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Inn-Escapable: Seattle's sleek Thompson Hotel at Pike Place

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Seattle's award-winning architects Olson Kundig are behind the Thompson Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel with a stunning glass facade that sits at the edge of downtown's Pike Place Market. The hotel, and particularly its rooftop bar, The Nest, have become a bit of a landmark since they opened in 2016 -- a place, dare we say, to see and be seen.

A...Read more

Soak up the scenery, silence on a houseboat journey along Florida's St. Johns River

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Somewhere in the deep green heart of central Florida, an eagle's cry pierces the morning quiet. Soaring through the sunrise, she surveys her domain before landing in a cypress tree high above the St. Johns River. As she fortifies her nest, an alligator bellows from the riverbank. Together, they play a primeval role in a story that predates ...Read more

Wintering in Alaska

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After spotting a moose, I spot the "Mushing Mortician." Along the Iditarod Trail, in Alaska's snow-coated wilderness, 57-year-old funeral home owner Scott Janssen barks, "Straight! Straight!" to his sled dogs barreling toward a checkpoint 311 miles into the famed, grueling and controversial 1,000-mile race. Nearby, canine teams rest on scattered...Read more

Seattle's new waterfront: Pike Place Market and beyond

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SEATTLE -- Open since 1907, Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously operating farmers markets in the United States. That historic significance -- and those iconic waterfront views over Puget Sound-- draw 10 million visitors a year to its dark alleys and cramped, creaky stairways.

But "cramped and creaky" don't do justice to what is ...Read more

A secluded historic temple on windward Oahu holds clues to a rich culture and history

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KAILUA, Hawaii -- It was like a watercolor dream, blurry at the edges, filled with jungle greens and cerulean sky. It was quiet and lush in a way that only Hawaii can be.

Was this place real or had I dreamed it? After all, it had been more than 50 years since I first saw it and more than three decades since I last laid eyes on this heiau, a ...Read more

Rainy day on Maui? Here are 5 great things to do beyond the beach

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MAUI, Hawaii -- So you came all this way and, oh, it's raining. Hey, you're still on Maui. Are you really going to get all cranky?

Often you can drive a few miles -- or wait 10 minutes -- and you'll have sunshine again.

But there are days when spongy gray clouds cover the whole island and it's not the beach weather you'd bargained for.

"We've...Read more

Finding the aloha spirit in three Hawaiian Islands

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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

As he hangs up his hat, Seattle Times travel editor names Top 10 trips

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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

Avocados, okra, wine: some of this traveler's favorite souvenirs

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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

This way to Carnegie Hall

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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

Hawaii Four-Oh!

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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

Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride closing to revamp scene of brides being auctioned

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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

Touring 8 historic American prisons

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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

Expansion featuring Marvel superheros to open at Disney California Adventure in 2020

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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

Prices for overnight parking at Disney Resorts on the rise

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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

By Myscha Theriault: Virginia's Norfolk features fun food, fab arts scene

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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

7 quirky museums explore male anatomy, marzipan, pencil sharpeners and more

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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

From humble pupae to brilliant butterflies comes Butterfly Jungle

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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

Toy Story Land, Fast & Furious opening soon in Disney, Universal

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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

Looking for Hawaiian rainbows? Start with a tour of the Big Island's waterfalls

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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

 

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