Fall in Nova Scotia
Oct31

Fall in Nova Scotia

Falling for Atlantic Canada By Annette Brooks       The lyrics from “You’re So Vain” kept replaying in my head as we sped northward, trying to make it to St. John, New Brunswick before the ferry to Digby, Nova Scotia departed. Listening to Carly Simon’s 1972 hit back in the day initially ignited my curiosity about Nova Scotia (Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia/To see the total eclipse of the sun), and it stayed with me over...

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Celebrate Autumn In Asheville
Oct24

Celebrate Autumn In Asheville

As the dog days of summer wane, autumn beckons to us all. You can almost feel the crisp air, smell the wonderful fall aromas, and visualize foliage so vibrant you want to reach out and touch it. That’s when it’s time to head to Asheville, North Carolina. Each year, autumn-loving visitors from around the world slip into town to drink in the splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains ablaze with color, fill their hearts with laughter and joy...

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Renewed Spirit
Oct02

Renewed Spirit

Travel destinations that’ll leave you uplifted for whatever life changes come your way By Annette Brooks In a hectic, tumultuous world, finding a place on earth that instills wonderment, if only for a few moments, makes an impression that lasts a lifetime. Spirit-renewing experiences are deeply personal and often happen serendipitously as you explore new destinations. A singularly still moment while touring San Antonio’s Spanish...

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Pursue Your Travel Passions
Aug09

Pursue Your Travel Passions

Ask nearly any person about his or her dream trip and watch a smile appear as the perfect personal excursion is described. Now, ask why the trip has yet to happen, and time and money will be the likely culprits. The misconceived notions that may be holding you back from traveling can feel especially exacerbated during busy seasons when travel costs rise and coordinating vacation schedules with coworkers becomes a challenge. Carving...

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Austin Hotel Restaurants to Remember
May30

Austin Hotel Restaurants to Remember

Whether you are traveling on business, enjoying a romantic weekend getaway, or simply looking for a new place to overnight, these fantastic Austin hotels offer more than just a comfortable room. In-hotel restaurants have in times past been thought of as simply convenient, but sometimes the best fare in the neighborhood is right where you’re staying. In fact, locals frequent and recommend these fabulous Austin hotel eateries below,...

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Shoreline & Seafood
May09

Shoreline & Seafood

Eight hours was a long drive, but just doable enough to get through with some sanity intact. That’s one perk of living in northern New Jersey—New England is only a day’s drive away. It was the summer of 2017, and my mom and I were headed out on a road trip to Maine. A big part of our expedition was an impending “mother-daughter lobster crawl.” My mom, of course, was ecstatic over our little escapade. Had I been younger, I probably...

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Wild Blue Ridge Yonder
Apr11

Wild Blue Ridge Yonder

An unforgettable weekend in the mountains Our desire to escape “citified” life and get immersed in nature set us on a mission to find a place we had yet to explore. Banner Elk, North Carolina quickly rose to the top of the list. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains between ski resorts, and on the edge of the Cherokee National Forest just a few miles from the Tennessee state line, Banner Elk offers a great assortment of outdoor...

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Geothermal Globetrotting
Mar13

Geothermal Globetrotting

Throughout the ages, people have flocked to geothermal springs to reap the benefits of their warm, restorative, mineral-rich waters. Now, with our renewed interest in healthy, natural activities, the original spa encounter is making a comeback. When planning your next trip, check out geothermal pools for built-in, healthful relaxation breaks. To pique your interest, we’ve highlighted a few hot spring experiences located on islands...

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A Storybook Getaway
Feb06

A Storybook Getaway

Personal pampering in pastoral Georgia My heart was racing and my legs felt a little shaky as I raised the 20-gauge shotgun to my cheek and stared down the barrel. I hollered, “pull!” and instantly a neon orange clay rocketed into the air. I aimed. I fired. I missed. While I may have missed that first, second, and third clay (fourth time’s a charm?), what I hadn’t missed was the fact that this little getaway at a place in Georgia...

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Sail Into Winter
Jan03

Sail Into Winter

It might just be the best time to take a cruise Wondering what to do after the holiday excitement has waned? A cruise can be the perfect antidote for the winter blahs. Visit multiple destinations, unpack once, keep yourself (and the kids) entertained, meet new people, enjoy some nightlife, get pampered, and simply chill out—what could be easier? What’s Your Cruise Personality? Cruises come in all shapes and sizes—mega ships to small...

