Hohoho! Merry Christmas!

May the gifts of peace and joy be yours at Christmas time and happiness dwell around you wherever you go!


Thanksgiving Day Tradition

Thanksgiving Day is a communal celebration marked as a sense of gratitude people feel for all the good things in life. This is done by offering prayers, gifting your near and dear ones. The fourth Thursday in the month of November is marked for the yearly celebration. The tradition of Thanksgiving continues till date in the form of
Family Reunion and FeastingFamily feast is an important tradition during Thanksgiving. The entire family sits at the table during dinner and offer prayer to the Lord Almighty for his continuous grace. It is also a time for relatives living in different places to come together and celebrate.
Tradition of TurkeyThe traditional stuffed turkey adorns every dinner table during the feast. Pumpkin pie, Cranberry sauce, Corns are some of the dishes cooked everywhere to mark the day. Though historians don't have an evidence to prove that turkey was eaten during the first Thanksgiving dinner, but the thanksgiving celebration will be incomplete without it.
ParadesThe traditional Thanksgiving parade probably started with President Lincoln proclaiming it an official day. The full- dress parade is a way to display the country's military strength and discipline. The main aim of such parades is to lift the spirits of the spectators, provide them with wholesome entertainment. In the present day, parades are accompanied with musical shows and celebrities.
Football GamesWatching NFL football during Thanksgiving is a popular tradition. The traditional game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers continues. One of the most memorable games having been played on this day.
Read more: Thanksgiving Day




Friends of Advising

On November 2-3 in Kyiv the coordinator of the Window on America Center Olesia Goncharuk took part in the training “Friends of Advising”, where was held U.S. Education Fair, discussed opportunities for studying in the US, student visas and many other interesting information for those who want to study in the U.S.
Ambassador of the United States of America John F. Tefft and Mrs. Mariella C. Tefft with Coordinators of the Window on America Centers at a reception in honor of the U.S. Education Fair


Happy Halloween!

Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of "All Hallows' Evening"), also known as All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints). According to many scholars, it was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain. Others maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has Christian roots.
Typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (also known as "guising"), attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.
Read more: Halloween


Meeting with Peace Corps volunteer

Window on America Center invites everyone to the meeting with a Peace Corps Volunteer Matt Turner on Tuesday October 30 at 16:30. Topic of the meeting "Peace Corps Activities", language of the meeting - English.


Перша в Україні виставка "Освіта у США"

14:00 - Початок роботи виставки
14:30 - Урочисте відкриття та вітальне слово від Посольства США в Україні

18:00 - Закриття роботи виставки

15:00-16:00 «Студентські візи в США». Лекцію проводить представник Консульського відділу Посольства США в Україні.

16:00-17:00 «Якщо ви бажаєте навчатися в США - Процес подачі документів та фінансування вашої освіти». Лекцію проводить представник Київського консультативного центру мережі EducationUSA.
Посольство США в Україні
Американські Ради з міжнародної освіти: ACTR/ACCELS
Програма імені Фулбрайта в Україні
Рада міжнародних наукових досліджень та обмінів (IREX)
Освітній проект “Всесвітні студії” (WorldWideStudies)
ETS Global (тести TOEFL, GRE, TOEIC тощо)
Florida Institute of Technology
Foothill and De Anza Colleges
Green River Community College
Hawai'i Pacific University
John Cabot University
Northern Virginia Community College
Pace University
Portland Community College
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Savannah College of Art and Design
Stephen F. Austin State University
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
University of Kentucky
University of Northern Iowa
West Virginia University
На виставці відвідувачі матимуть унікальну нагоду поспілкуватися з представниками американських вищих навчальних закладів щодо можливостей отримання та переваг американської освіти, стипендій та ґрантів для навчання та проведення досліджень.
За подальшою інформацією звертайтеся до Консультативного центру мережі EducationUSA в Києві


I Want to be Successful!

