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We went for the colorful leaves, but found so much more on our trip to Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – I had been looking forward to this for a long time – a road trip in Rhode Island with two friends to see New England fall foliage at its best. The only problem was that while my friends and I were there, the foliage was a no-show. October is generally peak time to catch fall’s annual display of botanical pyrotechnics, but this year – due to the region’s unusually long, hot summer – trees were still emerald green, with not even so much as a wayward gold or orange leaf peeping through. So much for witnessing the blazing tapestry of colors.

The Oregon Desert Trail is just that, complete with canyons and rattlesnakes

I felt every drop of sweat make its way down my face, neck and back as I stared down the rattlesnake, its beady eyes locked with mine, daring me to move. At this point, a few miles into my solo-backpacking trip through Oregon’s remote desert, I considered turning around and heading the several miles back to my car. After I caught my breath, I shook off the idea. Testing myself, I thought, is exactly what I signed up for. I’d had the idea for the trip a few months ago. Travel Oregon had released an elaborate animated advertisement featuring lush rivers, snow-peaked mountains, miles of vineyards and coastline, and breathtaking Crater Lake. When I watched it, I couldn’t help thinking: false advertising.

Turkey’s terrain, people, history make colorful trip

My colorful, culture-rich travels in Turkey begin in exotic, mosque-graced, spice-hypnotizing Istanbul and end near the Aegean Sea in the fabled ancient ruins of Troy (where, history buffs will remember, Helen’s face launched a thousand ships).

‘Bruce Lee’s Chinatown’ tour offers a personal look at Lee, beyond martial arts stardom

Don Wong knew Bruce Lee. As young men, they worked at Ruby Chow’s restaurant together. When Wong, leading the Wing Luke Museum’s “Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tour” describes his connection with the martial-arts star, it’s not the brag you might expect. He speaks with a touch of sadness as he reminisces about attending the judo classes Lee held at the restaurant after hours.

Water and wine make a perfect pairing in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

Standing at the bow of a little rowboat and chatting with my two companions, I realize I’m not just fly-fishing Oregon’s famed McKenzie River, I’m also a student in a floating master class on how chance geologic events made this valley about perfect for two things: growing grapes to make world-class wines, and sustaining some of the country’s loveliest wild trout. True, my shipmates aren’t your average fishing buddies. Manning the oars is river conservationist and science teacher Steve Lent; wielding a fly rod at the stern is Jesse Lange, lifelong fly fisherman and winemaker at one of Willamette Valley’s first – and finest – wineries.

Lexington’s historic Distillery District gets a new lease on life

Approaching the Distillery District from downtown Lexington, Kentucky, motorists are taken aback by the large black-and-red mural depicting what looks to be – depending on your perspective – a demented scuba diver, a man wearing a gas mask or more menacingly, a prison inmate flashing what may or may not be a gang symbol. Underneath are scrawled the words, “Caution. Do not feed.” What it is is a controversial self-portrait by the French muralist MTO, and for some Lexingtonians, not exactly a warm and fuzzy addition to the city’s burgeoning public art scene. The mural, however, seems entirely appropriate as one of the key features of Lexington’s newest arts-and-entertainment corridor, the Distillery District.