Staff Directory 10646201

Kerri Westenberg

Travel editor | Newsroom
Phone: 612-673-4282
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: Italian

Travel editor Kerri Westenberg has twice been named Travel Journalist of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers. She previously worked at Bon Appetit, Cooking Light and National Geographic magazines.Westenberg’s writing has appeared in National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Real Simple and other national publications.

During Westenberg's tenure, which began in 2004, the society has named the Star Tribune's Travel section among the top three in the country many times. She is also the author of "State of Wonder," a book that celebrates Minnesota and derives from a series that first appeared in Travel.
Recent content from Kerri Westenberg
The American Swedish Institute’s julglädje party will go virtual this year, with traditional tunes and games on Nov. 28.

Virtual classes, parties and tours bring on holiday traditions from around the world

This year, one present I know I won’t get is a trip to Europe. Even a place like New York — shorter flight, just as…
The Prairie Wetlands Learning Center.

In Fergus Falls, Minn., a prairie paradise for snowshoeing, hiking

At the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, you can explore a unique type of grassland: prairie potholes.
Kellie and Phil Schechinger, pictured with their dog, Marley, updated their Edina home to create an open floor plan.

'70s house in Edina gets open floor plan for casual living

Edina home's main level goes from dark and disjointed to light and open.
Photo by iStock

Experts weigh in on the best time to book flights for the holidays

Experts on airfare deals say costs are lower than in previous years and deals can still be found.
John Richardson, the Hawk Ridge fall count director, showed off a sharp-shinned hawk to visitors. The hawk was caught in their banding center and was

A parade of raptors at Duluth's Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve

Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve offers sweeping views of Lake Superior and gorgeous autumn color. But most visitors keep their eyes on the skies. This 235-acre…
Be sure to plan ahead and use caution when taking road trips amidst the pandemic.

Pop-up outhouses and advance research fuels road trips south

My family was among the millions of Americans taking a road trip this summer. We learned a few things along the way.
The leaves reached peak foliage along the North Shore by the Split Rock Lighthouse by Oct. 9, 2019.

Where to go in Minnesota to enjoy the fullest of fall colors

Ideas and photographic inspiration to fuel an autumn drive.
Yellow leaves lined the Tettegouche hiking trail in October 2019.

Fall color resources for leaf-peeping in Minnesota

Tracking color: The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources tracks fall color at; the site is updated weekly on Thursdays. More routes: Find…
Christopher Lutter-Gardella tended to his raised-bed gardens, which flow from the side of his Minneapolis house into his backyard.

Gardeners in Minneapolis and St. Paul find joy in abundance

Two urban gardeners build on their successes, plan to go bigger next year.
Cecily Cutshall, an employee at TCF Bank, works at a family cabin on Half Moon Lake in Wisconsin.

For digital nomads, traveling for work takes on new meaning in pandemic age

A growing number of professionals are working remotely — really remotely.
The Laurentian Divide Recreation Area near Virginia, Minn., has hiking and biking trails that cut across the Laurentian Divide and lead to great views

Near Hibbing, Minn., a geological force of nature

The Iron Range area is the site of a rare three-way continental divide.
Rick Steves stops during a hike on Italy's Cinque Terre. Provided by Rick Steves' Europe.

Why Europe guru Rick Steves wants travelers to stay home

The author and television personality on tourism's future, the mark of a good traveler and how Italy is the India of Europe.
Devil’s Bridge (Ponte della Maddalena) crosses the Serchio River near the town of Borgo a Mozzano in northern Tuscany, Italy.

From kids' camps to pilgrimage hikes, virtual travel hits its stride

Increasing numbers of tour companies are offering online experiences for would-be travelers.
With long-distance trips on hold, many families are relying on outdoor activities that are close to home to scratch the travel itch.

The future of travel: How tourism slowly recovers from the coronavirus pandemic

Brief stays, last-minute excursions and road trips are easing people back into tourism.
LeAndra Estis checked on the growth progress of vegetables in her backyard garden in St. Paul. Her daughters Quaia, left, and Lonna help in the garden

Twin Cities urban gardeners share the ups and downs of growing food

Two urban gardeners embrace the setbacks with the successes as they nurture their growing fruits and vegetables.
Amy Nelson disinfects a check-in kiosk after it was used by a passenger.

What you need to know about MSP and flying as people return to the air

It’s a scary time to fly across the country. Still, some people are compelled to get on a plane to bring a child to college,…
The Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse and Jeffers Petroglyphs to reopen July 15

The iconic Minnesota sites are popular stops on road trips.
Pierre the Voyageur statue in Two Harbors, MN has been fitted with a mask amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and stood tall on April 23, 2020.

