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celebrities

5 Exclusive Winter Vacations Celebrities Love

Celebrities need vacations too! Read where your favorite celebs spend their holidays!

The holidays are the perfect time for a vacation— and celebrities think so too. Each winter your favorite stars retreat to relaxing getaways across the globe, from tropical retreats to snowy winter wonderlands. If you’re searching for star-studded holiday travel options, we’ve come up with 5 of the top winter destinations that are completely luxurious and absolutely celeb-approved.

1. Aspen

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The St. Regis Hotel glows against a wintery landscape (via the St. Regis Aspen)

Gorgeous winter scenery, snow covered slopes, and tons of winter sport options— it’s no wonder that Aspen is a top vacation spot for stars like Kate Hudson, Mariah Carey, and other sporty celebs. Aspen’s ski and snowboarding opportunities are perfect for adventure-minded celebs, and people like Jessica Alba, Orlando Bloom, and Victoria Beckham have been spotted enjoying Aspen’s pristine powder and shopping at the high-end boutiques. Over the holidays, Aspen features activities like tree lightings, the 12 Days of Aspen holiday celebrations, and the torchlight parade.

For those stars who don’t own property in Aspen, luxurious ski resorts like Hotel Jerome and the St. Regis offer a luxurious home away from home. Celebrities like Cameron Diaz, Paris Hilton, and the Kardashians have booked with these hotels, and have been seen enjoying après ski spa treatments and sipping winter cocktails.

2. Maui

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Maui is the perfect destination for sun, sand, and surf. (via the Richest)

For those celebs looking for a more tropical getaway, Maui is Hawaii’s most popular destination. The island boasts amazing natural wonders that can be seen on drives like the Road to Hana, and many stars enjoy the surfing, snorkeling, and tanning on Maui’s stunning beaches. Of course, a Hawaiian trip wouldn’t be complete without a luau and a stay at a luxury resort like the Kahala Hotel or Turtle Bay, where guests like Bill Clinton, Snoop Dog, and Lauren Conrad can be seen enjoying the exclusive pools, cabanas, and swim up bars.

Stars like Owen Wilson, Justin Bieber, and Britney Spears are frequent Maui vacationers, and even the Obamas have been spotted taking in the sun, sand, and suf. Maui also has several holiday celebrations like the lighting of the largest Banyan tree.

3. St. Barts

celebrities

St. Barts is a tropical paradise that plays host to some of the biggest stars. (via the Richest)

Another destination for stars looking to escape the winter chill, St. Barts offers blue skies and sun-drenched beaches that are perfect for relaxing. Located in the Caribbean, St. Barts (short for Saint-Barthélemy) is known for its 22 white sand beaches, adorable gingerbread-inspired architecture, and high-end, designer shopping opportunities. Guests are often able to stay in their own private villas, which is just one of the reasons that St. Barts is a perfect getaway for stars looking for privacy.

Well-known celebrities like Beyoncé and Jay-Z frequent St. Barts, and stars like Jessica Alba have been spotted taking in St. Bart’s glitzy night life in Baie de St-John, shopping in picturesque Gustavia, or sipping local drinks like Ti Punch and watching the sunset at one of St. Barts’ laid-back restaurants like Café Santa Fe.

4. Rio de Janeiro

celebrities

The statue Cristo de Redentor in Rio de Janeiro. (via the Richest)

Known for its breathtaking scenery, massive spring Carnival celebration, and more recently for hosting the 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro is also a celebrity hot spot during the winter. Ipanema Beach (partially made famous by the song “Girl from Ipanema”) is the perfect place for seeing stars, including Penelope Cruz, Gerard Butler, Madonna, and Javier Bardem.

Additionally, Rio de Janeiro offers a number of cultural attractions, including parks, museums, and gardens. Monuments like Cristo Redentor are also popular destinations, for stars looking for stay active on their vacations. For accommodations, the hotel Copacabana Palace has played host to celebrities since the 1920’s, including John Wayne, Marlene Dietrich, and Ava Gardner. More recently, Gisele Bundchen booked a stay with a group of friends for Carnival.

