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5 Spring Break Trips From the Culinary Content Network

5 Spring Break Trips From the Culinary Content Network



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Whether or not we can leave town, we’re ready to take a break with our CCN bloggers

A Boston Food Diary relaxes in SoHo's Mondrian Hotel

March has a tendency to inspire a serious travel itch. On the cusp of winter, this month’s longer days and rising temperatures can easily motivate us to pack up and head out of town for a weekend for a much need spring break. This week, contributors from our Culinary Content Network do just that and head out across the U.S. for different tastes, room service, and a general change of scenery.

Click here for the 5 Spring Break Trips from the Culinary Content Network Slideshow!

From San Diego, Calif., to the Big Apple, bloggers go near and far to review new restaurants in Colorado, fall in love with cafés in Las Vegas, tour Texas BBQ joints, enjoy some pie and paragliding in San Diego, and discover top-of-the-line hotels in New York.

Not all of us (cough, cough) are necessarily able to jet-set this month, but until next time, take a moment to live vicariously through our talented and hungry bloggers.They may not go very far from home this time around, but sometimes quality of the experience trumps the quantity of miles.


5 Spring Weekend Getaways On A Budget

With more hotel rooms than any other city on the planet, Las Vegas is an easy choice for an affordable spring weekend getaway. Orlando is also a top destination, with the second most number of rooms in America and not far behind Vegas in the overall world rankings for lodging. However, the Nevada desert isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, nor is the central Florida setting for the world’s most visited amusement park.

Indeed, with a seemingly endless collection of remarkable destinations from coast to coast, travelers shouldn’t have much difficulty in selecting an exciting alternative to the mega casinos and mega tourist attractions. Here are just five suggestions for an unforgettable spring getaway to fit anyone’s budget.

As one of the most popular destinations of the Great Lakes region, Milwaukee is a delightful and completely authentic city to visit for an affordable spring weekend getaway. The largest city in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the entire Midwest, Milwaukee is likely most famous for its assemblage of outstanding breweries, once known as the Beer Capital of the World and has featured some of the oldest brands in America, such as Miller Brewing Company and a few other iconic labels that are now produced elsewhere, like Pabst and Schlitz, which once featured the familiar slogan “the beer that made Milwaukee famous”.

Yet in addition to phenomenal brew pubs like Milwaukee Brewing Company and Lakefront Brewery, this vibrant city located along the magnificent shores of Lake Michigan, offers a full weekend of free or low cost attractions to enjoy, such as the Milwaukee Public Market, the two-mile long Milwaukee Riverwalk, the bleacher seats to home games of the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park and of course the admission free Miller Brewery Tour, in addition to reasonably priced marquee attractions like the Harley Davidson Museum and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Like many other leading American cities, Milwaukee has an impressive collection of hotels and B&Bs, from four-star properties like the Iron Horse and the Journeyman Hotel to a host of well known chain hotels starting at under $70 per night, particularly near the Milwaukee Airport.

In addition to its wealth of popular microbreweries, this lakeside city is also home to a multitude of outstanding restaurants, from James Beard Award-winning spots like Sanford Restaurant and Lake Park Bistro to more affordable fare at Milwaukee Brat House, Oscar’s Pub and Grill and the James Beard-honored Three Brothers and Watts Tea Shop, named one of the World’s 10 Greatest Old Dining Institutions by the New York Times.

With spring weather averaging in the mid to high 70s, Myrtle Beach has long been a popular and very affordable destination. Best known as a lively beach resort town along South Carolina’s sweeping Atlantic Coast, this city of approximately 30,000 residents annually draws approximately 17 million visitors, with the majority arriving during the peak summer season.

But in the spring, beachfront hotels that are affordable year round offer some rooms for under $60, such as Crown Reef Beach Resort and Waterpark, Breakers Myrtle Beach Resort and Sandy Beach Resort. In addition to low cost lodging, Myrtle Beach is typified by an impressive collection of family friendly attractions and nearly 100 golf courses, including some of the best in the country, like Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, Grande Dunes Golf Club and Dunes Golf and Beach Club. As for entertainment, visitors have several spots to consider, such as the Carolina Opry, Hollywood Wax Museum, the landmark Myrtle Beach Skywheel and Alligator Adventure, known as the Reptile Capital of the World. Of course, visitors will eventually get hungry and there’s absolutely no shortage of outstanding places to dine on a budget.

Among the top recommendations are the Sea Captain’s House, Simply Southern Smokehouse and the multi-award winning Croissants Bistro and Bakery, led by chef Heidi Vukov, once named the South Carolina Restaurateur of the Year.

