5 In-America-Only Cultural Travel Activities5 In-America-Only Cultural Travel Activities

5 In-America-Only Cultural Travel Activities

Why America is not like yogurt

Nantucket’s Historic, Modern Bed and BreakfastNantucket’s Historic, Modern Bed and Breakfast

Nantucket’s Historic, Modern Bed and Breakfast

A review of The Veranda House

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(Not in Antarctica)

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Oslo’s Wildest Hotel Room

The unusual WWF room at Scandic Vulkan hotel

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5 In-America-Only Cultural Travel Activities

A joke we overheard in a coffee shop in Italy:

Question: What’s the difference between yogurt and the United States of America?

Answer: Yogurt has culture.

Okay, maybe that’s a little funny. The problem is, it isn’t true. The United States is full of culture. It isn’t as gourmet as, say, Italy. Nor is it as old as China or as enveloping as India, or as snobby as France. But it most certainly is there. American culture is diverse, interesting, and, we’d argue, it’s one of the most fun national cultures on the planet.

Want proof? Below is our recommendation for five distinctly American cultural experiences that you are unlikely to find written up in any guidebook.

Note: For this post we only considered experiences that are available across the country. Anything that’s exclusive to a specific ethnic group or region — attending Burning Man in Nevada or eating gumbo in New Orleans or getting yelled at by a taxi driver in New York City, for instance — was disqualified. We also nixed holiday events, like the 4th of July American Independence Day.

While this post was written with non-American travelers in mind, those from the United States may also gain some travel tips by reading on . . .

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Nantucket’s Historic, Modern Bed and Breakfast

Next to the reception desk of The Veranda House on Nantucket Island there’s a large photo from the 1880s of the bed and breakfast. It shows well-heeled guests hanging out on the namesake verandas, admiring the view of the historic town center and the waters of the Nantucket Sound beyond.

Since that photo was taken the fashions have changed. The quality of photographs has greatly improved. But guests today still hang out on those same verandas. They still enjoy the view of the town and the water. They are still drawn to the iconic lodgings by its history. The Veranda House, after all, was built in 1684 — by the time the photo was taken it had already earned its place as one of the island’s historic icons!

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See, Swim With Penguins
(Not in Antarctica)

Every day around dusk the world’s smallest penguins waddle up on a stretch of coast near Oamaru, New Zealand

Is it possible to dislike penguins? There’s something universally adorable about them. Maybe it’s their waddling. Or their tuxedo outfits. Or how they are portrayed in popular culture, as in the wonderful March of the Penguins documentary.

Most penguin stories, including March, take place in Antarctica. However there are several other places on the planet to see wild penguins. At a few of those you can hop in the water and swim along side these friendly, feathered creatures. Here’s a look at our favorite:

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Oslo’s Wildest Hotel Room

A sandy floor, a full size tree trunk, a profusion of green plants and a posse of endangered species — in cuddly toy form. The WWF room at Scandic Vulkan hotel in Oslo is wild! The only thing missing are the calls of rainforest birds. Although, if you are after a good night’s sleep, that’s is probably for the best.

Designed in partnership with WWF Norway, to raise awareness of environmental issues among hotel guests, the room also features recycling bins (yes, you’ll have to sort out your paper from your plastic waste), second-hand furniture, organic toiletries and long-life bulbs, among other energy-saving devices.

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