lounge – Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri Courtesy of Shorty Pants Lounge You can put Shorty Pants Lounge on the shortlist as a great dock and dining venue that’s all part of the boating experience in the Ozarks. This Cajun-inspired restaurant has indoor and outdoor dining with a tiki bar with Po’ boys, seafood, steaks, ribs, and more. It’s also easy to get to by boat, with gas docks so you can fill up, covered slips, and more marina amenities for longer stays along the lake. 6. Tides Tavern – Gig Harbor, Washington Courtesy of Tides Tavern Puget Sound fishing and exploring makes Washington among the best coastal areas in the U.S., and Tides Tavern at Gig Harbor is one more stop you should make during a boating adventure. Tides Tavern has been a mainstay for boaters since they first opened their doors nearly 50 years ago next to the waterside docks. With a laid back setting, they serve large plates with an expansive menu of seafood, sandwiches, pizza, and burgers. Docking and dining out is one more benefit of owning a boat, and a great activity for family and friends. These six venues pair excellent food with views, which adds more to the experience when you’re out on the water. And if you’re looking for your next new or used boat, be sure to check out all the listings nationwide on Boatline.com.
Top 5 of 2022’s Most Fun States in the US
We all define “fun” a bit differently, and hopefully the place in which we live caters to our personal ideas of entertainment. That’s not always the case, though, which may drive people to live somewhere new. There are certain states where fun is not just an option but also a way of life. These states offer such a variety of activities that everyone will be able to find something that excites them. With pure enjoyment in mind, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 26 key indicators of a jolly good time that won’t break the bank. They range from movie costs to accessibility of national parks to casinos per capita. Here are the top 5:5. IllinoisChicago, Illinois Illinois is a great destination in summer, but the state's extensive cultural attractions and great shopping make it a fun place to visit any time of year. Chicago is the state's most popular destination, drawing travelers from across America and around the world.4. New YorkLake Placid, New York There is so much to see of this state between its tourist bookends, New York City and Niagara Falls. From the historic Hudson Valley, a majestic river lined with elegant estates to the great wilderness of the Adirondack and Catskill mountains. New York is magnificent for outdoors and sporting vacations and so much more.3. NevadaTahoe, Nevada While Las Vegas is the city you won't want to miss, Nevada is a state filled with incredible natural attractions, scenic drives, small towns, and wonderful opportunities for outdoor activities. National parks and recreation areas provide outstanding terrain for hiking, biking, climbing, horseback riding, and fishing.2. FloridaCape Canaveral, Florida Florida is home to hundreds of miles of beaches, a variety of renowned amusement parks and national parks, vibrant and lively nightlife, and a vast array of unique tourist attractions that make it a one-of-a-kind vacation destination.1. California San Francisco, California California is known as a premier travel destination, where travelers can Dream Big and enjoy limitless adventures, from the mountains to the beaches, the Redwoods to the deserts and from world-class cities to unique small towns, California inspires year-round travel, one visitor at a time. To see where your state ranked click here!
There is just something about historic railroads. Unfortunately, many of the engines and trains that have been saved are static. Lifeless. But there are places in America where you can see a steam engine come alive and run at speed (go fast), where you can climb America’s only accessible 14-thousand-foot mountain, ride on a 150-year old railroad lost in time and coming back to life in the beautiful valleys of central Pennsylvania and ride on the original subway cars from 1916 and 1930’s to places such as Coney Island in Brooklyn. This is where open windows, strap hangers and swaying cars are as fun as the rides found at Coney Island. Yes, there are great train rides this summer, and here’s a ticket to four of the most interesting. THE BROADMOOR, MANITOU & PIKES PEAK COG RAILWAY (Manitou, CO to the summit at Pikes Peak – 14,115 feet) Climb every mountain. Well, there is only one 14-thousand-foot mountain in the US that you don’t have to climb. You can take the train. A unique train – a cog. At The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway, America’s highest railway reaches a height of 14,115 feet. This is where the words to the song “America the Beautiful” were composed. Completely rebuilt it is back and better than ever climbing up America’s Mountain. This iconic railway is one of only two cog railways in the U.S.Originally built in 1891 and owned and operated by The Broadmoor since 1925, this historic railway is the highest railroad in