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    Clayton,

    New York

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    Clayton is a town in Jefferson County, New York, United States. The population was 5,153 at the 2010 census. The town is named after John M. Clayton, a federal political leader from Delaware. The town contains a village also named Clayton. Both are northwest of Watertown. The village of Clayton, nearby Cape Vincent, and Alexandria Bay are popular tourist destinations on the New York mainland side of the Thousand Islands region.
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    Clayton Articles

    Budget Travel Lists

    9 Beach Bars You Need Right Now

    There are few things better than relaxing on a beach with a cocktail in hand, especially when the weather at home sinks below freezing. From party-forward day-drinking bars to hole-in-the-wall classics, let these nine amazing beach bars across the U.S., Mexico, and Caribbean serve as you bucket list for the whole of 2019. Now, what are you waiting for? Cheers! 1. TnT: Los Cabos, Mexico Tucked inside the ritzy Chileno Bay Resort & Residences sits the seaside cantina, TnT. They offer a selection of Mexican street-style tacos, and you can’t go wrong with the camarón, deep-fried shrimp doused in chipotle mayo, jicama and cilantro. Then dive into the real treat on the menu—premium tequilas, mezcals, and raicilla, a lesser known but no less terrific agave spirit. Don’t leave without sampling the Sonora Commercial, made with aged tequila, eucalyptus syrup, lime, and Mexican Tepache, a fermented beverage made from the peel and the rind of pineapples. Try to plan your visit after sunset, when the fire pits are lit and guests can sip under the stars. Reservations required a day in advance. (aubergeresorts.com/chilenobay) 2. The Rusty Nail: Cape May, New Jersey Blue and orange umbrellas dot outdoor boardwalk planks in front of what was once regarded as “the longest bar in all of Cape May.” The Rusty Nail, the Jersey Shore’s iconic surfer bar, has been well known along the Eastern Seaboard since the 1970s. A seaside haunt open May through December, it features an outdoor fire pit in the warm weather months and indoor fireplaces once the air chills. Order a cone of fried shrimp and wash it down with an Orange Crush, a classic Garden State beach cocktail made with Absolut Mandrin, orange, triple sec, and lemon-lime soda. If you’re on vacation with the family, this is an ideal spot to for the whole crew. The Nail is open to young, old, and the four-legged, complete with a full doggy menu. (caperesorts.com/restaurants/capemay/rustynail) 3. Mai Tai Bar: Honolulu, Hawaii Mad Men fans will immediately recognize the Royal Hawaiian, the iconic pink hotel where Don and Megan Draper honeymooned in the heart of Waikiki Beach, Oahu. Explore the basement of the property, an ode to the hotel’s decorated past, then head to the Mai Tai Bar. The hotel’s beach-side enclave, speckled with umbrellas and pink chairs, is known across the island for its variety of mai tais. Order the 96 Degrees in the Shade to cool down. A frozen mai tai with Captain Morgan, fresh pineapple-passionfruit purée, lime juice, orgeat, and mint, it's topped with a generous dark-rum floater. (royal-hawaiian.com/dining/mai-tai-bar) 4. Rick’s Cafe: Negril, Jamaica Rick’s Café, perched atop a 35-foot cliff on the west end of Negril, is known as the island’s best spot for watching the sunset. Patrons arriving at this vibrant multi-level watering hole before dusk are treated to another phenomenon: cliff diving. As island music plays, a soundtrack often provided by the in-house reggae band, locals and tourists alike head behind the bar to tiered jumping points of varying heights for a serious adrenaline rush. Not into cliff jumping? No problem. Order a rum punch and kick back at an indoor or outdoor table. If the plan is to see the sunset, arrive no later than 4PM, as seats fill up fast. And don’t forget a camera for an Instagram-worthy snap. (rickscafejamaica.com) 5. Navy Beach: Montauk, New York White picnic tables and navy blue umbrellas mark Navy Beach, a waterfront wonder set on a 200-foot private beach in Montauk, one of many seaside communities tucked within the Hamptons, New York’s coastal getaway. A casual bar and eatery, guests arrive by both land and sea. (There’s a dock for boaters to tie up on Fort Pond Bay.) Once inside, be sure to try out the classic Dark & Stormy, a blend of Gosling’s rum, ginger beer, and bitters. If you’re with an entourage, opt for a pitcher of Navy Grog, rum mixed with grapefruit, orange, and pineapple juices. When hunger strikes, order the buttermilk fried chicken with a side of truffled mac. And don’t be surprised when you see an added charge on your tab—from May to September, a donation of $1 is added to each check in support of the Navy SEAL Foundation. Helping out never tasted so good. (navybeach.com) 6. Flora-Bama: Perdido Key, Florida Flora-Bama, the self-proclaimed most famous beach bar in the country, gets its name from its unique coordinates straddling the Florida-Alabama state line. A landmark in the Gulf Shores community, this energetic watering hole offers live entertainment 365 days a year, with events that range from chili cook-offs and fishing rodeos to the Annual Mullet Toss and beachfront concerts. Flora-Bama is best known for its Bushwhacker, a milkshake-like concoction from a secret recipe involving five different types of liquor. The likes of Kenny Chesney have paid homage to the bar with lyrics like “I'm in the redneck riviera, It's getting crazy, getting hammered, sitting right here at the Flora-Bama.” (florabama.com) 7. Soggy Dollar Bar: Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands Accessible only by boat, the Soggy Dollar Bar has been serving its famous Painkiller cocktail on Jost Van Dyke since the 1970s. Made with a top-secret recipe of dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple, and orange juice and topped with freshly grated nutmeg from Grenada, the potent drink makes the trek to this salty saloon worth the effort. Devastated in 2017 by Hurricane Irma, Soggy Dollar’s owner and employees worked diligently to re-open in early 2018 for its rum-loving fans—and potential fans. Have a friend stopping by without you? The bar is famous for their “Drink Board,” an opportunity to buy a drink ahead of time for someone visiting. (soggydollar.com) 8. Pelican Brewing Company: Pacific City, Oregon A love of beer and the ocean brought Pelican Brewing company to life in 1996 on Cape Kiwanda, situated about 100 miles west of Portland in coastal Pacific City. Today it’s the only beachfront brewpub in the Pacific Northwest. Head straight for the bar and order a Kiwanda, a pre-Prohibition cream ale inspired by one of America’s 19th-century beer styles, marked by a floral aroma and clean finish. Pelican Brewing Company offers seven year-round beers, as well as seasonal specials and a small-batch series called Lone Pelican. For those that can't make the trip, a live brewery webcam allows for an instant beach-bar fantasy get-away. (pelicanbrewing.com) 9. Clayton’s Beach Bar: South Padre Island, Texas Everything's bigger in Texas, and the beach bars are no exception. To wit: Clayton’s Beach Bar. With a capacity for 5,000 guests, the venue features touring acts like Billy Currington and Nelly, and each March, it plays host to the largest free spring-break stage in Texas. Known for its frozen margaritas and Turbo Piña Coladas, this popular beachside bar is a partying hotspot and treats patrons to fireworks on the weekend. Whether heading to Clayton’s with friends or the kids (it’s family-friendly), be sure to have a designated driver or an Uber on speed dial—the bartenders are notoriously heavy handed. (claytonsbeachbar.com)

