Five Last-Minute Labor Day Vacations

If you haven't made plans yet, it's time to get a move on!

Memorial Day, Flag Day, Juneteenth, and 4th of July have all faded in the rearview and now Labor Day, the summer's last hoorah, is coming up fast. After that, the kids head back to school and before you know it, you'll be wearing a jacket again, daydreaming about warmer weather. Don't let Labor Day pass you by this year. You'll miss the summer once it's over, you owe it to yourself to have a good time while you still can.

Now, it's probably too late to plan a whole week long vacation for late August, but that doesn't mean you can't go somewhere last minute and end summer 2018 with a bang. Here are a few spots around the United States that are perfect for your Labor Day celebration. Make this summer memorable.

Sea Isle City, New Jersey

When people think of the Jersey shore, they tend to think of roided-up men wearing tank tops and screaming girls who do shots before they even brush their teeth in the morning. For their part, MTV has done a marvelous job of accurately capturing a narrow segment of the population, but Snookie and her pals are far from the norm. Sea Isle City is a quintessential New Jersey beach town, a place with a little something for everybody. If you're a partier, it has great bars that stay open late, with happy hours that cater to an older crowd. If bars aren't your scene however, the party area is relegated to a small area of about four square blocks. The rest of the island is full of Italian restaurants and novelty shops flanked by the beach on one side and the bay on the other. It's great for a day trip, or if you can find a rental, stay for a few days.

Watch Hill, Rhode Island

Another wonderful beach town, Watch Hill skips all the frill of the Hamptons while still delivering a luxury beach experience. There's fine dining, beautiful historic homes, and plenty of quaint New England charm. They also have the world's oldest working carousel, an attraction you won't want to miss. From the gorgeous lighthouse to the pristine beaches, Watch Hill is a family friendly, luxury beach vacation straight out of a catalogue.

Temecula, California

Nothing goes better with a holiday than a nice drink, and Temecula delivers. Unlike Napa and Sonoma however, Temecula's 40 plus wineries are actually affordable. SoCal isn't known for its wine, but don't let that discourage you, the grapes are still grown in good California soil and the drinks are still refreshing. If booze is a big part of your traditional Labor Day celebration anyway, why not class it up a bit and head out to a few wine tastings?

New Orleans, Louisiana

If your idea of a good time is a never ending party, why not head down to the Big Easy this Labor Day. Not only are there plenty of budget hotels and flights, but New Orleans is host to some of the best cuisine in the world. Gumbo, jambalaya, po boys, and more, while not technically healthy for you, will feed your soul in a way that'll leave a lasting impression. On top of this, New Orleans is one of the best drinking towns in America. Hell, they sell bottles of vodka in CVS and, if you feel like splurging, you can hire a second line and host your very own parade. The most incredible part of New Orleans however, is that you can legally drink in the street. This famous Hannibal Buress bit says it all: "I left the bar with my Jameson and ginger ale and a policeman stopped me. He said, 'man that was stupid. If you were gonna walk around drinking all day, you should of just bought a bottle.' A police officer said this to me!"

Vail, Colorado

Vail may be famous for its ski slopes, but the countryside is just as beautiful in the summer. Hiking trails, biking, and plenty of fine dining make this spot the perfect weekend getaway. The bonus here is, few people probably think to head out to Colorado for Labor Day, as Vail isn't a town famous for its warm weather entertainment. Skip the beach and head out to the mountains you want a little bit more privacy.

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If you've googled one thing during this pandemic, it is definitely: "Thai food near me."

Thai food has remained one of the most delicious and sought after takeout gems; and in New York City, specifically, there are so many delicious options that it can be overwhelming. Often unlike Chinese food, Thai food offers fresher ingredients and versatile cuisine options. Whether you want some Pad Thai or Pad See Ew, or some coconut milk-infused curry or even just some soup, Thai food is good for any occasion. But with so many options, how do you know you're getting the freshest ingredients at the best price? Here are the best spots to order take-out from, and we even broke it up by borough for you.

Manhattan: Fish Cheeks

Fish Cheeks

Reviewed by The Times as "fresh, vivid and intense," Fish Cheeks offers solid takes on traditional Thai Cuisine. Their speciality remains seafood, so their Crab Friend Rice and Coconut Crab Curry are delicious highlights. Their Tum Yum is also to die for, made with fresh galanagal, lime leaves and lemongrass.

The version [of tum yum] here hums with fresh galangal, lime leaves and lemongrass. Shrimp and knobby mushrooms simmer in a broth that gets extra body from milk, a twist I've never seen before but one I approve of. It could be spicier, but the use of bird's-eye chiles is far from shy.

Manhattan: Lan Larb

thia food

Arguably some of the best Pad Thai in the city, Lan Larb is focused mainly on the food of Thailand's northeast region. As a result, there is often a combo of meat and seafood involved in most dishes, such as the Lao Chicken Soup, which combines fresh chicken with pickled fish and a steamy brown broth. The menu will make your tastebuds whirl if you're one for experimentation, if not, their Pad Thai is iconic and filling enough on its own.

Brooklyn: Ugly Baby

Brooklyn has always been teeming with amazing Thai food joints, but Ugly Baby is the borough's most established success story. The Carrol Gardens sensation was preceded by two long gone Red Hook restaurants known for their authentic Northern Thai cuisine. With Ugly Baby, a name which comes from an ancient belief in Thailand that ugly children bring good fortune, chef Sirichai Sreparplarn had mastered his craft. The restaurant quickly gained glowing praise throughout Brooklyn and New York, and their take on Khao Soi Nuer and Kao Tod Nam Klook remain the stuff of legends.

