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Archive for August, 2010

400 Years of Culture in Santa Fe

By Linda Tancs

New Mexico’s capital city of Santa Fe is celebrating its 400th anniversary all year long.  So what’s in it for you?  Plenty.  Be inspired by the landscape often depicted by American painter Georgia O’Keeffe, whose works are exhibited in the city’s Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.  Nicknamed “The City Different,” Santa Fe is the product of centuries of co-existence among Native Americans, Spanish, Mexican, European and African Americans.  For instance, Canyon Road was a route by which Native Americans brought their goods to trade with the Spanish settlers in the Plaza de Santa Fe, where the Spanish began to build their adobe homes in the 1750s.  A fine example of adobe is the Palace of the Governors, which  served as Spain’s seat of government for the entire Southwest region.  In this city also stands North America’s oldest church, San Miguel Chapel, whose adobe walls were constructed around 1610.  Another curiosity is the Loretto Chapel, drawing visitors the world over for its remarkable spiral staircase to the choir loft built without any visible means of support with nails or beams, considered a miracle by the convent’s Sisters of Loretto.  Other attractions include world-renowned art galleries, marketplaces, and performance venues, accessible on foot or by city bus.

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Down to Earth in Willamette Valley

By Linda Tancs

Thirty-five miles southwest of Portland, Oregon is the Willamette Valley’s Yamhill-Carlton District AVA (American Viticultural Area), an area rife with dark, plummy, black-fruited Pinot Noirs framed by minerality reminiscent of pipe tobacco, espresso, clove and dark chocolate owing to the marine sedimentary soils of the region.  In other words, earthy–or down to earth–a moniker characterizing the inhabitants of the valley as much as the wines themselves.  The AVA is bringing the valley to Portland today for a wine tasting at the Gerding Theater, Portland Armory, from 5 to 8 p.m.  Tickets are $25 in advance or $35 at the door.  Why wait in line?  Buy your tickets now.

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Air Show Turns 21

By Linda Tancs

The number 21 often signals a coming of age.  No wonder, then, the folks at South Lake Tahoe California’s Lake Tahoe Airport are throwing a big bash at this year’s air show on 28 August.  Among the many events planned are guest appearances by aerobatic performers Bill Cornick and Jon Melby and the gravity defying antics of Spencer Suderman in his famous Pitts.  Gives new meaning to the phrase, birds of a feather fly together.

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Nevada State Fair Opens Today

By Linda Tancs

The Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center hosts the Nevada State Fair today through 29 August.  Admission is free on opening night; the grand procession begins at 7 p.m.  As is the case with any state fair, the event will highlight the usual livestock shows, auctions, agricultural events, and exhibits, as well as carnival rides and live entertainment.  However, in this and future years Nevada’s long and storied Wild West history will be featured during the annual attraction.  That means you can expect to experience a mining camp, a frontier town, a Native American village, stage coach rides, and a host of other features defining the State’s history.  That’s a lot to see in one day, so why not buy a 3-day passport and save $45!

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Feeling Blue Around the World

By Linda Tancs

Feeling blue?  In some parts of the world, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  That is to say, if you live in a blue zone–areas of the world where the population regularly lives to the ripe old age of 100 or more.  Places like Loma Linda, California, Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, Sardinia, Italy and Okinawa, Japan.  Don’t pack your bags just yet, though.  Just being there won’t increase your chances for longevity.  You gotta walk the walk, as they say.  That means lots of whole grains, veggies, beans and fruits.  Maybe Mama was right after all.

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Flying 101

By Linda Tancs

Can you identify the location of a jump seat on aircraft?  Did you know that the “black box” is actually orange? These and other curiosities of air travel are demystified courtesy of Kulula Airlines’s Flying 101 aircraft.  Talk about truth in labeling!  The South African carrier is also celebrating its ninth birthday.  If you register for their eBucks program, you might even get to fly for free.  That’s right–free.  eBucks are earned for doing everyday things like shopping and paying bills with eBucks partners.  Earn enough eBucks and redeem them for a flight–or pay part of the balance with a credit card. Ten eBucks equals one Rand.  That sounds grand.

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Cruise Safety Measure Signed Into Law

By Linda Tancs

Thanks to a new U.S. law recently given effect, cruise travel will get even safer for its vast constituency.  The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act imposes new requirements regarding onboard video surveillance, medical personnel qualifications, railing heights and peepholes in cabin doors.  In particular, the law requires 42-inch railings (already a staple on many lines) and mandates that medical personnel meet American College of Emergency Physicians guidelines.  Peepholes are required on cabin doors for passengers and crew as well as key and lock systems to further bolster security.  In addition to the safety measures, the act demands that carriers provide more transparency in the reporting of cruise ship crime by maintaining crime logs, a move no doubt welcomed by the International Cruise Victims Association.

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