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  • Visiting 9/11 sites in New York: Memorial, museum, tours Aug 17, 2014 5:45 AM
    Out-of-towners and locals alike have shown enormous interest in sites connected to the Sept. 11th attacks. More than 700,000 people from all 50 states and 131 countries have been to the National Sept. 11 Museum since it opened May 21. In addition, nearly 15 million people have visited the September 11 Memorial since it opened three years ago on the footprints of the twin towers. And yet the very idea of 9/11 tourism remains controversial to some.

     
  • On the road: It's almost time for apple season Aug 16, 2014 5:30 AM
    Opportunities for family fun picking apples still exist in McHenry County, and the time for early-season apples is right around the corner. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Chicago's Fashion Fest takes over Division Street next weekend, with all kinds of fashion and shopping.

     
  • Reindeer dogs from Alaska’s cranky hot dog vendor Aug 15, 2014 5:45 AM
    There’s no shortage of hot dog stands hawking that spicy, oh-so-Alaska treat, the reindeer dog, in downtown Anchorage. But only one of them has consistently long lines. M.A.’s Gourmet Dogs is owned by Michael Anderson, who offers seven types of tasty grilled dogs — including one with a little bit of Rudolph in it. It’s the hands-down crowd favorite, every bite delivering a pleasing crunchy pop.

     
  • Virginia Beach: 5 free things to do besides the beach Aug 15, 2014 5:45 AM
    Virginia Beach, Virginia, is no generic beach town. It’s the largest city in Virginia, which means there are plenty of things to do throughout the year for free. The city caters to tourists at the oceanfront resort area, but the cost-conscious traveler can find a variety of activities to do without opening a wallet at the oceanfront and elsewhere in the city.

     
  • Tips for taking kids out of school to travel Aug 14, 2014 5:30 AM
    Those of us who travel with kids know that travel is educational. We also know that family travel gets much more affordable after Labor Day, once kids are back in the classroom. That’s why we so often take our kids out of school for family travel.

     
  • Santa Claus and Rockettes stop traffic in New York Aug 14, 2014 4:29 PM
    The calendar says August, but that didn’t stop Santa Claus from visiting midtown Manhattan and snarling a section of Sixth Avenue, much to the bafflement of tourists and the frustration of drivers forced to idle their vehicles.Father Christmas, along with 15 Rockettes costumed as rag dolls, stood on a Radio City Music Hall porch on Thursday as 12 Rockettes dressed as toy soldiers marched on the street below to perform the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.”

     
  • Wisconsin's Great River Road winds its way into great road trip Aug 14, 2014 6:14 AM
    Straight out of a time when the kids piled into the station wagon for a Sunday drive, the Wisconsin Great River Road — yes, that “great river,” the Mississippi — wholesomely winds its way through 33 river towns over 250 miles of terrain. This stretch of pavement is what road trip dreams are made of. There are no billboard-filled lengths of straightaway. Rather, the road curves gently along the river and each new town offers foods to try, shops to browse through and scenic vistas to photograph.

     
  • Celine Dion cancels all shows, cites family health Aug 13, 2014 10:59 AM
    Celine Dion has cleared her calendar of all performances, saying she needs to focus on her health, her husband’s health and raising their three young children. The superstar vocalist is cancelling shows that were slated through March 22, 2015, including a tour of Asia planned for the fall and regular shows at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

     
  • Ag tourism touted as way to boost rural economies Aug 10, 2014 7:00 AM
    Ag tourism refers to working farm enterprises geared to visitors, encompassing farm stands, pumpkin patches, barn dances, zip-line rides, pick-your-own berries, corn mazes and even weddings. Farms engaging in ag tourism generated roughly $700 million in 2012 — a 24 percent increase over five years, according to the most recent U.S. Agriculture Department statistics.

     
  • Kansas City emerges as a creative crossroads Aug 10, 2014 4:30 AM
    He hated art museums, saying he'd rather have his work hanging in a brothel, but he became Missouri's most renowned 20th-century artist. So what would Thomas Hart Benton think of Kansas City's arts scene in his hometown on this, the 125th anniversary of his birth?

