Archive for July, 2013

City of the Month: Mackinac Island, Michigan

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013





Of all the places that I have traveled in my life so far, few are as distinctive as Mackinac Island, Michigan. I first visited Mackinac Island with my parents when I was in high school. And to be honest, not much has changed since then nor had it been much different 30, 60 even 90 years prior. And that’s just the way it’s supposed to be!

Located in Lake Huron between the Upper and Lower Peninsula of the state and just 300 miles north of Detroit, Mackinac Island has been America’s quintessential summer vacation spot for more than 125 years.

So what makes Mackinac Islandso perfectly timeless and special?

Mackinac Island Bridge

Well, there are no cars or motorized vehicles on the island, for starters. That’s right! A ferry ride will get you there and once on the Island, a horse and buggy, bicycle or your feet will take you the rest of the way. Its Victorian era charm has been painstakingly preserved and is the picturesque backdrop to any summer wedding or family memory.

In 1980 the cult-favorite flick, Somewhere in Time, was filmed on the island. Not one set had to be built for the film that was set in 1912. And I’m not alone in how great I think the film that starred Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour is. The movie’s fan club flocks to the island and its famed Grand Hotel every fall to pay homage to the film and its starring location.

MI fudgeSomewhere in Time was filmed at The Grand Hotel, probably one of the most recognizable and definitely won of the most decorated hotels in the world. It’s front porch, at 660 feet, is the world’s largest, and is visible as you approach the island from the ferry. When first opened in 1887, a stay would cost you $3 -$5. Today rates are higher but include full breakfasts and five-course dinners in most guest room rates, and children 12 years old and younger stay and eat free.

Mackinac Island slows the pace of life a bit, yet is full of fun for visitors for all ages. You can definitely perfect the art of the stroll here. The sweet smell of chocolate emanates from quaint shops in the historic downtown. You can stroll right into Murdick’s Candy Kitchen and try some of Mackinac’s famous fudge.

The beautiful Mackinac Island State Park covers 80% of the island and is ripe for exploration including the old Fort Mackinac. The park was actually the second national park created after Yellowstone but was eventually transferred over to the state when the fort was decommissioned by the US Army. Touring this area is definitely worthwhile.

Check out the blog later this week and I’ll provide a timeless itinerary for visiting Mackinac Island!







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10 Incredible Parks You Can’t Miss

Friday, July 26th, 2013

If you’re backpacking, or on a leisurely vacation, chances are you want to experience the destination in all its glory. Often the first places that enthused travelers are itching to check out are historical monuments, museums, clubs, bars, and restaurants. However, there is one destination that is truly underrated: parks.
All across Europe and the U.S. breathtaking parks are open to the public. Visiting these parks allows one to experience serene, natural, beauty and provides an idyllic getaway to the craziness that sometimes consumes traveling and exploring. Here are the 10 most incredible parks you can’t miss when gallivanting around the globe.

Vondelpark_Hotelsdotcom1. If you’re looking for outdoor things to do in Amsterdam, there’s nothing like grabbing a bottle of wine and some snacks for a visit to Vondelpark, the biggest park in the city where you can experience live music and theater performances on the weekend. This park features lakes, wildlife, and rose gardens away from the canals and restaurants.

2. One park in particular that is both inspiring, as well as an adequate exercise is Park Güell in Gracia, Barcelona. Get a unique, art-fix here while adventuring through the windey trails you will encounter various Gaudi designed statues, foundations, sculptures, pillars, and of course the famous gingerbread houses that bring you back to your childhood memories of playing Candy land.

3. Considered an educational hotspot, with its nature and art tours, The High Line park in New York was once an old, abandoned railroad track. Today however, it has been transformed with lush grasses, trees, flowers, and bushes, additionally, the original railroad tracks have been incorporated into the design. The concrete slants and various artist booths alongside extravagant plants and trees is a unique experience you can’t pass up.