    Inspiration

    25 affordable last-minute romantic getaways for Valentine's Day

    Baby, it’s cold outside, and we’re fantasizing about going on “love leave” this February to the coziest, quietest corners of the world. We tapped our savvy friends in the travel biz and found four amazing deals to some of the most luxurious, romantic (and now totally accessible!) spots. From the cud­dle-worthy New England coast to the white sands and turquoise waters of the Caribbean, we’ve got your back when it comes to impressing your SigOth this Valentine’s Day. NORTHEASTERN GETAWAYS Boston, Massachusetts, is one of America’s best cities for new music, and if music be the food of love, play on! Aloft Boston Seaport presents some of Beantown’s best local talent at its live, intimate performances each Thursday evening in the WXYZ Bar. Ask for a room with a water view. From $169/night. Boston is also one of the most design- and technology-forward cities, and Element Boston Seaport is “green from the ground up,” with water-efficient fixtures, kitchens with Energy Star-rated appliances, in-room recycling, and design details like picture frames fashioned from recycled tires. From $179/night Cape May, New Jersey, is one of our favorite oceanside destinations, an easy escape from NYC and Philly. Peter Shields Inn will impress even the most jaded travelers with its 20th-century Georgian Revival mansion overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, nine luxe guestrooms, and one of the city's best fine-dining restaurants. Maybe most impressive of all, rooms start at $99/night. Clayton, New York, feels like a trip back in time, with shop-lined Victorian-era streets along the St. Lawrence riverfront. The 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel will lavish lovebirds with Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, cheese, and gourmet nuts on arrival, plus rose-petal turndown service and breakfast for two at Seaway Grille. From $189/night. Edgartown, Massachusetts, combines old-world charm with sleek contemporary fixtures and amenities, and in winter you can experience the beauty of Martha’s Vineyard minus the summer crowds. Harbor View Hotel offers a farm-fresh prix-fixe Valentine’s Day menu at its signature restaurant, Lighthouse Grille (named for the classic Edgartown Lighthouse in the harbor outside the hotel’s windows. Browse Edgartown’s beautiful shops and galleries. Film fans will recognize Edgartown’s old-timey New England storefronts from Jaws, which was filmed on the VIneyard in the 1970s. From $109/night. Kennebunkport, Maine, wants to be “New England’s Most Romantic Town,” and its “Paint the Town Red” festivities have the whole town decked out in red twinkly lights, with great deals to get you there. Kennebunkport Resort Collection is offering the “Love KPT” lodging package that includes a two-night stay for two people at The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel (starting at $373) or the Kennebunkport Inn (starting at $405), arrival goodies of red wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, a three course dinner for two, and a late check-out at noon. And since romance isn’t limited to Valentine’s Day, the package is available through March 30, 2017. Lake Placid, New York, is one of the coolest towns in Upstate New York, with great opportunities for cross-country skiing in the Adirondacks, Whiteface Mountain’s 284 skiable acres, and great food and shopping. Hotel North Woods, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, is an indulgent lodging with views of charming Main Street, Mirror Lake (right in town!), and the Adirondacks’ legendary High Peaks. From $99/night. Mystic, Connecticut, boasts The Whaler’s Inn, a charming New England classic that offers a romantic dinner for two, floral arrangements, assorted local chocolates, and a bottle of sparkling wine for couples. The town of Mystic is home to some of the coolest living history experiences in America, with its Seaport and great aquarium. From $195/night. Stowe, Vermont, offers a gorgeous setting in the Green Mountains (near one of America’s great ski destinations). Field Guide, a new boutique B&B, provides Instagrammable guestrooms, and indulgent amenities for your romantic escape. From $139/night. Westport, Connecticut, is one of the Nutmeg State’s coolest towns, with great theater, food, the Connecticut Audubon Society’s guided nature tours, and Sharpe Hill Vineyards award-winning wines. Westport Inn, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, will pamper you in sweet serenity. From $127/night. SOUTHERN GETAWAYS New Orleans, Louisiana, is known for its incredible music, food, and party scene, but its charming old-world streets and thriving gardens make it a wonderful place to take a “love leave.” Canal Street Inn is located along the city's most iconic thoroughfare, Canal a 30-minute ride on one of the city’s iconic streetcar lines to the French Quarter, and an easy walk to exceptional restaurants. The inn’s gardens will charm you with live oak, fruit, and pecan trees—a nice break the Big Easy's bustle. From $145/night. Williamsburg, Virginia, is known for Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, and many more local attractions. The Kingsmill Resort puts couples up in style with its Bed & Breakfast Special, including a cozy guestroom, homemade breakfast, a free shuttle around the resort and the amazing local Williamsburg attractions, plus indoor pool and spa. From $171/night. Wimberly, Texas, is one of the gems of Texas Hill Country, known for its great wines and proximity to hotspots like Austin and San Antonio. Blair House features an art gallery highlighting the work of local artists, a day spa with a sauna, and even a cooking school. From $160/night. MIDWESTERN GETAWAYS Chicago, Illinois, may be the ultimate “shockingly affordable” American city, with culture, food, and activities that are second to none. Villa D' Citta offers luxury in a 19th-century Greystone mansion in the city's Lincoln Park neighborhood, including a kitchen fully stocked with Italian meats, imported cheeses and fresh bread that is always open to guests. Insider tip: Ask for a made-to-order pizza cooked in the inn's stone oven and served with a complimentary carafe of house wine (from $129/night). Chicago is also home to the Magnificent Mile’s amazing shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities, and Cambria Hotel & Suites Chicago Magnificent Mile gets you right in the heart of the action, including nearby Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, legendary Wrigley Field (home of the world champion Chicago Cubs), Millennium Park, and Soldier’s Field (from $105/night). WESTERN GETAWAYS Golden, Colorado, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, is a historic Old West town nearby some of the best skiing in America. The Golden Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, looks out over Clear Creek, offers shuttle service within a five-mile radius for taking in the best of Golden’s local history and culture, plus a cozy indoor fireplace perfect for snuggling after a day in the snow. From $169/night. Grand Canyon, Arizona, is, of course, a jaw-dropping national park, and it also makes for an off-the-beaten-path romantic escape. Ride the scenic railway for 50 percent off for Valentine’s Day, a gorgeous 90-minute ride across high desert plains, arroyos, and ponderosa pine forest from Williams Depot to the Grand Canyon Depot, a short walk from the South Rim. The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel starts at $120/night. Taos, New Mexico, with its artsy Historic Plaza, Taos Mountain, and incredible history and culture, will melt stress upon your arrival. Hacienda Del Sol offers 12 large guestrooms among several adobe structures, decorated in Southwest style. You’ll love the private outdoor hot tub. From $160/night. Whitefish, Montana, is beautiful year-round. In winter, Good Medicine Lodge is your cozy, charming gateway to Whitefish Mountain skiing and Glacier National Park’s winter wonderland. Guestrooms and suites are beautifully appointed, and you can order your breakfast each evening for the next morning. From $130/night. PACIFIC COAST GETAWAYS Anderson, California, is an epicenter of outdoor activities in California’s unparalleled great outdoors. Gaia Hotel & Spa Redding, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, offers a heated pool, complimentary Wolgang Puck coffee and tea, free WiFi, and a fitness center. From $93/night. Cloverdale, California. This Sonoma County town is smack in the heart of wine country, overlooking the vineyards of Anderson Valley. The Auberge on the Vineyard offers seven rooms in an early 20th-century Queen Anne Victorian with a lovely wrap-around verandah and the remodeled Carriage House. You’ll love the three-course breakfasts, and you’ll even love the bill, from $140/night. Napa, California, isn’t exactly “under the radar,” but it is one of the most romantic escapes in America. Napa Winery Inn, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, is near the beautiful Napa Wine Trail, several well-known vineyards (including Robert Mondavi Winery), the historic Napa Valley Opera House, and much more. From $185/night. Seattle, Washington, is one of our favorite affordable cities for its Pike Place Market, stunning views, and design-forward aesthetic. Sleeping Bulldog Bed and Breakfast boasts a central location, freshly baked cookies, and innkeepers who are Seattle natives who are happy to dispense locals-know-best tips. From $141/night. CARIBBEAN GETAWAYS El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico, is the setting for the stunning El Yunque Rainforest Inn, on five acres that draw birdwatchers, hikers, and horseback riders for its beauty and tranquility (not to mention the inn’s luxurious claw-foot bathtubs and fireplaces). From $165/night. Nassau, Bahamas, is home to Paradise Island, which is genuinely as awesome as its name suggests. Enjoy all the splendor of the island without breaking the bank at A Stone's Throw Away, with its luxe lounge spaces, wraparound verandah, and welcoming staff. From $180/night. MEXICO Tulum, Mexico, is a short flight from the U.S. and an enticingly romantic escape. Casa Jacqueline will spoil you with stunning views (including star-gazing), jacuzzi, pool, and a quick walk to Cenote Manatee and a short drive to Tulum’s iconic Mayan ruins. From $140/night. COSTA RICA Las Catalinas is an innovative seaside town on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. The car-free community is being built as a walkable beach town between the ocean and the mountains on the wildlife-rich Guanacaste peninsula. Studio Casa Indigo offers an intimate hideaway with complimentary sparkling wine and brigadeiros (irresistible Latin American chocolates), from $195/night. (To make reservations or for more details, visit lascatalinascr.com.)