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Christmas in Bethlehem
Dec04

Christmas in Bethlehem

One family experiences their first holiday season in Christmas City, USA Named after one of the holiest places on earth, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania pulls out all the stops each Christmas season. The city and its residents create an atmosphere so festive, uplifting, and genuine that even Ebenezer Scrooge couldn’t resist its charms. From a visitors’ perspective, Bethlehem—known as Christmas City USA—is a holiday wonderland where music...

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Cool Weather Camping
Oct30

Cool Weather Camping

Explore, unplug, relax, and share family togetherness Stifling heat, humidity, and swarms of mosquitoes don’t necessarily suggest an ideal camping scenario, even if you’re into “glamping” in a tricked out fifth wheel. Luckily, with the hot days of summer long behind us, camping can take on new life in Texas. Some of the best camping weather in the Lone Star state comes in late autumn and early winter. All it takes is a little basic...

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One Perfect Day
Oct30

One Perfect Day

My daughter and I visit England’s Lake District If we’re lucky, each of us will get to enjoy one perfect day before we leave this earth. I’m pretty sure I’ve had mine. It began with two of my favorite things. It was winter and I was in England. I was also with my 23-year-old daughter, Molly, and it was the first trip we’d taken not just as mother and daughter but as two women getting to know each other on equal footing. Molly was in...

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Options in Oregon
Sep27

Options in Oregon

Countless choices for versatile vacationers Build sandcastles on the beach or hike mountain trails? Golf in the high desert or visit wine country? How about satiating your inner foodie with creative cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients? Or maybe you love to be pampered at a luxury resort and spa. You can do all this and more in Oregon! World-Class Golf, Craft Beer, Hiking the High Desert Bend was the first destination on our...

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Tex-Active!
Aug25

Tex-Active!

Texas adventures for active families and outdoor enthusiasts There’s more to Texas than barbecue and rodeos. The Lone Star State serves up a bounty of a diverse activities perfect for families and individuals. We’ve pulled together a few of our favorites to inspire you to get out there and experience our amazing state—up close and personal. Dry Surfing and Tobogganing Over near Midland/Odessa lies a natural sandbox that does Texas...

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Philadelphia
Jun21

Philadelphia

An Insider’s Perspective As a Philadelphia native, I am firmly convinced that it’s one of the best cities in the world. Philadelphia has everything you could possibly want in a city—history and art, beautiful architecture, great food, and a definite personality. “Philly” is characterized by its neighborhoods, each with their own quirks and distinguishing features. One of my favorite places to take visitors is down to the neighborhood...

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A Grand Vacation
Jun21

A Grand Vacation

Family trekking through artsy Sedona and the magnificent Grand Canyon   Deciding to splurge on a weeklong family vacation was easy. Choosing a destination everyone was on board with… not so much. Our children are eclectic—the adventurous, fun-loving scientist, the posh princess accountant, the artsy new age actor and playwright. (And thankfully, a couple of significant others who are generally up for anything.) After weeks of...

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Don’t Try This at Home
Feb28

Don’t Try This at Home

Observations from my month on an ostrich farm The first thing I learned about ostriches is that there is no reason they should exist. They are too delicate, too stupid, too vulnerable, too diseased to survive, and yet somehow they do. This was explained to me as I knelt on the floor beside a Styrofoam incubator full of ostrich chicks who had nearly broken free of their eggs. Just weeks before, I’d been working behind a desk at an art...

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Always in Bloom
Jan31

Always in Bloom

Three of the Most Unique, Must-See U.S. Botanical Gardens Tucked away from the everyday world, botanical gardens offer a colorful blend of art and nature, and a peaceful break from a busy vacation. With a vast assortment located across the country, it’s easy to include a botanical garden in your travel plans. We’ve selected three of our favorites to share—each with a distinct design—that you won’t want to miss when you’re in the area....

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A New Spin
Dec29

A New Spin

Classic American travel destinations from fresh perspectives From the misty mountains of the Pacific Northwest to Boston’s legendary harbor and the open skies of Texas, there’s something about exploring America that makes you long for more. So why not kick off the New Year by rethinking some of our country’s most popular travel spots? Look beyond the obvious attractions and you just may be surprised at what you discover. Here are a...

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Quintessential Hawaii
Nov30

Quintessential Hawaii

Slightly Off the Beaten Path “What do you recommend as an insider?” Having owned vacation homes on the Big Island for many years and after exploring every nook and cranny, invariably friends planning a Hawaiian vacation ask me this question. Sure, you can enjoy stunning oceanfront golf courses and the soft sand and waves of award-winning Hapuna Beach. You can take a snorkeling tour to the crystal-clear waters near Captain Cook...