4. Home to the Taste of Chicago food festival, the SummerDance festival, and of course “The Bean” (Cloud Gate), Grant Park, Chicago offers sports, arts, concerts, and plenty of sunshine in the “Windy City.”

5. Spectacular in length, The Grand Entrance to London’s Hyde Park features massive columns and iron gates leading to the three hundred and fifty acre Park, equipped with meadows, tennis courts, british bowling, and putting greens. Rent a boat and tour the grounds by water while making your way to the adjacent Kensington Gardens.

High Line_Hotelsdotcom6. Away from the normal rise and grind of Los Angeles, Griffith Park is the largest stretch of nature in the city, reaching 4,000 acres of adventure including: horseback riding, swimming, and the Griffith Observatory. A short walk up Canyon Drive leads to The Bronson Caves, an outcropping where dozens of movies, and TV shows (Batman!) have been shot. So if you’re looking for green things to do in LA, this park can’t be beat.

7. A vivacious, urban playground, El Parque del Buen Retiro, Madrid has ample romantic architecture and dynamic musicians, fortune tellers, vendors. On Sunday evenings, young bohemians are often present jamming away on their bongos and enjoying endless bottles of wine and a sunset.

8. The Englischer Garten in Munich is one of Europe’s largest municipal parks, equipped with beer gardens, a lake, bike and jogging paths, and at times, nude sunbathers. If you’re looking for something different; enjoy a traditional tea ceremony at the Japanese tea house.

9. Away from the typical manicured gardens, Buttes-Chaumont’s plants are untended and lush. One of the biggest parks in Paris, Buttes has various panoramic views, but for the best, guests should venture to the park’s central lake and then to the historic Temple of Sybil – a stone gazebo modeled to replicate an ancient Roman temple-that sits quietly atop the island in the middle of the water. Venture further and encounter a quaint bridge that provides access to a cave where you’ll experience one of the most awe-inspiring and romantic things to do in Paris.

10. The meadows of The Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California harbor the epic festival Outside lands, eight lakes, and the de Young Museum, an incredible building with all the aspects of a fairy treehouse, encompassing a living roof with almost two million plants and a four-story rainforest, bustling with the life of thirty-eight thousand animals!

This article is by Party Earth. Click here to get the inside scoop on the best concerts, festivals, parties, and more in your city every weekend!





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Kidcation Sweepstakes 2013

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 is sending a family of four to San Antonio, Texas to attend Kidcation!

Kidcation Week, which is brought to you by the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau takes place August 12 – 18, 2013, in San Antonio, Texas. With dozens of activities and events planned for the kids, it’s bound to be a blast for the whole family!

The winner of the Kidcation Sweepstakes will win:outside

1)  A voucher for a two (2) night hotel stay for a family of four in a Luxury Double Suite at the Hotel Contessa – Luxury Riverwalk Suites in San Antonio, Texas. The voucher is only valid for stays during August 12 – 18, 2013.

2)  $500 USD VISA or MasterCard cash gift card for use toward travel expenses.

3)  Four (4) passes to The Witte Museum in San Antonio.  

4)  Four (4) passes for the City Tours Inc. “Reflections Tour” in San Antonio. 

5)  Four (4) passes to the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum and Texas Ranger Museum in San Antonio. 

To enter the Kidcation Sweepstakes:pool

Leave a comment on this Kidcation Sweepstakes 2013 blog post, about the one thing you and your family would most want to do at San Antonio Kidcation week.

To leave a comment, you must provide your first name and email address (your email address will not be published).

In order to win, you must meet all of the eligibility requirements as mentioned in the Official Terms & Conditions.
Click here to see the full Official Terms & Conditions.

For more information, visit the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau –
and for more on Kidcation Week, visit -

The sweepstakes ends on August 2, 2013, so be sure to comment on this post by then!

We’ll see the lucky family in San Antonio! Comment below and pack your bags for Kidcation Week!