    Inspiration

    10 Coolest Small Towns in America 2011

    Once in a while, you discover a town that has everything—great coffee, food with character, shop owners with purpose. Each year, the Budget Travel team celebrates these places with our "Coolest Small Towns in America" competition. It starts with a call to you—our readers—to nominate the most interesting towns you know with populations of less than 10,000. From there, our editorial team whittles the selections down to the three most promising contenders. It's then up to you to vote on your favorite. This year's winner was Lewisburg—an irresistible small town in West Virginia. Each of the nine runners up has something special to offer, from the quiet, artistic enclave at La Pointe, Wisconsin to the scenic beaches of Astoria, Oregon. In honor of the sixth anniversary of our "Coolest Towns" franchise, we've also compiled a slideshow of all of the contenders from previous years. You won't find a more charming slice of small town Americana than you will right here. 1. LEWISBURG, WEST VIRGINIA (POPULATION 3,830) Arts in AppalachiaA small town is usually lucky if there's a decent one-screen movie theater, maybe a community dance troupe. But a Carnegie Hall? This speck on the map in the Greenbrier River Valley lays claim to one of only four in the world (105 Church St., carnegiehallwv.com, ticket prices vary). The 1902 building now serves as Lewisburg's creative control tower, attracting an unlikely band of artistic characters, back-to-the-land types, and retirees. Jeanne and Michael Christie embody Lewisburg's blend. The duo run the Davenport House B&B, where guests can bottle-feed one of the property's baby lambs after taking coffee and breakfast on their private patio (Tibbiwell Lane, off of Davis Stuart Rd., thedavenporthouse.com, one-bedroom cottage from $120). Michael is a painter whose work has shown in New York City's Hoorn-Ashby gallery, and Jeanne is the former director of front-office operations at the Greenbrier hotel, 10 miles down the road. "You know, you always think of the ideal American town, where the kids are safe, the streets are clean. We have that, but we also have Wynton Marsalis coming through," says Jeanne, who'd just finished a morning of shearing sheep. While Michael is a seventh-generation West Virginian, many of their friends and neighbors are newer to the community, drawn in large part by the creative atmosphere anchored by Carnegie. For example, Hall Hitzig, who goes by the moniker the Crazy Baker, came in 1986 and "never looked back" (thecrazybaker.com). Now, he makes granola in the nearby mountains—and sells it everywhere from Puerto Rico to Arkansas. Hitzig's sticky toffee cake also wins raves at Lewisburg's sunny Stardust Café (102 E. Washington St., stardustcafewv.com, cake slice $8). At Stardust, co-run by Hitzig's twin sister, Destiny, and her daughter Sparrow, glasses are filled with "local spring water" (don't call it tap), and the greens are cultivated largely in local gardens. Lewisburg's arts scene is hardly limited to traditional performers like Marsalis; next door to Stardust, for instance, Tamera Pence identifies the potter of each espresso mug at her year-old emporium, Bella the Corner Gourmet (100 E. Washington St., bellathecornergourmet.com, mugs from $14). "We're very locally driven here," she explains. "And we're also a central hub. I have clients bringing their coolers in all the way from Charleston, more than two and a half hours away." -Nina Willdorf 2. ASTORIA, OREGON (POPULATION 9,477) Pioneers on the PacificAstoria has always been on the frontier, both the Lewis and Clark variety (they set up camp here in 1805) and the geographic (it sits both at the mouth of the Columbia River and in a teeming temperate rain forest). Sure, the place has prettied itself up nicely since those pioneer days with the addition of aging Victorians and craftsman-style bungalows, but the folks in sleepy coastal Astoria have never lost touch with their rough-and-tumble side. Take, for example, the surfers off of Astoria's scenic beaches, where ocean temperatures rarely break 60 degrees until midsummer. "You really have to suit up," says Mark Taylor, owner of Cold Water Surf (1001 Commercial St., coldwatersurf.com). "We're talking five-millimeter wet suits, gloves, and booties—but Astorians have always been a tough bunch!" Even the city's swankiest design hotel, the Commodore, embraces a decidedly masculine and nautical aesthetic (258 14th St., commodoreastoria.com, from $89). Reopened two years ago after being shuttered since 1966, the property pairs modern furnishings with sly nods to the city's history as a seaside cannery hub: thick braided ropes, nautical charts, and fishing floats. As afternoon rolls around, locals gather at the four-year-old Fort George Brewery + Public House for burgers made from local beef, as well as pints of the hoppy Vortex IPA, the Belgian-style Quick Wit ale, and as of this year, the 1811 Pre-Prohibition Lager, created in honor of Astoria's bicentennial (1483 Duane St., fortgeorgebrewery.com, pints from $4.25). You didn't really think these former pioneers would celebrate with champagne, did you? -Beth Collins 3. CLAYTON, NEW YORK (POPULATION 1,978) A River Runs to ItSome shore communities take their location for granted. Not so with Clayton. "I have lunch on the river every day," says Gregory Ingerson, a guide at the 320-ship Antique Boat Museum (750 Mary St., abm.org, admission $12). The curators are so proud of their nautical heritage that they use Q-tips to clean the exhibits, right down to the well-preserved heel marks in the floor of one turn-of-the-century houseboat. Clayton sits on a peninsula that juts out into the St. Lawrence River, so far north that the fire department's boat flies the American and Canadian flags. One of the benefits of that isolation is that the river itself is like a neighbor. In the summer, the old ferry terminal, where wealthy visitors once caught rides to their cottages on the Thousand Islands (birthplace of Thousand Island salad dressing), now hosts concerts. Out on the water, the family-run Ferguson Fishing Charters offers morning fishing trips followed by picnics on a private island, where a guide cooks the day's catch over a fire for lunch (fergusonfishingcharters.com, half-day charters for a group of four $325). Back on dry land, K's Motel & Cottages' two-night "ship watch special" includes a room, a two-and-a-half-hour boat cruise, admission to the Antique Boat Museum, and two meals (1075 State St., thousandislands.com/k, $159 per person). -Ray Pagliarulo 4. EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS (POPULATION 2,073) Honeymoons and MoreSure, you could sleep in one of the Queen Anne-style B&Bs, visit the monumental 67-foot-tall hilltop Christ of the Ozarks, catch a Branson-style show, or hunt for ghosts in the historic downtown. You could easily spend a week on the tourist circuit in this late-1800s Victorian spa retreat. But you'd never get to meet the real Eureka Springs. Eureka Springs may be the honeymoon capital of the Ozarks, but don't let the kitschy, heart-shaped Jacuzzis fool you. "The guy on the street corner playing fiddle?" says local artist Cathy Harris. "He is a trained concert violinist." "And those men at the bar just may be geniuses," adds Harris's husband, J.D., a sculptor with beaded gray dreadlocks. "We had a team win the international Mensa competition two years in a row." The current of creativity bubbles up just about everywhere, if you look hard enough. At the Eureka Thyme gallery, Marsha Havens skips the trinkets of other tourist traps in favor of works that draw on Ozark inspirations: wooden bowls made from found downed trees and clay bird whistles that warble like the real thing (19 Spring St., eurekathyme.com, wooden bowls from $50). You might even say that an artisan spirit is part of the recipe of Garden Bistro, where partners Lana Campbell and Robert Herrera draw from local ingredients for their Amish-style bread baked in flowerpots and unfussy plates of family-style veggies grown on her farm (119 N. Main St., 479/253-1281, pork chops $19). The biggest surprise of all may be the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, a palatial ivy-covered grand hotel with claw-foot tubs and manicured gardens (75 Prospect Ave., crescent-hotel.com, doubles from $129). From this perch, you'll be inclined to look back to see Eureka Springs, but the leafy Ozarks keep the valley all but hidden from view—an apt vista for a town dubbed Tree City USA. -Nicholas DeRenzo 5. LA POINTE, WISCONSIN (POPULATION 309) A Superior HamletIt's called the Island Wave, and to the folks on Madeline Island—a quiet, North Woods enclave of artists on Lake Superior—it means you greet everyone, even when you're driving. It's a lovely idea, but in summer it can get, well, dangerous. That's when La Pointe, the island's