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Oregon couple reflects on 20-month, 18,000-mile cycling odyssey

BEND, Ore. — They had endured grueling climbs while crossing the Andes six times, relentless rain and wind, endless desert, vicious dog attacks, scary crashes and an agonizing bout with dengue fever.  So it is no wonder that when Bend’s Kristen and Ville Jokinen approached the end of their 20-month, 18,215-mile cycling journey in Ushuaia, Argentina, they were an emotional mess: laughing...
Made in Music City

Made in Music City

Bryce McCloud, zhuzhed up in a red neckerchief and matching red suede sneakers, sweeps through his Isle of Printing shop in Nashville’s Pie Town district, a melange of empty Cafe Bustelo canisters and posters that say “Invest in Kindness.” He switches on a Dorothy Ashby record for background music. “I just discovered her over Christmas,” he says. “I’m really...
Hosteling: Great for ‘youths’ of any age

Hosteling: Great for ‘youths’ of any age

Many travelers wonder: “Youth hosteling … can we still do that?” You can: Many hostels are filled with travelers well past their 20s — and age cutoffs are generally a thing of the past. Even the International Youth Hostel Federation has removed the word “youth” from its name and is now known as Hostelling International (HI). If you’re alive, you’re...

Talk Travel: Going to South Dakota? There is plenty to see in addition to the National Parks

The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: We'll be staying at a cabin near Rapid City, South Dakota in late June/early July for eight nights. Besides the National Parks and National Monuments in the area, what other interesting sites are recommended? We'll be driving from Fort Collins, Colorado...

What’s around the Fillmore

The Fillmore stands near the confluence of three neighborhoods. Here’s what to visit in each. ——— Fillmore District For a jazzier scene in a throwback setting far smaller than the Fillmore, step across Geary Boulevard to the Boom Boom Room at 1601 Fillmore St. Once known for its association with John Lee Hooker, the Boom Boom Room is a long, narrow lounge (no food) with a round...
Feel the music at the Fillmore

Feel the music at the Fillmore

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s 10 minutes to showtime. Step up to the three-story Italianate brick box at Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard. Avert your eyes from the payday-loan operation that takes up much of the ground floor. Submit to a brief search by security. Then climb the stairs, grab an apple from the giveaway bin and check out the hundreds of vintage posters. The 10 twinkling chandeliers...

A road map to shopping like a royal

The British royal family has long been a source of public fascination, captivating mere mortals in Britain and beyond with a passion for all things Windsor.  Toss a wedding into the mix — specifically one so storybook as the nuptials of Prince Harry and his American fiancée, Meghan Markle, on Saturday — and the excitement swells: Where will Meghan shop in London? Where will...
More details: Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest canceled — for now

More details: Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest canceled — for now

The main organizer of the Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest has pulled the plug on the event, but officials with Texas State Parks say they are looking for a way to keep it going in 2019 and beyond. Desert Sports, an outfitter in Terlingua, has partnered with the state parks department since 2011 to put on the festival, which drew a large number of Austin cyclists to the Far West Texas desert for three...
The fires could not quench the beauty of California’s wine country

The fires could not quench the beauty of California’s wine country

NAPA VALLEY, Calif. — As I floated 2,500 feet above this storied wine-producing valley in a hot air balloon, all I could see below was a vast mosaic of greens. Greens in every shade — from palest lettuce to soft sage to vivid emerald. Soaring over the Mayacamas Mountain Range, a tantalizing view of Mount St. Helena (not to be confused with Washington state’s Mount St. Helens) loomed...
The fires could not quench the beauty of California’s wine country

The fires could not quench the beauty of California’s wine country

NAPA VALLEY, Calif. — As I floated 2,500 feet above this storied wine-producing valley in a hot air balloon, all I could see below was a vast mosaic of greens. Greens in every shade — from palest lettuce to soft sage to vivid emerald. Soaring over the Mayacamas Mountain Range, a tantalizing view of Mount St. Helena (not to be confused with Washington state’s Mount St. Helens) loomed...

Does Washington need an anti-Trump hotel? This entrepreneur is betting on it.