Once named America’s Favorite City by Travel + Leisure, Providence is also currently listed among that travel site’s Best U.S. Cities for Affordable Getaways, making Rhode Island’s capital and largest city an attractive weekend destination. Located about an hour drive south of Boston and partially bounded by the river that bears its name, Providence is one of America’s oldest cities yet is equally acclaimed for its historic homes and buildings as its dynamic culture and arts scene.

However, Providence also hosts one of the hottest culinary destinations in the country, with a wealth of dining options to fit anyone’s budget, from low cost fare at places like Harry’s Bar and Burger, The Abbey and Julian’s to moderately priced James Beard-nominated places like Birch and Nick’s on Broadway and Persimmon. While springtime rates for leading hotels and B&Bs can be often be booked for under $150 at places like Omni Providence, The Dean and Christopher Dodge House, the capital city also offers a wide collection of budget lodging as low as $56, particularly near the T.F. Green Airport in the neighboring city of Warwick. As one of the best cities in the country, Providence has more than enough sights and attractions to last a two or three-day weekend.

Among the top recommendations for visitors are the Rhode Island School of Design Museum (RISD), Providence Children’s Museum, Rhode Island State House and Benefit Street, the setting for one of the highest concentrations of Colonial buildings in the country. Even more suggestions are the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Roger Williams Park featuring one of America’s oldest zoos and Providence Athenaeum, one of the oldest libraries in the country, located on the prestigious Ivy League campus of Brown University.

Located about halfway between the San Francisco Bay Area and Lake Tahoe, Sacramento is occasionally overlooked as an affordable getaway when compared to one of America’s largest alpine lakes high up in the Sierra Nevada mountains. However, aside from the notion that people traveling by car from San Francisco will simply save time on the road and money on gas, the capital city can be a very practical and exceptional destination for visitors hoping to keep their travel expenses in check.

While the city’s leading hotels are often available for under $200 per night, such as the top rated Citizen Hotel and Sheraton Grand Sacramento, many other respected chain hotels offer rates well below $100. As an added incentive, the Sacramento region is also known as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, having the distinction of being the largest agricultural producer in the country and home to a world-class food scene.

Much like the affordability and broad selection of lodging, top local restaurants like Mulvaney’s B&L, led by James Beard-honored chef Patrick Mulvaney and the Grange Restaurant and Bar, led by rising star chef Oliver Ridgeway, offer a number of superb dishes that are reasonably priced yet exceed many of best spots in the Bay Area. Lastly, Sacramento is home to many affordable attractions, such as the California State Capitol Museum, Crocker Art Museum and the California State Railroad Museum. One other major attraction that should not be missed is the new, state-out-the-art Golden1Center, the home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, where tickets can often be found for under $30.

Graced by a three-mile boardwalk, fabulous beaches and an impressive collection of affordable to moderately priced lodging, Virginia Beach has long been a very popular destination for a weekend getaway. Located along the Atlantic Coast in the southeastern portion of the state and in the region known as the Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach is by far the largest city in Virginia and attracts three million visitors annually, particularly during its peak season between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

But in April and into mid-May, travelers on a budget can find several hotels priced at less than $80, in addition to low cost campsites and moderately priced cabins at places like the Virginia Beach KOA and First Landing State Park. As a beachside destination that dates back to the 19th century, Virginia Beach offers all sorts of fun activities to enjoy including biking, fishing, kayaking and horseback riding on the beach as well as many free or low cost attractions like the Virginia Legends Walk, Virginia Beach Amusement Park, Cape Henry Lighthouse and Memorial Park, First Landing State Park, the most visited state park in Virginia and of course, the lively Virginia Beach Boardwalk and Beachfront.

For low cost dining, travelers might be interested in top rated places like DOC Taylor’s Restaurant, Mary’s Restaurant, Dirty Buffalo and Baja Cantina. Other affordable restaurants and hotels can also be found in the nearby historic city of Norfolk, the location of world’s largest naval station, the celebrated Virginia Opera and Virginia Symphony, and the Chrysler Museum of Art.


5 Spring Weekend Getaways On A Budget

With more hotel rooms than any other city on the planet, Las Vegas is an easy choice for an affordable spring weekend getaway. Orlando is also a top destination, with the second most number of rooms in America and not far behind Vegas in the overall world rankings for lodging. However, the Nevada desert isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, nor is the central Florida setting for the world’s most visited amusement park.

Indeed, with a seemingly endless collection of remarkable destinations from coast to coast, travelers shouldn’t have much difficulty in selecting an exciting alternative to the mega casinos and mega tourist attractions. Here are just five suggestions for an unforgettable spring getaway to fit anyone’s budget.

