TRAVEL Q&A Solitude on the North Shore

Q I like the North Shore, especially its serenity. Can you suggest a way to spend time up there without staying at a resort (which can sometimes negate the calm)?

A One of the best ways to see the North Shore without sharing the view is to rent a house. Cascade Vacation Rentals, located in Tofte, focuses on privately owned vacation rental homes on the North Shore. With an abundance of listings, it is a great place to start your search (; 1-800-950-4361). Another website to check is (1-888-650-1831). The site covers a broader stretch, from Michigan to North Dakota, and offers guidance to potential buyers and sellers, but also lists rental homes, including more than 60 in the North Shore area.

Answers to travelers' questions appear in Travel and at weekly; send your question by e-mail to



Southwest to fly to Phoenix

Last week, Southwest Airlines announced a new direct flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Phoenix. The nonstops, offered twice daily, begin Aug. 15. Southwest began flying out of MSP in March 2009 with direct flights to Chicago. It has since added Denver and St. Louis, making Phoenix the fourth destination served by the airline with direct flights from MSP. That's good news for Phoenix fans. Where Southwest goes, fares tend to drop because of competition.



Phones that smell danger

Today's cellphones have the technology to take photos, check stocks and play games. Now the Department of Homeland Security is teaming up with high-tech firms to develop a cellphone that could also thwart terrorist attacks. The department's science and technology arm is spearheading a plan to give cellphones the ability to sniff out dangerous chemicals. These cellphones would sound an alarm if they sensed a noxious gas such as chlorine. But if the phone detected something more deadly, such as sarin gas, it could send a message directly to authorities, using GPS technology to pinpoint the location of the gas. If the idea works, every person armed with a cellphone could become a sentry against terrorist attacks at airports, subway stations and train stations.



Beware unrest in Bangkok

Americans should avoid traveling to Bangkok because of escalating violence in the heart of the Thai capital that left at least one person dead and more than 80 injured, according to the U.S. State Department. Anti-government protesters have occupied key streets for more than a month in a volatile political crisis. The State Department's travel alert about Thailand said: "Due to escalating violence in central Bangkok, all U.S. citizens should avoid nonessential travel to Bangkok. Those traveling outside of Bangkok in Thailand should be aware of the possibility of disturbances elsewhere and should exercise caution and good judgment." Get the full text at the State Department's website, or phone 1-888-407-4747..

McClatchy News Service


Glacier Park turns 100

Want to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Glacier National Park, but can't make the trip west this summer? On May 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a party at Rice Park in downtown St. Paul will celebrate James J. Hill's influence on the creation and development of Glacier. (Hill's Great Northern Railway opened the Glacier Park Hotel on the park's east side in 1912.) A 1930s Red Bus that was one of Glacier's excursion vehicles will be there, and there will be music, food and storytelling. A $5 donation is requested. Two other fundraising events will be held that weekend. For details go to



Ceramics on the St. Croix

The 18th annual Pottery Studio Tour and Sale in the St. Croix River Valley takes place Friday through next Sunday. The self-guided tour of seven studios features handmade works by 44 potters from 14 states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine and North Carolina. Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Maps are available at www., and at the Continental Clay Co., 1101 NE. Stinson Blvd., and the Northern Clay Center, 2424 E. Franklin Av., both in Minneapolis (651-674-4656).