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Wisconsin’s Potawatomi State Park

View of a small island in the bay with a boat leaving a wake.
Scenic view of Lake Michigan from Potawatomi State Park. Photo © Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, licensed Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivatives.

Unfolding along the western edge of Sturgeon Bay and flanked by Sherwood and Cabot Points, Potawatomi State Park (920/746-2890) is known for rolling birch-lined trails atop the limestone ridges scraped off the Niagara Escarpment. Indeed, the stone from here was carted off to build ports all around the Great Lakes. Islets rimmed in hues of blue and gray pepper the outlying reaches off the park (bring a polarizing camera lens on a sunny day). The geology of the park is significant enough that Potawatomi marks the eastern terminus of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. You won’t need a science background or superlative designations to appreciate its inspiring vistas and solitude; it is simply one of the peninsula’s magical not-to-be-missed natural retreats.

Map of Wisconsin's Door County
Door County

Sights

The great Tower Trail quickly ascends the ridges through thicker vegetation, leading to a 75-foot-tall observation tower and a belvedere vantage point of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, some 16 miles away, on a good day (check out the sunset).

Beech tree, found only close to Lake Michigan, are a highlight of the nature in the park. Otherwise, expect to see some 50 types of resident songbirds, plenty of hawks riding bluff wind currents, or deer staring quizzically at you from stands of sugar maples, basswood, and white and red pines.

For a quick road trip, head back toward Highway 42/57 but turn right onto Highway C and then right onto Highway M, which takes you all the way to the Sherwood Point Lighthouse; it’s a bit tough to spot. Built in 1883, it took a century before it was finally automated. The 38-foot-high structure guarding the bayside entrance to Sturgeon Bay was constructed with a 10-sided cast-iron light. Closed to the public, today the lighthouse and the old keeper’s house are used as a retreat for the Coast Guard. It is open during designated Lighthouse Festival times, generally in late May or early June.

Hiking

Almost 11 miles of trails wind through the park; you’ll see hemlock, sugar maple, aspen, and birch trees in addition to the beech trees. The trails become nine miles of cross-country skiing trails in winter. Vertical gain is only around 150 feet, but the trails rise and fall a lot. Maps are available at the nature center.

The easiest trail is the 0.5-mile Ancient Shores Trail that begins near the nature center; it’s loaded with easy-to-understand signs pointing out geology and flora along the way.

The most popular trail is the 3.6-mile Tower Trail, which runs up and over ridges to the observation tower. The most popular trailheads are at the tower itself or at a nearby overlook (an old ski hill) on the main park road. In the southern half of the park, closer to the water,the 2.6-mile Hemlock Trail doesn’t have the sweat-inducing climbing and passes the most popular recreation areas; access it at Parking Lot 2 in the picnic area.

The must-hike trail is the three-mile segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail that begins next to the observation tower and runs along the ridgeline above the water; it’s only a small part of the epic trail’s 1,000 miles, but this is where it starts.

Biking

An eight-mile off-road bicycle trail also meanders through mostly grassy meadows and mildly challenging terrain. Type-T folks won’t have any trouble, but if you’re a novice, go slowly. Bikes can be rented in the park. The trailhead is at Parking Lot 1 at the picnic area.

Fishing and Water Activities

Fishing in the naturally protected bay is some of the best in the lower Door, especially for smallmouth bass. The chilled waters also offer some fantastic scuba diving with wrecks visible below. The park has no scuba outfitter on site. Contact Lakeshore Adventures (920/493-3474) in Baileys Harbor for dive trips ($125 pp), which even novices can sign up for. They run Saturday only in July-August. Another outfitter is Dark Side Charters (10302 Townline Rd., Sister Bay, 920/421-3483), farther away in Sister Bay. Canoes and kayaks are also rentable at the park.

A large caveat: There is no sand beach, just lots of rocky shoreline.

Camping

Camping at the park’s Daisy Field Campground is very popular, so reserve on the first day possible the winter before your trip. Even with 125 or more sites in two loops along the shoreline, it is always chock-full in summer. A camping cabin is available for disabled travelers in the south loop; it even has a stove, a microwave, and a fridge, along with air-conditioning. A park sticker is required in addition to the campsite fee. Showers are available in season in both loops.

The campground locations are wonderful and you can get sites with splendid views, but they are very close to each other. Prime sites are numbers 54 or 104 as they’re farthest from the madding crowd. Also consider the even-numbered sites 32-50, since they back up on the Niagara Escarpment and provide a bit of isolation.

Good news (or bad news, depending on your personality): They take “quiet hours” seriously. Expect a ranger visit any time after 10pm if you are being too loud.

Getting There

There is no public transportation; drive your car south of Sturgeon Bay to the bridge over the canal, head west, and then head immediately north—all roads lead to the park. It’s also possible to take an obscenely expensive taxi ride from Green Bay.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Wisconsin’s Door County.

Q&A with Moon MapGuide Paris Author

Moon MapGuide Paris is divided into neighborhoods. If a traveler is on a budget, what’s the best neighborhood to be based in? Why?

cover_moon mapguide paris5eFor travelers on a budget, I would recommend the Marais as a money-saving neighborhood base. You’ll save euro on transportation because so many prime attractions are within a 15-minute walk of this lively, history-filled district: Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, the trendy Bastille area, Oberkampf and its festive nightlife, the village of St. Paul, Centre Georges Pompidou. The list goes on and on. You’ll also save money on food, because some of the tastiest and most affordable grub can be found here. I’m talking about falafel! In the old Jewish quarter of the Marais on rue des Rosiers, a half-dozen falafel joints offer these popular handheld meals that consist of soft pita bread, crunchy falafel, heavenly roasted eggplant, and oodles of crunchy veggies for around five euro. It’s a local tradition to eat your takeaway in one of the gorgeous neighborhood parks and squares. I recommend the Jardin Francs-Bourgeois-Rosiers; it’s a secret garden with a handful of nice benches to sit on and soak up the sun while you nosh.

