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A 75th Birthday Hike With Smokey Bear

People are funny about birthdays. Some like to ignore them completely, others crave a big celebration, while others (whether they like it or not) have them sprung on them by surprise.

For many years a critical part of my birthday observance has required hiking in nature. It has offered a chance to observe, take stock and push myself -- sort of ...Read more

Stones of All Kinds Make Visits Sparkle

By Victor Block

Vacationing in Arkansas, Nancy Meyers and Kathy Smith stop at a museum to admire a 5-foot-tall quartz crystal called "the Holy Grail." Bill and Betty Price and their two young daughters sift through a pile of dirt in western Maine looking for gemstones. During a visit to Kentucky to celebrate his wife Evelyn's 40th ...Read more

Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains have equally beguiling valleys

By Candyce H. Stapen

Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains dazzle in fall. The hillsides billow with ribbons of red, yellow and rust-colored leaves, and roads lead past fields edged by fiery crimson and bright orange thickets of trees. To explore Nelson County, Virginia, we based ourselves at the Wintergreen Resort, a ski resort that sprawls ...Read more

The Past Lives at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

By Victor Block

William Byrd III was a man of great stature in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. He served in the House of Burgesses and on the Governor's Council. However, due to his lavish lifestyle and gambling addiction he could not live within his income. He lost his wealth and died in 1777 by an apparent suicide.

Christiana ...Read more

Explore the Splendor That Is Sedona

By Doug Hansen

Soft orange rays from the rising sun cascaded through the boughs of stubby junipers that lined the trail to Sedona's famed Bell Rock as we hiked along the well-worn dirt trail that circled the base of the massive, bell-shaped red dome. During the 4-mile hike we marveled at the otherworldly beauty surrounding us: In every ...Read more

Learn About People Who Changed the World at Halls of Fame

By Victor Block

A mother watching her young daughter play with paper dolls surmises that the little girl would have more fun dressing three-dimensional figures. A young locomotive engineer drives a trainload of burning dynamite away from a town, saving the lives of hundreds of people. A Black scientist and inventor born in the 19th ...Read more

Short Stay in Bellingham Yields Big Fun

By Lesley Sauls Frederikson

As our group wandered through downtown Bellingham, Washington, my college friend's teenage daughter gently tugged on my sleeve. She had spotted a small ice cream shop and wanted to conspire for a taste, so we nipped in. From an assortment of creative and exotic ice cream flavors we selected honey lavender and ...Read more

Eat Like the Locals -- If You Dare

By Victor Block

Sampling new foods as you go around the country can be a pleasurable and educational part of travel. It can also offer a challenge when diners confront homegrown favorites that -- for better or worse -- are popular in specific states or regions.

Earning bona fides by eating like the locals is a worthy goal, and it can ...Read more

Visit the Best Places to Witness Wildlife Migration Paths

Every year sees tens of thousands of animals and birds move around the country as they head to sunnier climates and breeding grounds. In my experience, nothing is better than seeing such spectacles of nature, and if you pick the right time, you and your family should be able to witness these migrations up close.

Plan the...Read more

Tips for Your Next Family Road Trip

By Margot Black

More people are taking road trips than ever before, despite the fact that bundling your family into a car and driving for hours on end might sound more like your worst nightmare than a fun vacation. I'm living proof that it can be fabulous -- but you have to approach the idea intelligently.

The beauty of a family road ...Read more

Napa Valley's Charm Lives On

By Richard Carroll

The sins of progress have barely touched one of the world's most prestigious wine regions. Once a sleepy, laid-back hideaway where the residents of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga smugly enjoyed the fragrant air, tended their vines and quietly celebrated one of the planet's most attractive settings, the ...Read more

Louisiana's Poverty Point State Park Is Rich in Culture

By Bonnie and Bill Neely

The name may not sound inviting, but Poverty Point State RV Park at the Louisiana State Park and Reservoir in Delhi is one of the most beautiful we have ever seen. The name comes from the abandoned 1800s plantation that was on this property long before it became a park. All the RV sites are flat, paved and with ...Read more

Reflection and Rebuilding in Berlin

By Lesley Sauls Frederikson

On the four-hour train ride from Frankfurt to Berlin, my daughter, the friends we had come to visit and I used our phones and the helpful Marco Polo guidebook we had purchased at the Frankfurt station to plan the two brief days we would be there. By the time we pulled into the station, we were ready to go.

...Read more

An Exchange Experience in Frankfurt Rhine-Main

By Lesley Sauls Frederikson

When my daughter began German classes in middle school, we could not have imagined how much the experience would add to our lives. Four years later, we hosted a student from Germany; we were preparing for my daughter to go there when the coronavirus pandemic spoiled everyone's plans. In the summer before she ...Read more

Discover Denver's Old South Pearl Street

By Richard Carroll

Denver is on the rise with young, vital residents in addition to a multitude of new arrivals bursting with passion and a sense of discovery. The Rocky Mountain setting is a huge draw with some of the world's top ski resorts, challenging hiking trails and an outdoor lifestyle that is unsurpassed. Before "green" was the ...Read more

Small Museums in Rangeley, Maine, Whet the Appetite for More

New York has its Metropolitan Museum of Art and Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian Institution. Other cities and towns, large and small, throughout the United States are also home to museums that relate a variety of intriguing stories. A bit of research is likely to turn up interesting collections close to where you live ...Read more

A Serendipitous Road Trip to Paso Robles

By Athena Lucero

Not all roads lead to Paso Robles wine country in California's Central Coast. But in 2015, two events would lure me back to the Golden State's rising star. In May of that year, a visit to then-new Bristols Cider House in the town of Atascadero next door to Paso (the shortened moniker for Paso Robles) introduced me to ...Read more

Blackbeard and Beaches Await at the Outer Banks

I stood frozen with fear, unable to move. The terrifying image drew closer, his curved sword swinging wildly. Just as he seemed about to separate my head from my body, I snapped back to reality, left my all-too-real daydream about Blackbeard the pirate behind and moved on to the next exhibit in the museum.

The dramatic ...Read more

Flying Bicycles, Classic Cars and More Surprise Visitors to Boulder

By Lesley Sauls Frederikson

"Stop the car!" I barked.

My startled husband yanked our rental car to the side of the road. Lucky for me, he has a good sense of humor and was able to understand my urgency when I explained that I thought I had just seen a bicycle fly through the air. A quick reverse up the block and we found ourselves ...Read more

A Weekend in Beautiful Boulder

By Lesley Sauls Frederikson

"If only these walls could talk," I said to my husband as we relaxed in our Victorian room on the fifth floor of the Boulderado Hotel in downtown Boulder, Colorado. We had been trundled up five floors in the original Otis elevator that has served the hotel since its opening on New Year's Eve, 1908, for a grand...Read more



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