5. Lake Como

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Lake Como features tranquil lakeside villages and gorgeous gardens. (via Hello)

Located in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, Lake Como offers breathtaking scenery and plays host to some of the most glamorous celebrities. The area is dotted with tiny, picturesque villages, including the capital Como, which is home to a Gothic Renaissance fusion-style duomo and is full of tiny cafés and piazzas that are perfect for relaxing and enjoying a glass of wine. Also of note are the stunning gardens at destinations like Villa Carlotta, which was built in the 17th century and contains over 500 varieties of plants, trees, and flowers.

In addition to high-profile figures like Richard Branson and David Beckham, George Clooney also spends about four months out of the year in Lake Como. The star purchased a 30-room villa in the village of Laglio in 2002 and often visits with his wife, the human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

Get More Travel and Celebrity News

Whether you’re looking for an exotic South American vacation, or a relaxing stay on a tropical island, check out our travel magazine subscriptions to make the most of your next vacation, or check out our celebrity magazines for more information about your favorite stars.

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Best Outdoor Magazines for Adventure-Seekers

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Do you live for a life of adventure? The opportunity to see new, wild and beautiful places, and push yourself to the limits? Whether you’re a backpacker, climber, biker or other outdoor enthusiast, we’ve got the perfect outdoor magazines to meet your passions and inspire your next adventure.  Continue reading

Barcelona

So You Want to be a Globetrotter? Barcelona Edition

Between beautiful scenery and getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, a European vacation is like lemonade on a hot day. Whether you are in the midst of planning a trip or are simply exploring your future options, pick a destination that will leave you smiling, relaxed, and with plenty of fodder for Instagram pictures. Although there is no shortage of lovely vacation spots in Europe, some are simply a cut above the rest. This week, we are exploring the beautiful Barcelona!

Coming as no surprise to anyone, Barcelona makes the list for one of the best travel spots of the year. Combining historical authenticity and urban appeal, this Spanish city offers everything from Gothic architecture to street performers. A tourist will have no shortage of sights, smells, and sounds to absorb and enjoy! US News and Trip Advisor have a few “musts” for your Barcelona vacation.

Casa Batllo1. Take throwback Thursday to the next level with the historical buildings

Instagram’s first #TBT has nothing on Barcelona’s rich historical background. The city’s architecture is incredible, and a little touristy sightseeing action is a necessity for any traveler’s to-do list. Antoni Gaudi’s Church of the Sacred Family and Casa Milà are popular picks, as is his Casa Batlló. Leave room in your schedule for a trip to the Montjuïc Castle, and make sure that your camera battery is fully charged!

2. Try out the city’s sunny backyard – the beach

While Barcelona’s beaches might not have the most pristine sand and clearest water, they are nevertheless a perfect way to spend one of your vacation days and take in some vitamin D. After immersing yourself in the beautiful city La Ribera, change up the scenery with a relaxing beachy afternoon.

3. Shopping is a must

Wait no longer for the perfect excuse to be a shopaholic for a day (or three). Not only does Barcelona offer shopportunities that give most large European cities a run for their money, this Spanish metropolis also takes a more artistic twist that will make your Barcelona shopping experience as unique as the must-have jacket that you find on the street market.

4. Explore Las Ramblas

This street is one of Barcelona’s most famous and offers a wealth of unique experiences. From the aforementioned abundance of shopping experiences to tapas bars to human statue art, the pedestrian-friendly Las Ramblas will draw you into a cultural experience that you will never forget.

Don’t just take our word for it, though – some things you have to see to believe! Research your future vacation with magazines like Travel + Leisure and National Geographic Traveler that will help you plan the dream getaway.

We didn’t touch on all of Barcelona’s wonders! Comment below if you think that another must-see deserves to be on our Globetrotter: Barcelona list.

Chattanooga Featured

Destination Chattanooga: All in a Day

A family friendly city of bridges and boutiques, Chattanooga offers activities of all kinds — and you’ll be amazed how much you can do in just one day!

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Sitting right atop the Tennessee/Georgia border, Chattanooga is one of Tennessee’s gems — a city populated with local haunts and places the whole family will love. Some of the most celebrated Chattanooga spots include their acclaimed aquarium, the Walnut Street Bridge, Tennessee Riverpark, the Creative Discovery Museum and the Museum of American Art.

