Free Happenings at the New York Public Library and Bryant Park

Mardi Gras Celebration at Bryant Park
Mardi Gras Celebration at Bryant Park, February 14, 2014

When we were in New York City over the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to stop by the offices of the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO).

In the olden days before the internet, you could pick up lots of great tourist information and maps at various international tourism offices in New York.

Walking down Fifth Avenue on our way to JNTO, we passed the main entrance of the New York Public Library and stopped.  I had never been inside the library to see the iconic Reading Room.  We were there.  We had to go in.

It turned out that the Reading Room was closed to the public due to ongoing repairs. I asked the lady at the information desk what other parts of the library we should see, and she encouraged us to sign up for the free building tour.  So we did.

Free Building Tours of the New York Public Library

The tour guide was terrific.  We got to see the Periodicals Room, the Map Room, and learn about the history of the library and the history of New York City.  We never made it to JNTO, but this was a most worthwhile detour.

The New York Public Library offers free one-hour tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Mondays to Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays (except during the summer.)  Sign up at the reception desk in Astor Hall.

By the way, if you are in New York at Christmastime, the New York Public Library displays an enormous Christmas tree, decorated with beautiful birds.  There were lots of people taking family photos in front of the tree.

Free Ice Skating at Bryant Park

While you are in the vicinity, you might want to try out the free ice skating in Bryant Park, which is right behind the library.  There is a large skating rink and during the holiday season the park is ringed with vendors like a European Christmas market.  If you need to rent skates the cost is $15.  Compare that to Rockefeller Center where admission is $12 for adults, $15 for children, and skate rental is $12.

The rink at Bryant Park is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day from late October through  through March 1, 2015.

Juggling Class and More at Bryant Park

Bryant Park offers lots of other free entertainment:  Ping pong; juggling classes; Tai Chi; fitness club; and more.

Take a ride on Le Carrousel, which plays French cabaret music.  It costs $3 per ride, or $15 for ten tickets.  There is no charge for parents to ride alongside their small children.

On Saturday February 14, 2015 at 1 p.m. there will be a free Mardi Gras celebration at Le Carrousel, featuring a Cajun band and a magician.

* * *

I can’t tell you how many reports I’ve read about the Andaz Fifth Avenue on other miles and points blogs.  They all praise the view of the New York Public Library.

Next time you are passing by, I suggest you go in.

Museum Free-For-All in Los Angeles January 31, 2015

Museum Free-For-All in Los Angeles January 31, 2015
Open House at 20 Los Angeles Museums

Twenty Los Angeles area museums open their doors to the public on Saturday January 31, 2015 for the tenth annual Museum Free-for-All.

The list of participating venues includes diverse art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science museums.

There are a number of top attractions participating — such as the Los Angeles Museum of Art and the California Science Center, but if I had my druthers I would head over the the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits.

Kids love dinosaurs and what could be better than an active excavation site for dinosaur fossils?   We spent half a day at the Tar Pits when we last visited LA with our then school-aged daughter.  Regular admission is $15 per adult and $8 per child, so free admission is a really great deal for families!

 Los Angeles Museums Participating in 2015 Free-for-All

Here are links to the museums that are participating in this year’s open houses.  The Jan. 31 offer is good for general  admission only and does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 
Annenberg Space for Photography 
Armory Center for the Arts 
California African American Museum 
California Science Center
Chinese American Museum 
Craft Folk & Art Museum 
Fowler Museum at UCLA 
The Getty Center 
The Getty Villa (Timed tickets required)
Hammer Museum 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Memorial
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) 
Museum of Latin American Art 
Museum of Tolerance (Feb. 1)
The Paley Center for Media 
The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits 
Pasadena Museum of California Art
Santa Monica Museum of Art 
Skirball Cultural Center
The Torrance Art Museum 
USC Pacific Asia Museum 
William S. Hart Museum 
Zimmer Children’s Museum (Feb. 1)

Weekly/Monthly Free Admission Days in Los Angeles and Other Major Cities

If you can’t make it this coming weekend, plan to take advantage of the regularly scheduled free admission days at Los Angeles area museums.

FreeMuseumDay.org publishes a calendar of free museums and free museum days for LA and for these major cities:

Check it out!

The Culture Flyer — Half Price Show Tickets in Baltimore

Culture Fly: Half Price Events in Baltimore
Culture Fly: Half Price Events in Baltimore

New York has TKTS.  Washington has TicketPlace. And Baltimore has Culture Fly.

