Show Me the ‘Show Me’ State

“Missouri: It’s Not That Bad” reads the message on the t-shirt. Take it as a snarky attempt at crowd control here in Columbia, a college town (make that: three colleges) boiling over with artists and […]

Craving Ukraine

Want to spend your European vacation in a land where everyone speaks English; tourists outnumber locals; and restaurants offer menus in five languages? Then skip this story. If, however, you relish discovering the hot spot […]

Oh! Claire

Ten years ago, there was no reason to pull off the highway as you barreled down I-94, heading for the bright lights of Madison or Milwaukee. Today, folks in the know from those Wisconsin cities […]

California, Here I Come

Fifteen years ago, not so much — empty storefronts on a dowdy plaza. Today, the shopping/dining/wine-tasting scene in Healdsburg, California, is hot-hot-hot, and those storefronts hemming their now-magical plaza occupy some of the costliest real […]

Drifting Down the Danube

I can’t resist a fire sale. Lurking amid the daily deluge of emails was one that stopped my heart: a Viking River Cruise shaving the usual ridiculous single supplement and paring airfare to — not […]

San Antonio…Sun Antonio!

Forget the calendar’s promise of spring. We in Minnesota don’t fall for that illusion. If we’re smart, we’re off to San Antonio. The message “Remember the Alamo” takes on new meaning when it’s 75 degrees […]

My New Kentucky Home

I’m in George Clooney’s bed. Alas, he’s not. But it’s the room he chooses in the French Quarter Inn when he returns to Maysville, Kentucky for movie premieres and to remember his Aunt Rosemary (whose […]

Travel: It’s Greater at the Equator

I’m standing at the Middle of the World. To clarify, I’m straddling the equator, just 20 miles from Quito, Ecuador, at the so-named museum of phenomena unique to this global belt.  At 0 degrees, 0’ […]

Travel: Columbia, the Gem of the Prairie

The deputy warden pinned me with his gaze as the barred gate thumped shut with a despairing clang. I’m incarcerated in the Missouri State Penitentiary—maximum security division—and, unlike its former lifers, I’m having the time […]

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