I recently took a family trip to Chattanooga for just one day, and even without hitting any of the bigger Chatt attractions, we soaked up the local culture and had a fantastic time. Here are some of our favorite Chattanooga spots, captured in photos.

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The Winder Binder Gallery & Bookstore (above) offers an array of funky artwork and used books. This charming spot is made even more appealing by its friendly communal aspects like the take a painting, leave a painting option.

Destination Chattanooga 2

Rembrandt’s Coffee House (above) is one of our favorite Chattanooga spots, especially in the winter when it offers a beautiful, inviting place to warm up with a hot drink. In the other seasons, their terrace looks like something straight out of Paris (below).

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Some of the delicious and also quite lovely chocolates offered at Rembrandt’s (above).

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Speaking of Paris … the Bluff View Bakery will make you feel like you stepped straight into a Parisian boulangerie (above).

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The Walnut Street Bridge (above) is a beautiful pathway over the river that’s a great walk or bike ride into the Chattanooga Arts District.

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At the foot of the Walnut Street Bridge, the Hunter Museum of American Art sits right above the river in all its modern style (above).

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Rent one of these fun bikes at one spot, ride around the city for a bit and drop it at another spot when you’re done (above).

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The Yellow Deli (above), located just beside the University of Tennessee Chattanooga campus, is a delicious spot for healthy and absolutely delicious food. Their selection of sandwiches, soups, teas and even house made root beer never disappoint!

Nashville, Tennessee

Destination Nashville: Why Music City has Something for Everyone

Nashville, TennesseeBlogger and Nashvillian Brittany Cooper unpacks the local haunts that make Nashville, Tenn. a great vacation spot for people of all tastes — yes, even those who can’t stomach country music.

What do you think of when you hear the word “Nashville”? One, two, three … go. It’s almost humorous, right? Of course you think of country music, and who wouldn’t? Growing up in Indiana, I always envisioned Nashville as the land of honky-tonks and rhinestone cowboys, but after a few years in Music City, I’m a diehard fan of this place that has proven to be a large small town full of rich local culture, musical diversity and hospitable people.

Now when friends tell me they’re coming to Nashville for a visit, I point them toward the local restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques that make this city so unique. And I have to admit I cringe a little when I get the occasional phone call from a friend who’s already made his or her way to Broadway–the one strip in this town where honky-tonks and rhinestone cowboys still reign supreme. But even that touristy strip adds to Nashville’s charm.

If you’re thinking of making the jaunt to Music City, here are some of the can’t-miss threads that make up the fabric of this remarkable place:

Please Your Palate:

Silly Goose Food

Enjoy delicious sandwiches, couscous and more at The Silly Goose. (Photo courtesy of The Silly Goose).

The Silly Goose: Fresh and delicious sandwiches, couscous, salads and more made right in the heart of East Nashville.

The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden: Artisan burgers and beer with sweet potato fries and milk shakes to die for. Enjoy your food inside or relax with the whole family in the beautiful beer garden out back.

Pancake Pantry: You’ll have to wait in line, but that’s all part of the experience at this Nashville mainstay. And, believe me, the pancakes are well worth it!

Loveless Cafe: For a more historic, down-home spot, Loveless Cafe offers a homecooked country meal fit for the heartiest appetite. Don’t miss out on the biscuits.

Marché Artisan Foods: You’ll feel like you’re stepping into the French countryside when you enjoy any one of Marche’s innovative culinary creations. After your meal, buy fresh local bread, bacon, eggs, chocolates and more in the little market.

Satisfy that Sweet Tooth:

Dulce Desserts Cupcakes

Pop into Dulce Desserts for any number of scrumptious cupcake flavors. (Photo courtesy of Dulce Desserts).

Dulce Desserts: Even if you’re not ordering one of their custom cakes, you can stop by Dulce for succulent cupcakes, cookies and more.

Las Paletas Gourmet Popsicles: Fresh fruit popsicles made in flavors ranging from lime to hibiscus.

Sweet 16th: East Nashville’s local bakery that offers up some of the most incredible breakfast sandwiches and scones imaginable. Get there early for the best selection.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: Though technically a chain, Jeni’s is ice cream on an entirely new scale. Test any number of their gourmet flavors before landing on the perfect pick.