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125 Hours in Our Nation’s Capital
Nov01

125 Hours in Our Nation’s Capital

“Disney World or D.C.?” I asked Hayden, my almost 11-year-old son. My husband, Bryan, and I were surprised when after only a few moments of deliberation he firmly announced, “D.C. Because it’s got the Air and Space Museum.” Did I mention he’s obsessed with flight?  So began our five day adventure in our nation’s capital. FRIDAY 9:41 a.m. @ Reagan International Airport Our Airbus makes its picturesque pass to avoid regulated air space...

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Bora Bora
Oct03

Bora Bora

Jewel of the South Seas Lose Yourself in the Ultimate Island Paradise One of the dreamiest destinations on the planet, Bora Bora lives up to its reputation as an earthly Eden. It’s a place to frolic, embrace romance, and totally escape reality. And that’s the point—you can completely unravel and discover an almost surreal level of inner serenity in Bora Bora. From the moment I arrived until we parted ways, the island captivated my...

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Oktoberfest Chicago Style
Sep01

Oktoberfest Chicago Style

Celebrating the Windy City’s deeply rooted German heritage Oktoberfest began as a wedding celebration in Munich when Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810. Today, the Oktoberfest in Munich is the largest folk festival in the world. Chicago knows how to throw a party. As autumn arrives, Chicagoans never miss the opportunity to don dirndls and lederhosen for some good old German-inspired...

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The Bright Lights of Bangkok
Aug01

The Bright Lights of Bangkok

Watching The King and I made me do it—a trip to Bangkok, Thailand on a whim. Thailand (once called Siam) captivated me throughout childhood thanks to this movie. Exotic and colorful, to me it was a land of inspiration. So when I found myself in Singapore on business with a few free days on my hands, I booked a ticket to Bangkok and a room at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel—a lone woman on an adventure. Little did I know what a powerful...

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London Calling
Jul01

London Calling

Visiting London without delving into its celebrated landmarks and neighborhoods would be like trying to eat a chocolate bar without removing the wrapper. It’s more about what’s inside the jewel box than the jewelry case itself—not unexpected from the Brits, when you think about it. Even London’s skyline is subdued, especially when compared to the showiness of Hong Kong, Dubai, Tokyo, and New York City. Instead, get your architectural...

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The (Low Key) Travel Bucket List
Jun07

The (Low Key) Travel Bucket List

Little adventures you won’t regret Bucket lists are big these days. So are the things you’ll find on most of them. Seems like every travel list anymore includes the ancient Inca citadel Machu Picchu, sunrise at the Taj Mahal, and the northern lights in Iceland. Over-the-top aspirations are exciting to think about, but why not dare to dream smaller, too? Some of the most memorable and satisfying experiences in life are less intense....

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Brooklyn (boroughed in) Culture
May02

Brooklyn (boroughed in) Culture

The best way to immerse yourself in Brooklyn’s mix of hip and historic neighborhoods is on foot, meandering around, absorbing all the sights, sounds, and flavors. And when your tootsies get tired, just hail a taxi. The borough of Brooklyn’s glitzy neighboring island with the towering skyline has taken center stage for almost as long as it’s existed, but times have changed for Brooklyn, known as America’s first suburb. It’s become a...

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All In A Day’s Drive
Mar29

All In A Day’s Drive

Discover offbeat Texas during quick trips with friends and fam Sure, you can find plenty to do in Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio—from music, art, and theater venues to sporting events and shopping galore. But if you venture away from Big City Texas, you’ll find plenty to see and do that might be a little quirky and a whole lot of fun. So grab your besties and your cameras and get ready to cross off some bucket...

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Escape to Florida!
Mar03

Escape to Florida!

OPAL Collection’s upscale resorts on Florida’s east and west coasts beckon the winter weary to come hither Texas winters are often unpredictable, but come March, you’re probably yearning for some great weather and abundant sunshine. Yep, sunshine mixed with velvet white sand, ocean waves, luxurious accommodations, and good eats is just what the doctor ordered. Thankfully, our not-so-distant-cousin Florida awaits. With pristine...

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Magical Upcountry Bali
Feb01

Magical Upcountry Bali

Tranquility, Culture, Art, and Adventure Wrapped in a Lush, Tropical Paradise Daily life, creativity, and nature blend seamlessly up on Bali’s Sayan Ridge, near the artist community of Ubud. Restorative tropical sounds, ancient Hindu temples, and emerald-green hills adorned with towering palms and undulating, hand-carved rice terraces whisk you far away from the frenzy of Western civilization. It’s a magical land where friendly people...