Програма "I Want to be Successful!" пропонує взяти участь у безкоштовному тренінг-курсі активним, впевненим у собі та ініціативним людям. Даний тренінг-курс має на меті навчити учасників успішної роботи з аудиторією. Проходження програми передбачає 2 етапи: теоретична та практична частини. Заняття розпочинаються 11 вересня.
Для участі у даній програмі заповніть будь-ласка реєстраційну форму, подану нижче. Якщо Ви підходите для участі у цій програмі, з Вами зв'яжуться, щоб запросити на заняття і дадуть подальшу детальну інформацію.
Вимоги до учасників:
- вік 18-25 років;
- знання англійської мови (upper intermediate, advanced);
- бажання отримати нові знання та навички у проведенні виступів перед аудиторією;
- лідерський потенціал;
- впевненість у собі.
Місце проведення: Тернопільська обласна універсальна наукова бібліотека, інформаційно-ресурсний центр "Вікно в Америку", бульвар Шевченка 15.


Happy Independence Day, America!

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people.The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country. We invite you to read a transcription of the complete text of the Declaration.



Kentucky is obsessed with horses—but it’s more than the famous Kentucky Derby. Experience a bit of the culture at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, with the world’s largest equestrian museum and live shows. Appreciate the state’s natural beauty at the 52 state parks and historic sites. Music lovers can visit the International Bluegrass Music Museum, and bourbon lovers can follow the bourbon trail—a tour of famous distilleries like Wild Turkey and Maker’s Mark.
 Trip Ideas in Kentucky
Browse Appalachian arts and crafts
In central Kentucky, where the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains meet rolling bluegrass horse farms, lies bucolic Berea, an idyllic Appalachian arts and crafts centre. Hundreds of potters, painters, furniture makers, weavers and other artisans whose works are coveted throughout the country for their high quality are among this quiet town’s population of 10,000. Perfect for strolling, Berea’s quaint town square includes more than 50 artists’ galleries, studios and crafts shops selling everything from hand-stitched quilts and cornhusk flowers to folk-art paintings, woodcarvings and hand-blown glass.
Across the street, Berea College is a tree-shaded, 140-acre campus that originated when wealthy landowner Cassius M. Clay (yes, boxer Muhammad Ali is a namesake) gave this land to the Rev. John Fee in 1853. Along with abolitionist missionaries, Fee formed a village, church and school dedicated to educating people of all races.
From its origins as a one-room schoolhouse in 1855, Berea College later became the South’s first interracial and coeducational institution of higher education. Today, private, non-denominational and consistently rated among America’s leading liberal arts colleges, Berea admits only low-income students with high academic abilities and provides them with full scholarships. Since 1893, the Berea College Student Crafts programme has been teaching traditional handicrafts, which are sold through the Log House Craft Gallery (and online) to support the tuition-free college.
Students are required to offset their room and board by working part-time for the college. Those who don’t opt for the craft programme can choose to work at the Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant (named after pioneer Daniel Boone), a gracious 1909 landmark that offers comfortable rooms, the hearty Kentucky classics spoonbread and chess pie, and updated dishes like filet mignon with blue cheese grits (coarsely ground corn).
Outside of town, with easy interstate access, the 20,000-square-foot Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea sells Kentucky-made crafts, including jewellery, pottery, baskets, dulcimers and furniture. To take a self-guided driving tour via the back roads to artists’ studios, pick up the Kentucky Artisan Heritage Trails brochure. Two of particular interest are Churchill Weavers, founded in 1922 and renowned for richly textured handwoven textiles, and Tater Knob Pottery and Farm, where hand-thrown chunks of clay are spun into coffee mugs, casserole dishes, bowls and birdbaths.


Teacher Development Workshop for Novice Teachers

RELO office is seeking applications from the novice teachers of English who would like to participate at the Teacher Development Workshop “FUNDAMENTALS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING METHODOLOGY” to be held in Kyiv on July 8-12, 2012. 
This five-day workshop will introduce novice English language teachers to methodologies and approaches that may help them as they begin their careers.

This interactive training is for novice teachers only, teachers in their first or second year of teaching or in their last year of university.

The trainer and the participants will look at what makes effective language instruction from both the teacher’s and the student’s perspective. The program will help explore the building blocks of task-based learning, lesson-planning, teaching reading and writing strategies. Effective error correction and classroom management will be addressed throughout the workshop as it applies to each of the topics covered.  Participants will devise a plan of how they intend to apply their learning to their next teaching context and will be asked to participate in round table discussions and reflect on studied material.