Queens: Ayada

ayada thai

Ayada's cuisine is so good that it made a New York Times journalist cry at his table. Not out of emotion though, but out of spice. For those looking for a truly bold eating experience, this Queens Thai restaurant holds nothing back when crafting their drunken noodles or Pad Thai, but that spice is what makes it one of the best spots in the city.

Bronx: Ceetay

​While the Bronx isn't necessarily a buzzing Thai food borough, Ceetay's asian fusion cuisine is of the highest quality and will appeal to anyone desperately needing to nom on some noodles. Their sushi is amazing but their Pad Thai is packed with amazing flavor. Seasoned with onions, peppers, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, peanuts, scallions and cilantro, this Pad Thai is packed with flavors and will slam your taste buds in the best possible way.


5 Countries to Visit This Fall

As the weather starts to chill out, we're just getting warmed up to travel

It's not winter yet!

So that means, we're all about that fall travel. It's a beautiful time of year to be outside in many countries, soaking up the colorful landscapes and fresh air. Here are our picks for the top places to visit this fall.

1. Germany


Burg Eltz Castle is a magical step back into the Middle Ages that's been here for more than 850 years.

2. Switzerland


The red leaves in Bern are absolutely striking.

3. Italy


Nothing like the sheer beauty of the formidable Italian alps.

4. Peru


Machu Picchu beckons visitors from near and far this fall.

5. Mexico


It's not too cold to skip the beach!

Everyone has heard of the murder-hotel where dark shadows creep at the edge of your vision, or the abandoned house where the furniture moves each time you leave the room.

But sometimes the places set up to capture the fun and fright of the Halloween season for paying customers can be far more horrifying than any ghost stories. These "fake" haunted houses will leave you genuinely haunted.

Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

So spoooky!

Thomas James Caldwell

Pennhurst Asylum was in operation from 1908-1987 in the small town of Spring City, Pennsylvania. While we don't have all the records of the residents' experiences there, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this building was home to true horrors. In many ways, 1908 wasn't that long ago, but in terms of mental health treatment—especially in small-town Pennsylvania—it was absolutely the dark ages. This was the time of lobotomies, straight jackets, and shock therapy. Whatever the jump scares and fake blood contribute to the fear you will feel walking through Pennhurst Asylum's aging, echoing halls, they can't come close to the deep, sinking feeling caused by the deep history of torment that has left its imprint on the very fabric of the place. Four spooky skulls out of five.


Haunted Trap House

Like this, but less 90s

In Centreville, Maryand, in the year 1989, a group of visionaries were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What if—instead of zombies and werewolves and demons, and all the stuff out of children's nightmares—what if they filled their haunted house with the real-world nightmares that were actually infesting their city, killing their residents, and generally afflicting every corner of the entire nation. Thus, the Haunted Crack House was born. Since renamed the Haunted Trap House, it's ostensibly an educational experience on the dangers of drug use, it features simulations of overdoses, arrests, and shootings, as well as actual former convicts who are paid to draw on their real experiences to make your visit as terrifying as possible. This kind of fetishizing of human misery to capitalize on the Halloween season is as despicable as it is spooky. Four-and-a-half skulls out of five.


McKamey Manor

He technically consented to this

A $20,000 reward? A 40-page waiver? These figures have garnered a lot of attention in recent headlines. Supposedly this is the "scariest" haunted house experience in the country. Who could resist the temptation of that once-in-a-lifetime experience, combined with the chance to win a big cash prize? Unfortunately, that is exactly what Russ McKay wants. There's a reason he's put so much work into the legal side of his operation. Rather than gassing up neutered chainsaws and chasing you around in a hockey mask, McKay has opted for producing actual, real, straight-up torture. You may not find the decorations and costumes that scary, but you will absolutely fear for your life when you consent to be water-boarded with fake blood. For being operated by a man who is clearly an unhinged psychopath, McKamey Manor ties the Haunted Traphouse, with four-and-a-half spooky skulls.


Donald Vann's House of Horrors

Donald Vann murdered eleven people. Happens to the best of us, but it does present a problem. How do you dispose of all those bodies? Donald's solution was to open a haunted house and put his victims' decaying remains on display as props. Props to him. For eight months he prepared his fetid, malodorous horrors, before debuting on October 1st. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit his house of horrors, because he has since landed in some legal trouble—board of health, maybe?—but I'm sure for the lucky few who were able to visit during its brief tenure, and witness Vann's "psychotic smirk," I'm sure the nightmares they're left with keep on spooking.


Every Hell House in America


In the same vein as the Haunted Traphouse, Hell Houses are church presentations intended as educational experiences that warn kids and teens away from the path of sin. Their methods for achieving this obviously vary, but according to The Washington Post, you can generally expect the following: "A devil ushers a gay man dying of AIDS into the fiery pit. A teenager who is raped at a drug-filled rave commits suicide and also goes to hell. A young girl hemorrhaging from an abortion repents at the last minute." Awful. Truly sickening. What kind of trauma are they inflicting on these children to prop up their outdated ideologies? Six spooky skulls. Where'd that extra skull come from?? Nobody knows…