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Kidcation in San Antonio, TX

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Have you heard about Kidcation?
It’s a week-long vacation in San Antonio, Texas, that’s designed with the kids in mind!

My family and I will be heading to San Antonio from August 12 – 18 to enjoy all of the
events and activities that Kidcation offers.

As we get ready for our week of vacation, I thought it would be a great idea for the kids to do some
research on Kidcation and San Antonio - so my son and I put together a quick video about it!

Be sure to tune in later this week – I have some amazing news to share!
I’ll just say it might be a good idea to start packing a few bags…

Let me know your thoughts on Kidcation or the San Antonio area in the comments below!



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It’s Con-vention Season: Have No Fear, is Here!

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Imagine going to an event where you have the chance of running into Batman, Pikachu, Godzilla, Dexter, and the cast of the Hunger Games all in the same day?

This type of surreal rendezvous is just another day for the thousands of comic book, movie and sci-fi fans that have descending upon Comic-Con International, taking place in San Diego this week.

While it may be too late to attend the world’s largest comic book and popular arts style convention, ‘SuperBooking’ expert has come to the rescue of genre buffs with a list of the five most “geektastic” upcoming conventions.

1)     The Official Star Trek Convention   –  August 8-11, 2013 – Las Vegas
Beam me up, Scotty! Science fiction nerds will feel right at home at this mother ship of all Star Trek celebrations, now welcoming Trekkies for its 12th consecutive year. William Shatner, George Takei, and Nichelle Nichols are only a few of the over 80 Star Trek legends that will be making appearances at the show to sign autographs, participate in photo ops, speak on panels, and more.

Where to Stay: The venue, The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, has super-large suites with sweeping floor to ceiling views of the strip that will make guests feel like they’re peering out the window of a spacecraft.

GeekCons Image_not locked up2)     Gen Con Indy  –  August 15-18, 2013 – Indianapolis
Hosting “The Best Four Days in Gaming” since 1968, Gen Con is one of the longest-running shows of its kind. Specializing in tabletop games, such as board, card, roleplaying and strategy games, Gen Con is a unique experience among many other gaming conventions that focus solely on digital games. Gen Con attendees boast some of the best cos-play costumes around and there is even a growing Family Fun Pavilion and Training Grounds section dedicated to gaming for children as young as four.

Where to Stay: The Alexander is a brand new 4-star property a mere 15 minute walk from the Indianapolis Convention Center. It has the ideal set-up of modern décor and furnishing, complimentary Wi-Fi and on-site dining options.

3)     Dragon*Con  –  August 30 – September 2, 2013 – Atlanta
As the sixth largest convention hosted in the city of Atlanta, Dragon*Con attracts over 50,000 entertainment aficionados annually with its over 3,500 hours of multigenre programming around everything “fan-culture” including,  fantasy literature, cartoons, Asian cinema, video games, space science, action films, and more. Attendees can check out panels, seminars, demonstrations, and workshops in over 30 specialized programming tracks specific to their exact wanderlust. Last, but not least, Halloween arrives early in Atlanta when Dragon*Con comes to town, as the event features the largest costume contest in the South.

Where to Stay: Located down the block from the Dragon*Con venue, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Downtown is the perfect place as it just recently underwent a $65 million renovation in 2011 that included the addition of new restaurants, technology and upgraded amenities.

4)     New York Comic Con (NYCC)  –  October 10-13, 2013 – New York
Despite being one of the newer geek conferences on the scene, New York Comic Con has quickly become one of the largest and most highly anticipated pop culture events of the year.  Achieving an attendance of over 116,000 comic, film, and gaming enthusiasts in only six years, NYCC is now ranked as the second largest event in the city, according to Crain’s New York Business. Attendees will be wishing for the time travel powers of Doctor Who, just so they can fit in all of the geektastic panels, comic writer meet-and-greets, video game demonstrations, and celebrity guest surprises that this show is known and loved for.