only town, swells with visitors. "The line goes out the door for hours on July 4th," says Marie Noha, owner of the Mission Hill Coffee House (105-106 Lakeview Pl., on Middle Rd., 715/747-3100, coffee $1.45). And then there's the winter, when the only way off Manhattan-size Madeline is by wind sled or ice road. Then the Island Wave becomes a way to connect to the outside world. "I don't mind the loneliness," says Amitty Romundstad, manager of the Inn on Madeline Island (641 Main St., madisland.com, doubles from $95). The literary and opera societies meet in the off-season, and occasionally there's a gorgeous show put on courtesy of the northern lights, when hearty La Pointe locals gather on the ice road to be dazzled together. "We're not a community," says novelist and boat captain Richard Coleman. "We're a tribe." -Debra Weiner 6. PHOENICIA, NEW YORK (POPULATION 309) A Riverside RetreatThe library in Phoenicia burned down this spring, and suddenly there were books everywhere. Not casualties of the fire, but boxes and boxes of donations to replace what was lost. Residents now check out books (and fishing poles) at the temporary library branch housed in the old medical building on Ava Maria Drive. Phoenicia may look like a one-street river town sandwiched between hills in New York's Catskills—it does a wicked tubing business in the summer—but it's got a bookish, cosmopolitan vibe in its soul. "It's not just crazy guys with cars in their yards," says Michael Koegel of Mama's Boy, a hip little cafe and smoothie bar (7 Church St., mamasboymarket.com, mac 'n' cheese $4.95). Like Koegel, many Phoenicians came from Manhattan, and they've brought a healthy dose of quirk with them. For instance, former New Yorker Alan Fliegel, who owns A Community Store, sells locally made clothing and underground comic books—and runs a well-stocked communal art gallery upstairs (60 Main St., 845/688-5395, comic books from $1). Yet like its library that loans fishing poles, Phoenicia hasn't lost touch with its down-home roots. If you spend the night at the cozy Phoenicia Lodge, you may feel like you've woken up in Mayberry (5987 Rte. 28, phoenicialodge.com, doubles from $70). You certainly will after breakfast at Sweet Sue's Restaurant (49 Main St., 845/688-7852, mixed-berry pancakes from $5.25). The pancakes (pumpkin, pineapple-coconut, and 20-plus other varieties) are legendary, as are the lines waiting to get inside. -R.P. 7. NEWTOWN BOROUGH, PENNSYLVANIA (POPULATION 2,384) Amish Country CharmNewtown Borough isn't the kind of place where you'd expect to see millionaires tooling around in a fancy car. In fact, the rural Bucks County burg is close enough to Amish Country that most of the convertibles around these parts are horses-and-buggies. But when Rick Krotz and his brother-in-law Bill Kane hit an astounding sort of daily doubl—Krotz won $607,000 on the Cash 5 lottery in 2006, and Kane netted $3 million from a single scratch-off ticket in 2009—this is exactly the place they wanted to be. Both men grew up nearby and had always loved Newtown's well-worn charms. It's home to the nation's oldest movie theater, Newtown Theatre, a 375-seat, red-brick treasure that's been in operation since 1906 (120 N. State St., newtowntheatre.com, tickets $9). The Brick Hotel, built in 1764 and still looking sharp decked out in hunter green shutters and striped awnings, is one of the few places that can honestly claim that George Washington slept here (1 E. Washington Ave., brickhotel.com, doubles from $80). And director M. Night Shyamalan likes the look of Newtown so much, he filmed Signs here in 2002. So last year, the lottery brothers bought Ned's Cigar Store (4 S. State St., nedscigar.com, cigars from $3). It's now filled with mahogany chairs, cherrywood cabinets—and a steady stream of hopeful lotto-ticket buyers. "I guess they think our luck might rub off on them," Krotz says. "That would really be the dream come true—to sell someone else a big winner." -Andrea Minarcek 8. CEDAR KEY, FLORIDA (POPULATION 896) Unspoiled on the GulfIf someone asked you where to get the best New England clam chowder, you might be inclined to say, "Duh, New England." You'd be wrong—by over 1,000 miles. For the past three years, the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, R.I., has been won by Tony's Seafood Restaurant of Cedar Key (597 2nd St., tonyschowder.com, cup $4.65). In fact, the town is America's second-largest producer of farmed clams, one of many surprises in this two-square-mile hamlet 130 miles north of Tampa. Despite its prime location on the Gulf of Mexico, Cedar Key has escaped the pull of developers-its spit of beach isn't long enough to attract large-scale building projects. Instead, it still feels like a ramshackle, old fishing village straight out of Hemingway. "People always say it's like Key West 30 years ago," says innkeeper Ada Lang. Built in 1919 and restored in 2004, Ada's Wabi Sabi Cottage is a time-capsule example of a "Cracker" cottage, a style of wood-frame house popular in the 19th century (689 4th St., 352/543-5696, from $130). The last time outside developers set their sights on Cedar Key was in the late 1880s, when pencil makers carted off the island's namesake cedars. (There's still a bit left in the worn wooden exteriors of tackle shops and clam shacks on Dock Street.) If you're looking to catch your own lunch, Kayak Cedar Keys offers boats specially equipped with rod holders and anchors, perfect for whiling away hours in search of redfish and trout (kayakcedarkeys.com, rentals $50 per day). Weary paddlers can rest up at Point Cottage, an octagonal stilt house overlooking Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge (12218 Franko Circle, pointcottage.com, $179 a night, sleeps six). And there's always dinner at Tony's. The menu is extensive, but don't you dare skip the chowder: The recipe has been entered into the Great Chowder Cook-Off Hall of Fame. -N.D. 9. RIPON, WISCONSIN (POPULATION 7,733) College Town PerfectionThey must have made odd neighbors: the Utopian Socialists on the prairie and the entrepreneurial abolitionists up on the hill. The socialists lived on a commune. The abolitionists later founded the Republican party. And yet, in the 1850s, they joined forces to found Ripon (the town) and then Ripon (the college). Town and gown have been intertwined ever since, proudly perched in the middle of the cornfields 85 miles northwest of Milwaukee. In some college towns, the locals and students get along like rivals at the Michigan-Ohio State football game. Not in Ripon. The professors sit on the local school board. The students sing in the church choirs, and church folk welcome the school's 1,000 or so students with a potluck every fall. Friday evenings in summer, across from the college president's office in the old public library, townies and academics alike turn out for concerts on the Village Green. "My favorite is Tuba Dan's polka band," says Professor Mary Avery, who oversees a student group that helps local businesses, such as the Watson Street Sub Shop, create financial plans (314 Watson St., watsonstreetsubs.com, subs from $6.75). Watson Street in turn lets the students use its storefront for fund-raisers. "We are the quintessential college town," says David Joyce, president of Ripon. "Or maybe it should be the quintessential town with a college?" -D.W. 10. GREENSBURG, KANSAS (POPULATION 777) The Real Emerald CityWhen you pull into Greensburg, you may well think you're not in Kansas anymore: Elegant wind turbines and LED streetlights have replaced cornfields and barns. After a 2007 tornado destroyed 95 percent of Greensburg, those who stayed vowed to build the ecofriendliest town ever. "Being green is such a part of our identity that people assume we changed our name after the storm," says Ruth Ann Wedel, site manager of GreenTown, the city's rebuilding campaign. (For the record, the "green" comes from stagecoach driver D.R. Green.) Like the name, the idea of going green dates back further than you'd expect. "These are not hippie-dippy concepts," says Stacy Barnes, director of the 5.4.7 Arts Center (204 W. Wisconsin Ave., 547artscenter.org, free). "These are the same tenets used in pioneer days—south-facing windows in chicken coops to increase sunlight, reusing everything like Mennonites do. We got lazy over the past century." The gallery, named for the day the storm hit, houses contemporary art from around the U.S. Many businesses here pay tribute to the past. Green Bean Coffee Co. serves milkshakes to fill the void left by the destruction of the old soda fountain (105 E. Kansas Ave., notyourmommascoffee.com, shakes $3.50). Nearby, you'll find innovations both high-tech (solar panels) and low (banisters made from tractor parts) at the Silo Eco-Home B&B (402 S. Sycamore St., 620/723-2790, doubles from $110). Just goes to show: It's not so hard being green after all. -N.D.

