Central Park Is Born A Star

Central Park, once known as Seneca Village, was the first landscaped park in the United States.

Built to establish a comparable setting to Paris and London, Central Park runs over 843 acres of land. 

HISTORY OF CENTRAL PARK

In 1853 the state legislature authorized the City of New York to implement eminent domain in order to acquire more than 700 acres of land. One of the largest settlements being a stable African American settlement known as Seneca Village. Leaving over 1600 residents uprooted from their homes, the park began the process of determining who would be in charge of the control over the upcoming park.

Ultimately, park commissioners were appointed and projects began with discussing the landscaping for the park. Over 20,000 engineers, gardeners, stone cutters and laborers were put on the job to reshape the land. Using gunpowder to remove large amounts of soil, the team planted over 270,000 trees. 

It wasn’t until the winter of 1859, six years later, that the park opened to the public. Thousands of New York families spent the winter season skating on what was once swamps across the newly landscaped land, making memories and bonding for years to come. Throughout the years, playgrounds have been built, a zoo has been established, along with athletic centers and museums. This has made Central Park a popular location for visiting families and friends from all over the world.

THINGS TO DO AROUND CENTRAL PARK

When visiting the nature designed park, you can find many activities to enjoy. From horse & carriage rides that allow you to enjoy as much of Central Park as you can to all kinds of sports. The park has 26 baseball fields! During the spring, enjoy the cherry blossoms and the beautiful green views of nature surrounding you.

The park even hosts concerts year round, allowing visitors to enjoy all kinds of popular entertainment. Enjoy a meal by the lake at The Loeb Boathouse when it’s time to eat, and catch sights of boats all across the water as you fill your taste buds with a variety of meats and vegetables.

With so much to do, it’s hard not to enjoy all of the events and liveliness of Central Park. 

Sources: 

History of Central Park – https://www.centralpark.com/visitor-info/park-history/overview/

Things to Do – https://www.centralpark.com/things-to-do

What You Need to Know to Visit The Big Almaty Lake

It is a beautiful fall morning in the mountains.

The day is warming up nicely as your taxi deposits you at the mouth of the trail. Energized by the lingering effects of the traditional sweet coffee you had at breakfast, you start your hike. Rounding the bend, the vision in front of you takes your breath away: the intense turquoise blue of Big Almaty Lake.

How to Get There

Your story begins when you visit this picturesque alpine lake located just outside of the Kazakhstan city of Almaty in the Ili-Alatau National Park. Both nature enthusiasts and Instagrammers alike flock to the site to photograph the intense hues of the reservoir that serves as its namesake city’s water supply. To get there, have the hotel arrange a taxi or use the Yandex app to schedule your own.

Things to Know

Planning ahead will make your trip much more comfortable and drama free. Some things you will want to consider:

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes appropriate for hiking up and down mountain terrain
  • Bring your passport in case you are stopped at a security checkpoint
  • Pack snacks and water as there are no concessions in the park
  • No swimming is allowed
  • You may need an International Driving Permit if you choose to drive yourself

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, trails leading to the Kyrgyzstan border have been closed, but many others are open to adventurers. A short hike from the lake reveals a fantastic waterfall. Pack a picnic if you’d like to spend more time on the mountain.

Safety and Security

Travel in Kazakhstan is generally safe. However, like any city in the world, travelers can be targeted by thieves. Use common sense security measures such as keeping your valuables out of sight and refraining from walking alone after dark. 

Explore The Public Markets In America

You can always find public markets, wherever you travel to.

Whether they’re focused on local food, artisan crafts, or organic produce, these markets often capture the heart of the city you’re visiting. These markets also tend to be popular meeting places, where locals and visitors shop and enjoy friendly interactions with each other.

Visiting a Local Market

Before your visit, be sure to find out the market’s hours of operation. Some public markets are open every day, while others are only open one or two days a week or during special holidays. Look for public transportation that stops by the market, or if you’re driving, do some research on available parking areas. Popular markets can get quite crowded.

You should be able to find information about local markets in travel guides or local newspapers. You can also do a search on the Internet or ask your hotel concierge. Most markets are free to visit.

History of Markets

Public markets developed across the ancient world along with new advances in agriculture, as people transitioned away from hunting and gathering. Open markets appeared wherever commerce proliferated. The word “market” comes from the Latin mercatus, meaning “the activity of trading, dealing, or buying.”Over time, markets became more regulated and many towns, especially in Europe, constructed special market buildings for vendors to hawk their wares.

