New Cedar Point Roller Coaster Opens In May

I grew up in Ohio, about an hour’s drive from Cedar Point, the amusement park often ranked as the best in the world. I can remember fearing for my life, and trying not to puke, as I flew hundreds of feet into the air on the park’s 17 coasters.

This year there’s a new addition to the park: Maverick. The coaster will take riders 105 feet into the air at a 20 degree angle, just before sending them racing downward at a 95 degree angle — reaching a top speed of 70 mph.

The track is finished, and workers are now focused on the $21 million ride’s electrical and underground utilities systems. Awesome!

Sounds like I need to plan a trip to Sandusky this summer.

Do Espana MTV Real World Style with STA Travel

Fans of the hit MTV reality series The Real World who enjoyed watching the cast of Key West on their Spanish getaway to Spain can live it up just the same. STA Travel is sharing the cast mates fan-tab and totally top-secret 10-day itinerary for the world to see and experience for their own. I’m sure this doesn’t really sound all that appealing to the older, more sophisticated non-MTV watchers out there, but it’s still a trip to Spain and the itinerary doesn’t look all that bad. Stops include Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona with packages starting at $605. Check out STA Travel for more details.

Have A Green Summer & Google Maps

Considering summer officially kicked off last month it’s safe to say this Have A Green Summer and Google Maps campaign isn’t new news to all, but for some of us I’m sure it’s new. What has happened is this: Earth Day Network teamed up with Google to bring eco-friendly, green information to folks traveling to five major metro areas this summer. Areas include Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando and San Francisco. You can use Google maps to hunt down all your green locations while you use Earth Network’s video tours to explore before you go. I’d say this is pretty gnarly if you’re afraid of going some place like Los Angeles because of all the smog and what not. Even better if you’re not a fan of far-off, tropical jungle escapes where everything is green. You can have your city, cake and eat it too provided the icing is a light frosty colored green.

Mexico By Train…With Money

We’re big on Mexico by train. Why, just a few days ago Adrienne posted about doing Copper Canyon by rail. I have it on good authority that this is a MUST DO trip, that the canyon is gorgeous and the ride, while at times perilous, offers a wonderful mixture of comfort, luxury and adventure.

And for those willing to pay out a bit more, you can enhance that luxury quotient by several-fold. The folks over at Luxist have posted about a company offering uber-luxurious trips in Mexico. called GrandLuxe Rail Journeys they offer a nine-day package that takes you on a meandering tour down from Texas to Mexico City. You will chug and choo-choo through Copper Canyon and then to Guadalajara and Tequila (where you will need to disembark and do a shot..sorry, it’s the law), then you are headed to the historic town on San Miguel de Allende and over to the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon at the ancient city of Teotihuacán.

But such fun doesn’t come cheap. The trip starts in October and a Presidential Suite costs $6,190.

Happy 4th of July From Saratoga

I was thinking about the very best place I could be this Fourth of July to celebrate our country’s birthday. Boston? Sure, but too crowded. Philadelphia? Yeah, but so obvious. Also, I didn’t want to travel very far. I thought Brooklyn was a good idea, especially since David McCullough’s book 1776 talks so much about it. The Battle of Brooklyn was one of those pivotal events in the history of the nation that’s gone largely unheralded.

But what else? How about the place where it all really started? No, not Plymouth Rock. I’m talking about the place where the fight for independence really started. OK, give up? Well, I am in Saratoga Springs this weekend, and I just got back moments ago from the Saratoga Battlefield, the location of one of the most pivotal battles in all of American history.

 I’ll spare you the history lesson and merely point you to the Wikipedia site to get your fix, but suffice it to say that it was because we proved our mettle here on these very fields that the French thought us worthy of their support. We took on the superior British forces of General John Burgoyne and forced him to surrender to a ragtag group of pissed off colonists. And it was that battle that made the French decide to throw a little succor our way, enough help to propel us on our way to nationhood. In fact, many historians say that without that support, we might never have won the war.

So here I am on the very ground where this whole independence thing really took off. Pretty damn cool. And  hey, if you haven’t already noticed by the photos here…it’s kinda pretty.