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    Charlotte,

    North Carolina

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    Charlotte () is the most populous city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Located in the Piedmont region, it is the county seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau found that the population was 874,579, making it the 16th-most populous city in the U.S. and the second-largest in the Southeast behind Jacksonville, Florida. The city is the cultural, economic, and transportation center of the Charlotte metropolitan area, whose population ranks 23rd in the U.S., and had a population of 2,660,329, in 2020. The Charlotte metropolitan area is part of a sixteen-county market region or combined statistical area with a 2020 census-estimated population of 2,846,550.Between 2004 and 2014, Charlotte was ranked as the country's fastest-growing metro area, with 888,000 new residents. Based on U.S. Census data from 2005 to 2015, Charlotte tops the U.S. in millennial population growth. It is the third-fastest-growing major city in the United States. Residents are referred to as "Charlotteans".Charlotte is home to the corporate headquarters of Bank of America, Truist Financial, and the east coast headquarters of Wells Fargo, which along with other financial institutions has made it the second-largest banking center in the United States.Among Charlotte's many notable attractions, some of the most popular include the Carolina Panthers (NFL), the Charlotte Hornets (NBA), the Coca-Cola 600, the Wells Fargo Championship, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Charlotte Ballet, Children's Theatre of Charlotte, Carowinds amusement park, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Charlotte has a humid subtropical climate. It is located several miles east of the Catawba River and southeast of Lake Norman, the largest man-made lake in North Carolina. Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake are two smaller man-made lakes located near the city.
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    Inspiration

    Explore Nashville’s musical (and non-musical) murals

    Nashville is known as Music City, but the truth is that the city is home to all sorts of artists. There’s no better way to get up close and personal with the artists of Nashville than the beautiful murals that can be found all across the city. Music City is home to dozens of murals featuring everything from Dolly Parton to dragons. Here’s where to find our favorites!Find your wings Lining up to have your photo taken with the giant wings in Nashville’s Gulch neighborhood is a rite of passage for any bachelorette party. Posing for a photo with this iconic Kelsey Montague mural is such a popular activity that it often has a line. It can be found in The Gulch at 302 11th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203I believe in Nashville After floods inundated the city in 2010, “I believe in Nashville” became the city’s slogan for rebuilding. Find variations of this mural (including a Nashville Predators-themed “I believe in SMASHVILLE”) across the city. The original lies in the 12 South neighborhood at 2700 12th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37204. Find the Smashville version on Broadway at 501 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203. A third variation, this one with the slogan “I believe in East Nashville,” popped up after tornadoes tore through the neighborhood in March 2020. Find it at 919 Gallatin Avenue, Nashville, TN 37206I believe in Nashville. Photo by Laura Brown Dolly Parton Nobody is more popular in Tennessee than “Saint” Dolly Parton, whose many achievements include sending over 1.3 million books each month to children across the USA through her Imagination Library. You can find a flowery mural with her portrait in East Nashville at 1006 Forrest Avenue, Nashville, TN 37206Tomatoes! East Nashville is known for its summer obsession with tomatoes. Every August, this quirky pocket of Nashville has an entire festival for tomatoes, including freshly painted tomatoes on the streets and tomato-themed gardens across town. Find the biggest tomato mural in East Nashville at 701 Porter Road, Nashville, TN 37206It’s gonna be okay Looking for your next inspiring Instagram shot? Look no further than West End, where “It’s gonna be O.K.” by artist Sarah Tate can be found. The exact location is at 3020 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN 37209. Nashville looks good on you! Nashville looks good on everybody (okay, maybe not as much in the middle of a humid August day, but still!) Show off your Nashville glam look in 12 South at 2509 12th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37204 The Silo What to do with an old, derelict grain silo? Turn it into art, of course! This amazing mural by Guido Van Helten features a realistic portrait of an older man looking towards the sky. It’s best appreciated when viewed in person and can be found in The Nations at 1407 51st Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37209The Silo in the Nations neighborhood of Nashville has transformed an abandoned silo into a noted landmark. Photo by Laura Brown Guitars everywhere Nashville is built on music, which is the lifeblood of the artist community here. See a celebration of the different kinds of music that have roots here with the guitar mural that can be found downtown at 213 3rd Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37201The Athens of the South Nashville is known as the Athens of the South, thanks to its many universities and the replica of the Parthenon. The beautiful mural by Beau Stanton of a Greek god pouring out a colorful chalice is an homage to this nickname. Find it downtown at 144 5th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37219. Celebrate the legends Pay tribute to the legends of Nashville with a visit to this mural painted on Legend’s Corner on Lower Broadway. The stars depicted change frequently - most recently, Taylor Swift was replaced by Brad Paisley. Can you identify each of the legends on the mural? Find out for yourself at the corner of Broadway and Rep John Lewis Way downtown.The legends mural on Broadway highlight's Nashville's history of producing great musicians. Photo by Laura Brown Spread Love (the Nashville way) Nashville’s artist community is big on love, peace, and inclusion. Nashville also has incredible sunsets. See both married together in the “Spread Love” mural by Anthony Billups, featuring a beautifully painted Nashville skyline at sunset. This mural can be found at 1015 Nelson Merry Street, Nashville, TN 37203. Slay the dragons If you’ve ever needed some motivation to stand up with your sword and slay the dragons that stand in your way, look no further! That’s precisely what this Kim Radford mural is inspiring people to do. Find this mural in East Nashville at 1224 Meridian St, Nashville, TN 37207Little Kurdistan Nashville has the largest Kurdish population in the United States. This gorgeous community mural celebrates the rich and colorful culture of Kurds that have landed in Nashville. You can find the mural (and explore other parts of Kurdish culture) at 364 Elysian Fields Ct.

