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We asked some jet-setters about their favorite unexpected travel places this year.

Whether something you accidentally stumble upon or a place you were convinced you'd hate, but wound up loving, nothing is more delightful than pleasantly unexpected while traveling. In that spirit, we asked some colleagues to weigh in on their best surprises of 2016.

Visiting the Bachman-Wilson House, Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas
“I think the best surprise I had this year while traveling was visiting the Bachman-Wilson House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright at Crystal Bridges Museum. The house, built in New England, was going to be destroyed and Alice Walton bought it and moved it in a most astonishing way: piece by piece, each floor board, window sill and all. It was reconstructed on a site within walking distance of the main Museum. One must make an appointment to view it and only a few visitors are allowed in every 15 minutes. It is an extraordinary experience.” ~Steve Wilson, CEO & Founder, 21c Museum Hotels

Mercado Agrícola de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay
“More than an urban renewal project along the working port of Montevideo, this is a beautiful restoration, with local shops and access to the food and life of the people of the city. It turned out to be the perfect place to pick up authentic gifts to bring home.” ~ Donna Keren, SVP, Research, NYC & Company

Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
“Took a trip to Toronto and decided to head down to the other side of the lake and check out the falls. Whilst that was fine, what I wasn't prepared for was the stunning area of Niagara on the Lake. Landscape full of vineyards and a coastline that took me to the clear water and rocky bays of Croatia. Gorgeous and a genuine surprise find. I urge everyone to get to this idyllic heaven on the shores of Lake Ontario.” ~Jos Davies, Global Head of Marketing, Black Tomato

M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark, Helsingør, Denmark
“Built in a former dry dock, this extraordinary subterranean structure designed by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) opened in 2013 and has been the recipient of numerous awards for its innovative design that mirrors maritime life. Furthermore, exhibitions such as ‘Sex & the Sea’, co-created by director Peter Greenaway, investigate the sexuality of sailors. Need I say more?” ~Mark A. Thompson, Ph.D., writer/editor/journalist/photographer

Blackpool, England (photo at top)
“I’ll preface this by saying Blackpool may not be for everyone (for instance, those seeking a strictly luxury vacation), but I really enjoyed the sort of Coney Island / Jersey Shore vibe, complete with amusement parks, casinos and kiosks selling cotton candy (known there as ‘floss’) and, the local favorite sweet, Blackpool rock.It’s also a gay-friendly town and, if you go, be sure to check out the raucous drag show at Funny Girls.”~Bryan van Gorder, editor, OutTraveler



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