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Kerri Westenberg

Travel editor | Newsroom
Phone: 612-673-4282

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 West Chop Light and Coast Guard Station are shown, Sunday, June 28, 2020 in Tisbury, Mass. on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. The lighthouse wa

Celebrate a return to travel with these 7 essential U.S. vacation destinations

While travel to many overseas destinations remains restricted, domestic travel is hot.
The flowering crabapple trees are a popular spring attraction at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

3 Minnesota road trips to enjoy beautiful spring scenery

These destinations offer lovely views.
Dashboard views inside Yellowstone National Park may cost more this year. Rental car prices are on the rise due to low supply and high demand.

Why rental car rates are soaring – and how to beat the trend

Blame the stunning rates on a massive sell-off of cars.
A view of Cathedral Rocks in Yosemite, Calif.

What belongs on our USA bucket list? Share your must-visit spots in America

This summer will be a good one to explore America. Tell us your favorite spot to visit.
Minnesota State Parks Magazine Story - Blue Mounds State Park is full of natural surprises. Start with the Sioux Quartzite cliff (Shown here), rising

From bison to rapids, discover the hidden gems of Minnesota's state park system

Parks, trails and waterways that show off Minnesota's richly diverse landscape.
A Sun Country Airlines jet takes off from Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport MSP.

Two key reasons to book summer flights now: cost and flexibility

Most airlines will roll back freedom to change tickets purchased at basic economy rate.
Among the places currently off limits to Americans is Paris and its idyllic Jardin des Tuileries. iStock

When can Americans get back to Europe?

Midsummer could be possible, but then again, maybe not.
MSP’s terminals will soon be flooded with spring break travelers.

Spring break flight? Tips for saving cash, navigating MSP in a busy season

If you're flying for spring break, here are tips for navigating the airport rush.
Sand Valley in Nekoosa, Wis., offers cross-country skiing, sledding, ice skating and other winter activities this winter.

The nine best Midwest resorts for social-distanced winter fun

Best places to relish the outdoors in a winter like no other, where social distance comes naturally.
The Winona Ice Park sits high above the Mississippi River in Sugar Loaf Park.

Winona's Ice Climbing Park takes winter activity to new heights

An iconic rock pinnacle tops Sugar Loaf Bluff in Winona. The whole eye-catching site, towering above Hwy. 61 and the Mississippi River, is so well…
View of Reykjavik in winter.

Thrifty Traveler provides the lowdown on cheap airfare from MSP

The Minnesota-based website unveiled its "ultimate guide" to finding deals from Minneapolis-St. Paul.
MSP’s terminal 1 was filled with holiday travelers in December 2020.

Returning to U.S. by air? You'll need a negative COVID test first.

Effective Jan. 26, anyone flying into the United States from another country will need to show proof they have tested negative for the coronavirus, following…
1. The Superior Hiking Trail cuts through the old growth forest of Magney-Snively Natural Area near Spirit Mountain in Duluth. 2. Grand View Lodge in

The pandemic will change vacations in 2021. Here's how Minnesotans can embrace the trends.

Travel trends generally reflect the cultural moment. In the 1920s, after Prohibition shut down juiced parties in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Cuba became…
Chevonne Ball, second from right, brings clients to a hidden gem in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, RR Wines.

Will 2021 be a better year for travel? Yes, for lots of reasons

Here's how the challenges of 2020 will transform travel for the better in 2021.
provided Pantone’s Colors of the Year for 2021, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating

Tips for decorating your home with Pantone's Colors of the Year

Pantone Color Institute doubled up on its color choice, naming Ultimate Gray and the lemony yellow Illuminating.
The cruise liner Queen Mary 2 docked at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in New York in 2016. Cruises aboard the ship are scheduled to restart in June.

When will cruising restart and what will it be like?

Cruises will set sail from U.S. ports by the second quarter of 2021 — but the experience will be different.
The CDC discourages travel this holiday season; many locations, including Los Angeles, are asking travelers to quarantine upon arrival.

How to track rapidly changing travel restrictions in U.S.

Over the river and through the woods — to quarantine we go. Holiday travel isn't the joyful outing it once was, at least in a…
Travel Ski Section cover (Steve Thomas/Special to the Star Tribune)

Here's where and how to ski safely in Minnesota this winter

Now is the time to hit the slopes and trails, and not just because snow is flying.
An ancient Roman marble statue sat among tables of a restaurant in Rome, where travelers may be able to return soon without quarantining.

Amsterdam? Rome? You may be able to travel to Europe sooner than you think

Delta Air Lines will begin trial flights to Amsterdam and Rome in the coming weeks.
MSP has introduced the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program, offering a lanyard for easy identification to those who would like to wear one.

MSP airport adds program for travelers with hidden disabilities

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program, which is designed to ease travel for people with disabilities, has arrived at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The program got…
The Tiber, Rome’s iconic river, makes a cameo in the film “The Great Beauty.”

Best movies and shows to watch for taking a vacation via your screen

The view highlights the Ionian Sea, with a tiny island off on the horizon. On shore, the turquoise walls of the home-turned-lodge have begun to…
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 dnr.state.mn.us/fall_colors; 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 ¥ aaron.lavinsky@startribune.com 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 www.minted.com.

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…