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
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
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, 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
OTTAWA, Ill. -- Sometimes you just need to get in a car and drive, out to the edge of Chicago, through the suburbs and past the exurbs, to a place where the highway is straight and smooth and the sky shows you where it meets the land, or at least the treetops, in all four directions.
I do this now and again, on Interstate 80, and usually I end ...Read more
When tourists came to Florida back in the days before Disney, they still went on "rides." But in Old Florida, those rides were boat tours not roller coasters.
Seeing Florida by boat is still one of the best ways to enjoy all it offers.
On a floating getaway, you can reach places where there are no roads and glimpse views you can't see any ...Read more
When perusing flight options, we've all come across prices that seem too good to be true. Although such deals are tempting, it's easy to fall prey to hidden fees and unreliable service without proper research. Spirit Airlines has developed a reputation in the travel community for doing just that. While some of this criticism is merited, Spirit ...Read more
Columbus, on the far western side of Georgia, isn't near an ocean, a sea or even the Gulf of Mexico. So, then, you might think it odd to see a tanned surfer dude -- or maybe a surfer chick -- strolling around downtown with a surfboard under one arm and a wetsuit under the other.
That's because Columbus, the second largest city in Georgia after ...Read more
SCHUYLER, Va. -- Deep in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, miles from any multilane highway (or any straight road for that matter), through dense forests of Virginia pine and over trickling streams, I heard a familiar voice.
"Illi-noa? Why that's a ways away from he-uh, suh."
The woman at the front desk of the tiny museum I was ...Read more
DANE, Wis. -- We're ready for a bit of day drinking at 1:30 p.m. on a Monday and know where to begin.
A tree-lined driveway near Dane, 20 miles north of Madison, leads to expansive lawns and a farmhouse with pillars and shutters. Doors are locked, but on a chalkboard is this: We'll be right back. We're touring the rickhouses.
Sprinkled through...Read more