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Travel News Reports

St. Lucia is for lovers: What to do as a couple 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
St. Lucia is for lovers: What to do as a couple
(Photo: St. Lucia Tourism Board) There are only a few destinations in the world that are synonymous with romance, among them — Fiji in the South Pacific, Paris in Europe, Hawaii in the United States. In the Caribbean, the
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Where to party in Vegas during iHeartRadio 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
Where to party in Vegas during iHeartRadio
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The iHeartRadio Music Festival is rolling into Vegas this weekend. But what's a festival without some rockin' after-parties featuring high-profile hosts,
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Taste Wisconsin from beer to brats 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
Taste Wisconsin from beer to brats
Sharon McDonnell, Special for USA TODAY 8:03 a.m. EDT September 19, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide 2 CONNECT LINKEDINEMAILMORE It's not all cheese and beer in "America's Dairyland," even
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10Best: Amazing American wildlife watching 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
10Best: Amazing American wildlife watching
Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 7:55 a.m. EDT September 19, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Humpback whales are often seen near the Farallon Islands, Calif., about 30 miles west of
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Fantasy camps: Get a taste of a different life 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
Fantasy camps: Get a taste of a different life
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean that camps aren't still going strong – for adults, anyway. Throughout the USA, camps are available to make just
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Vacationships: These couples only meet up on the road
In a more mobile world, couples are taking long-distance relationships to another level.(Photo: Getty Images) 468 CONNECT 13 LINKEDIN EMAILMORE For their first date, Emily Harrington and Adrian Ballinger went rock-climbing
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2014 wine harvest festival guide 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
2014 wine harvest festival guide
As major wine regions around the country prepare for harvest season, the celebrations are starting as soon as this weekend. If you live or travel near these popular wineries, plan to participate with this breakdown of harvest
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10Best: Conspiracies and legends around the USA 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
10Best: Conspiracies and legends around the USA
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you." ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22 The items on this varied list may not all warrant heightened
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Photo tour: The stunning SLS Las Vegas 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
Photo tour: The stunning SLS Las Vegas
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Experience Las Vegas is featuring in-depth photo tours of the city's world-famous hotels and casino resorts this year. We feature a different Vegas property
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Ken Burns shares secrets of Arches National Park 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
Ken Burns shares secrets of Arches National Park
Ken Burns shares secrets of Arches National Park 26Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestKen Burns shares secrets of Arches National ParkThe
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When gross things happen to good passengers 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
When gross things happen to good passengers
Christopher Elliott , Special for USA TODAY 12:50 p.m. EDT September 14, 2014 You board a plane and find your seat stained with bodily fluids. Now what?(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto) 2942 CONNECT 41 LINKEDIN
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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in Connecticut
The Most Beautiful Places in America 1357252Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestPhoto tour: The most beautiful places in ConnecticutA
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Webcam Wednesday: Go for a swim with beluga whales 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
Webcam Wednesday: Go for a swim with beluga whales
Webcam Wednesday: Go for a swim with beluga whales 357Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestWebcam Wednesday: Go for a swim with beluga
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10Best: Beautiful and historic Southern resorts 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
10Best: Beautiful and historic Southern resorts
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The South offers some of the nation's most famous resorts, several of which enjoy international name recognition. Even the most iconic historic properties are
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New York City's must-see specialty food stores 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
New York City's must-see specialty food stores
Whoever said, "You get what you pay for" never set foot in New York. In the city where East Village studios rent for $3,000/month, and baseball stadium beers run upwards of $10, cost savings are relative.As a result, Gothamites
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Costa Rica's top eco-destination hotspots 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
Costa Rica's top eco-destination hotspots
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Costa Rica knows which side its bread is buttered on. People don't visit for the culture, cuisine or nightlife; they come for the nature. The country has
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Adorable hotels on America's Main Streets 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
Adorable hotels on America's Main Streets
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide With everything that's going on in the world today, it's nice to occasionally be reminded that simple things do exist -- and they're what counts, right? So
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Video: Spa chillin' on Royal Caribbean's Navigator 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
Video: Spa chillin' on Royal Caribbean's Navigator
Video: Spa chillin' on Royal Caribbean's Navigator 1Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestVideo: Spa chillin' on Royal Caribbean's NavigatorThe
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Video tour: The fun of Royal Caribbean's Navigator 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
Video tour: The fun of Royal Caribbean's Navigator
Video tour: The fun of Royal Caribbean's Navigator 1321Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestVideo tour: The fun of Royal Caribbean's
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Cozumel's best places for a honeymoon 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
Cozumel's best places for a honeymoon
(Photo: Nathan Gutshall-Kresge, Getty Images/iStockphoto) Cozumel combines the best of two worlds for honeymooners: Mexican culture suffused with a captivating Caribbean ambience. Mexico's largest island also has a range of
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Otherworldly views: Explore Zion National Park 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
Otherworldly views: Explore Zion National Park
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Spanning across Southwestern Utah, Zion National Park encompasses over 229 miles of canyon country. Utah's first National Park, this oasis amid the high plateau
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Colorado's famous Broadmoor takes luxury to new heights
Stormy skies hang over the main lodge of the Broadmoor's Cloud Camp. The all-inclusive camp is one of three new retreats that make up the Broadmoor's new "Wilderness Experience."(Photo: MARK REIS Colorado Springs Gazette) 2
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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in Oklahoma 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
Photo tour: The most beautiful places in Oklahoma
The Most Beautiful Places in America 1353852Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestPhoto tour: The most beautiful places in OklahomaA
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An insider's guide to Denver 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
An insider's guide to Denver
provided by Homewood Suites by Hilton Traveling? You Can Keep Your Daily Routine At Homewood Suites Home isn't just part of our name, it's in everything we do. From a free hot breakfast every morning, to complimentary dinner
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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in North Dakota
The Most Beautiful Places in America 1333452Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestPhoto tour: The most beautiful places in North DakotaA
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Whatever happened to the heart-shaped tub? 22 August 2014, 19.29 Travel
Whatever happened to the heart-shaped tub?
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide As the first resort to install lipstick-red, heart-shaped tubs in its couples-only digs, Cove Haven created an image indelibly linked to the Poconos.(Photo:
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Cancun's top honeymoon resorts 22 August 2014, 19.29 Travel
Cancun's top honeymoon resorts
(Photo: javarman3, Getty Images/iStockphoto) Cancun is a perfect choice for honeymooners looking for action and distraction in a beautiful, beachside setting. Situated on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula in northern Quintana Roo
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Cuisine with a zing: Spiked dishes and desserts
If you've noticed that entrees and desserts have been tasting a little more "spirited" lately, there's probably a very good reason. More U.S. chefs are taking some creative liberties with libations by adding a dash of
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Before summer ends: Go backstage at Universal Hollywood
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Unlike most other similar parks, Universal Studios Hollywood is an honest-to-goodness, working movie studio. (Even its upstart sister park in Florida is really
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10Best: Stone-cold ice cream shops 22 August 2014, 19.29 Travel
10Best: Stone-cold ice cream shops
Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 7:41 a.m. EDT August 22, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Sweet Republic in Scottsdale, Ariz., offers its take on a classic combination with the
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Believe your eyes: America's most stunning views
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide America is a big country full of bigger views, from sea to shining sea. From stunning natural formations to architectural wonders, these ten sights rise above
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Ken Burns shares secrets of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Ken Burns shares secrets of Great Smoky Mountains National Park 1Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestKen Burns shares secrets of Great Smoky
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Graceland: Tour Elvis' home like a king 19 August 2014, 00.24 Travel
Graceland: Tour Elvis' home like a king
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide A singer, actor, and heartthrob known for his sensual dance moves, Elvis Presley is an icon in American culture. He starred in 31 feature films and once held
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The pros, cons of visiting Japan by cruise ship
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide A Maiko dance at a te ahouse in Kyoto, Japan.(Photo: Koichi Kamoshida, Getty Images) Tags Princess Cruises Diamond Princess 2 CONNECT
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Cool reasons to visit Curacao 19 August 2014, 00.24 Travel
Cool reasons to visit Curacao
(Photo: Kjersti Joergensen, Getty Images/iStockphoto) Affectionately dubbed "Holland of the Tropics," Curacao is a melting pot on bold display with more than 100 nationalities calling the cosmopolitan island home. Forty- four
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The travel insurance in your wallet you didn't know you had
George Hobica, Airfarewatchdog.com 7:03 a.m. EDT August 19, 2014 Some credit cards have contracts with extensive travel insurance. But not all do, and the benefits vary widely between issuers.(Photo: Getty
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Summer relaxation: Put North Carolina on your mind
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide In a day's drive across North Carolina, you can go from mountaintop views to oceanside real estate. Here's how to make sense of the diverse and dynamic outdoor
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Best summer deals in the Caribbean 17 August 2014, 01.18 Travel
Best summer deals in the Caribbean
(Photo: Anacaona) Better known for cold weather lures than hot weather tours, summer in the Caribbean is not only affordable but it's also the best way to audition on island before booking a more expensive winter getaway.
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Retro/vintage hotels: What's old is new again 17 August 2014, 01.18 Travel
Retro/vintage hotels: What's old is new again
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Retro and vintage hotel rooms are making a name for themselves in cities across the nation. Catchy décor and design elements from eras past offer guests a
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Stop, drop and pop it: 8 places to propose on Kauai
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide If a single word conjures images of a postcard-perfect destination, that word is Hawaii. The islands, blissfully adrift in the Pacific Ocean and far removed
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An insider's guide to Atlanta 15 August 2014, 18.25 Travel
An insider's guide to Atlanta
provided by Homewood Suites by Hilton Traveling? You Can Keep Your Daily Routine At Homewood Suites Home isn't just part of our name, it's in everything we do. From a free hot breakfast every morning, to complimentary dinner
Read More 16 Hits 0 Ratings
Photo tour: The most beautiful places in New Mexico
The Most Beautiful Places in America 1315451Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestPhoto tour: The most beautiful places in New MexicoA
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Kentucky: Horses, bourbon and natural beauty 15 August 2014, 18.25 Travel
Kentucky: Horses, bourbon and natural beauty
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The "Bluegrass State," so named for the iconic grass that proliferates on its fertile soil, is synonymous with horses and horse racing. Its two major cities –
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Cruises offer an easier, cheaper way to see Japan
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide A musician plays traditional Japanese songs at a welcome party at the start of a cruise around Japan.(Photo: Gene Sloan, USA TODAY) 2 CONNECT
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The 50 longest airline routes from the U.S. and Canada
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Qantas' Boeing 747 jets fly some of the longest flights to depart the United States.(Photo: Qantas Airways) Tags 626 CONNECT 75 LINKEDIN EMAILMORE What are
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Highway rest stops are revving up services, quality
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The newly renovated Maryland House Travel Plaza north of Baltimore.(Photo: Handout) 80 CONNECT 14 LINKEDIN EMAILMORE The weary highway traveler in Ohio can
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10 must-do activities onboard the Regal Princess
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Princess Cruises' newest ship, the 3,560-passenger Regal Princess, modernizes the traditional Princess Cruises experience in beautiful surrounds. As on year-old
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Diagon Alley: Are these the 'Fantastic Beasts' designs?
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The original Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure, which opened in 2010, brought J. K. Rowling's books and the films they
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The Magnolia State: The beauty of Mississippi
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Offering much more than the namesake river that forms its western border, Mississippi is a must-visit for anyone interested in sampling a unique slice of
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Video captures near-miss of widebody jets in Spain
This screenshot from YouTube shows what appears to be a near-miss in Barcelona. The footage was captured by an amateur aviation enthusiast.(Photo: YouTube.com) 10 CONNECT LINKEDIN EMAILMORE An apparent near-miss at
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Your Take: I love my boat! 06 July 2014, 22.30 Travel
Your Take: I love my boat!
Add Videos or PhotosBe first to contribute Sign in now to share your story. Sign in with FacebookSign in with Google+ Be first to contribute Add More Videos or Photos You've contributed successfully to: You've successfully
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10Best: Up-and-coming neighborhoods around the USA
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Debates about gentrification notwithstanding, watching a blighted area get a new lease on life can be awfully heartening. We've listed a few of the most
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See the Caribbean's most amazing waterfalls 29 June 2014, 15.19 Travel
See the Caribbean's most amazing waterfalls
From murmuring rivulets sliding across rocky terraces to crashing cataracts that plunge from the heights into deep, rock-lined pools below, the Caribbean has a waterfall to satisfy every appetite. La Mina Falls | Puerto
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Vintage Vegas: Where to experience the Rat Pack
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Looking for luck to be a lady on your next Vegas trip? We're taking a walk down memory lane, looking for the best places to find remnants of the group that made
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Boeing's 1,500th 747: 'Not your mother's jumbo jet'
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The 1,500th Boeing 747 nears completion at Boeing's Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on June 17, 2014.(Photo: Mike Kane for USA TODAY) 50 CONNECT 8 LINKEDIN
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Adrenaline rush: Aruba's boldest adventures 27 June 2014, 16.43 Travel
Adrenaline rush: Aruba's boldest adventures
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The sugar-white sand beaches along Aruba's west coast are the stuff of postcard-perfect memories: watching the sunset on endless Palm Beach is the
Read More 76 Hits 0 Ratings
10 best bucket-list cities for foodies 27 June 2014, 16.43 Travel
10 best bucket-list cities for foodies
Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 8:01 a.m. EDT June 27, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide New Orleans' Galatoire's restaurant has delighted diners for more than a century.(Photo:
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First look: A Carnival ship gets a major makeover
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Originally built in 2007, the Carnival Freedom is one of Carnival's largest ships at 110,000 tons.(Photo: Andy Newman, Carnival Cruise Lines) Tags Carnival
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Verruckt: Exclusive ride on world's tallest slide
Feeling crazy? Take a dive down 17 stories with us on Schlitterbahn's upcoming slide! Steve Larese, Special for USA TODAY 9:08 p.m. EDT June 26, 2014 CONNECT LINKEDINEMAILMORE The countdown continues for the opening of
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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in Maine
The Most Beautiful Places in America 1194151Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPhoto tour: The most beautiful places in MaineA state-by-state
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Sun screenings: Famous film locations in the Caribbean
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide A decade before filmmakers migrated to Hollywood, they'd already figured out that the Caribbean was a nice place to get away from the dreary winter and gray
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10 best bucket-list adventure trips 21 June 2014, 18.59 Travel
10 best bucket-list adventure trips
Jayne Clark, USA TODAY 7:40 a.m. EDT June 20, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Rafting through the Grand Canyon in Arizona takes at least five or six days away from civilization.(Photo:
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Vintage Vegas: Where to experience Elvis 21 June 2014, 18.59 Travel
Vintage Vegas: Where to experience Elvis
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Presley is arguably the most iconic entertainer to ever be associated with Las Vegas, though it may be hard to find evidence of his reign as King these days. In
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Photo tour: The glory of a Galapagos cruise 21 June 2014, 18.59 Travel
Photo tour: The glory of a Galapagos cruise
Photo tour: The glory of a Galapagos cruise 46Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPhoto tour: The glory of a Galapagos cruiseLooking for a cruise
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Photo tour: The hottest new cruise ships of 2014
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas will have a mechanical arm that transports passengers high above the ship in a glass capsule.(Photo: Royal
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Sneak peek: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
ORLANDO, Fla. — "What would you like to name your Pygmy Puff?" asks the wizard at the cash register. "Cutie patootie," I reply, glancing down at the purple, fuzzy ball of adorableness. I'm inside Weasleys' Wizarding
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Puerto Rico voted 'Best U.S. Island' 08 June 2014, 22.38 Travel
Puerto Rico voted 'Best U.S. Island'
Libby McMillan , 10Best ( a division of USA TODAY) 12:43 p.m. EDT June 6, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Puerto Rico was voted "Best U.S. Island" in 10Best's Reader's Choice
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Las Vegas' best donut destinations 08 June 2014, 22.38 Travel
Las Vegas' best donut destinations
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Fried dough covered with sugar is good every day, but since today happens to be dedicated to doughnuts, we thought you should treat yourself to a little
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This train ride soars to new heights 08 June 2014, 22.38 Travel
This train ride soars to new heights
The Rocky Mountaineer has been carrying passengers into the heart of the Canadian Rockies since 1990. Its new Coastal Passage route, in regular play this summer, connects Seattle with the rugged Rockies north of the
Read More 80 Hits 0 Ratings