    Inspiration

    Burlington, Vermont

    After Birkenstock sandals, the most common accessory in Burlington is the coffee cup. Every third store on Church Street, the four-block pedestrian area up the hill from Lake Champlain, seems to be a coffee shop. If people aren't sitting and sipping, they're walking, riding extra-long skateboards, or even pedaling bicycles with java in hand. The thing about Burlington is, all that caffeine apparently never kicks in. No one ever seems in a hurry. Droopy-eyed shopkeepers, artists, and college kids always have the time to chat, play Hacky Sack, pet somebody's dog--or grab another coffee. The most popular coffee comes from Speeder & Earl's. The tiny Church Street branch offers around 10 brews that change daily, often with three or four from Central America alone. The roasting takes place at a bigger location a few blocks away. As with Bartles & Jaymes, there's no real Speeder or Earl; the name derives from a 1950s song by the Cadillacs. But the company's logo is a sort of metaphor for Burlington's split personality. On every cup is a cartoon of two men: a thin dude with slick black hair and a leather jacket, and a David Crosby type with a mustache and long hair. The mountain-man beard is alive and well in Burlington, but the town also has its edgier side--perhaps the result of the five area colleges, which attract tons of out-of-state students. You'll spot a fair share of tattoos and black clothing. Good music and good food are priorities, and big reasons why so many students stick around for years after graduation. On any given night, a handful of bands will take stages within a few blocks of Church Street, playing anything from Allman Brothers covers to hip-hop originals that are more hippie than gangsta. Red Square, a labyrinth of a place with multiple interconnected rooms, and Nectar's, stomping grounds for the jam band Phish, score points for reliably talented musicians who experiment to keep things interesting. For lunch, the Red Onion (moved to Charlotte, VT) Cafe's signature sandwich--hot turkey, thin apple slices, tomato mayo, smoked Gruyère, and red onion on your choice of homemade bread--is legendary. Vermont Pub & Brewery serves excellent bar food and the best pints in town. There's even homemade root beer. It seems like a waste to visit Vermont and not take in fresh air, green mountains, and lakes. Knock out all three by renting a bike at non-profit Local Motion, and go for a ride on the converted rail path that borders the lake. To really escape into the country, bring your bicycle on the scenic hour-long ferry and explore the winding mountain roads across the lake in Port Kent, N.Y. The country vibe continues back on the Vermont side at Willard Street Inn, despite the fact that the converted mansion is just four blocks from Church Street. Guests wake to breakfast in a handsome room with a piano and checkered marble floors, overlooking evergreens and a huge garden dotted with Adirondack chairs. For more information visit Vermont Vacation site.

