Debbie Stone

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Tour a city of the dead beneath a city of the living in the Paris Catacombs

I’m typically not drawn to ghoulish or gruesome attractions, even on Halloween. But morbid curiosity got the best of me during a recent trip to Paris. It was there, in the magnificent French capital, that I learned of the Catacombs and immediately knew I had to explore this “Empire of the Dead.”
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Taste your way through the ‘City of Canals’ on a street food tour

Food tours are one of the best ways to get to know a city. I like to take them not only to learn about the regional cuisine, but to get to know the area from a local’s perspective. It’s a meld of food, history, culture and geography. Plus, an extra bonus is the exercise you’re getting while walking.
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Expect to get wet when you visit world famous Rhine Falls!

Waterfalls are a magnet for me, especially powerhouses like Rhine Falls in Switzerland. As Europe’s largest waterfall, it’s on many visitors’ must-see list when they’re traveling through this picturesque country.

Recharge with a Getaway to Skamania Lodge

Surrounded by natural beauty, the lodge is an idyllic property
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Get up close and personal with the Alpacas of Oregon

Whenever possible, I seek out encounters with animals, whether it’s trekking with llamas in northern New Mexico, riding a camel in Egypt or lumbering through the jungles of Thailand atop an elephant. I’m fascinated with animal behavior and look for opportunities to observe creatures of all kinds. I’ve been fortunate to have witnessed polar bears in the Arctic, penguins in Antarctica, pink river dolphins and anaconda in the Amazon, the Big Five in Africa, tigers in India and many more such memorable experiences.
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Bob Dylan Center sheds a light on the legendary singer-songwriter’s life and music

Fans of Bob Dylan now have a place to go and pay homage to one of the most original and influential voices in American music. Opened this past May, the Bob Dylan Center is situated steps away from the nearly decade-old Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s burgeoning arts district. It’s an apt location, as the famed musician was heavily influenced by Guthrie, along with other American folk artists.
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Recharge with a getaway to Skamania Lodge

Once again, I found myself flying through the forest with the greatest of ease. Only this time, I was on the zipline course at Skamania Lodge, a well-known resort in Washington State, within Columbia Gorge country. Surrounded by natural beauty, the lodge is an idyllic property with inviting guest rooms and common areas, an impressive Northwest art collection, award-winning dining, a spa and fitness center, swimming pool, hot tubs, golf and disc golf courses and plenty of other outdoor activities to satisfy any adrenaline junkie. Do as much or as little as you want at this all-ages playground, where you can re-energize, refresh and renew.
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Experience waterfall bliss in Columbia River Gorge

I’ve had a love affair with Oregon for decades. The state’s scenery is a magnet for me, from its rugged beaches and sentinel lighthouses to its verdant forests and snow-capped peaks. And I could wax rhapsodic about the waterfalls. Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge is waterfall nirvana. It has the greatest concentration of high waterfalls in North America.
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Chihuly Garden and Glass is a sculptural wonderland

Seattle’s noted cultural scene attracts locals and visitors alike, who delight in its numerous offerings. The Emerald City has long been a hotbed of creativity, drawing artists, actors and musicians from all over the world to its dynamic vibe. And residents and tourists reap the benefits of this largesse with an abundance of options to experience art, theater, music, dance and more. One of the most unique places to soak up artistic beauty is Chihuly Garden and Glass. This stunning venue, located at Seattle Center, adjacent to the famed Space Needle, provides a comprehensive look at the prolific career of renowned Pacific Northwest artist, Dale Chihuly.
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Interact with nature and art at the Price Sculpture Forest

Whidbey Island is a popular destination for Seattle area residents, as well as for visitors to Washington State. They find this idyllic locale, with its mix of bucolic and coastal landscape, a charming getaway. The island is an outdoor paradise, with plenty of opportunities to hike, bike, kayak and sail. But it’s a cultural mecca, too, as artists, writers and other creative types are drawn to this peaceful haven. Add in a vibrant culinary scene for the complete trifecta.
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Explore the world of music at MIM

While in Phoenix visiting family recently, I went to the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). I had read rave reviews about this top attraction and my interest was piqued. Plus, my sister-in-law, a Scottsdale resident, had only accolades for the place, which served to up the curiosity ante even more.
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Discover the wonders of Wenatchee

