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December 07, 2011

Unclaimed Baggage Center - Suitcase Shopping

Unclaimed Baggage Haven


By Patrick Crowley

The last time you flew on a business trip did you, or the airline, lose a Nicole Miller leather jacket? Or how about a snazzy gold pair of Kenneth Cole boots? Or maybe even a Francesco Biasia purse, a WCM leather belt or a double strand cultured pearl necklace appraised at $13,650?

Those wayward items of lost luggage have found a home on the sales floor of a one-of-a-kind store, a sort of misplaced baggage heaven where clothes, jewelry, shoes, jackets, cameras, golf clubs and more go to find new lives with new owners.

Tucked in the northern Alabama foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is a placed called The Unclaimed Baggage Center. Part salvage operation and part department store, this retailer mines products from luggage lost by airlines or left behind in airports by passengers. Located in Scottsboro, Ala., the 32-year-old company handles about 1 million items a year, with 6,000 new pieces of merchandise – from jewels to clothes to Egyptian artifacts – hitting the store’s floor each day. Shop now.

December 01, 2011

Leasing or Buying a Motorcycle: Which is Right for You?

Leasing or Buying a Motorcycle: Which is Right for You?

If you’re in the market for a new motorcycle, deciding how to pay for it can be difficult. It’s important to consider your goals and lifestyle before leasing or buying a motorcycle.

Buying a motorcycle
If you plan to keep your bike for several years and would like to customize it, then buying may be the right option for you.

Advantages of buying a motorcycle

  • Full ownership – After paying off your motorcycle loan, you’ll no longer be responsible for monthly payments - just gas, insurance, license and registration fees, and repair and maintenance costs. Since the bike is yours, you can customize it or resell it as you wish.

  • No mileage fees – There will be no limit on the amount of miles traveled per year. That means more road trips with your new bike.

Disadvantages of buying a motorcycle

  • Higher upfront cost –You’ll be responsible for a down payment, license, registration and dealership fees, and taxes.

  • Higher monthly payments - When buying a motorcycle, you’re paying for the entire cost of the bike, which means higher payments per month.

  • Post-warranty repairs – Since most buyers keep their bike past its warranty expiration, you’ll have to pay for future repairs out-of-pocket. Find all tips here.


November 30, 2011

How to Elimate Jet Lag by Dr. Jo Lichten

How to Eliminate Jet Lag

Jet Lag AdviceOur internal body clock is regulated by circadian rhythms that respond to daily light/dark cycles. When we travel over time zones, these abrupt changes confuse your body clock and cause what is referred to as jet lag. Symptoms of jet lag include fatigue, sleep problems, irritability, queasiness, upset stomach, headache, and grogginess or difficulty concentrating. Jet lag symptoms appear to be more severe when flying east or crossing three or more time zones.

To prevent jet lag, follow these tips:

  • Start out well rested.

  • Drink plenty of water.
    Dehydration worsens the symptoms of jet lag; so try to drink at least eight ounces of non-caffeinated fluids before, during, and after your flight. Go easy on the alcohol and caffeine; besides dehydrating you, they will also disturb your sleep pattern. See all tips here.

November 23, 2011

25 Free Things to Do in San Diego, CA This Winter

From traditional holiday parades and festivals to the migration of California gray whales along the Pacific coast, a visit to San Diego during the winter offers a wealth of free, fun and festive experiences. Visitors to the region can escape overcast skies and the wintry cold for San Diego's brilliant sunshine and temperate climate and enjoy diverse wintertime experiences.

The following suggestions for free activities and events are sure to capture the imagination and lift the spirits of visitors to San Diego during the upcoming winter months.

  1. Join the festivities during Balboa Park December Nights, a two-day holiday celebration of food, entertainment and fun on December 2 - 3. The numerous museums and cultural institutions in Balboa Park, the nation's largest urban cultural park, open their doors free of charge, and festivities include carolers, live music, holiday light displays, theater and dance performances and delicious foods from around the world.

  2. Witness a tradition that began as a gift to the children of San Diego in 1947 - the Annual Mother Goose Parade on November 20 in the East County city of El Cajon. One of the biggest parades of its kind in the country and the largest single-day event in San Diego County, the parade features floats, clowns, Santa Claus, marching bands, equestrian teams and celebrity appearances.

  3. Whale watch from the shores and cliffs of Point Loma, as California gray whales migrate south to the warm water breeding grounds off the coast of Baja, California. Spectators can catch a spectacular show during December through April when these majestic mammals pass through the waters off San Diego's coastline.

  4. Be part of a grand Holiday Celebration on December 2 in Coronado with a festive parade along Orange Avenue, the lighting of a 75-foot Christmas tree, holiday music and a firework show over Glorietta Bay.