On an overcast February afternoon, Katherine Lo glides into the lobby of a building under renovation at 12th and K streets Northwest in downtown Washington. "This is my favorite part of the whole hotel," Lo says, referring to her soon-to-open business and gesturing toward a small room off the lobby entrance. The space will become a glass-walled digital radio station, she says, where local...
Florida roadside attraction: Gators to the left, crocs to the right

Florida roadside attraction: Gators to the left, crocs to the right

There’s a fine line between alligators and crocodiles. At Gatorama, a roadside attraction in Palmdale, Fla., off U.S. Highway 27, that line is a boardwalk. As you venture into this alligator farm with a healthy dose of reptiles on display, a giant lake houses dozens of the largest specimens on site. They don’t mix, though, with a population of nearly 30 American crocodiles to the right...
Horseback riding offers taste of Old Florida wilderness

Horseback riding offers taste of Old Florida wilderness

The Sunshine State is filled with options for those seeking a nature getaway, especially in the rural middle and northern areas. However, if you want to taste Old Florida but still be within reach of bigger-city attractions, a quick getaway to a horseback-riding ranch can fit the bill. In The Breeze horse ranch in suburban Tampa, one of several places to ride in Hillsborough County, is located within...

Your friends in Hawaii are probably safe from the volcano on the Big Island. Here's why.

As someone with relatives in Hawaii, I've been touched by the friends who have reached out to me and my husband to see how our family is doing - and a bit bemused. My in-laws, - who are fine, thank you - live on Oahu, 200 miles from the Big Island, where the Kilauea volcano is reworking the landscape and laying waste to some residents' dreams of paradise. Don't be embarrassed, such misperceptions...

Hawaii volcano eruption costs tourism industry millions

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) — People nixing vacations to Hawaii's Big island has cost the tourism industry millions of dollars as the top attraction, Kilauea volcano, keeps spewing lava.  Cancellations from May through July have hit at least $5 million, said Ross Birch, executive director of the island's tourism board.   The booking pace for hotels and other activities, such as tours for...

Can an Italian chef’s success in D.C. translate into Spanish?

WASHINGTON — With four hot-ticket Italian restaurants around town, chef Fabio Trabocchi has name recognition in Washington. But can he translate his success into Spanish? Judging by a recent meal at his seafood-focused restaurant, Del Mar, which opened in November, the answer is a resounding sí.  Located at the District Wharf, a mile-long new development set on the Potomac River...

Museum of Ice Cream staying for the summer in San Francisco

It will be a sweet summer in San Francisco.  The wildly popular Museum of Ice Cream is extending its run yet again. You can immerse yourself in icy-creamy goodness and flop into that pool of sprinkles anytime between now and Sept. 3. Tickets for the latest extension went on sale last week.   And there are new whimsical art installations at the show — a Mint Jungle and Carnival...

These Caribbean rum distilleries are worth a vacation in themselves

In the realm of jobs that sound so good someone must have made them up, Global Ambassador of Rum ranks up there with Rooftop Pool Bar Critic.  Yet, Ian Burrell does hold the title. The Jamaican-born Burrell is the industry spokesperson, a paid consultant who is hired by spirit brands to spread the good word. He travels the world, teaching consumers and industry professionals about rum, from how...

Where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in Orlando

Ground transportation at Orlando International Airport is designed to persuade visitors to proceed directly to the concentration of hysteria on the southwest side of town. But if you make the effort to get yourself to the northeast side of the city, you'll find an entirely different theme in Winter Park and Maitland, with museums, parks, gardens, art festivals and plenty of shopping destinations where...

Are Americans really using more vacation time?

A new study found that American workers used an average of 17.2 days of vacation in 2017, marking the highest level for vacation usage since 2010.  The research from Project: Time Off showed an increase of .4 vacation days from 2016, which was over a full day more than the low of 16 days in 2014. While it’s a good start, 52 percent of Americans still left vacation time unused last year...

Hotel butler service is really nice. Is it worth the price?

Can a butler really make a hotel stay that much more extraordinary?  Yes, say a growing number of luxury properties that have butlers as an amenity for their guests.   According to Reneta McCarthy, a senior lecturer at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, the concept of butlers dates at least to the 18th century in Europe, when a butler was a male who was in charge...

At a Kigali hotel, luxury and light

The Retreat, Kigali, Rwanda No. 5, KN 29; theretreatrwanda.com  Owned and run by an American entrepreneur, Alissa Ruxin, the Retreat is the second of her two hotels in Kigali — the first, Heaven Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, is next door. Built almost entirely by Rwandan workers, the 11-room upscale property opened in late 2017 and emphasizes design, art and eco-friendliness: the aesthetic...