I’ve always loved secret gardens, ever since I was a young girl and read the book of the same name. There’s something so delicious about entering an enchanting pocket of beauty and imagining resident gnomes and fairies as its caretakers. Though Ohme Gardens is not really a secret, it’s still a hidden treasure for those unfamiliar with the Wenatchee Valley. This is one of those destinations that often flies under the radar. And unless you’ve traveled through central Washington, or are a consummate apple connoisseur (Wenatchee is the Apple Capital of the World), chances are you’ve probably not heard of the place.
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Immerse yourself in the magic and power of film at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Movies have provided us with endless entertainment and escapism. They have also given us a window onto the world, expanding our viewpoints, and serving as inspiration and motivators for self-action. If you’re a cinephile, you’ll be delighted to hear that the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is open. The museum had been a long time in coming – ten years – from conception to actuality and was eagerly anticipated by movie aficionados everywhere.
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Kites take flight at Long Beach

Kites always seem to evoke a childhood-like joy in people of all ages. These colorful creations soar and dance in the sky and can provide hours of low-cost recreation, whether you’re the flier or the spectator. At the upcoming Washington State International Kite Festival in Long Beach, you’ll find plenty of kite enthusiasts, from novice to famed fliers and kite designers. They come to take part in kite building workshops, flying lessons and friendly competitions, as well as in other hands-on activities during the weeklong summer event.
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The rewards are many for those who make the effort to visit Channel Islands

Over the past several years, I’ve been on a mission to visit all 63 of our country’s National Parks. The majority are easily accessible, but there are several that require a little extra effort, like the Channel Islands. Touted as the “Galapagos of the North,” Channel Islands National Park is situated in the Pacific Ocean, just off the Ventura coast in California. Comprised of five islands – Anacapa, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Miguel and Santa Rosa – and the waters within one nautical mile of each island, Channel Islands is regarded as one of the wildest National Parks. And it’s accessible only by boat.
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Tour historic Wrigley Mansion, then dine in style

Born and raised in Chicago, I knew the Wrigley Building well, as it is one of the city’s famous architectural landmarks. And the man behind it, William Wrigley Jr., was the chewing gum magnate. The young entrepreneur started his career by selling soap and baking powder. Then one day, he decided to offer free packs of gum as an incentive. And the rest as they say is history.
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National Steinbeck Center celebrates a famous American icon

I am a shameless bibliophile and John Steinbeck is one of my favorite American authors. His books, specifically Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, were required reading when I was in school. They served as my introduction to the famed writer’s oeuvre and I went on to devour everything I could find by him in my local library.
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Welcome to the Conch Republic!

You might not think that roosters, six-toed cats, Hemmingway and President Truman share anything in common. But, they do, having each called Key West home at one point or another. And some, like the roosters and cats, have become permanent denizens of this irreverent southernmost, subtropical paradise.
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'Take the waters' and soak up the history in Hot Springs

It’s perfectly legal to be naked in Arkansas’ Hot Springs National Park. Yes, you read that right – the caveat being as long as you’re in the Buckstaff Bathhouse! Simply don your birthday suit and soak your troubles away when you visit this historic bathhouse within one of the most unique national parks in the country.
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Virginia Beach is full of surprises!

Beach destinations are all about the sun, sand and sea, and I usually assume there’s not much else to such places beyond the proverbial trinket shops and restaurants. Virginia Beach, however, defies expectations. This lovely, coastal Virginia community not only has wonderful, white sand beaches, but also plenty of parks, museums and other cultural attractions, historical sites and a vibrant culinary and arts scene.
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Discover an aquatic wonderland at Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park is not like most national parks, where land is the dominant feature. Here on the southeast edge of the Florida peninsula, water takes centerstage and comprises 95% of the park’s geography. It’s a subtropical playground, comprised of a mangrove shoreline, a warm, shallow bay and small islands or keys.

Experience a visual conversation between Wright and Chihuly at Taliesin West

Aficionados of Frank Lloyd Wright most likely have Taliesin West on their list of places to visit. After all, it’s one of the legendary architect’s famed creations and an iconic, cultural landmark in Arizona. Now, however, fans of celebrated contemporary artist Dale Chihuly need to add this UNESCO World Heritage Site to their list, too.
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Treasures abound at Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park

The seaplane kissed the water as we landed at Dry Tortugas National Park, one of our country’s most inaccessible national parks. It had been a smooth flight on Key West Seaplane Charters from Key West, where we had departed a mere thirty-five minutes ago, and the sights enroute were incredible.