  5. Enjoy free organ concerts at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park beginning at 2 p.m. each Sunday. The Organ Pavilion features the world's largest outdoor pipe organ, where organists resound holiday favorites, waltzes and show tunes from the organ's monstrous 32-foot lead alloy pipes. [See all 25 events]

October 26, 2011

British Columbia, Canada - Hot Spots

Victoria, BC, Canada Parliament Building

Vancouver Island: Cowichan Valley provides a taste of the countryside:

Need incentive to travel? Hand-crafted treats and homegrown flavors are sure to draw you to Vancouver Island’s delectable Saison Market Vineyard, north of Duncan. Thanks to the fine touch of Ingrid Lehwald and Frédéric Desbiens, garden-fresh soups, artisan breads, fruit preserves, savory treats, pastries and baked goods — all fashioned in the market vineyard kitchen — will have you singing their sweet praises each weekend when Saison opens its doors to guests. For flavors steeped in tradition, continue the journey north to the Teafarm. This four-hectare (11-acre) small-scale commercial tea grower — the first in Canada — produces aromatic pours, thanks to a landscape that nurtures a wide variety of herbs and flowers, alongside the tea plant Camellia sinensis. Here, just south of Nanaimo, Victor Vesely and Margit Nellemann produce 23 original hand-blended cups that include the smoky Cowichan Caravan, the revitalizing White Lavender and the earthy Minty Nettle. You can even pull up a pillow in the tasting room to sample the farm’s Chinese Zodiac pours: warm the senses with a steaming mug of lemon balm, rose and chamomile Rabbit Tea (2011’s signature blend), or linger over the calendula flowers and ginger root of the green Dragon Tea, a 2012 brew sure to bring in the new year with a bite.;

To read more story ideas from the Vancouver Island region, visit

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains: Glaciers, Mountains and Airplanes, Oh My!
Sometimes a bird’s eye view offers the very best vantage point. Not to mention a total adrenalin rush. With Squamish’s Glacier Air, you get both, thanks to flightseeing tours that buckle in for high-flying glimpses of glaciers, mountains and forests between Vancouver and Whistler. You could, for example, spend 25 exhilarating minutes high above the Squamish Valley, with unobstructed views of the rainforests, ice falls and glaciers that make up the Tantalus Mountain Range. There’s a 40-minute panoramic tour into Garibaldi Provincial Park — one of BC’s largest — complete with unforgettable glimpses of the mighty Black Tusk and the Mamquam Icefield. To cool the jets, the 50-minute “Olympic” tour of the mountain town of Whistler is a tad bit more sedate, with views of a natural volcanic dam, Cloudburst Mountain, and glimpses of the ski runs on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains that garnered so much gold during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. No matter your choice, you’re in good hands with the pros at Glacier Air; with over 25 years of in-flight experience, these pilots will surely demonstrate that the sky is the limit. To read more story ideas from the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region, visit

For more places to go and things to do in British Columbia, click here.

October 18, 2011

A Guide to America's Most Haunted & Historic Hotels

A Guide to Haunted & Historical Hotels

Playing Host to Ghouls & Ghosts Every Night of the Year

If the little devil in you still prefers “tricks” over treats and goose bumps are your gauge of a good time, members of National Trust Historic Hotels of America can offer a ghastly good time. Spanning over 300 years of history, these hotels have seen their share of unrequited love, untimely deaths and unsolved mysteries—all ingredients that stir supernatural specters.

Make your Halloween a truly haunting experience with a visit to one of these spooktacular sites. Choose to go ghost hunting with a group, participate in a murder mystery weekend or book a stay in a “preoccupied” room.

Floyd the Doorman - Georgia
Big Bend Ghost Tracker, a group of ghost hunters, spent the night at the Best Western Plus Windsor Hotel in Americus, Georgia, and monitored several areas of the hotel where strange sightings have been reported. Fully equipped with flashlights, thermo-meters, cameras, infrared equipment and electro-magnetic monitors the ghost hunters were looking for signs of a haunting. Among the spirits they encountered on the hotel’s third floor was the silhouette of Floyd Lowery, who worked at the Windsor as a doorman and elevator man for 40 years. It is likely that Floyd still wanders the hallways of the Windsor because he so loved the hotel and doesn’t want to leave. [Cover story]

Cigar Smoke & Flowery Perfumes - Michigan
The Holly Hotel been referred to as the most haunted historic building in Michigan, and perhaps the most haunted in America. By all accounts, the Holly Hotel does seem to be one of the few active haunted hotels where the occurrences continue over and over. The haunting and strange happenings have been observed by many people, from employees to guests. Very few of these can be easily discounted. The ghostly residents seem to follow certain “habits,” and even if one is ignorant to the fact that the restaurant is haunted, their experience will often fit into a known set of occurrences. For example, many people have smelled cigar smoke, even though they didn't know that original owner of the Inn smoked cigars. The descriptions of flowery perfume is often strikingly similar as well, and for some reason, the meat cleaver is the favorite toy for a little girls’ spirit who still plays in the kitchen and on the banquet room steps.

Read full article here.

October 11, 2011

Ohio's Punderson Manor State Park Lodge

Punderson Manor State Park Lodge


Some people avoid “haunted” hotels and lodges. Others flock to them. Those in the latter category will find esoteric thrills galore at the Punderson Manor State Park Lodge in northeast Ohio’s Punderson State Park. And it doesn’t have to be Halloween, or even a dark and stormy night, to bring on the action.