As one of the most popular destinations of the Great Lakes region, Milwaukee is a delightful and completely authentic city to visit for an affordable spring weekend getaway. The largest city in Wisconsin and one of the largest in the entire Midwest, Milwaukee is likely most famous for its assemblage of outstanding breweries, once known as the Beer Capital of the World and has featured some of the oldest brands in America, such as Miller Brewing Company and a few other iconic labels that are now produced elsewhere, like Pabst and Schlitz, which once featured the familiar slogan “the beer that made Milwaukee famous”.

Yet in addition to phenomenal brew pubs like Milwaukee Brewing Company and Lakefront Brewery, this vibrant city located along the magnificent shores of Lake Michigan, offers a full weekend of free or low cost attractions to enjoy, such as the Milwaukee Public Market, the two-mile long Milwaukee Riverwalk, the bleacher seats to home games of the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park and of course the admission free Miller Brewery Tour, in addition to reasonably priced marquee attractions like the Harley Davidson Museum and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Like many other leading American cities, Milwaukee has an impressive collection of hotels and B&Bs, from four-star properties like the Iron Horse and the Journeyman Hotel to a host of well known chain hotels starting at under $70 per night, particularly near the Milwaukee Airport.

In addition to its wealth of popular microbreweries, this lakeside city is also home to a multitude of outstanding restaurants, from James Beard Award-winning spots like Sanford Restaurant and Lake Park Bistro to more affordable fare at Milwaukee Brat House, Oscar’s Pub and Grill and the James Beard-honored Three Brothers and Watts Tea Shop, named one of the World’s 10 Greatest Old Dining Institutions by the New York Times.

With spring weather averaging in the mid to high 70s, Myrtle Beach has long been a popular and very affordable destination. Best known as a lively beach resort town along South Carolina’s sweeping Atlantic Coast, this city of approximately 30,000 residents annually draws approximately 17 million visitors, with the majority arriving during the peak summer season.

But in the spring, beachfront hotels that are affordable year round offer some rooms for under $60, such as Crown Reef Beach Resort and Waterpark, Breakers Myrtle Beach Resort and Sandy Beach Resort. In addition to low cost lodging, Myrtle Beach is typified by an impressive collection of family friendly attractions and nearly 100 golf courses, including some of the best in the country, like Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, Grande Dunes Golf Club and Dunes Golf and Beach Club. As for entertainment, visitors have several spots to consider, such as the Carolina Opry, Hollywood Wax Museum, the landmark Myrtle Beach Skywheel and Alligator Adventure, known as the Reptile Capital of the World. Of course, visitors will eventually get hungry and there’s absolutely no shortage of outstanding places to dine on a budget.

Among the top recommendations are the Sea Captain’s House, Simply Southern Smokehouse and the multi-award winning Croissants Bistro and Bakery, led by chef Heidi Vukov, once named the South Carolina Restaurateur of the Year.

Once named America’s Favorite City by Travel + Leisure, Providence is also currently listed among that travel site’s Best U.S. Cities for Affordable Getaways, making Rhode Island’s capital and largest city an attractive weekend destination. Located about an hour drive south of Boston and partially bounded by the river that bears its name, Providence is one of America’s oldest cities yet is equally acclaimed for its historic homes and buildings as its dynamic culture and arts scene.

However, Providence also hosts one of the hottest culinary destinations in the country, with a wealth of dining options to fit anyone’s budget, from low cost fare at places like Harry’s Bar and Burger, The Abbey and Julian’s to moderately priced James Beard-nominated places like Birch and Nick’s on Broadway and Persimmon. While springtime rates for leading hotels and B&Bs can be often be booked for under $150 at places like Omni Providence, The Dean and Christopher Dodge House, the capital city also offers a wide collection of budget lodging as low as $56, particularly near the T.F. Green Airport in the neighboring city of Warwick. As one of the best cities in the country, Providence has more than enough sights and attractions to last a two or three-day weekend.

Among the top recommendations for visitors are the Rhode Island School of Design Museum (RISD), Providence Children’s Museum, Rhode Island State House and Benefit Street, the setting for one of the highest concentrations of Colonial buildings in the country. Even more suggestions are the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Roger Williams Park featuring one of America’s oldest zoos and Providence Athenaeum, one of the oldest libraries in the country, located on the prestigious Ivy League campus of Brown University.

Located about halfway between the San Francisco Bay Area and Lake Tahoe, Sacramento is occasionally overlooked as an affordable getaway when compared to one of America’s largest alpine lakes high up in the Sierra Nevada mountains. However, aside from the notion that people traveling by car from San Francisco will simply save time on the road and money on gas, the capital city can be a very practical and exceptional destination for visitors hoping to keep their travel expenses in check.

