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St. Mary Parish gets own travel app

Traveling the Cajun Coast? There’s an app for that. The Cajun Coast Visitors & Convention Bureau has developed a travel guide app for St. Mary Parish. Tourism officials hope it gets visitors to slow down when driving throughout the parish. Categories on the app include accommodations, to eat, events, social, shopping, lagniappe, other, nearby and to do.… Continue reading →

App allows tourists to experience ‘12 Years a Slave’

Photo provided by Frank EakinA smart phone app guiding visitors to the historic sites associated with 'Twelve Years a Slave' was released recently released.

A 21st-century technology is helping tourists experience a 19th-century tale. Visitors following the Solomon Northup Trail — 20 locations featured in the 1853 memoir “Twelve Years a Slave” — can download a smartphone app designed to supplement their trip with maps, historical photographs and readings from the book. Northup was kidnapped and sold into slavery to… Continue reading →

Just over the horizon, Ship Island a beach oasis close to home

Photo by Ian McNulty - Situated 12 miles off shore, West Ship Island puts pristine white sand and clear water closer to home.

Moving at the speed of flip-flops, we walked the third-of-a-mile from the ferry dock to the beach at West Ship Island in about 10 minutes. Before that, we cruised across a dozen calm miles of the Mississippi Sound in about an hour. The drive my wife and I made from our New Orleans home to the ferry’s… Continue reading →

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium offers $2 bargain

Advocate file photo -- A model of the Formosan termite, a New Orleans nemesis, sits on display at  the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. The Insectarium is offering Louisiana residents a special admission price on Tuesdays through the end of the year.

It’s a bargain on bugs. The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans is offering Louisiana residents $2 admission on Tuesdays through Dec. 30. Visitors can see the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation “Butterflies in Flight” exhibit in one of New Orleans’ most historic buildings, the U.S. Custom House. “The serene, Asian-inspired… Continue reading →

Jeanerette museum extends hours

Photo provided by Iberia Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau -- The Jeanerette Bicentennial Park and Museum has begun opening on Fridays.

The Jeanerette Bicentennial Park and Museum has extended its days of operations to Fridays, and is now open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays. The museum, 500 E. Main St., has displays depicting the past 200 years of the sugar cane industry, and also shows a 12-minute film on the actual making of sugar.… Continue reading →

Camellias bloom at Lacombe site for open house

Photo provided by DAVID STOUGHTONVisitors take a tour of the camellia gardens at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex headquarters in Lacombe.

Visitors can see more than 400 cultivars of camellias at Saturday’s 5th Annual Camellia Gardens Open House at the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges Complex headquarters in Lacombe. The free event runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is presented in partnership with the Northshore Camellia Society and the Camellia Club of New Orleans. The… Continue reading →

Battle of N.O. anniversary events set

Photo provided by the National Park ServiceRe-enactors portraying American civilians talk to visitors at a past event marking the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans at Chalmette Battlefield.

Lasting less than two hours, the Battle of New Orleans was nonetheless one of the most significant battles in American history. One hundred ninety-nine years later, the last important land battle of the War of 1812 will be marked with anniversary events Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at the site of the battle, Chalmette Battlefield, 8606 W. St.… Continue reading →

New building expands

Associated Press photo -- Renzo Piano poses on the lawn outside of the New Piano Pavillion at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The colonnaded pavilion made of glass, concrete and wood located about 65 yards away from the museums original building opened to the public Wednesday, Nov. 27.

The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth is expanding its gallery space with a new building designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano that is a nod to the museum’s original Louis Kahn-designed building. “There are so many echoes of the Khan building here,” said museum director Eric M. Lee… Continue reading →

Even in peak ski season, Aspen has some freebies

Associated Press photo -- Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are popular activities in and around Aspen, Colo.. There are more than 60 miles  of groomed cross-country and snowshoe trails around Aspen and Snowmass, open to all comers.

— A trip to Aspen during peak ski season is going to set you back some cash. But even those who can afford the posh Colorado mountain town will enjoy checking out what’s free, from high-altitude adventures to creature comforts. The Aspen Art Museum hosts a steady rotation… Continue reading →

Museum tells blind visitors: Please touch!

Associated Press photo by JACQUELINE LARMA -- Angel Ayala, left, Tatyana Allen, center and Katie Maunder touch a page of reproduced hieroglyphics near a quartzite likeness of Ramesses II during a special tour at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia.

— Angel Ayala has never been a big fan of museums. Blind since birth, the high school student says the exhibits are so sight-dependent that he can’t enjoy them. But he’s making an exception for the Penn Museum, an archaeology and anthropology center that offers touch tours for the blind and visually impaired.… Continue reading →

St. Augustine attraction zips over alligators

Associated Press photo by Brendan Farrington --  Ava Martin zip lines over an alligator lagoon at The St. Augustine Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Fla.