JENNIFER HERRIN holds an M.A., Education-TESOL from the University of New Mexico and a B.B.A., Marketing from the University of Texas. Ms. Herrin has taught English and conducted teacher development in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia, and the US. She served as an English Teaching Fellow in Panama (1996-97), a Fulbright Lecturer in Nicaragua (2001-02), the Senior English Language Fellow in Ukraine (2006-07),and the Senior English Language Fellow in Argentina (2011). She has also conducted projects in the Republic of Georgia, Argentina, and Ukraine through U.S. Department of State Specialist Programs. In the U.S., she was an ESL instructor at Central New Mexico Community College for 7 years.  This fall she will be teaching at the English Language Institute at the University of California at San Diego. She is especially interested in exploring task-based techniques and interactive methodologies for learning language.

CAROL HADDAWAY is serving as the Senior English Language Fellow (ELF) in Kyiv, Ukraine for the academic year 2011-12 with the English Teaching Resource Center at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Prior to this assignment she served as a Senior ELF in Damascus, Syria where she conducted teacher training for the English Language Supervisors, Ministry of Education and at the American Language Center. Carol has designed and taught TESOL Methodology courses face to face and online in the E-Teacher Scholarship Program at UMBC and was a full time Instructional Specialist at Anne Arundel Community College. She also designed and taught ESP for Medical and Science Professionals at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She has a Master’s degree in Instructional System Design/ESOL Bilingual from UMBC and a MSc degree in Applied Behavioral Sciences from JHU.

 OTHER DETAILS    Dates: July 8-12, 2012
  Time:   9:30 -16:30
  Number of participants: 30
                                     Venue:   INTERNEWS Ukraine
                                                    Vul. Ryzhs’ka 15, Kyiv           
                                  Language of instruction: English                            
If you are selected, you will be provided with 5 days of training.  The program is open for novice teachers from Ukraine. Transportation costs and accommodation expenses in Kyiv will not be reimbursed. More details will be provided in your acceptance letter. The workshop ends at 15:15 on July 12.


Successful applicants will be teachers in their first or second year of teaching or in their last year of pedagogical university and will have the following skills and competencies:
·         a good command of English
·         ability and willingness to work hard as part of a team with other participants
·         active listening and  communicative skills

Participants will be accepted on a first come first serve basis. Priority will be given to teachers working at public schools and universities.


Interested candidates should send the attached Application Form to    by July 5, 2012.

Only successful applicants will be informed about the results of selection via e-mail by July 6, 2012 
 For application form please contact us:


Iowa is the only state bordered by two navigable rivers (the Missouri River and the Mississippi River) and two National Scenic Byways (the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway and the Great River Road). In between, it is packed with quirky and renowned destinations, including the birthplace of and library for U.S. President Herbert Hoover, the Historic Park Inn Hotel (the last remaining hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) and the world’s largest statue of a bull.
Trip Idea in Iowa
Iowa State Fair
Come to a party with a hog-calling contest, a cow made of butter, and more

Immortalised by the 1931 Phil Stong novel State Fair that inspired Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway musical and three motion pictures, the Iowa State Fair is a true American classic. For 11 days in August, more than a million people enjoy all the signatures of the modern state fair: stomach-churning rides on the midway (amusement park), sugar-dusted funnel cakes and deep-fried Oreos, and big-name talent like country music artist Garth Brooks and American singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow.
But the Iowa State Fair, which started in 1854 as a way to bring far-flung country folks together to promote the latest methods of agriculture and raising livestock, has managed to stay close to its rural roots. It is one of the world’s largest livestock exhibitions—after all, it was Iowa that invented 4-H, the educational organisation for rural youth.
There’s still hog- (and husband-) calling, cow-chip throwing, the Super Bull contest and, of course, the Butter Cow, sculpted from 550 pounds of butter (recycled and reused for three or four years). For 15,000 people, the fair is the place to strut their stuff, competing in everything from cattle to needlepoint (embroidery done on canvas) to vegetables. (There are nearly 900 food categories alone.) The competition includes the freakish—in 1992, a jumbo squash weighed in at 412 pounds—and the delicious: the pie department is an old-time favourite, with butterscotch, strawberry, pumpkin, apple and countless other subdivisions. A blue ribbon is the ultimate prize—and a whopping 30,000 of them are awarded every year.
Just about everyone comes to fatten up on foods you can find only once a year—more than 20 kinds served on sticks. The trend started with the 1950s corn dog, a dough-dipped deep-fried hot dog on a stick, and has since spread to pork chops (Iowa has 16 million hogs, that’s five for every human denizen), dill pickles, German sausages, hot bologna—even chocolate cheesecake and deep-fried Twinkies. Local favourites include caveman-size turkey drumsticks, Carl’s two-handful sandwiches called Gizmos, and fresh strawberry and peach ice cream from Bauder Pharmacy, an establishment that has been making kids smile since 1923.



