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DISCOVER AMERICA - STAR-SPANGLED EVENTS
 
(2013 - Winter Issue)

Writer: EMMA SURRIDGE



Whether you pile in the car with the family, hop on a plane or catch a train, our star-spangled neighbour is easy to reach and hard to forget.

There’s so much to see and do, we could fill this entire issue with news from all 50 states. Instead, here’s just a taste of what’s happening in a handful of states in the next few months. From glass sculptures blooming in the desert to some of the best barbecue joints in the South, there’s definitely something for everyone. If you need more inspiration, check out discoveramerica.ca.

Arizona

American artist Dale Chihuly’s magical glass sculptures, found in historic cities, museums and gardens around the world, return to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix this winter, blooming in a variety of colourful shapes along the trails of the 57-hectare garden. In December, the garden will be lit up every evening for the annual Las Noches de las Luminarias. The Garden is also a terrific place for adults and kids to learn about the cacti, mesquite, agave and birds of the Sonoran Desert, which covers large parts of the southwestern U.S. dbg.org/chihuly; arizonaguide.com

Georgia 

Though Savannah doesn’t burst into bloom until March, when tourists arrive by the busload, this elegant coastal city lights up in December with a bevy of holiday events. Tour historic homes and inns, take tea in a Victorian mansion served by Garden Club ladies in period costumes, find gifts at the two-day craft show by the river and much more. Established in 1773, Savannah’s 24 historic squares and stunning architecture make it one of the top U.S. travel destinations. There are also plenty of modern shopping, dining and recreational activities. visitsavannah.com

Illinois

Stuck at O’Hare International Airport? Take a quick shuttle bus ride to the new Fashion Outlets of Chicago and go shopping! The indoor mall features more than 130 stores, including anchors Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Store, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th and Forever 21, as well as outlet locations from high-fashion Gucci, Tory Burch, Longchamp and Barneys New York. Stop by the concierge desk to check luggage and print boarding passes. Shuttles also operate to and from downtown hotels. After you’ve shopped the outlets and downtown’s Magnificent Mile, take a guided tour of the best boutiques in cool neighbourhoods such as Wicker Park, Bucktown and the Gold Coast with Chicago ShopWalk. enjoyillinois.com; fashionoutletsofchicago.com; chicagoshopwalk.com

Louisiana

Eating is one of the main joys you’ll experience on a visit to Louisiana, whether it’s a po-boy sandwich or a platter of spicy boiled crawfish. Now you can wash it down with a local hand-crafted beer and visit the brewery that made it. Try Watermelon Wheat from Tin Roof Brewing Co. in Baton Rouge, brewed with fresh local watermelon, or New Orleans beer with names such as Hurricane Saison and Andygator. In nearby Covington, Heiner Brau brews with local Ponchatoula strawberries. And in Cajun country the Parish Brewing Company concocts one made with Louisiana’s own Steen’s sugar cane syrup. Download your Louisiana Craft Brewery Trail map at breweries.louisianatravel.com.

New York

From the great spirits invoked by early Native American tribes to the first Dutch settlers who carefully avoided haunted places, the state of New York has hosted spooky, unexplained events for centuries. With movies and TV shows exploring the paranormal world, 13 counties have pooled their scariest resources to launch the new Haunted History Trail. Spend the night in a haunted castle or tour a cemetery as shadows waver in the torchlight. Download the trail map, with its explanations for each site or hear New York’s bone-chilling history via the phone-in audio guide. hauntedhistorytrail.com

North Carolina  

Pinehurst Resort & Country Club will make history between June 12 to 22 when it hosts the 2014 U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open Championship back to back. The events will make the Pinehurst No. 2 course, restored in 2011, the only site to host all five USGA Championships. Organizers expect 400,000 visitors. There are 40 golf courses within 15 miles of Pinehurst, the world’s largest golf resort with eight courses. Non-golfers can relax at the spa, browse the work of local artists in nearby communities or explore the area’s numerous art and military museums. VisitNC.com/places-to-stay

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Convention Centeris the site of the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, the nation’s premier horticultural event taking place from March 1–9, 2014. The annual gardening celebration features top-of-the-line floral and landscape design, entertainment and more than 180 vendors. This year’s theme, “ARTiculture,” spotlights the relationship of art and nature, along with great horticultural design as an art form. theflowershow.com

South Carolina  

Get off the highway and follow South Carolina’s new BBQ Trail to the best slow-cooked meat anywhere. Download the map and try the dozens of family-owned restaurants in small towns and rural areas that have made South Carolina the birthplace of BBQ. Some spots are only open Thursday to Saturday, others just on Saturday. The kitchen may be a shed and the stove an old oil drum filled with coals where meat cooks 12 to 14 hours. Try the Lowcountry’s vinegar-based sauce, the Midlands’ mustard-based sauce and Upstate’s ketchup-based sauce. Just be sure to save room for coleslaw and banana pudding. bbq.discoversouthcarolina.com

Texas

Cruise buffs have a new point of departure—the Bayport Cruise Terminal in Pasadena, nestled between Houston and Galveston Bay about an hour from George Bush Airport. The $108-million terminal is home to Princess Cruises and the Norwegian Cruise Line and is close to tourist attractions and great restaurants in Houston.  

Princess Cruises began its new service in November with 27 departures planned for the season. Seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean aboard the 2,374-passenger Norwegian Jewel will go on sale in mid-December and begin in 2014.

The bright, airy, state-of-the-art terminal promises a relaxed, efficient process from check-in to embarkation. princess.com; ncl.com; traveltex.com

Virginia

Hollywood Costume, on until February 17 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, celebrates a century of costume design and its role in American culture. Step behind the scenes and view costumes from the silent era to modern blockbusters such as Cleopatra, The Blues Brothers, Shakespeare in Love, Austin Powers, Harry Potter and the Twilight movies. Richmond is the exhibition’s only East Coast stop. Special hotel packages include accommodation, parking and tickets. visitrichmondva.com; vmfa.museum; virginia.org

 
 
 
 
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