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Stuck at the Airport? Pass the Time with These Airport Finds

Waiting in line and killing time at the airport tops the list of common complaints for any frequent flyer, but be bored at the airport no more! From spas to local eats, many of the nation’s top airports may actually give you reason to get to your gate extra early. Check out these airport finds:

Austin-Bergstrom International
When you go to a place known for its “family-style” servings, you know it has to be good. A requisite stand-by for barbeque-lovin’ Austin residents, Salt Lick BBQ made its way to the West Terminal of Austin-Bergstrom, giving visitors of the Texas capital a tender taste of Texana as soon as they step off the plane.

Boston’s Logan International
If you’re leaving the east coast, but don’t want to leave all that fresh seafood behind, stop by Anthony’s Pier 4 Lobsters in Terminal B – where the term “carry out” takes on a whole new meaning. Lobsters can be packed live for 48 hour take out. But, just so you know, bib and melted butter not included.

Chicago’s Midway International
Change up what you’re listening to or consider bringing a musical gift. Revered as “the top independent music retailer in the country,” George’s Music Room found its second home just beyond Chicago Midway’s security checkpoint. The original store opened in 1968 in Chicago’s fabled west side and has since been known to stock local and hard-to-find Blues records, as well as the latest hits.

Dallas-Ft. Worth International
A traveling “wine connoisseur’s dream,” La Bodega Winery (located in DFW’s Terminal A and D) embraces the distinction of being the only airport winery in the country. Relax among the grapevines while sipping a glass of fine regional wine, or sample a flight if your taste buds are in a wine-picking conundrum. Cheers! http://www.labodegawinery.com/labodega/

Denver International
For a truly culture-rich vacation experience, travelers need to go no further than Jeppesen Terminal’s Great Hall. Worldly performers entertain crowds during the International Performance Series with music and dance from South America, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Israel and Eastern Europe throughout the holiday season. Travelers can also take time to explore DIA’s art collection, which includes various sculptures, murals and installations located throughout the airport. www.flydenver.com

Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International
To make that sweet taste of Southern Florida last a little longer, stop by Tropical Treats in Terminals 2 or 3 to order some of the Sunshine state’s celebrated citrus fruit. Straight from the grove to your doorstep, send a basket of oranges and grapefruit for a treat to yourself, or as holiday gift.

Los Angeles International
Straight from Europe to LAX, Brioche Doreé made Terminal 4 its first stop in the U.S., bringing French flair and European influenced meals to please the most persnickety of pallets. With European-style sandwiches, rich espresso and freshly baked pastries, travelers may begin to think they’re at a Parisian sidewalk café instead of the airport. Bon Appetit!

Newark International
Designed to meet the “mind-body needs of time-poor and world-weary travelers,” d-parture spa in Newark’s Terminal C indulges in tranquility in an otherwise bustling airport. Put your mind and body at ease before the long-haul with a foot rub or ten-minute massage. Even spruce up afterwards with a skin replenishing treatment or mini-makeover. www.departurespa.com

Omaha’s Eppley Airfield
To take a cut of Omaha with you, go to the North or South Terminals of Eppley, where you’ll find Omaha Steaks – to go! Known for its mouth-watering flavor and tenderness, the bacon-wrapped filet is just one reason to get to the airport early. Place an order and have it shipped to you, or wrap it up, take it home, and throw it on the grill. www.omahasteaks.com

Orlando International
For those who missed the chance to go to NASA’s launch pad while visiting Orlando – or for those who just can’t get enough — the Kennedy Space Center Shop in the Main Terminal’s East Hall has trinkets that are literally out of this world. Looking for some noteworthy collectibles? Check out the space shuttle replicas or a commemorative coin collection. If you’re not really in the shopping mood, grab some space ice cream and take a photo with the life-size astronaut at the door.

Airport Spas

  • Jetsetter Spa at Boston Logan and Miami International www.jetsetterspa.com
  • The Back Rub Hub in Terminal Three of Chicago O’Hare.
  • Massage Inc. at Denver International. Located on concourses A and B
  • OraOxygen Wellness Spa at Detroit Metro. www.oraoxygen.net
  • Passport Travel Spa at Indianapolis International in Terminal C. www.passporttravelspa.com.
  • XpresSpa at New York John F. Kennedy (Terminal 1); Philadelphia International (Concourse C); Pittsburgh (Terminal A); and San Francisco (International Terminal Boarding Area A) www.xpresspa.com
  • D-partures Spa at Newark Liberty in Terminals B and C. www.departurespa.com
  • Massage Bar at Seattle-Tacoma (C concourse and North-Satellite); Columbus International in Ohio (concourse B); Nashville (B and C concourses); Newark Liberty (A Terminal and A-3 Connector); and Washington Dulles International (B concourse). www.massagebar.com
  • Absolute Spa at Vancouver International (British Columbia, Canada). www.absolutespa.com

Jennifer

My name: Jennifer Gaines, but my friends call me Gaines, Jenni-Dallas or just plain Jenn.

(Find me on Twitter @jenngaines)

Travel ambitions: It's my mission to visit each of the New 7 Wonders and to step foot on every continent before my next milestone birthday.

Greatest travel lesson learned: Find the local hangouts to experience the real, true culture of a place. During a trip to Europe, my friends and I spent several days with a French family in the small town of Vichy. We had a private party in their family-run creperie, feasting on cheese-stuffed crepes and sampling wine that we picked up in the Bordeaux region a few days earlier. Their English wasn’t much better than my French, which is limited to a few well-known phrases from Moulin Rouge and the question: Parlez-vous anglais? (I'm proud to say that I can spout this question off in several different languages, and luckily most Europeans do indeed speak English!) After a few bottles of wine, the language barrier was hardly noticeable (slurring actually sounds the same in French!), and we managed to swap stories about life in other places. What a slice of local flavor!

My most beloved place in the whole world is: My grandparents place in Texas. It’s a 10-acre oasis in between two sprawling cities: Dallas and Fort Worth. A creek runs through their enormous backyard, where Granddad built a deck over the water. The entire place is shrouded with all types of trees (mainly pecan), blocking the Texas sun in the summer. Dusk is the best time to sit on the deck, drink a glass of ice tea and watch baby raccoons from the spring litter surround their back porch as Gram feeds them bread (no lie!). There will be dozens of raccoons eating on any given night. In the fall, my family gathers in the courtyard in front of their house for an annual “weenie roast.” Granddad lights the bonfire, and we roast dogs and s'mores. Yes, y’all, we’re from Texas!

Favorite way to get around: Well, I’m not much of a driver. I get lost easily and my tires have never come across a curb they didn’t want to get to know a little better. But, I do enjoy cruising around and listening to music. That said, I much rather explore a place by foot (with my iPod in tow) for a more intimate encounter.

View that took my breath away: Coming from Texas (where the view is wide but there’s not much to see), scenes from my new home of San Francisco never fail to amaze me. The city is a pedestrian’s dream, but don’t forget to turn around and look behind you as you meander through its neighborhoods. You won’t realize it, but you’ll be at the tip-top of a hill and the ocean will suddenly seem to be at eye level. Take a drive through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge where even more stunning views await!

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