    Family

    12 Awe-Inspiring American Castles

    Who doesn't go a bit giddy at the sight of a castle? The good news is that you don't have to head to Europe for honest-to-goodness ones of the Cinderella variety—we have plenty right here in our own backyard. Railroad barons commissioned most of these estates, but at least one housed a legitimate king and queen (bet you didn't know this country had its own history of royalty!). Each is an engineering wonder in its own right, with some even constructed out of old-world castles that were shipped across the ocean. And each is open to tours should you decide to make a trip (a select few will even let you spend the night). Read this and you might just discover a side of America you never knew existed. SEE THE 12 AWE-INSPIRING CASTLES 1. GREY TOWERS CASTLE  Most colleges contend to be fortresses of learning, but Arcadia University in the suburbs north of Philadelphia can back it up with battlements acquired in 1929. Grey Towers was built by eclectic sugar refiner William Welsh Harrison between 1893 and 1898 and modeled after Northumberland's Alnwick Castle (a.k.a. the most archetypal expression of the medieval style). The 40 rooms wowed with gilded ceilings, tapestries, ornamental paintings, and hand-carved walnut and mahogany woodwork in styles from French Renaissance to Louis XV—and of course a Mirror Room—while secret passages behind fireplaces and underground tunnels. Self-guided tours of public areas are possible while classes are in session (the building now contains dorm rooms and administration offices). Free brochures outline the history. 450 South Easton Rd., Glenside, PA, 215/572-2900, arcadia.edu. 2.'IOLANI PALACE  Other properties on this list may be bigger and more lavish, but the 'Iolani Palace has one thing above them all: legitimacy. America's only true palace—as in, royalty resided here—was built from 1879 to 1882 by King Kalakua and Queen Kapi'olani. The goal was to enhance the prestige of modern Hawaii in a kind of Victorian-era keeping up with the Joneses. (The palace had electricity and a telephone even before the White House.) Stone-faced with plenty of koa wood inside, the two-floor American Florentine–style building includes a throne room, grand hall, and private suites, including the upstairs room where the queen was imprisoned for five months following the 1895 coup. Today, concerted efforts are underway to find artifacts and furniture (like the king's ebony and gilt bedroom set) that were auctioned off by the post-coup Provisional Government. 364 South King St., Honolulu, HI, 808/522-0832, iolanipalace.org. Admission $12, guided tour $20. 3. HAMMOND CASTLE  Like a modern-day Frankenstein's castle on Massachusetts's rocky Atlantic shore, Abbadia Mare (Abbey by the Sea) served as both home and laboratory for prolific inventor John Hayes Hammond Jr. after it was completed in 1929. Hammond is largely credited as the "Father of the Radio Control," as in tanks and planes and remote-controlled cars. He was also a lover of medieval art, and the castle was designed to showcase his collection. The building itself is a blend of 15th-, 16th-, and 18th-century styles, including a great hall with elaborate rose windows and pipe organ plus a courtyard featuring a two-story meat market/wine merchant's house brought over from southern France. And, yes, like any proper mad scientist, he made sure there were secret passageways. Self-guided tours are available along with annual Renaissance Faire fund-raisers, psychic gatherings, and spooky Halloween events. 80 Hesperus Ave., Gloucester, MA, 978/283-2080, hammondcastle.org. Admission $10. 4. FONTHILL CASTLE  Celebrating its centennial in 2012, the former home of industrialist-turned-archaeologist Henry Mercer is an ode to artisanship: All 44 rooms (10 bathrooms, five bedrooms, and 200 windows), 32 stairwells, 18 fireplaces, and 21 chimneys are hewn from hand-mixed reinforced concrete in a mishmash of medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine styles. Thousands of handcrafted ceramic tiles were inset throughout, including Mercer's own Moravian-style tiles plus Persian, Chinese, Spanish, and Dutch productions he collected. Today, the 60-acre Bucks County estate serves as a museum to pre-industrial life, with 900 American and European prints at Fonthill and even more artifacts (like a whale boat and Conestoga wagon) in its sister building, the Mercer Museum, a fun house–like six-story castle in its own right. East Court St. and Rt. 313, Doylestown, PA, 215/348-9461, mercermuseum.org. Admission $12. 5. CASTELLO DI AMOROSA  Word to the wise: Imbibe the cabernet sauvignon and pinot grigio at the Castello di Amorosa winery carefully, because somewhere in the 121,000-square-foot, 107-room, eight-level complex there's a dungeon with a functional Renaissance-era iron maiden. It took 14 years to construct the castle using historically accurate medieval building techniques. The end result is an "authentic" 12th- and 13th-century Tuscan castle with drawbridge and moat. The frescoes in the Great Hall and Knights' Chamber are hand-painted, some 8,000 tons of Napa Valley stone hand-chiseled, the Hapsburg-era bricks, hand-forged nails and chandeliers, and 500-year-old fireplace all tediously imported from Europe. That sense of awe? Very modern. 4045 N. St. Helena Highway, Calistoga, CA, 707/967-6272, castellodiamorosa.com. Admission $18, including wine tasting. 6. BOLDT CASTLE  What do you do when you come across a heart-shaped isle while vacationing with your wife in the Thousand Islands? If you're upstart industrialist George Boldt, you buy it and hire 300 stonemasons, carpenters, and artists to build a six-story, 120-room testament to your love. There were Italian gardens, a dove-cote, and a turreted powerhouse, plus all the imported Italian marble, French silks, and Oriental rugs money could buy. But when his wife Louise died in 1904, the heartbroken Boldt ceased construction on the Rhineland-style Taj Mahal and left it to the elements for 73 years. Today, tourists can visit from May to October for self-guided tours—or book a wedding in the stone gazebo. +44° 20' 40.29" N, -75° 55' 21.27" W, Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NY, 315/482-9724, boldtcastle.com. Admission $8. 