As more support animals try to fly, American Airlines says leave the goats at home

Leave your service insect, hedgehog or goat at home.  These are the animals now also restricted from flying as support animals aboard American Airlines flights per the airline's latest animal restrictions.   The country's largest airline, which has a major hub in Miami, released its new policy Monday detailing stricter rules for flying with a furry emotional support companion. The changes...
Upgrades at Holiday Inn a matter of keeping up with industry

Upgrades at Holiday Inn a matter of keeping up with industry

When guests walk into the newly revamped Holiday Inn hotel near Orlando International Airport, they are greeted by a mammoth display of 55-inch televisions. The channels can be programmed to show separate news channels, flight-arrival updates or in-hotel locations for specific meetings on the 25 grouped screens. Or, if hotel officials want, they can all sync to show one huge program, like they did...

In Chile, a gorgeous, very rainy and sometimes lonely journey

Ten minutes into my drive down the dirt highway that transects Chile’s Parque Pumalín in northern Patagonia, I had to pull over. Not for any mechanical reason, just to stand and stare in awe. Dense forest had suddenly given way to a lake flanked by mountains — a Chia pet landscape of undulating greenery beneath a vivid blue sky streaked with cirrus clouds.  Minutes later, I...

In Cuba, the great American tourism boom goes bust

HAVANA - As U.S.-Cuba relations warmed in recent years, Matilde Portela, an Airbnb host, reveled in the flood of American tourists. An aspiring business executive at age 73, she quickly learned the art of niche marketing - adorning her home with two American flags and laying out back copies of the New Yorker magazine.  "We had so many Americans coming that we didn't know where to put them...

Now on tour: shoes and sketches by Manolo Blahnik

Any devotee of the television series “Sex and the City” knew who Manolo was and why Carrie happily blew thousands of dollars on his shoes.  Footwear designer Manolo Blahnik studied art and languages in Geneva before moving to Paris and working as a theater set designer. In 1970, Diana Vreeland, who at the time was the editor-in-chief of American Vogue, encouraged him to design shoes...

Tourists in Los Angeles County pumped a record $22.7 billion into the local economy

LOS ANGELES — A record-setting pace of tourists visiting Los Angeles County injected $22.7 billion into the local economy last year, countering fears that a strong dollar and tough rhetoric from the White House might scare off international tourists.  The county hosted 41.2 million domestic visitors and 7.3 million international visitors in 2017, a 2.6 percent increase over 2016 &mdash...

In Slovenia, a ski and a swim make an unusual pairing

Living in Slovenia, you often hear about the benefits of the wonderfully compact yet diverse terrain of the country. Stretching over a territory about the size of New Jersey, it runs the gamut of landscapes.  Consider the vast underground limestone cave systems, just a short drive from the flatlands of the Pannonian Plain, populated by storks and gypsies. The dark, fairy-tale forests of the southern...

Airline customer satisfaction is higher than you might think, a survey indicates

The airline industry is one that passengers love to hate. And yet, overall customer satisfaction hit an all-time high in 2017 and declined only slightly in 2018, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index Travel Report, which was released in late April.  In the report, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue received the highest marks from customers, while budget carriers...

Fall in love with bees on an ‘apitourism’ trip to Slovenia

Slovenes have a deep respect for honey bees. “If I see dead bees, I call a police SOS number and they send a special inspector to check out the situation,” said Blaz Ambrozic, the beekeeper at Beekeeping Ambrozic-Kralov med, his family-owned apiary that’s just 1 mile from the popular resort town of Bled.  With such passion, it’s no surprise that the Slovenian Beekeeper&rsquo...

Chic travel accessories that will make you feel like an adult

Let’s be real: Even just owning luggage is already quite the foray into adulthood, but today we dare to implore you take it one step further. Not to worry, all we’re proposing is one little baby step by way of travel accessories. Sure, they are easy to look over or pass off as unnecessary, but, coming from someone who travels bimonthly, I can tell you that even the smallest travel accessories...

How to make an art fair part of your next vacation

Whether it’s Zonamaco in Mexico City, the Armory Show in New York City or Art Basel, held in Basel, Switzerland; Miami Beach; and Hong Kong, art fairs are more accessible and popular than ever.  Attending a fair should be a part of any travel itinerary, according to Natasha Schlesinger, art historian and founder of ArtMuse, a company that offers private tours of art fairs in New York City...