While the city’s leading hotels are often available for under $200 per night, such as the top rated Citizen Hotel and Sheraton Grand Sacramento, many other respected chain hotels offer rates well below $100. As an added incentive, the Sacramento region is also known as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, having the distinction of being the largest agricultural producer in the country and home to a world-class food scene.

Much like the affordability and broad selection of lodging, top local restaurants like Mulvaney’s B&L, led by James Beard-honored chef Patrick Mulvaney and the Grange Restaurant and Bar, led by rising star chef Oliver Ridgeway, offer a number of superb dishes that are reasonably priced yet exceed many of best spots in the Bay Area. Lastly, Sacramento is home to many affordable attractions, such as the California State Capitol Museum, Crocker Art Museum and the California State Railroad Museum. One other major attraction that should not be missed is the new, state-out-the-art Golden1Center, the home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, where tickets can often be found for under $30.

Graced by a three-mile boardwalk, fabulous beaches and an impressive collection of affordable to moderately priced lodging, Virginia Beach has long been a very popular destination for a weekend getaway. Located along the Atlantic Coast in the southeastern portion of the state and in the region known as the Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach is by far the largest city in Virginia and attracts three million visitors annually, particularly during its peak season between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

But in April and into mid-May, travelers on a budget can find several hotels priced at less than $80, in addition to low cost campsites and moderately priced cabins at places like the Virginia Beach KOA and First Landing State Park. As a beachside destination that dates back to the 19th century, Virginia Beach offers all sorts of fun activities to enjoy including biking, fishing, kayaking and horseback riding on the beach as well as many free or low cost attractions like the Virginia Legends Walk, Virginia Beach Amusement Park, Cape Henry Lighthouse and Memorial Park, First Landing State Park, the most visited state park in Virginia and of course, the lively Virginia Beach Boardwalk and Beachfront.

For low cost dining, travelers might be interested in top rated places like DOC Taylor’s Restaurant, Mary’s Restaurant, Dirty Buffalo and Baja Cantina. Other affordable restaurants and hotels can also be found in the nearby historic city of Norfolk, the location of world’s largest naval station, the celebrated Virginia Opera and Virginia Symphony, and the Chrysler Museum of Art.


Top Five Spring Break Dinner Ideas

Who’s ready for a break? Meeeeee! I’m beyond excited to get to my happy place next week and breath the fresh mountain air. I won’t send a meal plan this Saturday, so I want to share my spring break dinner ideas. Since we’ll be skiing, these are pretty hearty, but many of them work for a beach vacation just as well.

We’ll have a group of teenagers with us, and you know how teenagers eat. We definitely plan to order pizza one night (two “grown up” pizzas from our favorite local restaurant and two “teenager” pizzas from the local delivery place). But beyond that, I’ll need to feed 8 people most nights. Remember, a trip with family in tow is just that. A trip, not exactly a vacation. Especially for moms! But a little advance planning can make a week off with kids a lot more relaxing. Here’s what’s on tap.

Chili Night

Chili and baked potato night with all the toppings. If I have my act together, the chili will go in the slow cooker before we head out to ski. The baked potatoes can go in when we head to the hot tub to soak sore muscles! You could also make veggie chili or chicken and white bean chili. Beef and vegetable soup would be another hearty option. Or lamb stew is always a hit, use beef stew meat if you prefer!

Lasagna Night

Lasagna, garlic bread (or cheesy pull-apart garlic bread) and a simple salad. I’ve been doing a mini Whole30 reset, and this dinner is the opposite of Whole30. But bring it on! I also love lasagna soup if you want to give it a try!

Taco Night

Tacos. Duh! This is the easiest dinner known to man, and favorite of teenagers everywhere. Make creamy jalapeño sauce to drizzle on top in 5 minutes flat. If you’re in beach mode, make easy fish tacos or a big side of roasted salmon that can be flaked into tortillas with guac or eaten with a side salad. Tortilla soup is another delicious option, you could make this slow cooker version in the morning and cross dinner off your list. Or slow cooker carnitas always satisfies a crowd, don’t forget the quick pickled red onions. Enchilada casserole, with either shredded chicken or ground beef, is another great way to feed a crowd.

Soup Night

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with a big pot of rice or pork picadillo can be made on the stove top or in an Instant Pot. Or just make a big batch of roasted red pepper and tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches on the side.

Sandwich Night

French dip sandwiches are the best on toasted hoagie rolls with melted mozzarella. Extra au jus on the side for dipping. This is such a super easy slow cooker recipe that makes your whole house smell amazing. You could also do burgers, hot dogs, grilled sausages or a panini bar. If you’re renting a vacation house and don’t have a panini maker, cook your sandwich in a pan like you would a grilled cheese. Then while the sandwich cooks, press down on the top with a small skillet lid. You could also make (or buy) meatballs and serve meatball sliders or subs with a side of Rao’s Marinara.

