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Northern California road trip has plenty to offer

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California tourists know big city names such as Sacramento, but a visit to Northern California offers more than one opportunity to enjoy the area. It's a great place for a road trip. Camino, Coloma, Columbia, Jamestown, Placerville, Sonora and Tuolumne County are full of attractions just around the next bend in the road -- gas up the car and see...Read more

Where to eat and shop in Stillwater, Minn., a town with year-round holiday cheer

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The lighting was low, indirect. The perfectly arranged displays were backlit, so all I saw when I stepped into the old-fashioned storefront was ornaments -- hundreds and hundreds of them, gleaming and sparkling in cascades of colors.

White segued to silver, gold to red. Ornate blown-glass Santas rubbed elbows with glitter-cheeked snowmen; ...Read more

Looking for a holiday present idea? How about giving the gift of travel

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I was recently scrolling through YouTube videos to get an idea of what would be the hot gift ideas for this holiday season. As expected, there were the usual suspects -- all manner of state-of-the-art electronic gadgets and gear, athletic shoes that cost almost as much as the down payment on a car in days gone by, and for the kids, larger and ...Read more

New York states of mind

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It seems fitting to quote lyrics from Leonard Bernstein's 1944 Broadway musical "On The Town," considering that this year is the centenary of his blessed birth: particularly so, since I just spent four days in New York. So here it goes: "New York, New York, a helluva town, The Bronx is up, but the Battery's down."

Although I've visited New York...Read more

Where to stay, eat and play along the Mississippi River? Book on Great River Road tells all

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Dean Klinkenberg stopped counting the miles he's cruised on the Great River Road when he hit 120,000. "I wore out one car, and I'm working on wearing out another," said the author of the recently released "Road Tripping Along the Great River Road."

For this former Minnesotan, every drive along the Mississippi feeds his love for the river -- and...Read more

In this Cleveland hall, classical music is king (and ancient Egypt meets the jazz age)

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CLEVELAND -- Above, the ceiling was done up in silver, beige and blue like frosting on a wedding cake. Below, at the lip of the stage, a tall man in a black suit and white bow tie leaned forward with a tip.

"This is going to be something," said Mark Jackobs, one of the Cleveland Orchestra's viola players. "This is a freight train."

Jackobs, ...Read more

See rock and polka too

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Classical music, bread and water are all some people need. But if your appetites range more widely, Cleveland stands ready with rock and polka, beer and pirogis.

First, the rock. Before you step into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a plaque explains the city's claim on rock history: Alan Freed, a Cleveland disc jockey, popularized the phrase in ...Read more

Branson: Brighter than ever this Christmas

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Long popular as Midwest America's go-to place for country music, Branson, Mo., is staking its claim as home to the most spectacular and longest-running Christmas celebration of the 2018 holiday season.

At the center of all the excitement is Silver Dollar City, the Ozark Mountain town's omnipresent 100-acre 1880s-era theme park. On Nov. 3, it ...Read more

Portsmouth defies the notion of cookie cutter with its history, scenery, cuisine

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PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- It was love at first sight. As one all too accustomed to America's obsession with a standardized urban design -- every other block decorated with a Rite Aid, Panera, Starbucks and McDonald's -- Portsmouth came as a breath ... no, make that a gust of fresh air.

This port city on the Piscataqua River and just a few miles from ...Read more

'It's a Wonderful Life' — all December — in this New York town

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Early each December, a magical transformation takes place in Seneca Falls, N.Y., as the classic Christmas movie "It's a Wonderful Life" leaps off the screen.

The word "Bedford" replaces "Seneca" on signs marking the city limits.

The tavern at The Gould Hotel becomes "Martini's."

Along Fall Street, the main drag, George Bailey shouts, "Merry ...Read more

At Epcot: Guardians of the Galaxy, Ratatouille, IllumiNations

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MIAMI--Disney has started to fill in some of the details of a makeover of Epcot that will be going on for years: more spectacle, more interactive entertainment, more cutting-edge technology that will give us not just a glimpse of fantasy worlds but immerse us in them.

The company still has not revealed the big picture, but recently, between the...Read more

Can spending 72 hours in Minnesota's woods decrease stress? We tested the idea

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"What I didn't expect was to feel so completely in the moment," Laura said.

My friend and I were walking along a forest path and had stopped to photograph lichens on a fallen branch. Behind us, the Cross River burbled toward Lake Superior. The sun broke through clouds. We'd just spent nearly an hour on a rocky beach watching salmon spawn and ...Read more

Dressed in holiday style at Disneyland

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ANAHEIM, Calif.--Harsh halogen lights bathed Disneyland's Main Street U.S.A. in the dark early-morning hours as the backup beeps of aerial lifts and heavy-metal cranes mixed with the thundering sound of their revving diesel engines.

Horticultural workers in neon safety vests hustled to plant red and white blooms in a large flowerbed while a ...Read more

Evermore resets the theme park with an interactive, theatrical pivot

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PLEASANT GROVE, Utah -- The future of theme parks might just be in a Salt Lake City suburb. This is where you will find Evermore, where one of its star attractions is not a state-of-the-art coaster nor a thrill ride populated with scenes from a recent superhero movie. Instead, it is a tavern called the Crooked Lantern.

To get to the Crooked ...Read more

Seeking the wild side of Maui? Easy, it's everywhere

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I wanted to find wild Maui, so naturally, I piled my family into a rental car for a five-hour drive on a narrow road with single-lane bridges and curves so sharp that I sometimes lost sight of the pavement -- and oncoming cars. Horns and brakes get a workout on this roadway. Knuckles turn white. And, still, I decided that it was our path to ...Read more

Putting Jackson Hole to the test, on and off the slopes

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Given the vagaries of winter weather, the best ski plan may involve a mountain destination with diversity.

That was the thinking that led our family to Jackson, aka Jackson Hole, last winter.

In western Wyoming, Jackson offers not just legendary skiing and snowboarding, but access to several national parks, including Yellowstone and Grand ...Read more

New hotel in St. Louis aims to match room color to guest's mood

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Looking for a romantic getaway? Or maybe you just want to go somewhere to relax and unwind?

A new hotel in St. Louis aims to match travelers' moods with the type of room they get, and it's all based on color.

Red rooms are for passion. Blue for tranquility. Need rejuvenating? Go green. For happiness, surround yourself in sunny yellow.

Each ...Read more

Escaping winter in Destin, Fla.

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Now that the cold weather has arrived, you might be thinking about ways to escape it. Consistently rated among the best beaches in Florida and in the USA (and even the world), you can't go wrong with a visit to Destin, Fla. Known for it's emerald green yet totally clear water and white "sugar sand" powder soft beaches, Destin will give you the ...Read more

We went for the colorful leaves, but found so much more on our trip to Rhode Island

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- I had been looking forward to this for a long time -- a road trip in Rhode Island with two friends to see New England fall foliage at its best. The only problem was that while my friends and I were there, the foliage was a no-show.

October is generally peak time to catch fall's annual display of botanical pyrotechnics, but ...Read more

Camp out in a tree house or a goat farm; Hipcamp site lets you rent hidden gem campsites

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Looking to rent a tree house with a slide-down pole and space for nine? A tent site on a private horse farm? A riverfront spot to park your RV near a half-dozen natural springs?

You can find all these -- plus 300 other campsites -- in Florida thanks to Hipcamp, a website that has just launched in the Sunshine State.

Sites range from $10 per ...Read more