Bumped flights, cheese flights, other delights

Who benefits from crummy weather during a vacation? Flexible travelers, if their timing is good. About three hours of tolerance was worth roughly $750 to me and my companion this month, thanks to a thunderstorm that canceled a couple of flights out of Dane County Regional Airport, Madison. “This flight is overbooked because of the(…)

Reader mailbag: where to hike, bike, canoe

This weekend I am reacquainting myself with one of the more well-known and  historically rich urban walks in the country, Boston’s Freedom Trail. It is a 3-mile route that has Boston Commons and Bunker Hill as its bookends.

The trail was established in 1958 and is easy to follow (just look for a red line on(…)

On the water: carferry, steamboat, river lore

“Chewable Dramamine tablets, $1.50. Sold at ticket office.” 

”Breakfast buffet, $7.95. Looks good; not hungry.” 

 “On a typical summer day, it sails just like glass. But on the last day of the sailing season one year, passengers and crew sat on the floor, in the middle of the ship. A very rocky ride.”
 My notes(…)

Shakespeare on outdoor stages in Midwest

I am not a Shakespeare scholar, but I do have great respect for how his lyrical and eloquent writing has withstood and enriched the passage of time. When I think about pleasant summer rituals, The Bard also comes to mind, particularly since an exquisite place to watch his plays is almost in my back yard.(…)

Reader mail: trip memories, history lessons

Experiences from around the globe are a part of this installment of reader mail. Here are snippets. Please keep your stories and observations about travel coming; it’s great to hear from you! — Harold Kuschel of La Crosse writes fondly of the time he spent in Japan as a cryptographic technician with the U.S. Air(…)

Visit state parks, other great natural retreats

It is easy to recommend a natural high for this weekend, as the annual Wisconsin State Parks Open House Day is Sunday. That means free admission to all state trails, parks, forests and other recreational areas. People also can fish any Wisconsin waterway without a license this weekend. It is customary for special activities to(…)

Japan foreign exchange full of goodwill

CHIBA, Japan – For Hiroshi Ebihara, it was “an honor and once-in-a-lifetime experience” to show his country to Americans.

For me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime way to see the heart of Tokyo, and to experience the way of life of an average family who had never before had houseguests.

One or more home stays are a typical(…)

Play ball! Baseball exhibits loaded with fun

Head to the Field Museum in Chicago if you love baseball, are irritated by it or couldn’t care less about the sport. There, that should cover just about everybody.

“Baseball as America,” in place until July 20, does a great job of demonstrating why the pastime is more than just a game. As exhibit text explains,(…)

Chicago hostel: clean, safe, prime location

To Cristina Causone of Italy, $34.50 is a lot to pay for a place to sleep. Even if it is clean, safe and in the heart of Chicago.

She is 24 and says she has been a tourist in the United States five times. 

To retiree Shirley Hart of Arizona, the lodging price is more agreeable.(…)

Pressures, challenge of historic preservation

Money, space, sentiment and progress all have a role – from bit player to star – in our quest to preserve, hide or discard the past. It is easy to appreciate and favor the architectural beauty of a well-preserved building that has historical value, unless you must reach into your own pocketbook to maintain it.(…)