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The sunset as seen from The Westgate Hotel in downtown San Diego (photo by Dennis Lennox).

San Diego probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of California.

That’s understandable given the prominence of Los Angeles and San Francisco in culture and media. Yet, San Diego holds its own as a destination.

Its distance — about 120 miles —from L.A. is far enough to give San Diego its own identity. And despite being California’s second-largest city (population 1.3 million, according to the last U.S. Census), San Diego feels much smaller.

This made it perfect for a ‘citycation’ aimed at discovering “America’s finest city,” as San Diego bills itself.


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Marquette is located along the coast of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (photo by Dennis Lennox).

By Dennis Lennox

MARQUETTE — Locals are scratching their heads at the sudden publicity this city along the Lake Superior coast in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is receiving, but they shouldn’t be surprised.

Lately it’s been the Travel Channel, which has been in town twice in as many weeks for different programs, including the latest Andrew Zimmern “Bizarre Foods” spin-off.

While Marquette is relatively unknown nationally, it’s been a popular destination not just for downstate Michiganders — or “trolls” in the parlance of Yoopers, as inhabitants of the Upper Peninsula are known — but also for in-the-know visitors from Chicago and Minneapolis–St. …


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Mission Point Resort (courtesy photo).

By Dennis Lennox

Anyone who grew up in Michigan knows Mackinac Island to be a special place.

Located in the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet and the impressive Mackinac Bridge has connected the state’s Upper and Lower peninsulas since 1957, the island has been on the map since the days of empire, when French explorers, traders and missionaries first charted these waters.

The British soon followed, though their settlement of Mackinac Island may have never happened had the threat of an American attack against the largely indefensible old French fort on the mainland during the second half of the American Revolution not forced the construction of Fort Mackinac atop the island’s limestone bluffs. …


By Dennis Lennox

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New and old blends together in the city-state of Singapore (photo by Dennis Lennox).

Only in Singapore. That was the headline of a short article I wrote a month ago, when I was getting ready to spend a week in the Asian city-state.

After the piece was published I received several messages from friends and followers. Some said they were adding Singapore to their list of places to visit. A few talked about Singapore’s world-class airline, its famed street food, the Singapore sling cocktail of Raffles Hotel fame and the city-state’s reputation for law and order. There were also just as many questions. The common refrain — “Singapore, that’s by [insert famous Asian city here], right?” …


By Dennis Lennox

Hong Kong is partly a global financial capital and partly a historical curiosity — being an ex-British colony that’s now part of China, but is in many ways autonomous from Beijing. Tokyo is known for making hallmarks of Americana like denim jeans and sneakers even better. Singapore, on the other hand, is a little less defined in popular imagination.

Sure, it has a world-class airline and one of the best food scenes, but the city-state in Southeast Asia has in just 50 years since its independence become a global leader in all things architecture, design and urban planning. …


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Toronto’s ever-changing cityscape (photo by Dennis Lennox).

By Dennis Lennox

Detroit was pretty undesirable when I was coming of age in the early 2000s. It was basically a no-go area, at least outside of a professional sporting event.

As a result, I never had the big city experiences—shopping in flagship downtown department stores, riding a subway, gazing up at massive skyscrapers—that many urban dwellers take for granted until I started going to Toronto for hockey during my high school and college years.

Since then I’ve watched as Toronto has exploded.

And not just downtown, but in every direction. This becomes evident during the last 45 or so minutes of the four-hour drive from Detroit, when Highway 401 becomes abutted by the bland architecture of corporate office parks. …


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Tallinn, Estonia (photo by Dennis Lennox).

By Dennis Lennox

For the last week or two it seems like just about everyone published their must-visit places of 2016.

While some of the recommendations are quite good, others have been nothing more than unreported listicles aimed at getting you to click the computer mouse or tap the screen.

My recommendations are different. They’re based on my own experiences flying 125,000-plus miles and spending some 200 nights on the road last year alone.

Here are the top three places to go in 2016:


By Dennis Lennox

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Cape St. Vincent, the end of the world prior to Christopher Columbus discovering the Americas in 1492, in the Algarve region of Portugal (Photo by Dennis Lennox.)

As I walked from the grounds of my hotel on the outskirts of the village of Moncarapacho to an ancient Roman road that still has its original paving stones I couldn’t help but wonder why I haven’t come to the Algarve sooner.

The Algarve, Portugal’s southernmost region, is largely undiscovered by Americans, who account for just 32,000 of the more than 2.4 million yearly foreign visitors, according to Statistics Portugal.

Most of those who visit are British and seldom leave one of the 130 beaches, which means they miss out on the rich history, vibrant culture, incredible food and underappreciated wine that awaits those who leave the very touristy coastal resorts. …


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The view of the mighty Columbia River from atop the Astoria Column (Photo by Dennis Lennox).

By Dennis Lennox

Almost two hundred and ten years to the day I stood near where the American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark first glimpsed the Pacific Ocean in November of 1805.

I came to see Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery ended their epic outbound journey.

Lewis and Clark reached this point in northwest Oregon, near present-day Astoria, after exploring — up and down unchartered rivers, across prairies and over the Rocky Mountains — the lands acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.

Their great exploration would be fundamental to the American experience.

For this was a time when the sons of the Founding Fathers and other revolutionaries were coming of age and shaping the very American identity that would transform the United States from a still new country to a fledgling world power within a century of Lewis and Clark. …


By Dennis Lennox

Exploring the old churches scattered across small villages and hamlets in the 100-square-mile Romney Marsh in Kent, a history-rich county in southeastern England, was alluring enough to bring me across the pond.

Admittedly, church touring seems like an uncommon vacation, but it is a popular English pastime that seems to be right up there with gardening, at least judging by the scores of guidebooks written for those who chase steeples, stained glass windows and architectural details dating back more than a thousand years to the Normans and Saxons.

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St. Thomas à Becket Church in Fairfield (photo by Dennis Lennox).

Of Romney Marsh’s 14 churches — distinct even in a country with thousands of notable old churches — St. Thomas à Becket Church in Fairfield stands out, not least because getting there is an adventure in and of itself. …

About

Dennis Lennox

Dennis Lennox writes about his travels.

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