The Hawaiian Islands hold a special, almost mystical, appeal for many mainland Americans and Asian visitors, myself included. Recently I traveled to Oahu, the Big Island and Kauai to see which island I liked best, and to discover new places to stay and activities not to be missed.
I began my odyssey in Oahu, the most well-known and populous ...Read more
Over my 20-year career writing travel stories for The Seattle Times, a question I've fielded (happily, I should say) when meeting someone for the first time was almost as predictable as the number of pretzels I got flying Coach: What's been my favorite trip?
I usually fudged. Prettiest place? Nicest people? Most fun? Educational? How does one ...Read more
I was on the hunt for the perfect souvenir.
Standing over a collection of gorgeous specimens, I knew just what I was looking for: something smooth and flawless. I wasn't perusing a high-end boutique or rifling through antiques; I was staring into a bin of beautiful avocados. And for less than a dollar apiece? I couldn't think of anything I'd ...Read more
NEW YORK -- Tine Thing Helseth, a 30-year-old Norwegian trumpeter, had just made her Carnegie Hall main stage debut with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Now she stood center stage, applause resounding around her, a surprise up her sleeve.
Instead of raising her trumpet for an encore, she started singing, no microphone, no accompaniment.
The ...Read more
Roy Sakuma placed the tips of my fingers on the strings of his ukulele. My only lesson from the master of the instrument on my first day in the Hawaiian Islands. He taught me a simple Hawaiian tune, as we sat together in the soaring, sun-drenched lobby of the Four Seasons Resort in Ko Olina, Oahu.
I had flown across the Pacific the day before ...Read more
The scene of leering pirates auctioning off women as brides on the Pirates of Caribbean attraction in Disneyland will be gone forever next month, replaced by a scene considered less offensive to contemporary tastes.
The Anaheim, Calif., resort announced last week that it will close the ride on April 23 to begin its planned makeover, which ...Read more
Reflecting the underside of society, prisons aren't generally a pleasant topic of conversation. Many question whether the nation's nearly 5,000 penitentiaries do more harm than good in reducing crime. Nonetheless, prisons have been with us throughout our history, serving at best to protect society from its miscreant minority.
Prisons are a ...Read more
Only a year after a new Star Wars land opens at Disneyland, guests at the neighboring California Adventure Park will be able to visit another expansion, featuring Marvel superheroes.
Disney officials had previously announced plans to build an expansion at California Adventure Park, based on the Marvel characters and located near the Marvel ...Read more
Officials from the Walt Disney World Resort have announced that guests staying at one of the theme park's resorts will be charged for overnight parking starting this week.
According to the official website of Disney World, guests staying at a Disney resort will be charged for parking when they pay their hotel bill upon check-out. Visitors ...Read more
Home to the largest naval base in the world, the starting point for the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and a popular stopover point for Canadians heading back and forth to Florida for seasonal visits, Norfolk, Va., has been on the radar of snowbirds and sailors for quite some time.
Those willing to look a bit deeper, however, will discover ...Read more
Sure, you'll be enlightened by visits to the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. But for an atypical take on the human experience, check out these unusual museums and their oddball collections.
ICELANDIC PHALLOLOGICAL MUSEUM
This storefront museum in the major shopping area of ...Read more
Butterflies, thousands of swooping, iridescent butterflies, are set to charm visitors at Butterfly Jungle, running until April 15 at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
The butterflies have been maturing in their pupae in an incubation room at the Safari Park. When they emerge, keepers carefully transport them in wooden boxes to the specially ...Read more
Remember that moment in the original "Toy Story" movie when Buzz Lightyear climbs into the Claw vending machine at Planet Pizza, Woody goes in to rescue him and they disappear under the three-eyed toy aliens? The Claw descends to grab one of the little green aliens, and they reverently explain that the Claw is their master.
That scene was the ...Read more
HILO, Hawaii -- The first time you fly into the Kona Coast on Hawaii's Big Island, you'll be struck by two things: the nearly relentless sunshine (moderated by volcanic smoke that locals call "vog") and the vast, barren fields of black lava rock stretching northward, more testimony to this island's active volcanoes.
The first time you cross the...Read more
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Shortly after noon, as Sunday services at Memphis' abundant churches conclude, another gathering of the faithful is getting underway at a restaurant popular for its soul food.
"Hi, welcome to The Four Way," owner Patrice Thompson greets every customer, often in quick succession.
Many dressed in their Sunday best, the diners ...Read more
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- "You clearly love Sacramento," says the Catholic nun and high school principal as she looks over the college essay written by one of her students.
The teenager, who clearly thinks the city is uncool, shrugs and says she just pays attention to her surroundings.
"Well, it comes across as love," says the nun. "Don't you ...Read more
Las Vegas tourism leaders revived the famous "What happens here, stays here" slogan three months after a mass shooting on the Strip, but gaming revenue and visitation numbers remain depressed in the tourist destination.
In January, total visitation to the city dropped 3.3 percent, while gaming revenue from the Strip slumped by 8.89 percent, the...Read more
Google Maps and the unforgiving female voice on my Garmin GPS device were having yet another disagreement: Google said I should go south via I-95, but my windshield-mounted scold (whose favorite word is recalculating) said Biscayne Boulevard was the preferred route this time. It was high season in Miami, and rush-hour traffic was compressed into...Read more
Lounging in a sleeping bag on a cot in a tepee, fully clothed and bundled up, my cowboy boots kicked off on the warm wooden floor, I've been journaling and listening to the ever-changing Montana weather make music on my tent. The wind whistles through the flaps. The rain taps a rhythm on the canvas. The dramatic, fast-moving Montana cloudscape ...Read more
New York is a city I've always had something of a love/hate relationship with. First the hate: the noise level, which most Manhattanites seem not to notice, has me ready to chew off my own ears after a day or two -- the incessant drilling of jackhammers; cabbies sitting on their horns even when it's obvious they are going nowhere fast, and ...Read more