Even the people who live in Illinois don't always agree on just one thing that makes the state so special. You can explore the world-class attractions and exciting nightlife of Chicago, or experience the presidential history of Springfield, home to more Abraham Lincoln landmarks than anywhere else in the country. Illinois also has a well-preserved stretch of Route 66, where classic diners and quirky roadside attractions still dot the landscape. Wherever you go, you’ll be greeted with Midwestern hospitality.
 Trip Idea in Illinois
Millennium Park
Take in some spectacular contemporary art—without going inside
Grant Park, otherwise known as Chicago’s front lawn, has been one of America’s greatest civic spaces for over a century, and it’s still a work in progress. Since its establishment in 1844, it’s been enhanced by additions such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the beloved Buckingham Fountain. More recently, it’s been further transformed with the addition of the Museum Campus and Millennium Park, a sweeping redevelopment of a railway yard at the north end.
Spearheaded by Mayor Richard M. Daley, the hugely ambitious 24-acre Millennium Park was plagued by delays and costly over-expenditure, but what a beauty it turned out to be. An estimated 300,000 people turned up for the inaugural festivities in 2004, and the park has remained wildly popular since.
Its centrepiece is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a stunning band shell named in memory of the philanthropist and Hyatt Hotels founder who, with his wife, Cindy, established architecture’s most prestigious prize in 1979. Honours for the pavilion design went to 1989 Pritzker Prize winner Frank Gehry, and its exterior bears his signature billowing sheets of stainless steel. A steel trellis, which holds a state-of-the-art speaker system, extends over 4,000 fixed seats and the Great Lawn (with space for 7,000), distributing indoor-quality sound to the farthest reaches of the audience. The resident Grant Park Orchestra gives free summer time concerts, just as it has done in the park since the 1930s, and the adjacent Harris Theater provides indoor music and dance programmes.
Two of Millennium Park’s top attractions are major additions to Chicago’s collection of public art. Anish Kapoor’s 110-ton 33-by-66-foot ‛Cloud Gate’ dominates AT&T Plaza, offering ‘house of mirror’ reflections of sky, skyline and spectators in its highly polished steel surface. (Chicagoans call it by the more tangibly descriptive nickname ‘The Bean’.) South of the plaza is the Crown Fountain by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, which features two 50-foot glass towers on either side of a very shallow reflecting pool. LED screens behind the glass blocks display faces of Chicago citizens from a broad social spectrum; in an ingenious twist on the traditional use of gargoyles in fountains, spouts in the glass walls convey the illusion of water issuing from the images’ mouths.
At the northwest corner of the park is the Millennium Monument, a replica of the semi-circular colonnade, or peristyle, that sat on this same spot from 1917 to 1953. At the opposite corner is the Lurie Garden, a lush urban retreat with shrubs, grasses, flowering plants, a canal and walkways. Designed by Kathryn Gustafson, the garden is meant to reflect the city’s natural and cultural history, and the 15-foot ‘shoulder’ hedge evokes Carl Sandburg’s famous description of Chicago as the ‘City of Big Shoulders’.