Fox’s Donut Den: With its iconic sign hanging out front of the Green Hills shop, Fox’s Donut Den is a Nashville mainstay with confections that have kept people coming back for decades.

Curb Your Caffeine Cravings:

Crema Coffee

For to-die-for espresso drinks and lovely latte art, try Crema, Nashville's coffee "brewtique." (Photo courtesy of Crema)

Crema: A coffee “brewtique,” Crema roasts and brews an incredible cup of coffee. Try one of their perfectly crafted espresso drinks and you won’t ever want to return to a certain mega-chain coffee shop (which will remain unnamed) again.

Ugly Mugs: Essentially the family room of East Nashville, Ugly Mugs is the place to take the whole family for a latte or a cup of unforgettable tea. (Oh, and my friend recently stood in line behind Robert Plant here. Need I say more?)

Fido/Bongo Java: Both under the same ownership, Fido and Bongo Java offer great coffee as well as fresh, tasty food.

Frothy Monkey: A favorite of people from all parts of Nashville, Frothy Monkey is a great spot to get some work done, catch up with friends and enjoy the laid-back vibe while getting your caffeine fix. Their food is quite impressive as well.

Edgehill Cafe: Nestled in the heart of the quaint Edgehill Village, Edgehill Cafe makes you feel like you’re sipping coffee in West Elm. The decor and ambiance alone are worth the trip.

The Barista Parlor: If you have ever referred to yourself as a coffee snob, you will love the Barista Parlor. The purest of the pure, the Barista Parlor serves up espresso made by the cup in a variety of brewing methods. (And don’t worry, they’re friendly).

Don’t Miss the Music:

The Bluebird Cafe

Nashville's iconic Bluebird Cafe is the best place to hear Nashville's songwriters perform their hits.

The Bluebird Cafe: The place where songwriters perform and artists are discovered, The Bluebird offers an intimate, in-the-round live music setting you won’t find anywhere else.

Bridgestone Arena: For the biggest bills, Bridgestone Arena is Nashville’s largest concert venue where you can catch a show from any number of touring bands and performers.

Mercy Lounge/The Cannery Ballroom: These two venues, located at the same place, constantly bring in great talent and showcase some of Nashville’s best emerging acts while also serving as a tour stop for others.

3rd and Lindsley: This recently remodeled venue is a great place to catch a live show and enjoy a comfortable setting.

The Ryman Auditorium: One of the most historic sites in Nashville, The Ryman stage, which was constructed in 1901, has played host to the most prolific stars of the past century.

Top off your Trip:

Nashville Farmer's Market

Nashville Farmers' Market offers a wide variety of produce from local growers.

Nashville Farmers’ Market: Take an afternoon to walk through the vast selection of produce from local growers and grab lunch at any one of the many restaurants in the indoor food court.

Gaylord Opryland Hotel: If you get the chance to stay here on your trip, definitely take it. If not, it’s still worth a visit to walk through the seemingly endless expanse of lush gardens, rivers and restaurants within the walls of this massive hotel.

Centennial Park: On a nice day, walk Centennial Park downtown Nashville, where you can also take a peek at Nashville’s Parthenon. The structure is a full-scale representation of the original Parthenon in Athens, complete with a 42-foot statue of Athena.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: If you enjoy country music, you can’t go wrong at the Hall of Fame, which also features a museum full of historic relics from country greats.

Grand Ole Opry: A fun night out for the entire family, the Grand Ole Opry will keep your attention with a steady rotation of talent and a down-home country feel. And you don’t have to be a fan of twangy country music to thoroughly enjoy the experience.

For even more visuals or to create a travel board for your trip to Nashville, check out our latest Pinterest board featuring Brittany’s picks!

Savannah_path_featured

What to See and Do in Savannah—and Why You Should Come Back

Spanish-moss-draped oaks are everywhere in Savannah.

Beneath the Spanish-moss-draped oaks and behind the Southern drawls, resident Michelle Ryan says Savannah’s got can’t-miss dining, shopping and historical attractions.

Savannah always seems to be getting some sort of stamp of approval as a top destination. Most recently, Travel + Leisure magazine tapped it as one of the Top 10 Best Cities in the U.S. and Canada. Just a few months ago, it made travel planning site TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Travelers’ Choice U.S. Destinations.