Every Thursday, the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance sends out the Culture Flyer — a guide to free and half price performances and events for the coming week.

You won’t find tickets to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra or to traveling Broadway shows here.

But there are plenty of offers for free and half-price theater and dance events, art openings, concerts, and other fun stuff.

If you are interested in the offbeat and the avant-guard, Baltimore definitely beats straight-laced Washington, DC!

Culture Fly: Half Price Events in Baltimore
Culture Flyer: Weekly Newsletter

For example, this week the Culture Flyer features:

  • Rocky Horror Show at Spotlighters Theatre
  • Cabaret Macabre by Happenstance Theater
  • Bay Street Brassworks Concert
  • 3-D Printing Lab for Teens

and dozens of other discounted offerings.

You can find the Culture Fly calendar online, or you can sign up to receive weekly emails of the Culture Flyer newsletter.

 

Get in Free to Richmond’s Historic Home Museums

Richmond Virginia Time Travelers Passport
Free Admission to 10 Historic House Museums in Richmond, VA September 13-14, 2014

Residents of Washington, DC are spoiled by easy access to free museums.

Here’s a reason to expand your horizons and travel to Richmond, Virginia.

On September 13th and 14th, 2014, ten historic home museums in Richmond are putting out the welcome mat and offering free admission.

Free Admission to Richmond’s Historic Home Museums — No Strings Attached

Ten of Richmond’s historic homes and museums will offer visitors a passport to time-travel during a special admission-free weekend on Saturday and Sunday, September 13 and 14, 2014.

Ten participating sites will offer complimentary admission to visitors who show a Time Travelers Passport available for free online. 

The ten museums are:   

If you manage to max out this offer, it equates to savings of more than $55 per person.  Here’s the link for more information.  

Some of the highlights include:

 Agecroft Hall was first built in England in the 1500s, then transported across the ocean and rebuilt in Richmond in the 1920s. The Tudor mansion is furnished with art and artifacts from 17th century England and there are manicured gardens overlooking the James River.

The John Marshall House, built in 1790 in the fashionable Court End neighborhood of Richmond, was the home of the Chief Justice for forty-five years. Listed on the National and Virginia historic registers, the John Marshall House has undergone remarkably few changes in the last 200 years.

The Poe Museum holds the world’s largest collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s manuscripts, letters,  memorabilia and personal belongings.  The Poe Museum provides a peek into early nineteenth century Richmond where the author of  The Raven lived and worked.  One of the structures in the museum’s four-building complex is the 1754 Old Stone House, the oldest residential structure within city limits.

Maymont, a 100-acre estate, was the home of businessman James Dooley and his wife Sallie from 1893 through the 1920s.  The Maymont Mansion with 21 restored rooms offers a complete depiction of upstairs-downstairs life in the Gilded Age.  The upstairs interiors are adorned with Tiffany stained glass, and frescoed ceilings and filled with original furnishings and artwork.  Downstairs service rooms tell the story of household tasks and technology and the challenges of working in domestic service during the Jim Crow era.  The surrounding landscape features Italian and Japanese gardens, and a carriage display as well a children’s farm and nature center.

Wilton House Museum overlooks a placid stretch of the James River.  It was constructed in the 1750s as the centerpiece of a tobacco plantation by the prominent Randolph Family.  An impressive example of 18th-century Georgian Style architecture, Wilton House boasts its original detailed paneling and a collection of fine and decorative arts from the Colonial and early Federal eras.

Secret Europe by Lonely Planet: Free for Kindle

Secret Europe by Lonely Planet
Free from Amazon.com

Travel guides are some of my favorite leisure reading.  Lonely Planet publishes free e-books that are basically teasers for their full length travel guides.

Their most recent offering, available for free in the Amazon Kindle store, is Secret Europe:  50 Truly Unforgettable Experiences to Inspire your Next Trip.

This 41-page mini-guide, published in June 2014, highlights clandestine nightclubs, secret hotels, killer views, off-the-radar villages, lesser-known cultural capitals, and more.

If your are looking for inspiration to start planning your your next travel adventure, and you like to explore hidden gems and unique activities, you might want to download this book.