What are your spring bread dinner ideas? Share your go-to sanity savers in the comments below!


15 Unforgettable Spring Break Trips for Families Your Crew Will Love

Whether you prefer the sun or the slopes, these kid-friendly destinations allow you to spend quality time together.

School&rsquos out, the weather&rsquos thawing, and it&rsquos definitely time for a vacation. Throughout the year, you've likely taken your fair share of mini trips &mdash maybe a romantic couples' getaway or an all-American road trip. But now that the kids are off for an entire week, it's time to leave town for a few days for a fun spring break vacation. The only question left to answer: where?

The best spring break trips for families are the ones that suit your crew's particular style. Think about whether your family enjoys fun in the sun, snow sports, outdoor adventures, or something super low-key. Whatever that perfect vacation means to you, you can&rsquot go wrong with these ideas for incredible spring break trips for families. So get to booking &mdash and get ready to make some epic memories together. Want to make sure it goes off without a hitch? Check out our guide for how to take a stress-free family trip.

Los Cabos, Mexico, is hotter than ever as a spring break spot, but it&rsquos a far cry from the spring break destination you might have remembered from your college days. These days, it&rsquos an incredible place for families, with brand new resort and dining options to please and pamper guests of all ages.

The Nobu Hotel Los Cabos opened in April 2019 for foodie types, and the new Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos is a hit for laid-back vibes and entertainment. For pure luxury, consider the brand new Four Seasons Los Cabos at Costa Palmas, opened in October 2019 with an epic kids club and one of the rare swimmable beaches in the region.

Of course, the Hawaiian islands are a joy to visit any time of year. But spring is a particularly great time for a trip to the island destination of Oahu. It&rsquos a shoulder season, so Oahu hotel rooms and plane tickets are likely to drop in April and May. That means fewer crowds, too.

Disney&rsquos Aulani is a kids paradise. Or right next door, a few paces along the beach, is the Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina &mdash a sophisticated paradise for all ages, where parents can luxuriate in age-appropriate pampering too. (And you can always pop back to Aulani for the character brunch &mdash win, win!).

Paradise Island was spared damage by Hurricane Dorian, which made landfall to the north. And to show they&rsquore fully open for business, the island&rsquos hotels and resorts have been offering deals to welcome guests with the promise of excellent value.

Atlantis Paradise Island has one of the largest water-themed attractions in the world, the 141-acre Aquaventure, which has 20 million gallons of water, 18 water slides, and a mile-long river ride with waves, rapids, and tunnels. There&rsquos also the Atlantis Kids Adventure club, and Crush, a dedicated nightclub for teen visitors.

Take your family on a European adventure this spring to Lisbon &mdash more easily accessed from major U.S. cities than ever with new nonstop flights on TAP Air Portugal. Lisbon is a super kid-friendly city: Think cable car rides up steep and picturesque hills, gorgeous beaches for strolling, and a huge aquarium to boot.

Lisbon offers a selection of accommodations for families such as the Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Suites, a cozy but luxurious apartment-style lodging with bunk beds and kitchens. Fun fact: Portugal was awarded the world&rsquos leading destination at the World Travel Awards 2019 &hellip for the third year in a row!

During the summer, the temps in Palm Springs are hot enough to melt your shoe soles, but springtime is perfection in this Southern California desert city. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway offers a visually stunning ride to the top of Mt. San Jacinto, where you can set off for a family hike &mdash or just take tons of pics. Or take the kids for a visit to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.

Of course, everyone might be plenty happy to spend the days lounging around one of the desert city&rsquos fabulous hotel pools. Word to the wise: The Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals attract crowds to nearby Indio in April, so you&rsquoll want to book hotels in advance.

Politics may be ugly these days, but few cities are as beautiful as our nation&rsquos capital every spring, when the cherry blossom trees bloom. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, scheduled for March 20 through April 12, 2020, often coincides with spring break time for families &mdash and it makes an excellent domestic trip. Special programs for kids and young adults include volunteer and educational programs sure to make a lasting &mdash and meaningful &mdash impact.

Don&rsquot fight it! For spring break, give the kids what they truly want this year: a trip to Orlando complete with a visit to Walt Disney World. In addition to the rides and attractions, consider planning a visit around the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, set for 2020 dates of March 4 through June 1.