    Budget Travel Lists

    24 safe budget getaways for spring

    According to a recent study by vacation rental search engine HomeToGo, bookings are up by 46% compared to last year, with travelers opting to stay within 257 miles of home. Hotels and campgrounds are getting in on the action, with Hilton offering up to 20% off rates at certain properties and free night deals at Sun RV Resorts in Arizona, California and Texas when you book by March 7 and travel by March 31. If remote cabins or unique camping experiences are more your style, check Vacation Renter and RVC Outdoor Destinations for more off-the-beaten-path ideas. If you’re willing to wear a mask, practice social distancing and follow health and safety protocols, spring might be a good time to venture out, especially with hotels and destinations doing all they can to keep employees and visitors safe. Here are 24 socially distanced trips you can drive to this spring, all under $200 a night. New York Save on a Finger Lakes stay at 1795 Acorn Inn, located near Canandaigua Lake about five hours from NYC. Mention the Winter Weekend Package to unlock nightly rates from $130, daily breakfast and a free third night when you book a two-night stay Thursday through Sunday by April 25. Pennsylvania Choose from cabins, cottages, yurts, bungalows, villas, RV and tent campsites and a 52-room lodge at Lake Raystown Resort, about 3.5 hours from Philadelphia or 2.5 hours from Pittsburgh. Bike or hike the 400-acre property’s scenic trails, visit the WildRiver Waterpark or Proud Mary Showboat and dine by the water at the Marina Café. Nightly rates start at $139 for bungalows and villas, $124 for cottages, $94 for cabins, $89 for lodge accommodations and $30 for tent campsites. Washington, D.C. The Cherry Blossom package at The Ven at Embassy Row includes a cherry blossom themed amenity, hand-painted postcards designed by a local artist, a commemorative lapel pin and a $15 rideshare app credit, with rates from $154 a night when you book and stay through April 30. Virginia Head to Southwest Virginia for fewer crowds and beautiful natural surroundings roughly 2.5 hours from Charlotte or six hours from DC. Bring your bike and take on the 35-mile Virginia Creeper trail, hike to the highest point in the state at Mount Rogers or see the wild ponies in Grayson Highland State Park. At The Sessions Hotel in Bristol, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum package includes breakfast for two and admission to the museum, from $194 a night. Nearby, rates at The Bristol Hotel, which makes its home in a restored 1925 landmark building, start at $139 a night. Near Shenandoah National Park in Northern Virginia, the Vacationing on the Clock package at Massanutten Resort comes with two complimentary cups of coffee, nightly rates from $195 and your choice of lift tickets or waterpark passes when you book and stay at least two nights Thursday through Sunday in a one-bedroom condo by March 7. South Carolina Visit Myrtle Beach, home to more than 60 miles of Atlantic beaches and 50 mini-golf courses. Stop by the LW Paul Living History Farm, stroll through Brookgreen Gardens or treat yourself to a private kayak tour with Black River Outdoors to enjoy the area from the water. Stay at Island Vista, where each room has a balcony overlooking the beach (from $87) or Hotel BLUE, home to South Carolina’s first swim-up pool bar (from $75). About 30 minutes from Charleston, Wild Dunes Resort, a Hyatt property in Island of Palms, offers plenty of outdoor space, tennis courts, a fancy 36-hole championship golf course and opportunities to fish or try stand-up paddleboarding. Rates start at $160 a night this spring. History buffs will love the Olde English District, located about an hour’s drive from Charlotte or Columbia, where you can learn about the area’s African American heritage and Revolutionary War history at a living history site, enjoy the great outdoors at Goodale State Park or get a bird’s eye view by sailplane with Bermuda High Soaring. Nightly rates at the charming East Main Guest House Bed and Breakfast in Rock Hill start at $129. Florida Celebrate Tampa’s Cuban heritage with a staycation at Hotel Haya, located on 7th Avenue in the heart of Ybor City. The Grab & Go Breakfast package, available from $174 a night, includes a homemade guava pastelito, a can of traditional con leche and fresh fruit. Between Pensacola and Panama City Beach, Hotel Effie Sandestin’s location within the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and proximity to Silver Sands Premium Outlets make it a great base for those in need of a round of golf or a shopping spree, with rates from $189 a night. In the Florida Keys, you’ll save 20% on weeknight vacation rentals or motel stays of at least two nights at Pelican RV Resort & Marina in Marathon (from $165) or Riptide RV Resort & Marina in Key Largo (from $150) when you book by April 30 and stay Sunday through Thursday by May 31. Mississippi Calling all Elvis fans: Whether you’re heading to Tupelo as part of a larger road trip from Memphis or Nashville or just enjoying the city’s history, music and foodie scene in its own right, there’s a lot to see here. Tour the King’s birthplace by bike, take a scenic drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway and camp lakeside at nearby Tombigbee State