The Outside Blog

Adventure : Jun 2012

The Best Summer Festivals: International Folk Art Market

This pop-up global village in Santa Fe is the next best thing to buying a round-the-world airline ticket. For three days, more than 150 master artists from every corner of the globe show off and sell their intricately handmade beadwork, pottery, paintings, baskets, scarves, jewelry, and textiles. Sales from the Folk Art Market radically improve most artists’ lives—many of them earn less than $3 per day back home. Watch for the hand-strung beaded jewelry of Rebecca Lolosoli. From Northern Kenya, Lolosoli founded an entire village for abused and homeless women. Bring your plastic and be prepared to spend.

Where to Stay: The enclosed garden courtyard of the Don Gaspar Inn, which sits on a quiet residential street near the Plaza, is the best secret spot to eat breakfast in Santa Fe. Rooms from $189.

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The Best Summer Festivals: Tall Ships Nova Scotia 2012

Since May 7 a fleet of tall ships have been sailing north from Savannah, Georgia, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the Tall Ships Challenge race series. The fleet, which includes an 84-year-old British naval minesweeper and the HMS Bounty, which starred in Pirates of the Caribbean II, are scheduled to arrive in the Halifax harbor, a gorgeous international seaport with green space and a public beach, on July 19. Spectators can board the ships and meet the crews and feast harbor-side on Nova Scotia delicacies for a few days. On July 23 the entire fleet, with bells ringing and sails unfurled, heads back out to sea in the Parade of Sail.

Where to Stay: Drive north to Cape Breton Island and Cabot Shores, a 55-acre island sanctuary with 2,000 feet of shoreline and accommodations ranging from a luxury chalet to a tipi (tipis from $90).

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The Best Summer Festivals: Lumberjack World Championships

Lumberjacks have the most dangerous job in the world. That’s why this 52-year-old, three-day event is so much fun to watch. The best timber kings on the planet descend on “Lumberjack Bowl” in this lake-addled Wisconsin town to scale 90-foot cedar poles; chop through a vertical standing aspen 12 inches thick; and compete in Jack and Jill Sawing, where a one man, one woman team speed-saws through a 20-inch white pine log.

Understandably, amateurs are not allowed to participate in any of the serious competitions, but they are allowed to try their hand (or, rather, feet) at logrolling, set up in a special tank by the local Hayward Logrolling School, the training ground of world champions. Warning: It’s harder than it looks.

Where to Stay: Mallard’s Landing has four North Woods-style cottages nestled in a pine forest on the bank of the Namekagon River, within walking distance from Hayward. Doubles from $97 per night.

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The Best Summer Festivals: Maine Lobster Festival

This 65-year-old festival serves up 20,000 pounds of steaming hot lobster, most of it dripping with Cabot butter. There are also clams, crab cakes, mussels, shrimp, haddock, and calamari, served in every variation imaginable. Whip up a better lobster étouffée or seared scallop and possibly win the $200 first prize in the cooking contest.

To burn off the food, run the 10k foot race on Sunday morning or try the oddly popular lobster crate race: The person who runs back and forth over a string of 50 partially submerged lobster crates before falling into the Atlantic, wins. The record: 4,000 crates crossed.

Where to Stay: The Inn at Ocean’s Edge sits on seven acres and looks like a rich uncle’s oceanside getaway, complete with infinity pool and Adirondack chairs on green grass overlooking the ocean. Doubles from $295.

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The Best Summer Festivals: Crankworx Whistler 2012

Leave your daredevil eight-year-old at home. Whistler’s annual 10-day free-ride mountain biking festival is a testament to just how free-spirited (and crazy) this crowd can be. With one of the most progressive free-ride competition lineups in the world and the largest cash purse prize—$30,000—for the Jeep Canadian Open Downhill, Crankworx lures the world’s best mountain biking greats. But amateurs are welcome too.

The festival starts off with the “running of the bulls,” an 800-meter Fat Tire Crit that circles Whistler village, moves into the Teva Best Trick showdown, where participants execute gravity-bending tricks, and winds down with the Red Bull Joy Ride, a competition that fuses slopestyle, dirt jump, and North Shore mountain biking into one race.

Where to Stay: Mountainside Lodge is 60 seconds from the best mountain biking in North America and has lofted suits with kitchens and en-suite dry saunas; from $109 per night.

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