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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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Passports with Purpose

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More free attractions for family travelers in Washington DC than any other place

Westport ABC boys at the Capitol
Certainly you could spend all of your time in Washington, DC without paying to enter a museum—there are plenty of free ones to choose from. In fact, Washington DC likely has more free attractions than any city in the country. more
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Memories of a special birthday and hotel stay in Rome

With one night to stay in Rome, I didn’t want a hotel that was just a place to sleep. I didn’t want a hotel that was just convenient to the train station. I wanted a hotel that would be part of the experience. That’s why I chose the Grand Hotel de la Minerve that was a few steps from the Pantheon and a short walk to the Forum and Coliseum. more
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Travel Writers conference showcases the best of the Midwest in autumn

Triceratops on display in Rockford IL
Being in Rockford for a travel writers conference—Travel Media Showcase-- and talking to a lot of people from Midwest cities and States—Peoria and St. Paul, the Quad Cities in Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa, Fort Wayne and Kansas City—made me realize once again how much the Midwest has to offer families. more
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Great memories of an epic hike from Crested Butte to Aspen in Colorado

On the trail near the Maroon Bells outside of Aspen
I’d always wanted to do the famous hike between Crested Butte in Southwest Colorado and Aspen –12.2 miles along the West Maroon trail, crossing the Maroon Pass which is 12,500 feet high. And in the year since— as we get ready to meet up with family for a week at a Portico Club rental house in Snowmass, up the road from Aspen--I’ve thought a lot about that hike. more
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Make way for business class on JetBlue — what does this mean for the rest of us?

Even though Jet Blue says these seats only will take up a very small percentage of the total seats, there will still be fewer seats for those of us who simply want to get from NYC to the West Coast the cheapest way possible. And as other airlines jump on this profitable market, that will be the case across the industry? more
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How to save time and avoid stress at the theme parks

Hannah measures herself for another ride
I had another ace up my sleeve. We’d arranged a VIP tour guide for part of the day. Our guide could lead the way, taking us through the park in a way that we would maximize our time, answering the most arcane questions, knowing where the bathrooms were and having ponchos on hand for the water rides. more
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An unexpected find in Indianapolis – a foodie’s paradise

At the Indianapolis City Market
But what I didn’t expect to find on my visit to Indianapolis was a place of second and third acts in life—successful second and third acts. Local farmers markets (there’s one just outside the door certain days of the week) and city markets like this give you a chance to meet locals wherever you are vacationing. more
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Tragedy on a Texas roller-coaster a reminder to practice theme park safety

Texas Giant
It’s important to remember that as awful as the roller-coaster accident at Six Flags Over Texas was, fatalities or even injuries are not common on theme park rides. According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the chance of being seriously injured on a ride at a fixed-site park in the United States is one in 24 million; only 61 of the 1,415 ride-related injuries –less than 5 per cent required overnight hospital treatment. more
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Remembering a special small cruise in Alaska’s Inside Passage

Getting close but not too close to the Dawes Glacier
I understand why the Native Tlingits called glaciers “white thunder.” We see harbor seals lounging on chunks of blue ice in the water. The glacier looks like blue cotton candy with chocolate sprinkles. more
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A summer day well spent at Denver’s Elitch Gardens

The Ferris Wheel at Elitch Gardens
A day at a theme park like Elitch Gardens is about more than having fun, we discover. It’s about facing disappointment when we lose at an arcade game and it rains when we want sun. It’s about riding that first thrill ride and recognizing when it may be too much thrill for a little girl (or a grown up). more
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