Park, with cabins from $60 a night and fully equipped vacation cottages from $75 a night. Texas Try a Texas Hill Country getaway or day trip this spring to see the wildflower bloom in March and April, enjoy Barbecue Month celebrations in May or spend time wandering charming towns like Fredericksburg, which celebrates its 175th birthday this year. Aviation enthusiasts will love the Hangar Hotel in Fredericksburg, a quirky hotel built to resemble a 1940s WWII hangar (rooms from $149), while an hour away in Dripping Springs, Lucky Arrow Retreat offers luxury yurts and cabins (from $159–$199) next door to the Bell Springs Winery and Brewing Company. Families near Dallas can enjoy early access to the Hilton Anatole’s new JadeWaters waterpark, which will be open to hotel guests on weekends from April 30 to May 31 before opening fully on Memorial Day weekend. Packages offer a $50 daily credit or complimentary breakfast, from $169 a night. About 90 minutes from Dallas in East Texas, the Deer Lake Cabins Ranch Resort in Mount Vernon offers more than 800 acres of trails and lakes so you can really get back to nature. Spend your days hiking, fishing, feeding farm animals, horseback riding or cruising around on a UTV, and your nights at a cowboy cookout or on a hayride, with cottages from $189 a night. Ohio The Mohicans Treehouse Resort & Wedding Venue, roughly 90 minutes from Cleveland or Columbus, is offering discounts through March 16 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday treehouse stays. Use promo code BUDGET2021 to unlock $200 nightly rates for the Moonlight, White Oak, Little Red, Old Pine and The Nest treehouses and $250 rates for the Tin Shed, Silver Bullet, The View and El Castillo. In Columbus, check out the Chihuly collection at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, wander the historic German Village district, take on the largest free outdoor climbing wall in the country at Scioto Audubon Metropark and get some air along the 253-mile Scioto Mile. Springtime rates at Moxy Columbus Short North start at $91 a night, while the Work Anywhere Stay Pass package includes early 6 a.m. check-in, late 6 p.m. check-out, complimentary Wi-Fi and a $10 food and beverage credit. Illinois Those seeking a pet-friendly staycation should check out the Radisson Blu Chicago’s VIPup package, which includes a doggie bed, as well as a welcome toy, portable food and water bowls, gourmet treats, a food and drink mat and a waste bag dispenser, with rates from $149 a night. Wisconsin There’s plenty of outdoor fun to be had in Door County, just 45 minutes from Green Bay and two hours from Milwaukee. History buffs should head to the Heritage Village living history museum in Sturgeon Bay, which will be reopening in May, as well as the Door County Maritime Museum to learn about the area’s shipbuilding past. Stay at Eagle Harbor Inn, a charming bed and breakfast in Ephraim, with rates from $98 a night. Nearby, the Fox Cities area offers many outdoor attractions — head to High Cliff State Park near Lake Winnebago to hike one of the park’s seven historic trails or try your hand at making maple syrup in Bubolz Nature Preserve. Stay in Appleton and book the CopperLeaf Boutique Hotel & Spa’s Winter Warmer package — you’ll get complimentary hot chocolate, two handcrafted stoneware coffee mugs, two mini bottles of Dr. McGillicuddy’s liqueur and a $50 credit toward dining or spa treatments, from $174 through March 31 — or the Girls’ Night on the Town package, which includes a bottle of wine and a $20 minibar credit (from $150). South Dakota The Badlands and Black Hills are full of scenic outdoor spaces worthy of a road trip, like Badlands National Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, just to name a few. Visit Custer State Park to see the buffalo roam, then stay onsite at Custer State Park Resort, where you can save 20% and receive a $20 credit on two-night stays (or save 25% and receive a $25 credit) when you stay between April 26 and May 22 and mention the Stay and Save This Spring package. Rates for lodge and cabin rooms start at $140 a night. Colorado Those booking two weekend stays in Arrowhead, Bearclaw or Foxtail cabins at the River Run Resort in Granby will get one free weekend stay when they book and travel by March 28. Two-weekend packages start at $520 (which breaks down to $130 a night) and come with six free bowling games, plus you can add extra nights for 20% less if you want to stay longer. Back in Denver, The Curtis has a great package for groups who want to enjoy a safe getaway together. The Choose Your Adventure package lets up to 24 guests take over an entire floor — that’s 12 guest rooms at double occupancy — from $2,000 a night, which breaks down to about $166 per room or $83 per person. You’ll also get to book your choice of socially distanced adventures, like laser tag, a silent disco or murder mystery game night, among others. Washington For an epic outdoor escape with a luxury resort twist, head 90 minutes from Seattle to Suncadia Resort, a Hyatt property situated among more than 6,000 acres of beautiful mountain scenery in Cle Elum. Spend some time hiking or biking more than 40 miles of trails in Wenatchee Washington National Forest or trying your hand at archery or axe throwing, among other activities, with rates from $171 a night.

