Escape Artists offers up a global discourse ranging from great finds close to home to adventures far afield. You'll find weekly travel deals here, too. Share your road wisdom, rave about great finds and rant about roadblocks that get in the way of a great trip.
Contributor: Travel editor Kerri Westenberg.
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Over the weekend, I visited a swell spot for pets of all kinds and their vacationing owners: Now Boarding. This animal boarding biz, affiliated with the Humane Society, offers a clean, bright space for animals with ample room for roaming. It's in the shadow of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Customers can park their car on the lot for $11/day (less than what you'd pay at the airport) and get a free shuttle to their terminal included. When I arrived, dogs ranging from a dozing dalmation to an excited shih tzu were in the communal area, romping around and playing with three human supervisors.
I was cheered immediately, which is good because I went with some trepidation, seeking a possible spot for my aging cat. Just down the hall, what I saw in the kitty condo room put me more at ease. Cats were hang out in their own two-room flats; each of them get one or two turns outside their condo in the larger room, where they can climb towers or warming themselves in the sun at the floor-to-ceiling windows. I peeked into the small critter room, too, and saw two bunnies with carrots in their cages.
What prompted the visit? I've been fretting about what to do with my cat while my family takes an extended vacation. My feline is the nervous sort. The kind that vomits when I'm away. And doesn't quite make it to her litter box. I have dealt with that by paying people to stay with her, and by keeping a big box of carpet cleaner at the ready. Now, maybe, instead of sitting on my lap, she'll be living in the lap of luxury -- at least for a few days.
The experience of flying may raise your blood pressure, but the food you eat at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport doesn’t have to. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s 2012 Airport Food Review, MSP is tied with Charlotte Douglas International Airport as the eighth-healthiest airport in the country. To determine the ranking, the nonprofit surveyed restaurant meals at 18 major airports, giving points for restaurants whose menus included at least one low-fat, high-fiber, cholesterol-free vegetarian entrée. Of 65 restaurants at the airport, 51 offer at least one healthful option. Newark Liberty International Airport came in on top, with 56 of 61 restaurants serving up healthful fare. My top picks at MSP include French Meadow Bakery, with organic fare (at the Mall and Concourse F), Axel’s Bonfire, where the blackened walleye salad is a hit (the Mall) and Maui Tacos, where the Chopped Tuna Salad has 275 calories and 3 grams of fat (Concourse C).
Free wi-fi finally landed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport today. Advanced Wireless Group, which offers wireless internet at Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles and other airports around the country, began providing the service at the airport today. Users may encounter a video advertisement before they can go online for a free 45-minute session; advertising revenue will offset the cost of the service. A commercial-free service, with four times the speed, is available for $2.95 per 24 hours. Before the shift to AWG, all wi-fi use at MSP was fee-based. AWG is upgrading the existing equipment to accommodate the anticipated growth in the number of users at the airport, where the public terminal space covers 2 million square feet. For details about how to access the wi-fi, go here.
Delta made an unpopular decision when it pulled two McDonald's outlets in concourse G at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Delta controls vendors in the concourse; the Metropolitan Airports Commission has the rest of the airport. There's no Egg McMuffins to be found. Read all about it.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams knows his airports, so when he touts the food at ours, well, it makes me want to head over to Minneapolis-St. Paul International for dinner. In its January issue, Bon Appetit asked the dapper star — who also just happens to be the brains behind NBC’s recently launched newsmagazine-styled “Rock Center” — which is the “best airport to be stuck in and hungry,” Williams responded: “Minneapolis. Great American food, great stores, great people.” Do you suppose it was Ike’s or French Meadow that captured his heart? Look for the interview on page106, the last page, of the food magazine.
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