If you&rsquore waiting for the absolute perfect weather to visit London &hellip well, that&rsquos far from a sure thing at any time of year. So why not take the family to visit during spring break, when you might get a chance to take in an Easter weekend service at one of London&rsquos churches or cathedrals &mdash including Westminster Abbey or St Paul&rsquos Cathedral. Of course, there are always London&rsquos famous shows, parks, and tourist attractions for families such as the towering London Eye for the best views in town. And yes, Harry Potter fans of all ages will love being where it all started.

During the spring, Scottsdale is a divine atmosphere for a family getaway: Think warm, sunny days perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities, including sports, desert adventures, and outdoor dining. Consider a stay at the Four Seasons Troon North, with a camp-like kids club, family &ldquodive-in&rdquo movie nights at the pool, locally inspired spa treatments &mdash and Instagram fodder for days amid adobe casitas, towering saguaro cacti, and the dramatic landscape of pinnacle peak.

If you hear spring break and you immediately think of snow rather than sun, consider a family ski trip in Park City, Utah. The stunning locale features more than 7,3000 acres, 330 trails, and an average annual snowfall of 335 inches. The resort offers ski and snowboard options for families with kids of all ages, including group and private lessons.

For parents who want to shred while kids do something more chill, Park City offers childcare on the slopes, with age-appropriate activities like snow play and crafts. This stunning spot is just over a half hour&rsquos drive from Salt Lake International Airport.

There are few more beautiful natural landscapes in the U.S. &mdash or perhaps in the whole world &mdash than California&rsquos Yosemite National Park, with its stunning granite peaks and verdant valleys. Spring is an ideal time to visit for chasing waterfalls, as warmer weather melts the snow and even small creeks rush with water.

The famous Tenaya Lodge offers a family spring break package, including a park pass, guided hike or ice skating session &mdash and a &ldquomovie time&rdquo gift basket with candy and popcorn for cozy in-room togetherness after a day exploring.

You don&rsquot have to stamp your passport to spend spring break on some of the best beaches in the world: just head to Hilton Head, South Carolina. With more than 12 miles of incredible beaches, it&rsquos regularly ranked the No. 1 island in the continental U.S. and No. 1 Island in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure.

Consider renting a family vacation home with all the space you&rsquoll need for your brood. And before you return home, absolutely make sure you treat the fam to southern classic dishes like hushpuppies, low-country boil, and shrimp and grits.

Though small, Costa Rica is home to a full 6% of the world&rsquos biodiversity &mdash so it&rsquos a perfect destination for nature- and animal-loving families. Consider a spring break visit to the Peninsula Papagayo in the northwest part of the country &mdash 1,400 acres of bluffs, tropical forests, beaches, and wildlife. It's also home to supremely family-friendly accommodations like the Four Seasons Costa Rica and the Andaz.

Or, for something completely different, plan a visit to Origins, the first boutique lodge nestled within the high valley jungle of Costa Rica&rsquos northern rainforest about 90 miles away from Papagayo. Want to be blown away? Villa Vertigo is Origin&rsquos treehouse-like accommodation with 180-degree views over the forest valley and a fire-heated jacuzzi.

No, you&rsquore not going to spend endless hours drinking at the craps table if you visit Las Vegas with kids for spring break (you can save that for another trip). But you&rsquoll find endless things to do, including eye-popping attractions the kids will not soon forget. Consider the Las Vegas High Roller Observation Wheel (kids six and under ride free), the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, and crazy thrill rides like the 855-foot free fall of SkyJump at the Stratosphere.

If you&rsquore seeking a truly stunning natural landscape and a perfect location for outdoor adventure, think Banff. Active and outdoorsy families will find limitless opportunities to ski, snow tube, hike, horseback ride &mdash and more. For unforgettable memories (and drool-worthy Instagram snaps), relax at the Banff Upper Hot Springs, or take a ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola.


Just-Right Recipes

The sun is out. I’ve made my annual switch to iced coffee. I’m buying Lambrusco and making a spritz. Summer is nigh! After the year we all had, you will catch me indoors only when it’s time to sleep, shower or type on this laptop (and maybe not even then).

But, OK, let’s still take a beat to revel in spring. Many of the recipes below are gloriously green, and all are just the right heft for this in-between moment. Best of all, they are legitimately easy to make (which, again, after the year we all had. ).

Tell me how you’re doing: I’m [email protected], and I love to hear from you.

I love making new recipes from Yewande Komolafe, especially ones with tofu: She just has a way with it. This recipe for this dish, which is inspired by Sichuan hui guo rou, or twice-cooked pork, has you searing whole blocks of tofu, tearing them into pieces and then tossing them in a darkly sweet sauce with rice wine, soy sauce, ginger and scallions.