    Inspiration

    Cruise Along These Holiday Lights Drive-Throughs Across The U.S.

    As the current pandemic is changing how we celebrate the 2020 holiday season, the tradition of seeing public holiday lights displays at night can now be done from the safety of your car. From readapted walking tours to first-time happenings or continuing events, here are holiday lights drive-throughs around the U.S. to take a ride-along. Check their websites for tickets and health and safety protocols before attending. New England Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay has reimagined its annual Gardens Aglow as a drive-through event happening now through Jan. 2. The gardens will still dazzle with over 650,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights depicting trees, animals, flowers, and other delights. Plus, they’ve all been designed by the gardens’ staff. Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, R.I. is hosting its first Drive-Through Holiday Lights Spectacular now through Jan. 10. The inaugural spectacular features festive larger-than-life luminous displays and over 1.5 million illuminated lights. Now through Jan. 2, the Magic of Lights at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, Conn. is presenting the latest LED technology and digital animations in this holiday experience. Now through Jan. 3, the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Concord is holding the “Gift of Lights,” a 2.5-milelong drive-through show with 3.5 million lights, a new 150-foot RGB Tunnel of Lights, and characters from popular children’s books. There are also fan-favorite displays, including the 12 Days of Christmas scene. Hershey Sweet Lights, presented by T-Mobile. Mid-Atlantic “Wegmans Lights on the Lake” at Onondaga Lake Park in Liverpool, N.Y. is happening now through Jan. 10, and is a two-mile route featuring towering holiday displays, a larger-than-life land of Oz, twinkling fantasy forest, Victorian villages and a variety of animated scenes. Located down the road from Pennsylvania’s Hersheypark Christmas Candylane, ”Hershey Sweet Lights presented by T-Mobile” is happening now through Jan. 3 and consists of two miles of fields and wooded trails decorated with nearly 600 illuminated, animated displays created from about two million LED lights. Through Jan. 3, “Bayport Credit Union Holiday Lights at the Beach” is Virginia Beach Boardwalk’s festive nautical holiday lights display featuring festive fish, musical crabs, and elves join a surfing Santa and a new 40-foot dancing Christmas tree. Southeast At Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., “Speedway Christmas” is happening now through Jan. 17 and has more than four million LED lights in displays along a 3.75-mile stretch. This event also has holiday movies shown on a large HDTV screen Thursdays through Sundays. For an additional fee, attendees can skate on a 5,400-square-foot ice rink; mask-wearing is required. In Columbia, S.C., the South Carolina State Fair is putting on “Carolina Lights” at Lexington Medical Center Fair Park at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds now through Dec. 27. More than 100 individual LED light displays along a mile-plus stretch including a nativity scene and a 25-foot-tall Frosty the Snowman. In Savannah, the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens’ “December Nights & Holiday Lights” has been turned into a drive-through event, on now through Christmas Eve. Now through Jan. 2, “Jax Illuminations” will feature two mega trees, a 300-foot tunnel of lights and custom Christmas scenes at the Morocco Shrine Center in Jacksonville, Fla. Through Jan. 2, the Pinnacle Speedway in Lights at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee spread across a four-mile route illuminated by more than 2 million lights among 250 displays. In Nashville, at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, the Jingle Beat is designed by the same artists and local creatives that behind some of the music industries biggest tours. This light show is helping to support the local music industry that has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Southern Lights Holiday Festival at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington is a three-mile driving tour full of a lot of twinkling lights, happening now through New Year’s Eve. “Santa Claus Land of Lights” at the Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort. Photo by Eric Scire. Mid-West Billed as Central Ohio’s largest drive-through Christmas light show, Wonderlight's Christmas at the National Trail Raceway in Hebron is now through Jan. 3. It has over one million LED lights synchronized to traditional and contemporary Christmas music played through your own car stereo. “Santa Claus Land of Lights” at the Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort in the (fittingly called) Santa Claus, Ind. happens now through Dec. 27. The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is depicted through lighted displays and storyboards. Now through Jan. 3, “Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum” in Lisle, Ill. has guests remaining in their cars and tuning to a synced musical soundtrack while driving nearly two miles among the Arboretum’s trees. The Wisconsin Christmas of Carnival Lights in Caledonia, 20 minutes south of Milwaukee at Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resort, features over two million twinkling lights on an over 1.6-mile path. Now through New Year’s Eve, the show allows attendees to experience lights on all sides, with displays ranging from forest friends and reindeer to Santa and his elves. South-West “Lights of Joy” in Branson, Mo. is located off of the Shepherd of the Hills Expressway and contains more than 300 displays with over one million twinkling LED lights throughout this 1.2-mile drive. The Automobile Alley Art Light Display in Oklahoma City has colorful LED lights covering buildings on eight blocks of North Broadway and district side streets. Various shops and restaurants will also feature window displays. The event is part of Downtown in December and runs now through Jan. 31. “Gift of Lights” at Fort Worth’s Texas Motor Speedway now through Jan. 3 is made up of over one million twinkling lights that people can see from their own cars. Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Photo by Gabe Ginsberg West “Christmas in Color” at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. is having drivers cruising along more than 1.5 million lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music heard through your car radio. Drive by giant candy canes, snowmen and more now through January 3. The Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s “Glittering Lights” features more than five million LED lights intertwining throughout a 2.5-mile course through the speedway, through Jan. 10. The Phoenix Zoo’s Cruise ZooLights can be seen from your car now through Jan. 31, with millions of twinkling lights and dazzling animal sculptures from the comfort of your vehicle. Now through Jan. 2, “Holidays in Your Car” is taking place both at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego and Ventura County Fairgrounds, with more than 1 million LED lights and some fixtures standing at 40 feet tall.