How to stay safe, and have fun, on your summer vacation amid a pandemic

Sunny summer getaways take on a fresh twist in the shadow of a pandemic.
LeAndra Estis, right, grows vegetables at home in St. Paul with her daughters Quaia Crenshaw, 19, left, and Lonna Estis, 13.

Two Twin Cities gardeners break new ground for vegetable plots

Two gardeners — one just starting out and one expanding his plot — plant for food and family.
Kurt and Edwige Moses camp for the night in their teardrop camper trailer, built by St. Paul company Vistabule.

Summer of the road trip: Why we're hitting the road, and how to do it safely

Pandemic worries are fueling a surge in driving vacations.
Need a plumber? Safety comes first for both homeowner and workers.

Pandemic takes toll on overworked home plumbing systems

Plumbers' workloads are bursting now that more of us are at home more of the time.
Chilean Patagonia is a favorite destination for customers of the South American trip experts at Minneapolis-based Knowmad Adventures.

Will adventure travel lead the way back to travel? Knowmad Adventures and Wilderness Inquiry weigh in

Minneapolis-based adventure travel specialists Knowmad Adventures see a silver lining to the current pause in travel.
After a redesign by Rehkamp Larson Architects, "It is an easy kitchen," said homeowner Patricia Kane. "Everything has its place."

Small St. Louis Park home gets efficient, light-filled new kitchen

New kitchen in St. Louis Park home remakes space for optimal workflow, organization and natural light.
The drawing room walls at Drayton Hall in Charleston, S.C., haven’t been painted since the Civil War era.

Online home gazing, from Glensheen Mansion in Duluth to Drayton Hall near Charleston

Some of the country's great homes welcome virtual visitors — at no charge.
There's still plenty of time to start select vegetables from seed.

Is there a seed shortage in Minnesota? Not yet, but don't wait to buy

In a busy year for gardening, buy seeds early, shop locally and consider using starter plants.
Empty check-in areas are a common sight at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport's Terminal 1.

MSP airport's Terminal 1 construction takes off

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is bustling, but not with fliers. Construction crews keep the place hopping. At a time when most travelers are staying home…
In late March, cherry blossoms are in full bloom at Japan’s Himeji-Jo Castle.

Take these 4 virtual tours, from Glensheen in Duluth to the Bode Museum in Berlin

While people around the world stay at home, virtual tours are the new answer to wanderlust.
Snow monkeys bathe in the hot spring of Jigokudani Monkey Park in the mountains in Yamanouchi town, Nagano, central Japan.

Our beautiful world: Star Tribune photographers share their travel pictures

Travel destinations are quiet, their streets and beaches empty. But these photos from our staff photographers let us slip away for a moment.
Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Ariz. A landmark of Sedona's skyline and one of the most photographed sights in Arizona, Cathedral Rock is located in the Co

Travel section to temporarily move to Variety

Since homo sapiens walked out of Africa about 60,000 years ago, we have been a traveling species. That early exploratory impulse, which likely lives on…
The golden tips of aspen trees in fall are sprinkled throughout the boreal forest along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Where to get away from it all (including other people) in Minnesota

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this story was published, U.S. public health officials have advised Americans to stay at home to help slow the spread of the…
The “Jerusalem” cookbook can let you visit vicariously.

How to explore the world without ever leaving home

I spy the streets of Rome, and they are exquisitely empty. Not because its citizens are stuck inside, but because the year is 1960 and…
Fliers can find cheap tickets now for cities such as New Orleans.

Cancel or book a vacation? Consider doing both

A week of fast-moving coronavirus news has puzzled travelers.
Walls with two different but similar colors can give a room dimension and make it feel larger. In this room designed by HUEcreative, Agreeable Gray by

Choosing paint colors is tricky – consultants can cut through the confusion

Consultants, from designers in your home to online services, can ease the selection process.
Photo by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson, Special to the Star Tribune

It's getting real: Travelers will need a Real ID by Oct. 1 – here's how to get it

I’ve put off the task long enough: It’s time to get a Real ID. Beginning Oct. 1, Minnesotans 18 and older will need a Real…
A traveler wears a face mask at an airport near Detroit, Feb. 27, 2020.

As the coronavirus spreads, should you cancel vacation?

Common questions about the coronavirus and travel: what travelers need to know.
Digs are sleek and chic at Roost Apartment Hotel in Philadelphia.

Finding a hotel home in Philly, London, Rome

Airbnb has been a boon to travelers — even those who never use its website-based home-sharing services.That's because hotels have taken note of the growing…
U.K. and E.U. flags outside Parliament in Westminster, London.

What Brexit means for U.S. travelers

After years of threats and, essentially, attempted divorce proceedings, Britain finally departed the European Union on Jan. 31.How has the shift altered travel to the…
The Diamond Princess at Yokohama Port, near Tokyo.

Will the coronavirus sink cruising?