The Evolution of Markets

In the United States, farmers markets have become a popular destination. It’s certainly true that most people still do their main shopping at brick-and-mortar grocery stores. However, today’s markets offer a variety of seasonal products not often found in more conventional settings.

Many farmers markets now feature prepared food vendors and food trucks. Some even provide live music performances or cooking demonstrations, while others showcase unique farm stand displays. Most large cities have several markets, and even small towns are likely to have at least one.

The Best Public Markets in America

The Union Square Greenmarket in New York City is a large market featuring vegetables, fruit, meat, and dairy products from upstate New York. It’s a very pleasant market to wander through while tasting samples from different vendors. One reviewer on TripAdvisor calls it “the best place on earth.”

In San Francisco, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market sits right on the Bay and features the area’s best farm products, prepared food, and specialty products. Seattle’s Pike Place Market and Boston’s public market at Faneuil Hall are two more examples of top-quality markets that offer a dazzling array of goods.

Famous Chefs Who Shop at Markets

Chefs and food personalities like Alice Waters, Alton Brown, Gordon Ramsay, and Andrew Zimmern have all been very vocal about their love of farmers markets. If you shop at a market in a city like New York City or San Francisco, there’s always a chance you’ll see your favorite local chef selecting ingredients for that night’s dinner menu.

With the widespread popularity of public markets, you’re sure to find one to visit, no matter where you travel. If you’re in a large city, you may even have several different market options to choose from. You can browse local farm products, shop for the best local artisan crafts, and sample some delicious food to keep you fueled for your market visit. Best of all, most markets are free to the public and don’t require any advance planning to visit.

You Deserve a Spa Day–But What is It?

For most people, the idea of being able to sit back and relax while others tend to your every need seems like a luxury straight from a palace or a castle.

But these days, anyone can receive the royal treatment at any time–by visiting a spa. Found in pretty much every city across the United States, spas provide the perfect place to relax and unwind whether you’re on vacation or not. 

From the Romans to the Red Door

The idea of visiting a spa is nothing new. In fact, spas are so old that even the name goes back to the ancient Romans; some historians believe that the letters are an acronym of “Salus per Aquam”, which means “healing by water” in Latin, while others contend that the name refers to an ancient town where Roman soldiers would visit to heal their wounds in mineral water. 

Regardless of where the name actually comes from, there’s a clear link to ancient times. Greeks also incorporated the spa into their healing routines, with ancient philosopher Hippocrates claiming that “the way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day.” But it wasn’t until 1910 that the day spa as we know it was officially established by entrepreneur Elizabeth Arden. Her Red Door Spa in Manhattan was the first to offer the spa services we all know and love without requiring residents to stay the night in a hotel or resort, thus the dawn of the “day spa.” 

Building the Perfect Spa Day

The concept of a spa has changed a whole lot since the Romans soaked in their mineral baths, so what does a spa today actually look like? It depends on what you want out of your spa day; today’s spas boast a wide variety of treatments, skin care options, and massages from which customers can choose.

In fact, there are so many options that most places offer a spa menu to help you figure out exactly what you want. Don’t get overwhelmed! Although every place will have different treatments available, learning the most basic terminology and procedures will help you make the best choice of what works well for you. For starters, there are a few basic services offered across the board that have become the most iconic parts of spa culture: massages, facials, and body treatments. 

Massages consist of a trained professional pressing and rubbing your skin in strategic locations to loosen up your muscles and help your body recover when it’s tired. There are several different types to be aware of, most notably the Swedish massage, which uses long strokes and deep vibrations to provide full-body relief, and a deep massage, which is a bit rougher and reaches more specific, internal muscle groups. For athletes or anyone with a specific issue area, there are also sports massages and trigger point massages, both of which focus on muscle recovery and injury prevention. 

If massages aren’t up your alley, try looking into a facial. This multi-step process cleanses, exfoliates, and moisturizes the skin on your face, removing dead cells so new, healthy skin can grow. These are often less expensive than a massage and involve revealing less of your body, but they also tend to be shorter and only affect one area of your health. Facials may involve steaming your face to loosen up dirt, rubbing an exfoliant to clean off pores, and applying a mask with regenerative nutrients. And yes, they may also put cucumbers over your eyes. 

One step up from a facial in terms of body coverage is a full-body treatment. Like a facial, these work to cleanse and rejuvenate your skin, but they can take many different forms. Some involve soaking your body in a certain liquid that provides nutrients to your skin, while others involve wearing a wrap or a full-body mask. The most involved body treatments begin with a body scrub, where a professional uses something gritty like sand to scrub off dead skin before applying a revitalizing body mask. 