Where to Stay: Being that this massive convention takes place in the most expensive city in the U.S. according to the Hotel Price Index™ (HPI®), NYCC attendees will have to anticipate higher-than-usual prices. However, there are still nearby properties, like the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York, that can offer a great value.

5)     PAX East  –  April 11-13, 2014 – Boston
PAX East is the Northeastern spin-off of the wildly successful (and sold out) PAX Prime, which takes place in Seattle at the end of August this year. Developed by the founders of the webcomic Penny Arcade, the PAX conferences are completely dedicated to all things gaming, from consoles, to handhelds, to PCs and even traditional tabletop games. This completely fan-operated show also has a heavy live music element that makes it well worth a trip. Catering to the niche, “nerdcore” genre, PAX puts on a one-of-a-kind concert that blends the heavy beats of rap with the subcultural geek references that every PAX-goer will appreciate. Tickets for PAX East will likely go on sale in October of this year – grab them quick, because PAX Prime sold out in less than six hours!

Where to Stay: PAX participants don’t have to miss a minute of the action when they choose to stay at The Westin Boston Waterfront, which is connected directly to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

Are you planning on attending any other Geek Conventions? Let us know in the comments below!



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Layover Lookout

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013


2013-07-11_10-08-34_921The Travel Smart Blog Layover Lookout is a new category of posts that we’re introducing that will feature fun, interesting, unique, or recommended areas at airports across the country. Whether it be a great cup of coffee outside your gate, a delicious sandwich shop hidden somewhere in your terminal, beautiful airport art, or other interesting characteristics within the airport, we want to share them with you!

Take advantage of these unique insights and insider tips from our Travel Smart Blog team the next time you travel through the airports that are featured!


LaGuardia, NY – Delta Terminal

“The Great Wall of Snacks: Definitely one of the 7 wonders of the world. Whether you crave savory, salty, sweet, crunchy, or soft – come here to pray to the snack gods at Delta terminal in LGA!”






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Bring Along Baby: Tips for Traveling with Infants

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Celeb-moms are always on the go with baby in tow. Soon Duchess Kate and the royal baby will be joining the ranks of Beyonce and Blue Ivy, Busy Phillipps and baby Cricket, and Jessica Simpson and new baby Ace.

Traveling with an infant can be stressful if your not prepared, but it can also be the easiest time to travel with kids (because babies sleep A LOT and they are so snuggly).® has partnered with The Nesting Place to share travel tips for other new mommies looking to rack up some travel points. I’ve combined their great tips and some TSB favorites to get you traveling with junior like a pro!

Travel advice from the mommy bloggers!

When Flying

  • Plan feeding time during take-off and landing which will help ease ear pain. Babies need passports, too. If you’re traveling outside the country, remember to leave yourself ample time to get your baby a passport.
    You’ll need to obtain a ticket (and pay taxes and fees) if you’re traveling internationally with an infant under the age of 2.

When Driving

  • Add removable window shades for your car windows to protect your baby from the sun
  • Schedule time to stop along the way to get some air, feed and change the baby.

When at the hotel

  • Pack diaper rash cream, bags for dirty diapers, enough diapers for the trip and infant acetaminophen* for relieving pain and fever – if your baby is teething consider bringing teething gel.

Hyatt Hotels
How they help? Partners with Babies Travel Lite so you can order whatever you need in advance (diapers, wipes, formula, etc.) to avoid excess baggage fees. You can get supplies based on how many days you’re travelling and they’ll be waiting in your room upon arrival.

  • If you’re planning a visit to Toronto, the Hyatt Regency is a great option within walking distance of many of the city’s attractions.

Ritz Hotels
How they help? Many of the properties are part of a Protecting Our Little Ones (POLO) program, which provides safety items for your room such as outlet covers, a tub spout cover and first aid kit.

0_1439R-1143410Marriott Hotels
How they help? In Canada and the U.S., Marriott offers the Tots Travel Too program, which provides travel cribs, tub toys, safety equipment and nightlights, toiletries and disposable bibs.

