Welcome to my scratch of virtual land. Here you'll find travel tips, travel narratives, destination explorations, and much more. To stay in the loop, join my crew by filling out the form below.

(Joining means you'll get a weekly email with new posts, happenings, and more. Find out more here.)

Reno Has More to Offer Than Just Casinos

This post originally appeared on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

The first thing that comes to mind when people think of Reno are the casinos, but Reno has a lot more going on than just gambling. In this article, you will discover many reasons why Reno should be at the top of the list for your next getaway.

Get Cultured In Reno

RenoMuseum

Image via rediscoverreno.com

The Reno Philharmonic Orchestra concerts are a must see while you are in Reno. They offer performances for all tastes from pop music to classical. The season is from the end of September until April. The Grand Sierra Theatre  also has great musical events in a more contemporary style.

The Nevada Museum of Art is the only accredited art museum in Nevada and is a hub of creativity. The museum plays host to a diverse array of exhibitions throughout the year. It’s located close to downtown and the building’s architecture is amazing, making it a must-see stop during your visit to Reno.

Read more.


How to Make the Most of the Indianapolis Skywalks

This post originally appeared on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

The Indianapolis skywalk system is a convenient feature in a city where average winter lows dip below 20 degrees and summer highs creep into the mid-80s. Keep your business attire fresh and your shoes snow-free in any weather with the enclosed platform that connects the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium to 12 luxurious hotels.

Book a Hotel on the Skywalk

Image via Flickr by vxla

If you’re attending an event at the Indiana Convention Center, a hotel on the skywalk is a prime choice. Book early as you won’t be the only attendee with this idea. These premium hotels are packed with amenities to streamline your travel. The Courtyard Indianapolis Downtown features an indoor pool so you can take a refreshing dip year-round. The Fairfield Inn & Suites Indianapolis Downtown offers a complimentary breakfast so you can start strong before heading off to tackle your convention schedule.

Enjoy Your Meals in Skywalk Hotels

Dining is a focal point for skywalk hotels. The Fairfield Inn & Suites Indianapolis Downtown features a T.G.I. Friday’s onsite. Shula’s Steakhouse in the Westin Indianapolis serves premium Black Angus beef and fresh seafood, perfect for an elegant evening out.

The Omni Severin Hotel is home to the farm-to-table 1913 Restaurant, featuring regional specialties with a timeless touch. The menu tells you where the ingredients come from, highlighting several Indiana farms. Try traditional Midwest dishes such as deviled eggs, roasted lamb chops, or Hoosier sugar cream pie. You can also settle in for a drink at the Severin Bar or the Wine Thief.

Take Advantage of Nearby Meeting Facilities

The skywalk hotels offer convenient access to the Indiana Convention Center which makes them perfect for business meetings. When you need to draw your clients away from the trade show for a one-on-one presentation, these facilities are the easiest choice. Neither rain nor snow will frazzle you as enclosed walkways get you from one destination to the next throughout your day.

The Conrad hotel offers a formal ballroom, two formal boardrooms, and six casual meeting rooms so you can book a space for any type of event. The Hyatt Regency Indianapolis features a 9,408-square-foot ballroom and a total of 35,000 square feet of function space.

Fill a Relaxing Afternoon at Skywalk Hot Spots

If you have some extra time in your day but don’t want to hit the streets of Indianapolis, you’ll find that there’s plenty to do right in the skywalk. The Evan Todd Spa & Salon is located in the Conrad. Book a facial, body polish, massage, or simple manicure and pedicure to freshen up your look. The Long Sharp Gallery on the first floor of the Conrad features famous artists like Picasso and Warhol. The Eagle’s Nest in the Hyatt Regency is more than a place to dine. With panoramic views of the city on all sides, this rotating restaurant offers the best possible way to take it all in.

Connecting some of the most popular destinations in the city, the Indianapolis skywalks offer endless opportunities to simplify your travel experience with convenient connections.


