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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Travel

Nomads of the Sea

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 12, 2022

When I travel abroad, I think of Mr. Magoo. Like him, I am often at risk of falling. In open water I swim like a kayak that has lost its rudder. Swimming with my wife – stronger in the water than I, a former breaststroke champion – I keep her fins or feet in view. That pattern continues out of the water when we travel in tandem. She sets the fine itineraries and I follow along. The goofy Magoo to her silent guidance, the bumbling blind man to her keener foresight.
News >  Travel

Traveling in Chile is a lesson in the ravages of climate change

In Chile, the weather is predictably unpredictable. One minute, the sun shines brilliantly on the glacial blue lakes, allowing for the perfect Instagram shot. The next, the winds howl menacingly across the granite peaks, numbing your fingers. Then the rain lashes the stark terrain, and just as you’re cursing the weather, double rainbows grace the sky!

News >  Travel

Savannah, Georgia, keeps the past alive while embracing change

In his mind’s eye, author John Berendt can still conjure up his first glimpse of Savannah, driving southwest from Charleston over the Talmadge Memorial Bridge, seeing a patchwork of greens and browns, with church steeples and rooftops peeking through the dense tree canopy.
News >  Travel

Driving the Central Oregon Golf Trail

I was having one of my better rounds last October when I stepped on to the 17th tee at Tetherow, with a chance to break 90 if I could par out. The pin was near the front of the green, separated from me by a gaping waste bunker, basically 125 yards of sand. I made good contact with a 7-iron, which should’ve been plenty of club. But my ball hit the front edge of the green and rolled – slowly, irrevocably – back into the trap.
News >  Travel

10 things you need to know about riding Amtrak overnight

This spring, I took an Amtrak sleeper train from Sacramento to Denver and back. I loved watching the spectacular scenery unfold as we passed herds of elk by the shores of the lengthy, stalwart Colorado River, the astonishing rock formations throughout Utah, the surprise snows in the Rockies and, at the other end of the trip, the Sierra.
News >  Travel

Five spots to try a spa trend: Relaxing in a salt-therapy cave

A rose-hued salt cave may seem like an odd place to receive a spa treatment, but resorts across the United States are using them to preach the health benefits of halotherapy, the practice of inhaling microparticles of salt.Some salt caves are equipped with zero-gravity chairs while others utilize floor mats. Temperatures vary from sauna-like to air-conditioned. Many have smooth brick walls made of salt, and some are texturized as if a salt grinder exploded on the walls. The pink Himalayan salt used for the holistic treatment comes from Pakistan, and the practice has roots in Poland. According to the Salt Therapy Association, Feliks Boczkowski began treating asthmatic people at Wieliczka Salt Mine in 1839.Treatment facilities work to cultivate a relaxing ambience, but scientific proof of health benefits is scarce. A reference and resource guide from the industry's association starts with a disclaimer that dry salt therapy is not FDA-approved for medicinal purposes and "is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."If you're searching to remedy congested lungs or skin conditions, salt cave operators can't make any promises. But if you want to try a novel (and aesthetic) spa treatment to decompress, here are five places you can travel to experience halotherapy.--1. Himalayan Retreat at Spa Toscana in Reno, Nev.The 170-square-foot Himalayan Retreat at Spa Toscana has a wall of back-lit, marbled salt blocks that give off a warm, calming ambiance. Rates start at $140 for a 50-minute massage and include complimentary use of the halotherapy room before and after treatments. Guests enter in spa robes and relax on white sofas that line the walls. After breathing in the salted air, take a dip in the spa's circuit of warm and cool pools.--2. Azure Palm Hot Springs in Palm Springs, Calif.The only Himalayan salt room in Greater Palm Springs is located within this luxurious day spa. The entire room is pure Himalayan salt from floor to ceiling. Following a Korean tradition, guests lay or sit on bamboo mats placed on the floor over small salt chunks in the 110-degree room. The back wall is completely covered with glowing, thermally heated Himalayan-salt bricks. The salt room is available by reservation for overnight guests (rooms start at $229 per night).3. Hocking Hills Serenity Salt Cave in Logan, OhioThe Hocking Hills Serenity Salt Cave is a man-made cave lined with Himalayan salt, red lights and a thick layer of sand-like salt crystals covering the floor. Sessions cost $35 and last 45 minutes. The cave can accommodate up to six patrons in zero-gravity recliners. A gift shop sells Himalayan salt trinkets, including a heart-shaped salt block for baths and gray Himalayan salt lamps.4. Montauk Salt Cave West in Huntington, N.Y.There are two salt caves at Montauk Salt Cave West. The larger cave is for standard sessions, which cost $40 for 45 minutes in a zero-gravity chair, and is composed entirely of Himalayan salt, from the salt-brick walls to the salt floors. It is utilized for guided meditations, sound baths, reiki energy healing, and kundalini yoga classes. The smaller cavern is reserved for intimate sessions, such as family halotherapy and private massages.5. Glacier Salt Cave in Juneau, Ala.Relax for an hour ($39) amongst the exquisite pink-salt crystals at Glacier Salt Cave. The chamber features salt from the floor to the ceiling with backlit salt panels on the walls and chunks of salt covering the floor. The serene cave is complete with relaxing lounge chairs and gigantic salt lamps. You can even book a hot stone massage in the salt haven.
A&E >  Food

