Dead Yet Still Alive, Three Western Ghost Towns Beguile Intrepid Visitors

When gold was discovered in a frigid creek running through the Sierra Nevada foothills in January of 1848, a headlong Gold Rush began that soon would change the American West. By the following year, hardscrabble prospectors called “49ers” were discovering gold, silver, copper, lead and other valuable metals in isolated canyons bypassed by earlier pioneers. Today, many 19th-century mining communities are eerie ghost towns whose storied pasts consist of crumbling foundations, swirling dust and dangerous fissures. And yet, over the course of time, as decades become eras before turning into centuries, a few towns have survived the sun, storms and inattention.

Tempranillo’s Journey From Medieval Spain to Modern North America

Tempranillo’s tale begins during the Middle Ages, a turbulent yet transformational period for Spanish viticulture. As the Moors retreated south, the Christian reconquest brought a resurgence of wine production across the Iberian Peninsula. In the wake of Islam’s retreat, people could enjoy drinking again. Historians speculate that the Tempranillo grape was cultivated by monastic orders,…

How Chinese Food Became as American as Apple Pie

In April 1904, Chinese Prince Pu Lun, the 32-year-old heir apparent to the throne of the Manchu Empire, sailed to the United States, the first member of the Qing Dynasty ever to cross the Pacific. He was a “Kodak fiend” fascinated by everything he saw and Americans readily embraced him. En route to the St. Louis World’s Fair, where he would serve as China’s Imperial Commissioner, he attended a banquet where the host provided a dish he hoped would remind the young prince of home. Pu Lun looked at the platter curiously and asked his host what it was. “Why, that’s chop suey, Prince,” said the American. Eager to discover something new and foreign, Pu Lun smiled at this revelation, nodded his head slowly, and asked, “What is…chop suey?”

Forget Crowded Highways. Enjoy Your Next Vacation on a Houseboat

Houseboats lure thousands of families to rivers and lakes for unique, get-away-from-it-all vacations. The slow-moving vessels sleep up to a dozen passengers and are equipped with many modern amenities, such as ovens, refrigerators, toilets, hot showers, gourmet kitchens and bedrooms with linens. Some houseboats look downright luxurious, albeit somewhat compact. Lake Powell is billed as America’s Best Houseboating Destination because of the stunning scenery in southern Utah and neighboring Arizona. The lake is among the nation’s largest manmade reservoirs with 2,000 miles of shoreline, hundreds of private beaches and 96 side canyons where you can drop anchor and bask in the majestic solitude.

The Butterfly Effect of the Georgia Coast

In 1972, mathematician Edward Lorenz coined the phrase ‘the butterfly effect.’ He used the term to describe the unforeseen results that stem from seemingly inconsequential changes in the natural order. It’s as if, he mused, a powerful tornado could be started by the distant flitting of a butterfly’s wings. The historic Georgia coast, a charming amalgam of colonial history and maritime beauty, has played the role of that butterfly many times.