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Making old new again at Colonial Williamsburg

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – What is old at Colonial Williamsburg is very old, but this perennial popular Virginia attraction has a skill at turning what is old into something new again. Three contemporary examples stand out.
September 22, 2023 • By Tom Adkinson

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In Pictures: Walking down Old San Juan’s colorful streets

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – San Juan has been growing and changing for more than 500 years and today has its share of fancy buildings and gleaming towers, but they aren’t the attractions you come to see. Your real destination is Old San Juan, a place to stroll through history, delight in pastel-colored buildings, ponder why the cobblestones are blue...
September 15, 2023 • By Tom Adkinson

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Finding surprises at America’s oldest museum, the Charleston Museum

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Yes, you should expect displays at the Charleston Museum to tell stories of the British colonization of South Carolina, the plantation economy of the antebellum South and the first shots of the Civil War fired at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. However, you’ll find plenty more, perhaps much of it unexpected.
September 8, 2023 • By Tom Adkinson

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In Pictures: Virginia Beach by sand, sea and air

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia Beach has a celebrity greeter perhaps without peer – King Neptune. A 24-foot-tall bronze statue of the Greek god of the sea reigns over the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and the adjacent Atlantic Ocean, too. It is a favorite spot for a memorable tourist photo, but Virginia Beach is full of other photo ops.
August 31, 2023 • By Tom Adkinson

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In Pictures: Having a ‘tea-riffic’ time at America’s only commercial tea farm in Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The tea that makes the refreshing glass of iced tea you enjoy in August or the warming cup of hot tea you savor in January almost certainly came from somewhere other than the U.S. – unless your pleasure comes from the Charleston Tea Garden on Wadmalaw Island, about 25 miles outside Charleston.
August 18, 2023 • By Tom Adkinson

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In Pictures: It’s a long, long way down at Colorado’s Royal Gorge

CAÑON CITY, Colo. – Southern Colorado’s Royal Gorge region is no place for acrophobes or agoraphobes (fancy words for people who fear heights or open spaces). It’s just not the place for you if you dread walking across a bridge 956 feet above a rushing river or peering across an open landscape to a distant horizon
August 4, 2023 • By Tom Adkinson

