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Enjoy the Simple Life in Patrick County, Virginia

By Victor Block

One place that my wife, Fyllis, and I visited promised a "luxury boutique" that has won accolades as among the best resorts in the country. The other invited us to "experience the simple life."

These very different settings stretch along the Virginia-North Carolina border. Together, Patrick County, Virginia, and the ...Read more

Adventure Awaits at Unusual Primland

By Fyllis Hockman

"You want me to go where?" my mind shouted as I barreled down a 90-degree angle that led into a wall of mud- and gravel-encased woods. I was driving -- or more accurately surviving -- an ATV excursion at Primland in Meadows of Dan, Virginia.

On the hour's ride, when I was willing to unclutch the steering wheel long ...Read more

Family Fun at Majestic Mammoth Mountain

By Margot Black

For a spectacular family nature escape, look no farther than Mammoth Lakes in California. This picturesque vacation destination offers travelers a stimulating scenic atmosphere where they can learn more about myriad outdoor activities. Our family had the pleasure of partaking in a glorious skiing, snowmobiling and tubing ...Read more

Secluded Smith Island Is Living at Its Best

By Victor Block

Talk about hometown pride! When I asked a grizzled waterman who lives on Smith Island, Maryland, if he'd like to accompany me to one of the community's other nearby villages, he replied "Nope, I've already been there."

While the twinkle in his eyes suggested he wasn't completely serious, the fact is that residents of ...Read more

Relive the Past at Museums, Diners, Drive-ins and More

By Victor Block

Louis Kaplan is channeling his childhood. As a youngster he collected baseball cards, which he stored in boxes and treasured as souvenirs of America's favorite pastime. Decades later he's reliving that time while visiting the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

Opportunities to recapture ...Read more

Gardens Around the Country Celebrate Spring

By Victor Block

Spring has sprung, and summer will soon arrive. If you're a flower gardener -- and the National Gardening Association estimates that members of more than a third of American households are -- you already may have begun to till soil and plant seeds. If you enjoy gardens more by watching than working, however, now is the ...Read more

Find Fish, Kitsch and Wildlife in the Florida Keys

By Victor Block

One afternoon while visiting the Florida Keys I photographed my wife, Fyllis, swimming with stingrays and other denizens of the sea in a huge tank of water, then shoving live fish through an opening in a Plexiglas wall to feed hungry sharks on the other side. Driving back to our temporary home away from home, we passed ...Read more

Funk, Frivolity and Florida History in Key West

By Fyllis Hockman

Key West, Florida, is more than a place. It is a spirit, a funky energy that enters your soul and takes residence in your worldview as well as your inner vision. A state of mind more than a city; a way of life more than a place to live. It's a lifestyle, not a destination. All expressed in the absurdist poetry that is ...Read more

Heavenly Lake Tahoe Is Pure Heaven for Families

By Margot Black

Our family recently had the pleasure of enjoying a late-winter wonderland at Heavenly Ski Resort, and it was undoubtedly one of the most picturesque places I have ever seen. Situated in South Lake Tahoe, it is the largest resort in the region and offers an absolutely phenomenal playground for family-friendly skiing and ...Read more

Mother Nature's Hidden Gems

By Victor Block

Sure, it's great to ooh and aah at the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, be overwhelmed by the blistered desert floor and extinct volcanic craters in Death Valley, and hear the thunderous roar of Niagara Falls. But Mother Nature also has created countless other treasures throughout the country that while less well-known are ...Read more

Aquarium Encounters Offers Play With Sea Creatures

By Fyllis Hockman

Decked out in snorkel equipment and wetsuit -- getting into and out of which was admittedly the most challenging aspect of the whole experience -- I entered the 200,000-gallon coral reef tank. It was filled with large and small residents -- more than 50 species of fish, sharks and eels -- into whose life I was about to ...Read more

Find More Than Lodging in Some Unusual Hotels

By Victor Block

Tom and Betty Taylor settle down to spend the night in a Pullman train car. They snuggle between crisp sheets covering a comfortable bed. When they awaken next morning and peer out the window, the scene that greets them is exactly what they saw before turning off the light.

The train car in which the Taylors slept didn't...Read more

Fine Wine Is the Pride of Texas

By Athena Lucero

"I love tannat! I've never tasted wine from this grape before," I excitedly commented to Jennifer McInnis, general manager at Bending Branch Winery in historic Comfort, Texas. But I wasn't at the bar with a tasting flight before me. I was at home and taking part in a Zoom webinar about off-the-radar winemaking in the ...Read more

Learn to Love Where You Live

By Victor Block

If the current "don't travel far from home" regimen has you down in the dumps, take heart. A world of wonder awaits, and it may be no farther away than where you live or close by.

The lock-down protocols that have curtailed far-flung excursions don't mean you have to hide the car keys, stash walking shoes, and postpone ...Read more

What to Know When You Share a Vacation Rental

By Candyce H. Stapen

It looked so good on paper -- a week in a Caribbean villa with my two sisters, their children and mine. By sharing, we cut costs, gained more space than a hotel room and added such luxuries as a private pool. The rental house in Jamaica, our first villa rental, gave us time to reconnect instead of merely catching up ...Read more

U.S. Train Stations Have Surprises in Store

By Victor Block

Betty Condon and Tom Butler are checking out a beautifully furnished room that was created for the use of U.S. presidents. Roger Price and Paul Beatty are enjoying a spirited game of tennis. Brothers Charles and Ted Brawner are sharing and comparing tastes at a state-of-the-art brew pub.

While none of these experiences ...Read more

Finding Jim Morrison in Paris

By Glenda Winders

When most people arrive in Paris the first places they want to go are the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but my rocker husband had other priorities. We went to those places, too, of course, but what he wanted to do first was visit Jim Morrison's grave. We had arrived on an evening Eurostar from London, so we went to our ...Read more

Civil Rights Sites Honor Struggles for Freedom

By Victor Block

As the Civil War drew to a close, soldiers of the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiments occupied a plantation on James Island, South Carolina, which earlier had been held by Confederate forces. They were among the approximately 185,000 U.S. Colored Troops, as they were called, who fought with the North.

Visitors can ...Read more

Planet Word: Where Words Rule the World

By Fyllis Hockman

I'm a travel writer. Words are what I do. My stories may not always sing, but I usually can put one word in front of another succinctly enough to craft a well-written article. But when I heard about the newly opened Planet Word in Washington, D.C., I was so excited, I had no words. But I knew I couldn't get there fast ...Read more

Beware of Travel Ads That Seem Too Good to Be True

By Victor Block

The advertisement for a Caribbean hotel touts "ocean view," and there is -- for guests who climb to a rooftop terrace and peer far into the distance. A restaurant website is replete with rave reviews that give no hint they were written by people who were paid for their positive ratings. The photograph shows people ...Read more

 

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