Author: Debbie Stone

Discover the beauty of Appalachia on a Smoky Mountains hiking trip

Share: The humidity was so thick you could cut it with a knife, even a plastic one would easily do the job. At this point I was trudging up a trail, sweating profusely, swatting at annoying gnats, and solely focused on my discomfort. Ian, our guide, suddenly stopped the group and asked that we listen to the sounds around us for a moment. At first, I confess I was a bit annoyed, as I simply wanted to get to our destination as quickly as possible. But then, I had one of those “aha” moments, when I slowly became aware...

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Mayberry Meets Manhattan in Bentonville, Arkansas

Share: Telling friends and family I was going to Bentonville, Arkansas was, based on their reactions, akin to informing them I was going to Siberia. I received baffled looks, followed by questions like, “Why?” “Whatever for?”–and my favorite, “You’re doing this on purpose?” I tried explaining the reasons for my trip; the primary one being to visit the renowned Crystal Bridges Museum, but still the confusion and puzzlement persisted. I admit Arkansas had never been one of those must-go-to destinations for me, most likely because I didn’t know much about our country’s 25th state. I envisioned the place to...

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The Allure of Off-Season Travel on Cape Cod and Nantucket

Share: Cape Cod There’s nothing like strolling on a pristine ocean beach with nary a soul in sight and only the occasional gull or plover to share the space. Far off in the distance, a pair of whales spout, while nearby, several seals play peekaboo in the water. The air is fresh and crisp, and Mother Nature’s good mood means ample sunshine. It’s April on Cape Cod and the crowds have yet to make their way to this captivating destination. Come Memorial Day, however, they will be here en masse, staking claim to their spots in the sand, lining...

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Surprises Abound in OKC

Share: It’s the initial ascent that provides the buildup to the exhilaration you’ll soon experience. At the precipice, you look down and your heart starts thumping because you know what’s going to happen next. You scream when the first shock of cold water hits, and then, before you can get another word out, you’re careening down a wild wave train. Your raft bounces, hits a few obstacles and spins you around, forcing you to manipulate the rapids in a rear-facing position. The only thing to do is obey your guide’s commands, dig deep with your paddle and say a...

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Beads, Glorious Beads! Mardi Gras in Mobile, The ‘City That was Born to Celebrate’

Share: One minute I was a very sane, controlled woman watching a parade. Then, before I knew it, I had joined the masses of men, women and children jumping up and down screaming for beads. Yes, beads! And oh, did I want them. As they were tossed and thrown in spectacular fashion by the revelers on the floats, I eagerly grabbed these colorful strands. And when they dropped to the ground, I scrambled to scoop them up. I confess I became a bit competitive in my desire to acquire as many beads as possible. By the end of the...

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