What neighborhood is off the usual tourist route but is worth the Métro ride? Why?

There are so many! I’d recommend heading out to the 19e arrondissement, in the north part of Paris, on a Saturday. Here, far off the beaten tourist path, you’ll find one of the city’s best arts spaces, the Cent-Quatre (Métro: Riquet). It’s a festival for the senses, with hip-hop dancing (dance students practice in the center’s many open spaces), public art exhibits, cafés, theaters, a weekend farmers market, and even a few retail shops. On the other side of the canal but still in the 19e is Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (Metro: Botzaris or Buttes-Chaumont). With great views, a lovely café (Rosa Bonheur), ponds, waterfalls, and gazillions of pleasant picnic spots, it’s a true oasis!

What’s your favorite public transportation tip?

The Métro is amazing and will get you everywhere you need to go, but you miss so much when you travel underground. I save the Métro for rainy (and snowy) days—I ride my bike the rest of the time. I would encourage visitors to do the same, and it’s never been easier to arrange a Vélib’ rental before you even arrive in Paris. The website is available in English, so you can make your reservation online, and a weeklong ticket is only €8 (around $12).

Describe a navigation mistake that you see tourists make in Paris.

One of the biggest mistakes I see tourists making from the Eiffel Tower to the top of Montmartre is, well, looking like a tourist. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but if you want to blend in with the local population, it’s a good idea not to stand in the middle of a busy intersection while poring over a huge, unwieldy map of Paris. Not only do you look like a tourist, but you make it easy for pickpockets and petty thieves to target you. (This is true when visiting any large city!) That’s what I love so much about Moon MapGuide Paris. The book is slim and discreet, and the maps—while clear and concise—are compact and subtle, so you don’t attract a lot of attention to yourself when trying to figure out where the nearest Métro station is.

Kentucky Road Trips: Driving the State’s Scenic Byways

Steam rises from between a mountainscape covered in trees just starting to go from deep green to auburn.
View from the Sky Bridge overlook in the Red River Gorge. Photo © Anthony, licensed Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivatives.

Kentucky is truly one of America’s prettiest states. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but before you give it, why don’t you take a drive through the landscape of the Bluegrass State? Enjoy the mountains and the hollows, the rolling hills and the open meadows, the lakes and the forests, and you’ll see what I mean. Beyond scenery, you’ll also get a taste of Kentucky’s interesting history.

For more information about scenic drives in Kentucky, visit the Federal Highway Administration’s American Byways.

Country Music Highway

Located in far eastern Kentucky in the hills of Appalachia, the heart of the Country Music Highway (U.S. 23) runs from Ashland in the north to Whitesburg in the south. You’ll pass right through the mountains and will have opportunities to stop at coal mining sites, country music heritage sites, and multiple state parks. Butcher Hollow, Jenny Wiley Theatre, elk viewing, and a plate of soup beans and cornbread are musts. Try to plan your trip for the fall, when the mountains are on fire with color. And be sure to get off of the highway once in a while to see what life is like in the hollows.

Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway

Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest presidents the United States has known, was born in a tiny cabin in the knobs of Central Kentucky. This driving tour, which takes you on U.S. 31E and U.S. 150, begins in Hodgenville, where you can visit the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace and Boyhood Home and the Lincoln Museum. You’ll then pass through Bardstown, where you can stop at the Civil War Museum or have a sip of bourbon at one of three distilleries. The highway continues to Springfield, home of Lincoln Homestead State Park; Perryville, site of Kentucky’s biggest Civil War battle; and Danville, where Kentucky statehood was negotiated.

Red River Gorge Scenic Byway

For downright beauty, nothing beats the Red River Gorge Scenic Byway. This 46-mile drive, while short, can easily fill an entire day. You’ll pass through the very cool Nada Tunnel as you enter Red River Gorge Geological Area, and then you’ll spend most of your day pulled over at hiking trailheads and viewpoints. Make sure your hiking shoes are in the trunk, because you’ll want to visit Sky Bridge and Angel Windows, which are accessible by a short walk. You may also want to paddle Red River or take the sky lift at Natural Bridge State Resort Park.

Wilderness Road Heritage Highway

This highway, which leads from Middlesboro to Berea, allows you to follow in the footsteps of Kentucky’s earliest pioneers. Begin at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park to see where Daniel Boone carved his Wilderness Road. Then head north, passing Pine Mountain State Resort Park with its lush hemlocks and rhododendrons; Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park, home to a re-created pioneer village; and Renfro Valley Entertainment Center, the best place to see an old-time music show. End in Berea, where you can immerse yourself in arts and crafts.

Woodlands Trace

Running the length of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, The Trace takes you through wooded scenery, with connections to lakeside drives. Along the way you can make detours to the Nature Station, Elk and Bison Prairie, Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory, waterfront picnic areas, and The Homeplace. Opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and camping abound.

Kentucky Road Trips: The Best Scenic Byways in the State


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Kentucky.

Arts and Culture in the Greater Montréal Area

Two actors sit on a couch having tea on stage.
Émile Proulx-Cloutier and Jean Marchand on stage at the Segal Centre for Performing arts during the 2010 run of Old Wicked Songs. Photo © US Embassy Canada, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Map of Greater Montréal, Quebec
Greater Montréal
If Québec is known for one thing, it’s the circus. Between unconventional circuses like TOHU, theatre, and a variety of museums, you’ll have plenty to explore in the greater Montréal area.

