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Spring is a popular time to visit Washington, D.C. As the temperatures rise following the cold winter months, the city comes alive with activities that people of all ages will enjoy. Dozens of events — including the National Cherry Blossom Festival, embassy tours, parades, and more — are held throughout the city during the springtime, making this season a great time to take advantage of everything the city has to offer.

National Cherry Blossom Festival

Image via Flickr by Anthony Quintano

Started in 1927, the National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place during March and April and lasts about four weeks. The celebration commemorates the blossoms that festoon the cherry trees and features parades, parties, and live performances that bring more than 1.5 million visitors to the District annually.

The opening ceremony kicks off the festival every year and is followed by the Blossom Kite Festival and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. While the Tidal Basin is one of the most popular spots to take pictures of the blossoms, you can also find cherry trees at the National Arboretum, Anacostia Park, and the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. Many of the festival’s events are free, making the National Cherry Blossom Festival a budget-friendly way to explore the city.

Passport D.C.

Passport D.C. is an annual, month-long event honoring the international cultures of Washington, D.C. Held in May, the celebration offers residents and visitors the opportunity to embark on a global journey without leaving the District.

More than 50 embassies, as well as several of the District’s cultural institutions, offer open houses, exhibitions, and workshops throughout the month. Guests can learn about the customs and cultures of the countries represented here. During the event, guests are invited to take free embassy tours, peruse the Flower Mart at the Washington National Cathedral, attend street festivals, and more.

Explore Historic Landmarks

Spring weather provides the perfect opportunity to explore the District’s many historic landmarks. While you’re strolling through the Tidal Basin admiring the cherry blossoms, make sure to visit the surrounding monuments. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and Thomas Jefferson Memorial are all located close by. Afterward, visit the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Don’t miss Rock Creek Park, a large urban park in Northwest Washington, D.C., where you’ll find more than 32 miles of hiking trails, a planetarium, and several Civil War–era installations.

Washington, D.C., has much to offer any traveler. In fact, visitors to the area have many historic sites, cultural events, and remarkable restaurants to choose from, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. To make sure you don’t miss anything, you can use a Washington, D.C., city guide to help you plan your itinerary. A city guide will help you prepare for your trip while relieving some of the stress involved with planning a vacation.

Washington, D.C., is a vibrant, dynamic city year-round, but the blue skies, cherry blossoms, and crisp temperatures make spring a great season to visit. The District offers a variety of festivals, cultural events, and celebrations that are sure to please people from all walks of life.

 

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Seattle, Washington, is full of things to do and see, from beautiful landscapes and museums to historic landmarks like the Space Needle. Since Seattle is waterfront, there are also a ton of great seafood restaurants throughout the city. If you find yourself in Seattle, you absolutely have to try one of these restaurants.

Elliot’s Oyster House

Elliot’s Oyster House, located at 1201 Alaskan Way, Pier 56, is one of the best places to get fresh seafood. Their menu boasts seafood options such as grilled scallops, blackened Pacific rockfish, oysters, and roasted lobster tail, along with non-seafood options, like steak, desserts, and wines. Best of all, Elliot’s Oyster House uses sustainable practices, recycles, and works to restore the Puget Sound. If you find yourself at Pier 56 between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m., you should definitely drop by Elliot’s Oyster House for some of the best seafood in all of Seattle.

If you go a little earlier, you can catch happy hour, which takes place daily from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and you can get a discount on oysters by the half shell.

Blueacre Seafood

Image via Flickr by cwasteson

Loved by tourists and natives alike, Blueacre Seafood has a way of bringing people together over delicious, perfectly cooked seafood. Drop by any time between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. to enjoy their grilled whole Idaho rainbow trout, or knock back your choice of oysters by the half shell. The elegant atmosphere enhances the dining experience, and if you’re staying overnight, there are several great hotels in Seattle within walking distance of the restaurant. Blueacre Seafood also has a daily happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and an impressive selection of wines to choose from.

RockCreek Seafood & Spirits

Just because you’re eating some of the best seafood from around the world doesn’t mean you have to be stuck up or snooty about it. This is why people love the laid back, down to earth atmosphere of RockCreek Seafood & Spirits and all the friendly faces that work there. From 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., you have your choice of mouth-watering entrees, including Icelandic char, Casco Bay monkfish, and of course, plenty of oysters.

On Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can also enjoy a light brunch, with seafood inspired options such as the bacon & oyster benedict or tried-and-true options like buttermilk pancakes.

Quietly nestled at 4300 Fremont Ave N., this restaurant has a large dining room, a beautiful patio, awesome bar, and a cozy upstairs loft for private dining, so you can dine any way you choose.

