North America Bucket Trips

Feats of treetop insanity.

Playing in the Tree Tops at TreeUmph! in Florida

That moment when you realize you will be hooking up your own harness hardware (sans supervision) to the 650-foot TreeUmphant! zip line that is the grand finale to the new aerial base camp experience outside of Bradenton, Florida. Or when you realize Read More

Into the sea!

Horseback Riding into the Sea in Turks and Caicos Islands

Diamond had been rescued from a schizophrenic pothead on Provo, I learned. The standardbred horse sometimes takes issue with people at eye level, but he was a sweetheart once I took the saddle. Similar stories ride on the backs of the two dozen or Read More

Our chariot (Roberta Sotonoff)

Exploring Custer State Park, South Dakota

Custer State Park is big - 71,000 acres big. And, it's beautiful which is probably why it became a backdrop for films like "A Man Called Horse" and "Dances With Wolves." Winding roads pass lakes, lodges and lots of animals like bison and pronghorn Read More

Daytime Christmas scenery at the Opryland (Photo credit: MCArnott)

Spending Christmas at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee

Streams of lights fall like incandescent snowflakes, characters of children’s books and cartoons hang from small-scale hot-air balloons and parachutes. Only Santa can bring more excitement at the Opryland Hotel! You might not deck your halls Read More

Bobsled track at Utah Olympic Park

Feel like an Olympian in Utah’s Olympic Park

Even for those like me, normally the hardiest of skiers, it’s nice to spend a day off the downhill slopes while visiting Park City. I know that time away from the lifts allows me to enjoy other attractions that I cannot find back home. So how Read More

Halloween-style jail in the Joan of Arc Garden in Québec City (Photo: MCArnott)

Hounding Halloween Ghosts in Québec City, Canada

A giant spider crawls on the side of an office building. A sailing ship has run aground in front of Québec City Hall. Halloween decorations set the tone for our family visit to Québec City, with grandchildren in tow. Ships have a lot to do with Read More

Maine Windjammers off Rockland (Photo by Stillman Rogers)

Sailing on Maine Windjammer Angelique

My husband Tim is a sailing ship nut who could happily spend day after day standing on a swaying deck watching the sails billow and the shore slide past. Born a century earlier, he might have run away to sea as a cabin boy. But would 12-year-old Mary Read More

Cherries ripe for the pickin' at Seaquist Orchards in Door County

Getting in Cherry Condition in Door County, Wisconsin

"Cherry condition" per urbandictionary.com: When something is in near perfect condition. "Cherry condition" according to Door County, Wisconsin: When someone has exceedingly reaped the healthful and gustatory benefits of Montmorency tart Read More

Looking down Mill Creek at Sandwich Boardwalk, Cape Cod. Photo credit: H. Nijkamp

Playing at Sandwich’s Town Neck Beach and Boardwalk on Cape Cod

As you round the last bend on Boardwalk Road, the lush green of the salt marsh comes into view, further out the dunes rise up and the boardwalk appears in front of you. At extreme high tides the marshes may be entirely under water, giving the Read More

Clyde Butcher's fine art nature photography makes a meaningful souvenir.

What to Buy in Florida: Shopping for True Souvenirs from the Sunshine State

Mickey Mouse ears and crates of oranges: That is so last century when it comes to shopping for souvenirs that truly say “Florida.” Harry Potter is the new Mickey Mouse, and key lime products are much trendier in the citrus department. In Your Bucket Read More

Devil's Lake from the top

Studying the Ice Age at Devils Lake, Wisconsin

The difference could not be more stark than if I had flown to the moon. Less than a half an hour ago, I'd been dodging shrieking, laughing kids headed for waterpark fun in one of the many family-oriented resort-and-amusement parks of the Wisconsin Read More

Music History in the form of instruments played on iconic hits.

Honoring the Music Makers at Nashville’s Musicians Hall of Fame

What would you expect to see in a musicians' hall of fame? If the household names of the world's leading recording artists and performing headliners come to mind, think again. Nashville's Musicians Hall of Fame is all about the players behind the Read More

Carving at the Trees of Mystery park in Klamath, California (Photo MCArnott)

Pondering Old Growth Forests at the Trees of Mystery in Klamath, California

I am looking at the top of a tree that is so tall, I have to hug it to keep my balance. Let's do the math: It was a seedling around the time Christopher Columbus discovered America. Before the 1800s, the American Northwest was still a dangerous Read More

Canyons Chairlift (Canyons Resort)

Climbing Through Golden Aspens in Park City, Utah

As a New Englander, I’m spoiled for foliage. I have always smugly believed in the superiority of our country roads lined in red maples. Then I saw mile after mile of Utah mountainsides painted in bright yellow aspens; it broadened my view. And it Read More

Credit: Jeff Goldberg/ESTO

Hearing Concerts for Less at New York’s Carnegie Hall

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? The answer to this old joke about the most famous concert hall in the United States used to be “practice, practice, practice.” Today the answer for tourists and New Yorkers alike would be "bus, subway, on foot or by Read More

Zorba's is equally Greek, Bahamian, and American and where I finally tried sheep tongue souse.

Breakfasting like the Natives on Grand Bahama Island

I may have gulped slightly as I stared down the bowl of “sheep tongue souse” on my breakfast table. I had tried most of the other unusual traditional breakfast dishes during my years of travel to the Bahamas; this visit I was determined to leap out Read More

Chac Mool Waiting for the Sun

Calling Quetzals at Chichen Itza in Mexico

We are standing at the foot at El Castillo, near the bottom of the staircase famous for producing a snake-like shadow on the equinox, and taking turns clapping, looking satisfied at one another, and inviting the next person to take a turn. Through Read More

The first recorded slave ship docked in Portsmouth Harbor in 1645 (© Stillman Rogers)

Walking the Black Heritage Trail in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

We northerners tend to think of slavery as an institution peculiar to southern history, not to our own. But in fact, it was not at all uncommon for New Englanders to hold slaves. After all, New England ports -- including Portsmouth -- were the Read More

Lighthouse at Pot du Phare (Photo credit: Roberta Sotonoff ©2012)

Birding the Quebec Maritimes’ Islands near Rivière-du-Loup

The Quebec Maritimes are a haven for people like me who are into nature. This northern part of Quebec along the St. Lawrence River provides both a serene escape from the city and incredible scenery. Jagged rock formations erupt from the water. Birds Read More