No wonder a steady stream of visitors pass through its uniquely laid out downtown on foot, on trolley tours and on horse-drawn carriages. There’s more to Savannah than Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Paula Deen—though those are big reasons that get visitors in the city limits to start.

Below those Spanish-moss-draped oaks and behind those Southern drawls, there’s a wealth of good eating, shopping, sightseeing and merriment to enjoy. Here’s the can’t-miss guide on what to see, eat and do if you visit Savannah. (Note: Falling under its charming spell is not optional.)

Great Food

Just the fact that Savannah is a coastal Southern city ought to give this one away. But you’ll find a lot more than great fried chicken (and all the fixin’s) and seafood here. So much so that it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few places, but this is at least a delicious start.

Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room: With National Geographic and Taste of the South magazines’ blessing, you can’t go wrong here. Fried chicken, corn, Savannah red rice, cornbread and more is served community style. Better get there early. The line starts forming at 10:30 a.m. for lunch.

Vic’s on the River: For a great view of the Savannah River—and the occasional cargo ship passing by—treat yourself to a fried shrimp po-boy (with a side of Old Bay-seasoned fries). It may be the best you’ll eat this far east of New Orleans.

The Olde Pink House: Some of the best food in town is served in this old (and, yes, pink) home. Don’t miss the BLT Salad, which made Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” cut. For added ambiance and entertainment, head down to the tavern area for a drink or dinner. The wait is worth it.

Sweet Treats

What’s lunch or dinner without dessert? If you’re craving sugar after a meal or just because, you’ll be glad to know Savannah’s got a sweet tooth too.

Leopold’s Ice Cream: Cool off with a scoop (or two) in this family-owned ice cream shop decorated with movie posters and Hollywood props. Tutti-Frutti is a signature flavor, but since The Toronto Sun put Leopold’s in among the top 10 ice cream shops in the world, any flavor should be pretty good.

Savannah Candy Kitchen: During a stroll along River Street, stop in for pralines, peanut brittle, divinity or fudge. Be sure to get extra. That sugar high will wear off and you’ll want more later.

Lulu’s Chocolate Bar: You can even have your chocolate with an array of from-scratch desserts and drink it too with a wide selection of candy- and dessert-inspired martinis.

Shopping Sprees

After all that eating (and eating), you’ll need to walk off the calories, and there’s no better way than exploring what the downtown shops have to offer. The presence of the Savannah College of Art and Design means there’s shops that cater to both the fashionista and the art lover.

Striking out on your own is part of the fun there, but specifically, don’t miss:

Nourish: Find all-natural soaps, moisturizers and more for you and your pet in this corner store. It’s worth a walk-through for the aromatherapy alone.

For a unique lunch experience, sign up for a Kitchens on the Square cooking class.

Kitchens on the Square: Need a useful—or just a fun—kitchen gadget? This place is full of ‘em! For a unique experience, register for one of the store’s cooking classes. The lesson ends with a yummy lunch.

Rich History

There’s a lot of stories to be told in Savannah—if only the walls could talk! As “America’s Most Haunted City,” it wouldn’t be a surprise if they do. Whether you’re a ghost hunter or a history buff, you won’t want to miss:

Fort Pulaski: Notable for the warfare innovations tested here by the Union Army during the Civil War, this site was one of many—and also the most Southern point—on the Underground Railroad.

First Headquarters Museum: Girl Scouting is special to Savannah in that Juliette Gordon Low founded the organization here more than 100 years ago. In addition to her birthplace and adult home, this museum contains scouting memorabilia on the site where some of the first meetings were held.

Guided Tours: Get an overview of the city’s past (haunted or not) on one of the many trolley tours, carriage rides, hearses or pub crawls.

Unique Events

You can take in any of the hot spots on this list year-round, but you’ll want to plan ahead—or keep coming back—to enjoy two of Savannah’s most unique attractions.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Everyone is Irish at least for the day during Savannah’s largest annual event—and the second largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration and parade in the U.S. Even the fountains go green!

Savannah Film Festival: Held annually in the fall, this week-long event features work from award-winning and up-and-coming student filmmakers. You never know what stars you’ll see in Savannah!

For even more visuals or to create a travel board for your trip to Savannah, check out our latest Pinterest board featuring Michelle’s picks!