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(2013 - Winter/Spring Issue)


For its 52nd season, the 2013 Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, will feature 10 productions, including one of George Bernard Shaw’s most brilliant plays, two Tony Award-winning musicals and the Festival’s first Tom Stoppard play. On the playbill for the 2013 season are the beloved musical, Guys and Dolls; Enchanted April, the Tony Award-nominated stage adaptation by Matthew Barber of Elizabeth von Arnim’s bestselling novel; Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan; Shaw’s Major Barbara returns, along with a re-examination of Shaw’s later, more complex play, Geneva by Canadian playwright John Murrell re-titled Peace in Our Time: A Comedy; six-time Tony Award-winning musical The Light in the Piazza; W. Somerset Maugham’s Our Betters; Brian Friel’s Faith Healer; and Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. For accommodation, visit niagarabedandbreakfasts.com; shawfest.com

The Stratford Festival is offering twice-daily private bus service between Toronto and Stratford for the 2013 season for just $10 each way. Stratford Direct is an expansion of the Saturday bus service launched in 1999. Improvements include
 departures from the InterContinental Toronto Centre hotel, at the corner of Front and Simcoe, with easy access to Union Station; non-stop service from Toronto to Stratford for both matinée and evening performances; and the ability to book bus, tickets and overnight reservations through the Festival’s box office or website. For bus schedule information, visit stratfordfestival.ca/stratforddirector call 1-800-567-1600. The Stratford Festival officially opens its 2013 season on May 27 with Romeo and Juliet. Also on stage this season: Fiddler on the Roof, Measure for Measure, Tommy; Mary Stuart, The Three Musketeers, Blithe Spirit, Waiting for Godot, Taking Shakespeare, The Thrill, Othello, and The Merchant of Venice. stratfordfestival.ca; betterweekending.ca

Situated between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, offers plenty of arts and culture. Upcoming spring events include Beethoven on the Beach, featuring the Orchestra Miami on March 24 at Heritage Park. At 10 a.m., on March 30, Egg Scramble at Pelican Community Park features games, rides, music and face painting as well as a scramble through a collection of colourful beach balls in search of plastic eggs filled with trinkets (for children 12 and under). Closing out the Four Seasons Cultural Series, the FIU Jazz Big Band, comprised of students from Florida International University, presents the sounds of jazz, big-band style, on April 14 at Heritage Park. And on June 16, the city commemorates the anniversary of its incorporation with a City Anniversary Celebration that includes activities for kids, souvenirs, a traditional barbecue and music. sunnyislesbeachmiami.com 

While the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, are best known for their collection of fairytales such as Cologne Cathedral, The Mouse Tower of Bingen and The Pied Piper, they were instrumental in the historical development of the German language and grammar. Their most important work is their German dictionary, and although the brothers did not live to see its completion, 2013 marks the 175th anniversary of when they began their work. The main celebration takes place around Hessen at Expedition Grimm, from April 27 to September 8. The 600-kilometre-long German Fairytale Route links important places in the lives and works of the brothers, such as Kassel, Steinau and Bremen. In Hanau, Jacob and Wilhelm’s birthplace, fans can attend the Brothers Grimm Fairytale Festival from May 1 to July 1. From the House of Little Red Riding Hood (Rotkäppchenhaus) in Alsfeld to the Snow White Museum (Schneewittchen Museum) in Bad Wildungen and the town of Hamelin, known for its Pied Piper, the route provides plenty of opportunities for amusing explorations. grimm2013.de; germany.travel

Heading to Philadelphia? This spring, the Philadelphia Zoo unveils the KidZooU: Hamilton Family Children’s Zoo & Faris Family Education Center, a wildlife academy that unites an education centre with a reimagined children’s zoo that’s open year-round. The Benjamin Franklin Life and Legacy Museum reopens this summer after a two-year renovation, which features artifacts and interactive exhibitions that chronicle the inventor’s life as a citizen and states-man. Until June 30, the African American Museum in Philadelphia celebrates the glory and talent of one of Motown’s most pioneering and influential musical acts with Come See About Me: The Mary Wilson Supremes Collectionexhibition, featuring more than 30 gowns worn by the iconic trio, gold records, rarely seen video footage, album covers and other historic artifacts. philadelphiazoo.org; aampmuseum.org; visitphilly.com

With so much going on in Louisiana it’s difficult to know what to do first. Whether you prefer to hike, bike, golf, tour historic plantation houses, dance or dine, the state knows how to throw a party. While Mardi Gras in New Orleans is always a top draw, there are festivals galore year-round, including the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans in April; Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette in April; the Crawfish Festival in Breaux Bridge and Mudbug Madness in Shreveport in May; plus the incredible Satchmo SummerFest in New Orleans in August. Louisiana’s antebellum plantations along the Mississippi River are easily accessible from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Visit restored mansions in St. Francisville, White Castle and Vacherie for a peak back in time to life before the Civil War. louisianatravel.com/events; neworleansplantationcountry.com

Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival is ranked the No. 1 arts festival in Texas and the sixth largest arts festival in the U.S. From April 18–21, tens of thousands of artists, dancers, musicians, performance artists, exhibitors, food vendors and art enthusiasts will gather to view the works of more than 200 juried artists. In San Antonio, a $358-million project lengthening the River Walk from five to 24 kilometres should be completed by this summer. The Museum Reach was added in May 2009, connecting downtown with museums, cultural districts and the historic Pearl Brewery to the north. The Mission Reach (the largest ecosystem restoration in an urban area) will join the original River Walk to four of the city’s Spanish colonial missions in south San Antonio. Visitors will be able to take in the natural beauty of the river on hiking and cycling trails. fortworth.com; visitsanantonio.com

If you’re in the Miami area during March, you may want to check out a couple of festivals that are happening. Celebrating its 30th anniversary from March 1–10, the Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), produced and presented by Miami Dade College, will draw more than 75,000 audience members to see more than 100 films. In celebration of its 15-year anniversary, the Ultra Music Festival makes history in 2013 as the world’s first-ever electronic music festival to take place over two weekends on March 15–17 and 22–24). The Brickell Food & Wine Festival takes place on March 23 and 24 from 12 noon to 10 p.m. at Miami Circle. This is the place to go to enjoy delicious cuisine and spirits from around the world. miamifilmfestival.com; ultramusicfestival.com; tasteofbrickell.com

If you’ve been thinking of making your vacation last all year long, you may want to look at resort real estate options. For example, Auberge Resorts features private residences and family-focused resort programs in such locations as The Auberge Residences at Mammoth (California), Element 52 (Colorado), Auberge Residences at Proghorn (Oregon), Calistoga Ranch (California), Esperanza (Mexico) and The Inn at Palmetto Bluff (South Carolina). For a great beach vibe, there’s Hacienda Beach Club & Residences in Cabo San Lucas, where amenities include a beach club, beachfront dining at Hacienda Cocina y Cantina, festive Kids’ Club, fitness centre, destination spa and special golf privileges with Palmilla. And for something truly tropical, check out the residences at Honua Kai Resort & Spa on Kaanapali Beach, Maui. They are the first new full-ownership opportunity on Kaanapali Beach in more than 25 years.  aubergeresorts.com; haciendacabosanlucas.com; honuakai.com

Oceania Cruises is enhancing its Oceania Club loyalty program including a new Blue membership level for guests to start earning rewards as quickly as their first cruise. Current benefits include on-board recognition, membership pins, exclusive cocktail receptions and member-only offers. Higher levels also include free cruises and free Canyon Ranch SpaClub® treatments. The new program is effective with the first 2013 sailings. Also, Oceania Cruises’ 2013–14 Winter Collection includes 61 voyages and 18 new itineraries. With new ports in China, the Caribbean and the South Pacific, Oceania’s four ships—Riviera, Marina, Regattaand Nautica—will sail to 160 destinations throughout the world. The far-reaching cruise schedule also includes 21 all-new Grand Voyages ranging from 24 to 63 days. All winter 2013–14 voyages include two-for-one cruise fares, free air transportation and bonus savings of up to $5,000 per stateroom. oceaniacruises.com

After almost 10 years, the completely renovated Rijksmuseum will fully open its doors to the public April 13, 2013 to tell the story of the Netherlands from the Middle Ages to the present. While Rembrandt’s most celebrated painting The Night Watchreturns to its usual place on display, everything else in the famous museum has been changed, including new collection displays, a renewed building, new public facilities, a revamped garden and a new Asian Pavilion. And the new Rijksmuseum will be the first national museum in the world that will be open every day of the year, from9 a.m. to 5 p.m. rijksmuseum.nl; holland.com

Starting at just 5,000 miles, Aeroplan cardholders can choose from more than 800 merchandise, gift card and experiential rewards as well as a variety of hotel and car rental rewards. In addition to the popular gift cards from favourite retailers, rewards include car rentals from Avis and Hertz; hotel stays at Best Western, Fairmont, Sheraton, W Hotels and Westin; merchandise from brand names such as Apple, Birks, Movado, KitchenAid, Bose, Callaway and Canon; and vacation packages from Air Canada Vacations, CruiseShipCenters and Walt Disney World Resort. Members can also try experiential rewards such as a day at a Scandinave Spa; Cirque du Soleil tickets to North American productions; helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon; or wine tasting and dining at fine wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Through Aeroplan’s Money Can’t Buy program, members can redeem for one-of-a-kind collectible items such as a guitar autographed by Jann Arden; 100 per cent of the proceeds from these redemptions go to charity. Aeroplan also features eco-friendly rewards that include “greener” choices in housewares, electronics, fashion and travel accessories, plus its popular Carbon Offset Program. aeroplan.com

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