Unforgettable Hawai`i

One could say Hawai'i is the most exotic destination in the United States, with a unique cultural and geographic environment that exists nowhere else on Earth. Each island has its own cultural identity and gives the visitor a different experience, whether you want to be enchanted by Kaua‘i’s lush, natural beauty, learn to surf at Waikīkī Beach on O‘ahu, explore an artist community in the town of Pā‘ia on Maui or hike to a secluded waterfall on Hawai‘i’s Big Island.
 Trip Idea in Hawai'i
Waikiki Beach
Step from a city street onto a crescent beach
It used to be a swamp—its name, which means ‘spouting water’ comes from the springs that fed the taro patches and fishponds—but Waikiki also had a two-mile crescent of sand, plenty of sunshine and perfect waves rolling into shore. So in the early days, after Honolulu became the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1845, the royalty wisely chose to build their beach homes on Waikiki.
At the turn of the next century, Moana Hotel was the first hotel to be built on Waikiki Beach—it was considered cutting-edge because not only did each room have a private bathroom, but the hotel also had a telephone, an unheard-of luxury at the time. In 1906, the Hawaii Board of Health called Waikiki “dangerous and unsanitary” because of its swarms of mosquitoes, and ordered that the swamp be drained. By the early 1920s, the Ala Wai Canal had been built, the former swamplands drained and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel was constructed on the site of a former royal beach house. The ‘Pink Palace of the Pacific’ is an institution beloved since it opened in 1927, and today it remains true to its time, though carefully updated.
Shortly after becoming the newest of the 50 U.S. states in 1959, when jets began bringing visitors to the island, builders usurped the rest of Waikiki Beach, resulting in today’s side-by-side cornucopia of tropical resort hotels. In fact, Waikiki even ran out of sand and for a couple of decades had to import it from Molokai, across the channel, to spread over the world-famous beach. It worked, and Waikiki still ranks as one of the world’s best urban beaches.
Today the sumptuous, intimate beachside Halekulani (‘House Befitting Heaven’) is the premier hotel on Oahu, and one of the best in the U.S., a five-acre oasis of elegance that first opened in 1917. For the most romantic (and expensive) dining in town, visit its La Mer restaurant, whose superb preparation of fresh fish and island ingredients reinterprets the tenets of classic French cuisine. Downstairs, the hotel’s less formal oceanfront Orchids dining room has a famous Sunday brunch, offering more than 200 dishes served buffet style, and draws as many Hawaiian families as tourists.



From its energetic and lively cities to the relaxing coastline and breathtaking mountain scenery, Georgia boasts rich and unique experiences that are unparalleled—especially its world-class Southern hospitality. The wide diversity of holiday destinations, from the mountains to the coast, from its southern rivers to historic heartland to metro Atlanta, guarantees every visitor an unforgettable experience.
Trip Idea in Georgia
 The Georgia Aquarium and Downtown Atlanta
Get face-to-face with beluga whales
 Rarely has the opening of an aquarium elicited such excitement and intrigue as the new one in Atlanta did in 2006. The $250 million (£162 million) gift of Bernard Marcus to the city where his company, Home Depot, began, it is the world’s largest aquarium. Located in downtown Atlanta, traditionally the domain of office workers, not tourists, it is a nine-acre state-of-the-art facility with a staggering eight million gallons of both fresh and salt water that contains more than 100,000 different animals, representing over 500 of the planet’s marine species.
The aquarium is divided into several marine-life areas. One of the most popular, perhaps owing to its appearance in sultry Georgia, is the Cold Water Quest, a habitat for creatures that thrive in the world’s icier seas. Here, you’ll see beluga whales, California sea lions, African black-footed penguins, a giant Pacific octopus and Japanese spider crabs. The Ocean Voyager is another crowd pleaser, where stingrays, whale sharks (the largest species of fish in the world) and groupers swim gracefully through a 100-foot-long saltwater tunnel.
Next to the aquarium is the brand-new World of Coca-Cola Pavilion, an exuberant tribute to the world’s most popular soft drink. You can then wander around the 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park, the focal point for the 1996 Summer Olympics, and walk to the CNN Center (the Cable News Network’s studio headquarters), where a behind-the-scenes tour is a uniquely Atlanta experience.
If all this walking and gawking has you feeling hungry, make the short drive to the world’s largest drive-in, the Varsity, open for business since 1928. There’s seating for 800 people, who consume some two miles of hot dogs and 300 gallons of chili every day. Servers traditionally bark “What’ll ya have?” to customers, who respond with orders for cheeseburgers (topped with pimento cheese), barbecue pork sandwiches, crisp onion rings and hulking chili cheese dogs—with a gigantic cup full of Coca-Cola, the local drink of choice.
Read more:


