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Minnesota island retreat takes on a different tone in fall

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As the vintage wooden Chris-Craft shaved a path into the still lake, shades of coral, cherry and lime rippled in the trailing wake.

The florid shoreline, replicated in those blurred patches of water, seemed to be preening.

"The colors are just really getting going," said Michael Andrews, our captain. "By the end of the day, you'll see -- it's ...Read more

Monument to myth or history? Museum of the Bible to open in Washington, D.C.

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WASHINGTON -- Three blocks from Smithsonian exhibits depicting the Big Bang and evolution, Washington's newest museum will tell a different story of the creation of the universe.

The Museum of the Bible will showcase the impact of the Old and New Testaments using ancient artifacts and examples of ways the holy book has influenced the modern ...Read more

Myscha Theriault: Asheville's best places to chill out and chow with your dog

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Having enjoyed the few days I was able to spend in Asheville, N.C., years ago, I made sure to jump quickly on a two-month pet sitting opportunity when it arrived in my inbox earlier this spring. This extended visit has provided me with an insight I didn't fully appreciate the last time I was here. This place has virtually barrier-free access to ...Read more

Maui's heavenly Hana is more than just a road trip

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HANA, Hawaii -- Hana, on the east side of the island of Maui, might not be literally a one-horse town, but it is tiny, with a population of 1,258. We saw only one horse, looking over the fence at us next to the Hasegawa General Store. The horse blinked and chewed, not much interested, then returned to mowing the verdant field, mouthful by ...Read more

North Carolina's Crystal Coast offers quiet beach vacation with pirate adventures

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EMERALD ISLE, N.C. -- Sitting on the beach, watching the waves roll in off the Atlantic, it's hard to imagine the Queen Anne's Revenge, a 17th century frigate notoriously captained by the pirate Blackbeard, slinking along the horizon with a flotilla of smaller sloops.

And yet, 300 years ago, people living on the North Carolina coast very well ...Read more

'Panoramas of the City' explores St. Louis history on an oversize scale

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ST. LOUIS -- The big pictures tell a St. Louis story, but so do the details.

Yes, there's the little boy picking his nose on one side of a panoramic photo of a 1921 golden jubilee celebration of a Jesuit priest. And the wide-mouthed woman photobombing a panorama of a crowd gathered on Art Hill to welcome home aviator Charles Lindbergh.

But ...Read more

Ashland, Ore., in autumn: Take in a show, bike a mountain, tour a vineyard

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ASHLAND, Ore. -- Shortly after hitting town recently, we ate a picnic lunch at a shaded table by Ashland Creek. A few feet away, children played in the water under parents' watchful eyes as new arrivals skipped across a vintage foot bridge.

That evening we had a couple rounds of fascinating local beers -- one flavored with hibiscus and ginger -...Read more

Planned ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain will swing you crazy fast at 172 feet in the air

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LOS ANGELES -- Six Flags Magic Mountain plans to build a new ride for thrill seekers who have no fear of heights.

Shortly after the Valencia park launches its year-round schedule Jan. 1, it aims to open the world's tallest pendulum ride: a 172-foot-tall attraction called CraZanity. The giant swinging disc will hold 40 riders and will reach ...Read more

Napa and Sonoma: 6 fab corkhead adventures with the kids

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Thirsting for a delicious Napa or Sonoma getaway, but stumped about what to do with the kids? We feel your pain.

But California's famous wine country offers more than cabernet tastings. Here are six super-fun, family-friendly things to do while you're there. Some spots, such as Sterling Vineyards and Safari West, combine vino and adventure. ...Read more

Napa Valley: Insider's guide to splurge-worthy getaway deals

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Napa Valley's world-class wine, food and landscapes draw some 3.5 million visitors a year to its wineries, restaurants and inns. But these days, a Napa visit doesn't come cheap. With tasting fees climbing past the $40 mark and hotel rooms going for more than $300 a night, a wine country visit is fast becoming a spendy proposition.

Affordable ...Read more

Inn-Escapable: Westin Verasa Napa

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With its serene setting on the banks of the Napa River and its Michelin-starred restaurant, the Westin Verasa Napa makes a great home base for any Napa escape. It's luxurious, yes, but laid back, too. Most of the 180 rooms in this spacious hotel are suites, decorated in a soothing earth-tone color palette and complete with small kitchen, living ...Read more