Best Romantic Getaways in Dallas

This post originally appeared on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

If you’re ready to sneak off for a little R&R with your honey, Dallas, Texas, is just the place. Everything’s bigger in the Lone Star State, including romance, at these hot spots.

Luxuriate in Spa Bliss

In addition to luxurious accommodations, the Ritz-Carlton houses a full-service spa with signature services such as Dean’s margarita salt glow, blueberries and bluebonnets facial, and the Texas eight-hand massage. (See? Everything is bigger in Texas.) Couples will enjoy relaxing together in one of the VIP couple suites.

Stroll Through Dallas Parks

Just minutes from the Ritz-Carlton, you’ll find the innovative Klyde Warren Park. This park bursts with activity, from a fitness area to putting greens, and you can challenge your love to a game of croquet or table tennis. If competition doesn’t fit your idea of romance, plan ahead to enjoy a picnic and an outdoor concert instead.

Meandering through the gardens at the Nasher Sculpture Center in the Dallas Arts District is a wonderfully romantic way to spend a few hours.

For water lovers, make sure you don’t miss the gondolas in Las Colinas.

Bask in Old-World Grandeur

The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek retains the original romance it had as a private residence. Details are everything at this historic inn, from the luxurious Italian bedding to the spa products in the bathroom, you and your love will feel like royalty on retreat. A stroll around the mansion invites dreams of “someday” and other decadent fantasies.

Share a Sumptuous Meal

Dallas is home to many fine restaurants. If you’re looking for ambiance and romance, Nonna in Highland Park offers the intimacy of a neighborhood bistro with locally-sourced, seasonal cuisine. The wine recommendations are sure to impress your sweetie.

Romance and French cuisine go hand in hand, so it makes sense to try out the aptly named French Room in the Adolphus hotel. It’s legendary for refined romance and its breathtaking baroque beauty. The opulent details of the restaurant match the decadence of the food. This place books up months in advance so if you want to go, make reservations early.

Even if you’re not staying at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, its restaurant is worth the trip. From innovative cuisine (lobster taco, anyone?) to the intimate atmosphere, this place invites you to linger over a meal and enjoy food elevated to art.

Romance on a Budget

For budget-conscious love birds, Aloft Dallas is the perfect compromise of unique accommodations and affordable price. Guests can choose their preferred view, mingle with others in the open-style lounge, or simply enjoy the views from their spacious, loft-style guest rooms.

Dallas does everything in grand style (thus the nickname “The Big D”). The energy and history of the town make it the perfect backdrop for romance. You and your darling deserve some time away, so head to the Big D for some big romance.

What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for your sweetie? Leave it in the comments below.

 

Christina R. Green is a freelance travel writer for Hipmunk who loves learning the stories behind the places she visits. She adores kitschy tourist attractions and literary haunts. If she could figure out how to drive something the size of an RV, she’d take off and write from the road.


Is Duty Free Really Worth It?

This post originally appeared on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on February 21st, 2016, and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

airport-1043636_1280

It’s hard to miss the bright lights and ample displays at the duty-free stores in most international airports, cruise ship ports, and border stations. Designer clothes and jewelry, bottles of high-end liquor, and tobacco products are all screaming to be picked up and taken home. After all, it’s a great deal and tax-free, right?

Getting a bargain at a duty-free shop requires some research in advance. Items found in these shops are free of the local import tax (also known as “duty”) that would normally be placed on the item in a regular retail store. However, you may potentially owe a customs duty in the country you’re heading back to. We’re looking at you, America (sigh).

It’s not all bad news. According to guidelines from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, if you are a U.S. resident returning from a foreign country other than one in the Caribbean (and you were there for more than 48 hours), you are allowed a duty-free exemption of up to $800. Your next $1,000 worth of goods is subject to a flat tax rate of 3 percent, which is still cheaper than many local taxes on similar items.

Read more.