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St. Lucia is for lovers: What to do as a couple PDF Print E-mail

(Photo: St. Lucia Tourism Board)

There are only a few destinations in the world that are synonymous with romance, among them — Fiji in the South Pacific, Paris in Europe, Hawaii in the United States. In the Caribbean, the mantle of romance belongs to St. Lucia. The island destination has the dramatic scenery, sophisticated resorts and couple-friendly attractions lovers crave. Whether going to St. Lucia for a romantic getaway or a full-fledged honeymoon, St. Lucia delivers.

The island's charms include ease of access, with plenty of convenient flights from the USA; English-speaking locals, making it easy to communicate and strike up new friendships; and a compact geography, which encourages couples to rent a vehicle and explore St. Lucia on their own.

St. Lucia's iconic twin Petit and Gros Pitons — designated a World Heritage Site — are two volcanic mountains on the island's southwest coast. While some couples will be content to sit on their verandah with a cocktail and watch from afar as the Pitons reflect a glorious sunset, other couples will want to get a closer look. They'll have the option of taking a hike up Gros Piton, which soars 2,600 feet. The ascent to the top and back down takes about four hours of climbing over rocky terrain. The view is stunning from the summit and is sure to be a real bonding experience for lovers putting in the effort.

There are a number of ultra-romantic resorts in Soufriere on the south coast of the island, offering rooms and villas with superb views. Chief among these are Jade Mountain, Anse Chastanet, Ladera, and Fond Doux Resort & Plantation. While these properties tend to be on the pricey side, they're worth every penny, and will deliver an unforgettable lodging experience.

Chocolate has long been paired with romance, and lovers on holiday can choose to stay at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat. The boutique hotel has only 14 eco-chic cottages tucked away in a lush rainforest setting with views of the Pitons. This is an actual working chocolate plantation, and the cacao beans are grown on the adjoining Rabot estate. Chocolate aficionados will enjoy an immersive experience, with chocolate appearing on the menu, in cocktails and even in spa treatments. There's also a three-hour tour called Tree to Bar Experience, which claims to make guests into instant chocolatiers. They'll see how chocolate is grown and then make their own chocolate bars. Guests at Boucan Hotel Chocolat can also feel good about the social aspects of the plantation, since the enterprise has stimulated the local economy of independent cacao growers.