A New Chapter for Margaret Larson

Most people in the Seattle area are familiar with Margaret Larson as the face of KING 5’s New Day Northwest, a position she held for ten years
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Greenville is more than just a pretty face

Move over Charleston and Savannah. There’s a new southern belle in town and her name is Greenville. She can ooze sultry charm like the best of them and she’s picture-pretty. But, there’s plenty of substance and depth under those good looks.
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Enjoy laid back luxury and natural beauty in Ponte Vedra

I thought I had good eyes until I went shark tooth hunting on a beach in Ponte Vedra, Florida. I didn’t realize that these teeth are very tiny and blend in well with shells. They are black and shiny and usually triangular in shape, but that fits the description for so much of the beach matter that is mixed in the coquina sand of the area. This type of sand is comprised of crushed shells and crunches when you walk on it. The effect is akin to having microdermabrasion for the feet, an added bonus to this ultimate scavenger hunt.
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The wild heart of South Carolina beats strong in Congaree National Park

Having a National Park pretty much to yourself is a rare experience. Yet, there I was wandering in the swamp among the towering trees of Congaree National Park with nary a soul in sight…with the exception of my husband. It was somewhat eerie, yet peacefully comforting to be amid the serenity of such natural beauty.
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New Mexico State Capitol is a roundhouse of art

Art doesn’t necessarily come to mind when you think of state capitol buildings. Typically, most people equate capitals with all things government and they envision an austere, staid environment. So, it’s a delightful surprise when visitors enter the “Roundhouse” in Santa Fe and discover a veritable art museum.

Immigrant history comes alive at the Tenement Museum

I had always wanted to tour the Tenement Museum in New York City, having had a number of my relatives immigrate to the U.S. from Europe; a number who came through Ellis Island and spent time in New York before heading elsewhere. On my recent trip to the Big Apple, I finally got my wish.
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Art and technology seamlessly meld in ‘Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience’

My parents started taking me to the Art Institute of Chicago when I was a child. They wanted to impart their love of art and expose me to its various styles and movements, from Classicism and Impressionism to Expressionism and Surrealism. These forays into the world of art were some of my favorite memories as I was growing up. And they planted the seeds for a lifelong appreciation of artists and their work.
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Embrace your inner child at the Museum of Ice Cream

New York City has museums galore, focusing on everything from art and science to history and space, as well as niche specialties such as digital and film media, transit, Jewish heritage, Latino culture, and even a spy museum devoted to exploring your own superhero powers. With nearly a hundred museums in and around the Big Apple, visitors are guaranteed to find one that appeals to them. If you’re looking for a museum that’s not only interactive and immersive, but also tasty, head to the Museum of Ice Cream.

Picturesque Wallace Falls

Wallace Falls, located within Wallace Falls State Park, is a good choice for a moderate hike that can be done year-round
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Escape the crowds and head to the quiet side of the Grand Canyon

If you’re a first-time visitor to the Grand Canyon, you’ll most likely go to the South Rim. With its iconic images, large viewing areas and plenty of services, this is the more popular side of the canyon. But, if you’ve already been there, done that, and want more of this awe-inspiring natural wonder, take the road less traveled and head to the North Rim. Here you’ll enjoy a quieter, less commercialized and more laid-back experience.
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Elevate your senses on the Sandia Peak Tram

I love a view, anytime, anywhere. I make it a point to seek out opportunities to soar above the landscape, whether in a hot air balloon, on a zipline, in a small sightseeing plane or helicopter, or on a gondola. There’s something magical about having the vantage point of a bird, surveying the scenery in all its vast glory. In New Mexico, there’s no better way to appreciate the beauty of the Land of Enchantment than via Albuquerque’s famed Sandia Peak Tram. At a span of 2.7 miles, it’s the longest aerial tram in the country.
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Take an artful stroll through Tigard

Oregon’s Tualatin Valley is home to award-winning wineries and craft breweries, scenic wildlife preserves and parks, an array of outdoor recreation activities, world-class golf courses and plenty of dining options, not to mention tax-free shopping. The valley, which is located southwest of Portland, is also a mecca for artists, whose works can be seen throughout the area along a series of self-guided art walks.
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Quirky, cool and authentic – that’s Astoria!

If you’re a movie buff, put Astoria, Oregon on your list. This Columbia River port town, where grit meets hip, has often been referred to as “Hollywood North.” Though it was “The Goonies,” the cult classic that put the city on the map back in 1985, there have been a number of other pictures filmed in the area over the years. The list includes such notables as “Kindergarten Cop,” “Short Circuit,” “Free Willy, “Teenage Mutant Turtles 3,” “Come See the Paradise,” “The Great Race” and “The Ring Two,” as well as episodes of TV shows like, “Movin’ On” and “Dexter.”

Soak up the coastal Maine vibe in Portland

It’s lobstah, not lobster, when you’re in Maine. That’s the first thing you learn upon boarding the Lucky Catch trawler. But it will certainly not be the last, as by the time your excursion is over, you’ll be a font of knowledge about this notable crustacean. Taking a trip with the Lucky Catch was one of the highlights during my stay in Portland, Maine. This fishing boat plies the waters of Casco Bay, giving visitors a taste of the daily routines of a Maine lobsterman/woman, while cruising near picturesque lighthouses, historic civil war forts and the “Seal Rocks.”