  • If you’re heading to the west coast, the Residence Inn in Vancouver has you covered.

Kid-friendly beach resorts

When out and about

  • Bring hats and SPF 30 sunscreen or higher – if your baby is under six months remember to keep them entirely out of the sun and refrain from using sunscreen.
  • If you aren’t breastfeeding, bring formula and add cooled boiled water as needed.
  • Is baby eating solids? Baby food has come a long way with healthy, easy to serve pouches available at most grocery stores. (And these can all go through TSA security on airplanes). Be sure to pack enough!

Expecting? How to Babymoon Like a Celebrity




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Travel App of the Month: Vonage Mobile

Friday, July 12th, 2013

The smartphone apps on the market today have made international travel easier than ever.

Looking for food nearby? There’s an app for that.
Want to navigate your way around a new city? There’s an app for that.
Need a hotel? We’ve got you covered there…

vonagemobilescreenshotBut what about the most basic need for any mobile user during international travel: The ability communicate with others in a quick, easy and cost effective manner.

Vonage Mobile is a FREE app (available for iOS & Android) that allows you to call work, home, family and friends for free. And you don’t need to worry about extremely costly roaming charges, because with the Vonage Mobile app, you can avoid them all together.

Even better, the app includes free calling, texting, video calling, photo sharing and location sharing all in one convenient app. It works over any 3G/4G or WiFi network across iPhone and Android platforms, and it has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on iTunes, due to it’s convenience and quality.

How does it work?
Vonage uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), allowing you to call, text, video conference, and the like, all while connected to Wi-Fi. The app is free to use between users, meaning as long as both parties have the app, you can chat as much as you’d like for free.

vonagemobilevideoConveniently, your Contact List can be integrated into the app so you won’t need to re-enter a contact’s information or add them as a friend to be in touch (like you might for other communication apps). To make it even easier, the app shows you which of your contacts have already downloaded Vonage Mobile, allowing you to see who you can talk to for free right from the start.

How cost-effective is it?
While you can essentially talk, text, video chat and share photos and locations with any smartphone user completely free of charge by having access to Wi-Fi and (both) downloading the app — Vonage Mobile also allows you to add credit to your account easily, within the app- for those situations when you may not have access to Wi-Fi or might need to contact another mobile user or landline that doesn’t have Vonage Mobile — all at some of the most competitive rates you’ll find for mobile usage.

We’ve tried it, we love it. It’s reliable, easy and best of all – free.

Check out the Vonage Mobile app before you take your next international trip and let us know how you like it in the comments below!







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America’s Melting Pot: Visiting US Ethnic Enclaves

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

In some of the US’s largest cities you’ll find small populations of immigrants from distant countries. They’re called “ethnic enclaves” and they are wonderful pockets of culture, cuisine, shopping and more. What began as a way for people with similar nationalities to live and commune together; has become a way to experience authentic cultural experiences without having to travel too far. From Little Havana in Miami to the Danish settlement of Solvang outside Santa Barbara to the more than 20 Little Italy’s and 30-plus China Town’s, America is truly a melting pot ready to be explored.

Chinatown in SingaporeSo next time you are visiting a big city, take a side trip to a nearby, far-away place. Here are a few standouts:

“Little Australia” or “Australita”, New York City – Aussie restaurants, shops, and art galleries are mainly popping up along Mullbury Street in the Nolita section of NYC, just North of another popular “little” (Little Italy).

“Little Saigon” or “Little Vietnam”, Chicago – Located on West Argyle Street Historic District in Uptown Chicago, this Little Vietnam neighborhood should not be confused with Old Chinatown, which is in the Armour Square community area on the South Side of the city.

