Is chocolate good for you? Researchers, conducting highly scientific studies, have found chocolate beneficial in preventing a plethora of ailments including cancer, stroke and heart disease. But Spot Cool Stuff has a more simple theory:
If it makes you smile, it’s health food.
In honor of National Smile Month—and to the dismay of dentists everywhere—here’s our look at 12 wonderful chocolate shops. We hesitate calling them the “best” chocolate shops given how there are easily 60 or more stores that we could have included on this list. All the shops we did include are superlative in some way.
Note that this overview is a companion piece to our equally dentist-horrifying review of the world’s best candy shops.
Spot Cool Stuff adores glamping travel. Glamorous camping can get you out into a natural environment in the same way tent camping does. But it combines that with touches of luxury like you might find at a high-end hotel. After spending much of our youth backpacking on a rock-bottom budget, we think we’ve earned a bit of luxury.
Much of what we write about glamping on this travel blog concerns resorts that combine aspects of roughing it with aspects of being pampered. (Our review of these 5 especially wondering glamping spots is a good place to start reading about those). We also appreciate products that let travelers create their own glamping experience. Our favorite of those might be this:
It’s like a personal hot-springs-to-go. If you have a tub-sized patch of flat ground, wood and 200 gallons (750 liters) worth of water or snow you can have your own spa virtually anywhere.
The Methow Valley is as picturesque as any in the world. Nestled in a high pocket of the North Cascades of Washington State, the valley is all forests and flower fields, ravines and rivers, snow peaks and sunshine1. And it’s all crisscrossed by biking, hiking and running paths — and by one of the longest cross country skiing trails in the world.
Until recently, one of the few blights on the Methow Valley was a particularly unattractive RV park northwest of the town of Winthrop. Happily, the Winnebagos there have given way to a wild meadow that’s mostly untouched except for the unusual, low-impact accommodations offered by Rolling Huts. It is a fantastically cool place to stay.
You’re on a cruise ship that features an outdoor jacuzzi and exercise room. Your meals are cooked by a gourmet chef. And your cabin is the equivalent of a five-star hotel room. But you aren’t sailing the Mediterranean. And you aren’t cruising the Caribbean. You are in Peru, on the Amazon River, deep in the heart of darkness, aboard the M/V Aria, on a luxury experience from Aqua Expeditions.
There’s something amazing—and perhaps a little unsettling — about being able to experience this much luxury in such a remote location.
The collection of life-sized human casts resemble an underwater Pompeii
Ah, Cancun. The sun. The beaches. The shopping. The tequila shots. The drunken college kids on spring break. The massive underwater sculpture park?
Even some of those familiar with the attractions Cancun offers above sea level are surprised at what they can find underneath it: a museum. The Museo Subacuatico de Arte, to be specific.
To monks, the monastery represents the victory of good over evil. To travelers, it represents the victory of architecture over gravity.
Spot Cool Stuff previously reviewed five towns on cliff sides — villages where drinking and driving . . . or drinking and walking . . . or simply walking could be especially perilous.
Following up on that, here are five religious buildings—a shrine, temple, church and two monasteries—built at a cliff’s edge. Gaze down the rocky drops from these structures, and out upon the magnificent vistas they offer, and perhaps one can’t help but believe in God.
Okay, so you’ve already purchased your Paris Disneyland tickets online and are mentally preparing yourself for an overdose of le Mouse de Mickey. Chances are your kids begged you to take them, enchanted by attractions like Big Thunder Mountain, the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast and what’s arguably the best castle of any of the Disney properties: Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant.
But chances, too, are that your kids haven’t heard of all the other cool theme parks in France. There are some great ones. And some of them have creative features that will delight parents every bit as much as their children.
Here’s a rundown of Spot Cool Stuff’s three favorites:
There’s a UNESCO heritage site near the Chinese village of Nantaizi that, to some, looks like a real life scene from a Dr. Seuss illustration. Others imagine the giant hand of a deity painting the rocky mountains in pastel colors with long sweeping brush strokes. To Spot Cool Stuff’s eye, the area looks like giant pieces of bacon.
Whatever it reminds you of, unless you happen to have visited one specific section of Gansu province, you’ve never seen anything like the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park.