Of course, this is nowhere near an exhaustive list of seafood restaurants in Seattle, but it’s a few of the best. For a more complete list, be sure to check out Seattle Magazine’s list, which gives you a better idea of the wide variety of seafood restaurants that call Seattle home. Whatever you do, don’t leave Seattle without trying their famous, fresh seafood, as you definitely won’t forget it.

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Over the years, it’s been difficult to properly track the weather. Sure, we have satellite imagery, but that’s only able to show us so much. We’ve never been able to see inside of storms (in a way that actually makes a difference from a meteorological standpoint). With Earth Networks, you can easily track the weather using their fantastic network of weather drones that get inside of the weather, and tell us about impending disasters three times faster than we’ve been able to do before.

It comes down to being able to inform people, right? All of that information is great, but only if you can get that information out to people in a quick manner. The fastest way is to utilize weather displays screens for business—they come in 21” HD monitors through Earth Networks, and act as your personal weather tracker service without you having to do anything. It’s a screen that’s designated to be your personal weather channel with no commercials, no advertisements, and no commentary overlay. How often have you been trying to listen to the weather, when the meteorologist onscreen rambles off about the “what ifs” way too often?

You want to know what’s happening now. You want real-time weather tracking, and you want to bring that awesome capability to your business for yourself, your employees, and your customers to be able to see. Not only is this essential for areas that often encounter tornadoes, but it’s also fantastic if you’re in a snowy environment and you’re looking at harsh winds and hail coming in faster than other predictions stated. Basically, it’s your best line of defense, all the time.

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The great outdoors—it feels like a promise, in a way. A promise that, if you look hard enough, you’ll find the adventures you’ve always wanted in your life.

That’s what you’ll find when you spend less time inside and more engaged in outdoor activities. But where do you start? The vastness of the Rocky Mountains and the American West is intimidating for even seasoned recreationalists.

These four outdoors activities are great ways for you to begin your acquaintance with the outdoors and find the type of recreation that you most enjoy.

ATVs

ATVs, four-wheelers—the names are different but the experience is the same. ATV riding is hugely popular in the more arid areas of the West, especially in the sand dunes scattered throughout the Great Basin.

You certainly can spend a lot on a new ATV, but you don’t have to. And with ATV loans at great rates, you won’t have a problem financing the one you want.

Obviously, you’ll need to take safety courses, buy an approved helmet, and go riding with someone who knows ATVs before you decide if this is your jam or not.

Rock Climbing

When you think of rock climbing, you probably see outrageously high cliffs and a thin, tenuous rope connecting you to the wall.

Rock climbing is definitely a thrill, and it is extreme, but it’s not as reckless as it’s painted to be. Free climbers, like Alex Honnold, scale walls in Yosemite without ropes all the time. Rock climbing with ropes is fun, exhilarating, and a great workout.

Getting started is as simple as visiting a local climbing gym, signing up for a beginner’s course, and practicing indoors. If you find you like it, you can graduate to climbing outdoors. You’ll need a harness, anchors, carabiners, a helmet, and rope, but all of those items can be purchased at fairly affordable prices.

Fishing

If you have memories of sitting, bleary-eyed, on the bench seat of a truck as your dad and grandpa took you fishing, you’re not alone. A ton of us have that same memory, and we also remember not catching a lot while sitting at the lake.

Fishing is much more fun than you likely remember – especially fly fishing. Getting started is really cheap, and fairly simple. YouTube is littered with videos on how to fish, with instructional tutorials on creating certain rigs to learning how to fly fish.

It’s a relaxing sport, but one that puts you directly in contact with the outdoors and the natural world.

Kayaking

This is another activity that forces you to work with—instead of against—nature. Kayaking has exploded in popularity recently, with tons of lightweight kayak options available.

Floating down the huge rapids in wide Western rivers is a big draw for a lot of kayakers, though they can be used for other water activities as well. Fishing from a kayak is fun, as is paddling more relaxed water and letting the simple motions of rowing and steering melt away the worries of the day.

The outdoors is full of opportunity to lose yourself in nature and get a better perspective on what matters in life. These four activities will put you up-close and personal with nature, and help you decide what your favorite way to interact with the outdoors is.

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There are many places that are quite wonderful to visit, and with cheap air travel now prevalent, most are easy to get to. The stunning variety and splendour of Africa is a wonderful opportunity to experience flora and fauna that is unique, Australia is a place of many wonders, and the mysterious and enticing east Asian countries are all worthy of consideration. However, after many arduous months at work, day in, day out, you want to take the time out to relax. Imaging lying on a beautiful soft-sand beach, in glorious sunshine, with the shade of palm trees to keep you cool, a cocktail in hand and no worries at all: that’s what you get when you take a break on Maui, one of the most wonderful of the Hawaiian Islands.