7. GILLETTE CASTLE  It's elementary: Get famous (and rich) by playing Sherlock Holmes on the stage; build your own Baskerville Hall. Pet project of campy eccentric William Hooker Gillette, the 24-room castle was completed in 1919 by a crew of 20 men over five years using the actor/playwright's own drafts and designs. It's also the focal point of his 184-acre Seventh Sister estate, a forested bluff overlooking the Connecticut River. Outside, the local fieldstone reads like crumbling medieval; inside, the built-in couches, curious detailing, and inventive hand-carved southern white oak woodwork is all arts and crafts. As for cat images? There are 60. (Gillette had 17 feline friends.) Gillette Castle State Park, 67 River Rd., East Haddam, CT, 860/526-2336, ct.gov. Grounds open year-round; interior tours available Memorial Day to Columbus Day. Admission $6. 8. OHEKA CASTLE  Second behind Asheville's Biltmore as the largest private estate in the nation, OHEKA—an acronym of Otto Herman Kahn, its millionaire financier original owner—ended up abandoned in the late 1970s and sustained extensive damage from fires, vandals, and neglect. After a 20-year renovation, it's back in form and is now a 32-room luxury hotel. Think Downton Abbey just an hour from Manhattan (themed packages available), or for that matter, Citizen Kane (photos of it were used in the film). Originally set on 443 acres, massive tons of earth were moved to make the hilltop location of the 127-room, 109,000-square-foot manse the highest point in Long Island. The Olmsted Brothers planned the formal gardens, the Grand Staircase was inspired by Fontainebleau's famous exterior one, and 126 servants tended to the six-person family when they came for weekends and summers. The 1919 price tag: $11 million. That's $110 million in today's money. Sounds about right for a man whose likeness inspired Mr. Monopoly. 135 West Gate Dr., Huntington, NY, 631/659-1400, oheka.com. Admission $25. Double rooms from $395 per night. Guided tours available. 9. BISHOP'S PALACE  Of all the Gilded Age Victorians built by Nicholas Clayton along Galveston's Gulf Coast, the Bishop's Palace (née Gresham Castle, 1893, after its original owner, Santa Fe railroad magnate Walther Gresham) remains the grandest—and not just because its steel and stone hulk survived the Great Storm of 1900. Its small lot and oversized proportions with château-esque detailing of steeply peaked rooflines and sculptural chimneys still dominate the street, while inside the 14-foot coffered ceilings, 40-foot octagonal mahogany stairwell, stained glass, plaster carvings, and Sienna marble columns exude richness. Keep a lookout for the bronze dragon sculptures. After serving as a Catholic bishop's residence for 50 years, the house is now open for tours. Book a private guide to see the usually off-limits third floor. 1402 Broadway, Galveston, TX, 409/762-2475, galveston.com. Admission $10, private tours from $50. 10. CASTLE IN THE CLOUDS  Location, location, location—as important in castles to fending off conquers as forgetting Gilded Age woes. And for millionaire shoe baron Thomas Plant, that meant setting his 1914 Lucknow Estate (named after the Indian city he loved) on the rim of an extinct caldera high in the Ossipee Mountains with unbroken views over 6,300 private acres of woods and lakes. The mansion by comparison is relatively subdued: A mere 16 rooms, it's practically minuscule compared to the other castles on this list. Throughout, the arts and crafts philosophy of artisanship and living in harmony with nature is expressed in the stone walls, inventive handiwork like the jigsaw floor in the kitchen, and functional decor that eschews ostentation—all planned at Plant's 5-foot-4 height—plus a few technological innovations like a needle shower, self-cleaning oven, brine fridge, and central-vacuuming system. Much remains wholly preserved today. Route 171, 455 Old Mountain Rd., Moultonborough, NH, 603/476-5900, castleintheclouds.org. Admission $16. 11. THORNEWOOD CASTLE  It's not every day Stephen King chooses your luxury B&B as setting for his haunted-house TV miniseries Rose Red. Then again it's not every day that a 400-year-old Elizabethan manor house is dismantled brick-by-brick and shipped round Cape Horn to be incorporated into an English Tudor Gothic castle in the Pacific Northwest, as Thornewood was from 1908 to 1911. The property was a gift from Chester Thorne, one of the founders of the Port of Tacoma, to his wife and apropos of its origin, the 54-room castle is now a prime wedding venue, with antiques and artwork galore plus an Olmsted Brothers–designed garden and three acres of fir-dotted grounds overlooking American Lake. Book a room to get an inside look at the building; there are also tours and events that are occasionally open to the public. 8601 N. Thorne Lane Southwest, Lakewood, WA, 253/584-4393, thornewoodcastle.com. Double rooms from $300 per night. 12. HEARST CASTLE  Understatement of the millennium: William Randolph Hearst's 1919 directive to architect Julia Morgan to "build a little something" on his ranch in San Simeon. Then again, a 115-room "Casa Grande" inspired by a Spanish cathedral is a relatively modest proposition compared to the 250,000 acres and the 13 miles of coastline it's set on. It's when you add in the three additional Mediterranean Revival guesthouses (46 more rooms total), 127 acres of gardens, the Neptune pool with authentic Roman temple pediment, the zoo with roaming reindeer and zebra, Egyptian Sekhmet statues on the terraces, and the private airstrip that things get a bit over-the-top. Magnificent doesn't begin to describe the museum-quality artwork, which drove the architecture as much as anything, from Renaissance statuary to Gothic tapestries and entire ceilings, nor the palatial scale of the publishing magnate's vision for "La Cuesta Encantada" (The Enchanted Hill)—still unfinished upon his death in 1951. 750 Hearst Castle Rd., San Simeon, CA, 800/444-4445, hearstcastle.org. Admission from $25.

