EAA, AirVenture devoted to planes, flight

Head to Dayton, Ohio, this weekend and you’ll encounter the end of that city’s 17-day Wright flight celebration. Events include an air show with three of North America’s best-known military precision flying teams: the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds and Canadian Snowbirds. The Wright brothers used to live in Dayton, so the city calls itself “the true(…)

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.(…)

A traveler’s tales of turbulence, anxiety

One of my more unusual travel challenges this month will be to figure out how to safely transport a case of Berghoff and Capital Brewery beer – two of Wisconsin’s finest labels – to Japan. Should I lug it around O’Hare as a carry-on? Invest in bubble wrap, say a prayer and send it as(…)

Reader mail: Stay, go in light of SARS, war?

I love reader mail, regardless of whether adventures occur close to home or halfway around the world. Among your comments and observations: — Will you stay home or travel? That question was asked shortly before the United States began war with Iraq, and before the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) resulted in U.S.(…)

Oklahoma memorial: Bomb site turns sacred

“Beacons of hope” have replaced sirens and searchlights; soil covered by death and destruction has become sacred. That’s how Polly Nichols describes the transformation of 3.3 acres in downtown Oklahoma City. She is one of the more than 700 people injured in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The(…)

Kiwi, Quebec culture: U.S. could learn from it

It was about 8 a.m. in Auckland, New Zealand, as we shuffled into the Hyatt Regency downtown, sleepy and jet-lagged after a 12-hour flight from Los Angeles.

        We hoped to check into our room early but were ready to settle for just having a place to stash the luggage. The registration clerk offered his apologies.

        “I see(…)

Adventure Andy: remote ecotourism trips

If you truly want to escape the world’s turmoil, Andy Kammer can help by sending you far away. What’s the logic in that? The DeForest (Dane County) native’s specialty is eco-tourism in remote locations: kayaking in Costa Rica, snorkeling in Panama, studying Mayan architecture in Belize, tracking lions in Zimbabwe, South Africa. From stays inside(…)

Stay or go? Japan plans remain in place

One of my toughest deadlines lately had nothing to do with writing. Less than two days into the war with Iraq, 12 women in Wisconsin each had to decide how much we wanted to participate in a sister-state cultural exchange to Chiba, Japan. The 10-day trip will happen in May. Until last week, we could(…)

Expect shorter trips, last-minute decisions

WISCONSIN DELLS – I hear that you want to stay closer to home, and that’s understandable, but a lot of people hope you don’t barricade yourself until war talk ends. Their livelihood, and the state’s economic health, depends on your decision to leave home once in a while. About 1,000 tourism industry leaders were here(…)

Funjet just one part of Mark Travel Corp.

Here is an incredible journey that had a humble and noble beginning, more than 70 years ago in Kenosha. That’s when Edmund La Macchia began to reunite families, arranging their transport by steamship from Italy to America. Now La Macchia Enterprises, based north of Milwaukee in Bayside, is a several billion dollar entity that is(…)

State tourism to tout arts, eco-friendly sites

It looks like an emphasis on eco-tourism and arts/culture will make Kevin Shibilski, the state’s new tourism secretary, different than his predecessor. “I love the Packers, but there’s more to us than cheering them on and wearing cheesehead hats,” says the former Stevens Point senator, who this month will host his first Governor’s Conference on(…)

Arizona in spring: Catch Cactus League play

A new catch phrase for the Milwaukee Brewers is “It’s coming together,” and that expresses a hope for renewed vitality from the fans as well as the team. Well, I’ll do my part in a couple of weeks by heading to Phoenix and watching the major leaguers in spring training. The season opened this week(…)

Reader mailbag: what to do during winter

Janey Kimpton knows there is beauty in rural Wisconsin – and in Rural, a picturesque village on Highway 22, a couple of miles from King and four miles south of Waupaca. “The Crystal River winds through the little town, which has bed and breakfasts, craft shops and mid-1800 buildings,” writes Janey, who lives in Warrens(…)

B&B owners know how to enhance romance

The romance of Valentine’s Day is history, for this year, unless you want to fuel the passion, in your own home or that of another. How? Some of the softest hearts around are operating Wisconsin’s bed and breakfast inns, and they are quick to offer advice. We got more than 50 responses after asking: What(…)

Tourism rep: vacation, getaway not the same

Minnesota wants to replenish what the rest of the world takes away. That is a marketing theme for the state, the heart of one effort to drive tourists north and westward – from Wisconsin – as impending war and a weak economy hover menacingly. “Send ’em over here,” says Jim Keller of Itasca State Park,(…)