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How to Travel Wisely

To travel wisely, one needs to think about why one is traveling to a specific country in the first place.

Travel Apps You Can Trust

Here are some free apps to make your next getaway less complicated and more rewarding... Restaurant Apps Compared Zagat vs. Michelin Travel While Zagat’s app is widely...

A Tony, Townie Getaway to Frederick

Stroll north from the Square Corner, the intersection of Market and Patrick Streets in downtown Frederick, Maryland, and a freestanding mansion will appear mid-block,...

Start-Up Offers ‘Travel Score’ for Top Travelers

It’s smooth sailing for cruise line operators and their loyal customers as a new startup, CruisingSociety.org, enters unchartered waters by increasing value for travelers...

From Dulles to Dublin

Most Americans travel to Ireland to experience the bucolic green quilt and timeless stony coast familiar from films such as “How Green Was My...

‘No Tax’ Relaxation With Puerto Rican Tree Frogs

The most recent, non-important, non-urgent vacation realization to dawn on me did so on an evening walk back to my room from the Plantation...

What’s New in Rehoboth

About 120 miles east of D.C. as the seagull flies, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, was founded in 1873 as the Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association,...
Cleveland's West Side Market in the Ohio City neighborhood.

Welcome, Delegates!

Some tips for folks heading to Cleveland next week or Philly the following.

Books and Art on the (Hip?) Upper East Side

A National Historic Landmark, the Seventh Regiment Armory on Manhattan’s Upper East Side made an about-face in 2007. The one-time drill hall for New York’s aristocracy — with interiors by Tiffany, Stanford White and the Herter Brothers, among others — had become best known as a cavernous venue for high-end antiques shows. That year, the massive brick castle became the home of Park Avenue Armory, a nonprofit that undertook the building’s restoration and began to program performances and contemporary art installations. The Royal Shakespeare Company came for six weeks one summer and the Merce Cunningham Company danced its last there. Visitors listened in the dark to “The Murder of Crows,” a sound piece by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller; swung on giant swings amid dangling sheets at Ann Hamilton’s “The Event of a Thread”; and marveled at Paul McCarthy’s pornographic take on Snow White, “WS.” Almost singlehandedly, the Armory has made the Upper East Side hip. (The next major installation, “Martin Creed: The Back Door,” opens June 8.) Its avant-garde events have been so successful that last year the New York Art, Antique & Jewelry Show, an annual rental of $300,000 or so, was evicted; the 2016 show will be at Pier 94 in November. But two of the most prestigious shows of their kind in the world are still Armory tenants. The Winter Antiques Show will return in January 2017. This weekend, April 7 to 10, more than 200 of the top U.S. and international vendors of rare books, maps, manuscripts and ephemera will be at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair. A short walk up Park Avenue from the Armory is the Asia Society Museum, between 70th and 71st Streets, where “Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan” is on view through May 8. The exhibition focuses on sculpture from the politically turbulent Kamakura period (1185 to 1333), when artists and their workshops were commissioned by the warrior class to create Buddhist icons of exceptional realism, power and technical excellence. Meanwhile, the big news on the Upper East Side is the opening, last month, of the Met Breuer. With the Whitney Museum of Art in a new Renzo Piano building in the Meatpacking District (at the southern terminus of the High Line), the Metropolitan Museum of Art has taken over the old Whitney, at Madison Avenue and 75th Street, a Brutalist icon designed by Marcel Breuer. The inaugural exhibition at what this writer calls the Metney (until I hear from both museums’ lawyers) is “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible,” running through Sept. 4. Under the direction of Sheena Wagstaff, named the Met’s chair of modern and contemporary art, a new department, in 2012, the show’s curators selected nearly 200 works — by contemporary artists and by big names from Rembrandt to Rauschenberg — that were never completed or “partake of a non finito … aesthetic that embraces the unresolved and open-ended.” About eight blocks away, at what is now identified as the Met Fifth Avenue, the top-billed special exhibition is “Vigée Le Brun: Woman Artist in Revolutionary France.” Closing May 15, the display of 80 paintings and pastels is said to be the painter’s first retrospective “in modern times.” Finally, across Fifth Avenue from the “Big Met,” the exquisite Neue Galerie on the corner of 86th Street is the sole U.S. venue for “Munch and Expressionism,” through June 13. Organized with the Munch Museum in Oslo, the exhibition explores the mutual influences among Edvard Munch and his German and Austrian contemporaries, including Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele. [gallery ids="102393,122747,122744" nav="thumbs"]

