What’s An Appropriate Penalty For Defacing The Lincoln Memorial?

The Lincoln Memorial was closed early Friday morning after police discovered that someone had splashed green paint on the iconic 19-foot tall statue shortly before 1:30 a.m. A National Park Service spokesperson said that there appeared to be no permanent damage to the statue. The memorial’s portico reopened this afternoon after the cleanup was complete.

Honest Abe is a beloved national hero. Historians consistently rank him as one of our best presidents, and the Lincoln Memorial holds an important place in American history as the site where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. The online reaction to the brazen act of vandalism ranged from despair to anger to disbelief.”There’s not many things left in the country that could be considered sacrosanct..but this would have to have been one of the few,” wrote one Huffington Post reader. “Shame on whoever did this.”

CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin said on air that the defacement “made her furious.” Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Bill and Hillary, tweeted that it was “very upsetting” using the hashtag #Protectthemall.

“Unreal! What is happening to this country?” tweeted Shari Starkey. And @Trinaelephant tweeted, “Someone vandalized the Lincoln Memorial? Here’s an idea. You don’t like the country, then LEAVE.”

I used to live and work in Washington, D.C. and the Lincoln Memorial was one of my favorite places to take visitors or to visit alone, especially late at night when few tourists are around. Police say they are reviewing surveillance footage to determine who committed the crime and I pray that the perpetrator or perpetrators of this senseless act of vandalism are caught and given swift, harsh justice.

Vandalism is typically a crime that merits just a slap on the wrist, but I hope the perpetrators do some time. Perhaps a little time behind bars would give them an opportunity to brush up on their American history. What do you think is an appropriate punishment for defacing this cherished memorial?

Hotel News We Noted: July 5, 2013

Happy Friday, everyone! We hope that most of you are reading this as you enjoy an extended long weekend and that everyone had a great Fourth of July yesterday. We’re back from Arizona and, after a brief stop home in Washington, D.C. (see us on Instagram again this week), we’re headed to Richmond for the weekend.

Opening Sunday: Four Seasons St. Petersburg
The first Four Seasons in Russia opens this weekend when a 19th-century palace officially becomes The Four Seasons St. Petersburg. Immortalized in Alexander Pushkin’s poetry, the 177-room hotel is located inside an iconic, triangular-shaped building in the city center, just steps from the Winter Palace. Nearly all rooms boast impressive views, and guests can enjoy numerous on-site amenities, including a Russian Tea Lounge, a bar with (what else?) vodka tasting flights and an Asian-inspired restaurant opening soon called Sintoho. A luxe spa will also open later this year. A second property in the country, Four Seasons Hotel Moscow, will open in 2014.

Hotel Deals: SniqueAway becomes Jetsetter
As we reported a few weeks ago, the flash sale site formerly owned by Gilt Groupe was sold and merged with SniqueAway, a TripAdvisor company. Today, the platform is called Jetsetter, the better known of the new brands. While this news isn’t particularly exciting in and of itself, the $100 incentive credit the brand has given to members of the site is. Use that cash to book a reservation at some of your favorite luxury hotels for more than 40 percent off. At some properties, that’s like a free night! Need a code? Join here.

Hotel Opening: Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai
Shangri-La hotels has opened its third luxury property in the city in the heart of the city’s most fashionable neighborhood on the Puxi side of the Huangpu River. The 508-room hotel is located inside the Jing An Kerry Centre, a high-end mixed use property featuring shopping, offices, restaurants and more. In addition to an impressive art collection, the hotel features four restaurants, (including a New York-style steakhouse) and the largest Horizon Club lounge in the Shangri-La collection.

Hotel Review: L’Auberge de Sedona
We spent several days last week visiting L’Auberge de Sedona in the lovely city of Sedona, Arizona. The AAA Four Diamond property is tucked just below the city’s main strip of shops and restaurants and is conveniently nestled against the hillside with impressive views of both the famed Red Rocks and the charming Oak Creek. (A car is definitely necessary, but the gratis car service to nearby hiking trails and shops was definitely a plus, as this resort is more walkable than most.) We stayed in a Creekside Cottage, a perfect choice for the super hot days. Overall, the property is an ideal choice for guests visiting the Sedona area – rooms are spacious, rates are reasonable, and the on-property restaurant is voted one of the best in the area, offering fine dining on the banks of Oak Creek. We’d also suggest a sampling of the resort’s spa, where treatments are inspired by the desert setting. Overall, this resort is definitely worth a return visit.

#OnTheRoad: Gadling Instagram From Washington, DC

Happy Holiday week, everyone! My name is McLean Robbins and this week I’m taking you on a photo tour of my hometown of Washington, D.C. during one of its most popular weeks of the year – the Fourth of July! I’m taking you along for the ride on Instagram, where you’ll see all that the Nation’s Capital has to offer. From iconic monuments to my favorite city eats, you’ll see some of the area’s best sights.