Soufriere's Volcano and Sulphur Springs is one of St. Lucia's must see sights. Often described as the world's only drive-in volcano (don't worry, it's dormant) Soufriere can be somewhat under-whelming at first glance, offering not much more than steaming sulfur springs. The fun comes when lovers dig into the sulfurous mud and smear it on each other. After deriving the beneficial aspects from the fine gray mud, which is said to improve the skin, lovers can then head over to Diamond Waterfall, which cascades from a height of 50 feet. Diamond Waterfall was a key player in one of the scenes for the hit film Romancing the Stone, starring Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. While it's not permissible to swim at the actual waterfall, there are several pools where lovers can take a dip and enjoy rinsing the mud off each other. There's also the adjacent Diamond Botanical Gardens, which are perfect for an afternoon stroll after cavorting in the falls.

MORE: See the Caribbean's most amazing waterfalls
DON'T MISS: The 5 coolest things to do in St. Lucia

St. Lucia has a number of other waterfalls that make a perfect centerpiece for a day's hike. Toraille Waterfall has a drop of 50 feet. Here a couple can swim underneath the waterfall and get the full effect of the pummeling torrent of water. This won't be a secluded experience, since the falls are a hit with both locals and visitors. The upside to the popularity is the presence of a changing room and picnic tables.

Those looking for a more private experience can head over to the east coast of the island, to the town of Dennery. Here they'll find the much less-visited Sault Falls, one of the biggest on the island, with water hurtling 55 feet into a beautiful pool.

Thrill-seekers who have ventured all the way to Dennery and Sault Falls can keep the adrenaline flowing with a zipline adventure at Treetop Adventure Park. The ziplines take riders 80 to 400 feet along lines high above the rainforest canopy.

A more peaceful tour among the tree-tops can be had in Babonneau aboard the tram ride at Rain Forest Aerial Trams. The hour-long ride is accompanied by a guide who points out interesting facts about the island's biodiversity — all while lovers take in awesome views high above the lush landscape.

One of the most romantic ways to enjoy the island is from the deck of a catamaran and there are numerous operators offering daily sailings. Many of these combine a half-day sail with a half-day land tour of Soufriere. For the ultimate in romance, couples should opt for a sunset sailing, when the sky more often than not lights up in a Technicolor display as the sun dips into the sea. These evening sailings – depending on the operator – can combine an elegant meal with champagne and soca – St. Lucia's signature music.

MORE: Get some sun on St. Lucia's best beaches
ST. LUCIA: Picture-postcard island images

While all-inclusive resorts might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a romantic holiday, second thoughts are met and conquered by Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort, an all-inclusive resort in the northern part of the island. The resort has a prime location on a peninsula linking the mainland to Pigeon Island, a hill offering hikes leading to splendid sea views. Sandals Grande has lots of perks and amenities catering to lovers, including the Grande Rondoval Butler Suites with Private Pool Sanctuary, which have their own private pools right outside the door.

In the northern half of St. Lucia, couples have a variety of diversions, including the nightclub scene at Rodney Bay; the sprawl of local color in the capital city of Castries, especially the local produce market; and the street fair ambience of the Gros Islet Friday Night Fish Fry, which brims over with grilled island seafood, potent rum punch, hot music and lots of dancing in the street.

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Where to party in Vegas during iHeartRadio PDF Print E-mail

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The iHeartRadio Music Festival is rolling into Vegas this weekend. But what's a festival without some rockin' after-parties featuring high-profile hosts, artist-inspired drinks and celebrity DJs? Get ready to go all day and all night, because you're invited.

Official Kick-Off Party at HAZE Nightclub, September 18

Join the hottest pre-party celebration at ARIA Resort & Casino as DJ Prostyle and DJ Scene keep the party going all night. You may even see some of your favorite stars in attendance, so keep your eyes peeled. Doors open at 10:30 p.m. Must be 21 and over. Entry is $40 for men and $20 for women.

iHeartRadio Official After-Party at 1 OAK Nightclub, September 19

Watching electrifying performances by Taylor Swift, Usher, Coldplay and Motley Crue is just the beginning of your epic Friday night. Join one of iHeart's top pop artists, Ariana Grande, as she hosts the 1 OAK after-party at the Mirage and enjoy a specialty cocktail in her honor. For $17, you can sip on "The Grande Celebration," featuring Triple Sec, vodka, tequila, rum, gin and Coca-Cola. If you're feeling "Berry Fancy," channel your inner-Iggy and grab their 50 Bleu Vodka, Red Bull Blue Edition and sour mix concoction with fresh blueberries for $18. Doors open at 10:30 p.m. with the red carpet opening at midnight. Must be 21 and over. Entry is $50 for men and $30 for women.

iHeartRadio Official After-Party at HAZE Nightclub, September 19

Hold onto your Pharrell hats and high heels… There's a second official after-party for you to hit Friday night (it's just how we do). Get your music on at HAZE Nightclub at ARIA Resort & Casino. Special guests Nico & Vinz will host and perform their summer hit song, Am I Wrong?. Indulge in some "Trouble" — the Taylor Swift-inspired Casa Dragones Blanco, pineapple and grenadine fusion ($17) — while you rub elbows with CW stars and festival performers. Doors open at 10:30 p.m. with the red carpet opening at midnight. Must be 21 and over. Entry is $40 for men and $20 for women. HAZE will be closed to the public Saturday.

XS Nightclub with Skrillex, September 19

Are you more of an EDM and Dubstep lover? XS Nightclub at the Wynn will be your clubbing refuge. Join Grammy-winning producer and popular DJ Skrillex for a night of unforgettable pulsating beats. Doors open at 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Must be 21 or over. Entry for men is $30, $20 for women. Buy your tickets online.

Life Nightclub with Fatboy Slim, September 20

As the newest nightclub addition to the Strip, you can bet Life at the SLS Las Vegas has a few tricks up its sleeve for iHeartRadio weekend. Patrons have a chance to check out the funk soul brother himself, Fatboy Slim, Saturday night after the festival ends. You never knew nightclubs could get so funky. Doors open at 10:30 p.m. Attendees must be 21 and over. Upscale nightlife attire required. Male pre-sale tickets are $33 and female pre-sale tickets are $22. Buy your tickets online.

LIGHT Nightclub with Krewella and Tony Arzadon, September 20

As one of the most talked about nightclubs by 2013's iHeartRadio lineup, you can bet more than a few of this year's stars will make appearances at Mandalay Bay's LIGHT. The best part (you know, besides the choreography, avant-garde costumes and visual effects) are the celebrity DJs that call Light home. Krewella and Tony Arzadon will be playing sets on the closing night of iHeartRadio, and will surely make your weekend even more memorable. Must be 21 and over. Doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets for men are $53.86 and $27.08 for women, available online.

--Hilary Billings is a Las Vegas local, travel blogger, video host and Miss Nevada United States 2013. She was named Las Vegas Weekly's Best Blogger for 2013. For more on Hilary, follow her on Twitter @TheNomadGrad and on Facebook!

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Taste Wisconsin from beer to brats PDF Print E-mail

Sharon McDonnell, Special for USA TODAY 8:03 a.m. EDT September 19, 2014

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It's not all cheese and beer in "America's Dairyland," even if Cheese Days, one of the nation's oldest food festivals, marks its 100th anniversary this September. Its food and drink heritage draws from its large German, Scandinavian, Swiss and Polish immigrant populations.

Beer

Beer made Milwaukee, the state's biggest city, famous, and Wisconsin boasts over 70 craft and big breweries and brew pubs. A free tour at brewery giant MillerCoors Co. tells how German immigrant Frederick Miller founded Miller Brewing Co. in Milwaukee in 1855 (Miller later merged with Coors Brewing Co., founded by a German immigrant in Colorado in 1873), and ends with generous samples at the Bavarian-style Miller Inn. At Lakefront Brewery, a microbrewery and the nation's first certified organic brewery, you can dine on sausage and cheese boards, cheese-and-wheat beer soup and beer-battered fish in its Beer Hall, while the tour ($7) includes four pours, a keepsake glass and a coupon for a free beer at many Milwaukee spots.

Bratwurst

Over 75 types of sausage are sold at Usinger's, a family-owned meat market founded in Milwaukee in 1880 by a German immigrant, from bratwurst and smoked Polish sausage to little links of pork sausage. (Recipes for a sausage/sauerkraut skillet dinner, cassoulet with pork, chicken and sausage, and more meals are on its website). But the "Bratwurst Capital of America" is Sheboygan, 55 miles north, settled by Germans in the 1860s, where Miesfeld's Meat Market sells 400+ meat items and 50 bratwurst varieties, plus house-made BBQ sauces.

Cheese

Over 600 types of cheese and other dairy products are produced in Wisconsin – more than any other state – including award-winners like Carr Valley Cheese in La Valle, who scored eight first- and second-place awards in the 2014 American Cheese Society competition. Cheese Days celebrate the Swiss heritage, dairy farming and cheese-making tradition of southwest Wisconsin -- begun by Swiss immigrants in 1846 -- on September 19-21 in downtown Monroe. A parade led by cows decked in bells and flower wreaths -- just like in Switzerland, when brought down from the mountains in grazing season -- yodeling, Alphorn-playing, a cow-milking contest, tastes of 50 different cheeses – plus treats like gourmet grilled cheese, Limburger cheese sliders and cheesecake – dancing, Swiss choirs and children's activities are on the agenda.