Coverage includes:

  • Spain: Cabo de Gata, Parque Natural Sierras Subbeticas, Gibraltar
  • Czech Republic: Olomouc, Prague
  • Poland: Krakow
  • Turkey: Bozcaada
  • Ireland: Cromane, Dublin
  • Macedonia: Dihovo
  • Italy: Lazio, Nocelle, Sibillini Mountains, Ostuni, Venice
  • Croatia: Losinj, Zagreb
  • Germany:Mechernich, Beuron, Berlin
  • Netherlands: Haarlem, Amsterdam
  • England: Battle, South Cotswolds, London
  • Luxembourg: Luxembourg City
  • Norway: Kjerringoy, Bergen
  • Russia: Kaliningrad
  • France: Amiens, Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Paris
  • Serbia: Belgrade
  • Iceland: Reykjavik, Nordurfjordur
  • Estonia: Tartu
  • Montenegro: Morinj
  • Belarus: Pripyatsky National Park
  • Switzerland: Lavaux
  • Albania: Shkodra
  • Greece: Ithaca
  • Georgia: Kakheti
  • Portugal: Vila do Bispo
  • Wales: Conwy
  • Latvia: Sigulda
  • Scotland: Claunie
  • Finland: The Lakeland
  • Crete: Milia

I am definitely going to add a number of these destinations to my wish list!

 

 

Fishing4Deals Giveaway: Two United Club Lounge Passes

United Club Lounge Pass Giveaway
United Club Lounge Pass Giveaway

Schools finally out!  Summer is in full swing, and that means vacation time!

I’m celebrating by giving away a pair of United Club lounge passes!

United Airlines sells these passes for $50 apiece.  They also offer them as a benefit of the United Mileage Plus credit card, which is how I got them.

The lounges offer a variety of amenities:   
  • free bev­er­ages and light snacks
  • com­pli­men­tary bar service
  • agent assis­tance with reser­va­tions
  • high-speed wire­less Inter­net access
  • charging stations for your cell phone and laptop
  • con­fer­ence rooms (at select locations)
  • com­pli­men­tary use of pho­to­copy and fax machines
  • cur­rent magazines and newspapers

Here’s the link to all the United Club locations with their hours and amenities.

These two passes expire on November 31, 2014.   

There are three easy ways to enter this giveaway

  1. Sign up for updates from Fishing4Deals by subscribing on the sidebar to the right.
  2. Leave a comment on this post answering this question:  Where are you going on your summer vacation?
  3. Follow @Fishing4Deals on Twitter and tweet this message:  @Fishing4Deals is giving away a pair of United Club lounge passes.  RT for a chance to win!

This contest closes Monday, July 14, 2014 at 12 noon, Eastern time.  The winner will be chosen at random.

If you don’t win, you may be able to pick up some lounge passes for cheap on Ebay.

Good luck, and happy summer!

Download Free Magazines in Airports

Read Archie comics for free with Inflight App
Read Archie comics for free with Inflight App

If you long for the days when flight attendants handed out magazines on long flights, you may be interested in a new app available for free on iTunes.

Inflightavailable in the iTunes store, allows you to download free magazines to read on your iPad or iPhone while in the airport or in flight.

Inflight is not the greatest thing since sliced bread because the magazine selection is quite limited.

But if you are a sportsman who is keen on Field & Stream, a photographer who reads Popular Photography, a tinkerer who loves Popular Science, or a liberal who enjoys The Nation, read on!

Download Magazines for Free with the Inflight App

Here is how it works:

  1. download the magazines at home
  2. when you get to the airport, open the Inflight reader app to start a 24-hour reader session
  3. read the magazines on the airplane — you don’t need an internet connection

    Field & Stream
    Field & Stream: free with Inflight reader

The app works at 600 U.S. airports and 30 international airports.

About two dozen magazines are currently offered.

The Inflight reader app is a way for magazine publishers to market their content to a captive audience; they make their magazines available for free for 24-hours.

Did I mention Archie and Betty & Veronica?

They are available for free on the app, too.

Free Tour of the Historic Woolrich Mill

Woolrich Factory Tour
Woolrich Factory Tour

As soon as I opened the email from my husband (see picture to left), I knew a road trip to central Pennsylvania was in my future.

Factory tours are de rigueur on our family vacations.  I’ve been to an aluminum smelter, a silk tie factory, a newspaper printing operation, an airplane factory, a ski-doo factory, a cheese factory and a toothpaste factory.  If we ever make it to Japan, we’ll probably go to the Toto toilet factory, the Ramen noodle factory and the Toyota factory.

We are members of the Society of Industrial Archeology which often arranges small group tours to industrial sites.

