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Travel & tourism

This Sept. 5, 2014 photo shows several amanita muscaria or "fly agaric" mushrooms on the forest floor of the Black Forest near Enzklosterle, Germany. The Black Forest got its name from a canopy of leaves so dense that parts of the woods are dark. It also inspired Grimm Brothers' fairy tales. (AP Photo/Siobhan Starrs)

Germany’s Black Forest: Dark woods and mushrooms

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Black Forest gets its name from a canopy of trees so dense that the woods seem dark, pierced only by shafts of sunlight. Mushrooms sprout across the damp forest floor. Red squirrels scamper up the towering trees; streams tumble over rocks. No wonder this magical place inspired so many Grimms’ fairytales. But the bleak name Black Forest – Schwarzwald …

Essentials for visiting the new Vegas

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Remember when a visit to Las Vegas was all about gambling? Massive, windowless casinos with air-conditioning and free drinks kept guests oblivious to the passage of time while they sat at slot machines and card tables for hours on end. But it’s time to go outside, Vegas visitor! Gambling is hardly this town’s …

Ultralight hiking tips to bring less and go farther

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Too many people picture a long-distance hiker painfully hauling this unwieldy backpack with enough stuff strapped to the outside to make you wonder what could possibly be inside. Don’t let the image of that misguided fogey with his dangling pots and pans stop you from hiking in New England’s wondrous backcountry this summer. …

Balloon crew makes history crossing Pacific Ocean

Friday, January 30, 2015

A pair of pilots has traveled farther and longer in a gas balloon than anyone in history, trying to eliminate any remaining debate over a century of records in long-distance ballooning. The Two Eagles pilots surpassed the distance …

It’s a hoot hanging out with owls at this Tokyo cafe

Saturday, January 24, 2015

In the U.S., hanging out in a cafe with animals is such an exotic concept that people can’t get enough of it. A pop-up cat cafe in New York last year had lines down the block. Online reservations …

Travel Talk: Technology can help steer you in the right direction on a road trip

Saturday, January 24, 2015

With gas prices at an amazingly low level, I bet lots of you readers are planning road trips this year. And with technology advancing at warp speed and prices for tech gadgets dropping fast, I have no doubt that lots of you will rely on a GPS, whether …

Explore 3 N.Y.C. Chinatowns: In Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chinatown has long been a popular destination for tourists in Lower Manhattan. But visitors willing to explore the city’s outer boroughs might consider a subway ride to neighborhoods in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, or Flushing, Queens, which are also …

Travel Talk: Some tips so you can hit the road like a pro

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bud and I just finished a 1,500-mile drive south to Florida. It’s our third year being snowbirds, and you’d think we’ve have the routine down pat . . . nary a problem the entire way to Cape Coral. But . . . not! Whether it was overconfidence, or …

Hotel hopes guests head home with a rescue dog

Sunday, January 4, 2015

At this hotel, guests get welcomed with a wagging tail or a warm lick to the face. A dog will bound out from behind the registration desk, clad in an “Adopt Me” vest, as visitors arrive at the …

Downtown: All aboard for a 30-day U.S. train tour

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mike Cashion planned to spend all 24 hours of Christmas Day on an Amtrak train. The owner of Villari’s Martial Arts on North State Street took 30 days off work in December and January, part of a goal …

Destinations for 2015

Sunday, December 28, 2014

See Cuba before it changes. Check out the Expo in Milan. And if you’re heading to New York City to see the view from 1 World Trade Center’s observatory (scheduled to open late spring), take the subway to …

Medellin’s Christmas lights dazzle

Monday, December 22, 2014

Medellin, the city once wracked by drug violence, has undergone massive social and economic transformation, and it’s now known in tourist circles for spectacular Christmas light displays that veil churches, buildings, parks and even the Medellin River with …

Berlin exhibition evokes final months of WWII

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The tense expression on Ilse Grassmann’s face belies the festive occasion. It’s Christmas 1944 and she is sitting at home with her three youngest children, the table bare of food or gifts. Her husband is due to be …