Bring the Best Version of You

Trying to understand a spa menu is just one step in preparing for your spa day; you must also mentally prepare. Luckily, going to the spa doesn’t require you to bring anything except yourself, but you do have to get your mind in the right place in order for it to be most effective. Emotionally, the spa is a place to unwind and let go of your worries, so coming in with too much on your mind may lessen your experience. 

Physically, many people struggle with the idea of revealing certain parts of their body around strangers. If this is you, remember that everyone at the spa is a trained professional who wants to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Voicing your worries or concerns to your massage therapist is a great way to make the spa just a bit more approachable. Remember, if anything doesn’t feel good, ask for it to change! The spa should be your time to relax. 

Get Ready to Say Ahhhhh

You’ve learned about what the spa has to offer and how to best prepare yourself to maximize your spa experience. Fantastic! Now it’s time to figure out where to make your spa dreams come true. One of the best things about this activity is that it’s available almost everywhere, from small towns to huge cities. Depending on where you’re going, however, you may need to decide on a time and place in advance in order to make an appointment that works for your schedule. 

To find a spa near you, simply do a search for “best spas near me” and check out the Yelp or Google Reviews for each one. Seeing others’ positive feedback can help quell any fears that you may still have. If you’re traveling somewhere, do the same, but remember to specify the location and check to see if your travel dates have any available appointments. 

If going to an incredible spa is the main reason you’re traveling in the first place, take a look at this list of the top 20 spas in the United States. Remember, though, that most of these options are rather pricey and may require an extended stay. If you’re up for the challenge, visiting a luxury spa might just be the best weekend of your life. 

No matter what type of spa you choose–a local day spa or an outlandish celebrity resort–a day at the spa can be one of the most relaxing, healthy ways to reward your body. After all, you deserve it!

Riding On Public Transportation

The United States is home to some of the best cities for public transportation.

If you’re planning to visit any of these cities, be sure to check out their amazing public transit systems. 

Origins of Public Transportation

Public transportation in the United States predates the American Revolutionary War. According to Study.com, the city of Boston established public transportation in the form of horse carts and ferries in the early 1700s.

A more modern approach to public transit materialized in the 1820s when New York City began offering horse-pulled omnibuses that could carry 15 passengers at a time. In the late 19th century, Boston pioneered the first subway system in America. By all indications, public transportation began in large cities, where it has generally flourished. 

Expanded Public Transit

Because public transportation is environmentally friendly, it has expanded beyond larger metropolitan cities. Many smaller cities now provide mass transit through public bus systems. For example, Centro offers public transportation services in smaller communities in New York state.

Cities With Amazing Public Transit

Philadelphia has a great public transportation system. As Smart Asset describes, Philadelphia provides its citizens commuter rails, an underground subway system, trolley cars, and buses. Meanwhile, the SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) uses state-of-the-art chip technology in metro cards, facilitating seamless travel and providing greater protection from identity theft.

Seattle is another city with amazing public transportation. Part of what makes its Sound Transit system so effective is because it provides a faster and more reliable way to travel. In recent years, Seattle has expanded its public transit offerings. The new Link Light Rail routes allow you to bypass much of the city’s traffic, allowing you to reach your destination with fewer distractions.

Public Opinion About New Transportation Offerings

Certainly, new developments always occasion a variety of public opinions. A reviewer on Trip Advisor gives the Washington D.C. Metro System a five-star rating, citing the ease of travel and the focus on public safety.

Be sure to read public reviews about various public transportation systems because they often offer helpful hints to travelers. For example, the Metro in Washington D.C. offers a circulator bus system that supplements the bus systems connecting major city neighborhoods. You can actually travel around certain areas of the city for free by boarding a circulator bus!

The Denver Light Rail System is also very positively reviewed by residents. One reviewer discussed the ease of purchasing passes through the rail app. 

Ease of Use 

Modern public transportation systems continue to evolve in sophistication. The best systems use passenger travel statistics and analytics to improve day-to-day services. Many also focus on developing multiple payment options and making buses more fuel-efficient (and environmentally friendly). Some of the most efficient transit systems have apps that allow for better trip-planning.

Meanwhile, other communities have decided that public transportation should be offered at no charge to passengers. Of course, local taxes must be apportioned to foot the bill, but passengers won’t be charged for using public transit options. Park City, Utah, is one such city; it doesn’t charge public transportation fares.

Public transportation is definitely growing in popularity, with more cities exploring new ways to make travel safer, more efficient, and affordable. The largest cities view public transit systems as integral to their city infrastructure, but many smaller cities have begun premiering their own public transit systems. Regardless of where you live, public transit is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to get to your intended destination.