New York

New York

From musicals to cuisine to the most popular tourist attractions, experience the best New York City has to offer in a week.  The Big Apple.” “The greatest city in the world.” “The city so nice they named it twice.” Whatever you call it, New York City is bursting at the seams with life and culture. Even so, it’s not impossible to explore it in a week—if you have a solid plan. Getting Around You can find most of the iconic NYC activities in Manhattan, and you can get just about anywhere in Manhattan with a MetroCard and a good pair of walking shoes. Your first stop once you get into town should be at the nearest Metro station, where you can buy a 7-Day Unlimited Pass for $32. You’ll get your money’s worth on day one, and by day two you’ll be a Metro pro. Broadway on a Budget Let’s be real: you haven’t experienced NYC until you’ve seen a Broadway show. And if you think you can’t afford it, think again. If there’s a popular show that you’re dying to see, check whether that show offers a lottery for tickets. These tickets are often heavily discounted—tickets to Dear Evan Hansen, which often start at $119, cost only $42 through the lottery. Hamilton—a show that’s notoriously hard to get into at all, let alone for a reasonable price—awards lottery winners $10 tickets. The TKTS booth on Times Square (47th Street and Broadway) is a more reliable option. TKTS sells discounted same-day Broadway tickets for the more established, less trendy productions—you won’t find tickets to Hamilton or Dear Evan Hansen...
Hooked on Alaska

Hooked on Alaska

An Alaskan fishing trip is a vacation that both avid anglers and novices can enjoy. The view out my window on Alaskan Airlines flight 71saturated my eyes with more green than they had probably absorbed in their prior 22 years put together. My uneasy anticipation for a week at a remote Alaskan fishing lodge quickly evolved into kid-at-Christmastime excitement. I was venturing off with two professors and six other students to Pybus Point Lodge on Admiralty Island, a spot off the coast of Alaska that is home to more bears than people. We were on our way there to catch fish for our research. I had no idea what to expect, but with the unbelievable scenery I was already catching glimpses of, I was elated to be there no matter what I’d be doing. My travel companions and I spent the night in Juneau, and early the next morning, a float plane carried us low over an endless intermingling of forest and ocean. We spent the hour with foreheads glued to glass, trying to commit each wave and branch and wing to memory and eagerlyscanning grassy clearings for the russet fur of a brown bear. At the end of our journey, the plane landed in secluded Pybus Bay with the grace of a dandelion seed. We puttered over to the dock, where the dockhands swarmed to help us off the plane and replace us with the previous week’s travelers. The door flipped open, my Keds hit the weathered dock, and I was in love. The ocean’s signature cool, briny aroma rushed into my nose and mouth and wide-open eyes, reminding me...
Mariposa: Metamorphosis in Mexico

Mariposa: Metamorphosis in Mexico

Imagine a forest surrounded by blankets of monarch butterflies so thick that their orange hues obscure the horizon, foliage, and trees. The butterflies flutter around you, and some willingly land on your shoulders. The monarchs’ winter refuge in Mexico is not easily accessible to tourists, but it is well worth the travel. For Egyptian, Aztec, and Greek cultures, the butterfly symbolizes the human soul. Other societies prize the butterfly as a symbol of human life: the caterpillar state signifies our life on earth, the chrysalis represents the tomb, and the butterfly implies a life after death that is lively and free. These symbols of the butterfly unite for the people of Mexico, who esteem the butterflies as the souls of loved ones who have passed. For them,each butterfly houses an ancestor, a friend, or a soldier. This Mexican lore is rooted in the millions of monarch butterflies that migrate each year to Mexico’s protective countryside. The trees and mountains of Michoacán, Mexico, provide a temporary habitat for the monarchs each year as they migrate from Canada and the United States to a warmer climate down south. From November to March each year, spectators can marvel at the millions of butterflies in the El Rosario and Sierra Chincua sanctuaries, accessible from Mexico City. Each of these sanctuaries is located approximately four hours from Mexico City. For the ambitious tourist, it could make an exciting day trip; for the leisurely traveler, the hikes and sights can comfortably fill two or three days’ time. Travelers must take a bus from the capital and then endure a long, uphill hike. Though inconvenient, the trip...
La Belle Province: A Week in Quebec