SEE MORE: Chase the Wisconsin cheese trail

Cherries

Tart Montmorency cherries are served in many ways in Door County, a peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan and the nation's fourth-biggest cherry producer. Cherry pie – fresh-baked, fruit-heavy, made with four cups of cherries, sweetened with all-fruit jam – is the most popular choice at Sweetie Pies, a local pie shop. Salmon, charbroiled and smothered in cherry BBQ sauce, is yummy at Alexander's, a fine-dining restaurant. Cherry jam, salsa, vinaigrette, chocolates and wine are sold at Orchard Country Winery & Market – and you can pick your own cherries. (All are in Fish Creek.) Sip cherry wheat beer at Shipwrecked Restaurant, Brew Pub & Inn, a B&B (a bed'n brew with eight rooms) in Egg Harbor.

Fish

A "fish boil" in Door County is a legacy of 19th-century Swedish and Norwegian settlers who cooked fish over a wood fire. Today, after chunks of whitefish and potatoes are cooked in a huge cauldron over a bonfire outdoors, kerosene tossed on the flames creates a dramatic conflagration, and makes the fish oils boil over. The fish is served with butter, lemon, cole slaw and home-made bread at White Gull Inn, a 1896 white clapboard inn in the suitably-named Fish Creek, four nights a week May-October, and Friday nights in other seasons. A "Fish Fry," seen on Friday night menus state-wide, means beer-battered, deep-fried perch, walleye, cod or haddock, with sides of cole slaw and potatoes or potato pancakes, and recalls brewery-owned taverns frequented by Germans and Poles. Norwegian fish specialties, like herring and lutefisk, are found in towns with big Norwegian populations, like Stoughton.

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10Best: Amazing American wildlife watching PDF Print E-mail

Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 7:55 a.m. EDT September 19, 2014

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Humpback whales are often seen near the Farallon Islands, Calif., about 30 miles west of San Francisco.(Photo: WWF)

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Have all those TV nature shows inspired you to see the real thing? With just a little planning, travelers can quite easily make their way to wildlife hotspots, says Jim Sano, a vice president with the World Wildlife Fund. "If you get on a trail and walk a mile or so, the likelihood of seeing wildlife goes up dramatically," he says. And don't be shy about talking to park and refuge rangers. They know their area the best, and can share where animals are likely to be found. Sano, a former National Park Service naturalist, shares some top places to see animals in the wild with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.

Katmai Peninsula
Alaska
Travelers can get remarkably close to black bears and grizzlies in this corner of southeast Alaska. "Bears are a flagship species," Sano says. But it's necessary to time your visit to the salmon runs, because the bears are drawn to streams to catch the fish. "That will stack the deck so that you'll see an iconic wildlife scene." 907-246-3305; nps.gov/katm/index.htm

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Cambridge, Md.
Bald eagles abound at this 27,000-acre preserve on Maryland's Eastern Shore, which boasts the largest breeding populations of the raptors on the East Coast north of Florida. The property is also a major wintering area for migrating birds and as many as 50,000 geese, ducks and tundra swans stop over during October and November. There are also whitetail and sika deer, and the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel. 410-228-2677; fws.gov/blackwater

Yellowstone National Park
Wyoming and Montana
With the largest concentration of animals in the Lower 48 states, it's so easy to see animals at this national park that you sometimes don't need to leave your car. But Sano suggests parking and hiking for just a mile or so. Yellowstone's bounty includes bear, deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, lynx and wolverines. 307-344-7381; nps.gov/yell

Farallon Islands
California
This Pacific island group about 30 miles west of San Francisco teems with sea life, including great white sharks and orcas. "We were just out there and we were surrounded by humpback whales for three hours and they were sticking their heads out of the water just a few feet away," Sano says. 415-561-6625; farallones.org

Glacier National Park
Montana
Along with stellar scenery, this park is known for its bighorn sheep population. "I've seen them from the road," Sano says. The park service counts 66 different types of mammals, of all sizes, including grizzlies, lynx, cougar and elk. 406-888-7800; nps.gov/glac

Captain Cook National Monument
Kona, Hawaii
Just offshore of a monument honoring famed British explorer Captain James Cook, wildlife lovers will find incredible sea life. "It's like swimming in an aquarium. There's sea kayaking in that area, and spinner dolphins. You can almost count on (seeing them)," Sano says. "It is at the top of my list as a marine experience accessible to the average person." hawaiistateparks.org

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
Kansas
Visit in mid-September to see thousands of monarch butterflies on their annual migration across the continent to Mexico. A few weeks later the same butterflies can be seen winging their way across Texas. "It's a natural wonder, totally amazing," Sano says. Other migration paths follow the East and West coasts. During the refuge's Monarch Mania, scheduled for Sept. 20, visitors can catch, tag and release the colorful insects and see others in an enclosed pavilion. 620-486-2393; fws.gov/refuge/quivira/

Everglades National Park
Florida
Visitors will have no trouble spotting alligators at this vast southern Florida preserve. The reptiles are easily spotted from the short Anhinga Trail at the Royal Palm Visitors Center. But there's much more to see in the vast wetlands and swamps. "If you can get out in a boat and into the park, your chances of seeing a more varied array of wildlife and birdlife are far greater," Sano says. 305-242-7700; nps.gov/ever

Moosehead Lake
Maine
While moose are found all across Maine, the state's biggest lake is thick with the majestic mammals. Regular moose tours and private moose safaris take visitors by van or canoe into the great North Woods to see the animals in their own habitat. The creatures can weigh up to 1,500 pounds and stand nearly seven feet tall. 888-876-2778; mooseheadlake.org

Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge
California
For wildlife with wings, it's hard to beat this preserve in far northeast California, a stopping point for 80% of the birds migrating along the Pacific flyway. "There can be at any time one million birds in the refuge. It's quite stunning and a place most people have never heard about," Sano says. Refuge visitors include several species of Canada geese, which spend the summer in the Arctic. fws.gov/refuge/tule_lake

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Fantasy camps: Get a taste of a different life PDF Print E-mail

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Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean that camps aren't still going strong – for adults, anyway. Throughout the USA, camps are available to make just about any of your dreams come true, from car racing to rocking out to wine tasting and so much more. Who says adults can't be happy campers, too?

Start Your Engines

Dream Racing's two-day Ready to Race experience at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway puts drivers behind the wheel of a race-ready Ferrari 430 GT, or if they'd rather, a McLaren, Lamborghini, or Porsche. Over the course of the program, campers will attend briefings and training, culminating in a 30-lap race.

NASCAR fans can go on the rides of their lives during the Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp in Charlotte, N.C. Three full days are spent exploring the heart of NASCAR country, including meeting NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Dale Inman, VIP treatment in a luxury trackside suite at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500 Spring Cup Series, and getting behind the wheel themselves at local tracks.

Step into the Spotlight

Imagine it: At the very moment the spotlight shines, you tear into a guitar solo for the ages. Off to your side, one of the greatest of all time joins in – Dave Navarro or Slash, to name a few. Or you belt out a powerful rock ballad, harmonizing with the likes of Steven Tyler, Gene Simmons, Joe Walsh and more. No, you aren't dreaming – you're at Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. Throw on your leather jackets and grab the hair spray – you're ready to rock!

Rather camp like a star than perform? Exit stage left to the Shooting Star RV Resort near Utah's Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Settle into an Airstream – decorated a la "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Some Like It Hot," "Viva Las Vegas," or "Breakfast at Tiffany's" – and let Mother Nature do the performing, with 360-degree views of the Grand Staircase, the Escalante Mountains and Dixie National Forest.

Make the Team

Loads of pro sports teams host fantasy camps, giving diehard fans the chance to take to the field alongside their favorite players. Among Major League Baseball teams are the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, LA Dodgers, Colorado Rockies and scores of others. Football fans can hit the gridiron with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, to name a few.

Dreamt of being an Olympic athlete, but didn't quite make the cut? You can still train like one at a handful of camps around the country. USA Luge Fantasy Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., is led by a team of national coaches and Olympic medal winners, including 1998 silver medalist Gordy Sheer. The USA Basketball Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas combines hardcore training with the best coaching, all to prepare campers for a championship game. Swimmers go for the gold at USA Swimming Fantasy Camps in Colorado Springs, led by the world's top swimming coaches. Olympic gold medalists are there too, to share their tips and experiences with campers.

If wearing the Tour de France's yellow jersey has been a lifelong dream, join the peloton via the XD Cycling Camps with George Hincapie in South Carolina. Led by former pro-cyclist George Hincapie, who himself completed 17 Tours de France and five Olympic Games, cyclists wind their ways through the challenging, picturesque climbs of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Riders live like elite cyclists over the five-day camps, complete with massage therapy, gourmet meals and nightly training group discussions.

Perfect your swing with the best at ANNIKA Academy in Orlando, founded by Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam. During the three-day "Soren-Slam," golfers receive pointers from Annika, as well as her swing and fitness coaches, and tee up with the 10-time major champion on the greens.

Ready to hit the slopes? Sign up for Fantasy Ski Camp at Four Seasons Jackson Hole. The six-night camp features skiing in the backcountry, off the back of the tram and in Grand Teton National Park. One-on-one time with Teton Gravity Research Athlete and Exum Mountain guides will amp up your technique to make the most of your time out on the powder.