“A large, floating Petri dish:” that’s how a reader referred to cruise ships last week, which was a particularly bad week for cruises. The new…
A child swam in the Wilderness Resort’s Wild WaterDome water park in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Escape winter without getting on a plane: drivable destinations that will warm your bones

On a February day, the temperature neared 10 degrees. Yet there I was, soaking up the sun in a swimsuit. Nearby, my young companions splashed…
Flights from China may experience delays as passengers are screened for the new coronavirus.

As coronavirus concerns grow, should you board that plane?

As the novel coronavirus spreads, so do precautions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against nonessential travel to China. The U.S. State…
Somia Mourad and Keith Bush prefer the sleek, clean look of white enamaled woodwork and painted their 1891 Kenwood home to suit their tastes. Project

Tackling a controversial question: Should you paint the woodwork white?

That is the question for home sellers in an era when white woodwork is preferred by many prospective buyers, especially younger ones.
The Milky Way dazzles in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which could soon be part of a designated dark-sky region.

From dark skies to cruises to camping, travel trends for the new decade

Five of the latest travel trends lead to Minnesota — and beyond.
Daniel, an emotional-support duck, is pictured onboard an American Airlines flight in this file photo.

New rule would limit emotional support animals on planes. Here's how to give your input.

Roosters have boarded airplanes. So have turkeys, ducks and monkeys — all in the name of service. These animals allegedly helped their owners stay calm.…
The first sunrise of 2020 brought deep orange and pink colors over the Duluth Harbor North and South Breakwater Lighthouses in Duluth, MN on January 1

Viking cruises will sail the Great Lakes with a stop in Duluth

The cruise line discovers the Port City, names Minnesota explorer Ann Bancroft a ship godmother.
Guests eat at a dinner organized by Eatwith, a communal dining service that is now in more than 200 cities.

Tips for thriving when traveling solo

Traveling solo has always been rewarding — and it has also sometimes been uncomfortable. I've encountered wimpy locks on hotel doors, felt unease when lost…
Atop the ferris wheel on the historic Santa Monica Pier.

Mourning the remake and price hike at a favorite hotel

My family returns to Santa Monica, Calif., almost annually. But since we moved from there to here 15 years ago, the place has gone posh.…
The Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, Minn., has added a boutique hotel to its traditional cabin and old-style lodge rooms.

For 2020 travel, new spots in Minnesota

Happy New Year — and happy new vacation options. Grand View Lodge, a resort on Gull Lake in Nisswa, Minn., that dates to 1916, is…
Aidan Jones caught a smallmouth bass while wading in the water off a South Lake campsite. ] Aaron Lavinsky ¥ DAY 1 - T

Star Tribune experts share tips on taking travel photographs

Star Tribune photographer Aaron Lavinsky knows that vacations aren’t about taking photographs; they are about experiencing a new place and being open to experiences there.…
It’s best to study your options in advance before potential weather delays.

Bad weather and flying don't mix, but you can be prepared

When bad weather strikes, it can cause headaches for airlines and passengers alike.Airlines have coping strategies. Most cancel flights even before the bad weather strikes…
Sleek skyscrapers and towering mountains meet in Vancouver, a city with great shopping, dining and outdoor fun.

Lower fares to Vancouver may be coming – here's what to do when you're there

Last week, Sun Country Airlines announced plans to offer nonstop flights between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Vancouver International Airport beginning May 20. The route will…
The Sugarbush Ski Trail System cuts through the Superior National Forest in the Lutsen-Tofte area.

Where to hit the slopes or trails for a wintry Minnesota getaway

There are lots of down-home places in our state to play in the snow.
“Minnesota Love Location” photo art was created by Heather Buchma; it’s available, from $42, at

Best ways to get your travel photos into your life

My job requires me to organize travel photos. When it comes to family trips, though, I'm hopeless. Some photos are on my phone. Some are…
Elephants at Patara Elephant Farm, which has met standards for humane treatment, outside Chiang Mai, Thailand.

TripAdvisor stops selling tickets to SeaWorld; Airbnb offers ethical animal encounters

Have you gone on an elephant ride during some distant getaway because you adore the laconic beasts? That act of communing up close with the…
Among companies offering Black Friday sales is Hurtigruten, whose newest ship, MS Roald Amundsen, is a hybrid electric-powered ship.The sale runs Nov.

Latest Thanksgiving-based marketing notion, Travel Tuesday, may not fly

The Thanksgiving holiday has been taken over by marketers, with retailers throwing open their doors on the eve of Black Friday (i.e., Thanksgiving, post-turkey) or…
Escape Lounge at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Secrets to surviving MSP Airport during the busy travel season

Thanksgiving will be busy at airports across the country, including Minneapolis-St. Paul International. If you're flying out — or picking up guests — these tips could help.
Photographer's feet, 100 feet off the ground, looking down at the "Tarzan Swing, 60 feet off the ground, at the Selvatura Zip Line in the cloud forest

State Department beefs up its international travel info

A growing number of Americans are heading overseas for vacation, and the State Department wants to make sure they stay safe. The department recently added…
A fireplace anchors the lobby and restaurant at Canopy Ithaca.

