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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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Travel Diary

Read Eileen’s travel diary and keep up with her travels. You might just pick up some ideas for your next family vacation!

Exploring in and around the historic Adriatic city of Dubrovnik


Everyone says Dubrovnik is the “jewel of the Adriatic” and it’s easy to see why--it’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site with its cathedral, monastery–including the oldest drug store in Europe, operating continuously since 1317 and the second oldest synagogue in Europe dating back to 1652. Today, there are few Jews left in the Old Town and no Rabbi, we learn. more
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Unexpected sights and eats in Korcula Croatia


I thought a friend who is a local guide was going to meet us—miscommunication that often happens when you are traveling. Instead, we joined a local walking tour learning that this tiny town—just 3,500 people live here—“You can walk around naked and no one will even notice or see you because everyone is home,” promises our guide Katija Tedeschi. more
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Following the chef ashore to the local market in Rovinj Croatia


It’s the most unique shore excursion I’ve ever seen and it doesn’t cost a penny. We’ve just arrived at our first Croatian port, Rovinj, aboard the 315-passenger Wind Surf—one of Windstar’s distinctive sailing yachts and the largest in the three-ship fleet. The Ship’s executive Chef Ronald Waasdorp has invited guests to follow him to the local open-air market and 28 of us have taken him up on his offer. more
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Scavenger hunt in the Doges Palace? Why not?


You wouldn’t think Venice’s Doge’s Palace—arguably the top site in this city along with the Basilica San Marco—filled with centuries-old art would be a good place for a scavenger hunt but it is. We’re joined by guide Luisella Romeo who says with kids, it is important to “pick and choose what you see. “You can tell them all the dates and the history,” she adds, “But they won’t remember any of it without the stories.” more
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From Venice to Croatia, Sicily and Rome in 10 days


I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea of city where there are no roads, where people keep their cars in large lots outside and get around either on foot or by public boats—kind of like subways on the water. “Everyone walks and you meet people you know everywhere you go,” Rodigheiro says. In the old days, wealthy families had their own gondolas. more
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Hunting for dinosaur bones in Eastern Montana


In the 50-plus years since, Baisch and her family have found more than a thousand dinosaur bones and fossils on their sprawling Eastern Montana ranch near the small town of Glendive. More dinosaur bones are found in Eastern Montana than anywhere else because of the rock formation, we learn.... more
Destinations, Families & Groups, Parks & Outdoors, Travel Diary, Travel Topics, Volunteer & Service | 2 Comments


Where Sitting Bull met Custer at the Little Big Horn


I look out and try to imagine thousands of teepees and 30,000 ponies on a scorching June day in 1876, just before the nation’s centennial. Above all the tribal leaders from the different tribes was Sitting Bull, dedicated to the traditional Indian ways and opposed to relationships with the white people after being pushed out of the Black Hills when gold was discovered. more
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Wet and wild in the raft on the Yellowstone River


The kids are sorry our adventure is over. So are their parents. Mike Sitzman, Hannah and Ethan’s dad, has had a real vacation—not often the case when kids are part of the equation-- because, “The guides facilitated 100 per cent of the experience. I didn’t have to worry about where to park or having water… They even brought our suitcases to the rooms and got us checked in." That’s not counting how much knowledge they shared. more
Destinations, Families & Groups, Lodging, Parks & Outdoors, Travel Diary, Travel Topics | 1 Comment


Spotting wildlife and overcoming juvenile fear in Yellowstone


Welcome to perhaps America’s greatest natural zoo— Yellowstone National Park with 67 species of mammals, 322 species of birds, 6 species of reptiles, 4 species of amphibians where the kids—my nine-year-old cousin Ethan Sitzman and his six- year-old sister Hannah have been naming the wild life as we go…Betty and Bobby Eagle…Oscar Osprey…Brett Bison.... And today we spot bear! more
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Finding fish and frogs on Lake Yellowstone


We were camping in a wilderness site on Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park and had spent the morning kayaking, stopping in a meadow full of wildflowers to fish, fly a kite and catch frogs. The wildflowers were gorgeous-- purple (lupine), blue (columbine), yellow (buttercups), red (Indian Paint Brush) and white (Elk Thistle. And the kite was certainly fun, brought along by our intrepid Austin Lehman Adventure guides Matty Kirkland and Katie Gugliotta, who also brought a football to toss and gave Ethan and six-year-old Hannah some lessons in rock-skipping. more
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