    Inspiration

    Three Big Festivals Go Virtual

    Summer typically initiates the music festival season with incredible line-ups, cool event spaces and dancing as if no one is watching. Many organizers have cancelled or postponed till later in the year due to this unprecedented time. However, three well-known festivals have decided to carry on by taking the events to a digital space. Participating in an online experience can’t quite be compared to an in-person event but going virtual has some benefits, such as expanding the opportunity to anyone in the world with access to an internet connection. Let’s be honest, festivals can be expensive to attend when you tally up the cost of a ticket, plus the cost of transportation, lodging, food and time off work. If you’ve been intrigued about attending one of these events but didn’t have time-off, funds or weren’t sure if it’s your kind of thing, now you’re only a screen away from uncovering what it’s all about. With these music gatherings going digital, more people from all over the globe can participate and discover the magic of coming together to enjoy these unique gatherings of music, creativity, and beauty. Tomorrowland Around the World Tomorrowland is an international electronic music festival that takes place in Boom, Belgium, which attracts some of the most important and renowned DJs and artists. Over the last few years, attendance has grown significantly reaching upwards of 400,000 fans from all over the world taking part over two weekends in July. 2020 marks the 16th anniversary of Tomorrowland and they’ve curated a festival titled Tomorrowland Around the World on a virtual magical island called Pāpiliōnem. They welcome all the “People of Tomorrow” to enjoy the incredible space filled with 3-D design technology, light and laser shows and an impressive techno, house and trance music line-up. Interacting with other festival goers attendees will be possible via games, webinars and workshops. There will be eight different stages with sets by Afrojack, Vini Vici, Steve Aoki, Martin Garrix,Yellow Claw, Charlotte de Witte, NGHTMRE, Nervo, San Holo, and Eptic, who are a sampling of over 60 artists who will perform during this two-day global event. Dates: July 25-26 between 7am-4pm PT Ticket prices: Day ticket: $14, (€12.50) Weekend ticket: $22.50 (€20.00), plus ticket packages Tickets available here.Lolla2020 Lollapalooza began in 1991 by the lead singer Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, which initially was the farewell concert for the band. The concert was such an unexpected success it took on a life of its own touring cities throughout the United States each year until 1997. The event was revived in 2003 and since 2005 has been held in Grants Park, Chicago where fans have gathered to enjoy their favorite alternative bands, heavy metal and hip hop artists and hear up-and-coming musicians. Lollapalooza is now global with six international cities hosting a music festival, including Berlin, Germany, Santiago, Chile, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and São Paulo, Brazil. This year Chicago organizers will put on Lolla2020, a 4-day virtual festival that will include performances from different areas of Chicago, video footage from the early 1990’s debuting for the first time, along with past sets in Chicago and European and Latin American cities. The special line-up has not been announced yet so stay tuned by following their social media or subscribing to their newsletter. Dates: July 30- August 2, 2020 Ticket prices: To be announced More information here.Burning Man Burning Man, the iconic city created in Black Rock desert in Nevada each year, will be hosted online for 2020. Each year there is a theme for this participatory and collective event, which is aptly titled “Mulitiverse.” Burning man is based on the principles of self-sufficiency and “radical self-reliance” where you must bring all your food, water, clothing and shelter for the duration of your time on the playa and many would say it’s far more than just a festival. Burning Man began as a small gathering of 35 people on Baker Beach in San Francisco in 1986. In 1990, it moved to Black Rock desert where it has continued until this year with plenty of collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the local communities. Although participants won’t be in a physical landscape where they can explore on their bikes or hop on art cars, traversing the digital sphere will provide a new way to enjoy the essence and this distinct version of Burning Man. Being exposed to the natural elements is definitely a part of the experience but for those who are intimidated but curious because you’re not sure how you’ll fare with high daytime temperatures, chilly nights or sandstorms or haven’t been able to get a ticket because they sell out the moment they go on sale, going online may be a great opportunity to enter into this magical and surreal land. You can be sure there will be plenty of art, music, the unexpected, connection and an abundance of creativity. Dates: August 30- September 7, 2020 Ticket prices: TBD More information here. Lauren David is a freelance writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes about food, gardening, travel, and lifestyle. When she’s not writing, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, road trips, and spending time near the ocean. Her work has been featured in Allrecipes, Folks, Huffpost Personal, Greatist, Trivago Magazine and more. You can find a collection of her work on her website: www.laurendavid.net.