Maui is a place of many wonders, from the stunning beaches to the magnificent volcanoes, waterfalls and other amazing features, but perhaps best of all is the range of affordable Maui beachfront rentals, the best form of accommodation from which to explore and enjoy this captivating and enticing place. We recommend you take a look at this accommodation option as you will find that it is the most cost-effective and surprisingly affordable option, as well as being the one that offers you the very best in privacy and convenience.

Luxury Beachfront Rentals

Why do we recommend beachfront rentals over other more traditional forms of holiday accommodation? You could find a very nice hotel on Maui, at the usual prices, but rest assured you will find a rental accommodation is a much more affordable and enjoyable way to spend your time on this quite delectable island. For a start, you have none of the restrictions of hotel living – you can come and go as you please, with no other guests to worry about, and enjoy dining outdoors on your provided alfresco dining area. You can also choose from self-catering or catered accommodation, and the setting will be quite spectacular.

For example, consider the magnificent Hekili Point, a truly luxurious 4-bedroom villa in a spot that can only be described as amazing. With luxurious fixtures and fittings, this wonderful house is inspired by old-Hawaiian architecture, and gives you the opportunity to house as many as eight people in genuine luxury. Occupying a wonderful spot with easy access to the beautiful beach, plus the added advantage of a pool, private terrace, a hot tub with ocean views and more, this is the place to get away from it all for the perfect family break in a genuine tropical idyll.

If you are looking for a romantic break for two, we can recommend the quaint and quite wonderful one-bedroom residences at Montage Kapalua Bay. There is a choice of a few of these beautiful houses, each occupying a stunning spot within this fabulous resort, and you get views and access to one of the best beaches in the world – we are not exaggerating, it really is – plus use of a wide range of facilities. Maui is a place that offers you everything from sporting pursuits to pure relaxation, all with incredible weather and the traditional warm Hawaiian welcome.

Much to Do in Maui

If you are not content with lying in pure relaxation on a glorious beach, there is plenty more to do on Maui. This is an island of many contrasts; on the one hand you have the stunning warm sands and ocean waters that ring the island, while on the other you have access to amazing volcanoes – one of the features that Hawaii is famous for – and beautiful waterfalls, and then there’s the amazing towns, where you will be welcomed with open arms wherever you go.

If you want to cook at your residence, you should check out the markets selling local authentic produce, and there is plenty to be said for the seafood available around the island. However, eating out is always a big part of the holiday experience, so we recommend you check out many of the friendly and charming restaurants and cafes around the island.

A fun and relaxed atmosphere can be found at Zippy’s, and you won’t find many friendlier places than this, where it is recommended you try their speciality, Loco Moco. You should also take a look at Da Kitchen, which offers a full menu of local dishes, and be aware that the portions are always large when eating on Maui, so you might want to consider sharing to save money.

Relax and Enjoy

Back to your beachfront rental after a long, relaxing day, and you can continue to enjoy your time on this wonderful island in luxurious surroundings. Untroubled by others, you can spend time on your outdoor patio, take a dip in the pool, or simply enjoy a drink in peace while taking your deserved time away from the rigours of daily life.

Relaxation and enjoyment is what Maui and Hawaii are all about. There is a different pace of life here, one where time seems to slow down and everything happens in its own time, and you will find it to be a world apart, somewhere you previously only imagined could really exist.

For the holiday of a lifetime, whether as a couple or a family group, you really need to go to Maui, and we guarantee that once you see how affordable a beachfront rental is on this quite glorious island, you will want to return time and time again.

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Traveling on a budget does not mean traveling totally broke, it means allocating proper resources to the activities you actually want to spend money on. Many tourist destinations have inflated prices with poor service because the general belief is that a tourist has an unlimited amount of cash and not much common sense. To avoid some of these account draining locations, consider visiting these hidden budget traveler gems and save money.

Take a Long Drive

It would be better to buy or rent a camper, load it up with RV supplies and drive from Washington DC to the Great Smoky Mountains. The journey will take you across two national parks and introduce the beautiful yet majestic Blue Ridge Parkway and its natural resources. When traveling between Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park and North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one unique aspect that will jump out is that the road is seemingly unchanged from its 1935 origins. There are many 19th century farms and towns that seem to come straight from a postage stamp.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Charleston is the more popular South Carolina hotspot, but it tends to have massive crowds and beachgoers. Visiting the quiet and pristine Litchfield beach or the four mile Pawleys Island stretch where a true taste of Southern food can be had, seems to be a much better place for any budget traveler.