Performing Arts

Segal Centre for the Performing Arts

With a focus on creating a nurturing environment for developing performers and playwrights, the Mies van der Rohe-designed Segal Centre (5170 chemin de la Côte-Ste-Catherine, 514/739-2301; $25-50) has a number of different stages and programs that make it one of the most exciting places to see English theater in the city. Independent companies use the Segal Stage as a place to refine and perform, while bigger productions are found on the larger stage. They also host a yearly Yiddish Theater Festival with performers from all over the world.

TOHU

Montréal is a city full of circuses, but the TOHU (2345 rue Jarry E., 514/376-8648; $25-50) is a little bit different. Founded in 2004 by En Piste, the National Circus School, and Cirque du Soleil, TOHU is one of the largest training grounds for performers of the circus arts in the world. Shows here might lack the pomp and circumstance (and the awesome costumes) of Cirque du Soleil, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find performers who are more dedicated and astounding in their art.


Museums

Maison Saint-Gabriel

Situated in Pointe-Saint-Charles, a working-class neighborhood west of Old Montréal, the grounds that are now Maison Saint-Gabriel (2146 Place Dublin, 514/935-8136; Check website for hours and prices.) were given to Marguerite Bourgeoys in 1668. Bourgeoys used the land to start a farm and built the house to accommodate the filles du roi, young French women who came to Canada in the early days of the settlement to help populate the new colony.

Interpreters recreate the everyday tasks of the 17th and 18th centuries, and, in the summer, artisans recreate traditional trades on the museum’s grounds. This is one of the more worthwhile interpretive museums and well worth the trip, especially if you have your own transportation. Tours are offered.

Montréal Holocaust Memorial Museum

With over 7,000 documents, photographs, and objects in its collection, the Holocaust Museum (5151 chemin de la Côte-Ste-Catherine, 514/345-2605; Check website for hours and prices.) reconstructs the life of Jewish communities before, during, and after World War II, exploring the rise of Nazism, life in the ghettos, and the diaspora communities after the war. The museum was founded in 1979 by Holocaust survivors, and the history of Montréal’s Jewish community is explored here as well in the testimonials and life stories of those who eventually chose Montréal as their home.

Found off of the beaten path in the residential area of Côte-des-Neiges, it was the first major museum dedicated to the Holocaust in the country, and it will take visitors a couple of hours or more to browse the museum and take in the multimedia displays. The personal artifacts (which include everything from suitcases and postcards to stars of David and identity cards) and moving testimonials of nearly 500 survivors make for a profound experience.

Le Musée Château Dufresne

Not far from the modern organic architecture of the Olympic Stadium is the Musée Château Dufresne (4040 rue Sherbrooke E., 514/259-9201; Wed.-Sun. 10am-5pm, tours 1:30pm and 3:30pm; $9 adults, $8 seniors and students, $5 children), the complete antithesis to its surroundings with its classic Beaux-Arts style. Designed by Parisian architect Jules Renard in 1915, the museum was originally two houses owned by brothers Marius and Oscar Dufresne, who were wealthy entrepreneurs.

The interior of the house remains virtually untouched right down to murals and ceiling paintings by Guido Nincheri, best known for his ecclesiastical works. Tours of the grand mansion are given twice daily and are free with admission.


Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Montréal & Québec City.

Book Buzz exclusive: David Baldacci cover reveal

Here’s a first look at the jacket of The Escape, the new David Baldacci thriller featuring John Puller, a combat vet and investigator in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Division.

It’s due Nov. 18 from Grand Central Publishing.

Recommended Restaurants and Hotels in Missouri Wine Country

Stop for a drink in Hermann, part of Missouri's wine country.
Stop for a drink in Hermann, part of Missouri’s wine country. Photo © SkippyThePeanutButterMan, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Here’s a sampling of where to eat and stay when visiting Missouri Wine Country.

Restaurants

A welcoming Augusta restaurant, Ashley’s Rose Restaurant & Lone Eagle Pub (5567 Walnut St., Augusta, 636/482-4108, Tues.-Thurs. and Sun. 11am-7pm, Fri.- Sat. 11am-9pm, entrées $18) resides in an early-20th-century frame building known as “the white house” and sports a quirky aviation theme. It is cozy (seats about 60 people) and has a fully stocked bar. The menu features about 20 entrées and is fairly straightforward in its aims. Ashley’s grills a great steak and offers a popular weekly wiener schnitzel special with homemade sweet-and-sour red cabbage and potato pancakes. The restaurant also offers a handful of nice regional wines and runs some additional specials that change with the season. Come early on the weekend—this tiny place fills up fast.

Augusta Brewing Company (5521 Water St., Augusta, 636/482-2337, Sun.-Mon. and Wed.-Thurs. 11am-6pm, Fri.-Sat. 11am-9pm, entrées $12) is a popular stop for cyclists on the Katy Trail; the restaurant’s shady beer garden is just 30 steps from it. Fare here is American pub food with a few traditional German beer haus items thrown in, like the freshly baked Bavarian pretzel served with Tannhauser mustard and a beer brat smothered in house-made sauerkraut. Several locally produced wines are offered in addition to the microbrewery’s own handcrafted ales, wheats, and lagers, and the menu recommends several great pairings. In addition to a friendly atmosphere and beautiful surroundings, the restaurant also has a great summer schedule of country and bluegrass music.

