Boo! Halloween is right around the corner, and people around the world are in the mood for spooky season. Get your costumes ready, decorate your houses, and get ready for all the trick-or-treaters. There’s nothing quite as scary as a bunch of children dressed as Wonder Woman trying to get candy, right?
Cherry Blossoms Are The Stars of Springtime in Washington DC!
Each year, Washington, D.C. hosts the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which commemorates the anniversary of a 1912 gift from the mayor of Japan, who sent thousands of Japanese cherry trees to the American capital. In March, these trees begin to bloom, creating a vibrant display of bright pink and white flowers along the banks of the Potomac River and throughout the city. This year, the festival will take place from March 17 to April 15 while peak blossom time is expected to be April 8 through April 12.
On December 31, every year, news coverage from New Year celebrations all over the world are broadcast to billions of people. While most will be sitting at home, watching the fun and excitement from their living room couch. Millions of others will be experiencing the incredible excitement of bringing in the new year with style. You can be one of those people enjoying the experience in person, with a special TakeTours Countdown Experience. Featuring Countdown Tours to New York City’s Times Square and Las Vegas’ Strip.
New Year celebrations bring great fanfare to cities all over the world. For decades people have gathered to welcome the New Year with fireworks, confetti, music, and more. In the United States, the biggest parties can be found in New York City and Las Vegas. The 100 year old “ball drop” tradition in New York’s Times Square attracts 1 million people every year, with over 1 billion watching from around the world. Musical performances by famous singers and musicians begin hours prior to midnight. A countdown to the new year begins at 60 seconds and is capped off with a dazzling display of lights and fireworks. See the best deals for New York Countdown Tours.
Las Vegas is known for it’s one of a kind nightlife scene, entertainment venues, and overall party experience. It is estimated that an additional 300,000 people visit the Vegas strip to great the New Year in the City of Sin. Spectacular casinos set rooftop fireworks to erupt in unison as the calendar flips to a new year. Crazy things are known to happen, but remember, what happens in Vegas… stays in Vegas! See the best deals for Las Vegas Countdown Tours.
Row after row of vines stretching down gentle slopes to the water. Miles of road dotted with wineries as far as the eye can see, parking lots filled with vinophiles eager to sample the latest seasonal offerings. Restaurants led by locavore chefs keen to pair their creations with regional vintages. Casual street conversations which often include words such as “bouquet”, “nose”, “varietal” and “terroir”. Where are we? In Napa? Sonoma? The Pacific Northwest? Somewhere in Australia or New Zealand? Nope. Would you believe it if we said upstate New York?
The latest wine region starting to garner more attention both nationally and internationally is the scenic Finger Lakes area, tucked up in the northwest corner of New York state, just below Lake Ontario. Here, certain varietal vines thrive near the long, thin bodies of water such as Seneca, Canandaigua, Keuka, and Cayuga lakes which act as temperature regulators during bouts of extreme weather: keeping things cool in summer, and protecting vines from the worst of the frost in winter. (No wonder the region has more than 100 wineries!) Known principally for the strength of its German cool weather grapes such as Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, the Finger Lakes are also becoming famous for their sparkling wines and other varietals such as Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay. Several Blanc de Blancs have won regional and national recognition, and most of the local ice and dessert wines are spectacular.
This summer, the Finger Lakes will feature its annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival from July 15-17, which draws wineries and food and craft vendors from throughout New York State. Held on the grounds of the Watkins Glen International Speedway, the popular event is an opportunity to taste the best work of more than 90 local and state wineries and food artisans, as well as enjoy rituals like the Friday night blessing of Bacchus (attendees are urged to wear togas), cooking classes, and wine seminars. And if you’re there, be sure to get a taste of some of the TakeTours staff’s favorite labels: Dr. Konstantin Frank, Swedish Hill, Red Newt Cellars, and Hermann J. Wiemer, to name a few.
But you don’t need a festival to experience the wonderful vintages of the area: wineries are open throughout the summer and year-round. So if you’re interested in exploring the beautiful and bountiful Finger Lakes region of New York, why not let TakeTours help you find the right trip? Click here to explore the many tours offered by our affiliated vendors.
With the Fourth of July just around the corner, the team here at TakeTours have put our heads together to come up with some of the best Independence Day celebrations around the country. Following are our Top 5 must-see destinations for the holiday!
Flex Your Muscles in L.A.
L.A. does Independence Day in typical American fashion, but with a Californian twist: parades down Sunset Boulevard, a fireworks display at night around LA Memorial Coliseum, and the celebrated AmericaFest show at the Rose Bowl. But what do we mean by a “Californian twist”? What else but a beach-side bodybuilding contest that you will find nowhere else but on Venice Beach. Can you think of a more West Coast way to celebrate America than a display of American muscle? From a state that movie star and former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger once governed, we think not.
Join a Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York
New York City is a perennial contender on the list of interesting destinations for almost any holiday, and when it comes to lavish celebrations, look no further. In and around Manhattan, walking tours showcase sites where revolutionary history took place, cruises circle the Statue of Liberty, and parties abound. And at night, the incredible Macy’s fireworks display lights up the space over the city’s iconic skyline. Not to be missed is the kitschy annual tradition of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, which is almost a century old.
Chow Down on “Chowdah” in Boston
During Harborfest, held every year in the week leading up to the Fourth of July, the whole state relives the American Revolution. Guides in colonial dress multiply in the streets, ready to take you through the history that runs deeply through the city, from Faneuil Hall to the U.S.S. Constitution; and on Boston Common, a re-enactment of the British invasion pits Redcoats against colonial militia in a modern-day skirmish. Hungry visitors can chow down at Chowderfest, which celebrates this port city’s beloved cuisine. This all leads up to the nationally televised Fourth of July concert led by the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra and the accompanying fireworks, famously set off above Charles River to the sounds of the 1812 Overture.
Join the City-Wide Block Party in Philly
Starting as early as June 24th, Philadelphia kicks off a string of events at its “Wawa Welcome America” Festival. There are food tasting and ice cream eating events galore at Penn’s Landing, movie showings, (including an early screening of this year’s summer blockbuster, Transformers: Dark of the Moon), community block parties celebrating a mixture of cultures, and much more. On the holiday itself, an Independence Day ceremony on the steps of Independence Hall will feature readings from the Declaration of Independence, followed by a massive Party on the Parkway with loads of activities and entertainment for the entire family. It all culminates with the Fourth of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks Ceremony with featured performers The Roots, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Michael McDonald, and Sara Bareilles.
Sing Along with Steve Martin in Washington D.C.
The nation’s capital, with its myriad monuments and national buildings, is a patriotic city even on an average day. But on Independence Day, the city outdoes itself. Every attraction, from the White House to the National Archives, opens its doors to the public for special events not only to educate and inform but also to honor the history that the city embodies. The annual Independence Day Parade makes its way down Constitution Avenue and features military and marching bands, floats, celebrity guests and VIPs. Beginning early in the morning, the National Mall fills with crowds who gather to watch the Capitol Fourth Concert, which is broadcast around the nation. This year’s fantastic lineup includes comedian Steve Martin performing with his band, the Steep Canyon Rangers, pop music sensations Jordan Sparks and Josh Groban, Broadway performances, television personalities, the National Symphony Orchestra, and more! It’s the capital – what did you expect?