Sunny Florida

Florida is flip-flops at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Florida is Disney, SeaWorld and Universal. Florida is swaying palms and creeping jasmine, live oak and bamboo. Florida is ‘gators’, panthers and gentle manatees. Florida is 825 miles of beaches. Florida is the fishing capital of the world and a diver’s delight. Florida is Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, and the first space explorers. Florida is fresh oranges and grapefruit outside your door. Florida is baseball, motor racing and golf. Florida is Art Basel and art deco. Florida is sunrise on the Atlantic and sunset on the Gulf of Mexico.
Trip Idea in Florida:
South Beach
Admire art deco architecture and do some world-class people-watching
Some places and times just go together, and South Beach seems right now to be one of those places, embodying the cultural mix of fashion, celebrity, design, hip beach culture and wealth that defines American fabulousness. The city's location as a kind of centre point between Europe, New York, L.A. and South America has no doubt contributed to its current ascendancy, but credit must also go to Miami’s architectural forefathers, who between the late '20s and early '40s built a backdrop as beautiful as today's bronzed and buffed denizens.
South Beach’s Architectural District—aka the art deco district—crowds into a mere one square mile some 800 pastel-coloured buildings in the art deco, streamline moderne and Mediterranean Revival styles. Altogether, it is the largest concentration of 1920s, ’30s and ’40s resort architecture in the U.S. Tours are available from the Miami Design Preservation League, but there’s every chance you’ll get distracted from the architecture—all painted in the district’s trademark teals, lavenders, pinks and peaches—by the alarmingly good-looking parade of people on and off the beach. On Ocean Drive, the 24-hour News Café was one of the fixtures of the South Beach renaissance and is still one of the best people-watching spots in town. Five blocks away, News Café spinoff Café Cardozo (in Gloria Estefan’s Cardozo Hotel) lets you step out of the path of the year-round tourist crush while still enjoying people watching. On Lincoln Road, the half-retro, half-chic Nexxt Café serves models and film stars from a huge menu. At night, head to Crobar for dancing and gawking, the Delano Hotel’s Rose Bar for cocktails or the Shore Club’s SkyBar, where all the world’s a stage.


Connecticut charm

A short drive from New York or Boston, Connecticut offers a quiet, charming getaway with classic New England style. Relax at a cosy bed and breakfast set among lush foliage and rolling hills, tour historic homes or drive along the coast. 
Farms and vineyards provide a welcome break from city life, not to mention great food and wine. But in Connecticut, the most enjoyable thing to do may be nothing at all.
Trip Idea in Connecticut:
The Mark Twain House and Museum
Visit the fascinating homes of two famous American writers
Literary fans come from around the world to visit the home of beloved author Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, a pen name he derived from the term used by Mississippi River pilots to indicate a water depth of two fathoms. “To us,” Twain said, “our house…had a heart, and a soul, and eyes to see us with…It was of us, and we were in its confidence, and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benediction.”
Although more commonly associated with his home town of Hannibal, Missouri, Twain always held this home in Hartford’s Nook Farm section in special regard. The custom-designed High Victorian mansion was commissioned from well-known New York architect Edward Tuckerman Potter. Twain lived here with his family from 1874 to 1891, during which he penned some of his most acclaimed works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The beautifully restored 19-room mansion features decorative work by Louis Comfort Tiffany and nearly 10,000 Victorian-era objects. Guided tours point out personal items, including the three-ton Paige typesetter, an ill-fated invention in which Twain invested, leading to his bankruptcy. A striking contemporary museum stands adjacent to the house, further detailing the life and times of this master storyteller—a key feature is a small theatre showing a 22-minute Ken Burns film biography.
Virtually across the street, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center celebrates the legacy of the author of the greatest antislavery novel of all time, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, considered to be the first international best seller. This compound is anchored by the brick Gothic Victorian ‘cottage’ (though substantial, it is not nearly as grand as neighbour Twain’s) where the author resided from 1873 until she died in 1896. Guided tours provide insights into Stowe’s abolitionist politics and then-revolutionary social views.


Wild Colorado

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s hard to question all that makes Colorado’s landscape so magnificent. The high plains of the east. The adventurous canyons of the west. And the majestic Rocky Mountains right in between.
Colorado has a knack for blending outdoor adventure with urban sophistication. Where else can you hike up a 14,000-foot mountain in the morning, and then catch a Broadway-style play later that evening? 

