Mackinac Island, Michigan
Visitors to Mackinac Island in the Straits of Mackinac
(pronounced MACK-in-naw), between the Upper and Lower peninsulas
about 285 mi/460 km north of Detroit, can step back in time. Autos may have
made Michigan's fortune, but they're banned from this island—horse-drawn
carriages, saddle horses, bicycles and walking are the only means of
This island becomes even more like the 1800’s in the evenings;
The streets are dark and largely empty, and the utter quiet is broken only by
the occasional sound of clomping hooves. An overnight stay will also give you
more time to see the island's sights.
Fort Mackinac is a restored military outpost from the 1700’s (it
once belonged to Britain) with 14 original buildings. Costumed staff provide
musket- and cannon-firing programs, dramatic re-enactments and craft
The Grand Hotel (as its name suggests) is the island's grande
dame, an immense white structure built in 1887 (it looks something like a white
battleship beached on a high hillside). The huge, 660-ft-/200-m-long veranda
has become such a popular attraction that the hotel charges non-guests for the
privilege of sauntering on it. Each September, the hotel hosts the Labor Day
Because it's only 8 mi/13 km in circumference, a bike or horse
ride around the island's flat coastal road is quite manageable, and it will
take you past several sights. Arch Rock is a natural rock formation that frames
an incredible view of the straits and the Upper Peninsula town of St. Ignace.
You'll also be treated to fine views of the soaring Mackinac Bridge on your way
around the island.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The rich cultural heritage of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is apparent
everywhere—from the Native Americans selling goods on the Plaza to the Hispanic
influence of its chili-flavored menus and the still-entrenched feel of the Wild
West. The adobe buildings of Santa Fe line its twisting streets, and in the
late afternoon sun they seem luminous.
The sharp colors, spectacular sunsets and distinctive feel of
Santa Fe have drawn artists from all over the world, including the fabled
Georgia O'Keeffe. It's a friendly city that offers the traveler great
restaurants, excellent museums and lots of galleries full of fine art. There's
a vibrant outdoors community, too, making Santa Fe a popular destination year-round
for mountain biking, hiking, fishing, skiing and snowboarding.
By far the best way to see Santa Fe is on foot,
as the main downtown area is very compact in size. The Plaza is where you
should begin exploring Santa Fe. Once teeming with traders, farmers, produce
and livestock, the Plaza used to encompass many more blocks than it does today,
as well as, The New Mexico History Museum and an outdoor marketplace for Native
Americans selling jewelry and crafts.
It has been said that New Orleans, Louisiana, celebrates
indulgence like no other U.S. city; its reputation for feasting and revelry,
especially during Mardi Gras, is legendary. After Hurricane Katrina, the city
rebuilt with fervor and tourism is flourishing. New restaurants, hotels and
attractions draw millions of visitors to the city each year. Visitors to New
Orleans' Central Business District, the French Quarter, Faubourg Marigny
neighborhood, the Garden District and uptown along St. Charles Avenue and Magazine
Street will find a city alive and thriving.
In this city, synonymous with resilience and rebirth, it takes
more than a hurricane or an oil spill to make New Orleanians lose their
appetite for fun, food and merriment.
New Orleans is an extraordinary city, and with its unique
culture and history, it has long enchanted a wide variety of visitors with a
yearning for the romantic, the spiritual, the beautiful or the offbeat. (In
what other U.S. city would a voodoo priestess be buried next to the mayor's
family, or funerals be celebrated with a jazz band and a processional?) That
magic feeling is stronger than ever, a calling card to a city with a spirit too
beautiful to ever break.
The combination of water, hills and lush greenery in a mountain
setting on the shores of Puget Sound make Seattle, Washington, one of the most
beautiful urban areas in the U.S. With its efficient bus system, growing
light-rail network and compact downtown district, Seattle is also
Seattleites have plenty to brag about: There's the Space Needle
and Pike Place Market, plus the Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders FC sports
teams. There are fine restaurants, good museums and vigorous arts and music
Even Seattle's infamous rainy winter weather has a good side. All that rain helps make Seattle the evergreen "Emerald City" and produces wonderful flowers. And Seattle is where Starbucks got its start, in 1971, at Pike Place Market.