    Inspiration

    Athens, Georgia

    When Michael Stipe wrote "Shiny Happy People," the R.E.M. front man, a former University of Georgia art student, must have had Athens in mind. The 100,000 residents have a number of reasons to smile: The indie music scene Athens is the southern seat of independent music, with R.E.M. playing the part of local boys made huge. It all started in 1979 at Wuxtry Records, where Stipe was a regular and Peter Buck a clerk (197 E. Clayton St., 706/369-9428). They then picked up their other two bandmates, also UGA students, in Athens. R.E.M., the B-52's, and Widespread Panic all played the 40 Watt Club early on in their careers. The club has changed locations a few times; the latest venue, where Sufjan Stevens recently performed, has a tiki bar (285 W. Washington St., 706/549-7871, 40watt.com). A bulldawg with spirit Sanford Stadium--despite its 92,746 capacity--sells out well in advance for big football games (877/542-1231, georgiadogs.com). Scoring a ticket is tough without an alumni connection, though it's not impossible; scalpers usually hang around outside. The university's athletic teams are known as the Georgia Bulldogs, and locals twang it out slowly and proudly, spelling it "dawg" on T-shirts. The school mascot, Uga VI, is the latest in a line of English bulldogs. Uga and his ancestors have gained national renown as the stars of a 2004 "dogumentary" called Damn Good Dog, which chronicles 48 years of beloved Ugas--trotted out at the beginning of each game--and the Savannah family that has cared for them. (It's pronounced uh-guh, by the way.) Spirits with bite The signature drink at the Manhattan Cafe, a cool dive downtown, is Maker's Mark and Blenheim's spicy ginger ale (337 North Hull St., 706/369-9767). On occasion, aspiring rock stars, emboldened by one too many, play the room. Food for the people Dexter Weaver has been behind the counter at Weaver D's, a soul-food restaurant east of downtown on the North Oconee River, for 19 years (1016 E. Broad St., 706/353-7797). Weaver is marvelously predictable. After he takes an order for plates of fried chicken, mac and cheese, or warm apple cobbler (platter with two sides $8), his favorite thing to say is "Automatic for the people." The phrase--a promise for quick service--went national when R.E.M. got Weaver's permission to use it as the title of the band's 1992 album. A liberated tree A white oak on Finley and Dearing streets is known as the Tree That Owns Itself. In 1832, the professor who owned the land deeded the tree--and some land around it--to the tree. When the oak was uprooted in 1942, the Junior Ladies' Garden Club planted its replacement, which the nice ladies continue to keep well-watered today. Many green acres Grand Oaks Manor B&B, five miles outside of town, is an impressive 1820 antebellum mansion on a 34-acre estate (6295 Jefferson Rd., 706/353-2200, grandoaksmanor.com, from $129). The full breakfast, included in the nightly rate, regularly features caramel apple French toast and is served in proper southern style--on china, of course.

