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Inside Southern California's glorious Huntington Library and gardens

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So it seems that railroad magnate Henry E. Huntington and his wife, Arabella, were basically hoarders. And I mean that in the best sense of the word.

Way back in the day -- during the so-called Gilded Age -- the couple habitually collected rare books, glorious pieces of fine art and distinctive botanical specimens. They could not be stopped. ...Read more

Museum of Selfies coming to Vegas, but don't miss city's other Insta spots

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Sick of your selfie self yet? Likely not. The Museum (and I use the term loosely) of Selfies opened last year in Hollywood as a place for anyone to Insta indulge. Now a second site will open in the Miracle Mile Shops on the Las Vegas Strip on Oct. 25.

In Las Vegas, some of the photo ops will be similar to those in L.A. Expect to dive into the ...Read more

Hiking trail reopens, a year and a half after Kilauea's eruptions and 60,000 quakes

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The popular Kilauea Iki Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park recently fully reopened, a year and a half after Kilauea erupted and more than 60,000 quakes rattled the volcano's summit. The shaking last year damaged much of the park, including the popular four-mile loop from the rim of a crater to its floor. Now visitors will see something new ...Read more

Where is 'Kokomo?' People are still searching for The Beach Boys' tropical island getaway

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You know the catchy, relaxing lyrics: "Off the Florida Keys, there's a place called Kokomo," goes the 1988 hit by The Beach Boys.

Three decades later, people are still wondering, where is Kokomo?

Whether it's in the Keys, the Caribbean or stuck in your head, people continue to look for the fictional romantic island getaway "where you wanna go ...Read more

Beware of 700-pound elk on the Blue Ridge Parkway. They charge at cars, park warns

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An animal that was extinct in the North Carolina mountains for more than 200 years has reemerged as a potential threat to drivers on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Big, angry elk.

"Adult elk seen along the Parkway and in Great Smoky Mountains National Park can weigh between 500 and 700 pounds and have been known to charge in order to defend ...Read more

'Forever Marilyn' statue of Marilyn Monroe gets permanent Palm Springs home

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Palm Springs' on-again, off-again love affair with Marilyn Monroe -- or, at least, the 26-foot statue of her -- has taken a giant step forward. The Seward Johnson sculpture that visited the California city from 2012 to 2014 will be installed permanently at an upcoming downtown park next year.

P.S. Resorts, a group of hotels aimed at promoting ...Read more

The Pied Piper of Plains still packs the pews

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The morning is hot, even by 8 o'clock, and the air is drenched with thick, warm fog found only in the southern reaches of Georgia. As it burns off, the sky becomes brindled with high clouds striated with the red and gold of sunrise. At that early hour, the orchestra of cicadas that usually serenades the countryside has yet to produce even a ...Read more

Get a taste of the high life with a visit to Buckhead area of Atlanta

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ATLANTA -- Anyone who lives in my neck of the woods -- i.e. the Southern part of the U.S. -- has more than a passing acquaintance with the Atlanta airport. It is our preferred gateway to everywhere from Athens, Ga., to Athens, Greece. But just how well do we know the city beyond the airport?

I'm sorry to say that even with several family ...Read more

Horseshoes and straw hats: a day of polo in Connecticut

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New England starts just south of Greenwich, Conn., but luxury, which is the town's birthright, honors no borders, remembers no beginning and anticipates no end. In New England, wealth, like so many other regional features, is practiced with deference. It is a style of fine living that does not shout, "Look at me," but says, "Perhaps I do live ...Read more

Bowling Green benefiting from fascination with small-town America

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Who would believe that a 30-foot hole encased in glass would attract 230,000 annual visitors from around the world to come and gawk?

