NFL Road Trips On New Travel Channel Show

NFL road trips

NFL road trips are the subject of a new Travel Channel show: “NFL Road Tested,” premiering in December. The new show brings an inside look at what it takes to move an NFL football team from city to city. While the show will focus on how to go about feeding, clothing and housing the team, it will also look at how NFL stadiums prepare for thousands of fans.

“This show will offer viewers a great perspective of the inner-workings of an NFL team and what it takes to support a team,” Jimmy Haslam, Browns owner, said in a statement reported by Broadcasting & Cable. “With Travel Channel working alongside NFL Films and RIVR Media, we expect that this will be first-class production. We are excited about what this will mean to Northeast Ohio, the Browns and our fans.””NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns” premieres December 4 at 10 p.m. following the Browns as they prepares to play in New York, Baltimore, Dallas, Oakland, Denver and Pittsburgh.

“This series is a first-of-its-kind program providing an exclusive pass to NFL fans during the season,” said Andy Singer, general manager of the Travel Channel. “This is an emotionally-charged world. Now, viewers will get a never-before-seen opportunity to see what it’s like for players to live on the road, often away from their families. We’ll hear from the players themselves, coaches and scores of support staff in multiple cities.”

The NFL has fans everywhere it seems so this show looks to be a natural. This video shows us more:


[Photo Credit: Flickr User beefy_n1]

Carnival Sells Hurricane Cruises To Nowhere

Lots of people pine after cruises to Mexico, the Bahamas and around the Mediterranean.

But have you ever wanted to go on a cruise to nowhere?

Hurricane Sandy has disrupted normal cruise routes, and Carnival has one creative solution. Rather than letting the disrupted schedules keep their ships grounded, the cruise operator has decided to capitalize on the situation: ships lying fallow, people getting restless.

USA Today reports that, using a cruise ship stranded in Baltimore by Hurricane Sandy, Carnival has created a $129-per-person, weekend-long “cruise to nowhere,” in which the boat will basically sail out and return, enabling passengers to enjoy the cruise experience without actually, you know, going somewhere.

Given the widespread power outages and downed transportation systems along the East Coast in Sandy’s wake, there are doubtless plenty of people with cabin fever (pardon the pun) who would love to get out on the open ocean for a little while.

Funny enough, Carnival’s website has a drop-down menu called “find cruises to …” If you want to take this cruise, there’s actually a drop-down option for “cruise to nowhere.”

The $129 price is for a windowless cabin; ones with balcony views start at $179 per person based on double occupancy. Though it does beget the question – how much “nowhere” is there to gaze out at?

[Photo credit: Flickr user El coleccionista de instantes]

The World’s Best Gyros?

gyrosThe Italians have their pizza, Mexicans have tacos, America is the home of the cheeseburger, the Germans dig their sausages and the French eat crepes. In almost any country there is one ubiquitous food staple budget travelers can count on for inexpensive sustenance. I recently spent six weeks in the Greek Isles, where the Gyro is king.

By my own informal calculation, I think I ate about 30 gyros while in country. I’d hate to have my cholesterol checked, but I’d guestimate that my level went from 210 to about 250 while in Greece. So my arteries might be very clogged, but I had some awfully good gyros and never spent more than €2.5 anywhere. In fact, I’d say the average price of a gyro in the Greek Isles is a paltry €2, making them a must eat treat for anyone traveling on a budget in Greece.

I got sick of eating gyros at times – I even resorted to eating at a couple of crap Mexican restaurants – but if you want something fast and cheap on the Greek Isles, there aren’t a lot of other options. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish one gyro place from another but there was one establishment called Thraka (charcoal in Greek) in Chania on Crete that stood out from the pack.

I knew I had to try it the first time I walked past the place, which is located just past the Old Town on busy Chatzimichali Ginnari street, just down from a pet shop. While every other place had a smattering of customers, Thraka was packed with locals devouring gyros, souvlaki and kebabs. Aside from the cheap, mouthwateringly delicious gyros, you can also get a three skewer plate of souvlaki for €5 and kebabs for a ridiculous €1 each.

What makes the gyros at Thraka special? For me, it’s the quality of the pita, the meat and the tzatziki. And the fact that you leave full after spending €2 is an awfully nice bonus. My vote for world’s best gyros actually goes to a place called Samos, in Baltimore’s Greektown, but like all gyros in the U.S., they go for twice the price you pay in Greece. Check out the video but be forewarned – you’re going to want to run out and get a gyro when you see it.

Museum Month: American Visionary Art Museum In Baltimore, Maryland


An enormous ball made out of more than 18,000 bras, a replica of the ill-fated Lusitania constructed of nearly 200,000 toothpicks, and a floor mat created out of hundreds of toothbrushes are just a few of the quirky treasures to be found inside Baltimore‘s imaginative American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM). While it’s a lesser-known spot on the city’s tourist circuit, once anyone catches sight of the museum’s exterior – a found-object mosaic made out of tiny pieces of mirror and glass – it’s impossible not to be curious about what is kept inside.