— I was slowly crossing a swinging log bridge when I paused, sensing the alligator 12 feet below was staring at me. The water around the 8-foot gator’s enormous body began rippling rapidly. A second later, Big Al let out a deep bellow, as if to say, “If you fall, you’re my… Continue reading →

Escape to Christmas Past with trip to Franklin

Photo by CARROLL S. GREVEMBERG/Grevy Photography --Guests gather at the recent fundraising dinner at the Grevemberg House.

If Christmas Present is stressing you out, think Christmas Past. Steeped in history, the Grevemberg House Museum in Franklin is one of many possible day-trip options to escape to over the holidays. Get a quick history lesson from tour guide Craig Landry, who’ll explain that the historic home, located in Franklin’s City Park, was once… Continue reading →

Small-batch

Associated Press photo by Bruce Schreiner -- A worker puts the finishing touches on the bottom of a five-story-high replica of a bourbon bottle thats the signature feature of the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, a tourism attraction in downtown Louisville, Ky.

The maker of Evan Williams bourbon has uncorked a new attraction, opening a craft distillery just steps from where the whiskey pioneer who inspired the brand fired up his own commercial stills two centuries ago. The distillery and “bourbon experience” — complete with tours and tasting rooms… Continue reading →

Walker’s Point neighborhood in Milwaukee home of delicious mainstays

This Nov. 12, 2013 photo shows a car passing outside of La Merenda in Milwaukee's Walkers Point neighborhood. La Merenda is a tapas bar where farmers and artisanal food producers vie to get on the menu. Most La Merenda small plates run $7 to $10 and are designed to be shared among four people. With a group of six to eight, its possible to order much of the menu and still walk away with a bill of $20 to $25 per person. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Drive south from downtown Milwaukee into the Walker’s Point neighborhood and the dimly lit streets and empty buildings will make you feel like you should keep going. Don’t. Park, get out and enjoy some of the best farm-to-table food in a city that prides itself on being the heart of America’s… Continue reading →

San Diego more than surf, sand

Associated Press photo by Lenny Ignelzi --  Fallen Star, a small cottage by artist Do Hi Suh, sits atop Jacobs Hall, a seven story structure that houses the engineering school on the campus of the University of California-San Diego in San Diego. The piece of art is part of the Stuart Collection, which uses the the entire UCSD campus as a site for commissioned sculpture.

The home of SeaWorld and a world-famous zoo offers plenty of cash-burning attractions, but San Diego also has awe-inspiring sites that are as free as the sea breeze and go beyond just sunbathing at the beach. The nation’s eighth-largest city has matured from its “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” surf days.… Continue reading →

One last chance to see Chimp Haven for year

Associated Press file photoBrent is a chimpanzees at Chimp Haven in Keithville.

The public has one more chance this year to visit Chimp Haven, the chimpanzee retirement sanctuary in Keithville, near Shreveport. The final Chimpanzee Discovery Day for 2013 is 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. The family-friendly event allows visitors inside the facility to safely see the chimps up-close, including recently acquired animals from the New Iberia Research… Continue reading →

Presidential home hosts light festival

Photo provided by Beauvoir -- Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home & Presidential Library in Biloxi, Miss., will be open for the holidays beginning Nov. 7.

BILOXI, Miss. — Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home & Presidential Library, will host the Festival of Light for the holiday season, beginning Nov. 7 and running through Jan. 5. Visitors can experience a true Victorian Christmas, including a tour of the decorated mansion, visits and photography with Father Klaus; a peek inside Father Klaus’ workshop and model… Continue reading →

Louisiana Travels

Bats! at Fairview-Riverside State Park Oct. 26 MADISONVILLE: The Audubon Institute’s Zoomobile will visit Fairview-Riverside State Park on October 26th at 1 pm, to share information about the navigation and habits of the only mammals with self-controlled flight capabilities. Children will make and take a bat craft perfect for Halloween. Fairview-Riverside State Park… Continue reading →

Louisiana Travels

Photo provided by Webster Parish Convention and Visitors CommissionThe Great Lakes Timber Show features master lumberjacks entertaining audiences with chainsaw carving, axe throwing, antiques logging tools, modified chain sawing, and log rolling.

The Great Lakes Timber Show will be part of the 30th Lumberjack Festival Friday-Saturday in Springhill. Events at Frank-Anthony Park on Church Street will begin at noon on Friday and continue through Saturday. The master lumberjacks performing in the show have been seen on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” ESPN, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and NBC’s… Continue reading →

Mt. Fuji’s heritage status troubling for many climbers

Associated Press photo by David Guttenfelder -- Japanese hikers climb one of the trails on Mount Fuji last month. The recent recognition of the 12,388-foot peak as a UNESCO World Heritage site has many here worried that will draw still more people, adding to the wear and tear on the environment from the more than 300,000 who already climb the mountain each year.