The vegetarian sheet-pan meal you need is here. In Ali Slagle’s highly customizable new recipe, you can use brown rice, wheat berries, farro or a mix of grains halloumi or feta and lemon, lime or grapefruit. Chickpeas bring heft. Crispness brings joy. Cook the grains ahead, if you can, for a very fast dinner.


Break It Down: Mashed, Smashed Spring Sides

A lot of our favorite spring sides come mashed — or smashed, depending on your word-choice preference. This week we’re zeroing in on a texture for side dishes that makes for good eating — and easy chewing.

Some mashed dishes entail a ricer or the back of your fork. Others are mashed in a more casual sense. All of these dishes, however, involve a certain level of deconstruction.

When it comes to smashed spring peas, try Rachael Ray Smashed Peas and Ricotta Cheese recipe, which uses a creamy, slightly sweet cheese.

This recipe is not mashed in its entirety, but it shows how mashed ingredients fit into bigger pictures. Tagliatelle With Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese by Giada De Laurentiis uses the pulverized pea for its creamy, filling and subtly sweet attributes. The spicy sausage counteracts the mild peas and cheese, creating a pasta side ready for any night of the week.

More likely than not, mention of anything mashed brings up the topic of potatoes. We’re focusing on new potatoes, in season from April to July, which mash to perfection with their skins on or off. Tyler Florence’s recipe for Smashed New Potatoes With Peas, Lemon and Pearl Onions is anything but one-dimensional, strewn with pearl onions and peas that pop. Along that same vein, Dave Lieberman’s Basil Chive Red Potato Mash leaves the skins on for texture — and minimal work — and adds freshness with the herbs. In Tyler Florence’s Chive and Garlic Mashed Potatoes (pictured at top), the oniony spring herb adds color and pep to year-round Yukon golds.

Masaharu Morimoto’s Mashed Tofu Salad (Shira-ae) for Food Network Magazine is perhaps the most unconventional of mashed sides on our list. The tofu is merged with fresh spinach leaves, as well as a bold sauce of mirin and soy sauce.


Meet the Competitors of Spring Baking Championship, Season 5

Get to know the ten bakers competing for a chance to win the $25,000 prize and the title of Spring Baking Champion.

Tracey Marionneaux –Miami, FL

Tracey is currently the cake artist at the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami and runs her business Sweet Revolution from home. She&rsquos made custom cakes for celebrities like Kanye West, Steve Harvey and Kid Rock. Her favorite spring dessert to make is a simple lemon tart with a sweet butter shell and fresh lemon curd. She could eat lemon curd by the spoonful.

Jordan Kanouse – New Orleans, LA

Jordan is the pastry cook at the Jack Rose restaurant in the Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans and also runs her own baking business called Bombshell Sweets. She thrives on the competition aspect of baking.

Cory Barrett – Kalamazoo, MI

Cory may look like an average Midwestern dad, but he has over 20 years of culinary experience. He is also no stranger to Food Network, having worked with Michael Symon on 17 episodes of Iron Chef. His favorite spring dessert is a strawberry shortcake made with biscuits in strawberry broth topped with mascarpone mousse and strawberry ice.

Karina Rivera – Miami, FL

Born and raised in Mexico City, Karina loves her job because it allows her to inspire people. &ldquoWhen somebody thanks you for inspiring them, there is nothing better than that,&rdquo she says. She loves spring because she can play with fresh flavors and vibrant colors. One of her favorite spring desserts to make is key lime tart with coconut ganache and strawberry foam. She would love to eventually start her own business.

Kevin Dillmon – Rome, GA

Kevin is the owner of Honeymoon Bakery in Rome, Georgia. He loves making the finer desserts and especially enjoys working with pâte à choux and chocolate. For Kevin, spring is about going to the strawberry farm with his family and preparing something light but decadent, like angel food cake with fresh strawberries and Chantilly cream. He thinks people will underestimate him because he is a small-town baker but he is hungering for the title of Spring Baking Champion.

Jessica Colvin – Southlake, TX

Jessica is in the competition representing home bakers and single moms everywhere. She is self-taught and bakes all night after her kids go to sleep. Her favorite spring dish is a pavlova with peach custard and blackberries. She would use the winnings to open a store front.

Riccardo Menicucci

Riccardo is a self-described Italian hippie. He has been working in fine dining for a long time, but his passion for food grew out of making pizza at seven years old in his parents&rsquo restaurant. Riccardo loves all the fruits of spring, but the season doesn&rsquot really start until the first strawberries show up.