Do not assume that there is little to do outside of sleeping and eating in Myrtle Beach, there are really active centers for water sports enthusiasts. Once the safety presentation is done, feel free to rent a jet ski or pontoon and ride to your heart’s content.

Charleston, South Carolina

Since you would have been in the area anyway, head up to Charleston where the food is just as good, but the music is better. For lovers of classical music, there are many annual orchestral concerts where both the masterworks of yesteryear and the pop sensations of today are played. If the music of the grand concert halls is not enough, try visiting the world renowned Gibbes Museum of Art where a string quartet plays music related to the art on display. If you are an activity driven traveler, set off to the Kiawah Island where there are many bike trails which merge with woodlands beaches and many waterways. If you are feeling the bug to be on the water, do not dismay as rented kayaks are available for further exploration.

Boston

Be sure to visit this historic city during the summer when most universities are on break; the city truly empties out and the traffic is lighter. The history of the American Revolution as it started in Boston can be found via the Freedom Trail which carries you through 16 significant and historic sites. There are also many river cruises offered in the city which will merge history and fine dining into one.

Buffalo

During the months of April to October, visit the Larkin Square on a Tuesday night. In addition to free parking and free concerts, there are up to 50 food trucks on location simply there for your enjoyment. In addition to great food, Buffalo has been leading the craft cocktail resurgence seen in the US in the past few years. So for all of the lovers of tasty beverages, be sure to drop in at happy hour to one of the “new Buffalo” type of drinking holes. Finally, the Albright- Knox Art Gallery is popular for having the iconic artworks of Picasso, Khalo, and O’Keeffe on display year-round.

 

Author bio: Rana Tarakji is an entrepreneur and a contributing writer at Stylerail, a lifestyle blog as well as Sataco, an electro mechanical company in Lebanon.

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There is no better way to explore new destinations than by motorbike. It’s the most raw, exciting and also convenient way to travel, and wherever you want to go, you will find that you get the full experience of being at one with nature, while also being able to get from place to place with ease. When planning a road trip, whether at home or abroad, it pays to make sure your bike is fully serviced and ready to go. If you service your own bike, we recommend you check out BikeBandit.com, the leading name in quality brand parts, accessories, gear and after-market parts, with excellent prices and quick delivery.

So, where do you go on your bike vacation? There is a whole world out there, and you may be surprised what you can find close to home!

The USA

There is so much diversity in the USA that it can be difficult to advise travellers where to visit! Any one of the magnificent states offers a great deal of interest, with stunning cities and beautiful sights, and there is so much in the way of diverse culture to enjoy, too. What about a road trip across the iconic Route 66, a favourite with bikers from across the world? There is little like this route, immortalised on the page and in film, and it takes you to some of the most amazing places in the US. Before you set out, make sure you check your bike is up to it; you can find, for example, a comprehensive range of tires for motorcycles at BikeBandit, with brands such as Pirelli and Bridgestone in stock, all at excellent prices and with fast delivery.

Europe

The European countries offer a wealth of diversity; from the superb country roads of the UK, to the magnificent Alpine sweeps on the continent, the latter being a biker’s dream. Nothing beats the thrill of negotiating, for example, the incredible Stelvio Pass, which has been featured on many a motoring and biking TV programme, so check it out and see what you’re missing. France, Germany, Italy and Spain are all great for on and off-road biking, so if you want to get your dirt bike up to scratch, check out the range of dirt bike parts for Honda models at BikeBandit.

Rest of the World

If you want to travel long-distance, why not head to Australia? This vast, sparse land is home to some of the most unique animals on the planet, and offers a chance to visit a land that is as ancient as any. Then there’s the Far East; Vietnam is fast becoming a favourite for bike holidays, thanks to its quite stunning scenery and wonderful people, and you might want to consider the wonders of Africa, where there are too many countries to mention in such a short piece. Wherever you choose to go, take the time to make sure your bike is up to scratch, and you will enjoy yourself to the full.

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Is there a special trip on your bucket list?  Consider exploring the wonders of North Carolina. From the stunning vistas of the Appalachian Mountains to the blue waters of the Crystal Coast, North Carolina is one of the most stunning states in the country.  Take advantage of the awesome deals offered by Groupon coupons and ramp up your vacation wardrobe with selections from Aeropostale, pack your bags and hit the road for a vacation of a lifetime.

Start your trip in the scenic college town of Asheville. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Asheville is a food lover’s delight. From farm to table restaurants to food trucks, there’s something for every palette in Asheville.  Plan on a side trip to Biltmore Estates; the nation’s largest private home. The grounds are just spectacular and the interior is full of antiques and architectural wonders.