They trudge up well-trod cinder paths by the thousands, headlamps glowing in the dark, and then settle in, shivering, to await and cheer the sun’s blazing ascent over the horizon. Climbing Mount Fuji, Japan’s most iconic landmark, is a group activity: Seldom is it climbed in solitude. The recent recognition… Continue reading →

Fall season prime paddling time in Louisiana

Photo provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service --Cane Bayou offers canoeists a leisurely paddle. Organized trips are being offered three Saturdays in October.

Fall is a great time to take a leisurely canoe trip. “Paddling Through Time: People & Louisiana’s Wetlands,” presented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will offer participants a guided paddle on Cane Bayou, located within the Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge centered in Lacombe. Paddlers will learn about the natural and cultural history of the… Continue reading →

Airport tries therapy dogs to ease anxiety

— Henry James weaves between legs and roller bags at Mineta San Jose International Airport, but he’s in no rush. Around him, people scurry to their gates, but for the 4 1/2-year-old golden retriever, being calm is his job. “Do you want to see him?” his owner Kyra Hubis asked two… Continue reading →

Photo provided by LANA MERLISS -- Siblings at shrine -- Maria Sarver, of Crowley, and her sister, Lana Merliss, Baton Rouge, visit the Heian shrine in Sakyo-Ku, Jyoto, Japan. The shrine, begun in 1895, was burned in 1976, and rebuilt three years later. Its architecture mirrors the style of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. On their three-week vacation in the Orient in May, they also traveled to Beijing, China; South Korea; Osaka and Tokyo, Japan, and Anchorage, Alaska.

Continue reading →

Parton doing more than imagining her vision of ‘Dollywood’

Illustration provided by Dollywood -- This artist's rending shows a version of a proposed hotel with an outdoor pool planned for DreamMore Resort.

To see the future of Dollywood, you need to borrow the vision of its chief imaginer, Dolly Parton. In the near future, Parton sees a resort hotel lobby with a three-story window that frames Mount LeConte — one of the tallest peaks in the Smoky Mountains. Guests will be able to… Continue reading →

Tramway planned for Machu Picchu’s ‘sister city’

Associated Press file photo -- Peru's government has approved what will be the country's first aerial tramway, which will make the Choquequirao ruins in Cuzco, Peru, shown above, reachable in just 15 minutes from the nearest highway.

The former mountaintop refuge of Incan royalty has elegant halls and plazas much like those of fabled Macchu Picchu just 30 miles away. Yet only a handful of tourists visit the ruins each day, those willing to make a two-day hike to reach its majestic solitude. That is about to change:… Continue reading →

Nordic tour groups cancel more than 60,000 Egypt trips

Major tour operators in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark say they have canceled at least 60,000 trips to Egypt through the winter season that lasts until April due to recent unrest. Last week, charter companies and travel organizers flew back hundreds of Scandinavian holidaymakers from resorts in Egypt… Continue reading →

Hotels renovating lobbys to induce you to stay a while

Associated Prss photo by ELAINE THOMPSON -- Guests socialize in the newly-redesigned bar area during 'social hour' at a Sheraton hotel in Seattle.

Hotels want you to stay a while — in their lobbies. Long treated as dead spaces that hotel guests raced through on the way to the elevator, lobbies are being transformed into places to work, surf the Web or meet friends for a drink. Large, traditional hotels are spending billions… Continue reading →

Stretch family fun with a yoga adventure

Associated Press photo by RANDY PENCH -- Amina Noorani, 8, stretches during a kids' camp in Sacramento, Calif. She is surrounded by artwork she did before the start of her yoga class.

September is National Yoga Month, a designation aimed at encouraging healthful lifestyles. To celebrate, resorts and destinations are offering special programs and classes to entice families to participate in this beneficial practice. 1. Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa; Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This all-inclusive seaside resort is organized into three zones, one of which is… Continue reading →

Dreamers work to create huge new park in Delhi

Associated Press photo by MANISH SWARUP -- Indian laborers work to renovate the Neela Gumbad, or Blue Tomb, as part of a project for the creation of a mammoth, iconic park that would rival New York's Central Park as a refuge from urban chaos in New Delhi.

In a tangle of forgotten, overgrown brush in the heart of India’s capital, a quiet plan has been hatched to change the landscape of one of the world’s most populous cities. An intricate Mughal garden is being created. Crumbling sandstone tombs nearly lost to history are being rebuilt. An artificial lake… Continue reading →

Capitol statues honor the famous, tragic and odd

Associated Press photo by J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE -- John Gorrie, of Florida, inventor of the ice machine, stands next to the popular Rosa Parks, left, in Statuary Hall at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.  At right is Samuel Kirkwood, who became famous as the governor of Iowa during the Civil War.

All summer, thousands of visitors traipse among the U.S. Capitol’s many statues, which honor the nation’s founders, leaders and legends. There’s George Washington, father of his country. Abraham Lincoln, preserver of the Union. John Gorrie, inventor of the ice machine. Wait, what? Inventor of the ice machine? Indeed, there he… Continue reading →