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Planning a Perfect Romantic Getaway

February 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Features

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. It marks the perfect occasion for planning a romantic getaway with your significant other. Whether you’re trying to spark a new flame or celebrating a well-established love, we’ve delivered the five steps necessary for a superlative weekend escape.

1. Know Your Lover
“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” ~Robert Heinlein

The best way to provide a memorable getaway for your lover is to plan according to their interests. This weekend is the time to reserve seats at her favorite restaurant, buy airline tickets to the city he’s always hinting about visiting, arrange for that perfect picnic, or finally get that babysitter for the kids.
romantic-fireplace.jpg Romantic Fireplace © Arild Storaas

2. Gifts
“The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.” ~Pierre Corneille

Gifts are an expression of our feelings. Be sure to enhance the experience with attention to detail. We are often very generous with the present itself, but fall short on the delivery. Try to spend a significant amount of time, before the getaway weekend, on presentation. Does she love roses? Consider spreading rose petals across the bed sheets or running a warm bath with petals and candles. Does he love chocolate? Skip the yearly heart-shaped box of chocolates for a basket of hand-selected pieces from a local or online specialty shop. Jacque Torres, Godiva, and B.T. McElrath are a few of the top chocolatiers. Even better, sign yourselves up for chocolate-making classes.

3. Location
“Laughter is an instant vacation.” ~Milton Berle

If the means are available, leave town for the weekend. There are countless romantic places to venture off to either locally or globally. Venice Carnival will be in full swing, the evening lights of Paris will be shining bright, the charming locals of Hawaii will be waiting to greet you with a Lei, and New York City will be working to keep you partying all night.

If not, pick your partner’s favorite place, near home, for a day trip or weekend. Be sure to pre-arrange for any romantic details for your trip. On arrival, leave your daily life behind. This is an occasion for laughter and relaxation.
romantic-pictures.jpg Romance © Brandon Warren

4. Conversation
“We do not remember days we remember moments.” ~Cesare Pavese

This getaway is a chance to indulge in reminiscence. We rarely return to the stories of our first days together. Take this point in time to talk about your awkward meeting, funniest moments, or the instants that defined your relationship. It’s also important to accentuate the experience with photographs. Bring your favorite images on an electronic-storage device or in a nicely decorated box. Be sure to flirt and hold hands.

5. Compliments
“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” ~Mark Twain

Compliment your significant other. Our lives are often busy and we forget to express gratitude for their love. Don’t assume that planning the weekend or buying presents is enough of an indication. It surely meets the requirements, but saying it aloud has a magical effect.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
gennaroeditor.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing a travel article or photograph for publication.



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A Travel Picnic To Die For

January 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Features, Food

Picnics are a great way to have an authentic travel experience. It has the added benefit of saving the traveler valuable cash resources. In order to maximize the benefits of your travel picnic, we’ve created four steps to the perfect outing.

1. Location
“To leave a place is to die a little.” ~French Proverb

Select a comfortable spot that reflects the interests of the participants. It’s often best to select a place that communes with nature. Areas within reach of rivers, lakes, or parks are ideal. This approach is feasible in the urban jungle too. For instance, the banks of the Seine River (below) in Paris have popular walkways to spend an afternoon. The Great Lawn (map) of Central Park in New York City represents another great spot. The latter has Belvedere Castle within its vicinity.
travel-picnic.jpg Picnic, Seine River, Paris © Malias

2. Food Selection
“Tell me what you eat, I’ll tell you who you are” ~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Picnicking is an opening to have an authentic meal. It’s easy to collect a variety of foodstuffs, from local markets, that residents eat in their daily lives. A sojourn to an Italian city or village, for example, would allow for a picnic menu that consists of fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, mortadella with breadsticks, chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto on wedges of honeydew, and a basket filled with figs and grapes. Add a glass of local wine or fresh tomato juice with lemon and black pepper.

Having trouble with coming up with ideas? A great resource for selecting new picnic foods is The Minimalist: 101 20-Minute Dishes for Inspired Picnics.
picnic-foods.jpg Picnic Meal © Nanda

3. Guests
“Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.” ~Rod McKuen

Consider inviting a couple of locals or fellow travelers to your gathering. There is no better way to understand a location that to spend time with those who know it best. It will also provide an opportunity to learn several new phrases in their native language. If you haven’t met any residents, contemplate arranging your get-together near a smiling group of locals. Don’t be surprised if an invitation to join them is in the offing. This is especially helpful for solo travelers.

4. Conversation Topics
“Friends are those rare people who ask how you are then wait for an answer” ~Unknown

During the meal, it’s best to keep to light topics. Allow each guest to select a topic for discussion over the course of the afternoon. This makes sure that everyone has a chance to participate in the conversation. It’s equally helpful to listen to your fellow picnickers and provide feedback to their musings.

Stomach churning? Read about the best pizza in New York City.
gennaroeditor.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing a travel article or photograph for publication.


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Washington D.C. Events Set for Obama Inauguration

January 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Travel News

A schedule of events (from Saturday, January 17 until Wednesday, January 21) has been released in connection with the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. The happenings start with the Obama family boarding a train from Philadelphia to Wilmington to pick up Vice President-elect Joe Biden en route to Washington D.C. and conclude with a prayer service at Washington National Cathedral. There are also a series of inaugural balls throughout the week.