A cozy little family restaurant in historic Hermann, The Cottage Restaurant & Studio (1185 Hwy. H, Hermann, 573/486-4300, Mon. and Thurs.-Sat. 11am-2pm and 5pm-8pm, Sun. 10am-2pm and 3pm-6:30pm, closed in winter, entrées $15) is a perennial favorite. The food here isn’t fancy, but it’s very well-prepared—don’t miss the golden-brown fried chicken, served with a heaping mound of home-style mashed potatoes. (Also on the Do Not Miss list: homemade pie.) Outdoor seating is available on The Cottage’s lovely patio, which overlooks 22 acres of forest. Want to take a painting home with your leftovers? All of the art decorating the walls is for sale, and some of it’s great. Besides, the restaurant’s motto is “Fried Chicken, Fine Art”—and there’s just something undeniably appealing about that.

Hotels and B&Bs

The hosts of the H.S. Clay House and Guest Cottage (219 Public St., Augusta, 314/504-4203, $150- 235) bring 50-plus years of hotel-hospitality experience to this B&B. Each spacious suite here offers luxurious amenities on par with a fourstar hotel. Covered porches, private balconies, whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, and flat-screen TVs with surround sound are only a few of the inn’s great features. Outdoor amenities include an 18,000-square-foot double-tiered deck, swimming pool, and hot tub. The careful clutter and lush landscaped grounds of this whimsical place draw guests back again and again. Hosts Leigh and Alan Buerhe are happy to arrange a romantic gourmet dinner for two in the home’s elegant dining room or to recommend a local restaurant. And guests are sent off every morning on the right foot: A gourmet breakfast served in the first-floor common space features handmade specialties like shirred eggs, sage sausage, and custard French toast.

The inviting suites of The Iron Horse Inn (207 E. 4th St., Hermann, 573/486-9152, $125-165) exude warmth and comfort—all within walking distance of Hermann’s historic Main Street. Each suite in this beautifully restored 1898 Victorian Queen Anne home is completely self-contained (a plus for those not keen on sharing the bathroom with strangers). Visitors here will love the combination of old-fashioned elegance with modern amenities. Some of the suites offer whirlpool baths big enough for two, while others have lovely claw-foot tubs—and every suite is furnished with heirloom antiques. Rhiannon, the Iron Horse’s innkeeper, is perhaps the most gracious host in the area. She is happy to give shop and restaurant recommendations to newcomers, and will also make dinner reservations for guests upon their request. In addition to its proximity to Main Street, the Iron Horse is near the riverfront and the Amtrak station.

The School House Bed and Breakfast in Rocheport (504 3rd St., 573/698-2022, $149-279) is a little off the beaten path—about an hour’s drive west of Hermann—but well worth a side trip. This unique inn is an expertly converted, turn-of-the- 20th-century schoolhouse, and it offers some great modern amenities. The school’s original oak floors and 13-foot ceilings accentuate every addition, including private luxury baths complete with whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, antique furnishings, and luxury down bedding. Abundant windows flood every room with great morning light, and during the warm weather months guests usually begin their day with gourmet coffee in the School House’s serene garden. This bed-and-breakfast has been featured in numerous national publications, including Midwest Living and Southern Living. It is two blocks from the Katy Trail and a mile from Les Bourgeois Vineyards and Winery. Travelers should check the website for last-minute deals, particularly in the off-season.


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon St. Louis.

Gay and Lesbian Nightlife in Dallas Fort Worth

The Dallas Fort Worth area has a vibrant gay and lesbian nightlife scene.
The Dallas Fort Worth area has a vibrant gay and lesbian nightlife scene. Photo © Robert Hensley, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

The Dallas Fort Worth area has a vibrant gay and lesbian nightlife scene. Here’s a helpful guide to the best LGBT bars and clubs for all interests.


BJ’s NXS

It’s sort of an unwritten rule that any club whose name consists merely of initials is probably trouble, but BJs (3215 N. Fitzhugh Ave., 214/526-9510, Tues.–Sat. 6 p.m.–2 a.m., Sun.–Mon. 4 p.m.–2 a.m.) is the good kind of trouble. With its preponderance of waifish male dancers, chiseled bartenders, and special appearances by, er, certain types of film stars, this place is about as subtle as a disco ball, but continues to up the ante with big-name guest DJs and the occasional pop star. Former Pussycat Doll Kaya Jones gave a live performance in the fall of 2012, and of all the bars in Dallas, Adam Lambert made BJs his stop when his tour swung through in 2010.

The Brick/Joe’s

The Brick (2525 Wycliff Ave., 214/521-3154, Sun. 2–10 p.m., Mon. 4–10 p.m., Tues.–Thurs. 4 p.m.–2 a.m., Fri. 4 p.m.–4 a.m., Sat. 2 p.m.–4 a.m.) is a former leather ’n’ Levi’s bar that has reinvented itself as a dance club popular with the African American community, as well as a prime go-to spot for special event fundraisers. Hip-hop Fridays and Sensual Saturdays are big nights, as are nights when female DJ C Wade spins (Dallas is a bit behind the times when it comes DJ diversity). Joe’s is the smaller bar attached to the main club that features dancers and karaoke nights as well as a quieter place to drink.

Club Reflection

It looks dark and dive-y from the outside, but inside, Club Reflection (604 Jennings Ave., 817/870-8867, daily 2 p.m.–2 a.m.) is a friendly, cute GLBT country-and-western establishment, replete with rustic decor and aw-shucks bartenders who smile sweetly under their Stetsons. While the Rainbow Lounge across the street pumps it up with beat-heavy dance music, here the dance floor is filled with two-steppers and line-dancers sashaying to the likes of George Strait and Randy Travis. Drinks are fairly priced and often on special, so it remains affordable to down a couple longnecks before embarking on a beginners line dance lesson (held weekly).