All the more amazing as there is nothing to see in the enclosed abyss. That would not have been the case, however, on the morning of Feb. 12, 2014 at 5:39 a.m. when a sinkhole opened up ...Read more

In San Francisco's North Beach, pasta, poetry and a big helping of uncertainty

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Before we get to the bad news, let's agree that North Beach, the West Coast's most-storied Little Italy and the richest vein of Beat Generation memories anywhere, can still deliver a moment the way Frank Sinatra delivered "My Way."

As you line up for morning cappuccino among the young and old bohemians at Caffe Trieste, you ...Read more

'Hiker trash,' a fat rattlesnake and fickle Mother Nature: What it's like to trek 800 miles on the Arizona Trail

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SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. -- Fat drops of rain tap out a mournful melody on the nylon ceiling stretched over my head. Peeking out from under a thick down quilt, I watch tiny rivulets of water drip down the sides of my tent and sigh.

It's not supposed to be raining here, at the entrance to Arizona's Saguaro National Park. Not in March. Not ...Read more

California Central Coast adventure: Zipline tandem, rip through sand dunes

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I brace my feet against the floor of our dune buggy as we rip through the spectacular, wind-formed sand dunes of Oceano. And despite my fear and sensory discomfort -- bump, jiggle, thud goes my head -- one word pops out of my mouth: "Woo-hoo!"

I'm by no means an adrenaline junkie. My family and I have come to San Luis Obispo County, Calif., for...Read more

Where to see fall color: 3 great autumn drives in Minnesota

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Along the narrow country lane, rolling waves of autumn color covered the hills. I was cutting through bluff country on my way from the National Eagle Center, in Wabasha, to Whitewater State Park, in Altura, about 30 miles apart. But I didn't take the straightest route. It was autumn, after all, and the sun was shining.

I wish I ...Read more

Musical roots run deep in Nashville — the city that dominates new PBS series 'Country Music'

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jay McDowell is a nerd, he's quick to point out. The head nerd, in fact, of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. Or at least that's what the multimedia archivist, the official title on his snazzy black and gold business card, calls himself as he leads a small group of visitors through the fascinating exhibits, ...Read more

Museum Day in September means free admission at more than 1,300 venues

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Get into a museum without getting out your wallet on Sept. 21 thanks to Smithsonian magazine's Museum Day.

The annual event, now in its 15th year, gives people tickets for free admission to one of 1,300-plus museums and cultural institutions across the country.

Admission is always free at Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. -- and some of ...Read more

It's all about the barbecue at no-frills Arkansas diner with unpredictable hours — and a James Beard Award

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MARIANNA, Ark. -- Deep in the Arkansas Delta is a barbecue joint whose owner repeatedly attracts national attention, without seeking it out.

Jones Bar-B-Q Diner brings international and close-to-home foodies into Marianna, one of the state's poorest communities, with a population around 4,100. It's estimated that at least one-third of the ...Read more

See ya, Celine. Hello, Gaga. Vegas is getting a millennial makeover

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LAS VEGAS -- Of all the ways to burn through cash in Las Vegas, zip lining 12 stories above the throngs at the outdoor mall known as LINQ Promenade may be the most thrilling. Next to hunting down zombies in a virtual reality game, seeing Lady Gaga in concert or hanging out at an arty day club with DJ Marshmello working the decks.

Say so long to...Read more

12 rookie mistakes to avoid on your Bangkok trip

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Beautiful, cultured and frenetic, Bangkok is one of the world's most intense, energetic cities, and if you want to slip seamlessly into the frantic pace of life here, there are a few things you need to know. From common pitfalls to pointers that will help you see the best of the city, here are 12 rookie mistakes to avoid on your Bangkok trip.

1...Read more

A guide to catching fall colors at Indiana Dunes National Park: Where to eat, sleep and hike

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PORTER, Ind. -- When Indiana Dunes jumped categories from national lakeshore to national park earlier this year, it joined the elite ranks of the country's most hallowed natural wonders, 61 sites whose esteemed members include Yellowstone and Yosemite.

The Dunes' climb up the National Park Service ladder is really just a matter of perception. ...Read more