Wander through the halls and galleries of the museum and you’ll be greeted by an eccentric collection of “outsider art,” or work made my self-taught art makers who have little or no contact with the mainstream art world. It’s common for these artists to be discovered after their deaths, and often times their artwork illustrates unconventional ideas, extreme mental states or extravagant fantasy worlds. Some of the pieces in the museum are thought provoking, while much of it is laugh-out-loud funny – but no matter what, the AVAM has the potential to make you change your opinion on what can be considered art.

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Here’s a sampling of some of the fascinating things to be discovered in the museum’s three buildings and sculpture garden:

  • A 55-foot wind-powered sculpture called a “whirligig”
  • A collection of non-electronic machines that visitors operate by pushing buttons
  • Robots made out of streetlights and vacuum cleaner parts
  • Framed, aerial photographs of crop circles
  • A collection of postcards from the Post Secret project
  • Sculptures made out of Styrofoam cups
  • The “Flatulence Post,” a podium decorated with fart art that plays recordings of all the winning farts from an annual competition
  • An expansive Pez collection
  • Several “art cars” covered in mosaics
  • An observation deck fashioned to look like a bird’s nest

If visiting Baltimore in the spring, check and see what dates the museum hosts the annual Kinetic Sculpture Race (this year, it was May 5). For the race, entrants create wacky, roving sculptures that traverse both land and sea on a 15-mile dash. Racers receive awards such as the “Golden Dinosaur” awarded for the most memorable breakdown and the “Grand Mediocre Champion” for the sculpture that finishes dead center in the middle of all entrants. Some of these kinetic sculptures are on display in a section of the museum.

The summer months, on the other hand, bring an outdoor film series to the AVAM. The museum takes advantage of a natural amphitheater formed by the adjacent Federal Hill, screening movies on a 30-foot wide screen that hangs from a golden hand sculpture on the west side of the museum. The screenings happen on Thursdays, so if you’re in town bring a lawn chair or blanket to the hill and enjoy the show.

All year round, be sure to browse the Sideshow Shop, the museum’s version of a gift shop that is packed with oddities and other goodies. Round out the trip at Mr. Rain’s Fun House, a moderately-priced restaurant serving American food and hand-crafted cocktails that match the creativity of the museum, and you will have had a day that truly defies convention in Baltimore.


Photo by Libby Zay.

Summer Hotspot: Baltimore, Maryland

If scenes from “The Wire” are the only images that come to mind when you think of Baltimore, it’s time to reevaluate. The city is a hodgepodge of distinct neighborhoods, including historic Fells Point, where you can take your pick from more than 120 pubs, and quirky Hampden, where you still might be able to spot a beehive hairdo straight out of a John Waters film. Although Baltimore is only a stone’s throw away from Washington, D.C., and a short drive from Philadelphia and New York, it’s a charming, comfortable city with its own culture and a lively arts scene. Plus, the city has several events happening this summer that are worth a trip.This summer, Baltimore will ring in a three-year celebration commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 with the Star-Spangled Sailabration, a maritime festival that will bring dozens of tall ships and warships to the city’s bustling Inner Harbor from June 13-19. The Inner Harbor is a pretty public space filled with shops, museums, ships and restaurants. It is overlooked by Federal Hill, a park that sits on a prominent hill that was a lookout during the Civil War and the War of 1812. Don’t miss the American Visionary Art Museum, just to the west of Federal Hill, which is filled with oddball outsider art. On Thursday nights during the summer, the museum plays movies on the side of the building facing Federal Hill, which turns into a makeshift amphitheater.

From August 31 to September 3, IndyCars will race around a 2.04-mile temporary circuit set up around the Inner Harbor for the Baltimore Grand Prix. The circuit passes many Baltimore landmarks – including Oriole Park at Camden Yards – and contains 12 turns, one of which is an adrenaline-pumping hairpin turn. Race fans from around the world are expected to descend on the city and the crowds are expected to surpass 150,000 people.

Also in the Inner Harbor, Phillips Seafood – known for creating the first ever crab shack in Ocean City – recently moved to a new space in a restored power plant along the water. When doing so, Phillips opened up a huge new crab deck that juts out in the water. Visitors shouldn’t miss the true Chesapeake Bay experience of ordering up a bucket of clams and cracking them open in the sunshine. Wash the crabs down with Baltimore’s most famous beer, National Bohemian (better known as “Natty Boh” to Baltimoreans – just look for the can or bottle with the mustachioed man), and you have a true Baltimore experience.

Don’t forget that there is a lot to do in Baltimore beyond the Inner Harbor, including Artscape, the largest free arts festival in the country that features funky art cars, musical performances and plenty of neat art to peruse.

[flickr image via sneakerdog]