Dallas Eagle

As Dallas’s favorite bear club, Dallas Eagle (2515 Inwood Rd., 214/357-4375, Sun.–Thurs. 4 p.m.–2 a.m., Fri.–Sat. 4 p.m.–4 a.m.) isn’t for everyone (hint: If you don’t know what a “bear” is, you probably don’t want to go). It’s definitely a specific scene, catering to an older crowd and those who celebrate the old-school queer aesthetic. Perhaps the club’s theme nights say it all: “Shirtless Tuesdays” lead to “Underwear Wednesdays” and beyond.

Dallas Woody’s Sports & Video Bar

This bar on the main drag of Cedar Springs is the chief supporter of Dallas’s large contingent of queer athletes, lending its name and sponsorship to rugby, softball, and basketball teams in the community. Woody’s (4011 Cedar Springs Rd., 214/520-6629, Mon.–Sun. 2 p.m.–2 a.m.) has built a strong and consistent rep with the gay sports scene of Dallas, and the teams pay it back in full by calling Woody’s home. But it has a lot more going on than just ball action. Non-sporties need love, too, and Woody’s delivers it with live music on the back patio, show tunes every Tuesday, and karaoke with drag queens at various points during the week. Ample and clever patio space on both floors works for those who prefer the outdoors for their people-watching (read: cruising) while lighting up a ciggie or catching an autumnal breeze.

JR’s Bar and Grill

Once one of the only gay bars on what’s known as “The Strip,” JR’s (3923 Cedar Springs Rd., 214/528-1004, Tues.–Sat. 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sun.–Mon. noon–2 a.m.) is now the flagship in Caven Enterprise’s fleet of queer-oriented nightspots. Even as a number of gay hangouts have cropped up around it, this lively, boy-friendly spot is still the place to go in the Cedar Springs neighborhood—a night out usually involves it in one way or another. The crowd is flirty, friendly, and mixed—folks of all stripes are welcome.

And, yes, it is named after the character from the TV show Dallas.

Kaliente (Discotec)

You’re likely to get frisked with an electric wand before paying cover and entering this Latino gay nightspot, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing the energy of this place. Men and women mix well here while the DJ pumps out dance, reggaeton, rock en español, cumbia, and tejano jams. It’s the rough edges that give this popular spot its character. Drag queens fill the calendar practically every night of the month when the DJ isn’t filling the dance floor on the weekends. Kaliente (4350 Maple Ave., 214/520-6676, daily 9 p.m.–2 a.m.) also hosts the majority of the Latino-based pageants, as well as the occasional live music club act.

The Rainbow Lounge

Stepping into the Rainbow Lounge (651 S. Jennings Ave., 817/744-7723, Mon. 3 p.m.–2 a.m., Tues.–Thurs. noon–2 a.m., Fri.–Sat. noon–3 a.m.) is like taking a time portal to the 1990s—in a good way. On busy nights, scantily clad fellas glide by carrying trays of fluorescent Jell-O shots as DJ’ed house music thumps away, and while the bar caters mostly to men, plenty of lesbians and straight folks frequent the place. Expect plenty of sweaty dancing, go-go boys, and the more than occasional drag queen show.

The Round-Up Saloon

Before there was Brokeback Mountain, there was the Round-Up (3912 Cedar Springs Rd., 214/522-9611, daily 3 p.m.–2 a.m.), where that singular Dallas inhabitant, the gay cowboy, can go to two-step, shuffle, and waltz. Since 1980, the Round-Up has corralled thousands of patrons sporting checked shirts, tight jeans, and giant belt buckles, patrons who’ve spent many an evening dancing to the 24-7 C&W played by live DJs. The musical mix sashays from classic country to nouveau-Nashville, making a fine backdrop for chatty patrons at any of the six different themed bars. Even if you’re not much of a country fan, don’t worry—the crowd here is friendly and fun, and most folks will even teach you to dance if you ask.

Station 4

It’s a good thing Station 4 (3911 Cedar Springs Rd., 214/526-7171, daily 9 p.m.–4 a.m.) is the size of a Wal-Mart, because it’s the only real dance club in the middle of Dallas’s gay district. This spot is exactly what a classic gay dance club should be—enormous, with different stations to keep the attention-deficient crowd pleased and an absolutely killer lighting system. The latter makes up for a lack of imagination in the music department—think bass-heavy oomph-oomphoomph house—but the energy here flows as freely as the vodka and Red Bull.

Sue Ellen’s

For years the girl bar Sue Ellen’s (3014 Throckmorton St., 214/559-0707, daily 4 p.m.–2 a.m.) played little sister to its always-hopping brother bar, JR’s, up the street, but in 2007 Sue Ellen’s moved to different digs and finally found her own identity. The new Sue Ellen’s is a bi-level club straight out of The L-Word. The massive first floor opens to a glassed-in dance floor flanked by two bars, pool tables, and a car-size video monitor. Upstairs, the DJ lords over her kingdom from the second-story DJ booth. Up here, the glass soundproofing keeps the cacophony to a minimum, allowing for lower-key acoustic and rock acts to keep the crowd that buzzes around the two bars occupied.


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Dallas & Fort Worth.

A Guide to Shopping Districts and Malls in St. Louis

Shopping in St. Louis: inside Star Clipper, a merchant helps customers.
Inside pop culture shop Star Clipper in the Delmar Loop. Photo © JWolff-STL, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Shopping in St. Louis

No one is going to mistake the shopping promenades of St. Louis for those of New York or Los Angeles. That’s perfectly fine, because what St. Louis lacks in breadth, it makes up for in quality, ingenuity, and affordability. Wherever your St. Louis travels take you, fun shopping is bound to be right in the neighborhood.


