A thin piece of numbered metal is put onto a songbird's leg.

Learning About Bird-Banding and Migration in Gulf Shores, Alabama

I am holding a life in my hands. It consists of less than half an ounce of feathers, one fast-beating heart, and not much else. This tiny gal -- the plumage says it's a female -- has just flown over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a solid Read More

The Boston Pops warm up in the Tanglewood Shed.

Picnicking and Concert-Going at Tanglewood in the Massachusetts Berkshires

In some ways, it's a perfectly ordinary night at Tanglewood: We've got a picnic and a blanket and a bottle of wine, and so does everyone around us. The sky is a flawless summer blue, the lawn is a deep, well-tended summer green. But the 250-acre Read More

Autumn in the Berkshires

Driving Route 7 through the Massachusetts Berkshires: A Fall Foliage Road Trip

I am a travel writer, but today, I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to tell you about what I see, "dooh, dooh, dooh, looking' out my back door." In a phrase, one of the prettiest places in the world. Millions of tourists agree: The Massachusetts Read More

Dover Castle

Exploring the Secret World War II Tunnels in Dover, England

Walking up the hill to Dover Castle, I expected tales of jousting and medieval brutalities: chain mail and armor, cold old stone, and a torture chamber or two. And indeed, there were plenty of old stone walls, and I'm quite certain a dungeon -- Read More

Felucca on the Nile

Sailing on a Felucca at Sunrise through Cairo, Egypt

What is startling is the silence in the middle of a city that normally assaults the senses. In mid-day Cairo, cars honk through the main roads, businessmen stride to work, vendors vend, ladies covered in the mystery of head-to-toe robes shuffle past Read More

Stand-up Paddleboarding in Kauai

Learning to Stand-Up Paddleboard on Kauai’s Hanalei River

Standing up is not all that easy, just ask any infant. Or a first time stand-up paddle boarder. I can't exactly remember being an infant, but if recent history with balance-related sports is anything to go by, I have to assume I was one of Read More

Egypt's El Alamein Miliatary Museum

Paying Respects at Egypt’s El-Alamein Battlefield and Museum

To one side of me is the deep, oversaturated blue of the Mediterranean. To the other, the beige sands of the Sahara glare in a sun suitable for neither mad dogs nor Englishmen. Every once in a while there is barbed wire fence, less often, a sign Read More

Catherine Palace Amber Room in Pushkin

Visiting Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia

I'm a child of the Cold War: An eastern European refugee father, elementary school air raid drills, the certainty that whether it be the Cuban Missile Crisis, Prague Spring, the Vietnam War, or socialist Nicaragua, the Commies were coming. So it Read More

Horseback Riding in Kauai

Horseback Riding in Kauai: Equestrian Adventures at Princeville Ranch

I am riding a horse in the land of a dragon. One slumbering dragon, by the name of Puff. You know, the guy from the land of Hanalei? Had a friend named Jackie? It's a real place, by the way, on the island of Kaua'i: a funky town with cool Read More

A wall of gold bracelets in Dubai's Gold Souk

What to Buy in Dubai: Souvenir Shopping in one of the World’s Bizarre Bazaars

I am standing in a shopping mall. To my left, a realistically sculpted male mannequin is showing off a trendy pair of overly tight underwear, complete with bumps that leave nothing to the imagination. In front of me, a sign implores visitors to dress Read More

Belize Barrier Reef

Snorkeling Hol Chan and Shark-Ray Alley off Ambergris Caye, Belize

My guide makes the internationally recognized sign for shark, placing his hand perpendicular to his forehead to make a fin.Then he grabs his non-existant breasts. "Nurse shark!" he cries, with a gleeful smile. Fast as a flash, he reaches down into Read More

Maya Masks

What to Buy in Mexico: Souvenir Shopping in Riviera Maya and the Yucatan

"Sombreros, blankets, and tequilla," says Pablo, without even thinking, in response to my question about the most popular souvenirs in Mexico. But, he hastens to add, here in the heavily Mayan Yucatan Peninsula, tourists can buy some interesting Read More