Marqessa Gesualdi – Philadelphia, PA

Marqessa is the owner of Aux Petits Delices in Wayne, Pennsylvania and you will never find her working in an office. Her favorite spring dessert is the classic strawberry shortcake with a twist. She&rsquod top lemon poppy seed biscuits with strawberry sauce, elderflower syrup and whipped cream

Saber Rejbi – Chicago, IL

Originally from France, Saber loves to learn about and celebrate the unique cultures across the U.S. He thrives in his fast-paced job as a pastry chef in a busy hotel in Chicago because there is always a new dessert to tackle. If he won, he&rsquod use some of winnings to open his own bakery and some to get his wife a corgi.

Kendra Stephens – Washington, DC

Kendra has loved baking since throwing cookies and cordial parties with her friends while in high school. She is very organized and makes magic happen with her staff of three at the The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC. If she won the grand prize, she would use it to open up a place to teach kids about baking.


Blowing Rock: What to Do

There are so many shops in downtown Blowing Rock to spend the afternoon exploring. Our favorites were Monkee’s of Blowing Rock, Finley House Couture (okay, those two were some of my favorites), Rustic, A Christmas in Blowing Rock, and Neaco. It was so easy to just wander through the stores and take our time truly taking in the products in the shops. The shop owners are so kind and helpful, and we found ourselves doing this each afternoon.

A trip to Grandfather Mountain is a great experience! If you followed along on Instastories, you may have seen that I conquered my fear of heights by crossing the swinging bridge. I didn’t really pause to look out because I would have frozen on the spot, but I am glad to say that I have been a mile above sea level in North Carolina. Grandfather Mountain has a great set up. When you check in, you get a map and a CD to listen to on the way up the mountain. We really enjoyed learning more about the mountain and its history. There is a nature preserve, a museum, trails, and of course the swinging bridge.

Bass Lake Park and Cone Manor provide gorgeous trails and a different perspective on Blowing Rock. We had the prettiest morning walking around the lake. The day we left, it was windy and chilly, so we decided not to make the 2 mile trek to Cone Manor, but the view from Bass Lake was stunning.

Explore the breweries in the area. Right across from our hotel was Blowing Rock Ale House which has a great restaurant and the Blowing Rock Brewing Company is right in the back of the building.

Blowing Rock Art & History Museum is a great way to spend an afternoon as well. It was such a great experience watching a 15 minute documentary on the history of Blowing Rock and Watauga County, and there are seasonal exhibits available for viewing. When we visited, there was a history on Black Mountain College and a Smithsonian Institute traveling exhibit called The Way We Worked about the history of the American workforce. Upstairs in the museum is an ongoing exhibit of the history of Blowing Rock, which was really interesting. I would definitely recommend spending some time here and check out talks, movies, or special events at the museum.


Spring Break Staycation Ideas

1. Camping in your living room
If you are staying close to home, then why not do some indoor camping? Set up your tent, sleeping bags, flashlights and camping food in your living room for the night. Your kids will think you are the best parents and it’ll be an adventurous, inexpensive vacation. Schedule in a local hike, an indoor scavenger hunt and some board games and you could probably stretch it into a whole weekend staycation.

2. Be a tourist in your own city
Often when you live in a city, you don’t ever visit all the great tourist attractions that people come from miles around to see. Spring Break is a great time to do just that. Here in Vancouver, there are lots of things to do , like bicycling around Stanley Park , a ride up to Grouse Mountain, a day at Capilano Suspension Bridge and so much more!

Photo Source: TheProvince.com

3. Movie Marathon
Another one of my favourite staycation ideas is to invite some friends over and have a family movie marathon. Netflix is great for this. You can pick all the movies you want to see ahead of time, then get your snacks, get comfy and start watching. Some of our favourites are How to Train Your Dragon, Turbo and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Since it’s Spring Break, add in a few science-inspired movies like Deadliest Volcanos and you’ll all get educated while you’re having fun!

4. Stay at a hotel
You don’t have to travel out of down to stay at a hotel. Find a hotel close to you, preferably with a pool and enjoy a couple of days of lounging, swimming and not having to cook or clean. Sounds like a great vacation to me.

Photo Source: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

5. Day Trips
A road trip can be a fun staycation. Take a car, ferry or helicopter ride with the family. With great destinations like Bowen Island, Victoria and Harrison Hot Springs , you can have a great Spring Break right here in BC.

6. Become a book worm
Let everyone in the family grab their favourite books, curl up together in the living room with some snacks and read books. Normally life is too busy for that so a staycation is the perfect chance to catch up on your reading. Combine it one of the ideas above and it’ll make the perfect relaxing staycation.

Those are some of my favourite staycation ideas! Have you ever taken a staycation before? What did you do?


Watch the video: Τι παίρνω μαζί μου στα ταξίδια. Olga (August 2022).