In from the cold at cozy Canopy Ithaca

In upstate New York, I would have seen tremendous fall color along the curving, hilly roads if it hadn’t been for the blur of windshield…
The landmark Chicago Theatre on State Street.

Minneapolis is runner-up to Chicago in Conde Nast Readers' Choice Awards

World-class museums, stellar restaurants, Lake Michigan shoreline, deep-dish pizza: Chicago’s long list of attributes just got longer. Add to it the unwavering admiration of travelers.…
After no response from the hotel, AmEx issued me a refund.

The tale of an uninhabitable hotel room, and a hero of a credit card company

The Manhattan hotel room was one block from Central Park and had a great price. Unfortunately, it also had an unpleasant odor that my travel…
Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration while flying.

Easy ways to stay healthy on airplanes

A colleague had been on an airplane — and he felt a cold coming on. With watery eyes and a red nose, he asked, “Have…
Say goodbye soon to this dining car, on the Amtrak Crescent.

Amtrak drops some dining cars

Amtrak caused a stir when it recently announced changes in its dining options. The traditional dining car is being removed from some long-distance trains east…
Rides in the Tuscan countryside head up and down hills, past vineyards and ancient walls.

Best day trip from Florence, Italy: a bike trip to Siena

Biking immerses riders in the Tuscan countryside — and an Italian way of life.
MSP International Airport

2 apps that make eating at MSP airport easier

Sitting at a table near Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s Concourse C, I was hungry. That’s when Robert Rodriguez, wearing a distinctive bright blue shirt, walked…
Many of the Bahamas’ most popular resorts remain open.

Want to help the Bahamas recover from Hurricane Dorian? Head there for your winter getaway

I am looking at a map of the Caribbean and marveling at the Bahamas, the country hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian. In Lonely Planet's "The…
A beautiful array of fall colors near Lutsen, Minn. Turn off Scenic Hwy. 61 and you’ll be engulfed in hardwoods, and likely happen upon the Superior

Where to see fall color: 3 great autumn drives in Minnesota

Fill your gas tank, turn off your navigational devices and don't be afraid to get lost in the woods when fall blazes across the land.
Online resources can help you find fall colors at their peak.

Resources to help you see the best fall colors

Remember all that rain this summer? The moisture fed the trees, making them generally happy and healthy — and great conduits of fall color.Online resources…
Lines were long at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport before 6 a.m. Monday, regardless of whether people were headed to the north or south sec

Five things travelers need to know about the checkpoints at MSP

What exactly is up with the airport — besides wait times at the security checkpoints? A $1.6 billion renovation at Minneapolis-St. Paul International promises to…
Brexit means you’ll pay less to see London’s cultural icons.

Why now is the time to head to London

Lucky for tourists, things are looking really grim in the United Kingdom. The prime minister, Boris Johnson, has pledged to leave the European Union by…
The Spanish Steps in Rome, before new rules banned sitting.

Tourists beware: Know the rules of Rome

When I traveled to Rome in March, I enjoyed a few moments of relaxation on the Spanish Steps, which run 138 rungs between the Spanish…
Minnesota United forward Mason Toye (23) celebrated a goal during the second half on Aug. 7 in the win over Portland, sending the Loons and their fans

Sun Country sets charter flight for Loons' Open Cup title match

Purchase of an airline ticket on this special flight includes round-trip coach bus transportation to and from the stadium in Atlanta, but not tickets to the match.
Travelers made their way through security at Terminal 1 at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport in May.

How early should you arrive at the airport? Really early, one traveler learned

Give yourself plenty of time to clear security.
Dari-ette drive in, St. Paul

Need a nostalgic treat? Readers share their favorite drive-ins

I have a passion for thick malts made from hand-scooped ice cream and juicy burgers served at kitschy and cute old-fashioned drive-ins. I wrote…
Aqueducts in the basement of Rinascente date to 19 B.C.

The best place in Rome that neatly merges fashion, food and history.

Fashion, food and history have merged in Rome since toga-wearing partyers swept along marble roads to Bacchanalia festivals. In the modern city, one place encapsulates…
The Delta Airlines counter at MSP.

Delta eliminates extra fees for checking sports equipment

Even surfboards could get a free ride.
Many travel companies offer trips with open-water swimming.

A swimming vacation in Greece, Belize, the Canary Islands is full-immersion fun

I was at the cabin of friends when I waded into the water, slapped on my goggles and swam across the lake and back.The water…