Follow along on Gadling’s Instagram account, @GadlingTravel and #ontheroad, as I discover what the area has to offer through late Sunday evening.

Of course, we love to hear from you as well, readers, so any suggestions of places to visit, must-eat foods or travel tips are warmly welcomed!

Culinary Vacations Not ‘Cookie-Cutter’ With Destination Discoveries

As we’ve continued to report at Gadling, a new generation of culinary tours is on the rise. Food-loving travelers want more than generic cooking classes that teach how to make pad thai in Thailand or risotto in Tuscany. And a few companies – such as Destination Hotels & Resorts, North America’s fourth largest hotel management company – are complying by offering tours and classes that focus more on culture, locality and experiential elements.

With the launch of Destination Discoveries, hotel guests can tour the on-site apiary at Kirkland, Washington’s, The Woodmark, before taking a honey-themed cooking class with Chef Dylan Giordan. On Maui, personalized farm tours enable participants to harvest ingredients for a private class in their accommodation, as well as visit producers and sample handcrafted foods from the island.

The adventures aren’t just limited to food. There are also art, literature and active themes that reflect a sense of place; fly-fishing lessons in Lake Tahoe; nordic pursuits in Vail; art classes in Santa Fe; or a cultural and historic tour of Walden Pond via the Bedford Glen property in Boston. Here’s to more hotel groups doing away with homogenous travel.

[Photo credit: Destination Hotels & Resorts]

On The Road With NPR Music: Sean MacLean At KING, Seattle, Washington

Beyond travel, we’re also big music fans here at Gadling; largely because music is a great way to get to know a place. This month happens to be Public Radio Music Month and we’re teaming up with NPR to bring you exclusive interviews from NPR music specialists around the country. We’ll be learning about local music culture and up and coming new regional artists, so be sure to follow along all month.

You might know Seattle for its grunge, alternative and indie scenes – this is after all the home of the Experience Music Project – but as Sean MacLean tells us, if you haven’t been paying attention to the classical music of the region, you’re missing out.

Name: Sean MacLean

Member station: Classical King FM 98.1

Regular Show/Contribution Beat: Northwest Focus, weeknights 8-10 p.m., with live musicians Friday nights at 8. Afternoon/evening host Monday – Friday 4-10 p.m.

1. When people think of music in Seattle, what do they think of?

Options! The Early Music, jazz, rock, and film scoring cutting edge, but also Benaroya Hall, home of Seattle Symphony, where you can sip outstanding Washington State Syrahs while enjoying the view from the giant windows that give out onto beautiful Elliott Bay, then go into the splendid acoustics of the floating hall and have your heart blown wide by timeless music.

2. How do you help curate that musical scene?

Through “Northwest Focus“: since living in Seattle means figuring out what NOT to see that night, we pick the most engaging events to link at our website, and give our listeners a chance to meet local classical musicians on “Northwest Focus LIVE” on Friday nights at 8. The shows are archived and YouTube videos are shared. The groups get exposure, and our audience is enriched. We get a lot of feedback about the quality of the music scene here.

3. How has that scene evolved over the last few decades?

Early Music Mecca! Increase in choral groups! More performances of classical music in crossover venues.

4. What would you say is the most unique thing about the Seattle music scene?

People move here for the healthy lifestyle and surrounding natural beauty. I think you can hear the “health” in their playing. Neither sincerity of interpretation, nor cooperation between musical presenters is not considered naïve. Ironic detachment is not cool here, as it is in many cities. Generosity of spirit is the vibe.

5. What are three new up and coming bands on your local scene right now and what makes them distinct?

In the early music scene, Stephen Stubbs is doing amazing productions with Pacific Musicworks. Then there is Whim Whim who dance to choral music. Amazing. Which brings up The Esoterics, led by Eric Banks, who wrote the music. I don’t know how he ever gets any sleep, with the composing, research, and performance.

6. For a Gadling playlist, what are your favorite tracks?

“Assez Vif” – Seattle Marimba Quartet
“Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (arr. J. Sandstrom)” – Dale Warland Singers
“F. Couperin: Les baricades Mystérieuses” – Les baricades Mystérieuses – arranged by Göran Söllscher
“Gloria: IX. Cum Sancto Spiritu” – Couperin, Francois, Göran Söllscher
“Jardim Abandonado” – Sergio and Odair Assad
“The Great “O” Antiphons – O Radix Jesse (“O Root of Jesse”)” – Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble
“Toward the Sea: III. Cape Cod” – Paul Taub, alto Flute; Michael Partington, guitar

Listen to the complete playlist on Spotify.