“Little Havana”, Miami Cuban immigration personifies Miami and there’s really nothing “little” about Little Havana. It is a center of social, cultural, and political activity in Miami. Its festivals, including the Calle Ocho Festival, Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays, the Three Kings Parade and others, are watched on TV by millions of people every year. Elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, and cigar rollers deeply at work are synchronized with Little Havana’s pulsating music, vibrant storefronts and art galleries, and flavor-rich restaurants.

“lndia Square” or “Little India” or “Little Bombay”, Iselin, NJ – There are 17 Little India neighborhoods in the US. The standout is a neighborhood in Iselin, New Jersey where just fewer than 13,000 Indians live in a two-block stretch. They even have their own Holi celebration every year. Stock up on your favorite Bollywood flicks, enjoy the beautiful saris and salwar kameez, and dine on the most authentic Indian cuisine outside of New Delhi.

“Japantown”, San Jose and San Francisco — Japanese culture is thriving in these two Northern California communities. Japantown San Jose has a number of special events throughout the year such as Obon Festival, Nihonmachi Run, and Sake San Jose.

You can track down events in J-town San Francisco, too, including an Francisco’s Japantown celebrates two major festivals every year: The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival (held for two weekends every April), and the Nihonmachi Street Fair, in August. With its prime Japantown location and unique blend of Eastern and Western influences, Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco has 218 spacious rooms and suites with some offering Japanese soaking tubs and views of the Japanese Gardens.

“Germantown” Meunster, TX and Hermann, MO – Need some lederhosen? There are some delightful German towns peppering the US with a sausage and heferwiesen just waiting for you. The town of Meunster, located North of Dallas, was founded in 1889 by German Catholic settlers. Today the town offers its own Germanfest and the Kraut Bowl, a heated high school football game that originated from the two largest German populations.

Hermann (yes, it has two “n”s) is tucked into the heart of Missouri wine country and is a great town for walking and wine tasting at its seven local wineries.

“Greek”, Tarpon Springs, FL – Head North from Clearwater Beach and you’ll find the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US. The first Greek immigrants arrived in this city during the 1880s to work as divers in the growing sponge harvesting industry. Today, the shops along Dodecanese Avenue in the Sponge Docks District of Tarpon Springs are still thriving as both a historic and a current tourist destination. There are many restaurants serving traditional Greek cuisine and fresh seafood.

Koreantown”, New York City – Koreantown, a Midtown neighborhood in the Manhattan borough of New York City, USA, is an ethnic Korean enclave. The restaurants here take Korean food to a whole new level with a slew of Korean barbecue joints that boast delicious eats, tabletop grills and 24-hour service.

“Little Italy”, Boston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland  There are 23 Little Italy’s in the US with many shrinking in their cultural authenticity, but not these three!

  • Boston’s Little Italy, which encompasses about two square miles, is located in the North End. Today, though there are over 80 restaurants, cafes, and bakeries, the area still retains its old-world charm. This is evident in the narrow, cobblestone streets, hearing Italian spoken, and the delicious smells wafting through the air.
  • South Philly boasts a large Italian-American population and a booming Little Italy neighborhood. Restaurants like Dante & Luigi’s, Villa di Roma, and Ralph’s have been serving up classic Italian cuisine for over a century.
  • Cleveland’s Little Italy is located on Mayfield Road, in the Murray Hill section of the city. In mid- August, Little Italy hosts over 100,000 visitors for the Feast of the Assumption – a four-day celebration complete with a parade, Italian food vendors, live music, carnival rides, fireworks, and other festivities.


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Red, White & Brew

Monday, July 8th, 2013

0_154968845Beer has been a part of American life since the colonial days. From macrobrews to the growing popularity of microbrews, beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in America. In fact, the craft brew industry alone generated $12 billion in revenue in 2012.

So if you’re at least 21 years of age, consider paying a visit to some of these top breweries for a tasting and a tour this summer.