Continue east to the Piedmont Triad cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point. Known for furniture and textiles, the Piedmont also boasts some of  North Carolina’s best bar-b-que. Music festivals, performing arts and parks can all be found in Greensboro and Winston-Salem’s downtown areas. The state zoo, Natural Science Center and Children’s Museum are all huge draws for visiting families. The state capital, Raleigh, is just one hour east of Greensboro. Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham are the cities known as the Triangle. Some of the nation’s top universities are found in the Triangle. A huge selection of museums, restaurants and Greenway trails can all be explored during your trip to the Triangle.

Wrap up your trip by selecting one of the beach towns on the Crystal Coast. Emerald Isle, Pine Knoll Shores & Atlantic Beach are all bucolic beach towns with a small town flair. Spend the day on the beach building sand castles and plan to catch the delicious blue crab for dinner. From marsh views to the inter-coastal waterways, the Crystal Coast is a beach lover’s paradise. Welcome to North Carolina!

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While this city nestled between Dallas and Fort Worth isn’t the biggest or most traveled to of the three, Arlington appeals to travelers with its delightful small town Southern charm and its sports venues. But aside from the popular Arlington attractions, like seeing a Rangers or Cowboys game, what else is there to do?

From tasty hole-in-the-wall restaurants to a weekly runners group, we’ve got the unique things for you to see, do and try in and around Arlington.

Arlington Attractions

The Runners of Arlington

 

[Source: The Runners of Arlington Facebook]

 

Arlington isn’t just a place to watch sports; it’s a place that lets you get active as well. Every Tuesday and Thursday night people meet at the Runner Shop at 7 p.m. It’s not a group you have to join or be part of year-round. You just show up and run. The courses are two miles and more, and people of all pace levels, both locals and travelers, are welcome to run.

 

The Boomstick

[Source: Texas Ballpark Boomstick Facebook]

 

This isn’t a place—although it’s almost big enough it could be. It’s a giant hot dog you can only get inside Globe Life Park. So if your travels put you in Arlington when the Rangers are in town, then go to a game and try this monstrous dog. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, this two-foot-long, one-pound all beef hot dog smothered in chili, nacho cheese and grilled onions is a sight to see and the best ballpark dog you’ll ever eat.

 

Fort Worth Water Gardens

 

[Source Rodney—Flickr]

 

Located just outside of Arlington in Fort Worth, this Texas oasis is worth the short drive. See waterfalls cascading down walls, a serene meditation pool and the Active Pool, where thousands of gallons of water constantly rush down 38 feet of steps that plummet into a vortex. It’s especially refreshing on a hot summer’s day, but you can check out the Water Gardens anytime of the year.

 

Arlington Eats 

Damian’s Cajun Soul Café

 

[Source: Damian’s Cajun Soul Café Facebook]

 

Although the restaurant and menu are small, Damian’s Cajun Soul Café delivers big on the food and service. Damian and his crew literally put their heart and souls into each dish, and you can taste it with every bite. Get classic soul food meals, like friend chicken and mashed potatoes, and fulfill your Cajun cravings with their scrumptious gumbo. People also can’t say enough about their smothered pork chops and melt-in-your-mouth cornbread. For the best authentic Louisiana-style cooking west of Louisiana, you have to head to Damian’s.

 

Fork In The Road

[Source: Fork In The Road Facebook]

 

Fork In The Road serves up casual and comfort foods in plentiful portions. They have great burgers, home cut fries that are perfectly fried and seasoned and pure cane sugar sodas. But if there’s one absolute must-try menu item, it’s the crackaroni—a three-cheese macaroni and cheese with truffle oil. And be sure to get it with bacon and jalapenos. From the outside, Fork In The Road doesn’t look like much; but you quickly learn it’s a true Arlington treasure once you step inside.

 

Arlington Hotels

 

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Arlington

1721 Pleasant Place

817-784-8750

 

Near the Rangers’ ballpark, Six Flags and other hot Arlington attractions, this hotel has a convenient location and even better amenities. From the complimentary breakfast to quality rooms and attentive staff, a stay here provides the relaxing, comfortable night’s sleep you want on vacation.

 

Blue Cypress Hotel

117 S. Watson Road

817-633-4000

 

Designed for leisure and business travelers, this modern boutique hotel in Arlington has it all. Enjoy coffee in the lobby 24/7, dine at the onsite restaurant, go for a swim in the pool and take their short shuttle ride to AT&T Stadium.

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Spring is a popular time to visit Washington, D.C. As the temperatures rise following the cold winter months, the city comes alive with activities...