Some employees have heard the sound of children’s laughter when there are no children around. Fires go out. Pencils fly across a room. Doors open and shut of their own volition. Faucets turn off and on with no one near. Televisions turn on by themselves – or off. Usually at inconvenient times.

It’s enough to make a housekeeper cry, “Stop!” and sometimes these strange occurrences do. For example, guests sometimes hear loud noises coming from rooms next to them, which are in fact unoccupied or, in one case, from the room above (except that guest was on the top floor).  Most of these happenings are just annoying – or entertaining, depending on how open the guest is to experiencing such strange events.

But at least one event was pretty grisly: The specter of a lumberjack was seen hanging from a beam in the lounge for nearly three hours. Many staff members saw it. This was the only really scary event of dozens reported since the elegant 31-room manor opened in northern Ohio in the 1950s.

The land was originally settled by Lemuel Punderson and his wife, Sybal who operated a grist mill and distillery. After their deaths, the family sold it to W.B. Cleveland, whose heirs sold it to Detroit millionaire Karl Long in 1929. FULL REVIEW HERE

October 07, 2011

Top 10 Getaways for Parents without the Kids

Top 10 Getaways Without the Kids

Enjoy a Kid-Free Holiday at a Top 10 Getaway for Parents

As the kids are transitioning back into school mode, call in the grandparents and ask them to baby-sit while you and your significant other take a kid-free vacation.  Of course you love the kids, but sometimes we all need a break from the little rascals. Below are five parent getaways worth checking out over the next few months.

  • Lunenburg, Nova Scotia - In 1995, the old town of Lunenburg on Canada’s east coast was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its survival as a British colonial settlement. This quaint coastal village off Mahone Bay is the perfect place to book a bed-and-breakfast or small cottage and explore the history, do a little kayaking or simply unwind. Let Lunenburg’s small-town charm and the tranquil seaside views win you over. When looking for things to do, visit Bluenose, the world-famous wooden racing schooner, check out the Fisheries Museum and learn about the salty men who navigated the Atlantic, then head over to the Ironworks Distillery for artisan spirit tastings.

  • Portofino, Italy - The words “Italian Riviera” are usually enticing enough to dust off the suitcases, and Portofino is considered to be the most beautiful harbor of them all. What was once a quaint fishing village is now a popular boating and yachting destination. The best place to stay is on a boat, and there are plenty of exquisite restaurants and high-end boutiques that line the harbor. If sleeping on dry land is more your style, travel the sea by water taxi to other towns along the Riviera, including Genoa and San Fruttuoso. And, if you haven’t seen enough breathtaking scenery, head up to Castello Brown to check out the beautiful views and stunning gardens. Full story

October 06, 2011

Find Fall Foliage in Lincoln's Boyhood Home of Indiana

Abe Lincoln's Boyhood Home in Indiana, USA

by Carol Troesch, Spencer County Visitors Bureau

Southern Indiana is known for its rolling hills, endless outdoor recreation, and great family fun, but did you know that it’s also the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln? Because of the area’s mild autumn days and cool evenings, it also produces some of the most striking and vibrant autumn colors, which makes it a great fall destination!

The fall foliage season, when the changing palette of deciduous trees is full of blazing color, is a terrific time to visit places that can offer not only an amazing views, but also allow you to enjoy some relaxing family activities.

Lincoln State Park in Lincoln City, Indiana

Here, you can enjoy the rich colors of fall as you visit the fertile ground of Lincoln’s childhood home at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City. The memorial is located on the site where Lincoln lived with his family from age 7 to 21. The Visitor Center features two Memorial Halls, a museum with a variety of exhibits, and an orientation film. From the Memorial Center, it is a short walk up the Lincoln Boyhood Trail to the gravesite of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, who died of milk sickness in 1818. FULL STORY

September 30, 2011

Where to Find the Best Fall Foliage

Exploring the Shades of Fall

by Suzanne Carmel

When the summer travel season ends and throngs of tourists head back home to work and school, the fall season brings cool, crisp weather, vibrant colors and an easy pace in which to explore the landscape. As autumn leaves change color, hikers, bikers and road trippers come outdoors to welcome the new season.

There are many wonderful places across the United States where September and October usher in shades of red, yellow and orange; magically transforming vistas already breathtakingly beautiful. During fall, every twist on a path or road brings a new surprise, as the possibilities in these five states illustrate.

Photo ©Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism


The best time to experience fall in this East Coast state is from the middle of September to the end of October. State foresters issue fall foliage reports in the morning three times a week so you're sure to have the inside scoop on where to see the best hues. The state tourist office offers tips such as visiting mid week or exploring back roads to enjoy the season leisurely. Locals and visitors alike enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing — even tramping through a pumpkin patch to find the perfect one.

Consider driving down roads in Cape Cod, the Berkshires, and on the Mohawk Trail — one of the most traveled fall foliage routes. Historic small villages, bucolic farms, seaside towns and rolling countryside are all awaiting your visit.

Full story