Take mountain climbing to the next level – ice climbing. Chicks with Picks' Sampler Women's Ice Climbing Clinic fills three days with technical skills sessions and loads of climbing at Ouray Ice Park in Ouray, Colo., known as the "Switzerland of America." All of the groups' clinics are perfect for climbers of all skill levels.

Tempt Your Tastebuds

Have your cake – or, rather, pie – and eat it, too, at Upper Crust, a delicious pie and cookie camp in western Montana. Over the course of three days, "pie whisperer" Kate McDermott and James Beard 2012 Outstanding Pastry Chef in the Country Mindy Segal share their secrets to making sweet and savory treats. New York Times photographer Andrew Scrivani is on hand, too, to lead campers through lessons in food photography.

Oenophiles, or anyone who enjoys a nice glass of wine, will want to take note of the Adult Wine Camp in the Sierra Foothills and the Sonoma County Grape Camp. In addition to tastings and pairings, campers get their hands dirty in the vineyards, stomp grapes and blend their own wines, toasting to a better understanding of the wine-making process.

Adventure is Calling…

Channel your inner-Indiana Jones and work side by side with paleontologists during the Mammoth Site Excavation & Preservation Program in South Dakota. For two weeks, campers unearth fossils, from the tiniest fragments to the largest mammoths.

If Jack Bauer is more your speed, MissionX's one- and two-day adventures may appeal to you. Making their U.S. debut in Georgia this fall and led by special ops teams (think Delta Force and British SAS), these adventures push campers to their limits, from escaping a three-story building to finding their ways out of submerged cars and many more harrowing scenarios.

For even more adventure, get into the wild and learn how to survive during a course with the Bear Grylls Survival Academy in New York's Catskills, Yosemite National Park and the Colorado Rocky Mountains. What's more, it can be a family affair – learn useful life and outdoor skills that are useful in everyday life. Activities may include river crossing, fire building, water purification, building emergency shelters, rope skills and much more. Go ahead, get wild.

… Not That You Have to Answer

For some, simply getting away and setting their own schedules is a dream come true. The Creative Me Time Retreat in California's central coast provides visitors just that – the freedom to do as they choose, from hiking and reading, to taking a creative class or indulging in a much-needed nap. The options are endless ... or not.

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Vacationships: These couples only meet up on the road PDF Print E-mail

In a more mobile world, couples are taking long-distance relationships to another level.(Photo: Getty Images)

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For their first date, Emily Harrington and Adrian Ballinger went rock-climbing in the eastern Sierra mountains of California.

Their next few dates took place in U.S. cities such as Salt Lake City and as far away as France and Thailand.

Harrington, a 28-year-old professional rock climber, and Ballinger, a 38-year-old mountain guide, spent months vacation dating after meeting on Mt. Everest in 2012. She lived in Boulder. He lived in Squaw Valley, Calif.

"We really had to work hard to plan when and where we'd see each other," Ballinger says.

The couple took long-distance romance to another level, engaging in what has become known as vacation dating. People are crossing borders more often, starting relationships on the road, and maintaining them via their tablets and smartphones. Such "vacationships" have become viable in this highly digital, globalized world.

"Travel is more affordable and accessible and so people do it more," says Ramani Durvasula, professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles and a licensed clinical psychologist. "The probability of meeting someone who lives somewhere else is high, and so these 'traveling relationships' can often start from the very beginning. In a world of smartphones, Skype, social media, 10,000 miles away can be as connected as 10 miles away"

Hotels across the country say they have noticed more couples meeting up from their respective homes for romantic vacations. They've responded by offering more romance-themed packages and amenities.

Since opening in May, the Brice, a new Kimpton hotel in Savannah, has had a number of couples visit on what employees have come to call "dateaways."

Vacationing couples often ask for floral arrangements, restaurant reservations and picnic baskets for dates in parks, says Lily Moss, assistant general manager at the Brice.

"It's a really romantic town," Moss says. "It's amazing every week how many special occasions, folks getting together for anniversaries and such, come through."

The Chanler at Cliff Walk in Newport, R.I., has increased its romance-based packages because of a rise in couples meeting up for vacation. Earlier this year, it launched a "Butler Drawn Bath" program which comes with two glasses of wine.

Because so many couples vacation there, the property has replaced the banquettes and four-top tables at the oceanfront portion of its restaurant with tables for two.

The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa in South Carolina has a Love Doctor who creates a romantic itinerary that could include a private sunset cruise or a candlelit dinner inside a beachside cabana.

Couples in vacationships say that while the arrangement is fun, it also takes a lot of work—and money.

Maria Marlowe, a 28-year-old health coach, lives in New York. Her boyfriend lives in San Francisco. They try to see each other every four to six weeks whenever and wherever they can.

"I don't want to do it forever," she says. "For now it works out fine. I'm busy doing my own thing. He's busy doing his own thing."

The couple plan to go to Indonesia soon.

"It makes the time you are together more interesting," she says. "You're more focused and fun. It's fun to have your space and then to have something to look forward to."

Brooke Rose, a 31-year-old public relations manager, sometimes has to drop her plans and get on a plane or into a car to see her boyfriend, a wildlife firefighter.

Each summer, he moves to a different part of the country to fight fires while she stays in Verdi, Nev. This summer, he was based in Grangeville, Idaho.

They've met up in Utah, Oregon, and California. Last week, they met in Sacramento for one night.

"It's been really fun to have an excuse to constantly check out something new," she says. "Every time you hang out, it's almost a celebration or a party."

That sentiment has both advantages and disadvantages, psychologists and relationship experts say.

"You're going to be out of your element. You're going to be away from the stresses in life. Oftentimes on vacation, you see the best part of your lover," says Drew Ramsey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and a clinical psychiatrist. "If someone has a relationship where they only take someone on trips, that really avoids the nitty gritty of being with someone."

That can work for some couples, though, who may prefer to have a casual relationship on the road.

"There's a compartmentalization I think a lot of young professionals have," Ramsey says. "They're successful in their work life. They don't have the time or energy to engage in a fully committed, monogamous relationship."

Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, says relationships that take place primarily on the road can work if each party agrees to the "ground rules."

"Will this be a stable, predictable relationship that follows a consistent routine? Probably not," he says. "However, relationships are formed by emotional bonds and not by physical or environmental parameters."

He says couples can create stability and a sense of normalcy even while on the road by doing things such as exercising together and turning the hotel room into an apartment-like setting.

"These actions allow you to focus on each other as a couple vs. acquaintances who meet while traveling," he says.

Harrington and Ballinger were able to transition from vacation dating to living in the same town and buying a condo together in Squaw Valley. But both continue to travel for work at least six months a year. They still take trips together but they are enjoying staying home much more.

"When we are together, we really appreciate it," Harrington says.

Alexandra Jimenez, who runs online travel magazine TravelFashionGirl.com, spent four years vacation dating a man from England. She's from Los Angeles. They met in Vietnam when both were on solo around the world trips.

Because of work and visa issues, they couldn't live in the same country. So they traveled all over Central America, Europe, Asia, South America, and the USA. Now that she owns her own business, she can work from anywhere. But neither one of them plans to give up their traveling life.

"We are engaged to be married next year and plan to continue this unusual indefinite life of travels," she says.

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2014 wine harvest festival guide PDF Print E-mail

As major wine regions around the country prepare for harvest season, the celebrations are starting as soon as this weekend. If you live or travel near these popular wineries, plan to participate with this breakdown of harvest happenings.

CALIFORNIA

These are the biggest celebrations to catch in the extensive wine countries of The Golden State, mainly around the harvest weekends of late September and early October.

Napa Valley

Castello di Amorosa Harvest Celebration and Stomp, September 20

This ancient-styled Tuscan castle winery is holding its seventh annual wine stomp competition with wine harvest demos, food and wine stations, live music and underground cellar tours to ring in the season. Reservations are required and tickets start at $95 for members and $115 for guests.

4045 North Saint Helena Hwy, Calistoga, Calif., 707-967-6272, castellodiamorosa.com

Peju Winery Harvest "La Masquerade: Rouge et Noire", September 20

Unlike other harvest parties, this one takes place at night upon the lit up Peju signature 50-foot tower. The night of dancing in the garden entails an unveiling of barrel samples and new releases by the Peju family, a blessing of the grapes under the stars and an outdoor four-course dinner with select wine pairings. Tickets are $205 for members and $225 for guests.

8466 St. Helena Hwy, Rutherford, Calif., 800-446-7358, peju.com

Clif Family Winery Farm Fest, September 27

The Clif Family Winery is throwing its sixth annual Farm Fest for the harvest on their bountiful farm in Pope Valley. Guests can taste wines, tour the farm, and enjoy food and wine pairings from the farm and local food artisans. Children's activities will keep the kids busy while you sip. Tickets start at $50 for members and $75 for guests.

709 Main St., St. Helena, Calif., 707-968-0625, cliffamilywinery.com

Crush Party at V. Sattui Winery, October 4

Learn about the art of winemaking, cork making and barrel building at the V. Sattui Winery harvest open house. Along with the old-fashioned grape crush, guests can taste 45 different wines including older vintages. The party will also feature live music and hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are $85 for members and $105 for guests.

