Sports Teams Don’t Need Games To Attract Tourists To Their Stadiums

Winning seasons pack arenas in every sports town, but that’s only the start of the story at Lambeau Field, home to the Green Bay Packers. What started as simply a place to play during the NFL football season has grown into a multi-purpose district with year-round reasons to visit. Developments that embrace sports and offer other ways to entertain profitably are growing from Baltimore and Los Angeles to Dallas, Indianapolis and Chicago. The trend that is redefining a stadium’s place in the community is not limited to one type of pro sport. Read More

Yorkshire – Inspiration for Dracula, the Brontës and All Creatures Great and Small

Yorkshire is the United Kingdom’s largest county–about 3.6 million acres—and boasts a turbulent history that rivals entire European nations. In the late Middle Ages, the city of York was second only to London in status and wealth. Today, Yorkshire’s rolling hills are dotted with great houses and the ruins of once-magnificent abbeys. The Transylvanian Count Dracula emerged from his coffin-ship on Yorkshire’s North Sea shore. No matter the political, economic, or religious tumult that rolled northward, Yorkshire retained its stunning natural beauty. Yorkshire’s dales and moors are inspiration for several of the English-speaking world’s greatest novels. Some far-flung parts of Yorkshire have earned the moniker “God’s Own Country” for their curiously enticing bleakness. Yorkshire began life as the seat of Roman operations in Britannia (71-400AD) and, for much of the 9th century, was home to Danish Vikings. That era collapsed with the arrival of the Normans, followed by the disastrous “Harrying of the North” by William the Conqueror’s troops. (The Danes lost, badly.) Norse heritage lives on in place names like Whitby, Sheffield, Scarborough, and, according to some recent scholarship, in the very physiognomy of Yorkshire’s people.

It’s Cool, Damp and Cloudy on Santa Catalina. That means no crowds, friendlier locals and hotel discounts

Why visit Santa Catalina Island at the onset of winter when it’s too cold to swim and clouds often blanket the resort town of Avalon? Because in the off season Southern California’s favorite weekend escape offers gourmet restaurants without crowds, colorful bars where it’s actually possible to meet locals and hotels glad to provide deep discounts since only 30% of the town’s 1,051 hotel rooms and vacation rentals are occupied.

Europe’s Christmas Markets Delight Holiday Travelers from all Regions and Religions

Europe’s Christmas markets are magical places. Bundled up in warm jackets with woolen scarves and mittens, people of all ages enjoy the sparkling lights, scents of evergreen, tastes of mulled wine and holiday cookies. Some markets add Ferris Wheels and merry-go-rounds; others offer the chance to feed real reindeer. The Christkindlmarkt just outside the Cologne cathedral is distinctive for its full schedule of Christmas entertainment, from holiday choirs to Punch and Judy puppet shows.

York’s Magical History Tour, From Hot Baths to Hot Chocolate

When the London train pulls into York’s Victorian Station, doors open onto an earlier time. Under the grand sweep of the station roof, travelers scurry about as if they were seeking Gate 9¾ and the train to Hogwarts. Outside, narrow streets twist through ancient neighborhoods beneath the looming towers of York Minster. In this city, where the line between fact and fiction often blurs, ghosts abound.

Life and Death Under the Volcano for the Bali Aga

North of the market town of Ubud, Bali’s tourist resorts and handicraft markets give way to small villages like Trunyan, pop. 300, that belong to a mountain people called the Bali Aga. Unlike Balinese Hindus elsewhere, the Bali Aga do not memorialize the dead with elaborate cremations. Instead, they place their deceased kinsmen beneath a large tree and let nature reclaim the bodies. In my imagination, Trunyan seemed both dreadful and exotic at the same time.

Cycling Ireland’s Backroads Past Churches, Castles, Sheep Farms and Pubs

Cycling the lightly traveled backroads of West Ireland affords time to intimately experience the country, its people and their history. Until recently, only experienced cyclists even attempted such a ride. Motorists would fly past as brightly colored cyclists peddled laboriously up hills, their bikes burdened with panniers filled with clothes and heavy equipment. Cycling seemed more exhausting than enjoyable. But with the advent of ebikes and specialized cycling tours, beautiful and fascinating areas now are accessible to nearly anyone. And one of the most bike-friendly places to take such a tour is along the west coast of Ireland.

What makes this type of tour so satisfying is the pace (avg. speed 11 mph) and proximity of being so close to the land and the people you meet along the way. You can stop whenever you like to appreciate an historic marker, a beautiful garden or scenic overlook when traveling on a bicycle. There’s something about the physical exertion necessary to get from place to place that connects a rider with the land more deeply than if he arrives by bus, train or car.