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Finding old-timey music on the outskirts of Nashville at Fiddle & Pick
PEGRAM, Tenn. – Nashville is famous for the blaring country music of Lower Broadway’s honky tonks, but just a few miles away, the entertainment is decidedly more restrained at the Music Heritage Center of Middle Tennessee. That is the formal name. Most people just call it the Fiddle & Pick.
Old places become new again in Huntsville
HUNSTVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville, famous because of its role in the futuristic pursuit of space exploration, also has an admirable affinity for times gone by. Proof is at three locations just west of downtown. Decades ago, they were a textile mill, a stove factory and a high school. Today, they are...
That banjo music you hear? Celebrate it in Oklahoma City
OKLAHOMA CITY – For many people, their knowledge of banjo music starts with “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” in the “Bonnie and Clyde” movie and ends with “Dueling Banjos” in the “Deliverance” movie, with the possible addition of the theme from “The Beverly Hillbillies” on television.
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Louisiana fraternity brothers find a new profession in sugarcane – rum
LAFAYETTE, La. – What do a college professor and a lawyer who are looking for work different from their chosen professions choose for a new vocation? If they are south Louisiana fraternity brothers, they become rum distillers, earn industry awards, find markets nationwide for their products and throw parties.
Down Pikes Peak or bust . . . on a bicycle!
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – I had slid into my 70s when I got the opportunity for an adventure that would guarantee cocktail party conversation for the rest of my years. “Ride a bicycle down Pikes Peak? Oh, heck, yes!” I exclaimed. (That’s the family version of what I said.)
Collinsville: A Tennessee town that lost its name and then got it back
CLARKSVILLE Tenn. – The Collinsville Pioneer Settlement never existed in the form you see it today, although there really was a town of Collinsville back in the 1870s. The Collinsville of yesteryear was significant enough to have its own post office, but that actually hastened it demise.
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It’s peach-picking time in South Carolina?
RIDGE SPRING, S.C. – Everybody knows that Georgia is the Peach State, right? Why else would traditionalists such as Jimmie Rodgers, Doc Watson and Bill Monroe have sung “Peach-Pickin’ Time in Georgia,” and why else do images of peaches adorn Georgia license plates?
Touring the ‘Boudin Capital of the World’ in Scott, Louisiana
SCOTT, La. – The old ethnicity-based food joke about what constitutes a seven-course meal is turned on its head in this little south Louisiana town at Exit 97 on I-10 a few miles west of Lafayette. One version of the joke used to be, “What’s a Cajun seven-course meal?” The answer was, “A link of boudin and a six-pack of beer.”
Getting a ‘Kentucky Hug’ from your ideal bartender in downtown Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The only bartender better than one who will listen to your sob story or not-so-funny jokes is one who flips the scenario and tells you stories – and good stories, too.
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Yes, you’re invited to throw something off the Astoria Column
ASTORIA, Ore. – Whether you are a child or an aging baby boomer, who could resist the opportunity – no, the invitation – to throw something off the top of a tall building?
Get granular at America’s oldest rice mill in New Iberia, Louisiana
NEW IBERIA, La. – The slightly tattered gumbo recipe pinned to a wall in the Conrad Rice Mill’s company store doesn’t say how much rice is required, but it’s a lot. A whole lot.
L.A. and Nashville – different worlds united by country music
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The roots of country music are a tangled ball, and a major exhibition at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum stretches out one of those strands to draw a straight line between Nashville and Los Angeles. That connection brought what became known as country-rock music to American pop culture.
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Civil War fort hides in plain sight in downtown Nashville
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Fort Negley, the largest inland stone fort built during the Civil War, hides in plain sight between two of Nashville’s most well-known visitor attractions. Although less than three miles from the Parthenon and about 1.5 miles from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, it’s almost completely overlooked.
Nashville museum recalls glory years of Black nightclub entertainment in Music City
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When city and highway planners routed I-40 through downtown Nashville in the 1960s, they turned a blind eye to the devastation it would create on Jefferson Street, a thoroughfare that was the heart of a vibrant Black business and residential neighborhood.
Learning Mexican food, culture with Chef Miriam in Puerto Vallarta
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – “Hola! Bienvenido a mi casa!” That’s the greeting Chef Miriam Flores extends as she opens the wrought-iron gate to her home in Puerto Vallarta’s Romantic Zone and launches a three-hour cooking class that culminates in a multi-course dinner you help create.
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Nashville’s soda shop for the ages saved for new generations
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Expectant fathers are a subset of patrons at the Elliston Place Soda Shop, complementing devoted locals and plenty of visitors to Music City seeking an authentic Nashville experience.
Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake: Where eagles soar in winter
TIPTONVILLE, Tenn. – Fishing and hunting guide Cody Rodriquez usually cruises for crappie or watches for waterfowl, but come January and February, he has another quarry.
Be different: Target national parks in winter
Beaches in the winter, mountains in the summer. That’s the formula for choosing leisure destinations, right? Not necessarily when visiting some of America’s national treasures – our national parks.