Dining like a local in New Orleans: Check your sneakers at the door

UPDATED: Mon., June 20, 2022

It was not until I arrived at Cafe Du Monde that I realized you now have to stand in line to get your beignets and coffee with chicory. The beignet – a puffy, fried doughnut swimming in powdered sugar – has been a New Orleans tradition since the city was French. Cutting Colombian coffee with chicory (a locally available plant) has been a New Orleans practice since the Union blockade during the Civil War made it a necessity.
News >  Travel

7 Italy vacations that check every travel style

According to professional travel planners, most Americans visiting Italy stick to the hits: Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como or Cinque Terre. With some of the country's most famous architecture, art, beaches and museums, those destinations are the most popular for good reason. They are also where you will run into the most tourists.If you want to dodge the crowds, you can still have a quintessential Italian experience. There's an abundance of less-traveled regions, towns, islands and countryside that promise comparable wine, food, history and beaches - all without the overtourism. These seven options provide a comprehensive range of attractions, not matter what style of vacation you envision.-1. For the beach: the MaremmaWith nearly 5,000 miles of coastline, Italy has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to beaches. If you're hoping to get away from the pack, try the Maremma, Tuscany's coastal area. "It's not the Tuscany everybody knows," says Simone Amorico, CEO of the private tour operator Access Italy. "This is where I go on vacation."Amber Guinness, author of "A House Party in Tuscany" and co-founder of the Arniano Painting School in Tuscany, vouches for the Maremma as "very, very Italian." For a home base while you explore the region's beaches, Guinness recommends staying in Capalbio, or booking a stay at dreamy hotels such as L'Andana or Locanda Rossa. Amorico's pick for a Maremma hotel is Il Pellicano.Farther south, Amorico also recommends the beach on Ponza, an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea that's easy to get to from Rome. He say it not only has some of the country's best beaches, but it also is laidback. "It's more rustic, more like Italy in the '90s," Amorico says. Once you have spent some time sunbathing alongside the Romans and Neapolitans who frequent the island, take a short boat ride for a day of swimming and snorkeling around Palmarola, an uninhabited island that Amorico says was a favorite of explorer Jacques Cousteau.2. For the food: PugliaThere's a case to be made for the food from most regions in Italy, but if you only have time to explore one, both Guinness and Amorico choose Puglia."Puglia has had amazing food," Guinness says. "I mean, really, really good food."Guinness recommends the Castello di Ugento in Salento for its cooking school, or booking accommodations at a traditional country guesthouse (a masseria) like Masseria Potenti to get a feel for the area, or stopping in Lecce or Ostuni if you'd like to stay in a bigger town.Amorico would go with Trani, a fisherman's village he describes as a little gem. "In my opinion it has the best fish and seafood restaurants out of all of Italy by far," he says. Amorico says you won't find five-star properties in the Trani but lovely family-run hotels. One of his favorite activities to arrange for clients is to go out in the morning with a local fisherman and take the day's catch to a local restaurant to be prepared for lunch or dinner.3. For a big group: SardiniaFor those planning a getaway with a large traveling party, Amorico leans toward Sardinia. In the daytime, rent a boat to explore the Mediterranean's second-largest island. There's swimming and sunbathing, sandy beaches and clear water, visiting archaeological sites, wandering through the capital city of Cagliari or a smaller town like Bosa. Throughout the summer, Amorico recommends staying in Costa Smeralda for its nightlife scene."I'm not saying it's like Ibiza or Mykonos, but it's fun," Amorico says. "It's got a young vibe . . . but also [suits] adults."In your hunt for a villa rental, Guinness suggests using The Thinking Traveler and Bellini Travel.4. For the history: MateraWhen asked to supply a recommendation for history lovers, Amorico said one destination immediately comes to mind: Matera. The town in the southern region of Basilicata is famous for its Sassi district featuring millenniums-old cave dwellings."Matera is still popular, but not as much as the major cities," he says.Truth be told, you shouldn't get too hung up while choosing a destination to appreciate Italy's past. "Any place you go you'll probably find ruins from an ancient civilization," says Heather Dowd, co-founder of the active travel company Tourissimo. "I encourage people to get far off the beaten path and explore smaller cities and unknown hilltop towns."5. For the wine: SicilyWhile Sicily and its celebrated wines are becoming more popular with Americans, Guinness recommends the island specifically for oenophiles. For one, it's a crowd pleaser, because wine overlaps with other travel attractions. "It's great for people who like culture - you also have a lot of delicious food for foodies and amazing wine," Guinness says. "And you also have incredible beach life for people who just want to chill out and sunbathe."After spending a day or two in Sicily's capital, Palermo, Guinness suggests spending the rest of your visit staying at wineries in the countryside, such as Tenuta Regaleali or Baglio di Pianetto.6. For adventure: the DolomitesOpportunities for adventure abound in the Dolomite mountains no matter what time of year you visit, Amorico says. In the warmer months, there's trekking, mountain biking, road cycling, horseback riding and picnicking. In the winter, the region becomes a skier's paradise that rivals nearby Switzerland and France. Amorico says you will also find fantastic food in the Dolomites, and not just in towns such as Cortina. "The restaurants up in the mountains are incredible as well," he says.7. For a hidden gem: Isola del GiglioTo get way off the beaten path, Guinness recommends visiting the tiny island of Giglio, off the coast of Tuscany. "It's very beautiful and rugged and special and not that difficult to get to," she says, adding that visitors will typically encounter Italian, Dutch and French travelers.Giglio can only be accessed by boat; ferries from Porto Santo Stefano in Monte Argentario to the island run daily (the schedule varies by season), take about an hour and cost $15 per person (more if you're taking a car). There aren't many hotels on the island, so you will want to book your room well in advance. Guinness's favorite is La Guardia.Dowd's hidden-gem pick is Molise, "a region that even many Italians don't know about, and they joke that it doesn't exist," she says. (No, really. There's even a hashtag about the conspiracy theory.) Later this year, Dowd is visiting for a trip centered around hiking through Molise's mountainous terrain and exploring its regional cuisine.
News >  Travel