Captivated by Camden

It was a rainy fall day in Camden, but that did little to mar the allure of this charming Maine town. In fact, the weather added to the ambiance of the place, giving it a moody cast, which only served to enhance its beauty. Situated on Penobscot Bay, Camden offers scenic views, outdoor adventure, quaint shops and plenty of great places to eat and stay. It looks and feels like the quintessential coastal Maine village you imagine, with clapboard-and-brick homes, colorfully painted storefronts, white-steepled churches, a picturesque harbor full of schooners and gently rounded mountaintops.
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Hot stones and high tea at Los Poblanos

I know a massage is effective when I realize I’m drooling. That’s my indication that the treatment is working towards its aim of achieving a state of relaxation, while helping to relieve tension and sore muscles. My most recent massage, however, went above and beyond the norm, as this time I chose to up the wellness ante and experience a Warm Himalayan Salt Stone Massage from the Hacienda Spa at Los Poblanos.

Woodinville Wine Country crushes it!

Years ago, when I lived in Woodinville, Washington there was only one winery – Chateau Ste. Michelle. Built in the French chateau style and set amid lush grounds, it was (and still is) the grand dame of Woodinville. A visit to this “queen” for wine tours and tastings transported me to another time and place. And in the summer, I would look forward to attending the winery’s outdoor concerts, complete with colorful hot air balloons drifting above the magical setting.
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You'll fall hard for Boothbay Harbor

I’m on a treasure hunt for trolls at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine. Yes, trolls – five mammoth-sized creatures who want to impart lessons they’ve learned about trees to all who find them. And they’re located deep in the forest, reached by a series of trails within this enchanting paradise.

Acadia National Park: the crown jewel of coastal Maine

The popovers at the Jordan Pond House in Maine’s Acadia National Park are famous. But until you try them, you might be skeptical of their reputation. After all, they’re popovers. How good could they be? It only took one bite of my Jordan Pond House popover to know that the glowing accolades were true. I was an instant convert. The muffin-like baked treat was light and fluffy with a delicious buttery flavor, and served piping hot. Of course, I slathered it in butter and strawberry jam. A glass of blueberry lemonade made the perfect accompaniment, as did the beautiful view of Jordan Pond and the Bubble Mountains.
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Travel 'kindly' when you stay at the Lumiere with Inspirato

It’s hard to keep me away from Colorado. The state’s diverse and dramatic landscape is a commanding draw and its magnetic and dynamic attraction is strong. Whether it’s a National Park, Old West mountain town, archaeological site or unique geological formation, Colorado offers plenty of choices for all vacation appetites.
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It's big. It's bold. It's the Colorado National Monument

It’s hard to wrap your head around the Colorado National Monument. It holds you spellbound as you look out at this famed, rugged landscape of the American West. Towering sandstone monoliths as tall as 450 feet act as sentinels in a vast plateau with sheer-walled canyons as deep as 500 feet. And the views stretch for what seems like eternity.
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Catching Up With Nancy Guppy

Most funny people perceive they’re funny at a young age.
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An architect and an heiress leave their mark on Springfield

Growing up in Chicago gave me access to several of Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the Midwest. I learned to appreciate the architect’s style and to value his vision for creating buildings that are tied to the natural world.
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Much to love about the Rogue Valley

I began falling in love with the Rogue Valley years ago, when I first went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, then later when I returned to explore Crater Lake National Park and again, to do a multi-day rafting trip down the Rogue River. After my most recent visit, I confess I’m now completely besotted with the place.

Covered wooden bridges are iconic Vermont

The covered bridges of Vermont are often found on postcards, in books and stories about the state and on many different social media sites. They’re the settings for idyllic, scenic drives, weddings and ghost tales.

Bishop’s Lodge melds luxury with authenticity for an enchanting respite

The wait is over. After a $75 million restoration, Bishop’s Lodge, now an Auberge Resort, has reopened its doors and the excitement is palpable. Situated on 317 acres bordering the Santa Fe National Forest, this famed New Mexico property offers a crafted approach to luxury, imbued with a southwestern aesthetic.
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Space collides with earth in the Arizona desert

The signs called to me in persistent fashion, as I drove towards Flagstaff, on I-40. I decided I simply could not pass up the opportunity to see the Meteor Crater - “the best-preserved meteorite impact site on Earth” – so I made the easy detour to satisfy my curiosity.