    Inspiration

    15 travel movies to get you through quarantine

    To get through the COVID-19 quarantine crisis, we polled our readers for some of their favorite travel movies. Here is a list of 15 movie recommendations to scratch your travel itch while you're stuck at home: Eat Pray Love (rent on Amazon for $2.99) Liz Gilbert had everything a modern woman is supposed to dream of having -- a husband, a house, a successful career -- yet like so many others, she found herself lost, confused, and searching for what she really wanted in life. Newly divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life, embarking on a journey around the world that becomes a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy; the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love in Bali. Under the Tuscan Sun (Hulu) Frances Mayes is a 35-year-old San Francisco writer whose perfect life has just taken an unexpected detour. Her recent divorce has left her with terminal writer's block and extremely depressed. Her best friend, Patti, is beginning to think that she might never recover. "Dr. Patti's" prescription: 10 days in Tuscany. It's there, on a whim, that Frances purchases a villa named Bramasole--literally, "something that yearns for the sun." The home needs much restoration, but what better place for a new beginning than the home of the Renaissance? As she flings herself into her new life at the villa in the lush Italian countryside, Frances makes new friends among her neighbors; but in the quiet moments, she is fearful that her ambitions for her new life--and new family--may not be realized, until a chance encounter in Rome throws Frances into the arms of an intriguing Portobello antiques dealer named Marcello. Even as she stumbles forward on her uncertain journey, one thing becomes clear: in life, there are second chances. Secret Life of Walter Mitty (FX Now) (Rent on Amazon for $3.99) Ben Stiller directs and stars in THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, James Thurber's classic story of a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action. When his job along with that of his co-worker (Kristen Wiig) are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. Lost in Translation (Starz, rent on Amazon for $3.99) After making a striking directorial debut with her screen adaptation of The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola offers a story of love and friendship blooming under unlikely circumstances in this comedy drama. Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is a well-known American actor whose career has gone into a tailspin; needing work, he takes a very large fee to appear in a commercial for Japanese whiskey to be shot in Tokyo. Feeling no small degree of culture shock in Japan, Bob spends most of his non-working hours at his hotel, where he meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) at the bar. Twentysomething Charlotte is married to John (Giovanni Ribisi), a successful photographer who is in Tokyo on an assignment, leaving her to while away her time while he works. Beyond their shared bemusement and confusion with the sights and sounds of contemporary Tokyo, Bob and Charlotte share a similar dissatisfaction with their lives; the spark has gone out of Bob's marriage, and he's become disillusioned with his career. Meanwhile, Charlotte is puzzled with how much John has changed in their two years of marriage, while she's been unable to launch a creative career of her own. Bob and Charlotte become fast friends, and as they explore Tokyo, they begin to wonder if their sudden friendship might be growing into something more. Midnight in Paris (Showtime, rent on Amazon for $3.99) This is a romantic comedy set in Paris about a family that goes there because of business, and two young people who are engaged to be married in the fall have experiences there that change their lives. It's about a young man's great love for a city, Paris, and the illusion people have that a life different from theirs would be much better. Into the Wild (Showtime, rent on Amazon for $2.99) Freshly graduated from college with a promising future ahead, 22 year-old Christopher McCandless instead walked out of his privileged life and into the wild in search of adventure. What happened to him on the way transformed this young wanderer into an enduring symbol for countless people. Was Christopher McCandless a heroic adventurer or a naïve idealist, a rebellious 1990s Thoreau or another lost American son, a fearless risk-taker or a tragic figure who wrestled with the precarious balance between man and nature? McCandless' quest took him from the wheat fields of South Dakota to a renegade trip down the Colorado River to the non-conformists' refuge of Slab City, California, and beyond. Along the way, he encountered a series of colorful characters at the very edges of American society who shaped his understanding of life and whose lives he, in turn, changed. In the end, he tested himself by heading alone into the wilds of the great North, where everything he had seen and learned and felt came to a head in ways he never could have expected. Edie (Rent on Amazon for $3.99) Following the death of her husband, Edie (Sheila Hancock) breaks free from years of his control and rebels against her daughter's wish for her to move into assisted living by embarking on an adventure she and her father had always longed for: a trip to the Scottish Highlands to climb the world famous Mt. Suilven. Along the way, she hires young camping shop owner Jonny (Kevin Guthrie) to be her guide. Despite the generational differences, Jonny encourages Edie to fulfill her dream. 