La Belle Province: A Week in Quebec

Situated at the eastern end of Canada is the sprawling province of Quebec. The second-largest administrative area in the country, this predominantly French-speaking area of more than eight million residents is rich in history, deep in culture, varied in diversity, and plentiful in attractions. Because of its topography and geographical location, much of the province is sparsely populated. Still, la belle province (French for “the beautiful province,” as it is known), offers an impressive menu of things to do, see, and experience. Here are a few. Old Town Quebec The second-largest city in the province, Quebec City is about 143 miles (230 kilometers) northeast from Montreal, Quebec’s most populated city and metropolitan area. The capital city of the province, Quebec City sits on the St. Lawrence as the river begins to narrow. Within Quebec City is an area known as Vieux-Quebec, or in English, Old Quebec. This historic portion of the city is the only existing walled and fortified city in North America. Visitors will be enthralled and enchanted with its cobblestone streets and European flare and feel. Old Quebec is bustling with shops, restaurants, and charm. Here, you can also check out the Citadelle of Quebec, a military installation constructed in 1673. Outside the wall of Old Town, a must-see is the famed hotel Chateau Frontenac. This massive castle-like structure boasts more than 600 rooms on 18 floors. It is known for having accommodated dignitaries and political figures from around the globe. Lac Saint-Jean Quebec has more than one million lakes and waterways, though many of these are tiny and have not been named. Perhaps the most notable...
Sleeping in the Sky: The Dominican Tree House Village Hotel

Sleeping in the Sky: The Dominican Tree House Village Hotel

Fall asleep to soft jungle sounds and wake up to exotic bird songs in a private tree house in the Samana province of the Dominican Republic. At the Dominican Tree House Village Hotel, guests have the chance to experience the jungle from their tree house rooms and to explore the wonders of the Dominican Republic in different adventurous experiences. At this unique resort, guests are provided with mosquito netting around their beds (a particularly handy luxury in the jungle), electric outlets for their devices, and open views of the forest with curtains for privacy. This getaway offers the perfect setting for relaxation and for time away from the stresses of everyday life while providing the modern conveniences needed to stay in touch with everyday life as needed. While resting and relaxing for the week, guests also have many opportunities to experience the excitement and wonders of staying in the Dominican Republic. Guests can zip-line through the rainforest, go scuba diving, take a shopping trip to the nearby towns of Las Galeras or Las Terrenas, or simply enjoy the jungle sounds, sights, and smells from their tree house. Guests can also go whale watching, hike to the gorgeous waterfall El Limon, go whitewater rafting, and take many other adventurous trips. While enjoying the beautiful surrounding jungle, guests do have the chance to access the Internet at the town just twenty minutes away. There is also cell phone service—enough for use in emergencies and in everyday life, but spotty enough for an excuse when guests want a complete break from daily stresses. The area is also quite safe; there are no...

North Meets South: Diversity in Marseille

Just three hours from Paris by train lies Marseille, an unusual French city warmed by the Mediterranean sun and flavored by a distinctly North African feel. Marseille is France’s biggest port city and has served for centuries as a gateway between Europe and the Maghreb (Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco). While all of France has a large percentage of Maghrebi immigrants and their descendants, Marseille’s population is especially diverse. The city’s vibrant blend of cultures makes it unlike any other place in France. Le Panier The oldest neighborhood in Marseille, le Panier, is also its most charming. It’s a vibrant collection of homes, restaurants, art galleries, people, and cultures. At the Atelier Arterra, visitors can watch painters add color to hand-made nativity miniatures known as santons. Le Glacier du Roi features beautiful ice cream desserts, keeping with the French adage that “presentation is half of the taste.” At her store, “Adjanas,” a Togolese woman named Adjara Nassiki sells her own line of unique, colorful clothing for women that has been described as “a mix of cultures.” Jared Rutman, a Californian who interned in Marseille, got lost in le Panier on the way to visit an old, blind woman. Watching the Marseillais (a term for the local people) playing pétanque and taking their lunches slowly at outdoor cafés, he marveled that this was real life for those people. When at last he found the woman’s house, to Jared’s surprise, she gave him a tour of the area. “You tell me what street we’re on, and I’ll tell you which way to turn,” she said. Then she showed him landmarks like her...