Discover Something New at Home this Holiday Season

Traveling “home” this holiday season? Don’t fall into your old routine. Your high school hangout may be an easy go-to, but if you don’t live there anymore there’s a good chance you’re missing out on some great new local spots. (Plus, be honest: you already know what all your classmates are up to from Facebook.)

AOL Travel turned to local writers to help you rediscover your hometown over the winter holidays. Each city guide features a great new restaurant to try while you’re in town, a cool neighborhood that wasn’t on the radar last year or a store where you can pick up a keepsake to bring your old home back to your new home. AOL Travel also will catch you up to speed on the hot topics of conversation in each city, so you’ll come back savvy enough to join the local sports banter or eat your holiday weight in Cronuts.

Click your city below to learn what’s new since the last time you went home:

Boston fans celebrate world series win

Chicago skyline

Detroit skyline

NYC skyline

Philadelphia City Hall

Portland Oregon signGolden Gate Bridge

St. Louis Arch

US Capitol


Follow AOL Travel on Facebook and Twitter

Vineyard and Zipline Trends Collide at the Pinot Express

Chris Leschinsky

Vineyards and ziplines have long been used to attract tourist dollars for destinations that, well, could use a little help:

  • Regardless of the area’s suitability for growing grapes, plop down a vineyard or winery and travelers will come for a taste and buy a sympathy bottle (pro tip: go for the ice wine as it’s harder to mess up)
  • Ski resorts looking to attract off-season dollars or stale attractions looking to draw media coverage and visitors hook up a zipline

So really, the 1,800-foot Pinot Express zipline at Margarita Adventures, which debuted recently at the Santa Margarita Ranch in the Paso Robles wine country on California’s Central Coast, is the travel industry’s destiny.The zipline begins atop a mountainside forest, 125 feet above the ground, then sends swoops low over pinot noir vines. It’s the highest, longest and fastest of Margarita Adventures’s four ziplines. A zipline tour costs $99

“Tours conclude with an optional tasting at the affiliated Ancient Peaks Winery, which specializes in artisan wines grown on the ranch’s estate Margarita Vineyard. Tour guests receive 20 percent off wine purchases, and the tasting fee is waived with a purchase of one bottle or more,” according to the press release.

“You can taste wines from vines that you just zipped over,” said proprietor Karl Wittstrom said. “It’s a fitting reward for your adventure.”

Will You Be a Horrible Restaurant Customer This Holiday Season?

Hispanic waitress taking order
Getty Images

So you’ve finished your Thanksgiving dinner and you’re finally sick of turkey leftovers. It’s time to get out there and hit the great new restaurant that just opened in your hometown or wherever you’re spending the holidays. (FYI: Aol Travel knows the hot restaurants in cities around the U.S.)

Wherever you go, remember that there are appropriate ways to behave. And there are horrible ways to behave, as highlighted in this Montreal Gazette story by two Montreal-area restaurant servers. Among other things, they urge:

11. There actually is such a thing as a stupid question.

Examples:

Can I get the burger for cheaper if I don’t want onions?

Client: What beers do you have on tap?

Server: Guinness, Molson Ex, Rickard’s Red and Heineken.

Client: Do you have Samuel Adams?

Client: Why is our food taking so long?

Server: Because you ordered a steak well done and it’s only been six minutes.

12. Can you sing Happy Birthday?

Not for a $35 bill …

Read the rest of the story for 18 more ways to not be a horrible restaurant customer.

Discover Something New at Home this Holiday Season

Traveling “home” this holiday season? Don’t fall into your old routine. Your high school hangout may be an easy go-to, but if you don’t live there anymore there’s a good chance you’re missing out on some great new local spots. (Plus, be honest: you already know what all your classmates are up to from Facebook.)

We turned to local writers to help you rediscover your hometown over Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. Each city guide features a great new restaurant to try while you’re in town, a cool neighborhood that wasn’t on the radar last year or a store where you can pick up a keepsake to bring your old home back to your new home. We’ll also catch you up to speed on the hot topics of conversation in each city, so you’ll come back savvy enough to join the local sports banter or eat your holiday weight in Cronuts.

Click your city below to learn what’s new since the last time you went home:

Boston fans celebrate world series winChicago skyline

Detroit skylineSanta Monica Pier

NYC skylinePhiladelphia City Hall

Portland Oregon signGolden Gate Bridge

St. Louis ArchUS Capitol

U.S. Airports Continue to Increase Healthy Dining Options

FOOD VEGETARIAN GREENS 2/24
AP/Larry Crowe

So much for the “there’s nothing else to eat” excuse for a preflight bender at Cinnabon. According to a new report from the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “76 percent of restaurants in 18 of the nation’s busiest airports offer at least one cholesterol-free, plant-based entrée.”

In 2001, the same group found just 57 percent of airport restaurants offered at least one healthy option. The healthiest airport according to this year’s study was Denver International Airport where 86 percent of eateries offered a high-fiber, plant-based option.From the press release:

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport makes the most impressive gain this year, with a 14-point increase, and ties with Los Angeles International as the third healthiest airport.

Las Vegas McCarran International Airport takes a nosedive, with a 23-point decrease from last year’s score, moving the airport from second to second-to-last place. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson loses 7 points and finishes last with a score of 51 percent.

The study made no mention of how the food tasted.