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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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Beach Vacations

Visiting Old San Juan PR and a restored convent hotel


There is so much history here in Old San Juan. We’re across the street from the historic Cathedra (dating to the 16th Century and the Western Hemisphere’s oldest), children’s museum and adjacent to the Plaza of the Nuns, the city’s second oldest park, as well as numerous restaurants and galleries. more
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El Conquistador — a huge resort for families in Puerto Rico


Connor is on vacation at “El Con” as the gargantuan resort is known with his parents and younger sister from Syracuse, NY and his dad reports they haven’t even left the resort—not with four pools, (three more at Las Casitas villas where they are staying) the water park with its lazy river and water slides, and the resort’s private Palamino Island –100 acres a few miles off shore with snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, jet skiing, mini golf, beach volley ball and basketball more
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Kayaking with millions of dinoflagellates in Puerto Rico


It is pitch black and we are kayaking through red mangroves, trying to dodge the roots, on our way to the Bioluminescent Bay Laguana Grande at Las Croabas, Fajardo in Puerto Rico—one of three on the island, I learn from our guide Joel from GSI Adventures. The bay is home to a large colony—more than a million—of dinoflagellates that light up and produce the glowing waters that make the water glow when we paddle. Crazy! more
Beach Vacations, Destinations, Families & Groups, Lodging, Travel Diary, Travel Topics | 1 Comment


Puerto Rico — such an easy destination to escape to


For many who turn up their noses at Puerto Rico in favor of more exotic islands, they’re missing out on a lot. First is the ease to get here. But beyond that is the fact that you are still in the United States—American currency—and that no matter what the weather, there is plenty to do beyond the terrific beaches. There is the rain forest, of course, the chance to kayak in the Bioluminescent Bay--home to large colonies of dinoflagellates that light up like fire-flies producing glowing waters. more
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God Speed Major Garay


Whether facing a deployment or just trying to make vacation memories, this village is a terrific place to start. Lanier Motes, who orchestrates the events here at Sandestin, explains there is something going on every holiday more
Backyard Vacations, Beach Vacations, Destinations, Families & Groups, Lodging, Travel Diary, Travel Topics | 2 Comments


Tennis anyone?


This program—you’ll find others around the country—is part of an effort designed by the U.S. Tennis Association to get more kids involved in the sport. They play with smaller rackets and on smaller courts. “It’s hand eye coordination, exercise, being outdoors,” Petty says, and the kids are learning a lifelong sport. more
Backyard Vacations, Beach Vacations, Destinations, Families & Groups, Lodging, Travel Diary, Travel Topics | 1 Comment


Get your own Santa visit at Sandestin


If you are staying at the resort, you can arrange to have Santa come to your condo or cottage—gift in hand (he presented me with a soft stuffed lamb complete with a tag that reads “To Eileen from Santa”) and read a holiday story to the kids more
Backyard Vacations, Beach Vacations, Destinations, Families & Groups, Lodging, Travel Diary, Travel Topics | comments


Four Days at Sandestin Resort


Welcome to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, FL on the Gulf Coast about halfway between Pensacola and Panama City. You’re just a little more than four hours from Atlanta or Birmingham; five from New Orleans and eight from Dallas. more
Backyard Vacations, Beach Vacations, Destinations, Families & Groups, Lodging, Travel Topics | 1 Comment


To Kauai — Now the Adventure Isle


We’ve driven to the end of Kuhio Highway on the North Shore of Kauai to Ke’e beach — past some of the most luxuriant plants I’ve ever seen. Spectacular beaches abound here on Kauai, including Lumahai beach where Mitzi Gaynor “washed that man right out of her hair” for the filming of “South Pacific.” There’s also the town of Hanalei of “Puff the Magic Dragon” fame more
Beach Vacations, Destinations, Families & Groups, Lodging, Travel Topics, Weekly Column | 2 Comments


To Oahu Beyond Waikiki


We are just off the leeward coast of Oahu, a world away from bustling Waikiki near the Ko Olina Resort & Marina and the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa (http://www.ihilani.com/) where we are staying. Here, we’re snorkeling with marine biologist Tori Cullins and her crew at Wilde Side Specialty Tours (www.sailhawaii.com) at a spot where sea turtles return again and again to have fish clean them of sand and algae more
Beach Vacations, Destinations, Families & Groups, Lodging, Travel Topics, Weekly Column | 2 Comments





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