Alex Skjong

Correspondent

  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Alex Skjong is a Forbes Travel Guide correspondent based in Atlanta. The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, nurtured his journalistic foundation and the Internet did the rest, as his interest in new media forms such as podcasts and videocasts has grown over the years. He’s contributed print and online content to luxury and lifestyle publications including Michigan Avenue Magazine and Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, and social media content to the guitar website FRET12.com. When Skjong isn’t writing or tweeting, he’s recording music and tightly crossing his fingers for affordable commercial space travel.

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    Where is the best shopping in Minneapolis?

    If you've traveled anywhere close to the Twin Cities metro area, The Mall of America certainly stands out in your mind as a haven for all shopping (and amusement park... and movie theater... and aquarium...) needs. But there are plenty of other shopping destinations in the TC that will satiate any desires with the distinct added bonus of not having to wade through the crowds at MOA.

    Much of downtown Minneapolis is connected via the skyway system, making trips to shops like Brooks Brothers, Saks Fifth Avenue or Macy's perfectly bearable during Minnesota's frigid winters and, equally as distressing at times, scorching summers. Nicollet Mall is a lovely stretch of downtown that houses various shops, bars and some of the city's skyline-defining buildings such as the IDS Center.

    If St. Paul is on your itinerary, Grand Avenue (one street over from the beautiful Summit Avenue) makes for a very enjoyable stroll on a weather-permitting afternoon. With too many shops to count, walking Grand Avenue's full stretch will undoubtedly have you entering in boutiques featuring everything from art supplies, clothing, crafts, décor and much more.
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    What are the best parties at Miami’s South Beach food festival?

    Parties are in the DNA of any great festival, and South Beach Wine & Food is certainly no different. Don’t miss Moët Hennessy’s The Q After Dark, a beachside party at the swanky Delano Hotel. You’ll sip flutes of Moët & Chandon, as well as cocktails featuring Belvedere Vodka, Hennessy cognac, Grand Marnier and 10 Cane rum. Australian chef Curtis Stone (host of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters and Around the World in 80 Plates) oversees the evening of music, food and drinks, as a live performance of Mansion Nightclub’s Cirque du Mansion wows the crowd. $100, Feb. 21, 10 p.m.-midnight, Delano, 1685 Collins Ave., entrance at 1 Lincoln Road.

    On Saturday, check out A Red Hot Night: Presented by Target. Chef Ingrid Hoffmann of Food Network’s Simply Delicioso hosts the 1950s Havana-inspired evening. Taste samples of her traditional Latino dishes, and dance to live music from the Celia Cruz All Stars and the Soulfrito DJ Collective. $110, Feb. 23, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, 1 Lincoln Road.
     
    End the festival on Sunday by celebrating the Miami food truck culture at Trucks on Midtown’s Tracks, hosted by Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern. More than 20 food trucks (including queen of the grilled cheese Ms. Cheezious) will roll into the Wynwood neighborhood to serve everything from gourmet Cuban cuisine to lamb-fennel sausage sliders. $160, Feb. 24, 3-6 p.m., 3101 NE First Ave.

    In addition to the open parties, there are more exclusive shindigs. Forbes Travel Guide.com is sponsoring Tony Abou-Ganim’s invite-only pool party at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach to celebrate his new book, Vodka Distilled: The Modern Mixologist on Vodka and Vodka Cocktails. Abou-Ganim will sign copies of his book, which just hit shelves on Feb. 12 and promises to be a go-to guidebook for the often-overlooked spirit. The celebrated mixologist also will serve up Moscow Mules and other vodka cocktails poolside. Invite only, Feb. 21, 2-5 p.m., The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, 1 Lincoln Road.
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    What international cities does NetJets fly to?

    NetJets has affiliate programs throughout Europe and Asia, which means you can cross the Atlantic or the Pacific on your own private jet, and even do so with last minute notice. NetJets flies more than 130,000 flights a year to more than 170 countries, and has the benefit of the most comprehensive ferry waiver system in the private aviation industry. What does that mean? You won't be charged a fee for having your jet brought to you when you're ready to head home after a trip abroad. The newest member of NetJets' extensive affiliate program is NetJets China, so expect service to the usual major Asian hubs, such as ,Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Macau, and even some more farflung locales.

    And while the convenience of private aviation can't be understated, we think one of the most appealing perks of international travel on NetJets is the food and wine experience. Expect fresh, catered meals and award-winning wines served on a schedule you set and by a team that's trained to deliver personalized service.
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    Where does NetJets have airport hubs?

    ©NetJets While NetJets’ fleet of private jets can land in pretty much any airport, the company does have hubs where its pilots and flight attendants are based. The company's headquarters are located in Columbus, Ohio, and Teterboro, N.J.; Dallas; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Los Angeles are the cities that crews call home. The company's recently opened 10,000 square foot Los Angeles terminal at Van Nuys Airport offers a sleek, streamlined and luxurious environment for boarding and departing flights (and an ideally located launching pad that allows NetJets members to avoid the traffic of LAX). The space has a bar that serves coffee by day and wine by night, plenty of seating to spread out and relax or work including dedicated conference rooms, and even a kids' play area stocked with game consoles and TVs.
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    What locations can I fly to with NetJets?

    With NetJets, a private aviation service, you can literally fly anywhere in the world, without the hassle of waiting at the airport — drastically reducing your travel time. NetJets flies all over the United States from Seattle, San Francisco and New Orleans to New York City, Miami and Los Angeles — and everywhere in between. Want to hit the slopes in Lake Tahoe? Done. Dance the night away in Las Vegas? Give your pilot a ring. Play a round of golf in Fort Lauderdale? Better pack your clubs. With ownership in NetJets you can have a personal jet that accommodates seven to 14 passengers ready in as little as four to 10 hours, depending on the size aircraft you need and how large your share is.
     
    NetJets has affiliate programs in Europe and China, so you can fly all over the world using the exchange service. NetJets also flies to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, India and Russia, so you can take care of your international business — or pleasure — any day of the year.
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    Where does NetJets have airport hubs?

    ©NetJets While NetJets’ fleet of private jets can land in pretty much any airport, the company does have home bases where pilots and flight attendants are based. Columbus, Ohio; Teterboro, N.J.; Dallas; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Los Angeles are the five cities that crews call home — but that doesn’t mean you have to. The biggest perk of using NetJets is that within as little as four hours, you can call a personal plane to whisk you off to a business meeting in New York, a round of golf in Fort Lauderdale or a romantic vacation in Paris.
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