America, the highest cog railway in the world, one of Colorado’s top attractions, and one of the nation’s most unique experiences. The Railway runs every day. For information and reservations hop onboard at www.cograilway.com THE GRAND CANYON RAILWAY (Williams, AZ on Rt. 66 to steps from South Rim, Grand Canyon) Courtesy Xanterra Travel Collection Grand Canyon Railway has been taking people to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon since 1901 when it was built by the legendary Atkinson, Topeka and Santé Fee (ATSF). Grand Canyon Railway runs daily from Williams, AZ on historic Rt. 66 to within steps of the Grand Canyon South Rim and El Tovar. The pristine train, comprised of railcars from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, including luxury dome cars and an open platform observation car, as well as vintage coaches with opening windows, departs at 9:30 a.m. and returns at 5:45 p.m. with a 2.5-hour layover at South Rim of Grand Canyon. The train rolls directly into Grand Canyon National Park, taking an estimated 70,000 cars off the road.During most of the summer and into early fall, the Railway pulls the daily train once a month with a steam engine built in 1923 and that runs on waste vegetable oil.There is no extra charge for the steam engine pulled trains. It be believed Grand Canyon Railway is the last standard gauge passenger railroad in the US where steam engines are still scheduled to pull revenue trains.You can save 30% on train tickets when you book in conjunction with any 1 or 2-night stay at The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Visit thetrain.com or call 1-800-THE.-TRAIN (1-800-843-8724) for updated and current information on both the hotel and the train.It is now also possible to charter an entire luxury private railroad car or even an entire private train complete with chefs, bartenders, entertainers, and staff. These are ideal for “milestone” moments, such as graduations, family reunions, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, etc. For charters call 928-635-5700 or visit www.thetrain.com/charters. THE EAST BROAD TOP RAILROAD (Orbisonia, Central Pennsylvania) Courtesy of The East Broad Top Railroad It's one of the true treasures in American railroading. The East Broad Top Railroad (EBT) located in Orbisonia, PA and nestled in the rolling hills and farmlands in the central part of the state-started train rides and historic railroad shop tours this spring. The 150-year-old railroad is considered by the Smithsonian to be one of the best-preserved examples of 19th century American narrow gauge railroads (the rails less than 4 feet apart so the trains, and everything is smaller than "standard" railroads) and industrial complexes in the country.It was already an antique when it was shut down in 1956; today is it a true treasure that far exceed the trains and tracks. The EBT still has six narrow-gauge steam locomotives, each awaiting their turn for restoration, one of which is expected soon. Initially, the railroad will offer one hour train rides in a vintage caboose, passenger car or even an open-air car on a nine-mile round-trip ride from the historic roundhouse and shops in Orbisonia to Colgate Grove and back. Prices begin at $20 for adults and $18 for children.Reservations are strongly suggested. For information and reservations visit www.eastbroadtop.com or call 814-447-3285. THE NEW YORK TRANSIT MUSEUM & NOSTALGIA RIDES (New York City) Brooklyn Union Elevated Car Courtesy of The New York Transit Museum Yes, the New York subway is a railroad and a rather large one at that with 665 miles of mainline track and 472 stations that caters to more than a billion rides a year. It even has a museum in Brooklyn. Founded in 1976, the New York Transit Museum is dedicated to telling and preserving the stories of mass transportation – extraordinary engineering feats, workers who labored in the tunnels over 100 years ago, communities that were drastically transformed, and the ever-evolving technology, design, and ridership of a system that runs 24 hours a day, every day of the year.Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the Transit Museum’s working platform level spans a full city block, and is home to a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907.However, what most people don’t know is that this is not just a static museum. It maintains and operates a wide variety of vintage train cars dating back to 1907. These historic subway trains are occasionally run on what's called “Nostalgia Rides.” Some go to Yankee Stadium, other to Coney Island or the Rockaway Beach & Boardwalk, and some venture to historic cemeteries or decommissioned subway stations. We’re talking open windows, flickering light bulbs, hanging on to strap hangers and swaying cars. It’s a trip, and a trip back in time on the real things, right down to the rattan seats and car card (ads) that try to sell everything from bras and cookies, the ZIP code and baseball games at the Polo Grounds, Ebbets Field and of course, Yankee Stadium. For information on the museum and Nostalgia Rides visit www.nytransitmuseum.org.