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Chicago’s Biggest Book Fair Is Back July 23-26

Jul 9, 2015
The Newberry Book Fair on July 23-26, Chicago’s biggest annual used book binge, has something for every reader.

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Backyard Vacations

A castle is a great place to time-travel


After 9/11, families who didn’t want to venture far from home discovered Mohonk—just 90 miles from NYC. The owners hope in this economy that will happen again but I think they will need to rethink their price structure for families with young kids -- just as I think all resorts should right now. more
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A trip to a castle — Mohonk Mountain House


View of the Mohonk Mountain House from the Skytop trail
I love castles. I’ve stayed at a centuries-old castle turned bed and breakfast in Wales and visited castles wherever I go — France, England, Austria and the Czech Republic last summer. But I never realized there would be such a more »
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Debunking Thanksgiving myths at Plimouth Plantation


There's no better place than Plimouth Plantation in Plymouth Massachusetts on a sunny fall day to debunk the myths of that first Thanksgiving and learn more about the adults and kids who lived here then. Just in November, some 70,000 people from around the world visit, some staying to dine with the Pilgrims. (Book early. The dinners, especially the traditional Thanksgiving Day feast, often sell out far in advance.) more
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Take them for some spooky fun and games this Halloween season


My best friend JoAnne and I fashioned ghost costumes out of old white sheets, corralled my little sister Amy to join us and --presto -- we were The Ghost Family. We happily went off trick or treating in our suburban Long Island, N.Y., neighborhood. No parents tagged along, of course, no one had expensive costumes or headed to a theme park fright fest. more
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On a fall getaway when they’re too little for school


Sure you have to drag a diaper bag (not to mention stroller, car seat and a generous supply of Goldfish) everywhere you go, you haven't had a full night's sleep in you can't remember when and the dire economic news makes you wonder how you'll ever pay for preschool, much less college, but then there's the bright side -- travel-wise, anyway. While everyone else is up to their ears in carpools, homework and soccer games, you're free to get out of town. more
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A visit to SF’s Zeum


Here’s one place where no one is afraid to get their hands dirty. They’re bent over tables diligently making multi colored clay figures from wire frames and assorted other creatures -- dogs, sea lions, cats. more
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Vacations never go as planned


It’s over 100 degrees but the kids playing in and around the pool at Barton Creek Resort don’t seem to care. Ten-year-old Ryan Libby is slurping a frozen drink and eating chicken fingers poolside. more
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To a national park this summer-one of the most budget-smart trips you can take


We screeched to a halt along the side of the road in Grand Teton National Park. Reggie, 8, was equally mesmerized but 3-year-old Melanie couldn't quite grasp that we were in the moose's house -- and it wasn't a zoo. I still smile years later when I think about the kids' excitement. Forget the Kodak moments. The chance to share something new together -- something you'd never see or do at home -- is what makes those indelible family vacation memories that last forever. more
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A LAST-MINUTE SPRING BREAK


What are you waiting for? Spring Break is looming and you haven't planned a getaway. We're not talking a Big Trip -- a cruise, for example, or an adventure trip to Costa Rica, though, according to Travelzoo.com, there are good last-minute deals to be had in Costa Rica. more
Backyard Vacations, Destinations, Families & Groups, Last Minute Deals, Parks & Outdoors, Travel Topics, Weekly Column | comments


SNARING A LAST-MINUTE HOLIDAY DEAL


Honestly, I can't remember anything I saw that day. I could never find that field again (though I do have a picture of it somewhere.) But I'll never forget that glorious I-don't-have-a-schedule feeling. Of course that was long before responsibilities - like children and jobs -- curtailed my freewheeling travel style. more
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