Great Lakes cruising, Spa Month in Miami and more
The photographer: Charlotte Wang of Plymouth. The scene: A cloud of dust blew up as Wang snapped this sunset picture of the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. While in D.C., Wang enjoyed the the National Gall of Art, which houses the only Leonardo Da Vinci painting in the Western hemisphere, and the National Archive. "It was so interesting to see original historical documents and have access to historical records of so many events in our history," she wrote.
Q My friend has just been diagnosed with cancer. She is still well enough to do some traveling, so we want to take a trip. She doesn't believe that she would tolerate an intercontinental air flight. And she isn't interested in a warm-water or Alaskan cruise, as she's done that.
In the past, she has loved riverboat cruises down the Mississippi, but we're told the companies that used to provide them are now out of business. The riverboat trips I've found now require passengers to disembark to a hotel each night. That's not what we're looking for. Any ideas? I read about New England to Quebec City cruises, would you recommend something like that? We're pretty open to new ideas.
A I hope your trip is filled with joy and laughter. Appreciating what will help keep your friend comfortable -- like no long-haul flights -- is a good start.
You are right about Mississippi River cruises. The riverboats that once carried overnight passengers stopped running in 2008. Fortunately, there's a nice alternative: small ships that travel the Great Lakes.
Great Lakes Cruise Co. (www. greatlakescruising.com; 1-888-891-0203) offers many itineraries. You can cruise the Great Lakes from Duluth to Toronto (or visa versa), explore the New England islands (including Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard) or opt for a fall colors tour of New England (with trips that take in the Hudson River and the Erie Canal). The boats are intimate, too. Except for one larger boat, none holds more than 100 passengers. I think you'll be intrigued after a visit to its website.
I hope that wherever you go, your trip will be restorative, uplifting and memorable.
Spa Month has become a summer ritual in Miami. The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau offers Spa Month, (www.miamispamonth.com), a seasonal event featuring a month of discounted prices at high-end spas and resorts in the Miami area. This year Spa Month takes place in July. But some salons have cut prices on spa services until October. Participating spas and hotels include the Fontainebleu, Eden Roc, Ritz Carlton Spa in Key Biscayne and the Biltmore Hotel.
MCCLATCHY NEWS SERVICE
If you want to calculate the total mileage you will fly on a trip, go to www.webflyer.com/travel/mileage_calculator. Just type in your origin and destination airports. You also can add other airports if the trip has multiple destinations and calculate how many frequent flier miles you'll get, based on the program or promotion.
DETROIT FREE PRESS
Some places get all the publicity, and others, like the Dordogne region of France, are relatively unknown. "Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves: Culinary Adventures in the Dordogne" (Running Press, $29.95) introduces readers to one of France's best culinary destinations, about 100 miles east of Bordeaux. Author Kimberley Lovato describes Dordogne as "undiscovered territory," a place where one can easily -- and joyfully -- get lost. She visits local farms, markets and wineries, offering a culinary portrait of a region and its people.
The Des Moines Arts Festival June 25 through 27 showcases visual and performing arts at Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines for free. Each year thousands of visitors flock to the park to check out more than 180 professional, emerging and student visual artists. The lively festival also features music, dance groups, local thespians, a sculpture garden, a film festival, interactive arts and more. The hours are 4 to 10 p.m. June 25, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 26 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 27 (1-515-286-4950; www.desmoinesartsfestival.org).
COLLEEN A. COLES