Travel Smart Blog’s Top 10 US Brewery Tours

Shlafly Bottleworks St. Louis, MO – Schlafly Bottleworks, the Gateway City’s proudly independent craft brewery and taproom, is revitalizing American brewing in St. Louis. The 20-year-old brewery produces 50 handcrafted beers per year, half of which are available exclusively in St. Louis. Free tours run on the hour every Friday through Sunday, guiding guests through Schlafly tastings as well as its on-site “brewseum” of St. Louis beer history.

Deschutes BreweryBend, OR – You don’t need beer to be your excuse to visit Bend, but if it is you won’t be disappointed. Deschutes offers a free guided walking tour of the production facility where you’ll about the history of the Brewery, its brewing process, and meet the beer-obsessed folks who cultivate them. Tours run 7 days a week at 1, 2, 3, and 4pm.

Coast Brewing CompanyCharleston, SC – In addition to having one of America’s hottest food scenes, Charleston has a thriving beer community. Family-owned Coast Brewing Company is housed in a former naval base. The sustainable facility runs entirely on recycled biodiesel waste, and even works with local farms to repurpose its used beer grains as livestock feed. Tours include tastings of four cold house brews and a look at its organic brewing process.

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 1.39.56 PM

When our friends, Elizabeth and Brooks, visited Denver we couldn’t miss a fresh, cold brew on the Coors Tour.

Coors BreweryGolden, CO – Just 12 miles west of Denver you’ll enjoy the town of Golden, long time home to the Coors Brewery (since 1873). You can tour the largest single-site brewery in the world for free and sample some of the coldest, freshest beer around. At the end of the tour, visitors can take a look at the collection of historical beer cans, bottles and memorabilia. Summer tour hours are Monday – Saturday from 10am-4pm and Sunday noon-4pm.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales Milton, DE – Since first opening its doors in 1995, Dogfish has been known for its brewing creativity. What was once America’s smallest commercial brewery now produces nearly 20 styles of beer and boasts both a small experimental brewery and a spirit distillery at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach, DE.

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 1.40.17 PM

My husband Ryan outside New Belgium Brewery on its symbolic Fat Tire bike.

New Belgium Brewery
Fort Collins, CO – In the picturesque town of Fort Collins, The NBB Liquid Center is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 6pm. Tours are free, 90-minute strolls around the brewery that incorporate beer sampling and do require reservations. Reservations fill up weeks and months in advance, so sign up early!

Flying Dog Brewery Frederick, MD – Located some 50 miles outside of Washington, D.C., Flying Dog is most mobile of American brews. It began in Aspen, CO in the early 90’s and then moved its operations to Denver. In 2006, Flying Dog acquired the Wild Goose brand and moved all operations to its new home in Frederick. The brewery tours here are frank and funny, cost just $5 and include pours of up to five beers and a commemorative tasting glass. When the staff feels like cooking, Flying Dog will serve complimentary barbecue alongside house brews like In-Heat Wheat Hefeweizen and the intimidatingly named Raging Bitch IPA. Looks like these guys are taking the Taylor Swift approach to naming their beers.

Sam Adams BreweryBoston, MA – You’ll learn all about Samuel Adams, American brewer and patriot, experience the entire craft brewing process on the tour of this award winning brewery. Free Tours (a small donation for local charities is appreciated) depart approximately every 45 minutes and last about 1 hour.

0_93174299Harpoon BreweryBoston, MA – You get two-for-one when you visit Boston! Add a visit to the Harpoon Brewery on you trip itinerary. Narrated beer tastings are offered during the week, and full tours of the brewery are conducted on weekends. Tours are $5, and include a souvenir glass and beer tasting.

Bell’s Beer Kalamazoo and Galesburg, MI – A fantastic regional craft brewery that recently opened a new 200-barrel brewhouse offering free, guided tours on Saturdays at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Self guided tours are also available. Samples are not available at the new Comstock brewery but are available original and still functional Kalamazoo factory. Bells offers 20 craft beers for distribution and a number of other small batch beers at its Kalamazoo pub.

Let us know which you decide visit this summer or if there are any great breweries that we missed in the comments below!






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