Why most states are struggling to regulate Airbnb

Jeannette Belliveau lives with her dog and two cats in a 19th century house in the Upper Fells Point section of Baltimore, not far from Johns Hopkins Hospital, and rents out a couple of rooms for short-term stays to make a living. In other parts of the city, Al Hallivis, a real estate investor and single dad, owns a half-dozen houses that he also rents by the night.  A few miles toward the city&rsquo...

Talk Travel: Going around the world via boat might be just the ticket for a senior traveler

The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: I would like to know if you have a recommendation on a company that specializes in around the-world travel for older people. I am nearing 65 and have limited lung capability, but I still want to travel. In my younger years, I traveled extensively to Europe...

At national parks and zoos, our picks of the litters

Watch the video of the wobbly legged, cinnamon-tufted, brand-new-to-the-world bison calf and then just try to remember what was stressing you out. The grass-nibbling newborn, awkwardly standing in the mountain-rimmed plains, is visual diazepam, not to mention the firstborn of the season at Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. More than 400 other baby bison are expected to follow by...

5 international cities that could be bargains for summer flights

If you are still planning your summer vacation travel, it may already be too late to lock in the most affordable rates if you are staying within the United States.  According to the travel website Hipmunk, April would have been the cheapest month to buy a round-trip domestic flight, based on its data analysis comparing booking from last year to this year.   However, travelers may still...
There’s an Austin-themed restaurant in Sweden, and we want to go

There’s an Austin-themed restaurant in Sweden, and we want to go

You heard about that Texas-themed chain restaurant? No, not Longhorn Steakhouse. Not Texas Roadhouse, either.  I’m talking about Texas Longhorn Steakhouse, a temple to the Lone Star way of eating out that’s based in Sweden. According to Texas Monthly, the franchise in the land of Ikea was founded by former San Antonio chef Philip Huntzinger in 1994, hoping to bring the flavors...
Bread and milk: Why do we panic-buy those foods before a storm?

Bread and milk: Why do we panic-buy those foods before a storm?

Whenever severe winter weather approaches, grocery store aisles are always clear of eggs, bread and milk. But why is that the case? >> Read more trending storiesThe CDC recommends bread as a no-cook food to stock ahead of a storm, but not perishables like milk and eggs. A power outage means those foods may not last until the storm passes. Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely...
Family emergency supply kit must-haves

Family emergency supply kit must-haves

Emergency Supplies: Water, food, and clean air are important things to have if an emergency happens. Each family or individual's kit should be customized to meet specific needs, such as medications and infant formula. It should also be customized to include important family documents.. Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic Kit:  Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking...
One man’s guide to hidden Texas road trip barbecue gems

One man’s guide to hidden Texas road trip barbecue gems

Two of the best things about the state of Texas are the delicious barbecue restaurants and the fact you don’t have to leave the state to go on vacation.  If you’re leaving from Austin, the mountains of Big Bend are eight hours away. The beaches (depending which one you’re going to) are even closer. In between are hundreds of barbecue restaurants using mesquite, post oak and...
9 weather terms you should know when preparing for a hurricane

9 weather terms you should know when preparing for a hurricane

Whenever a hurricane is poised to strike a region, there are several terms meteorologists use that might not be familiar. Here are common ones you should know as you keep your eye on the storm’s path:  Lines or bands of low-level clouds that move (feed) into the upper region of a thunderstorm, usually from the east through south. This term also is used in tropical meteorology to describe...
Florida's 10 safest cities in a hurricane

Florida's 10 safest cities in a hurricane

There’s really no place that’s 100 percent safe in Florida when it comes to hurricanes. Even Orlando got hit twice in 2004 by hurricanes Charley and Frances. And, although Florida enjoyed a more than 10-year hurricane drought after 2005’s Hurricane Wilma, Hurricane Hermine made landfall in the Florida Panhandle in 2016.  Still, Homeinsurance.com has ranked Florida&rsquo...
Summer bummer: Folks are scalping Hamilton Pool reservations

Summer bummer: Folks are scalping Hamilton Pool reservations

In an effort to be known as the worst people in Austin, some folks are scalping reservations to Hamilton Pool Preserve for profit. “There have been a handful of individuals who have decided to make reservations in mass. They've been trying to sell those reservations online for profits,” park supervisor Michael Brewster said to Fox 7 Austin.  The reservation system started in 2016...
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