Spring Shows in Philadelphia

It happened in Philadelphia: 56 men in breeches created a nation. Then, 51 years later, it happened again. This time, it was 53 men in trousers. And what they created was … a flower show. Actually, what they created in 1827 was the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The first public show, featuring the poinsettia’s American debut, came two years later. (In 1835, the society admitted women as voting members — long before the nation did.) The descendent of that historic event, the Philadelphia Flower Show, the largest and longest-running indoor show in the world, now attracts more than 200,000 visitors over nine days. The 2016 show, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, ends this Sunday. A Garden of Eden for plant-lovers — with award-winning specimens, lectures and vendors from around the world — the show is also a floral theme park that seems to grow Disney-er every year. Since this year’s theme is “Explore America: 100 Years of the National Park Service,” expect recreations of Yosemite, simulated Old Faithful eruptions and a Denali sled dog team. You can even “create your own Mount Rushmore floral headpiece.” For details, and to reserve a garden tea or an early-morning private tour (weekdays only), visit theflowershow.com. Families with children should note that on closing day, Sunday, March 13, there will be a Flower Show Jamboree and a Teddy Bear Tea. Prior to launching their kisses-and-hugs “With Love, Philadelphia” campaign, Visit Philadelphia’s slogan was “Philly’s More Fun When You Sleep Over.” With the Flower Show meriting a full day and three new museum exhibitions, it makes sense to get a room. After a controversial legal and financial intervention, the Barnes Foundation galleries relocated from the suburban residence of Albert C. Barnes (1872–1951) to a new museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 2012. The move’s approval hinged in part on the exact reproduction of the unchanging salon-style display found in leafy Merion by the relatively few visitors who made it out there. Architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien created a large and spacious modern building for the Barnes in which the tiny recreated rooms are encased. In accordance with Barnes’s eccentric theories of art appreciation, African, Native American, Pennsylvania German and other sculpture and artifacts, including miscellaneous wrought-iron objects, share the walls with frame-to-frame masterpieces by Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse and Modigliani (to name a few of Dr. Barnes’s favorites). It is one of the most astounding museums in the world, now with the additional reason to visit of special exhibitions. Through May 9, the Barnes (which has 22 paintings by Pablo Picasso in its permanent collection) is hosting “Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change.” The show’s focus is the period surrounding and including World War I, during which Picasso — the “High Priest of Cubism” in the words of curator Simonetta Fraquelli — abruptly returned to a naturalistic style, continuing to alternate between Cubism and Neoclassicism. A video illustrates how during the war Cubism was portrayed as anti-French (though the style’s co-creator, Georges Braque, was as French as could be and served at the front) and associated with the despised Germans. Several blocks up the parkway from the Barnes, “International Pop” is on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through May 15. All the American stars are represented, of course: Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselman, Ed Ruscha. But what makes the show an eye-opener are the works by what the text calls the “British forbears of Pop,” notably Edinburgh-born Eduardo Paolozzi and London-born Richard Hamilton, whose collages date to the 1950s (earlier, in Paolozzi’s case), and by artists from throughout Europe and from Argentina, Brazil and Japan. Finally, across the Schuylkill River, the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is the exclusive U.S. venue for “The Golden Age of King Midas,” on view through Nov. 27. Of the 100-plus objects on loan from Turkish museums, many were excavated by Penn archaeologists from an eighth-century B.C. royal tomb, believed to be the resting place of Midas’s father Gordios. Whether you hear the clatter of gold or of your muffler when you think of Midas, this exhibition is another example of the remarkable things to be seen this spring in the City of Brotherly Love. [gallery ids="102266,128511,128523,128515" nav="thumbs"]