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Amazing India
Dec07

Amazing India

A Week in the Golden Triangle “Come to the exotic subcontinent,” India calls from afar. “Immerse yourself in a destination of dreams, romance, and a blend of sights and sounds that creates an unforgettable experience.” Even seasoned travelers are swept away by India, with its gleaming marble palaces, massive Mughal (Mogul) forts, and spice-inspired cuisine. Vibrant textiles and extraordinary hand-knotted Kashmir rugs drape the...

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5 Nights in Paris
Nov09

5 Nights in Paris

I took a deep breath and gazed up at the landmark France’s capital has been known for since the 1889 World’s Fair. The iron latticework looked like lace against the night sky. And then it began to sparkle. Hundreds of lights twinkled on and off making it seem as if the Eiffel Tower had been sprinkled with fairy dust. “Not bad for our first night in Paris,” I said, gripping my husband’s hand in excitement. “Not bad at all,” he agreed....

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Falling Head over Healdsburg
Oct03

Falling Head over Healdsburg

I say “wine country,” you say… bikes and hikes? I say “tasting room,” you say… olive oils? I say, if you’ve never traveled to Healdsburg, California, what are you waiting for? A charming blend of rural agriculture and world-class resorts, sophisticated wineries and traditional olive orchards, Healdsburg is everything you didn’t expect from wine country. About 80 miles north of San Francisco International Airport, Healdsburg is...

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Dreaming of a White Christmas In Aspen
Oct02

Dreaming of a White Christmas In Aspen

Aspen during Christmastime stirs the heart and awakens the senses like no other place. By day, fresh snowfall gleams under brilliant blue skies as annual festivities get underway, spreading cheer for everyone to enjoy. By night, crackling fires and mugs brimming with toasty beverages bring families and friends together in celebration of everything good and comforting. Retire for the evening after a fun-filled day, feeling peaceful,...

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Best Family Beach Vacation
Aug06

Best Family Beach Vacation

Soft white sand, the rhythmic sound of sea on shore, and multiple generations gathered under the summer sun. These are just a few of the elements of the quintessential escape many look forward to all year. Along the Northwest Coast of Florida, in the Destin and Fort Walton Beach area, all this and more awaits, making it our pick this year for the best place for a family beach vacation.   STAY: There are many options when it comes to...

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Leisure Time
Apr06

Leisure Time

Imagine lying in a hammock on a thatched-roofed balcony overlooking the Caribbean Sea, gazing up at a star-filled sky and listening to waves crash against a white sandy shore. It doesn’t have to be something you imagine. This indulgent form of leisure is waiting at Mahekal Beach Resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. By Abby Hoeffner Nestled between the dense Riviera Maya jungle and Playa del Carmen’s largest stretch of private beach...

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How To Plan To Travel
Mar25

How To Plan To Travel

Always wanted to see the Taj Mahal up close or lounge on beach somewhere exotic? Well, you can. Here’s how. By LaRue V. Baber If you start drooling every time you see ancient ruins in faraway places or crystal-clear water hugging white sandy beaches— either on a television screen, a postcard or within the glossy pages of a magazine—then it’s time. Time to travel. But maybe you have no clue what to do. Travel plans? Currency changes?...

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Desert Renewal
Jan01

Desert Renewal

Revive Your Body and Mind in Phoenix, Arizona By Abby Hoeffner The air was crisp and the sun intense as Granger—the plaid shirt and cowboy hat wearing guide at Fort McDowell Adventures—held my horse’s head while I climbed in the saddle. The day before I had caught the short flight to Phoenix for a long weekend of nature communing, exploration and relaxation. Though I had jogged through the manicured grounds and cactus garden of The...

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Escape the Chill in Carlsbad, California
Aug10

Escape the Chill in Carlsbad, California

With winter temperatures in Carlsbad, California hovering around the mid-sixties a family retreat to this sunny shore is a welcome respite from our frequent artic blasts. Just 25 minutes north of San Diego, this gem of a town sits along the Pacific coast. Whether you choose to jaunt off for a fun long weekend or stay for an entire week, there is plenty for the whole family to do. Perhaps the most widely known attraction in Carlsbad is...

