A natural beauty beyond words in Alaska

By: Victor Block
Posted on: April 01, 2011

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 Denali National ... READ MORE

Something different: a mystery vacation

By: Karen Schwartz
Posted on: March 09, 2011

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
Posted on: March 09, 2011

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

San Francisco’s Chinatown feeds the sens

By: Michelle Locke
Posted on: February 08, 2011

Smack in the middle of San Francisco’s Chinatown, Portsmouth Square is a kaleidoscope of sounds, smells and colors. The cadence of Chinese dialects fills the air, and splashes of red and gold glow from shop windows to banners strung across the narrow streets.The rich smell of roast duck curls out of hole-in-the-wall eating places, blending with the faint smell of incense burning on... READ MORE

Palm Springs, California’s desert oasis

By: Troy Petenbrink
Posted on: February 08, 2011

It is my favorite part of the show: A grand staircase appears on the middle of the stage, and among all the dazzling show lights the lovely ladies of the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies take to the stage one at a time, adorned in rhinestoned, feathered and flowered regalia.Watching Washington, D.C. native Joni Naber in her purple halo of a headdress gracefully descend the stairs with her... READ MORE

Visiting old and new Toyko on the cheap

By: Dan Strumpf
Posted on: January 07, 2011

One of the most fascinating things about Tokyo is the way it combines both the ancient and the modern. Or rather, the way it doesn’t combine them at all, so the new and the old are side by side everywhere you turn.Take the metro to the Chiyoda Ward in central Tokyo and you’ll find yourself surrounded by a tangle of glass and steel skyscrapers — until out of nowhere appears ... READ MORE