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Palace Intrigue

Photography Courtesy of Aman Resorts

The Great Wall, the 2008 Olympics, Peking duck those are the things that come to mind when you think of Beijing. Add romance to the list, thanks to a new luxury resort. An enchantment themed retreat is now open on the northwest edge of the city. Aman at Summer Palace (the Aman luxury chain’s .rst outpost in China) features idyllic quarters set around imperial-style courtyards, with new amenities including a movie theater and indoor lap pool tucked away underground. Through special arrangement with the government, the property has its own private entrance to the Summer Palace next door. The 250-year-old lakefront complex is where the last emperors retreated when temperatures soared. www.amanresorts.com/amanatsummerpalace/home.aspx


To the Batmobile! After that, take a look at the Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine and the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard. The Picture Car Museum, the newest addition to the Warner Bros. Studio VIP Tour in Burbank, California, it puts you within inches of the actual vehicles used in the movies. www.warnerbros.com


Life-size technicolor elephants on the streets of Amsterdam? You’re not hallucinating: Dutch artists have painted pachyderm sculptures and placed them around town. Proceeds help Asian elephants. The pieces will be auctioned off on November 12, and you can buy miniatures—so you’ll never forget. www.elephantparade.com


Born out of an art-science curriculum at Harvard, new iPhone application MuseTrek takes the ho-hum out of museum tours via a social networking platform that helps visitors experience artwork through the eyes of someone else. Starting this month, trek through the Louvre—among other European museums—listening to commentary by an 11-year-old, a Hitchcock obsessive or a fashion junkie, or create your own. Expect treks at museums around the world by year’s end. www.musetrek.com


Celebs love The Setai in Miami Beach because it’s serene and exclusive. Regular folks like it because they feel like celebs there, and never more so than when they splurge on the Rock Star package. The three-night deal includes Veuve Clicquot upon arrival, airport pickup in a Range Rover and (here’s where the rock star really comes in) 12 hours in an on-site recording studio designed by Lenny Kravitz. The total cost is $6,000. Throwing your TV out the window is (definitely) not included. www.setai.com


This month, Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry welcomes “You! The Experience,” an exhibit on human biology comprising more than 50 interactive features, including a “vein viewer” that uses an infrared camera to show the blood coursing through your body, a gadget that doctors use to simulate doing surgery and the iconic 13-foot heart that can project the sound of your pulse. To herald the new show, the museum is offering free admission October 8 and 9, and weekdays from October 12 to 30. www.msichicago.org


Boston’s Charles River has gotten a bit of a bad rep. (Perhaps you’ve heard “Dirty Water”?) Well, prepare to see another side of the River Chuck at the Head of the Charles Regatta. The largest two-day boat race in the world draws spectators and participants from all over. In addition to copious face-offs, fried dough purveyors and trinkets for sale, the race tends to fall on the most gorgeous fall weekend of the year, so you can see for yourself what leaf-peeping is all about. www.hocr.org


Nothing inspires wanderlust quite as much as flipping through an issue of National Geographic. So how about adding 120 years’ worth of issues to your DVD collection? Reading lists compiled by editors, photographers and featured stars will help you navigate the set, and a trivia game will keep it from collecting dust. It’s also available as a hard drive for those more inclined to sit in front of the computer than in front of the TV, and naturally there’s social networking support behind it. If nothing else, this set will allow you to clear those musty magazine stacks out of your basement. www.completenatgeo.com


Want to know where all the cool people areeating? Check the Michelin Guide. Their coveted stars are the Oscars of the culinary scene. This month, they release the 2010 New York Edition, plus guides for other major cities, and affordable dining.This year, the guides are also available as iPhone apps for$6.99 per city. www.michelinguide.com



Giada DeLaurentiis, Tom Colicchio, Paula Deen, Rachael Ray—the Food Network gang will be passing on their secrets at the New York City Wine and Food Festival. Plus: Dim Sum & Disco Brunch and Meatball Madness! www.nycwineandfoodfestival.com


The Ohio Sauerkraut Festival will supply seven tons of the German staple, along with crafts for sale and live music. You bring the antacids. www.sauerkrautfestival.com

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Unlike that snooty fest in Cannes, the Times Bfi London Film Festival welcomes the hoi polloi. Though if you happen to bump into confirmed guests Meryl Streep or George Clooney, remember to say “Excuse me.” www.bfi.org.uk/lff


Sniff, swirl and sip—no gulping!— more than 200 varieties of high-end firewater at the San Francisco WhiskyFest. www.maltadvocate.com


The subject of Monopoly may be Atlantic City real estate, but the world championships are in Vegas, baby. Rich Uncle Pennybags will be there, and so will art inspired by the game. www.monopoly.com


Economic woes got you down? If only you could turn lead into gold! Let the good folks at the International Alchemy Conference show you how. www.alchemyconference.com


You know what’s better than candy on Halloween? The Voodoo Experience music festival— where you can see Eminem, KISS and Gogol Bordello all in one place. Spooky. www.thevoodooexperience.com


The people of southwestern Louisiana know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That’s why they’ve made a 5,000-egg omelet every year since 1984. www.giantomelette.org


Grass-skirted hip-wigglers from all over flock to the World Invitational Hula Festival—it’s as good a reason as any for a trip to Hawaii. www.worldhula.com

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