7 Years in Tibet (Rent on Amazon for $2.99) Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Name of the Rose, Quest for Fire) directed this Becky Johnston adaptation of Heinrich Harrer. In 1943, an Austrian mountain climber-skier (Brad Pitt) escapes from a British internment camp in India, travels over the Himalayas, arrives in Lhasato, and becomes friends with the Dalai Lama. Filmed in Argentina, Chile, and Canada. Life of Pi (Rent on Amazon for $3.99) Director Ang Lee creates a groundbreaking movie event about a young man who survives a disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with another survivor...a fearsome Bengal tiger. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Rent on Amazon for $3.99) When they turn 16, four lifelong friends are upset over the prospect of spending their first summer apart. As they scatter to different locations, their one bond is a cherished pair of jeans they've shared. Each will keep the pants for two weeks of her trip, passing them on to the next girl. Each faces serious coming-of-age problems, and somehow the pants help them through. National Lampoon’s Vacation (Hulu) The first film in the Vacation comedy franchise stars Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, an ad exec who becomes consumed with taking his family cross-country to Wally World, a California amusement park. Less a vacation than a descent into a peculiarly American kind of hell, the Griswolds suffer through an endless series of catastrophes, culminating in a run-in with the law. Up in the air (Amazon Prime, Hulu) Ryan Bingham, a corporate hatchet man who loves his life on the road, is forced to fight for his job when his company downsizes its travel budget. He is required to spend more time at home just as he is on the cusp of a goal he's worked toward for years: reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and just after he's met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams. Cast Away (Cinemax, $3.99 Amazon) An exploration of human survival and the ability of fate to alter even the tidiest of lives with one major event, Cast Away tells the story of Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), a Federal Express engineer who devotes most of his life to his troubleshooting job. His girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt) is often neglected by his dedication to work, and his compulsive personality suggests a conflicted man. But on Christmas Eve, Chuck proposes marriage to Kelly right before embarking on a large assignment. On the assignment, a plane crash strands Chuck on a remote island, and his fast-paced life is slowed to a crawl, as he is miles removed from any human contact. Finding solace only in a volleyball that he befriends, Chuck must now learn to endure the emotional and physical stress of his new life, unsure of when he may return to the civilization he knew before. Cast Away reunites star Hanks with director Robert Zemeckis, their first film together since 1994's Oscar-winning Forrest Gump. Mile, Mile and a Half (Netflix) Filmmakers Ric Serena and Jason Fitzpatrick follow an ever-growing group of adventurous young artists on their ambitious quest to hike all 219 miles of California's John Muir Trail. Expedition Happiness (Netflix) Two free spirits, one dog. Traveling the vast spaces of an enormous continent in search of something more.

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    DESTINATION IN North Carolina

    Cabarrus County

    Cabarrus County () is a county located in the south-central part of the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 178,011. The county seat is Concord, which was incorporated in 1803. Cabarrus County is included in the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. Among its significant historic sites is the Reed Gold Mine, a National Historic Landmark. The first gold discovered in the United States was found here in 1799, resulting in a gold rush in the early 1800s.While some cotton plantations were established, most of the land was developed for subsistence farming. By 1860 the population consisted of about one-third enslaved African Americans, with few free people of color. Industrialization had started before the war with the introduction of textile mills to process the cotton. More mill development took place, especially after the railroad was constructed to the town. Coleman Manufacturing Company, started in 1897, is believed to be the first cotton mill in the nation to be built, owned and operated by African Americans. It was owned by Warren Clay Coleman from Concord, John C. Dancy (federal collector of customs), and seven partners primarily from Wilmington, North Carolina. Investors included Washington Duke and capitalists in other parts of the state. Textile manufacturing continued to be integral to the regional economy until the later 20th century. In 2015 the Coleman-Franklin-Cannon Mill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.