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Eat, Relax and Take in the History in San Antonio
Jul14

Eat, Relax and Take in the History in San Antonio

Just a short drive away, San Antonio offers not only an easy weekend trip, but also enough to do to fill an entire week. With everything from top-notch cuisine to time spent on the popular River Walk, learning about Texas history or just taking the time for some R & R—complete with spas and golf—no matter your reason for a getaway, San Antonio covers all the bases when it comes to keeping visitors happy. Cuisine San Antonio’s...

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Gateway Canyon, Colorado
May15

Gateway Canyon, Colorado

A Place of Discovery Cradled in the shadow of the Palisade rock formation and fringing the Moab Desert, rests Gateway Canyons, a one-of-a-kind resort with more than 6,000 acres of natural splendor to explore at its most primitive state, including one of the only locations in the world where Precambrian rock is still visible by the human eye. Just steps away from one of the highest concentrations of dinosaur fossils on the planet,...

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Caneel Bay, St. John
May07

Caneel Bay, St. John

Unwind in the Tropics Caneel Bay has been a haven of relaxation for guests since its founding 53 years ago by Laurance Rockefeller. Set on 170 acres that was formerly a sugar plantation(guests can still explore the mill ruins) in Virgin Islands National Park on the island of St. John, the resort’s pristine natural surroundings and low-key luxury make it a destination people return to again and again.   On my exploratory visit to...

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Accessories Worth Packing! All Under $100
Mar06

Accessories Worth Packing! All Under $100

These colorful accessories pack a stylish punch without breaking the bank.      1. Pedre grosgrain ribbon, plaid and stripe watch, $60     2.Caroline Hill cutout clutch in mint, $54   3. Spartina 449 Sea La Vie necklace, $36   4. Bromstad + Naturalizer “Ursela” flat in cream floral, $79...

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Glittery Girls’ Getaway in Palm Springs
Feb11

Glittery Girls’ Getaway in Palm Springs

Palm Springs sparkles. Literally. I flew in at night, seated in my usual window seat. As we neared the airport, the lights of Palm Springs winked in the darkness, causing the oasis below to shimmer like a sequined dress.     For a getaway guaranteed to leave you feeling like pampered Hollywood royalty, grab your girlfriends and book a rejuvenating spa weekend at the Riviera Palm Springs. Surrounded by hundreds of the towering palms...

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Navarre Beach
Feb06

Navarre Beach

A Haven from the Crowds By Abby Hoeffner Considering how beaten the path along Florida’s northwest gulf coast has become, finding a place with a secluded vibe is a major feat. But those seeking a relaxed, comfortable, unclouded seaside experience will find it at Navarre Beach, located between Pensacola and the Ft. Walton Beach/Destin area. Visitors enjoy miles and miles of pristine, undeveloped beaches and dunes because Navarre is...

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Splendor in the Tetons
Jan28

Splendor in the Tetons

Connect with Nature in Jackson Hole, Wyoming “I’m ready to move to the mountains,” I told my husband via our late afternoon phone call after I’d been in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for two beautiful days. This mid-March weekend had presented temps in the mid 40s and was so mild people were skiing in T-shirts. Jackson Hole is known for its world-class skiing—in other words its extreme vertical skiing. Though there are some green slopes, the...

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Discovering Charleston
Dec26

Discovering Charleston

  Charleston, South Carolina, easily the crown jewel in the state’s treasure trove of historic towns, is known as The Holy City. Steeples pepper the skyline in testament to the fact that, above all else, its founders prized religious freedom. Over 400 places of worship of varying denominations, including one of the oldest synagogues in the nation, confirm their principles of religious tolerance. But I prefer to think of Charleston as...

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A Movie Lover’s Guide to New York
Dec26

A Movie Lover’s Guide to New York

Love movies and New York City? Why not combine the two? From web-slinging comic heroes to wax statues coming to life inside museums to soul-mates falling in love in Central Park, thousands of characters have waltzed, fought, kissed and strolled across the silver screen with New York City as their backdrop. Over the past 100 years, NYC has become the most filmed location in the United States. In 2011 alone, 188 films were shot there,...

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Hi There, Neighbor!
Dec19

Hi There, Neighbor!

Travel to the States Next Door Sometimes you want to head out on a vacation, but you just don’t feel like getting on an airplane.  Enter the perfect opportunity to explore traveling in a neighboring state. Louisiana’s Lafayette By Rita Cook  To the east of the Texas, Louisiana offers a smorgasbord of treats and activities, with no city in the state as all-encompassing as Lafayette. It’s the home of Cajun culture and the unofficial...

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