Trip Idea in Colorado:
Great Sand Dunes
Go sandboarding down giant sand dunes
The Rocky Mountain State is famous for its alpine peaks, tumbling rivers, forested hillsides and snowy winter vistas. What you don’t expect to find here, a thousand miles from the ocean, are sand dunes. But in the south-central part of the state, there they are, up to 750 feet high, the tallest in North America. The shifting light paints them in different hues: gold, pink, tan, even blue.

Over 30 square miles of dunes have been shaped by the prevailing westerly winds streaming through the San Luis Valley. The 13,000-foot-high Sangre de Cristo Mountains act like a giant baseball catcher’s glove, collecting sand deposited by creeks flowing out of the San Juan Mountains over the millennia. The recently established Great Sand Dunes National Preserve includes some of the highest peaks in the Rockies, alpine lakes, forests, wetlands and tundra, in addition to the dazzling dunes.
In other desert parks in the West you have to worry about leaving tracks, but not here: the wind will erase them within a day, sometimes within hours. There aren’t any trails on the dunes themselves, so you’re free to play Lawrence of Arabia for an afternoon or longer. It’s not always that easy hiking—but the views from the tops of the highest dunes are worth it. (Stick to the ridges for easier going.) Foot and horse trails in the mountainous preserve climb to Medano Lake at 11,500 feet, as well as 11,380-foot Music Pass, with great views of Music Mountain (13,355 feet) and Tijeras Peak (13,604 feet). Keep hiking northwest from the pass to reach Upper and Lower Sand Creek Lakes in a magnificent alpine setting.
Of course, this is Colorado, so it was only a matter of time before someone tried to ski the dunes. Sandboarding, as this Sahara-meets-Steamboat pastime is called, is usually done on old snowboards and ‘saucers’ on these lengthy slopes. It’s an odd sight to see cars pull into the parking lot here with skis attached to the roof.


Sunny beaches, towering redwoods, snowy peaks, desert oases...California

The moment you arrive in the Golden State, you may suspect you’ve been cast as the ingenue in a road-trip movie. Everything seems staged for a script riddled with exclamation points: no way are they going to surf those skyscraper-sized waves at Mavericks! That can’t be the Terminator in the governor’s mansion – in his second term! Brrrrrrr...don’t all those naked people ever get cold?!
Even if you’ve seen it on TV, California still comes as a shock to the system. The Venice Beach's skateboarders, San Francisco's same-sex-wedding planners, Santa Cruz's wild-mushroom hunters, Rodeo Dr-pillaging trophy wives and cheerful San Diego's doomsday cult members aren’t on different channels. They live here.

Unless you want to stir up old NorCal/SoCal rivalries dating from the 19th century – a diverting local pastime when played with good sports – don’t get Californians started about water. NorCal scolds SoCal for watering its lawns and filling its pools with water piped in from the Sierras, while SoCal points out that NorCal shouldn’t talk with its mouth full of organic veggies grown in the Sierras-irrigated Central Valley.
You might not get a word in edgewise when it comes to technology or the environment – but listen up, because those wild Californian ideas might become the next big thing. California’s technological innovations need no introduction – perhaps you’ve heard of PCs, iPods, Google and the internet?
Once you get the hang of California’s improvised lifestyle, you’ll notice that plot devices aren’t necessary to get Californians to act out. On the contrary, movies can’t begin to capture how Californians behave when there are no cameras on. The Sierra Nevada Gold Rush, San Francisco’s Summer of Love, the LA punk scene, Silicon Valley high-tech booms: no screenwriter could make this stuff up, no matter how talented. Like any Hollywood blockbuster based on a great work of fiction, movies about California can’t compare to the original. But don’t just sit back and enjoy the show – California is the place to take part and make a scene. Other places on the planet have their wow factor, but there’s only one region that so consistently merits the delighted disbelief of a long, drawn-out ‘Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuude!’


