Dick Van Dyke’s lucky life and funny times

By: Frazier Moore

Dick Van Dyke looks back and marvels.The way he sizes up his 85-and-counting years is summarized by the title of his new memoir, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: dumb luck.Luckily, he had a lot of talent, too.Van Dyke writes proudly of his roles in one of television’s most beloved sitcoms (“The Dick Van Dyke Show”) as well as a classic film musical (Mary... READ MORE

NY’s Adirondacks for cool summer action

By: Glenda C. Booth

Last August, as most of the Eastern U.S. sweltered, I was experiencing the cool days and nights of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, serenaded by the haunting call of the loons, which alternates between a watery yodel and a wavering tremolo.Tuberculosis patients once went to the Adirondacks “to take the cure.” Today, a few days in the Adirondacks can surely cure the... READ MORE

Living the good life in the heart of Italy

By: Kathy Matheson

MONTE SANTA MARIA TIBERINA, Italy — As we turned off the main street onto an unpaved local road, I glimpsed a stone tower jutting up from a distant hill. It seemed impossibly high from our vantage point — were we really headed up there? Where else could this road lead?It was late May, and I was traveling with two friends to a destination wedding in the tiny town of Monte Santa... READ MORE

A natural beauty beyond words in Alaska

By: Victor Block

The most immediate, and dramatic, impression Alaska is likely to make on you comes from its sheer size. Alaska has more than twice the area of Texas, and is rimmed by more coastline than all of the other states combined. No wonder the Aleutian people named it “the Great Land.”MountMcKinley — the tallest peak in North America, at more than 20,000 feet — looms over... READ MORE

Something different: a mystery vacation

By: Karen Schwartz

Blindfolded, 1,500 miles from home, 70-year-old Paul White was being driven along a twisting mountain road to an unknown destination.No, it wasn’t a kidnapping, or even a mystery novel. It was a mystery vacation.From the moment White left his house in East Sandwich, Mass., until well into the 15-day vacation his wife spent two years planning, he didn’t know where he’d be... READ MORE

A trip back to rural wonders of yesteryear

By: Victor Block

The “T” intersection of two narrow roads that is the closest thing to the center of Syria, Va. (population 370) is the site of the Syria Mercantile Company. It was there that my recent journey into the countryside, as well as the past, began.Three gray-haired men rocked on the front porch dishing the local dirt. Tacked to a bulletin board beside them were hand-written notices... READ MORE