1111 White Ln., St. Helena, Calif., 707-963-7774, vsattui.com

For a complete look at individual winery harvest events in Napa Valley, visit the Napa Valley Vintners website. Schweiger Vineyards is having an Old Fashioned Harvest Stomp on September 13 and 18, Trefethen Family Vineyards is holding a Harvest Boot Camp on September 27 and the Markham Vineyard is throwing an evening celebration on October 11.

Sonoma Valley

The Sonoma Valley Crush, September 26-28

The easiest way to experience the wine harvest in Sonoma Valley is by attending the Heart of Sonoma Valley Winery Association's three-day crush and harvest experience. Fifteen participating wineries will host harvest activities like grape sampling among vines, crush pad tours, wine tours, fresh juice tastings and a full look at the winemaking process. The Crush Wine Tasting Pass is $35 and permits access to harvest activities and wine tastings at all 15 Kenwood and Glen Ellen wineries.

Other Sonoma happenings include an Italian Country Harvest Party at D'Argenzio Winery on September 20, the Dutton-Goldfield Winery Harvest Party of tastings on October 18, and the Buena Vista Winery Morning Crush Brunch on September 21.

Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest Grand Tasting, October 11

Explore the bounty of Santa Barbara wines at the county's largest harvest taste. The Festival Grand Tasting features the more than 100 winery members with their winemakers pouring for you, along with dozens of local food purveyors to sample from. A wine seminar will take place that morning, the popular silent auction will be held, and a concert will entertain in the evening. Tickets for general admission are $75.

Old Mission Santa Ines, 1760 Mission Dr., Solvang, Calif., 805-688-0881, celebrationofharvest.com

Plus, the Grassini Family Vineyards Annual Crush Cookout and Coquelicot Estate Vineyard Harvest Party both take place on October 12.

SEE MORE: California wine country travel inspiration

NEW YORK

The harvest weekend in The Empire State seems to hover around late September, with a few surrounding events. Here are five harvest parties in the state's three main regions to check out.

The Finger Lakes

Keuka Lake Wine Trail Harvest Celebration of Food & Wine, September 13-14

Explore the seven member wineries of the Keuka Lake Wine Trail for a full taste of the Finger Lakes wine country harvest season. The celebration allows guests to taste newly released wines of the trail, learn a thing or two from the tasting room staff and indulge in delicious bites made from the region's local produce. Each winery will showcase a seasonal menu of dishes. Tickets are $30 for a weekend ticket or $24 for Sunday only.

Harvest in the Square at Union Square Park, September 18

If you're in the city and can't make it to wine country, this year's 19th annual Harvest in the Square celebration is showcasing 17 wineries from the 2014 Finger Lakes Wine Alliance. The city's original wine and food tasting festival will pair local wines and microbrews with foods served by chefs from 40 of the area's best restaurants using the freshest produce right from the Union Square Greenmarket. The event brings in more than 1,200 visitors from near and far, and tickets to attend are $125.

Union Square Park North Plaza, New York, N.Y., harvest.unionsquarenyc.org

25th Anniversary Hunt Country Harvest Festival, October 4-5

Join Hunt Country Vineyards for classic activities like grape stomping, hay rides, cellar tastings, a winemaking facilities tour, wine tastings, cooking presentations, musical performances, and food from local chefs and restaurants. Hunt Country will also be releasing five new wines at the event for tastings and for sale. Guests can taste foods like Lake Country egg rolls, lamb Barbacoa burritos and sausage samplers prepared by culinary arts students of Penn College's School of Hospitality. Admission is free and various events are priced separately.

4021 Italy Hill Road, Branchport, N.Y., 315-595-2812, huntwines.com

Other events in the region include the Harvest Game Dinner at Glenora Wine Cellars on October 25 for a five-course meal and wine pairing, the Montezuma Winery Hoedown Harvest on September 13 for an evening of dancing, and the Six Mile Creek Harvest Festival on September 13 for tastings, performances and autumn activities.

Long Island

Martha Clara Vineyards "Chateau La Feet" Stomp Party, September 21

Welcome the season in the North Fork of Long Island by stomping on grapes at the vineyard's third annual Stomp Party. The activities will take place in the vineyard's Northville Barn with Winemaker Juan E. Micieli-Martinez, and guests will automatically be given a complimentary glass of wine to start the party with. Tickets are $30 for club members and $35 for general admission.

6025 Sound Ave., Riverhead, N.Y., 631-298-0075, marthaclaravineyards.com

Additional Long Island events are Lieb Cellars' Harvest Party at The Tasting Group on September 13 offering music, food from Noah's on the Road Food Truck and wine tours, and the Brooklyn Oenology Winery's Harvest Party in the tasting room on October 2 with upcoming vintage samples of not-yet-released wines.

Hudson Valley

Millbrook Vineyards and Winery Harvest Party, October 18

Millbrook's Grand Harvest Party is a luncheon equipped with a culinary mini wine class led by instructors of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), plus four courses prepared by the restaurants of CIA. Each course is paired with a wine to accompany detailed meals by Bocuse Restaurant, Ristorante Caterina de' Medici, American Bounty Restaurant and Apple Pie Bakery Cafe. Tickets are $125 for members, $135 for non-members.

VIDEO: Tour the CIA and see a taste of each restaurant

26 Wing Rd., Millbrook, N.Y., 845-677-8383, millbrookwine.com

The region is also holding grape stomps through Benmarl Winery's Harvest Grape Stomping Festival September 27-28 and October 11-12, and through Brotherhood Winery every weekend from now 'til October 12.

OREGON

The big wine harvest celebrations are scattered throughout September and October, so pick one (or a couple) of the five that fit your travel schedule.

Willamette Valley

The Carlton Crush Harvest Festival, September 13

The Willamette Valley Wineries' Annual Carlton Crush features 17 area wineries, a Grape Stomp Competition, a Wine Thief Relay, Barrel Rolling Race, helicopter rides, a watermelon eating contest and various activities for kids. An artist market and food will accompany the delicious local wine, cider and beer tastings. Admission is free for all guests.

Upper Park, Main St., Downtown Carlton, Ore., 216-533-6968, carltoncrush.com

Oregon Grape Stomp Championship and Harvest Celebration, September 20-21

This annual competition at the Estate Vineyard brings in participants from all over the country in groups of two, Stomper and Swabbie, for the title to compete at the World Grape Stomp Championships in Santa Rosa, Calif. The event includes Willamette Valley Vineyards tastings, a vineyard tour, live music and food pairings served by the winery chef. Admission is $10, stomping is $10 per team and other activities cost extra.

8800 Enchanted Way S.E., Turner, Ore., 503-588-9463, wvv.com

St. Josef's Estate Vineyards & Winery Grape Stomp Festival, September 20-21

St. Josef's Grape Stomp is the Northwest's original grape stomping event. Celebrating 32 years, the festival derived from the German harvest traditions of a "crush" season kick-off. Aside from grape stomping in a 1,200-gallon oak barrel, enjoy music from an "Original Donaumusikanten" German Band, more than 400 pounds of St. Josef's sausages and homemade sauerkraut, and wine tastings and tours with the winemaker. Admission is $10.

28836 S. Barlow Rd., Canby, Ore., 503-651-3190, stjosefswinery.com

North Willamette Harvest Trail, October 4 and 11

Experience the harvest of the North Willamette Valley in one day during the guided bus tour of three area wineries and a bonus Kura tour at SakeOne Brewery. Guests will be tasting wines and pairings while learning about different stages of harvest at each stop and enjoying a lunch at one of the vineyards. The tour moves from vineyard to crush pad to winery, allowing guests to pick grapes, press fruit, help with punch downs and join other hands-on harvest activities. Tickets are $95.

508-941-0609, nwvintners.org

The Columbia Gorge

The Crush: The Combination of Columbia Gorge Wines and Fine Art, October 4-27

The Columbia Gorge Winegrowers Association and Columbia Center for the Arts are throwing a month-long harvest celebration. Visit the exhibit, The Crush, for wine tastings from eight area wineries every Friday. On October 25, winemakers from the region will come to discuss the harvest and winemaking in the Gorge.

215 Cascade St., Ore., 541-387-8877, columbiaarts.org

Other attractions for harvest include the Domaine Meriwether Winery Bounty in the Vineyard Harvest Festival on September 27 and 28 in the South Willamette Valley, Montinore Estate's Fifth Annual Crush Party on September 27 in Willamette, and the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest October 17 through 19 in Columbia Gorge.

VIRGINIA

Harvests are taking place throughout October and early November at these four Virginia locations.

Western Virginia

Mountain Rose Vineyard Harvest Festival, October 4

This grape stomp and harvest festival has a lineup of events, like wine and grape tastings, winery and vineyard hayride tours, a grape stomp contest, a luncheon, a corn hole tournament, and vendors providing sweets and kettle corn. Admission is $5 and lunch is $16.

10439 Reservoir Rd., Wise, Va., 276-328-2013, mountainrosevineyard.com

Northern Virginia

Doukenie Winery Harvest Festival, October 18

During Virginia Wine Month, bask in the harvest with barrel tastings, new wine releases and live music by The Short Hill Mountain Boys. Monks BBQ, voted the "best food truck in Washington, D.C," will provide the event's food. Admission is free for club members and $15 for guests.

14727 Mountain Rd., Purcellville, Va., 540-668-6464, doukeniewinery.com

Eastern Virginia

Ingleside Vineyards Harvest Celebration, October 18

Join Ingleside for their 35th Harvest Celebration with a tour of the vineyards and winery, wine tastings, live music, hayrides, dancing, food and artwork. This year's focus on local brings area farms' products and Denson Market and Oyster Bar to the event to shuck fresh Chesapeake Bay oysters on the half shell. Admission is $15.