Weekend Getaways in Arkansas

Arkansas is a natural destination for romantic getaways, weekend escapes, or week-long vacations. The Natural State boasts six national parks, 2 million acres of national forests, scenic byways, and 52 state parks which preserve and interpret Arkansas heritage and the natural resources of this diverse state. For your next vacation, plan an Arkansas getaway.
Family float trips, white water rafting and world-class fishing are just a few of the outdoor adventures available in Arkansas. The Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock spotlights America's 42nd president. Step aboard the USS Razorback, the first submarine to retire in the US. Arkansas's larger cities offer cosmopolitan amenities such as symphonies, theaters and fine dining. There's so much to do on your weekend getaways in Arkansas!
Shop Versace in Northwest Arkansas. Or, escape the pressures of modern day living at our spas, where you can enjoy massages and bathe in natural spring water. Your Arkansas getaway can be anything you want it to be.
Arkansas is also home to the world's only public diamond mine, where over 75,000 diamonds have been found...and kept! Because there is so much to see and do in Arkansas, we have put together two and three day sample itineraries for you to consider as you travel our wonderful state. Try one of these itineraries for each of your Arkansas getaways!


The majestic Arizona

From road trips and outdoor thrills to rejuvenating resorts and authentic local cuisine, Arizona is rich in exciting travel adventures. You can experience unforgettable exhilarating scenery, including the majestic beauty of the Grand Canyon National Park and the Sonoran Desert. Retreat to a quaint bed and breakfast or historic inn, or reward yourself at a luxurious resort and spa. Hit the links at a championship golf course. Taste wine from local vineyards and explore a wide variety of culinary delights. And with more than 325 days of sunshine a year, you can always plan on perfect weather. 

Trip Idea in Arizona: Antelope Canyon (search for dazzling shafts of light between narrow canyon walls)

The sprawling Navajo Nation has no shortage of magical places, but the most photogenic might be Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, located just outside Page, Arizona. They are a testament to the power of water and time, as over the years, flash flooding has created deep, gorgeous passageways-called slot canyons-that you can walk through.
The name comes from an era when antelopes ran wild in the canyons, but the only animals you’ll see these days are other human beings. The 600-foot-long stretch of Upper Antelope Canyon, which is also known as the Corkscrew, is the more popular of the two canyons. The walls can reach 120 feet, and it’s easier to access; exploring the half-mile Lower Antelope-or the Crack-requires walking up and down metal stairways. Visitors to Upper Antelope are also more likely to see beams of sunlight, which are prized by photographers. (Slower snappers will want to know that there’s a two-hour limit in each canyon.)
As you might expect, both canyons have long been considered spiritual places by the Navajo. You may only visit with a guide-there’s a list at -although that’s as much because flooding remains a possibility, and rain doesn’t have to occur on the site for water to come rushing through the canyons.
While you’re in the area, check out Rainbow Bridge, a stunning 275-foot-tall rock bridge over man-made Lake Powell. It, too, is sacred to the Navajo, so in order to hike to it, you need a permit from Navajo Parks & Recreation.


American Samoa

American Samoa is a vastly underrated tropical destination that will delight you with its magnificent mountain ridges, wonderfully peaceful bays, soporific villages, and some of the world's most remote, uncluttered and utterly beautiful reefs and beaches. Once you land on the main island, Tutuila, it takes very little effort to look beyond the imported Americana of its main settlement, Pago Pago, to the shadows cast by the spectacular peaks crowding around the deepwater harbour, the forest-lined roads switchbacking over isolated mountain passes, and palm-shaded beaches that paradoxically empty the mind but fill the imagination. The locals also help you to acclimatise to this relaxing habitat by encouraging you to sing along to their favourite tunes on the crowded island buses, welcoming you repeatedly in the streets, and spinning out traditional stories on long, humid evenings.
Setting foot on one of the virtually untouched strips of sand in the outlying Manu'a Islands will further seduce your senses. Few experiences compare to the feeling you get when you emerge from the superb, coral-filled waters off Ofu Beach and look up to see nothing but turquoise waters, sea birds crisscrossing the faces of enormous cliffs, and the hulking silhouette of Ta'u way off in the oceanic distance. Hardly anything disturbs the peace and quiet here except for the occasional barking dog and passing pick-up truck - otherwise, there's only the movement of wind and water to ruffle the calm.
Whether you're a hiker keen on checking out some of the highest sea cliffs in the world on Ta'u, a history buff wanting to see your first star mound, or a leisure-seeker with a deep appreciation of beach life, you'll be glad you visited this unsung paradise.