The Boulevard

The Saint Louis Galleria is a mall (and a great one at that), but The Boulevard positions itself as a lifestyle center. When you stroll down The Boulevard’s brick-paved avenue—the burbling of fountains in the background, the smells from P.F. Chang’s and Maggiano’s Little Italy beckoning—you can imagine a lifestyle where you (clad in something spiffy from LOFT) can have your hair done at Mitchell James before heading up to your spacious apartment in this mixed commercial-residential development. There are currently 22 shops and restaurants on The Boulevard (Brentwood Blvd. and Galleria Pkwy.), but developers plan to expand.

Central West End

This pedestrian-friendly Central West End (Euclid Ave. between Washington Ave. and Forest Park Ave.) shopping district is at the heart of one of the city’s oldest and most prestigious neighborhoods. The sidewalks along this five-block stretch are canopied by stately trees. Walk down Euclid Avenue (the Central West End’s main thoroughfare), and you’ll glimpse some of the city’s most beautiful homes and gardens.

If you can afford a shopping expedition in the Central West End, by all means go for it. The neighborhood’s clothing boutiques are, not surprisingly, upscale—but while some of the prices are astronomical, service is never snobby. Art galleries and high-end furniture showrooms line McPherson Avenue. On Maryland Plaza, you’ll find a Design Within Reach flagship store, an exquisite chocolatier, a ritzy nightclub, and several trendy clothing shops. Salons, spas, and specialty gift stores stretch down Euclid Avenue; the street is also home to two great bookstores and many nice restaurants with see-and-be-seen alfresco seating.

Even if you’re not looking to drop lots of cash, the Central West End is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll and leisurely browsing. Prime shopping times include Sunday afternoons, when several of the neighborhood’s popular eateries open for a late-morning patio brunch.

Cherokee Street

Many locals consider Cherokee Street “antiques row.” But, in reality, the antiques stores occupy only a portion of this seven-block shopping district (Cherokee St. between Lemp Ave. and DeMenil Pl.). In addition to antique and vintage shops, this thriving stretch plays host to several Central American markets, record sellers, restaurants, and bodega-style convenience stores. Make time to walk Cherokee Street from end to end, and you’ll encounter more than 50 businesses. The quiet antiques row is nestled on Cherokee’s eastern stretch; the western side is a lively Latino neighborhood, where visitors will find specialty shops and the finest taquerías in all of St. Louis.

Clayton

On weekdays, Clayton (between Maryland Ave., Forsyth Blvd., and Brentwood Blvd.) is a business center, filled with suited-up folks enjoying power lunches. But business isn’t being conducted just in the conference rooms of the multistory buildings. Many locally owned galleries and upscale boutiques line the walkable streets of this posh area. Pop into the Duane Reed Gallery to check out the latest art show, and peruse shops like Byrd Style Lounge, a boutique that offers style-consulting services. By night office dwellers emerge for happy-hour drinks at places like The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis’s The Lobby Lounge. Join them, or find a quiet table at one of many restaurants for a scrumptious dinner and a relaxing end to a full day of shopping.

Delmar Loop

Arguably the most popular entertainment district in the city, the Loop (Delmar Blvd. between Trinity Ave. and Des Peres Ave.) boasts a variety of restaurants, shops, and live-music venues. It’s also home to several indie-rock clubs and the city’s alternative newspaper; as such, the area draws a younger, hipper crowd. Vintage Vinyl, one of St. Louis’s last remaining record stores, calls the Loop home. The historic Tivoli Theatre is here as well, as are a number of independent bars and coffee shops.

The Loop’s fashion boutiques, furniture stores, and gift shops clearly cater to the youthful demographic. The apartments north and south of Delmar are home to hundreds of Washington University students, and Loop businesses lure them in with trendy fashions and abundant drink specials. A number of restaurants are here too, including three Thai spots and the ever-popular Blueberry Hill.

Blueberry Hill has held down the corner of Westgate and Delmar for years. During that time, the restaurant/rock club has grown to encompass an entire block of storefronts. Owner Joe Edwards spearheaded the reimagining of the once-dangerous and rundown Delmar Loop. Today, Blueberry Hill is a tourist flagship, and everything around it hums with life.

Grand South Grand

The Grand South Grand (S. Grand Blvd. between Arsenal St. and Utah St.) shopping district may appear a little rough around the edges, but it’s a vibrant neighborhood that appeals to South City residents and tourists alike. The shops, restaurants, and bars reflect the diversity in this densely populated neighborhood. Visitors could easily spend an entire afternoon perusing the street’s many ethnic markets. The most popular and well-stocked market, Jay’s International Food Co., sits at its own pedestrian light in the middle of Grand South Grand’s eight-block stretch. Other landmarks include MoKaBe’s, a bustling coffee shop across the street from Tower Grove Park; Dunaway Books; and Floored on Grand, where interested parties can receive instruction in everything from tango to pole-dancing.

Old Webster

There are several worthwhile shopping destinations in the idyllic bedroom community of Webster Groves, and they can be found along Big Bend Boulevard and Lockwood Avenue. The two roads meet in a Y. East of here, along Big Bend, visitors will find an upscale fashion boutique as well as longtime resident Music Folk, a folk-instrument shop. West of here, along Lockwood and past a few residential blocks, you’ll encounter Old Webster’s historic main drag. This stretch is mainly food-oriented, but tucked in amid the casual restaurants are some eclectic gift boutiques, a bookstore, salons and spas, a music store specializing in classical recordings, and a popular high-end grocer.