     
  • Silent retreats: Tradition finds 21st-century fans Aug 10, 2014 5:45 AM
    A very pregnant Juliana Berger took a five-day trip with her husband and didn’t speak to him once. They weren’t fighting. They were attending a silent retreat. Like so many people these days, the New York-based couple wanted a break from the stress of daily life. “I thought the stillness would help me connect with my baby,” said Berger. Silent meditation transcends most religious traditions, and can be traced back thousands of years. Today’s retreats last from a day to several weeks and take place at monasteries, colleges, spas, hotels and even hospitals.

     
  • Florida preserve brings wolves, people together Aug 9, 2014 6:00 AM
    At Seacrest Wolf Preserve in northern Florida, billed as the largest such facility in the Southeast, owners Cynthia and Wayne Watkins say they raise their wolves to become accustomed to humans — and for a $25 fee, they even let visitors mingle with a wolf pack. It lets wolves become ambassadors for their species, they say, and helps people become advocates for wolves.

     
  • On the road: Ed Paschke Art Center opens in Jefferson Park Aug 9, 2014 5:12 AM
    There’s a new museum in Chicago, and what a doozy it is: The Ed Paschke Art Center includes a permanent Paschke collection showcasing the distinct, in-your-face style that the artist explored, as well as the work of other Chicago artists. Get in on a one-time special event from Chicago Detours that will tour artist studios, a factory, warehouse, church and artisanal bakery in the Bridgeport neightborhood. And bring your young conductor to the Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine at the Illinois Railway Museum.

     
  • Explore Maine’s scenic Vinalhaven Island by ferry and bike Aug 9, 2014 6:00 AM
    Take a ferry to picturesque Vinalhaven Island in Penobscot Bay off the Maine coast for great biking, good food, beautiful coastal scenery and a few surprises: the eye-catching home of a famous artist, a connection to the beloved children’s book “Goodnight Moon” and old granite quarries now used as quiet swimming spots.

     
  • Hawaii’s storms now more a scare than a threat Aug 9, 2014 3:58 PM
    After Hawaii cleared Tropical Storm Iselle largely without deterring sunbathers and surfers, the state looked toward Hurricane Julio, which was expected to pass roughly 160 miles northeast of the islands at its closest point early Sunday and linger near the state into Monday.

     
  • Abandoned horses keep flooding overtaxed rescues Aug 8, 2014 6:01 AM
    Almost every horse rescue in the country is running out of room or money as they continue to be strained by an influx of abandoned equines, a trend that began during the recession. Although hundreds of nonprofits nationwide care for thousands of horses, resources are stretched thin. When the downturn started seven years ago, some owners got rid of their horses, many donors discontinued contributions to horse charities and adoptions plummeted.

     
  • Greek isles: Views, beaches, sunsets and crowds Aug 8, 2014 5:45 AM
    Whitewashed houses stacked like sugar cubes on the cliffs. Colorful sunsets and black-sand beaches. Donkeys, windmills and a local winemaking tradition that goes back to ancient times. These are some of the things that stood out on a visit to the Cyclades, a Greek island chain in the Aegean Sea. Little wonder the place draws gaggles of visitors — enough to make even crowd-loving extroverts long for a peaceful island paradise.

     
  • Go for the food: Traverse City, Michigan's Harvest Aug 8, 2014 8:49 AM
    Let's face it: In today's hurry-up culture, there always will be a need for fast food. Even when you're enjoying a leisurely vacation in a place like Traverse City, a Lake Michigan resort community. For a quick, inexpensive meal there that includes items like Korean beef tacos, udon noodles and much more, head to Harvest. The menu is in constant flux, dictated largely by what sustainable, organic produce is available at local farms and markets.

     
  • Missing from New Zealand’s ski slopes? Snow Aug 6, 2014 5:45 AM
    Winter has rolled into its third month in New Zealand, and Nick Jarman says he’s going stir crazy as he stares out at the driving rain on the small ski area he manages in the Southern Alps. The Craigieburn Valley Ski Area is one of several areas that haven’t opened for a single day this season, and some fear there may not be enough snow to open at all this year — something Jarman says has never happened during his 30 years carving turns on the mountain’s slopes.

     
  • Red ceramic poppies spill from Tower of London Aug 5, 2014 10:12 AM
    A blood-red sea of ceramic poppies is spilling from the Tower of London to commemorate British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in World War I on the 100th anniversary of its start. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined Prince Harry on Tuesday to “plant” the ceramic poppies in the dry moat surrounding the Tower to honor the military dead.

     
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