Read about the 8 presidential inauguration locations to visit.
barack-obama-inauguration.jpg Barack Obama © Rusty Darbonne

Washington D.C. (Free PDF Map) has a multitude of activities for visitors who are attending the inauguration. Among the best attractions are the monuments and memorials, Capitol, White House, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Smithsonian Museums. There are also plenty of free things to do in the District of Columbia. To find some of the most popular and tasty restaurants try Where The Locals Eat.

Read about six historic estates of U.S. presidents or about the new rules for citizens who qualify for the visa waiver program.
gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing a travel article or photograph for publication.


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8 Presidential Inauguration Locations to Visit

January 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Destinations, Features

The inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama was held on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at the U.S. Capitol. This has been the location for the majority of American presidential inaugurations. There are, however, several other historic settings for these ceremonies that are worth visiting for travelers.

1. Federal Hall National Memorial (New York City)
President George Washington

Federal Hall National Memorial was the location for the first presidential inauguration. It was also the residence of the first federal government instituted under the United States Constitution. The memorial is conveniently situated for travelers looking to explore the Financial District of New York City along with paying respect at Ground Zero.

Federal Hall is open Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm. The memorial is closed on Federal holidays.
federal-hall-new-york.jpg Federal Hall, NYC © rdesai

2. Congress Hall (Philadelphia)
Presidents George Washington and John Adams

Congress Hall was the location of the presidential inaugurations of George Washington (his second) and John Adams. It was also the quarters for the United States Congress from 1790-1800. Located in the Historic District of Philadelphia, this is a must see neighborhood for travelers. Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center, and the National Constitution Center are all within a few steps.

The area is open, in general, from Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm. Most of the buildings are closed on Federal holidays.
historic-philadelphia.jpg Historic Philadelphia © Gennaro Salamone

3. U.S. Capitol (Washington D.C.)
Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Q. Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William H. Harrison, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

The U.S. Capitol was the setting for the greatest number of presidential inaugurations including the last seven. Barack Obama was the eighth consecutive president to be sworn in here on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 (read more about the Obama Inauguration).

The U.S. Capitol is also the current residence of the United States Congress. The Congress is the legislative body of the United States. It consists of the U.S. Senate (100 members) and the House of Representative (435 members).

Tour hours for the U.S. Capitol run from Monday-Saturday, 8:45pm to 3:30pm. It’s recommended that visitors obtain tour tickets from their local representatives before arriving to Washington D.C. for their visit. E-mail is the easiest way to request tickets. Do note that security measure apply to touring the buildings. Check their website for updates.
us-capitol-building.jpg U.S. Capitol © Gennaro Salamone

4. The White House (Washington D. C.)
Presidents Rutherford Hayes, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan

The White House was the location for six presidential inaugurations. It is the official residence of the President of the United States. Every president since John Adams has called the dwelling on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue his home.

Visiting The White House is a memorable experience. There are, however, strict guidelines for larger groups. Public tours for groups of 10 or more require passes from a member of Congress up to six months in advance. Self-guided tours, for individuals, are available from Tuesday-Saturday, 7:30am to 12:30pm. The passes are first come, first served. Apply for passes up to a month in advance.

The White House and U.S. Capitol have similar restrictions for security. Visit their website for updates.
obama-white-house-decor.jpgThe White House © Shubert Ciencia

5. Ansley Wilcox Residence (641 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY)
President Theodore Roosevelt

The Ansley Wilcox Mansion was the site of Theodore Roosevelt’s first inauguration. It is one of the oldest homes in Buffalo, NY. It has a rich history including its connection to the Patriots’ War of 1837.

The location is currently closed for renovation. The grand re-opening of the National Historic Site is scheduled for Spring 2009. Check their website for details. Their hours, during operation, are from Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm and Saturday-Sunday, 12:00pm to 5:00pm

6. His Father’s Residence (Plymouth, Vermont)
President Calvin Coolidge

His father, a notary public, swore in Calvin Coolidge at John Coolidge’s house in Plymouth, Vermont. This remains one of the most unique locations for a presidential inauguration. It was the birthplace and childhood residence of Calvin Coolidge. It is a rural setting with a community church, cheese factory, and a one-room schoolhouse, which have all been preserved.

Visiting hours, for the historic site, are daily from 9:30am to 5:00pm. The site was open from May 24 until October 19, 2008. Check their website for this year’s schedule.

7. His Private Residence (123 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY)
President Chester A. Arthur

Chester A. Arthur was one of two presidents who were sworn in at a private residence. The residence is privately owned. Visitors are only permitted to visit the commercial space located on the first floor. The building was designated a National Landmark on January 12, 1965.
obama-air-force-one.jpg Air Force One © Vince Alongi

8. Three Locations For History Lovers
Presidents John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, and Lyndon Johnson

John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, Lyndon Johnson (first inauguration) were sworn in at locations that are no longer preserved or convenient to visit. Johnson was sworn in aboard Air Force One, Love Field (Dallas, Texas)

John Tyler’s inauguration was held at the Brown’s Hotel. It was formerly located at 6th St. & Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington D.C. and Andrew Johnson’s inauguration was held at the Kirkwood Hotel. It was formerly located at 12th St. & Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington D.C.

For additional inauguration history read the U.S. Senate website and about six historic estates of U.S. presidents.
gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing a travel article or photograph for publication.


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