    Travel Tips

    7 Lies Every Traveler Tells

    Every travel-lover has done it: No matter how fulfilling, awe-inspiring, or “worth it” our trips are, we’ve told tiny half-truths about exactly how perfect everything was. Maybe you’re a workaholic who couldn’t stop checking email in a tropical paradise, or you’re part of a large family who embarked on a cross-country road trip…with mixed results. But when you gush to your friends back home, all they hear is the highlight reel…and none of the snafus. Why do we lie about our vacations? “With the rise of social media, many people feel compare themselves to their friends and families who post about their ‘amazing’ vacations online,” says clinical psychologist Roudabeh Rahbar, PsyD. “What many hide are the actual realities of travel, i.e., stress, fights, illness, or an overall bad time.” READ: "Read This Before You Rent a Car" Pair that with a limited number of vacation days to burn each year, and the heat is on to have a magical, Instagram-worthy time. But there’s good news: Budget Travel sourced advice from experts to help you avoid the travel snags you might be tempted to gloss over, so next time, you truly can have a dreamy, stress-free trip—no Pinocchio-style white lies necessary.  LIE NO. 1. TRAVELING IS RELAXING The Reality: You’re thrilled you were able to take a vacation, of course. But between running through the airport to make your connection, wrangling toddlers, driving in an unfamiliar place, or packing in as much sightseeing as possible…you’re exhausted. The Fix: First, resist the urge to create a schedule so strict it reminds you of the crazy-busy life you're trying to escape. "The unnecessary anxiety starts when you book a vacation and think you have to see everything and do everything," says family therapist Kimberley Clayton Blaine, MA, LMFT. "Leaving ample time in between activities allows you to taste the wonderful food and mingle with the culture and people around you without the hustle and bustle and stress." When you find yourself in a moment that should be blissful, but your mind is frenzied, try this trick from psychologist and author Susan Albers, PsyD: "Use your all of your senses. While walking on the beach, hold out your hand and name each of your senses as you make your hand into a fist. Thumb equals touch—the feel of sand on my toes. Pointer finger equals smell—ocean air. Middle finger equals sound—waves crashing. Ring finger equals taste—salty air. Pinky finger equals see—blue sky. Repeat wherever you are." READ: "Stupid Things Americans Do Overseas" Remember this maxim: “Things always go wrong.” Anticipate problems as best you can, but use setbacks as constructive learning experiences that will help you prepare for your next trip. “Perhaps, you’ll learn that you are less likely to have delays when you take the first flight out rather than the last,” says Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. “Or to leave yourself a day between finishing up work and setting off on your trip so packing isn’t as rushed.” If you still find yourself freaking out? “Take deep breaths and focus on the moment,” says Rahbar. “Even when that can be difficult to do, try to focus on a happy memory or a pull up a picture on your phone that makes you smile." If that doesn't do the trick, put on your headphones for a few minutes: The beautifully designed mindfulness app Headspace offers short, guided meditations and a free "fear of flying" exercise, designed to calm you before you step onto an airplane, all delivered in a soothing British accent (free app and introductory exercises, subscriptions from $6.24 per month, headspace.com). LIE NO. 2. YOU STAYED "UNPLUGGED" The Reality: You brought your phone along to the pool, to the beach, on a hike, and on an expedition to explore temple ruins, sneaking peeks at your inbox (and Facebook and Instagram…) whenever you could get a signal. “Many people truly do want to unplug,” Rahbar says. “They are most likely embarrassed to admit how addicted and connected they are to the virtual world. Lying about unplugging goes along with how we lie about how much we drink or work out.” The Fix: Airplane mode. And not just when you’re cruising at 36,000 feet. “Put your phone on airplane mode during the day and plug in in the evening as you wind down from the day,” Rahbar says. “A lot of times when we have our phone on airplane mode, we forget to turn it back on. Or set time limits for yourself—i.e., one hour or two hours a day.” Workaholics, before you jet, loop in trustworthy coworkers ahead of time so they can take care of routine business, and tell them to avoid cc'ing you on group emails. “Be sure to put an away message on your email that tells coworkers when and under what circumstances you should be contacted,” Levine says. One example might be that you are only reachable via emails marked "urgent," and you'll only be checking your inbox for one hour at 9 p.m. each night in the time zone you're traveling to. The less available you appear, the less people will be inclined to bug you. LIE NO. 3. TRAVELING WITH YOUR PARTNER WAS ROMANTIC The Reality: You fought with your partner about decisions both big and small, from who’d get the window seat on the plane to which exotic food cart to track down. At times, it wasn’t pretty. And it definitely didn’t make you want to jump each other’s bones. The Fix: Talk about the trip beforehand, but go beyond discussing which airline and hotel to book. “To avoid unnecessary or unproductive fights…create a vision for your vacation and make a plan to fulfill it,” says Judith Wright, co-author of The Heart of the Fight. “Ask yourself: What is the purpose of our vacation? And become clear on why you are going. To ‘escape’ is not a sufficient reason. Great reasons include ‘to enhance my relationship with my partner,’ ‘to get more distance on my life,’ or to ‘restore or rejuvenate.’” READ: "The Revised Travel Ban Goes Into Effect" Then, Wright says, set concrete goals about “what you’ll talk about, how you’ll be with each other. What kind of experiences do you want to have together? What experiences do you want to have separately? There is nothing wrong with together time and alone time. Just be clear when setting goals and expectations.” LIE NO. 4. VACATIONS ARE GREAT FOR FAMILY BONDING The Reality: Your daughter spent the vacation with her nose buried in her Kindle, your son barely looked up from texting his girlfriend, and your partner spent every second she could get at the spa (a.k.a. away from you). Or, conversely, you spent so much time in close quarters that you longed for a solo vacation, sans the fam. The Fix: Treat trip planning like you’re a general in a war room. “Choose types of vacations that appeal to a range of interests and activity/energy levels,” Levine says. “For example, grandparents might want to book a stateroom in a ship within a ship on a large megaship that provides rock climbing walls and zip lines for kids. Make sure sleeping arrangements are appropriate for different ages, e.g., so an aging parent or young child can take a nap during the day or early risers aren’t paired with later risers.” A "coach" approach, using the word “team” to foster inclusiveness, can help too, says psychologist and travel-guide author Michael Brein, Ph.D. Tell the kids: “We are a team about to engage upon a great travel adventure." And if they misbehave: "We need to get along better and create a great travel environment that can maximize the experience for each and every one of us.” LIE NO. 5. YOU GOT A GREAT DEAL ON YOUR TRIP The Reality: After all the fees and surcharges, the fares and lodging ended up being more expensive than you’d have liked. You swear to do better next time. Or you didn’t realize your all-inclusive plan didn’t count the premium liquor as free. Or maybe you had the best intentions to save cash by skipping meals, then ended up starving and ordering room service at a markup. The Fix: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. No one can be a whiz at saving money every single time. Much of our favorite advice can be summed up in this article, by Budget Travel's Editor in Chief: 25 Best Money-Saving Travel Tips. A few more hints: Check Google Flights to ensure you're traveling at the least expensive times, to the least expensive airports. Look at the prices on the Google Flights map, and you might find that you can have the Caribbean vacation you want on a completely different, less expensive island than you had originally planned to visit. If you choose a low-cost airline, like Spirit or Frontier, make sure you understand what costs extra, like selecting your seat and reserving space for your bags at the airport rather than online beforehand. Sign up for email alerts from all the major airlines, AirfareWatchdog.com, and your favorite hotel companies, and follow them on social media too. You'll be among the first to hear about bargains, and the deals will find you. At resorts, always read the fine print for all-inclusive deals. At some properties, you can order a whole bottle of champagne up to your room, gratis. At others, they literally rope off the Johnnie Walker Black unless you’ve paid to upgrade your status. LIE NO. 6. YOU CAN'T WAIT TO GO BACK AGAIN The Reality: You borderline resented where you were, whether you had a rough brush with poison ivy and mosquitoes while trying find your inner outdoorswoman or had to dodge herds of sunburned tourists at the swim-up bar. Some people love visiting the same place over and over again, but this time, you’re certainly not one of them. The Fix: Don’t beat yourself up. Having not-so-positive experiences is crucial to becoming a true world traveler. “As we travel, and especially in the condensed space-time of travel, as we grow and learn from our experiences, we are ever more capable of making better and more rewarding travel decisions,” Brein says. And before you write off the experience completely, give the locale some credit: “Perhaps you only scraped the surface of a destination and want to dig more deeply or experience it more authentically,” Levine says. LIE NO. 7. DOWNTIME WAS FUNTIME The Reality: You were as bored as bored could be, whether you were by yourself on a solo trip or lounging next to your family on the beach for a week. The Fix: Maybe your trip was just too long—hey, it can happen. Or you know now that you'd prefer not to be alone if you can help it, and that's a good thing: “The hospitality industry has never been as welcoming of solo travelers (and their money), from reducing or eliminating single supplements on cruises to having long tables at restaurants," Levine says. "Also, the sharing economy has made it possible for solo travelers to live with locals—e.g., Homestay, Airbnb—share meals with them—Mealsharing, EatWith—and meet up with them as guides, e.g., ToursbyLocals.com, Context Travel.” And then there's the old-fashioned way to find a friend (and, no, we're not talking about Tinder tourism—not that there's anything wrong with that). "Even if you are shy, make efforts to engage other single people, hospitality staff, and even families," Levine says. "Most will go out of their way to engage a fellow traveler."

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