Plaza Frontenac

With Missouri’s only Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue stores, Plaza Frontenac (1701 S. Lindbergh Blvd., 314/432-0604 HOUR S: Mon.-Fri. 10am-8pm, Sat. 10am-7pm, Sun. noon-5pm) is where the well-heeled find retail therapy. In addition to these anchor stores, the upscale mall, located in one of the most prosperous parts of the area, also is home to Juicy Couture, Tiffany & Co., lululemon athletica, and St. Louis’s own Sam Cavato, as well as Sur la Table and Williams-Sonoma for all manner of quality kitchenware. Local restaurants and chains provide welcome post-shopping sustenance, and a six-screen movie theater shows independent films.

Saint Louis Galleria

This centrally located shopping mall is one of the most popular in the area, thanks to its variety of shops and its accessibility via MetroBus and MetroLink. The Galleria (Brentwood Blvd. and Clayton Rd., 314/863-5500, Mon.-Sat. 10am-9pm, Sun. 11am-6pm) is anchored by Macy’s and Dillard’s. On its three levels, the Galleria boasts trendy favorites like Urban Outfitters, the Gap, and Anthropologie, plus a six-theater cinema, a food court, and a few stand-alone restaurants. Visitors tired from a long afternoon of shopping can relax and refuel at outposts of national chains such as California Pizza Kitchen and the Cheesecake Factory. The Galleria recently enacted strict weekend curfew laws—kids age 17 and under must leave the mall before 3pm unless they’re accompanied by an adult.

West County Center

West County Center (80 West County Center, Des Peres, 314/288-2020, Mon.-Sat. 10am-9pm, Sun. 11am-6pm) completed an extensive renovation in 2002. Today, it is one of the area’s premier shopping centers. West County Center is anchored by Nordstrom, a flagship Macy’s, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Among its 150 other stores are Brooks Brothers, Clarks, The Apple Store, H&M, and Sephora. In addition to having standard food-court fare, the mall caters to hungry shoppers with a California Pizza Kitchen and a see-and-be-seen spot called the Elephant Bar Restaurant.


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon St. Louis.

Summer Produce on the North Carolina Coast

A cutting board with toasted ciabatta and a sliced yellow tomato.
A ‘mater sammich is a perfect bite of summer. Photo © Jason Frye.

In North Carolina, we pay plenty of attention to our backyard gardens and farmers markets, to thirst quenchers both hard and soft, and, of course, to setting a table that’s more feast than meal. Here are some ideas for using summer produce in food and drink recipes.

BLFGT

What’s a BLFGT? Glad you asked. It takes a classic Southern treat—fried green tomatoes—and combines it with a BLT. I grow my own tomatoes, so I pick green ones right off the vine, but you can find plenty at farmers markets if you ask. Once I pick the tomato, I slice it 1/4 inches thick; dredge it in flour, a beaten egg, and cornmeal; then fry it in a cast-iron skillet. After I have a mess of tomatoes fried, we make BLTs with both fresh tomatoes and the fried green ones. And if you don’t want the whole sandwich, that’s fine—a fried green tomato on its own is a treat!

Tomato Sandwiches

You’ll also hear some people call them ‘mater sammiches. A ‘mater sammich can be a simple affair—white bread, a little smear of mayonnaise, vine-ripe tomatoes, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper—or you can get elaborate. My wife and I like to get elaborate.

First, we start with a ciabatta roll that we cut in half, oil, and grill, then we layer on the fresh tomatoes: red ones and yellow ones and those strange sweet Cherokee Purple tomatoes (and sometimes even a fried green tomato). Then we hit them with a little salt and pepper, top it with arugula from the farmers market, and chow down. It’s a perfect bite of summer.

Roadside sign advertising home grown tomatoes.
Every city, town, village, and hamlet has a farmers market or roadside stand where you can buy tomatoes. Photo © Jason Frye.

Farmers Markets

Sure, we grow some tomatoes, but the best produce you’ll find will be at the local farmers market. Every city, town, village, and hamlet has a farmers market or roadside stand where you can buy tomatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, onions, zucchini, squash, watermelons, and whatever else is growing. Go. Walk the aisles. Ask the farmers a question or two and pick up whatever makes your stomach growl. While you’re at it, ask them how they recommend preparing your purchase; I guarantee you’ll find some simple and some surprising answers.

You-Pick

Throughout the first part of summer, a number of farms and fields are open for you-pick strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, watermelons, and more. Grab a bucket (and some sunscreen) and head into the field to pick (and eat) as much as you can. You’ll find strawberries first, then blueberries (my favorite), then blackberries (my wife’s favorite). Picking them is almost as fun as eating them.

What to Do with All that Fruit

So you’ve picked a bucket of the berry of your choosing. What do you do with it? You can eat them fresh or with a little cream, you can go the cobbler or pie route, or you can make a refreshing beverage.

For dessert, try the easiest “cobbler” you’ll ever make. Combine a cup each of milk, sugar, and flour; pour it over a baking dish of berries; and bake at 350 degrees until the batter sets. Let it cool. Eat. Make it again tomorrow.

But the best use of all is for drinks. For starters, try berry lemonade. Put a cup of sugar, six cups of water, and the zest of one lemon in a saucepan and heat through until the sugar’s dissolved. Pour the mixture into a blender with a pint of fresh berries and the juice of six large lemons. Puree, cool, pour, enjoy.

Or make an adult beverage: a berry mojito. To make one, puree ½ cup of berries, then muddle five mint leaves with ½ tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of lime juice. Pour the berries, muddled mint and lime, and 1 1/2 ounces of white rum into a shaker and give it a good shake. Pour over ice, top with some club soda, and relax with an ideal summer cocktail.