5872 Leedstown Rd., Oak Grove, Va., 804-224-8687, inglesidevineyards.com

Central Virginia

Harvest Wine Trail, November 1-2

Grab a passport ticket and tour six of Central Virginia's premier wineries. While the wine trail is open year-round, hitting the trail this time of year allows visitors to experience the region's wineries, releases and events during harvest. Passports are $20.

Various winery locations, hovawinetrail.com

Other Virginia wine events include the 22nd annual Rockbridge Vineyard Harvest Festival on October 4 in the Shenandoah Valley, Saude Creek Vineyard's Autumn Harvest Stomp on September 13 in Eastern Virginia, and the King Family Vineyards' Annual Harvest Dinner on October 3 near Northern Virginia.

WASHINGTON

Below are four harvest tours and "stompings" at varying wineries in the state starting this weekend and trailing 'til November.

The Olympic Peninsula

Olympic Peninsula Wineries' Harvest Wine Tour & Scarecrow Contest, November 8-9

Tour the region's seven artisan wineries in two days in the heart of fall traveling through the towns of Port Townsend, Sequim, Chimacum and Port Angeles. The tours are self-guided and tickets are $30.

Various winery locations, olympicpeninsulawineries.org

Yakima Valley

Alexandria Nicole Cellars' Harvest Party in the Vines at Destiny Ridge Vineyards, September 13

Celebrate the vineyard's 10 years as a winery and the harvest at the Hollywood Glamour-themed event. Enjoy a steak and lobster dinner, wine tastings with fall releases, a wine balloon toss, grape stomp, barrel rolling competition and skeet shooting. Tickets are $75 and certain activities are an additional cost.

158422 W. Sonova Rd., Paterson, Wash., 509-242-9979, alexandrianicolecellars.com

Catch the Crush, October 11-12

This extensive event celebrates the harvest with exclusive wine tastings and releases, grape stomps, harvest crush activities, tours, hors d'oeuvres and live music at the many participating wineries. Forty-two wineries from the Yakima Wine Community, the Zillah Winery Community, the Prosser Wine Community and the Red Mountain Wine Community are each holding harvest parties during the weekend. Premier passes are available online for $30.

Various winery locations, wineyakimavalley.org

Wenatchee Valley

Taste of the Harvest, September 20

Sample 20 of the best wines from award-winning makers in North Central Washington at the Wine Tasting Garden in downtown Wenatchee. Other activities include live music, a heritage tractor and car show, artisan and food vendors, Yoga in the Streets, and a film festival. Last year more than 15,000 attendees joined the fun. Tickets are online for $15.

Historic Downtown, Wenatchee, Wash., wenatcheewines.com, wendowntown.org

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10Best: Conspiracies and legends around the USA PDF Print E-mail

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"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you." ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

The items on this varied list may not all warrant heightened vigilance and tin foil hats, but better safe than sorry. So we're all better prepared for welcoming the Lizard People, when they finally choose to reveal themselves, and assimilating to the New World Order, here are some of the best conspiracy theories and urban legends in the U.S.

Area 51, probably underground, Nev.

Arguably, the country's most famous conspiracy theory is focused on this remote part of Edwards Air Force Base in Southern Nevada. Also known as Groom Lake, it's assumed the base is used to test aircraft and weapons systems. The air space overhead is absolutely restricted. Even Air Force pilots aren't allowed to breach the perimeter. The extraordinary secrecy surrounding the base has fueled several Area 51 conspiracy theories over the years ranging from a lab/prison for studying aliens (both living and dead), a meeting place for Earthlings and aliens working in tandem on various projects, reverse engineering and testing of captured/recovered alien technology, developing a weather control system, time travel and teleportation technology and much more. All that said, nothing can be certain as everything that occurs in Area 51 is classified as "Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information." The CIA didn't publicly acknowledge the existence of the base until July 2013.

Denver Airport, Colo.

Another conspiracy theory layer cake spot is Denver International Airport. That it was built while Denver had a perfectly good airport much closer to the city is the jumping off point for these theories. (For the record, experts have pointed out that the runway layout at the old airport was no longer efficient enough for the increased traffic.) It's believed that building the new airport allowed for the secret construction of an underground headquarters for the Illuminati, or the New World Order, or the Neo-Nazis, or the Lizard People and so on. There are, in fact, buildings underground, which were built then buried for questionable reasons and are now being used for storage according to airport officials. The vaguely Swastika-shaped runways, the (admittedly) disturbing murals and sculptures, and odd words engraved in the floor also fuel the theories. Furthermore, there is the question of funding. A stone in the terminal says the airport was funded by "The New World Airport Commission," a nebulous entity, sanely theorized to be a group of local businesses, though many claim it doesn't exist.

UFO cover-up, Roswell, N.M.

Though it's now mainly fueled by local businesses wanting to cash in on tourist interest, the (alleged!) Roswell UFO incident of 1947 is the most popular (alleged!) UFO cover-up of all time and still merits time and energy among conspiracy theorists and movie/TV writers. Various people claim that a spacecraft with alien occupants crashed on a ranch near Roswell in June or July 1947, which was quietly hauled away for study, possibly by our friends at Area 51. The Air Force reported at the time that the object was a surveillance balloon. The conspiracy chatter didn't flare up until 1978 when Major Jesse Marcel, who was involved with the recovery of the debris, gave an interview describing a spacecraft crash cover-up by the military. Since then additional witnesses have emerged, describing the cover-up and alien autopsies. These days, even passionate pro-UFO advocates generally dismiss Roswell as a hoax.

Grassy knoll in Dallas, Texas

The Warren Commission concluded that there was no conspiracy involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963. However, after Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby, an event that also brims with conspiracy, the theories that Oswald didn't act alone – or maybe wasn't involved at all – started flying. The situation was exacerbated in 1979 when the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations announced "...a high probability that two gunmen fired at [the] President." Furthermore, while he was living in Belarus, it's said Oswald was such a terrible shot that friends were afraid to go hunting with him. The dazzling list of conspiracy theories put forward at one point or another involve the collusion of one or more parties including the CIA, the FBI and/or FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, the Mafia, anti-Castro Cuban exile groups, Castro himself, then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and the KGB.

Kensington Runestone, Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minn.

Evidence that Scandinavian explorers pushed as far as the Midwest of the future United States in the 14th century or a 19th-century hoax? The Kensington Runestone is a 200 lb slab of greywacke inscribed with runes on the face and side. The story goes the stone was found in 1898 in the rural township of Solem, Minnesota (it gets its name from Kensington, a nearby settlement) by Swedish immigrant Olof Olsson Ohman. The Stone appears to describe an expedition of Norwegians and Swedes who camped in the area, then retreated to their boat at "the inland sea" after 10 were slaughtered by unknown assailants. Runologists and linguistic experts overwhelming agree that the language used on the stone is too modern (circa the 19th century, coincidentally) and didn't match other writing samples from the 1300s. However, the legend persists, being occasionally revived with new evidence and arguments, some as recently the 1990s.

D.B. Cooper airplane hijack, ransom and parachute jump, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest

The only unsolved case of air piracy in U.S. history was perpetrated by an unidentified man who the media came to call "D. B. Cooper." (The hijacker purchased his ticket using the alias "Dan Cooper.") On November 24, 1971, Cooper hijacked a passenger plane (a Boeing 727) during a Portland-Seattle flight. Claiming he had a bomb, he made his ransom plans known to the crew. On the ground in Seattle, Cooper released the passengers after officials gave him the requested $200,000 (equivalent to $1,160,000 today) and two parachutes. With only Cooper and the crew aboard, the plane then took off heading for Mexico. When they stopped in Reno to refuel, Cooper was gone, having jumped from the rear stairs while the plane was likely still over Washington State. Cooper was never found and it's widely believe he couldn't have possibly survived the fall, over remote mountainous wilderness, at night, wearing a trench coat and loafers, no helmet, into an initial wind chill at the airplane's altitude of −70° F. The FBI investigation into the case remains open to this day.

Atari E.T. game landfill burial, Alamogordo, N.M.

For decades an urban legend spread about the dumping, burying and subsequent concrete covering of as many as 3.5 million copies of Atari's video game "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" in a landfill in Alamogordo, N.M. Said to be "one of the worst video games ever released," the unsold E.T. games were believed to have been crushed and buried along with broken and returned Atari gear in 1983. Conflicting stories and doubts about the initial reports caused the story to unravel into urban legend. In April, 2014, an excavation of the site began to determine the true contents of the landfill as part of a documentary. About 1300 E.T. game cartridges and others were quickly uncovered, though the excavation was soon called off when it was determined that the hardware was much deeper and more difficult to access than originally believed. A former Atari manager revealed that in fact only about 700,000 E.T. cartridges were buried in the area.

Yale Skull & Bones Secret Society, New Haven, Conn.

Yale's Skull and Bones secret society dates from 1832, meets in a building known as "the Tomb" and operates under a veil of delectable mystery. Made up of undergraduate seniors and run by alumni, "Bonesmen" include former Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, U.S. Secretaries of Defense, U.S. Secretaries of State, founders of major companies, and prominent political advisors. Each spring, the society selects 15 men and women composed of "campus leaders and other notable figures" from the junior class to join the following year. Women were finally allowed into the society in 1992. Popular conspiracy theories claim members and alumni actively plot for globalist/corporatist world control, are members of the Illuminati and/or control the CIA.

