Helen Keller’s birthplace stirs the senses

Museum honours ‘America’s First Lady of Courage’

Helen Keller’s birthplace stirs the sensesTUSCUMBIA, Alabama - The irony is striking. I’m free to tour the childhood home that was for a while her prison, though happily also the site of her liberation. I can hear birds she couldn’t hear, from somewhere in the magnolias and mimosas she couldn’t see. I can trace in an hour the life that…

A soft egg in the Nahanni National Park Reserve

Discovering Virginia Falls, a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site – and learning a little German

A soft egg in the Nahanni National Park ReserveON THE ALASKA HIGHWAY – In German, weichei means soft egg. It defines a person’s character. In Canada, we call them wimps. Charly Kudlacek is from Frankfurt in the German state of Hesse and, as eggs go, is hard-boiled. We met Charly and his wife Marion in a remote campground at Summit Lake on the…

Hilton Head: nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina

The island is known for its green and pristine landscape. An oasis for golfers and tennis players, it also offers abundant wildlife, walking trails and beaches

Hilton Head: nothing could be finer than to be in CarolinaOne great blue heron ‒ regal, silent, still, fixed in hunting mode; one elegant great egret ‒ stately, equally still; one wing-splayed cormorant – drying; two long, rubbery, black alligators ‒ comatose in the water; three white-plumaged ibises ‒ with carrot-like beaks; six sun-basking turtles ‒ heads protruding to suck up the heat. Not bad…

From a bohemian past, Taos, N.M. crafts a family-friendly future

The area is full of surprises, from the Earthship environmental community, to the dazzling galleries, to the jaw-dropping Rio Grande Gorge, to Taos Ski Valley

From a bohemian past, Taos, N.M. crafts a family-friendly futureCarpio Bernal Watercrow carries his age with dignity and a certain style. With his tied-back salt-and-pepper hair, his tanned brown skin and leathery hands, he has the stereotypical look of the wise tribal elder from a Hollywood western. Bernal is from one of a handful of families who live in the Taos Pueblo, an ancient…

A Mexican village welcomes ecotourists

From the hospitality to the extraordinary food to the sublime experience among the butterflies, this is a place of exceptional grace

A Mexican village welcomes ecotouristsWhen you drive up the paved road into Macheros village in Donato Guerra, Estado de Mexico, you enter a high altitude (2,600 metres) ejido (essentially a Mexican communal farm) that has a unique relationship with about 400 million monarch butterflies. There's a lot to unpack in that one sentence. To start with, the mariposa monarca are…

On the trail of a monarch deep in the heart of Mexico

Taking rough roads, with an eye out for bandidos, in search of the increasingly endangered species

On the trail of a monarch deep in the heart of Mexico“We’re going to see the monarch butterflies at the Cerro Pelon Butterfly Sanctuary.” What? When my friend Scott said he’d booked us into JM's Butterfly B&B in the remote Mexican village of Macheros, Donata Guerra, Estado de Mexico, I admit to some misgivings. “It’s just a four-hour drive south and west of San Miguel de…

Fresh (cooking) lessons from Mexico’s mercados

Our columnist attends a four-hour cooking class with successful San Miguel, Mexico, restaurateur Paco Cardenas

Fresh (cooking) lessons from Mexico’s mercadosMy friend Scott loves to organize vacation activities that go on beyond the call of normal vacation duty. This now entails full-time planning for three couples who gather once per year, sometime between the Dia de Meurtos (Nov. 2) and the end of February in the old colonial town of San Miguel de Allende in…