OMAHA, Neb. — While everybody talks about the “flyover” states, few people stop to see what all the chatter is about. In the midsection of the United States sits Nebraska, a state that boasts treasures worthy of unfastening your seatbelts and putting your tray-table in its upright position.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK — Jagged peaks, a lucky glimpse of a bear or moose, and, of course, glaciers — these sights are just the tip of the iceberg at Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana.
HARRODSBURG, Ky. — Guests who eat breakfast at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill probably don’t even give a second thought to the syrup that covers their stacks of pancakes. But if they ask, they’ll get a history lesson.
ROME — “SILENZIO!” says the sign just past the massive bronze doors marking the entrance to St. Mary and the Martyrs Catholic Church in Rome, one of the two or three most important churches in Christian history. The sign reminds all that this is a house of worship. Indeed, visitors from around the globe flock to the Piazza della Rotonda to see its austere, columned portico.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkanas is a state that many people may not give much thought about when planning their vacations. Often considered a “flyover state,” it has much to offer a traveler in search of adventure, culture, or a natural refuge.
“I would argue Europe is better in the shoulder seasons,” said Amy Farley, news editor at Travel + Leisure and author of the magazine’s “Trip Doctor” column. “I was in Florence in October, and it was extraordinary. That said, if you have children and want the ideal weather, summer it is.”
Long before Orlando was transformed from a modest citrus-and-cattle town into Theme Park Central, folks vacationed along the fringe of Florida — its beaches.
Here, in alphabetical order, are 10 places I’d like to see in 2013. Several are cities, one is a state, three are entire nations, and all have interesting things happening in the weeks and months ahead. Will I get to them all? Probably not.
ZURICH — My daddy, Alan Behr, has written lots about Zurich for about a million years by now, but he says he never realized what a great place it must look like to a 3-year-old like me. He asked me to tell you why it is, so here goes:
PORTLAND, Ore. — Is it possible for an Angeleno to leave home and find love in a region where sunshine is merely a rumor and 50 shades of gray are a daily atmospheric reality?
CHANDLER, Ariz. — You come to Chandler for desert deceleration — not that fast life they live in Phoenix and Scottsdale. The city of about 240,000 (www.visitchandler.com) sits about 20 minutes southeast of Phoenix, below Mesa. In the central plaza it raises a 40-foot-high tumbleweed Christmas tree every winter. Chandler’s several hotels (mostly budget chains) are easy driving from the 11 soon-to-be-active spring training stadiums of greater Phoenix, including the Dodgers (about 35 miles away in Glendale) and the Angels (about 17 miles away in Tempe). A child-related activity brought us to town, but among normal people, golf is the larger draw. Venues include the 18-hole Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort, which dates to 1913; the Ocotillo Golf Resort (27 holes); and the Bear Creek Golf Complex (36 holes).
No man is an island, but Larry Ellison comes close.
Light mist cloaked the ancient hills in Upper Normandy, and from somewhere within this tapestry of seaside cliffs and pastures of flowers, I expected a fire-breathing dragon or a white-haired wizard muttering ancient incantations would come bounding out of the forest at any moment.
SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine — For a place scripted for a starring role in the end of the world, Balaklava Bay puts on a pretty face.
SOUFRIERE, ST. LUCIA, West Indies — The Pitons dominate the southwest coast of St. Lucia.
DETROIT — For such a little house on West Grand Boulevard, a lot of big things came out of Hitsville, U.S.A.
SEATTLE — Anybody new to Seattle might wonder about the city’s name. It’s not like New York, named after a place in the “old country,” or Madison, named for a dead president.
APALACHICOLA, Fla. — For oyster lovers, Apalachicola is Florida’s pearl. There are many reasons to visit Franklin County, that conglomerate of tiny panhandle communities often called the “forgotten coast” because of its non touristy, Old Florida vibe — the uncrowded, pet-friendly beaches on St. George Island, the St. James Bay Golf Resort in Carrabelle, charter fishing in Alligator Point and bird-watching in Eastpoint. For many people, though, there’s nothing as satisfying as Apalachicola’s world-famous oysters.
EAST JORDAN, Mich. — Anglers know something that tourists don’t. You can fly-fish all year round, even in winter.