Christopher Heard

The NASCAR experience

When you hear the term NASCAR, and you are not familiar with that sport slash culture, a few solid stereotypes will immediately spring to mind, and generally speaking those stereotypes have solid foundations (the roots of this sport can be traced to bootleggers in North Carolina, like Junior Johnson, who became the first NASCAR superstar, but who began his career as a moonshine runner who modified his car to outrun the law–Jeff Bridges immortalized Johnson on film in the movie The Last American Hero). But going to a NASCAR race is an experience that goes way above and beyond the mere notion of attending a “race” or a “sporting event”. Having just come back from my second such experience at the gargantuan Michigan International Speedway, I can say without a shred of exaggeration that attending a NASCAR event is one of the most enjoyable and interesting travel experiences I have ever had.

Drake hotel lures staycationers with new summer menu and art installation

Toronto’s Drake Hotel is popular with out of town visitors and renowned as an arts and entertainment destination, and this summer they’re trying to build on this by luring Toronto residents to escape in the city instead of heading to cottage country. The highlights at the Drake this summer are a menu featuring virgin cocktails, a lobster fest, as well as an art installation by Ron English.

Sunset Tower Hotel

The Sunset Tower Hotel, West Hollywood

As a great lover of movie history, a place like the Sunset Tower Hotel on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles (more specifically, West Hollywood) already has me pretty much captivated even before I check in. The Hollywood history that is connected to this place, the pure Hollywood legends that live–in spirit and in life–within the walls of this storied old hotel are second to none.