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Featured Destination - Juneau Alaska

...Although some of the shops still stock the usual kitsch of key chains, totem poles and mass produced Eskimo dolls, most of the boutiques and art galleries are filled with expensive merchandise. The windows glitter with jewelry (amethysts, diamonds and sapphires set in filigreed gold earrings, necklaces and bracelets) as well as furs, Lladro porcelain figurines, oil paintings, West Coast native carvings of wood, antler horn and walrus ivory, tooled leather knife sheathes, bead ornaments, and an interesting variety of Russian Matreshka dolls, cloisonné trinkets and pretty miniature boxes of woven bark. The gold-rush days are over, but Juneau’s wealth still pours in, mined today from the pockets of tourists who gladly invest in the town’s abundance of superbly crafted objets d’art. With an average 450,000 summer visitors to the town each year, this translates to the equivalent of several pounds of shiny gold nuggets....read more »


5 Romantic Destinations in Minnesotta

If someone wants to be pampered, then they'll love Stillwater, which lies just outside the Twin Cities. This historic lumber town on the St. Croix River has reinvented itself as a retail and relaxation destination. You can indulge yourself at a four-star restaurant, stroll along the riverfront promenade at sunset, take a moonlit gondola cruise, and finish the night at any of the elegant bed-and-breakfasts.

· Little Lansesboro, nestled in the rugged hills of southeast Minnesota's Amish country, is more down home than Stillwater, though the top-notch lodging and dining is no less indulgent and the surrounding scenery is even more spectacular.

· Grand Marais, a flourishing arts community up in the far northeast corner of the state, looks out across Lake Superior. Outside town is the vast Superior National Forest, home to the million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Besides paddling, there is fantastic hiking, biking, dogsledding, and just about any other outdoor activity you can imagine. Spend the night in one of the town's quaint inns or opt for a lakeside cabin nearby.

· If you want more of the outdoors, consider taking a houseboat through Voyageurs National Park, which runs along the Canadian border. There are no roads here, just a 100,000-acre chain of lakes, endless forests, hundreds on moose and loons, plus a few interesting historic sites to mix things up. A houseboat lets you explore everything with all the comforts of home.

· Finally, for something out of the ordinary, the Delta Queen Steamboat Company runs timeless paddlewheel riverboats along the Mississippi River between St. Paul, Minnesota and St. Louis, Missouri. The weeklong voyages stop in various river towns and feature luxurious accommodations...read more »

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