2014 Woolrich Woolen Mill Tour Dates

Woolrich Woolen Mill in Woolrich, Pennsylvania has been in operation since 1830.  It is the oldest continuously operating mill in the United States.

Several times a year, Woolrich offers tours of the mill to members of the public.  The tour shows how wool is spun into yarn and woven into fabric and blankets.Woolrich Factory Tour

The 2014 factory tour dates are:

  • Saturday, June 21, 2014
  • Saturday, August 16
  • Saturday, September 13
  • Saturday, October 18, 2014

There will be four tours offered on each date, at 12:30, 1:00, 1:30, and 2:00 p.m.

You must register early, and in advance, by calling 570-769-7401.

On the day of the tour, you’ll receive a $10 gift card to use at the Woolrich Outlet Store.  The best values are found in the Back Room, where Woolrich fabric is sold by the bolt, yard or pound.

Photographer Christoper Paine has chronicled a few of the remaining textile mills (as well as some of the closed mills) in a photo essay for the New York Times, entitled “Fruits of the Loom.”

Here are links to a video and blog post about the Woolrich Mill Tour.

Meet a Spy: Tony and Jonna Mendez at the Spy Museum

Meet a Spy
Meet a Spy — Tony and Jonna Mendez

Did you see the Argo?  Now you can meet the spy that inspired the movie at one of three free events sponsored by the International Spy Museum!

International Spy Museum Briefing

Meet the Tony and Jonna Mendez.  Both are former CIA Chiefs of Disguise, responsible for changing the identity and appearance of thousands of clandestine operatives around the world.

Tony is most famous for his rescue of American diplomats from Tehran during the Iranian Hostage Crisis as depicted in the award-winning film Argo.

Rendezvous Info

The rendezvous takes place in the book store at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.  Admission is free, and no pre-registration is required.

There are three dates scheduled:

  • Friday, June 27, 2014; 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Friday, July 25, 2014; 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Friday, August 22, 2014; 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 

Dulles Flyer: What is the #icelanDChase?

Icelandair Ticket Giveaway Washington DC to Europe
Icelandair Reps Will be Giving Away Freebies on the Streets of Washington, DC

Icelandair is celebrating its new year-round service from Washington D.C. by giving away round-trip tickets for two to any of Icelandair’s more than 20 destinations in Europe!

Icelandair representatives will be hitting the streets of the nation’s capital to give away one pair of tickets each day from Thursday, June 12, 2014 through Saturday, June 14, 2014.

Additional prizes include thirty $100 gift certificates for travel, tee shirts, Icelandic music CDs, and cool merchandise.

How can Washingtonians join the #icelanDChase?

You can search for the location of each day’s tickets, by finding clues and a password on Icelandair’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

  • Follow #icelanDChase on Twitter for clues
  • Clues will be given at various times of the day until the tickets are found
  • The first person to arrive at the location and reveal the password to the Icelandair representatives will win tickets for two to any one of more than 20 destinations in Europe
  • For further information, see the Terms and Conditions

    Where can you Fly on Icelandair?
    Where can you Fly on Icelandair?

You can find Icelandair on Facebook (facebook.com/Icelandair) or Twitter (@Icelandair).

Note the blackout dates, which exclude travel during the summer, or over the Christmas holiday:  May 21, 2014 through September 5, 2014; and December 15, 2014 through January 6, 2015.  

If You Don’t Live in Washington, Here are Two  Other Contests to Iceland

1.  Icelandic Fourmula is giving away a trip for two to Iceland!  This online giveaway includes:

  • Roundtrip coach class airfare for two
  • room accommodations for three nights/ four days at a luxury hotel in Reykjavik
  • City of Reykjavik Welcome Card
  • VIP room for 2 at the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa.
Icelandair Launches Year Round Service from IAD
Icelandair Launches Year Round Service from IAD

Fill out the entry form online to enter for a chance to win this Iceland getaway!  Enter by December 31, 2014.

Click here for sweepstakes rules and conditions.

2.  X-Men X-Treme Adventure

This contest is for a trip to Iceland, or weekly packs of Flipz, X-Men memorabilia, Schick razors and cash.  Enter before October 31, 2014.  

The Grand Prize Winner will receive a trip for two to Iceland and $2,274 in cash for personal expenses.  The trip must be taken between October 31, 2014 and March 31, 2015, but cannot be taken over Christmas, New Years or public holidays in the U.S. or Iceland.  The official rules are here.