Why cyclists are heading to Girona, Spain

I didn’t think physics and the laws of gravity allowed this, but it is possible to go 3 mph – slower than a motivated pedestrian – on a bicycle without falling over. Had someone told me this before I started riding up the nearby mountain, Rocacorba, a classic and amazingly steep road bike ride near the northern Spanish city of Girona, I would not have believed them. But, grinding my way up the mountain, both my Garmin GPS watch and cycling computer mounted on my rental bike’s handlebars – I’m so incredulous, I have to check both – agree that my riding speed is, in fact, apace with a sleepwalking snail.
News >  Travel

In Lyon’s network of hidden passageways, footfalls of the past

In the Croix-Rousse district of Lyon, France, residential buildings tower over the city, narrow gaps between them revealing slivers of the Rhône River flowing below, carving through the pastel-hued landscape at the foot of the hill. It’s a quiet, early Saturday morning, and I was strolling down in a pre-coffee haze.
News >  Travel

Hotels expand into Airbnb territory by offering private homes

Marriott International is the world’s largest hotel company, tucking travelers into nearly 1.5 million rooms in more than 8,000 properties. Yet, when I embarked on a recent quest for accommodations in Annapolis, Md., the hospitality behemoth did not lead me to any of its brands – four in Maryland’s state capital alone.
News >  Features

You asked: Should I get my kid a frequent-flier account?

UPDATED: Sun., May 15, 2022

Is it worth the hassle of getting your kid a frequent-flier account? It seems like huge pain; they need their own email and sometimes their own phone number. But at the same time, we want to have the benefits for flying with our daughter. – Anonymous
A&E >  Entertainment

At 80, Bob Dylan finally gets a museum

TULSA, Okla. – True to form, Bob Dylan was nowhere to be found as a construction crew put the finishing touches on his museum this month. The smell of fresh lumber lingered in the air, the fire marshal was checking emergency sprinklers, and workers were setting up a jukebox with Dylan’s greatest hits.
News >  Travel

Along Mexico’s Pacific Coast, riding a wave of nostalgia

In the late ’60s, my husband, Jim, and his college pals in L.A. would load surfboards on top of a beat-up van and head south along the Mexican coast during spring break, stopping in Mazatlán, San Blas and Punta de Mita. They slept in their van or under palapas on the beach – never spending more than $2 a night.
News >  Travel

Celebrating Harriet Tubman’s 200th birthday in Auburn, New York

On a numbingly cold day in upstate New York, Judith Bryant was eating a bowl of potato, parsnip and turnip soup at a cafe in downtown Auburn. In between spoonfuls, she talked about the town’s most famous resident who lived in what is now part of the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.

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