In Pictures

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Boogie boarding and other surprises in Oklahoma City
OKLAHOMA CITY – Back in the 1990s, Oklahoma City lost out on a huge corporate relocation, so the mayor asked the corporate CEO why. The CEO’s unvarnished answer was that his employees would have precious little to do if they were all moved there. Instead of being offended, city leaders and local businesses resolved to change that situation.
Saluting historic Navy ships across the U.S.
The month in which we celebrate Independence Day is special at many places with connections to America’s military past, and that’s particularly true at these five destinations where ships of various vintages are open for visits. They are on three coasts and deep in the middle of the country on Lake Michigan.
Louisiana’s oldest general store in Natchitoches grayton beach florida
Shopping at Louisiana’s oldest general store in Natchitoches
NATCHITOCHES, La. – Many reasons exist to swing through Natchitoches (which inexplicably is pronounced Nack-a-tish) other than the fact it is Louisiana’s oldest city (established in 1714).
Coping with a beach day with two red flags
GRAYTON BEACH, Fla. – On days when two red flags are flying over the beach signaling absolutely no swimming, many vacationers turn to other pursuits. You don’t really have to abandon the beach, especially if you have a camera handy (and who doesn’t have a camera-equipped smartphone these days?) and want to sharpen your photographic eye.
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North Carolina’s gorgeous Gorges State Park
SAPPHIRE, N.C. – It’s easy to trip over your tongue and inadvertently rename Gorges State Park to Gorgeous State Park. It is relatively small, just 8,000 acres, but it is packed with 26 waterfalls, challenging trails and big views of the Appalachian Mountains.
On the water in South Carolina
MURRELLS INLET, S.C. – Delicious seafood meals are a major part of visiting coastal South Carolina, and seeing where some of that seafood originates adds a special touch to a visit.
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A harborside stroll in Georgetown, South Carolina
GEORGETOWN, S.C. – Georgetown is a quiet stop off of U.S. 17 just about halfway between Myrtle Beach and Charleston and an excellent spot for a stroll beside a historic harbor, a museum visit and a seafood entrée for lunch or dinner.
Insights into ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ in Sarasota
SARASOTA, Fla. – Jodie Urias didn’t hesitate for a second when she saw the sign on the wall of the Circus Museum at The Ringling. “What pose could you hold on a galloping horse?” the sign asked.
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Tiny town, fancy food in South Carolina
ABBEVILLE, S.C. – Abbeville harbors a culinary surprise. It’s a restaurant called Indigenous Underground, which brings a big-city dining experience to a little town of only about 5,000 residents. Chef-owner Erica McCier, a rising culinary star, is one of three 2023 South Carolina Chef Ambassadors.
‘A capital place for a biergarten’ in Colorado Springs
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A Colorado surveyor in 1859, stunned by the beauty of massive stone formations on a tract of land, declared it would be “a capital place for a biergarten.” His companion countered that it was a “fit place for the Gods to assemble” and suggested it be called the Garden of the Gods.
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Meridian’s history goes round and round
MERIDIAN, Miss. – History is alive and well in Meridian, where you can view the artistry of a 19th century carousel maker, dine in a restaurant that has been pleasing patrons since 1870 and sleep comfortably in a memorably named Art Deco tower built in 1929-1930 as an office building.
Weird and wonderful in Shreveport-Bossier City
SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. – Shreveport and Bossier City are separated by the Red River, but they are joined at the hip by shared history and a collection of unusual businesses and attractions.
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Rihanna’s Barbados
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Rihanna – singer, fragrance creator, fashion mogul – has a special title in her native Barbados. In 2018, the governor of the Caribbean island nation named her “ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary,” with special duties to promote education, tourism and investment.
Georgia lighthouse remains a beacon for sailors, tourists
ST. SIMONS, Georgia – A lighthouse has guided sailors into St. Simons Sound since 1810. The original was destroyed by Confederate troops in 1861 so Union forces couldn’t use it in the Civil War.
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Enjoying the show on Puerto Vallarta’s malecón
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – The show never ends on the Puerto Vallarta Malecón, the mile-long seaside promenade in the heart of this Pacific Coast resort city – and there’s no cover charge.
Add National Bobblehead Day to holiday celebrations
MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – Christmas and New Year’s Day are in the rearview mirror, but another celebration looms – National Bobblehead Day on Jan. 7. Yes, those darling plastic dolls, perhaps most famous as minor league baseball game giveaways, have their own special day thanks to the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee.
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Basking in Olympic and Paralympic Glory in Colorado
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum opened at an inauspicious time – just as travel was hampered by the covid pandemic in mid-2020.
A hands-on exploration of Mallorca’s food culture
MALLORCA, Spain – Deborah Piña Zitrone is on a mission to promote and preserve the food traditions of Mallorca, a Spanish island in the western Mediterranean Sea. Her tactic is welcoming visitors into her culinary world and having them fix their own lunch or dinner, sometimes after a guided excursion to a local market to buy fresh ingredients.

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