Mothman, Point Pleasant, W.V.

Though the legend of Bigfoot is indisputably more famous in the arena of mutant or supernatural creatures, the so-called Mothman that was sighted by dozens of people between November 1966 and December 1967 is far more compelling. Initial sightings were reported by the Point Pleasant Register under the headline "Couples See Man-Sized Bird... Creature... Something." Witnesses re-interviewed years later maintained their stories of seeing the creature, described as a "large flying man with ten-foot wings" whose red eyes glowed "like bicycle reflectors." A biologist has suggested the creature was actually a sandhill crane, which grow nearly as tall as a man, with a seven foot wingspan and reddish circles around the eyes. The Mothman was later popularized by John Keel in his 1975 book "The Mothman Prophecies," which was made into a film in 2002, starring Richard Gere. Point Pleasant started holding an annual Mothman Festival in 2002. A 12-foot-tall metallic statue of the Mothman, complete with red, glowing eyes, stands in Mothman Park.

Elvis Presley is still alive, possibly in Kalamazoo, Michigan or Tennessee, but who knows?

Though sightings and apparently serious journalism about the subject have dropped off sharply since the 1980s and '90s, the rumors that Elvis Presley is still alive are still, erm, alive! Many strongly believe that Elvis faked his death to escape his oppressive celebrity status or possibly to dodge a debt he owed to someone in the Mafia. Thousands of alleged Elvis sightings have been reported, with the flame being happily fanned by the media, mostly notably Gail Brewer Giorgio who published the book "The Most Incredible Elvis Presley Story Ever Told" in 1988, later re-titled "Is Elvis Dead?" Her key evidence was a tape of a male voice speaking about the alleged conspiracy to fake Elvis' death. A voice analyst concluded that voice on the tape was Elvis'. Bill Bixby later hosted two TV specials on the subject: "The Elvis Files" (1991) and "The Elvis Conspiracy" (1992).

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Photo tour: The stunning SLS Las Vegas PDF Print E-mail

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Experience Las Vegas is featuring in-depth photo tours of the city's world-famous hotels and casino resorts this year. We feature a different Vegas property each month so you can visit virtually before booking your stay, or just fantasize about plush digs outside your budget.

Our September gallery takes us to The SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. The third U.S. incarnation of the luxury hotel chain from sbe (following Beverly Hills and South Beach locations) is a whole new unique work of art, with "only in Vegas" touches. The 1,622 rooms are divided into three distinct towers geared toward individual traveler types. See which room is right for you, and explore the property's nine restaurants, seven nightlife venues, retail, fitness center, and spa and salon. World-renowned chefs Jose Andres and Katsuya Uechi expand their famous fare here, while icon Fred Segal's retail spans eight categorized shops.

Take our complete property tour in the gallery above, and come back in October for the next featured stay. Plus, read the exclusive first story behind the design.

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Ken Burns shares secrets of Arches National Park PDF Print E-mail

Ken Burns shares secrets of Arches National Park

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Ken Burns shares secrets of Arches National Park

The secret to Arches may be what you can do there that you cannot in some other national parks: amble all over the landscape.

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Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan are the creators of the PBS documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," available via ShopPBS.org. VPC

USA TODAY 8:29 a.m. EDT September 15, 2014

Double Arch is one of the most well-known landmarks of the park and was used in the opening scene of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".(Photo: Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service)

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The secret to Arches may be what you can do there that you cannot in some other national parks: amble all over the landscape.

The boundaries of many trails in the national parks are rigid and defined. But in Arches you're relatively free to bound around, hike across boulders and walk right up to famous structures such as Delicate Arch.

It's worth every minute of the hike to the base of Delicate Arch. After all, its image is on Utah's license plate, filmmaker Ken Burns points out.

In the video above hear Burns describe what time of day the light is best to view Delicate Arch and "experience a kinship that is unique in the world."

At Arches, "You begin to realize the importance of light," Burns says, in this "spectacular museum of patient erosion."

As co-creator of the PBS series The National Parks: America's Best Idea, Ken Burns and his team spent months filming in national parks across the United States.

Burns sat down with USA TODAY and shared the secrets of Arches National Park and nine other national parks for a special 10-part series, "Secrets of the National Parks."

PREVIOUSLY IN THIS SERIES: Volcanoes | Shenandoah | Glacier | Great Smoky Mountains | Rocky Mountain | Yosemite | Yellowstone

Check back with USA TODAY Travel weekly for new installments of "Secrets of the National Parks," featuring Ken Burns' insights into nine other parks including Yosemite, Yellowstone and more.

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When gross things happen to good passengers PDF Print E-mail

Christopher Elliott , Special for USA TODAY 12:50 p.m. EDT September 14, 2014

You board a plane and find your seat stained with bodily fluids. Now what?(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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For Ryan Karas and Lindsi Stinson, it was blood. For Angela Rauen, it was urine. And for Linda Cannon, vomit.

All four of the airline passengers say they were confronted by a biohazard when they boarded recent flights. Their experiences, though not unusual, are happening against the backdrop of the Ebola epidemic, which is heightening passenger fears of infection.

The responses of airlines and government regulators suggest they have good reason to be concerned. Karas and Stinson, newlyweds flying from Phoenix to Kauai on US Airways, were taken aback when they spotted dried blood on their seatbacks. And they know what dried blood looks like: Both have jobs in emergency medicine.

"When we notified the flight attendant, she just said, 'Oh, disgusting, someone should have reported that,' and then walked away," says Karas, who works for a hospital in Colorado Springs. "She didn't apologize, or clean the mess, or even offer for us to sit in an alternate row."

US Airways e-mailed the couple a form apology, and after I asked about their case, it followed up with an e-mail promising an "internal" investigation.

Rauen, who was on a morning flight from Orlando to Chicago on American Airlines, found herself sitting in a urine-soaked seat. "I knew it was human urine because of the very distinctive odor," says Rauen, a sales manager from Oak Brook, Ill. She complained to a crewmember, who confessed that seats get sprayed by passengers "all the time" and told her she could either sit down or take the next flight. She sat down, and eventually, an attendant reseated her.

Cannon, a teacher from Palatine, Ill., was on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Las Vegas when she felt something wet on her seat. "I pulled out my hand, which was covered in vomit," she recalls.

This time, a flight attendant seemed more sympathetic to her complaint. The crewmember cleaned the seat while Cannon changed into some clean clothes. But it didn't help: Bits of upchuck still coated her seat.

"I sat for 3½ hours with the remnants of vomit on my jeans and underwear," says Cannon. " I spent the entire flight with nausea and the woman in the next seat telling me it still smelled."

Complaints to United were met with form letters dismissing her request as nothing more than a grievance about an "unpleasant odor," for which the airline does not offer any compensation.

The passengers who came into contact with blood, urine and vomit wonder who to blame for the lack of hygiene on a plane, and what they're doing about it.

The answer is a bit complicated. Of course, airlines are responsible for the cleanliness of their aircraft, and it's a job they say they take seriously. At American Airlines, for example, planes are tidied up between flights, which can include cleaning the lavatories, seats and replacing any obviously soiled blankets or pillows. Overnight, the planes are serviced more thoroughly. The restrooms are serviced, seats and tray tables are wiped down, carpets are vacuumed and blankets and pillows are replaced.

Every month, each aircraft is given a "deep" cleaning, where seat covers are washed and the entire cabin is sanitized using government-approved cleaning agents. Every 18 months to two years, depending on the plane's flight hours, the aircraft gets what's called a "C Check," during which the plane is basically taken apart piece by piece and put back together.

"In that process, the cabin is obviously completely cleaned," says American spokesman Joshua Freed.

Fortunately, the risk of infection to passengers is fairly low even when the system fails, experts say. "Exposure to bodily fluids of another passenger while traveling is generally rare," says Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and School of Medicine.

Health experts say you can't contract an infectious disease such as Ebola via urine on a seat or dried blood. You may be at risk if an infected person vomits on you, but not usually in the case of contact with residual vomit, such as that faced by Cannon.

As for Ebola, there have been no cases of passengers contracting it on a plane in the United States, says Victoria Day, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, a trade organization. "The possibility of transmission is extremely low," she adds.

Airline ticket contracts don't provide any compensation for soiled seats, and it's not even clear whom to complain to, beyond calling the carrier. Multiple agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have jurisdiction over various aspects of on-board sanitation for passengers and cabin crews. That makes tracking the number of complaints something of a challenge.

Bottom line? These gross-outs, while they may not harm passengers, shouldn't be happening — particularly now. Air travelers aren't entitled to adequate legroom or service with a smile when they fly anymore, but can we all agree that they deserve a sanitary seat?

What to do if your seat is soiled

Ask to be moved

Chances are, there's not enough time to bring in a cleaning crew to fix the problem before your flight departs. Politely ask a flight attendant if you can move to a clean seat.

Keep your expectations reasonable

You should expect an apology, but airline contracts of carriage — the legal agreements between you and the airline — don't say you should get a free flight or an upgrade, no matter how unpleasant your experience.

If the airline ignores you, call the FAA

Contact the government if your airline doesn't respond. You can file a complaint with the Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division:

dot.gov/airconsumer/file-consumer-complaint

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