Summer Festivals in Vancouver

A dragon boat filled with oarsmen wearing Viking helmets.
Participants in the 2011 Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival. Photo © Jer, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

In June the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival (False Creek, 604/688-2382, third weekend of June) takes place. Dragon Boat racing is a 2,000-year-old Chinese tradition held on or around the summer solstice. Originally held to ensure bountiful crops, these races are now held throughout the world. Vancouver’s festival attracts up to 2,000 competitors from as far away as Asia and Europe. In addition to the races, a blessing ceremony and cultural activities take place in and around the Plaza of Nations.

Throughout summer, Bard on the Beach (Vanier Park, 604/739-0559, mid-June to late Sept.) performs three favorite Shakespeare plays in two open-ended tents in Vanier Park, allowing a spectacular backdrop of English Bay, the city skyline, and the mountains beyond. Tickets are well priced at just $22-34 for 1pm and 3pm matinees and $45 for 7:30pm evening performances. They’re sold in advance through Ticketmaster and on the night of the performance at the door.

Watching amateur variety acts at the Kitsilano Showboat (Kitsilano Beach, 604/734-7332, late June-Aug.) on a warm summer evening has been a Vancouver tradition since 1935, when local authorities decided that free entertainment would keep local spirits up through the Depression. Today amateur singers, dancers, and musicians take to the Showboat stage Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights to entertain more than 100,000 people throughout the 10-week season.

Vancouver taps its feet to the beat of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival (throughout the city, 604/872-5200, last week of June), when more than 1,500 musicians from countries around the world gather to perform traditional and contemporary jazz at 40 venues around the city. The festival kicks off with a free street party in historical Gastown, as well as other venues including the historical Orpheum Theatre, David Lam Park, Granville Island Market, Metrotown, and the Commodore Ballroom. Get your tickets early; if you want to go to several events, buy a jazz pass from Ticketmaster.

Canada’s national day is Canada Day (Canada Place/Steveston, July 1). The main celebrations—music, dancing, and fireworks—are held at Canada Place, but if you head out to the Steveston Salmon Festival (604/718- 8094), you’ll come across a massive salmon barbecue, art show, food fair, children’s festival, drag racing, and more.

In addition to wonderful music, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival (Jericho Beach, 604/602-9798, middle weekend of July) features storytelling, dance performances, live theater, and a food fair. Summertime folk festivals draw crowds across North America, and although the Vancouver version isn’t the best known, it still attracts around 40 big-name artists performing everything from traditional to contemporary to bluegrass to the music of the First Nations. The beachside venue includes seven stages with the city skyline and mountains beyond as a backdrop. A day pass costs $60-90 with a three-day weekend pass offered at a worthwhile savings.

The Celebration of Light (English Bay, 604/733-7171, late July/early Aug.) draws multitudes of Vancouverites. It’s the world’s largest musical fireworks competition, filling the summer sky with color. Each year, three countries are invited to compete; each has a night to itself (the last Saturday in July, then the following Wednesday and Saturday), putting on a 30-minute display at 10pm; on the final night (first Saturday in August), the three competing countries come together for a grand finale. The fireworks are set off from a barge moored in English Bay, allowing vantage points from Stanley Park, Kitsilano, Jericho Beach, and as far away as West Vancouver. Music that accompanies the displays can be heard around the shoreline; if you’re away from the action, tune your radio to 101.1 FM for a simulcast.

The Vancouver Pride Parade (downtown, 604/687-0955, first Sun. in Aug.) culminates a week of gay pride celebration. It runs along Denman Street, ending at Sunset Beach, where there’s entertainment and partying. Festivities during the preceding week include a picnic in Stanley Park, Gay Day at Playland, a ball at Plaza of Nations, art exhibitions, nightly parties in local nightclubs, and following the parade, a harbor cruise.

Attracting more than 300,000 spectators, Abbotsford International Airshow (Abbotsford, 604/852-8511, second weekend of Aug.), one of North America’s largest airshows (and voted world’s best in the 1990s), is held at Vancouver’s “other” airport, 70 kilometers (43 miles) east of downtown in Abbotsford. The highlight is a flyby of Canada’s famous Snowbirds, but there’s a full program of stunt and technical flying and an on-ground exhibition of military and civilian planes from all eras of aviation. Tickets are $30 per adult, $12 per child, or $100 per vehicle, and camping is $25 per site.

The country comes to the city for two weeks at the end of August for the Pacific National Exhibition (Hastings Park, 604/253-2311, late Aug.), one of Canada’s largest agricultural exhibitions. What began as a simple fair in 1910 has grown into a massive event, with live entertainment, multiple attractions, and special events at Playland. One of many highlights is the twice-daily RCMP musical ride, a precision drill performed by Canada’s famous Mounties. Each day of the fair ends with Fire in the Night, a colorful extravaganza of lasers, dancers, and fireworks. The Pacific National Exhibition Grounds are 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) east of downtown along Hastings Street East where Highway 1 crosses Burrard Inlet. Admission to the grounds is $15.

Wander down to the wharves of Granville Island on the last weekend of August and you’ll think you’ve stepped back in nautical time. Wooden boat owners from along the Pacific Coast gather at the island for the Wooden Boat Festival (Granville Island, 604/519- 7400, last weekend of Aug.) and allow enthusiasts to view their pride and joys during this casual gathering of seafaring folk. Children aren’t forgotten: knot-tying demonstrations, boat building, and the singing of salty sea tunes will keep the younger generation happy.


Excerpted from the Sixth Edition of Moon Vancouver & Victoria.

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